August 19th, 2009

Rose Greenman

I have to resist the urge to make a horrible pun, somebody hold me

This article is from an Australian newspaper, so every time they mention "the nation", they're probably referring to Australia.

Piping hot: $50b gas deal with China

THE largest single trade deal in the nation's history - a $50 billion contract to sell liquefied natural gas to China - was sealed in Beijing last night, signalling the resources boom is far from over.

The contract, hailed by the Federal Government as an indicator Australia's relationship with Beijing remains sound, will supply China with gas for 20 years.

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Source is full of hot air DAMN!

I'm glad I saw this article posted earlier today, because it made me rethink Australia's relationship with China and how awkward it must be to want to negotiate big trade deals but have other diplomacy issues.

Also I never know what to post in this comm, because it's so US focussed. So I don't.

Greetings from the Great Lakes!

You Can Feel The Electricity In The Air
By Gov. Jennifer Granholm

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A car that gets 230 miles to the gallon? You can feel the electricity in the air...

It's coming soon to a dealer near you. The first commercial-scale electric car will be the Chevy Volt, but others will quickly follow. All made possible by the lithium ion battery. The same kind of battery, only bigger, that runs your laptop will now power your car. First, it's 230 miles to the gallon; next, it's a car that runs 230 miles on a single charge. The goal: no gasoline -- ever. With last week's announcements, the door has opened to the possibility of freedom from foreign oil.

And jobs in America making it all possible.
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The Time is Now.


President Obama, from a TIME interview, July 29, 2009:

"...the last time we did something of this magnitude was 1965 [civil rights legislation]. And the circumstances in some cases were similar, in some cases were profoundly different. Obviously LBJ had just won a landslide reelection and had huge majorities in the Senate and the House. We have the largest Democratic majorities since LBJ. But the way that Congress works is a little bit different today than it was then. LBJ had to negotiate with Wilbur Mills and a handful of other folks. I think that Congress is more splintered."

Mr. President... a "handful of other folks"? Really. And you really believe Congress is more splintered today over health care than it was over civil rights? A few short weeks ago, you had 72% of Americans saying they want a public option. In 1965 at least that many Americans were still saying: "negroes just need to be more patient, change will come eventually", and "Martin Luther King is a Communist!", and "they're trying to destroy our way of life!"

The Republicans are against not only a single payer option and a public option, but they will also fight a co-op plan. The time for touchy-feely is over. They will try to kill any reform bill. Forget them. As far as the Blue Dog Democrats, it is time for you to take a lesson from Lyndon Johnson: cajol them, reason with them, get in their face. You have the power of the Presidency. Use it.

Hungary remembers picnic that cracked Iron Curtain

It was a picnic that changed the course of history.

Twenty years ago Wednesday, members of Hungary's budding opposition organized a picnic at the border with Austria to press for greater political freedom and promote friendship with their Western neighbors.

Some 600 East Germans got word of the event and turned up among the estimated 10,000 participants. They had a plan: to take advantage of an excursion across the border to escape to Austria.

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Inspirational Sauce

Officer kidnapped at gunpoint -- by another cop.

WALLER COUNTY, Texas—A statewide manhunt was launched Tuesday after deputies say a Katy ISD police officer was abducted by a fellow cop.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Officer Rachel Hillsman was taken from her vehicle at gunpoint by her former boyfriend Julio Reyes, who also works for Katy ISD police.

It happened around 5 a.m. on FM 1458 in Waller County. Hillsman, 24, was opening the gate to her mother's house when she was grabbed in front of her two children. She may have been handcuffed.

Officials believe 38-year-old Reyes was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a pistol and a Taser at the time of the abduction.

“Mr. Reyes is a trained individual. He would be trained in hiding if he wanted to, so we’re going to have to use every resource that we can to find him,” Smith said.

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Source, and contact info for the police.

On the plus side, Hurricane Lewinsky is not anywhere near.

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Hurricane Bill strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm early Wednesday as it churned far from land with maximum sustained winds near 135 mph.

At 5 a.m. ET, Bill was centered about 460 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and more than 1,100 miles southeast of Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"It's a little too early to evaluate what kind of direct impact Bill may have," senior hurricane specialist Jack Bevin with the National Hurricane Center told CNN. "Most of the computer guidance has the storm passing between Bermuda and the U.S. coastline, then turning northeastward." Although Bermuda may avoid a direct hit, Bevin cautions Hurricane Bill is a very large storm and is generating a lot of waves and swells.

