Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Goes Out Like A Schmuck

Usually, New Years Eve is a time of lists and resolutions - of what was and what could be.

This blog won't be doing any of that nonsense....... :-)

As I write this, it's 39 degrees and mostly cloudy here in our Nation's Capital. The forecast calls for intermittent snow showers and "ice pellets". Ice pellets? What, no rain of toads? For a decade that started with Y2K and ended with "death panels", it would seem appropriate.

For the three of you out there who still frequent this site, you may have noticed my output has been spotty this month. Between work, a creeping flu that turned into a stubborn sinus infection, work, and a side project I was organizing against the Stupak amendment, life spiraled out of balance - this blog was one of only many casualties.

I don't know what 2010 will bring. My hope is that it will be better than 2009, or at least more entertaining. And with that in mind, let me leave you with this.

Flash — Washington, DC: The Federal Death Panel is currently meeting in emergency session to consider the case of Rush Limbaugh. Death Panel insiders tell the AP that in light of the number of right wing radio talkshow hosts currently on the air, Limbaugh has “little societal value” and the Panel is likely to vote against any further spending on his care.

“It’d be like spending $1 million on some injuried Mexican day-laborer, who are literally a dime a dozen,” said one Death Panel member, who added, “Yes, he’s popular with a few million listeners, but they’ll quickly switch to Beck, Hannity, Mikey Reagan, or some other talker. Talk radio is ’short attention span theater’ anyway, so we figure after 6 weeks off the air, it’ll be ‘Rush who?’ for most listeners.”

A Death Panel staffer also told AP that, while Limbaugh’s care likely will be limited to ice chips and Bayer, the young Dominican boy who was surgically removed from Limbaugh’s private parts will be given full coverage, including extensive pyschological help.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Give The Gift Of Life For Companion Animals Stricken With Cancer

This summer, our journey ended with our wonderful girl, Jonesy, after an 18-month battle with lymphoma. We were lucky - we could afford the treatments that kept her healthy, happy and cancer free for most of that time.

This holiday season, please consider giving the gift of life for pet owners who don't have the resources to provide care for their companion animals stricken with cancer.

Give a donation to the Magic Bullet Fund, which provides financial grants for treatments.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chris Matthews on Progressive Critics of the Senate Health Care Bill, "I Don't Consider Them Democrats"

Today on MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews thought it might be fun to trot out the Obama administration's talking point du jour, that Democratic critics of the Senate health care bill are really just a bunch of irrational cheeto-eating surrender monkeys.
I don’t consider them Democrats, I consider them netroots, and they’re different. And if I see that they vote in every election or most elections, I’ll be worried. But I’m not sure that they’re regular grown-up Democrats. I think that a lot of those people are troublemakers who love to sit in the backseat and complain. They’re not interested in governing this country. They never ran for office, they’re not interested in working for somebody in public office. They get their giggles from sitting in the backseat and bitching.

Chris Matthews, surely you don't mean me? Of course, I do blog, and yes, I do get most of my news and information from blogs. Mostly because of pundits like you - who may or may not eat cheetos, but who surrendered their journalistic integrity a long, long time ago.

But Chris, if you're laughing at me, the joke's on you.

See, if you had been paying even the slightest attention, you'd understand that some of the most vocal critics of the Senate health care reform bill worked the hardest to get Barack Obama elected last year. We are Progressives, Independents, Decline-to-State, and Centrists. We vote religiously. We give generously. And we're scared to death that the health care bills making their way ever so slowly through congress are going to end up making the system worse rather than better.

At first we were patient. We held out hope that our President knew what he was doing, that he would keep up his end of the implied contract we entered into when we helped get him elected. We expected Change, we expected to be respected, empowered and included, we expected him to fight, and we expected to join him in that fight.

None of this has happened. And so we're going to speak truth to power. You may not like it, the White House may not like it, but you both underestimate our power at your peril. Because we're not troublemakers, we're organizers.

We know how to bypass the main steam media and the DSCC, co-opt OFA's resources for activism we believe in, raise money-bombs for Alan Grayson and to go after Blue Dog Dems who oppose real health care reform. We know how to canvass and how to phone bank. We can, and will, support a multitude of primary challengers against the entrenched corporate interests that just happen to call themselves Democrats.

The White House may not be afraid of us like they are big Pharma and the health insurance industry, but maybe, just maybe they should be.

VIDEO - Obama On Individual Mandates, "Like Forcing The Homeless To Buy Houses"

From FDL:

Progressives who have turned against the individual mandate in health care reform may want to highlight their one-time ally in that fight: President Barack Obama. Throughout the 2008 primary campaign, the mandate was one of the bigger debates between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama won the election but Clinton arguably won that debate, since the President took up the mandate in his health care plan. But he was pretty adamant about why he didn’t think a mandate was useful in the past. Perhaps the best distillation of that comes in this interview to CNN from Febuary 2008:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BREAKING! Senate "Gang of Ten" Reach Health Care Reform Deal, PO May Be Dead

From TPM:

Health care reform may have gone from having a PO to being a POS. Time will tell.
Ten Democratic Senators emerged tonight from a long series of meetings having reached a tentative agreement on a public option compromise. None would comment on the actual provisions in the deal, saying they first want to hear back from the Congressional Budget Office, which will begin scoring the new package tomorrow.

"We've made a lot of progress," said Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE). Now, he says, Democrats will "take the next step and ask the CBO to score what we've been discussing...we don't expect them to respond to us within 24 hours. Apparently it will take a couple days."

Within the past week, the 10 liberal and conservative Democrats hashing out a compromise have discussed a number of potential alternatives to the opt-out public option in the current bill, including tighter insurance reforms, an extension of the competitive market that insures Federal employees, and, most notably, a measure that would allow certain people between the ages of 55 and 64 to pay into Medicare.

However, none of the senators speaking to reporters tonight would confirm which, if any, of these items would be part of the package going to CBO.

Lawmakers have suggested in recent days that the compromises under discussion were meant to replace the national public option that's currently in the bill. The Associated Press as the New York Times are even reporting that the public option is gone. Tonight, though, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested that might not be the case. "All the things you've read in the newspapers...'the public option is gone,'--it's not true," Reid said at an impromptu press conference after tonight's meeting broke.

Reid wouldn't elaborate further--and it's worth noting that in recent days, aides and members have tried to characterize some of the ideas on the table as a form of "public option" when in fact none of them are. But it looks like we'll know definitively by the end of the week--and maybe sooner.

"I already know that all 60 senators in my caucus don't agree on every piece of the merger," Reid said. "I know that what we've sent over there to CBO--will send to them tomorrow--not everyone's going to agree on every piece that we've sent over there, but that doesn't mean that we disagree on what we've sent to them."

Emerging from the meeting, public option stalwart Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told reporters, "You're going to find nobody who's happy with everything."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One Voice For Choice: Don't Let Stupak And Nelson Hold Health Care Reform Hostage


Yesterday, Venice For Change and FDL Action PAC announced "One Voice For Choice", a unique phone bank effort that will call into the districts of Democratic lawmakers who voted for the Stupak amendment. We are targeting likely voters who are pro-choice and asking them to tell their member of Congress to vote for a final health care reform bill that's free of the Stupak ban.

The response has been tremendous. In only 24 hours, over half a dozen phone banks have popped up in my home state of California, and one in the heart of liberal Texas - Austin!

Will you volunteer to call them and explain that Stupak is much, much worse than any Federal law currently on the books?

Powwow points to two important posts by Pricilla Smith at Balkanization which outline just how bad Stupak is, and what is at stake (Part I and Part II).

