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Archive for January 7th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: I Lobster and Never Flounder

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:50 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: I Lobster and Never Flounder
Pinkard and BowdenI Lobster and Never Flounder.

Pinkard and BowdenI Lobster and Never Flounder.

What’s on your mind?

But of course…
Congressperson Steve King sponsored by Waste Management, Inc.

pic by pinotmom at flickr.com

I admit, I didn’t watch the “reading” of 3/5ths or so of the Constitution yesterday, as I was busy doing more exciting things, like not watching people read the Constitution. But considering their self-proclaimed advocacy of the project one might have been surprised to learn:

Did anyone else notice that GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann and Steve King — both Tea Party chieftains who routinely wrap themselves and their policy preferences in the Constitution — were conspicuously absent from today’s reading?

Until one considers even the Republican Leadership realizes it would prefer things be read by those that can read. [Yeah, no one saw that line coming]

That’s not to say, Steve King wasn’t busy doing his usual intellectual dumpster diving.

“You find the baby that was not born in a hospital or with a midwife, who did not receive inoculations,” Polis said. “You find that baby and identify them and I’ll be happy to have that discussion.”

“I hate to tell you but they show up in garbage cans around this country, sir,” he said.

Okay…

Steve King must have a hell of a Christmas Nativity-scene.


Boehner Bursts Birthers’ Bubbles

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:49 am by HL

Boehner Bursts Birthers’ Bubbles
Those “birthers” out there still hoping to contest President Obama’s American citizenship won’t have much of an ally in the newly installed House Speaker John Boehner, but he also won’t question their own beliefs on that front.  —KA MSNBC: The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told NBC ‘s Brian Williams in an interview to air Thursday night on NBC Nightly News. Pressed by Williams on what he would say to members of his party who have expressed doubts about Obama’s citizenry, Boehner replied: “Brian, when you come to the Congress of the United States, there are 435 of us. We’re nothing more than a slice of America. People come, regardless of party labels, they come with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. It’s the melting pot of America. It’s not up to me to tell them what to think.” Read more

Those “birthers” out there still hoping to contest President Obama’s American citizenship won’t have much of an ally in the newly installed House Speaker John Boehner, but he also won’t question their own beliefs on that front.? —KA

MSNBC:

The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told NBC ‘s Brian Williams in an interview to air Thursday night on NBC Nightly News.

Pressed by Williams on what he would say to members of his party who have expressed doubts about Obama’s citizenry, Boehner replied: “Brian, when you come to the Congress of the United States, there are 435 of us. We’re nothing more than a slice of America. People come, regardless of party labels, they come with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. It’s the melting pot of America. It’s not up to me to tell them what to think.”

Read more

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The GOP Is Holding the Economy Hostage, and It’s Time to Call Its Bluff
In their ideological zeal, the new Republicans on Capitol Hill seem eager to gamble everything—even the chance of a worldwide depression—on a showdown over the national debt ceiling. By Joe Conason

In their ideological zeal, the new Republicans on Capitol Hill seem eager to gamble everything—even the chance of a worldwide depression—on a showdown over the national debt ceiling.


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Joanne Doroshow: It’s Time To Call Their Bluff: “Defensive Medicine” Is A Fraud

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:48 am by HL

Joanne Doroshow: It’s Time To Call Their Bluff: “Defensive Medicine” Is A Fraud
This week, our brand new U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) announced that he’ll be convening hearings soon “to examine the constitutional concerns…

Gene Sperling Reportedly Obama Pick To Replace Larry Summers
President Barack Obama will appoint Gene Sperling, currently a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to replace Larry Summers as director of the National Economic…

No Backlash For Daley From Liberal Senators
Senate Democrats have nothing but praise for President Barack Obamaâ??s choice of William Daley as his new chief of staff, despite liberal groups blasting the…

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Three Little Words: How Bill Daley Can Be Your Next Hero
Wall Street is widely despised by an American public that lives with the consequences of bank behavior every day. The President and the party were…


Rove Obscures Facts To Accuse Admin Of “Reward[ing] Friends” With Health Care Law Waivers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:47 am by HL

Rove Obscures Facts To Accuse Admin Of “Reward[ing] Friends” With Health Care Law Waivers

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Karl Rove claimed that the Obama administration is granting waivers to the health care law to “reward friends” and “waive allies through the health law’s onerous restrictions.” In fact, waivers, which are temporary and apply to only one provision of the law, have been granted to companies from industries that opposed health care reform.

