National / International News

Will the cash from the VA healthcare overhaul help?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-07 02:00

President Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation that would pump just under $17 billion into the Department of Veterans Affairs’ struggling healthcare system.

The agency came under fire earlier this year over unacceptable treatment delays and after staff manipulated patient wait lists. The money from this legislation would go toward hiring staff — nurses and doctors — and to allow some veterans to get care outside the VA system.

It's a sign Congress wants veterans to get care, pronto.

That’s why the feds will cover private doctor visits for veterans who either live 40 miles from a VA medical center or have waited more than 30 days for a visit. But Disabled American Veterans Executive Director Garry Augustine says vets, by and large, like what they get at the VA.

“The VA knows how to treat the post-traumatic stress. The different type of spinal cord injuries. Those are done better in the VA than any place else,” he says.

Surveys dating back a decade concur. They show vets are more satisfied with the care they receive at the VA than patients are with what they get in private sector hospitals.

Former VA administrator Dr. William Duncan says the challenge is providing timely care and keeping vets tethered to the VA. He knows peeling people away – even temporarily – means connecting them to other providers who may even be less functional.

“There’s a lot of doctor’s offices that are not electronic. It depends on paper. Paper gets lost. It’s a mess,” he says.

Duncan hopes the money to hire more doctors and nurses will add capacity to the VA, but he warns this money will only be well spent if the VA can build smart systems to track and treat their patients, too.

Why, for many, the price of homes is too damn high

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-07 02:00

A new report shows homes in a third of the country are getting harder to purchase for many Americans. Thursday’s RealtyTrac report looks county by county at income and housing prices to find out how affordable homes are. While they’re still affordable in much of the U.S., many people in certain areas are increasingly finding it hard to own.

“Prices are getting out of touch with what folks can actually afford in those markets,” explains RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.

In these areas, home prices are rising faster than income. This affordability problem is not so much because of a hot housing market, but rather a frosty job market. Many of those new jobs we hear about in monthly labor reports just don’t pay well enough.

“It’s particularly key in terms of first-time homebuyers that even though the rate of employment growth has gone up, the rate of wage growth hasn’t really gone up much,” says housing economist Michael Carliner.

Mortgage rates aren't likely to get much lower, so something’s got to give. Either the job market improves or home prices will hit the brakes.

Mark Garrison: The RealtyTrac report looks county by county at income and housing prices to find out how affordable homes are. They’re still affordable in much of the country, but many people in certain areas are increasingly finding it hard to buy.

Daren Blomquist: Prices are getting out of touch with what folks can actually afford in those markets.

RealtyTrac VP Daren Blomquist says in those areas, home prices are rising faster than income. This affordability problem is not so much a hot housing market. It’s a frosty job market. Housing economist Michael Carliner says all these new jobs we hear about don’t pay well enough.

Michael Carliner: I think that is key. It’s particularly key in terms of first-time homebuyers that even though the rate of employment growth has gone up, the rate of wage growth hasn’t really gone up much.

Mortgage rates aren’t likely to get any lower, so something’s gotta give. Either the job market improves or home prices will hit the brakes. In New York, I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

Password breach renews focus on authentication

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-07 02:00

In one of the largest cyber thefts in history, a Russian crime ring has stolen more than a billion internet usernames and passwords. While it’s still not clear which businesses and individuals are affected, it is clear that many businesses are threatened.

 We spoke to Cyrus Farivar, Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica, to talk keeping passwords secure. Here were his insights:

One potential solution to the problem of easy to remember/hard to hack passwords is a password manager, but even this requires remembering a master password to the manager.

Non-password based solutions such as eye scanners and fingerprint scanners are not yet in the consumer space (save the current iPhone), but they are in high security areas like banks and military installations.

Even so, the best advice going forward for consumers, according to Farivar, is the same it has always been: don’t use the same password for too many accounts, especially if one is substantially more important than others. 

Justice Department 'faces £47m cuts'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:53
Justice Minister David Ford says his department is facing a budget cut of at least £47m, once further cuts are brought in in October.

