Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Well, They'll Always Have Wales

Until they don't. Everything you need to know about Scottish independence.

Quicky Obamacare Schadenfreude

Places to go, things to do.

Glitch in health care law allows employers to offer substandard insurance
A flaw in the federal calculator for certifying that insurance meets the health-care law’s toughest standard is leading dozens of large employers to offer plans that lack basic benefits, such as hospitalization coverage, according to brokers and consultants.

The calculator appears to allow companies enrolling workers for 2015 to offer inexpensive, substandard medical insurance while avoiding the Affordable Care Act’s penalties, consumer advocates said.

Insurance pros are also surprised such plans are permitted.

Employer insurance without hospital coverage “flies in the face of Obamacare,” said Liz Smith, president of employee benefits for Assurance, an Illinois-based insurance brokerage.

At the same time, a kind of Catch-22 bars workers at these companies from subsidies to buy more comprehensive coverage on their own through online marketplaces. No federal tax credits for health coverage are available to people with workplace plans approved by the calculator.
I'm of two minds. First, there shouldn't be a law like Obamacare that mandates the coverage of people by companies.  However, they've now had over 4 years to get the law and it's implementation right, and frankly, they just don't care that much. Throw the bums out.

And speaking of getting it right after 6 years, ny way of Wombat-socho's "Live and Five: 09.15.14"  HURDLES FOR OBAMA HEALTH LAW IN 2ND SIGN-UP SEASON
Don't expect a repeat of last year's website meltdown, but the new sign-up period could expose underlying problems with the law itself that are less easily fixed than a computer system.

Getting those who signed up this year enrolled again for 2015 won't be as easy as it might seem. And the law's interaction between insurance and taxes looks like a sure-fire formula for confusion. For example:

- For the roughly 8 million people who signed up this year, the administration has set up automatic renewal. But consumers who go that route may regret it. They risk sticker shock by missing out on lower-premium options. And they could get stuck with an outdated and possibly incorrect government subsidy. Automatic renewal should be a last resort, consumer advocates say.

-An additional 5 million people or so will be signing up for the first time on HealthCare.gov and state exchange websites. But the Nov. 15-Feb. 15 open enrollment season will be half as long the 2013-2014 sign-up period, and it overlaps with the holiday season.

-Tens of millions of people who remained uninsured this year face tax penalties for the first time, unless they can secure an exemption.

- Of those enrolled this year, the overwhelming majority received tax credits to help pay their premiums. Because those subsidies are tied to income, those 6.7 million consumers will have to file new forms with their 2014 tax returns to prove they got the right amount. Too much subsidy and their tax refunds will be reduced. Too little, and the government owes them.
. . .
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said in an interview that he disagrees with making people pay back part of their premium subsidy. That would happen if someone made more money during the year and failed to report it to HealthCare.gov.

"Why should individuals be punished if they got a bump in salary?" said Pascrell. "To me, this was not the ACA I voted on."
Well, yes it was. Maybe you should have read the damn thing. What he really wanted was permanent subsidies, aka socialized medicine, regardless of income: Throw the bums out!

Midnite Music - "My Friend"

Reaches into the the bone pile and grabs:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Back From Fishing

I took a day off of exercising to take a day of walk on fishing with "Walleye" Pete Dahlberg (Four Seasons Guide Service) and 4 other people I hadn't fished with before.

Sunrise at the lower Hooper's Island Bridge, our first stop out of Solomon's:
The Hooper family made Dorchester County their family home in 1669. Henry Hooper had a large family: he was married twice and had 14 children. Henry Hooper was one of the first commissioners of Dorchester County. Many descendants of the original Henry Hooper followed in his footsteps and served on the Dorchester County legislature as well. Upon his death, Hooper left parcels of land, with names such as Hooper’s Chance, Hooper’s Lot, Hooper’s Fortune and Hooper’s Forrest to his children.

An old community, a few houses on a narrow island exposed to the bay, with fishing and crabbing as it's main source of employment. A crab scrape boat. It dredges for soft and hard crabs in the plentiful sea grass meadows on the eastern shore.
Some of the shoreline we fished. Typically we concentrated on points of land like this, and often caught 3-4 striped bass 15-20 inches at each one before moving on.
Great Egrets
One of the high, tree covered areas of Hoopers Island.  Most of the land is barely above the tide line, and floods in extreme tides.
Just a few Brown Pelicans. They stink a little in this kind of numbers, just like they did in Pismo Beach.
We got lucky and hit a hole near a point where we caught 3 Speckled Trout in about a minute. When we circled back to try it again, no more luck.  They were very abundant last year, but many appear to have been killed by a cold snap this last winter.
A small grassy island in the middle of a creek in the middle of Bloodsworth Island. We found a bunch of stripers up in a deep spot in the creek. Good luck getting there on a low tide.

