Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Greetings...

Apple has a new "Get a Mac" ad on their website that I wanted to share with all 1 of my reader(s). I personally think these ads are funny and show the truth about Macs and PCs. I recently read an article "Mac users have used both Mac OS X and Windows. Most Windows PC sufferers*, in our experience, have little to no idea about the Mac." (http://www.macdailynews.com) That is the issue, most Mac users have made informed decisions after using both types of computers. Many (not all) PC users have never used a Mac. They should.

video

Friday, December 07, 2007

Too funny not to share....

This is too funny not to share. Idaho is the cultural center of the universe.

Minimum Standards...


Minimum standards, those exist in so many places. If I was going to attend college it would be assumed that I would have some understanding of how to read, write, and use a computer. There would not be a place really to learn that after the fact. As I have mentioned in my work I provide classes to people on how to use a tool that they need for their work. This is a tool that without they would not be able to work at all. This tool is computer based and so the classes are taught using computers. We have a great computer lab where I work newer machines that are connected to a fast network. Well, people come to these classes all the time without any understanding of using a computer. None. I have people in class that don’t understand the concept of opening and closing windows, in the environment of a computer operating system. This is ironic since the test that they take to be able to do this job is given on a computer.

When the Macintosh was released in 1984, twenty-three years ago the concept of windows and a computer desktop screen went mainstream. With the imitation of windows to copy the Mac and the prevalence of windows 95, 98, and Xp computers are everywhere. You can by computer supplies at the grocery store. I never took a computer class in school. I never took a typing class (if you watched me type you could tell). So for the most part I taught myself how to use computers and how to get along with them. The program that I teach people about, I learned that by sitting alone in a room and I listened to an audio tape of a class given in Arkansas about this program and tried to follow along on my own. So forgive me if I don’t have patience for people who are too apprehensive (lazy, unmotivated) to invest the time needed to learn computer basics and programs that they need to do their job. During the class I try my hardest not to show my displeasure, but afterwards I always have to vent.


There are basic things that everyone should know; in 2007 basic computer knowledge should be one of them. There are many places to get information many universities and colleges offer low-cost or free classes on subjects for non-degree seeking individuals and usually theses include computer classes.

FYI: This is my 130th post. Who knew I would last this long.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Competition...

I listen to podcasts all the time when I travel for work. One of the podcasts that I listen to frequently is "This American Life". This past week there was an episode that dealt with an event that occurred here in Boise, ID. Here is the quote from This American Life,

"Thanh Tan was a TV reporter in Boise, Idaho, when her boss passed along what seemed like a hot news tip: a sex offender was working with kids at a local ice rink, as a hockey referee. But when she looked into it, she found out the crime was more than a decade old. Plus, the guy's statutory rape charge had been dismissed by a judge. So she never did the story. But her closest TV news competitor ran with it, making it "exclusive" breaking news, for days. Thanh tells the story of how it got on the air, and how it affected everyone involved. " Here is a link to the episode


It is an interesting story. It goes to show how perception can differ from the truth and how far some people will go to try to succeed. Here is a situation where an organization acted without thought to what would happen to the person they were talking about. Now I do not think that the person in question is innocent, but the reporters NEVER went to him to get the facts, because they wanted an exclusive. The story was so important that NONE of the other news organizations in Boise covered this story. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Addition and Subtraction

I was reading a blog found through the Bloggernacle (it is fun to peruse the many offerings), there was a quote that I really liked that I wanted to share. The author was writing about learning about the Prophet Joseph Smith and may differing accounts that he had read. I think that this could be extended to any in-depth research of any organization, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

"Let me put it this way. You don't reject addition and subtraction because you learn about algebra and physics. For me it was the same way with LDS Church history. I didn't lose faith because I learned something more difficult to comprehend than what I started with. If anything, those people who were blatantly anti-LDS were easy to detect because they ignored other interpretations and critical contexts. That is one reason I have a hard time believing LDS Church history is damaging to a member's testimony unless they are looking for a reason. I am just as upset by those who reject the history because it doesn't fit their pre-conceived notions." Source: Straight and Narrow Blog

When people get on shaky ground due to something they have learned, then how solid was the ground they were on in the first place. I love reading new information from people all over the world and I spend time reading LDS related blogs. People all over the world/ internet are going to church, reading about the LDS Church in the media, correcting inaccuracies and sharing testimonies. I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is True. Christ died for our sins and we can emulate Him and return to live with Him and our families someday. I love my family, they are such a blessing in my life. I know that it is through the restored priesthood that families are eternal. 




Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving..

