Author Archives: Kim Taylor

About Kim Taylor

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Cell phones: Know why before the buy

GSM is the most popular cell phone standard, and is used internationally, GSM originally stood for Groupe Spécial Mobile but now means Global System for Mobile communications. Almost 80% of the world’s people use this form of cell phone carrier. This blogger had no knowledge of this term or any other as well as their significance. Below i a breakdown of each term and its importance to the buyer.

For practical and everyday purposes, GSM offers users wider international roaming capabilities than other US network technologies and can enable a cell phone to be a “world phone.” What’s more, things like easily swapping phones and using data while on a call is supported with GSM networks. GSM also has the advantage of easily swappable SIM cards. GSM phones use the SIM card to store your (the subscriber’s) information like your phone number and other data that proves you are in fact a subscriber to that carrier.This means you can put the SIM card into any GSM phone to instantly continue using it on the network with all your previous subscription information (like your number) to make phone calls, text, etc.  

Most people overseas like these phones because they are universal, that is they can be used with any carrier in the U.S.. A lot of  International students enjoyed their phones and purchased top of the line to avoid roaming fees. Some avoid the two year contract too.

Unlocked cell phones are phones that can be used by more than one service provider.On the negative side, they cost more than a locked phones. One could ask their provider to unlock their locked phone, but it could make one’s warranty null and void. Another thing that might prevent the carrier from doing this is if the user had an two-year contract.

These phones are in high demand by the international visitor because:

  1. It can give them more freedom to use their phone as they like

  2. it can save money. Getting out of a two-year contract can be costly too

Recently, Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and the 8+ in Ghana via a host of public events using Lexis Bill. A few of the main attractions on this phone:

  1. It’s bezel-less, meaning there is more screen

  2. Full frontal– meaning it is borderless

  3. edge to edge -stretching almost to the end

The closest competitor, the Xiaomi’s Mi Mix, is sold only in China, can be purchased for 3449 yuan ($510) online. One should pay attention to the reviews. Improvement is needed for a better reccommendation the cost to produce them is astronomical, hence the limitation in availabity. The camera’s pretty average at best and taking selfies can be awkward. This blogger only sold products having four stars or more on Amazon.com.

Locked means only carriers that have software with a partiular type of phone can unlock it with a csde. When the carriers decide to support the manufacturer’s phone as part of their product range, they access this software using the code and use it to add a carrier lock to the phone. The lock ties the phone to the carrier’s network, so people who purchase the phone from the carrier can’t use it on anyone else’s network even if they remove the SIM card and replace it with one that uses a different network. Phones are locked to prevent people from buying a phone cheaper than market price using a two-year contract, and then switching carriers, leaving the original carrier out of pocket. It made it harder for the consumer to leave the carrier.

Using my land phone got to be expensive at $90 a month. The only way to slash the bill is to bundle with the cable company or phone company. Neither are liked by me because both of then had a monopoly in the area. Spectrum is tight-fisted about giving any type of yearly discounts. Before taking over for Time Warner Cable, my connection to cable and internet remained iffy on a daily basis. U.S. Cellular did not allow my Galaxy S5 on their network. For this, a refurbished phone is needed, but not at an additional $78.They wanted me to purchase a bundle too. My landline went wireless by usig the old AT&T line after the change of providers. Because my plan is A Simple Home Phone Plan there is no:

  1. Online access to paying bills, they are eitther mailed in or paid by phone

  2. Calling overseas-These numbers are blocked-This is built in tto the plan

  3. unwanted callers like spam calls put through-Some are forwareded to my cell and blocked if there isn’t already a busy signal.

Whether my cell phone became locked or unlocked, this blogger now knew the difference between the three. In spite of having a locked cell phone, my Samsung Galaxy S5 was still usable on three other service provider networks.

Sources:

What Does GSM Mean?

 MTE Explains: The Difference Between a Locked and an Unlocked Smartphone 

Before You Buy Unlocked Cell Phones or Smartphones

Xiaomi Mi Mix review

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix is one amazing almost bezel-less phone

A gorgeous con

Samsung and Apple iPhones available at The Movie Store

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Ransomware–WannaCry Microsoft’s latest concern for older OS’s

There are different types of ransomware, according to Microsoft. rir , demanding money to decrypt . This was worse than the Melissa virus and most pop ups that tell people there may be a virus on their computer and give them a number to call for repairs.

They can target any PC users, whether it’s a home computer, endpoints in an enterprise network, or servers used by a government agency or health care provider.

Ransomware—What it does

Ransomware can:

  • Prevent users from accessing Windows.
  • Encrypt files so people can’t use them.
  • Stop certain apps from running (like the web browser).

Ransomware will demand payment of money (a “ransom”) to get access to the PC or files. We have also seen them make the user complete surveys.

There isn’t any guarantee that paying the fine or doing what the ransomware told one gave them access to their PC or files again.

