Daily Archives: October 24, 2009

No Longer “To Big Too Fail”

posted by GeoT

By Karey Wutkowski

WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The Obama administration plans to unveil on Monday a new plan for dealing with troubled financial giants, said a senior U.S. lawmaker, who also mentioned potentially big changes for the insurance industry.

Too Big To Fail

Too Big To Fail

Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and a chief architect of the financial regulation overhaul, declined on Friday to give details on the administration’s new bill, which would give the government the power to dismantle large financial companies that get into crises.

The new draft bill is expected to take a tougher stance toward troubled financial firms than the administration’s original plan, and may take out some language that would allow for temporary bailouts.

Giving the government “resolution authority” would serve as a rebuttal to the concept that some firms are too big to fail. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday highlighted the need for this authority as well as other measures to reduce the likelihood that one firm could destabilize the financial system.

Frank also said Congress is discussing whether to create an optional federal charter for insurers.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-NY)

Rep. Barney Frank (D-NY)

Insurance companies are currently regulated by the states.

“If we do get into national chartering it will be in life insurance … and maybe large commercial entities,” Frank said during remarks to a banking symposium.
He said lawmakers would not likely try to federally regulate property and casualty insurers, however.

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Filed under Bailout, Banking, Capitalism, Democrats, Economics, Economy, Free Market, Republicans, Stimulus, TARP

Countdown to Public Option

“At the end of the day, we will have a public option in our legislation,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, said. “It’s good, better, best. We’re having that debate.”

WASHINGTON– Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) — Senate Democrats are leaning toward including a government-run insurance plan in a health-care measure that would let individual states opt out, a proposal House leaders signaled would be acceptable.

Liberals in Congress long have viewed such an approach, called a public option, as an essential ingredient of the effort to overhaul the nation’s health care system, and President Barack Obama has said frequently he favors it. But he has also made clear it is not essential to the legislation he seeks, a gesture to Democratic moderates who have opposed it.
Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said in separate interviews they had been told the plan was drawing interest in the private negotiations unfolding in an ornate room in the Capitol down the hall from the Senate chamber.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

The establishment of the so-called public option to compete with private insurers is opposed by Republicans and has split Democrats. To get support from reluctant members of his party, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is likely to include the opt-out version in the legislation, said a Democratic aide who requested anonymity.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who backs what she calls a more “robust” form of the public option, was asked yesterday about the Senate proposal at a Washington press conference.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi  (D-CA)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

I don’t think there’s much problem with that,” she said.
“At the end of the day, we will have a public option in our legislation,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, said. “It’s good, better, best. We’re having that debate.”
Lawmakers are considering the biggest health-care changes since the creation of Medicare in 1965. The legislation, President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority, attempts to curb costs while covering tens of millions of the uninsured.
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Filed under Democrats, Health, Medicine

President Obama declares H1N1 flu a national emergency

posted by GeoT

“The H1N1 is moving rapidly, as expected. By the time regions or healthcare systems recognize they are becoming overburdened, they need to implement disaster plans quickly”

By VOA News
24 October 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation declaring the H1N1 swine flu virus a national emergency.

A White House statement Saturday said the proclamation advances the nation’s capability to respond to the pandemic.

H1N1 Vaccine

H1N1 Vaccine

The statement said it enhances medical centers’ ability to handle a surge in swine flu patients by allowing certain standard federal requirements to be waived in particular cases.

Earlier this week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate panel that $3 billion had been forwarded to hospitals around the country to help deal with the surge of flu-related hospitalizations.

The World Health Organization says about 5,000 deaths attributed to H1N1 influenza have been reported worldwide. U.S. health authorities say more than 1,000 people have died from the virus in the United States and more than 20,000 people have been hospitalized.

U.S. health secretary Kathleen Sebelius, told the Senate panel that while swine flu is widespread in the nation, the country is better equipped now than at any other time in history to deal with it.

She said problems delaying production of the vaccine for the virus have been corrected and that it should be available by early November to any American who wants to be vaccinated.

Cont’d Here:

Resources:

HHS and Flu.gov answer questions about the flu

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Filed under Change, Health, Medicine

Billionaire’s for Wealthcare: The Public Option Goes Broadway

billionaires for wealthcareBillionaires for Wealthcare is a grassroots network of health insurance CEOs, HMO lobbyists, talk-show hosts, and others profiting off of our broken health care system.

We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure another decade where your pain is our gain. After all, when it comes to health insurance, if we ain’t broke, why fix it?

AHIP is the powerful insurance lobby that spends 5 million dollars a week trying to kill health care reform. Billionaires for Wealthcare is a grassroots network looking to stop them – with song.

    • AHIP and other insurance and HMO interests spend nearly $5 million per week undermining real health care reform, including a public option.

    • AHIP has resorted to out-right lying and scare tactics to block health care reform. They sent letters that lie to seniors about what health care reform means for Medicare, and they issued a report on the costs of health care reform legislation that is so misleading even the reports embarrassed authors distanced themselves from the way AHIP used their work.

    • Every year, 45,000 people die because they cant get access to the health care they need. Yet AHIP continues to stand in the way of health care reform that would provide coverage to millions of Americans because the industry is more concerned with protecting profits than saving lives.

