So I got back to the table and I said “Look, how much gay sex do I have to have with the guy directly to my left to get another vodka martini,” and all of a sudden people think I wants to have gay sex to the guy to my left? I mean hasn’t anyone heard of hyperbole?
Oh, and also…
• Not many people making much of the fact that the House Speaker admitted she didn’t have the votes to pass the Senate bill in a meeting with some national hospital association leaders. I don’t see a lot of movement past 200 votes at this point, but it’s still early. For his part, Max Baucus says “This is going to pass.”
• Joe Biden traveled to Jerusalem today in the midst of the first major push for Middle East peace talks since last year. Israel and Palestine agreed to indirect talks brokered by the US, but continued settlement building by the Israelis could jeopardize this meager gain. I agree with Jeremy Ben-Ami: the window for a two-state solution is rapidly closing, and frankly none of the stakeholders in the conflict seem particularly interested in keeping it open.
• The story about Sarah Palin hustling over the border to Canada to get health care is really brilliant on a variety of levels. At the time she lived in Skagway, Alaska, three hours from the border with Canada, so health care in America must have really sucked for the family to spend all that time back and forth on the train. But now it’s the best in the world, presumably.
• The government wants to pay people to short sell their homes rather than walk away from them or go into foreclosure. This might work better with more than $1,500 in “relocation assistance” available. That’s barely a month’s rent for a family of four, in a lot of places. All of the details of the program are a little off, in fact.
• Can the Republic survive another 24 hours without another long Rahm Emanuel profile? I don’t think so. I’m trying to stay out of this Rahmarama because I don’t think they guy deserves the blame for decisions his boss clearly has made and is making. I will take issue with this argument from Mark Schmitt, however – it’s wrong on the facts (Rahm protege Brad Ellsworth is one of the Stupak 12) and wrong about Rahm’s influence on the 2006 election, where his preferred narrative (don’t mention the Iraq war and go right on immigration) was dropped in favor of a stronger national narrative, which led to a progressive victory. Schmitt’s also missing the fact of 2006 candidates who won in 2008 on the second try, and attributing those candidates to Chris Van Hollen and not Emanuel.
• Today must be the day of Administration profiles. Here’s one on Tim Geithner from the Atlantic; one on Tom Perriello and “Obama’s Lost Year” from the New Yorker, and one on improving teacher performance from the NY Times magazine.
• Interesting behind the scenes on John Kerry’s efforts to pass a climate bill this year. I’d say that’s almost certainly not going to happen, but apparently he has a deadline until the end of the month.
• Chris Bowers’ complete list of how progressives improved the health care bill has raised some eyebrows. I think he’s confusing “strengthened” with “didn’t allow it to get worse” at some points. In a subsequent post he acknowledges that progressives were “largely ineffective” with respect to the bill.
• Apparently Charlie Crist can either switch parties or leave Florida. Returning to any public office as a Republican? Out of the question.
• This is pretty humorous: “Lobbyists for small businesses, construction companies, manufacturers and other trade groups are racing the clock to convince Congress to reinstate the federal estate tax they’ve fought for years to abolish.” The reason is that, if Congress allows this year when the estate tax is repealed to pass, it will get reinstated at 2001 levels, with a 55 percent excise tax on estates over $2 million dollars. Changing it the way the lobbyists want robs the Treasury of at least $230 billion dollars over 10 years and gives it to rich heirs. I’ll bet they’re “racing the clock.”
• I’ll take things that Congress will never fix for $600, Alex. The answer is: The carried-interest loophole.
• Ben Nelson just doesn’t know whether or not to get rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Most shocking is the fact that he gave the interview saying that to the hard-right CNS News. And he thinks the blogs are partisan!
• The federal government just can’t help throwing huge contracts at Blackwater. I mean literally can’t help themselves.
• Car insurance giant Mercury and private utility company PG&E already have their own personal ballot measures to maximize profits in California, and now two Texas oil companies are getting in on the fun, bankrolling a measure to roll back the state’s landmark global warming law.