@Reuters photographer Gleb Garanich keeps working despite being wounded by Ukraine riot police. pic.twitter.com/6mtaM4dl2n
— Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta) November 30, 2013
Blogging to the highest common denominator
@Reuters photographer Gleb Garanich keeps working despite being wounded by Ukraine riot police. pic.twitter.com/6mtaM4dl2n
— Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta) November 30, 2013
"I agree with the party chairman,” Scott told reporters, as quoted by the Fort Myers News-Press. “Trey is going through a tough time. My prayers and my wife's prayers are with his family. But we have to hold all of our elected officials to the highest standards.”The guy whose company paid a $600 million fine to the government for defrauding Medicare and ultimately paid more than $2 billion to settle all the claims for damages caused while Scott was Chairman and CEO has the nerve to lecture Radel about holding to high standards? Maybe somebody should blood test the Governor to see what drugs he's taking. I hear he owns a company that provides that service.
Labels: Republican hypocrisy
Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of '"60 Minutes," informed staff Tuesday that Lara Logan and her producer, Max McClellan, would be taking a leave of absence following an internal report on the news magazine's discredited Oct. 27 Benghazi report.Always thought Rather was set up to take that fall. CBS caved to wingnut's invented outrage. Certainly Rather's investigation was not so thoroughly disgraced at this Benghazi hoax, or should we call it a paean to wingnut conspiracy blather. Yet he was fired and he was blackballed from appearing on air during their JFK anniversary coverage just days ago. At the very least Dan Rather is owed a huge apology.
Fager's memo and findings of an internal review [are at the link.]
Labels: Media Fail
The Cleveland Clinic, which is ranked among the top four U.S. hospitals, is making layoffs and cutting its budget more than $100 million as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, the Daily Caller has learned.The funny thing about that "scoop" is this was already reported on Sept 18th by numerous news organizations. Furthermore, as analyzed on Oct 11th, the cuts aren't a direct result of Obamacare. It's not that Obamacare didn't alter the reimbursement schedule. It did, but the overall program was designed to lower federal reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid which would have been balanced by increased coverage under Medicaid and additional insurance subscribers who would sign up for affordable polices, thus cancelling out the unpaid debts that previously plagued hospital budgets.
“The cuts for 2014, about half of those are related to the Affordable Care Act…We anticipate a reduction in workforce,” Cleveland Clinic executive director of communications Eileen Sheil said in an interview with TheDC.
The procedural ruling was a victory for the six Republican members of the Ohio House and two local Right to Life chapters who filed suit after a legislative-spending oversight panel approved the expenditure last week of $2.56 billion in federal aid provided under the Affordable Care Act. The Controlling Board acted at the request of Gov. John Kasich, who took administrative action to expand Medicaid after the Republican-controlled General Assembly refused to approve it.Which would have been a big win for both Cleveland Clinic and the state coffers.
Expanding coverage to all Ohioans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — just under $16,000 a year for an individual — is expected to bring $13 billion in federal money to the state during the next seven years.In other words, it's a great deal for the states. Of course common sense and humanity are not words in the crackpot Republican lexicon. Nothing is more important than punishing the poor. They'll fight to the death of every last one of "those people" whom they judge to be undeserving in their relentless attempt to win policy concessions they didn't earn at the ballot box.
But in a state where the rollout has gone smoothly, and in a county that is one of the poorest and unhealthiest in the country, Courtney Lively has been busy signing people up: cashiers from the IGA grocery, clerks from the dollar store, workers from the lock factory, call-center agents, laid-off coal miners, KFC cooks, Chinese green-card holders in town to teach Appalachian students.Not only that, but the rubes are discovering the GOPers have been lying to them.
Although she once had to dispel a rumor that enrolling involved planting a microchip in your arm, and though she avoids calling the new law “Obamacare” in a red state, most people need little persuading.One person signs up successfully and tell their friends and family. The governor went all in on making the program work well. He clearly understands a healthier population saves the state money and it's just the humane thing to do. Now 60 year old people who have never had health insurance their entire lives are covered. Waiting for the tipping point where the lies just won't sell at all anymore and the GOPers start trying to take credit for the program. Only a matter of time.
