I can’t look.

Because I care about my readers so very very much, and because Alan went fishing last Friday and Kate was off doing something, and it was hot and I was at loose ends and had an hour to kill, I did something I normally wouldn’t do, even for you.

I watched Bristol Palin’s reality show via my on-demand service.

I wish I could tell you it was a fine bit of bad television, worthy of an extra beer and a bowl of popcorn. Alas, I cannot.

Part of the problem is reality TV. I had a colleague who was always promising that reality TV was done, done, dunzo, and soon we’d have no more of it. This was more than a decade ago. Not only is it not dunzo, it seems stronger than ever, even as every last trope is as tired and clichéd as a CPAC flag salute for the mama grizzlies. There’s the mission (Bristol is restless, and wants to “give back” to a charity in Los Angeles) the staged think-it-over scene (Mama Sarah Grizzly sings a little of the “Beverly Hillbillies” theme song, screwing up the lyrics), the packing, the move, the reveal of the ridiculous mansion (“owned by a friend of my mom’s”), etc.

Ostensibly, Bristol is working for a charity called Help the Children, and isn’t that a great name for a charity? Guess what their mission is? Helping children! They have branded polo shirts, and Bristol gamely puts hers on and goes for a driving tour of Skid Row. Not a lot of children-helping can be observed, mainly because we have to endure long confessional interviews with Bristol and her sister, Willow, dragged along to be a babysitter to little Tripp, her 2-year-old son with Levi Johnston. Willow’s not very enthusiastic about being there, and whines on the phone to a friend back in Alaska. Tripp, we’re told, is the very reason for this excursion, because Bristol “wants him to see there’s a whole world out there,” something anyone who’s ever taken care of a 2-year-old for long knows is not exactly at the top of their bucket list.

Even this synopsis is boring, isn’t it?

Anyway, it all leads up to the big money scene, where Bristol is out frolicking with friends and an angry gay man yells YOUR MOTHER’S A WHORE. There’s some shakycam of the two of them squabbling, then a big meltdown in which she has the nerve to say, “And there are cameras everywhere!” and we end the episode on some note of sadder-but-wiser.

I feel sorry for Bristol. I feel sorry for Willow (although I think she has a chance). I feel sorry for Tripp. And I am reminded of a conversation I had with a woman from People magazine, who was applying for a Knight Wallace Fellowship the year after mine. She wanted to spend her year working on a book about what happens to people when they become famous overnight, not for something they did, but for something that happened to them. They go a little crazy, she said, mentioning Elizabeth Smart, whom I believe had just asked to play herself in the TV movie about her abduction, rape and captivity.

And then, because my self-loathing apparently knows no bounds, I did something I haven’t done in five years. I listened to a Mitch Albom show, or part of it, on the way home from Lansing Monday. I last tuned in during the Terry Schiavo affair, on a similar boring drive, and I was left with the impression that of all his media personae, radio Mitch was the least offensive. Maybe because so much of talk radio is so deliberately offensive, his aw-shucks regular-guy act was almost likable.

I’ve really, really lost my taste for that sort of commercial radio. There’s allegedly a conversation going on between Mitch and his co-host, but the whole show’s on ADD, what with stock-market closing numbers, traffic on the fives, weather and all the rest of it. But at one point they briefly chatted about “The Newsroom,” the new Aaron Sorkin series on HBO. It’s not being kindly reviewed, and having watched one episode, I’m agreeing with the critics — it’s preachy and speechy and rat-a-tat-tatty, and it left me pretty cold.

The co-host/sidekick said, “It’s not getting good reviews.”

“That’s because people are jealous of Aaron Sorkin’s success,” Mitch said, airily. “That’s what we do in this country. If someone is successful, we have to tear them down.”

Scratch the regular guy. The monsterfication of Mitch is fully complete.

And now, I know we all want to talk about whatever the Supremes had to say today, so I turn it over to you. Only one bit of bloggage, via Dexter: A numismatic ORGY!!!!!

I’m writing this Wednesday night. I can only imagine what tomorrow will be like — 100 degrees here, and I have two interviews and a meeting, with out 150 miles to drive. Oh, joy.

Posted at 12:53 am in Media, Television |

90 responses to “I can’t look.”

  1. John G.Wallace said on June 28, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I mentioned this to Nancy the other day, but while looking for information about, “The Newsroom,” I came across a Canadian show of the same name. It grows on you. It’s in a format similar to “The Office,” but pre-dates the UK and US versions, and forgoes the documentary guise.

    The setting is the newsroom for a public television nightly newscast with the core characters being the executive producer, two yes men, a suffering intern, and the anchor who gets addicted to pills, wrapped up in a segment the show is producing about prostitution (as the client they catch on video), and at the end of season one runs for the provincial government. Some pretty funny stuff, with running gags on constipation, the Nazi’s as BMW dealers, and the snarky yes men always selling the show out.

    Mary Collins? Do Skittles go well with cheap Walgreen’s Shiraz? I love how she asks for Rusty York when an offer of a Rusty Trombone might work better in her dilemma. I don’t live there anymore but the mental image of her liquored up for the morning news segments stuck with me. I noticed that the News-Urinal had to recycle Kevin’s column about her past arrest which included his mea culpa for lying to the media decades ago. Now he just lies to the readers – problem solved.

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  2. MarkH said on June 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

    The first mistake the Palins make is they want to be taken seriously when any “reality” show they might do is a jokefest. I honestly don’t understand who these producers think this crap appeals to. It simply can’t last. (Can it?)

