Initial Thoughts on “The Summit”

I could literally sum up my entire thoughts on the health care summit held at Blair House yesterday with just a line or two. They would be: The was nothing more than theater put on by the two parties. There was nothing accomplished and this was a complete waste of time and money. Of course if I summed it up in two sentences like that, this would not be a very interesting blog to read now would it? I am simply not prepared to dissect the entire 7 hours worth of bullshit that went on there quite yet. And I am not even sure that it is worth dissecting. However, if after this short piece, you would like me to delve further into what went on, I will. I live to serve. Instead I am going to offer some very quick observations and thoughts on what I saw of the summit. I watched a good portion of it. Morbid curiosity. It was big news so I feel like I had to at least touch on it tonight. But I will keep it short. Because it is guest commentary night and I don’t want to take away from the article that was submitted.

Let me first say that I do not believe, after watching, that EITHER side came to the summit with any intention at all of compromising on anything or coming together in any way, shape, or form. Both came with the intent of having a televised forum to tell America how wrong the other side is. I did think there were a couple of good points made on each side. But they were few and far between. For the most part members of each party made speeches that resembled campaign speeches pitching the virtues of their plan and the pitfalls of the other. The Republicans basically said they want to scrap what has been done thus far and start over. They offered a meager bill by John Boehner. The Democrats made it clear that they were not going to scrap the plan they have, and they will push forward with it no matter what. That was my take.

A couple of moments that stood out to me:

Barack Obama arrogantly telling John McCain that the election is over after McCain made a request that all of the special deals be stripped out of the current Democrat bill. I didn’t think McCain was out of line with the request. The special deals are something that virtually no Americans like. He didn’t single anyone out overtly. He simply said let’s start by stripping them all out. I felt Obama’s comments was condescending in response. It did not address McCain’s point at all and the look on his face said “shut up, I won, you lost, it gets done my way”. Perhaps the President didn’t mean it that way, but that is how I took it. I felt it shut down any remaining Republican desire to really talk through the issues.

In one of my favorite moments, Senator Lamar Alexander made a very direct request that we begin up front with a promise that reconciliation not be used to ram the current bill through. In doing so he made a good case, and as a great move, he used the President’s own words from the past against him. You can’t get better than a quote of the President himself, when he was on the other side of the issue, railing that reconciliation on a big issue is not what the founders intended:

And my request is this — is — is before we go further today that the Democratic congressional leaders and you, Mr. President, renounce this idea of going back to the Congress and jamming through on a bipartisan — I mean on a partisan vote through a little used process we call reconciliation your version of the bill.

You can say that this process has been used before, and that would be right. But it’s never been used for anything like this. It’s not appropriate to use to write the rules for 17 percent of the economy. Senator Byrd, who is the constitutional historian of the Senate, has said that it would be an outrage to run the health care bill through the Senate like a freight train with this process.

So this is the only place, the Senate, where the rights to the minority are protected. And sometimes, as Senator Byrd has said, the minority can be right. I remember reading Alexis de Tocqueville’s books, which most of us have read. And he said in his American democracy that the greatest threat to the American democracy would be the tyranny of the majority.

When Republicans were trying to change the rules a few years ago — you and I were both there. Senator McCain was very involved in that, about getting majority vote for judges. Then-Senator Obama said the following, “What we worry about is essentially having two chambers, the House and the Senate, who are simply majoritarian. Absolute power on either side. That’s just not what the founders intended.” Which is another way of saying that the founders intended the Senate to be a place where the majority didn’t rule on big issues.

The Senate Majority Leaders Message to Voters

And to follow it up came the most WHAT?!?!?!? moment of the entire day from Senator Harry Reid, when he said, and I can’t make this up, “Again, Lamar, you’re entitled to your opinion but not your own facts. No one has said — I read what the president has online. No one has talked about reconciliation, but that’s what you folks have talked about ever since that came out, as if it’s something that has never been done before.” Perhaps Senator Reid really is losing his mind. Because he and every other major Democratic leader have been talking about reconciliation for months, and nearly constantly since the election of Scott Brown eliminated a filibuster proof majority. I was so floored that he would make a claim that “no one has talked about reconciliation”. As Mrs. Weapon noted, it is like saying “F**K YOU”, and then a minute later saying “I never said “F**K YOU”. It was bizarre, but it really highlighted how Reid and others were looking at this as a television spot with lots of viewers who haven’t been paying a lot of attention. He really believes that half of America will believe that the Democrats really haven’t been talking about reconciliation.

One thing that I noticed was that the Republicans cited many different polls, from all kinds of different groups, that show that Americans do not want the bill that is currently before Congress. In contrast, the Democrats over and over cited polls showing that Americans do want health care reform passed this year. It was an important distinction. Democrats are correct, the majority of Americans want health care reform. Republicans are also right, the majority of Americans don’t want THIS health care reform. The Democrats presented it (especially Reid who offered it in direct response to the Republican claim) as though it was proof that Republicans were lying. Political gamesmanship at its best. Misdirection and smoke and mirrors.

One thing that really irked me occurred at around the 5 hour mark. Peter Roskam of Illinois talked about how this bill was entitlement expansion. He talked about how it was a bill that the American people don’t like. He recognized the need for reform, but adamantly pointed out that people simply do not want the reform that is currently in front of Congress. He said, “I’ll tell you what: A year’s worth of work and this is what is come up with? The American public, as far as the ones that I have heard from, are vehemently opposed to this. And they say, look, take the Etch A Sketch, go like this (motioning to hold it upside down to erase it), let’s start over, let’s do incremental things where there’s common ground.” It was about the tenth time that Republicans had pointed out that Americans don’t like the current bill. The response from the left, overwhelmingly all day was that Americans don’t like the bill because Americans don’t understand the bill.

I have had about as much as I can take from these two parties in Congress standing up there and telling us that if we don’t like what they are proposing, it is because we simply don’t understand what they are proposing. It is the pervasive belief in Congress and the White house that we are too stupid to know what is good for us. That all these assclowns in DC are so smart that they are doing for us what we are too stupid to do for ourselves. Both sides of this issue really believe that the only possible way that the American public could be opposed to them is if the American public doesn’t understand what they are doing.

Well I understand what they are doing. And I think that many Americans understand what they are doing. Are there uninformed folks supporting or opposing these bills? You bet there are. The polls right now say 58% oppose the current bills and 36% support them. I say take out the 10% on each side that are uninformed and don’t understand. That still leaves only 26% supporting the bill and 48% opposing it. The majority of Americans understand what they are reading. And those that don’t are consulting blogs, friends, co-workers, family, etc to figure it out. The is the most information availability happy age in history. We can figure things out pretty well.

I thought another great exchange came at the point when Senator Barrasso stated that perhaps the best consumers of health care were those who have only catastrophic health insurance. Because they think of cost first, and then get what is needed, not what is convenient. The President didn’t like this at all and challenged him on it. He attempted to use Congress’s pay as a reason it can’t work:

BARRASSO: Mr. President, having a high deductible plan and a health savings account is an option for members of Congress and federal employees…

OBAMA: That’s right, because members of Congress get paid $176,000 a year.

BARRASSO: … 16,000 — 16,000 employees take advantage of that.

OBAMA: Because they — because members of Congress…

BARRASSO: It’s the same plan that the — that the park rangers get…

OBAMA: John…

BARRASSO: … in Yellowstone National Park.

Park Rangers in Yellowstone National Park get paid roughly $40k. It sure shoots a gaping hole in the President’s argument that it can’t work. Score one for Barrasso, even though I am sure CNN and MSNBC won’t recognize it.

Another major point that I had somehow missed in all the CBO reporting was that of the 30 million who are uninsured who will be covered under this new bill, 15 million would be covered under Medicaid. That is troubling. Because the estimates say Medicaid is going to collapse in 5-10 years. We might have made to 20 if Bush hadn’t screwed us with Medicare part D. The only answer I heard from Obama was that as bad as Medicare and Medicaid might be, for those without they will welcome it over having nothing. Not a good answer in my opinion. They won’t be happy with it in 5 years. But then again by then we will have made health care an entitlement so we will be forced to come up with another way to cover them.

OK, I could sit here and offer points all night long. But I won’t. So I will try to wrap it up in a paragraph or two. First, I think that both sides came to the table in the spirit of saying Frack You to the other side. I think that both sides came well prepared with canned speeches that hit partisan talking points. And whichever side you fall on, you loved what the folks representing you had to say. Every canned speech was good in its own right, and persuasive, and sounded logical. Senator Waxman comes to mind , as he pointed out the GOP plan wants to adopt California’s law on malpractice, which he pointed out is ludicrous given the failure of California’s law to hold down health care costs in California. Those are the kind of statements that should be looked at closely. Because if Waxman is right, then it is silly to adopt that plan as the GOP suggests we should.

