discuss, debate, decide

Barack Obama

Kennedy on Healthcare Reform

Via Think Progress:

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is "circulating the outlines of sweeping health-care legislation that would require every American to have insurance and would mandate that employers contribute to workers' coverage." The proposal, which includes a separate public option, also "calls for opening Medicaid to those whose incomes are 500 percent of the federal poverty level, or $110,250 a year for a family of four."

On a conference call with Organizing for America volunteers yesterday, President Obama said it's now or never for health care reform. "If we don't get it done this year, we're not going to get it done," Obama said, urging callers to "work in your communities" to build support for reform. "[W]e've got to get it done this year," Obama repeated.

I haven't read the specifics of Kennedy's plan so I haven't formed an opinion on it, YET!

The Next Justice: An Interview With Legal Scholar Christopher L. Eisgruber


The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

President Obama will soon announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. It's a critical nomination with long-term ramifications for civil liberties, executive power, management-labor relations, the environment and consumer rights. Hence, it is vital the public know whether the judicial philosophy and ideology of any prospective nominee to the court is compatible with their sensibilities and values. Ideally, all nominees would be forthcoming about their philosophy as the senate either confirms or rejects them with full knowledge of the sort of justice they're likely to be.

Obama's great choice for Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

The New York Times is reporting what had been until now a rumor too good to be true. Dr. Tom Frieden, currently the hard-driving activist NYC Commissioner of Health, will be the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Disclaimer: I have personal history with Tom.

Carrie Prejean: Are Progressives Becoming as Intolerant as Conservatives?

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-05-07 13:44:37 -0500. -- GH


Carrie Prejean: Are Progressives Becoming as Intolerant as Conservatives?

I've always been proud to consider myself a progressive, because being a progressive meant that I was open-minded, willing to assess every issue on its own merit, and I'm tolerant of varying points of view. But it seems that many of today's "progressives" have corrupted the term. Though many of these people call themselves progressives, they are not progressive thinkers–they are progressive in name only. Over the years they seem to have somehow lost their way, and as a result, have managed to redefined the term "progressive" to simply mean, not conservative.

A case in point is the unconscionable way in which the so-called progressive community has demonized Carrie Prejean after she indicated, almost apologetically during the Miss America Pageant, that she thought marriage should be between a man and a woman. Why in the world did she say that?!! Thereafter, she was called a bitch, seminude photos of her have been posted on the Internet, and she's been generally, dragged through the mud. It is unbelievable that people who call themselves progressive could do that to that young woman.

Video: Protesters Clash with Counter-Protesters at DC Tax Day Tea Party

by Tommy Christopher (posted at the request of Alex Lawson).


Wednesday's DC Tax Day Tea Party may not have been huge, but it certainly was interesting. For 3 and a half hours, 500 or so people braved the at times heavy rain to express their frustration at a litany of ills. Although the demonstrations are ostensibly about taxes and government spending, the protesters' signs covered a wide range of topics.

While there were a few rousing chants by the crowd, there was far more heckling about the poor audio than anything else. One organizer apologized for having only "a little girl voice," to which a man in the crowd screamed "Then let someone else talk!"

Elizabeth Warren pursues Oversight, through TARP Maze

originally posted 2009-04-12 21:29:02 -0500, bumped by carol

Elizabeth Warren was appointed chair of a newly created Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which is charged with keeping tabs on the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector - including Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

Warren however, has had some "Trouble" getting straight forward answers ... as she explained to the Boston Globe:

Keeping tabs on the bailout

By Elizabeth Warren -- April 12, 2009

    Elizabeth Warren: There's a major problem and a minor problem. The minor problem is documentation. I've spent four weeks now looking for someone who can give me the details of the stress test so that we can do an independent evaluation of whether the stress test is any good.

    We get: "someone will call [you] right back." Only the call doesn't come. The major problem is ...

GOP Underestimates Conservative America


Promoted. Originally posted 2009-04-10 18:28:19 -0500. -- GH




GOP Underestimates Conservative America

While President Obama is going about his valiant and statesman-like attempt to rescue America and restore our image at home and abroad, the GOP politics as usual, diehard operatives are acting like spoiled brats determined to undermine the president–and America's–effort. But in their blind attempt to regain power they seem to have forgotten one important fact–the vast majority of true conservatives are fiercely loyal Americans, and don't share their view of power at any cost.

While "true conservatives" have a vastly different view from "true liberals" regarding the policies that make America great, the two groups have one very important thing in common–both groups understand that even as we indulge in our sibling rivalry, we are all Americans--family–which means the viability of our nation and proud American traditions must come first.

This Is Your Community Too!!

Bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2009-03-21 06:56:35 -0500. -- GH

Is Anybody Listening?

Many have already heard about the kids from Pomona California Village Academy High School, many have probably caught their little eight minute video that has launched them into the National Spotlight and Political Debate on what this Country is now going through. But this isn't new it's just affecting many more kids and families now, with more added each day. Kids can't learn and achieve any dreams they might have if their families are struggling and their living those struggles daily.

Last night on the PBS News Hour they showed a report on these kids and their videoed thoughts and feelings, that report is directly below.

Obama Moving Backwards on Veterans' Health Care? [update]

As a veteran I can not emphasize how much of an insulting and disgraceful act this, via The Chicago Sun-Times, would be if it is true:

Q The VA Secretary was on the Hill today and he confirmed -- Secretary Shinseki -- that the administration is considering a plan to have veterans have the treatment for their service-related injuries paid for with private insurance, rather than the government. And there are a lot of veterans groups who have written to the President saying they believe this is outrageous and the government should be picking up the tab for those who served. What can you say about why the President is considering this --

MR. GIBBS: I've not seen what the VA Secretary had to say on this today, so let me go back and get a chance to read up on it.

