25 February 2013
24 February 2013
23 February 2013
21 February 2013
On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued its final rule defining what the government calls essential health benefits—the ten broad categories of health services that must be offered by most health insurance plans starting next year (states will decide what specific benefits will be covered within those categories). Under the new regulation, insurers will be required to cover the treatment of mental illnesses, behavioral disorders, drug addiction and alcohol abuse. The rule will allow 32 million people to gain access to mental health coverage, and will increase benefits for another 30 million.
The New York Times reports:
White House officials described the rule as a major expansion of coverage. In the past, they said, nearly 20 percent of people buying insurance on their own did not have coverage for mental health services, and nearly one-third had no coverage for treatment of substance abuse. The rule requires insurers to cover benefits in 10 broad categories, including hospital services, prescription drugs and maternity and newborn care. [HHS secretary Kathleen] Sebelius said the partial standardization of benefits would make it easier for consumers to compare health plans.
The new regulations make mental health coverage cheaper for patients by limiting deductibles and out of pocket costs and requiring that new health insurance policies pay for between 60 and 90 percent of the cost of the services they cover.But since states decide which specific mental health benefits insurance companies will have to offer, access to different treatments will vary from state to state. This has left many mental health advocates disappointed. Newtown killer Adam Lanza reportedly suffered from Asperger's Syndrome, a type of autism. As the Times reports, only 32 states have laws requiring coverage of autism treatments.Mother Jones
Time to start writing to state senators and representatives.
20 February 2013
My brother and I are looking for wedding dates for our cousin's wedding in majestic Saratoga, New York on March 23rd, 2013.
We've been told by the bride that bringing dates is "mandatory" so we "won't harass all of my friends all night" and "stay under control." Rather than ask some fringe women in our lives to go and face the inevitable 'does this mean he wants to take it to the next level!?' questions, we'd rather bring complete strangers and just figure it out. Still reading? In anticipation of your questions we've developed an FAQ section below.
Dave, Mike ... What's in it for me?
- An excuse to get dressed up
- Open bar & food all night Eccentric/downright dangerous bro-2-bro dance moves (may need to sign a waiver)
- True Love
- Royalties once our night's story is developed into a romantic comedy. If this happens (we estimate the chances at 85%) we refuse the right to let Ashton Kutcher play either of our characters, however, we will consider him for a supporting role.
Oh us? We're both in our 20s, single, dashingly tall, Anglo-Saxon, respectfully athletic, love to party, completely house trained, relaxed, passionate, smell great, have cool hair, clean up nice, boast great tie collections, will promise to shave, love our mother, have seen Love Actually several times, controversial, provocative, short-sighted (with a big picture mentality), raw, emotional, sensitive but still bad boys.
What should us ladies be like?
You should respond in pairs as you'll want to know at least 1 person at this wedding. Sisters (twins?!) are preferable, but we'll take friends, or even enemies. You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not TOO attractive or one of our uncles might grope you. You should be relaxed and easy going as we'll probably make up flattering lies about you on the spot. You should own a dress, or be able to acquire one because we don't have any. If (when) you respond you should send some pictures of yourself so we know you've met the above requirements. Feel free to include a resume; this is a classy wedding and we're looking for well-rounded women. Interesting/unique pairings are encouraged; don't be afraid to make yourself stand out!
This feels kinda creepy, are you guys Craigslist killers?
No. Well, if you want to be techni... nevermind. No, we aren't. We just genuinely want to do something different and we don't see any other way to approach it. What would verify our normalness? Facebook? Instagram? We can have a pre-date screening (interview) prior to the wedding and play 20 questions over a coupla cocktails if you'd like?
We're IN! What now?
First off -- smart thinking. Email us, send along some pictures, information, high school athletic stats, questions, etc. We'll take it from there.
Location: Saratoga, NY
craigslist via Gawker
17 February 2013
15 February 2013
YouTube | Gawker
At least one meteorite crashed into Russia earlier today, causing several giant explosions and forcing schools and offices to be evacuated. The meteorite reportedly landed in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, where witnesses said the explosions shattered the windows of nearby buildings and disrupted cell phone service. There were over 400 injuries (Update: now upgraded to 950), and damage was reported in six cities. Information is still coming in ... As a commenter pointed out, a small asteroid was expected to pass by Earth early Friday, though there's no confirmation that this had anything to do with the meteorite crash in Russia.
13 February 2013
11 February 2013
Benedict, 85, announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals Monday morning, explaining that because of his advanced age and diminishing strength, he didn't feel he could carry on the job. In his remarks to the cardinals, Benedict said his age and health left him with a level of energy, "no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry." The Petrine ministry is the Vatican's official description of the office of the pontiff.
More at Slate, NYT, CBSNews
What's the past tense of "Pope"? Puppe? Porpe?
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) February 12, 2013
09 February 2013
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "V" words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.
I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around. I have just returned and I still like words.
May I have a few with you?
Robert PiroshLetters of Note
06 February 2013
The results were announced after the shoe, wheelbarrow and iron were neck and neck for elimination in the final hours of voting that sparked passionate efforts by fans to save their favorite tokens, and by businesses eager to capitalize on publicity surrounding pieces that represent their products.
The vote on Facebook closed just before midnight on Tuesday, marking the first time that fans have had a say on which of the eight tokens to add and which one to toss. The pieces identify the players and have changed quite a lot since Parker Brothers bought the game from its original designer in 1935.
Rhode Island-based Hasbro announced the new piece Wednesday morning. Other pieces that contested for a spot on Monopoly included a robot, diamond ring, helicopter and guitar. Fans from more than 120 countries voted.
I can't believe voters picked the cat over the robot.
04 February 2013
Influential American celebrity photographer, director, and creative director Matthew Rolston turns his eye for portraiture to a new cast of characters with the launch of "Talking Heads, The Vent Haven Portraits". Using techniques he has honed over decades of celebrity portraiture, and marking his first foray into the world of fine arts, Rolston has captured the inherent humanity of a rarely-seen collection of unique entertainment figures: ventriloquist dummies. Unearthed from the intimate and obscure Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, Rolston used a rigorously formal photographic approach to bring out the power in the faces of these figures through a series of 100 portraits, or “headshots.”Pointed Leaf Press via The Anarchist Coloring Book
It’s generally a real pleasure to have you as a friend on Facebook. I appreciate that I can keep up on what the kids are listening to these days on Spotify and I thoroughly enjoy eyeing pictures of high school ragers. But I’ve noticed that lately your taste in “likes” has changed. It’s out with Bieber, in with Tosh.0.
You’ve indicated that you will be attending “Booty Slap Day” and have started to share videos of young men running up to women they don’t know in order to grope their behinds, run away and laugh -- videotaping it all for hilarious posterity.
Now, I hate to get all Aunt Feminist Killjoy on you -- but I love you and it’s my job. And I imagine you care about me too, at least enough to read on.
Here’s the thing: those guys running up to women just to grab their ass? Stuff like that happens to women all the time. It’s happened to me. When I was your age, guys -- from boys in school to men on the subway -- used to grope and touch me against my will too. I don’t know if any of them videotaped it or if they did it as a “joke” -- all I know was that it was really scary.
Once it happened on my way to school on the train. I was wearing a dress because it was my seventeenth birthday. The subway was crowded and a man -- I never saw his face -- put his hand up my skirt and grabbed my ass right over my underwear. The memory of it still makes me feel like vomiting. This was just one incident -- it’s happened to me at least a dozen times. The girls you know at school -- girls you’re friends with? -- I’m betting it’s happened to them, too.
Being touched against your will has become a twisted rite of passage for American females. It’s a reminder that you’re never safe anywhere. That your body is not really yours -- but instead public property, there to be rubbed against by an old man or pinched and videotaped by a young one.
I know that a quick click on the “like” button may not seem like a big deal to you -- but it scares me to think about the larger implications. I think about the high school kid in Steubenville, Ohio, joking and laughing about the unconscious teen girl in the next room who had just been raped by two of his classmates. That may seem a million miles away from “liking” a video -- but it’s all part of the same world, the same culture that devalues women. Even laughing at a joke about rape supports the idea that women are less than and makes rapists think that you are like them. And the more you laugh at this stuff, the easier it becomes to take the ideas you’re laughing at more and more seriously.
Listen, I don’t think you’re an asshole who thinks it’s funny to do something that women find scary. You’ve been raised to think that this sort of stuff is all in good fun. Not by your parents necessarily, but by culture. You’ve grown up in a country where a Super Bowl commercial for Audi suggests that girls your age actually like it when a guy they don’t really know grabs and forces a kiss on them. (Seriously -- they won’t like this.) You’ve been raised in a culture that positions women as existing just for sex, for humiliation, for objectification.
So please understand that I don’t blame you for partaking in the only kind of culture you’ve ever known. At least, I don’t blame you yet. Because here’s the thing -- if you didn’t realize before that this kind of stuff is harmful and hurtful to women, now you do. So think of this as a chance to make a decision about what kind of man you’re going to be.
As you continue to grow up, you’re going to have plenty of opportunities (too many) to laugh at women’s pain, embarrassment or the sexual harassment and assault we face. These moments will define you. Will you laugh along? Share a video, like a status, laugh at a joke? Or will you say “no,” tell a friend that’s a fucked-up thing to say, and walk away?
Yes, if you choose the latter -- the undoubtedly more difficult path -- your friends may give you a hard time. They could laugh, call you a “pussy” or accuse you of not being able to take a joke. I’m sure that will be a pain. But it’s still the right thing to do. And you can be secure in your decision to stand with women -- to stand with me -- because you’ll know that you’re better than all that. Media, sexism, misogyny -- all of these structures are depending on the idea that you won’t think deeply about the messages that are sent to you, that you’ll just accept them without consideration or critical thinking. But you’re better than the culture says you are. You’re smarter than that and you’re kinder than that. I know you are.
So please, the next time you’re considering sharing a video or laughing at a joke or saying something unsavory about a female peer -- take the action seriously, think about what it really means. And consider your Auntie Feminist who loves you very much.
02 February 2013
01 February 2013
Alan Pakula's The Parallax View is one of the great conspiracy/paranoia films of the early 70s. In this clip, Warren Beatty's character is being "tested" for his suitability for a job with the Parallax Corporation.