Tag Archives: California

From the masters of fake news, CNN’s latest hit piece: ‘Trumpcare’ would send California couple to Mexico for birth control

hyperbole

CNN doing what they do best: fake news.

From CNN: All Ariana and Kevin Gonzalez want is birth control.  As far as health care needs go, that’s pretty simple. But the California couple says that if the Republican alternative to Obamacare becomes law, they’ll be driving over the border to Mexico to get it.

It’s not that the Gonzalezes don’t have insurance; they have very good insurance through Ariana’s job as a high school teacher.

The problem is that “Trumpcare,” as Ariana calls it, would probably run her health clinic out of town. It’s Planned Parenthood, which the Republican health care proposal defunds because it performs abortions.

The Gonzalezes live in the Imperial Valley, an agricultural area two hours east of San Diego, with a severe doctor shortage. On average in California, there’s one primary care physician for every 1,341 people. In the Imperial Valley, there’s one physician for every 4,170 people, according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

For Ariana, that means it takes well over a month to get an appointment with her gynecologist and then four or five hours in the waiting room to see him, which means she has to take the day off work. At Planned Parenthood, she gets an appointment the next day and is in and out in about 30 minutes.

If the Republican plan passes and Planned Parenthood leaves town, Ariana says, her best option would be to cross the border, where she can see a gynecologist immediately. It’s an option she doesn’t want to take but will if she has to.

Ariana has a message for senators as they contemplate whether to pass the law, also known as the American Health Care Act. “If (Planned Parenthood’s) doors are shut, you’ll be driving your own constituents to an entirely different country in search of health care, and that’s not America,” she said. “I don’t think that’s who we are as a country.”

Ariana, 23, knows what life would be like without Planned Parenthood in her town because she’s lived it.  Before Planned Parenthood opened in the Imperial Valley two years ago, she became pregnant when she didn’t want to, and then later she couldn’t get pregnant when she did want to.

Without easy access to birth control, Ariana became pregnant at 15. A doctor tried to convince her to have an abortion, saying she was one of countless teen moms he’d seen just that week. “He said it would be better for me, and we could have it done in 10 minutes if I just said the word,” she remembers. But Ariana, now 23, says her “maternal instinct kicked in,” and she never considered termination.

In the summer of 2011, when her son, Oliver, was 18 months old and she was 18 years old, Ariana met her future husband.  She wasn’t looking for love — in fact, she’d shunned dating to focus on caring for Oliver and preparing to study at San Diego State University in the fall.

But one day, she was visiting a friend when Kevin and his brother showed up to visit. They were hanging out in the front yard, and she excused herself to go inside and check on her napping son. “I was expecting ‘you have a child?!’ “she remembers. “But he just said, ‘OK, no problem.’ He didn’t blink an eye.”

Kevin proposed a few months later and adopted Oliver. They tried to have another child so Oliver would have a sibling close in age, but Ariana suffered three miscarriages, including one with twins. Then, an ectopic pregnancy permanently damaged one of her fallopian tubes, and she was unable to get pregnant for nearly two years.

With each medical failure, Ariana sought advice from her gynecologist, and each time, the wait for an appointment was about six weeks. The Gonzalezes’ hope for another child seemed to be stuck in an endless cycle of complications and long waits to see the doctor.

They say they wish Planned Parenthood had been in their town then, as the clinic, unlike her gynecologist’s office, treats infertility without long waits.

Finally, after nearly four years of miscarriages and infertility, Ariana’s doctor prescribed steroids, and she became pregnant with their daughter, Bailey. She wanted to see her obstetrician immediately, but again she faced a six-week wait. “We needed to make sure that this pregnancy was going to stick and it was going to be healthy, and in order to do that, off to Mexico we went,” she said.

Read the rest of the story here.

h/t Twitchy

DCG

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Unintended consequences: California’s travel ban may trip up intercollegiate athletic teams

unintended consequences

Way to punish the athletes and guarantee diminishing alumni donations. Brilliant move California…

From SF Gate: California’s newly expanded ban on state-funded travel to states that discriminate against LGBT people could trip up intercollegiate athletic teams in the coming years — not only by restricting where they may play, but how they tap new recruits.

As of Thursday, state employees — including those at the University of California and California State University — are banned from traveling on the public dime to eight states. The shunned states often appear on college teams’ travel schedules. They are: Alabama, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and South Dakota.

“In terms of recruiting, under current California law our coaches would be restricted from using state funds to travel to affected states,” says a statement issued Friday by the Cal Athletics Department.

On Friday, a day after state Attorney General Xavier Becerra expanded the list from four to eight states, his office told The Chronicle it had received a request for a legal opinion on whether the ban applies to “athletic team staffs” at UC and CSU. His office did not respond when asked who had made the request.

Each of the states in the ban has enacted a discriminatory law since June 26, 2015, according to Becerra, such as preventing adoptions and foster care by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people (South Dakota and Alabama) or allowing school clubs to restrict membership on that basis (Kentucky). In Texas, a law that passed June 15 prohibits the state from “taking adverse action” against religious caregivers, which critics say gives them too much power over the welfare of LGBT children.

California’s travel ban took effect in January and specifically includes the two university systems. But it also exempts them from the ban to fulfill any athletic contracts they entered into with schools in the affected states before Jan. 1. That helps many major college athletic teams — for now — because they set their travel schedules with other schools sometimes years in advance.

But the exemption does not apply to collegiate postseason contests, where teams that do well could find they are headed for one of the states in question.

Eight sports are scheduled to have their top-tier NCAA regionals or championships in states affected by the travel ban within a year: Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina. The most notable is the men’s Final Four basketball championship, to be held in San Antonio.

The others are men’s and women’s cross country, women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s indoor track. Championships for lower-tier schools, including many in the CSU system, also are scheduled for some of the states included in the ban.

When California’s ban took effect in January, the Cal athletic department issued a statement saying: “Our intent is to support our student-athletes in their right to participate in NCAA postseason competition should they be assigned to a restricted state.”

But it’s not clear how they could do that, short of raising private donations to support not only travel costs, but also salaries for coaches and staff, and potentially insurance.

Meanwhile, Cal had been in preliminary talks for a men’s basketball series with the University of Kansas in January, when the travel ban that included Kansas took effect. “Cal got back to us and told us the state ban would prevent it,” said Jim Marchiony, a spokesman for KU athletics.

On Friday, Cal issued a new statement affirming its support of “equity, diversity and inclusion,” adding: “We have an obligation and firm commitment to remain compliant with California law.” The statement also said Cal will fulfill any contracts it signed with affected states before January.

Cal’s baseball team is signed on to play in the Frisco College Baseball Classic in March in Texas. The contract for the event, which features Texas A&M, Baylor and Louisiana Tech, was signed two years ago, former Bears head coach David Esquer said.

At California State University, several campuses have major sports teams, including Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, Long Beach State, Fresno State and San Jose State.

The news that Texas is now included in the travel ban has made some sports fans nervous at San Jose State, and Lawrence Fan, spokesman for campus athletics, has been fielding questions — mostly about whether the San Jose Spartans will be able to play its scheduled football game at the University of Texas in September. Fan tells them not to worry. The contract was signed in September.

Nevertheless, CSU is taking a close look at the expanded travel ban and will consult with the attorney general if needed, said Toni Molle, spokeswoman for systemwide Chancellor Timothy White. However, she said, “The CSU fully intends to comply with the law, and we will not be using any state funds to pay for travel expenses to any of the banned states.”

Ricardo Vazquez, a spokesman for UC, agreed. But he said, “There have been instances where UC sports teams or researchers attending conferences have used nonstate funds to travel to the states on the list.”

Vazquez did not reply when asked for examples.

At UCLA, spokeswoman Liza David said the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics receives no state funding, but said that UCLA is “committed to promoting and protecting equity, diversity and inclusion.”

DCG

Because it’s complicated: When asked their sex, some are going with option ‘X’

gender in between your ears

From USA Today: America has slowly begun to acknowledge that for many people, gender is much more complicated than simply being a man or a woman. And a growing number of Americans are seeking recognition of a third gender, neither exclusively male or female, under the label non-binary.

People typically think of transgender as meaning gender reversal, where someone identifies as the opposite sex from their birth sex. But transgender is an umbrella term used to cover a wide spectrum of people whose gender identity is different from the one they were assigned at birth.

More than one-third of transgender people describe themselves as non-binary, which the National Center for Transgender defines as “people whose gender is not exclusively male or female, including those who identify with a gender other than male or female, as more than one gender, or as no gender, identifying as a combination of genders or not identifying with either gender at all.” 

