Friday Mashup (1/18/13)

January 18, 2013
  • Remember all of the wingnut outrage from the 2012 presidential election over those 59 voting divisions in Philadelphia in which Mitt Romney didn’t get a single vote?

    Remember (from here)…


    Well, as it turns out (from here, in a post refuting a lot of other baseless garbage)…

    It’s not mathematically impossible. The 59 districts are in areas of the city that are mainly African American, as the Inquirer reported. And Obama received 93 percent of the black vote nationwide.

    In 2008, Obama received 100 percent of the vote in 57 districts in Philadelphia. So it was not that unusual that something similar happened this time around. In fact, Inquirer reporters had a tough time tracking down any registered Republicans in these areas.

    To be clear, these districts make up a small subset of all of Philadelphia. The 59 that went 100 percent for Obama in 2012 constitute 19,605 votes, just 3 percent of the total votes cast in the city.

    This also concludes that supposed political maven Larry Sabato should shut his pie hole (more stuff on him is here).

    (It should also be noted that this story was buried at in response to a baseless allegation published at hundreds of wingnut web sites. Which further proves the adage that a lie is halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its pants.)

  • Next, I give you more literary fertilizer from Tucker Carlson’s crayon scribble page (here, trying to undermine Number 44’s recent gun proposals by making him look like he’s “soft on crime” from his prior career in politics)…

    In 1999, State Senator Barack Obama voted “present” on a bill that would require adult prosecution for discharging a gun in or near a school.

    That legislation came as a response to the tragic Columbine High School shooting that year.

    That vote followed a trend for the young lawmaker, whose controversial votes on crime legislation often raised eyebrows.

    A Chicago Tribune editorial even accused Obama of being a “gutless sheep” for missing a vote on crime legislation in late 1999.

    In response to the “present” vote, I’d like to note the following (from here)…

    The vote on the juvenile-justice bill appears to be a case when Mr. Obama, who represented a racially mixed district on the South Side of Chicago, faced pressure. It also occurred about six months before he announced an ultimately unsuccessful campaign against a popular black congressman, Bobby L. Rush.

    State Senator Christine Radogno, a Republican, was a co-sponsor of the bill to let children as young as 15 be prosecuted as adults if charged with committing a crime with a firearm on or near school grounds.

    The measure passed both houses overwhelmingly. In explaining his present vote on the floor of the Senate, Mr. Obama said there was no proof that increasing penalties for young offenders reduced crime, though he acknowledged that the bill had fairly unanimous support.

    “Voting present was a way to satisfy those two competing interests,” Ms. Radogno said in a telephone interview.

    Thom Mannard, director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said political calculation could have figured in that vote.

    “If he voted a flat-out no,” Mr. Mannard said, “somebody down the road could say Obama took this vote and was soft on crime.”

    Mr. Obama’s aides said he was more concerned about whether the bill would be effective rather than with its political consequences. They did not explain why he did not just vote no.

    And as noted here, the Illinois bill for which then-State Senator Obama missed the vote was called the Safe Neighborhoods Act, and it did indeed contain a gun control measure. And he was indeed called one of a bunch of “gutless sheep” by the Chicago Tribune.

    The reason why he missed the vote is because, while he was vacationing in Hawaii with his family, his daughter Malia came down with a fever and he waited an extra day to come home to make sure she was OK, thus missing the vote (something any self-respecting father would likely do).

    Of course, if we were talking about a reputable publication that followed the most elementary guidelines of Journalism 101, then Carlson would have decided to note that (or even leave the mention of the missed vote out of the story altogether).

  • Continuing, I give you more fun with Daniel Henninger of the Murdoch Street Journal (here, in which Henninger parrots Frank Luntz in saying that the Repugs merely have a “messaging” problem, that’s all – yeah, that’s the ticket)…

    The current Republican class in both houses may be the best in a generation.


