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This is what Republicans want to repeal -- ask them why???

Here are features of the health insurance reform legislation that will go into effect almost immediately. This is what Republicans want to repeal.

Tell you what -- if you're a Republican and you want to campaign on repealing these common-sense measures, I'll be glad to run against you.


SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS—Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)


BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE—Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)

FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE—Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.

HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES—Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment.


NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS—Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to adults as well.)

NO RESCISSIONS—Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.

NO LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.

NO RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Tightly restricts new plans’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)

FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PLANS—Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment.

NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS FOR NEW PLANS—Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions. Effective 6 months after enactment.

MORE FOR YOUR PREMIUM DOLLAR—Requires plans to put more of your premiums into your care, and less into profits, CEO pay, etc. This medical loss ratio requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premiums on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent. Insurers that don’t meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.

NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY—Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective 6 months after enactment.


IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL)—Provides immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition - through a temporary high-risk pool – until the Exchanges up and running in 2014. Effective 90 days after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, health plans are banned from discriminating against all people with pre-existing conditions, so high-risk pools would phase out).

EXTENDING COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE – Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS—Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly doubling the number of patients served over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

MORE PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS—Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER ASSISTANCE—Provides aid to states to establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance to help consumers file complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in FY 2010.

A NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM—Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become functionally disabled. Effective on January 1, 2011.

How to Bribe a Supreme Court Justice

Give the money to his wife.

Read on.

Here's the LA Times take on the topic of How to Bribe a Supreme Court Justice.

The Times revealed a major conflict of interest facing Justice Clarence Thomas.

Mr. Thomas is married to Virginia Thomas, who just launched Liberty

The lead endorsement comes from two prominent Tea Party activists.

Liberty Central is thoughtfully organized under tax law as a c(4).

It can take unlimited corporate contributions, not disclose them, and
engage in partisan activities.

Ponder that for just a moment.

The wife of a Supreme Court justice has organized a political
non-profit linked to Tea Party activists whose activities can be
supported to an unlimited extent by corporations whose donations need
not be disclosed to the public.

Similarly, Mrs. Thomas is under no obligation to disclose her
compensation to anybody.

Mrs. Justice Thomas has the script memorized.

When the Times asked Mrs. Thomas about this interesting situation, she responded with the traditional right wing charge of the media imposing a double standard on conservatives, pointing out that the elected governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, is married to a federal judge.

She conveniently left out that any political contributions to Mr.
Rendell are both limited and fully disclosed under Federal law, and
that Judge Rendell scrupulously avoids any political activities.

And she has the background for it.

Her own biography reveals that she has been employed by a series of right wing organizations -- an entity controlled by former Congressman Dick Armey, whose FreedomWorks is much of the money behind the Tea Party gatherings, Hillsdale College (well known as a favorite of hard right students), the Heritage Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce, the preeminent purveyor of laundered corporate money.

None of these organizations need reveal their corporate backers.

Of course, the Thomases could avoid the appearance of evil by two simple steps:

1. Liberty Central could disclose its donors. Same way the Clinton Foundation does.

2. Justice Thomas could recuse himself from cases involving those donors.

The Old Redneck is not holding his breath until either (1) or (2) happens.

Hell will freeze over first.

Why would a President appoint a man to the federal bench whose son is in Congress?? Trying to buy the Congressional vote??

Can you imagine this??? A president, only in office a few months, appoints to the federal bench a state judge who is the father of a member of Congress.

Could it be that the President is buying the son's vote??

And to make it even better, the son left Congress after it was discovered that he was carrying on a raging affair with a woman who was a lobbyist for matters before Congress -- while living in the house on C Street and proclaiming his "Christian values."

-- quote

Charles Willis Pickering, Sr. (born May 29, 1937 in Mississippi, USA) is a retired federal judge who served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Judge Pickering received a B.A. from the University of Mississippi in 1959, and an LL.B. also from the University of Mississippi in 1961.

Active in the Democratic Party of the State of Mississippi in the early 1960s, Judge Pickering switched to the Mississippi Republican Party in 1964. He claimed at the time that "the people of [Mississippi] were heaped with humiliation and embarrassment at the Democratic Convention" in Atlantic City after the national Democratic Party seated two civil rights activists from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party with the all-white delegation Pickering supported. Pickering, along with other disaffected segregationist Democrats, played a key role in building the Republican Party in Mississippi in the following years.

Judge Pickering was appointed and served as City Prosecuting Attorney of Laurel, Mississippi and was elected and served four years as County Prosecuting Attorney of Jones County, Mississippi. He served briefly as Laurel City Judge, 1969, and was elected to two terms in the Mississippi Senate, 1972 to 1980. In 1979, Pickering was the Republican nominee for state Attorney General and lost by a narrow margin. He and also served as Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party from 1976 to 1978.

