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49 minutes ago
Republican Sen. John Ensign delivered one of the more curious arguments against a government-run, public health care option during a long and lofty Senate committee debate Tuesday.
People might like it and use it.
Then it would become popular, and too big to fail.
And the government would have to support it.
“Does anyone really believe this Congress will let this government program go away if it has a constituency?” Ensign asked his colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee. “To have a large program like this, once it’s started, you’re never going to get rid of it.”
The public option would be a government-run health care alternative to the private insurance market. It’s intended to provide an option for those currently without health insurance, and, through competition, rein in rising insurance costs.
Now let me ask something else. One of the questions on the ballot this November will read
as follows: "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows
individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?" - If the election were
held today, would you vote YES or NO on this question?
Yes not strongly....................................................................4
No not strongly.....................................................................7
Former Republican state Sen. Joe Heck is “seriously considering” dropping out of the governor’s race to challenge Democratic Rep. Dina Titus for Southern Nevada’s congressional seat in Washington.
According to conservative activist Chuch Muth’s news service, Heck attended a meeting in Las Vegas on Monday called by fellow Republican John Guedry, who announced last week he was dropping out of the race, and was encouraged to run.
Heck is expected to decide whether he’s in by the end of the week, the report said.
“I entered this race to help make our state and nation a better place for my family and future generations of Nevadans. Recent events have compelled me as a father and husband to end my campaign for public office and focus my attention on important issues closer to home.
“I am incredibly honored and grateful for the tremendous support I’ve received during this campaign and I want to thank everyone who has been so involved and helpful.
“I am more confident than ever that the approach being taken by politicians in Washington D.C. is ill-advised and incorrect … it will just need to be another Nevadan to lead the fight to bring commonsense leadership to Congress and argue these important principles for Nevadans.”
A group of 18 homebuyers and the Laborers International Union of North America charged Thursday in Las Vegas that Pulte Homes Corp. and other builders harmed buyers during the housing boom by inducing them into purchasing homes at inflated values and with unaffordable mortgages.
During a news conference organized by the union they asked the Nevada Attorney General's office to take action on complaints alleging deceptive sales and lending practices.
A union press release said Constance Consentino, one of the homebuyers filing complaints, purchased a Pulte home in Las Vegas in 2007 with a 20-percent down payment and a good credit score. The union alleged Pulte inflated the home price, used incentives to steer her to Pulte’s lending affiliate and failed to disclose important mortgage terms, particularly that their interest rate could increase after seven years.
"It has come to my attention that you were recently quoted in the media as saying that Nevada expected to receive funds this week," Secretary Ray LaHood wrote. "If such a statement was made, it is not accurate."
LaHood said he "cannot commit to a date certain" when the Federal Rail Administration would take action.
Gibbons announced last week that the feds were releasing $45 million for the magnetic levitation train between Las Vegas and Southern California, funds that had been set aside for the project in a 2008 federal spending bill. The money had been delayed as the maglev project lagged in coming up with the $11 million in required matching funds.
Maglev and the proposed DesertXpress train are in a fierce competition for the Vegas-to-Southern California route.
As we get ready to march for full federal equality next month, we also have to protect our rights in the few places we have them.
Marriage equality is under attack in Maine. The National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family, and other groups that bankrolled Prop 8 in California have out fundraised the local effort by 2-1. But no matter where you live, there's something you can do about it.
Don't let them stand their ground alone! Here are a couple things you can do right now.
1. Join the Virtual Phone Bank on September 27
Can you donate 2.5 hours to call voters in Maine on Sunday, September 27? All you need is a phone and a computer with internet. No long distance fees!
2. Take a Volunteer Vacation in October
Can you spend a week in Maine volunteering for the campaign to preserve marriage equality? They can even help you find housing! Sign up here.
Thanks for helping protect equality in Maine, and we'll see you in the streets next month!
Equality Across America and the National Equality March Team
Where: United Health Care Offices (in Las Vegas)
2724 N. Tenaya Way
Las Vegas, NV 89128
When: Tuesday September 22nd at 11:00 AM
Some 5 million people, about one-third of those on the unemployment list, have been without a job for six months or more, a record since data started being recorded in 1948, according to the research and advocacy group National Employment Law Project.
“It smashes any other figure we have ever seen. It is an unthinkable number,” said Andrew Stettner, NELP’s deputy director. He said there are currently about six jobless people for every job opening, so it’s unlikely people are purposefully living off unemployment insurance while waiting for something better to come along.
The current state unemployment check is about $300 a month, supplemented by $25 included in the stimulus act.
That doesn’t go very far when a loaf of bread can cost $2.79 and a gallon of milk $2.72, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said at a hearing last week on the unemployment insurance issue.
“There’s nothing going on fundamentally, in the near term, to get enthusiastic about unless you think the economy has turned and we’ll see more domestic and international travel (to Las Vegas), and I’m somewhat skeptical on all those,” said Dennis Forst, a stock analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets.
So what’s to love?
Some of the rebound is tied to the fact that MGM Mirage and Las Vegas Sands — among the most leveraged of the casino companies — have escaped bankruptcy in the near term. Like many American companies, they have injected new equity and borrowed more, giving them more time to ride out the economic storm. The capital markets have opened somewhat since the market crash, giving companies the ability to raise needed cash.
“These companies’ balance sheets are in much better shape,” Forst said.
Much of the rise in Wynn and Sands stocks, which have increased the most in recent months, is driven by news from Macau, the Chinese enclave halfway around the world from Las Vegas where these companies generate most of their earnings. Earnings have improved there, in part because of improved high roller business, even though the Chinese government has restricted travel to Macau from its chief feeder market, mainland China. Both companies’ shares also have traded up on news that they will raise money in Hong Kong-based initial public offerings of their Macau assets.
National Day of Action: Save Gay Marriage in Maine!
2.5 hours to save Gay Marriage in Maine. You don't even have to leave your house. No more excuses - if you believe in the dignity of equality for all, YOU CAN DO THIS!
Host: Equality Network
Type: Causes - Rally
Date: Sunday, September 27, 2009
Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Virtual Phonebank
Marriage equality is under attack in Maine, and no matter where you live, there's something you can do about it.
Far right extremists have imported their national anti-equality agenda to the Pine Tree state with the goal of stripping away marriage rights. The same group that bankrolled Prop 8 in California has set up shop in Maine and has out fundraised the local effort by 2-1.
Despite that, polls show fairness is winning by a slim margin, thanks to the local grassroots No On 1 effort to protect Maine equality.
We can't leave them alone to stand their ground. We need to rally to support the local effort! No matter where you live, there is a way to help win this fight.
**All you need is a phone and a computer with an internet connection. No long distance fees, no dialing- the web-based software does it all.**
With 500 people ACROSS AMERICA, donating 2.5 hours of time, we can accomplish 1250 volunteer hours!
This is a VIRTUAL PHONE BANK on Sunday, September 27th to SAVE MAINE FROM RIGHT-WING EXTREMISTS, and pave the way for a repeal of Proposition 8 in California!
Sign up and you will get all the information you need to be a part of the Sept 27th Maine Day of Action. IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE, YOU MUST PROCEED TO THIS LINK AND FILL OUT THE FORM.
© 2009 Protect Maine Equality, 550 Forest Avenue, Portland, ME 04101 Paid for and Authorized by Protect Maine Equality.
Yes on 1: 48%
No on 1: 46%
Not Sure: 6%
“Maine is an amazing place and it's beautiful to see Mainers welcoming their fellow American's into their homes,” said Travel for Change director Jay Cash. “It's exciting because people are signing up to go to Maine and others are signing up to sponsor them financially and with airline miles. We used airline miles to pay for more than 300 tickets in the general election and we hope to gather at least 100 for Maine.”
Supporters of Question 1 have out-fund-raised Protect Maine Equality's "No on 1" Campaign by using big donors like Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. In contrast, Protect Maine Equality is following the lead of the Obama campaign, using the power of small donations and counting on large numbers of volunteers. Partnering with Travel for Change, an organization that supported Obama in the presidential election, Protect Maine Equality is asking supporters across the country to take a "Volunteer Vacation" to Maine and help get out the vote.
"Marriage equality is a national issue,” Cash said. “Just ask our opponents. A California consultant is running their campaign and the star of their first commercial is a Massachusetts lawyer.” [...]
If the Question 1 is turned down it will be the first time in this country that marriage equality has won at the ballot box.
“It's simple this election will either be a huge victory or a huge defeat for equality," said Alisa Whitfield, Managing Director of Travel for Change.
The national movement for marriage equality is at a tipping point-- if we defeat this referendum in Maine, we'll look back on November 2009 as a watershed moment in our history. Be part of this history in the making. Join us for a Volunteer Vacation in Maine.
Volunteer Vacation is simple. During the month leading up to the election, the NO on 1 campaign is hosting a team of highly motivated volunteers to serve as full-time, volunteer campaign staff. Once you arrive in Maine, you will receive a full orientation, be assigned to a team, and be trained on various aspects of the campaign. You will get an intensive, hands-on campaign experience while working with a great team of people from around the country.
Sign up here to learn more about the program and to learn about housing options and travel assistance.
Be part of history. Join us for a Volunteer Vacation in Maine.
