tagged w/ Massachusetts
A Massachusetts court Monday ruled against health insurance providers seeking to raise their premiums 8 to 32 percent in a closely watched case.
Massachusetts enacted a universal healthcare plan in 2006 that includes politically controversial measures such as the individual mandate requiring all adults to purchase insurance. With opponents of the national healthcare legislation passed weeks ago promising legal action, the Massachusetts case was seen a foretaste of what could lie ahead.
In this instance, the court affirmed that, for now at least, the state has the authority to oversee the industry.
The challenge arose from a bid by health insurance providers in Massachusetts several weeks ago to raise their premiums. Massachusetts Insurance commissioner Joseph Murphy called the increases “excessive,” noting that the medical consumer price index – an indicator of how much medical goods and services cost – projected a necessary increase of only 5 percent. Mr. Murphy rejected 235 of 274 proposed rate hikes.
Six insurance companies sued, arguing the state does not have the regulatory authority to cap premiums. They said they would lose $100 million without the premium increase, plus even more in the administrative costs of having to redesign their plans.
In addition to the suit, the insurance companies filed a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from regulating their premium increases until the case is decided. They also asked for an expedited trial.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel denied the request to expedite the trial and the injunction. He said that until the health insurance companies exhausted all available administrative remedies within the state Department of Insurance, the court had no jurisdiction. Only then could the insurance companies move through the normal legal process, he said.
He added that he wanted to avoid “stepping in the [insurance] commissioner’s shoes” and revising the regulations temporarily until the later court date.
Furthermore, the regulations did not cause “irreparable harm” because lost profits could later be recouped, Judge Neel said.A Massachusetts court Monday ruled against health insurance providers seeking to raise... more
Earth Activist Training
Marshfield, Vermont July 25 –Aug 8, 2010
Co-taught by Starhawk and Charles Williams
Two weeks that can change your life and change the world!
A permaculture design certificate course with a grounding in earth-based spirituality, and a focus on organizing, activism, and social permaculture as well as urban and rural land-based systems. Learn how to heal soil and cleanse water, how to design human systems that mimic natural systems, using a minimum of energy and resources and creating real abundance and social justice. Explore the strategies and organizing tools we need to make our visions real, and the daily practice, magic and rituals that can sustain our spirits. Participatory, hands-on teaching with lots of ritual, games, projects, songs, and laughs along with an intensive curriculum in ecological design.
Cost: $1400-$1800 sliding scale. Work trade and scholarships available, apply early!
This will be a rustic EAT. We will camp on the land, attend class in the Earthship, and eat as much local food as we can (including wildcrafted food).
Location: Neruda Community in Marshfield, VT http://neruda.editide.us/
Childcare can be arranged for children over 3 at additional cost.
For more information: www.EarthActivistTraining.org
800-381-7940 (USA). email: firstname.lastname@example.orgEarth Activist Training Marshfield, Vermont July 25 –Aug 8, 2010 Co-taught... more
"He's not the lead singer of Coldplay but he has had sex with Gwyneth Paltrow." MC Jason Klingman introduces stand-up comedian Chris Martin at the Curmudgeons of Comedy World Tour at Wabi-Sabi in Petersburg, Virginia March 5, 2010."He's not the lead singer of Coldplay but he has had sex with Gwyneth... more
The End of Soldiers free will!
Author: Agence France-Presse
Source: The Raw Story
Date: March 30, 2010
People’s moral judgment can be altered by disrupting part of the brain, a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) disrupted activity in the right temporo-parietal junction, or TPJ, which is above and behind the right ear and is usually highly active when we think about what we believe the outcome of a particular act will be.
The researchers disrupted the TPJ by inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp and got study participants to read a series of scenarios posing moral conundrums.
In one scenario, a person called Grace and her friend are taking a tour of a chemical plant when Grace stops at the coffee machine.
Grace’s friend asks her to get her a coffee with sugar.
A container by the coffee machine is marked ‘toxic’ but contains plain old sugar — but Grace doesn’t know that.
She believes the white powder in the container is toxic but puts it in her friend’s coffee anyway. Her friend is unharmed because the substance was sugar.
Participants in the study were asked to judge on a scale of one to seven, with one being “absolutely forbidden” and seven “absolutely permissible,” if they thought what Grace and other protagonists in other scenarios did was morally acceptable.
Two experiments were conducted: during one, participants were asked to judge the scenarios’ characters after having magnetic pulses sent to their TPJs for 25 minutes, and in the other they passed judgment while undergoing very short bursts of magnetic interference.
