Friday Mashup (3/15/13)

March 15, 2013
  • This story from The Hill tells us the following…

    The White House is playing defense over the decision to cancel tours at President Obama’s residence, the latest stumble for Obama in the messaging war with Republicans over the sequester.

    What total garbage…

    The reason the White House tours were cancelled, as noted here, was because of cutbacks to the Secret Service (the story tells us that the Obama White House is asking if the Secret Service could allow tours to resume for school groups). If the Secret Service isn’t able to both accommodate visitors and protect the President and the First Family because of budgetary reasons, then the tours should be cancelled.

    Of course, as far as the Repugs and their media acolytes are concerned, unemployed workers, children, mothers, and soldiers looking to enroll in the Army’s tuition assistance program aren’t really on their radar, as it were (as well as the thousands, and perhaps millions, of other Americans hurt by the sequester). But do something to shed a spotlight on their stupidity, and they’ll howl like the weasels that they truly are.

  • Next (and staying with The Hill), I give you this from Pope wannabe Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston (tough luck there)…

    (O’Malley) called on lawmakers Friday to exempt any employer who objects to birth control from having to meet the healthcare law’s mandate for providing the coverage to employees.

    O’Malley wrote that Rep. Diane Black’s (R-Tenn.) legislation preserves the “vitally important traditions of religious freedom and the right of conscience.”

    I’ve already pointed out that the Obama Administration allowed a “conscience” guideline in the health care law for certain religious organizations that didn’t want contraceptive services covered as noted here (see the ** notation at the bottom), so I don’t intend to revisit that “hobby horse” no matter how much O’Malley and his brethren want to ride it.

    Instead, I want to take a closer look at the U.S. House Repug behind this latest bit of “values voter” pandering (from the same state that gave us Marsha Blackburn)…

  • Here, Diane Black introduced legislation that basically bars government funding of Planned Parenthood, even though legislation of that type singling out a group is unconstitutional (like the Mike Johanns/ACORN stuff).
  • Here, she introduced legislation that would bar gays from adopting children (if a same-sex or LGBT couple wishes to take on the responsibilities of parenthood, I wish them luck).
  • Here, she said that “children with pre-existing conditions and chronic illnesses should not have to be covered under their parent’s plan by insurance companies. Her reasoning is that insurance companies would lose too much money” (I’ll give you a moment to do the same slow burn I did if you wish).
  • Oh, and based on this, Tennessee ranks 41st out of 50 states when it comes to teen birth rate, it ranks 42nd out of 50 states when it comes to teen pregnancy rate, and it also ranks 42nd out of 50 in public costs for births resulting from unintended pregnancies (1 is best among U.S. states, and 50 is worst; this is the most recent data I could find).

    That’s something a reasonably intelligent life form should consider before attacking an organization dedicated to the sexual health of women of all ages, to say nothing of the overall health of many of the constituents she allegedly represents (of course, since we’re talking about someone like Black, it is very likely that the description of “a reasonably intelligent life form” does not apply, and the word “allegedly” should be used as much as necessary when describing her notions of constituent service…oh, and when it comes to conservatives like Black yelling about “big gumint” spending – well, maybe she should take a look in the mirror).

  • Continuing, I give you “Pastor” Gerson of the WaPo here, trying to fire up the Jeb Bush bandwagon for 2016 (spare me)…

    Bush does not approach these issues as a moderate, or even as a Jack Kemp-like bleeding-heart conservative. “Expanding government to empower people? I haven’t been in favor of that. Forty percent of GDP [consumed by government] is the most I can take.” His primary focus is the reform of institutions, particularly the immigration system, public education and Medicare. “Government is mired in the 1970s,” he says, “with huge cost structures and poor outcomes. Every other institution has gone through a transformation. Government hasn’t.”

    As far as “being mired in the 1970s” is concerned, please take a look at the following graph (from here).

    Accumulated_Gross_Debt_031413
    As you can see, the green circle shows this country’s federal government debt during the ‘70s. The red circle shows our debt when Jeb’s brother inhabited An Oval Office. So basically, I wish we really were “mired in the 1970s,” because we’d be a lot better off.

