Daily Archives: December 14, 2013

All we think about is sex

Mormon polygamy - husband and wives

Mormon polygamy – husband and wives

Strike another blow against the state’s attempt to regulate sexual conduct. Utah’s polygamy struck down as unconstitutional. Birth control, abortion, sodomy, gay marriage, all are fought for ferociously by advocates of personal sexual freedom while they ignore all others: while the personal freedom to chose what size soft drink we slug or cigarettes we inhale may seem trivial (to some people),  the same blanket of silence has been draped over the most important right of all, the right to economic freedom. This right is diminished, even crushed every day, all without protest from our leftist friends.

I don’t get it.

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Who’s paying California regulators to put the Srirachacha producer out of business?

 

NEA crayon dip

NEA crayon dip

First they ordered its manufacturing plant shut down and then, when that turned out to be immaterial for the next few months (pepper picking season is over for the year) regulators ordered a complete suspension of shipments to stores.

There have been no reports of illness caused by the sauce, nor have inspections turned up any problems, but the stoppage is sure to damage the brand and I wonder why? It can’t be solely that California hates private enterprise and the creation on new, private sector jobs, so who benefits here? Someone’s on someone’s payroll, I suspect.

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Well that was a bust

Cairo, on the other hand...

Cairo, on the other hand…

Snow seems to have quit after just a couple of inches. More coming?  Probably not, but fingers crossed. … pffah.

UPDATE: Cos Cobber says my impatience is “disappointing”, but I don’t see why; love of snow storms is a rather juvenile passion, so why not impatience, regardless of physical age? In any event, he’s right that the real snow is expected to come later today and tonight. According to Accuweather this morning’s flakes were just a little  amuse-bouche, caused by the early arrival of arctic air. Good.

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So who’s going to pay this bill, the UN or Connecticut taxpayers?

From Russia, with love

From Russia, with love

Illegal liens threaten to swamp “safety-net” hospitals in our Nutmeg state.

Undocumented immigrants are expected to make up a larger share of Connecticut’s uninsured population next year, putting “new financial pressures on safety-net hospitals” that provide emergency care to everyone, state and national health experts predict.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides coverage options for legal immigrants, but those in the U.S. illegally cannot apply for Medicaid, even if they are poor, or buy coverage at Access Health CT (the new insurance marketplace), even if they have cash. That means undocumented residents without coverage will continue turning to local emergency departments for care at a time when Connecticut hospitals face the loss of millions of dollars in federal and state subsidies to help defray the cost of uncompensated care.

“This is a global problem that isn’t going away. This population (of undocumented residents) is not being addressed by any state or federal initiatives. It’s operating under the radar screen,” said William Gedge, senior vice president for payor relations for Yale New Haven Health System, the state’s largest provider of uncompensated care. The system includes Yale-New Haven Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital and Greenwich Hospital.

The dilemma sheds light on the uncertain future of the so-called safety-net hospitals in Connecticut and the nation as health care reform unfolds. Often located in urban areas, safety-net hospitals treat a disproportionate number of low-income, uninsured, and otherwise vulnerable populations, including undocumented residents. Federal law requires hospitals to provide emergency care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay or immigration status.

Experts say that workers and visitors to the state’s two casinos contribute to the caseload.

In 2012, Connecticut hospitals spent $233.6 million in uncompensated care, including charity care and bad debt, according to the state Office of Health Care Access. These facilities spent another $868.3 million to cover Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement shortfalls in 2012, reports the Connecticut Hospital Association.

Hospital officials expect the budget gaps to widen in 2014 when the health law begins to sharply reduce government subsidies known as “disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments” on the assumption that more people will be covered by Medicaid or private insurance due to reform. Connecticut hospitals also face a $550 million cut in state funds that previously covered Medicaid expenses.

In extreme cases, undocumented immigrants travel thousand of miles from their native country intent on seeking medical care at an emergency department in the United States.

“They just show up,” said Gedge. “We’ve tracked many uninsured patients who literally flew into JFK and within 48 hours were in one of our emergency departments.”

