The Rest Of The Week In Review... Also The Last?
Well, before the new job I just want to clear out my tabs and what-not.
• I think the biggest threat to the economy right now remains the housing market. The Administration has apparently been using the FHA to prop up the market by continuing to guarantee high-risk mortgages which otherwise wouldn't have been made. Well, those are starting to go bad at an alarming rate, and now policymakers are talking about a federal bailout. At the same time, the federal program designed to slow down foreclosures isn't really working. However, none of this is stopping Democrats and Republicans from trying to extend an $8,000 homebuyer credit to... prop up the housing market. It's insane.
• In a story reminiscent of The Jungle, the New York Times did an expose of the meat inspection industry and its effects on the lives of people paralyzed for eating the wrong hamburger. The story was so powerful that the industry started striking deals for testing their meat for e.coli. Aside from the environmental concerns from eating meat altogether, at the very least we should be able to expect that we won't get paralyzed from it.
• Sonia Sotomayor was lively and active in her first week on the Supreme Court, asking more questions in an hour "than Justice Clarence Thomas has asked over the course of several years." Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia was trying to argue that the symbol of the cross wasn't actually a religious symbol. And he's supposed to be the conservative intellectual on the bench.
• This Karl Rove op-ed is as silly as the rest of them, but one part rings true.
The numbers may get worse for Democrats if they pass a health-care bill. Why? Because Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) wants to frontload the reforms with distasteful things. Under his plan, tax hikes and Medicare and Medicaid cuts kick in immediately, while new benefits are delayed for two-and-a-half years. Voters likely won't warm to reforms that slam them next year while promising benefits down the road.
This is unquestionably true, actually. You have to have some tangible benefits up front. I think the high-risk pools that could get the uninsured covered before the exchanges take effect could solve some of this problem.
• Good to see the DSCC taking this on - just why did 30 GOP Senators vote to deny rape victims justice in court?
• I'm still not sure whether the Senate is ready to pass a climate change bill, but the participation of Lindsey Graham in this op-ed doesn't hurt. Huckleberry often says one thing right before doing another, but it helps to put him in a box, saying that the Senate can pass the bill. Actually, it might help even more that a Midwestern Democrat like Sherrod Brown is leaning toward supporting the bill - the industrial-state Senators will make or break this.
• Not only did Rick Perry pull a bunch of members from a commission that wanted to look into his role in putting an innocent man to death, he cut the commission's funding. The rationalizations from the prosecutors aren't really cutting it, either.
• I didn't see Keith Olbermann's special comment on health care, but here's the transcript. It sounds like he took the experience of caring for his ailing father and interfacing with the health care system and pretty much came up with an hour full of stories. I don't know if he found out that some insurers consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition, or if his hospital charged a "facility fee" for his father to sit there, or if his father or someone in the hospital died from a preventable death. But the point is that, once you actually use the health care system, you have a far less positive view of it.
• You absolutely knew that Bill Frist would walk back his support of health care reform within about 24 hours. No surprise at all.
• I'm assuming that when Republicans get together, they use terms like "ghetto grandmothers" to describe all Democrats.
• I always hated the "look how many times that speaker used the words "I" or "me" as a proof of anything approaching narcissism, but Mark Liberman strikes a nail through the heart of this nonsense.
• In the grand scheme of things, $54 billion over 10 years is not a lot of money, certainly nowhere near the kind of numbers that Republicans always tout when they claim that medical malpractice reform is all that's needed to save health care.
• The ad I directed for Blue America targeting Blanche Lincoln for her stance on health care reform was featured on Rachel Maddow. Yay me!
• The latest conservative freak-out could be the dumbest ever - attacking Obama from choosing an artwork to adorn the White House because the wingnuts think it's a copy of a work by Matisse - when it's supposed to be a copy of a work by Matisse. I know it's not dogs playing poker, but really, maybe you should shut your mouth about things you don't understand.
• Well, blow me down - one of the top people in the Tea Party Movement owes the IRS a half a million dollars. Boy, he really doesn't like taxes!
• And finally, there's a Last Comic Standing show in Iraq. If they opened it up to the entire Muslim world, the head of the Pakistan Taliban would win in a walk.
Labels: rest of the week in review