Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Millions in U.S. Drink Contaminated Water

“The same people who told us to ignore Safe Drinking Water Act violations are still running the divisions,” said one mid-level E.P.A. official. “There’s no accountability, and so nothing’s going to change.

”Millions in U.S. Drink Contaminated Water, Records Show - NYTimes.com

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Concerns About Comcast-NBC - NYTimes.com

How could these "not be reasons to block the merger?" I don't get it. We are in the era not of free-speech, but of paid, monopolized speech.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Health Care and Red Ink

Bob Borosage, writing in the Prospect, throws a blanket on the right wing's red ink brush fire:

But what of the staggering long-term deficits—running publicly held debt up to nearly three times the size of our gross domestic product by 2050, as decried by the Peterson Institute and others? There is one core reality of these fantastic projections. The great bulk of the deteriorating long-term projections come from out-of-control costs of health care. Hold health care costs down to sensible levels and there is no problem. Fail to solve soaring health care costs and there is no solution. We can neither tax enough nor cut enough spending to pay for the projected costs of health care.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Republican War Against ACORN, Starring Karl Rove

The Republican War Against ACORN, Starring Karl Rove

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the Era of Xtreme Energy

Michael Klare:
Our Oil Addiction Is About to Make Life a Lot Nastier | Environment | AlterNet

... our civilization is likely to remain remarkably dependent on oil-fueled cars, trucks, ships, and planes for most transportation purposes, as well as on coal for electricity generation. Much of the existing infrastructure for producing and distributing our energy supply will also remain intact, even as many existing sources of oil, coal, and natural gas become exhausted, forcing us to rely on previously untouched, far more undesirable (and often far less accessible) sources of these fuels

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Media mischaracterize Pelosi's warning against "anti-government" rhetoric as attack on health care reform opponents

FromMedia MattersAnother obvious corporate media smear/distortion.

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Sotomayor Issues Challenge to a Century of Corporate Law - WSJ.com

If only it were true.

The Journal is dog-whistling the right wing attack pack at FreedomWorks, AEI, Heritage, Olin, Fox on a new and phony front in the culture wars.

The socio-economic tyrants are quaking in their boots over a perceived Liberal shot across the bow of their corporate status flagship, because they know it's about to sink on the shoals of Truth, Justice, and Reason anyway.
On today's court, the direction Justice Sotomayor suggested is unlikely to prevail. During arguments, the court's conservative justices seem to view corporate political spending as beneficial to the democratic process. "Corporations have lots of knowledge about environment, transportation issues, and you are silencing them during the election," Justice Anthony Kennedy said during arguments last week.

But Justice Sotomayor may have found a like mind in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "A corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights," Justice Ginsburg said, evoking the Declaration of Independence.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wonk Room » Pelosi Stands By Public Option

We Won’t Pass The ‘Private Insurance Profit Perpetuation Act’

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O'Reilly: "The Conservative Media Is Winning...They're Damaging The President Of The United States"

What's the purpose of the "conservative media?" Is there some? I always thought the media was LIBERAL.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wilson Pleads, "Tough Shit"

Wilson was asked to apologize to the House for yelling out, "You lie!" in Obama's address to the joint session last Wednesday night.

The free speech advocates on the radical Republican side of the issue are extolling Wilson's outburst as free expression.

According to today's NY Times:

House guidelines on the rules of debate say it is impermissible to refer to the president as a liar.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Don't Know Where Obama Stands, I Hope

At least we know where Obama stood.
In that speech six years ago, Obama said the only reason single-payer proponents should tolerate delay is "because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House."

But it looks like his position has shifted.

The Associated Press: Court skeptical of limits on businesses, unions

The Associated Press: Court skeptical of limits on businesses, unions

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Median Household Income FELL Four Percent Last Year!

That was 2007-2008, the year BEFORE the recession started!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Baucus v. Reich

Ezra Klein weighs in for Baucus in the right-raligning Washington Post

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jane Hamsher on The Rachel Maddow Show - Progressives throw down for Public Option

This is the needed publicity that's going to create the indelible expectation in the public mind that there must be a po.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Media Won't Go There

As Mark Crispin Miller continues to emphasize in his series of public addresses, "Twilight Time," the commercial media are not going to duplicate the depth and honesty of reporting on Watergate, not for Iran Contra, and not for Torturegate--two arguably far worse scandals than Watergate was.

Miller cites the same evidence unveiled in "Mockingbird: The Subversion of The Free Press by the CIA" and Carl Bernstein's "The CIA and the Media."

Miller contends that the commercial media follow-up to the shocking allegations of CIA media control was so muted as to indicate one of two possible explanations for the silence. (1) The story was false, or (2) The story was true and the CIA prevailed.

Now we see yet another of the endless subsequent string of unfollowed leads and unprosecuted grovernment crimes in the unwillingness of the commercial media to hold the Obama administration accountable for not investigating and prosecuting Bush/Cheney war crimes, specifically, torture and illegal detentions. As FAIR noted in May,
media's willingness to give Cheney a platform in the debate over torture shifted the discussion away from the central issue that torture is illegal under both U.S. and international law, and focused attention instead on torture's efficacy. The media allowed Cheney to push the discussion in this direction, in large part because Cheney assured that these secret documents would show that he was right. Now that it's clear they do not, will the media outlets that gave Cheney a platform continue to let him off the hook?

It's Danny Schechter, of course, who pulls all the threads together so we can see the true fabric of the emperor's new clothes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This Is Why Bipartisanship Is A Scam

Ah yes... newsmedia are now BIG CORPORATIONS, too!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

CVS's "Your Welcome" Note

I got this response from CVS to my email thanking them for pulling their advertising from Glen Beck's show.
CVS/pharmacy Response - #07720929

Follow up message
Dear Florindo Troncelliti:

Thank you very much for your communication about our decision regarding advertising on the Glenn Beck show.

