Tapped.

I wish I had more ideas these days. I feel like every day is about what’s on TV or some other crap, but that seems to be the nature of this winter, or this part of it. Long hours, short days, you know the drill.

So I’m taking a couple of days off. Photo posts only until the well refills. In the meantime, some Twitter-y bloggage:

Karen Francisco is an editorial writer at the other paper in Fort Wayne, the one I didn’t work for — the Journal Gazette. No education writer in town, or maybe the state, has been doing the sort of reporting she’s been doing on the education reforms taking place in Indiana, and it’s too bad they’re running on the op-ed pages, because they should be out front. This particular piece, on a particularly bone-chilling charter-school operation in Fort Wayne, is worth your time no matter where you live, because this is the latest thing in for-profit education, and may well be coming to a neighborhood near you. (Bonus fun fact: This school is two blocks from my old house. It’s safe to say the Sprig-man lifted his leg on every bush in that picture.)

Just in case you weren’t depressed enough by the last bag of Dorito’s you ate, this NYT magazine story will bring you down even more, because guess what? It’s way worse than you thought.

Have a good rest of the week, all.

Posted at 12:09 am in Current events |
 

88 responses to “Tapped.”

  1. Dexter said on February 21, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Don’t lock yourself in without going to market first. A Banksy work.
    http://sharpartonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/BanksyMuseum.jpg

  2. basset said on February 21, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Speaking of leg-lifting:

    http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog/dyn/76781/giant-dog-defaces-on-bad-architecture-locals-love-it/#.USWutejmZXY

  3. Sherri said on February 21, 2013 at 2:40 am

    We’re still a few years before the grifters can start opening their charter schools in Washington, despite the recent ballot approval of a limited number of charters. The WEA is taking the initiative to court, and the State Superintendent may join them, over the governance of the charters. Charters themselves have to be operated by non-profits, so companies like Carpe Diem will have to set up shell non-profits to operate the schools while buying all their services from Carpe Diem. We’ve got at least another year before a charter actually opens.

  4. Prospero said on February 21, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Never reduced to Doritos. Truly disgusting piecess of shit Couldn’t stand them in the same car.

  5. David C. said on February 21, 2013 at 7:00 am

    That charter is more carpe pecunia than carpe diem.

  6. alex said on February 21, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Doritos certainly never tickled my “bliss spot.” I’m not sure what the focus groups find so blissful about a food item that transfers its vile unnatural color to anything that comes into contact with the consumer’s hands. Texturally Doritos feel like they’re making you dirty, and they do. As for the taste, meh. Of course, I don’t know what would make anyone want to vote Republican, either, but there you have it.

    The Journal-Gazette did some very good reporting previously about the charter school racket and local bazillionaire Don Willis who’s been bleeding the public coffers to pay exorbitant rents on properties he owns, where unaccountable schools were doing just the sorts of things they should be held accountable for. Fortunately, it looks like the charters have been yanked on a couple of them after enough years of measurable data revealed just how poorly they were performing.

    So the head of this Carpe Diem outfit is a graduate of the online University of Phoenix. I’m aghast. The only people I’ve ever encountered with such degrees, if they bothered to complete them, were layabouts who didn’t really want to work anyway.

  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 21, 2013 at 8:39 am

    But they have a big football stadium in Tempe? They must be legit.

  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 21, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Whoops. It’s in Glendale, outside of Phoenix proper. Shouldn’t indulge in casual snark when there’s no edit button.

  9. Jolene said on February 21, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Back to yesterday’s topic of keeping up with music, something that I happened across recently recommended a blog called Pitchfork (http://pitchfork.com/). Supposed to be very carefully and wisely put together by a guy who’s made it his life. Just checked it out, and it does look very impressive. Maybe it’ll be what you are looking for, Dexter.

    More generally, if you google “music blogs”, you’ll get tons of possibilities, including several “best of” lists. Can’t imagined who keeps track of all this.

  10. Bob (not Greene) said on February 21, 2013 at 9:09 am

    The thought of sending one of my kids to a school such as the one described in that piece — how is that story not one Page 1 with a huge headline, anyway? — absolutely horrifies me. That description is exactly what the “market” thinks of education and this generation’s children — they are grooming them to become the future’s wage slaves, stupid, compliant cogs in their corporate wheel. How do these people sleep at night?

  11. Jolene said on February 21, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Agree, Bib(nG). The description of the Carpet Diem school sounds like the most joyless educational experience I can imagine. I’d be shocked if it turned out that there are several hundred families who want to send their kids there, especially with the limited efficacy data that they seem to have.

