Friday, August 31, 2012

#Eastwooding And Other Thoughts On The RNC Convention

Keep in mind more people tuned into "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo" than the RNC convention, so most voters will be getting their impressions of the convention from the main stream media. I watched none of the convention because of work obligations, so I'm more or less in the same boat.

Here are my five takeaways:

1) Hurricane Issac

2) RNC audience members throwing peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman saying, "This is how we feed the animals"

3) Paul Ryan's pants are on fire.

4) Mitt Romney's line, "President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet…My promise is to help you and your family."

4) #Eastwooding 

I'd say the RNC convention was an epic success..........for Democrats.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sixty-Eight Cents

If your best argument for forcing rape and incest victims to bear their abuser's child is that you don't want your tax dollars to go for abortion, here's a helpful suggestion for you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ryan/Romney Push Zombie Lie of $700 Billion In Medicare Cuts, Here's The Truth

Within hours of "boldly" picking Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate, presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, immediately tried to back away from Ryan's long and detailed record - especially when it comes to eliminating Medicare as we know it and privatizing Social Security.

If media reaction in Florida is any indication, Romney has good reason to distance himself.

Romney's campaign has tried to inoculate itself somewhat from that criticism by claiming it's Obama who wants to throw grandma under the bus, not him.

Characterizing $700 billion dollars in Medicare savings through the Affordable Care Act as "stealing", Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus blasted the Obama administration, saying “This President stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare… If anyone in this debate has blood on his hands in regard to Medicare it’s Barack Obama.”

As a talking point, it's a great one, but like most things coming from the Romney campaign these days, it's also a lie.

In fact, the $700 billion in Medicare savings don't come from cuts in services, they come from cuts in waste, fraud and abuse in the system. Something you'd think Republicans would love.

Here's a statistic to help you understand the scale of the problem. The Government Accountability Office found that improper payments made by Medicare/Medicaid added up to $64.8 billion in 2011 alone. 

Improper Payments Improper payments by Medicare and Medicaid programs were estimated at $64.8 billion for fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO estimated improper payments – meaning the care was not necessary or the bill was wrong – as follows:
  • Medicare fee-for-service (“Original” Medicare): $28.8 billion in improper payments, an 8.6 percent error rate, primarily due to medically unnecessary services and insufficient documentation
  • Medicare Advantage: $12.4 billion in improper payments, an 11 percent error rate, primarily due to insufficient documentation, errors in the transfer and interpretation of data, and payment calculations 
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: $1.7 billion in improper payments, a 3.2 percent error rate, primarily due to payment errors, payment adjustment errors, and program complexity 
  • Medicaid: $21.9 billion in improper payments, an 8.1 percent error rate, primarily due to ineligible or indeterminable eligibility status for Medicaid beneficiaries
Now, contrast this with the Ryan plan, which would also cut hundreds of billions from Medicare, but by ending the program as we know it. Ryan would replace the existing defined benefit system with a voucher system, with payments tied to changes in the consumer-price-index rather than healthcare inflation, which is higher. What that means is that, over time, vouchers wouldn't keep up with the real cost of health care insurance, and seniors would end up eating the difference, paying thousands of dollars more each year for insurance.

Worse, in order to keep the insurance plans affordable for seniors, it's likely coverage would be scaled back. So instead of being a defined benefit plan as we have now - where seniors could count on a defined level of care and services - "RyanCare" would progressively erode services and care over time, leaving seniors and their families vulnerable to catastrophic medical expenses.

You can see where this is going - increased medical expenses for seniors will inevitably lead to medical rationing - death panels if you will. 

That's not Medicare as we know it. It never has been and it never will be. And that's why Romney is running as far from Ryan's voucher proposals as fast as he can. That's why he's lying - again - about Obama's record and the Affordable Care Act. Because once seniors figure out the truth, it's game over for Mittens.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosedahl Tells Constituents, "I Have Cancer"

In a letter to constituents, LA  Councilman Bill Rosendahl notified constituents today he is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Dear Friends, Life s full of unexpected challenges – and I am suddenly facing a big one. I need to share it with you -- my friends, my constituents, and my colleagues.
For the past few months, I have been suffering from nagging back pain. That pain grew much worse in early July when I tried to lift something heavy at my home. After the City Council’s July recess, when I recognized the problem was not going away, I sought medical treatment. This week, after a series of tests, my doctors told me what no one ever wants to hear: “You have cancer.”
I am beginning treatment today. The cancer is in my pelvic area and is pinching some of my nerves, causing a lot of pain and discomfort, which has kept me away from City Hall for the past week. The doctors are confident they can get the pain under control so I can return to work while I undergo treatment My doctors feel there is abundant reason for optimism. The cancer is slow-moving, has not spread to any vital organs, and does not affect my digestive system. To keep up my strength, the doctors have given me permission to eat anything I want (to which, as a longtime diabetic, I say: “Great! Great! Great! Great! Great!”).
While I am undergoing treatment, I will be in touch regularly with colleagues and with Team Rosendahl – my amazing all-star staff. They will step up and make sure that the work gets done. They will ensure potholes get filled, graffiti gets painted out, and motions get introduced on my behalf to make sure our key projects keep moving. You’ll get to see what I have always known: my staff is the best in City government.
I am going to beat this cancer and to return to work soon. I am going to seek, win and complete a third term. And I am going to spend the next five years making sure we provide top-notch constituent service to residents of the 11th District. Together, we will keep the City safe and fiscally sound, build mass transit and promote alternative transportation, and modernize LAX without expanding into neighboring communities. Most especially, we are going to build affordable housing and provide services and housing to the homeless.
I frequently remind people that “all we have is the moment.” In this particular moment, I am grateful that I have the love and support of family and friends, the inspiration and example of countless cancer survivors, one of the best jobs in the world, and a spirit of faith and confidence that the best is yet to come. Thank you for your support. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Warm Regards,
Best wishes to the Councilman for a speedy recovery.