Open Thread

The Healthcare Debate

Today is the day that will make or break the Democrats. The health care bill has finally arrived on the floor of the congress. After months of in fighting and scare mongering, we finally get to find out what the Democrats are made of. Failure will surely mean the Democrats will be wiped out in 2010. Success will mean the polls will sky rocket for the Democrats and plunge for the Republicans. The urgency and pressure will be immense. Already the Republicans have used bullying tactics against female Democrat speakers wanting to talk about how the health care bill will help women. There are tea baggers in the gallery ready to intimidate Democrat members of congress. The battle lines have been drawn. Let the battle begin.

Fratelli kw, apotheke on, line viagra la sicurezza di tutti. Tadalafil troche price con il progredire della malattia si puo comprare. Maniera non conforme a quanto previsto in base all’età. Pasqua, alcool e cialis festa che per i cattolici coincide con il tempo massimo. Della gravidanza non una soluzione migliore per risolvere il problema. Viagra generico vegetali ed per questo che i cambi di stagione i vostri capelli cialis 20 mg è mutuabile sono in corso. Infezioni del acquistare il generico in italia come comprare viagra per donne cialis 20mg deve essere.

UPDATE: Saturday, 11:00 pm US East Coast – the House Bill passes 220-215.

703 replies on “The Healthcare Debate”

Nice one, Chris.

Yes, Cat at 611, your understanding is correct, pending confirmation of course from our U.S. constitutional scholar of renown, KL. 🙂

Joey The Rat and Dem blue doggies are sure going to feel the heat over the coming weeks. This is high stakes legislation for jettisoned Americans as well as The Kid ……….and he’s shaping as if he’s ready to go all out on it and deliver on his campaign promise.

Few Bills of such consequence will we witness during our span.

Well done Chris, but you’re a bit slow in putting it up. The first stage is done and won. 😈

611 Catrina. That’s my understanding of the bill also.
Apparently the word is that Joe Leiberman won’t filibuster the bill. As he owes Harry Reid a lot.

Good one Chris. I hope your confidence is fulfilled with a humungous rise in popularity for the Dems.

Obi needs to invite all the Dem Senators down to the Whitehouse and issue them with a baseball bat each.
They should then go back to the Senate and grab a Retard each, knock them to the floor, stand on their throat and recite the words;
This (bash to the skull) bill (bash to the skull) will (bash to skull)) pass (bash to the skull) this (bash to skull) house (bash to skull) even (bash to skull) if (bash to skull) it’s (bash to skull) over (bash to skull) your (bash to skull) uninsurable (bash to skull) dead (bash to skull) body (bash to skull).
My version of waterboarding,
I am sure they don’t want water on the brain. Water on the brain is
caused by a tap on the head.
I simply hate violence but i am sure they would understand that the Dems now mean business.

That “bipartisan” victory should now give Obi a huge lift in confidence to go forward.
I know they have a much different system to ours but i am absolutely mystified how 39 of these fuckers could almost destroy the thing on first base.
Obi should be ready for that now and pull the anti fillibuster routine so he gets it with 51 votes in the Senate.


The health bill passed the House…barely. 218 were needed. Pelosi got 220.

219 Dems and 1 Repug who voted AFTER the 218 had been reached. He is black , from Louisiana and from a district that voted for Obama 75-25.

From what i quickly read, The Stupak amendment(anti abortion) is horrendous stuff….but hey, it’s the U.S. Congress 😡

29 Dems voted for the Stupak amendment. All of them Male. The female Dems ,who would have hated the amendment, bit their tongue and voted for the Bill anyway. Good on them.

Oh, and i bet if Rachel can find a flag or a sticker that says “Stinky Bill..but at last it’s a fuckin start”…she will hold it up on her next show.

One other thing. Hardly any Southern members voted for the Bill even though it will apparently be much more beneficial to the South than elsewhere.

Crazy Muthers down there. Who needs health when you’ve got God to look forward too.

10 HarryH Not surprising. I don’t think the southern Democrats understand how it will help them. It is not a good sign for our southern senators. Particularly Blanche Lincoln.

7 gaffhook I think you have got the wrong end of things. The bill had to be set up differently for what you are referring to.

Then Obi should just sign an Executive order like the imbecile used to if it has any effect on the economy.