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Depression ~ Sorrow
  • mzflux

Insurance Jive: The Real "Death Panels"

Letter from Wendell Potter, a former head of corporate communications for CIGNA -- one of California's largest health insurance companies.
For 20 years, I defended what some might call "death panels," operated by the health insurance industry, which denied health care coverage to people who needed it.

As head of corporate communications for one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, I had to find new and creative ways to defend an industry with a profit incentive to deny, drop or delay health care coverage. I was very good at creating language -- what my friends at the Courage Campaign call "insurance jive" -- that justified the harm we were causing to families across the nation.

I spoke "insurance jive" as well as I could. Then, one day in 2007, I saw hundreds of Americans waiting in the rain for hours in Virginia to get free medical care they otherwise could not afford. My conscience told me I had to stop. So I quit my job and began to speak out for real health care reform.

My experience in the insurance industry taught me that the only way we will stop the insurance companies from denying coverage to sick and dying Americans is to keep them honest with a strong public health insurance option. If more Americans have the option to receive health insurance from the government -- like Medicare -- competitive pressure on the private insurers will force them to clean up their act. ...

The health insurance industry is spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress to kill the public option. They know that a strong public option will force insurers to cut costs and ensure that patients get the health care they need. Only competition from public insurance can keep the private insurers honest.

The Obama Administration has been sending mixed signals on the public option in recent days. But progressive organizations and blogs including, Democracy for America, CREDO Mobile, and Firedoglake -- and netroots activists including Californians David and Dante Atkins and Howie Klein -- are leading the fight to save the public option.

This growing movement is keeping the public option alive. By making sure our representatives oppose any bill without a strong public option, we can increase pressure on the White House to continue to fight for the public option as well.


Town Hall Attendees: "We're Not Racist. We Just Hate The Public Option"


Hundreds attend Corker Town Hall meeting in Bradley Co.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker attended a scheduled town Hall meeting Monday at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.

The public event to discuss health care reform was much larger than the school expected. More than 500 people attended, some watching on television from the lobby of the Dixon Center.

"This is our country and we don't want this intrusion any longer. Leave us alone," said one woman.

For the most part, Sen. Corker is on their side in opposing President Barack Obama's philosophy on health care reform.

Still, the mostly Republican crowd let him know how they feel about others in Washington.

"I would ask that you tell Nancy Pelosi, I'm one of those ugly mobsters. I'm not a racist. I'm an American and I'm sick and tired of sitting here every time something goes wrong with the president's plan, we are all racists. Well guess what? If he can call me a racist, more power to him, but he's lying," said Ron Harwell.

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I'm not racist either, and I oppose the public option as well! I hope people see that not every opponent is a raving lunatic. Also, I wish the spineless fucks in NYC would hold a Town Hall. I want to express my opposition.

A Conservative’s Road to Same-Sex Marriage Advocacy

Theodore B. Olson’s office is a testament to his iconic status in the conservative legal movement. A framed photograph of Ronald Reagan, the first of two Republican presidents Mr. Olson served, is warmly inscribed with “heartfelt thanks.” Fifty-five white quills commemorate each of his appearances before the Supreme Court, where he most famously argued the 2000 election case that put George W. Bush in the White House. On the bookshelf sits a Defense Department medal honoring his legal defense of Mr. Bush’s counterterrorism policies after Sept. 11.

But in a war room down the hall, where Mr. Olson is preparing for what he believes could be the most important case of his career, the binders stuffed with briefs, case law and notes offer a different take on a man many liberals love to hate. They are filled with arguments Mr. Olson hopes will lead to a Supreme Court decision with the potential to reshape the legal and social landscape along the lines of cases like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade: the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.

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Warning! It's a long one! But a great read.
franklin sherman

What do the insurance companies think of obama health care?

Maybe this is why obama dropped single payer? Insurance companies stand to profit greatly from health care reform, because theyve helped put the whole thing together. These health insurance companies need to die, not be government supported.

Health insurers are facing renewed fire from President Barack Obama and Democrats, but are still mostly on board with the president's effort to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.

That's because the industry conceded months ago to key demands that Mr. Obama has just begun promoting. And insurers still have much to gain from an overhaul because they could get millions of new customers.