In 1976, Judge Pickering chaired the subcommittee of the Republican Party's Platform Committee that called for a Constitutional amendment that would have overruled Roe v. Wade.
In 1984, as president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, Pickering was presiding when the Convention adopted a resolution calling for legislation to outlaw abortion except when necessary to preserve a woman's life.

Judge Pickering was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on October 2, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush.

On May 25, 2001, during the 107th Congress, President George W. Bush nominated Judge Pickering for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated by Judge Henry Anthony Politz who had taken senior status in 1999, but Judge Pickering's nomination was not acted upon favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee then under the control of Democratic senator, Patrick Leahy D-VT. Nevertheless, on January 7, 2003, President Bush renominated Pickering to the same position. With the Republicans now in charge of the committee during the 108th Congress, Pickering's nomination was voted out to the full Senate. With no way to stop his confirmation, the Senate Democrats chose to filibuster Pickering in order to prevent him from receiving a straight up-or-down confirmation vote.

Democratic opposition to Judge Pickering was based mainly upon two factors. First, during two hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he maintained a position opposing abortion. Second, he was accused of "glaring racial insensitivity" because of a 1994 hate-crimes case in which he decided that 25-year-old Daniel Swan, who had participated with two others in a cross-burning, should receive a reduced sentence. The other participants in the cross-burning had escaped jail sentences for the crime because of plea bargains. During the course of testimony, Judge Pickering came to suspect the Civil Rights Division had made a plea bargain with the wrong defendant. He felt that one of the other defendants, a 17-year-old, was more likely the ringleader of the group. When it came time to sentence Swan, Pickering questioned whether it made sense that the most-guilty defendant got off with a misdemeanor and no jail time, while a less-guilty defendant would be sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. "The recommendation of the government in this instance is clearly the most egregious instance of disproportionate sentencing recommended by the government in any case pending before this court," Pickering wrote. "The defendant [Swan] clearly had less racial animosity than the juvenile." Pickering sentenced Swan to two years in prison rather than to the seven and a half years requested by the Justice Department.

Groups that opposed Pickering's confirmation to the Fifth Circuit included: the national but not the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, the Legislative Black Caucus, the Magnolia Bar Association, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Mississippi Worker's Center for Human Rights, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Alliance for Justice, the Human Rights Campaign, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Bar Association, the American Association of University Women, the National Women's Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Women's Political Caucus, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of School Administrators, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, the United Steelworkers of America and others.

However, Pickering's nomination was supported by several past leaders of the NAACP in Mississippi. One of his strongest supporters was Charles Evers, brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

Senate Republicans failed to overcome a filibuster of Judge Pickering's nomination on October 30, 2003, when he did not receive enough votes to invoke cloture and end debate on his nomination. Frustrated with the obstruction of the Senate Democrats, on January 16, 2004, President George W. Bush gave Judge Pickering a recess appointment to the Fifth Circuit.
In December 2004, unable to overcome his filibuster and with his recess appointment about to end, Judge Pickering announced that he was withdrawing his name from consideration as a nominee to the Fifth Circuit and retiring from the federal bench. He later was replaced as a nominee by Michael B. Wallace, but Wallace's nomination was also eventually withdrawn due to Democratic opposition. Only in 2007 was the seat allowed to be filled with Leslie H. Southwick, who was confirmed almost entirely because of the support of California's Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein.

Judge Pickering is married to Margaret Ann Pickering, with whom he has three daughters and one son, former U.S. Representative Charles "Chip" Pickering, Jr.

-- end quote

And now, let's review the antics of Charles W. (Chip) Pickering, Jr., who was in Congress at the time GWBush appointed his father to the federal bench.

First, there's this:

". . . former Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., who allegedly rendezvoused at the C Street House with his mistress, an executive in the industry for which he then became a lobbyist; . . . "

Then this:

Former Congressman and C Street resident Chip Pickering's estranged wife has filed a lawsuit against Pickering's alleged mistress. Leisha Pickering is suing Elizabeth Creekmore-Byrd for alienation of affection.

Rep. Pickering, a Republican from Mississippi, allegedly continued seeing his college sweetheart while they were both married. According to the suit, some of the "wrongful conduct" occurred at the C Street facility for Christian congressmen -- the same one where Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have lived, and where Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has recently sought counseling.

What's with this place?

The suit alleges Pickering and Creekmore-Byrd are still together. Perhaps they're soul mates?
The complaint, filed Tuesday in Hinds County Circuit Court in Mississippi, is 28 14 pages long, plus evidence, so we'll be posting more if we find anything particularly juicy.

Late Update: The suit says Rep. Pickering and Creekmore-Byrd rekindled their relationship while he was a congressman, before and while living at the C-Street facility. The relationship was "completely unknown" by Leisha Pickering, as it occurred in Washington on weekdays, and the congressman would return home to his wife and five children only on weekends.

Later Update: The suit also alleges Pickering declined Trent Lott's Senate seat and instead quit Congress altogether when his mistress gave him an ultimatum. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour denies he offered Pickering the seat.