September 29, 2018
Michelle Obama is launching her new book
My first job after college graduation was at McGraw-Hill Book Company. The pay was low but the benefits were incredible and it got my foot in the door at a publishing house. As a starry-eyed twenty-something I was mesmerized to be working in a place that would have been the envy of all my schoolmates.
I have a clear memory of my father meeting me at my office for lunch. He planned on taking me to Smith & Wollensky’s across the street (yum!), but before we left I gave him the grand tour of the building. There was a restaurant on the top floor, an underground mall and theatre, and the roof was converted into a track for employees-only. McGraw-Hill wanted their staff to stay in shape. And for a good reason: A healthy employee translates into greater productivity. So when I read an article from The Wall Street Journal, "Wellness Programs Get a Health Check: Designed to Motivate Workers to Get in Shape, Employers Tread Carefully With Toughened Plans", it reminded me of the generous health insurance plan I had in 1981. That was then. This is now.
The Wall Street Journal article talked about the lengths employers now go to provide incentives for employees to remain healthy, urging them to get regular checkups and choose healthier lifestyles in order to help employers manage their health care costs. If the employees comply, they are rewarded with discounts on insurance premiums or extra cash in the form of reimbursement accounts. But what happens if they don’t comply? An employee can be penalized with a surcharge added to their premiums. The Affordable Care Act was meant to help encourage company-sponsored wellness programs by increasing maximum incentives and surcharges. Are these incentives a good thing?
Should employees be forced to participate in wellness programs or face severe consequences?Wellness issues aren’t the only problem. There is also the question of privacy. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed two lawsuits against companies claiming that certain medical examinations and lifestyle inquiries that were not job-related violate The American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Sick employees need to know all medical waste shall be place in specialized cardboard or reusable plastic containers for transport and disposal. Such ready-made containers shall have the words "BIOHAZARD" and the generator's name and address printed on them or have stickers with such designation adhered to the containers. This is all part of quality waste management that assures our health and safety.
When one worker refused to submit to an exam they were not only denied benefits but were also fired. Another company demanded that an employee participate in the program or face cancellation of their health plan and receive disciplinary action. What do Americans think of this? In a recent Kaiser Foundation Tracking poll, "Most say it’s appropriate for employers to offer wellness programs, but not to tie premiums to participation or health programs." It seems that some companies are beginning to change their tune. For example, Johnson & Johnson, long known to offer employees the gold standard of health plans, are offering programs that are non-monetary, such as a walking program recognizing employees who walk more than one million steps a year.
Yet despite Johnson & Johnson and other companies changing their policies, The use of incentives appears to be on the rise. Seventy-four percent of employers with wellness programs planned to offer incentives this year compared with 57% in 2009, according to the National Business Group on Health. The median incentive has risen to $500 from $338 in 2010. What remains to be seen is how these lawsuits play out, and whether companies will continue or change their policies about wellness program compliance. What do you think about these policies?
September 29, 2018
Michelle Obama is launching her new book
To promote her memoirs, "Becoming", which will be released on November 13, the former first lady is planning a tour worthy of a rockstar. Yes Michelle is certainly as popular as many celebrities from show business.
For the release of her memoirs titled Becoming, published on November 13 worldwide and in 28 languages, Michelle Obama has seen big. Very big. Usually, the authors advertise their book in bookstores, cafes or small rooms. But for Michelle Obama, she chose a rockstar promo approach. She has partnered with Live Nation, a concert organizing group that manages the careers of major artists, including Beyoncé, and will tour ten or so major cities in stadiums of 20,000 people. A first in the world of publishing.
And a successful operation, it seems. As soon as they went on sale, seats sold for between $29.50 and $3,000 were torn apart. Ten percent of the tour's revenue will be donated to charity. For its passage at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, a 20,000-seater basketball stadium, the cheapest ticket still available is$ 1,500. At this price, you will also get a signed book. For $ 2,700, you are entitled to VIP treatment with a first-class seat, reception and photo with the former first lady ... In Washington, the demand was such that Live Nation has added a second date. But it will cost at least $ 500, the price of the cheapest seats still available. "Mrs. Obama wanted her tour to be as accessible as possible," said Tara Traub, one of Live Nation Touring's leaders. Well it's missed, and the fans showed their irritation on social networks in front of these astronomical prices. "Michelle Obama sells tickets at Beyoncé's price and I did not expect it," laments a young woman on Twitter.
Will she make it an international tour and come to Europe, it is not yet decided. She came to London a few years ago and even met the Queen according to our friends at the UK best SEO company. Michelle is going to make a killing it seems with her book, and she masters marketing at a new level. We cannot wait to get our copy and discover her experience at the White House.
May 08, 2012
Barack Obama on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
In commemoration of National Black HIV / AIDS Awareness Day, Senator Barack Obama sent a letter to the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, which will be read at their ceremony this evening honoring numerous "Heroes in the Struggle" against this ongoing epidemic. Here are excerpts from the letter, which may also be found at http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hqblog.
