Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday Mashup (11/4/11)

(Posting still flaky with probably no videos for a little while longer – working on it…)

  • I offer the following without comment; also, last week’s Area Votes in Congress writeup had only two votes (“Herculean” efforts by the U.S. House as per usual), including a vote to “make it harder for as many as 500,000 low- and middle-income individuals and families to qualify for Medicaid, taxpayer-subsidized private insurance, or Children's Health Insurance under the 2010 health law,” so aptly put by the Philadelphia Inquirer (Mikey the Beloved voted Yes, of course - as noted here, Repug U.S. House Rep Richard Hanna claims that President Obama supports this bill, but I could not verify that by use of that Google thingie...color me suspicious).

  • Next, I give you a lesson in Political/Media Double Standards 101 - first, the following (here)…
    (Repug presidential candidate Herman) Cain had the chance to take these old accusations about sexual harassment straight on, but that chance for him is gone now, in the wind, over a week when his version of things became as ridiculous as Bill Clinton telling us all that he did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.

    Herman Cain was never going to be a serious candidate for his party's presidential nomination, even against a field softer than Carvel ice cream.

    Now he's through.
    And for the response from "the usual suspects," I give you the following (here)…
    Following a report accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s, media conservatives are claiming that such allegations are often "meaningless" or used as "a political tool." But studies show that victims often endure serious psychological and professional side effects as a result of the experience.
    And let’s not forget that this denial is coming from the same bunch who voiced a similar reaction to the sex scandal involving former U.S. House rep Mark Foley a few years ago (here), though the Clinton/Monica Whatsername business will be forever new in the eyes of both the Repugs and our bought-and-paid-for Beltway media (here).

  • Continuing with the “values” stuff, here is more…
    In a 396-9 vote, the House of Representatives reaffirmed "In God We Trust" as the nation's motto on Wednesday. The resolution's Republican sponsor said it would clear up any confusion President Obama created by once referring mistakenly to "E Pluribus Unum" — a Latin phrase meaning "out of many, one" — as our motto. ("In God We Trust" replaced "E Pluribus Unum" in 1956.) Obama mocked Congress for frittering away its day on such a symbolic gesture instead of focusing on creating jobs. Wednesday's debate only took 35 minutes — was it really a waste of time?
    Well, you can put me down for a “Yes” on that one, particularly since the measure was taken up to “clear up” the supposed confusion on the matter caused by Number 44.

    The main reason I’m bothering to say anything about this, though, is to point out the following (here)…
    Lawmakers voting against “In God We Trust” include Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). Voting present were Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC).
    Amash, by the way, was the only Repug to vote No, though, as noted here, Ron Paul (a libertarian “kindred spirit” from what I can tell) would have voted No also because he didn’t think the Feds had the right to tell the states what to do here (I don’t think Paul “finds the nut” that often, but he deserves credit when he does).

    And by the way, I’m highlighting the other No votes to give them credit; I just want to make sure that’s understood (the Repugs’ non-jobs agenda staggers on).

  • Further, this post at The Hill tells us the following…
    Combining Express Scripts and Medco is an opportunity for two leading pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to apply private sector know-how to solve our country's biggest healthcare challenge: lowering the cost of healthcare while raising the quality.

    By joining complementary strengths, the proposed merger will benefit the nation's patients, employers and managed care plans, leading to safer and more affordable medicines for American families.
    And in case you were wondering, the post was written by the public affairs manager of Express Scripts (sorry, but put me down in the “this is a bad idea” column here).

    As noted here, Medco once locked out 500 employees in a labor dispute, and Express Scripts very nearly closed their facility in nearby Bensalem, PA for similar reasons (here). In addition, this tells us that the two strongly encourage prescribing generics over name-brand drugs, which is often wise for cost reasons particularly since so many drugs are “off patent” at this point (though this tells us of cases where plan subscribers needed the name brands, but were given the runaround by Medco when they tried to obtain the meds from their doctors).

    I just can’t see how the merger of Express Scripts and Medco will do anything except further remove the element of judgment by a degreed medical professional from an issue of patient care that will be performed instead by a more-or-less clerical functionary trying merely to fill a quota.

