Poll analysis finds failure of Senate ACA replacement bill related to huge divisions among Republicans and between parties

first_imgA new in-depth analysis of results from 27 national public opinion polls by 12 survey organizations finds that the failure of the recent U.S. Senate debate over proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) relates to deep divisions among Republicans, as well as between Republicans and Democrats, on the future of the ACA. In addition, the analysis suggests that the outcome of the debate was influenced by a substantial growth since the ACA’s implementation in public support for the principle that the federal government should ensure that all Americans have health insurance coverage.The article, which provides a framework for understanding how the American public viewed the recent congressional debate over repealing and replacing the ACA, was published online on Aug. 16, 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine.The analysis finds that Republicans in the general public are much more divided on health care issues than was recognized by many commentators at the time of President Trump’s election, making it more difficult to enact major legislation. When asked what Congress should do about the ACA, 50 percent of Republicans said they preferred to repeal the law and replace it, but 14 percent preferred to repeal the ACA without replacing it, while 29 percent wanted to keep the law but work to improve it, and 4 percent wanted to keep the ACA as it is.In addition, the polls show how polarized Republicans and Democrats are about the overall future of the ACA. On most specific policy issues in the debate, the two parties disagreed, but there is one major exception: Majorities of both agree that the number of people covered by Medicaid should not be reduced.The most significant change since the implementation of the ACA has not been the increase in public approval of the ACA, which has gone from 44 percent in 2012 to 49 percent at the time of the recent debate in 2017, but rather the rise in overall support for universal coverage. When it comes to the question of whether or not the federal government should make sure that all Americans have healthcare coverage, six in 10 (60 percent) now say that it should be the federal government’s responsibility. The proportion of the general public saying they believe it is the federal government’s responsibility has risen from 42 percent in 2013 to 60 percent in June 2017.“When confronted with millions losing coverage, the public became more supportive of the principle that the federal government should ensure coverage for these people,” says Robert J. Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of the article. “This substantial change likely impacted the outcome of the Senate debate.” Read Full Storylast_img read more

