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Archive for February 16th, 2010

Irish Bishops Called on the Carpet

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Irish Bishops Called on the Carpet
The long-running clergy sexual abuse scandal within Dublin’s Archdiocese is still the Catholic Church’s problem, and on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI met with Irish bishops for the first part of a two-day strategy and damage-control session at the Vatican.  —KA BBC: BBC religious affairs correspondent Christopher Landau says bishops from a particular country normally visit the Vatican around once every five years. But the Pope has summoned Ireland’s bishops for a special two-day meeting, specifically to address the issue that has severely undermined Catholicism’s standing there, our correspondent says. The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin – the Murphy report – published in November, found the Church had “obsessively” hidden child abuse from 1975 to 2004, and operated a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Some bishops still in office had been part of the cover-up, the report said. Four out of five key bishops who were particularly criticised have now resigned, but the fifth, Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, is expected to meet the Pope. Read more

the pope

The long-running clergy sexual abuse scandal within Dublin’s Archdiocese is still the Catholic Church’s problem, and on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI met with Irish bishops for the first part of a two-day strategy and damage-control session at the Vatican.? —KA

BBC:

BBC religious affairs correspondent Christopher Landau says bishops from a particular country normally visit the Vatican around once every five years.

But the Pope has summoned Ireland’s bishops for a special two-day meeting, specifically to address the issue that has severely undermined Catholicism’s standing there, our correspondent says.

The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin – the Murphy report – published in November, found the Church had “obsessively” hidden child abuse from 1975 to 2004, and operated a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

Some bishops still in office had been part of the cover-up, the report said.

Four out of five key bishops who were particularly criticised have now resigned, but the fifth, Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, is expected to meet the Pope.

Read more

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‘Family Guy’ Makes Not-So-Subtle Fun of Palin Clan
Politicians try all the time to use popular culture to their tactical advantage, but attempting to tweet their way into the hearts of Americans can invite certain pop-cultural comebacks, as a clip from Sunday’s “Family Guy” episode demonstrates.

Family Guy

Politicians try all the time to use popular culture to their tactical advantage, but attempting to tweet their way into the hearts of Americans can invite certain pop-cultural comebacks, as a clip from Sunday’s “Family Guy” episode demonstrates.

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John Podesta: American Politics ‘Sucks’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

John Podesta: American Politics ‘Sucks’
John Podesta, former Clinton chief of staff and leader of Obama’s transition team, thinks American politics are in a sad state. Actually, he thinks it…

Mitt Romney Threatened On Plane: ‘Violent Passenger’ Confronts Former Presidential Candidate
An unrelated series of bizarre air travel incidents the past three days has been capped with a physical threat made by a “violent passenger” against…

Frank Lautenberg Hospitalized: New Jersey Senator Taken To Hospital After Fall
CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. — Long-serving U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg fell at his home Monday night and was taken by ambulance to a hospital as a…


In latest attack on climate science, conservative media distort BBC interview with CRU’s Phil Jones

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

In latest attack on climate science, conservative media distort BBC interview with CRU’s Phil Jones

Following a February 13 BBC Q&A with Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, several conservative media outlets have distorted Jones’ comments to suggest that they undermine the consensus that human activities are contributing to warming global temperatures. These media outlets have seized on Jones’ statement that since 1995, the warming trend “is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level” to falsely suggest that temperatures since the mid 1990s disprove global warming and to falsely claim, in Jim Hoft’s words, that Jones “admit[ted] there is no global warming.”

CLAIM: Jones’ “admission” that there hasn’t been statistically significant warming in 15 years damages case for global warming

Right-wing blogs seized on Daily Mail article stating: “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995.” As Media Matters’ Brian Frederick noted, right-wing blogs have cited a February 14 Daily Mail article on Jones BBC interview. The Daily Mail headline stated that Jones “admits” that “[t]here has been no global warming since 1995” and the article said that Jones “admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.”

Daily Caller: “The global warming movement is facing a one-two punch today.” From a February 14 post by The Daily Caller headlined “Scientist admits there has been no global warming since 1995”:

The global warming movement is facing a one-two punch today, as a key figure of the Climategate scandal admitted that there is no evidence the earth has warmed recently and new research suggests existing records aren’t sufficient support for global warming claims.