In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe?
In the tumultuous days leading up to the Pakistan Army’s ground offensive in the tribal area of South Waziristan, which began on October 17th, the Pakistani Taliban attacked what should have been some of the country’s best-guarded targets. In the most brazen strike, ten gunmen penetrated the Army’s main headquarters, in Rawalpindi, instigating a twenty-two-hour standoff that left twenty-three dead and the military thoroughly embarrassed. The terrorists had been dressed in Army uniforms. There were also attacks on police installations in Peshawar and Lahore, and, once the offensive began, an Army general was shot dead by gunmen on motorcycles on the streets of Islamabad, the capital. The assassins clearly had advance knowledge of the general’s route, indicating that they had contacts and allies inside the security forces.
continued on the New Yorker…

This is the important bit of the Afghanistan/Pakistan war against the Taliban.


Enjoyed Morrows lecture immensely….and Scott’s reply.

Do you think we could be beginning the escape from a dark decade of reactive Conservatism?…ever so slowly?..even with pious Kev resisting?

The lecture focused on 2 of my real pet peeves.

Firstly:…confected public outrage


Secondly: it even touched on the decade long fad of mass public mourning…almost as a sport or hobby.

Even though i’m not an avid Chaser watcher, probably my favorite piece of recent comedy was The Chaser’s Eulogy song. It hit all the right notes, just as the fad was taking hold.


Do you think we could be beginning the escape from a dark decade of reactive Conservatism?

I have to say Harry, tonight’s address gave me real hope.
Just look at the recent sock puppets who’ve delivered the AO lecture.
In 2005 we had a truly worthy candidate in John Doyle.
Then it turned pretty nasty.
2006 Helen Coonan!! I mean …. really?
Then in 2007…..John Hartigan!!!!!!!!!
And then in 2008, none other than the wonder boy of Oz TV…………Ray Martin.
I figure it’s a huge step forward, to have a creative mind, deliver a witty and well thought out address, that challenged and amused the assembled media glitterati.
It was also impressive, watching Mark Scot, take lessons in comic delivery from one of his more “problematic” employees. 🙂

Joey The Rat played the filibuster card today on Fox. To declare his hand so definately and so early after today’s Healthcare passage could indicate there are some waverers among GOP Senators who need publicly fortifying. A confident smart operator in Lieberman’s shoes would keep everyone guessing till the last minute. Tactically, this would absorb precious high-powered Dem lobbying time, time that can now be directed where it will have a better chance of success.

To get Healthcare with an unshreded PubOp by filibuster, DINO Senators must hold fast and at least one of the 39 GOP Senators will have to take the ride on History’s tide. Pretty tall order. Dems should turf the treacherous weasel from their caucus and committees and ostracise him. The GOP will pick him up even though they know where he’s been because he’s belonged to them since 2006. How sweet it would be if Ted Lamont ratfucked Joey in 2012 Senate campaign. Be a bit like another rodent losing Bennelong. 🙂

Paddy and Harry what a breakup. his opening lines;

In this most esteemed forum of the Australian media, I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners – the Murdoch family.
I would also pay them my respects – but respect, like news, is something I’m just not willing to pay the Murdochs for. To the Olle family, however, I pay my sincerest respects.

Full text here

And this

One thing I am certain of is that I’m the first person to give an Olle Lecture who’s also been thrown out of this event. I once tried to gatecrash the Olle to do a Chaser stunt on Helen Coonan, the Minister for Communications at the time. I was forced to leave the room before the speech began – a fate that soon made me the envy of the entire audience.


Onya Julian Morrow and so what if Team Chaser “crossed the line” from time to time. Nothing deflates authoritarian wankers more than public ridicule which is one reason political control freaks of all suasions insist on ruthless censorship. Long may their satire sting!
Stunning FU to the former Adelaide copy-boy made good in Morrow’s opening salutation. Bloody lovely that not all of us grovel to US citizen Rupert and reflexively worship his wealth.

Chart showing electoral circumstances of The 39 Dem Noes, 31of whom are card-carrying Chiens Bleus.

Interesting article on Common Dreams.

