Liberal, Irreverent

Thursday, December 10, 2009 CLIMATEGATE DEBUNKED


December 10, 2009


In late November 2009, more than 1,000 e-mails between scientists at the Climate Research Unit of the U.K.'s University of East Anglia were stolen and made public by an as-yet-unnamed hacker. Climate skeptics are claiming that they show scientific misconduct that amounts to the complete fabrication of man-made global warming. We find that to be unfounded:

* The messages, which span 13 years, show a few scientists in a bad light, being rude or dismissive. An investigation is underway, but there's still plenty of evidence that the earth is getting warmer and that humans are largely responsible.
* Some critics say the e-mails negate the conclusions of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the IPCC report relied on data from a large number of sources, of which CRU was only one.
* E-mails being cited as "smoking guns" have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to "hiding the decline" isn't talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The "decline" actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings.

Note: This is a summary only. The full article with analysis, images and citations may be viewed on our Web site

Friday, December 4, 2009

The way to reduce health care cost inflation

The way to reduce health care cost inflation is by curbing inflation on the supply side. The way to do this is by controlling the arbitrary price setting power that medical providers, manufacturers and drug makers currently have. And the best way to do this is by using Medicare allowances as basis for provider reimbursement.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

You're Not Going To Like This, But Listen Anyway

You're Not Going To Like This, But Listen Anyway.
by Stephen Daugherty , Daily KOS
Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 06:04:50 PM PST

If you're thinking of staying home, you're thinking of making a mistake. Right now, the Republicans are making the next election a referendum on Democrats' current performance. Performance they are deliberately dampening.

I know we want results. I want results. I know we're angry at people in our party. But two years is not enough, apparently, to convince Republicans out there to give up.

We've gotten soft, complacent, maybe not on the issues, but maybe on what it takes to keep our power against the aggressive assault of a rival party that thrives on their opposition to us.

There's no use trying to reason this out. Republicans have chucked reason out the window. They're not trying the altogether impossible task of trying to win on the merits.

They've been twisting the American people up emotionally, trying to get everybody back to thinking in their intuitive terms of liberals as the bad guys, the folks who aren't in Washington to solve problems, but to spend taxpayers money and burden them with more costs.

I am not suggesting we fight fire with fire here. I am suggesting that our job from the last two elections is not over, and we've got a public that is disillusioned from where they were with us in the last two elections.

Our trouble, really, is that we're not going to get the chance to change the policy we need to change, if the Republican turn up in strong enough numbers and we don't. We need to match their stubbornness, not expect that they'll see the light.

If you're gay, if you're battling for healthcare reform, if you're trying to battle to see our intelligence and defense apparatus saved from the legacy of Bush, I guarantee you that failing to show up and failing to push people to vote against the Republicans will be a failing strategy in 2010.

I know you people want reasons. I know you people want a simple relationship of reward to action. I do, too. But we can't start the process of purifying the party, of enforcing the party will just yet, if we're facing the challenge we are in 2010.

The Republicans are trying to work this out in a line of circular reason, pointing to their wins as evidence that the country hasn't turned against them. They are trying to completely bypass any responsibility for their continued obstruction, for the failures they've never been repentant about.

They are trying to force you to give up first. Maybe you got good reasons to give up yourself, bitter disappointments. I know. I'm mad as hell we're not doing better. But if we decide we have the luxury of giving up here, things only get worse, because the Republicans have made this nothing less than a fight to escape the legacy of this last decade, The Decade from Hell.

This is about more than just our individual agendas, this is about the ability of liberalism and progressive politics to overcome the Republican's frenzied, fanatical opposition to any departure from the status quo. We're not in a polite philosophical battle here right now, we are in a very nasty fight for the future of this country, for the ability of our politics to triumph over theirs.

Yes, people are disappointed. They need to remember why they're feeling like hell, what party brought it about, and understand that any vote against a Democrat this coming election could grease the skids on the return to the very politics that put us in this terrible position.

We need them to perceive the truth about what's happening in Washington, and we need to understand it ourselves: The Republicans are united in their efforts to stall our legislation, and they are doing their best to leave us empty-handed coming into the next elections, including on healthcare.

We need people to understand that going back to divided government will not free us from gridlocked government.

We need those numbers on that link to go up. We need to realize that the big fight out there is still with the Republicans, and if we fail to win it, then no other fight, not for gay rights, not for healthcare, not for a foreign policy that make sense will get any easier.

We need to win the fights that let us win the other fights first. It's a bitter compromise, but the alternative may be a bitter defeat. America does not need another decade in the Wilderness. The Republicans do.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bush Recession likely came to an end

More and more economist are concluding that the greatest economic debacle since the Great Depression, the Bush Recession, likely already ended. At least in macro-economic terms. Obviously in the micro economic level, with unemployment high, consumer spending slow and many small business struggling, the Bush recession is alive and well.

However, the U.S. economy is like a big tanker on the sea, it cannot make sharp V turns. The first step in recovering from an economic debacle is to stop the free fall of the economy and that was already accomplished months ago.

The next step is to start the big U turn of the economy, and this is the process we are experiencing now and what the economists refer when they say the recession is likely over.

After the U turn is complete, the next step is to start growing again and at a sustainable rate. But for this we need jobs. So, it is not accident that President Obama next big item on the agenda is to stimulate the creation of more jobs.

This mess started on February 2001 when George W. Bush became president. The recovery started on February 2009 when Obama became president. So, even though we all would like for things to magically happen, remember we did not get into this mess overnight and therefore we will not get out of it overnight.

Friday, November 20, 2009

To Catholic Bishops:

What are you planning to do? Oppose health coverage that will save the
lives of millions who are already born, because you are obssessed with
those who aren't even being born yet?

Why don't you concentrate your efforts in educating women and giving
financial support to women so they CHOOSE not to have an abortion?

Why dont you understand that women have the right to choose what they
think is best for their bodies and not being forced to something they
don't want?

Why do you prefer going back to the dark ages where women who take
that decision ended up bleeding with clothe hangers inside them?

Why not keeping the women who make that decision under medical care so
they can live?

Why do you call yourselves 'pro-life' but appear not to care if some
women live?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's Wrong witn GOP Victories in NJ and VA?

Well, to start any GOP victory is wrong for me because it just means more obstruction to change and a step backwards for progress.

But what is really troubling about the GOP performance in VA and NJ is that GOP candidates were successful in singing a mermaid song to convince a group of independents that tea baggers, birthers, deathers, nativists, the Sara Palins, Limbaughs and Becks has nothing to do with them. They were successful in making voters in VA and NJ think that these extreme elements of the conservative movement have nothing to do and DO NOT represent the Republican Party.

By voting Republican these independents apparently think they are getting mainstream elected officials that actually care for the poor, workers, middle class, women and disabled. They apparently think that these GOP governors will cooperate to help the unemployed and bring health care reform to their states. By voting Republican these independents think that a Republican in office is better for them under the Obama administration than a Democrat.

