Tag Archives: NPR

A woman says she was fired after she deleted an app that her boss used to track her, 24/7: — CNNMoney (@CNNMoney) May 13, 2015


 

Injured Worker in ProPublica/NPR Story Testifies Before Illinois Legislature – ProPublica


An injured worker featured in a ProPublica and NPR investigation into the rollback of workers’ compensation nationwide warned Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday not to make the same drastic cuts that his state has made in recent years.

John Coffell, who lost his home after hurting his back at an Oklahoma tire plant, testified as part of an eight-hour hearing on workers’ comp before the entire Illinois state assembly. The rare hearing of “the committee as a whole” was called by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan as a preemptive strike of sorts as newly elected Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner prepares a number of changes to reduce costs for employers.

As part of his “turnaround agenda,” Rauner has proposed:

Toughening standards so that employees must prove that work caused more than 50 percent of their injuries rather than just aggravating an existing condition

Relying more heavily on disability rating guides that reduce compensation for workers who suffer permanent injuries

Allowing workers’ comp judges to give equal weight to opinions of doctors hired by insurance companies rather than giving deference to workers’ physicians

Reducing the maximum medical fees that doctors and hospitals can charge by 30 percent

ProPublica and NPR reported earlier this year that more than 30 states have changed their workers’ comp laws since 2003, largely to appeal more to business. Those changes — which mirror some proposed in Illinois — have reduced benefits for injured workers, created hurdles to medical care, or made it more difficult for workers to qualify.

As in many states, workers’ comp in Illinois has become a bargaining chip. Rauner has insisted that changes to the laws must be made in exchange for any increase in the state’s minimum wage.

During the hearing, Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Democrat from southwestern Illinois, said the assembly should learn from the experiences of workers like Coffell, who were victims of both tragic accidents and “short-sighted policies” enacted by their legislatures.

“Their representatives may have called these actions ‘reforms.’ They may have talked about the business climate. They may have talked about the need to root out fraud. But what they really did is they denied hard-working, middle-class families the care they need and the support they deserve,” Hoffman said. “This side of the aisle will not join other states in a race to the bottom.”

The ProPublica and NPR series has led to bills to raise benefits in Alabama and prevent medical care from being cut off in California. Officials have also warned insurers in California not to abuse the process and have launched an audit of how one insurer handled a claim in which a paraplegic’s home health care was terminated. In Illinois, Coffell’s testimony appears to have been used to try to douse the governor’s proposals.

Coffell told the legislators that after injuring a disc in his back last summer, his pay dropped dramatically because Oklahoma had reduced the maximum wage-replacement benefits injured workers could receive from $801 a week to $561 a week.

Almost immediately, he said, his utilities were cut off, his truck was repossessed and his family was evicted from their rental home. Because no relative could accommodate all of them, Coffell sent his three children, aged 5 to 9, to live with grandparents. He and his wife only had enough gas money to see them on weekends. They’ve had to rely on food stamps to get by.

Asked by a legislator how it felt to not be able to support his family, Coffell said, “It’s indescribable, really. Pretty much if I was to give a crazy example, if you were to see your husband or child drowning in a pool, but not being able to get them out of it. Kind of the same feeling.”

The hearing repeatedly drew comparisons between Illinois, which has relatively high benefits and costs, and Indiana, which has relatively low benefits and the second cheapest insurance rates for employers in the country.

Workers and their families praised Illinois’ law. Christine Fuller — who lived in Indiana, but whose father died from falling off a roof on a job in Illinois — said the survivor benefits she received from workers’ comp helped pay the mortgage and put her through college and graduate school.

via Injured Worker in ProPublica/NPR Story Testifies Before Illinois Legislature – ProPublica.

Thia pressed: Scents Of The Season Speak Directly To Our Emotions| NPR


December 13, 2014 8:11 AM ET

Peppermint, evergreen, latkes on the griddle — all are signature smells of Christmas. NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Mandy Aftel, author of Fragrant, about why we react so strongly to scents.