In a town-hall meeting Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C., Mr. Obama took aim at insurers as a way of selling his health plan. "The truth is, we have a system today that works well for the insurance industry, but it doesn't always work well for you," the president said.

He said he wants to forbid insurers from denying coverage to people because they have a pre-existing illness, cap consumers' out-of-pocket medical costs and provide preventive care at no additional cost.

In fact, insurers have already agreed to stop denying coverage to the sick and charging people higher premiums because of their gender or health status, as long as lawmakers pass a requirement that most Americans have to carry health insurance. Such a requirement is part of most of the bills making their way through Congress.

"We really have enormous agreement about the insurance reforms," said Ron Williams, chief executive of Aetna Inc., one of the nation's largest carriers. Mr. Williams has met with Mr. Obama privately or in small groups six times, the company said, and the CEO has personally pushed for such changes as far back as 2005.

"Consumers don't necessarily understand how the industry has changed and the commitments we've made to eliminate some of the challenges," Mr. Williams said.

Insurance-industry executives are privately complaining that the administration's rhetoric is eroding the consensus they have spent months trying to build with lawmakers, one industry official said. Another point of frustration is that the Senate is moving toward taxing insurers on particularly generous health plans to help pay for expanding coverage of the uninsured.

If health legislation succeeds, the industry would likely get a fresh batch of new customers. In particular, many young and healthy people who currently forgo coverage would be forced to sign up and pay premiums that would offset the cost of insuring older Americans.

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Full House - Stephanie Eh?
  • markslj

What death by bureaucratic fiat might look like. Not satire.

It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance.
—President Barack Obama in a New York Times interview on how costly medical decisions should be made.

The people behind the long table do not know what they've become. The drug of power has been sugared over in their mouths with a flavoring of righteousness. Someone has to make these decisions, they tell their friends at dinner parties. It's all very difficult for us. But you can see it in their eyes: It isn't really difficult at all. It feels good to them to be the ones who decide.

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Source: Andrew Klavan, WSJ Opinion Piece

I would bold the WTF parts, but bolding the entire entry would be futile.

(no subject)

NYCLU Sues School District Over Harassment Of Gay Student


The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against a local school district, alleging that they failed to protect a gay student from physical and verbal harassment.
The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against the Mohawk Central School District in Herkimer County for failing to protect a gay student who does not conform to masculine stereotypes from vicious and relentless harassment, physical abuse and threats of violence. Over the past two school years, Jacob, a 14-year-old student at Gregory B. Jarvis Junior/Senior High School, endured escalating harassment for his sexual orientation and for not conforming to masculine stereotypes. He suffered near-constant verbal assault, his personal property has been defaced and broken, and he was regularly pushed and had things thrown at him. This past year, a student knocked Jacob down the stairs and sprained his ankle and a student brought a knife to school and threatened to kill him.
According to the NYCLU, the school district was repeatedly made aware of the abuse and did nothing to discipline Jacob's tormentors. In June, Jacob's principal told his parents that he could not guarantee Jacob's safety at the school and that the abuse would likely continue in the coming term. He is not presently attending classes.


Ending the Federal Ban on Gay Blood Donations

On Tuesday the Assembly Judiciary Committee passed AJR 13, the U.S. Blood Donor Nondiscrimination Resolution (Ammiano-D), leapfrogging the legislation over the heads of Republican committee members’ who were united in opposition.

If approved, AJR 13 would call upon the nation’s Food and Drug Administration to end its more than quarter century ban on gay men donating blood to the nation’s blood banks.

The decades-old federal blood donor ban was introduced as a way to assure the U.S. public that the nation’s blood banks were safe at the genesis of the AIDS epidemic here, according to author Randy Shilts pioneering chronicle of the health crisis, And The Band Played On. But according to Shilts research, medical experts have argued since its inception the ban did little more than discriminate and for more than two decades mandatory blood screening has rendered the ban useless.

Freshman assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has decided 26 years of discrimination is long enough.

On Tuesday the Assembly Judiciary Committee passed AJR 13, the U.S. Blood Donor Nondiscrimination Resolution (Ammiano-D), leapfrogging the legislation over the heads of Republican committee members’ who were united in opposition.

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tbh, I hadn't even known that this ban existed...

Woman's House Mistakenly Auctioned by Bank

You know times are tough when people are getting kicked out of their house when it’s not even for sale.

