Sunday Open Thread

Hope you’re enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

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22 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan Accidentally Reveals The Truth About The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement

    By Igor Volsky on April 4, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted on Friday that Republicans would not be able to preserve the most popular elements of Obamacare if they repeal the law as a whole. Ryan’s comments come as House Republicans plan to unveil a replacement bill that will reportedly allow young adults to remain on their parents’ health care plans and provide some level of protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

    “If you look at these kinds of reforms, where they’ve been tried before — say the state of Kentucky, for example — you basically make it impossible to underwrite insurance,” Ryan told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt when asked if Republicans would maintain the pre-existing conditions regulations, dependent coverage extension, and other rate requirements. “You dramatically crank up the cost. And you make it hard for people to get affordable health care,” Ryan insisted.

    The former GOP vice presidential candidate also said that Republicans could offer other alternatives that would expand coverage to people without insurance and lower health care costs. “Yes, and I think there are better ways of dealing with those very serious and legitimate issues without doing it this way, because I think this is the wrong approach.”

    In 2009, Ryan offered a joint alternative with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), which would have taxed the full value of employer health benefits and provided refundable tax credits to help families and individuals purchase employer or nongroup coverage. Economists had predicted that equalizing the tax treatment of health care benefits could discourage businesses from offering insurance and lead at least 20 million Americans to lose their employer coverage .

    The plan also encouraged states to “establish rational and reasonable consumer protections” by forming State Health Insurance Exchanges. The bill even included “non-profit, independent board” to penalize insurance companies “that cherry pick health patients and reward insurers that cover patients with pre-existing conditions.” It described the board as “a model that works in several European countries.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/04/04/3423235/paul-ryan-admits-republicans-wont-reinstate-popular-parts-of-obamacare/

  2. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal Blog
    April 06, 2014 11:47 AM
    460,000 people with college degrees are working in minimum wage jobs
    By Kathleen Geier

    One common refrain we hear from a lot of conservatives, and some centrists, too, is that the reason many Americans aren’t getting ahead in this economy is that they’re “unskilled” and undereducated. If only they went to college — that would do the trick! Sending more people to college has been recommended as the main policy fix for inequality by everyone from the National Review’s Marcus Winters to center/left economists like Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz.

    While making college more affordable is a great idea, there are good reasons to be extremely skeptical about the notion that an undereducated workforce is to blame for soaring economic inequality. Evidence that is supportive of that skepticism can be found in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released last month, Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2013.

    According to the report, there are 260,000 worker’s with bachelor’s degrees and 200,000 workers with associate’s degrees who are making the minimum wage. As a reminder, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and the minimum wage for tipped workers is a shockingly low $2.13 an hour. In some cities and states, the minimum wage is higher, but the BLS report defines only those making $7.25 an hour or less as “minimum wage workers.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_04/460000_people_with_college_deg049787.php

  3. rikyrah says:

    Black Canseco @BlackCanseco
    Follow

    Liberals watching Black Intellectuals banter now passes for listening to the millions more Blackfolk you’d never hire, live near, etc.
    6:23 PM – 6 Apr 2014

  4. Ametia says:

    Hello Everyone! Wonderful Sunday, been soaking up the sun and warmth today.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Hey Ta-Nehisi Coates, Pres Obama is No Paul Ryan
    By zizi2

    It is alarming, the increasing venom with which Atlantic Magazine’s ONLY black writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (TNC) has attacked President Obama (e.g. here, here, here and here) over what he calls the President’s embrace of the discourse of Black pathologies. He accused the President of being no different than Paul Ryan who made the offensive comments about “lazy inner city males.” In a nutshell, TNC’s beef is that whenever President Obama speaks to black audiences he resorts to admonitions about moral behavior instead of attacking the structural obstacles that White Supremacy has placed on black people since this country’s founding.

    TNC asked:

    “Paul Ryan’s explanation for urban poverty isn’t much different from Barack Obama’s. Why did it make liberals so angry?”

    He argues as head of the very government that has throughout its history, overseen the institutionalization of racist policies and physical harm to African Americans to this date, President Obama, as a black man, has even greater responsibility not to patronize and blame the victims of said policies. In a series of exchanges with Jonathan Chait (follow up rebuttal here) about his accusations against President Obama, TNC details the long history and examples of how White Supremacist ideology is not incidental to, but the very structuring principle of this country – from the well-known creation of American wealth out of black slave labor, to the denial of civil rights to black people, the redlining domicile and housing practices, social security limitations, and exclusion from the GI bill that shut them out of the budding Middle Class boom and wealth accumulation of the mid-20th century, to current freighting of criminalized black bodies through the profit-making prison industrial complex, and worse.

