Posts tagged with 'video'

Weekly Pulse: DCCC Ad Shows Grandpa Stripping for Extra Cash to Pay for Medicare

Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 10:52 am by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

How will the next generation of seniors pay for health care if Republicans privatize Medicare? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) suggests some options in a darkly funny ad featuring a grandfatherly gentleman mowing lawns and stripping for extra cash. The ad will run in 24 GOP-controlled swing districts, Suzy Khimm reports for Mother Jones.

The ad is a riposte to Paul Ryan’s budget, which would eliminate Medicare and replace it with a system of “premium support”–annual lump sum cash payments to insurers. These payments would be pegged to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) +1%, even though health care costs are growing much faster than the economy at large. That means that real benefits will shrink over time. Seniors will be forced to come up with extra money to buy insurance, assuming they can find an insurer who’s willing to sell it to them.

Josh Holland of AlterNet predicts that the GOP is committing political suicide with the its anti-Medicare budget. The more ordinary voters learn about Ryan’s budget, the less they like it:

A poll conducted last week found that, “when voters learn almost anything about [the Ryan plan], they turn sharply and intensely against it.” And why wouldn’t they? According to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the Republicans’ “roadmap” would “end most of government other than Social Security, health care, and defense by 2050,” while providing the “largest tax cuts in history” for the wealthy.

Holland interviews an economist who estimates that the Medicaid cuts in the Ryan budget alone would cost 2.1 million jobs.

Under the bus

The Democratic spin about the deal to avert a budget shutdown was that Democratic leaders held fast against Republican demands to defund Planned Parenthood. However, as Katha Pollitt explains in The Nation, the Democrats capitulated on other reproductive rights issues in order to save Planned Parenthood.

For example, under the budget deal, Washington, D.C. will no longer be allowed to use local taxes to pay for abortions. Democrats also agreed to $17 million in cuts to the Title X Family Planning Program, Planned Parenthood’s largest source of federal funding.

American women aren’t alone under the bus. Jane Roberts notes at RH Reality Check that the budget deal slashed $15 million from the U.N. Population Fund, and millions more from USAID’s budget for reproductive health and family planning. At least Democrats successfully rebuffed GOP demands to eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Agency.

Roberts observes:

And this is at a time when the whole world is coalescing behind the education, health and human rights of the world’s women and girls. What irony!

Blood for oil

Nearing the one-year anniversary of the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers, Daniel J. Weiss writes for Grist:

The toll of fossil fuels on human health and the environment is well documented. But our dependence on fossil fuels exacts a very high price on the people who extract or process these fuels. Every year, some men and women who toil in our nation’s coal mines, natural gas fields, and oil rigs and refineries lose their lives or suffer from major injuries to provide the fossil fuels that drive our economy.

Oil rigs are just one of many dangerous places to work in the fossil fuel industry, Weiss notes. Last year, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 workers. Nearly 4,000 U.S. miners have been killed on the job since 1968.

Natural gas has a cleaner image than coal, but natural gas pipelines are also plagued by high rates of death and injury–892 natural gas workers have been killed on the job and 6,258 have been injured since 1970.


Ashley Hunter of Campus Progress brings you an exciting roundup of the news you need about college and alcohol, just in time for Spring Break. In an attempt to discourage rowdy off-campus partying, the College of the Holy Cross is encouraging its students to drink on campus by keeping the campus pub open later and allowing students under 21 inside as long as they wear different colored wrist bands to show they are too young to be served alcohol.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

Weekly Audit: Sanders Filibusters Tax Cuts, Electrifies the Left

Posted Dec 14, 2010 @ 12:01 pm by
Filed under: Economy     Bookmark and Share

Creative Commons, Flickr, Truthout.orgBy Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-described socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, became a folk hero to progressives when he took to the floor of the Senate for nearly nine hours on Friday to speak against the plan to extend tax cuts for the wealthy in exchange for extending unemployment benefits for millions of workers and extending tax breaks for the middle class.

On the Senate floor, Sanders accused his Republican colleagues of wanting to roll back the New Deal:

And that is, they want to move this country back into the 1920s, when essentially we had an economic and political system which was controlled by Big Money interests, where working people in the middle class had no programs to sustain them when things got bad, when they got old, when they got sick, when labor unions were very hard to come by because of anti-worker legislation.

Senate video servers were overwhelmed as over 12,000 people tried to watch online, John Nichols of The Nation reports. (more…)

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Daily Pulse: Howard Dean (Video Exclusive)

Posted Sep 25, 2009 @ 11:42 am by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

Last night Gov. Howard Dean, former chair of the DNC and 2004 presidential hopeful, appeared in conversation with journalist Joe Conason at the 92nd Street Y in New York. Dean discussed his new book, Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Health Care Reform.

Later on, I had a chance to ask Dean about the prospects for passing health care reform in the Senate through budget reconciliation, a parliamentary tactic that would allow the bill to pass by majority vote and thwart a filibuster. Many Democratic strategists consider reconciliation to be extremely politically risky, but Dean is unconvinced. He argues that passing a bill through budget reconciliation is not only doable, but also likely to result in a stronger bill.