What I see is the usual political game where if you don't like Democrats, then you vote Republican and viceversa.

The People still do not realize that it is not really about voting for Republicans or Democrats, but for which philosophy toward people is best for them.

Conservatives believe that poor people are a necessary evil who exist only to serve the upper class and corporations. Conservatives do not really believe in a middle class. Conservatives believe that only rich people deserve the wealth and the rest of us deserve only enough to survive, so we can keep working for the least possible compensation, and beware of complaining.

On the other hand Liberals and Progressives believe in a strong middle class. We believe that poor people deserve help to hopefully lift them up to middle class. We believe that being rich is OK as long as it is done in a socially, environmentally and ethically, responsible manner.

So, this is where the Progressive movement have failed. We have failed in educating people, in helping them understand that elections is not really a matter of political party, but which philosophy and ideology can help them best.

At the end the choice is between the Conservative ideology or Progressive ideology.

We have seen that Conservative means hail the rich and corporations at the expense of the rest of the people; means poisoned air/water/soil; means warmongering, hate, racism, homophobia, torture, murders; means Sarah Palin, Tea Baggers, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck.

Progressive ideology means social justice, equality, civil rights, defend the constitution; means healthcare for all, higher education for all, good jobs with good benefits; means diplomacy, respect and admiration globally; means green economy, clean environment and safe food.

The choice is obvious; but by looking at the election results tonight in NJ and VA it is still about how the game is played. Ideology does not matter, only who sings the best song.

We have a lot of work to do!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Four things you can do to help pass health care reform: - Fwd this msg to friends and ask them to text HEALTH to 94553 to JOIN US!

Friday, September 18, 2009

MEDIAMATTERS: Candid Camera: Behind the scenes video at 9/12 protest shows Fox News producer coaching crowd


Behind the scenes footage from an anonymous tipster showing what appears to be a Fox News producer encouraging a crowd to scream and holler during a "report" by Fox News' Griff Jenkins at the 9/12 protest:

Here's how it looked on Fox News:

We would expect that type of behavior from a producer of, say, a daytime talk show with a live studio audience like Oprah or Maury or Jerry, but from a cable "news" producer? Really?

I guess it wasn't enough for Fox News to promote the hell out of Glenn Beck's 9/12 death march – they also needed to incite the crowd – you know, get them nice and pumped up so they'd looked good for the cameras.

Fair & Balanced? More like Fake & Staged.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some positives, but Baucus' healthcare reform bill is mostly crap

Baucus bill has some positives that must included in the final bill.
However, it is mainly another giveaway of taxpayers' money to the
special interests, this time the insurance companies. The co-op idea
is crap, as it doesn't have any theeth to keep insurance companies
honest or promote real competition. Insurance companies feel happy and
very comfortable with co-ops. The American people do not!

Monday, September 7, 2009 Lies About H.R. 3200

Claim: Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!

False: This section says nothing whatsoever about “rationing” or anything of the sort. Actually, it’s favorable to families and individuals, placing an annual cap on what they could pay out of pocket if covered by a basic, “essential benefits package.” The limits would be $5,000 for an individual, $10,000 for a family.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Poll numbers you won't get from the corporate media

Poll numbers you won't get from the corporate media

The media is too cozy with the insurance industry and others deep pocket oponents of healthcare reform.

National Quinnipiac poll in August (question 23): 40% of Republicans support public option, 72% overall

National CBS poll in September: 35% of Republicans support public option, 60% overall

August Research 2000 poll of Sen. Max Baucus's "red state" Montana constituents: 47% support and 44% oppose the public option

August Research 2000 poll of Blue Dog Rep. Jim Cooper's constituents: 61% support and 28% oppose the public option


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Facism: A characteristic of the Right

What makes these people right-wing extremists is that they not only
adopt right-wing political positions, they take them to their most
extreme logical (if that's the word for it) outcome:

They not only oppose abortion, they believe abortion providers should
be killed.

They not only believe that liberal elites control the media and
financial institutions, but that a conniving cabal of Jews is at the
heart of this conspiracy to destroy America.

They not only despise Big Government, they believe it is part of a New
World Order plot to enslave us all.

They not only defend gun rights avidly, they stockpile them out of
fear that President Obama plans to send in U.N. troops to take them
away from citizens.

They not only oppose homosexuality as immoral, they believe gays and
lesbians deserve the death penalty.

They not only oppose civil-rights advances for minorities, they also
believe a "race war" is imminent, necessary and desirable.

And on and on.

Every part of the agenda of the agenda of right-wing
extremists is essentially an extreme expression of conservative
positions. And that, fundamentally, is why American fascism always has
been and always will be, properly understood, an unmistakable
phenomenon of the Right.

Via Crooks&Liars

Friday, August 28, 2009

ThinkProgress: The Progress Report: Stimulating Hypocrisy

Stimulating Hypocrisy
Earlier this year, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 without a single Republican vote in the House of Representatives and with the support of only three Republicans in the Senate. This stimulus bill, which included $552 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax cuts, has provided much-needed support to state and local economies across the country. Cognizant to this fact, conservatives have jumped on the chance to personally deliver stimulus money to their cash-strapped states and districts, while conveniently brushing past their original opposition. A two-faced approach to the stimulus debate has become routine for many Republicans, with many GOP lawmakers who are standing against the stimulus in Washington, D.C., but touting it when they travel home to their constituents.

CONGRESSIONAL HYPOCRITES: Several House Republicans who opposed the Recovery Act quickly returned to their districts to tout projects that it funded. Stimulus opponent Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) met with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently to solicit stimulus money for streetcar expansions and road repairs. Cao proudly boasted that he is looking "at federal monies that the state has and channeling more of that money to the district." Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) earlier this month asked for stimulus funds to be diverted into paying down the deficit rather than paying it out to states. But the same day he took credit for the construction site at Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, Kentucky -- a project that was funded in large part by the Recovery Act. One of the most brazen acts of hypocrisy came from House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has repeatedly claimed that the stimulus is "failing" to create jobs. Earlier this month, Cantor appeared at a job fair in Midlothian, VA, to demonstrate how he is working on "long-term solutions that will put...Virginia workers back on the path to financial stability." But scores of jobs advertised at the jobs fair were created by the stimulus, and Chesterfield County, where the fair was being held, will receive more than $38 million in stimulus funding over the next two years.

HYPOCRITICAL GOVERNORS: Republican governors lined up to attack the Recovery Act and oppose its passage as well. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), said if he was still a member of Congress he would've voted against the stimulus and wrote an op-ed in Politico lambasting the Recovery Act's effect, calling it the "stimulus that has not stimulated." Yet the very next day, he appeared with constituents in Louisiana to present a jumbo-sized check of federal grant money authorized under the Recovery Act to residents of Vernon Parish. He later toured the state in a "Louisiana Working" tour, handing out millions of dollars of stimulus money while simultaneously attacking "Washington Spending." Similarly, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last year titled "Don't Bail Out My State," proudly boasting about being the only governor to travel to Washington to lobby against the stimulus package. Yet after the legislation was passed, Sanford changed his mind and told reporters that being against the Recovery Act "doesn't preclude taking the money." In April, Sanford became the last governor to seek economic recovery funds.