    The fires in Colorado have finally hit close to home for me. I have a sister in Boulder and another sister in Denver. In Colorado Springs resides a close high school friend of the Denver sister and myself. Their house and the whole neighborhood are gone. They are OK and managed to get a lot of their belongings out as they heeded warnings over the weekend and started to pack. Here’s a Denver Post story and raw video and audio narrative. Jeffrey Lucas is our friend’s son.


    There’s also a fire near Boulder now, and and we’re all very nervous.

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  3. Brandon said on June 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

    “Because I care about my readers so very very much”…

    I know you do, so I have to ask again: Have you actually met Mitch Albom?

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  4. Dexter said on June 28, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I was surfing with the clicker and I stopped and watched fifteen minutes of the Palin show. Willow has other fish to fry and can’t be stuck in a Beverly Hills mansion watching sissy’s brat Tripp, and she got homesick and said she was going back home. Bristol’s vehicle was a giant Suburban SUV with just her driving, all seats empty. After the quarter hour passed, I left the kids in LA and searched for Pawn Stars on another cable channel. Did Willow get back to Alaska?

    The story on the coins inspired me to check my 56 year old coin collection for 1943 copper pennies. Tomorrow I do it.
    I discovered just yesterday that a 1943 copper penny, so rare because almost all 1943 pennies were made of steel, is worth between twenty and forty grand. I think I may have one. Haha! Well, helifino…that’s why I am getting a magnet out and hoping I have a 1943 US mint penny that won’t stick to the magnet. I know I have about fifty steel pennies from that year.

    Off topic here, but I found this quizzical: the past three days I have been getting Major League Baseball games from the Coast. Maybe it’s promotion week? The one ad that made me think was from Volkswagen in Seattle. The pitchman comes onscreen and starts talking-up “clean burning compact diesel engines in our great small car lineup.”
    I have never seen an ad around here that focussed on small cars with diesel engines.

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  5. JWfromNJ said on June 28, 2012 at 2:41 am


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  6. Brandon said on June 28, 2012 at 4:06 am

    If someone is successful, we have to tear them down.

    The tall-poppy syndrome. In Hawaii, we call it the `a`ama crab syndrome (the crabs try to drag down any `a`ama that crawls up the wall of the bucket).

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  7. ac jones said on June 28, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Here’s a fine, very brief obit to a woman who served briefly on the Fort Wayne City Council but whose legacy to those who knew her goes so far beyond that. She was a fantastic friend. Get that colonoscopy! http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/fortwayne/obituary.aspx?n=dede-hall&pid=158256478

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  8. alex said on June 28, 2012 at 7:16 am

    After a 62 year ride with a body not as strong as her soul, Dede Hall said, “This sucks, I’m out of here.”

    A refreshing change from the “she went to be with Jesus Tuesday,” or “joined the Chorus of Angels in Heaven” or what have you. Even if I didn’t know the lady, I feel almost as if I do—and that she’s a real firecracker.

    There was another local news anchor many years ago, Marti Wright, who also lost her job over a couple of DUIs, although I don’t recall any stories about her acting belligerently with a sense of entitlement like Ms. Collins.

    And Kevin Leininger is the last person to have any business preaching that journalists should be held to a higher standard when he himself fails to make the grade most days, injecting his own political and religious fanaticism into almost anything he touches. I don’t know whether it’s because they’re short-handed or just don’t care about appearances, but the News-Sentinel has had him reporting and writing highly negative opinion pieces on the same subjects at times, including President Obama’s campaign stops here in 2008. That was a new low for a paper that had pretty much already hit bottom.

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  9. coozledad said on June 28, 2012 at 7:37 am

    After I read Mitchell Agonistes take on Fifty Shades of Grey a few days ago, my morbid curiosity got the best of me and I went looking for “Tuesdays With Morrie- excerpts”.
    I could knock out a parody of it, maybe. “Tuesdays with Charlie(Manson)” or “My Tuesdays with Andre”.

    No. You canna do it. Two or three sentences in, and you’re in the climate controlled solipsistry where Mitch has fingerpainted the occasional bison on the walls with his own feces, but mostly loving self-portraits of Mitch.

    As Alex mentioned the other day, the writer’s voice outs him. (I never thought of Gore Vidal as an old school bitchy queen so much as an easily bored patrician who was fond of naked wrestling, but there you go) Your personality will out, even if you’re a skilled essayist.

    Mitch’s self love is always out front, like a toddler who’s just discovered his penis.

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  10. alex said on June 28, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Well, Cooz, my frame of reference for Vidal as bitchy queen was Myra Breckinridge, which was the first of his works I ever read. Over time I found that I liked him better as an essayist than as a novelist, and as queens go, he’s definitely old school. Though he’s a liberal through and through, he promotes the tired right-wing argument that homosexuality is a behavior and not an inherent trait. Which, I guess, is in keeping with his bluebloodedness. In his generation, one married other money and produced heirs and homosexuality was what you did with the help.

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  11. coozledad said on June 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

    My parents had a copy of Myra Breckinridge. The only part I remember is Myra strapping on a dildo and her male victim screaming “Jesus Christ! You’ll split me!”
    I was probably eight or nine years old, and I found it confusing.

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  12. Joe K said on June 28, 2012 at 8:43 am

    There are two main reasons that reality tv is still on. People watch it and most important, it’s cheap to make and the profits are huge.
    Hanging out in sunken Lunkin Ohio and its already close to 80, however Friday I get to enjoy one of the perks of the job, overnight trip to mackinaw and the wife gets to come along. We just celebrated 29 yrs last Monday, so it’s a win win.
    Pilot Joe

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  13. Dorothy said on June 28, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Talk about confused. I read your comment too quickly, cooze, and thought you typed “Myra stepping on a dildo…”. I blame my fuzziness on a night of erratic sleep because of one pacing, whining dog who paraded through our bedroom for 6 hours overnight. At least my perennials are all watered for the day. I never get to water them first thing in the morning. It’s a task for after supper most days.

