Wednesday, November 20, 2013

38 Governorships to be decided in 2014.

By Paul Kane

Wednesday, November 20, 3:09 PM

ALTOONA, Iowa — Gov. Terry Branstad (R) (click here) brought one of his party’s shining stars to this presidential crucible last Saturday night before nearly 800 important Iowa Republicans, stoking speculation that the guest, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), was testing the 2016 waters.
But moments after Ryan’s speech, Branstad nixed any thought that the 2012 vice presidential nominee should be his party’s next standard bearer. “Leadership is gonna come out of the states, not Washington. Look at the governors,” Branstad said in an interview....

Senator Cronyn stated the National Institutes of Health is organized with the military structure.

He stated the NIH has to be removed from military funding. 


There have been studies on behalf of the US military conducted by NIH, but, it's funding is dependent on the US military budget, so I don't understand that complaint at all. 

NIH Budget (click here)


The NIH invests over $30.9* billion annually in medical research for the American people.

More than 80% of the NIH's funding is awarded through almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world.

About 10% of the NIH's budget supports projects conducted by nearly 6,000 scientists in its own laboratories, most of which are on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

NIH History (click here)

The National Institutes of Health traces its roots to 1887, when a one-room laboratory was created within the Marine Hospital Service (MHS), predecessor agency to the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS)....

December 23, 2011——The Breast Cancer Stamp Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the breast cancer stamp through December 2015. Seventy percent of the proceeds from the stamp would be provided to NIH and the remainder to support breast cancer research funded by the Department of Defense. (P.L. 112-80)

Within the history of the NIH there have been appropriations from the DOD to carry out research. So, the idea the NIH has to be defunded and moved out of the military structure is pure hatred of the common good.

The military belongs to the people of this country. NOT Senators and Representatives with an affection for the power it carries in the world.

Women have a right to a military career Rape and sexual assault can cause PTSD Fact not fiction Enough said

I am impressed by the passion of Senator Grassley speaking on the Senate floor. He strongly believes in the legislation regarding sexual assault. 

I happen to agree with him. He stated exactly what are my thoughts. He said and I am paraphrasing, 'Will we have a military of predators or decent and dedicated people that are loyal and respectful friends and partners in a unit?" That is what this comes down to. I am bothered that the USA military has become a haven for sexual predators.

There is no reason to keep sexual predators among the ranks of the US military. They belong in the civil courts for trial and penalty. The civil courts do not take false reporting lightly either, it is called "Malicious Prosecution." The civil courts can hold all parties accountable and brings brevity to these issues, that is not the case in the military courts. The military courts are always bargaining with their own priorities over penalty of crime.

I want the military cleaned up and we will have a better morale for our soldiers and people that sincerely care about each other.

In listening to the opposition to the Gillibrand Amendment, this is a generational issue. The Gillibrand Amendment is cutting edge. It is needed. Those like Senator McCain can't see his way forward with this amendment because of his experience in the military. A lot of time has passed from those days. While I am sure based in his understanding of the military, there has been a lot of opportunity for the leadership to correct the course within command structure and they haven't. No one can dismiss the experience of the people that came forward, quite bravely I might say, to testify. Things have to change. Those opposed to this amendment should not obstruct it's passage as there is a clear majority in the Senate to pass it. I might point out if the opposition takes a sincere look at their minority, it is somewhat absent of the younger members of that governing body. 

The opposition to the Gillibrand amendment needs to allow passage. The military command is mute. They had their chance to actually make the right choices all along the way and they haven't. I found Senator Boxer's statements compelling. The lax enforcement of law in the military is systemic and that is not acceptable anymore. I am disappointed in Senator Ayotte because she is obviously mentored by The Old World structure and guided by her experience as an attorney. She abandons those that testified and makes a stand of her own and not that of the fact of the record. 

How very nice. They really all are extraordinary people.

November 20, 2013

...The recipients (click here) this year include former president Bill Clinton, Country music legend Loretta Lynn, renowned women's rights activist Gloria Steinem and television icon Oprah Winfrey.

Obama said this year's honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent. But he said what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world....

I am so happy Gloria Steinem was honored. It means a great deal to me. 

Bill Clinton is a no brainer. He and Hillary both have committed their lives to this country. There is no equivalent to their long standing dedication to freedom and promoting the USA around the world. 

I am delighted the arts and sports are included in the metal awards. Loretta Lynn is precious and has always been a delight. It is a great group of Americans that have demonstrated character through their entire lives and they are from many walks of life. Very nice.

The Supreme Court was predictable in the Texas decision and the split.

