Tag Archives: Rachel Maddow

Are Texans At Greater Risk Of Disease Outbreaks?

Even with the surprising and unsettling mistakes that have transpired as Dallas County officials try to contain the nation’s first confirmed Ebola case, people are still at far reduced risk when compared to nations with less advanced health systems or monitoring techniques.  With the eyes of the nation fixated upon the spread of this disease, Texans should know that every effort is being made to combat any further impact on the state’s population.

But Ebola is not the only infectious disease out there.  Lots of other health risks exist, many of which are not put in the national focus as has been done with Ebola.  Meanwhile, Texas remains the state with the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation.  Eventually a correlative question has to be asked…

With so many of our poor left uninsured due to the state’s refusal of healthcare expansion, is Texas also left at greater risk of a major disease outbreak?  

It’s a tough question to answer, but the first step is to take a look at the state’s uninsured population, and realize that they aren’t just “lazy people with no job on Welfare”.  From the Texas Medical Association, here are a few interesting facts about the state’s uninsured population…

According to a summary of national data by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), groups with a high likelihood of lacking health insurance include:

  • People in families with income below 200 percent of the poverty level;
  • Hispanics;
  • Young adults, age 19 to 34;
  • People in families in which the adults worked either part-time or only part of the year; or
  • Individuals in fair or poor health status who are significantly more likely than others to be uninsured for longer periods.

Texas workers are less likely to have employment-based health insurance coverage than those in other states. 50 percent of all companies in the US offer health coverage for their employees.  In 2012, Texas ranked 42nd in the nation, with only 45 percent of Texans having employment-based health insurance coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports 63 percent of the uninsured have at least one family member who works either full-time or part-time in 2011 to 2012.


The uninsured are up to four times less likely to have a regular source of health care and are more likely to die from health-related problems. They are much less likely to receive needed medical care, even for symptoms that can have serious health consequences if not treated. About one in four Texans lives at or below the poverty level; for children, it’s nearly one in three.

So just think about that for a second… a large number of the uninsured population in Texas are people that are working, but likely in low-wage jobs.  They are waitstaff at restaurants, taking clothes at the dry cleaners, preparing delicious beverages at a favorite coffee place.  In other words, Texans without insurance are you and me. When they , we, are healthy,  everyone’s risk of health risks are lowered.

But when those Texans are sick and don’t go to get early treatment for fear of cost, everyone is put at greater risk.  And while it’s true that the simple act of having more people covered can never guarantee that people will take responsibility and see a health professional when needed, healthcare expansion would give a critical option to those that are now solely relying on the Emergency Room for their needs.  Early diagnosis saves lives, and is the best way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

As voters make their decision this Fall, healthcare will undoubtedly be a central issue to those Texans that need it.  What people may not realize though?  That same decision could help protect us all, not just those that would be direct beneficiaries of expansion.

Is President Obama Afraid of Rachel Maddow?

The Super Bowl is undoubtedly the United States’ largest annual sporting event. The football brawl is a day for most Americans to relax with friends, consume massive amounts of calories and yell at the tv. The game and all of the hype leading up to it have become one of the country’s most revered and respected traditions. During Super Bowl week, it’s also sufficient to say that lots of other news stories take a back seat to pre-game postulation.

But one interesting event is starting to become something of a tradition on Super Bowl night is political in nature. For the second time Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly landed a major interview with President Barack Obama. Including an appearance on the O’Reilly Factor with then-candidate Obama, Sunday’s brawl marked the third time the President has interviewed with the cable news mogul. As Washington Post writer Dana Milbank notes, the most interesting take-away from this latest installment was much less about Obama, and more about growing mistrust within the country’s right flank.

This was O’Reilly’s third such session with Obama — and as such it served as a milepost on the conservative movement’s road to Obama hysteria. O’Reilly’s first sitdown with Obama, in 2008, was a lengthy and affectionate encounter. The second meeting, another Super Bowl interview in 2011, had its share of interruptions, but there was lighthearted banter and the questions were more neutral (“What is it about the job that has surprised you the most?”).

But this time, O’Reilly gave only a passing pleasantry at the end (“I think your heart is in the right place”) and otherwise was hostile from the start. He leaned forward in his seat, waving his pen and pointing his finger at the president. He shook his head doubtfully at some of Obama’s answers.

No doubt the Fox News viewers got what they wanted from the session. But there’s a whole other viewership that the President seems to be ignoring out there… the one that is left-of-center. By contrast to O’Reilly, MSNBC’s lead anchor Rachel Maddow has had only one session with candidate Barack Obama, and has NEVER been granted an interview during his Presidency. That’s right folks… arguably the most Progressive voice on television has been locked out of the White House for over 5 years.

One can only speculate the reason for this. Perhaps it has to do with the known fact that Bill O’Reilly’s program is the highest rated in Prime-time cable news. But if that were the case, then why would the President grant interviews to Jake Tapper at CNN, whose program is much lower than Maddow? Ratings has little or nothing to do with the decision. Or perhaps Maddow’s first and only interview was a bit too harsh for Obama to take. But then why would he even deal with O’Reilly??

Regardless of reason, this losing streak for Maddow needs to end. This country is more than just Conservatives and Independents… Progressives are just as American as anyone else, and we deserve to have our issued discussed with the President and American public too. I call upon President Obama to grant Rachel Maddow an interview this year. Whether it turns into a ‘Super Brawl’ or not… this interview is LONG overdue.

The ABCs of the GOP… J is for


The Republican Party’s greatest asset is unquestionable… Loyalty. The way that the GOP can stay lock-step with it’s leader and deliver a unified assault is something Democrats have never been able to muster. They have mastered a fierce sense of discipline that is enviable even if you disagree with their political position.

But in 2012, that loyalty is now faces its greatest test in presumptive Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Unlike John McCain, George W. Bush and many GOP leaders of the past, Mr. Romney has one big gaping character flaw… he’s a liar.

I know many people that aren’t paying attention to this race say that the blame is shared by both candidates. I get that… Mr. Obama has lied about some things too, and he’s certainly fallen short of many promises he made from the 2008 campaign. But even still, there is a marked distinction that must be made here. With Obama, he has to at least find explanations for most of the things he says to the American People. One example are the promises of how he was going to improve the economy. Many of those things were actually accomplished under the Democratic Congress, such as a Wall Street reform bill, and the credit card Bill of Rights. Oh yeah, and that little healthcare law that will have long-reaching economic impact. For many of the things he didn’t accomplish, the President can at least say that he tried. And I mean that in all seriousness… remember the American Jobs Act?? It was ripped to shreds by Congressional divisiveness. In my opinion, our nation’s record on jobs is far more a failure of Congress (like so many other issues of today) than it is the President, so it’s difficult to say that he “lied” about the jobs promises.

With Mitt Romney, lying is on a completely different level. I know the words are harsh, but we have to be candid. Clearly Mr. Romney seems to be a good man with a beautiful family, and he’s certainly successful. But even “good people” can be chronic liars. And the sad truth of his campaign is that every step of the way he has lied to suit his (and the party’s) rapidly changing interests. His method of lying goes far beyond campaign promises that are often shot into an uncertain future anyway. With Mitt Romney, we have to question every single aspect of his character as a man. Everything he says is shrouded in lies, and he does it so frequently that he won’t even apologize or explain them. As a result, he really has become this fictional character that was pieced together through hearsay and fable. Romney is something of a Frankenstein of lies, or as I have now deemed him, “FrankenMitt”. His fellow Republicans know this, as they are the ones who first called him out during the GOP Primaries. And as Rachel Maddow pointed out in this clip from March, they did not soften their accusations.

Here’s the problem this represents. Pretend as they may, Republicans know that Mitt Romney is one of the most prolific liars in American political history. We’ve all known this since the Primary race, but for some unexplained reason, this rouse continues. They try to make sense of the situation by saying “Obama lies too” or “all politicians do this” but at the same time they know deep down that Romney’s lies are on a grand scale for even the worst of the worst. For a party that relies so heavily on loyalty and conviction, GOP voters are being forced to take a pill of “anything but”, and hope that somehow it will carry them through election night. But as mounting pressure grows, they know that the days are numbered before Americans learn the truth. So the Pro-Romney folks are forced to go on, stripped of the dignity and pride that carried them through the massive red tide of 2010. The Ron Paul voters (the last few hold-outs against Romney) are now being beaten into submission, and what little enthusiasm they had is sure to go away as well. So what’s left is a jaded party that will never be the same, regardless of who takes the Whitehouse in November.

Make no mistake Republicans… Romney’s the one who jaded you.

The ABCs of the GOP: F is for…


You know what they say about overly aggressive dogs… “Don’t worry, it’s bark is worse than it’s bite.” Most of the time, the same cliche applies in Washington. Politicians make a lot of huge promises during campaign time. They vilify the party opposite, and proclaim themselves to have all of the right answers. But once sworn in, they go behind closed doors, and try to come up with common-sense solutions.

But unfortunately, the days of common sense are over for the GOP. Their singular modus operandi has been reduced to its most primal, instictive core… FEAR. As for what they are afraid of? Well let’s see if we can figure that out.

The GOP is afraid of changing demographics. Much of this was covered in the letter E, but it is quite fitting that we were reminded today. During President Obama’s bold move to end deportation of young illegal immigrants “Dreamers” The Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas caught a rather interesting conflict between Fox News coverage and it’s affiliate Fox News Latino. On FNL, the reaction to Obama’s new policy seems quite positive, compared to its scathing counterparts on the Fox News and Fox News Nation main sites. The Romney campaign was “hesitant” to respond to the Presdient’s statement, finally criticizing the move for not being a “long-term solution”. It’s sufficient to say that their stance is fearful and weak.

To some extent, the GOP is afraid of Obama. Not of the man himself, nor of the office of the President. But the one thing they do know about him is that he is smart, and fair. No one is saying he does everything right, or that he’s been a perfect President, but they know that he is very good at representing his views. He’s a strong, centrist Democrat. That’s why they stop at nothing to portray him as a far-left, foriegn-born socialist. If they weren’t afraid of him, there wouldn’t be the need to make up and promote such exceptional lies. This fear has caused quite a mess for some GOP lawmakers. In order for Obama to be all of these terrible things, they first have to make him the enemy. That means they must present a united front against him, and can NEVER agree with him for any reason (especially in public). Some legislators like John McCain and Texas’ own Kay Bailey Hutchison have actually had to vote against legislation they originally co-sponsored once they found out the President would support it. And of course in 2010 Senator McCain of Arizona, who co-sponsored the DREAM Act, tucked tail and changed position to filibuster the bill during the Obama administration. Clearly they are afraid of giving any support to Obama, even if it is in concert with their own principles. Why would you do all of the work to sponsor a bill, then vote against it?? Here’s Rachel Maddow’s coverage of this very difficult scenario…

But the GOP’s greatest fear is not the threat of extinction or Democrats, or even President Obama. None of those things. The GOP’s greatest fear is itself. As their numbers have continued to wane and their views on social issues like Gay marriage and contraception become increasingly antequated, Republicans have been forced to latch on to the far-right in order to stay relevant. At first, this grand merger seemed workable, but now the extreme group is threatening every structural aspect of the party. They are driving out moderates, and leaving those that stand with them as hypocrites. Many people have said that Ronald Reagan couldn’t get elected in the contemporary GOP. I strongly suspect that they are correct.