Good Morning, Conflucians!!! It looks like the East Coast is due for a big storm today. It sounds like some of the people south of New England are going to get the worst of it for once, but the predictions are still for about a foot of snow in the Boston area. I’m not happy about that, but maybe it will warm things up a bit here. We have been having temperatures in the teens in the daytime–really cold for this early in the winter around here. The weather channel is calling it a “crippling snowstorm” for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
The powerful Gulf Low that brought flooding rains to Georgia, South Carolina, and severe and life threatening flooding, (12 to 18 inches) from Hollywood, Florida to Miami has redeveloped along the Carolinas. This new massive Atlantic storm will continue to strengthen today and bring dangerous heavy snow and even white-out conditions from the Virginias to Washington, DC to Philadelphia to New York City to Southern New England.
A large swath of historic and dangerous December snows of 10 to 15 inches will bury many of the major cities in the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast.
The heaviest snows are forecast for northern Virginia including Washington, DC to Baltimore and Philadelphia where one to two feet of snow is possible.
Winter storm warnings are posted for North Carolina to Southern New England, with Blizzard Warnings for the Maryland coast to Long Island to southern Rhode Island and Cape Cod.
North to Northeast winds will swirl 25 to 30 mph with gusts reaching 40 to 50 mph along the Northeast coastal areas from Atlantic City to Long Island and Cape Cod on today into early Sunday.
It sounds like Riverdaughter, StateofDisbelief, and CWaltz could get hit hard. Indigogrrl says she already has 16 inches where she is!! What are you all hearing where you are? I hope I don’t have to spend too much time shoveling, because I still have papers to grade this weekend. Be careful out there if you are in the blizzard watch areas!
LAST MINUTE UPDATE
There is still lots of bickering going on in the US Senate and at the climate talks in Copenhagen. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson is still hoping to find a way to further curtail women’s rights to reproductive health care even though Church leaders in his state are begging him to just get over it and vote for the bill.
HEALTH CARE DEFORM
Think Progress reports on a bizarre conversation about Ben Nelson that took place on Fox News’ morning show. The morning show crew were discussing Nelson’s work on turning women into forced baby-breeders. Steve Doocey argued that Nelson is using his anti-abortion delaying tactics “because he understands the true meaning of Christmas.” I read the article three times, but I still don’t understand what Doocey is talking about.
At the New York Times “Prescriptions” blog, David Herszenhorn writes about the Obama administrations supposed “vetting” of Nelson’s “wish list.” I’m guessing that probably means they are wooing Nelson by giving him everything he wants. According to Herszenhorn, Nelson still wants the Stupak abortion language, he is against the long-term care provisions, he is against reductions in medicare funding, and he has problems with Medicaid expansion.
I can only hope that Nelson and Lieberman together somehow manage to torpedo this horrible bill, but as for their other objection they can go Cheney themselves.
Politico reports that Harry Reid is still “confident” about getting the bill through the Senate somehow.
“Today was a day of long, hard negotiations involving a number of issues and a number of senators. We have made great progress and are pleased with how the discussions have proceeded. Sen. Reid will file the manager’s amendment tomorrow and is confident that it will prevail,” Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley, said in a statement Friday night.
The statement was a sign of Reid’s apparent confidence that he’ll have the votes to pass the bill before Christmas, as Democrats hoped. Most Democrats have suspected that Reid wouldn’t file the latest changes to the Senate reform plan – called the manager’s amendment – unless he was sure he could bring Nelson on board.
But a day of negotiations with Nelson ended shortly before 10 p.m. Friday without a final agreement that would satisfy the Nebraska Democrat, who wants the bill to include strict language barring federal funding of abortions and include relief for his state from future Medicaid funding obligations.
I’m not sure Reid’s confidence means anything at all. I hope not. I’m rooting for the bill to fail in the Senate and be sent back to the House to be turned into something that might actually help real Americans.
The Washington Post has trotted out Ted Kennedy’s widow Vicki to shill for the insurance bailout bill:
Ted knew that accomplishing reform would be difficult. If it were easy, he told me, it would have been done a long time ago. He predicted that as the Senate got closer to a vote, compromises would be necessary, coalitions would falter and many ardent supporters of reform would want to walk away. He hoped that they wouldn’t do so. He knew from experience, he told me, that this kind of opportunity to enact health-care reform wouldn’t arise again for a generation.
Ted often said that we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. He also said that it was better to get half a loaf than no loaf at all, especially with so many lives at stake. That’s why, even as he never stopped fighting for comprehensive health-care reform, he also championed incremental but effective reforms such as a Patients’ Bill of Rights, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and COBRA continuation of health coverage.
The bill before the Senate, while imperfect, would achieve many of the goals Ted fought for during the 40 years he championed access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
I wonder how the administration got her to sign her name to this op-ed. Did they lock her in a room until she signed it? Or did she get a call from Rahm Emmanuel or even the big Kahuna, Barack? I would love to know the backstory.
