Category: Prime Politics Written by Cathy Nedd
More than 80 clergy from across Michigan are calling on the State Senate to approve Medicaid expansion. With the senate finalizing the state's budget in the coming weeks, two groups - Michigan Prophetic Voices and the Metro Coalition of Congregations, are asking their senators to say "yes" to the expansion.
According to a letter that the groups delivered to the State Senate, they are collectively calling upon the Senate to support children and families.
"As people of faith, we are called to support vulnerable Michigan children and families. We support your effort to expand Medicaid and help over 400,000 uninsured Michigan children and adults, at no cost to the State for the first two years and minimal cost after that. This policy will save the State millions over 10 years and create and retain thousands of health care jobs. As pastors and faith leaders who live and work all across the State of Michigan, we believe expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do for our State – morally, fiscally and ethically – and we urge you to do everything in your power to get this policy passed through the Legislature," reads the letters.
The letters were delivered to Senate Majority Leader Sen. Randy Richardville (R-17), Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Roger Kahn (R-32, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-23), Senate Appropriations Committee Sen. Mark Jansen (R-28), Sen. John Pappageorge (R-13), Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-30), Sen. Dave Hildenbrand (R-29). The letter was also delivered to Gov. Rick Snyder, who supports the expansion, thanking him for his support, and asking him to be more vocal on the issue.
Medicaid expansion is a very important issues to hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, Michigan must decide either to accept federal money and expand eligibility for Medicaid, or not. Barring Medicaid expansion will not stop new health care laws from taking effect. However, it will hurt low-income workers and businesses, an act that will negatively impact the Michigan economy.
Among other benefits, if Medicaid expansion is approved, the unemployed and low- income workers will be eligible for subsidized health care through the health insurance exchange system.
Michigan Prophetic Voices is a statewide initiative uniting clergy to strengthen their voice. The organization uses faith values to positively impact state and local policy concerning youth violence, education, budget cuts and struggling homeowners. The Metro Coalition of Congregations is an interfaith organization of clergy and religious congregations working together for transformative systemic and societal change. The group is currently focusing on health care, gun violence and mass transit across Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties.
Last Updated on Sunday, 12 May 2013 10:50
Category: Prime Politics Written by Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Making history, America’s blacks voted at higher rates than whites in 2012, lifting Democrat Barack Obama to victory amid voter apathy, particularly among young people, new census data show. Despite increasing population, the number of white voters declined for the first time since 1996.
Blacks were the only race or ethnic group to show an increase in voter turnout in November, most notably in the Midwest and Southeastern U.S., the Census Bureau said Wednesday. The analysis, based on a sample survey of voters last year, is viewed as the best source of government data on turnout by race and ethnicity.
The Associated Press reported last week that black voter turnout surpassed whites for the first time, based on an analysis by experts of earlier data.
In all, about 66.2 percent of eligible black voters cast ballots in 2012, up from 64.7 percent in 2008, according to census data. That compares with non-Hispanic white turnout of 64.1 percent, which fell from 66.1 percent four years earlier. As recently as 1996, blacks had turnout rates 8 percentage points lower than non-Hispanic whites. Latino turnout dipped slightly, from 49.9 percent in 2008 to 48 percent, while Asian-American turnout was basically unchanged at 47 percent.
Voter turnout across all race and ethnic groups fell for a second consecutive presidential election, from 64 percent in 2004 to 62 percent in November, according to the census figures.
“Obama’s win in 2012, despite the important Democratic constituency of young voters not participating at a high level, is good news,” said Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor who specializes in voter turnout. “The bad news is that voting is a habit – and the fact that we saw turnout declines among younger African-Americans suggests Democrats will have to work even harder to excite these voters in future elections.”
The data underscore how turnout plays an important role in elections for both whites and blacks, who will remain the two largest racial groups of eligible voters for the next decade. While Hispanics are now the fast-growing demographic group, they currently make up a smaller share of eligible voters because many are children and non-citizens, limiting their electoral impact for the immediate future.
In 2012, the number of blacks who voted rose by 1.7 million. Hispanics added 1.4 million and Asian voters increased by 550,000.
Meanwhile, even though the white population is slowly increasing, the number of white voters dropped by 2 million – the first drop in absolute terms for any race or ethnic group since 1996.
By age, youth enthusiasm for voting fizzled in 2012.
About 41 percent of voters age 18-24 cast ballots in November, down 7 percentage points from 2008. The drop was greatest among whites, whose turnout fell from 49 percent to 42 percent. But young black voters also saw big declines, from 55 percent in 2008 to 49 percent. That’s compared with a decline among young Hispanics from 39 percent to 34 percent.
The only subgroups showing increases in voter turnout were among blacks ages 45 to 64 as well as those 65 and older.
“Blacks have been voting at higher rates, and the Hispanic and Asian populations are growing rapidly, yielding a more diverse electorate,” said Thom File, a census sociologist who wrote the voting analysis. “Over the last five presidential elections, the share of voters who were racial or ethnic minorities rose from just over 1 in 6 in 1996 to more than 1 in 4 in 2012.”
