It will not surprise you to know that I thought the President’s speech yesterday was spot on, especially in its focus on putting people back to work modernizing our national infrastructure. Try to find time to watch “A Better Bargain for the Middle Class” . . . and the subsidiary speeches he will be making to flesh out each theme: jobs, education, housing, health care, retirement security and ladders of opportunity. Let us know what you think.
Rachel had two clips Tuesday night your Republican uncle needs to watch.
The first was on . . .
Watch what the G.O.P. is doing in North Carolina. You will find it hard to believe:
. . . [They] are ramming through with basically no debate [a bill that] would [put] an end to same-day voter registration which over 100,000 people used in the state in last November’s election . . . get rid of state support for voter registration drives . . . ban local election officials from extending polling times for an hour if, for example, there’s really long lines still waiting outside . . . lop off a full week of early voting . . . get rid of a program in high schools that reaches out to students who are nearing the age of voting to show them how to be model citizens. . . . We can’t have students registering to vote! We can’t have that! . . . It all goes away under the bill senate Republicans advanced this afternoon.
The bill would also require i.d. you never had to show before. An estimated 300,000 registered legal voters in North Carolina will not have that kind of documentation.
In an ideal Republican world, it would be just white males with property who voted — as the Founders intended — because so much of the Democratic vote comes from people of color, from women, and from the young and poor who rent rather than own. Well, we’re not going back to 1789. But in virtually every Republican-controlled state — especially now that the Supreme Court has neutered the much-debated and reauthorized Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the G.O.P. (or S.O.P. as I have come to think of today’s incarnation) is working to keep people from voting. What does your Republican uncle think of that?
The second clip was on something else important to Republicans . . .
As aggressively as Republicans are working to make it harder to vote, they are working to block access to affordable health care. Not, certainly, because they want to hurt the sick. Their motives, rather, are (1) to keep Democrats from being seen as having improved tens of millions of lives; (2) to repeal a program that adds 3.8% to the tax on investment income above $250,000, because it is the top 1% — and especially the top 1% of the top 1% — to whom this really matters and to whom the S.O.P. is most fully beholden.
To repeat from an earlier column, because I don’t think most people yet get this:
At its core, here’s what Obamacare does: it taxes the best off so virtually everyone can get better health care coverage.
A terrible idea, from the perspective of the S.O.P. But not a bad idea if you might someday have a preexisting condition or run into the limits of a lifetime cap — or lack health insurance altogether. Or if you like the idea of free preventive care; or the idea of caps on how much of your premium your insurer can keep for itself.
Karen Geronymo: “Working 2-3 part time jobs (in healthcare!) for the past 15 years, I have maintained my own health insurance with a $6000-per-person deductible. Despite the fact that I am healthy (thankfully) and take no medicine on a regular basis, my insurance premium (with the same company for the past 5 years) has increased an average of $150/month (yearly), costing me approximately $10,000 per year. That’s crazy! I am looking for some relief as dropping my insurance is not an option that I can afford. I do laugh when I hear someone say that Obamacare is the slippery slope to socialized medicine…considering that most people will be happy to begin ‘receiving’ Medicare when they are of age to do so. Additionally, when someone shows up at the teaching hospital I work in, they receive care regardless of ability to pay….who, but the taxpayer, is paying for that?”
Watch this clip. Rachel shows how Republican members of Congress will shortly be working to alarm people, especially seniors, about Obamacare over their summer break — she’s gotten hold of the town-hall playbook they’ll be using.
And yet, Rachel says . . .
. . . you know, there is a pilot project that has been run in our country on how to implement health reform. The reform law that everybody calls Obamacare is essentially the same thing as the Romneycare health reform that Mitt Romney signed into law and implemented in Massachusetts where I live. Very successful. Very popular. Very effective.
She goes on to show how the Romney team sold Massachusetts residents on Romneycare — using pro athletes, among others, to sell the plan — and how Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has used his office to threaten pro athletes not to do the same for Obamacare.
But what I love about the clip is Rachel’s interview with Senator Al Franken. What a magnificent senator he has turned out to be (will Senator Jon Stewart be next? Governor Amy Poehler? I’d vote for Tina Fey for anything). Watch, and feel good about Obamacare.
GRAPPLES – CORRECTION!
Adam’s Apples: “Grapples are not ingeniously ‘cross-bred to taste like a grape.’ They are regular apples infused with grape flavor. Akin to these. Apple breeders are honest hard-working folk who grow great apples that require no additives. The world of apples offers an amazing range of tastes and textures, no chemistry required. Make your way to an orchard or greenmarket this fall to try the real thing.”
Quote of the Day
Guys, just remember: if you get real lucky, if you make a lot of money, if you go out and buy a lot of stuff, it's gonna break. You got your biggest, fanciest mansion in the world. It has air conditioning. It has a pool. Just think of all the pumps that are going to go out. Or go to a yacht basin any place in the world. Nobody is smiling and I'll tell you why: something broke that morning. The generator's out, the microwave oven doesn't work, the cook's gay. Things just don't mean happiness.~Ross Perot to Harvard B-School students, quoted in Forbes
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