National / International News

Burwell's highest priority: get more Latinos insured

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:59

The Senate votes today on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell for Health and Human Services Secretary. And it’s a pretty good bet that high on her priority list will be enrolling Latinos in the Affordable Care Act. 

Latinos have the highest uninsured rates compared to other ethnic groups. They're also a younger segment of the overall population, and The White House has said enrolling young, healthy people is one of the keys to the success of the ACA.

So how to go about enrolling more Latinos in the ACA? Take Houston, Texas, for example, where nearly half the population is Latino, and where Benjamin Hernandez is assistant director of Health and Human Services.  He says one thing the new Secretary could do to help him boost Latino enrollment would be to give him access to real time data on who is signing up and where they live.

“That is very helpful to us because we shift resources and people into those communities that aren’t getting the message,” says Hernandez.

Targeting those who aren’t getting the message is also the mission of Anne Filipic. She is president of Enroll America, which has collected data from the first enrollment period and is studying it to determine what got people to sign up for healthcare. “Specifically for Latinos, we do see that the in-person assistance, the presence in communities goes along way,” says Filipic.

Enroll America found that people who had personal assistance were about twice as likely to enroll, compared to people who just went online.  And Latinos and African-Americans were 43 percent more likely to seek that assistance than their white counterparts. 

Filipic says it’s also important for the new secretary of Health and Human Services to provide resources for on-the-ground workers in underserved communities, “and to make sure that they have the bilingual tools to reach consumers.”

Burwell's highest priority: get more Latinos insured

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:59

The Senate votes today on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell for Health and Human Services Secretary. And it’s a pretty good bet that high on her priority list will be enrolling Latinos in the Affordable Care Act. 

Latinos have the highest uninsured rates compared to other ethnic groups. They're also a younger segment of the overall population, and The White House has said enrolling young, healthy people is one of the keys to the success of the ACA.

So how to go about enrolling more Latinos in the ACA? Take Houston, Texas, for example, where nearly half the population is Latino, and where Benjamin Hernandez is assistant director of Health and Human Services.  He says one thing the new Secretary could do to help him boost Latino enrollment would be to give him access to real time data on who is signing up and where they live.

“That is very helpful to us because we shift resources and people into those communities that aren’t getting the message,” says Hernandez.

Targeting those who aren’t getting the message is also the mission of Anne Filipic. She is president of Enroll America, which has collected data from the first enrollment period and is studying it to determine what got people to sign up for healthcare. “Specifically for Latinos, we do see that the in-person assistance, the presence in communities goes along way,” says Filipic.

Enroll America found that people who had personal assistance were about twice as likely to enroll, compared to people who just went online.  And Latinos and African-Americans were 43 percent more likely to seek that assistance than their white counterparts. 

Filipic says it’s also important for the new secretary of Health and Human Services to provide resources for on-the-ground workers in underserved communities, “and to make sure that they have the bilingual tools to reach consumers.”

China criticises Windows 8 security

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:58
Microsoft's Windows 8 is branded a threat to China's cybersecurity in a state-backed news report.

Pirlo could destroy England - Scholes

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:55
Paul Scholes says England cannot afford to underestimate Andrea Pirlo again when they take on Italy in their World Cup opener.

AUDIO: Baby poisoning bug 'hard to treat'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:54
Biomedical scientist Dr Ron Cutler says a bug which killed one baby and poisoned 14 others is 'difficult to treat'.

G7 warns Russia of fresh sanctions

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:47
Leaders of the G7 industrial nations warn Russia of further sanctions over its actions in Ukraine, as they meet at a Brussels summit.

How I learned to stop worrying and love 'Silicon Valley'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:44

Every week when we start our Marketplace Tech game of Silicon Tally, I say something like: "I've got a number for you." And this week, ahead of that game, I do. The number is one. There's a song about it, and even some discussion about it on the Interwebs this week. That's because one is the number of lead female characters in the new HBO show "Silicon Valley." 

