ThinkFast: September 15, 2009

SEIU is calling attention to the fact that the health insurance industry considers domestic violence to be a “pre-existing condition” in some states. “Under the cold logic of the insurance industry, it makes perfect sense: If you are in a marriage with someone who has beaten you in the past, you’re more likely to get beaten again than the average person and are therefore more expensive to insure.”

The Associated Press reports that while Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) may be doing his best to craft a bipartisan health care bill, he may end up losing support from his Democratic colleagues as a result. Fellow Democrats such as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) are concerned that Baucus’s legislation does too little to assist lower-income people get coverage and that some of the fees Baucus plans to levy on the health care industry are “excessive.”

A new USA Today/Gallup poll taken after President Obama’s recent health care speech finds that Americans are almost evenly divided over passing a health care bill. Six in ten poll respondents say that Obama’s proposal would not accomplish its goals of expanding coverage to all Americans without raising middle class taxes or lowering the overall quality of care.

“The historic Senate Caucus Room was renamed the Kennedy Caucus Room on Monday in honor of the three Kennedy brothers who served in the chamber,” according to a statement by Sens. Chris Dodd and John Kerry. A resolution introduced by Dodd and Kerry was unanimously passedby the Senate to make the change.


State and local tourism officials in South Carolina “are being flooded by emails and calls from people across the country, saying they won’t vacation” in the state “because they’re upset by GOP Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst at President Barack Obama.” “Marion Edmonds, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said his agency had received 147 emails from people who cited Wilson.”

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “launched the Obama administration’s first coordinated response to the impacts of climate change,” which “he said would both monitor how global warming is altering the nation’s landscape and help the country cope with those changes.” Interior will create eight “regional climate change response centers” across the country while exploring “methods to sequester carbon.”

A review of the nation’s terror-alert system by a special task force will recommend that the Obama administration keep color-coded alerts, but reduce the number of colors from five to three. The review also “determined the government’s decisions for raising and lowering the terror alert levels need to be more transparent.”

The UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission has ordered a recount of votes from nearly 10 percent of Afghanistan’s polling districts following that country’s fraud-ridden election. Sayed Fazel Sancharaki, a spokesman for the incumbent president Hamid Karzai’s main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, called the move a “positive step.”

And finally: Politico reports that artist Michael Murphy has chosen an unlikely medium for his portrait of Fox’s Glenn Beck: manure. Murphy’s website indicates that his painting is composed from “bull shit and pigment.” (See a picture of the artist blending his “paint.”)

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