That’s what happened to Anna Ramirez after she found all of her stuff out on the front lawn of her Homestead home last week and a strange man demanding she get out of his newly purchased house.

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FLAMES, FACE, ETC.  It's annoying enough to have this labeled as a "mistake".

Public Option Fundraiser Nets $100k In 24 Hours

A fundraiser launched by progressive bloggers as part of an increasingly aggressive response to White House backsliding on health care reform has out-raised any such effort in the past.

Donations in support of Democrats who back a public insurance option as part of health care reform have topped $100,000 from more than 1,500 donors in 24 hours and counting.

The most successful effort to date had been organized around the online community's opposition to retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that collaborated with the Bush administration to spy on Americans. The issue galvanized liberals, but community only raised about $350,000 over the course of a month, said Howie Klein, Blue America PAC's founder and treasurer.

"I've never seen anything like this before," said Klein. "This is the biggest one."

The effort is being driven by and backed by blogs across the country. It was launched in reaction to the White House signaling over the weekend that it was backing off the public option as key to health care reform. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that a public option was "not essential"; Obama himself called it a "sliver" of the total reform effort; spokesman Bill Burton, on Tuesday, called it "just a piece" of the overhaul.

As recently as July, Obama pledged in a weekly address that "any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange -- a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, costs and track records of a variety of plans, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest, and choose what's best for your family."

The benefit to individual members goes beyond the dollar amount. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), for instance, had a grand total of one ActBlue donor since the site launched in 2004. (Somebody gave him $25 in November 2006.) While he raised roughly $1,100 over the first 24 hours, it came from 460 donors -- meaning he now has 459 more progressive e-mails he can add to his fundraising network and hit up for contributions in the future.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) hadn't gotten a single donation through Blue America. She's now been on the receiving end of 461 gifts, averaging just under three bucks each.

Ryan Grim is the author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America


Just FYI, the total as of 4:42 PM EST is now at just over $143K, and the BAMF who has garnered the most donations through this thus far?  Congressman Anthony "My middle name is Mutha-Fuckin-Single Payer" Weiner from NY.  I'm so in love.  I've donated a few bucks, and to my mind, it's so worth it.
Hanifah Tough

And now it's time for a mod post from your least friendly neighborhood moderator

There are some new rules up in this bitch

The ONTD_P Mod Squad is sick of all the trolls, the socks, and the general asshattery. As of today we are moderating membership to this community and only allowing members to comment. That means anyone that is watching this community but not a member needs to join if they want to participate.

The rule for joining is simple. If you look like a troll or a sock you will not be approved. For the people that don't understand what that means I will break it down for you.

- If your journal was made in the past week or so, we're probably not going to let you in. We don't care if you switched journals or were a member before. We don't give a shit.

- If you have no friends, no other communities, no interests, and nothing in your profile you look like a sock and you're not getting in.

- 0 posts. 0 comments posted. 0 comments received. Congrats! You're a typical sock and you're not getting in.

- If you have a history of trolling you're not getting in.

- If you've ever been banned from this community you're not getting in and you can suck my dick.

"So why was I rejected?! WAHHHHH" First of all, don't email me. Don't email ONTD. Don't send a private message to me or any of the other mods. Read what I just said and try to figure out the next step before attempting to join again. If you're an obvious troll save yourself some time and just go fuck yourself instead.

Rahm instructs the future of America to vote for an animal.

Rahm Emanuel Forced To Interact With Group Of Children, Remains Cute Yet Terrifying.

You can just see Barack Obama ordering Rahm Emanuel to do this. “Rahm, you are an evil fuck and everyone knows it. You must humanize yourself and read a cute children’s book to children, which we will post on the Education Department’s website.” But we are not fooled by this STUNT.

Rahm begins reading @ 1:00:

dead @ 'Farmer Brown was furious. He ran to the barn and he found the animals registering to vote. Heh, that's obviously not in Chicago.'


MSNBC's Maddow Show Propels Growing DC "Christian Mafia" Scandal

In a new August 17, 2009 Maddow Show segment, Rachel Maddow and Jeff Sharlet discuss, among many new revelations, the disturbing fact that the "Christian Embassy" scandal, propelled by a complaint to the Department of Defense from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, was investigated by a Pentagon Inspector General who is in fact a Family member.

