Daily Archives: October 1, 2009

***Breaking News*** Senate Committee Passes Quasi-Public Option Amendment

**44-Update**:
Dems ease impact of health bill, big advance nears

WASHINGTON – Fearing a backlash, Democrats smoothed the impact of sweeping health care legislation on working-class families Thursday night and steered President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority toward a crucial Senate advance. The most far-reaching overhaul in decades aims to protect millions who have unreliable coverage or none at all.
Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee attacked the bill as riddled with tax increases that violated Obama’s campaign promises, but failed to remove any of them.
After marathon public debate, agreement by the committee is all but certain for the legislation, although no final vote was expected until next week. That formality — Democrats hold a 13-10 majority on the panel — will clear the way for the full Senate to begin work on the measure at mid-month. story from:


Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

Huffington Post/—The Senate Finance Committee narrowly passed an amendment Thursday from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that moves the conservative panel as close as it will likely get to a public health insurance option.

The amendment creates a “federally funded, non-Medicaid, state plan which combines the innovation and quality of private sector competition with the purchasing power of the states,” according to an overview.

It would be available to people with incomes above Medicaid eligibility but below 200 percent of the federal poverty level — a very narrow window. However, Republicans fear — and progressives hope — that once the plan becomes law there will be pressure to expand it.

The plan would not be free. It is based on Washington state’s Basic Health plan, which costs roughly 60 dollars a month, with the remainder of the premium subsidized by the state.

Private insurers would be eligible to participate in the plan, as would HMOs or other networks of health care providers.

The amendment has been gathering steam all week and was the subject of an extended private session of the finance committee Thursday afternoon before the vote, chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said.

More @ Huffington_Post_Logo

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Flouting Lobbying Ban, Ensign Helped Hampton Clients: Revealed in New York Times Investigation

Posted by TheLCster

Senator John Ensign (R-NV)

Senator John Ensign (R-NV)

TPM/Zachary Roth—We knew there was another shoe waiting to drop in the story of Nevada GOP senator John Ensign’s affair with his an aide’s wife.

And now it’s dropped. A lengthy investigation by the New York Times reveals that Ensign was far more involved than previously known in trying to get a job for Doug Hampton — his mistress’s husband — after the affair had been discovered. And that Ensign then used his influence in government to try to do favors for Doug Hampton’s new employers — apparently in violation of lobbying rules.

As Hampton summed up the basic problem to the Times: “The only way the clients could get what John was essentially promising them — which was access — was if I still had a way to work with his office,” Mr. Hampton said. “And John knew that.”

Senator John Ensign is the same hypocrite guy who was lecturing Democrats this week on the public option in health care reform. You really should read the whole thing…read all the revelations @ TPM

Related articles

Senator’s Aid to Mistress’s Husband Raises Ethics Flags

John Ensign: Public option would be popular, so let’s not do it

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First Lady Michelle Obama Makes Chicago Olympic Bid in Copenhagen

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Prince Albert of Monaco at a reception following the opening Ceremony of the 121st IOC Session at the Copenhagen Opera House on October 1, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 121st session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote on October 2 on whether Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro or Madrid will host the 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

After arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark on Wednesday morning, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed a crowd at Chicago Mayor Daley’s welcome reception.

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY

AT MAYOR DALEY’S WELCOME RECEPTION

Admiral Hotel

Copenhagen, Denmark

8:03 P.M. CEST

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, everybody. So, as my husband would say, we are fired up and ready to go in here. (Applause.) It’s a good thing. Well, first let me begin by thanking my dear friend, my chit-chat buddy, Oprah Winfrey. She talks about me coming here without hesitation. This is a woman who’s got a pretty busy schedule – taping shows, traveling across the globe, a woman with a full plate. I think that folks out there should understand how Chicagoans, even those who weren’t born and raised here, feel a passion about the city, so much so that we dropped everything – dropped everything – to be a part of this team. So I want to give Ms. Winfrey a round of applause as well. (Applause.)

One reporter asked me in a press briefing, “So, what do you think Oprah adds to the team?” I said, “Oprah is Oprah.” (Laughter.) What more do you have to say? I said every single city who’s bidding wishes they had Oprah on their team, and we have her, and we are grateful that she is a part of this endeavor. (Applause.)

It is so nice to see so many familiar faces. I mean, we really do miss Chicago. We’ve made a wonderful home in D.C. The girls are great; Grandma is good. Bo is no longer a puppy; he’s a big dog now. (Laughter.) But it’s wonderful to reconnect to my hometown.

When I looked at the bid initially, I was overwhelmed by what a beautiful concept was presented. You know, everything about this bid speaks to what the city has to offer. Having the Games right along that beautiful, glorious lakefront; using the existing park structure to ensure that we’re making the kinds of investments and we’ll have the kind of wonderful leave-behinds that will benefit the city over the long run; the notion that Olympic athletes who visit the city will live centrally, they’ll be 15 minutes from any competition site, that they’ll be able to walk, ride or bus to some of the greatest cultural offerings that this nation, that this world has to offer – it will be an athlete’s paradise in so many ways, and we will have it at a time in the city’s climate that will actually be nice. (Laughter.) The lake won’t be frozen over.

So I am thrilled. I am proud of our bid, and I am proud of this team. And I have to ask you, are we ready to go with this, right? You ready to go? (Applause.)

This bid also means a lot to me personally because, as First Lady, as many of you know, I’ve made it a priority to bridge the gap between the White House and communities across D.C. and across the country. I’ve spent much of my first nine months trying to open the doors to the White House to kids who might not otherwise see themselves having access to these institutions, because that’s where I came from – communities like that where kids never dreamed that they could set foot in the White House, let alone live there.

So I’ve wanted to open the doors of the White House and bring new opportunities to so many young kids – kids living in the midst of power and prestige, fortune and fame, but never really seeing their connections to those institutions.

And Barack and I made a point of doing the same thing when we lived in Chicago – making the concerns of kids in all sorts of communities our own, because we have been on both sides of that bridge. In so many ways, we have lived full lives on both sides of that bridge. And for me, this is one of the best reasons I can think of to bring the Olympics to our city.

We need all of our children to be exposed to the Olympic ideals that athletes from around the world represent, particularly this time in our nation’s history, where athletics is becoming more of a fleeting opportunity. Funds dry up so it becomes harder for kids to engage in sports, to learn how to swim, to even ride a bike. When we’re seeing rates of childhood obesity increase, it is so important for us to raise up the platform of fitness and competition and fair play; to teach kids to cheer on the victors and empathize with those in defeat, but most importantly, to recognize that all the hard work that is required to do something special.

I remember watching the Olympics when I was little. I remember it to the T, some of those memories. And Nadia Comaneci is here, who – (applause) – and so many incredible Olympic athletes. But I remember, I told this story, when you scored that perfect 10, you bounced off the balance beam, off the parallel bars. I thought I could do that. (Laughter.) I didn’t know then that I would be 5’11”. (Laughter.)

But it was – it was an activity in our household when it was time for the Olympic Games, all of us gathered around the TV cheering on and being inspired by people who were doing things that were beyond belief. And I just think, wouldn’t it be great if that kind of spirit was happening right down the street in our community? Just think of that. Kids and communities across the city, in Austin, kids who grew up in Cabrini, kids who live so far from the city. Now just imagine if all of that was happening right in their own backyard. That’s what I think about. (Applause.)

It does something to a kid when they can feel that energy and power up close and personal. And for some kids in our communities and our city, around the nation, around the world, they can never dream of being that close to such power and opportunity. So that’s what excites me most about bringing the Games to Chicago – the impact that it can have on the lives of our young people, and on our entire community.

And I know that’s what all of you have been working for for these past few months. As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the President to come for these few days, so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home, and you have put together a phenomenal set of ideas that, no matter what the outcome is, we should be proud of as a city. (Applause.)

So now is the time for us to pull it through, you know. As Barack and I have looked at this, this is like a campaign. (Laughter.) Just like Iowa. (Laughter.) You got to – and the international community may not understand that, but Iowa is like a caucus, and you can’t take any vote for granted. Nobody makes the decision until they’re sitting there.

So the next few days really provide us with a real opportunity to hold some hands, to have some conversations, to share our visions, to make the world understand that this is an opportunity for the United States to connect to the world in a really important way at a very critical time, and for each of us to show them our passion and sincerity to be part of the world in a very special way, and to let people know that we understand that sports saves lives, that it makes dreams come true, that it creates visions in kids’ heads to make them think they can be the next David Robinson, the next Barack Obama, the next Nadia Comaneci, the next Oprah Winfrey. Those dreams have to start somewhere, and for so many, they start when they watch the Olympics. And if we can show people that we understand that power and that possibility, then they will have the confidence that not only will we have the city – the Olympics in a city that works, but will execute this thing with the kind of passion and openness and sincerity that the world so greatly wants to see in us.

