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Friday, February 26, 2010

Breaking: CNN's Stunning One-Sided Coverage of Health Care Summit

By mediapolitic
Daily Kos
Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 10:30:21 AM PST

In a stunning display of one-sided coverage, during the first three hours of coverage of the Health Care Summit televised so far, CNN only interrupted, whether for commercial or comment, Democratic speakers.

mediapolitic's diary :: ::
Yes, I could have watched the first three hours on C-SPAN, but I was interested in the balance of coverage.

I was stunned.

In the first three hours televised so far, CNN interrupted:

Pres. Obama (D) for a Chantax / Pfizer commercial
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D) (entire speech) for a Liberator medical device ad as well as an ad by American Future Fund featuring a lipstick-wearing pig which advocated "Tell Congress Start Over and Get Health Care Right."
Pres. Obama (D) for ads (including an ad by the Oil and Gas Industry)
Sen. Max Baucus (D-sorta) for ads
Rep. Robert Andrews (D) (entire speech) for comment
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) for ads
Pres. Obama (D) for ads including another one by Pfizer
At this point, they did cut into the very tail end (couple seconds) of Rep. Charles Boustany's (R) comments but only to go to Rep. Anh Cao (R) for comment while not showing a couple moments of Pres. Obama (D) and several minutes of another Dem (didn't even see who he was!)
But oh, they came back straight away for Sen. McCain (R)!

Then they cut away from Kathleen Sibilieus (D) for commentary which they then interrupted their own commentary in order to catch all of Eric Cantor's (R) comments.
Then they cut away for the entire Rep. Louise Slaughter (D) comments.
I could understand a slight imbalance, but a total, complete one-sided coverage needs to be called out.

A question I have: is this one-sided coverage 1) on purpose; 2) unintentional, an act of the subconscious. And if so, what does that say about their producer / director? It's an either/or proposition.

Not to mention that their "commentators" include Rep. Anh Cao (R), David Gergen (R), Dana Bash (R) and Ben Stein (R-asshat).

This is what America is watching. The Most Trusted Name in News?? Actually, at this rate, they should change their entire name from CNN to Fox Lite.


Editing to add contact info for complaints to CNN, MSNBC. Thanks to user dmhlt 66 for the bulk of the CNN contact info.

MSNBC: Phone: (212) 664-4444

CNN MAIN # 404-827-1500

One CNN Center
PO Box 105366
Atlanta, GA 30303-5366
Phone: 404.827-1500

Comment Line: 404.827 - 0234

FAX: 404.827-1906

E-mail: cnn.feedback@cnn.com

CNN Washington Bureau
820 First St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202.898-7900
FAX: 202.898-7923

CNN NEWS CHIEF: Eason Jordan
Phone: 404.827-5111
FAX: 404.827-4215
Email: eason.jordan@cnn.com

Phone: 404.827-1500
FAX: 404.827-1099 And here is the rest of it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spitzer: Republican Party, 'Apostles of Nihilism', Urges Obama to Fight for Principles

Warren: Consumers Need Protection Agency That Will Crack Down on Credit Card Giants Who Dodge New Rules

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tell the History Channel To Dump Right-Wing JFK Character Assassination Series

Historians Agree History Channel Series A Fabrication that Mocks JFK on eve of 50th anniversary of JFK inauguration.

Watch VIDEO and take action at StopKennedySmears.com Tell the History Channel it risks its reputation as a credible factual source if it airs this series. It's time to dump the script and send it to the National Enquirer.

And here is the rest of it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rep Nancy Young-Wright: GOP 'Corp Bailout' Cripples Public Education, Throws Kids Off Healthcare, Burdens Homeowners with Higher Property Tax


For more information on the Democratic alternative budget that is focused on raising revenue, protecting children and families, and closing tax loopholes, click on www.strongerarizona.com.

President's Day 'Quote of the Day" From Abraham Lincoln

And here is the rest of it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

BRAVE NEW FILMS:Anthem Blue Cross: Screwing Californians for Profits


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America


by Don Peck

HOW SHOULD WE characterize the economic period we have now entered?