Non-binary people have always been part of the population. But for the first time, state governments in the U.S. are beginning to recognize their identity. Oregon approved a third gender option on driver’s licenses last week; California’s Senate passed a law with the same aim, and similar legislation was introduced in both New York and the District of Columbia this week.

Non-binary people are now represented in popular culture as well. Actor Asia Kate Dillon, who is credited with being the “first non-binary actor ever to be portrayed on TV,” plays a gender non-binary character on the Showtime series Billions.

“Hello, I’m Taylor. My pronouns are they, theirs and them,” Dillon’s Billions character declares when introduced to one of the show’s two protagonists. The scene likely also introduced the concept of non-binary people and non-gender specific pronouns to many viewers.

Why the gender on IDs matters

The issue of gender on official documentation is not merely a semantic one. Nearly one-third of transgender people said they were harassed, assaulted or denied service because their ID did not match their “gender presentation,” according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Presenting an identification document that does not accurately reflect one’s sex and is inconsistent with one’s gender identity can trigger invasions of privacy, prejudice, stigma, violence and discrimination and harassment in a wide variety of settings, including in employment, education, public accommodations, health care, housing and interactions with the government, including with law enforcement,” the LGBT civil rights group Lambda Legal wrote to the Oregon Department of Transportation arguing for the rule change to allow a third gender option.

Oregon became the first state to give residents the option to identify as neither male or female on their driver’s licenses and state identification cards Thursday after a ruling by the Oregon Transportation Commission. Beginning July 1, those IDs will offer an “X” as a third option in addition to the traditional “F” and “M.”

A bill passed the California Senate to allow the state’s residents to change their gender identity on their birth certificates and state IDs, including driver’s licenses, to “female, male, or non-binary.” The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the state Assembly. Similar legislation has been introduced in New York and the District of Columbia.

Randy Thomasson, the president of SaveCalifornia.com and the Campaign for Children and Families, has derided what he sees as the spread of “sexual anarchy.” 

Thomasson argued against the legislation in California on the grounds that allowing people to change gender invites identity fraud.

“If one’s sex can be officially ‘changed’ by simply — even repeatedly — filing an $11 form with the state government, it’s going to be a lot harder to accurately identify ‘non-binary’ accused criminals in open court,” Thomasson said in a statement. “The gender identity fraud that this radical bill would usher in is the antithesis of law and order.”

According to Lambda Legal, there are at least eight countries that recognize more than two genders on passports or national ID cards: Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand and Pakistan. Thailand recognizes a third gender in its constitution but hasn’t yet made that an option on government documents.

Read about the rest of the “complications” here.

DCG

Navy Vet: ‘CA City Told Me to Take Down American Flag on D-Day’

galt ca flag pole mess

A big no-no in Galt, CA: Two flag poles. Oh the horror!

Why does it cost $4,400 to file a petition to amend this law? Insanity.

From Fox News: A California Navy veteran and his wife expressed disbelief at the city of Galt telling them to remove a flagpole on their property or face a fine.

The couple was informed that the second of their two flagpoles violated neighborhood code, which allows a maximum of one flagpole per property.

Ron Raeta and his wife, Sherri, said on “Fox & Friends” they were furious that someone in the neighborhood “with nothing to do” reported the violation to the city council.

Raeta recalled that he received notice to remove the flagpole on June 6, which is the anniversary of D-Day.

He said the city council tried to help, but since the code was clearly being violated, they said the flagpole would have to come down.

Raeta said he feels a sense of pride and patriotism to have the two American flags flying high in front of his house.

Sherri said the city council plans to review the code and that it would cost $4,400 to file a petition to amend the law.

Watch the interview above and read more, here.

DCG

Another taxpayer income redistribution scheme: Hawaii could become the first state to offer its citizens universal basic income

government solve all problems

From Ballotpedia:  According to a report released in September 2015 by the nonprofit Truth in Accounting (TIA), Hawaii ranked 6th worst in the country in “taxpayer burden.”

Hawaii has a state debt of over $14,370,912,000 which calculates to an almost $10,000 debt per citizen.

With this proposed socialist scheme, what could possible go wrong?

From Daily Mail: It may have been the last state to join the United States, but Hawaii may trail blaze and become the first to offer guaranteed basic income (UBI).

A bill was recently passed through both the houses and state legislature in a unanimous vote that declares that all Hawaiians ‘deserve basic financial security’ and prompts state agencies to look over ‘universal basic income’ along with other policy.

