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Archive for November 8th, 2009

House Passes Health Care Bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:42 am by HL

House Passes Health Care Bill
With a few dozen Democrats jumping ship and the support of just one Republican, the House passed a historic health reform bill by just five votes. The measure would expand coverage to most Americans through individual and employer mandates, outlaw some of the insurance companies’ more unsavory tactics and provide a weakened public insurance option. The House bill would cost more than President Barack Obama’s arbitrary limit of $900 billion, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would ultimately reduce the deficit over 10 years—another of the president’s requirements. Now it’s the Senate’s turn to—we hope—pass its own vision of reform. The two measures would be combined in conference and then head back to be voted into law, or not, by both chambers. It’s easy to be cynical about all this. The House measure, more ambitious than what they’re talking about in the Senate, doesn’t do a whole lot to control runaway health care costs. And while the insurance companies would have to play a more honest game of pool, they would be flush with millions of new paying customers. Then there’s the public insurance option, a nice gesture but really so stingy it would be met with riots in civilized Europe. Still, Clintoncare never got out of committee. This is undeniably a historic moment, warts and all.  —PZS Bloomberg: The House voted 220-215 today to approve the measure, which would cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years. Just one Republican, Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, backed the plan, and 39 Democrats broke ranks to oppose it. Lawmakers hailed the step as a historic follow-on to the 1965 creation of the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled. They said the bill would cover 36 million uninsured Americans and curb costs. New rules would prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and seniors would get help obtaining preventive care and medicine. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

With a few dozen Democrats jumping ship and the support of just one Republican, the House passed a historic health reform bill by just five votes. The measure would expand coverage to most Americans through individual and employer mandates, outlaw some of the insurance companies’ more unsavory tactics and provide a weakened public insurance option.

The House bill would cost more than President Barack Obama’s arbitrary limit of $900 billion, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would ultimately reduce the deficit over 10 years—another of the president’s requirements.

Now it’s the Senate’s turn to—we hope—pass its own vision of reform. The two measures would be combined in conference and then head back to be voted into law, or not, by both chambers.

It’s easy to be cynical about all this. The House measure, more ambitious than what they’re talking about in the Senate, doesn’t do a whole lot to control runaway health care costs. And while the insurance companies would have to play a more honest game of pool, they would be flush with millions of new paying customers. Then there’s the public insurance option, a nice gesture but really so stingy it would be met with riots in civilized Europe.

Still, Clintoncare never got out of committee. This is undeniably a historic moment, warts and all.? —PZS

Bloomberg:

The House voted 220-215 today to approve the measure, which would cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years. Just one Republican, Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, backed the plan, and 39 Democrats broke ranks to oppose it.

Lawmakers hailed the step as a historic follow-on to the 1965 creation of the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled. They said the bill would cover 36 million uninsured Americans and curb costs. New rules would prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and seniors would get help obtaining preventive care and medicine.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Breaking the Law for the Environment
“Illegal protest” can count a new baritoned bedfellow. In an interview ahead of the Copenhagen climate change conference, former Vice President Al Gore pronounced civil disobedience to be justified, believing that the global warming crisis requires more forceful methods of political activism. —JCL The Guardian: Al Gore has sought to inject fresh momentum into the Copenhagen build-up, saying he is certain Barack Obama will attend and predicting a rise in civil disobedience against fossil-fuel polluters unless drastic action is taken over global warming. Amid increasing incidents of climate protesters disrupting the operations of fossil-fuel industries and airports in Britain and elsewhere, Gore suggests the scale of the emergency means non-violent lawbreaking is justified. “Civil disobedience has an honourable history, and when the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, then I think that civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play,” he says. “And I expect that it will increase, no question about it.” In his only UK newspaper interview to mark the publication of his new book, entitled Our Choice, Gore says it is crucial for Obama to attend Copenhagen in person, adding: “I feel certain that he will.” Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Former Vice President Al Gore addresses the American Constitution Society on the threat to the Constitution from President Bush's domestic wiretap policy, Monday, Jan. 16, at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington.

“Illegal protest” can count a new baritoned bedfellow. In an interview ahead of the Copenhagen climate change conference, former Vice President Al Gore pronounced civil disobedience to be justified, believing that the global warming crisis requires more forceful methods of political activism. —JCL

The Guardian:

Al Gore has sought to inject fresh momentum into the Copenhagen build-up, saying he is certain Barack Obama will attend and predicting a rise in civil disobedience against fossil-fuel polluters unless drastic action is taken over global warming.

