The statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season has arrived and for the first time since 1992 there isn’t a named storm in the basin.
While forecasters are watching a pair of potential systems, neither is likely to grow into a tropical storm by the end of today. So far, four storms have gotten names in the Atlantic this year.
In records going back to 1851, Sept. 10 is the day when the odds are greatest there will be at least one tropical storm or hurricane somewhere in the Atlantic.
Still, it would be a mistake for everyone to let their guard down, said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster for the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“The season isn’t over and it is not shut down,” Bell said by telephone. “While it is weaker than average we already had one hurricane strike North Carolina this year. We need people to stay prepared.”
It is also too early to tell if there is a larger shift under way in the Atlantic that could herald in an era of fewer storms, he said.
Since 1995, the basin has been in the midst of what is called the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. This means it has been warmer than normal and the chances for weaker storms to grow stronger are enhanced, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Winners and losers of finalized CMS automatic re-enrollment policy: CMS finalized a HealthCare.gov policy that will automatically re-enroll individuals into their current plan with the same subsidies if they do not choose a new plan by December 15 (open enrollment begins on November 15). Consumers who didn't authorize the federal government to check their updated tax information, will be re-enrolled in the same plan without subsidies. States run exchanges have some flexibility to develop their own processes to help consumers renew or re-enroll in exchange plans.
The policy will benefit insurers and hospitals by maintaining insurer population stability, reduce administrative costs and decrease the potential for uncompensated care. The policy, however, will likely create a PR challenge for Democrats as rates go up in many of the plans in which people are automatically re-enrolled. Moreover, the policy will reduce comparison insurance shopping by consumers.
Can you imagine seeing your premiums at a certain level for the last 12 months, finding a new job, and then seeing your payment skyrocket, with the loss of the Federal subsidy?
It's always been the easy argument for legal drugs: "Legalize, regulate, and tax. The Government will make a fortune!"
As is typically the case, what is intended, and what is reality are not the same:
Colorado's tax collections from recreational marijuana sales in the past fiscal year came in more than 60 percent below early predictions, and now a state lawmaker says it may be time to reconsider the tax formula.
State Rep. Dan Pabon, who is leading a special legislative committee on marijuana revenue, said the medical-marijuana system also may come under scrutiny.
"There's some real impact that the medical marijuana market is having on the recreational marijuana market," said Pabon, D-Denver. "I think it's worth looking at the taxation on the recreational side but also looking at the rules and regulations on the medical side."
A market study for the Colorado Department of Revenue says the lower-taxed medical-marijuana market, which continues to outpace the recreational market in sales, is to blame.
Rather than pulling consumers out of the medical-marijuana market, the recreational market largely has feasted on tourists and people who previously bought pot on the black market.
The problem lies with how it is taxed. "Medical" pot is taxed at a much lower rate than "Retail" dope. It's not too difficult to get a note from your doctor for weed, so smart smokers are going the medicinal route.
Big deal, WAMK. So tax revenues are down. What difference does it make? Well, when the Governor puts tax revenue numbers at $98 million this year from pot, there may be a healthy shortfall. Considering voters were told to expect around $70 million in tax revenue when it was put on the ballot, it may have been a better idea to underpromise, and overdeliver this year.
Hopefully, the tax revenues catch up to projections. If it's legal, we may as well get every penny we can from it.
The spread of Ebola to the USA is “inevitable,” said the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday. Tom Frieden made the statement in a House Subcommittee hearing, adding that he does not think there will be a “large Ebola outbreak” in the U.S. Does he think there will be small ones?
For the first time ever, U.S. public schools are projected this fall to have more minority students than non-Hispanic whites enrolled, a shift largely fueled by growth in the number of Hispanic children.
Non-Hispanic white students are still expected to be the largest racial group in the public schools this year at 49.8 percent. But the National Center for Education Statistics says minority students, when added together, will now make up the majority.
About one-quarter of the minority students are Hispanic, 15 percent are black and 5 percent are Asian and Pacific Islanders. Biracial students and Native Americans make up a smaller share of the minority student population.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the changing population a seminal moment in education. "We can't talk about other people's children. These are our children," he said.
The shift creates new academic realities, such as the need for more English language instruction, and cultural ones, meaning changes in school lunch menus to reflect students' tastes.
If children that are in this Country illegally are holding back the students that are, it's a recipe for disaster. We're already aware of how poorly US students compare to students around the World. Toss in the teachers having to try and "catch up" non-English speaking kids, and the English speakers suffer, furthering the cycle.