Labels: music veterans
Jacqueline Kennedy arrives Andrews AFB DC, met by Robert Kennedy, 50 years ago this moment: #AP pic.twitter.com/E7qEIOOKPZJackie in that blood stained suit she refused to change. I'll never forget how she was so clearly emotionally wounded yet so bravely carried on the duties of her position with such grace and dignity. Her strength in those moments was heartbreaking and awe inspiring at once.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) November 22, 2013
@SenatorBurr Also this from Mitch in 2005. http://t.co/7CIc6ofqIxI think I won the round.
— Libby Spencer (@libbyspencer) November 21, 2013
After years of threats and warnings, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Democratic majority on Thursday executed the "nuclear option" to eliminate the filibuster for executive branch and judicial nominees, except for the Supreme Court.Of course, everybody has an opinion but it's probably not going to restore the Senate to a functional body.
The "Reid Rule," as supporters are calling it, does not affect the minority party's ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominees or legislation.GOPers will still block every bill and I don't think they should ever abolish the filibuster on SCOTUS nominees. Still this is a pretty BFD. By tradition, in the interests of responsible governance and Senate comity, the winner of the election gets to pick his own team and he gets to fill the vacancies on the bench. Thus does our government reflect the will of the voters.
There are currently 75 executive branch nominees ready to be confirmed by the Senate that have been waiting an average of 140 days for confirmation. One executive nominee to the agency that safeguards the water our children and grandchildren drink and the air they breathe has waited more than 800 days for confirmation.Yes, both sides filibustered nominees, but for stated cause. Republicans don't even bother to pretend they have a good reason anymore. Why should they when BigMedia treats it as normal procedure? It's at the point where every filibuster is an attempt to extort policy concessions Republicans didn't win a mandate for at the ballot box. Somebody had to end the madness. Good for Harry for finally giving the Republicans some hell.
We agreed in July that the Senate should be confirming nominees to ensure the proper functioning of government. But consistent and unprecedented obstruction by the Republican Caucus has turned “advise and consent” into “deny and obstruct.”
Leading the network newscasts: CBS: Obama plunge in CBS poll; ABC: foreign terrorists in the US; NBC: seatbelts on buses.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 20, 2013
Addressing a gathering of business executives, Obama acknowledged that the health-care rollout “has been rough, to say the least,” and he lamented the government’s archaic information-technology procurement system.This is also encouraging. It appears our Democratic party found a winning rescue strategy:
Obama said that fixes to the HealthCare.gov Web portal are underway and that the exchange will function for a majority of people by the end of November. But the president said staunch opposition from congressional Republicans is inhibiting the law’s implementation.
“One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure,” Obama said at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting in Washington. “We obviously are going to have to remarket and rebrand, and that will be challenging in this political environment.”
I’m told the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is set to launch a new campaign designed to refocus the debate on the Republican position on health care, which Dems will widely label as ”Cruz Care.”As I've been saying, it never made sense for Dems to try to run from reform. Their ownership of ACA is set in stone. Their only practical choice is to stand up and fight for it with everything they've got. When GOPers wail repeal, they respond with repair. The problems aren't insurmountable and the GOP's "plan" is to revert to the former status quo. Dems could be reminding the public every day that before ACA junk policies were being cancelled at will by insurers just when they were needed the most. And sticker shock? People forget how fast the premiums were rising and benefits were being cut even in relatively affordable employer based polices. Could only help to remind them.
“The polls all show that when you shift the conversation from `support or oppose’ to ‘fix versus repeal,’ Democrats have the advantage,” Matt Canter, a spokesman for the DSCC, tells me. Regular readers know I broadly agree polls show disapproval of the law does not equal support for the GOP position of repeal.