Our position is simple and was not driven by taking sides in any political debate. We support free speech of all kinds, and vigorous debate, especially around policy issues that affect millions of Americans. But we expect the speech and the debate to be informed, inclusive and respectful, in keeping with our company’s core values and commitment to diversity. In our view, Mr. Beck crossed the line.

While advertising on the Fox network is part of our communication plan, we had not requested time on Glenn Beck’s show specifically. We have instructed our advertising agency to inform Fox to ensure Glenn Beck’s program is not part of our advertising plan.

We must continue to be true to our core values – accountability, respect, integrity, openness and teamwork.

Thank you again for your email.




Customer Relations

TRAILER: Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

This looks a little more slick than the previous efforts, which exuded a reality documented on film veracity. I still want to see it as soon as it comes out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Get ready to run, you pirates!

Jonathan Alter @ Newsweek: Health Care as a Civil Right:
This summer's health care political debate has seen the creation of "something new"
a tsunami of rumors, myths, fear-mongering and misinformation about the proposals that surges around the Internet in nanoseconds. “I’m totally confused about what’s going on,” one reader wrote to the AARP Bulletin. “How do I know who to believe?”

Misinformation spreads at rapid speed

On a more encouraging note, Danny Schechter, the News Dissector reports on the popularity of driving the pirates out of your doctor's office and local clinic or hospital:
When asked if they support “having a national health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance through an expanded, universal form of Medicare-for all,” the responses in favor get even better for our side:

· 58% Approve (+ 8 points versus the sample asked specifically about “single-payer.”)

· 34% strongly approve (+ 10 points)

· 38% disapprove (- 6 points versus the respondents who disapproved of “single-payer.” When asked this way the approvers out-number the disapprovers by 20-points).

· Only 25% “strongly disapprove” (the “strongly approve” respondents outnumber the “strongly disapprove” respondents by 9 points).

I think this is huge. Not only does it suggest that all of the efforts to demonize single-payer are largely failing, but it further suggests that we will have strong majority support for single-payer healthcare if we can educate the roughly 8% of the population that would support it if they understood what it was. Even without that 8% we have a majority 50% to 44% support. With it our majority improves to 58% to 38%.”

Obama better wake his ass up and get out in front of this thing before it runs over him and every Democrat in the Senate (except Bernie Sanders).

Conrad acknowledges co-ops won't bring down costs

The "Dakota Dunce" does his song and dance for the big insurance companies, live, on national TV! Why should Americans have the right to finance their own health care? That would mean cutting off profits from insurance companies that add ZERO value to health care.

Insurance companies pay to put princes like the 650,000 constituent senator in office, so they should get their corporate welfare!!

How dare people want to govern themselves!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Med Lobbyists Outspend Constituents For Senator Conrad

North Dakota has a population of less than 650,000 people, yet Senator Conrad is shoving flimsy state insurance coops down the throat of the entire nation:
On Capitol Hill, the Senate Finance Committee is expected to produce a bill that features a nonprofit co-op. The author of the idea, Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Budget Committee, predicted Sunday that Mr. Obama would have no choice but to drop the public option.

“The fact of the matter is, there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option,” Mr. Conrad said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”
Kent Conrad: Campaign Finance/Money - Industries - Senator 2008 | OpenSecrets

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Censorship, Media Control

From Danny Schechter, August 17, 2009: The News Dissector blog:

Uli Schmetzer, was one of those great foreign correspondents who reached the pinnacle of his profession as a scribe for Reuters and then the Chicago Tribune. Born in Germany, he moved to Australia where he plied his trade in the tabloid machine before traveling the world’s hot spots until that moment of epithany came to him as he realized that his desire was tell his readers what we was seeing and thinking about was being mutilated, censored and suppressed by the major news organizations he worked in the name of the “editorial process.” (You can read more about the book and some of his reporting on his website That’s http://www.uli-schmetzer.com/

He has now collected his greatest hits and stories in a masterful exercise of story telling called TIMES OF TERROR: Notebook of a Foreign Correspondent published by Tizuli, a publishing house down under. Uli not only recounts his adventures on the world’s battlefields—from Tienaman Square to Cambodia to Sarajevo to Chile but tell us what his readers were never allowed to read when the lede in his stories was buried or its message was distorted. “Soon you will rrealize news is diluted and distilled by political and corporate interests well before it reaches the consumer.,” he says.

Listen to this: “I would say that 60 to 70 percent of all controversial stories I wrote throught my 37-year career as a foreight correspondent were fiddled with, diluted, changed or cut to delete potentially contentyious texts or interpretations that did not fit the the preconceptions tht most editors and agencies had developed, thanks largely to government propaganda,” WOW!

This book has the advantage of being very well written. extraordinarily insightful and honest. One passage speaks to what’s happening now as public indignation is being marshaled and manipulated in the service of special interests and against their own interests.

“Thus system is constamtly searching for new scapegoats to serve as lightening rods for occasional public indignaion,” he writes, “It blames our economic recession on terrorism instead of on unscrupulous manipulators if funds or a war that costs trillions of taxpayers’ dollars. The system bails out greedy and crooked financial institutions but has no safety net for the 50 million workers globally expected to lose their jobs thanks to “mismanagement” of executives who still pocket fat bonuses for screwing up.”

Schemtzer does not just blame the media for its sins—he argues that media organizations mirror public attitudes, biases, and preferences because rhats what is required to get the public to watch, listen or read. Media consumers tend to seek out outlets they believe agree with then, or with which they are comfortable. I remember speaking to an executive at CNN about why the news network parroted the Bush Administration line after 911. I was told that they were very conscious of not getting ahead of the public even when they knew the government was lying for fear of losing viewers. It is this symbiotic dance that leads media decisionmakers to ratiojnalize what they do as giving the public what it wants.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Required Reading for Health Care Town Halls

From The Nation August 14, 2009 Wells'[s] work is a reminder that the highest calling of investigative journalism is to provide evidence against false justifications that underlie violent ideologies. The crowds at health care reform town hall meetings are enraged and armed. Many are spurred on by a belief that their families, their futures, and their way of life are being threatened. Many hold patently false beliefs about the facts of pending health care reform legislation.

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Poisoning the Wells


There is a direct lineage from the Iraq War hysteria to the current madness surrounding the health-care fight. In both cases, the hysteria was stoked by leading Republicans and their right-wing media allies. Both involved disseminating farfetched, nightmare scenarios to a gullible (if not paranoid) segment of the population, which was then whipped into a frenzy that spilled over into intimidation and silencing voices of disagreement.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sue Wilson: It's War. Media War

Sue Wilson: It's War. Media War

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Chuck Todd: Media Has "Created This Drama That [Obama's] Struggling To Get [Health Reform] Done"

Yes, we'll get something for the time, effort, and money. But it will resemble 'nothing" more than it will resemble the systemic reform American needs.

Legislating Misinformation: Conservative Media Making Up Details Of Health Reform Bill

A fat pay check can buy lots of big lies in American commercial media today.

The Two Minutes Hate: August 12, 2009

It would be a shame if the American people allowed themselves to be badgered and bullied by hate-speakers like Beck, Savage, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh into doing the corporations' dirty work for them.

But that's what they're urging us to do: Fabricate irrational fears based on lies, magnify them, and then incite the American people to psycho-vigilante violence.

I just don't think we are going to let them do it to us. Maybe it's really up to the police to prevent shootings, muggings, disruptions of democratic meetings, intimidation of elected officials, etc. But, ultimately, if the people refuse to be incited by evil, evil cannot thrive.

Glenn Beck's Hate Speech, Brought To You By...

Thanks, Media Matters. Without you we would be lost in a wilderness of hate speech and misinformation!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TYT: Upset Father From Townhall Threatens Violence, Says Pelosi Thugs Came To His House - Democratic Underground

TYT: Upset Father From Townhall Threatens Violence, Says Pelosi Thugs Came To His House - Democratic Underground

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Minus the Spin

Bob Herbert's column today
Analysts at the Economic Policy Institute noted that the economy has fewer jobs now than it had in 2000, “even though the labor force has grown by around 12 million workers since then.

He references this EPI report from last Friday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dennis Kucinich-HealthCare briefing in Washington, DC

Don't give up on sanity. We haven't destroyed our chances for equitable health care yet. HR3200 has not passed (or failed) yet.


The Revolving Door Turns a Full 360 Degrees

Sen. Jim DeMint, 57, and his wife, Debbie, live in Greenville, S.C. They have four children. DeMint obtained an MBA from Clemson University in 1981, and then ran his Greenville marketing firm for 15 years, with hospitals among his clients.

How convenient for the Medi-profits industry that DeMint just happened to get elected in time to "quickly emerge[] as a leading voice of opposition to President Obama's bid to overhaul the American health care system with new or expanded federal government programs."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

rangel action draft 8.09


Congressman Charles B. Rangel

163 West 125th Street, Suite #737

New York, NY  10027

August 7, 2009

Page 2




Florindo J. Troncelliti

255 W. 108th Street #7B1

New York, NY  10025-2925

                                                                                    email:  flotron9@gmail.com



VIA FACSIMILE:  (212) 663-4277

Congressman Charles B. Rangel

163 West 125th Street, Suite #737

New York, NY 10027

                                                                                                                August 7, 2009


                            August Recess


Honorable Congressman Rangel:


Thank you for your robust and effective leadership in the 111th and in previous Congresses.  We have come to rely on your voice as our leading spokesperson to the nation and as one of the country’s primary advocates for working Americans.  Your shepherding Americas Affordable Health Choices Act through Ways and Means was a demonstration of legislative prowess unrivaled by any other effort in this legislative session.


As your supporters and constituents, we implore you to lead the district now in mobilizing support for REAL HEALTHCARE REFORM by organizing pro-health care rallies, events, press conferences, publicity actions, letter-writing, phone-banking, fundraisers, and other activities that will inform and engage the public and broaden the media discourse and public debate on this critical issue at this critical time.


Health Care For America Now (HCAN) is urging supporters of their Core Principles for Health Care Reform to contact our legislators and urge them to support affordable, quality health care for everyone in America.


As an apologist for these principles, we ask for your continued public visibility as well as your active leadership in mobilizing your constituents to overcome the resistance to reform in the media, the opposition party, and the lobbying industry.


Under your leadership, your constituents could be


  • Counteracting misinformation and anti-reform efforts by
  • educating our neighbors and the media about the facts pertaining to the health care crisis in America;
  • informing those groups about the pending legislation in Congress and the unique opportunity to influence the outcome of the legislative process afforded us by this recess; and
  • broadening the debate in the District, in the media, and in Congress to include a FULL RANGE OF PROPOSALS for remedying the current crisis in American health care.


Our affiliations with local and state Democratic leaders and organizations, and local and regional independent media, afford us the opportunity, under your leadership, to organize and help express the ardent hope of our community for real reform on a host of issues, beginning with Health Care.


Please have your staff contact Florindo J. Troncelliti at (646) 508-9647 to arrange for a meeting with us at your earliest convenience in order to pursue the goals set forth above.






