Wednesday: Cassini, Depression, Age, and Outrage

Painting by Elena Drobychevskaja Found on Pinterest...

Painting by Elena Drobychevskaja
Found on Pinterest…

Good morning.

I want to start this post off with a note of warning. It is being written by a woman with a migraine, so excuse any mistakes or typos…or lack of coherent commentary.  Honestly, my mind feels like a light bulb that is not getting the full required amount of juice to keep it lit at full brightness…right now it is kind of sparking in and out.

Sometimes it makes a connection, other times it just becomes a dull pathetic glow or ember of unfocused ideas and thoughts.

Or like a dirty spark plug that just won’t fire an engine…well, you know what I mean. No need to go on with these overused literary metaphors, that is what they are right? Uh, I’ll just refer you back to that dim light bulb.

So as I wander through this morning’s post, bear with me…

I don’t know if you have seen this horrible case of abuse that happened here in Georgia.  A little girl was abused by her father and step-mother for all of her life, they killed her in a slow and painful way, and now the DA is looking into possible Death Penalty prosecution. But what is even more disgusting, is that this girl was repeatedly seen by DFCS all of her 10 years of life, from the first year until 3 months before her death.  Here are two local news station reports:

Death penalty may be sought against parents of Emani Moss | www.wsbtv.com

>Emani Moss

We’re learning more about the death of Emani Moss, a 10-year-old Gwinnett girl, who police said was abused by her father and stepmother.

The parents accused of starving their 10-year-old daughter to death, then trying to burn her body may face the death penalty.

Danny Porter said in 20 years as the district attorney, he’s only asked for the death penalty 10 times, but he said as he looks at the evidence in this case, he may be asking for it twice in a matter of weeks.

“In 30 years of doing this, this is probably the worst case I’ve seen,” Porter said.

As he goes through the mounting evidence, Porter said the cases against Emani Moss’ parents appear eligible for the death penalty.

“I think once we learn more about the mechanism of starvation and the suffering that is involved, it may qualify as torture,” Porter said.

Investigators said the girl’s father Eman, and stepmother Tiffany, starved the 10-year-old. In late October, they allegedly left her in bed for a week, convulsing and otherwise unable to move. Police said her dad confessed to trying to burn her body in a trash can after she died.

This next link has more info about the DFCS case reports: DFCS summary of the life and death of Emani Moss | 11alive.com

When DFCS case workers were called to the scene of a gruesome crime at a Gwinnett County apartment complex last Saturday, it was not the first time they’d been sent to check on the welfare of 10-year-old Emani Moss.When they arrived, police told them the child’s partially burned body had been found in a trash can, three days after they believe she probably starved to death.

VIDEO | The life and death of Emani Moss

A case summary of her DFCS file, obtained by 11Alive Thursday under Georgia’s Open Records Act, shows DFCS checked out allegations of abuse on at least six occasions in her life, but only felt it was true on one occasion.

You have to go to that 11alive link and read the number of times this girl could have been saved…if only someone from DFCS either gave a damn or (if it turns out that it was due to lack of funding) had enough personnel to keep better track of the situation and not continue to return this girl to her abusers. She even tried to run away, only to be brought back…it is heartbreaking…tragic and fucking unacceptable…especially considering this shit, in the same city, Atlanta. A baseball team is leaving a fully paid for, perfectly good stadium for a new, taxpayer one a few miles away:

Turner Field to be torn down when Braves leave

It was the Olympics’ gift to Atlanta, a stadium free and clear of debt. The taxpayers did not pay a dime for it, neither did the Atlanta Braves. The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games built an 85,000-seat stadium for the 1996 Olympics with private money and gifted it to the city.

Perhaps that is why Turner Field seems so disposable. It was free.

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Tuesday that in the wake of the news the Braves will move to Cobb County following the 2016 season, the city will tear down the 50,000-seat ballpark, which will be just 20 years old in 2017. He declared in the press conference that there would be no vacant, rotting structure on the south side of the town, but rather a vibrant middle class neighborhood.

It was not what William J. Moss envisioned. Moss supervised the $550 million in construction of venues for the Olympics and told the Orlando Sentinel in 1991, “The idea is not to have any white elephants and for each of these things to have a use after the Olympics is over.”

It is ridiculous. And don’t tell me that Mayor Reed had no idea this shit wasn’t in the works…you know he just won re-election last week.

Have Fun Paying Off that $450 Million – Lawyers, Guns & Money

Turner Field is 17 years old:

The Atlanta Braves announced Monday they will leave Turner Field for a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium about 10 miles from downtown Atlanta in 2017. It’s not clear how much the proposed ballpark will cost taxpayers.

Braves executives John Schuerholz, Mike Plant and Derek Schiller said the team decided not to seek another lease at 17-year-old Turner Field and began talks with the Cobb Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority in July.

Looks like $450 million in public funds:

(Although Schiller initially declined to say how much the county would be paying, this story says that Cobb County will be on the hook for $450 million, with the Braves paying roughly $200 million.)

