Patterico's Pontifications

12/18/2009

MoveOn.org Opposes Senate Health Care Bill

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 7:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

MoveOn.org announced it opposes the Senate health care bill because it does not have a public option, and has sent an email to supporters asking them to contact their Senators. This comes just one day after the AFL-CIO and SEIU criticized the bill for the same reason.

It’s cold in Washington tonight in more ways than the weather.

– DRJ

Robert Stacy McCain’s Suggested Bumper Sticker About Whipping Slaves: Just a Joke

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 pm

R.S. McCain pops up his head to tell me: “FUCK YOU, SIR.” What’s he upset about? That I mentioned a posting of his — which he wrote on a Civil War listserv — in which he proposed, in a thread about bumper stickers for the discussion group, this bumper sticker:

Have you whipped your slaves today?

I’m guessing that, when he made the comment, he didn’t realize I already had a post drafted up that defends him against the charge that this comment is racist.

The key is context. The context here suggests a joke.

Charles Johnson portrayed this statement without any context, saying only this:

Here’s Robert Stacy McCain in a humorous mood, dreaming up some hilarious Bumper Stickers . . .

RStacy2229
May 21 1996, 12:00 am

I’d rather be wenching in the quarters

or

Have you whipped your slaves today?

On its face, this might seem UNABASHEDLY RACIST!!!!1!! (as Charles Johnson suggested.) But I think the truth is a little more subtle. I arrived at this conclusion by reading through this alt.war.civil.usa listserv:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

My view of the “bumper sticker” is informed by my reading through these threads, and my conclusion is that Johnson’s cartoonish characterizations aren’t on the mark. In context, McCain’s proposed bumper sticker appears to be a joke, mocking Northerners’ views of Southern slaveholders, told by someone who appears to argue that those slaveholders weren’t such bad folk after all.

(more…)

Nelson Moves Closer to a Decision

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 7:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It sounds like Democratic Senator Ben Nelson is moving closer to making a decision on health care:

“Democratic leaders appeared to make progress Friday night in winning over Sen. Ben Nelson to be their 60th vote to pass a sweeping health care bill by Christmas. Nelson, a moderate Nebraska Democrat, is seeking stricter abortion curbs and said he’s been offered ideas that may answer his concerns.”

The report suggests Nelson supports an agreement that would prohibit direct or indirect federal funding of abortion. I can’t wait to see what the left does if that’s true.

Polls show a vote for health care makes it more difficult for Nelson to get re-elected in 2012. If that remains true, he has to decide whether he wants to run for re-election or retire. Thus, Nelson’s biggest decision isn’t about health care, it’s about his future.

– DRJ

Chinese Premier Snubs Obama … Twice (Updated)

Filed under: Economics,International,Obama — DRJ @ 6:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UK’s The Independent reports China’s Premier Wen Jiabao twice avoided meeting with President Obama at the Copenhagen climate change summit:

“At an emergency meeting convened at the Bella Center this morning, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown assembled 26 heads of state in an attempt to revive a deal. But China’s Premier Wen Jiabao did not attend and was replaced by vice foreign minister He Yafei.

This afternoon, the US president and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton called another meeting with China, but were snubbed again when only three low-level Chinese delegates arrived.”

China has expressed alarmed at the rate the United States — under the Obama Administration — is printing and spending money. Apparently this hasn’t gotten President Obama’s attention, at least not if his recent efforts to mobilize more spending for climate change are any indication. Perhaps this is the Premier’s way of getting Obama’s attention.

– DRJ

UPDATE: An hour after Obama was supposed to have left Copenhagen (he had to rush home to Washington to beat an imminent snowstorm), Jake Tapper reports there was a moment of high drama as Obama barged into a meeting with the Chinese Premier. (The video is here.)

It’s often said America’s President is the most powerful person in the world but that wasn’t the case today.

H/T Maybee.

Joe Trippi Signs on as Fox News Contributor

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 4:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign chairman, will join Fox News as a contributor:

“Joe Trippi, who served as campaign manager for Howard Dean’s unique bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, has signed on for a new ride: FOX News contributor.

The Swamp has learned that the indefatigable Democrat will join the lineup of commentators on call for political analysis at the No. 1 cable news network. Trippi will help FOX ring in the new year, the Swamp hears, starting as an on-air contributor on Jan. 1.”

This is an interesting addition given Howard Dean’s strident opposition to ObamaCare in recent days.

