The question of the day, is it necessary to study for a “True or False” test?
The question of the day, is it necessary to study for a “True or False” test?
ST. JOHNSBURY, VT. — The man arrested in the slaying of a beloved teacher at a Vermont prep school told police that he and his wife were driving around Sunday when he “got the idea to get a girl,” according to an affidavit filed in the case by a Vermont State Police investigator.
Allen Prue, 30, went on to give a detailed confession to the crime, saying that he and his wife, Patricia, 33, lured Melissa Jenkins, mother of a toddler, from her home on the pretext that they had car trouble, and then killed Jenkins and disposed of her body, the affidavit said.
Prue had once plowed Jenkins’s driveway. Jenkins’s friends told investigators that she had mentioned that the man who plowed her driveway had asked her out. She also said that the man had shown up at her home drunk in the fall, Detective Sergeant Walter F. Smith said in the affidavit. REST OF STORY HERE
Seniors and their caregivers should be watching closely as the Supreme Court hears arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the health reform law and other aspects of health care provisions affecting seniors under the act.
At stake are major new benefits for people enrolled in Medicare that shouldn’t be overlooked during the legal wrangling in Washington, D.C. Contrary to intentional misinformation meant to scare seniors, health reform is working and millions of Americans 65 and older are already reaping new benefits of an improved Medicare program.
Health reform has removed many financial barriers to preventive care for those with Medicare. Beneficiaries can now access services like annual wellness visits, cancer screening, and cholesterol checks with no out-of-pocket costs.
The dreaded "donut hole," the coverage gap that left seniors paying thousands out of pocket for lifesaving medications, will soon become a thing of the past. It is shrinking annually, and consumers are now getting 50 percent off name-brand drugs while in the hole. By 2020, the donut hole will be gone.
Surely the health reform law will bring big changes for Americans that will be confusing as they are put into place without well planned preparatory seminars for seniors. But the haze that has obscured the reality of the health reform law is starting to clear. As the fog lifts and seniors begin to understand and access these new benefits, it’s obvious Medicare recipients are already much better off.
In 2011 alone, nearly 3.6 million people with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs thanks to the new law, and $135 million of that here in Texas. An estimated 32 million beneficiaries took advantage of at least one free preventive service. All the while, for many Medicare enrollees, Part B premiums actually declined in 2010 and 2011.
These are tangible benefits that seniors should demand be preserved regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court case.
And if we can make it to 2014 with the Affordable Care Act intact, people who retire before age 65 will no longer have to struggle with unaffordable coverage as they anxiously await Medicare eligibility. Early retirees will get access to new health insurance exchange marketplaces that will not charge more or deny coverage on the basis of health conditions, and will also give a hand to moderate-income families who need help affording insurance.
But our new preventive care benefits will only work if we can get an appointment. Too many physicians are announcing they intend to accept no new Medicare patients, leaving seniors to wonder if this reflects an attitude of indifference to older Americans. Perhaps we seniors should demand better care from our Medicare doctors? One way we can improve access to the new Medicare preventive care under the ACA is to increase the number of health care providers trained in senior medical care. Texas and far too many other states lack strong geriatric training requirements in most health care science programs. Geriatric education in medical school results in healthier seniors and better care because physicians understand the aging body and treat it with greater insight and respect. Without required minimum standards for certification and continuing education, physicians today are just not keeping up with the latest in treatments, medications and considerations for those over 65.
Pairing the ACA’s new Medicare prevention benefits with strong standards for physicians to annually update their knowledge of care for seniors could improve outcomes without cost to taxpayers. The more our doctors know about optimal care for seniors, the better the care. Fewer medication errors and hospitalizations would be a happy result. And many physicians would fulfill their continuing education requirements in the process – improving care and cutting costs without adding to the expense of state agencies.
As the law continues to be debated, we’re likely to hear more of the same "government takeover" rhetoric. But ask a senior who’s gotten a free checkup or a break on the cost of prescription drugs and you’re likely to hear another story: about how the health reform law brings with it a sigh of relief.
