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Archive for June 18th, 2009

Why Patch-and-Fill Won’t Do

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Why Patch-and-Fill Won’t Do

At the moment, Republicans are gleeful and Democrats glum because of a Congressional Budget Office analysis—based on an incomplete and early draft of what is likely to be the most liberal-leaning health care proposal to emerge from the Senate—that shows the measure just won’t get the job done.

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The AMA’s Unhealthy Obsession

The real question is not what the AMA will support or whether the attitudes of the AMA have changed, but why anyone would still heed its policy prescriptions. Very few national organizations have been so wrong for so long about the matters most salient to their own members.

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Louise Marie Roth: Address Medical Liability With Science, not Caps: “Standard of Care” is not the Same as Evidence-Based Medicine

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Louise Marie Roth: Address Medical Liability With Science, not Caps: “Standard of Care” is not the Same as Evidence-Based Medicine
Many doctors practice in fear of litigation. Some argue this leads to “defensive medicine”: medical practices designed to avert the future possibility of malpractice suits, rather than to benefit the patient.

Brendan DeMelle: Elusive Justice Overdue In the Case of Political Prisoner Paul Minor
It is time for the Obama Justice Department to reverse one of the most egregiously political persecutions of the Bush era – Paul Minor’s bogus…

Steven Weber: A Nanny State of Mind
Evolution is slow and to attack the main agent of change himself is self-defeating to the point of handing control back to the ones who created chaos in the first place.

Pamela Gerloff: What If Released Inmates Stopped Committing Crimes?: Prison Reform that’s Already Working–Like Nothing You’ve Seen Before
Last week, Senator Jim Webb posted a column discussing the need to reform our criminal justice system. To help Senator Webb find a bipartisan solution…

Ted Johnson, Maegan Carberry, Teresa Valdez Klein: Revolutionizing Iran (And The MSM), One Tweet At A Time
It’s been a crazy week, and it’s only Wednesday! Since their election on Friday, Iranians have been burning up the Twittersphere, drumming up support abroad…


Parroting GOP, media claim stimulus funding “guard rail to nowhere” — but project was cancelled

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Parroting GOP, media claim stimulus funding “guard rail to nowhere” — but project was cancelled

Discussing a report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) on “waste” in the economic recovery bill, Fox News vice president of news and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, and Investors Business Daily each claimed on June 16 or 17 that the stimulus is funding what Sammon described as a “guard rail to nowhere.” However, the Army Corps of Engineers released a statement on June 15 stating that the project is “not going forward.”

On June 16, Coburn released a report he said “discloses 100 of the worst examples of waste” in the stimulus bill. One of the examples included “$1.15 million for installation of a new guard rail for the non-existent Optima Lake in Oklahoma.” While referring to Coburn’s report on the June 16 edition of Fox News’ The Live Desk, Sammon claimed: “[S]omebody dubbed it ‘the guard rail to nowhere.’ It’s for a guard rail along a lonesome, desolate patch of highway by a waterless lake outside a town of 266 people — $1.1 million. So, yeah, it’s our tax dollars at work. There is a lot of waste there.” Similarly, IBD claimed in a June 16 editorial that “Coburn found some real winners,” including “a guardrail near a man-made lake that no longer contains any water, with a price tag of $1.1 million.” And on the June 17 edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson claimed: “What about the guard rail for the nonexistent lake? They wouldn’t do that, would they? A million bucks? Nah. Yeah, they did.”

However, on June 15, the Army Corps of Engineers released the following statement:

“Work on the Lake Optima guardrail project is not going forward as we explore other approaches to protecting public safety,” said Mr. Gary A. Loew, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Programs Integration Division.

Moreover, the Los Angeles Times reported in a June 16 article that the White House said Coburn’s report included “criticisms of projects that have already been stopped” and specifically highlighted the guard rail project:

The White House pushed back, trying to debunk the report before its official release. Poring over a draft of the report, aides to President Obama said Monday that the senator’s research was flawed and in some cases driven by ideological differences.

The White House pointed out that certain projects highlighted by Coburn have been stopped. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put out a statement Monday [June 15] that it would drop plans to spend $1.1 million to repair a guardrail near a dry man-made lake in the Oklahoma panhandle — project No. 7 in Coburn’s report.

Ed DeSeve, a senior aide to Obama, said in a prepared statement: “With 20,000 projects approved, there are bound to be some mistakes — when we find them, we have been transparent about it, and worked on a bipartisan basis to shut them down immediately. Sen. Coburn’s report, however, is filled with inaccuracies, including criticisms of projects that have already been stopped, projects that never were approved, and some projects that are working quite well.”

A June 11 article by KWTV-News 9 (Oklahoma City, OK) reporter Amy Lester also mentioned that the project was halted:

Plans for a million dollar guardrail have come to a halt. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is putting the brakes on a guardrail at Lake Optima in Texas County, after hearing criticism from city and state leaders who call the project a waste of money.

The guardrail is one of the projects funded by stimulus dollars. It would go up at Lake Optima, a lake that officials say barely exists at all. The Corps spokesperson tells us, they’re now looking at alternatives.

Instead of replacing what they call a “deficient and damaged guardrail,” they may close the road, put up warning signs or reduce the speed limit. The Corps is considering these options since they would cost a lot less than replacing the guardrail.

While Sammon spoke about the stimulus purportedly funding the guard rail, Fox News ran the following on-screen text:

While Carlson spoke, Fox News aired the following graphic:

Media Matters for America previously noted that Fox & Friends and Sammon spread the falsehood — started by Republicans — that the stimulus bill includes funding to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in the San Francisco wetlands.

From the June 16 edition of Fox News’ The Live Desk with Martha and Trace:

TRACE GALLAGER (co-host): Well, forget the bridge to nowhere. How do you feel about your tax dollars going to fix a bridge to the local saloon? The sign points the way to Rusty’s Backwater Saloon in Wisconsin. To get there, you need to cross a bridge that handles about 250 cars a day. And Uncle Sam is spending $840,000 to fix the bridge to Rusty’s saloon.

It’s just one example in a Republican report on pork in the president’s stimulus program. The White House now responding to the findings in that report.

ROBERT GIBBS (White House press secretary) : There are projects within the report that haven’t been funded and have been canceled based on our own looking into this. So, again, I think the report appears to be in many, many cases, just flat-out wrong.

GALLAGHER: Let’s bring in Washington managing editor and vice president of news, Bill Sammon. Bill, all of this pork brought to you by the company that wants to run your health insurance. I mean, you sometimes have to laugh, not to cry at some of these projects.

SAMMON: Well, in fact, there’s a joke in this report that says: Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the other side of the stimulus project. It’s a reference to an underground walkway for turtles and other wildlife in Florida that was $3.4 million, because you can’t have turtles getting hit by cars.

There was another project in there to study the effect of wind farms on sage grouse in Oregon. And there was yet another project — somebody dubbed it “the guard rail to nowhere.” It’s for a guard rail along a lonesome, desolate patch of highway by a waterless lake outside a town of 266 people — $1.1 million.

So, yeah, it’s our tax dollars at work. There is a lot of waste there, but we shouldn’t be surprised because, remember, Vice President Biden, the guy who was deputized by President Obama to be Sherriff Joe to make sure there was no wasteful spending out of the stimulus money, acknowledged to a business roundtable the other day that there was already some scamming going on, there’s already some waste, and already some mistakes.

GALLAGHER: But how does any — I mean, you’re the political expert here, Bill. How does this stuff happen? I mean, if somebody really is watching the dollars, which they should be, how does this stuff happen?

SAMMON: Well, you know, a lot of desperate promises are made in the heat of the moment to pass the stimulus bill.

From the June 17 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Thomas Coburn did this report that said — this senator, Senator Coburn released the report —

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Right.

KILMEADE: — and there’s other examples of this.

DOOCY: Absolutely. How about — because there was such a problem down in Lake Jackson, Florida, with turtle road kill, what they did was they spent $3.4 million on a turtle road, essentially. They’re referring to it as an eco-passage. In fact, we highlighted that right here on this program. They got the money, extraordinarily.

CARLSON: What about the guard rail for the nonexistent lake? They wouldn’t do that, would they? A million bucks? Nah. Yeah, they did.


Conyers’ Wife Facing Scrutiny Over Bribery Scandal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Conyers’ Wife Facing Scrutiny Over Bribery Scandal
Rep. John Conyers, who chairs the House Judiciary committee, has played a prominent role in recent years exposing executive-branch muck, from the US Attorneys scandal to torture. So it’s ironic that Conyers’ wife is caught up in some serious muck…





Murtha, Visclosky, PMA, Kuchera: What’s Going On?
Rep. John Murtha has long been on good-government groups’ lists of the most corrupt lawmakers in Washington. But in recent months, the veteran Pennsylvania Democratic powerbroker has been under particularly intense scrutiny for his ties to two companies that are…

Obama Removes AmeriCorps IG Who Clashed With Ally: Politicized Firing, Or Just Dessert?
We weren’t sure what to make of the news that President Obama has decided to fire the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The IG, Gerald Walpin, had been investigating the misuse of federal AmeriCorps…


Ensign Resign? Keep Dreaming!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Ensign Resign? Keep Dreaming!
“Last year I had an affair. I violated the vows of my marriage. It is the worst thing I have ever done in my life. If there was ever anything in my life that I could take back, this would be it.” – Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) on June 16, 2009, as quoted by the AP. […]


Iran’s Balance of Power Has Been Upended — Is the Country Teetering Toward Civil War?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Iran’s Balance of Power Has Been Upended — Is the Country Teetering Toward Civil War?
Things are ugly now. But they could rapidly get a lot uglier, more violent, and more civil war-like. Will opposition maintain its momentum?

