Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Saturday Stuff

In his terrific Special Comment a few nights ago (mentioned here also), Keith Olbermann referenced this scene from the 1960 film "Inherit The Wind," based on the play (even though the film is 50 years old this year, it is every bit as relevant today as it was then)...

...and speaking of K.O., here is "Worst Persons" from last night (it's cut off on the tape, but ABC gets it for letting Andrew Breitbart provide his verbal flatulence on election night - this is a bit of an update, but for any supposedly legitimate media outlet to associate with Breitbart AT ALL is an utter disgrace; Tea Party wingnut Jesse Kelly from Arizona gets it also for trying to spread the lie that the Dems bus illegal immigrants into his state to vote for elections - yeah, and we also serve them tequila and empanadas and prop them up in barcaloungers so they can watch comedy tapes of George Lopez...fool; but the perpetually awful Sharron Angle gets the top nod for literally running away from the questions of reporters, and in response to a reporter actually getting close enough to ask her something, she banned all reporters from campaign seriously people, what kind of a stone cold moron would think that a person like this deserves to be elected to the U.S. Senate? Never mind, I guess I shouldn't ask the question...and sorry Angle isn't included here either - I could include the entire MSNBC clip if their downloads were functional)...

...and somehow I have a feeling that, if you're reading this, you remember too (here)...

...and I wasn't sure if I was going to include this or not, but I decided to at about the last minute - the video got cleaned up a bit and it sounds like it was remastered (in the spirit of the season).

Saturday Stuff

(I also posted here about Tom Corbett's attempt at vote suppression.)

One of the last few plugs for Admiral Joe here in response (and here is a Toomey takedown from yesterday)...

...and here is another reminder as to why we should send "No-Corporate-Tax" Pat back to his pals on Wall Street (and yes, I know these are reruns, but they need to be repeated)...

...and still another reminder...

...and let's not forget PA-08 either (to help Patrick Murphy, click here)...

...and it looks like we can blame Obama for something else (snark)...

Has Obama Failed To Reduce Hostility Toward Obnoxious Americans Abroad?

...and I don't know how much of a Halloween-ish video this is, but it's kind of goth - reminds me a bit of "Monster Chiller Horror Theater" on SCTV, where Count Floyd kept trying to show scary movies that turned out to be not scary at all (for the dozen or so people out there who remember SCTV, the Canadian version)...

...and yep, I'd say this is appropriate for next Tuesday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Mashup (10/29/10)

(I also posted some stuff here.)

  • It looks like “Governor Bully” is hob-knobbing with the "hoi polloi" again (here)…

    Gov. Chris Christie took a jab from Jimmy Fallon on his late-night show last night over his decision to pull out of a cross-river tunnel project, in which the comic said people will have to get to New Jersey the way they usually do, "by accident."

    Christie tweeted at Fallon just now: @jimmyfallon Heard your joke about NJ last night. Why dont u come across the river on purpose and I'll give u a tour

    Then he got his own poke at Fallon for his Bruce Springsteen-homage opening sketch at the Emmys:

    @jimmyfallon Consider this is a formal invite. By the way — nice attempt at Born to Run but Bruce does it better.
    Keep reminding me that only liberals suck up to celebrities again, people, OK?

    I guess the only reason why I’m mentioning this at all is because I’m a bit shocked (though maybe I shouldn’t be) by the cowed silence form our corporate media over the fact that Christie killed the $8.7 billion New-Jersey-to-New-York-City tunnel project with barely a peep of protest from our news organizations with initials for names.

    Well, one person who most definitely is not going to go quietly is NJ Dem Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who tells us the following from here…

    NEWARK – Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued the following statement in response to Governor Chris Christie’s decision to kill the critical Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Tunnel project:

    “The Governor was given a deal from the federal government on Sunday that put no extra imposition on the state of New Jersey for its obligation to the ARC Tunnel project, and the Governor refused it. It was clear from the beginning that Governor Christie planned to kill the ARC Tunnel no matter what. In doing so, the Governor has once again put politics over performance.”


    Christie Myth: The Federal Government did not provide a proposal that would have shielded New Jersey from being responsible for cost overruns beyond the current state share of $2.7 billion.

    Truth: The Federal Government provided options to the state for transferring responsibility for covering overruns to a private entity through a Public Private Partnership (“P3”).


    Christie Myth: The Federal Government did not offer New Jersey any additional Federal funds beyond the $3 billion already committed.

    Truth: The Federal Government offered a financing option in which it would provide an additional $358 million dollars, bringing the total Federal commitment to an unprecedented $3.358 billion.


    Christie Myth: The actual cost to New Jersey of this project will be $3.5 billion because the state will be on the hook for Portal Bridge.

    Truth: The Federal Government presented Governor Christie with a proposal for a Public Private Partnership (“P3”) that would not only relieve New Jersey of responsibility for cost overruns, but also of the cost of the Portal Bridge.


    Christie Myth: He is killing the tunnel because the state cannot afford it.

    Truth: He is killing the tunnel in order to move $1.25 billion in New Jersey Turnpike Authority funds dedicated to the ARC Tunnel to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.


    The Governor was presented with a proposal from the Department of Transportation (as noted above) that would shield New Jersey from the risk of cost overruns. The Public Private Partnership (P3) proposal was presented to Governor Christie as follows:

  • Federal Contribution: $3 Billion

  • Port Authority Contribution: $3 Billion

  • New Jersey Contribution: $2.7 Billion (hard cap)

  • Private Investors: $1.85 Billion plus assumption of risk of cost overruns
  • Good for Lautenberg – nice to see someone tell Christie off for a change, instead of the other way around.

  • Next, I give you the latest in the ongoing story of the rejected absentee ballot applications in Bucks County (from here – a brief summary of what has happened so far can be obtained from here).

    And by the way, get a load of how the Courier Times divided up the stories online:

    In response, here is some required reading for the person or persons responsible for the paper’s online content.

    Returning to the story today, I give you the following:

    In a news release, Murphy's campaign said the board of elections remedied errors on Republican ballot applications but not those of Democrats.

    As evidence, the Democrats provided a copy of an absentee ballot application submitted by a Republican woman from Bensalem who used her married name, although she is registered under her maiden name, and failed to include her date of birth. Board of elections workers added the woman's maiden name and approved the application.

    In contrast, the Democrats provided copies of applications submitted by Democrats from Levittown and Fairless Hills who put incorrect dates in the field for date of birth.

    The Democrats "didn't get the same special treatment," as the Republican voter, the news release says.

    (Board of Elections Director Deena Dean) said the campaign staff's allegations are absolutely false.

    "No one has been tampering with any ballots and I'm offended by that," Dean said.

    Dean explained that a ballot application with a woman's maiden name is permissible. A voter who has married and changed his or her name but has not updated his or her voter registration may sign an affidavit at the poll. Dean did not explain why the application was approved without a date of birth.
    Of course she didn’t, because she didn’t want to admit that Cawley and Martin told her to do that (no, I don’t have proof, but this is beginning to “walk like a duck and talk like a duck,” if you know what I mean, particularly since Bucks has had trouble with running fair elections in the past, as noted in a Murphy campaign press release... I’ll try to track it down and link to it).


    Bucks County Republican Committee Vice Chairwoman Pat Poprik said the congressman's news release was misleading. She said she was familiar with one of the rejected Democratic applications and noted that it had been denied for other defects in addition to the incorrect date of birth.

