Obamacare Kills Artists' Health Coverage; Arctic Ice Disproves Warming Claims

Sunday, 15 Sep 2013 08:23 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Artists Losing Healthcare Insurance Under Obamacare
2. Afghan Lawmaker: Christian Converts Must Die
3. Russia's Chief Rabbi Defends Putin
4. Global Warming Warnings Called 'Gravely Flawed'
5. New Video Game Costs Over $250 Million
6. We Heard: Charles Moore on Thatcher, Michelle Obama
 

1. Artists Losing Healthcare Insurance Under Obamacare

Artists, photographers, writers, and other members of the "creative class" who have access to health insurance through many professional organizations will lose that coverage when Obamacare is implemented.

Professional organizations have offered reduced-rate insurance plans for their members, through insurance providers.

"But thanks to the fine print in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, on January 1, 2014, many of these plans will fail to pass legal muster," The Weekly Standard reported.

One professional organization, the College Art Association — a 13,000-member group for practitioners and scholars in art, art history, and art criticism — posted this notice on its website: "The New York Life Insurance Company recently informed CAA that it will no longer offer catastrophic healthcare coverage previously available to CAA members."

The notice disclosed that it "is no longer an option" for "associations whose members reside in different states" to provide coverage.

Instead, members will have to seek coverage from their home state's new Obamacare exchanges.

The Entertainment Industry Group Insurance Trust's website stated: "All individual and/or Sole Proprietor Health Insurance will terminate January 1, 2014. This includes plans acquired as members of our Affiliated Associations and their groups."

Those associations include the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Dramatists Guild, the Graphic Arts Guild, NY Women in Film and Television, and others.

In most cases, freelance artists, designers, and musicians forced to enter the state-run exchanges will see their insurance premiums rise, according to The Weekly Standard.

Ironically, Nancy Pelosi back in 2010 touted the benefits of Obamacare this way: "Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance."

The Weekly Standard notes: "Pelosi's vision of a world full of carefree artists, musicians, and writers is a mirage and becoming fainter the closer we get to January 1."

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2. Afghan Lawmaker: Christian Converts Must Die

A prominent lawmaker in Afghanistan is calling for the execution of Afghans who convert from Islam to Christianity.

Mohabat News, an Iranian Christian news agency, reported that Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, head of the Afghan parliament's Legislative Commission, said: "Afghani citizens continue to convert to Christianity in India. Numerous Afghanis have become Christians in India. This is an offense to Islamic law and according to the Koran, they need to be executed."

Thousands of Afghan refugees have fled to India, and a small congregation of Christian converts meets in New Delhi, according to CNS News.

Another Afghan lawmaker, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, reportedly has demanded that the Afghan government pressure Indian authorities to provide the names of Afghans who have converted to Christianity so that the Afghan government can arrest and punish them if they return home.

And Afghan lawmaker Abdul Latif Pedram has blamed the increase in conversions on the presence of American forces in the country. According to Mohabat, he said: "The United States' long-term plan is to attack Afghan culture. Converting Afghan citizens serves that purpose."

Barnabas Fund, a charity that supports Christians in Islamic nations, reported: "For 10 consecutive nights at the end of August, two TV channels broadcast photos of the leader of the Afghan church in Delhi, calling for him to be executed."

A U.S. State Department report disclosed that while there are five Hindu temples and 13 Sikh places of worship in Afghanistan, there are no Christian churches or schools.

The report stated: "Under some interpretations of Islamic law, converting from Islam to another religion is deemed apostasy and considered an egregious crime. Male citizens over age 18 or female citizens over age 16 of sound mind who convert from Islam have three days to recant their conversions or possibly face death by stoning."

Christians are also under fire in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters have begun forcing the 15,000 or so Coptic Christians in the village of Dalga to pay a "jizya" tax, the Washington Times reported.

Jizya is the tribute "that conquered non-Muslims historically have to pay their Islamic overlords," a source explained.

The tribute ranges from 200 Egyptian pounds a day (about $29) to 500 pounds a day.

And in Syria, Islamist rebels invaded a Christian man's shop "and gave him three options," according to the Christian Science Monitor. "Become a Muslim, pay $70,000 as a jizya tax, or be killed along with his family."

Editor's Note:



3. Russia's Chief Rabbi Defends Putin

Russia's chief rabbi Berel Lazar tells American Jews not to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying they don't understand "the soul of the Russian people."

In an interview in New York with The Jewish Daily Forward, Lazar applauded Putin's recent decision to transfer the Schneerson Library — a collection amassed by the early leaders of the Chabad Hasidic movement — to a new Jewish museum in Moscow controlled by Chabad in Russia.

