Ted Cruz, Who Said Uninsured Should Just Get Health Care From ERs, Backs Group That Wants ERs To Turn Away Uninsured People
(Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)
The latest from Right Wing Watch. Like you're surprised?
The latest from Right Wing Watch. Like you're surprised?
Joe Jervis writes:
Beautiful, the Broadway musical that tells Carole King's life story through her songs, has been running for months to record crowds and rave reviews. King had famously declined to see the show, telling Playbill in December after walking out of a reading, "I can't watch my life played out before me." She changed her mind on Thursday, choosing to attend the show during the week that Broadway casts issue curtain call pleas for donations to Equity Fights AIDS.
Lovely. Especially nice for those of us who were in our teens during her peak years.
Charles Gaba at ACAsignups.net provides an informed response to anti-healthcare trolls who, being committed to declaring the Affordable Care Act an utter failure no matter what, have taken to saying, "But how many of them have PAID???" By this they are suggesting to dispute the figure of 7 million enrollees is inflated. Click on the above link to Gaba's blog entry for a thorough refutation of that right-wing talking point.
(Hat tip: Markos Moulitsas on Mark Thompson's "Make It Plain" show on Sirius/XM Radio, yesterday evening.)
The senator's wacky dad has an odd way of showing his love for gay people.
Setting aside the fact that sexual orientation is not a choice (just ask homophobes when they chose to be straight), the notion that something chosen cannot be a civil right is awfully strange coming from people who make a lot of noise about their chosen religion.
News coming out of the White House today shows that a technique supported by the National Institute of Health using genetic modification of cells has proven a safe way to treat and control HIV without drugs.
Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments:
One of several very exciting new studies demonstrating the importance of the investment in basic research and HIV specific research. The NIH is an amazing institution and the breakthroughs in scientific understanding coming from hard, deliberate work over a number of years is deeply gratifying.
Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday mentioned the D.C. Council's action to decriminalize mj possession. (He also mentioned the bill last fall.) Oh, what we have to do to get attention!
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement:
In a country where many states are permitting medical marijuana, or have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, I do not expect Members of Congress to interfere with D.C.’s local right to pass its own law on marijuana decriminalization. If Members try to interfere, however, I will stoutly defend D.C.’s right to pass such legislation, just as 17 states have already done.
From Box Turtle Bulletin:
Mattachine Society of Washington DC Declares Homosexuality Not A Mental Illness: 1965. We often think of Stonewall and 1969 as marking the of the more assertive gay rights movement, shoving aside the prior generation’s timidity and accommodation. But as I’ve written before, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you really wanted to point to a pivotal year which truly marked the beginning of the beginning of a self-confident and assertive stance on gay rights, that year would be 1965, not 1969. That year, began with a San Francisco police raid on a New Years’ Day party (see Jan 1). The community’s reaction resulted in the appointment of the first ever police liaison to the gay community and forever changed that city’s politics. Then later that month, The Washington Post, published a five part series which was the first relatively judgment-free, balanced, mostly accurate and sympathetic portrayal of gay people in a major newspaper (see Jan 31).
On March 4, 1965 marked another momentous occasion when Frank Kameny shepherded this resolution through the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.:
“The Mattachine Society of Washington takes the position that in the absence of valid evidence to the contrary, homosexuality is not a sickness, disturbance, or other pathology in any sense, but is merely a preference, orientation, or propensity on par with, and not different in kind from, heterosexuality.”
LGBT activists in D.C. won a major victory Thursday morning in the area of transgender health care. From Mayor Gray's office:
Today, the District of Columbia advanced the rights of the city’s transgender community by prohibiting discrimination in health insurance based on gender identity and expression. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) is issuing a bulletin to District health insurance companies addressing the application of anti-discrimination provisions in the insurance code, including recognizing gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder, as a recognized medical condition....
This action follows DISB’s March 15, 2013 bulletin notifying health insurers to remove language that discriminated on the basis of gender identity and expression from their policies and permit those with gender dysphoria to obtain medically necessary benefits. Today’s action goes one step further in protecting this community’s health insurance rights by affirming that gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition and thereby treatment, including gender reassignment surgeries, is a covered benefit....