THE STIMULUS IS WORKING: The Council of Economic Advisers, in a report released earlier this month, called the Recovery Act the "boldest countercyclical fiscal stimulus in American history" and concluded that the stimulus added nearly 500,000 jobs to the economy in the second quarter of 2009 that would not have been there without it. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), one of the few Republicans who voted in favor of the stimulus, noted last March that even "those who were opposed to the stimulus spending will see some of the projects that are underway in their communities as they've initiated." Snowe said she believes that the effect of the spending has been to create an "amazing" number of projects in her home state. Many conservatives who opposed the stimulus or the idea of Keynesian spending in general have started to line up to defend the Recovery Act. On Aug. 7, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) chief economic adviser during his 2008 campaign, told reporters that "no one would argue that the stimulus has done nothing." Three days later, Niall Ferguson of the conservative Hoover Institution said the Recovery Act "has clearly made a significant contribution to stabilizing the US economy."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Badtux the Snarky Penguin: Right Wing Free Market Health Care Plan Diagram

Remember, boys and girls. If insurers aren't free to discriminate against customers and arbitrarily rescind coverage because patients didn't report diseases they didn't even know they had, Big Government is getting between a patient and his undertaker, and that's just wrong!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley owns $744,232,068 in unexercised stock options. CIGNA’s Edward Hanway spends his holidays in a $13 million beach house in New Jersey. Meanwhile, regular Americans are routinely denied coverage for the care they need when they need it most. Welcome to the American health insurance industry. Instead of helping policyholders attain the health security they need for their families, big insurance companies get rich by denying coverage to patients. Now they’re sending lobbyists to Washington, DC to twist the arms of lawmakers to oppose reform of the status quo. Why? Because the status quo pays. Learn more about the glamorous lives of billionaire health insurance executives and tell us your story of being victimized by their greed. Then contribute to Brave New Films so we can continue to get the word out about the health insurance racket.

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now
  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details:

8 common LIES about health insurance reform

8 common LIES about health insurance reform
  1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.
Learn more and get details:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Palin and right wing paranoia. Where is the inteligent debate?

Sarah Palin is definitely as crazy as the birthers or even crazier;
but the big picture here is that the ones attending the now infamous
Town Hall meetings with the purpose of disrupting the events,
embarrass the Congress persons and effectively shutting down debate
are precisely the ones who love Sarah Palin. They are the ones who
believe the birther's conspiracy theory that the President of the
United States is not an American citizen and the fanatics who shouted
"kill him" referring to Obama in the last days of the McCain/Palin

If opponents of reform should be embarrassed by these and comments
like "death panels" and government officials knocking the doors of
seniors to ask them "how they want to die" or "disposing of those who
do not pay taxes anymore"; add to that the death threats to Rep Brad
Miller, the swastika on Rep David Scott's office and the Twitter
posting I highlighted of a right wing nut stating that the families of
members of Congress should be "whacked" so members of Congress "get
the message" (

And in the meantime, there has been very little discussion of the
25,000 who died every year due to lack of health coverage, the 14,000
who lose coverage daily, the $1.2 trillion wasted out of our $2.4
trillion healthcare system according to PricewaterhouseCooper, the 62%
of bankruptcies due to medical bills, the almost 50 million who are
constantly uninsured, the 80+ million who at any given moment go
without insurance during the year, the $150billion /year cost in
preventable errors, how our $2.4 trillion healthcare system will
double to a $4.8 trillion system in less than 10 years if we do
nothing, etc., etc, etc.

People are dying out there, they need this reform badly and the only
thing we get from opponents is how bad reform is for insurance
companies, how bad competition from a public option is for insurance
companies and how socialist is to have health care reform. (and this
is not even counting how doing health reform is "against the
Constitution" and Senator Specter going to hell for supporting health

More intelligent discussion and less lunacy. Can opponents of health
reform provide that? We will see.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Its time to punish congress by wacking their families!"


Update 8/9/09. A_Mad_American deleted this offensive posting. Too late though as many other Twitter users were able to notice it and I kept a screen image of it.

Update 8/10/09.
A_Mad_American Twitter account does not exist anymore. The post threatening the families of members of Congress was just an example of all the hate posts from this mad "American".

"@GregWHoward Its time to punish congress by wacking their families! They'll get the messages fast!

I highlighted this Twitter post from A_Mad_American where this certainly mad "American" states that is a good idea to MURDER the families of members of Congress, as a punishment for what I guess is...
*voting for the Stimulus bill that has rescued the nation from the Bush recession and avoided the Bush depression,
*voting for the Climate/Energy bill (House),
*confirming Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court,
*supporting Health Care Reform that will provide health coverage and therefore access to care to most Americans and will improve quality while reducing cost,
*in general for supporting Obama.

While many may have lowered their expectations so badly that they consider this behavior from this type of conservatives understandable and normal, it is nevertheless disturbing. We see how right wing mouthpieces from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News and the usual gang drum up the emotions of some to the point that these crazy loonies go from listeners of these shows to make threats, that nobody takes seriously, to killing doctors and cops. Will these threat to the families of members of Congress become something regrettable later? I do not know. But what I know is that Dr. Tiller was threatened before he was murdered, and even in the recent gym shooting the killer stated his intentions on blog postings.

On the current health care reform debate, conservatives have orchestrated a coordinated effort to disrupt debate, confuse and scare the population. They have used the usual channels like Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and organizations supported by well known Republican and conservative operatives. As the heat of this process continues rising and the frustration of conservatives increases, we can only expect a repetition of the last days of the McCain/Palin campaign where the shouts of support for McCain/Palin became shouts for the death of Obama. This time the shouts against Obama and reform are apparently degenerating in shouts for punishment of members of Congress, in this case, by murdering their families.

So again, how serious should we take online threats? Well, experience is showing that online threats are not just some "colorful" expression of free speech anymore, but unfortunately in some cases they have become something else, a prediction of pain to come toward innocent people.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Freshman Democratic lawmaker ‘physically assaulted at a local event’ by activists

Freshman Democratic lawmaker ‘physically assaulted at a local event’ by activists.

As lobbyist-run groups encourage conservative activists to “rattle” members of Congress at local town hall events, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the president of the freshman Democratic class has revealed that “at least one freshman Democrat” has already been “physically assaulted at a local event.” Connolly warned that conservative groups had taken things to a “dangerous level“:

“When you look at the fervor of some of these people who are all being whipped up by the right-wing talking heads on Fox, to me, you’re crossing a line,’ Connolly said. ‘They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.”

