Friday, February 26, 2010

Last Call

The alternative to the Dems are Republicans like Arizona nutjob Trent Franks.
In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say “How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible.” And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?
He's lying about this, of course.
But there was little evidence that abortions had made black children unusually endangered. The fertility rate, or births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, among black women remains higher than the national average and has inched up in recent years, according to C.D.C. data.

The advertising campaign has drawn fire from supporters of abortion rights. Loretta Ross, the executive director of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective in Atlanta, said the billboards painted black women as either monsters intent on destroying their own race or victims of whites who control abortion clinics.

“The reason we have so many Planned Parenthoods in the black community is because leaders in the black community in the ’20s and ’30s went to Margaret Sanger and asked for them,” Ms. Ross said. “Controlling our fertility was part of our uplift out of poverty strategy, and it still works.”
But if you're trying to portray African-Americans as either unfit mothers that barely qualify as human or dupes of the dirty f'ckin hippie pro-choice movement so that they turn to God-fearing Republicans and away from the Democratic Party, why, this is a lie you want to tell over and over and over again.

And you know?  Check that.  It's enough to just make us not vote Democratic.  Hell, why let us vote at all?

Either way, you're bringing Jesus to the ignorant savages who just don't know any better.

In Which Zandar Plays The Devil's Advocate

Let's be honest here:  despite all the happy talk that this is moving forward, the Dems don't have the votes.

The Dems don't have the 51 votes for Senate reconciliation, or the 218 for passing the Senate bill in the House.  As it stands now, this bill's dead.  There is no health care reform.


Unless.  Something has to change here in the next couple of weeks.  I was hoping it was going to be the summit, to finally convince everyone that there was no chance at the Republicans coming on board.  But the Dems knew that back in August.

If the votes were there, we'd have a bill by now.  We don't.  There's empirical evidence to support this, because there's no law yet.

So what has to change?  Obama has to twist some arms here.  The Dems have to commit to this now, 100%.  If they do not, they are doomed.  The Republicans warn that passing this bill and using reconciliation on it would be "catastrophic".  If that's so, then the Republicans should be daring them to pass the bill.  They're not.

Think about that.  To clarify what I mean, we need health care reform.  This is bigger than November.

Dems had better get those votes.  And soon.

Oh Yeah, Well We've Got Plasma Rockets

Plasma rockets that can cut the time to Mars down to 39 days.

I say this again.  Plasma.  Rockets.
Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former astronaut and a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says reaching the Red Planet could be dramatically quicker using his high-tech VASIMR rocket, now on track for lift-off after decades of development.

The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket -- to give its full name -- is quick becoming a centerpiece of NASA's future strategy as it looks to private firms to help meet the astronomical costs of space exploration.

NASA, still reeling from a political decision to cancel its Constellation program that would have returned a human to the moon by the end of the decade, has called on firms to provide new technology to power rovers or even future manned missions.

Hopes are now pinned on firms like Chang-Diaz's Texas-based Ad Astra Rocket Company.
Magnetoplasma Rockets!  That's even better than plain old plasma rockets!

Seriously, why aren't we throwing bricks of cash at this guy?

Bunning In The Billiard Room With The Candlestick

Our own Jim Bunning just killed unemployment benefits for a million Americans.
Starting Monday, the jobless will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.

Federal unemployment benefits kick in after the basic state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. During the downturn, Congress has approved up to an additional 73 weeks, which it funds.

These federal benefit weeks are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

Because the Senate did not act, the jobless will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.

That could be devastating to the unemployed who were counting on that income. In total, more than one million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.

Lawmakers repeatedly tried to approve a 30-day extension this week, but each time, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., prevented the $10 billion measure from passing, saying it needs to be paid for first.
"Right now, the 1.2 million workers who will lose benefits in March are being held hostage by partisan attempts to delay and block this critical legislation," said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
And the Senate adjourned today.  The legislation will now expire. Mission accomplished, Jim!

Republicans complained for months, bitterly, that Obama and the Democrats weren't doing enough about jobs and the unemployment rate.  So, Republicans did something about it alright:  They cut off a million plus Americans.

Dems, if you can't make this an issue in the elections, you deserve to lose.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Remember when American presidents were doddering, clueless, horny, or stupid, instead of the largest, most unforgivable sin of
It's a safe bet that no minds were changed in that room Thursday, and it's not entirely clear that Obama was even trying to forge a compromise. Though advertised as a consensus-building opportunity, the summit served more as a moment for the president to tell Republicans, with the cameras rolling, why they're wrong and he's right.

The forum matched his lawyerly skills -- and, less flatteringly, his tendency to act like the smartest guy in the room. Prof. Obama ventured deep into the weeds of health-care policy to contest Republican claims, and, for one day at least, he regained control of the fractious student body that is the Congress.

