Just as sound tests prepare to begin on two wind turbines in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, opponents have announced - before the test has even happened - that they won't be appeased no matter what the test results show. If the sound results come back normal, they'll invoke wild conspiracy theories about how the test was rigged:
Ken Pottel, a member of Windwise, said the group fears Shah could tilt the blades to slow the turbines and thus lessen the noise they make during testing. He said the group is particularly concerned about [turbine builder Sumul] Shah's ability to control the turbines remotely from his cellphone and laptop.Before the turbines were built, wind opponents pushed theories with no basis in reality about health impacts. Since the turbines were built, wind opponents have been busily filing noise complaints about the near-silent turbines. Now, we have new conspiracy theories about secretly rigged sound tests.
"It's obviously in his best interest to make sure these turbines pass the test," he said. "How do we know he isn't controlling the pitch from his phone?"
Shah said he not only "would not do that" but that "it is impossible for me to adjust the speed of the rotor while the turbines are spinning." Shah said he can only change the pitch of the blades when the turbine is turned off. If the turbine is on for testing, he said, its speed cannot be controlled.
"I have no intention of doing that and, not only that, I can't do that; it's technologically impossible," he said.
Crossposted from The Stars Hollow GazetteThe ad's cynicism contributes to a phenomenon that increases each year, and that is that we are becoming a nation that believes nothing. Not in nothing, but nothing we're told by anyone in supposed authority.Peggy[...]
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Here's a 2011 video of Catfood Commission Chair Erskine Bowlest heaping praising on Paul Ryan's budget and Ryan's math skills. This should be career ending.[...]
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Aren't I pretty?Here's an interesting hypothetical: A guy?let's call him Mitt?is running for president and is severely unpopular with the ladies because of his views on social issues. Then Mitt chooses his running mate?we'll call him Paul?who is even more of an extremist. Will this choice help or hurt Mitt with the ladies? That's the question The Wall Street Journal asks today, and they conclude that:
... as the Obama campaign sees it, his vice presidential pick doesn?t make things any better for him.Yep, it's just the Obama campaign who sees it that way. As opposed to, say, reality.
The article notes that had Romney gone with a "feisty" woman as his running mate "one could imagine women voters giving Mr. Romney a second look"?because that worked so well for John McCain?but he didn't, he picked Ryan, and now:
... team Obama is determined to make him pay.And how will they make him pay? In the worst possible way: by pointing out Ryan's voting record on health care, fair wages and reproductive rights. (Those bastards!)
And this, The Wall Street Journal sadly says, could totally negate the fact that Ryan is "youthful and good looking."
Because as everyone knows, the ladies are a sucker for that kind of thing.
I know we've all been preoccupied with that dude who's going to be the Republican veep candidate when the convention rolls around. But a few lines down, there's been some sweet news.
In a first, we now have the very first openly gay brigadier general in the army. New general Tammy S. Smith had her wife Tracey Hepner pin the medal on in the ceremony. Just the thought of it makes me feel all quavery. How sweet is that? (Thanks to Rex Wockner for bringing this to my attention.) Here are some relevant quotes from The New York Times article about it:
[Smith] said in a statement that the Defense Department had made sexual orientation a private matter, but that ?participating with family in traditional ceremonies such as the promotion is both common and expected of a leader.?
Sue Fulton, a spokeswoman for OutServe, a two-year-old organization of lesbians and gay men in the military, said Sunday that it was ?highly unlikely? that General Smith was the only gay officer of her rank. She called General Smith?s public acknowledgment significant.
?I would say that it?s important to recognize ?the first,? because then the next person doesn?t have to be first,? said Ms. Fulton, a 1980 West Point graduate. ?Once we get over each ?first,? each hurdle of ?Well, that?s never been done before,? it makes it a nonissue going forward.?