HIV/AIDS is appropriately described as a global challenge. Yet we know that the struggle against HIV/AIDS is not distant - our determination to take action must begin in our own communities.
A report released a few months ago on the state of HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia makes this point painfully clear. Over 12,500 people living in the District are known to have HIV/AIDS. One in 20 residents has HIV, and 1 in 50 has AIDS - the highest rate of infection of any city in the country. The impact is particularly grave in the African American community, as more than 80 percent of HIV cases identified in the District between 2001 and 2006 were African Americans, this is not a game anymore.Continue reading "Barack Obama on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day"
March 02, 2011
David Mixner: Don't Count Out Edwards
In a recent blog post David Mixner comments on a 2008 election poll which places Edwards in the lead in Iowa:
Though we're still 11 months away, the message of this poll is clear: Don't underestimate John Edwards. Also, we should look out for Iowa polls over the next several weeks as the Big Three duke it out for Tom Vilsack's supporters.
Meanwhile, it's important to note that the nasty dustup between the Clinton and Obama camps this week does not bode well for either campaign. Remember that in 2004, Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean were frontrunners in Iowa until they went after each other tooth and nail. The voters, tired of the cut-throat campaigning, placed Kerry and Edwards at the top of the ballot."
If you've never checked out David Mixner's Blog, be sure to add it to your list. David has been a highly regarded leader in American politics and international human rights for over 40 years. He writes daily from Turkey Hollow, his mountain top home in upstate New York.
March 01, 2010
Will Hillary Introduce Senate DADT Legislation?
Yesterday, Congressman Marty Meehan reintroduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in the House. But the question remains, who will introduce the legislation in the Senate? Hillary Clinton comes to mind for two reasons. First, she has been mentioning this issue on the campaign trail. Second, she serves on the Armed Services Committee.
And what does Congressman Marty Meehan think? The Edge Reports.
Asked who he might ask to introduce the Senate bill, Meehan said several Democratic members have expressed support, including Massachusetts colleague Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton of New York has not bluffed when she said she supports lifting the ban while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kennedy and Clinton serve on the Armed Services Committee.
Hillary, we are counting on you to be a leader on this issue! Don't let us down.
February 28, 2009
John Edwards Statement on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Senator John Edwards released the following statement today calling for an end to the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy on gays and lesbians in the military. Earlier today, Congressman Marty Meehan reintroduced his Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.
"It is long past time to end the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy and to allow openly gay men and women to serve in the military. It is critical to our national security that we have the best people in our military. Gay men and women have continually played to serve our country with honor and bravery, and we should honor their commitment and never turn away anyone who is willing to serve their country because of their sexual orientation.
"This is an issue of fundamental fairness - and our military ought to treat everyone fairly. I applaud Congressman Meehan on his important legislation."
For John Edwards Supporters
Do you want to show your support for John Edwards in 2008? Do you have a website? Here are two very easy things you can do.
First, if you know RSS, you can add the Out for Edwards RSS Feed to your website.
Second, I've created this banner graphic to promote the Out for Edwards site. If you would like to add this banner code simply cut and paste the HTML below to your website:
February 27, 2008
Do We Need Democrats Like This?
Reprinted Bulletin exclusive from U.S. News & World Report:
Eaves To Attack Barbour From The Right On Social Issues. The Democratic consultants who have spent the years since 2004 trying to reverse the Democratic Party's secular image and who are credited with Democratic gains among evangelicals and other religious voters in the 2006 midterms have signed onto the campaign of a Mississippi gubernatorial candidate who will test the limits of the Democratic Party's willingness to embrace social conservatives. The Washington, DC-based Common Good strategies, started by the religious outreach director for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, will be working to elect John Arthur Eaves, who announced today that he will be challenging Republican Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 2007. Eaves is an outspoken evangelical Christian who is anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage and anti online black jack and whose internal campaign literature includes an emphasis on reintroducing school prayer to public schools. "When we took prayer out of school," the document says, "we denied our children the ability to explore one of the most important questions they should be asking: why do we exist and what is our purpose in being here?" A source close to the campaign says Eaves will also work to take advantage of evangelical discontent with Barbour over allowing casinos to come on shore.
For Hillary Clinton Supporters
Do you want to show your support for Hillary Clinton in 2008? Do you have a website? Here are two very easy things you can do.
First, if you know RSS, you can add the Out for Hillary RSS Feed to your website.
Second, I've created this banner graphic to promote the Out for Hillary site. If you would like to add this banner code simply cut and paste the HTML below to your website:
February 26, 2007
For Barack Obama Supporters
Do you want to show your support for Barack Obama in 2008? Do you have a website? Here are two very easy things you can do.
First, if you know RSS, you can add the Out for Obama RSS Feed to your website.
