Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Congratulations, Banks!

Treasury Sec. Geithner speaks on how his stress tests have solved this crisis forever...

In Which Your Absent Author Expresses His Cynicism Once Again...

Is the health-care industry playing President Obama? Almost certainly. Is he going to let them?

The answer to that question is what will determine whether we actually get substantive health-care reform in this country, or just simply the appearance of it. Despite some positive signs, I am not optimistic.

A big problem, of course, is that our political discourse is ruled by rich people (who can afford quality care) and, of course, politicians (who don't want to give the rest of the country an option for a public plan like the one they all enjoy). I am reminded of when Tony Snow (rest his soul) left his White House gig in 2007, he said it was because he couldn't afford to live on-- particularly with his medical bills-- his salary of $168,000 a year. And yet the average American, who makes significantly less and doesn't have a government job, is told to just deal with it.

And the opposition party is freaking out that healthcare reform is even on the table right now... while admitting that they have nothing to offer themselves on the issue. (Other than Frank Luntz's talking points, which they've wasted no time in embracing, naturally.) The fact that President Obama has discussed using the reconciliation budget process to get health-care passed is the only sign that he truly understands the nature of this opposition.

The bottom line is that we need to start getting families like this on TV more often (and I'm sure everyone here has nightmare stories of their own... feel free to share!), and then we'll see the debate start to shift, and the legislation along with it.

[UPDATE: Why I'm not optimistic... Obama caved on this issue and this one, he can be made to cave here too.

UPDATE #2 (5/15): Cynicism validated already... Lucy pulls the football away from Pres. Charlie Brown.]

Quick Thoughts

So it seems that America is (very slowly) becoming totally gay for same-sex marriage. This is one of the few bright spots in the otherwise dark sky of political news in 2009.

How much of the Bush-Cheney push for torture in 2002 was about building a case for invading Iraq? That's key, I think. And reality is about to smack around the pro-torture crowd yet again.

Rush Limbaugh is a racist very serious person. And Dick Cheney loves him.

President Obama doubles down on Afghanistan. For better or worse.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 White House Correspondents Dinner

Watch it here... President Obama, pt. 1, pt. 2, Wanda Sykes, pt. 1, and pt. 2.