Apr 042014

Capitalism will sell you a poison, sell you an antidote, sell you a funeral, and sell your survivors commemorative plates upon which they will find their poison. And the profiteer at the top will use the money to make sure no one changes the system.

 Posted by at 3:34 pm on Fri 04/04/14
Apr 042014

I’m sure they’ll be rewarded. Now, the Koch Brothers, ad nauseum, can profit from “the general gratitude” of every single member of Congress. I hope to live long enough to piss on Roberts’ grave.

Supreme Court says political influence isn’t corruption | Albuquerque Journal News By Thomas Cole / Of the Journal, PUBLISHED: Friday, April 4, 2014

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote:

“In a series of cases over the past 40 years, we have spelled out how to draw the constitutional line between the permissible goal of avoiding corruption in the political process and the impermissible desire simply to limit political speech. We have said that government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.”

Roberts also wrote, “Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects.” …

Campaign finance restrictions should be seen as a means to strengthen the First Amendment, rather than weaken it, the [Justice Breyer] wrote. “Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard,” he said.

Breyer also said:

“Taken together with Citizens United … today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

Supreme Court says political influence isn’t corruption | Albuquerque Journal News

 Posted by at 8:05 am on Fri 04/04/14
Mar 262014

This is not the first time our city police force has shot and killed a suspect. Certainly not the first time this year, maybe not the first time this month. Too many people have been killed by APD. We need to investigate non-lethal tools.

Blame the War on Drugs and, especially, the War on Terror for turning our police into soldiers with an occupation force mentality. The cop on the beat and the soldier overseas look exactly a like.

Kudos to the Mayor for showing his humanity and shame on our brand-new police chief showing his lack thereof.

Photos and video at the link.

Mayor calls APD shooting ‘horrific … unsettling’ | ABQJournal Online

Mayor Richard Berry called it “horrific” and “unsettling.”

Several city councilors – on both sides of the aisle – said they were disturbed by what they saw.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a former district judge and the governor also weighed in.

Each called for a thorough, independent investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department’s shooting of a mentally ill homeless man, James M. Boyd, who was caught illegally camping in the Sandia foothills last week.

Video released by APD on Friday showed officers firing at the man, who was armed with two knives but appeared to be turning away from officers when shots rang out.

Debate over the shooting didn’t end at the New Mexico line, either, as the video attracted national attention. Viewers from across the nation commented on the video, which was picked up by the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News and other news organizations.

Mayor calls APD shooting ‘horrific … unsettling’ | ABQJournal Online

 Posted by at 9:03 am on Wed 03/26/14
Jan 242014

This is nauseating. We sell our vistas cheap to scoundrels who profit at our expense while sticking needles in our eyes. It is shameful. BAN ALL BILLBOARDS EVERYWHERE! I’d like to know who paid whom for this sweet deal.

NM officials to allow digital signs along highways | ABQJournal Online

By Associated Press | Posted: 6:44 am

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State officials will allow digital billboards along interstate highways and other federal routes in New Mexico.

The state Transportation Commission on Thursday approved rule changes that will legalize electronic billboards.

The current rules hadn’t been revised since being adopted in 1998.

The commission approved an amendment that requires off-premises digital billboards to be spaced at least 1,000 feet apart regardless of face orientation.

The state Department of Transportation and representatives of Scenic America and the outdoor advertising industry also agreed to an amendment to restrict off-premises digital billboards to municipalities, towns and villages.

Outdoor advertisers already use digital signs in some places in New Mexico, including within the city of Albuquerque.

Critics say the signs are visual blight that damage the night sky, but outdoor advertising companies deny that claim.

NM officials to allow digital signs along highways | ABQJournal Online

Note that you can place 5 of these signs within one mile. Are you surprised that the Industry denies the claim that these are a blight? They LIE for profit. How long before they demand we pay for power out to any remote stretch? Once the power is there, how long before someone says, Hey, let’s sell liquor and lottery tickets here. How long before billboards flash “liquor and lottery tickets ahead” every 1000 feet for a hundred miles. Shut it down NOW while you can.

