Saturday Morning Open Thread

The thought of doing my taxes today has me re-thinking not going to the Apple store. Even though I'm going to wait for the iPad with 3G and wi-fi that comes out at the end of the month, I think it would be fun to play with the iPad hands-on in the store and see how much of a scene the launch is causing.

Both Time and Newsweek have it on the cover this week. That doesn't happen often. I think it won't be the huge sensation this weekend many are expecting because lots of folks will want the 3G version and be waiting. But I am going to start saving pennies and see how much I can put together by the end of April to get the one I want. (Of course, I'd be delighted if one of our readers would buy it for me.)

It's going to be a slow news weekend because of the Easter holiday, so the iPad is as good a topic to write about as any.

Update: Thank you to the very generous, long time TalkLeft reader and commenter who ordered one for me. What a great surprise to wake up to.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    I can live with my computer, books on paper, (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 11:11:58 AM EST
    and a telephone. Of course, I have to buy a new hard drive for my 5 year old laptop, but that's about 50 dollars. A lot cheaper than a new computer. Since my games are solitaire and poker, I don't need supergraphics.

    I'm just not excited about the ipad. iphone, anything i have to text (i can't read it anyway), twitter, etc...

    I must be an old fuddy duddy. So get those kids off of my lawn!

    I'm definitely an old fuddy duddy. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 12:15:07 PM EST
    Only got a cell phone in case of emergency situations on highway. Have to admit it is also handy to reconnect when going somewhere in a large group and members go in diverse directions.

    Haven't had a TV for a decade or so. About the only times I wish I had one is during the Olympics or major tennis tournaments. Some tennis is available on line but the quality is not as good.  


    I gear my toys to me, not vice versa (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Ellie on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:43:07 PM EST
    Which is why I don't belong to any techno-cult. I'm a techno-Pagan among toyheads who buy everything before they figure out how to get the most out of what they already own, and wizards who are off the scale brilliant and who I turn to for tweaking when what I want seems to exceed the capabilities of what I have. (A plug-in stick or mild-retrofit will usually manage it.)

    Otherwise, YMMV/ your holes, your choice and enjoy. Do what you gotta to do what you want, and try not to hurt any piano-playing baby animals or celebs gone viral in the process.

    For a second, lets forgo the obvious, and envision what the iPad promises to its end users. Its a tablet type device, with many, if not all of the features of an iTouch or an iPhone. Okay, so its a large scale iTouch/iPhone then (depending on whether you opt for the 3G version or not). Once you connect, you can iEmail, iPhoto, iText, iSurf, iZoom, iMessage, iClick, iSave, iDelete... well you get the point.

    The iPad is based on Apple specific device usage, and is not just an Apple specific device in and of itself. I think a lot of what Apple hangs its hat on, as do the many thousands of Apple faithful, lies in the adoption of Apple usage methods. Let's call it Apple's "iAdoption". After all, what better way to get widespread adoption of a product, then to [subconsciously] train people to use it the way YOU want them to? This is the Holy Grail of product design -- to combine good design features along with great adoptibility. Its basically the product and the user "meeting in the middle," where the product offers what the end user wants, with the caveat being that the end user just needs to "learn" how to use the product.

    The iPad leverages the adoption of the iTouch and iPhone usage methods, and scales it up into a bigger "super size" family version. No longer will you need to tap wildly on a little touch screen while typing a message; you can now tap wildly on a big "computer sized" device. The iPad is an extension of the iTouch/iPhone, now that thousands of people have "trained themselves" in use of Apple "i" products. ... (Gil Laroya, HuffiPo, April 02 2010)

    I've had texting capability and book-reading capability for over a decade (off my 10+ yr old beaming palm) and can wifi/roam/surf with my old school netbook that accommodates various OS's without penalty. It flexes to my need for storage without the Nanny databasing of, eg, iTunes.

    I dumped the HQ sound/vid of my old mp3/4/x player because of the inflexible corporate monitoring and I don't like being stealth-charged for media I already legitimately bought and ripped using pro-level media-tech.