The ransomware typically contacts a central server for the information it needs to activate, and then begins encrypting files on the infected computer with that information. Once all the files are encrypted, it posts a message asking for payment to decrypt the files – and threatens to destroy the information if it doesn’t get paid, often with a timer attached to ramp up the pressure.

 

Ransomware WannaCry—The North Korean connection

Technical details within an early version of the WannaCry code are similar to code used in a 2015 backdoor created by the government-linked North Korean hackers, who were implicated in the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures and an $81m heist on a Bangladeshi bank in 2016Lazarus Group has also been known to use and target Bitcoin in its hacking operations. The similarities were first spotted by Google security researcher Neal Mehta and echoed by other researchers including Matthieu Suiche from UAE-based Comae Technologies.

This didn’t mean, however, that the same group or groups are responsible for the major cyber attack that occurred over the weekend. Anyone with computer coding knowledge could easily duplicate the effects of a ‘false flag’ thereby confusing those assigned to find the culprit. That is only if they can find the original code, which appeared to not be in later versions of the WannaCry program.

The WannaCry exploits used in the attack were drawn from a cache of exploits stolen from the NSA by the Shadow Brokers in August 2016. The NSA and other government agencies around the world create and collect vulnerabilities in popular pieces of software (such as Windows) and cyber weapons to use for intelligence gathering and cyber warfare.

How did Ransomware WannaCry differ from the Melissa Virus?

The ransom ware typically contacts a central server for the information it needs to activate, and then begins encrypting files on the infected computer with that information. Once all the files are encrypted, it posts a message asking for payment to decrypt the files – and threatens to destroy the information if it doesn’t get paid, often with a timer attached to ramp up the pressure.

Melissa is a fast-spreading macro virus that is distributed as an e-mail attachment that, when opened, disables a number of safeguards in Word 97 or Word 2000, and, if the user has the Microsoft Outlook e-mail program, causes the virus to be resent to the first 50 people in each of the user’s address books. While it does not destroy files or other resources, Melissa has the potential to disable corporate and other mail servers as the ripple of e-mail distribution becomes a much larger wave. Melissa caused the Microsoft Corporation to shut down incoming e-mail. Intel and other companies also reported being affected. The U. S. Department of Defense-funded Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) issued a warning about the virus and developed a fix.

This reminded me of the pop up alerts of a possible virus being on my computer and giving the user a supposed 800 number to call for repairs. The computer tech requested payment before proving their ability to fix the problem. The same thing happened in August 2014. The person on the phone, a foreigner with a thick Indian accent, saying he was affiliated with Microsoft, warned me of the same thing and spent the next seven hours trying to gain access to my laptop unsuccessfully. This same company ‘bothered’ me for the next four or five months until my reporting them to the credit card company and FTC. The ironic thing was that someone with a thick Australian, English, or New Zealand accent called me a year later claiming the same thing. I relayed the same story to the FTC again.

At this time, that company has called me twice. The first time, the PCSpeedy affiliate said they no longer support Windows XP. Microsoft support ended in April 2016. The last two phone calls stated that they lost their affiliate status from Microsoft and had to pay its customers back.

Ironically, Microsoft issued a special fix for older Windows operating systems in custom support only, like Windows XP, 8 and Server 2003, to prevent the massive ransomware attack that occurred in the UK last weekend. Even more extraordinary, the ransomware program had a kill switch, discovered by someone in their early 20s. For the moment, the attack has lessened. Microsoft has warned the public that no on should continue using older Windows operating systems.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

WannaCry ransomware has links to North Korea, cybersecurity experts say

Malware Protection Center

What is WannaCry ransomware and why is it attacking global computers?

What is Melissa virus? – Definition from Whatis.com – SearchSecurity

What is WannaCry ransomware and why is it attacking global computers?

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Meals on Wheels a ‘necessary’ program for nation’s seniors

As a disabled person, I am scared. I know a lot of senior folks receiving Meals on Wheels. Thankfully, I can cook for myself. The question is what will the recipients do if this program is cut? The article said that it cost more to place a senior in a nursing home just because they couldn’t cook for themselves. I don’t see much savings in that.

How these cuts affect me….

I have to get housing assistance because the rent at my current location got too expensive. With no job and mounting expenses, sacrifices have to be made.  I have to move in August and still don’t have my voucher. When I renewed my application, the lady informed me that they had not gotten their funding. Thanks to Trump’s budget cuts, this might not be till January 2018.

While some places offer rent based on income, It is better on Section 8. Trump’s realization has not caught up to how these cuts affect people. Meals on Wheels is one of the necessary programs, nor wasteful.

I also found out that the local medical bus that took me to my doctor’s appointments last year will cease operation May 31. This was another one of those programs that Trump thought ‘wasteful’. It will probably go to an ‘as needed’ basis. I pray that this requirement can be met by me.

Meals on Wheels got 35 percent of its funding through state subsidies. It was not on the budget cut list.

