October 14, 2013 at 9:07 am #98160
As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate.
Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.October 14, 2013 at 9:09 am #98161
Good Morning, EveryoneOctober 14, 2013 at 9:21 am #98162
The Dixiecrat Solution
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: October 13, 2013
So you have this neighbor who has been making your life hell. First he tied you up with a spurious lawsuit; you’re both suffering from huge legal bills. Then he threatened bodily harm to your family. Now, however, he says he’s willing to compromise: He’ll call off the lawsuit, which is to his advantage as well as yours. But in return you must give him your car. Oh, and he’ll stop threatening your family — but only for a week, after which the threats will resume.
Not much of an offer, is it? But here’s the kicker: Your neighbor’s relatives, who have been egging him on, are furious that he didn’t also demand that you kill your dog.
And now you understand the current state of budget negotiations.
Stocks surged last Friday in the belief that House Republicans were getting ready to back down on their ransom demands over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. But what Republicans were actually offering, it seems, was the “compromise” Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, laid out in a Wall Street Journal op-ed article: rolling back some of the “sequester” budget cuts — which both parties dislike; cuts in Medicare, but with no quid pro quo in the form of higher revenue; and only a temporary fix on the debt ceiling, so that we would soon find ourselves in crisis again.
I do not think that word “compromise” means what Mr. Ryan thinks it means. Above all, he failed to offer the one thing the White House won’t, can’t bend on: an end to extortion over the debt ceiling. Yet even this ludicrously unbalanced offer was too much for conservative activists, who lambasted Mr. Ryan for basically leaving health reform intact.October 14, 2013 at 9:22 am #98163
Overall, Obama Has Done More For Veterans Than Any President In the Past 30 Years.
Republicans and conservatives have spent 4 years spreading the lie that President Obama hasn’t done anything for veterans. They have repeated it 100x per day for all 4 years and spent millions promoting their lies. The thing about records is that they are recorded. So let’s set the record straight.
Initiated a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses. ref, ref
Improved benefits for veterans. ref, ref, ref, ref
Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development . ref
Worked to clear the backlog of veterans claims and streamline benefits to those who served. ref
Provided for the expenses of families of to be at Dover AFB when fallen soldiers arrive.ref
Donated 250K of Nobel prize money to Fisher House. ref
Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009. ref
Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009. ref
Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009. ref
Promoted a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (“WASP”). ref
Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information. ref , ref, ref , ref
Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. ref
Improved basic housing allowance for military personnel. ref
Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. ref
Provided minimum essential health care coverage by Veteran’s Affairs. ref
Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans. ref
Korean War Veterans Recognition Act. ref
Blinded Veterans Association. ref
Major Charles R. Soltes, Jr., O.D. Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Center. ref
Improved access for Veterans to receive PTSD treatment. ref
Green Vet Initiative to promote environmental jobs for veterans. refOctober 14, 2013 at 9:23 am #98164
Our experience with Obamacare
Posted on September 26, 2013 by mwolske
The following is a letter sent to Representative Rodney Davis, Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and President Obama, as well as to the editorial section of the News Gazette.
This past Monday while driving his motorcycle back to Champaign from Makanda, IL, our 23-year-old son, Eric, was hit by a minivan. His left femur was broken and the ankle and foot were shattered. But he had no trauma to his head, spine, or other appendages. He remained alert as he was moved to an ambulance, and subsequently to a helicopter. He was flown from Effingham, where the accident happened, to St. John’s hospital in Springfield. His femur has been repaired and will recover, but he will loose his lower leg below his knee. With prosthesis, he will likely be able to do almost everything he had been doing as an active young man.
While in the emergency room awaiting the surgery to repair the femur and assess the rest of the leg, he asked how much this all would cost. Fortunately, this accident happened after the portion of Obamacare took effect that allows children to remain on their parent’s plan until they are 26. I grew up rural poor and did not have insurance. But I’ve been fortunate to be part of the upwardly mobile in the U.S. and now have good insurance through my position as a senior research scientist at the University of Illinois. When I cut my finger to the bone in an accident as a child, I had my uncle, who had been a medic in Korea, wrap it at home. Now, my son can receive world-class care from the doctors, nurses, and therapists here at St. John’s without having the stress of long-term financial debt looming.
My work through the University has brought me into engagement with many community members who will be benefiting from Obamacare. This week, our family personally saw benefits of the plan. The traumatic event of the accident will be life changing but ultimately will not keep our son from achieving his dreams of becoming a leader within a community helping to build a more sustainable approach to agriculture. Trying to piecemeal together funds to cover the costs of the hospital stay, surgeries, prosthesis, and extended therapy from his vehicle insurance, federal programs, and bank loans, would have been crippling. Obamacare is not perfect and needs modifications to become better. It needs participants from both sides of the isle to come together with a critical eye to strengthen good components, add missing aspects, and remove unworkable pieces. What it does not need is to be defunded. All of us benefit when people, not just vehicles and homes, have quality insurance.
Martin and Angie WolskeOctober 14, 2013 at 9:24 am #98165
Obamacare: The Rest of the Story
By BILL KELLER
Published: October 13, 2013
Unless you’ve been bamboozled by the frantic fictions of the right wing, you know that the Affordable Care Act, familiarly known as Obamacare, has begun to accomplish its first goal: enrolling millions of uninsured Americans, many of whom have been living one medical emergency away from the poorhouse. You realize those computer failures that have hampered sign-ups in the early days — to the smug delight of the critics — confirm that there is enormous popular demand. You have probably figured out that the real mission of the Republican extortionists and their big-money backers was to scuttle the law before most Americans recognized it as a godsend and rendered it politically untouchable.
What you may not know is that the Affordable Care Act is also beginning, with little fanfare, to accomplish its second great goal: to promote reforms to our overpriced, underperforming health care system. Irony of ironies, the people who ought to be most vigorously applauding this success story are Republicans, because it is being done not by government decree but almost entirely with market incentives.
Using mainly the marketplace clout of Medicare and some seed money, the new law has spurred innovation and efficiency. And while those new insurance exchanges that are now lurching into business will touch roughly 1 in 10 Americans (the rest of us are already covered by private employer plans or by government programs like Medicare), these systemic reforms potentially touch every patient, every taxpayer.
“This is the 90 percent of the story that doesn’t make the headlines,” said Sam Glick, who follows health care reform for the Oliver Wyman consulting firm.October 14, 2013 at 9:25 am #98166
GOP turns to Palin, Cruz on shutdown
By Steve Benen
Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:35 AM EDT
The government shutdown hasn’t gone quite the way Republicans had hoped. The party’s national support has cratered; the public holds them responsible for a wildly unpopular crisis; and it’s going to take a while for the GOP to recover from a self-inflicted wound this severe.
But no one should assume they’ve hit rock bottom. Yesterday’s theatrics in Washington were a reminder that the Republican Party’s far-right wing can still make matters worse
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) attended a rally protesting the closure of the World War II Memorial, according to reports.
The lawmakers and the former governor — and 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee — joined a crowd that removed barricades at the memorial and chanted “tear down these walls,” according to Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP.
Cruz told the crowd that President Obama is using military veterans as “pawns” to draw support for his argument in the budget impasse, which has resulted in the two-week closure of the federal government and the memorial.
Brilliant. Flailing Republicans lack leaders and direction, but they’ll certainly get back on track now that the former half-term governor of Alaska is stepping out in front.
I’m not sure who was more delighted to see Palin and Cruz whining at a memorial Republicans closed when they shut down the government: far-right activists or the Democratic National Committee.October 14, 2013 at 9:28 am #98167
Contraception restrictions remain a top Republican priority
By Steve Benen
Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:12 AM EDT
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), arguably the last moderate Republican in Congress, thought she’d offered Democrats a credible solution to the ongoing crises. The Maine senator told reporters yesterday she “bent over backwards” to try to work something out, before Democrats rejected her idea.
There were, however, two problems. The first is that Collins’ plan called on Democrats to make concessions in exchange for nothing — her idea would reopen the government for six months, raise the debt ceiling for a year, and require Democrats to accept sequestration levels and throw in a two-year delay of the medical-device tax in the Affordable Care Act. It was a one-sided deal — Democrats would make some concessions, while Republicans made none.
The second problem is that even if Senate Democrats took Collins’ slanted deal, it wouldn’t have made a difference since House Republicans said they’d refuse to even bring the bill to the floor. And why’s that? Because House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is thinking ahead.
This defiance was fed by Ryan, who stood up and railed against the Collins proposal, saying the House could not accept either a debt-limit bill or a government-funding measure that would delay the next fight until the new year.
According to two Republicans familiar with the exchange, Ryan argued that the House would need those deadlines as “leverage” for delaying the health-care law’s individual mandate and adding a “conscience clause” — allowing employers and insurers to opt out of birth-control coverage if they find it objectionable on moral or religious grounds — and mentioned tax and entitlement goals Ryan had focused on in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.October 14, 2013 at 9:31 am #98168
The Inevitable Republican Collapse That Will End the Shutdown The grim, angry, loopy, and predetermined conclusion to Washington’s crisis
BY NOAM SCHEIBER
Setting aside the hourly thrust and parry between Democrats and Republicans, here’s how the shutdown is likely to end: Senate Majority Harry Reid is going to strike a deal with his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell at some point in the next few days. The deal will reopen the government for a medium length of time—possibly till January 15, when the next round of sequester cuts kick in—giving the two sides time to replace the sequester with something more appealing. The deal will also raise the debt ceiling—maybe for as little as a few months, maybe until after the 2014 election. Reid will give up almost no concessions in return for any of this, with the exception of one or two symbolic items, and he’ll probably get some higher-than-sequester level of government funding (a top Democratic priority) for a month or two starting later this year. Pretty much every Democrat in the Senate will vote for the deal, along with at least five and maybe as many as 20 Republicans.
