Open Thread

A Nation's Health: the good, the bad and the ugly

An open thread in which to dicuss the ramifications of legislation currently being voted upon in The House. Will American citizens benefit as much as the Health Corps? Will the trillion-plus fistful of dollars be enough to make a dint in the diseases of the underclasses? And what will need happen for lawmakers to release a few dollars more to help their constituents in West Baltimore, “South Central” L.A. and those who like to go Deer Hunting with Jesus (the one reputed to have been a legendary healer himself, in his day)?

1,291 replies on “A Nation's Health: the good, the bad and the ugly”

1093 Enemy Combatant Notice how the Republicans are handing the Democrats the issues on a plate. At the same time the Democrats are ramping up the pressure.

Settlement day After drubbing, Goldman mulling deal with SEC

Goldman Sachs may soon settle its fraud case with the Securities and Exchange Commission, opting to end the legal fight rather than endure a repeat of the public flogging it received Tuesday in Washington, sources familiar with the matter told The Post.

After 11 hours of accusations by members of the Senate Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations, people close to the bank said Goldman is mulling closing the SEC fraud-case chapter on the belief the firm’s reputation, already damaged, might not endure a street fight with the Wall Street watchdog.

Not a usual source of material for me. NY Post via Huffington Post.
Read more:

Democrats Hold Small Leads in Ohio Senate Race.

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Lee Fisher (D) leading Rob Portman (R) in the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), 40% to 37%.

Jennifer Brunner (D) also edges Portman, 40% to 36%.

Fisher and Brunner face off in a primary next week for the Democratic nomination. A poll yesterday had Fisher pulling away in the race.

This is the second independent poll that has the Democrats in front.
Ohio is one I had marked down for the Democrats to win, as they already have the other senate seat.

Aside from the link at 1087, all the news I’ve read and heard is silent on the backdown on the internet filter. Guess the trash dumping strategy is quite effective.

Crist Leaves Republican Party

As expected, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate as an independent.

Said Crist: “I know this is uncharted territory… and I am aware after this ends I don’t have either party helping me… But I’m counting on you. I think we need a new tone in Washington. I know we’re doing the right thing.”

Election TV Debate: Who got the most from final clash?

In the spin zone after the debate, the Tories were looking the most satisfied.

They believe that David Cameron has improved with every TV clash, and now has the momentum to make a serious push for Downing Street.

Nick Clegg had another strong evening too. The instant polls showed his rating holding pretty steady from last week. But there was no repeat of his spectacular win in the opening encounter.

Gordon Brown remains in the battle of his political life. Marked down in some instant polls, he must be hoping that – however people now judge his personality and performance – they will opt for experience when crunch-time comes next Thursday.

We were told long in advance that this final debate would be the most “critical” of the three. Well, perhaps.

It certainly would have been if any of the three had made a ghastly mistake or crumbled under pressure. But these three political boxers ended the evening sparring enthusiastically rather than trying to smash their opponents to the floor.

We’ve now watched these leaders trade blows for a total of four and a half hours.

more here….

Election debate: David Cameron wins third leg

Aggressive Brown fails to revive faltering campaign as leaders clash over economy, immigration and estate tax.
Gordon Brown last night appeared to have failed in his daunting mission to change the course of the general election during an ill-tempered leaders’ debate in which he repeatedly rounded on David Cameron and warned that Conservative spending cuts would imperil the fragile recovery.

The prime minister’s aggressive tone, however, did not destabilise Cameron, and his perceived negativity may have backfired with voters, who gave the debate to the Tory leader in all the instant polls.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, seemed to struggle to impose himself for the first time in the three TV debates, and was caught in a pincer movement over his party’s policy on immigration.

more here…

Katielou, they’re desperately trying to tell us it’s all proceeding to plan. But the pungent smell of a dead cat lingers on.
I’m sure they want to drop it and hope that everyone will be nice and not ask “who farted”. 👿
Unfortunately, some people are just rude won’t play by the rules. 🙂

PM and Conroy clam up on filter ‘delays’

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today said he had “no advice” to suggest that the Federal Government’s plans to implement a mandatory internet filter would be delayed until after the federal election, despite a report saying it would.

Some journalists are so good, that you’re even tempted to actually *pay* (gasp) to read them.
I haven’t actually gone out and bought a Fin review today….But I’m sorely tempted. 👿 :mrgreen:
(from over the fence.)

“The current government…swings violently between behaving like a complete political slut or a sanctimonious policy nerd”

Laura Tingle AFR 30/4.10

Article on wider agenda behind intenet filtering.

Start with child porn, which everybody agrees is revolting, and find some politicians who want to appear like they are doing something. Never mind that the blocking as such is ridiculously easy to circumvent in less than 10 seconds. The purpose at this stage is only to get the politicians and the general public to accept the principle that censorship in the form of ”filters” is okay. Once that principle has been established, it is easy to extend it to other areas, such as illegal file sharing. And once censorship of the Internet has been accepted in principle, they can start looking at ways to make it more technically difficult to circumvent.

Paddy @ 1110. People I respect say Laura Tingle is the best journo in the Canberra Press Gallery. I’ve read the article – she writes that the Rudd Government doesn’t know how to lead – that it is inept at making tough decisions become election winners, unlike the Hawke/Keating and Howard governments. Rudd cuts and runs when people disagree with him. She calls Rudd “Tony Abbott lite”. Yup.

There was an excellent interview with gobal economist David Hale on Lateline last night. Man that guy is smart. He talked about a number of issues, but I thought this bit on the UK election was particularly interesting:

And the problem is this British election, which the Tories were leading in for over a year, suddenly looks wide open, with the very significant risk that we’ll have minority government – not clear which party; a hung parliament, which’ll make it very hard to impose the tough fiscal policies Britain will need. I saw the governor of the Bank of England last week when I was in London and he told me whoever wins this election will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be.

And now we have the problem that it may not even be a majority government, it may have to be some kind of coalition government or some kind of informal coalition where one party agrees to support the other party, at least in producing a budget, and none of that will be good for financial confidence. I’d be very bearish right now on both the British pound and on the British Government bond market.

Link here.

Katielou, I’m ashamed to admit it….But I was so intrigued, I actually went out and bought the fin review. 😳
It’s certainly a cracking good article and even worth the outrageous price of the rag. 🙂
I’d agree with you that Laura’s the best in the press gallery.
Esp loved the last para of that article.

The government can speculate about who will lead the coalition after the poll, and what that might one day mean for an ETS. But at least Labor can be confident that “Tony Abbott lite” is leading them.


Yeah, KL and paddy, I wanna have Laura Tingle’s baby. :mrgreen:


While the jury still seems to be out on “life was never meant to be easy”, little serious disputation remains re “rock n roll was never meant to be subtle”. Comes with the backbeat that never needs St. Anthony’s intercession.
When looking for the Drs.’, “Down By The Jetty”, which contains the memorable and presently relevant line “”this oil-slick they call the water” , couldn’t find a quality version good enough to C&P here, After all, Ticsters, we have our standards.

But I did (re)find this shit-kickingly brilliant anthem to hanky panky.

Let ‘er rip, Boris!

(Vye alveys, Boaris?) 🙂

I especially love that toon Paddy, as just last night I was released from my own big dog barking hell, when the tenants in the house next door moved out (not to mention, all-night-parties-on-a-weekday hell). Halelujah!

😆 “I feel your joy” KL.
I’m currently pleading with FD to take them all to court.
Can you imagine the headlines. …..
FDOTM sues everyotherdoginthesreet. :mrgreen:

“ The bronze rat:

A Tourist walked into a Chinese curio shop in San Francisco. While looking around at the exotic merchandise, he noticed a very lifelike, life-sized, bronze statue of a rat. It had no price tag, but was so incredibly striking the tourist decided he must have it. He took it to the old shop owner and asked, “How much for the bronze rat?”

“Ahhh, you have chosen wisely! It is $12 for the rat, $100 for the story,” said the wise old Chinaman. The tourist quickly pulled out twelve dollars. “I’ll just take the rat, you can keep the story.”

As he walked down the street carrying his bronze rat, the tourist noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and had begun following him down the street. This was a bit disconcerting so he began walking faster.

A couple blocks later he looked behind him and saw to his horror the herd of rats behind him had grown to hundreds, and they began squealing.

Sweating now, the tourist began to trot toward the Bay. Again, after a couple blocks, he looked around only to discover that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and were squealing and coming toward him faster and faster.

Terrified, he ran to the edge of the Bay and threw the bronze rat as far as he could into the Bay.

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the Bay after the bronze rat, and were all drowned.

The man walked back to the curio shop in Chinatown.

“Ahhh,” said the owner, “You have come back for story?”

“No sir,” said the man, “I came back to see if you have a bronze Republican.”

Katielou says

Half your luck Katielou, i have just had, two weeks ago, the two big dogs barking family move in next door.

My commiserations Gaffhook. It shits me that these owners don’t train their dogs properly.


“The current government…swings violently between behaving like a complete political slut or a sanctimonious policy nerd”

No doubt she is good looking, comes across ok on Q&A, and she may write some good articles in the AFR which i must admit i do not read unless it is in the Doctors surgery waiting room.

I just wonder how she would feel if someone wrote?

The current AFR….. swings violently between behaving like a complete 1960’s Kings Cross Whisper slut or a sanctimonious opinion turd.

Far as i’m concerned there is far too much personal bash the government member abuse and not bash the policy.

The AFR is owned by Fairfax and are probably not as bent as Noos Ltd but, because of their formal agenda to try to destabilise the current government, they can both wallow in the sewer as far as i am concerned, Ms Tingle with them.

Gaffy, the thing about Laura Tingle is that she *doesn’t* resort to the name calling as a matter of course.
That’s why it was such a shock in a well written and powerful article.
Her reputation has been earned over years as a seriously good analytical journo. For her to excoriate Rudd like that says more about his cynical contempt for the punters than her “unusually colourful” language. She’s one of the best and Fairfax knows it.
She doesn’t have to kowtow to management and she’s kept a far more balanced view of the scene than most.
Not looking at anyone in particular Michelle G…..just saying. 🙂

gaffy, Laura is just one columnist with AFR. Agree that AFR blow with the Corporate breeze, but Rudbot will only benefit from Laura’s lashing as the ALP clear the decks for the FedEl. Politics is a tough game; Rudd can dish it pretty well to his staff and to tangential factota like flight assistants, so reckon a good boot up the date will do him the world of good.

