Jan 032014

I’m writing for tomorrow and taking a relatively lazy day, after a hard day yesterday.  The roast beef dinner turned out just right, and in addition to feeding less fortunate friends, I took a plate to the desk clerk, who had to work the holiday.  Shortly, I shall be wrapping myself around some leftovers.  On Friday, I hope to finish squaring this place away.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:39 (average 5:35).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Think Progress: On Wednesday, nearly four years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the major provisions of the health law that serve to expand coverage to millions of Americans officially took effect. Insurers are no longer allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, or charge sick Americans higher prices than their healthier counterparts. And now, the Americans who have enrolled in new plans under Obamacare — either by picking a private plan on the state-level marketplaces, or by qualifying for Medicaid in the states that agreed to expand the program — may start using that coverage.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about six million people signed up for Obamacare’s coverage expansion so far. It’s not yet clear exactly how many of those people gained new insurance on January 1; some of them may not have paid their first premium yet, and ongoing technical problems with the state marketplaces may delay some people’s coverage from kicking in immediately.

Regardless of the official enrollment numbers, however, New Years Eve marked an important milestone for the health insurance industry. “It’s the last day a cancer patient can be told by their insurance company that cancer treatments aren’t covered and it’s the last day people can face limits on their coverage in the future,” White House adviser Phil Schiliro told MSNBC on Tuesday. “That’s just enormous.”

And some of people who woke up to new health insurance options on Wednesday aren’t wasting any time using their new plans.

At long last we will have truly positive examples with which to begin to counter four years of Republican lies.

From NY Times: Bill de Blasio, whose fiery populism propelled his rise from obscure neighborhood official to the 109th mayor of New York, was sworn into office on Wednesday, pledging that his ambition for a more humane and equal metropolis would remain undimmed.

In his inaugural address, Mayor de Blasio described social inequality as a “quiet crisis” on a par with the other urban cataclysms of the city’s last half-century, from fiscal collapse to crime waves to terrorist attacks, and said income disparity was a struggle no less urgent to confront.

“We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love,” he said to about 5,000 people at the ceremony, many beneath blankets on a numbingly cold day.

I wish de Blasio every success, and think he is the best thing to happen to NYC in a generation or more!

From US News: For the 1.3 million Americans who lost long-term unemployment benefits in December, there may be hope.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told The Associated Press he will bring legislation to extend long-term jobless benefits to the floor on Monday, the first day the Senate returns to work in the new year. The inaugural vote may signal the Democrats’ 2014 election strategy: to reduce economic disparity between the wealthy and poor.

This is a positive development, because it gives Republicans the choice of supporting it or exposing themselves in an election year. If it passes the Senate, it can then be used to put House Republicans on display.




  16 Responses to “Open Thread–1/3/2013”

  1. 3:53 This old gray mare ain't what she used to be.

  2. You are starting the New Year off right by sharing food with others. You will never go hungry, my friend.

    Think Progress ~ I am glad the ACA has finally taken effect. Now let's see what the republiCons do to try to sabotage it yet again. As of right now it is helping so many who had no insurance before.

    NY Times ~ I hope the wealthy are cringing. Working toward income equality? My stars!

    US News ~ I hope it passes in the Senate. RepubliCanTs, show Americans your true colors by voting against them again.

    Cartoon ~ How they long for Fascism.

    • Thank you.  I hope so.


      They should not be.  They did fine when the top marginal income tax rate was over 90%.



  3. I thought this an apt description of how Republicans view our problems, not just unemployment.


  4. 6:07  Going nowhere fast.

    Think Progress:  While it's not single payer, it's such a good thing compared to what we have had, and six million is so few!  The Republicans have done so much to destroy it, not by their impotent votes in the House, but by hacking the real website, putting up counterfeit websites, and the like, I fear it will not help as much as it could and that they will make capital of that for the midterms.  I may need to put the second verse of the British national anthem into my daily prayers:  "O Lord our God arise,/ Scatter our enemies/ and make them fall./ Confound their politics,/Frustrate their knavish tricks;/ On thee our hopes we fix,/ God save us all!"

    NY Times:  Yes, deBlasio is a wonderful thing for NYC  Of course he has a hell of a mess to clean up.  I wish him every success.

    US News:  Agreed, a positive development, and one we have been pushing for.  Having been unemployed many times myself, and now permanently, I am sure the unemployed would rather be able to eat and have shelter than be a force for political good, no matter how good, so I am hoping it can get passed quickly.  Unfortunately, although I hope, I also doubt.

    Cartoon:  A sad day in world history.  There are things more important that having trains that run on time.  Unless, I guess, if you're a Republican.

    I'm glad your New Year went so well.  Let's hope the whole year goes equally well.

    • Slow day.

      I fully agree.  I also want single payer, but it was the best we could get at the time.

      I agree.  I want them to have the benefits too, but if Republicans block it, rfemoving them from power is the only way to restore benefits.



  5. When the health care program opened in the state of Massachusetts, the first month had a grand total of 127 people that signed up.  It continued to move slowly and now about 98% have health insurance.  The problem with both Massachusetts and the ACA is that it will not cover everyone, and still has a high co-pay for those who can least afford that additional cost.  We need to consider this nothing more than a step toward full universal health care.  That is the only option that allows every sick child, every working adult and those who can not find work or can not afford an dime extra, to be covered for illness and accidents.
    Should the right chose to label this socialism, I really don't care.  If it works and it most certainly does for all countries that have this program, then call it whatever. From it's inception by the republican Teddy Roosevelt to Eisenhower and even Nixon who wanted to begin a universal health program this was once a republican idea.  Now it is owned by the democrats, could that be the real reason for all this Machiavellian effort to end the program?

    Again when thinking of republicans and health care, how far they have fallen:

    "Fifty-six years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a kind of universal health care.

     Eisenhower asked Congress for $25 million to fund what he called health "reinsurance."

     Under the Eisenhower plan, private insurance companies who extended benefits to uninsured Americans would be reimbursed by the federal government should they incur excessive loses. In a way, the government was insuring the insurers."


    Congratulations to Bill de Blasio, both for his win in the election and his focus on bettering the lives of the people of NYC. I believe he has the right goals for the many needed improvements in the city.  To stop people simply walking on a sidewalk and submit them to search is not just a personal humiliation but completely against the idea of a need to have cause before harassing the public.

    Thanks TC.

  6. Cartoon — . . . and shall she suffer the same fate? . . . a firing squad and then strung up by the ankles and stoned?

    Seems today's Republicanus/Teabaggers reselmble Mussolini's fascists.  From Wikipedia:

    "When dealing with such a race as Slavic – inferior and barbarian – we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy … We should not be afraid of new victims … The Italian border should run across the Brenner PassMonte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps … I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians …

    —Benito Mussolini, speech held in Pula, 20 September 1920"

  7. ~~Insurers are no longer allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, or charge sick Americans higher prices than their healthier counterparts.

    Good news finally…. 😆

  8. […] Open Thread–1/3/2013. […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.