10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:
AP Wire
Dec 23, 2013

1. CRAZY QUILT OF WEATHER ACROSS THE NATION

On the first full day of winter, the U.S. sees a wild mix of ice and snow, flooding and record warmth.

2. WHY US IS JUICIEST TARGET FOR CREDIT CARD HACKERS

Credit and debit cards in America still rely on an easy-to-copy magnetic strip on the back.

3. GLITCH-FILLED ROLLOUT OF 'OBAMACARE' CHOSEN AS YEAR'S TOP NEWS STORY

The runner-up in the annual AP survey is the Boston Marathon bombing.

4. WHO HAS ISSUED A RARE APOLOGY

Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen says it's sorry for an unauthorized attack by one of its fighters on a hospital that killed dozens of people.

5. IN SOUTH SUDAN, FEARS OF FULL-BLOWN CIVIL WAR

Fighting between rebels and government troops continues to rage in the world's newest country.

6. WHERE FILLING UP MAY FINALLY COST SOMETHING

As Venezuela's economy struggles, the president hints at increases in the price of gas — a commodity that has been nearly free for years.

7. APPLE SEALS DEAL WITH WORLD'S BIGGEST PHONE CARRIER

The pact with China Mobile ends a lengthy courtship between the two companies and could boost sales of the iPhone in China.

8. STUDENTS' BACKPACKS A WHOLE LOT LIGHTER

Nearly all the texts used at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, N.Y., are part of a digital bookshelf kept on an Internet cloud.

9. FOLKS IN LOUISIANA TOWN STAND BY 'DUCK DYNASTY' CLAN

The AP's Tamara Lush visits the Robertsons' hometown of West Monroe, La., and finds lots of support for the reality TV family.

10. DALLAS SQUEAKS BY WASHINGTON

The Cowboys' 24-23 victory sets up a winner-take-all, regular-season finale for the NFC East title next week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Comments

Vladtheimp

#3. Not A Glitch - ObamaCare’s New Year’s Day Surprise: Deep Cuts to Medicare

The Obama Administration has decided to deeply cut funding for the Medicare program’s home health benefit as a way to help pay for ObamaCare.

“An estimated 3.5 million poor and ill homebound senior citizens will wake up on New Year’s Day to discover ObamaCare has slashed funding for their home health care program.” He’s right: on January 1st, the Obama Administration will sharply cut Medicare funding for home healthcare services.

Hidden on page 117 of the regulation that the Obama Administration quietly released on that Friday evening is a stunning admission: “approximately 40 percent” of all providers of home health services face net losses as a result of this Medicare cut. Put more plainly, 4-in-10 of all the providers on whom homebound seniors depend face the threat of bankruptcy and closure as a result of ObamaCare. (See Association of Mature American Citizens - Dec. 19, 2013)

Lanivan

It's a shame that, while highlighting a very important area of elder care, you have directed your criticism of home health service cuts to the 'Obama administration' and the ACA. The ACA does not mandate that home health reimbursements be cut. To the contrary, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services, under pressure from the current pro-austerity, budget-fixated, and sequestration junkies, has independently chosen to bypass the ACA provision that a comprehensive and cumulative analysis be undertaken to ensure quality services, and elected to not undertake such an analysis when crafting reform regulation. It appears the accuracy and depth of data in the analysis used for the CMS calculations was questionable and problematic.

Current home health care services affects 3.5 million seniors, with projections of that figure increasing exponentially along with the baby boomers. There is a subset of seniors who find themselves in a situation where retirement funds are depleted, dependent on SS, perhaps without family members nearby who can offer daily care, who have a strong desire to remain in their homes but need help, medical or otherwise, and this niche of senior care should be strengthened and encouraged.

Medicare/Medicaid/CHIP, in 2012, made up 1/5 of the federal budget, was 2.5% of GDP. and made up $472 billion in federal health costs, with CBO projections that federal health costs will increase to over 8% of GDP by 2038. With deficit fights, along with government shutdowns, austerity and sequestration, driving the action, the CMS has begun the challenging and unenviable task of cutting services/reimbursements.

