Tag Archives: Arkansas

Meet Butch Matthews, A Republican Who Came To Love Obamacare After Realizing It Will Save Him $13,000

61-year-old Butch Matthews, left, with his wife Debbie

I imagine this scene will play out all over the country with those folks who listened to the right-wing fear mongering machine.

Think Progress

Butch Matthews is a 61-year-old former small business owner from Little Rock, Arkansas who used to wake up every morning at 4 A.M. to deliver canned beverages to retailers before retiring in 2010. A lifelong Republican, he was heavily skeptical of the Affordable Care Act when it first passed. “I did not think that Obamacare was going to be a good plan, I did not think that it was going to help me at all,” he told ThinkProgress over the phone.

But after doing a little research, Matthews eventually realized how much the law could help him. And on Tuesday, his local Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) provider confirmed that he would be able to buy a far better plan than his current policy while saving at least $13,000 per year through Arkansas’ Obamacare marketplace.

quotes-18Matthews was self-employed between 1997 and 2010, meaning he had to purchase his own plan on the individual market. He chose a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan for himself and his wife that charged a $250 per month premium and had a $2,000 deductible. But the price of that policy kept rising even as it covered fewer of his costs, eventually devolving into his current rate of $1,069 per month with a $10,000 deductible. At this point, it doesn’t even cover his medication or doctors’ visits — particularly concerning considering he had to have two stents placed in his heart in 2006.

“I do not work now, I’m 61, and we do have assets saved up. But still, to come up with that $1,069 per month….” he said, trailing off. “I went to Blue Cross Blue Shield, and they don’t even sell that plan anymore, but I could not change it to anything else. So I was locked in with it.”

That all changed once Obamacare’s state-level marketplaces opened to the public on Tuesday. Matthews knew that, at his income level, the law would help him pay for insurance. But even he might not have expected just how good of a deal he could get: his new coverage will cost him absolutely nothing in monthly premiums after factoring in federal subsidies, and has a deductible of $750.

“Which is a lot different from $10,000,” he pointed out, laughing.

The mid-level “Silver” policy that he picked out also offers a significantly better benefits package. “It’s a lot better plan,” Matthews said. His old plan was considered to be “Bronze” and had much higher co-pays. Under Obamacare, when Matthews visits a doctor, it will no longer cost him around $150. It will cost $8.

quotes-19So what would Matthews tell other Americans who are skeptical about Obamacare? “I would tell them to learn more about it before they start talking bad about it,” he noted. “Be more informed, get more information, take your time and study and not just go by just what you hear on one side or the other. Actually check the facts on it.”

“I still am a very strong Republican, but this… I’m so happy that this came along,” he continued. “Our home is paid for, vehicle’s paid for, this is our expense that we have. We have more expense on medical care than everything else put together, so this is going to be a great help for us.”


Filed under Affordable Care Act

In Just Three Months, States Proposed An Astonishing 694 Provisions About Reproduction

Think about that for a second.  A majority of male politicians across the country have proposed over 690 provisions about reproduction.  It’s amazing and horrifying all at once…

Think Progress

In the first quarter of 2013, states have proposed 694 provisions related to a woman’s body, how she gets pregnant, or how she chooses to end that pregnancy.

A new report released on Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute takes a comprehensive look at how the War on Women has continued past the election cycle and into 2013. It shows that the new legislatures across the country are still very much dedicated to restricting sex education, availability of medication, and abortion access for women. Indeed, 47 percent of the 694 provisions were directly related to abortion:

During the first three months of 2013, legislators in 14 states introduced provisions seeking to ban abortion prior to viability. These bans fall into three categories: measures that would prohibit all abortions, those that would ban abortions after a specified point during the first trimester of pregnancy and those that would block abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization (the equivalent of 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period, the conventional method physicians use to measure pregnancy). All of these proposals are in direct violation of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Legislators in 10 states have introduced proposals that would ban all, or nearly all, abortions. In eight states (AL, IA, MS, ND, OK, SC, VA and WA), legislators have proposed defining “personhood” as beginning at conception; if adopted, these measures would ban most, if not all, abortions.