Moreover, individuals with gender dysphoria are entitled to receive any medically necessary benefits and services under individual and group health insurance policies covering medical and hospital expenses. In determining the medical necessity of services and benefits provided to individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria, insurance providers must refer to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care, known as WPATH, the recognized standard of medical care for transgender individuals requiring treatment for gender dysphoria. These benefits are not newly mandated, but rather clarify District law to assure that individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria are afforded the same benefits under health insurance policies as individuals seeking medically necessary treatment for non-gender identity or expression-related conditions.
With this executive action, a major unfinished piece of the LGBT equality agenda in D.C. is won. Thanks to all who helped make this possible, including our fellow advocates (especially the fabulous Andy Bowen) and Vince Gray for his leadership. There is no mayor or governor in America with a stronger record on behalf of transgender citizens. Today he earned his championship point all over again.
My latest column surveys last week's events, from the Sochi Olympics to anti-gay persecution in Nigeria and Uganda, to America's anti-gay right. It was enough to make a person's head spin.
Back slowly away.
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)
Dale Carpenter at the Volokh Conspiracy discusses yesterday's decision by the Ninth Circuit standing by its decision of last year rejecting the First Amendment defense of conversion therapy on minors.
I note that Carpenter and Eugene Volokh are among the libertarian supporters of marriage equality who have submitted amicus briefs defending the Alliance Defending Freedom in its defense of anti-gay photographers, florists, and others in their claim of a religious right to discriminate. Their attempt to thread the needle is seriously off-track, in my view, as its logic would unravel the Civil Rights Act. But Dale does see a distinction between what he sees as religious freedom in the wedding-related businesses case and the medical care in this one.
This is of local interest in D.C. because we and our allies are attempting to pass Bill 20-501, the Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2013.
Mike Huckabee caused quite a furor with his reality-challenged rant against birth control the other day:
If the Democrats want to insult women by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take this discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.
My favorite comment was by Lizz Winstead:
Where on the doll did Uncle Sugar touch you?— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) January 24, 2014
The Raw Story reports. After five years of racial dog whistles against Obama, they persist in saying no, the racial appeals are all coming from the President.
Another example of how much of our current politics is not about honest disagreement, but about reflexive opposition and lies. GOP opposition to the Affordable Care Act cannot be policy-based, because it was conceived by the Heritage Foundation and pioneered by Obama's 2012 Republican opponent. Democrats wanted a more liberal program, and settled for the current program as a compromise. Republicans have done all they can to sabotage their own plan while brazenly blaming any problems on Obama. They do the same with the economy. They are morally treasonous.
First lady Michelle Obama makes a video on healthy eating with members of the Miami Heat. If this doesn't make you smile, check yourself for a pulse. This is just delightful.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., today launches its 2014 Election Project and releases its questionnaires for Mayoral and D.C. Council candidates plus its LGBT policy brief, "Building on Victory."
GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "GLAA gathered input from a wide range of local LGBT advocates including the DC Center, DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) and others. The result is 'Building on Victory,' the most comprehensive single document advancing LGBT issues in D.C."
On January 3, 2014, GLAA will email its questionnaires and policy brief to candidates in the April 1 D.C. primary election. The deadline for receipt of candidate responses is February 6, after which GLAA will assign ratings to the primary candidates (on a scale of -10 to +10) based on their questionnaire responses and their records on LGBT issues. GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan elections.
David Edwards at The Raw Story reports that Bill O'Reilly at Fox News is now channeling Jesus. He (O'Reilly, not Christ) criticizes Democrats and even Pope Francis for advocating public resources to help the poor, because, he says, the poor have only themselves to blame.
When an on-air personality like O'Reilly establishes a long record of reckless disregard for the evidence, and becomes distorted by his own sense of self-importance, his assertions stop being merely disagreeable and become lies. He is justifying harsh public policy positions with distortions of the facts and a ludicrous travesty of the Gospel.
Think of a hungry child, and ask yourself is this is just about some media blowhard being a jerk. No. This is depraved indifference to human suffering. It is hard to think of anything more contemptible. But it is the policy of the Republican Party. As Salon reports, evidence shows that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program actually increases self-sufficiency.
