Tag Archives: California

West Wing Week 03/14/14 or “What’s Up, Captain America?”

The White House

This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden traveled to Chile to attend the inauguration of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, while President Obama worked on improving access to college for students, raising the minimum wage, and negotiating a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. He also got out the word about the March 31 deadline for health insurance applications, congratulated NCAA champs, and designated a new national monument.

 

Friday, March 7th

·       The President and First Lady visited Coral Reef High School in Miami, Florida to speak about the importance of signing up for Federal financial aid.

Monday, March 10th

·       The President participated in a conference call with healthcare enrollment leaders.

·       The President congratulated the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Champions at the White House.

Tuesday, March 11th

·      Funny or Die released an interview with President Obama on the web series Between Two Ferns.

·      The President added the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to existing National Monument land in California

·      Later that day, the President visited a Gap Store in New York City to highlight Gap’s choice to raise the minimum wage for their               employees.

Wednesday, March 12th

·     The President met with a group of advocates who are getting the word out about the Affordable Care Act.

·      Later that day, the President held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine.

·      Then, the President hosted a meeting with women members of Congressto discuss the 2014 women’s economic agenda.

Thursday, March 13th

·       The President spoke on the urgent need to get hardworking Americans the overtime pay they deserve.

·       Later, the President took a photo with the 52nd Annual U.S. Sentae Youth program.

 

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No One Is Talking About These Obamacare Stories

David Shevlino

Delaware artist David Shevlino will get better health coverage at lower cost next year, thanks to Obamacare. Why aren’t we hearing more about him? (David Shevlino / November 25, 2013)

Los Angeles Times

The Obamacare success stories you haven’t been hearing about

Last summer Ellen Holzman and Meredith Vezina, a married gay couple in San Diego County, got kicked off their long-term Kaiser health plan, for which they’d been paying more than $1,300 a month. The cause wasn’t the Affordable Care Act, as far as they knew. They’d been living outside Kaiser’s service area, and the health plan had decided to tighten its rules.

That’s when they discovered the chilly hazards of dependence on the individual health insurance market. When they applied for a replacement policy with Anthem Blue Cross of California, Ellen, 59, disclosed that she might have carpal tunnel syndrome. She wasn’t sure–her condition was still being diagnosed by Kaiser when her coverage ended. But the possibility was enough to scare Anthem. “They said, ‘We will not insure you because you have a pre-existing condition,’” Holzman recalls.

But they were lucky, thanks to Obamacare. Through Covered California, the state’s individual insurance marketplace, they’ve found a plan through Sharp Healthcare that will cover them both for a total premium of $142 a month, after a government subsidy based on their income. They’ll have a higher deductible than Kaiser’s but lower co-pays. But their possible savings will be impressive.

More important than that was knowing that they couldn’t be turned down for coverage come Jan. 1. “We felt we didn’t have to panic, or worry,” Holzman says. “If not for the Affordable Care Act, our ability to get insurance would be very limited, if we could get it at all.”

Holzman and Vezina are exactly the type of people Obamacare is designed to help–indeed, rescue from the cold, hard world of individual health insurance of the past. That was a world where even an undiagnosed condition might render you uninsurable. Where your insurance could be canceled after you got sick or had an accident. Where your financial health was at risk as much as your physical well-being.

These are the stories you’re not hearing amid the pumped-up panic over canceled individual policies and premium shocks–many of which stories are certainly true, but the noise being made about them leads people to think they’re more common than they are.

We’ve compiled several alternative examples for this post. They’re anecdotes, sure, just like the anecdotes you’ve been seeing and reading about people learning they’ll be paying more for coverage next year.

Continue reading here…

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Payback Is a Bitch for Abortion Clinic Protestors, Thanks to a Brilliant Landlord

As I state in the About Kstreet section of this blog, although I have six adult children, in my opinion, a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body is as constitutionally protected as the “right to bear arms…”

Those same folks who are protesting women’s clinics across the country seem to be selective about who should be constitutionally protected and that’s not what America is about.

