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Friday, October 30, 2009

Media advance GOP's deceptive claims of partisanship in health reform process

From Media Matters

In the wake of the Senate Finance Committee's October 13 passage of a health care reform bill, the fifth such bill passed out of congressional committees this year, numerous media figures have advanced the claim that the bill and the process of crafting health reform more generally was overly partisan, and have blamed Democrats. But these charges ignore the numerous Republican amendments included in both Senate health reform bills, and turn a blind eye to Republicans Senators' refusal to negotiate on health care reform in good faith and to their efforts to bring about, in the words of Sen. Jim DeMint, Obama's "Waterloo."

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Media claim health reform not bipartisan

IBD editorial: "Bipartisan Baloney." An October 14 Investor's Business Daily editorial -- headlined "Bipartisan Baloney" and reflecting on the Senate Finance Committee's vote to pass health care reform, which received the support of Republican Olympia Snowe -- declared that "[a]s predicted, the Democrats are using the vote of one very liberal Republican as proof their health care takeover is 'bipartisan.' It's nothing of the sort. But then, we're getting used to such exaggerations."

Ingraham: "You're about to have your entire health-care system changed by one party." During the October 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham said during a discussion of the Senate's health care reform legislation: "This crowd is the most partisan crowd I have ever seen in Washington. They said Bush was partisan? Look at what they are doing to a fifth of our economy with no Republican support. It's, it's mind-boggling. And everyone listening to this across the country watching this show, you should be outraged. You're about to have your entire health-care system changed by one party that's wildly unpopular right now. Unbelievable." [Fox & Friends, 10/27/09]

Halperin: Democrats "made a mistake not making this bipartisan." Discussing the Senate's health reform legislation on the October 27 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Time's Mark Halperin told co-host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough: "I agree with what you have been saying for months, which is they made a mistake not making this bipartisan, once they made the decision to do it with Democratic votes."

But Senate bills included numerous GOP amendments, reflected bipartisan meetings

Senate HELP bill: "161 Republican amendments accepted." According to a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee document about bipartisan aspects of the health reform bill the committee passed July 15, the final bill included "161 Republican amendments," including "several amendments from Senators [Mike] Enzi [R-WY], [Tom] Coburn [R-OK], [Pat] Roberts [R-KS] and others [that] make certain that nothing in the legislation will allow for rationing of care," and reflected the efforts of "six bipartisan working groups" that "met a combined 72 times" in 2009 as well as "30 bipartisan hearings on health care reform" since 2007, half of which were held in 2009. [HELP committee document 07/09]

Senate Finance bill included 13 amendments sponsored by at least one GOP senator. According to the Senate Finance Committee's document detailing the amendments to the Chairman's Mark considered, at least 13 amendments sponsored by one or more Republican senators were included in the bill. Additionally, Chairman Max Baucus stated in an October 13 opening statement to a mark-up of the health bill that the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of six senators including three Republicans and three Democrats, "held 31 meetings to try to come to a consensus. We held exhaustive meetings. We met for more that 61 hours. We went the extra mile."

GOP Senators made clear they didn't intend to negotiate with Dems in good faith

Sen. DeMint: "If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo." During a July 17 conference call organized by the anti-health care reform group Conservatives for Patients Rights, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) asserted, while discussing health care reform: "If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

Sen. Kyl admitted "almost all Republicans" will oppose reform - even with concessions. Minority whip Jon Kyl (AZ) reportedly admitted August 18 that "almost all Republicans" will oppose Democratic health care reform efforts, regardless of the compromises Democrats might make in attempting to win their support. As The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen explained, concluding that Kyl's remarks should indicate that "bipartisan talks just officially died":

I think Sen. Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona, the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate, said something really important this morning.

The Senate Republican whip, speaking to reporters on a conference call from his home state of Arizona, said that even if the Democrats do away with a government-run insurance option, the GOP most likely won't support the bill that's being written in the Senate

"I think it's safe to say that there are a huge number of big issues that people have," Kyl said, referring to Republican senators. "There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill."

Asked if he'd support a bill if it were deficit neutral, Kyl said Dems may find a way to pass reform without adding to the debt, "but that doesn't mean the Republicans will support it." Asked if he could tolerate a nonprofit insurance cooperative instead of a public option, Kyl added that a co-op is "a step towards government-run health care in this country." The Senate Minority Whip added that "almost all Republicans" are likely to oppose reform, even if it's the result of a bipartisan compromise.

So, bipartisan talks just officially died, right? There's no real ambiguity here -- a member of the Senate GOP leadership announced, publicly and on the record, that Republicans are going to oppose health care reform, no matter how many concessions Democrats make.

Sen. Grassley forwarded death panel falsehood. Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley during an August town hall meeting forwarded the widely debunked falsehood that health reform legislation provides for "death panels," saying: "In the House bill, there is counseling for end of life [...] You have every right to fear. You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma." Despite the utter falseness of his claim, the provision was subsequently removed from the Finance Committee's health reform bill.

Grassley admitted he wouldn't vote for his own bill if GOP remained opposed. NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd asked Grassley during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Meeting, "Are you willing to be one of just three or four Senate Republicans that support an eventual deal if you get what you want out of the Senate Finance Committee, and it's an agreed-upon deal with the Gang of Six and that's basically the bill that comes out of the Senate? Are you willing to be one of just three or four Republicans while 36 or 37, including the Senate Republican leadership as a whole, all being against it? Are you willing to be just one of those three or four Republicans?" to which Grassley responded: "Absolutely not. And I told the president that a week ago Thursday, and I told Max Baucus that over a period of three or four months." Todd went on to ask: "If you have -- if it's something you believe ... if you think this is a good deal, are you gonna -- and overall because of the politics of the situation you can't get more Republicans on board, you're going to go ahead and vote against it, even if you think it is a good deal?" Grassley replied: "Well, it isn't a good deal if I can't sell my product to more Republicans." As TPM Media's Brian Beutler noted, Grassley effectively "said he'll vote against his own bipartisan health care bill if it doesn't win the support of more Republicans." [Morning Meeting, 08/17/09]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Judge: ‘Birther’ lawyer may have urged witnesses to lie on the stand

By Daniel Tencer Birthers plan to protest Fox's O'Reilly for not backing them up

A US District Court judge in California has dismissed one of "birther" leader Orly Taitz's lawsuits challenging President Barack Obama's right to be president, and expressed "deep concerns" that the lawyer urged witnesses in the case to perjure themselves.

Judge David O. Carter dismissed a lawsuit filed by Taitz on behalf of US Army Capt. Pamela Barnett, who had asked the court for the right to refuse military orders because she believes Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is not the legitimate commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

In his ruling (PDF), the judge said he dismissed the suit because allowing it to go forward would force the court "to disregard the limits on its power put in place by the Constitution; and to effectively overthrow a sitting president who was popularly elected by We the People‚ sixty-nine million of the people."