Second, for the first time ever, there will be an equal number of men and women moderating the U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidate debates this fall. It's also the first time in twenty years that a woman will moderate a presidential debate. You may have heard already that CNN's Candy Crowley will be one of the moderators, and that ABC's Martha Raddatz will moderate the veep debate. In a very nice little footnote, three high-school girls from Montclair, New Jersey believe that their Change.org petition, with 180,000 signatures, helped the debate commission make its choices. As they told NPR:
AXELROD: When little girls turn on the TV and see a man up there asking the questions again and again and again, for 20 years, it sends a very clear message that for whatever reason this is a man's job. And it's time for that message to stop being sent.
CORNISH: We talked to Axelrod last month when she came to D.C. to press her case. Today, she told us that although they never heard back from the commission, she thinks their message got through.
Let's hope it doesn't take another twenty years before equality strikes again.RadioP.O.T.U.S.FultonAl SmithLesbianBroadcasting
" ...from Tedium to Apathy and back; about five days each way. It makes an occasional trip to Monotony, and once it made a run all the way to Ennui..."from the play "Mr. Roberts" by Thomas HeggenH/t watertiger at Dependable Renegade [...]
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CNN's Soledad O'Brien did a great job in her interview with Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu this morning, in the process giving us a glimpse at just how uncomfortable Romney's campaign must be now that they have to defend the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare. Sununu spent much of the interview badgering O'Brien, accusing her of being a tool of the Obama campaign, but when she fought back?with facts, not insults?the only thing Sununu could do was claim that Ryan's Medicare plan is "very different" the Romney plan.
But despite his claim, the only difference cited by Sununu wasn't actually part of the Medicare plan. He said that unlike Ryan's budget plan, Romney would repeal Medicare savings signed into law by President Obama. But those savings are actually a good thing; they lower the cost of Medicare without touching benefits. And the only reason they aren't in the Romney budget plan is that Romney's budget plan has almost no details.
So, despite Sununu's claim, there is really basically no difference between what Ryan and Romney are proposing for the future of Medicare. The fact that Sununu would nonetheless claim that the plans are "very different" tells you everything you need to know about how afraid Republicans are of defending the Romney-Ryan plan on its merits.
Gift.So if Democrats are doing a happy dance over the Paul Ryan pick, that must mean that Republicans...
This is from Politico's conventional-wisdom setting morning email newsletter:
GOP PROS PRIVATELY PANICKING ABOUT RYAN PICK: "Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren't being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington:Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right - and a huge chance of going horribly wrong ," Alex Burns, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin report. "In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives - old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike - the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election. It is not that the public professions of excitement about the Ryan selection are totally insincere. It is that many of the most optimistic Republican operatives will privately acknowledge that their views are being shaped more by fingers-crossed hope than by a hard-headed appraisal of what's most likely to happen. And the more pessimistic strategists don't even feign good cheer: They think the Ryan pick is a disaster for the GOP. Many of these people don't care that much about Romney - they always felt he faced an improbable path to victory - but are worried that Ryan's vocal views about overhauling Medicare will be a millstone for other GOP candidates in critical House and Senate races."The full story is here, and it's got plenty to make you smile.
We were winning, and now we're winning even more thanks to Ryan. It's no big secret. Everyone knows it. Only, it used to be just Romney who was doomed. Now, the House is in play and the Senate isn't going anywhere near Mitch McConnell's grasp.
Get ready to have the most fun since 2008. There's nothing like Republicans in disarray to spice things up. And best of all? When they go down in defeat in November, the internal GOP battle over who lost the election?the squishy liberal Romney or the firebrand conservative ideologue Ryan?will keep things spicy for a long, long time.
Fox News' The Five went to bat for Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan by defending his controversial and harmful proposed changes to Medicare while reviving the myth that Obama's health care law will create a review board to ration health care.
