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Archive for September 20th, 2009

Botched Execution Gives Chance for Testimony

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Botched Execution Gives Chance for Testimony
The failed attempt to execute an Ohio man has given new impetus to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection in the state. Technicians were unable to kill Romell Broom on Tuesday, and now a judge is ordering Broom be deposed in the federal lawsuit, a day before the executioners are to try again. The New York Times: Two days after the execution of a convicted rapist-murderer was halted when technicians were unable to inject him with lethal drugs, a federal judge ordered Thursday that the inmate be deposed for a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s lethal injection procedure. The deposition for the inmate, Romell Broom, is set for Monday, a day before he is scheduled to be executed. His lawyers said they planned to file appeals in state and federal courts on Friday seeking to cancel or at least postpone his execution. One of his lawyers, Adele Shank, said the appeals would present three arguments that executing Mr. Broom on Tuesday would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. They will contend that seven days is not enough time to recover from the physical and emotional trauma of the failed execution attempt, that Ohio’s lethal injection system in its current form is critically flawed and that lethal injection, in general, is cruel and unusual punishment. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Lethal Injection Gurney

The failed attempt to execute an Ohio man has given new impetus to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection in the state. Technicians were unable to kill Romell Broom on Tuesday, and now a judge is ordering Broom be deposed in the federal lawsuit, a day before the executioners are to try again.

The New York Times:

Two days after the execution of a convicted rapist-murderer was halted when technicians were unable to inject him with lethal drugs, a federal judge ordered Thursday that the inmate be deposed for a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s lethal injection procedure.

The deposition for the inmate, Romell Broom, is set for Monday, a day before he is scheduled to be executed. His lawyers said they planned to file appeals in state and federal courts on Friday seeking to cancel or at least postpone his execution.

One of his lawyers, Adele Shank, said the appeals would present three arguments that executing Mr. Broom on Tuesday would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. They will contend that seven days is not enough time to recover from the physical and emotional trauma of the failed execution attempt, that Ohio’s lethal injection system in its current form is critically flawed and that lethal injection, in general, is cruel and unusual punishment.

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Michael Carmichael: The Most Ominous Monopoly

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Michael Carmichael: The Most Ominous Monopoly
America’s love story with capitalism is crystallized in the merger of two computerized voting machine giants like nothing that has ever been seen before in American history.

Edwards Promised Mistress Rooftop Wedding With Dave Matthews Band
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A man who once claimed to have fathered the child of John Edwards’ mistress says in a book proposal the former…

Caitlin Kraft Buchman: Switzerland’s Health Insurance Providers are Non-Profit: That is the Only Reason Their System Works, Period.
We Swiss have a pragmatic system that is cunning because it embraces the reality that health insurers have to have their profit incentive removed if the system is to work for the people at all.

Mark Joseph: “Lord Save Us From Your Followers” Free Ticket Giveaway For Huffington Post Readers
On Monday night I’ll be hosting a screening of the film Lord Save Us From Your Followers in L.A. and moderating a panel discussion afterwards….


AP transcribes false GOP attacks on health reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

AP transcribes false GOP attacks on health reform

The Associated Press uncritically reported Rep. Sue Myrick’s (R-NC) attacks on health care reform, including her false comparison of Democratic reform proposals to the health care systems in Canada and the United Kingdom and her claim that a study by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) “found that the health care tax increases being proposed would lead to the elimination of more than 1.6 million jobs.” In fact, Democrats are not considering a single-payer or socialized health care system, and the NFIB study Myrick cited examined a “hypothetical” policy, not the provisions of the actual bills under consideration.

AP forwards Myrick’s attacks on health care reform

From the September 19 AP article:

Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina issued the latest warning against a Democratic-backed health care overhaul as she recalled her fight with breast cancer. She said in the GOP’s weekly radio and Internet address that her diagnosis “took six doctors, three mammograms and one ultrasound before they finally they found my cancer. This process took only a few weeks.”

“Under the government-run health care system they have in Canada and the United Kingdom, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get those tests so quickly,” she said. “One international study found that three times as many citizens in those countries wait longer than a month to see a specialist. When it comes to life-threatening diseases like cancer, delay could mean death.”

Democrats are looking for competition to private insurance companies to help drive prices down: a government-run insurance option, a trigger to add that option later; or nonprofit insurance cooperatives, designed to compete with private industry and give consumers more choices.

“These so-called health care reform bills have different names: a public option, a co-op, a trigger,” Myrick said. “Make no mistake, these are all gateways to government-run health care.”