In both experiments, disrupting normal neural activity in the right TPJ switched off the part of people’s moral judgment mechanism that looks at the protagonists’ beliefs.
When the right TPJ was disrupted, participants were more likely to judge as morally permissible failed attempts to harm another person than were control participants whose right TPJs were not tinkered with.
“When activity in the right TPJ is disrupted, participants’ moral judgments shift toward a ‘no harm, no foul’ mentality,” even though the participants should have given characters like Grace a mark in the forbidden range because they believed their actions would cause harm, the study says.The End of Soldiers free will! ObeyOrdersSoldierNoConstitution Author: Agence... more
It's been an eternity since the sludgy Jurassic ooze of their debut, Dinosaur, the light-bursting-through-trees melody of You're Living All Over Me, the clean lines of Bug and Mascis' subsequent solo expeditions, under his own name and that of his old band. But none of the three ever stopped making music, whether Lou (Sebadoh, Sentridoh, Folk Implosion, and solo), J (Witch, the Fog) or otherwise (Murph?). Their music aged naturally along with them. http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/album-rewievs/289-dinosaur-jr-It's been an eternity since the sludgy Jurassic ooze of their debut, Dinosaur,... more
"They interviewed the killer whale at Sea World on Nightline. He said near-sighted and mistook his trainer for a penguin. He's going back into rehab for penguin addiction. I was trying to fee my goldfish the other day and he lunged at me. Damn, I hate these copycat killers." Stand-up comedian Chris Martin wrestles with a Toyota microphone February 28, 2010 at Super Friends Camp at the New York Deli in Richmond, Virginia. David Marie-Garland is MC.
http://chrismartincomedy.com"They interviewed the killer whale at Sea World on Nightline. He said... more
"You know you're going downhill when your Facebook doppelgänger looks like Charles Manson." Stand-up comedian Chris Martin pops off about pop culture and politics at Cafe Diem's Comedy Night February 15, 2010 in Richmond, Virginia. Bill Metzger is MC."You know you're going downhill when your Facebook doppelgänger looks... more
Sen. Scott Brown Trashes Obama’s ‘Bitter, Destructive and Endless’ Push For Health Care Take Over(VIDEO)Sen. Scott Brown Trashes Obama’s ‘Bitter’ Push For Health Care Take Over
WASHINGTON (AP)– Newly arrived Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts accused President Barack Obama and Democrats on Saturday of a “bitter, destructive and endless” drive to pass health overhaul legislation that Brown warned would be disastrous.
Sen. Scott Brown Trashes Obama’s ‘Bitter, Destructive and Endless’ Push For Health Care Take Over(VIDEO)...http://ctpatriot1970.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/sen-scott-brown-trashes-obamas-bitter-destructive-and-endless-push-for-health-care-take-overvideo/
“An entire year has gone to waste,” Brown said in the weekly GOP radio and Internet address. “Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and many more jobs are in danger. Even now, the president still hasn’t gotten the message.Sen. Scott Brown Trashes Obama’s ‘Bitter’ Push For Health Care Take... more
The Joneses Movie Trailer Some people do lives in the American dream and some don’t. There for some of the companies used to provide families which are freak and they just not too familiar with products The JonesesThe Joneses Movie Trailer Some people do lives in the American dream and some... more
The election victory of Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown is expected to be certified Thursday, which could allow him to be sworn in as early as Thursday afternoon to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Brown's win stripped Democrats of their 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate and raised fears among many congressional Democrats about a potential GOP landslide in November's midterm elections.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/02/04/massachusetts.scott.brown/index.html?hpt=T2The election victory of Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown is expected to be... more
According to CNN, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Congress would pass a health care bill this year, while his counterpart in the House — Speaker Nancy Pelosi — outlined a two-step plan intended to maintain public focus on the issue.” However, because of Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts last week, hopes of getting a bill passed were quickly crushed. Democrats lost their 60-vote Senate supermajority, and since the election, Democrats have been struggling to think of a new plan.According to CNN, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Congress would pass a... more
We postulated this morning that a bulk of voter anger is directed at Washington in general, not Obama or the Democrats in particular, leaving all incumbents vulnerable in November’s mid-term elections. Providing further evidence of that theory, a new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal finds that 70 percent of Americans think that the federal government is “unhealthy” or “stagnant,” while just 28 percent feel that it’s working “well” or “okay.” Here’s NBC’s Mark Murray:
What’s more, a whopping 93 percent believe there’s too much partisan infighting; 84 percent think the special interests have too much influence over legislation; nearly three-quarters say that not enough has been done to regulate Wall Street and the banking industry; and an equal 61 percent complain that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress aren’t willing to compromise….
