The following statement was jointly released on September 23, 2017 by the American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, America's Health Insurance Plans, and the BlueCross BlueShield Association regarding the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation.
We agree that the bill will cause patients and consumers to lose important protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions. Without these guaranteed protections, people with significant medical conditions can be charged much higher premiums and some may not be able to buy coverage at all.
Paul Krugman: Twitter
It takes a truly terrible bill to get the whole US health sector to write a letter in the style of Zola's j'accuse.
Henry Rollins: I Miss Having a President (LA Weekly)
One thing that Trump has forced me to realize is that anything that could be called "presidential" is only what presidents before him did. Anything that is now considered precedent at one point had to be unprecedented. Could all these embarrassing and potentially deadly blowouts Trump commits on an almost daily basis be setting new precedents?
KATIE BUENNEKE: Harry Styles Is a Talented Musician, But Is He Having Any Fun? (LA Weekly)
Anytime a singer from a boy band goes solo, an inescapable question follows him: Can he survive outside the system that built him? Can he hack it on his own? In the case of Harry Styles, formerly of One Direction, the answer is yes, he can. But the better question is, does he want to?
Lucy Mangan: Sex and sleep are nice, but money still makes the world go round (Sydney Morning Herald)
Not for the first time, I find myself looking at the results of a poll and thinking: who are these people? The latest source of bafflement is the 8250 men and women quizzed by Oxford Economics and the UK's National Centre for Social Research about their levels of wellbeing and happiness. According to their survey, having a satisfactory sex life and getting a good night's sleep stand you in better stead than earning more money.
Lucy Mangan: Shared cafe tables are my idea of hell (Sydney Morning Herald)
Another day, another laminated page to add to my groaning file entitled "WTF Is Wrong With People?" I was sitting in an empty cafe. It was just me and my laptop at one table and the barista behind the counter. Another person enters, surveys the plenitude of vacant seats spread invitingly across 700 square feet of retail space - and sits in the one right next to me.
Lucy Mangan: Would you mind please just shutting up (Sydney Morning Herald)
"You've gone monosyllabic again," my husband complains. I sigh. I wish I could explain that I haven't gone monosyllabic, I am monosyllabic. I've just made an exception for him - and a few other people - over the years. But the older I get, the more my natural inclinations reassert themselves and the less I can bring myself to speak.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
Janet shared the link below. Donnie Jr. is almost as stupid and racist as his dad. I love when twitter savages him:
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
WHAT IS INTERSECTIONALITY?
"I TALKED TO TRUMP SUPPORTERS AND SURVIVED."
LOCK HIM UP!
THE SMELL OF SULFUR PERMEATES WASHINGTON DC.
THE FEDS ARE COMING!
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Starting to get hot again. Sigh.
Harry Potter and the Censors' Wrath
Banned Books Week
The American Library Association (ALA)'s yearly Banned Books Week, held this year between Sunday September 24 and Saturday September 30, is both a celebration of freedom and a warning against censorship.
Launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries, the event spotlights the risk of censorship still present across the U.S.
The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) also compiles a yearly ranking of the Top Ten Challenged Books to inform the public about censorship efforts in schools and libraries across the country. The body considers books challenged when someone requests that access to the book be restricted, for instance that a library remove it. In 2016, the first five books on the list contained LGBT characters and all five were removed from libraries where they were challenged-the 50 percent removal rate that year marked a significant uptick, James LaRue, director of the OIF, told Publishers Weekly.
One of the most challenged books on record is the Harry Potter series, which topped the aggregated 2000-2009 ranking of the decade. J.K. Rowling's book series about the school years of a young magician fighting against the forces of dark magic, extremism and racism in the wizardry world has faced numerous calls for censorship from some Christian religious leaders who disapprove of the magical world and condemned the books as satanic.
J.K. Rowling recently faced calls to burn her books by supporters of President-for-now Donald Trump (R-Dark Lord) angered at the author's criticism of the U.S. leader on Twitter-though it wouldn't have been the first time the novels had been set alight.
Banned Books Week
Takes A Knee
Stevie Wonder knelt before a packed New York festival Saturday in a protest for peace as he led stars and politicians in pressing for sustained aid to eliminate the world's worst poverty.