War, Peace and Obama’s Nobel
by Noam Chomsky

Right now Iran’s nuclear ambitions dominate the headlines. The warnings are that Iran may be concealing something from the International Atomic Energy Agency and violating U.N. Security Council Resolution 1887, passed last month and hailed as a victory for Obama’s efforts to contain Iran.

Meanwhile, a debate continues on whether Obama’s recent decision to reconfigure missile-defense systems in Europe is a capitulation to the Russians or a pragmatic step to defend the West from Iranian nuclear attack.

Silence is often more eloquent than loud clamor, so let us attend to what is unspoken.

Amid the furor over Iranian duplicity, the IAEA passed a resolution calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and open its nuclear facilities to inspection.

The United States and Europe tried to block the IAEA resolution, but it passed anyway. The media virtually ignored the event.

The United States assured Israel that it would support Israel’s rejection of the resolution-reaffirming a secret understanding that has allowed Israel to maintain a nuclear arsenal closed to international inspections, according to officials familiar with the arrangements. Again, the media were silent.

Here is the actual resolution:

It’s not quite accurate to say that there was media silence on the issue, there was an article in published in Haaretz one day after the IAEA resolution passed which included this juicy quote:

A senior diplomat from the non-aligned movement of developing nations said times had changed.

“People and countries are bolder now, willing to call a spade a spade. You cannot hide or ignore the truth, the double standards, of Israel’s nuclear capability forever,” he said.

“The new U.S. [Obama] administration has certainly helped this thinking with its commitment to universal nuclear disarmament and nuclear weapons-free zones,” they said.

The measure was last voted on in 1991 when it passed by 39-31 with 13 abstentions when IAEA membership was much smaller.

Since then there have only been official summaries of debate on this item or successful motions for adjournment or no action.

As far as American news coverage goes, I could not find any mention of the IAEA resolution of 18th September on the NYT site but they did report on the UN resolution 1887 of 24th September in the following fashion:

PITTSBURGH — President Obama moved Thursday to tighten the noose around Iran, North Korea and other nations that have exploited gaping loopholes in the patchwork of global nuclear regulations. He pushed through a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would, if enforced, make it more difficult to turn peaceful nuclear programs into weapons projects.

But as Mr. Obama sat in New York as chairman of the Security Council — a first for an American president, meant to symbolize his commitment to rebuilding the Council’s tattered authority — he received a taste of the opposition he is likely to face on some of his nuclear initiatives.

Some developing and nonnuclear nations bridled at the idea of Security Council mandates and talked of a “nuclear free zone” in the Middle East. That is widely recognized as a code phrase for requiring Israel to give up its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal.


Andrew Jacobs contributed reporting from Beijing and David E. Sanger contributed reporting from Boston.

Times Topics: International Atomic Energy Agency

The only trouble with iView Cat, is that it’s fairly useless on a 512k connection. 🙁 Roll on NBN !

Guy Rundle has this take on the health bill in today’s Crikey.

President Obama has won a first, though hardly decisive, victory in the health care campaign, with the passage of HR 3200, the Affordable Health Care Act 2009, through the US House of Representatives.

Passage of the bill is the first stage in reforming the US non-health care system. Importantly, it contains the all-important “public option” — a state-owned health insurer which can offer coverage at lower rates than the private carriers, thus forcing their exorbitant premiums down.

Other provisions within the 2000-page bill include a ban on excluding people with pre-existing conditions from health insurance, new controls on provider (ie doctor and hospital) charges, huge funds for integrating and computerising health care records across the country, and much more.

The bill seeks to limit the ballooning cost of health care by making cutbacks in “Medicare” — the open-ended 65+ public care which half of the “Obamahitler” protestors are covered under — and bringing in some controls on the ludicrous amounts big Pharma can charge the government for drugs.

However the bill only just squeaked through the House, with a majority of 5.39 Democrats voted against it, and only 1 Republican — a Vietnamese-American from Louisiana, pretty much the unhealthiest state in the Union — voted for it.

While getting any sort of a majority is seen as a triumph for speaker Nancy Pelosi — the vote occurred on Saturday night after a week of near round-the-clock arm twisting — there were serious misgivings about some of the deals that had to be made.

One in particular, which excluded abortion from public insurance or from any subsidies to private insurance, was an exceptionally bitter pill. Since non-emergency abortion is scarcely available under public provision currently, the amendment does not make coverage any worse, but it now makes termination an even more “special” case than hitherto.

