I submit to you that the feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today ... My analysis is that the gays are about 5% of the attack on marriage in this country, and the feminists are about 95% ... I’m talking about drugs, sex, illegitimacy, drop outs, poor grades, run away, suicide, you name it, every social ill comes out of the fatherless homeHeck, these conservative intellectuals sure know how to tap into American Exceptionalism.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"John Derbyshire, a British-American conservative author and columnist for the National Review, has written a new book titled We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. The book contains a section called “The Case Against Female Suffrage.” Yesterday on his radio show, Alan Colmes asked Derbyshire to articulate his argument."
DERBYSHIRE: Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed. But I’ll say this – if it were to be, I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep.
COLMES: We’d be a better country if women didn’t vote?
DERBYSHIRE: Probably. Don’t you think so?
COLMES: No, I do not think so whatsoever.
DERBYSHIRE: Come on Alan. Come clean here [laughing].
COLMES: We would be a better country? John Derbyshire making the statement, we would be a better country if women did not vote.
DERBYSHIRE: Yeah, probably .
The issue: Energy providers want to increase rates, now that profits are down due to the Great Recession, lost profits from electricity and gas, the loss of manufacturing customers and consumer energy savings.
I'm not kidding. Did you think you could reduce your energy bills, like the people in the story below?
Journal Sentinel Online;
"We Energies customers weighed in on the utility's proposed rate increase on Tuesday, raising concerns about the utility's proposal to recoup revenue lost to sales declines caused by the recession.
Michael Zyniecki of Milwaukee said he's upset that the company is seeking higher rates at a time when it's pushing customers to conserve energy by buying energy-saving light bulbs and insulating their homes. "We do this, we turn down our thermostats in the wintertime, turn it up in the summer, and what do they want now? They're not making enough money because people are reducing their energy usage," Zyniecki said. "It sounds a little self-defeating, doesn't it? Do they need to pad their pockets a little more? I don't think so. Not on my dime."
Sandra Larson of Elm Grove said "But to include an increase for lost revenue and pension plans while We Energies customers are conserving could be considered just plain greed," she said. "We Energies should get back to serving their customers and not penalizing them."
Other issues of concern to customers were the compensation paid to top We Energies officers, as well as the difficulty of paying more at a time when salaries, retirement funds and jobs are being cut.
"The one thing that I had looked forward to this year was that energy costs were going to be down. And now they want to raise our rates," said Jason Clark of Milwaukee. I can't take it anymore."
We Energies employee Tim Brown said higher rates will help keep service levels high.
The Public Service Commission's staff reduced the scope of the potential price increase by about one-third. We Energies' rates would rise by 4.9%, or $125.2 million from where they are today, down from an increase of 7.4% or $189 million, submitted by the utility.
Calls for Apology from Republicans
His remarks drew angry and immediate calls for an apology from Republicans. Rep. Duncan Comments Rep.
Jimmy Duncan, R-TN, abandoned customary reticence to chastise Grayson. Rep. Duncan said, "That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I've ever heard made on this floor, and I, for one, don't appreciate it."
Rep. Blackburn Comments Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, said, "It's fully appropriate that the gentleman return to the floor and apologize."
Grayson did apologize. He apologized to the families of those who died needlessly because the Republican Party never found the time to stop the carnage. They were to busy celebrating the defeat of Hillary Care.
Rachel Maddow gets the exclusive interview, where Grayson calls out Republicans as knuckle draggers.
Below, Grayson debates the free market conservative industry "wish list." You'll notice the Republican offer to help simply pads the insurance industry pockets, and Grayson points that out, while promising to sign reform into law if only their wish list replaces the Democratic plan. What a deal.
What Grayson should say to his critics is that he is using their language, but based on facts, to counter the fear mongering right wing talking points. Let's hope Rep. Grayson is the new face of the Democratic Party.
According to Think Progress: Castellanos repeatedly attacked Grayson, comparing him at one point to Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The other CNN hosts rallied to Castellanos’ side: Joe Johns incredulously asked if Grayson wanted a “thoughtful conversation about important ideas” and Gloria Borger appeared to be confused by the notion that talking about the number of people dying from a lack of health insurance was getting the “debate back on track.”
USA Today: Grayson said he has read the "resolution of disapproval", has the support of his leadership, and does not plan to apologize. "It is just another example of how they are constantly trying to change the subject. Nobody really cares about their feelings," Grayson said.
"We are not sent here to make the other members feel good," he said. "We are sent here to solve America's problems. Only in their own narrow minds would they think what matters here is how they feel."
As for comparisons to Joe Wilson, Grayson said, "I think the Republicans are putting it out there, but ... I don't think people are buying that at all."
To top that off, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow exposes the surreal attempts by the Republicans to defend Medicare, against a history of trying to destroy and privatise it.
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert starts off with a clip showing a Republican Sen. Pat Roberts asking for time to let the insurance industry read the bill and offer changes before a vote. Now that's comedy.
"It was either grab her and hold her, or drop her on her rear end. And I panicked."
So he should have dropped her?
NOTE: Delay's final numeric score by the 3 judges looked something like this: 6, 6, 6.
It's confirmed. Tom Delay really is the devil.
An injured Delay plays victim, Quits.
So what's the big deal? Half way through the ad, Starbucks takes a jab at town hall protesters...
Rush: "Right-wing conspiracy is vaster still, larger and more powerful and potent than it's ever been!"
For years, Democrats have been the brunt of Republican jokes about a fanciful right wing conspiracy. Well, the jokes on them.
Here is the transcript as it appears on Limbaugh's home page.
September 29, 2009: Rush on Bill Clinton's claim the vast right wing conspiracy is not as vast:
You know, that's right, it's not as vast, it's not as effective, we don't have any votes that could stop anything you Democrats want to do in Congress and you still can't get anything done. Why? Because the vast right-wing conspiracy is informing the American -- why do you think all these people out there are all of a sudden upset with what they got when they voted for Obama?
Is it because somebody's out there telling them exactly who he is and what he's doing and what his plans involve and entail, such as cap and tax, such as the health care plan.
I think the vast right-wing conspiracy is vaster still, larger and more powerful and potent than it's ever been, led, of course, by me, as acknowledged by these clowns.
Putting aside their reasons for their angry opposition; losing their "freedoms?" and becoming a Nazi commie- socialist nation devoid of Christianity; here's what's really going to happen:
The independent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports, according to the Chicago Tribune:
Without national health care reform, the number of uninsured Wisconsin residents could increase by 200,000 in the next 10 years ... the number of uninsured could increase as much as 36 percent, to about 740,000 people.We know one thing, Adlai Stevenson was right to say, "A hungry man is not a free man."
It says in a worst-case scenario, the average state resident would spend 66 percent more on health care and employers' premiums would double ... the purpose of the report was to evaluate the cost of failing to reform the system ... if politicians drag their feet to avoid political pain, families and businesses will feel the financial pain.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Prime Minister Brown insisted "Finance would be the Servant of people and industry, not their master."
Gordon Brown at the Labour (liberals) confurence turned his back on a “bankrupt” free-market ideology, rebranded the credit crunch as a failure of rightwing Conservative ideology, and insisted that finance would in the future “be the servant of people and industry, not their master”.
“What failed was the Conservative idea that markets always self-correct but never self-destruct. What failed was the rightwing fundamentalism that says you just leave everything to the market,” he said.
The Tories (conservatives) were wedded to a broken economic model in which markets “should not just be free but values-free”. “Faced with the economic call of the century they called it
wrong,” he said.
What we're seeing again is a complacent media. They will watching passively until something serious happens, then say they regret missing the signals of the hard core right wing revolutionaries, never thinking anyone would do what they did.
"Obama's first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers' money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries," said Frank. "Now, I got to tell you, if a president will do that, there's almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that.
We shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity."
Rep. Franks later clarified that he specifically targeting Obama's position on abortion.
Rachel Primmer wrote this Special to the Daily Union on Rep. Tammy Baldwin's recent town hall meeting in Lake Mills.
Many attendees took issue with current healthcare reform proposals, the inaccessibility of proposed bills to the public at large, stimulus packages, illegal immigrants, government programs and government spending. Some booed the idea of high-speed rail for Wisconsin residents. One insisted that the United States is a Christian country that has outlawed God, while another spoke of citizens seceding from their government.
Dan Horvatin's statement, "I'm against socialized healthcare in any form", was met by applause, whoops, hollers and cheers of agreement.
He challenged Baldwin to find anywhere in the U.S. Constitution that suggests the federal government even be involved in healthcare. He went on to argue that malpractice and tort reform would help to solve the healthcare problem.
Kirsten Hombard stated, "You love to spend our money. We've had it. Why, Representative Baldwin, do you insist on pushing for a plan that is going to bankrupt us all?" She continued, "Call it public option, call it whatever you want, it's government-run healthcare and it's going to cost trillions of dollars, according to the CBO. Why would you continue to push that plan when there are free-market solutions, Rep. Baldwin? Start saying 'no', Rep. Baldwin."
Sara Anthony explained her opposition to healthcare reform saying, "As far as healthcare is concerned, I am opposed to the government option because I haven't seen anything yet that the government has run that works."
Steve Zekoff rose to say, "I continue to be embarrassed by the fact that at least 40 million people in this country do not have health insurance. It's a moral obligation and I want to cheer you on. Thank you for the work that you're doing."
Bill Amann asked that only American citizens receive health insurance.
Several of those who spoke said they were disappointed in and even ashamed of Baldwin's recent decision to vote against ... cuting off federal funds to ACORN. Eric Katte asked Baldwin why she thinks tax dollars need to go to ACORN. Briefly explaining that the Bill of Attainder in the Constitution makes it illegal to single out a group or individual instead of treating them all the same via due process, Baldwin said, "I think this resembled something of the Bill of Attainment and (is) potentially unconstitutional.
The crowd groaned again when Steve Voight of Lake Mills pointed out that Baldwin's website states that she is "in favor of the high-speed rail that Governor Doyle is trying to push through." He went on to ask, "Do you have the right to spend $14 million of our tax dollars to buy equipment? "That rail is not going to help me one bit."
John Debereiner told Baldwin, "I have a message for you to take back to your colleagues in Washington. It seems that we are rapidly approaching a point that we were at about 150 years ago in this country. We are coming to a watershed moment. 150 years ago, it was about states seceding from the Union. I believe that the point that we are rapidly coming to now is the citizens seceding from their government. I would ask you to share with your colleagues, that we the people, are not going to allow you to take our country from us. This is our country."
Near the end of the session, Beth Harvey rose to speak, only one of a couple in the crowd in favor of public healthcare. She was promptly booed for saying that insurance companies are not to be trusted and that a single-payer policy would be better than what we have now.
Upon being booed, she turned to the critical crowd and boldly pointed out, "I did not interrupt you; please give me the same courtesy." She closed saying, "I love my public libraries, I love my public police department, I love my public fire department, I love my public universities and I love my public schools, but I wish they would mandate a class in government and civics. Thank you."
Bigmouth Media: The poll was disabled on Monday and results are not available, though according to Raw Story, as of midday on Monday, 90 per cent of respondents had voted "no," with a little over five per cent voting "yes," 2.6 per cent "maybe" and 1.9 voting that the President should die "if he cuts my health care."
Think Progress exposed this obvious attempt to promote their call for a death squad or lone assassin. Hyperbole? I don't think so.
"At the How To Take Back America Conference last weekend, conservative speaker Kitty Werthmann led a workshop called “How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists.”
Werthermann: "If we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. [...] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. [...] And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism."
Not only has Rachel Maddow pointed out how unjustified the attacks on ACORN have been, including the politicization of the Justice Department to go after them, but the illegal videotaping of a few bad employees got a media pass on Fox News. Media Matters begs to differ on the "facts:"
"On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace helped videographer James O'Keefe defend his dwindling credibility by advancing several of O'Keefe's claims without noting that they are contradicted by readily available evidence."
"Wallace suggested that O'Keefe "denies reports" by Media Matters that O'Keefe, in Wallace's words, "got any money from conservative backers" -- without noting that the evidence Media Matters highlighted consisted of public statements by conservatives that they had funded O'Keefe in the past or planned to raise money for O'Keefe and his partner, Hannah Giles, in the future.
Wallace ignored a September 22 Village Voice report that the spokesperson for conservative investor Peter Thiel acknowledged that Thiel had contributed "about $10,000" to an earlier video that O'Keefe released in February 2009. As Media Matters noted, The Village Voice reported that Thiel's spokesperson denied that Thiel had "any involvement with the ACORN videos." [The Village Voice, 9/22/09]"
The deal between America's churches and the IRS is just that, an agreement. They don't pay taxes as long as they don't endorse candidates. They can still talk till their blue in the face about the issues confronting people today. But pastors are protesting the ban anyway to test the constitutionality of the deal. I say go for it.
If the pastors win, they lose their tax exempt status by forcing the IRS to drop it. If they don't win, the congress should vote to do away with the exemption anyway. That way, some churches will feel the ebb and flow of the political winds. It doesn't take a genius to know it's a business plan destined to fail. I'm all for it.
(AP) A Christian advocacy group says about 80 pastors have preached partisan political sermons daring the Internal Revenue Service to revoke their churches' tax exempt status.
The Alliance Defense Fund's Erik Stanley says most of the sermons were preached this past Sunday, with a few scheduled this coming Sunday. He says the goal is to trigger an IRS action that a church can challenge in court in an effort to get the ban on pulpit politics declared unconstitutional. Barry Lynn, the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says pastors can preach anything they want, but should not expect their churches to remain tax-exempt if they endorse or oppose candidates.
"Did you ever notice how similar Republicans are to fire ants when dealing with a threat? They are fast, venomous and focused. For the GOP, President Obama is a big threat.
Calls for his failure were started by Rush Limbaugh ... Terms like socialism were tossed about ...health care ... Jim DeMint, said he would make this Obama's Waterloo - and destroy the threat. The organization of health care "protesters" included groups associated with terrorist Tim McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber) and people with guns and patriot tree blood quotes on T-shirts similar to the one McVeigh wore. "Death to Obama" signs popped up with racial slurs and claims of his Nazi affiliation.
There was no acknowledgement that socialism and Nazism are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Fire ants are never confused with facts after all.
Things got worse with "death to Michelle" and death to "her 2 children" signs cropping up. In Idaho Obama (hunting) tags were considered, and elsewhere ministers ranted that they wished the hated Obama was dead.
Tossing out ideas like internment camps, death panels, health care rationing, and "Obamacare" further their effort with complete disregard of the truth. That the Republicans continued their attacks on Obama's school speech is a good indicator that the tenacious attacks will continue ...
Monday, September 28, 2009
Remember how pro business, anti-government, anti-regulation Republican lawmakers cried about nanny state laws when it came to public smoking bans? These death panel politicians would much rather have their freedom, and see people die from second hand smoke, than save all the lives due to the ban. Boston Globe:
Pooling results from 13 studies in Canada, Europe, and the United States - including one done in Massachusetts - James M. Lightwood and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, found that one year after smoking bans went into effect, heart attack rates were an average of 17 percent lower than would be expected. In the Massachusetts study, the rate was 18 percent lower. After three years, the heart attack rate for smoking-ban communities was 36 percent lower.Having it both ways, the GOP also thinks health care costs could be reduced if people stopped smoking and took responsibility for their life style.
What, poor choices by parents! I thought parents knew what was best for their kids, no question. And guess what, the bill passed on a party line 17-15 vote, with Democrats for the mandate, troglodytes against.
Beloit Daily News: Most 5-year-olds in Wisconsin attend kindergarten, but a bill passed by the Assembly could make it mandatory. Kindergarten teaches kids what older students take for granted: what school is about and the behaviors expected there, such as how to sit in a circle and line up to walk down the hallway, Brandenburg said. Additionally, she said, students receive the social and emotional aspect.
Opponents say it doesn't make sense to mandate good attendance for children who may not go to school because of poor choices by their parents.
With all the benefits that kindergarten has to offer, an actual public school administrator doesn't get it. I have two young boys, and paid a lot of money out of pocket for pre-school so my kids could get a head start on working with other children and developing a little discipline. I did all of that so they would be ready for kindergarten. But it looks like irresponsible clueless parents, who don't know what's best for their children, would oppose the basic premise of pre-school, not to mention the value of kindergarten.
The politics contained in the vote prove ideology transcends common sense and a childs actual developement. And if they aren't prepared properly, Republicans can always blame public education. How convenient.
Health Insurance Premiums Nearly Half Take Home Pay
Milwaukee.Bizjournals.com: For family health insurance coverage provided at work in Wisconsin, the average annual health insurance premium (employer and worker’s share together) rose from $7,112 in 2000 to $13,772 in 2009 (while worker median earnings was $29,395). For family health coverage, the worker’s portion of annual premiums rose from $1,458 to $3,512, an increase of 141 percent.