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  14. Peter said on June 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I agree with Cooz’ take on Gore Vidal. Holy moley, the guy ran for Congress; if that doesn’t say bored patrician nothing does.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

    If the CS fires don’t get Focus on the Family, will it brighten your day if the Navigators’ camp & offices goes up in smoke?


    On other conflagration news, I’m getting in my bet that at 10 am, the SCOTUS majority opinion will void the mandate & Medicaid extension, barely sustain severability, and use the word “broccoli” at least twice. Another interesting wager I’ve seen mentioned: Roberts writes a short opinion saying that the ACA version of an individual mandate is truly a “tax” and therefore the court can’t rule on it until 2015. Now wouldn’t *that* set a fruitbat among the canaries . . .

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  16. brian stouder said on June 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I’m getting in my bet that at 10 am, the SCOTUS majority opinion will void the mandate & Medicaid extension, barely sustain severability, and use the word “broccoli” at least twice.

    An icy-cold Diet Pepsi (in the very largest cup that Marathon offers) says:

    Affordable Care Act upheld in its entirety by a 6-3 vote with Clambake Roberts writing the majority opinion, and accompanied by a smoldering dissent by Scalia that indeed uses the word “broccoli” twice, and the word “alien” at least three times, and which mentions the president’s name at least once (and with barely restrained fury, and very great vexation)

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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

    ….offer void in Manhattan.

    That’s a bet I’d enjoy paying off or receiving. Done!

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  18. brian stouder said on June 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Thanks to Jolene – a great link to a live-blog, run by the folks at scotusblog.


    The tempo is increasing over there….and the president is said to have motorcaded out of the White House (probably unrelated; but I bet he’s headed out for an icy cold Diet Pepsi)

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on June 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

    My feelings for Gore Vidal turned to complete loathing when he published that Vanity Fair essay about what a poor, misunderstood soul Timothy McVeigh was—in the September 2001 issue!

    There’s being a contrarian, and there’s being a contemptible asshole. With that essay, Vidal permanently crossed that line.

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  20. brian stouder said on June 28, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I read (and enjoyed) Vidal’s blue-mass consuming Lincoln, so there’s that.

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  21. Jolene said on June 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Enjoy that Diet Pepsi, Brian!

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  22. brian stouder said on June 28, 2012 at 10:16 am


    I mean, really; wow!

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  23. Jolene said on June 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Wow, indeed! Can you imagine the whooping and hollering at the WH right now?

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  24. Deborah said on June 28, 2012 at 10:19 am


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  25. Judybusy said on June 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Oh, this is such great news. I was very pessimistic and would have joined Jeff TMMO and lost the bet. Happily!

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  26. Dorothy said on June 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Jeff – our mutual friend (my co-worker) was interviewed yesterday afternoon for possible use in Obama campaign commercials, or for the Democratic National Convention. We need to keep our eyes peeled for her on t.v.! She talked about education, and Romney’s intention to have insurance companies no longer pay for birth control for women.

    Hip Hip HOORAY!!!! Just missed the big news because I was typing the above – and answering two or three phone calls at my desk.

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  27. brian stouder said on June 28, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Right after the election in 2008, Alex and I both commented about the frost that descended in our respective workplaces, and I sense the same sort of thing decending right now….(and I don’t think it’s an observer created reality)

    President Obama definitely has every right to “spike the football”, to use the orange man’s phrase

    edit: and – many, many thanks to Jolene for the scotusblog link; that place is quite informative, and the live-blog is in bite-sized pieces so a person can dip in and see the major contours

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  28. coozledad said on June 28, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Brian: I wonder how long it will take the Republicans and the press to pivot from calling the ACA “Obamacare” over the next few years.
    Wouldn’t it be somewhat awkward to have hillbilly cosplay dorks marching around with “hands off my Obamacare” signs?

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  29. Sue said on June 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I haven’t been this surprised in years. Really.
    The Club for Growth is not happy, and Reince Priebus says full repeal is needed. So, the next chapter starts.

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  30. Scout said on June 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Tah-rah-rah-BOOM-de-ay! I am doing the happy dance today. Not because I think the ACA is perfect policy by any means, but anything that makes the Orange Boner and the Chinless Turtle cry is pretty good news for liberals. And NOW what does Rmoney say? The Supremes just vindicated HIS signature achievement that he was for before he was against it.

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  31. nancy said on June 28, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I’m in the middle of the busiest days I’ve had in many, but stopping in to say, in unison with y’all, WOW, and also to ask Brian if he has any stock tips or sure-thing horses to let us know about, because he frackin’ called this one. This is Babe Ruth saying, “I’m going to hit one to the upper right-field seats, about between row AA and, ohhh, CC. Get your gloves ready.”

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  32. nancy said on June 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Oh, and to whoever keeps asking: No, I have never met Mitch Albom, but I once sat in a writing class he taught.

    (I didn’t learn anything.)

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  33. Sue said on June 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

    ac jones, that was indeed a wonderful little obituary, saying much with a few words. Can you explain about the ‘kids standing in line at …’?