Florindo J. Troncelliti

Independent Producer

Manhattan Neighborhood Network

US_ACTIVE:\43124881\01\43124881_1.DOC\99910.9301              2

Friday, August 7, 2009

Son of Frances Schaeffer

Who Speaks For The American People?

With the shenanigans orchestrated by the corporate media, their pharmaceutical and insurance sponsors, and the lobbying industry to whip up hysterical resistance by using misinformation, the American people really need a clear and reliable voice to iterate the President's vision--especially in the area of health care reform.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Elizabeth MacDonald of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting at 77 W. 66th Street on July 28, 2009. Why won't ABC News allow single payer advocates on the air for the health care debate?

Brown Shirts, Bullies, and the New American Fascists

Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote.--William Shirer*

5 facts about the anti-reform mobs

1. These disruptions are being funded and organized by out-of-district special-interest groups and insurance companies who fear that health insurance reform could help Americans, but hurt their bottom line. A group run by the same folks who made the "Swiftboat" ads against John Kerry is compiling a list of congressional events in August to disrupt. An insurance company coalition has stationed employees in 30 states to track where local lawmakers hold town-hall meetings.

2. People are scared because they are being fed frightening lies. These crowds are being riled up by anti-reform lies being spread by industry front groups that invent smears to tarnish the President's plan and scare voters. But as the President has repeatedly said, health insurance reform will create more health care choices for the American people, not reduce them. If you like your insurance or your doctor, you can keep them, and there is no "government takeover" in any part of any plan supported by the President or Congress.

3. Their actions are getting more extreme. Texas protesters brought signs displaying a tombstone for Rep. Lloyd Doggett and using the "SS" symbol to compare President Obama's policies to Nazism. Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hanged in effigy outside his district office. Rep. Tim Bishop of New York had to be escorted to his car by police after an angry few disrupted his town hall meeting -- and more examples like this come in every day. And they have gone beyond just trying to derail the President's health insurance reform plans, they are trying to "break" the President himself and ruin his Presidency.

4. Their goal is to disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation. Protesters have routinely shouted down representatives trying to engage in constructive dialogue with voters, and done everything they can to intimidate and silence regular people who just want more information. One attack group has even published a manual instructing protesters to "stand up and shout" and try to "rattle" lawmakers to prevent them from talking peacefully with their constituents.

5. Republican leadership is irresponsibly cheering on the thuggish crowds. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a statement applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."

* The New York Times, December 29, 1969, p. 36.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Foxx's World

What's wrong with this picture?*

Complements of Media Matters:

* Egypt is where Iraq is supposed to be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Honorable Congressman Rangel:

I am currently very fortunate to have a job with a terrific health benefits package.

I haven't always been so fortunate. For periods between jobs, or when freelancing and self-employed I had to pay all my doctor bills out-of-pocket. That usually meant staying away from medical care--including preventive care--except for the Emergency Room.

But I couldn't afford that either.

I have wanted to go into business for myself for a couple of years now, but with a wife and child, I can't afford to pay the high insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles I would be forced to put up myself if we had an individual family policy.

My wife had breast cancer last year. It was diagnosed just after she had had major shoulder surgery.

We were lucky. We happened to have good coverage at the time, so she got the treatment she needed without waiting, haggling, or forgoing necessary tests and procedures.

HR636 -- Medicare for all -- is the most popular health reform legislation in the House, with ninety-four co-sponsors, and counting.

President Obama has explained why the steps to single-payer are beyond our accomplishing this year. Very well. Let us at least take good steps in that direction.

A strong public insurance option, available nationwide to everyone from the day the legislation takes effect could make health INSURANCE--if not CARE--accessible to everyone.

It's already a compromise from the reasonable solution: Single-payer healthcare.

We need to get the insurance companies and lobbyists out of our hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. They make universal healthcare unaffordable. Besides, there can be no meaningful cost reductions in a fee-for-service model.

Please fight for the right of your constituents to insure ourselves through a strong public insurance option, available to everyone nationwide, without delays or triggers, and under the control of Congress and the voters.

This is the only way to begin to work toward Single-payer, which is the long term solution to the problem of rising medical costs.

The problem of delivery of services is a different "bottle of medicine." Service delivery problems are not the same thing as payment/cost problems in our healthcare system. Yet neither set of issues can be resolved independently of the other.

Thank you for your leadership in the fight for a strong Public Insurance Option. We must win this fight.

It is only the first step on the path to an affordable and equitable system, and we still have very far to go.

Thank you and God bless you!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Tracking the Blue Dogs

Scroll down for list of Blue Dogs in the Energy and Commerce Committee and the stats on how America's Affordable Healthy Choices Act will help the people in their districts.

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Blue Dogs Bark Up Wrong Tree

As Paul Krugman points out in his typically incisive and reasonable editorial in the Times today, An Incoherent Truth,
a plan without a public option to hold down insurance premiums would cost taxpayers more than a plan with such an option.

Government Information Warfare Pervasive

Many of these governments have honed their Internet strategies beyond censorship and are employing more subtle (and harder to detect) ways of controlling dissent, often by planting their own messages on the Web and presenting them as independent opinion. Op-Ed Contributor - Propaganda.com

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama's Birth Certificate

Go see for yourself

Maybe with universal healthcare somebody can get these sickos some antipsychotics.

On Oct. 31, 2008, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii Department of Health, issued this statement: "There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.

"Therefore I, as director of health for the state of Hawaii, along with the registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.

"No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the state of Hawaii."