As the minutes tick away toward default this Thursday, the Reid-McConnell arrangement will be the only deal in town. With no alternative to avoiding a default, House Speaker John Boehner will add some small face-saving alteration and bring it to the floor, where it will pass with several dozen Republican votes and a large majority of Democrats. In doing so, Boehner will reprise the same formula he deployed in resolving last year’s fiscal cliff fight. I know this because it’s how the GOP has gotten out of pretty much every self-inflicted PR disaster of the Obama era, and it’s where the best reporting available suggests we’re headed today.
Of course, I could be wrong on the details. If Reid plays his hand especially well, he may do a bit better—erasing more of the sequester now rather than deferring that task till later. If McConnell plays his hand especially well, he may get some slightly bigger concessions, like a delay or repeal of the tax on medical devices that was enacted under Obamacare. But those are the basic contours of what a deal will look like, and they’re notable for what they almost certainly won’t include: anything that has more than a trivial effect on Obamacare, any cuts to entitlements as the price of reopening the government or raising the debt ceiling (though Democrats may give a bit on entitlements in exchange for ending the sequester and some new revenue). Which is to say, the deal will include none the key demands the Republicans were hoping to achieve by shutting down the government.October 14, 2013 at 9:44 am #98169
Mostly what we did was pray and sing.”
Posted by Kay at 9:05 am
The Moral Monday protestors who were arrested were offered a deal, which many of them didn’t take:
Although I have never met Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, according to news reports he has kindly offered me a deal. To avoid Wake County’s mounting court costs, he wants me to forgo my court date Monday and instead perform 25 hours of community service at an agency of my choice. Then my record would be wiped clean.
You see, on May 6, I was arrested in front of the appropriately colored golden doors of the N.C. General Assembly chambers. I was charged with three misdemeanors: failing to disperse when ordered to by the chief of the Capitol Police, illegally assembling with three or more people and singing, shouting and waving a placard. More than 900 other people decided to join me in the pokey. If all of us Moral Monday arrestees go to trial, the Wake County Courthouse will be a very busy place for the next several years.
I am not going to accept his nice offer as I did nothing wrong. I did not resist arrest, and the legislature continued its sessions without interruption. All that we protesters did was shine a light in the darkness of the actions of Gov. Pat McCrory, Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Phil Berger.
It’s good they didn’t take the deal, because the testimony at trial has been interesting:October 14, 2013 at 9:47 am #98170
Monday, Oct 14, 2013 06:45 AM CST
Debt limit defeat turns conservatives into neo-Confederate fantasists
A deal is close and the contours are clear. The Tea Party has been routed: So why are true believers delusional?
By Brian Beutler
There are apparently two ways to interpret the debt limit fight, now in its waning hours. One, based on the comically small zone of disagreement between principals, suggests the entire stand off has been a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing.
Another, based on the sensational fantasies of movement conservatives, re-imagines the drama as a Battle of Gettysburg for the 21st century.
There’s an inverse relationship between these two perspectives. With the deadline approaching, it’s natural that the parties are now haggling over relatively minor details. But the proximity of a resolution is making dead-enders desperate and thus prone to delusion.
Here’s what they’re telling National Review’s Robert Costa.
This is a big story; House conservatives tell me it’s a “game-changer,” gives Right new momentum ahead of this week http://t.co/QRzlHrjOcf
— Robert Costa (@robertcostaNRO) October 13, 2013
The article is by the Associated Press, but the picture above it really tells the whole story. Conservatives see Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz and imagine a national groundswell is forming. They do not perceive two widely loathed politicians who bespeak the House GOP’s total isolation so exquisitely. They believe the latest small crowd of white conservatives protesting the closure of war monuments (which would be open had they not shut down the government) will upend the whole debate and reverse the tide of public opinion against them.
Or at least they believed it.October 14, 2013 at 9:49 am #98171
A way out of the crisis
By Greg Sargent
October 14 at 9:06 am
With the debt limit deadline only days away, negotiations are stalled in the Senate over what looks to be the only way out of the crisis. The current plan that is the focus of talks would reopen the government at sequester spending levels until at least January 15th, lift the debt limit until January 31st, delay the medical device tax, and require both sides to enter formal budget talks. Dems are insisting on replacing the sequester with higher spending levels. But Republicans are balking.
