Friday, January 10, 2014

When is West Virginia going to recruit 'Call Centers' back to the USA rather than this?

In Charleston, W. Va, residents woke up to news that their water was contaminated. Some waited in lines to collect water from tankers delivered by the National Guard. Ty Wright for The New York Times

By Timothy Williams and Ashley Southall
Jan. 10, 2014

Federal prosecutors (click here) opened an investigation on Friday into a chemical spill that had contaminated the drinking water of more than 200,000 residents of West Virginia, as state officials said it was unclear when the water would be safe to use.

The spill that has affected Charleston and the nine surrounding counties was discovered around noon on Thursday at a storage facility owned by on the Elk River, where a 48,000-gallon tank began leaking 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, or MCHM, a compound used to wash coal of impurities, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection....

It is a cyclohexane with an methyl group and a hydroxide group. It is very biologically reactive. The good news is it has a low solubility in water. It is an oil. That is why it is less reactive with water. However, the chemical properties in regard to biological interactions with the human body processes are relatively unknown. 

US Fish and Wildlife needs to get out there and begin an assessment.

It is used as an air freshener and reacts with the nasal smell receptors, if there were sincere air quality properties that were dangerous it would be known by now. The chemical is not used in any product that is ingested and that is the problem. Just because the oil is not is not water loving and dissolves in water, doesn't mean the oil won't create a mixture in drinking water that can't be separated out. Given the fact the containers were very close to potable water there is an aspect of this that can make people quite ill.

There are only four ski resorts in West Virginia? 
Mountains can serve a greater purpose than coal mining.

West Virginia has a lot of work to do and it has absolutely nothing to do with coal.

What are ya waitin' for?

West Virginia needs a new economic plan, the sooner it begins the better. 

West Virginia Roads Could Impact Economy (click here)

Posted: Jan 09, 2014 4:01 PM ESTUpdated: Jan 09, 2014 4:08 PM EST

I am glad the Governor's wife still loves him because no one in any party does.

Speaker John Boehner, (click here) who has since vowed to pass the package as soon as possible, reportedly yanked the bill Tuesday to get back at Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who split with him on the fiscal cliff fix. ‘There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims – the House majority and their speaker,’ the famously blunt governor said.

It is going to be next to impossible to shake his political status. You can call it a slick politician, but, he simply isn't. He was at the seashore with the residents, he was on their side with Congress and he was at the fire front with the firefighters. Where the brevity state's power matters, Christie was there to leverage it.

There was an investigation into the fire by the Attorney General's Office, wasn't there? I haven't heard whether that investigation was concluded. So, it will be awhile before all the information regarding the Fort Lee scandal is in.

The point is this: The Governor is admired by a lot of people. The state still has problems. It is going to be a while until all the facts are known and it is determined if crimes were committed and by whom. 

"Good Policy is Good Politics." I sincerely expect the Democrats to go to work for the people of the state. I would expect tough questions to the Governor's Cabinet, but, it is best to let the investigations to transpire while the Democrats hold the state together and get things done. I heard that the rebuilding post Sandy isn't going as well as it should. Pursue it. Make it happen and be an ally to the residents. 

To attempt to focus a great deal of time on finger pointing and seeking a case that may not exist regarding the Governor would doom the politics into trivial. No one wants to appear to be trivial. So, the best path for New Jersey Democrats is to be the heroes of the citizens that believe they have grievances. Be the people that return more and more help to those still effected by Sandy. 

Do good works and the rest of it will fall in place. I do believe there are teachers and students in need of their attention, too.

Keep it real.

Training military sells well to the public to continue a presence.

It is an idea that never works. I don't remember the year, it was when Bush 

was pumping out this nonsense. Fifty Iraqi soldiers trained in Jordan were 

slaughtered on their way back to Iraq after their training concluded.

Iraqi police take up position during a raid and weapons search operation west of Baquba, about 50 km (30 miles) northeast of Baghdad, December 1, 2013.
Reuters/Mohammed Adnan

By Missy Ryan
January 10, 2014

(Reuters) - The Obama administration  (click here) is considering providing new training to elite Iraqi forces in Jordan as U.S. officials seek ways to help the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki repel an al Qaeda campaign near its western border.

