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Archive for May 4th, 2009

Republicans on a Bridge to Nowhere

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Republicans on a Bridge to Nowhere

At this point, I’m almost ready to start rooting for the Republicans. No, not really. There’s no “mercy rule” in politics. And anyway, the increasingly bitter ideologues who control what’s left of the Grand Old Party are so bereft of new ideas—and so determined to obstruct rather than collaborate—that I could never wish them well.

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James Baker Backs Reinstating The Draft

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

James Baker Backs Reinstating The Draft
Rep. Charlie Rangel, Congress’s lone champion of reinstating the military draft, can count on another Korean War-era vet for support: Republican James Baker, a soldier…

Rabbi Denise Eger: Standing Up to Miss California
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Nate Silver Economist Interview: Seven Questions About Polling, Predictions And Politics
NATE SILVER has been called a “prodigy”, a “wunderkind”, and a “genius”. Using his unique methodology, he was able to correctly predict every state but…


CNN’s King drops medicine ball during Romney health care interview

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

CNN’s King drops medicine ball during Romney health care interview

During an interview that aired on the May 3 edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host John King asked former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney whether “the Massachusetts [health care] approach that was passed under Governor Romney” is “a good model for the nation.” Romney replied: “Well, I think so, but I’m not going to impose necessarily my view on the National Council for a New America.” King did not mention that, when running for president in 2007, Romney said the Massachusetts health-care system would not work — and should not be applied — in all states.

As Media Matters for America documented, while Romney stated during an August 24, 2007, speech before the Florida Medical Association, “I like the plan we came up with in Massachusetts,” he also said that “what works in Massachusetts probably won’t work in Texas. It’s going to need a different plan.” Romney later added: “A one-size-fits-all national health care system is bound to fail. It ignores the very dramatic differences between states, and it relies on a Washington bureaucracy to manage. You think about this. I do not want the guys that ran the Katrina cleanup running our health care system.”

Additionally, during an October 21, 2007, Republican presidential debate, Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler said to Romney, “[W]e have an e-mailed question from Kendrick of Oakland, California, who says the health care plan you left in Massachusetts, which required people to get their own insurance, amounts to Hillary Care. You say it was the result of a Democratic legislature. I want to ask you: If a Democratic Congress placed such a plan on your desk in the Oval Office, would you sign it? And why was the plan good for Massachusetts and not good for the nation?” Romney replied that the Massachusetts system is “a model that other states can adopt in some respects,” and again advocated allowing the states to “create their own plan”:

ROMNEY: I’m very proud of what we did in Massachusetts, and I think it’s a model that other states can adopt in some respects. … For Democrats, they want to have government take it over. And I don’t want to have the guys who did the cleanup at Katrina taking responsibility for health care in this country. … But Hillary [Clinton] says the federal government’s going to tell you what kind of insurance, and it’s all government insurance. And I say no, let the states create their own plans, and instead of government insurance, private, market-based insurance. “

On July 6, 2007, The New York Times reported that Sally Canfield, then the policy director for the Romney campaign, also distinguished the Massachusetts plan from what Romney would favor nationally:

On the Republican side, few candidates have been better prepared to deal with the issue than former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who helped push through that state’s health plan with bipartisan support. But Republican primary voters tend to be leery of new government requirements, and, arguably, of Massachusetts as a role model. Mr. Romney, on the campaign trail, talks generally about getting “everybody inside the health care system,” through “market reforms” state by state to make private insurance cheaper and more available. But not, he says, “with a government takeover.”

Sally Canfield, policy director for the Romney campaign, says that Mr. Romney is proud of his record, but “the Massachusetts plan was crafted for Massachusetts,” and that a national plan would be different. For example, aides said he did not support a federal version of the Massachusetts requirement that individuals obtain insurance.

And on August 24, 2007, the Times reported that Romney had just then unveiled a health-care plan that “departs significantly from the universal health care measure that he helped forge as governor of Massachusetts”:

Mitt Romney, an architect of Massachusetts’ universal health coverage plan, is unveiling his proposal for overhauling the nation’s health care system, calling for a state-by-state approach that he says will help millions of uninsured in this country gain access to affordable medical coverage.

The proposal, which Mr. Romney will detail today before the Florida Medical Association, departs significantly from the universal health care measure that he helped forge as governor of Massachusetts, reflecting the conservative audience he must now appeal to in order to win the Republican presidential nomination. It relies on federal incentives for market reforms, tax deductions and other changes to encourage people to buy health insurance and drive down costs.

“He’s run away from the Massachusetts plan,” said Stuart Altman, a health economist at Brandeis University who worked in the Nixon administration and has helped advise many politicians since, including Senator Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential contender.

The Massachusetts plan, which went into effect this year and is still being watched closely to see how it will fare, was Mr. Romney’s signal legislative accomplishment as governor but has elements that trouble many conservatives, most notably a mandate that everyone who can afford it must buy health insurance or face penalties.

Mr. Romney often promotes his health care bill in Massachusetts on the campaign trail, holding it up as a private-market-based solution to the problem of the uninsured, as opposed to “socialized medicine,” or “Hillary-care,” as he often says. But he almost never mentions the requirement that individuals buy coverage.

