While interviewing Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referred to recent comments by Senator Harry Reid: “[He] said Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to this health care bill and very soberly...compared those who opposed health care to those who opposed civil rights legislation....How would you respond to that?”
Steele fired back: “Well, you know, it was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all. It was an ignorant moment for Harry Reid.” Steele continued: “ I’m kind of sick and tired of, you know, the Left and Democrats in this country, when they get into trouble and don’t get their way...they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.” Smith didn’t even mention Reid’s further comparison of Republicans to those who resisted ending slavery.
Steele called on Reid to apologize: “...it was an ignorant comment. Harry needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important.”
Time's Amy Sullivan has little use for moderate Senate Democrats throwing up any semblance of a road block, nay, even a speed bump, to ObamaCare, especially if it entails pro-life measures which would keep abortion from being covered by the taxpayer-subsidized government option.
"What is it about those Nebraska governors-turned-senators?" Sullivan huffed in the beginning of her December 8 Swampland blog post. "Did they not get enough attention as children? Do they chafe at being told they hail from a 'flyover' state? Does that unicameral legislature leave too few adoring supporters?"
Sullivan's ire was directed at Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has offered a pro-life amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill that Sullivan insists is all but doomed to fail and which is not likely a deal-breaker for either Sens. Nelson nor Casey when it comes to final passage:
The Obama presidency is, for better or worse, the most media saturated administration in the nation's history. Due at least in part to revolutionary changes in the sharing of information, but equally abetted by the president's media-hungry personality and style of governing, Obama's face is just about everywhere these days.
And Americans have noticed. In an attempt to land a spot on a DC-based reality show, the so-called state dinner party-crashers, the Salahis, went where they knew the cameras would be: the White House.
The Obama administration has pursued a relentless media strategy by trumpeting the president on traditional and new media outlets at every opportunity. It's tech-savvy staff has allowed the president to market his message to a wide range of demographics. The strategy was a cornerstone of Obama's presidential campaign, and he has adopted it as a style of governing.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos appeared on Tuesday’s Good Morning America to spin and minimize Senator Harry Reid’s contention that opponents of health care reform are similar to supporters of slavery. After ABC played a truncated version of Reid’s quote, Stephanopoulos, hopefully observed, "My guess is this is going to blow over." [Audio available here.]
He did concede to co-host Robin Roberts: "Republicans were just furious about that, Robin." But, ABC didn’t show any clips of "furious" Republicans complaining about the harsh attack. Prior to the clip being played, Stephanopoulos, who is rumored to be the next host of Good Morning America, adopted a charitable description of Reid’s comparison to slavery: "Boy, the whole Senate floor exploded over [the remarks] yesterday, when Senator Reid went to the floor and tried to rally his Democrats by evoking these great legislative fights of the past."
Blogger Doug Ross got to the news of the Congressional Budget Office's Monthly Budget Report (PDF) over the weekend, quite accurately observing that the establishment news coverage of its content barely existed.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pressed Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the GOP’s opposition to ObamaCare: “...there’s been a lot of criticism that Republicans have done nothing but oppose this bill, nothing to help pass it, just try to kill it....have you done more than say ‘no, no, no, no, no’?”
At the top of the show, Rodriguez described a weekend visit by President Obama to Capitol Hill: “A rare closed-door rally on Capitol Hill over the weekend as President Obama calls on Democrats to close ranks and pass health care reform.” Rodriguez later suggested that Republicans “were not invited to the meeting yesterday” based on their criticism of the legislation. Senator Alexander responded: “Well that’s really an amazing statement. I mean, the President was elected on the idea of open meetings.”
Rodriguez also spoke with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill but tried not to be too tough as she asked the Senator about the Presidential visit: “There were four holdouts yesterday before your meeting with the President. Did he succeed in changing any minds?” McCaskill declared: “Well, I think we’re getting there. Failure’s not an option.”
A defensive Robin Roberts on Monday lauded the potential passage of any kind of health care bill as a "historic moment," seeming to bristle at Bill O’Reilly’s grade of a D for the President’s performance on this issue. The Fox News host appeared on Good Morning America to award Barack Obama a D, C and B, overall.
