Monday, November 04, 2013

Will disgust with the country keep voters away from the polls?

By Susan Page, USA TODAY

...Even in 2008, (click here) when turnout was the highest in any presidential election since 1960, almost 80 million eligible citizens didn't vote. Curtis Gans, director of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate, predicts that number will rise significantly this year. He says turnout could ebb to levels similar to 2000, when only 54.2% of those eligible to vote cast a ballot. That was up a bit from 1996, which had the lowest turnout since 1924....

This was an article in USA Today reflecting the lack of impulsion for voters to go to the polls. The GOP was successful in making President Obama appear as ineffective and it did deter voters.

So, while the GOP is acting as a 2 year old stuck on "No!," it does have an effect on voter turnout. Candidates have to ask voters to turn out and let them know how important it is to bring life back to their democracy.

Pandering to Wall Street for election funding. The Republicans are attempting to scare Wall Street into their corner. If only they can get elected the world will be beautiful again.

October 30, 2013, 7:03 pm

Updated, 9:27 p.m. | The House of Representatives, with bipartisan support, passed legislation on Wednesday that would roll back a major element of the 2010 law intended to strengthen the nation’s financial regulations by allowing big banks like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase to continue to handle most types of derivatives trades in house.

The bill, which passed by a 292-122 vote, would repeal a requirement in the Dodd-Frank law that big banks “push out” some derivatives trading into separate units that are not backed by the government’s insurance fund....

The Voldker Rule isn't even written yet and the US House wants to roll back Dodd-Frank. I suppose there will be at least 44 votes on this, too. The excuse for pandering to Wall Street is that the economy is slow. LOL. You'll excuse me but it sure isn't as slow as it was the end of 2008.

Any excuse is a good excuse in the US House.

October 30, 2013
Emily Stephenson
Editing by Gerald E. McCormic

Regulators have been working (click here) to finish the rule, which is required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. The rule was first proposed in October 2011 and would block banks from proprietary trading, or making risky trades with the firms' own money.
Gensler said the CFTC, Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies have not reached an agreement on the final language of the rule.
He said he hopes to reach that decision soon and will try to schedule a CFTC vote on the rule in the second week of December....

The name of the bill takes my breath away. No lie. Wall Street lobbyists are buying the government again.

...The House legislation, (click here) formally known as the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act, has little chance of becoming law, as the Senate has not proceeded with its own version, and the Obama administration has spoken in opposition to it, arguing that regulators should be given a chance to adopt various Dodd-Frank related regulations before the law is revised.

But the vote Wednesday, which included the support of 70 House Democrats, followed months of intense lobbying by Wall Street banks. The banks and lawmakers who support the proposal hope that the bipartisan support the bill received in the House will send a strong message to the administration to tread carefully as it drafts the remaining regulations necessary to fully enforce Dodd-Frank....

The bill referenced in this video is called H.R. 992 — the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act. You can find out how your representative voted on 992. (click here) You can find New York Times reports on how Citigroup literally wrote its own bill.

October 28, 2013, 9:05 pm
...The House is scheduled to vote on two bills this week that would undercut new financial regulations and hand Wall Street a victory. The legislation has garnered broad bipartisan support in the House, even after lawmakers learned that Citigroup lobbyists helped write one of the bills, (click here) which would exempt a wide array of derivatives trading from new regulation....

You can see how Wall Street dumps money into your member of Congress' campaign coffers here and gape openly at the incredible amounts of money Wall Street spends on lobbying every year here. You can read more about House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling's ski vacation with Wall Street (yes, that's a thing that actually happened). 

by Justin Elliott
ProPublica, April 30, 2013, 8:55 a.m,

In January, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, (click here) ascended to the powerful chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee. Six weeks later, campaign finance filings and interviews show, Hensarling was joined by representatives of the banking industry for a ski vacation fundraiser at a posh Park City, Utah, resort....

Now, if the US House can only make a trade with the US Senate and remove the Hastert Rule to allow the Democrats to vote for "ENDA" (click here) all will be too easy to turn Wall Street loose again on the world.

Kentucky is one of those states where health care reform was profoundly needed.

New State Reports from Families USA (click here)
March – April  2008

The number of uninsured Americans reached 47 million in 2006, and it continues to rise. For many of the uninsured, the lack of health insurance has dire consequences. The uninsured face medical debt, often go without necessary care, and even die prematurely. 

Dying of lack of health care insurance doesn't happen overnight in many instances. The lack of attention to one's health is a progressive issue starting as a child in a poor family. It is why there is SCHIP. It is why adults can receive help with Medicaid. But, the problem spread from the poor to the middle class when the working poor discovered that work didn't bring health care benefits.

In 2006, (click here) there were nearly 2,231,000 people between the ages of 25 and 64 living in Kentucky. Of those, 19.0 percent were uninsured. Uninsured Kentuckians are sicker and die sooner than their insured counterparts.

Families USA estimates that more than one working-age Kentuckian dies each day due to lack of health insurance (approximately 470 people in 2006)....

19 percent of the population of Kentucky is 423,890 uninsured. Nearly half of a million people in Kentucky were at risk for death and ill health in 2006. Of that half million, 470 people died for lack of health care.

October 29, 2013, 1:16 pm
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky hates the Affordable Care Act. (click here) So does Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell — though apparently not quite enough to stave off a primary fight. The Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed Mr. McConnell’s Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin, who charged in a television spot that “McConnell helped Barack Obama and Harry Reid fund Obamacare.” By that he meant that Mr. McConnell worked to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling to avoid default.

And yet, with this bickering in the background, Kentucky has been unusually successful in rolling out its health insurance marketplace. Dylan Scott wrote in Talking Points Memo yesterday that “more than 26,000 people have enrolled in coverage, more than 50,000 have started applications and more than 300,000 unique visitors have checked out what the marketplace has to offer.” That’s in a state where roughly one in six are uninsured....

The danger is the ever imposing impoverishment of the USA. The poverty rate has grown since 2008 and remains stubbornly one of the deepest problems the USA has. There was no way the people of this country believed they would be facing poverty. The USA has always been about planning for the future. About saving and seeking to own a home and raise a family. Those ambitions drive this economy, but, to realize the population of the USA is now facing a growing rate of poverty and a generation abandoned to unemployment, there is no way the issue of healthcare can be ignored.

Public Health in the USA always kept pace with disease trends to fight back against the death rate of Americans. Today, Health Departments across the country have budget cuts and personnel losses. It is far better to seek to ask Americans to have personal health care insurance to be sure doctors and nurse practitioners are vigilant to the health of citizens. 

When realizing the loss of Public Health jobs in the USA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has come along just in time. 

AUSTIN, Texas — A fifth body (click here) has been recovered following storms and flooding in Central Texas.

The Comal County Sheriff's Office says the body of 26-year-old Samuel Rosson Jr. of Canyon Lake was located Sunday. A resident saw Rosson's body about 50 yards from where he fell into the rain-swollen Guadalupe River last Thursday while apparently trying to retrieve some items.

The bodies of a woman and her infant son were located Friday, a day after their vehicle was swept into Onion Creek in the Austin area.

Police say a man's body was recovered Thursday, also from Onion Creek.
The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office says another man died Thursday after driving on a flooded road and being swept out of his vehicle in Dale. His body was recovered several hours later.

USGS to Discontinue Streamgages Due to Sequestration: (click here)  The U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) will discontinue operation of up to 375 streamgages nationwide due to budget cuts as a result of sequestration. Additional streamgages may be affected if partners reduce their funding to support USGS streamgages. The USGS is working to identify which streamgages will be impacted and will post this information as it becomes available. Streamgages are used nationwide to predict and address drought and flood conditions by monitoring water availability. The USGS and over 850 Federal, State, and local agencies cooperatively fund the USGS streamgaging network, which consists of over 8,000 streamgages. When budget fluctuations occur, the network is impacted.

Posted on November 3, 2013 at 3:33 PM
Updated yesterday at 4:33 PM

AUSTIN -- Since Thursday's floods in Central Texas, (click here) the Red Cross has been working tirelessly to provide food, shelter and supplies to survivors of the flood.
The Red Cross has served more than 10,000 meals and snacks, provided more than 300 health service checks and registered more than 500 individuals at the Flood Assistance Center.
Workers are also helping deliver supplies such as bleach, mops, gloves, rakes and shovels to flood survivors beginning to clean up their homes.
"We have made great strides in the disaster response, but there is still so much work to be done," said Marty McKellips with the American Red Cross of Central Texas. "Our focus now is to finish the damage assessment so we can move from response into recovery."
McKellips said the Red Cross will be around to provide assistance to these survivors "as long as the recovery process takes."
The Red Cross also encouraged Central Texans to take precautions as more storms begin to move into the area. Their recommendations include creating and practicing a disaster plan, assembling an emergency preparedness kit, heading flood warnings and relocating during flood warnings....

Americans have put up with too much for too long.

Lucy from Texas:
"I signed up at and I'm going to save $2,300 a year on my premium alone -- and more, because my deductible will drop from $7,500 a year to $3,000 a year. It's still Blue Cross insurance, and I don't have to change doctors, either. I had a choice of over 30 plans and several different companies."
Larry from California:

" directed me to Covered California. My new plan gives me better coverage than what I've had with the same insurer and will cost $188.00 a month less. That's why it's important for others to check it out. In California I experienced some glitches at first and I would check in every few days and things kept getting better."
Mark from Idaho:

"Yes, the website had some problems, but saving roughly $2,500 next year (in premiums alone!) seems well worth a little extra patience. Having coverage that actually protects me from financial ruin if I, or my son, get sick or injured? I don't think you can put a price tag on that…"
Margaret from Washington:
My responsible, hardworking niece was laid off from her job four years ago and lost her insurance. She became a nursing aide for the elderly and has been carrying a "catastrophic" insurance plan for which she was paying over $300 a month, with very limited coverage and a $1300 deductible. She had no trouble signing up for ACA insurance with much more extensive coverage for $150 a month. She said she feels like she can breathe again."

