Lou Reed’s Influence – More Artistic than Financial

On October 27th, 2013, Lou Reed passed away in his Long Island home at the age of 71. A rock and roll pioneer who shaped the American pop culture landscape, Reed was known for his work with both The Velvet

Lou Reed

Cover of Lou Reed

Underground and his solo work. His biggest hit as a solo artist was 1972’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” hailed as a classic by critics and industry veterans.

Reed’s achievements as an artist had less to do with financial or commercial triumphs and far more to do with daring and trailblazing artistry. His most recent work was New Age ambient music, a grand departure from his earlier rock sound. His New Age meditation album, “Hudson River Wind Meditations,” was overlooked by critics but popular with fans of the genre. His final album was 2011’s “Lulu,” a progressive collaborative effort with Metallica. The album was comprised mostly of spoken word.

Reed could have continued to find commercial success and grow his brand and wallet had he continued to create the rock and roll sound that many of his fans desired. However, Reed was nothing if not a rebel, unwilling to bend to the requests of even his most die-hard fans. Ultimately, his passion was to create the sound that he wanted to create – not the sound that others wished he would create.

The lesson that we can all take from the life of Lou Reed is a simple one: While making decisions based on financial and professional factors is undoubtedly important, there is certainly something to be said for throwing caution to the wind and finding one’s bliss. While we all might not be able to eschew doing what we need to do in favor of what we want to do, we could all stand to take some time to do what makes us truly happy and find our bliss. Reed is nothing if not an inspiration for chasing your passion no matter what your critics say.

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Healthcare.gov: Is this failure a warning of what’s to come?

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The official launch of online registration for government healthcare has been rife with disastrous glitches from the very beginning. This cataclysmic failure has spurred severe service outages across the country, and this chronically dysfunctional interface serves as foreshadowing for an epidemic of systematic organizational deficiencies. Healthcare.gov is only the first in a series of planned bureaucratic catastrophes.

Luckily, this informative overview exists to demystify the overly complex world of the medical legislation informally known as Obamacare. Being armed with the facts provided below can protect anyone during these times of economic uncertainty in which the destabilizing influence of expensive health treatments can suddenly arise.

The Internet Errors

The requirement of preemptive registration resulted in a complete system crash. The ability to input health data was also starkly limited. Security issues also seemed evident as certificates failed to show updated validations, and there was no indication of where confidential information would be stored.

Lack of Foresight and Oversight

The decision to mandate initial registration was a hastily made last-minute change that failed to consider the magnitude of public interest. This unfortunately coincided with a government shutdown, which left limited federal resources available to respond to claims of malfunctioning servers. The biggest mistake made by the Department of Health and Human Services was underestimating the massive influx of uninsured applicants.

To further complicate woes, a chief contractor behind the layout of healthcare.gov is expected to testify that additional time and money could not have salvaged the doomed enlistment effort. His official testimony will shed light on administrative laziness, and the legislative committee is expected to issue serious reprimands, but nothing will recompense the thousands of individuals deprived access to healthcare registration on the date promised to them years in advance. These problems were completely avoidable, but the team in place refused to promptly pay attention.

Proposed Solutions

The Obama Administration has conveniently remained mum on the topic of minor adjustments to the healthcare law, but Congressional Democrats have proposed implementing small delays to the overall roll-out. The dates for enforcing the individual mandate have become a focal point of discussions to modify Obamacare. Because citizens were not given feasible access to the online enrollment system, it would be unconstitutional to levy fines for their lack of registration.

The Foreboding Warning

If politicians cannot even tackle basic website programming, then they should not be trusted to manage the well-being of millions of Americans. Partisan divisions have made two factions that are fully noncoalescent, which means all future fixes will be the result of an incomplete compromise between two warring parties. Real health concerns have been forgotten by the incessant squabbling of politicians in their ivory towers. This means that every new initiative will only cause further societal strife and struggle. Members of Congress have expanded the breadth of their authority without grasping the technological realm. As a consequence, these politicians will continue overextending the limits of their power, and the public will be left to pick up the pieces.

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Dolly Parton’s Car Crash and the Importance of Insurance

Better Get to Livin'

Better Get to Livin’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America’s country sweetheart, Dolly Parton, was in a car accident recently. Although she was only a passenger in this minor fender-bender, she still suffered some injuries requiring a quick hospital visit and rest. The offending driver did not stop as he was supposed to and struck Parton’s vehicle. Parton surely has auto insurance, and hopefully the offending driver has coverage as well.

Auto Insurance 101

Every month, you pay a premium toward your coverage balance. Coverage varies by state, from hospital bills to repairing damaged street items, like guard rails. People with expensive cars pay higher premiums while inexpensive cars have lower amounts. Some buyers only purchase the bare minimum of coverage, called comprehensive. This coverage does not help in the Parton crash because it typically covers vehicle damage from objects, like flying rocks, rather than a collision situation.

