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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — July 13, 2012 at 9:15 am 2,576 133 Comments

It’s Friday the 13th — According to superstition, it’s a day of supreme unluckiness. According to one Dutch statistics keeper, it’s actually less unlucky than other days. [Wikipedia]

Reminder: Blue, Yellow Line Work — As a reminder, track work will shut down the Blue and Yellow lines between the Pentagon City and Braddock Road stations this weekend. That means the Crystal City and National Airport stations will be closed. Free shuttle bus service will be provided.

Streetcar Skepticism on Board — Arlington County Board members Libby Garvey and Walter Tejada are both expressing skepticism about the controversial Columbia Pike streetcar project. The Board is scheduled to vote on the project on Monday, July 23. [Sun Gazette]

Colombia National Day Celebration — Arlington will celebrate the 24th annual Colombia National Day on Saturday (July 14). The event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Theater (125 S. Old Glebe Road) will feature festivities like Colombian folkloric dance and musical performances. For more information, call 703-228-1850.

Murray on Moran Health Care Vote — Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray is blasting his opponent, Rep. Jim Moran (D), for voting against the latest GOP attempt to repeal President Obama’s health care law. “I’m an eternal optimist,” Murray said. “I hoped against hope that, after having had an opportunity to actually read what is in this 2,700 page bill, Moran would have put partisanship aside and voted in favor of Americans. Sadly he again chose Party over country, particularly for young Americans.”

Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA

  • Ken Schellenberg

    Traditionally considered unlucky because the Last Supper was held on a Friday and there were (ahem) thirteen diners.

    • The Bible

      And now they’re all dead.

  • jackson

    Murray is funny. The house has voted 33 times in the last 18 months on repealing “Obamacare” knowing they don’t have the votes in the senate. So much time wasted making a symbolic gesture to make news. Who exactly is putting party before people?

    • KalashniKEV

      The Democrats. Obamacare is a tyranny that just won’t stand.

      • drax

        Everyone says their opponents of having the least honorable motives and their friends have the highest.

      • Choogirl

        KalashniKEV- interesting comment from someone with tax payer funded, gov’t supplied healthcare. Or did your SGT not tell you the base clinic is gov’t run?

        • 350sbc

          +1

      • dk (not DK)

        except….it did stand.

      • Ronan

        You’re notion of tyranny is is just a little quaint.

        Romneycare, which is what Obamacare was modeled after, is popular in Massachusetts. I guess they like ‘tyranny’ up there.

    • WeiQiang

      I say we commemorate each vote on the Affordable Care Act as an anniversary, replete with the appropriate anniversary gift. I think we’ve gotten way past the paper gift and wood gift stage. I’m very sorry that we missed the pearl vote [#30], but am excited that we can run out in time for the coral/jade vote [#35].

      Then again, these cretins are getting plenty of gifts for their votes anyhow.

    • dcbrewer

      No kidding. I personally think that Moran is a buffoon, but I rarely disagree with the way he votes. It is hard to fathom how Murray thinks that his stance on Obamacare is going to win him votes in this district, though.

      • AJ

        yah, because apparently kicking young Americans off their parents’ health care, penalizing them for pre-existing conditions, and maintaining the link between health insurance and employment in a lousy economy is “good” for them.

        • Arlingtoon

          It’ll toughen ‘em up.

          • Aaron

            Getting a job with health insurance used to be a motivator for recent high school or college grads to get out there and start working for real. Now with the cushion of Obamacare, they’re incentivized to hang out for a few years til their mid-20s trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives (beyond use daddy’s credit card to get plastered somewhere along the R-B corridor every weekend). Pretty soon, they’ll be full-fledged euros living at home and not working into their 30s.

          • confused

            yeah, there are so many good jobs going begging because 20 somethings are not sufficiently incentivized. I see.

          • drax

            Nobody in their 20s gets a job because of the health care insurance, dude.

          • Becoming indifferent

            I beg to differ–it’s one of the first thing our young hires ask about.

          • drax

            Really?

            Times have changed, I guess.

          • dk (not DK)

            LMAO. This is parody, right?

          • Ronan

            Wow, I have never seen this angle being used against Obamacare.

            If their parents don’t mind them living at home and not working after college, I think there are larger societal issues than health care we should be worrying about.

        • Gypsy

          Why should insurance companies still have to cover a 25 year old, who has been an adult for 7 years, on their parents’ plan? Why should the government get involved in that?

          • SArl

            +1

          • confused

            its cheap to cover them, and its an easy way to expand coverage without a lot of preexisting condition issues. I don’t recall the insurance companies fighting this provision.

          • Arlingtonian

            +1

            This age group does not rack up the health costs that other age groups do.

          • Arlwhenver

            Not cheap at all — I will have to maintain a family plan instead of going on Medicare, will cost me at least $5k a year more than what I have been anticipating. This illustrates the absurdity of these one size fits all socialist solutions. They screw people over who have planned carefully and don’t fit the collectivist, everyone is in the same mold. There is real diversity in this world — honor it by not sticking it to ordinarly people.

          • confused

            how does it keep you from going on medicare? IIUC it ALLOWS you to keep your kid covered IF you have an employer plan – it does not force you to keep your employer plan.

            Its possible that your wife has told you youd better keep the employer plan so you can cover junior, and you are unwilling or unable to say not to wife and/or junior. Thats hardly the governments fault.

          • jackson

            Right, no one is forcing you to keep your adult kid on your plan.

          • drax

            What the heck are you talking about, Arlwhenvr? You can go on Medicare any time you want and cancel your family plan.

            Before the law, you didn’t have a choice. Your kid wouldn’t be covered anyway, and would just have to go without insurance. Now you at least have the option of keeping the plan for your kid if that’s what you want.

          • Arlwhenver

            But…but that’s what Rush and Hannity told me.

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            arlwhenver – really?

            get on medicare as soon as you can. once the young kids are running the country and you old farts that “earned” your medicare with the 20 cents you paid in for every $1.00 you take out – wait and see what happens then

            the fiscal cliff is nothing. the granny cliff is the real problem.

        • SomeGuy

          I think the Republicans feel that a well-designed healthcare law could deliver the things you mentioned, but without all of the objectionable components, which both sides have acknowledged are present. That may or may not be true, AJ, but your characterization isn’t exactly a balanced treatment. You should try to understand the logic on both sides.

          • ArlingtonNative

            ^^ This ^^ +100

            Thanks for making a reasonable and balanced response!
            Maybe you should run for office!?

          • Ralph

            The Republicans have never seriously proposed any such plans.

            Fundamentally: if you want to guarantee coverage, including to people with pre-existing conditions, you will need either a single payer system or mandatory coverage.

          • drax

            Well, the Republicans did propose a mandate, etc. – basically what the ACA is now. They even implemented it in Mass. Some guy named Romney did it.

          • JohnB
          • CW

            What is so objectionable? Allowing sick people to buy health insurance? Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ plans when they might not be able to find a job right out of college? Financially disincentivizing people from taking out of the system without putting in by pressuring them to be insured?

          • Ben

            Because it does nothing to address costs.

            For instance – why do you need to see a doctor to get simple things like antibiotics? Shouldn’t your pharmacist or a nurse, both of whom are more then adequately trained, be able to make the same call?

            Not to mention the AMA intentionally limiting the number of medical schools to keep doctors salaries inflated

            Etc, etc, etc.

          • CW

            No, those are absolutely great points. I agree with all of them, seriously. I think that the credential creep and protectionism of the medical community is absolutely the chief driver of our healthcare cost overruns. But that’s institutional, and would take some serious hard bargaining to turn around, considering that the fox guards the henhouse. The medical community takes care of its own better than the Mafia.

            But, that said, that doesn’t make anything in this Act objectionable. I think that everything in it at least moves in the right direction towards ensuring better coverage and care for end-users. I’m not saying we should just pack up and be done now, of course not.

          • Ben

            I find it objectionable when it’s called the “Affordable Healthcare Act” and does nothing to address costs.

            I bet you would find healthcare more affordable and widespread if we focus on addressing the causes and not the outcomes.

          • SomeGuy

            CW, my web search turned up 10 bullet points that the author finds “objectionable.” I believe the author of this article is conservative, so take that into consideration. However, I don’t think his political affiliation alone invalidates his logic.
            http://www.ncpa.org/commentaries/what-most-needs-repealing-and-replacing

            Mind you, I’m not dogmatic about the healthcare debate. And I don’t care to debate national politics on this blog, which is designated for local news. My original post was in response specifically to the commenter’s inaccurate and/or over-simplistic characterization of one side of the debate.

          • confused

            it does several things to address costs, including gathering data on the effectiveness of treatments, reducing use of ER’s, etc. It doesnt do all the things you want, and some debate if its cost reductions will be effective, but it certainly has provisions aimed at reducing costs.

          • drax

            SomeGuy, have you forgotten about the death panels? They’ll reduce costs by weeding out the sick instead of wasting money on them. Sarah Palin explained this.

      • SArl

        All the doctors will vote for Murray. Ask them how they feel about Obamacare.

        • CW

          And if a candidate promised free ice cream, everyone who liked ice cream would vote for him. What is your point?

          • Ralph

            Do they have vanilla?

        • LVGuy

          You don’t know any doctors.

        • drax
          • Typical Republican

            Facts are meaningless to me.

          • Becoming indifferent

            You will often find a huge difference between the opinions of an organization’s leadership and the rank and file. Pal.

          • drax

            Sorry, but no, you can’t just go claiming that doctors don’t believe what the organization that most of them are members of believe. The AMA wouldn’t be putting out gushing praise of ACA if most of its members opposed it. Nice try though.

          • Becoming indifferent

            I don’t know the numbers for rank and file support of the AMA’s decision to support Obamacare, but the doctors I know are either opposed or are withholding judgement for now. I don’t know if all AMA members vote on a thing like this. In a large organization like the AMA, of course there will be some dissent. I don’t agree with everything the professional organizations I belong to support.

            I’m not just throwing out opinions here. During research for my master’s thesis many years ago, I looked at the disparity between the opinions of several organizations’ leadership and their rank and file members. It happens frequently. Again, I can’t speak for the AMA.

          • CW

            Don’t you get it? The AMA is just all smoke and mirrors. A guy on the Internet KNOWS people. How can you argue with that?

          • drax

            “I don’t know the numbers for rank and file support of the AMA’s decision to support Obamacare”

            Exactly.

            Of course not all members of an organization, or of a profession it represents who aren’t members, support the official positions of the group. But so far the only real evidence we have is strong support from the AMA.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Do you know how FEW doctors in America are members of the AMA? Just 15%, even if every member agreed with the organization’s view on the Law, that is a tiny portion of the physicians in the country.

          • drax

            Fair point, Arl Northside.

          • Ben

            I’ve been told by several health care experts that the AMA is the most powerful lobby in DC, more powerful then even the NRA.

          • Knows Lobbyists

            No, that would be AIPAC.

          • KnowItAll

            AIPAC does not have the far reaching scope of AMA. Also, AIPAC’s influence has dropped under the current President, especially since Rahm got sent back to Chicago.

          • Ronan

            Wall Street, Oil, etc all trump all of those

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            housing lobby way bigger than all those.

          • Westover

            How about someone here point out something good for those of us who have kept our health insurance all these years during thick and thin. I for one expect to get less for my coverage while paying more. I do not see how these “reforms” will help me at all.

          • CW

            Something good? How about “count your blessings” and “stop being so selfish”. Do those qualify?

          • Westover

            If it going to cost me more, and likely to take longer to see the doctor, is that really being selfish or just being real? Shouldn’t this Bill have stuck to the Hippocratic Oath, “First, Do No Harm?” I paid for the Cobra up the nose when I was unemployeed of no fault of my own. I paid for the most basic of Blue Cross Blue Shield while I was in school. Why should this harm me after doing the right thing all these years?

          • CW

            It seems that you’re getting somewhat ahead of yourself. I don’t quite understand the getting less part – was that in the bill? That all health insurance must become less effective? Or are you just afraid that allowing “undesirables” to be insured will raise your personal costs?

            Either way, at the end of the day, the point is supposed to be another old saying – that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and theoretically, some of these costs are supposed to be recouped by taxpayers and healthcare providers not having to eat the costs of the uninsured when they show up with a bigtime problem.

          • drax

            How will you get less for paying more now?

          • help me I’m sick

            “How will you get less for paying more now?”

            There are lots of ways – use your imagination. Here are two that support Westover’s concerns off the top of my head:
            Pay 20% more each year for premiums (so the uninsured still don’t have to but not getting anything additional out of the same coverage). Having to take at least half a vacation day (since many employers no longer offer ‘sick days’) to see the doctor (even for routine preventative visits) since it could take 4 hours of waiting to see the doc instead of 30 minutes because of the additional burden of all the new patients.

          • Arlington, Northside

            I know three doctors who have retired or left their practice due to Obamacare.

          • Hank

            They left before the policy was implemented?

          • Arlington, Northside

            Yes, they saw the cuts in there already miniscule reinbursements coming. They saw an administration that put ZERO effort into lowering malpractice insurance costs. They saw zero in it for them, and even less time with their patients than they already had. Lose-Lose is what this Bill was about. It passed, and they left.

