Author Archive: deciminyan

One Step Forward – One Step Backward

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Today is a significant day in the quest for access to health care for all Americans.  While it is the day when the first of several insurance reforms take effect at the federal level, we are also seeing the immediate impact of Governor Christie’s mean-spirited veto of women’s health care.

On the national scene, several provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect including forbidding denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions in children (unfortunately the same reform does not go into effect for adults for a few more years), elimination of lifetime coverage limits so that families can cope with catastrophic illness with one less thing to worry about, a common-sense approach to inadvertent errors on insurance applications to avert frivolous policy cancellation at the time patients are most vulnerable, coverage of children on parents’ policy  until age 26 which is a must in today’s challenging job environment, and an emphasis on preventative medicine which will drive down costs.  Other provisions are phased in through 2014. While not as good as a single-payer not-for-profit insurance approach, we should celebrate this small victory in today’s toxic political environment.

Meanwhile, here in New Jersey, several women’s health clinics have announced their closing or reduction in hours because our governor would rather balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class than tax millionaires.  The $7.5 million for health care that he vetoed is a pittance in the $29 billion state budget and much less than the impact of the tax cut for the very wealthy.  Maybe if instead of flying to Chicago and congratulating himself on Oprah, the governor should scrub the budget, reconsider the breaks for the wealthy, and solve this problem.  While Governor Christie touts his “right-to-life” credentials, I wonder how many lives will be lost and families destroyed due to these senseless actions.  

Witches Brew-HaHa

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Liberal talk radio is having a field day with mainstream Republican senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell’s admission that she dabbled in witchcraft a decade or so ago.  The talking heads are suggesting that Ms. O’Donnell secure the services of exorcist-turned-governor Bobby Jindal to “cure” her of this malady.

There’s a lot to discuss about Christine O’Donnell, but liberals should know better that religion is not one of them.  

find out why beneath the fold

John Adler (R-NJ)

NJ-3 just gets worse and worse. – promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Imagine this scenario.  Freshman Democratic Congressman John Adler defeats footballer Jon Runyan in the November election.  This is plausible because even though New Jersey’s Third District has been gerrymandered to make it a “safe” district for the GOP, Adler has significantly more money with which to campaign, and Runyan is weak on the important issues.  Now, also imagine that nationally, the Republicans take control of the House.

If this scenario were to come to pass, the best thing John Adler could do is to switch parties and become a Republican.  Certainly, his first term voting record mirrors what would have been the voting pattern of his predecessor, long-term moderate GOP Congressman Jim Saxton.  Like Adler, Saxton would probably have voted against health care and would have supported the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  Also, given the fact that New Jersey’s redistricting based on the 2010 census will be controlled by Chris Christie’s cronies, it is a safe bet that this district will once again be gerrymandered favorably for Republicans.  Switching parties would be a safe bet for Adler to retain his seat for several more terms under this scenario.

This sequence of events would not only benefit John Adler, but it would benefit the District as a whole.   With a GOP majority in Congress, a Republican Adler would be better positioned to promote programs and earmarks that would bring jobs, funding, and other benefits to Burlington and Ocean Counties.  He would still be a minority within his own (new) party because even though he votes more like a Republican, he has not partaken of the Tea Party Kool Aid.  The more moderate Republicans who are sent to Congress (as opposed to Tea Party Republicans), the better off we all will be.  And if Mr. Adler does switch parties after the election, it leaves room for a progressive Democrat to run in 2012, giving voters of the Third District a real choice.

I hope Adler wins; after all, he’s (barely) the lesser of two evils.  And I hope that the Democrats retain control of the House – otherwise this nation is in deep shit.  But if the Democrats do lose, and Adler does win, we are all better off if he honestly admits that he’s a moderate Republican and switches to the GOP.

New Jersey Needs S1872 Like it Needs More Traffic

What do you say, Blue Jersey?  – promoted by Rosi

Cross posted from deciminyan

No one on any point of the political spectrum disagrees with the contention that New Jersey’s public education system is in trouble.  Once the model to which other states would aspire, today our public schools are severely underfunded and the schools’ dependence on an unfair property tax revenue stream exacerbates the situation.  The recent cuts imposed by the Christie administration have compounded the problem by taking an additional one billion dollars from the education of our children.  So why would the New Jersey legislature consider a bill that takes another $360 million from public schools without improving education?  And is unconstitutional as well?

Yet, that is exactly what is happening in the Garden State. (read all about it below the fold)

Why the Republicans Will Win Big in November – And What it Means for America

Cross posted from deciminyan

Dick Polman, one of my favorite columnists, recently penned an article entitled “Making a case that maybe all isn’t lost for the Democrats.”  In that column, he argues that the poll numbers showing huge GOP gains may be premature and that the Democrats have a bigger war chest than their opponents.  As much as I often agree with Mr. Polman (and I do agree with his assertion that no matter how bad the Democrats are, the GOP is worse), I’m afraid he is wrong in his assessment of the November elections.  There are several factors in play that give the advantage to the Grand Old Tea Party:

(continued)

Finally – An Adler/Runyan Debate Open to the Public

promoted by Rosi

I recently lamented that the debates for NJ-3’s congressional seat were in closed-to-the-public radio studios or at for-fee venues.  Well, that’s no longer the case.  John Adler and Jon Runyan will be debating at the JCC in Cherry Hill on October 11 at 7:30PM, and the organizers confirmed to me today that it is open to the public.  Prior to the debate, there will be a cocktail reception with an $18 cover charge, but participation at the reception is not required to attend the debate.  It should be interesting to see how an ex-footballer who has memorized the Tea Party lines does against the Harvard-educated lawyer.

