Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Headlines - Tuesday July 3

Uh oh, Willard's been caught profiting from fetus disposal while at the helm at Bain. IOKIYAR!
Betty Bowers: America: A nation where life is sacred, but health is negotiable.

Here's Denton whining about the manner by which Anderson Cooper came out:

It's awesome that the calculation has changed this much: that it's now more embarrassing to remain in the closet than it is to come out.

But here's one quibble. The method of revelation was so obviously designed to minimize the story. It's part of the Independence Day news dump, along with the Cruise-Holmes separation, timed to be overwhelmed by fireworks and the smell of barbeque.

If Anderson Cooper is going to compromise his personal privacy for "visibility", this is a particularly hesitant way to go about it.

Here's what I don't understand. The choreographed publication of a private letter from Anderson to Andrew Sullivan has so much in common with Obama's mealy-mouthed statement of personal belief on afternoon TV: both are missed opportunities.

Hey Nick- it's none of your fucking business when or how any gay person comes out of the closet. Earlier today, OTB's headline on this issue was "Anderson Cooper Is Gay, Almost Nobody Cares, And That's A Good Thing."

Nick Denton. Almost a nobody, but a jerk nonetheless.


Oh, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please…

(Raw Story)


America the Stupid
I will preface by saying that I don't think Americans are inherently more stupid than any other nationality. Stupidity is something that seems to know no boundaries of nation or group. Daily reading of the international pages of newspapers offers ample evidence of that.

But American stupidity seems less forgivable than that found in other places, because of affluence. And, ironically, it appears that much domestic ignorance is rooted in that very affluence.

Oh, there's certainly a sizable underclass in America. Somebody born to a crack whore for a mother, and who doesn't know who his or her father is, probably doesn't stand much of a chance, decent public schools or not. Income inequality is probably a big factor. And, I can't say that I grew up affluent, at least not by American standards.

But, the middle-class Americans I have known grew up largely taking plenty for granted that can't be taken so elsewhere. Among those things seem to be even the most modest intellectual achievements. Middle-class Americans often grow up complacent, with computer games and Smartphones, generally believing that there will always be "brains" out there who will manage to devise such things. Never mind where they came from. Affluence seems to furnish a path to intellectual laziness.

As Exhibit C, I will offer the findings of Newsweek, which gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. citizenship test. Candidates for citizenship are given a random list of 10 questions from among 100 included in the full test, and they have to get six of them right to pass.

Some 38% of Americans who took that test failed, including 29% who couldn't name the current vice president, and 73% who couldn't correctly say why we fought the Cold War.

I took the test with a sample of 20 questions, and got 18 of them right. I suppose that's very good, but as a career journalist with over three decades of experience, I should have gotten them all. What did I miss? I guessed that there were 26 constitutional amendments, rather than 27, and I named power to regulate interstate commerce as one of the original powers that the Constitution gives the federal government (that didn't come until later).

Here's a link to an article on the subject, and you can also take a version of the test here.

The big problem here is that a lot of those among the 38% who fail are voters. Are these people you want making civic decisions? I'll leave you to ponder that question.

Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to plead guilty and pay $3B in fines and restitution in response to multiple federal charges of marketing deception and product safety violations. Theirs will be the largest federal penalty ever paid by a pharmaceutical company.
Today's multibillion-dollar settlement is unprecedented in both size and scope,'' Deputy Attorney General James Cole said. "At every level, we are determined to stop practices that jeopardize patients' health, harm taxpayers, and violate the public trust - and this historic action is a clear warning to any company that chooses to break the law." Prosecutors said GlaxoSmithKline illegally promoted the drug Paxil for treating depression in children from April 1998 to August 2003, even though the FDA never approved it for anyone under age 18. The corporation also promoted the drug Wellbutrin from January 1999 to December 2003 for weight loss, the treatment of sexual dysfunction, substance addictions and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, although it was only approved for treatment of major depressive disorder. GlaxoSmithKline CEO Sir Andrew Witty expressed regret and said they have learned "from the mistakes that were made."
GSK's sales force was also accused of bribing physicians to prescribe their products, dangling perks as wide-ranging as luxury vacations and tickets to Madonna concerts.

If you feel as though John McCain is consulted far too often by our very serious liberal media, it's not just your imagination. Here are the numbers to prove it.

According to a study by the University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog, McCain was the most mentioned member of the Senate in national television and radio reports during the first six months of the year.

McCain's name was touted in 1,958 news stories between January and June—an average of roughly 10 stories a day.

John McCain sold out nearly everything he ever stood for during the 2008 campaign and in the four years that have passed since then. I suppose that makes him the perfect person to turn to for today's conventional wisdom.


Wow, they didn't waste any time, did they?

Florida will not implement two provisions of the U.S. healthcare law involving an expansion of Medicaid for the poor and creation of a private insurance exchange, Governor Rick Scott said on Sunday.

Two other states with Republican governors, Wisconsin and Louisiana, opted out of the two provisions last week in the wake of the Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

So the two measures that make healthcare more affordable for working and middle class Americans are being denied to residents of those states. Seriously, if you live in any of these states, especially if you're poor, middle class or a woman, you should move. Now.




Hospitals were anticipating the influx of new funds from the ACA's Medicaid expansion to help treat lower-income Americans would help offset the costs of new patients. Now that the Supreme Court has given Republican governors an opening to bow out of the expansion, a fight is brewing between them and the hospitals.



Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, Republican governors are considering refusing billions in Medicaid funds which promise to insure millions of lower-income Americans without health care. The Court found that while the Medicaid provision is constitutional, the federal government cannot take away federal funds from states that refuse to open the program to more residents.

A ThinkProgress survey reveals that ten GOP governors have said definitively that they will not accept the funds, while 19 are still considering other options. Sixteen states, all with Democratic governors, have committed to expanding their programs:

Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid, the massively popular program which makes health insurance available for lower-income Americans. For the first three years, the federal government covers 100 percent of the expansion costs. After five years, the federal government finances 90 percent of the expanded population.

Not a single Republican governor has pledged to accept the new Medicaid funds and three Democrats are also considering turning down the money. In total, these states would give up $291.4 billion in federal funds and leave 10,297,221 Americans uninsured.



Mitch McConnell Accidentally Says What He Thinks About Poors and Uninsureds


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