Duke Briscoe

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Deal says his performance merits re-election

"I reject your facts." Sounds like he is sticking to the Republican platform of the last fifteen years or more.

posted @ Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 06:38

Rosenberg: Politicians aren't scientists, or engineers, or accountants

Congress would run better if there were more professionals other than lawyers in office. Scientists, engineers, and medical professionals all have backgrounds and talents that can be applied to serve the broadest public interest.

posted @ Friday, October 24, 2014 - 16:19

Ebola 'czar' knows Washington, but not medicine

Too bad Republicans have blocked approval of a new Surgeon General for a year.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 20:32

Grimes: How the economy could impact this year's election

TPP, TAFTA, TISA - these upcoming trade agreements all STINK for the American people. Obama wants Fast Track authority and the Republicans and corporate Democrats will back him to put these corporate empowerment deals through.

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2014 - 23:18

Obama names Ebola 'czar' as precautions expand

Unfortunately the Republicans did not confirm the Surgeon General. And frankly, practically anyone who is pretty smart could lead the doctors who will defeat this infectious disease which has killed less than a handful of people in the USA. Get your flu shots people! And don't drive drunk!

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2014 - 23:08

Thomas: America sadly lacking in leadership

Mass media journalism is sadly lacking too. That is part of why we get the politicians that are presented to us to choose as leaders.

posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 19:33

Athens-based Jeannette Rankin Fund earns national recognition

I wonder if this award had anything to do with increased attention after the Fund being mentioned on HBO's John Oliver show.

posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 19:15

Purcell: Criticism of Obama isn't too little, it's too late

@snarkydude: You are so out of touch with real facts that it is pretty much a waste of time to make a response. For instance, the Wall Street Journal reports on the decrease in food stamp recipients due to people getting jobs.

I do not support having people go hungry when there are not enough jobs available - more unemployed than jobs available. Rates of food stamp abuse and fraud are a very small part of the overall program. I personally would probably do a different kind of food program where people are directly given an inexpensive healthy diet rather than giving them as much cash benefits, but that is not relevant to the facts being discussed.

[quote][b]snarkydude[/b] - @Duke Briscoe: Follow the money: who were the biggest donors to the Democratic campaigns? Who got the money? I don't think you can lay the blame for the Fed policies on the Republicans.

I think the Federal Reserve policy has been necessary in the absence of Congress having a large enough program of spending on infrastructure. However, the Federal Reserve policy has been very beneficial to the banks and Wall Street people who got us into the Great Recession. Republicans are almost all acting for the Wall Street and Big Bank donors, and most of the Democrats are too. That is one reason we need campaign finance reform, along with other anti-corruption actions.

Name ONE "real improvement in the economy" except the stock market bubble fed by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve? Have wages increased? Has real unemployment decreased...and I'm not talking about the doctored figures we get which leave out many who have just stopped looking for work. Have the number of food stamp recipients increased or decreased?

The lower rates on loans produced by Federal Reserve actions have allowed many people to refinance mortgages, buy new homes, start or expand new businesses. They have been pumping money out through the banks, which makes money for the banks but also has some benefit to ordinary people. I don't think the stock market is a real bubble since the S&P Price/Earnings ratio is about 19 right now - which is a little high but corresponds to about a 5% return which is not bad in comparison to returns on other savings.

Real unemployment has decreased - you just want to think the numbers are "doctored". Maybe unemployment is different among the people you know, but nationwide it has decreased.

Middle class income hasn't increased, but the income for the wealthy is going up.

See also

Health insurance coverage? How many new signups didn't pay their premiums?

It looks like 80 to 90 percent of enrollees are paying their premiums.

[quote] How many people are faced with double-digit premium increases? How many people were kicked off their policies? My own premium went up 63%. When people DO buy coverage, even with the subsidies, they are faced with high co-pays and deductibles, so they're still virtually uninsured, except in the face of a catastrophic illness. Wait until the premium rates increase in 2015, based on the prior claims experience of having to insure so many people with pre-existing conditions. That doesn't even count the number of jobs eliminated or downgraded to part-time positions due to the overbearing requirements of the ACA,.

Not too many are having double-digit premium increases. The rate of health care increases has slowed the past few years. Not too many are being kicked off policies, which is often a choice of the insurance company anyway. The Affordable Care Act changed insurance benefits so that people are now less likely to go into bankruptcy for a serious illness - which is one reason that premiums did increase for people who had "loopholes" in their health insurance coverage and had to get new insurance that was ACA-compliant. Those people with "loopholes" in their coverage may have been paying lower premiums but other people would have ended up paying for their care in cases of catastrophic health problems.

ACA rates are not increasing so much for 2015 - there is competition between insurers so those insurers with high increases will likely lose customers. For more info, see . Note that story says that Republican states which have botched up their health insurance system are showing the biggest rate increases.

I think you need to read something more than a hippie magazine, hoss.

I read things that I judge to have a credible factual basis in statistically significant data gathering. You seem to be prone to conspiracy thinking and highly partisan arguments. Although having a 63% premium increase can make one cranky - I hope you shop around for a better deal.

It seems to be a waste of time arguing among the usual commenters on Online Athens. I'll try to restrain myself, saving the grief and effort in the future.

posted @ Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 15:29

Purcell: Criticism of Obama isn't too little, it's too late

For a fact based assessment of Obama's presidency so far, you can read

There have been real improvements in the economy and in health insurance coverage. The reason that most people are unhappy with the economy is that almost all the gains in income and wealth have gone to the very wealthiest people - that is Republican policy more than Democratic policy.

posted @ Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 12:53

Bundle up - good chance for another cool winter this year, UGA climatologist says

The Antarctic sea ice record does not necessarily rule out an overall global warming trend.

posted @ Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 01:12

Magnolia tree removal for 'Ant Man' filming in Atlanta draws objections

@OCCountry: I was also worried that they were cutting down the trees, but if you read it closely, they are "removing" the trees which "will be replanted on nearby Fraser Street." Hopefully the trees will survive their move. And then there are also new trees being planted at the cemetery.

posted @ Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 13:40

Minority buying power rises in U.S.

