Thursday, December 31, 2009


One thing that won't change with the New Year.

Also, wasn't it a Northwest Airlines flight? On screen errors abound!


Rachel Maddow Dissects GOPs Hypocrisy on Underwear Bomber

Rachel was ON FIRE last night!

ADDING... Ed Schultz does a good job as well, including Rep. Eric Massa challenging Cheney to a debate anywhere, anytime.

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Rush Hospitalized - 2009 Out With A Bang?

NY Times: Rush Limbaugh, the pre-eminent conservative talk radio host, was said to be resting at a hospital in Honolulu after suffering chest pains Wednesday afternoon.
...paramedics responded to a call at 2:41 p.m. from the Kahala Hotel and Resort, and then took Mr. Limbaugh to The Queen’s Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition.
A hospital spokesman, N. Makana Shook, would not not comment on the report when called by The New York Times Wednesday night, and Mr. Limbaugh’s associates could not be reached for comment.
Why would Rush pick such an exotic place to have a vacation? Why couldn't he choose Myrtle Beach or even San Diego, even though that sounds strangely foreign as well? I mean, isn't Hawaii a foreign place? It doesn't even sound like a US state. In an ironic little twist, the hospital that Limbaugh was taken to is the same hospital that was misidentified in the Obama birther conspiracy.

If ever there was a time for imprecatory prayer...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quote of the Week

...the former Vice President makes the clearly untrue claim that the President – who is this nation’s Commander-in-Chief – needs to realize we are at War. I don’t think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama.
...The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic (“terrorism”), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered.
~ White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer in response to Dick Cheney assertion that President Obama wants to "pretend we're not at war."

Just Like Bush

TPM: Fulfilling one of the transparency goals of President Obama's administration, the White House today released more than 25,000 records of visitors who came through the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this year.
...They are the first administration in history to release the names of people who have visited the White House.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Not About Knitting Needles

Every airline trip is an adventure for me. Having a similar name to someone on the "No Fly" list, I never know what I'm going to encounter from trip to trip. Sometimes, I check in and print my boarding pass at home, sometimes I can't. Sometimes I zip right through TSA security, sometimes I get pulled out of the queue.

I suppose I've learned to deal with the inconvenience of it all. I greet the TSA agent with a friendly salutation and a smile, obediently take my shoes off and empty my pockets, deposit anything metallic in their requisite rectangular, plastic gray bin, pull out my laptop from the bag that's going to get scanned anyway. I don't find the whole process any less asinine. I've just learned to deal with it. I must admit that appeasing my wife on these travel trips instead of showing my displeasure about being scrutinized it is part of the reason. But still, I deal with it.

Then comes the Scrotum Bomber. Seriously?

I sat in wonderment in the middle of Cincinnati when I heard about the attempted bombing of a plane in Detroit by a Fruit of the Loom freakazoid and thought I would wind up being strip searched in the airport just to get home after the holidays. I heard about new "restrictions" while flying such as not being able to access carry-on baggage, not being able to leave your seat and not being able to use a blanket during the last hour of a flight. And I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard.

And this is the crux of the problem with airline safety. We live in a world of reaction, not prevention, hence the ridiculous rules and restrictions. We have to take our shoes off because some idiot tried to blow his shoes up on a plane. What are the chances that method will be used again? We can't pack liquids of more than 3 ounces. Who made that arbitrary decision? Why not 4 ounces? Or 3½ ounces? If I can only find a 3½ oz travel size bottle of hair gel or toothpaste, will TSA take it away because it's a half ounce over the limit? And why do we have to put it in a separate plastic bag and unpack it for inspection when the baggage is being X-rayed anyway? Please don't insult my intelligence by telling me that your friendly, neighborhood TSA agent is specially trained in detecting the difference between hair product and ignitable chemicals with the naked eye. And why do I have to remove my laptop from my bag when they eventually scan the now empty bag as well?

But this show is what passes for security. And in the latest case of the would be terrorist who dared set his nutsac on fire, the problem in the security lapse had nothing to do with TSA, at least not in any of the US airports. His name was on a watch list after the government was warned, yet never made it on to the no fly list. So they watched him get on a plane. Twice. This has nothing to do with removing my shoes at the TSA security gate.

And we're not even thinking of our incredibly porous port security. We may as well shut down everything coming in and out through our borders if we want to begin thinking about safety. But that's not what we do. That would affect our bottom line. Gotta keep those lead laden children's toys coming in from China. Instead we stand in a booth and get little blasts of air shot at us. Boy, do I feel safer after that. And the show continues.

