Blah, blah, blah, and meanwhile the real work is being done

Quietly, methodically, seriously. I swear it’s like an alternate world.

Washington Post:

Medicare Advantage provision going smoothly

One of the most significant savings envisioned in the new health- care law – limiting payments to the private health plans that cover 11 million older Americans under Medicare – is, so far, bringing little of the turbulence that the insurance industry and many Republicans predicted.

The law, which sets in motion the broadest changes to the U.S. health-care system in decades, will hold down the amount of money the government gives to Medicare Advantage plans, which are available to patients who prefer a managed-care version of the program. The savings is forecast to amount to $145 billion by the end of the decade.
Before the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage insurance companies were paid more than $1,000 per person on average than seniors in traditional Medicare. All seniors on Medicare – even the 77 percent not enrolled in Medicare Advantage – helped subsidize the additional payments to insurance companies. The Affordable Care Act protects guaranteed Medicare benefits for seniors in Medicare Advantage plans and levels the playing field by ending overpayments to big insurance companies.  Whether the payment changes are warranted was a contentious subplot in the protracted debate over the legislation. Democrats argued successfully that the private plans were being overpaid and could withstand the changes. Republicans warned that such plans would raise prices, lower benefits or cause defections from the program, stranding the elderly people who rely on them.Early clues to the actual effects have now materialized, as elderly Americans may sign up for a health plan for 2011 during an enrollment period through the end of the year, and the warnings of swift, serious damage to the program are not borne out. Fewer health plans are available for the coming year, but the decrease is largely for reasons unrelated to the new law. Premiums have not jumped substantially, and benefits have not tended to erode.

Think Michael Jackson in Tokyo type of screaming

Hello

welcome to this first edition of the non-apologetic and  hate-free Barack Obama mishmash. Just a couple of procedural issues:

1. Comments are moderated, so at least at the beginning it’ll take a little while for them to show up. Not too long, I hope.

2. Please, excuse all kinds of glitches. These won’t stay long either.

3. You can sign up to receive e-mail notice, if you’d like.

4. Yes, there will be photos. Many.  :)

Enjoy.

 

First, Mr. Paul Krugman, take a few minutes and click here to see a full and complete list of all the things the “Conservative” president has done so far. Because frankly, this is one of the stupidest things you could ever say. And you are not Palin, you’re a smart, smart man. If president Obama is a conservative, then you didn’t really win the Nobel Prize.

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The president wants our help in pressing Congress to pass the Dream Act.

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41 states see job gains in October, most in 5 months

WASHINGTON — Businesses and other employers added jobs in 41 states in October from September, the best showing in five months, the Labor Department said Tuesday.The figures indicate the job market is picking up a bit in most parts of the country. Even the nation’s hardest hit states —Nevada  and Michigan showed declines in their unemployment rates.

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Auto Bailout Saved More Than 1.4 Million Jobs

The U.S. government bailout of General Motors, Chrysler and other automotive firms saved more than 1.4 million jobs, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

It estimated most of the jobs — 1.14 million — were saved in 2009 during the low point of the industry’s severe downturn. But another 314,400 jobs were saved in 2010.

The government intervention prevented additional personal income losses totaling $71.9 billion for 2009 and $24.6 billion for 2010.
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How the Auto industry bailout pulls Kokomo back from brink

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — Jerry Price remembers the eerie silence less than two years ago when he walked through one of the transmission plants that long provided the economic lifeblood of this town steeped in auto industry history.With the machines still and the workers gone, casualties of Chrysler’s bankruptcy declaration a few days earlier, the only signs of life were a few lights that had been left on. “None of us, including myself, ever thought that this place would be running again,” said Price, vice president of United Auto Workers Local 685.

Not only has the plant reopened for business, but President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are visiting Tuesday to herald Kokomo as one of the major success stories of the auto bailout. Residents of this city, where unemployment once soared above 20 percent after the shutdown, are doing their part to proclaim the virtues of legislation that generated plenty of controversy at the time.  “If the bailout hadn’t come, then we’d be a ghost town,” said Jeff Newton, a pastor who runs Kokomo Urban Outreach, which runs a network of food pantries.

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Today, Kokomo is likely more dependent on the industry than any other city in the country – including those in Michigan. Nearly 25 percent of the city’s work force is employed by the industry. The city’s unemployment rate hit 20.4 percent in June 2009, the highest level in the past decade. “It’s been very scary at times,” said Dave White, 58, who has worked at Chrysler for 24 years. His wife also works for the automaker.

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The riverfront initiative – along with Small Business Administration financing – made it possible for father and son Steve and Blake Kinder to start Cook McDoogal’s Irish Pub, a new downtown bar with lavish woodwork rescued from old churches and remodeled homes that’s set to open Tuesday.

A couple of years ago, Blake Kinder said, the only people downtown were coming for court appearances. Now, it’s common to see young mothers walking their babies in strollers.”The mood has definitely risen,” he said. “People are starting to feel more comfortable about Kokomo’s future, whether they like to admit it or not.”

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Economy Grew 2.5% In Third Quarter, Revised From 2%

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, more than previously calculated, as companies increased shipments abroad and Americans boosted their spending.

The revised increase in gross domestic product compares with a 2 percent estimate issued last month and a 1.7 percent rise in the second quarter, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Corporate profits grew last quarter at a slower pace and an increase in employee wages in the prior three months was almost twice as much as initially reported.

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The Pentagon: No Gays Were Discharged in Past Month

 A Pentagon spokeswoman says no service members have been discharged for being openly gay in the month since the Defense Department adopted new rules surrounding the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith released the information Monday.

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Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Director of the Office of Health Reform at the White House, breaks down new rules that will make the health care marketplace more transparent:

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NYT: NATO Summit A Success For Obama

WASHINGTON — As administration officials said farewell to one another upon returning from a two-day summit in Lisbon on Saturday night, they all but exchanged high-fives. The sense of success went to the top: President Obama, shirt-sleeved and smiling, made a rare, brief visit to the press cabin as Air Force One headed home.

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Mr. Obama was able to lead on a world stage in a way that he has not been able to do lately at home. He did so with public and private assistance from his European and Russian counterparts, many of whom called the summit meeting historic. Acutely aware of his problems at home after the drubbing Democrats took in the midterm elections — most manifest in Senate Republicans’ resistance to the New Start nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia — the other leaders seemed almost to go out of their way to buoy Mr. Obama.

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President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

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President Obama and VP Biden visited Kokomo, Indiana, earlier today, to celebrate the revival of the auto industry:

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The president, once again, had troubles connecting with everyday Americans. As evident from the pool report of kids’ reaction during the president’s brief visit to Sycamore Elementary School: “Think Michael Jackson in Tokyo type screaming.“:

 

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First Lady, Michelle Obama, promotes “Move On” in Newark, Harlem and Miami:

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Hee: