Healthcare Gov

It’s That Time: Open Enrollment in Healthcare.gov

Wednesday was the first day to buy health insurance on Healthcare.gov in Kentucky. For about 80% of Kentuckians who buy a plan on the individual market, prices might actually go down.

According to Melissa Mathers, who serves as director of communications at Family Health Centers in Louisville, there’s still a lot of confusion about whether Healthcare.gov is still running, and whether prices have gone up. Mathers said even though multiple efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed, there’s been a lot of talk from politicians that the law is failing, as is Healthcare.gov.

“There’s a lot of confusion because of all the activity over the summer trying to repeal and replace,” said Mathers, “and the big question is whether the ACA is still around and if I can afford my insurance anymore.”

Mathers said in some cases, insurance plans that offer better benefits like lower copays may charge lower monthly payments.

It’s important to know, those who had a plan on Healthcare.gov last year will be automatically enrolled. It’s also important to double check those plans. There might be a cheaper deal to get before the enrollment period ends December 15 this year.

November 4

Conspiracy claims civil war, blackouts planned for November 4

If you believe what you read on some far right websites, civil war and a blackout of communications by the Department of Defense is all planned for Saturday. But don’t believe it, it’s not happening. Here’s what IS happening.

In the past few weeks, far right websites have written stories about a planned ‘civil war’ organized by the far left, known as Antifa. Infowars warned “Antifa Plans ‘Civil War’ to Overthrow the Government‘ while others have told people to stay home that day.

The truth is, a civil war to overthrow the government isn’t exactly happening. On Saturday, the left-leaning group Refuse Fascism is planning rallies across the country to protest the government and President Donald Trump (guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States). From Atlanta to New York to San Francisco and Seattle, protesters are planning to meet and protest the Trump administration.

The hope, according to an interview done with one of the group’s organizers by the Washington Post, is to eventually remove Donald Trump from office. But Andy Zee says the organization was formed around two main points.

“One is that the nightmare must end, and second, in the name of humanity we must refuse to accept a fascist America,” Zee said.

The nonviolent protests are planned to be the beginning, Zee said. He said the organization is using the South Korean mass protest movement that started in October 2016 as a blueprint. It eventually led to President park Geun-hye’s removal from office in March.

“What we are trying to unleash is a process of continuous protest,” Zee said. “We can’t just wait for the other shoe to drop. We’ve been saying from the beginning, with fascism, it can be too late.”

The message has been a bit conflated online where rumbles about the planned demonstrations surfaced earlier this year. On September 26, protesters blocked a Los Angeles freeway with signs that read “NOV 4 IT BEGINS”, according to LA Weekly.

Video clips surfaced on YouTube that claimed the protesters were stockpiling weapons and planning an attack and eventually martial law.

Zee denies the speculation.

Department of Defense Power outage?

At the same time, rumors began circulating that the Department of Defense scheduled a ‘communications interoperability‘ exercise with the American Radio Relay League for the same day.

Snopes debunked that story about the planned outage and learned from Paul English, the Army MARS program manager, that the DOD does drills every quarter and has for the past four years.

“No we will not **actually** be turning off the electrical power grid. While I strive for realism when planning exercises, turning off the electricity all across the US is way above my pay-grade, so we just have to simulating that.” (sic)

Despite the assurances from both the DOD and protest organizers, online hysterics have continued. Yes, there will be protests; yes, there will be a DOD drill; no, you won’t lose power or cell phone service; yes, it will be safe to leave your home.

Lebron James Halloween Costume

Penny-pincher: LeBron talks about getting that ‘It’ Halloween costume for a bargain

LeBron talks about Halloween costume

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio– LeBron James’ Halloween costume was such a slam-dunk, it was still being talked about on Wednesday.

LeBron dressed up as Pennywise from the movie “It” for his annual Halloween party Monday night.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s Cavs game against the Pacers, a reporter asked him about his costume of choice.

“I’m a horror-movie freak; I love horror movies. I always have since I was a kid. I’ve always been a fan of the “It” franchise, and once the new one came out recently, over the summertime, that was an easy one for me.”

So, was it a custom costume for the King? Nope. LeBron’s response got a lot of laughs: He says he bought it at Walmart — right off the rack.

**You can watch in the video, above**

LeBron’s costume wasn’t the only one that killed it; J.R. Smith and his wife, Jewel, dressed as “The Coneheads,” and Kevin Love and his girlfriend, Kate Bock, were pro wrestlers Sting and Hulk Hogan.