    "They selectively told you what was on that card," Poprik said.
    Well then, why else was the application rejected? Can the Repugs do anything on this story except accuse Democrats of wrongdoing without any proof?

    The big “takeaway” for me on all this, though, is the letter on Rob Ciervo’s letterhead accompanying the absentee ballot application saying “Mike Fitzpatrick and I need your help” and instructing voters as follows: “If the application is for a student who will be away in November, be sure to use their college address to ensure they receive the ballot in a timely manner” (here...the whole business about whether the PA Voter Assistance Office exists or not is nothing but a red herring as far as I'm concerned).

    So the application is filled out with the college address, sent to the Bucks County Board of Elections…and then it is tossed because it doesn’t match the address to which the absentee ballot application was originally sent.

    Welcome To Voter Caging 101, ladies and gentlemen. Your instructors are Dr. Ciervo, Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Cawley and Mr. Martin.

  • With all of this in mind, this makes the following information on behalf of Congressman Patrick Murphy for this Tuesday all the more important (I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to sneak in any more plugs for him over the next few days, but we’ll see).

    As noted here, Murphy played a role in bringing the following jobs to our area:

    • February 2009 – ETC Southampton, U.S. Navy contract: 300 direct jobs, hundreds more from using local contractors/vendors

    • March 2009 – Humanistic Robotics: several dozen jobs and a new company moving into Bucks

    • April 2009 – Neshaminy Creek Watershed: 200 jobs elevating homes and businesses along the flood plain

    • May 2009 – Lockheed Martin, NASA contract: 50 new jobs direct from contract; many more expected through 2010 (total of 250 so far since Rep. Murphy took office)

    • June 2009 – SEPTA Croydon Station revitalization: 2-year project, over 100 jobs

    • August 2009 – Brenner Aerostructures, Boeing contract: 25 new jobs over 2 years

    • November 2009 – ETC Southampton, South Korean Air Force contract: 100 direct jobs, hundreds more from using local contractors/vendors

    • December 2009 – Y-Carbon, Inc.: 25 jobs from expanding their manufacturing operation to Bucks from Montgomery

    • January 2010 – Gamesa USA: $2.8 million in tax credits for manufacturing and green jobs

    • January 2010 – AE Polysilicon: $44 million in tax credits for manufacturing and green jobs
    Also, Patrick was responsible for the following:

  • He won the endorsement of five small businessmen (four of whom are Republicans) here (last item).

  • Murphy has worked tirelessly to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (second item here).

  • He kept teachers and other public workers from losing their jobs (last item here – and by the way, as long as Mikey has been screaming about the supposed profligacy of the Dem Congress, take a look at the chart in the post to see the debt run up by the Republican congresses earlier in this decade).

  • He supported primarily low-income veterans here – also, an amendment he sponsored in response to the awful Citizens United ruling that passed the House is noted.

  • He explained here about how taxes have been lowered under Obama and the Dems in Congress (yes, it’s true, people).

  • He took the lead in legislation creating the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail - a 685-mile path crossing eight states from Newport, R.I., to Yorktown, Va., as noted here.

  • Oh, and the Courier Times said that Murphy has “shied away” from HCR – yeah, right.

  • Murphy also took the lead in passing the HOMESTAR Energy Rebate and “Cash For Caulkers” programs here.
  • And as noted from here…

    This is part of Congressman Murphy's accomplishments along with those of the 111th Congress, including passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create and save 3.5 million jobs, as well as giving a tax cut to 95 percent of this country's workforce (Mike Fitzpatrick, by contrast, said the stimulus "brought us less jobs," a claim that was called false by

    This Congress also enacted legislation reforming the system of federal student loans to save taxpayers $87 billion -and then investing $77 billion of those savings back into education, particularly by making college more affordable, and directing $10 billion back to the Treasury to reduce entitlement spending.

    Add to this list of accomplishments numerous jobs bills, including a bill to invest $31 billion in science, technology, innovation, math education, cutting-edge research, advanced manufacturing technologies, and workforce training; the "Cash for Clunkers" program, which spurred the sales of 700,000 vehicles and revived the auto industry; blocking a 21 percent cut in Medicare physician payments; granting new powers to the FDA to regulate the advertising, marketing and manufacture of tobacco products as well as regulating the food supply to prevent illness outbreaks; forcing health insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions; ethics reform including new lobbying restrictions; and passing a credit card bill of rights (I would say that the House, including Murphy, has a record to be proud of).
    Also, as noted today from here…

    Legislators who want to repeal (or in other ways, harm) the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would rather you didn't know that any Pennsylvanian who has been denied medical insurance coverage for at least six months due to a pre-existing condition and do not qualify for Medicare/Medicaid can now get medical insurance coverage.

    With federal funds allocated in the new law, any state can implement high risk pool coverage. Pennsylvania has done so under Highmark PPO Blue Shield.

    I urge everyone who thinks they may qualify to call toll-free 1-888-767-7015 and place an application.

    As of Oct. 1, I now have medical insurance coverage. Wholeheartedly, I commend Congressman Patrick Murphy for voting to pass the new law that made this possible.

    Because of a seizure disorder - which has been medication-controlled for over 10 years and is not life threatening - I went without medical coverage for over three years. I was consistently turned down - or offered coverage at minimum $835 a month; $10,000 deductible, if coverage at all. A letter from Aetna reads, "We have declined your application ... a history of seizures (and) ... your health history exceeds the allowable limits provided by our underwriting guidelines."

    This kind of letter is routinely sent to people with diabetes, high cholesterol, battered women and others who through no fault of their own have conditions that the medical insurance industry deems that, since there is the possibility that they may have to actually pay for services, they'd rather not. If denying coverage for illness' sake, then what are premiums collected for?

    Here's an analogy: Old cars (I'm a 63-year-old) can get liability insurance. This liability covers you if I get into an accident (or a long-term illness). With my "liability" insurance if I go into the hospital and incur high medical bills, guess who doesn't have to pay for my repairs: You!

    I pay an affordable premium: $283 per month with a $1,000 deductible and $20-$50 copays. I have the medical coverage I need, which keeps you from paying for me!

    From an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 11: "90 percent or more (premium dollars) will go toward patient care with the remaining share spent by the state for administrative expenses to Highmark for its contract work."

    Again, I urge anyone who thinks they may qualify to call toll-free 1-888-767-7015.

    Barbara Stakes
    Oakford, PA
    And I suppose I wouldn’t be “fair and balanced” if I ignored Mikey Fitzpatrick here, so I’ll merely add the following (from here)…

    Republicans vow to repeal health care reform, privatize Social Security, end Medicare as we know it, give tax cuts to millionaires and preserve tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas.

    They can call themselves the tea party, the Jefferson Club or even Kitchen Table Patriots, but they are still the same old Republicans to me.

    Regina Axenroth
    Levittown, PA
    Also, a “Vent” submission today stated the following:

    “The Murphy endorsement (by the Courier Times) was about his accomplishments. The Fitzpatrick endorsement was about bashing Murphy. All hat and no cattle, just like the campaign.”
    Indeed, and to help Congressman Murphy (and time is short now, people), click here.
  • Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    OK, so let's do a recap on the absentee ballot application story here in Bucks County to find out where we're at, OK?

    On Tuesday the story broke in the Courier Times that 600 absentee ballot applications for this Tuesday's election were rejected (deadline for filing applications is tomorrow). Yesterday, Pat Poprik, Vice Chairwoman of the Bucks County Republican Party, accused Patrick Murphy and the Democrats of "Chicago style politics," which, as I pointed out, was absurd on its face because what she was implying was "voter caging," and it's not logical for the Dems to "cage" other prospective Dem voters (#1 here).

    Today, the Patrick Murphy campaign responded, claiming that the Bucks County Republican Party has engaged in a systematic campaign to disenfranchise Democratic voters (of the rejected absentee ballot applications, 82 percent were from Democratic voters). And all the Republicans had to support their specious claim that Democrats were trying to force Republicans to file absentee ballot applications was "testimony" from people who wouldn't even provide their names (#2 here).

    Now, here is the latest - the Murphy campaign has filed charges against the GOP-controlled Board of Elections for illegal voter suppression here. And it gets even better; this tells us that the Murphy campaign has obtained a letter sent by Fitzpatrick and "Self" Ciervo instructing recipients on how to commit voter fraud for real.

    This is all about to bust wide open, people. In light of this, I have no idea as to whether or not next week's election will yield a fair result, but I'm sure the lawyers will end up living happily ever after.

    And with all of this, I think this seasonal tune is highly appropriate.

    Thursday Mashup (10/28/10)

  • Former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm actually asked a good question today here (shocking, I know)…

    “When’s the last time you heard someone from Harvard admit that they were wrong?”

    Hmmm, I have to admit that that’s a real poser for me too (Harvard Business ’75, to be exact).

  • Next, the Bucks County Courier Times assigned two more reporters to the absentee ballot application controversy and actually did a respectable job in reporting the story today (here)…

    In documents filed with the Bucks County Board of Elections, the state Democratic committee said the Republican Party machine that controls county government is working to disenfranchise voters.

    "What makes their current scheme so egregious is that the Republicans are trying to prevent people, many of whom are ill or bedridden and incapable of going to the polls on Election Day, from legally casting absentee ballots," wrote Philadelphia attorney Keith Smith, of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, in the response for state Democrats.

    The response asked the board of elections to dismiss the Republican complaint in its entirety.

    A letter to the board of elections penned for the state committee by Doylestown attorney Jordan Yeager noted that among more than 600 absentee ballot applications rejected by board of elections staff for defects including signatures and birthdates that don't match voter registration records, 82 percent were from Democratic voters.

    The letter called upon the board of elections to provide more time for voters to submit absentee ballots due to the large number of rejected applications and subsequent delays in obtaining ballots.

    Yeager said the state election code contains a provision for emergency absentee ballots to be submitted until the close of polls on Election Day. Normally, the deadline for absentee ballots is the Friday before the election. The deadline for voters to apply for an absentee ballot was Tuesday.

    "We're saying, 'You're the cause of this. You ought not hold them to that five o'clock Friday deadline. Give them until Tuesday. We're still trying to clean up the mess you made,' " Yeager said.
    And in response…

    In his own news conference Wednesday, Fitzpatrick called for Murphy to answer questions regarding the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort that included a series of letters to Bucks County voters the Republicans labeled misleading.

    Fitzpatrick said he wants to know who compiled the list of addresses where the letters were sent, why those people were targeted and who is going door-to-door on behalf of his campaign. While Persico acknowledged the campaign's involvement with the letters, he said Tuesday that the Murphy campaign has not employed anyone to canvass neighborhoods.

    State Republican committee spokesman Michael Barley said the allegations against the Democrats and Murphy are serious and called for the criminal investigation to continue.

    "Republicans continue to stand in favor of ensuring that every registered voter can cast their ballot while Patrick Murphy seems OK signing people up for absentee ballots whether or not they actually requested them," he said.
    To begin, Fitzpatrick’s request is completely unreasonable because the “burden of proof” is not on the state Democratic Party, but on the Bucks County Board of Elections Republican Party. In addition, the charge that absentee ballots were sent to people who did not request them is completely baseless; anonymous individuals are cited in the story who say that they were approached to fill out forms for absentee ballots, but no one goes on the record of course (a charge dutifully repeated in an editorial in the paper today that might as well have been written by Bucks Repug Party Chair Harry Fawkes).

    As usual, Mikey and his playmates are fishing for a campaign issue out of this.


    The Democratic state committee asserts the letters were part of a voter education effort to inform recipients of their right to vote by absentee ballot if they meet specific qualifications. The committee also contends that letters comply with state election law.

    It rejects a GOP allegation that the Democrats had voters return their ballot applications to a post office box rather than the county voter registration office so that the party could screen them.

    "Since the letter was only addressed to registered Democratic voters, there would be no rationale to 'screen' applications," the Democrats' response says.

    The committee also says Republicans have no evidence to support their allegation that applications were screened or discarded.

    The Democrats also criticize the Republicans' inclusion of affidavits by Bucks County voters who claim they were approached by "a man" or "young man."

    The Democrats also say that six affidavits by Bucks County voters included in the Republican petition are unreliable. The voters claim they were approached by young men who encouraged them to apply for unneeded absentee ballots or complete an application on a family member's behalf.

    "Based upon the description provided + it is not possible to identify who the people were that allegedly approached the accusers," the Democrats' response says. The Democrats also say neither the party nor any Democratic candidate would have authorized the activities alleged in the petition.

    Finally, the state Democrats argue that the state election code provides no legal basis for the Republicans' request to prevent absentee ballots from being counted until the board of elections can complete an investigation of the party's allegations.

    Yeager's letter on behalf of the state committee alleges the board of elections has disenfranchised voters by falsely claiming the signatures on their absentee ballot applications does not match the signatures on file with the board of elections. A review of 13 voters' files reveals the signatures on their applications do, in fact, closely match those on file, Yeager wrote.

    Yeager also wrote that the board of elections appears to have denied absentee ballots because the applicants provided invalid excuses for not voting at the polls. He said the Democrats identified a representative sample of 11 voters whose applications were denied despite providing valid reasons for their absence including work and family obligations.

    Several people contacted by the newspaper Wednesday whose ballot applications were rejected said they had similar experiences to those described in the Democratic responses.

    Betty Schramm of Furlong said her daughter Katherine Schramm-Strosser received a notice that her ballot application was rejected because the signature on the application did not match county records. Schramm said her daughter's signature has likely evolved in the 12 years since she first registered to vote.

    Karen Monahan of Middletown said her son Brett Monahan applied for an absentee ballot because he attends college in New York. His application was also rejected because the signature did not match the one on file.
    Gee, I wonder if Monahan’s signature was rejected because the ascending character in the letter “T” of his first name was missing or crooked?

    And by the way, I have no proof of any wrongdoing on the part of Deena Dean, the Bucks County Board of Elections Director. However, as noted here in the matter of the Creekside polling place move from about two years ago, it apparently has been common practice for her to be bullied by Commissioners Jim Cawley and Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin, as well as former Operations Officer David Sanko, in the course of the three trying to get what they want. Is it really a stretch to think that that didn’t happen again in this case (at least concerning Cawley and Martin)?

    I think it’s safe to say that this story will be ongoing for some time, as long as it takes to get to the bottom of this mess.

  • In addition, Texas Repug U.S. House Rep Lamar Smith warned us here that the election next Tuesday is also about Terra! Terra! Terra!...

