Tuesday Mashup (2/12/13)

February 12, 2013
  • It looks like VA Repug governor Bob McDonnell was in these parts recently telling the party faithful that the “pity party” is over (here).

    So what does he propose as a “solution” to his party’s recent electoral woes?

    It’s time for Republicans to stop coming across as sour-faced free-market scolds, he said. Conservative principles are not the problem, he said; history has shown small government and free markets to be the world’s best engines for human freedom. The problem? Tone. It’s time for Republicans to be “happy warriors,” he said.

    Yeah, it’s the tone, that’s all.

    Maybe McDonnell should sing and dance while trying to cheat Virginia public employees out of “Obamacare” coverage (here). Either that, or he could sponsor a karaoke night to publicize legislation that, in essence, makes discrimination by university student groups in his state legal (here).

    Or how about a happy hour announcing plans to pay for road construction in VA by taxing the poor (here)? Or an all-night bowling marathon to announce restrictive new anti-abortion regulations that McDonnell certified, as noted here?

    McDonnell and his pals think that all they need to do is dump more perfume on the proverbial pig, and that will be good enough to start reversing his party’s sorry electoral trend. Fine – he should go with that (and as usual on this matter and many others also, I trust the sage words of Professor Krugman, as noted here).

  • Next, I give you the following (here)…

    Subsidies for wind power could lead to the shutdown of nuclear power plants, warned Exelon Corp. CEO Christopher Crane.

    “What worries me is if we continue to build an excessive amount of wind and subsidize wind, the unintended consequence could be that it leads to shutting down plants,” Crane told the Chicago Tribune, adding that states which have subsidized wind power might see jobs disappear if nuclear plants shut down.

    A report by the NorthBridge group found that this “negative pricing” of electricity from wind subsidies means less investment will go into conventional power generation which imperils the reliability of the electrical system.

    This is about what we can expect from Crane; as noted here, the nuke industry has been doing all it can to fight the so-called “production tax credit” that funds wind energy development, stupidly pitting one source of energy development against another (the Think Progress post also tells us that the “study” by the NorthBridge Group, an economic and strategic consulting firm upon which Crane’s alarmism is based, has been described as “deeply flawed” by TP Guest Blogger Richard W. Caperton for the reasons he cites).

    Also, this tells us the following about the phenomenon of “negative pricing”…

    Michael Goggin, (the American Wind Energy Association’s) manager of transmission policy, said negative prices in the wholesale electricity market are rare and occur because there is not sufficient transmission. But the problem, he said, is isolated to certain regions and will be alleviated in the coming months and years as new power lines are built to connect customers to pockets of wind power in Texas and Minnesota and throughout the Midwest.

    Goggin also said wind energy is inexpensive, regardless of the tax incentives, because wind power has no fuel cost and has extremely low variable costs for operation and maintenance. The PTC, he said, has very little effect on real-time electricity prices. Electricity prices have also been going “negative” for decades because nuclear reactors exceed power demand at night, he said.

    “Claims that the wind energy production tax credit is causing negative prices are misguided, as negative prices are extremely rare and would occur anyway even if the [production tax credit] did not exist,” Goggin wrote in a blog post this week.

    And as you might expect, TP tells us that Congressional Repugs Lamar Alexander and Mike Pompeo are working with Crane and Exelon in their efforts to “break wind” (sorry…too easy).

  • Continuing, I give you another Ron Fournier special from The National Journal (here)…

    White House officials tell me they feel stung by coverage of the inaugural address. Reporters highlighted the president’s left-leaning stances on immigration, gun control, climate change and gay and women’s rights. Obama’s aides argue that he devoted more inaugural address language to the economy, jobs and the deficit than all other issues combined.

    Still, the perception remains that Obama lost focus on the economy — the top issue in the minds of most voters.

    I cannot possibly imagine that I will ever teach a course in journalism, but if I did and I received something like this from a student, I would fail that person (I know it’s been a little while since we visited with Fournier, but he was notorious for stuff like this when he was employed by the AP).