I am not on Medicaid, but I heard Mac Thornberry’s Town Hall meeting on The American Health Care Act, which was supposed to replace Obama Care and didn’t because it failed. I probably won’t get the written letter I was promised either. I am still waiting. There were a lot of questions about Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Veterans benefits. Obama Care took a big chunk of Medicare funds to run their program. When they refused to expand the Medicaid funding with this program, it hurt a lot of people. My Medicare premium went from $63.20 to $79.80 a month.

Trump’s realization is that he sees the need for the programs about to undergo severe
budget cuts. However, it did not mean that he is to protect the recipients of Meals on Wheels or
the other programs. Meals on Wheels got 35% of its funding from the government. It might get
hit indirectly though. The Trump administration planned to slash 18% of the Health and Human
Services for his defense spending.

Now, this man wants to use funds from the money El Chapo stole to fund the wall separating the U.S. and Mexico. Someone told me he should be paying from his own pocket. He sure has a lot of nerve. That i’ll give him.

At least with Hillary Clinton in charge, things would be different. She would have left the situation with North Korea alone. She would have let Putin disgrace himself instead of the current ‘cold war’ stance that exists now.

India is upset because the travel ban kept them from getting visas to work on America’s tech line. China, Russia, and North Korea are allies. Trump’s realization is that all three have ruffled feathers because of him, but he doesn’t care. He still has diplomacy issues.

What a difference 100 days makes.

Sources:

Trump’s Budget Rollout Scared The Crap Out Of Meals On Wheels Recipients

Here’s The Skinny On Meals On Wheels In Trump’s Budget

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

SNES Mini

Nintendo replaces Classic NES mini with SNES mini

Nintendo is at it again. Sometme this year, the SNES mini will be released, according to a blurb on Facebook. Apparently, the NES was a smash hit last year, so here comes the mini version. If it works, go for it! The company is hoping to release this game in time for the holidays.

This blogger isn’t into video games of this sort. Some of those advertised are just too violent or complicated for me. My father had to teach me how to master Tetris on the Classic Nintendo Game Boy and Nintendo 64 Console. That really dates me! At least I got that far. I never mastered Pong or Space Invaders. My brother’s friends teased me mercilessly because of my low scores.

According to the previously cited article above, the creators of the Nintendo NES mini did not expect it to become a staple in the marketplace. Fortunately, it went viral like a YouTube video or broke out like a movie at the box office that became a sleeper hit. Store stock sold out quickly. The weird thing is that critics didn’t pan the Classic NES mini like they would a bad movie. Remember Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice? This became a box office smash in spite of being ignored by the critics. One can still find the Nintendo NES Mini on ebay or on a resale site.

Nintendo’s push to discontinue the classic NES mini is seen as strange in some ways and top drawer in others. One main reason why it is being disconttinued, it’s a novelty item, not a gaming system. Maybe not as odd as the two-headed Jefferson quarter, but not seen as an item kept on store shelves. When something is released for a limited time, its run is due to end. Let’s face it, old games have their place. Other then myself, who plays outdated games anyway? Many of us still have the vinyl records stored in a box somewhere. Maybe it will return just like the McRib does every so often. This gaming system came out in the 80s and the other came out in the early 90s. It might be revamped under a new name.

The good news is that the Nintendo SNES mini is poised to replace the classic NES mini around Christmas time. It has the better software line-up and a larger catalogue of top games. Even better news, the mini SNES will have a mini plug to play all those classic NES mini games, so don’t toss them out just yet.

 

Sources:

Sources: Nintendo to launch SNES mini this year

Nintendo’s Simple Brilliance In Discontinuing The NES Classic Edition

 

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Effects on foreigners

Trump’s travel ban has consequences to America’s workforce

Trump’s travel ban affected more than immigration to the U.S.. It puts existing foreign workers with proper documentation in the United States on edge pending a decision on both executive orders. It made a shortage of skilled  American workers when foreigners were denied entry into the U.S. and  made IT and other customer services harder to render because of the suspension of the HB-1 Visa cap. Hardest hit is India.

One Iranian student had a single entry visa, with the travel ban in place and his future uncertain, he is worried because his visa expires next year. He hasn’t seen his father in seven years. His mother visited in 2014 after waiting almost 10 months for background checks. This was way before the travel ban and block were put in place.

Somehow, this hasn’t phased President Trump. It seems to me and the man in the above article, that our current commander in chief cared nothing for consequences. The first mandate, as it turns out, is unconstitutional. The second mandate banned everyone except Iraqis. This could also be a violation of the historic document, even though the wording is meant to avoid any legal tangles. Unfortunately, this did not occur. The travel ban is temporary as a decision emerges from the smoke.

The :”smoke”, in this case is the long wide avenue of appeals, which the current administration would definitely pursue. At least two states, Hawaii and Maryland, sued over the current travel ban laws already. The justice department is more concerned with the timing of their next move. Play the ‘Trump’ card too soon and their plans for both cases are revealed to the opposing side, play it last minute and it could end up costing them the cases in both states. This answered the when and where which is unknown at this time.

