Friday, May 27, 2011
“They say the way to win the next election is to scare the daylights out of senior citizens. I think that’s irresponsible,” said [Senator Jon] Cornyn [R-Texasshole], who predicted, back in 2009, that the Democrats were going to turn Medicare into “a health care gulag.”
7) For one, I hope so. And when she gets her ass kicked in primary after primary, and she tries to blame the "lamestream media" for her failures, that will kill her public persona.
8) Speaking of crazy Republican broads...
9) How big a coward is Fat Fuck Chris Christie? He's so chicken, he's decided to give up on fighting global climate change, throwing in the towel rather than sticking with it. How Jersey elected this cretin is beyond me. Oh. Wait. The Jersey Shore. I forgot!
10) The more I think about this article...and it's headline...the more creeped out I get by the implications. All I need to hear is Catherine The Great is involved.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The 5-to-3 decision amounted to a green light for vigorous state efforts to combat the employment of illegal workers. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts on behalf of the court’s five more conservative members, noted that Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia had recently enacted laws similar to the one at issue in the case.
(I'll get to why it's not really a reasonable decision in a second...)
The onus of the hiring of undocumented workers clearly rests with the employer. After all, the immigrant is not creating jobs out of whole cloth (and if they can create jobs, they ought to be fast-tracked to citizenship.) There needs to be someone here who is willing to offer a job to a non-American worker.
This is precisely where the focus of enforcement lies, or rather should lie, instead of building fences and patrolling with dogs and shotguns. If there are no jobs to be had for undocumented workers, they won't cross the border. It's really that simple.
Now, the Obama administration had joined with business and civil liberties groups in opposition to this law, and the focus of that is on a fairly important point: this state law supercedes a 1986 Federal law on immigration, and the Constitution specifically reserves "states' rights" for issues that the Federal cannot or will not address.
Which is not the case here. The SCOTUS has made a fairly stupid decision on that point, one I expect will be overturned by a future SCOTUS. Preferably soon.
Update: I just spoke to Newt Gingrich’s press secretary, Rick Tyler. He said that the deal the Gingriches got was the same one that Tiffany’s offers to anybody else: interest free financing for 12 months. And that all debt with Tiffany’s was paid off within a 12-month period. If there was hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt outstanding for a second consecutive year, which there was, then that was new debt, associated with new jewelry purchases.
Now, as others have said in other places with respect to this story, no one is telling Newt how to spend his money. He wants to buy a half million in jewelry for his trophy wife, that's fine. So is paying for plastic surgery (if you look closely at her). Nothing wrong with that. It's the American way.
What IS wrong is this:
At the same time Tiffany & Co. was extending Callista (Bisek) Gingrich a virtual interest-free loan of tens of thousands of dollars, the diamond and silverware firm was spending big bucks to influence mining policy in Congress and in agencies over which the House Agriculture Committee--where she worked--had jurisdiction, official records show.
Filings by Tiffany’s lobbyist, Cassidy & Co., and other government records show that the firm’s spending on “mining law and mine permitting-related issues” in Congress, as well as the Forest Service, the Interior Department, and Interior’s Bureau of Land Management shot up sharply between during the period when Callista Gingrich was chief clerk at the House Agriculture Committee.
Spy Talk's figures are grossly understated, but you get the drift. There's more than the hint of quid pro quo here. Tiffany does yeoman business in silver. Callista Gingrich's golddigging appetite is for Tiffany jewelry. Newt swaps his wife's work for a couple of diamond necklaces, with no-interest financing.
Now perhaps it's true. I have a credit rating that would qualify me for one of those loans, and I do get such courtesies from other places I shop, like Apple. I don't think I've blown $500,000 on any of those, tho.
Now, this story could easily have gone away quietly. You point out that it's not her job any longer, this thing ended in 2006, that under a Gingrich presidency she'll be under much more scrutiny, and that she will never ever do it again. Or words to that effect. People had problems with Hillary being an advocate and a feminist and while she never got around to baking cookies (she did publish her recipe, tho), you go the hint that she wouldn't cause a whole lot of trouble for Bill.
Which proved more true than vice versa.
The kicker, in my opinion, the deathblow in the great videogame that is the Presidential primary process, was Newt saying this on Sunday:
The way Mr. Gingrich sees it, as he said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, he’s “a guy running for president who pays all of his bills,” who lives within his budget and who is in fact “very frugal.”
The way some voters out in the rest of America might see it, he’s a guy who paid more for jewelry than some people pay for their houses.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
While well aware that there were political risks, many Republicans went into this year convinced that the rapid growth of the national debt had changed the public mood when it came to tackling the entitlement programs, starting with Medicare, the biggest driver of projected future deficits. In an ambitious budget plan written by Representative Paul D. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, House Republicans embraced a proposal that would convert Medicare into a subsidized program for the private insurance market.
Even after Tuesday night’s loss in the New York special election, in a district Republicans had held for decades, some Republicans remain chin out, calling the Ryan plan much needed medicine that the public will eventually embrace.
Others up for reelection, and some of those running for president, will not firmly commit themselves one way or another. And a small but growing number are saying no.
