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Archive for July 12th, 2010

It’s over, just in time for “Soccer” Season

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

It’s over, just in time for “Soccer” Season
Glenn Beck’s ratings starting to flop more than Christiano Ronaldo.

Well, the World Cup wrapped up yesterday, and the people of England are going to have to put up with just cricket to follow for an interminable month before the Premier League starts again — so about one Cricket match (ah, cricket jokes, America’s only experience involving cricket).

But as the the kind of “football” that actually intimately involves the “foot” comes to a temporary end (tapas for all!), there were some numbers before the weekend that stood out as the losers of the tournament were assessed:

Glenn Beck: Beck on soccer: “I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much.”

* Estimated American viewers who watched Glenn Beck on June 18: 1.39 million.
* Estimated American viewers who watched USA vs. Ghana on June 26: 19.4 million.
* Estimated American viewers who watched that game in Spanish: 4.5 million.

Wait, a minute 1.39 million? Less than a year ago, Beck had more than 3 million viewers. He has made nearly two million people too ignorant to use a remote — the most basic biological function of the American male.



Spain Wins the World Cup

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Spain Wins the World Cup
For the first time in the country’s history, Spain has won soccer’s coveted World Cup, defeating the Netherlands’ national team on Sunday in a tense match that ended after a late goal in extra time. The Guardian: It’s the World Cup final! THE WORLD CUP FINAL!!!!! And if that’s not enough, for the first time in history, the men from the homeland of totaalvoetbal meet the originators of tiki-taka in a World Cup finals match. It’s a seismic event, and no mistake, even if these particular Dutch masters don’t actually play total football, and tiki-taka has only existed as a concept for about 23 minutes. Because this is the THE WORLD CUP FINAL!!!!! So let’s ramp up the hype and just go with it. With no previous between Holland and Spain to drone on about, we might as well remember World Cup finals previous. Not least because Holland featured in two of them, in 1974 and 1978, and Spain made one, sort of, in 1950. Read more

For the first time in the country’s history, Spain has won soccer’s coveted World Cup, defeating the Netherlands’ national team on Sunday in a tense match that ended after a late goal in extra time.

The Guardian:

It’s the World Cup final! THE WORLD CUP FINAL!!!!!

And if that’s not enough, for the first time in history, the men from the homeland of totaalvoetbal meet the originators of tiki-taka in a World Cup finals match. It’s a seismic event, and no mistake, even if these particular Dutch masters don’t actually play total football, and tiki-taka has only existed as a concept for about 23 minutes. Because this is the THE WORLD CUP FINAL!!!!! So let’s ramp up the hype and just go with it.

With no previous between Holland and Spain to drone on about, we might as well remember World Cup finals previous. Not least because Holland featured in two of them, in 1974 and 1978, and Spain made one, sort of, in 1950.

Read more

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Andrew Reinbach: Work, and Tomorrow

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Andrew Reinbach: Work, and Tomorrow
We live in the world of work. But whether we hold onto our jobs or not, that world is being taken from us; taken by the blind forces of over-population, science, and arithmetic.

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Wallace revives tired right-wing attacks on “controversial” Berwick quotes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Wallace revives tired right-wing attacks on “controversial” Berwick quotes

Chris Wallace claimed that President Obama used a recess appointment to install Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services head Donald Berwick to avoid defending Berwick’s “controversial statements” regarding health care rationing and Britain’s National Health Service. Wallace’s comments, echoing right-wing media attacks on Berwick, omitted his criticisms of NHS and accurate statement that health care rationing is already happening.

Wallace mimics right-wing attacks on Berwick

Wallace: airs “controversial statements” from Berwick. While interviewing White House senior adviser David Axelrod, Wallace suggested that “the real reason” Berwick was recess-appointed was because the Obama administration “didn’t want to defend some of his controversial statements.” Wallace then aired Berwick’s “controversial statements” on NHS and health care rationing, claiming they show “he favors government controls on health care.”

From the July 11 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Isn’t the real reason that Berwick got a recess appointment because you didn’t want to defend some of his controversial statements?

AXELROD: Absolutely not.

