Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Stuff

Same to you, Mr. S., wherever you are...

...and I'm sure I'll be seeing snowmen tomorrow for real tomorrow; for now, I'll settle for the animated cartoon version.

CNN's Chunnel Chuckle

This CNN headline tells us the following...

Sounds like a disaster in the making, doesn't it?

Well, fortunately, it isn't; as the story tells us...

London, England (CNN) -- Eurostar said it canceled all services Saturday because of severe weather in northern France, stranding thousands of passengers on the weekend before Christmas.

The cancellation follows the breakdown of five Eurostar trains Friday night inside the Channel Tunnel, also called the Chunnel, which runs between Britain and France. Eurostar blamed the breakdown on the weather.


Roughly 2,000 people affected by breakdown are being offered a full refund, another return ticket, and 150 pounds in compensation. About 25,000 people should have been traveling on Saturday, Eurostar said.

"We strongly recommend that travelers whose journeys are not essential change their tickets for travel on a later date or have their tickets refunded," Eurostar said on its Web site.

The five trains became stuck in the tunnel because the air inside was much warmer than the air outside the tunnel entrance in France, Eurostar spokeswoman Amelle Mouhaddib told CNN.

She said she believed it was the first time that air temperatures had caused Eurostar trains to fail.

Eurotunnel, which operates the Channel Tunnel, said it evacuated all.
And remember, you read this on CNN.


We'll have to "leave it there."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Stuff

The Repugs are imploding before our very eyes, my fellow prisoners (and don't ask me what's going on with health care - I have no clue, and anyone outside of the Senate who says that they do is a liar)...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and speaking of our clueless opposition party, it looks like a certain Sen. James Mountain Inhofe made a muddle of things yet again (remind me to add Der Spiegel as a favorite, and this is what Rachel Maddow was referring to as the report ended)...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and I'm not big on country, but I liked this, for what it's worth...

...and this is only a joke, people...only a joke.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (12/18/09)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week.


Tax-break extensions. Voting 241-181, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 4213) to extend through 2010 a $31 billion package of temporary tax credits and other fiscal incentives that benefit a multitude of U.S. businesses, farms, units of government, schools, charities, individuals, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, and other recipients.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

Voting no: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
So just remember boys and girls – if you’re rich, you’re entitled to as much of a tax cut as the Repugs can finagle/cajole/browbeat/steal if possible through legislation. Otherwise, as a former Illinois senator once said when describing the “ownership society,” as far as they’re concerned, you’re on your own.

Catchall 2010 budget. Voting 221-202, the House sent the Senate a $447 billion catchall spending bill (HR 3288) for 2010 composed of six appropriations bills that Congress has failed to enact individually. Covering the fiscal year that began in October, the bill would fund military construction projects; dozens of independent agencies in areas such as financial regulation and disaster relief; and the budgets of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Commerce, State, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development.

The bill also would clear $650 billion in fiscal 2010 entitlement spending for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and veterans' benefits.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Adler, Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
Have fun losing to Jon Runyan next year, Adler. An almost unceasing parade of crappy votes just like this one will do the trick (he has actually supplanted Joe Pitts in that category, and I didn’t think that was possible).

Financial rules. Voting 223-202, the House passed a bill (HR 4173) that would increase federal regulation of the financial-services industry, establish an independent agency to protect financial consumers, and provide congressional review of Federal Reserve policies. The bill awaits Senate action.

The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency would protect consumers against abusive home-lending and credit-card practices but would be barred from regulating auto dealerships and community banks.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
See my comment on the tax break extension vote above (the “Party of No” strikes yet again).


Abortion dispute. Voting 54-45, the Senate rejected an amendment to bar federally subsidized private insurance plans from covering abortions and prohibit individuals who receive government premium subsidies from buying plans that cover abortion. The bans would have applied even if a woman were to use her own money to buy the policy. The amendment to health-care legislation (HR 3590) went beyond "Hyde Amendment" language already in the bill that would bar federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.

A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Arlen Specter (D., Pa.).

Voting no: Bob Casey (D., Pa.) and Ted Kaufman (D., Del.).
Casey actually isn’t bad as a senator on most issues, but when it comes to the “God and guns” stuff, he’s absolutely horrible (and the only reason I can think of why Kaufman would go along with this is because he’s Roman Catholic also).

Insurance executives' pay. Voting 56-42, the Senate failed to reach 60 votes needed to pass an amendment to limit the compensation of health-insurance executives. The amendment to HR 3590 (above) sought to reduce from $1 million to $400,000 annually the amount of executive-compensation packages that firms could deduct as a business expense.

Lautenberg said: "This amendment will not tell insurance companies what they can pay their executives. They can pay them whatever they choose to. But only $400,000 annually can be treated as an expense. That is what the president makes."

A yes vote was to cap executive pay.

Voting yes: Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.

Voting no: Carper
A senator from (the former) MBNA strikes again; for votes like this, I wish Carper’s seat were in play next year instead of Biden/Kaufman’s – it might make me do the unthinkable and consider a Repug, or more likely, a third-party candidate.

Medicare at home. Voting 41-53, the Senate refused to strip HR 3590 (above) of its $43 billion slowdown in spending growth over 10 years for a program that delivers Medicare services at the patient's home. The proposed cuts would help pay the $848 billion cost of the bill while securing the Medicare trust fund.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting no: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.

Medicare advantage. Voting 42-57, the Senate defeated a motion to reduce taxpayer subsidies of Medicare Advantage plans by $120 billion over 10 years. The savings would be used to help pay for the pending $848 billion health bill (HR 3590) and secure the Medicare trust fund.

A yes vote opposed Medicare Advantage cuts.

Voting no: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.
I believe this was included in a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers’ credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, and for other purposes, introduced by John McCain.

Based on last week’s vote, I thought our area delegation opposed funding Medicare Advantage, which would have been the right thing to do. Apparently (and sadly), I was wrong about that, since MA is nothing but a Bushco-engineered gift to their pals in the insurance industry.

This week, the House considered the 2010 defense budget and a jobs measure, while the Senate debated the defense budget and, of course, engaged in the health care circle jerk (no, the Inky didn't really say that, of course - funny if they did, though).

Friday Mashup (12/18/09)

  • This story from The Hill tells us the following…

    Two House Republicans said the White House broke protocol by not inviting them to Vice President Joe Biden’s speech on Thursday in their home state of Georgia.

    Biden appeared on Thursday with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) to tout the effects of the stimulus law in Rep. Nathan Deal’s (R-Ga.) district.

    Deal said he was caught off guard by the media event. He explained that had it not been for Perdue’s office making a courtesy call, he would not have known Biden was planning to appear in his district.

    “Had Congressman Deal been invited to this event, he most certainly would have made every effort to attend. Unfortunately, he was not given this opportunity, and is disappointed by that fact,” Deal’s spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield said.

    Deal told The Hill on Wednesday night that “I’ve just heard vague talk about it — it’s apparently going to be held in my district — but to my knowledge, I have not been officially invited.”

    Deal’s Georgia colleague, GOP Rep. Paul Broun, whose neighboring district will also be affected by Biden’s announcement of stimulus dollars going into broadband development, said that he had not been invited either.
    I don’t know much about Deal, but Broun is whacked, as noted in his “Worst Persons” citation here where he rehashes the typical right-wing BS about everyone supposedly having health care because they can go to an emergency room. And besides, as the Hill story tells us, both Deal and Broun voted against the “stim” anyway.

    And in the department of “the executive branch not notifying Congress about a speech,” I give you the following (here, from January ‘07)…

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that President George W. Bush did not consult her before announcing his new strategy for the war in Iraq — a sign that, despite the cozy rhetoric, the relationship between Washington's two powerhouses has already had its share of friction.
    So let’s just say that there’s room for improvement on both sides and leave it at that, OK?

