“Frankly, Michael Moore is an example of why the health care system costs so much in this country. He clearly is one of the reasons that we have a very expensive system. I know that from my own personal experience,” said Huckabee, who lost more than 110 pounds and became an avid runner after he was diagnosed with diabetes. [...]
No comment could be obtained from Moore, but Meghan O’Hara, producer of “Sicko,” questioned Huckabee’s motives in criticizing Moore.
“Looks like Mike Huckabee is auditioning for some insurance company dough, since he’s raised just about no money and sparked zero interest since jumping into the race,” O’Hara said in a response provided by Moore’s production office. “I wonder what the good governor would say to the French, who drink more, smoke more, eat more cheese and still live longer than us despite paying less for health care?”
In a 273-149 vote, House today passed the College Cost Reduction Act, which “would boost college financial aid by about $18 billion over the next five years and cut federal subsidies to lenders,” the “single largest increase in college aid since the GI bill in 1944.”
Yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that the nation is “entering a period this summer of increased risk.” When asked for how he knows this information, he said his remarks were based on his “gut feeling.”
Today, Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt swiftly attacked Chertoff’s remarks, stating, “I understand he’s got feelings. The problem is, the states and cities, who have to react to the Department of Homeland Security guidance, can’t do squat on his feelings. … It seems more politics, John, than terrorism.” Watch it:
Chertoff’s comments have been widely criticized by both the right and left. Today, Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson wrote to Chertoff and asked him to clarify his comments. “Words have power, Mr. Secretary. You must choose them wisely–especially when they relate to the lives and security of the American public. … What cities should be asking their law enforcement to work double shifts because of your ‘gut feeling?’”
Hunt is not a frequent critic of the Bush administration. Quite the opposite. He has repeatedly tried to link Saddam Hussein to terrorism and in 2003, attacked the media for not portraying a sufficiently positive picture of the fighting in Iraq. Also that year, he mocked Gen. Wesley Clark’s comment that the troops didn’t have enough armored vehicles: “Excuse me. There aren’t enough armored vehicles? Wah, wah, wah.”
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Today, the American Public Health Association, the nation’s largest organization of public health professionals, announced its opposition to the nomination of Dr. James Holsinger to become the next Surgeon General. From its letter to Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY):
APHA is very concerned with Dr. Holsinger’s past writings regarding his views of homosexuality, which put his political and religious ideology before established medical science. We have long opposed discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation. At a time when one of our association’s top priorities is to eliminate disparities in health, including disparities in the gay and lesbian community, we cannot support a nominee with discredited and non-evidence-based views on sexuality.
We are hopeful that the Senate will reject his nomination and urge the president to put forth another nominee.
“Larry Flynt, the porn-industry magnate who first linked Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to the escort service of the ‘D.C. Madam,’ said Wednesday that his investigators are tracking more than 20 leads on alleged congressional sex scandals.”
As Vitter remained missing in action for two Senate votes on defense policy, Flynt insisted that he exposed the conservative lawmaker’s sexual indiscretions only because they contradicted Vitter’s longtime defense of the “sanctity of marriage.”
“If someone’s living a life contrary to the way they’re advocating … then they become fair game,” Flynt told reporters. “I don’t want a man like that legislating for me, especially in the area of morality.”
A new government threat assessment, obtained by the Associated Press, “has concluded that Al-Qaeda has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since the summer of 2001.” The report says the terrorist network “has been able to rebuild despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.”
UPDATE: A fuller AP article, with more details, can be found here.
During today’s White House press conference, Press Secretary Tony Snow again tried to deny the fact that prominent conservative members of Congress are increasingly abandoning the President’s failing policies in Iraq. Sen. Dick Lugar’s sharp critiques of the President’s Iraq policies were merely pleas for “some bipartisan comity,” Snow said.
One reporter asked Snow if delusional characterizations of conservative defections would cause the American people to “perceive you and the White House as isolated and out of touch on this?” Snow responded, “No, no more than I think that they look at you and think that you guys are focused on defeat.” The press room erupted in groans.
“Wait a minute. That’s not my question,” the reporter shot back. Snow lashed out in his defense, “You just asked me if I’m clueless and I asked if you were defeatist.”
The fact is that conservatives in Congress and the American people are abandoning the President’s Iraq strategy in record numbers. Just 19% of Americans see the surge as a success and in the Senate today seven Republican senators defied their leadership and voted in support of a measure that would have limited the number of troops available for deployment in Iraq.
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Marc Ambinder, pondering the significance (if any) of Russel Kirk, remarks of John Rawls that “Liberals might not know much about him, but his writing and thinking underpin the modern Democratic Party theory of redistributive rights and expansive government.” This is obviously a complicated issue, and I’m about to give it short shrift, but it’s worth noting that the timing is wrong for Rawls to be politically influential.
A Theory of Justice is published in 1971, after the key elements of the Great Society and the War on Poverty were already in place. The main progressive policy accomplishments of the post-TOJ era have tended to be remote from the concerns about the distribution of wealth and income that Marc is alluding to here.
During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the U.S. attorney scandal today, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the committee, asked former White House political director Sara Taylor, “did you speak with President Bush about replacing U.S. attorneys?” “I did not speak to the president about removing U.S. attorneys,” Taylor responded.
Taylor also acknowledged that she “did not attend any meetings with the “President where that matter was discussed” and that she was “not aware of a presidential decision document” in which the president decided to proceed with the firing plan.
In his closing comments, Leahy noted Taylor’s admission that she did not discuss the U.S. attorney firing plan with the President, saying it “seriously undercuts his claim of executive privilege if he was not involved.” “And that really shows, again, that the White House counsel’s broad instruction is not only unprecedented, but it’s unsound,” added Leahy. Watch it:
Leahy then mused on the White House’s possible motivations for asserting such a broad interpretation of executive privilege:
So I ask again, what is the White House so intent on hiding? If the president didn’t make these decisions, well then who did and why did they? Was it Mr. Rove or was it, as some of us feel, to corrupt law enforcement for partisan advantage, which would bother me far more than political machinations if it’s corrupting law enforcement?
So we’ll continue our efforts. We’ll keep trying.
(HT: TP commenter Marcus Aurelius)
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Today House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt requesting documents related to political interference with the work of the Office of the Surgeon General.
The text of the letter follows: Read more