Some differences between the House and Senate Versions of the Government Health Care Plans

The Washington Post has a list of important differences here.

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"Modern man a wimp says anthropologist"

Any interesting discussion of these points can be found here.

Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 meters record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions. . . .

Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle. . . .

* Roman legions completed more than one-and-a-half marathons a day carrying more than half their body weight in equipment.

* Athens employed 30,000 rowers who could all exceed the achievements of modern oarsmen.

* Australian aboriginals threw a hardwood spear 110 meters or more (the current world javelin record is 98.48). . . .


"The 50 best things to eat in the world, and where to eat them"

The list is here.


Kevin Jennings member of "ACT UP"

WND has this report.

The man chosen by the Obama administration to head the Department of Education's Office of Safe Schools was an activist with the radical pro-homosexual organization Act Up, known for its aggressive badgering of those who don't support the homosexual lifestyle, according to a new report.

Mass Resistance, a pro-family organization in Massachusetts that has battled over homosexual agenda points there, has posted online a report and video documenting Kevin Jennings' participation in the extremist organization.

The video shows Jeff Davis, Jennings' "partner," addressing a banquet and saying of Jennings, "He was a member of Act Up. Act Up! So it's like – you know – here's a big gay activist. BIG gay activist!." . . .

Much more information is available here.

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Obama administration to Democrats: stay with us on Health Care or no Administration access

Here again is the risk of giving too much power to government. People are afraid of publicly disagreeing or they risk losing the ability to influence other government policies.

McEntee’s posture – and the fierce response from a White House determined to keep allies in line – reflects a broader dilemma on the left of the Democratic Party, which is feeling both lingering satisfaction at Obama’s victory and frustration at his caution.

From labor to civil libertarians to anti-war activists, progressive organizers have had to choose between biting their tongues and losing the access and power that comes with friends in the White House. McEntee is among the most prominent leaders who has been willing to challenge the administration.

Despite his investment – and AFSCME’s – in health care reform, he has been willing to risk his relationships and his influence with powerful Democratic leaders in the White House and the Senate for a bill he can more fully embrace. . . .

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More intimidation tactics by Obama Administration against opponents in health care debate

From the NY Times:

President Obama mounted a frontal assault on the insurance industry on Saturday, accusing it of airing “deceptive and dishonest ads” to derail his health care legislation and threatening to strip the industry of its longstanding exemption from federal anti-trust laws.

In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own “profits and bonuses” and willing to “bend the truth or break it” to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to push back against industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums.

“It’s smoke and mirrors,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, ‘Take one of these, and call us in a decade.’ Well, not this time.”

Rather than trying to curb costs and help patients, he said the industry is busy “figuring out how to avoid covering people. And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exemption from our anti-trust laws, a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.”

Mr. Obama’s sharp attack comes as the health care debate moves out of congressional committees to the wider stage of floor debates in the Senate and House. While he has criticized insurers before, his bare-knuckled language on Saturday reflected a more open break with the industry and recognition that his efforts to bring it into some sort of consensus had failed.

The White House is concerned that the insurance industry can undermine public support for changing the health care system much as it did in dooming President Bill Clinton’s overhaul efforts in the 1990s. A new industry study is fueling broader criticism that the plans advanced by Democrats will cost too much, raise consumer expenses and insert government more deeply into the health care sector. . . . .

The president complained bitterly about the insurers’ attack on the legislation. “The insurance industry is rolling out the big guns and breaking open their massive war chest to marshal their forces for one last fight to save the status quo,” he said. “They’re filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They’re flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they’re funding studies designed to mislead the American people.”

He went on to attack other critics he described as tools of the industry. “Of course, like clockwork, we’ve seen folks on cable television who know better, waving these industry-funded studies in the air,” he said. “We’ve seen industry insiders — and their apologists — citing these studies as proof of claims that just aren’t true.” . . . .

Obama Targets Insurance Industry, Attacks the Chamber of Commerce

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Obama down to 45% positive in the Harris Poll

The Harris Poll now shows that Obama is down.

President Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but unfortunately, he is not winning accolades from the American public as his job approval rating continues its downward slide. In September, U.S. adults were split almost evenly on the job the President has been doing – 49% gave him positive ratings and 51% gave him negative ratings. This month, the number giving him positive ratings drops to 45% while over half of Americans (55%) give him negative ratings. . . .

