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The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012

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Drudge Screencap of California Blue Shield Raising Rates

These are my links for December 12th through December 13th:

  • The Republican brand problem – One thing comes through loud and clear in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll: Republicans have a major brand problem.Consider the following findings in the NBC/WSJ poll:* Asked an open-ended question as to what single word or short phrase people would use to describe the Republican Party, 65 percent of the responses were negative, while just 17 percent were positive. (For Democrats, 35 percent were positive, while 37 percent were negative.) Among the most oft-mentioned phrases used to describe Republicans: “bad/weak/negative” (8 percent), “uncompromising/need to work together” (6 percent) and “broken/disorganized/lost” (6 percent). So, that happened.* The poll tested the positive and negative ratings for 11 politicians or political institutions. The lowest rated — in terms of the differential between positive and negative ratings — was the Republican Party, with a 30 percent positive score and a 45 percent negative score. Of the five worst positive-to-negative ratios, Republicans claimed four of them. (The lone exception: Susan Rice with a 20 positive/24 percent net-negative score.)

    * When asked who they trusted more in “handling the fiscal cliff,” 38 percent named President Obama while just 19 percent named House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in Congress. (Fourteen percent said they trusted both equally, and another 28 percent said they trusted neither side.)

    What those numbers make clear is that the Republican brand is badly damaged. It is regarded by too many people as an uncompromising relic of the past — a party that lacks new ideas and is, therefore, forced to largely serve as a blockade to the other side. (That’s the biggest reason, by the way, why Republicans should be interested in compromising on the fiscal cliff. They gap between how Obama is regarded and how they are seen is enough to make going over the cliff a genuine political loser for them.)

  • California prison phychiatrist under investigation for $800,000 pay – After raking in half a million dollars for being “on call,” California’s top paid public employee of 2011 — a prison psychiatrist from Newark — has been suspended with pay for allegedly falsifying time records, officials said Tuesday.Dr. Mohammad Safi, 54, was paid more than $803,000 last year as a supervising senior psychiatrist at a Department of State Hospitals facility within Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County, records show.That amount included more than $503,000 for on-call pay — in Safi’s case being available to respond quickly to emergencies.His suspension was first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg News, which published an extensive analysis of state government pay that ranked California tops in the nation. It showed Safi was paid more than twice as much as any state psychiatrist in the 12 states Bloomberg examined.
  • California lawmaker Roger Hernandez proposes benefits for undocumented immigrants – A California lawmaker wants to expand government benefits for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who qualify for a new federal work-permit program.Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced legislation this week aimed at illegal immigrants who are part of an Obama administration protocol that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16, and who are now 30 or younger and meet certain other criteria, to obtain work permits.The bill, AB 35, would enable those immigrants to obtain state identification cards and receive unemployment benefits and state-administered medical services. This year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that will allow that group of young immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
  • Fiscal Cliff Creates Problems That Don’t Faze Obama – Is Barack Obama bluffing when he threatens to go over the fiscal cliff if Republicans refuse to agree to higher tax rates on high earners?Some analysts think so. Keith Hennessey, a former top staffer for the Bush White House and Senate Republicans and a veteran of budget negotiations, argues that Obama’s whole second term would be blighted if he allows the fiscal cliff tax increases and sequestration budget cuts to take place next month.
  • Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes up to 20% – Health insurer Blue Shield of California wants to raise rates as much as 20% for some individual policyholders, prompting calls for the nonprofit to use some of its record-high reserve of $3.9 billion to hold down premiums.In filings with state regulators, Blue Shield is seeking an average rate increase of 12% for more than 300,000 customers, effective in March, with a maximum increase of 20%.Some consumer advocates and healthcare economists say Blue Shield shouldn’t be raising rates that high when it has stockpiled so much cash. The company’s surplus is nearly three times as much as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Assn. requires its member insurers to hold to cover future claims.”Blue Shield is sitting on a huge surplus that is beyond what is required or necessary,” said Laurie Sobel, a senior attorney for Consumers Union in San Francisco. “It should be used to hold down rate increases when it hits these extraordinary levels.”

    California officials can take into account an insurer’s amount of surplus, among many other factors, when determining whether they think a rate increase is reasonable. Both the California insurance commissioner and the state Department of Managed Health Care are reviewing the company’s proposed premiums, but neither agency has the authority to reject changes in rates