Let us think about this one, OK?

CNN: 72% Want More Governmental Involvement With Health Care

From CNN:

Seventy-two percent of those questioned in recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say they favor increasing the federal government's influence over the country's health care system in an attempt to lower costs and provide health care coverage to more Americans, with 27 percent opposing such a move. Other recent polls show six in 10 think the government should provide health insurance or take responsibility for providing health care to all Americans.

Clearly, Americans want less private and more public health care.

Gibbs better get back with better answers about that because we are not about to watch the nation screw up Veterans' care even more than the Bush administration already had. The VA's only real problems were serious underfunding by those that pay lip service to supporting the troops.

And we all know what a taxpayer boondoggle privatization of government services is.

I would be less insulted if the Obama administration said they were going to move Veterans and the uninsured, as well, to Medicare which, as the New England Medical Journal points out, is a cost saving program when compared to for-profit insurance:

Inclusion in the national insurance exchange of a public-plan option that would be open to businesses and individuals is key to achieving savings. Medicare has lower administrative costs and provider-payment rates than fee-for-service commercial insurers; if private plans did not bring down rates, a new public-plan option could offer premiums that would be 20 to 30% lower than commercial rates for similar benefits. To be competitive, private insurers would need to become more efficient and work with providers to integrate, coordinate, and redesign care to treat chronic conditions more effectively and avert preventable hospitalizations, complications, and readmissions.

The only real problem with that statement is that for private insurers to be competitive they would have to give up the idea of profit and bonuses, both of which are counterintuitive to the common good of providing better health care for everyone, rendering the idea of lowering private insurance costs argument as ridiculous.

Veterans need answers concerning Shinseki's statement.

And we need to demand these answers now. We can not solve the problems involved in veterans health issues by throwing them the anchor of a bunch of CEO's fantasy based bonuses and profits for nothing private insurance scam.

[update] From the Suburban Guerrilla, Susi Madrak, writing over at Crooks and Liars, we find that CNN poked around a bit on this and we may know enough to alleviate veterans' concerns:

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

But the proposal would be "dead on arrival" if it's sent to Congress, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said.

Murray used that blunt terminology when she told Shinseki that the idea would not be acceptable and would be rejected if formally proposed. Her remarks came during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs about the 2010 budget.

I still would be much happier if Obama came out and said this is not in the cards but it is nice to know that on the record this would be DOA in the Senate. And it is nice to know that a couple of elections can make a difference in the sanity level in D.C..

Negotiate with AHIP vs. Best We Can Get 51 Senators For?

Originally posted here at 2009-03-09 16:20:07 -0500; all crossposts of items by Dr. SteveB are done with the good doctor's permission. Even the hijacked ones. :) Many thanks to CTMan for bringing this one over. -- GH

Hijacked in its entirety from DrSteveB at dkos.

Since we all want to get health some (any?) kind of health reform" we are being told by Washington insiders to set aside our advocacy for single payer and join in with the kumbaya negotiations with enemy (AHIP) to get 'er done. Sure, as a matter of policy and economics, single payer is the best way to reduce and control costs, and also get to universal comprehensive coverage. However, as a matter of realistic power politics, I am told by the powers that be that we can't do it this year, so we should settle for what is doable.

Okay. I'll bite. Let’s get the best plan we can get with 50% plus one in each house of Congress. And as usual, that means 51 Senators, since we have a larger and more probably liberal majority there.

But can we please please stop pretending that we can or should "negotiate" with AHIP? This idea that the private insurance companies are compromising is nonsense!

Moving Forward on Health Care

From my email inbox to you - and a job to be had in D.C., if you are interested:

Last week President Obama spoke to the nation and said he wants healthcare reform within a year! We do too. But we want it done the best way, the simple way, the economical way, the humane way - the HR 676 single-payer way!

We've got our work cut out for us. President Obama's health advisors have all been exposed as big insurance and big PhRMA types. And we continually hear that single-payer isn't politically feasible.

But it is feasible. We know it. The polls and experience around the world show it. Most doctors, nurses, and patients say it. It's the only way to cover every U.S. resident without increasing our national spending on healthcare. Healthcare-NOW!'s network of activists amplifies this messages every day.

Our efforts helped forge a strong and united national single-payer coalition that can claim 20 million constituents. Because of thousands of phone calls and visits our activists have made, HR 676 now has 60 co-sponsors since it was introduced in the 111th Congress.

We organized a briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building last week that brought in experts to expose the Massachusetts mixed public/private insurance plan for the failed mess that it is. Our activists personally delivered an invitation and package of materials about the MA plan to every House office.

Our work over the past five years helped generate new CBS News/NY Times polling data showing that 59% of Americans believe the government should provide national health insurance, vs. 40% who believed that in 1979. Our work helped win HR 676 endorsements from the US Conference of Mayors, and big cities such as Philadelphia, Seattle, Baltimore, and Boston.

We need your help to keep Healthcare-NOW! running at full speed. We do lots, but we could do more. We need a part-time staff member in Washington. We need to bolster our communications with tens of thousands of people in our networks all over America. We need to strengthen local coalitions in key Congressional districts around the country.

This year is crunch time for our movement time to deliver the pressure necessary to make the Obama administration and Congress do the right thing. We hope you can help us.

You can donate via our web site. You can designate how your funds will be used for lobbying, which is critical now or for tax-exempt educational purposes.

Thanks for helping to keep us running at full speed. The times demand it.

Thanks for all that you do,
Marilyn Clement
Healthcare-NOW! National Coordinator

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