    And I must tell you I got a hoot out of the typical convoluted “bleeding-heart conservative” language from Gerson on Jack Kemp, who was one of the “founding fathers” when it comes to Not Your Father’s GOP and their craven opposition to any tax increase whatsoever.

    This tells us, among other things, that Kemp also called John Kerry and Hillary Clinton “sad, hypocritical and pathetic” for supporting Ned Lamont in his successful Democratic senatorial primary bid in Connecticut in 2006 (Lamont being the anti-Iraq war candidate, as opposed to Holy Joe Lieberman); also, Kemp was considered “unmanageable” as a candidate for ignoring the timers on his speeches, refusing to call contributors, and refusing also to practice for debates.

    Returning to Jeb, this tells us how he flip-flopped on immigration, said Obama “needed a spanking” (so professional) here, and, while he is apparently wooing voters of one skin color now, this tells us how he disenfranchised voters of another skin color in 2004.

    Jeb also said that Texas might “go blue” here (dare I dream?). And if you want to revisit Jeb’s role in the Terri Schiavo fiasco from 2005, click here.

  • On we go – this tells us the following…

    A leading GOP critic of the White House’s management of offshore drilling wants to know more about an Interior Department unit tasked with tackling corruption.

    House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said many operational and personnel specifics regarding the Interior Department’s Investigations and Review Unit (IRU) remain hazy, according to a letter first obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

    Established in 2010 and now part of the department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the unit is charged with stomping out any wrongdoing at firms drilling offshore, the federal officials overseeing them and the relationships between the two.

    “Questions remain about whether the IRU has been allowed to operate as a law enforcement program, reporting only to the BSEE Director and without sufficient public scrutiny and oversight from the Department and Congress,” Hastings said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

    In response, I give you this from two years ago…

    The House Natural Resources Committee chairman and his staff wanted to keep the details of his three offshore drilling measures off-limits, even to other Republicans on the committee, so they decided to keep emails to a minimum.

    Hastings’s staff discussed the bills largely through face-to-face conversations to prevent emails from being leaked, a spokesman said.

    […]

    Hastings also held a closed-door, invitation-only meeting with top energy lobbyists, including representatives from Chevron, Patton Boggs and about a dozen others.

    I’m not sure how the Repugs could have chosen someone more hostile to the environment and friendly to business interests, particularly in Washington State, than Hastings; as noted here, Hastings scored just about the lowest possible environmental rating he could from the League of Conservation Voters.

    Hastings assumed the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee in 2010. So the next time you see a teabagger, make sure you thank him (or her) for Hastings, someone who probably has not a clue as to the meaning of the words “environmental stewardship.”

    Update 3/26/13: Hastings is clueless yet again, as noted here, though he does manage to effectively regurgitate GOP talking points.

  • Further (and keeping with the Teahadists), I give you the following from here

    Medicaid is first a moral issue, not an economic one. The poorest and the sickest among us deserve better than a crass political debate over the potential economic windfall Pennsylvania may receive if our state takes federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

    Instead, the debate should focus on the health and dignity of low-income individuals who are relying on Medicaid, or soon will, and how the system is failing to serve our most vulnerable.

    The Medicaid system’s failure is so broad that Forbes Magazine called it a “humanitarian crisis” and a scandal bigger than Bernie Madoff’s investment schemes and the Wall Street bailouts. Gov. Corbett was right to say no to expanding it.

    (Don’t worry, I’ll stop. I don’t want to be responsible for killing more brain cells.)

    If you guessed that the author of this nonsense is Jennifer Stefano of Americans for Prosperity, then you win a free trifold hat, a copy of Dinesh D’Souza’s latest anti-Obama screed, and a poster with Number 44’s face partly morphed into that of Adolf Hitler.

    I can’t think of a word for Stefano’s gall to quite rightly claim that funding Medicaid (I think that’s what she’s talking about) is “first a moral issue,” then turn around and call it a failure (judging from that, Stefano is apparently fine with this). Also, this tells us that funding Medicaid is not only the right thing to do to provide for the poorest residents of our beloved commonwealth, but it also creates jobs (yeah, jobsremember them?).

    This is par for the proverbial course when discussing Stefano, though; as noted here, she claimed, among other things, that the 62 million people who voted to re-elect President Obama last year basically were supporting “some weird ideological agenda,” which presumably includes the Affordable Care Act, which the majority of this country no longer wishes to fight about as noted here (I guess one person’s “weird ideological agenda” is another person’s “oh my love of freaking God, can’t we FINALLY STOP FIGHTING OVER THIS AND TRY TO WORK TOGETHER AND SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS FOR A CHANGE???” epiphany). She also claimed that anyone in the “Occupy” movement wanted to “defecate on the flag” here (all class).

    Oh, and as noted here (fourth bullet), Stefano is perpetually angry at Mikey the Beloved for not passing some Teahadist litmus test, or something. Of course, if Jen wanted to put her money where her proverbial mouth was, she would actually go ahead and “primary” him.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, though; it apparently benefits Stefano more to be a wingnut celebrity than to engage in the often hard, messy work of an actual political campaign.

  • And speaking of wingnut celebrities, it looks like Pat Boone is back again trying to generate “Drudge bait,” calling Number 44 a “Marxist” here.

    This is typical for Boone, a frequent contributor to World Nut Daily who said here that former Obama nominee for “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings wanted to erase “taboos against sexual aberrance, possibly including pedophilia.” Boone also said here that the “varmints” in the White House should be “gassed” (figuratively, of course…we also learn about something called “tenting” from Boone in the same column), and he claimed here that Obama informed the “Muslim world” that this country “is no longer a Christian nation.”

    Pat Boone made a name for himself by covering 1950s-era rock n’ roll hits of black artists, including Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Ivory Joe Hunter. Yes, he aided the early career of Elvis Presley and helped to establish this developing new music genre, but he also made a nice, comfortable living for himself from other people’s work. And I guess that’s about what you would expect from a typical grifter, isn’t it?

    2260108417_57c8395ed2

  • Finally, I have to say that, as fed up as I am about the wingnut umbrage over Obama and the White House tours as I noted earlier…well, you can times that by about three when it comes to the supposedly “racist” tweet from Progress Kentucky about Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Repug Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (here).

    So the “tweet” points out that Chao has McConnell’s “ear” and that might explain why “your job” may have moved to China. And the fact that Chao is of Asian ancestry supposedly makes that “racist.”

    To begin, I should note that, in my lifetime, Elaine Chao was the absolutely worst Secretary of Labor that I have ever seen (the only Bushco cabinet official to “serve” through both terms of the administration); jobs were indeed offshored to China during her tenure as noted here.

    It should also be noted that H-1B visa fraud increased 27 percent on her watch (here), and this tells us how Bushco, with Chao’s consent of course, sponsored conferences for companies to learn the benefits of offshoring (including avoiding paying taxes) and supported new tax breaks for companies that did the same. Also, this tells us about McConnell’s work for Communist China and (probably) James Chao, Elaine’s father.

    Oh, and the Daily Kos post about her father also reminds us that Chao said the following:

    You could lose your job to a foreign worker — not because he’s cheaper but because he has better workplace skills and discipline. That’s the message Labor Secretary Elaine Chao hears from U.S. executives who are worried about America’s competitive future. While losses are low thus far — one study estimates that only 280,000 jobs in the service industry out of 115 million are outsourced each year — that could change. Beyond the cheaper cost of labor, U.S. employers say that many workers abroad simply have a better attitude toward work. “American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene,” says Chao. “They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction. Too many young people bristle when a supervisor asks them to do something.”

    As for our job future, Chao notes that most of the fastest-growing jobs today are in industries requiring advanced knowledge and skills and are “very high or high wage.” But critics say we’re not doing enough for those without a higher education. “Today, only 30% of the workforce has four years of college,” says Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute. “Instead of factory slots, there are slots for security guards and food-prep workers.”

    So Chao thinks American workers smell bad, have lousy attitudes, and need to dress better (gee, maybe that’s because we’re not all indentured servants as Chao and her puppet masters would have us, and God willing never will be…kind of like the way many workers are in, say, China?).

    I want to emphasize that I’m not a fan of racial slurs either. However, Chao is different; yes, she is of Asian ancestry, but she also held a job in which she did all she could to utterly screw over workers in this country, and sending their jobs to China was definitely part of that. And she has never apologized for that or for her insulting comments about American workers. And I don’t expect that she ever will.

    In our rush to be “PC,” let’s not lose sight of that, OK?

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    GOP To The Unemployed: Drop Dead

    June 18, 2010

    The vote was 56-40 (four short of the inevitable Repug filibuster), making this video more timely than ever (and fdl tells us here that Ben Nelson and Holy Joe Lieberman voted with the Repugs, and Harry Reid didn’t vote one way or the other due to some Senate procedural matter).


    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).


    Monday Mashup (12/7/09)

    December 7, 2009

  • 1) In case anyone somehow isn’t aware of it, today is the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and in yesterday’s New York Times, writer James Bradley blamed the attack on…Theodore Roosevelt.

    Really.

    Bradley makes the case here that, while brokering peace in the Russo-Japanese War (for which Roosevelt won a Nobel Prize, and thus earning wingnut enmity I’m sure for a president then as now), Roosevelt secretly encouraged Japanese imperialist ambitions which culminated in the attack on Pearl Harbor while TR’s fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, occupied the White House.

    Well, I think this critique of Bradley’s book “The Imperial Cruise,” about some kind of secret deal supposedly brokered by Roosevelt war secretary William Howard Taft which allowed for Japanese expansion, echoes much of what was wrong with Bradley’s Times column yesterday, notably that “Bradley says these agreements later came to light and then were forgotten by Americans. But he doesn’t explain why, in the 1930s, imperial Japan would act on the secret words of a man dead for more than a decade and out of office since 1909.”

    Of course, you could argue that Japan launched war against the U.S. because it thought we would immediately seek peace, not wishing to fight a “second front” since we were readying for war in Europe. And of course, there are those who thought FDR surreptitiously sought a way to involve us and allowed Pearl Harbor to happen (which I also disagree with, along with the notion of TR’s blame).

    But those latter two explanations are cold comfort to conspiracy theorists, since they don’t have the burden of the cold, hard logic of reality.

  • 2) Also in yesterday’s New York Times magazine, Matt Bai decried here the revolving door of sorts between the political and pundit class in Washington, D.C. (though, seriously, if it were any other way, he would have a lot less to write about, wouldn’t he?).

    And in so doing, he tells us the following…

    All of this has created an upside-down dynamic in Washington. For most of the country’s existence, prospective candidates have relied on their news-media ties to catapult them into office. As far back as the 19th century, the newspaperman Horace Greeley used his New York Tribune as a platform for his political career; more recently, Ronald Reagan made his radio commentaries the basis for a campaign agenda. Now, however, we may be confronting the opposite phenomenon: some politicians seem to seek office mostly for the purpose of landing on TV. How else to adequately explain the calculated outrageousness of obscure backbenchers like the Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann (who said Obama was practicing “economic Marxism” and worried that the census could lead to another internment of American citizens) and her Democratic colleague Alan Grayson (who called one lobbyist a “whore” and other Republicans “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals”)?

    Of course, Bai could have told us that Grayson apologized (as noted here), but Bai chose not to do so. And to be fair, Moon Unit Bachmann apologized for calling Obama “anti-American” here, though it should be noted that she was still running for re-election in ‘08 at the time.

  • 3) Also, I was not able to find the following online from David Herszenhorn of the New York Times, though it did appear in the Sunday print edition (about how our poor, put-upon U.S. Senators actually had to work Sunday on health care legislation, and what it did to their schedules of Sunday worship – and no, I don’t know why this is considered to be “news” either)…

    As the Senate geared up for its first weekend of debate on the health care legislation, lawmakers made plans to break from the rituals of governing to allow time for the rituals of religion.

    Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut and an observant Jew, was prepared to vote on Saturday the Jewish Sabbath, following his longtime custom when it comes to important issues, said a spokesman, Marshall Wittmann. Mr. Lieberman would walk to the Capitol, not drive.

