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Archive for February 23rd, 2010

ACORN Changing Shape?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:49 am by HL

ACORN Changing Shape?
Despite earlier reports that ACORN, the national coalition of community organizations that some conservatives love to hate, is effectively “dissolving as a national structure,” an ACORN spokesperson told The American Prospect that the national network “still exists.”  —KA “TAPPED” in The American Prospect “It is not true that ACORN is closed for business all across the country. It still exists. Bertha Lewis is still the CEO,” Kevin Whelan told me. “It is true that we are shutting down operations in New York and there is this new New York Community organization,” he added, referring to New York Communities for Change, the group that has emerged in ACORN’s place. NYCC follows ACORN’s California chapter, which in January reformed as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). Read more

ACORN demonstration

Despite earlier reports that ACORN, the national coalition of community organizations that some conservatives love to hate, is effectively “dissolving as a national structure,” an ACORN spokesperson told The American Prospect that the national network “still exists.”? —KA

“TAPPED” in The American Prospect

“It is not true that ACORN is closed for business all across the country. It still exists. Bertha Lewis is still the CEO,” Kevin Whelan told me. “It is true that we are shutting down operations in New York and there is this new New York Community organization,” he added, referring to New York Communities for Change, the group that has emerged in ACORN’s place. NYCC follows ACORN’s California chapter, which in January reformed as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

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Epidemiologist Sees a Way to Curb Spread of HIV/AIDS
Going after HIV with antiretroviral drugs as soon after infection as possible could significantly slow the spread of the virus, according to epidemiologist Brian Williams. One familiar challenge in implementing this strategy, however, lies in getting people to agree to be tested.  —KA CNN: The concentration of the virus drops by a factor of 10,000 with antiretroviral treatment, resulting in 25 times the reduction of infectiousness, said Williams, formerly of the World Health Organization and now at the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis. That means that if more people with HIV received this therapy early, there would be fewer new cases of the disease, he said Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “We could effectively stop transmission within five years,” Williams said. About 33 million people are living with HIV, according to 2008 estimates by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS. That year, 2 million people died of AIDS and 2.7 became newly infected. Read more

AIDS ribbon

Going after HIV with antiretroviral drugs as soon after infection as possible could significantly slow the spread of the virus, according to epidemiologist Brian Williams. One familiar challenge in implementing this strategy, however, lies in getting people to agree to be tested.? —KA

CNN:

The concentration of the virus drops by a factor of 10,000 with antiretroviral treatment, resulting in 25 times the reduction of infectiousness, said Williams, formerly of the World Health Organization and now at the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis. That means that if more people with HIV received this therapy early, there would be fewer new cases of the disease, he said Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“We could effectively stop transmission within five years,” Williams said.

About 33 million people are living with HIV, according to 2008 estimates by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS. That year, 2 million people died of AIDS and 2.7 became newly infected.

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John R. Bohrer: Third Parties, Invisible Senators and Why Conservatism Is Still Dead

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:48 am by HL

John R. Bohrer: Third Parties, Invisible Senators and Why Conservatism Is Still Dead
The polarization of Washington has not come about because moderates and centrists have no place to go. In fact, moderates are doing just as well as anyone else in today’s politics.

Schwarzenegger: GOP Health Care Stance Is ‘Bogus Talk’
While Republican leaders in Washington are urging President Barack Obama to start from scratch on a health care bill, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday…

Anthem Blue Cross Faces First Public Hearing Over Premium Hike
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Anthem Blue Cross executives are scheduled to testify Tuesday before a California legislative committee about an attempt to boost insurance premiums by…

Congress On Twitter: More Than A Third Of Lawmakers Tweet
Congress has spent the last year learning to tweet. More than a third of its members are doing it now. And if you thought the…


Quick Fact: Fox Nation falsely suggests Obama proposal includes “Abortion Funding” inconsistent with Hyde Amendment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Quick Fact: Fox Nation falsely suggests Obama proposal includes “Abortion Funding” inconsistent with Hyde Amendment

Linking to a Newsweek.com blog post which stated that in his health care reform proposal, President Obama “went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted,” The Fox Nation used the headline “Obama Keeps Abortion Funding in His Health Care Bill,” falsely suggesting that Obama’s plan exceeded what is currently allowed under the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

From The Fox Nation, accessed February 22:

The Fox Nation headline linked to a February 22 Newsweek.com blog post which reported that “In his plan, Obama went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted, which is less restrictive than the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.”

