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Ideas to Increase Voter Turnout – Cash Voting Incentives

You may remember the Starbucks voting freebies that were dished out in the 2012 elections. In that year, handing out voting incentives to uninformed Americans was a desperate effort. It worked in some areas — at least, in terms of getting voter participation from uninformed individuals.

Los Angeles is getting really innovative now. To increase voter turnout, the LA government might begin offering a new voting incentive: cold hard cash.

At least, it’s being suggested by city officials who are trying to boost what they’re calling a “truly depressing” voter turnout in local elections. So the LA City Council is exploring an opportunity to draw cash prizes for people who cast a ballot.

Increase voter turnout — with cash

It’s like giving out big screen televisions for achieving a C+ in Algebra. They’re trying to figure out the reasons people don’t vote. But there’s not much to figure out. They either don’t care or they’re too lazy. What does giving out free stuff for voting get you? I suppose it gives unpopular candidates a better chance of winning, considering many of the votes will be randomly generated. Maybe that’s how that dog got elected Mayor. I can’t remember the city. Anyway…

“I think that this idea addresses a crisis for which I don’t have any other short-term solutions,” says Ethics Commission President Nathan Hochman.

Other than, if you’re too lazy to vote, tough cookies.

Fortunately, there are some people with a voice of reason. “It’s an affront to democracy,” California attorney Troy Slaten told Fox News, arguing that the plan would attract people who may know nothing about the candidates, seeking only cash voting incentives.

Details on Los Angeles’ past voting results:

According to the Los Angeles Times, only 23.3 percent of the city’s 1.8 million registered voters cast ballots in the Los Angeles mayoral election in 2013, the lowest turnout in more than 100 years. That election was also the city’s costliest since 2001, with more than $55 million spent by the candidates alone.

Sure, it’s pathetic. But the ethics commissioners are thinking a little too outside the box to increase voter turnout. Bribing voters with cash incentives is just too pathetic. It’s one odd form of democracy.

The way I see it? I’d prefer a few informed voters that have an inkling of what they’re voting for than a horde of uninformed voters who are trying to cash in on a few extra bucks.

Related: Voter fraud convictions

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YouTube Video Ferguson Shooting of Michael Brown

Fox recently reported on a YouTube video that unveils more details about the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown. Evidently, a conversation was captured on a YouTube video that was recorded moments after Michael Brown’s death.

One possible witness described a situation where the 6’4″, 300-lb Michael Brown charged and then wrangled with police officer Darren Wilson. This, of course, would corroborate Wilson’s account while casting doubt on assertions by other witnesses who claim Brown was shot while running away with his hands in the air.

It’s still a “he said, she said” game. At this point, all we can do is speculate. Witnesses are saying one thing and the Ferguson police is saying something different.

“I mean, the police was in the truck [sic] and he was, like, over the truck,” the purported witness says in the video. “So then he ran, police got out and ran after him. The next thing I know, he comes back towards them. The police had his guns drawn on him.”

The graphic YouTube video shows the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, beginning with the cameraman moving toward the street where Brown’s body lies on the other side of yellow police tape. The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office says they’re aware of the video, along with others that were taken at the scene of the incident.

It’s hard to read too much into this, but if you feel like playing investigator, here it is. Take it for what it’s worth. We’ll see how long YouTube keeps it online.

More on the shooting

Viewer warning: graphic content (as if that’s going to stop you…)

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Liberal View on Immigration > Democrats Against Obama

Cognizant of the political repercussions for losing reelection in moderate states, Senate Democrats are going against Obama on wielding his executive priviledge to bypass Congress on the issue of immigration reform.

While the general liberal view on immigration certainly mimicks Obama’s, politicians’ job security seemingly comes first. And, certainly, opposing illegal immigration (albeit subtly) is a price worth paying. Lucky for them, they can use the “executive abuse” component as a scapegoat.

Their supposed concern is that Obama will expound on his 2012 executive order that exempted deportation for young illegal aliens by extending it to some five million more illegal immigrants in the U.S.

