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Archive for May 25th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Drinkin’ Wine

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:48 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Drinkin’ Wine
Chicago Blues ReunionDrinkin’ Wine.

Chicago Blues ReunionDrinkin’ Wine.

What’s on your mind?

Rehash The War on Tiara
If at first you don’t succeed lie lie again

Having discovered that a large bill at Tiffany’s is no longer a liability for a candidate, it should come as no surprise that tiara-enabling repetitive number enunciating sociopath Rudy Giuliani is thinking of re-running for President.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King told CBS News Tuesday that he “would not be at all surprised” if former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani entered the 2012 presidential race.

“In fact, I would say if he had to make the decision today, it would be yes,” King told CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes.

This time, he’s going to get two delegates instead of one! At this rate Rudy shall be unstoppable in the 6040 Presidential election sponsored by Oxygen-flavored Doritos.

Meanwhile, the morning brings more news of how non-awesome voters think that whole Paul Ryan kill medicare plan is (one less Republican seat in the House)…and the Democrats determination to squander it.


Early Morning Swim

 

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Vermont, the Land of Healthy Firsts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Vermont, the Land of Healthy Firsts
This small New England state was the first to join the 13 Colonies. Its constitution was the first to ban slavery. It was the first to establish the right to free education for all—public education. This week, Vermont will boast another first: the first state in the nation to offer single-payer health care. By Amy Goodman

This small New England state was the first to join the 13 Colonies. Its constitution was the first to ban slavery. It was the first to establish the right to free education for all—public education. This week, Vermont will boast another first: the first state in the nation to offer single-payer health care.


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Murder Mystery: Chile Exhumes Salvador Allende
A panel of forensic scientists will examine the remains of former Chilean President Salvador Allende, who either killed himself or was slain as forces loyal to all-around bad guy Augusto Pinochet stormed the presidential palace in 1973. Pinochet went on to enjoy 17 years of tyrannical rule, which might explain why Allende’s death never got a proper investigation.  —PZS BBC: The official version is that Allende shot himself in the presidential palace as General Augusto Pinochet’s forces closed in on him during the 1973 coup. But as his death was never formally investigated, some believe the military killed him and covered up the crime. […] With the Allende family’s blessing, a judge set up a panel of Chilean and foreign forensic experts that will try to clarify the circumstances surrounding the late president’s death. Read more

A panel of forensic scientists will examine the remains of former Chilean President Salvador Allende, who either killed himself or was slain as forces loyal to all-around bad guy Augusto Pinochet stormed the presidential palace in 1973.

Pinochet went on to enjoy 17 years of tyrannical rule, which might explain why Allende’s death never got a proper investigation.? —PZS

BBC:

The official version is that Allende shot himself in the presidential palace as General Augusto Pinochet’s forces closed in on him during the 1973 coup.

But as his death was never formally investigated, some believe the military killed him and covered up the crime.

[…] With the Allende family’s blessing, a judge set up a panel of Chilean and foreign forensic experts that will try to clarify the circumstances surrounding the late president’s death.

Read more

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Top Tea Party Group’s Goal: Stop Mitt Romney In 2012

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Top Tea Party Group’s Goal: Stop Mitt Romney In 2012
WASHINGTON â?? A top goal of the nationâ??s most influential national Tea Party group is to stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination for…

Rick Horowitz: Voter I.D. Laws: One Fly, One Sledgehammer
Ready to talk about all these new voter-I.D. laws springing up everywhere? (Actually, not quite “everywhere” — only where the GOP is in charge of making the rules.)

Why Medicare Will Be The Issue Of 2012
WASHINGTON — The 2012 election found its defining issue on Tuesday night, with an insurgent Democrat upsetting a well-financed Republican in a deeply red district…

Arizona Filing Suit To Clarify Whether Controversial Medical Marijuana Law Is Legal
PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona will file a lawsuit in federal court to learn whether a controversial medical marijuana law passed by voters last November…

MJ Rosenberg: Congress to Palestinians: Drop Dead
Congress is wrong. The message it sent to the Middle East today, to the whole world, in fact, was that Palestinians cannot count on the United States to ever play the role of “honest broker” between Israel and the Palestinians.


Special Report ?Whitewashes Expert Criticism To Help Ryan’s Medicare Messaging “Sink In”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Special Report ?Whitewashes Expert Criticism To Help Ryan’s Medicare Messaging “Sink In”

Fox News host Bret Baier, ignoring experts who have said Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare with vouchers would harm seniors, asked whether Ryan’s argument that he is actually defending Medicare is “sinking in” with voters.

Special Report Helps Ryan’s Medicare Argument “Sink In”

Baier Asks Krauthammer If Ryan’s Explanation Is “Sinking In.” From the May 24 edition of Fox News’ Special Report:

BRET BAIER: Mentioning Paul Ryan, just want to listen to this, as he’s been asked numerous times about this issue and whether the GOP is attacking Medicare. 

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI) : Our budget makes no changes for those in or near retirement. And it offers future generations a strengthened Medicare program that they can count on with guaranteed coverage options, less help for the wealthy, and more for the poor and the sick. 

