Recent Posts

Obama admin smacks down Michigan GOP effort to thwart Affordable Care Act

In a rather stunning rebuke this week, the Obama adminstration, through the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied an effort by the Republican Snyder administration in Michigan to thwart part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The federal government has denied a request by the Michigan Office of Insurance Regulation to delay a regulation under health care reform that requires insurers to return $89 million to people who have purchased health insurance.

The decision means that eight health insurers in Michigan will return the $89 million to their subscribers

, said Gary Cohen, acting director of oversight with the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the U.S.…
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So, did you guys all hear about the Obama Christmas tree tax?!

So, did you guys all hear about the Obama Christmas tree tax?!

No, seriously. Barack Obama is such a freak for taxing your ass off that he has imposed a Christmas tree tax this year. Those danged Democrats! Those guys will tax anything.

Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association Marsha Gray says most Christmas Tree operations are small farmers. “When we have so many different individual farmers it’s difficult for them on their own to executive an effective ad campaign.” Gray says there’s no exact count, but estimates there are between 600 and 700 growers. Only about half of those harvest more than 500 trees per year.

Gray and others turned to the U.S.

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Pres. Obama signs Executive Order establishing a National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. You can read the Executive Order HERE (pdf) and the comprehensive plan itself HERE (pdf). This is the part of the Executive Order that is most compelling for me:

Sec. 2. National Action Plan. A National Action Plan shall be created pursuant to the process outlined in Presidential Policy Directive 1 and shall identify and develop activities and initiatives in the following areas:

(a) National integration and institutionalization. Through interagency coordination, policy development, enhanced professional training and education, and evaluation, the United States Government will institutionalize a gender-responsive approach to its diplomatic, development, and defense-related work in conflict-affected environments.

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C’mon, EclectaReaders. We can do WAY better than this. It costs NOTHING to support this worthy effort.

C’mon, EclectaReaders. We can do WAY better than this. It costs NOTHING to support this worthy effort.

You may have seen my previous post about Lauren Reichelt (TheFatLadySings) and her effort to expand the number of “People of Color” at Netroots Nation by bringing a large group of folks from her area. To do this, she is applying for a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh grant. Right now, her grant stands at a sad #104.

From Netroots Nation coordinator Raven Brooks:

“The key to winning the Pepsi Refresh grant is accumulating daily voters. Netroots Nation has agreed to help us organize to win this grant. Sign up at this link to receive an email once a day providing you links to vote.
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The War on “Happy Holidays”

War on Christmas? Really? What the heck is it with conservatives and their outrage that people dare to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”? That’s what I say. This year, Hanukkah is December 20-28. Kwanzaa is December 26. I have lots of friends who are Jewish and a bunch that celebrate Kwanzaa as well. I even have some solidly atheist friends who still celebrate this as a holiday season. There are plenty of people from all walks of life celebrating this holiday season and I wish them all a joyous greeting when I say “Happy Holidays!”

This really struck home for me during the Republican debate this week.…

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Michigan Republicans vote to turn down federal money to create statewide health exchange

Republicans got very, very busy in the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the things House Republicans did was to vote to turn down federal funds for creating a statewide health exchange to help make health care insurance available to all Michiganders.

In an action with major implications for health reform in Michigan, the state House has voted to turn down — at least for now — nearly $10 million in federal funds to create a statewide health exchange by 2014 to sell more affordable, standardized health insurance to consumers and small businesses.

The action, considered a victory for opponents of federal health reforms, means Michigan “runs the risk of falling behind other states” planning the health exchanges, said Steve Hilfinger, director of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Insurance Regulation.

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66 elected Democrats send letter to Snyder decrying Emergency Manager law

Not only are Senators Stabenow & Levin asking Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to reconsider his imposition of Emergency Managers on cities around the state, 66 elected officials, all Democrats, have sent a letter of their own (pdf).

Although we come to this matter from a variety of differing perspectives and ideologies, we all share in the belief that applications of the Emergency Manager Law have the potential to irreparably and irreversibly undermine both voting and collective bargaining rights in our State. Democracy is the cornerstone of our Nation and the fundamental principle upon which all of our other rights and liberties are premised.…
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The new official First Family portrait

The new official First Family portrait

Now this is a fine-looking First Family:

The photo was taken by White House super-photographer Pete Souza. The last one was taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz two years ago.

My, my, those two kids are growing like weeds. They’re going to be a couple of very beautiful women, just like their mom.

So proud.

[From the White House blog]

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Senators Stabenow and Levin urge Rick Snyder to reconsider Emergency Manager law

In a letter to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin are urging the governor to reconsider the Emergency Manager law, citing constitutional concerns and its divisive nature.

December 14, 2011

Govemor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 3001i
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Dear Governor Snyder,
We are writing to express our concern regarding the state’s Emergency Financial Manager law. We are deeply concerned about how this law is igniting tensions in our local communities and dividing our state.

Michigan’s strength is its diversity. Throughout our state’s history we have thrived when we work together to solve problems, This law runs counter to this cooperative spirit and is sending the wrong message to the rest of the country about what our state stands for.

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Friday night fun: Yoga with a cat

I’m in Ithaca, New York this weekend and tired from a 9-hour drive so instead of my usual Eclectablather, I offer you this amazing video.

She’s really, really good at Sun Salutations. So’s the lady.…

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Michigan Republicans pass bill to ensure cities under Emergency Mgrs remain under state control

In the increasingly likely event that Michigan Forward and Stand Up For Democracy secure enough petition signatures for the referendum to repeal Public Act 4, the law immediately goes on hold. This leaves the question “what now?” Will the previous law go back into effect or, because PA 4 replaced that law, will there simply be no law allowing for Emergency Managers for nearly-bankrupt cities?

Yesterday, in what they are calling a move to allow for a “soft landing” for cities and school districts after the departure of an Emergency Manger (EM), Senate Republicans passed SB 865. As I have written before, this bill has the following features:

The bill would create a new act to do the following, with respect to a local government (a municipal government or a school district) for which an emergency manager had been appointed under the Local Government and School District Financial Accountability Act:
  • Authorize the Governor to remove the local government from receivership or appoint a receivership transition advisory board, if the local government’s financial emergency had been rectified.
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