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FRIDAY,  MARCH 19,  2010

ONE PICTURE IS WORTH... – AT 10:12 P.M. ET:  We reported yesterday that Hillary Clinton, apparently working off her frequent flier miles, is in Moscow getting nowhere on Iran policy. 

The getting nowhere continued today.  A picture tells the story.  An obviously impressed (NOT) Vladimir Putin listens in awe to our animated secretary of state explain the details of the proposal for sanctions on Iran that Russia will sidestep or flatly reject.  Do you feel the aura of Clintonian success in the air?

Putin is probably thinking to himself, "In America they call what she's doing 'batting zero.'"

March 19, 2010   Permalink

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AND NOW FOR THE DETAILS – AT 7:54 P.M. ET:  This is a subject starting to see the light of day, as journalists look at the sleight-of-hand in the health-care bill:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional budget scorekeepers say a Medicare fix that Democrats included in earlier versions of their health care bill would push it into the red.

The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that rolling back a programmed cut in Medicare fees to doctors would cost $208 billion over 10 years. If added back to the health care overhaul bill, it would wipe out all the deficit reduction, leaving the legislation $59 billion in the red.

The so-called doc fix was part of the original House bill. Because of its high cost, Democrats decided to pursue it separately. Republicans say the cost should not be ignored. Congress has usually waived the cuts to doctors year by year.

This is an obscenity.  The Democrats cut the expensive feature out of the bill in order to rig the numbers and make it appear that the bill saves money.  But the feature, which essentially allows for at least respectable reimbursements for physicians who take Medicare patients, will have to be put back, or many, many doctors will opt out of the Medicare system, creating a medical crisis.  Bills that reinforce reimbursement are routinely passed.

But this time the feature will be passed after the main health bill, continuing the charade that the main bill will save money.

And that's the way it's done, folks.  You can get that kind of accounting on any street corner in a bad neighborhood in New York. 

Brace yourselves:  There'll be many more surprises like this.  On Sunday the Democratic Party will begin the process of breaking the bank.

March 19, 2010   Permalink

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TOYOTA CONTINUES FIGHTING BACK – Apparent buoyed by reports that some reports of "out of control" Toyotas are false, Toyota is continuing is fight back.  The company seems to realize that its initial, apologize-to-everyone strategy has not worked.  The apologies, like Obama's apologies for the United States, only brought contempt.

Now Toyota is going after ABC for what the company considers a particularly outrageous report:

"Toyota deserves a public retraction and formal apology from ABC News." At least according to the automaker itself. For what, you ask? For ABC's "irresponsible broadcast entitled "Expert: Electronic Design Flaw Linked to Runaway Toyotas." You surely remember the piece, which originally aired the night before a Congressional Panel began investigating the issue of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

That dubious timing has also drawn ire from Toyota, which says ABC News "Rushed out the report" and "denied Toyota the opportunity to review specific manipulation" ABC and its expert, Dr. David Gilbert, "performed in the broadcast." If it had been given an opportunity to respond, Toyota claims it would have shown that Gilbert's technique required conditions that are "virtually impossible to occur in real-world conditions."

It's also pointed out in Toyota's four-page letter, which you can see in its entirety below, that ABC News faked at least one shot of a tachometer shooting from 1,000 to 6,200 RPM, insinuating that the vehicle was speeding out of control with Brian Ross behind the wheel when it was actually sitting in a parking lot with the transmission firmly in Park.

COMMENT:  We've compared the Toyota controversy to global warming.  The first stories featured authoritative-looking people who assured us that they had The Truth.  Then other truths started to come out.  What's a trial lawyer to do?

We're only at the beginning of this story, and we'll follow it.

March 19, 2010   Permalink

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THE COUNT – AT 7:16 P.M. ET:  I must report the impression gathered from a variety of news sources, that the Democrats either have or are close to having, enough votes for passage of the health bill on Sunday, and may not even need the procedural gimmicks they were threatening.

The pressure of the Dems has been intense, with Barack Obama and his Chicago Swing Band providing a good part of it.  Many Americans don't realize that the bill also includes a rewrite of the student-loan program. 

However, even if the Dems win a major victory on Sunday, there still could be combat ahead.  There are apparently some technicalities that require Senate approval.  These could throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing. 

It's now about power, and who is king (or queen) of the hill. 

Two days to go.  If the bill passes, look for lawsuits, some of them brought by the states on Constitutional grounds.

