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    January 2011
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    The Confluence

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    • Cheaters
      Profits on Medicare Advantage plans are at least double what insurers earn from other kinds of policies. Gee, I wonder why? There is tons of evidence that insurers in the program have been manipulating a program that pays them extra fees for enrolling customers with more illnesses. The change took away payments for some of … Continue reading Cheaters
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    • The First Great Environmental Crisis Will Be
      Water. As I’ve said for many years. The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40 percent by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. I’ll use the US as an example, though this going to effect almost all countries, some much worse than others, and it wi […]
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Saturday Night Dance Off! (and Open Thread)

Not much could get me off the couch tonight …. But, this song by Elvis Costello got me up on my feet!

What are you dancing to tonight?

Saturn’s Day News

Saturn as seen from the Cassini Orbiter


Saturday was named no later than the second century for the planet Saturn, which controlled the first hour of that day according to Vettius Valens. Its Latin name dies Saturni (“Saturn’s Day”) entered into Old English as Sæternesdæg.


In Scandinavian countries, Saturday is called lördag, “lørdag,” or laurdag, the name being derived from the old word laugr/laug (hence Icelandic name Laugardagur), meaning bath, thus Lördag equates to bath-day. This is due to the Viking practice of bathing on Saturdays.

People power:

Tunisia PM holds coalition talks as soldiers patrol

Hundreds of soldiers patrolled the streets of the Tunisian capital Saturday where the prime minister was due to meet opposition parties to try to form a coalition after protests swept the president from power.

In a dramatic climax to weeks of violent protests against his rule, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s president for more than 23 years, fled to Saudi Arabia Friday and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi took over as caretaker president.

I wonder if that would work here?

Reagan Son Claims Dad Had Alzheimer’s as President

2011 is a big year for Ronald Reagan fans, being the centennial of his February 6 birth in Tampico, Ill. But youngest son Ron Reagan is spoiling the good cheer with a new book that suggests the Gipper suffered from Alzheimer’s disease while in the White House, a claim dismissed by Reagan’s doctors and outside experts. “Had the diagnosis been made in, say, 1987, would he have stepped down?” Ron asks, regarding the disease confirmed in 1994. “I believe he would have,” he writes in My Father At 100: A Memoir, due in bookstores Tuesday.

What’s the point of revealing this information now, other than to sell books?

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth is an ungrateful child.”

Money well spent:

Homeland Security Cancels ‘Virtual Fence’ After $1 Billion Is Spent

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday canceled a project to build a technology-based “virtual fence” across the Southwest border, saying that the effort — on which $1 billion has already been spent — was ineffective and too costly.

Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, said she had decided to end the five-year-old project, known as SBI-Net, because it “does not meet current standards for viability and cost effectiveness.” In a statement, Ms. Napolitano said border agents would instead use less expensive technology that is already part of their surveillance equipment, tailoring it to the specific terrain where they will be scouting for illegal border crossers and drug traffickers.

Ms. Napolitano’s decision brought a long-expected close to a project carried out by the Boeing Corporation under a contract first signed in 2005 under President George W. Bush, which had been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Originally estimated to cost more than $7 billion to cover the 2,000-mile length of the border, it was the subject of more than a dozen scathing reports by the Government Accountability Office.

Instead of a fence we should build a wall. We could get the Chinese to design it (since they have experience at wall-building) and we could hire Mexicans to build it way cheaper than Americans.

(Yes, I am using snark font)

Does this prove he he’s left-wing or right-wing?:

Arizona Shooting Suspect Jared Loughner Posed in Pictures in Red G-String with Glock, Say Police

Police say Jared Loughner, the suspect in the Arizona shooting rampage that left six dead and over a dozen wounded including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, posed in photos with a Glock 9mm while wearing a red g-string, according to a report.

It gets weirder:

Walgreens turned the photos over to police, according to a police source that spoke to CBS News.

Police say Loughner had dropped the photos off to be developed.

The guy must be crazy – nobody uses film anymore.

Lurch didn’t really say that, did he?

John Kerry Says Infrastructure And Clean Energy Can Unite Congress After Tucson Shooting

Congresswoman ‘s Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-Ariz.) shooting in Tucson, Ariz., last weekend has brought up several questions about the partisan nature of our current political climate. But today Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a speech at the left-leaning policy think tank Center for American Progress that working in a bipartisan manner on infrastructure and clean energy could help overcome the “divisive political rhetoric” in the wake of the Tucson tragedy.

If you read the whole article it doesn’t sound quite so bad but this kind of thing is a reminder of why Kerry couldn’t beat Bush.

The Sky Is Falling Department:

Toxins found in pregnant U.S. women in UCSF study

Multiple chemicals, including some banned since the 1970s and others used in items such as nonstick cookware, furniture, processed foods and beauty products, were found in the blood and urine of pregnant U.S. women, according to a UCSF study being released today.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, marks the first time that the number of chemicals to which pregnant women are exposed has been counted, the authors said.

Of the 163 chemicals studied, 43 of them were found in virtually all 268 pregnant women in the study. They included polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, a prohibited chemical linked to cancer and other health problems; organochlorine pesticides; polybrominated diphenyl ethers, banned compounds used as flame retardants; and phthalates, which are shown to cause hormone disruption.

Some of these chemicals were banned before many of the women were even born.

The presence of the chemicals in the women, who ranged in age from 15 to 44, shows the ability of these substances to endure in the environment and in human bodies as well, said lead author Tracey Woodruff, director of the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

These studies come out periodically but what the story doesn’t mention is that we’re talking minute traces – parts per million, parts per billion – well below the levels that are considered dangerous. Everything is toxic in in high enough concentrations.

Better Late Than Never Department:

Barack Obama acts to ease US embargo on Cuba

President brings end to travel and finance bans in place since 1959 in move which will help his standing with American left

Barack Obama has eased America’s long-standing embargo on Cuba, allowing many Americans to travel there for the first time and increasing the amounts that they can invest in the island.

I guess this means people won’t have to go through Mexico to get to Cuba anymore.

It’s NFL Playoffs Second-Round weekend!

Today’s games are Baltimore at Pittsburgh at 4:30 p.m. eastern and Green Bay at Atlanta at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

Tomorrow’s games are the NY Jets at New England and Seattle at Chicago. In all four games the home teams are favored to win.

Today in History:

2009 U.S. Airways plane ditches in the Hudson River
1977 Coneheads debut on “Saturday Night Live”
1975 Space Mountain opens at Disneyland
1974 “Happy Days” begins an 11 year run on ABC
1535 Henry VIII declares himself head of English Church

Famous Birthdays

1957 Mario Van Peebles
1951 Charo
1948 Ronnie Van Zant
1929 Martin Luther King, Jr.

Famous Deaths:

1994 Harry Nilsson
1987 Ray Bolger
1983 Meyer Lansky

Don’t text while shopping: