DECATUR DAILY: Orr: Restrict SNAP spending
State Sen. Arthur Orr is championing a bill to tighten a loophole that allows federal and state aid recipients to use taxpayer dollars for alcohol, cigarettes and other non-essential items.
The Decatur Republican also would temporarily deny a retailer its business license for selling such items to someone using an Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
Alabamians primarily receive food and cash assistance through two federal programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a short-term cash benefit designed to pay for non-food items like diapers and laundry soap.
A person receiving TANF funds likely receives SNAP aid, state Human Resources spokesman Barry Spear said. And both benefits are delivered through the same Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
“I don’t think the taxpayers want to be supporting such purchases on what is supposed to be assistance for those temporarily in need,” Orr said Thursday.
Alabama could make deep reductions in the number of people who go each day without health insurance if state officials choose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Alabama ranks 14th in the country for the number of people who likely would be added to the Medicaid rolls if the program were expanded, according to estimates from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Alabama also is one of five states where more than 60 percent of the state’s uninsured population could become eligible for Medicaid if the expansion were implemented, according to the Urban Institute.
But those gains in insurance — while mostly paid for by the federal government — wouldn’t be entirely free to the state. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of services for new enrollees for the first three years, but that eventually would drop to 90 percent.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER: Sentencing hearing provided insight into lives of Gilley, Massey and Spicer
The sentencing hearings for former Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley, lobbyist Jarrod Massey and former state Rep. Terry Spicer revealed a lot about the men and their lives in recent years, including death threats, problems with alcohol abuse, and explanations for thousands in cash payments that they agreed were bribes.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson sentenced the men Monday in a daylong hearing in which supporters, including each of their wives and Massey’s children, testified on their behalf.
Gilley will serve more than six years in federal prison with Massey serving about five years (after credit for time served) and Spicer serving close to five years. All three men pleaded guilty and must report to the federal prison they are assigned to by Aug. 27.
National & International Politics
Cliff Sims’ response:
Tragedies often lead to the desire to make sure lives were not lost in vein. That’s a healthy reaction in times of great loss and speaks directly to the human need to believe our lives — however brief they are — have purpose. In that sense, positive change can come when unexpected tragedies lead to a reevaluation of public policy.
On the other hand, there will always be those who seek to exploit the emotions of the public for political gain. As Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Read More…
Artur Davis’ response:
Before he is made into a poster child for gun control, its worth noting that James Holmes is proof that maniacs don’t always leave a mental or criminal trail, and that no manner of background checks would have kept him from building his own arsenal.
And if the point is that the kind of high intensity firepower used in the attack is too accessible, its worth asking the following: does the most ardent advocate of gun control seriously doubt that if assault weapons were banned tomorrow, they would only be pushed underground? Read More…
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library sits on top of the world here, a majestic tribute to a former president filled with testimonials to his life: the Air Force One that flew him around the globe, the gowns that Nancy Reagan wore to inaugural balls, a video re-enactment of his near assassination, movie clips from his Hollywood days and memorabilia from his campaigns for California governor.
But the other afternoon, hundreds of people lined up outside the door waiting to view a most unlikely addition to this presidential library: Mickey Mouse.
In an unusual collaboration of presidential scholarship and mass-market entertainment — featuring two men who, truth be told, were never particularly close — the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Walt Disney Company have joined together to open a sprawling, nine-month exhibition drawn from the Disney archives.
RASMUSSEN REPORT: Among Military Veterans: Romney 59% Obama 35%
Most military veterans don’t like the job President Obama is doing and prefer Mitt Romney in November’s election.
New Rasmussen Reports polling finds that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters who have served in the military favor the Republican challenger, while 35% support the president. Five percent (5%) of these voters like some other candidate in the race, but only two percent (2%) are undecided.
The national telephone survey of 574 Voters who have served in the military was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from July 9-15, 2012. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.