March 19, 2010   Permalink

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EMPLOYMENT NEWS – AT 9:48 A.M. ET:  As if ABC News wasn't left-wing enough, the tilt will be further strengthened by Christiane Amanpour:

Christiane Amanpour will be leaving CNN to join ABC News.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the incredible team at ABC News. Being asked to anchor “This Week” and the superb tradition started by David Brinkley, is a tremendous and rare honor and I look forward to discussing the great domestic and international issues of the day,"Amanpour said in a statement. I leave CNN with the UTMOST respect, love and admiration for the company and everyone who works here. This has been my family and shared endeavor for the past 27 years and I am forever grateful and proud of all that we have accomplished.”

Amanpour was CNN's chief international correspondent and anchored Amanpour, a 30-minute, daily interview program that premiered on CNN International in September 2009.

Amanpour worked for 18 years as an international correspondent, covering major crises including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans and the United States during Hurricane Katrina.

COMMENT:  Maybe it was too much to hope that ABC News, after the death of Peter Jennings, would try to balance its reporting, and indeed it has some fine reporters.  But Amanpour will bring it back to the bad old days.  We well remember her reports on election day, 2008, when she biked around New York and told us she sensed the beginning of a new and nobler age.  So much for fair and balanced.

CNN is a ratings train wreck, in part because it's so reliably liberal.  If the organization were smart – and there are doubts – they'd replace Amanpour with someone more to the center.  But they won't.

March 19, 2010   Permalink

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OBAMA'S FOREIGN-POLICY WRECKAGE – AT 8:36 A.M. ET:  Something else that must be depressing the enthusiasm of Americans is the wreck that Barack Hussein Obama Jr. has made of foreign policy.

Can you point to a single Obama success in foreign policy, other than his popularity with teen-aged German girls?

Robert Kagan, in the Washington Post, surveys the storm damage in a rather devastating way: 

The president who ran against "unilateralism" in the 2008 campaign has worse relations overall with American allies than George W. Bush did in his second term.

In Democratic circles, that is the second-worst insult that can be delivered, the worst being that you didn't graduate from an Ivy League school with a degree in ethnic grievance. 

In Britain, people are talking about the end of the "special relationship" with America and worrying that Obama has no great regard for the British, despite their ongoing sacrifices in Afghanistan. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has openly criticized Obama for months (and is finally being rewarded with a private dinner, presumably to mend fences). In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear since the administration canceled long-planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic that the United States may no longer be a reliable guarantor of security.

And...

Who has attracted attention in the Obama administration? The answer, so far, seems to be not America's allies but its competitors, and in some cases its adversaries. If there were a way to measure administration exertion in foreign policy, the meter would show the greatest concentration of energy, beyond the war in Afghanistan, has been devoted to four endeavors: the failed first-year attempt to improve relations with Iran; the ongoing attempt to improve relations with Russia; the stalled effort to improve cooperation with China; and the effort -- fruitless so far -- to prove to the Arab states that the United States is willing to pressure Israel to further the peace process. Add to these the efforts to improve relations with Syria, engage Burma and everything with Af-Pak, and not much has been left for the concerns of our allies.

This is bad enough, but compounding the problem has been the administration's evident impatience with allies who don't do as they are told.

And...

The president has shown seemingly limitless patience with the Russians as they stall an arms-control deal that could have been done in December. He accepted a year of Iranian insults and refusal to negotiate before hesitantly moving toward sanctions.

Finally...

This administration pays lip-service to "multilateralism," but it is a multilateralism of accommodating autocratic rivals, not of solidifying relations with longtime democratic allies. Rather than strengthening the democratic foundation of the new "international architecture" -- the G-20 world -- the administration's posture is increasingly one of neutrality, at best, between allies and adversaries, and between democrats and autocrats.

COMMENT:  That is not a vote of confidence, but it is one of the best descriptions of our foreign policy that I've read.  Change is needed.  Remember that 2012 is only two years away.

March 19, 2010   Permalink

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OBAMA'S POLL DANCE FADES AWAY – AT 8:02 A.M. ET:  The president is taking heat in the polls.  From Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics:

Yesterday I noted that President Obama's job approval rating in the Gallup tracking poll went upside down for the first time. Today, with Gallup's rating staying upside down and with the addition three new polls in the last 24 hours (NBC/WSJ, Pew, and Fox News), Obama's job approval in the Real Clear Politics Average has gone net negative for the first time ever as well. Currently 47.3% of those surveyed approve of the job Obama is doing as President, while 47.8% disapprove.