Recent events have given congressman good reason to be “fearful for their safety.” Last week, a protester hung an effigy of freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) outside his district office, and after a June 22 town hall meeting was disrupted by an “unruly mob” of tea party activists, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) had to be escorted to his car by police. ThinkProgress contacted Connolly’s office regarding the identity of the congressman who was physically assaulted, but we have not yet received a response.

Ben Bergmann

Thursday, July 23, 2009

THINK PROGRESS: The Wonk Rook: Deconstructing Frank Luntz’s Obstructionist Health Care Reform Memo

By Igor Volsky on May 6th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz has authored a new messaging memo defining the Republican rhetoric on health care reform (READ FULL MEMO HERE). The memo is titled “The Language of Health Care 2009″ and it lays out the argument for “stopping the Washington takeover” of health care.” But if fully implemented it may very well stop health care reform:

This document is based on polling results and Instant Response dial sessions conducted in April 2009. It captures not just what Americans want to see but exactly what they want to hear. The Words That Work boxes that follow are already being used by a few Congressional and Senatorial Republicans. From today forward, they should be used by everyone.

Luntz warns that “if the dynamic becomes ‘President Obama is on the side of reform and Republicans are against it,’ then the battle is lost and every word in this document is useless.’” The trouble is, it already is useless. Because rather than challenging the tenets of American reform proposals, Luntz establishes a straw man argument against a non-existent health plan.

Buried amongst the usual rhetoric about government-run health care is Luntz’s predictable contradiction: he instructs Republicans to “be vocally and passionately on the side of REFORM” but then urges GOP lawmakers to misrepresent and obstruct any real chance of passing comprehensive legislation.

“Humanize your approach,” but argue that health care reform “will result in delayed and potentially even denied treatment, procedures and/or medications.” “Acknowledge the crisis” but ask your constituents “would you rather… ‘pay the costs you pay today for the quality of care you currently receive,’ OR ‘Pay less for your care, but potentially have to wait weeks for tests and months for treatments you need.”

In other words, say there is a crisis but then argue that health care reform would lead to “the government setting standards of care,” government “rationing care,” and would “put the Washington bureaucrats in charge of health care.” “This plays into more favorable Republican territory by protecting individual care while downplays the need for a comprehensive national plan,” the memo states.

Readers are also instructed to conflate Obama’s fairly moderate hybrid approach to reform (i.e. building on the current private/public system of delivering health care) with “denial horror stories from Canada & Co.”

Focus on timeliness — “the plan put forward by the Democrats will deny people treatments they need and make them wait to get the treatments they are allowed to receive” — and argue that Republicans will provide “in a word, more: ‘more access to more treatments and more doctors…with less interference from insurance companies and Washington politicians and special interests.’”

But that’s the major problem with Luntz’s memo: it tries to obstruct health reform by ignoring what Obama is actually offering. Instead, Luntz is attacking an easy extreme — what he wishes the Democrats were proposing — and pretending that the Republicans actually have some kind of health care solution (the memo instructs Republicans to focus on targeting waste, fraud and abuse).

So it’s up to the administration to define health care reform as a way to lower health care costs through competition, expand coverage to all Americans and give everyone a choice of health care providers and health insurers. If the Democrats do this successfully, then Republicans will look like the bureaucratic obstructionists that they warn the public about.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CBO math just doesn't add up

The Congressional Budget Office does not score savings from prevention, but the facts speak for themselves. An uninsured child costs the community $2,100 more than a child with Medicaid or CHIP. And every 39 seconds, another child is born uninsured. We must invest in children now, or we will pay dearly later. Real health care reform means affordable and easily accessible coverage of all medically necessary services for all children, regardless of where they live. Anything less just doesn't add up.

State of our Nation's Health Care

-Our current healthcare systems costs us $2.4 trillion a year,
-It leaves 50 million constantly to hang dry and 80+ million every year go without coverage at some point.
-Many die every year just from preventable and treatable conditions because they don't have either access or ways to pay for care.
-Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcies.
-Large companies are shifting more and more cost to employees.
-Mid size companies are either dropping their health plans, shifting cost to employees or going into more and more catastrophic coverages.
-Small biz just cant offer health coverage because of the cost, period.
-And lets not talk about retirees and how their health plans are dropping like flies.
-And let's not talk either how the quality and the outcomes of the care we get for the "bargain' price of $2.4 trillion is well below many other countries, less "developed" than us.
-And let's not talk about the healthcare inflation that will bankrupt the rest of us in 10 years.

However after all this beautiful, perfect, rosy and dreamy, scenario, what many like the Republican party, the insurance industry and their $1.4 million/day lobby budget and some medical providers like the Mayo Clinic that profit from our broken insurance system by charging $5,000 for a physical and the so called blue dogs and conservative democrats propose is

...just wait
...don't rush
...lets think about it
...take it easy
...whats to hurry

While those stalling reform are profiting from the broken system, people keep dying and going bankrupt and many others are in danger of suffering the same fate each day we delay this.

Our healthcare crisis is a national problem and requires everybody to cooperate. It is only fair that those who has been blessed with more, give more as mandated.

If don't achieve healthcare reform now it wont happen for at least 50 years. In the meantime many more will die and go bankrupt including many businesses...and the French will continue to have the best healthcare system in the world according to the World Health organization (WHO).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who is helping and Who is not in Healthcare Reform

I see that many of the players are doing their part in healthcare
reform: Government, Hospitals are doing their part ($155 billion),
Pharma even though they havent contributed a penny to the reform, is
sort of doing something (but not enough) in pledging $80 billion to
mitigate the Part D donut hole.

However the big MIAs are the Insurance Companies. Instead of coming to
the table to work they are spending $1.4 million a day in lobby
efforts to stop reform and competition from a public option.

The two big industries that profit more from our broken healthcare
industry: Pharma and Insurance Companies are either contributing the
less (Pharma) or doing nothing and obstructing the reform (Insurance

Brokers, Consultants should be investing their efforts in start
defining how their roles and services will be needed after reform is
enacted. Because dont get me wrong, after reform passes, the services
of Consultants and Brokers will be needed more than ever to help the
millions of companies and individuals to sort through the new system.
I dont see any efforts from the broker/consultant community to address

It is time to work not to complain and obstruct.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

POLITICO's Mike Allen's Playbook Sunday 7/5/09: BAILIN’ PALIN:

Mike Allen's Playbook Sunday 7/5/09:


