Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hates Obamacare, which isn't too surprising, given that he's an elected Republican politician. And considering the health-care law's miserable rollout the Obama administration's painfully laborious attempts to patch up the problems, unapologetic opposition to the Affordable Care Act. would seem to be a political no-brainer in the run-up to McConnell's 2014 re-election bid.
Yet Kentucky may be one of the few places where support for ObamaCare is actually a winning argument come next year. The state's exchange marketplace has been one of ObamaCare's early bright spots. And continued success, coupled with a turnaround for the law at the federal level, could make ObamaCare relatively popular there over the coming months.
Before ObamaCare, 640,000 Kentucky residents--or one sixth of the state's population didn't have health insurance. So far more than 60,000 have signed up for ObamaCare and the numbers are growing faster each day. Kentucky also accepted the federal government's expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare, and nearly 38,000 residents have already taken advantage of their new eligibility to sign up for it. And with a November surge, Kentucky is already beating its estimated enrollment pace.
At the national level, there is reason to believe ObamaCare could be in for a huge turnaround. The federal exchanges marketplace is finally starting to gain some serious steam as the Affordable Care Act website is becoming easier with each passing day.
McConnell has blasted ObamaCare in the past month as "Beyond Repair," saying that "anything short of full repeal leaves us with this monstrosity." If ObamaCare continues to improve, which no doubt it will, then McConnell's talking point "will dry up", and McConnell's job will come into exquisite tension with his responsibility to his own constituents.
NEW YORK (AP)- Butterball apparently has a big fat mystery on its hands: The company says it doesn't know why many of their turkeys won't plump up in time for Thanksgiving this year.
CEO Rod Brenneman says in an interview with AP that it's the first time it has ever happened and the company is investigating what went wrong. Butterball had announced last week that it will have a limited supply of large, fresh turkeys that are 16 pounds or heavier for the holidays.
"It's a really good question. We just don't have the answer as yet," Brenneman said when asked about the cause.
For much of the year Butterball turkeys are frozen and stored until they are ready to be sold for the holidays. But in October and November, it shifts into production for fresh turkeys. And that's when the company ran itno unexplained problems with their turkeys not gaining weight.
Like many other turkey producers, Butterball pumps it's turkeys full of antibiotics to prevent illnesses, which can occur from extremely cramped quarters. The use of antibiotics has long been a concern with health officials that lead to antibiotic-resistant germs.
Butterball makes only about one out of every five turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving day.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate, in a historic and bitterly fought rule change, stripped Republicans on Thursday of their ability to block President Barack Hussein Obama's judicial and executive branch nominees
On a nearly party-line vote of 52 to 48, the Senate reduced from 60 to 51 the number of votes needed to end procedural roadblocks
Democrats wasted no time to quickly use the new rule by ending a Republican filibuster against one of the court nominees, Patricia Millet, on a vote of 55 to 43.
Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat led the charge on the rules change, accusing Republicans of record obstructionism and say the American public is right to believe that "Congress is broken."
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)-- A hearing for an Alabama county looking to exit one of the nations largest governmental bankruptcy in American history is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington said Tuesday that officials sold $1.7 billion of the county's refinanced sewer warrants in hopes of exiting the bankruptcy, which was valued at around $4 billion before part of it was wiped out by creditors.
Jefferson County's bankruptcy in November 2011 was the largest governmental bankruptcy in U.S. history caused by a botched sewer project and corrupt business dealings that saw many of the Republican county officials indicted for corruption and fraud sent to federal prisons.
Earlier this year the city of Detroit, Michigan became the largest governmental bankruptcy surpassing Jefferson County as the biggest.
DES MOINES (AP)-- The biggest Republican money machines are spending dramatically less to help the Republican Party ahead of the 2014 Senate elections, two years after spending millions of dollars in early advertising by outside groups against Democrats backfired in embarrassing losses in otherwise easy win elections due in part because of tea party influence.
Groups such as American Crosswords and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce no longer are willing to risk major investments on hard-line tea party Republicans who embarrassed GOP leaders last fall and rattled the confidence of huge Republican donors. The party's biggest donors remained concerned after last month's government shutdown highlighted the huge division within the Republican Party.
At this point two years ago, the fight for the Senate was in full swing. Pro-GOP groups had spent $11.4 million on the 2012 Senate races, twice as much as Democratic rivals.
But as of last week, pro-Republican groups had spent just $3.5 million on television advertising, no spent in Iowa, one of at least a half dozen states where Democratic retirements have given the GOP hope that it hasn't had in decades.
But today, most of the GOP's big donors are spending their money not in trying to defeat Democrats as more in trying to trump tea party candidate running against true conservatives. Such is the case in Kentucky where the Senate's most powerful Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is fighting a challenge from a tea party candidate.
"Unlike previous cycles, we won't be spending good money on substandard tea party candidates," said Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for the conservative super political action committee American Crossroads.
By comparison by the end of 2011, pro-Republican outside groups, led by American Crossroads and its sister Crossroads GPS, spent more than $1.8 million against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Mo. By election day they had spent more than $11.5 million against her and still lost.
WASHINGTON- Voters sent the tea party reeling Tuesday as their star candidate lost an easy winnable Virginia governor's race.
Cuccinelli was the tea party's perfect model of what they had eagerly sought in a candidate: a feisty, unapologetic believer with a sterling resume'. Just name any tea party issue and he was there leading their crusade: Limits on abortion clinics, the first state attorney to file a law suit against Obamacare; challenging a researcher over climate change, and a gun activist against any ban on assault weapons.
Virginia, has long had been a tea party strong-hold and was favored to win the governors election by the tea party leadership. But that was not to be as many voters turned out to cast their vote for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia. Most surprising was the number of women and young voters that came out to vote for McAuliffe whom many figured would just not show up to the polls.
In Virginia, the tea party looked to reclaim the state that had been reliably Republican for decades but had started to embrace Democrats in recent elections due in part to the tea party's stance on many issues that more and more Americans are saying are way to extreme for their liking. If history repeats itself, Virginia's gubernatorial campaigns are often a preview of what's to come around the country. And its voters are the ones that often send strong messages. Until this election, the party in the White House had lost the race nine straight times.
The 16-day government shutdown last month stole the spotlight from Cuccinelli's bid to make opposition to Obamacare a major issue. More important, as hard as he tried, Cuccinelli could never shed the tea party label. Pluralities of voters rejected the tea party and branded themselves centrists. Exit polls showed more than 4 in 10 voters opposed the tea party, and they went 9-to-1 for McAuliffe. Forty-four percent who had once considered themselves Republicans called themselves moderates.
TRENTON NJ (AP) - Chris Christie made comments on his campaign bus last Friday that sent the Tea party off in a fume. He said he didn't need or want their help, nor did he want to be affiliated with a party of loons. "I'm in this to win, because if you don't win, you can't govern, you can't move the country, the state, or whatever else you're running for---in the direction it needs to be moved." Christie went on to say that he thinks "too many good conservative Republicans are pandering to a bunch of crazy fools and have become less interested in what's good for the country and Americans and more interested in just winning an argument even if it means destroying the Republican Party."
Consumer Reports- The vehicles listed below are the 10 least reliable cars in our most recent customer survey of 1.1 million vehicles.
Least reliable vehicles, listed in order of ratings scoring with the worst score.
1. Ford C-MAX Energi (Plug-in Hybrid)
2. Ford Escape (1.6 Ecoboost)
3. Mini Cooper Countryman
4. Ford C-Max Hybrid
5. Nissan Pathfinder
6. Volkswagen Beetle
7. Cadillac XTS
8. Ford Explorer (V-6, 4WD)
9. Hyundai Genesis Coupe
10. Ford Taurus (Turbo)
FORD (NYSE: F)- A recent survey among Ford owners by Consumer Reports is showing Ford continuing to struggle, ranking 26th out of 28 brands. The survey also showed Ford continuing to have problems with its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems. In addition, "Several EcoBoost turbocharged V6 models have extremely poor reliability as well. Almost two-thirds of the 34 Fords and Lincolns in the survey received scores that were much worse than average," the report stated.
WASHINGTON (AP) - One year after losing the presidential race for the White House which most Republicans thought was an easy win, the Republican party is in worse shape now than it has even been since the resignation of Richard Nixon, perhaps even in worse shape now.
Polls are showing the GOP nominee trailing in a Virginia governor's race that history says a Republican should easily win. And at the national level it's hard to recall when Republicans seemed so leaderless.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell is preoccupied with his Kentucky re-election bid, squeezed between a tea party challenger splitting the vote on the right an a very well-regarded Democrat on the left.
In Michigan, investment banker Brian Ellis a Republican, is taking on tea-party backed Re. Justin Amash, and real estate lawyer David Trott is seeking to oust Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, considered by most Republicans to be more of a gadfly than a reliable tea partyer.
Eyeing this troubling landscape, many Republican campaign veterans hope conservative die-hards will narrow their differences from the tea party to the party's more pragmatic members before next year's elections and the 2016 presidential campaign.
Now there's serious talk of an established Republican counterrevolution, in which business-oriented candidates would challenge tea party incumbents in next years primaries.
It is now clear after the recent tea party shut down of the government that more business were hit pretty hard for a gain of absolutely nothing that business leaders, often supportive of Republicans of all ideological types, will now steer their money into bids to oust tea partyers who played down the threat of a federal default.
"We have no idea what we're going to have on the table" in the 2014 primaries, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue told reporters. But one thing is for certain, the tea party is no friend of business.
WASHINGTON- (AP)- The tea party overplayed an impossible position when it tried to recently delay Obamacare as a condition to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson said in a interview on Thursday.
While no fan of Obamacare, he said in the interview, "It would be like if you're playing a game of poker and you know you held a losing hand and you pushed all your chips on the table in and called, that's just plain stupid or crazy-- neither of which are good for your party."
"It was one of the worst moments for the Republican Party that I have ever witnessed," Jackson added. "Right now as a businessman and donor to the Republican Party, and I know for fact I am not alone in saying that many business people are now reflecting on whether we are as donors, being enablers to these dysfunctional people and whether we can be more supportive of the center of the spectrum whether it's Democrats or Republicans."
WALL STREET JOURNAL- According to the BLS, part-time jobs fell 594,000 in September while full-time employment was up 723,000.
Earlier this summer, when part-time numbers looked like they might be on the rise, many speculated that the shift was due to the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
"If the health law were driving employers to cut employees' hours, the most vulnerable workers would likely be those working just above the 30-hour cutoff," writes the Wall Street Journal's Ben Casselman. "That means the data would show a decline in those working 30 to 34 hours and an increase in those working less than 30 hours." He explains.
That isn't what's happening. The share of part-time workers who say they usually work between 30 to 34 hours at their main job has roughly been flat over the past three years, at about 28 percent. If anything, recent data shows that it's actually risen in the past year. The share working just under 30 hours has indeed risen somewhat, but the data shows workers working under 25 hours has fallen- suggesting that employers are giving part-time employees more hours, rather than cutting full-time employees hours back.
Put another way, Obamacare is not destroying full-time employment.
WASHINGTON- According to Public Polling Policy, which conducted 25 surveys in GOP-held House districts, incumbent Republicans now trail Democratic candidates in 19 of the 25 districts. The results, combined with two previous surveys, show Democrats leading 43 of the 61 districts polled since the government shutdown.
And just as soon as voters in strong Republican areas learned that the Republicans candidates supported the government shutdown, Democrats took the lead in 11 additional districts (and one race that looked like a Republican blow-out became tied).
"What this means that our results indicate Democrats have pickup opportunities in an astounding 52 of the 61 districts surveyed," Public Policy Polling's Jim Williams wrote in a memo announcing the findings.
Democrats only need to net 17 House seats to retake the Republican controlled House.
WASHINGTON -- A government stenographer is believed to be in a Washington, DC hospital after being forcibly removed from the House of Representatives chamber Wednesday night shouting into the microphone during the vote on ending the government shutdown and raising the debt limit.
The woman was Dianne Reidy, and official reported with the Office of the Clerk, several sources told the several news agencies.
As House members were casting their votes Wednesday evening on legislation to end the 16-day Republican shutdown, Reidy was seen calmly ascending the rostrum before unleashing a verbal tirade at members of Congress for caving into the Democrats.
She was heard shouting "the House is divided, He will not be mocked, this nation is not one nation under God because of Obama and the liberals." according to three congressional sources.
WASHINGTON (AP)- Containers of goods sit idling at ports, National parks lost revenue, reduced corporate earnings, higher interest payments on short term debt and because of threat of default the Republican Congress's gridlock the cost will be in the billions when it's all said and done.
The total will continue to grow even after the shutdown ended, partly because of the uncertainty about whether Republicans will cause another gridlock again early next year.
A complete accounting will take months now that the government has reopened and Treasury resumes adding the country's debt. Economist said that the intransigence of House Republicans will take a huge bite out of fourth-quarter, which will effect employment, business earnings and borrowing costs, and the ripple from the Republicans will be felt around the globe for months to come.
WASHINGTON (AP)-- Their backs against the wall with 74 percent of Americans disgusted with GOP leadership, the Republicans scrambled Tuesday to forge a plan to counter an emerging bipartisan Senate deal to reopen the government and forestall a default on U.S. obligations.
But the effort fell into disarray amid grumbling by party conservatives and it was unclear whether GOP leader could keep it afloat-- even as the potential peril to the U.S. economy deepened with a debt deadline less than two days away.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), said he's "trying to find a path forward" but that "there have been no decisions about exactly what to do, and I am not even sure I know how to get there." Boehner said at a news conference.
HOUSTON (AP)- Come January 1, 2014, virtually all Americans will be required to have healthcare coverage, of face fine. At the same time, insurance companies will no longer be able to turn away people in poor health.
But as the Associated Press reported Saturday, two private studies provide an early look at the emerging insurance market.
A study by the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation found that government tax credits would lower the sticker price on a benchmark "Silver" policy to a little over $190 a month for a single person making about $29,000, regardless of their age.
By pairing their tax credit with a "Bronze" policy, some younger consumers can bring down their premiums down to the range of $100 to $140 a month, while older prople can drive their monthly coast even lower - well below $100- if they are willing to take a chance with higher co-pays and deductables.
A separate study from Avalere Health, a private date analysis firm, took a wide-angle view, averaging the sticker prices of policies at different coverage levels.
Before tax credits that act like a discount, premiums for a 21-year-old buying a mid-range "Silver" policy would be about $270 a month, the Avalere study found. List-price premiums for a 40-year-old buying a mid-range plan will average close to $275. for a 60-year-old, they would be around $423 a month even with pre-existing conditions like cancer.
Both the Kaiser and the Avalere study found that while premiums will vary significantly across the country, they are generally coming in much lower than was forecast by the government's own insurance experts.
WASHINGTON (AP)-- Thursday's Wall Street poll hit the Republican Party like an atomic bomb.
It found, as the Gallup poll had, the Republican Party (and, separately, the Tea Party) are at "all-time lows in the total history of political polling." It found that the GOP is taking more blame for this government shutdown than they did in 1995. It found more Americans believing this shutdown is a more serious problem for Republican than it was in 1995.
Even worse for the Republicans is what the pollsters called the "Boomerang Effect": Both President Obama and Obamacare are more popular now than they were a month ago and the popularity is growing.
It's hard to overstate the magnitude of the GOP's strategic failure here: Obamacare's launch has been awful. More than a week after the federal insurance marketplaces opened, most people can't purchase insurance on the first try. But Republicans have chosen such a wildly unpopular strategy to oppose it that they've actually helped both Obamacare and its author in the polls.
The huge problem for the Republicans right now is they still believe they need to get something, anything, in order to save face with the American voters. Unfortunately many people, including Republicans within their party believe that it just might be too late to save face.
WASHINGTON (AP)-- Americans are giving full blame and holding the Republican party responsible for the partial government shutdown as public esteem sinks for all the Republican Players in the impasse, and President Obama among them as well, according to the latest Gallup Poll.
The Associated Press-GFK survey, out Wednesday, affirms expectations by many in Washington---Republicans among them--- That the GOP make end up taking the biggest hit in public opinion from the fiscal paralysis, just as that party did when much of the government closed 17 years ago.
Overall, 72 percent blamed Republicans for the shutdown
WASHINGTON (AP)-- About 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation next month if the partial government shutdown continues into late October, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shineki says. Some 315,000 veterans and 202,000 surviving spouses and their dependents will see pension payments stopped.
Veterans groups have largely avoided taking sides in the battle, but many veterans AP spoke with are laying the blame squarely on the Republicans in congress, "We all know who's at fault for this shutdown," said Walt Mindykowski Commander of a Texas VFW, and his name is Ted Cruz.
Shinseki says the VA planned for an orderly shutdown but has confronted "unprecedented legal and programmatic questions" and would do its best to keep lawmakers informed.