Monday Night Open Thread: Odds and Ends

I've been at work all day and have a motions hearing tomorrow. Actually, I got back two hours ago and am just now caught up with: the news, e-mail, twitter and facebook. It's exhausting reading all these things every day. Not to mention weeding out the latest comment spammers from England, Australia, the Philippines, India and Malaysia.

Which reminds me, the season finale of "Weeds" is tonight. What a fast season. I hear there's a bit of a "shocker" at the end. Update: I heard right, the last two minutes were completely unpredictable and now we have a huge cliffhanger. Great scripting.

And, TalkLeft occasional poster Ethan Brown's new book Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans --is in stores tomorrow. Hope you'll check it out, Ethan is a great writer.

Here's an open thread for you, all topics welcome.

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    Ethan's (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 07:49:55 PM EST
    book sounds like something I would like since I'm a fan of the true crime genre. Anne Rule is my favorite. The reviews looked good and one of them said the story was "hearbraking". Sounds very tragic. I hope the book sells well for Ethan.

    Our Supreme Leader Grassley has clarified (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:31:24 PM EST
    what will be in and out of the final legislation.

    Grassley in the past has roundly criticized the public option, but went a step further Monday in saying the core group of senators agreed such a provision would not be in a bill.
    "There are things that for months have been things I have said can't be in a bill," Grassley said. "There are some instructions from my caucus I have tried to take to the table: no public option, no rationing and tort reform." link

    Tell me again which party won the WH and majority positions in both houses of Congress.

    Yup. Time for Obama to fish (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:53:03 PM EST
    or cut bait.

    Part D premiums rising fast. (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by caseyOR on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:44:09 PM EST
    Story in today's Oregonian about a CBO report on the costs of the deals made with Big Pharma. The CBO says that Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) premiums will rise as much as 20% by 2019. Some seniors, those with big, big drug costs, the ones who get creamed in the donut hole, will get some relief while in the donut hole because of the deals. Everybody else just pays a whole lot more.

    Remember, Obama's deal with the drug industry does not allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, unlike Medicaid and the VA. Part D premiums, which are set by the individual insurance companies, increase every year, even years when Social Security does not have a COLA increase. And when SS payments do increase, most years the extra $$ are barely enough to keep up with the increase in Medicare Part B premiums.

    I know it's currently popular in some circles to trash the old people who are worried about the cuts to Medicare and call them selfish and denounce them because of their fears, but maybe there are some very good reasons for them to be worried.

    As far as I can tell, Obama's side deals with the various health industry players benefit only those same health industry players, not the American people.

    Maybe folks should stop sniping at the old people and instead join forces to get health care reform that, you know, really helps people get affordable health care.

    If my higher Medicare premiums meant that everybody else got good health care, I'd be all for it. I have exactly NO interest in paying out more so United Healthcare can funnel the money to Obama's reelection campaign and to bonuses for its executives.


    Post over at FDL (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:05:37 AM EST
    has projected the rise in health insurance premiums for the next ten years. They have projected that the average annual health insurance premium will rise from $4,996 single and $13, 466 family in 2009 to $9,117 single and $24,575 family in 2019. FDL The assumptions used look pretty solid.

    Think that everyone but the very rich have very good reasons to worry.


    Old people (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:19:28 AM EST
    whatever their resources (and the vast majority have only modest resources, at best) are up against a wall.  Although their expenses can and do rise implacably, their incomes are fixed and don't, other than very puny and inadequate SS so-called COLA increaes from time to time.

    The callousness of those who mock or denigrate their fears on this just blows my mind. For the first time since Medicare was established, we have Democrats, most notably the president, parading around promising that health care reform will be accomplished on the back of largely unspecified cuts in Medicare.  And somebody, anybody, thinks they should be sanguine about the prospect?

    Give Me A Break.


    Increases have happened every year (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:06:40 AM EST
    For example, our insurance company's mid range plan's premium went from $30.20 to $39.90 a 32% increase. But the real hit came in co-pays.

    In-network pharmacy... generics went from $4.00 to $7.00, Preferred Brand $25 to $40. non-preferred brand from $54 to $70... these are 30 day supplies.

    BTW - One Rx for say, a 10 day supply, counts as a 30 day supply, so if you need a second Rx of the same drug within 30 days, the payment starts over. On a non-preferred brand that means another out of pocket payment of $210... $420 for the month..

    Some in-network mail order drug prices ... the actual drug price that counts on the "doughnut hole".....increased in the 8%-9% range between 2008 and 2009.

    I have no idea as to what the payment that the drug companies have agreed to actually means but my guess is that any price reductions will be means tested... which says that the middle class will get it stuck to us to pay for what they have given to the "poor."

    If all of this doesn't convince any thinking Joe and Jane Six Pack that a single payer system for health care is needed then they aren't thinking.


