Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Mashup (9/23/10)

  • From the “trying to make something out of less than absolutely nothing” department, I give you the following from Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page (here)…

    The nation burns as leftist radicals tear at the national fabric from within, yet daily headlines scream, this congressman said this, was caught on tape saying this, or in (Christine) O’Donnell’s case, O’Donnell said this, someone says she said this, that 20 years ago.

    But the same rules don’t apply to gaffes and missteps made by anyone on the left — this ruling class phenomenon is so pervasive now as to be considered an absolutely predictable leftist reaction by rightists.

    Why do I shed light on these things, you ask?

    Senator Harry Reid referring to New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as the “hottest” member of the Senate at a fundraiser on Monday more than amply confirms the double standard that we see today (Politico):

    How would the left react if a conservative called Gillibrand the “hottest” senator? The truth is oh-so-self-evident and once again proves the left’s sexism double standard.
    Actually, speaking as a member of the “left” (which I guess I am), I could care less if a conservative referred to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as “hot” or not, any more than I would care if, say, Ron Wyden complimented Susan Collins of Maine (yes, this whole talking point is getting silly quickly).

    Besides, for any Repug looking to throw stones at Senate Democrats over allegations of sexism, I have one name for you; Bob Packwood.

    As noted here…

    Packwood's political career began to unravel in November 1992, when a Washington Post story detailed the claims of sexual abuse and assault by ten women, chiefly former staffers and lobbyists.[34] Publication of the story was delayed until after the 1992 election, as Packwood had denied the allegations and the Post had not gathered enough of the story at the time.[35][36] Packwood defeated Democrat Les AuCoin 52.1% to 46.5%.
    I realize that neither political party is innocent when it comes to these matters, but all I’m saying is before anyone decides to throw stones, make sure your own proverbial glass house is well polished first.

  • Next, I give you more lies from Mikey Fitzpatrick, running against Patrick Murphy for the latter’s U.S. House seat (here) – this time, the subject is the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…

    A spokesman for (Fitzpatrick), the Republican candidate hoping to oust Murphy, said the Democrats were forcing the issue too soon — weighing in before the military does with an upcoming study. In December, the Pentagon is slated to release the results of a study on the effects of gays serving openly in the military.

    “What Congress has essentially done here is prejudged the outcome of that study,” Fitzpatrick spokesman Darren Smith said. “If we ask the military to figure something out, why are (Senate Democrats and the White House) taking action now?”
    Meanwhile, for the reality point of view, I give you the following from dday (here)…

    …the Administration decided to get off their duff and send a statement of Administration policy in favor of the defense authorization bill. Here’s the part about DADT:

    Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces: The Administration supports section 591 as it would allow for completion of the Comprehensive Review, enable the Department of Defense to assess the results of the review, and ensure that the implementation of the repeal is consistent with the standards of military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention. Such an approach recognizes the critical need to allow our military and their families the full opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process through a thorough understanding of their concerns, insights and suggestions.

    It seems they favor more the completion of the Pentagon study than the harming of a discriminatory policy.
    Meanwhile, Patrick Murphy quite rightly said the following…

    “Even though the vast majority of Americans think that all able-bodied men and women should be allowed to serve their country, the process has been hijacked by a minority of right-wing extremists,” said Murphy, who is running for re-election in the 8th district.

    Murphy was the lead sponsor of a House bill earlier this year to end the military's so-called Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, which bans gays from openly serving. His House bill has not made it to a vote.

    Murphy added: “The fact is it just doesn’t make sense to spend $1.3 billion to kick out Arabic translators and fighter pilots who just want to serve their country.”
    And is it really necessary to point out which one of our candidates actually served this county and which one didn’t (and I’ll come back to Mikey in a minute).

  • Finally, this story tells us the following (a thoroughly unsurprising development, but one that must be pointed out)…

    (CBS/AP) Six months after President Barack Obama signed landmark legislation that will extend health care coverage to millions of people, Americans still do not really know what the law does.

