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See a Penny, pick it up


The San Francisco Giants acquired Brad Penny off the scrap heap and in his first start as a Giant he threw eight shut-out innings to beat the defending World Champion Phillies 4-0.

He’s gonna give A SPEECH!


We’re saved!:

President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress on health care reform in prime time on Wednesday, Sept. 9, a senior official tells POLITICO.

Obama will receive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the White House the day before for a previously scheduled sit-down.

The last time a president addressed a joint session of Congress that wasn’t a State of the Union, or the traditional first address by a new president, was Sept. 20, 2001, when President George W. Bush spoke on the war on terrorism following the 9/11 attacks.

After plans for the session had been reported, Reid and Pelosi released a letter of invitation to the president: “Our nation is closer than ever to achieving health insurance reform that will lower costs, retain choice, improve quality and expand coverage. We are committed to reaching this goal. We would like to invite you to address a Joint Session of the Congress on Wednesday, September 9 on health insurance reform. Thank you for considering this invitation to speak to the Congress and the nation.”

Obama plans to give lawmakers a more specific prescription for health care legislation than he has in the past, aides said.

Congress technically returns to Washington on Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. But many members had planned Sept. 9 as their first workday, so Obama is seizing the first moment when he will have maximum impact.

Does that mean single payer is rescued? Will we get a “strong public option” now?  Medicare for all?

Make the jump for the answer:

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News for a Wednesday Morning

Health Care

. . . As a Kansas resident, this story struck home :

States most likely to win under healthcare overhaul are home to its biggest foes

“The states that tend to be more conservative have a higher rate of people who are uninsured,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of FamiliesUSA, which advocates for a healthcare overhaul. “As a result, healthcare reform is going to provide a disproportionate amount of resources to those states.”

In Wyoming, for example, nearly one out of three people under the age of 65 went without health insurance at some point during the last two years, according to Pollack’s group. A huge majority of the uninsured have jobs, but work for employers who don’t provide coverage.

Can Reconciliation work? I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes but, the rumors are fascinating:
The Rationales for Reconciliation

The idea, as it stands, is that there will be two health-care bills. The one with the hard stuff — the subsidies, the Medicaid expansion, the Medicare reforms, the public plan, and the revenue measures — will go through the budget reconciliation process, and thus sidestep the filibuster. Then there’ll be a bill that includes everything that was ineligible for the budget reconciliation process.

But will it work?

51 Vote Rules May Force a Public Option Too Liberal for Some Dems

According to Martin Paone, a legislative expert who’s helping Democrats map out legislative strategy, a more robust public option–one that sets low prices, and provides cheap, subsidized insurance to low- and middle-class consumers–would have an easier time surviving the procedural demands of the so-called reconciliation process. However, he cautions that the cost of subsidies “will have to be offset and if [the health care plan] loses money beyond 2014…it will have to be sunsetted.”

And there the irony continues: Some experts, including on Capitol Hill, believe that a more robust public option will generate crucial savings needed to keep health care reform in the black–and thus prevent it from expiring. But though that may solve the procedural problems, conservative Democrats have balked at the idea creating such a momentous government program, and if they defected in great numbers, they could imperil the entire reform package

Business as Usual

Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says

“What our study shows is that this is a widespread phenomenon across the low-wage labor market in the United States.”

According to the study, 39 percent of those surveyed were illegal immigrants, 31 percent legal immigrants and 30 percent native-born Americans.

The study found that 26 percent of the workers had been paid less than the minimum wage the week before being surveyed and that one in seven had worked off the clock the previous week. In addition, 76 percent of those who had worked overtime the week before were not paid their proper overtime, the researchers found.

Thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerrilla for this one (I think):
FDA Study: Lead Levels in Lipstick Much Higher Than Previously Reported

FDA found lead in all 20 lipsticks tested, at 0.09 to 3.06 parts per million –
four times higher than the highest level reported in by CSC. FDA used a new
method to analyze lipstick and concluded that earlier methods likely
underestimated lead levels.

