Archive for November, 2009
One of the many contentious issues in the national health care debate is something that began 34 years ago in California when Jerry Brown, in the first year of his first governorship, signed legislation imposing a $250,000 limit on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases.
The version of a national health care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through the House contains a provision that would push â€“ but not quite compel â€“ California and other states with malpractice damage caps to repeal them.
Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could receive health care coverage from their employers under the bills winding their way through Congress, despite President Obama's explicit pledge that illegal immigrants would not benefit.
The House bill mandates, and the Senate bill strongly encourages, businesses to extend health care coverage to all employees. But the bills do not have exemptions to screen out illegal immigrants, who usually obtain jobs by using false identities and are indistinguishable from legal workers.
A rough estimate by the Center for Immigration Studies suggests that the practical effect of the mandates would be that about 1 million illegal immigrants could obtain health insurance coverage through their employers.
The chief architect of a bill to increase taxes to pay for the Afghanistan war said he didn't believe adding troops would yield much benefit.
"The problem is you can have the best policy in the world but if you don't have the tools to implement it it isn't worth a bean bag,"
Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), the House Appropriations Committee chairman, told CNN on Sunday.
President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Tuesday he will add 30,000 troops to the war effort in Afghanistan to stem the rise of Taliban and to pursue al-Qaeda.
But Obey said supporting a corrupt Afghan government by adding troops amounted to a "fool's errand."
If policymakers believe continuing the war effort in Afghanistan was an important public policy, Obey added, then they should be willing to pay for it by raising taxes on higher income levels. The war would likely cost as much over the next decade as the effort to reforming the healthcare system, Obey said.
Iran's government will build 10 new sites to enrich uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday, a dramatic expansion of the country's nuclear program and one that is bound to fuel fears that it is attempting to produce a nuclear weapon.
Ahmadinejad told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that construction of at least five nuclear facilities is to begin within two months.
The surprise announcement came two days after a censure of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency over the Islamic republic's refusal to stop enriching uranium, a key demand of Western powers. The 35-member board of the agency also criticized Iran's construction of a second enrichment plant in Qom, southwest of Tehran.
The Senate is set to begin debate on its health-overhaul bill Monday, with Democrats and Republicans planning to offer amendments on divisive subjects such as abortion and taxes that could hamper passage of the bill.
The debate is expected to last at least several weeks. Democrats would like to pass a bill by Christmas, but have yet to find a formula that can win 60 votes, the number required to conclude debate.
Complicating the situation, lawmakers from both parties are planning to introduce dozens of amendments, addressing issues from a government-run health-care plan to medical malpractice lawsuits to abortion and taxes. The aim isn't just to sh
Take the office of Ventura County treasurer-tax collector, for example.
As soon as Treasurer Larry Matheney announced he would not seek re-election next year and soon-to-be-termed-out Assemblywoman Audra Strickland announced she would seek to replace him, at least two county supervisors announced there ought to be qualifications for treasurer.
Yes, there ought to be qualifications for that office. And county supervisors have had since 1995 to ensure there are.
Fourteen years ago, after Orange County went bankrupt because the county treasurer gambled with public funds, the state Legislature passed a bill establishing professional and educational criteria for government treasurers. The law would apply only to those counties whose boards of supervisors approved it.
Several did. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors did not.
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Day By Day by Chris Muir
The world awaits President Obama’s decision on troop deployments in Afghanistan tomorrow. There have been more leaks and trial baloons floated over the Thanksgivng weekend.
Now, there is discussion of an EXIT STRATEGY.
President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials said Sunday.
Although the speech was still in draft form, the officials said the president wanted to use the address at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday night not only to announce the immediate order to deploy roughly 30,000 more troops, but also to convey how he intends to turn the fight over to the Kabul government.
