Open Thread

A Nation's Health: the good, the bad and the ugly

An open thread in which to dicuss the ramifications of legislation currently being voted upon in The House. Will American citizens benefit as much as the Health Corps? Will the trillion-plus fistful of dollars be enough to make a dint in the diseases of the underclasses? And what will need happen for lawmakers to release a few dollars more to help their constituents in West Baltimore, “South Central” L.A. and those who like to go Deer Hunting with Jesus (the one reputed to have been a legendary healer himself, in his day)?

1,291 replies on “A Nation's Health: the good, the bad and the ugly”

Abandoning GOP After Arizona Immigration Controversy.

Arizona’s tough new legislation designed to crackdown on illegal immigration is earning low marks from Hispanic-Americans, and may even be driving them out from under the GOP tent, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

From the Journal piece:

Adam Bustos, a third-generation Mexican-American, has voted Republican since Ronald Reagan ran for president. But he has been reconsidering his party affiliation since Arizona State Gov. Jan Brewer signed the nation’s toughest immigration law last month.

“I’ve been thinking I might leave the party,” said Mr. Bustos, a 58-year-old Arizona native. “A lot of my Latino Republican friends have been talking about it after this law.”

more here…

Coalition punishes Labor to take poll lead.

The Coalition is in an election-winning poll position for the first time since 2006, with the latest Newspoll showing it leading Labor by 51 to 49 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis.

The Coalition’s support jumped five points while Labor’s dropped five. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s support as preferred prime minister rose three points to 32 per cent, the highest support of any Liberal leader since former prime minister John Howard.

more on this nightmare here…

gaffhook @ 1191
I had a listen. Imagine the lawsuits? And apparently this is much bigger than the Exxon Valdese disaster.

Chris B – Don’t fret too much about Newspoll
Possum injects some sanity here.
And here’s a couple of his tweets…

If anyone thinks that the ALP vote is 35% – Simon Crean territory – they’re smoking crack. Newspoll – rogue

It’s worth mentioning that in the 494 Newspolls, the ALP vote has only ever moved by 8 points or more 4 times. All rogue


There certainly will be some devestated souls and businesses and BP should deservedly cop the wrath heading in their direction.

I saw a bit of footage this morning where the barriers are being washed ashore etc. I am not sure if the oil has reached any landfall yet but if the barriers get washed ashore etc there is going to be one hell of a mess. So sad and here we have the mining companies and Abbott and his ilk screaming about a bit of tax on miners to make our world a better place. Huh!

If i could i would be doing a Morales on the lot of them and sharing the profits amongst the people.
Foreign ownership of media would be instantly banned.

I am not sure if they believe they will actually be able to plug it and certainly probbly not within the near future.
They will be trying something untested and then maybe plan B-X to Z.

By then it will be 10 times Valdese.

I generally fill my vehicle at BP because it is the closest/most convenient of all the rogue Big Oil mob.
I am now doing what Chris is doing, driving that little bit further to what now is one of the lesser disaster owners.

No more BP.

Somebody told me to go Shell. Cars love Shell cause it fucks them. :mrgreen:

1205 Katielou Thanks KatieLou. I suspect its an outlier. As well as the bonus on the new tax system is yet to hit.

The oil disaster is surrounded by red states. I wonder what influence that will have on the election, if any.

From twitter

@WestWingReport Arrest in Times Sq. bomb case: A U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, 30-y/o Shahzad Faisal, was caught at N.Y.’s JFK airport

That’s a very sobering piece on Huffpo Jen. 🙁
I think I worked out (on the back of an envelope) that it would take about 3 years for the well to spew as much oil as the Exxon Valdez lost. But the location in the gulf of Mexico is a lot more populated than Prince William sound and the consequences are all a lot more serious for humans as well as wildlife. What a mess!! 🙁

1214 was a very interesting read but at 1215 the sight of her head brought on the spew bucket.