  • Finally (in local news), time is growing short until next Tuesday’s election in which Dems Gene Dolnick and Linda Palsky are running against the protégés of the odious Simon Campbell, Steve Kosmorsky and Chris Cridge, respectively (here is a recent letter from Dolnick in response to Campbell’s typically sleazy tactics, and here is a letter on behalf of Dolnick and Palsky…you know we’re getting close to November 8th because Campbell once again published the salaries of Pennsbury employees – wonder if it ever occurred to Simple Simon to use that money constructively on behalf of the district and the students instead of feeding his oversized ego? I know the answer, but I'm keen to ask anyway.)

    Oh, and Mikey The Beloved left a tape-recorded phone message at Le Manse Doomsy encouraging my vote for Kosmorsky – more ammunition to support Dolnick instead as far as I’m concerned.

    Also, Dem Lower Makefield supervisor candidate Ron Schmid wrote the following Guest Opinion (he and Ken Seda want the township to authorize liquor sales at restaurants…Lower Makefield is currently “dry,” which to me never really served as much of a deterrent to alcohol abuse – wish it did, though). In addition, this letter appeared on behalf of Independent supervisor candidate Ron Smith, who also rebutted more nonsense from Repug opponents “Dobby” Dobson and Jeff Benedetto here (OMIGOD, those Democrats are going to raise your taxes again – which the Repugs never do….riiiiiight). Finally, here is an endorsement of Dem Bucks County Commissioner candidates Det Ansinn and Diane Marseglia along with Repug Rob Loughery; it’s long past time for Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin to go.

    By this time next week, we’ll be living with next Tuesday’s result. Let’s do our part to make sure we’ve started the ball rolling to Democratic gains next year (including President Obama’s re-election) instead of stopping whatever momentum we’ve achieved dead in its tracks.
  • Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    Wednesday Mashup (11/2/11)

    (I’ll try to get back to this blogging thing again…)

  • I know it’s hard to imagine, but it’s only been a year since the voters of Wisconsin elected Hosni Mubarak Walker as governor (here)…
    As soon as Walker was elected on November 2, 2010 (his 43rd birthday), public-worker unions in Wisconsin began to Walker-proof their paychecks. Before the governor and the newly minted GOP legislature even took office in January, public-sector unions tried to rush through new contracts.
    Assuming you buy the claim from Irrational Spew Online here that public sector unions tried to “rush” through their contracts (and I emphasize that I don’t), this tells us how the public sector employees ended up losing out on the deal regardless. Also, poster Christian Schneider claimed that Walker’s current approval rating is 42 percent, approximately where it was in March (interesting given that, as noted here, it was 37 percent in July). However, I have no recent polling data to challenge Schneider here.

    So what exactly is Walker doing in response to the recall effort against him? Well, as noted here, he’s relying on “unlimited donations” (think ALEC and the Kochs) and making the recall process more difficult (here). And remember how eliminating public sector employee bargaining rights was supposedly about austerity because Wisconsin was “broke”? Well, he still managed to pony up about 60 grand for iPads, as noted here.

    And in an effort to maintain the Walker mythology, Fix Noise propagandized as per usual about the “Wisconsin Miracle,” as noted here. On top of that, the Washington Examiner falsely claimed that Walker was doing what Badger State voters wanted him to do here (if anyone wants to revisit more Walker-related misery, click here).

  • Next, I give you more wingnut harrumphing here over a recent Florida appearance by Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (she used the word “teabaggers” to describe the “racist sign and funny hat and Revolutionary War uniform in some cases” crowd – how impolite)…
    Solis was speaking at the state Democratic convention, so some red meat is to be expected. But "teabaggers"? That's the level where the debate still resides? Cabinet secretaries resorting to vulgar insults?
    Oh yes, how awful it is for “cabinet secretaries” to be “vulgar” and “insult(ing).”

    And as proof, allow me to revisit the dark days of Bushco once more, in which former Defense Secretary Rummy himself basically questioned the worth of Vietnam War draftees here.