    I also have access to considerable archives of mass and multi-media that aren't available online and, sadly, disappearing in the crevasse formed between contemporary obsessions and degrading original media.

    Until I really really need to listen to a Fartface Presents sh!tty upload while simultaneously texting random brain fragments with my besties, being un/available as suits me is my preference.



    So all these years I should (none / 0) (#42)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:46:47 PM EST
    have been using products with bad design so I would not have gotten trained to like good design? Yeah, that would have taught Jobs a lesson.

    You don't need to school Jobs in good design (none / 0) (#45)
    by Ellie on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 05:06:41 PM EST
    ... but he'll sell you an App for That.

    I don't buy iProd, but I do hump and dump the stock (and throw my MacLovedOnes some gift cards, though only between new madnesses.)


    A great column by Bob Herbert (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by lentinel on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 06:26:22 PM EST
    in the NY TImes.

    It talks about Martin Luther King's opposition to the war in Vietnam and draws parallels between that war and the current war in Afghanistan.

    It is one of the many reasons that I bristled at the mention of the name of Martin Luther King in the same breath of that of Barack Obama.

    Bob Herbert

    Donald (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by lentinel on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 09:02:19 PM EST
    I honestly don't know what you are talking about.

    People praise King, but don't really believe in anything he stood for. And they always leave out the fact that he spoke out against the war in Vietnam.

    When Obama was elected, there was much talk about Dr. King's dream and how it was now a reality. I recoiled at that because it seemed racist and manipulative.

    Herbert's point is that Obama is following a course in Afghanistan that is as bankrupt as the one followed by Johnson and Nixon in Vietnam. And I agree with him.


    I (none / 0) (#61)
    by lentinel on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:54:53 AM EST
    don't get the impression that you read the article by Bob Herbert to which I linked.

    There are a whole lot of assumptions that you have made about the rationale for the war in Afghanistan. I don't agree with any of them.

    But that isn't even my point.

    I think that there is an absolute parallel between the war in Vietnam and the war in Afghanistan. I'm talking about the situation as it currently exists. Bob Herbert expresses it very well - which is why I linked to him.

    The other point I made is my own.
    Barack Obama is no MLK. Not even close.


    We tried to dye eggs last night (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 06:59:06 AM EST
    Something is up with my neck though, it is very stiff and sore and hurts when I try to move it.  Joshua had something up with his leg last night too and it was very painful for him to try to walk (I wonder if we have some virus floating about but with all he allergens in the air down here right now I can't tell what is what).  My husband is a complete mess walking in the door from Afghanistan into this pollen mess too.  He couldn't quit coughing and was reluctant to take anything because of all the RA drugs he is on but finally gave in and took something to sleep.  We had two year old Zoey over too, and dying eggs with a two year old is always challenging :) and five month old Naomi was in the background going through various stages of cooing and interested to crying because nobody was looking at her.  We finally gave up and walked away.  We will try again today.

    Regardless of the pollen mess, (none / 0) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 12:05:44 PM EST
    thrilled to read that your husband is back home.

    He seems to be adjusting well (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 03:15:27 PM EST
    to an out of the war zone life again too.  Yet it is a little early to make such a call, but he seems calmer faster.  We've been through it before, it couldn't be healthy to say that we were getting better at it.  I think we are officially done with deployments too now, he will be retiring before it is time for him to deploy again :)

    Are you coming to Seattle in April? (none / 0) (#49)
    by shoephone on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 06:37:31 PM EST
    We have not made Josh's appoint (none / 0) (#60)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 08:26:17 AM EST
    yet.  His GP here just got the transcribed opinion that we paid for out of pocket from doctor Siegel in the CO Springs.  Now he has something in his arsenal to get a referral to Mosca with.  We have been trying to control my asthma a lot better at the moment.  We have come to a point where the ENT that was treating me is worried about it leading to permanent lung damage.  We realize that we may need to move away from Alabama...how horrible (NOT).  We have committed in the purchase of a home though, and spouse is very dug in with his job here and would have to sacrifice a great deal of sweat and tears giving up his slot here.  I got in to see a new GP in the area, and he is putting me through a massive series of workups.  At the same time of course we are changing out our heating and cooling system and behold, I discover something that completely blew me away.  You would think that I would have noticed long before this since my own dad was a contractor, but the heating and cooling was done by other specialists so I never witnessed any detailed meltdowns and discussions about such things.  My house has no air returns anywhere except the front of the closet that the indoor half of the system is in.  Can you imagine how bad the air quality in my house is?  How did this happen in Alabama (it couldn't really happen in any other state)?  Alabama has a proud history of having few existing building codes.  I discovered this the day before I had my first doctor visit and when I told my doctor about it he said it was a major health problem here that he has already seen more than once now, and he is super disgusted by it too.  The first bid we took on a new system though, that guy pointed it out and said that in what they have dealt with, many many people who live here are have uncontrollable asthma live in a house like mine.  I live in one of the most expensive subdivisions around here too, and my house was built to be a literal death trap.  The minute I arrived in Colorado though my asthma completely disappeared.  Moving could achieve much, a new heating and cooling system with air returns may also do much too though.  I anticipate our being in Seattle in early June now as soon as school is out for the Joshman.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your asthma (none / 0) (#63)
    by shoephone on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 02:20:04 AM EST
    It sounds rather he[[ish! I hope a new heating/cooling system helps you, regardless of when you may be moving.

    I'll await further details of your possible trip to ol' Seatown.


    the pollen (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jen M on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 07:24:43 AM EST
    is horrible here too.


    And a gazzilion world leaders are coming here next week.   An international sneeze-a-thon.

    As in most areas, the Vatican (none / 0) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 08:39:16 AM EST
    is seriously behind the times in the spin department.  Addressing pedophilia and cover-ups with the aid of the papal exorcist is so Julius II and the anti-semitic defense by " the preacher to the papal household" conjures up Pius XII as portrayed in Rolf Hochuth's "The Deputy."   If determined to draw on past pontificates, perhaps the papal spinners could have Benedict work on a smile less like that of Bela Lugosi and more like that of John Paul I. Also, have him be seen more with John Paul I's copy of the "Imitation of Christ" and less with his red Prada's.    I do believe there is an Easter message there for them to learn from  the good Albino Luciano, "the thirty-day pope."

    Texas a bastion of sanity in reactionary times (none / 0) (#4)
    by Rojas on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 09:08:57 AM EST
    40 years ago people were excited (none / 0) (#5)
    by observed on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 10:56:57 AM EST
    about going to the moon.  Today people are excited about the latest gizdget which does exactly what all gizdgets have done for years, only just a little differently.
    Talk about devolution.
    Hope and change, baby!

    No possible way to blame this (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 11:09:57 AM EST
    one on Obama though.

    medicine is exciting; materials science (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by observed on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 11:15:18 AM EST
    .. but the new generation electric thingies bore me.
    I'd rather read a book.

    No, he's just a sign of the times. (none / 0) (#8)
    by observed on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 11:14:27 AM EST
    Well sure, but should we all be driving (none / 0) (#24)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:44:47 PM EST
    the same cars too? I have a Rav4, but don't try to make any major sociological statements about other people preferring to arrive at the same place in a different model. Whatever gives you a little more pleasure in your day is all right with me.

    I love ALL the Gidgets ... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Ellie on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 02:27:08 PM EST
    They're all so cute and fun!

    Slightly more kooky and weirdly subversive than her contemporaries.


    Medical marijuana access expanded in WA (none / 0) (#10)
    by headstorm on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 11:23:17 AM EST
    I've been suffering and unemployable for a long time from daily migraines caused by an injury to the occipital nerve.  I live in Washington state, which has a medical marijuana law, but the few clinics I know of that connect patients to physicians willing to recommend it charge hundreds of dollars.