    And the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is a Baptist, has secured an agreement from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader (strange that “majority leader” was initial lower case in H.’s story, since it’s a title), Democrat of Nevada and a Mormon, that senators will have Sunday morning off so they can go to church.

    “I think it very likely that we wouldn’t come in until noon or somewhere around noon on Sunday,” Mr. Reid said.

    At the same time, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church on Capitol Hill has warned parishioners that because the Senate planned to be in session Sunday, they might not have access to a government parking lot that is normally used for parishioners.

    Oh, and by the way, this snark is noteworthy…

    The Senate Republicans’ appeal for time to go to church is just about the only Republican procedural request that Democrats have not suggested was a stalling tactic.

    Still, the calendar between now and the end of the year looks tighter than ever. Even with time off for Sabbath services, there is no sign of a day of rest anytime soon.

    Awww, poor babies!

    And by the way, maybe Herszenhorn didn’t see this from Politico (they actually get some reporting right every now and then, usually when Mike Allen isn’t involved), but it describes a memo circulated by Senate Repug Judd Gregg on doing whatever it could to “stall” on the matter of health care reform in particular (h/t Think Progress). So given that, I don’t know why it should be assumed that the Repugs wouldn’t do all they could to slow legislation.

    And in another Herszenhorn column on health care reform (particularly the public option and the “opt out” provision – I know why all Senate Repugs and some Democrats are fighting it, but given its overwhelming support, their antics are particularly despicable), he concludes with the following…

    Two pivotal centrists, Senators Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said they could not support any of these proposals being floated by Democrats.

    “The public option is really a government-created and government-run insurance company,” Mr. Lieberman said. “It won’t help a single poor person get insurance.”

    It really is true about how The Last Honest Man is allowed to lie with impunity, my fellow prisoners.

    And I must admit that I really don’t know how directly to respond to such a bogus charge, except to point to this column from Chris Hayes of The Nation, in which he tells us the following…

    Red, rural states would almost all probably opt out and yet it’s rural America that needs the public option the most. As the Center for Community Change points out in a new report [PDF] people who live in rural areas are a) more likely to be underinsured, because fewer people receive insurance from their employers and b) live in markets where there is essentially no competition. In Alabama one health insurance company has 90% market share, in South Dakota, it’s two companies. It’s under these circumstances where the public option is most needed.

    And it should also be noted here that Holy Joe has thus far refused to appear on The Rachel Maddow Show to defend his claims against the public option and health care reform in general, so that tells you how ridiculous his arguments truly are.

  • 4) And speaking of ridiculous, CNN pundit Mary Matalin tells us the following here…

    Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican strategist and one-time aide to former Vice President Cheney said Sunday that President Obama’s recently announced decision to send an additional 30, 000 troops to Afghanistan is “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

    “The [Bush] doctrine is no safe havens [for terrorists intent on harming the United States] and we go after those that provide a harbor [for such terrorists]. That’s the doctrine,” Republican strategist Mary Matalin explained Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

    The problem for Democrats,” Matalin also said Sunday, “is that they’ve bashed Bush strategy and tactics for so long and now they have to embrace them because they’re the only ones that do work.”

    Oh, that’s funny!

    In the matter of “Bush strategy and tactics,” let’s compare how our current chief executive has arrived at his own war strategy (whether you agree with it or not, and truth be told, I don’t), versus his predecessor.

    First, here is an excerpt from a Times story by Peter Baker which tells us the following…

    The three-month review that led to the escalate-then-exit strategy is a case study in decision making in the Obama White House — intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest and at times deeply frustrating for nearly all involved. It was a virtual seminar in Afghanistan and Pakistan, led by a president described by one participant as something “between a college professor and a gentle cross-examiner.”

    Mr. Obama peppered advisers with questions and showed an insatiable demand for information, taxing analysts who prepared three dozen intelligence reports for him and Pentagon staff members who churned out thousands of pages of documents.

    Now, let’s take a Tragical History Tour back about five and a half years concerning Obama’s predecessor (in a Times column by Bob Herbert)…

    Condi Rice was in Washington trying to pass her oral exam before the 9/11 commission yesterday, and the president was on vacation in Texas. As usual, they were in close agreement, this time on the fact that neither they nor anyone else in this remarkably aloof and arrogant administration is responsible for the tragic mess unfolding in Iraq, and its implications for the worldwide war on terror.

    The president called Ms. Rice from his pickup truck on the ranch to tell her she had done a great job before the panel.

    It doesn’t get more surreal than that.

    Mr. President, there’s a war on. You might consider hopping a plane to Washington.

    It’s hard to imagine that the news out of Iraq could be more dreadful. After the loss of at least 634 American troops and the expenditure of countless billions of dollars, we’ve succeeded in getting the various Iraqi factions to hate us more than they hate each other. And terrorists are leaping on the situation in Iraq like rats feasting on a mound of exposed cheese.

    The administration has no real plan on how to proceed. It doesn’t know how many troops are needed. It doesn’t know, in the long term, where they will come from. It doesn’t know whether it can meet the June 30 deadline for turning over sovereignty to the Iraqis. (It doesn’t know what sovereignty in this context even means. June 30 was an arbitrary date selected with this year’s presidential campaign in mind.) It doesn’t have a cadre of Iraqi leaders to accept the handoff of sovereignty. And so on.

    When you open the door to get a look at the Bush policy on Iraq, you find yourself staring into an empty room.

    Meanwhile, people are dying.

    But just remember that Obama has copied “Bush’s strategy and tactics.”

    And just to remind us, Matalin said this on CNN.

    We’ll have to “leave it there.”


  • Joe Lieberman Should Hear This Song Every Day

    November 3, 2009

    Hat tip to profmarcus at Take It Personally for this (about a week behind the curve, I guess – and I hope to have an actual post tomorrow…we’ll see).


    Another “Short Ride” On Health Care From Holy Joe

    August 24, 2009

    tv_7sep05_Joe-Lieberman_I guess it had been waay too long since what passes for our political discourse was fouled once more by the whining, sniveling sanctimony of the “Independent Democratic” U.S. Senator from Connecticut, but alas, The Last Honest Man was granted a forum to pontificate on one of the Sunday morning gab fests, and he did so, true to form (here)…

    “Great changes in our country often have come in steps. The Civil Rights movement occurred, changes occurred in steps,” he argued. Lieberman added that Congress should address the nearly 50 million uninsured at some point down the road:

    LIEBERMAN: Morally, everyone of us would like to cover every American with health insurance but that’s where you spend most of the trillion dollars plus, or a little less that is estimated, the estimate said this health care plan will cost. And I’m afraid we’ve got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy is out of recession. There’s no reason we have to do it all now.

    As you can read from healthreform.gov here, what follows are issues pertaining to health care in Connecticut and how the Obama Administration is trying to help address them (of course, it would be nice if DINO Joe felt compelled to actually do something about this also)…

  • Right now, providers in Connecticut lose over $383 million in bad debt which often gets passed along to families in the form of a hidden premium “tax”.1 Health insurance reform will tackle this financial burden by improving our health care system and covering the uninsured, allowing the 34 hospitals2 and the 15,257 physicians3 in Connecticut to better care for their patients.
  • Premiums for residents of Connecticut have risen 98% since 2000.4 Through health insurance reform, 274,200 to 332,600 middle class Connecticut residents will be eligible for premium credits to ease the burden of these high costs.5
  • 56,659 employers in Connecticut are small businesses.6 With tax credits and a health insurance exchange where they can shop for health plans, insurance coverage will become more affordable for them.
  • Under health insurance reform, insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive. Insurance companies will also have to abide by yearly limits on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses, helping 36,400 households in Connecticut struggling under the burden of high health care expenses.7
  • There’s a host of other good information available from the healthreform.gov site for all fifty states; just click on the interactive map for more information.

    And by the way, I’m having a hard time trying to stomach this particular moment of sanctimony from Lieberman seeing as how he chose to try and establish a false equivalency here with the civil rights movement…I would say that Lieberman left those days behind long ago (here is a rather shameful chronology, and I really didn’t care much one way or the other in the matter of actor Alec Baldwin contemplating a run against Lieberman, as noted here).

    But as we know, this is par for the course when it comes to a guy who was on the short list for VP with John McCain at the head of the ticket last year (here – at least Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin was a whole lot more entertaining) and who supported the right of hospitals not to provide contraceptives for rape victims because “In Connecticut, it shouldn’t take more than a short ride to get to another hospital,” as noted here.

    I know Chris Dodd (Connecticut’s other U.S. Senator, of course) is a bit too cozy with some bigwigs in the financial services racket, but as far as I’m concerned, there are a multitude of other reasons to support him; it’s beyond pathetic to me that Lieberman faces better election prospects than the “Nutmeg State’s“ legitimate Democratic senator.


    Petraeus Splits From Iraq With His Rep Intact

    September 17, 2008

    (Please “mouse over” for photo attribution.)

    As noted here, Gen. David H. Petraeus has left Iraq to assume his duties stateside as commander at USCENTCOMM in Tampa, Florida, overseeing all Middle East operations.

    Based on this prior post, though, I have some questions…

  • Do either Gen. Petraeus or his successor, Gen. Raymond Odierno, have an exit strategy for Iraq prepared for the day when we, at long last, leave the pit of Mesopotamia?
  • Given Petraeus’ quote that “a successful counterinsurgency strategy could take 9-10 years,” about where are we now in that timeframe?
  • Can either Gen. Petraeus or Gen. Odierno provide a status on Mosul, which Petraeus once described as “a textbook case of doing counterinsurgency the right way,” even though the mayor of Mosul defected to the insurgents?
  • Does Gen. Petraeus have a clue as to what happened to the $2.3 billion that we provided to train and expand the Iraqi Army that somehow ended up in foreign bank accounts (Petraeus oversaw the training program)?
  • Is the Pentagon now keeping track of fatalities by car bombs and sectarian assassinations, questions that were raised by That Ad against Petraeus last September (I noted that Defense Secretary Robert Gates would probably be the better person to answer that, but I’d ask Petraeus anyway)?
  • Can we look forward to another glowing Op-Ed on Iraq from Petraeus timed for just before the election similar to the one he wrote in 2004 (here)?
  • And given the preceding question concerning the September 2004 WaPo editorial which reeked of self-promotion and image enhancement, I would ask that you consider the following from the recent profile of Petraeus in The New Yorker by Steve Coll here…

    Indeed, because of the reductions in Iraq’s violence, General Petraeus has been cast in the Presidential campaign’s emerging narrative as a sort of Mesopotamian oracle, one that must be consulted or honored by the two remaining candidates. In July, Senator Barack Obama went to Iraq and saw the General; he was rewarded, courtesy of Petraeus’s energetic press aides, with an iconic photograph, printed in many dozens of newspapers, which showed the Senator aboard a command helicopter, smiling confidently at the General’s side. A few weeks later, Senator John McCain, while speaking at a nationally televised forum hosted by the evangelist Rick Warren, invoked Petraeus as one of the three wisest people he knew; McCain called the General “one of the great military leaders in American history.” Afterward, on the campaign trail, the Republican Senator attacked Obama for not being as staunch an acolyte of Petraeus as McCain has been.

    And, as noted here, Senator McBush and Holy Joe both basically wanted to turn over the Congressional oversight function of the war to Petraeus (though, as I noted here earlier, I was disturbed by Petraeus’ analysis of a wave of suicide bombings in July of last year; he called the wave a “mini Tet,” which to me showed a blatant disregard for the fact that, at the time of Tet, most of this country still supported the Vietnam War, though support for Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Middle East Adventure basically evaporated long ago).

    Finally, I have to seriously question the timing of Petraeus’ departure; though I do not mean to cast aspersions on Gen. Odierno, I think leaving shortly before the planned “laying down of arms” by the Sunni Awakening councils to the al-Maliki government shows, to some degree, the desire to “beat it out of Dodge” while the getting is good – it would be more logical to have the person whom many regard (rightly or wrongly) as the main reason for the “success” of the “surge” to remain and ensure as smooth a transition as possible (assuming anyone can “ensure” anything in Iraq).


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