Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Tuesday Mashup (2/1/11)

  • Being a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, I’m inclined to wonder how much sooner the apparently-pro-Democracy uprisings in the Middle East would have happened had not a certain Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History decided to press for Palestinian elections won by Hamas, as well as launch a war of choice in Iraq and pretty much ignore another in Afghanistan.

  • Also, I give you the following from the Bucks County Courier Times today (here)…

    Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is planning to meet with the CEOs of all Bucks County hospitals today, and it's highly likely the main topic will be Monday's ruling that the Democrats' health care overhaul is unconstitutional.
    And as we know, Mikey’s recent town hall was such a smashing success that, as noted in this Guest Opinion yesterday, he somehow paid more attention to the supposed amount of paperwork Wal-of-China Mart would have to do than he did to the cutoff age after which a son or daughter could no longer remain covered by their parents under the new law (which is 26, Mikey).


    U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson agreed with 26 states, including Pennsylvania, that the new law violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties. He went a step further than a previous ruling against the law, declaring the entire thing unconstitutional if the insurance requirement does not hold up.

    The Obama administration was relying on that provision to force younger people, who are more likely to be healthier and uninsured, into the system to help defray the plan's $938 billion cost.

    Asked how he would make plans more affordable, Fitzpatrick said "If you were to make health care policies portable to employees, they could have them through their lifetime. Younger workers would then be encouraged to purchase those policies."
    The more Mikey opens his mouth on this issue, the more you realize that he doesn’t have the first clue as to what he’s talking about.

    I have a feeling that “portable to employees” is right-wing code for allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines, which, as Ezra Klein points out here, is "a terrible, no good, very bad health-care idea” (sorry for the garbage characters)…

    Insurance is currently regulated by states. California, for instance, says all insurers have to cover treatments for lead poisoning, while other states let insurers decide whether to cover lead poisoning, and leaves lead poisoning coverage—or its absence—as a surprise for customers who find that they have lead poisoning. Here's a list (pdf) of which states mandate which treatments.

    The result of this is that an Alabama plan can't be sold in, say, Oregon, because the Alabama plan doesn't conform to Oregon's regulations. A lot of liberals want that to change: It makes more sense, they say, for insurance to be regulated by the federal government. That way the product is standard across all the states.

    Conservatives want the opposite: They want insurers to be able to cluster in one state, follow that state's regulations and sell the product to everyone in the country. In practice, that means we will have a single national insurance standard. But that standard will be decided by South Dakota. Or, if South Dakota doesn't give the insurers the freedom they want, it'll be decided by Wyoming. Or whoever.

    This is exactly what happened in the credit-card industry, which is regulated in accordance with conservative wishes....Citibank wrote an absurdly pro–credit card law, the legislature passed it, and soon all the credit-card companies were heading to South Dakota. And that's exactly what would happen with health-care insurance.
    If Mikey is talking about something else, then I give you the following from yesterday’s Guest Opinion in the Courier Times on this subject…

    For example, Fitzpatrick repeatedly stated that he wants a bill that increases competition and allows consumers to purchase insurance plans across state lines. This prompted several frustrated constituents to point to the part of the law that includes insurance exchanges, which provides the competition Fitzpatrick is asking for.

    Beginning in 2014, these exchanges would allow individuals and small businesses to pool together and shop for the best price by comparing plans from a variety of insurance providers. This is a major component of the new law, one which will have a major impact on making health insurance more affordable.

    After few awkward moments of silence, Fitzpatrick conceded that he was not familiar with that aspect of the bill, and said it was something he would "have to look at."
    Yeah, you do that, Mikey (and today’s Courier Times story also tells us that Fitzpatrick whines that Medicare and Medicaid “costs are out of control,” though he has not a clue as to how states are supposed to do a better job of administering Medicaid, including this one…nice for his designated stenographer Gary Weckselblatt to overlook that – must be good training for that job at Pottery Barn that surely awaits).

  • Also, John Harwood brings us the latest commercial from the Republican National Committee (here)…

    Even with a projected 2011 deficit three times that large, no one expected Mr. Obama to lay out peremptory solutions in his State of the Union. “That would be self-destructive,” said Robert Reischauer, who led the Congressional Budget Office during the 1990 deal.

    But Mr. Obama could have initiated negotiations with Republicans. He did not.
    Um…probably because Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao has no interest in actual negotiation unless Obama gives him everything he wants, which of course isn't "negotiations" at all, as noted here.


    The president is safeguarding two fragile recoveries — of the economy, and of his own popular standing. He promised in 2008 not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans; Mr. Bush’s re-election defeat in 1992 underscores the risk of breaking such vows.
    I swear, is Obama EVER going to get credit from corporate media jackals like Harwood for passing the largest middle-class tax cut in history through the stimulus two years ago??!!

