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Progress

No, really. Let’s face it, we’re not going to see this under a Republican administration since they don’t even pretend to care about being humane:

The Obama administration is set on Friday to issue policy guidance to states expanding their ability to offer same-sex couples the same protections afforded to straight couples when they receive long-term care under Medicaid, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Under the new guidance, dated June 10, states have the option to allow healthy partners in a same-sex relationship to keep their homes while their partners are receiving support for long-term care under Medicaid, such as care in a nursing home.

Medicaid kicks in for a beneficiary to receive care after an individual depletes virtually all of their money. To pay for the beneficiary’s expenses under Medicaid, a state could impose a lein, or take possession, of a beneficiary’s home to pay for Medicaid expenses.

Emerging markets

Where will bankers go when they’ve sucked everything out of the entire world?

Payroll tax holiday

Just another backdoor attempt by the greatest president evah to undermine Social Security!

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has written to Vice President Joe Biden, who’s now leading
Congressional/White House debt talks, urging him to reject proposals
which would extend or expand the diversion of billions of dollars in Social Security payroll taxes.

“Just six months ago, Washington promised the $112 billion dollar
diversion of payroll taxes from Social Security would be a ‘temporary’
stimulus. Now, it appears some leaders who are negotiating a debt
ceiling deal are proposing not only to extend this stimulus measure but
actually expand it…diverting even more money away from Social
Security. Diverting revenue from Social Security is not fiscal
responsibility. There are other ways to provide effective stimulus that
don’t endanger Social Security’s funding, including the successful ‘Make
Work Pay Tax Credit’.
Poll after poll has shown, Americans do not
support using Social Security as a bargaining chip in yet another ‘Let’s
Make a Deal’ style negotiation in Washington.” Max Richtman, NCPSSM
Executive Vice President/Acting CEO

NCPSSM’s letter to Vice President Biden reminds negotiators that
American workers have successfully funded the Social Security program
for 75 years and that critical linkage between contributions and
benefits is what keeps Social Security a self-funded program. Proposals to divert workers’ payroll taxes way from Social Security threaten the program’s independence, forcing it to compete for already limited federal dollars.

Stress test

They didn’t really do a legitimate test the first time, so I don’t see what difference this makes:

WASHINGTON/CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 10 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will subject more banks to annual stress tests to determine whether they have enough capital and can raise their dividends.

On Friday, the Fed said it is proposing that banks with $50 billion or more in assets be subjected to the capital testing regime, bringing the number of banks that would face annual tests, if they were conducted today, to 35 from a prior level of 19.

Among the banks that would now fall under the testing regime, based of Fed data through March 31, are Northern Trust Corp (NTRS.O), M&T Bank Corp (MTB.N), Discover Financial Services (DFS.N) and Comerica Inc (CMA.N).

The tests seek to determine how a large bank whose failure could hurt the economy and markets would weather a financial shock or an economic downturn.

Republicans smell blood

And will go after Obama from the left. I wonder why Mr. Eleven Dimensional Chess can’t see this?

Top 10 things Anthony Weiner has said

That are worse than sexting. Yes, Democrats adhere to irrational orthodoxy that is just as fact-free as the Republicans talking about global warming — mostly on the issue of Israel. Via Juan Cole:

1. Called for Columbia University professor Joseph Massad to be fired for being critical of Israel; Weiner thus spearheaded a new McCarthyism.

2. On the Israeli attack, in international waters, on the Mavi Marmara relief ship, Weiner sputtered: “”If you want to instigate a conflict with the Israeli navy it isn’t hard to do. They were offered alternatives. Instead they chose to sail into the teeth of an internationally recognized blockade.” The blockade of Gaza civilians is a breach of international law; it is not internationally recognized and has on the contrary been condemned by almost every nation and human rights organization.

3. Alleged that the New York Times is anti-Israel: “Amnesty International in particular, has always had bias against Israel, and frankly I would argue that in many cases, the New York Times has, as well.”

4. Alleged that the Palestine Liberation Organization is still listed by the US as a terrorist organization. It was dropped from the list over 2 decades ago.

5. Tried to bar the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations from New York.

6. Alleged that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestine Authority, is not the head of the PLO. He is.

7. Refused to condemn the use by Israel of cluster bombs on the civilian farms of south Lebanon in 2006.

8. Alleged that the Israeli army does not occupy the West Bank and that there is no Israeli Army presence in the West Bank.