Guilfoyle: Ryan "Is Not Trying To Hurt Or Take Anything Away From Anybody That Is Over 55." On the August 14 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle touted Ryan's "courage" for putting forth a plan that doesn't "hurt or take anything away from anybody that is over 55":
GUILFOYLE: Paul Ryan had the courage to put forth his plan. Good for him, because he's in it to save and work for the American people, not about his own political career. And he makes it very clear, he's not trying to hurt or take anything away from anybody that is over 55, OK? [Fox News, The Five, 8/14/12]
Perino: Ryan Plan "Doesn't Even Affect Anybody That Is Currently 55 Or Under" And "Preserves The Program In The Future." Co-host Dana Perino suggested that Paul Ryan's Medicare plan will not affect current or future seniors:
PERINO: If you're 53 years old and you know that you're going to have the current plan -- so it doesn't even affect anybody that is currently 55 or under -- or by the time it gets past 53 and under -- but it preserves the program in the future for the people that are under 55 and for your children. [Fox News, The Five, 8/14/12]
Bloomberg Businessweek: The Ryan Budget Would "Require Seniors To Pay More Out Of Their Own Pocket" For Medicare Services. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, "Ryan's budget would convert Medicare from a defined benefit program to a voucher system that would provide seniors with a fixed sum to buy private insurance, a sum that probably wouldn't keep pace with rising health-care costs and would therefore require seniors to pay more out of their own pocket." [Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/13/12]
Ryan Budget Would Raise Many Current Seniors' Prescription Drug Costs. In a March 28 report, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found that the Ryan budget's repeal of the Affordable Care Act's "doughnut hole" fix would "adversely affect current Medicare beneficiaries as well as those not yet eligible." The report explained:
Health reform has begun to close the doughnut hole -- the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage that many seniors experienced once their annual drug costs exceeded $2,840. Before health reform, seniors had no additional coverage until their costs hit $6,448. Last year, seniors who were in the coverage gap received a 50-percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 7-percent discount on generic prescription drugs. This year, the generic discount jumps to 14 percent. Due to these improvements, five million Medicare beneficiaries have saved more than $3.2 billion, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Health reform will close the entire donut hole by 2020. The Ryan budget would reopen it. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/28/12]
CBPP: Ryan Plan Would Force Medicare To Raise Premiums, Which Would Make It "Less Financially Viable." CBPP economist and senior fellow Paul Van de Water wrote that Ryan's plans for Medicare could lead to traditional Medicare unraveling:
Chairman Ryan claims that his proposal "ensur[es] that traditional Medicare remains an option." Unfortunately, that's not the case. Under premium support, traditional Medicare would tend to attract a less healthy pool of enrollees, while private plans would attract healthier enrollees (as occurs today with Medicare and private Medicare Advantage plans). Although the proposal calls for "risk adjusting" payments to health plans -- that is, adjusting them to reflect the average health status of their enrollees -- the risk adjustment process is highly imperfect and captures only part of the differences in costs across plans that stem from differences in the health of enrollees.
Inadequate risk adjustment would mean that traditional Medicare would be only partially compensated for its higher-cost enrollees, which would force Medicare to raise beneficiary premiums to make up the difference. The higher premiums would lead more of Medicare's healthier enrollees to abandon it for private plans, very possibly setting off a spiral of rising premium costs and falling enrollment for traditional Medicare. Over time, traditional Medicare would become less financially viable and could unravel -- not because it was less efficient than the private plans, but because it was competing on an unlevel playing field in which private plans captured the healthier beneficiaries and incurred lower costs as a result. Ryan also would allow private plans to tailor their benefit packages to attract healthier beneficiaries and deter sicker ones, which only makes this outcome more likely. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/28/12]
For more on how Ryan's Medicare plan would affect seniors, click here.
Perino: Ryan Plan "Is A Way To Preserve Medicare Going Forward." Co-host Dana Perino said she is a "fan" of Ryan's budget plan after reading about it because "it is a way to preserve Medicare going forward":
PERINO: Talking about the specifics of this, it is not easy to understand. I have done a lot of reading about this and now I am a bigger fan of the Ryan plan than ever because I actually think -- it is a way to preserve Medicare going forward. [Fox News, The Five, 8/14/12]
Tantaros: "[Paul Ryan] Is Not Trying To Cut Medicare, He Is Trying To Save It." Co-host Andrea Tantaros suggested Paul Ryan's Medicare plan has been "misrepresented" by Democrats. Tantaros went on to suggests Ryan "is not trying to cut Medicare, he is trying to save it." From the show:
TANTAROS: I think people are finally relieved that there is someone with the political courage to have this discussion. No one has had the guts to do it until Paul Ryan actually came along.