Democracy – For a Price

This race is hotter than hot. I like the idea of weekly debates, and the GOP might disagree but I think Adler would clean Runyan’s clock. – promoted by Rosi

This coming Monday, Congressman John Adler and Footballer Jon Runyan will meet for what is billed as a “Congressional Candidates Forum.”  The event is sponsored by the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce.

Growing up in the ’50’s and ’60’s, I was schooled in the idealized version of American democracy.  Representatives were supposed to be directly connected to the people and pre-election activities were open to all.  But Monday’s debate is not.  It will be held in a fancy hotel in Mount Laurel, and for those who are not members of the Chamber of Commerce, there’s a $40 fee for attendance.  And according to the Chamber’s web site, sponsors for the debate are the Health Care industry and the Insurance Industry.  Don’t expect much push-back discussion on topics that require these industries to better serve their customers.

The Chamber has every right to charge for such an event. (more below the fold)

Guns or Soup

promoted by Rosi

Cross posted from deciminyan

They closed a neighborhood library in Camden yesterday.  Camden – one of New Jersey’s most disadvantaged cities – bearing the brunt of the Bush Recession and the Christie Depredation with an order of magnitude more grief than most of us.

They say that nature abhors a vacuum, and the vacuum created for the children in that neighborhood by the closing of the Fairview Branch library will be filled by drug dealers, gangs, and other nefarious forces.  So by closing the library, Camden residents will be forced to spend more on the already overworked police department and judicial system.

Many Camden teens will lose their only access to the Internet – vital in this day and age to secure even the most low-paying jobs.  Younger children will miss out on the joy of reading – exploring real and imaginary worlds to spark their desire and commitment to a better life, not to mention losing tools that foster better academic performance.  The neighborhood, which has been coming together over the last decade, will lose a gathering place that helps advance that cohesion.  And while the library staff, which consists of two employees, will be transferred to other branches, it’s only a matter of time before they or their colleagues will join the ranks of the unemployed, as the other branches in Camden are on track to close also.

The entire budget shortfall (not just the libraries) for the City of Camden is $28 million.  That’s how much we spend on the war in Iraq in four hours.   Despite the fact that the recovery of one of New Jersey’s most historic cities is vastly more important than the oil wars in the Middle East, it impractical to just stop the war for four hours to make up the shortfall.  But we could stop the war for good, and use those funds to revitalize Camden, and the scores of other urban areas and their people who represent the future of America.  Where are our priorities?

I Don’t Recall

Where’s all this going, Blue Jersey? – promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan.org

There’s a Facebook group called “NJ Against Chris Christie” which has over 38,000 members.  Some of the discourse there is childish, using epithets and taunts.  Yet, there’s also a considerable amount of rational discussion about the governor’s performance, his cronyism, and his overly simplistic solutions to complex problems.  Often, it is pointed out that New Jersey election law allows a recall petition to be initiated one year following a gubernatorial election, and there’s lots of talk about doing so.

As I explained in an earlier post, this is a bad idea.  (find out why below the fold)

Happy ½ Birthday

promoted by Rosi

I normally don’t cross-post articles from my deciminyan blog that are not NJ-specific.  But this topic will be a function of how the states proceed.  With Gov. Christie’s track record, it is important to keep the pressure on him to avoid additional blunders.


With the exception of newlyweds and doting grandparents, there are few celebrations of a six-month anniversary or birthday.  Yet, this month – September 23rd specifically – there is an important half-year milestone for the United States.

That day will mark six months since the President signed the historic Affordable Care Act into law.  And while the implementation of the provisions of the act will be phased in over the next several years, some of its benefits will start on September 23rd.

The bill that was signed last March is severely flawed.  It is complex and will result in 50 somewhat disparate systems because much of the implementation is left up to the states.  A Single Payer approach (“Medicare for All”) would have been a better, more fiscally sound system, and the current bill is a boon to for-profit insurance companies.  Nevertheless, it is a good start with some tangible benefits to be realized this month.

Here’s what happens on September 23rd (courtesy NJ Citizen Action):

  • Coverage Expansion for Young Adults – Young adults up to age 26 can participate in their parents’ health care plan.

  • No Rescissions – Bans all health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.

  • No Lifetime Limits on Coverage – Prohibits all health plans for placing lifetime caps on coverage.

  • Tightly Regulates Annual Limits on Coverage – Tightly restricts the use of annual limits by all employer plans and new plans in the individual market, to ensure access to needed care.

  • Free Preventive Care Under New Plans – Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles.

  • New, Independent Appeals Process for New Plans – Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions.

  • No Discrimination Against Children with Pre-Existing Conditions – Prohibits all employer plans and new plans in the individual market from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.  Already exists in New Jersey, but will now be extended throughout the country.

(read more below the fold)