Blue Cross deserves a huge fine for the kind of calculated abuse they just got a tiny fine for. They have been routinely dropping customers who get sick or pregnant. Here is an excerpt from the story from Time Online:
California regulators fined the state's largest health insurance provider $1 million for violating state law, saying an investigation found that the company systematically dropped policyholders after they became sick or pregnant.
Unbelievable. A single health insurance award could be a million dollars. If you were a Blue Cross finance type, you would use this fine as proof-positive that Blue Cross should continue their sleezy practices.
I may have spoken out of turn the other day in my marginally articulate rant: Apple's Anti-Blogger Suit Sucks. Apparently, the blogger vs. journalist issue was not what Apple was hot about. The judgement in Apple's favor was about violation of trade-secret law. John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame set me straight.
it is illegal to induce someone to spill the beans on a trade secret they are legally obligated not to reveal. It is also illegal to publish or share information which you know to be a trade secret, regardless how you learned about it. It’s not a question of whether Think Secret’s reporters are “journalists”, or if they are, whether they are good or bad journalists. It doesn’t matter because there are no special exemptions under trade secret law for journalists.
However, danah boyd posted a compelling analysis with a different take on the whole thing today that raises another important issue:
they ruled that no one (digital or paper) journalists have the privilege to protect their sources when trade secrets are involved. In other words, the rights of companies trump the First...the reason that the First exists is to protect powerful systems from oppressing the people under their structure. In other words, it's OK when information from inside the government is leaked because it's a matter of checks and balances. But there are no checks and balances for corporations right?
I'm very disappointed that Kerry did not quite pull out a victory. Not surprised, but disappointed. I'm consoled that it was very, very close. And this map is not only interesting but feels better than the red and blue ones. Compliments to Jeff Culver who made the map and boingboing who made it available.
The red and blue state maps are deceiving. Big picture, the cities voted for Kerry and the rural areas voted for Bush. Rural areas have low population density. So even though the geographic area looks like a bush landslide when you look blue and red, the population counts almost dead even. Half the country for Bush, half for Kerry. Here's the more microscopic red/blue county breakdown compliments of USA Today:
I like that a big hunk of Southern Texas voted for Kerry, for example. When you look at the county level in shades as Robert Vanderbei did, it starts looking better again - even better than by state. There's a lot of blue on this map!
My wish for this country for the next four years is that all the great grass roots efforts that emerged this year will remain active and grow stronger and not only turn the tide in 2008 but protect the environment, curb big business excess and do damage control in the meantime. Rolling over at this point is not an option.
Even though Cheney claimed a mandate. They didn't get a mandate and if the opposition party had been quiet, they might have really had one.
Even better, you might want to read up or talk to a friend whose opinion you respect who is knowledgeable so when you are in that good old voting booth, you know more than just name recognition on some of those nice sounding propositions and local elections. So far, I've got my best friend who has researched many sources to come up with her full voting list - San Francisco resident. Here's what she gave me:
THE SF Women's Political Committee
Bernal Hts. Democratic Club
Official Labor Neighbor Slate Card - AFL-CIO
Independent Voters' Guide
Steven Krefting's recommendations: My neighbor who is an old Sierra Club director and Leftie & Property Owner
Affordable Housing Alliance
1A Sequestor Revenues: yes
59 Public Records: yes-all
60 Primaries: yes
60A Property Sales: yes
61 Children's Hosp: yes-all
62 Primaries: no
63 Mental Health: yes-all
64 Limit Biz Laws: no-all
65 Funding Mandates: no-all
66 Three Strikes: yes-all (the Schwarzenegger ad is inaccurate)
67 Emergency Med: yes-VERY mixed
68 Gaming: no-all
69 DNA: yes-VERY mixed
70 Gaming: no-all
71 Stem cell: yes-all
72 Health care: yes-all, especially labor
A Housing: yes-all
B Historical Pres: yes-all
C Health Care: yes-all
D City Charter: no-very mixed
E Survivor Benefits: yes-all
F NonCitz School: yes-all
G City Health Plan: yes-all
H Candlestick: no
I Creates dept: no
J Inc. local tax: yes-all
K Biz increas tax: yes-all- BIG TIME
L Hotel tax: no - BIG TIME
N Out of Iraq: yes-all- BIG TIME
O Policy on Prop J: yes-all
AA Bart Seismic: yes-all BIG TIME
Board of Supervisors, District 9
Tom Ammiano x 3
Now, all we need to do is read up a little on our local ballots so we know what these people and propositions are about. It is possible to feel really good casting your vote.
I was very impressed with John Kerry watching the debate last week. He clearly won the debate. To me it was a dramatic victory. Not even close.
I don't usually write about politics on Tech Ronin, but this is important. I'm a Democrat. I would like to see a better social safety net in this country. I would like to see government advocate for both business and everyday people, not just big business.
I would like to see a much stronger commitment to the environment in many areas such as global warming and pollution in its many forms. We need to make changes to alleviate problems with worker safety, too low minimum wage, healthcare and food safety. I don't like big government, frankly, but we've already got it and I would like what we do have to be a lot more helpful and representative of its citizens not just the richest 1%.
I've read several books about the Bush administration and am very concerned for the safety and well-being of our country and the world with the Bush administration at the helm. Things have changed dramatically in many ways since Bush got into office.
Environmental regulation has been trashed. Almost all regulation has been dismantled or hamstrung. The US has cancelled treaties on many fronts. World opinion has shifted dramatically against the US - and for good reason. The situation in Iraq is tragic, dangerous and totally out of control. al-Qaeda is clearly stronger and better established now than prior to our invasion of Iraq.
If you favor Kerry, please vote and make your opinion known among your friends and acquaintances. If you favor Bush, I hope you'll watch the debates and think seriously about what you hear.
I don't plan to do much political commentary on this page, but I felt the need to make an exception here. As a registered Democrat and Californian, I was already going to vote no on the Recall and not vote for Arnold even though Davis is bland and boring while Arnold is charismatic and at least one of the most liberal republicans on some key social issues. I don't think it's fair or particularly democratic to recall Gray Davis when he just got elected 10 months ago and hasn't done anything even remotely impeachable.
But now, reading the LA Times first and second stories about Mr. Schwarzenegger's repeated groping incidents and some of his, dare I say, misogynist remarks about women, it's gotten more personal. As a woman who has experienced and made peace with sex discrimination and mild, yet hurtful and disrespectful, sexual harassment, I feel that a vote for Arnold after these disclosures is a vote for a man who can't credibly represent 50% of the California population. There will be a blindspot there at minimum. Anyone who gropes women as a regular *playful* practice and claims ignorance that it is humiliating and hurtful, is either flat-out lying or doesn't get it - at all.