Even the governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, a Republican who at the time was stumping for John McCain, said it was on the up-and-up.

health care cost and access

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Keeping the Wingnuts on the Front Page, Seriously

Nagouney takes the trouble to include this comment from Lamar Alexander in his new health care policy debate article in Political Memo:
There’s a huge price to be paid,” he added. “Bipartisanship is absolutely possible and it’s absolutely necessary, even when you have a Democratic president with huge majorities.

I wish Nagourney could have gotten a little more detail and specificity out of Senator Alexander, especially as far as "possible," "necessary,' and "price" are concerned.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Who Has Access To Max Baucus? : NPR

Who Has Access To Max Baucus? : NPR

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Blue Dogs Liberal With Lobbyists' Agenda

Over at Salon, Joe Conasen writes:
At a time when the Pentagon's annual cost overruns approach $300 billion a year -- dwarfing the entire defense budgets of most developed countries -- these "fiscal watchdogs" simply have nothing useful to say on the subject.

"Fiscally Conservative" Blue-Dog, Mike Ross is only fiscally conservative when it pleases his sponsors,... or, make that, donors.

A sample of Ross's press releases include:

Ross Helps Pass Pay-As-You-Go Rule for Federal Budget
Wednesday July 22, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $4,000 in House for Yellow Bend Port
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $9,605,000 in House for Ouachita and Black Rivers
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $4,505,000 in House for Narrows Dam
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $5,122,000 in House for Millwood Lake
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $40,516,000 in House for McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $7 Million in House for DeGray Lake
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $1,366,000 in House for Gillham Lake
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $1,360,000 in House for Dierks Lake
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $1,752,000 in House for DeQueen Lake
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $2,485,000 in House for Boeuf and Tensas Rivers
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $7 Million in House for Blakely Mountain Dam
Tuesday July 21, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures Over $2 Million in House for Research at Dale Bumpers Center in Booneville
Wednesday July 15, 2009 < Read more >
Ross Secures $319,000 for UAM's Forestry Research Center
Wednesday July 15, 2009

I Hate The New Republic--But This is "Sadly Refreshing"

The Politics of Health Care Reform - The Plank
There's no mechanism in the current media configuration that would allow them [Democratic politicians] to convey the details of the plan in a positive way without getting overrun by negative process stories

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Status Quo Acceptable For Now, Ryan Intimates

Paul Ryan on Public Health Care Option:
The idea that the government should make decisions about how long people should live is deeply offensive to everything America stands for. It is no answer to say that health care resources are limited and will be rationed one way or another.

I guess he hasn't figured out yet that the US already rations healthcare on the basis of race, wealth and geographic location.

Big Media Power For Doublethink

It looks like the corporate media are still calling the dance tune for American thinking and political discourse:
"The public wants help with their health care bills and supports health reform, but the hotter the debate and the longer it lasts, the more anxious the public will become," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Regulation versus Chaos: Rep. Alan Grayson on What Really Happend at AIG

Is there any reason YOU can think of that this clip is buried in the CSPAN archives and not going viral on COMMERCIAL media--where the general public might actually see it?

The Birthers: Dobbs and Conservative Media Feeding "The Nutcases"

The Charlatans of Corporate Media get paid for misleading the unintelligent with falsehoods and partisan propaganda.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Already Ration

So, why should everyone flinch at the idea of rationing health care?

Can you say, "Media Consolidation?"

But the British media leapt on the theme of penny-pinching bureaucrats sentencing sick people to death. The issue was then picked up by the U.S. news media and by those lobbying against health care reform in the United States.

Corporate media and their sponsors will tell the public what's in the public interest. No other ideas will enter the debate.

When the media feature someone like Bruce Hardy or Jack Rosser, we readily relate to individuals who are harmed by a government agency’s decision to limit the cost of health care. But we tend not to hear about — and thus don’t identify with — the particular individuals who die in emergency rooms because they have no health insurance.

tns media intelligence/cmag

tns media intelligence/cmagCampaign Media Analysis Group is working to tell you what to think about health care legislation (along with a bunch of other pr firms)

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More Health Care PR

Harry and Louise return with a newmessage

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Sickening Amounts of Healthcare Lobbying | Center for Media and Democracy

Sickening Amounts of Healthcare Lobbying | Center for Media and Democracy

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Monday, July 20, 2009

What the Media Isn't Covering in the Health Reform Debate--And Why It Matters

Frank Pasquale @Balkinization

1) There has been virtually no coverage of the views of those Americans who want more thoroughgoing reform than is currently on the table.

2) We hear very little about the $1.4 million dollars a day spent by lobbyists to water down or otherwise obstruct reform. As Ezra Klein notes, "At times, the efforts at influence peddling border on the comic: One June 10 meeting saw Max Baucus's aides sitting down with two of Max Baucus's former chiefs of staff, who were representing different groupings of health-care industry interests."

3) I can almost guarantee that no mainstream TV outlet will explore in detail the real economic dynamics that now dominate health care--despite the fact that "few markets are as concentrated, opaque and complex, and subject to rampant anticompetitive and deceptive conduct."

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Small Business Faces Big Bite - WSJ.com

WSJ quotes lobbyists to promote anti-reform positions
"This bill costs too much, it covers too few and it has way too much government involvement," said Michelle Dimarob, a lobbyist with the National Federation of Independent Business, the main trade group for small firms. "Small business doesn't want any of those things."

If small business doesn't want any of those things, they should tell the Senate Republicans and House minority leaders, who are all lobbying intensively to retain the employer-based structure. It's much more expensive than the Public Option or Single Payer.

The CBO estimated the public plan offered by the bill would be roughly 10 percent less expensive than other plans in the insurance exchange...

U.S. Congress,

Congressional Budget Office,

Washington, DC, January 21, 2009.

Hon. Charles B. Rangel,
Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: At your request, CBO has analyzed the effect on federal direct spending and revenues of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act as posted on the Web site of the Committee on Ways and Means on January 16, 2009. 1


[Footnote 1: See http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/110/sbill.pdf. The HITECH Act is title IV.]

The HITECH Act would establish payment incentives in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to encourage providers to adopt health information technology (health IT). Health IT refers to information technology applications specifically designed for the practice of clinical medicine, including electronic health records (EHR), personal health records, health information exchange, computerized physician order entry, clinical decision support systems, and electronic prescribing. To meet the requirements set forth in the bill, providers would have to purchase a `qualifying electronic health record' system with a standard package of functionalities. Although adoption would be encouraged through payment incentives in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, all health care spending--both public and private--would be affected by the increased use of health IT. CBO expects that its adoption on a nationwide basis would reduce total spending on health care by diminishing the number of inappropriate tests and procedures, reducing paperwork and administrative overhead, and decreasing the number of adverse events resulting from medical errors.

The bill also would accelerate spending from the Medicare Improvement Fund, provide funding for some costs incurred by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in administering the payment-incentive provisions, and make other changes to the Medicare program.

As a result of the HITECH Act's effects on direct spending and revenues, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase on-budget deficits by a total of $17.1 billion over the 2009-2019 period; it would increase the unified budget deficit over the same period by an estimated $15.8 billion (see attached table). The effects on direct spending and revenues over the 2009-2013 and 2009-2018 periods are relevant for enforcing pay-as-you-go rules under the current budget resolution. CBO estimates that those effects would increase on-budget deficits by $15.5 billion over the 2009-2013 period and $19.8 billion over the 2009-2018 period.

This legislation also would authorize the appropriation of such sums as are necessary for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to develop a national infrastructure for health IT, as well as activities related to the promotion of IT adoption. The amount of such funding could vary greatly depending on what the Congress decides to appropriate for those purposes.

Direct spending

Bonus Payments and Penalties. The bill would establish a schedule of Medicare bonus payments, beginning in 2011, that would be paid to hospitals and physicians that adopt and use qualifying health IT. Beginning in 2016, Medicare would reduce payment rates to hospitals and physicians that are not using qualifying health IT. (Payment adjustments also would be applied to Medicare Advantage plans that operate hospitals or employ physicians.) Medicare's bonus payments and penalties would not affect the Part B premiums (which are set to cover one-quarter of that program's costs) or the benchmarks that are used in the calculation of payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans. CBO estimates that spending for the bonuses and payment reductions from the penalties would increase net Medicare spending by $17.7 billion over the 2011-2019 period.

The bill also would establish bonus payments (but not penalties) in the Medicaid program for providers that adopt and use qualifying health IT. The Medicaid bonus payments to providers would be paid entirely by the federal government; the federal government also would pay states 90 percent of certain administrative costs related to the bonus-payment program. CBO estimates that the direct effect on Medicaid spending from those provisions would be an increase of $12.4 billion over the 2011-2019 period. In combination, net Medicare and Medicaid spending for bonuses and penalties would total $30.0 billion over that period.

Under current law, CBO estimates that about 45 percent of hospitals and 65 percent of physicians will have adopted qualifying health IT in 2019. 2

[Footnote] CBO estimates the incentive mechanism would boost those adoption rates to about 70 percent for hospitals and about 90 percent for physicians.

[Footnote 2: In Budget Options, Volume 1: Health Care (December, 2008), CBO stated that, by 2019, about 40 percent of physicians will adopt health IT that conforms to interoperability standards for that year. The higher adoption rate mentioned above reflects a less-stringent standard to qualify for bonus payments or avoid penalties under the HITECH Act.]

Spending for Benefits. CBO anticipates that accelerating the adoption of health IT would result in reductions in health care spending. Those reductions would be realized by, among other things, reducing the number of inappropriate tests and procedures, reducing paperwork and administrative overhead, and decreasing the number of adverse events resulting from medical errors. Health IT could also improve the quality of care provided to patients by improving the information available to clinicians at the time of treatment, by encouraging the use of evidence-based medicine, and by helping physicians manage patients with complex, chronic conditions. The use of health IT could also increase some costs because improved adherence to treatment protocols could increase the amount of care provided. On net, CBO estimates that the accelerated adoption of health IT that would result from implementing the HITECH Act would reduce costs in the health care system by about 0.3 percent during the 2011-2019 period. 3


[Footnote 3: CBO anticipates near universal adoption of health IT over the next quarter century even without legislative action. As a result, the 0.3 percent reduction in health care costs estimated to result in the near term from enactment of this bill would diminish in later years, when the use of health IT will be more pervasive in any event.]

Under Medicare's current payment rules, the only savings in Medicare's expenditures from the adoption of health IT would be from reducing the utilization of some types of services--for example, by reducing the probability of hospital admissions resulting from preventable adverse medical events or reducing the utilization of unnecessary diagnostic services. Health IT also would help providers reduce their operating costs.

However, because Medicare's payment rates in the fee-for-service sector are not adjusted to reflect changes in such operating costs, those savings would not result in lower expenditures for the Medicare program. CBO estimates that the changes in utilization from accelerating the adoption of health IT would reduce Medicare spending by $4.4 billion over the 2011-2019 period.

By contrast, CBO expects that state Medicaid programs, plans in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, and private insurance plans would negotiate payment rates with providers that would enable those payers to realize most of the savings from reductions in providers' operating costs (in addition to realizing the savings from reducing the utilization of some types of services). CBO estimates that the resulting federal savings in Medicaid would total $7.3 billion over the 2011-2019 period.