To be Thankful… What does it mean to be thankful? For me looking at all of the blessings that I have in my life and how I am undeserving of them. I have a wonderful wife who loves and supports me. She does a wonderful job raising our kids and she teaches them so much. She is my biggest fan and gives eerily accurate criticism. She is so beautiful and talented. I truly “married up”. She is my partner and friend. I have three great children that I love to play with. I can’t think of a better feeling then returning home after work and seeing them run out the front door to meet me as I pull into the driveway. They always have so many things to say and questions to ask and I am their expert. I am thankful for the chances that I get to steal away with each child and spend alone time with them. Last Sunday my oldest son and I climbed under a blanket and watched a movie while the rest of the family enjoyed a Sunday nap. Then after our daughter woke up, she, my son and I worked on cleaning up the house and we wrestled a bit (more like they climb on me and I let them). I treasure this time with them while they are small. I know it won’t last. I have a wonderful life and a beautiful family. I am extremely blessed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Flip Flop...Lollipop

There are many people who "flip flop" on issues, they say one thing then change thier mind. Here is a great example of one of Idaho's congressmen doing just that. H.R. 3074 passed earlier this year, but Congressman Sali voted against it. That bill included funding for widening of State Highway 95. Well, since the bill passed and has become law Congressman Sali has taken credit for the bill. To quote Betsy Russell, (Source)

"Idaho 1st District Congressman Bill Sali is touting his success in getting $500,000 in funding for a Highway 95 widening project included in a bill that he then voted against. “U.S. 95 has an unmistakable and irreplaceable role to play as part of Idaho’s economy,” Sali said in a press release. “This widening is important to the economic vitality of the entire state, but it is also important as it will help prevent accidents and save lives. While this may seem like a win for a freshman congressman in the minority party, much more importantly this is a win for the people of the whole state of Idaho.”

So if Sali was so proud of the measure, why did he vote against the bill? “The larger bill, H.R. 3074, passed 270-147,” Sali’s press release reported. “Congressman Sali voted against the overall measure because it contains a series of other unnecessary, bloated spending proposals and would hike overall spending by $7.1 billion more than current funding and $5.3 billion more than the President has requested.” He also noted that it included another of his funding proposals, for $500,000 in improvements to Forest Highway 24 from Banks to Lowman, and that senior Sen. Larry Craig helped get both earmarks included."

You can bet that Congressman Sali will bring this up as he begins his re-election bid. I hope that Matt Salisbury sees what has happened and holds Sali accountable, as we all should.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Any video game buffs out there?

When I was growing up my parents would not buy my brother and I a video game system, the Nintendo (NES) was THE system to have. So they made a deal with us, we could save up and get one with the money we made from lawn mowing and then they would help us get a game. So that is how my video gaming experience began. I am by no means a "gamer". There have been, though a few games that I get into that I like to play until I conquer it (Castlevania II Simon's Quest being one of them). Currently the game that I am liking to play is "Guitar Hero III" we borrowed it from my brother Clark (not the one I mowed lawns with), he has a Wii and bought it, so we borrowed the game. Well, I saw this video and had to share it. Listen to the songs from classic video games and watch the band move to represent the game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rivalry (?) Week.


This week Boise State plays in-state rival (?) University of Idaho. This is so much of a rivalry and UofI has so much faith that this is the coverage that it gets in the university of Idaho student paper is less than minimal. (See below)





















I guess that they are afraid of drawing attention to themselves in light of an alumnus having so many problems as of late. (see below)

Finally, I saw this post on Bronco Country and there was ever a reason to root against the vandals and for the Broncos these are the reasons...
(Source: OldBSUBlue, Broncocountry.com)

It started before the first game was ever played,

The vandals kept Boise out of the Big Sky.

When we were finaly admitted to the Big Sky, their then coach Robbins shot off his big mouth. Saying we might have a new stadium and now are members of the Big Sky but that they didnt have time for Boise State. He went on to say we didnt belong.

They tried to duck us, the Big Sky Commisioner made them play us the season opener. Since they were building their stadium and it was not available for play the first game was played here, with the vandals being called the home team.

Prior to the game their coach kept saying it would not be much of a game, that we couldnt hang with them. He went on to say the first half would be more like a scrimmage for them, the second half being a total blow out.

Making things worse was the attitude of their fans and cheerleaders. They came in filled with arrogance and total disrespect, Cutting down the American flag, throwing bottles at people, thus the no bottle rule in Bronco Stadium.

Celebrations for the initial meeting included 4 sky divers jumping into Bronco Stadium. Wally Benton's chute collapsed about 20 feet above the turf. vandals still deny this, but what else is new, they the vandal fans applauded Wally Benton's crash into the field. There are still many people still around that witnessed this appaling vandal conduct.

One of the Boise players told me the next day you could see flesh, bone and blood from where Wally crashed into the field.