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Filed under Civil Protest, Greed, Hollywood, Humor, Media and Entertainment, Politics

President Obama’s Saturday Youtube Address 10/24/09

white house gov logo
WhiteHouse.gov—In this week’s address, President Barack Obama spoke of how important small businesses are to the economy and described the steps his administration is taking to support them. Health insurance reform will allow small business to purchase insurance for their employees through exchanges, which will increase the quality of coverage while lowering the costs, and reform will provide tax credits to those businesses. To free up credit, the President called on Congress to increase the size of various SBA loans, and he announced that the administration will be making more credit available to the small local and community banks that many small businesses depend on.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 24, 2009

All across America, even today, on a Saturday, millions of Americans are hard at work. They’re running the mom and pop stores and neighborhood restaurants we know and love. They’re building tiny startups with big ideas that could revolutionize an industry, maybe even transform our economy. They are the more than half of all Americans who work at a small business, or own a small business. And they embody the spirit of possibility, the relentless work ethic, and the hope for something better that is at the heart of the American Dream.

They also represent a segment of our economy that has been hard hit by this recession. Over the past couple of years, small businesses have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Many have struggled to get the loans they need to finance their inventories and make payroll. Many entrepreneurs can’t get financing to start a small business in the first place. And many more are discouraged from even trying because of the crushing costs of health care – costs that have forced too many small businesses to cut benefits, shed jobs, or shut their doors for good.

Small businesses have always been the engine of our economy – creating 65 percent of all new jobs over the past decade and a half – and they must be at the forefront of our recovery. That’s why the Recovery Act was designed to help small businesses expand and create jobs. It’s provided $5 billion worth of tax relief, as well as temporarily reducing or eliminating fees on SBA loans and guaranteeing some of these loans up to 90 percent, which has supported nearly $13 billion in new lending to more than 33,000 businesses.

In addition, our health reform plan will allow small businesses to buy insurance for their employees through an insurance exchange, which may offer better coverage at lower costs – and we’ll provide tax credits for those that choose to do so.

And this past week, I called on Congress to increase the maximum size of various SBA loans, so that more small business owners can set up shop and grow their operations. I also announced that we’ll be taking additional steps through our Financial Stability plan to make more credit available to the small local and community banks that so many small businesses depend on – the banks who know their borrowers, who gave them their first loan and watched them grow.

The goal here is to get credit where it’s needed most – to businesses that support families, sustain communities, and create the jobs that power our economy. That’s why we enacted the Financial Stability Plan in the first place, back when many of our largest banks were on the verge of collapse; our credit markets were frozen; and it was nearly impossible for ordinary people to get loans to buy a car or home or pay for college. The idea was to jumpstart lending and keep our economy from spiraling into a depression. Fortunately, it worked. Thanks to the American taxpayers, we’ve now achieved the stability we need to get our economy moving forward again.

But while credit may be more available for large businesses, too many small business owners are still struggling to get the credit they need. These are the very taxpayers who stood by America’s banks in a crisis – and now it’s time for our banks to stand by creditworthy small businesses, and make the loans they need to open their doors, grow their operations, and create new jobs. It’s time for those banks to fulfill their responsibility to help ensure a wider recovery, a more secure system, and more broadly shared prosperity. And we’re going to take every appropriate step to encourage them to meet those responsibilities. Because if it’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that here in America, we rise and fall together. Our economy as a whole can’t move ahead if small businesses and the middle class continue to fall behind.

This country was built by dreamers. They’re the workers who took a chance on their desire to be their own boss. The part-time inventors who became the fulltime entrepreneurs. The men and women who have helped build the American middle class, keeping alive that most American of ideals – that all things are possible for all people, and we’re limited only by the size of our dreams and our willingness to work for them. We need to do everything we can to ensure that they can keep taking those risks, acting on those dreams, and building the enterprises that fuel our economy and make us who we are.

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Filed under Democrats, Economy, Jobs, Media and Entertainment, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Weekly YouTube Address

Largest Solar Power Plant In U.S. Rises in Sunshine State

posted by GeoT
goinggreen
Testing will soon be complete, and the facility will begin directly converting sunlight into energy, giving Florida a spot in the solar energy limelight


ARCADIA, Fla. – Greg Bove steps into his pickup truck and drives down a sandy path to where the future of Florida’s renewable energy plans begin:

DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Ardacia, Fla

DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Ardacia, Fla

Acres of open land filled with solar panels that will soon power thousands of homes and business.

For nearly a year, construction workers and engineers in this sleepy Florida town of citrus trees and cattle farms have been building the nation’s largest solar panel energy plant. Testing will soon be complete, and the facility will begin directly converting sunlight into energy, giving Florida a momentary spot in the solar energy limelight.
The Desoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will power a small fraction of Florida Power & Light’s 4-million plus customer base; nevertheless, at 25 megawatts, it will generate nearly twice as much energy as the second-largest photovoltaic facility in the U.S.

The White House said President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the facility Tuesday, when it officially goes online and begins producing power for the electric grid.

As demand grows and more states create mandates requiring a certain percentage of their energy come from renewable sources, the size of the plants is increasing. The southwest Florida facility will soon be eclipsed by larger projects announced in Nevada and California.

“We took a chance at it and it worked out,” said Bove, construction manager at the project, set on about 180 acres of land 80 miles southeast of Tampa. “There’s a lot of backyard projects, there’s a lot of rooftop projects, post offices and stores. Really this is one of the first times where we’ve taken a technology and upsized it.”

Despite its nickname, the Sunshine State hasn’t been at the forefront of solar power. Less than 4 percent of Florida’s energy has come from renewable sources in recent years. And unlike California and many other states, Florida lawmakers haven’t agreed to setting clean energy quotas for electric companies to reach in the years ahead. California, New Jersey and Colorado have led the country in installing photovoltaic systems; now Florida is set to jump closer to the top with the nation’s largest plant yet.

The Desoto facility and two other solar projects Florida Power & Light is spearheading will generate 110 megawatts of power, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3.5 million tons. Combined, that’s the equivalent of taking 25,000 cars off the road each year, according to figures cited by the company.

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Filed under Capitalism, Change, Climate Change, Economy, Energy, Environment, Free Market, Sciences