To accomplsh what method to use or how to challenge the issues in both states, it might tackle the one that was comprehensive or most inclusive., which is Hawaii. Remember, they were the first to sue over the travel ban.  It blocks two entire sections of the executive order that relate to refugee resettlement and visa issuances from six Muslim-majority countries, rather than just one clause of the order, as the Maryland judgment does. At its worst, these two cases could wind up in the same court that handed down the ban. If push came to shove, Trump might take the case all the way to the Supreme Court, where confirmation of  Neil Gorsuch, for the last Supreme Court spot.

Trumps Travel Ban: What this means for applicants wanting visas to the U.S. The March 6 mandate temporarily barred people from six Muslim majority countries and all people wanting asylum are banned from entering the U.S. Also, it allows racial profiling, which is illegal in America. The March 17 mandate leaves the decision with the consulate in the applicant’s country, whether or not to issue a visa, usually on a case by case basis, depending on diplomatic mission or government post. The sad fact about this is, two Russian brothers were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing and they were naturalized American citizens. At that time, the older brother visited Yemen for six months before the terrorist attack took place. No one thought to connect that visit with such a horrible crime. The shooting in San Bernadino was by a married foreign couple with visas.

The most significant are two lawsuits filed in the state of Washington against the second ban. These are both presided over by district judge James Robart in Seattle, who issued the temporary restraining order against Trump’s first ban. In one case, a coalition of Democratic states have asked Robart to issue a temporary restraining order against Trump’s the new order, citing similar arguments in the Hawaii case. In the other, which was heard before Robart yesterday afternoon, a refugee advocacy group also made similar arguments.

If Robart rules in favor of either of these two cases, it will deal yet another blow to the administration.

The biggest problem with the cut to HB-1 Visa program is a worker shortage in the U.S. The truth is that there were not enough American skilled workers to take over if slashes are made to this system. Trump has said he wants to dismantle it to bring jobs back to America. While this might look good, in theory, it is devastating to the work force, especially to online customer service and other tech support. For one thing, wages certainly wouldn’t improve in this area.

Tightening the cap on H-1B visas would result in more entrepreneurs setting up shop outside of America. For proof, the US should look at H-1B reject and Snapdeal founder Kunal Bahl, whose company now locks horns with Amazon in India.

And that matters because the benefits of innovation aren’t limited to just software services.

IT is the major driver behind the emergence of many new industries, such as fintech, edu-tech, health-tech etc,” Ashok Soota, the executive chairman at Bengaluru-based Happiest Minds Technologies, told Quartz in an e-mail.

As of March 3, here is what Trump outlined for the HB-1 Visa Program:

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it will temporarily suspend premium processing for H-1B visas from April 03. The H-1B visa allows foreign professionals to work in the US for up to six years and India’s outsourcing firms are among its top beneficiaries, often using the fast-track processing option to fill up positions for new projects on short notice.

Under the premium processing route, applications for the visa are processed within 15 days following the payment of an additional fee of $1,225; the standard procedure, on the other hand, can take three to six months.

This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years,” USCIS said.

In a notice on its website, USCIS noted that the suspension could last up to six months but said it may consider some specific H-1B applications for an expedition in cases of severe financial loss to a company or person, an emergency situation, or for humanitarian reasons, among others.

India’s IT outsourcing industry, which gets over 60% of its revenue from the US, has been fearing a rise in protectionism in its largest market ever since Trump got elected. The temporary suspension is in line with the US president’s anti-immigration stance and could hint at a tighter H-1B visa policy in the future, according to recruitment experts.

The US government is clearly telling companies to not depend on the H-1B visa going forward,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, chairman of Headhunters India, a boutique executive search firm that works with several Indian IT companies.

And that poses a problem, notably for India’s tier-1 IT service companies, such as Infosys and Wipro.

Tier-I Indian IT services firms largely use the premium processing category for H-1B visa for their employees, since they can easily afford the additional $1,225 fee. But, there will be uncertainty, as they will have to wait even for ongoing projects,” Pareekh Jain, senior vice-president at research firm HfS Research, told the Business Standard newspaper.

Here are some of the pros and cons of immigration into the United States.

How immigration impacts the United States

While America has historically benefited from allowing immigration, there are potential downsides for the country as well. The pros and cons of key issues in the immigration debate are listed in the table below.

Amnesty
Details Pro Con
Forgives individuals of illegally living in a country by providing them legal status Provides opportunities for immigrants to make a life for themselves otherwise unattainable in their home countries Rewards and encourages illegal behavior for those currently living in a country illegally, as well as in the future
Border patrols
Details Pro Con
A resource used to protect the borders of a country by securing them against individual attempting unlawful entry Protects a country against possible terrorist threats, illegal immigrants, and harmful materials from being imported into a country Costly and often results in violent situations
Mexican border fence
Details Pro Con
Plan to build a fence on the southern part of the United States to secure the border between America and Mexico May help secure the southern border against illegal immigrants and terrorists Inhibits harmony between countries, is costly, and will create issues with travel to and from Mexico
Jobs
Details Pro Con
Employment and financial opportunities Immigrants fill jobs that Americans often do not want or cannot fill Immigrants take jobs from the working poor of America
Table sources:
http://immigration.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000770
https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/along-us-borders/overview
http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/violent_crimes/terrorist-threats.htm
http://immigration.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000842
https://ults.co/2k94vus (truncated due to size)

Trump and the Mexican immigration policy

Since immigration is so heavily seated in politics, it is important that we understand what today’s political figures are saying about the issue. This is especially true of our new President, Donald Trump. Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail in regards to immigration is divisive, and is viewed with skepticism by many Americans. Along with a very specific set of visions, he claims he has adopted a plan in which he promises to put America first.