Breaks my heart.

Steven Cohen reportedly owns this sprawling $14.5 million estate in Greenwich, Conn. 

By Daniel Beekman  
Monday, November 4, 2013, 10:26 AM

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (click here) will make a formal announcement Monday afternoon alongside FBI officials, his office said. His office says SAC has agreed to shell out $1.8 billion, plead guilty to all criminal charges and shutter its investment advisory business....

...Prosecutors said SAC made "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profits" from 1999 to 2010 by recruiting employees with trade secrets to share....

...New York FBI head George Venizelos said "SAC not only tolerated cheating, it encouraged it."
Cohen, 57, coughed up about $20 million for a 4% stake in the Mets last year. He founded SAC in 1992 and at one point the hedge fund managed $15 billion in assets....

Eat or fight is not even the issue. The military budget consumes 57% of $1.15 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal year 2014.

...That decrease, (click here) which works out to about $36 a month for a family of four, could be just the first step in food allowance cuts. Congress is currently debating how to fund what is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, with Republicans seeking sharp reductions in the rapidly growing program.

While food prices vary around the country, what does a $36 cut represent in the pantry?

It roughly translates into a gallon of milk, a half gallon of orange juice and a pound of bread a week in many areas. Or think of it as a weekly purchase of a 2-pound package of rice, a pound of dry beans, a pound of ground beef and a dozen eggs using national average costs....

DoD: 5,000 Military Families Losing Food Stamps (click here)
Jul 13, 2013

The House action that stripped food stamp funding from a massive farm bill would threaten vital assistance for about 5,000 military families, mostly from the junior enlisted ranks, Pentagon officials said Friday.

A Department of Agriculture report last year showed that more than 5,000 of the 48 million Americans receiving Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps) listed their employment status as "active duty military," the Pentagon officials said.

"Military members who receive SNAP tend to be made up of members in junior pay grades with larger than average household sizes," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman....

What is not fair is dumping medical costs on hospitals. That is what is not fair.

I don't feel sorry for any lawyers that are going to find they actually have to have decent health care insurance policies rather than playing the odds.

The American Health Care system isn't capable of predicting the future. So, the moral way of subscribing to health care insurance is to PARTICIPATE in plans that cover preventive care and quite possibly pay for wellness care and or illness care.  

Gaming the system isn't going to provide the nation with a health care system that actually works. "But, gee I rather just pay for it when I need it out of pocket up to what a lousy policy will provide." Ya gotta love it. The wealthy simply go about life as if there is nothing wrong or there is nothing that will be wrong and market their dollars to increase their wealth by short changing prevention of illness, hence, short changing the very system of 'Health Care Insurance Pools" of subscribers to balance the premiums.

I don't doubt Deborah was happy being underinsured knowing IF that day came she had enough monies in stocks and bonds to cover the disaster. Or simply a 2nd mortgage against a million dollar home. 

The moaning and misery to actually paying for healthcare that delivers health is unbelievable. "But, I don't need it!" Right. No one needs it until they do. How much car insurance does she pay on her Lexis or Cadillac? I am sure she doesn't need that either.

The nation can go to Single Payer is that seems more equitable.

Matt McClain/The Washington Post - Deborah Persico was recently informed that her health insurance plan was being canceled. She learned that a similar plan will cost her much more.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha and Lena H. Sun  
Published: November 3

...After receiving a letter from her insurer (click here) that her plan was being discontinued, Deborah Persico, a 58-year-old lawyer in the District, found a comparable plan on the city’s new health insurance exchange. But her monthly premium, now $297, would be $165 higher, and her maximum out-of-pocket costs would double.

That means she could end up paying at least $5,000 more a year than she does now. “That’s just not fair,” said Persico, who represents indigent criminal defendants. “This is ridiculous.”

If the poor, sick and uninsured are the winners under the Affordable Care Act, the losers appear to include some relatively healthy middle-income small-business owners, consultants, lawyers and other self-employed workers who buy their own insurance. Many make too much to qualify for new federal subsidies provided by the law but not enough to absorb the rising costs without hardship. Some are too old to go without insurance because they have children or have minor health issues, but they are too young for Medicare....

"Morning Papers" - It's Origins (click title to entry - thank you)

The Rooster


"Good Night, Moon"

New Moon to Left

0.1 day old moon

0.5% lit

Solar Eclipse below right.


Rare solar eclipse sweeps across parts of Africa, Europe and the United States (click here)  

 The East Coast bore witness to a hybrid solar eclipse this morning, which kicked off around 6:38 a.m. according to The eclipse lasted about 30 minutes. 

The moon blocks the sun seconds before a total solar eclipse at the remote Sibiloi National Park on the shore of Lake Turkana, November 3, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Reuters)