Hoft cites statement there has been no global warming since 1995 to claim Jones “Admits Man-made Global warming Is a Farce.” From a February 14 Gateway Pundit blog post:

Top Climate Scientist Admits Man-made Global Warming Is a Farce-

* Data for vital ‘hockey stick graph’ has gone missing
* There has been no global warming since 1995
* Warming periods have happened before – but NOT due to man-made changes

Fact: Longer-term data establishes warming trend

Jones: Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms” is “less likely for shorter periods.” When asked, “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming,” Jones stated:

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

Met Office: Climate shows “continued variability, but an underlying trend of warming in the previously steady long-term averages.” The Met Office states: “In 1998 the world experienced the warmest year since records began. In the decade since, however, this high point has not been surpassed. Some have seized on this as evidence that global warming has stopped, or even that we have entered a period of ‘global cooling’. This is far from the truth and climate scientists have, in fact, recognised that a temporary slowdown in warming is possible even under increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions.” [Met Office, accessed 9/22/09]

The Met Office further notes:

After three decades of warming caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, why would there suddenly be a period of relative temperature stability — despite more greenhouse gases being emitted than ever before? This is because of what is known as internal climate variability. In the same way that our weather can be warm and sunny one day, cool and wet the next, so our climate naturally varies from year to year, and decade to decade.

Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.

In the twentieth century we have had continued variability, but an underlying trend of warming in the previously steady long-term averages. This is what we observed in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Now we have seen a decade of little change in the average global temperature — but that doesn’t mean climate change has stopped, it’s just another part of natural variability.

2000-2009 was warmest decade on record. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The U.K. Met Office, and the World Meteorological Organisation have all stated that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record for the globe.

CLAIM: Jones revealed “that whole global warming thing may never have existed”

Hoft: “Climategate Scientist Admits There Is No Global Warming.” Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft asserted in a headline on February 14, “It Was All a Lie: Climategate Scientist Admits There Is No Global Warming.”

Johnson Jr.: “Talk about a U-Turn, that whole global warming thing may never have existed.” During the February 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, teasing a segment on Jones’ BBC interview, Peter Johnson Jr. stated: “Talk about a U-Turn, that whole global warming thing may never have existed. What a key scientist is now saying that could debunk the whole theory.”

Fact: Jones said “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed” and “there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

From the February 13 BBC Q&A with Jones:

E – How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

CLAIM: Jones said “the recent warming trend that began in 1975 is not at all different than two other planetary warming phases since 1850”

From a February 13 NewsBusters post:

In a lengthy Q&A published at BBC.com Saturday, Jones also said: the recent warming trend that began in 1975 is not at all different than two other planetary warming phases since 1850; there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995, and; it is possible the Medieval Warm Period was indeed a global phenomenon thereby making the temperatures seen in the latter part of the 20th century by no means unprecedented.

Fact: Jones said causes of recent warming differ from previous warming phases

From the February 13 BBC Q&A with Jones:

D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.

This area is slightly outside my area of expertise. When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence. Solar influence was about flat over this period. Combining only these two natural influences, therefore, we might have expected some cooling over this period.

[…]

H – If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?

The fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing – see my answer to your question D.

Right-wing media relentlessly attack climate science with misleading claims

The distortions of Jones interview with BBC are the latest in a line of misleading attacks on climate change science. For instance, right-wing media have recently suggested that winter storms disprove global warming, falsely suggested that accusations of errors in the IPCC report undermine the climate change consensus, forwarded the conspiracy theory that NASA, NOAA manipulate data, and distorted a climate scientists’ work to claim he predicts a “mini ice age.”


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Presented By:

Maddow Calls Out GOP Rep For Flubbing Facts Of Abdulmutallab Case (VIDEO)
On Meet The Press yesterday, Rachel Maddow challenged Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) on the issue of the Miranda warning read to the attempted Christmas bombing suspect, correcting Schock’s assertion that Abdulmutallab stopped talking after he was read his rights.