Trump’s plans include:

  • The intent to begin construction on a wall at the Mexican border which he insists they will pay for.
  • Stop allowing certain American cities to act as a haven for illegal immigrants.
  • Make sure that deported illegals go back to their countries starting with making sure that the countries responsible for them take action as well.
  • Strengthen the screening process when issuing visas.
  • Do away with previous amnesty policies formed under President Obama’s terms in office.

Racism versus realism – Trump’s views on Mexicans

It is really no secret that the newest president feels strongly about illegal immigration. He has been quoted, rather controversially, stating,:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you [sic]. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” (Newsday.com

As a blogger and a friend of most foreigners, Trump had a difficult road trying to build that wall. When foreigners come to this country, they bring their knowledge and skills too. Denying them entry devastated the U.S. economy.

Sources:

Ultius, Inc. “Donald Trump’s Controversial Immigration Policy Proposals – Will They Work?.” Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. Ultius Blog, 15 Feb. 2017. http://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/donald-trumps-controversial-immigration-policy-proposals-will-they-work.html

Immigrants still caught in legal limbo despite travel ban block

Trump’s new travel ban was blocked. How did it happen, and what’s next?

Headlines that say H-1B visas drive down US tech wages don’t tell the full story

Slowly and surely, the Trump government has begun dismantling the H-1B visa

 

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Trump's budget cuts

Trump’s budget cuts might bleed U.S.

We all knew there would be resistance when President Trump started his stint in the Oval Office. The biggest problem is, who would suffer from all these proposals? Trump’s budget cuts have everyone worried, as they should be My guess is correct the middle and lower class on down are affected. It looks to me and the rest of the nation, that  the United States will bleed internally from all these budget cuts. How right I am on both points.

Replacing Obamacare. With the deadline for a program to replace Obanacare looming, the ‘bones’ some people were discussing still left people uninsured. Planned Parenthood had cuts made to it and the law for all to be covered or face a penalty is removed. The largest funding source is a tax on the most expensive employer-provided health insurance plans. What isn’t included is a guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions are able to obtain coverage. Members of the House, however, introduced a bill last week to preserve the pre-existing condition ban, signaling that it would have to be passed separately.

Of course, thiis bill takes apart some of the ACA major parts such as the widening of Medicaid coverage and incentives to purchase health insurance. With Obamacare’s final passing a few years ago, expanding Medicare coverage wasn’t in the bill at all. Will this progam replacement close down all the urgent care centers that allowed walk-ins that opened in October last year? This blogger feels for those that use this program. More  services keep being slashed then added. As of March 9, if they didn’t close down, the lot of them will take private insurance. It was best to check beforehand.

Of course, with the increase in defense spending, $603 billion, one of the largest since the Reagan administration, which of the federal government programs were to be slashed? President Trump wants to do an across the board cut of that Federal program that is not needed or repetitive. .This is only part of the plan. In order to free up money for defense spending, more than $54 billion has to be cut. The United States planned to also scale back the amounts given to other countries. This is wise to me. As a young adult, military base closures were necessary and way overdue. Thankfully, the local base was converted into a training base for NATO pilots.

According to an article written by The Hufington Post, more than 24 billion people were to lose health care insurance if the bill Paul Ryan co-wrote passes the House and Senate. The bad news is, it already went through two house committees. While this bill would decrease the deficit by $337 billion by 2025, a lot of people won’t have health care coverage. This blogger is bothered by it because some of my friends depend on Obamacare as it is now to survive.

The biggest problem conservatives are faced with is that there is too much government help given to middle and low income households. Remember, the Republican Party wants less government not more. For as long a this writer can remember, the Middle Class has carried the weight of the expenses from the top on down since well before the Reagan Era. Reaganomics used the “trickle down” method, by the time the drip reached the middle and lower classes, the drip dried up. The uninsured had previous conditions if an amendment weren’t passed to allow them coverage under the American Health Care Plan

Under this new AHC system, it would cut the penalties of everyone not having insurance. It would slow down Medicaid expansion by 2020. Also, it would eliminate income based tax credit for private insurance. The biggest overhaul was to the Federal-State Medicaid program. Instead of an undefined amount that the state would cover, every person got a flat allotment, which grew slowly as expenses rose. The bad part of this is that it cut what Medicaid providers were reimbursed for or cut it out entirely.

