Day: February 2, 2011

Full repeal of health care law fails in the Senate

Can I laugh now or later?

Politico

Republican efforts to repeal the health care reform law died a quick death in the Senate Wednesday, with a united Democratic caucus voting down a GOP repeal bill that cleared the House last month.

A procedural vote ended the repeal effort, 47-51, as expected. Democrats framed the Republican amendment as an attempt to take health benefits away from Americans.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed the amendment – the repeal bill the House passed last month – to the Federal Aviation Administration’s reauthorization bill. He called the vote an opportunity for health reform supporters to say, “yes, maybe my vote for this bill was a mistake, and that we can do better.”

Just holding the vote is a victory for Republicans: McConnell managed to bring it to the floor of a Democrat-controlled senate. And some moderate Democrats, who voted against the health law last year, are now on the record with a vote in favor of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

The country is relatively split in its support for the law, particularly in states where moderate Democrats have to face reelection in 2012.

Republicans hope that support for the law erodes further, forcing Democrats to reconsider their support for health reform.

Democrats put up a budget point of order, a procedural tool designed to highlight the fact that repeal would add about $230 billion to the deficit, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. Republicans have strongly objected to the figure, arguing that the reform law would add to the deficit.

McConnell has promised that he will force numerous votes against the health care reform law.

The Right’s Egypt Freakout

Apparently, the right wing noise machine no longer views the Middle East as the perfect place to instill democracy…

The Daily Beast

Glenn Beck blasts the uprising in Cairo as a threat to our way of life. Michelle Goldberg on how the rebellion is splitting U.S. conservatives—and the fallout for the 2012 presidential campaign. Plus, full coverage of Egypt’s protests.

Store food and prepare for the coming global insurrection: That’s the warning Glenn Beck issued Monday. The Muslim Brotherhood and American radicals, he informed us, are operating in tandem to bring about “the destruction of the Western world.” On his Fox show, Beck presented a clip of Mohamed ElBaradei calling for a “New Egypt that is democratic, that is based on social justice.”

The phrase “social justice” flashed on the screen, because in Beck’s world, it’s a code word for a totalitarian leftist agenda, just as the Egyptian protesters’ use of the phrase “day of rage” signals their kinship with Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground. “We’ve shown you tonight that Hamas, Code Pink”—the feminist anti-war group—”and the Muslim Brotherhood are all linked together.” With the future bleak, Beck called on his viewers to pray for “our way of life” and for Israel.

Since the war in Iraq, it seems, Beck, like others on the right, has changed his mind about the desirability of Middle Eastern democracy.

It was only a few years ago, you’ll remember, that conservatives were crowing about a new birth of freedom in the Muslim world. Gunning for war with Iraq, conservatives attacked earlier generations of foreign-policy realists for propping up Arab dictators, arguing that political oppression and corruption created stultifying societies were terrorism bred. George Bush made the rhetorical championing of Middle Eastern democracy a centerpiece of his presidency. In a 2003 speech at the American Enterprise Institute, he promised that a “liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions.”       More…

 

Violent Clashes In Cairo

 

The Daily Beast

Massive and chaotic street violence—with rocks being thrown—broke out Wednesday between hundreds of supporters and thousands of opponents of Egyptian President Mubarak. Plus, our complete coverage.

Protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square did not heed the Egyptian military’s call to end to demonstrations on Wednesday when massive clashes broke out between hundreds of supporters and thousands of opponents of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The chaos began when rocks were thrown by pro-Mubarak protesters, seen for the first time after eight days of demonstrations by anti-Mubarak demonstrators.

Thousands of Egyptians were seen running in all directions amid the street violence. The military remained on the sidelines. The violent turn was not expected after Mubarak’s announcement Tuesday that he will step down at the end of his term in September, though that did little to quell protesters, who chanted “We will not leave! He will leave!” in reply. President Obama didn’t seem satisfied either, saying an “orderly transition … must begin now.”

(Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Babak Dehghanpisheh reported from Tahrir Square on Tuesday. Read his report here.)

Beck hits ratings low, Maddow tops Morgan

The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

Politico

The January ratings are in and Glenn Beck had his worst performance since his Fox show started in January of 2009, drawing just 397,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic and 1.762 total viewers. He still wins the 5 p.m. time slot, though, with MSNBC’s “Hardball” coming in second.

