Big night on the health-care beat last night. I started working last night just after Baby Killer Bart had struck his deal, and it became Done. I kept CSPAN on as long as I could stand it, but that wasn’t long. Does listening to the House of Representatives, or Congress in general, ever lead you to a certain stirring pride in being an American? Yeah, me neither. I can’t listen for long without getting depressed, so I turned it off. Once the deal is done, it’s all over but the whining. It was interesting to see that Mary Bono is still in Congress. Excuse me, Mary Bono Mack. Let’s check the wiki-bio, shall we?
Bono married Wyoming businessman Glenn Baxley in 2001 about 18 months after the two met in Mexico. They filed for divorce in 2005. On December 15, 2007, Mary married Congressman Connie Mack IV from Florida in Asheville, North Carolina. …Known for her dedication to physical fitness. …Her district includes the highest percentage of gays and lesbians of any district represented by a Republican. …Bono Mack followed the Republican Party line 89% of the time according to Congressional Quarterly. In 2004 she earned an 84% approval rating from the Christian Coalition, but this fell to 33% in 2008. In 1999, she voted in favor of the Largent amendment, to ban adoption by same-sex couples in Washington, DC. Bono has, however, voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment twice. …Bono Mack was a leading proponent of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, the so-called “Mickey Mouse Law”, which extended the terms of copyright. Giving a speech on the floor of Congress in favor of the bill, Bono said: “Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.”
In other words, she went to Washington, liked what she saw, settled in — married a local — and now would probably say she “votes her conscience,” or whatever. I hope you’re happy, Palm Springs. She’ll likely be there until they carry her out feet-first.
I’m trying to imagine how we might pay royalties to the heirs of John Philip Sousa every time the band strikes up “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
I can’t decide whether this blog by David Frum is brave or just the reaction of a a hard-working White House butler at the Andrew Jackson inauguration party, i.e., who let all this riffraff in?
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?
Whatever it is, it’s fun to read. I’ve frequently said, over the years, that the Republicans of my adulthood bore little resemblance to the ones of my childhood, i.e., the nice country-club members who wanted their taxes cut, but would have fainted from mortification had anyone asked about their relationship with Jesus. I don’t know how many of their ilk are looking around today and asking who invited these thugs into their party. I hope at least a few.
Anyway, it’s over now. The Democrats will lose seats in November; the party in power usually does. But if Frum is right — if the steadily improving economy will take some wind out of the Tea Party’s sails by fall — then there will be a reckoning. Eventually.
Side link on Frum’s site: A video extra on how Rahm Emanuel lost his middle finger, from his “60 Minutes” interview. I had no idea the accident was that serious, having only heard the Obama-at-the-roast version, in which the loss of Emanuel’s all-important second digit “tragically rendered him nearly mute.”
One last point before I move on to the fluffier bloggage: Like most moderate Americans, I was frustrated by the line Stupak et al drew over so-called abortion funding; I keep seeing the figure 80 percent of private plans offer abortion coverage — is this true? If so, are all the pro-lifers in the country who were willing to smash this bill to smithereens over a few percentages of a penny of federal money that might go to someone’s abortion, are they willing to repudiate their employer-paid private insurance coverage and either go bareback or buy from a different company out of pocket? I bet …not. Just a thought.
And from the Department of Revisionist History, Newt Gingrich predicts doom, doom for the Dems:
But former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill “the most radical social experiment . . . in modern times,” Gingrich said: “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
The GOP: Happy to Profit From Others’ Doing of the Right Thing for 50 Years.
I’ve doubted Patti Smith’s status as a working-class hero ever since I learned she sent her son not to the public schools of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, but the Grosse Pointe Academy. This weekend brought more proof, via the NYT:
Necks craned for a glimpse of Patti Smith as she settled at her customary corner table at Da Silvano in Greenwich Village, a favorite afternoon haunt, earlier this month. The wonder was that the patrons, silver haired and sleekly buffed, could pick her out at all. Ms. Smith was understated, even self-effacing in her mannish jacket, boater shirt and beat-up jeans. …So it was surprising to learn that her roomy gray jacket, with cuffs that unfasten at the wrist, was designed by Ann Demeulemeester, a high priestess of Parisian vanguard chic. Her jeans were Ralph Lauren, prized by Ms. Smith for their racy lines. Her boots, a gift from Johnny Depp, who wore them as the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland,” were the perfect fit, Ms. Smith exulted, “like when the magic cobbler made your shoes.”