The Family, also known as "The Fellowship", is a secretive fundamentalist Washington DC ministry which runs the National Prayer Breakfast and Bible study groups attended by numerous US Senators and Congress members, wields global influence, and celebrates the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao.

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Relevant videos are at the source here.

Wow!  Go Rachel!  Way to, you a real journalist.


Christian Bale

First Muslim Woman To Be Caned In Malaysian Jail

Beer-Drinking Gets Woman Caned

(AP) A Muslim part-time model will be caned next week, becoming the first woman in Malaysia to be given the punishment under Islamic law, after she pleaded guilty to drinking beer, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

An Islamic court in July ordered that Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, be lashed six times with a rattan cane after she was caught drinking alcohol in a raid on a hotel night club in eastern Pahang state last year.

Prosecutor Saiful Idham Sahimi said Kartika will be the first woman to be caned under Islamic law after she chose not to appeal the sentence.

"This is the first case in Malaysia. ... It is a good punishment because under Islamic law a person who drinks commits a serious offense," he said.

On Tuesday, the court set a one-week period starting next Monday for the sentence to be carried out in a woman's prison, Saiful said. It is up to prison authorities to decide when to cane her during that period.

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In case you thought political discussion was missing the serious stuff...

Michelle Obama's Shorts: Does The First Lady Have The Right To Bare Legs?

Michelle Obama took a lot of flak for baring her arms in February, but now she may be the first first lady to descend the steps of Air Force One (or appear in public for that matter) in short shorts. After all, can you imagine Laura Bush or Patricia Nixon doing the same?

There's no doubt Mrs. Obama has gorgeous gams, but do you think it's appropriate for her to bare so much of them?

Inappropriate Sauce

I don't call them "short shorts" unless you can see thong/asscheek/netherlips.  It's hot out, they're on vacation and Michelle's plenty young enough to wear shorts like that.  Laura and Patricia could too if they wanted, there's no age limit on those kind of shorts.  Plus, they're the same kind that Malia is wearing and no one's giving her wank.
catholics, pope

Religious driver with delicate sensibilities gets suspended, brings atheist group more publicity

DART Bus Driver Suspended Over Atheist Ad

Driver Refused To Drive Bus With Atheist Sign


The Des Moines Regional Transit Authority has suspended a driver who refused to drive a bus bearing an ad for an atheist group.

Angela Shiel was suspended on Monday after she refused to drive a bus with an Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers ad on its side. The ad reads "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

Shiel says the message is against her Christian faith.

The transit authority removed the ads earlier this month after complaints from riders, then reversed course after meeting with the atheist group.

DART general manager Brad Miller says policy states that drivers can't choose which buses they drive.

And the IAF gets even more time in the news. The more controversy this creates, the more people we end up with at meetings. We might need to start renting out halls every week if this keeps up.

Car Belonging to Congressman's Niece Torched. What the HELL?

Car Belonging to Congressman's Niece Torched
Bobby Rush's niece treated for minor burns

A car belonging to the niece of Rep. Bobby Rush was torched Tuesday morning in Lansing, Ill.

Authorities said an accelerant was found around the Lexus, which was parked outside the Britany Lane home of the Democrat's brother, Marlan Rush.

"We get there (and) the owner of the vehicle was there. She had minor burns. She was treated on-scene and she refused to go to the hospital," said Sgt. Scott Bailey with the Lansing Police Department.

Investigators said they're still trying to piece together what happened and have not made any arrests.

A Rush spokesman said the congressman has yet to receive details from the family or investigators and had no further comment.

Poll: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe “Death Panel” Falsehood

Poll: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe “Death Panel” Falsehood

There’s a pretty striking finding buried in the new NBC/WSJ poll: It turns out nearly half of Americans believe the “death panel” fib.

The pollster read a series of predictions about the health care plan, and asked Americans whether they were “likely to happen” or “unlikely to happen.” In the “death panel” one, Americans were asked whether the health care proposal…

Will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care to the elderly

Likely to happen: 45

Unlikely to happen: 50

Nearly half the country believes that the health care proposal would empower the government to withhold medical care for the elderly. As Steve Benen notes, this “points to a political discourse that’s badly broken.”

Indeed, another finding amplifies this point. Many have argued that those believing the “death panel” fantasy are a small minority that gets its info from Fox. But this poll finds that when it comes to television, only 23% get their news from Fox — far less than believe in death panels — while a total of 57% get their news from broadcast networks or CNN.

