Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fanning the Flames at the American Taliban Weenie Roast

Dana Milbank
Christopher Walker & Sara Cook
Robert Wright

"On Wednesday, Republicans found themselves in violation of the Kenny Rogers Rule: Know when to fold 'em." - Dana Milbank
"Feel free to remind Rush Limbaugh that he promised to move to Costa Rica if health care reform gets implemented. Once you’re done, you can go back and remind him that Costa Rica has national health care." - Gail Collins

We are living in interesting times, extreme silliness reigns in Washington DC, while the threat of death and violence grips the nation. After the health care reform bill passed, Republicans were proposing all kinds of amendments, trying to get the proposed bill changed so that it would be sent back to the House for another vote. The Congressional parliamentarian did their work for them, by telling Democrats that their were certain provisions in the education part that violated budget conciliation rules. So the bill was changed by striking out the offending parts and the Senate voting to pass the revised bill 56 - 43, with 3 Democrats voting against it.

Dana Milbank portraits the reconciliation session in the Senate, where Dr Tom Coburn sought to point out a major flaw in the legislation and offered his amendment to fix it: "Amendment 3556 to H.R. 4872: "No Erectile Dysfunction Drugs to Sex Offenders."

"If this bill goes through without this amendment, your tax dollars are going to be paying for Viagra for child molesters," Coburn, a medical doctor, said on the Senate floor as he introduced his E.D. rider.

The Levitra legislation did not get a rise out of Democrats. "Offering an amendment dealing with Viagra for rapists?" Majority Leader Harry Reid asked, struggling for words. "I mean, this is -- this -- this is -- this isn't serious." It also makes you wonder how many prescriptions of Viagra Dr Tom has written for convicts in jail, some strange fetishes they encourage the incarcerated in Oklahoma... I wonder, does Dr Tom prefer to dress up in his doctor's coat, or does he prefer the nurse's garb when he visits his friends in jail? As an aside, Dr Tom's daughter was a former Miss Oklahoma...

A lot of posturing back and forth over the recent violent threats issued against Democrats after the vote. Eric Cantor accused the Dems of fanning the flames of hatred and violence, while the fanners shot back that the Repubs were pouring gasoline on the flames. If they only could work together in bi-partisan support they could fisrt pour the gasoline, then fan the flames to roast their weenies... This is one bit of psychodrama that is useless, and doesn't address the real problem. It also shows the difference in governing philosophies: while Mr Cantor previously had refused to disclose his own personal death threats, his Democratic opponents believe in more transparency and opted to disclose.

Perhaps we've become influenced by the Iraqi war too much. For tomorrow's election results, many Iraqis have stocked up on food and water, and plan on staying home for the anticipated wave of bombs and violence. See, it's just our American Taliban expressing solidarity with their Iraqi roots. We've had assassinations, planes flown into federal buildings in Texas, folks strapping up and wearing their guns to Starbuck's, and rocks thrown through the offices of Democrats; the next step will be suicide bombers at the voting booths, with Sarah Palin stickers stuck to their backpacks...

It also was interesting to watch different Republicans trying out different variations of their next new catch-phrase, given to them by a public relations firm that was paid way too much money. Mitch McConnell, he who crafted the failed strategy of just saying no and obstruct everything, tried out "Repeal and Reform." This morning it had become "Repeal and Replace" in Karl Rove's Wall Street Jounal column. It does sound better, because of the repetition of the "rep" in both words making the phrase more melodic, and hopefully, more catchy when set to music on YouTube...

I think that Rush Limbaugh was misquoted when he said that he was going to move to Costa Rica if the health reform bill was passed. Yeah, going back and listening to his tapes, he said that he would buy Costa Rica if the health care bill was passed. He can do that comfortably from his $12 million dollar home... I don't listen to him very much, I prefer classical music in the afternoons, but I don't think he's even mentioned a certain Central American country with a healthy base of US retirees living there. Guess he's too busy talking now what the health care bill doesn't have that the Republicans could have put in it, if they had only participated in its creation... If he did move, dittoheads would then be referring to El Rushbo as El Jefe, a title he would have more in common with Fidel Castro, proving what a small world it is after all...

The NY Times has a wonderful profile on my hero, Elizabeth Warren, who was the top watchdog on the Troubled Assets Recovery Program, and who might become the head of the financial consumer agency if the bill passes the Senate. It was her idea, and strangely enough, is opposed by Republicans who are not in favor of strengthening individual's rights: "Ask Elizabeth Warren, scourge of Wall Street bankers, how they treat consumers, and she will shake her head with indignation. She will talk about morality, about fairness, about what she calls their “let them eat cake” attitude toward taxpayers. If she is riled enough, she might even spit out the Warren version of an expletive.
“Dang gummit, somebody has got to stand up on behalf of middle-class families!”
Despite the dang gummits, I like her for her passion, intelligence, and the fact that: "she is such a fearsome interrogator that Bruce Mann, her husband, describes her as a grandmother who can make grown men cry."

While she feels, as many do, that the cycles created over the last 30 years of deregulation have spawned abuses and the collapses of institutions, and that we must make safeguards to protect people who may invest their life savings or lose their house: "Critics argue that such an agency, which would regulate mortgages, credit cards and nearly all other loans to consumers, would tighten credit in an already tight market, stifle innovation and hurt small businesses." In other words, the banks and the Treasury hates her.

“This is America’s middle class,” she recently said on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” “We’ve hacked at it and pulled at it and chipped at it for 30 years now, and now there’s no more to do. We fix this problem going forward, or the game really is over.”

“When you say it like that and you look at me like that, I know your husband is backstage, I still want to make out with you,” Mr. Stewart responded." Yes John, that Bruce Mann is one lucky guy...

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