In case you’re wondering, Cobb County falls mostly in Newt Gingrich’s old district, which consists of people who hate big government except when it transfers extraordinary amounts of money to incredibly wealthy people. I wonder how they’ll manage to shift the burden from the county to the state and federal government; I don’t doubt that the effort will involve some altogether ingenious accounting, combined with a concerted effort to screw over the poor.

Forgive me for copying that in full, but it is the truth…and then you have this blog post written by Will Bunch from the Philadelphia Daily News that I agree with completely: Atlanta’s Turner Field is dying — and American sanity is dying with it

I’m know I’m going to sound like an old man again, but I can remember 1997 like it was yesterday. I can almost taste it, smell it — the time when a couple of Yankee kids named Jeter and Rivera ruled the baseball world, when Hillary Clinton was strolling the corridors of the White House, and when the Dow hit the Olympian heights of 8,000. It seemed like those times would never end, but now it’s 16 long years later (that’s not a typo…1-6!) and time continues to march inexorably forward.

I felt a pang of nostalgia when I read today that another relic of that bygone era is biting the dust, that the Atlanta Braves are finally (finally!) saying goodbye to historic Turner Field, ending its more than decade-and-a-half run and heading for the greener pastures of suburban Cobb County. Goodbye to the ballpark where the ghosts of John Rocker and David Justice still lurk, its old-timey giant “Eat Mor Chickin'” Chick-fil-A cow, the “Tomahawk Chop” (yes, people weren’t as advanced on matters of race back then, unfortunately), and the quaint aroma of jalapeno nachos in the sultry Georgia air.

When I saw the news — on Twitter, which didn’t even exist way back in 1997! — this morning that the Braves will be saying good-bye to Turner Field in 2017, after the expiration of their original 20-year lease, I really only had one reaction.

What the hell, Atlanta Braves? Or maybe it was, what the hell, Atlanta…(and Cobb County.) OK, I guess it was actually, what the hell. America?

Yup, Turner Field is the same age as my son Jake, but this is where the man gets to the point:

The news that the Braves plan to abandon it is simply stunning. What happened? The Braves say they want to be closer to their real fan base in the affluent northern suburbs, and hey, that’s capitalism, I guess. Except here’s the thing….it’s not capitalism. The Braves say it would have cost $200 million to “fix” Turner Field (apparently for things like new seats and new lights…hard to believe that the old ones only lasted 16 years and that it costs that much to fix them, but that’s what they claim.) In Cobb County, they’re spending the same amount for a whole new stadium — because the taxpayers of Cobb County are promising to pay the rest, a whopping $450 million. They’ve promised the money to the Braves even though there’s been no public hearings and no vote. I have no idea how that even works.

So this is not real capitalism at all — it’s corrupted crony capitalism. Now it seems that Cobb County is one of the 100th wealthiest counties in America, and the 12th most educated. So $450 million must be chump change — it’s not like they’re Philadelphia, slashing public school teachers in the face of massive budget cuts. Oh wait…actually they are sort of like that:

Cobb County’s school board approved a 2013-14 budget Thursday night that will result in five furlough days for all employees, the loss of 182 teachers through attrition and a slimmer central administration staff.

The cuts are the result of reduced state aid and lower property tax revenues — although apparently the lower property tax revenues that are low enough to mean fewer teachers aren’t so low that they can’t BUILD A NEW BASEBALL STADIUM! For a team that already has what you and I might, sanely, consider a pretty new baseball stadium.

There’s so much else that it’s hard to know where to begin . There’s the fact that the Braves are leaving a ballpark served by mass transit for one that would be located at one of the most traffic-congested intersections (I-75 and I-285) in America, pumping tons of unnecessary carbon pollution into the air….

Had to break that paragraph to insert this cartoon: 10/12 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Take me out to the crowd | Mike Luckovich

luckovich-cartoon-for-111213

Now back to that  Will Bunch post already in progress…

…The fact that this is just slightly less egregious than what’s happening with Atlanta’s also pretty new, also fully functional football stadium the Georgia Done (which opened way back in…wait for it, 1992) that’s being replaced with a $1.2 billion palace with a retractable roof, because…??? And there’s the “white flight” of the Braves leaving the majority black city where Aaron heroically endured death threats to break Babe Ruth’s record.

Which maybe wouldn’t be so terrible…if they weren’t doing it with other people’s money. But here’s the thing that really galls me — that this is happening in Georgia, the hotbed of the Tea Party, the state that gave us Cobb County’s own Newt Gingrich and now sends right-wing crackpots like Rep. Paul Broun to Washington so that they can rail against “the moochers,” “the takers,” who don’t think twice about slashing food stamps and who won’t — on principle…principle! — take Washington’s Medicaid money so that their own working-poor constituents can get good health coverage. And now they’re writing the (corporate) welfare check of a lifetime, to one of the most historically lucrative sports franchises in American history, and their only question is how many zeroes there are in $450 million. How dare they?!

