Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
I thought I read this in a story about Sen. Bennett of Utah, but maybe I heard it on NPR. Either way, it was too good not to pass on:
"We should be like Illinois and limit our politicians to two terms: one in office, and one in prison."
Addendum: Gail Collins on the Illinois Lt. Governor race.
In case you missed it, Bart Stupak is a Congressman from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Stupak is strongly anti-abortion – so anti-abortion, in fact, that he was perfectly willing to let 30 million Americans live without health insurance, and tens of thousands die because of that every year, unless the Health Care Reform bill stated up one side and down the other that no government funds would be used for abortions (a point of settled law, by the way).
And when he got that, he still would not vote for it until Obama agreed to issue an Executive Order that no federal funds would be used for abortions. So you'd think that might cover things with the anti-abortion crowd, wouldn't you? Wrong.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
It's really time for the "pro-life" crowd to rethink their strategy.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Two days ago we were talking about conservative Republican David Frum, and his observation that the Republicans had really screwed things up for themselves by taking the low road on Health Care Reform.
If there's one thing Republicans can't stand, it's somebody who tells the truth. So we knew Frum was going to pay. It didn't take long. Via Huffington Post, here's a letter he wrote to Arthur Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute:
Dear Arthur,If you're not familiar with the American Enterprise Institute, it's one of those sham outfits that do so well in Washington. They hire a bunch of PR guys to write op-eds and go on radio programs to represent a certain point of view. What's sham about it is that they call these guys "Fellows" or similar pretentious names, to imbue their words with lofty import. The inside-the-beltway press loves them because they're close at hand and give their programs and articles an appearance of probity and balance. The Cato Institute and Hudson Institute are similar organizations. If you see a guy from any of them, just think: "paid shill."
This will memorialize our conversation at lunch today. Effective immediately, my position as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute is terminated. I appreciate the consideration that delays my emptying of my office until after my return from travel next week. Premises will be vacated no later than April 9.
I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute, and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship.
Very truly yours,
Like we said on Tuesday: good luck finding work, David. Surely you knew what the American right does with apostates.
Update: By being terminated by the "think" tank, Frum's family will lose their medical insurance. Sad. Ironic, but sad.
In his latest hissy-fit, McCain promised the Democrats in Congress "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," because they had the temerity to pass the Health Care Reform bill.
Which led to this exchange at yesterday's press briefing:
McCain must have been apoplectic.
Helen Thomas (God bless her): McCain said he's going to oppose everything.
Gibbs: Well, yes, I find it curious that not getting your way on one thing means you've decided to take your toys and go home. I don't think -- it doesn't work well for my six-year-old; I doubt it works well in the United States Senate, because we have issues that are important for his constituents and for all of America.
Look, again, when it comes to financial reform people are going to have an opportunity to weigh in on behalf of the banks or on behalf of consumers. And I'll let their vote on that dictate which side of that ledger they feel most comfortable on.
Chip Reed: Are you comparing McCain to a six-year-old?
Gibbs: I'm saying that I think the notion that if you don't get what you want you're not going to cooperate on anything else is not a whole lot different than I might hear from a six-year-old.
Update: This just in from Washington — Senator John McCain has threatened to hold his breath until Gibbs apologizes.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
It got done.
Josh Marshall offers a perspective that I share here. Seven months in politics is a long time.
Bart Stupak, who held everything up in order to get stronger language against abortions, gets called a "baby killer" by a brave member of the Texas delegation who so far has declined to step forward and identify himself.*
David Frum, a conservative Republican, thinks the Health Care Reform bill was a disaster. For the Republicans. A taste here:
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.*Update: It was Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas, a co-sponsor of "birther" legislation. Neugebauer has apologized, and claims he said "It's a baby killer!", "it" being Obama's Executive Order on the subject – the same Executive Order that NOW is furious about.
It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:
(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.
(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.
So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:
A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.
At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.
Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
It looks like, in a few hours, things will look considerably less bleak for millions of Americans. Yet, in January, the chances for passing Health Care Reform looked bleak. What happened?