There is no individual mandate in Mr. Romney’s plan for the rest of the country. Instead, it concentrates on a “federalist” approach, premised on the belief that it is impossible to create a uniform system for the entire country. Along these lines, the federal government would offer incentives to states to take their own necessary steps to bring down the cost of health insurance.

From the May 3 edition of CNN’s State of the Union with John King:

KING: Health care is another big issue that’s going to come up this year. You got beat up in the campaign a little bit by fellow conservatives who said, you know, your approach had too big of a government role. Is the Massachusetts approach that was passed under Governor Romney, is that a good model for the nation?

ROMNEY: Well, I think so, but I’m not going to impose necessarily my view on the National Council for a New America. We’re going to exchange ideas, listen to people; I’ll put forward my own perspectives. My own view is pretty straight forward — and that is that we can get Americans insured. We can get virtually every American insured with health insurance, without having to have government take over health insurance.

KING: The president’s going to try to move his plan while you’re having this national conversation, and he has put in place the rules that will probably allow him to do it. Is he going to get his way on health care?


Marc Correra: The Link Between New York’s Pension Scandal And “Toxic Waste” In New Mexico?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Marc Correra: The Link Between New York’s Pension Scandal And “Toxic Waste” In New Mexico?
Three weeks ago we told you about accusations that the New Mexico State Investment Council had been under political pressure to invest teachers’ retirement funds in risky investments like a $90 million “toxic waste” CDO backed by subprime mortgages –…





Cuomo Subpoenas 100 Hedge Funds, Enlists 36 States In Mushrooming Pension Probe
What did we tell you? The New York state pension fund scandal is starting to look pretty national. New York AG Andrew Cuomo just issued 100 subpoenas to investment firms in his expanding investigation of pay-to-play schemes that defraud public…


The Thing That Won’t Go Away

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

The Thing That Won’t Go Away


Paranoid Authorities Wouldn’t Let My Plane Fly Over U.S. Territory — Was It Something I Wrote?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Paranoid Authorities Wouldn’t Let My Plane Fly Over U.S. Territory — Was It Something I Wrote?
An AirFrance flight was forced to divert a plane thousands of miles because a journalist was considered a national security threat.

Boycott Begins to Bite at Companies Supporting Israel’s Military Occupation of Palestine
"When companies begin to lose money, they start to listen."

Much Ado About the Flu: Is the Media Frenzy Justified?
So far, there’s no indication that the "swine flu" is particularly dangerous, but the prospect of global catastrophe is attractive and exciting.


Let’s Make PPIP Fun!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Let’s Make PPIP Fun!
Timothy Geithner seems intent on moving forward with his scheme to subsidize the banks by providing up to a trillion dollars of non-recourse loans to investors to buy their junk assets. As many of us have pointed out, this is…

Trust America’s Existing Institutions
Ali al-Marri’s plea deal coming just two months after moving his case to federal district court from his long military detention at the Charleston Naval brig is one clear example that our existing institutions were perfectly capable of dealing…

Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Concert and President Obama
On Sunday night Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday was celebrated with a concert at Madison Square Garden. It was great. Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Arlo Guthrie, and a dozen or two…






White House reinserts commitment to repeal Don?t Ask Don?t Tell on website.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

White House reinserts commitment to repeal Don?t Ask Don?t Tell on website.
On Friday, the White House website replaced its commitment to “repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” with a commitment to simply “changing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way.” John Aravosis said that the change appeared to be “a backward step from a clear campaign promise” and looked to be the latest in increasingly vague […]

On Friday, the White House website replaced its commitment to “repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” with a commitment to simply “changing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way.” John Aravosis said that the change appeared to be “a backward step from a clear campaign promise” and looked to be the latest in increasingly vague promises from the Obama administration on its plans regarding DADT. But as Pro Publica notes, the White House has now “reinserted language saying President Obama supports the ‘repeal’ of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The new phrasing: ‘He supports repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and national security.’”


The Pork Lobbyists, Ready to Reassure

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

The Pork Lobbyists, Ready to Reassure
It was Day 7 of the great swine flu outbreak, and inside the eighth-floor conference room in a concrete hulk of an office building on Capitol Hill, the pork lobbyists were in crisis mode. The National Pork Producers Council, whose members were watching with dismay as hog prices fell, labored to r…


Allan Comp: Pushing Enforcing Cleanup Projects Nationwide
The most impoverished and environmentally degraded communities in America are found in the Appalachian coal country and the isolated mining communities of the Mountain West. For many, these problems are invisible. For Allan Comp, they are all-consuming.


4th-Grader Questions Rice on Waterboarding
Days after telling students at Stanford University that waterboarding was legal “by definition if it was authorized by the president,” former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was pressed again on the subject yesterday by a fourth-grader at a Washington school.



The Politics of Superheroes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

The Politics of Superheroes
Jesse Walker, Reason

Flu Crisis Shows Need for Health Reform
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

Presidents Don’t Prosecute Their Predecessors
David Shribman, RCP