Digital Crystal Ball Reveals Tomorrow’s Economic Gains

first_imgOver the previous generation, successive waves of new information technology – from the introduction of personal computers to the Internet to wireless broadband and diverse mobile devices – have enabled dramatic gains in workplace productivity. Today, in a period of widespread economic uncertainty and diminished expectations of the future, skeptics wonder if the tech-driven productivity gains of recent decades have run their course.Far from it. The explosive growth of digital data foretells the dawn of a new technological era that will be marked by utilizing both the data we have accumulated and the huge volumes of new data being created from sensors to personalize information experiences. The use of this massive and expanding data set will shift from historical understanding to predictive data analytics that deliver insights in real time to create new value that help shape our forward looking interactions. This idea of using information systems to shape future outcomes is unlocking a fountain of economic opportunity.According to the latest “census” of the digital universe conducted by the research firm IDC, the amount of new information in the world is doubling every two years, growing at a rate of more than 7.6 billion gigabytes per day.IDC claims that nearly one-quarter of this data holds potential economic value once it becomes tagged and analyzed. Yet, less than one percent of it is being analyzed today.Innovative companies and entrepreneurs have already seized this opportunity. Firms that integrate advanced data analytics into their operations are now realizing productivity gains of five to six percent higher than their peers, say Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson of the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.For example, GE now embeds its jet engines with sensors to communicate terabytes of in-flight telemetry data per day, so mechanics on the ground can predict costly problems and perform less costly preventive maintenance. As CEO Jeff Immelt has said, the smarter use of data to achieve just one percent more of improvement in jet engine fuel efficiency can mean $2 billion in additional profits.In a similar vein, electric utilities are equipping customers with “smart meters” that transmit nearly 3,000 times more data per month about electricity usage patterns on their grids. The ability of these so-called “smart grids” to identify and predict transmission problems enables utilities to prevent more power outages before they occur.These early adopters in the innovative use of data are the exception rather than the rule, however. Fewer than 10 percent of the large companies we see actively use real-time, predictive data analytics to build a competitive edge. Over time, gains in productivity will be felt more broadly as these techniques become more widely adopted and routine.For years, organizations have used data mining to extract business intelligence from their internal databases. The next generation of smarter decision making will incorporate insights drawn from less structured data formats derived from social networking and collaborative applications, and location data generated by sensors inside mobile devices or digital tags attached to cargo goods as they move through supply chains.By 2020, seven billion people on the planet will be joined on the Internet by an estimated 200 billion “things” (cameras, gauges, sensors, meters, appliances, transaction systems, etc.) generating data through machine-to-machine communication. IDC estimates this machine-generated “Internet of Things” will account for fully 40 percent of information in the digital universe by the end of this decade. Much of this data will be gathered in tracking and reporting models, where it can be analyzed and transmitted to self-learning applications and then fed back to decision-makers – all in real time.Innovators in healthcare are already analyzing these external, informal data streams to identify and track epidemics of infectious diseases in real time, faster than traditional reporting methods followed by public health bureaucracies at the United Nations or global non-governmental organizations.The web site healthmap.org, developed by scientists affiliated with Boston Children’s Hospital, monitors emerging public health threats around the world using crowd sourcing and analysis of informal online data sources. Co-founder John Brownstein says Healthmap’s smart-phone app, “Outbreaks Near Me” took $10,000 to build and was two weeks ahead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in tracking and reporting the spread of the virus H1N1.A new book, The Human Face of Big Data, by photojournalist Rick Smolan, documents the many ways people are recording and analyzing their biometric data, their eating patterns, sleeping patterns and exercise habits, to generate new information that can help them predict how their bodies are aging, so they can improve their health before medical emergencies occur.The promise of tomorrow’s better living standards turns on predictive analytics that informs and even anticipates our needs. This new data paradigm will change almost every form of human endeavor, helping us to make healthcare and transportation more efficient, enabling citizens and law enforcement to work together to reduce crime, even allowing people to choose their mates with better hopes of finding the right match.As Smolan notes, “the real-time data streaming in from satellites, and from billions of sensors, RFID tags, and GPS-enabled cameras and smart phones, is enabling humanity to sense, measure, understand and affect aspects of our existence in ways” that would have amazed our grandparents.In this new era, information technology will leap beyond the acquisition and sharing of data on past activities and embark on a revolutionary course defined by real-time insights, smarter decision-making and predictive analytics that foretell a new generation of technology-driven economic gains.The technology to drive such gains exists. What’s needed most are people who know how to ask the right questions and know where to look for answers, who can recognize patterns that others do not see, and who can collaborate smoothly with colleagues in an organization to turn insights into smarter decisions—and tomorrow’s economic growth.last_img read more

Compost = Better Garden.

first_imgDo it for your garden. Properly made compost can help you enjoyone of your best gardening seasons ever.Simply put, high-quality compost (2 to 3 pounds per squarefoot) makes most garden soils vastly more productive.In heavy clay soils, the compost reduces compaction, helpsincrease aeration and enables water to better infiltrate the soil.In sandy soils, it makes the soil better able to retain both waterand nutrients.Compost is a good source of “slow-release” organicfertilizer, too. It makes the fertilizer less likely to leachout, making needed plant nutrients available for your garden veggiesthroughout the season.And in contrast to unprocessed organic matter, properly compostedmaterial is free of viable weed seed, nematodes and diseases.The bottom line is that compost can give both your garden andyour gardening experience a really big boost.Unfortunately, high-quality compost is required in fairly largeamounts, it’s often sold only in bulk (so getting it home canbe a hassle) and it isn’t readily available in most places.Admittedly, these are serious negatives. But don’t get discouraged.There is a simple solution: make it.Most gardeners know compost is good for their gardens. Butmany don’t really understand what it is, much less how to makeit.The first step in mastering the process is having a good definition.Simply put, compost is what’s left of organic matter aftermicrobes have thoroughly decomposed it. You can extract allof the fundamentals of composting from that short sentence.1. Organic Matter. Almost any plant materialcan be composted. Readily available organic matter includes leaves,grass clippings, twigs, chopped brush, straw, sawdust and vegetableplants (along with culled produce) from the garden.You can add kitchen peelings and coffee grounds, too. Don’tuse table scraps, though, to avoid attracting animals to the compostpile.2. Microbes. The bacteria and fungi that dothe decomposing are so tiny they can’t be seen without magnification.Although a number of companies sell them, you don’t need to spendyour money. These microbes are everywhere.Mixing a few scoops of garden soil or compost from a previousbatch into the compost pile will provide all the microbes youneed to start the process.Like all living organisms, microbes require water and nutrients.Much of the water is supplied by the organic matter. More watercan be sprinkled onto the pile as needed.All of the nutrients the microbes need can be provided by theorganic matter if it has enough nitrogen. If the organic matterneeds more nitrogen, incorporate a little nitrogen fertilizeror animal manure.The most desirable microbes require oxygen. An ample supplyis in the air. However, as microbes decompose the organic matter,they tend to use up all the oxygen in the pile. To let in moreoxygen, simply turn the pile occasionally.3. Decomposition. Organic matter is food formicrobes. However, they can’t take a bite, chew, swallow and thendigest it as we do. Microbes release powerful chemicals calledenzymes that digest, or decompose the organic matter.After the organic matter is broken down into small molecules,microbes absorb these molecules and use them for energy and reproduction.Because this process generates heat, compost piles normally reachtemperatures of 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.These temperatures, sustained over several weeks, kill weedseeds, nematodes and many other organisms that cause plant diseases.This is one reason compost is so much better than noncompostedorganic matter.Those are the basics of composting. It’s a simple process youcan do easily at home. For more detailed information, contactyour county Extension Service office.last_img read more

