Quick Hits for November 19, 2009
* I find it strangely entertaining to watch Republicans complain about two thousand page health care bills full of too many details after they got done whining about Democrats being too vague with not enough specifics.
* Guess who is seeking Wall Street banking fundraising dollars as the GOP blocked a bill to freeze credit card interest rates ahead of the implementation of credit card reform. After the bill passed, credit card companies have been hiking interest rates faster than a sprinter on steroids to get the rate hikes in before the reform was implemented. Democrats proposed a temporary rate freeze to prevent further rate hikes attempting to circumvent the reform and protect consumers, but the GOP blocked it in the Senate, potentially costing average Americans millions and millions of dollars.
* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's abortion compromise is the talk of the new health care bill. Reid's compromise prohibits federal funding for abortions, but allows private insurance to pay for it, while also insisting that at least one plan in the insurance exchange will pay for abortions and one will not, to guarantee choices for each. It sounds like a reasonable compromise, but be sure that Republicans will demand elimination of any compromises as they continue to be the "Party of No."
* Republicans have been attacking Attorney General Eric Holder for his decision to prosecute 9/11 terrorists in New York City. While it has a very significant international benefit, and strong national security benefits, the right still insists on making specious arguments. The very implication the terrorists would be found not guilty is hardly realistic. Does anyone really think any jury in New York City, the site of 9/11, would find them not guilty is silly at best. To proclaim serious security concerns given the history of trying terrorists in criminal courts over the last few decades further indicates it is a silly argument to proclaim it is dangerous.
However, the symbolic value to trusting in Justice as a value, not simply a term for revenge, could mean thousands of terrorists not recruited for their cause because America starts to live up to its values instead of being the nation that throws away its values at the first sign of a threat. Republicans often talk about values, but when was the last time they actually lived up to those values?
* While the mammogram findings of an independent government task force were controversial, and rightly so, it appears that we are starting to find clarification as the task force was appointed by President Bush, and also has no legal standing, so the current administration says it will never make it into public policy. So ladies, continue your self-examinations (they probably saved my grandmother's life), and follow AMA guidelines on your mammograms. The Obama Administration supports you.
* Get ready for Republican attacks on the Senate Health Care bill which has been CBO evaluated to reduce the deficit and provide a strong public option, even giving states an opt out clause so that Republicans can take the strong public stand by opting out of the program all together and face their constituents. It reduces the deficit, it let's them opt out of the program to minimize government in their lives, and it doesn't pay for abortion with a single federal dollar. Just wait, there will be more Nazi and Socialist and Communist proclamations, but they are running out of actual policy reasons to vote against it. The truth is they will vote against it and try to block it because if it becomes policy and they opt out, they know they will be kicked out of office for doing so.
* I find it interesting that Republicans are bashing President Obama for the economy but they forget that the last time the economy was this bad, it took President Reagan 2 1/2 years to get it turned around. Today, the GOP is saying that he hasn't done it after a year, yet he has only been in office for about 10 months. It continues to make them look more unreasonable and silly.
* Next time you hear "death panels," remember, the private insurance company "death panel" is called an actuary, and they make assessments totally based on corporate profits. They are the ones who decide that not paying for some tests are too expensive, sometimes because having to treat your illness would be more expensive than the lawsuit if you survive. Those are the "death panels" that Sarah Palin doesn't want to talk about because they are worse than the public option alternative. Remember, it isn't a public option versus utopia; it is a public option versus what we have now where 46 million are uninsured, and many suffer due to actuarial decision making.
* With shortages in many fish from Salmon to Tuna, it may be time to start charging a small tax on fish of say, one cent per fish sold off a boat, that goes to an international fisheries group that might restock fish in the oceans the same way American Hatcheries stock our lakes with sport fish for Americans. It is a small price to pay for making sure that we keep our oceans stocked with food for people.