FDL Action Health Care Update: Tuesday (11/3/09)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Tuesday, November 3.

1. Ben Tribbett explains “What Happened in Virginia?” In part, Tribbett blames it on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds “bashing federal Democratic priorities like “Cap and Trade” and health care reform to appeal to the conservatives that were headed to the polls.”  Brilliant.

2. Jane Hamsher blogs about Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), who “seems to think that if Democrats get their asses kicked [in elections] today, it just proves he’s right about everything.” Specifically, Altmire seems to think that “if the results show Republicans have a pretty good night, that probably is going to lead some Democrats to think that, going into next year, we need to take a second look at the way that we’ve done a lot of bills we’ve addressed up to this point.” Hamsher responds, “Give me a minute while I clean my keyboard of all the coffee that just came out my nose.”  Heh.

3. Jon Walker comments on the “Failure Of Blue Dogging” in New York’s 23rd District, writings that Bill Owens “was selected because he fit the Rahm Emanuel philosophy that the only way for Democrats to win right-leaning districts is with conservative Democratic candidates.”  Walker concludes, “If [Democrats] want to remain in power, they need to show the regular people that they are working to make their lives better.” Like on health care reform, including a robust public option, perhaps? :)

4. Jon Walker wonders if “Majority Leader Harry Reid has reached some sort of secret deal with Joe Lieberman (I-CT),” adding that “[i]f Reid sells out the base again to appease Lieberman, he has much more to worry about than trying to get 60 votes for cloture.”  You can say that again.

5. Jon Walker reports that “[t]wo new polls released yesterday show plurality support for the public option in both Nebraska and North Carolina.” What’s particularly striking is that ” Nebraska is one of the most conservative states in the country and is represented by the most conservative Democratic senator, Ben Nelson” – who does not support the public option. Apparently, Ben Nelson isn’t listening very well to the voters of his state (or he simply doesn’t care?).

6. Jon Walker comments on the Republican “alternative” health care bill, which he calls “a meaningless, very long press release, filled with some really bad ideas.”  I don’t know about you, but I’m personally shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you! – that John Boehner and Eric Cantor would have come up with anything “meaningless” or with “really bad ideas” in it. (extreme snark and eye rolls)

Election Day

Go out and vote today.  The smear ads are over and it is time for us to render our judgments.  If you live in Philadelphia you may be SOL.  SEPTA went out on strike this morning.  I wonder which moron at the transit workers union made this decision?  They hold off for three days because of the World Series then strike on election day???  Do they understand how many corporate, anti-labor Judges are on the ballot?  This is incomprehensible…

Jack Panella will spend the evening home with his wife watching the returns.  It is his tradition and he doesn’t want to jinx his good luck by doing something different.  I’ll be in Bethlehem tonight with the good folks of Northampton County and hope Jack will make an appearance if the race doesn’t go until the early morning hours or even Wednesday.  Polls show the Supreme Court race neck and neck.

The other appellate court races are also important and there are county, local and school board races on the ballot.  Local government affects you every day and these contests have more impact on your life than state and federal elections.  Please, get out there and vote.

Nationally three races are getting attention along with the gay marriage referendums in Maine and Washington.  I expect Chris Christie to prevail in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia.  Two races do not make trends however.  Virginia remains a very red state and the voters there weren’t put off by the radical extremism in McDonnell’s thesis so it is obvious they agree with him on women’s subjugated role in our society.  Sometimes you get what you deserve.

Jon Corzine simply wasn’t a very good Governor in New Jersey.  I predict the Daggett vote will break for Christie.  Many voters supporting third party candidates, and Daggett was getting substantial support,  break from them on election day.  People feel voting for Daggett would be a “wasted” (there’s no such thing as a “wasted” vote, every vote is important) vote will opt to go for the Republican Christie.  Chris Daggett is a moderate Republican running as a third Party candidate so his support has been at Christie’s expense and many of them will return to Christie in a close election.

The other focus election is in upstate New York, the 23rd Congressional District.  This fascinating Congressional race is on the ballot because its previous office holder was appointed as head of the Army.  The District hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1886 and don’t expect that to change.  The Republican withdrew a few days ago and endorsed the Democrat over the extremist Teabagger.  This contest is showing there is no room in the GOP any longer for moderates.

FDL Action Health Care Update: Monday (11/2/09)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Monday, November 2.

1. First, thanks to Eric Pusey of Minnesota Progressive Project for letting us all know what’s going on in the Minnesota Congressional delegation regarding health reform, the public option, etc. Thanks to Eric. Also, I invite other progressive state bloggers to send me (at lowell@raisingkaine.com) their “Voices from the States” for publication at FDL Action.

2. Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and the American Medical Student Association respond to the October 30, 2009 Huffington Post article by Rep. Anna Eshoo, “Setting the Record Straight on Our Health Care Legislation.” It’s extremely detailed, going methodically through the key assertions made by Eshoo. Check it out.

3. Jon Walker writes about “The Achilles Heel Of Health Reform: Risk Adjustment Mechanisms,” saying that he is “truly frightened by the possible ramifications that potentially insufficient (and currently completely undefined) risk adjustment mechanisms will have on our health care system after reform.”

4. Jane Hamsher blogs about Anna Eshoo’s response to her article on Eshoo’s biologics bill.  Although Eshoo “vehemently claims [her bill] doesn’t allow ‘evergreening,’ which would allow slight tweaks in drug formulas to grant drug companies endless monopolies and keep these lifesaving drugs from ever becoming generics,” that’s news to Henry Waxman, and the “experts agree with Waxman.”  Advantage: Waxman.