  • DeMint: Obama wants cliff dive – South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint accused President Barack Obama on Thursday of trying to take the country over the fiscal cliff.“The president campaigned on raising taxes and getting rid of the Bush-era tax cuts, and he’s gonna get his wish,” DeMint said on CBS’s “This Morning.”
    Continue Reading“I believe we’re going to be raising taxes, not just on the top earners. Everyone is going to pay more taxes next year in this country, and I think that’s what the president wants. … If you look at the facts, we don’t need more revenue, we just need to stop spending. The president is not going to stop spending. He’s proposed more spending. So it’s hard to work with someone who I think is intentionally trying to take us over this cliff.”
  • GOP tech gap needs millions – Republicans need to make a multimillion-dollar investment to close a digital gap with Democrats and President Obama, according to GOP tech experts.The party faces a growing urgency to catch up with Democrats; frustrated GOP operatives believe the party is lagging in an area widely agreed to have given Obama the edge in the last two presidential election cycles.“Everyone in the party is frustrated. I haven’t talked to one person who thinks that the Republicans were more successful online in 2012 [than in 2008 or 2010],” said Vincent Harris, a GOP strategist who ran digital campaigns for Rick Perry’s and Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaigns.“There is no doubt in my mind that this is the moment that this must be fixed. The good news, though, is that everyone seems to be open to solutions,” he said
  • The do’s and don’ts of quitting smoking – Anyone who has ever smoked and tried to quit knows how addictive nicotine can be. But what really works when it comes to quitting? Several former smokers had some hard-earned tips that might help you quit.Carla Berg, a Winship Cancer Institute addiction expert and professor at the Emory School of Public Health, had talked to hundreds of people trying to quit.”One thing I hear from people all the time is, ‘I’m just waiting to feel ready to quit,’ or, ‘I just need to want to quit and then I’ll quit.’ And what we know is that just rarely happens out of nowhere. So I always tell people if you’re waiting for the best time to quit smoking, that time is now,” said Berg.So what works? Through her Facebook Page, FOX 5’s Beth Galvin asked former smokers to share their secrets.
  • Election over, administration unleashes new rules – While the “fiscal cliff” of looming tax increases and spending cuts dominates political conversation in Washington, some Republicans and business groups see signs of a “regulatory cliff” that they say could be just as damaging to the economy.For months, federal agencies and the White House have sidetracked dozens of major regulations that cover everything from power plant pollution to workplace safety to a crackdown on Wall Street.The rules had been largely put on hold during the presidential campaign as the White House sought to quiet Republican charges that President Barack Obama was an overzealous regulator who is killing U.S. jobs.But since the election, the Obama administration has quietly reopened the regulations pipeline.
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-12 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-12 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12
  • Poll: Obama won 71% of Asian Vote – But Not Wedded to Either Party – Asian American voters came out in droves for President Barack Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney, but the country’s fastest growing ethnic group is not wedded to either party, according to a new poll out Wednesday.Obama won an estimated 2.3 million of their votes to Romney’s estimated 900,000 votes, or 71 percent to 28 percent, according to the survey by the Asian American Justice Center, Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote and the National Asian American Survey
  • Mark Levin explains how a big part of Obamacare could be gutted during Obama’s second term » The Right Scoop – – RT @JedediahBila: Mark Levin explains how a big part of Obamacare could be gutted during Obama’s second term:
  • 5 ways the GOP can do better with Latinos – A coalition of conservative groups is releasing a major study of Latino voters in four key states this morning, and Republicans would be wise to heed its lessons.Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network are presenting the findings of their study at 9 a.m. Eastern. The polls of Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada show Republicans remain in contention for as many as half of Latino voters in those four states in 2016, but fewer than one-quarter of Latinos in each state say they are likely to vote Republican four years from now.
  • Election Integrity Activist Calls for Prop 37 Recount – Another Bay Area citizen has called for a recount on a statewide ballot measure, this time on Prop 37, and she’s being helped by the man responsible for the Prop 29 recount last summer.Lori Grace, an election integrity activist based in Tiburon, Calif., filed a formal request with the Secretary of State’s office on Monday for a recount in the contest over Prop 37, a voter initiative that would require special labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. (There won’t be any other ballot measure recounts from the general election, since Monday was the last day to file).Having two such recounts in one year is highly unusual, if not unprecedented. The earlier effort came after the June primary, when Bay Area surgeon John Maa requested a recount for Prop 29, the cigarette tax initiative that would have helped to fund cancer research.Now Maa is imparting some of his own hard-earned (and expensive — recounts in California must be bankrolled by the requester) knowledge to Grace. Both acknowledged that Maa has given her strategical advice on how to proceed.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown has early-stage prostate cancer – Gov. Jerry Brown is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, his office announced this afternoon.The governor’s office described the condition as a “localized prostate cancer” and said Brown is continuing to work a full schedule while being treated with a short course of radiation.It released a statement from Eric Small, Brown’s oncologist at University of California San Francisco.”Fortunately, this is early stage localized prostate cancer, which is being treated with a short course of conventional radiotherapy,” Small said in the statement. “The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects.”
  • As ‘fiscal cliff’ nears, Obama schedule loaded with photo-ops, holiday parties, golf – Since returning from a trip to southeast Asia on Nov. 21, President Obama has managed to play three rounds of golf but has met face-to-face only once with Speaker John A. Boehner, the man with whom he is trying to strike a deal on taxes and spending that could prevent another recession.With the deadline for going over the “fiscal cliff” less than three weeks away, the president’s schedule this week is exceptionally light. It does not include any time on the links with Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, who is also an avid golfer.On Monday, Mr. Obama’s only public event was a trip to Detroit, where he held a campaign-style rally with union auto workers that was ostensibly a push for middle-class tax cuts but mainly showcased Mr. Obama’s criticism of Michigan’s new “right-to-work” labor law.“It seems to me, that time would have been better spent here in Washington, D.C., working on the fiscal cliff, but he was in Michigan,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Obama had lunch with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and spoke to Mr. Boehner by phone late in the day. The president spent much of his evening with first lady Michelle Obama posing for photographs with members of the White House press corps and their guests at a holiday party. (Mr. Obama actually has performed this function twice in the past week; there was another media holiday party at the White House on Dec. 5).