  • On the pages of the Murdoch Street Journal today, Turd Blossom himself returned for his almost bi-weekly-at-this-point attack on Obama with the following (here)…

    Barack Obama has won a place in history with the worst ratings of any president at the end of his first year: 49% approve and 46% disapprove of his job performance in the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll.
    In response, I give you the following from Media Matters (here, noting a December 1981 poll)…

    The public's confidence in the economy and opinion of President Reagan's performance remain near their lowest levels since he took office, according to the latest Associated Press-NBC News poll.

    The nationwide poll, of 1,602 adults telephoned Dec. 14-15 in a scientific random sampling, said 48 percent think Reagan is doing a good or excellent job as president. Last month, the president's approval rating was 46 percent, his lowest since it peaked at 66 percent last spring.
    Gee, I dunno Karl – messing with the mythology of The Gipper? You sure you’re “man enough” for that?

    Also, according to Rove…

    Mr. Obama also claimed at Brookings that he prevented "a second Great Depression" by confronting the financial crisis "largely without the help" of Republicans. Yet his own Treasury secretary suggests otherwise. In a Dec. 9 letter, Mr. Geithner admitted that since taking office, the Obama administration had "committed about $7 billion to banks, much of which went to small institutions." That compares to $240 billion the Bush administration lent banks.
    As usual, Rove does a crappy job of sourcing here, but do you know what? In the spirit of the season a bit, I’m actually going to cut him a bit of slack on the $240 billion thing; however, the following should be noted also (here)…

    In pure destructive power, the subprime mess has become Wall Street's version of Hurricane Katrina. It has wreaked havoc on the nation's iconic brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch (Charts, Fortune 500), and biggest bank, Citigroup (Charts, Fortune 500), which have announced billions of dollars in losses and parted ways with their celebrated CEOs, E. Stanley O'Neal and Charles Prince. Banks, brokerages, and lenders have announced thousands of layoffs, and more are sure to come.

    The blow to shareholder wealth is staggering. Since June 29, Citi's share price has dropped 35%, from $51 to $33, while Merrill's stock has slid from $84 to $54, a 36% swoon. In the same period, the dozen biggest Wall Street firms and the commercial banks with the largest investment arms - a list that includes Bank of America (Charts, Fortune 500), J.P. Morgan Chase (Charts, Fortune 500), and Credit Suisse (Charts) - have lost more than $240 billion in market value. Dozens of smaller companies in the mortgage business have suffered huge losses or folded completely.
    So, assuming that Dubya actually did give banks $240 billion, at least that much was lost due to the malfeasance that took place under his watch.

    And finally, from the author…

    Mr. Obama continued distorting the record in his "60 Minutes" interview Sunday when he blamed bankers for the financial crisis. They "caused the problem," he insisted before complaining, "I haven't seen a lot of shame on their part" and pledging to put "a regulatory system in place that prevents them from putting us in this kind of pickle again."

    But as a freshman senator, Mr. Obama supported a threatened 2005 filibuster of a bill regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He doesn't show "a lot of shame" that he and other Fannie and Freddie defenders blocked "a regulatory system" that might have kept America from getting in such a bad pickle in the first place.
    Truly, you can cut the dookey here with a knife, people – as noted here…

    Here's what actually happened. In October 2005 the House, by a vote of 331-90, passed a bill to establish a new federal regulator created for Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Home Loan Banks. The new regulator was authorized to set capital standards and, if it deemed necessary, require reductions in mortgage portfolios. The White House opposed the proposed legislation and instead supported the pending Senate bill. But the Senate bill never came up for a vote, and the legislation died.

    In other words, the Republicans failed to negotiate a deal when they were in charge, and now place the blame on others...

    One Republican has a different take on events. Rep. Michael Oxley claims his bill was opposed by White House "ideologues" who wanted to privatize Fannie and Freddie and who opposed a bigger government role.
    And Media Matters again tells us the following (here)…

    In May 2007, four months after the Democrats organized in Congress, the House passed a bill giving the Bush administration everything it asked for in increased regulatory powers over Fannie and Freddie. My reference to the president's inanity came in August and referred to his calling on the House to do what we'd already done.

