Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Stuff (updates)

Yeah, Rand, the whole "Aqua Buddha" thing will just disappear over the latest 24-hour news cycle, and that will be it - sure it will (h/t Daily Kos - if you think Paul is full of it and you want to help his opponent, click here)...

...and I sure hope those zany teabaggers don't find out about this song; I'd just hate to give them an anthem of sorts (that probably won't happen, though, now that I think of it, because the song has nothing to do with a birth certificate, "socialism" or threats of violence).

(P.S. - Good for him for standing up on the mosque, by the way, though he does seem to be "walking that back" a bit.)

Update 8/15/10: OK, my bad on the "walk back" thing (here).

Update 1 8/16/10: There are times when Harry Reid is a cowardly gutter snipe, and now is one of those times (here).

Update 2 8/16/10: Talk about a picture saying a million words (here, from a commenter at Balloon Juice - h/t Daily Kos).

Update 8/18/10: Wow - just, wow (never thought I'd see this, unfortunately...h/t Atrios)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Stuff

Jon Stewart brings us the wrapup of last Tuesday's political action as only he can...

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...and I know we still have a couple of weeks to go for the summer (sniff), but I thought this song and video had kind of an end-of-the-holiday wistful kind of quality to it - could be just me, though.

Friday Mashup (8/13/10)

(I also posted here.)

  • I visited the blog at (yes, they have one, such as it is), and found this item, telling us the following…

    Unemployment has remained at a historic high under President Obama and a Democrat-led Congress.
    Actually, as noted here, unemployment reached 9.7 percent under “Republic” Party president Ronald Reagan, though I will admit that the current high number is nothing to be proud of (and not completely reflective of the Obama Administration either, it should be noted, but such are the political spoils I know).

    And as long as we’re talking about jobs and presidents, this National Journal account tells us the following…

    From February 2001, (George W.) Bush's first full month in office, through January 2009, his last, total U.S. nonfarm employment grew from 132.5 million to 133.5 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's an increase, obviously, of just 1 million. From January through April of this year, the economy created 573,000 jobs. Over a full year, that projects to 1.72 million jobs.
    And this tells us that 431,000 jobs were added in May since that article was written (yes, I know most of them were “public” temp jobs related to the census, but a paycheck is a paycheck).

    So let’s see how many “private” jobs are added for the rest of the year and whether or not it turns out that the Obama Administration will have created more jobs in a single year than Former President Highest Disapproval Rating in Gallup Poll History did throughout his entire nightmare of a presidency (and if that does indeed happen, let’s wait for the sound of crickets from

  • Also, Michael Scherer of Time tells us the following about ethically troubled Dem congressman Charles Rangel (here)…

    "A gaffe happens when someone slips up and tells the truth," goes the old Washington saw. But there is a corollary: A scandal occurs when someone gets caught doing what everyone else is doing. Gambling in the casino!?! He had an affair?!? Ethics impropriety in the U.S. Congress!?! Clutch the pearls, call for an investigation, restore order.

    Something like this is at play in the current excoriation of Charlie Rangel, who has been accused by the House Committee On Standards of Official Conduct of improperly raising money from companies with business before his committee for a non-profit cause--an academic center named in his honor--that amounted to a personal benefit. In a new story on, I explain why this sin is not exceptional in anything more than some of the specifics, like the type of stationary he used and the fact that, at one point, the academic center planned to give him an office.
    It doesn’t come across to me, either from reading Scherer’s post or his article, that he is aware of the fact that Rangel is facing 13 counts of ethics violations in the House (here); in addition to the charge of improperly raising money from companies with business before his committee for a non-profit cause (the academic center Scherer mentions), he is also accused of using a rent-stabilized apartment in Harlem for his campaign office; of failing to report more than $600,000 on his financial disclosure report; and of failing to pay taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.

    Rangel should have taken the hint long before now and gracefully retired from a public life that, to be fair, has been rich in accomplishment. However, he now seems bound and determined to make a spectacle of himself while his party faces a difficult fall election cycle, thus giving further ammunition to the opposition.

