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Medicaid expansion's tale of two states

Lorinda Fox of New Albany, Ind., hasn’t been to a doctor since her last child was born 21 years ago. Poor and uninsured, she treats her illnesses with over-the-counter remedies.

At age 58, she knows she’s taking chances with her health, especially since she recently began having heart palpitations and chest pain.

“I’ll do the same thing I always do — gut it out,” said Fox, who lives with her hearing-impaired daughter and earns about $12,000 a year working in retail. “I don’t know what else I can do.”

If Fox lived in Kentucky, she would qualify for expanded Medicaid next year under the Affordable Care Act. But she lives in a state where she makes too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid, and politicians have chosen not to expand Medicaid as Obamacare intended, contending that Indiana taxpayers can’t afford it.



effing supreme court.

Win at all costs: The political industrial complex wrings profits from democracy

The Kansas City Star

On July 14, a Sunday, Jeff Roe picked up the phone.

The high-profile political consultant had worked quietly with Kansas City’s business elite for weeks on a nervy plan to pay for breakthrough medical research.

One not-so-small hurdle stood in the way. The corner office guys needed to persuade Jackson County’s voters, in just 90 days, to support a half-cent sales tax hike for something called translational medicine.

It was doable, Roe told them. An early poll suggested support for the concept, but he’d need $1 million for a successful campaign. They didn’t blink.

So he started calling other consultants. Video makers and media buyers. A pollster. Public relations specialists. Graphic artists and direct mail wizards.

The political industrial complex rumbled to life.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/11/30/4660912/win-at-all-costs-the-political.html

Breathtaking images capture river of fog filling the Grand Canyon

Friday morning, the gorges of the Grand Canyon were filled with fog in a rare temperature inversion
A temperature inversion happens when hot air high up acts as a seal to keep cold air pollution and fog trapped below
While inversions happen once or twice a year at the Grand Canyon, a full inversion is more unusual, happening closer to every 10 years

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2516098/Photos-breathtaking-river-fog-Grand-Canyon-ONCE-IN-A-DECADE-weather-phenomenon.html

Reverse-Engineering a Genius (Has a Vermeer Mystery Been Solved?)

By Kurt Andersen

In the history of art, Johannes Vermeer is almost as mysterious and unfathomable as Shakespeare in literature, like a character in a novel. Accepted into his local Dutch painters’ guild in 1653, at age 21, with no recorded training as an apprentice, he promptly begins painting masterful, singular, uncannily realistic pictures of light-filled rooms and ethereal young women. After his death, at 43, he and his minuscule oeuvre slip into obscurity for two centuries. Then, just as photography is making highly realistic painting seem pointless, the photorealistic “Sphinx of Delft” is rediscovered and his pictures are suddenly deemed valuable. By the time of the first big American show of Vermeer paintings—at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1909—their value has increased another hundred times, by the 1920s ten times that.

Despite occasional speculation over the years that an optical device somehow enabled Vermeer to paint his pictures, the art-history establishment has remained adamant in its romantic conviction: maybe he was inspired somehow by lens-projected images, but his only exceptional tool for making art was his astounding eye, his otherworldly genius.

At the beginning of this century, however, two experts of high standing begged to differ. Why, for instance, did Vermeer paint things in the foreground and shiny highlights on objects slightly out of focus? Because, they say, he was looking at them through a lens. By itself, Vermeer’s Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces, by a London architecture professor named Philip Steadman, might have stirred a minor academic fuss. But a mainstream controversy was provoked—conferences, headlines, outrage, name-calling—because a second, more sweeping and provocative argument was made by one of the most famous living painters, David Hockney. Hockney argued in Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of Old Masters, that not only Vermeer but many great painters from the 15th century on must have secretly used lens-and-mirror contraptions to achieve their photorealistic effects.

Leading art historians were unpersuaded. Hockney, people said, was just jealous because he lacks the old masters’ skills. “I don’t oppose the notion that Vermeer in some way responded to the camera obscura,” said Walter Liedtke, then as now the Met’s curator of European paintings (including its five Vermeers), “but I do oppose drastic devaluations of the role of art.”



Afghans describe relatives' deaths in recent U.S. drone strike

By David Zucchino
December 1, 2013, 8:00 a.m.

JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Miya Jan was filling potholes on the rutted trail that leads to his village in rugged eastern Afghanistan when he heard the whine of a drone aircraft overhead.

The sunburned 28-year-old farmer looked up and saw a gray, narrow-winged drone circling the village. A few minutes later, he said, it fired a missile that landed with a tremendous thud across a stony ridge line.

Jan ran to the explosion site and recognized the burning frame of his cousin's blue pickup truck. Inside, he said, he saw blackened shapes — people whose torsos had been sheared off. He recognized the smoking remains of his brother, his brother's wife and their 18-month-old son. Jan and other villagers say 14 people were killed in the attack; U.S. and Afghan officials place the toll at 11.

"There were pieces of my family all over the road," said Jan, recalling the deadly Sept. 7 late afternoon incident in an interview last week. "I picked up those pieces from the road and from the truck and wrapped them in a sheet to bury them.