These credits would be replaced by age-based tax credits that would provide less help to lower-income families and more to people with higher incomes. Medicaid enrollment would shrink by 17 percent, or 14 million people, by 2026 compared to what it would be under current law.

All these cuts to Medicaid and the repeal of Obamacare were to cut taxes by roughly $600 billion over ten years. The cuts to Medicaid were $880 billion. The redo would be 46% of what Obamacare did during the same period.

There is a big wrinkle in this plan, though. Not everyone would be insured. Older Americans would suffer because they either lack coverage. In some cases, the amounts they got charged would be higher after AHC than they are now.

Squeezing HUD According to one article, the $6 billion budget cuts would make housing shortages worse and slow down economic gain in well known markets. Locally, some areas of town are forbidden

to me because of a bad reputation with the law, or excessive crime. In addition, after 15 years at the same complex, the rent is too high to remain.Without a job, getting evicted was disgrace. After being burgled four times in the last four to five months, I don’t feel safe here. These housing shortages made it harder for me to find adequate safe housing.

HUD administers programs that support the provision of affordable housing choice, facilitates growth of jobs and public services and encourages redevelopment in communities where they’re needed most,” Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin said.

The forecast for Fannie May and Freddie Mac is $13 billion less for the period between 2017-26 then their estimates in August 2016. McLaughlin wanted to use the $6 billion to boost the market. He hoped it would rebound with these funds by repairing itself. This would be accomplished by building new homes. Right now, construction is at its highest at 62%. It could also be spent delaying the approval of some of the new homes, preventing a glut in the market. His biggest fear about this large budget cuts would burden economic growth.

Sources:

GOP  Draft Health Care Bill Cuts Medicaid, Insurance Subsidies

Trump is seeking $54B increase in defense spending, cuts elsewhere

24 Million People Stand To Lose Insurance Under GOP Obamacare ‘Replacement’

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Moriah Modisette: Banning cell use while driving is needed

Well, here’s a good reason for banning  cell phones  while driving is needed. It appears, in a January 5 article, that an SUV crashed into the back of another car eat full speed, which killed a five year old girl. The driver that rammed into the one in front, used Facetime while they drove.

According to a BBC article, the accident happened on a Texas road on Christmas Eve 2014. Five-year-old Moriah Modisette subsequently died. The lawsuit states that the parents – James and Bethany Modisette – were seeking damages for “the defendant’s wrongful failure to install and implement the safer, alternative design for which it sought a patent in December 2008”

The patent, which was issued by the US patent office in April 2014 aimed to lock out users while they were driving. In spite of repeated requests, there has been no statement made by Apple iPhone makers.

The driver involved in the crash – Garrett Wilhelm – drove his SUV into the back of the Modisette family’s vehicle while travelling at high speeds. Also in the BBC article, lawsuit documents said that he told police he was using FaceTime at the time of the crash and that the application was still active when police found his phone at the scene. He is facing trial on manslaughter charges in February.

There is a reason why this lawsuit isn’t frivolous. In 2008, iPhones supposedly had a feature that kept the phone from being used when the user got behind the wheel. In the United States, 46 states, including: Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 5 have primary enforcement. Of the 4 states without an all driver texting ban: 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers. Approximately 20 or more states and three U.S. Territories banned the use of hand held devices while driving

Wichita Falls did not allow the use of cell phones in school zones. Texas is one of the states resisting a stated wide prohibition of cell use while driving.

Sources:

Apple Being Sued Over FaceTime Car Crash Tragedy Ian Morris January 3, 2017

Apple sued over fatal ‘FaceTime crash’ January 3, 2017

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

WhatsApp 'Backdoor '

WhatsApp messages: Safety of encryption still under question

WhatsApp message encryption  is still under question.  The fact that messages written between users of this popular service enjoyed it because of its privacy, messages can still be read by prying eyes.

Remember the uproar over the privacy issue in the San Bernadino shooting? IPhones had additional safety features built into the phone to avoid someone seeing incriminating evidence. Yet, the FBI found its way around the First Amendment and everyone’s right to privacy, including the dead terrorists. This blogger still has her phone coded around my family just in case someone gets too nosey.

Once again, the media might be the catalyst for giving people the wrong idea concerning the safety of chatting on WhatsApp. Being able to read messages through a back door led users to Most other chat services that aren’t encrypted or as safe. Sometimes it makes this blogger wonder why the media allowed for such stupid scare tactics to occur?

My biggest concern is whether my gmail and yahoo email accounts were safe. Because the app had been compromised at yahoo for the second time my password is coded, preventing a breach. In times of war, nothing is absolute, not even the right to privacy.  In the case of the San Bernadino shooting, the FBI showed just cause in retrieving the data in the iPhone as evidence of a terrorist attack and maintained the proper warrant.

The concern over WhatsApp encrypted messages has merit. This didn’t sound so dumb to a lot of people. According to Chris Mills January 13 bog post, End-to-end encryption relies on both users having two parts of a secure key, used to encrypt and then decrypt the message. But to make sure that messages are always sent, even when the recipient is offline, Whatsapp appears to have compromised that system. According to The Guardian, “WhatsApp has the ability to force the generation of new encryption keys for offline users, unbeknown to the sender and recipient of the messages, and to make the sender re-encrypt messages with new keys and send them again for any messages that have not been marked as delivered.”

Here’s how the WhatsApp feature worked, according to Chris Smith’s January 17 blog post :

  • When a message is sent but not delivered to the recipient (you see a single tick on your sent message), WhatsApp servers will hold onto the message until it can be delivered, regardless of what happens to the receiving account.
  •  If a person — let’s call him Jay — loses a smartphone, buys a new one, or changes SIMs, but wants to keep using the same WhatsApp account, the application will warn all Jay’s contacts that their friend has changed devices, and an in-person security check might be required to verify his identity.

Now, here’s where the backdoor ‘feature’ steps in. The messages sent by all of Jay’s friends via WhatsApp will still arrive — that’s when his friends will see two ticks under their sent messages, marking the fact that the messages have been sent.

*Boelter explains that all the government has to do to spy on a specific friend of Jay’s — let’s call him Silent Bob — is to mimic  Jay’s phone using sophisticated equipment or by accessing WhatsApp’s servers. The government would then prevent the server from sending confirmation ticks to Silent Bob that his messages have been sent to Jay.

Jay, meanwhile, will not receive those messages, as they’re sent to the government’s devices. But Jay might soon realize that something is wrong with his WhatsApp app.

The gist is that Silent Bob will continue to send out messages to his friend, thinking that Jay has not seen the messages. The government would then collect that data.

In Tobias Boelter’s January 17 blog post, he stated that Facebook’s failure to acknowledge this flaw is a major concern because it allowed hackers to use this vulnerability. The collection of data  would’ve been a violation of users First Amendment right to privacy and free speech. Facebook and WhatsApp would have to keep all messages sent to an account that’s activated on a new device and prompt the senders to send them again if they want to do it. Even if it’s a hassle for the user, who sent those messages. In this case, Silent Bob’s messages that are in transit would need confirmation to be sent again to Jay.

Even though this made encrypted messages safe, it isn’t totally safe from hackers or unethical government people. Tobias Boelter showed this.

 

Sources:

Feelings Tobias Boelter’s Blog, January 17, 2017

WhatsApp vulnerability: Encryption backdoor or convenience feature? Chris Smith January 17, 2017

Whatsapp bug allows viewing of encrypted messages Chris Mills January 13, 2017

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Possible cancer link discovered in palm oil

Nutella’s cancer link to palm oil unfounded by report

Nutella, the popular chocolate, nutty spread, now has links to cancer thanks to palm oil. Before anyone panics, here is the information found by this blogger. Most of the problem with this spread and the cancer concern has to do with children, aged 3 and under. This blogger might think that the report is unfounded.

While processed foods aren’t good for anyone, this group has underdeveloped immune systems. Most of the trouble came from refining foods at high tempertures, usually above 200 degrees Celcius, which causes these free radicals to exist in foods like margarine and other oils. One of the problems with this eight month old report is that the powers that be didn’t set a safe level of the cancer causing agent that had everyone so afraid. That didn’t stop one of the largest food chains in Italy from pulling the spread from it’s shelves. Acccording to the article from The Huffington Post, more research is needed to determine how bad the cancer threat really is.

Nutella posted a tweet on the safety of its product and further went on defending its consumption. It went on further, stating:

“Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward,” Vincenzo Tapella from Ferrero told Reuters.

This link to cancer that has everybody up in arms, is inconclusive because the report that is being used to back up these cancer claims never mentioned the name brand as a culprit of it. If more research is needed on the subject, why are they using this old report to stir up controversy in the first place?

The biggest problem over the production of this highly prized palm oil is that poor countries in where the rain forest existed, large corporations are being lured into mass producing these trees for economic reasons, often at the expense of endangered aninimals and their habitats. A lot of people that live in the forest are being displaced in favor of the money these large farms can produce from growing and harvesting these trees. It reminded me of what the settlers did to gain land from the Indians. Remember The Trail of Tears?

In spite of this scare tactic from the media, no plans are in the works in the United Kingdom to stop sales of Nutrlla. The World Health Organizatio hasn’t warned people to cease consumption of palm oil. There are efforts to stop the massive distruction of the forests by producing synthetic palm oil, but even that is full o controversy too.

 

Sources:

Stores Are Pulling Nutella After Report Links It To Cancer

Process contaminants in vegetable oils and foods

Say No to Palm Oil

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Will the new administration get Obamacare right with the March 3 deadline?

The fate of Obamacare delayed until March 3

It looked to me like the life of ObamaCare, otherwise known as The Affordable Care Act, is extended, at least until March 3. This allowed the in coming administration to get it right, thanks to the five senators that drafted and passed an amendment to the bill on Monday night. The January 27 deadline would’ve used money from the budget reconciliation to void parts of the controversial act.

SENATE VOTES OVERNIGHT IN FIRST STEP TOWARD REPEAL OF OBAMACARE

Having something new and more responsible is the incoming administration’s major hurdles and first on their agenda. How is this done without a huge hike in costs? According to one article, the ACA costs money, $1.34 trillion in the next 10 years. As this already added to the national defict, already reaching $19.8 trillion, taxpayers are alarmed this mandate further excentuated unneccessary, waistful spending. Nearly 20 million people will lose medical coverage if Obamacare is undone.

Speaking of the affect on the national deficit, a few estimates suggest that the ACA could have a positive long-term effect on the deficit; others disagree. saying that the new law will only add more weight to an already devastating national debt. Affordable healthcare comes at a cost to taxpayers who can afford to contribute to the system. And some taxpayers will pay substantially more than others depending on their health. age and socioeconomic status.

The Affordable Care Act requires a variety of things:1) Everyone must obtain insurance 2), policies have to offer “10 essential benefits. and 3) certain employers have to provide health insurance to full-time workers. These requirements might be seen as a slap in the face to personal freedom. Whether you agree with this assessment or not, conservatives back this mandate 100% and continue arguing the point, despite the fact that the bill is a law.

Republicans have it reversed. Government wasn’t the problem, it was the solution. The problem existed in the private sector. At least 20% won’t have a choice in providers in 2017. Those in the middle faced an average premium increase of 25%. Still the majority of people were taking a tax penalty because the premiums remain out of reach.

Donald Trump Warns Obamacare Taxes & Penalties 2016 – YouTube

Remember the problem with Bowie Memorial Hospital? It closed because of funding problems. Bowie citizens went to the polls in Montague County deciding whether to approve a hospital tax district, which would have pumped much-needed revenue into the hospital. Run by a volunteer board, appointed by  Bowie City Council members, Bowie Memorial bled millions over the years as administrators struggled to serve an aging, poor and underinsured population. But anti-tax forces in the community saw the district as another government bailout; some didn’t even believe the hospital would close.

With the influx of young people to bigger cities in search of jobs, the elderly and poor were left behind. This made things worse when Congress slashed funding and repayment costs for Medicaid and Medicare in the 1990s. The worst part of it is they didn’t expand services for Medicaid under the ACA, which left most uninsured who didn’t qualify for Medicaid and didn’t have Medicare. Nearly 80% of hospital patients were like that and very sick a lot on the time. It was sad to see this unfold last year on the news.

There has been local good news. Thanks to the ACA, there are urgent care centers and Emergency Clinics. Urgent care centers handle things that were handled in the next two days and up to a week. Emergency Clinics handle immediate problems like appendicitis, any type of stomach pains and the like. For a kidney infection, urgent care would run the testing aand diagnose the condition via their lab. For a migraine The Emergency Clinic is the option. The aim with all these options is to reduce the high copay costs of visiting an ER.

The cost of treating my migraine at URHCC ER back in January 2008 was $2,678, roughly. The cost for the ER doctor was over $300, separate from the treatment. This included three anti- nausea medication administered through an IV and my being hooked up to a heart machine, a blood test taken twice, and medicine to stop the pain. The medication for the migraine cost $285 before Medicare, $211 after. The large amount made my doctor cringe.

Medicare Part D Penalty

To leave Medicare Part D isn’t wise either. Not having prescription drug coverage cost someone 2.5% of their income plus a lifetime penalty that started at $ 4 a month. Because there isn’t any other income outside of my Social Security check and what my father left from the VA, the money probably will be deducted from my check before it is electronically deposited into my account. Not having part B costs more than that. As of April 15, 2017, the penalty started at $900. Penalties were like premiums. They went up too. Had I switched to the standard plan instead of going with another company, or sttaying with the value plan there probably wouldn’t be a premium increase of $17.

My point here is, in the rush to get out of the program, the representative on the phone December 7 mislead me into believing disenrollment in Medicare Part D could’ve been handled over the phone and there weren’t any consequences.  She may have started with them, but there wasn’t a full disclosure until my call on December 30.

So, as congress and the senate decide the fate of Obamacare, the effects could either hurt its users or help. Let’s pray they get it right by March 3 of this year.

WHAT TODAY’S PROCEDURAL VOTE MEANS FOR A POTENTIAL OBAMACARE REPEAL

 

 

Sources:

The GOP is pumping the brakes on repealing Obamacare Bob Bryan Business Insider January 10, 2017

Wichita Falls Urgent Care Clinics versus Emergency Rooms By Alex Achten, Thursday, November 17th 2016

Problems with Obamacare

Doctor’s Out: a Community Hospital Closes in Small-Town Texas by Alexa Garcia-Ditta Fri., April 1, 2016

The Biggest Problem with Obamacare (It’s Probably Not What You Think) “Government isn’t the problem here. It’s the solution.” By Richard Eskow / Blog for Our Future November 2, 2016

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.