Dealers negotiating a union contract with the Caesars Palace hotel-casino for almost two years are planning to protest outside the Las Vegas Strip resort.
Transport Workers Union officials say the Thursday demonstration outside the flagship Harrah’s Entertainment property will highlight lack of progress on a deal with management.
Shane Kaufmann, a Caesars Palace dealer helping to negotiate the contract, says the roughly 600 dealers want conditions similar to what they had before Harrah’s bought Caesars in 2005.
Kaufmann says that includes control of tips and union representation during certain personnel decisions.
Crystal Lee Jordan, the union activist from North Carolina that inspired Sally Field’s Oscar winning performance in Norma Rae, died on Friday because her health insurance company delayed her cancer treatment. Sutton was diagnosed with meningioma but waited two months to begin taking needed medication because her health insurance refused to cover it. While they debated about whether or not the medicine was included in her policy, the cancer spread through her nervous system making the medicine ultimately ineffective. Sutton herself openly criticized the U.S. health care system as an abuse of the power and potentially murderous for the working class. Her criticism got her insurance company to ultimately approve the medicine she needed, too late.
"How in the world can it take so long to find out [whether they would cover the medicine or not] when it could be a matter of life or death," she said. "It is almost like, in a way, committing murder."
Reid is concerned about the cash-poor state's inability to boost Medicaid spending as would be required under the bill.
“While this draft bill is a good starting point, it needs improvement before it will work for Nevada," Reid said in a statement. "During this time of economic crisis, our state cannot afford to shoulder the second highest increase in Medicaid funding."
Reid said he received assurance from the chairman, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, that the formula would be changed before the bill goes to committee next week.
"I spoke to the Chair of the Finance Committee and he assured me that this bill will be improved for Nevada," Reid said.
"Let me be very clear, I will not bring a health insurance reform bill to the Senate floor that is not good for Nevada.”
"There were days when I woke up and said I'm going to stay where I am and there were days when I'd wake up and say it's your duty to try and make a difference," he said.
He said he was first approached early this summer by Republican political consultants Pete Ernaut and Greg Ferraro about launching an unprecedented-- in Nevada-- challenge against the sitting governor.
"I never called them and said, 'I think I want to be a candidate for governor,'" Sandoval said. "Frankly, when they came to me the first time, seriously, I didn't think it was a serious consideration."
He also said he spoke twice to U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., about running for governor.
But he strongly denied anyone recruited him for the race, saying the decision was his own. He said he reached it after many long conversations with his wife.
Montandon has launched an offensive against Sandoval, seeking to tar him as fickle for leaving several offices mid-term for the next opportunity.
"Brian Sandoval quit mid-term in the Nevada Assembly," Montandon wrote in a recent fund-raising letter. "Brian Sandoval quit in the middle of his term as attorney general, virtually handing the office to a liberal Democrat in the next election. And now, Brian Sandoval says he will quit his job as a federal judge and give (President) Barack Obama the opportunity to appoint another liberal judge to the federal bench.
"Since when is quitting a qualification for governor?"
This referendum is about children and families, but I disagree with Rev. [Bob] Emrich's assessment of what is at stake. For Emrich [more about this guy here], gender and sexual orientation determine who will be a good parent. In fact, every reputable children's advocacy organization agrees that love and support are what children need most. As Dr. Daniel Summers of the American Academy of Pediatrics testified at the April hearing in Augusta: It is the quality of parenting that predicts children's psychological and social adjustment, not the parents' sexual orientation or gender. He added that children raised by same-sex couples do not differ in any important respect from those raised by heterosexual parents.
All Maine people love their children. But in his crusade to deny marriage equality to thousands of Mainers, Rev. Emrich completely ignores the rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage automatically bestows on couples and on their children. Do we really want to deny these benefits to any Maine child because his or her parents are a same-sex couple? [...]
There are thousands of loving same-sex couples in Maine who have made commitments to one another, many for decades. Marriage equality honors these commitments and acknowledges them under the law. Without marriage equality, Maine law does not recognize these couples as a legal pair. They cannot file taxes jointly, access health insurance as a family or inherit property when one partner dies without the hardship of crushing taxes.
Contrary to Rev. Emrich's apocalyptic view, marriage equality will make Maine families stronger, extend vital rights and protections to the children of the couples who marry and uphold core Maine values of fairness, equality and personal freedom. Let's not forget Massachusetts. New government statistics show Massachusetts with the lowest divorce rate in the country, down to 2 divorces per 1,000 residents, a drop from 2.2 before 2004 when same-sex couples began marrying. This is down to pre-World War II levels. Obviously, the dire predictions about the downfall of society have not come to pass and thousands of families there are stronger as a result.