September 05, 2014

No surprise

West Virginia has taken several steps in a positive direction in the last couple of years, but we're still at the bottom on some indicators. Women in the state rank last in terms of earnings and workforce participation. And we're tied with our old pal Mississippi on obesity, which is one reason why efforts like Try This West Virginia are kind of important.

Along that line, the New York Times ran this item, which calls for putting the physical in education.One of several victories last years was the adoption of a state school board policy that mandates 30 minutes of physical activity per day in schools.We can beat this.

WE MAY BE CHUNKY, but at least we're not as big as this guy. Yet.

A LITTLE WIN. The Affordable Care Act got a boost in court yesterday.

September 04, 2014

Let's talk

I've often said that one thing that West Virginia needs right away is a series of grown-up conversations (that include young people) about West Virginia's economic future. One promising step in that direction is What's Next, West Virginia?, which is gearing up to hold dozens of such conversations statewide. You can read more about that here.

THIS COULD BE INTERESTING.Fast food workers in 150 cities may be acting up for higher wages today. I wish em all the best.

ANOTHER RIPPLE FROM THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. This NPR item about how the Affordable Care Act is changing companies like CVS is worth a look.


September 02, 2014

Up in smoke

West Virginia has made some strides in the direction of reason in its criminal justice system, but there is still huge room for improvement. The Charleston Gazette recently reported that marijuana arrests accounted for over half of the drug busts in the state.

For the record, El Cabrero is no stoner. I figure if alcohol was good enough for my old man and my hillbillly and Scotch Irish ancestors, it's good enough for me. But still...there's got to be a better way.

THE CRISIS THAT WASN'T. For years, deficit scolds like Paul Ryan have been warning that Medicare costs, like those of Social Security and Medicaid, are growing at an unsustainable rate. That turns out to be BS too, thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act.

ANOTHER CIVILIZED STATE? Could it be that even a state like Tennessee is considering expanding Medicaid?

ANOTHER GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR is in the quality of food.


September 01, 2014

Room for hope?

Here's a semi-optimistic Labor Day assessment of the outlook for working people, or at least of changing attitudes about it.

And here's an all too realistic assessment of racial disparities in the US today.

August 31, 2014

Good news heading into Labor Day: another state joins the civilized world

There is some good news for over half a million working people in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. That state, currently governed by Republican Tom Corbett, recently received federal approval for his version of Medicaid expansion.

It's not a straight-up expansion of Medicaid such as what was done in WV by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. It's more convoluted than it needs to be and it probably will cost more and be less effective, but still it's a huge step forward.

If you're keeping score, this means that 26 states and the District of Columbia have shown a modicum of humanity. These days, I'll take whatever good news I can get.

CALLING BS. Here's my take on the whole "war on coal."