Andy Stern announcing insurance pool on MTP

Andy Stern spoke with Harold Meyerson over the noon hour on Friday at Yearly Kos. Among the many topics covered was the news that Andy has a plan for organizing a pool for self-employed persons to obtain health coverage. He said to look for the announcement when he appears on Meet the Press. (I assume that means today. Conventioneers will learn about it in due course unless they are in a MTP mood this morning.)

This seems to have flowed from his recent experiences of organizing workers worldwide, and from his earlier life situations in other countries than the US.

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RNC caging plans, Tim Griffin e-mails on PBS this weekend

Truthout has obtained RNC e-mails from 2004 in which the plans are set in place to target and purge voter rolls in several states. The program will be on PBS NOW starting in some areas on July 27 and then repeating, so check your local stations. Seeing his name on these e-mails certainly reverberates in respect to the firing of the US Attorneys.

(Screen set to show the Chicago PBS schedule, just cursor down and enter your own zip code.)

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Rep Mark Kirk R-IL co-sparks confab with Bush

Eleven Republican congressmen, including mine, spent over an hour yesterday explaining to Bush and his inner circle that he's lost credibility on Iraq, and any reports in the coming days must come from Gen Petraeus.

The 2:23 minute video is on MSNBC.

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"Sittin' on the sidelines"

A friend of Rep Patrick Murphy sent him an e-mail this week just as the Iraq Accountability Act was sent to the conference committee. See Patrick's 9 minute after-hours speech on Speaker Pilosi's blog.

The friend says that he and legions of other officers will do all they can to back up the Congress in this oversight, and are behind Rep Murphy all the way. The fellow notes that after four years, the Iraqis are still "sitttin on the sidelines."

This is very similar to the description given by the National Guard veteran who spoke to our MeetUp, conceding that "if someone cleans your house for you" you're not much interested in them departing and leaving the task up to your own efforts.

Speaker Pelosi is providing a great newsletter, not sure if the previous editions contained as many videos, but having been glued to the Gonzales hearing one full day, Pelosi's summary and recap is welcomed.

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Retired DoJ Atty describes shattered Dept

Daniel J Metcalfe, who resigned from his position at the DoJ, is interviewed by Tony Mauro of Legal Times. Starting with an internship there in 1971, Metcalfe spent his entire career at the DoJ, and he compares the abrupt changes that took place when Gonzales took over in 2005.

Under Gonzales, though, almost immediately from the time of his arrival in February 2005, this changed quite noticeably. First, there was extraordinary turnover in the political ranks, including the majority of even Justice's highest-level appointees. It was reminiscent of the turnover from the second Reagan administration to the first Bush administration in 1989, only more so. Second, the atmosphere was palpably different, in ways both large and small. One need not have had to be terribly sophisticated to notice that when Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey left the department in August 2005 his departure was quite abrupt, and that his large farewell party was attended by neither Gonzales nor (as best as could be seen) anyone else on the AG's personal staff.

Third, and most significantly for present purposes, there was an almost immediate influx of young political aides beginning in the first half of 2005 (e.g., counsels to the AG, associate deputy attorneys general, deputy associate attorneys general, and deputy assistant attorneys general) whose inexperience in the processes of government was surpassed only by their evident disdain for it.

In this long-ranging interview, Metcalfe touches on decision-making by consensus and groupthink, which leads to no one being held responsible for decisions.

Besides this interview, Legal Times has provided good information  about Preet Bharara, Sen Schumer's chief counsel. Bharara served for 5 years as Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of NY, and he'll use his skills in the coming confrontation with Abu Gonzales.

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How Big Oil played dirty

Here's the story of the destruction of a concept - an electirc car - that would put hundreds of dollars back in the pockets of any commuter who could drive an electric car: what if you had no engine repair bills nor regular oil changes to pay for?

But why did the car companies collaborate? Electric cars have no combustion engine - and it is in maintaining and replacing those engines that makes up a hefty chunk of Detroit's profits. A transition to batteries, which require little maintenance, would be a disaster for their balance sheets.

This is only one insightful paragraph from Johann Hari's column published in the Independent UK a few days ago. I recommend it highly for his analysis of how the petroleum and auto industries took the electric car out of consumers' hands and put it into the discard pile. Ever looking to maintain the status quo and the big profit center in their dealership repair shops, Detroit joined in the squashing of the electric car.

I'd recommend that everyone send this link to their senators and representative.

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Fugitive Iraqi minister surfaces, dressed to "kill"

A story has just resurfaced. Hazem al-Shaalan (this is only the final part of his long Iraqi name) was appointed Defense Minister at the time the shrink-wrapped money arrived to be distributed. He managed to abscond with over $800 million dollars. He was tried and charged in absentia, in 2005 I believe. ( Fox, I'm ashamed to admit, has a decent report on the 60 Minutes version. has another one.)

Here is the March, 12, 2007, report on the man brazenly living in Jordan, not worried about being arrested. His graft included buying shoddy equipment, knock-offs of weapons, for example, which were provided to Iraqi soldiers, leaving them at vulnerable, wounded and killed. As if our own brew of scandals is not hot enough yet, this scandal from Iraq is full of names and events utterly foreign yet at the same time, too reminiscent of US military-industrial complex tentacles and crimes.

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Next DCCC chair

As I suspected, Ms Wasserman Schultz is family-centered. In the DNC weblog/news story on the five-day week that Leader-elect Pelosi and Hoyer are announcing will start in January, Rep Wasserman Schultz is quoted as hoping to move her daughter's Brownie meeting to the weekend. She's the troop leader, with their meetings on Monday afternoons. She has spoken about her seven-year-old daughter from the floor, so it is an important matter to her.

The Repubs are really objecting to the plans for a full week, citing "hardship" on family togetherness.

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Douthat and Stoller at top of Most Watched list

As of Wednesday, Nov 29, C-Span reports that Monday's Washington Journal segment featuring Matt and Ross has been the most watched program.

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Congrats from Wolf et al.

Wolf sent his internet reporter to the "source," and Jackie circled the $17Million plus raised at ActBlue.

The RightRoots was paltry in fundraising, as well as results.

Many thanks for all the work you young 'uns did, this cycle and previously. Hope more of us "graybeards" tag along for 2008!

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