Archive for June, 2009

Climate Change: Another Viewpoint

Not everyone is convined that global warming is anthrogenic. For another side to this story, please consult: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims (minority report from the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works); Climate Change Reconsidered  (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change);  An Experiment That Hints We Were Wrong on Climate Change (article from London Times); Earth’s Heat Source – The Sun (from Energy & Environment); Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural? (Buckeye Institute);  and Climate Change: Sources of Warming in the Late 20th Century.

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Text of New Jersey Budget & NJCU Funding

The full text of the 2009/10 NJ budget is now available. To see the  state support for NJCU, go to this section on the Department of State and scroll to page D-332. It makes for depressing reading.

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Summer Reading Lists

Don’t know what to read for the summer?(Luckily, we don’t have that problem; there is a stack of naval fiction, science fiction, and history awaiting us. Also, as we have for the past decade, we will re-read some classic works which we read as callow youths, but to which we now bring years’ worth of experience. This year we’ll be tackling afresh Plutarch and Thomas Paine. We recommend that everyone do the same. Re-read with fresh eyes.) This site, Rebecca’s Pocket, has over 100 links to various reading lists, from Stephen King: 7 Great Books for Summer to 10 Best Summer Cookbooks of 2009 to Independent Booksellers Pick Summer’s Best Reads. There are lists for everyone! Enjoy your summer reading.

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New Jersey and Climate Change

Flooded coastlines, destroyed cranberry crops, longer summers, shorter winters, the dread spectre of annual droughts: these are but some of the scenarios depicted in two recently released government reports. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States examines how global warming will affect the various portions of the country; New Jersey is thoroughly examined in the chapter devoted to the Northeast. Another report, Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region, shows the varying degrees of depredation which will occur along the coasts as sea-levels rise in different increments.  The Union of Concerned Scientists presents its views in Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast. Read a recent interview with New Jersey’s state climatologist David Robinson as he discusses the changes global warming will inflict on the Garden State.(A Garden State no longer?) Other relevant  reads include: How NJ Rose to #2 in US Solar PowerSustaining the Garden State(this deals with the Sustainable Jersey program); and U.S. Awards Four Leases to Explore Wind Energy Off Jersey Coast. And do not forget to check the State of New Jersey Global Warming page.

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Key Players in the Obama Administration

In concert with previous entries (here, here , and here) which have dealt with Obama’s advisers and appointees, the National Journal offers us Decision Makers on those important individuals within his administration. Biographical information as well as indicators of prior work in past presidential terms are included.

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Status of Autism Legislation in New Jersey

The New Jersey Senate passed bill #S1651 which requires health benefits coverage for autism and related disoders. Having been previously passed by the Assembly, this bill winds its way back to that body for a second reading. For those interested in this reiteration, please consult bill #A2238. And do not forget to look at the Autism Legislation Database for bills from all the fifty states.

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Health Insurance Reform

That there is something wrong with the healthcare industry in this country is obvious. We spend almost 1/6 of our GDP on healthcare, ranking us with such nations as Malawi, Nauru, Timor, and the Marshall Islands, and still millions are without coverage. There is no way a blog entry is going to cover every area of concern, but what we can do is point you, gentle reader, to some sites of importance which will inform our discussion of this topic. There are various remedies to this situation being floated in Congress; this site from the Kaiser Family Foundation allows a side-by-side comparison of them. Included on this comprehensive site are poll results, reports, histories, timelines, and testimonies. A great place to start looking. The Obama administration has HealthReform.gov highlighting their efforts on this topic. You will find a weekly video update on health reform as well as a plethora of reports.  On this American Medical Association site, see Obama’s speech at its 2009 annual meeting as well as read a transcript of his remarks on health reform. This AMA site also presents its case for health reform. The Congressional plan getting the most scrutiny at the moment is the Senate HELP’s(Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, chaired by Senator Kennedy) Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009. This 615 page document has been examined by the Congressional Budget Office, whose Preliminary Analysis  should be read. The always reliable, non-partisan Congressional Research Service(essentially a private research branch of the Library of Congress) has issued some salient reports: Health Care Reform: An Introduction (April 2009);  Unemployment and Health Insurance: Current Legislation and Issues (March 2009); Health Insurance Reform and the 111th Congress (May 2009); Health Insurance Coverage of People Aged 55 to 64 (July 2008); and Health Insurance: A Primer (January 2008). Other governmental reports: Paying for Health Care Reform (White House); Economic Case for Health Reform (Council of Economic Advisers); The Budgetary Treatment of Proposals to Change the Nation’s Health Insurance System (CBO); Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform (Senate Finance Committee); and  Expanding Health Care Coverage (Senate Finance Committee). Additional sources of information include: Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2009 (Council for Affordable Health Insurance);  State Health Programs to Cover the Uninsured and Access to Health Care (both from the National Conference of State Legislatures); and  Health Reform (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). A current, informative site in health care reform is found at the New York Times. Key Players: Health Care Reform and the similarly-titled Key Players in Health Care Reform Debate should be used by those of us who need a scorecard. And do not forget MSNBC’s Decoding the Health Care Debate – A Glossary.  CNN’s What You Need to Know About Health Care Reform presents much information in a Q&A format.A couple of good articles to read: The Cost Conundrum(The New Yorker) and Slowing the Growth of Health Care Costs – Lessons from Regional Variation (New England Journal of Medicine).

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