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Archive for June 25th, 2009

Drugs Are Sick

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Drugs Are Sick

Drugs

U.N. drug chief Antonio Maria Costa believes drug use should be treated as an illness and not criminalized. Costa says international law enforcement should shift focus to traffickers rather than users, an intriguing (look at the U.S. prison population) but problematic (look at Mexico’s drug war death toll) strategy.

The Guardian:

Drug use should be treated more as an illness than a crime, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said as he claimed a decline in the production of cocaine and heroin worldwide.

“People who take drugs need medical help, not criminal retribution,” said Antonio Maria Costa, director of UNODC, calling for universal access to drug treatment. Since people with serious drug problems provided the bulk of drug demand, treating this problem was one of the best ways of shrinking the market.

His call for international law enforcement to target traffickers rather than users came as it was announced that there is a worldwide growth in synthetic drugs.

Drug law reformers saw Costa’s words as a significant sign in the debate over the “war on drugs”. However, he said that legalisation was not the answer.

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Bill Folman: Finally! A New Euphemism!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Bill Folman: Finally! A New Euphemism!
We’ve had a lively potpourri of sex scandals recently, but none can match the transformative power of the Mark Sanford affair. Finally, we have a…

Exclusive: MoveOn Targets DiFi On Healthcare In New Ad
Intensifying efforts to keep recalcitrant Democrats in line on health care, the progressive activist organization MoveOn.org is launching a new television ad calling on Sen….

Peggy Drexler: It’s hard to debate feminism when you’re dodging bullets
I was watching CNN the other day. There was a discussion about whether feminism was obsolete. Is being a feminist about living the life you…

Obama Hosts ABC News At The White House For Health Care Forum (VIDEO)
ABC News: by Jake Tapper and Karen Travers President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to…


Roll Call uncritically quotes Boehner falsehood that Dem bill leaves 23 million currently insured with no health coverage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Roll Call uncritically quotes Boehner falsehood that Dem bill leaves 23 million currently insured with no health coverage

A June 23 Roll Call article uncritically quoted House Minority Leader John Boehner’s claim, “Today the President again claimed that the Democrats’ government takeover of health care would not force Americans off of their current plans, yet independent analysts have reported that at least 23 million Americans would lose their coverage under the bill drafted by Senate Democrats.” Boehner has repeatedly cited that figure, attributing it to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of draft legislation from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). In fact, the CBO calculated that with respect to that bill, in 2017, approximately 10 million individuals “who would be covered through an employer’s plan under current law would not have access to that coverage under the draft legislation because some employers would choose not to offer it.” But those individuals would not be left without health insurance, as Boehner suggested; the CBO stated that under the draft HELP bill that CBO analyzed — which did not include a public option — these individuals would have purchased private insurance offered through the government-regulated exchanges set up by the legislation.

The “at least 23 million Americans” figure Boehner used actually refers to the number of Americans currently covered under employer-provided, individual, or government-provided health insurance that the CBO determined would be covered in 2017 through the bill’s insurance exchanges. In a June 15 letter detailing the CBO’s preliminary analysis of portions of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions’ (HELP) proposed health care reform bill, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf wrote:

Once the proposal was fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges. At the same time, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, so the net decrease in the number of people uninsured would be about 16 million.

Elmendorf also wrote that according to the CBO’s analysis, 15 million fewer people would be “covered by an employment-based health plan” if the HELP bill were passed than under current law. He added that that figure included “roughly 10 million people who would have an offer of employment-based coverage but would be allowed to obtain subsidies in the insurance exchanges because that coverage would be deemed ‘unaffordable.’ ” Elmendorf also stated that “about 8 million” individuals covered “under Medicaid and CHIP [Children’s Health Insurance Program] and in nongroup coverage” would change their coverage “because of the subsidies offered in the exchanges.”

In 2017, for example, the number of uninsured would fall by about 16 million, relative to current-law projections. In that year, about 39 million people would be covered by policies purchased through the new insurance exchange. At the same time, about 147 million people would be covered by an employment-based health plan, 15 million fewer than under current law.3 Smaller net declines (totaling about 8 million) would occur in coverage under Medicaid and CHIP and in nongroup coverage because of the subsidies offered in the exchanges.

