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Paul Ryan’s ties to Health Insurance

Still fuming over Rep. Paul Ryan’s quote, “This isn’t a budget. This is a cause” and happened upon some actually interesting economic analysis.

During his little press conference, Ryan had invoked the name of Alice Rivlin referring to his stupidly named ‘Path to Prosperity’ as part of the Ryan-Rivlin Plan.  In seeking out something on the connection between Ms. Rivlin and Mr. Ryan there was this bit of analysis regarding Medicare vs insurance:

Whether traditional Medicare could survive as an option, in the sort of system Rivlin says she envisions, is open to question and would depend, in part, on the regulations governing the whole system. But, at least in principle, she wouldn’t force people into private insurance. The new Ryan plan would.

Just the other day someone had sent this link via Twitter tying in Paul Ryan’s bribes political donations from the “insurance industry” which at the time seemed just benign information.  Now it’s more like fodder. Continue reading

On the Dole with Unemployment Benefits

While the fucked up MSM (for the most – if not almost all) continues to exaggerate and promote the power of the Tea Party, some of these tea baggers now think it important to learn about what they ARE promoting – like the Constitution.  Somehow I’m of the thought it’ll be in Cliff note style.

This was among my favorite:

Amid Civil War reenactors, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and booths selling Native American artwork, Scott handed out strips of white paper, each printed with quotations from such American luminaries as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington.

“With knowledge, there is power,” she said. “And having an understanding of the Constitution can lead to electing people who will uphold it.”


Christ – right off the bat, I digressed.  So far I almost forget what it was I was about to say.  Huffington Post has a very apt picture with this headline and this picture :


John Kyl forgot his quad cane – and his quadfocals.  The guy in the blue tie is truly out of sync.  Hitting the pic will take you to Paul Krugman’s opinion piece at the NY Times as he attempts to sort out the bullshit.  Although he titled his piece ‘Punishing the Unemployed’ I think he misses a tremendous point – see second paragraph below.

The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused. Nothing can be done about the first group, and probably not much about the second. But maybe it’s possible to clear up some of the confusion.

I do, however, think he’s off base about this.

Do unemployment benefits reduce the incentive to seek work? Yes: workers receiving unemployment benefits aren’t quite as desperate as workers without benefits, and are likely to be slightly more choosy about accepting new jobs. The operative word here is “slightly”: recent economic research suggests that the effect of unemployment benefits on worker behavior is much weaker than was previously believed. Still, it’s a real effect when the economy is doing well.

He says the operative word (for him, apparently) is ‘slightly.’   Has HE been unemployed, on U/E benefits, looking for a job?  I have and I can tell you, I didn’t spend A LOT of time lolling around in those benefits.  I was LOOKING because if there’s one thing I understood – the benefits run out at some point.  And then . . .

Who Doesn’t Love Books

Just a bit of an addendum to the cartoon I ran the other day.  It’s in tandem with this piece from Laredo, Texas [Webb county] which currently is a tad larger as Boise.  The literacy rate is estimated to be around 48% lacking in “basic literacy skills” which makes this all the more disturbing. (It’s from the 2003 census, U.S. Dept. of Education – Boise = 7%)

On January 16, Barnes & Noble, which owns B. Dalton, closed the store inside Laredo’s Mall del Norte.

That leaves Laredo, Texas, population of 250,000, one of the largest cities in the United States without a bookstore.

The closest bookstore is now 150 miles away, in San Antonio, Texas.

Can you imagine having to drive to Twin Falls or Ketchum, maybe John Day, Oregon or beyond to hang out in a bookstore?

There must be libraries, right?

Laredo does have two public libraries with a catalog of more than 200,00 books. But library officials say they can’t keep up with the demand for the most popular titles.

I would suppose keeping up with that demand involves money.

So then being curious I thought I’d check out the ratio of bookstores versus libraries in Boise and the valley. Continue reading

Available Options for Local Po’Folk

I wanted to highlight some things I’ve noted since school started last week.  When my daughter was younger and in school she divided her time between public and private (Catholic) schools.  Regardless of our financial struggles, I don’t think she ever qualified for the school lunch program and I don’t think it mattered to me, really.  It was just another necessary part of taking care of her.  The entire time she was in Catholic school she was on scholarship and I had an income-adjusted tuition payment, along with the responsibility to volunteer a certain number of hours for the schools. And it certainly helped that we were very active in the community life of our parish.  For some reason – we were fortunate which makes this a bit poignant.

According to a story at KTVB on September 10th – Idaho is in the top 10 of foreclosures.

Florida, California, Arizona, Michigan, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Georgia and Illinois completed the top 10 states for foreclosure filings.

Looking at the map provided at the Realty Trac website, the counties in Idaho with the greatest number of foreclosures filed are: Ada, (Blaine), Canyon, Jefferson, Kootenia, Teton, and Valley. (I can’t seem to find the rating list of state cited in the story from KTVB.)

This kernel of info on housing troubles is coupled with two stories focusing on easing the financial burden of those who might be suffering a bit in the stagnant economic climate here in Idaho.

For those children whose parent(s) are unemployed eligibility for “free or reduced priced lunches” may be an option to help cope.  Looking at the prices: Full price is $2.30, reduced price is $.40; that’s a $1.90 difference daily.  Paying $1.20 a week is more manageable than the $11.50/$12.00.   The Idaho Dept. of Labor also has a notice at the top of their page. Continue reading

So….If Abortion is Murder, What is Murder?

From McClathey:


On Chrylser’s Restructuring – 789 Dealerships to Go

This and more from yesterday on Capitol Hill

Laid-off autoworkers and car dealers fighting forced closures were outraged Wednesday to learn that the new Chrysler-Fiat partnership plans to skirt U.S. restrictions on executive pay by having some top Chrysler executives deemed Fiat employees.

From Automotive News:

Chrysler LLC will eliminate 789 dealers, or 25 percent of its U.S. network, by June 9, according to a memo sent today to retailers in one sales region.

Dealers are learning of their fate via UPS letters to be delivered this morning, the memo says.

Dealers will get 23 business days for a “court review” of their cases, according to the memo, from a sales manager to district dealers.


The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates that an average U.S. dealership now employs about 48 people, so an estimated 37,872 people stand to lose their jobs because of Chrysler’s decision today.

Whoa…. and the banks?  What’s going on with the banks?  More money, yeah?


American Group International becomes American International Underwriters, Limited?

Think that’ll help? Really?