Seven states are edging closer to achieving full approval for laws that would reduce or essentially eliminate abortion access.

Enforcing unconstitutional abortion laws isn’t just a threat to women’s rights — it’s also costly to the states caught up in legal battles. Last year, Kansas spent $628,000 defending its unconstitutional abortion restrictions. North Dakota is in the middle of spending $400,000 to defend its ban, and Arkansas is set to do the same.

But if the number of proposed abortion restrictions is discouraging, the upside of the Guttmacher report is that states are moving toward the prevention of unintended pregnancy through sex education: It finds that two states — Montana and North Dakota — are pushing for more restrictive, less informative sex education laws, but that both Colorado and Hawaii are pushing for more comprehensive, inclusive, and scientific sex education for students. Colorado’s would even prohibit abstinence-only instruction, which has been proven to be more harmful than effective. ThinkProgress’s own survey of state legislation has found a total of five states that, like Colorado, are pushing for better sex ed. These findings track with popular opinion that increasingly recognizes the value of sex education.


Filed under Abortion, Abstinence, Sex Education

10 things you need to know today: April 11, 2013

An ultra thin Samsung Notebook Series 9 laptop computer, left, running Microsoft Windows 8, sits next to an Apple Macbook Air.

G-8 leaders discuss how to handle North Korea, PC sales plummet, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

The Week

Top diplomats from the G-8 group of nations are meeting in London on Thursday, and Japan is calling for a show of solidarity against North Korea, following reports that the country’s military has moved a mobile missile launcher into a firing position. South Korean officials say the odds are “very high” that the North, which has been threatening nuclear war, is on the verge of launching a missile test. Despite the ongoing threats, however, North Korea has begun welcoming visitors ahead of Monday’s celebration of the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the founding father of the country’s communist dynasty — the first sign of easing tension in weeks. [IndependentBBC News]

Police killed a gunman and freed four suburban Atlanta firefighters he allegedly took hostage when they responded to a 911 call from a man who claimed to be having a heart attack on Wednesday. After a standoff that lasted several hours — during which the man let a fifth firefighter leave — a SWAT team used “flash-bang” grenades to distract the gunman and stormed his house. The suspect was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire, and one officer was wounded. The firefighters sustained cuts and scrapes from the explosions. Police said the gunman had financial troubles, and was demanding that his power, cable TV, and cellphone be turned back on. [CNN]

Missouri officials declared a state of emergency Wednesday night after tornadoes and violent thunderstorms destroyed homes and businesses outside St. Louis and across the state. In Arkansas, at least three people were injured, three houses were flattened, and dozens more buildings were damaged by the same storm system. The storms popped up along the line where a cold front smashed into warm, humid air, leaving a 40-degree temperature difference in Arkansas on opposite sides of the boundary — Pine Bluff, in southeastern Arkansas, was at 80 degrees, and Fayetteville, in the northwestern corner, was at 40 degrees, according to Weather.com. [NBC News]

Dr. Ben Carson, who’s enjoying sudden popularity as a conservative speaker, said Wednesday that he’s canceling plans to speak at Johns Hopkins University’s graduation ceremony because of a controversy over remarks he made recently against gay marriage. Carson said two weeks ago that traditional marriage is a “well-established, fundamental pillar of society, and no group — be they gays… be they people who believe in bestiality” — should be allowed to change how it’s defined. Students petitioned to have him removed as commencement speaker. Carson said he was stepping aside so the controversy wouldn’t “distract from the true celebratory nature of the day.” [Washington Post]

Sales of personal computers dropped by 14 percent in the first three months of 2013 compared with the same period last year, according to newly released figures from research firm IDC, and some analysts are blaming Microsoft’s Windows 8 for the slump. With the economy improving somewhat, analysts had expected a decline of just 7.7 percent. The October release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 was also expected to boost PC sales. But the software got a lukewarm reception and appears to have actually hurt sales by confusing PC users, IDC says. [Telegraph]