Yeah, they also are building a new stadium for their NFL Falcons too…fucking Georgia assholes.

And by the way, what about “those people” you know the “ones” I am talking about: Cobb GOP chairman concerned about (those) people coming to… | Jay Bookman | www.ajc.com

I just got back from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s press conference on the Braves’ move to a transportation-challenged site in Cobb County, and will have a lot more to say on that later. But I can’t let this pass without notice:

Joe Dendy, chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party, says that he has two conditions for supporting the Braves’ proposed move (h/t Jim Galloway):

1.) That Cobb County citizens won’t have to pay higher taxes as a result, and

2.) “It is absolutely necessary the (transportation) solution is all about moving cars in and around Cobb and surrounding counties from our north and east where most Braves fans travel from, and not moving people into Cobb by rail from Atlanta.”

Again, that’s from the chairman of the Republican Party in the state’s wealthiest, most sophisticated GOP stronghold. If you want to know why the Atlanta region has trouble acting and thinking like a region, why we have abandoned mass transit options that every other major urban area in the country is pursuing, and why we have forfeited the economic dynamism that once made this city/region the envy of much of the nation, there you have it.

Not to mention what it says about the “inclusive” attitude of a certain number of Georgia Republicans.

Yeah, they don’t want any Braves fans from South Atlanta, that need to travel via MARTA…or, because as Axel Foley would say…

Oh, wait a moment, that quote from Joe Dendy isn’t racist at all…my guess is that Richard Cohen would feel at home going to a Braves game in Cobb County.

Fucking Georgia Republicans.

All this going on while kids like Emani Moss are being ignored by DFCS, starved to death and then burned like rubbish inside a trash can by their parents. Once again the PLUB mentality is overwhelmingly disgusting. Too bad Emani did not show a knack for throwing a football or baseball. (Okay that may be pushing it too far, but I am so angry about this. And with my headache, I can’t find a good/better argument.)

More disgusting shit? here you go:

40 Gunmen Armed with Assault Rifles Terrorize Gun Control Group at a Texas Restaurant | BobCesca.com | Liberal Politics Blog and Podcast | We Cover the World 

That is a story about three women being harassed by a shitload of gun totting gun nuts.

Here is a cartoon to go with it:

OnlyInSomalia

Artist – David Horsey

Then you have this tweet about pro-life nuts…

Another case of disease brought on by anti-vaccine nuts:

Another Victim of (Jenny) McCarthyism  : Lawyers, Guns & Money

A cartoon to go with that post.  Anti vaccine Reunion Tour by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

140051 600 Anti vaccine Reunion Tour cartoons

Oooo, check it out. A map of depression: A stunning map of depression rates around the world

(Max Fisher/Washington Post)

Update on shooting death of woman in Detroit: Autopsy reveals Michigan shooting victim McBride shot in face | Al Jazeera America

A dog in Washington State brings home a human leg, and the 93-year-old old man who owns the dog…well, just look at this link: Deputies find more human remains after dog brings home leg | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

Reason why we hate the dentist: Scared of the dentist? This is why, say neuroscientists | The Raw Story

From the “no shit” department: BBC News – Depression ‘makes us biologically older’

(Yup, no wonder people with down syndrome never age.)

A link to a book about women in the early church: Mothers Of The Church « The Dish

And did you see these pictures from Cassini?

The Day the Earth Smiled (NASA Cassini Saturn Mission Images)

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth.

With the sun’s powerful and potentially damaging rays eclipsed by Saturn itself, Cassini’s onboard cameras were able to take advantage of this unique viewing geometry. They acquired a panoramic mosaic of the Saturn system that allows scientists to see details in the rings and throughout the system as they are backlit by the sun. This mosaic is special as it marks the third time our home planet was imaged from the outer solar system; the second time it was imaged by Cassini from Saturn’s orbit; and the first time ever that inhabitants of Earth were made aware in advance that their photo would be taken from such a great distance.

The Day the Earth Smiled (NASA Cassini Saturn Mission Images) big, big, big ass picture…

Catalog Page for PIA17172- gives information on picture

Cassini Solstice Mission: The Day the Earth Smiled (with planets annotated) shows where the planets are located…and gives information on mission

PIA17172_fig2.jpg (JPEG Image, 9000 × 3500 pixels) – Scaled (15%) with planets only

PIA17172_fig3.jpg (JPEG Image, 4500 × 1750 pixels) – Scaled (30%) with rings and moons noted

I will end with a picture of a baby sloth sticking her tongue out. It is something I found while helping Bebe with her science project this weekend.

Sloth got your tongue? – PhotoBlog

Eight months old baby sloth Camillo yawns at the zoo in Halle, eastern Germany, on Thursday, May 17. In the wild, sloths live mainly in tropical rainforests of Central and South America.

Y’all have a good day, if you can…stop and comment.


62 Comments on “Wednesday: Cassini, Depression, Age, and Outrage”

  1. janicen says:

    Hope you feel better JJ.

  2. CinSC says:

    I am in complete agreement with you over the outrage surrounding the abandonment of Turner Field. I have gone to several Braves games and part of the fun was getting there by MARTA. We would take it from near our campground at Stone Mountain (the wrong side of town according to the cobb county folk) or from the Convention Center downtown. We have also made it a point to attend games at other stadiums with public transportation (Fenway and Baltimore most recently). So much more pleasant to not have to leave a game and sit in a crazy traffic filled parking lot. Atlanta has lost it’s mind. Turner Field is a gem and it’s a waste to tear it down. Middle Class neighborhoods my behind…. that sounds like every building project around here that promises Senior Housing that never ever gets built.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Why on earth should taxpayer money be used for a sports stadium? I can’t understand why cities and states do this. The people who own pro sports franchises are filthy rich and can afford to build or renovate their own stadiums.

        That would never happen here. Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, built his own stadium, and the Red Sox owners renovated Fenway Park with their own money–they put in expensive seats to make more money and they sponsor other events in the park too. At first they had fantasies of getting the city to help pay for a new park, but they quickly learned they were on their own. These people are billionaires!

        • NW Luna says:

          I completely agree! They blew up a perfectly good closed-roof stadium here in Seattle — on which taxpayers still had to pay $$ on even though it no longer existed — simply because they wanted something with a retractable roof. Hey, this is Seattle, it rains a lot here.

          And in another debacle — or maybe it was connected, I don’t follow sports closely — the taxpayers (voters) rejected a bid for a new stadium to be payed for by taxpayers. So the rich guy got a special election just for his new pet project, which did pass, just barely, after he spread a lot of money around in advertising. Now we have 2 stadiaa which look like close twins, sucking up taxpayer $$$.

          The most recent attempt at major sports subsidy extortion failed. A California hedge-fund bankster, originally from Seattle, was surreptitiously buying up property for yet another stadium, and offered to pay part of the millions for another pro sports ball team, if the city and county (read: taxpayers) would cough up something. Well, that failed when he couldn’t get approval for a team to leave somewhere else to come here. Turned out he’d been playing financial hanky-panky with that other team’s city in connection with votes on the franchise. So we taxpayers are temporarily saved.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    That sound you hear is me banging my head against the wall as the last 2 days have been nothing but snatches of Sarah Palin spilling her gobblydegook nonsense all over the airwaves in an attempt to sell yet another dumb book, this time “the War on Christmas”.

    Who in their right mind takes this woman and her talking points seriously enough to invite her on shows to offer an opinion? Nothing she says makes any sense! Try reading one of the transcripts instead of listening to her and you can’t make head nor tails out of the point she is pushing since it is buried somewhere in the cramming of every word she can bring forth that has no direction.

    Empty headed, devoid of rational thought, completely ignorant on any subject, and dumber than a box of rocks, the entire enterprise is centered around a ghost written book that again has Christmas under another fake assault that is beyond ridiculous designed to make her more money.

    Please make this woman go away. She offers nothing of substance but a tangle of meaningless words that adds zero to the discourse at hand. A five year old has more grasp on the issues than this moron.

    Rant over. Carry on.

    • Okay, I got one for you Pat…that does not have a Palin connection..well, maybe it does.

      But!!!! It does mention putting dwarfs into internment camps…so I gotta link it: The Thin Red and Green Line: Letters from the War on Christmas | The Daily Banter

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Hilarious!

        But I still love “buy my book!” while I stand in denial of you having healthcare coverage as she takes exception to the pope declaring the rights of gays and the poor!

        I can’t say “@sshole” often enough to describe this stupid, stupid woman.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I agree. I can’t stand to look at her or listen to her shrieking voice. Why is she still showing up on TV? She’s not a politician, she doesn’t hold any office, and she has nothing relevant to say about anything.

    • Fannie says:

      Let’s talk again, cause I like what you have to say, and I love the word “snatches”. I had to do a lookup……..Ms. Snatches lives in Scottsdale, Az. Got herself a real snatch for couple million dollars, and she’s letting everybody know she is available and will indeed snatch up McCain’s job.

    • janicen says:

      I promised myself I wasn’t going to reply to any of your comments since you should be in bed rather than commenting here but I’m thrilled that Big Dawg has weighed in on this. He is absolutely right. Let them keep their shit policies and pay through the nose for them. Our people will take the good stuff.

      • Eh…I think I disagree with Big Dawg on this one.

        If there is a back down and compromise on this issue…as we have seen on the birth control thing, I think it is going to end up making things a lot worse.

        I guess I am leaning towards the opinions of Pierce and No More Mister Nice Blog here:

        No More Mister Nice Blog

        On Monday, Steven Hayward of Forbes predicted with a cackle that Obamacare will be repealed before 2014, with Democrats joining Republicans in the hope of saving their own political necks:

        … if the website continues to fail, the push for repeal — from endangered Democrats — will occur very rapidly. The website is a sideshow: the real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more. Fixing the website will only delay the inevitable….