BAIER: He said it numerous times, different ways. Charles, is that sinking in? You look at the ads by Democrats and Jack Davis, the self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate who has essentially ran as a Democrat many times — they focus on Paul Ryan and this plan. 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, if Ryan is explaining it, it sinks in. The problem is that Corwin hasn’t explained it that well. She was extremely defensive, running away from this. And unless you’re adept at explaining the plan and being behind it, and not saying, oh, well, maybe it’s not as bad as you think, you’re gonna lose on this issue. I’m not optimistic on this. Even if Corwin, the Republican, pulls it out, it’s clear that Mediscare has had an effect here. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 5/24/11]

But Special Report Ignored Experts Who Say Ryan’s Plan Could Hurt Seniors

Krugman: Ryan’s Plan “Would Deprive Many And Probably Most Seniors Of Adequate Health Care.” In an April 7 New York Times column, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that Ryan’s budget plan “would deprive many and probably most seniors of adequate health care.” From Krugman’s column:

And then there’s the much-ballyhooed proposal to abolish Medicare and replace it with vouchers that can be used to buy private health insurance.

The point here is that privatizing Medicare does nothing, in itself, to limit health-care costs. In fact, it almost surely raises them by adding a layer of middlemen. Yet the House plan assumes that we can cut health-care spending as a percentage of G.D.P. despite an aging population and rising health care costs.

The only way that can happen is if those vouchers are worth much less than the cost of health insurance. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2030 the value of a voucher would cover only a third of the cost of a private insurance policy equivalent to Medicare as we know it. So the plan would deprive many and probably most seniors of adequate health care. [The New York Times4/7/11]

CEPR’s Baker: Ryan’s Budget Would Force Seniors To Spend Much Of Their Income On Health Insurance. According to Center for Economic Policy Research co-director Dean Baker:

Representative Ryan would replace the current Medicare program with a voucher for people who turn age 65 in 2022 and later. This voucher would be worth $8,000 for someone turning age 65 in that year. It would rise in step with the consumer price index and also as people age. (Health care expenses are higher for people age 75 than age 65.)

According to the CBO analysis the benefit would cover 32 percent of the cost of a health insurance package equivalent to the current Medicare benefit (Figure 1). This means that the beneficiary would pay 68 percent of the cost of this package. Using the CBO assumption of 2.5 percent annual inflation, the voucher would have grown to $9,750 by 2030. This means that a Medicare type plan for someone age 65 would be $30,460 under Representative Ryan’s plan, leaving seniors with a bill of $20,700. (This does not count various out of pocket medical expenditures not covered by Medicare.)

According to the Social Security trustees, the benefit for a medium wage earner who first starts collecting benefits at age 65 in 2030 would be $32,200. (This adjusts the benefit projected by the Social Security trustees [$19,652 in 2010 dollars] for the 2.5 percent annual inflation rate assumed by CBO.) For close to 70 percent of seniors, Social Security is more than half of their retirement income. Most seniors will get a benefit that is less than the medium earners benefit described here since their average earnings are less than that of a medium earner and they start collecting Social Security benefits before age 65. [CEPR.net, 4/6/11]

AP: “CBO Said Over Time Future Retirees Would Pay Much More.” The Associated Press reported on April 6:

Most future retirees would pay considerably more for health care under the new budget proposed by House Republicans, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that signals problems ahead for the plan.

The fiscal blueprint would put people now 54 and younger in a different kind of health care program when they retire, unlike the Medicare that their parents and grandparents have known. Instead of coverage for a set of benefits prescribed from Washington, they’d get a federal payment to buy private insurance from a choice of government-regulated plans.

“A typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal,” the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in an analysis released late Tuesday.

The CBO said over time future retirees would pay much more, partly because the Medicare benefits package would be more expensive to deliver through private insurers. By 2030, the government payment would cover only about one-third of the typical retiree’s total health care costs, the budget office said.

The sweeping fiscal plan by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would reduce total federal spending, deficits and debt, saving money for federal taxpayers. But it would be tempered by a cost shift to future retirees. [The Associated Press, 4/6/11]

Economist Blog: “Ryan’s Plan Ends The Guarantee That All American Seniors Will Have Health Insurance.” An April 5 post on The Economist‘s Democracy in America blog said:

PAUL RYAN’S plan to replace Medicare with a system of vouchers for seniors to buy health care on the private market has only been vaguely described, as of this writing. But there is one thing about it that’s fairly clear, regardless of what’s in the details Mr Ryan will announce today: Mr Ryan’s plan ends the guarantee that all American seniors will have health insurance. The Medicare system we’ve had in place for the past 45 years promises that once you reach 65, you will be covered by a government-financed health-insurance plan. Mr Ryan’s plan promises that once you reach 65, you will receive a voucher for an amount that he thinks ought to be enough for individuals to purchase a private health-insurance plan. (Mr Ryan insists that his plan doesn’t entail a “voucher”, but there is no meaningful distinction between getting a voucher with which to pay for insurance, and having the government send a payment to the insurer you choose.) If that voucher isn’t worth enough for some particular senior to buy insurance, and that particular senior isn’t wealthy enough to top off the coverage, or is a bit forgetful and neglects to purchase insurance, there’s no guarantee that that person will be insured. It’s up to you; you carry the risk.

