Harry Reid and his Gang of 10, the notorious hitmen who terrorized the Five Points section of New York, have reached agreements on various controversies in the Senate health care bill! Let's review what this means for you, the consumer:
* The public option is "sidelined," but not "killed." Maybe it will just bleed to death on its own, there on the sidelines.
* Older-Americans over the age of 55 could buy in to Medicare, the magic government-run health care plan that is not a government-run health care plan in the minds of angry Older-Americans who hate government-run health care plans.
* "A federal agency, the Office of Personnel Management, would negotiate with insurance companies to offer national health benefit plans, similar to those offered to federal employees." Countdown to Michele Bachmann calling this a plan to make us all work for the federal government: 5, 4, 3…
* In the highly unlikely event that private health insurance companies don't look at all this and immediately lower rates and expand coverage, the government will step in with an insurance plan of its own.
* People will be angry about this: "The Senate rejected a proposal to ban coverage of abortion by health plans that would insure millions of Americans under the Democrats’ bill. The vote was 54 to 45." Only two Republicans, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, joined the Democrats in rejecting the abortion coverage ban. Don't worry, liberals, these ladies will not be pelted with moose dung when they go home for Christmas — moose droppings are too small to be effective for pelting purposes.
* President Obama is very happy with the Senate's work.
* It remains to be seen what the Congressional Budget Office thinks of the Senate's work.
There, now, don't you feel better for having learned all this? I know I do! That's because I've developed a "health care plan" of my own: Simply drink one (1) shot of whiskey for every health care bullet-point you encounter. If that doesn't work, a tequila shot is 'triggered.' Try it yourself and see! This plan is budget neutral, provided you don't eat too much food.
Tags: Abortion, Harry Reid, Health Care, Michele Bachmann, Olympia Snowe, Senate, Susan Collins
Look, my home state of Maine is in the news (in Maine, no one else ever notices). Guess why! Here, I'll give you a hint. Rhymes with 'frown ball.' Ayuh, you got it…
An estimated 450 people from throughout Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and beyond gathered in Brewer Tuesday night to give their elected representatives a piece of their minds.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe and U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud were no shows.
Instead the dozens of people who traveled from such places as Washington County, Casco, Saco, East Millinocket, Orrington, the St. John Valley, Bangor, and York County, had to make due [sic -- copyedit moose must be on vacation] by addressing blown up photographs of the three propped up against three empty chairs that had been reserved for them at the front of the room.
Yes. Yes. So for over two hours the citizens of Maine hollered at these photographs, berating them for everything from "plans to nationalize health care, the federal stimulus package, recent corporate bailouts, and the cash for clunkers program," not to mention the proposal where Obama comes to take our guns. And then, I dunno, I guess everyone got bored and went home, leaving the thoroughly chastised headshots to ponder the error of their ways, forever, on folding chairs at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.
Sure, you flatlanders may call it crazy, but where I come from we call it Yankee ingenuity ("patriotism").
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have an audience with this picture of the Pope.
Tags: Maine, Michael Michaud, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Town Hall
A bipartisan group of Senators now claims to have sliced $100 billion from the stimulus package, which means maybe — just maybe — a few Republicans will change their minds, agree to pass this thing, and let everyone go home before midnight tonight.
But the GOP's still angrier'n a wet cat…
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who is also part of the bipartisan group, said Republican resistance continued to center on the cost and the precedent of Obama's stimulus plan.
Some Republicans are against the notion of having the federal government take on responsibilities that historically have been handled by the states, she said.
Yeah! States' rights! Unless too many states start letting the gayfolk get married.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican and the other bipartisan team leader, circulated a roster proposing $88 billion worth of net cuts from the measure. She proposed eliminating money in the bill for K-12 education while boosting funding for Pentagon operations, facilities and procurement by $13 billion.
Of course she did, because as we explained earlier, "spending" and "pork" are synonyms, unless you introduce the magic qualifier "Pentagon."
Kudos to Senator Collins for her quick thinking! If all goes well, this stimulus package will help set the stage for a bold and robust new American economy, one in which illiterate defense employees who can't do basic math have access to a gazillion rocket launchers.
Tags: Claire McCaskill, Economy, Education, Pentagon, Senate, Stimulus, Susan Collins
Maine is an ornery kind of state. Tucked up in our northeast, they're never too keen on taking their cues from the rest of the country. (Which they uniformly refer to as "away," whether New Hampshire or Hawaii.)
So when the rest of the country announced that they were driving out Republicans and pushing the Senate toward a 60-vote Democratic supermajority, Mainers shook their heads, set down their Allen's Coffee Brandy, and re-elected Senator Susan Collins.
Collins benefits from the fact that the Senate does not administer and IQ test for admission, but she's known as an independent legislator who works across the aisle on issues that matter most to Mainers. (The economy, coffee brandy, sleet removal.)
The state did, however, let down the Republicans on the presidential front. McCain had his eye on the one electoral vote from Maine's second district and bought airtime to compete for it. He even sent noted hunter Sarah Palin to campaign there, which unwittingly proved to be the campaign's undoing.
The second district consists almost entirely of moose.
Tags: John McCain, Maine, Sarah Palin, Susan Collins
Call it mob mentality. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts has joined the list of Republicans skipping their party's convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul on account of a tight re-election campaign.
Roberts is the sixth big name Republican to dis John McCain on his special night, thus making this a full-blown trend -– one that threatens to become as popular as taking money from Jack Abramoff was in 2004!
Here's a rundown of who's ducked out so far…
Vice President Dick Cheney
Numerous daytime events and possible exposure to garlic in the catering spreads make the convention a mortal danger for him.
That's six prominent Republicans down and there's still two weeks 'til the convention. I just hope Joe Lieberman has a lot of material prepared.
Tags: Alaska, Dick Cheney, Elizabeth Dole, Gordon Smith, Kansas, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, RNC, Senate, Susan Collins, Ted Stevens