She said that the proposals mean higher taxes for small business owners “at a time when unemployment is nearing 10 percent and analysts are predicting that any kind of recovery will be a jobless one.”

She noted that she’s a former small-business owner.

“I can tell you from experience that this is the worst possible time to be imposing new, job-killing taxes. In fact, the nation’s largest small business association found the health care tax increases being proposed would lead to the elimination of more than 1.6 million jobs.”

NFIB study analyzed “hypothetical employer mandate,” not any of the bills under consideration

NFIB study from January assumed all employers subject to mandate. The study, which found that an “employer mandate would cause the economy to lose over 1.6 million jobs within the first five years of program implementation,” stated that “[a] hypothetical employer mandate was modeled and tested using a computer simulation that captured the mandate’s effects on U.S. businesses by firm size. The assumed mandate requires that all employers must offer private health insurance to their employees. Employers must finance at least 50 percent of their employees’ health insurance premiums. The remaining share of employee premiums is assumed to be financed by employee contributions and federal subsidies.”

House bill exempts employers with payrolls of $250,000 and less. The House tri-committee health care reform bill requires employers to provide insurance coverage for their employees or pay 8 percent of their payroll to the Health Insurance Exchange. However, employers with annual payrolls that do not exceed $250,000 are exempt. Moreover, employers with payrolls between $250,000 and $400,000 would have to pay a penalty of less than 8 percent.

House bill includes health care tax credit for small businesses. The tri-committee bill also stipulates that certain small businesses would be eligible for a tax credit of up to 50 percent of health coverage expenses.

Senate HELP bill exempts employers with fewer than 25 employees. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee stated in a summary of its bill that “[e]mployers with 25 or fewer employees are exempt from penalties and are eligible for program credits.” The committee specified that “[e]mployers with more than 25 employees who do not offer qualifying coverage … or who pay less than 60 percent of their employees’ monthly premiums are subject to a $750 annual fee per uninsured full-time employees and $375 per uninsured part-time employees.”

Senate HELP bill includes tax credits for small businesses. The committee’s summary states, “Beginning in 2010, employers with 50 or fewer full-time workers who pay 60 percent or more of their employees’ health insurance premiums will be permitted to receive tax credits for subsidizing coverage.”

Senate Finance bill lacks employer mandate. The Chairman’s Mark of the health care reform bill from the Senate Finance Committee states that “as under current law, an employer would not be required to offer health insurance coverage.” However, “employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer coverage would be required to pay a fee for each employee who receives a tax credit for health insurance through a state exchange.”

Bills under consideration would build upon — not replace — private insurance

AP previously reported that Dems do not want to replace private insurers. In a July 6 article, the AP reported on a television ad that claimed, “Washington wants to bring Canadian-style health care to the U.S.” The article noted, “In fact, President Barack Obama and Democrats pushing to overhaul health care want to create an optional, government-run plan to compete with private insurers but not replace them.” Indeed, all of the proposals under consideration in Congress would preserve the private insurance industry and increase the number of Americans enrolled in private insurance plans. Congress is not considering a Canadian-style single-payer health care system or a socialized system like that of the United Kingdom.

Obama has not proposed socialized medicine, single payer, or nationalized health care. As PolitiFact.com noted in a March 5 post, “Obama’s plan leaves in place the private health care system, but seeks to expand it to the uninsured,” and “the plan is very different from some European-style health systems where the government owns health clinics and employs doctors.” And during a March 26 online town hall, Obama explicitly rejected the notion of implementing a health care system “the way European countries do or Canada does,” explaining that what “we should do is to build on the [employer-based] system that we have.”


After Tell-All Press Conference, Feds Yanked Sanford’s Security Clearance

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

After Tell-All Press Conference, Feds Yanked Sanford’s Security Clearance
The Homeland Security Department revoked Mark Sanford’s security clearance in the wake of his June press conference in which he admitted to an affair. An official questioned the governor’s “judgment, lack of candor, reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information.”

Report: Terror Suspect Admits To Qaeda Ties
The man under FBI investigation for alleged ties to a New York bomb plot has admitted he has ties to al-Qaeda and is negotiating to plead guilty to a terror charge, according to a report.



Glenn Beck As Seen From 2525?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Glenn Beck As Seen From 2525?


Steve Rosen, Indicted Under Espionage Act, Lectures Obama and J Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Steve Rosen, Indicted Under Espionage Act, Lectures Obama and J Street
I’m not going to comment on Steve Rosen’s ridiculous Obama and J Steet bashing piece in Foreign Policy today except to ask why this guy has any kind of platform whatsoever. I know the espionage case against him was dropped….