The liberal view on immigration — compromised?

It really hasn’t changed. The Democratic opinion on immigration is still intact. As I noted, it’s a defensive political maneuver. There’s a number of moderate and quasi-conservative voters that are queasy about the Constitution thing. And that is, whether Obama should degrade the Constitution on this issue. They like to pick and choose. And considering the timing, this one just isn’t worth choosing.

“This is an issue that I believe should be addressed legislatively and not through executive order,” said Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Republicans’ bid to capture the Senate.

Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, another vulnerable incumbent, affirmed that he is “frustrated with the partisanship in Washington. But that doesn’t give the president carte blanche authority to sidestep Congress when he doesn’t get his way.”

Strong statement. And a valid one. Just maybe he’s expressing his true feelings on the matter.

Illegal immigration advocacy groups are shaking in their boots:

A coalition of advocacy groups, in a letter to congressional Democrats on Friday, said immigrant families should not have to wait until after the November elections for relief. The organizations said any attempts by Democrats to delay or dilute administrative changes “will be viewed as a betrayal of Latino and immigrant communities with serious and lasting consequences.”

They’re concerned because their liberal buddies are shifting their position on illegal immigration due to political unease. Take note, many of these same Democrats supported unilateral action previously. Hence, my previous argument.

Even some of the most prominent and liberal Senate Democratic members are keeping quiet:

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., declined to say Friday whether he still believes Obama should act by October, as Schumer had emphasized before. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat, said the timing of executive action on immigration was up to Obama. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman declined comment on Obama’s timing.

I’ll say it again, job security can make us say or fold on many matters.

Check it: Illegal immigrants with criminal records released.

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Electronic Health Records Raise Privacy and Security Concerns

According to two new studies published Wednesday by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), U.S. physicians and hospitals are rapidly increasing the use of electronic health records (EHRs).

The two studies found that in 2013:

  • Nearly 78 percent of office-based physicians acknowledged they had implemented some form of EHR system.
  • About half  of all physicians had an EHR system with advanced functionalities, nearly double the rate of four years before.
  • About 59 percent of hospitals had an EHR system with advanced functionalities, nearly quadruple the rate of two years before.

The HHS claims that patients are beginning to see benefits in the use of electronic health records. More from the agency:

These data provide an early baseline understanding of provider readiness to achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive programs. Stage 2 will begin later this year for providers who first attested to Stage 1 Meaningful Use in 2011 or 2012. About 75 percent of eligible professionals and more than 91 percent of hospitals have adopted or demonstrated Stage 1 Meaningful Use of certified EHRs.

The studies also show that more work is needed to support widespread health information exchange and providers’ ability to achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Throughout this year, the HHS is bolstering its efforts to steer providers further in this direction — specifically, to move toward an “interoperable health system that enables nationwide health information exchange.” These efforts include on-the-ground support to over 150,000 healthcare providers that serve virtually any type of patient.

Electronic Health Records Pose Privacy and Security Risks

There are many drawbacks to electronic health records, one being privacy concerns, which have already proved vulnerable. Lest we forget, we’re living in an age where cyber trolls are crawling all over the web, waiting to capitalize on digital leaks.

Kaiser Health News, for example, reported back in June 2012 that keeping records secure is a challenge that federal regulators have yet to grab a hold of. Kaiser reported that over a 17-month period a medical technician at Howard University Hospital used her position to sell the names, addresses, and Medicare numbers of numerous patients.

Only weeks later, the hospital had to notify some 34,000 patients to let them know that their records — including social security numbers — had been compromised, thanks to a contractor working for the hospital who had downloaded patient files onto his personal computer.

Instead of concentrating on the quality of care, physicians are facing exhausting regulatory battles and unwarranted Big Brother interventions on the practice of medicine.

Not to mention, Americans might be startled to know their personal health information could be shared electronically with, perhaps, millions of people — including everything from mental illnesses, lawsuits against physicians, patient non-compliance, and, yes, even their sexual misfortunes.

How has ObamaCare failed?