    A state senator from Seattle, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, introduced S.5798 to allow health care professionals who can prescribe controlled substances to recommend medical marijuana.  I don't know that I'll have any luck finding one who will, but Governor Gregoire signed the bill into law yesterday.  This is a great step in a positive direction for those of us who suffer daily in Washington state.

    headstorm I'm so sorry you have this nerve damage (none / 0) (#39)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:25:53 PM EST
    I had nerve pain for 7 years - the trigeminal nerve which is a cranial nerve. I'm in Portland OR and we have one of the best neurosurgeons in the country and I was able to have a surgery that fixed the problem. Before that, the drugs that are commonly prescribed for nerve pain are less than satisfactory - at least for some and they can become less effective with use. They prescribe opiates which don't help with nerve pain at all, just make one feel less connected with life in general including pain. But marijuana actually works for nerve pain. I don't like it particularly, but for some sufferers it is a god send. I hope your situation improves and that you can get relief!

    My husband is having trigeminal (none / 0) (#44)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:51:44 PM EST
    nerve problems; he says it feels like every tooth on the affected side of his head has the worst toothache imaginable.  He's been prescribed Gabapentin and Lyrica for the pain, and while it helps, it also makes him a drooling idiot - fine for sleeping, but kind of a problem for the rest of the day.

    I was on those (none / 0) (#47)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 05:46:59 PM EST
    I truly hated Lyrica. And it is expensive! I went off it a while after surgery and that was really difficult. I'm sorry for what your husband is going thru - there are different kinds of pain associated with TN and they are all horrible. Can he have  surgery? My neurosurgeon says there are more kinds of TN that are actually operable than most neurologists say. Of course he is a neurosurgeon so he would say that, but I had been diagnosed as inoperable and the surgery he did was successful. Its like getting a life back.

    Engadget review... (none / 0) (#11)
    by white n az on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 11:25:36 AM EST
    Read it for yourself...
    Engadget Review

    So the verdict? The buyer of an iPad is one of two people, the first is someone who sees not just the present, but the potential of a product like the iPad... and believes in and is excited about that potential. This is also a person who can afford what amounts to a luxury item. The second is an individual who simply doesn't need to get that much work done, and would prefer their computing experience to be easier, faster, and simpler. Does that sound like anyone you know?

    I think it speaks volumes if Apple fanboys like Endgadget can't find a good reason to actually buy the thing.

    As a computer, it isn't. As a device, it's limited. As something that breaks new horizons, it is so encumbered with DRM and imposed limitations that it becomes obvious that Apple is your enemy since it really only serves to offer you subscription based content that you can get otherwise, other places for free. I think Steve Jobs is the re-incarnation of PT Barnum.

    No 1. Engadget is not a fanboy site (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 12:37:18 PM EST
    2. Oh never mind. Much better things to do on my iPad than quibble about it.

    Surprise (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 11:51:12 AM EST
    The Republican Party's strategy since early last year of lock-step opposition to the Obama administration's major legislative initiatives has proved to be less bankable than some party leaders may have anticipated.

    With eight months to go before congressional elections, House and Senate Democratic candidates exceed in virtually every important campaign fundraising category. Democratic House lawmakers appear likely to reverse their seven-cycle record of being outspent by House Republicans, according to recent finance reports.....


    this may explain the problem:

    ....."If we look like winners, money will follow," said Steven H. Gordon, an adviser to Senate Republican leaders who in the past has raised $70 million for GOP congressional candidates.


    Hi Squeaky (none / 0) (#31)
    by Teresa on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 02:55:25 PM EST
    I followed your link last night to your friend of a friend's writing about his experiences with the church high school. Very haunting writing. Thanks for linking it.

    A Pleasure (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 03:21:44 PM EST
    How are the vols doing? ...  Don't even know what sport it is but I think it is your favorite team, no?

    Yep, right team (none / 0) (#59)
    by Teresa on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:17:40 AM EST
    They did great. Made it to the Elite 8 and 1 point from going to the Final Four. They way overachieved and it was fun. Now, like most of the rest of the country, I'm a Butler fan!