Absolutely no one in America, no one in that summit, no one watching, and no one who will read the entire transcript later, is going to change their mind one bit on their stance on the legislation that is before us. In that way this summit was a complete waste of time. What it amounted to was a 7 hour infomercial for both parties to discuss why their plan was better. But in closing this article, I want to point out the one thing that wasn’t discussed nearly enough. Many pundits are correctly pointing out that what this all boils down to is a fundamental difference in the base position of each party. Democrats believe health insurance and health care is a right. Republicans believe health care and health insurance is a privilege.

But what no one wanted to talk about in today’s summit was whether many of the things that are being proposed by both sides are within the parameters of what government should be doing. No one wanted to talk about whether ANYONE has the right to mandate that all Americans must have health insurance whether they want it or not. No one wanted to talk about whether it is a sound business practice to require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, no matter what. No one wanted to talk about what the consequences will be for the health industry if the government goes forward with what they are proposing. Everyone operated on the beginning premise that one of these two parties has the right plan, the best solution. They never even consider whether the fact is that they are the problem, not the solution.


  1. Hi USW,

    Love that last picture.

    I watched much of the damn thing, and there were just too many generalities. We aren’t hearing anything new. It would have been nice to see the Republicans pick apart the 2700 pages, and present the details at that meeting. I feel they really missed their chance to shine a light on the reality of the bill, and watch the attempted justifications. The Republicans could have divided the bill up amongst themselves (even the ones not invited to the circus) and had staff go over it, and then keep pounding the the thing to death with the facts, page by page.

    When Tom Harkin read the letter from the farmer about his high insurance rates, he should have been asked immediately, “What will the HC bill cost that farmer in extra taxes per year?” (I know there would have been no answer, but raising the question would have made the point.)

    On McCain…an example of what too many years in Washington can do to a good man. Obama was no doubt saying the “campaign is over” line in his sleep. If McCain had said not ONE word, Obama would have screeched, “The campaign is OVER, John!”
    McCain’s school boy giggling answer was…..sad, just sad. Pander on, John, pander on.

    I have not heard why, if there is such a sentiment to “vote em out” in November, the newly elected cannot repeal any HC bill that is passed. I would like to hear more about that scenario.

  2. I watched very little, and what I saw was pathetic. Posting for comments.


  3. I was thinking the R’s were being too calm and polite. They had many good points but no one stood up hard enough for the will of the people who more and more oppose any of the three options. It’s the ninth inning for the people-they’re ramming it down our throats and no R had any sense of urgency or demands that the bill be scrapped. Don’t send a boy to do a man’s job. Go Big or Go Home.

    Then, it’s all about O. He basically said within a few weeks, month, 6 weeks that he was going to get it passed and see what happens- that’s what elections are for. Which completely throws the D’s under the bus too. If it passes and the D’s go down in November we still need to start talking about impeaching him.

  4. Buck the Wala says:

    I liked snow days a lot more when it didn’t mean working from home…at least now I don’t need to worry about anyone looking over my shoulder while on SUFA!

    I saw some highlights of the summit, but wasn’t even going to try to watch the entire thing. Overall I was pleased:

    1) Didn’t strike me as ‘pure theater’ nor as a ‘set-up’ as many Repubs warned. Was a lot accomplished? Probably not given the huge differences between the Dem and Repub approached, but I felt it was good to have both parties debating some of their points.

    2) Obama did a good job in laying out his position. USW is correct to point out that line by Obama to McCain, definitely a bit over the top and uncalled for, but overall Obama did well. Most of the Dems did a pretty good job at laying out their positions as well and, from what I saw of the summit, trying to find some common ground on some portions of the bill.

    3) In relation to the Dems, I didn’t think the Repubs did that well. Some had good lines, but for the most part they just kept going back to the need to ‘scrap the bill’ as opposed to highlighting any common ground to work from.

    4) It was interesting to hear both sides provide poll numbers in support of their positions. The Repubs are right – most people do not like this bill — and the Dems are right – most people want health care reform. What bothered me is that the Dems did not take this one step further — polls show that, when pollsters remove the overall bill and ask questions to determine support for various provisions within the bill, most people support those individual position. This, to me, means that it is not the bill itself that people are against, but rather they are against the bill as portrayed by the Repubs (e.g., ‘death panels’, etc.). At least that’s my reading into this discrepancy – any other thoughts on that?

    Also (partly on point) I read an interesting article the other day – can’t seem to find it today of course – discussing partisanship and how Congress is ‘supposed’ to work. One quote stuck with me — we are a country of majority rule that respects and safeguards minority rights. The writer continued to criticize the Repubs for refusing to proceed on any legislation, including health care, without a 60-person vote as going against how our system should be working, arguing that the minority is demanding minority rule. It was an interesting piece and I’ll try to locate it for everyone.

    • Buck,

      Do you understand the bill? The whole bill, Buck? All 2000 pages of it? Of course you don’t and NO ONE ELSE DOES EITHER. The people are against the bill because they can’t understand it not because of the Republican spin. The D’s can’t even talk their own people into it.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        That’s a fair point, and I’m sure that explains some of the outrage, but I still believe that part of the public opinion against the bill is due to Republican spin. This is indicated by polls showing majority support for individual provisions of the bill.

        The bill is extremely large, complex and convoluted. But then again, we’re trying to reform a large, complex and convoluted system. Of course I haven’t read the whole bill and I’m sure there are things that are in it that I may not agree with. Its not a perfect bill in my opinion, but from what I have read of the bill itself and summaries of the bill it is much better than what we have now.

        • Buck:

          Sorry, but I’ll agree to disagree with you there. There needs to be reform, but not another entitlement program.

          Bottom line – this is NOT about private healthcare as it stands now. It’s not about the woman who used her dead sister’s teeth (I’m still chuckling – sorry, dark, dark sense of humor). It’s about propping up other unsustainable entitlements already in place – namely Medicare and Medicaid. It’s spreading the expense on a grand scale so you and I pay for these entitlements, plus increasing government control where none is needed and, more importantly, the people who elected our officials don’t want it.

          Improved, affordable healthcare is a blatant lie to try to get us to sign on by pulling our heartstrings. Do I feel sorry for these people – OF COURSE I DO. I’m not some cold-hearted Nazi-loving, uncharitable, ignorant bimbo, as they would paint me. But do I see through them? Yeppers. Those rose-colored glasses are in the wastebin where they belong.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            How then would you explain the discrepancy between public opinion being against the bill and public opinion being in favor of the individual provisions of the bill? I find it to be a pretty interesting phenomenon.

            • Public opinion = FOR reform; AGAINST nationalized health care. That simple.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Not that simple at all — majority of Americans support a public option.

                • Please cite a source – again, I agree to disagree with you on this point.

                • Buck

                  The poll cited by HuffPo doesn’t actually say most support a public option. They, and you conclude that, because that is what you want to believe.

                  The question was whether folks support having a choice. Much of the debate at the time was having JUST a govt option.

                  So many of the supposed 70% for a choice may have been wanting a choice OTHER than govt insurance.

                  One of the other questions also used “President Obama’s support” in the question. Now this in itself interjects bias in both directions. Those who like him and those who don’t. Thus anything following this statement is suspect. Which happens to be the entire question.

                  See how easy it is to make sure you get the right answer.

                  I am curious however why you, among others, who claims the masses to be ignorant want to so quickly rely on POLLS to support your arguments.

                  Seems like just another contradiction in your philosophy to me.

                  • Buck the Wala says:

                    JAC – I’ve often criticized the use of polls by others on this site; it is so easy to manipulate the answers to obtain the desired result.

                    I’m just pointing out that, so far as USW’s mention of polls as used by Dems and Repubs at the summit, there is a huge discrepancy in data.

                    I didn’t read that one poll quite the way you did – found it pretty clear that it was discussing a public option, but again – easy to manipulate data through polling.

            • Buck

              There is no way in hell any public opinion poll could address the individual parts of the bill in a way to give reasonable answers.

              I have seen questions regarding the public option. Guess what? No explanation as to what a “public option” is. And no explanation of what the consequeces might be.

              Right now the public has it right. Stop. If anything is to be done, keep it small until we can figure out what is going on with the rest of the economy.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                You know my distate for polls in general. They can easily be manipulated to obtain the results the pollster wants.

