Filtered news 7/13 (late)

Sorry this is late.  Techie problems. --RK

"John Edwards is on the campaign trail. He's now
doing something called his 'Poverty Tour', where he's visiting people who have
no money and no hope. His first stop today: John McCain's
---Jay Leno

"[T]here's a senator from Louisiana, David
Vitter, admitted he's been dating prostitutes. And he was very generous with one
girl---he paid her with a new highway project in her home state. ... One thing
I'll say for this guy from Louisiana, this David Vitter, at least he went to a
professional and left the congressional pages alone."

---David Letterman

"Earlier today a new list of the Seven Wonders of
the World were unveiled and the list includes the Great wall of China, The Taj
Mahal and the Coliseum in Rome. After seeing the list, President Bush asked,
'What about Space Mountain?'"
---Conan O'Brien

"Sixty eight percent of Republicans don't believe
in evolution. On the other hand, only five percent of monkeys believe in
---Stephen Colbert

Portable potables.  On
this most important date in 1568, the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral perfected a
way to bottle beer.  Try stashing a keg under your robe and you'll understand

And what are our
  “More U.S. children breathe air and drink water
that is polluted, more are living in crowded, costly housing that strains the
family budget and more babies are being born at low birth weights that threaten
their survival and .”


The ploy that dare not speak its
   Here we have a headline from the :  "Senate Narrowly Backs Bush in Rejecting Debate on
Increasing Time Between Deployments"  Well, no, I'm sorry. That's not right. The
vote was 56 to 41. A solid majority of senators supported increasing time
between deployments.

Republicans blocked a vote on the bill. Say it again: They blocked a vote.
They filibustered it.

Don't mistake me. I support the right of the minority party in the senate to
do this, just as I did in the previous Congress when Democrats were in the
minority. And I would completely oppose any effort to changes the rules, as
Republicans effectively threatened to do in the previous Congress. But you can
entirely support the right to filibuster, as the Republicans are now
consistently doing, while also insisting that the party in question be held to
account for exercising the power.

It's about accountability. Inaccurate reporting undermines accountability.
All the big press outlets seem to suddenly have forgotten how this works. The
headline is Republicans block the vote. That's not spin. That's what

TV tonight  Watch our own
genius, John Nichols, the associate editor of the Madison, WI, Capital
, national correspondent for the Nation magazine and author of
 tonight as he is interviewed by Bill Moyers on . This is not a five minute interview, it is the focus of
tonight's Journal.  The interview comes as more and more members of
Congress are uttering the forbidden word--impeachment. (Could we start
with Alberto Gonzales? Please.) Watch Nichols tonight and send us your comments.
Is there time to impeach?

How the rich get richer and you get
  As you may know, hedge fund managers don't like to pay
taxes. To facilitate this desire, they've decided that their management fees
aren't really management fees. They're capital gains and should be taxed at the
capital gains rate of 15% instead of the 35% rate that you and I would have to
pay if we earned several million dollars a year.

This is an absurd loophole, and Congress is now dithering about whether to
close it. (The fact that they're dithering, instead of competing with each other
to express outrage and then closing it immediately on a unanimous vote, is yet
another demonstration of the immense stranglehold that the rich have on American
politics right now, but that's another story.) However, David Cay Johnston tells
us today that even if this loophole gets closed,

It's much too complicated to explain, but the end result is that hedge funds
that go public are able to avoid taxation on a huge chunk of the money they
raise for their principals. In fact, it's even worse: in the case of the $4.75
billion Blackstone IPO, the principals may actually get a tax refund on
$3.7 billion of their bounty. This stuff really is capital gains, but they
aren't even willing to pay capital gains rates on it. They want us to
pay them.

Ain't that sweet? Don't you wish you didn't have to pay taxes either? It's a
grand time to be rich and powerful in America, isn't it?

Having it both ways I may
have missed any commentary on this, but no one seems to be pointing out that
Bush spent the whole press conference saying we are fighting Al Queda, then
concluded by disagreeing that Al Queda is stronger then it was in 2001. In 2001,
they highjacked four airliners using box cutters and today, according to
administration spin, they have the entire United States Army bogged down! How do
people sit there and not start laughing, I don't know.

Not "leaving," but
Newsflash! Conservative evangelical leaders have made a
startling and earth-shaking discovery: evangelical teens have a tendency to
become less religious over time! Even more amazing is the fact that exposure to
lots of non-evangelical teens in public schools increases the chances that a
person will adopt new and non-evangelical beliefs!