The following story is well worth the read…

Jezebel

Todd Stave has the unenviable position of being the landlord of a building in Germantown, Maryland, which he leases to an abortion provider called Reproductive Health Services Clinic. So he knows a little something about dealing patiently with anti-abortion protesters. But when they started calling him at home at all hours and harassing his family, he got fed up and came up with a very clever solution: Do unto others as they have been doing unto you.

Problems really began for Stave at the end of 2010, when he leased his building to LeRoy Carhart, one of the only doctors in the U.S. who openly acknowledges that he performs late-term abortions. As you can imagine, he’s a controversial man, and protesters come from far and wide. There is a constant group of them parked outside, praying and holding up signs, many of which have pictures of mangled fetuses. That’s pretty much a landlord’s nightmare, and yet Stave has a very calm attitude about it. He told Petula Dvorak of the Washington Postthis week,

It’s their right. They are protected by the First Amendment. And outside the clinic is probably the most appropriate place for them to express their views.

If you’re wondering how Stave can remain so relaxed about the situation, he explains, “I’ve been a member of this fight since Roe v. Wade. Since I was 5 years old.” You see, the clinic used to belong to his father, and then his sister ran it. When he was younger, the office was firebombed, and protesters were often gathered outside his dad’s house. So he’s used to a certain level of harassment and he’ll tolerate it — but only up to a point. And recently, the usually calm, cool, and collected Stave was pushed to his limit.

It’s common practice for anti-abortion protesters to disseminate doctors’ personal information and urge people to harass them—and it can clearly go far beyond that, as with the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas. LeRoy Carhart, who’s now in Stave’s clinic, had his Nebraska farm burned to the ground back in 1991. But protesters in Maryland figured out they could start targeting Stave for owning the clinic’s property. He was largely unfazed by this campaign, until last fall when they took it too far. On his daughter’s first day in middle school, a large group of people protested outside her school, and then they showed up again for back-to-school night. They were naturally carrying signs with his name and contact info and those nasty pictures of fetuses.

Stave was furious, and then it got even worse. Dozens of the protestors began calling him at home, around the clock. His friends wanted to help him fight back; that’s when Stave had the brilliant idea of turning the tables on his tormentors. He began recording the names and numbers of the assholes who called, and then he gave the list of info to his friends and asked them to call these people back on his behalf. Shazam! And the really smart part was that when someone from Team Stave called, they always took the high road. He explains,

In a very calm, very respectful voice, they said that the Stave family thanks you for your prayers. They cannot terminate the lease, and they do not want to. They support women’s rights.

Genius. While it was initially only a few friends doing the calling, the group quickly expanded. Soon, he was up to having 1,000 callers at his disposal. And they got crafty too. They’d look up information on the people who’d placed unwanted calls to Stave, and then when they called, they’d drop the names of the person’s children or their school into the conversation. They’d also, said Stave, “tell them that we bless their home on such and such street,” and then name their address. Are you getting shivers up you’re spine yet? Stave’s calling force became so powerful that sometimes he was able to hammer an unwanted caller with up to 5,000 calls in return. Looks like two can play at this game, stalkers.

Stave’s approach was so appealing that he was flooded with people from all over wanting to help. So he organized Voice of Choice, which now has about 3,000 volunteers. They don’t just fight back for Stave anymore. They’ll make calls on behalf of whoever is being bullied by anti-abortion protesters, whether it’s a doctor or a landlord or their family.

When asked if he thought this method of payback was harsh, Stave said no: “We gave them back what they gave us.” Actually, not even. You gave back a mild, family-friendly version of what they gave to you. You proved to them that you know where they live and who their children are, but you didn’t show up at their homes and schools and threaten them. You didn’t come onto their lawn with posters detailing terrible imaginary things that they’ve done. You’re serving up Revenge Lite™: Tastes great, less killing.

What’s more, Stave is strict about who Voice of Choice will make calls for. If it’s just run-of-the-mill protests outside clinics, he won’t help them because he believes in people’s First Amendment right to be out there saying what’s on their mind. Protestors must be personally harassing doctors or landlords in order for Stave to step in. If only abortion opponents had the same respect for people doing what they were allowed by law to do. Ahem.

So this is the part where the evil bullies who’ve plagued him (and others) at all hours of the day or night learn their lesson after having a taste of their own medicine, right? Yep, yep. They all realized they were being horrible, and now every anti-abortion protester is treating their pro-choice opponents with the utmost respect. HA. No. Actually this is the part in the story where it gets much worse. Ready?