One of the things dragging the president down is his pushing of the very health-care bill that will be voted on this weekend.  From Fox:

As Americans wait for Congress to act on health care, a Fox News poll released Thursday finds 55 percent oppose the reforms being considered, while 35 percent favor them.

In addition, just over half of voters think House Democrats are “changing the rules” to get their bill passed.

About a third of voters (31 percent) think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are “playing by the rules” to get health care through, while 53 percent think they are “changing the rules.” Looking at the results by political party, 53 percent of Democrats think their party is playing by the rules, about one in four think they are changing the rules (27 percent) and the rest are unsure (19 percent). Varying majorities of Republicans (78 percent) and independents (57 percent) think House Democrats are changing the rules to pass the bill.

COMMENT:  One thing that's hard to factor into these polls is the "likability" factor.  I believe that the president was, during part of his first year in office, helped considerably by the fact that he appeared "likable."  I'm not so sure he gets the warm and cuddly vote any longer.  These days Mr. Obama seems to be a member of the law firm of Cold, Petulant and Snippy, specialists in losing friends.  Even the Obama Girl from the 2008 campaign has turned against him.

March 19, 2010   Permalink

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HEALTH VOTE TWO DAYS AWAY – AT 7:37 A.M. ET:  This will be an extraordinary weekend in our political lifetime.  Americans are aware of that.  And I have never sensed the sadness that I feel coming over this nation, in response to a domestic issue.

It's as if we're losing something truly American, and we are.  To watch the once-great Democratic Party at work is to watch an organization whose worst characteristics are now dominant - the power of its left wing, contempt for the voters it claims to represent, and a big-city-machine style of politics that offends the sensibilities.  Further, I think there's a genuine sadness that Barack Obama has proved to be such a complete disappointment.  Far removed from the elegant and sometimes inspirational candidate that he was, he today acts more like a political thug, bullying friends at home and allies abroad. 

Some compare Obama to Jimmah Carter.  It's a poor comparison.  Obama is far more dangerous because he has political gifts that Carter lacked.  And Obama has a built-in, rigidly loyal constituency that Carter also lacked.  Further, the Republican opposition had, waiting in the wings, one Ronald Reagan, ready to take on Carter in 1980.  I do not see a Reagan today, but I hope I'm wrong.

It is impossible to get a precise vote count on the health bill, heading into the weekend.  Michael Barone still maintains that Nancy Pelosi still lacks the votes needed to pass the bill in a normal, democratic manner.  Thus, it's widely accepted that the Dems will resort to parliamentary maneuvers that may be open to Constitutional challenge.  What a way to dispense with one sixth of the nation's economy, and a life-or-death issue for Americans. 

There is still hope.  The Republicans are gearing up for a major fight, and have their own parliamentarians at work.  There will be rulings and points of order.  The one thing the Dems don't want is for this bill to have to be returned to the Senate for further votes.  The Republicans believe they can bottle it up in the upper house.

So fasten your seatbelts, as Bette said, it's going to be a bumpy night, and a bumpy weekend ahead.  With the president openly boasting that the gimmicks the Dems plan to use might be used on other bills as well, we may be fighting this weekend for the future of genuine democracy itself.

March 19,  2010   Permalink

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THURSDAY,  MARCH 18,  2010

THE OBAMA WE'VE COME TO KNOW – AT 10:14 P.M. ET:  As we count down to Sunday, High Noon in the health debate, Peggy Noonan reflects on Obama and his choir.  Noonan has been in good form recently, after a dry spell, and I think her remarks find the truth and hit it hard:

Excuse me, but it is embarrassing—really, embarrassing to our country—that the president of the United States has again put off a state visit to Australia and Indonesia because he's having trouble passing a piece of domestic legislation he's been promising for a year will be passed next week. What an air of chaos this signals to the world. And to do this to Australia of all countries, a nation that has always had America's back and been America's friend.

How bush league, how undisciplined, how kid's stuff.

How true, how true, ah yes.

You could see the startled looks on the faces of reporters as Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who had the grace to look embarrassed, made the announcement on Thursday afternoon. The president "regrets the delay"—the trip is rescheduled for June—but "passage of the health insurance reform is of paramount importance." Indonesia must be glad to know it's not.

After a week of bashing Israel, what's one or two more allies? 

Noonan then goes on to discuss the rather stunning interview Obama gave to Bret Baier of Fox News, which the White House tried to banish from the immediate Universe only months ago.  Guess they decided they needed the Fox audience.

Baier was tough, respectful of course, but determined not to do the traditional puff piece of the in-the-tank mainstream media.  And the president was less than impressive, or effective.  He overflowed with no information.  Examine the following for the depth, knowledge and subtlety displayed by the leader of the Free World:

"Mr. President, you couldn't tell me what the special deals are that are in or not today."

Mr. Obama: "I just told you what was in and what was not in."

Mr. Baier: "Is Connecticut in?" He was referring to the blandishments—polite word—meant to buy the votes of particular senators.

Mr. Obama: "Connecticut—what are you specifically referring to?"

Mr. Baier: "The $100 million for the hospital? Is Montana in for the asbestos program? Is—you know, listen, there are people—this is real money, people are worried about this stuff."

Mr. Obama: "And as I said before, this—the final provisions are going to be posted for many days before this thing passes."

Mr. Baier pressed the president on his statement as a candidate for the presidency that a 50-plus-one governing mentality is inherently divisive. "You can't govern" that way, Sen. Obama had said. Is the president governing that way now? Mr. Obama did not really answer.

Not exactly a Lincoln.

And so it ends, with a health-care vote expected this weekend. I wonder at what point the administration will realize it wasn't worth it—worth the discord, worth the diminution in popularity and prestige, worth the deepening of the great divide. What has been lost is so vivid, what has been gained so amorphous, blurry and likely illusory. Memo to future presidents: Never stake your entire survival on the painful passing of a bad bill. Never take the country down the road to Demon Pass.

COMMENT:  Will Obama learn?  What has he learned in his first year?  About the same amount that Jimmah Carter learned in four years.  We know how that turned out in the 1980 election. 

Many warned, during the 2008 campaign, that Mr. Obama was not ready for prime time, or even mid-afternoon.  The many were ignored by the few in the mainstream media, who assured us that gods don't act like mere mortals.  Sometimes I wish this one did.

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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END GAME – AT 8:10 P.M. ET:  The health-care vote is scheduled for Sunday.  This, we think, is the end game.

But maybe not.  Apparently, the Dems are now fully prepared to use every gimmick in the book, and some that are not in the book, to get the health plan through.  But lawsuits will be filed almost immediately if the bill passes, using any of these unusual measures.  The president, as reported earlier, has cancelled his trip to Asia and Australia – he doesn't need the kangaroo vote – to be present for the action.

Dems claim they're gaining votes.  The GOP doubts it.  There is a feeling of momentous history, but also open warfare, on Capitol Hill.  The president who came to office promising to end bitter partisanship is presiding over the worst partisanship of our lifetime, and seems not to mind it.

In three days we may have one sixth of the American economy essentially under federal control.  Ironically, that's when the bloodletting may just begin.  But maybe we shouldn't say "bloodletting" about a health bill. 

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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CLINTON IN MOSCOW - AT  5:23 P.M. ET:  Hillary Clinton knows when to get out of town.  She's in Moscow, getting absolutely nowhere with another country we've reach out to.  The New York Times has all the exciting details, not:

MOSCOW — In a tart public clash over Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said here Thursday that the planned opening this summer of a Russian-built nuclear power plant in Iran would send the wrong signal at a time when the West was trying to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin said the much delayed plant, near the Iranian city of Bushehr, would go into operation this summer, though he did not give a date. His comments, made at a meeting of nuclear officials, came on the day that Mrs. Clinton arrived here for talks with Russian leaders about an arms control agreement, Iran, the Middle East, and other issues.

“We think it would be premature to go forward with any project at this time, because we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians,” Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference after meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov. But Mr. Lavrov insisted that the Bushehr cooperation played “a special role” in keeping international inspectors inside Iran, and “ensuring that Iran is complying with its nonproliferation obligations."

COMMENT:  Our Iran policy is as dead as Hillary's marriage.  We have gotten nowhere, and the Russians have been no help. 

I wonder when Hillary starts looking for the exits.  She's become Barack's poodle, not the "strongest man in the Cabinet" that had been advertised.  Time to check the jobs at Craigslist.

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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HEAVYWEIGHT DEM SAYS "NO" – AT 4:02 P.M. ET:  The floor whips are supposed to keep the House members in line.  But what one of them isn't in line?  From the Boston Herald:

Even one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor whips, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, says a proposed parliamentary move to pass health-care reform would be “disingenuous” and harm the credibility of Congress.

