Last week, ThinkProgress noted that Fox News reporter Wendell Goler thoroughly debunked conservative fearmongering about President Obama’s supposed 30 czars, which they often claim “don’t need to be confirmed by the Senate.” “There is no constitutional issue” and many of these “czars” are “confirmed by the Senate,” reported Goler. Despite this, a new Fox News poll asserts that “Obama has appointed over 30 czars” and “Czars are advisors to the president who work outside of the cabinet and do not have to be confirmed by the Senate”:
Meme number 1: The F-22 hasn’t been used in Afghanistan or Iraq. In itself this is a statement of the obvious. What makes it a meme is the corollary that the F-22 is militarily irrelevant. However, there are many capabilities that haven’t been used in those theaters — submarines, for instance — but nobody seems to panic as we keep spending money on those.
Well, in the event that the Navy comes asking for a brand new set of fantastically expensive invisible submarines that to do nothing more than run up the U.S.’s already considerable military advantage while having no application to the actual wars we are currently fighting, we might consider panicking. Or at the very least releasing a report saying it’s a bad idea.
Sweetman concludes that “whether you think it was smart or not to kill the F-22, the public argument has been dominated by assumptions that are, at best, unproven.” That may be true, but I would suggest that many if not most of those assumptions were on the pro-F-22 side, and at the end of the day the program was killed because no one could come up with a good enough argument for why we needed it.
Read the list for yourself, but I think that the seven memes, when taken together as they should be, actually form, Voltron-like, an impressively solid argument for killing the fighter.
Back in February, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in part because she said the bill “doesn’t actually stimulate.” Today, however, in an early move in the 2010 Republican primary for Texas governor, Hutchison attacked incumbent Gov. Rick Perry for turning down the very stimulus money she believed would do nothing for the economy:
“Governor Perry recklessly turned down the federal unemployment insurance money,” Hutchison said. “He never even looked at cutting the ridiculous federal strings attached to that money like I would have done. He didn’t even attempt to negotiate a way to relieve employers from a tax increase while helping Texans affected by the economic downturn.
“But now, because of a purely political decision to turn down UI funding, Texas has to go into debt and beg the federal government for a $650 million loan,” she said. “And like all loans, this one has to be paid back. And who will pay it back? Texas businesses and hard-working taxpayers already facing enormous hardships.
“It’s not conservative. It’s irresponsible.”
Perry, of course, originally opposed the stimulus, but has was recently forced to ask the federal government for a $170 million loan to cover unemployment insurance.
DC, just like a real state, has a budget gap that needs closing and it looks like the administration is planning to do it largely by cutting services to the poor. Some of these programs, based on what I’ve heard, are pretty ineffective as is so cutting them may not do much harm. But I’ve never heard anyone complain that there’s anything wrong with, for example, DC’s program to finance legal services for poor people. It’s just the kind of thing that’s politically vulnerable and winds up getting cut when times are bad.
Yesterday I mentioned the mounting evidence that high levels of phthalates and other chemicals are responsible for a growing wave of poor reproductive health. I should have also linked to this more updated Nick Kristof column on the subject from a week ago. Meanwhile, Science Progress sums up some new research in Pediatrics which studied mothers and children in New York City exposed to various levels of air pollution and concluded that toxins are impairing kids’ IQs.
Conservatives will tell you, no doubt, that solving any of these problems will strangle the economy. The reality, however, is that the cost of this kind of damage to public health is actually extremely high.
As Republicans work to derail the President’s health care reform effort, they seem uncertain about their own health care agenda. After agreeing to “develop real solutions to improve our health care system” in February, pledging to “lead the effort to make health care work for Americans” in March, insisting that “no report or headline can take the place of a comprehensive plan” in June, and arguing that the Republican plan is “actually much more detailed than their [Democratic] plan has been” in July, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chair of the GOP Health Care Solutions Group, is unsure if Republicans want to fix health care through legislation.
But today, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the Republican whip, suggested that Republicans would divert “attention” from the Democrats’ plan. “We have plenty of plans, we have a plan out there, we have legislation out there…we will have a bill, and we have bills”:
We will have a bill, and we have bills, I mean this is what I don’t understand about the question, we have bills there is a Republican plan out there …will it be in the form of an amendment, will it be in the form of a bill. I mean we have several bills out there, with pay-fors, with a vision and direction for where we need to go … We’ve got plenty of alternative bills out there, I mean this is where I think some of the confusion lies is that the Republican alternatives are numerous.
