OTTAWA — A Crown attorney says former overseas hostage Joshua Boyle is lying about his wife Caitlan Coleman being a neglectful, unfit mother.Prosecutor Jason Neubauer says Boyle, who is accused of assaulting Coleman, wants to portray her as a bad parent to feed a larger fiction about Coleman being mentally ill.Boyle, sitting in the witness box, denies making the allegations up, saying Coleman was an incompetent mother who often hit their eldest child.Testimony in Boyle’s assault trial resumed late today after several hours of procedural wrangling over whether certain evidence should be allowed.Boyle, 36, has pleaded not guilty to offences against Coleman, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement in the period of October to December 2017.The offences are alleged to have taken place after the couple returned to Canada following five years as hostages of Taliban-linked extremists who seized them during a 2012 trip to Afghanistan.The Canadian Press
APTN National NewsIt’s summer and community gardens are sprouting up.But the Mohawk community of Akwesasne is taking community gardening one step further.APTN’s Annette Francis has the story.
“Despite a slight improvement of the overall humanitarian situation over the last 12 months, the structural causes of people’s vulnerability persist,” the agencies said in a news release.“External assistance continues to play a vital role in safeguarding and promoting the well-being of millions whose food security, nutritional status and general health would otherwise be seriously compromised.”The agencies in the DPRK – the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) – remain seriously underfunded. They have so far only received some 27 per cent of the $147 million needed this year to respond to key humanitarian priorities. As a result of the persisting deficit, agencies are unable to respond effectively to the humanitarian needs in the country, they say. “The dire funding situation leaves the UN agencies and other humanitarian actors concerned about the continuation of their programmes in DPRK,” said the news release.Last month, UN Resident Coordinator in the DPRK, Desiree Jongsma, warned that while timely imports of food and provisions of agricultural inputs have contributed to avoiding a food crisis this year, the majority of the population – some 16 million people – remain chronically food insecure. Of those 16 million, 2.8 million need regular nutrition assistance.Malnutrition rates are of great concern as, according to the 2012 national nutrition survey, nearly 28 per cent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition and 4 per cent are acutely malnourished.Ms. Jongsma noted that the health care services and supplies are unable to meet the population’s basic needs, and infrastructure such as water and heating systems need repair. Educational facilities are also rapidly deteriorating.
WHO’s Global status report on road safety 2015 also calls for “urgent action” to achieve the ambitious target in the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to halve the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.The report also noted that “a big gap still separates high-income countries from low- and middle- income ones where 90 per cent of road traffic deaths occur in spite of having just 54 per cent of the world’s vehicles.” Europe has the lowest death rates per capita; Africa the highest.“Road traffic fatalities take an unacceptable toll – particularly on poor people in poor countries,” says Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.The report also found that some vehicles sold in 80 per cent of all countries worldwide fail to meet basic safety standards, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where nearly 50 per cent of the 67 million new passenger cars were produced in 2014.But on a positive note, the report said the number of road traffic deaths is stabilizing even though the number of motor vehicles worldwide has increased rapidly.“In the last three years, 79 countries have seen a decrease in the absolute number of fatalities while 68 countries have seen an increase,” it said.According to WHO, countries that have had the most success in reducing the number of road traffic deaths have achieved this by improving legislation, enforcement, and making roads and vehicles safer.“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Chan. “The report shows that road safety strategies are saving lives. But it also tells us that the pace of change is too slow.”The Global status report on road safety 2015 comprises a narrative text combining evidence, facts and best practices with conclusions drawn following the analysis of the data collected for 180 countries.Its publication today precedes the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety that will be held in Brasilia, Brazil, 18-19 November 2015.