Sally Jewell sailed to confirmation as President Obama’s new interior secretary on Wednesday, with an 87 to 11 vote in the Senate. All of the senators who opposed her were Republicans. Jewell, chief executive of outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment Inc., will replace outgoing Ken Salazar as overseer of the nation’s 500 million acres of national parks and other public lands, as well as more than a billion acres offshore. One of her first challenges will be finalizing a proposed rule requiring companies drilling for oil and gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Energy companies complained that an original draft of the rule placed too many burdens on them. [Boston Globe]

Paleontologists in China have discovered the world’s oldest dinosaur embryos, researchers reported in Nature on Wednesday. The fossilized remains were found in a bone bed dating to the Early Jurassic period, making them about 195 million years old. Most known dinosaur embryos date to the Late Cretaceous period, so the find pushes the record back by 100 million years. The researchers believe the newly discovered remains were those of a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur called Lufengosaurus, which grew to 30 feet. “These things were growing faster than anything we’ve ever seen — faster than any living mammal or bird today or any known dinosaur,” said paleontologist Robert Reisz of the University of Toronto at Mississauga, who led the team that analyzed the specimens. [Nature]

Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are recalling more than 3.4 million vehicles worldwide to fix a problem with their passenger-side air bags. The cars were manufactured between 2000 and 2004, and were fitted with air bags made by Japan’s Takata Corp. that have an inflator that could burst, sending plastic pieces flying. No injuries have been reported, but Toyota — which is recalling several models, including the Corolla, Tundra, and Lexus SC — said it had received five reports of air-bag malfunctions. The problems stemmed from two human errors — a worker forgot to turn on a system for spotting defects, and some parts were exposed to too much humidity because they were improperly stored. [CBS News]

A hermit who lived in the Maine woods for 27 years has been arrested and charged with the latest in a series of more than 1,000 burglaries he allegedly committed to stay alive since disappearing into the wilderness at age 19. Police say they caught Christopher Knight — known as the North Pond Hermit — last week after he tripped a sophisticated surveillance device while breaking into the Pine Tree Camp in Rome, Maine, to take meat and other provisions. Knight, 47, had a tent in the woods, and allegedly routinely pilfered provisions from other campsites and nearby buildings. Police say he confessed to stealing food, clothing, and propane tanks from the Pine Tree Camp 50 times. “He used us like his local Walmart,” said facilities manager Harvey Chesley. [Columbus Dispatch]

China pulled Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained from movie theaters on Thursday, its opening day. The move was unexpected, as some violent scenes were edited to suit Chinese censors. Authorities gave no explanation for the decision, although workers at two Beijing theaters told The Associated Press the importer, China Film Group, had pulled the film over technical problems. The film was heavily promoted ahead of the scheduled China debut, and no decision has been announced on when it will be cleared to appear in theaters. [New York Times]

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Filed under 10 things you need to know today

Ark. campaign manager’s cat slaughtered

It doesn’t matter about one’s political affiliation, there are just some people (sociopaths) in this world who are simply depraved and despicable in their behavior.

This is one such case…


The campaign manager for an Arkansas House Democratic candidate found his cat slaughtered with the word “liberal” painted on its corpse.

Ken Aden’s congressional campaign said Monday that Jacob Burris arrived home Sunday evening with his family to discover the gruesome scene and that local police are investigating.

“To kill a child’s pet is just unconscionable.  As a former combat soldier, I’ve seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity. Whoever did this is definitely part of the worst of humanity,” Aden said in a release, pointing the finger at a “rogue individual or group” not associated with his opponent.

Aden is challenging freshman Republican Steve Womack in northwest Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District, one of the most Republican districts in the country.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Herman Cain: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Should ‘Go Home And Get A Job And A Life’

I suggest that the very ignorant and narcissistic Mr. Cain do the same…go home.