    The question at the time was whether or not Fannie and Freddie could take increased action to try to deal with the mortgage crisis. The House voted to significantly increase regulatory oversight of the two entities so that they could increase their activity in a responsible way. That is why after saying the president's comments were "inane," I said "Tell the Republicans to stop blocking the [House-passed] bill" in the Senate.

    Republican obstruction ended in July 2008. So after 12 years in which the Republican Congress had not passed a reform bill, the Democratic Congress gave the Bush administration all that it asked for in 19 months. Who blocked reform?
    And just for good measure, Matt Yglesias makes a good point about Bushco and the housing bubble here.

    I’m sure there’s more posting material in Rove’s column today, but you get the point; besides, if he isn’t going to be honest enough to give Obama credit for this, then he isn’t going to be honest enough to do it for anything.

  • Finally, in a bit of a Bushco trifecta, I give you the following from former Dubya speechwriter Michael Gerson (here)…

    The proposed law (in Uganda) requiring the reporting and punishment of homosexuals is not only an improper role for government, it also directly undermines the public good. Uganda is a nation struggling with a 5.4 percent rate of AIDS infection. Laws like this one simply drive men who have sex with men underground. They don't learn prevention. They don't get tested for the virus. They don't receive timely treatment. They may continue to spread the disease to others. Public health authorities lose an accurate epidemiological picture of the disease, undermining their ability to craft a response. And the social stigma against AIDS increases, making everyone less likely to be tested.

    Ugandan supporters of the bill have dismissed international criticism as liberal, cultural imperialism. The sponsor of the bill, David Bahati, accuses gay rights groups in the United States and Europe of "engaging in a game of manipulation, deception and control." But Ugandans should not be deceived into thinking that criticism comes only from gay rights advocates. Republican Sen. Tom Coburn calls the law "absurd." GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley describes it as an "un-Christian and unjust proposal." Pastor Rick Warren concludes it is "unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals." All three are right. And the prospect of pastors and counselors as informants for the state is particularly offensive -- the calling of Judas instead of Jesus.
    His nauseating invocation of the Bible notwithstanding, Gerson is actually right to criticize the Ugandan travesty that has been investigated so thoroughly by The Rachel Maddow Show (here), among others.

    However, I cannot think of a word to describe the hypocrisy of someone taking this position who served a regime that fought marriage equality (here), imposed a travel ban on anyone infected with HIV (repealed by the Obama administration, as noted here), and generally acted with ruthless antagonism towards the LBGT community (here).

    I seem to recall a phrase from my elementary school religion classes that goes, “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Based on his actions before he became a well-heeled pundit, I think Gerson should revisit those blessed words, in the name of the religious “pluralism” he professes to admire.
  • Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Thursday Stuff

    This is another great moment for Al Franken, but again, I feel like I have to say a few words about Senator "He's With Us On Everything But The War."

    Lieberman's actions on health care reform (which, thanks to the ineptitude of Harry Reid first and foremost, now allowing Ben Nelson to act like a little tin god also) should have surprised absolutely no one. And yes, he is a worm and a lowlife and totally despicable, but here's a thought (I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again); let's harness a fraction of the energy we would expend against Holy Joe (who, after all, won't run again until 2012) in support of someone who needs it, and that is Chris Dodd, a true friend, OK? And by that I mean let's try to publicize all the good things he does on our behalf, as opposed to beating up Lieberman, who truly doesn't care what we do and will get so much dough from Big Pharma And Insurance when it's his time to run again that he'll dwarf what we raise by comparison.

    Hey, I want Lieberman out as much as anyone, but I'm just saying that we should be practical about this.

    (By the way, do you think McCain meant the "comedy" of the Senate? If he did, I agree with him.)...

    Update 1 12/18/09: This is "straight talk we can believe in, my friends":-).

    Update 2 12/18/09: Our brain-dead media strikes again, people (h/t Atrios).

