You’re right. I’m not well enough to be writing articles, but we need to congratulate JD,m and today’s offerings are very easy to prepare. Plus I need to send a card to let folks know I’m alive. I’m returning to bed shortly.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 5:16 (average 7:24). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From The New Yorker: A disturbed Canadian man wants to try to get into the White House, according to reports.
The man, who was born in Calgary before drifting to Texas, has been spotted in Washington, D.C. in recent years exhibiting erratic behavior, sources said.
In 2013, he gained entry to the United States Senate and was heard quoting incoherently from a children’s book before he was finally subdued.
More recently, he was heard ranting about a plan to dismantle large components of the federal government, such as the Internal Revenue Service and the nation’s health-care program.
Dang Andy! I still think we should deport him to his place of birth!!
From NY Times: Lobbyists will descend on Congress this week as lawmakers near a bipartisan agreement to finance health care for the oldest and youngest Americans, by revamping the payment of doctors under Medicare and by extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The agreement, negotiated by Speaker John A. Boehner and the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, would repeal a Medicare formula that threatens to cut doctors’ fees each year. In its place, Congress would establish an “incentive payment system” to reward doctors who receive high performance scores from the government. Scores would be based on factors like the ability to keep patients healthy while controlling costs.
Passage of the legislation would be a significant accomplishment for Mr. Boehner. It would eliminate the need for Congress to go through contortions to set Medicare payment rates for physicians, an annual exercise informally known as the “doc fix.”
The only way this could happen is that Agent Orange is terrified of an attempt by the InsaniTEA wing of his party to shut down the government over doc fix. The howls are about to start, and actual passage is doubtful, unless Boehner allows another bill on the floor with almost no Republican support.
From Daily Kos: Apparently in the last 20 years it never crossed delusional Oval Office coveter / genius extraordinaire Senator Ted Cruz’s mind that maybe—just maybe—Tedcruz.com might come in handy someday.
In spite of all the anti-Czar propaganda from the from the Republican Party in 2009, accusing Obama of using Czars to implement totalitarian rule, the Ebola problem, has caused a sudden shift on their part from having always been against Czars to having always been for Czars, accompanied by demands that Obama appoint an Ebola Czar. Now that he has done so, they are beginning to shift back to having always been against Czars, and accusations that Obama has picked the wrong Czar. Lets begin with the appointment.
President Obama has asked Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to both Vice President Biden and former vice president Al Gore, as his Ebola response coordinator, according to a White House official.
"He will report directly to the president’s homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, and the president’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don’t distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa," a White House official wrote in an e-mail.
Klain, 53, is a longtime Democratic operative who served as Biden’s chief of staff from 2009 to 2011 and as Gore’s from 1995 to 1999. He helped oversee the Democratic side in the 2000 presidential election recount as its lead lawyer, a role that Kevin Spacey portrayed in the HBO film "Recount."
CNN first reported the news Friday morning.
Obama has been under pressure from Republicans for weeks to appoint an "Ebola czar" to oversee the federal government’s overall effort to contain the disease. Thursday night, the president told reporters: "It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity, we can have a more regular process, just to make sure that we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward."… [emphasis added]
Personally, I consider this a good decision. If Republicans and a few Democrats, who fear the NRA, had not kept is without a Surgeon General, the natural point person in such a situation, there would be no need. Furthermore, the people who have been handling it are certainly qualified, but they have other things to do. For instance, Obama is busy helping with the midterms, and a Republican takeover of the Senate would cause far more American deaths than Ebola will in the next two years The Ebola threat requires a person, whose sole job is coordinating our national response. Klain had the organizational experience to coordinate professionals and the political acumen to produce results.
Rachel Maddow covered the Republican record on Czars, the history of Czars in America, what a Czar does, and what qualifies someone to be Czar.