  12. Jolene said on February 21, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Whoops, Bob, not Bib. Sorry.

  13. nancy said on February 21, 2013 at 9:28 am

    To be sure, I’ve known a few people whose children have finished school via online classes, but these were kids with significant challenges to traditional school attendance — addiction and mental-health issues, mainly. The state has always acknowledged these outliers by making online classes a choice, but it was always limited to a small percentage of students. The lifting of caps on cyber schools, a standard tactic of the education-reform movement, leads naturally to schools like Carpe Diem.

    Like Bob, I simply cannot imagine putting a kid I cared about in such an environment.

  14. nancy said on February 21, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Oh, a little pimpage for the home team before I go: A charticle (love that word) on the astounding spike in Chinese enrollment at Michigan State. All you Spartans will want to check this one out.

  15. brian stouder said on February 21, 2013 at 9:52 am

    As usual, our proprietress is much too polite. When she says:

    The lifting of caps on cyber schools, a standard tactic of the education-reform movement, leads naturally to schools like Carpe Diem.

    The translation is: One way of busting a cap into the public school systems is so-called “cyber schools” – which are not schools, at all. This latest tactic is simply carpet bombing more than a century of public schools held accountable to locally elected school boards.
    Just last evening attended* an unrelated meeting at good ol’ South Side High School – also two or three blocks from this proposed boondoggle. You can bet we will be at that public meeting, for whatever good it will do to look these people (or their flaks) in the eye, and call them thieves and vandals to their face.

    carpe pecunia than carpe diem.

  16. brian stouder said on February 21, 2013 at 10:00 am

    (meant to say – I loved that “carpe pecunia”/carpe diem pun!)

  17. Scout said on February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

    University of Phoenix is finally being recognized as an overly expensive diploma mill. I peripherally know someone employed by UoP and word is that big lay offs are a-comin’. I also peripherally know someone who got one of their worthless degrees; they can’t find a job in their “field” and they are deep in debt.

    I’ve always called Doritos bad breath pills. They stink before consumption, and they really stink worse once consumed.

  18. brian stouder said on February 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I think Nancy’s better half has a funny observation about the production of junk food like that – in fact it may have been about Doritos themselves…something about a barrel of the crap they dump onto them – and how you had to treat it as a toxic substance.

    I won’t go on and on about this school outrage, except to say that the parallel that comes to mind is CAFO hog operations.

    I think the genuine contempt (for other people’s children) demonstrated by these proponents of gutting the public education operations across the US is over-whelming; and their greed and profiteering is only a happy coincidence.

    Or else, why would our lilly-white, gerrymandered Republican dominated legislature ever allow this?

  19. Deborah said on February 21, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Talk about people who shouldn’t be able to sleep at night, those execs at the corporations in the NYT piece, how do they do it? I had Wrigley as a client, they were bought by Mars while my project was going on and I had to read a pamphlet that Mars handed out to the Wrigley people when they took over. It was sickeningly full of crap about “freedom”. Yeah, freedom to make unhealthy products and push them off relentlessly on a gullible, addictive public.

  20. Bitter Scribe said on February 21, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Wait a minute…a for-profit company is taking public education funds for a “school” that seems to consist mostly of a bunch of monitors? For God’s sake, even those “Adam and Eve rode out of Eden on a dinosaur” Christian “academies” at least offer personal interaction with students.

    The Chicago Tribune a few months ago ran this breathless piece about how Hot Doritos or Flaming Doritos or whatever they call that stuff in the bright-red bags were “engineered” to be addictive. They made it sound like crack cocaine.

  21. Julie Robinson said on February 21, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Someone I also know peripherally went all the way through getting a master’s in psychology at UoP, and only at the end realized there were *zero* jobs available without clinical and lab experience. She’s still stocking shelves at Walmart.

    And in other education news, Florida Atlantic University is getting $6 million for naming rights at its football stadium. From a private prison company. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/sports/ncaafootball/a-company-that-runs-prisons-will-have-its-name-on-a-stadium.html. Best quote of the article: “It’s like calling something Blackwater Stadium.”

  22. Jeff Borden said on February 21, 2013 at 10:48 am

    One of my professors in graduate school had looked into working for the University of Phoenix, but she ran screaming from the place when she learned all the teaching is by script. Online instructors literally work from a single, one-size-fits-all script, she said, with no room for the kinds of discussion and exploration learning is generally expected to produce.

    I find the idea of for-profit schools kind of repulsive, but they have a lot of money to spend on political juice. And I truly hate the idea that one of those experiences that bound us together as citizens –attending local public schools– is under attack.