--“Palin attorney warns press on 'defamatory material,’” by POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin: “Gov. Sarah Palin’s attorney threatened Saturday to sue mainstream news organizations if they publish ‘defamatory’ stories relating to whether Palin is under federal investigation. In an extraordinary four-page letter, Alaska-based attorney Thomas Van Flein warns of severe consequences should speculation that until now has largely been confined to blogs about whether Palin embezzled funds in the construction of a Wasilla, Alaska, sports arena find its way into print. ‘This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law,’ Van Flein warned, citing Alaska liberal blogger Shannyn Moore. … ‘Just as power abhors a vacuum, modern journalism apparently abhors any type of due diligence and fact checking before scurrilous allegations are repeated as fact’ … Neither The Times nor The Post made any mention of the embezzlement rumors in their Saturday editions, but sources close to Palin consider the letter a warning shot to stay away from the topic. …

“Scores of left-leaning blogs posted speculation in the wake of Palin’s surprise announcement Friday and among the most common theories was that she was on the verge of federal indictment over the 2002 construction of the sports arena. Making the case for his client, Van Flein writes that Palin, then the Mayor of Wasilla, did not oversee the Steering Committee tasked with running the project. … The attorney also addressed another of the bloggers’ claims: that Palin purchased building materials to build her own home from the same supply store as was used by those who built the arena. … As for how the Palin’s financed their home on Wasilla’s Lake Lucille, Van Flein says they ‘used a combination of personal savings, equity from the sale of their prior home, and conventional bank financing to build the house— like millions of American families. The deeds of trust are recordable public records. Basic journalism and fact checking would confirm this.’”


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

People For the American Way on SCOTUS decision on Ricci v. DeStefano

a note from People For the American Way I think is important to bring up:

Sotomayor and her panel colleagues were bound by longstanding
precedent and federal law. They applied the law without regard to
their personal views and unanimously affirmed the district court
ruling. To do anything but would have been judicial activism.

The full Second Circuit backed up the panel, which came as no
surprise. Nearly ten years earlier a Second Circuit panel --
consisting of three GOP nominees -- reached the same conclusion in a
similar case (Hayden v. County of Nassau).

When a case virtually identical to Ricci came before the Sixth Circuit
-- Oakley v. Memphis -- a panel rejected the plaintiffs' claims and
affirmed the district court ruling. Notably, they did so in an
unpublished summary order, and one of the three judges was
conservative Bush nominee Richard Allen Griffin.

In other words, Sotomayor is anything but an outlier. She and the
seven other federal judges who decided Ricci and Oakley at the
district and circuit levels were unanimous in determining that
precedent and federal law required the rejection of the suits.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

MediaMatters: The crazy world of Michael Savage

The crazy world of Michael Savage

This week,'s Ron Moore reported that Savage (née Weiner), the nation's third-most-listened-to talk radio host, vowed to "retaliate" against Media Matters for America by posting photos and "pertinent information" about staff on his website. Seriously. You can listen to Savage's disturbing words for yourself.

The comments led Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC's The Ed Show, to discuss the right-wing fringe talker's attacks in his appropriately titled "Psycho Talk" segment. Schultz declared Savage "is pinning a 'Wanted' sign on employees at Media Matters."

As Huffington Post political reporter Jason Linkins put it, "What's strange about this is that Media Matters has been making the case for some time now that right-wing voices have been ramping up rhetoric that specifically urges violent acts and intimidation. So now, Savage is talking about a running a web-stalking campaign against them? Hmmm. I wonder what sort of conclusions a person might draw from that?"

Media Matters responded to Savage, posting a video on YouTube that juxtaposes the seemingly rational face the host put on a during recent CNN interview with screeching audio clips from his own nationally syndicated radio program, including his threats against Media Matters' staff. The video concludes with on-screen text stating "We're Still Listening."

That night on his show, Savage dug in deeper, telling listeners that he's getting "tax returns for Media Matters." Of Media Matters' staff, Savage also repeated his vow to "expose not only their names and their pictures, but also how much money they make for being the good Stalinists that they are."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Did ABC/WaPo poll stack the deck against public plan?

Did ABC/WaPo poll stack the deck against public plan?

June 24, 2009 8:49 am ET by Jamison Foser

ABC and the Washington Post has released a new poll that is sure to get a great deal of attention, as opponents of a public health care plan will use it to claim that the public doesn't really support such a plan. Many reporters will, no doubt, interpret it the same way. But the poll's actual wording appears to stack the deck against a public plan.

Here's how the Post described the poll results:

Survey questions that equate the public option approach with the popular, patient-friendly Medicare system tend to get high approval, as do ones that emphasize the prospect of more choices. But when framed with an explicit counterargument, the idea receives a more tepid response. In the new Post-ABC poll, 62 percent support the general concept, but when respondents were told that meant some insurers would go out of business, support dropped sharply, to 37 percent.

So, it sounds like the ABC/Post poll asked whether people support a public option like the "patient-friendly Medicare system," then asked if they still support a public option if it meant some insurers would go out of business, right? The Washington Post presents this as framing the question "with an explicit counterargument."

But that isn't really what the poll did. Here's the actual wording of the two questions:

21. Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans? (IF SUPPORT) Would you rather have that plan run by a government agency, or run by an independent organization with government funding and oversight?

21a. (IF SUPPORT) What if having the government create a new health insurance plan made many private health insurers go out of business because they could not compete? In that case would you support or oppose creating a government-run health insurance plan?

Note that 21 does not actually include an argument in favor of a public plan. It doesn't indicate that a public option could be better and cheaper than private insurance. It does not link a public plan to "the popular, patient-friendly Medicare system," as the Post's write-up implied. But 21a does offer an argument against the public plan -- that "many" private insurers might go out of business.

The Post's write-up suggests that the poll shows what the American people think when presented with an arguement for the public plan and an argument against it. In fact, it merely shows what people think when they hear only an argument against it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

MediaMatters: Right-wing media and the fringe: A growing history of violence (and denial)

Right-wing media and the fringe: A growing history of violence (and denial

This week, the country's attention was captured by the horrific shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, allegedly by James W. von Brunn, an 88-year-old man with ties to white supremacist and anti-Semitic organizations. The fatal shooting came just two months after an April 7 Department of Homeland Security report detailing potential increases in right-wing extremism.

As Media Matters for America documented, the DHS report was immediately and vehemently rejected by numerous conservative commentators, such as Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, and David Asman, who portrayed it as an illegitimate and politically motivated assault on conservatives. (Media Matters Senior Fellow Karl Frisch puts the attacks in even broader perspective here.)

Following the Holocaust Memorial Museum attack, these commentators faced criticism for their earlier dismissiveness. Some have since unconvincingly (and in the case of Joe Scarborough, inaccurately) defended their past assessment, and a handful of reporters and analysts are still engaging in falsehoods and inconsistencies in criticizing the DHS report. But on Fox News, Shepard Smith took a different position -- for which he was attacked by conservatives -- saying that the report "was a warning to us all. And it appears now that they were right."

The day before the Holocaust Memorial Museum attack, Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert wrote that Fox News and its hosts "will have more right-wing vigilantism to explain." He added that "militia-style vigilante rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the conservative media movement in America, and it's now proudly championed by Fox News on a nearly hourly basis." (He also appeared on CNN this week.)

