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Michelle Obama advised people to "be persistent" and "start the conversation early" about bringing up political talking points during Thanksgiving conversations
-- PICK A TIME
-- Start early: Don’t wait until the last minute—be sure to start the conversation early!
-- Integrate the talk into family time: Take advantage of downtime after meals or between holiday activities to start your talk.
-- THINK ABOUT HOW YOU’LL BRING IT UP
-- Make it personal: Be honest about your feelings and why this is important to you.
-- Be persistent, but keep it positive: Tell them you care about their health, and focus on the benefits that come from knowing that you have health insurance.
-- CHOOSE A PLACE
-- Get creative: Think about what matters to your family member. Make it memorable!
-- Find a Quiet Place to Shop: You can start your conversation anywhere, but to shop for health coverage, you will want a more quiet, private place to make a phone call or use the internet.
-- CONVERSATION TIPS
-- Start by asking: “Have you thought about signing up for health insurance on the new marketplace?”
-- Offer to walk them through it: “Would you like to take some time with me to sign up right now?”
-- Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it: “When do you plan on signing up?”
-- Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”
-- WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO COMMUNICATE:
-- Being covered helps you stay healthy and protects you in an emergency.
-- You can find a plan that fits your budget—financial assistance is available for those who qualify.
-- You get to choose the plan that’s right for you.
-- All the health insurance plans on the new marketplace provide free preventive care—including routine checkups, vaccinations and screenings.
The polls are showing what the job numbers have been showing for some time. Quits are supposed to fall during recessions and rise during recoveries (data from the JOLTS file at the BLS). The explanation is simple: during recessions people are afraid to quit their jobs. The longer the recession the greater the increase in quits as there is a pent up demand for people switching jobs. Not so during this recovery. Quits fells amazingly fell even further. Only now during the most recent three months is the quit rate back to the level during the recession.
Unbelievably, monthly job hires are now only slightly greater than they were during the recession. They are still 13% below the level prior to the recession and just 4% above the level during the recession.
From the Washington Post (click to make screen shot larger):
Democrats saying that the "nuclear option" really isn't that bad because other options are available for blocking nominations
The decision by Senate Democrats to eliminate filibusters for most judicial nominations only marginally enhanced President Obama’s power to reshape the judiciary, according to court watchers from across the political spectrum, because Republican senators can still veto his nominees to most currently vacant appeals court seats. The new Senate rule clears the way for eight appeals court nominees who have already had confirmation hearings to win approval with simple majority votes, including three on the powerful Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which reviews federal policies and regulations. But it left unchanged the Senate’s “blue slip” custom, which allows senators to block nominees to judgeships associated with their states. “It is hard to overstate the change’s importance for the D.C. Circuit, which has a disproportionate impact on the world, but it won’t have overwhelming impact elsewhere,” Kathryn Ruemmler, the White House counsel, said in an interview. “The blue slip rule for judges has been more problematic than the filibuster, in part because it is a silent, unaccountable veto.” . . . After the vote to change the filibuster rule, Mr. Leahy reiterated his support for the blue slip rule. Still, he also said he could change his mind if it were abused — without defining “abuse.” . . . “Some Democratic appointees may be more attracted to retiring in this window because they have more confidence that Obama will be able to appoint a young successor,” he said. . . .The "blue slip" rule won't help stop nonjudicial nominations. I should also note that the "blue slip" rule has been changed in the past. Sometimes it has required that both Senators from a state use their "blue slip," but at other times it has only required one Senator doing it.
- The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 prohibits anyone from having a firearm in a school zone. But that law includes the same exception recognized by the states identified in NBC News' survey: It doesn't apply if the weapons are "approved by a school in the school zone."
- Alabama (which bans possessing a weapon on school grounds only if the carrier has "intent to do bodily harm")
- California (with approval of the superintendent)
- Connecticut (with approval of "school officials")
- Hawaii (no specific law)
- Idaho (with school trustees' approval)
- Iowa (with "authorization")
- Kentucky (with school board approval)
- Massachusetts (with approval of the school board or principal)
- Mississippi (with school board approval)
- Montana (with school trustees' permission)
- New Hampshire (ban applies only to pupils, not adults)
- New Jersey (with approval from the school's "governing officer")
- New York (with the school's approval)
- Oregon (with school board approval)
- Rhode Island (with a state concealed weapons permit)
- Texas (with the school's permission)
- Utah (with approval of the "responsible school administrator")
- Wyoming (as long as it's not concealed)
And in any event, Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Steve Stockman, R-Texas, have introduced measures in the new Congress that would repeal the federal law altogether.
Here are the 18 states that allow adults to carry loaded weapons onto school grounds with few or minor conditions:
Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters told The Associated Press that the administration will launch the Spanish-language version in early December. . . .
The administration now says it will hold off promoting the Spanish language site until later in the year, saying it wants to gather feedback from advocacy groups after the site launches.
“We think it's important to engage with key stakeholders and organizations in this process and get their feedback,” Peters told the AP.
Millions of Latinos remain without health insurance, and their enrollment is considered central to the broader success of the Affordable Care Act. Around three in 10 Latinos are uninsured — more than any other ethnic group.
In the interim, the administration has said that Spanish-speaking consumers can call the bilingual ObamaCare hotline. . . .
NFL runs gun control ads for last two years but refuses to run Super Bowl commercial on "personal protection and fundamental rights"
But during the 2012 and 2013 Super Bowls, the NFL allowed these gun control ads by Mayor Bloomberg's gun control organization.
Not only did the gun control group get the ads on TV, but they also got a lot of very friendly news coverage from those ads being on TV (e.g., here, here, and here).
Here are the NFL rules on "prohibited advertising categories"
5. Firearms, ammunition or other weapons are prohibited; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.But the first ad that the NFL is banning never mentions selling firearms or ammunition. At the very end of the ad it mentions the name of the company (Daniel Defense) and shows the company logo (a picture of a gun), and Daniel Defense does in fact sell a few products other than guns (apparel and training videos).
CBS News has a devastating discussion on small businesses dropping insurance because of how Obamacare is increasing insurance prices
In this piece Sharyl Attkisson notes how the Obama administration knew that small business employees would lose their health insurance because of Obamacare (of course, many large businesses will also be dropping coverage). Obviously a lot more than the 5 million the administration has recently conceded would be effected. In 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated Obamacare would "collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 14 million." Most devastatingly, CBS News reports on two small business owners who are cancelling their worker's insurance because they say they can no longer afford it.
Here is a summary of research on the deterrence effect of the death penalty from my book Freedomnomics (2007). The book has a detailed discussion of these papers for those who would like to learn more about this issue.
Click on the figure to make it larger.
University of California at Berkeley math instructor dares to cross union picket line to teach class
What could make a professor more popular than calling off class to support a social movement? At the University of California at Berkeley, an instructor has seen his email message to students about not canceling class go viral -- with largely positive reactions and some criticism as well. Alexander Coward, a lecturer in mathematics, emailed his freshman calculus class last week to confirm that class would not be canceled -- despite a union protest that drew the support of many professors and graduate student instructors who did call off class. "Whatever the alleged injustices are that are being protested about tomorrow, it is clear that you are not responsible for those things, whatever they are, and I do not think you should be denied an education because of someone else’s fight that you are not responsible for,” he wrote in the email. Members of the university’s largest employee union, which represents the university's service, skilled craft and patient care workers, were joined by some faculty members, students and staff in protesting what they consider to be unsafe staffing levels at the University of California’s hospitals and campuses’ health care clinics, said Todd Stenhouse, a spokesman for the union, AFSCME 3299. . . .