FDA noted that three manufacturers had the highest lead levels, but did not
name these brands. The CSC report found a few brands with consistently higher
lead levels, including L’Oreal, Maybelline and Cover Girl.
. . .
FDA found an average lead level in lipstick more than 10 times higher than its
own standard for lead in candy. FDA’s standard for candy is based on the
lowest lead level that can be achieved. A similar standard should be applied
to lipstick. Full release at http://www.safecosmetics.org

Cheney for President!! – Just kidding. This IS a joke, right?
Cheney in 2012? Now there’s a real September surprise

Now comes James Taranto, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, who is suggesting that Cheney would be a terrific presidential candidate in 2012. If national security emerges as the key issue in the election, he argues, “Republicans would be wise to nominate someone with both toughness and experience. Under such circumstances, it’s hard to think of a better candidate — assuming, of course, that he could be persuaded to run — than Richard B. Cheney.”

And (maybe) not so usual?

Obama White House Has Secret Plan To Harvest Personal Data From Social Networking Websites
NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.

The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”

Huge wildfire portends bad Calif. fire season

“When you see a fire burning like this, with no Santa Ana winds, we know that with the winds, it would be so much worse, so much more intense,” said Los Angeles County fire Capt. Mark Whaling.

The Santa Anas are so devastating when they carry fire because they sweep down from the north and reach withering speeds as they squeeze through wilderness canyons and passes and plunge into developed areas.

Even though winds have been mostly calm since the blaze began along the northern fringe of Los Angeles and its suburbs, the flames have spread over 199 square miles of forest in a week.

Stupid should hurt

Sarah Palin 01

The Palin haters are at it again.  From Business Insider:

Hong Kong Broker Pulling A “Borat” On Sarah Palin

Hopefully Sarah Palin realizes she’s been invited to Hong Kong as a practical joke.

CLSA, the Asia-focused broker who invited Mrs. Palin as keynote speaker for an Asian investment conference, is well known for their cheeky takes on investment research.

In the past, they’ve polled Asian fortune tellers for index targets, hired anime cartoonists to draw Japanese research, and generally love to push the boundaries between entertainment and analysis. They are a real research firm, it’s just that they love to sprinkle in some hilarity every now and then as a smart marketing gimmick.

Sarah Palin is this year’s big laugh for them.

Her invitation as keynote speaker in Hong Kong is so ridiculous that its absurdity can’t be accidental.

Alaskan PDS bloggers Shannyn Moore and The Mudflats try to postpone their irrelevancy by repeating the story.  Unfortunately for them, their 15 minutes are over.

Let’s see, CSLA offers Sarah Palin $100,000 to make a speech and this is obviously a big joke because . . .  why?  Do the Palin haters think that in the middle of the speech a clown will run out and hit her in the face with a pie?  Kinda pricey for a few laughs, and they’ll never get anyone worth a damn to give a speech again.

From the CSLA website:

Global leaders and industry specialists use CLSA Investor Forums as a platform to examine the economic, political, environmental, technological and financial trends impacting global markets. In the past, keynote speakers have included Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Al Gore, Henry Kissinger, Lee Kuan Yew and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to name a few.

It sounds to me like Sarah will be doing what many other notable names have done – she will get paid to make a speech.

I don’t know if Sarah will write the speech but I’m sure she will do a pretty good job delivering it.  If it were Obama reading the speech from his Teleprompters the Failbots would point to the speech (“He gave a speech!“) as evidence of his mastery of international finance.
BTW – I have the Borat DVD on a shelf somewhere. If someone was “pulling a Borat” it would have to be Sarah.  The correct cultural reference would be Punk’d.


Jaycee Lee Dugard Lived for 18 Years in a “Paedophile Ghetto.”

Philip Garrido and Jaycee Dugard, age 11

Philip Garrido and Jaycee Dugard, age 11

Warning: Read this post only if you have a strong stomach and a burning desire to end violence against women and children.

Jaycee Lee Dugard is a young woman, now 29, who was abducted in 1991 at age 11 by convicted sex offender Philip Garrido and his wife Nancy Dugard. The Garridos kept Dugard in a series of tents and sheds in their back yard in Antioch, California, for 18 years. During that time Philip Garrido repeated sexually abused Dugard and twice impregnated her, fathering two children with her.

Garrido never should have been on the streets in the first place. In 1977, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the kidnap and rape of 25-year-old Katie Callaway Hall in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Hall was interviewed on Larry King Live (video at link–if you can stand King’s offensive questioning). From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Continue reading