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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 37,361

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Republican Governors May Pay Price for Refusing to Expand Medicaid Under Obamacare

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government couldn’t force states to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. Since then, the Obama administration has looked for ways to persuade Republicans who have steadfastly opposed Obamacare to participate in this key component of the act. The biggest incentive is the law’s promise of federal funds to cover the whole cost of newly qualified Medicaid patients for three years, until 2016, and at least 90 percent of the costs thereafter. Nevertheless, 20 states have refused to ease access to their Medicaid rolls. A few have been able to eat their cake and have it, too: Because of special arrangements that predate Obamacare, four states that haven’t expanded Medicaid have been getting billions each year in extra funding to pay for the care of people who are uninsured.

That’s about to change. On April 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal funding to the states for health programs, alerted Florida officials that CMS plans to let the $1.3 billion the state gets annually to help hospitals cover the cost of treating uninsured patients lapse at the end of June. “Uncompensated care pool funding should not pay for costs that would be covered in a Medicaid expansion,” CMS wrote in its letter, which it released to reporters.

Rick Scott, Florida’s Republican governor, responded two days later with a threat to sue the Obama administration. “It is appalling that President Obama would cut off federal health-care dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into Obamacare,” Scott said in a public statement. On Fox News, Scott was more animated: “This is The Sopranos. They’re using bullying tactics to attack our state.” Scott’s office declined to comment further.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott quickly joined forces with Scott. Texas’ special Medicaid funding, which accounts for about half of the state’s $3.4 billion pool to repay hospitals for treating uninsured patients, expires in September 2016. In an April 20 statement, Abbott, a former attorney general who took office in January, vowed to support Florida’s suit. (As of April 22, no lawsuit had been filed.) “The Supreme Court made it very clear that the Constitution does not allow the federal government to use these coercive tactics against the States,” Abbott said.



Support for Gay Marriage Reaches Record High (POLL)

A week before a closely watched U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the issue, public support for gay marriage reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, with 61 percent of Americans – more than six in 10 for the first time – saying gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry legally.

Identical or similar majorities favor gay marriage on two key issues before the court: Sixty-one percent oppose allowing individual states to prohibit same-sex marriages. And 62 percent support requiring states to recognize gay marriages performed legally in other states.

These views extend a dramatic, decade-long evolution in public attitudes on gay marriage - one of the most remarkable re-evaluations of views on a basic social issue in more than 30 years of ABC/Post polling. As recently as June 2006, just 36 percent of Americans said it should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry. That advanced to 49 percent in 2009, reached a majority, 53 percent, in early 2011, and, as noted, 61 percent now.

Further, “strong” support for allowing gay marriage exceeds strong opposition by 15 percentage points in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, matching the largest pro-gay marriage margin in intensity of sentiment on record. In a similar question in 2004, by contrast, strong opposition exceeded strong support by 34 points.


Evolution. It's a good thing...

Hillary at Watergate Impeachment Hearings

During the impeachment hearings, I was shooting a story for Time about John Doar, the chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. Hillary Rodham was a young lawyer working with him. When the Bill Clinton impeachment thing came along, I went back and looked through all the old photos, and I found all these of her—this was the best one. She wasn’t on the radar at all; she just happened to be in the frame. I probably even tried to crop her out at one point. When I look back at that picture, it was like, who knew?

many more interesting images and stories here


The legendary David Hume Kennerly tells the story behind 50 years of campaign photography.


I love being in the action. As a kid in Oregon, I distinctly remember seeing a big garage fire and watching the firemen try to put out the blaze, and then this guy with cameras dangling around his neck came along and flipped out his press pass. “Now there’s the perfect job,” I thought. You don’t have to fight the fire, but you can take pictures of it. I was the kid who always brought weird things to class to impress my friends—stuffed armadillos, live horned toads. News photography really had appeal to me. It was the ultimate show and tell.

News photographers tend to be tough, able to survive being shot at, both for real and verbally. The way I grew up in the business, the photo editors weren’t polite people. You were afraid of not getting the picture because the consequences of getting yelled at by an editor were way worse than getting attacked on the street by rioters—you could get shot at, beaten up, they didn’t care. They just wanted to see the pictures. They didn’t have HR in those days to complain to. I got better at taking photos out of sheer fear.

I started out covering the 1966 midterm elections, and, by 1970, as a young United Press International wire-service shooter, I started covering the White House. I had my first ride on Air Force One at age 23 with President Richard Nixon. Over these past 50 years, I’ve covered just about every presidential candidate and watched them work up close on the trail. The first president who understood the power of photography and what it could do for him was Abraham Lincoln, but the first modern president who knew precisely how he came across in photos was John F. Kennedy. JFK and his family were storybook people and looked great in photographs. You could study those pictures as a case history of how to do it right.

When Senator Robert Kennedy came to Portland, Oregon, in 1966, he was campaigning for the local congressional candidate, Edith Green. I’d never seen, much less photographed, anyone this famous. When I got to the labor hall, I didn’t know how to get through the crowd. I saw two photographers standing on the periphery—I didn’t know them, but it was clear they were traveling with the senator. One was Bill Eppridge of Life magazine, the other Steve Schapiro, a great civil rights photographer. I asked Eppridge, “How do you get through these crowds?” He said, “Hang on to my coat, kid.” I did, and he just sliced through the people and put me up into a good spot: “This is the best angle for you.” That photo of Senator Kennedy to this day is still one of my favorite shots of any politician.


FCC staff leaning against Comcast deal


Federal Communications Committee staff want the agency to block Comcast’s $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable, according to multiple sources with knowledge of an internal FCC briefing Wednesday.

For the agency to go that route, it would likely send the issue to an administrative law judge for a hearing, a step that could drag out the review for months or even years and is widely seen as tantamount to killing the deal.

The development marks another sign that the merger faces serious regulatory hurdles in Washington.

A report from Bloomberg News last week said staff attorneys in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are poised to recommend against the deal due to concerns it would stifle competition in the cable and broadband industries.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/fcc-staff-leaning-against-comcast-time-warner-cable-deal-117275.html#ixzz3Y8zvauVi

Bwwwaahahahah! "The coming GOP demolition-derby circular firing squad"

The Coming GOP demolition-derby circular firing squad:

1. With the announcement two weeks ago that four super-PACS — headed by the mysterious Robert Mercer from Long Island, N.Y. — had donated a stunning $31 million to Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) presidential campaign, a new era of GOP primary battles was launched.

2. In the past, the GOP establishment wing always handsomely funded their candidate.

3. It was always the conservatives who were underfunded.
4. And thus the primary outcome was preordained: After the initial dustup-up in Iowa and perhaps South Carolina, the establishment money wore the conservative(s) down and ultimately prevailed in a war of attrition.

5. That is not going to happen in the 2016 election cycle.

6. No, we are about to witness something we have never before seen: A full-on, well-funded-on-both-sides, nuclear war inside the GOP pitting the establishment (mostly former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush) versus the Tea Party (Cruz, Ben Carson and others) versus the neo-cons (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio) versus the libertarians (Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul) versus the hybrid (Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has both establishment and Tea Party support).



Police Officer 'Bill of Rights' Blamed for Baltimore’s Information Blackout in Freddie Gray Death

Ten days after Baltimore cops crammed Freddie Gray into the back of a paddy wagon, there's still an information blackout about how exactly the 25-year-old black man ended up with a severed spine while in police custody. Initial attempts at transparency have been thwarted, leaving several gaping holes in the series of events that occurred after Gray's April 12 arrest.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake acknowledged the information gaps in the case at a press conference after Gray's death Sunday, saying officials had not yet been able to "fully engage" with all six officers involved in the arrest — all of whom have since been named and suspended without pay.

"The officers who were directly involved because of our Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights we have yet to fully engage those officers, and we will get to the bottom of it," the mayor said. "I am determined to make sure that we have as full investigation and we follow all of the rules and procedures so if there is a finding of wrongdoing that we have done everything possible to protect policy and procedures so we can hold those individual accountable."

Roughly 1,000 protesters and activists converged Wednesday in Baltimore at the site of Gray's arrest, voicing support for statements made this week by an attorney for Gray's family alleging that the police department has been involved in a cover-up from the onset.


Why the Constitution Trumps Any State's Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

By Brianne J. Gorod

With the Supreme Court scheduled to hear oral argument next week in marriage equality cases, everyone is looking to the marriage cases the Court decided in 2013 in an attempt to predict what it’s likely to do this time around. But another recent case on a very different topic may actually have much more to say about marriage equality than one would think: last year’s case about warrantless searches of an arrestee’s cell phone. In that case, the Court held such searches unconstitutional and underscored a principle that bears on the marriage discussion—namely, that constitutional protections cannot be undone by popular vote.

The basic question in the marriage equality cases is simple. Does the Fourteenth Amendment—which prohibits states from denying any person “liberty... without due process of law” and “the equal protection of the laws”—bar state bans on same-sex marriage? The text and history of the U.S. Constitution, not to mention the Court’s own precedents, make clear that it does. Opponents of marriage equality thus are resorting to what is becoming a familiar argument, saying marriage equality should be decided not by the courts, but by the people. By that logic, citizens of individual states can trump the Constitution’s broad equality guarantee if they vote to do so.

One of the most significant statements of this view can be found in the lower court opinion the Court is reviewing. Last year, federal appeals court judge Jeffrey Sutton described the question in the marriage equality cases as a “debate about whether to allow the democratic processes begun in the States to continue... or to end them now by requiring all states in the Circuit to extend the definition of marriage to encompass gay couples.” He noted that “in just eleven years, 19 states and a conspicuous District, accounting for nearly 45 percent of the population, have exercised their sovereign powers to expand the definition of marriage.” He described that “timeline” as “difficult... to criticize as unworthy of further debate and voting.” Unsurprisingly, defenders of that opinion have continued this line of argument in the Supreme Court. One of the parties’ briefs argues that the Court should adopt a deferential standard in reviewing state marriage bans because that standard “defers to voters in order to protect the democratic process.” Another asserts that “he Constitution delegates most sensitive policy choices to democratic debates, not judicial mandates.”

These arguments about “democratic process” may seem more attractive than some of the other arguments made by opponents of marriage equality. For instance, leaders of the 2012 Republican National Convention Committee on the Platform filed a brief arguing that marriage bans are constitutional because, in part, men need “traditional marriage” so women can “‘transform male lust into love.’”

But there’s a basic flaw in the “democratic process” arguments, as last year’s cell phone search decision confirms. They get the Constitution exactly backwards.



An Ex-Cop Keeps The Country’s Best Data Set On Police Misconduct


When Talking Points Memo, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post needed data on how often police officers are charged with on-duty killings, they all turned to the same guy: Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip M. Stinson.

Stinson, 50, has become an indispensable source for researchers and reporters looking into alleged crimes and acts of violence by police officers because he has built a database tracking thousands of incidents in which officers were arrested since 2005. His data has shown that even the few police officers who are arrested for drunken driving are rarely convicted and that arrests spike for cops who have been on the force 18 years or longer, contrary to prior research showing it was mostly new officers who were acting out.

The whole data-collecting operation is powered by 48 Google Alerts that Stinson set up in 2005, along with individual Google Alerts for each of nearly 6,000 arrests of officers. He has set up 10 Gmail addresses to collect all the alert emails, which feed articles into a database that also contains court records and videos.

It all adds up to a data set of alleged police misconduct unmatched by anything created inside or outside of government, which itself often uses Google Alerts to catch these cases.1 Yet Stinson’s database inevitably has holes because it relies on the media to cover every officer arrest, and because it takes immense effort to code each entry. The data set keeps falling behind.



Even a blind squirrel finds a nut, or maybe it is the other way around!

Donald Trump slams Pacific free trade deal

The outspoken businessman, who is known to start brawls on Twitter, sent out a series of tweets explaining his opposition.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an attack on America's business. It does not stop Japan's currency manipulation. This is a bad deal," he said.

The U.S. government has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) since 2009 with 11 other nations, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Chile, Canada and Mexico.

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