Inspired by Jane Hamsher’s recent alliance with Grover Norquist, I have persuaded Glenn Beck to write a guest post on Rush Limbaugh’s hospitalization in Hawaii:
Have you noticed that every time Obama travels to Hawaii, bad things happen to the people around him? Last year during the campaign he goes to visit his grandmother, and next thing you know she’s passed away. This year he goes golfing with a friend, and the friend’s kid ends up in the hospital. And now Rush Limbaugh gets rushed to the hospital with chest pains.
Is it possible that Obama was afraid that Rush’s probing intellect and investigative skills might get too close to some dark Hawaiian secret that could destroy his presidency? Is it possible that he could have sent undercover Secret Service operatives to lace Rush’s pain pills with some exotic untraceable toxin? Can the Obamas and their Secret Service detail completely account for their whereabouts yesterday morning and early afternoon?
And why isn’t anyone in the media looking into this? Could it be that they’re part of the coverup?
Not that I’m insinuating anything, mind you – I’m just asking questions, because by God someone has to, and the American people deserve answers.
2 commentsDecember 31st, 2009 at 11:39amPosted by Eli
In the fall of 2008, Democrats took the White House and expanded their Congressional majorities as America struggled through a financial collapse wrought by years of deregulation. The public was furious. It seemed as if the banks and institutions that dragged the economy to the brink of disaster — and were subsequently rescued by taxpayer funds — would finally be forced to change their ways.
But it’s not happening. Financial regulation’s long slog through Congress has left it riddled with loopholes, carved out at the request of the same industries that caused the mess in the first place. An outraged American public is proving no match for the mix of corporate money and influence that has been marshaled on behalf of the financial sector.
The banking committee… is known as a “money committee” because joining it makes fundraising, especially from donors with financial interests litigated by the panel, significantly easier.
The Democratic leadership chose to embrace this concept, setting up the committee as an ATM for vulnerable rookies. Eleven freshman representatives from conservative-leaning districts, designated as “frontline” members, have been given precious spots on the committee. They have individually raised an average of $1.09 million for their 2010 campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; by contrast, the average House member has raised less than half of that amount.
Because the frontline members face the possible end of their careers in November and may be beholden to the whims of powerful donors, the Democrats’ 13-seat advantage on the committee is weaker than it appears. If seven members break with the party on a vote, the GOP wins. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) refers to them as “the unreliable bottom row.” (The second row is little better, populated by the Democrats from red-leaning areas who first took office after the 2006 election.)
In short, by setting up the committee as a place for shaky Democrats from red districts to pad their campaign coffers, leadership made a choice to prioritize fundraising over the passage of strong legislation. “It makes it difficult to corral consensus,” says Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), a subcommittee chairman, of the unwieldy panel.
Sixteen of the committee’s 86 current staffers — including a good chunk of the senior staff — worked as lobbyists before coming to the committee. (And it’s not just Republicans; 12 of the 16 are Democrats.)
“The door doesn’t just revolve once,” says Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.). “They tend to go out and come back and go out again. It really does create a set of financial incentives, whether conscious or not.”
If anything, it gets worse from there. It’s appalling and more than a little scary just how corrupt and rotten our government has become.
2 commentsDecember 31st, 2009 at 07:32amPosted by Eli
New airline restrictions will soon be taking effect. Weekly World News has acquired a list of what to expect.
Airlines are still reeling from the narrowly avoided terrorist attack on Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit Christmas day. A Nigerian man attempted to ignite explosives he had sewn into his underpants while the plane was descending over Detroit. After careful consideration and emergency meetings of the Transportation Security Administration, here are some of the new rules that will soon go into effect.
– No Underpants. All passengers will be expected to prove they are not wearing underpants as the garment is too easy to hide explosives or drugs in.
– Mandatory Jumpsuits. Passengers will be expected to change into full body jumpsuits on their way through security. The jumpsuits will make it harder for anyone to smuggle explosives, incendiaries, or weapons in their clothing.
– Retinal Scans. Passengers will receive a mandatory retinal scan, a scan which cannot be faked, and the results will be cross referenced by computer with interpol records for known or suspected terrorists. Granted no such database exists yet, and it is entirely impractical for apprehending terrorists with no prior criminal history, but apparatus is large enough to give the impression that security teams mean business.
– Spetznatz Flight Attendants. The days of perky and attractive flight attendants are over as now their duties will be performed by former Russian Special Forces officers. Their presence is expected to be a deterrent to any potential terrorists and people who talk loudly on their phones.
