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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
That's right, Congressman Paul Ryan---I'm calling foul on you. Yesterday you met with President Obama about your Republican Medicare-killing budget, and you tried to get away with this:
[Rep. Ryan] described his plan for Medicare reform for the president, saying Democrats were mischaracterizing it. Our program is not a voucher plan, Ryan said, it is premium support---which he then explained. Ryan told the president that he is making a sincere attempt to address a problem, and he challenged the president: “Mr. President, the demagoguery only stops if the Leaders stop it." His fellow House Republicans gave him a standing ovation.
Okay, first of all: Republicans, what is with you and standing ovations lately? Are you that starved for touchy-feely groupy huggy moments? ("Hey, look---Mitch McConnell ate all his peas! Yaayyyy! Everyone out of your chairs! Good boy!") Sheesh.
Second, a Republican calling for a stop to demagoguery is like Donald Trump calling for a stop to self-promotion. And since you, Mr. Ryan, are yourself demogoguing by falsely accusing us of demogoguery, we order you to stop demogoguing first. (See what I did there? Verbal jiu-jitsu---Hai!)
Third, I pay attention to people who explain things honestly, see? So last Friday, as I was knitting a sweater for my goldfish, Zachary Taylor IV, I perked up when the eminintly honest and smart teen heartthrob and MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein explained the diifference between "vouchers" and "premium support":
EZRA KLEIN: "When the Congressional Budget Office looked at it, they called it a voucher program. What Paul Ryan is doing is, he doesn‘t like the word voucher.
So, what he‘s saying is that, instead of the government handing you something called a voucher, the federal government will hand the insurance company money on your behalf. Now, that works like a voucher program and it looks a lot like a voucher program, but he wants to call it something called premium support.
The problem with calling it premium support is that there are…two guys actually who invented premium support in the 90s, Henry Aaron and Bob Reischauer. And I spoke to Aaron. And he said, no, what Ryan has got is not premium support. It is vouchers. And the reason why is that difference between those two types of plan is that, when you are on premium support, the government tries to keep cost shifting from happening. So, they make sure the—their support grows at the same rate as your medical costs grow.
Under Ryan‘s plan, that support only grows at the rate of inflation and, thus, there‘s going to a lot of cost shifting, making it, in Henry Aaron‘s view, not premium support, which is what Ryan wants to call it, but a voucher.
So, was that simple enough, or was that too complicated?"
It was beautiful. Take the rest of the day off.
And now, Congressman Ryan, I believe you owe the President of the United States either an apology for lying or a correction for being ignorant. Which will it be?
Meanwhile, Democrats, you may continue firing your catapults loaded with fireballs of truth at Boehner Castle at will. I think the drawbridge is starting to smolder.
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, June 2, 2011
Note: I haven't seen any of the Republican candidates' birth certificates yet, have you? What are they hiding?
By the Numbers:
Days 'til the next total lunar eclipse: 13
Days `til the 38th annual Old Port Festival in Portland, Maine: 10
Estimated amount of money wasted per year because patients don’t take their medications as directed (or at all): $290 billion
(Source: Harvard/Brigham & Women's Hospital study)
Number of 3-D movie screens in America in 2007: 600
Number of them today: 9,465
(Source: USA Today)
Amount Judge Judy is getting to extend her contract through 2015: $45 million
Number of presidents born in June: 1 (George H.W. Bush)
Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:
It seems to me there is a direct connection between the Republicans' inability to run anything governmental ("Heckuva job, Brownie") and the fact that they don't believe in government. The simplest purposes of government have long been defined for us---to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It is, or should be, a benign enterprise, making life better for citizens.
I carry no special brief for government---many years of studying the Texas Legislature will disenchant anyone. But if you are put in charge of government, the least you can do is run it well. Bill Clinton took government seriously---he was interested in how to make it work better, interested in government policy. Clinton declared the era of Big Government over and indeed pruned the federal structure and finished with a surplus. Bush is giving us fat, bloated, inefficient, corrupt government, all of it running on a huge deficit---not counting the expense and growing body count in Iraq.
Puppy Pic of the Day: "He shouldn't be alive, to be honest with you…"
CHEERS to poll madness! Agh---I can't keep track of the torrent of data that's come out lately. In a nutshell, here's where things stand: President Obama's popularity is up, thanks mainly to Republicans(!) who are warming up to him and seniors who believe he'll protect their Medicare; Republican governors in the big swing states are in the shitter; the Republican budget proposal is DOA; the debt ceiling should be raised; the safety nets provided by Social Security and the Medicare/caid plans can be preserved by raising taxes on the rich and cutting military spending; and four out of five dentists recommend Trident sugarless gum over sticking their faces in a woodchipper. Margin of error: oh, definitely.
CHEERS to Mitt Romney! Well bless my buttons, the only credible Republican candidate from 2008 to run again in 2012 (sorry, Ron Paul) is, as of today, officially re-running! Highlights: Stanford/Brigham Young/Harvard; businessman; 2002 Winter Olympic Committee Chairman; Governor of Massachusetts, where he raised taxes (er, "fees") and revamped health care to include a---Gaaaahh!!!---mandate; and also:
- The youngster was called "Billy" until he reached kindergarten, when he indicated a preference for "Mitt."
