Texas Legislature Intentionally Under-Funded Medicaid – The Texas Legislature passed a so-called “balanced” budget by intentionally under-funding the Medicaid program by $4.5 billion, essentially choosing to postpone payment of that bill until 2013. Now, escalating caseload growth will bump that figure into the atmosphere, State Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs told hospital administrators in a speech Wednesday.
Santorum to Sick Kid: Don’t Complain About $1 Million Drug Costs – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder on Tuesday that she shouldn’t have a problem paying $1 million a year for drugs because Apple’s iPad can cost around $900.
Speaking to more than 400 people at Woodland Park, Colorado, the former Pennsylvania senator said that demand should set prices for drugs.
“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” the candidate explained. “But paying $900 for a drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.”
The mother replied that she could not afford her son’s medication, Abilify, which can cost as much as $1 million a year without health insurance.
Santorum insisted. “But the bottom line is, we have to give companies the incentive to make those drugs.”
Republican Senator Says Low Teacher Pay Mandated by God – A Republican State Senator from Alabama claimed this week that keeping teacher salaries low is actually an order from the Christian deity figure, imparted in ancient texts written by Jewish tribesmen thousands of years ago.
Speaking at a prayer breakfast recently, Alabama state Senator Shadrack McGill praised giving pay raises to politicians, saying that it helps to prevent bribery. Then he shifted gears and went in the opposite direction with regards to teachers, arguing against a bill that would increase their salaries. He said, ”
“It’s a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach.” He further said that because teaching is a “calling,” teachers would still do their jobs no matter how little they are paid.
States That Adopted Right-Wing Education Methods Did Poorest – On Tuesday, the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released a “Report Card on American Education.” In ranking the 50 states and Washington, D.C. some interesting trends emerge. Blue states tend to outperform red states. Based on standardized test scores these are five states: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Numbers 47-51: Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
The other funny thing about ALEC’s education report card is that they grade each state on whether they’ve adopted ALEC’s education reform agenda but are unconcerned with how their reforms affect outcomes. Some of the states with the highest marks for reform with rank in the bottom half on their performance, such as Missouri, California and Arizona.
“One Million Moms Group” to JC Penney: Fire Ellen DeGeneres, She’s Gay – One Million Moms — a project of the American Family Association (AFA) — who doesn’t have one million moms in it — is very angry at JC Penney because their spokesperson, Ellen DeGeneres is gay, and open about it. With this campaign, One Million Moms, is going after one of the country’s most well-liked and most congenial television hosts. The group wants JC Penney to replace Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson.
What else has AFA done? They have called for the shutdown of PBS and as a result of the AFA’s campaign, many state legislatures reduced funding for public broadcasting. The AFA alsospearheaded the attack on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), using direct mail and extensive print advertising to distort the NEA’s record of sponsorship of the arts.
Secrecy Shrouds ‘Super PAC’ Funds in Latest Filings – Newly disclosed details of the millions of dollars flowing into political groups are highlighting not just the scale of donations from corporation and unions but also the secrecy surrounding “super PACs” seeking to influence the presidential race.
Some of the money came from well-established concerns, like Alpha Natural Resources, one of the country’s largest coal companies, which is backing Republican-aligned American Crossroads, or from the Service Employees International Union, a powerful union allied with Democrats, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Some came from companies closely identified with prominent industrialists or financiers, like Contran, a mammoth holding company controlled by the Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, a patron of a number of conservative groups and candidates, and Blue Ridge Capital, a New York hedge fund founded by the wealthy investor John A. Griffin, a supporter of Mitt Romney.
The US Spends a Lot More to Beat Other Countries Than to Assist Them – The US is number one in the world in military spending. The US spends $100 billion more on our military than the next highest 15 countries combined. More than China, UK, France, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Turkey combined. Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2011 Yearbook.
$836 billion is budgeted for military spending by the US in 2012. Source: US Office of Management and Budget, Fiscal Year 2012.
However, the US government ranks 19th out of 23 countries in assistance to poor nations, giving only about two-tenths of one percent of US gross national income to poor countries. Source: Global Issues: Foreign Aid for Development Assistance.