Amid increasing incidents of climate protesters disrupting the operations of fossil-fuel industries and airports in Britain and elsewhere, Gore suggests the scale of the emergency means non-violent lawbreaking is justified. “Civil disobedience has an honourable history, and when the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, then I think that civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play,” he says. “And I expect that it will increase, no question about it.”

In his only UK newspaper interview to mark the publication of his new book, entitled Our Choice, Gore says it is crucial for Obama to attend Copenhagen in person, adding: “I feel certain that he will.”

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Related Entries



Barney Frank: POT BUST Took Place With Congressman Present

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:41 am by HL

Barney Frank: POT BUST Took Place With Congressman Present
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was present during his partner James Ready’s marijuana arrest in 2007, according to a police report. Ready was arrested at his…

Health Care PASSES: The Scene In The House When It Happened
The House floor erupted in one of the loudest cheers the chamber has heard in years when Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), an hour before midnight,…

Joseph Cao: Health Care’s LONE Republican Supporter Is Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao
One Republican lawmaker out of 177 crossed party lines to support the health care reform legislation offered by Democrats. Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, the Louisiana…

Banks’ 2008 Stock Options Turning Out To Be Most Lucrative Payouts Ever
Banks cut bonuses last year and shifted more pay into stock and options from cash, a tactic that lawmakers supported for its emphasis on long-term…


On the eve of House vote, McCaughey spews falsehoods about health reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

On the eve of House vote, McCaughey spews falsehoods about health reform

In a November 7 Wall Street Journal op-ed, serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey purported to provide “details you need to know” about the current version of health care reform legislation slated for a vote that same day in the House of Representatives. As with her previous descriptions of reform legislation, many of her claims are falsehoods or distortions, such as McCaughey’s claim that illegal immigrants are exempted from a fine imposed by the bill.

McCaughey makes false, misleading claims about health care bill

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: Sec. 224 (p. 118) provides that 18 months after the bill becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what a “qualified plan” covers and how much you’ll be legally required to pay for it. That’s like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later.

On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer. [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: Secretary has 18 months from bill passage to define “qualified plan,” but people are not required to have such plans until at least 2013. McCaughey does not explain how Section 224 is “like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later.” Section 224 does 11/7/09]

REALITY: House bill provides for plans offering “additional benefits.” McCaughey’s claim that Sec. 303 “makes it clear” that the bill provides only a “one size fits all” package is false. McCaughey claims that the bill “claims to offer choice” and lists three levels of plans, “basic, enhanced and premium levels.” But McCaughey ignores that the bill also includes a fourth choice: “premium-plus plans,” which offer “additional benefits, such as adult oral health and vision care.” From Sec. 303 of the House bill:

(b) LIMITATION ON HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS OFFERED BY OFFERING ENTITIES.-

[…]

(c) SPECIFICATION OF BENEFIT LEVELS PLANS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commissioner shall establish the following standards consistent with subsection and title II:

(A) BASIC, ENHANCED, AND PREMIUM PLANS.-Standards for levels of Exchange participating health benefits plans: basic, enhanced, and premium (in this division referred to as a ”basic plan”, ”enhanced plan”, ”premium plan”, respectively).

(B) PREMIUM-PLUS PLAN BENEFITS.-Standards for additional benefits that may offered, consistent with this subsection and subtitle C of title II, under a premium plan a plan with additional benefits referred this division as a ”premium-plus plan”).

 […]     

(5) PREMIUM-PLUS PLAN.-A premium-plus plan is a premium plan that also provides additional benefits, such as adult oral health and vision care, approved by the Commissioner. The portion of the premium that is attributable to such additional benefits shall be separately specified.

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: Sec. 59b (pp. 297-299) says that when you file your taxes, you must include proof that you are in a qualified plan. If not, you will be fined thousands of dollars. Illegal immigrants are exempt from this requirement. [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: Bill exempts “nonresident aliens,” not “illegal immigrants,” and those terms are not equivalent. There is no Section 59b of the bill. Section 501 of the bill 11/7/09]

REALITY: McCaughey doesn’t back up her claim that the bill “permit[s] the government to dictate treatment decisions.” Under a section entitled “Eviscerating Medicare,” McCaughey purports to expose various sections of the House health reform bill that would, in part, “permit the government to dictate treatment decisions.” However, McCaughey never substantiates her claim. As Media Matters for America has documented, McCaughey has previously falsely claimed that health care provisions in the economic recovery legislation would permit the government to control or interfere with doctors’ treatment decisions.