Boise defeated the vandals 42 - 14 with Art Berry , back up QB to The Canadain Rifle Eric Guthrie, tossing the final td pass. Something Art is proud of to this day.

Boise State went on to place 2nd in the Big Sky that first season, with conference losses only to Weber Stat and Idaho State.

The vandals were were d1 while we were division 2. Boise was invited to play in the Camelia Bowl. The u of i's coach started a public campaign attemtpting to stop us from going. Claiming Boise would disgrace the State of Idaho and the Big Sky Conference. He was nonstop verbal flatulence on tv , radio and in print.

For 3 quarters he was correct. We were being beaten badly. finaly the true Broncos showed up giving Boise State its greatest come back in its greatest game till the Fiesta Bowl.

The third game was played in moscow, the series was tied at one win each.

idaho was favored to win that game, even the Bronco players thought they would lose according to my friends on that team.

Their coach robbins in a typical classless and stupid act turned the game around prior to kick off.

He led the vandals through the Boise State locker room chanting kiss my ass BJC.

Al Davis one of our real stallions told me that changed the game, right then and there. Boise decided they would win. He went on to tell me how he put his forearm into the mouth of a vandal, saying f-ck you, welcome to football, leaving the dork bleeding and battered. You had to know Big Al, he eventualy put the dork across the line from him out of the game.

Late in the game our star wide out Don Hutt sustained an injury from his own chin strap hitting him in the eye.

Don told me he kept his helmet on for saftey, vandal fans were throwing bottles one hitting him in the head, another barely missing our coach, Tony Knapp.

The list goes on and on to our wrestling coach Mike Young changing into the Buster Bronco suit to take on the vandal mascott that had been using his sword to hit the young lady wearing the Buster Bronco suit.

The vandals getting Dr. Kaiser fired for working to taking Boise to D-1A.

Then there was Pokey's last game everyone knew the man was dying. chris tormey said that he was going to run up the score on Boise. to punish Boise for an onsides kick done by Criner in the 70s when tormey was a player.

tormey did what he said he would, including a fake punt when there was no doubt they would win. After the games conclusion several vandal players came over to the Boise sideline and taunted Pokey a man they knew was dying. I think he died with in 90 days of the game.

Later that night some of the vandal players and assistant coaches were arrested for starting fights and tormey supported their actions.

I hope this answers your question as to why hate the vandals, they are the satan worshiping cheat monkeys Zag claims them to be and worse.

The u of i and most of its fan base are filled with the cancers of resentment and jealousy, little brother grew up and kicked their butts, making their false sense of entitlement look as stupid as their slogans and kibbie dome

Friday, November 02, 2007

Torture?

There has been much talk of late about "waterboarding". Waterboarding is a torture technique used to get someone to tell you something you want to hear. I am an older brother, I remember doing things to my younger brothers to coerce them into doing or saying something that I wanted. It did not usually turn out well. I would not anyone to be subjected to this tactic and to think that the leader of the Free World wants people (terrorists) to think that this is a tactic that the United States would use is crazy. Would a parent own a gun and then continually threaten a child with using it on that child if they did not cooperate? (Even though they would say that they never would use it).The Deseret Morning News printed an editorial today about that topic.

Torture by any other name

Deseret Morning News editorial
Published: November 2, 2007
If you believe that waterboarding is not a form of torture, you likely believe — with Bill Clinton — that sexual relations are not really sexual relations and, with Ronald Reagan, that ketchup is a vegetable.

Governments and politicians have a way of twisting simple truths into pretzels.

So it is with waterboarding.

The technique, condemned in the past by the United States when it has been used against American citizens, entails strapping a person onto an inclined board, with feet raised and head lowered. The interrogators bind the person's arms and legs, cover his face and pour water onto the face. The sensation of being under a wave of water creates such psychological trauma that the person feels like he's drowning. The person chokes and gags and sobs.

The practice, which was used by the Inquisition in Spain and in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s, speaks for itself. Enemy combatants don't want to share information, so they get waterboarded. Later, rather than face more waterboarding, they tell their captors what they want to know.

This is not a form of "friendly persuasion." All you have to do is connect the dots: waterboarding is a form of psychological torture. Torture is a form of terror. Americans who use waterboarding terrorize others.

In 1947, a Japanese soldier who used waterboarding on a U.S. citizen was sentenced to 15 years in prison for committing a war crime. Members of the CIA who have undergone the torture as part of their training last an average of 14 seconds before begging to be released. Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war, claims waterboarding is definitely a form of torture. All human rights groups agree.

As do we.

Getting information from enemy combatants is vital.