WALLACE: Let me just put them up on the screen, then you can respond. Here’s Berwick on the National Health Service of Britain: “I am romantic about the NHS. I love it.” Here’s Berwick on government involvement in health care: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration with … eyes open.” The fact is Berwick will have a budget bigger than the Pentagon and he favors government controls on health care.

Conservative bloggers made similar attacks. As Media Matters documented, right-wing media figures like Erick Erickson have used these quotes to attack Berwick’s appointment, claiming that he “openly wants to destroy the American medical system” and prefers Britain’s system “where some people die waiting in line for medical treatment.” The Fox Nation has also attacked Berwick as a “Health Care Rationer Running Medicare.”

Berwick also criticized British NHS

Berwick: “Is the NHS perfect? Far from it.” In the same speech that Wallace cited, Berwick said that NHS was “far from” perfect and that “the NHS has a lot more work ahead.” Berwick then listed 10 suggestions for how the NHS could further improve. From Berwick’s 2008 speech:

BERWICK: Is the NHS perfect? Far from it. Far from it. I know that as well as anyone in this room, from front line to Whitehall, I have had the privilege of observing performance and even to help to measure its performance.

[…]

BERWICK: There is less progress in some areas, especially with comparison to other European systems, such as in specialty access, in cancer outcomes, in patient centeredness, in life expectancy and infant mortality for socially deprived populations. In other words, in improving its quality, two facts are true: The NHS in en route, and the NHS has a lot more work ahead.

Axelrod to Wallace: “[Y]ou pulled quotes out of longer pieces.” Axelrod pushed back against Wallace’s misleading characterization of Berwick’s statements, noting that Berwick was “quite critical” of NHS:

AXELROD: The fact is that you pulled quotes out of longer pieces. He was also quite critical of elements of the British system, and when he was talking about rationing —

WALLACE: “I am romantic about the NHS. I love it”?

AXELROD: — when he was talking about — he had — was quite critical of aspects of the British system. He is not coming to implement the British system.

In full comment, Berwick explained that current system rations care

With “eyes open” comment, Berwick was saying U.S. system already rations. In the June 2009 interview with Biotechnology Healthcare Wallace cited, Berwick pointed out that the current U.S. health care system rations care, and that the question for the future is how best to ration. Wallace omitted this context on air. From Biotechnology Healthcare, June 2009:

BIOTECHNOLOGY HEALTHCARE: Critics of CER have said that it will lead to the rationing of healthcare.

BERWICK: We can make a sensible social decision and say, “Well, at this point, to have access to a particular additional benefit [new drug or medical intervention] is so expensive that our taxpayers have better use for those funds.” We make those decisions all the time. The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly.

Indeed, insurance companies already ration care. The insurance industry admits to using cost benefit analyses in coverage decisions. In an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition, Wellpoint chief medical officer Dr. Sam Nussbaum told co-host Steve Inskeep: “Where the private sector has been far more effective than government programs is in limiting clinical services to those that are best meeting the needs of patients.” Former CIGNA senior executive Wendell Potter testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that, “To help meet Wall Street’s relentless profit expectations, insurers routinely dump policyholders who are less profitable or who get sick.” Potter further testified that insurers “also dump small businesses whose employees’ medical claims exceed what insurance underwriters expected.”


Will Beck’s Fundraiser For The Troops Actually Support The Troops?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:45 am by HL

Will Beck’s Fundraiser For The Troops Actually Support The Troops?
One wonders how much money from Glenn Beck’s support-the-troops fundraiser will actually go to the troops.


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Oliver Stone Tells the Real Story of the Leftist Latin American Leaders Transforming the Continent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Oliver Stone Tells the Real Story of the Leftist Latin American Leaders Transforming the Continent
Stone’s new film traces the rise of Chávez, Lula, Evo, and others who see participatory democracy and cooperation between Latin American countries as the future.

Stone's new film traces the rise of Chávez, Lula, Evo, and others who see participatory democracy and cooperation between Latin American countries as the future.


