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Archive for July 13th, 2009

War and Peace

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

War and Peace

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Man or Mouse

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Frank Dwyer: Political Haiku: David Brooks Molested (Like the Rest of Us) by GOP Senator

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Frank Dwyer: Political Haiku: David Brooks Molested (Like the Rest of Us) by GOP Senator
Real Republicans know Nancy’s rule guards inner thighs, Dave: just say no….

Stephen Kaus: Fighting Sotomayor, Republicans Falsely Advance Fire Fighter Ricci as the White Man’s Rosa Parks
On Ricci, Sotomayor is in line with four of the nine current members of the U.S. Supreme Court. It is not she who is starting a race war.

Iran’s Rumored Nicaraguan “Mega-Embassy” Set Off Alarms In U.S.
For months, the reports percolated in Washington and other capitals. Iran was constructing a major beachhead in Nicaragua as part of a diplomatic push into…

Jill Biden To Have Orthopedic Surgery
WASHINGTON — Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will have orthopedic surgery Monday to relieve shoulder pain. Mrs. Biden will have the outpatient…


Fox’s Scott misled on Bush’s “job gains” while suggesting media unfairly saying “this is the Bush economy”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Fox’s Scott misled on Bush’s “job gains” while suggesting media unfairly saying “this is the Bush economy”

On the July 11 edition of Fox News’ Fox News Watch, host Jon Scott misleadingly asserted that “there were month after month after month of job gains in the Bush administration. And yet, you know, these days, this is the Bush economy as portrayed in the media.” However, over the final year of George W. Bush’s presidency, the economy lost more than 4 million jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the unemployment rate rose from 4.9 percent in January 2008 to 7.6 percent in January 2009, and the employment-population ratio dropped from 62.9 percent in January 2008 to 60.5 percent in January 2009.

Media Matters for America has previously documented other media figures misrepresenting employment numbers under the Bush administration or suggesting that President Obama is to blame for job losses that occurred under Bush or within weeks of Obama taking office.

From the July 11 edition of Fox News’ Fox News Watch:

SCOTT: What about what the vice president said there, though. When he says — when he says, gosh, we just didn’t understand how bad this economy was. They had promised to keep unemployment under what, eight, 8.5 percent.

OFF-CAMERA VOICE: Yeah.

JAMES PINKERTON (Fox News contributor): They said it would peak at eight — eight.

SCOTT: Peak at eight. OK, so why aren’t they taking more heat in the media and the press?

ANDREA TANTAROS (Fox News political contributor): Well, because the media, I mean, they’re scripting media questions, they’re cozy with the media. We know this. I mean, what’s the saying? Facts are stubborn things, though. They actually have to report that the numbers and the jobs just aren’t being created. When it comes to Joe Biden, I mean, Republicans don’t need to run against — put up a message against Obama, his own vice president is doing a great job.

I think the double standard here, though, is Bush made tons of gaffes, and they were covered through and through. Joe Biden gets barely any coverage.

SCOTT: Let me throw this question at you, because you’re representing the liberal side here, but, you know, there were month after month after month of job gains in the Bush administration. And yet, you know, these days, this is the Bush economy as portrayed in the media.

KIRSTEN POWERS (Fox News political analyst): Really? Cause I feel like it’s the Obama economy. I feel like it’s been —

SCOTT: Do you think it is now?

POWERS: I think that people — yeah, I think the sentiment is that this belongs to Obama. Yes, he inherited a bad situation. But, you know —

SCOTT: Joe Biden was trying to turn it into the Bush economy.

OFF-CAMERA VOICE: Obama wouldn’t agree.

POWERS: Well, I’m sure — I’m sure they’re going to continue to try to do that, but I don’t think anybody is really buying that anymore.


