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An evangelical speaks

“Fuck your prayer, show me solidarity.”


The lot of them.


Go fill Digby’s stocking.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

The education bubble

What happens when it bursts?

Time magazine’s Person of the Year was the Protester, but it should have been Pepper-Spray Cop. More here.

Crooks have no conscience

Gov. Corbett is perfectly okay with throwing sick people off Medicaid, but can’t bring himself to tax Marcellus Shale drillers. This is your sociopathic Republican party at work:

Since August, the Corbett administration has cut off more than 150,000 people – including 43,000 children – from medical assistance in a drive to save costs. That purge far exceeds what any other state has tried, health policy experts say, and officials may be walking a fine line between rooting out waste and erecting barriers to care for the poor and disabled.

When most states were experiencing flat or rising Medicaid enrollment from the economic downturn, stepped-up eligibility reviews in Pennsylvania began producing a decline over the summer. The pace of cuts picked up in November, with 90,000 cases, or 4 percent, dropped in a single month. In New Jersey, enrollment increased by 391 the same month.

The Department of Public Welfare in Harrisburg says most of the people cut were dead, had moved out of state, or were found to be ineligible, but it could provide no breakdown. Advocacy groups, clients, and representatives for caseworkers paint a different picture. Pressure to quickly review a backlog of files and close cases overwhelmed the system, they say, as reams of paperwork were lost and computer programs automatically ended benefits when patients’ responses had not been entered by preset deadlines.

The Pennsylvania experience, while extreme, illustrates the difficulty of reining in increases in health-care costs nationwide. For the short term, the cost of providing public insurance ballooned as people lost their jobs and employer-provided benefits, while states’ belt-tightening reduced the workforce that processes applications.

Marie Stopa of Holmesburg received a letter Sept. 15 saying her four children would be cut off Sept. 19 if renewal paperwork was not received. She says she sent it the next day, but benefits were cut off anyway. Her 10-year-old son, Marek, has landed in emergency rooms twice since then for asthma attacks Stopa believes would have been avoided had he remained on the preventive medication she can no longer afford.

Tell the Truth

Advice from two honest-to-God guitar heroes.

Under the knife abroad

Current TV’s Vanguard is such a great documentary show. If you don’t get Current TV, call your cable provider and ask for it:

Obama says he won’t veto NDAA

No, folks, the news out of the Oval Office isn’t really any better for those who fear the erosion of our civil liberties:

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at ACLU, said Wednesday night that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 was still highly problematic despite changes to the bill.

“It was an awful bill before and it is an awful bill now,” he told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Provisions within the legislation would authorize the U.S. to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists anywhere in the world without charge or trial, and require them to be held in military custody. Civil liberties advocates and others were furious at lawmakers for the broad scope of the provision, which could have allowed U.S. citizens on U.S. soil to be indefinitely detained without trial.

Obama threatened to veto the entire bill because of the provisions, which he said were “inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”

The latest version of the bill, drafted by the House-Senate conference committee, kept the provisions. But it exempted U.S. citizens from the requirement for terror suspects to be held in military custody and included language stating that the bill did not extend new authority to detain U.S. citizens.

Due to the changes, the White House announced Wednesday it would not veto the bill.

The bill forces federal agencies to treat non-citizen terrorism suspects as enemies waging war against the U.S. rather than criminals. FBI Director Robert Mueller said the provisions would disrupt, rather than strengthen, efforts to fight terrorism in the U.S.

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