So here’s what Dems should do. If Republicans refuse to budge off their insistence on lower spending levels, Dems should call their bluff by demanding a permanent disabling of the debt limit as an extortion tool as part of any short-term compromise. (Yes, Republicans will say No. But bear with me.)
If, somehow, a deal is reached this week in the Senate that involves Republicans giving ground on spending levels, Dems should make the push for a permanent disabling of the debt limit a key goal in the next round of formal, long term negotiations.
In the short term, if Dems accept sequester level spending into early next year in exchange for permanent disabling of the debt limit, it would not be an awful outcome. (Right now they’re prepared to accept sequester spending into late November.) Indeed, Norman Ornstein, a Congressional scholar who regularly decries the impact debt limit extortion has on our system, tells me he sees this as an “excellent deal.”
Such a permanent disabling could be accomplished via the previously-floated McConnell Provision, which would transfer authority over the debt limit to the president, while giving Congress a symbolic way to vote to disapprove of any hikes.October 14, 2013 at 9:53 am #98172
2 University of Chicago professors share Nobel Prize in economics
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter October 14, 2013 7:08AM
During his five decades at the University of Chicago, Eugene Fama’s name had often come up as someone in the running for the Nobel prize for economics.
But the Famas thought perhaps it would never happen.
People have talked about it for a long time, but so many people can win it,” Fama, 74, said Monday morning, after the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Fama and fellow U. of C. professor Lars Peter Hansen had won this year’s prize , along with Robert Shiller, a Yale University professor. “You put a low probability on it. So when it happens, it’s a surprise.”
Fama described himself as “thrilled,” particularly since he’s sharing the honor with his colleague at the U. of C.
He said had probably received 100 phone calls early Monday morning. He initially couldn’t talk to a Chicago Sun-Times reporter because he’d taken a moment to brush his teeth.
“We called all our kids and all our relatives and all our friends,” said Fama’s wife, Sallyanna Fama. “It’s just a big shock for us. It’s been years that we expected to win and haven’t — and we gave up.”
In addition to Hansen and Fama, the U. of C. has four current faculty members who have won the Nobel prize for economics. Twenty-eight people associated with U. of C. have now won the economics prize.October 14, 2013 at 9:55 am #98173
The sudden importance of the ‘s’ word
By Steve Benen
Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:49 AM EDT
Over the weekend, there was quite a bit of attention focused on competing plans to end the crises in Washington. Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) and Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-Maine) plans were both rejected because they called on Democrats to make concessions in exchange for nothing. But what about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) plan?
It didn’t generate as much chatter, but McConnell, who began talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday, quietly floated a deal of his own: Republicans would agree to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, if only Democrats agreed to accept sequestration-level spending for a long while. Dems balked.
It’s an issue that’s been on the periphery lately, but right now, the dreaded “sequester” matters a great deal.
With a possible default on government obligations just days away, Senate Democratic leaders — believing they have a political advantage in the continuing fiscal impasse — refused Sunday to sign on to any deal that reopens the government but locks in budget cuts for next year.
The disagreement extended the stalemate that has kept much of the government shuttered for two weeks and threatens to force a federal default.
The core of the dispute is about spending, and how long a stopgap measure that would reopen the government should last. Democrats want the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration to last only through mid-November; Republicans want them to last as long as possible.
Exactly. It’s been an open secret, but congressional Democrats have long planned to quickly make a transition — as soon as the government is open and the debt ceiling is raised, Dems want to use bipartisan talks to replace the sequestration policy, or at least mitigate its effects. It’s why there’s been some debate about the calendar — House Republicans originally planned to fund the government through mid-December, while Senate Democrats pushed for mid-November. The latter doesn’t want to keep the deliberately painful sequestration policy around any longer than absolutely necessary.
And in the process, a new front in the larger fight has taken shape.October 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm #98202
Corker: Republicans are ‘in a bad place’
By Jonathan Easley – 10/14/13 07:44 AM ET
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Monday acknowledged that Republicans had taken a severe political hit from the government shutdown, saying the GOP was “in a bad place,” but getting closer to righting the ship.
“Look, we’re in a bad place,” Corker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Let’s face it, we all know that the House Republican strategy — that came from a few Senate Republicans, was the strategy that took us to where we are.”
A rash of Republican infighting has boiled over because of the shutdown, as establishment Republicans have stood up to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other members of the Tea Party, blaming them for instigating the showdown without a defined endgame.
Read more: http://thehill.com/video/in-the-news/328289-corker-were-in-a-bad-place#ixzz2hjCdHK5e
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