What is the most important thing on the mind of the woman who serves on a Presidential commission on educational excellence? It ain't school:
As the school-age population has become more nonwhite, it's also become poorer, said Patricia Gandara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA who serves on President Barack Obama's advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Roughly one-quarter of Hispanics and African-Americans live below the poverty line - meaning a family of four has nearly $24,000 in annual income - and some of the poorest of Hispanic children are dealing with the instability of being in the country illegally or with a parent who is, Gandara said.
Focusing on teacher preparation and stronger curriculum is "not going to get us anywhere unless we pay attention to the really basic needs of these children, things like nutrition and health and safety, and the instability of the homes," she said.
So we can't educate them with more prepared teachers, and better course work, we have to feed them first? Is that really the primary job of the educational system?
The problem starts and ends with the Home. If education, learning English, and wanting to become an American Citizen is important to everyone in the home, the child will succeed. Unfortunately, the reality is that what I've outlined above is not a priority to non-English speaking families today.
Our rich history is overflowing with stories of immigrants that can to this Country, unable to read, write, or speak the language, who made a choice to assimilate, and do what Americans do in order to become one.
Instead, in Modern America, we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by asking them to respect our laws, learn our language, and pull their weight.
Now we have non-English speaking students becoming the majority in our schools, they are way behind where they should be educationally, and the kids that can speak the language and are up to speed will suffer.
Yet another reason why my daughter will stay in private school, no matter the cost.
As of August 3 newswires report, recent fighting in north and central Iraq results in ISIS fighters taking full control of Iraq's biggest dam at Haditha unopposed by Kurdish fighters who have made a strategic retreat to Kurd territory after losing three towns, and an oilfield to ISIS fighters. The Haditha Dam serving Baghdad, like a smaller dam serving Mosul which fell to ISIS fighters in June, was as early as 2007 identified by the US Special Inspectorate General for Iraq Reconstruction, a Pentagon watchdog, as a critical installation for enemy insurgent attack. This Agency highlighted structural problems at the two earthfill dams, needing constant grouting and backfill to prevent collapse, and warned of the catastrophic possibilities if either of them fell to insurgents - then called Al Qaeda in Iraq. Both of these dams are now in the hands of ISIS.
Due to their construction method and need for constant upkeep, both dams are relatively easy to rupture using only low amounts of well-placed explosives. The Agency warned that total rupture of the Haditha Dam could cause a 65-foot-high tidal wave in Baghdad City.
ISIS now has two powerful bargaining chips in Iraq. Its frankly apocalyptic general theory of forcing its Grand Caliphate into being would be served by the total destruction of Baghdad if the city and el-Maliki's government do not submit. In no way avoiding the Apocalypse but welcoming it, the effects on Iraq's oil production and oil exports can be imagined. Comparable insurgency, civil riot and rebellion and destruction of government is under way in both Syria and Libya. The extreme fundamentalist Sunni ISIS movement makes no secret of 'the prize' being the overthrow of albeit-Sunni ruling families, called 'impious and heretical' in the GCC countries.
That would have an interesting effect on the price of oil, wouldn't it?
Thank goodness we have a leader in DC that keeps showing his "smart diplomacy" skills.
Last week, Salwa Shabazz arrived at the office of a public health network here with a bag full of paperwork about her new health insurance — and an unhappy look on her face. She had chosen her plan by phone in March, speaking to a customer service representative at the federal insurance marketplace. Now she had problems and questions, so many questions.
“I’ve had one doctor appointment since I got this insurance, and I had to pay $60,” Ms. Shabazz told Daniel Flynn, a counselor with the health network, the Health Federation of Philadelphia. “I don’t have $60.”
Mr. Flynn spent almost two hours going over her Independence Blue Cross plan, which he explained had a “very complicated” network that grouped doctors and hospitals into three tiers. Ms. Shabazz, who has epilepsy, had not understood when she chose the plan that her doctors were in the most expensive tier.
“None of that was explained when I signed up,” she said. “This is the first I’m hearing it.”
Many people who signed up for private coverage through the new marketplaces had never had health insurance, and even the basics — like what a premium is and why getting a primary care doctor is better than relying on the emergency room — are beyond their experience. Others have a sense of how insurance works but find the details of the marketplace plans confusing, especially if they signed up without the help of someone who understood them.
When it comes times to renew, do you thjink most people in this situation will do their homework, or just let their policies lapse, knowing they can pay a fine, and get coverage when they truly need it?
Ms. Shabazz’s mother, Waheedah Shabazz-El, who had accompanied her to the appointment, shook her head as her daughter wiped away tears. “There are so many layers to this,” Ms. Shabazz-El said.
Not quite the way it was sold to you by the President, Ms. Shabazz?