Sponsored Topics: Foreign PolicyMiddle EastWarfare and ConflictSteve RosenEspionage Act of 1917

Travel Alert: You Can Go to North Korea (!) but Don’t Even Think About Cuba
Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams ran an excellent clip last night on the “unfairness” of some Americans being allowed to travel to Cuba while others are blocked….


Sponsored Topics: Brian WilliamsBreaking NewsNorth KoreaNBC Nightly NewsNBC News

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Insurers? pre-existing conditions include being a cop, expectant father, or having acne.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Insurers? pre-existing conditions include being a cop, expectant father, or having acne.
This week, ThinkProgress pointed out that women often face extra hurdles in obtaining health care on the individual market since some insurers refuse to cover maternity care, disqualify women who have had a Caesarean-section pregnancy, or consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition. Yesterday in a speech, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed these disparities: Women are […]

This week, ThinkProgress pointed out that women often face extra hurdles in obtaining health care on the individual market since some insurers refuse to cover maternity care, disqualify women who have had a Caesarean-section pregnancy, or consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition. Yesterday in a speech, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed these disparities:

Women are affected because, as we heard, in many states, insurance companies can still discriminate because of gender. And this is still shocking to me. These are the kind of facts that still wake me up at night; that women in this country have been denied coverage because of preexisting conditions like having a C-section or having had a baby. In some states, it is still legal to deny a woman coverage because she’s been the victim of domestic violence.

And a recent study showed that 25-year-old women are charged up to 45 percent more for insurance than 25-year-old men for the exact same coverage. And as the age goes up, you get to 40, that disparity increases to 48 percent — 48 percent difference for women for the exact same coverage in this country.

Consumer Watchdog has released internal industry “underwriting” guidelines showing some other “pre-existing conditions” that insurers have used to either deny people outright or charge exorbitant fees for coverage:

uninsurablechart4

Coburn?s Chief Of Staff On Keeping Kids Away From Porn: ?All Pornography Is Homosexual Pornography?
At the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit today, FRC Senior Fellow Pat Fagan, Heritage Foundation scholar Matthew Spalding and Michael Schwartz, the chief of staff for Sen. Tom Coburn, held a discussion on “The New Masculinity.” Schwartz, who was the final speaker, said that Fagan wanted him to discuss “how men, who already are […]

At the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit today, FRC Senior Fellow Pat Fagan, Heritage Foundation scholar Matthew Spalding and Michael Schwartz, the chief of staff for Sen. Tom Coburn, held a discussion on “The New Masculinity.” Schwartz, who was the final speaker, said that Fagan wanted him to discuss “how men, who already are good husbands and fathers,” can “change the culture.”

A few minutes into his speech, Schwartz moved to the topic of pornography, calling it a “blight” and a “disease” that parents’ “sons” would encounter. Noting that he was about to get “politically incorrect,” Schwartz said that it is his “observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people”:

SCHWARTZ: But it is my observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that’s because they don’t want to be that way. They don’t want to fall into it. And that’s a good instinct. After all, homosexuality, we know, studies have been done by the National Institute of Health to try to prove that its genetic and all those studies have proved its not genetic. Homosexuality is inflicted on people.

Schwartz then recalled “a very good friend” of his “who was in the homosexual lifestyle for a long time,” saying that he “had good conversations about, about the malady that he suffered.” He then relayed “an astonishingly insightful remark” his friend had made about the relationship between pornography and being gay:

SCHWARTZ: And one of the things that he said to me, that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark. He said, “all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants.” You know, that’s a, that’s a good comment. It’s a good point and it’s a good thing to teach young people.

Schwartz then added a slight caveat, saying, “if it doesn’t turn you homosexual, it at least renders you less capable of loving your wife. And it’s something you need to be healed of.” Watch it:

Schwartz is no stranger to extreme rhetoric about the gay community. In 2005, he denounced the Supreme Court for giving Americans “the right to commit buggery.” Later, he told Max Blumenthal, “”I’m a radical! I’m a real extremist. I don’t want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!” In 1987, Schwartz co-wrote Gays, AIDS, and You, which according to Blumenthal, alleged that the gay community was “using the AIDS crisis to pursue [their] political agenda.”

