July 27, 2013 at 8:54 am #93673
This week, the President hosted the NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals, the President of Vietnam, pressed for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, and laid out his vision of growing the economy from the middle class out, while traveling to Illinois, Missouri, and Florida.
As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful daJuly 27, 2013 at 8:55 am #93674
Good Morning, EveryoneJuly 27, 2013 at 9:06 am #93675
The War Over Health Care Exchanges
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Published: July 26, 2013
Federal and state governments are entering the home stretch in the race to carry out the most important health care reform in more than four decades. The most pressing task is to establish new health care exchanges, the electronic marketplaces in which consumers will be able to compare and buy insurance plans just as they buy airplane tickets or rent cars on the Internet.
The exchanges are scheduled to start enrolling people on Oct. 1 in policies that will become effective in January 2014. It is a challenging task but not an impossible one, as long as Americans have a chance to learn how they can benefit from the coverage and from sliding-scale subsidies provided by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act.
To their shame and discredit, Republicans are trying to block efforts to inform people about the law and are using scare tactics to keep them from enrolling. The Republican mantra is that the nation will face economic and medical catastrophe — a “train wreck,” they say — unless health care reform is stopped in its tracks.
Their tactics are despicable. When Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, revealed that she was talking with the National Football League and other athletic organizations about ways to inform their fans about insurance on the exchanges, the two highest-ranking Republican senators wrote a threatening letter that caused the league to back off.
Crossroads GPS, a conservative group co-founded by the Republican strategist Karl Rove, has been running a video comparing the law to a tornado that will produce “a rising tide of health care costs” and leave “nobody safe from its wrath.”
Top officials in Ohio and Indiana who oppose the law have issued dire, misleading forecasts — roundly debunked by analysts — that the law will raise premiums to astronomical levels. And the House Republican Conference is advising its members on how to organize “emergency health care” town hall meetings during the August recess to denounce the law. The goal is to ignite passionate opposition to the measure, like that stirred up by Tea Party activists at town hall meetings in the past.
In virtually no case do Republicans ever mention that millions of people who lack health insurance or have lousy policies could obtain comprehensive coverage on the exchanges and that most of them would qualify for federal subsidies to lower the cost.
Many states, mostly governed by Republicans, have refused to set up their own exchanges and have left the job to the federal government. (Many states also have refused to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more of the uninsured, but that is a separate issue.)
The exchanges will need to enroll millions of people so that insurers have a large enough pool to drive down premiums, and they will need enough young, healthy people to help offset the cost of insuring older and sicker people. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that some seven million Americans will gain coverage through the exchanges in 2014.
In a report last month on exchanges being set up by the federal government, the Government Accountability Office judged that “much progress has been made” but that “much remains to be accomplished.”
The administration is mounting a fierce campaign to publicize the law and spur enrollment by working with community clinics and other groups, as well as by providing grants to train workers to help people fill out the forms.
In the meantime, Republicans in the Senate are threatening to oppose any spending bill that provides a single cent toward health care reform, a threat that could shut down the government this fall. House Republicans are planning their own draconian cuts in funding to carry out the law. The Republicans’ determination to destroy health care reform has become an obsession that, if successful, will deprive millions of Americans of health insurance they need and want.July 27, 2013 at 9:18 am #93676
Zimmerman Has a Higher Approval Rating Among Republicans Than Obama http://breakingbrown.com/2013/… … #NoJustice #TellsYouAllYouNeedToKnowAboutThemJuly 27, 2013 at 9:21 am #93677
Maryland issues insurance rates that are among lowest in U.S.
By Lena H. Sun, Published: July 26 E-mail the writers
Maryland insurance officials approved final rates Friday for health plans to be sold in the state’s new online marketplace that are among the lowest in the country. The plans, which are for individuals, will be sold beginning Oct. 1.
The Maryland Insurance Administration approved premiums at levels as much as 33 percent below what had been requested by insurance carriers. For a 21-year-old non-smoker, for example, options start as low as $93 a month. Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith reduced the premium rates proposed by every insurance carrier in the individual market, including some by more than 50 percent, according to an analysis by Maryland officials who will be operating the marketplace.
The rates offered by nine carriers are among the lowest of the 12 states that have proposed or approved rates for comparison to date, and among the lowest in the D.C. area.
“We are pleased that Maryland is among the lowest in the country,” said the state’s health secretary, Joshua Sharfstein. He said the rates were an important step for the launch of the online marketplace, the Maryland Health Connection.