If Julia Prole shows she’s got the goods in the hurly-burley of the next campaign, and ALP merely scrape back into govt, then she’ll be well positioned to challenge Rudd at a time of her choosing.
Remember what a tool El-Rod turned out to be when no one had the courage to challenge him for Leader?

Be wonderful to see her as First Femme PM 🙂


Apr 30:

Apr 30:



Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.

Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin leaving the carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,

To vulgarize and to falsify until the bare lies shine through.

~WSB circa 1986.

Death Race 2010: Once again, Man demonstates his superiority over Nature and all creatures great and small. (King Jimmy version)

From the Dept of the Bleedin’ Obvious:

It was to be a celebration, but a federal agency in charge of offshore drilling has postponed next week’s annual luncheon in Houston, which was to extol the safety record of offshore oil drilling.”

Can’t recall a previous occasion where huffpo drew nearly 15,000 blog comments on a “news event type-situation”.

and let’s look forward to the day that the plutonium produced from our uranium exports is put on a ship.
Apparently the risk is negligible.

ABC radio reporting Malcolm Turnbull has reversed his decision to leave Federal politics.

Evidence that things are turning around for the Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is showing signs of a possible comeback in his quest for re-election in Nevada’s Senate race, according to a new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll released on Thursday.

The survey finds Reid in an increasingly competitive match-up with Republican candidates Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian. Lowden leads Reid 45 percent to 41 percent and Tarkanian is ahead of the Nevada Democrat 43 percent to 41 percent.

The new poll comes as good news for Reid’s campaign as survey findings released earlier this month signaled a grimmer picture of the Senate Majority Leader’s re-election prospects.

Goodness me. May day again. My how time flies. :mrgreen:
All together now.
Go Billy.
Stand up, all victims of oppression,
For the tyrants fear your might!
Don’t cling so hard to your possessions,
For you have nothing if you have no rights!
Let racist ignorance be ended,
For respect makes the empires fall!
Freedom is merely privilege extended,
Unless enjoyed by one and all.
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

Boehner Says Republicans Could Win 100 Seats

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said House Republicans could win 100 or more seats in this fall’s elections, The Hill reports.

“Boehner said he believes there is no seat that the GOP cannot win during this election cycle, judging by Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) improbable win in January’s special election in Massachusetts.”

When pressed, Boehner said he believed the GOP could win as many as 100 House seats.


Malcolm Turnbull !!
Another Lazarus in the Liberal party.
It will be even harder to distinguish Rudd from the Libs once Malcs is back in the leadership.
Fantastic… Abbott must be pooping himself.

The long-term impact of the oil spill… hopefully.

“For better or worse, catastrophe is a prime motivator of change and action. The accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl destroyed the U.S. market for civilian nuclear power. This oil spill will clarify the environmental costs of fossil fuels in a way that the climate issue cannot. These issues are both massive, but unlike the climate problem, the spill’s impact is visible and immediate. It does not take place in the future and does not require scientific literacy to understand. All you need is the ability to see the pictures, hear the sad stories or smell the death and destruction.”



Any future reference to this Gopper theme song is to be;


Wondering if there will be a narrowing in the Pommie Polls this week.
Although Gordon Brown was caught on air with his bigot begat he may have compensated for it in the third debate.

After cleverly branding the Liberal Democrats as something different, an alternative to the old parties, Clegg surged in popularity after the first debate. Brought down to earth after the second appearance and greater scrutiny, Clegg then revealed his true colors.

Proposing an alignment with the party of Margaret Thatcher and her latest political heir is a betrayal of the image that Clegg advanced from the start of his campaign.

In the Liberal Democrat’s Manifesto, Clegg opens by asking this question: “Doesn’t it make you angry that after 65 years of red-blue government, a child’s chances in life are still more determined by their parents’ bank balance than by their own hopes and dreams?” But when Brown said that he was “‘passionate about opportunities for children,” the Liberal Democrat offered little support.

How angry will the Clegg supporters be when he joins the enemies of the National Health Service, social welfare, and jobs programs in the midst of a severe recession?

A senior campaign official with Labour summed up what may be the outcome of this election.

Lord Mandelson, Labour’s election strategist, immediately warned in a campaign memo that “voters who flirt with Nick Clegg are likely to end up married to David Cameron” April 25–by-Michael-Collins-100430-147.html

Ooh Chris!!! I am deeply fucking offended.
How dare you link to Tony Abbott’s election anthem. 👿 😆

Paddy @ 1148
Great post by Possum. I’m glad to see the back of the ETS but I still think Kruddy has let us down on climate change.

There it is EC in Toon no 3.

The little black duck , SPILL, BABY, SPILL.

My Case for Democratic Gains in 2010 (Someone other that Chris B).

I might be in the minority, but I believe that Democrats are not in for the losses as speculated, and might even see gains. Shocking I know, but most the speculation has focused on voter enthusiasm and other pieces of the puzzle.

There is a group that no one is talking about. A large group who swayed the last two elections. Millennials. I am 24. November will be my 4th congressional election. I also have worked on almost a dozen campaigns, including Obama (before his office in Iowa opened). But those ages 18-24 don’t show up on the radar.

I spent a good chunk of my senior year of high school doing data entry for the Iowa Democratic Party and John Kerry. We aren’t newcomers, we are the new “old hands”. People around my age in particular were forged in that campaign, hardened in 2006, and went to battle in 2008.

Here’s my case for why we aren’t going away and how to make damn sure we turn out in November.

Using this theory and mine together, might work well.!%29

My Case For Democratic Gains in 2010 Part 2: How It Happens.

Previously I laid out my case that Democrats should be focused on young people. They have a much larger party identification gap, and have the ability to sway the election in a big way. If you are a business why would you waste time and money trying to sell an item with a low margin?

People under the age of 30 had a 29% margin for Democrats in 2008 and 22% margin in 2006. No other group was in double digits, most being around 6%.

Here I lay out how exactly you get young people to show up. This is what I did prior to the Iowa Caucuses, and this is what I spent the last two years studying. There is no magic bullet, it will take a combination of things.

With the recent realignment this election should be more 1934 and less 1994.

What do you do when you only have a shit sandwich and you hate bread. That is what Haitians have to decide about their future under Big America and the other remoras.

Preparing Haiti for Exploitation and Plunder – by Stephen Lendman

Over 15 weeks post-quake, Haiti’s imperial takeover is proceeding. It began straightaway after the calamity, Haitians victimized by denied aid, appalling repression, and now dispossession of their land, homes, and communities. More on that below.

On April 16, The New York Times carried Reuters and AP reports stating Haiti’s parliament approved the participation of foreign investors to rebuild the country, meaning, of course, seize, occupy, own, control, and colonize it for profit, using Haitians as exploited serfs.

BP’s message to those with whom they share the planet:

Eat my slick!


When I was young and full of dreams,
My whole life in front of me.
But things are not always the way they seem,
Some things will always change.

My papa’d been a trapper living hand to mouth,
But when I made shop foreman, I had it all figured out,
I thanked god each and everyday
When the industry came to town.

Sunset on Louisianne,
The sun going down on the promised land,
I’ve given you everything I can,
I’ve got nothing left to lose.

Married a girl from Pauché Briide,
Raised a family of Cajun kids,
Nobody did no better than we did,
But things can always change.

My sister lost her baby premature,
And my papa got the sickness that got no cure,
And what they told us about it at the plant,
We could not be sure.

Smokestacks burning on the river,
From New Orleans to Baton Rouge.
How can I go on believing
When they won’t tell me the truth.

I take my grandson fishing down at Camanida Bay,
I hope some of this beauty will last,
But, lord, it’s changing so damn fast,
Each and every day.

I love the river and I love the swamp,
The snowy egret and the old bull frog,
But they’re harder to find one and all
Since the industry came to town.

~Zachary Richard 1992

“’Sunset on Louisiana’ [from 1992’s Snake Bite Love] speaks about the problems created by chemistry. And I’m not anti-chemistry. I’m just against the misuse of industrial technology and the ramifications that it has for the health and the well-being of the people of a place that I love very much.”

(couldn’t find the track on You-Tube, Richard’s voice is heart-rending. Perhaps a Ticsterphilic web-whiz can locate and link it. Are there other sites as good as or better than You-Tube, comrades?)

More Obama DOJ attacks on whistle-blowers
By Glenn Greenwald

In February, 2008, the Bush DOJ issued a subpoena to The New York Times’ James Risen, demanding the identity of his source(s) for one chapter in Risen’s best-selling book, State of War. The chapter in question described a painfully inept and counter-productive CIA effort to infiltrate the Iranian nuclear program, but which ended up instead passing on valuable information to the Iranians about how to build a bomb. At the time that subpoena was issued, I wrote that it was a serious and “dangerous” escalation of the ongoing effort by Bush officials to intimidate journalists and their sources in order to choke off whistle-blowing disclosures, “the sole remaining avenue for a country plagued by a supine, slothful, vapid press and an indescribably submissive Congress.” I don’t recall a single progressive or Democrat — not one — defending that subpoena.

It should surprise absolutely nobody that, as Charlie Savage reports, the Obama DOJ has now re-issued the same subpoena to Risen. As DOJ rules require [see Section III(A)(2)(l)], any such subpoenas (to journalists) require the personal approval of the Attorney General, and Savage reports that this subpoena was approved by Eric Holder. The reason such subpoenas are so dangerous is because journalists are duty-bound to their sources to refuse to comply, and will likely end up in prison if they don’t. Few things, if anything, are greater threats to the journalist-source relationship than DOJ subpoenas of this type. And the idea that this particular leak jeopardized national security is nothing short of a joke, as Harper’s Scott Horton makes clear:

“A 1960 congressional committee looking into the nation’s security classifications called secrecy “the first refuge of incompetents.” It was obvious even then that national-security classifications are often used to protect government officials from having their stupidities exposed. There may be cases when it serves the public interest in national security to keep mistakes under wraps. But mistakes that are kept secret are more likely to be repeated, and those who commit them are more likely to advance to positions in which they can do more costly damage. The passages of the Risen book that are now being scrutinized by prosecutor Welch expose just that sort of embarrassingly inept behavior. The public’s security was in this case plainly served by disclosure, and the prosecution that is apparently being mounted is another gallant defense of the government’s right to keep its inept conduct secret not from foreign enemies but from the American public. Such steps make us dumber, weaker, and less safe.”

This subpoena is being issued in the wake of the Obama DOJ’s disgusting indictment of NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake, who also exposed serious official ineptitude (along with corruption and illegality). Indeed, Holder has assigned the same Prosecutor in charge of that prosecution to Risen’s Subpoena. Many of the key points write themselves. As John Cole says, this is yet another instance clarifying that Obama’s Look Forward, Not Backward protective decree applies only to lawbreaking Bush officials, not to those who expose government wrongdoing or to anyone else (as Cole asks: “can’t Risen just claim he tortured someone to get the information, but destroyed the tapes?”; he’d surely be granted immunity then).

Oh-oh, Hussey, your little Commie mate is at it again. 🙂

Power to the people. Literally. In a continent wantonly despoiled by US & Allied corporate interests since the United Fruit Company came to bestow its benevolence in The Americas , the spirit of Salvadore Allende goes marching on.

“This land is our land, go fuck yourselves!”, the left-leaning President Morales diplomatically urged immaculately attired representatives of peso-sucking foreign conglomerates in La Paz yesterday as the needs of Bolivia’s people were placed ahead of Energy Corp profits (including the freelance gushers of BP).
Rather stimulating to witness a President act like a leader who is not beholden to Corporations masquerading as legitimate persons.

H Worm

“can’t Risen just claim he tortured someone to get the information, but destroyed the tapes?”; he’d surely be granted immunity then).

That one sentence says it all and should be the perfect defence.

Obama Michigan Graduation Speech: President’s Advice To Class Of 2010.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — In a blunt caution to political friend and foe, President Barack Obama said Saturday that partisan rants and name-calling under the guise of legitimate discourse pose a serious danger to America’s democracy, and may incite “extreme elements” to violence.

The comments, in a graduation speech at the University of Michigan’s huge football stadium, were Obama’s most direct take about the angry politics that have engulfed his young presidency after long clashes over health care, taxes and the role of government.

Not 50 miles from where Obama spoke, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, denounced his policies as “big government” strategies being imposed on average Americans. “The fundamental transformation of America is not what we all bargained for,” she told 2,000 activists at a forum in Clarkston, sponsored by the anti-tax Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

Obama drew repeated cheers in Michigan Stadium from a friendly crowd that aides called the biggest audience of his presidency since the inauguration. The venue has a capacity of 106,201, and university officials distributed 80,000 tickets – before they ran out.

In his 31-minute speech, Obama didn’t mention either Palin or the tea party movement that’s captured headlines with its fierce attacks on his policies. But he took direct aim at the anti-government language so prevalent today.

Obama Michigan Graduation Speech: FULL TEXT, VIDEO

It is great to be here in the Big House, and may I say “Go Blue!” I thought I’d go for the cheap applause line to start things off.

Good afternoon President Coleman, the Board of Trustees, faculty, parents, family, friends, and the class of 2010. Congratulations on your graduation, and thank you for allowing me the honor to be a part of it. And let me acknowledge your wonderful governor, Jennifer Granholm, your mayor, John Hieftje, and all the Members of Congress who are here with us today.

I am happy to join you all today, and even happier to spend a little time away from Washington. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a beautiful city. And it sure is nice living above the store; can’t beat the commute. It’s just that sometimes, all you hear in Washington is the clamor of politics – a noise that can drown out the voices of the people who sent you there. So when I took office, I decided that each night, I would read ten letters out of the thousands sent to us every day by ordinary Americans – a modest effort to remind myself of why I ran in the first place.

more here…

Crist Grabs Lead in Early Poll.

A new McLaughlin & Associates poll in Florida shows Gov. Charlie Crist (I) leading the U.S. Senate race with 33%, followed by Marco Rubio (R) at 29% and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) at 15%.

Interestingly, the poll shows Crist taking more votes from Meek than Rubio. Crist actually does better with Democrats than Meek, with 41% of them saying they would vote for him compared to 31% for Meek.

That will make it very interesting. Will he slant his policies towards the Dems.

UK Election: Wild Scenarios Emerge In Chaotic Ballot.

Will Labour finish third yet end up with the most seats – then dump the leader who stumbled into unlikely victory? Will the rightwing Tories enter an awkward alliance with the center-left Liberal Democrats?

Could the ultimate fallout from Britain’s election be the radical overhaul of a centuries-old parliamentary system in a nation that jealously guards its traditions?

Strange scenarios abound in Britain’s unpredictable election, in which the Tories seem set to win the popular vote yet could end up with fewer seats than Gordon Brown’s Labour Party – and the only good bet seems to be that the once innocuous Liberal Democrats will play the role of kingmaker.

“What we might be talking about is a once-in-a-century type of change, which is phenomenal,” said Victoria Honeyman, a political analyst at the University of Leeds.

Labour, the main opposition Conservatives, and the election’s unlikely insurgents, the once perennial third-place Liberal Democrats, are all expected to be denied an outright majority in the May 6 ballot – an unusual outcome that the British call a “hung parliament.” UK elections haven’t yielded one since 1974.

more here…

Why am I NOT surprised!

Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to ‘cure’ gay people
Conservative high-flyer Philippa Stroud founded a church that tried to ‘cure’ homosexuals by driving out their ‘demons
A high-flying prospective Conservative MP, credited with shaping many of the party’s social policies, founded a church that tried to “cure” homosexuals by driving out their “demons” through prayer.

Philippa Stroud, who is likely to win the Sutton and Cheam seat on Thursday and is head of the Centre for Social Justice, the thinktank set up by the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, has heavily influenced David Cameron’s beliefs on subjects such as the family. A popular and energetic Tory, she is seen as one of the party’s rising stars.

The CSJ reportedly claims to have formulated as many as 70 of the party’s policies. Stroud has spoken of how her Christian faith has motivated her to help the poor and of her time spent working with the destitute in Hong Kong. On her return to Britain, in 1989, she founded a church and night shelter in Bedford, the King’s Arms Project, that helped drug addicts and alcoholics. It also counselled gay, lesbian and transsexual people.

more here..

The problem I have with Possum’s analysis is that while we focus on the daily dance of politics, the impact of climate chage and our dependance on fossil fuels waits for no man/ political party. 😡

From The Grist
“We’re still acting as if the economy is the thing that’s real, the thing with physical weight and force. We’re acting as if the natural world is the abstraction, the intellectual concept that we can adjust to better suit our needs. That confusion will be the root of more disasters.’

BP apparently has the worst safety record amongst the Drill Baby Drillers while it spends a small fortune on lobbying and sponsoring politicians.

While experiencing its highest profits in its corporate history, BP implemented budget cuts of 25% in 1999 and 2005 at each of its five US refineries. The safety board found a pervasive “complacency towards serious safety risks” at all of them.

When the next great explosion at a US oil workplace occurred, it was of little surprise to learn that it was, again, BP at fault. It also came as little surprise that the location was the deep offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Good article on Crist.

Crist to Run an an Independent in Florida

When NRSC chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) recruited Florida’s sitting governor, Charlie Crist (R-FL) to run for the Senate seat vacated midterm by Mel Martinez, little did he realize what was going to happen in the Sunshine State. He (and all the pundits) “knew” Crist’s election as senator was about a certain a bet as you can get in politics. The subsequent entry of an unknown former Speaker of the state House, Marco Rubio, was regarded as a joke and polls showed Crist 20 to 30 points ahead of Rubio in the Republican primary. That was then. This is now. Friday, Crist left the Republican Party after numerous polls put him 20 to 30 points behind Rubio, an unprecedented drop for a candidate (in the words of former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards) not found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. Instead, Crist is going to run as independent against Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek.

Crist starts out with more than a few problems. First, he has already been attacked, if not condemned, by virtually every leading Republican in the state and country, all of whom will now line up very solidly behind Rubio. This includes Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL), his former campaign manager and chief aide, who was appointed to the Senate by none other than Crist.

more here..

Interesting stuff, EC @ 1159. It seems Ruddster is also getting into the swing of things with his insistence that mining companies hand over more of the profits from the digging up and selling off of the commonwealth. With his ditching of the market solution to climate change and now his resource tax move, perhaps Kevvie is becoming our own Evo? 🙂

Yeah, Hussey, Kevvie The Red. Let the big end of town bellyache and squark. They are still gonna turn a mega-buck.
At first viewing The Govt’s tax changes will help those who need it most lest they end their days waiting for “”This Week’s Specials” on baked beans and Pal. After working and paying tax all their lives Les Peuples D’Oz deserve their fair share of the national pie.

Jen, a very salient para you’ve C&P’d at 1167.
And you’re right of course, the main game is the health of the biosphere now and tomorrow; notwithstanding their collective expertise, politicians and economists (almost all of whom “missed” the recent GFC Chernobyl like a bunch of amateurs) are going to have to team play with environmental scientists re the future of our shared planet.

If not, our grandkids and everyone elses will be living on The Road.


Apr 30:

In a Mississippi oil slicken delta town
one oil rig they couldn’t shut down
Nothin left to do for these BP clowns
In a Mississippi oil slicken delta town.

Down in the gulf where all the fish spawn
We drill fucken oil from daylight to dawn
Drill baby drill till we get a big spurt
And if we get a blowout it wont fucken hurt.

We’ve drilled hard all over the earth
Nothin beats drillin when your taught it from birth
There ain’t no money in a fishin boat
When the oil spreads the gulf like a fucken big coat.

In a Mississippi oil slicken delta town
we’re too fucken big you can’t shut us down
We’ll Drill Baby Drill all you can do is frown
In a Mississippi oil slicken delta town.

You’ve had floods and hurricanes before
But you ain’t seen for you what we have in store
Fuck all your wild life and birds and bees
Till your walkin in oil that’s up to your knees

Now when we finish slicken and we’re all washed up
We’ll lobby the Congress and fill up their cup
They’re all not game to try to fuck us around
And Mississippi’s oil slicked and under ground.

There’s no dusty streets to walk up and down
Cotton, corn, and taters real scarce in the town
We can move to Arizona where we can not drown
And the sherriff won’t touch us cause we’re real brown.

In a Mississippi oil slicken delta town
one oil rig they couldn’t shut down
Everything is dead because of BP clowns
In a Mississippi oil slicken delta towwwwwwn. (C)

It looks like lots of oil has already reached land and some of the local boat charter owners are not real happy.
This is one huge fuck up and there is no light at the end of the pipe in sight.

A pretty good read and a couple of videos.

The assumption is that an oil-rig perfect storm occurred, very quickly. “There would have been a dozen barriers that had to fail in order for this accident to happen,” said Tim Robertson, an oil-spill consultant with Nuka Research and Planning Group in Alaska.

Perhaps the biggest question, to experts, is why the blowout preventer valves didn’t shut. The huge device, which caps the well, is equipped with emergency systems, including a “dead man’s switch,” a device of last resort that is supposed to be fail-safe.

I have noticed the mining companies whining about the new tax. They say we are the highest taxing country in the world. Tell them to go to Venezuela, Peru or Bolivia. Then they will see what a high tax is. The mining companies are falling over themselves to do business there.

Betty Dukes, Wal-Mart Greeter, Leads Class Action Suit.

PITTSBURG, Calif. — As a “greeter,” the cheerful Betty Dukes is one of the first employees customers usually see as they walk through the front doors of the Wal-Mart store here.

As the first “named plaintiff” in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the ordained Baptist minister also is the face of the largest gender bias class action lawsuit in U.S. history – one that could cost the world’s largest private employer billions.

Her dual roles have turned her into a civil rights crusader for the company’s many critics, who have dubbed the legal battle “Betty v. Goliath.” It is a far cry from where Dukes expected to be when she enthusiastically accepted an offer in 1994 to work the cash registers part-time for $5 an hour. She dreamed of turning around a hard life by advancing, through work and determination, into Wal-Mart corporate management.

“I was focused on Wal-Mart’s aggressive customer service,” Dukes said in an interview during her lunch break, after first saying grace over a meal of fast-food hamburgers and chicken nuggets. “I wanted to advance. I wanted to make that money.”

But by 1999, her plans were in tatters. Several years of little advancement and frustration with her role culminated with an ugly spat with managers that resulted in a humiliating demotion and a pay cut, she said.

more here..

Mary Landrieu is not up for election in November. But I suspect Sen. Blanche Lincoln will be tainted somehow. Hopefully. 😈

May 2:


May 2:


May 2: “The American way of life will not be compromised!”


Chris, if Cat hasn’t posted by mid-week, I’ll sort it for you in a jiffy.
She can do pictures and stuff, unlike tech-trog moi. 🙁

BP Australia has donated money today to the fire fighters, saying we are responsible in Australia. I don’t begrudge the fire fighters. But I will not use BP.

I have no sympathy for the miners that are complaining about the rent resource tax. It makes perfect sense to me that the government takes a bigger slice of these super profits from the mining boom. After all, it’s not like they are making value added goods off their own back – they’re digging this stuff out of the ground. And yeah, the threat to go overseas is b.s..

I think the measures announced yesterday were sensible economically and politically but agree that as reform, it’s not high impact.

It’s just hearsay gossip but someone I’m close to was chatting to someone from Hawker Britton who said the election would be in October and Julia Gillard would replace Rudd soon after the election. Rudd is hated within Labor establishment. I hope that eventuates.

gaffy, great song and photos from You-Tube but I like your re-work of the lyrics more. Plus ca change. Every which way it’s the little people who get fucked over every time.

BP’s Big Black Blob is shaping as the mother of all enviro-crises. Nobody really seems to be in charge. The gusher remains actively projectile. But this is no cause for alarm in Snafu-land. Some one will always save the day. If Mighty Mouse can do it, then so too can a country like the United States that cherishes individual freedom like no other!
If the catastrophe sends fuel prices rocketing as expected and The Economy doesn’t churn, baby, churn so good anymore, Uncle Sammy may have to take a closer look at the bioshere’s fragility and legislate accordingly.

“Gee, maybe renewable energy is safe and better for everyone!”

That’s the only upside of this environmental devastation……. brought to you by our good friends at Big Oil & Allied.

Havn’t seen any reports that the deep sea gusher has been plugged yet. Not good.

Never fear ticsters. Super Kev to the rescue.

Katielou, let’s hope it’s actually true. This new jellyback model Kev is even worse than last year’s model.
It seems that the polls are also twitching a bit.
Meanwhile….Mungo McCallum in today’s Crikey has a wonderful spray. I think he’s been tutored by Jasper. 🙂

Mungo: on tax and the ETS, Rudd tainted by cowardice
I once defined a politician thus: someone who genuinely and sincerely believes the worst thing that could happen to the country is for him or her to lose his or her seat.

Now Kevin Rudd, as befits an international statesman, has significantly raised the ante: he obviously feels that for Tony Abbott to displace him at the Lodge would bring doom not only to the country, but to the whole world. And he must honestly and sincerely believe his defeat would be a worse disaster than the most terrible predictions for the planet as a consequence of climate change, which he has previously insisted constituted a unarguable case for urgent action.