President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius deliver remarks in observance of World AIDS Day 2013. AP reports:
President Barack Obama announced a new initiative at the National Institutes of Health in pursuit of a cure for HIV, saying his administration is redirecting $100 million into the project to find a new generation of therapies....
Obama pledged that the U.S. would contribute up to $5 billion over the next three years to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — as long as other countries do their part and contribute $10 billion. The U.S. matches contributions to the Geneva-based Global Fund on a 1-to-2 funding ratio set by Congress....
Also Monday, billionaire Bill Gates said he planned to nearly double his foundation's contribution to this next round of the Global Fund, to $500 million. Gates had already pledged $300 million, but told a small group of reporters at the National Institutes of Health that he would match an additional $200 million from private sources in an effort to draw in new donors.
Our left-coast friend Michael Petrelis has been looking at the IRS 990 forms of AIDS-related organizations as always, and reports:
The 2012 filing for Food and Friends shows that executive director Craig Shniderman, pictured, was compensated $430,000 for his services and the revenue was pegged at $7.9 million. As far as I can determine, after looking at the 990s for other AIDS service and research organizations, Shniderman's compensation makes him the highest paid AIDS executive director in America.
Compare his $430,000 pay with what Kevin Frost the executive director at AmFAR, the AIDS research nonprofit, is compensated. For the same time period, Frost received $415,000 and AmFAR's revenue was $27.1 million, according to their latest 990 on their site.
Petrelis praises Food and Friends for its transparency in posting seven years of 990s on its site, but he still criticizes the level of compensation as excessive. The group's board secretary, Mike Bento, responded by saying of Shniderman, "He’s a highly paid executive. He's also a very high performing executive."
Follow the link above and you be the judge. Does it really make sense for Shniderman to make more than Kevin Frost at AmFAR? There is a continuing difference in philosophy here between Petrelis and what he calls AIDS Inc. As Bento suggests, Shniderman's board thinks he has earned his generous compensation. Petrelis thinks donors should be aware of how much of the organization's funds goes to its leader's compensation. I think that professionalizing the response to AIDS was and remains crucial to the progress that has been made. But my goodness, $430K seems awfully high.
Pope Francis this weekend honored the 16-year-old science prodigy who developed a cost-effective method to detect pancreatic cancer.
Jack Andraka has received several awards for his breakthrough cancer research, but he says, as a gay scientist, the honor from the Vatican feels uniquely rewarding....
Andraka received the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award, which is given to young adults whom the Vatican considers to be positive role models.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be observed in D.C. in a service on Wednesday, November 20 at the Metropolitan Community Church at 474 Ridge Street, NW, from 6-9 pm. For more info, call 202-638-7373.
Also, Casa Ruby will host a Transgender Day of Action on Friday, November 22 from 6-9 pm at The Next Step Charter School, 3047 15th St. NW. For more info, email [email protected].
Metro Weekly writes about the 2013 TDOR:
Transgender activist Earline Budd, one of the chief organizers of the event, says several musical groups, including the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington's a cappella group Potomac Fever, gospel singer Shirley Hughes and Company, and the AGAPE choir of Unity Fellowship Church, will participate in the three-hour service.
Organizers have also confirmed that Mayor Vincent Gray (D) and D.C. Fire Chief Ken Ellerbe will also attend, as will Alvin Bethea and Judean Jones, the parents of Deoni Jones, a young transgender woman killed while waiting at a Northeast D.C. bus stop in February 2012. The service will make special mention of the JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act, which was signed into law by Gray, and will honor the D.C. Council and advocates who helped to pass the law providing residents more control over their official documents with regard to gender identity.
The TDOR website states:
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn't perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who've died by anti-transgender violence.
I note that the above-referenced birth certificate equality law has taken effect after completing its congressional review period. So there will be something to celebrate this year, in addition to mourning those we have lost due to senseless hate and violence, and committing to continuing the struggle for justice and a city that values all its people.
At the end of the Nov. 6 general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis drew attention by warmly embracing a man who suffers from a rare disease causing neuronal tumors all over his body.
