10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
AP Wire
Feb 3, 2014


Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, who struggled with heroin and was found with a needle in his arm, apparently died of a drug overdose.


The quickest score in game history comes 12 seconds in; Seattle grabs two points when the ball got away from Peyton Manning.


Scarlett Johansson's Sodastream Super Bowl spot became a politically charged case of fizzy water.


The president traded barbs with his Fox interviewer in a live exchange covering the health care rollout, Benghazi and the IRS.


Despite increased security since Sandy Hook, there have been at least 11 shootings this academic year.


An effort to nullify the vote is likely to be a flash point in the bitter political crisis.


Viktor Yanukovych's office announces his return as protesters seeking his ouster hold one of their largest rallies in recent weeks.


The Guttmacher Institute, which supports legal access, says there were about 1.06 million in 2011 — down from about 1.2 million in '08.


They say he should remain Republican Governors Association chairman even after a former ally claims he knew more than he has said about that infamous traffic jam.


"Untrue and disgraceful," his publicist says of his adoptive daughter's open letter claiming he sexually assaulted her at age 7.



#11. Assad and Putin Punk Obama Again -

" Syria has given up less than 5 percent of its chemical weapons arsenal and will miss next week's deadline to send all toxic agents abroad for destruction, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday."

"Failure to eliminate its chemical weapons could expose Syria to sanctions, although these would have to be supported in the U.N. Security Council by Russia and China, which have so far refused to back such measures against President Bashar al-Assad." http://www.reuters.com/article/2...

#12. 35.5% of Disability Beneficiaries Have ‘Mental Disorder’; 43.2% in D.C.

"Within the “mental disorders diagnostic group,” the most common specific diagnosis for disabled beneficiaries was a “mood disorder.” According to the report, as of December 2012, 14.1 percent of all disabled beneficiaries in the United States had such a disorder. (See Table 11.A. in the report.)"

"The ten states (and the District of Columbia) with the largest percentage of local disability beneficiaries diagnosed with a “mental disorder” include: 1) Massachusetts, 50.1 percent; 2) New Hampshire, 49.5 percent; 3) Hawaii, 47.5 percent; 4) Rhode Island, 47.2 percent; 5) Minnesota, 46.9 percent; 6) Vermont, 45.3 percent; 7) Connecticut, 43.9 percent; 8) the District of Columbia, 43.2 percent; 9) Maine, 42.9 percent; and 10) Washington, 40.1 percent." http://cnsnews.com/news/article/...

Tri-cities realist

Well you know what Michael Savage says, looks like it is backed up by this study.


The consequence of closing most psychiatric and mental institutions over the past several decades. And don't forget the prisons:

The New Asylums: Jails Swell With Mentally Ill
America's Jails Face Growing Need to Provide Mental-Health Treatment

"The picture echoes the past. Two centuries ago, reformers were disturbed to find large numbers of the mentally ill in jails, paving the way for the development of state-run institutions. In the 1950s and 1960s, complaints about abuses, advances in medication and a push to give the patients more independence led to another change, this time toward community settings. The weaknesses of that concept—a lack of facilities, barriers created by privacy laws and tightened local and state funding—has brought the picture full circle".

And while we're at it, heroin use has increased across the country by 79%.


It might help if you looked at the study - nothing to do with 50's and 60's - the huge increase in SSI disability has been from the mid 90's; the increase follows relaxation of the standards for disability; the increase has jumped precipitously in the horrible Obama economy; 14% of the mental disabilities are "mood disorders" defined as “appetite disturbance with change in weight; or sleep disturbance; or psychomotor agitation or retardation; or decreased energy; or feelings of guilt or worthlessness; or difficulty concentrating or thinking; or thoughts of suicide; or hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking.” This is hardly the Bedlam scenario you attempt to establish.


I did read the study, and my comment/link certainly is a major factor in the number of mentally ill receiving SSI disability payments - and an important one. One would expect someone who appears concerned about the rise in SSI disability recipients wouldn't be so dismissive. Except if one had an anti-Obama agenda, which you do.

What I gleaned from the study:

#1. “Individuals are considered to be disabled only if their physical or mental impairment(s) are of such severity that they are not only unable to do their previous work but cannot--because of their age, education, or work experience--engage in any other kind of substantial gainful activity (SGA) that exists in the national economy,” says SSA.

#2. In 1984, Congress made amendments to the disability program that according to a history of the program posted on the Social Security Administration’s website, increased the number of beneficiaries with “mental impairments.”

#3. One significant pattern that emerged following the 1984 Amendments involved beneficiaries with mental impairments,” says the history. “Changes in the medical listings had the effect of increasing this category of disability beneficiaries. The revised listings for mental impairments reduced the weight given to medical factors and put a greater weight on functional capacities, such as the applicant's ability to perform activities of daily living. They also required that evidence provided by the applicant's health care provider be considered first, before a consultative examination. Between 1985 and 1986, the proportion of awards for mental impairments increased from 18 percent to 30 percent of all awards, and has remained at approximately the same level ever since.”

Who was president in 1984? Oh, yes! Reagan.


You may note the only thing I said about Obama is that he has a horrible economy, which even you can't reasonably contest; I noted a "relaxation of standards", going back to 1984 was a main reason for the increases in SSI Disability.

"A study by the super-non partisan National Bureau of Economic Research explains the reasons for the rise in disability.