    I guess this is called “going down in flames” (and if anyone out there thought I was going to defend Rangel merely because he's a Dem, you were very much mistaken).

  • Next, we have the latest wingnut hero, and that would be Allen West, running against Ron Klein in Florida’s 22nd Congressional district (here)…

    For retired Army Lt. Col. Allen West, Republican candidate for Congress in Florida’s 22nd District, one word seems to sum up his campaign, his career, his life: “leadership.”

    “We’ve got to rediscover what leadership is in this country,” West says during an interview in Washington. “In the last 2008 election cycle, we saw American Idol play on a grand scheme. And unfortunately, we believed that giving a good teleprompter speech meant leadership.”
    Uh, is West running against Klein or Barack Obama (something to wonder about based also on this, which I discussed here)? If he’s running for the GOP presidential nomination, he’s too early (but not by much).

    This, though, is boilerplate stuff for West, who said here that his supporters should “make (Klein) scared to come out of his house,” part of a pattern of hate speech noted here.

    The best way to respond to West, then, would be by clicking here for starters.

  • Update 8/18/10: West is a real sweetheart, isn't he? (here)

  • Finally, I give you the following from Matt Campbell, running against the totally awful Steve King in Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District…

    Steve King has said some pretty offensive things in his time in Washington.

    To remind the voters of the real Steve King, we've put together a "TOP 10" list of the most ridiculous, offensive, and down-right stupid things King has said. Each week, we'll work to raise $1,000 online to cross one off and to help silence him in November.

    I'm working to run a positive campaign and to revitalize our economy but these statements are part of Steve King's record and sadly reflect his poor representation in Congress.

    here to contribute $5 or more to help us cross off Steve King item #10!

    The full list is below, but #10 is a golden oldie from 2005:

    10. King has referred to unions as "economic weapons of mass destruction."

    Unions are the backbone of American society and fought for values like the 40-hour workweek and safe work places. It is offensive that he'd compare them to "weapons of mass destruction" as unions have spent a generation building the middle class.

    Help cross off King's offensive item #10 by chipping in $5 or more today (

    Thanks again for supporting my campaign.

    I hope with your help, we'll be able to restore common-sense leadership to Iowa.

    Fight on,
    Matt Campbell

    P.S. Here is the full list below - help us cross of item #10 by giving $5 or more!


    1. King stated that American treatment of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib "amounts to hazing."

    2. King called Senator Joseph McCarthy a "great-American hero."

    3. King argued that President Obama "has a default mechanism that favors blacks," and has charged that the administration has a racial bias.

    4. Steve King in a recent editorial indicated that Democrats are acting like Pontius Pilate in wanting to legislate comprehensive immigration reform and washing their hands of the consequences. Pontius Pilate was the Roman administrator that sent Jesus Christ to his death.

    5. Steve King who had this to say on the subject of calling members of Congress "faggots" and "n__[racial slur]" after the health-care debate:"I just don't think it's anything," King said, emphasizing that the incidents were isolated. "There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn't walk through. I wouldn't live to get to the other end of it."

    6. King was the only member of Congress to oppose a measure to honor the role slaves played in building the U.S. Capitol in the Visitors Center.

    7. King, after hearing about a suicide attack on a federal building in Austin, said "I understand the deep frustration with the I.R.S," empathizing with an act of domestic terrorism that killed a Vietnam veteran, and injured several others.

    8. King, on hearing Congressman Barton's apology for the BP escrow fund, said "I think Joe Barton was spot-on when he called it a 'shakedown.'"

    9. King opposes the Treasury's efforts to fight tax evasion in international structures as it "squeezes the rich." The Treasury program King opposes follows-up on a UBS agreement to pay a $780 million fine to settle charges it helped individuals evade U.S. taxes.

    10. King has referred to unions as "economic weapons of mass destruction."
    To help Matt Campbell, click here.

  • Update 8/16/10: The beat goes on - ugh (here).

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    "To fight socialism, we must become communists" - Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich (as Jon Stewart tells us below...good move to lose the goatee, by the way)...

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    ...and to tell you the truth, I think this guy has a good idea.

