* While Hillary Clinton sounded a little nutty when she proclaimed the "vast right wing conspiracy" over a decade ago, when Bill talks about it today, it is much easier to see and understand. The Echo Chamber is its new name, the meetings are now public, the talking points and coordination are in the open, and even Rush's statements about trying to make President Obama fail point to it. I guess that vindicates Hillary's original statement, though it won't play like that in the common consciousness of Americans in all likelihood.
* After spending three weeks in the Philippines, the stories of what is happening in Manila make me sad for such wonderful people. There are also opportunities to help out, to view what is going on, and to donate for relief. They aren't out of danger as two potential typhoons are forming in the Pacific that may track for more visits on the already hard hit nation. However, it also shows another impact of social networking on the internet and its potential benefits.
* After spending years telling us how full of it Hollywood actors are for their political views, the hypocritical right hoist yet another actor up to tell us to violate the U.S. Code by soaking the flag in tea to show support for the founding fathers. I am trying to figure out how the right supports the desecration of the flag while shouting down liberals for desecration of the flag in protests; how they support the hoisting up of actors endlessly while shouting down liberal actors whether they are linked to the party or not; or how they speak of the rule of law while advocating the breaking of the very laws they have supported for years. It is just one more place where power rules their thoughts over principles, and values are meaningless except where it works in words to get voters out.
* South Carolina Governor Candidate Dean Allen decided to try something different to proclaim his gun credentials to the right. Allen decided to have a "machine-gun social" where he raffled off an AK-47 to a supporter. While it is interesting that he didn't decide to raffle off an American weapon to show his 2nd Amendment patriotism, it does say something when someone has to buy their credentials. Maybe he can hand out Bibles to people to proclaim his morality, whether or not he has ever gone to church. Finally, he can raffle children for adoption to proved he is against abortion. How pathetic have we become that these stunts actually work and give someone credibility on an issue? What's next? Is someone going to have surgery to prove they understand the health care system?
* While not a big fan of the notion of giving Libyan leader Moammar Qadaffi's family's charities $400,000 as part of an aid package, it is a little hypocritical for the right to go after the Obama Administration for giving aid to the "dictator" and slamming him after the Bush Administration brought Libya back in from the cold and packaging aid for them. No help from Libya was ever going to make Qadaffi an American puppet to say and do everything President Bush wanted, but it was considered part of helping bring Libya back into the international fold and ending its support for terrorism. Gretta seemed to have missed that bit of thought.
* Republicans have long pushed tort reform for health care to limit caps on punitive damages. The results are starting to show up in the states that have done this. Health insurers are more willing to deny coverage for critical tests to save money for both the test and costly treatment of life threatening illnesses. It turns out, lawyers are not willing to take the cases because they won't make enough money to cover the costs of taking on a multi-billion dollar corporation with teams of trial lawyers to cover the butts of its "death panels." It simply costs less for the insurers to let someone die and pay a settlement under the reform caps than it does to pay for their care to try to save their lives.
To illustrate, my brother in law's story makes the point:
my brother-in-law has had a mass found in his brain. The doctors think it may have spread there from somewhere else and the insurance company balked at a spinal MRI, and are still disagreeing with its necessity after the fact even though it showed a mass in his spine. The doctors think that may have spread from elsewhere, but the insurance company is balking at doing an MRI on the rest of the body to find out the full story because it is expensive. My brother-in-law's doctor's need for the tests to get a full picture of what is going on appears to be secondary to the insurance company's profits.
That was in July. This is September and the insurance company has left him high and dry, with no test, no diagnosis, and left with only a prayer to get any treatment. He is left with no recourse in a state where tort reform leaves him no real option for recourse. This solution is not a solution, it is profiteering at the cost of the lives of Americans.