Watch a compilation:
Blunt and Cantor, who routinely misrepresent and fear-monger about the Democratic proposal, also blamed Democrats for their own failure to produce legislation, falsely suggesting that “the majority would not let us offer our ideas…we can’t bring our ideas forward if they won’t have the meetings to let us bring them forward.”
In lieu of detailed legislation or any meaningful proposal to pay for reform or lower overall health care spending, Republicans have offered glossy talking points and so-called “principles for reform.” While they claim to support the existing employer-based system of coverage and “allowing Americans to keep what they have,” a close examination of their half-baked proposals suggests that Republicans would only break-up employer-based coverage, endanger the coverage of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and drive-up health care spending.
Earlier today, several female Republican House members held a press conference today to attack President Obama’s push for health insurance reform. “The Democrat way is not reforming healthcare, it’s destroying it,” announced Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) disputes President Obama’s claim that 47 million Americans lack healthcare. “There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare,” she says. “We do have about 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who can not afford it,” she says, urging Congress to adopt a new plan for healthcare reform that wouldn’t “destroy what is good about healthcare in this country” and “give the government control of our lives.”
The chances of working-age adults experiencing at least one access problem due to costs (delaying care, forgoing medical care, forgoing dental care, or forgoing prescription drugs) grew from 18.2% in 1997 to 21.3% by 2006. While the size of the problem and the growth rate may seem small, combined with growth in the population, they translate into substantial numbers of people. The number of working-age adults who experienced at least one access problem due to costs grew from a total of 29.8 million in 1997 to 39.3 million by 2006.
In November 2008, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that “nearly half of Americans report that someone in their household skipped necessary health care in the past year because of the cost.” As ThinkProgress has previously noted, uninsured Americans are less likely to seek health care and more likely to die because of a lack of insurance. In 2002, the Institute of Medicine estimated that there were 18,000 unnecessary adult deaths because of a lack of insurance while the Urban Institute estimated in 2006 that 22,000 died for the same reason.
Looks like the Portland Trailblazers are going to put in a bid for the services of Andre Miller. It makes sense insofar as point guard seems to be their weakest position. But how much would Miller help the team?
Based on this it looks like he does help. But the upgrade from Steve Blake looks pretty marginal. And Miller’s not the kind of skilled long-range shooter who’d help space the floor for Brandon Roy. So this would be a useful pickup but probably not all that useful.
I should clarify, since folks are speculating about this in comments, that I’m not a Blazers fan. I just think they’re facing the most interesting offseason issues because cap flexibility + pretty good team = interesting offseason.
Michelle Malkin appeared on Fox and Friends this morning promoting the hysterical claim that millions of “illegal lawbreakers, border jumpers, visa overstayers, and deportation fugitives” will be receiving health care because House Democrats decided to vote down an amendment to the health care bill proposed by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) that would have used immigration to drive yet another wedge into the volatile health care debate:
MALKIN: The democrat leaders are vehemently denying that the Obamacare would cover illegal lawbreakers, border jumpers, visa overstayers, deportation fugitives, but I think their actions speak louder than words…Remember that Obama at the same time has parallel plans to grant amnesty. And what you’re really seeing is that universal health care is being used as a vehicle, as a means to achieve other ideological and partisan ends. And one of those ends is amnestizing the entire illegal alien population so they can be guaranteed democrat voters in the future.
While Malkin and others are paranoid that Democrats are working towards greater “ideological and partisan ends,” it’s members of the GOP who are using every trick in the book to derail the health care bill and smear immigration reform before it even hits the floor. The Heller Amendment would have required each and every individual to prove his or her public health insurance or credit eligibility using the Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS) and the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) programs. Dragging complex citizen verification systems from the immigration debate into health care reform and giving private insurance providers access to them would’ve forced Congress to address database errors, misuse, abuse and hammer out details on complaint and redress procedures, privacy protections, educational outreach, and increased funding.
Democrats are “vehemently denying” that America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 will cover undocumented immigrants because there’s specific language in the bill which excludes them. Secondly, though Malkin chooses to adamantly oppose comprehensive immigration reform and boil it down to “amnestizing,” the Obama administration and members of Congress have made clear that an electronic verification system and other enforcement measures must accompany any earned legalization program for undocumented immigrants.
Ultimately, the progressive’s “grand plan” involves an ambituous legislative agenda which seeks to remove barriers to quality health care and fix the broken immigration system through separate pieces of legislation because they are in fact two very different goals. The only thing that will actually “guarantee democrat voters” in the future is if the GOP continues to thwart progress on both issues in an effort to please its aging right-wing base.