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  34. nancy said on June 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Yes, and that was a great obit. I knew Dede Hall as the woman who gave one restaurant chain (hers) enough clout on council to defeat anti-smoking ordinances at least once, but it’s good to know she had a sense of humor. Sue, Zesto is a local soft-serve ice-cream stand. What she’s saying is, buy a kid standing line a cone, in her memory. Cute.

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  35. JWfromNJ said on June 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Sharp call Mr. Stouder. You should have went for a whole case of Diet Pepsi!

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Hey Brian, can you make it to Bellefontaine? There’s gotta be a Marathon station there, too. And I’ll take your next guess on lottery numbers or stock picks any time!

    Enjoy chewing on Justice Roberts’ prose here:

    “To an economist, perhaps, there is no difference between activity and inactivity; both have measurable economic effects on commerce. But the distinction between doing something and doing nothing would not have been lost on the Framers, who were “practical statesmen,” not metaphysical philosophers. Industrial Union Dept., AFL–CIO v. American Petroleum Institute, 448 U. S. 607, 673 (1980) (Rehnquist, J., concurring in judgment). As we have explained, “the framers of the Constitution were not mere visionaries, toying with speculations or theories, but practical men, dealing with the facts of political life as they understood them, putting into form the government they were creating, and prescribing in language clear and intelligible the powers that government was to take.” South Carolina v. United States, 199 U. S. 437, 449 (1905). The Framers gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it, and for over 200 years both our decisions and Congress’s actions have reflected this understanding. There is no reason to depart from that understanding now.”

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  37. susan said on June 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Big whoopdedoo on the ACA. Not. The Supremes still upheld healthcare mandates by calling them taxes, BUT, they are taxes to for-profit insurance companies. What’s so special about that? Business as usual. Compelling taxation for single-payer health insurance, or Medicare-For-All, would be cheaper, more efficient, and more righteous. So we still have to deal with goddamned Blue Cross, United Healthcare, Humana, and all the other increasing numbers of companies who get their fat hands into our monies and healthcare decisions.

    I was hoping the Supremes would strike down ACA so we could start over, and perhaps get something better. ‘Fraid not. We are in the same place we were before. Big whoop.

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  38. Joe K said on June 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    So who pays for this? Or how do you pay for this? It’s a tax right? Do we all pay? Should I cancel my insurance and send Washington the bill? If you don’t pay taxes who pays the doctor?
    Pilot Joe

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  39. Charlotte said on June 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Wow. Wow wow wow. On Facebook, by friend Howard, who has been a quadriplegic since 1990 or 91, “Thank god for John Roberts.” A sentiment I’d never say I shared, but this morning, I do. The ACA is certainly not perfect, and I would still rather pay into Medicare early instead of paying the robber-baron insurance companies, but wowza. This is the first good news in a long time.

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  40. Julie Robinson said on June 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Not to put a damper on the celebration, but a couple of details worry me, namely enforcement of both the individual mandate and Medicaid reform. If states don’t cooperate, there is no procedure to make them. And if individuals don’t buy insurance, they can be fined, but not forced to pay the fine. Then too if Mittens is elected and Congress skews even farther to the right, the whole law could be rescinded.

    It does seem as though Roberts is starting to think about his legacy and realizing earlier missteps. So, there’s that.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 11:38 am

    What Julie said. On further review, it’s hard to see how this actually *works* on the ground, and I fear that it will push more of the lowest end of the non-Medicaid population into the shadows. They can not have insurance, but not pay the penalty? It’s hard enough to get low-wage workers with five or six W-2s to file for their refunds, let alone EITC . . . so the penalty will often come *back* out of the federal payment you would have gotten?

    Medicare Part E, I’m tellin’ ya. It will end up cheaper in the not-so-very-long run, and would be a boon to the economy. I’d bet the stock market would bend up immediately upon passage of a non-employment-linked, baseline universal coverage plan, and you could pay for it by a comprehensive tax reform combined with tort reform.

    Oh, that would take bipartisan vision and actual desire to do something as a body rather than grandstand as individual prima donnas in the House & Senate chambers. Never mind.

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  42. alex said on June 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Yay! Wonder what sort of dissent the troglodites will write when the Prop 8 and DOMA cases are heard.

    On edit: J(tmmo), the tort reform argument has been debunked long ago. Personal injury and medical malpractice litigation have almost zilch to do with the cost of medicine, much less with the cost of insurance, but the insurance industry would love to have us believe that this is why we’re getting gouged when we buy its product.

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  43. Sue said on June 28, 2012 at 11:40 am

    susan – I’m one who thought Obama took too much off the table himself during the process that eventually led to Obamacare, so I see your point. I also think he made some ridiculously conciliatory comments right after several members of his own party were defeated for their part in helping to pass Obamacare. And he might pay the price himself this November, depending on whether he can communicate more clearly what this legislation does and does not do and on how willing people are to listen without automatic dismissal. But striking the whole thing down would not have given us a chance to start over, and you can look to both the Republicans’ comments and the decision by the House (within about an hour of the announcement) to schedule another repeal vote. These folks are serious and they have lots of money and fear on their side.
    JoeK: Your questions underscore my feeling mentioned above that Obama will lose this fight if he doesn’t become more specific about how this works. Less of the “if you like your doctor you can keep him” and more details. Assuming everyone is willing to listen to them.

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  44. DiscoDollyDeb said on June 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

    At this point, I’m not going to overthink it or analyze it, I’m just going to savor it. I have a learning-disabled daughter who is almost 20 and will probably have long periods of time in her life where it will be difficult for her to find work. To know that there is at least the possibility that she will have access to health insurance when she’s too old to be on my policy has put my heart at ease today.

