Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The New Congress and other stories

The New Congress

More than 80 new Republican lawmakers are heading to Washington as a result of last Tuesday's "shellacking" of the Democrats in the midterm elections.

But the first thing to know about the soon-to-be Capitol Hill insiders is that many of them are truly outsiders. Of the 80-plus incoming GOP freshmen in the House, A WHOPPING 35 HAVE NEVER SERVED IN ANY ELECTIVE OFFICE IN THEIR LIVES. With six medical doctors, three car dealers, two funeral directors, a former FBI agent, a pizza restaurant owner and a Northwest Airlines pilot in the ranks, they will be the MOST UNCONVENTIONAL GROUP OF CITIZEN-LEGISLATORS TO HEAD TO WASHINGTON IN DECADES.

As the average age of Congressional Democrats continues to get older and older, it’s probably a good thing to have all those DOCTORS AND A FEW FUNERAL DIRECTORS on Capitol Hill.


When 21 states and several private groups initiated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Obama health care law earlier this year, critics denounced the suits as frivolous political grandstanding. But it is increasingly clear that the plaintiffs have a serious case with a real chance of victory.....
In the most recent of the three rulings, Florida federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson wrote that the government's claim that the mandate is clearly authorized by existing Supreme Court precedent is "NOT EVEN A CLOSE CALL." He points out that "[t]he power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent," because no previous Supreme Court decision ever authorized Congress to force ordinary citizens to buy products they did not want.

This one is going to the SCOTUS. It has a tremendous impact and not just on the healthcare law. If the government can require you to buy health insurance, can a GM Volt be far behind?

The Future of Obamacare

Republicans in Congress may not be able to unravel healthcare reform over the next two years, as their leaders have promised, but they can make strategic cuts for now before using the issue as a powerful wedge in the 2012 presidential campaign.

At a panel discussion on Friday at the Harvard School of Public Health, arranged in collaboration with Reuters, HEALTH POLICY EXPERTS SAID THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S 2010 HEALTHCARE LAW COULD BE NEARLY UNRECOGNIZABLE WITHIN A YEAR.

"We will have seen the leading edge of dismantling this bill through the discretionary spending process," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former advisor to Republican John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.

"IT WILL SLOW DOWN THE IMPLEMENTATION AND PUT IT ON A TIMETABLE TO BE SOLVED IN THE 2012 ELECTIONS," said Holtz-Eakin, now president of the policy institute American Action Forum.

On Tuesday, sweeping gains put Republicans in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, raising expectations for an assault on Obama's health law, which was unpopular with many voters in the mid-term elections.
Democrats remain in control of the Senate and White House, supercharging an already toxic political atmosphere.

"We will go through a burning bridge," said David Cutler, a Harvard economics professor and former senior healthcare adviser to Obama's presidential campaign. "I AM QUITE PESSIMISTIC AFTER TUESDAY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR HEALTHCARE DEBATE."

Where the money is

If they were to remake the movie the graduate, at the beginning of the movie when one of Benjamin’s father’s friends takes him aside and says “Plastics” as the place to be, that would need to change and the man would tell him, “Government.”

The number of federal WORKERS EARNING $150,000 OR MORE A YEAR HAS SOARED TENFOLD IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS and doubled since President Obama took office, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

The fast-growing pay of federal employees has captured the attention of fiscally conservative Republicans who won control of the U.S. House of Representatives in last week's elections. Already, some lawmakers are planning to use the lame-duck session that starts Monday to challenge the president's plan to give a 1.4% across-the-board pay raise to 2.1 million federal workers.

My Kind of Diet

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ATE ONE OF THESE SUGARY CAKELETS EVERY THREE HOURS, INSTEAD OF MEALS. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most -- not the nutritional value of the food.


For a class project, Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub's pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned.

Chocolate eaters may have healthier hearts: study

(Reuters Health) - Older women who eat more chocolate are less likely to develop heart problems over a nearly 10-year-period, new study findings report.

The authors found that women older than 70 who ate chocolate at least once per week were 35 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease over the course of the study, and nearly 60 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure.

Best news since they determined drinking wine was good for your health.

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