Streckfuss is a retired registered nurse.
The booms have returned in Clintonville, reportedly louder and longer than before. “Between the times of 10:35 and 10:50 p.m., we received 60 phone calls fro…
(CNN) — On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court takes on a political, social, economic and medical hot potato: the health care reform law that was signed into law two years ago.
For six hours during each of the next three days, attorneys will argue and justices willconsider legal questions about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and issues surrounding federal versus state powers.
Many of the law’s major aspects have been the topic of much discussion. But are you aware that deep within the sweeping law’s 2,700 pages are many lesser known changes that could affect your life in unexpected ways?
Here are 10 examples:
1. How many goodies your doctors get
Is your doctor prescribing you certain drugs because those are the best for your condition or because of a pharmaceutical company’s influence? Here’s one way you can find out.
The Physician Payment Sunshine Act under health care reform requires drug, device or medical supply companies to report annually certain payments or things of value that they’ve given physicians and teaching hospitals. This could be speaking fees, consulting fees, meals and travel. So, you can find out which and how much companies pay doctors or health care workers. The companies are obligated to report annually about physician ownership and their financial investments.
All this would be available on a public website.
Effective date: Final rule is expected December 2014.
2. More breastfeeding rooms and breaks
Many working mothers now get a more appropriate place for expressing breast milk than they had before. Employers must provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk."
Nursing mothers also can take "reasonable" breaks during the workday to express milk, as frequently as the mother needs. The exception is companies with fewer than 50 employees, which can claim it’s an undue hardship.
Effective date: March 23, 2010.
The law requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items.
3. Caloric reality at every major chain restaurants
Under the law, you would walk into a place like McDonald’s and see calories listed under every menu item — Big Mac (540 calories), McNuggets (10 pieces- 470 calories) and medium fries (380 calories).
The law requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on menus and drive-through menus. Other fun facts like fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein would have to be made available in writing upon request.
So far, there is mixed evidence about whether calorie postings sway nutritional choices.
The rule also extends to vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines. The FDA issued a report in April 2011, and left out movie theaters among those establishments required to post calories. So, if implemented, you can tell how many calories your sandwich has at Subway, but you won’t be able to tell how many calories your buckets of popcorn have at the movie theater.
Effective date: The FDA has not yet issued a final rule, so there is no time line on its implementation.
4. Abstinence-only education
The health care legislation renews $50 million per year for five years for abstinence-only education. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, "programs that receive this funding must teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems." And they also have to teach that sex before marriage is "likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects." For every four federal dollars a state receives, it must match $3 (75% of the federal money, in other words).
5. Flexible spending accounts stiffen
Flexible spending accounts previously could be used to buy over-the-counter drugs and vitamins. As of 2011, the accounts became restricted to prescription drugs, although in some cases a doctor can "prescribe" over-the-counter medicines to make them count. Health care related purchases that still qualify include condoms, contact lens solution, home diagnostic tests and bandages.
But note that in 2013, your contribution amount to these accounts will have an annual limit of $2,500; previously there was no limit.
Effective date: January 1, 2011, for the medication provision; January 1, 2013, for the contribution limit.
6. Tanning will cost you
You’ve been paying a 10% tax every time you’ve visited the tanning booth, thanks to health care reform.
The UV-emitting tanning devices have been classified as "carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization. Indoor tanning has also been banned for minors in California because of the potential for skin cancer.
Effective date: July 1, 2010.
7. Support for wellness programs at work
Face it, staying healthy in a stressful workplace with the tempting soda machine in the break room can be tough. But the health care reform law gives companies incentives to start wellness initiatives.
Small business got incentives in 2011, when companies with fewer than 100 employees working at least 25 hours per week became eligible for wellness program grants. The law sets up a $200 million grant program from 2011 to 2015.
As of 2014, participants in wellness programs generally can get discounts or rewards from their employers of up to 30% of the cost of their health care premiums (currently, the maximum discount is 20%). That reward can go up to 50% if the secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury deem it appropriate.