How Much Does That Part Cost?

Repairing a vehicle after a car crash can lead to astronomical figures. A simple dent in the bumper may warrant an entire part replacement costing thousands of dollars. The offending driver in Parton’s accident is at fault. His insurance should cover Parton’s insurance deductible and any other expenses that arise. If he is not covered, she could technically sue him for damages, although there may not be many funds to pay out.

Those Medical Bills

Coupled with a car repair, Parton and her driver also went to the hospital. The offending driver uses his auto insurance to cover their medical bills. Any bills generated from the driver or passenger’s injuries goes directly to the offending driver’s insurance. If he is not properly covered with this policy feature, he must pay for the bills out-of-pocket. With medical bills costing thousand of dollars, he probably called his insurance agent right away to see if his policy has that coverage.

Luckily, Parton’s accident was not severe, but ongoing injuries can slowly siphon funds out of the offending driver’s account. If Parton has whiplash, for example, she may need multiple visits to a chiropractor or other specialty doctor. Each visit should be covered by the offending driver’s insurance. Because she has good insurance coverage does not mean that her policy should pay out. The party at-fault always pays for both car repairs and medical bills. With treatment that takes several weeks to a few months, the offending driver’s insurance rates will typically jump next policy year.

Someone Has To Pay For It

Depending on the insurance company, an accident on your record causes your premiums to rise. You are now considered a risk to the company. It is possible that you will cause another accident incurring more cost. Insurance companies must weigh their risky customers with their good drivers. Hopefully Parton recuperates quickly so the offending driver’s rates do not remain high for several years.

You may not think of auto insurance as a top priority, but the reality of Parton’s fender-bender shows everyone that accidents happen at any time. Even celebrities must cover their vehicles with good insurance to protect their assets.

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Nigella Lawson and the High Cost of divorce

Nigella Lawson Eats A Banana

Nigella Lawson Eats A Banana (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

Heartache and heartbreak are hard enough to endure but imagine having to go through the loss of a relationship while the world looks on. Such is the high price of celebrity divorce and the latest victim is the beautiful and talented television chef, Nigella Lawson. Shocking photos of Nigella apparently being choked by her husband, Charles Saatchi, surfaced in the media following the June 9th dinner at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair, London, where the incident occurred. Saatchi’s advisors urged him to humble himself and admit a public apology for the assault. Saatchi denied any wrongdoing, saying he never assaulted her and in fact, was actually removing mucous from his wife’s nose. Nigella was stunned by the admonition of “nose-picking” and his refusal to apologize. She left Saatchi and their family home in Chelsea.

The two sides continued to disagree about the pictures; Saatchi claiming it was just a “playful tiff” and Lawson hurt and humiliated by the public’s assumption of her as victim of domestic violence and her husband as her tormentor. Insult was added to injury on July 7th, when Saatchi announced his intent to divorce his wife in the media instead of directly to her. Lawson, who had been waiting for a public apology, was blind-sided by his cruel divorce announcement. Lawson and Saatchi have been married for 10 years; Saatchi has claimed that the couple had become “estranged” the last few years. Saatchi claims that he had no choice but to act publicly since his wife “failed to defend” him with a statement to the media. In fact, Lawson has remained silent at the advice of her publicist so as not to further affect their children. Lawson (53) and Saatchi (70) have three teenage children from previous marriages that they were raising together.In addition to the “he said, she said” controversy, Lawson and Saatchi will have to fight over $150 million in shared assets, including their $12 million Chelsea, West London home. Both brought substantial assets into the marriage. Charles Saatchi is worth $100 million from the high-profile, highly-successful New York advertising firm, Saatchi and Saatchi. Nigella Lawson is a celebrity chef, bestselling author and television star with a net worth of $15 million. By the time lawyers for both sides duke it out in court and attempt to untangle the shared assets, those net worths will be considerably less.But it’s not just a monetary cost to this celebrity divorce. Saatchi had grown increasingly resentful of his wife’s high-profile career that he helped established. It’s a common theme in celebrity couples; one partner becomes the higher earner or the more recognized celebrity and the other gets bit by that green-eyed monster, jealousy. In Nigella’s case, there is the public humiliation at the hands of someone she loves to endure. It seems that Saatchi is determined to do whatever he can to make her suffer in the media. And then there are the children; children always suffer in a divorce. It can be lessened when parents work together to keep it private and amicable. But it’s incredibly painful to have your lives dragged through the media. In this case, it is Nigella and Saatchi’s children that are paying the ultimate price.
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