Thiessen Mourns Loss Of CIA Torture Program — O’Donnell Having None Of It (VIDEO)
On MSNBC this morning, former Rumsfeld and Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen went after President Obama for barring torture by the CIA in his first week in office, only to be rebuffed by an animated Lawrence O’Donnell on the Bush Administration’s terrorism record.


88% (aka dumbasses) think their taxes weren’t cut

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

88% (aka dumbasses) think their taxes weren’t cut
Excerpt: According to a CBS News/New York Times poll released last weekend, only 12 percent of respondents think that their federal taxes were reduced under the Obama administration. Twice as many respondents think that their federal taxes have increased. The results of this poll can only lead to one of two mutually exclusive conclusions: Either the President […]


Romney Threatened on Flight

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Romney Threatened on Flight
Mitt Romney (R) “was physically threatened by a violent passenger on an Air Canada flight leaving Vancouver” the Globe and Mail reports.

“Mr. Romney, who has been in Vancouver since Friday for the Olympic Winter Games, did not respond to the attack. Instead, he allowed the airline crew to deal with the incident.”


Michael Pollan: Forget Nutrition Charts, Eat What Grandma Said Is Good for You

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Michael Pollan: Forget Nutrition Charts, Eat What Grandma Said Is Good for You
The author of ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ says science has supplanted cultural wisdom as a guide in telling us what to eat.

The author of 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' says science has supplanted cultural wisdom as a guide in telling us what to eat.

A Crisis of Governance

This post was originally published on Hullabaloo.

Fareed Zakaria interviewed Paul Volcker yesterday:

ZAKARIA: When you look at this crisis, there are many regulatory problems. There are many issues that the bankers did wrong. There are many issues government regulators did wrong.

But many people argue that the one key issue, the biggest weapon the United States government has to slow down, to tamp down excesses, is to have raised the interest rate.

Do you believe, during this period, if interest rates had been higher, some of this would have been — some of this froth would have subsided?

VOLCKER: Well, I have certain rule that ex-chairmen of the Federal Reserve don’t comment on monetary policy of their successors. I’ll tell you how good monetary policy was 30 years ago, but I don’t want to comment on it now.

But I don’t think there’s any question that the Federal Reserve — and the other regulators, it wasn’t just the Federal Reserve — were not on the top of this housing picture, or they weren’t on top of the regulatory picture. And unfortunately, you know, when this was all going up, where was the SEC? And you ask, where was the Federal Reserve? Where was the comptroller of the currency?

There was a whole attitude, a kind of philosophic attitude that the market would take care of itself. And that became quite ingrained. The complexities, the so-called “financial engineering,” a whole school of thought said you don’t have to worry about a breakdown. These smart mathematicians are taking care of it. And all the risks have been dispersed to the point where they won’t upset anything.

Well, when the screws became loose, we found out a lot of the risks were pretty concentrated.

ZAKARIA: All in AIG, for example… VOLCKER: And AIG was one case.

ZAKARIA: … insuring almost all the risk.

VOLCKER: Part of the problem was that it got so complex, that a lot of the management, you know, couldn’t understand it, and didn’t understand it. But they were kind of reassured that somebody down in the bowels had it under control. But there was just a complexity which made it very opaque.

ZAKARIA: Is it true that you once said that the only financial innovation that you believe has added any real value in recent years is the ATM machine?

VOLCKER: I have said something like that to make the point, yes. And I guess I’ll have to add the ATM machine was a mechanical innovation.

ZAKARIA: Not a financial…

VOLCKER: But I’ll tell you, it is a very useful innovation. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Heavily used, efficient, saves you a lot of money.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you a final question.

What is the crisis you’re worried about now? Because one of the things people talk about is, does the United States still have the credibility to continue borrowing at the quantities we borrow? The people who — you know, the rating agencies are now saying our AAA creditworthiness might be in doubt.

Is it something that we need to worry about? Larry Summers says…

VOLCKER: I hate to give you this answer…

ZAKARIA: … can the world’s greatest power be the world’s greatest borrower?