Since Voice of Choice has been such a success, Stave was honored by NARAL in California last week. Knowing that he was going to be out of town receiving the award, his personal band of haters chose that moment to canvass his neighborhood with fliers that had a photo of Stave in a Nazi uniform, photos of Holocaust victims, and bloody fetuses. [Pause for a brief rage-stroke intermission.] Of course, the fliers had Stave’s contact information—and all of the phone numbers and addresses for other members of his family.

This goes without saying but, nevertheless: This is so incredibly fucked up. First of all, the guy owns a building, not a concentration camp. Second of all, what kind of person picks up a flier like that and thinks, “I need to get in touch with this Nazi!” God help us all.

Obviously Stave’s daughter and all of his neighbors saw the fliers, but the contact information for Stave’s family members must have been spread around. Because on Monday an abortion protestor showed up at the dental office owned by Stave’s brother-in-law and began doing his abortion-protestor routine outside. That’s such a great idea — I’m sure the random patient walking in for a cleaning is totally going to make the connection that the dentist’s brother-in-law owns a building where there’s an abortion clinic, and therefore abortion is wrong. At this point, Stave was back in town, so he went over to confront the protestor. And when he got there, the creep said, “How was your trip to San Francisco?” Deep inhale, slow exhale.

It is amazing that people like Stave have fortitude to stand up to psychos like this coming at them from every direction, but thank heavens they do, because, honestly, the thought that these protesters get away with so much is sickening. It’s hard to know where these nutcases will end when it comes to making Stave’s life a living hell—but it’s probably not going to get any better now that he’s getting more and more national media attention.

At least we know he’s got plenty of backup from Voice of Choice. The worse these people get, the longer VoC can keep them on the phone, telling them all about the many “blessings and prayers” they’re sending to their home addresses and to the locations of their children’s daycare centers. Then everyone will be so busy making and receiving calls that they’ll have less time to spend protesting outside clinics. And maybe in the future, we’ll get to a magical place where both sides are talking to each other 100 percent of the time, and a woman will be able to walk right up to the front door of an abortion clinic without being harassed—because everyone will be so busy talking on the phone to their enemies to notice or care what she’s choosing to do

A clinic’s landlord turns the tables on anti-abortion protesters [Washington Post]

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ISSA ACCUSES OBAMA OF TRYING TO MAKE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WORK (Satire)

issa-boro-post.jpg

Rep. Darrell Issa – (R-CA)

The Borowitz Report

In an explosive accusation, the House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-California) today charged President Obama with “using all the resources at his disposal to make the Affordable Care Act work.”

Accusing the President of participating in “a wide-ranging conspiracy,” Mr. Issa told reporters that “behind closed doors, the President has quietly assembled a high-tech brain trust that is working around the clock to fix the Healthcare.gov Web site—at government expense.”

Rep. Issa said that he would call for a new round of hearings and would subpoena “all those persons suspected of being involved in the ongoing plot to fix Obamacare.”

“This is a conspiracy, if you will, that goes all the way to the top,” Rep. Issa said. “If there is a plan to fix Obamacare, what did the President know about that plan and when did he know it?”

Rep. Issa concluded his remarks on a defiant note, drawing a line in the sand: “If the President thinks he is going to repair that Web site so that it works when anyone tries to access it, I’ve got news for him: not on my watch.”

 

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Jimmy Kimmel Shows Americans Don’t Know Difference Between ACA, Obamacare (VIDEO)

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Unbelievable…

TPM Livewire

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” tested an experiment this week: Do Americans like the “Affordable Care Act” better than “Obamacare”? For that matter, do they even know that both terms refer to the same law?

After asking several individuals on the streets of Los Angeles for their opinion of each label, the late night show drew findings similar to what’s been indicated in recent polling.

 

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Maher: California’s economy is booming because ‘we’re tea party-free!’

Maher on California Sep 27 2013

He’s got a valid point there…

The Raw Story

Friday night on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher pointed out that unlike most of the country, California’s economy is surging ahead, thanks to the efforts of the state Democratic Party and veteran Gov. Jerry Brown (D). California is going to drag the rest of the country kicking and screaming into the present, he said, if it can.