Never forget, America:
Republicans invented the punch clock, Democrats invented the weekend.

Who supports our troops? 
“Since 2001, more than 22,000 servicemen and women from all branches of the
military have been separated under the personality disorder discharge.” ABC News
explains, “This diagnosis means the personality disorder existed before military
service, and therefore .”

Hey, judge, us too  “In an
unusual expression of frustration, the judge who sentenced former White House
aide I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby to 30 months in jail, only to see the sentence
commuted by President Bush, said he was .”

Family values watch    Sen. Jim
DeMint (R-SC) is not surprised by revelations that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
“patronized brothels and call girls.” In an interview with Capitol News
Connection radio service, DeMint said, “I think all of us have to look at it and
say, ‘. … This can be a very lonely and isolating place.’ I’m fairly
surprised at how little it does happen.” 

  In a new
released today, concludes
that the increase in government secrecy during the Bush administration has been

In the past six years, the basic principle of openness as the
underpinning of democracy has been serious undermined.
Administration has taken an extreme view of the power of the presidency. In its
view, its powers to operate are largely unchecked by the Congress, courts,
states or the public.

Existing laws on openness have been undermined while secrecy is increased.
The Administration has issued executive orders placing limits on the Freedom of
Information Act and Presidential Records Act, expanded the power to classify
information for national security reasons, and created a whole range of new
categories of “sensitive” information. Classification of information has nearly
doubled while efforts toward declassification have largely been stopped and many
records were secretly reclassified.

Read the full report

Supporting the troops.
Democrats in the House yesterday passed a bill that would start within 120 days.  Pelosi:

"Passage of Chairman Skelton’s bipartisan bill will reflect the will of the
American people and reaffirm the judgment of the House that the redeployment of
our troops is a central element and an effective way forward in Iraq. We will
repeat that judgment legislatively as often as necessary, hopefully with an
increasing level of support from our Republican colleagues, until pressure from
the American people causes the President to change his mind and change his

Thank you---that's more like it.  But, uh, we're not quite ready
to remove your electric neck collars just yet...

Speak up for Lilly -- and your mom, your
sister and your daughter
   When Lilly
Ledbetter discovered that she was paid much less than her male coworkers over
many years, she sued her employer for pay discrimination. A jury ruled in her
favor, but the Supreme Court rejected her case. Don’t let others suffer the same
fate. We have a unique chance to correct the Court’s decision in this case.
Learn more and take action now!
 >>     >>

Still waiting on trough about
waiting for health care
OK, OK, I'll never complain about having
to wait three months for a dental checkup again. Mark Kleiman, who nearly died
thanks to waiting times for his cancer diagnosis,

The claim that replacing the current insurance mishmash with a
better-integrated payment and decision-making process would mean more rationing,
or even more rationing-by-queuing, is the sort of palpable falsehood that people
who are perfectly honorable in real life are only too willing to utter in
ideological conflict, especially if paid to do so. Under a single-payer system
we'd have an idea who was waiting how long for what, while under the current
system no such data are available. In all my waiting, I was never in a formal
"queue," and if the cancer had gotten me before the pathologist figured out what
it was no one would have counted that death as the result of rationing. But only
in wingnut health-policy fantasyland is not measuring a problem the
same as not having a problem.

The punchline is here:

It was only later that I discovered why the insurance company was
stalling; I had an option, which I didn't know I had, to avoid all the approvals
by going to "Tier II," which would have meant higher co-payments. The procedure
is designed to get very sick or prosperous patients to pay to jump the

The insurance company almost killed a man to try to persuade him to buy more
expensive services.

This is a point that's worth keeping in mind when you hear about waiting
times in other countries. The only reason we even know they have
waiting times is because they measure it. We don't. That doesn't mean we don't
have waiting times. It just means we don't know how long they are, which in turn
implies that we don't have any interest in reducing them. After all, if we did,
we'd measure them, wouldn't we?

Neocon media  AP: "Report
Hints Troop Surge May Extend".   Gee, d'ya think? The story's author, Robert
Burns, gives us the much better "strongly implies."

Just askin' -- Remember the War
Anyone heard anything from him lately? Shouldn't he be
pretty prominent what with all the news from Iraq and the surge in full swing
now? Oh, maybe he's off "coordinating" or something. Here's, arguably, the most
powerful military man in the country and I'll bet 9 out of 10 Americans (even
the informed ones) don't even know the guy's name (it's Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute).
Talk about another brilliant idea.



July 16, 2007 - 6:27am