Category Archives: Public Option

Mele Kalikimaka: The Obama Family’s Annual Christmas Vacation

Honolulu Star Bulletin/Richard Borreca—Hawaii’s home-grown president, Barack Obama, is expected back in Honolulu on Dec. 23, according to sources in Washington.

The president and his family are expected to stay until Jan. 2, meaning he will celebrate both Christmas and New Year’s in the islands.

In the past, Obama made a point of celebrating Christmas with his grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham. The woman who raised Obama when his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was working and studying in Indonesia, died last November.

Also in past years, Obama would spend time with his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng.

Soetoro-Ng and her husband, Konrad Ng, are also expected back in Honolulu. They were living in Washington, D.C., this year while Ng, a University of Hawaii professor, was scholar-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American program.

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A Very Hawaiian Health Care Bill?

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Christmas 2008

TPM/Christina Bellantoni—The White House has long been saying President Obama wants a health care bill on his desk this year.

That’s the messaging used by the DNC’s Organizing for America, pro-health reform groups and, as Brian reported this week, the Democratic leadership is prepared to work “right through Christmas.”

TPMDC followed up asking Gibbs about the First Family’s annual Hawaiian vacation. The dates aren’t public yet, but Obama will be in the Aloha state for a good chunk of time in late December.

If the bill is passed the president would be happy to sign it in Hawaii – I could think of any number of picturesque locations,” Gibbs said.

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Back to The Happy Holidays Main Page

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Definition of Cloture: An Agreement to Limit Debate NOT to Begin Debating

Posted by Guest Contributor Will Johnston from Mind Muse

UPDATE: Looks like I was wrong on this one. While cloture is a motion to end debate, on Saturday the Senate invoked cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill, not on the bill itself, making the statement that the senate agreed to begin debating the bill a true one. I should have looked more closely!

Time for a quick civics lesson! Countless news agencies are misreporting that yesterday’s Senate vote on the health care bill is a vote to begin debating the bill.

From the Washington Post:

After days of indecision, the last two Democratic holdouts — Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) — joined their caucus in supporting a motion to begin debate.

From the New York Times:

The Senate voted on Saturday to begin full debate on major health care legislation

From CNN:

the Senate voted to move ahead with a floor debate

These are just a few examples, but you can find countless others on Google News.

The problem?

They’re all wrong. The Senate voted to invoke cloture, a motion to limit debate on a bill or other matter (i.e. nomination) pending before the Senate.

In olden days, you couldn’t actually ever stop debate on a bill if any Senator wanted to keep talking about it. As you can imagine, this meant that if a couple of Senators were really opposed to something, they could just take turns talking about it until the rest of the Senators caved and moved on to the other things they needed to vote on. In an effort to help move things along, the Senate changed its rules so that if two-thirds of the Senators wanted to end debate, they could do so by invoking cloture. Yes, it sounds a lot like closure, and the two words have very similar meanings. They’re about bringing something to an end.

The bar for invoking cloture was still so high that it was nearly impossible to do. Getting two-thirds of the Senate to agree on everything is like getting two three-year-olds to eat all of their vegetables. In fact, cloture was only invoked five times during the next 46 years. Consequently, the Senate changed its rules to require only three-fifths of the Senators to vote for a cloture motion in order for it to pass.

I hope this little history and civics lesson has helped you understand what the Senate voted on last night. The fact is that the news agencies weren’t reporting what really happened. Cloture takes a bit more to explain well than can be put in a news article about another topic, so they took a shortcut. The party in control of Congress (currently the Democratic Party) sets the agenda and can debate whatever they want. They didn’t have to win a Senate vote to debate health care reform, they had to win a Senate vote to put an end to debating health care reform so they can actually vote on passing the bill.

How do I know so much about cloture? Well, I used to work for a Senator, so I learned a lot about what it was and how it worked. I didn’t really know the history part, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, and Wikipedia pointed me to two articles on the Senate website that give the history of cloture.

Cloture Rule~March 8, 1917
Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate

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The Pit Bull in the China Shop by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich—At last the American right and left have one issue they unequivocally agree on: You don’t actually have to read Sarah Palin’s book to have an opinion about it. Last Sunday Liz Cheney praisedGoing Rogue” as “well-written” on Fox News even though, by her own account, she had sampled only “parts” of it. On Tuesday, Ana Marie Cox, a correspondent for Air America, belittled the book in The Washington Post while confessing that she couldn’t claim to have “completely” read it.