    In response, this tells us that the current Repug strategy, as opposed to holding the 3,254,738 debates they staged during their riotously funny presidential primary, seems to be to be quiet and let everyone guess what they’re up to (gosh, if this “Republican class” is supposedly “the best in a generation”…well then, wouldn’t they want to be baselessly bragging about that every chance they get?).

    Oh, and this calls to mind this other recent item from Henninger…

    The point of Reaganesque tax-and-spending reform was to cleanse the system. Purge the inevitable, destructive sludge that slows down an economy. The message of Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin was that the time to do that again had arrived.

    We’re sticking with the sludge. The progressives are more comfortable there.

    Love and kisses to you too, Danny (and this Media Matters post from 2006 comments on Henninger’s complaint about the use of the filibuster by the U.S. Senate Democrats, who, at that time, were the minority party, a particularly humorous observation given what the Repugs would subsequently do in that regard when they were relegated to the same status).

  • Finally, it looks like the wingnuts are going on a publicity offensive in response to all of the heat the NRA is quite rightly receiving these days with a stunt called “Guns Across America” (yep, I’m serious) as noted here.

    So what do I find when I go to the site’s home page to learn more about them…


    Boy, that Lorem Ipsum sure gets around, huh? : -).

    Update 1/19/13: All idiocy notwithstanding, I hope everyone is OK (here).

    Update 1/21/13: Truly, words fail.

  • Let’s Play “Hearings For Headlines,” With Snarlin’ Arlen

    April 16, 2010

    And when it comes to Specter and matters of criminal justice, let’s not forget this also.

    Friday Mashup Part One (4/9/10)

    April 9, 2010

  • 1) For anyone out there who thinks that I will never chastise the Obama Administration (not sure why after reading this post, but you never know), I should point out the following (from here)…

    Changes in the way the federal government plans to allocate money to increase and improve literacy pose a severe threat to one of the country’s best-known nonprofit groups, Reading Is Fundamental.

    Known commonly as RIF, the organization, which provides free books to needy children and has been promoted in memorable public service announcements by celebrities like Carol Burnett and Shaquille O’Neal, stands to lose all of its federal financing, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its annual revenues.

    “We are looking at having to completely reinvent ourselves,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive of RIF, which has received an annual grant from the Department of Education for 34 years.

    Under the federal budget proposed for the 2011 fiscal year, the Department of Education has proposed pooling the money it allocates to RIF, another nonprofit organization, the National Writing Project, and five of its own grant programs, and instead distributing it to state and local governments. Under that plan, RIF and the writing project would have to compete state by state for federal funds.

    “They don’t have a huge amount of cash on hand that would buy them some time to change their business model to get different types of funding,” (Clara Miller, chief executive of the Nonprofit Finance Fund) said. “Switching from a program that is almost fully funded by government to one that is privately funded, or where you would be competing on a state level, that’s a new business model, and it will need time and investment in new skills.”

    She said that putting longstanding organizations through such a complete overhaul so abruptly might not make sense from the taxpayer’s standpoint either. “The thing that’s getting lost here is that the government has already built whole programs in these organizations that it is now throwing out,” Ms. Miller said. “That’s kind of wasteful, unless they’re saying buying kids books is a bad idea.”

    God, is this stoo-pid – as Wikipedia tells us here…

    Today, through its contract with the United States Department of Education to operate the IBDP, now supplemented with private funds, RIF programs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. RIF is also affiliated with programs in Argentina and the United Kingdom.

    In 2004, Kappa Kappa Gamma, a national women’s fraternity, selected RIF as it’s national philanthropy.[1] Together, Kappa and RIF have come up with the Reading is Key program, through which children are exposed to new books.[2]

    It would be simply beyond belief if RIF, which survived threatened budget cuts from prior Republican presidential administrations, ended up going under because of a change in funding allocation to make it compete with the states, an idiotic idea conceived, shockingly, by a Democratic president.

