Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

abaldwin360:

I actually saw a guy arguing on-line the other day that this was morally wrong, that the government shouldn’t be telling companies what to do.
I laughed really hard.

abaldwin360:

I actually saw a guy arguing on-line the other day that this was morally wrong, that the government shouldn’t be telling companies what to do.

I laughed really hard.

(Source: )

The Republicans say that we can’t afford to pay for cutting the carbon emissions which climatologists assert are largely responsible for rising global temperatures and the spike in violent weather. What we truly cannot afford, according to our nation’s leading insurers, is to continue to deny a problem whose price tag is slated to go through the roof if we don’t act quickly.

Daily Kos | That was my brother's death you were cheering, you a$$holes

abaldwin360:

By: Susan from 29.

To all of those tea-jadist assholes at last night’s GOP debate: I don’t generally like to use profanity, but I fear that English is above your comprehension level, so in terms you might better understand, may God damn your worthless souls to hell for all eternity.

[FULL STORY]

Reprehensible

(Source: bbalgangyi)

Stat of the day

workonprogress:

From 2000 to 2009, health insurance premiums rose three times faster than wages in the United States, yet even as the rest of the country struggled with a deep recession, U.S. health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent during 2009 alone. According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

Race to the Bottom

The New York Times gave this piece as big a play as you’ll see a non-news story get yesterday, going with a four-line, two-column headline atop page one. That’s newspaper for This Story Is Important.

The Times reports on how states are letting the insurance industry set up so-called captive companies whose sole purpose is to insure the parent insurance company. Why is this a potential problem?

This has given rise to concern that a shadow insurance industry is emerging, with less regulation and more potential debt than policyholders know, raising the possibility that some companies will find themselves without enough money to pay future claims. Critics say this is much like the shadow banking system that contributed to the financial crisis.

To carry the analogy forward, the Times is saying basically that insurers are going regulator-shopping just like banks did in the years leading up to the Crash. The banks pitted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency against, say, the Office of Thrift Supervision, making the regulators, whose budgets depended on having banks to regulate, try to get their “business.” That led the regulators to compete on who would be the most impotent and to defend banks from bothersome consumers and state regulators who actually wanted to regulate them.

That’s known as regulatory arbitrage, and it’s a key reason why we ended up with the biggest financial crisis in eighty years. It’s nuts that we ever allowed it, and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law changed the rules to prevent it, at least on the federal level.

Another way to think of all this arbitrage is as a race to the bottom. It’s what we mean when we talk about how free-trade fundamentalists are really engaging in labor and environmental arbitrage—pitting the U.S. with its relatively high wages and strong safeguards against third-world countries that have neither. Or when a $90-billion corporation like Amazon blackmails states like Texas and South Carolina that want it to collect sales taxes like everyone else in the state does. Or when a governor famous for his budget cutting gives a Japanese firm $102 million so it won’t move out of the state. Or when companies transfer sales overseas to take advantage of lowball corporate-income shelters. Or when David Stern sends a warning shot to NBA fans and taxpayers by sending the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City after voters decline to foot the bill for a new arena. Or when Texas Governor Rick Perry tries to take advantage of California cracking down on egregious municipal corruption to poach businesses.

Big banks and Insurance companies are almost indistinguishable. Shady Doins.

Are Health Insurers Writing Health Reform Regulations?

The consumer advocates, most of whom not so long ago were applauding the Democrats for getting reform enacted, even if it fell short of their original goals, are becoming increasingly discouraged, partly because there are so many more lobbyists for the insurers than for consumers. It’s hard to compete with them.

“We’re outnumbered 100 to 1,” said one of the consumer advocates.

“It’s clear,” he added, “that the insurers are willing to make life more difficult for patients” by trying to weaken and delay the consumer protections.

It’s also clear that, at least for now, the insurers seem to have the upper hand in dealing with the White House.

Contrary to what insurance company bigwigs try to make us believe, it is not snow, sleet and freezing rain or mild flu seasons that enables these companies to blow Wall Street’s estimates out of the water. What they will not admit is that their companies are making record profits by pushing more and more of us into benefit plans that require us to pay a whole lot more out of our own pockets before they will pay anything for our medical care.

Wendell Potter (via azspot)

That sure rings true.

withoutgods:

believers… they don’t believe in insurance…

God: Excuse for being an asshole since 1000 B.C. I hope his douche bag wrecks his car, and damages some property then has to claim bankruptcy or be in debt for years and years to pay it off. Instead, he’ll probably run for congress, and win.

withoutgods:

believers… they don’t believe in insurance…

God: Excuse for being an asshole since 1000 B.C. I hope his douche bag wrecks his car, and damages some property then has to claim bankruptcy or be in debt for years and years to pay it off. Instead, he’ll probably run for congress, and win.

Great moments in Christian exploitation: Eathbound Pets

"We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you’ve received your reward.  Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."

$110 gets you 10 years of insurance that, in the event you are rapured, your pet will be looked after.