FACT: Senate bill prohibits health insurers from using federal subsidies “for the purposes of paying for” abortion services restricted by Hyde.

The Senate health care reform bill as passed states that if a “qualified health plan” offered under the health insurance exchange provides coverage of abortion services for which public funding is banned, “the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable” to the subsidies created under the bill “for purposes of paying for such services.” From Section 1303(b)(2)A):

”(2) PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.-

”(A) IN GENERAL.-If a qualified health plan provides coverage of services described in paragraph (1)(B)(i), the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable to any of the following for purposes of paying for such services:

”(i) The credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the credit under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

”(ii) Any cost-sharing reduction under section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the reduction under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

FACT: Senate bill establishes a separate premium to segregate funds used to pay for abortions from federal funds

The Senate bill as passed further requires issuers to “collect from each enrollee” in plans that cover abortions “separate payment” for “an amount equal to the actuarial value of the coverage of” abortion services. This value must be at least $1 per enrollee, per month. All such funds are deposited into a separate account used by the issuer to pay for abortion services; federal funds and the remaining premium payments are used to pay for all other services.

FACT: Current law allows coverage for abortions restricted by Hyde under Medicaid through similar fund segregation

Seventeen states use state funds to cover abortions for Medicaid recipients in circumstances beyond Hyde. According to a November 1, 2009, study by the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states provide coverage under Medicaid for “all or most medically necessary abortions,” not just abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Those states “us[e] their own funds” — not federal funds — “to pay” for the procedures. Therefore, in 17 states, Medicaid, a federally subsidized health care program, covers abortions in circumstances in which federal money is prohibited from being spent on abortion.


Suspected Austin Pilot’s Past Racked By Tax Problems

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Suspected Austin Pilot’s Past Racked By Tax Problems
The California Franchise Tax Board suspended the licenses of two businesses owned by Joe Stack because of unpaid taxes or failure to submit returns, KCRA in Sacramento reports.

Infomercial King Sentenced To Jail For E-mail Bombing Judge
The man dubbed the “infomercial king” by Chicago media, who has been in a cat-and-mouse game with the FTC for years — for allegedly making bogus claims about everything from weight loss to cures for debt, cancer, and heroin addiction — may be headed to jail after asking supporters to bombard a federal judge with e-mails.


The Tattlesnake – In Defense of Tiger Woods (Sort of) Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:42 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – In Defense of Tiger Woods (Sort of) Edition
The Abridged Tiger Woods Apology Speech, After a Quick Spray with the Truth Ray TIGER WOODS: “Hello to you all. I am here to publicly apologize for cheating on my wife Elin with other women. (Why am I apologizing to the public? I didn’t cheat on them. Oh, right, kids look up to me as […]


Strickland Retakes Lead in Ohio

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Strickland Retakes Lead in Ohio
A new Quinnipiac poll finds Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) now leads challenger John Kasich (R) in the his re-election race, 44% to 39%. In November, the race race deadlocked at 40%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “John Kasich remains unknown to most voters. The campaign will be a race by the candidates to define Kasich for the 62 percent of voters who don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. Given that, the race’s closeness may say much about Strickland. While the Governor’s horserace numbers are good, he has a long way to go and what is keeping him ahead is his support among women.”

Steele Spending Spree Under Fire
RNC Chairman Michael Steele “is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers — expenses that are infuriating the party’s major donors who say Republicans need every penny they can get for the fight to win back Congress,” Politico reports.


Who’s Really In Control of the White House? Maybe Not Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Who’s Really In Control of the White House? Maybe Not Obama
Going rogue by people like General McCrystal undermines the chain of command and challenges the constitution.

Going rogue by people like General McCrystal undermines the chain of command and challenges the constitution.

FBI Launches Probe Into Schools Accused of Spying on Kids Through Webcams
FBI is looking into the possibility that a school district violated federal laws by remotely activating webcams on student computers while the computers were at home.

FBI is looking into the possibility that a school district violated federal laws by remotely activating webcams on student computers while the computers were at home.

Wake Up, Progressives: The Right Is Ready to Rumble (Our Side, Not So Much)
We need to think differently — to plan for victories that we may not live to see. And we need somebody to buy us a television network — and a commercial publishing house.

We need to think differently — to plan for victories that we may not live to see. And we need somebody to buy us a television network — and a commercial publishing house.

Cities Shortening Yellow Traffic Lights for Deadly Profit
Some cities have been shortening yellow lights to nab drivers with a ticket. But studies show that they’re raking in the bucks at the expense of public safety.

Some cities have been shortening yellow lights to nab drivers with a ticket. But studies show that they're raking in the bucks at the expense of public safety.


Weekly Roundup: What We Missed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Weekly Roundup: What We Missed
At the risk of revealing too much behind the TPM curtain — we watch quite a bit of cable news. And this week one particular Senator, who has had a relatively low profile in that past, was all over the…


RoundupUnited StatesGovernmentDean BakerMonsanto

What Does it Mean to Be Engaged?
As he launches a new column at ForeignPolicy.com, Jim Traub counts the many ways that the authors of current policy are muddleheaded and empty-handed — particularly as they try to reach agreements with autocratic regimes (a key element of their…


IranUnited StatesJim TraubNuclear weaponRussia and China


Woman With Breast Cancer Turns To Pasta Fundraisers To Finance Chemo After Insurers Deny Her Coverage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Woman With Breast Cancer Turns To Pasta Fundraisers To Finance Chemo After Insurers Deny Her Coverage
One of the worst abuses of the private insurance industry is its practice of excluding people with certain pre-existing conditions from coverage, effectively denying them the right to get adequate health care coverage because covering them is not profitable enough. Iowan grandmother Deb Robben knows what life is like with a pre-existing condition. Four years ago, […]

debrobben2One of the worst abuses of the private insurance industry is its practice of excluding people with certain pre-existing conditions from coverage, effectively denying them the right to get adequate health care coverage because covering them is not profitable enough.

Iowan grandmother Deb Robben knows what life is like with a pre-existing condition. Four years ago, she shopped the insurance market, looking for a company that would cover her. Unfortunately, after a lengthy search, she was unable to find a single insurer that was willing to offer her coverage; the companies denied her coverage because they considered the benign cysts in her breasts to be a pre-existing condition.

Last December, Robben was diagnosed with colon cancer. Because she has been unable to obtain insurance, she has had to pay the costs for treatment out-of-pocket. For chemotherapy treatment alone, Robben expects to pay almost $2,000 a month. “She’s only two months into chemo and already she’s at $50,000. Oh my, what is another four months going to bring,” says Melissa Gradischnig Nelson, a friend of Robben.

In desperation, Robben’s friends and family have turned to local fundraisers to try to pay for her treatment. Over the weekend, they held a $5-a-plate pasta dinner in the hope of putting “a dent” in Robben’s massive health care bills.

Local news station WHO-TV recently interviewed Robben, who told them, “It’s kind of hard when you can’t get insurance. To say, lady you’re going to die or figure out how to come up with the money. It’s not right.” Watch it:

As Think Progress has reported previously, women face especially high barriers to being approved for coverage by health insurers. The insurance industry has in the past refused to cover maternity care, disqualified women from coverage who’ve had a Caesarean-section pregnancy, and considered domestic abuse a pre-existing condition.

It is worth noting that the United States is the only developed country without a universal, cradle-to-the-grave health care system. Nowhere else in the industrialized world would a woman have to turn to holding pasta fundraisers to get the money to pay for her chemotherapy.


Congressional Black Caucus frustrated with jobs legislation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Congressional Black Caucus frustrated with jobs legislation
As Congress focused almost exclusively on health care late last year, the Congressional Black Caucus loudly complained that rising unemployment among African Americans was not getting enough attention. To express that frustration, one bloc in the 43-member group briefly withheld its votes for a k…

Senate advances job-creation bill with GOP help
Aided by a handful of Republicans, Senate Democratic leaders on Monday kept alive a $15 billion job-creation measure and are poised to pass the measure later this week.


Behind the Numbers: The public’s take on Obama’s health proposal
Determined to push ahead on major reform of the country’s health-care system, the White House today stitched together a series of proposals that have broad, but often malleable, public support. Of course, many of these ideas were in the House and Senate packages that have divided Americans since …

Obama stays on offense with health-care proposal
There had been rampant speculation that the White House would narrow its ambitions for health-care legislation after the loss of the Democrats’ filibuster-proof Senate majority last month. Instead, the president’s proposal is striking for the extent to which it hews to the basic scale and framework…

Najibullah Zazi pleads guilty in New York subway bomb plot
An airport shuttle bus driver who plotted to detonate potent explosives in New York’s subway system pleaded guilty Monday for his role in a “martyrdom operation” that authorities called one of the most serious terrorism plots on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001.