This blog is mainly about the spectacular train wreck at The Sacramento Bee and its parent company, the McClatchy Company. But I also post about current events, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, politics, anything else that grabs my attention. Take a look around this blog, hope you enjoy it.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Sunday December 20 -- Got news or an update?
If you have news or an update, leave it in comments. . . .
The Health Care Bill No One Can See
There was an air of unreality in the United States Senate when I entered the Capitol building on Wednesday to record some PJTV interviews.
I sat down with five U.S. senators to discuss the imminent future of the long-embattled health care bill.
We are approaching the eleventh hour for Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) slowly dying health care legislation, which he insists will be passed before Christmas.
This is the same bill that was to be enacted last summer, then by August, then after Labor Day, and then before Thanksgiving.
Now it may be a Christmas present for the country.
The senators gave good information and offered sharp criticism of the bill.
What I had not expected was to discover that, well...there is no bill.
What about the 2,074-page document we’ve been reading about that purports to be health care legislation?
Oh, they replied, that bill was pulled by Reid more than a week ago along with the public option, which is now dead.....
Cornhusker Kickback: Dems Give Nebraska Special “Lifetime” Medicaid Break For Nelson’s Vote (GatewayPundit)
Bought and Paid For– Democrats bought off Senator Nelson’s vote with a special Medicaid break for the State of Nebraska that will last forever.
While most states will struggle with the rising costs of Medicaid under the democrat’s plan, Nebraska will be the lone exception...forever.
** “As part of the deal to win Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s support, the federal government will fund Nebraska’s new Medicaid recipients. It’s a provision worth about $45 million over the first decade.”
** “Reid already has established a dangerous precedent, by dangling $300 million in Medicaid funding for Louisiana to win Landrieu’s support for bringing the bill to the Senate floor.”
** Senator Mary Landrieu “walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote –and to trumpet the financial ‘fix’ she had arranged for Louisiana. ‘I am not going to be defensive,’ she declared. ‘And it’s not a $100 million fix. It’s a $300 million fix.’”
*** “By the time this thing is done, the millions for Louisiana will look like a bargain.”
*** “Reid had carved out his own Medicaid exemption for Nevada.”
*** “[Senator Max] Baucus has modified the bill to spare Nevada and three other states, and [Senator Harry] Reid, who faces a potentially difficult race for re-election next year, is taking credit for getting a ‘major increase’ in federal money for his state...only four states meet the criteria: Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Rhode Island...The changes came at the expense of other states … which would see significant increases in state Medicaid spending under the new formula.”
*** “Senators Charles Schumer of New York, Bill Nelson of Florida and Ron Wyden of Oregon are among those who secured special provisions shielding constituents from [Medicare Advantage] cuts.
SOLD: Sen. Nelson’s Bribe (Big Governmant)
We’ll be blunt.
The ‘health care reform’ legislation under consideration in the Senate is the most corrupt piece of legislation in our nation’s history.
Yes, we understand that is a strong statement and there have been other abominations throughout our nation’s life.
But never before did corrupt legislation threaten to radically and forever change the live’s of every American.
Exhibit A is the outright bribe extracted by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Corn Huckster State) from Sen. Harry Reid.
As a result of Nelson’s performance in his role of Hamlet in the health care deliberations, we will have two health care systems in this country; one for Nebraska and one for the other 49 states.
In its quixotic attempt to ensure everyone has health insurance, the Reid legislation greatly expands Medicaid eligibility.
Because Medicaid is a program whose costs are split between the federal and state governments, this expansion in eligibility raise costs dramatically for states.
States will be forced to either raise taxes or cut other services to accommodate the forced increase in Medicaid spending.
Unless that state is Nebraska.
Below is the text for Nelson’s bribe.
Under this language the federal government will forever cover the costs of Medicaid expansion in Nebraska.
Taxpayers in every other state will forever be responsible for the expanded Medicaid program in Nebraska.
CBO: Senate health bill costs $871 billion (The Hill)
The Senate's healthcare bill would cost $871 billion and cover 31 million more Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the bill.
The CBO said that the final legislation, unveiled Saturday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would cost $871 billion over the next 10 years and reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the same period.
That's more than the first Senate bill had cost.
Roughly 31 million Americans would receive new coverage under the legislation.
The final Senate bill will cost more than the 2,074-page bill first unveiled by Reid last month.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that bill would cost $848 billion over 10 years.
That bill contained an opt-our public option for consumers, a provision that was eliminated in the current bill.
The House healthcare bill, which passed 220-215 last month, checked in at a final tally of 2,014 pages. The CBO pegged that bill's cost at $894 billion over 10 years though it found that the measure would not add to the federal deficit over that same period.
Republicans had demanded that the bill be available to the public on the Internet a full 72 hours before the House voted on a final version, a demand the GOP has also made of the Senate bill.
The Senate legislation has changed during 17 days of debate and amendments, most notably in Reid's decision to drop the opt-out public option provision in favor of one that would allow individuals between ages 55 and 64 to buy into Medicare.
Obama, left behind: Even progressives abandon him as he ends a lost year (NY Post)
Boy, this “Obama Derangement Syndrome” really has gotten out of hand.
Why, just this past week the decreasingly popular president has been called a “bald-faced liar,” “an executive who can’t bring himself to lead,” and even an “Uncle Tom.”
And that’s just by liberals.
The progressive crack-up, before Obama even reaches the end of his first year, has been an awesome and occasionally humorous sight to see.
Undead ’60s warhorse Tom Hayden got the ball rolling in early December with his dramatic announcement in The Nation that, with the president’s decision to increase troop levels, “It’s time to strip the Obama sticker off my car.”
Who likes the president? Unchurched, unmarried, poor, inexperienced and pro-Obama(The Washington Times)
A strategist casting a cold eye on the Gallup poll tracking President Obama's job approval rating might be tempted to give our president the following advice:
Sir, you need more unmarried, unchurched, poor and inexperienced Americans.
Given the polling trends, the more people who are devout, married and prosperous and have seen more than a few decades of life, the worse it will be for the president.
What's good for America is bad for Mr. Obama.
Unless, of course, you think that faith, family, wealth and longevity are bad. But, then, who would think that?
Each Monday, Gallup publishes a demographic breakdown of the president's approval rating among the people it has surveyed during the previous seven-day period.
For the week of Dec. 7-13, Mr. Obama's overall approval was 49 percent, with some groups rating him significantly higher than that and some rating him significantly lower.
Among people who seldom or never go to church, Mr. Obama did relatively well.
Fifty-three percent said they approved of the job he is doing. Among those who go to church monthly or nearly weekly, 53 percent approved. But among weekly churchgoers, only 42 percent approved.
The failed president Bold policy concepts come up short (The Washington Times)
Barack Obama is on his way to being the worst president in U.S. history.
This has not dawned on him - yet. But it will soon.
Last week, Oprah Winfrey in her "Christmas at the White House" special asked the president what grade he would give himself for his first year in office.
"A good, solid B-plus," Mr. Obama said. "I think we have inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
We stabilized the economy. ... We are on our way out of Iraq. I think we've got the best possible plan for Afghanistan. We have reset our image around the world."
Mr. Obama added: "I think that we're going to pass the most significant piece of social legislation since Social Security, and that's health insurance for every American."
If health care reform is enacted, Mr. Obama smugly asserted, "we tip into A-minus."
This is grade inflation at its worst. He is living in a liberal bubble - a bubble that is about to burst.
Mr. Obama's grade is an F. His economic policies have failed to restore robust growth.
After passing his $787 billion fiscal stimulus package, he vowed that the unemployment rate would not rise above 8 percent. It now stands at 10 percent - and many economists expect it to climb next year to 11 percent or higher.
This is not economic recovery. It is failure.
Stunner. Dems 2010 Campaign Strategy Will Be to Bash Bush (GatewayPundit)
Democrats think next year they will continue their winning ways by bashing Bush again.
Obama and Democrats tripled the national deficit in less than one year.
They’ve increased the national debt to $12 Trillion.
Obama promised his stimulus plan would create 3.7 million new jobs.
Instead America has lost 3.6 million jobs.
But democrats are hoping they can hide that from voters and blame Bush instead.
TPM reported: Last week TPMDC explored the conditions that led to the Republican takeover of the House in 1994 and point-by-point detailed why a similar rout in 2010is unlikely despite a tough political climate.
Today, Rep. Chris Van Hollen who is in charge of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, dismissed potential signs of trouble but stayed on his message that no matter what happens next year members won’t be caught unprepared.
He said as confetti was still falling last fall when Barack Obama won the presidency he was warning members they faced a tough mid-year cycle.