**See more, here**

Tony Montana

Kevin Spacey Accused of Groping Filmmaker Tony Montana

Following allegations that Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance toward an underage actor in 1986, more accusations of misconduct have surfaced. Filmmaker Tony Montana tells Radar Online that Spacey groped him in 2003 while the two were at a bar in Los Angeles. “I went up to order a drink and Kevin came up to me and put his arm around me,” Montana says. “He was telling me to come with him, to leave the bar. He put his hand on my crotch forcefully and grabbed my whole package.” Montana says Spacey then told him, “This designates ownership.” After Montana removed Spacey’s hand from his crotch and left, Spacey allegedly followed him into the bathroom. Montana says Spacey appeared intoxicated. “I backed him out the door and I pushed him,” he says. “One of his friends was in line and I said, ‘It’s time to take your boy home.’ They all ended up leaving.” Montana says he previously spoke about the alleged groping only to his therapists and that he suffered from PTSD in the six months after the incident.

Actor Roberto Cavazos, who performed at London’s Old Vic where Spacey served as artistic director from 2004 to 2015, claims Spacey routinely preyed on young male actors at the theater. “It seems the only requirement was to be a male under the age of 30 for Mr Spacey to feel free to touch us. It was so common that it even became a local joke (in very bad taste),” he wrote on Facebook. Cavazos describes multiple stories of Spacey arranging “picnics” at the theater with actors to discuss their careers where he would inappropriately touch them. “I myself had a couple of nasty encounters with Spacey that were on the verge of being called harassment. In fact, if I had been a woman, I probably wouldn’t have hesitated to identify [them] as such,” he wrote. Cavazos says there are likely to be more accusations made against Spacey from people who worked at the Old Vic, and that he “wouldn’t be surprised if they were numbers like Weinstein.” In a previous statement, Spacey said he could not recall the alleged incident with the minor but apologized.

NaNoWriMo

What’s Your Plan for NaNoWriMo?

Good morning, National Novel Writing Month participants! Did you do your 1667 words this morning? What are you writing about this year?

For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is an annual November-long project where people write the first draft of a novel. They don’t (or at least they try not to) overthink it or edit. First they just get the words out over thirty days. Over the years, a large, intense, friendly community has formed around the project, and many of you are part of it.

So writers, we want to know: What’s your plan for NaNoWriMo? What are you writing about? What prep work have you done? What tools are you using? What advice do you have, or what advice do you want?

All month, we’ll return the favor, with writing tips, resources, and lessons on the NaNoWriMo tag.

Georgia football

Sound Off: Chip and Seth talk ‘eye tests,’ Bon Jovi and even college football

ATHENS — Thanks for tuning in to the Zaxby’s Sound Off, where beat writers Seth Emerson and Chip Towers offer their thoughts on the Georgia football team. Each week your DawgNation writers offer up some thoughts on the Bulldogs – and this week we review yet another resounding win, this time over Florida, and what it means for the stretch run.

Georgia is now squarely in the hunt for a national championship, with the initial playoff rankings announced Tuesday night – although Chip and Seth show why they don’t matter as much.

Chip and Seth did discuss the rankings and where we would put Georgia and why. But both of us show why we would have ranked Georgia No. 1, at least this week.

We also project what might or might not happen between now and the final, most important playoff rankings. Yes, the fun phrase “eye test” is mentioned a few times. But one of us is skeptical whether the loser of the SEC championship game will still be able to make the playoff. Another one of us thinks Georgia fans need to keep an eye on those one-loss teams in other Power 5 conferences.

Important note: Chip makes a Bon Jovi reference at one point.

Are there any potential stumbling blocks for Georgia? Could South Carolina be one? We discuss that.

Georgia isn’t playing down to the level of its competition. Will it any point? Does this team show any evidence of looking past opponents or taking its eye off the ball? Or does it realize that it is in the midst of what could be a special, historic season? Yes, we discuss that too.

We hope you enjoy this week’s show, and tune in next week too.

Have a question for the UGA Mailbag? You can submit them via e-mail at seth.emerson@coxinc.com. The mailbag runs every Thursday

Brianna Brochu

She rubbed bloody tampons on her roommate’s bag – then bragged about it online, cops say

Brianna Rae Brochu, 18
Brianna Rae Brochu, 18 West Hartford Police

November 01, 2017 08:28 AM

UPDATED November 02, 2017 07:05 AM

College roommates can be notoriously hard to handle in the best cases, especially for those away from home for the first time. But a viral video posted Monday by a University of Hartford student that alleges her roommate bragged about covertly harassing her for weeks has drawn national outrage and birthed the hashtag #justiceforjazzy.

