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Duke Briscoe

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Dupuy: How not to talk about wealth inequality

@Greg Benson: No, she used the word plutocracy correctly. I just think it is a reasonable word to know and use. Dupuy has a bit of a valid point, but writers can just give an initial definition of the words to make them clear to all readers.

posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 08:01

Washington gridlock stalling economy, former Treasury head Rubin says in Athens

If Rubin is recommending "a combination of stimulus and long-term fiscal discipline", then it sounds like he is giving us good advice. But his role in deregulation damns him. He has made a pile of money at the age of 75. Maybe he is seeking forgiveness.

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 22:32

Dupuy: How not to talk about wealth inequality

plutocracy = government by the wealthy. Learn some vocabulary.

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 22:26

Man dies after being shot by US marshal at federal courthouse

If I were in that room, I'd wish the officers would try a Taser first rather than having 6 bullets flying around. They should reconsider having inconspicuous ankle restraints too.

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 15:48

Fifteen UGA students honored as Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars

Looks like there are 11 women students and 3 male students. This might be a sign that men aren't doing so well lately at being "academically outstanding".

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 15:29

To protect the environment, start small

The Lowe's employee Ohrt is wrong about "“If you turn it off and then crank it up when you get back home in the evening, it’s using more energy to try and catch-up and bring the temperature back down.” Turning it off is going to use no energy. The only issue is going to be how long it takes to get comfortable when you turn it back on; if you have a timer thermostat it can turn the cooling on in time for it to be comfortable when you get home.

Also, it is interesting that having an oversized air conditioner can be a big inefficiency. From http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-air-conditioners
"The reason: an oversized unit will cool the rooms to the thermostat set-point before proper dehumidification occurs, making the area feel clammy and uncomfortable."

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 15:18

Transit contract would end free rides on UGA's Prince Avenue route

What about eliminating the UGA bus system and replacing it with an expanded Athens Transit system. Having the two systems seems less efficient, although you have to be sure that a single system can be well run.

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 14:57

Grimes: Ukraine isn't worth life of single U.S. soldier

Grimes says "According to the World Almanac, Russia spends half of what the United States spends on military operations, and less than Japan and India." But that does not sound right according to everything I've seen in recent years about global military spending. I looked at several online sources about global military spending, including http://armscontrolcenter.org/issues/securityspending/articles/2012_topli...
and http://pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0053_defense-comparison

The other sources generally agreed that the US spends about 10 times as much as Russia on the military. 645 billion per year compared to Russia's 60 billion dollars. Japan also spends 60 billion, India 39 billion, and China 100 billion. The US spends almost half of the world's military budget, and a large part of the rest is our allies.

From the World Almanac website itself, I found this decade old info that "U.S. defense spending of $465 billion in 2004 was more than 3 times the combined estimate of spending by Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Syria."

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 14:36

Georgia health exchange applications hit 220,000

@Athens Trojan: One good thing about the ACA is that it requires insurance companies to pay out at least 80% (or in some cases more) of their premiums to the medical providers. So it is requiring some level of efficiency by the insurers, and you will get a refund from the insurance company if they are overcharging their premiums. Also, your earlier insurance might not have covered things as well as you thought, as with limits on maximum coverage.

posted @ Friday, April 18, 2014 - 16:17

Thomas: Call to audit federal government should be GOP issue

The Defense Dept. has a much larger problem with unaudited spending. These problems have existed for a long time, and I don't see that they are more of an issue for the GOP than the Democrats. There are members and voters of both parties that are interested in knowing where the money is going and what it is paying for. The lack of limits on campaign contributions might make it harder to find representatives to stand up for the audits though.

posted @ Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 01:56

Key part of Georgia hospital provider fee still unresolved

Seems like the governor's decision not to take the ACA federal funding to expand Medicaid must be related to this. Hard to see how it did not get mentioned.

posted @ Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 13:48

Atlanta archbishop apologizes for posh residence

Here was an interesting story broadcast today about money and religion : http://www.npr.org/2014/04/01/282496855/can-a-television-network-be-a-ch...

posted @ Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 18:35

Flood insurance changes aren't through, Chambliss warns

Nice to see a quote of the Union of Concerned Scientists. We need to phase out these subsidies and discourage new building in the vulnerable flood areas.

posted @ Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 18:18

Rural residents confront higher health care costs

It sounds like the free market is behind this variation of costs between localities. The pain is coming from the sudden "redistricting" of rate-setting areas. One would hope that the free market would help even this out over time, but maybe not since the high price might be partly due to monopolistic behavior of the few providers in these rural areas - raking in extra profits rather than the high price being the result of something like higher transportation costs.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 23:06

UGA student finds human feces in dresser drawer

It should be easy to get some DNA results from the evidence.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 22:44

Georgia district lines mean strong GOP advantage

Partisan redistricting is not working out for the country, driving the election of more extreme candidates. Districts should look more like a square than a bizarre squiggle.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 22:41

