Mental Health Parity Hidden in Bailout

Congress’s $700 billion bailout package unbeknownst to seemingly everyone, or at least me, also contained within it a valuable piece of legislation regarding mental health services that advocates have been fighting for years to pass. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was passed into law as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (HR 1424). NPR’s All Things Considered brought this story to my attention. The law addresses the concept of mental health parity–that mental health issues are insured to the same degree as is what is traditionally considered to be more physical medical problems (we all know that mental health issues are physical illnesses of course). In 1996 Sen. Pete Domenici and Sen. Paul Wellstone … Continue reading

Are We Gearing Up For An Obama Landslide?

I’ve spent the entire weekend packing for my move back east next week. I leave Los Angeles on the 19th and there is so much to do. I’ve barely had a chance to read the news, but this caught my eye during my late night browse: Barring a dramatic change in the political landscape over the next three weeks, Democrats appear headed toward a decisive victory on Election Day that would give them broad power over the federal government. The victory would send Barack Obama to the White House and give him larger Democratic majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate — and perhaps a filibuster-proof margin there. That could mark a historic realignment of the country’s … Continue reading

Conservatives Are Right: Free Speech Isn’t a Political Issue

by Walter Brasch The Sunbird Conservatives, a student group, put out some pro-McCain literature at a recruiting table at Fresno Pacific University a week ago. Seemed innocent enough. The conservatives weren’t harassing anyone, nor were they blocking any sidewalks. But, administrators at this Christian-based college didn’t like it. A dean told the students to either remove the McCain literature or to agree to what he said was university policy to present both sides. The dean correctly noted that the First Amendment applies only to government intrusion. A private university, unlike a public university, may curtail any free speech it wants. The students still argued “free speech rights.” Enter the provost, head of all academic affairs at the university. She reaffirmed … Continue reading

Will Health Care Be the Next Banking Collapse?

Last week two health care experts sounded the alarm that health care may be the next national meltdown on the same scale as the banking industry.  Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and Kenneth Thorpe, PhD of the executive director of the Emory Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions and former deputy assistant of policy at HHS under Clinton, met with reporters via teleconference warning that the crisis in banking may be what looms ahead for health care.  “We have got to find ways … to slow the growth in both Medicare and Medicaid,” Thorpe said. “We’ve got to find ways in the private sector to make health care more affordable for working families and for businesses. Otherwise, despite the talk about universal coverage, nobody will … Continue reading

Wrong Track

The latest NEWSWEEK poll shows Obama opening up a double digit lead over John McCain and “An astounding 86 percent of voters now say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States, while a mere 10 percent say they are satisfied.” That’s the highest wrong track/right track ratio ever recorded in the NEWSWEEK poll. The “historic boiling over of dissatisfaction with the status quo” is the cause of the “surge in support” for Obama. It’s a “GOP trainwreck waiting to happen“…. Putting it into context in terms of “just how toxic these numbers could be for the Republic party, consider that in October, 2006, weeks before the Democrats swept control of both houses of Congress, only … Continue reading

Christopher Buckley Voting for Obama

Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, announced today on his blog, The Daily Beast that he is voting for Barack Obama. Buckley said: Let me be the latest conservative/libertarian/whatever to leap onto the Barack Obama bandwagon. It’s a good thing my dear old mum and pup are no longer alive. They’d cut off my allowance. Buckley goes on to make his case against voting for John McCain and explain why he’s supporting Obama. It’s a very good read: “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama.”

Palin Abused Powers

It’s official…. “A legislative investigation” in Alaska “has concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in pushing for the firing of an Alaska state trooper who was once married to her sister, or by failing to prevent her husband Todd from doing so.” The report by investigator Steve Branchflower was made public late this afternoon by a bipartisan 12-0 vote of the Legislative Council, which authorized the investigation. Branchflower’s report contains four findings. The first concludes that Palin violated the state’s executive branch ethics act, which says that “each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.”   The Troopergate investigation … Continue reading

McCain Trading In His Character To Chase The News Cycle

That headline comes from a communications professional, Kimberly Krautter, publisher of The Body Politic. “When the chips are down for a candidate, he often cries foul when his opponent airs an ad that challenges his record and turns the candidate’s words or votes against him. Frankly, in the world of advertising and marketing, that’s considered fair play. Think about the famous “Pepsi Taste Challenge” from the 1980s. While the tone of such an ad might be “contrary”, it’s not truly “negative.” A negative ad/attack ad is one that gets nasty and personal and takes the discourse away from the issues and fails to promote the platform – the advertiser candidate’s vision for the future should he be elected. Over the … Continue reading