Chester bridges open a week ahead of schedule

first_imgVermont Agency of Transportation today announced the re-opening of two bridges along Route 103 in Chester.  In order to rehabilitate two structurally deficient bridges in a rapid reconstruction process, bridge # 9 (near Benny’s Sunoco) bridge #8 were temporary closed traffic.  On Sunday, July 10, both bridges were once again opened traffic – a full seven days ahead of schedule.   ‘We applaud the work of the contractor, Cold River Bridges, to expedite this project,’ noted VTrans Secretary, Brian Searles.  ‘And we appreciate the patience and endurance of the community’residents and businesses — throughout the process.   Vermont’s economic growth depends upon a strong infrastructure and we are committed to fixing our aging bridges and roads, ‘ he said. The early bridge openings were enabled by both the diligence of the contractors and the innovative procedures pursued for the project by VTrans.  The team of Cold River Bridges worked 7 days/week from 5:00am until 10:00pm including the holidays from the May 16, 2011 closure. This bridge project is one of VTrans’ Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC ) projects , a program which seeks to rapidly advance bridge improvement projects to the most critically needed structures throughout the state.  The contract for the Chester project, which combined two bridges into one project, was accelerated, advancing from conceptual plans to construction in just 2 ½ years ‘ a process that takes nine years, on average. Prefabricated elements were also used whenever possible to reduce the on-site construction time and cost.  The contract included financial incentives for minimizing the closure period.  The project also included an extensive public engagement process which resulted in some mitigation measures that lessened the impact of the closure to area residents, businesses and visitors.Cynthia Prairie, Board President of the Chester Famers Market was spurred to action when news of the project hit the community a year ago. Fearing that the bridge closures would result in closing the farmer’s market, she and her husband formed Chester United, and received a grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enhance local marketing and outreach during the closure period.  Through collaboration, the Farmers Market was hosted on the property of the Vermont Country Store,  a location where it could remain vibrant during the closure. According to Cynthia, ‘This project actually helped to bring our community together.  We made connections between and among area businesses.  People we very responsive and the adversity of the project actually helped unite our community in a positive way.’ VTrans#30#last_img read more

Man Attempted to Sign Student, 6, Out of Ridge School

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying this man.Suffolk County police are searching for a man who attempted to sign a first-grade student out of a Ridge school this week, police said.The man—who police said is in his early 20s or late 30s—entered Ridge Elementary School on Wednesday, police said, and asked to sign out the 6-year-old student, but school personnel immediately denied his request. The man then said he would go get the child’s mother from the car but he never returned. Police were then notified.Police said the man was wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt with white drawstrings and a small white logo on the left chest, blue jeans and silver sneakers.Anyone with information about this incident or can identify the suspect is asked to call the Seventh Precinct at 631-852-8730 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.last_img read more

Case news

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Trump’s election trump card: A healthy economy

first_imgAfter emerging intact from his impeachment and trial, US President Donald Trump can now trumpet his economic record as he battles to win re-election in November.The businessman-turned-politician inherited an economy in the upswing from his predecessor Barack Obama, recovering from the ravages of the 2008 global financial crisis.And rather than falter or die of old age, the expansion has continued through Trump’s first three years in office, giving him a trump card in the campaign to win a second term in November. But there are some chinks in his armor, as well as growing fears about the economic damage done by the coronavirus outbreak in China, which raise doubts about how long the good times can last.- Jobs gains continue -“JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” the president tweeted Friday following a blockbuster employment report showing the US economy created 225,000 jobs last month. He used the hashtag #PromisesMadePromisesKept.Last year, job growth averaged 175,000, compared to 193,000 in 2018 and 176,000 in 2017, slower than the final three years of the Obama administration The unemployment rate, now at 3.6 percent, near its lowest point in 50 years, compared to 4.7 percent in December 2016, Obama’s last full month in office.And joblessness in the Hispanic and black communities has tumbled to historic lows: for African Americans, the unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent in December from 7.8 percent in December 2016; for Hispanics it dropped to 4.2 percent from 5.9 percent.Average hourly earnings increased 2.9 percent in 2019, keeping slightly ahead of inflation. Record growth The economy is now in its 11th year of expansion, a record period of growth, but has fallen short of Trump’s lofty promises.After reaching 1.5 percent GDP growth in 2016, the last year of Obama’s term, in 2017 it climbed to 2.3 percent and the following year to 2.9 percent, thanks to stimulus from the massive tax cut aimed mostly at corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and increased government spending, particularly on the military.But growth slowed to 2.3 percent last year after Trump’s trade war with China intensified, which discouraged business investment.While the US is in better shape than most advanced economies — the eurozone grew only 1.2 percent — it is unlikely to see long periods of 3.0 percent or higher as Trump promised.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week the economy could have hit the target last year were it not for the problems faced by Boeing.The aerospace giant has been in crisis mode since its top-selling 737 MAX aircraft was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes, which shut down exports of the plane.The IMF predicts US growth will slow even further this year to 2.0 percent as the boost from the tax cut fades away. Deficits climbing The tax cuts approved by Congress at the end of 2017 — the most significant tax reform in 30 years — helped boost GDP growth but also drove government debt and the deficit higher.The reform cut income taxes on the richest Americans while slashing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.The budget deficit is projected to breach $1 trillion by the end of September, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while government debt is expected to represent 81 percent of US GDP.Mnuchin said Trump is planning to slash taxes for the middle class as well.Trade tensions eased Trump has congratulated himself on signing a “momentous” initial trade deal last month to end the long battle with Beijing. But at what cost? China pledged to buy some $200 billion in US goods, but tariffs on about two-thirds of the goods traded between the economic powers remain in place.And the conflict slowed US and global growth and sent domestic manufacturing into a recession.Trump did fulfill his campaign promise to renegotiate the 1994 continental free trade deal with Mexico and Canada, creating the USMCA. The new pact, also signed in January, replaces what Trump called the worst trade deal in US history, though experts say it amounts to an update rather than an overhaul. Booming stock market Wall Street has cheered the tax cuts and loosening of regulations by the Trump administration, gaining around 55 percent since he was elected on November 8, 2016.That will be another selling point to Americans whose retirement wealth depends in large part on stock prices.Topics :last_img read more

China sends fighter jets as US health chief visits Taiwan

first_imgTopics : China, which had promised unspecified retaliation to the trip, flew J-11 and J-10 fighter aircraft briefly onto Taiwan’s side of the sensitive and narrow strait that separates it from its giant neighbor, at around 9 am (0100 GMT), shortly before Azar met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s air force said.The aircraft were tracked by land-based Taiwanese anti-aircraft missiles and were “driven out” by patrolling Taiwanese aircraft, the air force said in a statement released by the defense ministry.China’s defense ministry did not immediately comment.A senior Taiwan official familiar with the government’s security planning told Reuters that China was obviously “targeting” Azar’s visit with a “very risky” move given the Chinese jets were in range of Taiwan’s missiles. The incursion was only the third time since 2016 that Taiwan has said Chinese jets had crossed the strait’s median line.The Trump administration has made strengthening its support for the democratic island a priority, amid deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, and has boosted arms sales.”It’s a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan,” Azar told Tsai in the Presidential Office, standing in front of two Taiwanese flags.Washington broke off official ties with Taipei in 1979 in favor of Beijing.’Huge step’Azar is visiting to strengthen economic and public-health cooperation with Taiwan and support its international role in fighting the novel coronavirus.”Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture,” he told Tsai.Taiwan’s early and effective steps to fight the disease have kept its case numbers far lower than those of its neighbors, with 480 infections and seven deaths. Most cases have been imported.The United States, which has had more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country, has repeatedly clashed with China over the pandemic, accusing Beijing of lacking transparency.Tsai told Azar his visit represented “a huge step forward in anti-pandemic collaborations between our countries”, mentioning areas of cooperation including vaccine and drug research and production.Taiwan has been particularly grateful for US support to permit its attendance at the World Health Organization’s decision-making body the World Health Assembly (WHA), and to allow it greater access to the organization.Taiwan is not a member of the WHO due to China’s objections. China considers Taiwan a Chinese province.”I’d like to reiterate that political considerations should never take precedence over the rights to health. The decision to bar Taiwan from participating in the WHA is a violation of the universal rights to health,” Tsai said.Azar later told reporters that at Trump’s direction, he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had sought to restore Taiwan’s status as an observer at the WHA.”But the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization have prevented that. This has been one of the major frustrations that the Trump administration has had with the World Health Organization and its inability to reform.” center_img Chinese air force jets briefly crossed the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait on Monday and were tracked by Taiwanese missiles, Taiwan’s government said, as US health chief Alex Azar visited the island to offer President Donald Trump’s support.Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, the highest-level US official to visit in four decades.China, which claims the island as its own, condemned the visit which comes after a period of sharply deteriorating relations between China and the United States.last_img read more

Buyers are lining up for a piece of Tom Dooley’s riverfront project

first_imgTom Dooley from Tom Dooley Developments at the riverfront development site he has just bought at 42 Maxwell St, New Farm. Picture: Richard Walker/RDW Photography.THE battle to secure a slice of Maxwell Street in New Farm is heating up as it’s revealed Tom Dooley Developments forked out $23.5 million for the riverfront site.The purchase from Pointcorp settled early this week and potential buyers are already lining up for a slice of the site before the developer has even finalised his plans. The view from the development site at 42 Maxwell Street, New Farm, which Tom Dooley Developments has just purchased. Picture: Richard Walker/RDW Photography.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus10 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market10 hours agoThere are three buyers vying for the penthouse, which is expected to sell for more than $12 million and will be one of the most expensive ever to be offered for sale in Brisbane.A couple of other potential buyers have already expressed interest in other apartments in the project, which will start from around $2.9 million.last_img read more

Pacquiao drops Amir Khan in sparring

first_imgRelatedPosts Pacquiao to join Philippines presidential race Khan: I won’t box behind closed doors Amir Khan wants Pacquiao fiight Manny Pacquiao put Amir Khan “to sleep” during sparring in his training camps in the United States, according to the former’s gym-mate Dean Byrne.Trainer Freddie Roach revealed Pacquiao used to regularly knock out the Brit in sparring at his Wild Card gym in Los Angeles back in 2014. And now one of Pacquiao’s ex-sparring partners, Irish welterweight Byrne, has given his take on Khan ending up on the canvas.“I didn’t see it myself,” he told Sky Sports. “Khan was all over the place on many occasions and everybody at the gym knows it.“I heard stories that he was asleep on the floor. I have heard that.“Khan’s chin is just like that. He is a great fighter, a great athlete, a super boxer, his hand speed is so fast. But his chin? He hasn’t got a good chin. You can’t put muscles on your chin.”“Manny frequently put Amir on the floor, knocking him cold four or five times,” Roach previously told Sportsmail. Tags: Amir KhanKnockoutManny PacquiaoSparringlast_img read more