The tech industry has a women problem, and "Silicon Valley," which is about the tech industry, also has a women problem. Amanda Crew, who plays billionaire Peter Gregory's assistant Monica on the show, is the only recurring female character in all of the first season. Some feel that this is proof that the show displays "oblivious sexism." Others think the show's depiction of real world problems involving gender lacks nuance. While I cringed at one reviewer's admission that he keeps forgetting the name of Crew's character, I don't really buy these arguments. Not yet, anyway.

I think the show is good enough to get better. When the show premiered, I asked executive producer Alec Berg about the criticisms that it didn't have enough strong women characters. His response: "do we want to do the sort of perfect satirical riff on women in tech? Of course we do, and that's our intention. If we haven't gotten to it yet, it's definitely one of the things--I mean just the fact that that is one of the hot button issues that everybody brings up, that to me means we owe it to the show to lean into that."

So OK, sure, the show isn't Sheryl Sandberg-ing just yet. But it's also far from "Entourage." "Silicon Valley" is truly funny-sometimes even hilarious. In fact, its funniest jokes don't involve the male anatomy, but jargon and self-driving cars. A show with a sense of humor beyond male anatomy jokes is a show that can grow, even if it was made by the creator of "Beavis and Butthead." Here's one of my favorite clips from the first season, featuring Martin Star from "Freaks and Geeks" and "Party Down" fame (WARNING: some strong language in there). 

I hope that in its second season, "Silicon Valley" will grow. The big question right now is whether the show will be allowed to by the network and the critics. Remember when "Girls" was criticized for not having enough diversity in the cast? That show has been allowed to exist and evolve despite that criticism--maybe "Silicon Valley" can, too.

But there's already a lot of things working against it: the focus of the show and its commitment to depicting real shop talk and happenings in the tech industry, despite the fact that most of us don't give a damn what a hash table is, or care about going to Tech Crunch Disrupt. The show isn't about a chemistry teacher or ad executive's spiral into evil or despair. But it is a show about a part of our economy, our society and our world that is a big deal these days. That in and of itself should be a strong argument for at least a few more seasons. 

Before we write it off or leave it for dead (at least until season two), let's look at another few "Silicon Valley" numbers. The last episode had 1.7 million viewers. I asked a friend who studies ratings, and he says for HBO, that appears to be pretty solid--even if the show benefits greatly from airing right after a massively successful hit like "Game of Thrones." He also points out that "Silicon Valley" is currently ranked 4th out of the network's 23 series, and that it looks like it has a good playback rating too. That means part of the show's audience isn't watching it because it comes after the thing they just watched, instead choosing to stream it online at a later date. That suggests the beginnings of a loyal audience. As long as that audience exists and builds, "Silicon Valley" will have the chance to lampoon the good and the "bro" of the tech industry. Maybe even add some more consistent female characters to the mix.

Just like the world it depicts, the show's survival and improvement probably depends on it. 

How I learned to stop worrying and love 'Silicon Valley'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:44

Every week when we start our Marketplace Tech game of Silicon Tally, I say something like: "I've got a number for you." And this week, ahead of that game, I do. The number is one. There's a song about it, and even some discussion about it on the Interwebs this week. That's because one is the number of lead female characters in the new HBO show "Silicon Valley." 

The tech industry has a women problem, and "Silicon Valley," which is about the tech industry, also has a women problem. Amanda Crew, who plays billionaire Peter Gregory's assistant Monica on the show, is the only recurring female character in all of the first season. Some feel that this is proof that the show displays "oblivious sexism." Others think the show's depiction of real world problems involving gender lacks nuance. While I cringed at one reviewer's admission that he keeps forgetting the name of Crew's character, I don't really buy these arguments. Not yet, anyway.

I think the show is good enough to get better. When the show premiered, I asked executive producer Alec Berg about the criticisms that it didn't have enough strong women characters. His response: "do we want to do the sort of perfect satirical riff on women in tech? Of course we do, and that's our intention. If we haven't gotten to it yet, it's definitely one of the things--I mean just the fact that that is one of the hot button issues that everybody brings up, that to me means we owe it to the show to lean into that."

