Mojo - September 2009

Need To Read: September 17, 2009

Thu Sep. 17, 2009 5:59 AM EDT

Today's must-reads:

  • Five ways to improve the Baucus bill (Ezra Klein)
  • The proponent of one of those five ways talks it up (Sen. Ron Wyden/NYT)
  • The worst policy in the Baucus bill, and possibly in the world (Ezra Klein)
  • Chart comparing Baucus bill's affordability with Massachusetts' plan (Nicholas Beaudrot)
  • Retailers battle credit card fees (WaPo)
  • Court okays Haliburton rape case involving Iraq contractor--which had been blocked partly due to Dick Cheney. (MoJo)
  • Real-life "Norma Rae" dies after battle with insurance company (MoJo
  • "Obama refuses to be their n*****. And it's driving them crazy." (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
  • Are Obama's judges really liberal? (The New Yorker)

I post items like these throughout the day on twitter. You should follow me, of course. David Corn, Mother Jones' DC bureau chief, also tweets. So do my colleagues Daniel Schulman and Rachel Morris and our editors-in-chief, Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein. Follow them, too! (The magazine's main account is @motherjones.)

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Beck Watch: Will the White House Hit Back?

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 5:57 PM EDT

Now that Jackass-gate is dying down, will the administration respond to Glenn Beck, who has been picking staffers off the outskirts of Obama-ville? And if so, how? Insiders tell the Washington Post that the White House is trying to avoid a direct confrontation with "a vocal minority," hoping instead to do the adult thing and take the high road. (Though the president has reportedly been "rolling his eyes in disbelief" at the daily flood of kookiness coming from Beck and his cohorts.) "You don't stomp a story out. You ride the wave and try to steer it to safe water," says an Obama aide about the hands-off approach. We'll see how that plays out.

And now, the latest list of who's still advertising on Beck's program:

  • The National Republican Trust PAC

  • News Corp. (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Merit Financial

  • Superior Gold Group

  • Loan Modification Help Line 800-917-8549

  • Wholesale Direct Metals

  • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (The Informant)

  • LifeLock

  • Clarity Media Group (The Weekly Standard)

  • Citrix (GoToMeeting)

  • Scarguard

  • Publisher’s Clearing House

  • Imperial Structured Settlements

  • Schiff Nutrition International, Inc. (Move Free Advanced)

  • Eggland’s Best, Inc.

  • Roche Diagnostics (Accu-Chek Aviva)

  • Ad Council

  • IRSTaxAgreements.com

  • Carbonite

  • Rosland Capital

  • National Review

  • Liberty Medical

 

 

 

Ill over Racism in the Healthcare Debate

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 4:58 PM EDT

Yesterday, my friend Megan admitted she was racist. Today, I'm admitting I am, too. We both took Harvard's implicit association test on racial preferences, and we both got the same result.

IAT: IAT

Interesting and disturbing, isn't it? 

So what's the big deal with race these days, anyway? First Sonia Sotomayor was racist. Then there was the whole Henry Louis Gates ordeal, where Gates was racist, the cop who arrested him was racist and the neighbor who called the cops was racist too. Then Fox News' Glenn Beck lost more than half his advertising dollars after he called Obama a racist.

And now the same insult has resurfaced in the health care debate. Earlier this week Tea Party leader appeared on CNN and called Obama a "racist-in-chief." Jimmy Carter's now calling Joe Wilson's outburst and similar personal attacks on Obama racist, and—check this out—even your baby is racist, according to Newsweek's cover story this week.

John Fund Fears Universal Voter Registration Conspiracy

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 3:48 PM EDT

The right-wingers over at the American Conservative Union conference in DC today must really be frothing after a full day of fiery political speechifying. We wish we could give you better color commentary, but ACU has banned the media (unless we're willing to fork over $400.) But fortunately, ACU is Twittering, so we do know that the Wall Street Journal's John Fund just warned the crowd that if Democrats lose health care, they will "ram universal voter registration through Congress." The horror! God forbid everyone in this country actually registered to vote. Other choice quotes from Fund:

On health care: "I think we have a chance of taking it down from an 800 pound gorilla to a 99 pound weakling."

On the ACORN scandal: "ACORN is the soft under belly of the Liberal Left Machine."

And this doozy: Fund estimates that more than 400,000 people attended Saturday's 9/12 anti-government march in DC. (Most reliable estimates put the number at more like 75,000.)

Fund was preceded by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who said sagely:  "The constant in climate change is that it is changing." He apparently called for more science, less hype on global warming.