Judge Carter wrote: “In order for Plaintiffs’ alleged injury to be fully addressed, Plaintiffs would have the Court intervene, upheave the results of a national election, declare the President illegitimate, shut down the functioning of the government of the United States, and leave this country defenseless."

As reported by David Weigel at the Washington Independent, the judge stated he had "received several sworn affidavits that Taitz asked potential witnesses that she planned to call before this Court to perjure themselves."

Judge Carter wrote:

This Court is deeply concerned that Taitz may have suborned perjury through witnesses she intended to bring before this Court. While the Court seeks to ensure that all interested parties have had the opportunity to be heard, the Court cannot condone the conduct of Plaintiffs’ counsel in her efforts to influence this Court.

As Rachel Slajda noted at TalkingPointsMemo, the judge poured heavy criticism on Taitz's actions during preliminary court proceedings.

"Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction," Carter wrote. "Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this Court is not unpatriotic."

Taitz had earlier declared that she planned to file an appeal if the case was dismissed, reports the Orange County Register.

As Weigel noted, of all of Taitz's lawsuits challenging President Obama, the Barnett case was the one that had gotten furthest through the legal system. Another of Taitz's lawsuits, in a federal court in Georgia, ended two weeks ago when the judge issued Taitz a $20,000 fine for ignoring court rules and filing "frivolous" lawsuits.

"Birthers" are already challenging the judge's ruling, and suggesting judicial impropriety in the matter. The birther-friendly news site WorldNetDaily ran a story on Thursday alleging that Judge Carter employs a court clerk who used to work for a law firm -- Perkins Coie -- that has defended the Obama administration in other "birther" suits.

BIRTHERS TURN ON O'REILLY

Fox News prime-time host Bill O'Reilly is the latest media target of the "birther" movement, after O'Reilly commented on Tuesday that he thinks the "birther" lawsuits are "crazy."

The off-the-cuff comment didn't go by unnoticed by Taitz's followers, and now they are planning a protest outside Fox news headquarters in New York on Veterans' Day.

On her Web site, Taitz wrote, "Keep in mind, what OReilly did, is more dangerous, more harmful then what some idiots like Rachel Maddow or Keith [Olbermann] did, since people believe O’Reilly to be fair and balanced."

Taitz told the news blog Conservative Monster that O'Reilly is "not a legitimate journalist" because he had not contacted her about the story he planned to air. Taitz "stated that if Fox gave her a 30-minute show for her to display her evidence, Obama would have to resign from office within 48 hours," the Web site reported.

The following video was uploaded to YouTube on October 28, 2009.

Forbes Bows To Beck After He Complains About Being Named One Of Magazine’s ‘Scariest People’

By Ben Armbruster To commemorate Halloween, Forbes magazine announced its picks “for the scariest people of 2009” and included caricatured masks of the honorees, which included Rod Blagojevich, Bernie Madoff, Michael Moore, Kanye West, Roman Polanki and radical Fox News’ host Glenn Beck. “This cable-news demagogue commands big ratings, an army of fans and crocodile tears on demand,” Forbes magazine said of Beck.

Beck hosted the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief — and one-time GOP presidential candidate — Steve Forbes on his radio show Wednesday and complained about the award. “[You're] making me the number one scariest man in America?” Beck asked. “People always want to be at the top of our list,” Forbes replied. “Not this one,” Beck bemoaned. Forbes then started sucking up to Beck:

FORBES: It was a mis — it was a miscommunication. We were going to put you on the most admired, most beloved, most reasonable, most enlightened list.

BECK: Right, right.

FORBES: But we figured if we did that, it would yeah, we wanted to put a mask on you so you wouldn’t get killed by the liberals.

BECK: I mean, here’s the competition: Rod Blagojevich, Bernie Madoff, Michael Jackson, David Letterman, Michael Moore, Roman Polanski. You’ve got a rapist who is nine slots lower than I am ….

FORBES: We normally would put you on the 400 list but we respect your privacy.

In fact, after the show, Forbes went back and amended the original article to be more flattering of Beck:

By Steve Forbes I hereby amend Halloween Masks — The Scariest People Of 2009

Glenn Beck is the scariest person to big tax; big government; big spend; and weak defense liberals.”

Salon’s Alex Koppelman observes, “The idea that your outlet’s owner could decide he disagreed with something you wrote — something that had already been published — and then just blithely go in and change it is pretty scary. There’s an ethical problem involved, certainly.”

Beck’s power within the GOP establishment is far and wide. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) once brought a copy of Beck’s book to a town hall meeting this summer to “pass it on.” (He ended up giving ThinkProgress his copy, which we did not pass on.) Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said “the American people are smart” to listen to right wing radio hosts such as Beck and Limbaugh. And RNC chair Michael Steele recently passed up an opportunity to distance himself from Beck’s “racist” attack on President Obama. “That’s one man’s opinion,” Steele said.

M.C.L. comment: The only scary thing about Glenn Beck is that a former crack head drunk with a radio and tv show has a following of weak minded people that could snap and do something violent because Beck told them his latest wing nut theory.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shep Smith apologizes for ‘lack of balance’ in Fox News report

By David Edwards

Fox News host Shepard Smith is known for demanding fairness at a network that often isn't balanced. On Tuesday, Smith went so far as to apologize for a report that only interviewed one of the three candidates in the New Jersey gubernatorial race. Fox News reporter Shannon Bream only spoke with the Republican candidate Chris Cristie.

After the interview, Bream told Smith that they had asked to interview the Democratic candidate, John Corzine. "We have in multiple requests, and when it comes in, we'll let you know."

"Wow. I didn't know that was about to happen. My apologies for the lack of balance there. If I'd had control it wouldn't have happened," lamented Smith.

This video is from Fox News' Studio B, broadcast Oct. 27, 2009.

Lamont: Lieberman "Dithering" On Health Care

By Sam Stein/Huffy Post

One of Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) most strident critics accused him of "dithering" on health care reform after the Independent stated that he would consider sustaining a filibuster of the legislation.

Ned Lamont, who beat Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary only to lose to the senator in the general election (after Lieberman defected from the party), accused his one-time opponent of posturing for attention in making his filibuster threat.

"I think he wanted to rush to war now he wants to dither on health care," Lamont told the Huffington Post. "You don't have to posture. You just have to sit down and talk to your fellow Democrats and move this thing along."

"To me, a filibuster is just a way to avoid the issue," Lamont added. "Rather than do a press release he should be sitting down with his fellow senators."

Lamont would go on to insist that some of Lieberman's major objections to the health care bill were bunk. People in Connecticut, he said, support a public option for insurance coverage in part because it could expand coverage but also because it would result in lower costs -- something that he appreciated , as a business leader. Lamont also noted that by adding an opt-out clause for states to the public plan, Lieberman's concerns that this would resemble a new entitlement program were essentially moot.