In a sign of how tough it’s been for Pelosi to round up votes for the massive bill, Lynch - a South Boston Democrat who supported a House reform package last year - said he’ll probably vote against a key Senate version of the legislation, unless unexpected major changes are made soon.

Lynch, who serves as one of Pelosi’s key vote counters, said he also can’t support a proposed “deem and pass” procedure that would allow Democrats to vote to strip out controversial portions of the Senate bill and then “deem” that the entire package has passed without a second, direct vote.

COMMENT:  Nightmare weekend is coming up.  They're going to try to slam this through, with the president staying in town as chief enforcer.

The leader of North Korea must be sitting at his TV saying, "So that's how you do it."

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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STAY HOME, YANKEE! – AT 3:55 P.M. ET:  The president has cancelled his trip to Asia so he can remain as an Obamacare-covered midwife to the health-care bill:

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has postponed his trip to Asia until June so he can stay in Washington for a possible Sunday vote on his health care overhaul plan.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday the president is disappointed and regrets having to delay his visits to Indonesia and Australia but has told the leaders of those nations that health care is a crucial priority.

"The president believes right now the place for him to be is in Washington seeing this through," Gibbs said.

Obama had already delayed the trip to Indonesia and Australia, pushing back a Thursday departure until Sunday so he could help Democrats on Capitol Hill rally last-minute votes for the plan.

COMMENT:  We really must look great to foreign nations.  We can't even schedule things well enough to allow the president to take an important foreign trip.  The Australians, who never get enough credit for standing by us, must be privately appalled. 

Real change we can believe in.  Total incompetence.

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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SPEAKING OF HEALTH CARE, CORRUPTION, SCAMS, COSTS – AT 9:36 A.M. ET:  You can be sure that, if Obamacare passes, the global warmers will get their hands on it somehow in order to protect us from our own planet.  But a Canadian scientist is determined to stand in the way.  From NRO:

Ross McKitrick, the Canadian economist who helped expose the “hockey stick” diagram for overstating the modern warming trend, has just published a paper questioning another article of faith among environmental extremists: the notion that government regulations to combat smog would result in significant health benefits. McKitrick looked carefully at the available data and can’t find the claimed effect:

"For his study, he looked at breathing-related hospital admissions and pollution levels in 11 Canadian cities between 1974 and 1994. The period covered a time when pollution was worse and there were more dramatic changes in air quality, which he said would produce more robust results...

"...The results were clear: lower smoking rates meant fewer respiratory-health hospital admissions, higher income levels were sometimes linked to slightly more admissions and air-pollution had no effect, he said."

Advocates of increased regulation have always counted on the fact that, because asserted links between pollution reduction and health benefit appear plausible, no one will check them out.

With the likes of McKitrick on the case, don’t count on it.

One of the dangers of Obamacare, rarely discussed, is that money will be spent on the wrong things simply because some trendy cause group demands it.  It will be up to real scientists, and real physicians, to point out the difference between a fashionable idea and science.  And yes, there will be career risks.  Ross McKitrick has already paid a career price in Canada for exposing some of the problems in "global warming."

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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THE SCOTT BROWN OF ILLINOIS – AT 8:20 A.M. ET:  Republicans dream of taking Barack Obama's former Senate seat in the blue state of Illinois this November.  It appears they have a solid shot.  From The Washington Times:

It worked in Massachusetts, so Illinois Republicans are looking for a repeat.

"This is not Obama's seat, it's the people's seat," Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, the Republican candidate running for Illinois' Senate seat vacated by the president, declares at campaign stops.

Eager to tap the voter angst and stump lines that propelled Sen. Scott Brown to unexpected victory in another Democrat-dominated state, Massachusetts, Mr. Kirk has made it clear that even though the president remains popular in his home state, his policies aren't.

And with just 38 percent of all Illinois voters giving Mr. Obama good or excellent ratings for his handling of health care reform, the five-term lawmaker is actually putting the Democratic stronghold in play.

"For the first time in a long time, the Republicans have a good chance of winning this Senate seat," said Paul Green, a professor of policy studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

And...

A Rasmussen poll last week showed the race statistically tied, with Mr. Kirk trailing Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the treasurer of Illinois and a basketball-playing friend of Mr. Obama's, by just three points, well within the survey's margin of error.