                But it is interesting that polls have routinely showed support for most of the individual provisions of the bills and for the Dems proposals, yet simultaneously show disapproval for the bill itself. Don’t you think?

                • Buck

                  No, I don’t think it is odd at all.

                  The bill itself includes tons of garbage and thanks to the internet folks figured it out.

                  Also, it is easy to say “I support X” then when it becomes apparent that X has undesirable outcomes attached to not support the bill itself.

                  The whole health care debate has been a PUSH POLL effort from day one.

                  Create fear, play on decades of indoctrinated hate towards “big business”, then propose a “govment solution”.

                  It has worked for decades on many issues. And in fact has worked on health care up until now. But the socialists got greedy. They wanted to sprint the last mile and got caught.

            • Hi Buck:

              Since you pulled out Huffington, I get to pull out Fox. (Grins!)

              Click to access 100209_poll.pdf

              Also, according to Pew, “More people now generally oppose the health care reform proposals in Congress (47%) than favor them (34%). This represents a decline in support for health care reform since mid-September, shortly after President Obama’s nationally televised address to Congress on the issue.” This was in Dec. The data you provided were polls taken back in Aug. and Oct.

              It will be interesting to see if the summit glammed it up enough for a change of heart.

              I fervently hope the public heard Obama sidestepping the question of the budget and realize this is what healthcare is about. Not that poor farmer in Iowa. He really tried to disconnect the budget from the healthcare debate, but fool me once…

              They are compounding rather than solving problems.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Here are some polls from February 2010 regarding the health care bill — support for bill itself, provisions within bill, whether or not to forge ahead on reform, etc.

                No poll on the public option included here though.


                Can’t find a comprehensive poll from this month on the public option nation-wide, but state-wide polls consistently show majority support for a public option (not just NY, MA, CA, but states including MN, IL, CO, etc.)

        • It’s what we don’t know that is scary.

          There’s talk of it costing 2+ trillion. Don’t forget all the layers of people & papers to keep it working

          It’s a big power grab. Period.

          What is the logic, considering the sentiment of both sides to continue to ram it down our throats? The answer is power not compassion.

          It’s all about the O.

          • I have to wonder too…is it a money grab to bail out other entitlements that are said to be going broke…Medicare, and Social Security. After all they would start collecting the funds years in advance of providing any HC benefits, maybe by the time it gets to that point, all the funds will go to manage the “crises” dooming those programs.

            • Good point Dee.

              Buck- are you ready to pay up front for years on top of what you already pay for something that may not be sustainable then?

        • Buck

          “but I still believe that part of the public opinion against the bill is due to Republican spin.”

          Lets look at the other side of your political coin.

          But I still believe that part of the public opinion supporting the need for reform is due to Democrat spin.

          Put down the Kool Aid young Buck and step away from the table.

          We evaluate success or failure against goals and objectives. Go back to the stated goal of the President in holding a “summit” with both sides. Remember that “I’ll Moderate a debate” stuff. Or the “work towards reaching common ground”. His stated Goal was to conduct negotiations to get a “bipartisan” solution.

          As the supposed “leader” of this effort he FAILED miserably. He tried to set up the R’s for embarrassment pure and simple. This was a DISHONEST attempt at anything remotely called negotiation or reaching for bipartisanship.

          It drives me insane the way you lefties idolize this clown. His words seem to lull your brains into a state of mush. There is no way an objective, rationale, person could have concluded he did a great job with this whole effort.

          It was nothing but a staged POWER play, right down to the seating arrangements, his opening, dominating the discussion time and I love this one…….calling everyone by their first name. Where was Sen. Boxer when you really need her?

          Best to you and yours

          • Buck the Wala says:

            “But I still believe that part of the public opinion supporting the need for reform is due to Democrat spin”

            You could definitely be right on this. But its hard to square that away (general support for the need for reform) with support for the individual provisions of the bill itself, including with support for a public option (which isn’t even in the bill).

            I don’t idolize Obama in the least. I think that overall he is doing a good job and that comes in part from my own ideology. There is plenty I am not happy with. On health reform in particular, I may be happy with most of his proposals, though I am upset that he has not included a public option and I am very pissed with how he handled the entire political process. As for him ‘doing a great job’ I feel he did a great job at the summit itself from what I saw (with the exception being the line to McCain), not that he has been doing a great job throughout the entire process.

            That being said, I have always liked Kool Aid.

            • Actually as a moderator he was terrible. Moderators should be neutral. The moderator is there to keep the debate on topic and within the predetermined bounds. He is not there to comment pro or con. Comments should have been left to the opposing legislators. He should be keeping a list of ideas posted for all to see. At the end, he should start reducing the number of suggestions leaving only the common agreed on ones.

              A little TQM (Total Quality Management) training is needed.

          • Hi JAC,

            I liked it when O was asked a question and started blathering on about meat inspectors, ROTFLMAO!!!!!! All I could think and shout at the TV was “Quick, somebody give him back his TOTUS!!!!” 😆

    • Buck,

      I agree that the Republicans seemed to stick to the scrap the bill mantra, and didn’t seem to really be in a mode that was open to finding any common ground. I think that goes back to the fundamental differences thing. At their core, the two sides are different in what they believe the government should be doing.

      I didn’t think the Democrats were any more open to it than the Republicans though.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        Well put. I think that’s exactly right.

        It seems to me that the Dems are a bit more open-minded on this, but granted I’m biased on that score as I agree with much of what they are trying to accomplish.

        • Buck

          Open minded? Perhaps it is more than Kool Aid you’ve been drinking.

          Give me any examples of this.

          Negotiations are tricky things at the start. The only relevant comments made was the “start over” by the Repubs and the “health care is a right” by I think it was Reid.

          The start over is a prerequisite to true negotiation, and was therefore completely appropriate.

          The “health care is a rigth” summarized the Dems position and shows why negotiations are fruitless. It is a TELL. It shows their real hand.

          In fact that is the point where the R’s should have pounced and then walked from the room. But they actually believe the Govt should do something because they truly are Statists themselves.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Both parties are fully entrenched in their positions, thats a given. But it speaks more to me — and given this is largely due to my agreement on the matter – that the Dems tried to find some common ground on some particular issues and the Repubs just sidestepped back to their ‘scrap the bill’ mantra.

            • Buck

              So then you agree Mr. Obama’s intent was NOT to negotiate a bipartisan solution?

              Of course both sides are entrenched. That is how all negotiation usually start. But that is why you start from scratch to build trust. Do you think maybe the Egyptians and Israelies were slightly entrenced before they negotiated a peace between them?

              The point here Buck is that this was a farce based on the stated purpose as presented by Mr. Obama himself. It was theatrics and the Dems did not come with the intent to negotiate anything. If they had they would be willing to start over. I’m not sure the Repubs intent was to negotiate either, in the long run. But their opening position was at least consistent with an attempt to negotiate.

              The Dems and Mr. Obama did not. They were DISHONEST in their entire presentation. Unless you think the purpose was to just get a few issues of the R’s included in the bill.

              Evaluate this from the proposed purpose. A NEGOTIATION.

              Dump your bias for immoral govt provided health care and just evaluate the PURPOSE against their performance. For starters, the freakin Moderator is not supposed to dominate the conversation. And the moderator is sure as hell not supposed to be on the same side as one of the other parties.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I disagree with your characterization here — the intent was to discuss health care, not necessarily to reach a bipartisan soluation in one day, but to discuss varying aspects and points of agreement.

                From a strictly negotiation standpoint there was no need to scrap the bill – that was the Dems starting point, much like ‘nothing’ was the Repubs starting point.

                • Buck

                  “the intent was to discuss health care, not necessarily to reach a bipartisan soluation in one day, but to discuss varying aspects and points of agreement.”

                  But that was all known by both sides. So your theory as to the “purpose” must be wrong.

                  No need for a meeting to discuss what you already know.

                  Where the Dems and Repubs started isn’t relevant. It is that Mr. Obama called the meeting under the guise of “third party”. Then he developed his own proposal.

                  Then he dominated the meeting, placed himself on the side with the D’s by attacking R’s in response to their complaints about the D’s legislation. Not his but theirs, yet he defened it.

                  That sir, is how political hacks work, not statesmen and not real leaders.

                  The man’s effort was a FAILURE given HIS stated purpose.

                  You have something to learn about what real negotiations are all about. By not setting the existing bills and reconciliation aside the D’s changed the purpose from “negotiation” to “terms of surrender”.