Effective date: January 1, 2011, for the small business and January 1, 2014, for the potential discount raise.
8. Free preventive care
Mammograms, physical exams, colonoscopies, vaccinations — these are among the preventive care services that will be fully covered by insurance companies.
This requirement kicked in for new health insurance plans that began on or after September 2010. Examples of preventive care include screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, which are covered without a co-pay.
For women, this would also cover genetic counseling for the BRCA gene for women at higher risk of breast cancer, mammograms every one or two years for women over age 40 and HPV DNA testing every three years for women. For kids, the services include autism, vision, developmental and lead screenings. The complete list is available here.
Effective date: All health insurance plans must comply by 2018.
9. Home visits to expecting families
The law also includes funding support for early childhood home visitation for people expecting children and families who have young children. Professionals come to the home to provide information and support. The aim is to reduce child abuse and neglect, promote the health of mothers and their children and prioritize high-risk populations.Research supports such positive outcomes. The health care law provides $1.5 billion for related state-based initiatives over five years.
Effective date: Began in 2010 with $100 million for fiscal year.
10. Health plans you can read
Have you ever been confused by the language in health insurance plans?
The health reform law requires health insurers and health plans to provide concise and understandable information about the plan and its benefits. According to the Health and Human Services press release, "The new rules will also make it easier for people and employers to directly compare one plan to another."
Patients have a right to two key documents to understand and compare their health insurance choices: a comprehensible summary of benefits (which is standardized similar to nutrition facts on packaged foods) and a glossary of terms of health insurance coverage.
Effective date: September 23, 2012. Original Story Here…
Paul Joseph Watson
Could the mysterious Chem Trails over areas of the Nation, along with HAARP, have anything to do with these strange noises, as with other occurrences in different areas of the country, over the last 7 months? Ed.
Mysterious booms have rattled the Wisconsin town of Clintonville for a fourth consecutive night, with local authorities preparing to bring in seismic technology to try and locate the cause of the booms, which have been described as sounding like underground fireworks, thunder, or someone slamming a heavy door.
With reports of residents hearing the boom starting on Sunday, more mysterious noises were heard in the town in the early hours of this morning. Clintonville police reported hearing the boom at 1:30am and 2:30am, while Fox 11 reporter Doug Higgins heard the sound at 5am this morning.
Curiosity has turned into paranoia as residents become increasingly insistent that local authorities solve the mystery, with some leaving town until the booms stop.
The fact that the sound has been described as coming from underground has led to theories that military activity or top secret below earth blasting may be responsible for the booms. Speculation has raged for decades about secret underground tunnels and even underground cities built by the U.S. government for clandestine purposes.
Thousands of people in the area have reported that the booms are accompanied by earthquake-like vibrations which have rattled homes.
Human activity may also be responsible for causing what appear to be seismic events. Changes in underground pressure caused by construction or mining have been known to cause earthquakes, notably in Switzerland in 2007 when the construction of a geothermal power plant caused an earthquake of magnitude 3.4 on the Richter scale.
Experts have also suggested that CO2 sequestration, which involves pumping CO2 into deep underground reservoirs, could also cause earthquakes. Given that geoengineering projects conducted in the name of preventing global warming are already taking place with little or no public oversight, could the source of Clintonville’s booms be related to a secret geoengineering program?
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the US Air Force, the US Navy, the University of Alaska and DARPA, has also long been a focus of suspicion, with some claiming it is being used to experiment with seismic-triggering technology.
In his book Angels Don’t Play This HAARP, author Nick Begich summarizes the evidence that suggests HAARP is involved in weather control for nefarious purposes.
Scientists at NASA have also discovered “A close link between electrical disturbances on the edge of our atmosphere and impending quakes on the ground below,” which has led to claims that earthquakes are being artificially induced as a form of modern warfare and secret testing by HAARP.
Earthquake triggering technology was a matter of public debate 15 years ago, when in anApril 1997 speech to the University of Georgia, Athens, then US Secretary of Defense William Cohen spoke of the threat of an “eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.”