          • drax

            Reimbursements? You mean for Medicare? So they left because of Medicare reimbursements – despite the fact that ACA strengthens Medicare and reimbursement cuts have nothing to do with ACA. Also, malpractice – as you note – has nothing to do with ACA.

            Yet you’re saying they left because of ACA? No, they were leaving anyway.

          • jackson

            Enjoy the golf course, oldsters.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Problem is they are not all oldsters, one was a 30 something pediatrician. And we NEED good pediatricians around here!

          • CW

            Forced into retirement at age 30? Horrors!

          • Arlington, Northside

            No retirement, new career, after 12+ years of higher education.

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            hopefully he got his school paid for already

          • drax

            What exactly was it about the law that made them leave? Be specific.

          • JohnB

            I think it was section 563, paragraph c, subsection iii:

            “All purchasers of health insurance under the age of 30 will be required to occupy the lawn of the nearest physician over the age of 50.”

          • Southie

            My MD told me to discourage my college bound son into entering the medical field.

          • CW

            I too would like to know these specifics.

            Sounds like your friends have very hard lives.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Major cuts in reimbursements for the older MD and loss of control of who and how they see patients for all of them.

          • CW

            Would that not all be a function of what insurance carriers their practice accepted?

          • Insurance Company

            Major cuts in reimbursements and loss of control of who and how they see patients. We’ve been doing that for years. What’s the dif?

          • Westover

            Its a function of the MAJOR cuts to medicare in the bill, which is what the insurance companys set their rates against.

          • Vicente Fox

            MAJOR cuts in medicare? I thought there were no cost savings.

            So which is it?

          • Westover

            More folks are getting paid for now,while more administrators need to be hired. This is an all around bad bill no matter what angle you look at it.

          • drax

            “Major cuts in reimbursements for the older MD and loss of control of who and how they see patients for all of them.”

            Where are these things in ACA?

          • drax

            ACA does NOT cut Medicare. Stop the nonsense.

            “Health care reform does not cut Medicare benefits. In fact, health care reform expands Medicare coverage, by eliminating cost-sharing for preventive services, adding a yearly wellness visit, limiting some cost-sharing in private Medicare plans, and closing the Part D “Donut Hole.” It also improves the solvency of the Medicare program itself. Reform does, however, change some Medicare payment policies. Some misstated reports of these changes have resulted in exaggerating public fear of cuts to Medicare benefits. This Alert summarizes the changes in certain Medicare payments in order to clarify that the Medicare reforms do not reduce Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.”

            http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/2010/10/28/health-care-reform-does-not-cut-medicare-benefits/

    • brian

      moran is catering to illegal immigrants, by hosting an illegal immigrant workshop.

      ‘documented’ illegal immigrants will get free health care.

    • Mary-Austin

      Clearly the Republicans. What they are doing is nothing more than a political stunt.
      They are just trying to raise money from the teahead crowd over this. It is not going away.
      It really is sad that when our nation is in such a dire situation they are playing games. But then again Congress got us here.

  • Chris B

    There BETTER be no big derecho tonight or people will be complaining all weekend about the non-cancellation of the Columbia Day.

    • DarkHeart

      Not enough francophiles to celebrate Bastille Day?

      • South Awwlington

        Wrong hemisphere. Not south enough.

        • JohnB
          • South Awwlington

            really now! who knew? I don’t disagree with you at all. Just never hear about French National events like we do of others.

          • Jane-Dallas

            I hear people speaking French in the Rosslyn Safeway almost every time I go there. I think there must be a French diplomatic compound close by.

          • Aaron

            The embassy hosts French-appreciation events seemingly year-round.. I think at least three different social groups but primarily Alliance Francaise are actively hitting people up for French films, French dinners, French art, through all the usual social network/marketing tools. They reach me anyway and I’ve never taken so much as an hour of high school French.

          • DarkHeart

            If we could only pass the backyard chicken law, we could then buy a guillotine and serve up coq au vin for Bastille Day!

      • Marie Antointette

        excusez-moi?

  • Tabs

    It unlucky for Tim Russert.

  • BookGuy

    I know that we have had some redistricting, but has the district changed enough that a Republican candidate, particularly one who is running as a national conservative who has said that his first effort would be to vote against the Affordable Care Act, has a snowball’s chance in Hell of defeating Jim Moran?

    • JohnB

      No.

    • Arlington, Northside

      No, but a moderate running without the national conservatine anchor has a shot if they are articulate and talk about the issues and point out Moran’s glaring faults. They need GOP money though without the conservative noise.

  • Southeast Ben

    Looks like the reneck yacht club..

