Happy Monday, Everyone! This week’s featured artist is NINA SIMONE
From the Wiki: Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), better known by her stage name Nina Simone /ˈniːnə sɨˈmoʊn/, was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
Born the sixth child of a preacher’s family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist as a child. Her musical path changed direction after she was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. Simone was later told by someone working at Curtis that she was rejected because she was black. She then began playing in a small club in Philadelphia to fund her continuing musical education to become a classical pianist and was required to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendition of “I Loves You Porgy” became a smash hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career, Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958 — when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue — and 1974.
Her musical style arose from a fusion of gospel and pop songs with classical music, in particular with influences from her first inspiration, Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied with her expressive jazz-like singing in her characteristic low tenor. She injected as much of her classical background into her music as possible to give it more depth and quality, as she felt that pop music was inferior to classical. Her intuitive grasp on the audience-performer relationship was gained from a unique background of playing piano accompaniment for church revivals and sermons regularly from the early age of six years.
After 20 years of performing, she became involved in the civil rights movement and the direction of her life shifted once again. Simone’s music was highly influential in the fight for equal rights in the US.[
I WANT A LITTLE SUGAR IN MY BOWL
July 2nd, 2012
Home health care workers—more than “companions” and helpers
by Harold Pollack
Ten years ago, I conducted a survey of low-income new mothers in Flint, Michigan, as part of an infant mortality reduction effort there. I was astonished by the heavy percentage employed as home health care workers, assisting elderly or disabled people. Since then I’ve met more than a few women and men who make their living bathing the disabled, cleaning seniors’ homes, and more.
This is important, sometimes difficult work. It’s not incredibly well-paid or respected. It’s also work that many of us will someday need. Today’s New York Times includes an beautifully-written and important op-ed by Eileen Boris and Jennifer Klein, titled Home-Care Workers Aren’t Just “Companions.”
Boris and Klein note that the home health and personal care workforce includes 2.5 million people. It’s the second-fastest-growing job category in the country. For complicated, but rather shameful historical reasons, these women and men do not enjoy basic labor protections that other workers take for granted. People who perform personal care work in other people’s homes, and those who receive these services, are both rather stigmatized groups. Both arepoorly-positioned in the political process to demand better conditions.
At one level, the home care industry is able to employ people at less favorable wages and working conditions. At another level, though, it’s wrong to point fingers at the industry. We taxpayers and consumers are complicit in, and benefit from, these exploitative arrangements. It’s also about honoring the dignity of work–including the hard work that many of us do caring for our own loved ones or for others who cannot do basic tasks for themselves.
President Obama has proposed to change Department of Labor regulations to address this problem. House and Senate Republicans oppose these measures. Nebraska Senator Johanns and others have introduced the Companionship Exemption Protection Act, which would in its own words, “preserve the companionship services exemption for minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.” Reading the particulars here is fairly cringe-inducing to anyone who has seen (say) The Help:
‘companionship services’ as used in section 13(a)(15), means those services which provide fellowship, care, and protection for individuals who, because of advanced age or physical or mental infirmity, are unable to care for themselves, including but not limited to, non-medical in-home care or household work related to the care of the aged or infirm individuals (such as meal preparation, bed making, washing of clothes, errands, assistance to appointments, laundry, medication reminders, bathing, assistance with incontinence and grooming, and other similar services). Such term may also include the performance of general household work.
The last time I wrote about Senator Johanns, he was arguing that the Affordable Care Act imposed intolerable burdens through the “1099 collation calamity.” Apparently, those annoying tax forms imposed greater burdens than does the lack of minimum wages or overtime pay for millions of people who perform intimate care tasks.
Just whom does the Senator and his co-sponsors expect to bathe and clean them when they get old?
The First Elite Conservative To Say Enough
[Re-posted from earlier today.]
Mulling over the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Obamacare this weekend, it occurred to me why this remains a BFD. It’s not that we now have a reprieve for the idea of universal healthcare in the US. Or even that we have an interpretation of the Commerce Clause that could eventually mean some non-trivial ratcheting back of the federal government’s powers vis-a-vis the states. It is that a creature of the conservative movement, one of its youngest and most intelligent stars, saw the radicalism of the four dissenters … and balked.
He balked, it appears, because of his attachment to the court as an institution, because he was unwilling to trash its reputation by embroiling it in a deep and bitter partisan grudge-match in the middle of a presidential campaign – when there was a plausible way out. He was also applying the logic of judicial restraint with respect to legislative wishes, interpreting the law to be as constitutional as it could possibly be deemed (i.e.in this case, viewing the mandate as part of the Congress’s tax power). In these two ways, Roberts upheld a form of conservatism that is not synonymous with the interests of the Republican party at any given moment. Which is so unusual these days one wants (pathetically) to stand up and cheer.
One of the most strikingly anti-conservative aspects of today’s allegedly conservative movement, after all, is its contempt for institutions, especially elite institutions that in any way limit the scope of fundamentalist ideology. And so Newt Gingrich’s crucial innovation was throwing out the politeness and manners and decorum and rules and traditions of the House of Representatives in order to gain power by populist demagoguery. You can see his legacy in Tom DeLay’s implementation of the Medicare D entitlement under Bush, an essentially lawless and rule-free process that made a mockery of parliamentary procedure. You saw this contempt for the rule of law, if it got in the way of desired policy, in the torture policy under Bush, cynically making the patently illegal “legal” through cynicism and double-speak.
Similarly, McConnell’s use of the filibuster is essentially a display of contempt for the American constitutional system, rigging the system to nullify legislative majorities and to conduct politics as a zero-sum war for power, rather than as a means to debate, discuss and implement necessary changes in an evolving society. The give-and-take of American constitutionalism has been essentially reduced by the GOP in the last two decades to take-and-take-some-more. They impeached one successful president, in an act so disproportionate to the offense (and the offense was real; Clinton was a shameless perjurer) that it helped gut any bipartisan functioning of an institution designed for deal-making across the aisles or within them. They treated the 2000 election, when Bush lost the popular vote, as a landslide mandate election – again with no deference to the other side or sense of governing as one nation.
After Bush vs Gore and then Citizens United, I think Roberts saw the full political and constitutional consequences of a radical Court vote to gut the key legislative achievement of a duly elected president and Congress. In other words, he put the institutions of American government before the demands of partisan power-mongering. And he deftly nudged the issue back into the democratic process, where it more comfortably belongs.
I cannot say this is the moment the fever broke. The “movement right” is still furious at Roberts, pushing Romney as the principle-free instrument of their next round of institution-smashing (Medicare). But that a conservative placed the country’s institutional stability before ideological fervor is so rare at this point it deserves some kind of praise. It’s a start. If the GOP is beaten this fall, it may even be seen as the moment the tide began to turn, and conservatism began to reach back toward its less feral traditions and ideas. But I know I’m getting way ahead of myself here.
But at some point, conservatism must re-emerge, if only because we so desperately need it. Conservatism is, after all, a philosophy that tends to argue that less equals more, that restraint is sometimes more powerful than action, that delay is often wiser than headlong revolution. It reveres traditional rules and existing institutions, especially endangered elite institutions that the Founders designed to check and cool the popular will. Roberts took a small step toward resuscitating that tradition last week.
It’s the first seagull spotted after a decade or two on the open seas.
July 02, 2012 11:49 AM
Tax! No Tax! Tax! No Tax!
By Ed Kilgore
The Romney campaign finally had to deal with the idiocy of short-term conservative talking points about the Supreme Court’s ACA decision today. And it probably wasn’t an easy choice.
As you may recall, the embarrassment of Fox News’ misreporting of the decision was still in the air on Thursday when a parade of Republican gabbers and conservative talking-heads took to the airwaves to shriek that the Supreme Court had proven the individual mandate was a tax—nay, a middle-class tax increase!—nay, the largest tax increase in the history of the human race!—and thus proven that Obama is a liar!
This frantic spin ignored, of course, the fact that the interpretation of the mandate as a tax was precisely how the Chief Justice arrived at the conclusion that it was indeed constitutional, which is why the conservative dissenters heatedly denied that construction. So the Tax! Tax! Tax! message directly contradicted the Right’s continuing claim that the mandate remains as unconstitutional as it was the day it sprang from the brow of the Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler (oops!) or the day it was implemented in Massachusetts by a certain governor (double-oops!).
This conundrum was particularly unhelpful to the Romney campaign insofar as it attracted fresh attention to the question of whether Romney himself had approved a tax increase as governor (a subject on which Mitt had vacillated in the past), along with the deeper question of whether the man who wants to appoint future Supreme Court members in fact agreed with Roberts’ opinion.
So the latest spin from Romney-land, as explained by David Weigel, was no big surprise:
If you were awake in March and April, you probably remember a line that the increasingly-desparate Rick Santorum kept using against Mitt Romney. “Mitt Romney is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama on the issue of health care!….”
Santorum was right. Today’s evidence: Eric Fehrnstrom driving the campaign bus, horns-a-honkin’, right over Americans for Prosperity and the RNC
Romney agrees with the Court’s conservative dissenters, said Fehrnstrom. The mandate’s not a tax and nor, incidentally, was the RomneyCare mandate a tax. Does this cause a bit of cognitive dissonance for Republicans? You betcha, concludes Weigel:
The advantage that the RNC and AFP have: Total lack of responsibility. They can play in the “anything that makes people pay more money for anything ever is a tax” Olympics. Romney can’t. The result: This healthful serving of word salad.