Stay on target Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferWatch: Deep-Sea Octopus ‘Billows Like a Circus Tent’ County fairs sure can get very competitive. An award-winning lamb is currently under investigation and may be stripped of its title after veterinarians at the Logan County Fair in Ohio found illegal drugs in its system.The Ohio Department of Agriculture says the lamb, a “grand champion” and showed by a young 4-H member between July 7-13, tested positive for diuretics before it was sent to slaughter.“We don’t know how it got in there, and we may never know. But it’s the exhibitor’s responsibility to present an animal to the fair for competition that’s free of all of those,” Dr. Tony Forshey, the state veterinarian at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, told WCMH-TV Columbus.According to Forshey, diuretics cause dehydration and is banned from competition because it can make an animal’s muscles feel leaner. But the drug not only gives exhibitors an unfair advantage, it caused food-safety concerns because it can contaminate the meat.“We don’t want any of these animals going into the human food chain that are carrying adulterated products,” Forshey said.#Ohio: An award-winning lamb is under investigation for performance-enhancing drugs https://t.co/8sl016QAAS— WTRF 7News (@WTRF7News) July 22, 2019Even the younger county fair participants seemed to be aware of the negative effects of illicit substances on their animals.“You don’t want an animal with a ton of drugs in it because it might not be safe to eat and everything,” said 13-year-old Hawkins Marihugh told the TV station. “So that’s why I think it’s pretty important to have good quality stuff.”The case is still currently being investigated by the Department of Agriculture. When a conclusion is issued, the county fair board will determine if the lamb will be stripped of its title and awards. The animal is being held until the PEDs are out of its system and it is safe to bring to market.More on Geek.com:Watch: Adorable German Shepherd Sets Off Motion Detector in HomeCaught on Camera: Bear Tries to Break Into CabinDog Rescued After Found Buried Alive, Sunburned in Hawaii Beach
A Vancouver man Wednesday was sentenced to 92 months in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms. Daniel Gene Hoffman, 38, pleaded guilty to the charge in U.S. District Court in Portland during the summer. The sentencing was also in Portland.On Aug. 25, 2012, Hoffman was driving a vehicle with a stolen license plate near Portland International Airport. At the time, he had prior felony convictions — intent to deliver methamphetamine while armed with a firearm, possession of methamphetamine, possession of stolen property, attempting to elude police, and felon in possession of a firearm — that barred him from possessing firearms. Police detained him at a nearby hotel and seized five firearms, 113 rounds of ammunition and about one ounce of methamphetamine, officials said. This case was investigated by the Port of Portland Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
BSE closes points 130.44 down on Nov 191.8K views00:00 / 00:00- 00:00:0000:00BSE closes points 130.44 down on Nov 191.8K viewsBusinessNew Delhi, Nov 19 (ANI): Trading at the Bombay Stock Exchange today closed 130.44 points down to stand at 28,032.85. At the National Stock Exchange the Nifty closed 43.60 points down to stand at 8,382.30. AJANTA PHARMA LTD. and AMARA RAJA BATTERIES LTD. were among the top gainers of Group A with an increase of 8.44% and 8.39% along with SRF and MANAPPURAM with an increase of 8.21% and 7.27% respectively, while the top losers of Group A include RASOYA PROTEINS LTD and PETRONET with a decrease of 9.89% and 5.43% along with DELTACORP and CENTURYTEX with a decrease of 5.40% and 5.05% at the close of the markets. The Auto sector is down 122.11 points at 18,907.29 while the banking sector is down 131.94 points at 20,130.60 and the reality sector is down 16.56 points at 1,648.35. The Indian currency is up 0. 3% at Rs 61.92 per dollar.Ventuno Web Player 4.50New Delhi, Nov 19 (ANI): Trading at the Bombay Stock Exchange today closed 130.44 points down to stand at 28,032.85. At the National Stock Exchange the Nifty closed 43.60 points down to stand at 8,382.30. AJANTA PHARMA LTD. and AMARA RAJA BATTERIES LTD. were among the top gainers of Group A with an increase of 8.44% and 8.39% along with SRF and MANAPPURAM with an increase of 8.21% and 7.27% respectively, while the top losers of Group A include RASOYA PROTEINS LTD and PETRONET with a decrease of 9.89% and 5.43% along with DELTACORP and CENTURYTEX with a decrease of 5.40% and 5.05% at the close of the markets. The Auto sector is down 122.11 points at 18,907.29 while the banking sector is down 131.94 points at 20,130.60 and the reality sector is down 16.56 points at 1,648.35. The Indian currency is up 0. 3% at Rs 61.92 per dollar.