The approval ratings of the president by Democrats and Republicans are as one would expect with 77% of Democrats giving President Obama positive ratings compared to 14% of Republicans. Independents, however, are more down on the president as 60% give him negative ratings while 40% give him positive marks on his overall job performance. . . . .

Rasmussen Reports shows Obama in somewhat stronger shape overall, though there is more intensity against him then for him.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 29% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-nine percent (39%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -10 (see trends). . . .
Overall, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. That figure has stayed in a very narrow range between 47% and 52% every day for six weeks. Fifty percent (50%) now disapprove (see recent demographic highlights). . . .

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How much bigger were Merrill Lynch's losses than B of A originally thought?

The WSJ has this information.

The forecast on November 12 was a loss of $5.3 billion. The discussion about that estimate lasted for eight days, according to people who viewed the documents. On Nov. 20 the recommendation from internal and external counsel was not to disclose; Merrill’s performance, after all, did not appear out of line with previous quarters. It lost more than $5 billion in the third quarter of 2008 alone.

Another flashpoint is December 3. As reported previously by The Wall Street Journal, loss estimates ballooned that day by $3 billion pre-tax and $2 billion after tax, pushing the total after-tax loss estimate from $7 billion to $9 billion. The change occurred as a result of a 4 p.m. conference call between CEO Kenneth Lewis, CFO Joe Price, Merrill CEO John Thain and Neil Cotty, acting chief financial officer for Bank of America’s global wealth and investment-management business and a key liaison to Merrill’s merger team. Mr. Cotty thought losses could still drift higher by $1 billion to $3 billion. The aggressive adjustment became known within the company as the “Cotty plug” or the “WAG,” which stood for “Wild A– Guess,” said people familiar with the documents.

That same day, general counsel Timothy Mayopoulos recommended to BofA CFO Joseph Price that estimated fourth-quarter losses for Merrill were not high enough to reveal, said two people familiar with the documents. Mr. Mayopoulos could not be reached for comment, but another person familiar with the situation said Mr. Mayopoulos didn’t have the $9 billion number when he made that recommendation.

He did not learn of the $9 billion estimate until Dec. 9 when Mr. Price presented the number to the board. Mr. Mayopoulos tried to find Mr. Price to discuss the figure but was not able to connect, this person said. Mr. Mayopoulos was let go the next day. He still does not know why he was let go, this person said.

A week after the vote loss estimates grew to $12.5 billion. . . .


The damage may already be done, Obama administration drops "Gag Order" on Private Health Insurance Companies

After preventing private health insurance companies from informing their customers about the implications of the government health care takeover, the Obama administration has finally dropped its prohibition on the companies. The problem is that the bill has now passed the Senate Finance Committee.

The federal government, in the face of allegations it was trampling on free speech, has closed its investigation of a major insurance company for allegedly trying to scare seniors with a mailer warning they could lose important benefits under President Obama's health reform plan.

U.S. health officials announced Friday that private insurers can send seniors information on health-related issues as long as they allow their members to opt out of receiving the communications, apparently ending its probe of Humana.

"While we feel it is important to protect Medicare beneficiaries from potentially unwelcome marketing and other communications, we also recognize plans' interest in contacting their enrollees on issues unrelated to the specific plan benefit that they contract with CMS to provide to those enrollees," Teresea DeCaro, acting director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare Drug and Health Plan Contract Administration Group, wrote in a memo.

Republicans, who had slammed Obama officials for launching the probe, welcomed the news but still expressed concerns.

"I am relieved that the administration is no longer misusing its regulatory authority to prohibit plans from communicating to seniors factual information about the Medicare cuts in health care reform," Rep. Dave Camp, the senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a written statement.

"However, I remain concerned that CMS overstepped in issuing its gag order as a result of undue political pressure to penalize anyone who dare speak out against the Democrats' health care bill," he said. "We still need to get the answers to how and why this gag order was issued." . . . .

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Obama administration tries to stop local police from arresting illegal aliens

The Obama administration doesn't want to enforce the laws against illegal aliens and they apparently don't want others to do so either.