    ..."Worst Persons" (Flush Limbore imagines prosperity during the heinous Bush years; sounds like that "hillbilly heroin" is working its magic, huh Flush?; Sean Inanity chastises Obama for writing a letter to Kim Jong Il, when Number 43 did the same thing; but Michelle Malkin gets the nod for making up another story about a kid suspended from school for drawing Jesus on the cross, when in reality, the kid drew himself and was not suspended - as usual, Malkin tries to play human tragedy for her typically sick propaganda purposes)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Update 12/18/09: Uh, Bucks County Courier Times? As Keith noted, the Taunton thing you cite here was fake (here, kind of like your recent fake Thumbs Down for the House health care bill since it didn't address "tort reform").

    ...and it's time for me to get into the traditional stuff, I know...

    ...and I thought this was a kickin' version of the tune we all know (don't try this at home, or if you do, just don't tell me about it, OK?).

    Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2009 - Pt. 6)

    Back after a brief hiatus (Part One is here, Part Two is here, Part Three is here, Part Four is here, Part Five is here, and I also posted here)...

    Holier-Than-Thou Republican Comeuppance Of The Year

    Definitely some competition in this category this year, but I have to give it to Repug Senator John Ensign, who once called for Bill Clinton’s impeachment over the business with Monica Whatsername, and said that his infidelity wasn’t as bad because he did nothing “legally wrong” (here, though, as noted here, Ensign really isn't "in the clear").

    The “Interesting Reaction From One Of Our ‘Friends’ (I Mean Libya)” Citation

    Downing Street confirmed that Gordon Brown had written to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, calling on that country to "act with sensitivity" and to ensure a "low-key return" for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (the mastermind, for lack of a better word, of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that broke up over Lockerbie, Scotland and killed 270 people; he was released because he supposedly is terminally ill – think what you will of the judgment behind that decision). Hours after Britain sent the letter, however, Megrahi was cheered by hundreds of supporters, some waving Scottish flags, as he landed at Tripoli airport accompanied by Gaddafi's son (here).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Chris Wallace of Fix Noise here, who was caught doctoring information supposedly from a VHA document alleging that the agency is “pressuring vets to end their lives,” then is called on his BS by VA head Tammy Duckworth, and then calls her a liar in response ("journamalism" at its worst, my fellow prisoners – h/t Atrios).

    Class Guy Of The Year Citation

    To conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart here, for his “unrestrained Twitter attack” on Ted Kennedy upon news of the senator’s death, calling him a “villain,” “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” and a “prick.” “I’ll shut my mouth for Carter. That’s just politics. Kennedy was a special pile of human excrement,” (I’ll be honest – I’m not real big on the concept of Twitter anyway, though I’m sure it has a practical use. And by attacking Kennedy like this, it just ensures Breitbart’s place in the wingnut Hall of Shame.)

    The “Maybe You Mistyped An ‘H’ Instead Of A ‘D’” Citation

    Repug Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, who said her party needs a “great white hope” here (And you know what? I’m sick of these “if I offended anybody, I apologize” non-apologies. I was taught that an apology was an act of contrition showing remorse and communicating that you understood the reason why you did wrong, and Jenkins plainly doesn’

    …and Jenkins strikes again here.

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Idaho Republican gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell, who made a “joke” here about issuing hunting licenses for the President (presumably to hunt him as opposed to the small, helpless creatures Rammell is no doubt used to blowing to bits, since, if he went after some serious game, this panty waist could actually get hurt – kudos to Repug Sen. Crapo for slapping Rammell down, not that that should have taken much courage, I know)

    “Walk Back” Of The Year

    Former DHS Head Tom (“OMIGOD, it’s a Yellow Alert Day, And I’m Wearing Clashing Chino Slacks!") Ridge, for claiming here in his book that he was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over…though, as if by magic, he backtracked on that here (Abu G also did that little “two step,” if you will, on Holder’s investigation into torture).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    “Pastor” Steven Anderson for dedicating an entire sermon to “Why I hate Barack Obama,” and for having a parishioner who brought an AR-15 to a protest outside a speech delivered by President Obama, with Anderson declaring “I’m not gonna pray for (Obama’s) good. I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.”…every time I get annoyed with Bill Maher (a future "Dregs" nominee, by the way) because he says something putting down religion, along comes one of these numbskulls to validate him (here)…

