Saturday, September 28, 2013

Obama Spends $34M on a Building Nobody Will Ever Use. But why? Read the article

 Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 28, 2013

With government corruption on the rise, you have to wonder why President Obama built a $34M building in the middle of the Afghanistan desert that nobody will ever use.

The windowless, two-story, 64,000-square-foot building is the length of a football field and has all the amenities you’d expect at a headquarters in the United States. But nobody plans to use it.

Military commanders insisted three years ago that the building was unnecessary. American troops are being pulled out of Afghanistan, so investing in the region didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Our Commander in Chief erected the building anyway.

RELATED: Obama Gives Citizenship to Afghan Terrorists

It’s not clear which government contractors helped with this project, but it’s likely that a back room handshake was all that was needed to keep the project alive. As long as our dollars are filling these companies’ pockets, Obama can keep increasing his power.

What would you suggest the government spend this $34M on instead?

NSA Used Some Americans' Data to Map Behavior. We've Been Punk'd

 Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 28, 2013

NewsMax Saturday, 28 September 2013

NSA the federal domestic spy agency, since 2010 has used data it gathered to map some Americans' "social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information."

The New York Times reported on Saturday that the National Security Agency, the main U.S. government surveillance organization, had since 2010 used data it gathered to map some Americans' "social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information."

In the latest revelation of the activities of the NSA, which have prompted concern about previously unknown intrusion into Americans' privacy in the name of protecting against terrorist and other foreign attacks, the newspaper quoted documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who fled to Russia earlier this year.
It said the documents showed that "the spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and email logs in November 2010 to examine Americans' networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after NSA officials lifted restrictions on the practice."
The policy shift was intended to help the agency "discover and track" connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an NSA memorandum from January 2011, the Times said.
It said the NSA was authorized to conduct "large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness" of every email address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.
The agency could augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents, the paper said.
It said NSA officials declined to say how many Americans had been affected and said the documents did not describe the result of the scrutiny, which it said "links phone numbers and emails in a 'contact chain' tied directly or indirectly to a person or organization overseas that is of foreign intelligence interest."

Earlier this week, leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said they were working on legislation that would tighten oversight of federal electronic eavesdropping programs. Support for such changes has been growing since Snowden leaked information in June that the government collects far more Internet and telephone data than previously known.
The Times said that an NSA spokeswoman, asked about the analyses of Americans' data, said, "All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period." It quoted her as saying: "All of NSA's work has a foreign intelligence purpose."
She said the policy change disclosed in the latest revelations was based on a 1979 Supreme Court ruling that Americans could have no expectation of privacy about what numbers they had called.
The Times quoted her as saying that, based on that ruling, the Justice Department and the Pentagon decided that it was permissible to create contact chains using Americans' "metadata," which includes the timing, location and other details of calls and emails, but not their content. The agency is not required to seek warrants for the analyses from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
NSA officials declined to identify which phone and email databases were used to create the social network diagrams, and the documents provided by Snowden do not specify them, the paper said.
It said the NSA did say that the large database of Americans' domestic phone call records, which was revealed by Snowden in June and caused alarm in Washington, was excluded.
The Times said that while concerns in the United States since Snowden's revelations had largely focused on the scope of the agency's collection of the private data of Americans and the potential for abuse, the new documents provided a rare window into what the agency actually did with the information it gathers.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Democrat senator: Shutdown fight 'as dangerous' as break-up of the Union

 U.S. Senator Ted Cruz Skewers Democrat Liberals

 Also see: Rouzer says shutdown 'would be good for America.'    

      Verne Strickland USA DOT COM

A veteran Democratic senator on Friday stepped up his party's criticism of Tea Party-backed efforts to defund ObamaCare, likening the risk of a government shutdown to the threat faced by the country during the Civil War.

"We are at one of the most dangerous points in our history right now -- every bit as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who helped write the Affordable Care Act as chairman of the Senate committee overseeing the health care industry.

Harkin's comments are just the latest salvo in a heated rhetorical battle between backers of a push by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, to block consideration of a House-passed budget bill and veteran lawmakers who decry their efforts as political theater that brings the country closer to a possible shutdown next week. Harkin and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have repeatedly referred to Tea Party lawmakers as "anarchists."

"We're not going to bow to Tea Party anarchists who deny the mere fact that ObamaCare is the law," Reid declared in floor remarks earlier this week.

Cruz and Lee have also drawn friendly fire from other members of the GOP, in part because they insist that any Republican senator who joins the chamber's 54 Democrats (including two independents who caucus with the party) in voting to advance the budget bill is being disingenuous in their opposition to the president's health care law.

That's because, they argue, everyone knows that Reid will be able to strip the defunding language from the bill by a simple majority as his next step.
In a testy floor exchange Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., accused the pair of delaying Senate action because they wanted to put on a "show."

"The reason we're waiting is that y'all have sent out releases and emails and you want everybody to be able to watch," Corker said.

Cruz later accused many of his colleagues of being "scared" of a shutdown.
"A lot of Republicans, they have been here a long time," he said in an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" on Thursday. "And they're scared that if we stand together on this and if a government shutdown results that Republicans will be blamed and it is too politically risky."

via Verne Strickland Blogmaster Sept. 28 2013


“We are being hoodwinked by Mr. Obama, who is obviously intent on attacking the American economy, our freedoms, and our way of life.”
David Rouzer


 By Verne Strickland  September 27, 2013

I wrote the following piece today. I was proud of David Rouzer. Also today, the U.S. Senate turned its back on America by voting to fund Obamacare, among other things.

And I am still proud of David Rouzer. He took the high road. He stuck to his guns. This will pay off for the straight-shooting conservative U.S. Congressional candidate in the long run.

David and I have some important things in common. We both grew up in rural North Carolina -- he in Johnston County, and me in Nash. We are both conservative Christians. We dearly love America. And we both were closely associated with the late great statesman Jesse A. Helms. 

Jesse hired me at WRAL-TV in 1966 because I thought and wrote like he did. I left Capitol Broadcasting fifteen years later to join Jesse's successful 1982-84 re-election campaign.

David's closeness to Helms is better known, and far more important. He was by the side of the Senator during some of the most important and hard-fought battles beginning in 1994.

Jesse would be proud today of David Rouzer, and would have every right to be. Why? Because, like Helms, David has lost a number of important fights. And, like Helms, David never despaired, and fought on. Both of these two highly-principled North Carolinians have fought, and lost, for principle -- not glory or gain.

Far for being an embarrassment for Rouzer, this will cause many conservative patriots -- Republican and Democrat alike -- to rally to the side of the quiet, whip-smart and disarming former member of the North Carolina General Assembly.

While Rouzer lost a high-stakes Washington shoot-out, this could well be the key to finally prying Mike McIntyre loose from the District 7 House seat he has held onto for the better of two decades.

Great job, David. As Jesse always used to say: "I never won a public opinion poll -- but I never lost an election. While Rouzer has been on the short end of the stick a few times, he held his ground on the shutdown. Never flinched. If he lost the battle, I expect he will win the war.


U.S. conservative GOP candidate David Rouzer of North Carolina says Americans need have no fear of a “federal government shutdown”.

He’s been there before, during his first year on the Washington staff of the late U.S. Senator Jesse A. Helms in 1994. You may not hear anyone else say this, but David Rouzer, whose goal is to send excessively incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre back to his hometown of Lumberton,  is confident a shutdown would be good for America and the Republican Party.