And guess what, Ben Nelson is introducing Stupak in the Senate. And he's threatening to filibuster the health care bill if he doesn't get his way. Folks, this is crunch time. If we don't hold the line in the House, Stupak could very easily become the law of the land.

Join one of the phone bank efforts already going, or if there’s not one in your district, start one of your own!


"One Voice For Choice" has phone banks set up all over California. Don't see one in your area? Sign up to host your own! Please be sure to bring your cell phone and a charger.

Friday, December 4

9AM - 1PM

Saturday, December 5

9AM - 2PM

Sunday, December 6

10AM - Noon

Noon - 5pm

Saturday, December 12


Noon - 3pm

Sunday, December 13



You can follow us:

on the web at

on Facebook at

on twitter @OneVoice4Choice

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Excerpts of the President’s Address On Afghanistan

Hot off the White House presses. Excerpts from tonight's speech.

“The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 – the fastest pace possible – so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They will increase our ability to train competent Afghan Security Forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.”

“Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. Now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what’s at stake is not simply a test of NATO’s credibility – what’s at stake is the security of our Allies, and the common security of the world.”

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s Security Forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government – and, more importantly, to the Afghan people – that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.”

Ben Nelson Devoloping Stupak-Like Amendment For Senate Health Care Bill

From Congress Daily:

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said today he is crafting an amendment to prohibit federal funding of abortions that will be the same as the controversial proposal added at the last minute to the House healthcare overhaul bill.

"It's as identical to Stupak as it can be," Nelson said, referencing the amendment drafted by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.

Democrats and Republicans have expressed interest in supporting the amendment as part of the healthcare overhaul debate in the Senate, he said.

Sen. Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa., said today he will support Nelson's effort.

"I think it's likely to be one of the amendments we'll vote on," Casey said

Neither Casey nor Nelson knew when that vote might come. Casey noted he is unsure whether the amendment has the votes to pass or whether it would have to meet a 60-vote threshold or a simple majority. But he added he is not drawing lines in the sand if it is not approved.

Just when any amendments will come up for votes was unclear. A spokeswoman for Majority Leader Reid said at presstime there was no time agreement with Republicans.

Stupak's abortion amendment prohibits any public option from covering abortions. The prohibition would also apply to private plans offered through an exchange in which individuals can purchase coverage in part using federal subsidies.

The Senate bill attempts to maintain the prohibition on federal abortion funding by requiring insurance companies to segregate subsidy dollars and use other revenue to cover abortions. It also requires HHS to determine if and how any public option would cover abortions.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said today that White House Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle and Deputy Director Jeanne Lambrew agreed Monday to provide her with actuarial estimates of cost-containment amendments she plans to propose. One of those amendments, Collins said, would impose a penalty on reimbursements to hospitals that have high infection rates.

She said the bill still needs substantial changes to win her vote. "I certainly hope that will be possible," she added. "I think there's unease on both sides of the aisle about specific provisions of this bill and that it's possible that we can come up with alternatives that will garner bipartisan support."

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy said today he plans to file his amendment to repeal the health insurance and medical malpractice insurance industries' exemption from federal antitrust laws. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said he would join Leahy in offering the amendment.

Lieberman said today he is encouraged by a CBO report Monday that estimates the majority of Americans' health insurance premiums would go down or remain untouched under the legislation.

"I was concerned about the impact. ... I was worried that some of the taxes, for instance, and maybe some cost-shifting might increase premiums more, but the report shows, and you've got to accept CBO ... that most people will see their premiums either stay where they would otherwise be or be reduced. And I think when you consider the fact that Senator Reid's proposal covers 30 million more people with insurance than are covered now, it's quite an accomplishment to be able to do that without raising premiums," he said.

Lieberman said he has not changed his opposition to the public option.

"Matter of fact, it strengthens my position, because my feeling is that the public option doesn't support any of the major goals that we've always, I've always, had for healthcare reform: cover more people. ... long-term cost containment, better cost containment and adopt some consumer friendly reforms of insurance industry practices," he said.