Friday, February 24, 2017

The Flint River Water Project is ongoing.

It is looking good. Everyone has the same goals and there is cooperation. 

February 22, 2017
By Jonathan Oosting 

...Congress approved the funding amount last year (click here) in response to the Flint water contamination crisis. But the federal Environmental Protection Agency must still review the “intended use plan,” which includes a $20 million match already appropriated by the state.

The formal funding request, submitted by the state on Feb. 17, is similar to the plan Flint Mayor Karen Weaver proposed last month, although wording was changed in some instances to fit federal categories and ensure chances for approval.

“So city officials are glad the process is moving along and we’re one step closer to securing the funding that is crucial to Flint’s recovery,” said Weaver spokeswoman Kristin Moore.

The state would administer the federal aid through the Drinking Water Revolving Fund, providing money to the city in the form of loans it would fully forgive.

The $120 million plan includes $58.5 million to improve the Flint water treatment plan, with construction expected to begin in June, and $40 million to replace underground service lines throughout the city.

Another $10 million would be used for distribution system and transmission main improvements, $10 million for water meter replacement and $1.5 million for technical assistance provided to the city by the state....

Past the monies lining up, the bidding process is running into problems. I am sure if the city sets limits on the work payment amounts there would still be plenty of bids.

February 23, 2017
By Jiquanda Johnson

...There were two requests for proposals, (click here) one for the water line replacement and another for restoration after the work is completed.
City officials say bids came in too high again, an obstacle Weaver's administration ran into during the second phase of the process when they put out a RFP for the project. 

Flint Purchasing Manager Derrick Jones said the bids were too high and didn't meet the financial guidelines required in the state's grant for the project.
Jones and the city's chief financial officer, David Sabuda, said the city has to comply with grant and state requirements. 

"State law says we can only spend X amount of dollars per parcel," Sabuda said. "It's right in the law and we will be audited." 

Jones added that a memo was sent from program coordinator Michael McDaniel advising the city to reopen the bid process. 

Representatives from Goyette Mechanical attended the committee meeting to address the city's decision to reopen bids, saying that their initial bid has been revealed and gives competitors an opportunity to under bid their $4,200 per house submission. 

Goyette was one of the companies chosen to work on the second and third phases of the Fast Start program....

More racism deaths in the USA and the media is not responsible.

February 24, 2017
By Lindsay Maizland

...The alleged shooter, (click here) identified as Adam W. Purinton, reportedly yelled “get out of my country” before opening fire at two Indian men in the crowded bar Wednesday night, according to the Kansas City Star...

...After the shooting, Purinton fled and five hours later attempted to hide in a Missouri restaurant. The Kansas City Star reported that Purinton told the restaurant’s bartender that he needed a place to hide, saying he had killed two Middle Eastern men. The bartender called the police and Purinton was arrested....


The "Taj Mahal" sign has been pulled from eBay.

Taxes paid? No? I didn't think so. The American taxpayer takes another hit.

7 February 2017
By reuters

Billionaire activist (click here) investor Carl Icahn said on Monday he planned to sell his shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, likely bringing an end to his troubled relationship with the city.
Icahn, a special adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, the original owner of the casino, will sell the Taj Mahal - possibly at a loss — instead of investing the $100 million to $200 million it needs to keep going, according to a statement on his website.
Icahn closed the 26-year-old Taj Mahal in October 2016 after failing to reach a new contract with union employees.
New Jersey legislators accused him of planning to close the casino only briefly in order to reopen it shortly after with lower wages and benefits for employees.
In an attempt to prevent that, the state's legislature last year passed a bill that would disqualify individuals who closed a casino since January 2016 from holding a gambling license in the state for five years....

Nothing like the truth to define what a bad deal really is.

France, China, UK, Pakistan, India and Israel have a total of 1105 deployed nukes. The USA has 1740 deployed nukes, so that leave 635 deployed nukes for hitting Russia under Trump's "new enemy identification system."

Then North Korea has a maximum of 20 nukes. So that brings the deployed US nukes to 615 for Russia. I can see where Trump is coming from, especially when the USA is teetering on isolationism without alliances. He could have a point.

So, considering the US is gathering more enemies than allies, since 2003 and the invasion into Iraq, we might need to add 1335 deployed nukes to match Russia's capacity. Makes sense to me. I mean why take a chance France joins Russia. That's a fools game.

February 23, 2017
By Phillip Bump

...At the end of last year, (click here) after he won the election but before he was inaugurated, President-elect Donald Trump decided to proactively set U.S. nuclear policy via Twitter.