Finally, at The Boston Globe even Derrick Z. Jackson, a member of an endangered species–True Liberals–argues that we should take “two-thirds of a loaf” and just get something done.
Should reform pass, the Congressional Budget Office and the Medicare actuary say the uninsured rolls will be knocked down to between 18 million and 24 million. Without reform, the CBO, the actuary, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimate we will have between 54 million and 66 million uninsured Americans by 2019.
To be sure, the reductions will not keep America from being a global laughing stock on health care. We will remain the only industrialized nation without universal health coverage. Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean is correct in saying that reform is a giveaway to the insurance companies that historically put profit before coverage.
The system will remain chaotic, and families still may be bankrupted with catastrophic illness or injury. Ten years ago, a United Nations report found the United States to be the top per-capita spender on health care in the world, but ranked only 37th for health system performance. That report cited single-payer Canada as having North America’s “fairest mechanism for health system finance.’’ Our unfairness has a human toll. Of the 25 top-ranked countries in the UN’s 2009 Human Development report, the United States has the third-highest income gap and is tied for the second-lowest life expectancy.
Good Lord! Is that really the best we can do? That’s just pathetic!
On the other hand, the Senate seemingly had little trouble approving massive amounts of money for war this morning.
The U.S. Senate voted Saturday to approve a $635 billion bill to set the Defense Department’s budget for the remaining 10 months of fiscal 2010, completing Congress’ last piece of unfinished must-pass spending legislation.
The vote was 88-10.
The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve the legislation, meaning it will go to President Barack Obama for his signature early next week.
The bill includes short-term extensions of a number of expiring federal programs, deferring decisions on whether to reauthorize them until the end of February. These include a two-month extension of federal jobless benefits and subsidies to people who lost their medical insurance when they were laid off. The federal highway program is also extended for another two months.
In addition, the bill postpones for two months a 21% scheduled cut in Medicare payments to doctors, giving Congress additional time to pass a longer-term provision in the new year.
The Senate isn’t usually in session on Saturdays but has been for the last several weekends as lawmakers attempt to complete their work before leaving town for the holiday recess. The reason for the timing of this vote was because Republicans forced the Democratic majority to use the maximum allotted debate time.
COPENHAGEN CLIMATE SUMMIT
More short-sighted stupidity by our “world leaders.”
George Monbiot, The Guardian: Copenhagen negotiators bicker and filibuster while the biosphere burns
First they put the planet in square brackets, now they have deleted it from the text. At the end it was no longer about saving the biosphere: it was just a matter of saving face. As the talks melted down, everything that might have made a new treaty worthwhile was scratched out. Any deal would do, as long as the negotiators could pretend they have achieved something. A clearer and less destructive treaty than the text that emerged would be a sheaf of blank paper, which every negotiating party solemnly sits down to sign.
This was the chaotic, disastrous denouement of a chaotic and disastrous summit. The event has been attended by historic levels of incompetence. Delegates arriving from the tropics spent 10 hours queueing in sub-zero temperatures without shelter, food or drink, let alone any explanation or announcement, before being turned away. Some people fainted from exposure; it’s surprising that no one died. The process of negotiation was just as obtuse: there was no evidence here of the innovative methods of dispute resolution developed recently by mediators and coaches, just the same old pig-headed wrestling.
President Obama was in Copenhagen for less than 24 hours. While in the Danish capital, Obama held a hurried series of bilateral and multilateral meetings with leaders from around the world, with all sides engaged in last-minute brinksmanship to avoid leaving Copenhagen empty-handed.
In the end, before a hurried trip home to beat a snowstorm sweeping up the East Coast, Obama claimed success: “For the first time in history,” the president said, “all major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront the threat of climate change.”
The wheels of Air Force One were hardly off the ground before complaints were hurled at the five-nation agreement. European nations felt snubbed for not being primary parties to the deal, although they had been closely consulted in the closing frenzy of negotiations.
The Europeans also now find themselves alone in having settled on firm commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
Developing countries expressed outrage that threats to the very existence of some nations were ignored. A session that carried into the early hours of this morning hit a low point when a Sudanese delegate compared the five-nation agreement to Holocaust, because it would leave small island nations at risk of being submerged by rising seas and that large swaths of Africa would be turned into agricultural wastelands as temperatures rise.
BBC News: Climate summit: Where’s the beef?
He came. He did a quick deal. He left.
That was how US President Barack Obama intervened in the global warming conference in Copenhagen and whether he saved it from total deadlock or condemned it to issuing a powerless piece of paper depends on your point of view.
So the result was a political commitment not a treaty one.
The words sound fine enough. “We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change.”
And: “We shall, recognising the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2C, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term co-operative action to combat climate change.”
But where’s the beef? That apparently has to be added to this sandwich later.
Please post your own links in the comments and….
HAVE A STUPENDOUS SATURDAY!!!!!!
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