    Also (under the heading of what I would consider to be “vulgar” behavior by cabinet secretaries), I give you the following from former Buscho Interior Sectary Gale Norton…
    (In December 2003), (Norton) unveiled this proposal, which would change current regulations governing livestock grazing on more than 160 million acres of western public lands administered by (the Bureau of Land Management). The administration described its decision as an effort to "improve working relationships" between the BLM and ranchers, and to "protect the health of rangelands." But in fact the proposal would repeal a number of environmental standards, delay implementing others, and through bureaucratic manipulation render most of the remaining environmental standards unenforceable.

    All in all, the regulations would remove opportunities for the public (other than ranchers) to provide input into management decisions, slant environmental analyses and appeals procedures to favor ranchers over environmentalists, and make it easier for ranchers convicted of environmental crimes to obtain grazing permits. The proposal would also allow ranchers to obtain ownership of water rights, fences, wells, and pipelines on public land, thus crippling the BLM's ability to manage the land in the greater public interest.
    And when it comes to “vulgar” and “insulting” behavior from presidential cabinet secretaries, it would be difficult to top former Bushco Labor Secretary Elaine Chao here…
    You could lose your job to a foreign worker—not because he’s cheaper but because he has better workplace skills and discipline. That’s the message (Chao) hears from U.S. executives who are worried about America’s competitive future. While losses are low thus far—one study estimates that only 280,000 jobs in the service industry out of 115 million are outsourced each year—that could change. Beyond the cheaper cost of labor, U.S. employers say that many workers abroad simply have a better attitude toward work.

    “American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene,” says Chao. “They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction. Too many young people bristle when a supervisor asks them to do something.”
    Besides, considering that the original post had to do with “vulgar” and “insult(ing)” behavior aimed at the Teahadists (Ooopsie! Didn’t mean to hurt their widdle feelins), I don’t think they have a leg to stand on in the umbrage department when you consider this.

  • Finally, it looks like Orange Man is losing what’s left of his mind again (here)…
    It’s safe to say Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) does not agree with President Obama’s suggestion on Tuesday that Americans are better off now than they were when he took office.

    “Are you kidding me?!” Boehner said loudly in response to a reporter’s question on the comment. “Why don’t you go ask the 14 million Americans who are out of work whether they’re better off today than they were four years ago?”
    Here are a few items to consider in response:
  • Here is proof from last June that government spending has helped job creation, not hindered it.

  • Here, Boehner said that the weak jobs report in September was due to the threat of high taxes, or something (and, when given an opportunity to support the President’s jobs bill in response – well, this tells us what happened anyway).

  • Also, two days after opposing the Obama jobs bill, Boehner and his pals also blocked infrastructure investment (here).

  • Oh, and who can forget this little moment with the speaker when he tells us what he thinks of the prospect of federal job losses?

  • In addition, I give you this, in which an actual small business owner criticizes Repug John Kline (and, by association, Boehner) for claiming that those supposedly awful government regulation are “killing jobs.”

  • As noted here, though, Boehner’s latest outburst is just “part of the plan” - more here.

  • In addition, here is a recent comparison chart of the effects of the stimulus in this country on gross domestic product when compared to the U.K., which did not receive the benefit of a stimulus (I seriously hope that this forever kills the zombie lie that the stimulus “did not create a job,” but I know better, sadly).
  • I’m not optimistic, however, that there will be a change of heart here on the part of the House Speaker, particularly since it looks like “Achtung Baby!” Boehner has another metaphorical fire to put out, as noted here.

    Update 11/3/11: Amazing his nose doesn't grow when he says this stuff, isn't it?

    Update 11/6/11: Unsurprising which of the Beltway gasbags thinks public sector job losses are fine here (Note: it isn't Krauthammer for a change).
  • Monday, October 31, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    Remember when I said last week that posting would be sporadic? Well…

    In the spirit of the season, Rachel Maddow tells us here about a hobgoblin named Paul Wolfowitz…

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

    …and by the way, Happy Halloween (day to day on the whole posting thing).