“New rule,” Maher said, “Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California and see it in person. And then they should be afraid. Because while right-wingers are taking over places like North Carolina and Texas and even Wisconsin, California is creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about.”

“And not only can’t the rest of the country stop us, we’re going to drag you with us,” he said.

In 2010, he said, when many other states were electing tea party Republicans to office, California elected a Democratic governor. Without a Republican governor or state legislator “cock blocking” efforts at reform, the state was able to raise taxes and reorganize spending and turn its massive deficit into a budget surplus.

“Here in California, we’re not just gluten-free and soy-free and peanut-free,” he said, “we’re tea party-free! Yes, we can live in reality.”

Watch the video, embedded below via YouTube user “Walter Cronkite”:

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What’s the problem with Obamacare? The ‘Obama’ part, of course

An addendum to yesterday’s article on this issue…

Mario Piperni

This toon by Gustavo Rodriguez says it all in regards to the immoral war conservatives are waging on the Affordable Care Act.

obamahate

This toon by Gustavo Rodriguez says it all in regards to the immoral war conservatives are waging on the Affordable Care Act.

Which explains all of this

What does no-hold-barred warfare against a law that’s been settled for three years look like? Some tea party activists are urging Republican lawmakers to shut down the government — or even default on the debt Congress itself ran up — in a quixotic effort to “defund” Obamacare. In refusing to expand Medicaid, legislators in 21 states, most of them “red,” are not only denying their poorest citizens coverage, but also turning away billions of dollars from the federal government. Some members of Congress are refusing to help their own constituents navigate the new exchanges to get the benefits available to them.

And Republicans are refusing to support any efforts to smooth out the law’s rough edges. Even a minor tweak that would fix a glitch in the law that will prevent many church employees from receiving tax credits to help buy coverage — and which may ultimately kill some churches’ insurance plans — is a non-starter. Jim Sargent, the health plan director for the Unitarian Universalist Association, told Religion News Service: “Republicans are trying to undermine it. While that’s going on, there isn’t much you can do to fix the bill.”

The latest strategy to undermine the law’s success is especially pernicious — a major campaign to persuade young people without insurance to pay a penalty, skip the cheap plans they could purchase in heavily subsidized Obamacare exchanges (a young, low-income worker in California will actually be able to get very basic coverage for nothing, according to Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post) and face the risk of a debilitating injury or illness on their own.

The idea is that if young, healthy people can be convinced to stay away from the exchanges, premiums will skyrocket for everyone else and the whole scheme will come crashing to the ground.

FreedomWorks is urging people to burn fake “Obamacare draft cards” and post videos of the stunt to YouTube. Dean Clancy, vice president of the group, told the Washington Post, “We’re trying to make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange.”

The right’s three year war against ObamaCare (whose individual mandate was originally a conservative idea) is having its effect as polls indicate that the campaign of misinformation has the public in a state of mass confusion.

Regardless, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay no matter what degree of madness conservatives are driven to by the Obama part of Obamacare.

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GOP Rep: Wall Street doesn’t commit crimes because they don’t use guns

Are these people really this ignorant?

The Examiner

During a recent town-hall meeting, a Republican congressman claimed that there was no criminal activity happening on Wall Street because they don’t use guns.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) spoke to constituents during a town-hall event in El Dorado Hills, California and was asked many questions. A member in the audience asked what the congressman thought about “Wall Street criminal practice” and where he stood on the Glass Steagall act, a piece a legislation that was repealed in the 1990s that had previously separated commercial banks and investment banks after the stock market crash of 1929. Rep. McClintock responded, but an an interesting reason for why he didn’t believe there was any criminal activity occurring on Wall Street.

“You can get somebody to do just about anything with a gun. I hear about predatory lending, for example, my first question is that is just terrible. You shouldn’t be able to force somebody to take out a loan they don’t want. With respect to Glass Steagall, that is the measure that had been in place, it was a depression era measure, that essentially forbids banks from making a wide range of investments. My attitude is someone different on that. Instead of applying additional government forces into the process, in this gets back to your critical question, lets stop bailing out peoples bad decisions.”