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: Sec. 1302 (pp. 672-692) moves Medicare from a fee-for-service payment system, in which patients choose which doctors to see and doctors are paid for each service they provide, toward what’s called a “medical home.”

The medical home is this decade’s version of HMO-restrictions on care. A primary-care provider manages access to costly specialists and diagnostic tests for a flat monthly fee. The bill specifies that patients may have to settle for a nurse practitioner rather than a physician as the primary-care provider. Medical homes begin with demonstration projects, but the HHS secretary is authorized to “disseminate this approach rapidly on a national basis.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: The “medical home” section expands a pilot program created by Republicans and can only be further expanded if the program improves quality. According to a 11/7/09]

REALITY: The CBO report did not say that medical homes were likely to resemble an unpopular plan. Indeed, CBO 11/7/09]

REALITY: Sec. 1114 adds physician assistants to currently recognized eligible hospice providers, including physicians and nurse practitioners. Contrary to McCaughey’s suggestion that physicians are the only category of providers currently qualified to “oversee care for hospice patients,” for purposes of hospice care, the section of the Social Security Act that Section 1114 is amending currently bill:

SEC. 1114. PERMITTING PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS TO ORDER POST-HOSPITAL EXTENDED CARE SERVICES AND TO PROVIDE FOR RECOGNITION OF ATTENDING PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS AS AT TENDING PHYSICIANS TO SERVE HOSPICE PATIENTS.

[…]

(b) RECOGNITION OF ATTENDING PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS AS ATTENDING PHYSICIANS TO SERVE HOSPICE PATIENTS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-Section 1861(dd)(3)(B) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(dd)(3)(B)) is amended-

(A) by striking ”or nurse” and inserting ”, the nurse”; and

(B) by inserting ”or the physician assistant (as defined in such subsection),” after ”subsection (aa)(5)),”.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.-Section 1814(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395f(a)(7)(A)(i)(I)) is amended by inserting ”or a physician assistant” after ”a nurse practitioner”.

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: Secs. 1158-1160 (pp. 499-520) initiates programs to reduce payments for patient care to what it costs in the lowest cost regions of the country. This will reduce payments for care (and by implication the standard of care) for hospital patients in higher cost areas such as New York and Florida. [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: Bill does not “initiate programs” that require a reduction of payments “to what it costs in the lowest cost regions of the country.” Secs. 1158-1160 do not, as McCaughey claimed, “initiate programs to reduce payments for patient care to what it costs in the lowest cost regions of the country.” In fact, Sec. 1158 does just the opposite of what McCaughey claims, providing “any needed increases in payment rates and to ‘hold harmless’ providers that would otherwise have their payments reduced.” [Tri-committee staff summary, 11/02/09]

Similarly, Secs. 1159 and 1160 do not necessarily mandate changes that lead to payment reductions concurrent with the “lowest cost regions of the country.” Sec. 1159 requires the Institute of Medicine to conduct a study of “geographic variation in health care spending among all payers,” including recommendations regarding “changes to Medicare payment systems to address such geographic variation and to improve the value of health spending in the program,” and Sec. 160 requires the Health and Human Services Secretary to “develop an implementation plan for changing Medicare payment system” based on those recommendations [Tri-committee staff summary, 11/02/09]. According to the bill, those payment recommendations account for numerous factors, not simply cost-reduction, and do not necessarily require lowering payments across the country to match those in the “lowest cost regions”:

(b) RECOMMENDATIONS.-Taking into account the findings under subsection (a) and the changes to the payment systems made by this Act, the Institute shall recommend changes to payment for items and services under parts A and B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act, for addressing variation in Medicare per capita spending for items and services (not including add-ons for graduate medical education, disproportionate share payments, and health information technology, as specified in sections 1886(d)(5)(F), 1886(d)(5)(B), 1886(h), 1848(o), and 1886(n), respectively, of such Act) by promoting high- value care (as defined in subsection (f)), with particular attention to high-volume, high-cost conditions. In making such recommendations, the Institute shall consider each of the following:

(1) Measurement and reporting on quality and population health.

(2) Reducing fragmented and duplicative care.

(3) Promoting the practice of evidence-based medicine.

(4) Empowering patients to make value-based care decisions.

(5) Leveraging the use of health information technology.

(6) The role of financial and other incentives affecting provision of care.

(7) Variation in input costs.

(8) The characteristics of the patient population, including socio-economic factors (including race, ethnicity, gender, age, income and educational status), and whether the beneficiaries are dually eligible for the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act and Medicaid under title XIX of such Act.

