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Archive for August 9th, 2009

OAS Delegation to Honduras

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

OAS Delegation to Honduras
Little has been done to undo the coup d’etat that rocked Honduras over a month ago. Now, the Organization of American States, hoping for new elections and the return of President Manuel Zelaya, is sending a delegation to the country to try to negotiate an end to the crisis. The BBC: A high-level delegation is going to Honduras to seek a negotiated end to the country’s political crisis, the Organisation of American States says. The foreign ministers of six OAS states will arrive on Tuesday and hold talks with the Honduran interim government. They hope it will accept a plan under which ousted President Manuel Zelaya would return and elections be held. Mr Zelaya was sent into exile after a coup in June amid a power struggle over his plans for constitutional change. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Zelaya Plane

Little has been done to undo the coup d’etat that rocked Honduras over a month ago. Now, the Organization of American States, hoping for new elections and the return of President Manuel Zelaya, is sending a delegation to the country to try to negotiate an end to the crisis.

The BBC:

A high-level delegation is going to Honduras to seek a negotiated end to the country’s political crisis, the Organisation of American States says.

The foreign ministers of six OAS states will arrive on Tuesday and hold talks with the Honduran interim government.

They hope it will accept a plan under which ousted President Manuel Zelaya would return and elections be held.

Mr Zelaya was sent into exile after a coup in June amid a power struggle over his plans for constitutional change.

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Another One Bites the Dust
Has the world gone mad or is Sarah Palin a trendsetter? Florida’s Republican Sen. Mel Martinez has announced he will step down after Congress’ August recess, claiming that his priorities of “my faith, my family and my country” suggest it’s time for him to retire from public life. Rumors are circulating that “family problems” are behind his premature exit. Miami Herald: Sen. Mel Martinez told friends and supporters Friday in an e-mail that he’ll step down from the Senate as soon as a replacement is appointed to fill out his term. “My priorities have always been my faith, my family and my country and at this stage in my life, and after nearly twelve years of public service in Florida and Washington, it’s time I return to Florida and my family,” said Martinez, who had already ruled out a run for re-election in 2010. In an extraordinary turn of events, Gov. Charlie Crist, the leading Republican to replace Martinez in the U.S. Senate, will have the power to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Martinez’s term. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Mel Thinking

Has the world gone mad or is Sarah Palin a trendsetter? Florida’s Republican Sen. Mel Martinez has announced he will step down after Congress’ August recess, claiming that his priorities of “my faith, my family and my country” suggest it’s time for him to retire from public life. Rumors are circulating that “family problems” are behind his premature exit.

Miami Herald:

Sen. Mel Martinez told friends and supporters Friday in an e-mail that he’ll step down from the Senate as soon as a replacement is appointed to fill out his term.

“My priorities have always been my faith, my family and my country and at this stage in my life, and after nearly twelve years of public service in Florida and Washington, it’s time I return to Florida and my family,” said Martinez, who had already ruled out a run for re-election in 2010.

In an extraordinary turn of events, Gov. Charlie Crist, the leading Republican to replace Martinez in the U.S. Senate, will have the power to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Martinez’s term.

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GOP Congressman Questions Obama’s Citizenship At Town Hall

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

GOP Congressman Questions Obama’s Citizenship At Town Hall
The trend of controversial town halls contiuned on Friday when Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) questioned the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and referred…

Robin Wells: What Obama Needs to Learn from Sarah Palin
The fight over health care reform is indeed a moral battle. No longer an issue of statistics and parliamentary maneuvers, it’s moved to a higher level.

John Sauer: Water Is Medicine: Why Are We Neglecting This Cure?
More than 25 diseases are caused by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene creating nearly 10% of the global public health burden, killing more than 2 million people a year.

Bryan Young: Is Obama Selling Us Down the River to Big Pharma?
Bringing lobbyists from Big Pharma into the health care negotiations is anathema to the process and makes them feel like they deserve a place at that table.

Drug Industry Payback For White House Surrender: $150 Million In TV Advertising
WASHINGTON — The drug industry has authorized its lobbyists to spend as much as $150 million on television commercials supporting President Obama’s health care overhaul,…


Politico Covers Coal Industry Group’s Lobbying Push — Without Mentioning Those Forged Letters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Politico Covers Coal Industry Group’s Lobbying Push — Without Mentioning Those Forged Letters
Try to understand this… A major lobbying campaign, aimed at making sure that the Senate version of the energy and climate change bill includes subsidies for coal, is being planned by a coal-industry lobbying group, the American Coalition for Clean…





Olbermann: Wolffe Won’t Be On Countdown Until We Know What Else He’s Doing
MSNBC may have agreed to disclose Richard Wolffe’s gig with a major corporate P.R. firm — but that’s not good enough for Keith Olbermann. The Countdown anchor — for whom Wolffe filled in last week as a guest host –…


BEER

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

BEER


Fighting Poverty Regionally Is Important, But Won’t Be Easy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Fighting Poverty Regionally Is Important, But Won’t Be Easy
Elizabeth Kneebone in her recent posting urges a more regional approach to social service provision as a strategy to address the access and delivery issues noted by Scott Allard in his recent book, Out of Reach. I completely agree…


Sponsored Topics: Social workPovertyPhilanthropyAllardUnited States

Marty Peretz: A Jew Hater In The White House Is Leading Obama Astray
Check out Matt Yglesias’ takedown of the increasingly nutty Marty Peretz. Peretz writes that “there is someone in [Obama’s] entourage who is leading him astray, gravely astray. And that someone has it in for Israel and for American Jews, too.”…