    The football team is a different story. Several years of rebuilding to do there.

    Nice to see you Squeaky and thanks again for the book excerpts.


    Spring Break (none / 0) (#15)
    by CoralGables on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 12:20:36 PM EST
    destinations combining teens, (alcohol?), and balconies are a very bad mix.

    So happy for you J (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 12:42:39 PM EST
    This is the fastest web browser I have ever used, either on a desktop or my 2 yr old  laptop. And I can two hand touch type on it as well as I can on my laptop. Better in fact, with the autocorrection.

    The iBook reader is great too, Really has as much of the feel of a book as you can get from a device.

    did you go to the store to get it (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 12:56:26 PM EST
    or pre-order? Which one did you get? Tell us more, which apps are great, etc. I'm really excited now.

    Jeralyn, I honestly (none / 0) (#19)
    by jeffinalabama on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:19:46 PM EST
    hope you love it... while I might not be thrilled with electronics, the things I am thrilled with, like new cooking utensils or new pots and pans, hey, if I had a blog, I'd write about them all the time!

    I just don't need one, so I pooh-pooh it. ;-)


    I pre-ordered the lowest end (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:31:14 PM EST
    wifi only, 16gig. My price point before the announcement was $500, so I stuck to that.

    In general the iPad-special apps are the best. The blown up iPhone ones are kind of hit and miss. Some of them look blurry if they have not been optimized yet.

    The iBook app is lovely. I also got Pages and Numbers from Apple, and a National Geographic atlas and the iPad version of the Stargazer app I use on the iPhone.

    As far as the native apps go, I take a lot of digital photos and I love the different things you can do with photos on the pad. From the lock screen you can set a slide show going like a digital frame. I have seen those in the stores for $200 alone.
    I'm syncing more photos to it now.

    The calendar and contacts are nicely done as well. I don't plan on listening to music on it, so I didn't try that.

    Watched a little bit of 'Up' to try out the movie viewing and it was an excellent picture, and easy to use. It is a different experience with both movies and reading when you don't have a keyboard and an extra few feet between yourself and the screen. I can see myself watching video or reading in bed with it, where I never would with my laptop.

    I think the big deal is the immediacy of the experience. Two taps and you are watching a movie, at a decent enough size when it is only a couple of feet from your eyeballs. One tap and you are at a web site. And as I said before it is screaming fast on the web.

    Anyway I am satisfied so far, and it will only get better as more apps are developed using the advantages it provides.


    NPR app is good too (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:59:23 PM EST
    I like to look at the different ways the user interfaces are implemented in the various apps. NPR did a good job.

    One nit about the keypad- the return key is right where I expect the backspace to be. The iPhone is a little different. I'm  almost used to it now, but the first attempts weren't pretty.


    Netflix app (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 02:12:09 PM EST
    I know you wanted this one. Tried out 'watch instantly' and it loaded up the movie enough to start watching in about 10 seconds. No problems.

    My step-dad supposedly picked one up too (none / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:30:55 PM EST
    and I didn't even advise it. This device is going to be HUGE.

    Hope you enjoy it!


    thanks! Made my early morning (none / 0) (#22)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:35:19 PM EST
    I think it will be huge too.

    Eat Out of Jail Free Card (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 01:58:02 PM EST
    Not only are some banks too big to fail. Some convicted criminals are too big to jail.

    A 600-pound Florida man with a long record of scamming restaurants and convenience stores pleaded no contest this week to five charges that he sought refunds by making false claims, including one that a $50 order of beef jerky from a 7-Eleven was moldy.


    High Risk Pool (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 02:08:30 PM EST
    WASHINGTON -- In one of its first steps to carry out the new health care law, the Obama administration announced Friday that it was establishing a temporary insurance pool where uninsured people with medical problems could buy coverage at reduced rates.

    Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said the program would "help provide affordable insurance for Americans who have been locked out of the insurance market."