“This is not going to be 1994 all over again,” Van Hollen told reporters at a briefing at the DNC. “The fundamentals are very different today.”
Their strategy: GOP just wants to rewind the clock to Bush era.
“The Republican party in Washington today is no different than the Republican party that ran the Congress before,” Van Hollen said.
It’s a message they will push especially in districts where there are repeat Republican candidates Democrats think the economy will actually work to their advantage – if there is an uptick, they can say they stepped in to save it from a deeper dive and say Republicans voted ‘No’ on every piece of legislation that helped to turn it around.
“The big question will be who was on your side during this very difficult period of time,” he said.
Chinese Premier Snubs Obama … Twice (Updated) PATTERICO “Hu’s the Communist’ it’s a question that worth considering”
UK’s The Independent reports China’s Premier Wen Jiabao twice avoided meeting with President Obama at the Copenhagen climate change summit:
“At an emergency meeting convened at the Bella Center this morning, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown assembled 26 heads of state in an attempt to revive a deal.
But China’s Premier Wen Jiabao did not attend and was replaced by vice foreign minister He Yafei.
This afternoon, the US president and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton called another meeting with China, but were snubbed again when only three low-level Chinese delegates arrived.”
China has expressed alarmed at the rate the United States — under the Obama Administration — is printing and spending money.
Apparently this hasn’t gotten President Obama’s attention, at least not if his recent efforts to mobilize more spending for climate change are any indication.
Perhaps this is the Premier’s way of getting Obama’s attention.
UPDATE: An hour after Obama was supposed to have left Copenhagen (he had to rush home to Washington to beat an imminent snowstorm), Jake Tapper reports there was a moment of high drama as Obama barged into a meeting with the Chinese Premier. (The video is here.)
It’s often said America’s President is the most powerful person in the world but that wasn’t the case today.
Barack Obama denies accusations that he 'crashed' secret Chinese climate change talks (Telegraph)
Barack Obama denies accusations that he 'crashed' secret Chinese climate change talks Senior US officials insist that President Barack Obama did not "crash" a secret Chinese meeting in the final dramatic hours of the Copenhagen climate change talks.
They portrayed the President as pulling negotiations back from the brink of collapse on a day that veered between chaos and farce.
Aides said that by standing up to the Chinese on the make-and-break issue of transparency, he helped force a deal, however flimsy.
The President was desperate not to return to Washington empty-handed after his risky one-day dash to Denmark.
But his aides were forced to deny that Mr Obama "crashed" a meeting of the Chinese, Indian, South African and Brazilian leaders when he walked in unexpectedly on the gathering.
The US delegation was caught unawares by the session taking place behind its back involving the Chinese and their allies.
Officials acknowledged that they had been frantically trying to keep track of other presidents and premiers.
Mr Obama thought he was on his way to a one-to-one meeting with Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, who had earlier snubbed him by skipping a session of world leaders.
But just before he entered the room, he was told that the other three leaders there too. "Good," he told aides and strode in with the words "Are you ready for me?"
The Americans were particularly taken aback by the presence of Manmohan, the Indian premier, as they were told he had already headed to the airport.
China: The World Does Not Have Money to Buy More US Treasuries (Shanghai Daily)
IT is getting harder for governments to buy United States Treasuries because the US's shrinking current-account gap is reducing supply of dollars overseas, a Chinese central bank official said yesterday.
The comments by Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, referred to the overall situation globally, not specifically to China, the biggest foreign holder of US government bonds.
Chinese officials generally are very careful about commenting on the dollar and Treasuries, given that so much of its US$2.3 trillion reserves are tied to their value, and markets always watch any such comments closely for signs of any shift in how it manages its assets.
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange reaffirmed this month that the dollar stands secure as the anchor of the currency reserves it manages, even as the country seeks to diversify its investments.
In a discussion on the global role of the dollar, Zhu told an academic audience that it was inevitable that the dollar would continue to fall in value because Washington continued to issue more Treasuries to finance its deficit spending.
He then addressed where demand for that debt would come from.
"The United States cannot force foreign governments to increase their holdings of Treasuries," Zhu said, according to an audio recording of his remarks.
"Double the holdings?
It is definitely impossible."
Describing Copenhagen PATTERICO
Today marks the end of the Copenhagen climate change summit.
In keeping with his tendency to describe everything as unprecedented, President Obama described this as a “meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough” on a global warming deal.
Meanwhile, David Corn did not use the word unprecedented to describe Obama’s results in Copenhagen, but he did use the word collapse:
“This was not a speech of persuasion; it was one of positioning.
After the morning meeting, Obama and his aides had obviously calculated that a deal was far off—perhaps not even possible—and that there was not much Obama could say in this speech to grease the way to a meaningful agreement.
So the US president forcefully presented his stance, maintaining he was willing to compromise, and chastised others for failing to rise above their own interests.
This was widely seen at the Bella Center as a sign that talks had collapsed.
American environmentalists appeared stunned, as they grappled with the implications: maybe collective global action to address global warming is not possible.”
Yesterday’s crowd favorite Hugo Chavez had no sympathy for Obama’s failure:
“Chavez, who was not included on the original list of speakers for the final day of the summit, ended the proceedings with bitter references to the Peace Prize-winning Obama as the “Nobel Prize of War.”
“The Nobel Prize of War just finished saying here that he is here to act.
Well, show it sir. Don’t leave by the back door,” he said.
Three years after Chavez likened Bush to the devil during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the socialist strongman tore into Obama, claiming Friday that “it still smells like sulfur in the world.”
Chavez may smell sulfur but the rest of the world smells failure.
Just ask the Russians, who dropped their own climate change bombshell during the opening days of the Copenhagen summit and effectively ended it before it began.
How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus: The East Anglia emails are just the tip of the iceberg.(WSJ)
The East Anglia emails are just the tip of the iceberg. I should know.
Few people understand the real significance of Climategate, the now-famous hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU).
Most see the contents as demonstrating some arbitrary manipulating of various climate data sources in order to fit preconceived hypotheses (true), or as stonewalling and requesting colleagues to destroy emails to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the face of potential or actual Freedom of Information requests (also true)...
Messrs. Jones and Santer were Ph.D. students of Mr. Wigley. Mr. Santer is the same fellow who, in an email to Phil Jones on Oct. 9, 2009, wrote that he was "very tempted" to "beat the crap" out of me at a scientific meeting.
He was angry that I published "The Dog Ate Global Warming" in National Review, about CRU's claim that it had lost primary warming data.
The result of all this is that our refereed literature has been inestimably damaged, and reputations have been trashed.
Mr. Wigley repeatedly tells news reporters not to listen to "skeptics" (or even nonskeptics like me), because they didn't publish enough in the peer-reviewed literature—even as he and his friends sought to make it difficult or impossible to do so.
Ironically, with the release of the Climategate emails, the Climatic Research Unit, Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Tom Wigley have dramatically weakened the case for emissions reductions.
The EPA claimed to rely solely upon compendia of the refereed literature such as the IPCC reports, in order to make its finding of endangerment from carbon dioxide.
Now that we know that literature was biased by the heavy-handed tactics of the East Anglia mob, the EPA has lost the basis for its finding.
Irony: Major Newspaper Worried About “Fake Reporters” Posing as Its Own Fake Reporters (Debbie Schlussel)
The irony is so thick, you need a hacksaw to cut it.
The Washington Post voiced anger at the Bush Administration in 2002, because it was concerned that U.S. Special Forces and CIA operatives were posing as Washington Post reporters in Afghanistan, according to a letter, released Wednesday by the Justice Department and covered nowhere, except a tiny newsblurb in USA Today (and a slightly longer newsblurb in the print edition of the paper).
It’s just so delicious. A newspaper that constantly feeds us fake, lying “news” stories is upset that someone else would pose as one of its fake “reporters.”
Even more tasty is that then-Post executive editor Leonard Downie whined that the paper received a report that an international group was approached by a Special Forces officer posing as a Post reporter, in order to get captured stinger missiles from Afghan fighters.
HA! It just goes to show you how hopeless our efforts are there, when you need to be a liberal, America-hating reporter instead of an American soldier in order to get cooperation in our military efforts there.
The CIA and the Department of Defense deny the story, and I know that was in 2002. But in seven years, I doubt a lot has changed.
I’d bet a Washington Post propagandist gets far more cooperation from all involved than our forces do.
Why else did Taliban kidnappers let New York Times reporter David Rohde escape?
They know on whose ink-stained wretchy hands their newsprint is buttered. . . even in the age of the Internet.
Hmmm . . . a Special Forces Washington Post “bogus” reporter versus a real Washington Post bogus reporter.
I know from whom I’d trust my news more.
And it ain’t the latter.
Mass insanity in Copenhagen (Toronto Sun)
A good definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
In that sense, the approach of the United Nations in Copenhagen to addressing climate change has been insane.
As they did 12 years ago in Kyoto, Japan, world leaders have apparently jammed together an eleventh-hour deal in an atmosphere of manufactured hysteria and artificial deadlines.
This is a farcical way to deal with what these leaders claim is an existential threat to mankind.
Whatever they've agreed to has nothing to do with cooling our planet.
It has everything to do with some of the world's most corrupt dictators and regimes extorting billions upon billions of dollars from the developed world -- us -- which they will then spend not on reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), but in any way they please.
Never mind that the European cap-and-trade market in carbon dioxide emissions spawned by the Kyoto accord and financed by carbon credits, is riddled with profiteering, fraud, corruption and has been infiltrated by organized crime, which has already stolen billions of dollars.
Never mind that cap-and-trade -- soon to go global -- has done nothing for the environment, while driving up the cost of energy for consumers and funneling billions in undeserved profits to hedge funds, speculators and energy companies.
Never mind that Kyoto and everything it has spawned is unfair and punitive to a big, cold, sparsely populated, energy-producing country like Canada. Or that, Canada, responsible for 2% of global emissions, was one of only three dozen countries required to reduce emissions under Kyoto.
Never mind that 150 other nations, including China and the U.S., the world's two biggest emitters responsible for 40% of global emissions, didn't have to do anything under Kyoto.
Canada should never have ratified Kyoto -- a spectacularly irresponsible decision by then prime minister Jean Chretien, who then did nothing to implement it.
In an ideal world, we wouldn't be in Copenhagen.
In the real world, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has to match what U.S. President Barack Obama pledges, to ensure our businesses have continued access to our largest trading partner.
But make no mistake. The insanity in Copenhagen is bad news for us.
Saudis urgently erect new border fence to block 'massive' immigration of Shi'ites (World Trubune) Paging Amnesty International
Saudi Arabia, amid heavy fighting with Shi'ite rebels, has begun erecting another security fence along its border with Yemen.
Saudi military sources said the Defense Ministry has overseen a fast-track project to construct a barbed wire fence along most of the 1,600-kilometer border with Yemen.
The sources said the project reflected an urgent requirement for a physical barrier to block the flow of thousands of Shi'ite rebels and their supporters from Yemen to the Saudi kingdom. "The infiltration has reached massive proportions," a Saudi source said. "Thousands are crossing into the kingdom."
Shock! Socialist Obama Slams Private Industry Again in Weekly Address (GatewayPundit)
President Obama slammed the insurance industry today in his latest attack on private industry.
The Hill reported: As the Senate prepares for a final round of votes on its healthcare reform bill, President Barack Obama chastised the insurance industry for its lobbying against the legislation.
In his weekly address Saturday, Obama extolled the virtues of the bill for the various protections it would provide for Americans in their health insurance coverage.
He also called for an up and down vote on the legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has struggled to find the necessary 60 votes to beat back a filibuster, which Obama blamed on the insurance companies’ heavy lobbying.
“They’re spending millions of dollars to kill health insurance reform, just like they’ve done so many times before. They want to preserve a system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people,” Obama said in his address.
For the record...Congressional raises topped insurance company profits last year.
And, the average pay for federal workers is $71K per year while the average pay in the private sector is $40K per year.
***“They’re spending millions of dollars to kill health insurance reform, just like they’ve done so many times before. They want to preserve a system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people,”***
Truer words have seldom been spoken. Too bad so many people who stand to benefit have been brainwashed into doing the bidding of the insurance companies.
10:22 Ah, late night at the bath house?
Are your myriad of lavender diseases ensconced in the your new "heath care" bill?
10:22 is the reason I have no problem with Pruitt and the other McClatchy execs getting big payoffs.
If you have to run a private company staffed with anti-capitalists that truly believe businesses are the very essence of evil, you deserve anything you can get for even trying.
Is 10:26 a homophobe, or has he just "outed" himself without realizing it?
There is no such thing as a homophobe, it's an imaginary construct designed to make the perverse normal and the normal perverse.
The question is relevant since we have no idea what's in the Deathcare bill
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