I am puzzled by your post. I would have thought you would approve of cost-cutting in a program (Medicare) of which, on principle, you do not approve.

Vladtheimp

What a hoot! The bystander President has convinced one of his most loyal supporters, Lanivan to wit, that CMS is not part of his administration, when in fact it falls squarely under the control of Queen Sebelius, Administrator of Obama's Department of Health and Human Services (you know, the one that is responsible for administering Obamacare). I hate to have to ruin another egg salad sammich, but your reply is simply more squid ink from the infamous and apparently self-replenishing sac.

There are smart ways to cut the budget - taking money from Medicare's home health services to fund the shape-shifting rules of Obamacare is not one, just as the Democrats cutting military retiree pensions so they can fund illegal payments to illegal aliens is another.

Lanivan

You ruined yesterday's homemade seafood chowder I was planning, for obvious reasons what with you revisiting sacs and squids, so am now munching on a turkey and havarti sammy. Thanks~

Am I to believe that Kathleen Sibelius micro-managed the CMS, forcing them to make these particular cuts despite their cries of foul? No. The CMS was ordered to make cuts, as per sequestration and the budget brawl, and so they did. I agree there are smart ways to cut the budget. I guess the baby boomers will have to apply pressure on the CMS and hope they re-analyze based on more comprehensive and cumulative data.

The Dems and the Repubs both agreed to the military retiree pension cost-of-living benefit to be cut by 1%. Sequestration, baby! Obama thought he would call Repubs their bluff, and darn if they didn't take it. The cut saves a whole $6 billion ($18 billion less than the Republican 16-day government shut-down),only affects working-age military retirees who are free to double-dip for decades, and those very retirees will receive a one-time increase in benes at 62 so payments during retirement will be the same as if there had been no cuts.

Since military pay and benes soak up 56% of the DoD budget, this isn't as much a stretch as your muscular and broadly tattooed arm can muster.

Should I mention that the Republican Congress also cut military benefits in 1995? Or that the 2014 budget increased DoD spending from $957 billion to $1.014 Trillion? Or that you once again didn't answer my question, a trending pattern where I repeat the question, and is arguably answered by a restrained (and constipated) professional obligation?

Vladtheimp

Did I miss a question you posed in your response? If you will identify an interrogatory sentence there, I will attempt to respond.

I once again remind you that the House of Representatives, in carrying out its Constitutional responsibilities, offered a spending measure that would fund the government at current levels if the Senate would delay Obamacare's individual mandate for a year, like was done by Obama for Big Business. Harry Reid refused a vote and shut down the government (and now Barry unilaterally delayed the individual mandate until after the November Midterm elections). So what did Democrats earn by shutting down the government?

Just love your argumentation method on all things Obama: Bush did it too; Republicans did it in 1995; Lincoln did it in 1864 - very effective, kind of like Nanny Nanny Boo Boo with fingers stuck in ink sac.

Lanivan

And not word one about the 1% cut to military retiree benefits, affecting only those retirees of working age. Yes - you have reminded me over and over, and the response is still the same. Why would the Senate approve the delay of the individual mandate, when it is the cornerstone of the reform law and holds the entire individual market together? Not to mention the fact that the entire health care industry just spent the last three years preparing for launch in 2014. The business mandate delay has far fewer adverse consequences. Of course, you know all this.

It is a testament to my belief in your skills of deduction that I assumed you understood the following was written with a quizzical attitude, with the expectation of a response..."I would have thought you would approve of cost-cutting in a program (Medicare) of which, on principle, you do not approve".

"Nanny Nanny Boo Boo"? So this is what it comes to? Just great.....

Vladtheimp

"And not word one about the 1% cut to military retiree benefits, affecting only those retirees of working age"

Here are a few words - the cuts include military retirees who are disabled, yet you and the politicians think that since they are of a "working age" that is acceptable? When civilian pay goes up, while welfare benefits go up, while we're spending billions on illegals? Sorry - I simply disagree.

I do disagree with Medicare on principle, but since we are stuck with it, I would prefer we cut the bureaucracy, the fraud, the waste, the abuse. If I'm not mistaken, military retirees are under the Tricare system until they turn 65, when they get Tricare for Life (Medicare)so I'm not sure how you tie in Medicare for military retirees who are of working age.

As far as the individual mandate and the cornerstone of Obamacare, (1) Obama has already unilaterally delayed it past the elections (2) there is no enforcement mechanism to make people pay the tax; and (3) Obama has unilaterally thrown all the health care industry calculations into the toilet. Do you ever think about what you write before trying to crush Obama's critics and defend your hero?

Lanivan

9.) The Duck Dynasty rhubarb is nothing but a ploy to garner higher ratings, publicity, and stoke the fires. The show sets up and perpetrates the redneck, southern stereotype, which typically includes a pinch of racism and a dash of homophobia, giving the brew a piquant fragrance. Phil Robertson talks homophobia in an interview and he is then suspended from the show, like it's so unexpected and he's so prejudiced? Give me a break!

LessThanAmused

Hey there ms. Lani....

I was going thru the computer last night, cleaning things up / out and ran across this.....thought I'd share it with you for a pre-christmas giggle....as long as you have something that will allow you to view picture / .jpg files you should be able to view it no problem.

http://rapidshare.com/share/0F59...

EDIT: Nevermind....there must be some kind of network protocol in place to not allow downloading. Ah, well, that's what I get for trying to share my Christmas spirit.

rukidding

"I was going thru to computer last night"

Didn't you recently hit me up on grammar; what the heck is going thru to computer?

LessThanAmused

Wow, you must have your pants on this morning, I was still editing the post and trying to get the stupid link to work, but yes, thanks for looking out for me, even I need help sometimes......fixed and noted, pour yourself a shot! :-P

Lanivan

No problemo - I could view it just fine. Cute, and I suppose appropriate, too. Thanks for the giggles! Am I becoming too contemptuous and mocking? My intent is to be ironical, rather than offensive. But I worry that my sarcasm is being viewed as abrasiveness, absurdness, and acrimonious accursedness, or perhaps battiness, bordering on blasphemousness, especially by, but not limited to, those who favor the actress, Vaness (a).

See what I mean? Sarcasm run amok. Let's start a Sarcasm Support Group - you can be the Founding Father, and I can be the PR/Marketing director.

LessThanAmused

Really? Hummm, I can't view my own link? Well, that's gonna require a bit more research then.....
As long as it reached it's intended victim I guess we're good.
I have a friend in Hamburg Germany and we trade files back and forth this way all the time, but I've never checked to see if I can download my own file.....off to the cave for a test!

"Am I becoming too contemptuous and mocking? My intent is to be ironical, rather than offensive. But I worry that my sarcasm is being viewed as abrasiveness, absurdness, and acrimonious accursedness, or perhaps battiness, bordering on blasphemousness"...

All those things would be less offensive (to me) than that P.C. crap. Although I realize being of the female Persuasion you prefer to tiptoe rather than stomp thru the mud.....

"Let's start a Sarcasm Support Group - you can be the Founding Father, and I can be the PR/Marketing director".

Yeah, like I'd want to be part of THAT group.... :-D

"PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON'T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER".

Groucho Marx

rukidding

Now if we could get the majority of our elected officials in Washington D.C. to adhere to the same philosophy as Groucho, and resign, we could move forward with at least a little hope...

LessThanAmused

Vlad is that you? :-D

Barry Soetoro

Label much?

Lanivan

So now we're criticizing my labeling skills? I did try to soften my approach by using words such as stereotype, typically, pinch/dash, etc. I'll try to do better next time, and leave out that offensive, waffling tone.

LessThanAmused

Don't you dare! Don't lower the bar for them....have them rise to the occasion.

Vladtheimp

Obviously a failed ploy (see Cracker Barrel)but a more likely scenario is that A&E wanted The Beverly Hillbillies but got more than they bargained for:

The whole idea of the show was to parade these nouveau riche Christian hillbillies around so that we could laugh at them. “Look at them,” we were supposed to say. “Look how backward they are! Look what they believe! Can you believe they really live this way and believe this stuff? See how they don’t fit in? HAHAHA” Instead, everyone is laughing a A&E and worse, and the fascists at GLAAD are retreating. (See Legal Insurrection)

LessThanAmused

Not that I've watched more than 15 minutes worth of either show, but if I had to make a choice I'd much rather be subjected to these duck people than the proliferation of those "Housewives of [add any big city here]. I don't offend easily, but those formula shows are completely devoid of any social redeeming qualities......."cat fights and too much makeup, yeah, that makes it worth paying that cable bill....

I watched about 10 minutes of "Honey Boo Boo" once too. I think I was actully traumatized for awhile. :-O

Lanivan

Many of the reality shows are created to do just this - parade some group around through their daily life so we can laugh and cry with them, exclaim at how superior or inferior to them we are, promoting and cementing every kind of stereotype and prejudice, all for notoriety, big bucks, and some unrequited need to be affirmed, loved, or understood. These shows are around because the TV public can't get enough of them.

Cracker Barrel tried to be better, but their base wouldn't allow it. I bet that Duck Dynasty stuff the base insisted be put back on the shelves was made in China.....but CB makes up a little for it by serving really good biscuits.

Oh, and did I mention that Duck Dynasty creator, Scott Gurney, once appeared in a indie gay p0rn film?

Vladtheimp

You should know better - Cracker Barrel doesn't have a "base" it has customers - like your neighbors.

Since you somehow think what a tv producer once did regarding homosexuals is relevant, let's see what Obama supporters are doing to get some of Obama's most loyal supporters to sign up for Obamacare (probably shouldn't let the children watch this) http://youtu.be/azoWedQH8zQ

Lanivan

Now this is a stretch! Duck Dynasty segued to Obamacare. Why am I not surprised.

Meanwhile, talk about muscular arms.............

Vladtheimp

Of course you are correct - my bad - Duck Dynasty is successful, it works, and it is wildly popular . . . .

Lanivan

O - you're good! You win this one.....

SignalMaintainer

No clue what duck dynasty is. I have heard of it, but have no clue what it is about. I guess life is much simpler when I don't have cable or satellite tv. :)

Sounds like I am not missing out on much from what I am hearing, and not seeing constant advertisements is quite nice as well.

rukidding

Take a trip through the mountains of Tennessee or Kentucky, get off the main roads and the well beaten path and you will find out very quickly who "don't fit in"; of course more and more we’re finding you don’t really fit in anywhere, but I digress. You think Deliverance was a comedy and not taken seriously? This type of behavior was prevalent years ago and will perpetuate as long as backward a$$ holes keep preaching it to their children

LessThanAmused

Wow, who P'd in your cherrios this morning?

That's a pretty big blanket to toss out, covering a whole region of the country. I think I'd have to respectively suggest that if you looked a bit you'd find just as many red-necked hillbillies in our fair state as in any particular area down below the Mason-Dixon line.

I've spent quite a bit of time touring the South and met many great folks. There are all kinds down there, just like there is in these parts. just depends where you're looking. I guess if I mention I'm an auto racing fan that that will make me a stupid redneck too?

If the day ever comes that I'm on my own, I'm selling everything here and moving to North Carolina, somewhere around Grandfather Mountain and Asheville. That has to be one of the most beautiful regions in the country and you can either be at the shore or up in the mountains on any given day in a couple hours drive.

rukidding

I was after Vlad on that but missed, oh well.

LessThanAmused

Dang it! Sorry. I would've like to have seen how that played out.

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