Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hell Freezes Over

It must have, because the American Medical Association has endorsed the House version of the healthcare bill, which not only provides a public plan option but finances it partly by taxing the wealthy, especially those making above a million bucks.

The AMA has been a notorious foe of any reform, going back to their opposition to Medicare in the 1960s. Everything was "socialized medicine" with them. But as insurance companies soaked up all the bucks, doctors lost out, and lost their autonomy not to government bureaucrats but--wait for it--corporate bureaucrats.

Further evidence of the temperature change in hell is that the infamous Harry and Louise are back--but this time supporting comprehensive healthcare reform. Their ads were famous for attacking the Clinton healthcare plan, and though they weren't likely to have been decisive, they became a symbol of that defeat. Click to see the ad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday's Notes

If you're looking for a site that is tracking the ins and outs of healthcare legislation in brief summaries, you're looking for TMP/DC.

TG's Political Wire notes a lovely bit of theatre at the Sotomayor hearings. When GOPer windbag Sen. Sessions sententiously quoted the philosophy of another woman jurist to counter the caricature of S's approach he was trying to create, S. noted that the jurist he quoted was a friend, and in fact was in the audience at the hearing supporting her. Sessions is not considered the brightest bulb in the Senate, so maybe this one was too easy, but it was a nice piece of one-up-showmanship.

A couple of Kos diarists, Blue Texan and Turkana, have made the point that I've suggested before, but with Sarah Palin as the proof. Here's how Turkana put it, referencing a Peggy Noonan column deriding Palin: "Noonan herself played right along, pretending the ultimate elitist Bush was a man of the people, pretending his lack of intellect or intellectual curiosity was somehow laudable, pretending that she herself gives a whit about anyone living outside her own income bracket or social circle. Had it not become possible for someone as manifestly unqualified and incapable as George W. Bush to become president, it would not now be possible for Sarah Palin to be taken seriously as a national political figure. Had Bush been dismissed as the caricature he was, no one outside of Alaska would know Sarah Palin's name."

It's been a long time since I paid attention to the baseball All-Star game, but I found myself watching both the home run derby and the old timers/celebrity softball game yesterday, so I expect to watch at least the first few innings of the game tonight. I remember watching the home run derby as a kid, although I'm not sure it was associated with the All Star game yet. But those All Star games I watched, black and white images from one camera high above home plate, featured Mantle and Mays, Maris and Musial, and other famous players whose names didn't start with M. The idea of putting young celebrities in with the old timers helped the entertainment value of that game, but at my age the most fun was watching gray-bearded Ozzie Smith playing shortstop with style.