    Federal health officials said the program would be available from late June of this year to Jan. 1, 2014, when private insurers will be required to accept all applicants without varying premiums on account of a person's medical condition.


    That's a good step. I'm curious tho (none / 0) (#29)
    by observed on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 02:15:50 PM EST
    .. could this step have been taken without the bill being passed?

    P.S, squeaks, is Jeralyn's Ipad going to squeak?


    Many states already have high-risk (none / 0) (#35)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 03:29:39 PM EST
    pools for those who have been unable to be insured through private means; Maryland is one of them, and our governor announced the other day that our pool will be gearing up to accept more enrollees.

    Thirty four states currently have their own high risk pools.

    Kathleen Sebelius has written a letter to the governors and insurance commissioners asking of their interest in creating their own high risk pools.  It's an interesting letter; portions follow:

    I would like to draw your attention to one of the immediate changes that will be implemented this year. Section 1101 of the new law establishes a "temporary high risk health insurance pool program" to provide health insurance coverage to currently uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions. The law directs HHS to carry out the program directly or through contracts with states or private, non-profit entities.

    We are interested in building upon existing state programs in this important initiative to provide expanded access to health coverage for individuals who cannot otherwise obtain health insurance. To that end, I am writing you today to request an expression of your state's interest in participating in this temporary high risk pool program, consistent with one of the implementation options described below. We understand that final decisions in this regard may be subject to the availability of additional details, approval from your state legislature, and other factors. HHS will engage individually with each state that indicates its intent in response to this letter, both in the preparation of its potential application and during the application review process, as appropriate.


    Beyond the minimum statutory requirements, HHS's goal is to grant the flexibility needed to permit successful and expeditious implementation of the program by interested states. For example, we recognize that there are different avenues for states to carry out the statutory requirements for a high risk pool program. A state could consider the following options:

    Operate a new high risk pool alongside a current state high risk pool;

    Establish a new high risk pool (in a state that does not currently have a high risk pool);

    Build upon other existing coverage programs designed to cover high risk individuals;

    Contract with a current HIPAA carrier of last resort or other carrier, to provide subsidized coverage for the eligible population; or

    Do nothing, in which case HHS would carry out a coverage program in the state.

    In reviewing the existing state high risk pools, there is much common ground in the benefits currently provided. Since HHS is considering establishing a floor set of benefits that all the new high risk pool programs must cover, we anticipate that these benefit requirements would take into account benefit lists currently used by existing state high risk pools. Similarly, states would have the option to follow pre-existing condition criteria for determining eligibility established by the Secretary, or propose their own, subject to Secretarial approval. We are committed to working with states to identify other areas where flexibility is appropriate.

    All bold is mine.

    Her letter raises some interesting questions, most notably, whether the criteria for participation that each state establishes might make ineligible some people who think they will be eligible under the legislation.

    With these pools being temporary until the exchanges are operative in 2014, how many states that do not currently have the infrastructure to administer a pool will choose to create one for such a short time?

    If HHS establishes a floor set of benefits for new high risk pools, how will they differ from benefits offered by the 34 states that currently have pools?

    Can states that already have pools reduce the benefits offered to current enrollees if they offer better coverage than what HHS decides they are required to offer?

    The new statute establishes some specific requirements surrounding the eligibility, benefits, and funding for the new high risk pool program. Specific statutory requirements include but are not limited to:

    Eligible Individuals Must:
    Be a citizen or national of the United States or lawfully present in the United States;

    Not have been covered under creditable coverage (as defined in Section 2701(c)(1) of the Public Health Service Act) for the previous 6 months before applying for coverage; and

    Have a pre-existing condition, as determined in a manner consistent with guidance issued by the Secretary.

    Benefits/Coverage Must Have:
    An actuarial value of at least equal 65 percent of total allowed costs;

    An out-of-pocket limit no greater than the applicable amount for high-deductible health plans linked to health savings accounts, described in section 223(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (that is, $5,950 for an individual); and

    No pre-existing condition exclusions.