After nearly two brutal years, the Great Recession appears to be over, at least technically. Yet a return to normalcy seems far off. By some measures, each recession since the 1980s has retreated more slowly than the one before it. In one sense, we never fully recovered from the last one, in 2001: the share of the civilian population with a job never returned to its previous peak before this downturn began, and incomes were stagnant throughout the decade. Still, the weakness that lingered through much of the 2000s shouldn’t be confused with the trauma of the past two years, a trauma that will remain heavy for quite some time.

The unemployment rate hit 10 percent in October, and there are good reasons to believe that by 2011, 2012, even 2014, it will have declined only a little. Late last year, the average duration of unemployment surpassed six months, the first time that has happened since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking that number. As of this writing, for every open job in the U.S., six people are actively looking for work.

All of these figures understate the magnitude of the jobs crisis. The broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment (which includes people who want to work but have stopped actively searching for a job, along with those who want full-time jobs but can find only part-time work) reached 17.4 percent in October, which appears to be the highest figure since the 1930s. And for large swaths of society—young adults, men, minorities—that figure was much higher (among teenagers, for instance, even the narrowest measure of unemployment stood at roughly 27 percent). One recent survey showed that 44 percent of families had experienced a job loss, a reduction in hours, or a pay cut in the past year.

Continue reading here.

'No Labor Market Recession For America's Affluent,' Low-Wage Workers Hit Hardest: STUDY

By Ryan McCarthy
Huffington Post
First Posted: 02-10-10 01:00 PM |

It's truly been a tale of two unemployment crises.

Though the national unemployment rate dipped slightly in January to 9.7 percent, a new study suggests that not only have low-income workers been the hardest hit by the jobs crisis -- but, shockingly, there has been "no labor market recession for America's affluent."

The study from Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada and Sheila Palma at Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies suggests that the unemployment problem is largely a problem for low-wage workers (hat tip to the Curious Capitalist).

From the study:

At the end of calendar year 2009, as the national economy was recovering from the recession of 2007-2009, workers in different segments of the income distribution clearly found themselves in radically different labor market conditions. A true labor market depression faced those in the bottom two deciles of the income distribution, a deep labor market recession prevailed among those in the middle of the distribution, and close to a full employment environment prevailed at the top. There was no labor market recession for America's affluent.

To download the study, continue reading here.

Republican State Rep: REVOKE 17th AMENDMENT TO U.S. CONSTITUTION, Let State Legislatures "Reign Supreme," Select U.S. Senators

Pima County Democratic Party
Contact: Jeff Rogers, Chair, Pima County Democratic Party

February 10, 2010

GOP Lawmakers Lead Assault on Voters, Still No State Budget

(Editor's note: We are not making this up.)

State Rep. David Stevens and the Arizona Legislature have again made it abundantly clear this week that their priorities lie in passing bizarre pieces of legislation rather than carrying out their Constitutionally-obligated duties. Stevens believes that U.S. Senators are too beholden to voters, when their loyalty should be to him and his Phoenix political bosses.

Stevens, a freshman Republican, has proposed Legislation that would revoke the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows voters to choose their senators.

Stevens told Capitol News Services that the 17th Amendment was "a mistake," and that he and his colleagues in the Legislature should "reign supreme" because they know better than voters who should be elected.
This is the same Legislature that can't handle its own constitutional responsibilities, including passing a balanced budget by June 30, 2009. Arizonans are still waiting for that.

No word on what other portions of the Constitution Stevens believes to be “a mistake”.

"The Republican majority refuses to do their jobs and instead 'plays pretend' that they are in Congress," said Pima County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rogers. "They have repeatedly failed to do the work of the people and turned to bizarre extremism, taking Arizona back to the 19th century. When are they going to pass a budget?"

“The people of Arizona are tired of legislative ideologues like David Stevens and Al Melvin,” Rogers continued, “who think that their time is better spent on repealing portions of the U.S. Constitution and putting guns in bars than on doing their jobs. When will the Far Right learn that Arizonans don’t want a State Militia Ammunition Tax Credit – they want a balanced budget?”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Take Action: SAVE ACCESS TUCSON Contact Tucson City Council TODAY!