In an exclusive interview with the affable 42-year-old, I asked him to connect the dots on his unexpected contention that a shutdown, rather than being harmful to America, could actually be beneficial in many ways:


“I think it’s important to point out when you have a temporary government shutdown – and it’s just that, it’s temporary – and the other thing is, you’re talking about discretionary spending, not mandatory spending, such as social security checks, Medicare, Medicaid, those programs that are particularly important to Seniors, as well as other critically important government operations. A shutdown affects discretionary spending, and discretionary spending only. When you compare that to the opportunity to completely uproot and defund Obamacare, which would have lasting and very damaging consequences for our Republic, to me it’s a non-issue. Let’s stand up and do what’s right.”


You have advised that a similar taste of partisan gridlock was present about twenty years ago. Would you describe what was happening at the time?


“Well, of course, the Republicans had taken control of the Senate in 1994. Many may remember the Contract with America. Bill Clinton was president at the time. And, essentially they had a showdown over government spending. Some look back to that as a perilous time for Republicans, but I look at it from a very different perspective.

“That showdown ultimately resulted in a Balanced Budget agreement, and welfare reform, both of which were tremendous advantages for this country. Incidentally, the Clinton Administration, with the help of Mike McIntyre, was pressured to capitulate and strike a deal that significantly reduced the work requirements for welfare a few years ago when Nancy Pelosi was in control of the Congress.

“That point in time was crucial to setting the stage for a balanced budget amendment, and for welfare reform. It showed Bill Clinton that he had a potent adversary to deal with Republican conservatives. And another thing is, the American people know it takes two to tango, and when you force an issue like this, as Senator Cruz is doing with Obamacare, and Mike Lee and Rubio and others who are standing with him, it really displays to the American public all the faults and pitfalls inherent in Obamacare, and shows who is on what side.

“One thing I like about those who are willing now to stand up and stand firm against President Obama and the overreach and the Socialist agenda is because if you don’t, they’re just going to keep on rolling, and we can’t afford that.

“I look at it this way – a temporary government shutdown has no lasting consequence to the country, and will  do no permanent damage whatsoever. On the other hand, mplementation of Obamacare will cause permanent damage to this country. And when you look at it in that light, the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been. We have to kill this thing and we have to defund it.

“We cannot let this law take root, because, once it does, we will be moving down the path to Socialism in a major way, and it’s going to destroy this country. We are being hoodwinked by Mr. Obama, who is obviously intent on attacking the American economy, our freedoms, and our way of life.”

VS: David Rouzer is plowing new ground with his bold offensive, and it is expected that his courageous statements on a government shutdown, Obamacare, and other critical issues, will embolden the American people to more rigorously contest the president’s initiatives, which are totally out of step with the vast majority of our U.S. citizens

*The bloodletting over a shutdown will continue during the week-end.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 -- It has happened before, and we're still here!

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 26, 2013

The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 was the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 was the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget. The government shut down after Clinton vetoed the spending bill the Republican Party-controlled Congress sent him. The federal government of the United States put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspended non-essential services from November 14 through November 19, 1995 and from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996, for a total of 28 days. The major players were President Clinton and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.


When the previous fiscal year ended on September 30, 1995, the President and the Republican-controlled Congress had not passed a budget. A majority of Congress members and the House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, had promised to slow the rate of government spending; however, this conflicted with the President's objectives for education, the environment, Medicare, and public health.[1] According to Clinton's autobiography, their differences resulted from differing estimates of economic growth, medical inflation, and anticipated revenues.[2]
When Clinton refused to cut the budget in the way Republicans wanted, Gingrich threatened to refuse to raise the debt limit, which would have caused the United States Treasury to suspend funding other portions of the government to avoid putting the country in default.[2]
Clinton said Republican amendments would strip the U.S. Treasury of its ability to dip into federal trust funds to avoid a borrowing crisis. Republican amendments would have limited appeals by death-row inmates, made it harder to issue health, safety and environmental regulations, and would have committed the President to a seven-year balanced budget. Clinton vetoed a second bill allowing the government to keep operating beyond the time when most spending authority expires. A GOP amendment opposed by Clinton would not only have increased Medicare Part B premiums, but it would also cancel a scheduled reduction. The Republicans held out for an increase in Medicare part B premiums in January 1996 to $53.50 a month. Clinton favored the then current law, which was to let the premium that seniors pay drop to $42.50.[3]
Since a budget for the new fiscal year was not approved, on October 1 the entire federal government operated on a continuing resolution authorizing interim funding for departments until new budgets were approved. The continuing resolution was set to expire on November 13 at midnight, at which time non-essential government services were required to cease operations in order to prevent expending funds that had not yet been appropriated. Congress passed a continuing resolution for funding and a bill to limit debt, which Clinton vetoed[1][4] as he denounced them as "backdoor efforts" to cut the budget in a partisan manner.[2]
On November 13, Republican and Democratic leaders, including Vice President Al Gore, Dick Armey, and Bob Dole, met to try to resolve the budget and were unable to reach an agreement.[2][5]