– Mandatory hypnotherapy. All stations of in-flight music will be replaced by in-flight hypnotherapy. Being under a hypnotic trance makes it nearly impossible to stage any kind of attack, and all hypnotic messaging will be designed to minimize aggressive attitudes. Passengers will be able to choose from a short list of programs including Calming, Listening Skills, Letting go of Aggression, Who Moved my Cheese?, and Hugging your Inner Child.
– Cozy Restraints. Luthansa airlines has proposed Cozy Restraint seating for its passengers. Developed by a team of engineers and Sadomasochists the Cozy Restraints are straight-jacket like apparatuses which completely inhibit use of the hands or feet while providing maximum comfort. Positioning of the restraints, and the chair they will be in, are ergonomically designed to help passengers sleep during their flight.
Most of the aforementioned all-star cast had the good sense to be embarrassed, but Carol Channing appears to be having the time of her life. Here she is in the second-most insane part of the film, singing the title song while wearing some kind of 18th-century-admiral-in-a-miniskirt outfit:
Have I mentioned that Carol Channing scares the living crap out of me? Also, I would give almost anything for a copy of the mock commercial for an Elephant Man musical starring her and Anthony Newley (“in the role he was born to play”).
It’s like the Democrats are totally determined to make everyone hate them:
Six years after Congress added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, Democrats in the House and Senate are poised to make a central change that they and most older Americans have wanted all along: getting rid of a quirk that forces millions of elderly patients with especially high expenses for medicine to pay for much of it on their own.
The closing of an unusual gap in Medicare drug coverage — a gap that Republicans had, when they controlled Capitol Hill and the White House, insisted was needed for the government to be able to afford the program — would “forever end this indefensible injustice for American’s seniors,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in announcing that the Senate would join the House in supporting the change.
The Democrats and President Obama have been clear that the “doughnut hole,” as the gap is known, would disappear gradually over the next 10 years. They have not mentioned that Medicare patients would, according to House figures, face a slightly larger hole in coverage during two of the next three years than they do today.
Oh well, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. After all, it’s not like seniors turn out to vote, right?
It is simply amazing to me that the unions are still supporting the terrible Senate healthcare bill in hopes that Obama will push for EFCA in return. How can they possibly still believe that after watching the way the stimulus, bailout, climate reform, financial reform, and healthcare reform have played out?
If Obama “supports” EFCA the way he supported healthcare reform and the public option, union members will end up paying dues directly to their employers.
2 commentsDecember 28th, 2009 at 07:15amPosted by Eli
At what point is the labor movement going to realize that it’s getting punked?
Eleven months into office, President Obama has proven to be one of the most union-friendly White House occupants in recent memory. His staff is in constant contact with union officials, granting them access and input given to few other organizations. And yet, on some of the major legislative items, his administration has disappointed labor: an economic recovery plan that was too fixated on Wall Street, the punting of the Employee Free Choice Act until 2010 and the willingness to drop a public option for insurance coverage.
Labor leaders are loath to publicly criticize Obama, in part because they remain acutely aware of the benefits of staying in his (and WH chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s) good favor. But in private, there is a growing “frustration,” as one union official put it. And as it became clear that the Senate was settling on a health care bill that taxes high-end plans (which cover many union members as well as other workers) and includes no additional government-run plan for insurance, a hint of that frustration seeped to the surface.
“What I want the president to do is to work with the conferees on the issues that he has said from the very beginning are important to him and say we have a chance to get some of those done, particularly the ones that relate to making sure that people who don’t have insurance will be able to afford what is made available,” SEIU President Andy Stern declared in a conference call this past week. “We need his moral suasion. We need his personal involvement and we are totally convinced that what we want done is what he wants done. And all we can do is maximize the effort.”
I think it’s blindingly obvious at this point that staying on Obama’s good side has bought Labor exactly nothing, and will continue to buy them nothing. If they don’t start threatening to withhold their support (not just votes, but GOTV and organizational muscle) in the 2010 and 2012 elections, they will continue to get diddly-squat from the Obama White House.
The unions need to stop begging for scraps and start using their leverage. No more “pretty please”; it’s time for “or else”.
1 commentDecember 23rd, 2009 at 06:08pmPosted by Eli
Yesterday freshman Congressman Griffith announced he will be leaving the Democratic party and joining the Republicans.
In front of a small press conference, Griffith announced “he believes our nation is at a crossroads and can no longer align himself with a party that hurts our country, hurts our economy, and sucks at beer pong.” No reporters at the event questioned why Griffith was talking about himself in the third person. He was also wearing white skull face paint and a top hat, which no one bothered to ask about.
Voodoo is believed to be at the heart of Parker Griffith’s party change. People close to him have reported that drastic changes in his personality, including referring to himself in the third person, all started when he received a mysterious package in the mail. The package contained a small charm; upon wearing it, Griffith began acting differently. Aside from the top hat and chain smoking cigars, the most notable change has been the announcement of his change in political parties.
Since falling from power, Republicans have been voracious to regain political muscle. The GOP has gone to any length to debilitate the Democratic “Super Majority.” They even reached out and told Joe Lieberman he was “cool” to acquire his support. Lieberman has not taken off his leather jacket since. Enlisting the forces of Voodoo to sway Democrats to their cause would be little sacrifice compared to spending time with Lieberman.
This would not be the first time Voodoo has worked its way into the US Congress. During the Reconstruction, Georgia Congressman Danforth Seward went before Congress to speak in favor of northern policies. His speech was interrupted by what appeared to be several stabbing pains before his genitals suddenly caught fire. A lower Louisiana district elected a Zombie into congress in 1813, who was re-elected in 1817 and 1832.
I’m pretty sure Griffith will not be the only zombie in the Republican caucus.
You know, every time I hear someone tell me that passing the Senate healthcare bill is a good thing because it will inevitably be improved down the road, I can’t help but be reminded of the Obama administration’s tonedeaf insistence that the stimulus worked, the recession is over, and employment is merely a “lagging indicator” that will eventually take care of itself as the Rising Tide Lifts All Boats, yadda yadda yadda. There is no guarantee that healthcare will get better – quite the contrary, in fact.
Declaring victory without delivering it may work for a little while, but people catch on pretty quickly when they realize that they still don’t have jobs or healthcare (or healthcare that they can afford to actually use). Lying about having fixed the problem only makes you look worse when the truth is revealed.
To adapt an old saying: It’s not the failure, it’s the coverup.
Scarecrow has a great post about just how badly Obama and the Democrats have sold us out on healthcare, and how pathetic our supposed “reform” is when compared to the rest of the developed world, and Drew Westen decries Obama’s abject lack of leadership. I think the root cause is the same: Our government has become so completely captive to corporate donors that it is literally almost impossible to pass any bill that might harm corporate interests in any way.
As the increasingly discouraging healthcare “reform” process plays out, the endgame makes the most sense when you remember that the Prime Directive for Obama and most of Congress is this:
First, do no harm… to the insurance companies.
This is why single-payor is off the table (and how many of today’s public option advocates wouldn’t prefer single-payor if they thought it was attainable?) – it would kill the insurance industry outright (aside from the much smaller business of providing gap coverage), whereas a correctly managed (i.e., small or unsuccessful) public option would only wound them.
The fundamental problem is that the starting point has never been “How do we improve healthcare for our constituents?”, but rather, “How do we make sure this doesn’t hurt the insurance industry?”
Up until today, I could at least say that for all its faults (and it is truly a politically poisonous trainwreck in every way), at least the Senate bill didn’t screw women over as badly as the House bill. Well, so much for that:
Mr. Reid’s amendment includes tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions sought by Mr. Nelson. Health insurance plans would not be required or forbidden to cover abortions, but states could prohibit the coverage of abortions by plans that are offered for sale through new government-regulated marketplaces.
The amendment also includes a special extension solely for Nebraska: increased federal contributions to the cost of an expansion
The previous language about segregating private vs public funds within the exchanges is reportedly tougher on women. We’re still reading the details, but from what we’ve seen, this is the general framework:
So . . .
1. The Feds will require you to purchase insurance
2. Feds say this is fair because we’ve got these nifty exchanges that will magically transform the currently concentrated insurance markets and make them competitive, affordable [not possible].
3. Only these exchange plans will have any significant federal enforcement for even the weak insurance regulations and price oversight.
4. States may ban abortions for all plans in the exchange, so women are not only stripped of current rights but left completely unprotected.
Jim-Bo [Inhofe] was apparently surprised to learn that the rest of the world doesn’t dumb their reporters down enough to buy a load of crap like he was selling, because after he made his Republican paranoia jab at “Hollywood elite”, one reporter asked him if he were referring to Schwarzenegger, which he ignored. Darn them reporters. They’re supposed to nod in acquiescence whenever a skinned snake Republican points a finger! It worked for Bush.
And are you ready for the real treat? In response to Jim-Bo’s paranoid and inexplicable narrative, a disgusted reporter from Der Speigel shouted , “You’re ridiculous!”.
Ain’t it fun to go to places where the press don’t pretend up is down and down is up? And ain’t it great when they don’t suck the Republican lies dry in the retelling? Perhaps some countries learned the dangers of coddling nut jobs and selling propaganda the hard way. Oh, America, I fear for you.
Apparently flying into Copenhagen to announce that there is no global warming, providing no science to support your position, and avoiding the question by pointing fingers at “Hollywood elites” doesn’t carry as much water in some places as as it does here, in the land of the free.