  • 2) Also, with the now-announced news of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ retirement, Mark Halperin of The Page came up with the following (here)…

    “Stevens retirement causes Republican fundraisers to rejoice.”

    That’s an interesting bit of speculation totally unsupported by anything whatsoever in the post Halperin links to, I should note. Further, this story tells us the following…

    The Democratic National Committee has reported $13 million in donations for the month of March, outperforming the Republican Party, which only raised $11.4 million. The disparity is unusual, as the Democrats typically draw fewer donations than their Republican brethren.

    LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – A Democrat with the committee pointed out to the Huffington Post pointed to a rejuvenated and enthusiastic Democratic base that is willing to open up their wallets after the passage of health care reform.

    Also, it looks like Our Man Snarlin’ Arlen isn’t going to get his wish after all (here).

  • 3) Finally, I give you the following from The Moonie Times…

    Eleven months ago, the Justice Department suddenly and surprisingly dropped its case against three defendants and accepted a weak injunction against a fourth, stemming from the incident in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008 in which Black Panthers disrupted a neighborhood polling place. Since then, the Justice Department has stonewalled multiple requests for information from news organizations, a number of congressmen and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    In response, I give you this from Greg Sargent and TPM…

    Fox News and other conservatives on the Web are pushing hard on the story that two black panthers may be intimidating voters at a polling place in north Philadelphia.

    But an Obama campaign volunteer who’s been on the scene since 6:30 AM this morning tells me in a phone interview that there’s been absolutely no intimidation of voters at all today. And a Pennsylvania spokesperson for Obama said the two men aren’t in any way affiliated with the campaign.

    Fox News’ story…says one of two black panthers on the scene was “allegedly blocking the door,” says another was “holding a nightstick.” and adds that “the concern was that they were intimidating people who were trying to go inside to vote.”

    But Jacqueline Dischell, the Obama volunteer, tells me by phone that that’s false.

    And by the way, for the record, the Black Panther Party members in the photo in the Times’ story are Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.

    Standing in front of the Party’s headquarters in Oakland, Ca.

    And I would guess that the photo was taken in, oh, say, 1967 or so.

    Stay classy, wingnuts.

  • Time For Thursday Health Care Hackery (And More)

    August 13, 2009

    If you’re thinking that all I ever do is post about health care anymore, I should tell you that that’s not correct, though you are close to the truth.

    In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Former Senator Man-On-Dog laments the cost of the health care reform legislation here (as a former U.S. Senator, I’m sure he has no coverage issues concerning his own health care) and tells us the following…

    Even after all this new spending, almost half a million Pennsylvanians would still be uninsured, according to the Lewin Group, a health-care consulting firm. And if a government plan modeled after Medicare became available to everyone, the firm predicts that a majority of privately insured Pennsylvanians would move to the government plan.

    Oh, by the way, as Media Matters notes here, the Lewin Group is owned by United Healthcare, so don’t expect anything approximating a “fair and balanced” point of view (the Media Matters post also tells us of another sky high – and incorrect – enrollment estimate from Lewin…I would say there’s quite a difference between 88 million and 2 million.)

    And here’s more from our former “family values” senator…

    The health-care proposals could be financed partly through cuts in Medicare reimbursements to health-care providers. Pennsylvania ranks third, behind West Virginia and Maine, in the share of the population on Medicare. So not only would our doctors and hospitals be hurt disproportionately, but other insurance rates would go up as costs are shifted to the private sector.

    Philadelphia also would feel a disproportionate impact. A proposed surtax on the “rich” to pay for expanded coverage would disproportionately strike higher incomes in the region. But the biggest hit would be to the region’s bioscience industry.

    American health care was born in Philadelphia. The city boasts a list of national health-care firsts: first hospital, children’s hospital, medical school, cancer center, and more. Not surprisingly, those institutions are also among the nation’s best. This region leads the country, and our country leads the world in innovative medicine.