    Dregs of The Year Nominees

    Baby Newton Leroy and Congressman “Man Tan” here (attacking the “stim,” of course)…

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Global warming denialist George Will (yes, you read that right) for calling for a U.S. troop pullout in Afghanistan here (I’m not thrilled with his reliance on drone aircraft, but hey, we’re talking “baby steps” here, people)…

    “Comedian” Of The Year

    During the August congressional recess, Arlen Specter performed his patented stand-up act and apparently included a joke or two about Sarah Palin (here).

    However, do you want to watch something REALLY funny? Check this out (and to do something in response, click here).

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Michele Bachmann (again) for calling for people to “slit their wrists” in opposition to health care here (you first, dear)

    The “One Small Step To Combat Vote Fraud For Real” Citation

    Diebold sold its voting machine business unit (here)

    Dregs Of The Year Citation

    Teamster Boss James Hoffa here for waffling on the public option (tell us who got to you, Jim…for real; of course, many others in power would end up following suit, unfortunately)

    Do Gooders Of The Year Nominee

    The Ninth U.S. Circuit of Appeals, which ruled here that the claims of a former University of Idaho student plausibly suggest that former AG John (Lost To A Dead Guy) Ashcroft can be sued because he “purposely used the material witness statute to detain suspects whom he wished to investigate and detain preventively.”

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    California wingnut Randy Thomason here, who opposed the designation of May 22nd as a day of “special significance” honoring Harvey Milk; the bill designating that day was passed by both houses of the Democratic-controlled California Legislature the week of August 31st (Thomason also compared the day of recognition for Milk to “a hypothetical day…in which California school kids would be forced to show up in drag and watch a ‘Queer as Folk’ marathon while pledging allegiance to a pride flag” here – nice guy; and by the way, this is a wonderful film, and Sean Penn is brilliant)…

    Dregs of the Year Nominees

    The Central Bucks and North Penn school districts in Bucks County (here) for refusing to air President Obama’s speech to the school kids on Tuesday September 8th (dishonorable mention to the Council Rock and Pennsbury school districts for not showing the speech live, or so they said)…

    A message on North Penn's Web site stated: "As Sept. 8th is the first day of school for NPSD, it is impossible to notify all parents of the webcast and for our staff to develop a viable and consistent exemption process. Prior parent permission is critical because of the national debate that is occurring and because we have heard from so many parents who do not want their child to have access to the speech."
    In response, I think John Harwood of the NYT nails it here…

    Dumb Campaign Idea Of The Year

    Yes, I support Admiral Joe Sestak against Arlen Specter, but deciding not to invite Specter to a health care forum here - in which Sestak and Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth answered questions and did the whole political-back-and-forth thing by themselves - was petty and generally not a very bright thing to do.

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    The lady attending the Town Hall meeting with wingnut Tom Coburn here who advocated a single payer system, to which Coburn immediately fell back on the “tenther” argument that the Constitution doesn’t allow it, which of course is wrong (and a “Dregs” citation to Coburn for his misinformation on other nations’ health care and the crowd who tried to hoot her down).

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Tom Brokaw, for wrongly claiming that the public option would cost $1 trillion here (actually, it would save $150 billion, and this was after chiding Americans for not being informed on the whole health care dustup) – Brokaw has praised “The Greatest Generation,” as well he should, but my dad was part of that era, and he thought Brokaw was nothing but a phony…my dad was right