  23. Charlotte said on February 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I don’t get the junk food thing — an occasional bag of Fritos on a road trip (ingredients: corn, salt, oil) but for the most part, not my jones. Don’t like pop, don’t like fake flavors, and don’t eat much processed food so everything tastes WAY too salty to me …

    However, I have become absolutely addicted to the miso-sesame dressings in this new cookbook I just reviewed — Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singelton Hachisu — great book if anyone is looking to add some very simple, very delicious Asian dishes to their everyday. If anything is addictive, it’s her salted cucumbers with miso-sesame dressing. Perfect mix of salty, sweet and crunchy …

    As the Monsanto case goes to the Supreme Court — here’s an interesting piece about organic farmers in Bihar, India’s poorest province, who beat all production records for rice and potatoes using organic methods: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/feb/16/india-rice-farmers-revolution

  24. Joe K said on February 21, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Man walks into dr office and drops his pants showing his doctor his manhood has turned orange, dr examines the man and kind find no reason why his member should be orange, finally in desperation the dr ask the man to describe a typical day hopping to find some clue, the man describes his day, finishing with his typical evening of eating Doritos and watching porn.
    Thank you. Remember to tip your waitress.
    Pilot Joe

  25. Crabby said on February 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

    You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    http://hint.fm/wind/

    US wind map

  26. DellaDash said on February 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

    We used to buy Gerolsteiner (mineral water) by the case in sweltering Miami. With a bit of fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, I thought it was the best thirst quencher for a recovering soda pop addict. However, a good friend warned me a few years ago that too much carbonation can damage bone density. Bumboclot! My bones are gonna have to take a hit for the team.

    In lieu of homemade, there are a few delicious commercial salsas with low enough sodium to make scooping raw, crunchy, sweet bell peppers into them a way to satisfy baby boomer chip-and-dip cravings.

    From yesterday’s thread – in her lecture, Hilary Mantel discloses an element of Tudor belief (marbled as subtext throughout ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ but never made explicit) that offers a delectable amuse bouche for further thought:

    “At his trial Anne’s brother, George Boleyn, entertained the court by telling them that Henry was no good in bed. Conception was thought to be tied to female orgasm, so the implication was that what George called Henry’s lack of ‘skill’ was the problem.”

    Woah! Conception was thought to be tied to female orgasm? That gives a whole new dimension to the advisability and repurcussions of faking it!

    How Tudorish of (certain factions of) the GOP to claim that the lack of a rape victim’s climax if a form of birth control.

  27. DellaDash said on February 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Whoops…Hilary Mantel is from Tuesday’s thread.

  28. Prospero said on February 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Charlotte@23: Hachisu? Gesundheit.I despise Doritos. They stink to high heaven. From across the room. And corporation-run prisons? And why aren’t the corporate crooks in them? Dickless? Rummy? Liddy? Colson? Why that is downright Dickensian. And it would behoove Little Lindsey Fauntleroy to get to the bottom of the astounding lies about Iraq and WMDs wouldn’t it Danny?I mean, what the fuck, Condi?

  29. Prospero said on February 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Another YouTube nobody will click:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-72thJWkd0

    Too bad, because it is way better music than Black Keys will ever manage.

    And there is. Better taste.

  30. Peter said on February 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I haven’t read the whole NYT article yet – for some masochistic reason I’m going to read it during lunch, but…

    I don’t think Doritos are nearly as addictive as Better Cheddars. I’d tell you what I did once when I found them on sale, but that’s staying in the vault.

  31. LAMary said on February 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I will forever associate Doritos with smoking weed.

  32. RickB said on February 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I worked for Frito-Lay for 27 years, delivering Doritos, etc. to the inner-city of Fort Wayne. I actually agree with all of the above. Doritos(and all the rest)are complete crap. I retired as soon as I was able at age 59). I actually put my two kids through college on my Hot Cheetos sales. But I was never very proud of what I was doing. Our management kept coming up with dorky euphemisms for crap, like “fun food”. All the guys would just roll their eyes. And, Frito-Lay is owned by Pepsico. So basically they are the devil.

  33. MarkH said on February 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Pilot Joe – if it’s orange, wouldn’t be Cheetos? At least, that’s how I heard the joke.

    Speaking of which, years ago my motto when in the snack aisle became, “Step away from the Cheetos…”. I don’t know about any other ingredients, but for me, it’s simply the salt that keeps me going but the flavoring draws me in. I never buy Doritos, but am OK with the Cool Ranch variety. Tostitos are better, not saying much, of course.