[…]

3 That net decline in employment-based coverage is itself the result of several flows. In particular, it includes roughly 10 million people who would have an offer of employment-based coverage but would be allowed to obtain subsidies in the insurance exchanges because that coverage would be deemed “unaffordable.” Although the legislation did not specify a standard for affordability, CBO and the JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] staff assumed that coverage would be deemed unaffordable if workers had to pay a larger share of their income for their employer’s plan than they would have to pay in the exchanges.

In a June 16 post to his blog following up on his letter, Elmendorf further explained the “changes [that] would produce” the 15 million net decrease in the number of people that had employer-based insurance. He wrote that roughly 10 million people who had the option to choose between their employer-provided health insurance and the insurance offered through the exchange would choose the latter, while approximately 10 million individuals “who would be covered through an employer’s plan under current law would not have access to that coverage under the draft legislation because some employers would choose not to offer it.” In addition, “[A]pproximately 5 million more individuals would obtain employer-based coverage under the proposal.” From Elmendorf’s blog post:

  • Some individuals would have insurance coverage available from their employer, but would also have an option to obtain subsidized insurance from an exchange. That opportunity would exist for people whose incomes were sufficiently low — and the cost of employer-sponsored insurance sufficiently high — so that the insurance would be categorized as “unaffordable” under rules that would be set by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. (Although the draft legislation does not specify a standard for affordability, CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation assumed that coverage would be deemed unaffordable if workers had to pay a larger share of their income for their employer’s plan than they would have to pay in the exchanges.) By CBO’s estimate, about 10 million people with this choice would opt to obtain insurance from exchanges rather than from their employer.
  • The availability of subsidized coverage in the new insurance exchanges would be an attractive option for many lower-income workers. As a result, some employers would decide not to offer their employees health insurance coverage, opting instead to provide other forms of compensation. CBO estimates that about 10 million individuals who would be covered through an employer’s plan under current law would not have access to that coverage under the draft legislation because some employers would choose not to offer it.
  • Finally, approximately 5 million more individuals would obtain employer-based coverage under the proposal (compared with the number under current law) either because they worked for a firm that newly began to offer coverage as a result of the legislation or because they decided to enroll in an insurance plan that the employer would offer under current law but which they would not select in the absence of the legislation. (Some workers would value an employer’s offer of insurance and be more willing to sign up for it because of the legislation’s requirement for individuals to have insurance; some employers would begin to offer insurance to accommodate employees’ desires and to take advantage of the subsidies that would be provided for some small businesses.)

From the June 23 Roll Call article:

While he didn’t insist on a government insurance option, the president was vigorous in his defense of it, denying that it would lead to a government “takeover” of the health system. But Republicans gave the argument a thumbs down.

“Today the President again claimed that the Democrats’ government takeover of health care would not force Americans off of their current plans, yet independent analysts have reported that at least 23 million Americans would lose their coverage under the bill drafted by Senate Democrats,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement released after the press conference. “House Republicans have introduced a better alternative to make health care more affordable and accessible, ensure that Americans can keep their health plan, and keep doctors and patients, not government bureaucrats, in charge of critical and personal medical decisions.”


Sanford To Lover: “I Love The Erotic Beauty Of You Holding Yourself”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Sanford To Lover: “I Love The Erotic Beauty Of You Holding Yourself”
We got the feeling from his press conference that things weren’t quite resolved between Mark Sanford and his Argentina-based lover. Now The State has published emails the pair sent each other last year — and they definitely reinforce that impression….

Source: “There Is Some Evidence [Sanford] Was Not Alone”
Things are still murky on the Mark Sanford story. But it’s looking increasingly likely that Sanford’s trip to Argentina was about more than a scenic drive down the coast. “There is some evidence he was not alone,” a source in…






GOP A-Holes on Parade

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

GOP A-Holes on Parade


Food Inc: Michael Pollan and Friends Reveal the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Food Inc: Michael Pollan and Friends Reveal the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets
The new film Food Inc. is a shocking look at the health, human rights and the environmental nightmare that lands on our plate each meal.

Obama’s False Financial Reform Is Nothing But Smooth Talk and Some Fuzzy Plans
Missing in the Obama plan are hard rules — the classic quality of laws that command behavior by prescribing "thou shalt" or 'thou shalt not."