"Do the American people want to spend their money this way, on drones that kill our women and children?" he asked.


An Incredible Note-Passing War Broke Out On A Thanksgiving Day Flight And Things Escalated Quickly

ABC's "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" producer Elan Gale was on a flight yesterday live-tweeting his feud with a fellow passenger.

According to Gale's tweets, which were picked up by Buzzfeed's Rachel Zarrell, a female passenger was complaining that she might not make it home for Thanksgiving dinner.

She seemed to be oblivious to others on the flight, who also needed to get home to their families for Thanksgiving.

The battle began before the flight boarded. Gale tweeted about the woman at 11:05 a.m.

much more


Britain targets Guardian newspaper over intelligence leaks related to Edward Snowden

By Anthony Faiola,

ONDON — Living in self-imposed exile in Russia, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden may be safely out of reach from Western powers. But dismayed by the continued airing of trans­atlantic intelligence, British authorities are taking full aim at a messenger shedding light on his secret files here — the small but mighty Guardian newspaper.

The pressures coming to bear against the Guardian, observers say, are testing the limits of press freedoms in one of the world’s most open societies. Although Britain is famously home to a fierce pack of news media outlets — including the tabloid hounds of old Fleet Street — it also has no enshrined constitutional right to free speech.

The Guardian, in fact, has slipped into the single largest crack in the free speech laws that are on the books here — the dissemination of state secrets protecting queen and country in the British homeland.

A feisty, London-based news outlet with a print circulation just shy of 200,000 — albeit with a far bigger footprint online with users in the many millions — the Guardian along with The Washington Post was the first to publish reports based on classified data spirited out of the United States by Snowden. In the months since, the Guardian has continued to make officials here exceedingly nervous by exposing the joint operations of U.S. and British intelligence — particularly their cooperation in data collection and snooping programs involving British citizens and close allies on the European continent.



Lucid Stead: A Transparent Cabin Built of Wood and Mirrors

Part architectural intervention and part optical illusion, Lucid Stead is a recently unveiled installation by artist Phillip K Smith III in Joshua Tree, California. The artist modified an existing 70-year-old homesteader shack by introducing mirrors to create the illusion of transparency, as the structure now takes on the lighting characteristics of anything around it. LED lighting and other custom electronic components were further installed within the building’s interior to illuminate from the interior at night. Smith says of the installation, “Lucid Stead is about tapping into the quiet and the pace of change of the desert. When you slow down and align yourself with the desert, the project begins to unfold before you. It reveals that it is about light and shadow, reflected light, projected light, and change.”



CEOs want you -- to fix the debt

By Scott Klinger
December 1, 2013

Many of the nation's top CEOs have joined forces to "fix the debt." They want to achieve this goal, in part, by reducing Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age to 70.

One of the chief executive officers, David Cote, runs Honeywell. "As an American, I couldn't know about this problem and not try to do something about it," Cote told Wall Street Journal TV. Cote has $134 million in his Honeywell retirement account, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and he has worked there only 11 years. That amount could provide him a monthly retirement check of $795,134 once he turns 65. The Social Security retirees whose checks he wants to reduce receive, on average, $1,237 a month.

Cote is not alone among those with lavish private retirement benefits to be calling for major cuts in Social Security. He is one of 200 large-company CEOs who belong to the Business Roundtable, a powerful lobbying club that represents the interests of America's corporate leaders. Roundtable is a leading voice calling for replacing the current formula used to calculate Social Security cost-of-living increases with a less generous one. The change it suggests would steadily chip away at retiree benefits each year until, after 20 years, Social Security checks would be about $100 less than if the current formula was retained.

The Business Roundtable also advocates raising the retirement age to receive full Social Security benefits to 70, which would give the U.S. the dubious distinction of requiring workers to wait longer than any other developed nation to receive their public pensions.

Like Cote, many of the CEOs on the Business Roundtable have corporate retirement benefits that ordinary Americans would find unimaginable: an average of $14.5 million, enough to garner monthly retirement checks of $86,043, according to a new report, "Platinum-Plated Pensions," published by the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies.



Televangelist Paul Crouch, founder of TBN, dies at 79

Source: LA Times

By Elaine Woo

Paul Crouch, a pioneering televangelist who founded Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest Christian TV network, died today, according to the network's website. He was 79.

The church reported in October that Crouch had fallen ill and was taken to a Dallas-area hospital while on a visit to a TBN facility in Colleyville, Texas. He had "heart and related health issues," the church said, and he was later returned to California for continued treatment.

The son of a Missouri missionary, Crouch moved to California in the early 1960s to manage the movie and television unit of the Assemblies of God. A decade later, after receiving what he believed was a message from God, he began to buy television stations, cable channels and satellites and developed enough Christian programming to sustain a 24-hour network.

By the mid-1980s, Orange County-based TBN was “the country’s most-watched religious network,” according to J. Gordon Melton and Jon R. Stone in their book “Prime-Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting.”

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-televangelist-paul-crouch-who-founded-the-world-famous-trinity-broadcasting-network-dies-at-79-20131130,0,5660860.story
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