    John Roberts’s appalling legal decisions, inability to control his bratty kids when he was first introduced to the country, and his mishandling of Obama’s name on inauguration day can almost–almost!–be forgiven now.

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  45. Julie Robinson said on June 28, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Specifically, I’m wondering how this will affect those like my young adult son, who is not quite a year into a bipolar diagnosis. No insurance, and so far we’ve paid the pysch and drug bills out of pocket. He needs more intensive treatment, but has no money or insurance to pay. He has no money because he’s had trouble holding down jobs because of his bipolar, which needs better treatment. He’s working now but not full-time, therefore no insurance, and has a huge financial hole to dig out of. And so it goes. I’m grateful that he can’t be turned down for insurance in the future, but I’m thinking that anything he can afford will have such crappy coverage that the premiums will be a waste. There are millions like him.

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  46. Jolene said on June 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Presumably, Julie, your son would be eligible for subsidies under the ACA. As the eligibility level for Medicaid will go up, he might be eligible to receive care through that program. Also, the standards for insurance embodied in the law should help to guarantee that whatever coverage he gets is worthwhile.

    And best wishes to you and him. Bipolar disorder is a tough diagnosis, but good doctoring can really help.

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Alex, I’ll give ’em tort reform if they drop their opposition to portability. That’s the formula I was going for. And if insurance has national markets, you remove a number of the interstate questions Roberts ruled against in his opinion. Anyhow, the lack of portability is really just a legal dodge to keep there from being national insurance regulation, so the insurance companies can more easily roll the state legislatures (as they currently usually do).

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  48. Julie Robinson said on June 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks, Jolene. I just found this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/what-health-bill-means-for-you/.
    It has an interactive feature. For our son, it does look like there could be affordable premiums, and some hope. I ran it for myself, too, since we pay 100% of my premiums and it would end up being better. Unless, as Jeff says, the insurers roll the states.

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  49. Sherri said on June 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    We’ll see what Republicans try to do to the law now, but despite the law itself being unpopular, the parts of the law are pretty popular. Myself, I’m looking forward to the pre-existing conditions clause kicking in in 2014. Without regulation of some kind, insurance companies can get pretty broad in defining pre-existing conditions, and while I’m pretty healthy, I have a couple of chronic conditions that are statistically associated with more health care usage if not managed well.

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  50. Jolene said on June 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    President Obama’s speech on this morning’s decision. Just the right tone and level of detail, I thought. About seven minutes long.

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  51. Sue said on June 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    When Boehner instructed his party on how to behave if they won this case, perhaps he should have mentioned something about how to behave if they lost. Geez.

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  52. Dexter said on June 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Baseball fans will recall the 1978 one-game playoff between Boston and the New York Yankees. A phrase was coined that day when the Yankee shortstop hit an unlikely home run to send the New Yorkers to the World Series: “Bucky Fucking Dent”.
    Well, jump forward 34 years.
    “John Fucking Roberts”. The world is going to hell, we think, Colorado being incinerated, Florida being flooded biblically, most of the rest of the country roasting itself into blanched out pre-desert conditions…and then…some good news…from John Roberts?
    From this day on, it’s John Fucking Roberts. Holy Shit! 🙂

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  53. Charlotte said on June 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Oh yes, Medicare Part E. I have POA for my mother, and Medicare was the best thing that ever happened to her (don’t get me started about Part B though, enrages me every time I have to deal with it. F*cking boondoggle).
    She had two surgeries between 55-65 that wiped out what tiny savings she had, and for which my brother and I wound up borrowing money to help her out, and could not get insured for love or money. Thank god the massive head injury came after she turned 65 —
    She’s never had any trouble seeing any doctor she wants to, and as far as I can tell, Medicare looks like what health insurance is supposed to do. I’d buy it in a flat second if I could (and I’m 48 and knock wood, in absolutely boringly good health, you’d think they’d be begging to sign me up. )

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  54. LAMary said on June 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Dexter, one of my nephews was just a wee tad in 1978, and he had a parakeet named Bucky Dent. He named him Bucky Dent in April of 1978 and I wondered why. Then the world series came along. I bet there were hundreds of parakeets named Bucky Dent after that.

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    At this point, if I were a House Dem, I’d toss up again opening Medicare down to age 55, or even 50. Just to put even more pressure on Romney to show a plan.

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  56. alex said on June 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Jeff, I do agree with regards to portability.

    I’ve been reading here and there that because John Roberts is calling the individual mandate a “tax,” Republicans are now pretending that the IRS will be coming after you for not buying insurance, that people will be facing the biggest tax hike ever to pay for Obamacare, etc., ad nauseam.

    A lot of liberals blame Obama for failing to articulate what the ACA was all about, but in a climate where demagogues are allowed to tell blatant lies while generally going unchallenged by the media, how the hell is he supposed to even be heard?

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  57. Jakash said on June 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Nice analogy, Dexter. And good luck finding that copper penny!

    While delighted by this decision, I’m also concerned about the political ramifications and how this may fire up the Republican base, as they say. I’m encouraged, though, when I consider what alternative to this commie Obama they’ve chosen as their standard bearer. In an economy where the big issue is “jobs, jobs, jobs”, a guy who “likes firing people” and who was a champion of outsourcing.

    And now that the other big issue will be “repeal, repeal, repeal” they’ve got a guy who was FOR this kind of health care law before he was AGAINST it. In fact, one who, as late as 2007, agreed with the need for the mandate.

    Of course, anything can happen in this wacky country, but I think, once again, Obama has been fortunate in the nature of the opponent with whom he must do battle.