  34. Dexter said on February 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    There is just one “food” item worse that Doritos. CheezBalls, Cheese Balls, Cheetos, Cheetos Puffs…any of this category of junk food.
    They turn fingers a sickly greasy yellow and after one reaches his limit, make you vomit.

    A friend passed away a few weeks ago, and as I was reminiscing about our friendship over the years, I kept flashing back to seeing his Camel cigarette-stained fingers; he smoked five packs of Camel straights for many years before finally switching to Camel filters.
    As I ponder this now, I cannot recall any filter cigarette smoker who had those perma-stains on his fingers, but I can remember quite a few people who smoked non-filter cigarettes and they all had the cigarette stain. Another pal’s mother smoked cork-tipped (non-filter) Kools. HARSH! She was the only person I ever knew who smoked Kool straights.
    Kool, obliterated in the marketplace by Newport. I bet you don’t know one person who smokes Kool.

  35. Sherri said on February 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), not sure if your snark covered this, but University of Phoenix doesn’t have a stadium, they have naming rights for the stadium used by the Arizona Cardinals, the NFL team.

    DellaDash, the theory that conception is related to female orgasm is still around: http://infertility.about.com/od/sextogetpregnant/f/Is-Female-Orgasm-Important-To-Get-Pregnant.htm

  36. Lex said on February 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Off-topic but worth celebrating: A bill, SB125, has been introduced into the N.C. General Assembly that would make willful violations of the state’s Open Records and Open Meetings laws a misdemeanor criminal offense.

    Now if we can make repeat offenses felonies, I’ll be a happier camper.

  37. Catherine said on February 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I once worked indirectly for a woman whose claim to fame was having invented Cool Ranch Doritos. It was just as awesome as it sounds.

  38. MichaelG said on February 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Neither USC nor UCLA have a stadium. SC plays home games at the coliseum and UCLA plays them at the Rose Bowl.

    I found it amusing a year or so ago when I found out that U of Phoenix paid for naming rights to the place where the AZ Cards play. Still do.

    I can’t even remember what they are now calling the place where the 49′ers play. Used to be called ‘Candlestick’.

  39. Catherine said on February 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    On a more serious note, and not to in any way contradict the concerns about the Carpe Diem-run school in Ft. Wayne, there *are* distinctions among charter schools. It’s not fair to tar them all with the same brush.

    1. There are 2 types of entities that run multiple charter schools: Charter management organizations (CMOs) and education management organizations (EMOs). CMOs are not-for-profit; EMOs are for-profit
    2. CMOs run about 16% of charter schools nationally. EMOs run about 13%. The remainder (and the majority) are freestanding, typically locally-controlled, NFP charters.
    3. 66.4 percent of CMO-run charters in 2009-2010 achieved their Adequate Yearly Progress goals; the percentage was 50.8 for the EMOs and 58.9 percent for the freestanding charters.

    Some charters are doing good things — for instance, technological innovation; returning schools to more local control; serving underserved areas; and providing families with alternatives to the cookie cutter approach in many public districts.

  40. Suzanne said on February 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I know someone who worked for a for-profit college for a couple of years (he needed a job!) He went in with an open mind and came out with the belief that these places are a complete scam. Where he worked, the campus director (one of them, anyway, as they routinely got fired) had his PhD from U of Phoenix and my friend said many of the instructors also got their degrees from similar so-called colleges. One program director actually asked him what was the difference between a non-profit and for profit college. There were no entrance requirements except a HS diploma or GED and a pulse. And it was expensive…

    I also know a guy who applied to be an instructor for Indiana’s Western Gov State U (Our Man Mitch!). He said there are no instructors, only facilitators. The curriculum was all pre-packaged and, had he taken the job, his responsibility would have been to deal with technology questions (Hey, my paper won’t upload)or procedural questions. No teaching involved.

    Sad to see the former Taylor U. campus in Fort Wayne falling so low.

  41. Julie Robinson said on February 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Speaking of brave new world in education, can anyone tell me about their experiences with Coursera? I’m thinking of taking this: https://www.coursera.org/course/beethovensonatas
    It just explores the Beethoven piano sonatas, and doesn’t even mention a book or quizzes, so it seems like there’d be no downside, except they want quite a bit of personal info before you can sign up. I guess I wonder if it’s just a scam to market you. Do I remember our Proprietess signing up with them?