(9) Other topics the Institute deems appropriate.

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: Sec. 1402 (p. 756) says that the results of comparative effectiveness research conducted by the government will be delivered to doctors electronically to guide their use of “medical items and services.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: Bill explicitly denies federal officials the authority to use comparative effectiveness research to dictate care. There is no Section 1402 of the bill. McCaughey is presumably referring to Section 1401, which appears on pages 733-761. Section 1401 11/7/09]

REALITY: The bill requires the government to establish quality guidelines. There is no Section 399V of the bill. McCaughey is presumably referring to Section 2530 of the bill, which begins on page 1422 and adds Section 399V to Title 42 of the U.S. Code. Section 2530 specifically requires the Secretary to “establish guidelines for assuring the quality of the training and supervision of community health workers under the programs funded under this section and for assuring the cost-effectiveness of such programs,” and it requires the Secretary to monitor the programs to make sure they are in compliance with those guidelines.

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: While the bill will slash Medicare funding, it will also direct billions of dollars to numerous inner-city social work and diversity programs with vague standards of accountability. […] Sec. 222 (p. 617) provides reimbursement for culturally and linguistically appropriate services. This program will train health-care workers to inform Medicare beneficiaries of their “right” to have an interpreter at all times and with no co-pays for language services. [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: Language service demonstration project requires Secretary review, IOM report. Section 222 of the bill defines the benefits that must be included in an essential benefits program. It does not discuss interpreter services and does not appear on page 617. McCaughey is presumably referring to Section 1222, which begins on page 617. McCaughey’s suggestion that the demonstration project established in Sec. 1222 is subject to “vague standards of accountability” is false. In fact, Sec. 1222 “[r]equires the Secretary to evaluate the demonstration program,” and Sec. 1223 “[r]equires the Secretary to contract with the Institute of Medicine to conduct a study that examines the impact on the quality of care, access to care, the reduction in medical errors and costs or savings associated with the provision of language access services to limited English proficient populations” [Tri-committee staff summary 11/2/09]. From Secs. 1222 and 1223 of the House bill:

SEC. 1222. DEMONSTRATION TO PROMOTE ACCESS FOR MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES WITH LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY BY PROVIDING REIMBURSEMENT FOR CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE SERVICES.

[…]

(g) EVALUATION AND REPORT.-The Secretary shall conduct an evaluation of the demonstration program under this section and shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report not later than 1 year after the completion of the program.

[…]

SEC. 1223. IOM REPORT ON IMPACT OF LANGUAGE ACCESS SERVICES.

(a) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall enter into an arrangement with the Institute of Medicine under which the Institute will prepare and publish, not later than 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, a report on the impact of language access services on the health and health care of limited English proficient populations.

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: Secs. 2521 and 2533 (pp. 1379 and 1437) establishes racial and ethnic preferences in awarding grants for training nurses and creating secondary-school health science programs. For example, grants for nursing schools should “give preference to programs that provide for improving the diversity of new nurse graduates to reflect changes in the demographics of the patient population.” And secondary-school grants should go to schools “graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds including racial and ethnic minorities.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: House bill establishes numerous metrics by which it bases grant-awarding preference concerning nurse, health science education. Contrary to McCaughey’s suggestion that Secs. 2521 and 2533 establish only “racial and ethnic preferences” for providing grants, both Sec. 2521, which pertains to nursing education, and Sec. 2533, which pertains to “secondary school health science training programs,” outline a number of factors that impact how grants would be provided. From the bill:

2521. COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS TO PROVIDE EDUCATION TO NURSES AND CREATE A PIPELINE TO NURSING.

[…]

(g) PREFERENCE.-In awarding grants under this section the Secretary shall give preference to programs that-

(1) provide for improving nurse retention;

(2) provide for improving the diversity of the new nurse graduates to reflect changes in the demographics of the patient population;

(3) provide for improving the quality of nursing education to improve patient care and safety;

(4) have demonstrated success in upgrading incumbent health care workers to become nurses or which have established effective programs or pilots to increase nurse faculty; or

(5) are modeled after or affiliated with such programs described in paragraph (4).

[…]

SEC. 2533. SECONDARY SCHOOL HEALTH SCIENCES TRAINING PROGRAM.

[…]

(d) PREFERENCE.-In awarding grants and contracts under subsection (b), the Secretary shall give preference to entities that have a demonstrated record of at least one of the following:

(1) Graduating a high or significantly improved percentage of students who have exhibited mastery in secondary school State science standards.

