Town Hall Meeting

12 Nov 2013

From the It’s-Very-Doable-Department

Filed under: — Al @ 11:47 am

The problem is crappy private contractors, and there are tons of them, and most of them make their money in the “defense” industry (feel safer?). 3 folks in the Bay Area decided to just write their own health care exchange website using publicly available data built by the healthcare.gov folks. Try it out, it’s amazingly quick and easy.

http://www.thehealthsherpa.com/

‘We were surprised to see that it was actually fairly difficult to use HealthCare.gov to find and understand our options,’ says George Kalogeropoulos, who created the site along with Ning Liang and Michael Wasser. ‘Given that the data was publicly available, we thought that it made a lot of sense to take the data that was on there and just make it easy to search through and view available plans.’ Of course, it’s not fair to compare the creation of Health Sherpa to the rollout of the more complicated government ACA site, which even President Obama has acknowledged as a horribly botched affair. ‘It isn’t a fair apples-to-apples comparison,’ says Kalogeropoulos. ‘Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn’t connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we’re using the government’s data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done.’ “The Health Sherpa makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to compare health care plans covered under Obamacare in 34 states,” writes Connor Simpson at Atlantic Wire. “The result is a simple, beautiful, remarkably responsive website that anyone could use.'”

Read more on Slashdot.

-Al

10 Oct 2013

“The Suicide Caucus”

Filed under: — Administrator @ 8:22 am

Where the G.O.P.’s Suicide Caucus Lives

Where the Suicide Caucus Lives

“North Carolina’s Eleventh District had been gerrymandered after the 2010 census to become the most Republican district in his state….While the big story of the 2012 election was about demographics and a growing non-white population that is increasingly Democratic, that was not the story in the Meadows race. His district is eighty-seven per cent white, five per cent Latino, and three per cent black.”

Read The Full Article Here

Thanks JM for the link!

02 Sep 2011

Four Noble Truths

Filed under: — Al @ 10:36 am

Since things are pretty ugly out there (endless wars, massive income inequality, etc.), I thought I’d share a little Buddhism with ya’ll on this Friday. Most of this information comes from Michael Benner, a great guy who teaches about mysticism and a class called The Ageless Wisdom. I am not religious, but I do believe some of this stuff.

“I teach about suffering and the way to end it.”
— Buddha

The Four Noble Truths are quite simple and straight-forward. They are pragmatic rather than dogmatic, and actually are closer to psycho-therapy than religion.

The basic idea is that we set ourselves up for misery — disappointment, sadness, depression, anger and hatred by desiring material things, money and power. We are so attached to what we desire, Buddha realized, that we miss the majestic beauty and awe in what is happening right in front of you, moment by moment. The unfolding moment is eternal, while everything material is impermanent and unfulfilling.

According to various sources, a simple rendition of the Four Noble Truths is as follows:

Suffering does exist
Suffering arises from attachment to desires
Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths

08 Mar 2011

Parental Leave in the United States

Filed under: — Al @ 3:38 pm

“The report, “Failing its Families,” says at least 178 countries have national laws guaranteeing paid leave for new mothers, while the handful of exceptions include the U.S., Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. More than 50 nations, including most Western countries, also guarantee paid leave for new fathers.”

“Past efforts in Congress to enact a paid family leave law have floundered, drawing opposition from business lobbyists who say it would be a burden on employers. Instead, there is the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which enables workers with new children or seriously ill family members to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. By excluding companies with fewer than 50 employees, it covers only about half the work force, and many who are covered cannot afford to take unpaid leave.

“In the European Union, paid parental leave varies from 14 weeks in Malta to 16 months in Sweden, which reserves at least two months of its leave exclusively for fathers. Most EU countries have maintained the provisions of their programs despite the recession….the bid to expand paid leave in the U.S. was hampered by the clout of corporate lobbyists and the relatively weak status of the labor movement. ”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110223/ap_on_re_us/us_paid_parental_leave

Unbelievable stuff…California and New Jersey are the ONLY states with paid leave programs, and its a meager 6 weeks. And before I hear the inevitable “well then move somewhere else,” remember that demanding more rights is how communities improve.

25 Jan 2011

Taco Bell “Beef” Allegedly Has lots of “Binders” and “Filler”

Filed under: — Al @ 4:41 pm

The fast food chain Taco Bell was sued in federal court today for using the word beef to describe their meat when it contains other things called “binders” and “fillers.” The claim is Taco Bell does this to gain a competitive advantage over other restaurants who serve 100% beef because it’s cheaper to serve something that is, say 60% beef. The lawsuit says they shouldn’t be allowed to call it beef, but should they be allowed to sell this to the public at all?!!

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/health/fl-taco-bell-suit-20110124,0,6513275.story

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