Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 14, 2009

FRIDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Taiwanese typhoon kills more than 500 people.

* Sen. Jim Webb (D) of Virginia traveled to Burma today "to meet with the leader of the junta there, just days after the country's pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was convicted and returned to house arrest in a case that drew international condemnation."

* Sen. Kent Conrad (D) of North Dakota, one of the Senate Finance Committee's Gang of Six, told constituents today he will oppose a public option. That's disappointing, but what matters more is the procedural vote -- I care less whether he votes against the public option, and more whether he supports the filibuster of the public option.

* President Obama's town-hall event in Montana on health care went quite well.

* I guess those conservative fears of inflation were unfounded.

* Former President Clinton delivered a very strong speech at Netroots Nation last night.

* A possible breakthrough on cancer treatment?

* A statewide vote on marriage equality in California will apparently have to wait until 2012.

* Specter and Grassley are apparently going at it via Twitter.

* Ezra Klein chats with Ezekiel Emanuel.

* Heath Shuler has a tendency to let his fans down in Washington, doesn't he?

* There have apparently been some developments with John Edwards' sex scandal. Christopher Beam ponders what would happen now if Edwards were, in fact, the president.

* In the category of "if you can't beam 'em" we have David Axelrod writing his own viral email. It can't hurt.

* We're still waiting for Eric Cantor to share his thoughts on conservative abuse of Nazi and Holocaust rhetoric. Anytime you're ready, Mr. Minority Whip.

* And John Sides has a fascinating item, taking all of the fact-checking items on health care reform from Politifact.com, and categorizing claims from "true" to "pants on fire" for the president, Republicans, and Democrats. Care to take a guess which contingent has been the least honest?

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Comments

EQCA has my support, unfortunately, none of it is financial. This year's changes to the tax code for same-sex couples is costing us over $10K more than a het couple. Isn't that a special right?

Posted by: Crissa on August 14, 2009 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

While it shouldn't take actually being Jewish to object to all the crazy hitler/nazi comparisons, if Cantor has any self-respect whatsoever he should say *something* about what an absurd, offensive comparison it is-- even the socialized medicine of Canada has nothing to do with "nazism."

Then again, Cantor might not want to remind anyone in his party that he's Jewish.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on August 14, 2009 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Minority Whip"

S/B: Mr. Minority WIMP
Mr. Minority WhipPED by RUSH

Posted by: barkleyg on August 14, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

a note about electricity from nuclear fusion.

Fusion power is always "just around the corner", but it's fun to read about anyway.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 14, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

A possible breakthrough on cancer treatment?

According to the CEO of Whole Foods, if you only shopped there you wouldn't get cancer or even need any health care.

Posted by: qwerty on August 14, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Conrad: " I am opposing making health insurance less expensive for the people in my state, and, in fact the United States. I will support keeping the status quo so that the gross profits and ugly racketeering of the Insurance Industry can be maintained. I think it's perfect the C.E.O of United Health Insurance makes $100,000 an hour while he rabidly cancels thousands of policies every day so he can make all that money. That is, indeed, the 'American Way'. Just a moment while I try to pull my pants up .. I seem to be stuck being bent over ... "..

Posted by: stormskies on August 14, 2009 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Specter and Grassley are apparently going at it..."

Gross.

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian on August 14, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

What a depressing few weeks. Progressives need to put out catch phrases that trump the wingnuts'. "Death panel" - is in use on the left as well as the right and it wasn't in the lexicon as of July 31st. I haven't gotten over "faith-based" yet - why does the left adopt these terms instead of turning them on their heads. By responding using the right's own terms, we're letting the handkerchief be pulled to their side from the get-go. If they talk about "death panels" we should be responding with "patients' rights" language. Then at least the MSM would have to talk about "what Republicans are calling death panels and Democrats refer to as "patient declarations," or something of the sort. There should be a group of advertising brains on tap at the DNCC or somewhere who can turn out the labels as fast as the right does.

Posted by: ghillie on August 14, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Racists continue their expressions of bitterness at the election of our first Black President:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/8/14/766851/-OH-police-forward-Air-Force-One-N166ER-image-from-work

Posted by: ♪ on August 14, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Big Cat rocks the room

President Obama's town-hall event in Montana on health care went quite well.

I'd say so homey! This is (brilliant · brilliant) stuff:

Obama Fields Question From Feisty NRA Member At Town Hall (VIDEO)

Posted by: koreyel on August 14, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Cantor is a Jewish name? Who knew?

Posted by: anonymous on August 14, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

I have heard some rumblings about Shitler--I mean Schuler running for the Senate. I haven't voted for a Rethug in 20 years. If I have to vote between a thug and Schuler, I will vote for the thug. At least that politician will stab me from the front instead of in my back.

Posted by: candideinnc on August 14, 2009 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

* President Obama's town-hall event in Montana on health care went quite well. -- Steve Benen

How can you say that, when he did not wear a jacket or a tie, thus cheapening the office of the President of the US?

