Levees Not War
Infrastructure. Environment. Peace.

Posts Tagged ‘bobby jindal’

7 Million Cheers for ‘Obamacare’

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

more than 7 millionPublic Health, Too, Is ‘National Security’

Congratulation to President Obama, the White House, and the courageous Democrats in Congress who voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the most ambitious expansion of health care for Americans since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

After the March 31 deadline for enrollments, President Obama announced that the goal of 7 million by April 1 has been met—and more: some 7.1 million previously uninsured Americans have signed up for coverage. And the numbers will rise because those who were not able to finish signing up by midnight Monday will have another two weeks to complete their registration. (Go to Healthcare.gov to learn more.)

So, congratulations to the elected officials and policy makers, and “best of health” to the American people—those who are now covered, and especially to those who do not yet have health insurance.

Let’s look briefly at some numbers. According to The New Yorker:

Three million young people remain on their parents’ health-care plans; more than eight million uninsured people are eligible for Medicaid; and, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than a hundred million people have received preventive-care services, like mammograms and flu shots, at no cost.

ObamacareWhat Does Obamacare Do for You?

Per “The Affordable Care Act by the Numbers” at WhiteHouse.gov (2012):

Click here for more benefits.

The present system of Medicare and Medicaid was signed into law in 1965 by Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson. As Jeffrey Toobin explains in The New Yorker:

Medicare, providing health insurance for all Americans over the age of sixty-five, proved popular almost immediately: after the rollout, about nineteen million people signed up, more than ninety per cent of those eligible. Medicaid, covering the poor of all ages, is financed jointly by the federal government and the states. The first year, only twenty-six states agreed to participate, and the program didn’t include all fifty until 1982, when Arizona, the final holdout, joined.

Conservative opposition to the Affordable Care Act has been principally directed at the Medicaid aspects that are mainly tailored to the very poor: “Ideas such as the requirement that everyone obtain insurance, with subsidies for people who can’t afford it; the mandate that insurance companies offer coverage to all comers; and the incentives for states to expand the number of people covered by Medicaid have meant political war,” as Toobin explains.

Steven Benen at The Maddow Blog points out that “the single biggest hindrance to expanding coverage to the uninsured is Republican governors in red states blocking Medicaid expansion. That’s not conjecture; it’s what the CBO has already documented.” Benen wrote last August:

The Affordable Care Act originally made Medicaid expansion mandatory for states, guaranteeing coverage for millions, but a narrow Supreme Court majority ruled that it must be optional – if states want to take advantage of an amazing deal they could, but if they choose to turn down the federal money, Washington can’t force them to accept it. 

*

Affordable Care Act Uninsured

*

What Do Opponents Propose? Bobbycare?

C-SPAN:AP_ACA voteWhenever you hear criticisms of ‘Obamacare’—to be sure, the website’s rollout last October was embarrassingly inept—remember that the Republicans and other conservatives have fought single-mindedly (as usual) to prevent it from passing, and then to denounce it ever since its narrow passage. (See Rachel Maddow’s montage of pundits repeating the phrase “death spiral”; wishing hasn’t made it so.) As shown in the image at right, not a single House Republican voted for the Affordable Care Act, and all Republican senators, too, voted against it. The House Republicans have voted to repeal it more than 50 times. (They’ve had time for these fruitless, symbolic exercises because they do little else.) If Obamacare falls short, they have worked tirelessly to make it fail. If the enrollment center is short-staffed or the web site is faulty, could it be at least in part because the Republicans have been determined to make the initiative fail?

And what, exactly, have these purported representatives of the American public done to propose alternatives that will keep their constituents—the human beings, not the corporations—in good health? Hello? One plan, offered by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (and nicknamed “Bobbycare”), would result in some 10 million people losing their coverage and would likely cause many businesses to stop offering coverage for their employees.

See LNW’s “Republicans Against Medicare: A Long, Mean History” (10/15/12).

*

Working on Organizing for America phone banks in the summer of 2010, we helped with the effort to push members of Congress to include a public option in the legislation that was slowly, so slowly, making its way through the sausage factory. Like millions of Americans, we were dismayed at the legislation that was finally, excruciatingly enacted by Congress in March 2010, but we remain supporters of any efforts by public officials to work toward greater public health and security, and we salute the members of Congress who voted for the Affordable Care Act.

