Obama Proves Hoover, GOP, Tea Party, and FOX Wrong

DepressionApplesScore one for the Obama administration; zero for Republicans, Tea Baggers, and FOX News. A newly released study by two esteemed economists (yes, I know that’s an oxymoron) shows that Obama’s fiscal policies did indeed pull the country back from the brink of a depression brought about by Bush-Cheney mismanagement.

…the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program, the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year.

In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation.

We all know how Hoover’s policies worked out. This study show the GOP/Tea/FOX versions would work no better.

The authors of the work, reported in the New York Times, are former Federal Reserve vice chair Alan S. Blinder and Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.

The study makes clear that Obama’s use of multiple strategies to bolster the economy was essential.


Irony on Parade: Tea Party Hotheads Turn on One of the Men Who Invented Them

Rick Scott, the light of crazy ablaze in his eyes
Be careful what you provoke, Tea Party exploiters. Florida governor hopeful Rick Scott recently discovered it’s one thing to gin up the teabagging crowds, and something else to be on the receiving end of all that anger.

Scott made millions as CEO of Columbia/HCA. The hospital chain founded by the Frist family (as in former Senate majority leader Bill Frist) swallowed competitors in the ’90s by dictating terms to suppliers. They’d merge with most of the hospitals in a given area, then tell vendors how much they wanted to pay for products. If a vendor balked, they simply switched to a lower bidder, leaving the first one with nobody to sell to. One of the repercussions of this strategy was the trend toward labor outsourcing by American companies, with medical product suppliers moving facilities to Mexico in order to meet pricing demands.

A “shouting, finger-pointing” crowd demands an explanation

Columbia was found guilty in 2000 of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in a massive, concerted, company-wide fraud effort under Scott. The chain was fined $1.7 billion, the largest penalty ever, and Scott was forced to resign or face criminal charges. He soon bounced back, founding the Solantic chain of urgent care clinics, which mainly serves the uninsured. Scott and several confederates have been the big bucks behind the so-called “astroturf” (meaning it looks like grassroots but it isn’t) opposition to health care reform.

Which brings us to the ironic position in which he recently found himself at a Tea Party gathering on the campaign trail.


Rand Paul Exaggerated Medical Board Certification

Rand Paul
Rand Paul
U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul claims he is a “board certified” ophthalmologist, and he is, kind of, but then, he owns the board called the National Board of Ophthalmology. Paul incorporated the NBO in 1999 and serves as president. His wife is vice president.

According to the Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal, Paul’s board is not nationally recognized:

But that entity is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, which works with the American Medical Association to approve such specialty boards.

Lori Boukas, a spokeswoman for the American Board of Medical Specialties, said her organization considers certifications to be valid only if they are done by the 24 groups that have its approval and that of the AMA.

Boukas of the American Board of Medical Specialties said its 24 member groups, including the widely recognized American Board of Ophthalmology, have stricter standards for board certification than the other groups.

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure does not verify doctors’ specialty training and instead directs people to the American Board of Medical Specialties to determine if a doctor is board-certified.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recognizes board certification only by the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Shortly before the May 18 primary, Paul told the Courier-Journal that he was certified by both boards.


Breaking News: Ex Florida GOP Chair Arrested on Fraud Charges

Seminole County Jail Inmate Jim Greer
Seminole County Jail Inmate Jim Greer
Jim Greer, ex head of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) and huge Gov. Charlie Crist supporter (and vice versa) was arrested today on six counts of fraud for funneling money from GOP donors for his personal use.

The indictment is likely to shake up the Florida Senate race. Gov Crist, running without party affiliation, is a personal friend of Greer’s, instrumental in his chairmanship, and continued to support him after calls began for his resignation. Former House Speaker Marco Rubio, along with other Florida Republican politicians, has been paying back money he received from the party under Greer.


Obama Breaks with Tradition to Honor Fallen Service Members

Pres. Obama reflects on the sacrifice of service members after Marines present him with a wreath at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Pres. Obama reflects on the sacrifice of service members while Marines play Taps at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
In addition to trying to visit military families at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery during a lightning storm this Memorial Day, Pres. Obama and the First Lady crashed a picnic at Fisher House outside of Chicago, which is sort of the Ronald McDonald House for the services.

Jay Agg, a spokesman for AMVETS, accused some people of using the day “as an opportunity to score cheap political points on the backs of our veterans and in doing so dishonor them and distract from the true meaning and purpose of Memorial Day.”

Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House™ Foundation donates “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times – during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

There is at least one Fisher House™ at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment.


Obama Not the Only Recent President to Miss Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Ceremony

Pres. Obama, saluting the body of a fallen soldier as it made homecoming at Dover Air Force Base
Pres. Obama, saluting the body of a fallen soldier as it made homecoming at Dover Air Force Base
The great thing about having Facebook friends who watch Glenn Beck is that you don’t have to. It’s like having Jon Stewart in your news feed, only not nearly as funny.

Three presidents in recent history missed the Arlington ceremony: Reagan, Bush, and Bush.

