October 5, 2013 at 12:26 am #97567
This week, the House of Representatives shut down the government, the President continued to urge them to pass a resolution to open the government back up, and the Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business under the Affordable Care Act. That’s September 27th to October 3rd, or “Just vote, and end this shutdown.”
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 day.October 5, 2013 at 12:26 am #97568
Good Morning, EveryoneOctober 5, 2013 at 12:33 am #97569
A-Rod Lawsuit: MLB Paid Off Clinic Head
Plus paid $150K for stolen records, say his lawyers
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2013 11:50 AM CDT
A-Rod is not only appealing his suspension from baseball, he’s suing the league. Alex Rodriguez filed his suit against MLB yesterday, claiming “tortious interference” as part of a “witch hunt” to get him out of baseball, reports the New York Times. The suit accuses the league of paying for the cooperation of Anthony Bosch, who ran the clinic at the heart of the latest doping scandal. The money totaled $5 million, says the lawsuit, which also claims the MLB paid $150,000 in cash for Rodriguez’s stolen records. The news comes on the fifth day of A-Rod’s suspension appeal in Manhattan, where the Yankees’ legal team is getting a chance to grill Bosch on the stand, the New York Daily News reports.October 5, 2013 at 1:14 am #97570
De Blasio Focuses on Inequality as He Courts Business Elite
By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
Published: October 4, 2013
Bill de Blasio delivered on Friday his most detailed blueprint yet for how he would reimagine New York as a more equitable and populist metropolis, even as he works diligently behind the scenes to send a subtler message to the city’s corporate titans: He is not their enemy.
In a speech before a prominent civic group, Mr. de Blasio, the Democratic nominee for mayor, denounced giveaways to the real estate industry, pledged to re-energize labor unions and declared that the city’s “affordability crisis” was as urgent and serious a problem as the turmoil faced after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“We cannot expect prosperity to trickle down from the top,” he said during the speech in Midtown Manhattan, adding, “We cannot resign ourselves to the mind-set that says rising inequality is a necessary byproduct of urban success.”
He was met with a standing ovation from an overflow crowd of wealthy business leaders — the same group that a year ago had responded to a similar speech by Mr. de Blasio with chilly disregard.
It was the surest sign yet of a thaw in the relationship between Mr. de Blasio, the fiery campaigner who took direct aim at the wealth of the Bloomberg years, and the business elite, who had viewed him warily until he secured the Democratic nomination just weeks ago.October 5, 2013 at 10:05 am #97571
Clinging to that Whiteness….
they wanna be stupid, go ahead.
Even amid furloughs, some Texans cheer Cruz
WILL WEISSERT 4 hours ago
HOUSTON (AP) — Thanks to Texas’ new senator, Dale Huls is out of a job_at least for now. Yet Huls has never been prouder that he voted for him.
“Without Ted Cruz this doesn’t happen,” said Huls, a NASA systems engineer who was among roughly 3,000 federal employees furloughed from Houston’s Johnson Space Center after tea party Republicans triggered the partial government shutdown.
“This is something Americans have to get used to,” said Huls. “Even if it affects your livelihood, you’ve got to stand up.October 5, 2013 at 10:09 am #97572
3:52 PM, October 4 2013
The Truth About Obamacare and How It Solves the Suffering of the Insured
By Kurt Eichenwald
Last week, I wrote a lengthy piece to refute the Republican lies about Obamacare. This week, I am going to write about some of the truths.
Let me start by acknowledging: Obamacare is not perfect. Neither is Medicare. Neither is Social Security. Or capitalism. Or your household. Any large system—whether proposed by Republicans or Democrats or any other circus barkers—will have flaws, many of them unfixable, that cause bumps and starts. If we required perfection in all things, we wouldn’t even have a military. Demanding such unrealistic performance is a prescription for overall failure as a nation—as a wiser person than me once said, the great is the enemy of the good.
And we need the good because, fundamentally, the American health-care system stopped working properly long ago. (Unfortunately, this will get a little wonkish—screaming “death panels” and “socialism” is far easier than explaining medical economics.)
