Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

An Act of Kindness – The Rest of The Story

I was never aware of what impact I had over the years in my family until my youngest son reminded me of what I had done on an evening in a store called Woodman’s located on the west side of Madison, WI. I was out of work and I was busy supplementing my income by gaffing up trees, cutting them down, and chipping wood. A job not requiring a lot of intelligence for a man with 4 degrees. I was deadly tired each day.

My 8 year old young son and I were waiting in line to check out with our groceries. The man in front of us had a loaf of bread, a half gallon of milk, and peanut butter. The cashier rang him up and gave him notice of what he owed. He plopped down his money and they stared at each other for the longest 15 seconds I ever experienced. He was short cash to pay. As the cashier reached into her pocket to pay the difference, I dropped a dollar on the conveyor. She took it and he left just taking a moment to look back at us. 25 years passed and my youngest son Craig in a conversation reminded me of what took place that day of something I had long forgotten. It was not important to me; but, my actions had an impact on him.

What makes this story in the picture interesting on USA Today and Crooks and Liars is an adult white male taking time to teach a young black male how to tie a regular tie as opposed to using a clip-on tie. The young man was scheduled to interview for a job and he needed to look the part. The Target employee took the time to teach how to and tie the tie as there were no clip-on ties at Target besides tutoring the young man in answering questions a prospect employer might ask him. Do you believe this young black male will remember the kindness an adult male showed him one day? Furthermore, is it possible in the future this young male might return a moment of kindness to another person who may need his help as a result of one person taking the time to help him regardless of gender, age, religion, and hue of skin? I am sure he will remember.

Perhaps, this gesture is little more than a person who sees the other as a person of equal stature and makes the effort to reach out with a moment of kindness.

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Shaken, Not Stirred: The Supreme neo-Framers (likely) will continue their perversion of the First Amendment speech clause tomorrow.

In an email this morning, Bill H asked me whether I know much about a case called Harris v. Quinn, in which the Supreme Court will announce the likely 5-4 majority’s ruling tomorrow.  I responded:

I know LOADS about it, Bill, and wrote about it–and about a bizarre comment by Alito during the argument on the case–right after the argument back in Jan. and have mentioned it two or three times since then.  It is really striking that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in order to consider the claim: that requiring public employees to pay a fee (not the full union dues, but instead some small percentage of the membership dues as compensation for the union’s legal obligations by which employees who opt out of membership nonetheless gain the benefits of the union contract (pay, benefits, job protections), violates the employee’s First Amendment speech rights.

But what’s downright stunning is that at the argument, Alito said he believed that the very existence of public-employee unions violates the First Amendment because–seriously; he said this–the non-member union-contract beneficiary might want small government.  This, from someone whose first official act as a justice was to join Kennedy (the opinion’s author), Scalia, Thomas and Roberts in ruling that a district attorney did not violate an assistant district attorney’s First Amendment speech rights by retaliating against him for writing an internal memo saying that he believed that a cop had falsified some evidence in obtaining a search warrant.  That opinion, in a case called Garcetti v. Ceballos, was and remains extremely controversial–it was shocking, really–and played a key role in a case, called Lane v. Franks, that the Court decided two weeks ago.

I suggested in my posts about Harris and about that comment by Alito’s during the argument that the non-union beneficiary of a public-employee union contract had the option of quitting his job or refusing the negotiated benefits in order to reduce the size of government.

I had predicted from the outset that the opinion in Harris would be issued on the same as the opinion in Hobby Lobby, so that news coverage of Hobby Lobby would overwhelm coverage of Harris, and I was right. Because of the way in which the Court divvies up majority-opinion-writing among the justices, it is clear that Alito was assigned to write the opinion in Harris.

There is a (very) outside chance that one justice changed his mind since the week of the argument (when the vote was taken and the majority-opinion-writing was assigned), and that someone other than Alito therefore is writing a 5-4 opinion rejecting the outrageous First Amendment claim.  Something sort of like that happened in a case called Bond v. US, argued last Oct. and decided [on Jun. 2], a case that they planned to use to advance their states’-rights juggernaut but instead ended up making an important statement about abuse of prosecutorial discretion–a ground on which they never, ever, would have even considered agreeing to hear the case (okay, maybe they would have, but only because the prosecutor was a federal one, not a state one; but even so, probably not).  In that case the actual outcome didn’t change, nor did the author of the opinion (Roberts), but the basis for the ruling, and the statement of law, changed significantly.