I don’t want to make too much of that — people could be getting their “death panel” info from the internets or talk radio other sources — and as a general rule, reporters hate it when you blame this kind of thing on the media. But if we agree that the media’s general role is informing the public, clearly something’s wrong here.

Ensign: Technically I Did Nothing "Legally Wrong"

Ensign: I Did Nothing "Legally Wrong"

Sen. John Ensign told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his affair with a friend's wife was a mistake but not as bad as former President Bill Clinton's relationship with a White House intern because he didn't lie about it under oath.

"I haven't done anything legally wrong," the Nevada Republican said.

"President Clinton stood right before the American people and he lied to the American people," Ensign said. "You remember that famous day he lied to the American people, plus the fact I thought he committed perjury. That's why I voted for the articles of impeachment."

Ensign made the remarks before being introduced to a standing ovation from about 100 people at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in rural Fernley, about 40 miles east of Reno.

Ensign opened his speech by acknowledging what he called a "distraction."

"I think it would be inappropriate to start any other way than to say I'm sorry," he said. "I've said I'm sorry. I can't say I'm sorry enough. I made a big mistake in my life and I apologize once again to all of you."
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Tom DeLay Finally Lost his Mind...

Tom DeLay Joins The Birthers In "Hardball" Appearance (VIDEO)

In an appearance on MSNBC Wednesday evening, former House Majority Leader and future "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Tom DeLay joined the ranks of those who are not sure the president was born in the United States.

While other prominent Republicans have said that people have a right to question the president or that he should release his birth certificate to put the rumors to rest, few have gone as far as DeLay did in supporting the birther movement.

On "Hardball," Chris Matthews tried repeatedly to get DeLay to comment on the conspiracy, an issue that often makes Republicans uneasy on television. Finally he said, "You keep skipping over this birther thing. A half dozen members of what was your delegation, you built that delegation, you built that republican stronghold down there ... people like that are birthers and raise the questions of the president's legitimacy. The implication is this guy ought to be picked up because he was never naturalized and therefore, in the country illegally. Where are you on that one?" Matthews was referring to the six Texas Republican lawmakers who have co-sponsored Rep. Bill Posey's (R-Fla.) "birther bill."

This time, DeLay did not avoid the question. On the contrary, he seemed to place himself firmly in the birther camp. "I would like the president to produce his birth certificate," he said. "I can. I can, most illegal aliens here in America can. Why can't the president of the United States produce a birth certificate?"

DeLay even went so far as to ask for Matthews' help in securing the document. "Chris, will you do me a favor?" he asked. "Will you ask the president to show me... his birth certificate." Matthews declined, and pointed out that there was a newspaper announcement of the president's birth in 1961. DeLay questioned that as well: "Is a newspaper article an official document?" At that point, Matthews appeared to give up. "It's common sense we're talking about here," he said. "Common sense ... They gave us the document that was made available to anybody in Hawaii who asked for a birth certificate. That document they give you. That's all I know." He then changed the subject.



New Dem Health Care Plan: Split Bill In Two

New Rx for Health Plan: Split Bill

The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes.

The idea is the latest effort by Democrats to escape the morass caused by delays in Congress, as well as voter discontent crystallized in angry town-hall meetings. Polls suggest the overhaul plans are losing public support, giving Republicans less incentive to go along.

Democrats hope a split-the-bill plan would speed up a vote and help President Barack Obama meet his goal of getting a final measure by year's end.

Senators on the Finance Committee are pushing ahead with talks on a bipartisan bill. Democratic leaders say they hope those talks succeed but increasingly are preparing for the possibility that they do not.

Most legislation in the Senate requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, but certain budget-related measures can pass with 51 votes through a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation.

In recent days, Democratic leaders have concluded they can pack more of their health overhaul plans under this procedure, congressional aides said. They might even be able to include a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers, a key demand of the party's liberal wing, but that remains uncertain.

Other parts of the Democratic plan would be put to a separate vote in the Senate, including most of the insurance regulations that have been central to Mr. Obama's health-care message.

That bill would likely set new rules for insurers, such as requiring they accept anyone, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions. This portion of the health-care overhaul has already drawn some Republican support and wouldn't involve new spending, leading Democratic leaders to believe they could clear the 60-vote hurdle.
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