“The message is a big one,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “The message is, ‘We hate what’s going in Washington.’”
That’s a message for the majority Democrats, certainly. But there’s also a warning in there for GOP leaders, who are spinning last week’s special Senate election in Massachusetts as an indictment of Democratic policies in general, and health care reform specifically. Those Republicans might be surprised to learn that, according to the NBC/WSJ poll, only 27 percent of respondents blame Obama for the country’s problems, and only 41 percent blame Democrats in Congress. Meanwhile, 48 percent blame congressional Republicans.We postulated this morning that a bulk of voter anger is directed at Washington in... more
The number and types of external threats to a network are growing exponentially, and unless a company has a dedicated and highly specialized team devoted to network security, it’s hard to keep up with the rapidly changing threat landscape. After all, the threats of the Internet are the same for every company regardless of its size.
http://information-security-resources.com/2010/01/26/consider-outsourcing-your-network-security/The number and types of external threats to a network are growing exponentially, and... more
I have a handful of conservative friends. Not so many that I could be considered a sympathizer. Just a few.
Being friends with them isn't always easy, but maintaining the relationships make me feel better about myself. After all - if I can look past something as ominous as conflicting political views - I must be a truly enlightened individual, right?
So we eat lunch together. We go out for drinks. One of them gave me a handjob. It's fine.
Yesterday, while sitting with a group of the right-wingers, I hear: "It's a fact. The people of Massachusetts have spoken."
Of course that person was referring to the GOP special election win by Scott Brown, the new pickup-driving Senator and former pin-up model, who had enough decency to cover up his junk but not his tangled mess of pubic hair in an '82 edition of Cosmo:
So - right then and there - I decided to drop a bombshell on their elephant-loving asses.
"Facts are for suckers," I said. "I don't believe in them."
The group let out a boisterous laugh. The handjobber blushed. Surely she hoped it was just another one of my super-engaging conversation starters.
"What is that supposed to mean?" someone asked. "It doesn't even make sense."
"Doesn't it?" I challenged back. "You show me a fact and I'll show you someone trying to prove a point. Facts are for suckers. I believe in the truth. It's universal."
Their collective jaw dropped. The Sereno legend lives on.
And it's no joke. Facts are bullshit. They're used to motivate people and support points of view. The next time you hear someone say "in fact ...," listen to what follows. It'll no doubt be a direct attack on what you know to be true.
On Dragnet, when Joe Friday asked for "just the facts, ma'am," did he get the truth? No. He received a borderline-useless eyewitness account of what happened. The whole show was spent searching through the misleading facts that plagued his investigation.
When the FDA releases facts on cigarette smoking is it to fuel its own agenda? Yep. That agenda may be loosening the stranglehold tobacco has on the United States, but it's still an agenda. And it'd be nowhere without those eye-opening and strategically-placed facts.
... So is it a fact? Have the people of Massachusetts spoken? Depends who you ask. As for me, I'll be sipping a margarita and floating in a pool of the truth. You should join me.
There isn't a gratuitous pubic hair in sight.I have a handful of conservative friends. Not so many that I could be considered a... more
By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger
On Thursday afternoon, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) pulled out a rarely-used Congressional tool in an attempt to keep the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon and other greenhouse gasses. Sen. Murkowski offered a “resolution of disapproval” of the EPA’s impending action, which would limit companies’ carbon emissions.
The resolution would overturn the EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide is harmful to the public health. Three Democrats—Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)—joined Sen. Murkowski and 35 Republicans in sponsoring the resolution.
“Ms. Murkowski’s Mischief‘”
“This command and control approach is our worst option for reducing the gasses associated with climate change,” said Sen. Murkowski on the floor of the Senate yesterday. She called the EPA’s actions “backdoor climate regulations with no input from Congress” and said they would damage the country’s flailing economy.
The EPA first announced in April 2009 that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses posed a threat to the public health. The agency formalized that finding last month, giving itself the power to regulate emissions of greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act. In March 2010, for instance, the agency is expected to announce carbon emissions rules for the auto industry that would match California’s higher standards. Sen. Murkowski’s resolution would derail that process.
Sen. Murkowski argued that she wants to give Congress room to come up with a legislative solution to climate change, but her critics see a more dangerous tilt to her resolution. “It’s a radical attempt by the legislative branch to interfere with executive branch scientists,” writes David Roberts at Grist.
Responding to “Ms. Murskowski’s mischief” on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) called the resolution an “unprecedented effort to overturn scientific decision” and “a direct assault on the health of the American people.”
Resolution of disapproval
What is a “resolution of disapproval?” Grist’s Roberts called it “the nuclear option.”
“It would rescind the EPA’s endangerment finding entirely and thereby eliminate its authority over both mobile and stationary sources,” Roberts explains. “Furthermore, the administration would be prohibited from passing a regulation “substantially the same” as the one overruled, so the constraint on the EPA would effectively be permanent.”
This type of resolution was created by the Clinton-era Congressional Reform Act. The resolution has one big advantage: It cannot be filibustered. Passage requires only a majority in both houses of Congress. Members have tried using it in the past to delay the Dubai Ports World deal, derail FCC regulations on new media, and stop the flow of bailout funds.
Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones has been following Sen. Murkowski’s actions closely. She reports that “Senate supporters of climate action say Murkowski could obtain the votes of moderate Democrats from coal, oil, and manufacturing states. However, a resolution would still need to be approved by the House and signed by the president—both long shots, to put it mildly. ‘I think we’re a little worried about [Murkowski’s resolution] winning. I’m not sure we’re worried about it becoming law,’ a Senate Democratic staffer says.”
But Grist’s Roberts argues that passage in the Senate alone would be a problem. “Even if blocked by the House or vetoed by the president, such a public, bipartisan slap at the administration would be highly embarrassing and demoralizing,” Roberts writes. “It would mean at least ten conservative Democrats washing their hands of the administration’s initiative.”
Climate change and Congress
Sen. Murkowski insists that she’s still ready to work with her colleagues on climate change and that it’s better to approach the problem of climate change via legislation, not regulation.
But no one in Washington believes that climateBy Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger On Thursday afternoon, Sen. Lisa... more
CIRCLE has numbers about yesterday's vote in the special election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts.
According to the briefing:
"Tisch College, Medford/Somerville, Mass - In the special election for Massachusetts Senator, young voters (age 18-29) preferred Democrat Martha Coakley over Republican Scott Brown by 58%-40% (with 2% for other candidates), according to a survey of 1,000 voters conducted on January 19, by Rasmussen Reports.
About 15% of Massachusetts citizens between the ages of 18-29 turned out to vote.* For citizens age 30 and older, turnout was about 57%.
For comparison: 25% of young citizens (age 18-29) voted in the 2008 Massachusetts presidential primaries, and 47.8% of young Massachusetts citizens voted in the 2008 presidential elections, according to CIRCLE’s analysis. Seventy-eight percent of under-30 voters in Massachusetts chose Barack Obama in the 2008 general election; 20% chose John McCain."
Part of me is angry that we lost this seat to someone who doesn't support the youth agenda, but the major part of me is that young people obviously supported Coakley but there was - according to one political insider - "zero" outreach from the Coakley campaign to young voters.
Read more at: http://futuremajority.com/node/9746CIRCLE has numbers about yesterday's vote in the special election for the US... more
EVEN SCOTT BROWN VOTERS WANT THE PUBLIC OPTION, WANT DEMOCRATS TO BE BOLDER
"In an election between Scott Brown and the public option, the public option would have won."
– Charles Chamberlain, political director of Democracy for America
Research 2000 Massachusetts Poll Resultshttp://act.boldprogressives.org/cms/sign/mapollresults/#
http://www.exit-poll.net/board.jpgEVEN SCOTT BROWN VOTERS WANT THE PUBLIC OPTION, WANT DEMOCRATS TO BE BOLDER... more
Brave New Films put this question to Celinda Lake, pollster for the Coakley campaign, and Stephanie Taylor from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Forget the conventional wisdom about moving to the center versus moving toward the base: both parties have been bought and paid for by corporate special interests, Lake argues, and consequently, the Tea Party Patriots have become a more popular political force than either the Democratic or the Republican Party.Brave New Films put this question to Celinda Lake, pollster for the Coakley campaign,... more
Supporters of Senator-elect Scott Brown winced as he offered up one of his daughters as "available" in his victory speech Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Glenn Beck took to his radio program to sharply criticize Brown's remarks. The controversial host suggested that Brown needed to be "monitored" because "this one could end up with a dead intern."
"I want a chastity belt on this man," Beck said. "I want his every move watched in Washington. I don't trust this guy. This one could end with a dead intern."
"A dead intern?" co-host Pat Gray asked. "I wouldn't go that far."
Later on in the segment, Beck added, "I'm just sayin', congratulations, now let's monitor him, let's put an ankle bracelet on him, let's know where he is at all times."Supporters of Senator-elect Scott Brown winced as he offered up one of his daughters... more