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The Left Column


Krugman: Liberals really should be celebrating. California shows how Obamacare can and should work..

(NYT) So it now appears that most of California’s uninsured — 58 percent of the total, or well over 60 percent of those eligible (because undocumented immigrants aren’t covered) have gained insurance in the first year. Considering the complexity of the scheme, that’s really impressive, and it strongly suggests that next year, once those who missed out have had a chance to learn via word of mouth, California will have gotten much of the way toward universal coverage for legal residents.

But there’s something else the Kaiser report drives home: most of those gaining coverage are doing so not via the exchanges (although those are important too) but via Medicaid. And that’s important as an answer to critics of Obamacare from the left.


McConnell's Opponent,Alison Lundergan Grimes, Uses 'McConnelling' Video Against Him

(TPM) Remember McConnelling? The internet meme borne out of what a wordless video of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) awkwardly smiling at the camera and meeting with constituents.

Outsiders speculated that the video was designed to be extra footage, or b-roll, that outside political action groups could use to make TV ads, but now McConnell's opponent is taking advantage of it.


President Obama to GOP: 'Stop Just Hating All the Time'

(AP) Pointing the finger at Republicans for congressional inaction, President Barack Obama chided lawmakers Wednesday for spending the waning days before their month-long summer break trying to sue him rather than addressing economic issues that could boost the middle class.

"Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hating all the time. Come on," the president said in a boisterous and sharply partisan speech in Kansas City.


Pope Francis sounds too much like Obama to be honored by Congress, Republican says

(Raw Story) A bipartisan congressional resolution that would honor Pope Francis before his potential appearance in Philadelphia next year may not be acted upon because of Republican worries that the pontiff is perceived as being "too liberal," The Hill reports.

House Resolution 440 aims to "congratulate Pope Francis on his election and recognize his inspirational statements and actions," but according to one Republican backer of the legislation, the resolution is dead because Pope Francis is "sounding like Obama. (The pope) talks about equality — he actually used the term 'trickle-down economics,' which is politically charged."

Omaha Steve

Senate bill would end NSA phone records collection

(AP) Sen. Patrick Leahy on Tuesday introduced a bill to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records, a proposal that goes further than a similar House measure and has drawn support from civil liberties groups, the White House and Republicans.

The bill represents the latest step in fulfilling a January promise by President Barack Obama to end the NSA's collection of domestic calling records. If enacted, it would represent the most significant change to come in the wake of the leaks of once-secret surveillance programs by former NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden.


Hobby Lobby Allegedly Fired Employee Due to Pregnancy

(Reality Check) When a very pregnant Felicia Allen applied for medical leave from her job at Hobby Lobby three years ago, one might think that the company best known for denying its employees insurance coverage of certain contraceptives—on the false grounds that they cause abortions—would show equal concern for helping one of its employees when she learned she was pregnant.

Instead, Allen says the self-professed evangelical Christian arts-and-crafts chain fired her and then tried to prevent her from accessing unemployment benefits.

“They didn’t even want me to come back after having my baby, to provide for it,” she says.


The GOP’s impeachment dilemma will only get worse

(WaPo) Today John Boehner declared that any talk of Republicans impeaching President Obama is a sinister plot originating in the White House, from which so many other sinister plots have come. “It’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House,” he said. “This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president’s own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they’re trying to rally their own people to give money and show up in this year’s elections.” Which is partially true. Democrats do want to talk about impeachment, and it does help them raise money (though while an actual impeachment would certainly get Democratic voters to the polls in November, it’s much less likely that just talking about it will do so). But that’s only part of the story.

Boehner and other Republican leaders are now trying to walk an impossible tightrope. On one hand, they’re arguing that they have no interest in impeaching the president — they know that it would be a political catastrophe if they did — and any suggestion to the contrary is nothing but Democratic calumny. On the other hand, they’re arguing that Obama is a lawless tyrant who is trampling on the Constitution. If that contradiction has put them in a difficult situation, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Roy Serohz

Alabama state officials: We won’t comply with the EPA because God gave us coal

(Salon) On Tuesday, Alabama state officials said they refused to comply with the EPA’s new carbon pollution measures because God gave them coal. Alabama.com reports:

At their news conference today Cavanaugh and PSC commissioner-elect Chip Beeker invoked the name of God in stating their opposition to the EPA proposal. Beeker, a Republican who is running unopposed for a PSC seat, said coal was created in Alabama by God, and the federal government should not enact policy that runs counter to God’s plan.

“Who has the right to take what God’s given a state?” he said.

Capt. Obvious

Conservatives Launch ReaganBook: 'Facebook For Patriots'

(TPM) The president of conservative pro-family group Faith2Action last weekend announced the pre-launch of ReaganBook, a social networking site described as "the Facebook for patriots," according to Right Wing Watch.

Faith2Action President Janet Porter told attendees at the Ohio Liberty Coalition's "Reload 4 Liberty" event that Facebook has been censoring people like anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera.


Court: Florida Can Block Doctors From Asking Patients About Guns

(TPM) A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a Florida law that discourages physicians from asking patients about guns is constitutional, despite doctor warnings that such questions are vital to their work.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that invalidated the 2011 law, advocated by guns rights groups. The law says that "unless information is relevant to patient's medical care or safety or safety of others, inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession should not be made." It allows for disciplinary action against doctors who violate it.

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Supreme Court upholds Scott Walker Act 10 union law

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