Thursday December 05, 2013
Archive - 2013
Little victories in curbing health care costs can add up. In truth, they seem little only next to the titanic $2.6 trillion Americans spend a year on health care. So let us salute them.
Case in point, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (Medpac) proposes ending a ridiculously expensive practice: Medicare paying hospital outpatient departments vastly more than it does doctors providing the same routine service in their offices.
"More than half a century ago, Fidel decreed the elimination of racism," said Leonardo Calvo Cardenas. But "this just made the problem deeper and more complex."
Edward Snowden told the Guardian that he leaked details of National Security Agency surveillance because he doesn't "want to live in a world where there's no privacy."
Oddly enough, he also has posted the following tidbits on the Internet: his employer, the type of gun he owns, his photograph - and the fact that he and his girlfriend "have sex marathons from sundown til sunrise." Snowden used a pseudonym, but it was transparent, given the personal information he disclosed.
For defense contractors, the government officials who write them mega checks, and the hawks in the media who cheer them on, the name of the game is threat inflation. And no one has been better at it than the folks at Booz Allen Hamilton, the inventors of the new boondoggle called cyberwarfare.
In Syria, the Obama administration seems to be stumbling back to the future: An old-fashioned proxy war, complete with the usual shadowy CIA arms-running operation, the traditional plan to prop up ostensible "moderates" whose prospects are doubtful and, of course, the customary shaky grasp of what the fighting is really about.
This will not end well.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the bipartisan Gang of Eight seeking historic reform of American immigration policy, has warned his party colleagues they'd better get aboard or forget about electing one of their own to the Oval Office in 2016.
The Founders created a system of checks and balances. Those overseeing the nation's spying have switched to a system of cheers and bouquets.
This was the impression given by members of the House intelligence committee as they held an open-to-the-public hearing Tuesday on the National Security Agency's snooping into Americans' phone and Internet records.
Labor unions have been knocked back, knocked down and knocked out for so long that a new generation of organizers is beginning to try something new. Instead of unionizing and then protesting, they're protesting first.
That may sound a little oversimplified, but not by much. The new strategy involves helping workers to protest for more money and benefits and, after winning some victories, hope the workers will form a union.
Is it just my friends, or is nearly everyone on an absurd diet these days?
One friend says she’s on a “primal” diet. She’s trying to eat like cavemen and will devour wild game when she can get it. Another goes on a month-long “detox” fast each year. Somehow, he survives on nothing but lemonade spiked with maple syrup and cayenne pepper.