To add to the confusion, I am sure Team Mitt will continue to rail at the “tax increases” caused by ACA, referring to the actual revenue measures contained in the legislation. But that, of course, has nothing to do with the mandate, the Court’s decision, or indeed anything that has transpired since 2010. Don’t be surprised, however, if the Romney campaign denies it’s out of synch with other Republicans: what’s another lie compared to everything they’ve said on health care from the get-go?
July 02, 2012 2:59 PM
Another Step Toward “Backpack” Vouchers
By Ed Kilgore
Bobby Jindal’s in the news today for something other than his threat to leave a big chunk of Louisianans without the health insurance they are supposed to receive via the Affordable Care Act. There are growing alarums about the impact on public education of his steadily expanding no-strings school voucher program, as TPM’s Casey Michel reports:
The voucher program Louisiana is slated to employ is much broader than other states. The vouchers, worth up to $8,800 annually, will be offered to students of families making under $60,000 and who are currently enrolled in a public school in which at least 25 percent of students test below grade level. So far, about 6,000 students have applied to the approximately 5,000 slots currently available in the approved private schools across the state, according to The Shreveport Times.
The following school year, however, will see the implementation of “mini-vouchers,” in which all students at the aforementioned schools, regardless of their family’s income, will be eligible for a $1,300 stipend to pay for private-school classes and apprenticeships. The voucher system would thus open up to nearly half of the state’s public school students. Since the public schools will lose commensurate funding every time one of their students opt for a voucher, the state’s public school system could by some estimates lose up to $3.3 billion annually once the program is fully implemented
In heading his state in the direction of universally available vouchers rationalized by public school failure, Jindal is not, of course, holding any of the private school beneficiaries accountable for results, or for common curricula, or, it appears, for much of anything. A big chunk of the money already out there is being snapped up by conservative evangelical schools with exotic and hardly public-minded curricular offerings, with the theory being that any public oversight would interfere with the accountability provided by “the market.” So if you want your kid to attend, at public expense, the Christian Nationalist Academy for Servant-Leader Boys & Fecund Submissive Girls, that’s okay by Bobby.
This should be of note to non-Louisianans, not only because other Republican-governed states are headed in the same direction, but because the basic idea of “strapping public funds to kids’ backs” and sending it wherever parents choose is at the heart of Mitt Romney’s education platform. Sure, the federal government’s share of overall K-12 funding remains relatively small, but if you add “backpack vouchers” to those being offered by states, you are taking a big leap towards entirely privatized education.
Both voucher proponents and some progressives who oppose public school choice tend to blur the lines and suggest that the only alternatives are “backpack” vouchers and traditional public schools. The charter public schools promoted by the Obama administration (and often supported by Republicans who can’t get vouchers enacted), however, aim precisely in the opposite direction from what Romney and Jindal are proposing, with increased accountability for educational results being the be-all and end-all of funding decisions, and more, not less, public oversight of how schools perform and what they teach. They don’t always operate this way, of course, which helps keep the essential distinction between public and private schools hazy.
However you feel about charter schools or any strategy for educational improvement beyond increased funding, however, it’s important to understand the fundamental attack on the very idea of public education that universal, no-strings, “backpack” vouchers pose. If where parents decide, for whatever reason (religious or educational), to spend their money is to become the only standard for use of public funds, then why bother having public schools at all? There will be eventually room for most children at a rapidly growing industry of conservative Christian madrassas hungry for taxpayer dollars and young minds and souls.
July 02, 2012 3:44 PMA
Moment of Near-Honesty on Abortion
By Ed Kilgore
Perhaps the most useful aspect of the peculiar legal battle going on in Mississippi over efforts to use a new “health” regulation to shut down the state’s lone abortion provider is that it shows the complete irrelevance of “health” or “safety” or “informed choice” or any other alleged rationale that anti-choicers deploy to restrict reproductive rights. The sponsors of the law in question, including Mississippi governor and “personhood” advocate Phil Bryant, make no bones about their intentions: making Mississippi “abortion-free,” or, to put it another way, a rogue jurisdiction where the exercise of constitutional rights is effectively prohibited.
As Irin Carmon points out at Salon, even if Bryant and company get their way Mississippians themselves will not be “abortion-free,” since anyone with the resources will simply go out of state. The practical impact, then, is to force to term pregnancies by the very poor, of which Mississippi has an abundance. Moreover, since making abortions less convenient will often delay them when it does not prohibit them, it will likely increase the number of later-term abortions. But for all their crocodile tears about late-term abortions, most anti-choicers of the “personhood” variety make zero moral distinctions between a fertilized ovum and a month-old child—or between a woman using the most common forms of contraception and someone committing infanticide.
So it’s all the same to Phil Bryant and his friends whether they are wreaking havoc on the choices available to women. Denial of choice is the whole idea. And the concept of abortion “restrictions” as a compromise between “extremes” on abortion policy is largely a crock.
Maybe You Are Being Punked
Mon Jul 2nd, 2012 at 08:18:39 PM EST
Marc Theissen wants to know why Republican presidents are so bad at picking Supreme Court nominees. But he never considers the truth, which is that conservatives have been getting punked. It started early when Ronald Reagan decided he wanted to make history by appointing the first female Justice, instead of some fire-breathing Heritage Foundation knuckle dragger. When he followed that up with Antonin Scalia, it had more to do with appointing the first Italian-American Justice than anything particular to Scalia’s philosophy. Mario Cuomo threatened to destroy any Democrat who voted against Scalia’s nomination. None of them did. As for Anthony Kennedy, he was Reagan’s third choice for the position, after his first two nominees flamed out.
From a conservative’s point of view, Reagan did okay. He tried and failed to put Robert Bork on the Court, and he succeeded in putting Scalia there. Poppy Bush intentionally screwed the conservatives by putting David Souter on the Court. He wrongly assumed that he needed Souter’s vote to uphold Roe v. Wade, but he was ostensibly pro-life. When Thurgood Marshall retired, Bush felt he needed to appoint a black person to the court. He also needed to make amends with conservatives for some of Souter’s votes. Those are the only reasons that Thomas was nominated.
The younger Bush appointed the now suspect John Roberts and then tried to put Harriet Miers on the Court. Miers was probably pro-choice. That’s probably at least part of the reason Bush nominated her.
The truth is that the abortion issue wasn’t that important to Reagan and it was a fake issue for the Bush family. Poppy Bush was pro-choice until he became Reagan’s running mate, and his wife remained pro-choice. Laura Bush was always pro-choice, and her husband didn’t much care one way or the other. It’s not just abortion, though. The people who play politics at the top of the Republican food chain don’t want to live in Pat Robertson’s America. They just need those votes. A Court that actually ruled in a consistently culturally conservative way would invite backlash. And, as Roberts just proved, there are limits to how much Wall Street and the Tea Party can agree about the proper scope of the federal government. The Tea Party is there to provide energy and votes. They are not there to be taken seriously.
What has been happening since Obama got elected is that the lunatics have begun to run the asylum. They’ve taken over some cell blocks, but the battle is not yet over. John Roberts just proved that.
GlaxoSmithKline to pay largest health care fraud fine in U.S. history
By Jesse J. Holland
Posted: 07/02/2012 09:31:22 AM PDT
July 2, 2012 9:2 PM GMT
Updated: 07/02/2012 02:02:59 PM PDT
WASHINGTON — GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3 billion and plead guilty to promoting two popular drugs for unapproved uses and to failing to disclose important safety information on a third in the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history, the Justice Department said Monday.
The $3 billion fine also will be the largest penalty ever paid by a drug company, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. The corporation also agreed to be monitored by government officials for five years to attempt to ensure the company’s compliance, Cole said.
“Let me be clear, we will not tolerate health care fraud,” Cole told a news conference at the Justice Department. He would not say whether any company executives were
GOP Governors May Turn Down $258 Billion In Obamacare Funds, Leave 9.2 Million Americans Uninsured
By Guest Blogger on Jul 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm
Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, Republican governors are considering refusing billions in Medicaid funds which promise to insure millions of lower-income Americans without health care. The Court found that while the Medicaid provision is constitutional, the federal government cannot take away federal funds from states that refuse to open the program to more residents.
A ThinkProgress survey reveals that ten GOP governors have said definitively that they will not accept the funds, while 19 are still considering other options. Sixteen states, all with Democratic governors, have committed to expanding their programs:
Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid, the massively popular program which makes health insurance available for lower-income Americans. For the first three years, the federal government covers 100 percent of the expansion costs. After five years, the federal government finances 90 percent of the expanded population.
Not a single Republican governor has pledged to accept the new Medicaid funds and three Democrats are also considering turning down the money. In total, these states would give up $291.4 billion in federal funds and leave 10,297,221 Americans uninsured
Ezra Klein in for Rachel tonight. Showed the majority of states turning down the $$ are RED STATES. Good luck GOP GOVERNORS with telling those white folks you’re not expanding MEDICAID!!!
