Capital & Main’s Latest News Section.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are under attack by Republican lawmakers. Whether it is the Romney/Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it or proposals to privatize and cut Social Security, members of the Alliance for Retired Americans are pushing back and mobilizing with new “Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire” campaign.
During the next few weeks to coincide with Medicare’s and Medicaid’s 47th anniversary July 30 and Social Security’s 77th on Aug. 14, Alliance members will sponsor educational briefings at senior centers and organize protests outside offices of lawmakers who have voted against the needs of local retirees. Says Alliance President Barbara Easterling:
Our goal is to educate seniors on the issues and on where elected officials and candidates stand. We need to clear up all the misinformation that is being spread by the big business groups and the right-wing commentators on TV.
In the last two years, since the Republican sweep in the 2010 elections, GOP-controlled legislatures in many states have passed laws requiring photo identification for voters. It is widely believed that the unspoken intent of these laws is to suppress voting by groups known to be friendly to Democrats, such as African-Americans, Latinos, poor people, and young people. In a possible miscalculation, the Republicans also make it more difficult for seniors, a group that has recently trended more Republican.
Pennsylvania, has one of the toughest photo ID laws. A person must have a photo ID, such as a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, a valid U.S. passport, or an ID issued by a Pennsylvania higher education institution or nursing home (with an expiration date). If the potential voter has none of these, s/he can obtain a state-issued card from the Department of Transportation. To do that, one must go to one of the agencies equipped to issue such cards,
Negotiations between workers and the Waste Management company have reached an absolute standstill, with hundreds of trash and recycling workers striking and the sanitation giant refusing to negotiate with picketing workers.
Waste Management employees, represented by Teamsters Local 117, walked off the job last Wednesday after working without a contract since May 31. Waste Management is proposing a contract that pays recycling workers less than garbage haulers, despite the similarity between the jobs. Tellingly, Waste Management has historically taken an oppositional stance to organized labor, and seemed to be priming for a lock-out in June. After the contract expired, Waste Management held a job fair for replacement (scab) workers, and increased security at its Puget Sound headquarters. Alas, the replacement workers have not managed to keep up with the overflowing garbage and recycling heaps in Puget Sound.
(Beginning tomorrow, August 1, health insurance companies will be required to cover women’s preventive care without extra charges. As other provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to unfold over the next few years, more women will gain further access to affordable preventive health care. Countdown to Coverage has been marking the days leading up to August 1 with posts about how ACA – often called “Obamacare” by its opponents — will benefit women, while pointedly rebranding the act “MamaCare.”
We love MamaCare! Thanks to the health care law, on August 1 all new health insurance plans will have to provide pregnant women with coverage for gestational diabetes screening without charging us expensive co-pays and deductibles.
There’s a scene in Lauren Greenfield’s likable documentary, The Queen of Versailles, in which the titular monarch, the wife of time-share mogul David Siegel, announces she is shoveling $2,000 worth of caviar into her mouth. “Somebody’s gonna get fired,” grumbles her husband, a former billionaire who is now desperately pinching pennies as his creditors tighten a noose around his troubled empire.
The film is full of such jarring moments, making it partly an American economic fable, partly a reality TV show. Like many such train wrecks, the story takes place in Florida and, like many a tale of real estate rise-and-ruin, it begins on the eve of the recent recession. That’s when Greenfield set out to capture the Siegels’ construction of the largest house in America – a 90,000-square-foot monstrosity inspired by both Louis XIV’s court at Versailles and the Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino. Among other things, its floor plans called for 23 bathrooms,