That’s how I know that the big tea bagging deal at the moment is the idea that Pres. Obama is betraying the troops by spending Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, and therefore will miss laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Instead, Vice Pres. Biden will perform the ritual while Obama and the First Lady participate in a service at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill.

One immediately wonders if any past president has committed a similar omission without being called a commie, and David Corn, writing for Politics Daily did the research. Turns out three presidents in recent history missed the Arlington ceremony: Reagan, Bush, and Bush.

In 1983, President Reagan was at a summit meeting, and the deputy secretary of defense — not even the veep! — placed the wreath. Nine years later, President George H.W. Bush passed off the wreath to Vice President Dan Quayle (who had used family connections to get a slot in the National Guard during the days of the Vietnam War draft). And in 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney took on the wreath mission, while President George W. Bush was in Texas, perhaps clearing brush.


Conservatives Show They are Anything But

ultrasoundBeing a conservative is more challenging since mass hysteria, aka, the Tea Party, entered the picture in the wake of the election of America’s first African-American president. If limited government whose purpose is not to foster social agendas was ever really what conservatism was about, it isn’t now.

Take a new law, currently on the governor’s desk to be signed (or hopefully, vetoed) in Florida. Demonstrating what happens when you get too many Republican men in a room together, the so-called conservative bill requires that women considering abortions must first schedule an ultrasound test in which the doctor describes to her the contents of her uterus, whether she wants to know about that yolk sac or not. Touting ultrasounds as non-invasive and therefore harmless led the National Institutes of Health to release this statement: “Ultrasound examination in pregnancy should be performed for a specific medical indication.”

Election after election, the “hard-working white people”* vote for the guy or gal spouting the most extreme platitudes, and then wonder why nothing gets done in Washington, why our elected officials don’t work together better

If the faux-conservative legislature gets its way, not only must the woman wait, with the clock ticking, for an appointment for a test she doesn’t want, she must also foot the bill for all this herself. Is it possible for government to be more intrusive in people’s private lives than this?

Marco Rubio, the so-called tea bagger candidate in the Florida Senate race, demonstrated a further failure of rhetoric with the recent announcement of his “policy committee.” Rubio, running on the outsider platform but squarely on the Republican ticket, is tapping entrenched Washington insiders Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) as honorary committee chairs. No doubt they will bring fresh ideas on how to take our country back from…themselves. What’s wrong with this picture?

People who are against progressive initiatives like choice and a positive role for government are being played, again. Candidates pandering to tea bagger fears know what to say and do to appear to offer the answers, which are always both simple and vague. And election after election, the “hard-working white people”* vote for the guy or gal spouting the most extreme platitudes, and then wonder why nothing gets done in Washington, why our elected officials don’t work together better.

We as progressives have to figure out how to wake up our neighbors in this country that we all share, and get them to question the slogans and lies directed at them. If anyone out there knows a good way to do that, I’d love to hear it.

* Hillary Clinton, campaigning for president in 2008 in Pennsylvania

Some Idiot Bought Charlie Crist’s Portrait on ebay


Hard to believe, but some anonymous someone (Charlie’s mom maybe? Charlie?) bought Charlie Crist’s portrait on ebay for $7,700. That’s $200 more than the Republican Party of Florida paid for the thing, which was one-tenth of 1 percent of the $7 million Florida Republicans — from Chairman Jim Greer to former House Speaker Marco Rubio — ran up on their party credit cards.

And it’s not even a good likeness — it’s not nearly tan enough and the head shape is all wrong in kind of a rectangular Frankensteiny way.

The RPOF is trying to make hay out of the painting’s origins, but, funny enough, the party didn’t pay for it — at least not directly. Here’s an excerpt from today’s RPOF Trash Charlie e-mail (I get at least one a day):


GOP Pusher of Obama School Indoctrination Lie Also Pushes Republican Views at School Kids

It’s one thing to lie but quite another when the man who falsely accuses the president of the United States of seeking to indoctrinate school kids into liberal politics is known back home as a indoctrinator of school kids into the GOP.

Conservative talk-show host Joe Scarborough labeled Greer’s comments “insane talk.”

That’s exactly the situation we have with Jim Greer, the chairman of the Florida GOP, according to Scott Maxwell, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel:

There once was a political operative who loved to tell crowds he had a simple way of explaining to children the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

“Republicans get up and go to work,” he would tell his son. “Democrats get up and go down to the mailbox to get their checks.”

This man not only talked to his son about Republican values, he went into public-school classrooms and talked about them as well.

That man is Jim Greer — the same Jim Greer who, as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, just threw a nationwide hissy fit, claiming that the classroom is no place for politics and Barack Obama’s “indoctrination.”

Maxwell called Greer to discuss this apparent hypocrisy, but as is typical of the Republican hypocrites of our era, Greer sees a big difference in his screwing around with the minds of children and what — without even having read the president’s speech, of course — he called Pres. Obama’s attempts to spread “liberal lies”: