Saturday, August 15, 2009

Slate Gives Us Meryl Streep

But misses the three Angels in America characters, possibly her best is the Jewish rabbi.

YouTube doesn't have the rabbi, but they do have her as Ethel Rosenberg over Roy Cohn's deathbed. If you haven't seen the movie, I think it's the best American movie I've ever seen, but didn't count for Oscars because it was HBO.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Medicare For All

It's the solution progressives like Krugman had for the health care reform issue. But you knew it wasn't going to happen.
But wait, maybe it is.
Remember when the big money boys all wanted to privatize Social Security? And how they got beat back by a bunch of organizations who — rightly — alerted seniors to the scam?
Well, I had a few minutes and got to prowling the net looking for the answer to my burning question "who is the Coalition for Medicare Advantage" that tried to scare the bejeesus out of this old lady with one of its robocalls telling me my Medicare benefits are under threat.
Turns out, of course, that they're the child of Coalition for Medicare Choices which in turn is the child of American Health Care Plans or AHIP, the big-bucks player in the health insurance reform battle.
And the thinking is, if they keep getting the government to allow them to bleed the Medicare system to the tune of $15 billion a year,in overpayments Medicare will fail and they can take over.
It's all here in an impressive article for The Nation by the woman who is head of the health reporting program in NYU's journalism program.
It's the kind of in-depth stuff the MSM isn't giving you because, frankly, they're lazy and they're corrupt and ...and...

Trudy Lieberman, who writes frequently for The Nation on health policy, is director of the health and medicine reporting program at the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

Easiest Pie Chart Evah!

From Laughing Squid via The Dish.

Eat Teh Rich!

From NYT:
Federal prosecutors are building criminal cases against 150 wealthy American clients of the Swiss banking giant UBS as part of a continuing investigation into tax evasion, a person briefed on the matter said Thursday.
Normally I hate unnamed sources, but in some cases ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
But I digress. Whatever happened to former Sen. Phil "Nation of Whiners" Gramm, last I heard still a VP at UBS, and his lovely wife Wendy, she still reeking of the Enron mess?

Apparently alive and well and still gainfully employed. From some financial guy:
Gramm’s position at UBS is “vice chairman” — dubbed “the greatest job in business” for its combination of high status and low work rate. It is a do nothing patronage role that is reward for all the Wall Street friendly legislation Gramm has sponsored. At least, they used to be considered Wall Street friendly, prior to their leading to the Street imploding.

Lie O' Teh Day

It had to come to this. Worse than the primary, worse than the election campaign. Because now we're talking real money, folks.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) just sent out a letter that tells voters, among other things, that "When mama falls and breaks her hip, she'll just lie in her bed in pain until she dies with pneumonia because her needed surgery is not cost efficient."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Anyone Want to Do a Little Weeding Out?

So do the keepers of popular website Awful Library Books.

It IS All Bush's Fault

A conservative economist reminds his party.
But the truth was always that the economy performed very, very badly under Bush, and the best efforts of his cheerleaders cannot change that fact because the data don’t lie.

Money quote:

People would have been better off putting all their investments into cash under a mattress the day Bush took office.

And then there was that Gog and Magog stuff. Sheesh.
Oh, and torture. And rendition. And USAG meddling for vote suppression.
George Bush lied. Karl Rove lied. Dick Cheney lied. Donald Rumsfeld lied. Alberto Gonzalez lied. I don't need to go on.
And now, the lying lyers are out there lying some more.

Meanwhile, Back At The Recess

Big PhArma (or however they're doing that wordie thingie) is on our side. The cost of my two very, very expensive drugs will be cut in half during the donut hole period (I'm looking at my watch, tick-tock, tick-tock. Nah, I never wore a watch.) and progressives are agonizing over what kind of deal was made.
I agree with the view of "whatever it takes to get it done," then worry about tweaking it later. Nice that insurance companies and drug manufacturers are on opposite sides now. Some say Obama Kabuki again.
Anyway, $12 million ad campaign targeting Blue Dawgs.

From TPM
A new coalition called Americans for Stable Quality Care--which includes the American Medical Association, PhRMA, as well as more predictable groups like SEIU and FamiliesUSA--will launch their first pro-reform ad later today as part of an August recess campaign that's expected to cost $12 million.

Most Bizarre O' Teh Day. So Far.

TPM picked this up:

Betsey Wright, chief of staff to Bill Clinton when he was Arkansas governor and deputy chief of his 1992 presidential campaign, has been accused of trying to smuggle 48 tattoo needles in a Doritos bag into a death row prison.

At Last, The Facts About the Health Care Bill!

From a reliable, neutral source. At last! Did I say, at last?
If you're following this, subscribe to Politifact for updates. Later this week, my favorite, Medicare!