On a balmy late summer night, thousands converged on Central Park for the live-broadcast Global Citizen Festival which hands out tickets for free to fans who take actions such as petitioning their governments to support development assistance.
With President-for-now Donald Trump (R-Crooked) proposing sweeping aid cuts, the concert had set a goal of building political momentum in the world's largest donor nation. But in a deeply divided United States, another Trump controversy came to the forefront.
Wonder took the stage and knelt, emulating a gesture popularized by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem to denounce racial injustice. Trump on Friday angrily denounced such protests, using profanity to demand that teams fire the athletes.
"Tonight, I'm taking a knee for America," the blind soul legend said as took to the ground, his son Kwame Morris clutching his arm.
Nasa Research Facility Named In Her Honour
One of Nasa's "human computers", who helped plan the mission that saw an American astronaut orbit the Earth for the first time, has opened a new research centre named in her honour.
The key contribution of Katherine Johnson, 99, and other African-American women to the US space programme was recounted in the film Hidden Figures, which gave overdue recognition to their work. The film was the highest grossing Best Picture nominee at the Oscars.
The maths involved in the orbital mission was highly complex, and the computers of the day were prone to technical hiccups.
So as astronaut John Glenn was going through the preflight checklist - upon which his life depended - he insisted that Ms Johnson double check the calculations.
But, as Ms Johnson was helping the US triumph over its Cold War adversary, racist laws were still widely enforced - the Civil Rights Act ending local and state segregation did not come into force until 1964.
A Lot Like Modern Human Children
Neanderthals were a more primitive relative of human but we have a lot more in commonwith these extinct group than it may appear. Scientists have just discovered that Neanderthal children grew in much the same way modern human kids do.
Scientists analyzed the 49,000-year-old skeleton of a Neanderthal child to determine how kids from this ancient human species developed. The bones, which were found in northern Spain and belong to a child who was between 7 and 8 years old, show "an overall growth rate similar to that of modern human children," according to their study in the journalScience.
The study explains that previous research has indicated faster growth in Neanderthals based on analysis of their teeth. While this new analysis used teeth to determine the age of the child being studied, the researchers also had other portions of the head to work with, as well as other body parts.
But they found small differences in sections of the vertebrae, which were still at a stage of development modern human kids reach a couple of years earlier - some of the bones had not yet fused. A close look at features at the base of the skull also "suggest that brain growth was not yet completed." While a modern human child would have a brain about 95 percent the size of an adult's by that time, this Neanderthal kid's brain was at 87.5 percent capacity.
Neanderthals had larger skulls than modern humans and it's possible their brains were larger as well.
Private Jet Is Needed To Reach Real Americans
Taxpayers have paid for Tom Price, the head of the Health and Human Services Department, to fly on private planes at least 24 times, a decision the department defended by saying Price wanted to connect with ordinary Americans.
The cost of the trips exceeded $300,000, Politico reported. Charmaine Yoest, an HHS spokeswoman, defended the cost in a statement, saying Price was justified in taking the flights because he wanted to hear from many Americans.
But Politico found that Price could have used a commercial plane for many of the trips on which he used a private jet. For example, the outlet reported that HHS paid $17,760 for a chartered flight from Washington to Nashville, Tennessee, on June 6 when there were commercial flights available for just a few hundred dollars. Price also used a private plane to fly to the swanky Aspen Ideas Festival in June, a trip Politico estimated to have cost more than $7,000.
Price isn't the only Trump Cabinet official to use private air travel for government work. The Associated Press reported that Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have also traveled by private aircraft. A Department of Education spokesperson told the AP that DeVos pays for all of her own travel, and an SBA spokesman said McMahon paid for the difference between private and commercial services out of pocket. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and financier, requested a government plane to take him and his wife on their honeymoon, but ultimately did not get one.
Denounces Ousted Auditor
The Vatican on Sunday revealed the reason behind the hasty departure of its auditor general, accusing him of having illegally hired a firm to spy on the private lives of Vatican personnel.
The Vatican made the revelation after Libero Milone broke three months of silence to declare that he resigned under threat of arrest for what he said were trumped-up charges.
Milone told reporters Saturday that he was told on June 19 that Pope Francis had lost confidence in him. He said he was subsequently subject to an "aggressive" interrogation by Vatican police who seized material from his office and told him to resign or face arrest.
Milone's resignation had raised eyebrows because he was only two years into a five-year term, and had been seen as a key part of Francis' efforts to reform the Vatican's finances. Along with Cardinal George Pell, he was tasked with overseeing the Holy See's budgets and making sense of the finances of the Vatican's various departments.
Pell recently returned to his native Australia to face trial on historic sex abuse allegations, which he denies. His secretariat for the economy, which includes Milone's office, is being run by underlings for now. Milone said he didn't exclude a connection between his removal and Pell's departure, suggesting that the Vatican's "old guard" was trying to stymie their reforms.
New Morning Show
After a rough transition from Fox News to NBC, news anchor Megyn Kelly is looking to turn a new page with her daily talk show that begins this week.
Her morning show, "Megyn Kelly Today," will air weekdays on NBC starting Monday. Kelly is taking over the 9 a.m. hour of the immensely popular "Today" show, potentially giving her a boost from a built-in audience. The new show, taped in front of a live audience, will feature a mix of celebrity interviews, news reports and lifestyle segments - similar to "Today's" current programming.
The new show comes on the heels of the limited summer run of Kelly's prime- time news magazine show, "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly," which also aired on NBC. The eight-episode run was marred by controversy, most notably over her interview with notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The program also had fairly disappointing ratings, with viewership declining week by week early in its run before picking up at the end of July.
"No one is expecting me to fly the plane perfectly and at 30,000 feet as soon as they turn the engine on," she told the Los Angeles Times. "That takes some of the pressure off and allows me and my team to focus on content."
Sells For 10,000 Times Estimated Price
A Chinese vase valued between 500 and 800 Swiss francs has sold for a record five million Swiss francs, a Geneva auction house said.
According to the catalogue, the vase, which is 60 centimetres (23 inches) tall and depicts three blue dragons on a yellow background, is from the 20th century but it bears an unverified mark from the 18th century Qianlong era.
There was a bidding battle at the auction on Thursday by two people who believed the vase was in fact from the 18th century.
The auctioneer at the Geneve-Encheres auction house said the age of the vase was difficult to evaluate accurately and that they tended to be conservative in their estimates.
The final price was 10,000 times more than the catalogue estimate.
'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'
The R-rated spy comedy "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" displaced the horror sensation "It" as the No. 1 film in North America, while the second "Lego Movie" spinoff of the year didn't assemble the expected audience.
The 20th Century Fox release opened with a weekend-leading $39 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday. But "It" still continues to pull in record crowds. With $30 million over the weekend, "It" is now the highest-grossing horror film of all time, not accounting for inflation, with $266.3 million thus far. (1973's "The Exorcist" grossed $232.9 million domestically, or more than $1 billion in 2017 dollars.)
The "Lego Movie" spinoff "The Lego Ninjago Movie," was further off expectations, debuting with $21.2 million. Phil Lord and Chris Miller's "The Lego Movie" - the 2014 hit that made $469 million worldwide - kicked off a bustling franchise. "Ninjago," though, is the second spinoff of the calendar year, following February's "The Lego Batman Movie."
In its second week of release, Darren Aronofsky's already infamous psychological thriller "mother!" failed to turn the tide. The film, made for $30 million, last week became one of the few movies to receive an "F'' CinemaScore on release. The horror parable, starring Jennifer Lawrence, slid to sixth place with $3.3 million, bringing its two-week haul to $13.4 million. Paramount has proudly defended the film as intentionally divisive, daring filmmaking, the kind seldom produced by major studios.
The week also saw the first wave of fall awards contenders in specialty release. The Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs drama "Battle of the Sexes," with Emma Stone and Steve Carell; the Boston Marathon bombing survivor tale "Stronger," with Jake Gyllenhaal; and the Queen Victoria drama "Victoria & Abdul," starring Judi Dench, all debuted in limited release.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," $39 million ($61 million international).
2. "It," $30 million ($38.3 million international).
3. "The Lego Ninjago Movie," $21.2 million ($10.5 million international).
4. "American Assassin," $6.3 million ($2.7 million international).
5. "Home Again," $3.3 million.
6. "mother!" $3.3 million ($4.6 million international).
7. "Friend Request," $2.4 million.
8. "The Hitman's Bodyguard," $1.9 million ($15.4 million international).
9. "Stronger," $1.7 million.
10. "Wind River," $1.3 million.
'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'