“City officials say they have investigated every possible human cause. They checked water, sewer and gas lines, contacted the military about any exercises in the area, reviewed permits for mining explosives and inspected a dam next to City Hall. They even tested methane levels at the landfill in case the gas was spontaneously exploding,”reports the Associated Press.
During a public meeting last night, City administrator Lisa Kuss announced that $7,000 dollars is being spent to place seismometers around the city in an effort to locate the epicenter and depth of the booms. Kuss said the source is likely to be 200 meters underground but cautioned that “It’s possible we’ll never have a definitive answer.” Original Story here.
Watch last night’s public meeting below.
The Georgia Guidestones may be the most enigmatic monument in the US: huge slabs of granite, inscribed with directions for rebuilding civilization after the apocalypse. Only one man knows who created them—and he’s not talking.
Photo: Dan Winters
The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone. Approaching the edifice, it’s hard not to think immediately of England’s Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it.
Called the Georgia Guidestones, the monument is a mystery—nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clues to its origin are on a nearby plaque on the ground—which gives the dimensions and explains a series of intricate notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars—and the "guides" themselves, directives carved into the rocks. These instructions appear in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a peculiar New Age ideology. Some are vaguely eugenic (GUIDE REPRODUCTION WISELY—IMPROVING FITNESS AND DIVERSITY); others prescribe standard-issue hippie mysticism (PRIZE TRUTH—BEAUTY—LOVE—SEEKING HARMONY WITH THE INFINITE).
What’s most widely agreed upon—based on the evidence available—is that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the dazed survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion. A few days before I visited, the stones had been splattered with polyurethane and spray-painted with graffiti, including slogans like "Death to the new world order." This defacement was the first serious act of vandalism in the Guidestones’ history, but it was hardly the first objection to their existence. In fact, for more than three decades this uncanny structure in the heart of the Bible Belt has been generating responses that range from enchantment to horror. Supporters (notable among them Yoko Ono) have praised the messages as a stirring call to rational thinking, akin to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Opponents have attacked them as the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.
Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing: The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. It also manages to engender endless fascination, thanks to a carefully orchestrated aura of mystery. And the stones have attracted plenty of devotees to defend against folks who would like them destroyed. Clearly, whoever had the monument placed here understood one thing very well: People prize what they don’t understand at least as much as what they do.
The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent "a small group of loyal Americans" who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton—the county seat and the granite capital of the world—because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet.
Joe Fendley, Elberton Granite’s president, nodded absently, distracted by the rush to complete his weekly payroll. But when Christian began to describe the monument he had in mind, Fendley stopped what he was doing. Not only was the man asking for stones larger than any that had been quarried in the county, he also wanted them cut, finished, and assembled into some kind of enormous astronomical instrument.
What in the world would it be for? Fendley asked. Christian explained that the structure he had in mind would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. It would also need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight of the world’s major languages. And it had to be capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events, so that the shattered remnants of humanity would be able to use those guides to reestablish a better civilization than the one that was about to destroy itself.
This is one of many examples where private industry rips off the public. Companies have always taken advantage of the government when they sell their products to the government, the hundred dollar hammer, the five hundred dollar toilet seat and that list goes on. The idea that privatization is the answer is ludicrous, your giving the keys to the hen house to the people who want to sell you the hundred dollar egg. Not only is big oil making record profits but they are subsidized by the government. They use our tax dollars for grabbing up the world reserves of oil through military adventurism; sacrificing our sons and daughters in the process, while Wall Street speculators get more of our money by betting how high the prices will go. The obvious solution is to Nationalize BIG OIL. Of course, the propaganda machine which has been spewing forth the demonizing mantra of such words for decades would have to be overcome, don’t forget who owns these news organizations, the big Corporate Monolith, which includes Big Oil and the other industries associated with them. It is to the vital interest of the American people and the Nation to Nationalize Big Oil Now. Dave
By BRYAN WALSH
To hear the Republican presidential candidates tell it, President Obama is doing all he can — shy of changing the price signs at your local Mobil station — to raise the cost of gasoline. Last week Mitt Romney told Fox News that Obama “has done everything in his power to make it harder for us to get oil and natural gas in this country, driving up the price of those commodities in the case of gasoline.” Rick Santorum last month warned that gas — now at $3.84 a gallon on average — would hit $5 a gallon under Obama, and that the President “has done everything possible to shut down energy production.” Newt Gingrich — he of the promised $2.50-a-gallon gas — has called on Obama to fire Energy Secretary Steven Chu over comments he made years ago about the need for American gas prices to be higher. “If he doesn’t,” Gingrich said, “then the American people will know the President is still committed to his radical ideology, which wants to artificially raise the cost of energy.”
