A few years ago, the Border Patrol started buying unarmed Predator drones. By the end of 2011, they had 10 of these $18 million machines, and very little idea of what exactly they wanted to do with them.
That’s my takeaway from a new report released by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security. The drones only flew 37 percent as often as they were supposed to, logging 3,909 hours in the air in a 12-month period that should have seen them in the air for more than 10,000 hours.
One big problem, according to the report, is that there weren’t enough ground stations and support. This is like signing an expensive free-agent running back but forgetting you need offensive linemen. Drones are sexy! The ground control stations that run the drones, not so much.
This does what for our community? Couldn’t this money be funding something our community needs?
Via AmericaBlog: Campaign for a Fair Settlement, a liberal housing group which formed to pressure state Attorneys General like California’s Kamala Harris to not agree to a bad robosigning settlement deal, has released a poll that paints a brutal picture of how voters in swing states view President Obama’s handling of the housing crisis. The poll also shows that voters think the President hasn’t done enough to hold banks accountable and that criminal behavior by Wall Street has driven the crisis. The poll surveyed independent likely voters in Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina, all of which are states which have been devastated by the foreclosure crisis…”.* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
So what do you do when you’re accused of hitting up sick patients in the hospital to pay their bills — sometimes even before they get treatment?
Well, if you’re Chicago-based Accretive Health, under fire by not only the Minnesota Attorney General but key members of Congress and possibly the Obama Administration, you fight fire with fire. You line up your own set of political defenders.
So now Accretive is upping the ante. It has enlisted a veritable who’s who in health policy to come up with “national standards for how hospitals and other providers interact with patients regarding their financial obligations.” In other words, how aggressive can debt collectors be without running afoul of federal law, various or regulation or good public relations.
The group includes some well-connected heavy-hitters, including former Bush administration Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and Medicare chief Mark McClellan, former Senate GOP leader Bill Frist,. There some prominent Democrats too, including former Clinton Administration HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle.
For all of Accretive’s alleged misdeeds, however, the collection of outstanding bills is a serious one for hospitals, particularly as they await the Supreme Court’s decision about the 2010 health law. Hospitals agreed to take significant reductions in Medicare payments with the expectation they would make that money back when currently uninsured patients whose care now goes unpaid would gain coverage.
Should the high court strike down the requirement for most people to obtain insurance, however, that could leave hospitals in a financially difficult spot.
More evidence demonstrating that it’s time for single payer health care.
The children bounded off the bus and ran excitedly towards a tall fence topped with razor wire. In the distance, through layers of fencing overlooked by a guard tower, huddled a group of mothers in baggy blue prison-issue clothes, pointing, waving and gasping. Many had not seen their children in over a year.
An annual Mother’s Day event, Get On The Bus, provides free transport for hundreds of children to visit their incarcerated moms at California Institute for Women in Chino, and other state prisons. Sixty percent of parents in state prison report being held over 100 miles from their children, and visits are impossible for many.
California locks up more women than any other state in the U.S. — 11,250 in 2007 – and three quarters are mothers. The children left behind with family or in foster care often feel abandoned and some don’t see their moms for years.
PHOTO BLOG: “Mother’s Day behind bars,” by Lucy Nicholson
This is what happens when we hold parents as chattel for the penal-industrial complex instead of releasing them to free their children.
The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) will be stepping into the breach the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) left this week when it disbanded its voter suppression arm. Because having as many people vote as possible is very dangerous to Republicans, who aren’t so popular, the Right has to make sure that someone is in charge of returning the nation to Jim Crow days, and now the NCPPR is it.
You know, we could do something like this locally. Just drop a line if you want to put something together.
This tells you anything you need to know that is rotten in not just federal elections, but all elections anywhere in the USA, particularly after Citizens United vs. FEC. Find an hour and Listen to It.
We live in a system called representative democracy. This means that every four years we have to elect representatives who will make decisions on our behalf. Theoretically, anyone can run for that position provided that he has enough money for the election campaign or is backed by the business…
My sister-in-law from Belgrade said this about it:
I knew this. It’s scary. Just another corrupted system. The world organizations are there just to monitor and keep their employees happy on rakija and chevap (good looking women too). Nothing gets done.