â€œItâ€™s accurate to say that he will be more explicit about both goals and time frame than has been the case before and than has been part of the public discussion,â€ said a senior official, who requested anonymity to discuss the speech before it is delivered. â€œHe wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.â€
The officials would not disclose the time frame. But they said it would not be tied to particular conditions on the ground nor would it be as firm as the current schedule for withdrawing troops in Iraq, where Mr. Obama has committed to withdrawing most combat units by August and all forces by the end of 2011.
Officials of one allied nation who have been extensively briefed on the presidentâ€™s plan said, however, that Mr. Obama would describe how the American presence would be ratcheted back after the buildup, while making clear that a significant American presence in Afghanistan would remain for a long while. That is designed in part to signal to Pakistan that the United States will not abandon the region and to allay Pakistani fears that India will fill the vacuum created as America pulls back.
Well, it appears that the President is giving lip service to our troops, the Afghans and the Pakistanis. In order to appease, the far left of the Democrat Party he might as well announce a retreat and/or a withdrawal. The Obama Administratrion is no longer committed to the Global War on Terror – let the fireworks begin.
The terrorists have won and MORE innocent people will die.
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The frontrunner to take Ted Kennedy's Senate seat said today she opposes sending more troops to Afghanistan.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is facing an increasingly tight race with Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), issued a statement today pre-emptively opposing the escalation President Obama is expected to announce on Tuesday.
"Based on what I know now about the President's planned troop increase, I do not believe that we should send additional troops into Afghanistan," Coakley said.
Capuano has also come out against a surge, calling for Obama ot bring troops home. Coakley's statement may indicate she feels increasing pressure to appeal to the anti-war base.
More than 57% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons – or provinces – voted in favour of the ban.
The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People's Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which says minarets are a sign of Islamisation.
The government opposed the ban, saying it would harm Switzerland's image, particularly in the Muslim world.
But Martin Baltisser, the SVP's general secretary, told the BBC: "This was a vote against minarets as symbols of Islamic power."
The BBC's Imogen Foulkes, in Bern, says the surprise result is very bad news for the Swiss government which fears unrest among the Muslim community.
Our correspondent says voters worried about rising immigration – and with it the rise of Islam – have ignored the government's advice.
In a statement, the government said it accepted the decision.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is using his rising national profile among conservative activists to support and bankroll Republican Senate candidates around the country, some of them underdogs challenging GOP establishment favorites.
DeMint's endorsements of former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio over Gov. Charlie Crist and California state Rep. Chuck DeVore over former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina put him at odds with other prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and fellow South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
In Pennsylvania, DeMint's endorsement of former Rep. Pat Toomey helped prompt incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter to bolt the Republican Party and run for re-election as a Democrat.
This conventional wisdom about Obama's first year isn't just prematureâ€”it's sure to be flipped on its head by the anniversary of his inauguration on Jan. 20. If, as seems increasingly likely, Obama wins passage of a health care reform a bill by that date, he will deliver his first State of the Union address having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency. This isn't an ideological point or one that depends on agreement with his policies. It's a neutral assessment of his emerging recordâ€”how many big, transformational things Obama is likely to have made happen in his first 12 months in office.
With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.
It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.
Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare.
SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.
The UEAâ€™s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.
The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals â€” stored on paper and magnetic tape â€” were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.
A week after my colleague James Delingpole, on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.
The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Iran's government announced plans on Sunday to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants and said work would start within two months, state broadcaster IRIB reported.
The development was likely to further strain relations with Western powers which suspect that the Islamic Republic seeks to develop nuclear bombs, a charge Tehran denies.
So much for the Obama negotiate strategy with regards to Iran's nuclear program
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Day By Day by Chris Muir
Chris, you make a great precise with your cartoon above for the coming campaign for Congress in November 2010. The Republican Party considered moribund just one year ago will make a comeback.
How much of a comeback will depend upon how many good candidates who will make a run at incumbent Democrats.
However, shouild health care reform be rammed through the Congress, the economy remains weak with high unemployment, the Republican candidates will be lining up en masse.
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