The sheriff's sweeps in some heavily Latino areas of metro Phoenix have drawn criticism that Arpaio's deputies racially profile people. Arpaio said people pulled over in the sweeps were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had committed crimes and that it was only afterward that deputies found many of them were illegal immigrants.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Arpaio's office over allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures.
Arpaio said the Bush administration had no complaints about his use of the special federal powers, but all that has changed with the Obama administration.
"What's changed?" Arpaio asked. "Politics has changed, because they don't like us going on the streets to catch illegals."
This round of sweep, Arpaio's 12th, is set to end late Saturday.



New Washington Times pieces


Noam Chomsky compares Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to the Nazis


Beware of using Wikipedia, CNN and MSNBC should be sorry they used it

At about 1:20 into the clip CNN's Rick Sanchez falsely claims that Rush Limbaugh said: "Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back; I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark." Of course, CNN uses a picture of Rush at what must have been his highest weight level ever, assuming that the picture wasn't also doctored.

At the very end of this clip, Rachel Maddow makes this claim when talking about Rush Limbaugh. Most of this clip is attacking Newt Gingrinch for his comments on Sonya Sotomayor saying that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white man." Maddow doesn't give a very good discussion of Newt's statement.

MADDOW: When you get called racist by the guy who says the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. should get the Medal of Honor, consider yourself honored. Also, nauseated.

The above clip from MSNBC contains such statements as:

Rush Limbaugh is an unreconstructed racist. They don't want an owner who has said that slavery was a good thing because it made the streets safer.

[Limbaugh's] open publicly stated contempt for people with dark skin.

The media's source for these quotes? Wikipedia. The original posting has been corrected, but James Taranto has pointed to this site which recorded them.

African Americans

I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.[3/14/03]

Now this just blows me away

Was there any excrement, any shamelessness in any form, above all in cultural life, in which at least one African-American would not have been involved? As soon as one even carefully cut into such an abscess, one found, like maggots in a decaying body, often blinded by the sudden light, an African-American. [2/21/03]

James Earl Ray is the man who killed Martin Luther King Jr.

You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray. We miss you, James. Godspeed. [4/23/98]


As I said yesterday, truce is an old Arabic word. Goes way, way back in Islamic-Arabic culture, and it means, “We will get you later.” [4/16/04]

If Limbaugh were to sue CNN and MSNBC, his removal from the St. Louis Rams bid would let him claim some damages. Others who have attacked Rush over these false quotes include the Atlantic (here and here)

Kerry Picket posted this next video and text over at the Washington Times Water Cooler.

BILL O'REILLY: The reason that Limbaugh is not going to be able to buy into the NFL is because a bunch of made-up stuff became legend, and he got hammered.

WARREN BALLANTINE: OK, we won't look at the made-up stuff. Let's look at him playing "Barack The Magic Negro", and we're going to say that's just funny, that's just a joke, that's not racial either. It is racial to real black people.

JUAN WILLIAMS: Hey Warren, you were saying my argument was a red herring. Maybe you should do some research, go back and find out that it was an article written by a black person, headlined "Barack The Magic Negro."

BALLANTINE: He made it a song and played it on his show.

WILLIAMS: So what? He was making fun of it.

BALLANTINE: You can go back to the porch, Juan. You can go back. It's OK.

O'REILLY: All right guys: good debate, good-spirited debate.

UPDATE: MSNBC Admits: ‘Unable to Verify’ False Limbaugh Quote; No Retraction or Apology

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One of Anita Dunn's Two Favorite philosophers: Mao Tse-Tung

Other discussions about Dunn.

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Google gets nailed by the regulatory regime it wanted to use against its competitors

This is a follow up on previous posts here. From the WSJ:

AT&T Inc. accused Google Inc. of blocking calls to Benedictine nuns, a congressman's campaign office and a myriad of small businesses in rural areas, in the latest escalation of the battle between the two over Internet network rules.

Google has acknowledged that Google Voice, its Internet call-forwarding service, blocks calls to some areas, mostly to what it says are adult chat or free conference call services. Google blocks calls in mostly rural areas where rates are higher and calls are more expensive to connect. Some companies, called "traffic pumpers," deliberately route calls through those costlier, mostly rural areas to increase revenue.

AT&T said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday that it compiled a list of well-known areas where "traffic pumpers" typically route traffic and then used Google's search engine to identify specific businesses, churches and others, including a convent of Benedictine nuns in Minnesota and the campaign office of Rep. Collin Peterson (D, Minn.), which could be getting blocked. AT&T employees then used the Google Voice service to try calling those numbers, but found the calls were blocked.