Getting it through waterboarding undermines the entire enterprise of bringing justice and decency to people of the world who lack the resources and clout to demand such things for themselves. Waterboarding, as a means, simply contaminates the end result.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I love my wife...

Tammy is a wonderful wife. She does so much for me. I love her so much. She and I are meant to be together. Here is just another reason. She was recently published in the Idaho Press-Tribune with a letter she submitted. I wanted to share it. Click Here to see it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

San Diego County Fires


View Larger Map
I have been waiting to write about this, but when I was a missionary for my church I lived in many of the areas effected by the recent fires. I worked in San Diego county from July 1993 until June 1995, the Mission I was in was the California Carlsbad Mission. One of the areas that I served in was Ramona, I was there summer 1994. So when I saw that it was completely evacuated it made me wonder about the people there that I had worked with and the other missionaries that were there at the same time as me (Elders Terrell, Church, and Smith). Ramona was an over when I was there, it was a little less population back when I was there. It was one of the few places that reminded me of Idaho when I was there. The people were great, they were always kind even when they had no interest in our message. Another place that I have seen a lot on the news with the fires is Escondido. I was in Escondido, CA for six months January to June 1994. While I was there we had the opportunity to volunteer at a school and we went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park for a field trip with the class we worked with. Another place I served that has been effected was Fallbrook. Fallbrook was the second area I served in as a missionary (the first was Oceanside) in the fall of 1993. Fallbrook was just like Idaho, small town in the mountains. While I was there at Christmas time we helped the youth group from our church perform "Secret Santa Service" for a family by bringing them gifts and other needed items for the twelve days before Christmas. We were the delivery boys. That way the family would have no idea who the items were from. I also served in Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, and Vista. I have been thinking a lot about those I served with both that lived there and those who were missionaries, like me. I wonder how those ex-missionaries are feeling seeing the areas that they served in and the people they loved victim to this catastrophe.

What a tragedy that has come upon these people. I feel for those who have lost everything. I feel even more for those few that were not warned in advance and lost their lives in the fire and those who lost their lives fighting to save the people and structures of that area. There is a reason for everything and although we may not see it at the time the Lord has a purpose for the challenges he gives us. Our prayers are with those suffering.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How to decide who you vote for...

I read this this morning and had to share. It gives some insight on how one person determines who to vote for.
From The Idaho Statesman (10/25/2007)



As the legislative advocate for the Roman Catholic Diocese, I am not willing, nor allowed, to tell my fellow Christians how to vote. That is the job of the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us through our conscience, guiding us with a moral compass. I am not afraid to trust people to arrive at the best decision when it comes to political candidates after they have prayed and reflected on who the candidate is that most represents their faith. Apparently, a certain number of Christians feel it necessary to dictate to all of us who to vote for, thereby trumping the voice of the Holy Spirit.

A Christian certainly can vote for a Democrat. I do. I choose to vote for Democrats, not because Democrats are pro-choice and supportive of stem-cell research, but in spite of those positions. I support Democrats because they are pro-children and pro-family, seeking to end poverty and hunger. As a Christian, I vote for Democrats because they are working to end the Iraq war, which my moral compass has told me was wrong from the first minute of the invasion. I give money to the Democratic Party in Idaho because they recognize what I know; Earth is God's gift to humanity and we must protect it against the ravaging greed of big business and corporations. I vote Democrat, because I want expanded freedom for everyone in America, not just people who look like me; that includes people who are gay or lesbian. Oppression and discrimination are not a Christian value. Love of our neighbors, all of them, is.

My job as a Catholic Democrat is to speak issues to candidates. I will tell Democrat candidates who I choose to support that I want expanded reproductive health care for women, while at the same time I expect Democrats to reduce the number of abortions taking place. Consider that 75 percent of abortions take place in the context of poverty. Or, if I am concerned about the sanctity of marriage, I need to ensure that candidates support families by reducing the destructive pressures of hunger, housing insecurity and lack of health care.

When it comes to immigration, I absolutely must support the Democrats. I am taught by Jesus in the gospel to welcome the stranger. God shows me from before Jesus was born, when Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt, that economic and political forces work against the immigrant family, forcing them to flee from their beloved homeland to a strange place fraught with peril. When I feed the immigrant, clothe her, house her, and provide her medical care, I am doing so to Jesus. I am not instructed in the Bible to first ask for papers proving immigration status. My job as a Catholic Democrat is to help the candidate understand how to design an immigration system that is fair to both the immigrant and my country.

When I weigh all the issues of importance to me as a Christian, I absolutely must vote Democrat. I would be betraying the Holy Spirit if I did not. But that is a very personal decision between me, Jesus, and God. I would be very disappointed to learn that any Christian merely followed my example and voted as I do. Who do you vote for? Go to your knees and pray. You will figure it out. You don't need me to tell you. And you certainly do not need other Christians to tell you.