Second, I've created this banner graphic to promote and play with the Out for Obama site. If you would like to add this banner code simply cut and paste the HTML below to your website:
February 24, 2007
February 22, 2007
John Edwards One Corps
Are you supporting John Edwards in 2008? Well then in addition to signing up for the Out for Edwards Yahoo Group, you'll want to register at One Corps. One Corps is John Edward's online organizing tool for offline action. Check it out
Be sure to list Out for Edwards as one of your friends on One Corps!
February 21, 2007
Are you supporting Barack Obama in 2008? Obama knows poker well, so when signing up for the Out for Obama Yahoo Group, you'll want to also register on the official Barack Obama website. And when you signup be sure to add 'Out for Obama' on your list of friends.
Click here to register on the official site>
* click here to register & make a donation.
February 20, 2007
Are you supporting Hillary Clinton in 2008? Well then in addition to signing up for the Out for Hillary Yahoo Group, you'll want to be sure to register on the official Hillary Clinton website.
February 19, 2007
Andrew Sullivan on HRC
Read the whole piece here.
"Gays should not expect any bipartisan attempt at progress for gay couples or people from the Human Rights Campaign, Steve Miller argues. He's right; and anyone who has followed gay politics for a while knows it. HRC is a patronage wing of the Democratic party, designed primarily to get its members jobs in future Democratic administrations or with Democrats on the Hill (even while Howard Dean treats them like the help). The idea that they would even consider endorsing a pro-gay Republican on a national level is absurd.
I've watched the military battle and the marriage battle for almost two decades now. HRC has been AWOL on both. For much of the 1990s, they were an active force opposing the fight for marriage equality, because the Clintons gave them their marching orders. The current leadership are Hillary-bots, and if she becomes president, they will go back to their role in the 1990s: as spin-meisters for the Democratic establishment. If you're for gay rights, do yourself a favor. Give your money to groups that actually care about gay rights, not just casino gamblers. Off the top of my head: Freedom To Marry, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Immigration Equality. If you want to give to HRC, just give it directly to Hillary. It's more efficient."
February 18, 2007
GLCC Members Respond to DNC Op Ed
I'm including this response to Donald Hitchcock's Op Ed by request. There are some things that I take exception with. Among my concerns: these GLCC members (a group which was originally for the $2,000+ donors to the DNC) maintain that Brian Bond's main focus on the DNC is political outreach, despite the fact that this is not reflected either in his job title or in the organizational structure of the DNC), and despite the fact that we don't have concrete GLBT outreach plans I (that I know of) in place as we did under Eric Stern.
To the Editors:
Re: “Howard Dean continues to disrespect gay voters” (letter to the editor by Donald Hitchcock, Feb. 9)
For many of us who are supporters of the Democratic National Committee, we were surprised by Donald Hitchcock's letter published last week.
As donors and community activists we have a completely different take on the recent Caucus meeting, Gov. Howard Dean's remarks and most importantly DNC progress as a whole.
First, Dean, due to a very tight tournament schedule, was unable to attend all caucus meetings. However, he spent as much or more time with our caucus as he did with any other caucus.
Second, he did open up the floor to questions. While there were no questions, one person from Wisconsin said, “I don't have a question but a statement … thank you for sending money to Wisconsin to fight the anti-LGBT marriage ballot initiative.”
Third, the letter is just wrong on the number of DNC finance staff. Also, Brian Bond does only political work and no fundraising.
Fourth, Dean has treated the LGBT community extremely well. Under his leadership our community is represented at the most senior and visible levels of the party. In addition, Dean has consistently fought Republican efforts to use a federal marriage amendment to scapegoat our community, as well as anti gambling and anti freedom of speech regulations. Multiple source from online casino reviews to strong supporters of an anti UIGEA bill are confirming that.
Fifth, the attacks on DNC contributions are misleading. Let's be clear, the primary mission of the DNC is to fund and elect Democrats. However, we encourage and applaud Dean's willingness and leadership to invest limited federal dollars in a strategy to try and keep anti-gay referendum off the ballot.
Dean's 50-state strategy worked. We took control of both houses of Congress and won hundreds of seats at the state and city level.
Because Democrats took control of both houses of Congress, there will be no more FMA votes and we can expect real progress on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and hate crimes legislation.
Democrats won 10 new state legislatures, meaning there are 10 fewer legislatures from which anti-gay ballot initiatives will emerge.
We now have LGBT Convention Delegate Inclusion Plans.
The DNC is helping Stonewall Democrats build their infrastructure, training state parties in LGBT outreach and coordinating with allied organizations to create an LGBT summit.
There has been and there will continue to be real progress, it is not a game. It is important to push our party on our issues, but as we do so, we need to be honest, accurate, and balanced in what we say, otherwise we not only lose credibility but become counterproductive to our own goals. Let us now all move forward.
BARBRA 'BABS' CASBAR