While right-wing media are certainly not legally culpable for any recent attacks, they are responsible for promoting a culture of fear, paranoia, and violence that is anti-government in the extreme -- a culture in which extremists, including von Brunn and Richard Poplawski, who fatally shot three Pittsburgh police officers, were apparently immersed. Poplawski was convinced that the Obama administration was going to take away his guns. Even though no evidence of such a policy exists, right-wing commentators and news organizations made the claim repeatedly before the shooting and have continued to do so since.

Predictably, conservative media figures responded to the museum shooting by attempting to shift attention away from themselves and onto political liberals and even President Obama himself. On June 10, the day of the museum shooting, financial analyst and radio host Jim Lacamp said on Fox News that "we have an administration that's really done a lot of class warfare, a lot of class-baiting. And so, it sets the stage for social unrest." That same day, conservative Tammy Bruce wrote that the Obama administration's "increasing anti-Israel rhetoric and the pandering to the Jew-hating world Arab world ... encourages all the beasts among us." published an op-ed, cited on Friday by Michael Savage, claiming that Obama "is most certainly creating a climate of hate against" Jews. Colorado radio host Bob Newman even raised questions about whether Obama's recent visit to a concentration camp, or his statement about Israeli settlements, were factors in the shooting.

But as always, the most virulent reality-denier was Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh claimed that von Brunn "is a leftist if anything." He said that Obama is "ramping up hatred for Israel" and that "anti-Jew rhetoric comes from the American left." He claimed that MSNBC broadcasts "hate 24/7." Despite the right wing's repeated use of violent, revolutionary rhetoric, Limbaugh said that it was actually Obama who "thrives and needs chaos" to succeed. And in response to Shepard Smith, he remarked that the "claim that the atmosphere is somehow more violently anti-Obama is simply preposterous."

Indeed, Smith's remarks were the exception for the right. Despite its love of fearmongering, Fox News spent the 24 hours after the von Brunn shooting downplaying it. And on his broadcast that night, Bill O'Reilly, who hypocritically and incorrectly criticized the media for a supposed lack of coverage after the shooting death of Army recruiter Pvt. William Long, and who stokes the anger of viewers whenever it suits him politically, barely mentioned the shooting and instead featured what he called a "very important story" on gay penguins. "Do they wear tight T-shirts?" he asked, laughing. During the two shows after the shooting, Hannity barely mentioned it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Supreme Hypocrisy


June 12, 2009
by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, Ryan Powers, and Ian Millhise


Supreme Hypocrisy

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced this week that Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings will begin on July 13, timing that closely mirrors Chief Justice John Roberts' Senate confirmation schedule. Therefore, Sotomayor's hearings will start 48 days after her nomination was announced; Roberts received a hearing after 51 days. The Chief Justice was confirmed 72 days after his nomination, even though senators were distracted from reviewing his record when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. The 72nd day after Sotomayor's nomination will be Aug. 6, the day before Congress' summer recess is supposed to begin. Yet despite Leahy's attempt to achieve parity between President Obama's and President Bush's nominees, Senate conservatives immediately complained that Sotomayor is receiving preferential treatment.

Initially, conservative complaints that Sotomayor cannot be confirmed in a timely manner were heavy on overblown rhetoric and light on substance. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed that obstructing Sotomayor is necessary to prevent a "situation like they did with Guantanamo." A GOP press release suggested that senators should review each of Sotomayor's 3,000 decisions at the pace of six decisions per day -- a rate that would not allow Sotomayor's hearings to begin until 2011. Of course, during Justice Alito's confirmation, Judiciary Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that "we don't need to read everything." By mid-week, conservatives were claiming that Sotomayor herself is at fault for creating the need for a delay because she was not forthcoming in her disclosures to the Senate. In a letter that closely resembles a press release by the right-wing Judicial Confirmation Network, all of the Senate Judiciary Committee's seven Republicans claimed that Sotomayor hid key documents from the Senate and made conflicting statements that must be resolved before they could consider her nomination. The letter's claims, however, dwell upon trivial distinctions, apply newly invented rules to Sotomayor, or otherwise demand that she complete irrelevant or even impossible tasks before her nomination may be considered. At one point, for example, the letter asks Sotomayor to "clarify" why she has at times referred to herself as a former "vice president" of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund, and at other times referred to herself as the former "First Vice President" of the same organization. At another point, the letter criticizes Sotomayor for failing to turn over copies of the law review articles she edited as a law student, even though neither of Bush's nominees were required to disclose the very same information. Three paragraphs of the letter are devoted to demands that Sotomayor uncover decades-old files from her career as a litigator, even though many of these files may no longer exist. Moreover, the senators' new demands come despite the fact that Sotomayor already provided a stunningly detailed record of her career to the Senate. Her 173-page questionnaire and 130 page appendix far exceed the level of disclosure that was required from either of Bush's nominees. Roberts's questionnaire was 83 pages long; Alito's a mere 64.

The right's disingenuous claim that Sotomayor's nomination must be obstructed are far from novel. Indeed, Sotomayor is only the most recent of Obama's well-qualified nominees to receive the same shoddy treatment. Consider Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana law professor who has been nominated to head the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), and who may be the single most qualified attorney in the world to lead that office. A former acting head of the OLC during the Clinton Administration, Johnsen was among the most outspoken opponents of Bush's pro-torture policies. Nevertheless, Senate conservatives have successfully prevented her nomination from receiving a floor vote, often citing her pro-choice views for justification even though OLC's role has little or nothing to do with abortion. Obama nominee Harold Koh, former dean of the Yale Law School and a leading scholar of international law, has received similar treatment since he was nominated to be the State Department's chief legal adviser. Although an op-ed in the New York Post claimed that Koh wants to apply fundamentalist Islamic law in U.S. courts and anti-feminist icon Phyllis Schlafly called him "too dangerous for America," Koh has received ringing endorsements from mainstream progressives and conservatives alike, including Yale Law School's conservative Federalist Society. Nevertheless, Koh's nomination has yet to receive a vote. Perhaps the most bizarre example of conservative obstructionism, however, is the Senate's failure to confirm Judge David Hamilton, President Obama's nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A distinguished federal trial judge who has been endorsed by conservatives ranging from Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) to the president of the Indiana chapter of the Federalist Society, Hamilton's nomination is nevertheless endangered by a possible filibuster. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) announced that he would filibuster Hamilton because Hamilton allegedly banned Christian prayers in the Indiana state legislature, but endorsed allowing legislative sessions to be opened with an Islamic blessing. In reality, Hamilton issued two opinions, one applying a Supreme Court decision that bans officially-sanctioned prayers which prefer one religious sect over another, the other holding that permissible non-sectarian prayers may be offered in a foreign language such as Arabic.