    For you see, Obama’s “left-leaning” stance on immigration is actually quite popular (here), as is his stance on gun control (here). And while he could’ve done more on the climate, consider his Repug opposition in Congress as well as some coal-state Democrats, including Bob Casey, as noted here (and how can his stance be “left-leaning” when he really hasn’t been able to do much about it?). Also, Obama enjoys majority support on the issue of marriage equality (here), and the LGBT community definitely came out, as they say, for him in ’08 here (and as far as I’m concerned, Fourier’s reference to “women’s rights” is just corporate media shorthand for the Repugs’ war on those dreaded lady parts, and to see whether or not that was successful, look at the results of the last election).

    This is part and parcel of how Fournier operates, though; as noted here, he told Karl Rove to “keep up the fight” and continue to ignore subpoenas from Congress; in that same post, I also pointed out that Fournier used the occasion of Dubya commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence to attack the Clintons (???) and also said that a “Democratic interest group” aired a TV ad comparing Dubya to Hitler, which was and remains false. He also claimed here that Obama needed Biden to shore up his “weakness” on foreign policy, a “weakness” shared by almost every single other Presidential candidate who has ever run for the job in the last 20 or so years, with the possible exceptions of Poppy Bush, John Kerry, and “Straight Talk” McCain back when he was an actual maverick.

    Unsubstantiated dreck like this exists for one reason only, and that is to propagate the utterly false narrative that Number 44 is really some sort of a closet liberal who (and you just watch!) is going to totally turn over a new leaf one day and resurrect his ACORN army to take everyone’s guns and start dropping money from helicopters for “the poors” and “the blahs” (and this will happen right about at the time when austerity actually creates full employment).

  • Finally, I would like to recall some items to commemorate the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, as noted here (to begin, I didn’t know he could actually do that – I thought part of the job description is that those guys had to “die with their boots on”…shows what I know).
  • Here, he gave a speech about the prophet Muhammad and Islam in which he referred to “jihad” and “holy war” (oops – the apology came soon thereafter).
  • He defended “intelligent design” here and expressed the hope that he would have a “short papacy” (looks like he’ll get his wish).
  • He said that condoms promoted African AIDS, or words to that effect, here (yes, I know Church teaching on that subject, but particularly in that area of the world, condoms save lives).
  • There was a time when he was putting his foot in his mouth on a regular basis (a compilation is here), though he definitely tightened up his message discipline, as they say.
  • He, at best, tolerated “liberation theology” when he should have embraced it (here).
  • Announced “The Ten Commandments For Drivers” here (“Thou shalt not txt OMG!! while changing lanes eastbound on the PA Turnpike weeknights at 6 PM.”)
  • To be fair, I should note that he spoke out strongly in defense of the environment here (Think Progress notes this and other positive and negative moments with Benedict here).
  • There were times when I wanted to smack my open palm against my forehead while Benedict was pope. And make no mistake that the Catholic Church has taken an ever-harder right turn under his watch. But as a Roman Catholic, it would be fundamentally wrong for me not to acknowledge that, until he steps down, he remains the Vicar of Christ, and as such, I’ll pray for his good health.

    Update: John Patrick Shanley has the guts to actually say what I only thought about here.

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    Landrieu’s Bayou BS On Health Care

    January 28, 2010

    So Dem Senator Mary Landrieu “took a swipe” at Obama on health care, as CNN tells us here.

    That’s really funny considering the overall garbage and misinformation she has been spewing on this subject, as captured in this video with Tweety and Dr. Dean (cutting to the chase, Dean is telling the truth and Landrieu is a liar, especially in that remark at the end about a “public choice,” or whatever the hell kind of nonsense she’s blathering about).

    I’m definitely glad that O’Keefe and his little playmates were busted on their idiotic attempt to wiretap Landrieu’s office, if that is in fact what they were trying to do. However, part of me is also curious to find out what kind of discussions the Dem Louisiana senator has been having on this subject.