Going Rogue” will hardly be the first best seller embraced by millions for talismanic rather than literary ends. And I am not recommending that others follow my example and slog through its 400-plus pages, especially since its supposed revelations have been picked through 24/7 for a week. But sometimes I wonder if anyone has read all of what Palin would call the “dang” thing. Some of the book’s most illuminating tics have been mentioned barely — if at all — by either its fans or foes. Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid. Those who wishfully think her 15 minutes are up are deluding themselves.

The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush.

Equally revealing is the one boldfaced name conspicuously left unmentioned in the book: Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandchild. Though Palin and McCain milked him for photo ops at the Republican convention, he is persona non grata now that he’s taking off his campaign wardrobe. Is Johnston’s fledgling porn career the problem, or is it his public threats to strip bare Palin family secrets as well? “She knows what I got on her” is how he put it. In Palin’s interview with Oprah last week, it was questioning about Johnston, not Katie Couric, that made her nervous.

The book’s most frequently dropped names, predictably enough, are the Lord and Ronald Reagan (though not necessarily in that order). Easily the most startling passage in “Going Rogue,” running more than two pages, collates extended excerpts from a prayerful letter Palin wrote to mark the birth of Trig, her child with Down syndrome. This missive’s understandable goal was to reassert Palin’s faith and trust in God. But Palin did not write her letter to God; she wrote the letter from God, assuming His role and voice herself and signing it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.” If I may say so — Oy!

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Citizens for Real Health Care Reform and a PUBLIC OPTION

Dear Supporters,

Moments ago, the Senate voted to begin its full debate on historic health care reform legislation instead of obstructing it with a filibuster.

Tonight’s vote marks the biggest victory to date for our grassroots effort to pass health care reform with a public option. We cannot give enough thanks to the over 100,000 signers of our petition at CitizensForAPublicOption.com for helping to fundamentally shift the momentum towards meaningful reform.

Not long ago, a few loud opponents of reform armed and organized by the insurance industry dominated this debate. Now the American people, the majority of whom support a public option, have spoken out and gained the upper hand.

Not long ago, the public option seemed like little more than a pipe dream. Now it’s part of health care bills in both the Senate and the House.

Not long ago, members of our own Democratic caucus weren’t sure they could even support an up-or-down vote on health care reform legislation. Tonight they voted to end the Republican filibuster.

But despite this good news, the fight for meaningful health care reform is not over. As we debate amendments to this legislation in the coming weeks, we will work with our colleagues to ensure it continues to address the “Three C’s” of meaningful reform: competition, choice, and cost reduction. And we will firmly oppose any effort to eliminate the public option.

Tonight we celebrate a milestone no one thought we could reach just months ago. Tomorrow the fight continues. We will not let up until the President signs a bill we can all be proud of.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Senator Dick Durban, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Chuck Schumer

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CANCELLED!! Tea Party Group To Get ‘Fired Up For Freedom,’ Burn Rep. Perriello In Effigy

Posted by Audiegrl

Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA)

Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA)

TPM/Eric Kleefeld—The local Tea Party organization in Danville, Virginia, is taking their opposition to freshman Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello to a whole new level — announcing that they will burn him in effigy, along with a similar image of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at a rally called “Fired Up For Freedom.”

At this point we feel we have no representation in Congress,” Danville Tea Party chairman Nigel Coleman told the Chatham Star Tribune, with the chief complaint being Perriello’s vote for the House health care bill this past weekend.

Perriello’s office declined to comment to TPM about this.

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***TPM Update I***

DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen has responded in a statement. “These shocking and despicable acts are becoming all too common at extreme right-wing Republican rallies. Hanging Members in effigy or displaying images of Nazi concentration camps on the steps of the Capitol have no place in any debate and Republican Members of Congress must condemn these actions,” said Van Hollen. “While there should be a robust debate about reforming America’s broken health insurance system, violent expressions are beyond the boundaries of a respectful debate. The American people are counting on Republicans to join Democrats in a constructive debate to help President Obama bring about urgently-needed health insurance reform.

***TPM Update II***

TPM: The plan by the Danville TEA Party Patriots to burn Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in effigy — a sort of Tea-Party Burning Man — has been called off, Greg Sargent reports: “We will not be going forward with the plan,” a crestfallen Coleman told me by phone moments ago. “We had to cancel it. The property owner won’t allow us to do it. The media attention was something that he didn’t want.”