  • California prison health care receiver issues layoff notices – California Correctional Health Care Services has issued layoff warnings to 2,200 of its employees with a goal of axing 829 positions early next year.The cuts will touch nearly 60 job classifications around the state, from doctors to custodians and impact 38 jobs in Sacramento County. The statewide cuts take effect Mar. 31, 2013.The state normally issues three lay off warning notices for every position it cuts, and workers in danger of losing their jobs can displace less-senior counterparts in state government, so it’s not clear how many staff will actually lose work. Officials don’t have an estimate of savings from the reductions.
  • Day By Day December 12, 2012 – Figures – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 12, 2012 – Figures #tcot
  • Rep. Moran: Son’s Attack on Girlfriend “An Accident” – Virginia Rep. Jim Moran’s office has another statement about his son’s arrest for assaulting his girlfriend in Columbia Heights earlier this month. And it turns out it was all an accident, according to Moran, despite his son’s guilty plea to assault.”The situation was an accident,” Moran spokeswoman Anne Hughes writes in an email, adding that both Moran and his girlfriend testified to that in court. “Patrick didn’t hit or shove her.”Hughes claims that only Patrick Moran and his girlfriend were around to see the alleged attack. “They were the only two people who witnessed the scene,” writes Hughes. “In that sense, their statements are the only ones that matter.”That would contradict the police report, which describes both a Metropolitan Police Department sergeant and an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigator seeing Moran slam his girlfriend’s head into a trash can cage outside the Getaway, a 14th Street NW bar.
  • Democratic senator Menendez employed illegal immigrant who was registered sex offender – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender, now under arrest by immigration authorities, The Associated Press has learned. The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP.Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an 18-year-old immigrant from Peru, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in front of his home in New Jersey on Dec. 6, two federal officials said. Sanchez, who entered the country on a now-expired visitor visa from Peru, is facing deportation and remains in custody. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of Sanchez’s immigration case.
  • Sandoval opts to expand Medicaid coverage for Nevada’s neediest – Sandoval opts to expand Medicaid coverage for Nevada’s neediest #tcot
  • Fiscal Cliff: Hundreds of Billions Apart – The bellowing on Capitol Hill about which side has offered more “specifics” to resolve the fiscal cliff showdown masks a larger problem for Washington: The two sides are still hundreds of billions of dollars apart on revenue and entitlement cuts.Not to mention, Republicans and Democrats are also light-years apart on policy details that back up those budget targets.That’s why there’s increasing skepticism in Washington that a deal actually can be reached before Jan. 1, and the country will go over the fiscal cliff.
  • Fiscal Cliff: 180 economists oppose tax hike – A letter signed by 180 economists opposed to tax increases as part of a fiscal cliff deal will be delivered to Congress on Wednesday, according to a national anti-tax group.The letter argues that hiking tax rates would have a “significant, negative impact on the economy” and is slated to be sent to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, said Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, the low-taxes advocacy group that coordinated the effort.
  • California Psychiatrists Paid $400,000 Shows Bidding War- Bloomberg – RT @BloombergNews: Why do California psychiatrists make more than $400,00? Examining a payroll system run amok |
  • War-making for Losers By Mark Steyn – The new US Army manual for troops heading east apparently blames the tendency of Afghanistan’s US-trained soldiers and policemen to shoot their western “allies” on “American cultural ignorance”. Fortunately, the manual offers a solution:The draft leaked to the newspaper offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban”…I mean, it’s not like they’re the enemy or anything.…“advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.”
  • Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – Robert Costa – National Review Online – Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – The speaker and the former GOP veep contender are quiet partners #tcot
  • Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner – Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner #tcot
  • Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – The speaker and the former GOP veep contender are quiet partners – Paul Ryan spent the summer and fall in the national spotlight, but this winter he’s a subdued presence. He’s rarely granting interviews, and his public appearances have been scattered, with the most high profile a speech at the Kemp Foundation dinner. His closest friends say that he wants to return to his work quietly, and that he’s uninterested in playing a prominent role in the fiscal-cliff debate, even though he’s the GOP’s reigning budget expert.
  • The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012 #tcot
  • Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner – Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it #tcot
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The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012

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Chart of California State Worker Pay

These are my links for December 11th through December 12th:

  • California: A new ‘Mad Max’ sequel? – Californians increasingly may be on their own against criminals because of state and local budget problems. Two recent reports are scary.KCBS wrote, “Burglaries are up a startling 43 percent in Oakland this year compared to last, part of an ever-growing crime problem in the city…. The city could be down to a little more than 600 [police] officers by February, which would be 200 fewer than in 2008.”In San Bernardino, according to CBS News, “[City Attorney Jim] Penman said the city is dealing with bankruptcy, which has forced officials to cut its police force by about 80 officers.” Consequently, there’s been growing criticism about the police department’s response time.

    “Let’s be honest, we don’t have enough police officers. We have too many criminals living in this city. We have had 45 murders this year … that’s far too high for a city of this size,” Penman said.

    Talking to a local group, Mr. Penman also said, “Go home, lock your doors and load your gun.”