And of course, there's nothing like politicizing the situation and playing the blame game. US Representatives Pete Hoekstra (yes, the same Hoekstra who compromises our security every time opens his mouth) and Peter King were pretty quick to blame the Obama administration for this security lapse. Maybe they should talk to their own party's Senator Jim DeMint who has personally blocked the confirmation of Obama's nomination for head of the TSA for the last four months. Or maybe we should ask why the nomination of Tara O'Toole for DHS Undersecretary of Science and Technology was blocked by GOP members for six months. So quick to accuse, these Republican hacks, while blocking literally hundreds of nominations for posts in the Obama administration. That's the equivalent of bitching that your quarterback gets sacked when you refuse to let the offensive line on the field.

The thing is, that if they're angry enough, and crazy enough, no matter what we can do to try and deter terrorists, there will always be a way to get around the security. Because it's not about looking for weapons. It's not about profiling. It's about proper training to distinguish suspicious behavior. And that takes a little more time than 10 weeks of training just to shine a little blue light on driver's license or confiscate bottled water.

It's not about box cutters or pocket knives or knitting needles. It never was. It's all reaction.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Beginning of the End for Reality Show Freaks?

I wonder how they like this fifteen minutes... multiplied by 9,680.

Balloon Boy’s parents Richard and Mayumi Heene have been sentenced for this hoax. Larimer County, Colo. Judge Stephen Schapanski sentenced the couple to a total of 110 days in jail and eight years probation. He also prohibited the couple from making any money off the balloon boy fiasco during that time.
I hope this deters other fame seekers from trying something this stupid, but I know there are too many morons around for that to be the case.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Must Reads - UPDATED

David Weigel: Why I Don’t Write About Sarah Palin’s Facebook Posts

The Rude Pundit: A Few Random Thoughts Regarding the Tone of Debate in the Senate

Maureen Dowd: Is There a Real McCain?

Paul Krugman: Tidings of Comfort

Timothy Egan: Profiles in Cowardice

BooMan: The Anti-Corporatist Movement

Chez Pazienza: The Unfriendly Skies

Wendell Potter: Why I'm Not Joining the Call to "Kill the Bill"

Can I Go Home Yet?

In Ohio for the holidays.

Ugh. I did see a "I Miss Reagan" bumper sticker yesterday. Wanted to ask the driver of the Chevy Tahoe if he missed the 50% income tax rate back then as well.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

President Obama's Weekly Address - December 26, 2009

Celebrating Christmas and Honoring Those Who Serve

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obama's Socialist Christmas Ornament Program


Dumbass Tweet of the Day, Part Deux

Somehow, it never seems to fail. Sarah Palin tweets are automatic "Insert Foot In Mouth" moments. Here's the latest gem:

Perhaps Ms. Palin should have thought to look up Griffith's voting record, or maybe just go on the intertubes to see what her teabag loyalists are saying.

“This is why we do the things we do,” [Tea Party activist Les] Phillip told TWI. “This gives us a chance to judge his entire record. If he wants to play on this side of the hall, our voters are very aware of the issues and we hold everyone accountable.”
...“This is an act of desperation to maintain power,” said Phillip. “It’s exactly what people in this district are sick of. When someone lied before, and now says he’s telling the truth, well, was he lying then, or is he lying now?”
...“We’ve known for a long time that Parker Griffith’s principles are either for sale to the highest bidder or can change depending on how the poll results are looking,” said a spokesman for Mo Brooks, a county commissioner who’d gotten some early support from the NRCC, in an interview with Politico. “He seems to speak out of both sides of his mouth.”
...“He’s an S.O.B.,” said Dale Jackson, a conservative radio host who’s posted a banner reading “Parker Griffith Cannot Be Trusted” on his Website. “He’s a liar. Michael Steele should be ashamed of himself. The NRCC should be ashamed of itself for not coming out and immediately repudiating this guy. He was unacceptable a year ago and he’s acceptable now? A year ago, they were saying this guy was a murderer.”
Whoops. How long before Sarah tweets "Thanks, but no thanks on that Parker Griffith"?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Burn of the Week

The Washington Times reported today that RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been raking in the speaking fees and it has former chairmen up in arms. This comes on the hells of Steele, never one to know when to keep his mouth shut, equating the Democratic party pushing health care reform through as "flipping the bird" to the American people.

At today's White House press briefing, NBC's Norah O'Donnell asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the heated rhetoric in the Senate health-care debate, specifically citing RNC Chairman Michael Steele's comment yesterday that Democrats were willing to "flip the bird" to the American public.
Gibbs replied, "How much did that interview cost him?"

Dumbass Tweet of the Day

Maybe if Sarah Palin read the bill she would know what the penalty is, instead of suggesting that the penalty for not buying health insurance is death.

Senator Burris' Christmas Spirit

These three minutes alone were worth all the drama that the Burris appointment scandal caused.

(H/T Paddy)

Coburn's Prayer Was About Electronics

What a joke this guy is.

Coburn: "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight."

When asked what he meant when interviewed by Greta Van Susteren, here's what the "distinguished" Republican Senator from Oklahoma said: "I wouldn't back away from that. I'd love for everyone's alarm clock who would vote for this thing not to work."

Oh! He was praying for alarm clocks not to work. How could we possibly think that he would be suggesting something else when there's a 92-year old Democratic Senator in failing health being pushed around on a wheelchair during a blizzard?

Boy, we can be sooooo cynical sometimes, can't we? I wonder why he wouldn't explain himself on the floor of the Senate at Dick Durbin's request to clear the air? After all, we wouldn't want to continue thinking he was praying for something to befall a sitting Senator. Forgive my naiveté for thinking otherwise, since we find wingnut pastors that would pray for Obama's death and now they're making bumper stickers out of it and getting a good chuckle in the process. Silly of me to think that Senator Coburn would be of that ilk.

Two Down, One To Go

Another early morning session, another 60 votes. This time, to end debate on the Senate health care bill.

Senate Democrats remained united in their goal of passing historic legislation by Christmas, and Republicans were steadfast in opposition. The motion to shut off debate on a package put together by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid passed 60-39.

The final 60-vote hurdle, which would end debate on the bill itself, is expected Wednesday afternoon, starting a 30-hour countdown to a night-before-Christmas vote on the bill, which needs only a simple majority to pass.

The Senate has been voting at odd hours since Monday around 1 a.m. because Republicans have insisted on using all the time allowed them under Senate rules to delay the bill. Not to be thwarted, Reid, D-Nev., has refused to postpone action until after the holidays. Hence the unusual schedule. On Tuesday, they started voting at sunrise.

Let's not forget this when Republicans whine and moan about this being passed in the dead of night with no help from the GOP side. One, they're forcing these crazy hours and two, no votes equates not wanting to help.

Adding... Rachel Maddow explains the useless waste of time.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice

At 5:47 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (that's 12:47 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) Monday, the Northern Hemisphere marked the mid-point of another year, as measured by the sun's highest position each day above the horizon. It marked the day with the fewest hours of sunlight this year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One For The Ages

Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's comments on the floor of the Senate today.

"The lying time is over."

(H/T GottaLaff)

The Definition of Contradiction

Maine Senator Olympia Snowe cannot vote for the health care bill.  The bill she delayed with her ultimatum of withholding her vote because of the public option and her preference for an unattainable trigger. Why? She's been working on it for a year... but feels it's being rushed through.

“Having been fully immersed in this issue for this entire year and as the only Republican to vote for health reform in the Finance Committee, I deeply regret that I cannot support the pending Senate legislation as it currently stands, given my continued concerns with the measure and an artificial and arbitrary deadline of completing the bill before Christmas that is shortchanging the process on this monumental and trans-generational effort..."
And yet all we hear from the GOP is how this should be a bipartisan agreement when they've pre-determined that not one Republican will vote for it. So why should the Democrats wait?

Brittany Murphy Dies at 32

TMZ reports:
Brittany Murphy died early this morning after she went into full cardiac arrest and could not be revived, multiple sources tell TMZ.
She was 32.
A 911 call was made at 8:00 AM from a home in Los Angeles that is listed as belonging to her husband, Simon Monjack, the Los Angeles City Fire Department tells TMZ.
We're told Murphy was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Must Reads

Paul Krugman: Pass The Bill

driftglass: Senator Liebenezer

Christopher Brauchli: Catholic Charities Meet the D.C. Council

The Rude Pundit: What Would Jesus Lie About? (Health Care Reform Edition)

Bob Cesca: I'm Really Pissed Off About Health Care Reform

Steve Benen: If It's Sunday...

John Cole: Dear Rahm, Please STFU

Victoria Reggie Kennedy: The moment Ted Kennedy would not want to lose

Dick Cavett: Almost Nothing About Tiger Woods

President Obama's Weekly Address - December 19, 2009

The Patient's Bill of Rights and Health Reform

Friday, December 18, 2009

Climate Change Denier Fail


Senator James Inhofe in Copenhagen:

...Inhofe’s aides eventually rustled up a group of reporters, and the Oklahoman — wearing black snakeskin cowboy boots — held forth from the top of a flight of stairs in the conference media center.
“We in the United States owe it to the 191 countries to be well-informed and know what the intentions of the United States are. The United States is not going to pass a cap and trade,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
A reporter asked: “If there’s a hoax, then who’s putting on this hoax, and what’s the motive?”
“It started in the United Nations,” Inhofe said, “and the ones in the United States who really grab ahold of this is the Hollywood elite.”
One reporter asked Inhofe if he was referring to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another reporter — this one from Der Spiegel — told the senator: “You’re ridiculous.”
For this, Inhofe made an 18-hour round trip flight.