On November 14, major portions of the federal government suspended operations.[4] The Clinton administration later released figures detailing the costs of the shutdown, which included payments of approximately $400 million to furloughed federal employees who did not report to work.[6]
The first budget shutdown concluded with Congress enacting a temporary spending bill, but the underlying disagreement between Gingrich and Clinton was not resolved, leading to the second shutdown.
A 2010 Congressional Research Service report summarized other details of the 1995-1996 government shutdowns, indicating the shutdown impacted all sectors of the economy. Health and welfare services for military veterans were curtailed; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped disease surveillance; new clinical research patients were not accepted at the National Institutes of Health; and toxic waste clean-up work at 609 sites was halted. Other impacts included: the closure of 368 National Park sites resulted in the loss of some seven million visitors; 200,000 applications for passports and 20,000 to 30,000 applications for visas by foreigners went unprocessed each day; U.S. tourism and airline industries incurred millions of dollars in losses; more than 20% of federal contracts, representing $3.7 billion in spending, were affected adversely.[7]


Daily News cover illustrated by Ed Murawinski
Clinton's approval rating fell significantly during the shutdown. According to media commentators, this indicated that the general public blamed the President for the government shutdown.[8] However, once it had ended his approval ratings rose to their highest since his election.
During the crisis, Gingrich made a complaint at a press breakfast that, during a flight to and from Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in Israel, Clinton had not taken the opportunity to talk about the budget and Gingrich had been directed to leave the plane via the rear door. The perception arose that the Republican stance on the budget was partly due to this "snub" by Clinton,[9] and media coverage reflected this perception, including an editorial cartoon which depicted Gingrich as an infant throwing a temper tantrum.[10] Opposing politicians used this opportunity to attack Gingrich's motives for the budget standoff.[11][12] Later, the polls suggested that the event damaged Gingrich politically[13] and he referred to his comments as the "single most avoidable mistake" as Speaker.[14]
The shutdown also influenced the 1996 Presidential election. Bob Dole, the Senate Majority Leader, was running for President in 1996. Because of his need to campaign, Dole wanted to solve the budget crisis in January 1996 despite the willingness of other Republicans to continue the shutdown unless their demands were met. In particular, as Gingrich and Dole had been seen as potential rivals for the 1996 Presidential nomination, they had a tense working relationship.[15][16] The shutdown has also been cited as having a role in Clinton's successful re-election in 1996.[16]
According to Gingrich, positive impacts of the government shutdown included the balanced-budget deal in 1997 and the first four consecutive balanced budgets since the 1920s. In addition, Gingrich stated that the first re-election of a Republican majority since 1928 was due in part to the Republican Party's hard line on the budget.[17][18] The Republican Party had a net loss of eight seats in the House in the 1996 elections but retained a 228-207 seat majority. In the Senate, Republicans gained two seats.

Will an Atlantic Storm Lash the East Coast? NC May Be In Strike Zone

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 26, 2013

On the same day that a frontpage story in the Star-News announces that lack of hurricanes baffles forecasters, a biggie heads toward U.S. Atlantic seacoast -- possibly NC.