  • $822,000 Worker Shows California Leads U.S. Pay Giveaway – The California payroll totals reflected in the Bloomberg data have their roots in wage negotiations carried out during Davis’s time as governor.One of the first goals of state employee unions when Davis took over in 1999 after 16 years of Republican governors was to unwind curbs on pensions put in place by Governor Pete Wilso n in 1991. Workers also wanted broad wage increases.Unions persuaded the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to sponsor legislation called Senate Bill 400, which sweetened state and local pensions and gave retroactive increases for tens of thousands of retirees. Highway-patrol officers were granted the right to retire after 30 years of service with 90 percent of their top salaries, a benefit that was copied by police agencies across the state.

    California’s annual payment toward pension obligations ballooned to $3.7 billion in the current fiscal year from $300 million when the bill was enacted. Some cities that adopted the highway-patrol pension plan later cited those costs for contributing to their bankruptcy filings.

    Davis and the Legislature also agreed to labor contracts that gave 164,000 state workers pay increases of 4 percent in 1999 and again in 2000. Those contracts cost the state an extra $1.3 billion within a year, according to the state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office.

    There were more to come.

  • Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it – The Affordable Care Act was bad legislation, in part because it depended on plenty of imaginary budget savings. “This is a coverage bill, not a cost reduction bill,” top Senate staffer David Bowen said to a K Street audience after the bill passed. Bowen said that Senate Democrats had decided to do the same thing Massachusetts had done: “do coverage first, knowing that that would bring on a cost battle second.”But since the passage of Obamacare, the cost-controls and offsets have one-by-one been stripped out.First, Democrats killed the ill-conceived long-term-care-insurance measure, known as the CLASS Act. This provision, which provided government insurance for long-term care, was, amazingly, booked as reducing the deficit. This was ridiculous, and after the bill passed, Democrats realized it was a disaster, and they repealed the provision.

    Another reason the bill was supposed to “reduce the deficit” was an unusually onerous tax hike on small businesses. The provision, known as the “1099 provision” would have forced small businesses to file all sorts of new paperwork for all sorts of transactions (sell a digital camera, file a 1099), in the hope of picking up transactions that are taxable. Congress also repealed that provision.

    And now the health-care-industry lobbies that supported this subsidy-and-mandate-laden bill are lobbying to kill the cost-controls that offset the costs of its subsidies. All sorts of providers are lobbying to kill the Independent Payment Advisory Board. And the medical-device industry has convinced two Democratic Obamacare-backing Senators to try to kill the medical device tax:

  • Krauthammer: Right-To-Work “An Adjustment To Reality” – CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This is an adjustment to reality. The fact is that, you know, in the glory days the 40s, the 50s, the 60’s, the UAW was able to give its workers the highest wages, benefits in the world. That was because of an anomaly that we were only industrial country that came out of second World War intact. Europe was on its knees, Germany and Japan were rubble. So, we thought that was the natural order of things. It wasn’t.And when the other industrial countries recovered, we got world competition as we have. We ran into bankruptcies, Chrysler now twice. We see that in the southern states where the transplants are without the unions. They weren’t the ones who went bankrupt last in 2008 and 2009. So it really is a choice. It’s a tough choice, and I sympathize with the unions, but the fact is that in the global economy where you have to compete on wages and other elements, of the units of production, you can you either have, you know, high wages with low employment or you can, as Obama would say, spread around the wealth.The fact is that in the right-to-work states, unemployment is 6.9%. And in the other stays the non-right-to-work, it’s 8.7. So you can choose to have fewer workers who enjoy higher, inflated, unnatural, if you like, wages, uncompetitive wages. Or you can have competitive wages and more people employed, more people with the dignity of a job and less unemployment, more taxation and more activity. I think it’s it the right choice but I understand how it’s a wrenching choice.
  • Union bastion Michigan joins right-to-work states
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-11 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-11 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-11 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-11
  • Sitar Master Ravi Shankar Dies at Age 92 – Speakeasy – WSJ – R.I.P. RT @WSJ: Breaking: Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar dies at 92
  • Fiscal cliff: GOP makes another counteroffer – House Republicans say they have sent President Barack Obama a fresh proposal that would “achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs.”“As the speaker said today, we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the ‘balanced approach’ he promised the American people,” said Michael Steel, Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman. “The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.”
  • Day By Day December 11, 2012 – Back in the USSR – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 11, 2012 – Back in the USSR #tcot
  • Wealthy group that includes Warren Buffett, Jimmy Carter calls for heftier estate tax – The Hill’s On The Money – Let them pay it all RT @thehill: Wealthy group that includes Warren Buffett, Jimmy Carter calls for heftier estate tax
  • Obamacare fee of $63 per person to begin in 2014 – Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Obama’s health care overhaul.The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a “sleeper issue” with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers.

    “Especially at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, [companies will] be hit with a multimillion-dollar assessment without getting anything back for it,” said Mr. Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox subsidiary.

  • Crossroads GPS Targets Democratic Senators Over The Fiscal Cliff – Crossroads GPS Targets Democratic Senators Over The Fiscal Cliff #tcot
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: American Dental Association Announces Resin Infiltration Procedure Code – American Dental Association Announces Resin Infiltration Procedure Code
  • The Morning Flap: December 11, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 11, 2012 #tcot
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The Afternoon Flap: December 10, 2012

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These are my links for the afternoon of December 10th

  • The Republicans’ dour problem– But there was one breakdown by subgroup that showed a marked divide on the hope factor. By a 57-17 margin, Democrats felt California will be a better place a dozen years from now. Republicans, by a margin of 54-23, believe the state is headed downhill.To some extent, these responses may reflect a chicken-or-the-egg situation. With Democrats in control of all the state’s political offices and institutions, Democratic voters might naturally believe things are headed in the direction they believe is upward. The inverse is likely true among Republicans.But no one wins elections by being dour.As California Republicans regroup and consider a turnaround strategy that must include outreach to the minority and women voters they lost badly this fall, they might also consider taking on one other challenge. Instead of focusing so heavily on what they believe will be the inevitable negative consequences of Democratic policies, they need to begin framing their arguments on why they believe their policies will create a brighter, more hopeful future.