    • WL95

      What does your yacht club look like?

    • DarkHeart

      I thought boats only tied up together NW of Key Bridge. This looks close to Memorial Bridge.

      • Pentagonian

        Usually, yes.

        This could be a photo from July 4th. Hundreds of boats were south of Memorial Bridge, many joined up as flotillas.

    • Geo Challenged

      Where is reneck?

  • South Awwlington

    There are five members of the County Board. Could two members voting against the Streetcar doom the project? Or are they merely objecting to boost chances of reelection and not alienating voters?

    • Korey

      And given Fisette’s position on the NVTC, he’s the one who has to have the most regional view of the whole thing. There’s lot of people on that board (NVTC) who would rater spread the wealth, so to speak.

      We can only hope.

  • JnA

    What happens to streetcars when there is a power outage? The Pike is a parking lot until the power comes back on?

    • Chris Slatt

      The same thing that happens to MetroRail.

      • drax

        Too subtle.

      • April

        Metrorail power outages only stop Metrorail.

      • South Awwlington

        Chris – Is there a chance that Garvey and Tajeda could destroy the whole project? I’d hope not. Let them vote how they wish but I’m certain Hines, Zimmerman and Fisette will still vote in favor.

    • CW

      Every road in the County is a parking lot until the power comes on, as there are no traffic signals. What is your point?

      • WeiQiang

        actually much of the traffic moved much faster during the power outage … right through the dark stoplights.

        • drax

          Not if you were trying to go across a major road from a minor one but they coned it. Right turn only.

          • WeiQiang

            Motion in any direction is progress. :-) I say everything went faster.

          • drax

            In all seriousness, I do notice that intersections seem to go smoother and faster without lights. Or at least they feel faster because you get to move all the time.

          • DCBuff

            Where were these cones in Arlington? Alexandria, God love ‘em, put up temporary 4-way stop signs at major intersections that had gone dark. At not one of the intersections in Arlington without power that I went through (stopping first, of course) did I see a traffic cone, a snocone or even a pine cone (lots of acorns from the downed oaks, though). I do agree that at certain intersections things ran smoother!

          • John K.

            DCBuff, Route 50, Four Mile Run Drive, George Mason, and Columbia Pike had them at some of the dark intersections. Regretfully, they did not try any controls at the Pike and Four Mile Run (those temp stop signs would have been lovely, and possibly life-saving).

    • South Awwlington

      Power to traction plants is supplied from various sources. Trains keep moving unless the entire region goes dark. As for battery back-up, I don’t know.

  • Formerly SF

    Forget streetcars, totally inflexible. The electric power goes out and they’re immobile, they derail, they crunch subcompact cars like you would not believe.

    • Catoe

      Sounds just like MetroRail.

      • CW

        MetroRail when the power is on, you mean?

  • Mary-Austin

    Hopefully Garvey and Tejada have the sense to oppose this thing even if they can’t stop it.
    I think people will really regret the headaches this thing is going to cause for the next 5-10 years.
    Also, people need to take notice of the influence CPRO has on this whole process. They have way too much say and their ideas don’t always seem to be the best. They have in their plan to preserve Barcroft apartments as “historic” and “affordable” housing. Do they realize they are putting their whole plan in jeopardy by creating a huge ghetto in the middle of the development they’ve planned?

    • The Dope of South Arlington

      That ‘barrio’ to you, Missy.

  • Mc

    Garvey talking about ‘good use’ of tax dollars refers only to how she wants those spent. Making silly arguments about no electricty when plenty of US cities run streetcars successfully shows how obstructionist the anti-streetcar faction will go.

    • Arlingtonian

      Plenty of US cities run streetcars? Where did that come from?

      San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans have (or recently had) streetcars or something similar. A few others may have them.

      But plenty? No way.

      • drax

        There are about 20 streetcar systems in the U.S. Norfolk just opened one.

        • help me I’m sick

          The U.S. Census counted 10,016 official cities in 2000. So ‘plenty’ means more than 0.2%??? Even the 1 percenters would scoff at that miniscule a number.

          • darsasx

            Quick count of US cities that support one or more of the major sports teams is more than 50, so you’re already at less than 40%.

            Another quick search shows that there are more than 100 cities with populations comparable to or greater than Arlington’s. That’s less than 20% – hardly plenty. Or 285 cities with populations over 100,000 – now you’re less than 10%.

      • South Awwlington

        I’d say it’s a darn good amount. All US cities aren’t the size of Greater Washington and therefore couldn’t support Streetcars. Your argument seems to ignore population size and density.

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