    Why? Because private markets reward excellence and innovation. Government-managed systems won’t pay for either. With more than 40,000 people employed in bioscience jobs in the Philadelphia area, a shift away from quality and innovation would disproportionately penalize the region.

    As noted here, the Philadelphia life sciences industry is funded also by the city and the state (I have no information on federal funding, and Santorum’s argument that enrollment in a government-funded public option could mean less for the life sciences industry from Uncle Sam is nothing more than typical propaganda).

    But wait, there’s more!…

    As to the climate bill, it would make coal Public Enemy No. 1, slapping enormous taxes on states that produce it and burn it for electricity. Pennsylvania is among the top five coal-producing states. More than 900 active mines employ more than 20,000 workers in the Commonwealth, in addition to almost 60,000 other jobs related to mining.

    Taxing poor people in Appalachia for the benefit of California, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey may be politically appealing to Democrats.

    But is it change Pennsylvanians can believe in?

    Demagoguery aside, Santorum actually has a point, shockingly enough. And that’s why ten Democratic senators, including PA’s Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, signed off on a letter that stated as follows (here)…

    In a letter to Obama, the senators asked for a strong “border adjustment mechanism” to help U.S. industries adjustment to higher energy costs. Such a “mechanism” might include a tax or tariff against foreign manufacturers whose costs aren’t affected by the legislation.

    “Any climate change legislation must prevent the export of jobs and related greenhouse gas emissions to countries that fail to take actions to combat the threat of global warming comparable to those taken by the United States,” the senators write.

    And as long as I’m taking note of Little Ricky, this tells us that he’s been “making the stops” in Iowa. To do some ground work. For three years from now. Contemplating the “big chair” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    It’s almost too scary for words.

    JDMullaneOh, and since it is Thursday, that means that it’s time once more for J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times to inflict more nonsense on our public deliberation on health care reform (here…and by the way, read commenter “my2cents” for the reality-based perspective).

    And today, that means attacking something else in the House version of the bill, and that would be Section 1233 (and in so doing, Mullane singles out Dem Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon)…

    Blumenauer, a lawyer, insists that Section 1233 is “carefully crafted” and “bipartisan” and that the “advance planning” it promotes is “voluntary.”

    Yet, the word “voluntary” does not appear in the law. To be fair, neither does the word “mandatory.” This leaves the legal intent vague.

    Blumenauer has denounced critics as “unhinged.” He has issued a “myth vs. fact” paper, insisting that Section 1233 “merely provides coverage under Medicare to have a conversation once every five years if – and only if – a patient wants to make his or her wishes known to a doctor.”

    In fact, Section 1233 says more than that. A patient’s wishes may be “known” and “respected,” but the treatment a patient receives will be “guided by a coalition of stakeholders.” These include doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, long-term care facility managers, lawyers, hospice caregivers and state departments of health.

    I read through Section 1233 from the bill (here), and I can’t find evidence of what Mullane is talking about. But in case I missed something, here is Section 1233 of the bill…