The Democrats in Illinois have some image problems, extending to Mr. Giannoulias:

He has been under scrutiny as state treasurer for his handling as of a college savings program that lost $150 million. His family's bank, Broadway Bank, where he worked as a lending officer before entering politics, is on the verge of takeover by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The bank made hundreds of millions of dollars in bad loans and shortly before the mortgage crisis, the Giannoulias family withdrew $70 million from the bank in 2007 and 2008, according to news reports.

Mr. Giannoulias also made millions of dollars in loans to Tony Rezko, a political fundraiser for Mr. Blagojevich who is awaiting sentencing on convictions of fraud and money laundering. He also made loans to Michael "Jaws" Giorango, a convicted prostitution-ring operator.

The sad fact is, though, that these things have been known for quite some time, and Giannoulias still got the Democratic nomination and still leads in the polls.  Corruption tends to be accepted in Illinois.

Mark Kirk is an excellent candidate, but this will be a very tough fight.  The Democratic Party does not want to be humiliated by losing Obama's seat.  You will see how rough Chicago politics can be.  The cemeteries will empty on election day as the faithful go to the polls, and return for a second visit.

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS?  WHO NEEDS 'EM? - AT 8:04 A.M. ET:  Mr. Obama has already delayed his Asian trip by three days, meaning all the caterers in Indonesia and Australia have to buy fresh beans, and those little girls who greet foreign leaders at airports need new flower bouquets.

But the Dems want him to postpone again.  This must look great to other countries.  From the Washington Post:

Some Democrats in Congress are worrying that President Obama may be making a mistake by traveling overseas next week, just when his year-long push for a health-care overhaul could come up for a final vote in the Senate.

"The timing is ill-advised. We need all hands on deck," said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.). "If nothing else, the atmospherics it creates by being on the foreign trip when we're doing the heavy lifting on this is wrong. If I were asked, I'd tell him to postpone it."

Few lawmakers were willing to voice such criticism of their president, who will leave Sunday for a five-day excursion to Indonesia, Guam and Australia. The trip has already been delayed by three days so Obama could be in Washington for the House's vote, but the timing for that vote keeps getting pushed back.

I hope that surgery, under Obamacare, runs more smoothly.

As planning for the trip races ahead, one top Democratic aide on Capitol Hill said conversations between the White House and lawmakers about his departure have been tense.

"It's fair to say that when the White House staff broached this with House and Senate leadership staff, they heard very serious concerns about it," said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private strategy talks. "They know damn well that we have concerns."

Those concerns grew more urgent Wednesday as Democrats continued to wait for the Congressional Budget Office to "score" the cost of the health-care legislation, raising fears that a vote may be delayed until Sunday.

What do you tell the prime minister of Australia?  "Kevin?  This is Barack.  Say, Kevin, I've come down with that swine flu you sent us..."

This administration does not exactly present an image of precision and competence.

March 18, 2010   Permalink

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HEALTH CARE – THE COUNTDOWN – CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC – AT 7:52 A.M. ET:  The deadline is slipping.  From The Hill:

House Democratic leaders on Wednesday night said the long-awaited Congressional Budget Office score of the reconciliation bill will not come out until Thursday, forcing an acknowledgement that a Saturday healthcare vote is likely off the table.

But leaders are still hoping for a score on Thursday, and are still preparing for a possible vote before the end of the weekend.

The "score" is the CBO's estimate of what the bill, and its various components, will cost the nation.

The release of a CBO score on Thursday – triggering the Democrats' 72-hour clock – would mean that voting on the reconciliation bill would “most likely happen on Sunday, if that scenario plays out,” Assistant to the Speaker Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told reporters after leaving Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office Wednesday night.

Dear Leader is scheduled to leave for Indonesia, or, as he calls it, the old country, at noon on Sunday.  Would he leave before the vote is complete? 

Maybe we could have a guest president, like a guest host, acknowledge the result of the vote.  "Barack couldn't make it this afternoon, but sitting in for him is...Jimmy Carter." 

Many sources say the Dems are still five votes or so, maybe a few more, away from sealing the deal.

March 18,  2010   Permalink

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"What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Councils of war breed timidity and defeatism."
   - Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, to his
      son, Douglas.

 

THE ANGEL'S CORNER

Part I of this week's Angel's Corner was sent late Wednesday night.

Part II will be sent late tonight.

 

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  "The left needs two things to survive. It needs mediocrity, and it needs dependence. It nurtures mediocrity in the public schools and the universities. It nurtures dependence through its empire of government programs. A nation that embraces mediocrity and dependence betrays itself, and can only fade away, wondering all the time what might have been."
     - Urgent Agenda

 

 
 
 
 
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