Archive for September 9th, 2009

by Pete Talbot

You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your relatives. Or something like that. Anyway, the photo and bullshit below comes from an email to my poor wife. A couple times a month she gets similar crap from (I’m glad to say) a very distant relative.


The photo was taken in Belgrade, Mont. The email goes on to say:

Please forward this picture to everyone you know, conservative or liberal to expose Obama’s radical ideals and intent for this country.

I don’t know where to start, or really, even why I should but here goes.

First, I know it’s difficult to embrace a president who likes to read — especially topics on economics, foreign policy and world affairs. The author in question, Fareed Zakaria (B.A., Yale; Ph.D., Harvard), is considered a moderate. One would think that conservatives might advance his writings. Here’s an overview of the book:

The Post-American World is a non-fiction book by journalist Fareed Zakaria. In the book, Zakaria argues that, thanks to the actions of the United States in spreading liberal democracy across the world, other countries are now competing with the US in terms of economic, industrial, and cultural power. While the US continues to dominate in terms of political-military power, other countries such as China and India are becoming global players in many fields.

Then there’s the “written by a fellow Muslim.” Obama is a Protestant. And I’m guessing that Zakaria isn’t a particularly strict Muslim, considering he was the wine critic for the New York Times for over a year.

Personally, Zakaria often disappoints. He favored invading Iraq. He supported Ronald Reagan.

On the other hand, he has criticized many Arab regimes and is an outspoken opponent of Islamic extremism.

It’s just amazing. Along with the ‘birthers’ and the ‘death panels’ and the ‘socialist agenda’ we get this. If the right wing fanatics had taken the time to research the book or the author or do more than just read the title on a photo blow up …

Perhaps I should take solace in the rants of the far right. With this sort of idiocy, how can progressives lose? Still, to quote Bill Vaughn, ” … we prove to the world generation after generation that The Big Guy has deposited his dumbest creatures right here in My Country Tis Of Thee.”

by jhwygirl

I missed 3/4 of it. My dog up and tried to kill himself, which involved 2 doctors, some hydrogen peroxide and plenty of reassurance that “he’ll probably just be real drowzy” and “keep him away from beer.”

So anything ya’ll add will be more than what I saw.

I hear he called for a public option.

I hear Joe Wilson loudly yelled “liar” from the seats – there’s pics of that – and

Anyway…if you’d be so kind, I’ll be grateful.

by JC

Consumer Watchdog calls the Baucus/Wellpoint Plan “Deregulation of State Consumer Protection Laws”

It seems that Senator Max Baucus’ “Wellpoint Plan” has hit a snag as his framework was released yesterday, in a last ditch effort to recapture the limelight and lead on health care reform.

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake moved this story down the field a bit by picking up where we left off and discovering a connection between the Wellpoint Plan and the plan Blue Dog Mike Ross offered up on Co-ops back in July, when supposedly nobody knew what was up:

If Fowler did indeed write the draft plan, then how did the same framework and language find its way into an amendment submitted by Blue Dog Mike Ross in July?

Jon Walker finds that “the two documents are almost identical and and sometimes use the exact same wording”…

Walker goes on to note that “at the time Ross’ amendment was submitted many Democratic senators and congressmen were both concerned and confused by Conrad’s co-ops idea. It seemed that Conrad was not sharing with most of his own party what his idea of co-ops would really be, but some how Rep. Ross was provided the document.”

Jane puts together an excellent timeline showing how the behind-the-scenes charade was conducted.

Daily Kos then extends the story by showing how Baucus’ Wellpoint Plan will gut state-level insurance industry regulations:

Max Baucus’ plan had the name of Liz Fowler, a former WellPoint VP who now works for the Finance Committee, in the metadata. When you have WellPoint personnel instrumental in writing the laws, you get little provisions like this:

Interstate Sale of Insurance. Starting in 2015, states may form “health care choice compacts” to allow for the purchase of non-group health insurance across state lines. Such compacts may exist between two or more states. Once compacts have been formed, insurers would be allowed to sell policies in any state participating in the compact. Insurers selling policies through a compact would only be subject to the laws and regulations of the state where the policy is written or issued.

This is something that conservatives have been begging to do for years. Even the most outgunned conservative on a talking head debate can vomit up “let people take their insurance across state lines to increase competition!” It sounds reasonable. But there’s a very good reason why it would quickly turn into a nightmare, and you can see it in the examples of Delaware and South Dakota.

Both of those states have essentially no regulations on credit card companies. When legislation passed allowing banks to issue credit cards across state lines, some states started wildly deregulating their credit card markets in a race to the bottom. South Dakota and Delaware won. And now practically all credit cards are issued from those two states.

So not only is Max doing Wellpoint’s dirty work, he is giving the republicans a dearly sought-after concession. And just what has he gotten from republicans for that bone? As far as I can tell, nothing. Not even one single republican agreeing to sign on to his framework.

Moving on, Consumer Watchdog released a report today criticizing Wellpoint’s Baucus Plan as being a defacto “deregulation of state consumer protection laws”:

A “framework plan” released today by the so-called “Group of Six” Senators negotiating a health reform bill headed by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) would open the door to gutting state laws. The plan would result in a “race to the bottom” in health care regulation by allowing insurance companies that participate in “health care compacts” to choose the weakest state law to govern all their policies, regardless of which state the policies are sold in. Currently, insurance companies must abide by the state laws of any state where they sell insurance. The Baucus plan resembles an industry proposal carried by Mike Enzi (R-WY) in 2006…

I’m sure we’ll have more details as this story unfolds in Baucus’ haste to sell out become relevant again.

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