Rudd was elected in 2007 because he was seen to offer a positive alternative to the time-worn and directionless government of John Howard; it was time for a change and Rudd offered the prospect of moving forward, or at the very least catching up. No one wanted or expected a revolution, but there was a general belief that Rudd would be serious about the contemporary issues Howard had largely ignored — innovation and technology such as broadband, reform of the outdated federal system in health and education and above all climate change.

The global financial crisis disrupted the program somewhat, but it was also the making of Rudd; it reinforced his image as a decisive leader who could be trusted to act when the need arose. Even after the ascension of Abbott at the end of 2009 he appeared unassailable. Now, presumably at the behest of the pollsters, sociologists, minders, spin doctors, psephologists, astrologers and other crazies with whom he has chosen to surround himself, he has tossed it all away. And it has left him with precious little to fall back on.

Rudd’s excuse that Abbott also changed his mind on supporting the ETS and that the Libs welshed on the deal he had negotiated with Malcolm Turnbull is just not good enough. He, not Abbott, is supposed to be the saint, the man of the future, the one you could trust to do the right thing. Again Rudd has been pulled back in to the pack as just another opportunistic politician. He is still a better and more popular one than Abbott, but the gap was undoubtedly narrowing. The idea that the climate change believers should persevere with him simply because he remains, marginally, the lesser of two evils is distinctly unappealing.

In any case the defence simply does not stand up. The constitution is specifically designed to provide a way out of the deadlock: a double dissolution election followed by a joint sitting of both houses of parliament. This was the course triumphantly embraced by Gough Whitlam in 1974 when the polls showed him in a far shakier position than Rudd is in now. Whitlam decided to crash through or crash; Rudd has opted to capitulate and whimper.

In the process he has not only devastated many of his core supporters and annoyed the business community he has been so keen to duchess; he has also provided Abbott with an unanswerable line of attack. If Rudd believes in even half of what he has been saying for the past three years he should stick to his principles and call an election. If he won’t, it shows he has no principles to stick to.

It was Groucho Marx who coined the immortal phrase: “These are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” The temptation to present Rudd with the appropriate spectacles, nose and moustache set could prove irresistible. And already the cartoonists have started to colour him yellow.

This was the background against which the government released the Henry report and its response, and the reason why the latter was seen as less than overwhelming. With Rudd in full retreat on so many fronts, his tax measures were inevitably judged less be what was in them than by what wasn’t — how many of Henry’s recommendations had he squibbed?

The answer, of course, was most of them, although there was a vague sort of commitment to continuous reform as and when circumstances allow. There is certainly plenty of material left for some enticing election promises, which we will see in the fullness of time.

But while Rudd was reluctant to accept too many of Henry’s proposals immediately, he was dead keen to reject a few of them on the spot. Thus there will be no means test on the family home, no universal land tax, no end to negative gearing, no return to indexing fuel excise, and no tax on alcohol by volume, which would have put up the price of draught beer. An increase in the GST had already been ruled out.

These assurances were obviously felt necessary to prevent Abbott mounting a scare campaign about Rudd’s plans for a second term. But Abbott will simply point to Rudd’s broken 2007 promise about means testing the health insurance rebate as evidence that he is perfectly capable of doing the same next time around. And, of course, the mining companies have already embarked on a scare campaign of their own, implying that taxing their super profits will force them to pack up their Australian projects and take them elsewhere.

This is crude and empty bluff — Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are dragging untold squillions out of this country and the extra tax, which only applies to the most obscenely profitable of their ventures, is hardly a deterrent. And since it will be used for the indisputably worthwhile aims of increasing superannuation, reducing overall company tax and building infrastructure, the miners will gain no sympathy — except, of course, from Abbott, who is utterly opposed to any great big new tax except his own.

By and large Rudd’s initial response to Henry qualifies as good policy and good politics. But because it has come at a time when the government is perceived to be running scared, it will get less credit than it deserves. The taint of political cowardice is a hard one to shake.

Katielou @ 1168, that would suit a lot of people down to a tee.

Go Julia Prole!

Kevvie can cop a 10 year stint as Our Man In Mandarin City. Probably carry on like a barbecued pork chop at first but the fat sinecure would, “going forward”, suit a seasoned public servant like Kevvie down to a tea too. 🙂

1184 Katielou Neither do many others. I venture to say. The Age said it was a brilliant move in an election year.

Minchin is a complete bully – don’t think he has done himself or his party any favours.

Now then Jen, for a bit of sense, try listening to tonight’s Late Night Live with Phillip discussing Rudd and the Oz politic scene with Mega George and David Marr. It was an oasis of sanity in a world of madness.
Either Online later tonight or tomorrow’s replay at 4.00pm on RN.

am also v. annoyed that Mr Aussie Homeloans got to dominate the time – what the hell is that when there are 4 prominent Pollies/ Unionists representing every side of politics…
more “balance’ from the ABC????

Jen. ROTFL I think Mr Aussie home loans was a cane toad in his previous life. 👿

thanks paddy –
will listen tomorrow.
I am really amazed that in a week where the Gov’t reneged on the ETS, released the Henry Tax Review and has decided to lock up asylum seekers that the ABC would allow real debate.

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