Defending Michael Steele From War-Hungry RNC Members & Pentagon-Hugging Dems

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Defending Michael Steele From War-Hungry RNC Members & Pentagon-Hugging Dems
Michael Steele is right on Afghanistan. The Republican National Committee Chairman, who is receiving a heap of scorn by war-hungry members of his party and by Democrats who want to puff up and act like the real defenders of the…


Michael SteeleRepublican National CommitteeWar in AfghanistanAfghanistanBill Kristol

The Tea Party and the new right-wing Christian feminism
Why have American women become so active in the right wing Tea Party movement? Could it be that they are drawn to the new conservative Christian feminism publicized by Sarah Palin? Without its grassroots female supporters, the Tea Party…



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Deficit Fraud Jon Kyl: ?You Should Never Have To Offset? Tax Cuts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Deficit Fraud Jon Kyl: ?You Should Never Have To Offset? Tax Cuts
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has been one of President Obama’s most vocal critics on the budget deficit (most of which is actually attributable to the President’s predecessor). “The Obama administration is spending trillions of dollars we do not have on things we do not need,” Kyl has said. But today on Fox News Sunday, Kyl […]

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has been one of President Obama’s most vocal critics on the budget deficit (most of which is actually attributable to the President’s predecessor). “The Obama administration is spending trillions of dollars we do not have on things we do not need,” Kyl has said.

But today on Fox News Sunday, Kyl threw his concerns about the deficit out the window when discussing tax cuts. Kyl said Congress should not allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, but when host Chris Wallace asked, “How are you going to pay the $678 billion to keep Bush tax cuts for the wealthy?” Kyl wouldn’t answer. And in fact, he went so far as to say tax cuts should never have to be paid for:

WALLACE: We’re running out of time, so how are you going to pay $678 billion just on the tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year?

KYL: You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes. Surely congress has the authority and it would be right, if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.

Watch it:

Kyl is not only a deficit peacock, but he’s also a deficit fraud. On the one hand, he attacks Obama for rising deficits but at the same time says that multibillion dollar tax cuts “never” have to be offset.

Earlier this year, Kyl defended Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) for blocking a measure to extend unemployment benefits. “All Senator Bunning was saying quite correctly is it ought to be paid for,” Kyl said. So while Kyl advocates on behalf of the wealthy, he has no problem reverting back to being a deficit hawk at the expense of the less well-off.


Congress returns from recess to even more of the same

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:37 am by HL

Congress returns from recess to even more of the same
Congress will return this week from the July 4th recess to a pile of unfinished business.


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Digging deep after the oil spill
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Campaign Attack Ads: As Old As the Edsel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2010 4:31 am by HL

Campaign Attack Ads: As Old As the Edsel
Walter Shapiro, Politics Daily
It has been lost in the mists of political history, but a 10-second clip from the 1956 presidential campaign is America's forgotten film classic, the primitive black-and-white precursor of the modern TV attack ad.Cynically exploiting the fears raised by popular President Dwight Eisenhower's heart attack, the cash-strapped Adlai Stevenson campaign aimed its TV arrows at Ike's gutter-fighting vice president. The brief commercial begins with a grainy photograph of a callow-looking Richard Nixon while an off-screen male announcer asks, “Nervous about Nixon? President…

Obama and the Coming “Choice Election”
Noam Scheiber, New Republic
Mike Allen reports in his “White House Mindmeld” today that Obama is settling into a “choice election” strategy for November (i.e., trying to make it as much about the other guys as you) rather than a “referendum election” strategy (i.e., making it solely about you):Setting aside the fact that this is almost always the strategy employed by incumbents when times are tough (see “George W. Bush, re-election of”) it strikes me as a particularly good approach this time out. All the more so if one of the choices is going to be the previous…

Dem Governors Point Finger at D.C.
Jonathan Martin, Politico
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Thinking Big: The GOP and Paul Ryan
Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard
For Republicans, the Road Map authored by congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is the most important proposal in domestic policy since Ronald Reagan embraced supply side economics in the 1980 presidential campaign. It’s not only the freshest, boldest, and most comprehensive Republican thinking, it’s also the most relevant. If Republicans adopt the Road Map as their basic ideological blueprint, it offers them the prospect of a landslide in the midterm election this year, followed by victory in the presidential election in 2012.For sure, that’s a lot of weight…