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debeus

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debeus last won the day on July 13 2008

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  1. Artificially competitive. If you think about what this justifies I think it's pretty obvious that this type of counterplan is abusive. For example, the negative could counterplan to fund the plan by a tax on cigarettes, and claim a public health net benefit, or some other random specific tax that they could get a completely unpredictable net benefit from.
  2. If you're referring to the individual mandate (the requirement that everyone buy insurance), yes. That's the only way to cover people who have pre-existing conditions (otherwise, people could just buy insurance only after they are diagnosed with diabetes or something else expensive to treat, and the price of insurance would skyrocket). That's why it's difficult for Obama and the Democrats to split up the bill and pass more piecemeal reform. If you want to cover people with pre-existing conditions, you need an individual mandate, and if you have that, you need to have subsidies for people who can't afford insurance. If you're referring to the expansion of Medicaid, Obama's bill removes the special deal for Nebraska and has the federal government fund 90% of the cost of the Medicaid expansion. So yes, there would still be an unfunded mandate on the states in that they would have to pay for 10% of the cost of the Medicaid expansion, but that is far less than the states would have had to pay in previous versions of the bill.
  3. Well, corporations could already do quite a lot to indirectly influence elections, such as contributing unlimited amounts to 527s, before this decision so I'm not really sure how much impact it would have, even if SCOTUS had allowed corporations to give unlimited money directly to candidates. At least then it would be more transparent.
  4. And the Barney and Sesame Street theme songs...what's up with that?
  5. Smaller policy division than we would have liked, I think a lot of teams didn't come because it was PSAT weekend. We've started having LD now too though.
  6. My guess, based on other articles I've read, is that Reid currently has 59 votes for cloture, and just needs Nelson (NE) on board. I think he's unveiling the bill now because Nelson has no reason now not to hold out in the hopes of Reid removing the public option, and also because he is well below 59 for a bill with triggers because of people like Feingold who are saying it's unacceptable. Reid thinks that by announcing what the merged bill is, and now requiring 60 votes to remove the public option, that it will help get Nelson on board, possibly after promising his state something. http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/26/news/economy/harry_reid_public_option/?postversion=2009102606 Senate health bill will include public option Harry Reid is planning to introduce health care legislation in the Senate that will include a public health insurance option, according to an aide. By Dana Bash, CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Last Updated: October 26, 2009: 6:28 AM ET WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is poised to proceed with plans to introduce a Senate health care bill with a public health insurance option that would allow states to opt out, a senior aide to Reid told CNN on Sunday. The aide, who did not want to be quoted by name when talking about private deliberations, said a final decision would be made Monday. Reid is likely to make the move without having firm commitments of support from 60 senators, the number needed to break a filibuster, according to the aide. Describing the move as a "risky strategy," the aide said Reid believes including the public option is the right approach, and that the senator is "cautiously optimistic he can get the votes necessary." The Senate fate of any bill with a public option is unclear, due to unanimous Republican opposition and concerns by some conservative and moderate Democrats. Allowing states to opt out. A public option was considered virtually dead a few weeks ago, but Reid revived it last week by canvassing support for a plan that includes the public option while allowing states to opt out. According to Reid's aide, the Nevada senator hopes to finalize the bill by Monday afternoon to send to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring -- an analysis of what it will cost. Reid then would present the bill to all Senate Democrats at their weekly policy lunch on Tuesday, the aide said. Several Democratic sources acknowledged to CNN that Reid's decision to include a public option in the Senate health care bill reflects a desire to calm an increasingly angry Democratic base. According to the Democratic sources, the party's base is furious with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats for moving slower than desired on issues such as closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and reversing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay soldiers. Even if the Senate votes to drop the public option, Reid could still argue he tried to get it included, the sources noted. Staunch opposition. Republicans oppose any form of public option, contending it would drive private insurers from the market and lead to an eventual government takeover of the health care system. "I think 100% of Republicans have indicated they don't think having the government in the insurance business is a good idea," Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the chamber's top-ranking Republican, said Sunday on the ABC program "This Week." On the same show, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, R-Mo., predicted the Senate will end up considering several versions of a public option during its upcoming debate on a health care bill. "I think what we're going to end up with is having votes on a number of choices," McCaskill said. Alternatives. Choices would include giving states the ability to opt out of a national not-for-profit public option, or reversing that dynamic by allowing states the choice of opting in to such a program, she said. Another alternative would be the so-called "trigger mechanism," McCaskill said. That idea, originally proposed by moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, would mandate a public option in the future if specific thresholds for expanded coverage and lower costs go unmet by a certain time. The goal is to come up with a plan that can overcome a filibuster in the chamber, said McCaskill, who supports including a public option in the health care bill. "I'd be less than honest if I didn't say all of us were concerned about making sure we get the votes to move forward," McCaskill said. "But I remain pretty optimistic." However, other Senate Democrats have concerns about a public option. Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat from Nebraska, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" program he had yet to decide on the issue. "I've made no promise," Nelson said, adding he would need to see the contents of the bill being drafted by Reid before determining if he would help stop a likely Republican filibuster attempt. Nelson questioned Reid's plan for a national public option that allows states to opt out, but indicated possible support for a plan in which states could opt in. "Look, I'm a Jeffersonian Democrat," Nelson said. "I think states can make decisions on their own about their own citizens and so I certainly would look at that." On the same program, liberal Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said he could support a public option with the opt-out provision. Brown expressed concern about a trigger mechanism, but stopped short of calling it a deal-breaker. "The trigger says, 'Let's give the health insurance companies another two years after they've had five decades since World War II to do things right,' " Brown said, adding, "We need the public option now. We need it in large part because it will inject competition into places where they don't have it." Debate rages on. On "State of the Union," Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah rejected any form of a public insurance option. "You're going to have a fiasco on your hands," Hatch warned, saying it would place additional financial burdens on states. On CBS' "Face the Nation," both Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold of Wisconsin said they expect some form of health care legislation to pass. Feingold said the the public option matter could eventually be decided in negotiations to reconcile versions of the bill passed by each chamber. "I'm frankly getting excited that we may have some momentum for something very positive," he said. McCain, however, criticized Obama for allowing Democratic leaders and White House officials to craft the latest versions of a health care bill in private. Such closed-door talks violate an Obama campaign pledge to negotiate the health care bill on C-SPAN, McCain said. Democrats respond that the bills passed in congressional committees include Republican amendments, and that floor debate in both chambers will be publicly televised. --CNN's Martina Stewart contributed to this report. First Published: October 26, 2009: 6:21 AM ET
  7. The teabaggers will give a lot of money since they all think Obama is destroying the country Did you see Jindal's response to that Obama speech awhile ago? It was pretty bad, he just seemingly picked random government spending, no matter how justified (such as volcano monitoring) and trashed it.
  8. This really isn't all that surprising but I just read about this study http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32884806/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/ Teen birth rates highest in most religious states Link may be due to communities frowning on contraception, researchers say By Jeanna Bryner LiveScience updated 4:11 p.m. MT, Wed., Sept . 16, 2009 U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, a new study suggests. The relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance) may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn't successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise. Mississippi topped the list for conservative religious beliefs and teen birth rates, according to the study results, which will be detailed in a forthcoming issue of the journal Reproductive Health. (See chart below.) However, the results don't say anything about cause and effect, though study researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh offers a speculation of the most probable explanation: "We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself." The study comes with other significant caveats, too: The same link might not be found for other types of religious beliefs that are perhaps more liberal, researchers say. And while the study reveals information about states as a whole, it doesn't shed light on whether an individual teen who is more religious will also be more likely to have a child. "You can't talk about individuals, because you don't know what's producing the [teen birth] rate," said Amy Adamczyk, a sociologist at the City University of New York, who was not involved in the current study. "Are there just a couple of really precocious religious teenagers who are running around and getting pregnant and having all of these babies, but that's not the norm?" Strayhorn agrees and says the study aimed to look at communities (or states) as a whole. "It is possible that an anti-contraception attitude could be caused by religious cultures and that could exert its effect mainly on the non-religious individuals in the culture," Strayhorn told LiveScience. But, he added, "We don't know." Bible states Strayhorn compiled data from various data sets. The religiosity information came from a sample of nearly 36,000 participants who were part of the U.S. Religious Landscapes Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted in 2007, while the teen birth and abortion statistics came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For religiosity, the researchers averaged the percentage of respondents who agreed with conservative responses to eight statements, including: ''There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion," and ''Scripture should be taken literally, word for word." They found a strong correlation between statewide conservative religiousness and statewide teen birth rate even when they accounted for income and abortion rates. More abortions among teens in less religious states For instance, the results showed more abortions among teenagers in the less religious states, which would skew the findings since fewer teens in these states would have births. But even after accounting for the abortions, the study team still found a state's level of religiosity could predict their teen birth rate. The higher the religiosity, the higher was the teen birth rate on average. John Santelli of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University calls the study "well-done," adding that the results are not surprising. "The index of religiosity is tapping into more fundamentalist religious belief," Santelli said. "I'm sure there are parts of