    Thursday Mashup (8/12/10)

    (I just don't know about posting tomorrow, by the way - kind of questionable at this point.)

  • I happened to come across the following at Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page…

    Seriously, Tucker, you want to go there?

    How about this?

    And for good measure, I give you this.

  • Also, it looks like former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm is trying to make up for lost time, since he’s generating the “dookey” as furiously as he can (here)…

    A slight majority of Americans -- 52% -- approve of Barack Obama's handling of the country's race relations.

    And that's about it.

    On every other issue surveyed in the new Gallup Poll, the Democrat's job approval rating is under 50% -- in some cases way under.

    In fact, on eight of the 13 issues surveyed by Gallup, a majority of Americans disapprove of Obama's job -- in some cases overwhelmingly.

    Like 2-to-1 overwhelmingly.
    For some context, the following should be noted from here; namely that Obama’s predecessor’s disapproval rating overwhelmingly exceeded his approval rating.

    Like (very nearly) 2-to-1 overwhelmingly (also, the only president with a higher disapproval number upon leaving office was Richard Nixon, who, of course, was impeached).

    Also, Malcolm makes a crack about Obama supposedly “approach(ing) his next set of vacations,” when again, Number 43 set the record on that score (here).

    Malcolm is truly an embarrassment, and I really go back and forth as to whether I should even waste people’s time refuting this stuff, but here’s why I end up doing it; in the ‘90s before the presidential election took place when Clinton finished his second term, there was no alternative form of media to point out that Wired Magazine was full of crap when it “reported” that Al Gore claimed that he invented the Internet.

    So the lie spread. Everywhere. And every slacker or pseudo-intellectual wastoid who thought he or she was politically informed started repeating it (to say nothing of Republicans). And then it became “conventional wisdom.”

    And I don’t think it will ever be completely erased from our discourse (and Bob Casey Sr. supposedly being denied the right to speak at the ’92 Democratic National Convention because he was pro-life is another one).

  • Next, Repug U.S. House Rep Kevin McCarthy of California tells us the following (here)…

    The cartoon musical television series Schoolhouse Rock presents children with an educational perspective on how the United States government creates laws. An animated piece of legislation, aptly named “Bill,” dances on the steps of the Capitol and sings, “I’m just a bill. Yes, I’m only a bill. And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.” He explains to viewers the entire legislative process, from committee consideration to the possibility of a presidential veto. While this series is considered by many to be a classic teaching tool, it fails to accurately prepare its audience for the reality of this Democratic-controlled Congress.

    The updated version for this Democratic Congress would educate viewers about backroom deals, payoffs and kickbacks. It would feature floor speeches about the irrelevance of the Constitution. The animated cast would include a bill too stuffed with pork to dance around on the Capitol steps, characters who exploit their positions of power for personal gain, and others who turn a blind eye to the culture of corruption they’ve bred. Characters would laugh at the idea of reading the legislation they’re voting on, and would mock any attempt to cut spending. At the end, “Bill” wouldn’t be brought up for a vote on the House or Senate floor, he would be “deemed” passed. Unfortunately, this isn’t a cartoon; it’s U.S. government.
    Of course, McCarthy provides no citations, particularly for the claim that a Democratic U.S. House member said the Constitution was “irrelevant.” Also, as far as “deeming” a bill as passed, McCarthy should check to see what a senior member of his own party has to say on the subject (here).

    The point of this post by McCarthy, such as it is, is to publicize the so-called America Speaking Out web site, which, as Steve Benen via Crooks and Liars tells us here, is nothing more than a PR gimmick by the congressional minority party.

    McCarthy has done a good job of flying below the proverbial radar up until now, trying to do more party organizing and candidate recruitment. However, since he ended up endorsing Dede Scozzafava in the NY-23 congressional race (as noted here), it’s likely that he feels the need to burnish his supposed teabagger bona fides in response, which, for his party, is a smart move considering this.

  • Finally, concluding today’s conservative absurdity, J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times inflicted the following on his blog from here, claiming that Daily Kos diarist Something The Dog Said was trying to equate the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks with teenage car crashes, in terms of the raw number of fatalities.

    And having thus created his own straw man argument, he responded as follows:

    Car crashes. Mass murder in the name of Islam. It's all the same to the left.

    The only problem is that the Daily Kos post came in response to the demonizing of Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is heading efforts to build a community center in New York. As noted here, Glenn Beck (first sign of trouble) claimed Rauf currently "employs" an imam who blamed "the Jews" for 9-11; in fact, the imam resigned in 2001 prior to making those comments.

    Further, Daily Kos diarist STDS said as follows, in the course of a dialogue in which he tried to convince another respondent (TJ) that not all Muslims are scary terrorists trying to blow up people (which Mullane failed to note, of course)…

    I stopped my conversation with TJ when it became clear we could not agree on facts. He will not accept that there is a major difference between the acts of the few and Islam as a whole. His sources of information are nearly exclusively from the radical Right. He is has a world view that does not admit accept the citizens who are Muslims value their country as much as citizens who are Christian.

    As long as that is the accepted meme from the radical Right there can be no end to the suggestions of limiting the rights of Muslim citizens. They are willing to participate in guilty by religious association. No charges have been filed against Imam Rauf, no investigations by the State Department have been launched into possible ties to terrorist organizations, no evidence of any kind of misbehavior has been brought forward, yet he and the members of his mosque are accused of trying to put some kind of trophy building at the site of the 9/11 attacks. It is the worst kind of hysteria, and thoroughly un-American to do so.

    Finally we come back to the Constitution. The Framers where wise in their instance there be no test of religion for public office nor that there be some religions that are favored by the State over any others. There were Muslims in the United States at the time the Constitution was written. Thomas Jefferson owned and read the Qur’an. We have had Muslim citizens who have fought in our wars, helped build our cities and make this nation what it is across its entire history. The idea that just because a majority of people have a negative opinion of this group now is reason enough to give up the level of legal tolerance that we have enjoyed for more than 220 years. This is the worst possible outcome.
    Carrying out religious persecution of a majority for the sake of only a few. Deciding that baseless propaganda is actual fact and acting on that incorrect premise.

    It’s all the same to the right.
  • Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    Here's Jon Stewart's take on the "mosque that may be built at ground zero" thing (I think it would be more positive than not, but if more of the friends and families of the 9/11 victims oppose it than favor it, then their wishes should be honored)...

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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    ...and I think this is the most appropriate tune for the occasion.

    Wednesday Mashup (8/11/10)

  • So Ben Quayle, campaigning for the third congressional district seat in Arizona, calls Obama the “worst president in history” (here).

    Gee, you would think he would want to tone it down after this.

    Ben, I knew of your father when he was vice president. I laughed at his adventures with the English language, shook my head in disgust over his inability to see beyond his own privilege, and cringed at the thought that, if something were to happen to Poppy Bush, he could actually be president.

    Ben, you’re no Dan Quayle.

  • Also from the GOP Outrage Factory, it seems like Harry Reid is today’s piñata, if you will, to be beaten with metaphorical sticks over his comment wondering why Hispanics would vote for Republicans.

    I give you Mary Katherine Ham (here)…

    After proclaiming that their skin color should prevent people of Hispanic descent from voting any which way they please…
    This is bizarre even for the wingnuts. Where does Reid advocate such a farcical point of view?

    Besides, based on this, I believe the Repugs are wasting their calories by going after the wrong target, which actually is fine with me (and I don’t recall that Ham or her pals had anything negative to say about Luis R. Guevara, who basically said here in March ’09 that the Repugs can’t count on the Hispanic vote).

    And yes, I realize that that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Dems can take the Hispanic vote for granted either (or anyone else’s, for that matter).

  • In addition, we have Kathleen Parker of the WaPo here kinda sorta sayin’ that, well, y’know, Michelle Obama shouldn’t have taken that trip to Spain with one of her daughters…

    Is it really such a terrible thing that the president's wife took a few days off to enjoy the beaches of Spain? Yes and no. Michelle Obama's trip, though expensive in the context of our dire financial straits, isn't putting a dent in the Treasury. But as a political move, it could not have been more out of step with most Americans' reality. The obvious reasons include the stagnant job market, the depleted fortunes of the middle class, millions of lost homes and, for many, the prospect of an insecure financial future.
    As noted here, though, Parker has a problem with separating the smoke from the proverbial fire, if you will.