    We know that former Gitmo detainees often return to terrorism. The Pentagon has reported that at least 20% of released Gitmo terrorists have returned to plotting attacks against Americans.
    In response, I give you the following (here)…

    So who are these approximately 116 men (out of the 532 prisoners released from Guantánamo under George W. Bush) who have allegedly “engaged in recidivist activities”?

    We know, from earlier Pentagon claims, that this “recidivism” has included — and may well still include — publishing houses, the offices of newspapers, TV studios, and film sets because the Pentagon admitted (in a press release that was subsequently deleted from the Pentagon’s website, but is mirrored here) that it included former prisoners, like the Tipton Three — three young men from the West Midlands — who had appeared in a movie, The Road to Guantánamo, which dramatized their experiences, and the five Uighurs sent to Albania in 2006, after tribunals at Guantánamo cleared them of being “enemy combatants.” In the latter case, this was apparently because one of them, Abu Bakker Qassim, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he urged U.S. lawmakers to defend habeas corpus.

    In the years since, many more ex-prisoners have written books, newspaper articles, and op-eds, and have appeared on TV and in films. Perhaps Omar Deghayes, the British resident (released in 2007), who appeared in the Guantánamo documentary that I co-directed, Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo, has now joined this ever-expanding group of “recidivists” who have dared to use their words and their voices to “attack” the United States for what it did to them in its brutal, experimental prisons in Afghanistan, Guantánamo and elsewhere.

    Clearly, however, the main thrust of this propaganda is directed not at these men, but at others — 70, 80, 90 men, perhaps — who have supposedly engaged in terrorism since their release.

    Is this plausible? In a word, no.
    This is par for the proverbial course when it comes to Smith, though – as noted here, he claimed that Obama AG Eric Holder didn’t use the expression “a radical version of Islam” when testifying before Congress (Holder did) and he equated illegal immigrants with “terrorist weapons” here.

    But believe it or not, Smith doesn’t think terrorism is the greatest threat facing this country; as noted here, his number one boogeyman is “liberal media bias.”

    The best way to respond to this from Smith is to click here and support his opponent next Tuesday, Lainey Melnick.

  • Also, it looks like the “stim” created more “non-jobs” in PA (snark) based on this last night…

    LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP, Oct. 27 – State Rep. Steven J. Santarsiero, D-Bucks, will participate in a ribbon-cutting event to mark the completion of a project to replace 23 incandescent traffic lights with LED models, as well as replace all freestanding parking lot light poles with LED fixtures at the Lower Makefield Township Building.

    The event will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28 at the township building, 1100 Edgewood Road in Yardley.

    Santarsiero, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger and other local officials are expected to attend the event.

    Lower Makefield Township received this grant through the PA Conservation Works! Program, a competitive grant program, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is designed to help local government and nonprofit organizations improve energy efficiency, curb energy consumption and reduce energy costs by at least 25 percent.
    Sorry I’m a little late getting to this – to support Steve, click here.

  • Update 1/14/11: Speaking of John Hanger, this letter doesn't cast him in a favorable light on the issue of hydrofracking and the Marcellus Shale.

  • Finally, I know I’ve been beating the drum about voting next Tuesday and supporting Democrats as if our livelihoods depended on it (it does as far as I’m concerned), but as this tells us, President Obama recently met with five of our “A list” brethren yesterday. And that’s a good thing.

    Anybody have a clue as to why it took him a week until the election to do it?

  • Update: Dear God Almighty, “President Hopey Changey” just let the air out of another balloon (here – I know The DC is a questionable source, but they’d have to go a long way to fabricate a quote like that, which, unfortunately, isn’t likely here given Number 44’s penchant to “build bridges,” which is usually commendable, but not now).

    Tim Profitt isn’t just a “supporter” – He’s A CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR FOR RAND PAUL! (Update: The NY Times reported today that Profitt is no longer with the Rand Paul campaign)

    And as noted here, Profitt wants an apology from the woman whose head he stomped.

    For this.

    Yes, I’m serious.

    “In fairness, I don’t expect every candidate to be responsible for every single supporter’s actions”…

    If someone from the Conway campaign had done this to a Paul supporter (though I give them more credit than that), every Repug in this country would be calling for a congressional investigation (and probably screaming ACORN all over the place, even though the group is defunct…why let the truth get in the way of some genuine propaganda?).

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff (update)

    Nail. Hammer. Head. - it's Keith Olbermann versus the tebaggers tonight in perhaps his finest "Special Comment" of his very best at least.

    As I watched this, I had a few reactions. One was relief that SOMEONE IN OUR CORPORATE MEDIA WAS FINALLY CONNECTING THE DOTS! Another was disgust that it has come to this point and so late in the game, and another was a bit of disappointment with myself...I don't know about anybody else who puts his or her opinions in a public sphere like this, but no matter what good I may do in my small way, I always feel like I should be doing more, screaming louder...something. Ultimately, it's up to me to deal with it, I know.

    Anyway, here is Part 1...

    ...and here is Part 2...

    Update 10/28/10: And by the way, all the teabagger stuff, important as it is to call it out, is partly a smokescreen to cover up this.

    ...and here is one antidote to the teabaggers (and by the way, here is an update to the absentee ballot applications matter that makes a hell of a lot more sense than anything I've read on this in the Courier Times, who, as far as I'm concerned, have utterly bungled this story)...

    ...and if this song doesn't capture your mood for going out to vote on Tuesday after watching K.O.'s Special Comment tonight, then you don't have a pulse - perhaps no conscience either.

    Wednesday Mashup (10/27/10) (update to #1)

  • The following story appeared from the banner headline of the Bucks County Courier Times yesterday (here)…

    Bucks County election officials rejected more than 600 applications for absentee ballots as of Monday and local Republican Party officials are reviewing those that had been granted for defects.

    Voter Registration Director Deena Dean said the number of ballot applications rejected for mismatching signatures, incorrect birthdates and other problems is substantially higher than in recent elections.

    While the number of absentee ballot applications issued so far this year - 11,331 - is only slightly higher than in the last mid-term election four years ago, the number of defective applications is significantly larger. Dean said she hasn't kept count in years past, but the file drawer where her workers usually store the rejects is overflowing.
    And by the way, I would ask that you keep in mind that we’re talking about applications for absentee ballots, as opposed to the actual ballots themselves.


    While the reason for the surge of bad applications is unclear, Bucks County Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Pat Poprik said she believes it is the result of a Democratic effort to steal the election using Chicago-style tactics.
    And leave it to the Courier Times to fail to note the absurdity of that remark.

    Well, a follow-up story in the Courier Times tells us the following (here)…

    A trio of Bucks County residents backed by the county Republican committee say they have evidence linking Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy's campaign to a scheme to flood the county voter registration office with fraudulent applications for absentee ballots.

    In a petition filed Tuesday, county Republicans say the name of Murphy's campaign manager appeared on a Bristol post office box where voters were urged in a series of letters paid for by the state Democratic Committee to send absentee ballot applications.

    The county Republicans submitted with the petition a photograph of a note inside the mailbox that said, "Tim Percico and Paul Hampel only pick up mail." Tim Persico is Murphy's campaign manager, although his name is misspelled in the note. Hampel is a volunteer for the Democratic state committee who said he collects mail from the box.

    While county and state Democratic officials denied involvement in the letter campaign or refused to discuss it, Persico said Tuesday that the "PA Vote 2010" project that paid for the letters is a partnership between Murphy's campaign and the state Democrats.