- Pranks included…dressing as a police officer and tapping on the car windows of teenage friends making out.
- People magazine included Romney in its 50 Most Beautiful People list for 2002
Unfortunately for him, Sir Romney of Liberalchusetts has become such a serial contortionist on all the major issues (see today's C&J poll for highlights) that all Democrats need to do for the time being is stand back and watch the GOP base eat him for lunch. Still, primary voters may end up concluding that he's the "Most Electable" candidate in a field that includes such unelectable oddballs as Gingrich, Santorum and---soon, we promise!---Bachmann. But for now Mitt'll be doing lots and lots and lots of talking. And for that the insomniacs of the world thank him kindly.
CHEERS to seeing the forest for the spent fuel rods. Wow---talk about a policy change that would never fly here: Germany, whose chancellor is conservative, is going nuclear-free by 2022:
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hopes the transformation to more solar, wind and hydroelectric power serves as a roadmap for other countries. […] The plan sets Germany apart from most of the other major industrialized nations. Among the other Group of Eight countries, only Italy has abandoned nuclear power, which was voted down in a referendum after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Phasing out nuclear power within a decade will be a challenge, but it will be feasible and ultimately give Germany a competitive advantage in the renewable energy era, Merkel said.
The expected breakdown by energy source: 40 percent solar, 30 percent wind, 20 percent hydro, and 10 percent from turbines installed on Germans' vocal cords that will generate several million watts of "Ach!" power.
JEERS to addictive additions. Twenty six years ago today, The R.J. Reynolds Company (motto: "If it's something you can inhale, we'll take it retail!") proposed a major merger with Nabisco that would create a $4.9 billion conglomerate of food and tobacco products. Which explains why 25 years and nine months ago I had to resort to the nicotine patch to wean myself off a sudden addiction to Fig Newtons.
CHEERS to the new kid in the House. Congratulations are in order for Kathy Hochul---excuse me, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul---who was sworn in yesterday by Speaker Boehner. I was a bit worried that, given her ultra-conservative district, Hochul might be too Blue Doggy on gay and lesbian issues, but for the first time in my life I was somewhat in error:
On April 20, Batavian's Howard Owens posted the results of at least portions of candidate questionnaires in the race, including a question about marriage and the military:
A: I do support the civil institution of marriage for gay couples, with absolutely no requirements placed on religious institutions. Gay men and women, who want to fight to defend our freedom, should be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military.
Welcome to the team, Ma'am. In the mail: your honorary toaster oven.
CHEERS to the new chief of the joint. President Obama has nominated Martin Dempsey to replace Admiral Mike Mullen (who I think did a bang-up job) as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He's smart, handsome, loves walks on the beach and harlequin romances, makes a soufflé as delicate as a Faberge egg, and if you mess with America he'll tear your beating heart out and show it to you before he sets it on fire with his eyeball lasers. Also: he's an Autumn and loves kittens ans scented candles.
Five years ago in C&J: June 2, 2006
JEERS to that classic American value called the "double standard." Here's your example for today: If you're a lowly employee, and you miss your goals or otherwise screw up, you get fired. If you're the boss, and you miss your goals or otherwise screw up, you get a bonus. But---and this is crucial---but only $3.6 million. These CEOs must learn their lesson.
JEERS to revisionist history. Tuesday night my jaw dropped as Bill O'Reilly claimed that the Malmedy Massacre during World War II (which my high school English teacher barely managed to avoid) was an atrocity committed by U.S. troops on the Germans. Wrong---it was the other way around; our guys got slaughtered. When confronted with the truth, Fox "News" altered the show transcript (changing it to "Normandy") and made up a bogus excuse. From high above, Edward R. Murrow facepalmed.
And just one more…
CHEERS to comeuppance. The Lord works in mysterious ways, yes she does, and sometimes she's delectably devious. Exhibit A: remember that gay-bashing preacherman named Bradlee Dean who was invited to give a morning prayer in front of the Minnesota legislature and proceeded to take a cheap swipe at the president? A refresher:
"It's not about the Baptists, it's not about the Catholics alone or the Lutherans or the Wesleyans or the Presbyterians, evangelicals or any other denomination, but rather the head of the denomination, and his name is Jesus, as every president up until 2008 has acknowledged."
Ol' Bradlee was lambasted by Dems and Repubs alike, but it turns out the best was yet to come. The City Pages explains:
Dean's You Can Run But You Can't Hide youth ministry was sighted…hosting a fund-raising booth outside the Hutchinson Walmart.
We checked in with Walmart headquarters to ask if they knew they were playing host to a guy who says gay folks should be thrown in jail and has praised religious extremists who execute suspected homosexuals.
Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie said Walmart didn't know---because the ministry lied to them. "As soon as we learned the group's true identity, they were asked to leave."
Violating the Ninth Commandment---shocking. Getting booted from a WalMart parking lot---SHOCKING!!! But, being part of the turn-the-other-cheeker movement, I'll pray for his soul, anyway. I hear he keeps it in a thimble on his dresser.
Have a decent Thursday. Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:
When asked where is the happiest place on Earth, you might have said “Disneyland” but, according to North Korea’s state-controlled media, it is Cheers and Jeers…followed in close second by North Korea.