The "loss" the Times refers to is the victory of Democrat Kathy Hochul over a split GOP ticket of Jane Corwin and Jack Davis, a Teabagger in one of the most conservative districts in the country, much less New York State. The percentage split 47-43-9, makes the race seem closer than it was. In truth, the Republican budget proposal was defeated 56-43 (adding Davis' and Hochul's totals together, which as Nate Silver points out, ain't too far from the truth.)
Damn. Even President Obama couldn't pull off that stunning a victory! And to top it all off, Corwin had visits from John Boener and Eric Cantor to try to salvage her campaign, all for nought. Talk about rubbing noses in it!
So there's a strategy here for Democrats to take back the House, believe it or not, but it's going to require quite a bit of work and quite a bit of money to offset the Citizen's United debacle. For one thing, the first step is the one already being contemplated: Force an up or down vote in the Senate on Medicare reform.
And there's not a ghost of a chance this could be filibustered away. After all, it's the centerpiece of the Republican legislative agenda. Can you imagine a Senator being dumb enough to tell Paul Ryan to fuck off?
Even voting against the plan will raise hackles for Senators like Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins, who will undoubtedly face a tough, Koch-financed primary challenge for re-election if they do.
Sort of fun watching these asshats twist in the wind. When you don't get it, you deserve to have it stuffed down your throat, I suppose.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Rick Ungar of Forbes [ed. note: the self-described "Capitalist's Tool"] is reporting that recent data provided by the nation’s largest health insurance companies reveals that a provision of the Affordable Care Act -- "Obamacare" – is bringing big numbers of the uninsured into the health care insurance system. The uninsured in this study include the sick and the young.
The provision of the law that permits young adults under 26, long the largest uninsured demographic in the country, to remain on their parents’ health insurance program resulted in at least 600,000 newly insured Americans during the first quarter of 2011.
Wellpoint, the nation’s largest publicly traded health insurer with some 34 million customers, reports adding 280,000 new members in the first three months of 2011.
Add in the results of some of the other large health insurers including Aetna, who added just short of 100,000 newly insured to their customer base, Kaiser Permanente’s additional 90,000, and Highmark’s 72,000 new customers, and we begin to sense our health insurance pools are filling up with some badly needed young blood.
BAM!, as the kids say.
One of the most tragic aspects of the private healthcare shenanigans that was the old system was that millions of people were remaining uninsured, despite the facts that they were both human and subject to major risk taking behaviors, like driving too fast (or while drunk) or "planking" or what have you.
The rest of us covered those uninsured ninnies, and these aren't poor newbie adults we're talking about. Many of them have good jobs (or had, before Bush got hold of them) but simply opted out of insurance because, well, "More BEER! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Bringing these folks into the insured fold has a double benefit: one, their own insurance will now cover them when they do something clumsy which lowers our premiums and two, their entrance into the pool means that insurance companies can lower premiums to the rest of us, since these same people are less likely to suffer the chronic illnesses that come with aging like high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
The original Health and Human Services projection for additional insured Americans in 2011 was a modest 1.2 million. It looks like we're going to blow that out of the water.
And yet, insurance companies, for all the scaremongering by conservatives, have been drawing record profits. Gee...think it might have something to do in part with more insured Americans? I sure do.
Health care reform is only just getting started. In my book, Obama did too little, but fortunately it's not too late, too.
Monday, May 23, 2011
A former member of Sarah Palin’s inner circle has written a scathing tell-all, saying Palin was ready to quit as governor months before she actually resigned and was eager to leave office when more lucrative opportunities came around.
The Associated Press is reporting that the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and Tea Party favority Herman Cain, has officially entered the 2012 GOP race. The man who famously said, "Don't condemn me because the first black one was bad," has tossed his hat into the ring. ”In case you accidentally listen to a skeptic or doubting Thomas out there, just be to clear … I’m running for president of the United States and I’m not running for second,” he told a crowd at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday. The announcement by the businessman, author and talk radio show host that he was joining the expanding Republican field came after months of traveling around the country to introduce himself to voters.
After all, he was a community organizer...
Would you ban someone for having a technological advantage, like a lighter bike or better repair crew?Of course not. It's a competitive advantage, one available to anyone willing to pay enough for it.Similarly, if everyone is doping, but some are doping better than others, then what's the point in pretending your sport is clean?Because it risks the lives of the athlete? What in sport doesn't?Because it sets a bad example for children? You mean how like Contador dropped Schleck because the latter's chain slipped?Because those who don't dope are at a disadvantage? That might be a valid point, but one easily dismissed by the fact that the guys doping are the ones making the money in endorsements and championships, and the folks who don't dope know that going in.Fairness is all well and good, but if the problem is that widespread then by definition it is fair and those who don't dope are the ones who are forcing themselves into an unfair position.Also, this fairness you mention intrigues me a little, because I suspect it extends beyond the "Save Jens Voigt" crowd, to where you and I get on a bike and pedal our hearts out and if we're really lucky and the downhill is steep enough, we can embrace the speeds riders in the peloton can achieve for hours on end.This fairness, in other words, is about how we stack up against the elite. That's asking an awful lot of fairness.I don't like it anymore than you do, thinking that there but for the grace of HGH go I.I'd like to believe Armstrong was just that much better a rider, but the evidence is piling up against not only him but the entire race industry.