I call Bond the Stirred, Not Shaken opinion.  I have a theory about the reason for Roberts’ late change of heart, and I’ve been intending to post in-depth about it but haven’t yet.

I do expect an outrageous 5-4 opinion by Alito in Harris, though.

Yes, the undermining of public-employee unions–like state-courts’ rights to baldly violate individuals’ non-gun-ownership, non-religious, non-real-estate-regulation-er-takings constitutional rights, and to supersede Congress’s Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment powers to buttress, say, individuals’ voting rights–is definitely on the List of Circa 1983 Movement Conservative Legislation-via-Supreme-Court-Pronouncement THINGS TO GET DONE.

And done, these things will get. Now that the chief justice has expressly conceded that their end game has been all along a Court-mandated plutocracy in which legislators’ constituents are those who pay to become one, irrespective of any connection between the location of the constituent/benefactor’s voting residence and the legislator/beneficiary’s legislative district–now that these five justices have used the First Amendment speech clause to formally institute a poll tax, and redefined the term “constituent,” and therefore “democracy,” beyond former recognition*–it’s time for them to get back to other uses of the newly reconstructed First Amendment speech clause.  In the name of the Framers.

The original ones, of course!


*In his Apr. 2 opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC, Roberts redefined “constituent” as an American who, irrespective of place of residence, donates to a political campaigns in sufficient amounts to buy the candidate or incumbent’s proxy vote on legislation, and “democracy” as plutocracy.  The specific statement is:

[C]onstituents have the right to support candidates who share their views and concerns. Representatives are not to follow constituent orders, but can be expected to be cognizant of and respon­sive to those concerns. Such responsiveness is key to the very concept of self-governance through elected officials.

Ergo–voila! It’s official; we have a plutocracy.

Just in case you were wondering.

[Clarification added 6/29 at 5:08 p.m.]

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If the Justices “fail to recognize where their assumptions about society and technology break from the norm—or indeed, where they are making assumptions in the first place—we’re all in trouble.” Indeed.

  • At Crooks and Liars, Parker Higgins focuses on comments made by Chief Justice John Roberts during the oral argument in the cellphone privacy cases, in which the Chief Justice expressed skepticism that many law-abiding people carry more than one cellphone.  Higgins suggests that if the Justices “fail to recognize where their assumptions about society and technology break from the norm—or indeed, where they are making assumptions in the first place—we’re all in trouble.”

    — Monday Roundup, Amy Howe, SCOTUSblog, today

Via me; H/T this post by run75441 a.k.a. Bill H.

An important find, Bill.  And now maybe some people who actually matter will read Higgins’ post.

That’s quite a “money” quote. It transcends the issue in the two cellphone-privacy cases, and technology cases in general, and cuts to the heart of what’s wrong with the current Supreme Court. As things stand now, all of us who know that it’s no longer the 1980s or even the ’90s are in trouble.


NOTE: The Court’s argument schedule is completed for this term, and the Court is not scheduled to “sit” again until May 19, so unless it announces an opinion-release session that is not currently scheduled–which probably won’t happen, because these folks probably have full speaking/interview schedules until then–we get a two-week break from this stuff.

Thank heavens.  I mean, praise the Lord.


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Obamacare Enrollment Hits 7 Million, Putting Downward Pressure on 2015 Premiums; Word-of-Mouth Spreads the Truth

Maggie Mahar at The Health Beat Blog has been keeping track of the progress made by people in enrolling in the PPACA. Cross posted from The Health Beat Blog.

As the “train wreck” called Obamacare pulls into the station it’s becoming clear that some 7 million Americans are signing up to purchase insurance in the Exchanges. Ten days ago I went out on a limb and predicted that we would hit 7 million, if not by March 31, by early summer. Now it appears that we’ll break through that target by midnight.