    And here’s one more Parker gem from today’s column (another “zombie lie”)…

    George W. Bush largely escaped scrutiny because his preferred getaway was a place no one else, especially the media, wanted to go. Crawford, Tex., in August? Fabulous.

    Whatever else one thinks of Bush, he did have a sense of propriety in matters recreational, perhaps in part attributable to his life of privilege and attendant guilt. He gave up golf after invading Iraq because he felt it would look bad to be perfecting his swing while those he had consigned to battle were losing their limbs. A token, perhaps, but a gesture nonetheless.
    For the record (as noted here), this tells us that Dubya claimed that he gave up golf in August 2003, but his last recorded game came in October of that year (with Brandon Friedman, a veteran US infantry officer who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, telling the Press Association: "Thousands of Americans have given up a lot more than golf for this war. For President Bush to imply that he somehow stands in solidarity with families of American soldiers by giving up golf is disgraceful. It's an insult to all Americans and a slap in the face to our troops' families.").

    What exactly was Parker’s Pulitzer for again?

  • Finally, the race for the PA-08 U.S. House seat currently occupied by Patrick Murphy is making the news again; this tells us the following:

    The candidates for the 8th District congressional seat argued about the benefits of the (recently signed $26B bill), which will keep teachers and cops on the job.

    To Congressman Patrick Murphy, you're against police officers and for tax cheats if you voted Tuesday against a $26 billion bill aimed at saving hundreds of thousands of teachers and other public workers from unemployment.

    To Mike Fitzpatrick, the legislation is a continuation of Democrats' "failed policies."

    "The bill does nothing to create private sector jobs," he said.

    The GOP objected to raising $10 billion in taxes on some U.S.-based multinational companies. Advocates for the poor were protesting a provision to accelerate the phasing out of an increase in food stamp payments implemented in last year's economic recovery bill. Under the measure, payments would return to pre-stimulus rates in 2014, saving almost $12 billion.

    "State and local budgets are out of balance and Washington, D.C., has decided to bail them out with money borrowed from China to be paid for by our children and grandchildren," Fitzpatrick said.

    In a press release, Murphy stated that "Keeping cops on the beat by closing down Bermuda tax shelters for big corporations makes sense to me."
    By the way, I would ask that Mikey take a look at the black framed area in this graph. That is the portion of the debt run up by the ruinous 109th Republican Congress while he represented this district (in trillions). He can think about that the next time he prattles on about the debt we’ve run up under our Chinese “benefactors” that will have to be paid off by “our children and grandchildren” (a tragic byproduct of the offshoring of our jobs, which Mikey didn’t do a thing to prevent, it should be emphasized).

    And as we know, government can’t directly compel the private sector to create a new job, though it can keep people employed in the jobs they have (Mikey is typically counting on us to forget that, of course).

    I’m also not surprised to hear Fitzpatrick criticize Murphy’s efforts to keep teachers employed; this tells us that our former rep voted for a $250 annual tax credit for teachers, though, as you can view from the video here, at least one teacher far exceeded that amount in yearly out-of-pocket expenses for his students.

    Also, as noted here, Fitzpatrick opposed tax credits for job creation; more than that, it’s actually funny to for Mikey to preach fiscal austerity considering all the pay raises he awarded himself when he was a Bucks County Commissioner (here).

    At least one candidate in this race is doing what he can to try and revive our economy which was very nearly wrecked under Mikey, Dubya and the Repugs, and to reward his good behavior, click here.
  • Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    After this week, I truly hope I never hear the phrase “the professional left” again (I know I got into this over here, but some of it bears repeating)…

    …and one bad outcome over what Gibbs said and the fallout was that it diverted attention from this; this is the only musical response I could think of (with the late Doug Fieger…actually, I don’t have a problem with Palin’s supposed sarcastic eye roll, which I think may have been just her dimwitted attempt at being folksy, as much as I had a problem with her cronies trying to put their hands over the camera – God forbid some footage goes viral that makes her look like a dope…again).