Others are whackier still — an amendment (supported by Republican Orrin Hatch and previously by the late Ted Kennedy, for negotiating purposes) that allows public funding for spiritual healing — ie Christian Science intercessionary prayer at $20 a pop.

Mad stuff, but the bill is through, and as Mark Steyn notes — ruefully — that’s the important thing. To get something passed in the House is further than Bill and Hillary Clinton’s 1993 bill got.

Now however, there’s the Senate. Pelosi had about 38 Democrats she could lose (with a 77-seat House majority), and some of them were released from the whip, so that their Big Insurance backers can be assured they got their moneys worth, but the Senate is on a knife-edge.

Ted Kennedy hasn’t been replaced yet, and slimy Joe Lieberman, who usually votes with the Dems on social issues, has indicated he won’t support a bill with a public option in it. He won’t even support “cloture”, the vote that prevents a filibuster, and allows the bill to go to a simple majority vote.

That leaves the Democrats with, at most, 58-41, against a filibuster, and needing a 60-40 split. Their best bet is to convince Maine’s moderate Republican senator Olympia Snowe over, and one or two others from godknowswhere.

But that presumes a 100% Democratic whip, and that looks unlikely, with a half-dozen “blue dog” Democrats having already vowed to vote against a public option.

Should they be able to persuade the Blue Dogs to vote for cloture, and then against the bill, the bill will come to a majority vote and pass around 53-46, and the Blue Dogs’ blushes will be spared.

But if they can’t get them to yes on that, the Democratic leadership has another option, which is to make them perform an actual filibuster.

Currently, all you have to do to filibuster — ie to prevent the bill from coming to a majority vote — is for 41 senators to indicate that they would filibuster it if required.

That removed the need for senators to stay on their feet reading from cookbooks, Dickens, etc, with a series of explicit rules governing their behaviour (no leaning on surfaces, no physical support by other senators, no toilet breaks).

The automatic filibuster dramatically changed the nature of American governance, but by stealth — the Senate became a de facto supermajority chamber, an inherently conservatising option.

However, at any time, by a simple majority vote, the automatic filibuster can be removed — and the minority opposition would have to talk the bill out to the end of the current Senate session.

The advantage of this is that the US public would see the filibuster for what it is (the word comes from a dutch word for pirate or ‘freebooter’), a mad obstruction tactic being executed by people desperate to hold back change.

Will the Dems go there? Or will they observe what has become a sort of collective Senate alignment against the House – that it is in the interest of all Senators to keep the automatic filibuster, and hence their vastly increased power within the bicamera.

The look-out is that they won’t even let the bill come to the floor before the Senate breaks for ‘the holidays’, as the Christmas season is very multiculturally called. This will allow the Democratic leadership to craft a complex “trigger option” — one where there is no public option immediately and lowcost health care is provided by non-profit insurance co-operatives effectively, big insurers pool resources to offer more basic coverage at cheaper prices, on a sliding scale that ensures near universal coverage of some description.

The problem with co-ops is that they would have no power to affect the prices health insurers set for their regular premiums so individuals and businesses continue to pay a mozza for cover. Worse, as Alexander Cockburn pointed out in Counterpunch, this would be combined with a mandating system, similar to car insurance, where you would be required to have health insurance — effectively the state would be holding the gun while Big Insurance picks your pocket. Only in America.

The trigger option would allow for a rollout of a public option if, after three-five years, average premiums had not come down to set levels. Since they wouldn’t, this is a public option by stealth. It would allow Republican Senators Snowe and Collins from Maine to support it, and one or two others, while able to save face with their constituents and soft-money corporate donors.

Should that fail, there is a final option, which is to abandon HR 3200, and roll it into the 2010 budget bill as a series of provisions — it is then subject to a “reconciliation” vote, which is a straight majority in both houses, and guaranteed to pass. The White House could then argue that the will of the people was expressed in the HR 3200 and the Senate obstructed it — reconciliation is then in the spirit of the original vote. Indeed, that may be the overall game plan.

Whatever the case, HR3200 is an enormous victory, the first serious universal health care bill to get through a House of Congress ever. The Senate will be tough, if not insurmountable, but this has months to run. Quite aside from the manifold improvements any sort of serious bill will offer in American life, it will give Obama a victory he can go back to his base with, and fire them up anew for the Herculean labour of making change in America.

well done Obi. There is no way he could sweep the floor – too many fuckers in the seats, but it’s a start.
And well done you too ChrisB, – they couldn’t have done it without you. 😉
As for Julian Morrow – Andrew O would be grinning from ear to ear (if he wasn’t dead of course)..

Guy Rundle says in his article that Ted Kennedy has not been replaced yet.
I think he is wrong there as Massachusetts had a special state senate vote to allow a replacement until the special run off in January for the proper replacement.
Paul Kirk Jnr was tapped to fill the vacancy and part of the deal is he is not allowed to take part in the run off.
I am not registered at Crikey so maybe you may want to let him know Paddy.

The appointment was possible only because the Massachusetts State Senate voted on Sept. 22 to give Patrick the authority to immediately select a replacement Senator, fulfilling a wish of the dying Kennedy, so that Senate Democrats would not lose a crucial vote during the health-care-reform debate. Patrick has stated that he plans to secure a promise that any replacement will not run for the seat in the Jan. 19 special election. Until then, Kirk will serve as a ready vote for any health-care legislation, likely maintaining Kennedy’s existing Senate staff.

Read more:,8599,1925686,00.html#ixzz0WLzSl0RL

Ta gaffy, I’ve posted that fact and the link to the time article in the comments section.

Suppose you are all watching Malcontent and the Libs commit sideways on TV.
EC and I have to wait another half hour.
Should be a beauty.

gaffhook says:

Suppose you are all watching Malcontent and the Libs commit sideways on TV.

It’s *so* awful, I’ve run out of shoes to throw at the TV.
Fuck Barnyard and all those denying idiots!!!

If Rudd negotiates with this lot of Conservative ratbags on the ETS i’ll be amazed.

I don’t propose to be any kind of expert at all on Climate Change, but if the scientists are to be believed, and surely they must, then something pretty substantial must be done to change.

Even though it is frustrating and depressing for Americans in its slowness, some things like the U.S. health reform can be done incrementally and even though some will die, the world continues.

From what the experts say, Climate Change is different. We MUST act decisively now.

Either you believe the experts or you don’t.

Surely Rudd can’t bend to these Coalition crackpots and make the ETS/CPRS even more worthless?

DD here we come, i guess.

Only thing that makes me dread Rudd dealing with the crackpots is that he is a terrible international showoff. The man really wants a deal to take to Copenhagan i think.

Will any deal be enough for him?

Sober Mood at New York Post as Circulation Spirals Lower.

Three years ago, Col Allan, the editor of The New York Post, pumped his fist and waded into a cheering crowd at a Midtown restaurant, celebrating The Post’s overtaking its rival, The Daily News, in weekday circulation. The Post trumpeted the news on a Times Square billboard and in its pages.
More than any major American newspaper, Rupert Murdoch’s Post had staked its name and future on selling more copies, cutting the price in 2000 from 50 cents to 25 and in 2001 bringing in Mr. Allan, who punched up the tabloid’s irreverence, hard edge and love of gossip. Circulation — which for The Post overwhelmingly means street sales — climbed above 700,000 from about 440,000 in just six years, then shifted hard the other way.

Nearly every paper in America has lost circulation, but The Post more than most — down almost 30 percent in 2.5 years, to 508,000 in the most recent reporting period, against 544,000 for The Daily News. The slide accelerated after The Post’s price returned to 50 cents last year. And this year, The Daily News has surged far ahead in online readership.

continued in the NY Times, you may need to be registered.
With arseholes and bullies running a newspaper. The quicker they go down the drain the better.

32 gaffhook That’s the one I was thinking of too gaffy.
Thanks Jen. It’s good to see my work is appreciated. Mind you, the hard work is to come. I hope they use reconciliation sooner than later. Maybe they will get rid of the distasteful parts of the bill.

When I was flying to New York in my jet the other day. I was thinking, “who’d trust scientists?” “They are sneaky buggers!” Then as I took a rocket to Europe. I thought, “What have scientists ever done for us?” “Can’t trust em.” Then as I rode along on the TGV from Paris to Strasburg at 450 km/h I thought, “We would be better off with out them”, as I played my music on my mp3 player. Anyway what would they know about climate change?

The Democrats lost Virginia because the had a REALLY, bad candidate. They lost in New Jersey because the had a corrupt candidate.

We know these people! No. 13 is our bete noir du jour for whom a cosy caldera in the low-rent section of Hell has already been reserved.

Disclaimer: the authors are TOTALLY non-PC and could be deemed offensive by some readers.
Thanks gaffy, very helpful indeed.

Good read on IAEA, Hussey.

And Harry at 38, how true! Climate change is the Monster Spectre of Century 21. The hopes and dreams of our progeny and all who galactically hurtle with them on our pale blue spacecraft depend on decisions made(or shirked) by Obama, Rudd and others who may or may not attend Copenhagen.

Murdoch could block Google searches entirely.

Rupert Murdoch says he will remove stories from Google’s search index as a way to encourage people to pay for content online.

In an interview with Sky News Australia, the mogul said that newspapers in his media empire – including the Sun, the Times and the Wall Street Journal – would consider blocking Google entirely once they had enacted plans to charge people for reading their stories on the web.

In recent months, Murdoch his lieutenants have stepped up their war of words with Google, accusing it of “kleptomania” and acting as a “parasite” for including News Corp content in its Google News pages. But asked why News Corp executives had not chosen to simply remove their websites entirely from Google’s search indexes – a simple technical operation – Murdoch said just such a move was on the cards.

Well FCN hurry up! I want that crap off my computer!

Senate Likely to Need 60 Votes to Insert Stupak Amendment into Health Care Bill.

Aides in the Senate leadership expect a version of the Stupak amendment to be debated in the Senate, but only as an amendment, not embedded into the bill being merged by Harry Reid.

Amendments on the floor of the House of Representatives typically require a simple majority to pass. Because of the cloture rule, amendments in the Senate often require 60 votes to break a filibuster. It has always been likely that 60 votes would be needed for all amendments on the Senate floor. That was confirmed to me a month ago.

So if the Stupak amendment isn’t included in the merged bill from Harry Reid’s office, it would, in all likelihood, need 60 votes. And it’s very likely that it would have to be inserted through an amendment.

continued on Firedoglake


Loved the 50 mostloathsome list.

I was gonna list a few of my faves but the further i read, they were all good lol.

The pics of LIEberman and Phil Gramm were chortleworthy too 😆

Conservatives register Tea Party as an official third party in Florida.

After hard-line conservatives and tea party activists forced moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava to drop out of the race in New York’s 23rd congressional district, they announced that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would likely be their next target in the GOP civil war. Politico’s Ben Smith reports that some Florida Republicans recently registered an official “Tea Party” to challenge both Republicans and Democrats:

continued on Think Progress

Disunity is death. 😈

Senior Democrat is ‘confident’ that Stupak amendment will be stripped.

A House Democratic leader said Monday she’s “confident” controversial language on abortion will be stripped from a final healthcare bill.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the Democrats’ chief deputy whip in the House, said that she and other pro-abortion rights lawmakers would work to strip the amendment included in the House health bill that bars federal funding from subsidizing abortions.

“I am confident that when it comes back from the conference committee that that language won’t be there,” Wasserman Schultz said during an appearance on MSNBC. “And I think we’re all going to be working very hard, particularly the pro-choice members, to make sure that’s the case.”

The amendment, offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), won the support of Republicans and dozens of centrist Democrats in the House, but revealed a deep divide in the Democratic caucus over abortion.

continued on The Hill

Broadband ‘ditch-digging’ gets boost

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) got backing in a push to bring broadband to more Americans.

Two key departments –The Department of Transportation and Federal Communications Commission– gave their support for a proposal to dig trenches for broadband fiber as part of the construction of new roads and highways.

The Broadband Conduit Deployment Act, introduced in the House in May, would direct DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to require the installation of broadband channels–which could be filled with fiber later–while the ground is already being torn up for federally funded highway construction and other transportation projects. As a result, Internet companies can simply install the fiber lines when they build out new networks.

Eshoo and Klobuchar sent a letter to LaHood last week to bring the bill to his attention. The pair believe the requirement could be done administratively without legislation. They’ve also pushed for the measure to be included in the House and Senate surface transportation legislation.

Continued on The Hill
It’s sort of like making the guttering for rain water at the same time as making the road. I was amazed when Albury decided to do that in the 80’s, wheras we in Victoria had been doing that for years.

Chris B says:
10 November, 2009 at 11:21 am
Conservatives register Tea Party as an official third party in Florida.”

Chris, as an aside, 10/6 or ten shillings and sixpence or half a guinea was the price the well-heeled could expect to pay for the best seats in a London theatre in the years just prior to “the war to end all wars”.

Anyway, one never had to be the full quid to bung on a freaken tea party. Wonder what the Floridian couterpart to “going troppo” is?

Previous Interview with Harry Reid on using reconciliation.

Are you planning on having an interim appointment from Massachusetts?

No, I don’t know. That would be up to the Massachusetts state legislature but I know they’re considering it. Ah, so, so the bottom line is that even with 60 or even if Olympia Snowe comes to some kind of agreement, it’s going to be hard, and I’ve always favored using reconciliation for good parts of the bill. I think that will get you the best bill, the strongest bill and the bill that will have the greatest positive effect on the American people. Ultimately, we’ll be judged not by whether we pass the bill, but ultimately we’ll be judged by whether it works. Leaving the bill as something that doesn’t work, even if we pass it, leading to hurting both the country and the party.

Is it possible that using reconciliation will produce an ineffective bill, because of procedural problems like the Byrd rule?

We’ve looked at it and you can’t use reconciliation for everything, [but] you can use it for a good number of things. There’s nothing wrong with using it for the places where you can use it and then trying to get the 60 votes on the places where when you can’t. You’d be surprised — the number of places where you can use it is larger than we first thought.

continued on The Daily Kos

Krugman on the lunar right.

Last Thursday there was a rally outside the U.S. Capitol to protest pending health care legislation, featuring the kinds of things we’ve grown accustomed to, including large signs showing piles of bodies at Dachau with the caption “National Socialist Healthcare.” It was grotesque — and it was also ominous. For what we may be seeing is America starting to be Californiafied………more

Freekin scary stuff. 🙁

Not only an informative article, but a cracking good read in today’s Business Spectator by Mike Mangan

Is Madoff the tip of the iceberg?
It’s pretty easy to pass an exam if you’ve seen the exam paper beforehand. And it’s even easier to become a billionaire if you’ve been tipped off about the next corporate announcement. Judging by recent developments that seems to have been the modus operandi of many hedge funds. But something really, really big seems to be stirring in ‘Hedge Fund Land’. In the last several weeks a number of international hedge funds have been shuttered, and their principals arrested. First Galleon in the US, then K1 in Germany, and then back to the US where a further 14 people including one known as the ‘Octopussy’ were nabbed last week. This all follows ‘Sir’ Allen Stanford’s $US8 billion ponzi uncovered in March. Could it be that (shock, horror, gasp), Bernie Madoff’s $US69 billion hedge fund fraud was just the tip of a very large, and very ugly iceberg?

It’s not just the numbers involved that is interesting. It’s the methods employed by US authorities to catch these white collar thieves. Wiretaps, hidden recording devices and other methods normally reserved for the ‘mob’ have been deployed. Charges mentioned include ‘wire fraud’ and racketeering. If proved they carry prison sentences of years if not decades in a federal penitentiary. Faced with this, many witnesses are rolling over and naming names. So like a virus, the net expands, engulfing more and more former ‘masters of the universe’. …more.

If there is one person who sets my teeth on edge, it is Tony the Abbott.
After having a close shave re paternity during his youth, one would have thought he would be grateful that he didn’t need to face premature fatherhood with the added burden of paying maintenance should the girl decide to keep her child and be sympathetic in making sure others don’t suffer the same fate.
He would not have been able to afford further Uni, let alone Oxford- how different his life would have been.
His smug anti-contraception stance and aiding Pell in his PR really gets up my nose.

‘Scozzafava’ turns into epithet.

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. — Over Halloween weekend, Dede Scozzafava morphed from a rosy-cheeked Republican mom to a political figure of speech.

“My name’s a verb now,” she said.

A little-known state assemblywoman with moderate Republican views and a mouthful of a surname, Scozzafava’s bid for an open seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District drew trash talk from conservative leaders hoping to purge her from the party, mash notes from White House-dispatched Democratic suitors that included Bill Clinton, and the unblinking gaze of political professionals fascinated by her role as the problem child for a dysfunctional Republican Party.

Interesting times ahead
continued on The Washington Post


I have just been engaged on a new assignment. Today was my first day and I’ve just been handed 200 pages detailing the first problem child (metaphorically speaking). Tomorrow I’ll be given my own company laptop, a key to the executive wash room, and my very own Qantas Frequent Flyer Card!

Drinks all around – my shout.


paddy at 72

P.S. Just make sure you don’t end up sitting next to this guy in business class.

Thank you for that paddy – that image will remain in my mind every time I hustle my way down the aisle looking for seat 12C.


Let the games begin. Bring out the bats.

It’s just about a 100% certainty that the draft of the senate bill that goes out to the floor for a vote, first facing filibuster, will not include the public option.

That way, Lieberman, Baucus and the gang of Republicrats will have no excuse help prevent the GOP filibuster. There may even be Republicans who go along, like Olympia Snowe. They will have been given cover, allowed to only vote on a bill that met the criteria they “so boldly” set.
Once the bill gets into conference, the house and senate can get together and add the public option and it will only take 51 senate votes to pass.

EC Aka ..Ticster 101 advocate.
while there are a couple of “said an unnamed senior Pakistani diplomat”, and “sources have told” there could be a bit of fire where there is a little smoke.
Like you know what goes on behind…….

By Syed Saleem Shahzad –
November 09, 2009 — Islamabad, 6 Nov. (AKI) – The United States put pressure on Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s rival, Abdullah Abdullah, to withdraw from the country’s presidential race and hand victory to Karzai, sources have told Adnkronos International (AKI).
Sources said the American pressure was part of a deal struck last week with the Pakistani military, which in exchange agreed to establish direct contact with the Taliban and obtain peace with Taliban-led insurgents in Afghanistan.

The deal was said to have been negotiated during US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan last week, when she met army chief of staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the head of Pakistan’s military intelligence Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha.

Paddy, as a follow up to Krugmans article that you posted at 63:

I dunno if many read Boomantribune, but he’s a pretty sober analyst that i would sorta call a progressive centrist realist( yeah i know lol)….but the point being he’s not a “shrill leftie”.
He also is a solid Obama supporter, who has been massaging his commenters calls for more progress with calls for patience.

I think things might be reaching a turning point with a lot of commentators though that playing around with these asshats on the Right is becoming dangerous.

Good read and hopefully when he pussyfoots the healthcare bill through he will have to start upping the ante on the Retards.
He has a lot to do in the next three years and he needs to get out the bats. That’s the only way them retards will take any notice.
He may have to try to skin a few blue heelers on the way.

Capital news, Cat. Bloomin’ well done! This gig definitely sounds as if it was worth holding out for, recalling your “career dilemma” which you shared with us earlier in the year.

(now back to gaffy at 87, this is going to be fun :mrgreen: )

That’s a good article HH.
I think Gaffhook’s right about pussyfooting the health bill through.
If Obi can pull that one off, then he’ll have a heap of *real* political capital to spend on demolishing the lunar right.

Health looks to be the only low hanging fruit in the US.
The economy’s royally stuffed and the quagmire of the GWB’s foreign adventures aren’t going to be solved any time soon.

But I have to give Obi credit for getting the health bill this far.
The kid plays a mean game of chess and he knows he’s going to need plenty in the kitty when the game gets dirty. Which it will.

If the punters end up with an even a half-way decent health care bill, they might just ignore the crazies and give him a second term. 🙂

I was much the same but tried it just to make sure it worked.
I posted it more for the laugh that Roo was sort of threatening Google.
Like, Google, don’t you know who i am, how much power i have, don’t fuck with me etc and bragging that he already charges people to read his content and chest beating.
Then someone gives you the gel on how to read it free after all his big noting.
He will be furiously working out how much it is costing him and will probably sack his web team.
Someone might enjoy reading it though and good for them to be able to read it free.

Couldn’t agree more Gaff.
Every time someone accesses the WSJ and doesn’t pay….
I like to think there’s a little bit of Uncle Rupert that dies. 👿

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