Other undocumented immigrants require care while “passing through Connecticut,” such as the patient who experienced a brain aneurysm while visiting a local casino. He spent a year at Yale-New Haven Hospital at a cost of about $5 million before being medically transferred to Beijing, also at the hospital’s expense.

“One of our major sources of undocumented residents are the casinos,” Gedge said. “These individuals have no family. No money. No identification. The only thing they have is a Wampum Card.”

For now, experts expect little change in the near future for undocumented immigrants. Stalled plans to overhaul immigration do not address health insurance, and the odds of lawmakers changing the federal law to include unauthorized immigrants are slim.

I don’t see any solutions in the horizon,” Gedge said. “It’s going to get worse.”

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How can we possibly keep up with all this?

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 5.35.30 AMGoogle’s search page is festooned with a green ribbon this morning and I’ll admit I’m stumped: which cause is this one for? It’s sort of like the new custom of lowering our country’s flag to half-staff; every other day the flag is down, and I’ve given up asking why.

Thankfully, Wikipedia provides a list of the dozens of ribbon colors and the hundreds of causes each is supposed to support. Here’s the one for green (not to be confused with Jade: hepatitis B and liver cancer , or lime: lymphoma, or light green: parental child abduction in Japan and promotion of the introduction of  joint-custody system in that country) – take your pick: be aware of gastropareis, legalize marijuana, celebrate manic-depression, take a traumatic brain injury victim to lunch, mourn Lyme disease (why isn’t this one in the lime spectrum?), squint at glaucoma suffers or be careful in traffic. None of those your cup of tea? There are still more to choose from – just press”1″ for our main selection menu.

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 5.44.59 AM

I was going to suggest a rainbow ribbon to encompass all causes, but I think that’s been claimed by advocates for the right of transgenders to ride girls’ bikes or boys’, depending on their mood on any particular day. So how about a black one: “Woe is upon the world, and we’re all just sick about it”. 

That should cover it.

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Drip by drip, central governments expand their grip

It came from the south

Slouching towards Washington

Spain, France and, next year, Germany move to ban rentals of second homes to tourists.

Hundreds of thousands of Britons with holiday homes in Spain and France could be prevented from renting them out to tourists.

Controversial laws set to be passed could also add hundreds of pounds to the cost of breaks for millions of travellers from Britain.

They will no longer be able to pay cheaper rates direct to owners but will have to stay in apartments, villas or hotels operated by major firms.

Meanwhile, thousands of second-home owners could end up trying to sell up as the changes make it too complicated and costly to keep the property going.

Until now, in most parts of Spain, anyone can let out their homes provided they pay full tax and declare all revenues.

But the recession-hit country is desperate to boost revenues and officials suspect that second-home owners are not paying  billions of euros in tax.

The powerful hotel industry has also been lobbying for the changes as the surge in private rentals is hitting its business.

Catalonia, the Canary Islands and the Balearics already have tough restrictions. In the past year, thousands of apartment and villa owners in these areas have been fined up to £15,000 each.

Others have been banned from renting out property while  hundreds have put their homes on the market. However, finding buyers has proved difficult because of a glut of sellers.

Janet Anscombe, president of a Tenerife support group for those hit by the shake-up, said: ‘The only licences being granted are for hotels. Inspectors trawl the internet and fine people found renting their homes.’

The clampdown will be a  further blow to holiday homeowners in Spain, who have seen the value of their properties drop by up to 50 per cent since 2007.

There are 200,000 UK holiday homeowners in France, mostly in Provence, the Dordogne,  Normandy and Brittany.

Lawmakers in Germany will vote on similar laws in the next fortnight.

Meanwhile down at UN headquarters, a proposal’s underway to impose a global tax on individuals and corporations and the financial industry to support “income redistribution”, fight global warming and fund whatever else may strike the UN members’ fancy. As bank secrecy disappears, this will be an increasingly easy confiscation program to impose, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll soon see it happen.

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