Every Vote Is Important...

...not just Joe Lieberman's, or Ben Nelson's, or Olympia Snowe's. And while these Senators are wielding their power because of an elusive 60th vote and making health care legislation exponentially weaker in the process, the White House assumes that the liberal votes will be there in the end. They shouldn't be so quick to count on those votes if they keep stepping on the throats of liberals and progressives instead of the extortionists they've been trying to appease for the last three months.

Now that the Senate Democratic leadership has stripped the last vestige of the public option — the Medicare buy-in provision — from its bill, progressives are feeling doubly betrayed.
“It’s time for the president to get his hands dirty,” Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, said in a statement this week. “Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the president to stand up for the values our party shares.”
...“I don’t sleep well,” [Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie] Sanders said. “I am struggling with this issue very hard, trying to sort out what is positive in this bill, what is negative in the bill, what it means for our country if there is no health insurance legislation, when we will come back to it.”
This in combination with Ben Nelson's new movement of the goalposts for his vote is having everyone walking a fine, thread-bare tightrope.

Although I still think this whole thing may backfire, as I believe not passing anything would be a more devastating blow to the Democratic party and the progressive agenda than passing a weak bill, I really do want to see liberals and progressives push back hard and let it be known that they can't be taken for granted. Their votes count just as much.

Fuck You, Ben Nelson!

DailyKos: Nelson is now demanding that the bill be "scaled back" to cover fewer than the 30 million promised by Pres. Obama, that its revenue provisions be eliminated, and that its Medicaid expansion be made voluntary. Not surprisingly, he says he can't imagine that the legislation will pass the Senate by Christmas.

ENOUGH! Call his bluff.

Music Break! Spike Jones

Cocktails For Two

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Progressives Fight Back

I'm expecting (hoping) more progressives push back on the acquiescence of the "get anything passed" mindset just to show that they can't be pushed around.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said late Wednesday that he cannot support the Democrats' healthcare reform legislation in its current form.

Asked by Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto asked Sanders if he could support the compromise bill. The senator replied "I’m struggling with this. As of this point I am not voting for the bill..."

Rep. Anthony Weiner says the Senate bill is getting worse:
"Every time conservatives or those that are concerned about costs step forward and say they have a problem, they take out something that helps reduce costs. You know, the public option was something that increased competition for private insurance companies and drove down costs; they took it out. Expanding Medicare to allow people not just 65 but 64, 55, the most expensive group to insure get covered under Medicare, now that's been dropped out," adds Weiner. "You know what's puzzling about all this is the very same people who say they're concerned about cost are the ones responsible for stripping out cost savings measures, so it really is a frustrating process to watch going on in the Senate."
This is going to come to a breaking point.

My Thoughts On Health Care Reform

Since the evening of "Et tu, Lieberman?" I've been grappling with my thoughts and feelings on the current Senate debacle that is the health care bill debate. Because the two have to be dealt with separately.

Emotionally, I want Holy Joe's head on a plate. I want President Obama to shout from the rooftops that Traitor Joe will not live to see another day as chairman of any Democratic party committee. I want Harry Reid to tell Lieberman that he can forget about seeing any legislation with his name on it come to the floor of the Senate. I want every Democratic Senator to call Lieberman out on the Senate floor and expose his hypocrisy so it can live in perpetuity in the Congressional record.

Emotionally, I'm upset at the party caving to satisfy a handful of Senators with their own agenda. Courting Republicans like Snowe was a ridiculous idea from the start. If it were a matter of one vote, I could understand it to a point. But if it was to feign bipartisanship, it was a useless task. All that should have been thrown out the window when they realized they also had to content with Mary Landrieu(LA), Blanche Lincoln(AK) and Ben Nelson(NE) besides The Lieberdouche. If they couldn't get their own party's ducks in a row, what was the point of Snowe in the first place?

Emotionally, I'm truly disappointed at the lack of arm twisting by the President. I know that's not his style and I'm trying to deal with that considering my constant bitching about another certain leader of the free world in the not too far distant past and his bullying ways when he was using his powers for evil instead of good.

But emotion and ideology are intertwined and ideology is not the friend of politics or pragmatism. This is where we need to take a hard look at the bill that we do have instead of the one we wish we had. The bill that ends the insurance conglomorate's practice of rescission. The bill that doesn't allow exclusion due to a pre-existing condtion. The bill that extends coverage and includes subsidies to those that can't afford health care. The bill that makes the insurance companies spend 90% of premiums accrued on health care, not advertising. The bill that would make possible millions who currently don't have insurance and therefore not got to the doctor a chance at preventative care before it's too late.