"We can now see the power of Internet-based applications providers to act as gatekeepers who can threaten the "free and open" Internet," AT&T wrote.

"Google Voice is a free web application that manages peoples' existing phone numbers and isn't subject to the regulations that govern traditional phone carriers," a Google spokesman said in a statement. "Our sole intention is to isolate and restrict numbers only associated with traffic pumping schemes, which would impact our ability to offer Google Voice for free." . .

The FCC is scheduled to unveil its proposed net neutrality rules next week. . . .

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"53 House Republicans call on Obama to fire Kevin Jennings"

Here is a copy of the letter that the Congressmen have sent.

We respectfully request that you remove Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, from your Administration. It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity.
As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools—an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children. As evidence of this, Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students to the exclusion of all other students. The totality of Mr. Jennings’ career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.
Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings’ self-described history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man. Mr. Jennings’ only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the “safe schools” czar when his record demonstrates a willingness to overlook the sexual abuse of a child.
As the “safe schools” czar, Mr. Jennings is also charged with ensuring our schools and students are drug free. It is clear that Mr. Jennings is unfit to serve in this capacity, as well. His own history of unrepentant drug and alcohol abuse indicates that he is of the opinion that getting drunk and high as a young person is acceptable. In his memoir, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, Mr. Jennings describes his use of illegal drugs, without expressing regret or acknowledging the devastating effects illegal drug use can have on a person’s life.
Everyone that deals with the education of the most vulnerable must be a positive role model. Our children are not blessed with the wisdom to discern and reject. Children presume the adults who educate them are approved by the larger society and their parents. Kevin Jennings cannot gain the approval of parents who want their children safe and their schools drug free. You should replace him with someone who has a record of educating children in a safe and moral environment.
Given these very serious issues with Mr. Jennings’ record, we urge you to remove him immediately.

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Pay Czar can't adjust pay before 2009 so he just makes the current pay NEGATIVE

Kenneth Lewis gets to pay for the honor of working for BofA the last year. Is this serious?

Kenneth Lewis, outgoing chief executive of Bank of America Corp., will get no salary or bonus for 2009, according to people familiar with the matter, the biggest Wall Street name thus far to come under the thumb of the government's pay czar.

In fact, Mr. Lewis will have to repay the North Carolina-based bank more than $1 million in salary he has already earned.

The move was demanded by Kenneth Feinberg, the U.S. Treasury Department's special master for compensation, and was agreed to by Mr. Lewis and the bank. Mr. Feinberg's rationale is based largely on the fact that Mr. Lewis will leave the firm with a package of retirement benefits and other stock awards worth between $69.3 million and $120 million, these people said. . . .

Mr. Feinberg doesn't have the authority to adjust compensation awarded before 2009, which would include Mr. Lewis's retirement package and the various stock holdings amassed during a four-decade career at the bank.

But the pay czar didn't want the CEO to take any more money, and used his leverage over pay instead, people familiar with the matter say. Mr. Lewis' base salary for 2009 is $1.5 million.

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New Fox News piece: LOTT'S NUMBERS: Happy Days Aren't Quite Here Again

My new piece at Fox News starts this way:

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching 10,000, Americans are feeling wealthier.

Unfortunately, roughly a third of the increase simply reflects the falling dollar, that American goods and assets are becoming cheaper to the rest of the world. About a third of the increase in stock prices has occurred simply because the value of the dollar has fallen so much. Just as a lower dollar makes it more attractive for foreigners to buy American goods, it also makes it a better deal for foreigners to buy stock in American companies.

Over the course of this year, as the value of the dollar rose until the beginning of March, the stock market fell. As the dollar fell during the rest of the year, the stock market rose. While the stock market has risen by about 49 percent since its low in March, the dollar has fallen by about 20 percent against the Canadian dollar, 17 percent against the Euro, 15 percent against the Mexican Peso, and 11 percent against the Japanese Yen. For each of these currencies the dollar peaked right when the stock market hit its lowest value. . . .

