Geneva (AFP) – Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan for a seismic shift from the country’s all-private health insurance system to a state-run scheme.
Referendum results showed that almost 62 percent of voters had shot down a reform pushed by left-leaning parties which say the current private system is busting the budgets of ordinary residents.
“The Swiss population does not want a single national scheme.”
The results also underlined the national divisions over the hotly-contested issue as the country’s German-speaking regions voted against the plan, while their French-speaking counterparts were in favour.
“Our health system is among the top performers in the world. Competition between health insurers and freedom of choice for clients play a major role in this.”
– Swiss Insurance Association
Switzerland’s private insurance lobby hailed the vote.
Going public would have been a major shift for a country whose health system is often hailed abroad as a paragon of efficiency, but is a growing source of frustration at home because of soaring costs.
“Over the past 20 years in Switzerland, health costs have grown 80 percent and insurance premiums 125 percent,” ophthalmologist Michel Matter told AFP. Read the rest of this entry »
Leaked Audio Recording of Confidential Meeting Reveals: 70% of Illegals Released by ICE Don’t Appear for Follow-up AppointmentsPosted: September 25, 2014 | |
The AP reported in June that the administration would not say publicly how many immigrant families from Central America caught crossing into the U.S. it had released in recent months or how many of those subsequently reported back to the government after 15 days as directed.
“We only know this information because of a leaked audio recording (kudos to the whistleblower, whoever it is) from a meeting with anti-enforcement activists undoubtedly whining about how cruel ICE is.”
– Mark Krikorian
The AP noted that senior U.S. officials directly familiar with the issue, including at the Homeland Security Department and White House, had dodged the answer on at least seven occasions over two weeks, alternately saying that they did not know the figure or didn’t have it immediately at hand. The Homeland Security Department’s public affairs office during the same period did not answer roughly a dozen requests for the figures.
WASHINGTON (AP) —Alicia Caldwell reports: Tens of thousands of young families caught crossing the border illegally earlier this year subsequently failed to meet with federal immigration agents, as they were instructed, the Homeland Security Department has acknowledged privately.
An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments.
This should come as no surprise to anyone with a pulse. Yet it appears that Obama-administration officials think the released illegals are like the cowboys in Blazing Saddles, lining up to put a dime in the lone toll booth in the middle of the desert instead of just going around it. (If the Central American illegal aliens were so punctilious about obeying rules, they wouldn’t have snuck into someone else’s country in the first place.)
It’s true that ICE needs more family detention capacity, which is the reason for the planned new detention center south of San Antonio. But DHS has plans for a migration emergency such as we saw this summer, and it never activated it. They won’t say what’s in the plan, but from how Haitian and Cuban outflows were handled at Gitmo, I’d assume tent cities to enable detention of 100 percent of illegals are part of it. Once the politically appointed suits decided not to activate the emergency plan, it was inevitable that most of the illegals would simply be let go, never to be seen again.
No wonder morale among DHS employees is “abysmal.”
The ICE official made the disclosure in a confidential meeting at its Washington headquarters with immigration advocates participating in a federal working group on detention and enforcement policies. The Associated Press obtained an audio recording of Wednesday’s meeting and separately interviewed participants. Read the rest of this entry »
The pro-disease movement, championed by wealthy elites
Paul A. Offit writes: Almost 8,000 cases of pertussis, better known as whooping cough, have been reported to California’s Public Health Department so far this year. More than 250 patients have been hospitalized, nearly all of them infants and young children, and 58 have required intensive care. Why is this preventable respiratory infection making a comeback? In no small part thanks to low vaccination rates, as a story earlier this month in the Hollywood Reporter pointed out.
“Who is choosing not to vaccinate? The answer is surprising. The area with the most cases of whooping cough in California is Los Angeles County, and no group within that county has lower immunization rates than residents living between Malibu and Marina Del Rey, home to some of the wealthiest and most exclusive suburbs in the country.”
The conversation about vaccination has changed. In the 1990s, when new vaccines were introduced, the news media were obsessed with the notion that vaccines might be doing more harm than good. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine might cause autism, we were told. Thimerosal, an ethyl-mercury containing preservative in some vaccines, might cause developmental delays. Too many vaccines given too soon, the stories went, might overwhelm a child’s immune system.