  42. Sherri said on February 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    The Niners play at Candlestick Park. It went through a few corporate name changes, but it’s once again Candlestick. Not for long, though, as the Niners are moving to Santa Clara in 2014 and the ‘Stick will be demolished.

  43. Bitter Scribe said on February 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    For-profit colleges leech off military veterans. That’s not a verb I use lightly.

    There is some sort of federal regulation that limits the number of students admitted who are receiving federally guaranteed loans/grants (or maybe it’s a limit on overall revenue derived from them—not sure). But veteran-related grants and loans are not counted against that total. This means, of course, that the for-profits are slavering to sign up as many vets as they can. It’s why they have offices across the street from military bases.

    One asshole was even caught in a military hospital, “enrolling” Marines who had been brain-damaged in combat. Sometimes I wish I believed in hell, just so people like that would have a place to go.

  44. Peter said on February 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    The part about for profit charter schools that bugs me is that, other than the crackpots in the newspaper comments section, most reasonable people feel that a large problem with school budgets is the money spent on administration and consultants. How many business types write op-eds that say school districts need to be run leaner, just like their business. Well, every for profit charter set up I’ve seen is just as top heavy, only you have to add the profit on top of that. So how’s that saving money?

  45. Bitter Scribe said on February 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Julie: FWIW, Jonathan Biss is a highly respected performer, and the Curtis Institute is one of the most prestigious music schools in the U.S. I doubt they would give their names to some ripoff scheme. That course sounds interesting, if a little vague. It will “explore and demystify the work of the performer,” but you don’t need to know anything about music to take it. Hmmm.

  46. JWfromNJ said on February 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    “Helllllllllll yeah I want cheesy poofs,” Eric Cartman

  47. RickB said on February 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Julie: Coursera is a free on-line “university”. Most courses have no tests nor give out certificates, etc. They are for anyone who just wants to learn more about the subject. I have signed up for a course called “Know Thyself” (its about time I say). It is “taught” by a philosophy professor at the Univ. of Va. Each week he teaches via video, with a recommended reading beforehand (like Plato’s Apology, Descartes Meditation on First Philosophy etc). I will learn and read new things I never would have attempted alone. They are offering over 300 courses by serious teachers. And, its free. I see no downside here.

  48. Suzanne said on February 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Bitter Scribe,
    My friend told me that his for-profit did indeed enroll a vet with a brain injury who didn’t last 6 weeks. He said he, and several other staff members, were sure this guy was going to go off at some point because he had a very explosive temper, no doubt from the brain injury. My friend also mentioned that this guy, and several other mentally unstable student, couldn’t sit through a class and were fairly often seen wandering the halls when class was going on.

    I think I’ve read a college can only have 80% of its income involved with federal grant/loan money, but veterans benefits don’t count in that total. So, yes, they go after even vets with significant problems, get their money, and then cut ‘em loose.

  49. Julie Robinson said on February 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    So your inbox isn’t being spammed from places Coursera has sold your name to? It sounds like a fun “class”, and I’ve been on a Beethoven kick lately anyway.

  50. Jolene said on February 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Frontline analyzed for-profit colleges a couple of years ago; their analysis was highly critical for all the reasons mentioned–unqualified students, poor quality instruction, low graduation rates, high debt loads. If you want to check it out, you can still find it online. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/collegeinc/

    The Department of Education has been attempting to regulate them more stringently, with only partial success. The NYT has a good article re where things stood on the regulation front last summer. Not sure what, if any, progress there has been since then.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/02/education/judge-strikes-a-for-profit-college-regulation.html?_r=0

  51. coozledad said on February 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    It’s time to do away with the whole “states” thing. It’s a failure- a travesty. It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.
    http://wonkette.com/502171/montana-law-enforcement-will-protect-you-from-other-law-enforcement-because-freedom#more-502171

  52. MichaelG said on February 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Sherri @42, thanks but I knew all that. I was just trying to make a lame joke.

  53. Connie said on February 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Snarky article on Wonkette about Coursera: http://wonkette.com/502147/drudge-siren-turns-out-a-bunch-of-youtube-videos-are-not-the-same-as-college

  54. Danny said on February 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Whither Mr. Transparency?

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/obama-the-puppet-master-87764.html

  55. coozledad said on February 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Hmm, well, these are deep waters, Jeeves Withers. There is only one thing that I can say now with any certainty, and that is that Politico has made an ass of itself again.

  56. Danny said on February 21, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    From the article, it looks like more than a few reporters, photogs and assorted other media types supported the argument.