Badge - 2008 election

We urge our readers to get involved as early as possible to help with the campaigns of Democratic candidates in the midterm elections this November. Contribute money to their campaigns or to ActBlue and other liberal organizations, volunteer at local candidates’ campaign offices, go door to door, help with phone banks, and urge friends and co-workers to get out and vote this November. Please, let’s not see a repeat of the poor showing in 2010. If you have further ideas for how to help boost voter turnout, please let us know by clicking “Contact” above.

*

For More Information . . .

 *

 7 million enrolled 3-31-14

*

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Tumblr+1Digg ThisSubmit to redditPin it on PinterestShare via email


Honoré Speaks for La. Flood Protection Authority Lawsuit Against Big Oil

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

 

FixTheCoastYouBroke“Put our coast back like you found it”

Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, the keynote speaker for this coming weekend’s Rising Tide conference in New Orleans, has added a further distinction to his already impressive curriculum vitae: He adds his voice to a full-page advertisement published in the Times-Picayune, paid for by Levees.org and the Natural Resources Defense Council, in support of the historic lawsuit filed July 24 in civil district court in Orleans Parish by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East against some 100 oil and energy companies active in Louisiana.

In the ad, Honoré, a native of Pointe Coupee Parish, says:

I wish we could count on our government officials to hold the oil companies resposible. But after more than 100 years of oil operations in our state, our governors and legislators have failed to hold the oil companies accountable. As citizens, the only recourse, you and I have left is the courts. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East has filed suit against 97 oil companies. The law suit is just asking them to do what our mothers told us growing up: “If you make a mess, you clean it up.”

Honoreleadership

“I don’t do politics,” Honoré said in an interview Monday quoted by InsuranceJournal.com. “But I do believe in environmental justice.”

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East has been under intense pressure from Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal to drop the lawsuit, even though the Authority was authorized to proceed with the suit by Louisiana attorney general Buddy Caldwell. Jindal, who has received some $1 million in donations from oil and energy interests, called the lawsuit “nothing but a windfall for a handful of trial lawyers.”

An August 31 feature in The New York Times focused on the lawsuit and the political force being pressed upon SLFPA-E, including its vice president, John M. Barry, historian and author of Rising Tide, a bestselling book on the great Mississippi River flood of 1927.

Levees.org founder Sandy Rosenthal said that Lt. Gen. Honoré was not compensated in any way for the ad or for his support of the lawsuit.

Read All About It: For more about the lawsuit, see our post “Louisiana Flood Protection Agency Sues Big Oil to Repair Wetlands” (7/25/13) and read the New York Times article “Facing Fire Over Challenge to Louisiana’s Oil Industry” (8/31/13).

*

The photograph below was taken by our friend Jeffrey of Library Chronicles. Thanks to Jeff for the tip.

 

Honore_ad

*

 



Republicans Secretly (Seriously) Like the Stimulus

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Begin here, President Obama: Create jobs by approving all G.O.P. requests for stimulus funds.

Here’s the best new idea we’ve heard in a long time (h/t to Rachel Maddow): When HuffPo’s Sam Stein reported that “Michele Bachmann Repeatedly Sought Stimulus, EPA, Other Government Funds,” Steve Benen of Washington Monthly thought of something politically savvy that could jump-start new job creation:

How about a new stimulus package focused on granting Republicans’ requests for public investments?

Here’s the pitch: have the White House take the several hundred letters GOP lawmakers have sent to the executive branch since 2009, asking for public investments, and let President Obama announce he’ll gladly fund all of the Republicans’ requests that have not yet been filled.

This is especially important when it comes to infrastructure, a sector in which GOP members have pleaded for more investment in their areas. When pressed, these same Republicans will offer an explanation that “sounds like something out of the mouth of a Keynesian economist, rather than the musings of a congressman who proudly touts his support from the Tea Party movement.”

So, how about it? If these Republican lawmakers have identified worthwhile projects in need of government spending, which they themselves insist will boost the economy, why not start spending the money GOP officials want to see spent?

Steve Benen, this is brilliant. It could work.

Never Mind the Hypocrisy—Just Get It Started.