TANTAROS: [Ryan] is able to explain and clarify his position that has been so misrepresented, which is: He is not trying to cut Medicare, he is trying to save it. [Fox News, The Five, 8/14/12]
Jonathan Cohn: "Ryan Really Believes In Ending Medicare As We Know It." New Republic blogger and health care journalist Jonathan Cohn wrote that Ryan's plan would end Medicare in its current form by eliminating the program's guarantee of comprehensive medical benefits while raising the eligibility age and producing vouchers that will quickly prove inadequate to allow seniors to purchase the care they need:
The essential promise of Medicare, ever since its establishment in 1965, is that every senior citizen is entitled to a comprehensive set of medical benefits that will protect him or her from financial ruin. The government provides these benefits directly, through a public insurance program, although seniors have the right to enroll in comparable private plans if they choose. But the key is that guarantee of benefits, and it's what Ryan would take away. He would replace it with a voucher, whose value would rise at a pre-determined formula unlikely to keep up with actual medical expenses.
Ryan's early proposals had no safeguards to make sure the voucher was adequate. His most recent one has safeguards, a more reasonable spending line, and preserves the government-run plan as an option. But the safeguards are weak, at best, and the government-run program would struggle to survive. Over time, more and more seniors would find the voucher too small to buy the insurance they need. [The New Republic, 8/11/12]
CBPP: Ryan Would Divide Health System Into "Two Tiers: Those Who Could Afford The Care They Need Would Get It" And Many Others Who Would Not. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities vice president Edwin Park wrote that the "Ryan budget would divide our health system into a distinct two tiers: those who could afford the care they need would get it; many others would not." [NYTimes.com, 5/7/12]
Ryan's Plan Would Detrimentally Affect Today's Seniors. Conservative media have argued that Ryan's plan has no effect on people 55 or over. In fact, Ryan's budget would raise the cost of health care for today's seniors by forcing them to pay thousands of dollars more for prescription drugs, creating a voucher system that would drive health care costs higher, and sharply cutting Medicaid, a program heavily utilized by seniors. [Media Matters, 8/13/12]
NSCLC: Millions Of Seniors Use Medicaid. In an April 2011 report the National Senior Citizen Law Center noted that millions of seniors also receive care through Medicaid and would be affected by the cuts proposed by Ryan's budget:
Medicaid is not only a program for low-income older adults. It also provides middle class individuals who have impoverished themselves with long-term care benefits. Medicaid provides financing for long term care in nursing homes for some 1.3 million people aged 65 and over and long term services and supports for 4.8 million in the community. The nearly 9 million people 65 and over (and countless families) it helps range from those living at or close to the federal poverty level to those in the middle class. [NSCLC, April 2011]
Krugman: "14 Million Is The Minimum Number Of People Who Would Lose Health Insurance" From Ryan's Medicaid Cuts. In his New York Times blog, economist Paul Krugman wrote that Ryan budget's cuts to Medicaid would cause millions to lose health insurance:
14 million is the minimum number of people who would lose health insurance due to Medicaid cuts -- the Urban Institute, working off the very similar plan Ryan unveiled last year, puts it at between 14 and 27 million people losing Medicaid.
That's a lot of people -- and a lot of suffering. [The New York Times, The Conscience of a Liberal, 4/6/12]
CBPP: Ryan Plan Would "Add Tens Of Millions Of Americans To The Ranks Of The Uninsured." A post on CBPP's "Off the Charts" blog stated that Ryan budget's proposal to restructure Medicaid into block grants "would add tens of millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured." The post also said that Ryan's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion "means that 17 million" more people would not receive health insurance. The post continued:
The block grant would cut federal Medicaid spending by $810 billion over the next ten years (2013-2022). That would be a cut of about 22 percent compared to current law. (This doesn't count the loss of the large additional funding that states would receive to expand Medicaid under health reform.)