    Persico said the goal of the project is to help eligible Democratic voters obtain and cast absentee ballots.

    He dismissed assertions by Republican critics that the letters were misleadingly worded and noted that the Democratic state committee clearly takes credit for the mailings, which comply with all election laws.

    "The only reason the Republican Party is mad is working parents and college kids are sending in an application because they want to vote," Persico said.
    And in today’s story, the Poprik line about “Chicago-style politics” is repeated for good measure.

    So let’s count down the wingnut umbrage on this, OK? Five, four, three (here)…

    At issue is whether Rep. Patrick Murphy was directly involved with the absentee ballot scheme, which is being investigated by the local district attorney’s office and has so far resulted in the rejection of at least 600 absentee ballots for “defects.”

    The number of reject ballots, which is “significantly higher” than in previous years, has been reportedly fueled by errors including mismatching signatures and incorrect birth dates, indicators of potential fraud.

    This comes on the heels of the county Board of Elections recording (an) unusual spike in Democratic absentee ballot application last week. Within a six day period from Oct. 14 to 19, Democrat (sic) absentee ballot applications to the county increased by 67 percent as compared to Republican applications, a spike that occurred nowhere else in the state.
    Gee, that’s interesting, seeing that Deena Dean said above that “the number of absentee ballot applications issued so far this year - 11,331 - is only slightly higher than in the last mid-term election four years ago.”

    So basically, either Irrational Spew or Deena Dean is lying (and I would put my money on Irrational Spew). Also, leave it to I.S. to get the “fictitious voter office” part wrong in the post headline also; as noted here, there is such an office, though it isn’t an independent state agency, but based with the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee.

    Update 10/28/10: I edited the above paragraph to allow for the possibility that the Pennsylvania Voter Assistance Office may be fictitious - I don't think that has been completely established yet one way or the other, and I don't think that's really even the issue here...also, here is a link to the mailing.

    I honestly think what is going on here is that the Murphy campaign and the PA Democratic Party are trying to close the Repug edge in voter absentee ballots (noted in this post, by the way, "Democrat" reference and all) by trying to obtain as many absentee ballots for registered Democrats as they can. The only other explanation would be a voter caging scheme, whereby (as noted here) a political party would send “direct mail to addressees on the voter rolls, compiling a list of addressees from which the mail is returned undelivered, and using that list to purge or challenge voters’ registrations on the grounds that the voters do not legally reside at registered addresses.”

    And if the Murphy campaign is targeting Dem voters, what sense does it make to “cage” and disqualify them (and I give the Murphy campaign more credit than to try something like this with registered Republicans – someone is going to have to present rock-solid proof to get me to believe that).

    Also, as long as I’m mentioning the Courier Times, I should note that the paper has run advertisements for the Mikey Fitzpatrick campaign in its front-page banner every day for the last two weeks, along with full-page ads inside. I realize that the paper has the right to accept advertising of this kind, but I honestly cannot recall another person, place or product receiving this kind of preferential treatment, and I’ve been reading that paper for longer than I care to admit.

  • Update: Yep, this sounds about right, unfortunately.

  • Next, I give you the following from Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page (here)…

    You’ve probably read about ObamaCare’s harm to Snooki and more traditional interest groups like seniors and doctors. But what has gone unnoticed is ObamaCare’s harm to our troops.

    In a time of war, when medical devices like prosthetic legs are critical to the care of injured service members, ObamaCare slaps a destructive 2.3% tax on medical devices. The majority of companies who make these devices are small businesses for whom this tax will consume a significant portion or all of their profit margins, leaving them with two options — both harmful for our troops.

    The first option for these devices makers is to pass on the cost of the tax to consumers, thereby burdening the Veterans Affairs Department (VA). Given the VA’s limited budget, this will either lead to higher premiums for veterans enrolled in their insurance plan known as TriCare, or the Department will have to scale back other benefits it presently provides to veterans.

    The second option for device makers is to reduce the funds they dedicate to research and development, leading to less innovation and fewer advances that enable a better quality of life for our injured service members.

    Do we really want to send the message to our military service members that we want to increase their premiums, reduce their benefits, and cut back on the innovation that allows them to have a high quality of life? Of course not.
    Ugh – as noted from here…

    The health care debate featured no shortage of rumors designed to misinform the American people about the Affordable Care Act. And while the debate has ended and implementation of the new law has begun, the rumor mill hasn’t slowed down. The latest rumor is the unfounded charge that “America's wounded warriors face a new tax on prosthetic limbs and other vital medical devices.” Nothing could be further from the truth. While the new law includes a tax on big medical device manufacturers, the tax won’t be passed on to veterans and wounded active duty military personnel and veterans will continue to receive prosthetic devices at no cost from the VA and TRICARE.

    Here’s the truth behind the latest unfounded claim:

    • Today, wounded veterans and active duty military receive prosthetic devices from the VA or TRICARE at no cost. That won’t change under the Affordable Care Act.

    • We know medical device manufacturers will prosper under the new law -- the Affordable Care Act expands health insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans and these newly insured individuals will use products made by the medical device industry. This is already a large and profitable business; sales in the medical device industry even before the Act takes effect are estimated to be $138 billion for 2010. The new tax applies to this industry and will help ensure we provide more Americans with affordable coverage choices.

    • This is not a tax on consumers and claims that the tax will result in higher prices for prosthetics or other medical devices are wrong. Prices and reimbursements for medical devices will continue to be negotiated between the device industry and insurance companies, retail establishments, and the federal government, in the case of veterans and active duty service members. And the full cost of prosthetics for veterans will continue to be borne by the government.
    Also, it takes a particular kind of gall for someone to blame a Democrat for trying to improve the lives of our veterans when at least two Republican politicians, Sharron Angle (here) and Ken Buck (here), both running for the U.S. Senate, support privatizing the VA.

    And on top of that, a certain former Bushco Defense Secretary and his pals were linked to a privatization scheme at a VA hospital (here). Oh, and that doesn’t even take into account former Bushco VA head Jim Nicholson, under whose watch it took 145-150 days to process disability payments; he was also accused of denying wounded veterans disability pay and mental health treatment, as well as accidentally exposing millions of vets’ social security numbers to possible fraud and identity theft (all noted (here).

    As an aside, I should note that one of the authors of the DC post, Alex Cortes, represents a group trying to abolish HCR (of course), and the other is Michael Grimm, a U.S. congressional candidate who, as noted here, only has three campaign contributors from his district, so it's safe to assume where the rest of the money came from (OK, the post was in March - hopefully he's broken into double digits at least by now).

    The Citizens United legacy lives on.

  • In addition, former Bushco flak Dana Perino confided “5 Ways To Avoid Blowing It” to Repug candidates in the final days of the campaign here (with #1 being “Don't give any big interviews to the mainstream media -- this can only lead to a self-inflicted wound.”).

    Based on this, though, I think Perino should tell Repug candidates not to give an interview to anybody, based on her misadventure on the Sean Inanity program (and yes, I’m being tongue-in-cheek here).

  • Finally (speaking of our prior ruling cabal), today marks the fifth anniversary of the withdrawal of Harriet Miers (once referred to as "Hazel The Cleaning Lady" by Bill Maher) from consideration for the Supreme Court vacancy that would ultimately go to “Strip-Search Sammy” Alito.