    But wait – there’s more…

    The House speaker, John A. Boehner, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, have reason to be wary, too. Accepting tax increases would incite a Tea Party revolt. Embracing entitlement curbs that Mr. Ryan has proposed would provoke fierce Democratic attacks just after a Republican midterm triumph that was fueled by older voters.

    Thus, Mr. Ryan said, “a down payment on debt reduction” may be the best achievable outcome before 2012 elections. With 87 first-term House Republicans, he noted, “we’ve got a maturation process to go through” in understanding budget trade-offs.

    So that’s what it’s called, a “maturation process”? You mean, while you clowns preoccupy yourselves with dog-whistle garbage for the lower life forms who voted for you (abortion of course, funding NPR, and passing that “dead on arrival” health care repeal)? I don’t recall that a “maturation process” was given to the 110th and 111th Democratic congresses, particularly the 111th that passed so much historic legislation.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Harwood was taking hallucinogenic drugs (and I’m going to keep reminding him that he said that until he apologizes, assuming I ever see the day).

  • Speaking of moronic legislative ideas from Republicans, I give you the following from U.S. House Rep Dan Burton of Indiana (here)…

    It looks like the third time won’t be a charm for Republican Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana. A review of his resolution to encase the House visitors’ galleries with Plexiglass will likely not pass the House Administration Committee, whose chairman “will not support the bill.”

    Sixteen days after the shooting in Arizona that left six dead and Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured, Burton submitted House Res. 50,“[Providing] for enclosing the visitors’ galleries of the House of Representatives with a clear and bomb-proof material.”

    The resolution was immediately referred to the House Administration Committee, where it has sat since Jan. 24.

    “At this point, there’s not any intention to move this bill through committee,” said Salley Wood, a spokeswoman for California Rep. Daniel Lungren, chairman of the HAC.

    Wood said Lungren “does not support the bill.”
    Actually, I don’t think Burton has to worry, particularly since nobody will be shooting at a pumpkin (see #7 here)…and speaking of firearms, to me, there is nothing whatsoever that is “liberal” about Arizona’s insane non-gun restrictions (here).

  • Next, it looks like The Orange One isn’t going to support Obama’s call for a capital gains tax break for small businesses, as noted here…

    The White House on Monday announced that it will propose extending capital gains tax breaks for small business as part of its 2012 budget proposal due out in two weeks.

    The announcement is part of an effort by the Obama administration to show it is focused on “winning the future” through job creation and investment even as congressional Republicans are focused on budget cutting. The winning the future theme was introduced in President Obama's State of the Union address last week.

    Republican leadership quickly dismissed the initiative as too small and called for larger tax incentives and protection from regulation for small businesses.
    Funny, but Boehner had no trouble supporting capital gains tax breaks in 2001 and 2005, as noted here (oh, sorry, I forgot – that was before that Kenyan Marxist who won’t show us his Hawaiian birth certificate was elected without the help of the Supreme Court and electoral fraud in Florida and Ohio).

  • Finally, I give you the latest fake scandal from The Daily Tucker (here)…

    Activist group Judicial Watch is appealing a decision by the Air Force to withhold documents related to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of military airplanes.

    Documents released by the Air Force show Pelosi was provided chocolate-covered strawberries on one flight to celebrate the California Democrat’s birthday, among other luxuries. But of 43 flights, only 11 expense reports were provided to the group.
    Don’t worry, though – the “story” is amended at the bottom to tell us that the strawberries were provided by Air Force officials and were not requested by Pelosi and her staff.

    “Ah, but the strawberries,” right, Tucker…

    (I just felt like watching that scene again from this flick – wonder if Tucker and his pals have a Bogie-like fixation on this? And by the way, that’s a terrific performance as Queeg, and the best part of the movie for me is when Jose Ferrer throws the champagne in Fred MacMurray’s face.)

    And as long as I’m on the subject, let me point out that the practice of flying the House speaker on an Air Force jet originated with Dennis Hastert after the 9/11 attacks (here), which is wise given that the Speaker of the House is second behind the veep in presidential succession (God, “President” Boehner??)

    I tell you what; I’ll do a deal – if Tucker stops asking for Air Force jet expense reports for Pelosi, then I won’t ask for a daily itemized list of GOP fundraisers attended by The Teary One. I’m sure the former speaker’s expenses would pale next to the cash raised by the current one.

    Anonymous said...

    When mikey met with the ceo's of the hospitals perhaps he explained to the new ceo of lower bucks hospital the bankruptcy situation is his legacy as he and a republican financier and radio station owner were on the board of directors.

    doomsy said...

    Oooooh - SNAP!