‘As innovation and automation and inequality disrupt our economy, we want to make sure that everybody benefits and nobody is left behind,’ said state Representative Chris Lee of Kaliua to Mother Jones. ‘It’s past time that we had a serious talk about not just tweaking our economic policies but having a new discussion from the ground up about what our values and priorities are.’

While Alaska has provided state residents a stipend funded by oil revenue since 1976, Hawaii is the first to consider the income to cover living expenses. Hawaii’s cost of living – the highest in the country – motivated the passing of the resolution in May along with the states reliance on low-paid service industry jobs. 

According to Lee, Hawaii has a very limited manufacturing and tech sector which puts the service-focused economy at risk. The text of the measure mentions the impact of technological advancements which have helped kill jobs in the state.

‘There has been a discussion for a long time about how do we build an economy where everybody can afford to live here and survive,’ Lee said.

Next, Hawaii has to gather a ‘basic economic security workshop group’ comprised of leaders from various sects of public life. They will be tasked with assessing the state’s exposure to ‘disruptive innovation’ and submit studies on UBI.

Lee said: ‘There is definitely a recognition that beyond just talking about basic income that things need to change.  We need to take proactive action to chart a stable path forward for our economy and all of our residents.’

Other states have tossed about the idea of UBI for their residents. California’s Silicon Valley is looking to explore how working to address its displacement of blue-collar workers.

Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna proposed a $1 trillion earned income tax credit for working families. This is seen as a huge step for the movement of UBI.

DCG

Sacramento is about to crack down on unlicensed pets, and the new fines are no joke

happy dog

Just tell them your pet is an illegal alien. Or dead. (And of course, get them their shots.)

From Sacramento Bee: Have you neglected to renew Fido’s or Fifi’s pet license? The city of Sacramento is about to take you to task.

As of July 1, the city will begin tracking down pet owners and aggressively enforcing a longtime code requiring that dogs and cats be licensed and vaccinated against rabies, said Front Street Shelter manager Gina Knepp.

The shelter will mail notices to pet owners who have failed to renew their dog’s or cat’s license, which for one year costs $20 for a neutered or spayed animal and requires proof of rabies vaccination. Those who fail to obtain a renewal within 30 days will receive a second notice. After that, failure to comply will result in a “correctable” $300 citation, which can be waived if a license is obtained within 30 days. If not, the citation will be permanent. Further citations will cost scofflaw pet owners $500.

Only 13 percent of pets in Sacramento are properly licensed, the city estimates. That compares to a national average of about 30 percent. In some parts of Canada, aggressive enforcement has resulted in compliance rates of as high as 60 percent, authorities have reported.

Unlicensed pets reside in neighborhoods across the city, from wealthier areas like Curtis Park to more modest ones in south Sacramento, Knepp said. “It doesn’t seem to matter where you live or whether you’re wealthy,” she said. “The compliance rate is low everywhere.”

Most pet owners in the capital city “probably have no clue” that licenses are required for dogs and cats, Knepp acknowledged. The city code has been in place for “years and years,” she said, but never has been fully enforced. Animal control officers issue citations for unlicensed animals when they encounter them, she said, but those represent a small fraction of the estimated 250,000 pet dogs and cats in the community.

“We have the ability to do automatic citations, but we weren’t doing it,” Knepp said. “We tried other ways of getting people to pay attention to licensing their animals, but nothing worked.

“Licensing is just not on the top of most people’s list of things to get done,” she said. “Some people have a ‘Catch me if you can’ mentality about it. Well, now I am going to catch you.”

David Dickinson, director of Sacramento County’s animal shelter on Bradshaw Road, said people outside the city limits are no better at licensing compliance. “We’re probably at about 14 percent to 17 percent,” he said.

Dickinson said the county will be monitoring the outcome of the city’s efforts to boost those numbers. “If it works, we’d certainly consider it,” he said. But he wonders whether the administrative hassles will exceed the benefits.

Residents and their pets can be difficult to track, he noted. “People move; their pets die; they don’t have the pet any longer,” Dickinson said. “I think this will cause a lot of uproar among animal owners.”

All pets adopted from both the county and city shelters receive licenses, along with microchips and spaying and neutering surgeries. The agencies keep track of that information, and also get notification from private veterinarians who vaccinate animals against rabies.

Pet owners in the city’s data system will begin receiving notices beginning next month as their pet licenses expire. Residents who participate in programs for people with low incomes, including PG&E and SMUD utility assistance, can get their license for free if their pet is spayed or neutered.

