In 350 words or less: Stolen Daughters

nigeria

Have you heard about the current abductions situation in northeast Nigeria? Here is a related article. The region is a trample zone for militant activities, and two weeks ago, about 200+ teenage girls, ages 16-18, were abducted by militants, and are still missing. TWO HUNDRED PLUS. Sources indicate that the militants set the dorm on fire in the middle of the night, forced the panicked girls into trucks, and disappeared into heavily forested areas near the school. Parents have appealed to the government for help, but it seems that the government is just as helpless as the parents. The worst part is that according several sources, the girls have been married off in a mass ceremony and sold to militant leaders for a paltry $12.

As a mother of three girls, this is heart wrenching. I know that in areas of conflict, the kids are the ones who suffer the most, and that things like this happen everyday. But, no matter where you are in the world, can you imagine hearing that 200 beautiful daughters have been stolen, sold for pennies, and that one or two of them are yours? We need to do better.

stolengirls

 

**Images from google.com**

 

 

SXSW Spy!!

SXSW-2014

South by Southwest kicks off this weekend and of course I won’t be there. SAD FACE.  If you live under a rock and do not know what it is, go here. It’s basically a huge creatives(music, film, craft goods, ect.) festival thing in Austin, Texas. (Hook ‘Em!) Besides getting to listen to awesome music and see lots of creativity, it is also a huge learning and networking event for literally everyone, for both the participants and the attendees. I am loving some of the lineups this year, and of course Renegade Craft Fair will be there. If you go, get me something 🙂

SXSW has an interactive segment, in which, the issue of surveillance, online privacy, and technology are leading topics. They keep it weird in Austin, so you get music, film, creative trade crafts, food, meet and greets, book signings, and moderated panel discussions. What peaked my interest, cause I am a current affairs nerd, is Edward Snowden will be speaking via video conference, specifically on March 10, regarding NSA surveillance, technology, and the technology community. If you don’t know who Edward Snowden is, go here. Technology and the digital/online community is of great significance to the SXSW culture. This is a great opportunity to reach a large number of people, whose trade and craft rely heavily on the digital world, and to everyone who has ever used technology, so that means you 🙂 The discussion will be moderated by an American Civil Liberties Union director, and regardless of your opinion of Snowden and of his involvement with the NSA, Russia, or anything in particular, this should be an informative session and interesting. I will probably watch the stream. I’m just saying.

*Image from sxsw.com*

Trying to Healthcare Shop!

Part II: Enrolling/Registering Blues

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The Healthcare Market Website

A while back, I gave a little blurb on the healthcare mandate. Well, here is a follow up. I thought I would,”try” to sign up and see if I can find a comparable, cheaper healthcare coverage for my family and I. I mean, the worst that can happen is I don’t find anything I like, right? Wrong. You know all of those horror stories you hear about how horrible the system and how hard it is to actually register/enroll for anything on the darn website? True story. Personal experience, PLUS, another friend’s experience.

Here is how it went/going:

I started the registration process on December 30th. The application itself is easy breezy, took about 10 minutes. Just because there are five of us. So, for a single applicant, it will probably be 2 like minutes.

I created an account, username, ect. Then, I filled our life info, the mandatory stuff, address, social, ect. At the end of the application, there is a summary. I looked over the info, sign electronically, and then I submit. This is where the issues start. After you click submit, you get a message saying, you application is sent on whatever the date is. Then as it is submitting, a dreaded error message appears:

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This message appears every time I hit submit, EVERY TIME. Then I log off like it says, and do the whole thing over, at least 3 times in one sitting, hoping that I would get lucky. I have done this at least 3-4 days a week since I started the whole process.

I consider myself lucky because it has only been about 2 and a half weeks for me. That friend of mine who was enrolling her mom? She started in October, when the whole thing went live. She didn’t get enrolled until December. Therefore, I am not complaining just yet, I am just sharing my agitation for now. Maybe I will make the February 15th deadline. But, I will have a fit, if I don’t find, a “better” healthcare coverage after this whole fiasco.

Just kidding, I am not expecting much from all of this.

I hope this gives you an idea of what you will be dealing with, if you decide to try out the Healthcare Market. Good Luck!

As of today, this is the status of my application, so, I think we will stick with what we have:

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My Health Care 2014

Part I : The Slap on the Wrist

The end of the year is fast approaching and that means that sooner or later, later being March 2014, you and your family must have some sort of minimum health care coverage,as mandated by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, if you and your family do not fall under any of the exceptions.

As such, I have put together a short series, My Healthcare 2014, of what the new health care mandate will mean to you, your family, and your wallet. Today’s blurb explains in numerical terms, the penalty that you and your family will incur, should your household go beyond 3 months without minimum health care coverage, beginning January 2014.

If you already know this and have made proper arrangements, good for you! YAY! If not, I hope this helps and will get you moving in the right direction, may it be getting minimum coverage or leaving the country and denouncing your citizenship.

Here it is:

Title I: Quality Affordable Healthcare for All Americans

Subtitle F: Shared Responsibility for Health Care, Part I: Individual Responsibility, Section 1501(b): Requirement to Maintain Essential Coverage, Subsection 5000A(c): Amount of Penalty:

“For the tax year:

2014: The greater of 1% of taxable income or $95 per person.

2015: The greater of 2% of taxable income or $325 per person.

2016: The greater of 2.5% of taxable income or $695 per person.

Beyond 2016: Annual increase by the calculated increase in cost of living.”

*These are just per adult penalties, additional amount applies for each child without minimum health care covered, so these are minimum amounts. If you have little ones, your penalty will be way higher.*

You can be exempt if, You are:

1. In financial Hardship(I will probably claim under due to the recent daycare expenses incurred by my household, just kidding).

2. Religiously exemptions

3. Incarcerated

4. An undocumented immigrant

5. An American Indian

Revisit Reactions to the Affordable Care Act:

Source: housedocs.house.gov: US House of Representative, May 2010.

Here is the full text of the bill, in case you get bored.