Normally, I would start this discussion by providing chapter-and-verse details about the 47 million men, women, and children who now have the opportunity to obtain health insurance, to live longer and healthier lives, to avoid needless bankruptcies. But, in what to me is one of the saddest developments in our nation’s history, that reality is irrelevant to ardent Obamacare opponents. Words like “takers” and “slackers” are thrown at the uninsured, as if they have brought their pre-existing conditions, jobs without benefits, or low-paying positions on themselves. One Tea Party type I spoke with actually said the way to solve the health-care problem would be for the lazy uninsured just to take jobs that provide insurance benefits—as if there were tens of millions of such employment opportunities out there, unfilled. It’s the kind of simplistic answer that allows for the willfully blind to ignore the realities of the uninsured.
But enough. I’ll address the difficulties of the uninsured further down. These days, I have to start by answering the question “What’s in it for me?” (One side note: I’ve always wondered how many of the commenters who criticize my pieces ever actually read them. So, will all critics please type the phrase “I think you’re wrong” at the beginning of your comment? Let’s see how many do.)
The first thing to understand is that when people don’t have insurance, it hurts other people with insurance. In fact, the uninsured affect the finances, quality of care, and availability of medical assistance to every person in a community, regardless of their insurance status.
This is the fundamental issue that too many people do not understand. There seems to be this belief among some that those who are uninsured simply go off and die somewhere, thus having no impact on the medical-care-delivery system in the United States. But the opposite is true—the uninsured have some of the most dramatic effects of any group on our nation’s health-care system.October 5, 2013 at 10:10 am #97573
Friday, October 4, 2013
My Obamacare Experience… And Why The Shutdown Was Never About Obamacare
Being self-employed, I have had to buy my own health insurance for several years now. I have been subject to the faster-than-inflation escalations in my premiums, and got a nice 40th birthday gift from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Illinois in the form of a $50 per month premium hike.
Additionally, thanks to a nerve impingement in my right shoulder that needed a couple of months of physical therapy to work out in 2004, anything having to do with that shoulder is a pre-existing condition. So when I injured that shoulder in 2012 – eight years after a completely unrelated condition – Blue Cross would not pay for the office visits or the MRI to even find out what was wrong, let alone cover the arthroscopic surgery to fix the torn labrum. As a result, I have had to live with some degree of pain for the last 18 months.
While the world waited breathlessly as the Republicans demanded ideological concessions just to keep the government open, I was actually most interested in whether the new insurance exchange launching at the same moment would lower my out-of-pocket health care costs by allowing me to access the buying power of a group and no longer be at the mercy of Blue Cross actuaries.
As it turns out, Blue Cross themselves saved me some effort by e-mailing me a link to check out which plans they were offering in the ACA marketplace.
I currently pay $348 per month for health insurance, with a $1500 deductible. For a plan with the same level of coverage, I will now pay $297 per month, with a $1000 deductible. This will save me $1100 on health care in 2014. That’s $1100 that I will spend on something other than health care, money that will stimulate the economy. That money did not come from other taxpayers. The savings came as a result of setting up an exchange that would allow everyone to access group buying power.October 5, 2013 at 10:13 am #97574
Reform Turns Real
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: October 3, 2013
At this point, the crisis in American governance has taken on a life of its own. Some Republicans are now saying openly that they want concessions in return for reopening the government and avoiding default, not because they have any specific policy goals in mind, but simply because they don’t want to feel “disrespected.” And no endgame is in sight.
But this confrontation did start with a real issue: Republican efforts to stop Obamacare from going into effect. It’s long been clear that the great fear of the Republican Party was not that health reform would fail, but that it would succeed. And developments since Tuesday, when the exchanges on which individuals will buy health insurance opened for business, strongly suggest that their worst fears will indeed be realized: This thing is going to work.
Wait a minute, some readers are saying. Haven’t many stories so far been of computer glitches, of people confronting screens telling them that servers are busy and that they should try again later? Indeed, they have. But everyone knowledgeable about the process always expected some teething problems, and the nature of this week’s problems has actually been hugely encouraging for supporters of the program.
First, let me say a word about the underlying irrelevance of start-up troubles for new government programs.
Political reporting in America, especially but not only on TV, tends to be focused on the play-by-play. Who won today’s news cycle? And, to be fair, this sort of thing may matter during the final days of an election.
But Obamacare isn’t up for a popular referendum, or a revote of any kind. It’s the law, and it’s going into effect. Its future will depend on how it works over the next few years, not the next few weeks.
To illustrate the point, consider Medicare Part D, the drug benefit, which went into effect in 2006. It had what was widely considered a disastrous start, with seniors unclear on their benefits, pharmacies often refusing to honor valid claims, computer problems, and more. In the end, however, the program delivered lasting benefits, and woe unto any politician proposing that it be rolled back.
So the glitches of October won’t matter in the long run. But why are they actually encouraging? Because they appear, for the most part, to be the result of the sheer volume of traffic, which has been much heavier than expected. And this means that one big worry of Obamacare supporters — that not enough people knew about the program, so that many eligible Americans would fail to sign up — is receding fast.October 5, 2013 at 10:14 am #97575
Dems move to force Republicans to reopen the government
By Greg Sargent, Updated: October 4, 2013
House Democratic leaders believe they have hit on a new way to potentially force House Republican leaders into allowing a vote on a “clean CR” funding the government without any defunding of Obamacare attached.
At last count, as many as two dozen House Republicans appear prepared to vote for a clean CR. With Democrats included, that means a majority of the House of Representatives would vote right now to reopen the government. But the House GOP leadership won’t allow such a vote.
Dems have hit on a way to use a “discharge petition,” which forces a House vote if a majority of Representatives signs it, to try to force the issue. Previously, it was thought this could not work, because a discharge petition takes 30 legislative days to ripen, so if this were tried with the clean CR that passed the Senate, this couldn’t bear fruit until some time in November.
But now House Democrats say they have found a previously filed bill to use as a discharge petition — one that would fund the government at sequester levels.
The bill in question is the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” which was introduced in March by GOP Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma. As the Congressman’s release describes it:
If Congress fails to approve a budget by the end of each fiscal year, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act would ensure that all operations remain running normally without any interruption of services by automatically triggering a continuing resolution (CR) or short-term, stop-gap spending device. The bill creates an automatic CR for any regular appropriations bill not completed before the end of the fiscal year. After the first 120 days, auto-CR funding would be reduced by one percentage point and would continue to be reduced by that margin every 90 days.
This afternoon, Dem Reps. Chris Van Hollen and George Miller will announce that they are introducing a discharge petition for the Lankford bill. They will discuss the procedural ins and outs of this move. The upshot: Once the petition is filed, they will begin rounding up signatures from both Democrats and Republicans. If they can get 218 signatures, a House vote to reopen the government will happen.
Dems say that if they get enough signatures, they’d be able to force a vote by October 14th. Given that House Republicans are now talking about letting the government shutdown battle spill into the fight over the debt limit — which expires on October 17th — it’s very possible the government could still be closed at that point.
At a minimum, this should ramp up pressure on moderate Republicans who say they want a vote on a clean CR to make good on their public statements. Presumably, House Republican leaders would put pressure on them not to sign the discharge petition, throwing House GOP intransigence into even sharper relief.October 5, 2013 at 10:18 am #97576
GOP Biggest Fear Occurring – Republicans Loving Obamacare
October 3, 2013 by Egberto Willies 6 Comments
Anyone wondering why the Right Wing Tea Party Republicans are in a frenzy, one need only see what is happening now that the reality of the Affordable Care Act is emerging. The lies they told are coming back to bite them.
They are attempting to discourage young American citizens from going to the exchanges by telling them Obamacare will either be too expensive or an intrusion from the government. Good things are happening however. Inasmuch as the Right Wing is being outright destructive with the nation’s economy in the attempt to derail Obamacare, empirical and factual data is proven to be a hindrance to their obstructionist tactics.
The State Health Bureaucracy in Texas is actually promoting Obamacare. That is a feat in its own right. On October 1st, the Obamacare health exchange servers were overwhelmed because of the inordinately large number of people accessing it.
This story is not unlike Clint Murphy’s story. Murphy is a 38 year old Republican operative. He worked for Republican US Senator Paul Coverdell in the 1990s, Republican Casey Cagle in 2006, John McCain in 2008, and Republican Karen Handel’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. He has come to his senses and simply could not wait for the exchanges to open.
Neither of these guys has given up on their Conservative ideology. They are Republicans. The difference is unlike Right Wing Tea Party Republicans, they are honest and pragmatic. They are willing to let the truth lead. The Tea Party realizes that their credibility is coming to an end for most Americans.October 5, 2013 at 10:19 am #97577
Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
George Clooney to @GOP on #ObamaCare: “It’s the law. You don’t like it? Win an election.” http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/10/george-clooney-shutdown-boehner-cruz-green-eggs.html?mid=twitter_nymag …
8:45 AM – 5 Oct 2013October 5, 2013 at 10:20 am #97578
NYMag: George Clooney Explains the Shutdown
…. we asked the liberal-leaning actor for his thoughts about the ongoing government shutdown. He had many — on John Boehner’s grand strategy, on the “idiots” who think we don’t need government, and on Ted Cruz’s reading of Green Eggs and Ham.