Anonymous, @18:33,
A Jewish name, after a Jewish profession in the temple...

Posted by: exlibra on August 14, 2009 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Beware the Ides of August...

Politics is a game of momentum.
And the momentum has definitely changed.
I can feel it. Can't you?
There is only so much mileage you can get from ugly lies and gunpowder rage.
You can win a few battles with that stuff, but not a war.

Big Dog is rocking it in Pittsburgh:

"This battle is not over," he cajoled the friendly audience. “We have big-time responsibilities. It is an honor for all us to be alive and to carry this responsibility. We can’t be in the peanut gallery. We have to be actors. … Don’t lose your energy because things don’t work out the way you want. It won’t take you 40 years to get health care reform. ….”

And the Big Cat is winning hearts and minds in Montana:

The country is closer than ever to health care reform, the president says. Drug companies are on board, so is the powerful AARP, which lobbies for older people. "But because we're getting close, the fighting is getting fierce," he says, blaming diehard "special interests" and their “scare tactics."

I couldn't agree with them more. This really is it. The time is now.
Believe it: We are winning and it's time to force the momentum...

So give the Palinistas a kick in the ass! Even if it is only for $10 bucks.
Every little bit helps drown the Brother Becks in their bathtubs!

Posted by: koreyel on August 14, 2009 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Kent Conrad (D) of North Dakota, one of the Senate Finance Committee's Gang of Six, told constituents today he will oppose a public option. That's disappointing, but what matters more is the procedural vote -- I care less whether he votes against the public option, and more whether he supports the filibuster of the public option.

Siad the worthless piece of shit who had such a great insurance plan he didn't die from his brain embolism. Pig-headed moron.

Posted by: TCinLA on August 14, 2009 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Siad the worthless piece of shit who had such a great insurance plan he didn't die from his brain embolism. Pig-headed moron.

Conrad's definitely a pig-headed moron, but he's not the one who had a brain embolism. That's Tim Johnson.

Posted by: shortstop on August 14, 2009 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Just a joke done popped into my head ...

Rush Limbaugh - why his draft deferment?
He had a Palinidal cyst ...

She herself, is a Palin-idol cyst.
Maybe from being a quit bull, a Palin-idle cyst.

For more, Google "Rush's favorite dope".

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on August 14, 2009 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Just wrote my email to Kent Conrad, one of the subjects in my mail was the lines of people in California trying to get healthcare, I asked him if this was the America he wanted, or is it a 3rd world country.

Posted by: JS on August 14, 2009 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, those conservative fears of inflation were ridiculous six months ago, and even more so now.

If George Will starts talking about it, then you know it's not worth worrying about.

Posted by: g. powell on August 14, 2009 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

I recently learned that the Canadian health care system is mainly delivered by private hospitals and providers though mainly billed to a single payer, the government; and that Canada now allows supplemental private insurance as well.

Unfortunately, in today's town hall, Pres. Obama lumped the Canadian system with Britain's NHS as "socialized medicine" and endorsed the superstition that Canada's system doesn't have private hospitals or providers (at about 30 minutes in response to the first question from the audience). If he's going to reject the Canadian model (or the British model for that matter), I wish it'd at least be on a factual basis, and not feed into some confused, anti-reform mythology. I realize he's locked on the goal of a robust public option, but it doesn't seem necessary to explicitly perpetuate one of the most exploited misconceptions about what the Canadian system actually is.

Posted by: Katie on August 14, 2009 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Today's NEWS IN SONG

The Kinks Hatred, Phobia 1993

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT5ffgWySrM

Posted by: anonymous on August 14, 2009 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

I guess those conservative fears of inflation were unfounded.

Fears of inflation are real, regardless of where they come from. Of course we're not seeing any inflation yet, because we're still in the middle the effing depression. Duh.

When we start to come out of it in another year, then you'll see strong inflation pressures coming from all sectors, not the least being the gubbmint as the idea of inflating our way out of our debt will be very, very tempting.

Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2009 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Carlsbad Desalination Project is finally approved again.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 14, 2009 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

To hell with splitting hairs; bring on the long knives...

Katie: If he's going to reject the Canadian model (or the British model for that matter), I wish it'd at least be on a factual basis, and not feed into some confused, anti-reform mythology.

He actually did a lot better than that.
He said that the US needed it's own unique solution. (Which is actually probably quite true.)

That was a brilliant left-handed dunk over the red state pricks who presuppose ownership of the flag and knee-jerk piss on anything foreign...

Such a pro-American slant to the argument:

Cuts Limbaugh off at the knees...
Cuts Beck off at the balls...
Cuts Hannity off at his incipient double chin: S.L.I.C.E!

It was sheer brilliance.
One of Barack's finest moments...
(Next to thanking the NRA guy (by name) for being civil. Woot! Triple word count for the Cool Cat on that one!)