That’s a true gem by J.D.Crowe. Ecky.
Oily lawyers indeed.
There’s a beautiful sub header on Bernard Keane’s piece in Crikey today.
“How can you tell the mining industry is lying? It’s issued a press release.” 😆

Wonder where they will get the money to pay this.
Maybe they can get a few million back from Geoff Dixon and his massive payout.

Qantas will be forced to pay Australian travel agents millions of dollars after the Federal Court ruled they’re entitled to commissions on fuel surcharges, lawyers say.

Leonie’s Travel Pty Ltd, representing all travel agents who sold tickets on behalf of Qantas, appealed against a 2009 Federal Court ruling that the airline was entitled to exclude fuel surcharges when calculating commissions paid to agents on international tickets.

Judges Anthony Besanko, Bruce Lander and Steven Rares on Tuesday upheld the appeal, finding the commission was payable on international tickets from May 2004.

Just sharing a funny tweet by Possum, who predicted the inquiry into the BER would be a positive for the Government, ‘coz you never call an inquiry unless you know the answer.

For you media types that called me an idiot for saying the BER Inquiry was a Gillard 3 move checkmate – you can now kiss my furry arse 😛

😆 At least possum’s tweet was funny Katielou.
I’ve just finished wading through that report. Sheesh!! I’d forgotten just how painful it can be trying to read official documents. 20 mins of my life I won’t get back and possum pretty well summed it up in a tweet.
Nothing to see here pundits, move along now and stop screaming that the sky is falling. 🙂

I must say I’m pretty new to twitter but I love it. There’s lots of funny and interesting stuff on there. And sometimes when I tweet people they actually reply – like Leigh Sales and FirstDogonTheMoon.

In the primaries the GOP is swing to the right. All the better for the Democrats to look moderate and responsible.

Fisher Wins Ohio Senate Nomination
Lee Fisher (D) defeated Jennifer Brunner (D) in the Democratic U.S. Senate race in Ohio and will face Rob Portman (R) in the general election this fall, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
A few more results here.

Health Care Bump at Last?
Tucked away in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll is some possible evidence for the elusive “health care bump,” the rise in poll numbers that Democratic leadership promised would result from the passage of the health care reform legislation.

Among independents, President Obama’s approval rating is 48% approve to 39% disapprove, up from 44% each in February, before health care was passed. On the specific subject of health care, independents continue to disapprove of Obama 40% to 45%, but that is a marked improvement over February when 31% approved and 60% disapproved.

Sestak Makes it a Race

A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania shows Rep. Joe Sestak (D) is within striking distance of Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in the Democratic U.S. Senate race.

Specter now leads by just eight points, 47% to 39%, as compared to his 21 point lead in early April. These findings are very similar to a Morning Call tracker and an internal poll we noted yesterday.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Sen. Specter switched parties because he was worried about losing in the Republican primary. His big lead among likely Democratic primary voters has disappeared and although he remains ahead, momentum is clearly on Sestak’s side at this point. In addition, Specter’s big lead in name identification has begun to erode as Sestak television commercials introduce him to the voters outside his suburban Philadelphia base.”

This is very good news. I had written Sestak off!
more here…

I am starting to get feedback that places are booked out all over Australia on my birthday. The 9th of May.

Its not the first time places have taken lots of bookings on my birthday.

Hi David-
what’s the latest on a poll date in the whispering halls of the House?

Now here is some VERY handy information as to what to talk about running up to November. A series of words have been rated as to their positive and negative effects. I reckon the Democrats should work as many of these as possible in their speeches. Using them
More Americans have a positive reaction to ‘progressive’ than ‘capitalism.’

Oh dear. It seems like the Greek bailout is looking *very* shaky. 🙁
Hold on to your hats (and wallets) folks. I think the other shoe of the GFC might be about to drop.

Europe stares into the abyss
Alan Kohler

The European crisis is entering a new phase because markets have realised that a Greek bailout is impossible, pointless and essential, all at the same time.

– Impossible because it will be rejected by either the Greeks or the Germans or the German constitutional court, or, more likely, all of the above.