                  Ask the Indians whether they think they “negotiated” the treaties with our Govt.

                  • Buck the Wala says:

                    Everyone comes to the negotiation table with a starting point.

                    The Dems starting point was the health bill – everyone know what the Dems wanted to obtain here. The Repubs starting point was nothing – everyone knew that as well. The stated purpose of the summit was to discuss the issues and, as Obama stated, find some common grounds of agreement.

                    So why scrap the bill – that is exactly what the Repubs wanted and there was absolutely zero reason to this, so long as the Dems showed a willingness to make changes to the bill, scrap certain provisions, beef up others, etc. The question then becomes did the Dems show this willingness? I didn’t see enough of the summit to make a judgment on this question.

                    By the way: interesting article in Slate today scoring the summit as Obama 1 – Repubs 1 – Dems 0

                    Here’s the link —

      • USW

        Obama was the one who touted his desire to start fresh “negotiations” to find “common ground”.

        The Republican response: “I agree that the Republicans seemed to stick to the scrap the bill mantra, and didn’t seem to really be in a mode that was open to finding any common ground.”

        is EXACTLY what they should have done as a player in the negotiations. They are saying, if you want HONEST negotiation then you start over from here.

        To say anything else plays into the hands of the DISHONEST manipulators of the meeting. In fact the Repubs got off track and discussed details that were irrelevant to beginning a negotiating process.

        It should have been simple. We will negotiate. But that requires you, Mr. President, and the Democrats to start playing fair. You must treat us as equal partners at the table. You must immediately begin addressing issues in that regard and begin working with us to establish a format for moving forward that builds trust and respect.

        Based on what little I heard and saw, I would hire the mail man to moderate or facilitate these negotiations before I would rely on Mr. Obama or anyone else in that room. And I don’t even know the mail man.

        • But JAC-As we were reminded we have to get over it- remember? they won? 😡

          • Anita

            I know, I know. McCains response should have been, “Yes Barack, the election is over, and you are living proof that elections have dire consequences at times.

            My guess is that would have been the end of the meeting.

            Sad part is, from my point of view THEY ALWAYS win. LOL !

            What toasted my buns on this Anita was the way Obama played the media and public about holding negotiations. All designed to make him look like the impartial savior. A ploy to prop up his approval ratings.

            I have had some formal training and experience in moderating and facilitating such negotiations or meetings. For anyone to portray this effort as an attempt to seek out bipartisan or mutual agreement is a farce.

            So I guess I am reacting to what I see as an attack on negotiating processes, more than the politics of the health care debate.

            I did notice a comment on a site yesterday morning claiming that the CNN analysts had given the Republicans a clear win in the morning session. They felt the R’s stuck to the facts and made excellant points without all the hystrionics. This from CNN.

            OK, I’ve vented enough now. 🙂

            Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

            • All is good here JAC except I could use Matt and his shovel. I still have a 3×20 strip needing to be shoveled from Monday. Currently snowing- I took a tape measure to that strip about 1/2 hr ago and measured 13 inches….enough already. Have plans to take the youngins to the (lake)property tomorrow for some good ol playtime!

              • Anita

                Sounds like a good day tomorrow. Think I’ll take a long walk along the river with son, dog and fly rod.

                Happy Friday

                • Reporting back in after fun day playing. Stressful worrying about daughter in Hawaii but coast is clear. Snow past our knees at the lake. 2 doggies & 2 kids will sleep good tonight.

                  How bout that river walk today?

                  • Anita

                    River walk didn’t happen as weather turned not so fun.

                    But did have a good day anyhow.

                    Spent part worrying about daughter in Japan, not knowing how high she is. Given Japanese attention I expect she is fine however.

                    Walk on river is today as the sun has popped out.

                    Sounds like ya’ll had a good time yesterday.

                    Best to you and yours this Happy Sunday.

  5. the vegas mayor said it best,,”that boy is just slow”. 73% of americans disagree with obama, for good reasons. they don’t like taxes, they like to eat and they don’t want him holding the plug to their life support.

  6. ” It is the pervasive belief in Congress and the White house that we are too stupid to know what is good for us” – can you blame them for believing that? I mean, really.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that a slight majority of Americans really are too clueless to know what’s going on, muchless know what’s actually good for them. That’s why they vote for the D’s and expect great things to happen, and then blame the R’s when things go to hell. Look at how many people still think Dear Reader is the best thing since sliced bread, and really loves this country and wants nothing but the best for its citizens. And you wonder why Congress thinks the voters are stupid…..

    • I don’t think it is a majority of Americans. I think America is a little more in tune than you may think. It is easy to think that anyone who doesn’t agree with your thought out position must not be smart enough to understand. In fact, that is the overall problem in Congress right now.

      I don’t think the masses are stupid. I do think they are uninformed. There is simply too much going on in Washington for people to be able to keep up with it all. This is the problem with government supposedly being “controlled” by the people. At some point it grows to a size and complexity that controlling government becomes a full time job. And most Americans simply don’t have the time and energy to do so.


      • I didn’t say anyone who doesn’t agree with me is stupid/not smart enough to understand, if they’ve thought it through and made an effort to be as well informed as possible given the amount of BS that they’re fed. My problem is with those large numbers of people who insist that O really cares about us and is doing what’s best for America, or that this is just part of the cycle and there’s nothing to be concerned about, and that anyone who doesn’t know that is stupid, crazy, or racist. It doesn’t even occur to them its possible that this isn’t politics as usual. When I ask them about why he’s the only president with his own personal logo that is popping up in ever more places, the EO’s O has signed, the extending of the Patriot Act after campaigning against it, the czars, the associations with communists and other radicals, the sealed records, and power grabs of banks, automotive companies and probably health care, they can’t explain how that fits with politics as usual. If you’re not even curious, then its perfectly understandable that the politicians think you’re stupid.

        • This arrived in my email as I was typing the above response. There must have been a tremor in the Force. 😆

          The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to an electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.” — Author Unknown

      • USW,

        “I don’t think the masses are stupid. I do think they are uninformed. There is simply too much going on in Washington for people to be able to keep up with it all.”

        I think the why they are uninformed is important. A 2,000 plus page bill that most have to rely on someone else(MSM) to read, explain, and report. They keep the tax code, EPA regulations, etc., complex, to keep their power. If it was short and simple, they could not play from the people, for decades on end.

  7. It’ll be interesting to see how people react to the nonsense from yesterday – the outright lying by Pelosi and Reid. Obama’s plan does cover publicly funded abortions and Reid has talked about nothing but reconciliation for the last several weeks. It’s one more indicator the elitists think the public will swallow whatever they’re shoveling without question. What is the color of the sky on their planet?

    According to last nights’ post-summit news, Pelosi can’t get the votes in the House to get this thing to the Senate for reconciliation. Gee – imagine that some Dems actually want to be re-elected.

    The name placards sure were purty.

    • I agree that the elitists on both sides of the aisle at this point believe that no matter what they say, the people will believe them. Unfortunately, in some cases they are correct. Just listening to the callers into talk radio today it is clear that there are many Americans who believed every word their party said yesterday. Sad.

      • USW –

        Our man, Burr, got a nice mention yesterday! I would have liked to have seen a little more incivility. Maybe a healthcare death match in the middle of that purty table. Why was the GOP so dang nice about it? Ryan was the only one who even drew a little blood…

  8. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I thought that Paul Ryan from Wisconsin did a fair job of bringing up actual numbers and hitting the Dems over the head with them. His general point was that the actuaries that Obama had looking at the bill had even come to the conclusion that it would add well over a trillion dollars to the deficit, and would most certainly NOT reduce the deficit one cent. He also pointed out several instances of tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars being double-counted in the bill, which of course would just add hundreds of billions of dollars more to the deficit.

    It was interesting to note that when Ryan was done speaking, the response from the Democrats was…. NOTHING! They knew that they could not refute his facts and figures, so they merely moved on and changed the subject.

    Ryan had the line of the day, “We believe that this is not something that the government should be doing, it is something that the people should be doing!”

    Bravo Mr. Ryan, your 15 minutes were the only portion of the whole shenanigans that had much merit or much truth.

    • Peter,

      I also thought that Ryan did a great job. I have come to expect that from him. I think he is a rising star in the GOP. Too bad he is in that party. I could like him more if he weren’t.

  9. I heard some good comments and was pleased to hear Rep Paul Ryan’s (brief) opportunities to explain some of the R’s points.

    Of course it was all a sham at this point as there are two Dems bills currently passed and then The One’s brought out earlier this week. Why would you bring out your plan before this proposed summit if you were actually going to consider any other options? He told us at the end of the meeting with his….”we’ll give it a few weeks and then do what we have to do”… speech.

    I was glad to hear HSA’s brought up – it’s what we have and it has made us much better and smarter consumers in the 2 years that we’ve had it – but BO’s response was quick to show that this isn’t about giving consumers control of their healthcare, it is about government deciding.


    So painfully obvious and yet there will be those that go along.

  10. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hello everyone

    I just got about the last hour of it, and for what I saw, I found a lot of the Dems and the President himself, to be very arrogant when answering the Repubs. The only think I liked about it, was when can’t remember who said this.

    When our founding father wrote the constitution, no where is it written, that health care be mandatory. This bill is therefore unconstitutional, and should be scraped. He also said that 75% of the people don’t want it, should listen to the people.

    When they said that it will help the unemployed and homeless pay less for medical insurance, all I could say, was WHAT? How the heck can the unemployed and homeless pay for something when they don’t have the money to pay for it. Doesn’t make sense to me there. If you don’t have a job, or you’re homeless, just how in the heck are you suppose to pay for it? That’s just like when Galleghar said when the banks charge you for something they know you don’t have any money to pay those late fees, or something to that effect. I think you get my point.

    Hope all will have a good day.


    • You mean you would rather eat today than buy health insurance for the 1 in a 1000 possibility you will get sick or hurt tomorrow? There must be something wrong with you. Government will fix that.

  11. One other note, I heard an explanation of the California insurance company situation (where they raised the rates seemingly very high and Sebelius and BO have jumped on that bandwagon and used this example over and over).

    Apparently due to CA’s economic siutation and high unemployment, previously premium-paying insureds have now had to jump over to the state’s program – I believe called MediCal there. Because doctors/hospitals/clinics only get partial reimbursement for services supplied to these patients, their costs are not being covered so they have had to raise their rates to those that do actually still pay. Because these paying-patients costs are much higher, the insurance company has to cover greater costs. Because the insurance company has higher costs……their rates are going up!

    So let’s see, we have healthcare, with economics applied to it and what happens……

    Seems like we had a similar conversation a while back with, what was it again…..oh yeah, end of life decisions….DEATH PANELS!

    • Strange that someone didn’t mention the heavy load of illegals there in Calif.

      Looks like the insurance company has it’s own way to “redistribute the wealth”.

      • AMEN!!! One more 300-lb gorilla they chose to ignore.

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          I heard they raised the rates up 39% in Calif.

          • Anthem/Blue Cross is raising their rates 39% or trying to. As an interesting note, our small company just signed up with a large business service provider. We are now officially employees (employer of record) of the service provider company hence we get into their insurance and benefits pool. So our actual costs go down from our old insurer, A/BC.

            Some numbers to chew on:

            For those under 65 (those over are on medicare) 2007 numbers:
            Medicare 3%
            Medicaid 13%
            Private Ins. 6%
            Employer 59%
            Military 3%
            Uninsured 16%

            The employer number has probably gone down while private and uninsured has gone up. Uninsured includes illegals.

            Some of the complaints about privately purchased insurance forget that there is sales and advertising cost associated with it. This is for 6% of the total market split by how many insurers. Yes, private insurance will always be more expensive. A company that brings a diverse group of 1000 people to the insurance company is certainly going to get better rates than an individual.

            The original goal of ObamaCare was to reduce costs. But it has morphed in to insurance reform rather than cost reduction. Cost reduction comes from increased Quality (as defined by Deming), reduction in paper work, reduction in unnecessary procedures (tort reform), individual responsibility, reduction in mandates, etc. It has nothing to do with insurance. Insurance costs will go down as a result of these as will everyone’s costs.

    • And California is now bankrupt!

  12. Have a great day everyone! Happy Friday and happy shovelling to our friends out east!

  13. I wonder how many voted for Hope-N-Change???? Think they’d like a “Do-Over”? I feel sorry for the ones who didn’t vote for Hope-N-Change. I’m sure they’re really happy with those that did….

    Revised projections now show that about 23,000 workers at and around Kennedy Space Center will lose their jobs because of the shuttles’ retirement and the new proposal to cancel the development of new rockets and spacecraft.

    IN-DEPTH SPECIAL REPORT: Shuttle Shutdown

    That sum includes 9,000 “direct” space jobs and — conservatively speaking — 14,000 “indirect” jobs at hotels, restaurants, retail stores and others that depend on activity at the space center, said Lisa Rice, Brevard Workforce president.

  14. The more I think about it, the more suspicious I am become about the whole HC mess.

    Seriously, it isn’t even well designed (after a year of various bills, no less) and they keep trying to push these bills through. I’m thinking the govt is even more broke than we know, and what we do know is broke enough…it is insane to add HC at this time.

    I wonder if it is not really a confiscation of personal wealth ….at LEAST one of the versions of the HC bill gave the govt total access to bank accounts. Health Care is a hot button issue, easy to manipulate folks with, but not as easy as they thought.

    Collecting the money WAY, way up front….something stinks with this.

    • With this Administration, EVERYTHING stinks.

      Did you see this?

      CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens’ rights
      Posted: February 26th, 2010 09:00 AM ET

      From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

      Fifty-six percent of Americans say the government poses an immediate threat to individual rights and freedoms.
      Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

      Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

      The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

      According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

      The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

  15. Judy Sabatini says:

    Read this in the paper this morning

    Nebraska considers fetal pain abortion pill

    Lincoln Neb.. A group of lawmakers is pushing to make Nebraska the first state to outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the argument that the fetus might feel pain during an abortion procedure. GEE, REALLY!

    Emboldened by the supreme Cort’s 2007 decision upholding a ban on what abortion rights opponents call partial-birth abortions, in which a fetus is partially removed from the woman’s womb and then destroyed, the Nebraska legislators are seeking to ban all late-term abortions except when the mother’s life is threatened.

    If the bill were to pass-and it’s unclear it would-it would surely face a court challenge and could end up in front of the Supreme Court. Medical and legal experts testified Thursday for and against the bill before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee would vote on the bill on Thursday.

    No other state has attempted to restrict abortions based on the pain a fetus might feel, said Mary Spaulding Balch, the legislative director for National Right to Life.

    Six states-Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah-require that pregnant women be told an abortion could cause pain for the fetus, according to the Narional Conference of State Legislatures.

    Are you kidding me, they think that maybe a fetus can feel pain. Maybe they should try and get cut up, or have a saline solution poured on them and see if they don’t feel any pain. Fetuses can most assuredly feel pain, and anybody here that thinks other wise, will definitely have an argument with me.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      No argument, but just curious how you are so sure that “Fetuses can most assuredly feel pain”. From my understanding there is a lot of uncertainty in the medical field on: (1) whether fetuses can feel pain and (2) if fetuses can ‘feel pain’, whether they recognize it as pain – in other words, whether a fetus feels pain/discomfort as we would. From my own understanding, the answer to that question is, according to the medical community, not until the third trimester.

      I personally would say: ‘who knows’. I sure don’t.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        But how does the medical field really know whether or not they can feel pain, or recognize it as pain or not. I say they can, and no, I’m not an expert, just going by what I have experienced through 4 pregnancies, and what I saw on ultrasounds when the doctor poked, prodded, shined light up there, felt around to make sure the baby was doing okay.

        It would move around and try to protect itself from invasive procedures. Would put it’s hand up to it’s eyes to avoid the light shinning on it, would kick back if touched in the wrong way. That’s what I’m basing my claim on and until anybody can prove to me they don’t feel pain, I’m standing by what I said. I’ll even ask my son who is going through medical school and see what he says.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          All good points – there is clear evidence that a fetus does have some ‘feelings’ as to what’s going on around them. Whether that translates to pain though is an entirely different question.

      • Buck:

        Study nerve development in a fetus (differentation) and then tell me a baby (they are babies, we shouldn’t be afraid of that word) doesn’t feel pain. In weeks 6 and 7, the brain develops in five areas, and some cranial nerves become visible. Where there are nerves, it’s a not a huge leap to pain.

        Sorry, but this just chaps my …um, nerves.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Pun intended there? haha

          My only point is that I don’t know. There’s a lot of disagreement in the medical community on this issue to begin with. I just feel we should shy away from any certainty without knowing.