I’m not positive, but I suspect that for Obama — like most Presidents — any ideology, radical or otherwise, takes a backseat come campaign season to the primary objective: getting re-elected. And no President who wants to remain President is going to be happy with gas prices that are scraping $4 a gallon, which is why over the past couple of weeks just about the only thing Obama seems to want to talk about is energy prices — and everything his government is doing to reduce them. Hence the unusual spectacle of seeing a Democratic President — and one who came into office on fire for clean energy — boasting that domestic oil production had risen for three straight years under his Administration. “When gas prices go up, it hurts everybody,” Obama said in a speech last month. “High gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.”
It’s that same de facto tax that explains why politicians rush to blame each other when gas starts getting expensive. But is Obama really “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline,” as the Republican Senator John Barrasso said last week?
The short answer is no — and pretty much so is the long answer. First things first: the price of gasoline is overwhelmingly dictated by the global price of crude oil. It’s true that local conditions in individual countries can make a difference. Some East Coast refineries have shut down operations, for example, because they are locked into long-term sales contracts with distributors, making it impossible for them to pass on the higher price they’re paying for oil, and thus cutting into their profit margins. This has further raised the price of gasoline, especially in big cities like Boston and Washington. (If you think you’ve got it bad, it costs $4.14 a gallon to fill up where I work in midtown Manhattan.) That’s a problem that comes from the oil industry and needs to be resolved by the oil industry, not the President, and it’s likely a temporary one anyway as refiners adjust to higher prices and reroute gasoline from the Gulf Coast.
No, gas is expensive because oil is expensive — and oil is expensive for reasons that the U.S. did not cause and can’t unilaterally fix. American oil consumption is actually down from its peak of 20.8 million barrels a day in 2005 to a little under 19 million barrels a day last year. A lot of that is the lingering economic malaise, which depresses business and consumption and therefore driving; unemployed people, in other words, don’t commute. Americans drove just under 8.1 billion miles in 2010, less than the 8.26 billion we drove in 2006.
Obama certainly doesn’t want to take responsibility for the recession, but he may well want to claim some credit for another factor behind declining oil demand: more efficient vehicles. Ten years ago, cars and trucks averaged 24.7 m.p.g. By 2011, that figure rose to 29.6 m.p.g. — and new deals brokered by the Obama Administration with the automakers to raise fuel-efficiency standards to as high as 55 m.p.g. by 2025 could take an even bigger bite out of demand while also giving American drivers more resilience against high gas prices. After all, doubling the fuel efficiency of your vehicle is equivalent to cutting the price of gas in half.
That would be smart to do because it’s quite possible that — barring another major global economic slowdown — oil will remain relatively expensive for the foreseeable future. Right now much of the recent price spike is due to tensions with Iran, a major oil producer. War with Iran is a real possibility, albeit an uncertain one, and if the missiles were to fly, we could easily see a price spike of $50 a barrel or more. So traders and major oil consumers are stockpiling crude now as a hedge against that very situation, which in turn drives the price up now by artificially inflating demand. I can’t see how that’s an incumbent President’s fault. What’s more, it’s the Republicans themselves who are leaning on Obama to take a harder line against Iran, a move that would likely only raise the possibility of war and the attendant crude catastrophe. Rest of story HERE…..