Primary results.

Tonight, Indiana Republicans chose a deeply flawed candidate by selecting a Washington lobbyist as their nominee. In Indiana, Dan Coats rails against the Wall Street bailout, but in Washington, Dan Coats worked for the banks who received $750 billion in taxpayer funds. In Indiana, Dan Coats rails against the auto bailout, but in Washington he lobbied for it. Worst of all, Dan Coats lobbied for a bank trying to help companies outsource jobs overseas. In a few days, Indiana Democrats will nominate former sheriff Brad Ellsworth as their candidate and the contrasts could not be any clearer. While Washington lobbyist Dan Coats will do even more to protect big banks and corporate interests, sheriff Brad Ellsworth is focused on holding Wall Street accountable, and the needs of the middle-class.

DSCC chairman Senator Robert Menendez has released a statement saying:

Congratulations to Lee Fisher on winning a hard-fought primary battle. Both Lee Fisher and Jennifer Brunner deserve credit for waging thoughtful, aggressive campaigns. We now begin a general election contest where the contrasts could not be any clearer. Lee Fisher is focused on creating jobs, holding Wall Street accountable, and stopping the excesses of oil and insurance companies. Rob Portman created the economic mess we are in, and will do even more to protect corporate interests like the big banks, oil companies, and insurance companies – all at the expense of Ohio’s middle-class. In November, Ohioans will face a choice between returning to the failed economic policies of the past with Rob Portman or continuing down a path of economic progress with Lee Fisher.

That last sentence includes the election mantra. We will here a lot of that over the next 5 months.
more here..

“The tea-baggers”

It’s going to be fun watching the wingnut outrage machine gets spun up over this (emphasis mine):

In Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” President Obama is quoted in an interview saying that the unanimous vote of House Republicans vote against the stimulus bills “set the tenor for the whole year … That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.”

What the wingnuts don’t realise is the louder they scream the more they help the Democrats get out the vote.

Calling all Taureans! Why, Chris, how lovely to see you. You look terrific. 🙂 Seems like Cat is out on the ran-tan, so your email sits in her cyber-cradle unclicked. Think the UK election is tomorrow so C&P a copy of it here in our Ed. Policy page(3rd item from top RHS column) and we’ll publish it as new thread.

Capital to see you also, Gouldie. 🙂

Paddy, JD Crowe’s was a corker of a toony orright. At first glance I though they were sea vultures. Trained scientists claim their habitat extends from the black lagoons of Oklahoma to the La Brea tar pits.


“Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?”


May 4: No matter what happens there will always be 25-30% of Americans who buy this kinda bullshit. Bad mugs, as we are well aware in this country, are beyond educating. There is a case to be made that the same could be said of Sep-side rubes. But hey, I’m no sociologist. I just like to watch. 🙂

May 5:

May 5:

Meanwhile, in the Sate of Ah-Nuld……


Arizona Justice: practical applications


We miss you, mommie. 🙂

Great article on Nick Clegg.
Trust me, I’m Nick Clegg: How the also-ran stole the show

Nick Clegg has one great advantage over his Tory rival: no one raises the question of his sincerity
Spend a few weeks following the leaders of the three main parties and you soon realise that – regardless of the results of tomorrow’s vote — a hierarchy has emerged in this campaign. When Gordon Brown turns up somewhere, he’s lucky if there’s more than a smattering of party faithful ready to greet him, perhaps two dozen souls holding the odd placard. That could be a function of his security arrangements, with details of his travel not released in advance, or it could be a commentary on his public standing. But the harsh truth is that a visit from Brown generates little hoopla.

Next up the pecking order comes David Cameron. There’s always a healthy number of people at his events, usually arranged photogenically – white men in suits nudged out of shot; those who are young, female, black or Asian ushered to the front – and reliably ready with a cheer. But the suspicion lingers that the crowd has not exactly gathered spontaneously, that it has been convened through diligent advance work.