That's a lot to simply dismiss as "not good enough." There are progressives who have voiced their harsh opposition for legitimate reasons. And that's their job. None of them however, are elected officials. FDL's Jane Hamsher opposes the bill and agrees with Howard Dean who called it "essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate." But it's easy for progressives to stick to their guns, to throw their principles in your face when there's no downside to their stance. It's easy for Howard Dean's idealogy to dictate what he says when he's not in public office. I wonder what his reaction would be if he were still head of the DNC?  Dean can say what he wants now when there is no accountability, even when his record shows otherwise. The Senate bill is similar to Dean's plan when he ran for President in 2004, which didn't have a public option or a Medicare buy-in either.

What do you say to people who currently can't get health insurance because of restrictions that this bill would now make illegal? "Sorry, wait til next time?" Because if history is any indicator, the next time will be somewhere in 2025 if this bill were killed. There is no do over. Not when the process has come this far, farther than at any other time the government has broached the subject of health care reform.

What do you say to the nearly 45,000 people that die every year because they don't have coverage and therefore put off the expensive proposition of a checkup? "Wait it out, maybe this isn't your year"?

I can't do that. It probably would be easy for me to say that, considering I have good health care coverage through my employer, but if the shoe were on the other foot, I don't think I'd like it so much if someone with health insurance was denying my chance at coverage because of their principles.

We need to take a step back, take a breath and look at what this bill provides instead of what it doesn't, and then ask ourselves if it really is "worse than nothing" knowing that nothing is the status quo. Knowing that nothing is unsustainable, and asking ourselves if "worse then nothing" is just hyperbole.

Although I'm incredibly disappointed, at this point I have to let the process play itself out. Yes, they could have done better initially, but this is by no means over as elected progressives are pushing back and once the Senate bill is done with it still has to be merged with the House bill in conference.

Perhaps a public option can be approached through an amendment in a future spending bill. Perhaps over time, Congress can improve loopholes and make health care stronger, just like Medicare was improved and Social Security was improved over time. But I don't know how I could sleep at night advocating the bill be scrapped when it doesn't affect me as severely as those who aren't covered.

Increase In The Disinformed

The ratings are in.

Fox News will finish 2009 as the top-rated cable news network, a perch it has enjoyed for eight years running. But 2009--the first year of the Obama administration--also marks FNC's highest rated year in the channel's 13-year-history.
I think I have a good idea at what caused the jump: fear of the "other."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Called It

Ben Nelson gets his balls teabagged.

...The effort to win Nelson's support hinges largely on abortion policy, the same divisive issue that nearly derailed action on the healthcare bill at the last minute in the House, where antiabortion Democrats insisted on tight restrictions on the funding of abortion under the proposed new health programs.

Nelson, seeking similar abortion restrictions, continued to withhold his support for the Senate bill despite major concessions made to him on other issues affecting the powerful insurance industry that is important to his home state.

Efforts to address his abortion concerns advanced today as another antiabortion Democrat -- Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania -- floated a compromise designed to strengthen guarantees that federal funds would not be used for abortion.

We already have restrictions on federal abortion funding. It's called the Hyde Amendment, Senator Casey. No need to swallow the Burgermeister jizz.

Michael Steele's "Tea" Party

Self destruction?

"...Though it lacked the size, enthusiasm and racially-questionable signage of it's real-life counterpart, [Michael] Steele's "RNC Tea Party" was all about embracing the ideals of a growing conservative movement that's often been as focused on slamming the GOP as it has on attacking Democrats. There were even official GOP tea bags given out with "Listen to Me!" signs stapled to them. Interestingly, though, the party lacked most of the big Republican names the tea partiers usually turn to at their rallies. Michele Bachmann and Jim DeMint were nowhere to be found.

[Steele] acknowledged the tea partier's complaints with the Republicans and he promised that the party would work hard to keep it's loudest constituents happy. Steele said he offered a "mea culpa" to tea partiers since the beginning of this term, agreeing with them that the party had abandoned its conservative "principles.

"But that's all over now, Steele said. Tea is the party's drink now.
"We are moving back, head first, in that direction," he said. "Because that's where we should be."

GOP Obstructionists and Delayers - UPDATED

I've been mulling over the whole disappointing health care issue that has taken place over the last two days and I'm still thinking it over and forming thoughts about it, which I'll then post later.

