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Duke Briscoe

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What Others Say: America is better than terrorists (The Augusta Chronicle)

Republicans, the party of life - endorsing torture, denial of healthcare to poor people, no regulation of corporations that kill people through toxic products or unsafe workplaces, the extermination of a large part of our planet's life by carbon dioxide increase resulting in global warming, droughts, social upheaval, and ocean acidification; Wall Street casinos unleashed; corporations profiting by imprisoning so many people; a legal and tax system that favors the largest corporations. Etc. etc. etc.

posted @ Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 01:24

Wide range of options under consideration for transportation funding in Georgia

Isn't a gas tax clearly the main mechanism for funding road development, perhaps with a few other less important sources thrown in? Other tax sources do not make economic sense - they avoid taking advantage of the "invisible hand" of the free market to direct development of transportation options - i.e. if Walmart can get its stuff moved by rail why should its customers be paying extra sales tax for more highway lanes.

posted @ Sunday, December 14, 2014 - 13:36

What Others Say: Health care reform is working (San Jose Mercury News)

First, note that spending on health insurance premiums is different than total spending on health care. Your premiums might go up a good bit while total spending on health care might not go up so much.

Second, note that looking at the national totals of both premiums and total costs is different than looking at a few individuals in particular markets.

I wonder if Georgia premiums are going up because the Georgia Republicans have decided not to take the hundreds of millions of federal dollars available for Medicaid expansion and subsidies for poor people's insurance premiums (which also were meant to replace funds previously made available to compensate providers for unpaid bills by the poor). It seems like that would require the premiums to go up unless the hospitals are going to just start hiring bouncers to throw the poor back out of the ER to the street.

posted @ Saturday, December 13, 2014 - 14:20

Large: Protests around America are saying things that need to be heard

You can see the full version of this column at http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025159536_jdlcolumn04xml.html

It was pretty obvious that there was something missing since the academic paper was described, but nothing said about its conclusions.

posted @ Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 18:33

Schram: Focus on health care hurt Democrats

Compare this column to http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/opinion/paul-krugman-democrats-against...

Schumer seems to be a Wall Street toady.

posted @ Saturday, December 6, 2014 - 05:37

Street Interviews: What people in Athens say about Ferguson grand jury decision

We don't know how the grand jury sentiment added up, but it would only take 4 jurors to block an indictment. Or to put it another way, 9 out of 12 jurors would be needed to approve an indictment.

posted @ Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 20:00

Brown family blasts prosecutor's handling of case

@yeti: You are right about the easy way out. But it only took 4 of the 12 grand jurors to block an indictment of the officer. At the moment, we don't know the balance of feeling among the jurors.

Maybe there are not criminal charges justified against Officer Wilson, but maybe there is a civil damages case under a lesser standard of proof. I think Officer Wilson could have avoided escalating the situation where he kills a person. I think the public would be better off if he never carries a gun again and is not a police officer.

We need to have multiple cameras, body and vehicle, on all police officers.

posted @ Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 19:54

What to expect in 2nd year of ACA enrollment

@Ross: So is "paid for by others" conservative code for "no money, no care"?

You should realize that the ACA is pretty much the same as Romney's health care plan that was instituted in Massachusetts, and had some conservative support as a way of having private insurance companies stay in the picture for covering poorer people. As for your claim of "paid for by others", the ACA does expect poorer people to pay about 10% of their income for their insurance, and then the tax subsidies pay the balance of the actual cost to the private insurance companies. The ACA is fundamentally a conservative plan which forces people to take a reasonable amount of personal responsibility for paying for their own health care - rather than going to Emergency Rooms and not being able to pay , and also getting treatment too late when they are either going to die or be much more expensive to treat.

Also, the subsidies have replaced funding which in the past has been made to hospitals to pay for the uncollectable bills. That is one reason that hospitals in states such as Georgia which have not expanded Medicaid are in financial trouble. The hospitals no longer get compensation to help them cover uncollectable bills, but the foolish Republican legislators have turned down the Medicaid expansion funds that would have replaced the earlier form of funding. Plus all the federal taxes are still being paid by Georgians, but Georgia is not getting the funds back to support the hospitals.

posted @ Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 17:58

Farmer: Climate change is all-too-real phenomenon

400 parts per million is 0.04%, not 0.4% as stated in this article. Other than that, I think this opinion piece does a good job of explaining the facts as understood by experts.

posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 - 04:35

Georgia's jobless rate declines to 7.7 percent

@snarkydude: Georgia still has nearly the worst unemployment rate in the country.

This following map and data are from July, but I don't think Georgia's relative position has changed much.

http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/state-unemployment-rates/

Georgia was the worst in the country for September, worse than Mississippi, according to http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

posted @ Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 19:44

Basu: Internet should be treated as a public utility

Most news articles don't point out that "net neutrality" is mostly the policy that the internet has had up until now. Some of the big ISPs (Comcast, Verizon, and a few others) want to be able to squeeze more money out of their existing wires, and delay any expenses for upgrading their network capacity. These corporations are just getting too big, particularly when they are mixing control of content with control of bandwidth - such as Comcast's ownership of NBC and other networks. The power of a competitive free market to benefit consumers is counteracted by these large corporations which have enough monopolistic and monetary power to control the rules of the game (the politicians and regulatory commissions). It gets even more sick when you think about the handful of companies that control most of the media and news information in the US and around the world.

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 21:39

Georgia temperatures drop into teens for 2nd straight day

Local cooling is not proof against global warming.

from http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2014/11/17/october-tied-warmest...

It seems that 2014 is still very much on track to be the warmest year on record. On Friday, NASA released data showing that this past October tied with 2005 as the warmest in a record stretching back to 1880. This follows record breaking warmth in September and August.

