Bits and Pieces

Jig Saw Puzzle** Interesting the Republicans would keep referring to the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, and then report technical glitches in the roll out as people — who supposedly don’t want “Obamacare” — try to sign up. The first day in Nevada saw 3,385 accounts created at Nevada Health Link, and the exchange received 1,536 phone calls.  The executive director of Silver State Insurance Exchange notes this roll out was one massive technical challenge, [LVRJ]and with massive computer projects come glitches and gremlins.  The best advice appears to be the old standard: Be Patient.  At least the Exchange will tell you that the gremlins are being grouchy, and advise you to check back later — unlike a popular  mapping program which leads drivers onto a Fairbanks, Alaska taxi way at their airport.

** Poor Old Rush Limbaugh, telling his listeners that ACORN is providing the navigators for the health insurance exchange in California.  Ole’ Rushbo must be getting his news from the antique magazines in his doctor’s office because ACORN disbanded in March, 2010 and shut down its state affiliates as of April 1, 2010. [Politico]

** One popular line from the Right is that President Obama will negotiate with Syria and Iran but not with the House Republicans, leading to one of my favorite Jon Stewart rants, culminating in a classic line: “If President Obama can make a deal with the most intransigent mullahs in the world but not with House Republicans, maybe he is not the problem.”

** Bookmark this –> GOP’s 21 Demands inserted into the House proposals to keep the government in operation.  Defunding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act wasn’t the only thing on the House Republican wish list.  There were items that didn’t get much media play, but they were hauled out and attached to the Republican banner, and we should expect their flag to be hauled out for the upcoming battle over raising the debt ceiling.

“For a long-term deal, one that gives Treasury borrowing authority for three and a half years, Obama would have to agree to premium support. The plan to privatize Medicare, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ryan budget, is the holy grail for conservatives who say major deficit-reduction can only be achieved by making this type of cut to mandatory spending. “If the president wants to go big, there’s a big idea,” said Scalise.” [NatlJrnl]

In short, if the President doesn’t agree to the old Ryan Budget Coupon-Care as a replacement for the current Medicare program, we’re looking at GOP intransigence over raising the debt ceiling later this month.

** If we thought the Citizens United decision was a bad idea, there might be another blow coming, Demos explains:

“A new report from Public Campaign shows what could happen if the Supreme Court deals another blow to campaign finance reform in McCutcheon v. FEC. The case is a challenge to aggregate contribution limits, i.e. limits on the overall amount of money a donor can contribute to federal candidates, parties, and political action committees. Currently, no one person can contribute over $117,000 in total. Given that’s already more than twice the average American’s annual income, the contribution cap is not exactly limiting the ability of people to donate.”

** Meanwhile we have dueling headlines. “GOPers Insist Americans Will Eventually Back Them on Shutdowns,” and “With Traditional GOP Allies Defecting, Big Business Takes Sides With Obama.”

** Highly recommended reading: “The Reign of Morons” from Charles Pierce, Esquire Magazine. “What History Will Say,” Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast.  “The Captain Ahabs of the House,” Charles Blow, New York Times.

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