Despite the fanfare surrounding the rollout of CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” at 9 p.m. and some strong ratings out of the gate, it came in third place during its first two weeks, behind “Hannity” and “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

UPDATE: While “Piers Morgan Tonight” lost in the more traditional measures, CNN points out that it did beat Maddow in the younger 18-49 demographic, averaging 217,000 viewers vs. Maddow’s 198,000 for those two weeks.

Keith Olbermann’s depature has been a boon to CNN, boosting “Parker Spitzer’s viewership by 54% in the 25-54 demographic.

Fox still solidly wins all time slots, though Beck’s ratings slip was part of a broader slip throughout the network that saw some of its primetime stars ratings drop by double digit margins, year-on-year, according to Nielsen.

Maddow Slams Beck For Crying Wolf About Egypt Being The End Of The World

Glenn Beck is completely “certifiable”…

Mediaite

Rachel Maddow took the opportunity tonight to really go after Glenn Beck, and did so without really criticizing him directly as much as merely using Beck’s own words against him. Given Beck’s serious concern about the implications of the Egyptian uprising, Maddow proves this isn’t the first time Beck has sounded catastrophic alarm bells.

First Maddow defined opportunistic individuals as those who support an idea and then use current events to justify bringing about their proposal no matter what the circumstances might be. For instance Republicans will always advocate for lower taxes no matter if the government has a surplus or a deficit. Similarly, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will always suggest that now is a good time to bomb Iran, whether it’s a “random Tuesday” or as a result of the turmoil in Egypt.

With this as background, Maddow then showed multiple videos of Beck describing the uprisings in Egypt as evidence of the “coming insurrection.” Maddow concluded:

“For Mr. Beck and for others who see a direct ratio between their own success and how afraid they can make their audiences, it turns out that an uprising in Egypt is even better evidence of this being the end of the world than say the last evidence we had, which was President Obama passing Wall Street reform last July.”

By then showing video of Beck getting equally angry about the financial regulation bill, Maddow delivers an effective and hard to defend against blow.   She’s not really attacking Beck, well maybe she is, but what she more convincingly accomplishes here is simply raising doubt about how serious one should take Beck in the future if he gets this apoplectic so frequently.

Then in a final moment where she admits her own recent mistake of confusing satire for something real, Maddow delivers a final jab at Beck by referencing his “analysis” regarding China’s expansion plans:

“In a world where China taking over New Zealand is what passes for real analysis on the situation in Egypt, how do we know that’s not satire too?”

Advantage Maddow. Beck, your serve?

Roger Vinson, Florida Judge Who Ruled On Health Reform, Has His Own Medical Care Story

Huffington Post

The judge who ruled the Obama administration’s health care overhaul unconstitutional questioned whether the government was reaching beyond its power by requiring citizens to buy health insurance because everyone needs medical care.

Under that logic, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said, the government could force Americans to buy clothes or food. Vinson, who sided with 26 states fighting the much-maligned measure, revealed his own health care story during arguments several weeks ago, an example that helped shed light on his ruling Monday.

When Vinson was a law student and his wife gave birth to their first child, he paid a doctor in cash.

“It amounted to about $100 a pound,” the 70-year-old jurist joked in December.

Vinson, an ex-Navy pilot appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, is known for maintaining control of his courtroom while letting everyone have their say. He loves camellia flowers and has handled cases from abortion clinic bombings to veterans rights to racial discrimination.

“I think being a former Navy officer, he is used to being in control of things but not being a tyrant,” said attorney Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War who has tried numerous cases in front of Vinson.

The judge’s ruling produced an even split in federal court decisions so far on the health care law, mirroring enduring divisions among the public. Two judges had previously upheld the law, both Democratic appointees. A Republican appointee in Virginia had ruled against it.

The Justice Department quickly announced it would appeal, and administration officials declared that for now the federal government and the states would proceed without interruption to carry out the law. It seemed evident that only the U.S. Supreme Court could deliver a final verdict on Obama’s historic expansion of health insurance coverage.

On Capitol Hill, Republican opponents of the law pledged to redouble pressure for a repeal vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate following House action last month. Nearly all of the states that brought suit in Vinson’s court have GOP attorneys general or governors.    More…