Not so long ago, Inhofe sang a very different tune. In 2003, when Bush was still president, Inhofe proclaimed that filibustering a nominee is not only "wrong" but even "contrary to our oath to support and defend the Constitution." McConnell claimed -- falsely -- that judicial filibusters were "unprecedented," a claim echoed by Sessions. Indeed, Senate Republicans were so convinced that Bush's nominees were above scrutiny, they even invented something called the "Ginsburg Rule," which provides that Bush's judges could ignore any question they didn't want to answer during their confirmation hearing. Moreover, conservatives' strident claims were matched by strong-arm tactics such as the "nuclear option," a maneuver that would have eliminated judicial filibusters altogether. Democrats relented, even allowing a judge who believes that basic labor protections such as the minimum wage, maximum hour, and child labor laws are unconstitutional to be confirmed to the nation's second-highest court. Now that they are in the minority, conservatives suddenly think that their own rules shouldn't apply. The only remaining question is whether the majority will allow a dwindling group of right-wing senators to impose such a double standard.


Based on allegations by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Republicans have been suggesting that the Obama administration was putting America at risk by having the FBI read Miranda rights to detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rogers claimed that this policy would lead to U.S. military forces reading Miranda rights to terrorists captured on the battlefield. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) criticized the policy, saying, "They're going back to a law enforcement mentality. ... This dramatically changes the way that our frontline forces work." The policy has also sparked outrage in right-wing circles, where they say that this is another example of the Obama administration coddling terrorists. The reading of Miranda rights, however, happens only on limited occasions and does not occur on the battlefield. It is also part of standard Department of Justice protocol continued from the Bush administration, which also read Miranda rights to select detainees. "In order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees," said DOJ spokesman Matt Miller. Gen. David Petraeus explained the effect of the policy on the battlefield at a conference hosted by the Center for a New American Security: "These are cases where they are looking at potential criminal charges. We're comfortable with this."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tweets of Hate: The Crazy Right Twitters About the Assassination of Dr Tiller

Tweets of Hate: The Crazy Right Twitters About the Assassination of Dr Tiller

One side effect of twitter is that the stupid, bigoted, comments people used to make at the water cooler now get preserved for future employers to find using google.

A small sample of the hatred expressed on twitter after the assassination of Dr Tiller.

* Crap, I always forgot hashtags. I'm happy Tiller's dead. - Jennifer Waite, Selah, Washington
* UPDATE... Doctor George Tiller was aborted today in his 204th trimester - aren't paybacks a bitch - Punch
* oh HAPPY DAY! Tiller the baby killer is DEAD! - Samantha Pelch
* George Tiller the baby killer was shot dead this morning. God bless the gunmen who hopefully won't be caught. - readnwatchchris, Creedmor. NC
* was George Tiller the baby killers brain scrambled the way he scrambled full term fetuses.. one can only hope - Brad S
* Infamous baby killer George Tiller gunned down at (irony) church. Why do I not feel sorry for him? Have fun at Judgment Day. - James Fiddler
* tiller the baby killer shot is it insensitive of me to say what goes around comes around? - Brad M. Negulescu Cleveland.
* George Tiller the Baby Killer shot dead. May he rot in Hell. - Amy Strong
* Tiller Baby Killer was shot and killed this morning Justice has been served. - Shirl Ledeux
* Thinking about "Tiller the baby killer" He now knows the wages of sin is death. - Dianne McDowell
* May Tiller rot in Hell , infanticide is the murder of babies, he WAS a provider of death like Hitler, Bundy the list goes on.... - Dennis, A People Voip Company
* Burn in hell George Tiller - mikedanben Sparta, NJ (41.005501,-74.672)
* No need to pray for George Tiller. We know he went straight to hell!!!!! - Laurie D. Bailey Olive Branch, MS
* Good ridence to Tiller - babies will not be murdered because he is now gone. Wonder how he likes hell! - Jay Emess, Southern, NJ
* Karma is a beautiful thing. Cheers to the hero who sent George Tiller where he belongs... straight to hell. - Matthew Kamar
* omg!george tiller abortion dr. was killed n his church parkn lot! hell yea! - Sarah Gulick, Wtichita, Ks
* George Tiller: Burning in Hell for the last three hours. - darthdilbert Kettering, Oh
* Hmm, I know it's wrong, but I feel like the Late-Term Abortion Doctor George Tiller, got what was he deserved..... - Mary Keogh London England
* Boom Boom Boom. George Tiller was served a very very late term abortion this morning. - Chad Coleman, coeur d'alene, Id

The Twitter search "Geroge Tiller" OR #Tiller was running at about one tweet per second for the last two hours. The overwhelming majority of tweets from both sides of the abortion issue expressed horror at the assassination of Dr Tiller.

If you are as outranged as we are by this senseless assassination please donate to Planned Parenthood in honor of Dr Tiller.

Friday, May 29, 2009

CNN Commentary: Judge Sotomayor is not a racist

By Sherrilyn A. Ifill
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Sherrilyn Ifill is a professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law and a civil rights lawyer who specializes in voting rights and political participation. She is the author of "On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century," and is a regular contributor to The Root at


(CNN) -- When Don Imus denigrated in clearly racist terms the championship women's basketball team from Rutgers University; when actor Michael Richards screamed at black guests in a comedy club, calling them the "n-word" and invoking the threat of lynching; when Trent Lott said that things would have been better if a southern segregationist had been elected president a half-century earlier, responsible white people from across the ideological spectrum stepped forward to explain that these individuals were not racist.

The "R" word has become the taboo of the white world. By this I mean that calling someone racist is a taboo, not racism itself.


So when Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and several other conservative commentators call a sitting federal appeals court judge and Supreme Court nominee who happens to be Latina, a racist, it's time to push back. Real hard.


The evidence offered in support of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's alleged racism is a speech she gave in Berkeley, California, in honor of Judge Mario G. Olmos, a former judge, community leader and graduate of Boalt Hall Law School who died an untimely death at the age of 43.


The offending section of the speech is this: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." This passage inspired Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives and potential 2012 presidential candidate, to call Judge Sotomayor "a Latina racist."


To lift one statement out of Judge Sotomayor's eight-page speech without examining the context and substance of her remarks, is an example of the kind of shoddy character assassination that I suspect will dominate this judicial confirmation process.

Judge Sotomayor's speech is, in fact, an excellent meditation on how the experiences of judges might affect how they approach aspects of judicial decision-making. It explores the important, and too-little examined reality that judicial deliberations can be affected by a judge's background, perspective and experience.


In the next sentence immediately following the passage above, Judge Sotomayor says, "Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice [Benjamin] Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society."

Could she have been referring to Buck v. Bell, the 1927 case in which Justice Holmes -- widely regarded as perhaps the most brilliant justice in the Supreme Court's history -- upheld the state's plan to sterilize Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old white woman, who was accused of being congenitally retarded. Buck's main crime seems to have been the fact that she'd had a child out of wedlock.