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One big reason that stock prices have gone up: The value of the dollar has fallen Part 2


One big reason that stock prices have gone up: The value of the dollar has fallen


It is easy for Apple and Nike to quit the Chamber of Commerce and support the global warming bill, everything is made in China no carbon taxes

From the WSJ:

Both companies may figure they can afford a U.S. carbon tax because most of their manufacturing is done outside the U.S. Apple has an enormous "carbon footprint" of some 10 million annual tons of emissions to make and use its power-hungry gadgets. But nearly all of those products are made in China and other Asian countries where there are no carbon limits and aren't likely to be any time soon, if ever. According to calculations based on Apple's emissions figures, were the company to manufacture in the U.S., the Boxer-Kerry bill pending in the Senate would hit Apple with carbon taxes between $43 million and $108 million a year.

Nike, meanwhile, makes most of its shoes and apparel in 700 contract factories in countries such as South Korea and Vietnam—which also won't sign up for the Boxer-Kerry energy tax. The larger point is that neither Apple nor Nike would pay as much under a cap-and-trade bill as, say, the maker of Bobcat excavators in Bismarck, N.D., or your average Midwest natural gas utility. Green virtue is easier when someone else is paying for it.

Yet even this self-interested calculation is likely to be short-sighted for both companies. Since climate change is a global issue, green activists won't stop their carbon pursuit at the U.S. border. It wouldn't be long after cap and trade passed in the U.S. that Nike and Apple were pressured to move their manufacturing out of countries that haven't signed Kyoto II. That would threaten their production lines and cost structure, with potential damage to sales and competitiveness.

And if the companies fail to relocate, the next anticarbon lobbying policy step will be a carbon tariff against products made in China or Vietnam and sold in the U.S. A carbon tariff is already part of the House cap-and-trade bill and is gaining currency among Congressional protectionists, most recently Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). As companies that import nearly all of their products, Apple and Nike would be especially vulnerable. We wonder if Messrs. Cook and Parker thought through any of this before committing their employees and investors to this crusade. . . .

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Bizarre FTC regulations on the content of blogs, Facebook, twitter, and emails

A copy of the new FTC regulations that will be going into effect on December 1, 2009 can be found here.

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Two stories illustrating what school is like these days

The first story is written by my son Maxim for the lead at Fox News:

A 17-year-old Eagle Scout in upstate New York has been barred from stepping foot on school grounds for 20 days — for keeping a 2-inch pocketknife locked in a survival kit in his car.

Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School, says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal — and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.

But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance policy, and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days — and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.

The incident is similar to the case of Zachary Christie, a 6-year-old Cub Scout in Delaware who faces up to 45 days in his district’s reform school for bringing a scout utensil that can be used as a fork, spoon and knife to school. But for Whalen — who has received an award from the Boy Scouts of America for saving a life and completed 10 weeks of basic military training last summer — the stakes are much higher:

He is concerned that the blot on his school record could kill his dream of attending West Point. . . .

The second story is from California:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, has signed a law setting aside a day to commemorate Harvey Milk, a gay San Francisco politician who was shot dead three decades ago.

Under the measure, 22 May will be declared Harvey Milk day in California, coinciding with Milk's birthday. While it will not be a state holiday, schools will be encouraged to hold lessons "remembering the life of Harvey Milk, recognising his accomplishments and familiarising pupils with the contributions he made to this state". . . .

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"Don't Believe the Corzine Surge Just Yet"

Election handicapper Stuart Rothenberg writing at RealClearPolitics.com on why reports suggesting Democratic Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey will win re-election offer "a distorted view of the contest."

"Describing [Governor Jon] Corzine as closing the gap or pulling closer conveys the impression that Corzine is gathering support and increasing his standing in the contest. He is not. . . .The governor continues to be stuck between 38 percent and 42 percent in the ballot test, where he has been for many months, and the fundamentals of the race continue to favor the Republican challenger."


Appearing on Thom Hartmann's Radio Show on Air America

We will be discussing my piece: "Baucus Bill Encourages Americans to DROP Insurance Coverage." I will be on at about 12:07 PM EDT.

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More evidence of massive global warming!

Well, may be not.

Western MT cold breaks records

If you've spent any time outdoors the past four days in Western Montana, you could probably guess that we've hit record low temperatures, without your local weather guy confirming this fact.

We haven't just set knew records, we've blown them out of the water. The lowes have been 10, 11 and 8 the last three mornings in Missoula, and we've gone at least nine degrees lower than the old record each morning. . . .

A record low of 8 degrees was set at the Missoula Airport on Monday morning, breaking the old record of 22, which was set in 2002.

Meanwhile, Kalispell say a very cold 2 degrees, breaking the record of 14, set back in 2002. . . .

Notice that the previous cold records were in 2002, not that long ago.

Record cold temperatures in Idaho threaten potato crop

Record-low temperatures in southwestern Idaho are threatening to destroy at least a portion of this season's crop of seed potatoes.
Spuds still in the ground could be saved by a layer of snow; a dusting had fallen on Bozeman and the surrounding region by Sunday. . . .

Early snow records set to be broken in Austria

Austria’s provincial capitals are expected to see their earliest snowfalls in history today (Mon) as Arctic air sweeps the country.
Josef Haselhofer from Vienna’s Central Agency for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) said today (Mon) Arctic air would probably result in the first snow cover in provincial capitals before 20 October in history and said Innsbruck, Salzburg and St. Pölten were likely to see snow.
He said as much as 30 to 40 centimetres of snow was likely down to 1,200 metres and snow could fall as low as 400 metres later this week, adding it had already begun to fall in Vorarlberg. He also predicted low temperatures would be minus five degrees at higher elevations and zero degrees in the lowlands by Thursday morning.
Haselhofer warned of possible impassable snow drifts in some places and the danger of avalanches in low-lying areas. . . .

Meanwhile in Chicago

The National Weather Service issued an "urgent'' freeze warning for the Chicago area until 9 a.m. today. The cold could set a record for the date if temperatures dip below the low in 1964 of 27 degrees. Runners in the Bank of America Marathon today should expect temperatures in the low 30s at the start of the race, but the sun is expected to be shining by 11 a.m. when the mercury should climb to near 40 degrees. No snow or rain is in the forecast.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd's New Album God And Guns

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New Fox News piece: Baucus Bill Encourages Americans to DROP Insurance Coverage

My new piece starts this way:

What if you, and every member of your family, had the chance to save $4,000 each?. Would you be interested? Under the terms of what's being called "the Baucus bill" -- Washington-speak for the bill the Senate Finance Committee will vote on tomorrow -- that is how much you could save by dropping your health insurance.

People might have thought that health care reform would lead to an increase in the number of people getting health insurance coverage. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office claims the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill will reduce the number of uninsured in 2019 by about 29 million," but the financial rewards are huge for people if they drop their insurance. Amazingly the CBO makes this prediction of 29 million more insured Americans without ever once analyzing the financial incentive for those who are already insured to drop their insurance.

Consider some numbers. . . .

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"Pistol-Packing Pastor Quits to Work for Gun Rights, Protecting Churches"

From Fox News:

A pistol-packing pastor who drew national attention earlier this year for hosting a "God-and-Guns" event at his church is stepping down from the pulpit to serve his flock with a new mission.

Pastor Ken Pagano ended his 30-year career last month when he resigned from the New Bethel Church in Louisville, Ky., saying that he wants to focus on church security and Second Amendment rights — a crusade he insists is better fought outside the ministry. . . . .

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More Problems for Kevin Jennings

Here is the middle of a new piece on Kevin Jennings in the Washington Times. I wonder how Media Manners is going to try to distort this.

Mr. Jennings tells one thing to one audience and then contradicts himself to others. In a 2000 speech to a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network conference in Iowa and other talks, Mr. Jennings related how difficult it was to be homosexual back in September 1987: "I was a very scared young gay teacher. I had been fired at my first job for being gay. And in my second job, I wasn't quite sure how to deal with that.... My best friend had just died from AIDS the week before." He brought up his friend's death, and when it occurred, to transition into the events involving Brewster. The event is supposedly what encouraged him to tell the sophomore, "I hope you knew to use a condom."

In his 2006 autobiography, "Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son," Mr. Jennings has a completely different explanation for what happened at his first teaching job at the Quaker Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I. Contrary to being fired for being a homosexual, Mr. Jennings concludes the chapter discussing his time at the school by writing, "My days at Moses Brown ended, without my ever having been asked or having answered the Question [about whether he was homosexual]. For two years I have lied, letting my students and myself down in the process. I vowed I would never do it again." . . .

The next paragraph goes into something even more bizarre by Jennings, but I will let you all click over there yourselves.

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Can Media Matters and Ana Marie Cox get almost anything straight?

This is apparently the type of news discussion that Media Matters regards as accurate. Two major errors within just a couple of sentences.

