Election May Decide Medicaid’s Future

Nina Bernstein | The New York Times | Readers Supported News | September 7, 2012

Medicaid has long conjured up images of inner-city clinics jammed with poor families. Its far less-visible role is as the only safety net for millions of middle-class people whose needs for long-term care, at home or in a nursing home, outlast their resources.

With baby boomers and their parents living longer than ever, few families can count on their own money to go the distance. So while Medicare has drawn more attention in the election campaign, seniors and their families may have even more at stake in the future of Medicaid changes  –  those proposed, and others already under way.

Though former President Bill Clinton overstated in his convention speech on Wednesday how much Medicaid spends on the elderly in nursing homes –  they account for well under a third, not nearly two-thirds, of spending  –  Medicaid spends more than five times as much on each senior in long-term care as it does on each poor child, and even more per person on the disabled in long-term care.

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Bain and Mitt Romney: What’s Fact and What’s Opinion

Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone | Reader Supported News | September 7, 2012

A few people wrote to me this morning asking me about Dan Primack’s critique of my Romney piece (“Greed and Debt,” August 29) on CNN.com. His article (“Greed, Debt, and Matt Taibbi“) purports to provide a list of factual inaccuracies, but like a lot of these pieces that pore through long features in search of mistakes, the resultant list ends up mainly being a discussion of non-factual issues where Primack and I simply disagree.

For example, take this passage, where Primack quotes me and then critiques:

“Now your troubled firm – let’s say you make tricycles in Alabama – has been taken over by a bunch of slick Wall Street dudes who kicked in as little as five percent as a down payment.”
While perhaps there have been certain leveraged buyouts that involve just 5% equity, the typical contribution is significantly higher. For example, S&P Leveraged Commentary & Data reports that average LBO equity contributions since 1997 have come in between 28% and 45%. Still a debt game, but not quite so severe.

This is exactly why I used the term “as little as” five percent. I referenced two Bain deals where the company put down such obscenely small amounts of cash to take over companies: the Ampad deal where they put down $5 million to take over a company that was eventually forced to take on over $448 million in debt, and the KB deal where Bain put down $18 million and financed the remaining $302 million (meaning Bain put down more or less exactly five percent on the deal). I then noted, in the piece, that most LBO deals are 60-90% financed, which is not quite exactly but very nearly exactly what Primack says (his numbers are  65%-72% financed), except that he got his data from the S&P Leveraged Commentary & Data, while I got mine from the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

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Obama’s Task: Keep the Race a Choice

Ken Thomas | Associated Press | EDGE Boston | September 7, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Barack Obama’s fall mission: Remind voters why they chose him in the first place, hope the economy doesn’t get worse – and paint Mitt Romney as an unacceptable alternative.

“On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America,” the Democrat said as he accepted his party’s nomination.

His re-election is far from certain and his task is far from easy, despite the built-in advantages of incumbency.

In a sharp reminder of that, his administration was releasing its August jobs report early Friday, offering the latest snapshot on whether the country’s 8.3 percent unemployment rate was improving. No president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has been re-elected with a jobless rate higher than 8 percent.

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Thompson campaign official emails video of Baldwin at gay pride event

Patrick Marley and Jason Stein | Journal Sentinel | September 6, 2012

The political director for the U.S. Senate campaign of former Gov. Tommy Thompson highlighted his opponent’s participation in a gay pride event and criticized her ability to discuss “heartland values.”

Thompson, a Republican, is running against U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who if elected would become the nation’s first openly gay senator.

Thompson’s political director, Brian Nemoir, sent an email and posted a Twitter message about Baldwin dancing at the gay pride festival in advance of Baldwin giving a prime time speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Baldwin has said that speech will focus on “heartland values.”

“Clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy,” Nemoir wrote in his email, which was obtained by WisPolitics.com.