    History all true. And it is good for Coates to “blacksplain” it to his readers, many of whom commented that he had “opened their eyes.” But none of this history is news to any conscientious social justice activist, black, white, or brown. It certainly is no news to Professor Barack Obama who taught courses on race relations, civil rights, and the mechanics of POWER contests:

    ………………………………..

    TNC’s catalog of historical oppression is also no news to the Community Organizer Barack Obama. We know this because his fellow community organizers in Chicago attested to it in interviews preceding 2008 elections, also from David Remnick’s copious book The Bridge (2009), and because Barack Obama himself wrote about it nearly 20 years ago in Dreams from My Father in which he concluded from his own work with Altgeld Gardens residents in Chicago’s South Side, that protest, petitioning, and agitation have their place as mobilizers of communities, but structural change only happens by actually getting the reins of POWER, HOLDING that power, then ENACTING policies that benefit the community.

    …………………………………………………..

    So it is galling the dishonesty with which Coates leaps to accuse President Obama of tacitly endorsing the oppression of black people then blaming them, just like Paul Ryan has done, because PBO supposedly avoids TALKING about said structural obstacles (not true), in favor of moral exhortations. This juvenile logical fallacy is not only astounding, but Coates’s deliberate SILENCE on what President Obama has actually accomplished in office, the bulk of which directly benefits African Americans, other minorities, and disenfranchised groups, says a lot about TNC’s sterile thinking and worse! So he ends one of his pieces in this series in fashionable pessimism that:

    …………………………………………………………..

    1. The millions of Americans, including huge numbers of African Americans, previously shut out of that most basic human need – access to healthcare – who now have it, because President Obama fought and is still fighting tooth and nail for it at immense political cost. In case TNC does not know, the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is the ONLY Social Safety Net that was created with UNIVERSAL ACCESS built in from inception. That unprecedented sweep of the law is precisely the reason why the right-wing Roberts Court sabotaged the MANDATORY Medicaid expansion provision in the states and made it OPTIONAL. And we’ve seen how promptly GOP governors blocked that provision by cutting off more than 6 million people from access to affordable healthcare. Which population does Coates think is adversely affected by this wicked GOP act in majority southern states?

    As TNC himself noted Social Security and Medicare were passed and signed into law only after exclusions to minority participation were put in, to appease mostly southern racist lawmakers, and only after decades of tweaking did those 2 rails of the social safety net become available to all. Justice Roberts and fellow right wing ideologues are not focused on what President Obama says, but instead watch what he is DOING, and it spooks them into an existential war against him. TNC and emoprog ilk don’t see it because they are too busy indulging in fashionable post-modern angst/ennui.

    2. Tell that to the Pigford farmers who for the first time in several decades of petitioning successive administrations, got the money they had been cheated out of because the Obama administration moved to remedy a historical wrong.

    3. Tell that to those in the criminal justice system for drug related offences who’d suffered disparate sentencing compared to whites, that the Justice Department now treat with parity

    4. Tell that to HBCUs who got money for the first time, or the many communities including predominantly black communities that benefitted from the Stimulus in 2009 that put a floor under our recession

    http://theobamadiary.com/2014/04/06/hey-ta-nehisi-coates-pres-obama-is-no-paul-ryan/

  6. rikyrah says:

    Irrational Hatred Of Obamacare Is Hard To Fathom
    April 5, 2014 12:00 am

    y friend Isatou has just received an invoice from Kaiser Permanente, testament to her new coverage through the Affordable Care Act — usually called “Obamacare.” She’s thrilled to finally have health insurance so she can get regular checkups, including dental care.

    A reasonably healthy middle-aged woman, she knows she needs routine mammograms and screenings for maladies such as hypertension. But before Obamacare, she struggled to pay for those things. She once had to resort to the emergency room, which left her with a bill for nearly $20,000. (She settled the bill for far less, but it still left her deeply in debt.)

    She is one of more than 7 million people who have signed up for health insurance through the ACA, stark evidence of the overwhelming market demand. Despite a badly bungled initial rollout, a multimillion-dollar conservative media campaign designed to discourage sign-ups, and a years-long Republican crusade against it (50 votes to change the law), millions got health insurance.

    That hardly means Obamacare is a raging success. It’s much too early to know how it will affect health outcomes for the previously uninsured. But it’s abundantly clear that the ACA has already made great strides in improving access to health care. And that alone is quite an accomplishment.

    Now, young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until they are 26 years old — a boon in an economy where many young folks are struggling to find decent jobs. Now, patients with previously diagnosed illnesses (“pre-existing conditions,” in insurance lingo) can’t be denied coverage. Now, the chronically ill don’t have to worry about hitting a lifetime cap that would deny them essential procedures or pharmaceuticals. Now, working folks who don’t get insurance through their employers can purchase affordable policies.