“This is not meant to be punitive,” Knepp said of the licensing program. “It’s not about the government trying to get another $20 from you. It’s about the safety of our pets, and of the community.” Collecting licensing fees also will provide a financial boost to the overcrowded shelter, she added.

Rabies cases in humans are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only a few cases are reported annually. But wildlife in California can carry the rabies virus and infect domestic animals. The CDC receives reports of hundreds of cases of rabies among dogs and cats each year.

“Animals are a community problem and a community responsibility,” Knepp said. This week, animal control officers responded to a report of a raccoon on a sidewalk near Fourth and T streets, near two roaming cats, in broad daylight. The raccoon’s behavior could suggest rabies infection.

The city estimates that it could have collected about $150,000 last year from residents who failed to renew their pet licenses. That money, Knepp said, could be used to fund more animal control officers to respond to emergency calls, vaccination clinics and spay and neuter programs, among other things.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of animals in our shelter; to make sure that they don’t end up here in the first place,” Knepp said. “People don’t want to see pets dying at the pound. If they really do care about that, they should license their pets. Because an animal with a license and tag is going home.”

Spencer Breining-Aday, a college student who lives in Land Park, pondered the city’s plan as he walked his dog Lulu in the neighborhood this week. Lulu, a chow mix, is properly licensed, as are his two cats, Winnie and Sarah, Breining-Aday said.

“For me, spending $20 to get a license is not a big deal,” he said. “But I think it could be a bigger challenge for people in lower socioeconomic groups. Other than that, I think it’s a great way to make sure that our pets are healthy. I’m in favor of it.”

Dia Goode trotted through the park with her Labrador mix, Maurice. She supports the city’s new approach, she said, but would like to see it go further by cracking down on licensing of “backyard breeders” and the puppies they sell.   “I think licensing is really important, but it really hasn’t been on anyone’s radar,” Goode said. “It’s never been made an important issue.”

DCG

Californians like universal care, unless they’re taxed

Occupy Wall Street supporters march call

Shocker, not.

From Sacramento Bee: A new poll indicates that most Californians support changing the state’s immense, insurance-based medical care system to one in which the state provides universal coverage.

However, there’s just one small detail: 65 percent support drops to 42 percent if a “single-payer” system requires new taxes, which, of course, it would.

The Public Policy Institute of California poll was issued on Wednesday, just hours after the California Nurses Association and other advocates of Senate Bill 562’s universal coverage laid out the taxes they say would make it feasible.

It could work, says a study by the Political Economy Research Institute, if federal, state and local governments taxpayers continued to pay the lion’s share of Californians’ medical care costs, if overall medical costs could be cut by 18 percent due to centralized, nonprofit operation and if “two modest taxes” on business income and retail consumers were imposed.

“What this new study proves is that we can finally achieve the dream of guaranteeing health care for all Californians without the punishment of crippling out-of-pocket costs …” said RoseAnn DeMoro, head of the nurses’ union.

Maybe not. Those assertions from the liberal think tank appear more optimistic than realistic.

The proposal would not only cover all Californians who now have some form of health insurance, but nearly 3 million more – mostly undocumented immigrants illegal aiens – who lack coverage, and would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for everyone. Those are recipes for soaring costs, not the study’s claim of a $71 billion reduction in the projected $403 billion overall tab.

Nor does it account for the additional expense from increased health care use if out-of-pocket co-pays and deductibles are eliminated.

Virtually every health care study has concluded that requiring consumers to pay even token amounts prevents overutilization which drives costs upward.

It does not account for the expansion of coverage as more people move to California from other states or other nations for no-cost medical care.

Finally, it does not account for the system’s capacity to deliver on gold-plated promises.

Even now, the millions of additional Medi-Cal enrollees under Obamacare have great difficulty finding care because of low reimbursement rates.

If millions more are covered, those payments would have to increase sharply to lure doctors and other providers to a state whose living costs, especially for housing, are among the nation’s highest.

But even if all of the study’s rosy, if unlikely, scenarios were to occur, it still would require new taxes of some kind. It suggests a 2.3 percent levy on gross business revenue and a 2.3 percentage point hike in retail sales taxes, with some exemptions.

That’s where the PPIC poll kicks in. California voters have shown that they are willing to tax others – i.e. the rich or smokers – but unwilling to pay more taxes themselves for public services.

DCG