ENSIGNS DONATE TO SANFORD PARAMOUR


ENSIGN PARENTS DONATE TO SANFORD PARAMOUR

Michael Ensign, father of embattled Senator John Ensign, disclosed today that he and his wife had made gifts to the mistress of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. The gifts, in the form of travelers checks in $12,000 increments, had been mailed to Argentine reporter Maria Bellen Chapur and her family.

Mr. Ensign explained that the gifts were just part of the pattern of generosity that had earlier led them to offer gifts to videographer Rielle Hunter, whose affair with Senator John Edwards had engendered so much sympathy on their part.

While well known for its philanthropy, the Ensign family has apparently turned down the request from the city of Los Angeles to help pay for the extra security needed for the Michael Jackson memorial.

homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

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PALIN IN 2012

PALIN IN 2012

For presidential aspirations in 2012, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is toast.  The man Maureen Dowd refers to as the tango dancing alter ego, Marco, cheated on his wife, left his state untended and lied about his whereabouts and then followed all this with sappy, almost lovelorn, statements and interviews. It would take a long time, if ever, to forget and forgive this behavior.

Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is no stranger to sappy statements and odd behavior. In a rambling announcement containing strange references to such things as basketball point guards, she tried to explain her decision to resign as governor later this month. Among the reasons, if they can be called that, she gave was that, as a lame duck, she would be just spinning her wheels. If that were true, maybe all lame duck officials should resign.

Her resignation may well not be a wise decision. However, she does not leave Alaska untended and she is right that her national prominence and media attention does serve as a distraction to Alaskan governance.  Better she should have then just said that she wanted to devote her time and attention to the pressing issues facing our nation.  Then she could give the speeches, do her much needed policy homework, and raise the money she needs for herself and any future campaign.

And I hope that she does campaign in 2012. Much as I disagree with her views on women's reproductive rights, gay marriage, sex education, and fiscal policy, I think that she brings excitement and fun to a campaign. I do think she will run if for no other reason than RNC Chairman's statement that she can't.

I would so much look forward to the debates.  "Governor, may I call you Sarah?"

homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

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HEALTH CARE AND THE PUBLIC OPTION

HEALTH CARE AND THE PUBLIC OPTION

Let's hope that President Obama is just delaying action on gay rights and that he is just holding back on strong statements on behalf of the public option as an essential part of health care reform.  Will he say "I will veto any bill ....?" Will he realize that getting a couple of Republican votes is not bipartisanship and that 51% can pass the needed legislation?

As the President does say, the public option will tend to keep the insurance companies "honest" and more competitive. But the real value of the public option is for many to choose it. That will lower the cost of health care, just as Medicare does. As we know, Medicare has only a 2% administrative burden as opposed to over 20% for private insurers. And the power of a large public option pool, combined with Medicare, means the ability to negotiate lower charges by providers and medical equipment and pharmaceutical corporations.

Republicans and other opponents of reform charge that it is foolish to want a government option when Medicare is going broke. Well, it is going broke largely because of the funding method, not because of mismanagement or inefficiency. If you compared the Medicare cost and outcomes for any set of health conditions with the same set for private insurers, I would bet that Medicare does better.

Some Republicans also claim that a bureaucrat would come between the patient and the doctor. Untrue of course, but wouldn't it be better to have a government official who wants to help you than an insurance clerk who wants to deny the benefit?

If decent health care is a right for any citizen, isn't it most logical to have the government, or non-profit organizations, provide the access? Although the arrangement arose innocently, it is really foolish to have access to health care depend on where you work.

homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

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OBAMA NAMES ENVOY TO NY LEGISLATURE

SUB-ROSA NEWS

Some of the News
That may be True

OBAMA NAMES ENVOY TO NY LEGISLATURE

Continuing his practice of designating envoys to the world's hot spots. President Obama has dispatched an envoy to deal with the crisis in Albany.  The control of the NY legislature is in dangerous contention, with the parties sharply divided and no resolution in sight.

With Holbrook and Mitchell otherwise engaged, the President has turned to another conciliatory mediator, former ambassador John Bolton.  The president expressed full confidence in Mr. Bolton's ability to bring the parties together, citing his success in dealing with difficult countries and representatives in his years at the United Nations.

homer  www.altara.blogspot.com

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D-Day Commemoration

D-Day Commemoration

Today, our esteemed president, fresh from his historic speech in Cairo, will join other leaders in the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the World War II landing on the beaches of Normandy. It was a bloody day as the allied forces began the campaign to defeat Hitler on the continent of Europe. Many died, many fought with unparalleled bravery.