    Factoring in the Medicaid expansion, the ACA has extended health care coverage to an additional 9.5 million people, according to the Los Angeles Times, which gathered data from national surveys. Needless to say, millions more would have been covered if so many Republican governors, mostly located in Southern states, had not callously refused to accept the Medicaid expansion despite the fact that it is largely paid through federal government funds.

    http://www.nationalmemo.com/irrational-hatred-obamacare-hard-fathom/

  7. rikyrah says:

    Nancy LeTourneau @Smartypants60

    Its going to be interesting to watch those who criticized PBO “from the left” come out in support of HRC in ’16, ie: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/qotw-hillary-clinton.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  8. rikyrah says:

    rootless @root_e

    Coates can cite Baldwin all he wants, but when Ryan made an openly racist speach, Coates attacked Barack Obama.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Affirmative action debate create rifts in ethnic communities
    By David E. Early and Katy Murphy
    POSTED: 04/05/2014 07:54:36 PM PDT

    The backlash by Chinese-American activists against a measure aimed at restoring affirmative action in the admissions process at California’s public universities has set off political fisticuffs between ethnic groups accustomed to battling side-by-side.

    In a state where Latinos — most of whom support SCA5, the proposed constitutional amendment — are about to become the largest ethnic group but where Asian-Americans take up nearly 40 percent of all University of California slots, the clash puts a spotlight on an evolving political landscape in which members of minority groups now overwhelmingly make up the majority of the state’s population.

    There are even schisms within the Asian-American community, where anger is directed at Chinese-Americans who say they support affirmative action in hiring, but fear its application at elite UC schools such as UC Berkeley and UCLA, which now admit fewer than one in five in-state freshman applicants. They say the policy will take precious university spots from their children and give them to Latinos, blacks and students from other Asian and Pacific Islander groups who currently have difficulty gaining access to state schools.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/immigration/ci_25505076/affirmative-action-debate-create-rifts-ethnic-communities

  10. rikyrah says:

    Jonathan Cohn: Obamacare Is Helping People Via Medicaid – Except In States Where Officials Are Fighting It

    Some new Obamacare information: As of the end of February, the number of Americans on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was 3 million higher than it was at the beginning of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period. It’s one more sign that the health care law is reducing the number of Americans without insurance significantly—although it doesn’t tell us by how much or whether, at year’s end, the reduction will live up to original projections. It’s also one more window into our growing geopolitical divide—between the part of America where officials are trying aggressively to help poor people get health insurance, and the part where officials are not. taking advantage of flexibility following the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, a large swath of mostly conservative states have opted not to expand eligibility.

    As a result, millions of low-income Americans living in these states remain with no viable source of comprehensive coverage. The story is different in states that have expanded Medicaid. That explains the new figures, which the Department of Health and Human Services released on Friday morning. In states expanding Medicaid, enrollment in the two programs rose by more than 8 percent. In states that haven’t expanded Medicaid, enrollment rose by just 1.8 percent. Presumably a lot of these people were already eligible for Medicaid but either didn’t know it or hadn’t decided to do it before they heard about Obamacare. Wonks call this the “woodworking” effect.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117268/hhs-says-obamacare-has-increased-medicaid-enrollment-3-million

  11. rikyrah says:

    Michael Hiltzik: A Look At How Many Obamacare Enrollees Were Uninsured: 5.4 Million

    As we observed earlier this week, one of the obsessions of opponents of the Affordable Care Act is the question of how many enrollees in Obamacare health plans already had insurance. The goal is to knock down the latest enrollment numbers by suggesting that most of the 7.1 million people enrolled through the individual insurance exchanges just moved from one insurance plan to another in a waste of time and effort. The real figure probably won’t be known for weeks, even months. But researchers at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center have weighed in with their own estimate. They’re figuring that the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 5.4 million from the first quarter of 2013 through early March this year.

    Their estimate is based on data from their March 2014 Health Reform Marketing Survey, which consists of public polling. Their finding is that the uninsurance rate for adults ages 18–64 was 15.2% for the nation in early March, a decline of 2.7 percentage points since September 2013, just before open enrollment on the exchanges began Oct. 1. ”This represents a gain in coverage for about 5.4 million adults,” they write. Although the Urban Institute figures aren’t keyed to the enrollment figures, it’s worth observing that if all those newly insureds were among those who signed up on the individual exchanges, that would mean that of the 7.1 million enrollees, 77% were previously uninsured.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-obamacare-enrollees-were-uninsured-20140403,0,3487004.story#axzz2xsdlUZSN

    • vitaminlover says:

      It is sad that people felt that they could not get insured. What suffering they must have gone through in their spirits and physically.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Derek Jeter Tries to Give a Young Fan a Ball When a Woman Tries to Snatch It; Jeter Wasn’t Having It (Video)
    By Brian Josephs | Apr 4, 2014 | 12:20 am | Permalink

    Derek Jeter’s female conquests–—his many, many female conquests—are well-known. He’s pretty tight-lipped about them though, so it’s not known what exactly does he look for in the opposite sex. A wild guess at what he’s not looking for: Jerks.