February 1-March 9


Call 791-4700 TODAY!

Speak UP! Tell the Mayor and Council not to axe the VOICE of the community.

Access Tucson community programming airs on COMCAST Channel 74 in Pima County.

Click here to play the Video

Although ACCESS Tucson programming has ceased production, tune in to Channel 74 to see outstanding programs still airing this month-- like the filming of Tucson Veterans Day events, World Harmony, Interviews with Tucson leaders like Felipe Jacome, Regional Director of the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Tune in at 2:30pm Sundays for Democrats and the Issues. Now might be your last opportunity to view the last show hosted by Martin Bacal, "A Photojournalist's View of Afghanistan" with Former City Councilman & Legislator, Bruce Wheeler.

Persuade the Mayor and Council to continue funding this unique Tucson resource.

Email Mayor and Council

Mayor: Robert.Walkup@tucsonaz.gov
(520) 791-4201

Ward 1: Regina.Romero@tucsonaz.gov
(520) 791-4040

Ward 2: Rodney.Glassman@tucsonaz.gov
(520) 791-4687

Ward 3: Karin.Uhlich@tucsonaz.gov
(520) 791-4711

Ward 4: Shirley.Scott@tucsonaz.gov
(520) 791-3199

Ward 5: Richard.Fimbres@tucsonaz.gov
(520) 791-4231

Ward 6: Steve.Kozachik@tucsonaz.gov
(520) 791-4601

Monday, February 8, 2010

Elizabeth Warren: Time For Wall Street CEOs To 'Earn Back' America's Trust

By Shahien Nasiripour
Huffington Post
First Posted: 02- 8-10 07:50 PM

Bailout watchdog and Middle Class advocate Elizabeth Warren has accused Wall Street CEOs of abusing consumer trust and challenged them to step up and support financial reform -- for the nation's benefit as well as their own.

In an opinion piece [Wall Street's Race to the Bottom] to be published in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Warren writes, "For years, Wall Street CEOs have thrown away customer trust like so much worthless trash."

"Banks and brokers have sold deceptive mortgages for more than a decade. Financial wizards made billions by packaging and repackaging those loans into securities. And federal regulators played the role of lookout at a bank robbery, holding back anyone who tried to stop the massive looting from middle-class families. When they weren't selling deceptive mortgages, Wall Street invented new credit card tricks and clever overdraft fees.

Continue reading here.

Maurice Grossman, Acclaimed Ceramic Artist, Citizen Activist Leaves Gift of Light that Lives On

By Sandra Spangler
February 8, 2010

Maurice K. Grossman embodied the spirit of giving through his teaching and participation in the community. He cared deeply about awakening and empowering citizens to exercise their right to vote. As an observer in recent elections Maurice acted upon a belief that members of political parties should actively participate in verifying and protecting ballot chain of custody to make sure votes are counted.

He will be remembered as a Navy World War II veteran committed to democracy and living a life dedicated to connectedness, peace and understanding.

A large crowd numbering 400 or more joined with his family to celebrate Maurice's life at the Tucson Museum of Art on Sunday. We heard from colleagues, students and friends to be reminded of Maurice's gifts to everyone who he met. Maurice was a teacher and mentor to thousands.

He had a passion for his ceramic art and every day he lived the legacy he leaves for us--kindness, love, appreciation and gratitude for every soul. The vision he worked for is a government that would give life to and nourish its citizens. He freely shared his passion with good humor and boundless energy. The living light of Maurice's spirit calls us to stand up for what we believe in.

During the memorial Rep. Matt Heinz (LD 29) and Sen. Paula Aboud (LD 28) read a Concurrent Resolution of the Arizona State Legislature recognizing Maurice for his lifetime achievements and honoring his contribution to Arizona educational and community life. They presented the family with memorials and an American flag that had flown over the Arizona Capitol building in Maurice's honor. Read the resolution here.