Will Rainford, LMSW, Ph.D., is the legislative advocate for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Have you seen it yet???

Have you seen the new Price is Right? Drew Carey is now the host and it looks fun. I have not seen it yet, but I may have to Tivo it. I heard an interview with Drew Cary on NPR where he talked about all the new things on the show since he came on, like the theme song is now in stereo (it has not been before), there is a Price is Right website, that is new and you can watch full episodes online. Looks like Drew is bringing them into the 21st century.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Life in Idaho...Sheepranching

The cabin that my grandmother owns is in Pine, ID along the Boise river. Just across the river from where her cabin is there is a large meadow where the sheepherders bring sheep to feed. Not too far from that meadow is an open area where the sheep are gathered and then moved to other feeding grounds and back to the ranch to be sheared. Larry LaRocco is running for US Senate to represent Idaho and part of his campaign he is "working for Senate" where he works along side Idahoans doing the jobs that they are doing from the job of a sanitation worker to working on a sheep ranch (not earning large fees working as an attorney). I have not made up my ind for the election, but this episode about working on the sheep ranch says a lot about Idaho and where we come from as a people and what we need to remember in our high tech world.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Google tools..1.800.GOOG.411


Before I have posted about some of the tools that Google has and for the most part they are free. Today I found a new one, Goog-411. You can dial an (800) number and then get voice operated directory assistance for business information. After finding the correct number then Google can connect you to the business. This is as cool as Google SMS but it is voice activated. Here is a video that demonstrates it...



Sunday, October 07, 2007

Update...Pot Kettle Black

On October 3rd, I posted "Pot...Kettle...Black" and on Sunday October 7, 2007 I was selected as the Silver Quill (writer of the week) for the Idaho Press-Tribune. This is the second time that I have been selected. I didn't even know until my Dad asked me about it during the Boise State slaughter of New Mexico State 58-0.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

SCHIP Realities...

I wanted to share the realities of the SCHIP program. It helps to see who elected officials are really listening to when they pretend to want to help children. Contact your congressmen to override the presidential veto. Source

Bush's False Claims About Children's Health Insurance
The president mischaracterizes congressional efforts to expand the SCHIP program.
Summary


President Bush gave a false description of proposed legislation to expand the 10-year-old federal program to provide health insurance for children in low-income working families.

He said it "would result" in covering children in families with incomes up to $83,000 per year, which isn't true. The Urban Institute estimated that 70 percent of children who would gain coverage are in families earning half that amount, and the bill contains no requirement for setting income eligibility caps any higher than what's in the current law. (The compromise bill that was released a few days after Bush's press conference does rescind an administration effort to block New York state from increasing its eligibility cap to that level.)

He also said the program was "meant to help poor children," when in fact Congress stated that it was meant to expand insurance coverage beyond the poor and to cover millions of "low-income" children who were well above the poverty line. Under current law most states cover children at twice or even three times the official poverty level.

The president also says Congress' expansion is a step toward government-run health care for all. It's true that some children and families with private insurance are expected to shift to the government program. But the Congressional Budget Office estimates that such a shift is relatively low considering the number of uninsured these bills would reach.
Analysis
In President Bush's Sept. 20 news conference, he expressed his displeasure with Congress' bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Bush said he supported the program and had called for an increase in funding for SCHIP of $5 billion over five years. But both the House and the Senate have called for a much larger expansion, one that would cost an additional $35 or $50 billion, with the House calling for the larger upgrade. Bush has a threatened a veto. In explaining his opposition to Congress' plans, however, he falsely characterized the bill in one instance and was misleading in others. (Today, congressional leaders agreed on compromise legislation that would call for the $35 billion increase. The full legislation will be available Monday.)

Covering those making $83k?

The president repeated a false charge that has been bandied about by the administration and other Republicans:
Bush: Their proposal would result in taking a program meant to help poor children and turning it into one that covers children in households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year.
President BushIn fact, nothing in either the House or Senate bill would force coverage for families earning $83,000 a year. That's already possible under current law, but no state sets its cut-off that high for a family of four and the bill contains no requirement for any such increase. The Bush administration, in fact, just denied a request by New York to set its income cut-off at $82,600 for a family of four, a move New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and members of Congress from the state have vigorously protested. And Bush would retain the authority to deny similar applications under the proposed legislation. An Aug. 17 letter to state health officials from the Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services outlined new guidelines for states that would make it quite difficult for states to raise eligibility above 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($51,625 for a family of four). So Bush is simply wrong to say that the legislation "would" result in families making $83,000 a year to be eligible. It might happen in a future administration, but that would be possible without the new legislation.