As minority leader, and an in-cycle candidate with a primary challenger, he has to be leading the vanguard of Affordable Care Act opposition. But as a Kentucky senator, and a candidate with a general election opponent, he will soon be running on a platform of taking insurance away from tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of his own constituents.Republicans went all in on anti-Obamacare arglebargle bullshit. Now they're racing the clock, working like mad to sabotage it before the electorate realizes they're better off with Obamacare than no reform at all. The GOP have pinned their strategy on raw hate and scurrilous lies. Thanks to a compliant insider press desperate for daily outrage, (real or invented), GOPers have been winning the day but even the rubes are beginning to see through their perfidy. We may actually live to see McConnell lose his cozy sinecure. Wouldn't that be something?
"I hate him for destroying my life, for taking away something precious to me, a life that I brought into this world,"
"It's devastating. It's a void. You never get over it."
"It lets you know that justice will be done for the senseless murders of two innocent boys."
GOPers in La. elect a new congressman based largely on his "Duck Dynasty" endorsement http://t.co/sjkBpXFOOn A great day for America!
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) November 18, 2013
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by reducing everything to 140 characters or less" -- @GinsbergToday
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) November 16, 2013
“I’m at the point where we need to do something to allow government to function,” Reid said when asked if he would consider using the so-called nuclear option, a controversial procedural tactic for changing Senate rules. “I’m considering looking at the rules.”He will insist? What, he wasn't insisting months ago? He was just suggesting? Enough of the wimpy threats Harry. Stop flailing and do it to them before they bamboozle their way into control again and do it to you. Do it now, while there's still time to repair some of the damage.
Reid said he will insist that Republicans allow up-or-down votes on all three of Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals: Patricia Millet, Cornelia Pillard and Robert Wilkins.
Brower has waged this campaign for two weeks, estimating that he’s smashed about 30 shopping carts in the process.You have to watch the video at the link to truly appreciate how creepy he is but it gets worse. Tom Brower is considering physical confrontation next.
...I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets," he said.If you watched the video, he doesn't actually remove them. He smashes them with the sledge and leaves them piled up for the city to remove. Which is about the meanest, most cost ineffective way to deal with abandoned carts. For one thing the carts he smashed all looked perfectly operable. He could just return them to the stores. Those carts are expensive. I'm sure they would be happy to get them back. Furthermore, stealing shopping carts has been long been the practice among the homeless. By destroying the one they already have, it just encourages them to steal a fresh one.
"I find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and I remove them. I also create a situation where those carts can't be pushed around the city. I think it's a good thing," he said.
"I don't want to be threatening to anybody," Brower said. "I think it's threatening to steal things and then walk around with them like it's their own."
Brower said he has yet to take a cart from a homeless person who's pushing it, but that may be coming. He supports other efforts to remove abandoned property. The sledgehammer approach is his way of pitching in.
This argument follows a simple causal chain: unequal growth concentrates wealth in the hands of a tiny slice of consumers who can only spend so much money. In turn, the vast majority of earners are left with little extra cash for goods and services. Resulting weak demand undermines growth. Low growth makes everyone poorer than they otherwise might be, including those who own the means of production. Inequality produces other bad economic outcomes, too, such as the underutilization of the nation's human capital, inadequate public investment in both human and physical capital, and social ills that are costly to address, diverting away resources from investment.Of course, us unserious hippies and some shrill professional pundits have been saying this for years but nobody listened to us. Nonetheless, good to see the VSPs finally acknowleging what has been painfully obvious (emphasis on the pain) to most of America for far too long. [graphic via Progress Illinois]
“The absolute last thing we should do in 2013 – at the very moment that Social Security has become the principal lifeline for millions of our seniors — is allow the program to begin to be dismantled inch by inch.Bigger excerpt at the link. No, she won't be running in 2016 and that's a good thing. She can do a lot more good in the Senate right now. And we need to vote in more progressive Dems to help her in 2014.
“Over the past generation, working families have been hacked at, chipped, and hammered. If we want a real middle class — a middle class that continues to serve as the backbone of our country — then we must take the retirement crisis seriously. Seniors have worked their entire lives and have paid into the system, but right now, more people than ever are on the edge of financial disaster once they retire — and the numbers continue to get worse.
“That is why we should be talking about expanding Social Security benefits — not cutting them. Senator Harkin from Iowa, Senator Begich from Alaska, Senator Sanders from Vermont, and others have been pushing hard in that direction. Social Security is incredibly effective, it is incredibly popular, and the calls for strengthening it are growing louder every day.”
In our states — Washington, Kentucky and Connecticut — the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is working. Tens of thousands of our residents have enrolled in affordable health-care coverage. Many of them could not get insurance before the law was enacted.BigMedia hasn't been telling this story. For every economically secure whiner they're trotted out to wail about cancelled policies and raised premiums, there are dozens of success stories on the internets about people who found coverage on the exchanges. Some are getting better policies and saving thousands a year. Some are able to afford health insurance for the very first time. And how about those small businesses the GOPers are claiming will have to fire people because they can't meet the new requirements? Well there's this responsible employer.
People keep asking us why our states have been successful. Here’s a hint: It’s not about our Web sites.
The Affordable Care Act has been successful in our states because our political and community leaders grasped the importance of expanding health-care coverage and have avoided the temptation to use health-care reform as a political football.
Since Howard Stovall opened his sign and graphics business in Lexington, Ky., in 1998, he has paid half the cost of health insurance for his eight employees. With the help of Stovall’s longtime insurance agent and Kentucky’s health exchange, Kynect, Stovall’s employees are saving 5 percent to 40 percent each on new health insurance plans with better benefits. Stovall can afford to provide additional employee benefits, including full disability coverage and part of the cost of vision and dental plans, while still saving the business 50 percent compared with the old plans.And something to think about. The majority of success stories are coming from states with Democratic governors. When's the last time you saw a feature on any of them on the BigMedia? A bit surprised this op-ed made the cut in WaPo but they made up for it in the related links at the bottom of the piece:
Kathleen Parker: Obamacare is sinkingClickbait journalism at its finest. This is why we can't have an informed electorate.
Charles Krauthammer: Why liberals are panicked about Obamacare
Ruth Marcus: Obama’s political malpractice
The Post’s View: A prescription for fixing Obamacare glitches
Dana Milbank: Obama makes a desperate sales pitch
.@DukeStJournal I do believe that Tea Pot Dome was known as "Harding's Obamacare" at the time.
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) November 15, 2013
Labels: Media Fail
The amendment proposed in the motion to recommit in pertinent part requires state insurance commissioners to examine notices of health insurance cancellations or conversions. It also addresses the regulation of health insurance rates, specifically the amendment delineates what would constitute inadequate notice of cancellation or conversions of health insurance coverage and directs state insurance commissioners to investigate such cases of inadequate notice. Additionally, it permits the Secretary of Health and Human Services or the relevant state insurance regulator to take corrective actions if health insurance rates are determined to be excessive, unjustified, or discriminatory….Translated: If insurance corporations are allowed to sell junk policies, there have to submit to regulatory review if they cancel the policies when people actually get sick and they won't be allowed to indiscriminately price gouge. You'll recall President's Obama's fix also required the insurers to clearly state the limits of the policies and make the consumer aware they had other options on public exchanges.
The idea isn’t to retroactively fulfill the promise he made to everyone whose plans have been canceled, but to demonstrate to the public that there’s now nothing in the law requiring carriers to dump policyholders or uphold their cancellation notices, so that the public takes its concerns and grievances directly to the carriers. That would alleviate pressure on Democratic lawmakers to vote under duress for legislation that would undermine the Affordable Care Act more dramatically.Republicans are pissed at being upstaged. I already see the new talking point being tweeted out. Apparently the directive is: Howl about how this doesn't help at all. And the conservative insider media hounds can't be thrilled about losing their favorite "keep yer plan" chew toy. But they still have the glitchy website and Issa's tomfoolery to obsess about -- so there's that.
Joe Dendy, chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party, says that he has two conditions for supporting the Braves' proposed move (h/t Jim Galloway):And by people, he means "those" people who can't afford to live in Cobb and wouldn't be welcome even if they could because... wrong hue. But whatever you do, don't call it racist. I'm sure Mr. Dendy has a very good friend of a different color.
1.) That Cobb County citizens won't have to pay higher taxes as a result, and
2.) “It is absolutely necessary the (transportation) solution is all about moving cars in and around Cobb and surrounding counties from our north and east where most Braves fans travel from, and not moving people into Cobb by rail from Atlanta."
On Saturday, Generation Opportunity, a group in part funded by billionaire activists Charles and David Koch, threw a tailgate party with College Republicans outside the University of Miami football game to advocate against signing up for the insurance plans.What a humanitarian plan. Okay kids, everybody party like you're never going to get sick or die. Who would have thought drunken 20 year olds would sign a pledge against accepting nearly free health care?
"The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health-care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there's more competition, there's less tort reform threat, there's less trajectory of the cost increases, and those plans have been proposed over and over again," Palin said.And now I have this song in my head:
"And what thwarts those plans? It's the far left," she said "It's President Obama and his supporters who will not allow the Republicans to usher in free market, patient-centered, doctor-patient relationship links to reform health care."
The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer -- a European Space Agency satellite known shorthand as GOCE -- was barely a dozen miles above the scientifically recognized edge of space as its orbit decayed, the ESA announced shortly before midnight Sunday (6 p.m. ET). GOCE is expected to nose into the atmosphere and break up sometime before 8 p.m. ET, the agency projected. [...]Good technology will likely evolve from the demise of this old piece of hardware.
"At an altitude of less than 120 km (75 miles), the spacecraft is -- against expectations -- still functional," the ESA said. The craft's "most probable" path for re-entry takes it mainly over the Pacific and the Indian oceans, and controllers have all but ruled out any chance that the spacecraft would come down over Europe, it said. (GOCE's orbit can be tracked via an ESA website.)
The 5-meter (16-foot) satellite was launched in 2009 to map variations in the Earth's gravity in 3-D, provide ocean circulation patterns and make other measurements. Powered by solar panels and not-your-average lithium-ion battery, it lasted more than three times its expected lifespan before running out of juice on October 21.
In March 2011, the ESA added another role -- as the "first seismometer in orbit" -- when GOCE detected sound waves from the massive earthquake that struck Japan.
On Saturday, nearly 40 armed men, women, and children waited outside a Dallas, Texas area restaurant to protest a membership meeting for the state chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun safety advocacy group formed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
According to a spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action (MDA), the moms were inside the Blue Mesa Grill when members of Open Carry Texas (OCT) — an open carry advocacy group — “pull[ed] up in the parking lot and start[ed] getting guns out of their trunks.” The group then waited in the parking lot for the four MDA members to come out. The spokeswoman said that the restaurant manager did not want to call 911, for fear of “inciting a riot” and waited for the gun advocates to leave. The group moved to a nearby Hooters after approximately two hours.
MDA later released a statement calling OCT “gun bullies” who “disagree[d] with our goal of changing America’s gun laws and policies to protect our children and families.” The statement added that the members and restaurant customers were “terrified by what appeared to be an armed ambush.” A member of OCT responded by tweeting, “I guess I’m a #gunbullies #Comeandtakeit.”
The Daily Press of Newport News, Va. reported Friday that Republican candidate Mark Obenshain had an unofficial lead of just under 1,300 votes over Democratic challenger Mark Herring. That tally did not include full provisional ballot totals, and as of Saturday, a fresh rule change was complicating matters.The beauty of this scam is they only changed the rule for one county, that being Fairfax, which I'm told is a Democratic stronghold. Unsurprisingly the rule change was made by an elections board dominated by Republicans. The after the fact "modification affects hundreds of voters." Willing to bet most of them are Democrats. Adding to the weirdness, for some unexplained reason, the number of returned absentee ballots was suspiciously low in Fairfax as well.
The Fairfax County Electoral Board met Saturday morning and released an official statement later in the day on the provisional ballot totals in question. Final results show that tabulation issues led to an error affecting approximately 3,200 votes, the board said.How convenient. That won't affect the count at all, will it? In light of similar voter suppression in every GOP dominated state in our country since they made their decision, I'd like to thank the GOP majority on SCOTUS for gutting the Voting Rights Act on the grounds that Republicans stopped cheating the voters ages ago. It's working out so well. For crackpot conservatives. How do these people look at themselves in the mirror? [graphic via]
With Friday's state rule change in place, the board added that final results are expected on Tuesday Nov. 12, with a midnight deadline in place. NBC Washington also notes that any voter who cast a provisional ballot now has to contact or visit their local Board of Election office by then to have their say count.
Labels: music veterans
What’s more, the authors — one of whom is the Federal Reserve Board’s director of research and statistics, so we’re not talking about obscure academics — put a number to these effects, and it’s terrifying. They suggest that economic weakness has already reduced America’s economic potential by around 7 percent, which means that it makes us poorer to the tune of more than $1 trillion a year. And we’re not talking about just one year’s losses, we’re talking about long-term damage: $1 trillion a year for multiple years.The bad news is, austerity fiends still infect our policies and the cure requires political courage. Presently, there's a severe shortage of that inside The Bubble. Unfortunately, due to sequester cuts the Dept of Public Health will be unable to resupply the serum for some time.
True, debt can indirectly make us poorer if deficits drive up interest rates and thereby discourage productive investment. But that hasn’t been happening. Instead, investment is low because of the economy’s weakness. And one of the main things keeping the economy weak is the depressing effect of cutbacks in public spending — especially, by the way, cuts in public investment — all justified in the name of protecting the future from the wildly exaggerated threat of excessive debt.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Business owners applauded President Obama in backing a federal minimum wage increase to at least $10 an hour. "The American Dream needs a minimum wage increase," said Lew Prince, CEO and co-owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, the Midwest's largest independent music store. "The current minimum wage is too low for workers to live on and too low to sustain the consumer demand that businesses need to survive and thrive."Math so simple, even I can do it my head. Give the working people more money. They'll spend it right here in the good ole USA. Which will raise demand. Which will create more jobs and pump more money into the economy. Which will raise revenue for the government. Which will help eliminate the dreaded debt. The only people who don't get this are the "true" conservatives who are pretty sure if Dimmocrats like it and poor people don't suffer, then it must be some kind of commie, socialist, facsist, Kenyan plot. So they're agin it.
"We can't build a strong economy on a minimum wage from 1950, which is equivalent to today's $7.25 minimum wage, after adjusting for inflation," said Holly Sklar, Director of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. "The minimum wage has lost a third of its buying power since 1968, undermining working families, businesses and our economy."
From young newbies to the old guards, Democratic senators are clamoring for filibuster reform, and insist that a mass Republican blockade of three judges to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals may be the final straw before going nuclear.It's just that Democrats have been making the threat for so long it's no longer credible. The GOPers mock it. Shrug it off. As John Mccain said, "Someday Republicans will be in the majority, and if they set this precedent, they may not like the result. What goes around comes around in this town."
"It would mean they've totally gone back on what they said when there was a Republican president," Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the longest-serving member of the chamber, told TPM. "It would be such a reversal that I think there'd be overwhelming pressure to change the rules."