    The shortstop encountered one during a Friday game. Jeter tried to hand a kid a baseball when a fan tried to snatch it. The kid has to learn the world is a cruel, cruel place at some point, but Jeter said, “Not today, kid. Not today.” As his eyes glistened (you honestly can’t tell since you’re staring at his neck with this camera angle, but you’d like to think so), he held the ball outside the fan’s reach to give the kid the present. Can’t The Captain stay a Yankee forever?

    http://www.complex.com/sports/2014/04/derek-jeter-young-fan-ball

  13. rikyrah says:

    Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. transferred after prison dispute
    By MICHAEL SNEED AND LYNN SWEET Staff Reporters
    April 5, 2014 4:32PM

    Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been moved from a federal prison in North Carolina to a minimum-security prison camp in Montgomery, Ala., after clashing with prison officials and being placed in solitary confinement, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times.

    The 49-year-old former Chicago congressman had been advising other inmates in North Carolina about their rights in prison, according to the source, who said a guard took exception to that.

    As a result, the longtime South Side politician was placed in solitary confinement for four or five days more than a month ago, the source said.

    A hearing was held, the source said, and Jackson was cleared of any wrongdoing and asked for a transfer to another prison.

    The source said family members were concerned about Jackson’s welfare after the incident and went to visit him in prison

    http://www.suntimes.com/26661249-761/former-rep-jesse-jackson-jr-transferred-after-prison-dispute.html

  14. rikyrah says:

    Black Women Are Breaking Barriers But Still Not Getting Compensated For It

    By Bryce Covert on April 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Black women are graduating high school, attending college, participating in the labor force, and starting businesses at higher rates, but they still aren’t seeing the rewards of their hard work, according to a recent report from the Black Women’s Roundtable, the women’s initiative of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

    Young black women have increased their high school graduation rate by 63 percent over the past 50 years, more than tripling it and “virtually eliminating the gap with Asian women (down to 2%), and significantly narrowing the gap with white women (7%),” the report notes. That gap between the rates of black women and white women has shrunk from 22 percent in 1960. They’ve also decreased their dropout rates, particularly in recent years. In 2006, 12 percent of black women dropped out of high school, and that number has declined consistently since 2007, falling by more than 40 percent and reaching 6.4 percent in 2011.

    After they leave high school, black women have begun to dominate college. “Though all women lead their male counterparts in college enrollment and degree attainment,” the report says, “Black women do so at higher rates than any other group of women in America.” In 2010, they were 66 percent of all blacks who finished a Bachelor’s Degree, 71 percent with a Master’s, and 65 percent with a Doctorate.

    And they keep excelling after they graduate. “As they have from the beginning of their experience in America, Black women lead all women in labor force participation rates,” according to the report. Their labor force participation rate is higher than all other women, and that continues to be true even after they become mothers. They are also very entrepreneurial, starting businesses at six times the national average and representing the fastest growing segment of women-owned businesses. Black women own more than 1 million firms, employ 272,000 people other than themselves, and generate an estimated $44.9 billion in revenue.

    But even as they’ve been working harder on their educations and starting more businesses, black women aren’t seeing higher returns. While women working full-time, on average, make 77 percent of what men make, black women make 64 percent of what white men make. In 2010, single black women’s median wealth, or income and assets minus obligations, was just $100, compared to single white women’s $41,500. Almost half had zero or negative wealth. Even though they participate in the workforce at elevated rates, they are stuck in low paying work — they “are more likely than any group in America to work for poverty-level wages, thereby making them the most likely of all Americans to be among the working poor,” the report notes. They also experience high unemployment rates, with a 9.9 percent rate compared to 5.1 percent for white women.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/04/03/3422550/black-women-education-work/

  15. rikyrah says:

    it’s this simple.

    nobody is taking away his FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    but, FREEDOM CONTAINS RESPONSIBILITY.

    see,that’s what this is all about.

    he doesn’t want to accept the CONSEQUENCES of EXPRESSING HIS FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    same thing with the mofos who wanted to defend Dr. Laura.

    NOBODY said that she couldn’t say NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER.

    BUT, if there are FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES, in the marketplace for doing so,

    STFU and take it like a man.

    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    jds09

    Poor Josh…. the ways that people are complicating the Mozilla CEO thing fascinates me. Josh is struggling here…there’s an instinct to protect the white guy that goes bone deep. It seems that what he’s saying is “listen people, people make mistakes, forgive them.”

    It was simple for me, if I have a reasonable choice in the marketplace of what to do with my dollar, time and/or energy I will avoid the bigot.

    The vaulted marketplace spoke.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/a-few-thoughts-on-brendan-eich

  16. Good morning, everyone!

    Inspiration for today…

    Peter Pictures

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