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Time sure flies

I just realized I’m leaving for Netroots Nation next Tuesday. I guess I should pack, or something… or at least figure out why my printer isn’t working, so I can print out my airline tickets (courtesy of the AFL-CIO, who invited me to one of their panels).

I’m looking forward to Minneapolis. One of my best friends lived there for a bit, and raved about it. (Although I won’t get to see much of it, probably. Between panels, workshops and networking events, I’ll be lucky if I leave the hotel.)

You shouldn’t see a huge difference in blogging, since the convention center has wi-fi.

Plug

This is an amazing, heartbreaking, inspirational and thoroughly wonderful book — and if you buy one, you help to rebuild New Orleans. (Plus, it won a National Book Award.) Win-win!

Just when you thought it was safe

To go back in the water….

Groupons

Are not Medicare.

Nobel prize

Republicans just don’t trust that book learnin’ and such!

Medicaid

I said all along that since Obama’s Affordable Care Act depended so heavily on expanding Medicaid, the Rethugs would try to kill it. Surely I’m not the only person who anticipated this?

Since Rep. Paul Ryan introduced his budget blueprint in April, Democrats have held countless news conferences and issued even more press releases condemning the plan — as they say — to eliminate, end or kill Medicare as we know it.

Yet, for all the Democrats’ posturing and campaigning against Republican plans for Medicare, the GOP budget actually makes more immediate and deeper cuts to Medicaid. But Democrats haven’t been blasting the GOP Medicaid plan with nearly the same fervor, even though Republicans would cut about $750 billion from the program during the next decade and end the guaranteed federal match for states.

With intense budget negotiations on the debt limit under way, health care insiders think Democrats won’t budge much on Medicare now that they have a significant campaign chip in their pockets: Kathy Hochul’s upset win in New York’s 26th Congressional District is Exhibit A of the power of Medicare.

And that makes advocates worry that Medicaid cuts are more likely to come out of budget negotiations led by Vice President Biden.

Medicaid covers more than 50 million people, including low-income children and seniors in long-term care, but it doesn’t pack the same political punch as Medicare. Some observers say that’s due to the lingering perception that Medicaid is just a program for poor people that holds a much less broad-based appeal.

That perception is definitely part of the challenge in communicating Democratic opposition to the GOP’s Medicaid plans, Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) told POLITICO.

Medicaid “doesn’t quite have the same political dynamic” as Medicare, Andrews said.

That’s because people who haven’t yet taken care of an aged parent don’t know that Medicaid is the funding mechanism that will pay for a nursing home when all other financial resources are exhausted.

Republicans are so much more worried about taking care of exempting millionaires from estate taxes that they forgot to mention that pertinent fact.

Little Ricky

Coming to save us all.

Good morning starshine

A little something for a Monday morning! Oliver:

Oh, the water

It hasn’t rained here in three weeks or so, and it’s taking its toll on the plants — and people. I’ve been wishing for a good rainstorm. Nothing catastrophic, of course. Just rain.

I guess that’s why I dreamed about being caught in a flood last night. In the dream, I was back in my old town, in my former third-floor apartment, waking to the sound of rushing water. “That’s peculiar,” I think. “Did someone leave the water running?”

The sound gets even louder, and eventually it seeps into my brain that it’s coming from outside. I run to the window, where I look out on my town inundated by flood, waters that are rising rapidly. The landmarks are all covered by water, it’s disorienting. Holy shit.

A couple of friends come by; they’ve paddled over on an air mattress to get me. I’m watching the water, which by now look like rapids. I’m doubtful that the three of us can stay on the mattress, but what other choices do I have? I think about what it’s like to lose everything and wonder what I’m going to do. Then I wake up.

Whew. And how’s your Monday?

Fallout

Very long interview with nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen about Fukushima, including how to protect yourself. West Coasters, pay attention:

Chris Martenson: What about food? I mean, this is a big issue and I would think this would be potentially an issue for people on the West Coast of the US even. Is the idea that there are certain isotopes up there and particles that can somehow get through the food chain, maybe through milk because cows graze a whole lot of grass and turn it into a very little bit of milk helping to concentrate whatever was on that grass or leafy vegetables that have a real affinity for certain of these isotopes, potentially cesium, certainly iodine if that is still around, which it shouldn’t be, but apparently it still is. How do you approach food? Because that is one quick way to ingest things.

Arnie Gundersen: Well, the cow milk predominantly would have iodine and we are out now at 80 days and most of the iodine should have disappeared because it has an eight day half life and the rule of thumb is 10 half lifes. But we are still seeing iodine which is kind of strange and it gets back to that issue of criticality re-criticality that we talked about earlier. So I’m still telling friends until the middle of June stay away from milk and dairy products. Clearly washing the vegetables is critical. In Japan we are saying avoid fish caught in the Pacific, unless you know they are caught a long way away from Fukushima. I am saying 100 miles of Fukushima, don’t even consider it. I think that will actually get worse with time. Greenpeace has some numbers that came out indicating that it is worse with time. So we are telling the Sea of Japan is a different story. You can probably feel safe eating fish from the Sea of Japan. But if you believe it came from the Pacific, avoid it.
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