What Sam Stein found through a Freedom of Information Act request for federal records was that Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who poses as a fiscal conservative and has publicly denounced the “orgy” of federal spending and called the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “fantasy economics,” has asked the federal government for financial help for her district on at least 16 occasions. Well, we can’t blame her: she knows that federal spending does create jobs by funding projects to build roads and bridges, hire teachers and police officers, and so on. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (above) knows it, too. 

Steve Benen’s bright idea—and we should all push the White House (202-456-1111; comments@whitehouse.gov) and Congress to put this into action immediately—is to approve all the requests by congressional Republicans for federal funding of projects in their districts. Never mind the hypocrisy. This should come very easily to this president, who can’t seem to say no to Republicans anyway.

Obama should call in the press as he approves the projects in batches, day after day. He can use a big rubber stamp and say, “Yes to Republican Representative Bachmann who asked for funding for the Trunk Highway 36 bridge project over the St. Croix River to produce 1,400 new jobs. Approved. Yes to Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama who asked for stimulus money for an ethanol plant to create 750 jobs. Approved . . .” And then, after illustrating the point day after day, move on to approve Democrats’ requests.

[ Click for PDFs of letters from Republican members of Congress citing job creation in requests for stimulus funds for their districts (Bachmann, Sessions, Moran). ]

‘S’ Is for Stimulus—But Call It Whatever You Want

On the Rachel Maddow Show, Steve Benen said that it doesn’t matter whether we use the term “stimulus” or “jobs program,” which Republicans hate, or whatever. Just do it.

If this is a list that Republicans came up with, saying these are things that they believe will create jobs in their own communities, their own districts, their own states, then at a minimum, if Democrats want to make these investments and create jobs, then just start here. Now, one might say, well, at that point, you might look at job opportunities in blue districts and blue states. but fine, we can get to that later. If we just want to . . . inject capital into the system, create jobs right away, we want to create demand in this economy, we can start with the list Republicans came up with and make an immediate difference. . . .

[Bachmann] is one of many who have requested public funds . . . but then publicly rail against public spending. . . . So, to a certain extent, she’s not unique. But at the same time, she is uniquely brazen. She . . . requested funding from the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, for her district despite the fact that she doesn’t believe the EPA should even exist, and she actually wants to eliminate the agency altogether. And so, . . . trying to communicate to Republicans the importance of these kinds of projects, Democrats are in a position to say, well, [if] even Michele Bachmann believes that all this public spending can create jobs and help the economy, then other Republicans can certainly go along because she’s to their right.

Don’t Wait for Congress to Act, Mr. President. FDR Established the WPA by Executive Order, Employed 8.5+ Million.

As we wrote to President Obama (and to Democratic members of Congress in similar letters) during the debt ceiling crisis in July:

The millions who voted for you are begging you to address the nation’s real crisis and launch an ambitious WPA-style jobs program and lower the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security to 55. That would restore public and investor confidence, and would invigorate this lame, sucking economy. If tax rates were fair, this wealthy nation could afford it. You could help make it happen. 

Your reelection would be less in doubt if you gave America’s 15+ million unemployed and the nation’s crumbling infrastructure a comprehensive WPA-style jobs program at least 10 times as aggressive as the ARRA stimulus: public works, transportation (not just high-speed rail), public housing, environmental conservation (think CCC), schools, hospitals. Franklin Roosevelt didn’t wait for Congress: he established the WPA in 1935 by executive order. You could do the same.

 *

See “After Voting to Kill Recovery, 110 GOP Lawmakers Tout Its Success, Ask for More Money” •  “Freshman Republicans Lobby Federal Agencies for Millions Amid Spending Critiques” • “Stimulating Hypocrisy: Scores of Recovery Act Opponents Sought Money Out of Public View” • “Jindal Tours Louisiana Attacking ‘Washington Spending’ While Handing Out Jumbo-Sized Stimulus Checks” •  More links at Crooks and Liars’s coverage of The Rachel Maddow Show’s “They’re Not Embarrassed” • “They’re Not Embarrassed” video link

 *

 

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Tumblr+1Digg ThisSubmit to redditPin it on PinterestShare via email


New Orleans Is Most Likely Safe from River Flooding

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

*

There’s a certain trepidation in writing that headline, but . . .