From Blog for Arizona

"Maurice was a native of Michigan. In 1955, he moved to Tucson, where he founded the University of Arizona's Ceramic Arts program the following year. He taught at the UA for 35 years and was the recipient of the UA's Creative Teaching Award.

Maurice studied in Japan as a Fullbright Scholar, and he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1986. He was internationally recognized for his pottery, and very involved in the local arts community.

Maurice worked tirelessly on Democratic Party causes. After the death of his wife, he came out as a gay man, and he fought for GLBT rights, as well as many other social causes.

"He was simply the nicest person you'd ever want to meet," said Jeff Rogers, Pima County Democratic Party chair. "We will miss his generosity of time and his effort, but what we'll really miss is the man we knew and admired."

Doug Noffsinger, a long time friend of Grossman's, told the Arizona Daily Star of Mr. Grossman: "He's probably registered more people to vote in Pima County than any other living person. And he always did that in outfits like an Uncle Sam hat, or a red, white and blue boa."

Maurice is survived by two children, Lauren and Stephen Grossman, both of Seattle. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn Gracey Grossman, and his oldest daughter, Barbara Jean Grossman."

Click on picture to watch AZ Public Media Interview with Maurice.

Remembering a Pioneer Artist and Community Activist Maurice Grossman dies at 82 — January 25, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The US Fiscal Deficit: Scare Stories vs. Reality

The Real News
February 6, 2010

Robert Pollin: There are ways to cut the deficit without freezing social spending

Click on picture to view video.

Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He is the founding co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). His research centers on macroeconomics, conditions for low-wage workers in the US and globally, the analysis of financial markets, and the economics of building a clean-energy economy in the US. His books include

A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the US

tours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Markets Fail When Humans Are Unregulated

By Paul Craig Roberts
OpEd News
February 4, 2010

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan answered that he had placed his trust in a flawed theory when he was called before Congress to explain why he, Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, prevented Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation, a government regulatory agency, from doing her job of regulating over-the-counter derivatives.

The efficient markets theory is that unregulated markets are efficient and rational. According to this theory in which Greenspan placed his trust, unregulated markets produce the best possible
result. Any regulatory interference worsens the outcome.

Greenspan blamed his own bad judgment on a theory. The theory, or Greenspan's understanding of it, nevertheless still holds sway as Congress has proved impotent to re-regulate the gambling casino that is Wall Street. Clearly, the theory serves powerful interests.

But what is the truth?

The truth is that markets are a social institution. Their efficiency depends on the rules that govern the behavior of people in markets. When free market economists talk about markets deciding this or that, they are reifying a social institution and ascribing to it decision-making power. Socialists make the same mistake when they blame markets for the results of human action. But, of course, markets do not act or
make decisions. People act and make decisions, and markets reflect the decisions and actions of people.
The entire debate over regulation is misconstrued. It is not the market, an efficient social institution, that is regulated. What is regulated is the behavior of people in markets. If you want good results from markets, good regulation of human behavior is a requirement.
The market is like a computer. Garbage in, garbage out.

Continue reading here.

Rep. Donna Edwards: "Amend the Constitution," Quotes Justice Brandeis

Shadow Elite: The Spy Who Came in From... Wall Street?

By Janine R. Wedel Author, "Shadow Elite"
Huffington Post
Posted: February 4, 2010 09:05 AM

During the Cold War, we took it for granted that officers of the Central Intelligence Agency worked solely for the good of the USA -- or at least their version of the good. They were loyal first, last, and always only to one institution, the CIA.
Americans assumed that they had one boss, and one boss alone: the CIA director. But this week came a revelation that shakes that longstanding belief to the core.
Today, CIA officers are allowed to moonlight, and ply their espionage skills elsewhere in their free time.
I wish I could say this was a stunning revelation, but it is not. It is just the sort of dilution of loyalty, authority, and the government's "brain" that enables the top players of power and influence -- the shadow elite -- to serve their own agendas, rather than the public's, as they move seamlessly across government, business, think tank, and media organizations. In my new book Shadow Elite, I argue that this trend threatens our democracy, and often, even our security.