This was one of the most stunning and sparkling town hall performances I've ever seen...
Pure brilliance.


Posted by: koreyel on August 14, 2009 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Throw The Healthcare Obstructionist Out!

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% republicans). Basically everyone.

We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. And the most costly. Costing over twice as much as every other county. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don't die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get, without a robust government-run public option available on day one. Co-OP's ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION. They are a fraud being pushed by the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry that is KILLING YOU!

YOU CANT HAVE AN INSURANCE MANDATE WITHOUT A ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION. MANDATING PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE AS YOUR ONLY CHOICE WOULD BE A DISASTER. AND UNETHICAL, CORRUPT, AND MORALLY REPUGNANT. AND PROBABLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS WELL.

These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it's President Obama's fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

But you don't have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will make you feel better too.

There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

You have been AMAZING!!! people. Don't loose heart. You knew it wasn't going to be easy saving the World. :-)

God Bless You

jacksmith Working Class

I REST MY CASE (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

* Richard Shelby of Alabama
* Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
* John McCain of Arizona
* Mel Martinez of Florida
* Johnny Isakson of Georgia
* Mike Crapo of Idaho
* Chuck Grassley of Iowa
* Sam Brownback of Kansas
* Jim Bunning of Kentucky
* David Vitter of Louisiana
* Kit Bond of Missouri
* Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
* Richard Burr of North Carolina
* George Voinovich of Ohio
* Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
* Jim DeMint of South Carolina
* John Thune of South Dakota
* Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
* Bob Bennett of Utah

Posted by: jacksmith on August 14, 2009 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine the following scenario:

There's been another right-wing terrorist attack within the United States, a biological weapon attack inside a major metropolitan area, sickening millions of U.S. citizens.

Local, state and federal (DHS/FEMA) authorities rush to the area to provide assistance, to save the lives of U.S. citizens, men, women and children.

The authorities, through bullhorns, blare out instructions: "Okay, calm down people. Form two lines, here and over there.

All those paying premiums to insurance companies go (or crawl) to line number one. You will be processed as quickly as possible, after filling out the necessary insurance company paperwork and screened for any pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to your being felled by this biological agent. After you've been approved by insurance company representatives, the doctors and nurses will do what they can to save your life and that of your family.

All those without any insurance go (or crawl) to line number two. Each of you will receive a map to the nearest emergency room at the nearest hospital. Good luck to you and your family."

Now, think of Hurricane Katrina and if this was how local, state and federal (DHS/FEMA) had responded, weeding out the uninsured from the insured, leaving the uninsured to fend for themselves, hoping they didn't die in transit and the emergency rooms weren't overwhelmed, while the insured received help, but with insurance company stipulations (health care risk filtering) standing between these people and their being treated.

Citizen outrage would be enormous. And yet this scenario describes the Republican "health care" plan for America, even as our nation faces a national health care crisis (for all U.S. citizens), which will only be aggravated more as the effects of global warming start being felt across America.

WE THE PEOPLE need health care reform NOW. Just as the FDIC was created to "backup" the banks, providing an invaluable guarantee for bank depositors and adding government-backed security for our financial institutions, WE THE PEOPLE need a public option (or even a universal single-payer system) similarly guaranteed by OUR government, so no more U.S. citizens (including children) fall through the widening cracks in our current insurance company-centric profit-motive-driven Republican-status quo health care system.

Posted by: The Oracle on August 15, 2009 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Primary challenge time in North Dakota.

Posted by: JPS on August 15, 2009 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans will vote yes on private, for profit death panels. Then they can be a triumph of bipartisanship.

(h/t Samantha Bee)

Posted by: JPS on August 15, 2009 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

While Grassley's behavior has confirmed my opinion of him as a confused, senile old man, my opinion of Specter has gone up. He has stood up to the Town Hall mobs and given as good as he has gotten. He is all right.

Posted by: bob h on August 15, 2009 at 6:07 AM | PERMALINK

Koreye,

If AARP is on board, look out! They're the ones who pushed thru Medicare Part D.... the horrible, expensive drug part of Medicare that Big Pharma wanted. They are an INSURANCE COMPANY... no champion of seniors.

I will never, EVER, join that group.

Posted by: clem on August 15, 2009 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

.
If it's Friday it must be undraped starlet day. Or it could be Belgium. Either one.

Today, Ashley Greene examines the possibility that technology has brought about fundamental changes in human sexuality.

Or it could be Belgium.
.

Posted by: cosanostradamus on August 15, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

"Sen. Kent Conrad (D) of North Dakota, one of the Senate Finance Committee's Gang of Six, told constituents today he will oppose a public option."

The ABC World News just aired video of Conrad speaking to a crowd, telling them in regard to the Public OPTION:

"The last thing the government needs is to be taking over the healthcare system"

He has clearly adopted the propaganda of the American RightWing.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 15, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the cancer research update.

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