Bottom line: Health insurance premiums are now nearly half the cost of an employees pay. And that's nearly a third of the value you have as an employee to your business. A huge added cost to employers.
Yet, town hall protesters are clueless about their nearly invisible benefits, the ones they take for granted from their employers. They don't mind losing a third of their pay to insurance company profits.
In Texas, students there might not learn about the ugly side of Christianity in their history books, but they will get the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation.
Texas schoolchildren should know how God and religion greatly influenced the country's Founding Fathers more than 230 years ago, say experts reviewing the state's social studies curriculum.
It is a viewpoint that troubles others who worry that a controlling majority of conservatives on the State Board of Education may go too far.
"To characterize the origins of this country as a Christian nation would be wrong," said Steven Schafersman, president of Texans Citizens For Science. “It is absolutely false. That kind of belief is dangerous ... the Founding Fathers actually were deists — they
believed in God as creator, who permits the universe to operate according to natural laws rather than continued intervention. As such, they did not believe the Bible or Jesus were divine."
Peter Marshall, one of six “expert reviewers” appointed by the State Board of Education to help write the new standards, and Presbyterian minister, argues that children cannot get an accurate portrayal of U.S. history ... "The influence of the Bible and the Christian faith is absolutely gigantic in American history.”
State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, said it is hard to predict the board's involvement in deciding the religious content of the history standards. In her book, One Nation Under God, Dunbar argued that Founding Fathers created “an emphatically Christian government.”
It is a philosophy that worries Schafersman and others. “We have to have a mutual live-and-let-live understanding, and that's not what I'm seeing from the seven radical religious right members."
Getting experts to agree on the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers may be difficult. Christianity did influence some of them, said Richard Hughes, distinguished professor of religion at Messiah College. “It is absolutely right to suggest that Puritans who settled New England came here with a vision for a Christian commonwealth,” Hughes said.
“It is absolutely wrong to suggest that America's founders had that same vision. They simply didn't. If you talked to many of the Founding Fathers about American's Christian heritage, they would have revolted, but if you were talking about a godly republic, they would buy that, sure,” he said.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Rep. Paul Ryan voted no. That vote would have affected 27 percent of enrollees (11 million), who would have seen increases to $110-$120 per month, from $96.40 per month. Ryan apparently wanted to protect the Medicare Improvement Fund, a non-controversial set-aside fund in Medicare, which covered the cost of the bill.
Medicare premiums. Voting 406-18, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 3631) to freeze Medicare premiums in 2010 at the current level of about $96 per month. Medicare premiums are deducted from Social Security checks, and the rationale of this bill is that since there will be no Social Security inflation adjustment in 2010, there should be no rise in Medicare premiums.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Which brings me to Sen. Tom Coburn. Coburn believes help should come from their neighbors, the same neighbors who are part of we the people, the government. Therein lies the problem.
Sen. Coburn doesn't believe in government help, even if it's the best way for Americans to take care of other Americans. For Coburn, emotional stories like Sophis's are instruments to manipulate lawmakers to increase government. Sad stories are for wimps, and Sen. Coburn is going to make a difficult, manly decision for the sick and dying. According to Dr. "Death Panel" Coburn:
"This is an emotional story, of a very difficult situation, and the answer is more government, or fix it without more government...look, there not one government program that is compasionate. The only people that are compassionate are individuals. Since there no answer through the government right now, the only option is for us to help one another. And that's what we oughta be about."
What, and part with my hard earned money?
This video also marks the second time a well known liberal writer (John Nichols) and commentator bought into the conservative frame. Instead of thinking it was cute, because as a father of a 7 year old-it was, David Corn turns in his credibility card for a few moments of agreement with Pat Buchanan.
Instead of recognizing Republicans were again trying to marginalize our illegitimate BLACK president, Corn falls all over himself feigning outrage over the unthinkable tribute to our first black president on Black History Month. Corn is hopeful school kids will never sing a song like that again.
If he had done a little research, he might have discovered, from the Huffington Post:
Alas, such "propaganda" has not been limited to despots, dictators and the Obama White House. As a savvy source points out, back in 2006 children from Gulf Coast states serenaded First Lady Laura Bush with a song praising the President, Congress, and Federal Emergency Management Agency for their response to -- of all things -- Hurricane Katrina. The lyrics were as follow:The event took place at that year's White House Easter Egg Roll and included roughly 100 children from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. President Bush, it seems, wasn't in attendance during the song itself.
"Our country's stood beside us People have sent us aid. Katrina could not stop us, our hopes will never fade. Congress, Bush and FEMA People across our land Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand-in-hand!"
The Nation's Jeremy Scahill also wonders where the tea baggers are demanding the defunding of all the other government contractors convicted of wrong doing. Good Question.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to include a robust government-run health insurance plan, or "public option," in the House floor bill -- one that would peg the public option's medical reimbursement rates to Medicare rates. Under Pelosi's preferred plan, the public option would pay doctors and medical providers 5 percent more than Medicare rates for their services.
Moderate Democrats would prefer for the public option to negotiate its own payment rates so it remains "on a level playing field" with private insurers.
On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office showed that a Medicare-pegged public option would be $85 billion cheaper than the "level playing field" plan.
I'm not trying to look like a genius here. Any reasonably sane adult could tell you the "level playing field" approach simply means the public and private plans would cost the same price. No change. The Blue Dogs are simply trying to appear clued in, but nothing could be further from the truth. It gets better:
The more liberal public option that Pelosi prefers would save the government $110 billion over 10 years -- which is actually $20 billion more than earlier estimates,
So whats a Blue Dog to do? What excuse could you use to save face, yet still act just like a penny pinching budget hawk we know will only cost us more money?