“These are the kind of immunization rates that can be found in Chad or South Sudan. But parents in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica see vaccines as unnatural—something that conflicts with their healthy lifestyle. And they have no problem finding fringe pediatricians willing to cater to their irrational beliefs.”
Then those stories disappeared. One reason was that study after study showed that these concerns were ill-founded. Another was that the famous 1998 report claiming to show a link between vaccinations and autism was retracted by The Lancet, the medical journal that had published it.
The study was not only spectacularly wrong, as more than a dozen studies have shown, but also fraudulent. The author, British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, has since been stripped of his medical license.
But the damage was done. Countless parents became afraid of vaccines. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on TIME:
The number of Americans who have always been single and will never marry is at a historic high, says a new Pew Research report, partly because they don’t have jobs and partly because marriage is becoming less highly-regarded. Most people think it’s important for couples who intend to stay together to be married, but the number of single Americans who want to get married has dropped significantly even in the last four years.
The report, based on census data and Pew’s surveys, is the latest in a series of indicators that marriage’s stock is on a sharp downward trajectory. Fewer young people are getting married and many are getting married later. About 20% of Americans older than 25 had always been single in 2012, up from 9% in 1960. In the black community, the numbers are even starker: 36% of black Americans older than 25 have never been married, a…
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For the LA Times, Tony Barboza writes: Naturally occurring changes in winds, not human-caused climate change, are responsible for most of the warming on land and in the sea along the West Coast of North America over the last century, a study has found.
“Changing winds appear to explain a very large fraction of the warming from year to year, decade to decade and the long-term.”
The analysis challenges assumptions that the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been a significant driver of the increase in temperatures observed over many decades in the ocean and along the coastline from Alaska to California.
Changes in ocean circulation as a result of weaker winds were the main cause of about 1 degree Fahrenheit of warming in the northeast Pacific Ocean and nearby coastal land between 1900 and 2012, according to the analysis of ocean and air temperatures over that time.
– Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research
The study, conducted by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington, was published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the rest of this entry »
Her argument is rooted in the doctrine of “environmental justice,” sometimes called “environmental racism,” which is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the National Weather Service, the St. Louis area was not notably warmer this summer than it has ever been.
“Oppression and extreme weather combine to ‘incite’ militarized violence.”
“To me, the connection between militarized state violence, racism, and climate change was common-sense and intuitive,” 350.org Strategic Partnership Coordinator Deirdre Smith wrote.
“people of color also disproportionately live in climate-vulnerable areas.”
“Oppression and extreme weather combine to ‘incite’ militarized violence,” she continued. Weeks of rioting followed the killing on August 9 of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Read the rest of this entry »
‘RAPE CULTURE': Female Nurse Who Had Sex With Medicated Man Awaiting Heart Transplant Being Sued for DamagesPosted: September 17, 2014 | |
The suit accuses the facility of negligence because the nurse had a history of such things.”
“A nurse entered his room and ‘initiated unsolicited sexual relations, including intercourse'”
While a man was lying in his bed in a southwest suburban hospital, medicated and waiting for a heart transplant, a nurse entered his room and “initiated unsolicited sexual relations, including intercourse,” according to lawsuit filed Monday.
The lawsuit seeks $150,000 in damages
The patient and his wife filed the suit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn was negligent in employing the nurse who “had a propensity to initiate unauthorized physical contact with patients,” the suit stated. The nurse, who was also named as a defendant, is accused of battery.
“The alleged battery happened Oct. 12, 2012, while the man was a patient in the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit waiting for a heart transplant.”
In January, the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation reprimanded a nurse of the same name as the defendant listed in the suit. The reprimand was brought on by her failing “to report having been terminated from a facility for crossing professional boundaries with a patient.”
Does this mean the tracking industry can sue for slander?
Poorly encased wells are to blame for water contamination in fracked wells, not the controversial drilling process, according to a new study. The BBC reports:
The researchers used noble gases to trace the path of methane as these inert chemicals are not affected by microbial activity or oxidation. [...] By measuring the ratios of the noble materials to the methane they were able to accurately determine the distance to the likely source. [...]
“The mechanism of contamination looks to be well integrity,” said one of the authors, Prof Robert Jackson from Stanford University. [...] “In about half the cases we believe the contamination came from poor cementing and in the other half it came from well casings that leaked.” Read the rest of this entry »
Health officials say Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been admitted to a hospital and is believed to have a tumor.
“Ford appeared to be in good spirts during a debate on Tuesday night.”
“Humber Regional Hospital said in a statement Wednesday that Ford had been complaining of abdominal pains and that an examination has resulted in a working diagnosis of a tumor.
“The mayor became an international celebrity last year after he acknowledged using crack in a “drunken stupor” following months of denials.”
The statement said Ford had been suffering from stomach pains for at least three months and that they worsened in the last 24 hours. Read the rest of this entry »
In an interview with The Daily Beast, author Tom Shroder explains why psychedelics are so important to veterans, and the roadblocks researchers face getting it to them.
But with the widespread recreational use of LSD beginning the 1960s, came both fear from both the general public and the government. After 1970 (when LSD was put on the schedule 1 substance list) it wasn’t technically illegal to do research with psychedelics but rather virtually impossible, given the professional and regulatory hurdles.
More than 40 years later, the criminalization of Hofmann’s drug still persists. The means and approval to research the psychedelic on humans is few and far between. The freedom of sufferers who may benefit to access it is all but nonexistent.
Nowhere are the negative effects of psychedelics’ fate more pronounced than in the story of America’s veterans. Of the many illnesses for which the psychedelic-assisted therapy showed promise, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was one of the most profound.
An estimated 500,000 Iraq-Afghanistan military veterans are suffering from PTSD, an excruciating illness that is believed to fuel the estimated 20 suicides that result from that demographic per day. In FDA sanctioned studies using MDMA-assisted therapy to treat veterans with PTSD, the success rate has been astounding. Why has no one noticed? Read the rest of this entry »
Hibbert posted a picture of an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer, who had gotten out of his patrol car to give a pair of black boots to a homeless man near the 30th Street exit ramp off of Interstate 65, a local ABC affiliate reported.
— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) September 8, 2014
Tests of pilots killed in plane crashes over more than two decades show an increasing use of both legal and illegal drugs, including some that could impair flying, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
“The tests also revealed increased pilot use of all kinds of drugs, including drugs that could impair a pilot’s functioning as well as drugs used to treat potentially impairing conditions such as seizure disorders and psychiatric illness.”
The study examined toxicology reports for almost 6,700 pilots killed in crashes from 1990 to 2012. Not only did the share of pilots testing positive for a drug increase over that period, but the share of pilots who tested positive for multiple drugs increased as well. Pilots testing positive for at least one drug increased from 9.6 percent to 39 percent, while positive tests for two drugs rose from 2 percent to 20 percent and three drugs from zero to 8.3 percent.
Over the same period, new drugs were coming into use and the U.S. population was aging, creating greater demand for drugs. The toxicology tests “reflect tends in the general population and likely indicate a significant increase in drug use” by pilots as well, the study said. Read the rest of this entry »
NEW YORK—Following public outcry over his mishandling of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s aggravated assault of his then-fiancée, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that the league has adopted a new zero-tolerance policy toward all videotaped domestic abuse. “We hold our players to the highest standards both as professional athletes and as people, so any violence toward women that is recorded, authenticated, and then publicly distributed will be met with an automatic suspension and fine,” said Goodell, adding that the new, stricter guidelines reflect the league’s hard-line stance against any spousal abuse that is clearly and irrefutably captured on film. “I can assure you that any member of this league who strikes a woman in front of a live camera will face swift and heavy consequences. Read the rest of this entry »
Robert Tucker and Erik Casiano had been using the U.S. Postal Service and the mailroom of a VA Medical Center in the Bronx to receive and distribute cocaine since “at least November 2013,” according to the press release.
Tucker has worked for the VA since 1997, and in 2012 was promoted to supervisor of the Logistics Warehouse and Mail Center. Casiano, a pipefitter in the plumbing department, had worked for the center since 2012.
All told, the two attempted to distribute over 5 kilograms of cocaine. If found guilty, they each face a minimum of 10 years in prison, and could be jailed for life.
The investigation began in December 2013 when a package addressed to the center caught the attention of postal inspectors in Puerto Rico, who discovered 2 kilograms of cocaine inside. Undercover investigators watched the pair receive and exchange such packages four times before finally busting them after Tucker was caught on video surveillance handing one over to Casiano in exchange for $500. Casiano was arrested while attempting to drive away with the package. One kilogram of cocaine was seized from his car. Read the rest of this entry »
This is What a Two-Game Suspension Looks Like: The Ray Rice Casino Elevator Championship Fight: Knockout RoundPosted: September 8, 2014 | |
This is what a two game suspension looks like — Ray Rice delivering a a crushing punch to his fiancees face, knocking her out cold. From TMZ Sports.
Originally posted on TIME:
The controversy over the NFL’s Washington Redskins team name “isn’t high” on the Native American agenda, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told ABC Friday, but she added that it’s “surprising” the football franchise has yet to change its name. As Secretary of the agency overseeing the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Jewell works to uphold trust and treaty obligations with Native American tribes.
“Personally, I think we would never consider naming a team the ‘Blackskins’ or the ‘Brownskins’ or the ‘Whiteskins,'” said Jewell. “So, personally, I find it surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different.”
“But in talking with tribal leaders, this has not been the issue that they have talked about with me, and I think that there is debate, even among the Native American community, on the Washington Redskins, and certainly there are a lot of people who have pride in that team,” Jewell…
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Headline of the Day: ‘Breaking: Obama to Delay Immigration Action Until Voters Can’t Punish Democrats for it’Posted: September 6, 2014 | |
From Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey:
…The issue of politicization comes primarily from circumventing Congress, not just the timing of it. However, this makes the entire project look a lot more political now. If it’s the right thing to do, why hasn’t Obama done it already? Isn’t that what “leadership” is supposed to be about? Why would it be the wrong thing to do in early September but the right thing to do in late November?
As far as worrying about the damage it will do to “pass[ing] a broad overhaul,” that’s an argument for not issuing unilateral decrees at all. Does anyone believe that Congress will take the short period of time between now and the election to pass a massive comprehensive-immigration bill? They’ll be lucky to pass a continuing resolution that will take the federal budget to December in that time frame. After the election, attention will return to the rest of the FY2015 budget. Any movement on immigration would have to wait until the next session of Congress, and everyone knows it. Read the rest of this entry »
— VICE News (@vicenews) September 6, 2014
BEWARE of FALLING OBJECTS: Woman Killed by Falling Facade From Chicago Church, Oklahoma McDonald’s Sign Falls Trapping Two PeoplePosted: September 5, 2014 | |
A Chicago woman was killed Thursday after a piece of facade fell off a church in the South Loop neighborhood, police said.
The woman, identified by family members as 34-year-old Sara Bean, was walking in the 1900 block of South Michigan Avenue with her fiance around noon when a piece of masonry fell from the Second Presbyterian Church and struck her, police said.
“I just see something come down, and I look closely and I just see the lady fall down, really falls down, and the guy just starts yelling hysterically like something was really going on.”
– Broderick Adams, witness
“All of a sudden as I was looking at the menu I sort of saw a shadow on my hood and when I looked over that pole was just almost right in my face.”
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma…
When Weatherford fire crews got to the scene at the McDonald’s on N. Washington they immediately called for backup and alerted medical units, anticipating critical injuries.
“You’re first reaction is that it is going to be a horrific accident.”
– Fire Chief Mike Karlin
Congress is looking at legislation to protect the grid via the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act
Paul Bedard reports: Former top government officials who have been warning Washington about the vulnerability of the nation’s largely unprotected electric grid are raising new fears that troops from the jihadist Islamic State are poised to attack the system, leading to a power crisis that could kill millions.
“By one estimate, should the power go out and stay out for over a year, nine out of 10 Americans would likely perish.”
– Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington
“Inadequate grid security, a porous U.S.-Mexico border, and fragile transmission systems make the electric grid a target for ISIS,” said Peter Pry, one of the nation’s leading experts on the grid.
“At the afternoon press conference, Gaffney dubbed the potential crisis the ‘grid jihad.'”
Others joining Pry at a press conference later Wednesday to draw attention to the potential threat said that if just a handful of the nation’s high voltage transformers were knocked out, blackouts would occur across the country. Read the rest of this entry »