In fact, the vast majority of the children who stand to gain coverage under the proposed legislation are in families making half of the figure Bush gave. A study just released by the Urban Institute estimates that 70 percent of children who are projected to benefit from either the Senate or House bills are in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $41,300 for a family of four). Our several calls to the White House press office to pinpoint exactly what the president meant by the $83k remark were not returned.




SCHIP: Who's Eligible Now?
State Income Ceiling
% of Federal Poverty Level In dollars: Family of 4, 2007
1 New Jersey 350% $72,275
2 Hawaii* 300% $71,250
3 Connecticut 300% $61,950
4 D.C. 300% $61,950
5 Maryland 300% $61,950
6 Massachusetts 300% $61,950
7 Missouri 300% $61,950
8 New Hampshire 300% $61,950
9 Vermont 300% $61,950
10 Pennsylvania 300% $61,950
11 Minnesota 275% $56,788
12 California 250% $51,625
13 New York 250% $51,625
14 Rhode Island 250% $51,625
15 Tennessee 250% $51,625
16 Washington 250% $51,625
17 Georgia 235% $48,528
18 New Mexico 235% $48,528
19 West Virginia 220% $45,430
20 Alaska* 175% $45,185
21 Alabama 200% $41,300
22 Arizona 200% $41,300
23 Arkansas 200% $41,300
24 Colorado 200% $41,300
25 Delaware 200% $41,300
26 Florida 200% $41,300
27 Illinois 200% $41,300
28 Indiana 200% $41,300
29 Iowa 200% $41,300
30 Kansas 200% $41,300
31 Kentucky 200% $41,300
32 Louisiana 200% $41,300
33 Maine 200% $41,300
34 Michigan 200% $41,300
35 Mississippi 200% $41,300
36 Nevada 200% $41,300
37 North Carolina 200% $41,300
38 Ohio 200% $41,300
39 South Dakota 200% $41,300
40 Texas 200% $41,300
41 Utah 200% $41,300
42 Virginia 200% $41,300
43 Wyoming 200% $41,300
44 Idaho 185% $38,203
45 Nebraska 185% $38,203
46 Oklahoma 185% $38,203
47 Oregon 185% $38,203
48 Wisconsin 185% $38,203
49 Montana 150% $30,975
50 South Carolina 150% $30,975
51 North Dakota 140% $28,910
*Hawaii and Alaska have higher official Federal Poverty Levels than the rest of the U.S.
Note: States that cover children through regular Medicaid in italics; Others have separate SCHIP programs
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
The Poor?

Bush also misstated the intent of the SCHIP program by claiming it "was meant to help poor children." That's false as well. Poor children, defined as those in families below the official federal poverty level, were already covered by Medicaid.
The stated intent of Congress when it established the program in 1997 was to expand coverage beyond those who were poor to "uninsured low-income" children. And in Washington-speak, there's a significant difference between "poor" and "low-income."

Congress didn't specify exactly what it meant by "low-income" in the bill that became law or the conference report that accompanied it on final passage, and reasonable people can certainly come up with different definitions. However, if one defines "low" as meaning "lower than most families make," then there is plenty of room to expand the current SCHIP program without violating the original aim stated by Congress in 1997.

Currently, the state with the highest income cap is New Jersey, where a family of four making up to $72,275 is eligible. (See chart at left for current cut-offs for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.) That's well below the median income for a family of four in that state, which was
$94,441 in 2006 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The median means half of all families made less than that, and half made more. So even New Jersey's ceiling for SCHIP is significantly lower than what most families in that state bring in.

The same is true for all 10 of the jurisdictions with the highest ceilings. The median income for families of four last year was $84,472 in Hawaii, $93,821 in Connecticut, $94,017 in Maryland, $71,571 in D.C., $89,347 in Massachusetts, $63,274 in Missouri, $87,396 in New Hampshire, $74,072 in Pennsylvania, and $67,884 in Vermont. So under current law even the top 10 cover only families with income that is "low" compared to most others there.

The Crowd-out Effect

In the news conference, the president also described Congress' SCHIP expansion as a step toward government-run health coverage.
Bush: The proposal would move millions of American children who now have private health insurance into government-run health care. Our goals should be for children who have no health insurance to be able to get private coverage, not for children who already have private health insurance to be able to get government coverage.... Their S-CHIP plan is an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care for every American.
It is true that the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the House and Senate bills will cause some who recently had private coverage to sign up for SCHIP or Medicaid coverage, depending on how the state administers those programs. However, Bush is being misleading by leaving out additional details about this shift. The Congressional Budget Office director said he hasn't seen another policy proposal that would reach as great a level of the uninsured with as low of an effect on those who had private insurance.