    6 (a) MEDICARE.—
    7 (1) IN GENERAL.—Section 1861 of the Social
    8 Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended—
    9 (A) in subsection (s)(2)—
    10 (i) by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end of
    11 subparagraph (DD);
    12 (ii) by adding ‘‘and’’ at the end of
    13 subparagraph (EE); and
    14 (iii) by adding at the end the fol15
    lowing new subparagraph:
    16 ‘‘(FF) advance care planning consultation (as
    17 defined in subsection (hhh)(1));’’; and
    18 (B) by adding at the end the following new
    19 subsection:
    20 ‘‘Advance Care Planning Consultation
    21 ‘‘(hhh)(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the
    22 term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a con23
    sultation between the individual and a practitioner de24
    scribed in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning,
    25 if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has
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    1 not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such
    2 consultation shall include the following:
    3 ‘‘(A) An explanation by the practitioner of ad4
    vance care planning, including key questions and
    5 considerations, important steps, and suggested peo6
    ple to talk to.
    7 ‘‘(B) An explanation by the practitioner of ad8
    vance directives, including living wills and durable
    9 powers of attorney, and their uses.
    10 ‘‘(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the
    11 role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.
    12 ‘‘(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list
    13 of national and State-specific resources to assist con14
    sumers and their families with advance care plan15
    ning, including the national toll-free hotline, the ad16
    vance care planning clearinghouses, and State legal
    17 service organizations (including those funded
    18 through the Older Americans Act of 1965).
    19 ‘‘(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the
    20 continuum of end-of-life services and supports avail21
    able, including palliative care and hospice, and bene22
    fits for such services and supports that are available
    23 under this title.
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    1 ‘‘(F)(i) Subject to clause (ii), an explanation of
    2 orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar
    3 orders, which shall include—
    4 ‘‘(I) the reasons why the development of
    5 such an order is beneficial to the individual and
    6 the individual’s family and the reasons why
    7 such an order should be updated periodically as
    8 the health of the individual changes;
    9 ‘‘(II) the information needed for an indi10
    vidual or legal surrogate to make informed deci11
    sions regarding the completion of such an
    12 order; and
    13 ‘‘(III) the identification of resources that
    14 an individual may use to determine the require15
    ments of the State in which such individual re16
    sides so that the treatment wishes of that indi17
    vidual will be carried out if the individual is un18
    able to communicate those wishes, including re19
    quirements regarding the designation of a sur20
    rogate decisionmaker (also known as a health
    21 care proxy).
    22 ‘‘(ii) The Secretary shall limit the requirement
    23 for explanations under clause (i) to consultations
    24 furnished in a State—
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    1 ‘‘(I) in which all legal barriers have been
    2 addressed for enabling orders for life sustaining
    3 treatment to constitute a set of medical orders
    4 respected across all care settings; and
    5 ‘‘(II) that has in effect a program for or6
    ders for life sustaining treatment described in
    7 clause (iii).
    8 ‘‘(iii) A program for orders for life sustaining
    9 treatment for a States described in this clause is a
    10 program that—
    11 ‘‘(I) ensures such orders are standardized
    12 and uniquely identifiable throughout the State;
    13 ‘‘(II) distributes or makes accessible such
    14 orders to physicians and other health profes15
    sionals that (acting within the scope of the pro16
    fessional’s authority under State law) may sign
    17 orders for life sustaining treatment;
    18 ‘‘(III) provides training for health care
    19 professionals across the continuum of care
    20 about the goals and use of orders for life sus21
    taining treatment; and
    22 ‘‘(IV) is guided by a coalition of stake23
    holders includes representatives from emergency
    24 medical services, emergency department physi25
    cians or nurses, state long-term care associa-
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    1 tion, state medical association, state surveyors,
    2 agency responsible for senior services, state de3
    partment of health, state hospital association,
    4 home health association, state bar association,
    5 and state hospice association.
    6 ‘‘(2) A practitioner described in this paragraph is—
    7 ‘‘(A) a physician (as defined in subsection
    8 (r)(1)); and
    9 ‘‘(B) a nurse practitioner or physician’s assist10
    ant who has the authority under State law to sign
    11 orders for life sustaining treatments.
    12 ‘‘(3)(A) An initial preventive physical examination
    13 under subsection (WW), including any related discussion
    14 during such examination, shall not be considered an ad15
    vance care planning consultation for purposes of applying
    16 the 5-year limitation under paragraph (1).
    17 ‘‘(B) An advance care planning consultation with re18
    spect to an individual may be conducted more frequently
    19 than provided under paragraph (1) if there is a significant
    20 change in the health condition of the individual, including
    21 diagnosis of a chronic, progressive, life-limiting disease, a
    22 life-threatening or terminal diagnosis or life-threatening
    23 injury, or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a
    24 long-term care facility (as defined by the Secretary), or