Earlier this week, U.S. officials said the United States was in discussions with Iraq about training its elite forces in a third country, which would allow Washington to provide a modest measure of new support against militants in the absence of a troop deal allowing U.S. soldiers to operate within Iraq.
"There is discussion about this, and Jordan is included in the discussions," a U.S. defense official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a privately run special operations training center near Amman was one of the sites being considered....

See, the forces trained by the USA and/or Jordan are better equipped than anyone else in the area. So, the soldiers are either killed or kidnapped when they reach Iraq for their equipment. Then the Iraqi military or Iraqi police are less equipped from those they seek to control. It is a perfect paradigm to escalate civil war.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - An armed group kidnapped 31 Iraqi policemen (click here) who were returning training in Jordan, authorities said Wednesday, and a suicide car bomber rammed a U.S. convoy north of Baghdad, killing 10 people, hospital officials said....

It started with 200 US Troops. Then there were military exercises with Jordan, now there are 900 US Troops stationed in Jordan. 

Jordan hosting 900 US troops to ‘boost defence’ — Ensour (click here)

June 22, 2013
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Saturday said the Kingdom is hosting 900 US military personnel to bolster its defence capabilities against potential threats from the Syrian civil war.
The first Jordanian public official to speak publicly of the numbers of US troops in the Kingdom, Ensour told reporters Saturday that 200 of the personnel were experts training for how to handle a chemical attack, according to AP.
He said the remaining 700 are manning a Patriot missile defence system and F-16 fighter jets which Washington deployed this month in case the Syrian war worsens.
Jordan is concerned its larger northern neighbour would use chemical weapons against Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and other neighbouring countries, or that the stockpile may fall into the hands of Al Qaeda or other militants if President Bashar Assad loses control.
Also Saturday, Ensour denied an American newspaper report saying that the CIA and US special operations forces were training rebels from neighbouring Syria on its territory.
“There is no training in our country whatsoever of Syrian opposition forces,” Ensour told a group of journalists including one from AFP.
“The only Syrians we are dealing with in our country are refugees. There isn’t any training” of Syrian insurgents in Jordan, he insisted.
On Friday the Los Angeles Times reported that the CIA and US special forces have been training Syrian rebels at a new US base in the desert in southwest Jordan since November....

Does everyone think the USA military industrial complex is stupid? They attempt to manipulate the civilian branch of their hierarchy and the American public all the time. This is one of those times.

Jordan is a good friend of the USA. It has a right, as an ally, to receive protections from the USA when needed. But, to train soldiers to send into Syria and/or Iraq with the 'idea' they are going to remain alive and actually win battles is stupid.

Eventually, all the munitions and military armaments given to the countries most unstable and in chronic civil war in the Mideast will fall into the hands of those unintended to receive them. It happens all the time and is the best reason to end this hideous practice of nation building.

Any involvement by the USA military industrial complex in the Mideast equates to escalation of tensions in a country, an escalation to civil war and then unending conflicts among warring factions and ethnicities. The United Nation has a convention to end the exporting of arms to the areas where conflict exists. It is time the USA obverse that directive and end the killing of innocent people at the hand of their own failings.

The Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans have been basically abandoned by Governor Jindal.

About $890 million is left from a pool of $13.4 billion in Katrina and Rita aid, and more than $600 million remains from the $1.1 billion received after Gustav and Ike.

By Melinda Deslatte
January 3, 2014

...Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (click here) administration has defended the pace of spending, saying the Katrina recovery alone was one of the largest disaster rebuilding efforts in the nation’s history.
“Recovery takes time,” said Pat Forbes, Jindal’s director for disaster recovery work. “We are constantly reviewing other unmet recovery needs for where funds could go.”
Millions remain in unused housing assistance money allocated to the Road Home program created after the back-to-back blows of Katrina and Rita in 2005. A slice of money set aside to rebuild rental housing is not yet spent....