In the meantime, I just happened to tune in to C-SPAN2 to watch a bill being read on the Senate floor. The chyron at the bottom of the screen read this:

Sanders (I-VT) Single-Payer Amendment
Opens Medicare to all to all US citizens regardless of age, creating a single-payer health care system. The Senate clerk is reading the Sanders single-payer amendment. The reading is usually waived. Sen. Coburn (R-OK) requested that the clerk read the amendment. He has left the Senate floor.
I shit you not.

You can find the entire amendment here.

UPDATE (11:45pm): Sanders withdrew his amendment.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lieberman Doesn't Care About Voters

... He just cares about Joe Lieberman. Why did he decide to kill the Medicare buy-in option? Because it was too good.

...he said he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal by some liberals, including Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, who champions a fully government-run health care system.

"Congressman Weiner made a comment that Medicare-buy in is better than a public option, it's the beginning of a road to single-payer," Mr. Lieberman said. "Jacob Hacker, who's a Yale professor who is actually the man who created the public option, said, 'This is a dream. This is better than a public option. This is a giant step.'"

Like I said before, Lieberman only cares about Lieberman. He doesn't care about his constituents, or anyone who will die without health care due to his shenanigans.

There's a special place in hell for people like Joe Lieberman.

If Only There Were More Like Him

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dems Cave To Lieberman

Via TPC:

Senate Democrats "emerged from a special caucus meeting Monday night determined to pass a health-care bill by Christmas -- but without the Medicare buy-in plan that liberals had sought as an alternative to a government insurance option," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg notes Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman on the Senate health committee, said he would be willing to drop a "public option" government insurance program to win passage of a health-care overhaul.

Said Harkin: "This bill, without public option, without Medicare buy-in, is a giant step forward toward transforming American health care. That's reality, there is enough good stuff in that bill that we should move ahead with it."

Gee, Tom, that was a quick turnaround. I have to say I thought the party would hold Lieberman's feet to the fire and not cave in ONE DAY. Also, does this Christmas deadline seem like bullshit to anyone else? What's the fucking point if any form of public option, including the Medicare buy-in, is dead?

Yes, I know that the consumer protection rules that (hopefully) everyone in the Senate agree with are important steps in overall reform, but I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I feel right now. My only hope is that progressives will give a big FUCK YOU to Rahm, and anyone else in the White House that thinks this is good idea.

Strip Lieberman now.

ADDING... Now that Lieberman is allegedly appeased, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and have the Senate include Stupak abortion language to win Ben Nelson's vote. I'm really disgusted right about now. C'mon, progressives. Fight back!

Also... Don't for a second think that this is anything other than the Senator from Aetna sucking the cock of his corporate insurance masters based in Hartford. Joe Lieberman is not about cost containment. Joe Lieberman is not about saving the dying Medicare system. Joe Lieberman is about Joe Lieberman.

Time For Joe To Go

81% Of Dems Want Lieberman Punished For Health Care Filibuster

"Eighty-one percent of Democrats said they would like to see the senator's chairmanship -- which he was allowed to keep despite campaigning for Sen. John McCain in 2008 -- taken away should he sustain a filibuster. Only 10 percent of Democrats said there should be no punishment. Even fewer (nine percent) said they had yet to make up their minds, underscoring just how divisive Lieberman is within the party.

An additional 43 percent of independents agreed that Lieberman should lose his post..."

I'd actually like to see it taken away regardless. Let stop kidding ourselves about this 60 vote super-duper majority. It was never 60. Not with Lieberdouche in the mix.  Not with Ben Nelson in the mix.  Not with weak Senate leadership at the helm.

ADDING... Just three months ago, Holy Joe thought a Medicare buy-in was a great idea.

Love Life Problems? Ask A Hooker

Whatever happened to Dear Abby? The New York Post is usually pretty reprehensible, but even this move pales in comparison to their usual hackery and takes them to a low of print journalism quality equalling the National Enquirer or Weekly World News.

The New York Post has hired Ashley Dupre, the former call girl whose tryst with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer led to his resignation last year. The 24-year-old will write a weekly advice column dealing with sex and relationships.
Ann Landers must be spinning in her grave... and writing something nasty about it.

Citigroup To Pay Off TARP Loan

“We are pleased to be able to repay the U.S. government’s trust preferred securities and to terminate the loss-sharing agreement,” the chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, said in a statement. “We owe the American taxpayers a debt of gratitude.”
How about thanking us by lowering your credit card rates to something a little less akin to a loan shark?

You Can't Make This Shit Up

Copenhagen climate talks were suspended when "the G77, a group which represents 130 developing countries, walked out because it is concerned the existing Kyoto protocol will be abandoned."

Many countries at the UN climate summit want a brand new treaty to tackle climate change, but the developing world wants the Kyoto protocol to continue as well.


The UN international climate change conference in chaos as the G77, which represents 130 developing countries "pulled the emergency plug" suspending the talks over wealthy countries' reluctance to discuss a legally binding emissions treaty.