So OK, sure, the show isn't Sheryl Sandberg-ing just yet. But it's also far from "Entourage." "Silicon Valley" is truly funny-sometimes even hilarious. In fact, its funniest jokes don't involve the male anatomy, but jargon and self-driving cars. A show with a sense of humor beyond male anatomy jokes is a show that can grow, even if it was made by the creator of "Beavis and Butthead." Here's one of my favorite clips from the first season, featuring Martin Star from "Freaks and Geeks" and "Party Down" fame (WARNING: some strong language in there). 

I hope that in its second season, "Silicon Valley" will grow. The big question right now is whether the show will be allowed to by the network and the critics. Remember when "Girls" was criticized for not having enough diversity in the cast? That show has been allowed to exist and evolve despite that criticism--maybe "Silicon Valley" can, too.

But there's already a lot of things working against it: the focus of the show and its commitment to depicting real shop talk and happenings in the tech industry, despite the fact that most of us don't give a damn what a hash table is, or care about going to Tech Crunch Disrupt. The show isn't about a chemistry teacher or ad executive's spiral into evil or despair. But it is a show about a part of our economy, our society and our world that is a big deal these days. That in and of itself should be a strong argument for at least a few more seasons. 

Before we write it off or leave it for dead (at least until season two), let's look at another few "Silicon Valley" numbers. The last episode had 1.7 million viewers. I asked a friend who studies ratings, and he says for HBO, that appears to be pretty solid--even if the show benefits greatly from airing right after a massively successful hit like "Game of Thrones." He also points out that "Silicon Valley" is currently ranked 4th out of the network's 23 series, and that it looks like it has a good playback rating too. That means part of the show's audience isn't watching it because it comes after the thing they just watched, instead choosing to stream it online at a later date. That suggests the beginnings of a loyal audience. As long as that audience exists and builds, "Silicon Valley" will have the chance to lampoon the good and the "bro" of the tech industry. Maybe even add some more consistent female characters to the mix.

Just like the world it depicts, the show's survival and improvement probably depends on it. 

Manhunt as police shot in Canada

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:41
A manhunt is under way in the Canadian city of Moncton, New Brunswick, after a gunman kills three police officers and wounds two more.

PCC apology over 'negative reports'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:39
Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner apologises for the "negative reporting" which followed a "fly-on-the-wall" TV documentary about her role.

VIDEO: US military jet crashes into homes

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:30
A US military jet has crashed into homes in the California desert, about 90 miles (144km) east of San Diego.

Attack on Yemen checkpoint kills 14

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:29
Fourteen soldiers and tribesmen have been killed in an attack by suspected al-Qaeda militants on an army checkpoint in southern Yemen, officials say.

VIDEO: Ireland's banks are 'risk averse'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:28
The ECB should be encouraging banks to lend, in order to kick-start Ireland's sluggish economy, say many businesses.

Megrahi family seek fresh appeal

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:17
Two years after the only man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing dies, his family ask for a review of his conviction.

BBC to stream World Cup matches in 4K

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:14
Three World Cup matches will be streamed in ultra high-definition to a limited number of TVs, the BBC announces.

£1bn 'shortfall' in PPI compensation

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:12
Some major banks may have underpaid by up to £1bn the compensation certain customers are due for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance, the BBC learns.

England pick Jordan, Robson & Moeen

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 02:08
England name uncapped trio Chris Jordan, Sam Robson and Moeen Ali in their squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka.

Child bodies: Church has no records

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 01:51
The Archbishop of Tuam in County Galway says the Catholic church has no records about the burial of nearly 800 children in a concrete septic tank at a mother and baby home.

Explosive device is used on ATM

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 01:47
Thieves try to break into a cash machine in County Armagh by placing an explosive device on it.

US seeks Twitter sarcasm detector

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-05 01:46
The US Secret Service puts out a tender for software that can analyse social media, including detecting "sarcasm and false positives".
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