The Lower Ninth Ward was the hardest hit in 2005, it should have been the first to be restored. The greatest number of deaths occurred in The Lower Ninth Ward.

 AIR DATE: Dec. 28, 2013
JOHN CARLOS FREY:  Errol Joseph (click here) had lived his entire life in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. He was raising his own family in the same house he grew up in.  In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina changed all that.
ERROL JOSEPH: This was our master bedroom … we had a utility room over here, and over here was like a storage and a pantry.

JOHN CARLOS FREY:  Like all residents of the Lower Ninth Ward he and his wife and two kids were forced to evacuate. 
ERROL JOSEPH: We couldn't get back into this area and you had the military police with the assault rifles telling' that's as far as you can go.  You couldn't go in your house.
JOHN CARLOS FREY:  So he moved with his family to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before returning to a different New Orleans neighborhood, where he now rents.  Still this 63 –year-old contractor longs to return to the house he grew up in, but eight and a half years after the storm his house is still a shell of what it was....

Jindal stated there needs to be spending plans submitted in order to move the money into action, but, due to his lax attention to the Lower Ninth Ward, the community has deteriorated and moved on. It is impossible to rebuild a community with a spending plan where there are so few still available to create that spending plan. 

The restoration of The Lower Ninth Ward is long over due.

Unemployment down to 6.7% in December.

It was the holidays. They fell in the middle of the week for two weeks running. It had an impact on job creation.

...Job creation stumbled in December, (click here) with the U.S. economy adding just 74,000 positions even as the Federal Reserve voted to take the first steps in eliminating its stimulus program.

The unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, below economists' estimates and due primarily to continued shrinkage in the labor force.... 

Just at the time when Housing was having a stabilized rate, the weather caused a slow down in construction. 

..."I describe this as a weather-related clunker," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial. He pointed to a 16,000 drop on construction jobs, which are mostly outdoors, versus a drop of 1,000 in transportation and warehousing.... 

It is only fair to say, the unemployment rate is a reflection of those falling out of the job market due to the lack of unemployment funding. So, that is how Republicans provide rhetoric to their elections. They improved the unemployment rate by eliminating those that receive it.

Then there is this:
ADP derives their figures from actual payrolls.
ADP National Employment Rate in December 2013 (click here)

Sincerely Small Businesses of 1-19 persons are leading the jobs market in growth.

Americans are getting this done. They are reclaiming their economy. That is incredible. They also took less of a hit in 2008. Damn, it works. Small businesses are far more sustaining in the American economy than any other organized employment force.

The only other employment sector that has returned to pre-crash employment numbers are with 1,000 + employees and that was only recently. That level of employment looks as though it might have a significant trajectory in 2014.

Right behind those figures is the employer of 20-49 employees. They were more effected by the crash, but, recovered faster and rival the recovery of the 1000 + employers.

The 50-499 employees and 500-999 are still struggling. The US Labor Department might want to focus on their recovery and why they are still floundering a bit.

Congratulations, America, you are getting done. Local Economies, you got love 'em.

Roger Goodell plays with the legal definition of "General Public"

New Jersey requires the NFL to sell 95% of tickets to the "General Public." Goodell breaking the law. Shame on Roger Goodell. I suppose the FINE for the venture by the NFL will be paid for by those sales to the "General Public" in the secondary market.

January 9, 2014
By Susanna Kim
Good Morning America

Are the Super Bowl's sky-high ticket prices (click here) unfair to the public? That's what Josh Finkelman, from New Brunswick, N.J., thinks, so he decided to sue the National Football League in what he hopes will be certified as a class-action lawsuit.
Finkelman, who works in warehousing, sued this week in federal court in Newark, N.J., accusing the NFL of unjust enrichment and violating New Jersey consumer fraud law, which prohibits withholding more than 5 percent of seating from the public for any event to be sold at other than face value.
In his lawsuit, Finkelman, 28, and his attorneys argue that just 1 percent, or 775 of 77,500 tickets, are available to the public at face value for this year's Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The capacity for MetLife Stadium is 82,500, according to the stadium website.
For most people, a ticket to the Super Bowl is out of reach. The average ticket price now is $3,432.90, according to TiqIQ, a bit less than prices last year around this time, which were $3,521.44....