This article in the NY Times hits the high spots. Samples:
Scott Brown, the upstart Republican, had just won his Senate race in Massachusetts, a victory that seemed to doom Mr. Obama’s dream of overhauling the nation’s health care system. The White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once Ms. Pelosi’s right hand man on Capitol Hill, was pushing Mr. Obama to scale back his ambitions and pursue a pared-down bill.Sort of makes Rahm look like not such a brilliant tactician as a lot of folks were making him just two weeks ago.
Mr. Obama seemed open to the idea, though it was clearly not his first choice. Ms. Pelosi scoffed.
“Kiddie care,” she called the scaled-down plan, derisively, in private.
In a series of impassioned conversations, over the telephone and in the Oval Office, she conveyed her frustration to the president, according to four people familiar with the talks. If she and Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, were going to stick out their necks for Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority, Ms. Pelosi wanted assurances that the president would too. At the White House, aides to Mr. Obama say, he also wanted assurances; he needed to hear that the leaders could pass his far-reaching plan.
“We’re in the majority,” Ms. Pelosi told the president. “We’ll never have a better majority in your presidency in numbers than we’ve got right now. We can make this work.”
Today's the Health Reform vote. Yesterday Obama gave a powerful speech to the House Democrats. It's worth watching.
I Was Going to Give This a Really Offensive Headline, But Thought Better of It. It's Tempting, Though.
Maureen Dowd said it better than I did: "...in a moral tug-of-war between the sisters and the bishops, you have to go with the gals." And she doesn't try not to offend.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I've been scratching my head for weeks about why abortion opponents, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, especially, oppose the Health Care Reform bill. Read Chicago Cardinal Francis George's press release about it if you have a strong stomach.
I'm going to try very hard to say this without being insulting. I've already failed, but let's face it — Catholic cardinals need to be a little more humble, and they still haven't got that message. Now that I've told them, I'm sure they'll settle down.
Here are three facts:
• Medical bills to carry a child to term are 3-4 times more than they are to have an abortion. And a child's health care needs don't end at birth.
• Many women have abortions because they cannot afford to have a child.
• And here's the big one: As T.R. Reid wrote in Sunday's Washington Post: "There's a direct connection between greater health coverage and lower abortion rates." By all means, read the whole article. Reid writes:
The connection was explained to me by a wise and holy man, Cardinal Basil Hume. He was the senior Roman Catholic prelate of England and Wales when I lived in London; as a reporter and a Catholic, I got to know him.Isn't it obvious?
In Britain, only 8 percent of the population is Catholic (compared with 25 percent in the United States). Abortion there is legal. Abortion is free. And yet British women have fewer abortions than Americans do. I asked Cardinal Hume why that is.
The cardinal said that there were several reasons but that one important explanation was Britain's universal health-care system. "If that frightened, unemployed 19-year-old knows that she and her child will have access to medical care whenever it's needed," Hume explained, "she's more likely to carry the baby to term. Isn't it obvious?" [my emphasis]
Apparently not to to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It seems that if they can't reduce the abortion rate their way, they'd rather not reduce it at all. Oops, another insult.
The leaders of more than four dozen U.S. congregations of [Catholic] women religious are urging members of Congress to "cast a life-affirming 'yes' vote" on the Senate's version of health reform legislation.Those women have got guts. The Grand Inquisitor, Ratzinger, is already after them.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Are you ready for the next paranoid right-wing wacko hysteria?
Did you know that Obama plans to BAN SPORT FISHING?
What can you even say to that?
Thursday, March 04, 2010
While sniffing glue in a plastic bag, the South Dakota legislature made a remarkable discovery:
In South Dakota, a resolution calling for the “balanced teaching of global warming in public schools” passed the Legislature this week.So suddenly they're tree huggers?
“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant,” the resolution said, “but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life.”
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Coldwater, Michigan, which is halfway between Chicago and Detroit.
Stained glass windows.
Two dining rooms.
Glass front library bookcases.
Hand carved stairway.
Maid's quarters (well, of course!)
Property taxes: $2,000
See it all here. Sigh.
Estimated annual upkeep: Too scary to contemplate.