        Senate Democrats endangered for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as January, after they get an earful over the Christmas break. They’ll call it “reform,” and clothe it in calls for delaying the individual mandate and allowing people and businesses to keep their existing health insurance policies. But it is probably too late to go back in many cases. With the political damage guaranteed to continue, the momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable. Democrats will not want to face the voters next November with the albatross of Obamacare.

        But Jonathan Bernstein continues to insist that even if Obamacare is modified, it will still be the basis for what emerges, because we can’t possibly go back, can we?

        But regardless: the law is here, it’s being implemented, half a million people have signed up for Medicaid, young adults are on their parents’ plans, the donut hole is disappearing and other Medicare benefits have begun, lifetime and yearly caps and rescissions are gone…all of that is going to be very, very, difficult to displace…. Repeal? No, we’re never going back to the status quo ante.

        Why does he believe that? Republicans don’t care about these people — to Republican officeholders and voters, people availing themselves of most of these benefits are “takers.” (This is true even of Republican voters who are beneficiaries themselves.) And it’s not as if the beneficiaries themselves are going to take to the streets or airways or op-ed pages in effectively large numbers to demand the preservation of these benefits — if there’s anything we should have learned in the 33 years since Ronald Reagan’s election, it’s that America’s have-nots simply don’t have the inclination or ability to fight on behalf of their own economic self-interest. And even if they do fight, the wired-for-Republicans Beltway establishment will be much less inclined to highlight these victims than it has been in recent weeks to highlight the Dylan Ratigans and Lori Gottliebs whose Obamacare sticker-shock complaints advance the message of the right-wing noise machine.

        And besides: if benefits are lost and voters are upset, Republicans will just blame it on the Democrats. They will have signed on to the changes, after all. Republicans would love to have Democrats’ fingerprints on this, the same way they want Democrats’ fingerprints on a budget “grand bargain” that guts Social Security and Medicare, because it would really undermine the perception that Democrats care for ordinary people.

        All of this is a long way of saying: this thing needs to be saved or it really might be completely lost.

        Would we ever repeal a health benefit program that’s been enacted? Hayward reminds us that, in the not-so-distant past, we did:

        This wouldn’t be the first time that a health care entitlement was repealed. The same thing happened in the late 1980s with catastrophic coverage for seniors. Because seniors were made to pay for their benefits under that scheme, the uproar forced Congress to repeal the measure barely a year after it went into effect.

        Ordinary people aren’t like the rich. We don’t treat everything we get from government as a birthright. We won’t fight to save Obamacare’s benefits. So it’s up to the White House and congressional Democrats to save them — right now.

        Hey, obamacare sucks ass, but it should be given some time to work. (That does not excuse the shit they call a website. That is ridiculous and they should be doing way more to fix that mess.)

        As for Clinton: Bill Clinton Obamacarre Rewrite – The Beginning Of What Might Be The End – Esquire

        So Bill Clinton, pretty plainly already in campaign mode, sounds the alarm in favor of the Shoddy Health Insurance Plan Protection Act of 2013, and some Democratic politicians saddle up? Forgive me if I say that I have seen this movie before.

        The unspoken — but fundamental — basis for Clinton’s triangulation on most issues during his time in office was somehow to enact something resembling progressive social policies while still staying in the good graces of the financial services industry and the Masters Of The Universe therein. This was a plausible strategy in the longterm only if a) you had a never-ending tech boom and an eternal housing bubble in your pocket, and b) there were still some Republicans invested in the notion that the United States should have a functioning national government. Neither of those elements exist today. The MOTU proved to be essentially destructive to the world economy, throwing us into a recession from which most of us have not yet crawled. And the Republicans have gone insane, giving themselves over entirely to a campaign of vandalism that is unprecedented in the history of the country. In short, this is no longer time to be listening to Bill Clinton on everything. His politics were formed in a different time under different circumstances.

        Yeah…I can see this point and seem to be more agreeing with Pierce. That comment was not good, sure let those people keep their shitty policies…but if it effects the pricing and outcome of the people who usually get screwed in these situations, that is a problem. The whole thing is fucked up. Cause in the states where medicaid was opted in…there has been no problems. Its states like mine, and other GOP “fuck the poor” states who did not expand medicaid that have major issues. In Georgia, the state employees got fucked…their insurance coverage went down, and cost went up because of “obamacare” as some of my teacher friends have told me. (I don’t know about that.)

        • Well, on the teacher comment: State employees, teachers face big premium hike | Georgia Health News

          Georgia teachers, other school personnel, state employees and retirees will face an average hike in their health insurance premiums of 9.5 percent in January, though some will get an increase of up to 30 percent, state officials said Thursday.

          The Department of Community Health also said at an agency board meeting that Medicaid will have budget cuts of $60 million this fiscal year and $100 million in fiscal 2014, but that it is aiming not to reduce payments to medical providers.

