Aetna to Settle with Missouri for $1.5 million After Violating Strict Insurance Requirements

Condoms by Flickr user robertelyov, licensed by Creative Commons

Aetna, an health insurance agency, has recently agreed to settle with the State of Missouri for $1.5 million after violating strict requirements regarding abortions, contraception, and autism in insurance policies.  Missouri has unique laws that outline what insurance agencies are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do involving these three touchy subjects.  In 1983 a law was made that prohibits abortion coverage from basic insurance policies and instead requires payment of an additional premium.   A 2001 Missouri law states that birth control prescriptions should be covered under policies with pharmaceutical benefits.  That law also allows people to purchase a plan with contraception coverage if their employer’s plan does not offer it.  Aetna provided coverage for contraceptives and abortions without allowing employers to opt out.  According to officials, Aetna had also excluded coverage for autism spectrum disorders.

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Terror Alert in Phoenix! Code: Baby Blue

Las Vegas Cesars Palace Waterfall in HDR by Flickr user Randy Pertiet, licensed by Creative Commons

Mock Terrorism? Who knows anymore.

 

Mock Terrorism.  It sounds dumber when spoken than it does written here.  But I kid you not, this is something our country needs to look out for.  Michael Turley from Phoenix, Arizona, decided to make terrorism watch his job after the shooting at the Auora, Colorado movie theater. The 39 year old cinematographer and photographer filmed a short video with his 16 year old nephew to “test” the Phoenix police.  He first dressed his nephew in a blue sheet made to look like a toga.  Put a ski mask on him and armed him with a fake grenade/rocket launcher.  They then, paraded around the busiest streets in Phoneix pointing their weapon at citizens passing by.  The point was to stir up some emotions in the people walking by and to time how long it would take for Phoenix police to come to the scene.  Passersby called police to inform them of the situation even though they assumed it was a joke and were not really threatened.  When asked what they were doing with a fake grenade/rocket launcher they said they were making a movie.  Um?

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Salty Students Receive $1 Million For Being Peppered

Sailor receives pepper spray training by Flickr user Official U.S. Navy Imagery, licensed by Creative Commons

This is training, not a peaceful protest

Twenty one current and former University of California, Davis students have been awarded almost $1 million in a settlement with the University of California regents following a 2011 pepper spray incident.  Viral outrage over the incident was sparked when videos and images of a U.C.-Davis officer spraying defenseless students were posted to the internet.  The students, seen seated in a group, were participating in an Occupy protest to display their displeasure in increasing tuition prices and decreasing services.  Each student will individually receive $30,000 as well as a handwritten apology from Linda Katehi, the chancellor at U.C. Davis.  In addition to the settlement $630,000 was set aside for the 21 plaintiffs, another $250,000 will be issued to pay for legal fees and costs to the lawyers involved in the suit.  Moreover, the suit has since been recognized as a class action and will offer portions of an additional $100,000 that has been set aside for any other students who come forward with claims of being sprayed.

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New Apple iPhone Patent Raises First Ammendment Concerns

iPhone Original/3G/4/5 by FLickr user Yutaka Tsutano Licensed Under Creative Commons

Apple recently acquired a patent  that would disable an iPhone’s camera, recording ability and even put it into sleep mode.  The patent characterizes its function as “forcing certain electronic devices to enter ‘sleep mode’ when entering a sensitive area”.  There are certainly some benefits of this feature that would make life a little less annoying.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never enjoy a film without the interruption of someone’s cell phone?  College lectures would be silent of ringtones and it could even cut down on cheating.  While these functions appear to be harmless and even beneficial, there are serious legal questions being raised that cause some to worry about other uses of the patent.   What exactly is a sensitive area and who gets to determine this?

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NFL Up For Grabs?

Lions Attack By Flickr User Photo Dean, Licensed by Creative Commons

Zebra = Replacement Referee, Enough Said.

The NFL is the Titanic of sports.  It’s big, fast, powerful, and at the moment it’s sinking fast.    After watching last nights match up between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, I think it is safe to say that Roger Goodell has done a poor job “protecting the shield”.  I was originally a supporter of Goodell’s reluctance to give in to the NFL referees demands.  In reality, being an NFL referee is the best part-time job anyone can have.  So give me a break refs, you guys need to appreciate the fact that you have the highest per-game salary in American sports.  That being said, Goodell has truly tarnished one of the most powerful and influential brands in the world in the course of 3 short weeks.  The debate is over and the verdict is in, the replacement referees are taking away from the integrity of the game.  As Steve Young put it last night after the game, ”everybody senses it, that this is impacting the competitive landscape of the NFL and it brings it down”.  Trent Dilfer, an ESPN analyst, took it one step further by claiming that “the NFL has insulted our intelligence by trying to tell us that this isn’t a big deal.”

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