More fallout from NSAgate, spying risks $35 billion in US Technology Sales, may help totalitarian countries
News about U.S. surveillance disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has “the great potential for doing serious damage to the competitiveness” of U.S. companies such as Cupertino, California-based Apple, Facebook Inc., and Microsoft Corp., Richard Salgado, Google’s director for law enforcement and information security, told a U.S. Senate panel Nov. 13. “The trust that’s threatened is essential to these businesses.” The spying revelations have led governments around the world to consider “proposals that would limit the free flow of information,” Salgado said. “This could have severe unintended consequences, such as a reduction in data security, increased cost, decreased competitiveness, and harm to consumers.” Countries such as China and Russia that are seeking to impose more national controls on the Internet are finding their views gaining ground. Rising economic powers, including India, Mexico and South Korea, are weighing further limits. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, a target of NSA surveillance, is calling for a new conversation about Internet governance with support from Germany, whose chancellor, Angela Merkel, also was an NSA target.. . .
. . . The top-secret papers – leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden – show that the NSA monitored porn proclivities of six targets that the NSA claimed are “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine the target’s credibility and reputation, according to the Huffington Post, which obtained the documents. None of the six Muslims are accused of being involved in terror plots, and one is described as a “US person,” suggesting the target is a US citizen or legal resident. . . . It is not known if NSA went through with its plans to discredit the Muslims, either publicly or privately.
Robber forces an employee to his knees and points gun at the employee's head, stopped by concealed handgun permit holder
Tom talks hunting prep with Steve Ledin of OpticsPlanet.com.
Letter 145 wordsDear Letters Editor: The Washington Post uncritically accepts the Obama administration claim
that the GM bailout lost only $10 billion ("Closing the door on the GM
investment," 11/23). But that estimate depends on believing the bailout
was limited to $50 billion in TARP funds. The list of funds funneled to GM includes: waiving $45.4 billion in taxes
on future profits, exempting all product liability on cars sold before the
bailout, and $360 million in stimulus funds. Other programs are harder to
quantify but include some of the $15.2 billion that went to Cash for
Clunkers and the $7,500 tax credit for those who buy the Chevy Volt. Take an example. Suppose the government had waived another $50 billion in
GM's tax liabilities before selling GM's stock. The stock price would
surely rise appreciably. But would doing that then mean the government
actually profited from the original bailout? Hardly. Sincerely, John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
US Supreme Court will decide if the Obamacare contraception mandate “the least restrictive means" of obtaining goal of making contraception available?
“I think there’s a strong argument that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in this particular case, would allow Hobby Lobby to deny certain contraception coverage without having to pay the fine that would otherwise be imposed them under the Affordable Care Act,” said Kurt Lash, a constitutional law professor at the University of Illinois. The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act prevents the government from “substantially burden[ing] a person's exercise of religion” unless it “furthers a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned chain of arts and craft stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a cabinet company owned by Mennonites, argue that the law should prevent them from having to offer their employees contraception as part of their health insurance coverage. The two companies are citing the 1993 law to back their cases. Kennedy wrote the 1993 decision that allowed a Florida Santeria group that performed animal sacrifices to do so despite a local ban on the practice. Under Roberts, the court unanimously ruled in 2006 that a Brazil-based religious sect could use an illegal hallucinogenic drug in their ceremonies, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “We already know that there is a majority on the court that not only is willing to uphold and apply [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] but who in the past has been very skeptical of the government denying claims when they’ve been giving other groups exemptions,” Lash said. It is dangerous to predict the justices' decisions, however, and both of these cases dealt with religious institutions, not for-profit businesses. . . .
Michael Bloomberg to spend his billions of dollars on gun control, immigration reform, and "climate change"
But he also held out the prospect of wading directly into congressional races next year. Bloomberg, asked about raising climate change in political contests, initially noted that there’s a “limited number” of things he can focus on, emphasizing gun control and immigration.
But later Bloomberg added that he would do “everything I can to help those people who want to protect the health of our planet get reelected.” An aide later clarified that Bloomberg is “leaving the door open” to climate-related political work. . . .
Bloomberg could get involved in political races through his super-PAC or individual donations.
He hasn’t been shy about wading into politics. He endorsed President Obama for reelection late in the 2012 campaign, largely on the basis of climate change policy. . . .