Despite over $2 billion in damages, possibly to reach $4 billion from the Mississippi River Flood of 2011, including dramatic flooding upriver around Cairo, Memphis, and Vicksburg—and despite scary images and headlines on screen and paper—the city of New Orleans should be safe from inundation from the historically high waters now coursing down the Mississippi toward the Gulf. The flooding is the result of normal springtime snowmelt compounded by record rainfall from two major storm systems across the U.S. during April. (See Mississippi River watershed map below; click to enlarge.)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already begun opening the Bonnet Carré spillway upriver from the city (photo below). There will be flooding in the Atchafalaya Basin—possibly around 3 million acres—once water is diverted from the Morganza Spillway, a decision that is expected soon from the Corps of Engineers. And deep-draft shipping may be temporarily suspended by the U.S. Coast Guard if water levels rise to just a little higher than they are now; Americans “upriver” may experience a spike in gas prices as supplies are temporarily interrupted by the halting of oil tanker traffic between Baton Rouge and the Gulf.

Read the Headlines with Some Skepticism

Under the ominous headline “Mississippi River Flooding in New Orleans Area Could Be Massive if Morganza Spillway Stays Closed,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on Wednesday that based upon the best information available from the Corps of Engineers, the staggering volume of water making its way down the Mississippi could cause “levee failures and massive inundation of metro New Orleans, worse than Hurricane Katrina, if the Morganza spillway is not opened to divert river water down the Atchafalaya basin. The bad news for people living along the Atchafalaya: the Corps of Engineers predicts they will flood in either case.” Although the article itself was measured, not alarmist, the headline implied there was a possibility that the Corps might decide not to open the Morganza Spillway. Another headline warned, “Corps Officials Fear Flooding.” Note to the reader: It is the Corps’ job to fear flooding and to try to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Now, reporters don’t write the headlines, and the body of an article is often less alarming than the headline crafted by some news editor. But “Flooding Could Be Massive” sort of got our attention, so we checked around.

An engineer friend in the New Orleans area who knows people at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Corps is monitoring the situation very closely all along the river, per established protocol, and just waiting for Major General Michael Walsh to give the word about opening the Morganza Spillway. Major General Walsh is president of the Mississippi River Commission and commander of all USACE districts along the river. Times-Picayune environmental reporter Mark Schleifstein writes that General Walsh is expected to announce his decision to open the Morganza spillway between Friday and Tuesday (May 13 and 17).

Our engineer friend says, “Walsh is going to wait until the last possible moment to give the order just in case something changes in the river or they [the Corps] discover a better alternative. And when I say, ‘last possible moment,’ that is taking into account the timeline between when the order is given and everything that has to happen to safely open the structure. This stuff is really well thought out. The hydraulics, structures and levee engineers there have been working this 7 days a week for the past two weeks. . . . New Orleans is safe for now. Never say never, but we have no reason to panic as of right now.”

[ Click here for City of New Orleans Emergency Preparedness / Flood Fight information ]

(more…)
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Tumblr+1Digg ThisSubmit to redditPin it on PinterestShare via email


Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has signed a “guns-in-church” bill sponsored by Louisiana state representative Henry Burns that will authorize individuals who qualify to carry concealed weapons in “any church, synagogue, or mosque, or other similar place of worship.” The Times-Picayune reports that the bill “would authorize persons who qualified to carry concealed weapons having passed the training and background checks.” The pastor, rabbi, imam, or other head of the house of worship “must announce verbally or in weekly newsletters or bulletins that there will be individuals armed on the property as members of the security force.” (How many rabbis and imams in Louisiana are likely to exercise this option?) Rep. Burns said he proposed the bill so that houses of worship in “declining neighborhoods” can have extra protection against crime. “I was born and raised with Mayberry, riding my bicycle any time of the day or night,” said Burns. “But we live in different times.”

Think Progress notes that last year a pastor in Kentucky invited his congregants to bring their firearms to church. “God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,” said Pastor Ken Pagano of the New Bethel Church in Louisville. “I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist.”

The Guns of Academe?

Nor need colleges be pacifist institutions: in 2009 Louisiana state Rep. Ernest Wooton (R) of Belle Chasse proposed a bill that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses, but that measure did not pass (this time). “It is not a gun bill,” explained Wooton, “it is a rights bill.” He may have a point. We admit, we can think of a few papers that might have been delivered in a more timely manner had the professors been packing heat . . .