          Could a fetus feel pain? Certainly. Does a fetus feel pain? I dunno…

      • I think they are talking about late-term abortions. These are babies that can survive outside the mother. Just ask anyone who has had a premature infant if they think their babies can feel pain. The idea that they can feel pain when outside and not when inside is bizarre to me.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Good point assuming thats what they’re talking about here.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            I truly believe that when the central nervous system starts to develop, they can feel when ever it is touched or going through an abortion. I have to agree with what Jennie said in her last sentence, makes no sense.

      • Buck

        The same way we know any other living organism, that is not us, feels pain.

        You are walking the logic rope that “if I do not know personally then it does not exist”, or “it is of no concern to me”.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          That’s not my point at all — I am not arguing that because I personally do not know it is of no concern to me. Actually I find it to be a very interesting question.

          My point is that we just do not know whether a fetus at a given stage of development can feel and experience ‘pain’ as pain in the same way you or I do. From my very brief research on the issue it seems that the consensus in the medical community is that a fetus can feel pain in this sense in the third trimester. Earlier than that it is much more unclear.

          What is illogical is to assume that because you feel pain and you are a living organism then it must follow that all living organism at all stages of development also feel pain in the same way you do.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            So, I take it then, that you don’t think a fetus is a living organism? If it’s not alive before it’s born, then what is it?

            Sorry Buck, but I stand by my statement, and until you can prove to me that a baby can’t feel any pain once the central nervous system is developed, then I will change my stance.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Judy, not what I said in the least. My entire point here is nothing more than “we do not know whether a fetus, at a given in development prior to the third trimester can feel and experience pain in the same way that you can”

              You are free to stand by your statement and believe that a fetus can and does feel pain. I am not saying they do not, but I’m also not saying they do – all I can say is that I do not know, and neither does the medical community.

              • Judy Sabatini says:

                Have you ever seen an abortion take place Buck? It’s not a pretty sight to see, and for the life of me, I can’t imagine at any stage, they cannot feel what is happening to them.

                Do you know, if you pick a petal off a flower, it screams? Why, because it’s a living plant. Saw that one on a science program once. So, I’m saying, if a flower can feel that petal being picked off, then I say a baby can feel when being aborted. Yea, I know, not even a medical team or all the scientific data they try to get can tell if a baby can feel pain or not.

  16. Bottom Line says:

    USW – ” Misdirection and smoke and mirrors. ”
    Kelly – ” …plus increasing government control where none is needed and… ”

    Anytime there is a distraction or confusion, …Any time you’re pursueded and end up making a rationalization…Any time there is an emotional appeal attached to the confusion, any time something is repeated over and over…

    You’re being persueded through subtle forms of hynotism.

    (snaps fingers)…wake up…wake up …wake up.

    Our whole society is full of it. Open your eyes Look around.

    What kind of healthcare do you want? …Republicrats verson of health-care or Demopublican version of health-care?

    Is your favorite color red or blue?

    What is your favorite form of state healthcare?

    Which would you prefer, a turd with american on wheat with mayo, or a turd with chedder on rye with mustard?

    Let’s flip a coin – heads I win – tails you lose.

    Who’s your favorite Nazi?

    What do you like most about Hitler?

    Would you rather be lazy and sit around or just do nothing?

    What kind of mustard do you want on that?

    “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”

    Wake up – snap – snap – wake up.

  17. Judy Sabatini says:

    National Journal’s Vote Rankings: The Top 10
    February 26, 2010 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (222) |

    Share This
    From this year’s National Journal Vote Rankings:

    The 10 Most Liberal Senate Dems Most Conservative Senate GOPers
    1. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) 1. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
    1. Roland Burris (D-IL) 2. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
    1. Ben Cardin (D-MD) 3. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
    1. Jack Reed (D-RI) 4. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
    1. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 5. Jim Risch (R-ID)
    6. John Kerry (D-MA) 6. John Thune (R-SD)
    6. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) 7. John Ensign (R-NV)
    8. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) 8. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
    9. Chris Dodd (D-CT) 9. Richard Burr (R-NC)
    9. Dick Durbin (D-IL) 10. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

    The 10 Most Liberal House Dems Most Conservative House GOPers
    1. Rush Holt (D-NJ) 1. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
    1. Gwen Moore (D-WI) 1. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
    1. John Olver (D-MA) 1. Randy Neugebaurer (R-TX)
    1. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) 1. Pete Olson (R-TX)
    1. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) 1. John Shadegg (R-AZ)
    1. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) 1. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
    1. Mel Watt (D-NC) 7. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
    1. Henry Waxman (D-CA) 8. Mike Pence (R-IN)
    9. Kathy Castor (D-FL) 9. Steve King (R-IA)
    10. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) 9. Tom McClintock (R-CA)

    The 10 In The Middle In The Middle Of The House
    (Most liberal to Most conserv.) (Most liberal to Most conserv.)

    46. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) 213. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
    47. Robert Byrd (D-WV) 214. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL)
    48. Bob Casey (D-PA) 215. John Adler (D-NJ)
    49. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) 216. Bill Foster (D-IL)
    50. Mark Pryor (D-AR) 217. Michael McMahon (D-NY)
    51. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) 218. Michael Arcuri (D-NY)
    52. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) 219. John Tanner (D-TN)
    53. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) 220. Scott Murphy (D-NY)
    54. Jim Webb (D-VA) 221. Tim Holden (D-PA)
    55. Russ Feingold (D-WI) 222. Zack Space (D-OH)

    Most Liberal House Delegations Most Conservative Delegations
    1. MA 1. ID
    2. HI 2. KY
    3. VT 3. SC
    4. CT 4. TX
    5. RI 5. GA

    For complete results, methodologies and more lists — including the 2 members of the Senate from different parties who have the exact same score — check out the vote rankings at

  18. Judy Sabatini says:

    McCain rips Obama for ‘unsavory dealmaking’
    Jim Brown and Bill Bumpas – OneNewsNow – 2/26/2010 7:10:00

    Senator McCain (R-Arizona)A tense exchange during Thursday’s healthcare summit in Washington had the feel of a presidential campaign.

    Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) at yesterday’s healthcare summit denounced what he called the “unsavory dealmaking” involved in the process used to create the House and Senate healthcare bills that Democrats passed before Christmas. McCain chided the president for promising to bring “change in Washington,” yet breaking a promise he made eight times on the campaign trail to make sure negotiations over the healthcare bill would be open to the public.

    In response, Barack Obama 2President Obama accused the Arizona senator of still being in “campaign” mode and said lawmakers were on hand to “talk about health insurance,” not read “talking points.”

    Julie Gunlock, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, says creation of the bill was an “unsavory process,” and that McCain was right to point that out.

    “You could almost see President Obama’s blood pressure rising as Senator McCain was talking and reminding him of his campaign promises — that was quite a moment,” Gunlock notes. “It sort of highlights why the Democrats and why Obama went back on that campaign promise to make sure that there was transparency in the process and cameras throughout the negotiating process. Those backroom deals would never have flown if there had been cameras in the negotiating process.”

    During yesterday’s summit, McCain implored President Obama and congressional Democrats to “remove all the specials for special interests and a favored few.”

    The cost of reconciliation
    So — now that the seven-and-one-half marathon healthcare summit is over, will Democrats push sweeping reforms though Congress?

    Calling the televised summit “political theatre,” the CEO of the Christian Medical Association believes President Obama and the Democrats are set to pass sweeping healthcare reform by using controversial Senate budget rules that would disallow filibusters. But Dr. David Stevens says it will not come without a price. (Listen to audio report)

    David Stevens (CMDA)”I think there’s probably going to be a tremendous backlash from that across the country because the vast majority of people are opposed to what’s being proposed in Washington,” he opines.

    Stevens sides with many in the GOP in wanting to start over on healthcare reform because, in his opinion, the Democrat’s plan is bad for America.

    “It just won’t work; it’s going to make the problem worse,” he argues. “So we need to start over because we don’t have a place to start from with what we have. And that doesn’t mean we delay for three or four years; that means we address it immediately, we get back into it — it’s true bipartisanship, we put ideas on the table. We do need to get on this.”

    Stevens says healthcare reform needs to be passed in the next year, but not in the next two weeks.

  19. To paraphrase noted mathematician Ian Malcolm “Just because you [have the ability to], it doesn’t mean you [are allowed].” USW’s last paragraph is, I think, most pertinent because in the end I agree that no one will be swayed by anything that was said. If you are for this piece of legislation then you cheered (along with Christopher Matthews) for the O-side. If you are against it you cheered for the Republican’s. Either way, no one had their opinion altered one bit by this showcase of fertilizer. But the most important point is if Congress even has the authority to pass this nonsense in the first place! No governing body can authorize the forced purchase of health insurance. I question if they can force the purchase of any kind of insurance, but that’s another conversation for another day.
    Secondly, should anyone reading this ever become a legislative leader I would implore to to keep this simple thought in mind: Leadership means making decisions. No matter what decision you make, someone along the way will be negatively impacted by it. You cannot get around that fact, so don’t try to make everyone happy. You will only succeed at getting nothing done and annoying everyone! And in trying to argue the validity of your point of view in a decision, please don’t trot out poor Aunt Millie and tell her sob story! The other 300+ million Americans, in the end, truly don’t care! They care how making Aunt Millie happy will hurt them!
    Great comment, USW!

    • “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Bill Cosby

    • Optimus and Anita

      During my years of working for and then with the govt there was one phrase, when used by some govt leader, that would actually cause me to flush with anger. And it usually evoked a pointed comment from me regarding the intellectual abilities of the person making the statement.

      I never heard this statement for the first 5 years of govt service. But then it showed up one day, used by a new wave manager. Then its use increased each year unitl I was hearing it in almost every contentious situation where two or more sides were involved in the issue. Here goes.

      “Well, me must be making the right decision because we have both sides about equally mad at us”.

      There are of course variations but you get the drift. Blood is starting to bubble just thinking about it.

      Best to you both this Friday afternoon.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        Reminds me of a comment I once heard by an ethics professor asked to define justice. He said: “Justice is when neither side is too happy”

        Don’t get too angry there JAC! Its Friday!

      • No bubbling blood allowed on Fridays 🙂

  20. Black Flag:

    Special shout out to you today to remind you IT’S THE WEEKEND!!

  21. Judy Sabatini says:

    Fox News Poll: Americans Want A ‘House’ Cleaning

    By Ernie Paicopolos

    Four in five voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing — and 77 percent of voters think lawmakers are only adding to the country’s problems.

    If Congressional approval ratings get any lower, lawmakers might think about passing a bailout package for themselves. Four in five voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing — and only 14 percent assign positive job ratings. These results speak volumes about the continued restiveness of the American electorate.

    As has been the case in past surveys, the voting public’s ire is not reserved for one party. When asked who they want to win this year’s congressional elections, just about equal numbers choose Democrats (36 percent) as Republicans (35 percent) — but almost as many (29 percent) say they “don’t know” or don’t want either party to win.

    Among key independent voters, 34 percent don’t want either party to win, while another 32 percent are unsure.

    Click here to see the poll.

    Along the same lines, a majority of voters (56 percent) say that the new arrival on the political scene — the Tea Party movement — is to some degree qualitatively different from the Republican Party. Some 16 percent of voters think there is “a lot” of difference between the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, and another 40 percent think there is “some” difference.

    About two-thirds of Republicans (65 percent) think there is at least some difference between their party and the Tea Party movement, while 57 percent of independents think so.

    Moreover, when asked to describe their own voting mood, a 36-percent plurality says all incumbents should be thrown out this year, with about equal numbers targeting Democrats (10 percent) as Republicans (9 percent). About one voter in four (26 percent) thinks we should stick with those currently in office. Not surprisingly, Democrats are the most likely to take this latter view (39 percent).

    The desire to “clean house” is in part due to the view that elected officials in Washington are doing more harm than good. Fully 77 percent of voters think lawmakers “add to the country’s problems” rather than “solve the country’s problems” (16 percent).

    And, the blame for this malfeasance is laid squarely at the feet of elected officials (53 percent) and not voters themselves (26 percent).

    Another clear indicator of what is motivating this revolt against incumbency is a considerably libertarian strain in the electorate. When asked to choose between “bigger government” (providing more services) and “smaller government” (providing fewer services), the more limited course is the winner by a 58 percent to 35 percent margin. And the critical bloc of independent voters is even more likely to opt for leaner government (70 percent).

  22. (yawn)

  23. Judy Sabatini says:

    4 Health Care Questions and Answers

    By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

    Can the government force you to buy health insurance? Why can’t I buy health insurance from anyone who wants to sell it to me?

    1. Can the federal government compel a person to have health insurance? Congress may regulate interstate commerce, pursuant to power granted to it in the Constitution. The original grant of this power meant “to keep commerce regular,” that is, to assure that the states do not interfere with commerce by imposing tariffs on the movement of out-of-state goods into their states. Over the years, the Congress has pushed the envelope and regulated more than just commerce; it has regulated the salaries and working conditions and costs of those who manufacture goods that move in interstate commerce. The courts, as well, over the years have gone along with this. But the Congress has never compelled individuals to engage in interstate commerce by forcing them to purchase anything. My view is that this is unconstitutional, as well beyond the power given to Congress.

    2. Why can’t I buy health insurance from whatever carrier is willing to sell it to me? In 1946, in response to the return of 2.5 million persons to the workforce from the military, Congress enacted wage and price controls. Thus, employers could not dangle high paying jobs to entice workers to come to work for them, but they could and did offer health insurance as an inducement to attract new workers. In response to this, Congress prohibited the movement of health insurance policies in interstate commerce. Stated differently, all regulation of health insurance was left to the states, and the states can and did prohibit the sale of health insurance policies from carriers in one state to customers in another. The states accepted and used that power with relish. Thus, for example, New Jersey will only allow insurance carriers in New Jersey to sell policies there and it prohibits its residents from buying policies from carriers in other states. This, in turn, permits state regulators to require that customers purchase so-called Cadillac plans–ones that offer top-of-the line services that the purchaser could not need and would never use. This keeps the cost of these policies up. My opinion is that this, too, is unconstitutional as the interstate commerce clause was written “to keep commerce regular,” not to restrict or prohibit it.

    3. Is tort reform constitutional? Many Republicans have argued that trial lawyers have filed frivolous lawsuits against health care providers and that has caused their insurance carriers to seek higher premiums on the providers’ malpractice policies, and those costs have been passed on to patients. In fact, all states have laws against frivolous lawsuits, and lawyers are frequently forced to pay the legal fees of those whom they have wrongfully sued. Moreover, well over 95% of all health care malpractice litigation takes place in state courts. The states run their own court systems. Congress is powerless to tell the states what awards juries should give or who can be sued in the state court systems. Thus, in my opinion, so-called federal tort reform would be unconstitutional as a congressional invasion of the powers retained by the states when they joined the Union.

    4. Is there anything in the Constitution that empowers Congress to regulate health care or get between patients and their physicians or empower bureaucrats to tell physicians how to practice medicine? In a word, NO. Here is a kinky example. Last week, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) collapsed in his apartment in Cliffside Park, N.J., a few miles south of the George Washington Bridge. When he called an ambulance and it arrived, he directed the driver to bring him to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. That direction is today perfectly lawful. Under all three health care proposals (the Senate, House, and presidential versions), such a direction would be unlawful; as an ambulance would be forced to take a patient to the hospital closest to the patient; in Sen. Lautenberg’s case, a small community hospital a few blocks from his apartment. Sen. Lautenberg voted for the Senate proposal that would have denied him the free choice that probably saved his life.

  24. Cyndi:

    Breaking news: 7.3 earthquake off Japan. Tsunami warning for coastal areas. Watch your back

    • Thanks! I’ll check out the details. We’ll be okay. The surrounding ocean is thousands of feet deep less than a quarter mile off the beach. No continental shelf to force up the water. I’ll let you know if we have warning out here though. Thanks for your concern!


      • That’s right I did see that post from you last time around. Would you happen to know if it’s the same depth around Hawaii?

        • I don’t know what the situation is there, but I do know they’ve had some killer tsunamis in the last century. I think there was a big one in the 30’s and one in the 50’s or 60’s. If you google/bing Hawaii tsunamis you might find the info you’re looking for. The island I live on is a low atoll, is three miles long by 1/2 mile wide. Hawaii is much bigger, so I’m thinking most people live out of the water’s reach. I’m sure your little girl is quite safe, Mommy. 😉

          • Darn right mommy…I’ll still be mommy when she’s 60. Those tsunamis freak me out. Besides my daughter can take alot emotionally and physically but put her up against mother nature and she freaks. A simple thunderstorm- which I love- would have her in my lap immediately- even at age 21 🙂

            • 🙂

              • CURSES!!!!! Earthquake in Chile now. Tsunami warning for Hawaii. 😯

                • Judy Sabatini says:

                  It’s Obama’s fault.


                • She’ll be fine. They have plenty of warning and folks know to take the threat seriously. Everyone will be safe. Ya gotta believe….


                  • Yay! Spoke to her couple times. Coast is clear 8)

                    • Yay! We’re supposed be feeling the effects of it right now – 12-1pm. I just took a look off the balcony at the end of the hallway. Everything looks the same. Official word is that it is expected not to flood. Maybe I’ll take a little nap this afternoon…..


                      Oh, and I saw this. I wonder how long it will be before some Hollywood brainiac declares AGW or too many fats humans swishing the earth’s crust as the cause! 😆

                      Al Gore! Save Us!! Save Us!!!


                    • Same thing my daughter said. Much ado about nothing. Matter of fact she’s napping now too 🙂

                      Your article is reassuring too. Internet & 24/7 news has the info available instantly creating stress but things are not as bad as they appear. Except in DC 😡

                      Happy napping sister!

  25. Judy Sabatini says:

    Obama’s Ultimatum to GOP May Punish Democrats Facing Tough Election Year

    If President Obama’s not-so-veiled threat this week to push for passage of health care reform without Republican support meant that he was close to giving up on a bipartisan bill, it also meant that Democratic lawmakers may have to walk the plank to approve the president’s signature initiative.

    If President Obama’s not-so-veiled threat this week to push for passage of health care reform without Republican support meant that he was close to giving up on a bipartisan bill, it also meant that Democratic lawmakers may have to walk the plank to approve the president’s signature initiative.

    That’s because the last thing Democrats need in a tough election year is an unpopular and partisan health care bill that Republican opponents can use as ammunition in November.

    And moderate Democrats who are considered vulnerable candidates may feel uneasy focusing more on health care than jobs — an issue Obama has pivoted from since his State of the Union address last month.

    Obama concluded a seven-and-half hour White House summit Thursday by telling Republicans that if they can’t put aside their differences on the health care legislation within six weeks, then he and Democratic leaders would have to “go ahead and make some decisions.”

    “And then, that’s what elections are for,” he said. “We have honest disagreements about the vision for the country, and we’ll go ahead and test those out over the next several months till November.”

    The White House called the summit productive and said GOP ideas are now under consideration. Obama is expected to tell the country Wednesday what comes next.

    But without Republican support, the only way Democrats can close the deal on health care is through a controversial budget measure known as reconciliation, or what Republicans are calling the “nuclear option.”

    Under reconciliation, only 51 votes in the Senate, a simple majority, are required to pass legislation. The House could approve the Senate bill that passed Christmas Eve, and the Senate could use reconciliation to make the changes that House Democrats want.

    But that might further alienate the public, which, polls show, is mostly against the health care bill.

    “The last three elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts were at least in part a referendum on the Obama agenda, including health care,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

    “And the referendum was obvious,” he said. “It was no on the Obama proposal on health care. Then you have literally dozens of national surveys that have shown the public moving strongly against Obama health care.”

    With polls predicting major Democratic losses in November, some lawmakers may be reluctant to risk their job to vote for an unpopular measure.

    The House barely passed its own version of health care last year with a vote of 220-215.

    “There’s some tremendous obstacles in the House,” Sabato said. “First of all, several members who voted in that very narrow vote for that health care reform package have left the House. … There are others who voted for it the first time who are already indicating that they’re leaning against voting for it again.”

    But Democratic leaders expressed confidence that they will be able to get health care over the goal line.

    “What you called a complicated process is called a civil majority, and that’s what we’re asking the Senate to act upon,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday.

  26. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hello every one.

    Here, watch this about what the health care bill is really about. Pissed me off, and I hope it does you too.

    Have a nice day.


  27. If this passes, I think we should invest in a travel insurance business that provides prepaid flights and housing to India or Thailand for acute medical care. Prices there are a fraction of what they are here and the doctors are US trained.

  28. Judy Sabatini says:

    With all what’s going on with the earth quakes, tsunami’s, snow, and rain everywhere, I think they should strip Gore’s Nobel Prize away from him. Global warming my butt.

    BTW, Where is good ol Gore at anyway, in hiding? What a doofus!

  29. Hi Anita, down here.

    Some of us were talking about the Media’s Cry Wolf behavior. For once all of us could agree on something. We concluded that the number one objective of the TV media, is to keep eyeballs glued to the television. No wonder they’re useless as a source of accurate information. I guess it explains why they don’t accurately cover what’s going on with the legislation being passed. Politcal theater is much more interesting than how certain legislation will affect the nation two years from now. Add that to the huge egos, money, and agenda and you have our American MSM. Lovely.

  30. I held a minuscule hope that maybe these characters had a semblance of competence thus they would get together as any professional organization would, and outline their points (say top ten bullet point), step two would be to clearly ascertain which points they agree on and if not why not. If done properly, I expect there would be at least some common ground and that would be used a base upon which to build. Alas..

    And if Obama was instead an employee of a large corporation, say – IBM – responsible to hold a such a meeting such as this _ HE WOULD BE FIRED !

    I would have expected a response of ridicule and disgust for Obama’s performance.

    I think McCain was so shocked about Obama’s response that he had to react meekly. He should have gone over and challenged him to a duel ! Or returned the quip with that’s right the campaign is over – so answer the question, you A#$%^&..

  31. Judy Sabatini says:

    Working for the people my foot. Who is she kidding.

    Pelosi: Lawmakers Should Sacrifice Jobs for Health Care


    House Speaker Pelosi says lawmakers aren’t in Washington for job security but ‘to do the job for the American people.’

    Thursday: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, speaks with reporters outside the White House at the end of a health care summit with President Obama and Republicans held at Blair House. (AP Photo)

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue’s massive role in this election year.

    Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program “This Week.”
    “We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

    It took courage for Congress to pass Social Security and Medicare, which eventually became highly popular, she said, “and many of the same forces that were at work decades ago are at work again against this bill.”

    It’s unclear whether Pelosi’s remarks will embolden or chill dozens of moderate House Democrats who face withering criticisms of the health care proposal in visits with constituents and in national polls. Republican lawmaker unanimously oppose the health care proposals, and many GOP strategists believe voters will turn against Democrats in the November elections.

    Pelosi, from San Francisco, is more liberal than scores of her Democratic colleagues. But she generally walks a careful line between urging them to back left-of-center policies and giving them a green light to buck party leaders to improve their re-election hopes.

    Her comments to ABC, in the interview released Sunday, seemed to acknowledge the widely held view that Democrats will lose House seats this fall — maybe a lot. They now control the chamber 255 to 178, with two vacancies. Pelosi stopped well short of suggesting Democrats could lose their majority, but she called on members of her party to make a bold move on health care with no prospects of GOP help.

    “Time is up,” she said. “We really have to go forth.”

    Her comments somewhat echoed those of President Obama, who said at the end of last week’s bipartisan health care summit that Congress should act on the issue and let voters render their verdicts. “That’s what elections are for,” he said.

    The White House says Obama, perhaps on Wednesday, will announce a “way forward” on health care. He, Pelosi, and Senate Democratic leaders have left little doubt that they hope to pass a Democratic-crafted bill under “budget reconciliation” rules that would bar Republican filibusters in the Senate. It’s unclear whether Pelosi can muster the needed votes in the House.

    White House officials say they will redouble efforts to remind voters that the Senate passed an Obama-backed health care bill in December, with a super majority of 60 votes. The new plan calls for the House to pass that bill and send it to Obama’s desk, and then use Senate budget reconciliation rules to make several changes demanded by House Democrats.

    Following a Republican victory in Massachusetts last month, Democrats now control 59 of the Senate’s 100 seats, one vote short of the number needed to block GOP filibusters.

    Pelosi told CNN that “in a matter of days” Democrats will have specific legislative language on health care to show to the public and to wavering lawmakers. She predicted voters will warm up to the bill once they understand its details.

    “When we have a bill,” she said, “you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie. But you have to have a pie to sell.”

    Obama and Democratic lawmakers say they may add several more Republican ideas to their legislative package, even if it’s unlikely to attract a single GOP vote. One idea, by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., would focus on battling waste and fraud in the medical system.

    The main elements of the Democratic plan are known, and opposed by Republicans in Congress. It would insure about 30 million more Americans over 10 years with subsidies for the poor and a new requirement for nearly everyone to carry health insurance.

    It would also bar some insurance company practices, such as denying coverage to people with medical problems. And it would establish government-run exchanges to help individuals and small businesses obtain insurance policies, although it would exclude the “public option” that many liberals wanted.

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