I guess Johnny Depp doesn’t give boots from Payless. And Demeulemeester is “a longtime friend and collaborator,” so I doubt she pays retail. And I suppose the lady can afford it. Still.
Manic Monday awaits. And we’re off!
brian stouder said on March 22, 2010 at 10:08 am
Nance – that quote you shared –
“They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
What the D’s lost after the Civil Rights legislation were the ‘Dixie-crats”, many of whom just went ahead and became R’s (see Strom Thurmond, etc); Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” was born.
But among the problems with his analysis are two things that immediately struck me: at crunch time, the fringe part of the D party (as personified by Michigan’s own Stupak) came home, so that the party is now more unified than before; and second – the angry tea-baggers aren’t geographically concentrated, but are instead diffused around the country like dandelions. In fact – these people’s inchoate feelings of anger and frustration are probably more likely to hurt the GOP than help it – especially if they give their money to primary challengers rather than GOP nominees.
btw – I’ve an icy cold Diet Coke that says the Newtster has to clarify that statement before the sun goes down. (he seems to be whizzing on the racial third rail in American politics, which ain’t wise)
Jim said on March 22, 2010 at 10:18 am
Interesting about copyright protection. There was an article in the NYT yesterday about the Kirby family suing Disney because their father created many of the Marvel superhero characters — and the children aren’t getting a dime.
My opinion: You should be able to profit from your own creation as long as you live. But your children? Sorry. They didn’t create it, so they shouldn’t profit from it.
Jeff Borden said on March 22, 2010 at 10:21 am
Why is the national Republican Party so thoroughly despicable? Look no further than Newt Gingrich, who presents himself as a “serious” thinker in a party of bumper sticking yahoos. He declares passage of Health Care Reform to be the biggest mistake the Democratic Party has made since the passage of Civil Rights legislation under LBJ.
Yes, because extending civil and voting rights to minorities who had been treated like shit in this country for a few hundred years was just a terrible thing to do. Now extending health care benefits to tens of millions is also a terrible thing.
What a bunch of asshats.
Julie Robinson. said on March 22, 2010 at 10:27 am
A “radical social experiment”? If he’s comparing health care to Civil Rights, social security, or Medicare, then Gingrich just needs to shut up. If it’s a social experiment to care for the elderly, poor, or disenfranchised, then bring on the experimentation. And he calls himself a Christian? For shame.
And I’d sooner listen to music by Sousa than Sonny Bono any day of the week. Sousa will still be played in a hundred years and Sonny’s stuff will not.
Pam said on March 22, 2010 at 10:40 am
We were speaking over the fence with my mild mannered neighbor yesterday. He is self employed and his COBRA benefits from his wife’s insurance (divorce) has just run out after 3 YEARS. The extension was thanks to the Obama administration. Having a besmirched healthcare background, he was told by several insurance companies that he is “uninsurable.” Apparently, they check your health background going back 10 years (how do they do this?) and if there are any claims, DENIED! He finally found a policy available through AARP where your background is checked over the last 5 years, not 10, where he has been somewhat trouble free. In collusion with his agent, they figured out how to basically hide his healthcare past (it’s a long story) and he got coverage with a $4,000 annual deductible. He didn’t say what the premium is. It had been $262/month under Cobra and I’m sure it’s now way more than that. Yet, he wouldn’t even discuss the pending healthcare reform (he’s an R) because apparently, he wasn’t for it. Huh? He can almost afford the $4K annual deductible, assuming he doesn’t become chronically ill. Then he would be very vulnerable to going broke. Bottom line, he needs to remarry his ex-wife for her insurance.
Jeff Borden said on March 22, 2010 at 10:46 am
The genius of politics is getting people to vote against their own self-interests. Your neighbor will reliably vote for a Republican candidate even though repeal of HCR will be their battle cry this fall and beyond.
LAMary said on March 22, 2010 at 10:58 am
Jack Kirby of the Fantastic Four? The guy who drew everyone with the same mouth and at least once in every comic had someone say, “Reed, don’t say it. Don’t even think it?”
alice said on March 22, 2010 at 11:22 am
Patti Smith wearing boots from Johnny Depp? I may pass out.
alex said on March 22, 2010 at 11:26 am
Wow, either Patti Smith has some honkin’ big feet or Johnny Depp has some dainty li’l tootsies. Of course, Depp looks better in lipstick than she does.
