Politics

From where this started in the spring, to where we are now, is light years away from a ‘government takeover’ and ‘breaking the bank’. You’d think I’d be used to it by now when Republican corporate spaniels like Boehner spout this kind of flat-out-lying nonsense – but it still infuriates me.

“Breaking the bank and taking away the freedoms Americans cherish is not the answer to the challenges we face.”
“We can come together to implement smart, fiscally responsible reforms to improve Americans’ health care or we can recklessly pursue this government takeover that creates far more problems than it solves.”

We can ‘come together?’ With you? Days before the vote, after six months? They’re taking away our freedom? Right, John. Why aren’t you making a nuisance of yourself in upstate New York with the other clueless wannabee Reaganites?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091031/ap_on_bi_ge/us_republicans_health_care

Advertisements

Economics

The Netherlands’ ING bank was hard-hit during the global economic crisis, but they’re doing what American banks are too stupid and greedy to consider.

“European services giant ING Groep NV said Monday it will split itself in two, spinning off its insurance arm to simplify its business and issuing euro7.5 billion ($11.3 billion) in new shares to repay state bailout money.
“ING has been a leading advocate in Europe of the advantages of combining banking and insurance, and historically the two arms have generated about equal shares of the company’s earnings.
“But (CEO Jan)Hommen said the events of the past year “have changed the environment in which we operate, and the complexity of ING didn’t help us during the crisis.”
He said ING bank, which will remain within the holding company, will benefit more from transparency and a smaller balance sheet than it did from cost savings on related businesses.”

Investment banks that don’t sell insurance, insurance companies that don’t do trading, mortgage banks that don’t handle mergers – those Europeans are pretty weird. And smart.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091026/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_netherlands_ing

Politics / Media

Craig Ferguson and his wife met Dick and Lynne Cheney last year. Lynne Cheney ran the National Endowment for the Arts from 1986 to 1993. I had no idea why then – I have no idea why now.

“On meeting the Cheneys, Ferguson recounts that his wife discussed art with Mrs. Cheney, who proudly described the Picasso sketches she owned. When Megan [Ferguson’s wife] asked Cheney where she hung the artwork, Cheney’s response stunned them:
“Oh we don’t,” replied Mrs. C. “They’re nudes, and we have grandchildren. We don’t want them to see them when they come over.”
“But they’re Picassos,” protested Megan.
“But they’re nudes,” smiled Mrs. Cheney dangerously.
I put a hand on Megan’s elbow. I didn’t want trouble. You don’t want to be on the Cheney shit list… Once they were gone, I told Megan that Dick Cheney had been ogling her breasts.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/29/craig-ferguson-cheney-ogl_n_338967.html

Politics

A good profile today in the NYT of obstructionist proselytizer Sen. Tom Coburn.

“As the health care overhaul heads to the Senate floor, Mr. Coburn is preparing for what he considers a career pinnacle of havoc. Enacting the proposal, he says, would be catastrophic, and so if precedent holds, he will try to hinder it with every annoying tool in his arsenal: filing amendments (he has done that 508 times since joining the Senate, second only to John McCain’s 542 in that period), undertaking filibusters and objecting strenuously.”

“And in a remark typical of how some members of the institution view Mr. Coburn, Jim Manley, a spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said: “Senator Coburn relishes it when people call him Dr. No, but he is more appropriately called Dr. I Know Best. He has routinely blocked and delayed bills that have wide bipartisan support, often based on specious arguments.”

“Mr. Coburn was elected to the Senate with a reputation for outspoken social conservatism. He had denounced the “homosexual agenda” and said he favored the death penalty “for abortionists and other people who take life.”

Mr. Coburn has all the credentials a senator’s constituency could want – if we were living in the seventeenth century.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/health/policy/30coburn.html?hp

Of course, they can read the truth, regularly, from Paul Krugman, but, predictably, they choose to ignore it for their own prevaricating purposes.

“The odd thing about this group (Democrat centrists) is that while its members are clearly uncomfortable with the idea of passing health care reform, they’re having a hard time explaining exactly what their problem is. Or to be more precise and less polite, they have been attacking proposed legislation for doing things it doesn’t and for not doing things it does.
Thus, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut says, “I want to be able to vote for a health bill, but my top concern is the deficit.” That would be a serious objection to the proposals currently on the table if they would, in fact, increase the deficit. But they wouldn’t, at least according to the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that the House bill, in particular, would actually reduce the deficit by $100 billion over the next decade.
Or consider the remarkable exchange that took place this week between Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, and Fred Hiatt, The Washington Post’s opinion editor. Mr. Hiatt had criticized Congress for not taking what he considers the necessary steps to control health-care costs — namely, taxing high-cost insurance plans and establishing an independent Medicare commission. Writing on the budget office blog — yes, there is one, and it’s essential reading — Mr. Orszag pointed out, not too gently, that the Senate Finance Committee’s bill actually includes both of the allegedly missing measures.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/opinion/30krugman.html?_r=1&hp