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News Round Up [July 20, 2017]

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I've been lied to my entire life!


Here’s what happens in Alaska with a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Alaska Dispatch News by Erica Martinson

WASHINGTON — If Congress were to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act supporting the individual market and Medicaid expansion, roughly 33,000 Alaskans would be without health coverage within two years, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill.

The question is are those 33,000 Alaskans CHOOSING to be without health coverage or being FORCED out of health coverage? Remember that Obamacare FORCED people who didn't want health coverage to have health coverage.

The nonpartisan CBO only performed a national, macro-economic analysis of the bill. But a likely scenario — a crash of Alaska's individual market and elimination of Medicaid expansion — are not difficult to estimate at the state level.

To be sure, some lawmakers, including Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan and Alaska Rep. Don Young, don't want the negotiations to end with a repeal vote. Both Sullivan and Young have advocated for repealing the ACA and using the two-year timeline before most measures take effect to negotiate a new plan.

Congress passed the same bill in 2015, but Obama vetoed it. Murkowski and Sullivan both voted in favor of the bill in 2015.

Nevertheless, Murkowski remained a "no" vote Wednesday, along with Republicans colleagues Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio. Unless several senators change their votes, there will not be enough "yes" votes to begin debate on the bill.

In Alaska, the individual market is relatively small — 19,145 people in 2017. Most Alaskans purchasing health coverage on the individual market — 88 percent — do so with the help of tax subsidy payments. Without those subsidies, individual insurance would often cost thousands of dollars a month — unattainable for most.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in February the average monthly tax credit for Alaskans was $976, and annual federal spending was more than $153 million. The national average monthly tax subsidy was $371 at that time.

Alaska has a reinsurance program designed to keep premiums down, and was recently granted a waiver by the federal government for some of its spending on high-cost medical bills. That funding — $48 million the first year — appears unlikely to blunt the blow from a $153 million loss. [Read the rest]

First licensed pot sales start in Petersburg

KFSK by Joe Viechnicki

There were no lines but there were customers for the first legal sales of marijuana this week in Petersburg. Shortly after noon Tuesday, people started trickling in to the new business called “The 420” off a side alley on main street.

Petersburg’s first licensed marijuana retail store passed its state inspection July 6th and planned for their first sales a week later. That was pushed back a couple days while store owner Susan Burrell made sure she had what she needed to start selling pot. She has a couple samples of the pot in a display case, but the product, sold in grams and eighth ounces are sealed up in packages.

“We’re not doing deli style but that’s just so people can see it a good sized bud ‘cause it’s all in these packages here, where you can’t see it, it’s required by the state,” Burrell explained.

A few minutes before opening Burrell and two employees Fillmore Evenson and Blake Zeringue prepared for the first sales. She said she didn’t expect a crowd.

“No, because nobody knows. Like I said last week we had at least a day in advance notice that I thought I was gonna get people but today it’s all a surprise because I did my investigation work found out, I was pretty sure when I went to bed last night that I was right, and I called METRC this morning and we don’t need those tags. And now I’ve got all these tags coming.” [Story]


With budget, U.S. House inches toward ANWR

KTOO by Liz Ruskin
A budget blueprint in the U.S. House is reviving hopes for Alaskans who want to see the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge open to oil drilling.

The budget plan does not actually discuss the Arctic refuge, in Alaska’s far Northeast.

It calls on the House Natural Resources Committee to find $5 billion in cuts or revenues over a decade.

Environmental groups are sounding the alarm, saying that’s a back-handed way of directing the committee to put ANWR lease revenues in the budget package.

Matt Shuckerow, spokesman for Rep. Don Young, said that’s the congressman’s take on it, too.

Alaska’s Congressional delegation has been trying for decades to open the so-called 1002 area of the refuge. Adding it to the budget would be a way to get the legislation through the Senate with just 51 votes, rather than the usual 60.

The proposal, though, remains controversial in the Senate, where even some Republicans oppose the idea. [Source]

Sen. John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer


Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona has been diagnosed with brain cancer after checking into a hospital for a blood clot near his left eye. Doctors discovered a glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor.
The tumor was discovered at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix last Friday.