New England that have very low teen birth rates, which have pretty high religious participation, but they're probably less conservative, less fundamentalist type of congregations." Other factors that may have been important to consider include ethnic backgrounds of state residents, according to Adamczyk, the City University of New York sociologist. "We know that African American women on average tend to underreport their abortions, which means they could also underreport the likelihood that they got pregnant," Adamczyk said. "If you're dealing with states with a high number of African American women, you might run into that problem." Adamczyk's own, separate research has shown a nearly opposite correlation, at the individual level. "What we find is that more religious women are less likely to engage in riskier sex behaviors, and as a result they are less likely to have a premarital pregnancy," Adamczyk said during a telephone interview. But for those religious teens who do choose to have premarital sex, they might be more likely to ditch their religious views and have an abortion, she has found. Cause and effect? Adamczyk says the idea that anti-contraception principles could be behind the link is controversial, as studies on the topic have varied results. "The idea is that in the heat of the moment, a young woman who has said, 'I'm going to be a virgin on my wedding night,' is with her boyfriend and she says 'Let's just do it.' And since they didn't plan it, nobody has a condom. And so it increases their chances of a pregnancy," Adamczyk said. Earlier marriage among religious individuals could also partly explain the finding. "In the south, there is a higher rate of marriage of teenagers. And one possible explanation is just that in the southern states, which are also more religious, people just get married earlier and have planned pregnancies and those have perfectly good outcomes," Strayhorn said. He added that he doesn't think the earlier marriage idea explains the religion-birth link. © 2009 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.
  9. I think it will be someone who appeals to the Rush Limbaugh listeners this time around. A lot of Republicans think McCain lost because he was too liberal and in general that Republicans would win more elections if they were more conservative. I don't know if it will be Sarah Palin because she has too much baggage from the last election and lost a lot of credibility resigning as Alaska governor, but she still has a pretty high approval rating among Republicans so I think she has a chance. She would get clobbered by Obama in the general election though. In some states though like New Hampshire that have open primaries, the moderate candidates will be helped by the fact that in all likelihood Obama will not have a primary challenger and the independents will all be voting in the Republican primary. On the other hand there may also be Democrats registering as Republicans so they can vote for Sarah Palin, although I think on the whole independents and Democrats voting is likely to help moderates. I still think it will be a conservative though. The rabid fringe who think Obama is the Antichrist aren't going to let someone insufficiently crazy win, and ultimately activists win primaries due to the lower turnout.
  10. I think the Dems' biggest problem with regard to the health care debate is the misinformation going around about stuff like the death panels, health care for illegal immigrants, abortions funded by tax dollars, etc. If they do manage to get something through this year (and I still think this is more likely than not since they'll split it into two bills and use reconciliation if they have to), then I think the program will be judged on its actual implementation rather than the bullshit that's going around right now. Look at programs like Medicare and Social Security, they're so popular now that no Republican president would ever dare to try to eliminate them, but at the time of their creation they were quite contentious. Furthermore, successful passage of a health care bill will give the Dems a huge tangible accomplishment to run on in 2010. The other big factor is the economy. I think that public perception of Obama's effect on the economy will play a huge role in the Democrats' success or failure in 2010. One thing that does make me a bit more optimistic than a lot of people for the Democrats' chances is looking at recruiting. Usually in elections where one side suffers heavy losses, such as 1994, 2006, or 2008, they are foreshadowed by a huge advantage in recruiting top candidates. The Dems have gotten their top picks to run in top-tier Senate races like Carnahan in Missouri and Hodes in New Hampshire, while the GOP hasn't had nearly as much success (they couldn't get their top choices to run in Nevada or Colorado, and in Florida, they've got a conservative challenging their moderate governor in the primary). There are also more Republican retirements in 2010 (although Bunning retiring in Kentucky was good for them and may have cost the Dems a pickup).
  11. Sen. Byrd wants to name the healthcare bill after him.
  12. http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE56C3WX20090713 LONDON (Reuters) - Cut your finger? Hurt your leg? Start swearing. It might lessen the pain. Researchers from the school of psychology at Britain's Keele University have found swearing can make you feel better as it can have a "pain-lessening effect," according to a study published in the journal NeuroReport. Colleagues Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston, set out to establish if there was any link between swearing and physical pain. "Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon," says Stephens. "It taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. Our research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists." Their study involved 64 volunteers who were each asked to put their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice. They then repeated the experiment using a more commonplace word that they would use to describe a table. The researchers found the volunteers were able to keep their hands in the ice water for a longer when swearing, establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance. Stephens said it was not clear how or why this link existed but it could be because swearing may increase aggression. "What is clear is that swearing triggers not only an emotional response, but a physical one too, which may explain why the centuries-old practice of cursing developed and still persists today," he said.
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