Here is what is detailed by reporter Eamon Javers, in his new book Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage.

And it reads like a bit of farce from a John Le Carre novel, recast to 21st century Wall Street. Some active duty CIA officers, Javers reports, have been on the payroll of a company called BIA (deliberately named to resemble the CIA). For BIA, they reportedly practice "deception detection" to aid Wall Street companies and hedge funds in their business transactions. Like the TV series, "Lie To Me", in which a psychologist analyzes facial, body, and vocal expressions to ferret out who's lying and who's not in criminal investigations, these officers use their CIA training to read the cues that CEO's and market analysts unwittingly send off. They help clients, including Goldman Sachs, figure out if other executives are on the up-and-up when they tout the health of their company. It conjures up an absurd image of an elite, precision-trained spy, sitting and watching and scrutinizing.... business news on CNBC.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feb. 13 Campaign Kick-Off Party For LD 26 Candidates Nancy Young Wright, & Cheryl Cage

Please RSVP to Aspen Green at aspengreen900@comcast.net if you plan to attend.

Al Franken Humbles John McCain, the Senator who placed hold on Obama NLRB nominee Craig Becker

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stewart: Fox News saw Obama’s Q&A as ‘against the narrative’ | Obama 'Having Fun'

By David Edwards and Stephen Webster
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 -- 6:57 pm

The problem with preconceived shades of reality is that occasionally, someone comes along and knocks everything askew.

According to Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, that's exactly what happened when President Barack Obama spent an hour and a half swatting down House Republicans' questions, causing Fox News to "cut the feed."

It was almost as if the president could see the GOP talking points in "bullet time," Stewart joked.

For the rest of the story click here.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Q & O
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

'Money for Nothing' Author Exposes Corporate Board Cronyism That Threatens the Economy

John Gillespie and David Zweig take readers deep inside the elite world of these corporate leaders to reveal its inner workings and show how the glaring failures of the system have imperiled our economy. For excerpts and more on the book click on the picture.

DFA: Tell Gabrielle Giffords to Sign the Letter Urging Senate To Pass Public Option by Reconciliation

92 House Democrats Have Signed the Polis/Pingree Letter

An incredible 92 House Democrats have signed the Polis-Pingree letter calling on the Senate to pass the public health insurance option through "reconciliation," which only needs a simple majority to pass the Senate.

The Boldprogressive whip team is aiming for 100, and today is the last day for others to sign. Raul Grijalva is the only Arizona Democrat so far to sign on.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords isn't on board yet. Can you call her today and ask her to sign?

This letter has been reported on by MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and others. The momentum is growing. And numerous congressional offices have said calls so far made a huge difference -- your call today will too.

Click here to participate in the Democracy for America Boldprogressives campaign.

View full letter at WhipCongress.com/letter

The Honorable Harry Reid
Office of the Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

As the Senate continues to work on health reform legislation, we strongly urge you to consider including a public option.

Here are the reasons for this request:

1) The public option is overwhelmingly popular.

A December New York Times poll shows that, despite the attacks of recent months, the American public supports the public option 59% to 29%. And a recent Research 2000 poll found 82% of people who supported President Obama in 2008 and Scott Brown for Senate last week also support the public option. Only 32% of this key constituency is in favor of the current Senate bill – with more saying it “doesn’t go far enough” rather than it “goes too far.”

Support for health care legislation started to fall as popular provisions like the public option were stripped out and affordability standards were watered down. The American people want us to fight for them and against special interests like the insurance industry, and it is our responsibility to show them that their voices are being heard.

2) The public option will save billions for taxpayers, speaking to the fiscally-responsible sensibilities of our constituents.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the public option will save taxpayers anywhere from $25 billion to $110 billion and will save billions more when private insurers compete to bring down premium costs. The stronger the public option, the more money it saves.

By including the public option, we can simultaneously reduce tax increases and the deficit. This is a common-sense way to temper the frustration of Americans who question whether Congress is spending their money wisely and fighting for the middle class.

3) There is strong support in the Senate for a popular public option.

