Computer angst

Something screwy with the computer and I’ve been trying to fix it since early this morning. If I don’t post for a few hours over the next few days, be patient.

Patriotic grannies

So the defense lobbyists want Granny to eat catfood so the defense budget doesn’t take a hit:

[…]“Regardless of who wins, the big deal will have tax increases and spending cuts,” said one defense lobbyist, who asked not to be identified. “The ratio will just be different. With taxes playing a smaller role in a Republican plan, entitlement programs like Medicare will have to play a bigger one to protect defense.”

The defense lobbyist said it’s just too soon to tell what lawmakers might settle on as a potential alternate deal. “Any number being floated for additional defense cuts is complete conjecture,” he said.

But the lobbyist did say he thought tea party lawmakers could go along with an alternative deal.

They’re content as long as money comes from somewhere else, he said. “They’re just concerned about cutting; they don’t care where it comes from.”

“It’s time to find the cuts somewhere else,” the lobbyist said. “The defense community should be more outspoken on

That could include the politically sensitive “entitlements” included in the defense budget, including pay and
benefits for troops — another reason a deal would have to come after the election and perhaps early in the tenure of a new Congress.

Levin’s “$587 billion” figure includes $487 billion in “cuts” already agreed to (i.e. cuts from previously projected increase, still allowing the Pentagon budget to increase with inflation), so that’s only $100 billion in real cuts for the Pentagon. Not so much, really – but enough to send them after your earned benefits. Nice!


You know how these people are:

It’s only September, but Mitt Romney has already written off almost half the country’s voters. A hidden-camera recording obtained by Mother Jones captures Romney at a private fundraiser telling donors that, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” Watch it:

Or, as I’ve reminded you before:

The snake eats his own tail

And other tales of the new austerity:

General Electric Co.’s GE -0.27% $18 billion health-care business is being forced to navigate a slowdown in medical imaging—one that in some ways has been aggravated by GE itself.

GE put its 85,000 U.S. white-collar workers on a high-deductible health plan in an effort to stem the growth of its U.S. health bills, which are now running $2.5 billion a year. In the first two years after the plan went into effect, use of advanced imaging including MRIs and CT scans has dropped by as much as a quarter, as covered employees’ overall use of health services fell, according to the company.

That is good news for GE proper, which last year expanded the plan to include its 45,000 hourly and union workers. But it’s bad news for GE’s health-care business, which is one of the world’s biggest makers of MRI machines and CT scanners.

Proposals to move employees to health plans that make employees pay more out of pocket were hotly debated within GE, people familiar with the matter said. Many GE divisions were eager to control their medical costs, but there were concerns about the impact on sales.

GE isn’t alone. A number of other giant employers, including J.P. Morgan Chase JPM -0.91% & Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, are adopting high-deductible health plans, pushing down the use of imaging by privately insured Americans.

Meanwhile, Medicare has been cutting reimbursement rates for medical imaging services. New data out this week show imaging use among Medicare beneficiaries fell 1% in 2011, extending a two-year slide, according to Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, an industry group.

One for the good guys, sort of

Except the Orange County Commission has announced they have no intention of doing it:

 A Florida judge ruled Monday that a hotly contested paid sick leave measure must be on the ballot in Orange County, Florida during November’s election. The initiative has been lobbied against by businesses in the area and was bumped off the ballot last week by the Orange County Commission. But Monday, a judge sided with paid sick leave activists, ruling that the paid sick leave vote could not be delayed. The law would make paid sick leave compulsory for any business with more than 15 employees.

Via email:

Just hours ago a 3-judge panel ordered Orange County to place the Earned Sick Time measure on the November ballot, which need to happen by tomorrow in order to meet a Federal deadline for printing ballots. But just minutes ago, the Commission said they aren’t going to do it, silencing the voices of the 50,000 people who signed the petitions to qualify the measure for the ballot in the first place.

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