Chocolate sniffing sales high1.1K viewsChocolate sniffing sales high1.1K views00:00 / 00:00- 00:00:0000:00Chocolate sniffing sales high1.1K viewsBusinessMost people eat it. Some cook with it. And now, chocolate is also being snorted. Dominique Persoone created a cocoa sniffing device back in 2007 for a Rolling Stones’ party. And it’s been flyingVentuno Web Player 4.50Most people eat it. Some cook with it. And now, chocolate is also being snorted. Dominique Persoone created a cocoa sniffing device back in 2007 for a Rolling Stones’ party. And it’s been flying
U.S. refinery strike widens to include nation’s largest refinery1.8K viewsU.S. refinery strike widens to include nation’s largest refinery1.8K views00:00 / 00:00- 00:00:0000:00U.S. refinery strike widens to include nation’s largest refinery1.8K viewsBusinessWhen the clock struck 12:01 am on Saturday, workers at the Motiva Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas walked off the job — joining a U.S. refinery strike that’s suddenly that much bigger. At issue –Ventuno Web Player 4.50When the clock struck 12:01 am on Saturday, workers at the Motiva Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas walked off the job — joining a U.S. refinery strike that’s suddenly that much bigger. At issue —
Share Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas TribuneDemocratic candidate for governor Lupe Valdez during a Jolt the Vote event in Austin on April 29, 2018.Dallas County authorities say a new inventory search has turned up former Sheriff Lupe Valdez’s gun that was reported missing after she stepped down to run for Texas governor.The Dallas County sheriff’s department Tuesday apologized to Valdez for “any distress and hardship” after the Democratic nominee for governor faced questions surrounding the whereabouts of her on-duty weapon.The 9mm Berretta was found in the department’s property room. Spokesman Raul Reyna says Valdez “did what she was supposed to do” in returning the gun.Valdez was sheriff for 13 years. She resigned in December to mount a longshot challenge against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.Abbott’s campaign had attacked Valdez over reports of the missing firearm, tweeting that Valdez wants to run Texas “but can’t even keep track of her gun.”
Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals August 26, 2015 Register Now » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. If airplanes can travel extensive distances at great speeds and helicopters have the ability to take off vertically and land with unparalleled precision, aviation experts now want to combine the best of both worlds.Denver, Colo.-based XTI Aircraft Company has just launched an equity crowdfunding campaign seeking to raise up to $50 million to develop the TriFan 600, a six-seat private airplane that boasts three deducted fans. Two of these fans, initially acting as propellers of sorts, remain horizontal during liftoff, and then flip forward within seconds to generate thrust, XTI says. This process is reversed upon landing.Click to Enlarge+Image Credit: XTI Aircraft CompanyWhile the lightweight machine, which can travel at speeds that far outpace helicopters, could eventually be used for medical evacuations or tourism, XTI initially envisions the TriFan 600 as a stated play for the multibillion-dollar private aviation market.Related: How the Global Stock Market Selloff Will Affect CrowdfundingThe company says it will sell the planes for between $10 and $12 million. However, it expects that it might take two-and-a-half years to build the first prototype once funding is secured — with FAA approval estimated to follow between six and eight years thereafter. If 100 TriFans are ultimately sold, XTI notes in its StartEngine campaign, that would amount to $1 billion in revenue.XTI, which says that it is not inventing new technology but combining existing flight paradigms, is the brainchild of David Brody, who developed the initial configuration for the TriFan 600 back in 2012. His partners include top executives from leading aircraft manufacturing companies Sikorsky and Cessna.Given that the SEC recently amended its policy to allow non-accredited investors to participate in equity crowdfunding for small businesses, XTI says it wants to invite “anyone to be a part of the journey that will change personal transportation as we know it.” Venture capital, private equity and high net worth investors are also part of its funding plan, the company said in a press release.Related: Meet the Mastermind Who Designs Private Jet Vacations for the Ultra Wealthy 2 min read
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Mexico has profited from the Mayan calendar’s expiration. Image: Chichen Itza Although Mexico’s federal government is not officially recognising the phenomenon, the country’s tourism agency has launched a ‘Mundo Maya 2012’ website with a countdown to December 21.December 21 signals the end of the Mayan calendar and has been predicted as the date of the apocalypse, the beginning of a new age or simply a great excuse to celebrate with friends.200,000 people are expected to visit Chichen Itza, a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya civilization, the Hindustan Times reported.“It’s a psychic epidemic,” Mexican cigar salesman Miguel Coral from Merida said.“It’s all about business, but that’s fine. If it helps our country – I think it’s excellent we’ve exported this idea.”Merida Tourism official Jose May said nobody in Mexico believes the end of the world is coming.“Those people were sold an idea,” Mr May, a Maya descendent himself, said.Maya academics, who have fought to downplay the fuelled hype, say there could still be some surprises.“I think there may be some mischief on December 21 because the whole world is watching,” Maya anthropologist at the University of Kansas John Hoopes said.“It’s a very fertile opportunity for a tremendous prank.”