And it wouldn't be a conservative conference without South Carolina Rep. Jim DeMint (R), who told attendees: "Our goal is to save freedom in America." Thanks, Jim.

You can follow the bromides here.

GOP Shocked by Charges of Racism

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 3:11 PM EDT

GOP leader Michael Steele claims to be shocked, shocked by former President Jimmy Carter's statement that racism may play a role in some of the extreme and personal attacks on President Barack Obama.

Steele thrashed Democrats for "injecting race into the debate over critical issues facing American families..."

You know those Dems. They'll probably find some crazy 'racial' subtext to Rush Limabaugh complaining that "in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on.'"

Fiore Cartoon: Backwards Bailout

Wed Sep. 16, 2009 2:40 PM EDT

The economic bailout was supposed to save the little guy. But as big bank wallets have fattened, America's facing a jobless recovery.

What's wrong with this picture?

Watch cartoonist Mark Fiore's take on the situation after the jump:

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Jimmy Carter On Obama and Racism

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 2:37 PM EDT

Yesterday former President Jimmy Carter noted that much of the opposition to Obama's health care plan was “based on racism” and that there was “an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.” Carter was only saying what everyone knows. Any journalist who covered the Democratic presidential primary between Obama and Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania could not possibly have missed the naked hatred of the man among some voters, based on the fact Obama is black. Similar sentiments were in the air in western Maryland during a recent town meeting on health care—Western Maryland has a history of being not just right-wing territory, but Klan territory.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves. America has not crossed any divide. And the racist attacks on Obama won’t end with health care. They’ll just roll on into other issues on his agenda.

Read more by James Ridgeway on Unsilent Generation. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Ben Folds' Levi Johnston Song

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 1:27 PM EDT

The lyrics are by Nick Hornby, apparently.

Real-Life "Norma Rae" Dies After Battle With Insurance Company

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 12:14 PM EDT

Crystal Lee Sutton, 68, formerly Crystal Lee Jordan—on whom Sally Field’s Norma Rae was based—died last Friday of brain cancer. Her insurance company at first had refused her treatment, then after two months relented, but the cancer moved too fast, and Sutton died.

Would the new health care reform legislation proposed this morning by Senator Max Baucus—minus, as predicted, the public option—have helped her? Probably not. The nation is full of stories like this, stories which have scant impact on the Republican right in Congress, who have made it abundantly clear that their only goal is to take out Obama—whatever that may require.

But the case of Sutton is especially poignant.

Sutton was earning $2.65 an hour folding towels at the J.P. Stevens textile plant in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina when she was fired for trying to organize a union. Before she was removed by the cops, Sutton wrote the word 'union' in capital letters on cardboard and got up on her work table to lead workers in turning off their machines in solidarity. Her efforts were not in vain. In August, 1974, the plant recognized the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, which has since become part of the Service Employees International Union.

Sutton was had meningioma, a usually slow growing cancer of the nervous system. In her case, it spread quickly. "How in the world can it take so long to find out [whether they would cover the medicine or not] when it could be a matter of life or death? It is almost like, in a way, committing murder," she said.

Last year, Sutton told a reporter how she would like to be remembered:

It is not necessary I be remembered as anything, but I would like to be remembered as a woman who deeply cared for the working poor and the poor people of the U.S. and the world, that my family and children and children like mine will have a fair share and equality.

Reid: Climate Bill May Be Pushed Back to 2010

| Wed Sep. 16, 2009 11:42 AM EDT

The prospects of the Senate passing cap-and-trade legislation were already not looking good, and now we have confirmation that the proposal is officially in trouble: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just told reporters that the Senate could push back a climate bill until next year. According to E&E News (sub req), Reid says that the Senate needs to pass health care and financial reforms before tackling climate legislation:

"So, you know, we are going to have a busy, busy time the rest of this year," Reid said. "And, of course, nothing terminates at the end of this year. We still have next year to complete things if we have to."

This isn't exactly surprising, but a week ago Reid was maintaining that the Senate could definitely fit cap-and-trade into its schedule by the end of the year. On September 9, his office sent me the following statement: “Senator Reid fully expects the Senate to have ample time to consider this comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation before the end of the year.”
UPDATE: David Corn asks Robert Gibbs at today's White House press briefing if he sees Reid's new position on the bill as a setback. Gibbs insists "we can continue to make progress." But this will make life much harder for the Obama administration when it shows up at UN climate talks in Copenhagen this December without legislation to cut emissions in hand. You can read David's tweets from the briefing, which also covered health care and other matters, here.