“I’m not worried about doing this through reconciliation,” he said, “I think we’ll probably have a better bill if it’s through reconciliation because the people who are involved in the passage of the bill will only be Democrats and a very high proportion of Democrats want a public option.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out and This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Weekly Pulse: Bristol Palin Calls Abstinence Unrealistic

Posted Feb 18, 2009 @ 12:54 pm by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

“I think abstinence is, I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all,” new mother Bristol Palin told Greta Van Susteren in an interview on Fox News (video below). Bristol’s unwed, teenage pregnancy made headlines last year just as her mother, Gov. Sarah Palin, kicked off her vice presidential bid.

Samhita of writes, “I feel bad for her. [Bristol’s] story was used by her family and the GOP to make an example of what is considered “responsible” behavior for a teen mom. Holding all that, she is telling the truth that abstinence is not realistic for young people, even if it should be what everyone strives for. Comprehensive sex-ed wouldn’t be this unrealistic.” In Salon, Rebecca Traister dryly notes that all this honesty was too much for Fox News. As soon as Bristol said what everyone already knew, Sarah Palin hustled on stage to contradict her.

Jodi Jacobsen at RH Reality says it’s time for federal government to acknowledge what Bristol learned the hard way and axe federal funding for abstinence-only education.

Here’s wishing Bristol a happy National Condom Week. Too bad the stimulus package won’t included expanded opportunities to cover birth control under Medicaid. At Mother Jones, Taylor Wiles notes that Obama cut $335 million for STD prevention, and that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) nixed $150 million to fund the Violence Against Women Act.

Over 600 public health professionals have written a letter protesting these and other health cuts in the stimulus. “A decent society doesn’t spent $70 billion on an upper-class tax cut and then cut costs around around the edges by eliminating public health programs that save the lives of the working poor and ease the lives of the chronically ill,” Ezra Klein writes in the American Prospect.

After Bristol Palin, Nadya Suleman is America’s most famous single mother this week. Society tells women that childbearing is the most important part of their lives. Nadya Suleman, the much-scrutinized mother of octuplets, was foolish enough to take that propaganda seriously. Suleman told Dateline that she felt obliged to use her frozen embryos from previous IVF treatments because each of those frozen eggs is a child: “Those are my children and that’s what was available and I used them.” When Suleman says it, it sounds obviously crazy. When the Pope says IVF embryos are little humans, we’re all supposed to nod respectfully like it makes sense.

At least Obama is poised to lift the federal funding ban on stem cell research, as the Colorado Independent reports.

Patricia J. Williams of the Nation is concerned about the vitriolic backlash against Suleman. “No doubt Suleman has emotional problems. But rather than caring about her mental health, much of the media are content to pillory her as a drain on the public dole–selfish, frivolous, calculating and cruel,” Williams writes. An unmarried, unemployed woman bringing 8 premature infants into the world pushes every button on the wingnut dashboard.

Elsewhere in the Nation, Katha Pollitt writes, “I’ve received a number of e mails urging me to defend Suleman on feminist grounds. But really, there is nothing feminist about borrowing all this trouble.”

I’m not sure what a feminist defense of Suleman would look like. To me, the feminist question is why one woman’s foolish decision is generating an outpouring of hate and derision so intense as to result in death threats against the new mom and even her publicists. After all, sperm donors don’t get pilloried for impregnating countless single women. As Patricia Williams noted, more moderate critics are calling for increased regulation of in vitro fertilization, as if Suleman proved that women can’t generally be trusted not to succumb to baby fever.

Conspicuously absent from the Suleman debate is reliable information about in vitro fertilization and multiple pregnancies. Mainstream media seems determined to infer that Suleman and her doctor were trying for eight babies from the get-go. Suleman’s doctor probably went outside accepted medical practice when he implanted so many embryos in a relatively young patient, but there’s no reason to believe that anyone expected octuplets. That’s a critical detail. It’s eccentric and risky for an unemployed woman with six kids to try for a seventh, but it’s not out-and-out crazy. That is, if you really believe that having children is the most important thing a woman can possibly do.

That Suleman is unmarried and broke apparently disqualifies her from the mantle of pro-life martyr. Conservatives lauded Sarah Palin giving birth to child she knew would have Down’s Syndrome. Yet, many of these same social conservatives consider Suleman a monster for carrying all eight fetuses to term, knowing they faced a high risk of lifelong health problems.

As Elisabeth Garber-Paul explains at RH Reality, it’s common to implant multiple embryos during a single IVF cycle because the chance of conception increases with the number of ova introduced. Yes, there’s a risk of multiple births, but introducing multiple embryos decreases the odds of a $12,000 IVF cycle failing completely. The answer, for many women, is to have multiple implants and selective abortions in the unlikely event that more than one or two eggs become fetuses.

Of course, Nadya Suleman is morally opposed to abortion. She made a choice, just like Sarah and Bristol Palin. Ironically, many of Suleman’s most vocal detractors also oppose abortion and embryo destruction. Few Suleman-bashers have come right out and said that she was morally obliged to get abortions, but that’s the subtext. Which is odd, because the pro-life party line for unwed mothers is that whatever “sins” got you pregnant will be overlooked as long as you Choose Life. (Cf. Bristol Palin.)

It’s about as logical as assailing Suleman for being a welfare bum and then threatening to boycott companies that offer to give her stuff for free.

Suleman is an unsympathetic character, but at least she inadvertently dramatized the contradictions of social conservatism.

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