Strange bird sighting this weekend: A tinfoil-hatted peckerwood teabagger and it was right outside my front door. It spoke and then left its calling card, a Post-It preprinted with the campaign platform of this would-be GOP state rep:
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2010 at 11:28 am
Brian, re: third rail — c’mon.
Julie Robinson. said on March 22, 2010 at 11:37 am
Speaking of tinfoil-hatted peckerwood teabaggers, Karl Rove only drew 100 to his book signing event yesterday. There may be hope for Fort Wayne yet.
Jeff Borden said on March 22, 2010 at 11:41 am
Poor Karl. He had an embarrassing meltdown on national TV when he faced off with White House adviser David Plouffe. Outside the soft, non-threatening cocoon of Faux News, old Turd Blossom actually has to answer real questions and resorts to a toddler’s tantrum.
I’d prefer to see this odious tub of pus behind bars for his role in outting a CIA agent for political purposes, but watching him make a fool of himself on TV is pretty sweet, too.
prospero said on March 22, 2010 at 11:46 am
Lost in the hoopla. This is mighty big, and easily as abhorrent to Greedy Oil Plutocrats as health care reform.
The education loan system in place for decades has involved the federal government handing over vast piles of cash to private “lenders”, who charge the government ridiculous fees to transfer it to putative scholars, who are then charged usurious interest rates.
This has been widely characterized as a subsidy to a private industry, but it’s obviously more like a direct transfer of funds to brokers that reap profits for a service of no value whatsoever.
This legislation represents a spectacular fiscal and policy reform initiative, but nobody seems to have noticed. Of course, now it’s on to Mitch McConnell. Still, the current business as usual is such straightforward theft of federal funds, it’s difficult to imagination how even Senator Whinehouse can can pull the wool over anybody’s eyes, no matter how flat out, Teabag obtuse.
Meanwhile, the long opening scene of Breaking Bad last night was a surreal masterpiece.
Jim said on March 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm
Mary: Yes, that Jack Kirby.
Sue said on March 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm
Those poor Leaders! Trapped – trapped! – by a voting base that has been “persuaded to believe [the party in power] wants to murder their grandmother”. And they could do nothing about it – nothing! Would these be the same leaders who so carefully apologized to Rush (conservative talk radio) every time they spoke out of line and spent every spare minute on Fox? Those leaders? Trapped indeed.
Is anyone willing to give me a quick rundown on the Breaking Bad episode last night? I’m kind of afraid to watch anymore unless I know how bad it’s going to be.
Peter said on March 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm
Julie #4 – As much as I like Sousa, I’d personally pay the royalties to hear “Needles and Pins” any day – especially the Ramone’s version.
As for Ms. Smith – Much as I believe her story, I always wondered about the part where her and her sister had no money and spent months being broke in Paris. I mean, don’t you need money to make the trip? It’s not like you can take Greyhound or pack yourself into a box and hope they load you on a plane….
Dexter said on March 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Sue: Walter White and Skyler are divorcing much to the chagrin of Walter, who is now living in a cheap condo-like dump.
The son is confused and resentful about the breakup, Skyler “knows” Walter is dealing marijuana? no? cocaine? no…when Walter confesses to being not a dealer but a methamphetamine manufacturer, in hopes that it would make a difference to Skyler, she says”…now let me out of here before I throw up!”
The DEA bro-in-law and Skyler’s sister are clueless as ever, Jesse Pinkman is out of rehab and ready to get down to business, and some mysterious, almost other-worldly Mexican twin gangsters who appear to have a direct connection to El Diablo himself are murdering their way to a confrontation with our hero, it appears.
A lot of time was spent on the plane crash over Albuquerque from last year, but nothing was added to the story from it.
The pollo man who owns the chicken shack and is a main meth connection offered Walter, who told the man he was “done”, three million dollars for 90 days of Walter’s time. Walter is gonna do it, or die trying.
When C-Span and C-Span 2 started televising Congress, I was all excited. After a few hours, I realized Congress was no spectator sport unless you had a personal iron in the fire. Issues are always important; personally viewing the entire process would be a full-time job, and it is impossible.