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    The obligatory yearly citation to Repug U.S. House Rep Jack Kingston of Georgia, this time for telling a man named Jim Parker here at a town hall meeting on health care that the system worked “very well” for him, even though Parker went bankrupt paying for his cancer treatment (wonder if Kingston ever found his flag lapel pin?)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    U.S. Senate Repug Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, for claiming here that Obama needed to show “humility” in his speech on health care in September (funny to hear that coming from a guy who never showed it for a second when smearing Max Cleland on his way to winning Cleland’s Senate seat, alleging that Cleland’s actions were sympathetic to al Qaeda…as we all know, Cleland left three limbs on the battlefield of Vietnam – a pox on any Georgia voter who supported Chambliss over Cleland now and always)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominees

    The various GOP dumbasses who acted like spoiled brats during President Obama’s speech on health care here on 9/9/09 (including U.S. House Rep Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who called out “You Lie!” when Obama said coverage wouldn’t include illegal immigrants…which it plainly doesn’t – should be obvious even to a disrespectful moron like Wilson…and yes, Wilson apologized, though not to the U.S. House as he should have).

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    This is a really tough call I know, but I have to give it to Mike Tharp, editor of the Merced Sun-Star in California (here), who decided to run the AP photo of U.S. Marine Lance Corp. Joshua Bernard, who was mortally wounded by a grenade in Afghanistan; Bernard was shown with one leg partly blown off while tended to by his comrades. He died at a hospital a short time later.

    I understand Tharp’s “deep duty to show American civilians the costs of fighting a war. To show the ultimate sacrifices paid by our servicemen and women in our name,” as he put it. And that is commendable.

    The problem is that the parents objected to the release of the photo. And as far as I’m concerned, their wishes come first. And violating a rather simple guideline like that creates an opening for yet another brainless politician or media numbskull to call for a ban on all wartime photos and video.

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    NBA great Michael Jordan for his utterly classless acceptance speech into the NBA Hall of Fame on Friday September 11th (here); it sounds like the only person he didn’t put down was former teammate Scottie Pippen (and guess what, Michael – nobody cares about buying concession items in your restaurants if the food is lousy)

    More later...

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Wednesday Stuff

    Here is the inevitable Special Comment from K.O. on the health care reform travesty (and I'm sure Joke Line will now write a "Swampland" post calling Keith dumb)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and in a desperate ploy to find good news, I present this to let us know that Commander Codpiece is happily now out to pasture, though our current chief executive has acted in his shadow just a little too much for us to remain silent.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Tuesday Stuff

    I'll try to get back to "Do-Gooders And Dregs" tomorrow, for what its worth, but I can't promise anything at the moment. In the meantime, I give you a Democrat who actually has a spine (here - take notes, Harry; I knew there was a reason why we fought so hard for this guy, and I'm glad we did...good job by Sherrod Brown also to back up Al on this)...

    ...and here is Howard Dean to explain the point of view that is so "dumb" to Joke Line (and by the way, I know I should know better than to be impudent enough to disagree with my "A" list betters, but this whole notion of that, somehow, we were wrong to get excited about expanding Medicare in place of the public option lest we give "Short Ride" Lieberman cause to disagree with it (here) is one of the silliest things I've ever heard coming from people I otherwise respect; for us to assume that Lieberman only acted when we embraced the Medicare expansion in place of the P.O. is either inflating our own egos or it assumes cowardice that is unbecoming of us - sorry to use profanity, but I don't know how else to say it...fuck Lieberman - he was going to do what he was going to do anyway independent of anything we ever did)...

    ...also, I've noted a few anniversaries this year, but I would be remiss if we got to 2010 without acknowledging "Kind of Blue," the highest-selling jazz LP (again, remember them?) of all time that was recorded in 1959, and was the subject of this congressional citation today (hat tip to BP at WRTI in these parts for that one; Miles Davis and John Coltrane are featured of course, and I have a feeling that's McCoy Tyner on piano, but I'm not positive)...

    ...and there's no way I can forget to include this holiday selection, can I (by the nativity scene...)?

    Is Our Pundits Learning (Health Care “Reform” Version)

    This is basically a rhetorical question I know, but as noted here, Joke Line tells everyone who will listen that Howard Dean is “dumb” because he urges a No vote on health care legislation that, except for maybe an amendment or two, does nothing to control the cost of coverage by expanding Medicare or providing a public option (though I will acknowledge that there are positive points to the bill without it …kind of like saying there are “positive points” to riding in a Model T versus a late-model Chevy sedan).