The Huffington Post

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain shot down the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street protesters Thursday, telling them to “go home and get a job and a life” while speaking to a crowd in Arkansas.

The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza made the comments in response to more than a dozen Occupy protesters who were gathered outside the event, according to the Tolbert Report. “Nobody knows what their cause is,” Cain said before telling the activists to go home.

Cain also had harsh words for the left in general during the campaign stop, saying “the American dream has been hijacked” by liberals, “but we can take it back.”

This isn’t the first time Cain has blasted the Occupy protests. In a Wall Street Journal interview from early October, Cain said the protesters who don’t have jobs have no one to blame but themselves:

“I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! … It is not a person’s fault if they succeeded, it is a person’s fault if they failed.”

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Filed under Herman Cain


Little Rock is Arkansas' capital and most popu...

Image via Wikipedia

Think Progress

A high school student in Arkansas was blocked from receiving sole valedictorian honors this summer, despite earning the highest G.P.A. in her class and receiving only a single B in her four years at McGehee Secondary School.

Kymberly Wimberly’s offense? She’s black. School administrators worried that Wimberly’s accomplishment would result in a “big mess” at the majority-white school, so Principal Darrell Thompson told the student’s mother “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” even though the white student had a lower G.P.A.

The matter is currently pending in federal court.


Filed under Uncategorized

Mike Huckabee Responds to Criticism Over Natalie Portman, Obama Comments

Mike Huckabee giving a speech following the So...

Image via Wikipedia

Daily Beast

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pulled back Tuesday a bit from his comments about President Obama’s childhood and Natalie Portman’s pregnancy, and blamed the criticism and backlash on the media’s portrayal of the events.

On his comments regarding the president growing up in Kenya, Huckabee said they “ranged from—this guy is so dumb he doesn’t know that Barack Obama grew up in Indonesia not Kenya—all the way to the other extreme… well I can’t be both. I can’t be the dumbest guy in the room and the smartest guy in the room at the same time.”

As for his comments about Oscar winner Natalie Portman’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy, Huckabee said he did not bring the topic up and was only talking about her to segue into a discussion about “the economic realities of unwed mothers.”


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Filed under Mike Huckabee

Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Sweden, Millions Of Dead Fish Found In Maryland, Brazil, New Zealand

Huffington Post

UPDATE: Wildlife officials say that even more previously unreported dead birds were found in Kentucky last week.

Millions of dead fish surfaced in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., Tuesday, while similar unexplained mass fish deaths occurred across the world in Brazil and New Zealand. On Wednesday, 50 birds were found dead on a street in Sweden. The news come after recents reports of mysterious massive bird and fish deaths days prior in Arkansas and Louisiana.

The Baltimore Sun reports that an estimated 2 million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay, mostly adult spot with some juvenile croakers in the mix, as well. Maryland Department of the Environment spokesperson Dawn Stoltzfus says “cold-water stress” is believed to be the culprit. She told The Sun that similar large winter fish deaths were documented in 1976 and 1980.

ParanaOnline reports that 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish have washed up in Brazilian fishing towns since last Thursday. The cause of the deaths is unknown, with an imbalance in the environment, chemical pollution, or accidental release from a fishing boat all suggested by local officials.   More…

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Filed under Green News, Mysterious Nature Phenomena

George Takei Calls Out Anti-Gay Arkansas School Board Member

Significantjay’s You Tube Channel

George Takei’s hilarious response to anti-gay bully Clint McCance, former Arkansas school board member who called for more gays teens to kill themselves. (The views expressed here are those of George Takei and do NOT necessarily reflect those of the Trevor Project.)

George Takei is best known for his role as Sulu on Star Trek on both TV and film. He has appeared in NBC’s “Heroes” and is currently a spokesperson for Sharp TV and a regular guest announcer on the Howard Stern show. George will star in his first Broadway role in 2012 in “Allegiance”–a story of a Japanese American family during WWII and the internment.

h/t James


Filed under George Takei, Homophobia, It Gets Better Project, The Trevor Project