And then there’s Nick Clegg. When he pops up, there can be up to 400 people waiting for him – even on a rainy morning in Lewisham, south London. Sure, that’s a tribute to the Liberal Democrats’ famous knack for pavement politics and, admittedly, the local party had a week to organise its people. But that doesn’t explain the large number standing in the cold who are neither party members nor even past Lib Dem voters. Nor does it explain the crowd of onlookers across the street, waiting for the speaker to arrive, nor the people in the flats overlooking the common who open their windows to see the show.

Judged by the unscientific measures of crowd size, enthusiasm and head-turning interest, Clegg is the undisputed star of this campaign. He managed to pack out a meeting hall in Redcar on a grey, chilly Sunday night – a feat for any politician and a serious achievement, in the ancestrally Labour north-east, for one not wearing a red rosette. It’s hardly a surprise that he all but stops the traffic in leafy Richmond, south-west London, a seat the Lib Dems already hold. But here he is at the centre of a giant scrum of press and public, as he tries to squeeze his way into a packed community centre in Labour-held Streatham.

I am still optimistic after reading this.
Much more here..

While looking I found this.

Latino Giant to Change U.S. Politics
By Froma Harrop

SAN ANTONIO — It was over frozen lattes three blocks from the Alamo that Lydia Camarillo and I discussed the wave of Latino voters expected to change politics in Texas — and America. Camarillo is vice president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, a group that signs up new Hispanic voters and spurs them to the polls.

Some Texans predict that the “Latino giant” won’t fully flex its political might until 2012. Some say 2014. Others see the tough immigration law in Arizona moving the impact to this year. All agree that when Latinos arrive at the polls in huge numbers, the results won’t please Republicans.
“I think they know that the day is coming,” Camarillo said. “That’s why they are coming up with obstructions, such as voter ID laws.”

And there’s not much Republicans can do about a surging Latino electorate in the short term. Even if they appeal to more Latino voters and Hispanic turnout stays weak, the raw numbers may overwhelm them.

As Rice University political analyst Bob Stein explains, over the past three decades, Latino support for Democrats in Texas has actually fallen from 75 percent to 60 percent. But as Democrats lost 15 percentage points, they almost doubled in the number of votes received because of the explosive growth in the Latino population.

“The Democrats can afford to lose a significant percentage of the vote and still gain on the base,” Stein said. “Elections are determined by how many votes you get.”

And the expansion of that base is extraordinary. Steve Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census and now a professor at Rice University, has the numbers.

In 1980, there were 3 million Hispanics in Texas. In 2008, the total nearly reached 9 million, and projections put it at almost 10 million this year.

“One national figure that sticks out is the change in the under-20 population,” Murdock told me. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of 20-and-under non-Hispanic whites fell by 2.6 million, while Latinos increased by 3.8 million.

“In many ways, the Texas of today is the U.S. of tomorrow,” he added.

Will events in Arizona raise Latino turnout this year? While many Hispanics oppose illegal immigration, this law is being perceived as singling out their kind, and Texas Republicans know it.

even more here…

Done EC. Cat mustn’t be watching us. Quick misbehave before cat checks in.

Spanish EU presidency faces fresh embarrassment over Latin America summit.

Most of the countries of South America, including Argentina and economic powerhouse Brazil, are to boycott the upcoming EU-Latin America summit in Madrid in May to protest the European Union’s invitation of the President of Honduras, who won his election on the back of a coup d’etat in June last year.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the region’s counterpart to the EU, the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, made the announcement on Tuesday (4 May).

“There is an unease shared by the majority, which will prevent many countries from Unasur attending this summit,” the left-wing leader said. “Why, because we feel that we know and we act as if nothing had happened in Honduras.”

Mr Correa spoke for all the countries of the continent apart from the right-wing governments of Colombia and Peru, the only two states in the region to recognise the election of Honduras’ Porfirio Lobo.

more here…

Merkel backs creation of European credit rating agency.

Senior European politicians including Germany’s Angela Merkel have indicated their support for the creation of a European credit rating agency.