It is very likely that the public option could have passed the Senate, if brought up under majority-vote “budget reconciliation” rules. While there were valid reasons stated for not using reconciliation before, especially given that some important provisions of health care reform wouldn’t qualify under the reconciliation rules, those reasons no longer exist. The public option would clearly qualify as budget-related under reconciliation, and with the majority support it has garnered in the Senate, it should be included in any healthcare reform legislation that moves under reconciliation.

As Democrats forge “the path forward” on health care, we believe that passing the public option through reconciliation should be part of that path. We urge you to favorably consider our request to include a public option in the reconciliation process.


Jared Polis, Member of Congress
Chellie Pingree, Member of Congress
Keith Ellison, Member of Congress
Carolyn Maloney, Member of Congress
Sam Farr, Member of Congress
Earl Blumenauer, Member of Congress
Paul Tonko, Member of Congress
Jan Schakowsky, Member of Congress
Donna Christensen, Member of Congress
Yvette Clarke, Member of Congress
John Hall, Member of Congress
Michael Doyle, Member of Congress
David Wu, Member of Congress
Anthony Weiner, Member of Congress
Alcee Hastings, Member of Congress
Bob Filner, Member of Congress
Peter DeFazio, Member of Congress
Peter Welch, Member of Congress
And dozens of other representatives...And here is the rest of it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dem ad slams GOP candidate as ‘architect of voter suppression’

By Daniel Tencer
Monday, Feb. 1st, 2010

The Democratic Party has released a one-minute ad accusing a Republican candidate for Congress and former Karl Rove aide of being "the architect of a voter suppression scheme."

Tim Griffin, who worked as an aide for Karl Rove during the Bush administration before becoming a US Attorney, is running for Congress in Arkansas' 2nd district. An ad released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says Griffin was behind a "voter caging" effort, despite Griffin's claims to the contrary.

The video shows an email, obtained by investigative journalist Greg Palast in 2007, showing Griffin receiving and replying to issues involving voter caging. According to the DCCC, Griffin responded "Thank you, perfect" to one of the emails.

The video begins with audio of Griffin denying knowledge of voter caging schemes. "Obviously I've seen the Internet stuff about caging. ... The allegations that are on the Internet ... are completely and absolutely false."

"Tim 'Dirty Tricks' Griffin says the allegations are 'absolutely false'? Too bad he put it in writing," the Democratic ad states.


Continue reading here.

GOP PR GURU Frank Luntz Pens Memo To Kill Financial Regulatory Reform

By Sam Stein
Huffington Post

Nine months after he penned a memo laying out the arguments for health care legislation's destruction, Republican message guru Frank Luntz has put together a playbook to help derail financial regulatory reform.

In a 17-page memo titled, "The Language of Financial Reform," Luntz urged opponents of reform to frame the final product as filled with bank bailouts, lobbyist loopholes, and additional layers of complicated government bureaucracy.

"If there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that the bad decisions and harmful policies by Washington bureaucrats that in many ways led to the economic crash must never be repeated," Luntz wrote. "This is your critical advantage. Washington's incompetence is the common ground on which you can build support."

Luntz continued: "Ordinarily, calling for a new government program 'to protect consumers' would be extraordinary popular. But these are not ordinary times. The American people are not just saying 'no.' They are saying 'hell no' to more government agencies, more bureaucrats, and more legislation crafted by special interests."

In Republican circles Luntz's words, which have helped the party score win the message wars over health care and other legislative battles, are often treated as gospel. Already, some of the advice he's offered on regulatory reform has found its way into the political discourse -- with a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency seemingly on life support under Republican objections.

In addition to tying regulatory reform to a massive government takeover, Luntz's memo includes several other data points and messaging suggestions as a blue print for the legislation's defeat. Opponents, he writes, would be well served to link the package to the financial industry bailout (which, it should be noted, is fundamentally not part of the legislation). According to accompanying polling data, 52 percent of voters said they would be "much less likely" to vote for their member of Congress if they voted for a financial reform bill that contained a fund to bail out banks and Wall Street.