    I find that I must give you a 5 (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:12:57 AM EST
    Lack of COLA increase for 2010 (none / 0) (#46)
    by easilydistracted on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:56:37 AM EST
    to help offset those increases only further straps already financially strapped seniors. Yes, Jima, single payer system is needed.

    I keep tellin' y'all... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:09:01 AM EST
    my man Jim is to the left of the Dems:)

    Until it hits national defense (none / 0) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:40:25 PM EST
    Then I partner up with Attila the Hun.



    Reading Krugman's latest (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:12:45 PM EST
    "Missing Nixon" and the incomparable Bob Somerby's take today, I think the progressives should just change the dynamic and demand "The Nixon Bill!"

    Let Republicans put THAT in their pipe and smoke it.

    Bob also took up my theme of these past few TV-viewing days:  how can it be that Teddy was the most effective legislator of our time and at the same time have healthcare reform be the cause of his life?  Major disconnect here.  Bob says he doesn't blame Teddy (as I partly do)...he blames us.  I agree with that.

    Both columns are an important read for you younger people who will have to spend the next 30 years dealing with two corporate-owned parties who rarely give a fig for what is really necessary to solve the country's problems...long term or short.

    We, your parents and grandparents, did our best but it ended up not good enough.  Now it's your turn.  I hope you have the guts for what is coming.  Thankfully, I am unlikely to live to see the worst of it.

    You blame Teddy partly (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:22:36 AM EST
    why?  I don't get where the guy who's fought a mostly lonely battle for health care reform and universal coverage is to "blame" even partly for the  mess we're in now.  Are you referring to his endorsement of Obama?

    Actually, I wasn't referring to his (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oldpro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:47:47 AM EST
    endorsement of Obama.  But now that you mention it, knowing that his endorsement would, in fact, make Obama president, wouldn't you think he'd have cut the deal then and there with Obama and his supporters...with the Democrats?  

    It's not as if healthcare were a new idea to any of them...it's been in every Democratic platform as long as I can remember and I'm 73 with a good memory.  

    So...Nixon left government 35 years ago.  Eighteen years later, the Democrats had both houses and a new Democratic president who wanted to do healthcare.  Gee whiz.  What happened?  Not healthcare!  Some of us know what happened.  We were there.

    Now, here we are...15 years later and these Democrats don't have a plan?  Jesus H. Christ.

    I was thinking of LBJ...a greater legislator than Teddy I'd say.  And Warren Magnuson, Maggie...another incomparable but not recent enough to be lauded by this gang...and not a Kennedy, of course.  And Hubert Humphrey.  All of them, legislators with major achievements under great stress and sometimes at great risk.  

    Yet Teddy gets the over-the-top accolades which do not seem to me to be deserved in the greater scheme of things.  He didn't achieve the goal of his life and he had at least two good chances if he was the kind of legislator/leader so many are now saying he was.

    If we are the reality community, it's time to get real, I'd say.


    you should read these two articles, (none / 0) (#31)
    by suzieg on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 02:47:37 AM EST
    it might just give you another perspective on Teddy Kennedy and this health care debate:




    That doesn't tell me (none / 0) (#36)
    by Fabian on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:54:04 AM EST
    who will lead the fight now.  Ted is buried, who's going to come to bat and hit it out of the ballpark?

    I think you didn't read (none / 0) (#44)
    by Cream City on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:17:37 AM EST
    the articles.  Not in the same ballpark with anyone who would want another EMK at bat, unless rooting for his team, Teh Village.

    Who, indeed? My point was (none / 0) (#60)
    by oldpro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 11:54:48 AM EST
    that had he lived, it wouldn't have been Kennedy.  You can take that to the bank.

    The more I hear (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by CST on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:10:22 AM EST
    about Eric Holder, the more I like.  Keep up the good work.  This is turning out to be a great appointment.

    Finally... (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:39:22 AM EST
    ...an anti-health care protest I can get behind...

    Michele Bachmann(R-Crazy) yesterday in Denver:

    "This cannot pass," the Minnesota Republican told a crowd at a Denver gathering sponsored by the Independence Institute. "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't pass."  

    That's one way to avoid those pesky death panels.

    I'll bet it's exhusting... (none / 0) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 07:35:57 PM EST
    ...especially with the recently added weather forecasting too.

    Speaking of weather, it's rather smokey here with all the fires burning in the West.  Amazing blood red sunrise this morning through the haze.  Sunset tonight should be equally brillant in its colors.  The moon should be interesting tonight as well.  

    /still waiting for that big thunderstorm
    //could the ESPN MNF crew possibly slobber over Percy Harvin any more?

    the fires in California (none / 0) (#12)
    by mikeel on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:54:49 PM EST
    Another fire season--finally cooled a bit in Southern California, but the fires rage on.

    Might get some remnants of Jimena this weekend...
    Me thinks Obama is going to shelve health care (or at least the public option) within a couple of weeks, which will NOT help his approval ratings.


    My congressman was in town (none / 0) (#3)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:24:10 PM EST
    today for a healthcare townhall at the biggest venue in this small town, seating 600+.  I didn't go.  

    If I had, I would have asked instead about what he's thinking about Afghanistan, now and in the future.  Talk about out of sight, out of mind.

    Checking with friends to see how it went, Over 800 showed up...the loonies and R-squad where there in force but in the minority, didn't take over the meeting which was handled well by LWV moderator and staff and the congressman, so they tell me.

    The war did come up 2 or 3 times but mostly healthcare was the subject.  Mainly singlepayer folks here...nearly all on Medicare and support it for everyone.

    Who's your legislator? Reichert? (none / 0) (#6)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:41:43 PM EST
    McDermott had a telephone conference call on health care this evening. I think most of us heard what we wanted to hear (he reiterated his long-standing for preference for single-payer, above all) but he said we have to push hard on our senators...

    Norm Dicks. n/t (none / 0) (#9)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:50:40 PM EST
    Ahh, Mr. Dicks (none / 0) (#14)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:57:48 PM EST
    The military's best pork barrel buddy.

    A close second the his (none / 0) (#16)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:03:19 PM EST
    pal Congressman Murtha, I do believe.

    Oh wait, can't be Reichert (none / 0) (#8)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:46:56 PM EST
    The 8th district folks are not much for single payer.

    No one watched Weeds? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:41:21 PM EST
    The finale had three great parts: Adelita's "medical problem," Guillermo's phone call and the ending which I doubt anyone saw coming. These might be the best script writers on television. Season-wise, Alanis Morisette was a huge bonus this season. I hope she's back for Season Six. The only excess baggage is Doug and Celia's ex-husband -- same-old, same-old. The Celia-Raylene story line was much better. I wish we didn't have to wait 6 months for what comes next.

    Ma maison est sans cable (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:44:30 PM EST
    et je deteste Comcast...

    Tout le monde déteste Comcast (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:57:05 PM EST
    car Comcast est détestable.

    Oui (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:15:13 PM EST
    Comcast est merdique. Quels connards!

    Et comment! (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:52:49 PM EST
    Ils me font royalement chier!  C'est une bande d'incompétents.

    C'est vrai. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:23:26 AM EST
    I'm from Philly, Comcast's hometown, so (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:04:45 AM EST
    I have experience. Let me tell you: they used to be worse.

    What's wrong with Comcast? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:34:40 AM EST
    It's expensive but it works well and I'm grateful to have it.

    Well... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 02:56:43 AM EST
    1. Comcast is a monopoly, and very expensive.

    2. They are known -- at least in Seattle -- for not always delivering the services customers paid for,

    3. Being outright nasty, dishonest and useless with customer complaints,

    4. Taking months to rectify a problem they first denied causing,

    5. Hooking new customers with teaser rates that quickly get jacked up.

    As an anecdotal aside, one of my good friends told me over the weekend that she and her family have "finally had it" with Comcast as their internet provider. They switched to Qwest DSL today.

    I don't know (none / 0) (#35)
    by Fabian on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:50:15 AM EST
    how many in my family have cable (Time Warner) but I know three of them have satellite and only one doesn't have cable access.  Dissatisfaction with cable is not rare.

    Satellite TV (none / 0) (#59)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 10:48:57 AM EST
    I had cable in Chicago area and had so many problems I had their CS number on my speed dial. I finally gave up and switched to Direct TV six years ago and I haven't had any trouble at all.

    I wish their internet service was cheaper because I have a terrible time with AT&T's broad band.


    Mmmmm. Please pass (none / 0) (#11)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:54:18 PM EST
    the french fries!

    Pommes des frites (none / 0) (#15)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:00:28 PM EST
    avec plus de tomates!

    Right now I'm actually BBQ'ing the rest of the Cuban-marinade chicken we didn't get to yesterday afternoon.



    A fashionably late supper! n/t (none / 0) (#17)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:04:56 PM EST
    I call it (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 11:40:20 PM EST
    "The Procrastinator's Special"

    Since I don't have HBO... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:06:00 AM EST
    ...I wait for the DVD's to come out to watch Weeds.  

    /closes eyes and plugs ears as to not see/hear any spoilers


    I guess you don't have Showtime... (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:08:16 AM EST
    either seeing as that is the network Weeds is on my man:)

    Oops. (none / 0) (#51)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:23:17 AM EST
    You got me there.  I don't have any of those fancy premium channels--or one of those newfangled HD TV's.  

    The big old Sony stills works just fine as does the basic cable package...


    And a television remote that is truly (none / 0) (#52)
    by easilydistracted on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:31:04 AM EST
    a "clicker." Hmm. I just dated myself.

    In my day... (none / 0) (#54)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:41:11 AM EST
    ...you had to actually get up off the couch to change the channel.  And it was up-hill both ways!

    Yep. And in my day, and I bet yours (none / 0) (#56)
    by Cream City on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 10:26:09 AM EST
    sometimes you didn't get to go back to your chair, because you were the youngest kid, so you had to stand at the teevee and keep wiggling the rabbit ears aka antenna while the older kids got the good view . . . albeit of the lousy little round screen, maybe a foot across, with pictures that were just shades of gray on gray. :-)

    Just old enough... (none / 0) (#58)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 10:29:12 AM EST
    to remember getting off the couch to change cartoon channels on the old black and white with the rabbit ears with tin-foil entrails...talk about the dark ages.

    We got our first color w/ remote just in time for the '84 Dolphins/49ers Super Bowl.


    I watched it (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:07:54 AM EST
    This was the first season I could really get into Weeds.  The whole moving to the border, starting over, the cultural crossing points fascinated me.  In the last scene I thought someone had a gun and did evil woman in, but nope....something utterly and completely different in the hands of the last person I would suspect :)  Celia is really cracking me up.  Has she always been this evil?

    What about these spammers? (none / 0) (#29)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:40:26 AM EST

    Maybe I am like "curious George" but I would like to see what these spammers from far off places, you keep speaking of are saying.  

    Why don't you just put a link over to the left, called something like "Spammer Heaven" and slide them over there?  No need to provide for a way to respond to them if you don't want to but just give us a chance to see what they are carrying on about.

    I like to gawk as much as anyone, and also I have been to many of those places and wonder who is there that would be reading TalkLeft unless they are on a ship.

    From what I have seen (none / 0) (#33)
    by Fabian on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 02:58:42 AM EST
    they don't "say" much of anything, just use links to drive traffic to other sites.  There's a reason that I try to click on as few links as possible, and especially if I don't know where the link is sending me.  Worst case scenario is that my computer becomes infected with nasty malware.

    George (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:04:07 AM EST
    Will is saying we need to leave Afghanistan.

    Budget cuts (none / 0) (#37)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:16:32 AM EST
    With states cutting services, cutting salaries and furloughing workers, as federal funds dry up, I don't understand why there isn't any talk about addressing the military budget. We're being pounded every day that there's no money for HCR, education or social services. But as usual there's no shortage of money for war.

    If we're going to be the international military then the international community should share the costs, as they did in the first Gulf War.

    We're into the 8th year of this war and there's still no end in sight. It's time to rethink our policy. We just don't have the money to continue on this course.


    I agree (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:26:06 AM EST
    however the policy isnt going to change under Obama unless your average american starts to demand that we get out over and over again. IMO, Obama's doing the Nixon Vietnam policy: keep saying we're getting out but more or less just changing things around.

    I'm sick of being the world's policeman. It seems that there's lots of Americans all across the political spectrum who feel that way too.


    I find it ironic (none / 0) (#39)
    by Fabian on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:41:19 AM EST
    that all of our aid to Pakistan to encourage them to deal with the Taliban within their borders apparently had almost no effect - but that when the Taliban became a real threat to them, Pakistan finally took action.  Sonuvagun!  They are capable of it.

    Never Ending (none / 0) (#45)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:50:20 AM EST
    No doubt about it. The "War On Teror" is like our war on poverty or drugs. There's always going to be terror, so that means we're always going to be at war. If that's the case, we need to seriously rethink our role and priorities. When I think of the billions and billions of dollars we're literally flushed down the toilet in this campaign, it makes me sick.

    I'm not against a strong national defense, but I do think the military budget should be held to at least as strong , if not stronger, scrutiny than any other department. With all private contracting and national security screening there's just too much room for corruption and waste.


    Whether you agree with the policy or not (none / 0) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:02:54 AM EST
    the purpose of invading Afghanistan and Iraq was to rid them of any military capabilities they had that threatened us and establish a democracy in the ME.

    The real cost we are paying now is in the price of oil. Perhaps you remember that in 12/98 oil was $9.56. It then rose slowly, staying mostly in the mid 20's through January 2004. It then drifted upward to $50.17 by January 2007. At that point it started a rise to the $145 range by mid July 2008. At that point an already weak economy was destroyed.

    Some blame speculators. Others blame the Democratic controlled Congress and their "no drill anywhere in the US" energy policy and never touch oil shale...... I say both.

    No matter who is to blame, oil is now back around $70 and the economy in for a another hit.

    Oil Prices Link


    idiodic ruling of the week (none / 0) (#61)
    by CST on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:13:05 PM EST
    lactating is not "a condition relating to pregnancy" according to the Ohio supreme court.

    Is this really 2009?