"What he is saying is 'I don't want Connecticut to have the opportunity to even opt in,'" he said.

As for getting Lieberman back in the fold, Lamont didn't have a solution. He encouraged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to make reform more palatable to moderate Republicans so as to make Lieberman's opposition irrelevant. He then conceded that such a scenario remains unlikely if the package also includes a public plan.

"I would make the case to everyone on the floor... that this is just a choice, it is an option, it is competitive," Lamont said. "It gives us a shot and let's us play into a bigger pool.... If Harry Reid makes that case, I think he will be able to get some folks behind it that will surprise you."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Public Option To Be Included In Senate Bill

ByDAVID ESPO/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Health care legislation heading for the Senate floor will give millions of Americans the option of purchasing government-run insurance coverage, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Monday, although he stopped short of claiming the 60 votes needed to pass a plan steeped in controversy. Reid, D-Nev., said individual states would have the choice of opting out of the program.

His announcement was cheered by liberal lawmakers, greeted less effusively by the White House and noted with a noncommittal response by Democratic moderates whose votes will be pivotal.

Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the only Republican to vote with Democrats on health care so far this year, issued a statement saying she was "deeply disappointed" in the approach the Democratic leader had chosen.

Reid said, "While the public option is not a silver bullet, I believe it's an important way to ensure competition and to level the playing field for patients with the insurance industry." He said a long-delayed Senate debate on President Barack Obama's call for an overhaul of the health care system would begin as soon as the Congressional Budget Office completes a mandatory assessment of the bill's cost and impact on coverage.

Changes on the public option – and numerous other provisions in the measure – are possible during a debate expected to last for weeks.

And officials said Reid had prepared several variations of key provisions so he could make adjustments in his bill at the last minute and still make sure he was within Obama's target of a $900 billion price tag over a decade.

Both the House and Senate are struggling to complete work by year's end on legislation extending coverage to millions who lack it, to ban insurance industry practices such as denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions and to slow the rise in medical costs nationally.

As in the Senate, attempts to complete drafting a measure in the House have been delayed by internal Democratic divisions on the details of a government-run option. Differences in bills passed by the House and Senate would have to be reconciled before any legislation reached Obama's desk.

In an appearance at a Florida senior center during the day, Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested a new name for the same approach to ease the opposition. She suggested "the consumer option." Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., appearing at Pelosi's side, used the term "competitive option."

Critics say that by any name, the approach amounts to a government takeover of the insurance industry.

In deference to moderates, Reid also said he was including a provision for nonprofit co-ops to sell insurance in competition with private companies.

Senate Democratic officials say the bill Reid envisions would require most individuals to purchase insurance, with exemptions for those unable to find affordable coverage. Large businesses would not be required to provide insurance to their workers, but would face penalties of as much as $750 per employee if any qualified for federal subsidies to afford coverage on their own.

The bill will also include a tax on high-cost insurance policies, despite opposition from organized labor, officials said. In a gesture to critics of the plan, Reid decided to apply the new tax to family plans with total premiums of $23,000 a year. The Senate Finance Committee approved a tax beginning at $21,000 in total premiums.

Nominally, the majority leader has spent the past two weeks melding bills passed earlier by the Senate's Finance Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. But in reality, he has had a virtual free hand to craft a new measure in consultations with senior members of the two panels and top White House aides.

"I feel good about the consensus that was reached within our caucus and with the White House," he said at his news conference. And we're all optimistic about reform because of the unprecedented momentum that now exists."

Within minutes, the White House released a statement saying Obama was "pleased that the Senate has decided to include a public option for health coverage, in this case with an allowance for states to opt out."

Obama has long voiced support for such a plan but has also signaled it is not a requirement for a health care bill he would sign. He has also said he would like bipartisan support for the legislation – and Snowe appears to be his last, best hope for that.

She favors a standby provision for government coverage if there is not enough competition in the private marketplace. Reid said that was not in his bill. "We hope that Olympia will come back. ... She's a very good legislator. I'm disappointed that the one issue, the public option, has been something that's frightened her."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who has long backed a government-run insurance option, said the approach "has a new life because as Americans have learned more about it, they have come to see it is the best way to reduce costs and increase competition in the health insurance industry."

Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, "is not committing how we will vote regarding any proposal Senator Reid is advancing," said spokesman Jake Thompson.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., a moderate seeking a new term in 2010, said through a spokesman she intends to study the details and decide how to vote based on the impact on her home state.

With the support of two independents, Democrats command 60 seats in the Senate, precisely the number needed to overcome any Republican filibuster.

Asked about the prospects for success, Reid answered, "We have 60 people in the caucus. ... We all hug together and see where we come out."

While the controversy over government-run insurance is the most intense, there are numerous other issues to be settled before legislation can win passage.

Obama has set a $900 billion, 10-year price tag for the legislation, and the program would be funded through cuts in future payments to Medicare providers and through higher taxes – an income surcharge on million-dollar earners in the House version and a new levy on high-cost insurance policies in the Senate.

Pelosi has said the House bill will strip the insurance industry of its exemption from antitrust laws, a provision that the Congressional Budget Office said during the day would have only a small impact on the cost of insurance to consumers.

The insurance industry was sharply critical of Reid's announcement.

"A new government-run plan would underpay doctors and hospitals rather than driving real reforms that bring down costs and improve quality. The American people want health care reform that will reduce costs, and this plan doesn't do that," said Karen Ignagni, head of America's Health Insurance Plans.

M.C.L Comment: I'm all for the senate bill that includes the public option but the opt in or out clause pose a problem while states will freely take part in the public option there's going to be states where you have right wing governors like Bobby Jindal or Tim Pawlenty who's looking to score political points with the 20% and they're going to opt out. Even here in Michigan we could end up John Engler 2.0 after the 2010 election and that pile of human waste could up opting us out of the public option. So I'm not sure having that clause is a good idea given the right wing have became the monsters from "28 days later"and defending anything President Obama want is their main goal.

Will the RNC apologize for racist Facebook photo? By Amanda Terkel at 2:27 pm Will the RNC apologize for racist Facebook photo?

By Amanda Terkel/Think Progress

Since Oct. 20, the Republican National Committee’s Facebook page has had a picture of President Obama with a caption reading “Miscegenation is a crime against American values”:

RNC Facebook Picture

As Raw Story notes, the RNC finally took the photo down today, after readers at Democratic Underground first began discussing it on Sunday. While it’s likely that the RNC “wasn’t aware the racist photo was on their page and it wasn’t produced or posted by anyone at the RNC,” the group had attacked MoveOn.org for a similar incident in 2004. As Chris Harris at Media Matters Action Network notes, when “a web user posted a self-produced web video that compared President Bush to Hitler as part of a MoveOn.org video contest, the RNC acted as if the video had been produced by MoveOn itself.” According to the National Journal:

“This is the worst and most vile form of political hate speech,” Republican National Committee spokesman Ed Gillespie proclaimed. “MoveOn.org should apologize.”