First, let me stipulate that I believe the Senate rules give the minority way too much power, not just over nominations, but over legislation as well. I think Democrats made an error in 2005 by “capitulating,” instead of allowing Republicans to go nuclear over President Bush’s judicial nominees. And whatever dilatory mechanisms senators want to erect to prevent the Senate from becoming too much like the House, the supermajority cloture era is anti-democratic and unsustainable in a polarized system like ours. [...]That court is poised to destroy decades worth of hard fought for socially responsible progress. By intent and tradition, for the last 200+ years empty seats on the benches have been filled by the winners of the election so as to reflect the will of the people. As was passing legislation without requiring a super majority for every single bill. Republicans have overturned all of that outside the electoral process. The crackpot conservatives have transformed the Senate Gentlemen's Club into a frat house. That precedent certainly can't stand. So stop them. At this point, Democrats have nothing to lose by nuking the filibuster first, except excuses for inaction.
But the trick Senate Republicans are playing this year — the power they’re exerting over both the executive and the judiciary — is new, and disjoined from the question of whether individual nominees deserve to serve in either branch of government. They’re denying (or threatening to deny) confirmation to any nominees in order to nullify laws, stymie legitimate policymaking, and “reverse court pack” — keep liberal judges off of one key appellate court in order to preserve its conservative balance for as long as possible.
Jon Stewart's brother, NYSE COO Larry Leibowitz, who must get really sick of people pointing that out pic.twitter.com/6prc0MkdyG
— John McDuling (@jmcduling) November 7, 2013
How are companies managing to earn so much money in a sluggish economy? And why aren't their profits goosing the economy?Rising tide lifts all ships was a lie. Anything smaller than luxury yachts gets swamped in their wake and slowly sinks. Time to bail out the people barely clinging to the life rafts. [charterworld.com photo]
For starters, weak job growth has held down pay. And since the recession struck six years ago, businesses have been relentless in cutting costs. They've also stockpiled cash rather than build new products or lines of business. And they've been earning larger chunks of their profits overseas.
All of which is a recipe for solid profits and tepid economic growth. The economy grew at a meager annual rate of just 1.8 percent in the first half of 2013. The unemployment rate is 7.2 percent, far above the 5 percent to 6 percent considered healthy.
Even so, corporate profits equaled 12.5 percent of the economy in the April-June quarter, just below a 60-year high reached two years ago. Profits of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 have nearly doubled since June 2009. Earnings appear to have risen again in the July-September quarter.
Brown argues that if Republicans push for Social Security benefits cuts as part of any deal, Dems should counter with the Harkin proposal to shift the terms of the debate in a Democratic direction. Democratic priorities, he said, should be centered on the idea that declining pensions and wages (and savings) are undermining retirement security, and added that the public strongly opposed gutting social insurance.All over the "Christian" Nation of Murika, we have old people standing in line at the grocery store counting out loose change at the end of the month to buy a box of biscuit mix to get them through until the next check comes in. The cost of living never goes down. So how are they supposed to live on less money? Seriously, what then? Rooting in the trash bins out back to get enough food to last a month? An extra $50 a month would make a big difference.
“The situation for seniors is only going to get worse, because the assault on pensions and wages is making it more and more difficult for a worker to save for the future,” Brown said. “Why are we having a debate over how much we are going to hurt seniors? The debate should be over how we should structure a pension for seniors that will help them. Why would we play on their playing field? Democrats need to play offense here. Force Republicans to say what it is they really want to do. Republicans just don’t like social insurance.”
It baffles me that people are directing their anger at the ACA which rights these terrible wrongs. [...]As Juan says, the damn insurers should be grateful they weren't cut out of the skimming business altogether by Medicare for All, which might have been a thing if professional concern troll Joe Lieberman hadn't killed it dead in utero on the Senate floor. They should be competing in the free market they're always railing about by offering an honest, affordable policy instead of pulling these desperate last minute scams on the consumer trying to squeeze the last drop of blood money out of the system before the public discovers Obamacare isn't to blame after all.
The Hartford Courant newspaper reports that the CEO of Aetna insurance made $36 million last year plus several millions more in stock options.
They also report that the CEO of Cigna cleared a cool $12.5 Million plus stock options.