The man was identified as suffering from neurofibromatosis, which causes great pain and can result in impaired vision, learning impairment, and even cancer, according to non-profit research group Mayo Clinic. Treatment of the condition is very complicated.
People with this disease – which is genetic and not contagious – often face discrimination because of their appearance.
As he carried out his typical greeting of pilgrims at the conclusion of the general audience, Pope Francis paused for several minutes to receive the sick man in his arms.
Moments later, he took the man’s face in his hands, kissed him, and gave him a blessing.
"Only connect," E.M. Forster wrote in Howards End. Boy does this pope connect.
Laura Bassett reports at HuffPo:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the United States unless the woman is a victim of rape or incest or her life is in danger.
Graham said that while reproductive rights advocates claim the bill will have a negative effect on women's health, he thinks it would only result in more people being alive.
"Nothing bad is going to happen," Graham said. "Good things will happen. Babies will be born that wouldn't have made it otherwise, and only God knows who they will grow up to be."
Thanks to Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) for her firm statement shown above.
I realize that what I am about to say is not an argument. But as I lay here before dawn checking my Twitter feed, I found this story. And Lindsay Graham is just an unscrupulous little overcompensating turd.
(Photo of Lindsay Graham by Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
The Blade reports on Councilmember Mary Cheh's bill against "conversion therapy" junk medicine that harms sexual minority youth:
D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) has introduced a bill calling for banning mental health practitioners licensed by the city from performing so-called “ex-gay” or “conversion” therapy on juveniles.
The Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2013, which Cheh introduced on Oct. 1, would prohibit licensed providers from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts with an individual who is under the age of 18.”
The bill says a violation of the prohibition “shall be considered unacceptable conduct within the mental health profession and shall subject a provider to discipline and penalties set forth” in existing city laws regulating the mental health profession.
Most of the nation’s leading mental health advocacy and professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association, have said conversion therapy doesn’t result in changing someone’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. Experts associated with those groups have said conversion therapy often leads to harmful psychological effects, including depression.
GLAA supports this bill in coalition with other groups, local and national. The working group will collaborate with Councilmember Cheh and her staff, as well as Councilmember Yvette Alexander's Committee on Health, to ensure that an optimal bill is passed.
Think Progress reports a bit of good news.
Addicting Info shares this video of Pat Robertson being a heartless, ignorant jackass. (Not the heaviest of lifting, but we appreciate their efforts nonetheless.)Dear Pat, I respectfully, and with the abiding love of our lord and savior etc. etc., submit two options for your consideration:
(Hat tip: Steven Publicover)
White House officials have promised to bring in 'the best and brightest,' which is encouraging unless you are old enough to remember that 'the best and the brightest' was what they called the guys who gave us the war in Vietnam.
Yes, I am old enough to remember that.
(Photo of Gail Collins by Earl Wilson/The New York Times)
On October 21, Councilmember Yvette M. Alexander, Chairperson of the Committee on Health, held a public oversight roundtable on the state of the District of Columbia Medical Marijuana program. Former GLAA president Bob Summersgill submitted the following comments for the record:
October 21, 2013
Mr. Ronald King
Senior Policy Advisor
Committee on Health
Council of the District of Columbia
Chairperson Yvette M. Alexander
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
Thank you for the opportunity to testify for the record. I recommend that you eliminate the list of qualifying medical conditions in both the Code and the regulations. Leave the determination of whether or not a patient will benefit from medical marijuana to their physician.
The list of qualifying medical condition defined in Regulations 22-C9900 and in the D.C. Code § 7-1671.01.17 has failed to keep up with evolving medical treatments and research.
(17) "Qualifying medical condition" means:
(A) Human immunodeficiency virus;
(B) Acquired immune deficiency syndrome;
(D) Conditions characterized by severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis;
(E) Cancer; or
(F) Any other condition, as determined by rulemaking, that is:
(i) Chronic or long-lasting;
(ii) Debilitating or interferes with the basic functions of life; and
(iii) A serious medical condition for which the use of medical marijuana is beneficial:
(I) That cannot be effectively treated by any ordinary medical or surgical measure; or
(II) For which there is scientific evidence that the use of medical marijuana is likely to be significantly less addictive than the ordinary medical treatment for that condition.