Boyd did just that, expressing “deep regret” that the ads made it through MoveOn’s filtering process, and promising to scrutinize such material in the future. Pariser emphasized that MoveOn had not produced the ads, not aired them, not endorsed them in the voting, and had removed them from the Web site –adding that the RNC had put them on its Web site to score points. Still, the damage had been done.

Will the RNC now issue a public apology?

M.C.L Comment: Since Republicans discover the invention of photo-shop they gone crazy with the photos comparing President Obama to all kinds of crazy things.. I guess right wingers can't complain when people start posting photos making fun of the tea baggers, Beck fanboys and your garden variety right wing loon.

Fox News promotes incoherent ‘Obama Change Index’ to argue the President is tanking.

By Faiz Shakir/Think Progress

FoxNews.com, the official website of the Fox News anti-Obama propaganda network, is promoting what it calls the “Obama Change Index.” The index purports to chart “the impact of policies promised by President Obama,” and conveniently graphs Obama’s progress on a scale of 0-700. It appears that Fox’s “change index” is tabulated by asking one Democratic, Republican, and Independent pundit what they think of Obama on 7 different issues: budget, stimulus, homeland security, foreign/military affairs, social issues, dealing with Congress, law and justice. While Obama’s favorable ratings have been going up recently, Fox News’ index unsurprisingly shows Obama tanking. Reddit user KingBeetle writes of the index, “I can’t even figure out what it means, but for some reason this week, Obama is down 271 points.” It’s now 282 points:

index

A couple of interesting observations from the “Obama Change Index”: On the week of 9/16/09, Obama scored a zero on Homeland Security for no apparent reason. Similarly, Obama scored a zero on “social issues” the week of 6/30/09 because he “tried to placate the gay community.”

M.C.L. comment:

I wished there was a "Outfoxed 2.0" honestly dude any media outlet defending Fox News is either dumb or just blind to the things that go on at Fox News.. I wish these people who's defending Fox News take time to go over old Fox News videos from when Bill Clinton was president then watch their coverage when George W. Bush was president and finally watch the coverage of the first 9 months of the Obama administration and tell me that there isn't a clearly far right wing Republican bias on that network.

There's nothing wrong with Fox News being the information department of the Republican Party but to act like Fox News is a down the middle news network is a sick joke, anyone with a high speed internet and can access Media Matters can watch videos where Fox News attack the anti-war protesters calling them anti-American or have hosts like Bill O'Reilly call them traitors and you can also see Fox News promoted a anti government rally and defended those who attended those rallies with their racist anti Obama signs.

Fox News spent the better part of the last eight years defending Bush administration's screw up one after the other and if the Bush administration needed a outlet to spin that screw up they had air time to spin that screw up on one of the various Fox News programs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Republicans’ approval ratings worst in 25 years

By Raw Story They got rid of scandal-tainted Majority Leader Tom DeLay, airport shoe-tapper Larry Craig and prurient instant message typer Mark Foley, but they just can't seem to shake the gloom.

Congressional Republicans scored just 36 percent approval ratings from the American public in a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Friday.

Fifty-four percent of Americans viewed Republicans in Congress unfavorably, while 41 percent said they were rankled by Democrats. Democrats had a 53 percent approval rating to Republicans' 36.

But despite Democrats' edge over Republicans, their handling of Congress receives few plaudits, according to the poll. Almost 70 percent of those questioned said they disapproved of how Congress was handling its job, with just 29 percent expressing approval.

The full PDF of the CNN poll can be read here.

"The Republican party may still be battling the legacy left to them by George W. Bush," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland was quoted as saying. "They have also spent a lot of time in 2009 working against Democratic proposals. That hasn't left them a lot of time so far this year to present a positive, post-Bush message. Of course, there is still plenty of time for them to do so before the 2010 midterms."

Republicans have branded themselves "the party of no," for their votes against a Democrat-backed stimulus plan and near-unanimous opposition to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul goals.

An earlier poll published in June was the subject of a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee memo replete with a graph of recent polls.

A Washington/Post ABC poll in June put Republicans at a 36 percent approval, while three other polls gave the party a favorability rating of under 30 percent. Republicans scored 29 percent, 28 percent and 25 percent respectively in polls conducted by The New York Times, Pew Research and NBC.

Pawlenty Says He Would Lead A Campaign To Opt Out Of The Public Option In Minnesota

By Ben Armbruster

Reports surfaced today that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is considering a proposal to include the public option that would allow states to “opt-out” of the program.

Today on ABC’s Top Line, co-host David Chalian asked Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) if he would “opt-out” of the public option for his state if the measure passed. Pawlenty dodged: “Well, I don’t know if we would opt out but I personally would like to opt out because I don’t like government run health care.” But Chalian persisted, and ultimately, Pawlenty said that he would oppose the public option for Minnesota:

CHALIAN: But you would lead a charge in your state to opt out if that was an option available?

PAWLENTY: I think so because I don’t like government run health care.

Watch it:

However, Pawlenty has said that he supports “government run health care” in the past — in fact, just as recently as last September. “I support Medicare and Medicaid,” Pawlenty declared.

Regardless, the Wonk Room’s Igor Voskly notes that the opt out provision won’t lower costs like a stong public option will:

But a state-based approach won’t have the ability to significantly lower health care costs or change delivery patterns. Progressives point to existing state-based employee public options or Medicaid programs that contract out to private insurers and thus don’t provide a meaningful alternative or competition. A state triggered public option, would lead to the same outcome, they argue.

To avoid this scenario, the White House needs to stop sending clarification statements to Sargent and stake out a firm position — they will never find the votes if they don’t whip them. Why not start on higher negotiating ground and embrace the HELP bill’s (relativley) strong public plan.

Pawlenty’s not alone. Unfortunately, Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia, Creigh Deeds, said this week that that as governor, he would “certainly consider opting out” of the public option “if that were available to Virginia.

Michael Savage says Glenn Beck does a ‘reasonably good job copying people who are brighter than him.’

By Lee Fang

On his radio show yesterday, Michael Savage took issue with the Obama administration’s accusations of partisanship against Fox News, calling the entire controversy a “kabuki play” generated for ratings and a bid for News Corporation (Fox News’ parent company) to expand business. Savage also took aim at Glenn Beck, saying Beck might soon be muzzled with a “bit in his mouth” by his bosses at Fox News. Savage proceeded to call Beck a dim-witted con artist:

SAVAGE: Within 90 days, he has got a bit in his mouth and he’s moving on to something else. [...] I’m not impressed by him. I’ve seen the act before. I’m not for him or against him, he does a reasonably good job copying people who are brighter than him who have done their work before him and taking as many ideas from as many people as he can without giving anyone credit. I get that. There’s nothing new about that either. But, my prediction is he’s got a bit put in his mouth very very fast and or he’s going to be fired.

Listen here:

Savage isn’t the only top far-right talker to trash Beck. Last month, Mark Levin, another top 10 radio show host, called Beck “mindless,” “incoherent,” and “pathetic.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

After Twitter shuts down GOP accounts impersonating Dems, party complains of ‘free speech’ infringements.

By Amanda Terkel Twitter has shut down 33 fake accounts created by Connecticut Republicans meant to impersonate Democratic state representatives. According to the Hartford Advocate, the GOP scheme was designed “to send out posts under the Democrats’ names mocking the liberal tax-and-spend bastards.” Twitter strictly forbids impersonation “intended to mislead, confuse or deceive others” on its site. However, the state GOP chairman is now complaining that Republicans’ “free speech” rights are being violated:

“That’s unfortunate,” was state Republican Chairman Chris Healy’s response when told of Twitter, Inc.’s decision. “I’m not quite sure what the issue is, other than that the Democrats were successful in stopping free speech.

Healy’s party may have suffered a setback with the loss of its Twitter campaign, but Republicans are still operating the 33 Web sites they created using the names of those same Democratic lawmakers. As far as anyone knows, this is the first time any state party has used such a tactic to mock its state opponents.

Healy is also claiming that Democrats are protesting the fake sites because they’re just jealous: “They didn’t think of it first, so that’s why they’re whining.” But political communications experts say that the sites are clearly unethical and “deceptive.” (HT: Blue Mass Group)

M.C.L comment: It was one of the things the founding fathers left out: You can make fake Twitter accounts to attack your opponents.

Rep. Alan Grayson Grills Republican Congressman On Constitutionality Of Anti-ACORN Crusade

By Zaid Jilani

One of the right’s loudest crusades has been their effort to undermine the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). Following the release of a series of videos showing a handful of ACORN employees behaving inappropriately, conservatives in Congress have done everything they can to single out ACORN for being stripped of all federal funding (while engaging in apparent opposition to defunding companies that cover up rape). Many legal experts have warned that these measures may be unconstitutional because lawmakers cannot punish a group or individual without a trial.

Yesterday, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) challenged the constitutionality of one of these anti-ACORN measures being supported by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) during a hearing of the Science and Technology committee. Grayson repeatedly questioned Broun about the constitutionality of “bills of attainder” — which are punishments that single out a group or individual without a court trial. The Georgia Republican was unable to offer a coherent rebuttal:

GRAYSON: I’d like to ask the gentleman from Georgia a few questions, and I’ll yield to him for the purpose of having answers to these questions. Does the gentleman from Georgia know what a bill of Attainder is?

BROUN: A bill of, the answer’s yes, in fact it’s been very explicitly described by the court’s.

GRAYSON: What is it?

BROUN: [long pause. Scrambling through papers.] The courts have applied a two pronged test. Number one, whether specific individuals or entities are affected by the staute, Number two, when the legislation affects a “punishment,” on those individuals, it serves no legitamate regulatory purpose.

GRAYSON: What, um, does the Constitution says about Bills of Attainder?

BROUN: Oh, I suggest that this is not a Bill of Attainder. It’s, um, certainly does focus on a specific entity, but it does not inflict punishment by any means. In fact…

GRAYSON: Will the gentleman from Georgia explain what the Constitution says about Bills of Attainder?

ANOTHER CONGRESSMAN: Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield for a second? The gentleman from Florida?

GRAYSON: No. I’d like an answer to my question. [...]

GRAYSON: The question is, will the gentleman from Georgia agree with me that the Bill of Attainder clause was intended not as a narrow or technical provision, but as an implementation of the seperation of powers, and a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function, or more simply, trial by legislature. Will the gentleman agree to that?

BROUN: No, sir, I will not, and I ask counsel to help us with this. I think all this is determination of the court and I’d like to appeal to Mr. Sensenberner.

GRAYSON: Well, I’m sorry, but it’s my time, not yours or Mr. Sensenberner’s, so I will reclaim my time, and I will point out that what you just you would not agree to is from a Supreme Court case called the United States v. Brown, something I would expect you might know about, given your name.

Watch it:

Grayson ended his remarks by noting that the conservative crusade against ACORN isn’t based in principle but politics: “We are trampling on people’s Constitutional rights. And I think it’s unfortunate that the mania that exists on the other side of the aisle regarding this one organization, and we know why that mania exists, it’s because they’ve registered an awful lot of Democrats, continues to distort and waste the time of this committee and many other committees here in Congress. Enough is enough.”

M.C.L Comment: Rep. Grayson has once again hit the nail on the head, the Republicans don't give a damn about what ACORN has or hasn't done the real sin ACORN has committed in the eyes of Republicans and their allies in the right wing media is this ACORN get people signed up to vote but here comes the sin part those people tend to vote Democratic.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Grim Reaper greets Bush in Canada: ‘GWB, I am your biggest fan’

By John Byrne

During a visit to speak in Canada Tuesday, former president George W. Bush was met with signs, songs, screams and a black-clad Grim Reaper. And a little applause.

Protesters outside the speech carried signs emblazoned with such phrases as "Bush is a war criminal," "Bush lied, 1,000s died" and "Canada is not Bush Country," according to a Canadian press report. As a crowd mushroomed, police erected metal barricades.

Bush spoke at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton where he led a talk, "A Conversation with George Bush." Tickets to the event ranged from $30 to $100. All 2,000 tickets sold out, and ticketholders were frisked and made to show their tickets twice upon entrance.

One protester carried a nine-foot tall Grim Reaper tagged with signs that said "GWB I am your biggest fan" and "Thanks for 8 great years."

"For the eight years that George Bush was president I was profoundly ashamed and alarmed and angry and now it seems so unfair that he's making a world tour trying to share his 'wisdom' and make a lot of money," Marilyn Gaa, who has both American and Canadian citizenship, told Metro in Calgary.

Bush got a standing ovation from the crowd when he took to the stage inside.

He repeated a crowd-pleaser he's used repeatedly since leaving office, telling the story of how, after being president, he'd been reduced to a dog-walker cleaning poop.

Walking his dog Barney, he said he had "a plastic bag on one hand, picking up what I had dodged for eight years."

Addressing Canadians specifically, he said, "Canadians have disproportionately shouldered the load ... I know the Canadian people are showing great patience in the theatre of war."

Bush is speaking in Saskatoon and Montreal on Wednesday and Thursday. Protesters plan to be out in force at both events, Canadian press say.

In Montreal, Bush will be speaking where John Lennon once recorded his famous anthem, "Give Peace a Chance."

"It's ironic," Raymond Legault, a would-be-protester and spokesman for the group Collectif Echec a la Guerre, told a reporter.

Bush will speak at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where Lennon and his then-wife Yoko Ono recorded their song four decades ago.

Tickets for the Montreal speech are priced from $200 to $400.

Update:Liberal Analyst Found Out Through ‘Google Alert’ That Fox News Fired Him

By Ben Armbruster Last Friday, during a News Corp. shareholders meeting, Chairman Rupert Murdoch was asked why Fox News would hire liberal analyst Marc Lamont Hill, who, the questioner said, has a “reputation of defending cop killers and racists.” Murdoch reportedly replied that Hill had already been fired. While both Fox and Hill were initially tight-lipped about Murdoch’s reported comment, Mediaite later confirmed that Hill had indeed been fired by the network.

A asked “what happened” during a recent interview with conservative radio host Steve Malzberg(R-low level right wing tool), Hill said that he has no idea why he was fired. “I don’t have a lot of information because I wasn’t given a lot of information.” In fact, Hill said he found out from a “Google alert” that Fox let him go:

HILL: Yeah I mean it’s an interesting thing. I wish I could give you a great deal of information that I don’t have a lot of information because I wasn’t given a lot of information. To date, Fox News Channel hasn’t given me any information as to why. … I’m just a little puzzled. [...]

MALZBERG: First of all, you told me you found out when you got a Google alert, so I mean, did anybody eventually call you from Fox and tell you that you were fired?

HILL: Yeah I eventually – I got a Google alert at 11 o’clock [a.m.] that it had been announced that I’d been fired. After that, I guess someone followed up later in the day, you know because I was sort of trying to figure out what was going on. … I found out that it was true but other than that I don’t have any other information. … I haven’t had any thorough conversation with anyone.

Listen here:

Indeed, shortly after reports surfaced of Hill’s dismissal, he tweeted (which has since been deleted), “You ever had anyone break up with you by text?” So why did Fox News fire Hill? While Fox never responded to inquiries from ThinkProgress, Hill told Malzberg that “people can certainly look on the internet and Google and see all sorts of stories and information” as to why he was fired.

Right-wing propagandist Cliff Kincaid, who works for “Accuracy in Media,” has been on a crusade to try to get Hill fired from the network because, as Kincaid has said, Hill is a “left wing cop-killer apologist.” In a celebratory note after Murdoch’s announcement, Kincaid noted that he had in fact asked about Hill during last week’s News Corp. meeting and criticized Fox for not doing “elementary analysis” of Hill before they hired him. During his interview with Malzberg, Hill called Kincaid’s charges “unfair misrepresentations.”

In the segment, Hill also commented about the recent spat between the White House and Fox News. “Is Fox News a right-leaning organization? No doubt about it,” Hill said. But he later added that he doesn’t yet “feel comfortable” commenting on whether Fox News is an “arm” of the Republican Party.

Bachmann Says Dole And Frist Represent A ‘Non-Pro-Freedom Agenda’ Because They Want Health Reform

By Lee Fang Today on her radio program, Laura Ingraham(R-paid liar) interviewed guest Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-crazy) and asked her about the ideological direction of the Republican Party. The pair discussed recent statements made by retired GOP Senate Majority Leaders Bill Frist (TN) and Bob Dole (KS) in support of some type of comprehensive health reform.

Dole has called for Republicans to become engaged in the process, stating “we’ve got to do something” to solve the current crisis. Frist has endorsed the Senate Finance health reform bill, and has called out “people on the extreme” in his own party for falsely labeling President Obama’s health reform as “socialized medicine.” Clearly incensed by these comments, Ingraham and Bachmann traded barbs trashing the former Republican leaders for daring to veer away from a “pro-freedom agenda”:

INGRAHAM: Of course. God bless Bob Dole he just came on our show, I have great respect for the man. And also for Frist. But Frist presided over a pretty disastrous situation in the Senate.

BACHMANN: They lost.

INGRAHAM: They lost. And Bob Dole lost how many times on a national level? I guess I’ve lost count. [...] That Republican ideology and that Republican outlook has been a losing outlook. That’s why President Obama wants more of us to be like them.

BACHMANN: Because we want a pro-freedom agenda. And he’s trying to throw people around who he believes will increase a non-pro-freedom agenda.

Listen here:

Bachmann and Ingraham’s vitriol wasn’t only reserved for Republicans who dared to express a willingness to support reform. Asked if the New York Times’ recent profile of her has generated a lot of “hate mail,” Bachmann replied that although she does receive a lot of mail, it is “because Nancy Pelosi has made me a top target.” Ingraham then began mocking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives and the highest-ranking female politician in American history — by making hissing and cat noises, then shrieking, “she doesn’t like powerful women.”

Listen here:

WXYZ Detroit mayor race poll Mayor's Race Tightening

From WXYZ As we close in on the November Election, an exclusive Action News poll shows that Detroit Mayor Dave Bing still holds a sizable lead in the race for Mayor. However, the latest poll numbers show that race has tightened. We asked 400 Detroiters for their take on the mayor's race. If the election were held today, current mayor Dave Bing would come out on top with 47% of the vote compared to just 26% for candidate Tom Barrow. When asked why Mayor Bing would be their pick, 13% say they would choose him because of his business background. Eleven percent of voters polled say he should be given the chance to finish the job. Out of the 26% of people who said they would vote for Tom Barrow, one out of five say they would vote for Barrow just because they don't like Dave Bing. As far as Mayor Bing's job performance, most Detroiters think he's doing pretty good with only 15% giving him a poor grade. When asked what the mayor's biggest accomplishment in office is so far, 25% of voters polled said "nothing at all." Nine percent gave Bing credit for balancing the budget. Four percent gave him credit just for getting elected. The controversial DDOT bus cuts top the list for Mayor Bing's biggest failure. Twelve percent say he hasn't done anything wrong. The rest are split between his relationship with the unions and his communication with the residents of Detroit. Results carry a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. All polling was done between October 18 and October 20, 2009. Read the Poll Below: What are the chances that you will be voting in the upcoming November 3rd general election for Mayor of Detroit and City Council -- are you very certain to vote, somewhat certain, will you probably vote, are the chances only 50-50, have you already voted by absentee ballot, or, will you not likely vote? 79% Very certain to vote 14% Already voted by absentee ballot 5% Fairly certain 2% If the November 3rd general election for Mayor were held today, would you vote for Dave Bing or Tom Barrow? 44% Dave Bing 23% Undecided/Don’t know /Refused 22% Tom Barrow 3% Lean toward Bing 4% Lean toward Tom Barrow 4% Other candidate (VOLUNTEERED) 3% Lean toward Bing What is the main reason why you plan to vote for Dave Bing? 13% Business Background 12% Best Choice of the Two Candidates 11% Give Him a Chance to Finish the Job 8% Done a Good Job So Far 7% Dislike Barrow 5% His Integrity 5% Vision for the City 5% Most Qualified Candidate 4% Agree With His Positions 4% Making Progress 3% Christian 3% Committed to the City 3% Most Familiar With Him 2% Like – In General 2% Makes the Tough Decisions 2% Needed Change 2% Strong Leader 2% Understands the City’s Needs 1% Brings Jobs to the City 1% Conservative 1% Improving the Neighborhoods 1% Other (less than 0.5% each) 3% Undecided/Don’t Know/Refused What is the main reason why you plan to vote for Tom Barrow? 21% Dislike Bing 10% Against Bing’s Policies 8% Best Choice of the Two Candidates 7% Agree With His Positions 6% He is a Detroit City Resident 6% Most Qualified Candidate 6% Understands the City’s Needs 5% Against Bing’s Budget Cuts 5% Needed Change 4% Pro Union 3% Vision for the City 2% Against Bing’s Bus Cuts 2% Against Bing’s Privatization 2% Communicates with People in Community 2% Supported Him Before 1% Against Bing’s Administration Choices 1% Against Bing’s Wage Concessions 1% Bing is Tied to Kilpatrick 1% Christian 1% Democrat 1% Give Him a Chance 1% Integrity 1% Progressive 3% Undecided/Don’t Know/Refused Overall, How would you rate the job that Dave Bing has done as Mayor of Detroit? Would you give him a positive rating of excellent or pretty good, or a negative rating of only fair or poor? 38% Pretty good 36% Only fair 15% Poor 8% Excellent 4% Undecided/Don’t know/Refused Specifically, how would you rate the job Dave Bing has done cutting government spending and balancing the City budget? Would you give him a positive rating of excellent or pretty good, or a negative rating of only fair or poor? 30% Pretty good 33% Only fair 23% Poor 6% Excellent 8% Undecided/Don’t know/Refused Specifically, how would you rate the job Dave Bing has done working with the unions in seeking wage concessions and making budget cuts? Would you give him a positive rating of excellent or pretty good, or a negative rating of only fair or poor? 34% Only fair 27% Pretty good 28% Poor 6% Undecided/Don’t know/Refused 5% Excellent What would you say is the single biggest accomplishment Dave Bing has had as Mayor of Detroit? 25% Nothing At All 9% Balancing the City Budget 4% Getting Elected as Mayor 3% COBO Agreement 3% Cutting Government Spending 3% Getting the City On the Right Track 3% Integrity in His Position 2% Communicates the City’s Needs 2% Less Negative Press 1% Added Police 1% Bring Order to the City 1% New Police Chief 1% No Legal Troubles 1% Run the City Like a Business 1% Strong Leader 1% Too Early to Tell 1% Took No Salary 1% Union Relations 6% Other (less than 0.5% each) 31% Undecided/Don’t Know/Refused Would you say is the single biggest failure that Dave Bing has had as Mayor of Detroit? 14% Cuts to Bus Service 12% Nothing at All 9% Union Relations 4% Communication with City Residents 3% Cut City Employees 3% Not Involved in the Communities 3% Selecting His Administration 2% Budget Cuts 2% Cut City Services 2% He’s Unfamiliar with Detroit 2% Wage Concessions 1% Attempted School Takeover 1% Close Minded 1% False Promises 1% Failed – Overall 1% Hard Line with Young People 1% No Balance Budget 1% No Improvement in Crime 1% No Leadership 1% Rapid Job Loss in the City 1% Taking the New Car 3% Other (less than 0.5% each) 31% Undecided/Don’t Know/Refused

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Does the WashPost's Ruth Marcus even watch Fox News?

by Eric Boehlert

After reading her predictable, talking points-approved condemnation of the White House's push back against Fox News, my suspicion is that the Post columnist doesn't watch Fox News. And my guess is she's not alone among the growing army of Village pundits who have all stepped forward to uniformly announce that the White House is way off the mark in deciding to fact check Fox News.

In a way, Marcus is simply reinforcing the age-old Beltway truism: When Democrats criticize the press it's whiny and petty, but when Republicans do it, it's savvy and brash. (Just ask veterans of the Clinton administration.)

But more specifically, Marcus is commenting on a media landscape of which she is completely ignorant. For instance, she claims Fox News operates just like MSNBC did during the Bush years. MSNBC featured Bush bashers Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, and today Fox News boasts Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, so c'mon what's the big deal. I guess the big deal is I don't remember either Olbermann or Maddow comparing MSNBC employees to persecuted Jews during the Holocaust, which was the twisted comparison Beck recently made regarding the Fox News staff.

In other words, I don't recall Olbermann or Maddow going bat shit crazy on national television, scribbling away on a chalkboard as they fantasized about connecting George Bush to every conceivable strain of historical evil. And I don't remember either MSNBC host launching hateful and hollow witch hunts against semi-obscure administration officials, the way Hannity has latched onto the homophobic attacks against Kevin Jennings.

But guess what? The same elite pundits who are telling the White House is chill out over Fox News are the same elite pundits who for weeks have refused to acknowledge the hateful Jennings witch hunt. Which brings me back to my original question: Do journalists like Marcus even watch Fox News? Do they understand what its programming day now looks like? My guess is the answer is no, even though lots of them have taken it upon themselves to speak out as Fox News experts; to lecture the White House about how normal and mainstream the cable outlet is.

For Marcus' edification, here's a recent example of where the Fox News family broke from the standards of professional journalism and clearly pushed a falsehood.

Here's another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another.

Yes, that list just covers a sampling from this October. And no, I don't recall MSNBC flooding its airwaves with provably false programming the way Fox News now does on a routine basis.

Can any serious journalist look at the kind of media malpractice record that Fox News has accumulated this year and really claim that it's not doing anything that's unusual or unique in the ranks of modern-day American journalism? Or that it's just like MSNBC, but from the right? Or that the White House should not be concerned about the nearly uninterrupted falsehoods unleashed in its direction?

Can any serious journalist look at that record and claim that it's the White House that ought to change its behavior? They can if they don't actually watch Fox News.

Denied Health Insurance For Being Underweight

By Eric Sorensen

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The parents of a two-year-old girl in Colorado are unable to obtain health insurance for their daughter because the insurer, United Healthcare Golden Rule, claims she is too small. In a letter sent to the family we are unable to provide coverage for Aislin because her height and weight do not meet our company standards." According to a Colorado news station, Aislin weighed six pounds, six ounces at birth, and now weighs 22 pounds.

When Robert Bates, the girl's father, left his former job to start his own business, he was forced to seek out his own health insurance, and enrolled his family in an insurance plan with United Healthcare Golden Rule. "It took me by surprise," Bates told ABC 7 in Denver. "I didn't think that her size was that abnormal and that it was something that you'd consider to be unhealthy." As ABC 7 reports:

A spokeswoman for United Healthcare Golden Rule said 89 percent of the people who apply for insurance get it. Ellen Laden, the company's public relations director, told the station that most insurers have their own propriety height and weight guidelines.

