Daily Archives: March 23, 2010

Latinos Launching Campaign Exposing Tea Party Racism

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Axel W. Caballero

As has been now widely reported by mainstream media, more than 600 people gathered for the first ever Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on February of 2010. The ‘teabaggers’ reveled as they sat there listening to hateful speech after hateful speech by the likes of their champions Tom Tancredo and Sarah Palin among others. The rhetoric, the signs and the vitriol sounded familiar:

  • President Obama wants to turn the country into a third world country
  • Immigrants are taking over the United States, they must be sent to where they came from
  • This is our nation and we should take it back
  • Make English America’s official language
  • Congress loves Illegals

To the chants of “Take Our Nation Back,” the “teabaggers” turned political speech into a display of incoherent intolerance and racism.

The convention represented the launching point for what has become a full-fledged attack and repudiation of one community in particular: Latinos.

Deep-rooted within the Tea Party ideals is not only the belief that immigrants – along with Latinos in general – are what is inherently wrong with the state of the nation but also a thinly veiled attempt to disguise behind an economic argument a very latent and dangerous prejudice. It is also a calculated political ploy to undermine what is likely to become a powerful block in the upcoming electoral cycle.

Seemingly, Tea Partiers as a group believe they have found their perfect scapegoats. They see in Latinos a fast and easy attack. Thinking, hoping and expecting that the battle will be one way, that the response will be null and that Latinos will not be ready or organized enough to fight back.

Think again.

A new series by the project Cuéntame (tell me) is precisely channeling this Latino anger and frustration through video segments aimed at exposing “teabaggers'” true colors. It features all the racist speeches, the violent words, and actions, letting their predominantly Latino audience judge for themselves whether the Tea Party truly represents a legitimate movement or is yet another example of the intolerance and discrimination Latinos face in today’s society. The “teabaggers Series” as it is being called, also prompts the community to organize and to unite in an effort to fight back against the misconceptions and lies.

Ultimately the message Cuéntame is sending is that if “Tea Partiers” want to target and attack the Latino community through the use of prejudice and flat out racism as a way to advance their political agenda they will not face a silent and dormant opposition.

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Filed under Creepy right-wing antics, Facebook, Health Care Reform, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Partisan Politics, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Racism, Tea Party Protestors, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

States To Sue Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

CNN~Several states plan to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care reform bill, Florida’s attorney general announced this week.

Bill McCollum, the Republican attorney general up for reelection under fellow Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, told a news conference that the lawsuit would be filed once President Obama signs the health care bill into law. He said he’ll be joined by his counterparts in Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

All of the attorneys general in the states mentioned by McCollum are Republican, but McCollum said the lawsuit would be about the law and not politics.

On Monday, Virginia’s Republican attorney general said his state would file a lawsuit challenging the health care bill. It was unclear if Virginia would join the other states or proceed on its own.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on Sunday night, and President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday.

McCollum said the lawsuit would challenge the bill’s provision requiring people to purchase health insurance, along with provisions that will force state government to spend more on health care services.

“This is a tax or a penalty on just living, and that’s unconstitutional,” he said of the mandate to purchase health coverage. “There’s no provision in the Constitution of the United States giving Congress the power to do that.”

McCollum also said that portions of the bill would force states to spend money they don’t have, which he called a violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.*

“There’s no way we can do what’s required in this bill and still provide for education, for foster care, for the incarceration of prisoners, all the other things that are in this bill,” he said.

McCollum said he expected the lawsuit to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Later Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration expected to win any lawsuits filed against the health care bill.

*The Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, restates the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states by the constitution of the United States are reserved to the states or the people. However, there are clauses in which the federal government have intervened on behalf of the states.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Charlie Crist R-FL, Congress, Courts, Democrats, Florida, Health Care Reform, Law, Pennsylvania, Politics, Republicans, Senate, South Carolina, Supreme Court, Texas, United States, Virginia, Washington

President Barack Obama Signs Historic Health Care Reform Legislation

Posted by: Audiegrl

This is What Change Looks Like~President Barack Obama

More than a year’s worth of intense political haggling, legislative maneuvering and emotional debate reached its stirring conclusion Tuesday morning as President Barack Obama officially signed health care reform legislation into law.

Speaking in the East Room of the White House, with roughly 200 lawmakers seated before him as well as Vicky Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), the president called the moment a “new season in America.”

Today, after almost a century of trying, today, after over a year of debate, today, after all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America. In a few moments when I sign this bill, all of the overheated rhetoric of reform will finally confront the reality of reform.”

We are not a nation that scales back its aspirations,” Obama said. “We don’t fall prey to fear. We are not a nation that does what’s easy. That is not who we are, that’s not how we got here. We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities.”

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Patrick Kennedy's note on his father's grave: Dad, the unfinished business is done. (Photo: John Dicker)

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Filed under (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Change, Democrats, Health Care Reform, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

Vice-President Joe Biden: Recovery Act Tax Benefits

Posted by: Audiegrl

With the 2010 tax filing season underway, Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman today announced that that average tax refunds are up nearly 10 percent this year, due in large part to the significant new tax benefits available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), and reminded taxpayers that they can collect on those benefits this year as they file their 2009 tax returns. To help taxpayers see for themselves exactly how they can benefit from Recovery Act tax credits and collect every dollar owed when they file this tax season, the White House today launched a new interactive Tax Savings Tool available at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Recovery.

Here is a quick run-down of some key tax benefits available thanks to the Recovery Act:

  • Making Work Pay: 95 percent of working families are receiving the Work Pay tax credit of $400 for an individual or $800 for married couples filing jointly in their paychecks in 2009.
  • College Expenses: Families and students are eligible for up to $2500 in tax savings under the American Opportunity Credit.
  • Purchase of First Home: Homebuyers can get a credit of up to $8000 for first homes purchased by April 30, 2010 under the First Time homebuyer tax credit.
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives: Taxpayers are eligible for up to $1500 in tax credits for making some energy-efficiency improvements to their homes.
  • New Vehicle Purchases: Taxpayers can deduct state and local sales taxes or fees for vehicle purchases under the vehicle sales tax deduction.
  • Expanded Family Credits: Moderate income families with children may be eligible for an increase under the Earned Income Tax Credit and the additional Child Tax Credit.
  • Unemployment Benefits Tax Free in 2009: the Recovery Act made the first $2400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009 tax free.

The Recovery Act’s tax benefits of nearly $300 billion are not only providing some relief for middle class families, but also helping to jumpstart the economy and create more clean-energy, manufacturing, and construction jobs.

To learn more, visit Recovery.gov.

Read the Transcript

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Filed under Economy, Money, Obama Administration, Stimulus, Timothy F. Geithner (Sec of Treasury), Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

What the Health Care Bill Does for Average Americans

Posted by: Bluedog89

President Barack Obama addresses doctors at the White House.

HP~After months of fierce debate around the country and after an intense day of voting on Capitol Hill, a health care reform bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk.

Once Obama signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do on Tuesday, it will mean an end to the current health care system as we know it.

Pundits on the right and left have been reacting to passage of the legislation, but what does the bill actually mean for the average American?

The immediate effects of the health care bill as well as some that will take effect in the first year of implementation are as follows:

1. Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.

2. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.

3. Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50% of the donut hole will be filled.

4. The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance rises to the age 27.

5. Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.

6. A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.

7. New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.

8. Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.

9. Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.

10. Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

11. This tax will impose a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.

12. New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.

13. Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.

14. Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio — money spent on procedures over money incoming — of 85% or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.

15. Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.

16. The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.

17. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.

18. A two‐year temporary credit (up to a maximum of $1 billion) is in the bill to encourage investment in new therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

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Filed under (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, Aging, Barack Obama, Childhood Obesity, Children, Congress, Government, Health, Health Care Reform, History, Medicine, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Senate, Seniors, United States, US, Women's Issues, Young Men, Young Women

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Initiative: PepsiCo’s New Focus on Healthier Foods

Posted by: Audiegrl

First lady Michelle Obama makes remarks at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. Mrs. Obama's visit to Philadelphia was part of her efforts to curb childhood obesity. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

AP~PepsiCo, largely known for junk-food brands such as Doritos and Pepsi, is setting out to triple its sales of healthier fare in the next decade.

PepsiCo Inc. unveiled the new goal for brands such as Tropicana, Dole, Quaker and Tazo teas on Monday at an investor event. The company also backed its forecast for long-term earnings growth.

Governments around the world are exerting pressure on food makers to improve nutrition. But Pepsi is also making the case that it’s just as much consumer demand that’s driving the changes.

Consumers are heading toward ‘good-for-you,'” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said Monday during the meeting.

PepsiCo expects more shoppers to buy based on nutrition as Baby Boomers age and people in developing countries get wealthier. Currently, about 18 percent of PepsiCo’s revenue comes from the lines it considers healthier, including Tropicana, Dole, Quaker and Tazo teas. Nooyi wants to triple $10 billion in revenue from such brands to $30 billion by 2020.

PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi speaks to reporters during the PepsiCo media day and investor expo, Monday, March 22, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

That may be a huge boost, but the nutrition business is still small compared with the company’s less-healthy food (it’s using the term “fun for you“) such as Lay’s potato chips and soda, worth $50 billion a year.

Nooyi said the two businesses require different approaches. The chips, soft drinks and other brands grow quickly and can have many different versions of brands, such as lime-flavored Tostitos.

But the nutrition business’ brands must not have too many variations so the brand remains the focus, and they must be led by people who have experience in marketing healthier foods.

The potential for the growth of this market is enormous, and for a player who wants to play in this market intelligently, the opportunities are really incredible,” Nooyi said.

Many health leaders have urged food makers to make such changes. First Lady Michelle Obama has made the fight against childhood obesity a top priority. Last week she asked the nation’s largest food makers at a meeting of the Grocery Manufacturers Association to put less fat, salt and sugar in foods.

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Photo of the Day: Santorini, Greece

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