Archive for the ‘The Real World’ Category

I notice that our dear friend Amazona asks, “Just curious—does anyone know what impact losing state funding has had on Planned Parenthood activity in Texas?” Well, since you asked…

Before answering her question, we should probably clear up one thing. She seems to be under the impression that Texas defunded Planned Parenthood clinics only since October 2015. Ergo, the span of four months is not long enough to demonstrate any effect on pregancies since it takes longer than that to make a human baby. Of course, she’s wrong again. Not about gestation, but about when Planned Parenthood clinics began to lose funding in Texas.

The fact is, Since Texas slashed funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011, more than half the state’s abortion clinics have shuttered — and data show births among poor women have surged.

You see, Amazona? It was 2011, not October 2015. And some folks have actually studied the situation, as opposed to making up suppositions off the top of their heads to support their ideology. You should try it sometime.

Since Texas slashed funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011, more than half the state’s abortion clinics have shuttered — and data show births among poor women have surged.

Researchers looked at fertility trends among women who qualified for birth control through the state’s public family planning programs in the two years before and after Texas lawmakers booted Planned Parenthood from its payroll. Each woman lived in a county that lost a Planned Parenthood clinic and had, at some point, received an injectable contraceptive from an affiliate before it closed.

The group’s birth rate shot up.

Between 2011 and 2014, the number of these births, covered by Medicaid, climbed 27 percent, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Medicaid coverage for healthy pregnancies — prenatal care, labor and delivery — typically costs at least $8,000 per baby.)

The birth increase coincided with a 36-percent drop in claims for long-acting contraceptives, including implants and intrauterine devices — meaning significantly fewer women started using what gynecologists consider the most effective form of birth control. Claims for injectable contraceptives fell 31 percent. No significant change emerged in women obtaining birth control pills and contraceptive rings.

Joseph Potter, an economist at the University of Texas at Austin who co-authored the study, said there’s no way to prove the Planned Parenthood closures sparked a baby boom.

Perhaps more women simply decided, at higher-than-previous rates, to have babies. Or perhaps they couldn’t find or fund another contraceptive shot, which need to be taken every three months to stay effective. Perhaps they simply lost access to reliable birth control, in general.

“You’ve got a very strong signal that there was an impact of [the Texas exclusion of Planned Parenthood],” Potter said. “The thing about this study, it more or less contradicts the claim you can’t implement that policy at no cost, without hurting people.”

The study, which comes as the national debate over abortion rages on and Planned Parenthood stays firmly in the spotlight, received funding from the Susan T. Buffett Foundation, a Planned Parenthood supporter. Potter said the foundation wasn’t involved in the research and did not ask to see the study.

In 2011, Texas became the first state to block funding to Planned Parenthood, cutting its family-planning funds by 66 percent and redirecting the rest to general health-care providers. After excluding Planned Parenthood, a qualified provider under federal law, the state lost all federal funding for its women’s health program. The new, entirely state-run Texas Women’s Health Program bars funds from clinics that offer abortions.

In 2013, former Gov. Rick Perry pushed harder to quash abortion access in Texas, signing a law requiring all providers to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The move delivered another financial blow to women’s health clinics across the state, forcing many to close their doors. From 2012 to 2014, the number of abortion providers in Texas shrank from 42 to 18.

“To be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past,” Perry said of the policy.

Proponents of the regulations under House Bill 2 say they wanted to protect women’s health. Abortion rights supporters, however, say the mandates are unnecessary, expensive and an “undue burden” on women’s rights. Some Texas women now have to drive 250 miles to get the procedure.

The Supreme Court is slated to review the law this year, with a hearing scheduled for March.

The trend Texas started carries national implications, Potter said. Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Louisiana and Utah have also taken steps to block public money from Planned Parenthood clinics. Ohio is now considering similar action.

The Congressional Budget Office said in a report last year that cutting off Planned Parenthood from federal money would increase public spending by an estimated $130 million over 10 years. The clinics serve more than 40 percent of women who receive birth control from safety-net providers in 18 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive health advocacy organization, and more than half of such women in 11 states.

The CBO, a nonpartisan watchdog, asserted that defunding Planned Parenthood, which counts roughly 2.6 million women as clients, would lead to more unplanned births as patients lost access to birth control.

Though Republicans in Texas and across the country have long spoken out against Planned Parenthood, their efforts to defund the organization found new energy last year after anti-abortion activists released video of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the cost of donating fetal tissue.

David Daleiden, the filmmaker behind the videos, claimed the organization was selling fetal tissue for profit – a charge the organization has denied.

Eleven states opened investigations into Planned Parenthood. None found evidence of wrongdoing – and last week, in a surprise move, a Texas grand jury indicted Daleiden on felony charges related to creating a fake ID and trying to buy human tissue. He turned himself over to authorities on Thursday.

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And about using BUK by “rebels”. Here’s a control panel. Go on, sort it out. @lennutrajektoor

 

The hate from the fanatical right has permanently destroyed any rational, objective point of view about anything our President does. They are so blindly biased that even when reality is screaming in their collective faces, they still refuse to accept it.  At the expense of broken ear drums. So here all you Teabagging B4ver’s. If it were up to you would kill the world to prove an easily  falsifiable point. Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan. My conservative hero.

It’s been a study in contrasts for quite some time. One global leader whips up nationalist sentiment to get sky-high ratings at home; the other glides through another summer of Tea Party dyspepsia with imperturbable equanimity. One leader acts on the world stage by annexing a neighboring country and then threatening it some more; the other slowly and painstakingly ratchets up sanctions, whether it be on Iran or Russia, and keeps his options open. And it all came to a fitting climax yesterday. In the morning, no-drama Obama announces new, tougher sanctions because of intelligence showing deeper Russian assistance for the slowly fading separatists in east Ukraine; and only hours later, Putin’s hot-headed goons, using weapons they clearly are not fully in control of, shoot down a civilian airliner. So who, Mr Krauthammer, looks weak now?

Putin has lost Ukraine, its trade pact with the EU is now signed, and its Russophile separatists exposed as fanatical, fantasizing idiots, while Ukraine elected a new president to chart its future. The Russian economy, already hobbled, could face increasingly strong headwinds, if Merkel decides to press the West’s advantage or finally leverages a real climb-down from Moscow over Ukraine. Obama, on the other hand, has a wide noose around the Russian economy and just increased the odds of deeper EU tightening.

And if the missile that shot down the plane can be traced to Russia itself, then the consequences dramatically widen. And that seems possible this morning. Austin Longpoints out that a Buk missile launcher would not have been easy for Ukrainian rebels to capture from the Ukrainian government and that the operation of such weaponry is complicated. This leads him to suspect that “the Buk was provided by Russia along with any necessary training”:

This is supported by U.S. and Ukrainian reports last month that Russia had provided tanks and other heavy equipment to the separatists. Notably both the tanks alleged to have been provided (T-64s) and the Buk are older Soviet-era equipment that Russia would not miss but would also be plausibly present in Ukrainian arsenals. This allows the Russians to retain a figleaf of plausible deniability about the equipment.

If Russia is directly involved in this way, it seems to me that Putin has now over-reached in such a way that all but destroys what’s left of his foreign policy.”

READ ON

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/14/gop-self-destruction-millennials-conservatives-backlash

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/cosmic-man-270813251715#

Well, here’s a new development — one we’ll no doubt see more of in the future. Farmers Insurance Company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments in response to claims stemming from April 2013 flooding.

Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming.

Filed by Farmers Insurance Co. on behalf of itself, other insurance companies and customers whose property was damaged by the surge of storm water and sewage overflow, the lawsuits allege the governments of Chicago-area municipalities knew their drainage systems were inadequate and failed to take reasonable action to prevent flooding of insured properties.

“During the past 40 years, climate change in Cook County has caused rains to be of greater volume, greater intensity and greater duration than pre-1970 rainfall history evidenced,” a fact that local governments were well aware of, a suit filed in Cook County, Ill., alleges, citing a climate change action plan adopted in 2008 that acknowledges the link between climate change and increased rainfall.

The suits also say the localities knew their drainage systems weren’t up to snuff because the regional water management authority had published plans in 2011 detailing various defects.

Knowing the risks, they argue, local governments should have increased their storm water storage capacity. Furthermore, the suits allege they were negligent in failing to take temporary measures in the days before the storm, such as deploying water-inflatable property protection systems to mitigate damage.

While the deniers live in Rubio-land, the rest of us have to deal with the real world.

So while conservatives compete with each other to see who can be Dumb & Dumber when it comes to climate change, the rest of us have to deal with reality.

Clear skies above but water below, a woman on a moped navigates a flooded street corner on Miami Beach, an all-too-familiar sign for residents of this iconic peninsula where the ocean seems more likely than ever to swamp Ocean Drive one day.

If there’s an image that starkly illustrates the threats of climate change, it’s this photograph, which was included in the recent National Climate Assessment released by the White House. It is noteworthy because the flood is from exceptionally high spring tides – not heavy rains. Tidal flooding like that is relatively new. And scary. “People in Miami Beach are living climate change,” said David Nolan, a meteorology and physical oceanography professor at the University of Miami. “They’re on the frontline.”

The people of Miami Beach didn’t need the National Climate Assessment to tell them low-lying south Florida is “exceptionally vulnerable to sea level rise”. The city is already spending $206m to overhaul its drainage system.

The day after the White House released its climate change report, Miami-Dade County’s commission passed a 6 May resolution that calls on planners to account for sea level rise. Local officials across the four counties of south Florida are making similar moves. Almost anyone who lives in south Florida has a nagging fear about climate change. It’s both abstract and, at times, very real.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait writes about President Obama’s dilemma when it comes to the new Environmental Protection Agency rules he will announce in a few weeks regulating carbon emissions.

The best way to think of the dilemma is keeping in mind the three things Obama wants his regulations to accomplish: He wants them to effectively reduce carbon pollution, he wants them not to cost consumers too much, and he wants to be sure they can survive legal challenge. The trouble is that he can only pick two of these. And the primary question weighing on administration regulators as they make their decision will be how to read the mind of Anthony Kennedy.

No matter what he decides, conservatives will scream and shout in protest, in part because their overarching strategy is to oppose any Obama initiative and deny him any accomplishments. It’s a helluva way to run a government.