Rove: Obama Admin Granting Waivers To Health Care Law To “Reward Friends”

Rove: “The Obama Administration Is Using Waivers To Reward Friends.” In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Rove cited 222 waivers granted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to companies that provide workers with “mini-med” coverage to claim that the Obama administration is “waiv[ing] allies through the health law’s onerous restrictions” and “reward[ing] friends.” From Rove’s op-ed: 

Aprimary [sic] task for the new Republican House majority is to undo as many of the pernicious effects of ObamaCare that it can. One of these effects is the spectacle of employers going hat-in-hand to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for waivers from some of the law’s more onerous provisions.

In September, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began granting waivers to companies that provided workers “mini-med” coverage–low-cost plans with low annual limits on what the insurance will pay out. This followed announcements by some employers that they would have to drop these plans because they did not meet the new health law’s requirement that 85% of premium income be spent on medical expenses.

By early December, HHS had granted 222 such waivers to provide mini-med policies for companies including AMF Bowling and Universal Forest Product, as well as 43 union organizations. According to the department’s website, the waivers cover 1,507,418 employees, of which more than a third (525,898) are union members. Yet unionized workers make up only 7% of the private work force. Whatever is going on here, a disproportionately high number of waivers are being granted to administration allies.

[…]

It’s not hard to connect the dots. The Obama administration is using waivers to reward friends. On the flip side, business executives will be discouraged from contributing to the president’s opponents or from taking any other steps that might upset the White House or its political appointees at HHS. [The Wall Street Journal, 1/6/11

But Companies From Industries That Opposed Health Reform Have Received Waivers, Which Are Temporary

Companies From Industries That Opposed Health Care Reform Have Been Granted Waivers. Contrary to Rove’s claim that the Obama administration is granting waivers to “reward friends” and “waive allies” through restrictions, FactCheck.org noted: 

[A]s of Dec. 3, the federal government had approved a total of 222 one-year waivers that allow the insurance plans at companies like McDonald’s, Jack in the Box and Ruby Tuesday, and unions, to ignore the requirement on annual limits. Far from being “Obama’s buddies,” as the Internet post claimed, the restaurant industry, through the National Restaurant Association, opposed the legislation. [FactCheck.org, 12/7/10

FactCheck: Waivers “Merely Give Companies A Temporary Delay Before Being Required To Improve The Coverage Of Cheap, Bare-Bones Plans They Currently Offer.” In his op-ed, Rove did not note that the waivers to the health care law’s provision regarding limited-benefits plans are temporary. As FactCheck noted, “The companies haven’t been granted permission to ignore the entire law … but many have been given one-year waivers to delay compliance with a key insurance mandate that was put into place this fall.” FactCheck further noted that the waivers are only available until 2014. From FactCheck: 

We’ve received several questions about whether businesses have been able to opt out of the new health care law. The companies haven’t been granted permission to ignore the entire law, as the Facebook post quoted by our reader might suggest — but many have been given one-year waivers to delay compliance with a key insurance mandate that was put into place this fall. The White House says it instituted the waiver process to enable those companies to continue to provide limited-benefits plans — cheap, bare-bones policies called mini-med plans — until the law is fully implemented in 2014.

[…]

The new health care law aims to eliminate low annual coverage caps like those over time, and this is where the waiver issue has come in. The law says that annual coverage limits can’t be set lower than $750,000 for new policy years starting between Sept. 23, 2010 and Sept. 23, 2011. That cap will be raised each year until 2014, when the law will require companies to have no annual spending limits on most benefits in health care plans.

[…]

The companies that have been approved for the waivers must reapply for them next year. Waivers are available until 2014. [FactCheck.org, 12/7/10

Obama Official: “[W]aivers Only Apply To One Provision Of The Law” And “Companies And Employers That Receive Waivers Must Comply With All Other Parts” Of The Law. In a blog post titled, “The Truth About Health Care Waivers,” Obama administration official Stephanie Cutter wrote: 

To ensure that we protect the coverage that these workers have today until better options are available for them in 2014, the law allows HHS, in extreme cases, to issue temporary waivers from the phase out of annual limits. There are some important facts to remember about these temporary waivers:

  • The waivers only apply to one provision of the law – the provisions phasing out annual limits. Insurance companies and employers that receive waivers must comply with all other parts of the Affordable Care Act.
  • The waivers last one year. Insurance companies must reapply for the waivers each year between now and 2014 when annual limits on coverage will be completely prohibited  and individuals will have more affordable and better private insurance choices in the competitive Exchange markets.
  • All employers and insurers that offer mini-med plans may apply for a waiver if they demonstrate that there will be large increases in premiums or a significant decrease in access to coverage without a waiver. You can read a list of employers and insurers that have received waivers here. [White House Blog, 12/10/10


Feds Say VA GOPer Used Position To Endow Job He Was Seeking

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Feds Say VA GOPer Used Position To Endow Job He Was Seeking
A former Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates set up a plum position for himself at Old Dominion University — a job he funded through legislation he introduced at the same time he was soliciting the gig, a federal grand jury charged in an indictment on Wednesday.