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he tweeted Dec. 22. It was an out-of-the-blue declaration that made sense only as a response to a comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made earlier in the day, in which Putin suggested that his country planned to strengthen its own strategic nuclear arsenal.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Trump revisited the issue, declaring that the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.” He placed some of the blame for this on the 2010 New START agreement, a successor to the 1991 START agreement that was signed by President Barack Obama and aimed at further reducing the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States. New START, Trump said, was “another bad deal that the country made.”

“I am the first one that would like to see nobody have nukes,” he said, “but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country. We’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.”

“If countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” he added....

The DNC should be conducting polls to find the place where the ACA is bringing about improved quality of life.

February 24, 2017
By David Wright and Tami Luhby

...The boost comes largely from independents, (click here) half of whom view Obamacare favorably compared to 39% who don't. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats continue to view it favorably, while about the same share of Republicans have an unfavorable view.
    Also, a survey from the Pew Research Center found 54% of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act -- the highest level ever recorded by Pew -- while 43% disapprove. That's up from an even split (48%-47%) in a Pew survey from December, suggesting support for the law may be galvanized by the ongoing public fight over its future.
    Still, opinions on Obamacare remain divided. Predictably, Republicans are most likely to say they disapprove (89%) while Democrats are most likely to express approval (85%). But slightly more independents say they approve (53%) than disapprove (45%) -- up about 10 points from December....
    Flip a district.

    VX? Possible, but, I would not expect the women to live.

    VX liquid has been proven to be very unstable. It will dissipate into inert elements within 12 hours of exposure to any carbon surface, including concrete. I am surprised it lasted on his face long enough to be detected. What about the emergency workers that attended to him and the train personnel?

    February 23, 2017
    By Thomas Maresca

    Singapore —  VX nerve agent, (click here) a highly toxic chemical, was used to kill Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Malaysian police said Friday.

    Police Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar said the substance was identified in a preliminary report by the department’s Center for Chemical Weapons Analysis.

    Kim Jong Nam died Feb. 13 shortly after two women put the substance on his face while he was checking in for a flight at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia's capital.

    The report identified the substance as ethyl N-2-Diisopropylaminoethyl Methylphosphonothiolate, or VX nerve agent. It is a chemical agent classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

    Traces of the nerve agent were found from swabs of the face and eyes, the release said....

    Another four year term is not assured to Trump.

    December 12, 2016
    By Carolyn Y. Johnson

    One in four non-elderly adults (click here) has a medical condition, ranging from diabetes to pregnancy to severe obesity to arthritis, that would make them uninsurable under the health coverage rules that prevailed before the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.

    Before President Obama's signature health-care law took effect, insurers could deny coverage to people buying individual health plans or charge them higher rates based on their health history, occupation or the medications they took. Through one of the law's most popular provisions, insurers can't deny people coverage - and the factors they use to determine people's premiums are extremely limited....

    ...The new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows just how important that provision is to many Americans. The study examined 2015 data to see how prevalent preexisting conditions are and found that 52 million non-elderly Americans could be ineligible for insurance under the old rules....

    Let's see. 52 million Americans with losses of 40,000 per year would take at least a millennium too kill off all those takers.


    All that free flowing cash in the financial markets gave permission for delusional ideology.

    February 24, 2017
    By AP

    J. C. Penney said Friday (click here) it will be closing 130 to 140 stores as well as two distribution centers over the next several months as it aims to improve profitability in the era of online shopping.

    The closures represent 13% to 14% of the department store operator's current store count, and less than 5% of total annual sales. The company said it also would initiate a voluntary early retirement program for about 6,000 eligible employees.

    The company plans to release a full list of stores slated for closure in mid-March after notifying affected employees. Most locations will close in May. It also plans to sell its supply chain facility in Buena Park "in an effort to monetize a lucrative real estate asset."

    The news came as the Plano, Texas-based chain posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared with a loss a year ago. But total sales were down slightly, and a key revenue metric declined slightly as well....

    Maybe JC Penny will be Trump's first bailout to his new economy.

    The problem in Chicago is an economic vacuum in "Back of the Yard" and "Brighton Park." Mexican drug cartels have set up shop.

    The Map to left (click here)

    February 10, 2017
    By Christopher Woody

    The brewing conflict (click here) between aspirants to the Sinaloa cartel throne apparently reached a new stage earlier this month when gunmen aligned with one cartel leader attacked the sons and a longtime associate of the jailed kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

    According to a letter purportedly handwritten by Jesús Alfredo and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, the attack occurred when they arrived with Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada at a meeting on February 4 called by longtime cartel member Dámaso López "on the issue of having evidence that Dámaso López ordered the kidnapping of the sons of 'El Chapo'" in August....