Seven million was the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) initial estimate, but when the roll-out proved rocky, the administration lowered its expectations to 6 million. Reform’s opponents groused that this still was too optimistic, and before long the consensus estimate fell to 4 to 5 million. (Conservatives, who had helped lower the consensus, then accused Democrats of moving the goal-post to make it easier to claim success.)

Younger Americans Join the Pool

Who are these last-minute shoppers? According to the Wall Street Journal,carriers are beginning to report that many are under 40. Today, more insurers confirmed the trend. This should come as no surprise.

We always knew that people in their 50s and 60s would join the Exchanges first. Healthy 20-somethings and 30-somethings who rarely see a doctor would be in no rush to sign up. Why begin paying premiums before you have to?

Momentum Builds

Now, younger Americans are  jumping into the pool, and, most importantly, the pace of enrollments is building. Friday, March 28, Charles Gaba, the “numbers Geek” who has correctly predicted earlier enrollment milestones, wrote: “We’re in uncharted territory. . . Things are moving VERY quickly now, and events are quickly overtaking my ability to keep up.”  Yesterday (Saturday, March 29), Gaba hiked his March 31 estimate to 6.7 million, up from 6.22 million earlier in the week.

Keep in mind that, in most states, anyone who gets on line before the March 31 deadline, begins an application, and experiences technological difficulties, can complete that application in April.  By the time those late entries are tallied,enrollments will top 7 million. How high will they go? All bets are off.

Some in the Media Downplay the News

Inevitably, enterprising journalists are trying to distinguish themselves from their colleagues by finding a new angle on the story: “National Enrollment Looks OK, But States Matter More,” NPR’s Julie Rovner declared.

Newsweek’s Zach Schonfeld was downright snarky::Obamacare Reaches Its Target. Can We Stop Pretending That Number Matters Now?” According to Schonfeld, whether 6 million or 7 million people sign up, this is a “minor victory for the president.”

What Schonfeld fails to understand is that what matters is not the number of people who have enrolled in a particular state, but the momentum. The sudden surge suggests that as the number of people who have bought insurance reaches a critical tipping point, the public’s view of Obamacare is changing.

Indeed, a recent Kaiser Foundation study reveals that the public is warming to reform. Over the past two months the share of respondents who supported the ACA rose from 34% to 38%. Tellingly, since February, opposition among the uninsured has dropped 11%, while support had increased by 15%.

A significant majority oppose repealing Obamacare. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they wanted Congress to either “keep the law in place and work to improve it,” or simply “leave the law as is.”

What is happening?  Over the past two months, as more Americans bought coverage, they began talking to friends and relatives who, until now, didn’t know who or what to believe about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now those friends are learning about premiums and generous government subsidies from people they know and trust. At last, the fog of disinformation is lifting, and the reality of Obamacare is sinking in.

By early summer, we’ll see the effect even in states where enrollments have lagged. Just in the past two days, sign-ups in Red States have surged. Who knows? Maybe the mainstream media will replace anecdotes about “Obamcare’s victims,”  with the facts that people need to know..

Today Kaiser’s polling shows that about one-third of the uninsured are not aware that the law includes subsidies that could help them buy insurance. Forty percent to 50% don’t know about the most popular provisions of the law: the guarantee that people cannot be denied coverage–or charged more– because of pre-existing conditions; the expansion of Medicaid ;and  the rule eliminating out-of-pocket costs for preventive care.

Perhaps our newspapers and networks will begin tospread the word that, thanks to government subsidies,  millions of people who will be able to buy a “zero-premium policy.”

Who Knew That Insurance Could Be Free?

That’s right. What most people don’t know—and what Fox News hasn’t been telling them–is that that roughly 6.5 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance without paying a penny.  The insurance will cost them nothing because the tax credit that they receive from the government will cover the entire cost of a bronze plan.

Who will qualify? In the fall Credit Suisse published a table revealing that, in many states:

  • an individual earning somewhere between $11,490 and $20,100;
  • a family of three with joint income under $34,170; 
  • and a family of four earning less than  $41,200

will be able to find a $0 premium bronze policy.

McKinsey & Co, a leading global management consulting firm, agrees, and estimates that roughly half of those 6.5 million will be under 39.