"Ours are based on several medical sources, including the Centers for Disease Control, and are well within industry standards," she said.

Laden said she couldn't talk about specific cases like the Bates'.

Robert Bates, however, isn't satisfied. "What we want to see is that insurance companies have legitimate reasons for denying coverage," he said.

Recently, another child in Colorado, Alex Lange, was also denied coverage, but for "preexisting obesity" instead of being underweight. In that instance, the insurer, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, reversed their policy after the parents of the 17-pound infant gained media exposure. After the reversal, Rocky Mountain Health Plans attributed the boy's rejection for health coverage to a "flaw in our underwriting system."

The Bates family is hoping for a similar change in policy. In the meantime, Aislin Bates remains uninsured.

GOP Rep. from district where civil rights workers were lynched talks about shooting ‘tree-hugging Democrats.’

From Think progress: In a new interview with Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), Politico asks the congressman what the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus does. Harper’s response:

We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition.

Harper represents Mississippi’s 3rd congressional district, which contains Neshoba County — the place of one of the most infamous race-related crimes in American history. In 1964, white supremacists lynched three civil rights workers. In recent months, sportsmen around the country have been joining up with “tree-hugging” liberals on climate legislation. In April, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and other sportsmen’s and environmental groups “called for Congress to pass global warming legislation that includes increased funding for natural resource protection.”

McConnell mistakenly claims Republicans and Democrats are ‘close to even’ in the polls.

By Faiz Shakir

At a press conference this afternoon, a reporter asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to explain why such a low number of Americans (approximately 20 percent) self-identify as Republicans. McConnell responded by dodging the question, saying, “You can pick out of polls what you want to focus on.” He then proceeded to pick out a number he wanted to focus on:

I think a very interesting question of most of the polls I’ve seen in the last few months is the question of the party generic ballot. That is, if the election were held today, would you be more likely to vote for the Republican or the Democrat? Most of the surveys that I’ve seen in the last three weeks or so have us close to even.

Watch it:

McConnell is sadly mistaken. As The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent reports, a new Washington Post poll shows the gap between the two parties is currently as wide as it has been in the previous two elections:

Right now, the poll finds that when respondents are asked whether they will vote for a Dem or a GOPer in the 2010 elections, 51% pick the Dem and 39% pick the Republican.

In June of 2008 (the most recent historical data in the WaPo poll), Dems led the generic matchup 52%-37%. And in early November of 2006 the Dem lead was 51%-45%. Today the spread is largely unchanged.

Despite this, GOP cockiness about the midterms is widespread.

Right Wing Activist Launches College Social Networking Site To ‘Smash Left-Wing Scum’ On Campus

By Andrea Nill Campus Progress reports that Morton Blackwell, founder of the right-wing young adult organization, the Leadership Institute (LI), has launched a new social-networking site for young conservatives called CampusReform. The purpose of the site is to expose “bias” in universities “completely dominated by the left” and give students a forum to report and organize against professors perceived as abusive leftists. Blackwell described the motivation behind his ambitous project to the American Prospect:

I have had a long-term awareness of how the campuses have become left-wing indoctrination centers, and many, many students can go their entire college educations and never see any representations of conservative principles on their campuses — but they see innumerable amounts of propaganda both in campus curriculum and with speakers and in campus newspapers. It has always bugged me that conservatives have not done likewise.”

In other words, CampusReform’s young conservatives want to “smash left-wing scum,” as Tony Listi, a graduate of Texas A&M, wrote on the site. There is a CampusReform subsite for each of the 2,376 four-year colleges in the US which contains a blog, event listings, membership roster, and “access to a variety of powerful weapons to identify, expose, and combat leftist abuses on campus.” Those weapons consist of a system which allows students to review “biased” textbooks, rate faculty and “hold professors accountable,” report “leftist abuses,” and take a survey to record “specific injustices.” Currently, LI is offering a $100 prize each day in October for reporting “leftist abuse.”

Ken Johnson, a humanities professor at the University of Southern Indiana who was recently flagged by CampusReform as an academic who “continually degrades the Bible,” offers a seperate interpretation. “Students sometimes confuse the presentation of ideas” with his own, Professor Johnson told Campus Progress. “Some students, as soon as their thinking is challenged, the challenger becomes the evil one.”

LI has already bred conservative leaders like chief GOP strategist Karl Rove, Sen. Joe ‘You Lie’ Wilson (R-SC), and Grover Norquist, head of American’s For Tax Reform. CampusReform also proudly points out that James O’Keefe, the “filmmaker” who posed as the pimp that led to the ACORN scandal, attended ten different LI schools in addition to receiving funding from the Institute.

Beck says ‘progressives’ are descended from ‘tyrants’ and ‘slave owners.’

By Matt Corley

On his Fox News show today, Glenn Beck said that “in the last couple of years” he’s been “trying to read a different Founding Father all the time,” offering that his latest interest is in Samuel Adams. According to Beck, Samuel Adams would have hated modern day progressives. “We call them progressives now, but back in Samuel Adams’ day, they used to call them tyrants,” said Beck. “A little later, I think they were also called slave owners.” Watch it:

It’s kind of odd that Beck deifies the Founding Fathers while attacking progressives as “slave owners,” considering that some of the most famous Founding Fathers owned slaves.

M.C.L. Comment: Project much Glenn?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fox News FIRES Marc Lamont Hill, Liberal Analyst

By Danny Shea

Liberal Fox News analyst Dr. Marc Lamont Hill has been fired, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch revealed at a shareholder's meeting Friday.

Murdoch made the announcement after being asked about Hill's "reputation of defending cop killers and racists."

"Relax, y'all. Don't believe the internet rumors," Lamont Hill tweeted earlier today, but he would later confirm the news to the Huffington Post, saying, "I am no longer employed by Fox News and grateful for the opportunity and I have nothing bad to say."

Lamont Hill's credibility as a commentator had been called into question by David Horowitz last month:

I find [O'Reilly's] continued promotion of Professor Marc Lamont Hill an embarrassment to his own standards and an insult to the intelligence of African Americans particularly and his entire audience generally. Tonight he interviewed Hill for an entire segment on the subject of Iran, as though Hill had anything intelligent to say on the subject. Mr. Hill do you think we should give Iran three months or six months to let the UN inspectors in? How would Marc Lamont Hill know? How would he even be in a position to make an intelligent speculation? By his own account, Hill is an expert on "hip-hop culture," i.e., rap music. His academic degree is in education. What are his views on foreign policy worth, unless putting him on was designed to show up the shallow views of the left?

Since then, as the Hollywood Reporter reports, Lamont Hill "has been the target of increasing criticism on the blogosphere for alleged sympathies to controversial figures including Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal." He also defended Van Jones on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta van Susteren."

Lamont Hill did appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" as recently as last week, embedded below: