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    • The Left Wing “Shit Sandwich” Dilemma
      Kamala Harris and Joe Biden each have terrible records. There is no reason to believe they will do much that is good, and every reason to believe they will do much that is bad. Trump will, at least for Americans, probably be even worse. (It is less clear he will be better for foreigners.) The […]
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Presidential debate live blog: The Rules

This is the live blog of the second presidential debate.  Will Romney be able to score again while remaining a boorish Republican?  Will Obama actually show up this time? Which party will try to embrace Hillary first?  All good questions.

If you are a cord cutter like me, you can catch the debate on C-Span online here.  I don’t watch cable or network news because I just don’t think the commentary is helpful.  But if that’s what frosts your crockies, knock yourself  out.

It has been a tradition here at The Confluence to watch the debates with the sound off.  We like to watch body language.  But that’s gotten to be a bit trendy and we’re not joiners here, so pick your preferred method tonight but try to note whether Obama looks better prepared.

Now, I see that there are some newbies here.  I suspect you came here through the Fox video of my brother’s homecoming since many of you have a distinctly conservative aroma.  We here at The Confluence do not have a dog in this fight this year.  We don’t think Obama has done a very good job and we objected to the way he ran his campaign in 2008.  We’re also not Republicans.  Most of us here are liberals.  We LIKE to be liberal and we’re not afraid to shove our liberal policy favorites up your grill.  But just because many of us are planning to vote third party this year doesn’t mean we approve of character assassination of either candidate or conspiracy theories.  No racial comments will be tolerated.  Don’t pick on their families.  We don’t care what Michelle is wearing or what expression she has on her face.  Not important.

All that’s important is whether they sound convincing when they say things and whether they say the things we want to hear.

Have at it!

SOTU Live Blog: Spotting the buzzwords

"Michelle's Mai Tai was this big. No lie"

Hi there, sports fans.  It’s that once a year event again.  No, not the Superbowl, although, the Steelers are going again and this is a Packers free zone.

It’s the SOTU address.  Oh, joy.  When it comes to post SOTU critiques, we can expect the kool aide mainliners to sound a lot like Matt Bai did yesterday when he wrote about how Obama had to reach out to the online community.  (Warning: the following excerpt is nauseating.  Reader discretion is advised):

Mr. Obama is probably the most talented writer to occupy the office in the television age  (presumably, Matt is very young); his political career was made possible, in large part, by the candid memoir he wrote as a younger man. So it is hard to understand why he hasn’t tried to use that talent the way Kennedy capitalized on his personal charm.

You can easily imagine Mr. Obama sitting in front of a keyboard at the end of a long day, briefly reflecting on the oddity of a personal encounter or on the meaning of some overlooked event, or perhaps describing what it is like to stand in the well of Congress and deliver the State of the Union address. It could be that in order to expand the reach and persuasiveness of the modern presidency, Mr. Obama simply needs to be his online self — not so much a blogger as a memoirist in chief, walking us through history in real time.

It always feels better after you purge.  Do it now before the speech.

So, on with the show!  This year, I would like to invite corporate minions to chime in whenever they hear a potential consultant crafted buzzword.

Let’s try to not get petty.  Yes, Michelle is an amazon but do you know how hard it is to get clothes made for an amazon?  I’m only 5’9″ and a size 10 and let me tell you, nothing fits.  It sucks.  But I digress.

Let’s do this thing! Ready, set, buzzzz.

Live Blog: Senate Health Care Debate

Senator Ben (not a moderate) Nelson

I just got home and discovered that the Senate debate on the “health care reform” bill is still on. I’m not sure how long they are going to keep debating today. Senator Ben Nelson (who is not a moderate, media!) has proposed his Stupak-clone anti-abortion amendment, and much of the debate today will focus on abortion, according to CNN.

The amendment by moderate Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska would mirror language from the health care bill passed by the House last month that prevents any health plan receiving federal subsidies from offering coverage for abortion. It was unclear if a Senate vote on Nelson’s amendment would occur Monday.

Anti-abortion legislators say the House language that Nelson seeks to adopt maintains the current level of restriction by preventing any federal funding for abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother.

Opponents of the tougher language say the amended language would expand the current level of restriction because women receiving coverage under a federally subsidized health care plan would be barred from purchasing abortion coverage with their own money.

According to John Walker at Firedoglake, the Nelson bill is every bit as bad as the Stupak-Pitts amendment that is included in the bill passed by the House.

What have you heard? You can watch the debate on C-Span 2 or get the live stream here.

John Cornyn (ugh!) just finished a ridiculous rant and right now Barbara Boxer is speaking about women’s health issues. Please document the atrocities in the comments.

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Live Blog: Senate Debate on Health Care Bill

The Senate is debating the health care bill this weekend–specifically they are considering the numerous amendments that have been proposed by Senators. Al Franken is acting as President right now. You can watch the debate on C-Span 2 or you can get the live stream here.

Bloomberg: President Obama plans to head to the Senate today to “rally the troops.”

At TNR, Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale, has an opinion piece:You Call This a Compromise?

As the Senate debates the health care bill put together by Majority Leader Reid, the scramble is on to come up with a new compromise regarding the public option–the public health insurance plan modeled after Medicare that will be offered within the new health insurance exchange to Americans who lack workplace health insurance (and to workers in small firms that decide to buy coverage through the exchange).

The problem is that the current proposals aren’t “compromises” and don’t represent “middle ground.”

They represent abandonment of the public plan idea altogether. One proposal that is being floated, for example, is the chartering of a national nonprofit plan, similar to the “cooperatives” that Senator Kent Conrad has advocated. But the whole point of the public plan is to create a plan that is up and running quickly and constructed on the existing infrastructure of Medicare so that it can create competitive pressure for insurers and serve as a backup for consumers on day one. In 35 states, after all, the largest private insurer enrolls more than half of privately insured patients. Many of these plans are nonprofits already–the problem is that they don’t face a credible alternative.

Another, even stranger idea is to offer the nonprofit plans available in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) within the exchange. Since the FEHBP is itself a form of exchange, this amounts to offer a new set of private plans within a new set of private plans. How is that going to provide real pressure on private insurers in a consolidated insurance market in which nonprofit plans already have a large presence (and often act little differently from for-profit plans)?

In short, the new compromise proposals are anything but. They represent calls for advocates of the public plan to eat their crumbs and be happy.

If you have been following the debate so far, please share your reactions. And join us in discussing what’s happening this afternoon.

Senate Healthcare Deliberations and Votes: Live Blog

Tawk amongst yourselves…I got nuthin

Live Blog: Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings

15soto_600

Yesterday Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) made a complete fool of himself, — twice, actually

This morning, Sen. Jeff Sessions…castigated Sotomayor for not ruling with her fellow Puerto Rican colleague, conservative Judge José A. Cabranes, when she decided to deny an en banc appeal in Ricci v. DeStefano, a process in which all judges of a court hear a case (as opposed to a three-judge panel of them). Sessions seemed to indicate that people of the same ancestry should vote the same way:

SESSIONS: You voted not to reconsider the prior case. You voted to stay with the decision of the circuit. And in fact your vote was the key vote. Had you voted with Judge Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could’ve changed that case.

Sessions slammed Sotomayor as being “unsuitable for the bench” due to her past affiliation with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). Apparently, Sessions didn’t realize that Judge Cabranes also served on PRLDEF’s board.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wasn’t far behind. He asked Sotomayor:

“Doesn’t your decision in Maloney mean that virtually any state or local weapons ban would be permissible?” he asked.

“Sir, in Maloney, we were talking about nunchuck sticks,” the judge explained.

“I understand,” said the senator.

“Those are martial arts sticks,” Sotomayor added.

Hatch did not want to appear to be a ninja newbie. “Two sticks bound together by rawhide or some sort of a –”

“Exactly,” the nominee said. “And when the sticks are swung . . . that swinging mechanism can break arms, it can bust someone’s skull.”

“Sure,” Hatch agreed, breezily. He wasn’t about to get into a fight with an expert in martial arts.

Who will be win the “booby prize” in today’s session? Continue reading

RBC Meeting Live Blog- Thread 3

This is a continuation of garychapelhill’s live blogging direct from the RBC meeting in Washington, DC. While we wait for Gary to look up from the previous thread and migrate here, feel free to update us with your own thoughts in the comments.

Have at it, Conflucians.

2:30–I see that there is a new thread. Hope I’m not too late. “Disenfranchising voters is not the American way!”. We should have questions coming up and then LUNCH, yeahhh! Question from Hines(sp?) Does Clinton support MI party proposal? No she does not. Does not agree that primary was flawed. Does say that they should not have been allowed to remove their names as Florida disallowed. Hines ask if there should be rules on timing. He says they should rotate the schedule. Hines says the rules are products of years of study, doesn’t he believe in the rules? Blanchard says rules shouldn’t disenfranchise voters. Clinton did not have anything to do with timing, so question “would you do it the same way” is not valid. I know you guys would love it here. I keep hearing people muttering “but what about the rooooolz????” Proposal of another allocation other than actual vote will “be a mountain to climb”. Clinton is pretty much giving him the uncommitted. “but some may switch back, you never know”. He meant SD’s. I haven’t heard anything about this, but is it a foregone conclusion that all SD’s will be restored? Now this guy says that it trivialized 2000 to compare this primary to it. Blanchard says the right of voters trumps all. It is not trivial. Again with the “what about the people who didn’t vote?”. That is truly embarrassing. Oh no, Donna Brazille. She doesn’t consider ignoring voter rights disenfranchisement. Didn’t he already answer that question about whether he supports the MI party plan? Maybe she fell asleep. “My momma said I’ll give you something to take home. to play by the rules”. what a hack. She is getting heckled by the audience.  Ickes is up last.  That’s it for now. We will pick up later, if there is going to be an afternoon session.  Thanks for everyone’s participation!  Now I’m going to eat lunch!!!!!!  We’ll be back at 4:15