Human immunodeficiency virus, or in current jargon, HIV disease does not seem to benefit from marijuana. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), or late stage HIV disease is generally not helped by marijuana. Wasting disease, or cachexia, which is associated with late stage HIV disease, is aided by marijuana.
Glaucoma is not helped by marijuana. High pressure in the eyeball is significantly decreased by marijuana, but it spikes, and wears off with the drug. What is needed is a long-term and steady reduction in eye pressure.
You may want to refer to the Institute of Medicine’s report Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base (1999) http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6376. For full disclosure, I work for the same organization as the Institute of Medicine (IOM), The National Academies, but in an unrelated unit and I was not involved in developing the report in any way.
Although the report is considered the best compilation on medical marijuana available, it is dated, now 14 years old. Medical research has advanced considerably since the IOM report, and it will continue to advance.
Policymakers are not able to keep up with the changes in medical developments and research, nor should policymakers be expected to be experts on medical treatments. However, medical doctors are expected to be those experts. Doctors remain current on the efficacy and safety of medical marijuana and their judgment should not be constrained by laws and regulations that are quickly out of date.
I strongly recommend that you eliminate the qualifying medical conditions in both the law and the regulations. Let doctors determine whether or not their patient will benefit from medical marijuana.
Commissioner Bob Summersgill
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3F07
3701 Connecticut Avenue, NW #139
Washington, DC 20008
My latest column asks the question: If a full moon makes people crazy, what's their excuse the rest of the month?
Here's a passage added after press time:
Meanwhile, Republicans are suddenly concerned about the people who are having trouble signing up for the health care insurance the GOP spent the past four years doing their best to prevent. As Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) says, "Republicans are looking for problems to exploit, we Democrats are looking for problems to fix." Martin Bashir on MSNBC asked Democratic strategist Bob Shrum on October 23 if the GOP's efforts to discourage young people from signing up for health insurance (in order to imbalance Obamacare toward the older and sicker) is their most pernicious tactic of all. Please, let's not hurt the tactics' feelings. All of the Republican tactics are equally pernicious to me, the little dears.
During President Obama's speech on ACA on Monday, a woman standing behind him became faint. He helped prevent her from falling. Naturally, some on the right insist it was staged.
The clusterfuck that is the rollout of the HealthCare.gov website provides grist for Jon Stewart. The government does not have a great record of developing large-scale software applications. In this case, it was not designed to handle nearly the level of traffic it has received. It was not properly volume-tested or integration-tested. The customer kept asking for changes during the system development, which is a fine way to sabotage a system inadvertently. There were numerous contractors involved, yet apparently no one oversaw it all.
It is hard to imagine how something this big and important and controversial could be allowed to become such a mess, unless you have seen large federal software development projects close up.
OTOH, and for what it's worth, private sector software glitches are no prize, either.
John Arthur, the ALS patient who flew to Maryland in July for a tarmac wedding with his longtime partner Jim Obergefell, has died at age 48. Praise to this brave man who demonstrated the enduring power of love, and condolences to his husband.
Igor Volsky at Think Progress reports on the brazen incoherence of Sen. Marco Rubio in his story, "Marco Rubio: Obama Has Undermined Immigration Reform By Refusing To Defund Obamacare."
A friend on Facebook, Wes Blackman, asks, "When is the GOP going to get out of the Hall of Mirrors?" Answer: after some bloody business, as in this classic scene from The Lady From Shanghai.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch writes:
Not only did American Family Association talk show host Sand Rios plug the ex-gay movement and warn that gay people are trapped in “a powerful web of deceit” during her Values Voter Summit speech yesterday, but she also cited Stephen Jimenez’s shoddy reporting on the Matthew Shepard case to call his murder a “complete fraud.” She lamented that schools host the play The Laramie Project to teach tolerance to students and said that Shepard’s murder was a result of a “drug deal gone bad.”
Luke Brinker at Media Matters debunks the Jiminez book.
The Southern Strategy lives. From The Nation.
Tommy Christopher at MEDIAite reports.