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), a leader in the moderate Blue Dog Democrat coalition, said the more robust public option would be bad for physicians.Incredibly, this small slice we know as the public option will make doctors go broke, even though they still get to charge whatever it is they charge in the private plans. So if it's not the $110 billion savings over 10 years, or the $85 billion a year public plan, why would the Blue Dogs scuttle a 70 year move to universal coverage?
Stupidity, ideology or all of the above? It's not like the public isn't on the side of the public option:
The latest CBS/ New York Times poll shows that 65 percent of Americans saying they are in favor of a public option, up from 60 percent.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Every conservative is now a constitutional scholar. In my continuing series of examples showing how the Republicans and conservatives are trying to make the constitution their own, along with their minimalist interpretation of it, I present the tenthers "freeloader freedom" right.
Through constant "constitutional" references that defy logic and legal precedent, they want us to think that they are the protectors and authorities of our founding document. Think Progress does a great job exposing another insane attempt to "uphold" the Tenth Amendment.
A popular right-wing objection to federal health care legislation is that it’s unconstitutional. These “tenthers” argue that since the U.S. Constitution never explicitly gives the federal government the right to regulate health care, the 10th amendment leaves that power to the states.What a great way to not pay for your own insurance, freeload off the taxpayers who buy coverage, all the while claiming the constitution makes it so. It goes against their town hall protests of not wanting to pay for other peoples health care insurance, doesn't it. But wait, it even goes further than getting something for nothing.
Sen. John ENSIGN: We’ve allowed exceptions for religious and various other reasons. But some people hold the Constitution pretty high in their lives, and if they believe that this thing is unconstitutional, and they then say, “I choose not to have health insurance, I’m not going to buy it,” we could be subjecting those very people who conscientiously — because they believe in the U.S. Constitution —we could be subjecting them to fines or the interpretation of a judge, potentially, all the way up to imprisonment. That seems to me to be a problem.
Ensign also predicted that some people would actually drop their health insurance “just out of conscience” in order to make a point and show solidarity with the tenthers.
Oddly, polls indicate that no matter how bizarre the GOP acts, they're gaining support from voters for another take over of congress.
Basically, Ensign believes that anyone who claims any law is
unconstitutional should be allowed to ignore that law. While Congress has allowed “exceptions for religious and various other reasons,” in the 1990 case Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, Justice Antonin Scalia actually warned that allowing a person “to become a law unto himself” defies “common sense.”
Newuniversity.org: Jack Miles won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his book ‘GOD: A Biography,’ explores U.S.-Iraq relations in his work ‘A Clash of Proselytizations,’ which deals with the current war in Iraq and attempts by the U.S. government to convert, or ‘proselytize,’ the Iraqi people from a highly religious nation into a nation of secular patriots.
Miles asserted that there is a fundamental problem in how the United States and Iraq view each other. ‘We refer to them as Iraqi and ourselves as American, using national designators,’ Miles said. They refer to themselves as Mujahidin, and us as Crusaders and Jews using religious designations.’
In addition, Miles noted that the ”citizenship card’ [in Iraq] … may not function’ since many Iraqis do not desire to affiliate with political labels. When Jordanians were asked how they identify themselves, 63 percent replied that they were Muslim first and Jordanians second. It is this religious affiliation that causes much of the misunderstanding and lack of enthusiasm for the new Iraqi form of government.
Furthermore, because of the high importance of religion over nationalism for Muslims, many Iraqis see the U.S. government as trying to establish both a foreign form of government and of religion, namely Christianity, according to Miles. Miles pointed out many instances over the past few years in which public figures have asserted that the United States is a Christian country.
In this clip, he cuts through the "are right wingers racist" rhetoric to state unequivocally, yes. Again, it really is time to stop tolerating really bad behavior and giving these cretins a pass. It only encourages them.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann subtly mentions it in Worst Persons...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
When state testing regimes show little signs of improvement in public education, it's proof government education is failing our kids, and advances the need for private school vouchers and charters. The test scores prove the public system is faulty.
When test score go up dramatically for public education, the testing regimes suddenly have always been suspect, not trustworthy, gamed to cheat the system.
I get it. That's the story here, from edweek.org. Public education critics couldn't help but twist themselves into a pretzel trying to explain how bad testing has been all along:
That's only part of their pretzel logic:
The recent news that 97 percent of New York City public schools got an A or B under the district’s grading system might be seen as reason for celebration, but critics suggest the grades hold little value and highlight the need to rethink the state assessment system. “It tells us virtually nothing about the actual performance of schools,” Aaron M. Pallas, a professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, said of the city’s grades.
Diane Ravitch, an education historian at New York University, was even sharper: She declared the school grades “bogus” in a Sept. 9 opinion piece for the Daily News of New York, saying the city’s report card system “makes a mockery of accountability.”
Funny isn't it: Good scores=bad tests. Bad scores=good tests.
Mr. Pallas of Teachers College argues that one key flaw with the city’s rating system is that it depends heavily on a what he deems a “wholly unreliable” measure of student growth on test scores from year to year that fails to account adequately for statistical error ... recent controversy about the reliability of the New York state testing system in gauging student achievement.
The reliability of the state’s assessment system has been debated for a variety of reasons, from concerns about whether the state may be manipulating the results to make schools look better to whether the state’s exams are especially vulnerable to teaching to the test. Ms. Ravitch accused the New York state education department of rigging the testing system to produce higher scores and argued that the “double-digit gains are phony.”
Say what you will about agreeing or disagreeing with the president, but don't do it on foreign soil, right? Or is that just a one way street aimed at Clinton, Carter, Dixie Chicks, Democrats in general etc...Lawrence O'Donnell interviews Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum.