Your pictures: Railways

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:52
Readers' photos on the theme of "railways"

VIDEO: William Morris inspires new computer game

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:50
The Strawberry Thief collaboration between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the gaming industry is bringing William Morris online.

Johnson 'must come clean' - Clegg

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:47
Boris Johnson will have to "come clean" about his political ambitions if he returns to the Commons, says Nick Clegg.

Baby killer's sentence under review

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:47
The nine-year jail sentence of the man convicted of killing baby Alfie Sullock is being reviewed by the Attorney General after complaints it is too lenient.

Clegg 'regret' over missing tribute

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:39
Nick Clegg says he regrets not being able to to write a personal message on a World War One anniversary wreath.

Gaza emergency appeal launched

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:38
British aid agencies launch an emergency appeal for people affected by the conflict in Gaza, saying it has created a "humanitarian emergency".

West Ham bid for four strikers

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:29
West Ham make bids for four strikers in an effort to bolster Sam Allardyce's squad, co-owner David Sullivan reveals.

VIDEO: Crane chicks reintroduced to UK

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:27
Almost 100 crane chicks brought over from Germany have been released as part of a project to reintroduce the birds to the UK.

Fire rips through hospital site

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:12
A huge blaze at a derelict hospital site in Northampton is tackled by more than 80 firefighters overnight.

Nurse admits falsifying records

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:05
A nurse pleads guilty to nine counts of wilful neglect at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

BBC chief defends Jeremy Clarkson

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:00
BBC head of television, Danny Cohen, writes a letter to the Guardian, admitting there have been "significant issues on Top Gear in recent months".

A future we haven't imagined, but might forget

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-07 01:00

We've been covering the European top court ruling and subsequent battles over the "Right to be forgotten" for some months now. At this point, the motivations of the key players seem clear.

Google wants to organize all of the Internet's information without it saying "redacted" all over it.

A guy who had some debts but paid them -- and apparently 70 thousand other people -- felt like the top result when people search for his name infringes on his right to have that material wiped from the Internet record.

Government officials want to protect citizens and introduce some order to an environment that seems chaotic.

Each kind of party involved has gloomy predictions about the future if the right precautions aren't taken. And while I've envisioned all of those predictions as possible, there's one potential future I didn't imagine: What if only a small number of people request takedowns, but they're all the worst kind of people?

This is what dawned on me while I was reading the news about Wikipedia's first transparency report, which includes information about granted rtbf requests. Among the five Wikipedia entries and 50 links affected: One on an Italian criminal with four life sentences, an Irish bank robber, a musician, a chess player, and an Italian gang (Italy gets two!).

Wikipedia has discouraged us from assuming the anonymous requesters are always the same people whose entries are being impacted. But I feel like it's safe to say these do not seem like hugely important entries. So who is requesting the search results for them be changed? 

I worry that the new European policy will be manipulated not by waves and waves of people who want that awkward photo taken down, like tech companies would have us believe. Nor by people who have legitimate arguments (and we should be cognizant of the importance of second chances).

Instead the policy might be used by a very select few. People who have too much time on their hands (OK maybe not the end of the world). But perhaps also organizations and people that benefit directly from keeping the truth hidden or at least blurred. Even on a small scale, that kind of selective editing can be annoying, and even dangerous.

Grandmother Finds Grandson, Abducted In Argentina's Dirty War

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-07 00:59

Estela de Carlotto's grandson was taken as a baby when her daughter was a political prisoner in the 1970s. NPR's David Greene talks to writer Francisco Goldman, who has chronicled her struggle.

» E-Mail This

NCAA Vote Could Boost Student-Athletes' Benefits, Big Schools' Power

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-07 00:59

Major college sports programs could take a significant step toward sharing their wealth. The NCAA Board of Directors is to vote on a plan to restructure Division I athletics.

» E-Mail This

BBC to broadcast DEC Gaza appeal

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-07 00:50
The BBC, along with other UK public service broadcasters, is to air an emergency appeal on Friday for people affected by the conflict in Gaza.
ON THE AIR
Echoes
Next Up: @ 02:00 am
BBC World Service

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4