          That means Medicaid cuts will likely come from patient benefits and their utilization of health services.

          Eligibility for Medicaid can’t be reduced much due to current federal requirements, said Community Health Commissioner David Cook, who added that states should be given more flexibility to run the program.

          Cook told the media after the board meeting that the agency has not finalized the areas targeted for reduced Medicaid spending.

          Gov. Nathan Deal’s Office of Planning and Budget ordered most state agencies to cut spending 3 percent in the current fiscal year and in fiscal 2014. For Medicaid and PeachCare, though, the ordered reduction in 2014 is 5 percent.

          Meanwhile, the state employee health plan, which covers 663,000 schoolteachers, school personal, state employees, retirees and dependents, is in much better shape financially than at this time last year.

          Community Health succeeded in cutting almost all of an $815 million deficit last year in the state employee health plan through increasing employer premiums for non-certificate school personnel; implementing a large-scale wellness program; and moving many children into the PeachCare program, among other measures.

          The State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) finished fiscal 2012 with a relatively slight $16 million surplus, but there are no reserve funds available. Ideally, the reserve for the plan should be $346 million, officials said.

          But SHBP faces an $89 million shortfall this fiscal year and $418 million in 2014. The total deficits, including medical claims for services already incurred, are $288 million and $617 million, respectively.

          The state employee and teacher portions of the plan are running at a surplus, but the deficit from non-certificate personnel, such as cafeteria workers and bus drivers, is large, state officials said.

          About half of the health plan’s members are now in wellness plans. Obesity remains a major problem, and the state is adding coverage for children with an obesity diagnosis to visit primary care doctors and dietitians.

          The state attributed 2 percent of the average 9.5 percent premium hike to requirements from the Affordable Care Act, including more coverage of women’s health services.

          The range of premium increases, though, runs from 1.5 percent to 30 percent.

          Community Health board member William Wallace noted, “Employees are getting 0 percent raises. If they fall in the wrong category, they could have a 30 percent premium increase.”

          The agency’s goal is to bring all employees’ contribution to their premium or insurance cost to 25 percent, with the employer picking up the remaining 75 percent. That’s a typical percentage split in an employer health plan.

          The head of the state employee health plan, Trudie Nacin, said those getting the biggest premium hikes are employees who cover their spouses under the plan. The state has subsidized the spousal coverage previously.

          Gone, though, are the surcharges to cover spouses who are offered coverage by their own employers.

          Nevertheless, Tim Callahan, a spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, told GHN that the insurance cost increases mirror those in the past several years. Educators haven’t had across-the-board raises in at least four years, he said.

          “They’ve been feeling the pain for years now,” said Callahan of PAGE, which represents 83,000 educators, administrators and support personnel. “They’ll feel this, too.”

          The insurance increases could drive more people to retire, others to find non-state jobs, and may discourage young people from teaching, he said.

          Callahan, though, did not blame Community Health for the premium hikes. “They’re getting eaten alive by health care costs,” he said.

          Sweeney of GBPI said the Affordable Care Act requirements will increase patients’ access to preventive and primary care. The new services, such as greater contraceptives coverage and better access to counseling for domestic violence victims, “are really good news for State Health Benefit Plan members,’’ he said.

          Okay then…I found a lot more on this…but there you have it.

        • Fannie says:

          I couldn’t help but think about this as I was flipping pancakes…………..give them shortbread

        • NW Luna says:

          Insurance co’s have been raising rates for many years before Obamacare. They’ll use any excuse.

      • dakinikat says:

        The problem is that it messes with risk pooling.

        • RalphB says:

          Clinton’s dipshit comment would put us right back into a multi-tier insurance system and fuck up guaranteed issue as well. He should STFU!

        • janicen says:

          But honestly, how long do you think people will continue to pay a thousand dollars a month or more while others are getting better coverage for substantially less money? I guess I’m just not seeing what you guys are seeing, but I don’t think anyone is going to hang on to their old crap policies for very long even out of spite. Additionally, I think the fact that it was Big Dawg who suggested it will make hanging on to their old policies even more difficult for them. I think Big Dawg is calling their bluffs.

          • RalphB says:

            I think he wants to be loved by everyone, so he’s selling out at the first sign of trouble. In doing it, he’ll provide cover for douchebag Dems like Hoyer to sell out.

  4. Alright, one more link…Archie Bunker comes to terms with gay marriage (video)

    In honor of the Hawaiian Senate’s passage last night of legislation legalizing gay marriage (the governor will sign it at 10am today Hawaii time, 3pm NYC time), I give you Archie Bunker coming to terms with the concept of gay marriage.

    My friend Damian forwarded me this video from vintage “All in the Family” footage from the 1970s.

    In this episode, Cousin Liz dies, and Archie doesn’t want Liz’s “friend” Veronica to get her tea set because “Veronica ain’t even family.” Edith has to explain to Archie that “Veronica and Cousin Liz were like-married.”