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  58. Dexter said on June 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Feeling good at today’s news…feelin’ fine, opened a bottle of Co’Cola…and read THIS! :
    Well, alcohol is present in fresh orange juice, in ripe fruit, in cider when it sets overnight in the fridge; it’s in vanilla extract, it’s in “non-alcohol” beers…it’s everywhere. I am not giving up my soda pop because it has .0001 alcohol. Damn.

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  59. Sue said on June 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Look for the Superpac commercials to start within a day, if that long, screaming about taxation. By ruling on this as a tax issue rather than a commerce issue, the Court has just handed conservative exactly what they need to destroy Obama with it.
    My co-worker is appalled because 1) OMG a new tax and 2) OMG the government can’t do anything right now they’re going to take over health care. She is genuinely afraid and she just shakes her head when I mention anything that doesn’t fit with her understanding of it.
    Another co-worker ‘congratulated’ me on the win, and I in turn congratulated him on the likelihood that his candidate would win in November because of this. He didn’t look as happy as you would think.
    As I mentioned above, it is essential that Obama begin to aggressively sell Obamacare on its specific merits and include explanations of the items that have people worried, and just as aggressively counter the lies that started a minute after the ruling.

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  60. Sue said on June 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker called the ruling a massive tax increase and said he will not implement any aspects of ACA until November in the hopes that Mitt will overturn it. He must have already gotten the memo from Jim DeMint.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Here’s the thing on national health policy as it is already: we have a plan for low-income working class children (SCHIP), for the poorest population in general (Medicaid), for the severely disabled if they can prove it (SSDI), for the military and for certain classes of veteran (Tricare & VA), for those over 64 (Medicare), and for those working in full-time government positions federal & state . . . and for anyone who does not fit into those categories or has not yet qualified, we have a national policy where essentially all ERs are open to you for critical care & stabilization, plus entry to hospitals thru this policy means that current Medicare/Medicaid supports and shifting from insured patients means that in some areas (mine, for instance) 50% of hospital billings are classified as “uncollectible.”

    So who’s left? Basically, with the special provisions of ACA, we have part-time and some full-time working people between age 27 and 64, and the non-veteran unemployed, who we need paying in whether thru taxes, penalties, or premiums in order to pay for the coverage of this shrinking remainder. Friends, this is why even on my most conservative day, I’m still in favor of a baseline national Medicare Part E(veryone), because this squeeze is creating too much cost-shifting, rent-seeking, rational behavior that’s making costs for this overstressed *working* remainder go up, and they will *skyrocket* under the new framework post-Roberts’s ACA opinion. We can sort out much more rationally the federal health care plan that we ALREADY (see first paragraph) have, figure out how to control costs, but also free up businesses which are in large part not hiring now because of the radical uncertainty behind personnel costs. This move will not “socialize medicine” (see first paragraph, it’s already halfway there and more), but will increase the competitiveness of American business along with employment.

    And I’m happy to vote for EITHER candidate if they move clearly in this direction. Not “hints they really want this” which is just a ticket to disappointment and disillusionment, but moves towards a baseline federal Medicare plan and reformulates the tax code to rationalize this, away from the employer tax credit that is in a negative feedback loop with cost-shifting to middle class working families by way of their insurance covering all those unfunded mandates and unpaid hospital bills.

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  62. Prospero said on June 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    ACA is the camels nose inside the tent. I’m wearing my Biden “This is a big fucking deal” Tshirt to the grocery store this pm.

    Maybe Michele Bachmann can do something about these actual, real-life traitors in the US Congress.

    Rational reporting on the actual facts of Fast and Furious. Issa is lying his ass off, and Grassley is too befuddled to have a clue what he’s talking about.

    And those photoshopped Obama heads on Truman’ body in the “Dewey wins” pose are pretty embarrassing for CNN. Has Fox corrected themselves or are they just letting the goobers think they defeated the Kenyan usurper? Messing that up is pretty difficult to comprehend.

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  63. Scout said on June 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    My tea leaves are not yielding any definitive answers, but my gut tells me this is a bigger win for Obama than Rmoney. Just think of how loudly the wingers would be crowing if Obama’s signature achievement would have been overturned. The ruling today by a conservative judge adds legitimacy to Obamacare it may not have had before in the minds of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average. People here are smart enough to debate the wonkier points of the policy and make predictions on political fallout. Most people who are not paying as close attention will read this as a win for the President. People like Sue’s co-worker were never going to vote for Obama anyway, so of course they are going to moan and clutch their pearls.

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  64. Bitter Scribe said on June 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    JTMMO, you’re dreaming. Universal coverage of the kind you’re (I think) advocating, aka single-payer, will never happen. The current plan barely made it through a Democratic-controlled Congress and past SCOTUS.

    If you’re “happy to vote for EITHER candidate if they move clearly in this direction,” you’re not going to be happy. The current plan is Obama’s best effort, and as for Romney, he refuses to say what he’ll do about health care besides try to repeal “Obamacare.” My guess: Nothing.

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  65. alex said on June 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Another new right-wing talking point: Premiums are about to get jacked for those who already have insurance in order to pay for all the freeloaders. And one of our local TV stations is eating it up.

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  66. DellaDash said on June 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Agree with your gut, Scout…your camel’s nose, Prospero…and your succinct assessment, Bitter Scribe.

    At the bit level, with Nashville being one of the hubs of the healthcare industry, I can tell you that infotech geeks have been getting contracts for a few years to work on the hydra-headed IT side of Obamacare. It’s gone way past ramp-up mode by now and is in full-blown overhaul.