The 40 lawmakers and administration officials, seated in squeaky chairs around the square, were to speak only when called on. After each talked, Obama would determine whether the speaker's point was a "legitimate argument."

While each of them had to call him "Mr. President," Obama, often waving an index finger, made sure to refer to each of them by their first name: "Thank you, Lamar. . . . We're going to have Nancy and Harry. . . . John, are you going to make the presentation yourself?"

If somebody went on too long, Obama cautioned the lawmaker to be "more disciplined." When Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) spoke about Medicare cuts, Obama cut him off. "I don't mean to interrupt," he said, but "if every speaker, at least on one side, is going through every provision and saying what they don't like, it's going to be hard for us to see if we can arrive at some agreements."

After several such moments, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ((R-Ky.) spoke up. "Republicans have used 24 minutes; the Democrats, 52 minutes," he said.

Obama made McConnell look small in his chair. "You're right, there was an imbalance on the opening statements," he said, "because I'm the president." 
Obama will never escape being President Uppity McBlackMan.  If Obama's acting like he's the smartest guy in the's because he is...including the Villagers.

The Village And You

Doug at Balloon Juice has an excellent point:
There are a lot of people out there who believe that our sorry state of affairs is caused by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and, if they’re really deluded, they’ll add “and on the left, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann”. I know plenty of people who say things like this.

The truth is, it’s more the fault of Charlie Rose and Tom Friedman and David Brooks. Glenn Beck didn’t get us into Iraq.
Nope.  It was the Sensible Village Centrists that sold Bush and Iraq to the people.  It was their job to do so.

Our problem is the same folks that sold us that war then are still selling us things now.  They guys that said "Hey, wait a minute..." They got Froomkined.

The Case For Reconciliation

I've said a number of times that reconciliation should and can be used in the case of health care.  After all, Republicans have used reconciliation on health care bills in the past, and have even wanted to use it to drill for oil in ANWR in Alaska.

But don't take my word for it.  Take the word of Republican Sen. Judd Gregg making the case in 2005.

Bonus fact:  Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House in 2005.  They had no problems "ramming through things" using reconciliation then.

Like Shooting Moose In A Very, Very Large Barrel

Moose Lady's headlining the NRA Convention in Charlotte this year.
Palin, who has often spoken of hunting in Alaska, will speak to the convention's May gathering in Charlotte, N.C. The speech gives her the opportunity to burnish her credentials to a key segment of the Republican Party. Gun owners — and the NRA in particular — are very active in Republican primary politics.

"Gov. Palin is one of the most requested speakers in America today," Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive director, said in a statement announcing Palin's speech. "She's an outdoorsman, hunter and a steadfast supporter of our Second Amendment freedom. We are pleased to have a fellow NRA member speak at our 139th annual meeting in Charlotte this May."
I'm sure Obama will be sending his goons to take away America's guns any minute now...wait for it...waiiiit for it...

The Kroog Versus The Health Care Summit

Paul Krugman rightfully calls out the Republicans for offering exactly zip in yesterday's summit.
It was obvious how things would go as soon as the first Republican speaker, Senator Lamar Alexander, delivered his remarks. He was presumably chosen because he’s folksy and likable and could make his party’s position sound reasonable. But right off the bat he delivered a whopper, asserting that under the Democratic plan, “for millions of Americans, premiums will go up.”

Wow. I guess you could say that he wasn’t technically lying, since the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate Democrats’ plan does say that average payments for insurance would go up. But it also makes it clear that this would happen only because people would buy more and better coverage. The “price of a given amount of insurance coverage” would fall, not rise — and the actual cost to many Americans would fall sharply thanks to federal aid.

His fib on premiums was quickly followed by a fib on process. Democrats, having already passed a health bill with 60 votes in the Senate, now plan to use a simple majority vote to modify some of the numbers, a process known as reconciliation. Mr. Alexander declared that reconciliation has “never been used for something like this.” Well, I don’t know what “like this” means, but reconciliation has, in fact, been used for previous health reforms — and was used to push through both of the Bush tax cuts at a budget cost of $1.8 trillion, twice the bill for health reform.

What really struck me about the meeting, however, was the inability of Republicans to explain how they propose dealing with the issue that, rightly, is at the emotional center of much health care debate: the plight of Americans who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions. In other advanced countries, everyone gets essential care whatever their medical history. But in America, a bout of cancer, an inherited genetic disorder, or even, in some states, having been a victim of domestic violence can make you uninsurable, and thus make adequate health care unaffordable.