When the financial crisis came into full swing in the fall of 2008, the American people looked on in horror as the economy was dealt its hardest blow since the Great Depression. Decades of looking the other way while big banks where able to run wild, continuing tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations and trade practices that only hurt the middle class, the economy finally fell flat on its face. For any member of congress to use an excuse of lack of fire arms for the reason there is no criminal activity on wall street is almost as delusional as the party he is apart of.

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House Republican ready to ‘defund the EPA’

H/t: Maddow commenter #1:

When House Republicans gather …Remind you of anything?

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

The Maddow Blog

 

And when it comes to “calling out” climate deniers, congressional Republicans are certainly giving progressives plenty to work with lately. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the vice chair of the House Science Committee, argued last week that “global warming is a total fraud” created by those who want “global government to control all of our lives.” A few days prior, Rep.Steve King (R-Iowa) described the entirety of climate science as “more of a religion than a science.”

And then there’s Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who made these startling comments at a forum in his local district this week. (Thanks to James Carter for the heads-up.)

 

In this unnerving clip, Miller argues in a room full of people, “This whole Al Gore thing of climate change unfortunately is not doing this nation any good.”

And while you might be thing, “Well, no, of course climate change isn’t doing the nation any good,” in context, Miller meant worrying about climate change is a bad idea.

Wait, it gets worse.

The right-wing congressman went on to say, “I will defund the EPA.” When Miller was asked about warnings from the Navy about the national security threat posed by the climate crisis, one of his constituents shouted, “The admirals are idiots!” The congressman proceeded to explain why he has no use for the Navy’s judgment, and says he has his own scientists who tell him what he wants to hear, and just “a few years ago,” some wacky scientists warned we’d “all be ice cubes.”

Miller concluded, “Our climate will continue to change because of the way God formed the earth.”

Miller is a 10-year veteran of Congress who currently serves as the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

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Rush Limbaugh: Covering pre-existing conditions is ‘welfare’

I no longer get upset over these Reich-wing shills like Rush Limbaugh because everyone knows that ALEC, the Koch brothers and other corporate interests are behind the campaign to abolish the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”.

Orlando Examiner

Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh has gone on another rant against “Obamacare,” this time event attacking one of the law’s most popular provisions.

It’s safe to say that the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is the number one target for conservatives and Republicans across the country. While the new health care reform isn’t popular with those on the right, the law’s provision for insurance companies to covering pre-existing often crosses party lines and has shown to have approval across the board. While the idea of not being denied because you have a pre-existing condition is popular, not everyone approves.

One of the most out spoken critics of “Obamacare,” including the pre-existing condition provision, is Rush Limbaugh. Taking to the microphone during his radio show this week, the conservative mouth piece railed against recent reports that the Affordable Care Act has dropped insurance rates in many states and called covering pre-existing conditions “welfare.”

“Now, by the way, this claim here that residents of New York and California are going to have lower insurance rates under Obamacare? Folks, that’s an abject lie — and the news of the day is the evidence! The news of the day for the past month or longer has been all about rising premiums in California and New York and insurance companies pulling out of there. By design, by the way.

You would almost think with this story that CNN was going to commit a random act of journalism, but they don’t. Instead, they push with a bunch of myths. First they claim that rates are going to go down in New York and California under Obamacare, which has been debunked. They won’t. Then they claim that those states that have “bare-bones plans,” when in fact states have high rates because they already require insurance companies to cover a lot of the nonsense mandated under Obamacare.

That’s pre-existing condition stuff, which isn’t insurance. That’s welfare. That’s another story. From CybercastNewsService.com: “Blue Cross, Aetna, United, Humana Flee Obamacare Exchanges.” One, two, three, four insurance companies have pulled out of the Obamacare exchanges. It’s all part of the plan. Private insurers are being forced out of the market. This is part of the Obamacare long-term plan to make it so that only government has insurance to sell.”

According to US News, in addition to no longer denying Americans insurance because of pre-existing conditions, the law has ended insurance denials based on pre-existing conditions for the roughly 20 million children under the age of 19. The new health care reform is far from perfect and isn’t without its fair share of criticisms, but to call parts of the program “welfare” is as ridiculous as Limbaugh himself.

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