The email included a link to a video of Baldwin dancing in 2010 on Library Mall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus with the costumed disco band VO5 playing the “Wonder Woman” theme. Baldwin, wearing sunglasses, dances on stage with the band and at the end hugs a dancer who is dressed like the comic book hero Wonder Woman.

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FL: Tampa Considers Extending Domestic Partner Protections to Those Registered Elsewhere

Watermark | South Florida Gay Lesbian News | September 7, 2012

The City of Tampa was the first on Florida’s west coast to offer  unmarried partners the opportunity to register as domestic partners,  opening a floodgate of copycat ordinances around the region. Now, the  city is considering taking those protections one step further.

On  Sept. 4, the Tampa City Council asked its legal department to research  options for offering equal protections to couples with domestic  partnerships registered in other cities and counties.
“We want to give the broadest possible protection we can,” Councilman Harry Cohen said.
In  short, the council wants to find a way to recognize a partnership  registered in, say Orlando, if that couple were to encounter an  emergency in Tampa. It could also help lure new residents to the city,  especially if a couple is registered in another area and don’t want to  pay a fee to register again.

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Gay US Congressman Barney Frank slams gay Republicans

Greg Hernandez | Gay Star News | September 6, 2012

Barney Frank, the first openly gay US congressman in history, has some harsh words for gay people who belong to the group Log Cabin Republicans.

‘I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: their role model is Uncle Tom,’ the famous liberal says in an interview at the Democratic National Convention where he will speak tonight (6 September).

‘Frankly I’ve been appalled to see the Log Cabin club, in the face of this worse and worse record on public policy by Republicans on our issues,’ Frank tells of The Huffington Post.

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“President Romney” — Why Those Two Words Should Scare You into Action This Election

AlterNet | Michael Moore | September 7, 2012

In two months we Americans will go to the polls once again to decide who the president will be for the next four years. We will not be allowed to vote on those who wield the true power in this country. On November 6th we will not vote for the chairman of ExxonMobil or JPMorgan Chase or Citibank or the Premier of China. That day will come, but not this year.

Now, I know there are a goodly number of you out there who believe there’s not a snowball’s chance in Kenya that Barack Obama will not be re-elected to the White House. And why would you believe otherwise? After the incredible Democratic convention this week, with the best rock-em-sock-em speeches I’ve heard from a Democrat’s mouth since … since, I don’t know when. You can’t help but not have a contact high after this past week if you are of the sort who believes in economic justice, peace, and a five-dollar latte. Right now, with the buzz on, you are sitting there thinking that your fellow Americans will turn out in massive numbers, either because they want to continue the Obama era or because they’re scared shitless of the barbarians at the gate – or both. You’re convinced that the Republicans have blown it with all their talk of the lady parts they want to control even though we now know that they have no idea where those parts are, what they are, or how they work.

Yes, it certainly looks like the voters will reject this obscenely wealthy man called Romney — Romney of Michigan/Massachusetts/New Hampshire/ Utah/Zurich/Grand Cayman — this man who will not explain exactly how all his wealth was obtained, where he keeps it, or how much taxes he pays on it. He wants to turn the clock back to the ’50s – the 1850s – and he refuses to offer any specific plan about what he’ll do about anything. He wants to run the country like a corporation but he can’t even control one 82-year-old actor on his own convention stage, a Hollywood legend who, in the matter of ten and a half minutes went from Good (walking onto the stage) to Bad (talking to a chair) and then to Ugly (the chair started … swearing?). It was better than the best cat-flushing-the-toilet video on YouTube and it was a gift to all of us who know that Romney is doomed come November.

Or is he?

Last week, I said on the  HuffPost Live webcast that we had all better start practicing how to say “President Romney” because, living in Michigan, I can tell you that there’s trouble here on the two peninsulas and it’s not just because Romney is a native son or that we like to watch kids from Cranbrook chase down gay kids and chop their hair off. One recent poll here showed Romney leading Obama by four points! How can that be? Didn’t Obama save Detroit?

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