A severe storm could spin up the Atlantic coast over the weekend
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013

Sunny versus stormy weather on the East coast starting this weekend is contingent upon the development and track of a future system over the western Atlantic Ocean.

Current indications are that a storm will spin up just off the Atlantic coast Sunday and Monday. One scenario swings that storm westward with heavy rain, gusty winds and rough seas.

Other scenarios parallel the storm along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, take the storm out to sea or bring the storm northward, brushing New England and into Atlantic Canada.

Even if the storm remains out to sea, large swells could be generated, especially north and west of the center from off the Outer Banks to Georges Bank.

Cruise, shipping and offshore fishing interests should monitor the progress of this storm, even if the weather for land lubbers remains clear.

There is the potential for building seas from North Carolina to New England later this weekend into early next week. This could produce not only rough surf and strong rip currents, but also beach erosion in some communities.

Forecasts from eastern North Carolina to the I-95 Northeast and Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Sunday into next week are contingent on the track and strength of the storm expected to form offshore.

How strong the storm becomes and the track it takes will determine sunny versus stormy conditions at Cape Hatteras, N.C., Atlantic City, N.J., New York City, Boston, Portland, Maine, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and St. John's, Newfoundland.

Two features may come together off the East coast this weekend: a storm in the upper atmosphere and a weak tropical system currently drifting across Florida with heavy rain.

Such a storm will have access to plenty of tropical moisture, while high pressure to the north and west gives extra velocity to winds well away from the storm center.

Because the system is likely to have both tropical and non-tropical characteristics, it may be considered to be a hybrid (sub-tropical) storm, rather than a pure nor'easter or tropical storm/hurricane.

According to Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "The possibilities range from the storm becoming very strong and backing toward the Northeast coast to escaping harmlessly out to sea."

More Rain, Flooding Risk for Parts of Florida This Week Hurricane Center

First Big Wind, Wave Storm of the Season Takes Aim at Northwest

Meanwhile, a potent storm is likely to affect part of the West Coast this weekend.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "One scenario brings heavy rain, strong winds and rough seas to areas from British Columbia to parts of Washington and western Oregon."

The details on the track and severity of the Atlantic and Pacific coast storms will unfold as the week progresses.

"Meanwhile, the balance of the Atlantic Ocean is likely to remain free of organized tropical systems into early week," Kottlowski said.

There is a possibility of a system slowly developing in the Eastern Pacific over the next week.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NC Constituents Lose Confidence in Senator Burr

By Jude Eden, Jane of Trades

From guest writer Ginny Quaglia

Wilmington, NC – A group of concerned  Cape Fear area residents met with staffers at Senator Richard Burr’s Wilmington office  on Monday, Sept. 23.

The constituents put Senator Burr on notice that they have been closely watching his votes and plan to continue holding him accountable for not upholding the conservative principles he ran on.

Some recent votes they cited that were contrary to conservative principles and many in lock-step with Senator Hagan (D) , were his votes on the Farm Bill, Internet Sales Tax bill, food safety bill, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and his cloture vote on the gun legislation.

“I take Senator’s Burr’s actions personally”, stated Wilmington resident Lois  Dixon, “I personally walked neighborhoods and knocked on doors for Mr. Burr and he has misrepresented himself to the voters who worked hard to get him elected.”

Most troubling to those in attendance was Mr. Burr’s position on defunding ObamaCare through the Continuing Resolution. Senator Burr has been quoted as saying, “I think it’s the dumbest idea I ever heard.”

Southport resident Mary Ann McCarthy commented, “We think it’s ‘dumb’ that, as fellow Republicans, we are continually betrayed by Senator Burr’s votes. So–  we give him a vote of no confidence.”