    =============

    I love how the Left-wing Democratic Ventura County Star California State editor likes to lecture the California GOP.

    Timm, California has been a Democratic state for decades.

    Now, it is deeply Blue due to the exodus (decline of California Aerospace economy, businesses moving to to other less taxed and regulated states) and retirement exodus/death of white middle class voters and the influx of non-white immigrants who vote predominantly Democratic.

    Republicans will be a minority of voters, like New York and Massachusetts for decades to come.

    California is a one political party state.

  • Twitter / Dodgers: An official welcome for Hyun-Jin … – RT @Dodgers: An official welcome for Hyun-Jin Ryu from @TommyLasorda:
  • Caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of oral cancers– A new American Cancer Society study finds a strong inverse association between caffeinated coffee intake and oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. The authors say people who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death of these often fatal cancers compared to those who only occasionally or who never drank coffee. The study is published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The authors say more research is needed to elucidate the biologic mechanisms that could be at work.Previous epidemiologic studies have suggested that coffee intake is associated with reduced risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer. To explore the finding further, researchers examined associations of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea intake with fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer in the Cancer Prevention Study II, a prospective U.S. cohort study begun in 1982 by the American Cancer Society.
  • Capitol Alert: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011 – Capitol Alert: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011 #tcot
  • ACU Backs Scott for DeMint’s Seat – By Robert Costa – The Corner – National Review Online – RT @robertcostaNRO: ACU backs Scott for DeMint’s seat
  • Capitol Alert: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011 – Capitol Alert: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011 #tcot
  • Capitol Alert: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011 – Census Report: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011 #tcot
  • Census Report: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011– About 100,000 more Californians moved to another state in 2011 than California gained from other states, a new Census Bureau report reveals.However, more than a quarter-million persons relocated into California from other countries during the year and that, coupled with what demographers call “natural increase” – births minus deaths – meant that the state still gained population.The Census Bureau calculated that 562,343 Californians moved to other states during 2011 with the most popular destinations being Texas (58,992), Arizona (49,635), Nevada (40,114), Washington (38,421), Oregon (34,214), New York (25,761), Colorado (23,234) and Florida (22,420).Meanwhile, 468,428 residents of other states moved to California during the year, with the most numerous domestic immigrants coming from Texas (37,387), Washington (36,481), Nevada (36,159), Arizona (35,650), New York (25,269) and Florida (22,094).
  • RNC launches official review on 2012 election– The Republican National Committee is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn’t for the party in the 2012 cycle, appointing five people at the top of a committee that will make recommendations on things like demographics, messaging and fundraising.The Growth and Opportunity Project is going to be chaired by RNC committee member Henry Barbour, longtime Jeb Bush adviser and political operative Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall. Priebus, who is running for a second term, is holding a call with committee members to roll out the plan this afternoon.The plan is to focus on: campaign mechanics, fundraising, demographics, messaging, outside groups, campaign finance, the national primary process and, last but not least, what the successful Democratic efforts revealed about the way forward, and recommend plans for the way forward, sources familiar with the plan said.
  • Delta Dental of California wins five-year $2.6B Defense Department contract – Delta Dental of California said Thursday that it’s been awarded a new five-year. $2.6 billion U.S. Department of Defense contract for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.
    However, most of the $2.6 billion is paid out to dentists who provide services for enrollees in the program, according to a Delta Dental of California spokeswoman. On other contracts, Delta Dental has said it gets roughly 10 percent of the total.
    The contract renews an existing five-year deal. The program, first authorized by Congress in 1997, offers voluntary dental benefits to the nation’s 5 million uniformed services’ retirees and family members, according to the company. Currently, it serves 1.3 million enrolleess.
  • Nikki Haley: I won’t appoint a ‘placeholder’ – RT @rachelweinerwp: Haley announcement fuels Tim Scott speculation
  • (404) http://t.co/xgS – RT @nikkihaley: As I continue to consider the impending U.S. Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a… …
  • Marriage and Self-Government – National Review– The Supreme Court should reverse these lower-court rulings, and straightforwardly affirm the right of the people in any state to act, constitutionally or legislatively, to adopt the traditional view of marriage as a relationship oriented toward procreation. The justices need not themselves hold that view — they may consider it outmoded or rationally inferior to a conception of marriage that treats it first and foremost as an emotional union of adults — to see that the Constitution erects no barrier to it, and that states therefore have the freedom to act on it.Of the various arguments advanced for a constitutional “right” of same-sex marriage, none withstands even momentary scrutiny by accepted standards. Are gays and lesbians a powerless and oppressed minority? One can hardly say that after the November elections, in which the cause of same-sex marriage was victorious in four states, in a year when it was also embraced by the president of the United States and enshrined in the platform of the larger of our major parties. Is it rationally indefensible to reserve the institution of marriage to the only kind of union — one man and one woman — that is capable of procreation, and to the kind of union that is proven to be the best general setting for the rearing of children? The question answers itself.
  • The Sebelius Coverup – Obamacare’s insurance exchanges need scrutiny – Many states are wisely signaling that they aren’t interested in doing the Obama administration’s bidding on Obamacare. As a result, many if not most of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — the heart of the beast — will have to be set up and run by the Obama administration at the federal level.
  • When Obamacare fails: The playbook for market-based reform – Amid a protracted rollout, the real-world evidence keeps mounting: the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is too costly to finance, too difficult to administer, too burdensome on doctors, and too disruptive of health care arrangements that Americans prefer. The need to replace it has never been stronger, yet full repeal is unviable in the short-term. The long-term task for reformers is to lay out a convincing case, not for a return to the former status quo, but for the kind of patient-centered health care system only a market-based model can deliver. But what policy changes would that entail? And what would they mean for patients and providers? American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Tom Miller answers these and other questions:
  • Notre Dame Professor: Upwardly Mobile Mexican-Americans Not Moving Right– Professor Jose E. Limon, director of the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, made an interesting contribution to the discussion of the Latino vote Monday night at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington. He suggested that identification with the Democratic Party has solidified as an enduring feature of Mexican-American identity.Here are some excerpts from his comments, which came during a discussion of a new book, Mexico & Mexicans in the Making of the United States:After observing that the Latino vote comes “substantially” from the middle class and lower-middle class, Limon said:We have this model of political behavior that also says to us that when a class acquires middle-class status, it starts shifting to the right. That has not happened with Mexican-Americans. I can’t tell you it might not happen 30 years from now, but right now that doesn’t seem to be happening. We are seeing the emergence of a Mexican-American middle class that is decidedly bicultural in many ways, in some cases decidedly bilingual, and that is also still upholding its traditional historical adherence to the progressive Democratic Party.
  • Is the GOP Digital Team (Still) in Denial?
  • Flapsblog Posts / President Obama warmly greets PSY at the White House despite rappers anti-American vile lyrics – President Obama warmly greets PSY at the White House despite rappers anti-American vile lyrics via @pinterest
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: ObamaCare – The Affordable Care Act and Dentistry – ObamaCare – The Affordable Care Act and Dentistry
  • Day By Day December 9, 2012 – Carrots – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 9, 2012 – Carrots #tcot
  • November election was a tipping point for California ethnic voters– It’s no secret that California’s population has been getting more diverse for decades. More recently, the composition of the state’s electorate has begun to mirror the population. But the people who actually showed up and voted on Election Day have remained whiter, and older, than the pool of registered voters.No more.It appears that for the first time, California Latinos, Asian-Americans and blacks voted last month in numbers roughly equivalent to their share of registered voters. About 40 percent of California’s electorate is now non-white. And ethnic voters made up about 40 percent of those who mailed in their ballots or went to the polls Nov. 6.This should be a wake-up call to Republicans, here and across the country.