The Nine Voting Lives of ACORN's Darnell Nash
. . . . The conviction of Darnell Nash, apparently known by several aliases including Serina "Sexy Slay" Gibbs, is hugely significant for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that ACORN has long maintained that vote fraud, as opposed to the lesser crime of voter registration fraud, essentially never happens. . . . .

As to the claim that Fox News and the Washington Times are going Kevin Jennings because he is gay, Ana Marie Cox apparently missed straightforward discussions such as this:

Last week, Brewster accused those raising concerns about this issue of engaging in "homophobic smear attacks." That's not the case. A teacher ignoring a female sophomore's confession that she met an older man in a bathroom and then went home with him raises similar concerns. When Obama administration officials can't explain Mr. Jennings' comments, it is time for Mr. Jennings to answer some of these questions himself.

If Ana Marie Cox or Media Matters can explain why most people wouldn't be concerned about the safety of a 15 year old girl (to take Kevin Jennings' claim how old he thought Brewster was) or to take the fact that Brewster had probably just turned 16 a month earlier (if Jennings' claim of when the incident occurred is correct), it would be greatly appreciated. Does Ana Marie Cox or Media Matters have any evidence that Cox's claim that people wouldn't get upset about this happening to a girl if an "older man" was involved?

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Gore misstates what British court decided on the errors in his movie

From the local Madison, Wisconsin newspaper.

In what organizers said was a rarity, Gore took half a dozen questions from journalists, including one from Phelim McAleer, an Irish filmmaker who asked Gore to address nine errors in his film identified by a British court in 2007.
Gore responded that the court ruling supported the showing of his film in British schools. When McAleer tried to debate further, his microphone was cut off by the moderators. . . .

The movie could be shown, but the court required that a warning be first given to the children before they are shown the movie. The nine errors identified by the court:

These were identified in court as follows:

Gore's claim: A retreating glacier on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is evidence of global warming.

Finding: The government's expert witness conceded this was not correct.

Gore: Ice core samples prove that rising levels of carbon dioxide have caused temperature increases.

Finding: Rises in carbon dioxide actually lagged behind temperature increases by 800-2000 years.

Gore: Global warming triggered Hurricane Katrina, devastating New Orleans.

Finding: The government's expert accepted it was "not possible" to attribute one-off events to global warming.

Gore: Global warming is causing Africa's Lake Chad to dry up.

Finding: The government's expert accepted that this was not the case.

Gore: Polar bears had drowned due to disappearing Arctic ice.

Finding: Only four polar bears drowned, due to a particularly violent storm.

Gore: Global warming could stop the Gulf Stream, plunging Europe into a new ice age.

Finding: A scientific impossibility.

Gore: Species losses, including coral reef bleaching, are the result of global warming.

Finding: No evidence to support the claim.

Gore: Melting ice in Greenland could cause sea levels to rise dangerously.

Finding: Greenland ice will not melt for millennia.

Gore: Ice cover in Antarctica is melting.

Finding: It is, in fact, increasing.

Gore: Sea levels could rise by seven metres, causing the displacement of millions of people.

Finding: Sea levels are expected to rise by about 40 centimetres over 100 years.

Gore: Rising sea levels caused the evacuation of Pacific islanders to New Zealand.

Finding: The court observed that this appears to be a false claim.

This video gives a somewhat more benign view of the questioner's microphone being cut off.

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Great coach speech


Media Matters just makes things up

For their note: "Washington Times backtrack: Regardless of age, conversation "should have raised alarm""

Media Matters keeps on repeating that Fox News and the Washington Times lied about Brewster's age, the age of the boy who talked to Kevin Jennings about the man that he met in a bus station bathroom and had sex with. The media had reported that the boy was 15 years old, but Fox News and the Washington Times didn't make up this number. They got it from Kevin Jenning's own statement. For some reason Media Matters in all their attacks on Fox News and the Washington Times seem to have missed mentioning that one fact. Kevin Jennings believed that Webster was 15 years of age and thus he believed that statutory rape had occurred and he hadn't responded appropriately. The question is what Media Matters thinks Jennings should have done if he believed Webster was 15. Obviously they don't think that he should have done anything if the sophomore was 16 years old.

UPDATE: By the way, Media Matters won't post comments that I have offered on their website.

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