President Nicos Anastasiades told his ministers to heed the interventions of the new ombudswoman, Maria Stylianou-Lottides, who officially took office on Thursday during a ceremony at the presidential palace.Lottides, a state attorney, replaces Eliza Savvidou whose term ended last month.The president said that he sees in Lottides an associate who “will be the most sensitive recipient of the peoples’ fair demands” and who will support the values the public administration ought to serve.He added that he is looking forward to her cooperation with all ministers, while her instructions and recommendations will always be part of the directives, which “should be taken into account by those exercising executive power, particularly when dealing with issues of fairness and restoration of legality and the sense of justice”.“Our aim is, by taking into consideration your own observations, to continuously expand the legislative framework that will support citizens’ rights,” the president said.He added that he was certain the new ombudswoman would be impartial and faithful to the principles of the law, which she had served for years as a state attorney.Anastasiades said the decision for Lottides’ appointment was taken due to her knowledge, experience, but mainly her personality, her ethos, and her sensitivity to the rights and obligations of citizens towards the state and the state towards its citizens.The institution of the ombudsperson, he said, has contributed to the reinforcement and improvement of the country’s democratic structures.Lottides reassured the president that that she will do her best to succeed in her task.The role of the ombudsperson, she said, was not limited to exercising control over public administration but also assisted other institutions, such as the legislature, by bringing to light the dictates of society and social developments.Her appointment was surrounded by controversy due to the fact that she is married to one of the owners of Kathimerini newspaper.It was narrowly approved by parliament but the wider belief was that it was a move by Anastasiades to secure support from Kathimerini ahead of next year’s presidential elections.There were also voices saying that she was not the right person for the job.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
By Elias HazouEnergy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis on Tuesday denied reports that oil and gas companies are all but on their way out of Cyprus after coming up dry in their prospecting.The minister was responding to a report in the latest edition of the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES). The publication had noted that the two back-to-back drilling duds for the ENI-KOGAS consortium in offshore block 9 appeared “to mark the end of the road for exploration offshore Cyprus – possibly for several years.”The consortium’s exploration contract expires in February 2016, and until then they will not be undertaking further drilling operations. The government could agree to extend and revise the agreement.“MEES understands that if ENI seeks an extension then Nicosia will grant it, but ‘this is a big if’,” the publication said citing a source.On the Aphrodite play in the block 12 concession, MEES cast doubt on whether the prospect can be monetised, at least at this stage.It noted for example that whereas the partners are poised to present their development plan for Aphrodite, Delek has made it clear they do not intend to pay for a pipeline to Egypt.Though Lakkotrypis was evidently responding to a synopsis and translation of the MEES item as carried by the Cyprus News Agency a day earlier, he dismissed the notion that Cyprus’ natural gas plans have reached the end of the line.“As far as exploiting the Aphrodite reservoir, we have repeatedly stated that a huge effort is underway. You can see the developments, they are methodical and gradual,” the minister said.“There is intense regional interest for the purchase of natural gas, and naturally I do not share the views expressed in the report,” he added.On ENI-KOGAS, Lakkotrypis said the companies have asked for more time to re-assess their geological model, and the government is considering their request.The government has meantime reached agreement with Total, whereby the French energy giant has been given leeway to conduct further surveys “to better evaluate Block 11.”In January Total let it be known it had identified no drilling targets in its two offshore concessions, and was considering pulling the plug on their operations. The government, keen to keep the company here, agreed to renegotiate their initial contract, under which they were obligated to drill two wells.Similarly ENI were required to drill at least four wells by February 2016. But after two misses, and having spent in excess of $300m, they have put their programme on the backburner.However Politis reports that the Italians and the government are close to an agreement to extend the contract by two more years, up to February 2018.The extension request is being viewed positively by the government and its petroleum consultants, Beicip Franlab.According to the daily, a senior ENI official will be on the island next week to meet Lakkotrypis, the purpose being to put the final touches to a deal.ENI are now proposing to carry out the two drills they ‘owe’ Cyprus in 2017, Politis said.Speaking to the Cyprus Mail earlier, energy experts hazarded a guess that should ENI again bore down into the bedrock, this would likewise be in Block 9, but at a different site, closer to the geological formation within which lies the successful Aphrodite prospect.That location is in the southern section of Block 9, just above adjoining Block 12.You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