 Posted by at 11:26 am on Fri 01/24/14
Jan 092014

Merri and I each have an “orphaned” health insurance account, as well as accounts that kinda-sorta work. We know exactly how the first accounts became orphaned: During setup, SSN was listed as optional, so we opted to leave it out initially. Turns out that up until a month ago (perhaps still), there was no way to add SSN later. We got orphaned because the Fed site let us select BCBS and regarded the setup as successful, but BCBS *requires* SSN, so Fed think we’re set up and BCBS had no way of accepting our original applications.

Do you think the Feds actually understand this specific problem? Don’t bet on it.

At the time, in addition to not being able to add SSN to an existing account, there was no way to delete an account (that has changed). We were forced to create new accounts from scratch, filling in the SSN more than once as we went.

Now, we both have indications that the second accounts have been established. I have yet to receive a card or bill. Mer had to take a check by hand to BCBS, and later they said they never received it. She still can’t schedule automatic payments online. I’m not even trying. Fortunately, BCBS has “magnanimously” moved the payment due dates. I hope they informed the Feds that SSN isn’t optional for them.

Make sure you REALLY have an account with proof of payment and an account number. peace, mjh

Some find health insurers have no record of them | ABQJournal Online

But orphaned files — when the insurer has no record of enrollment — are particularly concerning because the companies have no automated way to identify the presumed policyholder. They say they have to manually compare the lists of enrollees the government sends them with their own records because the government never built an automated system that would do the work much faster.

“It’s an ongoing concern,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the industry trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans. “Health plans can’t process enrollments they haven’t received from the exchange.”

Julie Bataille, communications director for the federal health care rollout, disputes the industry’s view.

“We have fixed the issues that we knew were a problem, and we are now seeing nearly zero errors in the work moving forward,” she said.

Some find health insurers have no record of them | ABQJournal Online

 Posted by at 5:00 pm on Thu 01/09/14
Dec 312013

So, we’ll inject these antibiotic multipacks into soldiers (and ultimately everyone in the military, then everyone in government service). We’ll piss out the unused antibiotics, where they will accumulate in the environment having what consequences, exactly? We don’t know and we’ll only find out the hard way. But someone will get rich reinjecting these monthly/annually and some poor visionary will get an award. Science marches on over fields of endless destruction.

In fact, the antibiotics would remain imprisoned in the protocells unless bacteria get into the body.

“They’re engineered to activate if there is bacteria; otherwise, they will just be excreted from the body,” Carnes said.

via DOD wants ‘protocell’ to protect soldiers | ABQJournal Online.

 Posted by at 3:01 pm on Tue 12/31/13
Dec 232013

… but I’m a blogger. You may know today is the deadline for obtaining health insurance through Healthcare. gov and its local tentacles. I’ll spare you most of the details but here are a few observations:

Comparing available plans works fairly well. What’s unclear is why one provider (say, BlueCross) has more than one Silver plan (Community vs Advantage; Pres has Bronze A, B, C, and D). On close inspection, it appears one pays more for Advantage without any increase in benefits. Can that be true?

One can go directly to an insurer, bypassing the central sites. Blue Cross does not list the cheaper “Community” plans on their website, therefore you pay more to go directly to BCBS. WTF?

Insurance is still ridiculously complex: deductibles, co-pay vs co-insurance, out-of-pocket, in or out of network, HMO vs PPO (really? still?).

All of this I blame on the Insurance Industry. But, now on to

Can you imagine if you got “we’re too busy” or “page not found” on Amazon? NEVER.

In setting up an account, you are told SSN is optional. SSN is NOT optional. For example, a friend skipped SSN and was “successful” in buying coverage from BCBS. But BCBS uses SSN for records. She’s still having trouble getting them to acknowledge payment, though eventually she got a card from them.

You CANNOT enter your SSN after the setup of an account. I left out SSN, got all the way to the end, got “confirmation” of insurance with a note that I had to verify my citizenship. At that point, there is no option to enter an SSN. There is an option to upload one’s passport but no indication of acceptable format — it just hangs for me.

I saw one opportunity to Pay Now for my first premium. When I selected that button, my browser blocked the pop-up. When I told my browser to allow popups from, it reloaded the page and the button was gone.

I have documentation indicating that my initial application was successful but that I need to prove I’m a citizen and make a payment, neither of which I can do. So, do I have insurance?

 Posted by at 3:17 pm on Mon 12/23/13