And in a related move on Monday (3 May), the European Central Bank decided to loosen the terms under which it lends money to Greek banks, indicating that it will now accept Greek government bonds below ‘investment’ grade as collateral.
he pivotal role played by the world’s top three credit rating agencies, all of them US-based, has been highlighted in recent weeks, as incremental downgrades for Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland have helped fan a fire of market doubts, leading to higher borrowing costs for the weaker eurozone countries.

On the same day that her cabinet approved a €22.4 billion loan for Greece, Ms Merkel said there was a clear case to be made for a European ratings agency.

more here…

Gen. Paul Eaton: John McCain and Pete King Putting American Lives at Risk.
By: Phoenix Woman Wednesday May 5, 2010 6:00 am

In contrast to the persistent GOP/Media Complex spin that the military thinks the Constitution is un-American and should be discarded, here we have a very prominent retired general, Paul Eaton, standing with our Founding Fathers to defend it and all Americans against the politically-motivated attacks of Republicans John McCain and Pete King:

“I don’t understand how a Senator or a Congressman can challenge the Mirandizing procedure,” Eaton, who is also a senior adviser at the Dem-leaning National Security Network, told me. “The laws are clear. Rep. King and Senator McCain have advocated a position that could cost us this case.”

Thanks to Greg Sargent of The Plum Line for contacting Gen. Eaton to get his views on Senator McCain’s and Representative King’s remarks.

Very damaging stuff for the Republicans. The old law and order issue coming to the front and not from the party you would expect to push it.

Cheech Marin has quit pot, found god and now takes his humour, “graveyard”. All Padre Cheech wanted was a life of prayer and good works. Fat chance. He just can’t quit The Game. Spritual Manana-Land will have to wait. An encounter with an old amigo gets Cheech seething about earthly injustices. By a cruel twist of fate, Zorro and The Cisco Kid are unavailable for anger management counselling.
In a tour-de-force of onscreen magnetism Lindsay Lohan, who is off the stuff too, delivers the most cerebral performance of her turbulent career.

The film is touchingly dedicated by a Mexican “businessman” to the great State of Arizona.
Will the honour of American Aparteid be vindicated or……
“did they just fuck with the WRONG MEXICAN?”



Unfortunately, I do not have much information to impart. The only word that I am getting is that the election is more likely to be held some time in October, which would mean that I would not win the betting pool. Not much help, I am afraid.

The NBN report is being released today in Australia. Rumour has it that the cost will be half of the $43 billion budgeted. The question of whether it will pay for itself without Telstra on board remains to be seen. I hope so. That will force them in.

October the 16th is the day I’ve heard people are predicting for the Federal election.

I blogged Antony Green who said “the elction will happen when it does…” 🙄

There is an array of unknown unknowns they have to take into account for this election. The answer is unknown.

And just to surpise the pants off you all- it appears that the oil spill may have been the result of years of Bush and Cheyney playing doctors with the oil companies.
There is no end to the depth of disastor these fuckers have caused.
(And now the mining companies here are jumping into bed with Tony to bully us all into letting them rip the guts out of our country and keep the money in their own pockets.) *biting tongue*

There’s a good piece in today’s Financial Review about the resource super profits tax by John Freebairn whose an economist with Melbourne Uni. He explains how the tax works, and notes that even after the application of a 40% RSPT, the mines

continue to receive more than 40% of the return over and above the opportunity cost of the funds in alternative investments in the economy. The RSPT could be much higher, close to 100%, without deterring the investment.

This is because the 40% tax will be calculated after a deduction for a normal rate of return on debt plus equity capital.