I don’t follow the stars’ lives like rabid fanatics do, I do know that Patti Smith still has it, she’s like Jagger, Bowie, she’s like Joplin was in life…she’s a special, loved talent and after all the criticism she will still be there. When she sang “Because the Night” with Bruce Springsteen on teevee a couple months ago, it was the best thing of the night…it was that show from MSG in New York….
Sue said on March 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm
John McCain now promises “no cooperation” from the Republicans, because the Democrats have “poisoned the well”.
Well… OK, John. I expect not only no cooperation but instant repeal of the bill as soon as you folks are in power again next November. Don’t forget to take the donut hole provision out when you repeal it; in fact why don’t you make sure all those seniors who benefit from this pay back that $250 first-year rebate. And let’s make sure you keep discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions, especially since your home state of Arizona is planning on cutting insurance to its poorest children – you can even the playing field in a particularly cruel way.
Oh, that’s right, you’re facing a primary challenge from someone who’s even scarier than you, aren’t you. Like so many other leaders in your party, you’re “trapped”.
beb said on March 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm
I am not a lawyer. I may be wrong on some of this….
When the copyright laws were revised in 1978 there was a provision that allowed people who felt their copyrights had been violated to reclaim those rights but only after a substantail period of time. The window for reclaiming rights is narrow and only opens in a few years. Jack Kirby is long dead so only his heirs are around to sue to reclaim what was rightfully his.
But the case is mre involved than that since all his life Kirby was a freelancing, not an employee of Marvel Comics. Nor was “work-for-hire” a legal concept before the 1978. So when Kirby created new characters in the comics he was drawing, they were kind of like his. Marvel Comics realized this and when in later years he wished for formal contract with Marvel so he could health insurance, a pension, etc., Marvel wouldn’t talk unless he first signed away his rights to all the characters he created for them. When he asked for the return of his artwork (which had value on the fan markets) Marvel would not return the art unless he signed away his rights to these characters.
When Kirby complained in the 60s about all the money Marvel was making from characters he had created, at this point from animated TV shows he was promised a share of the merchandising. It was a verbal promise and martin Goodman never made good on it.
I don;t think copyrights should last forever. I think two periods of 25 years each with required formal renewal for each period is plenty. But in the case of Jack Kirby he was robbed at the time and I think his heirs deserve to win.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm
I’m still waiting for Brian’s review of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” Lord, have mercy on me, but what I’ve read so far is . . . really good.
(Don’t intend a threadjack, I just assume that Lincoln references of any sort are always in order, but I’ll submit to the review of the blog parliamentarian on that point of personal privilege.)
paddyo' said on March 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Alex @ 9: Strange bird sighting indeed. What really got me (like the Kinks), in looking at Ms. Queckboerner’s website, was the “ResistNet” affirmation of “principles,” with a creepy kind of specificity in naming (and one name only) any off-limits targets of teabagger-gagger ire:
“I affirm that ResistNet . . . is not a forum for . . . militancy (inciting violence) against BARACK OBAMA or others . . . .”
And to follow up on that brilliant opening of “Breaking Bad,” there’s word elsewhere on the InterWebNets that the shave-headed Mexithugs who joined in that priceless pilgrimage to the candle-lit grotto are played by a pair of real-life twins. Their characters are supposed to be close relations of Tuco, the wigged-out narcotraficante who was dispatched last season in that desert hideout gunfight. Fans will recall the accompanying soundtrack to that Season 2 highlight as the plinkity-plink-plinking of Tuco’s mute, crippled old uncle on his wheelchair-mounted, hotel-front-desk, “ring-for-assistance” bell. Creepilicious.
BB star Brian Cranston, twice Emmy’d for the role, got behind the camera and directed the Season 3 opener, too . . .
coozledad said on March 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm
It’s Rep. Neufgebourgerborg mit der babykillering!
And he’s a liar. I heard Babykiller! often enough during the campaign to be convinced the McCain Campaign was employing it in their fundraising efforts. Way to take the gutless road, Texas trog.
Chris said on March 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm
Cooze beat me to the Neugebauer news. The guy is also a birther. How could he not be? If only Molly Ivins were still around to skewer these redneck Texas Republicans.
brian stouder said on March 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm
I just assume that Lincoln references of any sort are always in order
I always make that same assumption, too!…and you realize that saying that is like when the old man (in this case, me) says “Hey sonny, pull my finger”, yes?
Anyway – I did see some chatter about this Lincoln/vampire book, specifically because one of the places you can buy it is….(wait for it) – the bookstore at the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois!
