Blue Friday ReadsPosted: October 4, 2013
I’m going through my blue period. It’s been going on for awhile. I’m actually thinking that it’s contagious because the blues appear to be popping up everywhere these days with the exception of the deeply delusion right wing who thinks ruining our country is a good thing.
So, first off, I may be out of the loop again awhile. Tropical Storm–maybe soon to be Hurricane–Karen has formed in the Gulf. New Orleans is in the cone but appears to be on the weak side of the storm. That means there’s a strong side and there’s some other folks in danger.
A hurricane watch is in effect for parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast after Tropical Storm Karen formed in the southeastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday.
The watch covers the area from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to west of Destin, Florida. The center of the storm is forecast to be near the coast within that area Saturday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from Grand Isle to the mouth of the Pearl River.
“Karen is expected to be at or near hurricane strength late Friday and early Saturday,” read a hurricane center advisory.
The storm, which as of Thursday evening was about 360 miles south of the Mississippi River’s mouth, prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recall some of its workers, furloughed during the government shutdown. The agency also reactivated its Hurricane Liaison Team at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. FEMA officials in the Atlanta and Denton, Texas, offices are monitoring Karen.
“At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States, including in the Gulf Coast region, that are available to state and local partners if needed and requested,” the agency said in a statement.
The hurricane center said it, too, would be unaffected by the government shutdown as Karen approaches.
“The National Hurricane Center is fully operational … and has all of its resources available to it,” spokesman Dennis Feltgen said in an e-mail. “The government shutdown will not inhibit NHC from providing its mission.”
The money folks that usually love the Republican party is getting a little pissed as the DJ and other stock exchanges and indices begin their negative responses to government shutdown and the upcoming debt ceiling bump.
On a Monday last month, Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, met with some top GOP donors for lunch at Le Cirque on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The donors, a youngish collection of financial industry types and lawyers, had some questions for Walden, a mild-mannered lawmaker from eastern Oregon known for speaking his mind.
Why, they asked, did the GOP seem so in the thrall of its most extremist wing? The donors, banker types who occupy the upper reaches of Wall Street’s towers, couldn’t understand why the Republican Party—their party—seemed close to threatening the nation with a government shutdown, never mind a default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised later this month.
“Listen,” Walden said, according to several people present. “We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”
Walden asked how many of those seated around the table were precinct captains. These were money men, though, not the types to spend night after night knocking on doors and slipping palm cards into mailboxes.“A lot of the people there didn’t even know what a precinct captain was,” said one attendee.“A lot of the people there didn’t even know what a precinct captain was,” said one attendee.
“A lot of the people there didn’t even know what a precinct captain was,” said one attendee.
Not a single hand went up.
“I hear this complaint all the time,” Walden said. “But no one gets involved at the local level. The Tea Party gets involved at the local level.”
CNN’s Carol Costello confronted Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) over his party’s continued crusade against Obamacare Thursday morning, pushing him to admit that Republicans’ “divisive approach” is responsible for the prolonged government shutdown. Rokita dismissed Costello’s dogged questions by focusing on how young and beautiful he found the CNN host.
“I don’t know if you have children yet, I’m sure you don’t have grandchildren yet, you look much too young, but we’re fighting for them,” Rokita said. “Carol, do you have any idea how much this law is going to cost?”
Costello shot back, “Do you know how much it costs every day the government is partially shut down? You’re costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars!”
Rokita insisted that Obamacare is “one of the most insidious laws ever developed by men” and will hurt the country “much more than any government shutdown.” Costello then pressed him on the upcoming dept ceiling fight, asking, “Obamacare hurts the country worse than [not] raising the debt ceiling? Because that’s not what a bunch of Wall Street bankers told the president yesterday.”
Rokita even dismissed the idea that defaulting on the nation’s debt would be more harmful than Obamacare. “I had a lot of CEOs in my office yesterday, and they didn’t share the same vision with me that some CEOs apparently shared with the president,” he said.
“I think most Americans would say fight that fight separate from the federal budget. Don’t partially shut down the federal government, don’t make things worse by fighting the same fight over and over,” Costello argued.
Rokita responded, “No, you’re part of the problem,” prompting Costello to roll her eyes and scoff, “Ugh, come on. That’s so easy.”
“Carol, you’re beautiful but you need to be honest as well,” Rokita finally said, eliciting an eyebrow raise from Costello.
Things can only get better?
Well, only if you live in a blue state. It seems that those of us that have petulant Republican Governors are not going to get the kind of subsidies that other states will as they make their insurance choices through the exchanges.
Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help. The federal government will pay for the expansion through 2016 and no less than 90 percent of costs in later years.
Those excluded will be stranded without insurance, stuck between people with slightly higher incomes who will qualify for federal subsidies on the new health exchanges that went live this week, and those who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid in its current form, which has income ceilings as low as $11 a day in some states.
People shopping for insurance on the health exchanges are already discovering this bitter twist.
“How can somebody in poverty not be eligible for subsidies?” an unemployed health care worker in Virginia asked through tears. The woman, who identified herself only as Robin L. because she does not want potential employers to know she is down on her luck, thought she had run into a computer problem when she went online Tuesday and learned she would not qualify.
I have to admit that as much as I love New Orleans, the greater Seattle area is looking better to me all the time.
Maybe some of those Republicans can explain why ObamaCare is being implemented and Walmart is returning to full time employees? Isn’t that against their meme?
Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, announced Monday that 35,000 part-time employees will soon be moved to full-time status, entitling them to the full healthcare benefits that were scheduled to be denied them as a result of Wal-Mart’s efforts to avoid the requirements of Obamacare.
While some analysts believe that the move comes as Wal-Mart is attempting to deal with the negative view many Americans have of its worker benefits program, a closer look reveals the real reason for the shift—
Wal-Mart’s business is going south due to the company’s penchant for putting politics and the squeeze on Wal-Mart employees ahead of the kind of customer satisfaction that produces prosperity over the long-term.
For anyone who has not been following the Wal-Mart saga, sales have been sinking dramatically at the retailer as the company has turned to hiring mostly temporary workers (those who must reapply for a job every 180 days) to staff their stores while cutting full-time employees’ hours down to part-time status in order to avoid providing workers with healthcare benefits.
Empty shelves, ridiculously long check-out lines, helpless customers wandering through the electronics section and general disorganization at Wal-Mart store locations.
Wow! It seems people expect customer service and inventory! Imagine that!!
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report on the potential macroeconomic effects of debt ceiling brinksmanship. The report states that a default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, and U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, potentially resulting in a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse. By looking at the disruptions to financial markets that ensued in 2011, the report examines a variety of economic indicators – including consumer and small business confidence, stock price volatility, credit risk spreads, and mortgage spreads – through which a similar episode might harm the economic expansion. The report also notes that if the current government shutdown is protracted, it could make the U.S. economy even more susceptible to the adverse effects from a debt ceiling impasse than it was prior to the shutdown.
Image that! Not every one thrives on the idea that it’s good to create chaos in an attempt to bring on some kind of end times?
So, I’ll just trudge along today while I try to grab my usual hurricane hunker-down supplies knowing that at least there’s a cool front coming if the electricity dies and that I won’t have to follow the news if the cable TV dies. So, you’ll have to let me know what’s on your reading and blogging list today because I can still follow y’all on my cell phone.