Food Inc: Michael Pollan and Friends Reveal the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets
The new film Food Inc. is a shocking look at the health, human rights and the environmental nightmare that lands on our plate each meal.

So What Happened to That Talk About Reining in CEO Pay?
The Obama administration has watered down the rules on executive pay into mushy prescriptions that pose no real threat to the Big Boys' windfalls.


Plus, he cooks daal and reads Urdu poetry?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Plus, he cooks daal and reads Urdu poetry?
Is our president a phenomenal mutli-culturalist or what?? Not only he has Kenyan relatives, grew up in gloriously multi-culti Hawaii, went to school in Indonesia and speaks some Bahasa Indonesia, can do Hawaiian hand gestures and African-American hand jives with…





Ehud Barak and the ghost of Labour past
Ehud Barak, who in 1999 was briefly the “peace candidate” for PM before he became the peace movement’s executioner in December 2000 and then went on to design and unleash Israel’s most recent assault against Gaza, has been at it…






Will Republicans ?Ask Questions? Of Sanford, Rather Than ?Circle The Wagons For One Of Our Tribe??

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Will Republicans ?Ask Questions? Of Sanford, Rather Than ?Circle The Wagons For One Of Our Tribe??
After days of speculation and misinformation, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) today admitted that he had spent the past week in Argentina — not on the Appalachian trail, as his staff originally told the press — with a woman with whom he has been having an affair. As the New York Times notes, the press […]

After days of speculation and misinformation, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) today admitted that he had spent the past week in Argentina — not on the Appalachian trail, as his staff originally told the press — with a woman with whom he has been having an affair.

As the New York Times notes, the press conference “began rather oddly, with Mr. Sanford rambling about his love for the Appalachian trail, his exhaustion from a legislative battle over the federal stimulus and a need to get away from the public eye.” Sanford, who is married and has four children, eventually admitted that he has been having an affair with an Argentine woman. He also announced that he would be resigning as head of the Republican Governors Association. Watch it:

While serving as a U.S. congressman, Sanford was incredibly critical of his colleagues’ marital misdeeds, including the affairs of former congressman Bob Livingston and President Bill Clinton:

“The bottom line, though, is I am sure there will be a lot of legalistic explanations pointing out that the president lied under oath. His situation was not under oath. The bottom line, though, is he still lied. He lied under a different oath, and that is the oath to his wife. So it’s got to be taken very, very seriously.” [Sanford on Livingston, CNN, 12/18/98]

We ought to ask questions…rather than circle the wagons for one of our tribe.” [Sanford on how the GOP reacts to affairs, New York Post, 12/20/98]

“I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.” [Sanford on Clinton, The Post and Courier, 9/12/98]

The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of Democratic government, representatives government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.” [Sanford on Clinton, CNN, 2/16/99]

Sanford has also been an opponent of same-sex marriage, saying in 2004, “As Jenny and I are the parents of four little boys, we’ve always taught our kids that marriage was something between a man and a woman.” [The Post and Courier, 2/11/04]


The Take: With Sanford Scandal, GOP’s Long Winter Gets Longer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

The Take: With Sanford Scandal, GOP’s Long Winter Gets Longer
Mark Sanford’s summer adventure to Argentina — no, he was not hiking the Appalachian Trail, as his aides incorrectly told reporters — is now a full-fledged personal and family embarrassment, a story of infidelity followed by a public confession of the kind that has become all too familiar from…

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford Holds a News Conference to Discuss Disappearance and Admits Affair
SPEAKER: GOV. MARK SANFORD, R-S.C. [*] SANFORD: I won’t begin in any particular spot. Let me just start with — I — I don’t see — where’s Gina Smith? (UNKNOWN): She’s not here. SANFORD: Not here? OK. I had a conversation with Gina Smith this morning, when I arrived in Atlanta, and I told h…

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U.S. Doesn’t Need the Ultra-Liberal Public Option

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2009 4:30 am by HL

U.S. Doesn’t Need the Ultra-Liberal Public Option
Larry Kudlow, NRO

Mr. Sanfordâ??s Great Adventure

The Astroturf Drive for ObamaCare
Michelle Malkin, New York Post

Provocation From Iran

The Abuse Behind Scientology’s Facade