    Sinaloa is "El Chapo." The FBI is not paying attention to growing power in the economic vacuums there. The other drug cartel in those areas of Chicago is the Beltran Leyva.

    The Beltran Leyva Organization (click here) was founded by four brothers: Marcos Arturo, Carlos, Alfredo, and Héctor. The brothers got their start as poppy farmers in the state of Sinaloa. Along the way they also became the security force and enforcers for the Sinaloa OCG and Juaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. In order to counter the power of their rivals in the Gulf Cartel, which had created an armed wing (Los Zetas) made up of former Mexican special forces officers, the BLO recruited U.S. born Edgar Valdez Villarreal AKA “La Barbie” as a lieutenant in its armed wing that served as the Sinaloa organization’s enforcers....

    Bryant Park (click here)

    That doesn't do it for you, Comey? No? Than try this:

    22,861White alone (50.9%)
    330Black or African American alone (0.7%)
    415American Indian and Alaska Native alone (0.9%)
    1,326Asian alone (3.0%)
    29Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (0.1%)
    18,054Some other race alone (40.2%)
    1,897Two or more races (4.2%)
    34,409Hispanic or Latino* (76.6%)

    The above graph comes from a historic article (click here). This is the demographics of Brighton Park. A perfect mixture of ethnic difference to create gangs for El Chappo.

    46.3 percent of the populous of Brighton Park are foreign born. For every 100 female there are 106 male. The neighborhood has a lot of angry young men that can't earn a living either because they have hideous background checks regardless of serving their time and/or immigrants, legal or otherwise.

    Why is the FBI harassing Bill DeBlassio? Because Trump likes the violence in Chicago and wants to defeat Democrats with it. Comey is not doing his job, except, his job description may have changed.

    By James R. Barrett

    ...With the end of Chicago's meatpacking industry (click here) by the 1960s, Back of the Yards once again faced serious problems of economic decline and physical deterioration. At the end of the twentieth century, as the city worked to develop a new manufacturing district on the site of the old Union Stock Yard, the newer residents resumed the old struggle to maintain a strong community.

    I write this because there are FACTS to back me up. The FBI needs to end the rule of El Chappo in the USA and it's corruption of minority youth in Chicago. The entire city of Chicago is at risk for gang warfare and it will start looking like the cities across the Mexican border. 

    Additionally, there needs to be serious legislation that BEGINS with a federal law that "Bands the Box." That would be a good start. There is absolutely no incentive for men having served their time in jail or prison to expect a future other than crime. The entire reporting of criminal records for men and women that have served their time should only be available to law enforcement. Banning the box is a start, but, far more needs to be done.

    February 24, 2017
    By Peter Nickeas, Jeremy Gorner and Nereida Moreno

    Gangs in two neighborhoods on the South and Southwest sides (click here) are firing more lethal weapons — semiautomatic rifles whose bullets can rip through even bulletproof vests. Dozens of rifle shootings in the last nine months have left 13 people dead....

    Who is selling them the guns? Not Chicago. The guns are coming from out of state, certainly outside the city and possibly from drug cartels through waterways.

    Every major city or otherwise should form a unit to track the activities of drug and gun movements. It has to be ended early, otherwise, it will become overwhelming and intractable.

    So, De Blasio is harassed by the FBI and Priebus is given a pass.

    Febraury 24, 2017
    By Julie Pace

    White House chief of staff Reince Priebus (click here) asked top FBI officials to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump's campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, according to three White House officials. Democrats accused Priebus of interfering in a pending investigation.

    The officials said that Priebus' Feb. 15 request to FBI Director James Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe came as the White House sought to discredit a New York Times report about contacts between Russian intelligence officials and members of Trump's 2016 campaign team.

    Comey did not come out of the woodwork to comment publicly. Go figure.

    As of Friday, the FBI had not commented publicly on the veracity of the report and there was no indication it planned to, despite the White House's request.

    White House officials said it was the FBI that first raised concerns about the reporting, but told Priebus the bureau could not weigh in publicly on the matter. The officials said McCabe and Comey instead gave Priebus the go-ahead to discredit the story publicly, something the FBI had not confirmed as of Friday morning....

    The reality coverage is to love. Moment by moment will De Blasio run? Reality news media like this treats it like someone is responsible for murder. Amazing. 