I applaud the principles and actions of President Obama and have always thought that he may well be one of our greatest presidents. But he has certainly been less than great in his failure to end the discriminatory and demeaning "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military, as he had promised in his campaign. If Harry Truman could show the fortitude to end the much larger problem of segregation in the military, surely Obama could end this senseless policy. The change is slight by comparison, since many gays are serving successfully every day while being forced to hide or lie about their nature. Meanwhile, on Obama's watch, the services are losing Arabic speakers and other valuable people.

homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

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ABORTION DR. MURDER AND ACCOUNTABILITY

ABORTION DR. MURDER AND ACCOUNTABILITY

In the case of waterboarding and other torture, many have demanded that those who authorized it be held accountable. Those responsible could include VP Cheney and even the lawyers who wrote legal opinions with specious reasoning to support the use of torture. This accountability has meaning, since torture is a crime.

Similary, there is a question of accountability in the case of Dr. George Tiller, a Dr. who provided health care for women in need, and who was shot and killed as he attended church on Sunday. In addition to the suspect in custody, should anyone else be accountable? I think so, even though the criminal actions involved may not constitute a crime.

There are anti-abortion leaders and groups that call abortion doctors murderers, and those that foment violence against abortion clinics. Some have expressed gratitude for the killing of Dr. Tiller. The very tactics used incite hatred of these health care providers - pamphlets and vocal cries of "murderers", "blood on your hands", etc. and huge trucks emblazoned with images of bloodied fetuses.

Let these actions be considered a crime in the court of public opinion. Let anti-abortion leaders oppose abortion responsibly, recognizing that abortion clinics and doctors are lawfully and with honest dedication providing a medical service.

homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

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BURRIS AND THE SEAT

BURRIS AND THE SEAT

Did Roland Burris try to buy from former g0vernor Rod Blagojevich the Senate seat formerly held by President Obama? Many of the TV talking heads think so. I think not.

Chris Matthews and some pundits cite the FBI wiretap transcript of conversations with the brother of Blagojevich dealing with possible contributions and fund raising by Senator Burris. Burris has not helped his cause by his varying and confusing explanations of the phone conversations. However, he did make at least one good point, how ludicrous it is to think that a $1000 contribution could "buy" the seat.

My view is that the conversation was with the bounds of normal campaign discourse and not "pay to play". Burris could be expected to give support to the governor's campaign. The conversation was convoluted because of Burris' wish to get the Senate appointment.

But two main points. Burris had neither the political or financial clout to "buy" the seat. And, more important, Blagojevich made the appointment, not for any payoff, but as a way to thumb his nose at his critics.

homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

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NEWS AND COMMENT

NEWS AND COMMENT

"Limbaugh On Sotomayor: "I Want Her To Fail"

Limbaugh thinks that Sotomayor would be a disaster on the Supreme Court; and so he wants her to fail to get there. And he still wants President Obama to fail.

So, who's next? Susan Boyle?

homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

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Cheney Actively Seeking Book Deal

"Cheney Actively Seeking Book Deal On Bush Years"

So that's why we're now seeing and hearing so much from a man who seemed to have lived under a rock for eight years, emerging occasionally to guide the President in a disastrous direction.

Or maybe he lived under a bridge. Jon Stewart tellingly called Cheney a troll. Just today, Gail Collins wisely advised us to pay no attention to the former Vice President until he undergoes therapy.

I must say that his speech scared me with his 27 references to 9-11 and warnings of the clear and present dangers that he sees.

homer  www.altara.blogspot.com

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PRESIDENTIAL IDOL

PRESIDENTIAL IDOL

Who will be a survivor in 2012?

As others have observed, President Obama's wise appointment of the highly qualified Jon Huntsman, Governor of Utah, as our ambassador to China may well have removed from contention a leading candidate for the 2o12 Republican presidential nomination. This follows his wise selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, thus probably eliminating this strong member of his team of rivals from the 2012 election. Perhaps unrelated is the news today that former President Bill Clinton has been named by the UN as special envoy to Haiti.

So what's next? Governor Bobby Jindal as ambassador to India. Florida Governor Charlie Crist (Spanish speaking?) as ambassador to Mexico?

homer  www.altara.blogspot.com

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Diaries

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