    I don’t have anything particularly brilliant to add about that, but I only mention it to get in a plug for this blog on the subject, which provided more than a few funny moments when the episode with Miers played out and is still worth a chuckle or two every now and then.
  • Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    (Posting may be questionable tomorrow and Thursday - I'll do what I can.)

    In response, to help Admiral Joe, click here...

    ...and here is another reminder as to why we should send "No-Corporate-Tax" Pat back to his pals on Wall Street...

    ...and here is another important reason to support Patrick Murphy (here)...

    ...and I guess this is a little "goth" to get us in the mood for the upcoming holiday festivities.

    Mikey's Game Of "Past Is Prologue In PA-08"

    The Bucks County Courier Times tells us the following today (here)…

    As evidence mounts that mortgage lenders have been evicting homeowners using flawed paperwork, Congressman Patrick Murphy is calling for a moratorium on home foreclosures "to ensure families in Bucks County and across America get a fair shake."

    "With so many families struggling to keep their homes and revelations that some families may have lost their home to fraud, we need to take action and immediately freeze foreclosures," Murphy, the two-term 8th District Democrat, said. "The freeze will give these families the opportunity to keep the home they have worked long and hard to buy and give the government time to investigate these charges of fraud."

    The Federal Reserve on Monday became the latest government regulator to announce it would be looking into whether mortgage companies cut corners on their own procedures when seizing homes.

    Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed would look intensively to see if policies, procedures or internal controls led lenders to improperly foreclosure on homeowners. Preliminary results of an in-depth report are expected to be released next month.

    Murphy said the moratorium should last until lenders "can vouch for the integrity of their own process."

    Mike Fitzpatrick, Murphy's Republican opponent in the fast-approaching midterm election, said "Congressman Murphy's economic policy has always been to improperly interfere in the free market. And his support for higher taxes, increased government spending and bigger deficits are the cause of high unemployment and, ultimately, the higher rate of foreclosures."
    And as usual, Mikey offers no solutions, only criticism.

    There are a lot of reasons why Fitzpatrick should do the right thing and shut his damn mouth on this issue if he has not a clue as to how to address it. I’m thinking of basic human decency first and foremost (apparently, Mikey needs a bit of a refresher course on that subject after watching him during this campaign), but I’m thinking of political reasons also.

    To understand what I mean, I would ask that you read about a bill from the happily-now-long-gone 109th Congress, and that would be HR 1295, the Responsible Lending Act (here). The bill was sponsored by former Repug U.S. House Rep from Ohio Bob Ney, who was convicted of conspiracy and making false statements in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

    The title of the bill sounds benign enough, I realize, but as noted here…

    Consumer advocates are bringing out big names from the civil rights world to try to keep a lending industry-backed bill on predatory mortgage lending from rolling through Congress the way recent bankruptcy legislation did.

    NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and their groups are joining with consumer groups to oppose a bill introduced earlier this month by Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services housing subcommittee, and Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski (D-Pa.), the senior Democrat on the capital markets subcommittee.

    The civil rights leaders and the head of the National Fair Housing Alliance are expected to issue a statement today urging Congress to reject the Ney-Kanjorski proposal. The Post obtained a copy of the statement yesterday.

    The civil rights groups contend that the Ney-Kanjorski approach falls far short of what is needed to stop abusive lending targeted at minorities, the elderly and immigrants and instead removes protections in existing federal law and in state and local regulations. The states and local jurisdictions have been passing laws since about 1999 as lending to subprime, or higher-risk, borrowers has exploded. Although not all subprime lending is predatory, complaints about abusive lending, with hidden or excessive fees and deceptive practices, have skyrocketed as higher-cost, subprime loans have become available.

    Subprime lending now accounts for about 20 percent of the mortgage market, with about $500 billion in new loans last year.

    Consumer groups have painted the Ney-Kanjorski bill as intolerable and an "evisceration" of state and federal protections.
    (I would ask that you keep in mind that this story was written in 2005 - this tells us what would become of the subprime mortgage mess, for which Kanjorski can answer for himself as far as I'm concerned).

    And by the way, I would also ask that you go back to the GovTrack link above and click on the list of the 39 cosponsors. Guess whose name appears when you click to read the list?

    Why, Michael Fitzpatrick, R of PA-08, that’s who.

    Now who’s guilty of “improperly interfering with the free market,” Mikey? Now who’s guilty of trying to exacerbate “the higher rate of foreclosures”?

    This is all part and parcel of Mikey’s foul term in office, also epitomized by the following (as noted here)…

    Card Check: Fitzpatrick was a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act and is pictured on the AFL-CIO website signing an enlarged copy of the bill. In 2010, he is against Card Check.

    Cap and Trade: Fitzpatrick was a co-cosponsor with Henry Waxman on the Safe Climate Act of 2006. In 2010, he is against Cap and Trade.

    Earmark Reform: Fitzpatrick continued to fight for Pork Barrel Spending in the 109th Congress. In 2010, he wants earmark reform.

    Government Spending: Fitzpatrick received a "D" letter grade from the National Taxpayer Union in 2006. In 2010, he says we need to spend less.

    Energy/Off-Shore Drilling: Fitzpatrick opposed off-shore and ANWR drilling and voted against the American-Made Energy and Good Jobs Act of 2006. In 2010, he wants to explore drilling.

    Tax Cuts: Fitzpatrick opposed tax cuts and job creation (HR 6, The Energy Policy Act of 2005 - Roll Call #132 - 4/21/05). In 2010, he wants to focus on tax cuts and jobs.
    And just as a further reminder, I give you the following from here…

    - Here’s Mikey failing the mothers of children suffering from autism as these women advocate exploring whether or not vaccines could be responsible for this awful affliction.

    Here’s Mikey sponsoring something called the Railroad Security and Public Awareness Act, which supposedly provides more funding for mass transit security; the problem is that the bill is currently stuck in a House subcommittee.

    Here’s Mikey doing nothing (nothing good, anyway) about rising personal property taxes, health care costs, and student loan costs.

    Here’s Mikey “considering” supporting legislation to allow Medicare Part D recipients to buy drugs in bulk for less money, even though Medicare Part D wasn't listed as an issue on his “Mike On The Issues” health care page from his campaign web site).

    - Here’s Mikey’s
    ridiculous criticism of Patrick Murphy for attending a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. hosted by Nancy Pelosi when, to quote the Doylestown Intelligencer, Mikey “never met a PAC contribution he didn’t welcome” (and God, how tedious the “Murphy/Pelosi” linkages have gotten, even when they frequently have had no basis in reality).

    - Here’s
    more evidence of Mikey the "independent moderate" supporting Bushco both on the Iraq war and its failed domestic agenda also.

    Here’s Mikey voting to fund something called the Secure Fence Act (as opposed to an “insecure” fence? Does it have self esteem issues?) which provides funding for a fence along the Arizona/New Mexico border nowhere near the 8th congressional district, while Mikey and the Repugs voted down a host of homeland security measures including increasing the number of border patrol agents…and by the way, here is an update.

    Here’s Mikey stating his support for adult stem cell research, which holds nowhere near the potential for curing life-threatening illnesses as embryonic stem cells.

    Here’s Mikey supporting Social Security privatization and taking campaign funding from Dick Cheney, though he proclaims himself an “independent moderate.”