It's chaos! CHAOS, I TELL YOU!!! Meanwhile, during a live television debate a global warming denier had a heart attack. What the fuck?!

Jack Rose Dies at 38

NY Times: Jack Rose, whose complex improvisations on 6-string, 12-string and lap steel guitar earned him a devoted cult following, died Saturday in Philadelphia. He was 38.

His death, apparently of a heart attack, was announced by Three Lobed Recordings, which released Mr. Rose’s album “The Black Dirt Sessions” this year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Healthcare Killers

If years from now, you're wondering what went wrong, remember this.

Two key senators criticized the most recent healthcare compromise Sunday, saying the policies replacing the public option are still unacceptable. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) both said a Medicare “buy-in” option for those aged 55-64 was a deal breaker.
“I’m concerned that it’s the forerunner of single payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option,” Nelson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Lieberman said Democrats should stop looking for a public option “compromise” and simply scrap the idea altogether.
Yeah, yeah, I know, but Obama this, Obama that. Someone explain me how threatening these shameless motherfuckers with stripping them of their chairmanships would have done any good if they have the fucking balls to go on the Sunday talk shows and basically go on the record saying that anything even remotely close to helping citizens with any form of a public option is a deal breaker.

And Lieberman takes offense at being called the "Senator from Aetna"?! FUCK YOU!!!

Texas? Really?!

I'm expecting Texas to break off and float away into the ocean.

Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on Saturday night, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.
Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, fellow Democrat Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.
Adding... Mr. Locke called Ms. Parker to concede and congratulate her but could not be heard over the trio of celebratory bands, Melissa Etheridge, Indigo Girls and The Village People, hired for the campaign afterparty.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Singling Out ACORN Unconstitutional

Well, we all knew that was the case. And so did Rep. Alan Grayson when he dressed down Rep. Paul Broun on bills of attainder and the ACORN witch hunt.

Now the judicial system agrees with Grayson as well.

A federal judge today issued an injunction preventing the implementation of a congressional ban on funding for ACORN. Judge Nina Gershon concluded that the ban amounted to a “bill of attainder” that unfairly singled out ACORN.
“[The plaintiffs] have been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt,” Gershon wrote in her decision.
Gershon said ACORN had demonstrated “irreperable harm” from the ban, while “the potential harm to the government, in granting the injunction, is less.”

Must Reads

Matt Osborne: Climategate and the Life-Cycle of Nontroversy

The Rude Pundit: Limbaugh Doctored Jesse Jackson Quote to Make It Look Like Jackson Opposes Obama and From Oslo, Barack Obama Wasn't Talking to You

Karoli: Tell me again: What was the public option supposed to do?

David Michael Green: America's Race To The Bottom

Paul Krugman: Bernanke’s Unfinished Mission

Laura Bassett: Networks Still Hosting Military Analysts Without Identifying Massive Conflicts Of Interest

Jane Hamsher: Letter to Susan B. Komen Foundation: Donations Shouldn’t Go To Hadassah Lieberman

Mike Stark: Russ Feingold, Ninja

President Obama's Weekly Address - December 12, 2009

Learning from History to Reform Wall Street

Read the transcript here.

Something Happened...

...while everyone was too busy worrying about Tiger Woods' lust life and Sarah Palin's global warming denying op-ed.

On December 8th, a memorandum on the topic of Open Government was issued by the OMB per the directive of the president:
In the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, issued on January 21, 2009, the President instructed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue an Open Government Directive. Responding to that instruction, this memorandum is intended to direct executive departments and agencies to take specific actions to implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration set forth in the President’s Memorandum.
...In addition to the steps delineated in this memorandum, Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this year issued new guidelines for agencies with regard to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). With those guidelines, the Attorney General reinforced the principle that openness is the Federal Government’s default position for FOIA issues.
One step at a time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Seriously, Oh Fair & Balanced Ones?

A question on a Fox News Poll: "What do you think President Obama would like to do with the extra bank bailout money -- save it for an emergency, spend it on government programs that might help him politically in 2010 and 2012, or return it to taxpayers?"

As TPM notes:

The basic assumption here, of course, is that the only reason Obama would want to spend money on the economy is to use the cash as a sort of political slush fund -- not simply saying that one disagrees with spending the money or thinks it's a bad idea, but that it is inherently illegitimate -- while saving the money or cutting taxes have purer motives.
I don't know about you, but anytime I see the words "Fox News" in front of "Poll" I chuckle and dismiss it with the rest of the trash.

The Steelers Suck

That is all.