Transcript:

FAGAN: Mike Schwartz is an old friend. I first met Mike when we were both at Family Research Council, or, Free Congress Foundation under Paul Weyrich, who is one of the great architects of the modern social conservative movement. And both of us learned a huge amount from Paul, with Paul and owe a huge debt to him as I think probably everybody here in the room does. Mike then went on to do great things on the Hill, great things on television, and truncating stuff here, he was first of the staff of then-Congressman Coburn, who then retired. Then thought of coming back to the Senate, chose Mike as his campaign manager and I remember somebody in the Senate saying, “my goodness, the Republicans are really afraid of Tom Coburn coming back, but they’re ten times more afraid of Mike Schwartz being with him.” With that — and everybody who knows Mike knew exactly what they meant. He is very effective behind the scenes, mainly. Occasionally, he gets the liberal press all riled up by dissing Mike to do that. Most effective, I give you now, Mike Schwartz.

SCHWARTZ: One thing Pat, one thing Pat was kind enough to do was to omit what I was doing between Dr. Coburn’s tenure in the House and Dr. Coburn’s tenure in the Senate. And in light of the topic of this panel, it’s most ironic because for those four years I was a Concerned Woman for America. And I used to tell people, if you looked like me, you’d be a concerned woman too. Now, now I’m totally unconcerned, so much so that I’m not even a woman. Pat’s given me a difficult assignment because he said — you know, I could do this policy stuff, that’s what I do — but he said, “no no no, I don’t want you to talk about policy. I want you to talk about how men, who already are good husbands and fathers — we take that for granted — but if you’re already a good husband and you’re already a good father, how do you change the culture?”

[…]

SCHWARTZ: You know, if you don’t have love in your life, it’s not a very complete life. And yet, we don’t want to talk about it. And we especially fail to talk about it to our sons and to our friends. They’re the ones who need to hear it the most because they’re still making up their minds about what do I want to be when the time comes. And believe me, the temptations are out there. One of the temptations that your sons are going to run into is pornography. Pornography is a blight. It is a disaster. It is, it is one of those silent diseases in our society that we haven’t been able to overcome very well. Now, I may be getting politically incorrect here. But one — It’s been a few years, not that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys who are like 10 to 12 years of age. But it is my observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that’s because they don’t want to be that way. They don’t want to fall into it. And that’s a good instinct. After all, homosexuality, we know, studies have been done by the National Institute of Health to try to prove that its genetic and all those studies have proved its not genetic. Homosexuality is inflicted on people.

I had a very good friend who was in the homosexual lifestyle for a long time and then he had a religious conversion in the eighties. And he bought a old motel and turned it into a hospice for some of his former associates who were dying of AIDS. He helped, he helped almost 300 men die. This man was a real hero. But he knew that he wasn’t as healed as he thought he was. He was able to resist temptation. He was able to resist sin. But he wasn’t healed enough to take on the responsibilities of marriage. And he was a brilliant man in the sense that he knew himself. And he knew his limits. And he and I had good conversations about, about the malady that he suffered. And one of the things that he said to me, that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark. He said, “all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants.” You know, that’s a, that’s a good comment. It’s a good point and it’s a good thing to teach young people.

His name is Jim Johnson. He’s a friend of mine. He ran an organization called Beyond Rejection Ministries. And I consider him one of the most heroic men I’ve ever met. But all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. And that in fact is what it does. I know couples now who are struggling with the husband’s addiction to pornography. It’s a terrible thing. And that’s what happens. And, you know, if it doesn’t turn you homosexual, it at least renders you less capable of loving your wife. And it’s something you need to be healed of.


Obama’s Worldwide Star Power Finds Limits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Obama’s Worldwide Star Power Finds Limits
Eight months into his presidency, Barack Obama has become a global celebrity, far more popular abroad than he is at home and sometimes eclipsing foreign leaders among their own people.


Mass. Senate to Debate Kennedy Succession Bill on Monday
NEW YORK, Sept. 19 — The Massachusetts Senate will meet again Monday to take up the question of allowing the governor to appoint an interim U.S. senator to replace the late Edward M. Kennedy, after Republicans in the chamber succeeded Friday in delaying debate on the proposal.

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Fact Checking the Charge That McDonnell Would Raid School Funds
For some time now, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) has been bashing Robert F. McDonnell, his Republican opponent in the governor’s race, for wanting to raid K-12 education funds to fix the transportation mess in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.


Race Baiters Among Us Making a Mistake

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 20th, 2009 4:30 am by HL

Race Baiters Among Us Making a Mistake
Christine Flowers, Philly DN

Obama: Our First Jewish President
David Paul Kuhn, RealClearPolitics

Barack Obama is Gambling With Europe’s Security