Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sen. Max Baucus earns his healthcare industry contributions

Joan Walsh

On “The Ed Show” Monday night I said Montana Sen. Max Baucus had to decide whether he represented Montana or the insurance industry. Tuesday he made his choice, voting against both public option amendments to the health care reform bill in the Senate Finance Committee.

All the Democrats who voted against the public option should be ashamed, but Baucus most of all. The Senate Finance Committee chair’s reasoning was bizarre. According to Salon’s Mike Madden, whose coverage today was terrific, Baucus admitted “the public option would help hold insurance companies' feet to the fire,” then added, “But my first job is to get this bill across the finish line."

No, Sen. Baucus. Your first job is voting for what will work to extend health care to more Americans and reduce costs. (And Harry Reid, you might want to have a little talk with your boy from Montana, since it’s my understanding the Senate Majority Leader is in charge of getting the bill across the finish line.)

So let’s get this straight: Baucus admits the public option would “hold insurance companies’ feet to the fire,” but he voted against it? Is there any clearer evidence that Baucus is in the pocket of the health insurance industry? Between 2003 and 2008, according to the Washington Post, Baucus took $3 million from the health and insurance sectors, 20 percent of his total contributions. And he collected half of that money in just the last two years, as the committee he chaired began holding hearings on health care reform.


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Amazing Sand Animation

I dare you not to be moved.

h/t Blue Gal

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Carl Sagan - A Glorious Dawn

h/t Chubbs

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kirk "the Boy Toy" Cameron at it again

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're Number 37! HooRah!!

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Truth Behind the Public Option

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"What the Hell Did Van Jones Say?" or "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!"

Van Jones resigned from his mid-level environmental advisor role at the White House. He signed a birther petition and called Republicans some naughty words. He talks about white pollution being dumped in minority areas. And, he commented about white students shooting up schools.

His comments about white students have been touted as horrible racisim. Plenty of the faithful on Sarah Palin's Facebook Page were up-in-arms over them. You can watch the video here.

But, first read the transcript of the comments and forget it's a black man talking... forget Glenn "paints with poop" Beck got mad because Jones was instrumental in the Color of Change campaign that started the advertiser stampede.

If you read it, his comments kind of sound like a pitch to not ignore the problems and serious issues of young white males. I don't think he says there are no issues amongst minority youth, or to stop the programs helping minority youth.

Really bad commie bullshit here, huh?

Check it out:

Our young white males are suffering in this society, .. profoundly. Profoundly! And nobody is saying a word about it.

We’ll criminalize the black student; criminalize the black child, the Latino child. We’ll have this whole discussion are they animals? Are they not animals? Should we abuse them? Should we help them? Blah blah blah. And that young white boy is sitting there suffering.

You've never seen a Columbine done by a black child. Never. They always say, we can't believe it happened here, we can't believe it was these suburban white kids. It's only them!

Now, a black kid might shoot another black kid. He's not going to shoot up the whole school. My cousin's up in here, I ain't going to shoot the whole school, I might hit my cousin. I'm going to shoot you, though.

But these young white men will be in so much pain and so isolated, so (INAUDIBLE), they'll shoot up the entire school. Where is the concern? Where is the love? Where is the compassion for these young men?

Is it me? What do you think?

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Judge orders restoration of services to elderly and disabled adults

The Washington State Legislature went through a grueling session a few months ago. A several billion dollar shortfall necessitated drastic decisions. The Democratic Govenor, Democratic Senate, and Democratic House chose mostly deep cuts in services and no tax increases to solve the problem. There were many disappointed citizens. Even the Republican Party of No! was not happy in the end. But, many recipients of services and their families were devistated.

On Friday, a Judge ordered some services to be reinstated.

Here's the story:

By Christine Clarridge Seattle Times staff reporter

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered that the state restore Adult Day Health services to elderly and disabled people, at least temporarily.

District Court Judge Richard A. Jones issued an injunction to restore the benefits received by about 950 Washington adults who were cut off from nursing and therapy services as a result of statewide budget cuts to the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Citing extraordinary budget pressures, the state Legislature earlier this year cut funding for Adult Day Health, which provided social and medical therapy to vulnerable adults living at home or in community-residential services.

The cuts went into effect on July 1.

According to Louise Ryan, a spokeswoman for Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, however, the state violated federal Medicaid and due-process law by failing to give clients proper notice or seek replacement services for those affected.

"The sudden loss of skilled services has been devastating for many of these very frail and vulnerable people," Ryan said.

Ryan said that people who had lost their services should contact their Adult Day Health provider immediately.

The lawsuit was initially filed on behalf of 27 adults who had been cut off from the adult day-care services, but the judge certified the case as a class-action lawsuit.

DSHS has defended the cuts, saying that in these tough economic times the needs of vulnerable people must be weighed against those who have equal or greater needs.

In a written order released on Friday, Judge Jones said the injunction was temporary and the state could seek to make the cuts again once it gives recipients proper notice.

"The court also understands that certain budgetary decisions must be made that may adversely impact certain classes of our citizenry," Jones wrote. "The court will not, however, countenance such decisions when their implementation violates fundamental due-process rights. The record is clear that DSHS's termination actions did not comport with due process."

According to the ruling, DSHS must reinstate Adult Day Health benefits to all the adults who previously had been receiving benefits until the department is able to make meaningful reassessments of individual needs, issue timely notices of a reduction or termination in services and give information about alternative community-based support services.

The injunction is one of several that have been granted in response to the state's effort to cut services to vulnerable individuals.

In June, a U.S. District Court judge in Tacoma issued an injunction preventing the state from cutting the number of hours of in-home care provided to families who care for their special-needs children at home.

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