First, the Social Security Administration now places more weight on self-reported pain and discomfort, has relaxed the screening of mental illness, and accepts medical evidence from the applicant’s own doctor. The share of awards for mental illness rose from 16 percent in 1983 to one third in 2010, while the share of back pain rose from 13 percent in 1983 to 28 percent. Together they account for more than half of disabilities. Of the 2.7 million workers on disability for mental disorders, 1.7 million have “intellectual and mood disorders.” Even young people can be declared disabled if they get nervous at work or school, have attention deficit disorders, or are not very intelligent.

Second, the application process has been streamlined. Applicants can begin on line, and they are entitled to a free call from a lawyer. Slick law firms specialize in navigating clients through the bureaucratic maze, and their appeals for clients fill the airwaves. If applicant claims are denied, they can appeal to administrative judges, who overturn examiners in half of their cases. Some administrative judges achieved notoriety by never turning down a disability appeal. No wonder. They can be reprimanded and their decisions set aside for “talking down to claimants” or for “lack of respect.” To cite one superior court verdict: “Applicants for social security disability payments, most of whom are truly ill or disabled, are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity no matter what the merits of their respective claims.”

Third, the relative economic attractiveness of disability has increased. The NBER study finds that, for low-income workers, disability (plus Medicare) replaces almost 90 percent of working income. During recessions, wages decline, and workers at or near the minimum wage receive almost as much income through disability as by working. The system itself raises disability claims during recessions." http://www.forbes.com/sites/paul...

So, if the economy comes back do you anticipate a mass healing of these folks, Mirable Dictu, such that they will suddenly cast off their shackles, chains, and demons and get a job that pays better than the government welfare? If so, would you suggest that we should garnish their wages to pay the amount of their disability payments back? (See below - Baltimore Sun)

The 2012 Social Security trustees report shows that SSDI is on schedule to be exhausted as early as 2015, making it one of the first federal entitlement trust funds to go bust. Rapid expansion of the program has coincided with the tenure of the Obama administration. Coincidence? Nope! The facts speak for themselves:

•Since President Obama's 2009 inauguration, 5.9 million people have been added to SSDI, a 23 percent increase over the last five years (compare that to 2.5 million new jobs created during the same time period);

•SSDI rolls have swollen to almost 11 million recipients (translation: 1 in 14 U.S. workers);

•In 2011, only 3.6 percent of enrollees exited the program due to "medical improvement";

•Also in 2011, the program cost taxpayers $128.9 billion (18 percent of all Social Security spending) and generated a deficit of $25.3 billion.


Think there is no war on the poor by the Right? Why are corporate profits not treated the same as my 'income' if they are people as SCOTUS says? Why do they get to hide money and not pay taxes on it? The Boehner Rule will get rid of those darn beggars.
You could not be more wrong about SSA, your lies are outrageous. I have been through it and denied for not having enough doctors reports, at a time when I had no insurance. You are very uniformed on this subject. Get a real life.


Here's another side to the argument:

Some members of Congress have begun leveling accusations that rising enrollment in Social Security's disability insurance program is evidence of growing American dependence on the government, and even a "slave" mentality.

But a new report out Monday says the rise in America's ranks of disabled to 8.3 million in 2011 stems from an aging population, a surge in women workers, changes in the law in the 1980s and a terrible economy in which disabled people can't find jobs.

The study, by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, found that the biggest jumps in the disabled population came from aging Baby Boomers. From 1996 through 2009 -- "the approximate period during which the baby-boom generation entered their 50s -- the share of disabled worker benefits awarded to older workers (age 45 and older) rose from 67 percent to 76 percent," the report said. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...


13. New Indiana law allows a citizen to shoot a police officer if they enter your house illegally.
The National Rifle Association lobbied for the new law, claiming that the Indiana State Supreme Court decision had legalized police to commit unjustified entries.


I hope Obama makes it a priority in the time he has left to make everything difficult for those extremists that call themselves the NRA!


Unfortunately, that bird may have already flown the coop. Last year, after the Sandy Hook massacre, 98% of the population was in favor of stricter public safety gun laws. But the NRA pushed back with another multi-million $$ campaign to fight it. In addition, they started a "list" of Congressmen/women who didn't support the NRA, and threatened those who didn't get a passing grade with the wrath of god....I mean the wrath of the NRA, come election time. So both the Dems and the Repubs allowed proposals to fade into the sunset.


Coupled, of course, with the reasonable fear that Obama and his Justice Department would take away the ability of citizens to protect themselves from the criminals who have guns illegally and will continue to do so.


Or from the cops who overstep their boundaries I guess.

R mantra: They're coming to take your guns away, they're coming to take your guns away, they're coming to take your guns away, they're coming...


It's part of the conservative media narrative. Beginning in 2008-2009, they worked tirelessly, despite a variety of mood disorders, to bait and switch, spew myth, gossip, innuendo, and lies that Obama was somehow going to take guns from the average citizen. Are they crazy, or what? Yeah - our first Black/mixed race president is going to take away citizens guns immediately upon taking office. "The Other" Boogeyman strikes again! - oh the Fear! The Hate! The free and permitted manifestation of Disorders!

Former Grandhavenite

I think the gun manufactures know that stirring up a fear of Obama and "his jackbooted thugs coming to take our guns!" is the best thing that can possibly happen for their business. Every time there's some mass shooting I guarantee you there are gun company executives privately happy because it'll generate some talk of gun control from politicians, so potential customers have yet another reason to rush out and BUY NOW, WHILE YOU STILL CAN before they send us all to reeducation camps!


14. Escaped murderer Elliot captured in Indiana. Kudos to Laporte County Sheriff's Dept!

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