As far as Palin's accuracy in her account of the current economic crisis in the U.S., Paul Krugman disputes her right wing conclusions. Krugman actually points out historically accurate facts the free marketers conveniently ignore.
Here's one of the best examples. Public option opponent Rep. Eric Cantor advises a town hall'er to seek government assistance for a friends health care issue. Is it because the government won't turn her down? Have these right wingers a clue? MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell explains.
First Beck's for Obama, then he's against him. Big Ed Schultz point out the obvious. Still, these crackpot BS'ing blowhards never seem to lose their jobs. Conservatives have an odd way of rewarding flunkies.
Jerry Weaver of Fairfield, Ohio, told The Associated Press the man had been gagged and his hands and feet were bound with duct tape.
"The only thing he had on was a pair of socks," Weaver said. "And they had duct-taped his hands, his wrists. He had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something."
The body was hanging from a tree with a rope around the neck, yet it was in contact with the ground. "And they even had duct tape around his neck," Weaver said. "And they had like his identification tag on his neck. They had it duct-taped to the side of his neck, on the right side, almost on his right shoulder." Sparkman's Census Bureau ID was found taped to his head and shoulder area.
The body was about 50 yards from a 2003 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck. He said Sparkman's clothes were in the bed of the truck."His tailgate was down," Weaver said. "I thought he could have been killed somewhere else and brought there and hanged up for display, or they actually could have killed him right there. It was a bad, bad scene.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow with AP guest, Delvin Barrett, with some of the late breaking details (8 pm Wed 9/23).
Details may change...I will post again when much more is known.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Republicans Say Insurers Can Undermine and Backstab Their Boss, the Governemnt, With Taxpayer Money.
Republican lawmakers rebuked the Obama administration ... for telling health insurance companies to stop warning elderly customers they'll lose benefits in health care legislation, which some equated to a gag order.Right, these private contractors working for the government, can undermine and politically meddle in a yet to be defined reform package. If they don't like it, they can quite taking taxpayer money. But lying is so much more profitable and timed to affect health care reform to their benefit. For example:
At least one prominent insurer has misrepresented the pending bills to frighten older Americans, the administration says.Yet for Republicans, it's okay for an insurance company to disrespect their employer, and double crossing the government by using taxpayer money to lie and scare the elderly. That's just the way the free market works. Another words, even if you work for the government, they can't tell you what to do, especially if it effects their bottom line. I know, that would seem problematic...
But GOP leaders said the companies, whose income could be reduced by the legislation, are entitled to free speech and political debate.They're not entitled to anything. Beside being a conflict of interest, the insurers job is to carry out their contracted work, without question.
Peter Ashkenzaz, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, defended the agency's notice to insurers. "BecauseAgain, these are contractors working for the government, their boss, and the peoples representatives. They play by our rules, not theirs, and do their job or hit the bricks.
these are Medicare contractors," he said, "we want to make sure that the health plans' communications to beneficiaries are not violating marketing requirements or using protected information like Medicare mailing lists improperly."
"In a self serving and self glorifying speech Prejean wallowed in
self-pity, martyrdom, and vanity, while trying to convey an image of defiance to the secular world. 1,700 activists gathered for the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit where Prejean spoke.
Prejean claimed she was called by God to stand for the truth. By
"truth" Prejean must mean homophobia and bigotry.
Typically, conservatives are usually the ones whining about the costs and failures of the public school systems, pushing privatization in the form of vouchers and charters. Besides the big issue of money, they also claim "parents know best." How should they be viewed now, after seeing how they've responded to the outrageous situation below?
TCPalm, Florida: The school board voted 3 to 2 to deny Imagine Schools (an) application for a middle school on its Fourth Street campus.
Board members Matt McCain and Karen Disney-Brombach cast dissenting votes. “There are some issues, but I think we can work through them,” he said. Disney-Brombach also said she knew the school has been successful, despite the concerns about the application. “Parents know what is best for their students,” she said.
"Some issues?" "We can work through them." "Parents know what is best..." What are some of these minor issues anti-public school, charter advocates are so quick to minimize?
The school’s parent corporate office received more than $800,000 a year.
Liens filed against the charter school’s finance company, School House Finance, by unpaid subcontractors ... claiming they have not been paid for work done at the current Imagine Schools campus. One lien was filed against Imagine for $5.2 million by the school’s contractor.
Other issues included questions about how the school would handle special needs and gifted students and dismissal procedures for misbehaving students.
Where's the "fiscal" sensibility of charter advocates who don't like throwing more money at public schools? Aww, what the heck, give these profit hungry privateers your money anyway. Maybe then they can pay their bills.
That's why this story from Fox News is not just some sort of wacky tale of t-shirt messaging:
Listen to the tea party rants. You'll always hear them bring up the constitution. Hell, the conservative activist Supreme Court is about to overturn 100 years of limiting corporate money in elections, just like they did when they overturned a 100 year precedent on price fixing. That's right, you can do that now. This has given rise to the Second Amendment gun toting town hallers, gave life to the Tenthers and politicized religion.
Check out what Justice Antonin Scalia said recently in this interview:
… Whatever the Establishment Clause means, it certainly does not mean that government cannot accommodate religion, and indeed favor religion. My court has a series of opinions that say that the Constitution requires neutrality on the part of the government, not just between denominations, not just between Protestants, Jews and Catholics, but neutrality between religion and non-religion. I do not believe that. That is not the American tradition.According to Examiner.com:
Scalia's opinion is disappointing, and reflects an ugly and unflattering bias. The government should not accommodate religion; the government should not favor religion. The policy of neutrality is the American tradition. By denying the tradition of neutrality, Scalia wants to claim black is white and up is down.