Hooper's Island Lighthouse, on the way back across the bay in the late afternoon. We had a boat limit of 18-24 inch stripers, the 3 specks, and 4 bluefish.

Gone Fishin'

Back later.

Keeping Abreast of the News

A few semi-related articles, and the usual semi-related photos. First, good news for women, and so-so news for men:

Wearing a bra won't give you breast cancer: study
"There have been some concerns that one of the reasons why breast cancer may be more common in developed countries compared with developing countries is differences in bra-wearing patterns," Lu Chen, a researcher in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health, said in a statement.

"Our study found no evidence that wearing a bra increases a woman's risk for breast cancer."
And that was no matter how long she wore a bra each day, the age she started wearing one, and if it had an underwire or not.
So let me get this straight. The underwire acts likes a radio antenna and sucks the harmful microwave radiation and basks the boobs in carcinogenic radiation - was that the theory?
The rumor that bras can lead to breast cancer was promulgated by a theory that waste in the body cannot drain properly in women wearing bras.

"Given very limited biological evidence supporting such a link between bra wearing and breast cancer risk, our results were not surprising," Chen added.
Funny, bras were about the only thing I can think of that I haven't heard caused breast cancer somewhere along the way. Well, it's nice to have that myth busted, but you know, in some cases, it's better to be safe than sorry.

This next one is definately in the category of First World Problems: Replacing the fashion industry's definition of "nude"
Imagine this: you are a young African American woman who has run to the local department store to grab a “nude” colored bra to wear under a sheer outfit, say a game-day dress or a work interview blouse. But when you get to the store there is no “nude” lingerie, at least not for you. Bras in slightly different shades of pale peach abound, but there are few to no options for darker-skinned women and they aren’t advertised as nude-colored. How would it make you feel that the fashion industry and society at large has based its ideal of nude on Caucasian people? That the color of your skin doesn’t count as “nude?”

Fortunately, one lingerie company is shining a light on this glaring discrepancy and is actively redefining nude.Nubian Skin creates nude lingerie and hosiery for women of color and is built on the foundation that all women should have access to the same beauty products. The concept is so new that the brand’s online storefront hasn’t launched yet, but we posit the company will do quite well. After all, it is filling a hole in the market that larger lingerie brands have chosen to overlook.
Nude bra for smurfs.

Nubian Skin’s mission to bring nude products to women who aren’t white made us think about other subtle examples of white privilege we see in stores every day. For example, whenever you’ve had a minor cut or scrape and gone to reach for a Band-Aid, have you every used one that wasn’t made for light-skinned people? We guess probably not because flesh-colored Band-Aids for darker-skinned people don’t seem to exist.
I don't know about you, but I won't put a band-aid on a cut, unless it matches my skin perfectly.  Wrinkly, hairy and with freckles and age splotches.
Or think about nearly every advertisement you’ve ever seen for “nude” makeup or “flesh-colored” clothing? What exactly was the tone of those flesh colors? Almost definitely not shades of brown or anything darker than a pale pink, which is ridiculous considering nearly a third of the U.S. population was non-white as of the 2010 census.

We aren’t trying to condemn the entire fashion industry or all manufacturers of commercial goods as intentionally racist. What we are saying is there are subtle instances of racism ingrained into our daily lives; instances so commonplace they often go unnoticed. We commend Nubian Skin for recognizing the need for nude products that accurately represent nude for people who aren’t white.
Finally, last but not least, this banned commercial of Alexandria Morgan demonstrating a strapless bra.

"I wasn't expecting it to be banned," she says. "It's just a woman's body. You shouldn't be ashamed of that. It's empowering."

Despite the backlash, Morgan cannot be too upset. The video is still spreading across the world, a positive result for her and TomTom. She currently displays a screenshot of the video on both her Twitter and Instagram page, and it could be a strong career boost.

"It's incredible. I've had such positive reviews. It's really increased my following, she says. "I'm a runner. When you find a brand you can really get behind and they like you and you like them, a wonderful thing happens."