    While white voters in California still lean conservative and will support Republican candidates, ethnic voters are overwhelmingly Democrats or independents who sympathize with that party. If Republicans can no longer count on large numbers of those voters to stay home on election day, the party is going to have to appeal to them — or risk permanent irrelevance.

    ========

    No tipping point Dan.

    California is a blue state that has become more blue with the decline of the white population (deaths and out migration).

    The California GOP except in a few areas of the state where whites and the affluent predominate will be irrelevant – just like in New York and Illinois.

  • PUC set to OK free phones for homeless – Come and Get Your Obama Phone Californians– Homeless and other poor people in California are on track to soon get virtually free cell phones and service so they can keep in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives.The cell phones would be handed out through a federally funded Lifeline program – already operated by service provider Assurance Wireless in 36 other states – that is likely to win final approval in the next couple of weeks from the California Public Utilities Commission.========California has gone mad…..
  • The Morning Flap: December 10, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 10, 2012 #tcot
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The Morning Flap: December 10, 2012

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President Obama and House Speaker Boehner

President Obama and House Speaker Boehner

These are my links for December 5th through December 10th:

  • Options narrow to avert fiscal cliff– Time is running short — and so are the options available to avert the fiscal cliff.President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have just 21 days to resolve their differences over how to handle more than $500 billion in expiring tax rates and steep spending cuts.Although they met Sunday for the first time in more than three weeks — signaling a new, potentially more productive stage of the negotiations — there was no progress on the staff level ahead of that sit-down, according to Democratic and Republican sources.The White House and Capitol Hill are now staring at a narrow set of options fraught with political and policy peril. The course they choose will set the tone for the 113th Congress, Boehner’s speakership and Obama’s second term.