    Here’s Mikey voting against homeland security measures (I know I mentioned that above also) though he DID vote to fund the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska…talk about supporting “increased government spending,” a criticism which is actually hilarious anyway considering the debt racked up by the wretched 109th.

    Here’s Mikey voting for a conference report allowing drilling in the ANWR, and also voting against investing in cleaner energy (the mailing once in question, by the way, had no mention of the fact that Fitzpatrick is a Republican, though it did contain a quote from JFK as well as the former president’s picture).

    Here’s Mikey stating that he’s abandoned Bush’s policy on Iraq (Dubya had one?) while Fitzpatrick offered no plan of his own instead.

    Here’s Mikey trying to include an estate tax cut in legislation to raise the minimum wage (the legislation was defeated…again, I give you an example of “increased government spending”).

    Here’s Mikey’s sudden conversion to exploring alternative energy sources to lower energy costs, though in ’05, he voted against bills to crack down on gasoline price gougers and creating a strategic refinery reserve.

    Here’s Mikey calling for hearings on Bucks County flooding, even though, as a member of the Delaware River Basin Commission, he should have been familiar with the issue already.

    Here’s Mikey shredding the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens and remaining silent while Bush tried to raise acceptable levels of mercury in our drinking water.

    - Mikey wasted no time
    here in calling Iraq war vet Patrick Murphy “a cut-and-run liberal” right after Patrick defeated Andy Warren in the Democratic primary four years ago.

    - Mikey
    favored weakening House ethics rules, and his excuse was that he was trying to help pass a homeland security bill.

    Here’s Mikey supporting the House immigration bill punishing religious aid workers, including Catholics (his faith, for the five people who don't know that in PA-08 because they apparently aren't reminded frequently by the Courier Times).

    Here is the context in which Mikey provided that wonderful quote saying he’d win in ‘06 “If Bush had a 50 percent or better approval rating”...and recall that Mikey recently claimed that he lost in '06 "because of Bush and Iraq."

    Here’s Mikey trying to fudge on the “honesty” pledge he signed for the Bucks County Courier Times almost right after he signed it (with Mikey’s great quote, “The truth is a matter of interpretation”).

    Here’s Mikey traveling to Iraq to check on our troops, including whether or not they have adequate body armor, but not saying whether or not they actually do (and as a bonus, he also channels “Crazy Curt” Weldon’s “Able Danger” nonsense…truly a “golden oldie”).

    - And FINALLY,
    here’s Mikey refusing to say whether he thinks Don (“The Former Defense Secretary You (Had)”) Rumsfeld should stay or go.
    Also, in another chapter of “Today In Mikey Fitzpatrick History, More or Less,” this tells us that our former rep bailed out on a candidates’ media forum while Patrick Murphy called him out over “a slew of negative ads” (Fitzpatrick’s excuse was that he had to attend a Newtown Supervisors meeting over the issue of the veterans’ cemetery – Patrick made sure the cameras followed Mikey as he left; in response Mikey “turned towards Murphy and stared at him before leaving”).

    In addition, here is a reminder from the SEIU about how Fitzpatrick "failed to support U.S. troops, voting against rightful survivor benefits for families of fallen service members." Now, (Iraq war vet Jared) Baker says in the ad, "it's time to vote against him."

    Please click here to support Congressman Patrick Murphy. And vote as if your livelihood depends on it because, if Mikey and the Repugs return to power and pursue what will probably be a ruinous course once more to “press restart” on making the mess they made once before all over again, plunging our economy into catastrophe in the process, it probably will.

    Update: Not sure how I forgot this item in the post above, but I did...oops.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Monday Stuff (updates)

    It is personally loathesome and offensive to yours truly that a gutteral scumwad like Ron Johnson is actually still leading Russ Feingold in Wisconsin based on this - this video (more is here) is bad enough, but there is so much more that's wrong with this guy...

    ...and at this point, I don't know why anybody would have any doubts as to what Carly Fiorina is all about, but in case somehow you do, here is a reminder...

    ...also, click here to help Admiral Joe keep what probably will be his final campaign ad on the air...

    ...and oh yeah, concerning Admiral Joe's opponent, I give you this (and he keeps such good company too)...

    ...and get a load of the politician Rand Paul "admires most" in action at the end (based on this...see the last update - in response, click here to help Jack Conway)...

    Update 1 10/26/10: Disagree with Rand Paul - get your head stepped on (here...h/t Thers at Eschaton).

    Update 2 10/26/10: Nope, won't be able to sweep this under the proverbial rug...

    ...finally, I featured this song a few times in 2006, and I'm going to bring it back again now to try and fire up anyone who needs it.

    Monday Mashup Part Two (10/25/10) (updates to #5)

    (Part One is here.)

  • Most of these have to do with stories in The New York Times recently, including an otherwise sensible and somewhat interesting column on books pertaining to Democratic politics reviewed by Jonathan Alter, who also tells us the following…

    "Despite historic advances in 2008, liberals remain better at complaining than organizing, which is a big reason they may take a shellacking in November."
    Click here to find out what Wellstone Action! is doing to organize and encourage voter turnout next week, as well as the AFL-CIO here, the SEIU here, and Move here (and this tells us how labor responded, quite rightly IMHO, to the opposition of a certain Dame Blanche Lincoln to the Employee Free Choice Act).

    “Liberals remain better at complaining than organizing” – screw you, Alter (typical for a corporate media shill who has given us moments like well as this).

  • Next, Brian Stelter told us the following here, about a certain Rupert The Pirate trying to buy more political influence…

    Even more than they did than in 2008, Fox News Channel and its left-leaning counterpart MSNBC…
    OK, hold it right there.

    This tells us that Christine (insert your snark here) O’Donnell said that she had Sean Inanity “in her back pocket,” and this tells us that Sharron Angle goes on Fix Noise because the "mainstream media" won’t let her raise money on the air.

    In response, please tell me the last time that Rachel Maddow publicized the web site of a Democratic politician or Keith Olbermann allowed a Democratic candidate to fundraise on “Countdown,” or Ed Schultz publicized a campaign event that ostensibly promoted that political party (or even the first time).

    Every now and then, the whole “faux equivalency” bit gets a bit too much, and this is one of those times.

  • Sticking with The Old Gray Lady, Sheryl Gay Stolberg is already giving us a preview of what it will be like for Obama when the Dems lose Congress, in her view, including this ridiculous lede (here)…

    WASHINGTON — It took President Obama 18 months to invite the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, to the White House for a one-on-one chat. Their Aug. 4 session in the Oval Office — 30 minutes of private time, interrupted only when the president’s daughter Malia called from summer camp to wish her father a happy 49th birthday — was remarkable, not for what was said, but for what it took to make it happen.

    Not long before the meeting, Trent Lott, the former Republican Senate leader, lamented to his onetime Democratic counterpart, Tom Daschle, that Mr. Obama would never get an important nuclear arms treaty with Russia ratified until he consulted top Republicans. Mr. Lott, who recounted the exchange in an interview, was counting on Mr. Daschle, a close Obama ally, to convey the message; lo and behold, Mr. McConnell soon had an audience with the president.

    The White House says the meeting was about stalled judicial nominations, not arms control. But the fact that a former Senate leader found it necessary to work back channels to put Mr. Obama and Mr. McConnell in touch suggests the difficult road the president will face if Republicans win control of one or both houses of Congress on Election Day.