 

this pressed: How Fear Of Occupy Wall Street Undermined the Red Cross’ Sandy Relief Effort – ProPublica


In the days after Superstorm Sandy, relief organizations were overwhelmed by the chaos and enormous need. One group quickly emerged as a bright spot. While victims in New York’s hardest hit neighborhoods were stuck in the cold and dark, volunteers from the spontaneously formed Occupy Sandy became a widely praised lifeline.

Occupy Sandy was “one of the leading humanitarian groups providing relief to survivors across New York City and New Jersey,” as a government-commissioned study put it.

Yet the Red Cross, which was bungling its own aid efforts after the storm, made a decision that further hampered relief: Senior officials told staffers not to work with Occupy Sandy.

via How Fear Of Occupy Wall Street Undermined the Red Cross’ Sandy Relief Effort – ProPublica.

this pressed: The Wall Street Takeover of Charity – ProPublica


The Wall Street Takeover of Charity

by Jesse Eisinger

ProPublica, Dec. 10, 2014, 12:23 p.m.

Donor-advised funds run by huge money management firms are exploding.

via The Wall Street Takeover of Charity – ProPublica.

The Red Cross CEO Has Been Serially Misleading About Where Donors’ Dollars Are Going – ProPublica


This story was co-produced with NPR.

The American Red Cross regularly touts how responsible it is with donors’ money. “We’re very proud of the fact that 91 cents of every dollar that’s donated goes to our services,” Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern said in a speech in Baltimore last year. “That’s world class, obviously.”

McGovern has often repeated that figure, which has also appeared on the charity’s website. “I’m really proud” that overhead expenses are so low, she told a Cleveland audience in June.

The problem with that number: It isn’t true.

After inquiries by ProPublica and NPR, the Red Cross removed the statement from its website. The Red Cross said the claim was not “as clear as it could have been, and we are clarifying the language.”

The Red Cross declined repeated requests to say the actual percentage of donor dollars going to humanitarian services.

But the charity’s own financial statements show that overhead expenses are significantly more than what McGovern and other Red Cross officials have claimed.

via The Red Cross CEO Has Been Serially Misleading About Where Donors’ Dollars Are Going – ProPublica.

Bike Fatalities Up in US


Bike Fatalities Up in US

As adults increasingly ditch their vehicles for more eco-friendly and waistline-friendly modes of transportation, more bikes end up on the road, and this isn’t all good. Simply put, more biking means more accidents and more fatalities. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes in the US climbed 16 percent. The vast majority were adult males, most were not wearing helmets at the time, and a quarter of them were in fact legally drunk. More… Discuss

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this pressed: The Real Roots of Hedge Fund Manager Rage – ProPublica


The Real Roots of Hedge Fund Manager Rage – ProPublica.

this pressed: The Sorry State of Bank Apologies – ProPublica


The Sorry State of Bank Apologies – ProPublica.

Americans Do Not Walk The Walk – And that’s A growing Problem


Americans Do Not Walk The Walk - And that's A growing Problem

Americans Do Not Walk The Walk - And that's A growing Problem (click to access the story at NPR...and then star walking)

PBS – Washington Week In Review: What’s The Fuss?


(Click the picture in order to watch the video). I find PBS a more down to earth in the reporting and commentaries made. Some of my friends may agree. In any case it is important to follow the political and economical life of our country, to be able to understand why we are, as a people at the present impasse. The same rule that applies to individual is applicable to a country, a politico-economic system: Self sufficiency is a must, and in order to achieve it, it is equally important to manage the income, by trying to live within the your means, and taking steps to improve that status. unfortunately many spend the last dime, and buy on credit, trying to match their income to the expenses.

Another topic of concern is the process of elections, and what many voters fail to understand: A public office is about a person capable and able to represent justly the entire electorate, and to prioritize and address those issues that will weaken the economic prosperity of all citizen. selflessness and not selfishness is the main valor of a political leader, at all levels of public life.

I do not exclude or include anybody in particular, but I think that voting based of charisma, and empty election campaigns promises are a recipe for failure.