BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Don't bet your shirt on it...

Mark Mardell | 19:36 UK time, Friday, 12 March 2010

The president's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, appeared in the White House briefing room dressed in a Canadian hockey shirt.

Mr Gibbs.jpg

He was honouring a bet with his Canadian counterpart after the USA lost a match.

Rather unsportingly, I thought, he quickly took it off to reveal an American one underneath.

He'd already twittered the latest news: The president is delaying his long planned trip to Indonesia because of healthcare on Capitol Hill.

He was planning to go next Thursday, now he's not going until Sunday.

He'll spend the extra time talking to reluctant Democrats trying to persuade them to vote for the latest healthcare legislation. There's a lot of them.

Mr Gibbs originally said healthcare reform would go through before the president left. It says something that Mr Obama has to change his dates and plans to make this at least possible.

Will the healthcare bill be through the House by this time next week?

Don't bet your shirt on it!

But if they don't pass something soon, the president will be left looking rather bare. I hate to think what Mr Gibbs, would, or wouldn't wear, to declare such bad news for his team.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 8:39pm on 12 Mar 2010, Scotch Git wrote:


    I thought hockey was a game for wee lassies.

    >8-D

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 8:53pm on 12 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    I agree it was unsporting. He should have worn it for the entire session, and left the US jersey out of it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 8:53pm on 12 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Looks good on him.

    Might have been an opportunity to extol single payer public health care - available pretty much wherever you find the Maple Leaf.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 9:12pm on 12 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Good for Robert Gibbs, he honored his bet and then he reminded everyone of where his loyalties are.

    President Obama's decision to delay his trip to Indonesia is not surprising. Considering the number of reluctant Democrats in the House it would be highly irresponsible for the President to leave the country and make Nancy Pelosi solely responsible for the outcome of such an important piece of legislation. He must keep the pressure on wavering Democrats or there is a good chance this Bill will not pass.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 9:41pm on 12 Mar 2010, Blogs On wrote:

    The Canadian hockey shirt looks bright and cheerful compared with the more formal and institutional U.S. one, and Gibbs should have worn it throughout the conference in complete recognition of Canada's men's Olympics ice hockey win.

    About health care legislation, people shouldn't hold their breaths in expectation that anything really meaningful will emerge from Congress. Too many Democrats owe their political souls to special interests which are opposed and the Republicans have made a dogma of being obstructionist.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 9:43pm on 12 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    The shirt(s) look great. So does the smile.

    Dear Mr Mark Mardell, what is wrong with your computer? I imagine an Important BBC Journo such as yourself has a far more sophisticated model than my small steam operated machine, but even mine has a grammar and spell check facility. Perhaps I shouldn't bet you (sic) shirt on it?

    Love the blog.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 9:44pm on 12 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Has anyone else noticed that Mark Mardell is a dead ringer for Robert Gibbs?

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 9:51pm on 12 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 9. At 9:56pm on 12 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    After a year, 48 hours is really going to make a difference? Like McCain's time off to save the economy? He'll be wearing his underpants outside his trousers, will he? When, from what I've read today there are even more lapsed Democrats that need to be won round than there were six months ago? And any kind of Public Option's been finally put to death? What else will be ruled out or emasculated?

    (I must say that I agree, with considerable bemusement, with Michael Tomasky in The Guardian today. The utter ineptitude of both the Democrats generally and some of those around Obama in the White House is mind-boggling. Makes our John Major and Tory Central Office 13/14 years ago look like a Mensa AGM.)

    As I've said (before the 'Keep Out Club' starts in on us again) I've at least got an interest not just through general principles, but because I know people who need, and will benefit from reform. But I can't help wondering if it might not be best to apply the 2nd Amendment and shoot this one to put it out of our misery.


    I can't wait to see what the rabid right will do with Obama 'going home' to Indonesia. . .but if health insurance gets even a toehold in the US media after Sunday, the way things seem to have been going, I'll be amazed.

    (Magick Giraffe, Meerkitty, all geared up ready are we?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 9:56pm on 12 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Mark,
    Wasn't it earlier reported that Netenyahu's visit did not correspond with The President's own agenda, with the Indonesian visit keeping them apart?
    I do not know the actual dates involved, but could this be the reason for the change in plans?
    Perhaps somebody out there knows?

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 10:07pm on 12 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3855336,00.html

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 10:19pm on 12 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 9, Squirrelist

    "I can't wait to see what the rabid right will do with Obama 'going home' to Indonesia. . ."

    Add to that Hillary's rebuke of Israel's decision to build 1,600 new apartments in Jerusalem and this may turn into Gunfight at the OK Corral.

    I agree with the comment about ineptitude. I think the Administration has done a pathetic job at explaining the benefits of healthcare reform to the American public. Predictably, their ineptitude or over confidence allowed the opposition and special interests to get the upper hand and now they are in a position that was totally unnecessary.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 10:25pm on 12 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    "But if they don't pass something soon, the president will be left looking rather bare. I hate to think what Mr Gibbs, would, or wouldn't wear, to declare such bad news for his team."

    Mark says, dripping with sarcasm. Perhaps your jaunt into the nether world of pink pistol-holders has cost you some valuable perception time into the real machinations of Washington, D.C.

    Healthcare reform. Historic. Down to the wire.

    Hello Mark...where are you? Wisconsin?!?

    The bill will pass. There has been a sea-change of determination by the Democrats. A change that will last long into 2012. Dems pass legislation while duly ignoring their obstructionist counterparts.

    America was saved -- and the 'righteous' lived happily ever after.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 10:44pm on 12 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Scotch-git -1 - It is.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 10:47pm on 12 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    Just yesterday we were hearing Pelosi had the votes, now Obama must stay home to stiffen-up the lower lips of his team. The longer this goes on without something to show for it the bigger the fall will be.

    While nothing is over until the fat lady sings, I think I hear her warming up just off stage. It sounds like a dirge to health care just now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 10:53pm on 12 Mar 2010, carolinalady wrote:

    All y'all: Mark DOES look like Robert Gibbs! Why haven't we seen it before?

    At the risk of having my liberal/lefty credentials lifted, I just truly don't know WHERE healthcare reform is going to go. The punditry is either optimistic of immediate passage or in denial of ever passing it -- depending on which end of the political spectrum they associate with. Speaker Pelosi, who doesn't EVER bring a bill to the floor that she can't win (look it up) has demurred and tapdanced and now there's this story that "the public option" is "out" of the bill she will bring to the floor of the House...well, duh. Of course it is. The House is supposed to be voting to pass the Senate's bill (which doesn't include the public option) as part of the "reconciliation" process. Somebody is making 24-hour news cycle hay out of pretty much nothing on that item.

    Aren't you sorry we got off firearms and back to this?

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 10:54pm on 12 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    What a funny blog.


    Watermanaquarious. 11

    That article linked says"showing growing support for Israel among American public"

    This is absolute bull.
    The support is weakening. And SO they print out lies like Gerbils .

    Sorry I have to go find some righty tighties they are so much more interesting for people of my profession.



    12 it was pretty hard to explain anything with all the obstructive lies and shouting.
    As has been witnessed here on this site.
    Every time a point is raised the rabid right throw up (wrong science for me) a pile of lies and refuse to let the truth be discussed.
    That would be normal if those that did not believe them that wanted to really debate were allowed to. they were not. Even when the lies were outed and exposed they kept saying them.
    From death panels to the overstated importance of malpractice reform.

    But the American debate is framed within the contect of freespeech even if that allows nothing but lies to stand.
    The loudest bully wins.
    Those who try to relate to issues are subdued, put down, or told to Leave.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 10:55pm on 12 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    1 Don't worry you won't feel out of place if you join in.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 11:01pm on 12 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    There is a thoughtful and thought-provoking article in todays New York Times by David Brook "Getting Obama Right" which illustrates the man well. At least, as well as any of us on the outside can.

    Seems to me he is pursuing with tenacity and honesty goals that will improve life for millions of his fellow citizens, and being met with obstructionists at every step. It is not enough to say 'no' simply because he is the wrong colour - politically, not racially, I hasten to add. Tho', sadly, that may also be true too in the land of the free. if it takes a few more days to pass such historic legislation I imagine the rest of the world, and Indonesia, will muddle along somehow until President Obama visits.

    If this bill does go through there will be celebrations and recriminations in equal amounts I shouldn't wonder, probably accompanied by whoops and gunfire. At least the accidentally winged will be able to afford a hospital visit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 11:19pm on 12 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    scatologist # 17

    Don't shoot the messenger. I only found it and linked it so Mark was informed.
    Perhaps ynet is the equivalent of Fox in the US.
    If you notice the figures at up to 101%,- 63+15+23=101

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 11:22pm on 12 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    1. At 8:39pm on 12 Mar 2010, Scotch-git wrote:


    I thought hockey was a game for wee lassies.

    I believe you're thinking of field hockey, not professional "ice" hockey where you may sometimes see the game being played in between bouts of violence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 11:25pm on 12 Mar 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re #5. At 9:41pm on 12 Mar 2010, Blogson wrote:

    "About health care legislation, people shouldn't hold their breaths in expectation that anything really meaningful will emerge from Congress. Too many Democrats owe their political souls to special interests which are opposed and the Republicans have made a dogma of being obstructionist."

    Obstructionist? It's pretty much the job description of the political opposition to oppose, not slavishly agree with the party in power. Democrats certainly had no qualms about dragging their feet when they were in opposition and forcing Republicans to make compromises with them. Now that the shoe is on the other foot they're complaining abut the same behavior they practiced when they were in the minority. Oh those nasty Republicans, they won't vote like Democrats. The big meanies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 11:34pm on 12 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 17, scatologist

    "From death panels to the overstated importance of malpractice reform."

    In all fairness, the opposition also includes a number of Democrats more concerned with their re-election chances than the welfare of the American people. Their last stand is abortion, even though the proposed bill adheres to the tenets of the Hyde ammendment which prohibits public funding for abortion. The argument is that the Hyde ammendment must be re-introduced every year and the conservatives want specific, unambiguous, and permanent language in the healthcare bill banning public funding for abortion.

    Obviously, just doing away with the pre-existing condition clause, eliminating the caps, reducing co-pays, and controlling premiums are steps in the right direction, but if that is all that is going to be included in the so-called reform you have to ask if it was worth pursuing this goal.

    Hopefully whatever little we get will lay the foundation for bigger and better things, but considering the heavy price Democrats are likely to pay for the audacity of meddling with the insurance industry, I suspect it will be a very long time before another US President tackles this issue.



    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 11:41pm on 12 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    When Obama personally appeals to "reluctant Democrats" it means he will be passing out the PORK directly from the oval office!

    Obama's harangue in Missouri was disgraceful. He was SHOUTING like a dictator, he looked for all the world like Hugo Chavez! I am amazed that there were no comments on his unseemly behavior.

    There was a feeling all along that House Democrats haven't gotten their share of "gimme" for the home district. Well vote-buying is nothing new in the Democratic Party. This is the sleaziest politics America has seen in over 100 years.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 11:43pm on 12 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Why, oh why, can nobody apparently get themselves together enough just to put down on one sheet of A4 paper in words of relatively few syllables, what exactly they're supposed to be voting for or against?

    I lost track months ago about what is really in this damn bill. And what isn't. Or what is going to be. Or isn't going to be. I've begun to wonder if there's even a single Congressman knows. All I read is what people think is in it, much of which is obviously fiction, or whether people think there should be a bill or not.

    I can't even make out whether Nebraska will still get its 'free ride' on Medicare/Medicaid costs or not. I thought Obama said they shouldn't; but has that been kicked out or not? And that's just a relatively minor part of it. What happened (or is happening) about increases in insurance premiums?

    It's a ridiculous state of affairs.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 11:56pm on 12 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #25 squirrelist,

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Everyone is confused and no one really knows what's in or out anymore. Which is why most folks don't trust it. In regards to the Nebraska deal, it is in the Senate bill the house must pass, supposedly next week. It's suppose to be fixed in reconciliation, but who knows if it will?!

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 11:59pm on 12 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    Perhaps someone can publish "Healthcare reform for Dummies".

