Monday, September 30, 2013

ObamaCare | What will health coverage cost you?

Kaiser Family Foundation


Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins tomorrow. The nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation created a free calculator for people who don't have health coverage or struggle to afford the coverage they have. 

Enter estimates based on the income you anticipate in 2014, and find out what to expect, including the possibility that you are eligible for subsidized health cover. 

The calculator is handy, private and secure (meaning you're the only one who sees the results — you can estimate high, low and middle to see a range of possibilities).

Try the calculator

Sunday, September 29, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 09.28.13

telling the truth | Ricky Gervais in Fast Company 

2013 SAT scores hold steady, mostly

This is OBAMACARE | what's at stake 

McDonalds backs sodas out of the Happy Meals menu 

forever young? | that's a baby boomer problem 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

forever young? | that's a baby boomer problem

One of my go-to curmudgeons, Bob Lefsetz puts his finger right on the bruise for leaders of my generation...
That’s a baby boomer problem. The belief that what was once important will continue to be. 
But look at it this way… When we were listening to the Beatles back in 1964, were we also listening to the music from 1914? Of course not! So why do baby boomers expect that kids today care about what happened fifty years ago? 
They don’t. 
As for boomers saying they loved Frank Sinatra growing up… I don’t believe this is true, Sinatra nostalgia came much later, but in any event, his moment of fame came only twenty years before the Beatles, it’s like patting today’s kids on the back for liking George Michael.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 09.21.13

Progress? Study shows efforts to increase adolescent physical activity + reduce TV time may be working 

The 2013 National Book Awards longlist for young people’s literature 

read it yourself | the open letter on firearms Starbucks ceo, Howard Schultz 

college cost calculator courtesy of Wellesley College

exploring [part ii] | a small idea from Raising Adults

Friday, September 20, 2013

exploring [part ii] | a small idea from Raising Adults

Learning to  Explore with your child delivers immediate bonuses:
First, asking good questions and listening carefully to the answers will help you discover the weak spots in your child’s skill set. When you know what needs attention, it’s not terribly difficult to figure out what to do next.
Second, when you take your youngster seriously enough to ask questions you can’t already answer, you’re preparing him to let you in on a whole lot of other, deeper stuff. Pair this skill with the development of a sophisticated emotional vocabulary and you’ve got the raw material for a deep, sustainable relationship with your child. More on that Emotional Vocabulary later.
Third, if you Explore instead of Hijack, your child won’t automatically expect that all adults are out to make her look stupid. Maybe she’ll give other adults a chance to demonstrate their real intentions and not assume the worst. Of course, she’ll find the worst is true of some adults—in which case the contrast between how you treat her and how those other jerks treat her will make you look really, really good.

— from Raising Adults

Sunday, September 15, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 09.14.13

read it yourself | President Obama addresses the nation on Syria's chemical weapons

"What's the most frustrating thing about being a high school student?" 

exploring [part i] | a small idea from Raising Adults 

delight | a short film made entirely from crowd-sourced Vines 

8,077 | nine months of US gun violence after the Newtown slaughter

read it yourself | US + Russian agreement on Syria

U.S. Department of State
Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 14, 2013

Taking into account the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the commitment of the Syrian authorities to provisionally apply the Convention prior to its entry into force, the United States and the Russian Federation express their joint determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program (CW) in the soonest and safest manner.

For this purpose, the United States and the Russian Federation have committed to prepare and submit in the next few days to the Executive Council of the OPCW a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof. The principles on which this decision should be based, in the view of both sides, are set forth in Annex A. The United States and the Russian Federation believe that these extraordinary procedures are necessitated by the prior use of these weapons in Syria and the volatility of the Syrian civil war.

The United States and the Russian Federation commit to work together towards prompt adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that reinforces the decision of the OPCW Executive Council. This resolution will also contain steps to ensure its verification and effective implementation and will request that the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with the OPCW, submit recommendations to the UN Security Council on an expedited basis regarding the UN’s role in eliminating the Syrian chemical weapons program.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

gunshot | 09 months of gun violence after Newtown

In the nine months since the slaughter at Newtown, Connecticut, the gun deaths of about 8,077 Americans have been crosschecked in media reports.

This does not for the most part reflect suicides which account for about 60% of US gun fatalities.

Federal legislation to restore and extend previously effective firearm regulations is stalled in Congress.

If this stalling doesn't bother you, no action is required unless and until the death toll reaches a number—or includes a name—that gets your attention.

If the stalling does bother you, you can tell your members of the US Senate and House of Representatives you want them to #makegunviolenceharder.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

exploring [part i] | a small idea from Raising Adults

Where Hijackers assume we know what other people think and feel and where they’re likely to end up if we don’t take control, Explorers assume nothing. 
Instead, the Explorer seeks information only his child can provide but probably won’t volunteer unless she is asked.
 “Just a moment,” someone is saying. “Asking, ‘Are you wearing your jacket?’ is a question.” 
Okay fine, you got me on a technicality; it is a question. But, it’s a loaded question ... so it’s not a very good one. 
Wayne Rice, one of the founders of Youth Specialties, offered this simple definition of a good question:

A good question is one to which you don’t have the answer.

