Seriously considering filling my pockets with glitter, and whenever someone near me says something really stupid or rude, I’ll just reach into my pocket with a dead expression, release the glitter into the sky above their head, and watch it shower over them like a baptism of stupid.
you might be the jerk of the week if you happen to be Representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) and tweeted the following…
I love when our politicians clearly add fuel to fire instead of trying to come up with bipartisan solutions. Really helpful.
If you have any thoughts for Representative Stockman, you can find his Facebook page here, tweet to him @StockmanSenate, or contact him directly at (202) 225-1555, at his office in Washington DC (326 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 or on his website.
Yes, those of us who live in Boston and actually use the MBTA for public transportation would love to see extended hours on buses and subways throughout our city. It would be life altering.
It would also be completely idiotic, and I’m glad to see I’m not alone in my thoughts. Joseph Levendusky wrote an opinion piece in yesterday’s Boston Globe highlighting precisely why extending service hours on the MBTA is a poor choice. Levendusky echoed my sentiments from an earlier post when I said that the MBTA
…shouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of extended hours until the agency can offer frequent, efficient, reliable, and sustainable service to the areas it currently serves – and without a negative operating margin. Without those fixes in place, public transportation service during extended hours will be subject to the same delays, inconsistencies and breakdowns, and will be yet another source of discontent with the MBTA for Bostonians.
Seriously, if you think late night service with the way the MBTA is currently run is a good idea, then you should hop onto Twitter and search for #mbtaannoy. The MBTA should be focusing on fixing what it currently has before overextending itself. Levendusky’s comments are perfectly stated too, noting that
Now is the time for our political and transportation leaders to focus on presenting comprehensive plans to address crowding and service issues that are currently infuriating T riders, and to sketch out a vision of the MBTA of the future. Our Commonwealth’s competitiveness and our quality of life will not by improved by a T that is open late unless the T first succeeds at the core mission of providing quality service during traditional hours of operation.
If you were just starting to have your faith in humanity restored after the dust settled from people beating each other up on Black Friday, well… there’s this
Yes that’s right, Justine Sacco made a joke about getting AIDS. That tweet put the senior director of corporate communications for IAC (InterActiveCorp – owners of OKCupid, Match.com, DailyBeast to name a few) in pretty hot water on the interwebs late last week. Not surprisingly, she is no longer employed by IAC. It’s really the second case of watching what you say, including on social media. Again, even though you CAN say whatever you want, your freedom of speech doesn’t mean your employer (and a lot of other people) wont be offended.
That said, Sacco did issue an apology… you be the judge.
Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet. There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.
Funny story – I’ve never witnessed polio or smallpox… but I don’t go making jokes about them either…
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Affordable Care Act. One need only scroll down the posts on here to see many on the topic. So as a supporter, one can imagine my disappointment with the lackluster debut of the health insurance exchange website healthcare.gov (yes, I’m being kind here…). And also why this post will be so surprising to many.
For those of you living in states that decided to run their own insurance exchanges, chances are that you are experiencing far less issues. Reports from Washington, California, New York, and Kentucky have been largely positive while Oregon’s rollout has been a little bit of a disaster.
But Oregon’s problems pale in comparison to the failure of the federally-run website, which is responsible for running the exchanges for the majority of the states. I don’t think I need to detail them out for anyone, especially if you pay attention to the news. To say that the website failure is disheartening is an understatement. The President, rightfully so, is mad as hell – as he should be. And Secretary Sebelius is taking the heat.
Here’s what is so upsetting. The Affordable Care Act is the President’s signature legislative achievement (you can all argue out there whether it’s the fault of the GOP or the President that no other major legislation has been passed – I’ll reserve my comments). The insurance exchanges, and tied with them the individual mandate, are the MOST visible portion of the law to the general public. The general public isn’t going to notice Medicaid expansion, nor will they notice the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The American people aren’t going to notice the efforts to boost primary care. And they’re only going to notice the benefits of free preventative services AFTER they already have health insurance. Those of us who support the law know that it’s “more than a website”, but the website is the public face of the law to many.
The fact that the government had months to design the website only adds salt to the wounds. But they obviously missed the mark, especially when U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park has said that the government expected HealthCare.gov to draw 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users – which was clearly a gross miscalculation. When Massachusetts launched its own website years ago, early problems hardly mattered because very few people used the website early on, and most people in the state were already insured. The country as a whole is a completely different picture, and the federal government should have been prepared for an onslaught of users, especially given the amount of press and attention the law has garnered over the last 5 years. The people finally had a tangible component of the law. Hell, I was tempted to check it out even though I have insurance AND live in Massachusetts.
No, the government couldn’t sit back and wait and see – a point that should have been hammered home to every individual working on the website. Because the expectation that 50 or 60 thousand people would use the website on day 1 was blown out of the water, and the government should have expected far more. As Steven Stromberg notes, “The government’s health-care mavens shouldn’t just have expected high Web traffic, they should have expected that high interest would mean that people’s impressions about the site would be formed early-on, impressions that would be hard to dispel later.”
The final truly upsetting part is that the government shutdown, which highlighted congressional dysfunction in Washington DC, provided the perfect opportunity for the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services to prove just how much good the Affordable Care Act could actually do. A perfect opening to the exchange was unlikely (as with any new major technological undertaking), but a good opening with less glitches would have provided the President ample fuel to blast the health law opponents. Instead, the website’s failure has done the exact opposite.
The good news, if there is any to be had, is that supposedly the feds know what needs to be fixed and are working hard along with insurers to fix the website. The bad news is no one really knows how long that will take.
Everyone in the medical community is a little superstitious. For example, most of us don’t want to hear someone say “hope you have a quiet night” because for some reason those always end up being the busiest nights. Here’s another example of that hospital paranoia…
“The hospital just listens to you and then says ‘I’m going to f*ck him so hard and totally screw him over’”
This is a great piece from the New York Times about the high price that hospitals charge patients for normal saline. Yes, normal saline – the highly complicated combination of sodium chloride and dihydrogen monoxide. Better known as salt and water.
One-liter IV bags normally contain nine grams of salt, less than two teaspoons. Much of it comes from a major Morton Salt operation in Rittman, Ohio, which uses a subterranean salt deposit formed millions of years ago. The water is local to places like Round Lake, Ill., or Rocky Mount, N.C., where Baxter and Hospira, respectively, run their biggest automated production plants under sterility standards set by the Food and Drug Administration.
Yup… Morton salt, which most of us have in the kitchen at home, and water – you know, that stuff that comes out of the faucet. The cost to produce a “bag” (one liter or just over a quart) of normal saline was approximately $1.07 in 2012. According to the article, a liter of normal saline is the “rare medical item that is cheaper in the United States than in France, where the price at a typical hospital in Paris last year was 3.62 euros, or $4.73.”
But the article goes on to dive into one of the biggest problems in health care costs, one not limited to normal saline but probably the most egregious given the humble nature of this life-saving fluid. Health care has become like any other business, brimming with middle-men and excessive markups that are clouded in mystery due to disclosure agreements and proprietary rights.
One of the patients in the story was charged $546 for six liters of saline that cost the hospital $5.16, not including the charge for administration of the solution and emergency room services. That amounts to a nearly 10,600% markup.
No wonder we have the highest GDP spending on health care in the world…