Wednesday, October 21, 2009

McCain and Clinton Will Surely Be Cracking Out Their Violins

Well crack out the violins the White House doesn't like Fox News. The first two to pull out their bows are sure to be Senator McCain and Secretary Clinton, who will likely also be playing in the percussion section as they simultaneously bang their heads against the wall. Both have repeatedly noted the media's incredible Obama love-fest during the election. Secretary Clinton even stated that Fox News treated her most fairly of any network at that time.

President Obama has received the most favorable media coverage of any politician in my lifetime, and likely of all time. Yet that does not appear to be good enough for the Obama White House. Apparently all news network must feature personalities who fawn over the President's good looks and eloquence. If your station is not packed with people whose legs tingle when the President talks then clearly you are not a legitimate news organization. Robert Gibbs today cited Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity as proof that Fox is not truly a news network. Now I'd rather poke myself in the eye then watch the Glenn Beck show, but isn't he really just Kieth Olbermann in conservative clothing? Yet no admonishment from the White House for MSNBC being fully in the Obama tank? Isn't good journalism what happens when those in power are questioned and challenged? Clearly at this point in history Fox News, while obviously filled with conservative programming, is far more likely to ask a probing question of the White House than an organization like the New York Times whose reporter literally asked the president at a press conference what he was most enchanted by as president (seriously they asked him about being enchanted).

Now as for Sean Hannity, he has been full of tough but legitimate questions for candidate and President Obama. ACORN who was given a pass by other media sources was researched by the Hannity show. President Obama's personal and public associations are frequently questioned by Sean Hannity. He is a self-ascribed conservative, and that apparently not acceptable, particularly if thy have a lot of questions. Most candidates go through a series of tough questions when they are vetted, but candidate Obama was able to avoid this scrutiny because the media's school-girl crush on him. The White House's criticism of Fox News really isn't about Fox News, it's about the administration's incredibly thin skin. This adminstration wasn't tested by the media during the election and therefore is completely unprepared to handle even the mildest of criticism from prominent conservative comentators. As Senator McCain has repeatedly stated 'this aint beanbag,' and maybe this president and administration just don't have the stomach or the backbone for politics.

From Politico Fox 'not really news,' says Axelrod
"It’s really not news — it’s pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate but understanding that they represent a point of view.”

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Fox "is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

"It’s not so much a conflict with Fox News," Emanuel told John King. "I suppose the way to look at it and the way … the president looks at it, we look at it is: It’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective. And that’s a different take. And more importantly, is not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization …

Crack Out Your Violins The White House Doesn’t Like Fox News

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Health Care Reform Problems are Major

Senator Orrin Hatch held a blogger call last Friday where he explained the numerous problems with the Democrats health care reform plans. It should be noted that Senator Hatch has a history of working across the aisle on health care issues. He definitely wants health care reform, but believes the current attempts at reform are fatally flawed.

The most glaring problem with health reform plans is the cost. Only the Baucus plan attempts to be budget neutral and it does so by raiding Medicare, Hatch described the plan to cut Medicare by 4.4 trillion as, "a joke". It also appears that Congress may try to address the problem of doctors' Medicare compensation outside the scope current health care reform plans. This issue, commonly referred to as the 'doctor fix,' will cost a significant amount of money, therefore labeling it as something other than 'health care reform' is a way of adding the cost to the deficit while masking the true cost of health care reform.

Senator Hatch also noted that the head of the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) Doug Elmendorf has proven himself as a honest and reputable person. He explained that one of his major concerns about reform plans is that the CBO has stated that they have no idea what effect reforms will have on the cost of health care and the cost of health insurance premiums. Senator Hatch, like Senator McConnell, also stated that the Democrats should make good on their campaign promise of transparency and at minimum should have the CBO grade any congressional plan and post their online 72 hours prior to a vote as promised last election by President Obama.

It should be noted that their are currently several different health reform plans that have come out of committee. The Baucus plan from the finance committee is the only one that can make any claim that it is budget neutral. It reaches budget neutrality through huge cuts to Medicare, and increased taxes on things like medical devices. However the other plans, one out of the Senate HELP committee lead by Senator Dodd, and those from House committees are nowhere near budget neutral as promised by the President. Now these plans are being merged together behind closed doors in a decidedly un-transparent manner. What the final bill will look like is still a bit of a guess, but considering how poor the committee bills are that the final bill will be based upon, Senator Hatch's assessment that the best hope for real health care reform is to defeat the current plans and make the Democrats start over and truly attempt a bipartisan bill appears to be right on point.

Orrin Hatch Details Serious Flaws with Dems Health Care Reform Plans

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Cancer Awareness Hits Social Media Sites #beatcancer

Tip for the day... Anyone who uses Facebook or Twitter include the hash tag #beatcancer in your posts to raise money for cancer related charities. Each Tweet or Facebook post raises $.01, the goal being that the more it is spread through people's networks, the more people re-tweet and re-post, the potential for money raised rises exponentially. Cool way to raise money for a good cause, and interesting social media experiment to see how effective the big 2 social media sites can be in both spreading a message and generating fund-raising dollars.

For more info from Mashable... Social Media Campaign to Beat Cancer

#BeatCancer Social Media Cancer Fundraiser #BeatCancer

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dressing Up Your Doctors

President Obama has attempted to sell his health plan to the American people on two previous occasions by by standing in front of a large group of supportive nurses. Yet this failed to do the trick so this time President Obama invited two doctors from each state in the union to the White House to show people out there that there really are professionals that support the President's health care reforms. This time would be serious, this time they'd have their doctor's outfits on. One poor doctor who showed up without his white coat looked sadly out of place, but never fear the Obama administration is here with a spare coat at the ready. Don't want a doctor to lose all his super powers with no white coat, and besides who wants to wreck a pretty picture of 100 properly attired doctors with the President of the United States.

This photo op was such a powerful image that the administration looked for other ways to visually convince Americans to support other Obama administration proposals.

In fact they held one doctor over and convinced another familiar face to help sell the President's second stimulus plan...

This was such a success that later that same day came the announcement the the Justice Department would be addressing the concerns of illegal aliens...

Then came President Obama's surprise announcement of the appointment of his two new green job czars...

Finally President Obama, under advisement from his most recent appointments, decided green aliens would receive a government stimulus check if they cashed in their used space ship for a newer more fuel efficient model...

Obama - How to Sell a Plan

Friday, October 2, 2009

John McCain's Counrty First PAC Supporting Candidates

Country First Supported Candidates

Health Reform Still Not Bending the Cost Curve

Health care reform is yet to substantively deal with 'gorilla in the room' - Cost. This is one of the fundamental reason why health care reform is needed. Yet no plan truly deals with this problem adequately. With the federal deficit shooting upwards and the country in the middle of a recession this only makes the need to deal with cost that much more pointed, but it does not seem to be a legislative priority.

Mort Kondracke of Roll Call explains in his article Will Reform Cut Health Care Costs? Don't Bet on It that the health care reform plans have no enforceable cost reducing measures. Cost cutting measures that are attempted rely on insurance companies, drug companies, and other health groups to keep their word and cut costs. This is at best a gamble, and not a very good one at that.
There's reason to fear that, even with reform, the nation's total outlays for health care - currently 17 percent of gross domestic product - will continue to soar, and so will federal health spending and insurance premiums.

The Obama White House promised reform would "bend the curve" of health spending - now growing 3 percent a year faster than the economy - but bills pending in Congress contain no guaranteed cost-containment measures such as a global budget, or national lid, on health spending.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, total U.S. health spending is scheduled to rise to 20 percent of the GDP by 2018, 25 percent by 2025 and 38 percent by 2050.

In May, health care stakeholder groups, including hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, drug companies and device makers, promised President Barack Obama they'd institute measures shaving 1.5 percent per year from the current 7 percent growth rate of health spending, saving $2 trillion over 10 years.

But as the journal Health Affairs observed in an issue brief in August, "these agreements are not enforceable" and, indeed, House "reform" legislation would free doctors from any reductions in Medicare reimbursements.

It's no wonder the American Medical Association supports the House bill, H.R. 3200. The Senate Finance Committee bill gives doctors just a one-year break from scheduled fee reductions, but past patterns are that Congress annually saves doctors from any cut.

Another group promising cuts - and now supporting Obamacare - is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Its contribution to controlling health care costs? Just $80 billion over 10 years - out of total U.S. pharmaceutical outlays of $3.3 trillion.

And, as Fortune magazine pointed out, part of PhRMA's cuts are designed to get more Medicare recipients to use brand-name drugs when generics actually would be cheaper.

According to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer, "bending the curve" of health cost growth depends upon "a lot of floating magic asterisks" in the Senate legislation, including the transformation of several pilot projects into actual policies that alter health spending patterns.

No Good News On Health Care Costs

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