9. Called Israel’s war on Gaza a “humane” war. 400 children were killed.

10. Voted for Iraq War authorization in 2002, before later turning against the war.

Rule by rentier

Krugman in the Times:

While the ostensible reasons for inflicting pain keep changing, however, the policy prescriptions of the Pain Caucus all have one thing in common: They protect the interests of creditors, no matter the cost. Deficit spending could put the unemployed to work — but it might hurt the interests of existing bondholders. More aggressive action by the Fed could help boost us out of this slump — in fact, even Republican economists have argued that a bit of inflation might be exactly what the doctor ordered — but deflation, not inflation, serves the interests of creditors. And, of course, there’s fierce opposition to anything smacking of debt relief.

Who are these creditors I’m talking about? Not hard-working, thrifty small business owners and workers, although it serves the interests of the big players to pretend that it’s all about protecting little guys who play by the rules. The reality is that both small businesses and workers are hurt far more by the weak economy than they would be by, say, modest inflation that helps promote recovery.
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It would be funny if it wasn’t so true

Charles Lechner of Organizing 2.0 does a great sendup of the Beltway’s non-profit-intern-industrial complex:

Wanted: New Media Summer Intern

Our prestigious liberal organization is well connected in the high flying advocacy and lobbying world. If you spend time with us you will come to understand precisely how the DC swamp connecting money, politicians and influence actually works, and how liberal organizations like ours fit neatly into that world through our connections to funders and organizations representing special interests.

Our preference is for a college graduate from an Ivy League college confident they belong in the world of the power elite and with parents who can pay $800/month rent for two months, so you can be working for free with us instead of getting a real, but far lower status job. While officially we frown on nepotism, any family affiliations you might have to movement VIP’s will definitely be taken into account. That said, our goal is to make you work very hard, for free, on the kinds of tasks that require little training. Furthermore, as someone we say goodbye to at the end of the summer, we are unlikely to invest very much in your training. There are books in the self-help section at Amazon that will teach you to make the most of it with a positive mental attitude. You should probably read one of them now.

Our premise is that the right parentally-subsidized internship, with the right sorts of important organizations like ours can ensure your professional success in ways that paid work cannot. Our willingness to use your free labor represents our commitment to a growing and valued underclass of future superstars. No joke!

Applicants should understand that interns are fungible, that working for us for free is a privilege, that job descriptions are suggestions at best, and that any resentment you feel in the future is a product of youthful idealism and inability to see the ‘big picture.’ You see, we do important things.

To apply, please find a way to meet me at the right sort of DC happy hour and strike up a conversation that holds my interest for at least thirty seconds. Being physically attractive and well-dressed is a plus. We welcome applicants from any background that will change the shocking lack of diversity in our office.

Sincerely,

Director of Intern Acquisition

The confidence fairy

Wonder why Obama isn’t talking about jobs? Because Tim Geithner has convinced him to do the exact thing that will make it worse: Cut spending.

Wheee!

Beltway translation: WTF?

But some administration allies fear the administration is doing more than keeping a low profile or biding its time — that it is actively reinforcing conservative dogma, at a moment when the jobs report may have created an opportunity to shift the economic debate away from budget imbalances and towards employment. “I understand the constraints of the moment,” says another senior Democrat, “but I’m not sure what’s gained by giving any oxygen to the incorrect idea that fiscal austerity right now would be expansionary.”

A real penis story

But you will most likely not see it in your corporate media:

As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — one of the largest and most influential big business lobbying groups in the world — fired a letter off to Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, telling him to block the regulation of extremely toxic chemicals in consumer plastics. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangers of such chemicals, the chamber letter declares that that EPA “lacks the sound regulatory science needed to meet the statutory threshold for a restriction or ban of the targeted chemicals.”

A wide body of scientific research has linked these chemicals, including phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), to declining birth ratesstillbirths, and an increasing number of birth defects. Many of the chemicals under review for increased regulation have already been banned in Europe and Canada.

In fact, studies have shown that these plastic chemicals are directly linked to an alarming rate of male genital birth defects such as hypospadias, a condition in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside, rather than at the end, of the penis. A report by the Center for American Progress’ Reese Rushing details many other risks associated with the chemicals slated for regulation.

The Chamber letter to Sunstein is signed by chief lobbyist Bill Kovacs. Why is Kovacs fighting so aggressively to continue to allow birth defect and miscarriage-causing chemicals to be used in household items and food containers? Perhaps it is because the Chamber is heavily funded by some of the largest plastics manufacturers in America. According to investigations by the New York Times and ThinkProgress, Dow Chemical and Proctor & Gamble have contributed millions to the Chamber’s war chest in recent years.

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