(2) Graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities who are underrepresented in-

(A) associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs in health professions or bachelor’s degree programs in health professions-related majors;

or

(B) health professions.

McCAUGHEY’S CLAIM: Sec. 305 (p. 189) Provides for automatic Medicaid enrollment of newborns who do not otherwise have insurance. [Wall Street Journal, 11/7/09]

REALITY: McCaughey does not explain what’s wrong with newborn enrollment provision. McCaughey includes her bullet about Medicaid enrollment of newborns as an example of a “questionable priorit[y]” but she does not explain what is problematic about this section, which serial misinformer who has perpetuated numerous falsehoods about health care reform. McCaughey has falsely claimed that a prior version of the House health care reform bill would “absolutely require” end-of-life counseling for seniors on Medicare “that will tell them how to end their life sooner” — a claim that many in the media repeated. McCaughey repeatedly falsely claimed that the Senate HELP committee’s bill “basically” “pushes everyone into an HMO-style plan.” Additionally, McCaughey concocted the false claim, which was nonetheless widely repeated in the media, that a health IT provision in the economic recovery act enabled government bureaucrats to “monitor treatments” or restrict what “your doctor is doing” with regard to patient care. On multiple occasions, after being challenged on her false claims about health care legislation, McCaughey reportedly insisted that she was right about the ultimate effect of a bill despite misrepresenting what it actually said.

Media have repeatedly hosted McCaughey to discuss health reform. The Atlantic‘s Fallows has pointed to McCaughey as an example of someone for whom there “seems to be almost no extremity of being proven wrong which disqualifies” her from being given a platform in the media. Indeed, despite her numerous falsehoods and past conflicts of interest, throughout the health care reform debate in 2009, McCaughey has been an ever-present part of the media discussion. She has been hosted on CNN at least twice and on Fox News Channel repeatedly to weigh in on health care reform. Additionally, according to a search of the Nexis database, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post have each published multiple op-eds by McCaughey about health reform; Bloomberg News also published a commentary by McCaughey on health care reform provisions in the recovery act.

McCaughey’s work on health care reform has been marked by conflicts of interest concerns

McCaughey resigned from medical company board over “conflict of interest” concerns. McCaughey resigned from the board of directors of Cantel Medical Corp., a medical products company, in August to “avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest,” as reported by The Washington Independent and confirmed in a Cantel press release.

McCaughey reported to be Big Tobacco shill during 1994 health care debate. Rolling Stone reported that in 1994, tobacco giant Philip Morris implemented a “strategy to derail Hillarycare,” which included an “effort to ‘work on the development of favorable pieces’ with ‘friendly contacts in the media’ ” — specifically mentioning the company’s collaboration with McCaughey on her 1994 New Republic hit piece on the Clintons’ health care reform bill. Responding to the Rolling Stone article, McCaughey described as “outrageous and fictional” the charge that she “worked for a tobacco company in writing my critique of the dangers of the Clinton Plan. I did not.”


Another Hilton Lie? Work Of Art He Claimed Was His Own Bears Sticker Of LA Furniture Store

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Another Hilton Lie? Work Of Art He Claimed Was His Own Bears Sticker Of LA Furniture Store
Hardin jail conman Michael Hilton finally handed over works of art to help settle a California fraud judgment. But a work he earlier claimed was his own is a framed poster that bears a sticker of a Los Angeles furniture store.


Patriot Games: GOP Reps Pick Tea Party Rally Over National-Security Votes
Several Republican members of Congress yesterday blew off close votes on the Patriot Act to attend Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party rally against health-care reform.

Bonner’s ‘Independent’ Ethics Adviser Commissions Ad Praising Him
Jack Bonner has close ties to James Thurber, the “independent ethics adviser” that he told lawmakers last week he had hired to work with his firm. Indeed, today Thurber’s American University program placed an ad in Roll Call praising Bonner.