    Archie responds: “Liz was a lez?”

    I remember this episode…

    For those not in the know, All in the Family was a hit show 40 years ago. It was about a bigoted man, Archie Bunker, and his good-hearted, but kinda mousey, wife Edith, who he used to boss around, but who would still often get the better of him. The entire premise of the show was the lampooning of bigotry by showcasing it.

    A few thoughts…

    First off, Archie is looking a lot younger nowadays. It’s freaking me out a bit.

    Second, as has been said before by others, I do wonder if this show could even be aired on TV in this day and age. Conservatives would flip at the depiction of them as racist bumpkins, and I wonder if some people on the left would miss the joke and fail to understand that the show is using Archie’s bigotry as a foil for defeating it.

    I really never watched All in the Family all that much. It was my parents’ show, so I caught it by default, back in the time of one TV per family, and 4 main channels (along with PBS and a local station where I’d watch Creature Features on Saturday).

    …and I also would watch Creature Feature. Creature Feature (WTOG) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It’s a shame that he has to explain what “all in the family” was and who Archie Bunker was…okay, now I am really going back to bed.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    JJ…..Great post this morning and I hope you get to feeling better soon.

    I’ve been to Turner Field a number of times and it is pristine and looks to be state of the art. I can’t imagine that upgrades are really the issue here. It seems fairly obvious to me that this PLOY is about moving the financial advantages of being in the proximity of a MLB stadium to a predominantly white, upper middle to upper class neighborhood. And that I-75/I-285 corridor is already a fucking nightmare. When I travel through there I try to do it in the middle of the night when most folks are home and in bed. Even in the middle of the night there’s a lot traffic from Marietta all the way through Atlanta.

  6. Fannie says:

    This morning I called two senators here in Idaho…….asking if they would support Gillibrand’s bill to bring military rapist to justice. I guess it’s true, the GOP staff get paid ofr not knowing what the senators position on this are, and if he will vote in support, or when the vote will take place. They didn’t know NOTHING.

    To boot, I’m listening and getting pissed that Cup of Joe just runs his mouth about ObamaCare and Katrina being one and the same. To boot, the churches are out acting like they were far superior in aiding the victims of Katrina, so much better than the government. I wonder I cried my eyes out, and fell on floor, when the National Guard rode into New Orleans, and why did I freak out because of the behaviors of Police Department during Katrina……….much less why did my cousin die in hospital, and nobody came for her……………..Add to the list, the fucking nut on radio who advocates to parents to get a man to rape their gay children…………….and for Christians out advocating kidnapping girls and women who are seeking health care and abortion access. Oh, and the Christian Rescue Mission in Kansas City, telling non believers that they can’t help serve Turkey Dinner…………….they are not a good fit, says the preacher.
    What a freakin’ mess.

  7. janicen says:

    Okay, I get it now. Robert Reich just posted this on fb…

    “Democrats are showing once again they have the backbones of banana slugs. The Affordable Care Act was meant to hold insurers to a higher standard, so it stands to reason that some people with lousy policies will get better ones after their old ones are cancelled. But spineless Democrats (including my former boss Bill Clinton) are caving in to Republican-fueled outrage that the President “misled” Americans into thinking they could keep their old lousy policies—and are now urging the White House to forget the new standards and go back to allowing insurers to offer whatever crap they were offering before (exposing families to more than $12,700 in out-of-pocket expenses, canceling the policies of people who get seriously sick, failing to cover prescription drugs, and so on).

    Can we please get a grip? Whenever industry standards are lifted – a higher minimum wage, safer workplaces, non-toxic foods and drugs, safer cars – people no longer have the “freedom” to contract for the sub-standard goods and services. But that freedom is usually a mirage because big businesses have most of the power and average people don’t really have a choice. This has been especially the case with health insurance, which is why minimum standards are essential. Yes, the President might have spelled this out a bit more clearly beforehand, explaining that 95 percent of us aren’t in the private insurance market to begin with and won’t be affected, and that most of the 2 percent who lose their lousy policies and have to take better and more expensive ones will be subsidized. But right now he needs all the support he can muster to hold insurers’ feet to the fire. Democrats should stand firm.”

    • Just shared this on my facebook and got called an obot by Lambert…sigh. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Oh well, did y’all see that Dick Cheney is praising Bill Clinton’s remarks? Strange bedfellows: Bill Clinton and Cheney

    • NW Luna says:

      exposing families to more than $12,700 in out-of-pocket expenses

      The ACA does have some improvements. But it’s not exactly what I’d call easily affordable. In my area a bronze policy for my spouse & I would cost us $1,029.81 per month, and have an $8,000 deductible, and 20% co-pay for most things, with that 412,700 out-of-pocket limit. So that’s still a big hit on the budget, especially the cost of the premiums.

    • dakinikat says:

      Oh, good, glad you caught that. It’s because if they healthy people who can get crap cheap insurance policies and live with them opt out, it screws the rest of us in terms of costs because the risk pool becomes more expensive for the exchange plans.