The NFL has their own scalping site (click here) It makes it possible to purchase tickets and turn around and sell them.

The FINE print:


If you wish to list your tickets, (click here) the tickets must be in your possession and be available to be shipped to us within 24 hours. We must have possession of the tickets in order to authenticate and list them on the official ticket exchange. We strongly recommend using a secured carrier such as UPS.

We will require positive identification on any tickets listed. This will include a legible copy of your valid driver's license and a signed confirmation agreement. Details will be provided once you have completed and submitted your request to list your tickets using the form below. You have the right to have your tickets returned to you at any time, at your cost and expense.

If your tickets do not sell by Thursday, January 30th, 2014 we will either (a) ship the tickets back to you, at your cost and expense or (b) transfer the tickets to our Retail/Will Call location in New Jersey. You may select either option on the confirmation agreement. This will insure you have your tickets the Friday before the Super Bowl or available for pickup in New Jersey.

Please note that you will receive payment only if the tickets are sold. Sales are settled on a weekly basis even if only some of your tickets have been sold. A fee of 15% of the total tickets sales price will be deducted at settlement.

Details of where to send your tickets, how you can set and change sales prices, and other options will be communicated to you in response to the completion and submission of the form below.

Please complete the following form to alert us to your ticket sales needs.

In addition to that, Goodell wants to add playoff games as well. The every team Super Bowl End of Season to suck more money out of fans. Wild cards aren't enough.

Posted by Mike Florio
January 7, 2014, 8:35 PM EST

...Expansion, which recently (click here) was touted by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, would entail the addition of one team per conference.  That team, a third non-division winner and No. 7 seed overall, would play the No. 2 seed in the wild-card round.  Thus, only two teams per year — the top team in each conference — would get a bye.

The addition of two playoff teams wouldn’t necessarily spark a shuffling of the current seeds, with division winners potentially losing their automatic home games in the opening round.  Goodell said there’s no momentum within the league for change in the seeding, even though he acknowledged that there may indeed be momentum within the media....

Where have I heard this before? Gitmo? Maybe, huh? Why would anyone expect anything different from the prisons of Afghanistan?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (click here) and his top justice officials on Thursday ordered the release of 72 imprisoned terrorism suspects for lack of evidence to prosecute them, defying U.S. objections to freeing men still considered a security risk.
The prisoners at the Parwan detention facility at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, were captured by U.S. and NATO forces over the course of the 12-year-old U.S.-led war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda-backed militants.
But a case review by Afghan officials of 88 prisoners deemed by the United States to be too dangerous to set free found enough evidence to prosecute only 16 of them, Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi told reporters after the president met Thursday with the Afghan attorney general and justice minister.
"We cannot allow innocent Afghan citizens to be kept in detention for months and years without a trial for no reason at all," Faizi told foreign journalists in Kabul, the capital, the BBC reported....

The US needs to shut up and remove their soldiers from Afghanistan.

September 17, 2004

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 16 - Sgt. James P. Boland, (click here) a reserve military police soldier from Cincinnati, watched as a subordinate beat an Afghan prisoner, Mullah Habibullah, 30, the brother of a former Taliban commander, according to a military charge sheet released recently.

The report also said that Sergeant Boland shackled an Afghan named Dilawar, chaining his hands above his shoulders, and denied medical care to the man, a 22-year-old taxi driver, whose family said he had never spent a night away from his mother and father before being taken to the American air base at Bagram, 40 miles north of Kabul. The two detainees died there within a week of each other in December 2002.

Now, 21 months later, the Army has charged Sergeant Boland with assault and other crimes and investigators are recommending that two dozen other American soldiers face criminal charges, including negligent homicide, or other punishments for abuses that occurred more than a year before the scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Far from settling the cases, the charges raise new questions about who authorized the harsh interrogation methods used in Afghanistan and about the contradictory statements made by American military officials who, when questioned shortly after the men's deaths, said they had died of natural causes....