Federal payments of FEHB premiums for retired federal employees are considered direct spending. (Most contributions for retired employees of the U.S. Postal Service are considered off-budget direct spending.) CBO estimates that enacting the HITECH Act would reduce on-budget direct spending for the FEHB program by $0.5 billion over the 2011-2019 period, and would reduce off budget direct spending for the FEHB program by an additional $0.2 billion. Thus, the total reduction in direct spending for the FEHB program would amount to $0.7 billion over the 2011-2019 period. 4


[Footnote 4: CBO also estimates that enacting the HITECH Act would reduce the cost of health insurance for active federal workers by about $0.1 billion over the 2009-2014 period. Those costs are considered discretionary spending because the federal she of FEHB premiums for active workers is funded through appropriations to the agencies that employ those workers. Realizing the potential discretionary savings would require adjustments to the amounts appropriated to each agency.]

In total, CBO estimates that enacting the HITECH Act would reduce federal direct spending for benefits in the Medicare, Medicaid, and FEHB programs by about $12 billion over the 2011-2019 period.

Other Direct Spending. The HITECH Act would modify the timing of spending from the Medicare Improvement Fund, which the Secretary of Health and Human Services may use to make improvements in the fee-for-service program. The bill would accelerate that spending from 2016, 2017, and 2018 to 2014 and 2015; that change would not affect total Medicare spending over the 2009-2013 or 2009-2018 periods. The bill also would provide about $0.9 billion to pay for some of the administrative costs that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would incur in implementing the new payment-incentive provisions. It also would modify certain payment rates and rules for hospices and certain hospitals. CBO estimates those changes would cost $0.3 billion over the 2009-2019 period (with most of that spending in 2009).

Federal revenues

Because accelerating the use of health IT would lower health care costs for private payers, it would result in lower health insurance premiums in the private sector. As a result, private employers would pay less of their workers' compensation in the form of tax-advantaged health insurance premiums and more in the form of taxable wages and salaries. Therefore, federal tax revenues would increase. CBO estimates that on-budget revenues (from income taxes and the Hospital Insurance payroll tax--for Medicare Part A) would increase by $2.0 billion over the 2011-2019 period. Higher receipts from Social Security payroll taxes, which are off-budget, would add another $1.1 billion, resulting in an estimated increase in total tax revenues of $3.1 billion over the 2011-2019 period.

If you wish further details on this estimate, we wi11 be pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Tom Bradley.


Robert A. Sunshine,

Acting Director.




by fiscal years; in billions of dollars--

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2009-2019



Bonus Payments and Penalties:

Medicare 0 0 2.7 4.6 5.0 4.0 2.5 0.9 -0.2 -0.9 -1.0 17.7

Medicaid 0 0 1.5 1.9 2.2 2.1 1.7 1.5 0.8 0.5 0.3 12.4

Subtotal 0 0 4.2 6.5 7.1 6.1 4.3 2.4 0.6 -0.4 -0.7 30.0

Changes in Spending for Benefits:

Medicare 0 0 -0.1 -0.3 -0.5 -0.6 -0.6 -0.6 -0.6 -0.6 -0.6 -4.4

Medicaid 0 0 -0.4 -0.6 -0.8 -0.8 -0.9 -0.9 -0.9 -1.1 -1.1 -7.3

FEHB (on-budget) 0 0 * * -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.5

Subtotal, on-budget 0 0 -0.5 -0.9 -1.3 -1.5 -1.5 -1.5 -1.6 -1.8 -1.7 -12.1

FEHB (off-budget) 0 0 * * * * * * * * * -0.2

Subtotal, Changes in Spending for Benefits 0 0 -0.5 -0.9 -1.3 -1.5 -1.5 -1.6 -1.6 -1.8 -1.7 -12.3

Medicare Improvement Fund 0 0 0 0 0 9.2 1.2 -6.3 -3.5 -0.7 0 0

Mandatory Administrative Funding:

Medicare 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 * * * * 0.5

Medicaid * * * * * * * * * * * 0.4

Subtotal 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.9

Other Provisions 0.3 * * 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3

Total Changes in Direct Spending 0.4 0.1 3.8 5.7 5.9 13.9 4.1 -5.4 -4.4 -2.8 -2.4 18.9


Income and HI Payroll Taxes (on-budget) 0 0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 2.0

Social Security Payroll Taxes (off-budget) 0 0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.1 1.1

Total Revenue Changes 0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 3.1


On-budget Changes 0.4 0.1 3.8 5.6 5.7 13.7 3.8 -5.6 -4.7 -3.1 -2.6 17.1

Total Changes 0.4 0.1 3.7 5.5 5.6 13.5 3.7 -5.7 -4.8 -3.2 -2.8 15.8


Changes in Direct Spending, by Program:

Medicare 0.3 0.1 2.7 4.4 4.5 12.6 3.2 -5.9 -4.2 -2.1 -1.5 14.2

Medicaid * * 1.2 1.4 1.5 1.4 0.9 0.6 -0.1 -0.6 -0.8 5.4

FEHB (Total) 0 0 0.0 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.7

See also Pew and New America analyses.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Fallacy From The Oval Office

Ray McGovern points out a June 7, 2004 Legal Memo signed by President George W. Bush that was declassified in 2007, in which the President "reasons" that:
Of course, our values as a nation, values we share with many nations in the world, call for us to treat detainees humanely, including those who are not legally entitled to such treatment. (emphasis added)

This is part of the hairsplitting over the status of so-called enemy combatants as opposed to genuine prisoners of war.


The laws of the United States and the Geneva Conventions to which the US subscribes state that all people are entitled to humane treatment. That's why the laws were codified: to give sanction and recognition to this fact.