Corporate Scum Responds To Legal Dispersant:

In 2000, British Petroleum rebranded itself as BP, adopting a flowery green-and-yellow logo, and began besieging the U.S. public with an advertising campaign claiming it was moving “beyond petroleum.” BP’s aggressive growth, outrageous profit and track record of petroleum-related disasters paint a much different picture, however. In 2005, BP’s Texas City refinery exploded, killing 15 people and injuring 170. In 2006, a BP pipeline in Alaska leaked 200,000 gallons of crude oil, causing what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “the largest spill that ever occurred on the [Alaskan] North Slope.” BP was fined $60 million for the two disasters. Then, in 2009, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined BP an additional $87 million for the refinery blast. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said: “BP has allowed hundreds of potential hazards to continue unabated. … Workplace safety is more than a slogan. It’s the law.” BP responded by formally contesting all of OSHA’s charges.

Makes sense to me David. The vehemence comes from self hatred and shame.

Some excellent news on NBN.

Consumers: the biggest winners of NBN

Consumers will be the biggest winners of the Federal Government’s proposed roll-out of the National Broadband Network, possibly paying between $50 and $60 a month for a combined fast internet and voice product.

* Cost to consumer about $50-$60 a month
* Speed between 25 and 100 megabits
* Fibre optic coverage for up to 93% of the population

The Rudd government’s NBN plans got a push along today with the release of a $25 million implementation study that answers many of the reservations previously aired by analysts and industry experts.

The McKinsey and KPMG report recommended the fibre network and its parent company, the NBN Co, be implemented as a public utility instead of a commercial concern. This would see it stay in public hands for eight years after its completion, which is expected to take seven years. It could then be sold for an estimated $40 billion, the study said.

Independent telco analyst Paul Budde said this is the overriding good news of the plan.

“Fifteen years and 6 to 7 per cent return on investment is perfectly aligned with other utilities. It will mean it will cost $30 to $35 to the wholesalers and $50 or $60 to retail for broadband and voice. That is a positive thing,” Budde said.

Some excellent news on NBN.

Consumers: the biggest winners of NBN

Consumers will be the biggest winners of the Federal Government’s proposed roll-out of the National Broadband Network, possibly paying between $50 and $60 a month for a combined fast internet and voice product.

* Cost to consumer about $50-$60 a month
* Speed between 25 and 100 megabits
* Fibre optic coverage for up to 93% of the population

The Rudd government’s NBN plans got a push along today with the release of a $25 million implementation study that answers many of the reservations previously aired by analysts and industry experts.

The McKinsey and KPMG report recommended the fibre network and its parent company, the NBN Co, be implemented as a public utility instead of a commercial concern. This would see it stay in public hands for eight years after its completion, which is expected to take seven years. It could then be sold for an estimated $40 billion, the study said.

Independent telco analyst Paul Budde said this is the overriding good news of the plan.

“Fifteen years and 6 to 7 per cent return on investment is perfectly aligned with other utilities. It will mean it will cost $30 to $35 to the wholesalers and $50 or $60 to retail for broadband and voice. That is a positive thing,” Budde said.

P.S. Please disregard the copy of this post sitting in moderation. I spelt my email address wrong. D’oh!

If any of us had any doubt remaining over whose interests the media in this country serves, then the hysteria of the last few days over the resource tax should have cleared that up nicely. I wonder if Kev will have the minerals to start a new state-owned enterprise to provide a little friendly competition to the mining chooks.

Hussy –
I thnk the best approach is to treat the mining companys’ (and Abbott’s) scare mongering with the contempt it deserves.
They are not going anywhere, and hopefully most people will see this for what it is – throwing a tantrum that makes them look like petulant brats.
If Rudd backs down on this he really will prove that he is completely spineless.

I’d have to agree Hussy on the resource tax.
Also, the stunning hypocrisy of every media outlet and their dog over the BER, has also been quite a shit storm and it ain’t over yet.
Speaking of dogs………
Firstdog has his usual bite at our favourite ranga. :mrgreen:

Plus, David Llewellyn-Smith over on Business Spectator is in good form, as he sums up the commentariat on the resources rent tax..

GetUp is running a campaign to ring your local ALP member re: climate change.

I just called to lodge my protest and also note my objection to the internet filter.

Apparently a lot of callers today.

That’s a definite sighting. Glad she’s still alive and kicking. 😆

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