Sunday, July 26, 2009

Headlines - Sunday

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) will be running against Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) next year for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Governor Perry originally refused to accept any of the stimulus money appropriated by Congress. Now he's begging for a $170 million loan to help Texas pay unemployment insurance claims. That's pretty funny. What's even funnier is that Ms. Hutchison is criticizing Governor Perry for refusing to accept the stimulus money, even though she herself voted against the stimulus bill in the Senate. Perry and Hutchison: they make John look good.
Glenn Greenwald on tribalistic self-absorption.
Ralph Nader: Health Care Hypocrisy:

Remember, Pakistan has nukes:

The Taliban's power in Pakistan continues to grow and it now has entire towns under its control. Under US pressure, the Pakistani army is fighting the Islamists - with limited success. Pakistani intelligence says the Americans are doing more harm than good.


Obama to have Harvard professor and arresting cop to the White House for a beer?


What a great last graf in this NYT write-up of the hot mess between House Democrats today: "Racial overtones also appeared to creep into the intraparty dispute. One African-American Democrat pointed out that the seven Blue Dogs who were holding up the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee were 'a nondiverse group' of white men." 



While ordinary Americans responded to the [September 11th] attack by helping complete strangers find their friends and loved ones, standing in line for hours to give blood, and bringing food and water to rescue workers, our leaders met in the citadels of power, assessed the situation, and made the cool, calculated decision to panic.
Paul Krugman explains it all for your wingnut friends
Most of us who bother to use the grey matter in our crania already know that a "free market" approach to health care insurance can't possibly work. The insurance model presupposes that only a certain number of people will ever require a payout of any kind, and those who never file a claim pay for that. It's spreading the risk, and it works for things like car accidents (though in New Jersey, that risk is far higher because people here will risk flaming metal death rather than get to work 30 seconds later) and trees falling on your house. It can't work for medical insurance because even if you, like me, avoid doctors because you're tired of being told to lose weight with absolutely nothing out there to help you to do it no matter how little you eat and when the hell are you supposed to exercise when you are working 80 hour weeks, sooner or later you're going to need it. Everyone will eventually file a claim. And that is why a market approach can't work.

Paul Krugman, in his blog, explains it better
We expect doctors to make a profit on their work. Becoming, and remaining, a doctor requires many years of training and a great deal of expense for initial and continuing education. Doctors are being paid for their expertise. I remember back before health insurance became a topic of conversation, people used to gripe about how much money doctors made, for all that everyone wanted their daughters to marry one. But even then there was a recognition that there was a certain amount of "payback" to that. What have insurance company executives, or sales reps, or the person in the headset in the cubicle whose sole job it is to be the guardian of the company purse and make sure that if you want an expense covered, you fight good, long, and hard for it, done to earn the amount of money these companies pull in? There's no expertise required to push paper around, though I would argue that for all that we hate them, the minimum wage workers in the headsets require the most expertise, even if it's the expertise of a kind of virtual bouncer. But it isn't the kind of expertise that requires intelligence, dedication, sensitivity, and a willingness to spend one's career constantly keeping up, the way any competent doctor would and does.

The health insurance model is somewhat about spreading risk; someone who is generally healthy isn't going to use as many services as someone who isn't - and that can be as much about the genetic luck of the draw as about one's own personal choices. We all know about the guy from Supersize Me who eats Big Macs every day and he's skinny and his cholesterol is fine. We also know people who eat right, exercise, and still have high cholesterol. The 96-year-old woman who gets her hair done where I do who takes Celebrex, Actonel, a blood pressure pill, a water pill, and about five other drugs, uses more services than I do. The baby with spina bifida uses more services than she does. And so it goes. But the health insurance model falls apart when it becomes a for-profit business. Because once paying for health care becomes a for-profit model, it becomes not about paying for necessary services, it's about NOT paying for anything. The less there is on the "out" side of the ledger, the more of the "in" side of the ledger can go to profits -- and into the pockets of executives and stockholders.
funny pictures of cats with captions
Upstate NY newspaper traces racist web posts to DHS computers
On June 16, the Wayne County Star, an upstate NY newspaper, published  a story on its website about a run-in between the employees of a local farmer and federal immigration authorities who were questioning their status. The report "drew an onslaught of vitriolic postings" from commenters. Many of the replies were anonymous and often racist or attacking farmers in the region for allegedly harboring undocumented workers. The newspaper has now discovered that at least three of the comments came from computers associated with the Department of Homeland Security.
Look what the Clenis started! 

Sunday school teacher and hypocrite-at-large makes amateur porn with young intern.

Another day, another conservative, family-values Rethuglibot scandal demonstrating his superior morality and impeccable family values

In a sworn affidavit, a Tennessee state investigator has said that Stanley admitted to having a "sexual relationship" with a 22-year-old female intern working in his office, and to taking nude pictures of her in "provocative poses" in his apartment.
Just another chapter in the the never-ending parade of hypocrisy that is known as the Republican party. Look for Fox "News" to briefly mention the transgressions of Paul Stanley (D).

Fun Fact: Stanley was the sponsor of a bill last session to ban gay adoptions. Because after all, you don't want children in a home without firm, Christian family values.


It's 'we the people', not invisible sky wizards

A freakazoid Congressman thinks it's fine to force American taxpayers of every shade of belief and non-belief on the planet to pay to deface the U.S. Capitol with an endorsement of his personal superstition by spending nearly $100,000 to engrave the words "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance in prominent spots at the Capitol Visitor Center.

Read the whole thing.


Faculty at Texas Tech organizing against Gonzalez  Faculty members at Texas Tech have begun signing a petition protesting Alberto Gonzales hiring, calling it objectionable and nothing more than a "celebrity hire" who will not be worth his $100,000 salary.


emptywheel: Crazy Pete Hoekstra's pre-emptive disavowal of S-Street:

Crazy Pete Hoekstra, who will use Dick DeVos' almost unlimited funds to run for MI Governor next year, has pre-emptively admitted, but disavowed, C Street.

Hoekstra said he stopped attending meetings about two years ago, saying he'd gotten what he needed out of his visits. While never living at C Street, he was a regular for about seven years at a dinner-fellowship every Tuesday.

"We'd fellowship, we'd pray, we'd talk about Jesus, and we'd eat," Hoekstra said. "In the headiness of Washington, D.C., it's trying to make sure you keep your head screwed on straight."

Now, frankly, I hadn't even realized Crazy Pete was a member of this group, and I could swear I've checked once (he is definitely their "type"). So it surprises me a bit to see Crazy Pete offering up his ties to the group.

Obviously, his upcoming gubernatorial run may be part of that. MI has its share of conservatives who like to advocate authoritarianism in the name of Christ (and the U.P.'s Bart Stupak is one of the Democrats who lives at C Street).  But MI still has the remnants of a sane Republican party, it has open primaries, and it has a big number of independents and Dems who would detect the stench of the group.

In other words, it's not necessarily a state where crazy religious ties helps in a state-wide election.

I'm wondering, too, whether Leisha Pickering's suit against Chip Pickering's new gal has anything to do with this. Leisha Pickering has submitted a secret diary in which Chip documented his affair, and named those members of the Family who facilitated his affair.

While former Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi allegedly carried on an extramarital affair with Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, he recorded details of his exploits in a secret diary, including the dates and locations of his adulterous encounters.

Pickering, a Republican, described several assignations he had with Creekmore Byrd inside the C Street House, a Capitol Hill townhouse inhabited by an all-male group of right-wing Republican congressmen belonging to The Fellowship, an evangelical group, according to a person familiar with the diary's contents.

And according to a divorce filing by Pickering's estranged wife, Leisha, the former congressman's diary reveals the identities of several men who enabled his adulterous trysts and helped him cover his tracks.

Pickering resigned in August 2007, just more than two years ago. If the diary precipitated the divorce, then it may end about two yeas ago. 

So if someone like Crazy Pete knew that his involvement in yet another hypocritical affair might become public, he might be able to say that he ended his relationship with the group two years ago, setting up a very convenient story just in case anything became public between now and when he tried to run for Governor. 

I have no idea whether Pickering's diary time bomb is the reason for Crazy Pete's pre-emptive admission of ties with C Street. But the timing does make me want to see Pickering's diary all the more.


I would like an answer to this myself  Ben Bernanke, testifying before Congress couldn't tell Rep. Alan Grayson where half a trillion dollars went.  He knows it went to foreign central banks, but beyond that, he has no idea what those banks did with the money.


Late night John Boner: Obama wants to kill your grandma:


'Birther' legal team somewhat less than lawyers in good standing.


h/t Dick:

D'ya think the 18% of us still unemployed, and the 336,000 families that had their homes foreclosed in June, and the 125,000 families that filed for bankruptcy in June are now convinced the 'recession' is 'nearing an end'?

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