Public, GOP not on the same health care page
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 2, 2012 3:38 PM EDT.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s health care ruling, the Republican strategy, from its presidential nominee to the bottom of the ballot, is to simply push for repealing the Affordable Care Act. It’s a straightforward proposition: the GOP figures the law is unpopular, so voters will reward the party for vowing to kill “Obamacare.”
But over the last few days, some interesting polling results have been released, and it’s worth highlighting the disconnect between the Republican position and that of the American mainstream.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, asked respondents, “Which comes closer to your view? Now that the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the health care law, opponents of the law should stop their efforts to block the law and move on to other national problems, or continue trying to block the law from being implemented?” I put together a pie chart with the results.
Kaiser Foundation data
It wasn’t especially close: a 56% majority wants the Affordable Care Act’s opponents to simply move on, while 38% want the right to keep fighting.
The latest Gallup poll, meanwhile, finds less than a third of the public (31%) endorses the Romney/Republican position of fully repealing the entirety of the law.
But wait, there’s more.
A new CNN poll, meanwhile, found 50% of respondents agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling, and 52% agree with some or all of the health care law. Even when it comes to the much-derided mandate, 48% are fine with it.
What’s more, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found support for the law after the ruling went up five points, while opposition went down five points.
To be sure, this is not to say the law is suddenly popular. It isn’t. One high court ruling isn’t going to overcome three years of deceptive attacks and a misinformation campaign backed by hundreds of millions of dollars.
But if Republicans simply assume that the American mainstream is on board with killing the entirety of the law, they’re mistaken.
Michigan still running in very small circles
By Laura Conaway
Mon Jul 2, 2012 3:06 PM EDT.
Alabama then, Michigan now.
The Michigan activists trying to get a referendum on the state’s emergency manager law have turned to direct action. With their case stuck in court for two months now, they announced today that they’re planning a march from Detroit to Lansing. From July 23-27, the Michigan chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network will walk 90 miles to the capital in protest of new legislation to make voting harder in Michigan and the continued delay in putting the emergency manager repeal on the ballot.
From the Detroit Free Press:
Voting rights are very personal to us,” said Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the local chapter of the network. “We can see very clearly what’s behind the Republican party’s tactics.
Back in February, the activists turned in more than enough signatures to make the November ballot. In April, the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked along party lines, thus throwing out the petitions because one line was alleged to be printed in a font size that’s too small. One of the two Republicans who voted to toss the petitions is a partner in the firm that shares an address and phone lines with the group bringing the challenge. He has since resigned.
Just so you know, the person picked by Governor Snyder to replace him, Colleen Pero, appears to be married to a former founding partner of the same firm. Bonus: Eclectablog on Pero’s ALEC connection.
Michael Jordan’s son arrested after Omaha hotel scuffle
(CBS/AP) OMAHA, Neb. – Central Florida basketball player Marcus Jordan, the son of former NBA great Michael Jordan, was arrested in Omaha early Sunday following a disturbance outside a downtown hotel.
According to a news release, police responding to a call at the Embassy Suites found hotel security trying to subdue Marcus Jordan, who was having an argument with two women in the hotel driveway at 2:11 a.m.
The release said Jordan was “very animated, intoxicated and uncooperative,” and it took multiple officers to control and handcuff him.
Romney campaign endorses Obama line on tax penalty
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 2, 2012 10:24 AM EDT.
The Sunday shows were filled with a debate over one question: is the tax penalty in health care reform a tax or a penalty? Obama administration officials argued the latter; Republicans argued the former. Does it matter who’s right, or is this silly political parsing? It’s probably a little of both, actually.
Under the Affordable Care Act, if a consumer can afford insurance, he/she has to take responsibility for having insurance. If the consumer refuses, he/she will be subject to a tax penalty. The right wants to call that penalty a tax so that they can in turn argue, “Obama raised taxes on the middle class.” It’s deceptive — and rather foolish — but that’s where things stand.
At least, it was where things stood before this morning, when the Romney campaign’s chief advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that Republican rhetoric is wrong.
Fast forward to the 4:24 point, when Todd, unsure how to decipher Fehrnstrom’s bizarre spin, tried to get a straight answer. It led to this exchange:
TODD: [Mitt Romney] agrees with the president that it is not [a tax], and he believes that you shouldn’t call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?
FEHRNSTROM: That’s correct.
So, for three days, Republicans have said, “We should call the penalty a tax.” This morning, the Romney campaign said, “No, we shouldn’t.”
This is a box the GOP can’t get out of. Mitt Romney created an identical policy in Massachusetts under the identical structure for identical reasons. If Obama raised taxes on the middle class, then Romney raised taxes on the middle class. For Fehrnstrom, that means neither did.
But for Republicans, that’s wholly unsatisfying. Indeed, the GOP message is an extraordinary mess, we now have the Romney campaign contradicting its own surrogates on the Republican Party’s #1 talking point.
If the GOP finds this frustrating, maybe they should have thought of this during the primaries.
The GOP are tripping all over themselves. They can’t keep all the LIES & SPIN straight.
You Mooks Know Who This Is Over Here?
By Zandar July 2nd, 2012
It’s Chris Bag O’ Donuts, that’s freakin’ who it is here. Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in his eye.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, known for his candor, snapped at a reporter Saturday while taking issue with his question at a press conference.
Reporters were told the governor would only answer questions about a major problem at a water treatment plant, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
Yet one reporter proceeded to ask an unrelated question involving the state legislature, as seen in video of the press conference from Monmouth County.
Christie, cutting him off, said: “Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic, on topic. Next question.”
As the reported tried to follow up, the Republican governor again interjected and ended the press conference.
“Thank you all very much, and I’m sorry for the idiot over there. Take care,” he said before walking away.
Can you imagine if a Dem tried this, especially “arrogant, uppity Obama”? Christie on the other hand, he’ll get away with it. Hell, he’ll be a hero. Republicans don’t have to answer your gorram questions, you know. Open hostility to the press and the press takes it and we all have a good laugh, and then the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign guys announce that the press no longer matters because of Drudge and St. Andy Of The Pageview’s Ghost, so stay tuned while we make our own reality. Fun for everyone.
Rest of you mooks, get outta here.
Florida’s Scott refuses to implement federal law
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 2, 2012 12:39 PM EDT.
With the Supreme Court no longer threatening the future of the Affordable Care Act, and with implementation deadlines looming, Republican governors have some decisions to make. They oppose the federal law, despite the benefits it’ll bring to their state and constituents, but ignoring it brings a host of other problems.
Some, including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), are prepared to move forward, implementing the law and creating exchanges for consumers. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has also suggested she supports some of the provisions in “Obamacare.”
On the other hand, we also see governors like Rick Scott (R) of Florida, whose office announced that it will simply refuse to move forward under the current framework. “We are not going to expand Medicaid and we’re not going to implement exchanges,” Scott’s spokesperson told the AP. The governor’s office also said Medicaid expansion would cost Florida taxpayers $1.9 billion a year — an imaginary figure that Rick Scott appears to have made up out of whole cloth.
Steve Kornacki has a good piece today on the bigger picture.
[T]here’s an element of posturing here. The question is how many GOP governors and state legislatures will ultimately relent and take the federal money.
Logic says that most, if not all, of them will. After all, the federal government is offering a pretty good deal to the states, and some powerful interests — hospitals that now end up providing free emergency care for patients who would be eligible for Medicaid under the expansion and insurance companies offering Medicaid managed care plans — figure to exert considerable pressure on state leaders to go along. Particularly for a governor like [New Jersey’s Chris Christie], who leads a blue state and is facing reelection in 2013, it might not take much pressure to convince him to implement the expansion.
I think that’s right, on all counts. Obamacare offers the states a pretty sweet deal, which the governors would be foolish to turn down. If they balk anyway, every hospital administrator in their state will be call the governor’s office, demanded that these Republican cut the nonsense.
I’m just not convinced the truly unhinged governors will care.
Last year, logic dictated that Rick Scott and Scott Walker would take federal funds for high-speed rail, too. Time and again, some GOP governors have made it clear that partisan and ideological goals trump literally every other consideration — including their constituents’ wellbeing.
And what happens if some Republican chief executives simply balk? First and foremost, millions of struggling Americans simply won’t get the coverage and access to basic care they would otherwise get if they had more responsible governors. The ACA brings insurance to 30 million people, but that number will drop if Rick Scott and officials like him refuse to implement federal law.
Second, as we discussed last week, these governors are also, rather ironically, inviting more federal control over state affairs.
Where Obama won’t be on the 4th of July
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 2, 2012 2:29 PM EDT.
Both parties’ presidential campaigns, in their never-ending quest for more contributions, routinely reach out to Americans living abroad. It’s legal, routine, and uncontroversial. Politico did a big item about a week ago noting President Obama’s “overseas power centers,” but Mitt Romney has done plenty of fundraising of his own in Hong Kong and Singapore.
With this in mind, there was a report last week that some Americans living in Paris will honor the 4th of July with a fundraiser for the president. A conservative site took that news and put a deceptive little twist on reality.
Apparently tiring of US soil as a source of campaign dollars, the Obama campaign is headed overseas — with its celebrity friends in tow. The European Obama campaign starts next week in Paris on July 4 with a reception organized by various fundraising heavy-hitters. Independence Day fundraisers in Paris — now that’s a flag-waving campaign. […]
That also may be the only place Obama can still find cheering throngs.