Ginny Quaglia-HS wideGinny Quaglia is a conservative activist and public speaker.  Quaglia was awarded the Brunswick Beacon 1st amendment award in 2012 and named activist of the month by Heritage Action in May of 2012.  She resides in Ocean Isle Beach, NC.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BREAKING!! GOP Stands with Tea Party Favorite Texas Senator Ted Cruz in Filibuster of Funding ObamaCare

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 24, 2013

130411_reince_priebus_ap_328 In a stunning change of events, Reince Preibus and the RNC have publicly backed Texas Senator Ted Cruz in his filibuster attempt to stop the funding of Obamacare, which is overwhelmingly opposed by the American public. 

This is huge news to the Republican Party because most Americans have demonized the RNC for not accepting and embracing the Tea Party. Can you get any bigger than this?

Reince Priebus sent out this letter to internal employees of the RNC and here it is:
SUBJECT: I stand with Ted
In a fight between Harry Reid and Ted Cruz, I will stand with Ted Cruz any day.
Today, Senator Cruz has taken the fight to defund ObamaCare to the Senate floor. I hope you will join me in standing with him in solidarity.
As Republicans, we must remain true to our principles and fight to protect the American people from this reckless law.
55% of Americans disapprove of the manner in which ObamaCare is being implemented, yet Harry Reid and Senate Democrats continue to defend it, even at the expense of keeping the government running.
Harry Reid may think ObamaCare “has been wonderful for America.” But the facts are on our side – ObamaCare is costing Americans higher taxes, fewer jobs, and less access to care.
Join me and stand with Ted today. Sign our pledge and tell Harry Reid to defund ObamaCare immediately!
- Reince Priebus
Now this internal piece of information doesn’t give total support to Cruz entire strategy, however it establishes a willing commitment embrace Cruz’s attempt to protect the American people from ObamaCare. Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator John Cornyn have already stated that they were going to support the funding of ObamaCare so it seems the GOP could be fighting within itself on this one.
Dgraphics2009 (2467 Posts)My name is Wayne Dupree or as most of you know me by, Newsninja2012. I am and have been committed to exposing the Democrats in a way that has been frowned upon by some conservatives and cheered by many more. I feel it’s our responsibility as conservatives to fight back against the liberal hate machine and meet them head on with like-minded strength and dedication.

Monday, September 23, 2013

NYT: Americans Will Have Very Limited Doctor Choices on Obamacare Exchanges. Oh? Why Didn't You Say So, Barack?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 23, 2013

The New York Times observed Sunday the Obama administration’s assertion that health insurance will cost less under Obamacare has a “catch”: insurers will severely limit the choices of physicians and hospitals available to American consumers who use the new exchanges.

Though President Obama now famously said, when campaigning for his signature health reform legislation: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” according to the NYT, that is not likely to happen if Americans want the lowest insurance rates possible:
From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.
When the Obamacare exchanges open on October 1, says the NYT, most of those shopping for health insurance will be low- to moderate-income Americans. To control costs, insurers are offering much smaller networks of health providers who will generally be paid less than what private insurance companies would reimburse them.
The situation could follow along the same lines as current Medicaid plans that are shedding health providers due to extremely low fees.
As the NYT acknowledges, “Decades of experience with Medicaid, the program for low-income people, show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialist or other providers.”
For example, Cigna will participate in the exchanges in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.
“The networks will be narrower than the networks typically offered to large groups of employees in the commercial market,” said Cigna spokesman Joseph Mondy.
The NYT quotes a recent study from the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which finds that when insurers avoid major medical centers when selecting providers it “enables health plans to offer lower premiums.”
However, “the use of narrow networks may also lead to higher out-of-pocket expenses, especially if a patient has a complex medical problem that’s being treated at a hospital that has been excluded from their health plan,” the study says.
Further, when health insurers exclude a hospital from its exchange network, the physician groups that are owned by the hospital are often also excluded.
When the issue of “pre-existing conditions” is considered—one of Obama’s top-level campaign features of Obamacare—the NYT admits that while “insurers will be forbidden to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, they could subtly discourage the enrollment of sicker patients by limiting the size of their provider networks.”
“If a health plan has a narrow network that excludes many doctors, that may shoo away patients with expensive pre-existing conditions who have established relationships with doctors,” said Mark E. Rust, the chairman of the national health care practice at Barnes & Thornburg, a law firm. “Some insurers do not want those patients who, for medical reasons, require a broad network of providers.”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why Are Mass Shootings Increasing Even While Gun Violence is Decreasing?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 22, 2013
why, are, mass, shootings, increasing, even, while, gun, violence, is, decreasing?,  
Often perpetrated by young and middle-aged men, many of whom have been diagnosed with or are suspected to have some sort of mental health issue, mass shooters have indiscriminately killed approximately 214 innocent people in America since 2007.