    More than half mistakenly believe the overhaul will raise taxes for most people this year, an Associated Press poll finds. That would hold true only if most people were devoted to indoor tanning, which the law hit with a sales tax.

    The uncertainty and confusion amount to a dismal verdict for the Obama administration's campaign to win over public opinion. Before the final votes in Congress, Obama personally assured wavering Democrats he would take the case to the American people after the law passed. It has not worked. And in the final stretch before congressional elections, scheduled for Nov. 2, Republicans are united by their demands for repeal.
    As far as I’m concerned, you can chalk this up to yet another corporate media epic fail; as noted here…

  • Health care coverage was the No. 1 story in the mainstream press from June 2009 through March 2010. There were numerous ebbs and flows to the health care coverage. But in the 10-month period studied, the topic registered at 14% of the newshole, edging out economic coverage (12%) and the conflict in Afghanistan (6%).

  • The health care debate was tailor-made for ideological talk shows. No media sector devoted as much time to health care as the political and polarizing talk show hosts. Accounting for 31% of the airtime from June 2009 through March 2010, the subject was more than twice as big in the talk show sector as it was in the overall media (14%).

  • Liberal talk show hosts devoted more airtime to health care than conservative hosts. Left-leaning talk hosts, who broadly supported health care legislation, spent 44% of their time talking about health care issues during the time studied. The right-tilting hosts, who vigorously opposed it, devoted 26% of their time to the subject.

  • Opponents of health care legislation won the message war. A Nexis search of key terms in the health care debate finds that opponents' terms appeared almost twice as often (about 18,000 times) as supporters' top terms (about 11,000). In short, the opponents' attacks on government-run health care resonated more widely than the supporters' attacks on the insurance industry.

  • The debate centered more on politics than the workings of the health care system. Fully 41% of health care coverage focused on the tactics and strategy of the debate while various reform proposals filled another 23%. But only 9% of the coverage focused on a core issue -- how our health care system currently functions, what works and what doesn't.
  • And at Matt Yglesias tells us here…

    This is, of course, the media’s characteristic flaw. The bulk of reporters and editors at major political media institutions have almost no understanding of substantive public policy issues. And they conjoin to their ignorance a kind of contempt for people who do understand them. Consequently, people who are interested in such matters tend to be driven out of the institutions in questions. Instead, you get a self-replicating cadre of self-congratulatory and shallow people who enjoy doing this kind of coverage while sneering at people who care about substance.

    The bias toward process stories is not ideological in its intent, but it’s strongly ideological in its impact. Creating public confusion and ignorance while obscuring what’s really happening tends to favor elites versus people of modest means, it favors the status quo over change, it favors insiders over outsiders, and it favors narrow interests over the public interest.
    And returning to Mikey Fitzpatrick, I give you the following from here…

    (Fitzpatrick), joined by two doctors and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on Tuesday, called for repeal of the health care legislation passed earlier this year by Democrats.

    "More and more, the ugly truths of Obamacare are coming to light," Fitzpatrick said outside the office of Dr. David S. C. Pao, a Levittown ophthalmologist. "The bill contains 19 new taxes, fees and cuts to existing programs. Everything from medical devices to real estate sales to existing health plans are taxed to pay for this plan.

    "This is a tax bill, not a health care bill. It does nothing to increase the quality of care."

    Tim Persico, Murphy's campaign manager, said: "Mike Fitzpatrick is parroting the same baseless lies and distortions because he wants to distract from his plans to privatize Social Security and Medicare. If there was any doubt that Fitzpatrick was lost to the far right, the fact that he stood with a congresswoman who is the leader in the fight to eliminate Medicare should take care of that."

    Blackburn's bill - the Health Care Choices for Seniors Act - would give seniors a voucher for a private health savings account or high-deductible private health plans instead of taking Medicare, which they currently are required to accept. Her bill, however, would allow them to keep their Social Security benefits, which they would lose under today's law. That change came in 1993, when Social Security and Medicare were linked together.
    Sounds like a typical “divide and conquer” Repug strategy on Social Security and Medicare, two legislative pillars of Democratic governance.