Health care and government experts, including CBO Director Peter R. Orszag and MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, have said that when the government offers programs that target the uninsured, those programs will inevitably be used by some who already have or could have private insurance. Experts call this effect "crowd-out."

The House bill would extend coverage to a total of 7.5 million people, 5 million of whom are uninsured, while the Senate bill would reach 6.1 million, 4 million of whom are uninsured, according to CBO reports. The rest of those affected by the expansions would have private or other coverage. Those numbers give crowd-out rates of 32 percent for the House bill and 34 percent for Senate's. Orszag said of the House crowd-out effect, "given the scale of the net reduction in the uninsured, it’s pretty much as good as you’re going to get. In other words, I have not seen any other proposals to reduce the number of uninsured children by 5 million with crowd-out rates that are lower than 33 percent. Again, in the absence of a mandate on an employer, or a mandate on an individual, or a mandate on state governments, CBO does not believe you’re going to do much better than these kinds of crowd-out rates." (Our calculations show 32 percent from the CBO charts, which include numbers rounded to one decimal point.)

Orszag made those remarks at an Aug. 29 conference by The Alliance for Health Reform, where he also said that the bills included measures to minimize the crowd-out effect and that the Senate bill gave states incentives to target lower-income families. Gruber, who worked on the initial development of SCHIP, wrote in a letter to Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the energy and commerce committee, that "no public policy can perfectly target the uninsured," but that expansions like SCHIP are the most cost-effective ways of increasing health coverage.
Gruber: I have undertaken a number of analyses to compare the public sector costs of public sector expansions such as SCHIP to alternatives such as tax credits. I find that the public sector provides much more insurance coverage at a much lower cost under SCHIP than these alternatives. Tax subsidies mostly operate to "buy out the base" of insured without providing much new coverage.
As for SCHIP’s current crowd-out rate, a May 2007 CBO report said that estimates vary but that the figure is “most probably” between 25 percent and 50 percent.

The president says movement of people from private to public insurance under these bills is unacceptable, which is a matter of opinion. We feel this additional information is necessary to give a full picture of the bills' effects.

A Better Way to Reach the Uninsured?

After the president spoke, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt continued to field press questions. He spoke highly of the president’s proposal to help the uninsured:
Leavitt: He made a proposal at the State of the Union that, ironically, would have -- according to the Lewin Group, would have provided insurance to 4.25 million children, children who currently do not have coverage. The bill that the President will veto will -- is represented to offer 2.6 million insurance. However, 1.2 million of those already have private insurance, and 900,000 of them already qualify.
We’re not sure where the 2.6 million or 1.2 million numbers come from. As we've said, according to the CBO analyses, the House bill would reach 7.5 million people, 2.4 million of whom had private or other coverage. The Senate bill would cover 6.1 million, 2.1 million of whom had private insurance.

We do know where the 4.25 million figure comes from: According to John Shiels at the Lewin Group, the secretary simply misspoke. The Lewin Group did not analyze the effect Bush’s proposed tax refund program would have on children in particular; all Shiels could tell us with total confidence was that “more than a dozen” children would gain insurance under the plan. The group did find that Bush’s initial proposal would reduce the uninsured by 9.2 million, a disproportionate number of whom would be well above the poverty level. For instance, 38.6 percent of the uninsured with a family income of $100,000 or more per year would become newly insured, but only 3.8 percent of those making less than $10,000 would. (Lewin uses the Census' definition of a family, which doesn't differentiate based on family size.) The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, has estimated that Bush’s proposal would lead to a net decrease of fewer than 0.5 million uninsured children.


Butt Out the Truth

Finally, the president’s interpretation of the SCHIP program’s effect on taxes needs some context. Bush said, “The legislation would raise taxes on working people.” Actually, what SCHIP would do is increase the federal tobacco excise tax on all tobacco products. The federal government puts a tax of 39 cents a pack on cigarettes, with all revenue going into the general treasury fund. The House bill would increase that tax by 45 cents, while the Senate would tack on 61 cents, with the revenue specifically funding the SCHIP expansion.

It is unclear what the president means by “working people.” But as the Congressional Research Service pointed out, an increased cigarette tax means the “burden falls heavily on lower income people.” Statistics reported by the American Heart Association showed that smoking is “highest among persons living below the poverty level.” Forty-six million adults in the country are smokers.

– by Lori Robertson and Jess Henig, with Brooks Jackson and Justin Bank

Update: On September 24, the Senate Finance Committee released
the text of the compromise legislation, which went on to pass both houses of Congress that week. The CBO determined that the bill would expand coverage to 5.8 million children, 3.8 million of whom are uninsured and 2 million of whom have or have access to private health insurance. That’s a crowd-out rate of 34 percent. About 79 percent of the new enrollees qualify under the existing eligibility guidelines, the CBO report said.