  57. coozledad said on February 21, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Ooooh. Access.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCm9788Tb5g

  58. Danny said on February 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Yessss. Access of the fellating sort:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPGYW_BJzNo

    “I’ve never seen you lose!” Smooochy-Smoooch-smoooch!

  59. alex said on February 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Oh, Danny, why can’t you flame us with Dems whose names are found in whores’ little black books, or Unitarian pastors boning their own grandchildren at Awana meetings?

  60. Sherri said on February 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Instead of arguing over whether the White House press corp has enough access, I’d urge everybody to go over to Time and read the depressing article about medical expenses and learn your new word for today: chargemaster.

    http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/

  61. Danny said on February 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Do Unitarians have Awana? JWfromNJ, you might know this?

  62. coozledad said on February 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Hey! If Unitarian ministers can’t bone their grandchildren, the next thing you know Obama will be deposing Timothy Dolan about those thousands of violations of sweet, sweet altarboy ass.

    http://www.jsonline.com/newswatch/192139551.html?newsWatchDate=2-16-2013

    What’s that you say? Holy fuck! Religious freedom libel!

  63. Connie said on February 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Awana is Baptist. My kid went.

  64. RickB said on February 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Connie: For a 60-year-old retired guy like me Coursera is just right. I’m not looking for college credit, just an interesting “packaging” of related concepts. I would never claim it is real college-level material. But if a class can reach 100,000 and improve their lives a little, why knock it? I take it for what it is and benefit from it.

  65. brian stouder said on February 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Well, I don’t know about internet education, but I’m always up for a real-live lecture. In the past 8 weeks, Grant and I attended a superb lecture series on the Holocaust; I attended two different free public lectures at the University of St Francis (down the block from here!) on Vatican II and the Council of Trent (surprisingly good), and then on Vatican II and the Holocaust (a very nice bit of symmetry there, although the professor set my teeth on edge a time or two); and this evening Shelby came with me to IPFW to see Naomi Tutu hold forth on race and prejudice – which was a thought-provoking and surprisingly funny (and very hopeful/human) presentation.

    I’ll leave aside Danny’s somewhat incoherent gurgles about ‘transparency’(??) and oral sex….and I’ll wish all the best to Pilot Joe, who may well find himself grounded if the “You didn’t build that”/gang-that-can’t-shoot-straight Republicans manage to reap the sequestration storm they’ve sewn, and grind the evil government (read: air travel/air traffic control) to a halt at the end of next week.

  66. Hattie said on February 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Posted the article about charter schools on my Facebook page, because a lot of my friends have fallen for pro-charter school propaganda.

  67. Deborah said on February 21, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    I haven’t finished it yet Sherri but that Chargemaster link you have in your comment #60 is another example of people (i.e. executives in Corporations, in this case healthcare Corporations) who shouldn’t be able to sleep at night because of greed and heartlessness:

    “What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?

  68. David C. said on February 22, 2013 at 7:10 am

    The dirty little (not so) secret of American health care is that things cost more than anywhere else because we are charged more than anywhere else. Oncologists seem like the worst of the worst. Two of my cousins’ wives have been treated for cancer in the past year. The doctor’s initial statement came down to, more or less, your money or your life. We’re told they have miracles for us and you just can’t put a price on a miracle, can you. Our doctors are paid in the area of 40% more than anywhere else. Do we have doctors who are 40% better than anywhere else. Not that I’ve seen. We’re told that health care is so expensive because we proles have no “skin in the game” and therefore run to the doctor for every little sniffle. The deductible on my health insurance was increased to $8000. It would be an inconvenience for me, I make a relatively good salary, but I know it would be skin, muscle, sinew, and bone to someone making less, let alone someone with a chronic condition, like diabetes, who would have to pay that out every year. So as you say Deborah, there are a lot of people who shouldn’t be sleeping well at night.

  69. Danny said on February 22, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I’ll leave aside Danny’s somewhat incoherent gurgles about ‘transparency’(??) and oral sex…

    Except you didn’t leave it aside and decided to go all passive-aggressive. And I highly doubt you found the posts “incoherent,” but just in case you need some ‘splainin’:

    From the article, it seems that a good number of media folks think that this current administration restricts access and controls exposure to a greater degree and with greater facility than any previous administration. The article goes on to support the argument that this sort of tightly control image/message play is obviously bad for the electorate and a monumental bit of hypocrisy given all the very explicit promises that Mr. Obama gave regarding how his administration would be the most transparent ever. And then since the usual nitwit wanted to marginalize this relevant argument by weighing in with a little Youtube action of the previous administration giving media access to a golf outing, I thought I would respond in kind by linking to the Youtube video that shows the only type of media access that the current administration seems to want to grant… and that is the type of access where reporters don’t ask hard questions, but instead genuflect as they exclaim in breathy tones, “I’ve never seen you lose!” The only thing that could have made the fellatio allusion more screamingly obvious is if the reporter had been wearing blue dress.