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 16:56

Economic forecast calls for 1.3% job growth in Athens area

Taking the Medicaid expansion money would bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the state, which would help health care employment. The federal taxes have been paid but Georgia's Republicans are just refusing to take the federal money back, preferring to let poor people have no or lousy health care, and let many marginal hospitals fall into bankruptcy.

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 16:38

Snowstorm strands 150 vehicles on New York thruway

@melquiades: I saw this same story in detail elsewhere. The temperature was below freezing on Mauna Kea, which is at an elevation about 13000 feet. I don't know if that freezing temperature was the high for the day on Mauna Kea. Wikipedia says the average high at the Mauna Kea summit in November is 45 degrees.

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 16:17

Supporters of oil pipeline scramble for last vote

The Nebraska Supreme Court would still have to rule on the pipeline route even if this federal bill got signed by the President. Plus there are other factors for the Keystone XL pipeline to be constructed.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2014/11/141118-whats-next-for-...

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 02:55

What Others Say: FBI undermines core principle of free press (The Seattle Times)

Spies under cover as health care workers is another poor idea. That suspicion is sabotaging some very important vaccination programs.

posted @ Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 01:49

Scientists study stormwater, deadly to salmon

@TeeWee: The article says More than a decade ago, researchers began noticing adult coho dying before spawning in urban creeks in Seattle. Monitoring over eight years, they observed fish consistently dying and at high rates Longfellow Creek and other urban creeks compared to a stream that wasn't in an urban area.

The fish are actually dying. It is the usual case that urban stormwater is being piped directly into streams without any kind of settling and filtration. This article is talking about doing the kind of filtration which you are arguing for, yet you criticize the article. The filtration has not been done in the past - and the proposition is to start doing it in the future.

posted @ Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 01:39

Huge solar plant lags in early production

@TeeWee: This kind of thermal solar power (in contrast to photoelectric solar cell panels) does have the problems you mention. These effects do need to be studied, and they are being studied by the energy regulators, such as the California Energy Commission (e.g. http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewire/commentary/dispute-over-ivanpah... ). Cats and buildings are much bigger threats to birds, and I think we have to do what we can to reduce the bird threats from cats and buildings. Keep your cats indoors, and change building lighting at night (particularly during migration season). The Audubon society says about North American birds (at http://birds.audubon.org/state-birds ) :

Since 1967 the average population for the common birds in steepest decline has fallen 68 percent, from 17.6 million to 5.35 million. Some species have nose-dived as much as 80 percent, and all 20 birds included in the Common Birds in Decline report have lost at least 50 percent of their population - in just four decades.

TeeWee, do you have a large personal financial interest in fossil fuels? I'm wondering if that might slant your feelings about non-fossil energy sources and the CO2 issues. I have about 5% of my retirement funds in fossil fuel industry stocks (via mutual funds), but I'm hoping those companies will gradually switch over to the non-fossil energy sources. Plus the fossil deposits have a lot of value as chemical feed stocks, which is not a big producer of CO2.

posted @ Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 01:27

Results from comet lander's experiments expected

@OconeeJoe: The Earth's surface area is about 71% covered by water, but the air and oceans are just a thin film on the rock that is about four thousand miles thick to the center of the Earth. When the planets were being formed, there were lots and lots of comets compared to how many are left today. A very rough estimate is that there are a trillion comet-like bodies still orbiting our Sun at thousands of times the Earth-Sun distance. They are much farther than Pluto, which is only about 3 billion miles away. The comet-like material which was closer to the Sun either became part of the planets or was gravitationally whipped out of the inner solar system by close encounters with the growing planets.

Next July, the first probe to Pluto will be finally reaching its destination. It was launched January 19, 2006, and will be passing Pluto at more than 30 thousand miles an hour, which is too fast to make it practical to stop and orbit Pluto. But it will take pictures and use other science instruments as it flies by Pluto.

posted @ Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 00:56

Atlanta reality TV star involved in dispute at Athens hotel

Sounds like an episode of Family Feudal.

posted @ Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 00:05

Today's editorial cartoon

"With records dating back to 1880, the global temperature across the world's land and ocean surfaces for September 2014 was 0.72°C (1.30°F) higher than the 20th century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F), marking the warmest September in the 135-year period of record."

"For the ocean, the September global sea surface temperature was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average of 16.2°C (61.1°F), the highest on record for September and also the highest on record for any month."

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

posted @ Friday, November 14, 2014 - 20:24

Busy 2015 Senate agenda ahead for Isakson, Perdue

A pair of liars. The party of Death.

posted @ Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 01:06

A new Supreme Court challenge for 'Obamacare'

@TeeWee: I don't think any of the people who wrote and voted for the law intended this interpretation. And it has taken several years for this attempt at interpretation (or misinterpretation) to surface. Hopefully the Supreme Court will be reasonable about this - I think there will be a strong case to support the obvious intent of the Democratic lawmakers.

The governors who have been complaining about the cost of the ACA have been complaining about the Federal share of Medicaid expansion expenses dropping from 100% to 90% after a few years - or something close to that.

posted @ Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 15:57

Athens man benefits from new lung cancer drug, runs in Free to Breathe 5K to help others

I had just read this related article :

When analyzing the combined 2012 cancer research dollars granted by federal organizations, for every woman that dies of breast cancer, more than $26,000 in federal research funding is devoted to breast cancer research. But for every woman that dies of lung cancer, just over $1,000 federal dollars are invested. The difference is staggering.

http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/2014/11/06/lung-cancer-lecia-sequist

posted @ Friday, November 7, 2014 - 03:40

Poll: GOP ahead, but runoffs are likely

Instant runoff voting is a much-needed change. Why drag this out any further?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting

posted @ Monday, November 3, 2014 - 18:29

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