© AP 
The massacre in the Washington Navy Yard on Monday that resulted in the death of 13 people, including shooter Aaron Alexis, was another tragic incident in a long list of similar attacks. It has been called the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since the tragic incident Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.

And yet, despite recent high-profile cases of mass, indiscriminate murder at gunpoint, instances of gun violence have actually shown a dramatic decline. While horrific, violent mass shootings have been covered extensively by the media, broader instances of gun violence have gone down by a whopping 49% since a peak in 1993.
This is only part of the picture. In the context of the decline in gun violence, the hysteria-inducing, horrifying type that occurred on Monday appears to be on the rise. The definition of the term "mass shooting" has been contested as some use the term "rampage" or "spree" killing, while others exclude family-related incidents. A mass shooting is when a shooter has indiscriminately fired on individuals in an isolated building or public area. These have become all too common. Of the 12 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, seven have taken place since 2007, according to counts made by the Washington Post. At this rate, this decade is becoming one of the deadliest in history.

A series of infographics published in the Boston Globe illustrates just how widespread mass shootings have become in the country in recent years. Often perpetrated by young and middle-aged men, many of whom have been diagnosed with or are suspected to have some sort of mental health issue, mass shooters have indiscriminately killed approximately 214 innocent people in America since 2007.

Locations of Mass Shootings in the U.S. since 1998

(via Boston Globe)

(via Boston Globe)
Mass shootings are nothing new in America. In 1949, more than 50 years ago, shooter Howard Unruh indiscriminately killed 13 people (including three children) in the streets of Camden, N.J. in an incident known as the "Walk of Death."
Mass shootings are also not unique to the United States. Horrific, bloody killings like these have tainted modern global history. A Norwegian killer topped the list when he posed as a police man and massacred more than 80 people at a youth camp in July 2011, which is the biggest mass shooting episode in modern history to date. When the U.S. mourned the loss of 13 innocent victims in the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, mass shootings also occurred at a German school and in the British countryside.
Adding Monday's horrific episode at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard to the list indicates that these instances have been particularly bloody, and frequent, in America since 2007.

(via Mother Jones)
The hope is that recent mass shootings are isolated, tragic acts that do not portent broader trends in America. A particularly bloody few years resulting from indiscriminate gun attacks may not necessarily indicate an overall rise in such incidences. In fact, a sharp decline occurred since the bloody attack in Columbine High School that killed 12.

But the recent figures are not good. 2012 was a particularly devastating year, marked by shootings sprees in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., among others. Monday's shooting at the Navy Yard adds to a list of tragic cases that have already killed dozens this year. 2013 is poised to be yet another chart-topping year.

Frequent, bloody episodes plaguing this decade remind us that we need to better understand these horrific acts in order to ensure we do not enter a new era defined by them. The nation can (and surely will), usher in 2014 hotly debating the merits and drawbacks of possible policy responses aimed at preventing future mass shootings.

The gun control debate is not pretty as it often results in few feasible policy options. The issue deserves a thoughtful, holistic response that addresses a range of difficult questions, not only about gun policy but also about related issues like building security and mental health. While the issues are exceedingly difficult to address, in light of a particularly tragic and numerous cases of mass shootings in recent years, it is crucial to gain a better understanding of where, when, and why individuals resort to this particular type of violence.