Even if a family’s household income is somewhat higher, many will discover that, after applying the government subsidy, health insurance may well cost significantly less than their monthly cable bill.

Based on that analysis, back in September,  Credit Suisse’s Ralph Giacobbe predicted that “affordability may not be a roadblock” to achieving the CBO projection that 7 million people will buy insurance in the exchanges in 2014. “Simply put,” he wrote, “we don’t see any logical reason why anyone in this population wouldn’t take free healthcare coverage vs. remaining uninsured.”

But, Giacobbe added, much will depend on “education, outreach and logistics /IT.”

As we all know logistics/IT didn’t work out very well—though as time passes, that matters less and less. (Granted, even today, there were computer glitches, but they were fixed quickly) And it’s clear that his month’s outreach effort worked. Going  forward I believe that word-of-mouth will continue to drive “education.”

A “Tipping Point”

Many of us who had read the law knew that once people experienced Obamacare, they would like it. Now I think we have reached that threshold where “an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, ‘tips’, and spreads like wildfire. Just enough people have signed up, and are happy with the policies that they have found, that others are learning the truth about the Affordable Care Act.

In the months ahead it will become harder and harder for reform’s opponents to confuse the public with half-truths and outright lies. People will say, “But that’s not what happened to my brother, or my neighbor next door.”

Desperate Deniers

Little wonder,  reform’s opponents are getting desperate. In a last-ditch effort to deny reality, they are claiming that we can’t count someone as enrolled unless they have paid their first month’s premium.

But as Gaba explains, “the percentage of enrollees who haven’t paid that initial premium “is a rolling average. People who enrolled between 2/16 and 3/15 don’t even start coverage until April 1st, while anyone who enrolls between 3/16 – 3/31 won’t start coverage until May 1st.

“In many cases, their first month’s premium won’t even be due until up to 6 weeks or more after they enroll. . . it’s silly to write these people off as deadbeats. The vast majority of these will eventually be paid up; it’s just that we won’t have confirmation of many of them until well into May.”

After all, how many people do you know who pay their bills before they get them? How many pay two or three weeks before they are due?

2015 Premiums

Finally, as enrollments soar, what will this mean for Exchange premiums in 2015? Will they really “sky-rocket” as so many for-profit insurers want us to believe?

No. Climbing enrollments will mean larger, more diverse pools which, in turn, will attract more carriers vying for market share. Because of the way the Exchanges are designed, they will have to compete on price.

But that’s my next post.

– See more at: Maggie Mahar, The Health Beat Blog

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Student Debt is Challenging the Reason for Getting that Long Sought After College Degree

What has changed for many of the college educated is finding themselves in debt longer than their parents were after college, being penalized for having student debt when going to buy homes, cars, etc., and in the end having less wealth and a lower salary when compared to those without a college education.

One reader’s comment. “I’ve been meaning to write back, but a large number of days on the road takes precedence. I disagree about the relevance of my experience working endless shit jobs while living in crappy apartments and eating pb&j to pay back my loans. That said, I do respect your opinion, and I hope you continue to share your thoughts about how entirely fucked up our priorities are as a Nation when it comes to education.

As my father who is in his late sixties recently said to me “sorry your generation got screwed”, something I’m quite cognizant of as I lose twenty grand selling a home to pursue a career. In the meantime, time to bust some ass and take care of what is in our power to affect. Patrick “Ripping Off College Students Economic Future”

The argument for a college education has always been the earning potential the 4-year degree holder has as opposed to those without a 4-year college degree. As more and more students have trouble buying into the Middle Class with the degree they have earned because of the overwhelming debt, the value of a college education has come into question considering the debt load carried by college graduates. What has changed in the last decade is tuition increases outstripping the cost of healthcare, the decline in state support for colleges, and the increased use of credit cards, home equity, and retirement account borrowing to fund college education. What remains after the piece of paper is passed out at graduation day is debt remaining with the student into his thirties and sometimes well into their forties.