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 00:08am on 13 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    #25 to answer your questions so everyone will be up to speed - including Mark.

    Both the Senate and the House have passed their respective Healthcare reform bills. Both bills now have to be 'reconciled', ergo 'reconciliation'. Nebraska and Florida's back deals were eliminated. Louisiana's was kept in owing to Katrina and slow government help.

    Obama had 11 pages of things he wanted kept in or withdrawn from the two bills.

    Both the Senate and the House waited on the 'reconciled' portions that eventually the President will sign to be scored by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office). When the CBO's mathematical guess is that this will cost or save money, then literally both Democrats and Republicans parrot their meme's according to the CBO calculations. That explains the delays.

    President Obama can afford the shortening of his trip because he had stops that were 'vacation/spring break' built into his schedule. Plus, he's doubling down on this historic legislation and no-doubt leaning heavily on those squeamish Dems who value re-election over the needs of the people.

    Hope that clears things up -- and you're welcome, in advance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 00:30am on 13 Mar 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"Rather unsportingly, I thought, he quickly took it off to reveal an American one underneath."

    You aren't kidding!! Not to mention immature, pompous, arrogant and childish! Come on now! How disrespectful and insecure does the man have to be not to honor with pride a great nation who is one of our closest allies in the world and who fought hard for, and justly deserves their hocky win? Not exactly the way to go about dispelling negative American stereotypes. To all Canadians out there, I'd like to apologise on behalf of our representative to you and the rest of the world.



    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 00:36am on 13 Mar 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Interested Foreigner #3: '"Might have been an opportunity to extol single payer public health care - available pretty much wherever you find the Maple Leaf."


    Don't make me any more jealous than I already am! Right. Because that's possible here. It's been too long; the insurance companies' hold is irreversable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 00:47am on 13 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    1. At 8:39pm on 12 Mar 2010, Scotch-git wrote:

    "I thought hockey was a game for wee lassies."
    __________

    In this country, and in America, we play hockey. Most often we play it on ice. We usually wear skates. It requires a stick, and usually a puck (but a ball, or sometimes an old shoe, will do).

    We do not, ever, under any circumstances, play "ice hockey" in Canada.

    In our game, anyone with a stick and skates gets to play, man or woman.

    And the women won the gold on their side, too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 00:52am on 13 Mar 2010, carolinalady wrote:

    Dear Squirrels: try www.opencongress.org for complete texts of versions of bills submitted to the House and Senate for consideration and voting.

    Part of everyone's confusion -- and one of the conservative talking points -- is that "nobody knows what's in the bill." Not true. It's public knowledge if you care to look it up and read it. Every word that passes on the floor of the House is published daily in the Congressional Record...even the jokes,insults and stupidities. Don't believe what the axe-grinders keep grinding, y'all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 01:05am on 13 Mar 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    According to what was in the prior versions (House passed in November? Senate passed on Christmas Eve?) some of the cost of expanding health insurance to the some millions who don't have, and unemployed with no money to pay premiums, was to be funded by TAKING AWAY benefits from those of us on Medicare, to the amount (over ten years) of $500 Billion. Now why should someone on Medicare support a bill that threatens to take away Fifty Billion dollars from our benefits each year?
    Maybe the congressmen reluctant to vote for this are hearing from retired people who lose benefits under this legislation.
    TeaPot562

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 01:11am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    28. At 00:08am on 13 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    "Hope that clears things up"

    Sorry, don't think it does. That's an explanation of the process; it still doesn't really tell me what people are going to get out of it.

    All I've gleaned is: policies will have to cover pre-existing conditions; abortions I'm totally mystified about, rises in insurance premiums will be subject to some sort of discussion, but not much regulation or restriction, and insurance will cover children. Possibly some employers will get tax-breaks so they don't have to pay much more for their employees' insurance. And somehow, there will be savings on the cost of Medicare and Medicaid, perhaps simply by paying doctors and hospitals less than they get from insurance companies. (I'm sure I must have got that wrong, that doesn't seem a plausible way of keeping those things going.)

    If that's really all it amounts to, that's a tiny bit if tinkering after a year that hardly deserves all this palaaver and anguish, not much of a reform. Someone tell me more?

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 01:14am on 13 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Mark Mardell wrote:

    "Rather unsportingly, I thought, he quickly took it off to reveal an American one underneath."

    Why is it "unsportingly?" He wore the shirt just like he said he would and he was very obviously seen doing so. It was all done for good fun so you taking it so seriously is silly, especially considering that you are not American.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 01:26am on 13 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:

    "As I've said (before the 'Keep Out Club' starts in on us again) I've at least got an interest not just through general principles, but because I know people who need, and will benefit from reform."

    And that somehow gives you the right to be interfering and disrespectful to Americans on their domestic issues and how they choose to run their country?

    No, it does not! You are not American! It's as simple as that.







    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 01:41am on 13 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:

    "Sorry, don't think it does. That's an explanation of the process; it still doesn't really tell me what people are going to get out of it."

    Not "what people," but Americans. You are not going to get anything out of it.


    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 01:43am on 13 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    #33 Teapot?

    Unless you are on Medicare Advantage nothing will change. If you have a regular medicare nothing will change. These 'Advantage' companies offered dental and extra checkups. They were supposed to be efficienct and only cost cost the government 67 cents on the dollar. Ended up costing $1.15 on the dollar. That's why regular medicare are paying more for initial costs this year, to pay for those greedy Medicare Advantage companies.

    I ought to know, I sold (or tried) to sell medicare supplemental plans. Had to explain the whole medicare history, then the difference between regular medicare and medicare advantage. Information overload was the result.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 01:46am on 13 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    #35 Squirrelist

    Are you an American citizen? If not, I wouldn't PUT THAT MUCH ON IT.

    As for "someone tell me more", one word - GOOGLE.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 02:10am on 13 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #28 Barbara,

    Barbara, both bills did indeed pass their respective houses, however, the house bill is no longer under consideration. It has been dropped in favor of the Senate bill. It is the Senate bill which the house will be voting on, without changes. Once the Senate bill passes the house, Obama will sign it into law. After that, the fixes that Obama and the House want to make to the Senate bill, which will be a law, will occur by the process called reconciliation in the Senate. I believe you might be confusing a Conference committee between the House and Senate with reconciliation. That has not and will not be done since any changes would require 60 votes in the Senate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 02:20am on 13 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    AllanT2 (#36), that's getting to be an old refrain from you, and even Americans such as myself are tired of it. This web site belongs to the BBC, and they have free speech and a free press in the UK just as we do in the US. People of any nation may post whatever they wish here, and unless the BBC objects to it (for their own mysterious reasons) they will publish it.

    The BBC is gracious enough to allow you to use their web site. Why don't you try showing some manners befitting a guest?

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 02:38am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    36. At 01:26am on 13 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    "And that somehow gives you the right to be interfering and disrespectful to Americans on their domestic issues and how they choose to run their country?

    No, it does not! You are not American! It's as simple as that."

    I suppose we need to ask, yet again, if you know what the first 'B' in BBC stands for? Or that I help to pay for it? And, therefore, this blog on which you yet again tell me I have no right to comment on? Even though I have friends and relatives in the USA?

    You are, I gather, not British, and I presume, neither do you finance this blog in any way. Yet again, it seems we have to remind you Mark is writing primarily for and to us.

    The Beeb could easily block all contributions from outside the UK; it doesn't, and I doubt (despite the really rather unpleasant things people often write here about us, our form of government, our sports, our food and drink, let alone certain elements of our population and one of our religions) ever would. I think we're quietly rather pleased that the old Beeb has accidentally become a kind of international, free-to-all world broadcaster and forum.

    It's strange that some people who are so keen to tell us of their right to free speech, who tell us Brits and Europeans we lack that freedom so often, then demand we abrogate it when they don't like the results.

    And it's not only here; I see this sort of thing on other British media sites in the comments too more and more. Goodness knows why. I don't see many saying 'you can't comment, you're not British' when there's a piece in the NYT or elsewhere saying (quite ludicrously sensationally) London is 'a hotbed of Islamic terrorism' or our justice system is too lenient because we neither imprison people for two or three times their natural lifespan, nor hang them, nor even waterboard them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 03:28am on 13 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to the latest on the strategy for getting the health care bill through Congress:

    http://www.ktvu.com/health/22821580/detail.html

    It reports that the President wants to remove the special provisions for individual states.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 03:29am on 13 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    42. At 02:38am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    "The Beeb could easily block all contributions from outside the UK; it doesn't, and I doubt (despite the really rather unpleasant things people often write here about us, our form of government, our sports, our food and drink, let alone certain elements of our population and one of our religions) ever would. ..."
    __________

    It's that national streak of masochism.

    You forgot to mention the national (i.e., English) football side and its repeated woes in international competition.

    It's that "sad decline of empire" thing. Do you remember the Goons and the lone banana tree?

    Darn good posting, all the same.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 03:40am on 13 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 34, squirrelist:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting/proposal

    Hard link to find, I know.

    Or were you just trying to make a point?

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 03:46am on 13 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    President Obama's inexperience is showing badly. He is not focused where it counts, on the economy. It hardly matters what medical insurance premiums are when so many people are unemployed, underemployed, and many don't even show up in the statistics because they've given up looking for jobs.

    The process by which this bill came to this point stinks to high heaven. The secrecy, the back room deals, railroading bills through, it hardly matters what is in this bill. Passing it now would be the worst thing Democrats can do to themselves. The Republicans won't give an inch and this will be the issue they hammer home come November. The bill is probably as good as DOA. The Democrats are at each other's throats over it while Obama blames the Republicans calling them "obstructionists" when they couldn't stop it no matter what if the Democrats agreed with it and everyone knows it. It was bad enough that the Senate bill was kept locked in Senator Harry Reid's office for six weeks when no one could get a look at it before the vote. Now they're saying that we'll all find out what's in this compromise bill after it passes. This kind of nonsense may fly in other places, perhaps Europe but not here. The bill wouldn't go into effect until 2014, plenty of time to undo it before it actually means anything if it even passes. Already 34 state legislatures have announced lawsuits against any provision for manditory purchase of insurance on constitutional grounds. Federal funding of discretionary abortions is another issue dividing Democrats. Many of them know that their own re-election is in deep trouble already (the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate is up for election every two years and this is the year.) In states where the President is no longer popular, those Congressment are facing losing their seats and they know it. This is not Britain, we do things very differently here. President Obama will remain in office for three more years. His majority in both Houses of Congress looks very doubtful come next January at the moment.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 03:58am on 13 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Squirrel;

    "The Beeb could easily block all contributions from outside the UK"

    The results would be deadly. Watching grass grow is more exciting than some of those local BBC blogs where only Brits post. There was one that had something to do with people living on islands off Scotland I used to use to bore myself to sleep when I had insomnia. Worked better than pills.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 03:59am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    32. At 00:52am on 13 Mar 2010, carolinalady wrote:

    "Dear Squirrels: try www.opencongress.org for complete texts of versions of bills submitted to the House and Senate for consideration and voting."

    Squirrelpost: We tried that. (Our spokeshuman's gone to bed with a headache because of it.) OK; there's a Democratic 'summary' that says what's right with it and it'll do a lot of people some good. There's a Republican summary that says it'll cost everybody one way and another. Neither seem informative in practical terms. We've seen the stuff in those already, repeated para by para separately ad nauseam.

    The actual Senate Bill is huge. (You're expecting a lot of our attention span if you think we can wade through all of that.)

    What we were asking is why isn't there a simple independent, objective basic summary of what is proposed, what is likely to survive the course, and what it will actually mean for a) my married self-employed friend, his wife whose job in family planning became part-time instead of full-time last year and between them don't earn that much; and my friend in his twenties who hasn't had a pay rise in three years and can't afford really much more than a few hundred dollars a month and whose employer's health insurance is pretty basic.