Some in Republican media interpreted this to mean that the president himself would leave the country this week, and head to Paris on the 4th of July. And by “some,” I mean Karl Rove and National Review.
Rove and NR, regrettably, failed to get the facts straight, which is a little too common for both. The reality is simple: neither the president nor his family are going to Paris for the 4th of July. They will, of course, be in the United States, celebrating the holiday at the White House, hosting an event for military families.
Republican media outlets reporting otherwise are lying.
Postscript: There is, of course, an underlying smear here, with the right falsely trying to connect Obama to France. But I’m curious: if a Parisian fundraiser from American donors is controversial, why isn’t Romney’s fundraisers in communist China equally problematic?
Conventional wisdom starts to turn on Bain
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 2, 2012 11:24 AM EDT.
For weeks, it seemed like Democratic criticisms of Mitt Romney’s controversial private-sector background were viewed as a total failure. Republicans said it showed hostility towards capitalism; some high-profile Democrats balked; and many in the media predicted a public backlash. The entire line of attack was, were told, a dud.
Those perceptions appear to be changing. Last week, for example, the New York Times reported that Romney’s Bain Capital rigged the game so that he would make millions, even when his investments failed. The week before, the Washington Post discovered that Romney’s team were “pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States” to overseas.
The Times added over the weekend that “strategists in both parties” agree that President Obama’s campaign is successfully raising doubts among voters as to Romney’s commitment to the middle class, and the ads are “starting to make an impact on some undecided voters.”
E.J. Dionne Jr. makes a very strong case today that “Romney’s Bain problem” is serious.
The Bain ads have done double-duty, specifically undermining Romney but also serving as a parable for how aspects of the current financial system hurt workers and local communities. Profits and productivity can rise even as real wages stagnate or fall, and jobs can be offshored and outsourced. The Romney campaign’s response to a recent Washington Post story describing Bain’s record on outsourcing — the campaign sought to “differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus offshoring” — sounded more like bureaucratic gobbledygook than an effective answer. Obama picked up on the story immediately, calling Romney an “outsourcing pioneer.”
But can the Obama campaign turn the argument over Romney and Bain into a broader challenge to the Republican claim that the only thing government can do to spur job creation is to get out of the way? “Jobs” will remain the Romney battle cry for the rest of the campaign, but the success of the anti-Bain offensive points to an opportunity for Obama to engage in a kind of political jujitsu. He can argue that Romney’s primary interest is not in job creation at all but in low-tax and deregulatory policies he would favor whether the economy was soaring or flat.
Criticisms of Romney’s style of vulture capitalism resonate on multiple levels. Just at the surface, Americans are presented with a straightforward message: this guy got rich breaking up American companies and laying off American workers.
They’re under observation
By Kay July 2nd, 2012
Enter the lawyers:
President Barack Obama’s campaign has recruited a legion of lawyers to be on standby for this year’s election as legal disputes surrounding the voting process escalate.
Thousands of attorneys and support staffers have agreed to aid in the effort, providing a mass of legal support that appears to be unrivaled by Republicans or precedent.
ACORN, The New Black Panther Party, Dead Zombie Voters, did I miss anything? Let the paranoia and misinformation begin.
I do election protection in Ohio and I’ve been doing that in this county since 2006, so I thought we could discuss this in a calm and rational manner. I also know a lot of commenters and readers do this work too, so please speak up about your experience in your state.
First, the difference between voter access people (Democrats and liberals) and voter fraud people (Republicans and conservatives) on the ground is this: access people concentrate on the state role in voter suppression (whether intentional or not) and fraud people concentrate on the voter role in defrauding the state. The two sides are always portrayed as doing the same thing, but that’s not true. We’re watching the state and they’re watching individual voters. We start with the assumption that voters are acting in good faith. They don’t. Big difference, if you’re a voter.
In Ohio, there is a state code process to volunteer and enter as a poll watcher. I won’t go into a whole lot of detail, but I file an entry with the county Board of Elections and then each polling place that I visit, and am sworn in with a slightly different oath than that of a poll worker. I hit those precincts where I have noticed problems in the past, submit the copy of the entry, get sworn in, and observe. I was a poll worker so I know a lot of the poll workers and I live and work here. They can always find me later. This makes the whole thing easier and less hostile because I’m accountable for my actions.
What I am looking for and listening for is a voter being given information that is incorrect or incomplete, particularly on provisional balloting. I am watching the process used to determine whether a voter is given a provisional ballot and then looking for poll worker error on instructions for how to complete the ballot properly so it will be counted. I want to stress something here. Any errors that I have observed are not malicious on the part of poll workers. The provisional balloting rules are complicated and they either don’t know them or apply them in ways that are arbitrary and, well, personal. In my observation, there is a “belt and suspenders” attitude that crops up frequently in GOP poll workers. If demanding one piece of paper is GOOD, demanding two is BETTER, hand out a provisional ballot just to be on the safe side, like that. Whoa there, drunk-with-power Republican. This isn’t an interrogation or an obstacle course. Back off or we’ll have to demote you to handing out the “I Voted” stickers.
None of what I do is directed at the voter. I am speaking, always, with the head poll worker. If there were a legal issue that required a court, I would know enough to be able to respond to that quickly because of the training we take, but I’m not an election lawyer. If it became necessary to pursue a legal challenge I would be quickly replaced with someone who knows what they’re doing.
Finally, I get asked in emails where to donate for voter registration, education and protection. Donate to the Obama campaign, or your state Democratic Party. The Obama campaign are doing all the voter contact on the ground in Ohio and it makes a lot of sense to do voter registration, education and protection while they’re talking with voters anyway. In my experience (which is based on the 2004 Kerry campaign in Ohio) outsourcing nuts and bolts voter stuff to an alphabet soup of outside orgs is a chaotic and error-ridden disaster.
I can confidently predict that the Tea Party group True the Vote will be a mess, judging by their performance in 2010:
Let All Bush Tax Cuts Lapse
Mon Jul 2nd, 2012 at 10:55:38 AM EST
I am encouraged to see signs that prominent Democrats are openly contemplating letting all of Bush’s tax cuts expire rather than cutting a deal with the Republicans during the lame duck session between November’s election and the new Congress that will be seated in early January.
When we discuss the Bush tax cuts, we tend to focus only on the cuts for the rich because those have the most impact on the deficit and are the least sensible and most unnecessary. Focusing on the rich also enables us to have some small prayer of raising revenue in our current political environment. Yet, the Democrats cannot even unite on raising taxes on those making $250,000 a year.
It will be far easier to let all the Bush tax cuts lapse. This can be done easily. All Obama has to do is refuse to sign any deal or any short-term extension during the lame-duck. On the first of January 2013, the government would instantly get a $3.7 trillion boost on their books. This would free Congress up to redo the tax code in an more equitable way. In the worst case scenario, Romney would be in charge of this and would enjoy majorities in both houses. He might be able to use the budget reconciliation process to enact another Bush-like temporary (decade-long) tax cut, but it’s unlikely that that would would work with the budget deficits we’re facing. Bush had surpluses and still needed Dick Cheney to break the tie in the Senate for both his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
However, if, as now seems likely, Obama wins reelection, he will be in a great position to influence the new tax code. If Congress does nothing, everyone who pays taxes will see their taxes go up. Having won a second term, the president will have at least some initial political clout. And we’ve seen recently that the GOP will fold when put in a bad position, like letting student loan rates double or letting the payroll tax holiday run out.
It will be easier to make a final decision after we see the election results. If Romney wins, Obama may explore a deal, but it would have to be a very good one to make it worth his while to extend any part of the Bush tax cuts. If he wins, he’ll want to see how he did in the Senate and the House. Why deal with Boehner’s House in a lame-duck when he can deal with Pelosi’s House in the new year? However, the opposite could be true of Reid’s Senate in the lame-duck versus McConnell’s Senate in the new year.
Obama will also have to consider the risk of economic damage if Congress can’t reach some kind of short-term deal. A large, sudden tax hike on everyone is not what is called-for by our economic times. If it isn’t fixed quickly in the new year, it could send the economy back to recession and sour the beginning of his second-term.
Still, unless we want to travel on a constant Grover Norquist-fueled downward trajectory on federal revenues, Obama needs to take this opportunity to let all rates lapse. No one in Congress will have to do a thing. And that’s probably the only way anything smart can get done in Washington DC these days.
John Boehner Freaks Out When Asked What He Will Replace Obamacare With
By: Jason EasleyJuly 1, 2012
When House Speaker John Boehner was pressed for specifics about his ACA replacement, he treated America and CBS’s Norah O’Donnell to a patented John Boehner tantrum.
Video via CBS News:
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Well, there’s always going to be parts of it that are good. But when you look at the twenty-seven hundred pages that no one read and, uh, you know, remember Nancy Pelosi said, well, we have to pass this before we know what’s in it. Republicans are not going to go down that path.