    As you consider this, I would ask that you read this also about an Iowa grandmother by Deb Robben; the post tells us the following…

    Last December, Robben was diagnosed with colon cancer. Because she has been unable to obtain insurance, she has had to pay the costs for treatment out-of-pocket. For chemotherapy treatment alone, Robben expects to pay almost $2,000 a month. “She’s only two months into chemo and already she’s at $50,000. Oh my, what is another four months going to bring,” says Melissa Gradischnig Nelson, a friend of Robben.

    In desperation, Robben’s friends and family have turned to local fundraisers to try to pay for her treatment. Over the weekend, they held a $5-a-plate pasta dinner in the hope of putting “a dent” in Robben’s massive health care bills.

    Local news station WHO-TV recently interviewed Robben, who told them, “It’s kind of hard when you can’t get insurance. To say, lady you’re going to die or figure out how to come up with the money. It’s not right.”


    It is worth noting that the United States is the only developed country without a universal, cradle-to-the-grave health care system. Nowhere else in the industrialized world would a woman have to turn to holding pasta fundraisers to get the money to pay for her chemotherapy.
    Robben had to resort to bake sales to pay for her chemo because no insurance company would carry her because of what was determined to be a “pre-existing condition”; benign cysts on her breasts.

    And in trying to defund and utterly neuter health care reform (it won’t be repealed because Obama would veto such legislation, and even in the nightmarish event of a Repug takeover of the House, there wouldn’t be enough votes to override the veto), Mikey and his would-be House Repug playmates would make sure that everyone else covered under HCR who was denied coverage previously would be denied coverage all over again.

    Oh, and one last thing – colon cancer is something familiar to Mikey, since he suffered from it previously but (fortunately for him) he appears to have made a full recovery. And it goes without saying that, due to his extensive legal and political background, he has the means to ensure the coverage for himself that he would willfully deny to others.

    Lucky, lucky Mikey.

    MickeyWhite said...

    But 400 BILLION on unconstitutional health care is ok?

    Prescription Drug Benefit.
    The final version (conference report) of H.R. 1 would create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. Beginning in 2006, prescription coverage would be available to seniors through private insurers for a monthly premium estimated at $35. There would be a $250 annual deductible, then 75 percent of drug costs up to $2,250 would be reimbursed. Drug costs greater than $2,250 would not be covered until out-of pocket expenses exceeded $3,600, after which 95 percent of drug costs would be reimbursed. Low-income recipients would receive more subsidies than other seniors by paying lower premiums, having smaller deductibles, and making lower co-payments for each prescription. The total cost of the new prescription drug benefit would be limited to the $400 billion that Congress had budgeted earlier this year for the first 10 years of this new entitlement program. The House adopted the conference report on H.R. 1 on November 22, 2003 by a vote of 220 to 215 (Roll Call 669).
    Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR this bill.
    Marsha Blackburn is a Hypocrite.
    Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
    See her unconstitutional votes at :

    doomsy said...

    If your point is to thoroughly take Congresswoman Blackburn to task for her vote in the utterly vile scam of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit passed in November 2003, then I'm in agreement with you. Also, your writeup of covering "75 percent of drug costs up to $2,250 (which) would be reimbursed...drug costs greater than $2,250 would not be covered until out-of-pocket expenses exceeded $3,600" describes pretty well what has come to be called the "donut hole," which was fixed in health care reform.

    I wouldn't call the Medicare Part D drug benefit "unconstitutional" (covered under the "commerce clause," Article 1, Section 8, which will also be used to ultimately vindicate health care reform against its idiotic court challenges, particularly the one signed onto by Dem gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett in PA - hey Onorato, try using that in an ad!!). However, the Medicare Part D drug benefit was definitely unconscionable, to say the least.