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  67. DellaDash said on June 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I’m too impatient to wait on my edit to show up…but eventually it’ll say that I also like your response @64, Bitter Scribe.

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  68. Julie Robinson said on June 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Jefftmmo, our son is one who falls between those cracks. We could have continued his insurance coverage, at the cost of $600/month a couple of years ago. We didn’t have that sitting around and it’s more than he was earning at the time.

    Yes, we need universal health coverage. In most civilized countries this was settled long ago. It’s a sad thing that we’re so excited about a plan with so many inadequacies.

    Edit: Rush Limbaugh is vowing to leave the country because of Obamacare. Win-win! Threatening to go to Costa Rica, apparently unaware they have universal health care.

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  69. Sherri said on June 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Health care through ER is about the most inefficient way possible of providing health care, in almost every dimension. It also encourages bad health care for those who can’t pay. You don’t think when budgets are tight, the standards for releasing patients don’t change?

    There’s also the absurdity that health care costs are different if you have insurance than if you don’t. The price of a procedure without insurance can be two to three times higher without insurance.

    I’m all for Medicare for everyone, but Republicans will fight it at every step. They’ve fought Medicare originally, and they’ve fought everything since, except Part D, which was a big handout to drug companies.

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  70. Jolene said on June 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    What Mike Pence had to say about the SC decision: http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/house-goper-compares-health-care-ruling-to-9

    He is seriously one of the stupidest politicians I have ever heard and also one of the most sanctimonious.

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  71. Connie said on June 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Been in meetings all day and missed the great news, glad to hear it. After meetings were over I fired someone, so all in all a crappy day. Life should improve as a result though.

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  72. Sue said on June 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I’ve been reading the increasingly ridiculous comments being made by our fine and upstanding elected officials, and I have only one question:
    Why in the hell are they getting taxpayer-funded insurance? Why are they entitled to ‘the best health care in the world’ while standing on top of the heap in terms of pay, working conditions and benefits, and basically yelling that denial of health care to their fellow citizens is right and proper?
    Take it away from them. They aren’t deserving, even as they’ve convinced everyone else that they are the only ones who are.

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  73. Sherri said on June 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Linda Greenhouse correctly predicted today’s ruling back in April, that the ruling would stand, that Roberts would write the opinion, that the key feature would be calling it a tax, but there wouldn’t really be a majority that agreed on a common rationale: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/embarrass-the-future/

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  74. Prospero said on June 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Sue, Congress nickel and dimes public transportation systems whose expansion and renovation would unquestionably put people to work and improve air quality, and the fatasses have their own nicely AC’d subway system.

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  75. 4dbirds said on June 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I am so happy. Like Julie and DiscoDollyDeb, I have a young adult child with medical issues who will never hold a job worthy of good health insurance. Now I can actually think of retiring sometime in the future. Now I can envision her in her 40s and 50s finding joy in life.

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  76. Suzanne said on June 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I was surprised at the outcome of the Supreme Court decision and I did log on to CNN and see that they said it was overturned. Ooops!

    Jeff @61, as usual, you are the voice of good sense. I used to think single payer health care would be the death of us all, but I’ve changed my mind considerably over the years (a few months of unemployment will get you thinking about a lot of things).

    What strikes me as odd is the number of people who base their objections to single payer systems on all the terrible things that they are sure will happen because of it. Care denied! No coverage for certain conditions! Cheating of the system! Do they seriously think that none of this ever happens with the standard employer sponsored health insurance? I’ve been told by friends who work in health care to lie about symptoms in order to get insurance to pay for preventative tests that it wouldn’t otherwise cover. I know I was denied coverage for a pregnancy because my employer didn’t file the paperwork correctly and I found out when I got pregnant that I had never been signed up. The paperwork did get straightened out, but guess what? No pregnancy coverage because that was, by then, a pre-existing condition. Hubby’s insurance took care of everything, so kid was born and all was well. But…

    As for all those people who swear they will move somewhere else, I say, good luck with that. Most of those countries have socialized healthcare. Must be channeling Michele “I guess I am a citizen of Switzerland with all their socialism but it doesn’t really bother me that much” Bachmann.

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  77. brian stouder said on June 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    The ruling was a very pleasant surprise indeed, eh!?

    Lawrence Tribe predicted a 6-3 decision upholding the law, with Clambake Roberts writing the majority opinion, so that’s where I cribbed that. But Kennedy siding with the lunatics and Roberts breaking the tie by siding with the liberals is a little bit astounding, all around.

    And Jeff, I think we kind of split the bet, because I thought it would be 6-3, and if we had known it was going to be 5-4 (without knowing the decision), I’d have agreed with you that the law would be struck down (one way or another)

    The most convincing thing I’ve heard so far, in the post-ruling analysis, was that Roberts very adeptly took the Supreme Court out of the middle of the national debate, and put it squarely back where it belongs – in the elected branches of government.

    As for presidential politics, I think it’s too-clever by half to try and construe this as anything other than a huge (possibly decisive) PLUS for President Obama.

    At lunchtime I went to the McDonalds that always plays Fox News on their big-screen, to the delight of any number of white males of all ages – specifically because I wanted to see what the mood was.

    And do you know what I found?

    The TV was being played with very low volume; I couldn’t clearly hear the yapping, although the closed captioning was activated. And the white guys? Gone. Maybe it was the freakish heat today (it was 104 when I pulled in, according to the radio), but the Fox News amen-corner wasn’t there to say amen! (Alex was spot on – all the talking points he mentioned were getting full play by the mid-day news-babe; insurance stocks plunging, Obama “lied” when he said he wasn’t rasing taxes – since the Supremes called the ACA mandate a tax; and a recurring “what the hell is the matter with Roberts?” meme – usually followed by an incredulous “…and he was a Bush appointee, fer gosh-sakes!”