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The PPACA Penalty Fee in 2014 Misinformation

A lot of people think that all they have to pay is $95 in 2014 to get around the PPACA. The $95 penalty is true if you make < $19,650 in Household  income and this comes after your deduction of $10,150. The individual shared responsibility payment is capped at the cost of the national average premium for the bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014.

The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of 2 ways. You’ll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:

  • 1% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, $10,150 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.

  • $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.

The way the penalty is calculated, a single adult with household income below $19,650 would pay the $95 flat rate. A single adult with household income above $19,650 would pay an amount based on the 1 percent rate. (If income is below $10,150, no penalty is owed.)

The Individual Shared Responsibility Payment – An IRS Overview

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“Never predict anything, especially the future,” as Casey Stengel wisely said. “But let’s look, instead, at the past.”

Usually, I would leave this type of post to the Steves, Jazz, Ken, Roberts, Edwards, Mikes, Thomas, etc. of Angry Bear Blog and stick to my manufacturing expertise to which flow the big bucks for me; but, this is in laymen’s terms and it makes sense to me at least.  Arend Brett’s latest article on Market Watch “Are We Ready For Deflation” points to deflation rather than the inflation as being the threat to the US economy today. Brett appears (in my best LSS lingo) to suggest deflation is a bigger threat to the US economy.

Albert Edwards at SG Securities believes one fact-based inflation indicator is undershooting the better known ones, such as the regular PCE and the CPI. He adds the indicator is undershooting both of the other indicators more over time.  The forces of potential deflation are all around us with retailers such as Staples, Radio Shack, Penneys, Macys, Sears, Aéropostale, Coldstone, etc. announcing since the start of this year they were closing stores. Some of this is to meet the move towards more internet sales; but as Brett points out it plays hell with commercial rents and retail wages. Having returned from a trip to the area around Shanghai and Shanghai itself, China; the amount of infrastructural building going on to maintain its work force is phenomenal and much of it remains empty. “China is driving down its exchange rate in a bid to keep the factories turning faster and faster.” C&U (Eight plus One) and Tontech have huge $multi-billion investments in plants which are mostly running at a small portion of potential capacity. “There is a giant sucking sound as “quantitative easing” money gets withdrawn from emerging markets, and there are alarming signs that debt bubbles in some of those markets may be about to pop (again). “

The West appears to believe deflation is something unlikely to happen very much like the collapse of Wall Street and TBTF in 2008. We did remove all the safe guards Glass Steagall and a part of the National Bank Act provided regulating banks joining with investment firms and investing on Wall Street. Who would have thought “irrational exuberance” would have been the warning of the decade coming from the man most responsible for creating it? After all, these are reasonable men, why would they endanger their livelihood?

Nobody expected the Japanese to slide into a decade or so of deflation, yet they did as the chart below shows. “The first chart today shows the consumer price index in Japan in the run-up to its ‘infamous bubble’ in the late 1980s and there after. Deflation crept up on Japan slowly. There was even a big head-fake in 1996-7, a short-term bounce in inflation before things headed down again. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the path of the market-based PCE here in the west in recent years looks ominously similar. “


In the 1990s the conventional wisdom in Japan was to ‘short’ the Japanese Government Bonds—betting that inflation would pick up, interest rates would rise, and the bonds would fall in price. A generation of money managers got hosed. Prices flattened, and then fell. Interest rates fell with them. Bond prices boomed.”

Could America follow suit? The same as the Japanese money managers, US money managers believe bonds are over valued and bet inflation will pick up; but with the Fed tapering it buy, bond prices have done the opposite. Treasuy Bonds have done the opposite and the yields have come down. Hey, it is a good conversational piece and minus the models.

reference: Arend Brett; Market Watch; “Are We Ready For Deflation”

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No Money from Old Men

During the late sixties, myself and a bunch of other older teenagers 18 years and older arrived at McAfees on Van Buren in Chicago, IL. Quite a few of us were drafted. I enlisted in the USMC at the age of 19 without knowing completely what my life was going to be like for the next 3+ years except for what my Master Gunnery Sergeant cousin gave a clue to. Fast forward to a few years ago and my young nephew whose father has pretty much left alone wants to volunteer.  A family friend encourages him while I try to talk him out of it. The memories are still fresh.