O’Reilly bluntly assessed, "Health care, I'd say D as in dog...But, you can't be putting out a 2,000-page bill, which the Senate did, and President Obama has not been able to explain it." He challenged the ABC host, "Do you understand any of this? I don't." Seeming to ignore O’Reilly’s critique, Roberts shot back, "But we do know that if something is passed, Harry Truman couldn't get anything passed. President Clinton couldn't get anything passed. It will be an historic moment." [Audio available here.]
O’Reilly simply dismissed, "That's good. But, we won't understand what it is that's historic. We'll go, 'Hey, it's historic, but I don't know what it is!'"
gyp Slang vb gyps, gypping, gypped, gips gipping, gipped (tr) to swindle, cheat, or defraud [back formation from Gypsy]
Someone call the PC police. At a town hall in Allentown, PA today, Pres. Obama said he is seeking to regulate health insurance companies to make sure that people don't get "gypped."
Perhaps PBO thought the term would appeal to the crowd. This was Pennsylvania, after all, the state PBO imagines to be filled with bitter people clinging to "antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment."
Michelle Malkin absolutely ripped apart Nicholas Kristof's "crappy" Sunday New York Times column, "Are We Going to Let John Die?", a remorseless tear-jerker using a tragic story to guilt-trip recalcitrant Democrats like Sen. Joe Lieberman into supporting Obama-care.
Kristof explained that John Brodniak, a sawmill worker in Oregon, has hemangioma (an abnormal growth of blood vessels, causing him spasms, memory loss, and painful headaches) but can't get treatment for it in Oregon. Brodniak told Kristof he had been unable to get insurance, and thus unable to get relief from his agony. Kristof bemoaned intransigent politicians:
If a senator strolled indifferently by as John retched in pain, we would think that person pitiless. But isn't it just as monstrous for politicians to avert their eyes, make excuses and deny coverage to innumerable Americans just like John?
Today is World AIDS Day, on which we reflect on the global epidemic that has taken so many millions of lives and ponder ways in which we can improve world health by combating the terrible illness. In honoring the day, however, some news outlets have neglected to note the tremendous contributions to the AIDS effort undertaken by our last president.
MSNBC noted on its website a recent U.N. report that found that new cases of the syndrome are "stabilizing." "There are now 4 million people on lifesaving AIDS drugs worldwide, a 10-fold increase in five years," the article noted, adding that those drugs have saved roughly 3 million lives, according to the report (h/t NB reader Tom M.).
Yet MSNBC makes no mention of President Bush or his tremendous efforts to combat the global AIDS epidemic. It's not as if his contribution to the fight is ambiguous. U.S. News reports that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is credited for saving roughly 2 million lives.
Glenn Beck - he has one of the highest-rated shows on the top cable news network. He's had a number of bestselling books and he's called attention to some unsavory characters working in the Obama administration. Yet - he's somehow considered to be a risky business decision for the powers in charge at Fox News.
"He's talking there about Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who did get a provision in order to get her support for breaking the filibuster on the health care bill - $300 million for Louisiana," Kurtz said. "He said she was ‘hooking,' basically called her a prostitute."
If you aren't familiar with liberal radio host and MSNBC action hero Ed Schultz, you are about to encounter the quintessence of the man.
Schultz made the mistake of allowing a guest on his radio show Tuesday who knew what he was talking about. And as the conversation proceeded between Schultz and former Republican congressman Ernest Istook of Oklahoma, now with the Heritage Foundation, it became obvious that Schultz didn't have a clue (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: OK, give us your new information from the Heritage Foundation on health care. Tell us how screwed up the Democrats are on that.
ISTOOK: Well, you know, I think this may be in the category of unintended consequences, although frankly it may be part of the cost control. As we've been going through this 2,000 pages that have been brought up for debate in the US Senate, evidently the penalties that they put upon employers if their, the people who work for them go into this public plan, this so-called insurance exchange ...
SCHULTZ: Don't tell me they're going to jail! Please ...
"In today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer takes great pains to paint a bleak picture of health care reform as ‘monstrous,' ‘overregulated,' and rife with ‘arbitrary bureaucratic inventions,'" Pfeiffer wrote. "The columnist's argument may be cogent and well-written, but it is wholly inaccurate."
It's nice that the story of Rom Houben has recently made the news. I carried it as one of my own "Positivity" posts earlier this week.
A Google News Search on "Rom Houben Laureys" (not typed in quotes; Laureys is the last name of Houben's principal doctor) at about 11:30 p.m. ET came back with 1,528 results relating to the word of his amazing recovery and ability to communicate after 23 years of being "comatose."
That same search also comes back with 197 results questioning the legitimacy of his recovery. That number appears likely to grow, as the core article leading those results was only 8 hours old when this post was prepared.
From Brussels, the Associated Press's Raf Cassert gave voice to the doubters, while avoiding one of the real reasons why they're engaged in their doubting:
What’s hidden in health care reform that you haven’t heard about? Plenty. Without a news media interested in questioning the contents of the legislation, how could you know about the punitive taxes and job-killing provisions lurking in it?
My clients in the restaurant industry alerted me to the House bill’s mandate that all restaurants and retail establishments that are part of chains, franchise groups or multi-brand groups of more than 20 outlets be required to prominently post accurate calorie counts for most food items sold – including items on salad bars and buffets or self-serve counters.
Maybe this seems “healthy” on its face, until you consider the costs, the legal liability incurred in getting inaccurate information and posting it, the competitive disadvantage foisted on businesses with 20+ outlets vs. those with 19 or fewer, and the broader point of health care reform being used as means of creating new and expansive regulatory activity and interference in our lives.
(Incidentally, should you happen to own 20 restaurants, I advise shuttering the least productive one or ones and putting the staff on the unemployment rolls immediately. If you were thinking of investing in opening another restaurant and creating jobs, don’t.)
Envy is a form of flattery, but don't tell MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann.
Olbermann, on his Nov. 23 broadcast, didn't stray from his usual shtick of character assaults and name-calling for his "Worst Person in the World" segment. But he did hint his feelings were hurt after he named Fox News host Glenn Beck the third place recipient in this "Worst Person" contest.
"The bronze, to ‘Lonesome Rhodes' Beck who announced on Saturday he's starting either a political movement to sell a book or he's starting a book to sell a political movement. It'll take 100 years and it'll be based on Mao Tse-Tung's for China, or ... something. With incoherent mystical visions, it's hard to tell," Olbermann said.
Monday’s NBC Nightly News took up the story of liberal Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s public feud with the Catholic Church, and NBC’s Ron Allen implied something improper in how "the Catholic Church is flexing its religious and political muscle."
When Catholic officials endorse liberal initiatives like immigration reform or oppose an execution, the networks don’t worry about the separation of church and state. But with traditional stands against abortion and gay marriage in the crossfire, NBC’s screen graphic asked if the church was "Crossing the Line?" A secular-left lobbyist accused the church of being "not above spiritual and political blackmail."
NBC even used footage from Nicholas Ballasy’s video interview with Kennedy for Cybercast News Service, a news outlet affiliated with the MRC. But the brief snippet took out some of Kennedy’s hostility against the church for "fanning the flames of dissent and discord" over the "absolute red herring" of abortion. Here’s how NBC portrayed it:
Long after conservatives and the American people figured it out, CBS on Monday night came to the realization President Barack Obama has a “credibility” problem fueled by the “disconnect” between Obama's promise to reduce the deficit as he pushes for massive new spending. Back in August, the CBS Evening News denigrated the town hall questioners as “unruly protests,” but on Monday reporter Chip Reid warned:
The American people are increasingly questioning the President's credibility. He says the stimulus has saved or created 640,000 jobs, but only seven percent of Americans believe it has created any. And he's repeatedly promised health care reform will not increase the deficit, but a mere 19 percent believe him.