I like that a lot and here’s why: Most of the questions adults ask are tricks. And nearly all the rest are tests. Adults so seldom ask for real information that most kids learn to assume they’re being tested or set up by adults most of the time.
The first time a child gives an honest answer to a question like, “What were you thinking!” that child learns that the question was rhetorical. He may not know what rhetorical means, but he soon figures out that an honest answer to a rhetorical question is a bad idea. 
After a while, kids grow cagey, avoiding direct answers no matter what—much like politicians but for different reasons. They learn the art of misdirection and answering questions with questions. It would be funny to watch if it didn’t signal a profound absence of trust. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

read it yourself | President Obama addresses the nation on Syria

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 10, 2013

East Room

9:01 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria -- why it matters, and where we go from here.
Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war.  Over 100,000 people have been killed.  Millions have fled the country.  In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement.  But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children.  The images from this massacre are sickening:  Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas.  Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath.  A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk.  On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits -- a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war.
This was not always the case.  In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe.  In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust.  Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them.  And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.
On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity.  No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria.  The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.

Monday, September 09, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 09.07.13

Are demographics destiny? 1/2 of Americans live in just 146 US counties (out of more than 3k total).

Motivation and the Red Lantern | Seth Godin 

In 2011, grandparents were primary caregivers to about 3MM US children—up ~500K over the decade 

if we act quickly | Another Way on Syria? 

hijacking | a small idea from Raising Adults 

6K folks had endorsed the Avaaz plan on Syria when I signed. 20 hours later it was over 300K. As of now, the number is approaching 700K. Add your voice?

blame the kids | 6% decline in 2012 US teen birth rate follows declines of 8% and 9% in 2011 + 2010 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

if we act quickly | Another Way on Syria?

I'm happy to be one of 25 million people who trust the organization called AVAAZ to help us understand the subtext of global issues and to take direct action on our behalf in matters of justice and the common good.

Here's a message from Avaaz this afternoon that may point to another way in Syria. I've underlined a bit and added notes [inside brackets]. Avaaz has provided links to lots of supporting material at the end.

I hope you'll join me in asking President Obama and Iran's President Rouhani to lead us another way on Syria. Read on, then click to sign if you think it's a worthy goal.
Just weeks ago the kids in this image [omitted, but the images are widely available-jh] were gassed to death in their sleep, but it feels the world has forgotten them and got stuck in a debate between US strikes or doing nothing. Now there is a glimmer of hope for a peaceful way to stop these massacres. 

Syria's bloody war has been fuelled by rivalry between Iran, Assad's main backer, and the US and their allies. But this vile chemical attack has changed their discourse: Iran’s new moderate president condemned the gassing and Obama signalled he'd work with "anybody" to resolve the conflict. Let's urgently call on both leaders to sit down to talks and bring the warring parties together before any more lives are lost. 

Right now, the global drums of war are beating over Syria, but if enough of us make sure Rouhani and Obama know the world wants bold diplomacy, we could end the nightmare for thousands of terrified Syrian children under threat of new gas attacks. We have no time to lose. Click now to join this urgent call -- when we reach one million signers we will deliver the petition directly to the two presidents [And they will—I don't know anyone who has the kind of track record Avaaz has at getting their message directly to world leaders]:

hijacking | a small idea from Raising Adults

Hijacking begins with the belief that I know you better than you know yourself.  Could anything make you happier than knowing I think I possess that power?
This is how an awful lot of adults (and not just a lot of awful adults) regularly treat the kids in their lives. Come to think of it, there are adults who treat each other this way and I don’t know anyone—adult or child—who enjoys it even a little bit.
Hijackers assume that, left to themselves, kids will end up in the wrong place, or at least try to get there the wrong way—meaning a different way than the adult would, which of course makes it wrong. No matter how accomplished the youngster actually may be, she will be tempted to feel childish in the presence of a committed Hijacker.
“Do you have your lunch money?” is an insult from the mouth of a Hijacker because it means I’m pretty sure you’d starve if it weren’t for me. Remember that time you forgot your lunch money? You were hungry weren’t you? I wouldn’t want to let you make that mistake again. There’s very little chance the child will feel like eating at the end of such an exchange, as she’s probably had about all she can stomach.
Most people mean no harm when they Hijack. Their goal after all is to head off undesirable consequences. But Hijackers do considerable harm to cherished relationships because Hijacking undermines the worth of those they care for. The received message of Hijacking is something like:
You’re helpless without me. You need me for the most trivial matters. I’m saying this for your own good. You’d lose your mind if I didn’t hand you a piece of mine you on the way out the door every morning. Never forget that. And, honey, have a good day at school. 
Hijacking fosters dependence instead of encouraging intelligent independence. The Hijacker insists on looking after details like what to wear, what to eat, how to study, when to sleep and wake, how, specifically, to get from point A to point B. Then, if children make the mistake of relinquishing control in any of these areas Hijackers blame them for not looking after the little things any fool can accomplish. It’s a dirty business, Hijacking. 
You don’t understand! It’s for his own good!
Blah, blah, blah.
No, really; he’d forget his head if it wasn’t attached!
Not more than once.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 08.31.13

grand gesture | back to school spirit

read it yourself | President Obama's talk on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington

millennials kinda sorta want their child stars to stay classy 

Epidemic in Boston | a letter from Senator Elizabeth Warren 

read it yourself | President Obama's statement on Syria 

A magical photograph by my high school friend, Joe Nicholas Boris