Putin's decision was denounced by lawyers for the umbrella organization of the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement based in New York. That group maintains that the library, which was nationalized during the Russian Revolution, belongs to Chabad in America.

But Lazar said pressuring Russia would not succeed and he had advised the American group to drop its legal action.

He offered similar advice to the Anti-Defamation League, which has called for action by the U.S. Congress in response to Russia's new anti-gay law.

Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director, seeks to punish Russia for a recent bill that he maintains violates gay rights. He suggested legislation similar to the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on Russian officials implicated in the death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky.

Lazar told The Forward that legal and political pressure does not work with Russia, pointing out that Russia responded to the Magnitsky Act by making it illegal for Americans to adopt Russian children.

The new Russian law bans "propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships."

Lazar said in support of the bill that the Jewish community did not want its children to see people "marching through the streets with the wrong message."

He added that street demonstrations are viewed more negatively in Russia than in the United States.

"There is a different mentality, a different social understanding of what demonstrations are," he said. "I think the American negative criticism against Russia is really because they don't understand the soul of the Russian people."

Editor's Note:



4. Global Warming Warnings Called 'Gravely Flawed'

Six years ago, the BBC cited climate scientists in predicting that the Arctic would be ice-free in summer by 2013.

Instead, Arctic ice this August covered nearly a million more square miles of ocean than in August 2012 — an increase of 60 percent.

This has led Britain's Mail on Sunday to report: "Some eminent scientists now believe the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of the century — a process that would expose computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming as dangerously misleading."

The newspaper also asserted that global warming had paused since the beginning of 1997.

The pause is "important," the Mail stated, because predictions of ever-increasing global temperatures "have made many of the world's economies divert billions of pounds into 'green' measures to counter climate change. Those predictions now appear gravely flawed."

Arctic ice now extends from Canada's northern islands to Russia's northern shore, blocking the Northwest Passage, and more than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it from the Atlantic to the Pacific have been left ice-bound.

Professor Anastasios Tsonis of the University of Wisconsin, who has investigated ocean cycles, said: "We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped."

The Mail article, which has been criticized and even dismissed by some global warming proponents, points to evidence that Arctic ice levels are cyclical. There was a massive melt in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by an intense re-freeze that did not end until 1979 — the year the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the shrinking of Arctic ice began.

Editor's Note:



5. New Video Game Costs Over $250 Million

Does it make economic sense to spend $266 million to produce a video game? According to the numbers, yes indeed.

"Grand Theft Auto V," the fifth installment in the video game franchise, hits stores on Sept. 17 with a development and marketing budget that not only surpasses every other game, but is also greater than the estimated production budget (without marketing) for nearly every Hollywood blockbuster movie, adjusted for inflation.

The lone exception is "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which cost an estimated $300 million.

The only video game that comes close to matching "GTA V" would be "Star Wars: The Old Republic," which was said to cost $200 million, Business Insider reported. "GTA IV" cost $100 million.

Last year the video game industry was worth some $67 billion, according to Forbes, and it is expected to top $80 billion in four years.

Compare that to domestic movie ticket sales in 2012, which totaled $10.8 billion — and that was a record year, USA Today reported.

Last year, the video game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" grossed $1 billion within 15 days of its release.

"Avatar," the highest grossing movie of all time at more than $2.7 billion, took 17 days to earn $1 billion worldwide.

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard…

THAT journalist Charles Moore has won GQ's 2013 Writer of the Year award for his official biography of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Moore's work "Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography. Vol. 1: Not For Turning" was published in April, shortly after Thatcher's death.

"Margaret Thatcher is arguably the most divisive Prime Minister the country has ever had, so being brave enough to take on the task of writing her official autobiography — 'Not For Turning' — is no mean feat in itself," GQ stated.

"However, managing to put together a tome on such a person that stays balanced and receives almost universal praise from all sides of the political spectrum? That's what makes a GQ award winner."

Moore is the former editor of The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. He was hand-picked by the Iron Lady to write her biography and had unprecedented access to her papers and interviews.

THAT first lady Michelle Obama has helped launch a new health crusade to encourage Americans to drink more water.

The goal of the "Drink Up" campaign is to "replace a Coke with a bottle of Aquafina, or any of the other 14 water brands her campaign is endorsing," the Washington Examiner reported.

On Thursday, Mrs. Obama joined the Partnership for a Healthier America and actress Eva Longoria to announce the new campaign in — where else? — Watertown, Wis.

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