Here’s what would happen to New York’s request to increase its eligibility cap to 400 percent of the poverty level: The new legislation would rescind the Aug. 17 letter from HHS that required states to meet certain requirements before they could raise eligibility above 250 percent of the poverty level. Instead, HHS would issue new requirements for states seeking to increase their caps above 300 percent. After Oct. 1, 2010, states failing to meet those requirements wouldn’t get federal funds for children above that 300 percent mark (see Sec. 116 of the bill).

Also, states that meet the requirements and extend eligibility above 300 percent of the poverty level would get a reduced federal matching rate for children in families above that 300 percent threshold. States that already have a higher cap (only New Jersey) and those that were about to put one in place (only New York) would be exempt from that federal match restriction. So, New York could increase its income eligibility cap to $82,600 for a family of four for at least two years, until late 2010, as long as the state’s plan is approved by HHS. After that, to continue getting funds for children above the 300 percent level, the state would have to meet the federal government’s new guidelines. The president has a point in that the bill allows New York to increase its eligibility cap beyond what his administration was willing to permit. But with the eligibility restrictions and incentives the new legislation puts in place, it’s misleading for the president to say the bill is “turning [the program] into one that covers children in households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year.”


Sources
United States, Congressional Budget Office. "H.R. 976, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007." 24 Aug. 2007.

United States, Congressional Budget Office. "H.R. 3162, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act." 1 Aug. 2007.

Alliance for Health Reform. "Who’s Counting? What is crowd-out, how big is it and does it matter for SCHIP?" Conference transcript. 29 Aug. 2007.

Kenney, Genevieve M.; Cook, Allison; and Pelletier, Jennifer. "SCHIP Reauthorization: How Will Low-Income Kids Benefit under House and Senate Bills?" Urban Institute. 17 Sept. 2007.

Baumrucker, Evelyne P.; Fernandez, Bernadette; et al. "Medicaid and SCHIP Provisions in H.R. 3162 and S. 1893/H.R. 976," Congressional Research Service. 15 Aug. 2007.

Sheils, John, and Randy Haught. "President Bush's Health Care Tax Deduction Proposal: Coverage, Costs and Distributional Impacts." The Lewin Group. 29 Jan. 2007.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Just what Idaho needs...Larry Craig NOT resigning!

Well the judge's order is in, Larry Craig cannot withdraw his guilty plea. As a citizen of Idaho I am glad that Senator Craig with do the honorable thing, that he promised to do and resign. Wait, what's that you say, he is not retiring? You heard it right, we are stuck with "lame duck larry"! I coined that, so if you see someone else using it let me know. According to the AP Craig is going to drag this out as long as possible, "I will continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee - something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate." More excuses. I saw an interesting article online that insinuated that Craig was staying so that he would not have to testify in a court case involving another GOP congressman. Who knows, but he is really a "lame duck" and as such will not be helping out us in Idaho too much, except for being fodder for late night comedians.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

LDS Press Conference...*I learn more programming

The Church held a virtual press conference and asked an Apostle M. Russell Ballard some questions. It is pretty interesting. He answers some common questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Elder Ballard responded to the following questions:

1. Are you Christian? What is the role of Jesus Christ in your faith?

2. Do you worship Jesus Christ in your Sunday services?

3. Why do some people say you are a cult?

4. In what ways are you similar to other Christians?

5. In what ways do you differ from other Christians?

6. Was Joseph Smith a prophet? Are prophets necessary today?

7. Is there scientific proof authenticating the Book of Mormon?

8. Does the Church support political candidates? (this is the question I picked to embed)

I took this chance to try embedding flash on to my blog again. I tried before but it was unsuccessful. We'll see if it works.


Pot....Kettle....BLACK!

Not too many days ago there was outrage that a liberal organization "Moveon.org" would sponsor an ad in the New York Times showing General Petraeus in a negative light. There were congressional leader asking for hellfire to rain down on Moveon.org. Now we have similar reaction from the other side of the isle because of comments that Rush Limbaugh made toward Veterans he called "phony Soldiers". If there was nothing else, you can see how similar and juvenile both of these things are. Each side is just as childish and immature. Could you imagine if you acted that way at your job? If I was hypersensitive and reactive it would be impossible to work and get anything done. I guess that is why in Washington it is said that they don't get anything done.
I know that the first amendment protects the speech exhibited in both these cases and although you may find one or the other despicable, they do have the right to say what they wish. You on the other hand do not have to listen. Make up your own mind look at facts not ranting and emotional banter. A good place to start, Factcheck.org Don't follow like sheep, lead like the person you are!