If Scalia was intellectually honest, he would acknowledge that the founding fathers were deists. While they may have invoked the name of God, they meant something much different than the literal Biblical interpretation of Christianity that is so prevalent now.
It's not just happening here, according to this from thinkprogress.org:
Today, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced that it is quitting the Chamber over its “extreme position” on climate change:
"PG&E Corp. (PCG) said Tuesday it is leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over objections to what its top executive called the chamber’s “extreme position on climate change.”
'In a letter to the U.S. Chamber published on PG&E’s blog, www.next100.com, PG& E Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Darbee wrote that company employees “find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored.”
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell and guests are pretty much speechless as they continue to point out the blatantly racist comments from our elected Republican officials, like Rep Todd Tiahrt (tee-art). Think about it. If just one of these statements came from a Democrat, the Beck's/Limbaugh's/Hannity's/ Levin's/O'Reilly's/tea partiers wouldn't stop whining until they brought the nation to its knees, demanding an apology and denouncement from every liberal on earth.
I've also included a town hall meeting where Tiahrt is laughed at for fabricating a supposed plan by Obama to limit doctors wages. Following that, Tiahrt is caught touting the free market system that we all know works just fine without government meddling. He's got every Ayn Rand cliche' down cold. Tearing it down here would take to long. Suffice it to say he's protecting our right lose more of our life savings at the hands of a free wheeling anything goes market system.
I'm sure Netflix got a little heat for slow delivery when customers never recieved the first delivery of their requested movies.
AP: A former postal service employee has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 30,000 DVDs that moved through a western Massachusetts post office. Myles Weathers took DVDs for a year beginning in January 2007.
Federal prosecutors say Netflix alerted Springfield post office officials that a suspiciously high number of DVDs were disappearing. As many as 100 movies a week were disappearing.
Current TV: Microsoft is beating Apple to the punch, releasing photo and video of the new device.
Until recently, it was a skunkworks project deep inside Microsoft, only known to the few engineers and executives working on it—Microsoft's brightest, like Entertainment & Devices tech chief and user-experience wizard J. Allard, who's spearheading the project. Currently, Courier appears to be at a stage where Microsoft is developing the user experience and showing design concepts to outside agencies.
Look out, I see another reason to hold another tea party protest.
Dailymail.co.uk: A new British film about Charles Darwin, Creation, has failed to land a distribution deal in the States because his theories on human evolution are too controversial for religious American audiences, according to the film's producer.Crooks and Liars just posted this related story, "Evangelist Kirk Cameron Plans To Distribute Darwin's Origin Of The Species With Creationist Introduction." It's a beauty.
US distributors have turned down the film (because it) could cause uproar in a country that, on the whole, dismisses scientific theories of the way we evolved. Christian film review website Movieguide.org described Darwin as 'a racist, a bigot and a 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder.' The site also stated that his 'half-baked theory' influenced Adolf Hitler and led to 'atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloningand generic engineering.'
Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published. 'That's what we're up against. In 2009. It's amazing,' he said. 'It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that He made the world in six days.
Cameron explains that this "very special" edition of the "Origin of Species" will include an introduction explaining "Adolf Hitler's undeniable connection" to the theory of evolution, and highlighting "Darwin's racism" and "his disdain for women." Cameron's edition also exposes the "many hoaxes" of evolutionary theory, while presenting a "balanced view of
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Health Care for America Now's Richard Kirsch gets the Colbert bump, in "get to know a lobbyist."
Huffington Post: "In a satiric video from Funny or Die, Will Ferrell, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, and other celebs band together to "protect" insurance company profits from the evils of health care reform."
So far, we haven't heard about any reversals, despite the latest revelations of outrageous claims of pre-existing conditions and now, those who are excluded based on occupation (firefighters, police officers), toe nail fungus and pregnancy (including male applicants expecting a child with someone).
Note: I have come to the realization that if I had a talk show again, I would be covering the same small, unnoticed, but hugely revealing stories Rachel Maddow features nightly. Thus, the over use of her stuff here.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's chief of staff Mike Schwartz gave a seminar pushing a plan to tell boys that "all pornography is homosexual pornography," in the hopes to scare them enough not to stay clear of Playboy magazines. Because we all know that, according to Schwartz, gay is "not genetic, homosexuality is inflicted on people." Gay is something you can catch from a magazine.
Just how dumb ...never mind.
Rachel Maddow shines a light on the unthinkable.
But when you're a racist in denial, and you're feeling right at home in a room full of fellow deniers, subtlety flies out the window. Like this clan like moment from Rep. Roy Blunt, who was being just that, blunt:
Monday, September 21, 2009
Hey Republicans, Afraid of Losing Your Freedoms? Should have thought of that before you blew up our Economy
Those protesting the possible loss of their freedom under the Obama administration are in a constant state of denial, projecting their past failures onto the Democratic Party under the guise of socialism. Their fear of lost freedom comes a little late, because that's just what they gave America and the incoming president and congress. The last ten months, a half year after the economic crash, cannot be blamed on anyone else but the "permanent" party of conservative overreachers. Thanks for taking away our freedoms.
AP: The annual American Community Survey:
More people are delaying marriage and home-buying, turning to carpools yet getting stuck in ever-worse traffic, staying put rather than moving to new cities. Health coverage swung widely by region, based partly on levels of unemployment. More older people are working.
Mark Mather, associate vice president of the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau. "Job loss - or the potential for job loss - also leads to feelings of economic insecurity and can create social tension."
I know, it's Obama's fault. If only we could return to the system that got us to this point.
Below is an older clip I never used, but haven't been able to forget. I'm wondering how anyone can argue in defense of the protesters in this video attacking a woman in a wheel for exercising her First Amendment right to speak to her elected representative. As the Nation's John Nichols put it recently in support of the protesters efforts, we should have more anger. Real smart.
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell is speechless.
I started the clip below with classic Sen. Jim DeMint, welcoming D.C. protesters to Waterloo; freedom fighters now out number those in congress and "we will save freedom in America."
From who, a black president?
Glenn Beck Was For The Bailout, Before He Was Against It
Now, that Glenn Beck has a Fox News show, he spends an awful lot of time railing against the Obama administration. He’s so
strongly opposed to government bailouts, that one of the major underlying themes of the Glenn Beck 9/12 Project is staunch opposition to bailouts (past and potential future).
But, before Obama was elected POTUS and when Glenn Beck
was on CNN, he was singing a very different tune. One could say that Glenn Beck was for the bailouts before he was against them. Not only was he for the bailout, but he argued that it wasn’t big enough!
On September 22, 2008, speaking about the bailouts Glenn Beck said:
The “REAL STORY” is the $700 billion that you`re hearing about now is not only, I believe, necessary, it is also not nearly enough, and all of the weasels in Washington know it.
You can do some searching and find Glenn Beck offering his support for the bailout program then, when the election was still in play and while Bush was still in office.
So what’s changed between now and then to justify Glenn
Beck’s wild reversal of his original bailout advocacy? Well,
Obama is the president and Glenn Beck is on Fox News.
Mark Rosen, a lawyer who is chairman of the Boston Bar Association’s committee on insurance, said "The question is whether there’s a sound actuarial basis here. Should other policy holders be burdened with the increased costs?"
Could you call this rationing? Are we now down grading human compassion and victim assistance, for the overiding importance of making a profit? Yes to both questions. Bonnie Erbe', host of PBS's "To the Contrary," poses the question to her "left/right" guests, and got some surprising answers from her conservative small government pundits.
According to miccheckradio.org (subscription):
•Insurers in D.C. and the following eight states are allowed to deny coverage to domestic violence survivors: Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. [National Women’s Law Center]
•In 1994, then-Rep. Charles Schumer had his staff survey 16 insurance companies. The finding: Eight would not write health, life or disability policies for women who have been victims of domestic abuse. [Huffington Post]
•In 1995, the Boston Globe reported, “Explaining the industry view, Mark Rosen, a lawyer who is chairman of the Boston Bar Association’s committee on insurance, said that at first the stance may seem unfair. ‘But the company sees the applicant constantly being treated for lacerations, broken bones, getting mental health counseling. They say, ‘This is a continuing situation, a high risk client, and it’s going to cost us a lot of money.’’ He added, ‘The question is whether there’s a sound actuarial basis here. Should other policy holders be burdened with the increased costs? At what point can the companies legitimately say, ‘You’re not extricating yourself from this problem. Don’t expect us to underwrite you!’ It’s like a smoker who doesn’t stop smoking.’” [Boston Globe]
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It always drives me crazy when Nichols prefaces everything with "the fact of the matter is," especially when he offers an opinion. Having said that, his recent appearance on Upfront with Mike Gousha left no doubt that Nichols has been taking notes from Glenn Beck, claiming a political middle ground where it isn't about the angry left or right. It's all about a legitimate ideological debate with regards to the governments role and size. Yea, right...
When it comes to conservative outrage and town hall anger, Nichols wants more of it. Really John?
Nichols is asked if Nancy Pelosi and Jimmy Carter were right in claiming "some of the talk was bad, not healthy:' "No, there wrong! ...I think Democrats and Republicans play a dangerous game when their in power. They try to tell the other side, 'Oh, any descent is dangerous. It's unpatriotic."
Nichols plays the Republican game of exaggeration when he purposely misstates the message from Pelosi and Carter that "ANY decent is dangerous." I personally can't imagine any liberal making such an imbecilic statement. What you don't often see on the "left" are armed protesters whipped into a fear based frenzy, recalling the days of the red scare, threatening to take their country back from an undocumented "black African witch doctor" president.
Nichols: "We should have more dialog, more descent and more anger, and not less."
That would be fine John, if the descent was based a majority of their objections were based in reality, instead of the fear that Obama is a secret socialist out to destroy the country with government loans that are really government take-overs of Wall Street and the auto industry and nightmarish fabrications written into health care reform bills.
Nichols apparently doesn't differentiate between the standard issue white authoritarian Republican president and a pragmatic centrist black president. Perhaps Nichols connection with the real world has been severed by his demanding schedule and writing deadlines.
Nichols: "People were angry, not angry left, angry right, not angry Republican/angry Democrat but very angry about the sense that they just had an election that was supposed to be about change and fixing a lot of stuff, and it doesn't seem to be coming together in any way that makes any sense to them."
Nichols appears to be conflating angry Democrats disappointed in Obama's watered down execution of change with a radicalized Republican Party pushing for an armed revolt against the government.
You're doing just what the angry tenthers and birthers want John.
Now that's standing by your convictions.
"The Texas default rate, over the latest three reporting periods, climbed from 5.8 percent, to 7.1 percent, then to 9.3 percent."
"The department (of Education) says schools with excessive default rates may lose eligibility from one or more federal student aid programs."
"Those who attended for-profit schools are most likely default on loans. In Texas, the latest rates are 16.5 percent at for-profit colleges, 7.7 percent at public colleges."
This all came about because of two things: Texans are economically depressed, and the state relies on federal money for help.
"One reason for the higher default rate for Texas was the state has a greater share of low-income students, who could have more trouble repaying loans. Texans also have to rely more on federal loans because the state offers relatively less aid."
And less aid to its own state residents means more of the nations taxpayers picking up the tab. Thank you Gov. Perry.