Need I go on? What is going on with these Afghans? CIA Black Site?

More drone mischief?  What are we doing there?

And then the USA wonders why "The Taliban" seems a better alternative to these people.

(To the right) A sketch showing how Dilawar was chained to the ceiling of his cell by Thomas V. Curtis, a former sergeant in the Reserve United States Army Military Police Corps

How quickly we forget.

UPDATE: This list was extensively updated on the weekend of April 2-3, 2011, when the results of around 100 Detainee Review Boards were added from documents secured by the ACLU through FOIA requests, and around 100 new cases were added, of prisoners seized since this list was compiled in September 2009.

...On Friday January 15, 2010, the Pentagon responded (click here) to a FOIA request submitted by the ACLU last April, and released the first ever list of 645 prisoners held, as of September 22, 2009, in the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan (the Bagram Theater Internment Facility).
In the hope of making the list more readily accessible — and searchable — than it is through a poorly photocopied Pentagon document, I reproduce it below, with commentary on some the prisoners I have been able to identify. This is very much a work-in-progress, of course, as the state of knowledge regarding Bagram is akin to that regarding Guantánamo back in 2005, before the prisoner lists and 8,000 pages of documents were released that allowed me to research and write my book The Guantánamo Files, and to begin a new career as a full-time journalist on Guantánamo and related issues.
In an article accompanying the publication of this list, “Dark Revelations in the Bagram Prisoner List,” I examined what the list — which contains only the prisoners’ names, and not their nationalities or the date and place of their capture — reveals about the small number of foreign prisoners rendered to Bagram from other countries, three of whom are currently waiting to see if the Court of Appeals will overturn the right to habeas corpus that was granted to them by Judge John D. Bates last March, and raise questions about the whereabouts of other known “ghost prisoners” who do not appear to have been included on the list....

We need Single Payer. Wall Street never prepared for their new customers. They had years to do it.

Is anyone surprised American citizens are STILL being denied care? I feel fines and prosecutions coming on. Did our citizens die because of this NEGLIGENCE?

The insurance companies needed to add staff to handle 'the incoming' and they never did. Either temporary staff or independent agents, but, they neglected their responsibilities and now their subscribers are still in the same position they were in before January 1, 2014. Happy New Year.

January 10, 20145:00 a.m.

...All too often, (click here) new policyholders say, the companies can't confirm coverage, won't answer basic questions, and haven't issued identification numbers needed to fill prescriptions or get medical care.

Day after day, people say, they contact insurance company call centers waiting hours at a time with no response. Meantime, insurers have already taken many customers' payments for coverage intended to take effect Jan. 1.
But without proof of insurance, patients are having to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for medications and doctor visits, if they can afford it. Insurance agents say dismal service has become commonplace across many companies....

This is an excuse!

"There's equal opportunity for incompetence by the public and private sector in administering such a large new program," he said. "People are deservedly angry and resentful."

These companies have abysmal records in conducting coverage of their subscribers to begin with and now they are continuing the same lousy and deprivation of service. They have made billions upon billions upon billions on the backs of Americans and this is the result. They have danced on graves of American citizens. Oops, we underestimated the need to our new subscribers. I don't think so.

Their answers to handling this influx of participants is to delay their first payments so it can be processed. That is their choice, the delay was never legislated. The delay in processing payments didn't mean they could deny coverage or neglect their responsibility toward their new subscribers. 

This is nothing but the same ole', same ole' Wall Street greed while refusing coverage for whatever excuse they can find.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was an opportunity for Wall Street to rise to the occasion and welcome new subscribers in need of health care coverage. Once again Wall Street proves the only thing they are good at is collecting fists full of money, while denying, delaying and refusing service. 

This problem is impacting hospitals in this country now. It is causing people to attend Emergency Room care again and driving the costs of health care higher. We need Single Payer and build the infrastructure to handle the demand.