“We do know the population is growing more diverse, and the electorate is growing more diverse in a different way,” File added.
Other census findings:
-White turnout declined in 39 states from 2008 to 2012, including presidential battleground states such as Ohio, Virginia and Florida.
-The gender gap in voting persists, a trend since 1996. About 64 percent of women voted, compared with 60 percent of men.
-Declines in voter turnout also were seen most notably among single people, the unemployed, renters and those with only a high school education or some college, suggesting in part voter disenchantment amid a sluggish economy.
-Black voter turnout surpassed that of whites mostly in the Midwest region, which covers Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as the Southern U.S. region including Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Demographers say the numbers pose long-term challenges for Republicans, given that 80 percent of nonwhites voted for Obama in November.
Analyses by Brookings Institution demographer William H. Frey show that Republican Mitt Romney would have barely won the presidency if whites and other race groups had turned out at the same rates as they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels. But if Democrats can replicate 2012 turnout rates in 2016, they would win the presidency, given current population trends, Frey said.
Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, indicated the economy will be an important factor in future elections, noting that Hispanics and young people were among the hardest hit during the high unemployment years of 2008-2012.
“Given what we know about the youth bulge in the population, Millennials and Hispanics will become ever more important voting blocs in upcoming presidential elections,” Taylor said. “But in 2012, both groups left a lot of votes on the table.”
The census figures are based on the Current Population Survey as of November 2012. Since Hispanic is defined by the government as an ethnicity and not a race, census figures for “blacks” and “Asians” may include Hispanics. Census data for “white” refer to whites who are not of Hispanic ethnicity.
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 13:41
Category: Prime Politics Written by News One
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — President Barack Obama said Friday he doesn’t foresee any circumstance requiring the U.S. to send ground troops into Syria, even as Washington pursues more evidence about the regime’s purported use of chemical weapons.
“I do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground in Syria, American boots on the ground, would not only be good for America but also would be good for Syria,” Obama said at a news conference.
The president’s declaration was in line with the apparent prevailing sentiment in Washington. Even one of Obama’s chief antagonists on Syria, Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., has said he does not advocate sending ground troops, arguing that would be “the worst thing the United States could do right now.”
Obama also said he had consulted with Mideast leaders who want to see Syrian President Bashar Assad’s departure and agree with his assessment that the U.S. shouldn’t send ground forces. After long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, another U.S. intervention i...
Last Updated on Monday, 06 May 2013 07:15
Category: Prime Politics Written by By Michael Arceneaux
Although many networks continue to pretend that people on both sides of the political aisle are equally nasty toward each other in the name of
patronization balance, leave it to the National Rifle Association to blow such silly folklore to smithereens. This week, the Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured) took shots at what he dubbed “The Right-Wing Horror Picture Show” on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation.” The segment focused on Buzzfeed’s report about the NRA asking a vendor at its convention to remove a life-size zombie target, which bleeds when shot and resembles President Barack Obama (pictured below).
Watch Rev. Al Shrapton's crticism below:
When Buzzfeed spoke to a Zombie Industries booth worker at the convention in Houston, he admitted there was a striking resemblance to the President and that it appeared to be intentional, quipping, ”Let’s just say I gave my Republican father one for Christmas.”
Now, imagine the reaction a Black man would get saying, “Yeah, I bought my pops a life-size image of President [Ronald] Reagan. He just loves to shoot him in the head.” I’m pretty sure these folks wouldn’t find that nearly as amusing; they would probably cry for charges of treason.
Another reporter said of the NRA’s request to have the target removed from sight, ”They are just scared some liberal reporter will come by and start b*tching. I’m not so much a reporter, but even still here I am…reporting for duty. Feel free to pitch in after, y’all.”
As “admirable” as it is for someone at the NRA to say, “Yeah, can we Not have a zombified version of the President to shoot at during our convention in plain sight?” the item is still for sale on the organization’s website.
Way to show you care about respecting the commander-in-chief, NRA.
Then again, as stupid and hateful as this vendor’s Obama zombie depiction is, they’re only taking cues from an organization that has long made its lack of respect for the President clear.
Remember this ad targeting the President’s daughters in order to score cheap political points? <
Then there is the matter of the NRA’s new president, attorney Jim Porter. Hailing from Birmingham, Ala., Porter has a clear affinity for all things southern, thinly veiled racist and anti-Yankee. On the Civil War, Porter infamously asserted, “Y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it ‘the war of northern aggression’ down South.”
Who do you think has this man’s heart more: Jesus or Robert E. Lee?
Isn’t he a charmer?
Meanwhile, Porter is none too fond of President Obama, once bashing him as the “fake president.” He’s also claimed, “His [the President's] entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-second amendment.” Well, that sure beats sounding like a paranoid idiot.
If that’s not enough, Buzzfeed notes that while the zombie has been removed from the convention, “There is an Obama vampire with a stake in his heart that can be seen at the Conan Inc. booth. There is also a familiar likeness at the OPSGEAR booth.“
Mind you, these are the very people whining that President Obama is the one dividing the country.
I’m sure some critics would argue that there have been despicable depictions of former President George W. Bush too.
Fair enough, and I might I add, it’s all wrong.
However, the extent to which these cashew and almond mix for brains lunatics loathe President Obama is far, far worse. To them, Obama is a Muslim Monday through Tuesday, a Marxist on Wednesday, an evil dictator on Thursday, and because liberals purportedly want it all, he’s all of the above plus a fascist on the weekend. And apparently on top of that, he’s not even a legitimate president. You know, given he was born in a Kenya to Satan’s mistress.
There may be crazy on both sides, but it’s pretty apparent the gun-clutching, sex-hating, Jesus-jocking fringe of the right have the higher quotient. And who could blame them when they’re enabled by groups like the NRA.
The proof is in the zombies and the vampires.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 05:56
Category: Prime Politics Written by By Sam Baker
By Sam Baker
Republicans hammered Democrats for allegedly seeking to carve themselves out of a requirement in the healthcare law.
Democratic leaders said Thursday they're not seeking an exemption from a central requirement of ObamaCare — that members of Congress and their staff purchase healthcare coverage through insurance exchanges.
Republicans spent the day hammering Democrats for allegedly seeking to carve themselves out of a requirement in the healthcare law.
But Democratic leaders said they have not sought an exemption — and would not support one if it were proposed.
"Nobody is exempting anybody from anything," one Democratic aide said.
The healthcare law requires lawmakers and congressional staff to buy their healthcare coverage through the newly created insurance exchanges.
Democrats have raised questions about the mechanics of that requirement, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) both said Thursday they do not believe the mandate should be lifted.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson flatly denied a report that the majority leader had sought an exemption for lawmakers and their staffers.
"There are not now, have never been, nor will there ever be any discussions about exempting members of Congress or Congressional staff from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employer offering health care," Jentleson said.
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Seizing on the same report of a possible "exemption," published Thursday by Politico, Republicans accused Democrats of trying to give themselves and their staffers a different set of rules than Americans who will purchase coverage through exchanges.
Republicans condemned the idea of an exemption and said it showed Democrats were acknowledging that the law is unworkable.
Democrats rejected that characterization; they said lawmakers and their staff members should still be required to purchase through the exchanges.
The controversy over an exemption is "completely made up," the Democratic aide said.
The issue some Democrats want to address relates to the mechanics of moving lawmakers and staff into the exchanges.
Normally, lawmakers and staff get their health coverage through the system for federal employees.
The federal government, like most large employers, makes a sizeable contribution to cover the cost of its employees' healthcare plans. In some cases, the federal government pays up to 75 percent of workers' healthcare costs.
It's not clear, though, whether lawmakers and staff could keep receiving an employer contribution once they buy coverage through an exchange.
The healthcare law doesn't speak to that question, and the agency that manages federal benefits hasn't yet made a determination.
If members and staff can't keep their employer contribution, many would be forced to cover the entire cost of their healthcare plans.
Staffers whose total household income is less than about $45,000 per year by themselves — or $94,000 for a family of four — would be eligible for subsidies to help pay for their policies, just like anyone else who uses the exchanges.
Staffers and members with higher incomes would have to foot the entire bill for their coverage.
There has been some discussion, aides said, of whether Congress should step in to ensure that federal employees who buy through the exchanges get the same employer contribution as the rest of the federal workforce.
That's not an exemption, but it's still controversial.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said Democrats shouldn't look for any bipartisan support if the federal human-resources agency says staffers and members are on their own.
"The Speaker would like to see resolution of this problem, along with the other nightmares created by Washington Democrats' health law, which is why he supports full repeal," Steel said in a statement.
"In the meantime, it is Democrats' problem to solve. He will not sneak any language into bills to solve it for them — and the Democratic leadership knows that."
Reid's spokesman said Congress does not need to step in to ensure that lawmakers have the same experience as the general public.
"Senator Reid is committed to ensuring that all members of Congress and Congressional staff experience the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in exactly the same way as every other American," he said.
"He believes that this is the effect of the legislation as written, and that therefore no legislative fix is necessary."
Pelosi said she believes the law allows lawmakers and staff to remain inside the system for federal employees, thus keeping their employer contributions — they just have to buy policies that are also offered on an exchange.
Pelosi noted that some congressional staff, such as aides who work for a committee instead of an individual lawmaker, wouldn't be covered by the healthcare reform law's requirement to use the exchanges.
Congress should level the playing field by moving all staffers and members into the exchanges, she said.
"The bill has been written, it's a question of interpretation, and we want everybody to be treated the same," she said at a news conference Thursday.
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/296333-dem-leaders-wont-seek-exemption#ixzz2Rn33Gai0
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 10:30
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