"Public outrage about the bailout of banks and Wall Street is a simmering time bomb set to go off on Election Day,"
Luntz wrote. "Frankly, the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout."

Another effective strategy to kill the bill, according to Luntz, is to make the case that it was written in secret by lobbyists.
A downloadable copy of the full Luntz memo is posted on Huffington Post Web site. Click here to continue reading.

Farewell My GED

Posted by Tucson Citizen Data Port
January 30, 2010

The Data Port recently received a note from Melisa DeNinno who is the Communications Coordinator for Literacy Volunteers of Tucson. It was ominously headed: Arizona Plans to Plummet to Fame.

“The budget cuts Governor Jan Brewer is proposing are painful, but one will earn us national recognition. Not only will Arizona have one of the highest high school drop-out rates in the nation, if the proposed cuts are approved, GED classes and testing will no longer be offered in this state. Arizona would become the only state in the country without this service.”

Paula Stuht, Vice President of Business Development of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, adds:

“The economic impact of NOT educating the nearly 800,000 Arizonans who do not have a high school diploma is enormous. The elimination of Adult Education will prevent the development and re-training of a prepared workforce that we urgently need to attract and keep existing businesses in Arizona.”

“Without a GED it is nearly impossible to go on to further training or to get a job. 70% of welfare recipients and 65% of the state prison population don’t have high school diplomas. 18% of all high school diplomas issued in Arizona in 2008 were GED diplomas, nearly 1/5 of Arizona’s high school graduates.

GED grads earn $5,000 more per year on average, resulting in approximately $70 million additional taxable income in Arizona. Arizona benefits from over $8 million in additional tax revenue from GED graduates which is almost double the return on investment.

If the Governor’s recommendation to totally eliminate its $4.6 million adult education program is ultimately approved, Arizona will sacrifice $11 million of federal funds for adult education that are directly based on the state’s commitment to maintain its funding level.”

Arizona plans to set a new record.

“Not only will have one of the most abysmal drop-out rates, we will effectively dismantle the only entry point into immediate employment and job training for the approximately 22,000 adults that are served by Adult Education annually. At a time when more than 1 in 5 people in Pima County is living in poverty can we really afford this?” says Ramón Valadez, Chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

Cutting Adult Education and the GED will not help the state’s deficit, it will deepen it.

Save Adult Education in Arizona. The governor has recommended the complete elimination of adult ed (that is, GED and other adult programs) -- retroactive to January 1, 2010 -- in order to try to balance the budget.
Contact your legislator now.


AZ Leg Budget Cuts mean no hospice for some near death

By Kimberly Matas
Arizona Daily Star
Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 12:00 am

State legislators, in an attempt to balance the budget, have cut care options for some terminally ill Arizonans, and hospices may have to repay the state for services already provided.

A footnote in the Legislature's 2007 General Appropriation Act allowed the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to match federal funds for hospice services needed by acute-care patients. It was a one-year appropriation that was renewed in 2008, but not for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2009. Even though legislators approved the budget in July, AHCCCS continued authorizing hospice payments for another six months.

Last month, AHCCCS sent a letter to providers telling them that the funding had been eliminated, and it suggested they would have to repay the state.

Because of the state's budget crisis, the end of the legislative session was "a confusing time," said Monica Coury, a spokeswoman for AHCCCS. "Normally we might have been able to provide notification sooner. We didn't provide it as soon as we would have liked to."

AHCCCS members enrolled in the agency's long-term-care program retain their hospice benefits, but other patients likely will end up in hospital emergency rooms without the hospice benefit. The average hospice stay is 20 days, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

"Typically in the hospice world, individuals are not seeking aggressive treatment anymore; they are seeking comfort care," said Agnes Poore, chief clinical officer and co-founder of Casa de la Luz Hospice. "But typically in the hospital, they might do diagnostic tests. If you need pain management, they might admit you to the hospital. Emergency room and hospital costs are enormous compared to what you would pay for hospice care."

Last year, 541 acute-care hospice patients were enrolled in AHCCCS. Those same patients would not be eligible for AHCCCS-funded hospice benefits today.

Read more here.