Just imagine how different the world might be – not just America, but the entire world – if we had a tough, skeptical, reality-based professional press corps like other countries have.
Hey, you know what would be the awfullest thing ever? If we got single-payer healthcare, EFCA, ENDA, gay marriage, strong financial and environmental regulations, an end to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and prosecutions for all of BushCo’s criminals. Why, us backseat bitchers wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves and would all become very sad.
So, to sum up Tweety’s argument:
o The netroots don’t really have anything substantive to complain about, we just complain for the sheer joy of complaining.
o The netroots never actually take any kind of action, just sit around and complain. (Now, if he wanted to argue that we’re not nearly as effective at moving Congress or Obama than multimillion-dollar corporate donors and Fox News, I would probably have to concede that point.)
o The netroots know nothing about governance or campaigning, even though many of its members have run for office and/or worked in government for years.
o The people who actually do run our country have an abundance of both the desire and the knowledge to govern it, and are not just facilitating its continued looting by the aforementioned multimillion-dollar corporate donors.
o As usual, the Village and our professional political class are Serious; the netroots are Not.
That is the staggering sum that it would take to extend benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian federal government employees. Why, I bet that eclipses even the Defense Department’s annual stapler budget! No wonder a totally not-homophobic budget hawk like Joe Lieberman opposes it – he’s all about the fiscal responsibility:
“I believe this legislation is really on the right side of history,” Lieberman said. “The basic point here is federal employees should not have to choose between their commitment to federal public service and their commitment to their families because they get fewer protections for their families than they could receive from private employers.”
(See? Totally Not Homophobic!)
Lieberman and [Republican Senator Susan] Collins said they were happy to see the bill move forward, but they would not seek time on the Senate calendar for debate until OPM explained how it planned to pay for the benefits it would begin providing to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian federal employees.
Collins said she was “very disappointed” OPM had not provided the final plan, but added she had been told the Office of Management and Budget was reviewing a proposed list. Lieberman said the strategy for making the benefits cost-neutral was critical to the bill’s ultimate passage.
“We will not move it on the floor of the Senate until we get that explicit offset so this is a deficit-neutral step,” he said.
The District of Columbia legalized gay marriage yesterday, and society has already begun to crumble.
Yesterday the City Council for the District of Columbia voted to legalize marriage among same-sex partners. The fabric of society immediately began to come apart. National Guard troops have been unable to restore order.
Riots have broken out throughout the DC area. Otherwise calm and peaceful people have taken to looting and burning everything in site, however they are not rioting because of the passage of the law. When asked why, rioters responded, “Nothing means anything anymore! There’s no reason not to!” Indeed, with one of the basic tenants of society shattered, lawlessness has descended on the District of Columbia.
Hedonistic revelry has also befallen our nation’s capital. The Washington Monument was turned into a giant maypole, where all the Congressional pages danced naked in a fertility rite. Prostitutes and interns were seen giving lapdances to the Lincoln Memorial. Senators and lobbyists erected a wicker man on the Washington Mall that was filled with Bibles and copies of “Are you There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” then burned in effigy.
Families driving through the district have noticed the effect as soon as they pass the border. Once they have crossed over into a land where gay marriage is legal, children immediately begin disrespecting their parents, family units break down, and chaos breaks out. If they are lucky enough to get to the other side and leave DC, normalcy resumes and they have no idea why they behaved that way. Motorists are being advised to avoid DC at all costs.
Scientists suggest an immediate evacuation of the District of Columbia. “Given the geographic confines of this hysteria, it seems the most likely solution would be to remove anyone who is still inside. Once the general population is safe from the effects of gay marriage, 12 city council members in Haz-Mat suits can be sent in to repeal the law. That should make the District safe again for civilized habitation.”
Hey, remember when NARAL endorsed Joe Lieberman in 2006, and even urged its members to thank him for voting against the Alito nomination, even though he voted for cloture? Just in case anyone still believes that that nay vote actually meant something, well…
The pledge by Lieberman to oppose the [healthcare] bill represents a potentially huge setback for reform proponents, many of who saw the latest round of policy compromises as the last true chance to corral the needed votes. That said, leadership has several fallback options (none of them promising) should Lieberman follow through on the threat.
The first is to convince the senator to support Democrats in breaking a Republican filibuster before casting a vote against the bill. This would allow for the legislation to pass with Lieberman still registering his opposition. Lieberman, however, has said he considers the procedural vote to cut off debate to be of the same significance as a vote on the bill itself.
Just so you know. Joe was against the filibuster before he was for it (and yes, he was a member of the Gang Of 14, too).