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Archive for May, 2016

Islamic Ideology 101: Wife Beating

 

Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development, original at: http://bit.ly/1WPSJSn

Pakistani women line up to vote in Rawalpindi.

In Pakistan today, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a think-tank comprised of Islamic clerics and scholars, proposed a bill that says it is ‘“un-Islamic” for women to leave an abusive relationship and seek refuge in a shelter‘, according to the Dawn newspaper, one of the nation’s largest English newspapers.

A man, “when needed”, may “‘lightly’ beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires, according to the Express-Tribune, another major Pakistani newspaper.

The Pakistani parliament is not required to vote on the measure which is, ironically, described as a “women’s protection bill”.

Photo credit: Rachel Clayton/Department for International Development

Categories: Uncategorized

KY Health Insurance Premiums to Increase

New story same as the old: Kentucky residents will see their health insurance premiums increase once again in 2017. The last increase, effective in 2016, was approved in July 2015 by Gov. Steve Beshear.

Kentucky’s biggest insurer at the time, KY CO-OP, were set to increase premiums by 25.1% in 2016. That was before they eventually folded and left 75% (or 51,000) of all Kynect-registered customers without an insurance plan at the end of last year. A sixty-million-dollar failure. Other large insurers also increased premiums in 2016—Anthem BCBS by 12.2%, Humana 5.2%, and CareSource Kentucky 12.83%.

Next year’s increase will be an average of 17% according to an Associated Press report in the Herald Leader. Unsurprisingly, former governor Steve Beshear was quick to lay the blame at the foot of the current administration. He is quoted as saying “we believe the main reason why insurance companies are proposing higher rates is because of the uncertainty of the future of Kynect.” Not so quick, point out Anthem officials. Kentucky Health Cooperative’s demise at the end of last year left 51,000 mostly high-risk consumers out in the December cold. Higher risk translates to higher premiums, for everybody.

According to the Associated Press report, Kynect policies will see an increase of 20% in premiums, whereas plans purchased outside of the exchange will increase by 16%.

The requested increases vary from 6.95% for UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company small group customers, to 65% for individual customers of Golden Rule Insurance Company.

Insurance rates are not controlled by state policies, with the exception of state-managed co-operatives. Of the 23 such co-ops that were created by states under Obamacare, only 11 survive.
Categories: Kentucky Tags: ,

As Employment Grows, Unemployment Drops

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 10.34.51 AMThere isn’t always a direct correlation between  a rise in employment and a decrease in unemployment, especially with the United States economy during the last eight years or so. We have seen dips in the unemployment rate even while people employers shed jobs.

How does that happen? Following the economic crash of 2007 and the colossal bailouts of the banking and automobile industries, there wasn’t an accompanying growth in economic activity. Consequently, millions of Americans simply gave up looking for jobs. The labor force participation rate has not been worse since 1954.

The good news for the Kentucky economy is that in spite of an increase in 32,000 people in the job market—that is, people looking for jobs again, people moving to Kentucky, and all other Kentuckians available for work—there has been a corresponding increase in jobs available. Translation: More paychecks are being issued to Kentuckians today than was the case six months ago.

The chart above shows a steep rise in unemployment during the last few months of the Beshear administration, and a drop that started soon after the start of the Bevin administration.

Categories: Kentucky

Kentucky’s Soaring Employment Continues

May 24, 2016 1 comment
Kentucky Employment

Kentucky’s employment continues to rise rapidly under the leadership of Gov. Matt Bevin.

The accompanying chart does the talking. Contrast the declining employment in the state of Kentucky during the last year of Democratic Governor Steven Beshear against the rapid growth in employment during the first few months of Gov. Matt Bevin.

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)

Categories: Kentucky

Andy Beshear Loses Case Against Gov. Bevin

In a 24-page ruling issued earlier today, Judge Thomas Wingate of the Franklin Circuit Court dismissed Attorney General Andy Beshear’s case against Governor Matt Bevin.

On April 1—no joke, as it turns out—Beshear sent a letter to the Governor insisting that he had acted unlawfully in cutting funding to the state funded universities. He threatened to file a lawsuit in the event that the Governor restore allotments to the universities by April 8, or else he’d file a lawsuit against the Governor. Beshear did carry out his threat and promptly filed a lawsuit on April 11.

After examining the evidence brought by Beshear, the judge concluded that the Governor acted within his authority to reduce university spending.

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For now, the case has been dismissed. Beshear has promised to appeal the ruling to the Kentucky Supreme Court. It’s not likely that he’ll win. His dad, Steve Beshear, also successfully cut funding to state universities.

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Categories: Uncategorized

An Atheist Pastor? Sure, Says Her Congregation.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. —2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV)

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Gretta Vosper, self-described “minister, author, atheist”.

In a move that is unlikely to shake the faith—or rather its absence—of the congregants of West Hill United Church, Toronto, their pastor will have to defend her atheism before a denominational panel of the United Church of Canada.

Reverend Gretta Vosper, the church’s pastor since 1997, has been open in defending her atheistic views. It’s been merely three years or so since she’s taken to actually calling herself an atheist. She believes in a “metaphorical god instead of the traditional theistic vision of god,” according to a press release from the (non-metaphorical, we assume) church.

In a story describing the travails of the West Hill United Church’s leader, the left-leaning Guardian newspaper  astutely observed the absence of any Bibles in the church while pointing out that one of the church’s only religious symbols, a cross, was mostly hidden by rainbow-colored streamers.  The congregants of the church stand solidly behind their leader and her “effectiveness” in that role.

The church’s mission declares that it is “Moved by a reverence for life to pursue justice for all, we inspire one another to seek truth, live fully, care deeply and make a difference.” Evidently, the Bible isn’t one of those places where they seek truth.

Sources: West Hill United Church, The Guardian. Photo: http://www.grettavosper.ca/

 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Bill Clinton Says Bevin “Wrecked” Obamacare

https://flic.kr/p/5BnPFg

President Bill Clinton. Photo courtesy: Tim Hamilton ©2008-2016, Creative Commons License. 

Speaking at the University of Kentucky today, Bill Clinton lashed out at Gov. Matt Bevin without mentioning his name. Talking about the so-called Affordable Healthcare Act, he said that the people of Kentucky elected a governor who “wrecked” it, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Kentucky’s experiment in state-managed healthcare exchanges and insurance companies has been less than stellar. In fact, Kentucky COOP, the insurer which sold a whopping 75% of the policies under Kynect, collapsed last year under Governor Beshear’s watch. While the Clintons, Beshear, and many others continue to sing the praises of Kentucky’s Obamacare exchange, they neglect to mention that it was a costly failure—KY COOP lost $50 million—that left 52,000 Kentuckians without insurance before Gov. Bevin took office. Kynect did not switch them over to new plans with comparative prices. None existed. Steve Beshear

KY COOP has been a losing proposition since the start. It was a state-funded insurer, designed to compete against greedy capitalistic ones, and relied on federal subsidies which never materialized. The majority of the nation’s 22 health co-ops have failed as they leave a trail of poor, uninsured, Americans in their wake.

Photo of Bill Clinton by Tim Hamilton. Released under a Creative Commons copyright.