    And remember, we heard about Landrieu’s latest antics on CNN.

    We’ll have to “leave it there.”


    Revisiting The “Minnesota Mistake”

    December 30, 2009

    This “Countdown” clip from last February featuring Moon Unit Bachmann is a tour-de-force of nonsense that I wanted to highlight once more before the year ends (and “demiglase of wingnuttia” by Chris Hayes may be the most apt turn of a phrase by anyone in ’09).


    Another Big Health Care Lie From “Holy Joe”

    December 15, 2009

    “MediChoice”? “Public Option”? Difference?

    And Harry Reid had a chance to put this utterly unrepentant charlatan in his place after the ’06 and ’08 elections, but blew it as usual.

    The House actually delivered a good health care bill to the Senate, which has just about killed it.

    Escalating the war in Afghanistan? Check. Emasculating health care? Check. Stomping the life out of “cap and trade”? That’s next.

    You’ve utterly caved to the wingnuts, Senate Dem “leadership” (and Obama).

    The electoral train is heading down the tracks, and it’s picking up steam. And it will smash you to bits next year.

    We warned you.

    Update 1: What koz sez here, unfortunately…

    Update 12/15/09: I thought this was a good letter in the New York Times today (which, as nearly as I can tell, is the only newspaper writing about real people dealing with real issues related to unemployment (here), which is still at staggeringly high levels)…

    To the Editor:

    Re “Lieberman Says He Can’t Back Current Health Bill” (news article, Dec. 14): Senate Democrats should force Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and his Republican allies to filibuster the health care bill throughout the holiday season rather than letting them hold the American people hostage to their tactics.

    Moreover, the filibusters should be shown live in public hospital emergency rooms throughout the United States, so that the uninsured people waiting for primary care can understand exactly who is preventing them from obtaining affordable health insurance. (Better yet, make the filibusters take place in emergency rooms, but the Capitol Police might object.)

    Jonathan I. Ezor
    West Hempstead, N.Y., Dec. 14, 2009

    And here is an example of elite punditry by Very Serious Journalists telling us that, though the public option went up in smoke, this was still a good development because, presumably, somehow this whole pointless exercise laid the groundwork for the bright, shining day when this issue will supposedly be revisited and it will, as it by magic, somehow become law.

    Wrong.

    The moment to do this was now, with a democratic president and solid democratic majorities in Congress. But it was wasted by the spineless acquiescence of Harry Reid, first and foremost.

    And whatever does pass will be attacked ruthlessly when Democratic voters sit on their hands next year, this allowing those teabaggin’ wingnuts to swamp them at the polls and elect equally insane politicians trying to pander to them every way possible (as kos alluded to above). And after those politicians are sworn in, they will do their very best to eviscerate the health care reform that has passed with all the fury they can muster.

    And if anyone doubts what I just said, remember that I and many others have seen this movie before, more or less, in 1994 (sigh).


    Patrick Murphy Speaks Out For H.R. 3962

    November 10, 2009

    The following Guest Opinion from Dem PA-08 U.S. House Rep Patrick Murphy appeared in the print edition of the Bucks County Courier Times last Sunday; for some reason I cannot comprehend, the paper didn’t think it was important enough to publish online at that miracle of technology (snark) known as phillyburbs.com…

    A Bucks County woman recently lost her job as a copy editor, along with the health insurance that covered her and her husband. She shopped around on her own, but was turned down by insurers because of a pre-existing condition: pregnancy.

    Instead of celebrating this wonderful news, they’re terrified about how they’ll afford maternity care without coverage. I support health insurance reform because, in a nation like ours, this should never happen to middle-class families.

