Rep. Weiner: "A co-op plan won't do it." Chris Matthews to Rep. Weiner: "You're an honest man, you're scaring everyone on the right." ;Source Anthony Weiner represents NY's ninth district.
For 20 years, I defended what some might call "death panels," operated by the health insurance industry, which denied health care coverage to people who needed it.
As head of corporate communications for one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, I had to find new and creative ways to defend an industry with a profit incentive to deny, drop or delay health care coverage. I was very good at creating language -- what my friends at the Courage Campaign call "insurance jive" -- that justified the harm we were causing to families across the nation.
I spoke "insurance jive" as well as I could. Then, one day in 2007, I saw hundreds of Americans waiting in the rain for hours in Virginia to get free medical care they otherwise could not afford. My conscience told me I had to stop. So I quit my job and began to speak out for real health care reform.
My experience in the insurance industry taught me that the only way we will stop the insurance companies from denying coverage to sick and dying Americans is to keep them honest with a strong public health insurance option. If more Americans have the option to receive health insurance from the government -- like Medicare -- competitive pressure on the private insurers will force them to clean up their act. ...
The health insurance industry is spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress to kill the public option. They know that a strong public option will force insurers to cut costs and ensure that patients get the health care they need. Only competition from public insurance can keep the private insurers honest.
The Obama Administration has been sending mixed signals on the public option in recent days. But progressive organizations and blogs including ProgressiveCongress.org, Democracy for America, CREDO Mobile, MoveOn.org and Firedoglake -- and netroots activists including Californians David and Dante Atkins and Howie Klein -- are leading the fight to save the public option.
This growing movement is keeping the public option alive. By making sure our representatives oppose any bill without a strong public option, we can increase pressure on the White House to continue to fight for the public option as well.
The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against a local school district, alleging that they failed to protect a gay student from physical and verbal harassment.
The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against the Mohawk Central School District in Herkimer County for failing to protect a gay student who does not conform to masculine stereotypes from vicious and relentless harassment, physical abuse and threats of violence. Over the past two school years, Jacob, a 14-year-old student at Gregory B. Jarvis Junior/Senior High School, endured escalating harassment for his sexual orientation and for not conforming to masculine stereotypes. He suffered near-constant verbal assault, his personal property has been defaced and broken, and he was regularly pushed and had things thrown at him. This past year, a student knocked Jacob down the stairs and sprained his ankle and a student brought a knife to school and threatened to kill him.According to the NYCLU, the school district was repeatedly made aware of the abuse and did nothing to discipline Jacob's tormentors. In June, Jacob's principal told his parents that he could not guarantee Jacob's safety at the school and that the abuse would likely continue in the coming term. He is not presently attending classes.
A fundraiser launched by progressive bloggers as part of an increasingly aggressive response to White House backsliding on health care reform has out-raised any such effort in the past.
Donations in support of Democrats who back a public insurance option as part of health care reform have topped $100,000 from more than 1,500 donors in 24 hours and counting.
The most successful effort to date had been organized around the online community's opposition to retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that collaborated with the Bush administration to spy on Americans. The issue galvanized liberals, but community only raised about $350,000 over the course of a month, said Howie Klein, Blue America PAC's founder and treasurer.
"I've never seen anything like this before," said Klein. "This is the biggest one."
The effort is being driven by FireDogLake.com and backed by blogs across the country. It was launched in reaction to the White House signaling over the weekend that it was backing off the public option as key to health care reform. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that a public option was "not essential"; Obama himself called it a "sliver" of the total reform effort; spokesman Bill Burton, on Tuesday, called it "just a piece" of the overhaul.
As recently as July, Obama pledged in a weekly address that "any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange -- a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, costs and track records of a variety of plans, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest, and choose what's best for your family."
The benefit to individual members goes beyond the dollar amount. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), for instance, had a grand total of one ActBlue donor since the site launched in 2004. (Somebody gave him $25 in November 2006.) While he raised roughly $1,100 over the first 24 hours, it came from 460 donors -- meaning he now has 459 more progressive e-mails he can add to his fundraising network and hit up for contributions in the future.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) hadn't gotten a single donation through Blue America. She's now been on the receiving end of 461 gifts, averaging just under three bucks each.
Ryan Grim is the author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in AmericaSource
In a new August 17, 2009 Maddow Show segment, Rachel Maddow and Jeff Sharlet discuss, among many new revelations, the disturbing fact that the "Christian Embassy" scandal, propelled by a complaint to the Department of Defense from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, was investigated by a Pentagon Inspector General who is in fact a Family member.
The Family, also known as "The Fellowship", is a secretive fundamentalist Washington DC ministry which runs the National Prayer Breakfast and Bible study groups attended by numerous US Senators and Congress members, wields global influence, and celebrates the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao.( Collapse )