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9.30.2014 9:00 PM

The Official C2 Late Night Chill Thread

Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Chilly there. H/T Fenway Nation

 

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9.30.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Daily Grind

 

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9.29.2014 9:00 PM

The Official C2 Late Night Chill Thread

Transylvania - H/T Pi Guy

 

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9.29.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Monday Morning News

 

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9.28.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Above the Fold

 

NY TIMES: For Many New Medicaid Enrollees, Care Is Hard to Find, Report Says

WASHINGTON — Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report.

The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor.

The inspector general, Daniel R. Levinson, said federal and state officials must do more to protect beneficiaries’ access to care, in view of the program’s rapid growth. Just since October, the administration says, eight million people with low incomes have enrolled. By 2016, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, one in four Americans will be on Medicaid at some time during the year.

Twenty-seven states have expanded Medicaid eligibility since the passage of the health care law in 2010, and President Obama is urging other states to do so.

Most states hire insurance companies to manage care for Medicaid patients. In return for monthly fees, the insurers provide comprehensive services through networks of selected doctors and hospitals. Federal rules say managed-care organizations must “provide adequate access to all services covered,” but states can define what “adequate” means.

Some states set time and distance standards for access to doctors. Other states specify the maximum number of days that a Medicaid patient should have to wait for an appointment. Still others require a minimum number of doctors and other providers, based on the number of people in a health plan.

In some places, insurers must have at least one primary care provider for every 100 Medicaid beneficiaries, while other states require at least one for every 2,500. Some states say Medicaid patients should be able to see specialists within 15 days, while others allow waits up to 60 days.


Bombing jihadis is futile, says top British general

A FORMER head of the UK military warned this weekend that Isis, also known as Islamic State, will never be defeated by air attacks alone and western governments are wrong to rule out deploying their own ground troops.

General Lord Richards, who stepped down as chief of the defence staff last year, said a conventional military campaign on the scale of the attacks which toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 is needed to crush the Islamist extremist group.

Cricitising the US-led coalition’s reliance on airstrikes, he said: “Ultimately you need a land army to achieve the objectives we’ve set ourselves — all air will do is destroy elements of Isis, it won’t achieve our strategic goal

The only way to defeat ISIS is to take back land they are occupying which means a conventional military operation.


The Financial Crisis: Why the Conventional Wisdom Has It All Wrong

Like many of you, I am appalled at the political environment and gridlock that continues to exist in this town. I simply cannot understand nor do I accept why our elected officials continue to concentrate on party politics and the next election above doing what’s right for America, especially as we endure the past five years of economic stagnation and high unemployment. Nothing is more debilitating and unfair than a head of household willing to work but who cannot find a job. Why hasn’t job creation been the number-one focus of our government during this economic crisis?

Don’t believe for a moment those economic theorists who tell us the reason for our slow growth, economic malaise, and continued high unemployment is due to the uniqueness of a financially led economic recession. Rather, it is due to the failure of the leaders in this town to adopt those monetary, regulatory, and fiscal policies that have successfully worked in the past while, alternatively, focusing on a political agenda that did not put economic growth and jobs at the top of the list. In my opinion, the early 1980s’ economic recession—with its exceptionally high 10 percent inflation, 20 percent interest rates, and 12 percent unemployment— was far more difficult to correct and resolve. Yet our economy bounced back in 18 months with GDP growth of over 7.5 percent the next year. In the 1980 recovery, GDP growth averaged 4.9 percent, and for all recoveries since the Second World War, the average was 4.1 percent. The current recovery has been a paltry 2.2 percent.

With the appropriate monetary, regulatory, and fiscal policies our economy should be growing at 3 percent or even higher, which is what is needed to bring employment, our budget deficits, and the labor participation rate to acceptable levels. One of the many reasons our economy is growing at historically low rates is the extraordinary and unprecedented increase in regulations facing job creators—the most by any administration ever. For example, small businesses have always been the major source of new jobs in our country as compared to large companies. Not this time, however. Why? According to small business polls over the past five years, the job malaise is due to excessive regulation, higher taxes, and increased health care and other costs—the exact opposite of job creation policies that have worked well in the past.


Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellows Rick Hanushek and Paul Peterson


 

 

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9.27.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Saturday A.M. Bulldog Edition

 

Family says captive conditions improve for ex-Marine held in Iran

NEW YORK – The family of a former Marine imprisoned in Iran since his arrest three years ago on spying charges said his conditions have improved and he is now allowed to call home several times a week.

The sister and brother-in-law of Amir Hekmati acknowledge that's a big step forward for a man who spent his first 16 months held in solitary confinement in Iran's notorious Evin prison, north of the capital, Tehran. But Hekmati's relatives are unwavering in their goal to obtain his release.

"The important thing here is that he needs to come home. And our push is one of urgency," Hekmati's brother-in-law, Ramy Kurdi, told The Associated Press in an interview. Hekmati's father is dying of cancer, and "every day matters. Every day is an injustice," Kurdi said.

Hekmati, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona and raised in Michigan, was arrested in August 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying. Hekmati appealed, and Iran's Supreme Court annulled the death sentence and ordered a retrial in 2012. The country's Revolutionary Court then overturned his conviction for espionage, instead charging him with "cooperating with hostile governments" and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

The U.S. government repeatedly has denied that Hekmati is a spy. His family, which lives in Flint, Michigan, says he is innocent and only went to Iran to visit his grandmothers.


Islamic State Disaster Lets Iran Blackmail The U.S.

War On Terror: Who would ever have imagined the United States needing the terrorist state of Iran to help fight terrorism? The Obama administration may actually cave in on Tehran's nukes to get such dubious help.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran's ever-smiling "moderate" president, recognizes the opportunity that growing U.S. weakness presents. He used his United Nations speech last week to blackmail America as the Islamic State disaster continues in Iraq and Syria.

He showed just how gargantuan a mistake it was for President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to embark on nuclear negotiations with Iran last year.

Rouhani used the stalled talks, with their looming Nov. 24 deadline, to offer "cooperation" on "combating violence and extremism," but insisted that Iran "cannot place trust in any security cooperation ... with those who have imposed sanctions."

The Obama administration actually appears to be biting. Diplomats tell Fox News that the administration may make an offer that lets Iran keep 4,500 centrifuges with reduced uranium, hoping it would take more than a year to produce enough material for a nuclear bomb.

Considering how deceptive Tehran has been about its nuclear program — despite U.N. inspections — how can any trust be placed in such a deal? A new secret site revealed by Iranian dissidents last year, for instance, is in a complex of 1,800 feet of tunnels near the town of Mobarakeh, about 300 miles south of Tehran.

And there are certainly additional secret nuclear sites as yet unknown.


US Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risks

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Protecting the infrastructure of American cities from the effects of climate change is rising on the agenda of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a top agency official.

"Increasingly, we've moved not only from a security focus to a resiliency focus," said Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at Homeland Security, an agency better known for its fight to curb terrorist threats.

Durkovich spoke Thursday on a panel at the Rising Seas Summit, a three-day conference organized by the U.S.-based Association of Climate Change Officers to discuss tools and ideas on building resiliency, particularly against rising sea levels.

In the aftermath of 2012's Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large swathes of the Northeastern U.S and caused over $60 billion in damages, Durkovich said her department reviewed the task of rebuilding with a new focus on "how to think about baking in resilience from the get-go."

To that end, she said, she has assembled a team of specialists, including city planners, in conjunction with the National Academy of Science to develop better tools for planning.


AFTERBURNER: And Now Some Good News...


 

 

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9.26.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Daily Grind

 

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