Leahy rips GOP over fast-track plan to repeal Obamacare

first_imgVermont Business Magazine On the Senate Floor this afternoon, Senator Patrick Leahy addressed the Senate on the pending Republican-authored legislation to enable and facilitate repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare.  The vehicle being used by Republican leaders for this is a budget resolution, S.Con.Res.3, “To Instruct Committees To Draft Legislation To Repeal The ACA.”Floor Remarks Of Senator Patrick LeahyOn The Budget Resolution, S. Con. Res. 3 (To Instruct Committees To Draft Legislation To Repeal The ACA)Senate FloorTuesday, January 10, 2017The 115th Congress convened just last week, and instead of beginning the year with a renewed sense of cooperation, Republicans in Congress have chosen a different path.  The very first thing on the agenda is to press forward with a sham budget – the only purpose of which is to set up a process to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a simple majority vote.Why?  Because they know such a repeal would never pass otherwise.  Instead of working to finalize appropriations bills for this year – already more than three months in – or to invest in our nation’s critical infrastructure, or to truly bolster our nation’s cybersecurity, or to improve the Affordable Care Act to ensure more people can receive affordable coverage, Republicans are recklessly rushing forward solely to fulfill an ill-considered campaign promise.  They are pushing American families over the cliff with the vague ‘promise’ that eventually they will come up with a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.  Jump first, plan later is anything but a responsible formula for sound decisions, and all the more so when the health insurance of tens of millions of American families is at stake.The Majority Leader and others have said that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act is “only the first step.”  They say that a full repeal is necessary to pave the way for a replacement.  “Let’s leave Obamacare in the past,” they argue.  When you strip away the rhetoric, the only alternative being offered to the American people by advocates of a repeal is: Don’t get sick.The American people have the right to know what a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act really means.  A repeal of this law would not just take away the rights and care of millions of patients and their families; it would eliminate insurance coverage for millions more, from the aging and elderly, to men and women with preexisting conditions, to the most vulnerable children. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would turn back the clock to a time when, once again, women would have to pay more for health insurance than men, insurance companies could rescind a health insurance policy because someone gets sick, and coverage could forever be denied to someone born with a disease or ailment.In Vermont, the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of Vermonters without insurance by 53 percent.  Tens of thousands have gained coverage under the expansion of Medicaid.  And because the Affordable Care Act closed the prescription drug “donut hole,” more than 10,000 Vermont seniors saved $12 million on drugs in 2015 alone.I have heard stories from many Vermonters about how vital this law is to them and their families.  I have heard from family doctors, like one in Bennington who remembers when his patients couldn’t afford treatment because of lifetime and annual limits on health care coverage.  Or a woman from Westminster whose family hit hard times and moved from job to job but could afford to keep continuous health coverage because of the plans offered through the Affordable Care Act.  Other young Vermonters are able to pursue careers in public service or the arts because they can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.  Countless others have underscored that because of previous health issues such as diabetes or cancer, health coverage would be unaffordable without the guarantees and subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act.Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have gone to new lengths to repeat and prolong this political battle.  And that’s all this is.  They have had six years to propose a better alternative but have failed to do that.  Instead, Congressional Republicans and the President-elect have decided to put the cart before the horse and dismantle our health care system before figuring out how to fix it.  The American people rightly expect us to work together to make progress on so many challenges that we face today.  Instead, we are engaged in dangerous political gamesmanship.   I will not support a return to less protection, less coverage, less fairness, and higher costs.  That’s what repeal means.  The Affordable Care Act extended health insurance to millions of families in Vermont and across the country.  Those who represent the American people in Congress should stand ready to get to work for their constituents.  I will not support an effort to reverse the many reforms and achievements we made through the Affordable Care Act, and instead cobble back together a broken system that for too long burdened most American households with health coverage uncertainty and crippling costs.Source: Leahy 1.10.2017last_img read more

‘The Height Of The Storm’

first_imgL.O.V.E.R.What woman doesn’t dream of having her own washing machine? Usually, however, it isn’t a momentous issue — at least not in the way Lois Robbins’s claims it to be in her solo show, “L.O.V.E.R.”Indeed, her tale of serial monogamy begins with the washing machine she masturbated on as a child. Discovering how to turn on the spin cycle was an epiphany. Finding the right husband was more challenging. As she tells us later in the 90-minute performance piece, “Good sex isn’t about what’s between your legs. It’s between your ears.”As is her wont, Robbins’s autobiographical solo show is light-hearted and entertaining. Her ability to vehiculate in spite of obstacles, health scares, bad relationships, and nasty men make her an endearing presence, and one with whom we can readily identify.Woven into her recollections are recognizable patterns of abuse, such as many women talk about these days. In her case, a manipulative father who made her afraid of men, while making her feel that she could never manage without one, spurred the inner turmoil.Still, her comedy is fueled by the men who come and go quickly, and in the play, seamlessly, from Siler, who remains chaste, to Ronald, who proves himself in a way washing machines never do. Onto Edward for further explorations, before landing the Doctor who was born with one testicle, etc., etc., etc.On the subject of herself, Robbins is obviously loquacious, but she is not narcissistic. Reflecting on her teenage years, she recalls her inner doubts, “Am I actually pretty? Somewhere inside, I don’t quite believe it,” she opines.And while her career as an actor is extensive — playing roles in soaps, primetime television, films, and musical theater — she is also understated about her accomplishments. Her most ambitious job, she informs us, was parenting. After all, her own parents were controlling puppeteers, and she was not going to be like them.That Robbins is as lovable for her mistakes and dalliances as she is for her loyalties and sense of commitment, makes her story fun without intimidation. She dresses simply, in lavender workout clothes, and a long sweater. They’re easy to move in when demonstrating orgasms of the washing machine-worthy variety.And Jane Shaw’s set design creates an open, multi-tiered playing area with a sleek silver stairway, and chandeliers made from household glassware.Director Karen Carpenter brings out Robbins’s on-stage ease and charm. The actress isn’t seeped in feminism, but she gives sexual autonomy a meaningful plug. Share French playwright Florian Zeller, well known in New York theater for his plays, “The Father” (Frank Langella) and “The Mother” (Isabelle Huppert), tells stories in a most outré fashion. Currently, “The Height of The Storm,” translated by Christopher Hampton, at the Manhattan Theatre Club, stars two masters of the British stage, Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins.That Zeller’s plays are lodged somewhere in his characters’ psychic machinations and projections makes the presence of such accomplished actors essential. To create a fundamental, believable reality, dispense of it like soap bubbles, reinvent it with memories, and score it with infidelities in the way Zeller’s characters do, requires the unshakeable confidence and skill of stage icons the size of Atkins and Pryce.In “Height of The Storm,” Zeller addresses his ongoing interest in the life of the mysterious mind, through Andre’s Kafkaesque trials. As portrayed by a nearly wild and disheveled Pryce, Andre cannot accept what is going on around him. He’s tortured from beginning to end by the demands his daughters and so-called friends are putting on him to move into housing more suitable for the elderly. Perhaps, he’s suffering from dementia.Finally, as he sees reality falling away from him — in spite of his vigorous denial — he implores them, “What is my position here? What is my position? My position! What is my position here? My position. Here. What is it?”To make matters more complicated, Andre is a writer, a builder of fictions, and a diarist who declares his infidelities in his personal journals. At times, it appears that he may already be in the grave. At others, that he’s just harboring secrets, or mourning the loss of his wife, Madeline. Regardless, he fears exposure and reprisal in the same way he fears death. His demented mental state, and his paranoia, both appear to be a way of getting back.In contrast, Atkins portrays Madeline, with a taut and balanced air. Attending to the vegetable garden, preparing their favorite omelet with mushrooms (which “can go either way”), and weeding out her daughters’ complaints are the spine of her daily life. While lithe, she is also reflective.Like Andre, Madeline is opaque. Is she the one who has died, and therefore the cause of Andre’s existential grief? Or, is she the memory around which life continues to gyrate? One never knows.What is important is the fact that together they make a whole person. Otherwise, who knows. Without the cocoon of marriage who would they be, what would they do, how would they manage? These are questions both the audience and the other characters also have.Surrounded by a well-honed ensemble, Amanda Drew and Lisa O’Hare as their daughters, Lucy Cohu as The Woman and James Hillier as The Man, the old couples’ secrets remain under shrouds. Try as they may, or as Andre fears they may, we never really pierce the mysteries that are here.Anthony Ward’s scenic design of a warm country kitchen, and Hugh Vanstone’s nuanced lighting create an intense environment, cast in shadows, and often foggy. Director Jonathan Kent masterfully leads the way through the land mines Zeller has put in place.last_img read more

BBC Aramis sold to South Asian buyers

first_imgThis is the second ship which had been operational in the BBC Chartering fleet to be bought by the unnamed South Asian company, following an earlier purchase in December 2011. BBC Aramis (pictured below) was built in Slovakia in 2004 for Briese shipping bv, with the initial investment for the construction of the vessel brought together by De Vereenigde Compagnie. Briese Shipping’s parent company, Leer Germany- based, Briese Schiffahrt GmbH, successfully traded the multipurpose vessel worldwide carrying a wide variety of cargoes; ranging from bulk and big bagged loads, to windmill modules and special project cargoes. Through the assistance of Anglo Dutch Shipbrokers, this is the fourth vessel of this size sold to the Far East. In an official statement, Briese Schiffahrt says that: “the current sale leaves the shareholders particularly content, as they fully regained their initial investment and earned an additional six percent profit per year despite the challenging economic times.”www.briese.de www.bbc-chartering.comlast_img read more