Jazzy Rowe, who is black and a freshman at the University of Hartford, posted a video Monday evening that detailed the shocking allegations against her roommate.

In the video, she describes how she was finishing her move out of the apartment into another room when her roommate, later identified as freshman Brianna Brochu, who is white, paused her movie and asked if she was moving out, Rowe said in the video.

When Rowe told her roommate she was indeed moving out, Rowe said Brochu began texting on her phone.

A few minutes later, Rowe said, she was notified by resident assistants to check her phone immediately. On her phone, friends had made screen shots of Instagram posts from her roommate (since deleted) in which Brochu allegedly bragged about covertly harassing Rowe for months.

“Finally did it ya girl got rid of her roommate!,” the post reads in the video posted by Rowe. “After 1 1/2 months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie.”

Brochu apparently followed up with a picture of the clam dip and another of Rowe’s backpack with visible blood spots.

“As a young African American woman I don’t want to become another statistic. When it comes to college incidents/crimes and racial cases justice needs to be served,” Rowe wrote in a Facebook post before posting a 90-minute live videodescribing the situation.

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Jazzy Rowe alleged her roommate bragged about covertly harassing her
Jazzy Rowe/Facebook

In the video, Rowe talks about how she had gone to the doctor because she had been having severe throat pain for about a month, but they did not know the cause other than “some type of bad bacteria.” Rowe says she believes the harassment from her roommate may have caused the sickness.

Rowe reported the incident, but wrote on Facebook that she decided to post her story online because “when it comes to college incidents/crimes and racial cases justice needs to be served.”

The story kicked off a tidal wave of outrage online under the hashtag #justiceforjazzy.

Jail records show that Brochu was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of the peace, both misdemeanors, and released on bond. In a police report obtained by the Hartford Courant, police say she admitted to licking the victim’s silverware and smearing her body fluids on the backpack, but denied tampering with lotions and cosmetics, saying it was a lie to “appear funny.”

University of Hartford President Greg Woodward released a statement Tuesdaysaying the allegations were “deeply upsetting” and that the accused student’s behavior “was reprehensible and does not reflect the values of our institution.”

Woodward added that the possibility the harassment was racially motivated was especially disturbing, and deserved special attention.

“The incident has brought about accusations of racism, and I want you to know that I hear and share your anger and frustration. Acts of racism, bias, bullying, or other abusive behaviors will not be tolerated on this campus,” he wrote. “I pledge to do everything in my power to work with our community to address related concerns together.”

On Wednesday, Woodward released a second statement saying Brochu had been expelled from the university and would not return. Police have asked the court to add a new hate crime charge – intimidation based on bigotry or bias, reported NBC Connecticut.

diversity visa

What is the diversity visa lottery?

How the diversity visa lottery came to be

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted that the 29-year-old Uzbek national suspected of killing eight people in a suspected terrorist attack in New York City the day before is a recipient of a “diversity visa,” reigniting a long-simmering debate about immigration in the US.

Trump blames Schumer, Democrats for immigration policies he says led to terror attack

Lesser known than traditional ways of immigrating into the country like family or work ties, the program benefits up to 50,000 people per year from countries with lower levels of immigration to the US.

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “I want merit based.”

Minutes later, he added: “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”

What is it?

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program awards up to 50,000 individuals per year a visa for a green card, which bestows permanent residency in the US and is a path to citizenship.

Opponents of immigration complain that the program brings people to the US to compete for jobs, and even supporters of immigration acknowledge the program does not tailor applicants to needs in the US.

Visas are awarded by random selection in select countries to promote immigration from places that don’t otherwise send many immigrants to the US.

Roughly 1 million green cards are issued by the US per year. In 2016, 45,664 diversity visas were issued. The vast majority of green cards are based on family connections, and other categories include employment-based visas and refugees or asylees.

US Visa Fast Facts

How does it work?

Individuals in countries that are determined by a formula to have a low enough level of immigration to the US can apply for the visas at certain times each year. Most of the lottery recipients live outside the US, but a few are in the US legally on other visas.

According to the formula set out by law, countries that have had more than 50,000 natives immigrate to the US in the previous five years are ineligible.

The visas are distributed further by regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America (other than Mexico), Oceania and South America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

The program is run by the State Department.

While individuals are selected for visas randomly, they still must meet security and eligibility requirements that all immigrants must clear to actually get their visas.

Diversity recipients specifically must also have at least a high school education or equivalent and must have had at least two years of experience working a job that requires at least two years of training or experience within five years of the date of the application. They must also be admissible to the US — categories of inadmissibility to the US broadly include terrorism connections.

The process also includes an in-person interview.

“In order to immigrate, DV selectees must be admissible to the United States,” a State Department information handout for applicants states. “The DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, electronically, and the consular officer, in person, will ask you questions about your eligibility to immigrate under U.S. law. These questions include criminal and security related topics. “

How did it get started?

The program was established in a bill passed in 1990, the Immigration Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — then a New York congressman — was one of 31 co-sponsors of the House version of the bill, spearheaded by Rep. Bruce Morrison, a Connecticut Democrat.
Schumer was credited with the concept of giving visas to countries with low admission rates to the US, which he developed in a different bill that he sponsored that was rolled into the broader law.
White House lays out DACA deal asks
Morrison also promoted the bill as a way to legalize Irish immigrants, according to a 1990 report in The New York Times and an analysis of the development of the program from the group NumbersUSA, which advocates for sharp cuts in overall immigration.

The final bill passed the Senate 89-8 and the House 264-118.

Has Congress tried to change the program?

In 2013, Schumer helped author the Gang of Eight bill that passed the Senate by a wide margin, which would have replaced the program.

The Gang of Eight measure was the result of a bipartisan effort to secure comprehensive immigration reform and had included senators such as Florida Republican Marco Rubio and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. The bill died in the House.

The bill would have moved the diversity visas elsewhere in the system and introduced a merit system that took into account multiple factors like family and work skills.

“Actually, the Gang of 8, including @SenSchumer, did away with the Diversity Visa Program as part of broader reforms. I know, I was there,” tweeted Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake on Wednesday in response to Trump.
“When re-evaluating immigration policy, it is right to give priority, through a point system or otherwise, to those who have skills and abilities unique to the new economy,” Flake wrote in a recent op-ed. “We did this in 2013, in the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate. But there must always be a place in America for those whose only initial credentials are a strong back and an eagerness to use it.”

What is Trump proposing?

Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue have introduced a bill, endorsed by Trump, that would eliminate the diversity lottery and certain categories of family-based green cards, and then would transform the remaining employment-based visas into a point system that favors heavily highly skilled, highly educated, English-speaking immigrants.

But while there is consensus around needing to reform the process, limited support exists even within the GOP for Cotton and Perdue’s bill.

What is 'chain migration' and how could it disrupt a DACA deal?

The Cotton-Perdue bill would roughly halve the number of green cards overall per year, a point of contention for many Democrats and Republicans alike, and wouldn’t easily allow for low skilled immigrants to come to the US permanently, another sticking point for many.

CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report.

antifa

The antifa apocalypse is coming this weekend, if you believe the hype

Police try to contain antifa protesters in Portland in September. (Natalie Behring/Getty Images/AFP)

For anyone logging time on the far right corners of the Internet, this coming Saturday is not just another autumn weekend but the potential start date of an apocalyptic showdown.

Infowars has warned “Antifa Plans ‘Civil War’ to Overthrow the Government.” The John Birch Society put out two recent videos warning Americans to “stay home and tell your children to do likewise” on Saturday.  YouTuber “A Glock Fanboy” notched more than 400,400 views for a clip raising the alarm about “the first day of the revolution or whatnot.”

“Honestly, I’m happy,” the YouTuber told his followers. “Dude, we’ve been on the verge of the great war for what seems like forever and I’m just ready to get it going.”

While Nov. 4 has become a rallying point on the conservative landscape — complete with a hashtag “civilwar2017″ — down on the other far end of the political spectrum, the reality is equally significant. The left-leaning group Refuse Fascism is planning rallies across the country on Saturday, the first step in a large-scale, long game demonstration organizers hope will achieve nothing less than the unseating of the Trump administration.

“We formed this organization around two main points,” Andy Zee, one of the group’s organizers, told The Washington Post. “One is that the nightmare must end, and second, in the name of humanity we must refuse to accept a fascist America.”

Zee maintains that Refuse Fascism is committed to nonviolent protest, and scoffs at the ideas floating through the far right of antifa super-soldiers waging war on mainstream society. If anything, the jarring disconnect over Nov. 4 shows how easily facts are eaten alive by social media and regurgitated as conspiracy theory. The possible violence coloring that disconnect illustrates how truly ideologically isolated the two sides are from one another.