[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Off the Charts, 3/20/12]
Tantaros: The Independent Payment Advisory Board "Will Be Deciding What Procedures People Can Get And What They Can't." Co-host Andrea Tantaros revived claims that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created by the health care law will ration health care for people on Medicare. Tantaros said IPAB should "frighten every single person in this country":
TANTAROS: Can I just quickly remark how they are going to lower those cost though? This is something that the public hasn't heard a lot about. It's called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It's a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats appointed by President Obama. These aren't health care professionals, these are professors, and the intelligencia, and they will unilaterally decide what -- and this is the exact quote -- cost containment issues are in the Medicare system. They will be deciding what procedures people can get and what they can't. They are specifically designated to cost cut. That's how they do it.
TANTAROS: If doctors don't think they're going to get reimbursed, they're not going to treat you. So what does this do? This pits insurance companies against each other to give Medicare recipients the best possible deal. That panel of individuals is so scary, Bob, it should frighten every single person in this country.
BOB BECKEL (co-host): First of all, you are starting to sound like Sarah Palin now, you are much smarter than that. [Fox News, The Five, 8/14/12]
Law Specifically Prohibits Advisory Board From Making "Any Recommendations To Ration Health Care ... Or Otherwise Restrict Benefits." As Media Matters has noted, the health care law specifically prohibits the Independent Payment Advisory Board from making "any recommendations to ration health care ... or otherwise restrict benefits." [Media Matters, 10/12/10; Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, accessed, 4/21/11]
White House: "IPAB Is Specifically Prohibited By Law From Recommending Any Policies That Ration Care." In an April 20 blog post on the White House website, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle wrote that the "IPAB is specifically prohibited by law from recommending any policies that ration care, raise taxes, increase premiums or cost-sharing, restrict benefits or modify who is eligible for Medicare." [WhiteHouse.gov, 4/20/11]
Kaiser Family Foundation: Board Cannot "Ration Care, Increase Taxes, Change Medicare Benefits Or Eligibility, Increase Beneficiary Premiums And Cost-Sharing Requirement, Or Reduce Low Income Subsidies Under Part D." From the Kaiser Family Foundation's "Explaining Health Reform: Medicare and the New Independent Payment Advisory Board":
The Board is prohibited from submitting proposals that would ration care, increase taxes, change Medicare benefits or eligibility, increase beneficiary premiums and cost-sharing requirements, or reduce low-income subsidies under Part D. Prior to 2019, the Board is also prohibited from recommending changes in payments to providers and suppliers that are scheduled to receive a reduction in their payment updates in excess of a reduction due to productivity adjustments, as specified in the health reform law. The law establishes specific rules and deadlines for Congressional consideration of the Board's recommendations, and specific timelines and procedures for Congressional action on alternative proposals to achieve equivalent savings.[Kaiser Family Foundation, Explaining Health Reform: Medicare and the New Independent Payment Advisory Board, 5/10/10]
Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin has had it with busybody journalists pressing Mitt Romney to provide details for the policies he would implement as president:
The latest media obsession (or is it an Obama campaign talking point?) is to demand Mitt Romney explain how his budget and entitlement ideas differ from those Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). When he declines, the media screams, "Evasion!"
Why on earth would Romney answer that, and, more important, does anyone care? If the media is really interested in a compare and contrast exercise they can do their own analysis or ask some staffers. Romney, of course, is running at the top of the ticket, and both Romney and Ryan are running on Romney's agenda. All Romney need do is explain what HE is for and how that differs from the president's plans. Is there any voter who will decide to vote for or against Romney because of deviations from the plan his VP has proposed? That would be a first.
The details separating Romney's and Ryan's budget plans are moot, she argues, since the two agree on the "basic framework:"
The media might have a point if Ryan had criticized Romney's plans or if his own plans were vastly different from Romney's. But in basic framework there is no difference between the two. They both want to lower tax rates and expand the base. Both Ryan and Romney want to block grant and reform Medicaid. Both favor a premium-support plan for Medicare. In short, they are in sync on every significant fiscal issue, and Ryan has agreed to be Romney's VP.