According to the analysis, a 25-year-old buying the cheapest “bronze” plan — with the lowest premium but higher out-of-pocket costs — would pay $119 to $129 a month in Maryland, compared with $151 in Washington and $134 in Virginia. A 50-year-old could buy a “silver” plan and pay $260 to $269 a month in Maryland, compared with $319 in New York and $329 in Virginia.July 27, 2013 at 9:38 am #93678
Voting Rights Of Black Americans Trampled By ‘New Jim Crow,’ Civil Rights Advocates Say
Posted: 07/25/2013 7:28 am EDT | Updated: 07/25/2013 11:51 am EDT
By most standards, Desmond Meade is an overachiever. The 46-year-old is a fourth-year law student at Florida International University. He made the 2013 dean’s list. And he’s about to start working as a regional coordinator for a national anti-violence organization.
But, barring some unforeseen policy change, he won’t ever get the chance to practice law in his state. And this promising, African-American law student isn’t allowed to vote.
Nearly two decades ago, after a struggle with drugs and alcohol led to a series of run-ins with the law, Meade served three years in prison. In 2005, he checked himself into a substance abuse program and stopped using drugs. Yet, because of a policy adopted by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in 2011, he is prohibited not only from voting, but also from serving on a jury and becoming a member of the Florida bar.
“I was in prison because I had an addiction to drugs and alcohol,” he said. “Should I be ostracized for the rest of my life because I fell victim to the grip of addiction? No. Should I pay the price for any crimes I committed? Yes, I should pay the price. But once I serve my time, I’m still an American.”
It’s a story told time and again in this country, even in 2013: A nonviolent offense brands someone a felon and strips them of their voting rights, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
More than a million of these disenfranchised Americans are black. Felony convictions restrict 13 percent of the country’s black male population from voting, prompting critics to portray felon disenfranchisement as an heir to the voter-suppression tactics of the Jim Crow era. Back then, black people eager to cast their ballots encountered poll taxes, literacy tests and violence. Today, the mechanisms of disenfranchisement may be more sophisticated, but they can be just as oppressive, civil rights leaders say.
More than 30 states have passed laws in recent years requiring voters to display photo identification, which minorities and low-income Americans disproportionately lack. Just this week, North Carolina’s Republican-dominated Senate approved a bill that would eliminate same-day voter registration, cut early voting by a week and require all voters to show specific forms of state-issued ID at the polls.July 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm #93679July 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm #93680
Chaka Khan Boycotts Florida, Talks Hometown Celebration And Ending Chicago’s Gun Violence http://huff.to/1e0qaXH via @BlackVoices
“Well I am boycotting Florida. I had a booking there last week and I cancelled it. But if any tribute comes up I’ll do it. Absolutely.”July 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm #93683
FDLE (capitol police) won’t allow meals to come in for us to eat! #shame http://t.co/LMEeclVTX0
— The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) July 27, 2013
Call FDLE (Capitol Police) 850.251.7270 and demand that they let us eat!
— The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) July 27, 2013July 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm #93684
Cornel West and Tavis Smiley do a disservice to African Americans
I used to revere these two prominent black intellectuals. But lately, their critical voices have turned to crude Obama-bashing
Dr Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have let me down.
Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are undoubtedly two of the most important figures in black intellectualism and political action in my lifetime. West is probably the most important voice to have helped shaped African-American identity in recent years, and his Race Matters is one of the most necessary books in American history. As for Smiley, his unflinching news coverage and calls for political action were always measured and effective, especially in light of other, wannabe celebrity activists looking for their next book or endorsement deal.
That is why it pains me to say that Smiley and West have let me down. Sure, I’m not really anyone important to them, but I represent a generation of African-American men who looked up to West and Smiley – only to see them damage their legacies by engaging in embarrassing public roasts of President Obama.
I’ve looked up to Smiley and West since I was a teenager, gathering an appreciation for race relations and my own personal understanding my place in this country. I’ve always dreamed of having even a fraction of their respective impacts on American discourse. So I can’t help but be disappointed when I see these two men relegated to bickering, insult-tossing self-parodies, especially when it comes to discussing the president.
West has called Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface” and both recently criticized Al Sharpton’s support of the president as an example of him being “on the Obama’s plantation”. These inflammatory remarks only discredit whatever valid criticisms Smiley and West may have about how President Obama has conducted himself over the past five years. And that’s a shame because the two men would otherwise have so much to offer the country as true intellectuals.July 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm #93685
Twin Valedictorians Earn Full Basketball Scholarships To Stanford University
Jul 26, 2013
By Myeisha Essex
Marcos and Malcolm Allen are one impressive duo. They have athletic abilities and the brains to match.
The Las Vegas twins were both named class valedictorians, graduating with 4.8 grade point averages, and as a result of their hard work, they will be attending Stanford University with full basketball scholarships this fall.
“It’s been a very long road, academically and athletically,” Marcos told Action News.
Their road to success wasn’t easy, but Malcolm added, “It all pays off and I feel like the earlier you start, the better you’ll end up.”
The Allen brother have their parents, Dr. Carl Allen and Dr. Tina Wiggins, to thanks for their success. They set great examples and enrolled their sons in SAT prep classes when they were in middle school.
“You have to have a plan. You can’t just go day to day and think this is going to miraculously happen,” their mother Dr. Wiggins said, who graduated from Stanford University several years ago.July 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm #93686
Poll Says White People Would Like To Drop Race Conversation
Jul 26, 2013
By Michael Arceneaux
The sky is blue, water is wet, and most White people would rather not engage in conversations about race that would address reality and subsequently make them uncomfortable.
I’m not alerting you to anything close to a new concept here, but the latest Pew Poll about reactions to the George Zimmerman case is nonetheless still intriguing: The majority of Whites found that the verdict was just, though 52% of Whites say race is getting more attention in this case than it deserves.
Of course they do.
More from the report:
African Americans express a clear and strong reaction to the case and its meaning: By an 86% to 5% margin, blacks are dissatisfied with Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin. And nearly eight-in-ten blacks(78%) say the case raises important issues about race that need to be discussed. Among whites, more are satisfied (49%) than dissatisfied (30%) with the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. Just 28% of whites say the case raises important issues about race, while twice as many (60%) say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.
A paltry twenty-eight percent understanding that this case raises lingering issues related to race and systematic racism. That’s why President Obama‘s remarks about Trayvon Martin and the plight of Black men who are victims of racial profiling were so important. Even if the timetable and ferocity of statements were not to Tavis Smiley’s liking, they mattered and need to continue. We need real dialogue about race and racism, and hopefully more high profile Blacks with large platforms will continue to speak out.July 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm #93687
Sharpton Fires Back At O’Reilly: Since When Are You The ‘Expert On What African-Americans Want?’
by Matt Wilstein | 7:10 pm, July 26th, 2013
MSNBC’s Al Sharpton took Bill O’Reilly’s recent comments about race head-on Friday evening, after the Fox anchor singled him out last night for being “in business with people who put out entertainment harmful to children.” Sharpton called it “ridiculous” that O’Reilly is somehow the “expert on what the vast majority of African-Americans want.”
“In the time since George Zimmerman’s acquittal,” Sharpton declared, “some right-wingers have gone into overdrive to push the most negative stereotypes of the African-American community for their own gain.” He lumped O’Reilly in with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as the “unholy triumvirate of right-wing reaction” that has “been desperate not to have a real conversation about the injustices of the justice system.”
Sharpton mocked O’Reilly and others for their sudden concern about gang violence in Chicago, something he said “many of us in African-American community” have been talking about for months. “Better late than never, I guess.” On O’Reilly’s focus on the breakdown of the African-American family, Sharpton asked, “Is Bill O’Reilly saying George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin because Trayvon was born out of wedlock, even though he wasn’t? That’s ridiculous, right?”
“All of this is an effort to avoid addressing the urgent topic that something is fundamentally flawed with our justice system if laws like Stand Your Ground allow a kid to be gunned down,” Sharpton continued. “But Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly don’t want to talk about that.”
Sarcastically calling O’Reilly the “expert on the vast majority of what African-Americans want,” Sharpton said, “we need a real conversation about justice in this country, not the same old right-wing divide and conquer garbage. Bill O’Reilly, the Willie Horton stuff has got to go.”July 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm #93688
Marigny homeowner booked with shooting 14-year-old; friends say he believed teen to be intruder
A Marigny homeowner has been booked with attempted second-degree murder after he shot a 14-year-old boy in the head early Friday, police said. The homeowner’s friends and neighbors said the owner believed the teen was an intruder. The teenager remains hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
New Orleans police arrested Merritt Landry, 33, a building inspector for the Historic District Landmarks Commission, after conducting multiple interviews and reviewing crime scene evidence, including a single spent casing at the scene, NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden said.
Police said the teen was near Landry’s vehicle when he was shot. Landry’s friends said the vehicle was in the driveway behind a gate just a few feet from the house’s backdoor.
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