      I was on a plan all day yesterday and got into Seattle around 6 pm. promptly ate a salad and passed out!!!

  8. bostonboomer says:

    I think this is pretty good, considering the problems and the fact that the Republicans screwed up everything by refusing medicaid expansion.

    More Than 106,000 People Chose An Obamacare Plan In First Month

    • RalphB says:

      Beats what we’d been led to expect by hysterical media anyway. The Democrats haven’t learned anything from the 2010 debacle. First sign of trouble, they start running backward and selling out their constituents to try and make Republicans keep quiet. They didn’t defend themselves in 2010 for passing Obamacare and aren’t defending it now. Gutless cowards it seems and I’m really starting to remember why I dislike them so much,

    • RalphB says:

      Actually better.

      The Truth About the Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

      … According to Jonathan Cohn, the total number of Americans who have submitted applications for coverage via Healthcare.gov and state exchanges? Try 1.5 million people, if you factor in households with multiple people receiving coverage — dependents and so forth, who, by the way, are included among the 30 million Americans without insurance prior to the ACA. Of that total, 1.4 million applications have been processed by the government. Whittled down further, Cohn reports that 106,000 applicants have chosen a plan and 396,000 have enrolled in Medicaid.

      But, because there’s an “Obamacare is a Failed Policy” script that must be serviced, the lowest number of the batch has to be quoted. That’s why you’ve been reading about 106,000 rather than 1.5 million. …

  9. NW Luna says:

    Hah!

    White supremacist takes DNA test, finds out he’s part black.

    Cobb told the Bismarck Tribune on Monday that he doubted the validity of the test and said he planned to take up to three more DNA tests and publish the results.

    “I had no idea, or I wouldn’t have gone and done that, and I still don’t believe it,” Cobb told the Tribune. “I’ll find out with real science and get the whole DNA map.”

    Guess “real science” is what gives him the answer he wants.

  10. RalphB says:

    Richard Mayhew, who has a lot of experience in insurance pooling etc, on Senate plan…

    Looking at Landrieu’s plan

    Sen. Landrieu has an elegant work-around to the matter that individual insurance policies are getting cancelled. Here are the major points:

    1. Date change of grandfather status from day of PPACA being signed into law to 12/31/13 for individual only plans.
    2. No new enrollment allowed into individual plans
    3. Insurance companies must continue to offer grandfathered plans until no subscribes elect to renew
    4. Currently covered individuals on newly grandfathered plans are Exchange and subsidy eligible.
    5. Annual renewal notice stating that the insurance being bought is crap insurance.
    6. Cancellation notices that require actual reasons with relevant citations for cancellation — ie not “Obamacare made us do it”

    This is an elegant kludge that nicely gets around the political problem without causing long term damage to Obamacare’s risk pools.

    • NW Luna says:

      Editorial by Washington state’s Insurance Commissioner on the policy-cancellation hoopla:

      We estimate that about 290,000 people in Washington state have received a notice and will have to pick a new plan by Jan. 1.

      What the president said about the Affordable Care Act is true for about 95 percent of people with health insurance, according to his administration’s estimate. That is because they already have good coverage from their employer, Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare.

      The people receiving cancellation notices are those who buy their own health insurance. And nothing about these notices is new.

      Health insurers have been canceling and replacing individual policies for years. They have also slashed benefits, raised deductibles and charged more. Until now, unless those buying individual policies could pass a lengthy questionnaire probing previous health issues, many stayed with their plan, regardless of the changes, because they had no other options.

      Most individual health-insurance plans in our state did not cover prescription drugs or maternity benefits. They also had typical out-of-pocket costs of $10,000 to $15,000. I can tell you firsthand that a lot of people had coverage they could never afford to use.

      • RalphB says:

        A partner and I had a small business with from 3 to 9 employees over a 10 year period. We provided health insurance and could never keep a plan more than two years because of the premium increases etc. That insurance market is a mess and full of scams on top of it. The ACA can only be an improvement for almost, if not, everybody!

  11. NW Luna says:

    Yeehaw yippee! Seattle’s getting a Socialist city Councilwoman!

    The newest ballot count is just in from King County Elections, and the race that has had the city on the edge of its election-watching seat has continued going the challenger’s way: Kshama Sawant now leads incumbent Richard Conlin in the Seattle City Council Position 2 race. ….

    Sawant is a community-college economics teacher who ran as a Socialist. If she wins, she will be the first Socialist member of the Seattle City Council; she would be the fourth woman and second person of color on the current council.

  12. RalphB says:

  13. Fannie says:

    I’m telling you, damn, I hope Idaho can get this fuggin rapist out of office. And he says he didn’t rape her, he called it balling…………….he was balling her, and she was on top. Yeah, that what he is reporting to Statesman newspaper. And Raul Labrador has his back……………..he endorsed him.

    http://on.msnbc.com/1eO7nnu