“People keep talking about how this has to be a great negotiation, but there isn’t any negotiating a law. We negotiate on all these other topics, but this was put into law, and [Obama] was reelected on it. It was reaffirmed, it was passed through the Supreme Court — it’s a law. You don’t like it? Win an election. That’s how it works…..”October 5, 2013 at 10:24 am #97579
Michelle Obama: What Every Mother in This Country Deserves
By Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States | Healthy Living – Fri, Oct 4, 2013 8:57 AM EDT
Back when Barack and I were first starting out and building our life together, our finances were a constant source of stress. For years, we struggled to pay off our student loans and pay down our mortgage while keeping up with childcare bills and all the other expenses that come with having a family.
But we were lucky: we had jobs that gave us health care. So twelve years ago, when our baby daughter Sasha woke up sick one night, I didn’t think twice about taking her to the pediatrician in the morning, because I knew our insurance would cover the cost of that visit. And thank God I did, because our doctor took one look at her and sent us straight to the emergency room, worried that Sasha might have meningitis — a diagnosis that was later confirmed at the hospital.
During the three long days Sasha spent in the hospital, our only worry was about our baby girl’s health. The care she received probably cost thousands of dollars, but we didn’t spend a single minute worrying about money because we knew our insurance plan would cover the bills.
Every mother in this country deserves this kind of security for herself and for her family — and more than anything else, that’s really what the new health care law is all about.October 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm #97580
How Democrats Got a Spine
The Republican Party taught them how to be uncompromising.
By David Weigel
It’s easy to forget, but this year began with a nick-of-time congressional compromise. At the 11th hour, with Washington’s supply of clichés nearly depleted, the House and Senate approved a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. The Bush tax cuts were extended for households making less than $400,000, a minor disappointment for both parties. The payroll tax holiday ended, also pleasing no one.
But the system worked, sort of, in its doddering way. It worked when 172 House Democrats voted with 85 Republicans, bailing out House Speaker John Boehner, whose “Plan B” Republicans-only plan had been torn apart by House conservatives. It had worked in 2011, when Democrats helped put the Budget Control Act over the top. It worked a few more times this year—for example, when every Democrat joined with a rump of 89 House Republicans to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Democrats would bend when the GOP refused to.
Not anymore. House Democrats, powerless as they are, provided the GOP almost no cover in the early stages of the shutdown fight.
“Dealing with terrorists has taught us some things,” said Washington Rep. Jim McDermott after voting no on one of Thursday’s GOP bills. “You can’t deal with ’em. This mess was created by the Republicans for one purpose, and they lost. People in my district are calling in for Obamacare—affordable health care—in large numbers. These guys have lost, and they can’t figure out how to admit it.” Why would House Democrats give away what the Supreme Court and the 2012 electorate didn’t? “You can’t say, OK, you get half of Obamacare—this isn’t a Solomonic decision,” McDermott said. “So we sit here until they figure out they fuckin’ lost.”October 5, 2013 at 8:48 pm #97583
U.S. Says Navy SEAL Team Stages Raid on Somali Militants
By NICHOLAS KULISH and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: October 5, 2013
NAIROBI, Kenya — A Navy SEAL team targeted a senior leader of the Shabab militant group in a raid on his seaside villa in the Somali town of Baraawe on Saturday, American officials said, in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall for which the group had claimed responsibility.
The SEAL team stealthily approached the beachfront house by sea, targeting the unidentified militant in a predawn firefight that was the most significant raid by American troops on Somali soil since commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Qaeda mastermind, near the same town four years ago.
The Shabab leader was believed to have been killed in the firefight, but the SEAL team was forced to withdraw before that could be confirmed, a senior American official said. Such operations by American forces are rare because they carry a high risk, and indicate that the target was considered a high priority. Baraawe, a small port town south of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, is known as a gathering place for the Shabab’s foreign fighters.
“The Baraawe raid was planned a week and a half ago,” said an American security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity about a classified operation. “It was prompted by the Westgate attack,” he added, referring to the mall in Nairobi that was overrun by militants two weeks ago, leaving more than 60 dead.
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