    Back to our spokeshuman:


    Soon, you see, it'll be the budget here. (That means all the government's tax and spending plans for the next year.) The following morning I'll be able to buy the paper, and over half-a-dozen pages or so I'll be able to make a pretty good guess at how much more I'll have to pay for my beer and ciggies; how much more (probably) I'll pay through increased VAT on things I buy and my utility bills; how much more, or less, I might have to pay on what I can earn; if I will get a bit more state help (either in money or services like free bus and tube transport) because I'm disabled; or how much less; whether the budget for the NHS might mean the next minor operation I'll need in the next two years I might have to wait longer for; even how much my local property tax (as you'd call it) might go up or down. And I can do that for those friends whose circumstances and income I know about, and we'll almost certainly be talking about what it means for us that night.

    What I'm asking (plaintively) is, where is there (or why isn't there) something similar on what is supposed to be one of the most important reforms in the US for 40 years?


    You see, this otherwise, we don't get anywhere, except this thread just descends yet again into the 'four legs good, two legs bad' kind of argument, and I can't be the only one who's bored silly by that.




    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 04:01am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    44. At 03:29am on 13 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Do you remember the Goons and the lone banana tree?"

    Er, no.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 04:06am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Do you know, when I read an American from New Jersey who had been involved in building nuclear power plants had been arrested and a certain poster seemed to have disappeared from this blog. . .

    Hopes dashed again.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 04:22am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    45. At 03:40am on 13 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 34, squirrelist: Hard link to find, I know. Or were you just trying to make a point?

    Yes, I was, really; and that reinforces it I think. A lot about the expected results, but it's still long and awkward when you try to find out what it offers people in purely practical terms, isn't it? But anyway, that's what Obama wanted, and from what I can make out, it's still not necessarily what people--sorry, Americans--will get. (Assuming they ever get anything.)

    Sorry, all I've got is a headache. Anyway, I'm likely to be more bothered about our Budget soon. (There may well be squeals of squirrel anguish and rude words about the Labour Party emanating from the Party oak tree then, and be blowed to all this.)


    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 05:26am on 13 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    50. At 04:06am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Do you know, when I read an American from New Jersey who had been involved in building nuclear power plants had been arrested and a certain poster seemed to have disappeared from this blog. . .

    Hopes dashed again.


    Maybe he's out buying some new rhetoric. I actually miss our resident artist.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 05:40am on 13 Mar 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Although Mr. Gibbs did not wear the Canadian jersey very long, the point is, he still wore it. That is what counts. So the bet was fulfilled. I would call that sportmanlike conduct. The Canadians got us- grrrls and guys, although it was close. Our goalie was phenomenal. Loved his helmet with Uncle Sam flexing his muscle. The girls should have got a Rosie the Riveter helmet. Or a Lady Liberty. If the USA could have just scored another point...but we didn't. Just couldn't get that score. The game was fated for the Canadians. Their celebrations were hilarious, I might add. No one can outdo the Canadians on celebration! The Canadians live and breathe hockey. They are seriously dedicated, but they like to have a good time, too. And they are our friends. Good for Canada!!! :)

    Goons and banana tree? Whast? I love the Goonies! Awesome movie, although as a child, I was always scared of that blender scene.

    I would also like to add that this American likes to read the British, American and people from other country's posts. Everybody is awesomely unique and cool in their own way. Besides, accents are hot! Like Bond!

    That show on NBC, Who Do you think you are? does make you want to examine your roots. Sometimes it is great, sometimes it is painful, these events in history that are past, but have brought us to where we are. They remind us that life was very different not so long ago. Emmitt Smith was on tonight, a great football player, and he examined his roots, came to the discovery that his ancestors were both slaves and slave-owners. So intense, this history. And to have both in the same bloodline. Although slavery in America was an absolute tragedy, I know that America is not the only place that had it, nor did we start it. Amazing where we were to where we have come. No, not everything is perfect in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. But it is better than it was in the past, when there was slavery. Those times were a million times worse. I am grateful to be living in today, just for that reason. When things get worse, we have to find what we are grateful for. THere is always something.

    I celebrate the European roots. Of course, next week, St. Patrick's Day, everyone gets to be Irish for a day!

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 05:51am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    53:

    My name's Squirrel. James Squirrel.

    (No, it doesn't really work without the audio. Sorry.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 05:58am on 13 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    49. Squirrel

    It was a symbol of waning British influence.

    But all is not lost, apparently.
    Looks like H.M. The Queen invented the telephone. Didn't know she had it in her, really. Our good old Queen. Hardly would have guessed she'd lived in Brantford.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 06:40am on 13 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    36. At 01:26am on 13 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    "And that somehow gives you the right to be interfering and disrespectful to Americans on their domestic issues and how they choose to run their country?
    No, it does not! You are not American! It's as simple as that."

    Allen,

    If many Americans were like you, I would be carrying a handgun. You and I are guests on this blog, and you regularly embarrass me for all Americans. This is not your ground, it is theirs - do you treat everyone in earshot so rudely, or just your host? If you are not interested in discussing our ways with these folks, why are you writing here?

    What you are doing does not defend America, it damages her. Were you raised under a bridge? [no reference to the homeless intended.]

    KScurmudgeon

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 07:22am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    55. Interestedforeigner:

    No, it's no good. You've lost me totally now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 07:34am on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    6. KScurmudgeon:

    Not to worry. It confirms our stereotypes. (I happily imagine someone rather large and sunburnt with a pink and yellow tartan jacket, green Bermuda shorts covered with pineapples, cowboy boots, a stetson, a pair of sixguns and a cigar holding a two-foot long hot dog in one hand and a two-pint cup of that proprietary brown fizzy stuff in the other while leaning his elbows on a zimmer frame. I would say that's probably fairly realistic, wouldn't you?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 07:59am on 13 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    I think, maybe the root of the trouble may lie with these electronic media, which allow instantaneous communication of many millions of people at every moment. Very great good is achieved, but also very great confusion.

    Everyone who is connected can find a seeming unlimited number of interests they hold in common with many other folks. Interest groups with a need find they have the power to broadcast to the world, and seek redress, petition and influence decision makers, and get their twenty seconds notice in the press.

    Where community priorities used to be set by simpler and obvious common interests, or simplistic ideological mantras, now a thousand divergent interests constantly clamor for their piece of the action.

    This was always true in democratic societies, but just as true in authoritarian systems. And the vast wealth available to modern communities through taxation and credit has just multiplied the demand for a share.

    So from the local school board budget to national issues like health care or financial reform and on to international issues like climate change, there are so many voices shouting that either none can be heard and the actual decisions are made behind closed doors by those with the price of admission, or it takes thousands of pages to get anything at all done, with a corresponding diffusion of the original purpose.

    Because of the noise, only the following sorts of mechanisms can bring a nation to action:
    - A great, sudden crisis like 9/11
    - Strong leadership shouting a simple, jingoistic imperative based in an equally simple ideological platitude
    - Secrecy cloaked in masses of impenetrable detail
    - .....

    All of the above will always become the vehicle for innumerable unrelated private (that is hidden in plain sight) benefits. But that has always been true.

    So the complexity only increases the freedom of those who wield power to do what they wish without regard for the community's interests.

    Can we crunch the numbers on this larger scale? Obama's campaign attempted to empower masses of interests. Oddly, it is the conservatives through the Teaparty movements that have found one way to do it.

    KScurmudgeon

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 08:14am on 13 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Squirrelist,

    No - the man you describe is too contented, even happy. The man you describe would pat you on the head and offer you a hotdog and a brew - unless he was into his second case, in which situation he would grin, shoot at your tail, and miss.

    This man is angry and small, clearly defensive from some loss. He hides and kicks cats and dogs. Imagines himself a hero. Reads dark comic books - er, graphic novels. You will never get a good look at him... He used to be Vice President.

    wee hourcurmudgeonry

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 09:24am on 13 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    As far as Hockey, the Olympic final wasa joy to watch now the NHL is back to its thuggary. Like European Futbol it is a second rate boaring sport.

    These all or nothing gambles of Obama have not been going well.

    But in 10 months the American people will restore some balance by having the Republicans take both houses and we will be rid of Harry Reid and by then Charlie Rangel will have taken the perp walk

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 09:28am on 13 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 63. At 12:14pm on 13 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    "Passing it now would be the worst thing Democrats can do to themselves. The Republicans won't give an inch and this will be the issue they hammer home come November. The bill is probably as good as DOA."

    This is such an idiotic statement. The Democrats WON in 2008. A sizable majority in the House +78, and the Senate +9 (when you include 2 independents), and the all important Executive Office. So how in the world
    does this bill arrive DOA.

    The bill passed in the Senate by a super-majority which is 60 votes. The Reconciliation process will only take 51. Democrats have this covered.

    What it now takes is backbone by the duly elected Democrats to do something. Public Option, in or out, is still being debated - between Democrats - the obstructionist Republicans have been PUSHED ASIDE. Dems finally woke up about that 'bipartisan' bullcrap.

    'Something' will be passed or these Democrats will be voted out of office by the same voter who gave them an overwhelming majority in the first place.


    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 12:25pm on 13 Mar 2010, akaExpensesFiddler wrote:

    If, earlier, President Obama has shown some leadership and had been more proactive – given his early popularity and his party majority in both houses, the health care bill with 'public option' would have been passed by now.

    Instead the President took a back-seat and waisted time extending hands to republicans to spit on; and organizing 'beer submits'. Sadly, President Obama has, so far, turned out to be a disappointment. Any wonder that Mr. Netanyahu thinks he can challenge the American President. But then, even with the full backing of AIPAC and others and dwindling popularity of the Mr. President, Mr. Netanyahu is taking a big gamble – he might regret his actions later.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 12:54pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM worries: " I hate to think what Mr Gibbs, would, or wouldn't wear, to declare such bad news for his team."


    "suspenders and a bras", to quote Palin?


    [MICHAEL Palin, that is. (Nobody expects EU Inquisition)]

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 12:56pm on 13 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 54, squirrelist

    I appreciated the bonding message, even without audio!

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 1:03pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    #9 Re Second Amendment...



    It may be worth pointing out to our British cousins that not so long ago certain US army officer (maj. Nidal Hasan) who turned out to be a Muslim fanatic, has smuggled a revolver and 5.7 mm semi-automatic into Ft. Hood and massacred quite a few soldiers there.

    Why was he able to fire more than hundred rounds with total impunity?

    Because his victims were UNARMED, in keeping with the military base safety regulations.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 1:09pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#15. rodidog wrote: "While nothing is over until the fat lady sings, I think I hear her warming up just off stage. It sounds like a dirge to health care just now."





    Perhaps Nancy Pelosi should gain some weight and drown fat lady's dirge?

    And Barbara Boxer and Maxine Waters should do the same?

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 1:24pm on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    It appears a Mr Hurry Limbaugh said if the Bill passes, he'll leave the US and go to Costa Rica.

    I'm surprised; I wouldn't have thought it suited. For one thing, the country has had no standing national army (nor a people's militia), hasn't invaded anybody and hasn't been invaded for ages, but secondly, and more relevantly, it has a 'socialist' NHS-type health system.

    Employees contribute 9.25 per cent of their wages; employees 5.5 and the state 0.25. Costa Ricans can also buy private insurance, as you can in Britain, if you wish.) For a population of 4 million, give or take 1 of course, there are 29 state run hospitals and 250-odd clinics.

    And it's above the USA in the WHO overall health rankings, with higher life expectancy as well, although its people are much, much poorer.

    (There is a certain peripheral benefit of the Costa Rican health service in what it can offer US citizens who go back to the US that might be attractive to some talk show hosts I've spotted, but readers will have to research that for themselves, libel laws being what they are. . .Still, nice to know someone's come round to the benefits of 'socialised medicine'.

    At this point AllenT2 should avert his eyes and look at a, er, graphic novel, for a minute or two.

    The Guardian does a little poll on American issues on its US news pages; the current one asks if Limbaugh should go. Answers: "Yes. Another good reason to pass healthcare (85%); No. What's Costa Rica ever done to the US? (15%)"





    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 1:25pm on 13 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    Snippet from Associated Press provides answers to what's in the healthcare bills and the reconciliation process:

    ..."At its core, the health care bill is designed to provide health care to tens of millions who lack it and ban insurance companies from denying medical coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. Obama also wants the measure to begin to slow the rate of growth in medical costs nationwide. Most people would have to get insurance by law, and poor and middle-income Americans – including families of four earning up to $88,000 – would receive subsidies.

    ..."he health care bill appeared on the cusp of passage in early January, but was derailed when Senate Republicans won a Senate seat in Massachusetts, and with it, the strength needed to sustain a filibuster and block a final vote.

    In the weeks since, the White House and Democrats have embarked on a two-part rescue strategy. It calls for the House to pass legislation that cleared the Senate in December, despite numerous objections, and for both houses to follow immediately with a second bill that makes changes to the first.

    The second, fix-it bill would be drafted under rules that strip Senate Republicans of the ability to require Democrats produce a 60-vote majority.

    Obama outlined numerous requested changes several weeks ago, many of them designed to satisfy the concerns of House Democrats.

    They would increase subsidies for lower income families who cannot afford insurance, give additional money to states that provide higher-than-average benefits under Medicaid, and gradually close a coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug program used by millions of seniors.

    Congressional officials said all three issues would be addressed in the fix-it bill, although other administration requests remained in doubt. The president wants creation of a commission with authority to force savings in Medicare, for example, and is seeking the deletion of items sought by individual senators."


    The Democrats are flexing their muscles. They are adding a student loan package to the bill which means more negotiations 'amongst themselves' but, finally they have found out what power they do have as a majority. Whew. Took long enough.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 1:49pm on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    69.
    Should be 'employers contribute 9.25 per cent of wages'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 1:56pm on 13 Mar 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    I wonder if Robert Gibbs has two different shirts for
    - Hoo-ray, Obamacare has passed and
    - Drat, Obamacare stalled.
    Robert Gibbs had said that Obamacare would pass before the President left for Indoneasia.
    The healthcare bill will not pass the House.
    I'm wearing my shirt already, the one that says:
    "Drat, Obamacare stalled."
    I base my opinion of the grass-roots opposition, the petititons being signed, the plans for million-person march (This last one is likely somewhat exaggerted, but maybe not)... and I think about all the guns all over the United States and cling to my shirt.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 1:57pm on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    67.

    We're not going to get a repeat here of every Meerkitty post of the last month, are we? Email programme set to automatic, is it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 2:01pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #69 [no pun intended]

    Perhaps some red squirrels would ask themselves why CHILE is doing so much better than Costa Rica despite its extreme right wing past?

    And is still expected to register at least 5% growth this year (under its right wing government) despite a devastating 8.8 earthquake, which, as it's been duly noticed, didn't elicit any compassion from the extreme Left here?

    Curious meerkats wonder.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 2:11pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    A poster from the country south of Detroit wrote:

    "And the women won the gold on their side, too."





    Please, remind me, which country won most medals at Vancouver Olympics?

    Despite not being an Alpine or a Nordic country by any means?

    [A hint: no it was not Russia. Or Norway. Or Finland. Or even Can...]

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 2:21pm on 13 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 63, Barbara

    "This is such an idiotic statement. The Democrats WON in 2008. A sizable majority in the House +78, and the Senate +9 (when you include 2 independents), and the all important Executive Office. So how in the world
    does this bill arrive DOA."

    Don't forget, this bill should have passed long ago when the Democrats had a super majority in the Senate...and it didn't, not because of Republican obstructionism but because of Democratic defections. Wavering DEMOCRATS are the reason President Obama delayed his trip to Indonesia, and it is the reason the Democratic leadership are begging members to call their representatives and senators to influence their decision and pass this legislation.

    My guess is that something will pass next week, but I am not holding my breadth. The real question is not so much whether or not this bill is dead on arrival, but how long will it be before it is repealed? November 2013?

    Incidentally, I am a Democrats and I support the public option, but ignoring the opposition to reform that is apparent not only from the minority party, which was predictable, but from within the Democratic party is a recipe for disaster.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 2:30pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:
    67.

    We're not going to get a repeat here of every Meerkitty post of the last month, are we? Email programme set to automatic, is it?






    I don't know any poster with a nick 'Meerkitty', but let me ask you:

    Would you rather face Nidal Hasan's SEMI-automatic?

    Somehow don't think so, since as your numerous posts (from many months) seem to indicate you don't particularly like anything SEMI.


    Now, 'bout that Jihad Jane [much scarrier than Hanoi Jane ever was]...

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 2:37pm on 13 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    Oddly enough, folks in Costa Rica resent Nicaraguans sneaking across the border to take advantage of their free health care. Sounds familiar.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 2:40pm on 13 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #69
    The Guardian does a little poll on American issues on its US news pages; the current one asks if Limbaugh should go. Answers: "Yes. Another good reason to pass healthcare (85%); No. What's Costa Rica ever done to the US? (15%)"
    ________________

    That this promise will be kept is as likely as Alec Bladwin's was to leave if George Bush was elected. We are still stuck with him.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 2:42pm on 13 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #68 powermeerkat,

    Perhaps Nancy Pelosi should gain some weight and drown fat lady's dirge?


    Will that bout be on pay for view or C-SPAN?

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 2:45pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re # 76

    SaintDominick


    I wouldn't be so pessimistic. Eventually current situation (re insurance premiums) will be improved upon. By piecemeal.

    Perhaps starting with TORT reform?

    And continuing with allowing every single insurance company sell every single of its policies in every single state of the Union?

    Free market competition can work miracles.


    BTW. I, for one, don't expect Republicans to gain majorities in both houses after November election.

    Although they can gain quite few seats if things continue as they are.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 2:48pm on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    77. At 2:30pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Jihad Jane [much scarrier than Hanoi Jane ever was]"

    You mean the woman with a history of mental health problems?

    (Just to stay on topic, if somewhat marginally. And hereafter I will not be diverted.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 3:09pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #80
    rodidog wrote:
    #68 powermeerkat,

    Perhaps Nancy Pelosi should gain some weight and drown fat lady's dirge?



    Will that bout be on pay for view or C-SPAN?





    I recall certain US senator who, because of his stubbornness, delayed passage of a bill which, among other things, ENTITLED certain group of Americans to cable TV. And was strongly pummeled here for it.

    So I suppose it would have to be C-SPAN.

    Except that current Democrats don't seem to particularly like to conduct their business with C-SPAN cameras being present. And rolling.

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 3:11pm on 13 Mar 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re74#

    you are curious in your lack of knowledge about your own continent,, Are you really an American?
    Sebastian Pinera was only signed in as the new President of Chile last week, thus ending 20 years of left wing government... so youre saying the socialists did a good job, or you can't tell left from right

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 3:17pm on 13 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    81. At 2:45pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Free market competition can work miracles."

    Oh indeed, as evidenced by St Union Pacific, St United Fruit, St General Motors, St(s) Lehman; oh, sorry, Mr Madoff, how many loaves and fishes was that?

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 3:24pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    At 2:30pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Jihad Jane [much scarrier than Hanoi Jane ever was]"

    squirrelist:
    You mean the woman with a history of mental health problems?



    meerkat: If memory serves homicidal major Nidal Hasan was a psychiatrist.

    But judging by his actions I don't think he would cure Jihad Jane.

    [to stay on a subject of mental health]

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 4:00pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #84

    Yes, this meerkat can tell a difference between Chile Salvador Allende tried to create (another Cuba) and the one Augusto Pinochet left to his successors when he voluntarily relinquished power after many years.

    [something Allende and his idol Fidel Castro would never do]

    This meerkat having visited Chile many a time. Over many, many years.

    Just as he's able to tell a difference between GI Jane and Jhihad Jane,
    and a right wing bias of Fox News and a left wing bias of The Guardian.


    [Althoug perhaps not so much between Marina Oswald and Marina Hyde]

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 4:08pm on 13 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    I was just reading how the House is looking at a strategy were they can pass the Senate bill without actually voting on it. Apparently, they can vote to "deem" the Senate bill passed. In this way they can say they did not directly vote for the bill. Does health care reform, supposedly good for Americans, really need such a contorted and convoluted process for passage? If so, what does that say about this bill and the folks who continue to push it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 4:12pm on 13 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 84, strontium

    "Sebastian Pinera was only signed in as the new President of Chile last week, thus ending 20 years of left wing government... so youre saying the socialists did a good job, or you can't tell left from right"

    Pinera's campaign theme included continuance of Bachelet's social programs with a greater focus on fiscal matters. His center-right platform appealed to the Chilean people who, clearly, want to expand on the achievements made by President Bachelet while solidifying their fiscal integrity.

    Most Chileans are centrists snd, from a political perspective, they have little in common with Colombians, Venezuelans, Cubans and most Central Americans (Costa Ricans being a notable exception in that part of the world.)



    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 4:21pm on 13 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 81, powermeerkat

    "Free market competition can work miracles."

    I agree. I just wish President Bush had remembered that basic economic principle when he reformed MEDICARE and inserted language prohibiting the ability of seniors to shop around for medication.

    I suspect the rationale for that decision had little to do with shopping across state lines, and a lot to do with the possibility of seniors getting their medication from Canada, India and other countries where the same brands can be purchased for a fraction of the cost.

    Another concern involves the imposition of a federal mandate that may contravene State laws and interests...

    TORT reform should be pursued, but as a separate bill since it includes a lot more than medical malpractice.


    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 4:32pm on 13 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 81, powermeerkat

    "BTW. I, for one, don't expect Republicans to gain majorities in both houses after November election.

    Although they can gain quite few seats if things continue as they are."

    I agree, but I think they are going to come close, and it wouldn't surprise me if they take one of the two chambers. A more interesting race will take place in 2012 and, in my opinion, the outcome of that election will depend more on who the GOP nominee is than President Obama's performance.

    Obviously, President Obama still has time to turn things around. I expect him to embrace a populist agenda as soon as he gets healthcare out of the way. Issues such as financial reform, college loans, energy, investment in infrastructure and jobs will dominate the administrations's agenda the rest of this year.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 4:32pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    23 St dominick. If we don't try for something I will guarantee we end up with nothing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 4:33pm on 13 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    Hockey is a most excellent game, second only to soccer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWFpPST94wU

    Who cares what Gibbs wears

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-uHymkWesY

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 4:38pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    27. At 11:59pm on 12 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:
    Perhaps someone can publish "Healthcare reform for Dummies".



    Too high brow for most Americans to grasp.EVEN IF YOU USED BIG LETTERS.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 4:42pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 96. At 4:44pm on 13 Mar 2010, Sweet Phoenix wrote:

    My heros:
    Scatologist and Squirrelist...

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 4:47pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    Not "what people," but Americans. You are not going to get anything out of it.


    This american will get something out of it.
    And that might just make the squirrelist happy to know. Becuase maybe he is not as uncaring and selfish as most of my "fellow" country men. They would rather watch 40 000 people die from preventable illnesses a year.
    Someone in my local rag put it well.

    The country went to war an because 3000 were killed.
    We unified behind a second war because of those 3000.
    Would it help if 40 000 people all died on the same day?
    Could we then go to war FOR health care?

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 5:02pm on 13 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 51, squirrelist:

    "A lot about the expected results, but it's still long and awkward when you try to find out what it offers people in purely practical terms, isn't it?"

    I've been wishy-washy when it comes to offering an explanation of what's going on here, and there's a good reason for that: I'm not sure what's going on here.

    I haven't read the health care bill, myself. I simply don't have the time nor really the interest. I'm not being un-American in my view. Every other November I hire (by voting) people to represent the needs of my community in Washington. I'm giving them the full-time job of looking out for my needs. That includes health care.

    Maybe what's going on is that the people have lost confidence that their representatives are indeed representing them, and consequently they're afraid of what these people might foist upon them.

    The Parliamentary system is better in this regard. You can force a vote of no confidence and elections happen as soon as possible, right? We, on the other hand, are locked into our government for at least two years and as many as six. There's nothing we can do to change the people in Washington in the meantime.

    At times such as these, America gets apoplectic, almost like as fibrillating heart, and some of the behaviors you witness are simply bizarre.

    Anyway, that's my working theory.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 5:18pm on 13 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 97, scatologist:

    "We unified behind a second war because of those 3000."

    Partially true. There are those of us who unified behind our troops who were getting killed and maimed because of what I consider one of the greatest military blunders in history. I was also determined that these kids were going to have it far better when they came home than the Vietnam vets did.

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 5:26pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    67. At 1:03pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    #9 Re Second Amendment...



    It may be worth pointing out to our British cousins that not so long ago certain US army officer (maj. Nidal Hasan) who turned out to be a Muslim fanatic, has smuggled a revolver and 5.7 mm semi-automatic into Ft. Hood and massacred quite a few soldiers there.

    Why was he able to fire more than hundred rounds with total impunity?

    Because his victims were UNARMED, in keeping with the military base safety regulations.
    77. At 2:30pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    squirrelist wrote:
    67.

    We're not going to get a repeat here of every Meerkitty post of the last month, are we? Email programme set to automatic, is it?






    I don't know any poster with a nick 'Meerkitty', but let me ask you:

    Would you rather face Nidal Hasan's SEMI-automatic?

    Somehow don't think so, since as your numerous posts (from many months) seem to indicate you don't particularly like anything SEMI.


    Now, 'bout that Jihad Jane [much scarrier than Hanoi Jane ever was]...
    86. At 3:24pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    At 2:30pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Jihad Jane [much scarrier than Hanoi Jane ever was]"

    squirrelist:
    You mean the woman with a history of mental health problems?



    meerkat: If memory serves homicidal major Nidal Hasan was a psychiatrist.

    But judging by his actions I don't think he would cure Jihad Jane.

    [to stay on a subject of mental health]


    687. At 01:06am on 12 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    If may be worth pointing out that not so long ago certain US army officer (maj. Nidal Hasan) who turned out to be a Muslim fanatic, has smuggled a revolver and 5.7 mm semi-automatic into Ft. Hood and massacred quite a few soldiers there.

    Why was he able to fire more than hundred rounds with total impunity?

    Because his victims were UNARMED, in keeping with the military base safety regulations.
    799. At 3:08pm on 12 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    It may be worth pointing out that not so long ago certain US army officer (maj. Nidal Hasan) who turned out to be a Muslim fanatic, has smuggled a revolver and 5.7 mm semi-automatic into Ft. Hood and massacred quite a few soldiers there.

    Why was he able to fire more than hundred rounds with total impunity?

    Because his victims were UNARMED, in keeping with the military base safety regulations.


    0000000000000000000000000000000000000000
    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG


    Can Anyone explain the relevance of these posts.Can anyone explain how three posts EXACTLY the same were not considered Spam?
    Does the computer not tell them "this is an exact repeat"

    this is not the first time this spammer has repeated posts with no relevant content and not been removed. Is there a special privilege for his special condition.
    (reading Jane's too often)

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 5:27pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #89 SaintDominik


    To the eternal credit of (former Chilean president) Bachelet, she tried (and to a large extent succeeded) to build ( rather than unravel) on Pinochet regime's economic successes, despite the fact that she had an ample reason for a personal gripe against Pinochet. A truly classy lady.


    BTW. Not only homicidal major Nidal Hasan, but Salvador Allende as well was (at least initially) a psychiatrist. :)

    [Why so many mental health care providers are or become mental?]



    P.S. One of the reasons there were so few (relatively) deaths as as a result of aforementioned 8.8 earthquake was that buildings in Chile have been built to much higher standards than in many other Latin American countries, and the building code was actually enforced (unlike, say, in Turkey) because Chile has the lowest level of corruption among all S. American countries. [And I've been to most of them more than once.]

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 5:49pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 103. At 5:50pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #90 SD

    Of course TORT reform should be pursued as a separate much broader issue.


    However, I'm sure you agree that WITHOUT a meaningful tort reform (particularly re unlimited damages being awarded by juries in some states, such as Florida) malpractice insurance premiums are not going to go down, and millions of unnecessary costly tests and procedures will continue to be prescribed by physicians, practicing, out of necessity,
    defensive medicine.

    [right now it's a veritable vicious circle]



    Re medications made in India...

    I hope you do know about dangerous (useless at best) copies of quite a few original drugs having been manufactured in India and dumped in many 3r World countries, including, prominently, African ones?

    I recall that BBC itself (Panorama?) had a special on it some time ago.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 5:53pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    oh thank you mods.

    I take back my comment


    Andy
    I too support the extension of benefits to soldiers and their family members.

    But can we get health care for all that served.
    Irrespective of if they decided to quit the army after one tour and were considered deserters?


    I think one tour is still more than I gave so they deserve it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 6:16pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #91

    Saint Dominick

    I would disagree with you there. Mr. Obama has to take care of the economy FIRST, prominently including loss of American jobs to PRC; particularly since he cannot afford to lose support of labor unions come election time.

    If by 2012 US economy is still in bad shape and the unemployment rate is not down to, say, 5%, Americans will elect a Republican (or even an Independent) equivalent of a Democratic 'yellow dog' rather than tolerate the current White House resident.

    On the other hand, if Republicans gains majority in one of the houses and manage to push through some successful reforms and BHO is smart enough to take credit for them - he may survive; incumbent, as you know, almost always being in a better position than a challenger.

    Remeber what happened when Republicans in Congress under the able ledership of Newt Gingrich managed to balance a budget?

    After initial shock caused by their electoral success, Bill Clinton eventually recovered by persuading the public at large (with short memory) that it was he and his Administration who accomplished the feat.

    It worked for Bill the Zipper. It may well work for BHO.

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 6:18pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    So anyone hear about Glenn Beck getting in trouble for suggesting people leave their churches?

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 6:20pm on 13 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    Lets not worry that today there is a new issue with a prescribed USA medicine that has caused a few problems.

    Our drug companies kill .

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 6:45pm on 13 Mar 2010, Sweet Phoenix wrote:

    Robert Gibbs has a sense of humor...when was this a crime? Canada has been our neighbors for a very long time. I watched the Olympics recently...did you? Laughing is the best medicine for good health, since the last time I checked with my doctor. Maybe Robert Gibbs is from Canada here on a visa?
    Congress has been busy passing small bills since 2009. Does anyone keep up on the Federal Register on a daily basis? Congress set up a small mid-western town for the Health Care Reform as a Protocol. Congress passed an updated version of the Reconciliation bill for their budget this week. Did anyone read the HR 3590 bill that was recently passed? President Obama has been setting the stage for Health Care while everyone has been sleeping and arguing. I believe the Name of the bill (Health Reform Act) was not a proper name for this fight among Repub and Demo. It should have been name something different to encourage the public to stop and think. There are too many emotions attached to this bill...emotions are not the ratio to this...only facts. It should have been called Let's Streamline the Waste and Cost of the Health Insurance Companies (LSWCHIC)...yaaa baby!
    Did anyone read the Patriot Act when it was passed? This bill took most of our privacy rights away and nobody argued that big brother is watching and tapping everyone that is a terrorist. Could you define terrorist...a person with a hand gun? Gotcha...did I make you laugh?

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 6:47pm on 13 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 105, powermeerkat

    "Remeber what happened when Republicans in Congress under the able ledership of Newt Gingrich managed to balance a budget?"

    No, what I remember clearly are Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, criticizing President Clinton for raising taxes to balance the budget.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 6:53pm on 13 Mar 2010, BK wrote:

    Mr. Gibb's sophomoric grandstanding aside, his boss Obie is his own worst enemy where this wretched healthcare bill is concerned (thankfully).
    Obie's tragic flaw is, that he can't just go for the simple win. Instead, he and his 'bread and circuses' Congress have allowed Pork and Circumstance to blur their goal...loading the basic 'healthcare' bill with pet projects, changes to federal abortion funding, and now a huge, burdensome, deficit-loading "education" giveaway.
    Thankfully, we'll have three opportunities in short order - 2010, 2012, 2014 -- to get rid of the lot, including Democrat and Republican incumbents, and Obie who we can send back to Chicago's Cook County where his brand of politics is legendary.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 7:07pm on 13 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    57. Squirrel:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8565258.stm

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 7:10pm on 13 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    60. At 08:14am on 13 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    "This man is angry and small, clearly defensive from some loss. He hides and kicks cats and dogs. Imagines himself a hero. Reads dark comic books - er, graphic novels. You will never get a good look at him... He used to be Vice President.
    __________

    Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 7:16pm on 13 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 104, scatologist:

    "I think one tour is still more than I gave so they deserve it."

    In that respect, we are of one mind.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 8:11pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #109

    There are basically 2 ways of balancing the budget.

    One: to raise taxes (and kill the economy)

    Two: cut spending (and risk your entitled electorat's wrath).


    P.S. There's of course also an easy option: do nothing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 8:30pm on 13 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: health care and mental health.


    A Colorado woman has been detained in Ireland in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist whose sketch offended many Muslims, a U.S. official said Saturday.

    Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, was among seven people arrested in Ireland this week as authorities investigate an alleged plot to kill cartoonist Lars Vilks. [AP]

    No, there was nothing wrong with Jamie's mental health.

    She actualy trained to be a health care provider, and until she converted to Islam, was, according to her mother, an A nursing student.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 8:40pm on 13 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    97 scat cat
    "The country went to war an because 3000 were killed.
    We unified behind a second war because of those 3000.
    Would it help if 40 000 people all died on the same day?
    Could we then go to war FOR health care?"


    Not really - you see most of the 3000 (actually more like 2200 Americans - the rest were foreigners .... remember the name of the buildings) killed were rich and productive.

    Most of the 40,000 are poor .... and alot of them are the wrong colour.

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 8:46pm on 13 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    111 IF

    Great article .... it raises some questions...

    1) are British children now THAT stupid ?

    2) are British children SO OBNOXIOUS that they will deliberately put stupid answers in a survey ?

    3) Both of the above!


    RomeStu ..... discovering common ground with his transatlantic cousins ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 9:14pm on 13 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Right - Healthcare....

    Basically it comes down to this...

    Do you want to help those less fortunate than yourselves ? YES / NO.

    If NO - then be honest and stop with the specious arguments about this and that and just say it - "I don't care because I'm alright"

    If YES - then the most important thing should be to get everyone adequately covered for healthcare, irrespective of the cost. If it's the right thing to do, well we must do it.


    Once this question has been answered the ins and outs can be gone into.

    Time to stop pussy-footing around. They have found a monkey that exhibits "human" type behaviour - sharing!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8548478.stm

    If a monkey can do it, so can Tea Bag... sorry Tea Party Members.

    Buona Notte.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 10:00pm on 13 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #89
    Most Chileans are centrists snd, from a political perspective, they have little in common with Colombians, Venezuelans, Cubans and most Central Americans (Costa Ricans being a notable exception in that part of the world.)

    _________________

    Most Columians are centrists too. That is the reason the Supreme court in that country did not allow Uribe to run for a third term. Unlike say the Dictator Hugo and his crony Morales he serves the interest of the entire population.

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 10:02pm on 13 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #118
    RomeStu wrote:
    Right - Healthcare....

    Basically it comes down to this...

    Do you want to help those less fortunate than yourselves ? YES / NO.

    If NO - then be honest and stop with the specious arguments about this and that and just say it - "I don't care because I'm alright"

    If YES - then the most important thing should be to get everyone adequately covered for healthcare, irrespective of the cost. If it's the right thing to do, well we must do it.


    Once this question has been answered the ins and outs can be gone into.


    ___________________

    And who says those opposing Obama care disagree with that.

    But a return question:

    Should an over taxed U.S population have to pay for programs that don't work and entitlements for goverment workers?

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 10:12pm on 13 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    So how is Darth Cheney doing?

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 10:56pm on 13 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    RomeStu:

    I find your view ridiculously simplistic.

    Do you honestly think that anyone (outside the insurance industry) opposes obama-care because they think that the American health care system needs no reform?

    Our system needs to be fixed, but Obama and his cronies are the wrong sort of people to carry out ANY reform; they haven't got a clue what's actually wrong and they love pork way too much.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 11:13pm on 13 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #121
    GreySquirrel1867 wrote:
    So how is Darth Cheney doing?

    ________________-

    His daughter is prodly carrying the fight against the corruption and failure that is Eric Holder!

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 11:15pm on 13 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    120. At 10:02pm on 13 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    "But a return question:

    Should an over taxed U.S population have to pay for programs that don't work and entitlements for goverment workers?"
    __________

    Like they don't already?

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 00:30am on 14 Mar 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    48 Squirrelist

    Not having read all the posts subsequent your posting here, I risk redundancy... but I find an excellent source of unbiased, factual analysis is (appropriately enough) factcheck.org. In my 30 second consultation I didn't find anything on the full bill, but they did have a piece there a while ago that compared Republican/Tea Party allegations to the actual text of one of the Democratic bills.

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 00:42am on 14 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    #121 GreySquirrel1867 wrote:

    "So how is Darth Cheney doing?"

    # 123 MagicKirin wrote:

    "His daughter is prodly (sic) carrying the fight against the corruption and failure that is Eric Holder!"

    His daughter is Liz Cheney. She is as right wing as her pa - which makes her almost as right wing as MK.

    She has recently smeared the US Dept of Justice as the Dept of Jihad and "questioned the loyalty of Justice Department lawyers who worked in the past on behalf of detained terrorism suspects." [NY Times]

    19 leading conservative lawyers have criticised her, including Ken Starr [!], Theodore Olsen, former Rep Solicitor General, and a number of office holders in the Bush/Cheney administration itself, calling her actions 'shameful' and 'unjust'

    Yup - I'm sure her old dad is extremely proud of her. Not to mention the late Sen McCarthy.

    And yet MK thinks she's great. Go figure.....

    Some links here

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/34050.html

    http://inothernews.tumblr.com/post/438973589/ny-times-when-ken-starr-tells-liz-cheney-shes-being-a

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/34131.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/04/AR2010030404181.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/03/08/condemnation/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%253A+salon%252Fgreenwald+%2528Glenn+Greenwald%2529&utm_content=Google+Reader

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 00:42am on 14 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Does the computer not tell them "this is an exact repeat?" (from post #100)

    Does the computer not tell them that "Jackologist" is an exact repeat?

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 00:47am on 14 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    I would not trust many of Eric Holder's former clients and I don't think I like him, but I don't think he himself is corrupt, and I can respect him for some of his opinions, while disagreeing with those opinions. He would be a worthy advisary across the aisle.

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 01:01am on 14 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 125, Via-Media:

    Welcome back.

    I'll endorse factcheck.org as well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 01:14am on 14 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 118, RomeStu

    "Do you want to help those less fortunate than yourselves ? YES / NO."

    If this had been the first attempt to reform our inhumane and costly healthcare system the excuses they are giving would have had some credibility, but when you consider that every attempt to reform healthcare the last 5 or 6 decades has been rejected, the obvious answer to your question is NO.

    Obviously, the insurance industry and their supporters will not admit that and, instead, they will pretend to favor reform, but not those that have been put forth thus far. To accentuate their greed, ideological extremism, and political opportunism they will use childish soundbites such as Obamacare and Hillarycare, and will not hesitate to use fear, deceit and distortion to discredit any attempt to change the status quo.

    Consider this, no Republican administration with a Republican majority in Congress has attempted to reform our healthcare system the past 30 years, none has tried to pass TORT reform legislation, and not only did they not attempt to encourage inter-state commerce they actually blocked shopping for medication when President Bush reformed MEDICARE.

    I am surprised they did not add cynicism and deceit to the fear factor that is the centerpiece of their strategy to win seats in 2010, and I am disappointed they did not include a few more childish cartoons to make sure they can persuade their "misunderestimated" constituency to follow the party line.

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 01:17am on 14 Mar 2010, David wrote:

    Squirrelist,

    I wouldn't want to be with those gents...when Obama goes to Indonesia........so much spittle flying:0)))))

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 01:24am on 14 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 133. At 01:29am on 14 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    "And who says those opposing Obama care disagree with that.

    But a return question:

    Should an over taxed U.S population have to pay for programs that don't work and entitlements for goverment workers?"


    There are no answers here MK.
    To say "return" to have to have turn.

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 01:30am on 14 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 135. At 01:32am on 14 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    118 Stu Rome.
    It seems that they really don't like saying " I am a selfish fart and I do not want anyone else to be well.
    BUT I am a Christian or Jewish or Muslim yet I ignore the call of all the gods of these religions to help others in need.Because I need more money to waste figuring out how the stock market works"

    They instead will say.
    NO because I am the most generous person in the world.

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 01:34am on 14 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    130 the reason they never did anything about tort reform is there is not a lot to be achieved by doing that.
    The cost to the system is negligible.
    Fractions of a percent.
    Not a big money earner.And they realised it.Then.



    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 01:35am on 14 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 138. At 02:18am on 14 Mar 2010, U14380026 wrote:

    137

    you must thrive on the fact that you are so unbelievable and so often so bias as to have no credibility.
    If that weren't so you would have seen this remark removed because to suggest that a terrorist has been appointed to the justice department is a slander.
    "terrorist lawyer to the justice dept."


    "Sorry you would not put lawyers for the insurance companies in charge of investigating insurance companies abuse."
    No I would not. And the last 50 years of Administrations solved the problem by not having anyone investigate the insurance industry.

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 03:19am on 14 Mar 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    129 Andy

    Whoops, 2nd attempt, after back to back power outages... Anyway, thanks for noticing. I've been lurking all along, but haven't felt moved to join the perpetual noise machine. No one seems to be listening to anyone else, and talking past each other never solved political (or other) problems. I find the endless shouting of one side of the political spectrum at the total expense of all reason or logic disheartening.

    Fact of the matter is, yes, we need some sort of universal coverage. And I'm reluctant to trust big business- it just seems unChristian and un-American to wager on people's health.

    And yet the other side does make a point about cost. We might not have to face the music now, but (to quote Pete Townshend) "we're headin' for a day of reckonin'." Especially in the U.S., we're going to have to face the unpleasant facts that we can't continue living beyond our means, or exploiting the rest of the world's resources to satiate our gluttony.

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 03:23am on 14 Mar 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    136 Scat
    Then we should concede and give them tort reform. Afterward, when nothing comes of it, we've at least taken that much more wind out of their sails.

    I am willing to conjecture that lawsuits might have a deterrent or causative affect far greater than their face value. Medical professionals fearing potential suits for not doing enough quite possibly make the decisions themselves to go for the extra tests and treatments, just in case- so tort reform might have a dampening effect.

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 05:37am on 14 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    127. At 00:42am on 14 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    "Does the computer not tell them "this is an exact repeat?" (from post #100)

    Does the computer not tell them that "Jackologist" is an exact repeat?





    Glitches of the portal system may cause some posts being replicated ad nauseam.

    Glitches in the registration may allow miscreants with dozen split personalities access system when their wardens are busy elsewhere.

    Complain about this comment

  • 142. At 09:56am on 14 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 137. MagicKirin wrote:

    "Holder is a disgrace:

    Refusing to prosecute voter fraud and intimidational (sic)

    now appointing terrorist lawyer to the justice dept.

    Sorry you would not put lawyers for the insurance companies in charge of investigating insurance companies abuse."

    Do you have any evidence for this - or is it just more Cheneyite McCarthyite smearing, guilt by association, The Big Lie etc?

    In particular you appear to be repeating the exact smear that 19 leading Republican lawyers called 'shameful' and 'unjust'

    As for your last point, AIR your idol the 'wise' GW Bush had no problem eg appointing people who had worked for the energy industry to make policy on ...the energy industry. Were you jumping up and down and calling them names too?

    Complain about this comment

  • 143. At 11:11am on 14 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    117. RomeStu:

    I caught up on that eventually; I do rather suspect (2) might have played a part; at least I hope so . . .at what age does the Brit habit of taking the **** get inculcated? I can't remember. . .

    All the same, I can't remember if I would have known all the right answers when I was 10. So though it made me wince, I'm not going to wail and gnash my teeth too much until I can. (I wonder what the proportion of 'right' answers might have been if the boys had been asked the names of their football team and when and how many goals they'd scored last season . . .) But at least most got it right.. . .

    Clearly, however, we have a proportion of similarly educated [?] ten year olds posting on this blog.

    Complain about this comment

  • 144. At 1:19pm on 14 Mar 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    In the photos, Gibbs has his patent grin because he neither has to stonewall nor lie.

    Re 24: shivering - Spot on! The White House will be dealing PORK directly to buy votes. The majority of the public does not want the bill and the urgency is to push it through before the representatives meet their constituency during the April recess. Everything about this process is wrong!

    Re: 26/27 - rodi - The House CAN NOT change the Senate bill during "reconciliation". It can only be passed as it is currently written. To go back to change the bill with require approval by both the House and the Senate. Changing this rubbish is even more difficult than getting it passed.

    Re: 32 - carolina - Many are aware of the link, but the wording and structure are incomprehensible. It will create a whole new genre of attorneys and specialists.

    It will create a whole new industry of "Obamacare Supplemental Insurance" (for those who can not wait for the 'Obamacare help desk' to figure out if you have coverage) Realize that a new division of SEIU registered, semi-educated social workers (on par with ACORN) will be helping the public.

    Re: 17 - scat - "Rabid Right" Why do you resort to name calling? Is the argument that weak?

    The "death panels" will really be a combination of care givers that cease services because their costs are not fully covered and by the inefficiency (incompetence) of those administering the program. Those who are unquestionably entitled will be covered; all others will be scrutinized.

    It appears you underestimate the impact of tort attorneys and the malpractice insurance that arose as a result. Find a OBGYN in Florida and ask them "what happened to the other private practices?"

    Complain about this comment

  • 145. At 3:05pm on 14 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    erm - tort law is state law...yer undermining the Constitution with this call for reform...rabid right wing lobbiest schills gonna' have to choose - if ya keep making noise on both sides of the fence yer gonna look a little cheap. The selection of 'whom to cover' (death panels) right now is unregulated and solely in the hand of the profitee...how could regulation possibly be worse? Tired of drivel, prefer hockey, pass the bill and then get to work on public option, single payer, nationalized health care. Go Pens

    Complain about this comment

  • 146. At 3:12pm on 14 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 144 ann arbor wrote:

    "Re: 17 - scat - "Rabid Right" Why do you resort to name calling? Is the argument that weak?"

    Clearly name calling is something ann and other rightwingers never stoop to, as we may see from her recent postings - just click on her name:

    "In the photos, Gibbs has his patent grin because he neither has to stonewall nor lie."

    "The Joker would never behave like Obama. The Joker is more transparent and does not need a teleprompter."

    "Thank you, Magic. That was light and satisfying." {NB Not name calling - just ludicrous]

    "Obama's propensity to sacriface [sic] American soldiers by prohibiting firing before they are fired upon insures America will receive the first strike./Folks, you have trusted your nation to an incompetent."

    "The KGB of the 1960's could never have envisioned planting a more damaging agent than the current "President" (term used loosely)."

    "The "change" you got is a man that knowingly appoints criminals and corrupt individuals to positions of power. You got a man that has enabled a theft of billions from the U.S. You have the man that rushed firms through bankruptcy to transfer assets to the government and unions (both socialist institutions)./The "change" you got is a man that is transferring wealth from the citizens in a bloodless coup. Specifically, his actions should be compared to Lenin, except he did not spill blood when stripping the nation's finances and credit./As he himself has a propensity for Mao (as do his advisers), then his actions should be subject to similar Maoist views. The sentence for "crimes against the people" come to mind."

    "The blog today is scarcely worth the time to post./No doubt, many spend much time formulating their posts. To listen to the dribble, I suspect the thought behind the postings is more characteristic of a closed head injury."

    "Remember, when the government is insolvent and the people are effectively disarmed, we will better understand the Obama agenda."

    "MAII cheered my [sic] up. ;-)" [NB Not name calling - just ludicrous]

    "Andy, spare the denigration. Your arguments are not that strong." Comment is superfluous

    "Obnoxious and opinionated do seem to work well, though." Comment is superfluous

    "I am not racist. I am just honest. BO is pathetic." As above

    "Obama is no different than any other career Chicago politician, except his deception, theft, and graft have tapped into the Federal Treasury."

    So, just to be clear, your President is a thieving, lying, pathetic, incompetent Maoist Leninist who took power in a coup, is worse than a psychopathic criminal [The Joker], has an agenda to disarm Americans, deliberately sacrifices US soldiers and deserves to be executed? And those who think otherwise are brain damaged? [Obviously excluding your chums MK and MAII?].

    Well, that seems pretty 'Fair and Balanced'.

    Just as long as you're not resorting to 'name calling' or 'denigration'....

    Complain about this comment

  • 147. At 3:30pm on 14 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 139, Via-Media

    "And yet the other side does make a point about cost."

    The cost of reform is, in my opinion, the only legitimate argument and concern that has been brought up during the healthcare reform debate. The rest is rubbish or fearmongering designed to achieve narrow special interest goals.

    Unfortunately, the President and our congressional leaders have failed to explain how we are going to pay for reform using data that is credible and easy to understand. They have also done a dismal job in explaining the tremendous burden that the current system puts on our economy, on our corporations, the American people, and how employment costs influence the inability of our corporations to resume hiring.

    Most of the opposition to reform is not influenced by moral issues, but by our refusal to pay for the services we get and the improvements we need. The USA has one of the lowest tax burdens in the industrialized world and, not surprisingly, we also have the dubious distinction of being the largest debtor nation.

    Interestingly, the fiscal concerns and the indignation we voice when we discuss social programs that benefit the American people evaporate when public funding is requested to increase our out of control defense budget and fund our beloved foreign adventures. Alas, when everything else fails we simply issue a few "emergency resolutions" and pay for our adventurism with Monopoly money aka unfunded liabilities without giving it a second thought. In fact, we seem to be prepared to put the champions of emergency resolutions and fiscal irresponsibility back in office, apparently so that they can finish what they started. Could it be a masochistic desire for a sequel to the Great Depression?

    At some point, we are going to have to reconcile our priorities and decide whether or not we want to return to the fiscal solvency and growth we enjoyed not so long ago, or continue our wasteful ways, suppoprt the status quo, and go down with the ship.

    Complain about this comment

  • 148. At 5:17pm on 14 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Still wating for an answer how many Nazi sympathizers and enablers were in Dublin area during WWII.

    Complain about this comment

  • 149. At 7:17pm on 14 Mar 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    147 SaintDominick

    Excellent points all. My concerns on the cost front have been somewhat assuaged by some very persuasive arguments from economic theory- that, contrary to Republican talking points about reducing taxes to stimulate the economy, that taxes are bad, bad, bad- the factual evidence of the last century seems to point to the opposite. Periods of strong economic growth appear to show no direct correlation to a low tax rate, but just the opposite.

    And the debt "crisis" might just be another engineered meme that caught the mood of a public angry and scared about economic bad times. Again, there is some evidence that has me half persuaded, that the opposite of the Republican model actually holds true- the time for deficit spending is during an economic downturn. Much like a dam being used to moderate bad times- you store up the water in the wet season, so that when things dry up, you can release a steady flow to keep things afloat.

    The last bit of persuasion is the simple fact that we are not alone, and other nations have and do weather similar or much higher debt loads quite well, with few ill consequences.

    All this being said, though- I don't know that what Congress and the Administration is doing with spending really bears the markings of calculated recession-fighting deficit spending.

    Complain about this comment

  • 150. At 7:25pm on 14 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Well, I just started reading the comments on here (actually, scanning might be a better term for it) and I must say Squirrelist at 58 really got me to laugh. Look, Squirrelist, there are simply times where you can't reason with a person. Especially a few jingoistic Yanks on here who seem to have powerful connections with that firebrand, Samuel Adams. They just want to go tar and feather some Brits, and the Brits seem to have left the States awhile ago so they search for them on a British blog. Sam Adams would be proud, but our more sensible Quaker ancestors would be horrified. As they were at the time of the revolution.

    Note to Powermeerkat about "Jihad Jane". She is living proof that our health-care system needs improvements. She belongs in a mental hospital, not a jail.

    Complain about this comment

  • 151. At 8:00pm on 14 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    150. At 7:25pm on 14 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    "Look, Squirrelist, there are simply times where you can't reason with a person."

    I know. Not even when they're looking down the barrel of a gun, seeing the number of people who say they want to shoot first over on the gun thread.

    (You've got to keep trying, though. I mean, if a stopped clock can be right twice a day, stands to reason I'll find a time when you can sooner or later.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 152. At 8:53pm on 14 Mar 2010, starFloridian wrote:

    How about sackcloth and ashes for Mr. Gibbs when the health bill goes down the drain? What a damning indictment of the whole sorry mess when Pelosi says, "We must pass the biil so we can see what's in it"!!! How can anyone in good conscience vote for a bill that even the House leader confesses ignorance of what it contains?

    Complain about this comment

  • 153. At 9:27pm on 14 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    151. Squirrelist
    "Not even when they're looking down the barrel of a gun, seeing the number of people who say they want to shoot first over on the gun thread."

    Would you be so kind as to tell me if there is anything worth reading that I haven't read before on that thread?

    I see that Mr. Mardell has created a thread on middle-aged music. My parents would probably recognize the names of the folks he wrote about.

    Complain about this comment

  • 154. At 9:41pm on 14 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Robert Gibbs looks nice in that Canadian jersey. He should have worn it the whole time, but I guess it's not that big of a deal. As for Pres. Obama's travel delay, I don't know how much of a difference that'll make.

    I'm frustrated with the whole system of health-care in this country. Rich people get too many treatments and tests and are more likely to die as a result. Poor people get too few treatments and tests and are more likely to die as a result. In an ideal world, people in every country would get the medical care they need, but no one would pander to hypochondriacs.

    [long sigh]

    Complain about this comment

  • 155. At 9:45pm on 14 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 149, Via-Media

    "All this being said, though- I don't know that what Congress and the Administration is doing with spending really bears the markings of calculated recession-fighting deficit spending."

    I am convinced that Bush's TARP, Obama's stimulus package, and the huge infusion of money from the Fed that we have seen during the past 12 months or so precluded the total collapse of our financial institutions and our economy.

    Yes, those initiatives did not create jobs and have not led to a robust recovery, but they laid out the foundation for market forces and corporate America to survive and bounce back.

    IMHO, we should follow Japan's example and put in place another stimulus package designed to improve our infrastructure, invest heavily in new sources of energy, and education to put people back to work and prepare our workforce for the challenges of the 21st century. The administration should also address our out of control trade deficit, not only by increasing exports but by limiting imports, should consider devaluing the dollar, should put in place financial regulation, and should force the banks that benefitted from the TARP to expand and improve their credit practices.

    All that, and a healthcare system that reduces business costs and the burden that the present system places on the American people should be enough to get our economy on solid footing again.

    Complain about this comment

  • 156. At 9:47pm on 14 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 148 powermeerkat wrote:

    "Still wating [sic] for an answer how many Nazi sympathizers and enablers were in Dublin area during WWII."

    Really?

    Well, don't hold your breath.

    Or alternatively, do hold your breath. I don't much care either way.

    Or hire a researcher. Or even do some research yourself.

    If I happened to know, I might tell you, but I wasn't actually around at the time.

    [Although first you'd have to clarify the relevance of your question to Obama's healthcare legislation.]

    That reminds me - at least twice you have whined about the UK not directly electing its PM. And I asked you twice which parliamentary democracy directly elects a PM. Still waiting.

    And finally - You say you are American? Not a native I assume? Since you don't seem to have grasped the usage of the definite or indefinite article. AKA 'the' and 'a'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 157. At 10:55pm on 14 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    153. At 9:27pm on 14 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    151. Squirrelist

    Would you be so kind as to tell me if there is anything worth reading that I haven't read before on that thread?

    Yep. There's, er. . . and umm, . .not to mention . . .oh forget it.


    "Middle-aged music"? Thought that was James Last. (I met someone once who had a complete collection of every James Last record. He didn't actually have any others. If I'm very unlucky, one day I'll meet someone who has a complete collection of every single one of those awful 'Play Bach' records, too.)

    But hang on the New Romantics, Sex Pistols, once, surely? (I listened to a bit of Chuck Brown out of curiosity; not my thing, I must admit.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 158. At 11:03pm on 14 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 139, Via-Media:

    And yet the other side does make a point about cost. We might not have to face the music now, but (to quote Pete Townshend) "we're headin' for a day of reckonin'."

    Actually, it's such a good point that both sides are making it.

    The President's argument is not that we don't need to take action to rein in our deficit, but that we can't cut back on services when the People need them most. He wants to let the economy recover first then implement an austerity plan. The Republicans want to cut services now. The President's plan will increase the deficit because the government is seeing tax revenue fall off due to the recession, not because he's planning to increase spending.

    I don't know that the country really understands this.

    Complain about this comment

  • 159. At 11:12pm on 14 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 149, Via-Media:

    "Periods of strong economic growth appear to show no direct correlation to a low tax rate, but just the opposite."

    Really? Do you have a link? I'd love to see proof of that!

    Complain about this comment

  • 160. At 11:28pm on 14 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    About the health care problems in the US. Here's a quote from an email I got from Amnesty International on the subject of maternal mortality in the US:

    "Today we're blowing the lid off the shameful way that many pregnant women are treated in the United States.

    "We've released an unflinching report that details the disgraceful facts, tragic stories and poor policies behind maternal death rates among American women. The results show this country ranks 41st in the world for risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications.

    "It's not just the low ranking that concerns me; it's that in a country that spends far more on health care than any other country in the world - and more on pregnancy and childbirth hospitalization costs than any other area of medicine - at least half of these deaths could have been prevented!

    "* Women aren't receiving enough information about the signs of complications and the risks of medical interventions, such as inducing labor or c-sections.
    * Unlike in other countries, most women in the U.S. do not receive home visits following childbirth, even though more than half of all maternal deaths occur within 42 days of giving birth.
    * The cost for maternal care is just too high for many women to pay and many women find that they cannot obtain insurance after becoming pregnant.
    * Far too many barriers are preventing pregnant women from getting proper care before, during and after their delivery.
    * African American women are four times as likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than white women. Disparities have not improved in more than 20 years.
    * Few systems are in place to analyze existing problems and propose possible solutions to improve maternal health standards."

    Complain about this comment

  • 161. At 11:34pm on 14 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    158. At 11:03pm on 14 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    'And yet the other side does make a point about cost. We might not have to face the music now, but (to quote Pete Townshend) "we're headin' for a day of reckonin'." '

    Didn't Pete Townshend also say he wanted to die before he got old?

    Complain about this comment

  • 162. At 11:52pm on 14 Mar 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    159 Andy

    Try this for starters. It's directed more against Supply Side economics, but that seems to be dictating much of current Republican fear-mongering, so... davidbrin.blogspot.com/2010/02/primer-on-supply-side-vs-demand-side.html

    Lest it be said that the author is biased, as a self-described "social libertarian" he takes the Dems to task quite often as well. And Dr. Brin is a firm supporter of (properly regulated) free enterprise. I find his reasoning very astute.

    Complain about this comment

  • 163. At 00:53am on 15 Mar 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    161 Squirrelist

    That was my quote... I guess the 20 year interval helped Mr. Townshend gain some perspective. OK, the quote wasn't entirely relevant, but I've had that verse stuck in my head since c.1986.

    Complain about this comment

  • 164. At 01:47am on 15 Mar 2010, U14385148 wrote:

    156 You could also ask how after the Scatologist pointed out that three posts were exactly the samethe spam poster posted two more of exactly the same posts.
    Seems odd doesn't it.
    Have a happy and lazy day it keeps the doctor uway.

    Complain about this comment

  • 165. At 02:48am on 15 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    155. At 9:45pm on 14 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "I am convinced that Bush's TARP, Obama's stimulus package, and the huge infusion of money from the Fed that we have seen during the past 12 months or so precluded the total collapse of our financial institutions and our economy."

    "Yes, those initiatives did not create jobs and have not led to a robust recovery, but they laid out the foundation for market forces and corporate America to survive and bounce back."
    __________

    Agree with this. It wasn't pretty, and maybe it could have been done better, but in the circumstances when someone is operating a fire extinguisher, you don't care whether the East German judge only gives it 4.3 for artistic impression. It was an emergency, and it let the financial system live to fight another day.
    ----------

    "IMHO, we should follow Japan's example and put in place another stimulus package designed to improve our infrastructure, invest heavily in new sources of energy, and education to put people back to work and prepare our workforce for the challenges of the 21st century."
    _________

    Not so sure about this. Japan has had the emergency generator dangling in the slipstream for ten years trying to get the engines to spool back up, and they're still losing altitude. Their debt ratio is getting uncomfortably large.

    Agree that public funds should be used to build long term assets, rather than merely as short term (rather inflationary) transfers to individuals that leave little if any lasting benefit.

    Thing is, there is an awful lot of liquidity out there already. We are awash in liquidity. Growth seems to have taken a bit of a spurt, and now, quietly and carefully,at some point they are going to have to start pumping out some of that liquidity
    ----------

    "The administration should also address our out of control trade deficit, not only by increasing exports but by limiting imports, should consider devaluing the dollar, should put in place financial regulation, and should force the banks that benefitted from the TARP to expand and improve their credit practices."
    __________

    They're trying. The Yuan-Dollar relationship is the single most important currency re-alignment that is needed, it needs to be in the 40% - 60% range, and it needs to happen now. But the government of China isn't really playing ball.

    Complain about this comment

  • 166. At 05:21am on 15 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 167. At 05:41am on 15 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #165 InterestingForeigner observed:

    "Japan has had the emergency generator dangling in the slipstream for ten years trying to get the engines to spool back up, and they're still losing altitude. Their debt ratio is getting uncomfortably large."


    Although not as large as Greece's, Portugal's and Spain's.




    BTW. Here's hoping that BA doesn't go the way of JAL.

    [id est into bankruptcy] Courtesy of its 1960s era labor union.

    Here's also wondering why both ANA and Virgin Atlantic are doing well. ;)


    P.S. Re music... I understand that ABBA is very popular in UK these days.
    [ABBA of course standing for Anything But BA]

    Complain about this comment

  • 168. At 11:19am on 15 Mar 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 167 PMK
    Meerkat, BA is struggling because it can't take the US option to declare bankruptcy and steal back all it's employee's pensions.
    Virgin are a young enough company not to have a colossal pension deficit

    Complain about this comment

  • 169. At 11:42am on 15 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    I can't see why my post #160 was referred to the mods. All it contained was some facts regarding maternal health in the US. Is somebody concerned that more Americans might learn that we rank 41st in maternal health but #1 in spending on maternal health? I guess that fact would seem dangerous to anyone who works for a health insurance company.

    Complain about this comment

  • 170. At 12:22pm on 15 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #168.

    I understand. But it BA's CEO could do what Reagan did to PATCO controllers,they might have jobs in a forseeable future.

    If, however they drag BA down - many of its employees would have to go on the dole.

    Or am I mistaken?

    Complain about this comment

  • 171. At 1:46pm on 15 Mar 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 168
    Meerkat, you are partially correct. If BA calls in the administrators a lot of jobs will go.
    That isn't a good enough reason to either rob you own employees of their pensions, or to force them to work for you for only what you can afford to pay even if it's way under the market rate.
    BA got itself into this mess through years of short-sighted management. If it can't maintain the contracts it has with its own staff, the company and not the workforce sould suffer and if that means BA goes under then so be it. Market forces in action. The demand will still be there for their routes and the workforce will be needed by whoever takes over those routes, but with at least part of their pensions protected by the administrator/government.
    I'm not a socialist (I'm actually a Tory - with a dash of social responsibility added), but there is a gap in US corporate law that allows companies to penalise their own employees for corporate mistakes (ie United declaring bankruptcy in 2002).

    Complain about this comment

  • 172. At 1:58pm on 15 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    169. parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    "I can't see why my post #160 was referred to the mods. All it contained was some facts regarding maternal health in the US."

    I think it's obligatory to include a sneer or snide remark about us Brits these days. Perhaps you could try that? (Since it's you we'll pretend it's invisible.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 173. At 2:42pm on 15 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #150 Note to Powermeerkat about "Jihad Jane". She is living proof th"at our health-care system needs improvements. She belongs in a mental hospital, not a jail."



    There have been quite a few cases in recent months of not only Americans, but for example Germans either being arrested for
    attempted acts of terrorism, or even being already sentenced.

    Mental illness is not a common thread than links them.

    Unless you're suggesting that Westerners who convert to Islam and join Jihad are sick in their head and need treatment.

    Personally I don't think so, since insecurity, alienation, inferiority complex and often even simple loneliness, submissiveness and a desire to belong to a reinforcement group are not symptoms of mental illness.

    BTW. As I have already pointed out earlier homicidal major Nidal Hasan was not a mental patient; on the contrary: he was a mental health care provider.[a psychiatrist]

    Complain about this comment

  • 174. At 3:19pm on 15 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    star.. (#152) "How can anyone in good conscience vote for a bill that even the House leader confesses ignorance of what it contains?"

    Pelosi was referring to attendees of the Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties, not to herself. Pelosi knows very well the current state of the reconciliation bill.

    The Senate bill, which must be passed before the reconciliation, is available to anyone who cares to read it. The reconciliation bill is in negotiations. It won't be known exactly what is in it until negotiations are completed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 175. At 3:35pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 176. At 3:35pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    bbc aren't whores

    Complain about this comment

  • 177. At 3:36pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    the mods have no draws

    Complain about this comment

  • 178. At 3:36pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 179. At 3:37pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    TC was class

    Complain about this comment

  • 180. At 3:37pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    charity gets a pass

    Complain about this comment

  • 181. At 3:38pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    isreal behaves well

    Complain about this comment

  • 182. At 3:38pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    when it's viewed from hell

    Complain about this comment

  • 183. At 3:39pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    and now I've had my fun

    Complain about this comment

  • 184. At 3:47pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    shoot the messanger

    Complain about this comment

  • 185. At 3:48pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    mods are plods

    Complain about this comment

  • 186. At 3:48pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386293 wrote:

    a

    Complain about this comment

  • 187. At 4:20pm on 15 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #171 PartTimeDon


    I don't think it's as a management issue. Its rather a problem of old failed economic model which many European (and some American) legacy airlines are stuck with. [Forget ridiculous hub&spoke system.]

    But practically all new upstarts (and by no means only airlines) rely heavily on flexible employment of flexible work force.

    Now, the new model may not exactly be something to cherish, but it seems to be working. Which sure beats being unemployed, wouldn't you agree?

    regards,

    Complain about this comment

  • 188. At 4:39pm on 15 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    You know - I like Gibbs.
    I also find Mark a fair dobbleganger for the fellow.
    -- oh dear. Mark didn't get this gig based on his looks, did he?


    Oh - and don't forget that Obama avoided Indonesia during the SEAsia meetings a while back. I'm wont to think the snubbery is a bit bi-coastal.

    Indonesia might want to claim Obama as their own - but it he's making it very clear that he has not claimed them. Meanwhile, Putting Health Care over Indonesia also makes a clear statement to Americans about his priorities.

    -- not that ANY American would EVER questions Obama's national loyalties... right?

    Complain about this comment

  • 189. At 4:54pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 190. At 4:54pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 191. At 4:54pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 192. At 4:55pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 193. At 4:55pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 194. At 4:56pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 195. At 4:57pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 196. At 4:59pm on 15 Mar 2010, U14386382 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 197. At 1:20pm on 16 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    600 mg of Thorazine 3 x a day might help.

    Complain about this comment

  • 198. At 4:05pm on 16 Mar 2010, U14387686 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 199. At 4:45pm on 16 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    197. At 1:20pm on 16 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "600 mg of Thorazine 3 x a day might help."

    That's nasty. For one thing, are you will to pay for it? Our beloved friend has already said he's living on a very low budget in the US, where health-care is extremely expensive, unaffordable for many people. Besides, the dose you mention is way too high. Here's what rxlist says about its use:

    "ACUTE SCHIZOPHRENIC OR MANIC STATES — I.M.: 25 mg (1 mL). If necessary, give additional 25 to 50 mg injection in 1 hour. Increase subsequent I.M. doses gradually over several days— up to 400 mg q4 to 6h in exceptionally severe cases— until patient is controlled. Usually patient becomes quiet and cooperative within 24 to 48 hours and oral doses may be substituted and increased until the patient is calm. 500 mg a day is generally sufficient. While gradual increases to 2,000 mg a day or more may be necessary, there is usually little therapeutic gain to be achieved by exceeding 1,000 mg a day for extended periods."

    And anyway, I don't see why you'd want Jack banned. Don't you believe in free speech?

    Complain about this comment

  • 200. At 4:51pm on 16 Mar 2010, U14387768 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 201. At 4:58pm on 16 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 202. At 8:54pm on 16 Mar 2010, U14387614 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 203. At 9:08pm on 16 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    199. At 4:45pm on 16 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    " Usually patient becomes quiet and cooperative within 24 to 48 hours . . ."

    Translation: "becomes tame, biddable and so dopey everybody around has a really easy life. . "

    (Or in this case so some can carry on posting their obsessive few lines every hour month upon month uninterrupted and unchallenged, regardless of their irrelevance to the topic?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 204. At 02:01am on 17 Mar 2010, HungeryWalleye wrote:

    24. At 11:41pm on 12 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies seems to have forgotten the Tom Delay Congress that turned pork and earmarks into an art form. Republican behavior – down the memory hole. Oh, I forgot. Its good if his team does it, but not the other. Wasn’t it a Missouri Republican Congressman who compared health reform to 9/11. Should he be embarrassed?

    Complain about this comment

  • 205. At 11:26am on 17 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    203.

    So true.

    Perhaps sometime this summer we can have a philosophical discussion about what differentiates a criminal from someone who is mentally ill, what mental illness is exactly, under what circumstances should a person be forcibly admitted to a mental hospital, etc. I don't have the time right now, but I think we could have an interesting discussion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 206. At 12:06pm on 17 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #203

    I could replace chloropromazine with quetiapine or risperdone.

    [wouldn't risk haloperidol].

    However prescribing drugs over Internet is illegal in the U.S.

    Even to patients who obviously could benefit from it.

    Therefore I'll refrain.

    And stick to removing clogs in the blog. [as a part of general hygiene]

    Complain about this comment

  • 207. At 10:10pm on 17 Mar 2010, starFloridian wrote:

    Even the most ardent Obamaite must agree that Gibbs is the worst Press Secretary in recent history. He is a master of the "ers", and smooth-tongued like his master he is not. I hope the Republicans have a much more eloquent and informed applicant for that most important post in mind for when they take over the White House in three years' time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 208. At 1:57pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    205. At 11:26am on 17 Mar 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    203.
    So true.
    Perhaps sometime this summer we can have a philosophical discussion about what differentiates a criminal from someone who is mentally ill, what mental illness is exactly, under what circumstances should a person be forcibly admitted to a mental hospital, etc.


    Mental Health Act (1958--I think) in the UK sets out most of our basic principles. But basically, we tend to believe--or at least hope--that people with a psychiatric illness are ill, not criminal, first, and should be treated not punished. However horrible the crime some may have committed. And 'sectioning' (the commitment to psychiatric care without the consent of the patient) is both difficult and fairly unusual since that Act.

    I looked at the Broadmoor Hospital site--one if the three secure hospitals in the UK now -- and they say the average stay before a patient is released is eight years. Of course, there are a handful thought to be so dangerous they never will be, and there are some who have been released and reverted, but they really don't amount to many.

    Complain about this comment

  • 209. At 2:02pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    206. At 12:06pm on 17 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "And stick to removing clogs in the blog. [as a part of general hygiene]"

    Oh, you will you?

    I've read about what was done through the 1930's and 40's in the name of mental 'hygiene'. You seem to have a surprising knowledge of psychiatric drugs, their availability and their purposes.


    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.