Last night I saw a Care2 Article by Cal. Since the pink ribbons started polluting US charity again, I’ve been considering a repost of an article I wrote 2 1/2 years ago, and seeing Cal’s lit the fire. Thanks Cal. It’s important how Komen’s political duplicity disqualifies them as an authentic charity. I originally published the following on 2/3/2012.
The decision to defund Planned Parenthood by Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is especially hurtful to poor women, who have no health services other than Planned Parenthood. I am convinced that they are not being honest about their claimed reason, and that their real reason is to support the ongoing Republican vendetta against Planned Parenthood. I fully support aid for breast cancer screenings for women, and am happy to tell you that there is a way we can support breast cancer screenings for all women, but leave the Komen foundation to their political intrigues.
Tuesday's news that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is ending funding it provided to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings has led to increased scrutiny of Komen's staff, which—as I reported previously—includes a federal lobbyist who pledged to defund Planned Parenthood while campaigning for governor of Georgia.
Komen's founder is pretty conservative, too. Komen CEO Nancy G. Brinker, who founded the foundation in memory of a sister who died from breast cancer, was the chief protocol officer for the United States from 2007 to 2009 under the George W. Bush administration, and before that served as his ambassador to Hungary.
Brinker is also a major Republican donor, and has given more than $175,000 to Republican candidates and the Republican National Committee since 1990, according to donor data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Her late husband, Norman Brinker, was the chairman of Brinker International Restaurants, which owns the chains Chili's, Maggiano's, and Macaroni Grill. Norman Brinker gave more than $440,000 to Republicans between 1990 and his death in 2009…
Komen’s supposed reason for this is that Planned Parenthood is under a Congressional investigation, and they do not fund organizations under investigation, they say. Well that investigation was called by one lone congressman, Cliff Stearns (R-FL). He has done nothing to follow it up. Furthermore, Penn State is involved in a serious criminal investigation, but Komen still funds Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center. That’s why I discount their claim.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) criticized Komen on the House floor.
97% of what Planned Parenthood does has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion, but if you oppose abortion, the contraception that Planned Parenthood provides prevents dozens of abortions every day. I wanted to help. I spoke to Charles Nilme at the Columbia Willamette office of Planned Parenthood, here in Portland, and donated $20. That’s a tiny donation, but I’m quite poor. I asked Charles, if I could target that donation to breast cancer screening, and he told me that I could.
Therefore, we all can support breast cancer screening for women without contributing to Komen’s agenda that opposes women’s rights. We can donate to Planned Parenthood directly and tell them how we want it used. I did, and I hope you will too. You can donate online to Planned Parenthood, or get the telephone number of your local center there.
Rachel Maddow interviewed Congresswoman Diana DeGette on this topic. Let me leave you with their thoughts.
I’m writing for tomorrow and still trying to establish a new sleeping pattern. Basically, I’m just making sleep a priority and allowing myself to sleep whenever I feel the need. That will work this week, but next week I have two medical appointments, so that should prove interesting.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:59 (average 5:08). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From TPM: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was in no mood to celebrate the five-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package on Monday.
“Five years later, the stimulus is no success to celebrate,” McConnell said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “It is a tragedy to lament.”
White House economic adviser Jason Furman wrote in a White House blog post that the stimulus, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, had by itself saved or created an average of 1.6 million jobs a year through the end of 2012.
I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. For Bought Bitch Mitch, saving 1.6 million jobs, when the President is a Democrat, is a tragedy.
From Think Progress: For the fourth time in two years, a rural hospital in Georgia is shuttering its doors over a dearth of patients who can pay for their medical services, the Albany Herald reports. An increasing number of hospitals that serve large numbers of poor and uninsured Americans are being forced to close in states that are refusing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
The Lower Oconee Community Hospital, a so-called “critical access” hospital in southeastern Georgia with 25 beds, will close down and possibly re-open as an urgent care center that provides services that aren’t quite serious enough to necessitate an emergency room visit. Patients in the Wheeler County region who need more extensive medical care after the hospital closes will need to travel upwards of thirty miles in order to receive it.