Hampton: Religious Buddies Drove Ensign To FedEx To Mail Letter To Cindy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Hampton: Religious Buddies Drove Ensign To FedEx To Mail Letter To Cindy
We’re probably not going out on a limb by saying that Doug Hampton’s entire televised interview about John Ensign’s affair with Hampton’s wife Cindy, and the fallout from it, had to have been pretty embarrassing for the Nevada senator, if…

Spakovsky Likely Headed Back To Voting Rights Agency, In Volunteer Post
The US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the nomination of Republican voter-suppression guru Hans Von Spakovsky to a state-level body that advises the commission. Lenore Ostrowsky, a spokeswoman for the USCCR — whose mission…

More Ensign: Maddow Talks To Hampton Interviewer, And Expert On Christian Fellowship Group
Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had two important interviews on the John Ensign story that are worth checking out. The first was with Jon Ralston, who himself interviewed Doug Hampton over the last few days….


The Icewoman Cometh

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

The Icewoman Cometh


Palin Ignored Advice

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Palin Ignored Advice
The New York Times reports that in late March, a senior official from the Republican Governors Association headed for Alaska on a secret mission: to pull Sarah Palin’s governorship, “and her national future, back from the brink.”

The official “arrived with a memorandum containing firm counsel, according to several people who know its details: Make a long-term schedule and stick to it, have staff members set aside ample and inviolable family time to replenish your spirits, and build a coherent home-state agenda that creates jobs and ensures re-election.”

“Like so much of the advice sent Ms. Palin’s way by influential supporters, it appeared to be happily received and then largely discarded, barely slowing what was, in retrospect, an inexorable march toward the resignation she announced 10 days ago.”


We Need Clear Thinking: There Should Be No Clash Between Public Option and Single Payer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

We Need Clear Thinking: There Should Be No Clash Between Public Option and Single Payer
The debate among progressive health reformers has been sometimes nasty, but they have more in common than they might think.

Michael Jackson Memorial Breaks All Known Records for "Obitutainment"
Famous in analog. Mourned in digital. In death the King of Pop inspired the greatest online eulogy in human history.

Obama’s Voters Clearly Have His Back If He Wants to Get Tougher with Israel
Israel faces growing international pressure to freeze its settlements — will the U.S. join the chorus?


The New GM: Maker Of Mobile Devices

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

The New GM: Maker Of Mobile Devices
Wilmot, New Hampshire. It is hard to think of a more wrong-headed take on the new GM than today’s Times report on how a new muscle car will save the company. Imagine someone writing that a new Bee Gees will…


Sponsored Topics: GeneralMotorsMuscle carBusinessTransportationOpel

CLINIC ENVY
There are many things about Jerusalem that make life very difficult for the average New Yorker–many inconveniences and annoyances, but one thing that is sooooo much better is the medical system. I now have clinic envy-and hope that President Obama…


Sponsored Topics: New YorkerJerusalemBarack ObamaIsraelHealth


CNN’s State of the Union – where is Congress on health care reform?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

CNN’s State of the Union – where is Congress on health care reform?

I get so frustrated listening to the health care debate that I can only listen to it in small bits. So, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander is talking about taxing something if you are ready have the “Cadillac” of health insurance plans. What the heck is that? Any health insurance plan is offered in 2009 is a fraction of what was offered in 1989. There are no Cadillac insurance plans anymore. Then, he talks about some plan in which the government gives Americans money (I guess in tax breaks or tax rebates) in which to buy health insurance. This is got to be a popular plan with the insurance companies.

Wolf Blitzer, who for the most part is clueless, states that in order to get coverage this will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The statement is simply wrong. The statement should be in order to keep giving insurance companies are money we will need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars. If we exclude insurance companies universal coverage will not cost any more than we’re paying now.

Senator Judd Gregg asked a good question but then has a stupid answer. Why are going to spend more money on healthcare? We are already spending enough (my answer not his). Senator Gregg is a 100% wrong when he states that there are good studies which suggest if you give patients incentives that will purchase better healthcare. This is simply wrong. It is wrong in a number of ways — first, the majority of patients do not want to go through some complex permutation of healthcare plans to decide what’s best for them. Secondly, Senator Gregg is asking patients to project into the future of what they’re healthcare problems will be. As a trauma surgeon, I can tell you that most people do not plan on seeing me. Most people think of themselves as careful and thoughtful.