Unemployment: 10.2% or 17.5%?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Unemployment: 10.2% or 17.5%?
Excerpt: According to a jobs report released in Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the official unemployment rate in the U.S. in Oct. 2009 is 10.2%. A broader measure that takes into account workers that have given up job seeking or are underemployed puts it at 17.5%. The unemployment rate calculates only the amount of workers […]


Go Vikings! Keith Ellison Blasts Colleagues For Shameful Goldstone Vote — Betty McCollum Rips Israeli Ambassador

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Go Vikings! Keith Ellison Blasts Colleagues For Shameful Goldstone Vote — Betty McCollum Rips Israeli Ambassador
I have never simply cross posted something I wrote elsewhere but this is important and I am rushed big time. Besides, I am proud to be associated with Media Matters for America and proud that it is my home base…



Media Matters for AmericaKeith EllisonUnited StatesMichael ChabonMedia Matters

The Homebuyers Tax Credit and Free Market Fundamentalism
The Senate just voted unanimously for extending unemployment compensation. The bill also included an $8,000 handout of taxpayer dollars to some people who buy homes (first time buyers and long-time homeowners). This $8,000 credit is not chump change. It is…


Unemployment benefitsUnited States SenateEconomicTaxationSociety and Culture


GOP Gone Wild: Unruly Republicans Silence Women Lawmakers With Screams, Shouts, And Delay Tactics

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

GOP Gone Wild: Unruly Republicans Silence Women Lawmakers With Screams, Shouts, And Delay Tactics
This morning, the House began consideration of the rule for debate of the House health care bill. As the Democratic Women’s Caucus took to the microphone on the House floor to offer their arguments for how the bill would benefit women, House Republicans — led by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) — repeatedly talked over, screamed, […]

This morning, the House began consideration of the rule for debate of the House health care bill. As the Democratic Women’s Caucus took to the microphone on the House floor to offer their arguments for how the bill would benefit women, House Republicans — led by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) — repeatedly talked over, screamed, and shouted objections. “I object, I object, I object, I object, I object,” Price interjected as Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) tried to hold the floor.

In an effort to delay and derail the proceedings, the Republicans continually talked over the Democratic women for half an hour. They sought to prevent the debate by calling for unnecessary “parliamentary inquiries” and requests for “expanding the debate” by an hour.

After being repeatedly interrupted by Republican shouts, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) observed:

Do I not have the right to be able to continue my sentence without objections that are trying to censor my remarks here on the floor that I have a right to make as a member of this House?

Watch a compilation:

The presiding chair of the House, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), tried to assuage the Republican ruckus, without much success. The debate must be conducted with “a measure of comity and grace and decency,” Dingell urged. “There’s no advantage to be achieved by making all this fuss,” he told the Republicans.


The talk shows

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:33 am by HL

The talk shows
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:

Grandiose rhetoric pushes details aside
On a day of debate that highlighted the partisan divide in Congress as never before, Democrats and Republicans in the House agreed on one point: The health-care reform vote facing them Saturday was one for the ages.

In paper industry tax credit, lawmakers see way to help pay for health reform
House Democrats might use a swig of “black liquor” to help health-care reform go down.

DHS readies plan to track foreigners flying from U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security is finalizing a proposal to collect fingerprints or eye scans from all foreign travelers at U.S. airports as they leave the country, officials said, a costly screening program that airlines have opposed.



GOP Wins Have Nothing to Do With Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2009 5:30 am by HL

GOP Wins Have Nothing to Do With Obama
Gail Collins, New York Times
Here we are at the big Health Care Bill Weekend! The House of Representatives is actually getting ready to vote on legislation. How long has this been in the works, anyway? Was "Mad Men" on TV when the debate started? Had TV been invented? Gail Collins Gail Collins and David Brooks talk between columns. On the eve of the big vote, leaders admitted that things could stretch into next week. But no later than Tuesday. Unless something else happens. Rome wasn't built in a day. Anyhow, we concerned citizens need to decide exactly what we're rooting for. Public…

The Cost of Not Enacting Health Care Reform
Bilmes & Day, Boston Globe
MUCH OF the health care debate is focused on whether the country can afford the $850 billion the Congressional Budget Office estimates it will cost. The debate centers on whether the bundle of new taxes, credits, efficiencies, and Medicare spending cuts will be sufficient to offset the new spending so as to deliver health care reform without, in President Obama’s words, “adding a dime to the federal deficit.’’This debate misses the point. It assumes that doing nothing will cost nothing. It turns out that not expanding health insurance is a pretty…

Dems Need to Focus on the Economy
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek
Democrats need to focus on the economy.Please fill in the following information and we'll email this link.Separate multiple addresses with commasSometimes I think the Democrats have a death wish. For Harry Reid to ruminate about putting off health-care reform until next year is to give the Teabaggers even more time to stir up populist outrage about an out-of-touch Congress. With every poll showing that the No. 1 concern among voters is the weak job picture, the White House seems unresponsive. The news, first reported by BusinessWeek, that Goldman Sachs received a supply of H1N1 vaccine…