Sponsored Topics: American JewsIsraelWhite HouseMartin PeretzUnited States

Why the Obama Administration Will Struggle to Reduce Poverty
During the recessions that occurred between 1980 and 1982, the national poverty rate increased by 2 full percentage points – more than 5 million persons entered poverty during that time. Poverty continued to increase after the 1982 recession officially…


Sponsored Topics: PovertyPoverty thresholdUnited StatesEconomicSociety and Culture


On RNC call, Holtz-Eakin says ?no one? thinks ?stimulus has done nothing? ? but Steele does.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

On RNC call, Holtz-Eakin says ?no one? thinks ?stimulus has done nothing? ? but Steele does.
Yesterday, the Republican National Committee featured former McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin on a conference call pushing back against positive takes on the new unemployment numbers. Though Holtz-Eakin said that the new data “cannot be considered good news,” he claimed that “no one would argue that the stimulus has done nothing.” But earlier this week, RNC […]

Yesterday, the Republican National Committee featured former McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin on a conference call pushing back against positive takes on the new unemployment numbers. Though Holtz-Eakin said that the new data “cannot be considered good news,” he claimed that “no one would argue that the stimulus has done nothing.” But earlier this week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said just that, before catching himself and saying that he meant it had done “very little”:

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, in a conference call with reporters after Obama’s event, suggested that so far, it’s mostly talk.

“We’re still losing jobs,” he said. “In fact, I find it interesting and ironic that the president was today in Indiana, again repeating some of the same old broken promises about the stimulus and the jobs it’s saved. I don’t know how we measure that. Certainly, what we’ve seen put on the table so far has done nothing, very little, to create jobs.

In a separate interview with CNN, Steele was asked whether he believed that “the raise in home sales or the Dow — the level of the Dow — or even the GDP raising as any part of this” was a “result of the stimulus package or anything.” “No, I don’t,” responded Steele. Private economic analysts believe the stimulus “added at least 1 percentage point to economic growth in the second quarter.”

Insurance Industry Is Targeting Blue Dogs To Shape Health Reform In Its Favor
In a new cover story, BusinessWeek claims that the “health insurers have already won” the battle over health care reform. According to the magazine, their strategy has been to “quietly” focus on “shaping the views” of more conservative Democrats. Central to the health insurers’ strategy is to target the Blue Dog Coalition, which includes Rep. […]

bluedogs

In a new cover story, BusinessWeek claims that the “health insurers have already won” the battle over health care reform. According to the magazine, their strategy has been to “quietly” focus on “shaping the views” of more conservative Democrats. Central to the health insurers’ strategy is to target the Blue Dog Coalition, which includes Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR):

Impressing fiscally conservative Democrats like Matheson, a leader of the House of Representatives’ Blue Dog Coalition, is at the heart of UnitedHealth’s strategy. It boils down to ensuring that whatever overhaul Congress passes this year will help rather than hurt huge insurance companies. […]

Matheson, whose Blue Dogs command 52 votes in the House, can’t offer enough praise for UnitedHealth, the largest company of its kind. “The tried and true message of their advocacy,” he says, “is making sure the information they provide is accurate and considered.” […]

Fifteen years after the insurance industry helped kill then-President Bill Clinton’s health-reform initiative, Ross is frustrating the Obama White House by opposing proposals for a government-run insurance concern that would compete with private-sector companies.

The article goes on to note that United Health’s massive lobbying operation, which has spent more than $3.4 million during the first half of 2009, has enlisted the help of a large array of Washington insiders. Its lobbying operation appears to be paying off:

The industry has already accomplished its main goal of at least curbing, and maybe blocking altogether, any new publicly administered insurance program that could grab market share from the corporations that dominate the business. UnitedHealth has distinguished itself by more deftly and aggressively feeding sophisticated pricing and actuarial data to information-starved congressional staff members. With its rivals, the carrier has also achieved a secondary aim of constraining the new benefits that will become available to tens of millions of people who are currently uninsured. That will make the new customers more lucrative to the industry.

As ThinkProgress has noted, the Blue Dog Coalition is awash in corporate cash. The health care industry was the top donor to Matheson’s 2008 campaign, giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars. The health industry was also the top donor to Ross, a former pharmaceutial executive whose negotiations recently forced the Energy and Commerce committee to weaken its health care bill.

Despite the health care industry’s intense lobbying effort on capitol hill, several polls show that the majority of the American people remain strongly in support of the choice of a public health insurance plan. As Matt Yglesias has noted, “So just keep in mind that when people talk about political obstacles to a robust public plan, they’re not talking about mass public opinion as an obstacle—they’re talking about the wealth and power of relatively narrow interests.”


Chemical Industry Gives Support to Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Chemical Industry Gives Support to Reform
In a reversal, chemical industry leaders said last week they are joining environmentalists, public health groups and consumer advocates in seeking more robust federal regulation of chemicals.

Military Analysts Expect Long-Term, Costly U.S. Effort in Afghanistan
As the Obama administration expands U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, military experts are warning that the United States is taking on security and political commitments that will last at least a decade and a cost that will probably eclipse that of the Iraq war.

Sunday Take: For Obama, August Means Sharpening His Message, Rallying His Party
President Obama once looked to the August congressional recess as the moment to gain a decisive advantage in the fight to overhaul the nation’s health-care system. Instead, he needs to use the month to rebalance his presidency.


Democrats Must Fight Back on Health Care

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

Democrats Must Fight Back on Health Care
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek

August Is the Cruelest Month
Gail Collins, New York Times

Job Market Blues

Mr. President, Americans Are Not an ‘Angry Mob’

Beware of Bureaucrats’ Prescriptions
Thomas Sowell, Detroit News