“It’s absurd. Calling for a civil war?” Zee said. “Pick a date for a civil war? Honestly, what do you say to this?”

Zee’s group does have big plans for the weekend — and beyond. He tells The Post the group is organizing demonstrations on Saturday in more than a dozen locations, including New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco.

Tapping the same kind of energy unleashed in the Occupy Wall Street movement and Women’s March, Refuse Fascism hopes to spark regular protests against the administration, daily actions that will snowball until “every day there are tens of thousands of people protesting, creating a political crisis in the country with international repercussions, and where you do get a reaction from those in power that they have to do something about it,” Zee said.

How some ‘antifa’ protesters are using black bloc tactics

Video: What is the black bloc? (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

The blueprint here, Zee told The Post, is the South Korean mass protest movement that began in October 2016 and eventually led to President Park Geun-hye’s removal from office in March. “What we are trying to unleash is a process of continuous protest,” Zee said. “We can’t just wait for the other shoe to drop. We’ve been saying from the beginning, with fascism, it can be too late.”

Zee is admittedly less clear on what that peaceful regime change would look like in the United States. “Impeachment, the 25th Amendment — they will determine the means and ways when it becomes clear there is a tremendous crisis of confidence,” the organizer said. The key is sending the message.

That message, however, so far has largely been lost in translation online. Rumbles about planned Nov. 4 demonstrations began circulating on the Internet this summer, according to Will Sommer, the Hill editor who pens Right Richter newsletter. In September, a small group of Refuse Fascism organizers made a splash when they blocked traffic on Highway 101 in Los Angeles and held up signs reading “NOV 4 IT BEGINS,” LA Weekly reported.

Video clips of the demonstration accelerated the online panic over what could be planned for Nov. 4. More speculation was fueled by the involvement of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and many began to label the outing as an antifa event.

“On their website, they are calling for an open civil war that they will start here in the United States in November,” a YouTuber named Jordan Peltz said in a clip that went viral. “They are fundraising for weapons, training, ammunition, suppliers. They are not hiding this. They are openly fundraising so they can attack.”

“The end game here is martial law,” one video warns, “is provoking Republicans, patriots, whatever, you and me, into this huge battle, whether it’s just fighting or whether it’s guns. What they will do is they will throw up their arms and say, ‘I told you so, they’re violent’ . . . They want us out there, with our weapons so the government will commence with martial law. And then, I believe, serious gun control-slash-confiscation.”

“Make sure you got enough ammo, make sure your guns are ready,” another poster advised in a clip with more than 110,000 views. “You have to understand these are vicious, vicious people. Your life means nothing to them. In fact, if you’re a white man, you don’t deserve to live.”

[‘Black bloc’ protests return for Trump era, leaving flames, broken windows from D.C. to Berkeley]

Infowars provocateur Alex Jones announced in a video that antifa was “going to lose on November 4 and every day after that, because they’re a bunch of meth-head pieces of crap.”

Refuse Fascism’s Zee denies all that speculation.

The organization is engaged with a broad coalition of groups, including the Revolutionary Communist Party, but it has committed to Refuse Fascism’s nonviolence stance.

On its website, Refuse Fascism also makes clear it sees “NO moral ‘equivalence’ between those seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism, and those fighting against this nightmare.”

Zee told The Post his group does “uphold the legal right to self-defense, but we don’t initiate violence and we oppose violence.” He added violence would only feed into the negative image of the group. “We are not looking to get involved in that kind of situation,” he said. “We are in the fight for hearts and minds of people to recognize the stakes.”

Still, the online hysterics over Nov. 4 have put the potential demonstrations in the crosshairs of extremists.

“It’s utter lunacy on these sites. If you read their stuff, and people are believing it,” the organizer added. “They are calling for people to bring their weapons to the demonstrations. We just have to outnumber them.”

11-04-2017 Antifa and other communist terrorist groups are going to wage war on our president and the American People. #CivilWar2017

— Brian Fox (@BrianFoxNow) October 17, 2017

PLEASE Contact ur state police! Tell them ANTIFA and other terrorist groups are converging to attack on Nov 4! #CivilWar2017 #Nov4ItBegins

— Dan D (@dd9384) October 19, 2017

Altuve

‘Go Astros’: Altuve gets shoutout from Backstreet Boys