Iran’s Balance of Power Has Been Upended — Is the Country Teetering Toward Civil War?
Things are ugly now. But they could rapidly get a lot uglier, more violent, and more civil war-like. Will opposition maintain its momentum?

Armed Radical ‘Minutemen’ Kill Father and 9-Year-Old Daughter in Anti-Immigrant Hate
Right-wing hate groups are hijacking America's economic distress to push their lethal agendas.

Have Geithner and Summers Seen the Error of Their Ways and What Does it Mean For Our Future?
Summers and Geitner finally condemned the Wall Street shenanigans they once abetted. But will this mean any real change in Obama's policy?

A Chemical Found in Most Consumer Products May Cause Heart Disease in Women
Bisphenol A is used in countless consumer products including food and beverage containers, kitchen appliances, electronics, and packaging.


Brad DeLong and the fairy tale of Wall Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Brad DeLong and the fairy tale of Wall Street
This is a great read from Brad DeLong: A_Wall_Street_Fairy_TaleI think it is also wrong in a solvency sense but spot on in a liquidity sense.The Federal Government will lose big money on AIG – but the money lost – after…





Protesters aren’t about ending the Islamic Revolution, they’re about getting back to it
Ali Gharib writes: The regime is NOT going to collapse. And that’s not the goal of any of those marching Tehran’s streets. This is not about ending the Islamic Revolution, it’s about getting back to it. For all his talk…





Tehran Is Burning: Widening the Debate About Election Results in Iran
Mohammad of Vancouver (a Canadian-Iranian) has relatives in the streets of Tehran, but he says that Ahmadinejad likely won the election, and the west, with its “warm ears” for Moussavi, is choosing to hear what it wants from the demonstrations….






Ensign resigns from his GOP leadership position.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Ensign resigns from his GOP leadership position.
Earlier today, Politico reported that it was “far from certain” that Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) would hold on to his Senate leadership position in the wake of his admitted affair with a former campaign staffer. Now, MSNBC reports that Ensign is stepping down from his role as the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee:

Earlier today, Politico reported that it was “far from certain” that Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) would hold on to his Senate leadership position in the wake of his admitted affair with a former campaign staffer. Now, MSNBC reports that Ensign is stepping down from his role as the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee:

MSNBC reports that Sen. John Ensign resigns from leadership spot

Republicans try to obstruct health care bill.
Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee began marking up Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) Affordable Health Care Act. Republicans, who pushed for the incomplete HELP legislation to be studied by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and then pretended that the agency scored the entire bill, tried to obstruct the effort by complaining […]

Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee began marking up Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) Affordable Health Care Act. Republicans, who pushed for the incomplete HELP legislation to be studied by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and then pretended that the agency scored the entire bill, tried to obstruct the effort by complaining that the CBO had not yet scored the full proposal. During the hearing, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) argued that the hearing be postponed until a full cost-analysis is available. Watch it:

The GOP then maneuvered to introduce a host of amendments simply as a delaying tactic. Rather than offering constructive improvements that could lower costs and expand coverage, a good number of the GOP’s proposed amendments do nothing to solve the health care crisis. The Wonk Room has the run-down.


Report on Bush Interrogation Policy ‘Weeks’ From Release, Holder Says

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Report on Bush Interrogation Policy ‘Weeks’ From Release, Holder Says
A Justice Department report focusing on possible ethics violations by Bush administration lawyers who approved waterboarding of terrorism suspects is still “a matter of weeks” from release, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told lawmakers yesterday.

FDA Commissioner Faces Formidable To-Do List
Margaret A. Hamburg, the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, wants to reorient the sprawling bureaucracy and remake it into the key federal agency that protects public health.


Months After Ted Stevens Debacle, Justice Department Corruption Unit in Disarray
Two months after prosecutors abandoned the criminal conviction of former senator Ted Stevens, the Justice Department unit that polices public corruption remains in chaos, coping with newly discovered evidence that threatens to undermine other cases while department leaders struggle to reshuffle t…

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William Jefferson’s Cool Defense

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

William Jefferson’s Cool Defense
Dana Milbank, Washington Post

To Meddle or Not to Meddle
Andrew McCarthy, National Review

An Extramarital Affair

Obama Tries to Skip the Details
William Murchison, Dallas Morning News