National organization presents award at state CapitolState Reps. Gary Glenn, left, and Tim Kelly were presented the Constitutional Alliance “Badge of Honor” for legislation to provide homeowners electric meter choice.State Reps. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, and Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, were honored recently by the Constitutional Alliance for their work defending the rights of utility customers by providing homeowners a choice to opt-out of advanced electric service meter systems.The two lawmakers were presented Constitutional Alliance “Badge of Honor” awards for sponsoring House Bill 4916 after an August 2015 decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals to direct the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to examine added fees for opt-out programs. The MPSC results prompted state Attorney General Bill Schuette to issue an opinion stating utility companies lacked the authority to issue such fees.“Attorney General Schuette is rightly concerned for Michigan residents’ privacy and security on the ‘smart meter’ issue and I appreciate his leadership to protect the people of our state,” said Rep. Glenn, primary sponsor of HB 4916. “I am happy to have introduced this legislation to overturn the Public Service Commission’s rejection of the attorney general’s opinion so that electric customers can choose a metering option that they are comfortable with.”Rep. Kelly co-sponsored Rep. Glenn’s bill.“I agree with the many legislators and the attorney general that utility customers should have a choice without the economic penalty that is being forced upon them,” Rep. Kelly said. “Many of my constituents are asking how the utility companies are justifying the replacement of all the current meters with more expensive units when they have not proven that there will be a cost-savings with the switch.”The Constitutional Alliance is a non-partisan organization formed in 2008 to preserve state and national sovereignty through its work with legislators, pastors, attorneys, governors and the public.HB 4916 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy Policy. 26Oct Reps. Glenn, Kelly honored for ‘smart meter’ efforts Categories: Glenn News
Tags: Health Policy Committee, Interstate Medical Licensure Compac, telemedicine 25Sep Tedder bills allow physicians to be licensed in multiple states State Rep. Jim Tedder delivered testimony Wednesday on a bill establishing a process to allow physicians to become licensed in multiple states.Under this legislation, a licensed physician who meets certain eligibility criteria will be allowed to apply for an expedited license that authorizes him or her to practice in all other states that are members of the Medical Licensure Compact. Member states may impose a fee for an expedited license or renewal through the Compact in that state.The Compact states, “In order to strengthen access to health care, and in recognition of the advances in the delivery of health care, the member state of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact have allied in common purpose to develop a comprehensive process that complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards.”Proponents for this legislation maintain that the Compact creates another pathway for licensure and does not otherwise change a state’s existing medical practice act.“This legislation is a key tool for addressing physician shortages in rural and underserved areas of our state,” said Tedder, of Clarkston. “Twenty-two other states are currently in the compact, with legislation pending in 3 others.“This is a great opportunity for Michigan to retain physicians and take advantage of telemedicine.”Telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology.Joining Tedder for testimony was Dr. Donald Bignotti, MD, chief clinical officer of Ascension Michigan.“These bills will improve access to care for individuals who are currently underserved. We have an aging population with chronic conditions, for many of these people, access to care is simply not there,” Bignotti said. “Furthermore, it has been difficult for us to fill positions for specialty physicians. The answer to these problems is increased use of telemedicine – this legislation makes that possible.”The bills are supported by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, AARP, Federation of State Medical Boards and several other medical organizations.House Bills 4066 – 4077 remain under consideration by the House Health Policy Committee.### Categories: Tedder News
Categories: Hornberger News,News State Rep. Pamela Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, today commented on a proposal before the House Education Committee that will preserve local control involving school year start dates.House Bill 4087 will remove a Michigan Department of Education waiver requirement allowing for school districts to pick the start date that works best for them.“This legislation will allow locally elected school boards to do what is best for their students and parents while casting aside an outdated one-size-fits-all approach,” said Hornberger, who chairs the committee. “We need to trust locally elected boards of education to make these decisions without an entangled bureaucratic waiver process.”A state law passed in 2005 mandates the first day of school in Michigan cannot occur until after Labor Day. Current law allows districts to apply for a waiver to start classes before Labor Day. For the 2018-2019 school year, 151 waivers were approved. Hornberger’s plan eliminates the need to apply – districts would simply be able to set their own calendars as they see fit.HB 4087 remains under consideration in the House Education Committee.PHOTO INFORMATON: State Rep. Pamela Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, offers comments on Tuesday before the House Education Committee. Hornberger has proposed legislation that will allow local school districts in Michigan to set their own school year start dates without applying for a waiver from the Michigan Department of Education. 09Apr Rep. Hornberger plan gives more say, flexibility to local school districts
Share11TweetShare6Email17 SharesBy FloNight (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMay 1, 2017; Washington PostKentucky is drawing national attention again for the second time in two years for its fire-and-brimstone technique at the local government level. A family court judge recently announced he will no longer hear adoption cases involving gay parents, calling his stance a “matter of conscience.”Judge W. Mitchell Nance, who sits in two counties in Kentucky, issued an order last week saying that he believes permitting a “practicing homosexual” to adopt would not promote the best interest of the child.Nance disqualified himself from any adoption cases involving gay couples, citing judicial ethics codes that require judges to recuse themselves whenever they have a personal bias concerning a case.Despite the laws that are on the books at the state and national levels—Kentucky state law letting gay couples adopt children and the U.S. Supreme Court passage of same-sex marriage, by which all states must abide—the judge told the Washington Post that he stood by his order to “minimize any disruption in the litigation.”Nance’s court has two divisions, so his recusal means families can have their cases heard by the other judge, John T. Alexander, who said he does not plan to recuse himself.Even with his decision to step away from these specific cases, Indiana University law school professor Charles Geyh said that Nance could be violating his oath to uphold the law, which does not tolerate discrimination in any form. Geyh added, “If he is unable to set his personal views aside and uphold the law—not just in an isolated case, but with respect to an entire class of litigant because he finds them odious—it leads me to wonder whether he is able to honor his oath.”Others have posed similar concerns, including University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcosson, who said, “What we have is a judge who has made a record of his inability to be a fair and impartial judge for a whole class of citizens who are entitled to have a fair and impartial judge.”Yet Kentucky-based Family Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes “family-first conservatism,” applauds the effort. The organization provided a press release on the recusal, with spokesman Martin Cothran stating, “If we are going to let liberal judges write their personal biases and prejudices into law, as we have done on issues of marriage and sexuality, then, in the interest of fairness, we are going to have to allow judges with different views to at least recuse themselves from such cases.”Though it’s not a federal law, since May of 2016, all states allow adoption by gay parents.Judge Nance’s recusal follows the refusal of Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision upholding the right to same-sex marriage. Davis was jailed for refusing to abide by a federal court order.And now, Davis’s legal issues continue. Just this week, a federal appeals court revived a damages lawsuit against her, saying a lower court judge erred in finding that damages claims by a gay couple trying to marry in Kentucky became moot after a new state law last year excused clerks like Davis from having to sign marriage license forms.Kentucky is not the only state where judges have been testing the waters with laws revolving around equality and the LGBTQ community. A judge in Wyoming was censured in March for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, and an Alabama judge was suspended in September for ordering probate judges to defy federal orders to issue marriage licenses.—Angie WierzbickiShare11TweetShare6Email17 Shares
Share63Tweet30ShareEmail93 SharesMarch 29, 2018; Managed CareIn its 2018 analysis of top issues facing the health care industry, PwC Health Research Institute, for the first time, identifies “social determinants of health.” Social determinants—the consequences of poverty, racism and other social inequities—have been shown to have a much greater overall impact on health outcomes than clinical care, which accounts for a mere 20 percent of overall health. As health systems move toward bundled or value-based payments, finding ways to address issues such as unstable housing, poor nutrition, inadequate schools, and unemployment, is essential to improving outcomes.PwC concludes that health care spending in the US, at 18 percent of GDP and growing, is unsustainable. To bring costs down to something more equivalent to what is spent in other wealthy countries—about 10 percent of GDP—the US must come to terms with its failure to adequately support poor and low-income communities. Kulleni Gebreys, a PwC principal for strategic transformation, explained to Managed Care that of every dollar the US spends on health care, it spends 56 cents on social services. In other OECD countries, the reverse is true: For every dollar spent on health care, $1.70 is spent on social services. The result is longer lifespans and better overall health.PwC notes that “all health sectors have started to try their hand at social interventions.” In their annual survey, 73 percent of provider executives and 50 percent of payer executives said “their organization has created or is creating partnerships with allies in local communities—including schools, grocery stores, churches and others—to address social issues.”These changes are most advanced among health and hospital systems that serve poor communities and have two or more programs that receive value-based payments, according to a survey from the consulting group Deloitte. Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 21 states require Medicaid managed-care organizations “to screen beneficiaries for social needs.”“Screening is critical,” says Samantha Morton, CEO of the Boston-based nonprofit MLPB. But often screening is followed by a referral to social service organizations that don’t have sufficient resources to meet community needs—meaning, according to Morton, that the referral is essentially a “bridge to nowhere.” If there is not a safe handoff and a feedback loop, there is no way for the health provider to know if the patient received the “treatment” necessary to solve the problem. According to the Deloitte survey, 40 percent of health care systems have no way of tracking their social interventions.Health systems are attempting to tackle a wide range of issues, including domestic violence, food insecurity, utility shutoffs, education, and jobs. But the issue that is getting the most attention and investment dollars is housing. Various studies have concluded that “housing-first policies” that provide shelter and supportive services significantly reduce health care costs.In Hawaii, state Senator Josh Green, who is also an emergency room doctor, introduced legislation to try to address the state’s housing and health crises. He noted that four percent of Hawaii residents use 60 percent—about $1.2 billion—of the state’s Medicaid budget each year, and a large percentage of these residents are living outside on the streets. A pilot supportive housing program that provided homeless people with stable housing and supportive services decreased medical costs for the population by 43 percent in just six months.Senator Green’s legislation would require insurers, including Medicaid, to pay for housing—that is, doctors could prescribe housing to treat homelessness. The bill stalled in the legislature, in part because prescribing a medicine that doesn’t exist doesn’t really solve the problem. Hawaii doesn’t have sufficient affordable housing, which raises a crucial question: Whose problem is that to solve?In many parts of the country, hospitals have decided that housing is too crucial to health outcomes to continue to wait for solutions. According to Healthcare Finance News, over the last several years hospitals have invested as much as $100 million into housing projects. For example, in 2015, five Oregon hospital systems invested $21.5 million in a project to build 400 units for homeless people. In December 2017, Boston Medical Center (BMC) announced a $6.5 million investment over five years in affordable housing in the hospital’s surrounding neighborhoods.The BMC investment is through a variety of community partnerships. Critical to the hospital’s investment is a plan to study the outcomes. Envisioned as an innovation lab, the hospital hopes to determine “the best ways that health care systems can improve both community and patient level health and reduce medical costs by addressing homelessness and housing insecurity,” according to a BMC press release.Health systems have an important role to play in their communities. Nonprofit health systems, in particular, have a community benefit obligation, and the shift to seeing that as an opportunity to improve the health of