    Tuesday Mashup Part Two (8/10/10)

    (Part One is here...also, I had a couple of items in my “in” bin from the weekend that I’m just getting to now.)

  • Timed somewhat for the 36th anniversary of President Nixon’s resignation from office over the Watergate scandal, Adam Nagourney of the New York Times reported the following (here)…

    Officials at the National Archives have curated a searing recollection of the Watergate scandal, based on videotaped interviews with 150 associates of Richard M. Nixon, an interactive exhibition that was supposed to have opened on July 1. But the Nixon Foundation — a group of Nixon loyalists who controlled this museum until the National Archives took it over three years ago — described it as unfair and distorted, and requested that the archives not approve the exhibition until its objections are addressed.

    The foundation went so far as to invoke Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, noting that those presidents surreptitiously taped White House conversations before Nixon stepped on the scene.

    Bob Bostock, a former Nixon aide who designed the original Watergate exhibit and has been enlisted by the foundation to challenge the installation, filed a 132-page letter of objection to the archives last week, claiming that the exhibit lacked the context needed to help young visitors learning about Watergate to understand exactly what Nixon did.

    “Taping and wiretapping go back as far as F.D.R.,” Mr. Bostock said. “It lacks the context it needs: that Nixon was not the first president to do some of these things and that some of these things had been going on with many of his predecessors, in some cases, much more than he did.”
    It really cracks me up here that the Nixon people are acting like the fact that he taped conversations was the issue, forgetting, by design I'm sure, that the issue wasn't the actual taping, but the contents of what was taped...hush money to Watergate burglar Howard Hunt and the rest of them, what a pain in the ass Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox was as far as Nixon was concerned, some of the rough language that shocked people at the time, etc.

    Richard Nixon wasn't named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Watergate cover-up by a grand jury on March 1, 1974 merely because of the existence of the taping system (the grand jury also indicted White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, assistant to the President John Ehrlichman, AG John Mitchell, Republican official Robert Mardian, Special Counsel Charles Colson, Haldeman aide Gordon Strachan and Kenneth Parkinson of the Committee to Re-Elect the President in the cover-up).

    Richard Nixon wasn't maligned by individuals of diverse political persuasions merely because of the existence of a taping system in the White House, but for schemes such as formulating a plan with Haldeman to have the CIA impede the FBI's investigation of the Watergate break-in. He is also held in low regard by a great many Americans because of his "deliberate, contrived, continued and continuing deception of the American people," according to John Doar, Chief Counsel for the United States House Committee on the Judiciary, which he said in 1974 a few months before Nixon's resignation.

    And I, for one, can’t wait to view the exhibit at the National Archives.

  • Also (speaking of Republican chief executives), Former President Highest Disapproval Rating in Gallup Poll History told us the following (from here – more certifiable idiocy courtesy of Matt Bai of the Times)…

    Once, in what seems like another eon of Republican politics, George W. Bush dreamed of building a multiethnic party that would achieve dominance in a nation where the words “majority” and “minority” were losing their meaning. Mr. Bush was adamant, in the days after the terrorist attacks of 2001, that American Muslims not become the targets of public resentment, and he later pushed a plan to offer illegal immigrants a path toward citizenship.
    In response, I give you the following (here)…

    In the days after the horror of the 11 September attacks, President George W Bush made a point of saying Muslims per se were not America's enemy.

    But in the five years since then, he has taken less care to emphasise that message, US Muslim leaders are saying.

    They are upset about his use of terms like "Islamic fascists", which he used this week both for Hezbollah and the suspected bomb plotters held in the UK.

    "It offends the vast majority of moderate Muslims," Ahmed Younis said.

    "The use of the term casts a shadow upon Islam and bolsters the argument that there is a clash of civilisations between Islam and the West," Mr Younis, the national director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (Mpac), told the BBC.
    Also (returning to Bai)…

    When Mr. Bush, a Texan fluent both in Spanish and in immigration policy
    Ugh – Bai is such a dope; as noted here, Dubya is fluent in English only (and based on this, even that claim is debatable).