NORAH O’DONNELL: I asked ask you if there’s anything good in it because I want to ask you about some of the specific provisions in the bill. Since you are going to be repealing it, are you willing to roll back the provisions that would provide free mammograms under Medicare?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Listen, there are a lot of provisions that can be replaced. Remember, I said, we want to take a common-sense, step-by-step approach to replacing Obamacare.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Let’s talk about what’s specifically in this bill because there are a lot of protections for individuals.
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Of course, there are.
NORAH O’DONNELL: If you are under twenty-six years old, you are out of a job, you can stay on your parent’s insurance. Do you support that?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: I do. And the health insurance industry has made that a practice within their industry.
NORAH O’DONNELL: What about it–
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: They came out and made that statement a couple of weeks ago.
NORAH O’DONNELL: What about additional preventative care like for children, for instance, you don’t have to pay a copay on immunizations?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: As I– as I said Republicans believe in a common-sense, step-by-step approach to replacing this law. And all of those provisions, popular provisions, many of them very sound provisions can, in fact, be done in a common-sense way, but not in twenty-seven hundred pages that no one read.
NORAH O’DONNELL: What about preexisting conditions? What about the millions of Americans that have preexisting conditions and are discriminated against?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: We believe that the way it is done within Obamacare is– is pushing the cost of health insurance for all Americans much too high. We believe that the state high-risk pools are a much more effective way to making sure that those with preexisting conditions have access to affordable health insurance.
NORAH O’DONNELL: But access to affordable health insurance, but you’re not saying you would be for a law that would prevent discrimination of those individuals?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: No, we just believe there is a better way to make sure that they have affordable access to quality health insurance.
NORAH O’DONNELL: So when you repeal this, what are you going to replace it with?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: I just started pointing out. We’re going take a common-sense, step-by-step approach that puts in place the kind of policies that will make our– our health insurance system more what I call patient-centered and lower cost. The only proposal out there last year that would lower the cost of health insurance came from Republicans. Why? Because we’ve got policies that really will help bring down the cost of health insurance. It’s clear that Obamacare is increasing the cost of health insurance for all Americans and making it virtually impossible for small employers to hire new workers.
Posted at 01:04 PM ET, 07/02/2012
Yup: Public opinion remains deeply conflicted on health reform
By Greg Sargent
I keep telling you that public opinion is deeply conflicted on the Affordable Care Act — and on whether to repeal it — and two new polls confirm this yet again.
CNN’s new poll finds Americans split on whether they approve of the Supreme Court decision, 50-49. Moderates agree with it, 54-45, but independents tilt against it, 47-52.
Support rises — as it does in other polls — when you ask about the bill’s provisions. The largest group of all, 43 percent, supports “most” of the provisions in the bill, and a total of 52 percent support most or all of the bill’s provisions, versus only 47 percent who oppose most or all of them. Fifty-nine percent of moderates support most or all the provisions. And get this: even though independents tilt against the SCOTUS decision, they support the bill’s provisions, 51-48.
Obamacare foes will note that Americans would rather repeal all the bill’s provisions than keep all of them, 51-47; independents agree, 56-42. But remember, polls that only give you a choice between total repeal and keeping all of the the law tend to produce findings that favor the former. If you portray the situation more accurately by presenting a range of options — full repeal, repealing only parts, keeping the bill as is, expanding it — suddenly support for full repeal is far lower, as Gallup found on Friday. This dynamic is reinforced by CNN’s finding that majorities — including among independents — favor most or all the provisions.
Meanwhile, the new Kaiser poll finds that opinion on SCOTUS decision is roughly split, at 47-43.
But it also finds — and this one is key — that 56 percent of Americans, and 51 percent of independents, want the law’s opponents to stop trying to block implementation and move on to other problems. Meanwhile, a big majority of Republicans, 69 percent, want efforts to stop the law to continue. Only 41 percent of independents agree
Posted at 11:56 AM ET, 07/02/2012
David Axelrod: Top GOP officials are `sliming their own nominee’
By Greg Sargent
I asked Obama senior strategist David Axelrod for a response to Mitt Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom’s claim today that Obamacare’s mandate is not a tax, after all. The assertion puts the Romney campaign at odds with multiple leading Republican Congressional and party officials, all of whom have adopted as a central talking point the claim that Obamacare’s mandate represents a massive tax increase.
As we’ve said from the beginning, Gov. Romney’s problem is that his approach on health care was very much the model for the Affordable Care Act. His case for the mandate was as cogent as any. His explanation then of the penalty on “free riders,” who game the system and let taxpayers and the insured pick up their freight, was right on target.
So now, as the Republican Party and their SuperPacs try to depict this narrow, freeloader penalty, that would touch less than 1 percent of Americans, as a broad tax on the middle class, they’re sliming their own nominee, as well.
This is how the Obama campaign and Dems will respond, if and when Republicans and Super PACs continue to insist the Obamacare mandate is a massive tax increase, despite the Romney spokesman’s claim otherwise. They will argue that those Republicans and outside groups are “sliming their own nominee.”
It’s unclear whether the Romney camp’s new move helps matters. The Romney campaign has settled on a consistent response, perhaps because it had no choice: Neither our mandate nor Obamacare’s mandate represents a tax increase. But leading Republicans will continue to insist otherwise, and will argue that Obama’s mandate represents the greatest tax increase in the history of the univers. Which, again, will only serve to remind us that Romney created the model for the very same policy tool that is now central to the GOP argument for kicking Obama out of office.
It’s also worth noting that this is one area where the press is being extremely tough on Romney’s equivocations and contortions. How much this will matter in November is an open question, of course, but this story very well may leave a short-term mark.
Posted at 09:05 AM ET, 07/02/2012
The Morning Plum: Three reasons Dems shouldn’t fear another fight over Obamacare
By Greg Sargent
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, Republicans have signaled that they will renew the push for full repeal of the law — and party strategists are quoted far and wide claiming this is a certain political winner for them. Time will tell whether they’re right. But there are a few angles on this story worth considering:
1) The core GOP talking point for the post-SCOTUS battle is false. Now that SCOTUS has designated the mandate a “tax,” the GOP argument, repeated far and wide, is that Obamacare represents the largest tax hike in history. Ezra Klein debunks that one right here. Worth watching: How many reporters and news orgs will call this one out each time it appears?
2) Polling does not show that Americans support full repeal. The Mitt Romney/Republican position is full repeal of Obamacare. They would blow up the law entirely — period, full stop. Their position is not “full or partial repeal.” Yet polling has steadily shown negligible public support for nuking the law completely. Gallup on Friday found that only 31 percent of Americans, and 23 percent of independents, support full repeal.
Yes, Gallup also found that a majority favor full or partial repeal. But what does it mean to favor repealing unspecified parts of the law? This could reflect dissatisfaction with the individual mandate, or generalized unhappiness with the law — and yes, the overall law remains unpopular. But to favor partial repeal is not the equivalent of supporting getting rid of the law entirely — rather, this position may represent support for keeping the law and making changes to it.
I’d like to hear from public opinion experts on this one. But my bet is that many who favor only repeal of parts of the law basically support sticking with the law, even if they don’t like it, on the understanding that it will be fixed later. It’s my bet that the GOP push to refight the battle to get rid of the law entirely a third time won’t be well received by indys and moderates. And it’s becoming clearer that the SCOTUS decision is forcing Republicans into a discussion of the law’s specifics — far less favorable turf for them.
3) The GOP push for full repeal highlights the untenability of Romney’s position. Never mind whether the mandate is a “tax” or not. The simple truth is that the arguments Obama/Dems and Romney use to defend their mandates are identical. That’s why you don’t see Romney charging that Obama’s mandate is a tax hike. There is no way this fight can be waged without drawing attention to the core absurdity here: If Obama’s mandate makes him a massive tax hiker, the GOP presidential nominee’s mandate makes him the same.
Justice Department Voter ID Decision Protects South Carolina Voters
Yesterday, the Department of Justice, for the second time, denied a request to approve South Carolina’s voter ID law. The Brennan Center released the following statement from Senior Counsel Keesha Gaskins applauding the decision:
“The Department of Justice stood up for South Carolina voters by refusing to approve this discriminatory law. As we celebrate Independence Day in a few days, we must remember our nation’s founding principle that ‘all men are created equal.’ It is wrong to pass laws that block some Americans from voting, and to deny them the opportunity to participate equally in our democracy. We are glad the Justice Department stepped in to reject this law, and we urge the federal court to do the same at trial.”
Under the federal Voting Rights Act, changes to South Carolina’s election laws must be “pre-cleared” by the Department of Justice or a D.C federal court. After the Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s voter ID law because of its discriminatory effect on minority voters, South Carolina sued in federal court. The trial is set for July 30th.
The Brennan Center — in partnership with Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell — intervened in the case on behalf of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina and other individual clients.
Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 07/02/2012
Despite Romney camp’s claim, GOPers will keep hitting mandate as `tax’
By Greg Sargent
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, Republicans have widely repeated the claim that Obamacare’s individual mandate represents a massive tax increase. This, of course, has created a problem: Doesn’t that mean Mitt Romney’s mandate in Massachusetts was also a tax increase?
The Romney campaign has now hit on its solution to this conundrum — claim that Obamacare’s mandate is not a tax, after all. Here’s Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom on Daily Rundown:
FEHRNSTROM: The Governor disagreed with the ruling of the court. He agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax.