Issa: When I Said Obama Is Corrupt, I Meant Like A Computer (VIDEO)
Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is explaining comments he made about the President Barack Obama being corrupt by claiming that the media just doesn’t understand what he was trying to say.

Cummings: We’ll Stop Any Issa ‘Witchhunts’ (VIDEO)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) — the man Democrats chose to go toe-to-toe with incoming House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa — is making the rounds on cable news and showing off the aggressive style that helped him win the spot.



Teabagger Dad Comics

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Teabagger Dad Comics


Giuliani Gearing Up for Another Run?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Giuliani Gearing Up for Another Run?
“Confident that he’d have a chance to win, Rudy Giuliani is rounding up his top political advisers for a possible 2012 presidential run,” sources tell Page Six.

Sources say the tough-talking former mayor “thinks the Republican race will be populated with far-right candidates like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, and there’s opportunity for a moderate candidate with a background in national security.”

“Giuliani has even scheduled a trip to New Hampshire for next month to meet with constituents in the state that failed him in January 2008, when he placed fourth in the Republican presidential primary.”

Sperling Gets Top Economic Post
President Obama today will name Gene Sperling as head of the White House National Economic Council as he reshuffles his leadership team, the Detroit News reports.

Other announcements: Jason Furman will be Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Katharine Abraham will join the Council of Economic Advisers and Heather Higginbottom will be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

John Edwards Engaged?
The National Enquirer — which has been the paper of record on the John Edwards scandal — reports the former presidential candidate has proposed to Rielle Hunter, a videographer with whom he admitted to having an affair and fathering a child. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, died last month.


Rich Are Shifting ‘An Unbelievable Amount of Wealth’ Beyond Reach of IRS

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Rich Are Shifting ‘An Unbelievable Amount of Wealth’ Beyond Reach of IRS
A widely overlooked provision in last month’s tax cut deal is going to speed even more wealth to America’s Paris Hilton set.

Are E-Cigarettes the Holy Grail for Hopelessly Addicted Smokers?
I’ve tried nicotine patches, lozenges and gum, prescription drugs and hypnotherapy, and none of them are anywhere near as effective as e-cigarettes.

Here We Go Again: Obama Picks Big Bank, Big Telecom, and Big Phrama Lobbyist to Be Chief of Staff
Obama ushers a telecom lobbyist, chief architect of NAFTA and current Midwest chairman of JP Morgan Chase into the #2 job in the White House.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Presented By:

Price for Jonathan Pollard’s Release Should be a Done Deal on Palestine
Jonathan Pollard was paid for his espionage by a foreign government. Whether that government was the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain, or as it turned out — Israel — Pollard was a compensated enemy of the US national interest and…

A Bit of New Year’s Silliness
Maybe the only thing I’ve been obsessed with longer than foreign policy is The Clash. Recently someone shared a brilliant YouTube misheard lyrics video of ‘Complete Control,’ and I knew I had to make one of my own. So, meaning…


VIDEOS: The House GOP?s Evolving Promise To Cut $100 Billion From The Budget

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

VIDEOS: The House GOP?s Evolving Promise To Cut $100 Billion From The Budget

House Republicans yesterday found themselves in a bit of trouble when they tried to explain that the $100 billion in spending cuts that they have been promising was only “hypothetical,” and they intend to actually cut about half of that from the budget. But for weeks, the GOP has been repeating over and over that it intended to lop $100 billion from the budget once it came into power, in line with the plan laid out in the much-hyped “Pledge to America.” Watch a compilation:

But last night, House Republicans made a concerted effort to move the goalposts. For instance, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that “it’s a matter of looking at it in a calendar year,” while Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that everyone really should be looking at the cuts the GOP will make in 2012. “When the fiscal 2012 budget comes up, we’re going to be cutting,” Ryan asserted. Watch a compilation:

Republicans are arguing that since the continuing resolution passed by the House in December covers government spending until March, they only have half of the fiscal year to work with, thus they can only achieve half their promised savings. However, Republicans knew full-well that a continuing resolution was in place, but still consistently promised to cut $100 billion all the way into the new year. Cantor himself repeated the $100 billion number one day before Republicans were sworn in and adjusted their estimates.

Even the conservative Daily Caller noted the GOP’s budget flub, writing, “Republicans would have known this would happen way back in the fall when they first started using the $100 billion figure. That raises the question of why GOP communications shops did not start using a different figure weeks ago, at the very least, and explaining why it had changed. Instead, it popped up on the day that the national spotlight on them was brightest.”

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.