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The Washington Post has a new story up: Obama administration had restrictions on the NSA reversed in 2011.

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Of all the "austerity" proposals that Democrats are now proposing or supporting, the one that baffles me the most is the proposal to defer Medicare eligibility to age 67. This was one of the various recommendations in the Catfood Commission's proposals last December, and a favorite of Alice Rivlin, who concurrently served on the Catfood Commission and Pete Peterson's parallel commission, The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform. (Rivlin recommended Medicare eligibility be pushed back to age 67 for Peterson's commission, too.)

The Catfood Commission couldn't summon 14 votes from its 18 members to pass on any of its recs to Congress to enact--but as co-chair Alan Simpson correctly predicted last November, before the commission took its final vote on its recs, that the austerity measures would be resurrected during the debt-ceiling debate:

"I can't wait for the blood bath in April," said Alan Simpson at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast roundtable with reporters this morning. "It won't matter whether two of us have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they're going to look around and say, 'What in the hell do we do now? We've got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.' And boy the bloodbath will be extraordinary."

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The fix looks to be in for propelling the Catfood Commission's recommendations into law over the next month or so. Aside from a few voices coming from a few Democrats, the ever-increasing drumbeat among Villagers calls for Taking Seriously the initial proposals released by the commission's co-chairs last week.

Tools like the interactive NYT one give us fairly narrow ranges of options, as in their Healthcare section:

Enact medical malpractice reform

Increase the Medicare eligibility age to 68

Increase the Medicare eligibility age to 70

Reduce the tax break for employer-provided health insurance

Cap Medicare growth starting in 2013

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Politico reports today that Alice Rivlin has come out in favor of deferring Social Security to age 70 and/or cutting benefits, as part of her work on behalf of the (Pete) Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.

This was the group holding those seminars back in June at which participants were given workbooks with narrowly proscribed solutions to the "deficit problem." Not to be confused with the catfood commission, the group nevertheless is hewing to similar sentiments and solutions as catfood commission members are stating via leaks to the press.

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A very sad story here in Los Angeles today: The body of an LAUSD veteran of 13 years was found this weekend, after he'd made arrangements for a substitute to take over his class.

For those who don't know, a few weeks ago the Los Angeles Times published a searchable database of teacher rankings across the district. The union local, UTLA, has a ton of info on its website as to why the "value-added" methodology of the rankings are flawed, and how teachers are unfairly penalized.

One of the teachers who received below-average ranking was Rigoberto Ruelas, 39, who taught fifth grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School. From LA Weekly:

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Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 02:39 PM PDT

Gray-ly Kos

by Willa Rogers

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment or date when I realized I was Old. It wasn't seeing the gray hair; that's been happening since I turned 30. It wasn't being called "ma'am" by a young'un; even in my 20s I was once mistaken for a peer's mom, lol. It wasn't even that point, a few years ago, when I'm pretty sure I was turned down for a job because of my age. (I live in Los Angeles, where it's not uncommon to see job ads specifically asking for ages, or photos, from applicants.)

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Extremely disappointing wire story on the public dialog about a public option:

Co-op compromise gives White House a health option

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer

Sunday, June 14, 2009

(06-14) 12:10 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --


Cabinet officials and Obama allies on Sunday sought to rein in lawmakers, who were expected this week to introduce specific plans that run counter to Obama's political promises. Many urged lawmakers to consider a cooperative program that would expand coverage to the 50 million uninsured Americans with taxpayer support without direct governmental control.

More after the jump.

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