The American health insurance industry is one of the most profitable in the history of the world. Before the ACA, they made money by finding any excuse, any loophole to deny coverage to the sickest and most vulnerable people in our society.
The GOP has gleefully jumped on media reports about Americans having their health insurance plans nixed because of Obamacare. "Obama lied. My health plan died," conservative blogger Michelle Malkin wrote in September, referring to President Barack Obama's promise that people who liked their health insurance plans could keep them. But how many Americans' health plans would receive some form of cancelation notice if GOP hard-liners got their wish and repealed Obamacare? Probably at least 137 million. [...]Right now BigTV is fully invested in their lazy "Obama lied about keeping your plan" which wouldn't be quite so annoying if they showed the same interest in playing syntax police on the GOPers as well. But the bigger media malpractice is they could be using their time to explain the exchanges. Especially since every one of their "Obamacare cancelled my fabulous policy" stories has fallen apart under scrutiny. One of the so-called victims has since recanted her complaints and now calls her cancelled policy a blessing in disguise. Can't fail to notice, that isn't getting play on the TV news. And as Brian Beutler points out, BigMedia look like bigger idiots every time they post a new so-called victim that turns off to better off with a crap policy.
"[R]ight now the media are paying the most attention to people who are [getting cancellation notices]," Jost says. "Bad news sells better than good." But ACA benefits have kicked in already, and others will be coming online soon. So imagine the fury if Republicans repeal the law and 137 million Americans get cancelation notices. Then the media might have a real scandal to report.
Millions of people could qualify for federal subsidies that will pay the entire monthly cost of some health care plans being offered in the online marketplaces set up under President Obama's health care law, ...Far too many will likely fall through the cracks that won't be repaired until the Crackpot Caucus is deposed. That will take a little more time. Everything changes. At its own pace. Sometimes for the better.
Donna received the letter canceling her insurance plan on Sept. 16. Her insurance company, LifeWise of Washington, told her that they'd identified a new plan for her. If she did nothing, she'd be covered.Of course she would be paying $300 a month more for the pleasure of staying with a plan she "liked." But Donna is no fool. She shopped around on the Obamacare exchanges.
If Donna had done nothing, she would have ended up spending about $1,000 more a month for insurance than she will now that she went to the marketplace, picked the best plan for her family and accessed tax credits at the heart of the health care reform law.It's happening in many states. More than a few insurers are doing it, but some are more blatantly swindling consumers than others.
"The info that we were sent by LifeWise was totally bogus. Why the heck did they try to screw us?" Donna said. "People who are afraid of the ACA should be much more afraid of the insurance companies who will exploit their fear and end up overcharging them."
Donna is not alone.
The insurance companies argue that it's simply capitalism at work. But regulators don't see it that way. By warning customers that their health insurance plans are being canceled as a result of Obamacare and urging them to secure new insurance plans before the Obamacare launched on Oct. 1, these insurers put their customers at risk of enrolling in plans that were not as good or as affordable as what they could buy on the marketplaces.This was always the fatal flaw in Obamacare. Its success depended on the greedy insurance mega-corporations to be honest in their dealings. We knew that was never going to happen. But at least it's more difficult for them to get away with it now. So there's that. Still, caveat emptor.
Whenever Edie suffered a setback, she took what she calls "a spirit quest" into the wilderness. Weary from chemo in the summer of 2009, she and Dale traveled by camper van through national parks in the West. "The wilderness helps me forget everything," Edie explains. "I don't think about cancer; I feel healthy there." Twice more they headed out on camping trips, the last time in 2011 when the cancer returned.So they both could take months off from work and travel as far afield as Alaska and Fiji. And they clearly have resources or at least connections among the the venture captial crowd. Edie was looking forward to launching a new line of beauty products this year. It may well be that Edie will be inconvenienced by Obamacare but she is far from the typical insurance consumer. Clearly it won't ruin her life to rework her policies whereas living without any health care at all would literally kill millions of Americans who will now have access to affordable coverage.