People are not treated humanely just because the law says so. The law requires us to treat people humanely because it is right. There's no middle ground.

Furthermore, the law also states that only courts can determine the guilt or innocence of prisoners.

Or, as that legalist St. Paul said in his Letter to the Romans:
... in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. Romans 2:1.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jane Hamsher on Health Care

This person is exactly what we need to fire up the popular pressure for real health care reform: a crusader.

How she ever got in to talk to these people is testament to her ardor and determination.

May the groundswell continue!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Obama's False Friends of Health Reform | Center for Media and Democracy

Good old CMD has a great blog post by Mr. Potter, the singing reformed insurance man.

The health insurance industry and its allies are working hard right now to convince you that the creation of a public insurance option would put a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor. As the 2004 Wall Street Journal article makes it clear, however, EMIS was at its heart a system that put corporate bureaucrats between people and their doctors

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Howard Kurtz's wasted opportunity | Media Matters for America

Karl Frisch is right. This post by Jameson Foser is a Must Read.

For example,

has been written about Kurtz's (frequently undisclosed) conflicts of interest, his fondness for right-wingers like Michelle Malkin, and his tendency to give their critique of the media more credence than more substantive and factual critiques from progressives. I think it's clear that, whether or not Kurtz personally leans a bit to the right, his media criticism certainly does.

But that isn't why many of his readers and viewers find him so frustrating. What is really bothersome about Kurtz is that he so often gives the impression that he simply lacks the competence to critique the media. He frequently seems to overlook the obvious -- and when it is pointed out to him, it sails right over his head.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Snowe drifting toward burial of Public Option


The news outlets are acting as if there's some a priori legitimacy to having a corporation play Caesar in the Arena. The public can provide healthcare to ourselves, thank you, and we don't need any corpulent parasites piratizing the system.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Perils of the Public Plan | The American Prospect

There are a lot of ways to defeat reform, not just by blocking it entirely, but by setting it up for failure. Those who think a public plan is a good idea no matter how badly designed are not thinking ahead.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oxdown Gazette » Obama’s Extraordinary Health Care Townhall - And ABC’s Offensive Commercial Exploitation

The all too frequent commercial interruptions

served as an apt metaphor for how private commercial interests demand our attention and extract their profits while limiting our ability to discuss critical public policy issues.

. . . instead of covering this event as the enormous public service it should have been, ABC chose to exploit the occasion to sell us Hondas and pimp for their own after-show local coverage and commercials.

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Media Moon America

There was a town hall on health care last night. I didn't see it, but from what I have heard, Obama handled the topic well and ABC (and their sponsors, and especially their commentators) made asses of themselves (AGAIN).

Sawyer's main contribution was to introduce her own uninformed biases/opinions in framing issues and introducing questioners. Gibson's primary role was to reveal his own misconceptions and then literally read talking points from a Republican letter -- an obvious ransom extracted after days of Republican whining about giving the President air time on a critical public issue.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whip It Day 1

Let's see what the commercial bandwagoneers have to say about this on the networks and cable channels, assuming the gag rule isn't in effect.

Tri-Committee Draft Proposal for Health Care Reform: ReShonda Young

Did everyone hear her say, "strong Public Option?"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

t r u t h o u t | Spreading the Wealth Around to the Insurance Industry and Friends

t r u t h o u t |: "'I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.' This was written almost 200 years ago..... Thomas Jefferson, 1812"

No Liberal After All

Obama a Very Smooth Liar | CommonDreams.org

Pay Reparations Now

Reparations and U.S. Out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraq Deaths Estimator

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Washington Post fires its best columnist. Why? - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

The Washington Post fires its best columnist. Why? - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

When a once-proud major American daily has to stoop to scrapping for the measely Moonie market share.

The Early Word: Financial Upheavals - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

The Early Word: Financial Upheavals - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

Foul Ball! AT

Think the iPhone is the free-flowing Internet in your pocket? Think again. AT&T, the sole wireless carrier for the iPhone, has decided to allow Major League Baseball to stream video live to the new iPhone, but is blocking other companies from doing the same.

The New York Times reports that Major League Baseball's live stream "will play regardless of whether an iPhone is connected to a WiFi network or a 3G network."

But you’ll strike out trying to do the same on 3G with the SlingPlayer Mobile iPhone application or other online video services.

Free Press has challenged the FCC to confirm that wireless networks must adhere to the agency’s Internet Policy Statement, which protects consumers against just this sort of discrimination. Given AT&T’s recent MLB play, the incoming FCC chair should put our challenge on deck.

"We are troubled that carriers like AT&T are playing gatekeeper to the next generation of wireless Internet applications,” Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott said. “No Internet service provider should be allowed to pick winners and losers online.”

AT&T has conceded that open Internet principles should govern wireless communications and that consumers expect unfettered mobile access. So why is AT&T deciding what online video its iPhone customers can and can’t watch?

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jolly Jay Rockefeller's Optionus Publicus

There's something suspiciously threadbare when it comes to specifics in Senator Rockefeller's Public Health Care Option proposal.

But man, o man, is it ever dripping with glittering generalities!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Compilation of Newt Gingrich's Lies and Falsehoods

The media has anointed Newt Gingrich as the GOP's idea man. But he lies a lot. No oil spills off Santa Barbara since 1969? The Democrats didn't try to pass a bill in 2007/08 to ban waterboarding? Obama said that inflating our tires would solve all our energy shortage problems? You can't make this stuff up, and yet Gingrich does.

read more | digg story

Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama's Photo Flip-Flop

here's somebody who manages to pull the relevant information together, summarize, AND get it out there into the ether!

Bravo, John Perry!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WMD Blues

This is a video from YouTube "SpectacleShow"