  • Update 8/12/10: And Bai remains a dope, as noted here (h/t Atrios).

  • Further, we should all welcome former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm back from vacation; he told us the following from here…

    Although polls show frustrated Americans now hold Obama responsible for the nation's lagging economic condition…
    Uh, no.

    Also, it appears that Malcolm has dug out his crystal ball through which he can peer into the political future (to wit)…

    A year from now if Obama's political standing continues its national slide presaging a possible Jimmy Carteresque single term…
    I’ll tell you what – just click here to read what Media Matters has to say in response (in particular to the Obama/Bush stuff).

  • Finally, Joe Pitts is at it again (here, on the subject of what to do if you lose your employer-based health insurance)…

    Congress recognized this problem in 1986 and gave Americans the right to continue their employee coverage in the Combined Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

    However, COBRA benefits come with a hefty cost. The unemployed must cover the full monthly cost of benefits plus a 2 percent administrative fee. This is typically more than $1,000 a month. Paying for COBRA benefits can quickly eat through a family’s savings and unemployment benefits.

    That’s why I voted for federal COBRA subsidies over the last two years that helped to pay for up to 65 percent of the cost of continuing benefits. Congress recently failed to pass an extension for this program. However, I support legislation that would continue this temporary benefit without increasing the deficit and without increasing taxes.
    As you may expect, Pancake Joe doesn’t bother to cite his votes, but this tells us that he voted No to a bill that, in part “would appropriate $79 billion to fund unemployment checks and COBRA health benefits for the long-term jobless and help states meet Medicaid obligations, among other social safety-net outlays.”


    The problem with COBRA is that when you need it, you can’t afford it. I’ve heard this over and over from people. Constituents asked me to find a solution, and so I’ve introduced H.R. 6001, the COBRA Affordability Act. My bill would allow Americans to save up for future COBRA payments tax-free.

    While my bill would not benefit current COBRA participants, it would provide a means for those currently working to plan for the possibility of future unemployment. Right now, COBRA benefits must be paid for out of personal savings, with no tax benefit.

    My legislation would allow workers to contribute to a new COBRA Premium Payment Account with pre-tax dollars. Individuals could contribute up to $2,500 a year to these accounts. The bill has a cumulative contribution cap of just under $12,000 per individual and just over $27,000 for a family. The caps are indexed to a government measure of medical price inflation and were established based on the average cost of buying COBRA benefits for two years.
    Soo…individuals can only contribute up to $12,000 and families up to $27,000 under Joe’s “cumulative contribution cap”? At that point, then, these folks are “maxed out”?

    And of course, this assumes that people will actually be able to save that much money for their own coverage (wonder how many years that will take)?

    Meanwhile, this tells us that “In 2008, the full annual cost of employer-sponsored health insurance averaged $4,704 for an individual policy and $12,680 for a family policy.8” (and you can be sure that those amounts have risen over the last two years; the only question is by how much).

    And keeping the Kaiser numbers in mind, under Pitts’s “plan” that he’s so proud of, individuals would only be able to afford their COBRA coverage for not quite three years and probably less ($4,704 divided by $12,000) and families for less than that ($12,680 divided by $27,000).

    And as Pitts tells us, his bill wouldn’t do a damn thing for anyone trying to pay for their COBRA benefits now (and not everyone who is unemployed qualifies for COBRA, it should be noted), because they weren’t clairvoyant and/or thrifty enough to anticipate their unemployment and squirrel away the money they need in advance.

    Once more, I must implore any voters of PA-16 who may be reading this to do the right thing and click here. As long as he is allowed to take up space in the House so he can vote No, Pitts’s very presence is a danger to working men and women and families across this whole country, not just in his own district.
  • Sunday, August 08, 2010

    Sunday Stuff

    (No posting tomorrow, blah blah blah, this is a recording I know...)

    By the way, do you want to know what a Dem is supposed to sound like? Pretty much like this (more here, and to do more, click here also)...

    Update 8/10/10: I give Conway more credit than to engage in the shenanigans here, but if somehow he had, this election would be over.

    ...and I thought this was really slick.