– DRJ

Describing Copenhagen

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today marks the end of the Copenhagen climate change summit. In keeping with his tendency to describe everything as unprecedented, President Obama described this as a “meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough” on a global warming deal. Meanwhile, David Corn did not use the word unprecedented to describe Obama’s results in Copenhagen, but he did use the word collapse:

“This was not a speech of persuasion; it was one of positioning. After the morning meeting, Obama and his aides had obviously calculated that a deal was far off—perhaps not even possible—and that there was not much Obama could say in this speech to grease the way to a meaningful agreement. So the US president forcefully presented his stance, maintaining he was willing to compromise, and chastised others for failing to rise above their own interests.

This was widely seen at the Bella Center as a sign that talks had collapsed. American environmentalists appeared stunned, as they grappled with the implications: maybe collective global action to address global warming is not possible.”

Yesterday’s crowd favorite Hugo Chavez had no sympathy for Obama’s failure:

“Chavez, who was not included on the original list of speakers for the final day of the summit, ended the proceedings with bitter references to the Peace Prize-winning Obama as the “Nobel Prize of War.”

The Nobel Prize of War just finished saying here that he is here to act. Well, show it sir. Don’t leave by the back door,” he said.

Three years after Chavez likened Bush to the devil during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the socialist strongman tore into Obama, claiming Friday that “it still smells like sulfur in the world.”

Chavez may smell sulfur but the rest of the world smells failure. Just ask the Russians, who dropped their own climate change bombshell during the opening days of the Copenhagen summit and effectively ended it before it began.

– DRJ

TMZ Hounding Sarah Palin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

She ended up cutting a Hawaii vacation short:

Sarah Palin announced Thursday night that she ended a Hawaii vacation early because of the ruckus raised after she blacked out “McCain” on her sun visor in an effort to elude paparazzi.

After the former Alaska governor was photographed on the beach earlier this week, TMZ.com portrayed the visor marking as a slight of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), her running mate last year.

Palin, in the midst of a book tour for her million-selling “Going Rogue,” released this statement:

“In an attempt to ‘go incognito,’ I Sharpied the logo out on my sun visor so photographers would be less likely to recognize me and bother my kids or other vacationers.

It wasn’t enough to drag her through the mud during the election. It wasn’t enough to continue the birth canal inspection afterwards.

These people are going to hound her and her family for the rest of their lives, aren’t they?

ObamaCare: Will Ben Nelson buckle? And what about Jim Webb?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:20 am

[Posted by Karl]

On Thursday, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told KLIN radio that the latest compromise language on abortion funding in ReidCare was unacceptable.

Thus, the question of the moment remains whether he will cave on the issue at some point. After all, just a month ago, Ben said he would be satisfied with the language approved by the Senate Finance Committee, which was less restrictive than the Stupak amendment added to the House bill. However, at the Lincoln JournalStar, Dan Walton argues that Ben will stick to his guns, citing the senator’s strong ties to Nebraska Right to Life.

Of course, Ben may have an easier time sticking with his position because abortion is not his only problem with the Reid bill. He reaffirmed to KLIN that there are “other substantive issues” keeping him from voting for cloture and ending debate. Indeed, Nelson has voted for more Republican amendments to the bill than any other member of the Democrats’ caucus. Moreover, Ben’s background is in the insurance industry (and insurance regulation); he represents a solid GOP state with a significant insurance industry presence.

Like Ben, No. 3 Dem defector Evan Bayh (D-IN) received more than $470,000 from the health insurance industry since 2006. Bayh’s wife is a director at Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint Inc.

Some may surprised to learn that the No. 2 Dem defector is Jim Webb (D-Va). Indeed, Webb and Nelson have consistently voted for GOP motions to recommit the bill back to the Finance Committee. “Smoking out” senators like Webb has been part of the GOP’s strategy in offering all of these amendments to the bill. I am a bit skeptical that the GOP can get Webb’s vote for a filibuster, despite the big GOP election victories in Virginia last month.

Ben Nelson remains the man of the moment, and his shift on abortion in the past month leaves everyone hanging. Does it signal that he is looking for some formulation that moves him closer to backing ReidCare? Or — as with Lieberman suddenly opposing the Medicare buy-in he once advocated — is Nelson looking for ways to avoid getting to “yes?”

Note: Thanks for the Lincoln JournalStar piece and the National Journal chart go to Jay Cost (of RCP’s excellent HorseRace blog) via his new account on Twitter.

Update: Jay Cost has posted his own take on “The Democrats’ Health Care Dilemma.”

–Karl

“Arbeit Macht Frei” Sign Stolen

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:46 am

AP:

Polish police say the infamous iron sign over the gate to the Auschwitz memorial site with the cynical phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei” — German for “Work Sets You Free” — has been stolen.

I have been to Auschwitz (and Birkenau, which I found equally moving if not more so), and have several pictures of this sign — probably somewhere in a box.

It’s something everyone should see. I imagine it’s not the same without the sign. I hope they find it, for the benefit of visitors, and history.


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