    25 a hospice program.
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    1 ‘‘(4) A consultation under this subsection may in2
    clude the formulation of an order regarding life sustaining
    3 treatment or a similar order.
    4 ‘‘(5)(A) For purposes of this section, the term ‘order
    5 regarding life sustaining treatment’ means, with respect
    6 to an individual, an actionable medical order relating to
    7 the treatment of that individual that—
    8 ‘‘(i) is signed and dated by a physician (as de9
    fined in subsection (r)(1)) or another health care
    10 professional (as specified by the Secretary and who
    11 is acting within the scope of the professional’s au12
    thority under State law in signing such an order, in13
    cluding a nurse practitioner or physician assistant)
    14 and is in a form that permits it to stay with the in15
    dividual and be followed by health care professionals
    16 and providers across the continuum of care;
    17 ‘‘(ii) effectively communicates the individual’s
    18 preferences regarding life sustaining treatment, in19
    cluding an indication of the treatment and care de20
    sired by the individual;
    21 ‘‘(iii) is uniquely identifiable and standardized
    22 within a given locality, region, or State (as identified
    23 by the Secretary); and
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    1 ‘‘(iv) may incorporate any advance directive (as
    2 defined in section 1866(f)(3)) if executed by the in3
    4 ‘‘(B) The level of treatment indicated under subpara5
    graph (A)(ii) may range from an indication for full treat6
    ment to an indication to limit some or all or specified
    7 interventions. Such indicated levels of treatment may in8
    clude indications respecting, among other items—
    9 ‘‘(i) the intensity of medical intervention if the
    10 patient is pulse less, apneic, or has serious cardiac
    11 or pulmonary problems;
    12 ‘‘(ii) the individual’s desire regarding transfer
    13 to a hospital or remaining at the current care set14
    15 ‘‘(iii) the use of antibiotics; and
    16 ‘‘(iv) the use of artificially administered nutri17
    tion and hydration.’’.
    18 (2) PAYMENT.—Section 1848(j)(3) of such Act
    19 (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(j)(3)) is amended by inserting
    20 ‘‘(2)(FF),’’ after ‘‘(2)(EE),’’.
    21 (3) FREQUENCY LIMITATION.—Section 1862(a)
    22 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395y(a)) is amended—
    23 (A) in paragraph (1)—
    24 (i) in subparagraph (N), by striking
    25 ‘‘and’’ at the end;
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    1 (ii) in subparagraph (O) by striking
    2 the semicolon at the end and inserting ‘‘,
    3 and’’; and
    4 (iii) by adding at the end the fol5
    lowing new subparagraph:
    6 ‘‘(P) in the case of advance care planning
    7 consultations (as defined in section
    8 1861(hhh)(1)), which are performed more fre9
    quently than is covered under such section;’’;
    10 and
    11 (B) in paragraph (7), by striking ‘‘or (K)’’
    12 and inserting ‘‘(K), or (P)’’.
    13 (4) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made
    14 by this subsection shall apply to consultations fur15
    nished on or after January 1, 2011.
    TIVE.—Section 1848(k)(2) of the Social Security Act
    20 (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(k)(2)) is amended by adding at
    21 the end the following new paragraphs:
    24 ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of re25
    porting data on quality measures for covered
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    1 professional services furnished during 2011 and
    2 any subsequent year, to the extent that meas3
    ures are available, the Secretary shall include
    4 quality measures on end of life care and ad5
    vanced care planning that have been adopted or
    6 endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if
    7 appropriate. Such measures shall measure both
    8 the creation of and adherence to orders for life9
    sustaining treatment.
    11 Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register
    12 proposed quality measures on end of life care
    13 and advanced care planning that the Secretary
    14 determines are described in subparagraph (A)
    15 and would be appropriate for eligible profes16
    sionals to use to submit data to the Secretary.
    17 The Secretary shall provide for a period of pub18
    lic comment on such set of measures before fi19
    nalizing such proposed measures.’’.
    23 (A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 1 year
    24 after the date of the enactment of this Act, the
    25 Secretary of Health and Human Services shall
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    1 update the online version of the Medicare &
    2 You Handbook to include the following:
    3 (i) An explanation of advance care
    4 planning and advance directives, includ5
    6 (I) living wills;
    7 (II) durable power of attorney;
    8 (III) orders of life-sustaining
    9 treatment; and
    10 (IV) health care proxies.
    11 (ii) A description of Federal and State
    12 resources available to assist individuals
    13 and their families with advance care plan14
    ning and advance directives, including—
    15 (I) available State legal service
    16 organizations to assist individuals
    17 with advance care planning, including
    18 those organizations that receive fund19
    ing pursuant to the Older Americans
    20 Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 93001 et
    21 seq.);
    22 (II) website links or addresses for
    23 State-specific advance directive forms;
    24 and
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    1 (III) any additional information,
    2 as determined by the Secretary.
    4 VERSIONS.—The Secretary shall include the in5
    formation described in subparagraph (A) in all
    6 paper and electronic versions of the Medicare &
    7 You Handbook that are published on or after
    8 the date that is 1 year after the date of the en9
    actment of this Act.

    Everybody got that? Good.

    And as noted here…

    Many observers now today write in the media that erroneous interpretations of Section 1233 of Health Care Reform Bill is (sic)very “egregious,” as it involves the lives of our senior citizens. The erroneous interpretation is that the government will counsel the senior citizens every five years on how to end their lives early. This is outrageous interpretation of end of life planning.

    What the Section 1233 of the Health Care Reform Bill really reads is that “Medicare will pay for an “advance care planning consultation” once every five years. Section 1233 is actually creating a new benefit for seniors that will be paid for by Medicare. It will only pay for one consultation every five years unless the patient’s health changes. If that happens, the provision then calls for Medicare to pay for a new consultation when the change in health occurs,” explains SV Herald.

    (More information is available here.)

    By the way, I actually visited J.D. Mullane’s blog yesterday (where common sense goes home to die) and found out that his column will, according to Mullane, now “run…in the Burlington County Times, our sister newspaper across the river, beginning September. I’m looking forward to covering the governor’s race, one of the highest profile matchup’s in the country. With the Courier, the Intel in Doylestown and the Burlington paper, the audience expands to more than 100,000 readers.”

    I just thought anyone out there who was thinking of renewing their subscription to the Courier Times (and who may be reading this) should know that Mullane’s publisher thinks rank propaganda should be rewarded instead of punished.

    And newspapers wonder why they’re losing circulation…

    Friday Mashup (7/31/09)

    July 31, 2009


  • First of all, best wishes to Sen. Chris Dodd for a full recovery from upcoming prostate cancer surgery (here).
  • HS_03-homer_simpson_drunk

  • Also in a medical vein, the Bucks County Courier Times tells us the following from its “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” segment today…

    (Thumbs Up) to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who’s lobbying City Council for a law that would require bars to report fights to 911. The proposal follows the beating death of a Lansdale man who was pummeled and kicked outside a sports bar at Citizens Bank Park.

    Oh sure – this is great. Pass a law obligating the police to call 911 and divert precious, comparatively scarce resources that could be used to save lives to break up tend to the victims of bar fights started by a bunch of drunks.

    You want a more constructive idea? Well then, as noted here by Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz…

    “Tele-nursing allows better prioritization of emergency responses,” said (Butkovitz). “Our fire commissioner says that 80 percent of the city’s 220,000 emergency calls each year should not be getting rescue squad response. With tele-nurses handling non-emergency 911 calls, those who have ‘drop-everything’ emergencies will have more rapid responses.”

    “It is possible that the use of tele-nurses could save the city as much as $2.5 million per year and save lives,” Butkovitz reported.