    Premiums Must:
    Be established at a standard rate for a standard population (that is, not exceed 100 percent of the standard non-group rate); and

    Not have age rating greater than 4 to 1.

    Looking at the quoted section on benefits coverage and costs, I see a lot of people falling into a terrible position where they are ineligible to get coverage under Medicaid and do not make enough to afford premiums and the out-of-pocket costs.

    Will be interested in others' take on this.


    Will be interesting to see what the rate (none / 0) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 03:05:14 PM EST
    structure is once it is established. Also, if the funds allocated are sufficient to cover all those who need it.

    Rare earth market crash? (none / 0) (#36)
    by observed on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 03:56:58 PM EST
    A friend of mine was telling me something fascinating. The Chinese control 97% (!!) of the worlds rare earth supply, and they are talking about stopping exports in 2012.
    Western industry would collapse if this happened.

    Interesting article on (none / 0) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:13:13 PM EST
    rare earth reserves on US soil. link

    really interesting (none / 0) (#41)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:30:13 PM EST
    thanks for the link

    what is rare earth? (none / 0) (#38)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:17:59 PM EST
    Rare Earth (none / 0) (#40)
    by headstorm on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:27:16 PM EST
    I believe the poster is referring to rare earth metals, such as tantalum.  These rare metals are necessary for the manufacture of computers.

    And cars. I hardly know anything, (none / 0) (#43)
    by observed on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 04:49:34 PM EST
    except that they are essential and (obviously) rare metals.

    A smart move to put their currency reserves (none / 0) (#46)
    by Raskolnikov on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 05:17:47 PM EST
    in valuable metals, but if western industry collapses, so too will China.  For all the good or bad of global markets, at least it means we go down together.

    BUTLER! (none / 0) (#50)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 07:53:28 PM EST
    It just never gets old to type that here.  My conference, yeh!

    An even better win than the one that sent down Bruce Pearl, a high point of the tourney here.

    Yes, BUTLER! (none / 0) (#54)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 09:28:21 PM EST
    As I typed before but gladly will do so again.

    (Yes, I'm an alum of a Horizon Conference campus -- so we know Butler's prowess all to well but also are delighting in its deserved glory.  Lots of parties being planned for Monday night, youbetcha.)

    iPad home screen 'glitch' (none / 0) (#55)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 10:40:55 PM EST
    I've seen one flaw in the iPad launch. The default home screen on the iPad is a pretty picture of a mountain lake. It is in the ads, on the web site, etc.  More about it here. When I first powered up my pad I nearly had a panic attack because it looked like my screen had several white scratches in it.  As I was syncing it I looked on the Apple site to see how to return it if the scratches didn't go away. Luckily I noticed faint white lines on the picture on the web site too. Turns out they are streaking stars in the picture. From what Ive been seeing I'm not the only one.

    Way to give your customers heart failure Jobs. I know some will say we deserve it.

    Someone needs (none / 0) (#56)
    by jondee on Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 10:53:58 PM EST
    to teach the West Virginia players the concept of perimeter defense and challenging outside shots. Those guys looked like they were sleepwalking, or had no idea beforehand of what team they were playing tonight.

    I dont know if Butler can hang with Duke, but at least they wont give them those easy looks from outside -- if their coach has any sense at all.

    Agreed -- but that awful injury (none / 0) (#57)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 12:06:12 AM EST
    to WV's star player Da'Sean Butler might have done it, anyway.  From what he said, telling the coaches that it was the outside of his knee that went, with severe pain and inability to put any weight on it at all, it may be a badly torn meniscus.  And that could mean surgery and a long recovery, so they would not have had him for the big game, anyway.

    Sad; word is that he's a nice kid with high hopes in hoops.  (And I writhed with him when the trainer tried to straighten the leg, which could have worsened a meniscus tear.)


    I know what you mean (none / 0) (#62)
    by jondee on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 12:26:34 PM EST
    about writhing with him. That looked really bad. Poor guy, I hope he's gonna be o.k. By all accounts, he's a fine young man. He certainly has a great, infectious smile.