"The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team," a Wednesday evening statement from McCain's office read. Chemotherapy and radiation may be the next step, according to the statement. [Source]

To be clear this guy was not a 'hero' he was a traitor! A legitimate traitor who was sentenced to death for war crimes but pardoned by Nixon. Then when he became a career politician he spent his life covering up his war crimes. Karma has finally come for him. This may not be a popular thing to tell my military friends but McCain is a has-been that disgraced the US Millitary and it's personel. The fact that he ever became a politician shows that our political system is screwed up.

Why Did Yankee Doodle Call a Feather ‘Macaroni’?

BY ARIKA OKRENT

Yankee Doodle went to town...Mm-hm, yeah.
Riding on a pony...Ok.
Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni...Wait. What?
What’s going on here? Why would Yankee Doodle do something like that? What’s macaroni got to do with anything?

The first bit of context you need in order to understand the sense of this line is that the song “Yankee Doodle” was not always the proud, patriotic ditty we know today. It was originally sung by British soldiers in mockery of the rough, unsophisticated, American colonials they had to fight alongside during the French and Indian War. The thrust of it was “look at these ridiculous yokels!”

The second bit of context has to do with what was going on back in England at the time. It had become a rite of passage in the 18th century for young British men of means to spend some time on the European continent doing the Grand Tour, absorbing art, history, and language and becoming all-around cultured and sophisticated. When they returned, they brought back outlandish high-fashion clothes and mannerisms, and a taste for exotic Italian dishes like macaroni. As a group they were numerous and noticeable enough to get their own nickname. They were "macaroni." [Read the Rest]


First statewide bicycle tax in nation leaves bike-crazy Oregon riders deflated


In Oregon, a state known for its avid bicycling culture, the state Legislature’s approval of the first statewide bike tax in the nation has fallen flat with riders.

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign the sweeping $5.3 billion transportation package, which includes a $15 excise tax on the sale of bicycles costing more than $200 with a wheel diameter of at least 26 inches.

Even though the funding has been earmarked for improvements that will benefit cyclists, the tax has managed to irk both anti-tax Republicans and environmentally conscious bikers.

BikePortland publisher Jonathan Maus called it “an unprecedented step in the wrong direction.”

“We are taxing the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species,” Mr. Maus said. [Source]

So, here's what's happening. Road maintainance is based off of fuel tax. The more people that use green energy cars, motorcycles and bicycles the less fuel they use. The less fuel they use. The less revenue the states makes.  The states are now freaking out because their push for green energy and better fuel efficency has succeeded....succedded in reducing their income base.

Nicolas Cage Agrees to Return Stolen Dinosaur Skull to Mongolia


Eight years ago, the skull of a Tyrannosaurus bataar was the star artifact in a natural history-themed luxury auction in Manhattan. It sold for $276,000 to an anonymous buyer.

As it turns out, the skull had been stolen from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and the buyer was Nicolas Cage, an actor who among his dozens of films has starred in a movie franchise about the hunt for rare treasures.

A publicist for Mr. Cage confirmed that he bought the skull from the Beverly Hills gallery I.M. Chait in 2007, according to Reuters. The Department of Homeland Security contacted Mr. Cage about the skull last year, and the actor agreed to turn it over. [Source]

Organic Water Is A Sign That Americans Have No Idea What 'Organic' Is


Much like asparagus water and water sommeliers, organic water is giving us pause. Though the concept isn’t new, it’s surprising to see it making waves again.

Mintel, a global market research firm, claims that nearly 25 percent of Americans are thirsty for organic water, which proves America doesn’t understand the concept of “organic.”

As NPR first pointed out when organic water hit the scene a few years ago, something can only be considered an organic compound if it contains a significant amount of carbon. But a water molecule contains two atoms of hydrogen (H) and one atom of oxygen (O) ― and no carbon ― so it’s actually inorganic. And according to the USDA’s labeling process for organic products, water and salt are not included as an ingredient that must be labeled organic.

But a trendy new company called Asarasi is taking advantage of a loophole. The brand is selling the first USDA organic-certified water, according to a report from Food Navigator.

Because Asarasi’s water is filtered through a living thing ― a maple tree ― it appears to pass the USDA’s certification test.

Asarasi’s tagline encourages customers to “rethink your drink,” in the hopes that you’ll try this tree-filtered water. The water, which comes from sugar maple trees, is leftover from the maple syrup making process, though it doesn’t contain any sugar. [Full story]


Read More: Open Letter to Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins From Shikat Bay Oysters Regarding the PSP Outbreak



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