Are these "constant dollar" numbers - which means adjusted for inflation? Also, this is total dollars and not per person dollars, so it is ignoring the effect of population growth.

posted @ Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 20:39

Madison County school considers options for Bible verse monument

Do kids need to think that God is unhappy with them if they lose? I don't remember sports and sporting teams being mentioned much (if at all) in the Bible, Old or New Testament.

Did the donors of this monument think that their team was going to get a winning edge through Christ? Is this a variant of a "prosperity gospel"? This is not something that all Christians agree about.

posted @ Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 18:01

California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

@theold33: Your joke is so witty I think you should wear it on a T-shirt. I think you would get a lot of appreciative chuckles out in public.

posted @ Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 13:19

California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

Seems like it might be better to keep the plastic bag option but charge for them like the 10 cent fee for paper bags. I reuse plastic bags many times before they wear out (carrying them in a canvas shopping bag) and I think they are more easily reused than paper bags. I'd guess that reusing a plastic bag 6 times has less ecological impact than using a paper bag twice. Of course, this relies on people actually reusing the plastic bags and not having the bags blowing around on the streets and working their way into waterways or other places where they cause problems.

posted @ Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 13:17

Today's editorial cartoon

This cartoon is one of the best I've seen here.

posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 - 22:54

7 rescued, 32 missing as volcano erupts in Japan


Human activities emit roughly 135 times as much climate-warming carbon dioxide as volcanoes each year.

And from

Gas studies at volcanoes worldwide have helped volcanologists tally up a global volcanic CO2 budget in the same way that nations around the globe have cooperated to determine how much CO2 is released by human activity through the burning of fossil fuels. Our studies show that globally, volcanoes on land and under the sea release a total of about 200 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

This seems like a huge amount of CO2, but a visit to the U.S. Department of Energy's Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) website ( helps anyone armed with a handheld calculator and a high school chemistry text put the volcanic CO2 tally into perspective. Because while 200 million tonnes of CO2 is large, the global fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 tipped the scales at 26.8 billion tonnes. Thus, not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value.

posted @ Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 02:41

Ambrose: Further work needed on global warming issue

@AbidingDude: No, these are not the same computer models for climate prediction. There was not the same consensus for predicting a new Ice Age. Computers and climate models have advanced greatly over the last 30 years, even from year to year. Consider the improvements in daily weather forecasts as analogous, although they are not the same as the long term climate modeling.

posted @ Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 14:53

March on global warming expected to draw thousands


"The planet just had its hottest summer on record, according to data released Thursday by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. It's also well on its way to having its hottest year ever, beating 2010, said climate scientist Jake Crouch of the data center.

The global temperature for summer was 1.28 degrees above the 20th-century average of 61.5 degrees.

Records go back to 1880."

"For the year to-date, fueled in part by warmth in the oceans, 2014 is the third-warmest year on record. According to Crouch, the only land area on the planet that's been cooler than average this year has been the central and eastern U.S."

posted @ Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 16:22

Athens area hospitals generate millions of dollars for the local economy

It would have been helpful if this GHA report said something about the impact of the Affordable Care Act and also Georgia's decision not to expand Medicaid and thus turn down large amounts of federal taxes being returned to the state which would help the finances of these hospitals. Or maybe the GHA report said something and that just did not show up in this article. Probably the subject was too politically touchy for the GHA to address.

posted @ Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 03:12

Federal livestock disaster benefits open for eligible farmers

@mpd0.59: Libertarians, socialists, democrats and republicans all have to eat. There might be some rationale for having a government program of this sort. For instance, sometimes participation in these agricultural government programs requires taking some kinds of precautions to prevent damage to public resources.

But yes, certainly there are some libertarian-type people who oppose this kind of program. And sometimes they are right. Sugar and corn subsidies do not seem to be in the public interest. And I have been irritated for many years about "disaster" programs that buy boats from fishermen who have complained about fishing regulations and then go ahead and destroy the fishery in a "tragedy of the commons".

posted @ Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 20:15

With UGA out, 2 nonprofits share $3.3 million ACA navigators grant

@grove600: Not everyone who was eligible for subsidies purchased insurance last year - the penalties were not that big, but the penalties are increasing next year. Also, depending on circumstances, people who are making less money this year might become eligible for subsidies for the first time. Or if you are a young person needing to buy your own insurance for the first time. Also, people who purchased insurance this year might want to pick a different plan for next year.

People might also want to shop on the marketplace exchange even if they are not going to receive a subsidy - it is a convenient place to compare plans from several different insurance companies.

So there are a lot of reasons to spend an amount of money on customer service that is small relative to the number of customers. The amount is about $10 per enrollee.

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 03:34

Health officials concerned rare virus infecting Georgia children

I hope people will follow this advice :

CHOA advised that if your child is sick, keep him or her at home to help prevent spreading the virus.

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 03:23

HIV/AIDS still increasing in Georgia

Sounds like another situation that would benefit from accepting the federal money to expand Medicaid.

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 03:13

Congress' task: Act fast on spending, return home

Don't Congressmen spend most of their time raising campaign money these days? The big donors get the attention. The lobbyists write the legislation.

posted @ Sunday, September 7, 2014 - 16:00

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