    Before Mr. Obama and Republicans can secure each other’s cooperation, people in both parties say, they must first figure out a way to secure mutual trust.
    I can see that Stolberg reads David Broder; he’s the only person I can think of who would concoct dookey as rank as this.

    Click here to read about how Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao plans to “figure out a way to secure mutual trust.”

    Lather, rinse, repeat…

  • Also, Peter Baker (who Broder actually mentioned in a recent column) wrote the following yesterday, again concerning the supposed coming Repug tidal wave (you can see what kind of skin our corporate media has in this game, so to speak – the column recalls the supposedly glorious days of bipartisanship that started with the Repug takeover of Congress in 1994):

    (President) Clinton employed a triangulation strategy after Mr. Gingrich’s Republicans took control, trying to play off both his own party as well as the empowered opposition. He declared the era of big government over and cut deals with Mr. Gingrich on welfare reform, while positioning himself as a bulwark against Republican excesses during the budget battle that led to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

    “The Republican victory in 1994 saved the Clinton presidency,” said (University of Oklahoma professor and historian Steven M.) Gillon, “because it freed him from the liberal wing of his party and allowed him to be more nimble and flexible, which he’s brilliant at. And it forced the Republicans to develop a governing philosophy. A campaign slogan may get you through Election Day but it doesn’t help you solve these very difficult problems.”

    I guess it’s really not surprising that Oklahoma pulls the stunts that it does from a political point of view if people like Gillon are looked upon as fonts of higher learning.

    Sure, it "saved" Clinton so he could be ruthlessly persecuted for a blow job from an intern while distracting this country from the al Qaeda threat, though Clinton is about the only one who saw it coming in the 90s.

    As noted here…

    Clinton's dire public warnings about the threat posed by terrorism, and the actions taken to thwart it, went completely unreported by the media, which was far more concerned with stained dresses and baseless Drudge Report rumors. When the administration did act militarily against bin Laden and his terrorist network, the actions were dismissed by partisans within the media and Congress as scandalous "wag the dog" tactics. The news networks actually broadcast clips of the movie "Wag the Dog" while reporting on his warnings, to accentuate the idea that everything the administration said was contrived fakery.

    In Congress, Clinton was thwarted by the reactionary conservative majority in virtually every attempt he made to pass legislation that would attack al-Qaeda and terrorism. His 1996 omnibus terror bill, which included many of the anti-terror measures we now take for granted after September 11, was withered almost to the point of uselessness by attacks from the right; Senators Jesse Helms and Trent Lott were openly dismissive of the threats Clinton spoke of.
    And oh yeah, read here to find out about how Clinton’s judicial nominees were stalled due to such glorious “bipartisanship.”

    As I’ve said, ignore our corporate media and vote Democratic next week as if your livelihood depends on it, because, if the Repugs take control and shut down government, launch endless investigations, snuff out almost everything the Obama Administration is trying to do and has done and ultimately send us back down the road to a full-scale economic depression again, it’s safe to say that it will.

  • And finally, I give you someone who will lead that charge backward with every fiber of his execrable being if he is allowed to do so, and that would be none other than PA-16’s waste of space (here)…

    Over the next few years, millions of American families, individuals and retired seniors will see their health coverage transformed by new regulations and decisions made by the Secretary and her successors. The bill uses the phrase, “The Secretary shall,” or one of its variants, more than 1,000 times. This means that Congress has left many of the important decisions regarding implementation up to the Secretary and the bureaucracy.

    If you like it, you can keep it; but only if the Secretary agrees.

    Just recently, the Secretary granted a one-year waiver to 30 companies and organizations that offer plans known as “mini-meds.” Many employers with large part-time workforces, such as McDonald’s, offer these plans. Without the waiver, these employers would have been forced to discontinue coverage. The biggest waiver was granted to a New York teachers’ union with 351,000 members.
    Soo…HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius forced “more than 30 companies” into “Obamacare” – by granting an exemption from it??


    Because of the new law, some insurers are getting out of certain sectors of the healthcare industry. Medicare Advantage plans will be cut by billions of dollars in the coming years.
    Which is actually a good thing concerning Medicare (Dis)Advantage, and this tells us why…

    When Congress created Medicare Advantage in 1997, the idea was that insurance companies could provide the benefits of traditional Medicare more efficiently and at a lower cost.

    Since then, the overall costs for Medicare have skyrocketed for the government, which has led to cost increases for some Medicare recipients.

    Health care costs to the government are expected to reach $2.5 trillion this year, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. One of the contributing factors to increasing program costs is subsidies paid to health insurance companies.

    The Department of Health and Human Services says the federal government pays, on average, 14 percent more to private insurance companies for providing Medicare Advantage coverage than what it pays for other Medicare programs. Because the overall program costs have gotten so high for the government, Medicare Advantage is driving up costs for everyone on Medicare.
    Returning to Joe Pitts…

    Medica Insurance Company in Minnesota will no longer sell child-only health insurance plans. The new law allows parents to wait until a child is sick before they buy health insurance, making it impossible for Medica to calculate the costs of coverage. Medica was the only provider of child-only plans left in Minnesota.
    Disinformation involving adults is one thing, but it’s repugnant even for a life form like Pancake Joe to use kids to try and make his hollow argument. As mcjoan of Daily Kos tells us here, maybe one of the reasons why parents can’t enroll their kids earlier (assuming the kids have a pre-existing condition, which, as far as the insurance providers are concerned, could be just about anything) is because the kids only have a limited enrollment window set by the providers (another scam to try and escape coverage).


    Changes are coming to those with employer-sponsored plans also. Just this week, Boeing sent a letter to 90,000 non-union employees informing them that they will pay significantly more for their health plan next year. New taxes on so-called “Cadillac Plans” are forcing companies to make changes years before the taxes go into effect.

    Earlier in the month, 3M informed employees that by 2015 the company will no longer offer group coverage to retirees not old enough for Medicare. This is because the federal government is eliminating tax breaks for companies who currently pay for retirees’ prescription drug plans.
    Concerning 3M in particular, the following is worth noting (here - link #8)…

    The changes won't start to phase in until 2013. But they show how companies are beginning to respond to the new law, which should make it easier for people in their 50s and early-60s to find affordable policies on their own. While thousands of employers are tapping new funds from the law to keep retiree plans, 3M illustrates that others may not opt to retain such plans over the next few years.


    "As you know, the recently enacted health care reform law has fundamentally changed the health care insurance market," the memo said. “Health care options in the marketplace have improved, and readily available individual insurance plans in the Medicare marketplace provide benefits more tailored to retirees' personal needs often at lower costs than what they pay for retiree medical coverage through 3M.”
    Pitts also quotes Democratic governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee as someone who disapproves of HCR, which is typically “loading the deck” in Pitts’ favor (gee, ya' think Bredesen is trashing "Obamacare" because he was passed over for HHS Secretary? Yeah, maybe "cut(ting) 170,000 adults from Tennessee's Medicaid program" would do it, as noted here).

    We have a week, people. Click here to support Lois Herr. Please provide whatever support your means allows.

    As kos once said (and probably will say again), “leave it all in the road.”

  • Update 10/26/10: Oh, and as noted here, Pitts and most of his House Repug playmates are trying to end "birthright citizenship" (charming).

    Update 10/27/10: And 104 Repugs in Congress, including Pancake Joe of course, also want to privatize Social Security (here).