Now, thanks to Rep. Henry Burns and the governor, Mr. Wooton can bring his gun to church and pray for passage of his guns-on-campus bill.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Tumblr+1Digg ThisSubmit to redditPin it on PinterestShare via email


“Something Called ‘Volcano Monitoring’ ”

Friday, April 16th, 2010

[cross-posted at Daily Kos]

“[The Democrats’ stimulus] legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes . . . $140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’ Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.” —Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, Feb. 24, 2009

Remember Bobby Jindal’s celebrated response to President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress in February 2009? It included some, uh, noteworthy moments, not the least of which was his sneer at such “wasteful spending” as “something called ‘volcano monitoring.’” Some speechwriter was probably pleased with that line, but this was a contemptuous display of ignorance on the level of Rudy Giuliani’s ridiculing “community organizer—what’s that?” (6:08) at the 2008 Republican National Convention, and just as deserving of a reality-based comeuppance. The $140 million for the U.S. Geological Survey was partly intended to provide warnings of impending volcanic eruptions in the U.S. and around the world where American military bases are located. The Americans at Ramstein Air Base in Germany probably appreciate that monitoring equipment right about now.

With international air traffic to Europe disrupted for a second straight day following a massive volcano eruption in Iceland (some 17,000 flights were canceled Friday), we have to use the occasion to poke this over-ambitious governor in the eye and say: “Now do you get it?” Jindal the boy genius used to be respected for his intelligence (Rhodes Scholar) and precocious grasp of complex policy, but those days are over. He is not serving his state or the nation—and not his own career, either—by his know-nothing, anti-science statements and decisions. (See our earlier posts “Mr. Jindal, Tear Down This Ambition” and “From Rising Star to Black Hole.”)

(more…)
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Tumblr+1Digg ThisSubmit to redditPin it on PinterestShare via email


Welcoming Committee Second-Lines for Louisiana’s State Hospital & Public Education System

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

While the GOP convenes in New Orleans with nary a mention of Katrina (who? that Nation editor?), here’s an event we’re sorry we missed, but we’re “retro-promoting” it a day late, for the message remains true:

From the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Welcoming Committee

There’s going to be a big, crazy second line in the CBD on Friday: the Stooges Brass Band, the Free Agents Brass Band, and a level of ass-shaking the business district hasn’t seen since the Second Line to Reopen Charity. We’re going to party and rage down Poydras, and we’re going to show the boy prince Bobby Jindal that the people of Louisiana have had it with his policies of privatization.

“A level of ass-shaking the business district hasn’t seen since the Second Line to Reopen Charity”

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) takes place April 8–11 in New Orleans, and is the largest gathering of Republican leadership short of the presidential convention. As Bobby Jindal is groomed for higher office, the Second Line for Healthcare & Education is our opportunity to present a unified response to Jindal’s assault on Louisiana’s state hospital system & public education.

(more…)
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Tumblr+1Digg ThisSubmit to redditPin it on PinterestShare via email


Tickets to Ride: Obama, Biden on Track with High-Speed Rail Projects

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

As train-lovin’ infrastructure freaks, we applaud Friday’s announcement by President Obama and Vice President “Amtrak Joe” Biden that the administration will dedicate $8 billion of stimulus funding for high-speed rail projects in 13 major rail corridors in 31 states around the U.S. The president calls this investment a down payment on the most significant step forward in the nation’s transportation system since the interstate highway system was launched in the 1950s. The OneRail coalition cheers the news: “Investment in rail will create jobs not only in those corridors, but  around the nation as American companies develop, build, and operate systems that will reduce energy consumption, mitigate air pollution, enhance the reliability of passenger and freight rail, and create more livable communities.”

We see the investment as a most welcome advance that will help reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels (a point repeated by Transportation secretary Ray LaHood) and on automobiles. The train projects are energy-efficient and reinforce U.S. national security. (The less foreign oil we use, the fewer soldiers we have to send overseas to oil-rich zones.) As we’ve noted before, “the U.S. must reduce its dependence on automobiles and on importing foreign oil (and extracting it from off the Gulf Coast). Carbon emissions aggravate global warming, which intensifies hurricanes and raises sea levels.”

(more…)

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Tumblr+1Digg ThisSubmit to redditPin it on PinterestShare via email