I do not know why the Republicans and the Tea-baggers are holding Veterans hostage. Many are old men like I am. Many could not run a mile much less carry a rifle and a pack. Too many of them are too willing to send too many young men to war. The same old men are unwilling to give money to help those they sent to war without strings attached. These Senators will not fix what they broke.



Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Enzi (R-WY)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kirk (R-IL)
Lee (R-UT)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)

To hell with the lot of you.

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How A CBS Video About An Obamacare Victim Misled Millions – Part 2 (What the ‘Victim’ Revealed in Our Final Interview)

run75441: This portion of a report by Maggie Mahar at The Health Beat Blog is a masterful piece of investigative reporting doing much of the groundwork which CBS should have performed well before going to broadcast or publication. You can begin to see how much of the news concerning the PPACA is being manipulated and distorted through media reporting without checking the facts of the story and the credibility of those interviewed both of which support the report. This is a follow-up to Part 1 Why Are So Many Americans Confused About Obamacare? How a Video Produced by CBS’ Washington Bureau Misled Millions


“Woman Battling Kidney Cancer Losing Company Health Plan Due To Obamacare.”

Maggie: That was the headline on a story that CBS’ Washington Bureau sent to its affiliates last fall.  CBS correspondent Susan McGinnis narrates the piece: “During the 10 years that Debra Fishericks has worked at Atkinson Realty, the company has provided group health insurance with manageable premiums,” McGinnis explains –“until owner Betsy Atkinson learned the policy would be terminated because it doesn’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

“Debra has scoured the website looking for a new policy,” McGinnis adds, referring to, but “so far, she cannot afford the premiums.”

“They (premiums) just keep going up higher and higher when there is a pre-existing condition,” says Fishericks.

McGinnis wraps up the story: “Debra hopes that eventually she will find a plan that fits her budget so that she can still makes trips to Indiana –to visit her grandson.”

The camera then turns to Fishericks, sitting at her desk, looking at a photo of her grandson.

“If I can’t go to see him—that’s the worst,” she says.  And she begins to cry.

I was astonished: I thought most people understood that, under the Affordable Care Act, insurers can no longer charge a customer more because she suffers from a pre-existing condition. Later, when I interviewed Fishericks, I realized that she honestly believed she was going to have to pay more for coverage because she had been diagnosed with cancer. Like a great many Americans, she didn’t understand how the ACA would protect her. Given how hard Obamacare’s opponents have worked to obscure the law’s benefits, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised.

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The News – Just Click on the Link “For the Rest of the Story”

– Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia called on Congress to repeal The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a 1986 law requiring hospitals to provide emergency health care treatment to anyone who needs it. It requires hospitals to provide stabilizing care to anyone regardless of race, nationality, or ability to pay. Calling it an onerous law, Governor Deal says “it is costing way too much money and just let poor people die.” In case you have forgotten. Gov. Nate Deal is one of those Governors who rejected the PPACA expansion of Medicaid which would cover those too poor to pay. One other aspect of the PPACA which is not mentioned often, is it begins to cut payments to hospitals for uncompensated healthcare by patients as they would be covered either through the individual exchanges or Medicaid. Governor Deal has placed Georgia hospitals between a rock and a hard place by rejecting the Medicaid Expansion leaving many no other recourse but to close.

“If they really want to get serious about lowering the cost of health care in this country, they would revisit another federal statute that has been there for a long time,” Deal said. “It came as a result of bad facts, and we have a saying that bad facts make bad law.” Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia

Seems the elderly Governor also blamed Meteorologists for failing to notify him of the coming ice storm recently. Unless he is loaded, thank goodness for Medicaid as it is the only provision which will supply Nursing Home care in case he becomes disabled to to Alzheimer disease.

Me: Maybe Governor Deal and the Louisiana State Representative Josh Miller whose life was saved (at 23 years of age and uninsured) and made more mobile through Medicaid and Medicare to discuss how to cut benefits for the uninsured? They both want to do so.

ht. Crooks and Liars   Georgia’s Republican Gov. Wants to Save Money by Not Allowing People to Receive Emergency Care!


– A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago. If true, the revelations cast new light on the $1 billion lawsuit filed by the sailors against Tokyo Electric Power. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy.

Me: It was bad enough getting shot at and almost blown up, now you are expected to be radiated while on a humanity mission.

ht. Crooks and Liars   Report: Navy Knew USS Regan was Seriously Contaminated by Fukushima during a humanity visit to assist


– Goldberg: But if you open a shop on Main Street open to the general public then you have to really serve the general public and you can’t say I’m not going to serve these people but I’m going to serve those people. And a lot of the people—

Bream: Why not? Why not? I mean this is America, we all have freedoms. Why would you do business with somebody, no matter what your personal issue was that they had with you, why would you wanna force them to do business with you? Why not just go down the street and spend my money with somebody who supports me and is kind to me and wants to help me and provides these services for me.

Goldberg explained to her why the blacks that staged the Greensboro sit-ins were real American heroes.

Me: Maybe a little dose of the sixties may enlighten them? Where is the WABAC Machine when you need it Mr. Peabody?

ht. Crooks and Liars  Fox Anchorblonde; Why Can’t Businesses Discriminate Against Gays?


– ABC is reporting that Senate GOP-ers have blocked the veterans bill from moving forward to a vote. The bill needed 60 votes to proceed, but the final tally was 56-41.

Although agreement on the need to expand benefits for veterans is usually a bipartisan issue, it was the amount of spending in the bill in which Republican senators had a problem.

Me: This is a part of the you broke them, you fix them ideology. If you are going to have a war, then you owe them or do not go to war.

ht. Crooks and Liars  Patriotic GOP Blocks Veterans Benefits Bill!


– Exxon Mobil’s CEO has joined a lawsuit to stop construction of a water tower near his home that would be used to in the fracking process to drill for oil.

While fracking — hydraulic fracturing of rock to release pockets of oil — has raised complaints from environmentalists around the country, Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson’s opposition to a project in his own neighborhood is interesting, given how deeply Exxon Mobil is involved in the process.

Tillerson appeared at a Town Council meeting in Bartonville, Tex., the wealthy enclave near his Dallas home last November to join in the protest over the water tower, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Me: No oil tankers going by his house either, I’ll bet.

ht: Hullabaloo/Bradblog   Speaking of letters … by digsby


– Do you hear that deafening silence? That’s the sound of the sky-is-falling inflation bears’ embarrassment by events that have totally contradicted their every prediction. The destruction of the middle class, the rise in income inequality, and continued wage declines have produced an extremely low-inflation economy, much to the chagrin of conservative “experts.”

It’s almost as if allowing obscenely rich people to have all the money, and creating a world in which companies requiring little startup capital and employing only 53 people can make $13 billion, might produce deflationary economic results with little circulation and growth.

Who knew? Aside from anyone with an ounce of sense, that is?

Me:  Still hasn’t stopped banks from hiking interest rates in anticipation of that first dollop of ketchup.

ht. Hullabaloo, David Atkins   The inflation bears get another sharp stick in the eye, courtesy WhatsApp


– Over the years I’ve posted about the direct through line from racism to anti-abortion zealotry, using the manipulation of religion, particularly the Southern evangelical churches, to get the job done. Today, they are pushing a “religious liberty” strategy to roll back abortion rights and allow discrimination against gay people.

Here, Ian Millhiser goes back to the Jim Crow era to show how religious “liberty” was used as an excuse for racism in the first place:

[W]hile LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as “religious liberty,” they are hardly the first. To the contrary, as Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay animus. In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, “our Southern segregation way is the Christian way . . . . [God] was the original segregationist.”

ht. Hullabaloo digsby  Using religious “liberty” as an excuse to hate on others is as American as apple pie


– You wouldn’t know it from the political conversations happening in the United States and Australia, but the world’s scientists are speaking loud and clear. The debate is over, and it’s long past time to act:

Two of the world’s most prestigious science academies say there’s clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change.

The time for talk is over, says the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the UK.

The two released a paper, Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, written and reviewed by leading experts in both countries, lays out which aspects of climate change are well understood and where there is still uncertainty and a need for more research.

ht. Hulabaloo “thereisnospoon

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