Opting-Out of Medicaid Expansion Leads to Preventable Deaths

Health Affairs Blog published estimates of what the predicted consequences would be over the next year if state lawmakers refused federal matching funds to expand the Medicaid program so that more people would qualify.

The deal is a generous one – federal funds would cover 100% of the cost of this expansion for the first three years and 90% afterwards.

Medicaid expansion would mean making the program available for ALL people with incomes 138% of the federal poverty level or less. This would have translated into less than $20,000 a year for a family of three in 2013.

States that have so far opted-out of Medicaid expansion programs are turning down billions of dollars of potential revenue. This revenue will ensure that more people will get the health care they need and would certainly provide a boost to local economies.

Personal inspiration came from http://157mainers.com/.

Number of Deaths in the Next Year IF StatesFail to Accept Federal Health Care Funds Estimated Number of Deaths1000+500 – 1000100 – 5000 – 100N/A, Medicaid Expansion States

Free Download

It is my hope that organizations fighting to expand health care access for low-income people make use of this map. I intentionally left plenty of white space in the lower right side for you to insert your custom message.

Here is a downloadable version of this map in two different file-types.

This is the first map I have created in years. It is a vector image written in SVG. Many thanks to Wikipedia user, Theshibboleth for the base map! Unlike many auto-generated SVG images, the base map was easily decipherable which gave me the courage to take my first steps with SVG.

An Explosion in Spanish Harlem Caused Two Buildings to Collapse

At 9:30 or so this morning, a huge explosion was heard and felt in East Harlem. Half of a block from the intersection of 116th St & Park Ave, I could see billows of smoke and dust. Car alarms were going off everywhere.

As of the time of this writing, two people have died and over 60 people were injured as a result from what is believed to be a gas explosion. This explosion was so strong that it collapsed two buildings, sending debris across the street, crushing parked cars below, and sending shock waves strong enough to shatter glass up and down Park Ave.

In no time flat, the neighborhood filled up with rubberneckers, journalists, firemen, an amazing variety of police, and eventually, the Mayor.

I am grateful for our first responders. It is amazing to see them swarm into action so quickly and effectively for the protection and service of everyday people. It is a refreshing contrast to the surveillance and security state that we seem to be morphing into. In this surveillance and security state, too many armed and dangerous public sector employees seemingly target, rather than protect, our communities – particularly where low-income or people of color live.

Classic Schwinns Customized by Don Pedrito

Walking around East Harlem a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a parking lot filled with classic bicycles. Many of them sported Puerto Rican flags. Most appeared to have lights and speakers. Since the bikes were lined up on display and the man standing near them seemed friendly enough, I drew closer.

This is how I met Don Pedrito. He rescued each of his classic Schwinn bicycles (and only Schwinns) from a garbage heap somewhere. He restores each bike lovingly himself. He has dozens of them too.

The bicycles are not meant to be sold. Restoring and customizing these bikes is a labor of love for Don Pedrito, a way to display Puerto Rican pride, and it keeps him busy in his retirement.

When I asked why the Schwinn bikes seem to have cultural resonance with people from P.R., Don Pedrito explained that there are several reasons. First, many were manufactured in Puerto Rico. Not only did this earn the company a degree of local loyalty, but they were relatively affordable, well-made, and easy to fix – especially compared to owning a car. When he was growing up they were everywhere. They were even customized for various occupations – he showed me one that was once used by kids to deliver loaves of bread.

Personally, I liked the modernist look to the bikes, including the springs, gears, and kickstands. I only took photos of a small fraction of Don Pedrito’s collection of bicycles. Just when I thought that I had seen them all, he’d pop out of his shed with another! I had a great time taking photos of my favorite bikes, talking with someone about their passion, and seeing a familiar object with new eyes.

Hello (again) world!

If things seem a bit empty here, there is a reason for it.

I recently decided to start this website over from scratch — sort of. After 6 years or so, this site was in dire need of an overhaul.

Some of my most popular tutorials — those related to websites, spreadsheets, or money-in-politics — will be resurrected in the upcoming days.

The big difference in this site will be in how the content is organized. This space will be used to contain essays and opinions. Tutorials and portfolio pieces will be moved into separate websites altogether.

Who’s psyched?