So let’s get it done. Thank you so much.

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Democrats Move Swiftly To Trash Pawlenty

Posted by Buellboy

Minnesota  Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty

Minnesota Governor and potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty

Huffington Post—Democrats moved swiftly on Thursday to frame potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty as a political creature cut from the same cloth as George W. Bush and the rest of the GOP.

Just hours after news broke that the Minnesota governor was setting the stage for a White House run with a new leadership PAC and a host of new advisers, officials at the Democratic National Committee peppered reporters with opposition research and acid-laced quotes. The committee’s press secretary, Hari Sevugan, accused Pawlenty of “recycling advisers from George W. Bush and relying on Washington insiders and lobbyists” to propel his political career.

The push continued late into the afternoon, when the DNC sent over copy of a new web video, in which it went through the list of T-Paw advisers, tying each one either to the Bush administration or the 2008 McCain campaign.

More @ Huffington_Post_Logo

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Tim Pawlenty Joke of the Day

“There’s a joke out now that says the main value of the Cash for Clunkers program may be that we’ll get a lot of cars with Obama stickers off the road.”~Governor Tim Pawlenty

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Republican Senator Lindsey Graham: Birthers are ‘Crazy,’ ‘Let’s Knock This Crap Off

We always give credit, where credit is due. Senator Graham, thank you for going on the record about this nonsense. You know we are all living in really strange political times. when we have to praise someone for truthfully saying that the duly elected President of the United States is really a US citizen. Good grief.

For his candor in this matter
Sen Graham receives The 44Diaries citation for:
gumtion

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GLAAD Study: More Gay Characters On Network TV, Fewer On Cable

Posted by Audiegrl

Jennifer Beals (L World), Charlie David (Dante's Cove), Eric Winter (Brothers & Sisters), Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters), Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck), John Barrowman (Torchwood), Gregory Michael (Dante's Cove), Reichen Lehmkuhl (Dante's Cove), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck). (Source GLAAD)

Jennifer Beals (L World), Charlie David (Dante's Cove), Eric Winter (Brothers & Sisters), Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters), Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck), John Barrowman (Torchwood), Gregory Michael (Dante's Cove), Reichen Lehmkuhl (Dante's Cove), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck). (Source GLAAD 2008)

Associated Press—The number of gay and bisexual characters on prime-time network TV is up slightly this season to 18 out of a total of 600 roles, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

The increase over 2008 fell well short of the more than twofold percentage jump in the ’08 season compared to 2007, according to the group.

And on mainstream cable channels the number of such characters continued to drop, slipping from a total of 32 in 2008 to 25 this year. The 2007 tally was 40.

Two channels that program for gay viewers, here! and Logo, add 27 gay characters to the cable total, GLAAD said.

The 14th annual “Where We Are on TV” report released Wednesday found that 3 percent of actors appearing regularly on network drama and comedy series in the 2009-10 season will portray gay, lesbian or bisexual characters.

That’s up from 2.6 percent in the 2008-09 season. In 2007-08, it was 1.1 percent.

Only four of the 18 characters this season are nonwhite, GLAAD found, and there is only one lesbian, on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Using information provided by ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and CW, the group reviewed 79 scripted series announced to air this season.

The steady increase in gay characters is promising, as are story lines that are becoming “more reflective of current issues affecting our lives,” GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in a statement.

More @ Associated Press

For GLAAD’s complete list of LGBT characters on cable, click here.

About GLAAD
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.

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Secret Service: Facebook Poll No Threat to Obama

Posted by Audiegrl

Social Media Assassination Poll for Obama Posted on Facebook

Social Media Assassination Poll for Obama Posted on Facebook

Associated Press/Eileen Sullivan—The Secret Service has determined that a juvenile was behind the online survey that asked whether people thought President Barack Obama should be assassinated, an agency spokesman said Thursday.

No criminal charges will be filed against the juvenile or the juvenile’s parents, spokesman Edwin Donovan said. Donovan would not identify the names of the child or parents or say where they are from.

The poll, posted Saturday on Facebook, was taken off the popular social networking site quickly after company officials were alerted to its existence. But, like any threat against the president, Secret Service agents took no chances.

The poll asked respondents “Should Obama be killed?” The choices: No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.

More @ Associated Press

Previous story:

Facebook Poll: “Kill Obama?” Pulled Down, Secret Service Investigating

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