VOLCKER: I hate to give you this answer, but the crisis I most worry about is the crisis in governance.

ZAKARIA: In government.

VOLCKER: In governance, yes. Have we got the capacity to develop programs, get them enacted and in a constructive way?

And that — it’s not just a political problem. That will underlie your question about the confidence in the United States, and confidence in American leadership.

ZAKARIA: And your basic concern is, can our democratic system make the hard choices that it needs to make…

VOLCKER: Yes. ZAKARIA: … the reform — to push these reforms forward?

VOLCKER: Yes.

True. And I think this is one area in which the punditocracy really gets it wrong. They seem to think this is a result of partisanship. And it’s true that one party is politically feckless and ineffectual and the other is politically reckless and radical and that’s causing gridlock and frustration. At this point it seems to me that it’s likely the second will end up back in charge and that will ease the logjam for obvious reasons. But will that make financial “reform” more likely? I don’t think so. There are many problems with governance right now. However the inability to enact financial reform is not caused by the differences between the two parties, but rather their similarities. That’s a much, much bigger problem.

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1 Million Remain Homeless in Haiti, Yet the U.S. Ambassador Brags It’s ‘Going Really Well’
Ambassador Ken Merten is going around touting the Haiti rescue disaster as a ‘model.’

Ambassador Ken Merten is going around touting the Haiti rescue disaster as a 'model.'

How Tax Cuts Killed California

This post was originally published on the Booman Tribune.

Once upon a time, there was a Golden State which had the arguably the best public schools and the best public higher education system of state colleges and universities. People longed to move there for its natural beauty, its climate, its good schools, its many jobs in the entertainment, defense and high tech industries, etc. Was it a perfect state? Far from it, but it did seem to be the place everyone wanted to be — once upon a time.

Now? Not so much. You might even call it an unmitigated disaster, a failed state, one that is, for all practical purposes, ungoverned and ungovernable.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled an $82.9 billion state spending plan today that calls for no tax hikes but envisions pay cuts for state workers, reductions in services to California’s neediest residents – and relies on the benevolence of the federal government.

Well, the economy is bad. Times are tough. Yet I live in a state (New York) which, despite its fiscal problems, still manages to fund social services, good public schools, a good public higher education system, and provide all the other essential government assistance without massive layoffs or cuts. New York State has an $8 Billion deficit this year, but that’s less than half of the budget deficit faced by California. New Yorkers suffer from high unemployment, but the values of our homes (at least those among us who don’t live in super rich enclaves like the Hamptons or own condos in Manhattan) haven’t gotten flushed down the toilet.

How did this all come to pass? How did New York manage to avoid a California budgetary collapse? Well, for starters, New York wasn’t subjected to the grand conservative social experiment known as Proposition 13, a provision that, once approved, altered California’s Constitution making it impossible to raise tax revenues and thus do what Government needs to do — provide for the general welfare of its citizens.

Under Republican Gov. Earl Warren and Democratic Gov. Pat Brown, California epitomized the postwar American dream. Its public schools, from kindergarten through Berkeley and UCLA, were the nation’s finest; its roads and aqueducts the most efficient at moving cars and water — the state’s lifeblood — to their destinations. All this was funded by some of the nation’s highest taxes, which fell in good measure on the state’s flourishing banks and corporations. […]… With the state sitting on a $5 billion surplus, frustrated Californians grumped to the polls and passed Proposition 13, which rolled back and then froze property taxes — effectively destroying the funding base of local governments and school districts, which thereafter depended largely on Sacramento for their revenue. Ranked fifth among the states in per-pupil spending during the 1950s and ’60s, California sank to Mississippi-like levels — the mid-40s — by the 1990s.

Since 1978, state and local government in California has been funded chiefly by personal income taxes. Bank and corporation taxes have been steadily reduced. In the current recession, with state unemployment at 11 percent, tax revenue has fallen off a cliff.

But the problem with Proposition 13 wasn’t merely that it reduced revenue. It also made it very difficult to increase revenue. Raising taxes now requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature, though in 47 other states a simple majority suffices. California has become overwhelmingly Democratic in the past two decades, but Republicans have managed to retain footholds — representing just over one-third of the districts — in both houses of the legislature.

So what was a bad situation for the rest of the country (brought about by the Federal Government’s deregulation the financial industry — but that’s another story) was made much worse in Sunny California. Because a bare minimum of legislators, ideologues for the most part, is all you need to turn hard times into a financial catastrophe of epic proportions. All because of a myth that Government is always bad and taxation is always evil.

The current Republican crop has refused in good times as well as bad to raise business or other taxes (increasing the tobacco tax, for instance, has failed each of the past 14 times it has come up for a vote). Abetted by little local Limbaughs who inflame Republican brains, they protest that the state already has the nation’s highest taxes. In fact, California ranks 18th among the states in percentage of personal income paid to state government, and its presumably beleaguered wealthiest 1 percent, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, pays just 7.4 percent of their income to the state, while the poorest Californians pay 10.2 percent.But the myth of soak-the-rich high taxation persists among Republicans — so much so that the GOP front-runner to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger in next year’s gubernatorial election, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, is calling for cuts in business tax rates even though the state is staring at a $21 billion deficit that it somehow has to close. In short order, unless the federal government steps in with a bridge loan, the state will throw 940,000 poor children off its health-care rolls and lay off tens of thousands of teachers.

In a way I pity Arnold Schwarzenegger. By most standards he is a fairly moderate Republican. But he’s hamstrung by his own party, which is far more radical than he is, and by the effects of Proposition 13 which makes it impossible for him to deal with California’s present economic crisis in an effective manner.

He can’t raise taxes to provide spending to stimulate the economy because it would never pass the legislature. So he is forced to look for tricks to get around the budget crisis he faces — cruel tricks for all the people who are employed by the state of California, or the kids that attend its schools, or the people who rely on social services for their health care — while also hoping (and begging) for assistance from the Federal Government led by President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress, will come riding in on it’s white horse to save the day, or at least keep California from drowning in its own self created sea of red ink for another year.

And you wonder why Progressives laugh at Tea Baggers and other Conservative Republicans who mindlessly continue to repeat their mantra that cutting taxes is the only way to save the economy? Hey, we’ve seen that disaster flick played out in real life in the state that gave us Hollywood, and frankly the story doesn’t have a happy ending.

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Has F/X Hit the Jackpot With Racy New Animated Series ‘Archer’?
It’s a spoof of the James Bond-type spy genre, which doesn’t sound too good, but never underestimate what Adam Reed of Sealab 2021 can do with moldy genre spoofs.

It's a spoof of the James Bond-type spy genre, which doesn't sound too good, but never underestimate what Adam Reed of Sealab 2021 can do with moldy genre spoofs.


Obama’s Victory Strategy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Obama’s Victory Strategy
A couple of months ago, I went out on a limb and predicted that a 2010 Republican election victory was a mirage. The New York Times/CBS News Poll this morning reinforces my confidence that President Obama and the Democrats can…


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Pentagon Quietly Explores De-Citizenship of US Citizen Terrorists
At the highest levels of the US military, a quiet discussion is going on about putting in place a legal framework that would permit the US government to strip American citizenship from terrorists. The case of Las Cruces, New Mexico…


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Inevitable: New Republic Calls Former Editor Andrew Sullivan An Anti-Semite
I knew that Andrew Sullivan’s abandonment of the hard right position on Israel was driving his old buds at the New Republic crazy. Andrew was once TNR’s wunderkind, the youngest editor in its history. Smart, cool, Oxford educated and a…


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Fox News Scolds WellPoint Rate Hike, Not For Hurting Consumers, But For Energizing Health Reform Advocates

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Fox News Scolds WellPoint Rate Hike, Not For Hurting Consumers, But For Energizing Health Reform Advocates
California Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, a subsidiary of health insurance giant WellPoint, announced recently that it would be hiking premiums for customers in the individual market by up to 39 percent. The looming hike unleashed a firestorm of criticism, and provoked two Democratic lawmakers to launch congressional probes into the matter. Even a spokesman […]

California Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, a subsidiary of health insurance giant WellPoint, announced recently that it would be hiking premiums for customers in the individual market by up to 39 percent. The looming hike unleashed a firestorm of criticism, and provoked two Democratic lawmakers to launch congressional probes into the matter. Even a spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was compelled to feign concern, telling reporters, “If the argument is that the WellPoint hike means we need reform, well, ‘duh.’”

Earlier today on Fox Business, WellPoint VP Brad Fluegel appeared to discuss the hikes. Fox hosts Charles Payne and and Stu Varney lashed out at WellPoint for increasing rates just when “it was safe to get out of the healthcare debate.” The hosts were uninterested with how the increasing rates would affect customers and struggling families in California. Instead, the pair attacked Fluegel for re-energizing advocates for health reform. Payne groaned, asking Fluegel why he didn’t “take Wall Street’s lead” and “wait for this to blow over and maybe a year from now try to hike rates”:

PAYNE: But Brad this is like Jaws 2, just when you thought it was safe to get out of the healthcare debate, you brought everybody back into it. […] Didn’t someone though, wasn’t there a committee that said listen, let’s take Wall Street’s lead, do the minimum we can, wait for this to blow over and maybe a year from now try to hike rates?

VARNEY: You handed the politicians red meat at a time when healthcare is being discussed. You gave it to them! […] You couldn’t see this coming? I mean really, you couldn’t see this coming? […]

VARNEY: You actually did make a net in that quarter in twleve weeks, you made what, $500 million net profit didn’t you? You tell that to a politician and they’re going to say, ‘you made a half billion dollars in twelve weeks and now you put the price up 25%.’

Watch it:

HCAN has responded to the WellPoint rate hike by releasing a report demonstrating how premium increases have been feeding insurer profits, not paying for health care costs. “The report finds that the top five largest for-profit insurance companies increased their profits by $12.2 billion last year while dropping coverage for 2.7 million Americans.“ Pending the investigation and a review from the California Insurance Commissioner, WellPoint has postponed the hikes until May 1, 2010.

At the end of the interview, the Fox hosts chuckled with the WellPoint VP. They apologized for being so harsh and warmly reminded Fluegel that their criticism of insurer profits was only meant to be “warm up” for Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) investigation. “You did very good,” cooed one of the cohosts.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) to retire.
Media outlets are reporting that conservative Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) has decided against running for a third term this year, a move that comes “as a surprise to Democrats in his state who had already started working on his campaign.” In prepared remarks that he will give at a 2 p.m. press conference today, […]

Evan Bayh Media outlets are reporting that conservative Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) has decided against running for a third term this year, a move that comes “as a surprise to Democrats in his state who had already started working on his campaign.” In prepared remarks that he will give at a 2 p.m. press conference today, Bayh cites his frustration with the stalemate in Congress:

“Two weeks ago, the Senate voted down a bipartisan commission to deal with one of the greatest threats facing our nation: our exploding deficits and debt. The measure would have passed, but seven members who had endorsed the idea instead voted ‘no’ for short-term political reasons,” he said. “Just last week, a major piece of legislation to create jobs — the public’s top priority — fell apart amid complaints from both the left and right. All of this and much more has led me to believe that there are better ways to serve my fellow citizens, my beloved state and our nation than continued service in Congress.

Sam Stein notes that Bayh’s replacement will have to “move remarkably fast in order to get his name on the ballot. The deadline to file is this Friday but candidates have to have 500 valid signatures from citizens in Indiana’s nine Congressional Districts to properly certify his or her candidacy.”


Q&A with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 16th, 2010 5:35 am by HL

Q&A with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
When Tom Vilsack became head of the Agriculture Department last year, he faced a backlog of 11,000 civil rights complaints and several unresolved class-action lawsuits from minority farmers and ranchers.

USDA rules to emerge from fight over imported catfish
The whiskered, bottom-feeding catfish is one of the lowliest creatures on Earth. But for months, catfish have been at the center of an intense Washington lobbying effort pitting domestic producers against importers.

Hillary Clinton warns of Revolutionary Guard’s growing influence in Iran
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