  70. beb said on February 22, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Politico has been carrying water for the Republicans since day one. When they complain about staged events, softball questions, controlled access to the president, strategic leaks, etc. the question has to be asked: are they talking about George W. Bush or Barack Obama? Or Bill Clinton, or GHW Bush, or Ronald Reagan…? When has the White House not tried to control the press corp? And reporters seem to be more concerned about watching the President play golf with Tiger Woods then they are about the presidents excessively secretive policy of targets assassination of American citizens overseas (who have been linked to Al Quieda).

    And you never hear the press corp complain about the Speaker of the House’s chronic mendacity, inability to control hos caucus, or flat out refusing to do his job. (By which I mean Boehner is waiting on the Senate to less bills before he will even consider passing a bill on his own.) But then the DC Press corp aren’t reporters, their stenographers.

    The great, massive blizzard that is destroying our country is kicking up a little snow now, later rain. Total snowfall is predicted at 1 to 2 inches. I get so tired of hearing about snowpoclytis when all we Detroiters get is a light dusting.

  71. coozledad said on February 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Let me know when this administration hires its own cock-headed manwhore to do sleepovers or lapdances at press briefings. Oh for the days Jimmy Jeff Gannon Guckert and Ha Ha Talon News Service Ha Ha.
    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4153

  72. mark said on February 22, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Deborah and David-

    Don’t worry, Obamacare “broke the cost curve.” Everything is getting better and cheaper now.

  73. coozledad said on February 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Mark: It hasn’t, in large part, even taken effect. The insurance exchanges will be established in 2014.
    What has taken effect has lowered our insurance rates considerably, by roughly 12%. But why am I telling you this?

    Is Romney still doing well?

  74. Danny said on February 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I am actually interested to see what happens as the dust settles and the Healthcare Reform Act starts implementation. As near as I can figure, I will be somewhat screwed in the short-term because I expect my company will elect to pay the penalty and discontinue its employee health-care plan, but we will have to see about the long-term.

    Some aspects make sense to me, like getting rid of pre-existing conditions clauses, but I really don’t know what to expect as far as overall cost, quality and access. It seems likely that astronomical fees for routine things will go away, though.

  75. Prospero said on February 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Had Boner brought one of the four jobs and infrastructure bills forwarded to the House by the White House up for a vote in 2012, instead of having the House vote 35 times to repeal ACA, maybe there would be something to talk about. And you can claim till you are blue in the gums that this has nothing to do with the color of the President’s skin, but it clearly does. Orange guy isn’t taking too well to brown guy pushing him around. Danny and Mark and the other huffy GOPers should consider the origins of Obamacare. Straight outta AEI, you dicks, by way of RMoneycare. But it was a good idea then, right? But what is the profit motive in extending coverage. It saves money for the Commonweal but does nothing for the hedge fund managers. In the rest of the rich and civilized world, health care costs less than 10% of GNP. In the US, it’s heading for 30%. Now that seems to me like the market is shitting the bed, while robbing us all blind. By the way, why not just raise that payroll tax threshhold to $175thou. Then medicare could give all of us that Cadillac health care Granny Starver Ryan gets. And SSI COLAs too. GOPers like to talk a big American Exceptionalism game, but they won’t walk the walk. In the way it treats its citizens, the USA is second-and-a-half world, tops. Once everybody is processed through Carpe Diem, they’ll learn to love it, and not ask what Soylent Green is made of. And Mrs. Montag will have all four screens.

  76. John (not McCain) said on February 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

    How does a company canceling their employees’ health insurance work? Do they have to pay whatever they were paying to the insurance co. to the employees? If they don’t, doesn’t that count as a pay cut? I’ve always thought of health insurance as part of compensation, but legally speaking I’m not sure.

  77. Deborah said on February 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Danny, I don’t understand why a company paying health insurance now would stop when the ACA fully comes into effect? Wouldn’t paying healthcare still be considered compensation? A reason for people to want to work there? I’m sorry but I don’t get it? Again how can people who run companies like that sleep at night?

  78. Danny said on February 22, 2013 at 11:33 am

    John, my understanding is that companies will have to make a choice between chipping in whatever they normally do towards an employee plan plus contributing to the federal government plan or simply paying a penalty to the federal government and letting the employees do their own thing by joining the federal government health plan.