“We just did not have sufficient volume to support the expenses,” said CEO Karen O’Neal in an interview with local CBS affiliate WMAZ. “It’s a terrible situation, and it’s tragic, the loss of jobs and the economic impact.”
Like other Red states, Georgia is experiencing the benefits of electing Republicans. I hope the fools that voted them in are leaning their lesson.
Lest you think this type of public policy is the providence of states where conservatives rule: think again. Oregon has it’s own version of this circulating now as a petition, and they’re gathering signatures. This proposal, along with the one in Kansas, is being sold as honoring "religious liberty".
No. This is not about religious liberty. This is about segregation. "Separate but equal" should never be public policy in Oregon.
Even here in Oregon, which usually leads the way on progressive issues, we need to continually guard against Republican TEAbuggery!
Yesterday I got some sleep, so I have another article for you today. I had to set back my quit date to the 14th, because the plan has me taking Chantix for a full week before quitting, and I still have not received my prescription. Tomorrow will definitely be a short writing day, if any at all, because I will be making my first major excursion, since leaving the hospital: my quarterly foot surgery at my podiatrist’s office to remove the recurrent growth. For the next day, we’ll have to wait and see how well I handle this trip. I plan no Monthly Report for May, but our top commentators were:
Today’s took me 4:29 (average 4:54). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From Politicus USA: During the George W. Bush presidency, there was a lot of talk about patriotism any time a question arose about the legitimacy of the Iraq war, and the implication was that questioning the Bush administration was unpatriotic because a real patriot is someone who feels strong support for his or her country regardless the leader’s deceit in taking a nation to war based on lies. Early in President Obama’s first term, the Koch brothers, neo-conservatives, and Republican Party took advantage of racial animus for the African American President and funded a so-called “grassroots” movement of alleged patriots who, within months of the President’s swearing in, complained they were overtaxed and suffering tyranny. The teabaggers, as they called themselves, immediately claimed they were patriots and any opposition to their agenda was tantamount to Marxism or Nazism and they demanded to take “their country” back to when a white man inhabited the Oval Office. However, there is nothing remotely resembling patriotism in teabagger ranks, and as time went on a pattern developed that linked teabaggers to the Taliban and it did not take long for them to threaten violence to impose their will.
The concept of threatening, calling for, and inciting violence against the government has never been part of being a patriotic American, but there has been no dearth of violent threats from conservative malcontents that make up the majority of teabaggers. Recently, another instance of a teabagger calling for gun violence was reported over a Republican senator’s vote for immigration reform, and it is becoming an all too common occurrence unique to the so-called patriot group that throughout its existence threatened violence and armed insurrection to control the direction of the government. Threatening to use force to impose their will is not limited to disaffected racists, and has been embraced by teabag leaders since the anti-American group came into existence…
How many times do I have to say it? Thou shalt not commit TEAbuggery!!!
From NY Times: …Whether directly from their wallets or through insurance policies, Americans pay more for almost every interaction with the medical system. They are typically prescribed more expensive procedures and tests than people in other countries, no matter if those nations operate a private or national health system. A list of drug, scan and procedure prices compiled by the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurers, found that the United States came out the most costly in all 21 categories — and often by a huge margin.
Americans pay, on average, about four times as much for a hip replacement as patients in Switzerland or France and more than three times as much for a Caesarean section as those in New Zealand or Britain. The average price for Nasonex, a common nasal spray for allergies, is $108 in the United States compared with $21 in Spain. The costs of hospital stays here are about triple those in other developed countries, even though they last no longer, according to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that studies health policy.
While the United States medical system is famous for drugs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and heroic care at the end of life, it turns out that a more significant factor in the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care bill may not be the use of extraordinary services, but the high price tag of ordinary ones. “The U.S. just pays providers of health care much more for everything,” said Tom Sackville, chief executive of the health plans federation and a former British health minister…
As always, the problem rests not, as Republicans deceitfully claim, with the need of those whom they call "takers", but with the greed of the 1%.
From Salon.com: When Anthony Weiner resigned from his post as congressman due to an embarrassing Twitpic scandal in 2011, the media expected that any serious political career was over. But Weiner has recently returned to politics, entering the Democratic primary as a mayoral candidate; not only is the media taking his bid seriously — but it’s possible that thanks to deep pockets and a vibrant persona he could win it.
The only difference between Weiner and Republicans, who still live after scandal, such as ‘Trailwalker’ Sanford (R-NC) and "Diaper Dave" Vitter (R-LA) is that Weiner never claimed to be a paragon of "family values" virtue, ordained by Supply-side Jesus (not the real one) to practice pseudo-Christian judgment and condemnation of others. In any case, with Batshit Bachmann leaving, a Weiner in the mayor’s office would give the comedy profession a much needed boost.
I had hoped to give you more than an Open Thread today, but slept poorly last night and need to sleep a few hours before leaving for prison to do volunteer work. I’m current with replies. I will return late tonight, having missed my evening sleep cycle, so I’m sure I will be too tired to do more than an Open Thread tomorrow, but I should be all the way back on Thursday.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Todays took me 4:56 (average 5:35). To do it. click here. How did you do?
From MoveOn: SHOCKING: The Truth About Who’s Running The NRA
This is one of the most effective exposés of NRA bullshitology I have seen. There can be no doubt that the NRA does not represent gun owners. It represents the gun industry, and they do not care how many die or how many mourn, as long as profits remain high. This is the epitome of Vulture Capitalism. They own virtually all Republican legislators and a few Democrats as well.
From NY Times: A sharp and surprisingly persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs is helping to narrow the federal deficit, leaving budget experts trying to figure out whether the trend will last and how much the slower growth could help alleviate the country’s long-term fiscal problems.
In figures released last week, the Congressional Budget Office said it had erased hundreds of billions of dollars in projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. The budget office now projects that spending on those two programs in 2020 will be about $200 billion, or 15 percent, less than it projected three years ago. New data also show overall health care spending growth continuing at the lowest rate in decades for a fourth consecutive year.
You can be sure Republicans are still using the old projections to justify their intent to gut Medicare and Medicaid to give more money to billionaires. Considering that Obamacare has not even been fully implemented yet, I think we can expect further reductions in health care costs, further negating the Republican War on Seniors.
During the Bush regime there was nobody at any post as qualified as either Kerry or Hegel. And for national security, Democratic competence brought us the death of Osama bin Laden. Republican incompetence brought us 9/11. That says it all.
Many US employers do offer their employees excellent health care benefits, and they should be commended for doing so. It is not uncommon for people to hang onto a job, just to hang on to their healthcare benefits. Some are even putting off retirement.
Tying health insurance benefits directly to employment is forcing most Americans to work longer than they would have otherwise, a new study from the Employee Benefits Research Institute finds.
According to the study’s results, more than three fourths of retired Americans ended up working longer than they initially planned because they didn’t want to lose access to their employer-based health benefits. And a majority of the Americans who are currently in the workforce are also planning to delay their retirement in order to keep the insurance plans they have through their employer:
This builds upon previous research that shows the Great Recession has seriously impacted older Americans’ ability to retire. An estimated 62 percent of working Americans now report they’re planning to put off their retirement — up from 42 percent in 2010 — largely due to job losses and financial insecurity. These issues go hand-in-hand particularly because, as health care costs continue to rise, Americans are increasingly worried about being able to afford their insurance coverage…
My concern with this is different from that of the author, because I’m not bothered that people who would like to retire before they are eligible for Medicare are inconvenienced. However, it is better, if people who wish to retire early can do so, as it frees jobs for people who want to work.
However, I am concerned for employers who provide excellent health care for their employees. If a greedier competitor provides no health care benefits, that puts the good employer at a competitive disadvantage. With universal, single-payer coverage, such as Medicare for all, there will be no such inequities. In addition, it would make US companies more competitive in the world economy.