    Here is POLITICO’s rundown of the most likely scenarios:

    1. Go over the cliff
    2. Big deal
    3. Partial deal
  • Jim DeMint’s move and the growing frustration inside the GOP | Mobile Washington Examiner
  • The GOP’s immigration jam
  • Dick Armey: John Boehner should vote on fiscal cliff plan– Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey suggested on Monday that House Speaker John Boehner should allow a vote on Republican and Democratic tax-and-spending plans to avert the fiscal cliff and force President Barack Obama to “live with the consequences” of his plan.“Unless the president shows some real negotiating, let’s say vigor, commitment, what I would do if I was John Boehner is I would take my version of what I think is the best policy for America to the floor, offer the Democrats, on behalf of the president, a chance to offer a substitute,” Armey, a Texas Republican who was majority leader from 1995 to 2003, said on CBS’s “This Morning.”
  • The Journal’s Tax Advice– he The Wall Street Journal editors are are unhappy about the present correlation unhappy about the present correlation of political forces. Who isn’t? They’re of political forces. Who isn’t? They’re also, I gather, unhappy about “Beltway also, I gather, unhappy about “Beltway sages” who, facing the fact that the sages” who, facing the fact that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, have suggested Republicans year, have suggested Republicans accept a modest increase in tax rates accept a modest increase in tax rates for the wealthy while leading the for the wealthy while leading the charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 percent of the American people. percent of the American people.It would be great if the It would be great if the Journal Journal editors editors had a better idea of what Republicans had a better idea of what Republicans could do. They don’t.
  • Doctors: We Gave at the Office, and Then Some– As a physician who treats Medicare patients, the fiscal cliff is all too familiar territory. Living under the current Medicare reimbursement system, known as the Sustainable Growth Rate, the viability of my practice is under threat.At least once a year, I am taken to a precipice known as the SGR cliff, which mandates that reimbursement rates are reduced by significant levels unless Congress steps in with its “doc fix” and staves off the cut. This year is no different. The SGR rate will be cut by nearly 27 percent on Jan. 1 unless Congress acts.This threatened cut, coupled with rate reductions and penalties already codified under the 2010 health care law and sequestration amount to a systematic targeting of Medicare doctors to pay for deficit reduction.To be clear, our SGR cliff is not merely an annual exercise. In 2010, we faced no less than five cliffs, sometimes going over, then fixed retroactively after a few weeks of panic and confusion among us and our patients.

    If this weren’t enough, the grand promise made to physicians to fix the SGR in the 2010 law actually worsened the situation by once again targeting reimbursement rates and adding reporting and electronic health record mandates. For good measure, the law created the Independent Payment Advisory Board as a means to further reduce reimbursements.

  • ObamaCare: Businesses Face Wrenching Choice– The president’s health care law presents the nation’s employers with a number of extremely difficult decisions. Perhaps nothing illustrates the selection of no-good-choices better than the requirement that businesses offer expensive insurance or pay a penalty.Recent news media coverage has highlighted larger businesses reducing employee hours below 30 hours per week in order to avoid the employer-mandate requirements or penalties. Smaller businesses, too, might be forced to reduce employment below the 50 full-time equivalent employee threshold, or resist growing above the threshold, to avoid the mandate. None of these options is productive, and they ultimately harm employees and the economy. Replacing one full-time position with two part-time positions is not job creation. Further, money that must go toward increased benefits or non-tax deductible penalties will crowd out wage increases and business investment.
  • The Republican Tax Panic– If any Republicans thought that President Obama would respond with magnanimity in victory, they now know better. He is determined to rout them on taxes, give as a little as possible on spending, and blame them for any economic damage in the bargain. The question for the GOP is how to minimize the harm to the economy, as well as to their chances of a political and policy comeback in 2014 and beyond.So it’s a shame that Republicans are playing into Mr. Obama’s hands, negotiating in public among themselves, prematurely giving up on the tax issue and undermining House Speaker John Boehner in the process. Mr. Obama isn’t going to blink on the budget if he thinks Republicans are going to blink first, and so far the emerging GOP position seems to be to surrender on taxes first and hope Mr. Obama will have mercy on them later on entitlements.
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-09 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-09 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-09 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-09
  • GetGlue – Your app for TV, Movies, and Sports – I unlocked the Homeland: In Memoriam sticker on #GetGlue!
  • Humor / The Golden Rule explained….. – The Golden Rule explained…..
  • How Obama’s data scientists built a volunteer army on Facebook– No matter how good your social media team is, the chances are it’s never done anything like this. Rather than just using Facebook as a channel for posting messages and tracking its followers’ feelings, the Obama for America data science team turned social media into a tool for efficiently recruiting the human resources it needed leading into the election’s home stretch.The key was a model for determining who among its followers were the best messengers, who they might be able to persuade, and what actions they might be willing to take. So, rather than blast all of President Obama’s 30 million Facebook fans or 20 million Twitter followers with the same plea for cash or neighborhood organizers, the campaign was able to make informed decisions about who it asked for what, and how it asked them.
  • GOP Rep. Cole: Take Obama’s offer to gain tax cuts for ‘98 percent’– Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Sunday that House Republicans should agree to extending tax cuts for the majority of U.S. taxpayers.Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Cole continued to champion his case that the GOP caucus should take the deal that President Obama is offering: keeping tax rates in place for those making less than $250,000 a year, while allowing rates to increase on the wealthy.
  • White House could protect middle class from looming tax hikes– The White House has the power to temporarily protect taxpayers from middle-class tax hikes even as upper income rates rise if Congress does nothing and all of the Bush-era tax rates expire in January.Experts and lawmakers alike agree that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has the power to adjust how much is withheld from paychecks for tax purposes — for all taxpayers or just for some.
  • GOP seeks to up its online game – Emily Schultheis – POLITICO.com – GOP seeks to up its online game – Emily Schultheis – #tcot
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-08 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-08
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-08 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-08 #tcot
  • GOP seeks to up its online game – Emily Schultheis – POLITICO.com – GOP seeks to up its online game – Emily Schultheis – #tcot
  • GOP seeks to up its online game – Emily Schultheis – POLITICO.com – GOP seeks to up its online game #tcot
  • GIF: Juan Manuel Marquez knocks out Manny Pacquaio at end of … on Twitpic – RT @BuzzFeedAndrew: Out cold. RT @samir: GIF of the knockout
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-08 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-08
  • GOP seeks to up its online game– Republican digital gurus are starting to chart a path forward for 2014 and beyond after conceding that they were badly outgunned by Barack Obama’s campaign in cyberspace this past November.About 50 top Republicans, both staffers for the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee as well as outside GOP digital consultants, huddled in Washington Thursday morning to rehash what Mitt Romney did wrong, digitally speaking.
  • Gregory Flap @ Ronnie’s Diner – 8 mile race recovery run is finished. Now waiting for a table at Ronnie’s. (@ Ronnie’s Diner)
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-07 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-07
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-07 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-07 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-07 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-07
  • Do Not Have Sex with This Man | Sexuality/Gender | Religion Dispatches – Stupid 2 RT @EWErickson This is one of the funniest damn things I’ve ever read @DouthatNYT inspires comedic brilliance
  • Steve Smith: Fleetwood Mac to tour; Clapton jams with The Stones; the 12-12-12 TV concert; and Led Zep’s honor – SGVTribune.com – Steve Smith: Fleetwood Mac to tour; Clapton jams with The Stones; the 12-12-12 TV concert; and Led Zep’s honor: …
  • SCOTUS To Hear Gay Marriage Cases – Flap’s Blog – SCOTUS To Hear Gay Marriage Cases #tcot
  • Supreme Court To Hear Gay Couples’ Marriage Cases – RT @chrisgeidner: UPDATE: The Supreme Court’s order in the #DOMA & #Prop8 cases:
  • Charles Krauthammer: It’s nothing but a power play– What should Republicans do? Stop giving stuff away. If Obama remains intransigent, let him be the one to take us over the cliff. And then let the new House, which is sworn in weeks before the president, immediately introduce and pass a full across-the-board restoration of the George W. Bush tax cuts.Obama will counter with the usual all-but-the-rich tax cut — as the markets gyrate and the economy begins to wobble under his feet.Result? We’re back to square one, but with a more level playing field. The risk to Obama will be rising and the debt ceiling will be looming. Most important of all, however, Republicans will still be in possession of their unity, their self-respect — and their trousers.———–

    The Fiscal Cliff does not look so bad, now does it?

  • Day By Day December 7, 2012 – Take A Bow – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 7, 2012 – Take A Bow #tcot
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-06 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-06
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-06 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-06
  • Sen. Rand Paul: We Should Let Dems Raise Taxes And Then Let Them Own It– SEN. RAND PAUL: I have yet another thought on how we can fix this. Why don’t we let the Democrats pass whatever they want? If they are the party of higher taxes, all the Republicans vote present and let the Democrats raise taxes as high as they want to raise them, let Democrats in the Senate raise taxes, let the president sign it and then make them own the tax increase. And when the economy stalls, when the economy sputters, when people lose their jobs, they know which party to blame, the party of high taxes. Let’s don’t be the party of just almost as high taxes.LARRY KUDLOW, CNBC: Some people have called that the doomsday scenario. Others have said, ‘Look, it’s a strategic retreat on the Republicans’ behalf.’ WWould you vote present for that in the Senate if that came up?RAND PAUL: Yes, I don’t think we have to in the Senate. In the House, they have to because the Democrats don’t have the majority. In the Senate, I’m happy not to filibuster it, and I will announce tonight on your show that I will work with Harry Reid to let him pass his big old tax hike with a simple majority if that’s what Harry Reid wants, because then they will become the party of high taxes and they can own it.=========

    Senator Paul has a point….

  • California Republicans look to Jim Brulte to lead comeback– Following a catastrophic election for the California Republican Party, influential members of the party have recruited a prominent former legislator, Jim Brulte, to lead a comeback.The former Senate Republican leader has been discussing his interest in the party chairmanship with members of the party since the election a month ago. Brulte is a giant in GOP circles, having helped Republicans in the 1990s win a majority in the state Assembly for the first time in nearly 25 years.
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-05 – Flap’s California Blog – (500) … #tcot
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-04 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-04
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-05 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-05 #tcot
  • Online sales tax to be added to defense authorization bill– This may be the last Christmas of online shopping without paying sales tax.A proposed online sales tax has been offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, much to the ire of opponents.The Computer and Communications Industry Association, a group that opposes this move, says that an online sales tax will burden small businesses, “some of the most promising candidates for future economic growth.”
  • The House Fiscal Cliff Strategy: Shut Up and Pass a Bill – Flap’s Blog – The House Fiscal Cliff Strategy: Shut Up and Pass a Bill #tcot
  • The Troubles with ObamaCare Implementation – Flap’s Blog – The Troubles with ObamaCare Implementation #tcot
  • American Dental Association Releases Updated Dental Radiograph (X-Ray) Recommendations – American Dental Association Releases Updated Dental Radiograph (X-Ray) Recommendations #tcot
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