Coleman said he was upset that people had gotten the wrong idea about his plan. “I’m disappointed that the story got out of hand and people misinterpreted something we thought would be a little historical lesson. They made people believe that we were committing an act of violence,” he said, adding that the “they” in question were the “liberal blogs.”

On Nov. 5, Perriello had a conversation with several of the TEA Party members, attempting to explain his position while they talked over him:

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Danville TEA Party to burn Rep. Perriello in effigy

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AP FACT CHECK: Palin’s book goes rogue on some facts

Posted by Audiegrl

PALIN-hugesAP/Calvin Woodward—Sarah Palin’s new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven’t become any truer over time. Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer’s dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in “Going Rogue,” obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:

PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking “only” for reasonably priced rooms and not “often” going for the “high-end, robe-and-slippers” hotels.

THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City’s Central Park for a five-hour women’s leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children’s travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.

PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC. Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees. She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife and $30 from a state representative in the weeks after the two Republican lawmakers’ offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oilfield services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she gave a comparative sum to charity.

PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, “you’ll have to be brave enough to fail.

THE FACTS: Palin is blurring the lines between Obama’s stimulus plan — a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts — and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.

Palin’s views on bailouts appeared to evolve as McCain’s vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said “taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street.” A week later, she said “ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.”

During the vice presidential debate in October, Palin praised McCain for being “instrumental in bringing folks together” to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said “it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in.”

PALIN: Writes about a city councilman in Wasilla, Alaska, who owned a garbage truck company and tried to push through an ordinance requiring residents of new subdivisions to pay for trash removal instead of taking it to the dump for free — this to illustrate conflicts of interest she stood against as a public servant.

THE FACTS: As Wasilla mayor, Palin pressed for a special zoning exception so she could sell her family’s $327,000 house, then did not keep a promise to remove a potential fire hazard on the property.

She asked the city council to loosen rules for snow machine races when she and her husband owned a snow machine store, and cast a tie-breaking vote to exempt taxes on aircraft when her father-in-law owned one. But she stepped away from the table in 1997 when the council considered a grant for the Iron Dog snow machine race in which her husband competes.

PALIN: Says she tried to talk about national security and energy independence in her interview with Vogue magazine but the interviewer wanted her to pivot from hydropower to high fashion.

THE FACTS are somewhat in dispute. Vogue contributing editor Rebecca Johnson said Palin did not go on about hydropower. “She just kept talking about drilling for oil.

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PALIN: “Was it ambition? I didn’t think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons.” Throughout the book, Palin cites altruistic reasons for running for office, and for leaving early as Alaska governor.

THE FACTS: Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But “Going Rogue” has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate.

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Go pop some popcorn folks, because there’s more…lots more @ Associated Press

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Stewart mocks Hannity for inflating Bachman rally attendance+ Fox fact checks Sarah Palin

daily show.logo finalComedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart nails it once again. Watch as Stewart explains how Fox News’ Sean Hannity tries to inflate crowd numbers by splicing in video footage from another larger rally.

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Sean Hannity Apologizes to Jon Stewart

Fox News Fact-Checks Sarah Palin’s Coin Conspiracy Theory
This must sting a bit. Sarah Palin’s newest conspiracy theory on the “disturbing” redesign of U.S. coins was too much, even for Fox News — on Tuesday night, Fox fact-checked Palin.

Last Friday, while speaking at a Wisconsin Right to Life fundraising banquet — attendees were barred from bringing cell phones, cameras, laptops — Palin rolled out the latest: an anti-Christian conspiracy in the redesign of U.S. coins. Palin waded into the subject by remarking that there had been a lot of “change” of late — for example, the redesign of U.S. currency which moved the once-centered text “In God We Trust” to the edge of coins.

“Who calls a shot like that?” Palin demanded on Friday. “Who makes a decision like that?”

As Fox News anchor Bret Baier noted: President Bush, that’s who.

Source: Huffington_Post_Logo

Related:
Obama To Give Interview To Fox News
President Obama will give an interview to Fox News’ Major Garrett, Drudge reports.

The interview will take place in China next week and comes just one day after it was reported that Obama Communications Director Anita Dunn the so-called general in the administration’s war against Fox News will be stepping down.

more here: Huffington_Post_Logo

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