The Most Powerful #YesAllWomen TweetsRobert Costa:
Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) said Sunday that Friday’s deadly rampage near the University of California at Santa Barbara underscores why expanded background checks for firearm sales are needed and said he hopes to pursue legislation to enhance mental health screening.Boise Weekly:
“This tragedy demonstrates once again the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” King said in an interview with The Washington Post.
King, who represents a suburban Long Island district and is one of the GOP’s most prominent gun-control advocates, also pushed Republicans to buck powerful gun rights groups.
Democrats Push to Restart CDC Funding for Gun Violence ResearchMore politics and policy below the fold.
New legislation would increase CDC funding for gun violence research from zero dollars to $10 million. The NRA calls the push “unethical” and an “abuse of taxpayer funds.”
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the college student who killed six people and himself in a murderous rampage Friday night in nearby Isla Vista was able to “fly under the radar” when his deputies visited the young man’s apartment just a month before the shootings.CSM:
Brown said Sunday morning that when sheriff’s deputies visited Elliot Rodger’s apartment on April 30, following a request from Rodger’s family to check on his welfare, Rodger appeared “rather quiet and timid.” In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Brown said he was unsure of whether the deputies checked for weapons at the residence but said the authorities concluded Rodger did not present a threat.
In the yearning to make some sense of a rampage that left seven people dead, including the suspect, and 13 people injured, the public and the media have once again begun searching for elements of Rodger's life that fit the narrative of a mass killer. Some and perhaps all surely played a role.AP:
But to researchers who have studied the trend, these are secondary – though important – factors. The young men who are overwhelmingly responsible for these shooting sprees fit a very clear portrait: self-obsessed yet marginalized in some way. Their rampages are not fits of senseless rage, but cold, calculating attempts to level the score with society.
In the attempt to become an antihero – to lay bare how they think they have been wronged by others – these men need an audience, and shooting sprees are the ultimate way to get one.
"Mass shootings are a kind of theater," wrote Ari Schulman, editor of the journal The New Atlantis, in The Wall Street Journal last year. "Their purpose is essentially terrorism – minus, in most cases, a political agenda. The public spectacle, the mass slaughter of mostly random victims, is meant to be seen as an attack against society itself."
The senselessness "is just the point of mass shootings: It is the means by which the perpetrator seeks to make us feel his hatred," he added.
Concerned murmurs are rippling through Iowa's Republican circles, worried that the ways U.S. Senate primary candidates are appealing to the base now could haunt the party come November, despite chipper talk that the five-way race is a healthy way to ignite the GOP.Adrianna McIntyre:
Some Republicans say state Sen. Joni Ernst's recent campaign ad featuring her firing a handgun will not sit well with some swing voters when Democrats resurrect it. Likewise, others say former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs' past public statements supporting climate-change legislation make him indistinguishable from likely Democratic nominee Bruce Braley.
In what is their best chance to win the Senate seat in 30 years, Republicans have accepted the risks of focusing on GOP-favored issues in the June 3 primary after failing to convince the state's better-known Republicans to run once Sen. Tom Harkin, a six-term Democrat, announced he wouldn't seek re-election.
So, it's become a delicate balance for candidates: Convince the party faithful they have the conservative chops to distinguish themselves from the Senate's longtime liberal lion, then turn around and face one of the nation's most politically balanced statewide electorates in a general election that could determine which party controls the powerful chamber.
Given the tragic frequency with which mass shootings command headlines in this nation — and the stark number of firearm deaths that receive far less attention — you might think it obvious that the surgeon general would see gun violence as a public health issue. You would be wrong.Walter Mossberg on rumors of Apple buying Beats:
The National Rifle Association is blocking the nomination of Vivek Murthy, a doctor at Boston's Brigham and Women's hospital and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, for surgeon general. The reason? Murthy was one of the authors of a letter saying that "strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken immediately." So despite a bipartisan recommendation from the Senate HELP committee in February, the NRA promised to "score" any vote on Murthy confirmation, meaning an affirmative vote would pull down a senator's annual rating from the group.
The result? Murthy's confirmation process has gone nowhere.
Several editors at the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine recently penned an editorial in defense of the nominee. "Ten Senate Democrats are apparently prepared to vote against Murthy's confirmation because of his personal views on firearms — a demonstration of just how much political power our legislators have ceded to the NRA," they write. "By obstructing the President's nomination of Vivek Murthy as surgeon general, the NRA is taking its single-issue political blackmail to a new level."
Murthy testified that he would focus on the nation's obesity epidemic, not gun violence, during his tenure as surgeon general.
If it’s true, I think that there could be a number of reasons for it. One was they just felt that it was the quickest way for them to get into streaming. Another is that Beats makes premium products in an area where Apple doesn’t make premium products. They are a premium-product company, but those are obvious.NY Times on rumors of companies dumping employees into exchanges:
The less obvious things are injecting creative talent into the company, if it is indeed true, as it’s been rumored, that [Beats'] Jimmy [Iovine] and Ian [Rogers] are coming over. I know Jimmy and Ian pretty well, and I think the more creative talent they can get in there — given their history and what people look to them for — they’ll be not only in music but in other areas like television and video. I guess that’s my gut reaction as to why they might be doing this.
I don’t know. I don’t know what [Apple CEO Tim] Cook’s judgment is about the people they have there now. But the people they have there now are the people who were with Jobs when he did the various creative things, iTunes and all that other stuff, over the years.
But look, Apple is going through a reset. There’s just no way around it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.NY Times:
The ruling this month, by the Internal Revenue Service, blocks any wholesale move by employers to dump employees into the exchanges.
Hospital systems around the country have started scaling back financial assistance for lower- and middle-income people without health insurance, hoping to push them into signing up for coverage through the new online marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.This is what disruption looks like. No change without disruption. Will adjustments be needed? Maybe so. Does it invalidate the law? No. But states who haven't expanded Medicaid need to do so.
The trend is troubling to advocates for the uninsured, who say raising fees will inevitably cause some to skip care rather than buy insurance that they consider unaffordable. Though the number of hospitals tightening access to free or discounted care appears limited so far, many say they are considering doing so, and experts predict that stricter policies will become increasingly common.
Driving the new policies is the cost of charity care, which is partly covered by government but remains a burden for many hospitals. The new law also reduces federal aid to hospitals that treat large numbers of poor and uninsured people, creating an additional pressure on some to restrict charity care.
Robert Hughes, the president and chief executive of the Missouri Foundation for Health, an independent philanthropic group, said BJC HealthCare was “in a tough spot” because of the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid.What about those not eligible for Medicaid?
“Certainly we want to encourage people who have new access to affordable coverage to take advantage of it,” said Sidney D. Watson, a professor at St. Louis University’s Center for Health Law Studies. “But I think we’re all going to have to do a lot to get that message out, and there will always be people who won’t have the option.But see also NY Times:
In a sign of the growing potential under the federal health care law, several insurers that have been sitting on the sidelines say they will sell policies on the new exchanges in the coming year, and others plan to expand their offerings to more states.From VacciNews.net (chart by @SeattleMamaDoc):
“Insurers continue to see this as a good business opportunity,” said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “They see it as an attractive market, with enrollment expected to ramp up in the second year.” Eight million people have signed up for coverage in 2014, and estimates put next year’s enrollment around 13 million.
On Sunday, [Sen. Bernie] Sanders made the case that veterans and veterans groups overwhelmingly say that people receive good to excellent care within the VA system. The problem is that 2 million new veterans have flooded an already crowded system, he said, which means there needs to be funding to support them.
"They're treating 6.5 million people a year, 230,000 people every single day. Is there waste in the system? Absolutely," Sanders said. "But at the end of the day, when you have 2 million new veterans coming into the system, some with very difficult and complicated problems, I do think we have to take a hard look and see if we have the resources."
Neither [ Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.)] nor Sanders said Shinseki should step down over the issues, at least not at this point.
"I don't think it's fair to blame Shinseki for all the problems," Sanders said. "Can he do better? Yes. We all can do better. Every veteran is entitled to health care."