communities is a positive trend. But there are also reasons to be skeptical. Dr. Susan Magnan, former Minnesota commissioner of health, expressed her concerns in a National Academy of Medicine discussion paper, arguing that value-based payments will not “actually get us to better population health outcomes.”For one thing, the US healthcare system is primarily driven by profit. In her book, An American Sickness (Penguin, 2017), Elisabeth Rosenthal demonstrates how every part of the system is broken. It is not only inefficient, it is far from accountable to the people it serves. Within this system there are many dedicated, caring individuals, and even entire health systems that value health and well-being, but these entities are likely to make changes only at the margins until we make a national public commitment to addressing the needs of underserved communities.—Karen KahnShare63Tweet30ShareEmail93 Shares
Share9TweetShareEmail9 SharesYoichi Okamoto [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 5, 2018; ShelterforceOn August 1, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill that he declared “the most farsighted, the most comprehensive, the most massive housing program in all American history,” a bill that promised to ensure “the very precious American right to a roof over your head—a decent home.”Johnson wasn’t talking about the Fair Housing Act, which had passed three months earlier—one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What animated Johnson was the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. It was known at the time as “the housing act.” Writing in Shelterforce, Fred McGhee contends that this second bill, not the Fair Housing Act, was “the most important housing law passed in 1968.”“This misremembering,” McGhee adds, “is not accidental—it reflects the race and class trajectory of America over the past five decades…had its promise been fulfilled, many of the problems beleaguering American cities today might have been avoided or at least mitigated.”The 1968 housing act included a smorgasbord of housing ideas…[including] a robust increase in public housing construction. The act set a national goal of constructing or rehabilitating 26 million housing units, including six million for low- and moderate-income families.In his signing statement, Johnson noted that, “Over the 10 years of this program, the production rate of federally subsidized housing will be 10 times higher than it has been in the last decade.”The election of Richard Nixon three months later did not immediately end the housing program. McGhee notes that “the HUD secretary who presided over the single largest construction of federally subsidized housing in American history was George Romney, father of former Massachusetts governor and current Senate candidate from Utah Mitt Romney. American housing production between 1968 and 1972 was both robust and diverse.”But, McGhee observes, “backed by white resistance to integration as well as overall hostility to government housing efforts,” Nixon rolled back the federal commitment later in his term. In its place, McGhee notes, America got “block grants and a new tenant-based voucher program known as Section 8. In other words, deregulation and delegation.” And, of course, further cutbacks occurred over time.The impact is quite visible in the numbers. For example, a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report found that in 1970, the federal government developed 366,100 new units of affordable housing and financed the rehabilitation of an additional 79,700 units—numbers that were more than 10 times higher than the numbers reported for 1961. By comparison, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, according to an Urban Institute report published two months ago, has created or preserved 2.3 million housing units in its first 30 years—an amount that works out to less than 77,000 units a year, barely one-sixth of the 1970 affordable housing production level.Today, McGhee notes, “even the thought of direct federal provision of affordable housing is nearly unimaginable.” And so, as NPQ has noted, we are left with the inefficient system of tax credits that we have today and even those limited supports regularly face threats of cutbacks.As McGhee observes, the result of this turn is that millions lack affordable housing today. In his home town of Austin, Texas, McGhee reports that about 10,000 families are on the waiting list for public housing, adding that “The waiting list is perpetually closed, so the actual number [lacking needed housing] is even higher.”McGhee notes that to rely on the private real estate market on its own to provide safe, decent, and truly affordable housing for low-income families is to expect the impossible. As Emily Badger explained a couple of years ago in the Washington Post, the cost of providing the housing is simply more than people with limited incomes can afford to pay. And that means we have to acknowledge that whether the policy employed involves government subsidies or direct provision, only the public sector can make housing for all a reality.—Steve DubbShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares