Friday, April 23, 2010

Obama Blasts AZ Immigration Bill as “Misguided”

President Obama used the occasion of a naturalization ceremony for active members of the military Thursday to address the pressing need for immigration reform and to criticize a controversial Arizona pending law.
The controversial bill would require police to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the United States illegally. Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has said she will decide soon whether she will sign the legislation.
Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe,” the president said at a naturalization ceremony for members of the military.

“In fact, I’ve instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at the federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country.”
Civil rights activists are quite plausibly arguing that the Arizona law would lead to racial profiling of Latinos.
Other provisions of the bill allow lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Russell Pearce of Mesa, said it would remove “political handcuffs” from police and help drive illegal immigrants from the state.

“Illegal is illegal,” said Pearce, a driving force on the issue in Arizona. “We’ll have less crime. We’ll have lower taxes. We’ll have safer neighborhoods. We’ll have shorter lines in the emergency rooms. We’ll have smaller classrooms.”
Yes, life will certainly return to its previous state of blissful perfection for white people once Arizona is rid of all those “illegals.” Why, back in the day, Arizona was probably a kind of desert of Eden!

WSJ: People DO Barter for Health Care. REALLY!

Writing for the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog, Katherine Hobson snootily notes that Republican senatorial candidate Sue Lowden has been “mocked rather mercilessly” for her statement that we could move away from health insurance and drive health care costs down by bartering goods and services for health care. Because, you know, people really do that. Seriously. They totally do.
But we do feel obligated to point out that bartering for medical services does actually go on. No less an authority than the American Medical Association’s own newspaper, American Medical News, wrote about it just last year, calling it a “creative way to collect from patients during difficult economic times.”

Kaiser Health News also tipped a hat to bartering last year, reporting that “health care is surpassing auto repair and advertising as the service in most demand, say people who run local barter exchanges.” One doctor in Vermont “swapped Viagra samples for maple syrup.”
Yes! This is clearly an idea whose time has come. Now, suppose I’m diagnosed with breast cancer and my insurance company canceled my policy as a result. Wonder how much a surgery, chemo, radiation, and assorted other meds would come to in maple syrup?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reid Vows No GOP Stalling on Financial Reform

From TPM:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’ll try to move a financial reform bill to the floor today–and if the Republicans object, as they’ve threatened to do, he’ll force them to take a tough vote on whether to allow debate on legislation to regulate Wall Street.
Reid is undeterred. “I have been around for quiet a while,” he said. “What we have done on financial reform was just as energetic as what we did on health care… I’m not going to waste any more time of the American people while they come up with some agreement.”
I imagine the Republican side of the Senate sounds a lot like a chicken coop right now.

And Take Off Her Shoes While We’re At It



In an apparent effort to get us to relabel the Buckeye State to the Fuckhead State, an Ohio-based GOP newsletter made what almost certainly passes for a witty turn of phrase among midwestern Republicans. In calling for the November electoral defeat of Democratic Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13), the Republican Review put it this way:
Republican jackass newsletter clipping




In case you find the reproduction difficult to read, it says – oh-so-charmingly – “Let’s take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen.”

Wait – better make sure you get her pregnant first, too. Wouldn’t want to miss any sexist cliches.

WellPoint Used Algorithm to Target Breast Cancer Patients

Just when you honestly believe you couldn’t think any less of health insurers, along comes an exclusive report by Reuters that lowers your opinion of them even further.

An investigation into WellPoint’s rescission process has uncovered the fact that the insurance giant used software to aggressively investigate women diagnosed with breast cancer to find reasons to cancel their coverage.
In a statement to Reuters, WellPoint said various specified criteria trigger rescission investigations, including certain types of medical claims. The company said it changed its rescission practices to ensure they are handled appropriately after a 2006 review of its policies prompted by public concern over rescission.
But, says WellPoint, at least they’ve added a physician to the committee that makes the decisions to cut policyholders loose. I’m sure that’s a great comfort to them.

WellPoint was found to be one of the worst offenders with regard to rescission during the yearlong debate over health care reform.
Many critics worry the new law will not lead to an end of these practices. Some state and federal regulators — as well as investigators, congressional staffers and academic experts — say the health care legislation lacks teeth, at least in terms of enforcement or regulatory powers to either stop or even substantially reduce rescission.

“People have this idea that someone is going to flip a switch and rescission and other bad insurance practices are going to end,” says Peter Harbage, a former health care adviser to the Clinton administration. “Insurers will find ways to undermine the protections in the new law, just as they did with the old law. Enforcement is the key.”
Enforcement is indeed the key. Let’s keep a watchful eye as the regulations are rolled out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oklahoma Senate Mandates Medical Rape

From the “Are you sure this isn’t an Onion story?” file:
The Oklahoma Senate approved several bills Monday that opponents say would make it more difficult or uncomfortable for women to get abortions, including one that would require women seeking the procedures early in their pregnancies to undergo an invasive form of ultrasound.
And what exactly, you may ask, is entailed by this “invasive form of ultrasound?”
You will lie down on a table with your knees bent and feet in holders called stirrups. The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel.
Hmm. Well, this probe thingie – how bad could it be? I mean, what’s it look like?
Transvaginal probe
Oh.

So, let me get this straight. One of these bills the Oklahoma Senate just passed FORCES a woman who wants an abortion to SUBMIT to having a PENIS-SHAPED object THRUST INTO HER VAGINA. And what exactly is the goal of all this forcible vaginal invasiveness?
State Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, who sponsored the ultrasound bill, said the goal was to provide women seeking an abortion with as much information possible before they had the procedure.
Have you people never heard of pamphlets? Or even old-fashioned conversation? What sort of mind thinks the answer to the question “How can we give this person as much information as possible?” would EVER be “I know! Let’s rape her with a medical instrument! That’s bound to increase her ability to absorb and process the information. This is such a great idea, we should make it a legal mandate!”
Oh, let’s be honest, Mr. Sykes – the real reason for passing such a sadistic piece of legislated misogyny was stated in my first blockquote:
…opponents say would make it more difficult or uncomfortable for women to get abortions…
“Uncomfortable.” Is that what they’re calling rape these days?

Breaking: Ledbetter Act Does Not Cure Cancer

I’m generally a pretty reasonable person. No, really, I am. (Ask anyone who knows me from a safe distance.) Even so, I have my triggers, those little speed bumps in my day that inspire such sudden outrage that I go from zero to spittle-spray within a span of mere seconds. Often, these triggers are media-based.
I encountered such a trigger – admittedly, a mild one – yesterday when I encountered the following headline from a story on NPR’s website:
Despite New Law, Gender Salary Gap Persists
And like the striking of a match, I was pissed. Because I know that the only “new law” on the books that can even remotely be associated with the gender salary gap is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the very first piece of legislation to receive President Obama’s signature in January 2009. And I also know that the Ledbetter Act has absolutely nothing to do with tackling the issue of women receiving lower pay than men for comparable work.
Reading the first paragraph of the NPR story didn’t exactly calm me down…
The very first bill that President Obama signed into law dealt with equal pay for women, but activists say it’s done little to close the ongoing difference between what men and women earn.
Blog for Fair Pay DayWell, duh! Imagine that – a law whose purpose was to extend the time frame for filing pay discrimination lawsuits hasn’t done diddly-squat to close the pay gap between the genders? Next you’ll be telling me it also fails as an automobile airbag and a safe nighttime sleep aid.

But before I could work up enough froth to require toweling off my computer screen, I read the rest of the NPR story. Despite the idiocy of the headline and first paragraph, reporter Jennifer Ludden appeared to have a solid understanding of both the gender pay gap and the fact that it is not Ledbetter but the Paycheck Fairness Act that is intended to address it.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would make it easier to prove gender discrimination and would toughen penalties. It would also try to erode what advocates say is a paralyzing secrecy around salaries: The bill would ban companies from retaliating if workers talk to each other about pay. Rep. Rosa DeLauro reminded a Senate hearing last month that Lilly Ledbetter’s case only came about because someone left an anonymous note on her windshield.
“Just ask Lilly Ledbetter how much sooner she could have found out that she was being discriminated against had this protection been in place,” DeLauro said.
The Paycheck Fairness Act passed in the House last year and appeared to be DOA in the Senate until recently, when the bill was heard by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
The Senate’s surprising renewed interest in the bill may have been triggered by Obama’s January creation of the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force.
Indeed, President Obama mentioned the issue in his State of the Union address in January, stating, “We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws — so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work.”
One has to assume that if the administration is serious enough about violations of equal pay laws to create a task force on the issue, there was probably some pressure brought to bear on Senate Democrats to put the crash-cart paddles to Paycheck Fairness. And you know, that’s a card you and I can play, as well. Why not take a few minutes today to contact your senators and let them know you expect them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act?

Breaking: Ledbetter Act Does Not Cure Cancer


I’m generally a pretty reasonable person. No, really, I am. (Ask anyone who knows me from a safe distance.) Even so, I have my triggers, those little speed bumps in my day that inspire such sudden outrage that I go from zero to spittle-spray within a span of mere seconds. Often, these triggers are media-based.
I encountered such a trigger – admittedly, a mild one – yesterday when I encountered the following headline from a story on NPR’s website:
Despite New Law, Gender Salary Gap Persists
And like the striking of a match, I was angry. Because I know that the only “new law” on the books that can even remotely be associated with the gender salary gap is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the very first piece of legislation to receive President Obama’s signature in January 2009. And I also know that the Ledbetter Act has absolutely nothing to do with tackling the issue of women receiving lower pay than men for comparable work.
Reading the first paragraph of the NPR story didn’t exactly calm me down…
The very first bill that President Obama signed into law dealt with equal pay for women, but activists say it’s done little to close the ongoing difference between what men and women earn.
Blog for Fair Pay DayWell, duh! Imagine that – a law whose purpose was to extend the time frame for filing pay discrimination lawsuits hasn’t done diddly-squat to close the pay gap between the genders? Next you’ll be telling me it also fails as an automobile airbag and a safe nighttime sleep aid.

But before I could work up enough froth to require toweling off my computer screen, I read the rest of the NPR story. Despite the idiocy of the headline and first paragraph, reporter Jennifer Ludden appeared to have a solid understanding of both the gender pay gap and the fact that it is not Ledbetter but the Paycheck Fairness Act that is intended to address it.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would make it easier to prove gender discrimination and would toughen penalties. It would also try to erode what advocates say is a paralyzing secrecy around salaries: The bill would ban companies from retaliating if workers talk to each other about pay. Rep. Rosa DeLauro reminded a Senate hearing last month that Lilly Ledbetter’s case only came about because someone left an anonymous note on her windshield.

“Just ask Lilly Ledbetter how much sooner she could have found out that she was being discriminated against had this protection been in place,” DeLauro said.
The Paycheck Fairness Act passed in the House last year and appeared to be DOA in the Senate until recently, when the bill was heard by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
The Senate’s surprising renewed interest in the bill may have been triggered by Obama’s January creation of the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force.
Indeed, President Obama mentioned the issue in his State of the Union address in January, stating, “We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws — so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work.”
One has to assume that if the administration is serious enough about violations of equal pay laws to create a task force on the issue, there was probably some pressure brought to bear on Senate Democrats to put the crash-cart paddles to Paycheck Fairness. And you know, that’s a card you and I can play, as well. Why not take a few minutes today to contact your senators and let them know you expect them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act?

Open Thread for Night Wavers

What, you’re still up at this hour? Well, okay, it’s only a little past 10 pm here by the Pacific. But regardless of where you are, you can enjoy this round-up of stuff I decided to link to:
  • Technorati’s Jeff Warren asks if Sen. Scott Brown knows his ass from a hole in the ground. Well, you tell me.
  • Love Al Giordano and The Field? Gonna be in the vicinity of New York this Saturday? Then you’ll want to check this out.
  • Or maybe you’re knocking about in the Chi-Town area this week. Maybe screening films at Ebertfest 2010 is just the ticket.
  • DougJ of Balloon Juice shares a video featuring Charlie Rose. Caution: may cause repeated snorting.
  • Is Oklahoma competing for some kind of national “WTF” title or something? First, Republican Congressman Tom Cole cautions President Clinton not to “cheapen” the memory and significance of the Oklahoma City bombing “by using it as a talking point against those with whom we disagree.” Right, because to properly honor the memory of that tragedy, one must blame it on Bill Clinton.
    And let’s understand what was Timothy McVeigh’s motivation. God knows what was going in that crazy head of his but there’s some speculation, and he himself had said, that it was the reaction to the Waco takeover. And Bill Clinton orchestrated that takeover.
  • Then today, OK’s state senators pass a bill that literally fucks women.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why We're Here

Welcome to Blue Wave News, a political blog for Democrats and left-leaning allies.
With the variety of liberal/progressive sites in the blogosphere, chances are you are wondering what we hope to accomplish with this one. If you click on our “About” link above, you’ll find the following statement of purpose:
Blue Wave News is a community of Democrats working to further liberal causes, expose untruths, and draw attention to important local, national, and global issues. In true Democratic fashion, our blog is a big tent, welcoming individuals with diverse backgrounds, cultures, expertise, and opinions. We’re happy to engage with citizen journalists, liberal activists, critical thinkers, and other like-minded pragmatists to educate ourselves, discuss issues, and find ways to be more active in our communities. At Blue Wave News, we support the Democratic Party and value smart discourse, honesty, inspiration, and knowledge. As avowed liberals, we believe an approach that incorporates real-world factors offers the best opportunity to realize our goals.
But just to make our objectives completely clear, let’s break this paragraph down a bit.
Blue Wave News is a community of Democrats working to further liberal causes, expose untruths, and draw attention to important local, national, and global issues.
Yes, we are Democrats. We’re not just liberals, we’re not just “leftists,” progressives, or radicals. We are Democrats looking at politics and current events from a Democratic perspective.
In true Democratic fashion, our blog is a big tent, welcoming individuals with diverse backgrounds, cultures, expertise, and opinions. We’re happy to engage with citizen journalists, liberal activists, critical thinkers, and other like-minded pragmatists to educate ourselves, discuss issues, and find ways to be more active in our communities.
So as Democrats, we have a big tent around our blog and are happy to work with other left-wing advocates. But we do so with the goal of furthering the aims of our party and ensuring Democratic electoral victory. We also look for ways to put our ideas to work on the ground at the grassroots level rather than only blogging about them.
At Blue Wave News, we support the Democratic Party and value smart discourse, honesty, inspiration, and knowledge. As avowed liberals, we believe an approach that incorporates real-world factors offers the best opportunity to realize our goals.
We’re interested in discussion, not mere argument, and we try to keep our feet firmly planted in reality. So while we won’t turn a blind eye to Democratic missteps, we are always more interested in an effective response that supports party goals than in recriminations and demonization. We also understand that political realities sometimes require actions that don’t seem to lead directly to the desired result. In politics, the shortest distance between two points is rarely a straight line.

Still have questions about our purpose? Pull up a username and ask away.

Showtime for Blue Wave News!

Well, here it is – the grand opening of our new Democratic blog, Blue Wave News. This project has been many months in the planning and development, yet the past week of frenetic activity makes it feel as though we put it all together in something of a whirlwind.

The site is still a work-in-progress even as we launch, and I guarantee there will be a few hiccups showing up as we continue to gain new members. That’s just how it is with software projects. And I’ll honest – if I had my way, we wouldn’t be launching this soon. We’d be in testing for another couple of weeks, at least, and trying to fine-tune the features or build ones that work more the way we want them to before we ever opened to the public.

Yet I was not forced into the agreement to launch this early, nor was I overruled. Rather, I presented my argument in favor of waiting, and then – and this is the really critical step – I listened to the argument for not waiting. And my argument was not disregarded; my partners listened to me, as well. And in the end, we were all persuaded that, while there were good reasons to wait, there was a matter of timing to consider with regard to presenting the public with a new reality-based liberal blog, and that right now was infinitely better than two weeks or a month from now.

And as I was thinking about this process of decision-making yesterday, it occurred to me that it was a demonstration of exactly what so many of us have been thirsting for in the liberal blogosphere: teamwork. As infuriated as we on the left were over the unilateralism of the Bush administration and the conduct of Republicans generally for the past two decades or so, many of us were nevertheless eager to see “our side” do unto them as had been done unto us. You can see it in the railing against President Obama’s “failure” to “twist arms” (erroneously equated with leadership) to force opponents to fall in line… or else. And you definitely see it in the dismissive, even contemptuous responses to those of us who criticize this expectation, or even dare to question it.

So although I’m concerned about the technical issues this site already faces and the new ones that will undoubtedly crop up, I feel confident, even optimistic about what we are doing here. Because I know that we are bound by a common vision. Not necessarily a common political vision, because that definitely varies from person to person even among those of us bearing the label “pragmatic.” No, we are bound by a common vision of civil disagreement, of listening to opposing arguments, and of making decisions based in the reality we face rather than our personal sense of what “must be done.”

This is what makes us strong in the face of rudeness and shouting and unwavering in our convictions even while being pelted with disparagements. And this is why we are creating a place for ourselves, and for the multitudes like us, who just want to discuss politics without every point of disagreement being turned into a referendum on the relative merits of each person arguing.

Ultimately, if our site starts out a little clunky, a little hard to use, it won’t matter in the long run. What will keep people coming back, and new ones registering, will be us, all of us. The way that we carry ourselves, the way that we conduct our discussion, the practical value of the information we dispense, and our sense of purpose for making a positive contribution to Democratic politics – these are the things that will matter.
I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of this venture, and I’m ecstatic that there are so many others who wanted this same thing badly enough to lend their support and create the necessary momentum to make it happen.

This site is ours – all of ours. Thank you for helping to get us here.

 
Free Host | new york lasik surgery | cpa website design