    February 24, 2017
    By Kevin Fasick

    Mayor Bill de Blasio (click here) arrived Friday morning at his lawyer’s Midtown office to be grilled by prosecutors over his campaign fundraising.

    De Blasio left Gracie Mansion at 8 a.m. and arrived more than an hour later, around 9:10 a.m., at lawyer Barry H. Berke’s office on Sixth Avenue for the long-anticipated sit-down with US Attorney Preet Bharara.

    Hizzoner was driven in a black SUV, which swiftly pulled into a garage on West 46th Street.

    The feds have been probing the mayor over whether he and his advisers exchanged favors to donors for contributions to his 2013 campaign and his now-shuttered nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York....

    I want the name and contact information of the liberal activist.

    The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!

    ...After years to prepare, Mr. Ryan finally unveiled what was supposedly the outline of a health care plan. It was basically a sick joke: flat tax credits, unrelated to income, that could be applied to the purchase of insurance....

    Flat tax credits are an oxymoron, in more ways than one.

    $5,638.75 is the amount of federal income tax paid by someone earning $50,000
    per yearEven when Trump eliminates all federal taxes for those earning $50,000 or less 
    per year it will not pay for health insurance.

    The Public Option which was to be included in the ACA was a striped down version
    of any commercial policy. It had all the same preventive measures and would pick
    up costs should there be a medical problem, but, it was not commercial insurance
    at all. It was a method to find disease among Americans and end it.

    The Republican health care cooperatives have failed. The health care savings
    account is ridiculous. People are suppose to set aside monies they will need for 
    the year in an account that is tax free, but, if serious disease is found and needs
    extensive medical intervention, where does the money come from?

    Former Secretary John Kerry wanted to establish catastrophic health care plans.
    That means one would have to figure in the cost of the catastrophic health care
    plan into their health care savings account. 

    Catastrophic health plans (click here) cover the same minimum health benefits as other health plans under the Affordable Care Act, including preventive services, emergency services, prescription drugs, and more. The difference with a catastrophic plan is that you must pay for all health-care costs until you meet a high annual deductible. Only after your out-of-pocket spending reaches the deductible does your plan begins to pay for most covered health-care services.
    The deductible doesn't apply to all benefits. Catastrophic health plans cover the following benefits, even if you haven't met your yearly deductible yet:
    • Three primary care visits every year
    • Free preventive services required under the Affordable Care Act, including certain screenings and immunizations.
    You'll pay the full cost for all other health-care services until you meet your yearly deductible. Other cost-sharing expenses, such as copayments and coinsurance, are usually higher with this type of plan. However, monthly premiums tend to be lower compared with major medical plans.
    Catastrophic health coverage is different from accident, critical illness, or short-term plans; these types of coverage tend to protect the policyholder in specific, limited situations. For example, critical illness plans insure the policyholder against specific health illnesses. Short-term plans provide limited, temporary coverage when an individual isn't eligible to enroll in a major medical health plan or is waiting for coverage to start. For example, you might enroll in a short-term plan to fill a coverage gap before you're eligible for Medicare....
    By invoking health care savings accounts and catastrophic health care plans there are still huge blocks of health care that make up the hospital budget not covered.
    If there is regression into lack of coverage, there will be all those idiot health care plans that existed before. It supplies a card to carry so the emergency room won't turn a subscriber away, but, once inside the ER there is virtually nothing covered and we are back to bankruptcy and the destruction of the American Dream.

    The Affordable Care Act eliminated the bankruptcies and put Americans on a track to success and building wealth. All those pitfalls leading to bankruptcy and home ownership were to be eliminated. The Affordable Care Act was much bigger than simply health care coverage. The law was to insure a reliable outcome to one's health through preventive care and the security of a home for the family. 

    Do I have to go there? Home ownership is the primary avenue for people to secure wealth in the USA. Why wealth? Because it solves a lot of problems. It solves the problems of food stamps, Medicaid and vacant neighborhoods. It protects culture and brings the country out of the dangers of collapsing economies. 

    Local economies and health care for all is the answer to economic stability. While other countries 'get wise' to Wall Street's greed, the USA can have sustainable economies, cultures, education for the future of their children and an optimistic consumer base.

    Yes, the ACA can achieve all that, but, not if hideous Republican political speak continues to put jerks in the White House who have a Ultra White agenda. Putting the American people back in peril with their health achieves the Ultra White's long term "peaceful ethnic cleansing." Come on, get over this mess!

    September 17, 2009
    By David Cecere

    Nearly 45,000 annual deaths (click here) are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.
    The study, conducted at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993....