CHUCK TODD: The governor does not believe the mandate is a tax — that’s what you’re saying?
FEHRNSTROM: The governor believes that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the Court’s ruling that the mandate was a tax, but again —
TODD: But he agrees with the president that it is not — and he believes that you shouldn’t call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?
FEHRNSTROM: That’s correct. But the president also needs to be held accountable for his hypocritical and contradictory statements…
Of course, Romney himself has previously referred to his own mandate as a “tax” penalty. But put that aside for a sec. You’d think the fact that the GOP presidential nominee’s campaign has now confirmed that Obamacare’s mandate is not a tax would undercut the use of this talking point by GOP Congressional officials, right?
You’d be wrong. One senior Congressional aide tells me that Republicans will continue to describe it in those terms. And a second senior GOP Congressional aide emails that there is no contradiction here, arguing that Fehrnstrom didn’t quite say that the Obamacare mandate isn’t a tax:
That’s not what he said. He said Romney agrees with Scalia’s dissent that it wasn’t a tax. Every Republican I know agrees with the dissent. The court however ruled otherwise, and thereby defined it as a tax. The mandate issue is no longer debatable from the standpoint of whether it is a tax or not. You can believe whatever you’d like but the reality is that ACA only exists today because Roberts defined the mandate as a tax.
I read Fehrnstrom’s quote as being pretty clear on this matter. But parsing this aide’s argument, it seems that the claim will be that the Romney campaign and Republican Congressional officials alike both agree with Scalia’s argument that the mandate is not a tax in the sense that claiming it is a tax makes it Constitutional, even as Republican officials continue to argue that the mandate is a tax in the sense that SCOTUS said it was in the course of upholding the law. In other words, Obamacare’s mandate is not a tax, because Republicans continue to think it’s unconstitutional. But Obamacare’s continuing existence is testament to the fact that the mandate is, in fact, a tax. Of course, Romney’s campaign seems to have broken with that last argument.
As for the question of whether Fehrnstrom’s remarks today mean Republican officials will stop calling the mandate a tax, the answer is a resounding No.
It would be interesting to know whether all this was coordinated. Oh, to have overheard those conversations!
ALL OF THIS
ALEC Faces New Challenge to Tax-Exempt Status
By John Dunbar
A prominent tax attorney has accused an organization of state lawmakers and corporations officials with improperly claiming nonprofit status, alleging the group’s role is to benefit businesses, the Republican Party, and legislators and not the public.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “elevates commercial gain for a few over the well-being of society’s less fortunate,” says a complaint penned by Marcus Owens, the former chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s nonprofit corporations division, on behalf of Clergy VOICE, a group of ministers from progressive churches in Ohio.
ALEC has attracted attention recently for its model “stand your ground” and voter ID laws which led major corporate backers like Coca Cola and Kraft Foods Inc. to drop their membership in the face of a threatened boycott by activists. The Florida gun law became a hot topic following the slaying of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, by a neighborhood watch volunteer in February.
Until recently, ALEC has enjoyed a low profile, despite its substantial influence over legislation in the nation’s statehouses. The group claims on its website that it has helped craft close to 1,000 bills introduced by state lawmakers and that “an average of 20 percent become law.”
In its complaint, Clergy VOICE says ALEC has “deliberately and repeatedly failed to comply with some of the most fundamental federal tax requirements applicable to public charities” and that evidence “quite strongly” suggests that the group is violating civil and criminal tax laws.
The clergy’s complaint goes beyond allegations of improper lobbying, claiming that ALEC exists for the “private benefit” of its members rather than for charitable, educational or other exempt purposes that serve the public interest and deserve special tax treatment.
Don’t Kid Yourself. It’s Still a Corporate Court. Here are 10 Lessons From CEO Roberts.
By Richard (RJ) Eskow
Was today’s ruling a victory for justice over corporate power? Did Chief Justice John Roberts rise above partisan differences because that’s where an honest reading of the law took him?
Nah. The majority on this Supreme Court is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America. Call it SCOTUS™ Inc., and it’s brought to you by the same fine folks that gave you Citizens United and Bush v. Gore. John Roberts is its CEO, not its Chief Justice.
The point isn’t to reinforce anybody’s cynicism. But you can’t be idealistic in an effective way until you see things as they really are.
It was a shrewd move. Remember, as CEO of SCOTUS™ Inc., John Roberts is running the subsidiary of a large conglomerate. I’ve had that job myself, and trust me: you’ve got to please the parent or you’re out of business.
By casting the decisive vote (who knows whether it really was the deciding vote, or whether the right-wing majority made it look that way) Roberts acted in the best interests of corporate conservatism, for-profit healthcare companies, and – most importantly of all – of the far-right political force which is today’s Republican Party.
He had three options: Strike down a signature piece of Democratic legislation in its entirety, which would look highly partisan; strike down the individual mandate, which would look even worse since it was a conservative Republican idea; or uphold the law in a way that’s designed to do maximum political damage to the Democrats and protect the Court’s current corporate status.
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS PIECE. A zebra doesn’t change it’s stripes!
Racial Impact of the Decision of Our Undemocratic Supreme Court
Imara Jones at Colorlines raises the issue of a negative impact of this week’s Supreme Court’s degree on the health and the health insurance options for people of color. As a result of this week’s Supreme Court narrow 5-4 decision:
the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s longterm effectiveness is in doubt, and the racial and economic inequalities at the very heart of the health care system stand to be reinforced. Medicaid—funded jointly by the federal government and the states—is the nation’s health care plan for the working poor . .. . Enlargement of Medicaid is the single most important provision of the Affordable Care Act for people of color. It’s the way that almost all non-whites covered by the law would receive insurance. If implemented as written, the law expected to cover 32 million Americans, accounting for 80 percent of those currently uninsured.
The law as written would force states to expand their Medicaid programs, to include the working poor, or else loose federal funds for all Medicaid. However the Supreme Court knocked down that provision. Some states will likely still seek these funds, but other states, especially with lots of working poor of color, likely will not:
And that’s a problem, particularly in the Southern, GOP-led states where huge numbers of working poor blacks and Latinos live. The majority of states, due to the recession, want to cover less not more people. . . . As former Republican governor, now Senator Lamar Alexander told The New York Times, “If I were governor of Tennessee, I would not expand Medicaid.” Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana echoed the point.
BWA HA HAHA
July 1, 2012 1:29 PM
Roberts switched views to uphold health care law
By Jan Crawford
(CBS News) Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.
Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy – believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law – led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold.
“He was relentless,” one source said of Kennedy’s efforts. “He was very engaged in this.”
But this time, Roberts held firm. And so the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, “You’re on your own.”
The conservatives refused to join any aspect of his opinion, including sections with which they agreed, such as his analysis imposing limits on Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, the sources said.
Instead, the four joined forces and crafted a highly unusual, unsigned joint dissent. They deliberately ignored Roberts’ decision, the sources said, as if they were no longer even willing to engage with him in debate.
The inner-workings of the Supreme Court are almost impossible to penetrate. The court’s private conferences, when the justices discuss cases and cast their initial votes, include only the nine members – no law clerks or secretaries are permitted. The justices are notoriously close-lipped, and their law clerks must agree to keep matters completely confidential.
But in this closely-watched case, word of Roberts’ unusual shift has spread widely within the court, and is known among law clerks, chambers’ aides and secretaries. It also has stirred the ire of the conservative justices, who believed Roberts was standing with them.
On health care, it’s Romney vs. Romney
Joan Vennochi- July 1, 2012
BY UPHOLDING the constitutionality of the historic national health care reform law last week, the Supreme Court sets up a fierce ideological battle.
It’s between Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney.
If elected president, Romney promises to repeal Obamacare. He says it is bad law and bad policy, and unfairly raises taxes on the American people.
His problem is that as governor, he imposed the same law, policy, and taxes on Massachusetts citizens.
The tax increase Romney now rages against is the result of the “individual mandate,” which requires Americans to buy health insurance and penalizes them if they don’t.
Five Supreme Court justices agreed that the penalty is a tax that Congress has the power to levy. It’s exactly the same penalty Romney imposed in Massachusetts.
Jul 2, 2012 6:00am
Obama Campaign Challenges Fact Checker Report on Romney Outsourcing
The Obama Campaign is vigorously defending its attacks on Mitt Romney as an “outsourcer,” following an analysis by one independent fact-checker that called some of the claims “untrue” and others “thinly supported.”
In a six-page letter to FactCheck.org, deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter disputes the notion that Romney cannot be held accountable for outsourcing by Bain Capital-owned companies after February 1999, when he stepped down as CEO.
“The statement that Gov. Romney ‘left’ Bain in February 1999 — a statement central to your fact-check — is not accurate,” Cutter writes. “Romney took an informal leave of absence but remained in full legal control of Bain and continued to be paid by Bain as such. Governor Romney would have the period of Bain service understood differently, for the obvious reason that there is much in this l999-2002 period that he would prefer to avoid accountability for.”
Cutter cites statements by Romney, his wife Ann, lawyer Bradley Malt, and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission as evidence that he maintained significant managerial and financial ties with the company during the period when the outsourcings referenced in Obama TV ads occurred.
Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com
Romney said he would “stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions,” the Boston Herald reported in February 1999 after an interview with the private equity executive. The letter also cites dozens of SEC filings from after March 1, 1999, which shows various Bain holdings as “wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.”
BAIN IS SUCH A PAIN!
Monday, Jul 2, 2012 10:44 AM CDT
When did Romney bail on Bain?
The presidential candidate claims he left in February 1999, but documents complicate that picture
By Alex Seitz-Wald
One of the key questions in the ongoing war over Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is when he actually left the firm. The campaign has always maintained that Romney resigned in February of 1999 to take the helm of the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but there’s plenty evidence that complicates this narrative.
Today, Mother Jones’ David Corn reports on SEC filings he obtained that seem to show that Romney was still involved in active decision making as late as November 1999. Romney personally signed off on a deal to purchase a medical waste disposal company called Stericycle as was listed as the “sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President” of various Bain funds vested in the company. A document filed on November 30, 1999 by Stericycle also lists Romney as holding “voting and dispositive power” in the Bain-held stock. “[W]hy would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?” Corn asks.
It’s a good question and one with tremendous importance.
Read on: http://www.salon.com/2012/07/02/when_did_romney_leave_bain/
You can try and run from your BAIN RECORD, MITT, but IT.AIN’T.GOING.TO.HAPPEN.
This bitch right here. She’d never say this to Nancy Smash’s face.
GlaxoSmithKline settles fraud charges for $3 billion
(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline Plc has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion to settle the largest case of healthcare fraud in U.S. history, according to court filings and prosecutors.
The settlement includes $1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion in civil fines in connection with the sale of the drug company’s Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia products.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/02/us-glaxo-settlement-idUSBRE8610S720120702
Medical waste giant Stericycle serviced abortionist charged with 10 counts of murder
ELKTON, Maryland, January 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A medical waste giant allied with the abortion industry has been faulted by opponents for complicity with an abortionist who ran afoul of several state laws.http://lifesitenews.blogspot.com/2012/01/lifesitenewscom-friday-jan-6-2012.html#reg14
The Campaign to Stop Stericycle (CSS) says it learned that Stericycle had been servicing the “secret” abortion facility of abortionist Steven Brigham, who is now being held on $3 million bail and is facing murder charges for the deaths of late-term infants. CSS says Stericycle continues to collect aborted remains from a number of additional sites owned by Brigham.Brigham owns at least 18 abortion facilities and advertises locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.
His license was revoked in New York and Florida; he surrendered his license in Pennsylvania, and allowed his license to expire in Georgia and California due to the government’s concerns about his conduct. Brigham is known for his attempts to evade New Jersey law, which prohibits second trimester abortions outside of a hospital or licensed ambulatory center, by
Charles Blow published this email someone sent him
HAT TIP SG2
AND THE ROMNEY HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING!
Romney Invested in Medical-Waste Firm That Disposed of Aborted Fetuses, Government Documents Show. And these documents challenge Romney’s claim that he left Bain Capital in early 1999.
—By David Corn
| Mon Jul. 2, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
Earlier this year, Mitt Romney nearly landed in a politically perilous controversy when the Huffington Post reported that in 1999 the GOP presidential candidate had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Coming during the heat of the GOP primaries, as Romney tried to sell South Carolina Republicans on his pro-life bona fides, the revelation had the potential to damage the candidate’s reputation among values voters already suspicious of his shifting position on abortion.
But Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, tamped down the controversy. The company said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and likely had nothing to with the deal. The matter never became a campaign issue. But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission—and obtained by Mother Jones—list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents—one of which was signed by Romney—also contradict the official account of Romney’s exit from Bain.
Here’s what happened with Stericycle. In November 1999, Bain Capital and Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, filed with the SEC a Schedule 13D, which lists owners of publicly traded companies, noting that they had jointly purchased $75 million worth of shares in Stericycle, a fast-growing player in the medical-waste industry. (That April, Stericycle had announced plans to buy the medical-waste businesses of Browning Ferris Industries and Allied Waste Industries.)
The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the “sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd.”
The document also states that Romney “may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle “in his capacity as sole shareholder” of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm’s stock—the largest bloc among the firm’s owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.
SEE IF THE MEDIA WILL RUN WITH ROMNEY MAKING $$$ OF ABORTIONS.
Oh, that’s right, they’re showcasing the Rethugs to spin Obama Care, like they did in 2009.
Anderson Cooper: “The Fact Is, I’m Gay.”
I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn’t set out to write about other aspects of my life.
Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.
I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.
The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.
Always kew you were Anderson. No surprises here.
When the Supreme Court leaks
By Felix Salmon
July 2, 2012
On Thursday, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, you could hear the machinery creaking as pundits around the web felt the need to respond. I took the media angle, deducing from seven minutes of CNN (which I didn’t even watch) that “TV news is ultimately much more an arm of the entertainment industry than it is of the news industry”, and that “if you want to be a journalist, don’t work in TV”. And over at Bloomberg View, Stephen Carter declared that “the most fascinating aspect” of the 193-page decision — which I’m sure he hadn’t read in full — was the fact that it hadn’t leaked:
Smack in the middle of a city where leaks are a way of life, here was a pending action that pundits were proclaiming would determine President Barack Obama’s legacy, and the capital’s legion of political reporters was unable to ferret out the smallest advance hint of the court’s intentions — even though the initial vote probably came three months ago. The justices themselves, their law clerks and all the personnel of the court cooperate in maintaining the veil…
Just as nobody can watch the video, neither does the court leak. These two facts are of a piece.
This afternoon, with a single deeply-reported article, Jan Crawford of CBS News proved us both wrong. Her 2,400-word piece is as good a piece of legal journalism as I’ve seen, and confirms what some had suspected: that Chief Justice Roberts changed his mind with respect to his decision. She adds lots of fascinating detail about how everything went down: after he changed his mind, Crawford reports, Roberts was heavily lobbied by the judges who wanted to strike down the law, who wanted to coax him back into their own fold.
Carter’s glowing view of his fellow jurists is in large part justified, not only at the Supreme Court level but also throughout the federal judiciary. Lawyers, it turns out, tend to be good at keeping secrets. On the other hand, partisan politicians are not. And it seems very much as though the more partisan Republicans within the Supreme Court have in this case behaved more like politicians than like jurists.
Roberts’s action “stirred the ire of the conservative justices”, says Crawford, who reports on what happened “in the Court’s private conference immediately after the arguments”, where only the nine justices are present. And that’s not the only secret conversation that leaked:
No, ‘Obamacare’ isn’t ‘the largest tax increase in the history of the world’ (in one chart)
Posted by Ezra Klein on July 2, 2012 at 8:15 am
Since the Supreme Court decision, Republicans have been calling the Affordable Care Act “the largest tax increase in the history of the world.” Politifact rates this false. Kevin Drum’s got a table of the 15 significant tax increases since 1950, and the Affordable Care Act, which amounts to a tax increase of 0.49 percent of GDP, comes in 10th. Austin Frakt took Drum’s table and made a chart:
Church of Scientology
We’re NOT Tailing Katie
The Church of Scientology has responded to TMZ’s story … that Katie Holmes believes she is being followed by the Church — they say it ain’t so.
Gary Soter, lawyer for the Church, tells TMZ … the Church of Scientology is not following Katie or conducting surveillance on her in the wake of her divorce with Tom Cruise.
As we previously reported, several vehicles have been on Katie’s tail in recent weeks, but again the lawyer says the Church is not behind it.
U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials: Gabby Douglas wins women’s title; four others named to team for London
Updated: 07/02/2012 06:18:48 AM PDT
America’s newest gymnastics queen earned a confetti-covered crown Sunday night at HP Pavilion by the narrowest of margins.
The vivacious Gabby Douglas edged world champion Jordyn Wieber for the first time in her career to win the all-around title at the U.S. Olympic trials at HP Pavilion. The victory highlighted a thrilling conclusion to the four-day event when Douglas joined the rest of the Olympic team as shredded paper rained down on them as they stood before a cheering sold-out audience.
Douglas, 16, won the lone automatic berth by 0.1 point and will be joined in London by Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross and Aly Raisman.
It’s a formidable combination that will be favored to win the team gold medal after winning the world title last year.
“This was the ideal team I was thinking about, but they had to prove themselves,” national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said.
No one proved themselves more than Douglas, a 16-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va.
2012 U.S. Women’s Olympic gymnastics team trials
Gabrielle Douglas, left, and Alexandra Raisman cry after being announced for the U.S. Women’s gymnastics team after the final round of the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team trials at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, July 1, 2012. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff)
Adelson’s alleged ‘prostitution strategy’
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 2, 2012 9:19 AM EDT.
Ordinarily, I don’t invest too much time in tracking down the alleged misdeeds of politicians’ donors. That said, Sheldon Adelson isn’t just any donor, and the latest accusations surrounding the casino mogul aren’t routine transgressions.
The fired former chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Macau casinos alleges in court documents revealed Thursday that billionaire Sheldon Adelson personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company’s properties in the Chinese enclave. […]
[Former Sands executive Steven Jacobs] was fired in July 2010 from his role overseeing the Macau properties. He sued the companies and Adelson three months later.
Jacobs’ allegations, detailed in a sworn seven-page affidavit, are pretty remarkable. Jacobs alleges that Adelson and his company engaged in all kinds of illegal activities in Macau, most notably a Chinese “prostitution strategy” that had been “personally approved by Adelson.”
Sands’ attorney called the allegations false and “scurrilous,” but as the Associated Press report added, the charges have nevertheless drawn interest of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department, which seem interested in knowing whether Adelson violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Adelson, of course, recently gave $10 million to Mitt Romney’s super PAC, another $10 million to the Koch brothers’ attack operation, and another $10 million to the House Republican leadership’s super PACs. The billionaire’s commitment to Republican candidates in 2012 is reportedly “limitless.”
Are Republicans, including the party’s presidential candidate, fully aware of Adelson’s alleged crimes? Are they comfortable partnering with him as he tries to buy the election cycle?
McConnell sees 30 million uninsured as irrelevant
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 2, 2012 8:30 AM EDT.
On “Fox News Sunday” yesterday, host Chris Wallace interviewed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and asked a question that too often goes overlooked: “One of the keys to ‘Obamacare’ is that it will extend insurance access to 30 million people who are now uninsured. In your replacement, how would you provide universal coverage?”
Notice McConnell’s reluctance to answer the question. Wallace had to ask three times about the tens of millions of Americans who have no health coverage, before the Republican senator said what he actually believes: “That’s not the issue.”
When Wallace followed by asking, “You don’t think the 30 million people that are uninsured is an issue?” McConnell changed the subject.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. There are 30 million Americans who can’t afford to see a doctor. They are one serious illness away from bankruptcy. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because they have no insurance. The United States is the only industrialized democracy on the planet that allows this to happen to its own citizens.
And the Republican solution to this problem is to conclude that it is not a problem in need of solution. The GOP policy to help these millions of Americans is … literally nothing. They are, in Mitch McConnell’s words, “not the issue.”
There’s no mystery as to the GOP’s motivations. The right sees health care as a privilege — if tens of millions Americans can’t afford to see a doctor, well, they simply haven’t earned it.
Indeed, McConnell’s choice of words was startling, but he only made explicit what we already knew. Though it’s been long forgotten, House Republicans in 2009 unveiled a rival health care reform plan to ostensibly compete against the Democratic proposal. What did the GOP policy do to expand access to those without insurance? Nothing; it ignored them.
Likewise, this year, Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential campaign has offered no solutions whatsoever to help those without access to basic medical care.
As we discussed last Wednesday, Democrats believe Americans must have the ability to seek basic medical care, and Republicans believe the opposite. As Jon Chait explained the day before the Supreme Court’s ruling, it’s a moral question that the parties answer differently.
I am Republican, prepared to vote for Obama (self.politics)
submitted 3 days ago* by PHPGator
I am a registered Republican, and never voted for a Democratic president. I am prepared to vote for President Obama for his reelection and here’s why. I’ll try to make it fast.
I was with Blue Cross and Blue Shield for the last two years, with insurance coverage for myself and my entire family. I was a good customer, never late on my premiums, relatively small health problems throughout my family. They made more than they lost with us, I guarantee that.
I have switched jobs, just before I switched jobs my wife went in for a checkup to have her thyroid looked at because she had a sensation she always had something stuck in her throat. They found cysts on her thyroid that may need to be removed.
We were told by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) that since we were with them for so long before that if we just got a new policy with them that we would still be covered and no “pre-existing conditions” would apply. Today, we receive a letter stating that they would cover no expenses relating to the thyroid, even though all we are really doing is just changing policies. It is ridiculous!
I support Obama in his efforts to change this about our healthcare system. I have had insurance, I have not had a period of time over the last 10 years where I have not had insurance. I have been with BCBS for at least two years, and now they are writing down that they will not cover “any disease or disorder relating to a thyroid gland”.
Healthcare providers should not be allowed to do this. Thanks for letting me vent!
UPDATE: Front page! Thanks for the support! Well, we have decided that while it will be considerably more expensive, I will place her on the group plan with me at my new employer. We were going with individual insurance because it was actually a lot cheaper and we didn’t figure there would be an issue. We will now pay something like $300.00 more per month in order for her and my kids to be placed on there with me. The good news is that there will no longer be a risk of being denied coverage for “pre-existing conditions”. I still will hold my same stance that this shouldn’t be allowed and that there should be more strict circumstances where they don’t have to provide coverage (namely, when someone has a lapse of time without insurance). I think that so long as someone didn’t go without insurance, that they have been covered for a signficant period of time (6 months maybe) that the insurance company is required to provide coverage regardless of what condition the person may have. I should be able to switch who I work for it and it not cause my health insurance to go down the tubes, as it has.
UPDATE: some people stating that I am lying, here’s the proof of the letter I was supposed to sign in order to receive coverage: http://imgur.com/ZR9Qz
New York City’s Lia Neal, 17, becomes 2nd African-American woman to make US Olympic swim team
By The Admin on July 1, 2012
Lia Neal showed that Olympic swimmers don’t necessarily have to come from California, Florida or any other warm-weather state.
She became the pride of New York City on Saturday night at the trials when she came in fourth in the 100-meter freestyle finals. Her finish gave her a spot on the 400 freestyle relay team.
The 17-year-old Neal also became the second African-American woman to make a U.S. Olympic swim team.
“It’s a pretty big title,” said Neal, who is half-African American, half-Chinese.
The first black woman to make the U.S. Olympic swim team was Maritza Correia, a silver medalist in the 4×100 freestyle relay in 2004.
“I definitely knew about Maritza Correia being the first one,” Neal said. “I never thought about me being the second one going into the race, but I guess that’s really a cool title to have.”
Neal, gold medalist in the 100 freestyle at the World Junior Championships, competed in the trials when she was 13 but didn’t come close to making it out of prelims in the 50 and 100 free.
She sneaked into the 100 finals with an eighth-place finish in Friday’s semifinals, at 54.60 seconds. She clocked a 54.33 on Saturday, behind Jessica Hardy, Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt.
“Those last few strokes were really tough,” Neal said through tears of joy. “I felt at that point I was just flailing my arms, doing whatever I could to get to the wall. When I first saw my time, I was in complete shock. It’s crazy.”
Great news! Congratulations Lisa Neal! Sisters are gonna be rockin it at the 2012 Olympics in London.
glad you got this. needs to be spread far and wide
Turtle-faced McConnell was INCOHERENT. Just shameful, these MOFOs got NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH, ZERO!
Romney Left Bain Later Than He Says, Documents Show
—By Nick Baumann
Mon Jul. 2, 2012 3:01 AM PDT
David Corn published an important story Monday morning about Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney co-founded. Using documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission, David proves that Romney was involved with Bain’s investment in Stericycle, a medical waste firm that has been criticized by opponents of abortion rights for disposing of aborted fetuses. Just as important, though, is the evidence that Romney was signing important documents for Bain—and running Bain-associated companies—well after February 1999, the point when both the Romney campaign and Bain itself claim that Romney left the firm. Here’s the key paragraph from David’s piece:
The Stericycle deal—the abortion connection aside—is relevant because of questions regarding the timing of Romney’s departure from the private equity firm he founded. Responding to a recent Washington Post story reporting that Bain-acquired companies outsourced jobs, the Romney campaign insisted that Romney exited Bain in February 1999, a month or more before Bain took over two of the companies named in the Post’s article. The SEC documents undercut that defense, indicating that Romney still played a role in Bain investments until at least the end of 1999.
Congress finally gets its business done. But first, lots of something else.
By David A. Fahrenthold, Published: July 1
This is what the most detested, divided, gridlocked Congress in recent memory looks like when it works.
At one point in the past two weeks, lawmakers fought over the definition of a catfish. They fought over the question of when life begins. They fought about health-care legislation that passed two years ago and an immigration bill that failed 17 months ago.
One day, Democrats staged a walkout of the House chamber. On another, a Republican held a committee hearing to study his committee hearings.
And then — on the last afternoon of the last workday — they managed to complete the work that had been hanging in the balance the whole time. They saved student borrowers and their parents from an increase in college-loan interest rates and saved states from running out of highway funding.
That was accomplished with the last-minute appearance of a 596-page bill that several lawmakers hinted they had not read.
Mitt Romney’s Bain problem
By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: July 1
While the Supreme Court’s upholding of the health-care law was last week’s most important event in historical terms, it will not be the decisive event of the 2012 election. In the long run, polling in swing states suggesting that Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is hurting him could have larger implications for where this campaign will move.
It’s certainly true that had the court knocked down President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the defeat would have been woven into a narrative of ineffectual leadership and mistaken priorities. Instead, the president found vindication not only from the court’s liberals but also from Chief Justice John Roberts.
But precisely because the decision saved the president from disaster on health care, it only reinforced the importance of the economic argument Obama and Romney have been having for months. And here is where Romney’s Bain problem kicks in.
As Democrats, mostly from Washington and New York, debated the efficacy of attacks on Romney’s role in Bain, an entirely different conversation was being driven in the swing states, courtesy of ads broadcast by the Obama campaign and especially by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC. The ads portray highly sympathetic workers who lost their jobs and companies that collapsed even as Bain’s principals made substantial profits.
Good Morning, Everyone! :-)
Good Morning, Ametia and Everyone :)