It is amazing to me that the supposed leaders in the Republican party have absolutely no sense of cohesiveness in the reasons for their opposition besides a kneejerk "No" when in opposing... well, everything, not only among themselves but sometimes even within the same person.

Take Senator Mike Enzi. For months, all we've heard about the health care reform bill was how long it was. Boy, how are we ever going to get through all this paperwork?! It's soooo long. Look at all these pages? They spent more time bitching about the length of the bill than they did actually reading it. But not Sen. Enzi. He pulled a little GOP jujitsu.

And we talk about 2,074 pages, which seem like a lot, and it would be for a normal bill that you could debate in a limited period of time, which is what we’re being asked to do. But 2,074 pages isn’t nearly enough to cover health care for America. So why is it only 2,074 pages?
Not long enough?! I suppose they ran out of pages to count.

But in a stunning turnaround that would give anyone whiplash, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was able to encompass the entire GOP platform on Medicare within 24 hours. They've been trying to destroy it for years, and are now feigning protection of the senior's plan when health care reform includes streamlining the Medicare system of ridding it of fraud and abuse to the tine of $500 billion. But what does the Incredible Mr. Limpet say when the opposition wants to expand it?
...Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) sent out a press release on Sunday, titled: "Cutting Medicare is not what Americans want." That was followed by a new press release on Monday. Its title: "Expanding Medicare 'a plan for financial ruin.'
You'd think that he has a point, if it weren't for the fact that those between the ages of 55 and 64 would buy-in to Medicare and pay the full premiums, thus adding funds into the system, not subtracting from it. Oh, Mitch... what will you be for/against tomorrow?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Music Break! Aaron Copland

The Promise of Living

President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Speech

The Wrong Side of History

For anyone who still believes the Grand Obstructionist Party is stalling the ongoing health care debate and doesn't want reform to pass for the right reasons instead of their own self-serving ones, comes word that no matter what emerges from this debate, no matter how much the Democrats compromise, they're going to hold their breath and their votes.

Senate Republicans predicted on Wednesday that the 40 members of their caucus would unanimously oppose health care reform despite changes made by Democratic leadership to make the product more palatable to conservatives.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told the Huffington Post that he did not think the dropping of a public option for insurance coverage from the bill would be enough for Democrats to win even the support of moderate Republican Senators Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins, both of Maine.

So even before the Congressional Budget Office scores the current bills sent to them, the GOP is saying no way. Even without any form of public option, the bill makes rescission illegal, outlaws insurance denial due to pre-existing conditions and ends caps on what insurance companies pay out for care.

And still 30% of the population identifies with this sorry excuse for a political party. A party that cares more about the profits of corporations than the constituents they are elected to represent.

ADDING... The Republican party is rudderless. And while Sen. Harry Reid's slavery comparison may be a little over the top, although in my opinion it was apropos since Reid's emphasis wasn't the issue so much as the consensus around the issue, isn't it ironic that the leader of the RNC should call someone else an "incompetent leader?" And good job by Donny Deutsch in calling out Michael Steele and not letting him get away with a simple dismissal.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holy Joe Lieberman Strikes Again!

He opposes any form of public option, even one with a trigger. And now, Lieberdouche is fretting while poised over the Medicare buy-in idea, ready to take a dump on it, even though he thought it was a good idea when he ran for Veep just eight years ago.
"'Regarding the 'Medicare buy-in' proposal that is being discussed, we must remain vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency of the program, which is now in a perilous financial condition,' Lieberman said. Back in 2000, Lieberman ran for Vice President on a platform of allowing people under 65 to buy into Medicare."

Well That Didn't Take Long

A couple of weeks ago, after almost daily embarrassments due to inaccurate information that they'd then have to apologize for, Fox News decided to implement a "zero tolerance" policy for on-screen errors, complete with possible termination for offenses.  I commented then that it would be two or three days max before FNC went out of business for firing it's entire staff. Well, I was wrong... but not really. If they make a mistake, they'll just deny it was a mistake.  Problem solved!

... Lauren Petterson, executive producer of Fox & Friends, told POLITICO that she sees no error in the graphic. And for that reason, there will be no reprimand of staff under the "zero tolerance" policy.
"We were just talking about three interesting pieces of information from Rasmussen," Petterson said. "We didn't put on the screen that it added up to 100 percent."
While Petterson maintains that Fox & Friend's didn't err in displaying the information from Rasmussen, she acknowledges that the presentation wasn't perfect. "The mistake I do see is we could have been a little clearer here," she said.
Right.  A poll showing 94% of respondents favoring an outcome that Fox News prefers with totals equalling 120% would never be misconstrued as manipluating the data, especially in a poll about manipulating data.  As usual, Jon Stewart and his finely honed staff eviscerates the mistake and takes no prisoners on Fox & Friends.