5. Jon Walker argues that “[Joe] Lieberman’s obstructionism [on the public option] is clearly a hindrance, but not an insurmountable barrier.” The fact is, “[f]ifty senators plus the Vice President can do anything in the Senate if they really want to.”  So, in the end, it’s really up to Harry Reid. Although “Lieberman has just made Reid’s job harder, neither Joe Lieberman, nor Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, and/or Ben Nelson can stop the public option-alone or together.” Your move, Senator Reid!

6. Jane Hamsher urges everyone to contact Senator Sherrod Brown and his cosponsors, asking them to introduce their “amendment to the Hagan/Eshoo PhRMA boondogle.” The goal here is to facilitate “important lifesaving treatments for breast cancer and other diseases” becoming generics, and thereby more affordable to people. Let’s see, lifesaving treatments for people or profits for Big PhRMA?  Tough choice, I know. (snark)  Hamsher has more on this issue here.

7. Jane Hamsher asks, “So What Does Jay Inslee Think You Deserve For Your Enbrel Investment?” The choice once again appears to come down to whether corporate profits must be protected, even if they than “leave cancer patients in financial ruin just to pay for lifesaving biologic drugs.” Hmmmm.

8. Jon Walker explains “How The CBO Is Likely Very Wrong About Number Of People Who Would Use The Public Option.”  Walker crunches some numbers and estimates that “the public option would have closer to 20 million customers by 2019, instead of the CBO projection of 6 million.” Actually, according to Walker, it could be as high as 60 million customers, and these kinds of numbers are “what really scares the for-profit insurance companies, not the relatively worthless CBO estimation of 6 million.”

9. Jon Walker writes that Ezra Klein should be “fairly pessimistic on the effectiveness of the new health insurance exchanges,” just “not for the reasons he outlined.” Well, at least Klein got the “pessimistic” part right! Heh.

10. Finally, Jane Hamsher urges everyone to help Alan Grayson raise $500,000 as “insurance against what could be an otherwise dire Tuesday for Democrats.” Even better, how about we do both; help Grayson and avoid tomorrow being “a wipeout for Democrats?” :)

Factcheck.org Calls Orie-Melvin Commercial “Pennsylvania Slime”

Factcheck.org has analyzed Joan Orie-Melvin’s attack ad against Jack Panella and found it false.  Worse, their headline calls it “Pennsylvania Slime.”  She continues airing a television commercial even though the noted and respected Annenberg organization says it’s a smear.  Does someone like this, who would stoop this low deserve a seat on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court?  How could you be sure she’d deal with you fairly?

The commercial accuses Judge Panella, head of the Judicial Conduct Board, of “turning his back on hundreds of kids” in the case of two corrupt Luzerne County Judges.  In fact the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case says Jack Panella did exactly what he should have:  referred the matter to him promptly for investigation and prosecution.  Judge Orie-Melvin knows her charges are false and a vicious smear yet her lust for power overwhelms her sense of decency.  Factcheck.org has this to say:

But it’s not true that Panella exhibited a “lack of attention” in the matter that “hurt [Pennsylvania] children,” that he “could have stopped the abuses” of kids or that he “turned his back” on them.

Panella, a Superior Court judge, was chairman of the 12-member judicial conduct panel in 2006 when the anonymous complaint came in. It accused Conahan of manipulating the assignment of cases to his fellow judges and hiring relatives and allies to staff the court, and it alleged that Conahan had been seen meeting a reputed mobster. The document also described a close relationship between Conahan, Ciavarella and attorney Robert Powell, who owned a juvenile detention center. According to the complaint, Conahan assigned Ciavarella to hear juvenile cases, and a “stringent” pattern developed in which juveniles were sentenced to serve their time at Powell’s facility rather than at several other facilities where they had been placed in the past.

What’s more five of the other Judges sitting on the Judicial Conduct Board have also claimed Orie-Melvin’s charges as false:

Five former members of the conduct board who served with Panella when the complaint came in have said that, while they are not permitted to discuss the board’s work openly, the ad’s charges are “patently false. The five asked the state GOP to pull the spot, saying it implies “that somehow we looked away from evidence that children were being mistreated.” They said: “Nothing could be further from the truth.” And indeed, there were no such charges in the complaint.

The choice is clear tomorrow.  Vote for Judge Jack Panella.

Clean Energy Means Jobs

I’m Lauren Horne, a Regional Program Manager for the Blue Green Alliance (BGA) in Pennsylvania based out of Pittsburgh. I wanted to post on this blog as a way to talk with the progressive community about the work of BGA and how we can all work toward a clean energy future.

A little about BGA and my work — The Blue Green Alliance was founded in 2006 by the United Steelworkers of America and the Sierra Club.  Since then, we’ve expanded to include other unions and environmental groups.  I previously worked with the United Steelworkers International Union doing the things that union activists do — contract negotiations, organizing, legislative/political work. Now, with the BGA I get to talk to all union members on the importance of developing clean energy in America, both for our jobs and our planet.

Clean energy means jobs.  In Pennsylvania, our unemployment rate just shot back up to 8.8% in September, and since last year it has gone up 3.2%  So, it’s really apparent we need jobs.  By investing in clean energy, we can create thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania researching, developing, manufacturing, and constructing clean energy solutions.  In addition, we can reduce global warming pollution and ensure America is more secure.

Our Senators have a lot of tough decisions to make this year, but they are decisions that will help our country get back on track. Senators Specter and Casey need to hear from all of us that they should be supporting comprehensive climate change and clean energy solutions.  

I’ll be blogging more about clean energy and worker’s right soon.    Thanks for reading my first post.  For more information on the Blue Green Alliance, go to www.bluegreenalliance.org.