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News and Live Blogging the “Health Insurance Summit”

I’m watching the Health Care Insurance Summit and that seems to be the big news this morning. But there ARE other things going on in the world . . .

Hummer’s suffering is about to be ended.

The lumbering giant is being put down by patriarchal General Motors, the American motoring giant 61%-owned by the US government.

It is a sign of the times.

The former favourite of Moscow’s moneyed, and the wheels once favoured by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been hit by a double whammy of tighter belts in some of its markets and a dramatic shift in public opinion in others.

::

SeaWorld trainer dies in killer whale attack in Orlando

A trainer at the SeaWorld park in Orlando, Florida, has died after being attacked by a killer whale.

Witnesses said the orca had jumped and grabbed Dawn Brancheau by the waist from a poolside platform before dragging her underwater.

Guests were evacuated while fire crews tried to rescue the 40-year-old, but they were unable to revive her.

The killer whale, Tilikum, was also reportedly involved in the death of a female trainer in Canada in 1991.

Other orcas were also said to have attacked trainers at SeaWorld parks in 2006 and 2004.

::

Killer whales: what to do with captive orcas?

“They are highly social animals, that tend to live in cohesive groups, so it’s quite an artificial environment to capture them and put them in a small area,” says Dr Andrew Foote, an expert on wild orcas from the University of Aberdeen, UK

“The tragic events are a reminder that orcas are wild, strong and often unpredictable animals,” says Danny Groves, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

Wild attacks

Reports differ, but there have been up to 24 attacks by captive orcas on people.

Contrary to popular perception, attacks by wild orcas on people have also been recorded, though no-one has been hurt.

::

Plastic rubbish blights Atlantic Ocean

Scientists have discovered an area of the North Atlantic Ocean where plastic debris accumulates.

The region is said to compare with the well-documented “great Pacific garbage patch”.

Kara Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association told the BBC that the issue of plastics had been “largely ignored” in the Atlantic.

::

Obama mulls health care plan that would cover 15 million less

WaPo health columnist counters: ‘no Plan B, everyone knows it’

President Barack Obama and his aides have prepared a scaled-back healthcare reform proposal should they not have the votes in Congress to pass a broader measure, according to a report Thursday.

The new proposal would help insure roughly 15 million, about half the 31 million Senate Democrats’ original plan would aim to insure. Children would be allowed to stay on their parents’ health plan until they were 26, and the bill would expand Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance program.

The Wall Street Journal said the new proposal would “modestly” expand existing federal programs.

Things have been sort of slow in the news all week.  I think everything is on hold until this “Summit” is over — like this is going to change the world.  We’ll see.

139 Responses

  1. I was trying to watch it. It’s too much theater for me.

    • I’m been watching but nothing much worth commenting on is going on.

    • It’s freaking torture. Not sure how much more I can take.

      • You must’ve made it longer then me … Obama is reminding me a little too much of a university administrator … all the serious looks and obligatory nodding just give me the creeps. It feels like one of those forced faculty development days. Where all the administration try to prove they actually know more than the faculty and attempt to justify their worthless positions.

        • If you missed Harry Reid, good for you. Huffing, puffing, pissing, and whining.
          But I feel so much better now knowing that the dems really *care* about me and my family…

    • I agree. I was listening to it, on my to work and had to change the station. It is all kabuki theater, as far as I am concerned.

  2. The Republicans should walk out. This is bullshit.

  3. Let’s spend the entire 6 hours talking about where you agree with me….Yep that’s a discussion.

  4. Here’s one for Cinie:

    As Greece’s financial condition has worsened, undermining the euro, the role of Goldman Sachs and other major banks in masking the true extent of the country’s problems has drawn criticism from European leaders. But even before that issue became apparent, a little-known company backed by Goldman, JP Morgan Chase and about a dozen other banks had created an index that enabled market players to bet on whether Greece and other European nations would go bust.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/business/global/25swaps.html?th&emc=th

    • bottom line: these guys withheld information from the EU that Greece was overextended, provided Greece loans that they will probably default on AND now, they will make tons of money with that off their little side bets.

      This shit has got to stop.

    • That’s interesting, but what I’m looking for is some kind of a trigger set by Dimon/JP Morgan Chase (or somebody else) to set up the whole house of cards collapse and ensuing panic, then put the stink bomb on Paulson/Goldma’s porch, ring the bell, and run to sing in the church choir.

      • well, it’s a pretty good indication from this and the other article that these guys set up bad loans then with that inside information put up the side bets against them so they’d win big on the side bets when the traditional stuff blew up. In terms of a smoking gun, you’d almost need tapes of the conversations at the top levels of the investment banks. But the fact that at GS they were reloading the CDOS with bad underlying assets and then shorting themselves and placing sidebets that their base stuff would blow up is a pretty good indicator they were setting themselves up to profit from a self-created crash.