Reid proceeded to relay how CBS News analyst John Dickerson “says for many Americans there's a basic disconnect -- a President who promises to trim the budget but only seems to want to spend and spend.” More amazing for CBS, Reid noted how “highly respected foreign policy analyst Leslie Gelb” called Obama's just-completed Asia trip “'amateur hour' for failing to get deals locked in before the President left home.”
On Monday’s Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux became the latest CNN personality to use the offensive “teabagger” label to describe opponents of ObamaCare. Malveaux asked senior political analyst Gloria Borger, “Do we expect to see the kinds of big rallies and...the circus atmosphere that we saw...over the summer when you were talking about controversial policy, ‘teabaggers’ and all that other thing?” [audio clip available here]
The CNN anchor and correspondent, serving a substitute for the vacationing Wolf Blitzer, questioned Borger about the upcoming battle over health care “reform” in the Senate, after a 60-39 vote over the weekend to begin debate over the Democrats’ bill. Her use of the vulgar term came 14 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour:
On today's American Morning, anchor Kiran Chetry engaged Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele in a discussion of the Democrats' health care bill. Citing a recent CNN poll, she claimed that a majority wants "some kind of public option":
CHETRY: I know one of the things that Republicans are very much against is the public option. And this is a huge hurdle that has to pass. This would mean that the government would have a government-sponsored insurance plan competing with private insurers. And that's a very controversial move.
But our latest CNN poll shows that 56 percent are now in favor of some sort of public option. What is that telling you, as Republicans go out there and talk to their constituents...
STEELE: Well, it doesn't...
CHETRY: ... about the need for some sort of affordable insurance?
STEELE: Well, it's a nice poll. I like to see how the question was asked to the people, because that number tells me that they don't know exactly what it is. When you say some kind of public option...
CNN’s Rick Sanchez misrepresented the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the House Democrats’ health care plan on Monday’s Newsroom. Sanchez labeled the amendment a “conservative Republican challenge of health care reform.” The anchor also gave a false impression of an answer given by RNC Chairman Michael Steele in an earlier interview on American Morning.
Sanchez used the misleading label out of the gate in a segment which began 22 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “The Stupak Amendment was a conservative Republican challenge of health care reform by making Democrats agree to a provision to make sure that abortions are not covered under this new plan, and it was a successful challenge, by the way.”
Over the weekend, Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas offered an intriguing insight into the MSM’s approach to the liberal health care bill slowly rolling its way through the Democratic-controlled Congress. After conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer accurately pointed out how the Senate bill only pretends to be “deficit-neutral” by front-loading the tax collection process while delaying the payouts, Thomas agreed: “Charles is right. This bill is a fiscal fraud.”
But he quickly added: “I’d still vote for it.” (Video here.)
NPR’s Nina Totenberg attempted to defend the Senate bill as one that “actually tries to do something about costs.” But she, too, was insistent on the need for congressional passage: “I am not saying it’s ideal. But we have to start this. But if we don't get a health care bill this time, it is probably the last chance.”
Considering how fond liberals are of "teachable moments," it was surprising that CBS's "60 Minutes" missed one on its Nov. 22 broadcast.
"60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft took an in-depth look at one of the most expensive aspects of modern health care - the cost of end of life care. However, he didn't highlight the federal government's culpability in driving up those costs, or what it might mean for health care reform.
"Every medical study ever conducted has concluded 100 percent of all Americans will eventually die," Kroft said. "This comes as no great surprise. But, the amount of money being spent at the end of people lives probably will. Last year, Medicare paid $50 billion just for doctors' and hospital bills during the last two months of patients lives. That's more than the budget of the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Education. And it's been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of these medical expenditures may have had no meaningful impact."
Continuing the push for medical marijuana, on Monday’s CBS Early Show co-host Russ Mitchell declared: “As more youngsters are being diagnosed with autism, there is a growing need for alternative treatments. One California mother says medical marijuana has made vast improvements in her autistic son.”
Correspondent Hattie Kauffman reported: “Joey is severely autistic, so uninterested in food he was wasting away....But Mieko [Joey’s mother] claims it all changed with marijuana brownies.” Meiko Perez argued: “They’re seeing Joey come out. He’s never made noises. We didn’t even know he could make noise until the first batch of brownies.”
At the end of the brief report, Kauffman noted mild criticism of the controversial treatment: “The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes legalization of marijuana, but supports more research.” She then concluded: “Though there’s absolutely no evidence Marijuana cures autism, this mom says it has improved her child’s life.”
When outrage erupted this week over a government panel's recommendation that women have fewer mammograms, health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius was prepared with the Obama administration's favorite talking point: It's all Bush's fault. Appearing Wednesday on CNN's The Situation Room, Sebelius told anchor Wolf Blitzer:
This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush, and given the charge to routinely look at a whole host of services to make sure that new preventive services which had benefit were being looked at by health care providers and that things that they felt did not have as much benefit as we move forward were also looked at by health care providers.
Senate majority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) continued the theme on Friday as reported by Politico:
“The recommendation by this medical panel has been rejected by virtually everyone, including the current administration,” Durbin said. “They were appointed by President Bush.”
To say that there's good reason not to be impressed with a quite a few U.S. Senators is to state the obvious.
But I really hope that Dana Milbank either hasn't read or really doesn't remember A Streetcar Named Desire. Because in his coverage of the Senate vote last night to go forward to debate on its health care bill, the alleged journalist stooped well below the level of most of the blogosphere by in essence calling the United States Senate the House of 100 Prostitutes -- and worse.
Yes he did -- in a column the Post put on the top of the front page.
After observing the opportunistic, advantage-taking machinations of Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in return for the final two "yes" votes needed for passage, Milbank wrote the following:
In contending America already has health care rationing, ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a universal coverage advocate, on Friday night's World News asserted “we have a lot of rationing, based on income, the kind of insurance you have, the way you can navigate the health system” and “a recent Harvard study estimated that 45,000 people died each year in this country because of lack of health insurance. If that's not rationing, I don't know what is.”
That “Harvard study,” which the CBS Evening News promoted two months ago, was really produced by the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a left-wing advocacy group which touts itself as “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.” Study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of PNHP is one of five signers of an “Open Letter to President Obama to Support Single-Payer Health Care.”
What's $100 million of taxpayer money between a few U.S. Senators?
After reports surfaced of $100 million for Louisiana was added to the Senate's health care reform legislation, originally from ABC News, and subsequently commented upon by prominent lefties, like U.S. News and World Report's Bonnie Erbe as my colleague Noel Sheppard pointed out, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., took the Senate floor on Nov. 21 to announce she would vote in favor to proceed forward with the Senate Democratic leadership's bill.
She also responded to allegations that $100 million earmarked for the Louisiana was added to that legislation to sway her vote. She referred to the likes of ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl and Erbe as "very partisan Republican bloggers."
"I know that might time is up, but I would like to ask personal privilege for just one more minute to address an issue that has come up unfortunately in the last 24 hours by some very partisan Republican bloggers so I need to respond I think and will do so now," Landrieu said. "One of the provisions in the framework of this bill that I've just decided to move on to debate has to do with fixing a very difficult situation that Louisiana is facing and any other state that might have a catastrophic disaster - let's hope they don't - like we did in 2005."
Yesterday, CBS News.com's Political Hotsheet blog reported on "Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and the Politics of the Health Care Vote." It notes:
The focus is also on some Democrats with doubts, notably Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Nebraska's Ben Nelson, who aren't up but do represent very red states, and Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln, who is, and could face a tough test in 2010.
The piece later states that Nelson:
has cast many a conservative vote in representing a state that, while historically willing to send Democrats to the Senate, is nonetheless firmly Republican overall.
Many a conservative vote? According to interest group ratings compiled by Project Vote Smart, for 2008 the American Conservative Union assigned Nelson a rating of 16. The National Taxpayers Union gave him a rating of F. Nelson received a 100 from the liberal AFL-CIO for 2008 and an A for 2007-2008 from the liberal National Education Association. For 2007, Nelson racked up a 5 with Americans for Tax Reform.