I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama’s desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) — as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill — decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill. It’s already in the stimulus bill signed into law.
The allegations in this Bloomberg story –if true– pose a huge problem for a senior advisor to the president, David Axelrod. This is the heart of the problem:
Axelrod was president and sole shareholder of AKPD from 1985 until he sold his interest after Obama’s victory, government records show. The firm owes Axelrod $2 million, which it’s due to pay in installments beginning Dec. 31. Axelrod’s son, Michael, still works there. He didn’t return a phone call. The firm’s Web site continues to feature David Axelrod’s work on the Obama campaign.
The problem is that Axelrod’s former firm is currently receiving huge fees “from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA,” as well as AARP, the SEIU and other big players in the health care debate.
If Axelrod has been negotiating any part of any deal involving any of these players which are funneling money to the firm that owes him money, or if he is advising the president on the deals with any of these groups, that’s a conflict of interest.
The percentage of Americans who hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party has slipped below 50 percent for the first time since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday. Only 49 percent of Americans now hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party, down from 62 percent in the same poll shortly after Obama assumed office. Democratic favorable ratings hovered around 60 percent as recently as April, when 59 percent of those polled held a favorable view.
What do you get when you cross health care with the IRS? Something very scary. William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection explains that the IRS will getting reports of who has health care coverage, and enforcing taxes as part of the deal in both House and Senate versions.
U.S. life expectancy has risen to a new high, now standing at nearly 78 years, the government reported Wednesday. The increase is due mainly to falling death rates in almost all the leading causes of death. The average life expectancy for babies born in 2007 is nearly three months greater than for children born in 2006. The new U.S. data is a preliminary report based on about 90 percent of the death certificates collected in 2007. It comes from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The gold medal favourite in tonight’s women’s 800m World Athletics Championships race is today facing claims that she is really a man. South African Caster Semenya, 18, is set to race in tonight’s final in Berlin after sailing through a semi-final on Monday in her first major international sporting competition.
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Curfews might not be just for kids anymore in one northern New Jersey city. Seeking to curb violence after a spate of deadly summer shootings, Paterson officials are considering an unusual ordinance that would prevent people of all ages from gathering outside in public late at night. The measure could be the nation’s first citywide, non-emergency curfew to include adults, several experts said. “We’re trying to think outside the box,” said Mayor Jose Torres. “This was triggered predominantly by fear among city residents over the shootings that have been occurring this summer.”
A tornado slashed a narrow path of destruction in the heart of Beaumont’s retail corridor Tuesday afternoon, collapsing store roofs, overturning vehicles and causing minor injuries but miraculously no deaths. The twister, which was preliminarily rated an EF-1 with winds between 86 to 110 mph, closed several area big box retailers near Parkdale Mall on Dowlen Road. The storm couldn’t come at a worse time for retailers as they prepare for a flood of shoppers expected to take advantage of the state’s back-to-school tax-free shopping weekend.
Seattle voters have rejected a 20-cent fee for every paper or plastic bag they get from supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores. The city’s incumbent mayor didn’t fare much better than the fee, trailing two challengers in a bid for a third term. With about half the ballots counted in the all-mail vote, the bag fee was failing 58 percent to 42 percent in Tuesday’s primary.
You know times are tough when people are getting kicked out of their house when it’s not even for sale. That’s what happened to Anna Ramirez after she found all of her stuff out on the front lawn of her Homestead home last week and a strange man demanding she get out of his newly purchased house. The eviction came after Ramirez’s home was mistakenly auctioned off to the highest bidder by her bank, Washington Mutual. Usually, you get a warning before you get the boot. A foreclosure letter. Maybe a sign saying your house is up for sale. Not Ramirez, who found her belongings bashed and battered in the street.
A quick-thinking Queens teen was hailed a hero Wednesday for taking control of a school bus full of kids and pulling the emergency break after the driver collapsed and died. Rachel Guzy, 16, a counselor at a Bayside summer camp, leapt into action the moment she spotted the driver fall out of his seat and roll out of the bus Tuesday.
The mourners knew it wasn’t Tex. Nearly everyone who passed the silver casket at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church yesterday morning whispered to each other. That’s not Tex, they said. But the corpse was wearing his blue suit and black boots. The late Kenneth “Tex” Roberts, 80, who died Monday of a heart attack, was a jovial, mustached, retired tractor-trailer driver who loved to tell jokes, play cards and help people when they were down.
The outgoing leader of Greenpeace has admitted his organization’s recent claim that the Arctic Ice will disappear by 2030 was “a mistake.” Greenpeace made the claim in a July 15 press release entitled “Urgent Action Needed As Arctic Ice Melts,” which said there will be an ice-free Arctic by 2030 because of global warming. Under close questioning by BBC reporter Stephen Sackur on the “Hardtalk” program, Gerd Leipold, the retiring leader of Greenpeace, said the claim was wrong. “I don’t think it will be melting by 2030. … That may have been a mistake,” he said.
President Barack Obama will appear in a back-to-school television special with singer Kelly Clarkson and basketball star LeBron James next month. Obama is appearing in a 30-minute documentary that will air at 8 p.m. Sept. 8 on BET, MTV, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Spike TV and Nickelodeon, all of them Viacom networks. Obama also plans to deliver a back-to-school speech to the nation’s students on the same day.
Given hardening Republican opposition to congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance for the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks. Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans’ purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month’s congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.
Quote of the day.
No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.