    • Oh my God. These people are nothing but compulsive gamblers. Except they always win.

      • there’s no gambling involved … it’s more like a sting. You set up the failures (look innoncent) then you put you real money into waiting for the failures while suckering in your clients and pension plans into the front of the house (failures) deals. Meanwhile, again, all your money goes to the side bets because you know what you put together on the front of the house deals is crap.

        No gambling involved. It’s your basic racketeering. It was a con job along!

  5. Um, yeah Orbitz healthcare…

    • I was just watching that … I sure want to buy my surgery based on the cheapest option! Yup, that’s my main deciding factor when I have a life threatening surgery I need!

  6. Ah, the death panel now!

  7. How cool is it that the President & Demo Senators are in agreement that the differences between Repubs & Demos are “just semantic” differences — that there’s really no difference in their goals!

  8. Just love all these old men in blues suits talking about women getting C-Sections. There’s such a noticeable lack of voices in this room. They’re all mostly rich old white dudes too.

  9. Is Nancy the only woman in that room?

  10. Someone should point out that Baucas’s Gang of Six was mostly made up of Republicans…. THEY designed the GD bill.

    • Yes, but Obama’s Rahm delivered messages from The One about the deals being made behind closed doors at the White House.

      This bill is OBAMA’s bill, exactly what he wanted.

      • And Baucus’s former chief of staff (w/ insurance company specialization, iirc) was shifted to the WH to be an Obama ass’t chief of staff (w/ emphasis on health insurance “reform” and now campaign strategy!!!). Jim Messina: He and Baucus are “like family,” per one article I read.

        Oh, yes, very close coordination beween WH and Baucus. I doubt anything was done w/out Obama buy in or direction. Probably buy in, as what does he really know about legislating except compromising?

  11. Oh, great, the President has to relate this back to a story about him.

  12. Oh God, here comes another “I have a bracelet too” story.
    Did he just say out of high school, that he was dealing with an insurance company in Illinois? I did not know he was in Illinois at that time.

  13. I’ve been trying to watch. Then my head exploded. Very messy.

  14. Senator FIRE lobby Schumer up now.

  15. obama did take the time to remind us that he is the president.
    sweet jesus.

  16. In other news, under cover of the media talking healthcare reform, the Democratically -led Senate voted to renew the Patriot Act, and gave this president added power for roving wiretaps on cell phones.

    The vote was VOICE vote, of course, so no Dems could be held accountable for this sellout.

    Grrrrrrr

  17. Oh give me a freaking break. John Kyle, just brought up some differences, and Obama does not address Kyle’s point of taxes going up on someone with $69K income. Obama glossed over it, and says ok instead of criticisms we want to talk about similarities.

    Obama: “No, no you Republican peon, let me finish my long boring story”

  18. Somewhere Kanye is saying, “What a jackass”

  19. the obama show reminds me of Lost

  20. Obamatantrum in 5..4..3..2..

  21. mccain is going after obama.

  22. GO JOHN!

  23. Obama is so smarmy, not even looking at McCain.

  24. Obama: ” Look John, you lost. I am king now. “

  25. Jeez, does Mac still have a donate button?

    • yup, and he needs it, the conservative repubs are mounting a primary challenge to him; he’s not goosestepping enough for them

      • McCain needs to retire and let Arizona have a fresh voice. Term limits, term limits. I like McCain, but if the other guy wins the primary then that is what the constituency voted for.

        • McCain needs to run hard. If the people of Arizona want a fresh voice they know how to get one. I really hope they don’t turn to someone as smarmy as Hayworth though.

        • Can’t we just keep Mac in the Senate till Obama is gone?

  26. Whoa – not the nicest exchange between Obama and McCain.

  27. After that exchange, I’m reminded of the letter that McCain wrote to Senator Obama:

    The Honorable Barack Obama
    United States Senate
    SH-713
    Washington, DC 20510

    Dear Senator Obama:

    I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership’s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again.

    As you know, the Majority Leader has asked Chairman Collins to hold hearings and mark up a bill for floor consideration in early March. I fully support such timely action and I am confident that, together with Senator Lieberman, the Committee on Governmental Affairs will report out a meaningful, bipartisan bill.

    You commented in your letter about my “interest in creating a task force to further study” this issue, as if to suggest I support delaying the consideration of much-needed reforms rather than allowing the committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings on the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The timely findings of a bipartisan working group could be very helpful to the committee in formulating legislation that will be reported to the full Senate. Since you are new to the Senate, you may not be aware of the fact that I have always supported fully the regular committee and legislative process in the Senate, and routinely urge Committee Chairmen to hold hearings on important issues. In fact, I urged Senator Collins to schedule a hearing upon the Senate’s return in January.

    Furthermore, I have consistently maintained that any lobbying reform proposal be bipartisan. The bill Senators Joe Lieberman and Bill Nelson and I have introduced is evidence of that commitment as is my insistence that members of both parties be included in meetings to develop the legislation that will ultimately be considered on the Senate floor. As I explained in a recent letter to Senator Reid, and have publicly said many times, the American people do not see this as just a Republican problem or just a Democratic problem. They see it as yet another run-of-the-mill Washington scandal, and they expect it will generate just another round of partisan gamesmanship and posturing. Senator Lieberman and I, and many other members of this body, hope to exceed the public’s low expectations. We view this as an opportunity to bring transparency and accountability to the Congress, and, most importantly, to show the public that both parties will work together to address our failings.

    As I noted, I initially believed you shared that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.

    Sincerely,

    John McCain
    United States Senate

  28. I’m having a very hard time listening to this BS.

  29. Okay, I can’t take this anymore. I am completely disgusted with Obama. Nothing is ever simple with this guy, always subterfuge, always condescending.

    • Why is he lecturing for so long on the most BASIC of insurance concepts? What does all that have to do with regulation?

      Isn’t the concern about mandates for citizens?

    • When asked today if he had a Plan B, he said, “I always have a plan”. Too bad it doesn’t include working for the people.

      • LOL – exactly what I was thinking….anyone can have a plan….whether or not it is a good plan is the test.

        Such an arrogant statement. From all the photos we’ve seen of him, his plan is generally to rest his eyes while Rahm does the work.

    • Yes. While he’s battering Senators & Congressmen NOT to play to the cameras, HE is playing to the cameras.

      It’s disgusting.

  30. Oh gawd, Biden has opened his mouth, when will he shut up.

  31. Okay, I want to elect Louise Slaughter to higher office now.

  32. DId they cut off the only person who was making sense. I think her name is Slaughter. She was there when Hillary tried to pass it.

  33. I was watching FOx and they are showing it without interruption. Of coarse now we get their opinions 😦

    She was really good we need more like this!

    • CNN has Ben Stein on who has to be the biggest idiot on the planet. They just continually confirm my opinion of them which is they are the People Magazine of News Stations. There’s no place to go to *just*get*news*

  34. Oh no, not John Cornan from Texas, what a stingy windbag.

    Is it snowing there?? Is it not fitting that its snowing while the windbags try to agree on a single issue??

  35. CNN’s newest poll shows that 73% of Americans want this monstrosity of a bill (Senate) completely scrapped, and start completely over.

    That’s CNN, folks, not Fox.

  36. Cut-rate killer whale from Canada? “Doesn’t *usually* kill trainer, good with kids.”

    God bless this woman’s soul, and her family and friends.

    • Don’t forget Glenn Beck just left sea world, maybe he convinced the whale that the lady was a progressive. I not making light of the horrible thing that happened, just making fun of Beck. We should blame Beck.

      • Progressives are to Beck what Bears are to Colbert.

        i.e. In the historical tradition of progressives, rather than the fauxgressives today like Kos, Arianna, etc.

        • OTOH–“soulless killing machines” isn’t the worst description of today’s progressives I’ve ever heard. 😉

  37. A caller just asked why we aren’t doing medicare for all. Politico health care reporter said they took it off the table right away partly because they are afraid it would put the health insurers out of business. I didn’t think it ever made it to the table.

    As always, businesses are WAY more important than ALL the uninsured who can’t afford the “insurance products”.

    • agreed! Those paying the taxes so Boerhner and his buds can have excellent care is a miniscule problem and not to be taken seriously.

  38. I have to confess I watch Beck because you have to watch your enemy or you will never know how to defeat it. I will NEVER get of his statement when Hillary was in New Hampshire. He, himself cries all the time, he has to have drops put in to do it though. He is a fraud!

  39. Fact checking:

    When Lamar Alexander said CBO’s report showed policies already existing would go UP 10%- 13%, and the President said it wasn’t true, Alexander was correct.

    It’s right there in the CBO report. Apparently a presidential staff member handed The One a note saying Alexander was right.

  40. It’s baaaaack

  41. OT – SOD was asking how much more snow can we take – well it is snowing like crazy here in northern NJ – we’ve had 6-7 inches since 8:00 AM.

    I have always found the Farmer’s Almanac to be pretty reliable -they say we can expect snow once more this year – around March 12-15th.

    It is pretty though! 🙂

    Ok – you’ve had your break now back to the O show

  42. NEW THREAD: continuation of discussion up top

  43. I liked what Harkin said but, I can’t get over the Greenwald line about What Democrats do….

  44. Honorable Nancy Polosi said that 400,000 new jobs will be created if The Health Care Bill is passed. I am wondering, will these jobs remain in the United States or will they be outsourced?

  45. In the current state of economy, selecting a medical insurance plan that has great coverage and is affordable can be a difficult task. Still, health is our most valuable asset and it is very important to protect it as much as possible.
    Thus it is essential to truly understand the importance of global medical insurance and who to go about finding it.

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