Junkman's Daughter's Brother to close, owner says

The Christmas pop-up store concept is a good idea.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 22:27

Companies in Georgia receive incentives, fail to deliver jobs

@Lets Get It Together: Any evidence for that figure of 200 "million"? I could not find anything about it via Googling. Maybe it was something more like 200 "thousand" as part of retention bonuses, which I did see quite a bit of news about.

posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 14:42

Towery: The seedy truth about politics, politicians and pundits

@dahreese: I have heard that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp, the parent company of Fox News. And every news anchor you see is getting paid more than a million a year. Only a few huge corporations own the major media (Comast-NBC, Disney-ABC-ESPN, Viacom-MTV-BET-Paramount, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, CBS-Showtime-NFL). Management frowns on liberal media, along with the multi-millionaire media stars.

posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 02:45

Studies find new drugs greatly lower cholesterol

How does this affect "Game of Thrones"?

posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 02:30

Woman gets life prison sentence in carjacking

I sometimes wonder if having to get old in prison and die there is a worse punishment than an execution. Neither are attractive fates.

@hang em high: Nationally the violent crime rates have dropped a lot over the last 20 years. Some interesting studies have argued that it is related to lower lead exposure, due to unleaded gas and ban of lead paint.

Here is some interesting stuff from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/07/gun-crime-drops-but...

According to the survey, done in March, 56% of Americans believe gun crime is worse today than it was 20 years ago. And 84% believe in recent years, gun crime has either gone up or stayed the same — when the reality is that it has dropped significantly.

The rate of non-fatal violent gun crime victimization dropped 75% in the past 20 years; The gun homicide rate dropped 49% in the same period, according to numbers Pew researchers obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey found that women and the elderly were less likely to be victims of crime, but were more likely to believe gun crime had increased in recent years. Men, who were more likely to be victims, were more likely to know that the gun crime rate had dropped.

Starting in 1993, homicides and robberies began to drop. Blumstein said that was in part due to the decline of the crack cocaine trade, which from 1985 to 1993 fueled a 25% increase in those crimes.

Violent crime rates remained relatively flat through much of the 2000s, but then dropped by about 8% in 2009 and again in 2010, Blumstein said.

Hemenway said researchers can't point to a singular reason why gun crime has dropped so significantly. The report points to the aging population, high incarceration rates and a drop in crime internationally since the mid-1990s as contributing reasons.

"I think the big reason gun crime has gone down is because crime has been down," Hemenway said. "There's no huge thing — there's been no major changes in gun policy,"

posted @ Friday, March 28, 2014 - 19:13

What Others Say: Obama not delivering on transparency promise (The Augusta Chronicle)

"Matters of national security? At the Farm Service Agency?"

No details in this editorial, but various agricultural agencies do have some secret information related to weak points for bioterrorist attacks on our food supply.

posted @ Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 22:53

Grimes: Obama should take a mulligan on health care

Health insurance has always been too complicated for most Americans to understand - doesn't everyone with insurance have a hard time reading through that small book describing your policy? And then the insurance companies are always ready to slow down or refuse payments - although I think the ACA is expanding consumer protections. I hope that over the next few months we will get news stories showing the benefits of expanded and improved health insurance coverage.

posted @ Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 15:33

Millions on the sidelines for big health care push

[quote][b]Yellow Dog[/b] -
Medicare is paid for by each individual out of every paycheck they earn. Plus, a payment to medicare is deducted from social security benefits.
[/quote]

I'll note that before you edited your note, its one word content was "Yes", which is fine if that is your opinion, and was a common view of the many opponents when Medicare was started. Ronald Reagan spoke out against Medicare when it was being created in the 1960s.

Medicare is much more of a government program than the Affordable Care Act, since in Medicare the federal government directly does much of the insurance with some private companies providing so-called "supplemental" Medicare insurance for such things as prescription coverage. The Affordable Care Act establishes a marketplace where private insurance companies compete for customers and some customers may qualify for federal government subsidies.

Also, different people pay different amounts for their Medicare coverage since the Medicare tax is a fixed percentage of paychecks, but the rich and the poor get the same Medicare benefit.

posted @ Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 13:20

Millions on the sidelines for big health care push

[quote][b]Yellow Dog[/b] - No, that is NOT my position, and your arrogance is noted. My position is that it is NOT within the Constitutional purview of the federal government to sell insurance, and force people to purchase it, and charging the taxpayer for the short fall.[/quote]

The Supreme Court came to a different opinion, but yes you can certainly have your own opinion.

So are you saying you think it is unconstitutional for local state and federal government to pay hospitals to cover their uncollected bills, as has been the past practice for many years?

Is it supposed to be charities that cover the full cost of the unpaid bills? - which would imply that if charity is inadequate then the hospital will go bankrupt or else just start sending a lot more people home untreated.

Also, is your political position to abolish the socialist Medicare program?

posted @ Monday, March 24, 2014 - 14:14

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