Senator Judd Gregg then launches into the fear tactics that Republicans have been using for nearly 18 years on healthcare reform. He suggests that they healthcare in Canada or England is awful. He suggests that a single-payer system would lead to rationing of health care. One of the things that he doesn’t say is that currently insurance companies are rationing healthcare as we speak. They are deciding what to pay for and what not to pay for. So, the current system that we have not only rations but puts a for-profit company (insurance) between you and your doctor. The single-payer system puts nothing between you and your doctor. What could be simpler?

Update: Senator Judd Gregg also had some disturbing statistics about breast cancer in England and the United States and survival rates. Fortunately, there’s something called the Internet. You can look up the survival rates in England and the survival rates here in the United States. The survival rates in England are actually better than they are here in the US. This really should not be a surprise to anyone. Everybody in England has insurance. A large number of Americans do not have insurance. These Americans present later, with more advanced disease and have poorer outcomes. This drives down the overall survival rate.

Senator Conrad is still pushing these co-ops as viable alternatives. It is clear that these co-ops are not viable alternatives and would be crushed by insurance companies. I talked about the utter stupidity of this co-op option. I haven’t changed my mind.

The bottom line in this healthcare debate is obvious. Confused, obfuscate and dance around the issue. The issue is simply this — do health insurance companies add value to healthcare? If the answer is yes then we need to spend time talking about healthcare co-ops in some sort of hybrid plan to get everyone covered. If the answer is no, then we need to quit wasting time talking about giving tax rebates to people so that they can afford insurance. Senator Stabenow understands the problem completely. She’s the only one on the show that made any sense.


GOP Responds To Cheney?s Concealment Of CIA Program With Strawmen And Shrugged Shoulders

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

GOP Responds To Cheney?s Concealment Of CIA Program With Strawmen And Shrugged Shoulders
Earlier this week, seven House Democrats on the Intelligence Committee released a letter revealing that CIA Director Leon Panetta had “recently testified to Congress that the agency concealed information and misled lawmakers repeatedly since 2001″ about an unidentified CIA operation that was an “on-again, off-again” effort until Panetta stopped it in June. The New York […]

Earlier this week, seven House Democrats on the Intelligence Committee released a letter revealing that CIA Director Leon Panetta had “recently testified to Congress that the agency concealed information and misled lawmakers repeatedly since 2001″ about an unidentified CIA operation that was an “on-again, off-again” effort until Panetta stopped it in June. The New York Times reports today that former Vice President Dick Cheney gave “direct orders” for the program to be concealed from Congress.

On the Sunday shows this morning, several Republican lawmakers attempted to defend or divert attention away from the revelation about Cheney. “I don’t think we should be jumping to any conclusions,” said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on ABC’s This Week. Kyl claimed that Cheney’s alleged actions were “not out of the ordinary”:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But this allegation of the vice president ordering it be kept secret, you believe that should be investigated?

KYL: Look, the president and the vice president are the two people who have responsibility, ultimately, for the national security of the country. It is not out of the ordinary for the vice president to be involved in an issue like this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But to order it be kept secret?

KYL: What if it’s a top secret program? Of course he and the president would both be responsible for that. Let’s don’t jump to conclusions is what I’m saying.

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that while he agrees that “the CIA should brief the Congress,” any mention of Cheney is just the Obama administration trying to “blame the Bush-Cheney administration” for everything. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he doesn’t “know whether it was appropriate,” but dismissed the concern by saying, “the CIA is in the secrecy business.”

Also on CNN, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) said that it “is wrong if somebody told the CIA not to inform the appropriate members of Congress,” but tried to cast the debate as an “attempt” by Democrats “to basically undermine the capacity to protect and develop intelligence.” Watch it:

On NBC’s Meet The Press, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he doesn’t “know what the details of this are” and that Cheney “should obviously be heard from if the accusations are leveled in his direction.” “If I know Washington, this is the beginning of a pretty involved and detailed story,” said McCain, adding that he doesn’t know if there should be “a, quote, investigation.”