    Memo to the Courier-Times editorial board: stick to opining on matters “closer to home” in your typically provincial manner, since that seems to resonate better with your predominantly-right-wing audience.

  • George_Voinovich_0001

  • Also, I’m still waiting for the howls of outrage from our corporate media punditocracy over the recent comment from departing Repug Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio that the downfall of the Republican Party has occurred because, as noted here…

    “We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns,” Voinovich told the Columbus Dispatch. “It’s the southerners.”

    That is easily one of the most astute remarks I’ve heard from a politician of either major party affiliation in a loooong time.

    And yes, while it’s true that there are some random blog posts I found out there on the subject, I have yet to hear Messrs. Krauthammer, Kristol, Will, Cohen and their brethren weigh in (a few Google searches produced nothing).

    This is typical, though; as Media Matters notes here, it is much easier for the news organizations with initials for names to focus on real or alleged Democratic missteps than it is for the Repugs.

    Also, as long as we’re talking about the South, this post from kos tells us that they are primarily the individuals comprising the Obama “birthers” out there (the life forms who still agitate themselves over the fantasy that our president was not born in this country).

    I would give Voinovich credit for interjecting some much-needed reality into the political discussion, but since he’s leaving, what he says really isn’t going to matter. Now saying it and then defending his words in Congress in the midst of a re-election campaign – that would be truly admirable.

  • Corker_6a00d83451581569e2010536626b78970c-800wi

  • I must point out the following amusing item from The National Review Online pertaining to Repug Tennessee Senator Bob Corker (here)…

    Corker says President Obama recently met with him, something he appreciates. But Corker doesn’t think Obama “has his feet on the ground with regard to what appropriate health reform is.” He adds, “And he personalizes everything, it’s all, ‘I, I, I.'” Corker suspects that for Obama “doing this with some massive bill is about politics…To him, it’s about a political victory, not about doing what’s in the long-term interest of citizens.”

    Here is Corker’s statement on the matter of whether or not he will vote to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court…

    “Judge Sotomayor has an impressive background and an inspiring American story. I enjoyed meeting with her in June and let her know I would reserve judgment on her nomination until the conclusion of a fair and thorough hearings process,” said Corker. “After much deliberation and careful review, I have determined that Judge Sotomayor’s record and many of her past statements reflect a view of the Supreme Court that is different from my own. I view the Supreme Court as a body charged with impartially deciding what the law means as it is applied to a specific case. I believe Judge Sotomayor views the Supreme Court as more of a policy-making body where laws are shaped based on the personal views of the justices. Unfortunately, nothing I heard during Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings or in my meeting with her in June sufficiently allayed this concern. For this reason, I’m disappointed to say, I will not be able to support Judge Sotomayor’s nomination.”

    And we’re supposed to deal seriously with these people on matters of legislation critical to our economy, our health care, and our planet in general…

  • Malcolm

  • And finally, I must communicate this even-more-absurd item from former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times…

    According to a new Washington Post survey, a clear majority of Americans (55%) approve of the job (Vice President Joe) Biden’s doing, perhaps because thanks to schedules like today’s, they can’t know much about what that job he’s doing actually is.

    Biden’s numbers are tied closely to Americans’ belief in the economic efficacy of President Obama’s stimulus package. Those who think it’ll work, like him; those who don’t, don’t.

    Those Biden approval numbers still aren’t quite as good as Dick Cheney’s April approval of 64% from a 2001 Post poll.

    Oh mah gawd…

    To communicate a more up-to-date approval rating on “Deadeye Dick” that actually isn’t AT LEAST EIGHT YEARS OLD, this tells us that the former veep is only slightly less popular than Cuba and Venezuela (though, as Matt Yglesias points out, “China and Russia are kicking his ass”).

    Well, as least “Big Time” can look on the bright side; he’s bound to be more popular than Iran and North Korea.

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