November 19, 2013, 8:01 PM
A sharply divided Supreme Court (click here) on Tuesday allowed Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state's clinics to stop providing abortions.
The justices voted 5-4 to leave in effect a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The court's conservative majority refused the plea of Planned Parenthood and several Texas abortion clinics to overturn a preliminary federal appeals court ruling that allowed the provision to take effect.
The four liberal justices dissented....
I don't really see the actions of the court yesterday as a defeat. There are four Justices always willing to hear the health needs of women and three of the four are women, one would think that 'female reality' within the court would make an impression on the others, but, evidently not. 
Justice Scalia stated the obvious. The Appeals Court stated there is a good chance Texas will win the appeal. That was what the five justices ruled on. They didn't consider the status of the clinics if they were forced to close and possibly not able to reopen if they won the lawsuit. The five Justices upheld the statement by the Appeals Court. Open and shut. No debate, no contemplation, just a simple ruling based on that one Appeals Court decision.
The case will most probably go before the Supreme Court when the Appeals Court rules whether favoring Texas or the clinics. So, the Supreme Court is not finished with this Texas law.
The burden falls to the clinics in proving safety and undue and burdensome law in Texas opposed to the well being of women that seek these services at the clinics. That is the unfortunate truth about our judicial system, the private sector does not have unlimited resources to regain it's standing after being targeted for political abuse.

Texas, in recent years, have been suffering under a tarnished Right Wing image because it was the state of Roe v. Wade. That is why the push to eliminate abortion from any possibility in Texas. It is a political disgrace to the Republicans in Texas to carry the banner of Roe v. Wade.

Change doesn't come easy.

In all honesty, when this health care law is fully implemented it is going to reduce the number of complaints the State Insurance Commissioners receive from their citizens. I am sure there were many days when commissioners go home wishing there was an Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They probably have plenty of nightmare stories from citizens. I would not under estimate the long term benevolence of the law. 

As a matter of fact, I hope this law increases the number of mental health beds across the country. The law increases the importance of mental health care and the compensation for it. We witnessed yesterday the profound need for those beds.

Evidently, with few exceptions you can keep your health insurance policy.

An article in the New York Times discusses the fact there are many states allowing existing private insurance to stand through 2014.

This entire hype by the Right Wing is a NON-ISSUE. The options to keep these substandard policies are allowed in most of the states. It is the insurance companies opting out.

I am sure the federal government would be happy to control and regulate all the wishes and demands of those holding these policies, but, it doesn't run corporate decisions.

This entire emotional upheaval is propaganda by the Right Wing. Everyone needs to be complaining to the insurance companies for dropping the policies when States have permitted them to exist for another year. This really is out of the hands of the federal government. The companies are not interested in keeping these customers even in states where it is allowed.

Published: November 19, 2013
...Many states (click here) with low numbers of such cancellations were those that had let insurers temporarily avoid the law’s requirements by offering early renewal of existing plans. Those renewals allowed people to keep their existing plans though next year. The goal was to smooth the transition for consumers, commissioners in those states said....

...But Florida Blue, the state’s largest insurer, decided to discontinue the plans of about 300,000 people, including 40,000 whose coverage will end by Jan. 1. Now it is working to offer those customers the option of extending their plans for an additional year under Mr. Obama’s proposal, Mr. McCarty said....

These are completely profit driven decisions by the insurance companies. Florida Blue wants their customers on other policies. It is about profits, not customer preference. It would as though smaller insurers are keeping their customers while larger corporations like Florida Blue don't want those customers. Florida Blue has more financial residual to simply drop those customers while they have a significant cash flow. In the case of Florida Blue they were allowed to keep their customers under these policies through 2014, but, didn't care to.

When large corporations decide to purge policy holders of substandard policies according to the law there will be a far larger reaction because there are more numbers of subscribers than with smaller insurers. The unfortunate, but, real problem in Florida may be the monopoly Florida Blue has on the healthcare insurance market. Florida Blue is one of the largest contributors to Governor Scott's campaigns. There is probably something wrong here and it is called competition. I thought Republicans demanded competition, no?

From the same article.

...In Kentucky, which has generally embraced the health care law and has said it will carry out Mr. Obama’s proposal concerning canceled policies, regulators have already reviewed rates for insurers that offered renewals of their noncompliant plans. Therefore, they expect the process for state residents whose policies were canceled — about 280,000 of them — to be fairly straightforward.
“All of that regulatory due diligence that we had to do, we’ve already done it,” said Sharon Clark, the state’s insurance commissioner. “I feel for some of my colleagues who are having a much more difficult time than I am.”
It would appear where states have the expertise to apply the law it goes rather well. Kentucky is remarkably happy with the law and the transition. Maybe some states need to outsource their state exchanges to Kentucky. The state insurance commission can run classes and mentoring for the other states for a price.

Afghanistan? Devolving into chaos. Not likely.


$1 Trillion is a lot of money. Warlords and corruption along with the poppy drug culture awaits. Getting the soldiers out of the way seems to be a difficult task though.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
After more than a decade of war and nation building, (click here) members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan are heading for the exits. Although what the ISAF will leave behind is better than what was there in 2001, Afghanistan remains a battered land. However, the resources Afghanistan’s land holds — copper, cobalt, iron, barite, sulfur, lead, silver, zinc, niobium, and 1.4 million metric tons of rare earth elements (REEs) — may be a silver lining.
U.S. agencies estimate Afghanistan’s mineral deposits to be worth upwards of $1 trillion. In fact, a classified Pentagon memo called Afghanistan the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” (Although lithium is technically not a rare earth element, it serves some of the same purposes.)...