One of the great virtues of the Democratic plan is that it would finally put an end to this unacceptable case of American exceptionalism. But what’s the Republican answer? Mr. Alexander was strangely inarticulate on the matter, saying only that “House Republicans have some ideas about how my friend in Tullahoma can continue to afford insurance for his wife who has had breast cancer.” He offered no clue about what those ideas might be. 
And that's the way it has been since last March:  The Democrats incorporate an idea fronted by Republicans into the health care plan, and then the Republicans immediately turn against it.  As I've been saying for over a year now, the Republicans will never, ever let Obama take credit for health care reform, even if it means scuttling their own ideas.

As Lamar Alexander showed us yesterday, the only idea Republicans have is "start over."  When Republicans had control of Congress and the White House, they tacked on a $1.2 trillion prescription drug gift to Big Pharma.  To Republicans, that's health care reform.

They would rather toss their own ideas down the hole than let a Democratic president sign them into law.

Time to go it alone.  Even former GOP Senate majority leader Bill Frist admits the Republicans are obstructing too much.

Paterson Packs It In

As widely expected, embattled NY Dem Gov. David Paterson is not running for re-election this fall, leaving the door wide open for a Rick Lazio/Andrew Cuomo contest.
 New York Governor David Paterson has decided to withdraw from the race for governor and will not seek election this year, a top Democratic official told NBC News.

Paterson is expected to announce his decision later Friday. 

Paterson was elected lieutenant governor and ascended to the top posttwo years ago when former Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal.

Recently, the governor has been under fire for having contacted a woman who accused one of his top aides of domestic violence. 

The decision would clear the way for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is the favorite of many Democrats, to seek the nomination unimpeded. 
Not like this wasn't coming.  Question now is how will Cuomo handle the investigation into Paterson's aide?

Bureaucratic Inertia For The Win

Obama's latest plan to forestall the foreclosure crisis?  Literally stall on the foreclosure crisis.
The Obama administration may expand efforts to ease the housing crisis by banning all foreclosures on home loans unless they have been screened and rejected by the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

The proposal, reviewed by lenders last week on a White House conference call, “prohibits referral to foreclosure until borrower is evaluated and found ineligible for HAMP or reasonable contact efforts have failed,” according to a Treasury Department document outlining the plan. 
You can't foreclose until our government bureaucracy has reviewed the mortgage!  We'll get back to you on that.

Finally, a government plan that might actually work.

Epic Prorogue This, Eh Fail

Via Crooks And Liars:



No matter how today's USA vs CAN Men's hockey gold medal game goes (and the Canadian women kicked our asses last night 2-0) in the greater scheme of things it's still EPIC FAIL for us.

Bunning Blocks The Plate

The former baseball player is blocking the dinner plate of America's unemployed that is, as the retiring Republican Senator from Kentucky delivered a big "screw you" as he single-handedly blocked federal unemployment benefits from being extended to tens of thousands of Americans...over a college basketball game.
The Senate clash over the unemployment benefits ended just before midnight Thursday with Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, refusing to lift his objection, meaning the  jobless aid – for however short a time – will run out Sunday night unless a deal is reached Friday.

As the fight drew to a close, Mr. Bunning complained he had been ambushed by the Democrats and was forced to miss the Kentucky-South Carolina basketball game. He said Democrats caused their own problems by dropping the program extensions from an earlier bipartisan jobs measure.

And while he said the Senate spent almost three hours “telling everybody in American that Senator Bunning doesn’t give a damn about people who are on unemployment,” he assured those still watching that he was indeed interested in renewing the programs as long as it can be done to his satisfaction.

Senator Richard Jr. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, said he intended to try to break the impasse again Friday morning but Mr. Bunning indicated he would again be on hand.

Senator Jim Bunning, the conservative Kentucky Republican, insisted that the jobless pay due to run out Sunday night should be paid for rather than added to the deficit as an emergency. During the debate, Mr. Bunning stood rigidly at his desk in the back row of the Senate and objected to repeated Democrat attempts for agreement to extend unemployment coverage through April 5.

“I believe we should pay for it,” declared Mr. Bunning, who said he was determined to remain to thwart the Democrats. “I’ll be here as long as you are here.”
So, unless Bunning relents tonight, tens of thousands of Americans and their families will get cut off on Sunday.  I love it.  We can spend billions on Iraq and Afghanistan and in fact during the Bush years we spent trillions.  Republicans didn't bat an eyelash.

Try to spend money on Americans who need it however, that's fiscally irresponsible socialism.  At one point he told Democrats on the Senate floor: "Tough shit."  What does he care?  He's an ex-baseball player.  He's got money.  The rest of you?  Tough shit!

Can't have that!  After all, all unemployed people must be Democrats.  Even in a red state like Bunning's Kentucky, right?  Don't like it?  Tough shit!

That's the GOP motto, America.  Tough shit.


Related Posts with Thumbnails