    However, Joe Lieberman will continue to be treated with deference by the Beltway know-it-alls even though, as Ezra Klein tells us here…

    We have a very sterile policy debate in this country. We talk about things in terms of costs, not lives. It's the equivalent of conducting wars from the air: You hide the damage. That might be helpful, in some cases. Too much passion can impede clear thinking. But we run the danger of forgetting the implications of our actions. It's fine to speak in terms of costs so long as we do not forget to think in terms of lives.
    And as noted here, Lieberman has cut the guts out of health care reform as a “payback” to those bad liberal bloggers who had the audacity to support Ned Lamont in ’06 because of “short ride” Lieberman’s support for Dubya’s Not So Excellent Iraq Adventure…but Dean is the one who is called dumb (to say nothing of venal or callous, on Lieberman’s part)?

    Check this out, Klein (Joe, I mean), and try telling anyone in these videos how “dumb” Dean is for actually caring about people who will pay the ultimate price for the cowardice of the fools we elected in the vain hope that they would actually represent us.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Monday Stuff

    OK, so let's review where we are, painful as it is, I know...

    The U.S. House of Representatives passes the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act early last month (with "Joe" Cao of Louisiana as the only Repug voting yes - kudos to him), and then it gets handed off to the U.S. Senate (Update 12/15/09: I forgot to note that it contained the pro-sepsis coathanger abortion Stupak-Pitts atrocity, but it was fine otherwise).

    Which promptly makes an utter hash of the bill every way imaginable (and some ways I couldn't imagine).

    First there was the horrible Baucus bill from the Senate Finance Committee without the public option (but not to worry, we were told, by Tom Harkin among others - the HELP Committee bill had the P.O. thanks to Ted Kennedy, the only Dem senator who really understood what was going on here), then the two Senate bills and the House bill started getting meshed together, and all of the elite punditry worried whether or not it would be supported by President Snowe (of course it wasn't).

    So then the talk turned to what kind of a public option. With or without triggers? Would the triggers be "automatic"? Then there was the supposed "opt out" of the public option, or whether or not there would be a Carper-sponsored "co-op" with or without a "trigger" in place of the public option (and would the exchanges be federal or by state).

    Then, recently, it all got shitcanned to expand Medicare eligibility to anyone 55 or older, though younger voters would still supposedly be allowed to enroll in an exchange which provided coverage (that is, unless the for-profit carriers didn't do that, in which case the government would provide coverage instead...somehow).

    I've actually tried to make sense of this ridiculous kabuki exercise up until now. And then along comes The Last Honest Man with his version of "52 Pick Up" over "Medicare For All" which he supported because he was forced to in 2006 when he ran against Ned Lamont (and, of course, which he no longer does now, as noted below).

    And if this bill dies (or worse, is signed into law with neither a public option nor an expanded Medicare provision), thousands of Americans without health coverage will die (oh, but as noted here, Ezra Klein is nothing but a dirty, stinking, liberal pinko blogger for pointing out that plainly obvious fact - h/t Atrios, who is another one, of course...and more Lieberman deceit is here).

    Every time I think I cannot possibly be more disgusted with the Democratic Party, they prove me wrong.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Update 1 12/15/09: Uh, yep.

    Update 2 12/15/09: And despite their protestations, I’m sure this constituency is completely satisfied with Majority Leader Reid’s performance.

    ...and speaking of disgust, I thought this little montage by K.O. of the right-wing noise machine's smears against its enemies and their culpability for violence was pretty well done...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and today's marks the 30th anniversary of the LP (Remember them? Hey, I saw a couple of turntables on sale at "Best Buys" - seriously) "London Calling" by The Clash - here is a lesser-known track...

    ...and as I watch health care reform crash and burn, I feel like I need a holiday pick-me-up, and short of alcohol, I guess this will do for now.