In any case, Justice Holmes upheld the sterilization order, emphatically and coldly stating, "three generations of imbeciles is enough." Does anyone seriously believe that a woman, and especially a woman of color "with the richness of her experiences" would not have "reach[ed] a better conclusion " than that adopted by Justice Holmes in 1927?

In fact Buck v. Bell is the perfect example of how a "wise old [white] man" got it wrong in a way that a woman judge or a racial minority most likely would not.


It's worth pointing out that in that same speech Judge Sotomayor cautioned, "we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group." But she acknowledges that "there may be some [difference in her judging] based on my gender and my Latina heritage."


What Gingrich and others decry in Judge Sotomayor should be applauded. Judge Sotomayor has the humility to recognize the difficulty of achieving true and pure impartiality. Instead, as she pointed out in her speech, "[t]he aspiration to impartiality is just that -- it's an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others."


Unlike so many judges who by virtue of being white and male simply assume their impartiality, Judge Sotomayor recognizes that all judges are affected by their background and their life experiences.


Ironically, it was Justice Cardozo who recognized this when he said, "[t]he great tides and currents which engulf the rest of men, do not turn aside in their course, and pass the judge by." Justice Cardozo concluded that "[n]o effort or revolution of the mind will overthrow utterly and at all times the empire of ... [a judge's] subconscious loyalties.

These are the realities of judicial decision-making evoked by Judge Sotomayor's speech. It's perhaps easier to say as [then-Supreme Court nominee] Clarence Thomas so famously did, that a judge can simply, "strip down like a runner," and become utterly impartial simply by putting on a black robe. But it is more honest to acknowledge that regardless of race, gender, ideology or professional background, impartiality is always a work-in-progress for judges.


Even Judge Richard Posner, a conservative stalwart on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals once observed that, "Litigation commonly involves persons at different social distances form the judge, and the more proximate will garner the more sympathetic response regardless of actual desert."


Justice Thomas is the perfect example of how hard it can be for a judge to lay aside the personal experiences that shape his worldview. His views about the affirmative action cases that come before him are shaped quite clearly by what he regards as the self-sufficient dignity of his hard-working grandfather and the humiliation he says he felt when others believed his scholarly accomplishments were the result of affirmative action.

White judges are also shaped by their background and experiences. They needn't ever speak of it, simply because their whiteness and gender insulates them from the presumption of partiality and bias that is regularly attached to women judges and judges of color when it comes to matters of race and gender.


Only a judge who is conscious and fully engaged with the reality of how her experiences may bear on her approach to the facts of a case, or sense of social justice, or vision of constitutional interpretation, should be entrusted to sit on the most influential and powerful court in our nation.


Too often we have allowed ourselves to be placated and charmed by fantasies about umpire judges calling "balls and strikes," without ever asking which league the game is being played in or whether the umpire was standing in the best position to see the play. We forget that when deciding whether a batter checked his swing, the homeplate umpire will routinely ask for the alternative perspective from the first or third base umpire before calling a "swing and a miss" a strike.


Judge Sotomayor rightly suggests that these things matter. She notes in her speech that "personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see." She should know this. She's been a trial judge. None of the other justices who will serve with Judge Sotomayor will have had that experience.


Judge Sotomayor's speech is one of the most honest and compelling statements about judicial impartiality we're likely to hear from a judge of her stature.

It ends with this humble observation:


"Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I re-evaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences, but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate."

It's entirely appropriate to question Judge Sotomayor about this speech at her confirmation hearings. She is evidently more than capable of explaining in compelling, clear language what precisely she wanted to convey in this speech. But Judge Sotomayor is not a racist.

It is an insult of unimaginable proportion to unleash this charge on her, based on one sentence from her Berkeley, California, speech. It is not just irresponsible to make this charge against a sitting federal appeals court judge based on this flimsy record; it is -- and here I'll break the taboo -- racist to do so.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sherrilyn Ifill.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Who Would Jesus Torture? Red State Claims Jesus Would Have Approved Waterboarding

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gordon Gekko's blip of light

Words from Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas):

"The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own."

movie Wall Street

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Good Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sinking Ship

Via CrooksandLiars

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Party of No vs. Party of Know

Bipartisanship neatly tucked its head under its wing shortly after Obama took office this past January. For public display, a smattering of respect was extended to the newly elected president for his historical electoral victory. This decorum lasted for about a half a second, before the GOP realized where they had landed…smack dab in the middle of a powerless party, devoid of leadership! Less they breathe in any more of the rarified air that was wafting throughout the Capital, they collectively knew their only recourse was to retreat. But how was the Party of No going to disagree without appearing disagreeable?

As the Democrats struggle for answers, they are at least acting on potential quick-fix and long-range solutions. While time will tell if Obama’s recovery plan will hit the nail on the proverbial head, it’s the administration’s opinion that it is better to take action than continually wallow in negativity.

The Republicans on the other hand have borrowed a page out of former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s 1980’s playbook: Just Say No! Get use to it! In an attempt to begin the mighty Sisyphus task of rolling the power ball back up the Hill, they will continue to oppose for opposition sake!

Make no mistake: Republicans are pissed off and are acting out. The Party has decided that their road back from perdition is paved with defiant, unified contrarianism. However, being obstinate and petulant smacks of bravado, with no substance. Is the party still suffering from Bush-fatigue? Or has the GOP officially perished at the ripe old age of 154? Like the Federalists, Whigs, Bull-Moosers, and Dixiecrats before them, will they fade into history? Or do they yet have an ace up their sleeve?

Could they be relying on their defacto distraction, the DittoMaster? Rush Limbaugh has not only saturated his airwaves with vitriol and venom, but he has not missed one mainstream news cycle in the last several weeks, and his blind faith followers, the “dittoheads” can’t get enough. His current rant is intimidating the president into a verbal duel, a radio debate!

Obama not dignifying the request with a reply continues to work on the pressing issues at hand, while the DittoMaster spends countless hours chanting his new mantra: “I hope he fails!”

So there you have it… Partisanship… alive and well in the Land of Lincoln. The GOP’s “no you can’t” versus the Dems “we know we can!” is a heck of a State of the Union! Fasten your seatbelts America, it’s going to be long, bumpy ride!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Conservative Pray

Oh Rush "the Lord" Limbaugh
Great Leader of the Republican Party,
God of conservatism,
We pray to you,
We adore you,
Please bless us,
Guide us,
Feed us,
Teach us,
Inspire us,
Give us the strength,
To Destroy Obama,
Forgive our socialists sins,
Now and Forever,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Collection of Republican quotes predicting doom and disaster and wrong every single time

A collection of Republican quotes predicting doom and disaster & they were wrong every single time. Very educational!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Which administration again left office with a surplus?

This Congressional Office Budget chart shows which administration left office with a surplus (tip Democrat Bill Clinton). Issue finally put to rest and another lost battle for Republicans.