    So most companies that are providing well-provisioned health care benefits at a high cost to the company and low cost to the employees will find it cheaper to stop doing that and just pay the federal penalty. And many are saying that that is just what they plan to do. So the employees at these companies will have no choice but to enroll in the federal plan that is less well-provisioned and more expensive individually than the original company provided plan.

    At least, that is how many are thinking things will play out in the first few years. It could improve and be a win-win-win (employee, company, society) down the road, but needless to say, there are a lot of chances for it not to be so good also.

  79. brian stouder said on February 22, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Well, I’m a half-century old, and have always been fortunate enough to be employed, and insured. For the past 26+ years, I’ve worked at the same place, and the health insurance provided was excellent to begin with, and is still very good. It has always been from the same provider, even as their corporate name and imagery has evolved over time. The same representative has always dealt with us, and he actually looks like a stockier version of Mitt Romney; slicked back hair with (carefully maintained?) whitewall sides, striped suit, and 2-seat German sports car. We are sincerely thankful that our main experience with our healthcare has revolved around childbirth, over the years. When my son was born 25 years ago, and then again 17 years ago, our out-of-pocket expense was minimal….and the short version of the rest of this story is that when our daughters came into the world 14 years ago and then again 8 years ago, we directly experienced sharply higher out-of-pocket expenses, coupled with the knowledge that our employer was paying sharply (like 5X) higher premiums for our coverage itself. We now have high-deductible insurance, coupled with a Health Savings Account (pre-tax dollars set aside for the high deductible, plus other sundy healthcare expenses like dental and optical), and premiums that are at a premium high – and were there well before our current president came into office, let alone the passage of the ACA.

    Hell, some of the same people that I used to agree with (pre-Obama) lamented how much better the economy might do, if the healthcare thing was taken off employers and put onto the government; now those people rant about “government takeover”, etc etc.

    I think healthcare is equal-parts miraculous thing/dedicated people; and tranwreck/grifters-scrappers; and certainly, the Affordable Healthcare Act ain’t gonna change that. It is interesting that people who extoll the miracles and infallible rationality of “the market” blithely accept that an industry (healthcare) can have such over-capacity and leaping costs – and yet still always builds more and more “production” capability, rather than cutting back.

  80. Danny said on February 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Deborah, because in a nutshell, many companies are eying that it is cheaper to just pay the penalty than to provide health benefits plus pay the government tax on top of that. All it takes is for one or two of the big companies to do it, then everyone else follows suit to stay competitive.

  81. Suzanne said on February 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Our healthcare provider-through my husband’s job- has changed multiple times over the past 20 years. We’ve gone from Aetna, to Cigna, to Blue Cross and Lord knows what else. I’ve lost count. Every change involves trying to figure out if your doctor is on the plan. We are now on a $5000 deductible.

    And no, I’m pretty sure that companies who currently provide healthcare as part of compensation will not give their employees a raise when they drop the benefit. If they do, I’d be pleasantly surprised.

  82. Prospero said on February 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    pay the government tax on top of that The what? That is Teabanger bullshit and you know it. And you have made it clear the companies are the culprits and making a dime off their employees. Capital will invariably screw over producers of actual work.

  83. Jolene said on February 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Not to interrupt, but Nancy has started a new thread.

  84. Prospero said on February 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    And no, I’m pretty sure that companies who currently provide healthcare as part of compensation will not give their employees a raise when they drop the benefit. If they do, I’d be pleasantly surprised.

    I’d have a heart attack. And I’d say employers that tried something like Danny’s moneysaving plan would face class-action lawsuits they could not sustain. Good Luck, WalMart. Good Luck Papa John.

  85. Jolene said on February 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    The rate of employer-paid insurance has been dropping over time and the price has been rising, beginning long before Obamacare was passed. Just saw something this AM saying that, currently only 44% of Americans get health insurance through their employers. Has dropped 5% in just the past four years.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/160676/fewer-americans-getting-health-insurance-employer.aspx

  86. Prospero said on February 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Want to pass on this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQo1HIcSVtg

  87. Julie said on February 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Here is an article about Carpe Diem in Arizona, complete with a picture of the deear children, training to work in an American call center, I guess…

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/48912833/ns/us_news-education_nation/

  88. beb said on February 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    A blog noted that currently, employer based group health insurance rans about $4600 per employee, but the federal fine is only $2000 pr employee. The fine should have been set to $5000 to give business an incentive to continue healthcare coverage.

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