“To give a nickel-version of the dispute here: under health care reform, the federal government will begin requiring people to purchase private health insurance in 2016, or face a $695 penalty. (People who can’t afford it would get an exemption). Opponents of the law argue this is an unconstitutional coercion of individuals by the federal government, while the administration argues it is within Congress’s right to require the purchase of health insurance under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The reasoning is that the federal government clearly has the power to regulate the health insurance industry under that clause, as it spans every state in the nation. If the Court strikes down the mandate, then the part of health care reform that forbids health insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions would almost certainly be repealed. If the government forbid those denials but didn’t force people to first buy a plan, then plenty of people would just wait until they got sick to buy insurance.”—If the Mandate Fails, Single Payer Awaits (via azspot)
Citing a single anonymous source, Kotaku says it believes the code name for the next PlayStation is “Orbis.” And while the next console from Sony is widely expected to be called PlayStation 4 when it hits shelves, the site infers that Orbis might be the system’s final name.
As the price of oil trades near 2008-highs and the average price of gasoline hovers around $4 a gallon, world leaders are considering adding more supply to the market.
In recent days, the United States along with the United Kingdom, France and Japan have been in talks to ease the shock of rising oil and gas prices by releasing billions of emergency reserves onto the market. The laws of supply and demand dictate that when supply is great, prices should fall.
But the rise in the price for fuel is not an issue of supply and demand, says former Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), who helped shape the nation’s energy policy as chairman the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and three subcommittees.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said as much on The Daily Ticker earlier this month. Sanders, along with 70 members of Congress, wrote a letter to regulators at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), urging immediate action on oil speculation by enacting “strong position limits” and to “utilize all authorities available to…make sure that the price of oil and gasoline reflects the fundamentals of supply and demand.”
Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer, told us he blames speculators for adding “at a minimum” $20 per barrel to the price of oil. In a study of oil prices over the last five years, the St. Louis Federal Reserve determined speculation drove up oil prices by 15 percent. But those estimates are comparatively conservative. The CEO of ExxonMobil (XOM) believes speculation could be driving up oil prices by as much as 40 percent a barrel.
An article in The Atlantic by Jordan Weissmann reveals that automakers are struggling to connect their products to teens and twenty-somethings. The problem isn’t the cars, or even the economy, but driving in general. Fewer young people are getting drivers licenses. In 1998 nearly two-thirds of potential drivers age 19 or younger had a license. In 2008 it was less then half. It’s hard to believe, but trends indicate young people in the 21st century no longer view a car as the symbol of adolescent independence. As one Toyota executive noted, “Many young people care more about buying the latest smart phone or gaming console than getting their driver’s license.”
When it comes to Republican Party rhetoric, much of it is so reflexive and reactionary, debates no longer require any thought at all. Those who mention the gap between the rich and poor are guilty of “class warfare.” Those who believe the Pentagon budget is too big are “weak on defense.” And those who support court rulings the right doesn’t like are “judicial activists.”
The whole idea of “judicial activism” has been stripped of all meaning in recent years — it’s now simply a synonym for “rulings I don’t like.”
I don’t imagine this will stop Republicans from whining incessantly about “judicial activism” between now and the end of time, but there’s no reason for fair people to take their complaints seriously.
The guarantee of landline telephone service at almost any address, a legal right many Americans may not even know they have, is quietly being legislated away in our U.S. state capitals.
AT&T and Verizon, the dominant telephone companies, want to end their 99-year-old universal service obligation known as “provider of last resort.” They say universal landline service is a costly and unfair anachronism that is no longer justified because of a competitive market for voice services.
The new rules AT&T and Verizon drafted would enhance profits by letting them serve only the customers they want. Their focus, and that of smaller phone companies that have the same universal service obligation, is on well-populated areas where people can afford profitable packages that combine telephone, Internet and cable television.
Sprint, T-Mobile and the cell phone divisions of AT&T and Verizon are not subject to universal service and can serve only those areas they find profitable.
“Over a million Americans have lost their lives to gunfire since that awful spring of 1968 when both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were killed by assassins’ bullets. Last year alone guns killed or wounded another 100,000 Americans; roughly 30,000 of them died. Had that occurred elsewhere, we would call it genocide.We don’t know exactly how many have been killed in the fighting in Libya, Egypt and Syria, but our elected officials have had far less trouble calling for the ouster of Middle Eastern leaders than the leadership of the N.R.A.”—Drew Westen (via azspot)
Who’s shocked? National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sought to continue “fanning hostility” and aimed to “sideswipe Obama” by finding “attractive black Democrats” to challenge “white gay marriage advocates” in elections. More on this:
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies,” says an internal report on 2008 and 2009 campaigns, in a section titled the “Not A Civil Right Project.”
“Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots,” advises the document, which is a road map to the successful campaign against same-sex marriage in California.
The document also targets Hispanic voters, whom conservatives have long hoped would join the backlash against gay rights.
“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values?” the document asks. “We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
The most common critique of Citizens United is that it allows corporations to wield ever greater influence in our democracy — on top of the considerable power business already had before the Supreme Court decision in 2010. More recently, during the Republican primary, critics ofCitizens United…
On Wednesday, Fox News host Sean Hannity told right wing gadfly Ann Coulter that liberals had been “feigning outrage” over radio host Rush Limbaugh calling Georgetown University law student a “slut” because she wanted contraception to be covered by her health insurance.
Coulter said: “Coming from people who are constantly telling us about their abortions and their vaginas, no, I find it very hard to believe that they’re so upset about any word Rush Limbaugh uses.”
Hannity answered: “I don’t think that it’s ever funny to make fun of, like your buddy [Bill] Maher did, the children of Rick Santorum or Gov. Palin in the manner he did.”
Coulter replied: “That’s right, and they do go after the children. I just say that going after the children generally ought to be off limits. It has not been off limits for Republicans, though, conservatives have taken the Obama children off limits.”
“So maybe it’s time to start imitating liberals in another way and go after the Obama children. By the way, that has been done grotesquely and viciously over the years by the left.”
I will never ever even fret about something Ann Coulter says because she is the scum of the Earth, and is just irrelevant.
The inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs said that nearly a third of the 26 locations reviewed did not adequately address security risks, which included female and male residents on the same floor, and bedrooms and bathrooms with insufficient locks. The report will be the focus of a hearing Wednesday by the Senate’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The researchers end by asking whether the Massachusetts reforms provide a good guide to what will happen under the Affordable Care Act. “The general strategies for obtaining nearly universal coverage in both the Massachusetts and federal laws involved the same three-pronged approach of non-group insurance market reforms, subsidies, and mandates, suggesting that the health effects should be broadly similar,” they write. “However, the federal legislation included additional costcutting measures such as Medicare cuts that could potentially mitigate the gains in health from the coverage expansions. On the other hand, baseline uninsured rates were unusually low in Massachusetts, so the coverage expansions — and corresponding health improvements — from the Affordable Care Act could potentially be greater.”
It is hardly news that the United States faces epidemic health problems linked to poor diets. Nearly two out of every five Americans are obese. But according to a press release from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, “The West is now exporting diabetes and heart disease to developing countries, along with the processed foods that line the shelves of global supermarkets. By 2030, more than 5 million people will die each year before the age of 60 from non-communicable diseases linked to diets.
Last week I saw a video put out by a girl who was outed to her parents by someone who found her address and sent them a letter. I looked at her YouTube channel and saw that she had a P.O. box listed for her fans to send her things, but her home address was not listed….
A Florida law that may protect the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February is the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “model bill” that has been pushed in other states. The bill was brought to ALEC by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and fits into a pattern of ALEC bills that disproportionately impact communities of color.
I am so angered by the insane, over-the-top suspensions of Saints football coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis, and pretty much everyone in New Orleans except for the cast of Treme, that I had to create a new word. I’m shock-raged. The entire 2012 season for a team that could rightly be called a Super Bowl favorite has been sliced to ribbons by the SportsWorld’s favorite judge, jury, and executioner, NFL Commissioner. Roger Goodell. By taking out the entire Saints brain trust, like he’s Michael Corleone at the end of the Godfather, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is sending one hell of a loud message. But cacophony is not the same as clarity. Most agree the Saints should have met with some punishment for having a “bounty system” against opposing players, but suspending the head coach for an entire season? Suspending the General Manager for eight games? Suspending former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely? Why?