P.S. Grassley says "kill Granny" language out of bill because it could be misinterpreted, as he did yesterday at one of his town halls. Of course, nothing's final until the House and Senate get together the the Republican author of the end-of-life, advanced directive proposal was disavowing it yesterday, too.
Goddam, who's more scared of the beast they've awakened, the Secret Service or the Republican establishment?
Guy with "Death to Obama" sign was detained and news story said the sign included "Death to Michelle, too, and her two stupid girls." I love freedom of speech, cuz here I am speechifyin'.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Didn't Know That


Why, for example, have even Democratic senators been resistant on health-care reform? It might be because so many of the key players represent so few of the voters who carried Obama to victory — and so few of the nation’s uninsured. The Senate Finance Committee’s “Gang of Six” that is drafting health-care legislation that may shape the final deal — without a public insurance option — represents six states that are among the least populous in the country: Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Maine, New Mexico and Iowa.
Between them, those six states hold 8.4 million people — less than New Jersey — and represent 3 percent of the U.S. population. North Dakota and Wyoming each have fewer than 80,000 uninsured people, in a country where about 47 million lack insurance. In the House, those six states have 13 seats out of 435, 3 percent of the whole. In the Senate, those six members are crafting what may well be the blueprint for reform.
I need to retake that American government class.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Senior Scare Tactics: Coalition For Medicare Advantage

I got my first robocall today from the front organization that's out there trying to scare seniors — who often don't know whether they have a Supplement or Advantage plan, mine's Advantage — that the cuts they say are threatened are to senior benefits, when in fact they're cuts to the exhorbitant $15 billion a year in subsidies to the insurance companies.
The USA Today article I read on this topic was filled with misinformation, but quoted the Congressional Budget Office as saying the cuts in Advantage subsidies would save $150 billion over 10 years.
It's one of the ways the Democrats hope to pay for health care reform.
The robocall doesn't leave you any opportunity to respond other than "join now."
Don't press that button if you get one of these calls until you've checked the facts.
Here's one source.

Karl Rove Directly Involved In US Atty Firing

;This is what Talking Points Memo and other purely journalistic blogs — but with a liberal/progressive agenda — are all about.
At a time when Jay Carney and his boss over at Time Magazine — not to mention the rest of the mainstream press — were telling us "nothing to see here folks, move along," Josh Marshall and his crew kept on it like pit bulls.
Why? Because for the White House or anyone on the political side to directly interfere with Department of Justice actions or procedures is flagrantly illegal.
But read it for yourself.

Perhaps the key takeaway from the just released documents on the U.S. attorney firings is this:
Karl Rove claimed recently that he and his staff acted merely as a conduit for passing on concerns about David Iglesias. But it's now clear that Rove's office pushed from 2005 for Iglesias to be canned, and was intimately involved in the decision.
Now, Mr. Fitzpatrick (Fitzgerald?), how about those missing Liddy emails?


and you, too, Gore. I saw the aged Vidal recently on some public TV show. He is frail and not long for this world. Alas, where have polite threats of violence between liberal and conservatives gone?
Oh, yeah, to pistol-packing "activists" at Obama town halls.

Cass Sunstein

I like Obama's old colleague from the University of Chicago Law School mostly because Samantha Powers like him well enough to marry him.
But the R's apparently think he wants to kill your granny ban all guns and allow pets to sue their owners. Or something.
I think I feel my soul leaving my body now. Gotta run.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Obama and Health Insurance Reform

not health care reform, that's so last week.
Anyway, Froomkin, fired from the Washington Post despite producing one of their most successful blogs, is now working for Arianna.

One possibility is that Obama, to everyone's surprise, will come out with a strong bill much like the one he promised his supporters during the campaign. It is conceivable, after all, that the reason Obama hasn't publicly issued ultimatums and twisted arms and busted heads is that he believes it's best to do those things in private -- and only when the time is truly ripe. In this scenario, which I call the Obama-as-community-organizer scenario, the community's needs are finally met, but in a way such that even those who had thwarted the people's will are allowed to save face.
The other possibility -- well, I call that one the Obama-as-pushover scenario. In this one, Obama will come out of it having given away the store -- having neither significantly improved the health-care system nor lowered its costs, but rather having created a new entitlement that primarily benefits the health insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries.
So far, the glimpses we've seen from behind all those closed doors suggest the latter scenario.

Bad Farmer, Bad Farmer

Not every well-intentioned person agrees with Michael Pollan (who I personally love for Botany of Desire)
but this guy is worth attending to because he knows whereof he speaks.
Biotech crops actually cut the use of chemicals, and increase food safety. Are people who refuse to use them my moral superiors? Herbicides cut the need for tillage, which decreases soil erosion by millions of tons. The biggest environmental harm I have done as a farmer is the topsoil (and nutrients) I used to send down the Missouri River to the Gulf of Mexico before we began to practice no-till farming, made possible only by the use of herbicides. The combination of herbicides and genetically modified seed has made my farm more sustainable, not less, and actually reduces the pollution I send down the river. 
Yeah, I know it's from the American Enterprise Institute's magazine American. But Obama is a model for listening to the opposition, and I only caught the guy in one slightly misleading thing, the hypothetical deployment of 7,500 trucks filled with manure to Missouri is not anything anyone but he has envisioned. He does it for rhetorical purposes.

UPDATE: Scratch that. Sigh. Okay, somebody who actually read Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma weighs in at The Dish, which is where I stole the above from.
This has got to be your worst post that I've read, Patrick, and not worthy of the Dish. The very book that's being attacked here refutes almost every argument presented. Did anyone actually read the damn book? This author is a vicious and willfully ignorant denialist, and his supposed indictments of Pollan are so tone-deaf that I find it almost impossible to believe he even read this pragmatic, sensible, and well-supported book.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wake Up?

1,001 reasons why I should suspect what's coming out of this White House.
Frank Rich notes a few, and you're probably familiar with most of them.

I'd like to disagree, but I can't. I'm in the wait-and-see modality. And keep pressing your congress critter.
There's some reason besides that he's a former theater critic that I'm not supposed to like Frank Rich, but I can't remember what it is. Maybe Somerby will remember for me.
Oh, yeah, it was the anti-Gore bandwagon he jumped on years ago. Somerby has a long memory and tends to hold grudges.