Friday, December 30, 2011

The Republican method of handling household budgets includes letting grandma die

Congratulations are in order to Representatives John Kuempel and Doug Miller and their Republican colleagues in the state legislature for achieving a balanced budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. Starting Sunday January 1, elderly Texans who are so poor that they qualify for Medicaid in addition to Medicare will find that some treatments for their ailments, including life threatening ones, aren’t available because our courageous legislators cut reimbursements by 20%.

The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders reports that it will “be unable to provide life-saving cancer treatment medications after Jan. 1, 2012, due to cuts to dual eligible patients (those elderly on Medicare who are also poor and on Medicaid - the Medicaid covers the Medicare deductible) - because they are already losing money on those patients and without the Medicaid match the financial losses are just too great.”

The contenders for the Republican nomination keep saying that our nation’s budget should be handled like a household budget. Apparently if grandma gets sick they’d just let her die.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

House Republicans taking hostages once again

Congressmen Quico Canseco and Lamar Smith conspired with the rest of the House Republicans to give their constituents and 160 million Americans a lump of coal this Christmas by choosing not to pass the payroll tax cut extension and unemployment insurance benefits extension. What may be even worse though is they also chose not to pass the bill that would have prevented Medicare from cutting doctors’ reimbursements by a whopping 27% starting January 1. Remember this is a bill that passed the Senate 89-10 with support from both Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Hutchison.

What will our seniors like me do when in need of medical care while House Republicans hold us hostage for political gain? Like any other hostage taker Canseco and Smith don’t care.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Response to Express News article on Republicans blocking enforcement of efficient light bulb regulations

Saturday’s story “Critics call light idea dimwitted” made the interesting observation that the major manufacturers of light bulbs have already switched production to energy and cost efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. They were able to do so because the 2007 bill that calls for improved efficiency and performance provided regulatory certainty. Now Texas Republican Joe Barton who frequently screams about regulatory uncertainty being one of the reasons that the “job creators” aren’t creating jobs is crowing about his success at creating that very regulatory uncertainty.

This is typical Republican posturing and much of the cause for the gridlock in Washington that has prevented our federal government from taking the steps necessary to bring our moribund economy back to life. If the people of Texas really want the jobs picture to improve in the near future instead of experiencing a lost decade like Japan we’d better look at electing more Democrats to Congress as they at least seem to understand the big picture.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reporting some facts and quoting each side isn't journalism

Friday’s edition included a story titled “GOP blocks Obama’s pick for watchdog” about the filibuster which prevents an up or down vote on the man nominated to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). While the story was as accurate as one could ask for it failed to tell the whole story in that once again Republicans including both of our Senators, Cornyn and Hutchison, voted to protect the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

Having mentioned in the story that the Republicans want to eliminate the position of director and replace it with a bi-partisan board you failed to examine the ramifications of such a move which would result in politicizing decisions and removing the teeth from the agency’s rule making and enforcement efforts.

Express News readers deserve more than he said, she said reporting. Real journalism would explain that it is the Republican agenda to overturn every bit of regulation that has been put in place to prevent another implosion of the banking system because it would impair the ability of a few Wall Street fat cats to continue to rake in multi-million dollar annual bonuses.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Express New's Gurwitz still getting it wrong

Sundays editorial by Jonathan Gurwitz shows he hasn’t gotten the memo that the Koch Brothers paid for a two year study by prominent physicist and global warming skeptic Richard Muller and he found, much to his surprise, that the 97% of climate scientists who’ve been warning us about it are correct, the earth is warming.

Muller went back to data recorded by Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and reviewed several other data sets as well as correcting for the heat island effects due to the growth of modern cities and still found that the planet is warming just like James E. Hansen of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has been telling us for over a decade. Muller’s conclusion is “now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”

Muller says he was spurred to action by the very “Climategate” emails Gurwitz mentions in the editorial as evidence that the big bad scientists are misleading us. Sadly Mr. Gurwitz fails to note that while those emails show that scientists can also be petty and vainglorious just like everyone else they do not reveal any evidence that the conclusions of those scientists are wrong.

The Associated Press also reports that Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry worked with Muller on the project and she is quoted as saying of the study “results unambiguously show an increase in surface temperature since 1960.”

I suggest Mr. Gurwitz catch up on his reading.