    So – for lunch I had a pleasant helping of of schadenfreude. And at work, only one person broke the frost and mentioned it to me – and he said “Anything Pelosi is for, I’m against!”….which makes so little sense that all I could do was nod and say “OK”…!!

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  78. Judybusy said on June 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    And here’s a little levity, Affordable Care Cat. Also, just so it doesn’t get missed (Suzanne mentioned it in #76), a couple friends have posted links on FB about all the ill-informed threatening to move to Canada to escape Obamacare. Rush Limbaugh apparently threatened in March to move to Costa Rica if it was upheld. Guess what they have? Universal health care.

    On a more serious note, I think the Medicaid decision will have some impact, reinforcing the already-existing inequality of care for the working poor or just plain-out poor that exists. I fear that conservative states will decline to expand the program, even though they will miss out on *new* funding. The ACA as written would have denied them all funding for Medicaid, which I would hope would have forced their hand to expand the program. For example, in Minnesota, Julie’s son would likely be eligible for either General Assistance Medical Care or MinnesotaCare, depending on his situation. For folks who are pretty disabled but pre-Social Security, they can also get straight Medical Assistance, although I believe that process is pretty cumbersome.

    Also, the right has attacked the ACA by stripping programs for women and children to pay for the extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax reduction. Link in the next comment to avoid going into limbo.

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  79. Judybusy said on June 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Here’s the link about how we are paying for extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut.

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  80. Prospero said on June 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    The ACA decision sure as hell sealed Holder’s fate re: contempt vote. Kneejerk Bonerism. Having read the Fortune mag investigative report, I’m believing this is a gigunda GOPer FUBAR. Issa and the GOP have mischaracterized what happened to such an extent that the reality bears no resemblance whatever to the Republican storyline on the case. Democrats in the house that vote with the GOPers should be treated as pariahs.

    And seriously, anyone that finds a shred of credibility in RMoney’s objecctions to ACA and the mandat really should be purged from the voter rolls. In debate, obviously Obama will ask him exactly how RMoneycare differs from the federal law. And Rand Paul, wow, mentally defective. “Just because a couple of people on the Supreme Court say it’s constitutional doesn’t make it so.” How can anybody vote for this idiot? That’s an embarrassment.

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  81. Jakash said on June 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    alex posted:
    “Another new right-wing talking point: Premiums are about to get jacked for those who already have insurance in order to pay for all the freeloaders.”

    And we’ll be able to notice the difference between this and the way premiums have already been egregiously jacked-up for a number of years HOW?

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  82. Sherri said on June 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Pros, I’ll give Rand Paul this: it’s true that it takes more than a couple of people on the Supreme Court to make something constitutional. It takes five.

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  83. Linda said on June 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Everybody is piling on CNN for dropping the ball. I was just thinking the other day that with the internets and all, the Harry Trumanesque pic would not be possible anymore.

    Re: Scout’s observation that this was a definite plus for Obama. That sounds about right, because it means that Obama made a dent in public policy, and was not a grease spot on the road. Something got changed, and the Republican Party can’t make it unchanged. As folks who think they own the sole legitimate title to the United States, they have a tough time sharing. Also, with the immigration executive order, and the ACA decision, he is not a reactor, but an actor. The Republican Party is not used to playing defense, and they are coming off as a flock of irritated magpies.

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  84. Linda said on June 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    sorry on all the commenting—my computer is jacking up, apparently.

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  85. alex said on June 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Damn, still hotter than a blast furnace when you step outside. On the bright side, I received more mosquito bites during that balmy spell in March than I did during the entire months of May or June.

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  86. coozledad said on June 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Linda:The only disagreement I have with you is your choice of magpies as an analogue for Republicans. Magpies eventually bail on a situation that’s beyond salvage. Right now the Republicans are doing the “sow that eats its farrow” routine pretty well, but that’s always the case.
    This video of Jean Schmidt would seem to indicate there’s still a market for heat-stressed macaques in their bestiary:
    A friend of ours told us menopause can be pretty rough. I thought she was just joking.
    Now I am afraid.

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  87. Bitter Scribe said on June 28, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Oh, did Jon Stewart just tear CNN a new one on The Daily Show. Wow.

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  88. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Turns out it was a parrot (in the Christmas box).

    Oh, and the broccoli count in the opinion as published? 12.


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  89. DellaDash said on June 29, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Here’s the joke about fleeing to Canada:

    It’s been over a decade, but I did an IT contract stint for a Blue Cross/Blue Shield claim center in Hallendale, Florida (an upscale suburb of Miami) that strictly handled Canadian snowbirds who bought travel medical insurance so they could fly down for some sun and life-saving procedures they would otherwise have to wait in line years to get north of the border.

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  90. Dexter said on June 29, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Alex is right…it’s almost 2:00 AM and I just walked my dogs around the block. It’s 83 degrees and the wind died down and it’s hot. It’ll drop seven degrees by 6:00 AM and then the burners kick back in.

    Hey…gas is $2.97 a gallon in Toledo.:)

    I have a friend in Florida whose husband is a Ft. Myers cop. She posts on Facebook when things get hairy down there, and it happened again tonight. A deputy pulled a car over and all hell broke loose. This kind of thing keeps popping up around Fort Myers.

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