    Over the past eight months, I’ve listened to thousands of constituents – doctors, patients, folks with insurance and without – about reform, and I’ve heard the same question repeatedly: How will this impact my family? How will it affect Medicare? How are we going to pay for it? I’d like to address those questions and explain to you why I support the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

    First, this bill finally prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

    What does that mean? If your job offers health insurance, you get coverage regardless of your health. But today, if you aren’t offered coverage through work, or become unemployed and need to buy your own, you’re turned down if you’re pregnant, have cancer, or are diabetic, among other reasons.

    Mr. Bogie from Tinicum (Township, Bucks County) told me of his otherwise healthy wife who was denied coverage because she took blood pressure medication. An insurer can also charge higher rates because of those conditions or a host of other reasons, including being female or being a victim of domestic violence. Reform would put a stop to this, too.

    Many folks who have insurance report that they’re happy with it, but too often that coverage is taken away when it’s needed most. Today, an insurer can look for any excuse to terminate your plan should you become “too expensive.”

    Jay Doroshow from Langhorne never expected to be uninsured, but as soon as he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, his insurance company kicked him off his plan. Reform would end this practice, putting you, not insurance company CEOs, in the driver’s seat. As the American Medical Association said in its endorsement, reform “empowers patient and physician decision making.”
    What about folks on Medicare? Reform opponents have targeted their worst scare tactics at seniors, when in fact reform strengthens Medicare and improves benefits. It finally closes the “donut hole” that leaves seniors like David Jones from Warminster paying over $4,000 out-of-pocket for prescription drugs. David worked hard and saved his entire life, but when he developed Crohn’s disease, his medication bills began piling up; he now falls into the donut hole by April every year.

    Seniors will also have access to lower-cost prescription drugs, as the government will now be able to negotiate with manufacturers to get better deals on medications. And Medicare beneficiaries will have free preventive care services to help them stay healthy and active. This is why the AARP has wholeheartedly endorsed this bill.

    The bill also cracks down on Medicare fraud that drains billions from the system. It includes a bipartisan bill I introduced, the Improve Act, which closes a major loophole in Medicare fraud. My legislation finally gives law enforcement the tools they need to track down scammers and protect taxpayer dollars.

    Finally, I support reform because the bill meets two basic requirements I laid out months ago: it does not add a dime to the federal deficit – in fact, it reduces the deficit by $129 billion – and it lowers our national health care spending. Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other industry groups – who will see millions of new customers – are contributing hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for insurance reform. And a portion of the bill is paid for with a surcharge on only those with annual incomes over one million dollars, which would impact less than 0.3 percent of households.

    It has been 16 years since Congress’ last attempt at reform. Since then, over 700,000 people have died because they lacked access to affordable coverage, and premiums continue to rise four times faster than wages. We simply cannot afford to fail again.

    For these reasons, I stand with nurses (ANA), doctors (American Medical Association), the AARP, and my constituents to support long-overdue health insurance reform.

    To contact Congressman Murphy, click here.


    The Unbearable Awfulness Of Joe Pitts

    November 8, 2009

    Putting aside the fact that he doesn’t give a damn about issues involving families, the economy, the environment, and just about anything else you care to name (noted here), I just have a question for him as long as he felt it was necessary to grab face time on C-SPAN over this cruel amendment he co-authored with the just-as-useless Bart Stupak (abortions aren’t even allowed when paid for by subscriber premiums?),

    What about health savings accounts, Joe?

    What about tough new restrictions on funds in health savings accounts used for abortions? What about criminalizing all parties involved if funds for health savings accounts are used for abortions? And that includes companies that contribute to those accounts on behalf of their workers.

    Do you care about the unborn or don’t you, Joe?

    Update 11/9/09: This is the best description of the utterly awful Stupak-Pitts amendment that I’ve yet seen. Basically, as far as these two and the other signatories are concerned (to say nothing of the Catholic Church of course), women are little better than cattle (and to do something about PA-16’s useless meat sack, click here).


    “I Object” Too – To More Repug Stupidity!

    November 8, 2009

    Gee, I wonder how many more Americans without health insurance died while the Repugs played this stupid little game in the House today?


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