August 2007
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Day August 24, 2007

Fred Thompson’s “Cheeseburgers and Skoal for All” health care plan!

… Well, it’s as good a guess as any. I’m just trying to fill a gaping void in our civic conversation: Likely GOP voters were asked how familiar they were the healthcare plans of all their candidates, “even including non-candidate Fred Thompson.” “The results? In Nevada 29% said they were familiar with Thompson’s healthcare plan. In New Hampshire it was 15%, in Iowa 18%, in Florida it was 22% and in South Carolina had 24% with some idea about his plan.” The problem? Thompson hasn’t even discussed a healthcare plan yet. Well, maybe that’s why they’re familiar with it. “Hell yeah, I’m familiar! That Thompson fella ain’t got one!” Didn’t think of that, huh smart guy?

Canadian Giuliani Operative Rips MA Health Care Plan

Sally C. Pipes, a Canadian who lives in San Francisco, works for the Giuliani campaign, and is President and CEO of the regressive Pacific Research Institute (PRI) — funded, no surprise, by Pfizer and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), among others — has ripped our move toward improved health care in Massachusetts. (To buy a $50,000 ticket to PRI’s October gala dinner featuring Jeb Bush, click here). Key passage: The Connector Board also bowed to political pressure and agreed to reduce the premiums, a move that boosted program costs by $13 million. Some plans are totally free–and have therefore been popular. Other subsidized plans for people earning between 150 and 300 percent of the poverty line will cost people as much as 9 percent of income for just the premium. Not surprisingly, these plans have proven less popular. Of the 79,800 people who’ve enrolled in the health plans as of June 1 of this year, 59,816 signed up for the totally free plans. This structure will produce a fiscal disaster. Considering the high premiums for those who have to pay, many will opt to remain uninsured. The fine of $216 will be more attractive than the premium. […]

Early sentence for Vick (from NFL)

Vick has been suspended infefinitely, without pay, by the NFL Commissioner. He had been on sort of a paid excused “don’t report to camp” thing to this point. Goddell’s letter to Vick notifying him of the suspension is pretty blunt. And I find it hard to argue with his position. He does not close the door forever on Vick’s return. But regardles of what previous commissioners have done to previous bad citizens in the NFL, this one is clearly trying to eliminate bad citizenship from the NFL. And I think he should be applauded for that.

The money *is* the story.

… and Tsongas has nearly half a million still left. The Globe’s Matt Viser breaks it down:

DEMOCRATS

Tsongas:

Raised this period: $265,387

Total raised: $1,266,975

Spent this period: $334,428

Total spent: $772,597

Finegold:

Raised this period: $83,776

Total raised: $808,158

Spent this period: $397,706

Total spent: $680,930

Donoghue:

Raised this period: $55,505

Total raised: $302,490 (also loaned herself $450,000)

Spent this period: $249,863

Total spent: $546,741

Eldridge:

Raised this period: $60,552

Total raised: $328,862

Spent this period: $155,133

Total spent: $282,483

Miceli:

Raised this period: $ 4,202

Total raised: $ 10,700

Spent this period: $ 3,035

Total spent: $3,035

REPUBLICANS

Ogonowski:

Raised this period: $64,800

Total raised: $233,138

Spent this period: $ 73,737

Total spent: $ 130,488

Tierney:

Raised this period: n/a

Total raised: $3,000

Spent this period: n/a

Total spent: $2,288

NOTE: The most recent period includes spending from July 1 through August 15. Tierney’s latest reports have not yet been posted.

More on the flip …

Green-Rainbow Party State Convention Saturday – To Feature Presidential Candidates

On Saturday, August 25 at the Community Church of Boston, from 10am-5:30pm, the rising party in the state of Massachusetts, the Green-Rainbow Party, will hold its annual state convention.

?While we are still very much a young party, we have grown this past year as an influential participant in the electoral process,? said Party Co-Chair Wendy Van Horne.

too much on BMG front page (and Open Thread)

I don’t want to be a rules nitpicker, but the posts on the front page seem to be getting very long lately before going below the fold. Can people limit what they put above the fold? I hate scrolling past some of those really long ones. Minor complaint, yes.

Free care, or more blood from a turnip

This is an idea only an economist could love … or Mike Widmer: Start charging people for using free health care rather than signing up for insurance. The rules, which are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, are part of the state’s effort to push nearly everyone in Massachusetts to get health insurance. To fund subsidized coverage for low-income people, the state is drawing on money previously used to pay for free care at hospitals and health centers, so the state needs to reduce payments for free care in the long run. Last month the state said it planned to stop reimbursing hospitals and health centers for care provided to patients who are eligible for insurance through the state Medicaid program, the state-subsidized Commonwealth Care, or affordable coverage through their work. The new rules would require all but the lowest-income patients seeking free care to make small copayments for hospital visits and patients earning slightly more to pay deductibles of $35 a month. These fees are comparable to what people would pay for Commonwealth Care insurance, although the free-care system does not provide the same comprehensive coverage. All kneel before the ALMIGHTY ECONOMIC INCENTIVE! May we, by our rational action, […]

Potential MA-Blogosphere Project: Blogging Contingent at the DNC

As many of you are probably aware, the Democratic National Convention is in one year. It’ll be held from August 25-28 in Denver, Colorado. I’ve had this idea that I’ve been kick around for some time, and I thought I’d throw it out there and see if anybody is at all interested.

The DNC strikes me as an opportunity to do something unique in the MA-netroots: organize a group of local bloggers to become delegates to the national convention. Here’s how to become a delegate.

When I think of all the MA netroots have done in the past few years, I’m amazed. Blue Mass Group, sco, TER, Left in Lowell, LeftAhead, Dick Howe, beyond495, and so many others have been a vital part of the political conversation here in Massachusetts. Together, we were a force in getting Governor Patrick elected; we’ve done fantastic analysis that you cannot get in the mainstream media; we’ve paid attention to races that have gone unnoticed; we’ve had strong and vigorous debates on almost every public policy issue; and we’ve liveblogged everything from committee hearings to rallies to canvasses. The Editors of BMG and the creators of other blogs have made spaces where ordinary citizens can have their voices heard. Even more important than that (I think) is that everybody who posts and comments — the regulars and the new comers–make up a real community. We maintain our spaces and thrive.

Part of why we do all of this, I believe, is so that we can help change the Democratic party. This change ought to be recognized by the national party as well.

Follow me below the jump for more.

The truth about Glenn Marshall

Cross-posted from Media Nation.

This past Monday, Peter Kenney reported on his blog that Glenn Marshall, a leader of the Mashpee Wampanoags and the prime mover behind the proposed Middleborough casino, may have lied about his record as a war hero in the Marines — a record that purportedly included five Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. I didn’t link to it before today because I was uncomfortable with Kenney’s decision not to try to reach Marshall for comment. But now it’s all coming out — and it’s even worse than Kenney initially reported.

The Cape Cod Times today publishes a headline for the ages: “Marshall’s record includes rape, lies.” The story, by George Brennan, reports that Marshall “raped a 22-year-old visitor to the Cape in the summer of 1980, according to court records and the Times’ archive.” Marshall was sentenced to five years in state prison, but served just three months — in part because his lawyer cited his alleged war heroism and the trauma he had suffered.

Oh, yes. About that war record: Marshall has claimed several times, including in an appearance at a congressional hearing in 2004, that he fought at Khe Sahn during the Vietnam War. Brennan reports that it now turns out Marshall was a senior at Lawrence High School, in Falmouth, during Khe Sahn.

Wiretaps will keep us safer, but not tighter screening of cargo?

So the Bush administration, which last month demanded (and got) the right to legally monitor, mine, and store Americans’ phone calls and emails in the name of security (on top of the monitoring it had already been doing illegally), doesn’t seem to feel the same sense of urgency about air safety.