I’ll restrain myself except to say that the firestorm (some of it quite literally fire) ignited by President Lincoln, as he tried to placate the conservatives and mollify the radicals, with regard to emancipation, was not unlike this whole health care debate. Except that the lunatics haven’t actually seceded yet, that is.
LAMary said on March 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm
Neugebauer is from Lubbock, and Molly said that when neighbors of the feedlots in Lubbock complained about the smell, the city council passed a law requiring Air Wick be attached to every fencepost.
cosmo panzini said on March 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm
Healthcare. MMM–let’s see
That radical social experiment was actually pioneered by the Kaiser (Wilhelm, I think) in, oh, the 1880’s or 90’s in Germany, and survives there to this day. Seems to be working out OK for them. BTW–I stopped paying any attention to Newtie and George Will at about the same time, mostly for the same reason I don’t stick my finger into turd piles: I already know what shit smells like, so there doesn’t seem to be much point.
moe99 said on March 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm
Beck: “Jesus Martinez” might favor health bill, “[b]ut not the Jesus from Nazareth that I know”
alex said on March 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm
Jeff Borden @ 10:
Speaking of pissing and third rails:
The decedent’s body was found on the elevated (“L”) tracks located on the CTA’s Ravenswood line at or near 4700 North Kedzie Avenue. John Costantini, a Chicago Fire Department paramedic field officer, testified that the decedent lay perpendicular to the northwest-bound CTA tracks, his head pointing north. The decedent’s feet were near the third rail, pointing in its direction. (The third rail carries 600 volts of electricity and provides power to the train cars as they traverse grade crossings). The decedent’s pants zipper was open, and his penis was exposed. The pathology report listed the immediate cause of death as electrocution. At the time of his death, the decedent had a 0.341 percent blood alcohol concentration which placed him in the stupor classification of intoxication.
Remembered this lawsuit, googled it and was gonna debunk the debunkers: http://www.kentlaw.edu/faculty/rbrill/classes/BrillTortsF2006Eve/CoursePages/Course_docs/Supp_material/Lee.html
Then as I read it more closely I realized that the Chicago media had never bothered to explain that the guy actually died from stepping on the rail, not from peeing on it.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2010 at 10:20 pm
I hate it when that happens.
Linda said on March 22, 2010 at 10:44 pm
“btw — I’ve an icy cold Diet Coke that says the Newtster has to clarify that statement before the sun goes down. (he seems to be whizzing on the racial third rail in American politics, which ain’t wise)”
Go collect your Diet Coke, Brian. Newt indeed realized that he laid the callous, calculated soulnessness of the GOP a little too bare, and has now scrambled like a three legged cat on an ice floe to cover his mess.
//analogy courtesy of “North Dallas Forty”
MarkH said on March 23, 2010 at 1:57 am
Well, Linda and Brian, yeah, he had to make sure he didn’t come off as slamming civil right legislation, especially the 1964 variety, per se, but…
And he DID toss in some jibes on Viet Nam and the LBJ economy to spread the love, but…
I wouldn’t say he SCRAMBLED….more like softboiled (poached?)
moe99 said on March 23, 2010 at 2:47 am
Let’s help Rush make it to Costa Rica:
prospero said on March 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm
If you add up the solid 48% that just thought the bill should be passed, and the 75% that agreed to every aspect and provision, and you account for all the Naderite bellybutton-gazers that think it’s ok but not perfect, where does Boner stand on the No, No No.? Well. He’s so full of shit it’s coming out his eyes. If Americans aren’t smart enough to understand this obstructionist political bullshit, we all deserve to crash and burn.
This is a kind of clear case of social justice. How does anybody that claims to be a Christian deny it’s our social responsibility to take care of everybody? It’s astounding to me that people think it’s political. Medical care for people in need. Republicans say it’s socialism, and they claim to be Christian.
I know that’s bullshit, but please. We’ve got these assholes never resorting to the truth. Never. Not once. As the Godfather said, please, please please. Somebody expose something that was actually true that any Republican said about anything concerning any policy since the black guy got elected that was connected remotely to the truth.
One thing true. Well, you know, unless he’s a Marxist mole, born in Kenya and determined to remake the US into a Soviet State.
It wouldn’t seem radical to say that every human being deserves the best medical care possible. Are we not men? Republicans say let the market decide.I ssy, God damn them.