[…]

Mr Ryan’s proposal to privatise and voucherise Medicare attempts to reintroduce the incentive to cut costs by dumping that risk back onto individual seniors. And the greatest risks will fall on the poorest, sickest, or least savvy elderly; they will be the ones most at risk of going uncovered. [Economist.com’s Democracy in America blog, 4/5/11]

CBPP’s Van De Water: Ryan’s Plan Shifts “Large Health Care Costs Onto Seniors.” In an April 13 podcast, Paul Van de Water, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), wrote:

[T]he Ryan plan would gradually replace traditional Medicare with a system of cash-vouchers, which seniors and persons with disabilities could use to help them to purchase private health insurance coverage.  While this would save the government money, it would do so by shifting large health care costs onto seniors.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that when this program goes into effect in 2022, a typical 65-year-old, who would now be in the new system, would have to pay about $12,000 out-of-pocket for his or her health care spending rather than just about $6,000 as would be the case if traditional Medicare were to continue.

I might add that these costs would continue to rise even more in later years because the value of the vouchers would gradually shrink as years go by in comparison to the rising costs of health coverage. [CBPP, 4/13/11]


Watchdog Group Wants FEC, IRS To Probe Conservative Group Behind ‘Chorus Line’ Ads

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Watchdog Group Wants FEC, IRS To Probe Conservative Group Behind ‘Chorus Line’ Ads
The Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Elections Commission should investigative the conservative group Hope, Growth and Opportunity (CHGO) for violations of tax and campaign finance laws, a liberal-leaning good government group said Monday.

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Death Wish IX: The GOP Presidential Field

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Death Wish IX: The GOP Presidential Field
Subtitled, for you Latin scholars out there, with what should be the GOP motto in the 2012 primaries: ‘incredibilis vos socius pro nostrum equus fimus iterum’ ** The Death Wish Nine: 1. Tim Pawlenty 2. Mitt Romney 3. Newt Gingrich 4. Rick Santorum 5. Gary Johnson 6. Herman Cain 7. Michele Bachmann 8. Sarah Palin 9. Anybody Else? (Yes, I’m leaving off gay Republican Fred Karger, […]


Florida Voters Really Don’t Like Scott

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Florida Voters Really Don’t Like Scott
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds that 57% of voters disapprove of the job Gov. Rick Scott (R) is doing while just 29% approve — the worst score of any governor in the states surveyed by the polling organization.

How Britain is Working
David Brooks: “The big newspapers still set the agenda, not cable TV or talk radio. If the quintessential American pol is standing in his sandbox screaming affirmations to members of his own tribe, the quintessential British pol is standing across a table arguing face to face with his opponents. British leaders and pundits know their counterparts better. They are less likely to get away with distortions and factual howlers. They are less likely to believe the other party is homogenously evil. They are more likely to learn from a wide range of people. When they do hate, their hatreds are more likely to be personal and less likely to take on the tenor of a holy war… We Americans have no right to feel smug or superior.”


Reverse Offshoring? Or Yet More Evidence of Corporate America’s Squeeze on Workers?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Reverse Offshoring? Or Yet More Evidence of Corporate America’s Squeeze on Workers?
The global economy is shifting and developing countries are catching up.


Jewish Americans and the Fate of Israel: Between Two Worlds

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Jewish Americans and the Fate of Israel: Between Two Worlds
TIME IS running out. Israelis know that. So do American Jews. If Israel refuses to cease building settlements in the West Bank, the newly unified Palestinian government will ask the UN General Assembly to ratify it as a new and…

AIPAC Wins — Plus, It’s New Resolution Which Congress Will Approve
On the surface it appears that President Obama has given up on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and, given the evidence, it is difficult imagining that there is something different beneath the surface. To wit: Special Envoy George Mitchell resigned, clearly…



Democrat Kathy Hochul Beats Republican Jane Corwin In New York?s 26th District

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 25th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Democrat Kathy Hochul Beats Republican Jane Corwin In New York?s 26th District

Tonight, Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in New York’s special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY). Despite the $2.36 million spent by groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to keep district red and the $60 per vote Corwin spent herself, Hochul secured a clear victory in a traditonally Republican district:

Kathy Hochul has won the special election in the 26th Congressional race, holding a six percent lead with 87% of precincts reporting.

Republican Jane Corwin has conceded.

Viewed as a referendum on House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare, Hochul’s victory exemplifies the American public’s overwhelming disgust with the GOP push to force seniors to bear the burden of increasing health costs. Expecting a loss, several Republicans — including Corwin herself — tried to assert the election had nothing to do with Ryan’s Medicare plan. But DCCC chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) outlined the three reasons that Corwin lost the election: “[I]n alphabetical order, Medicare, Medicare and Medicare.

Despite Corwin indeed crumbled under American public’s disillusionment with the GOP agenda. And now, Hochul becomes the fourth Democrat to represent the district since 1857. “And this is only the first seat,” said Israel.