Today: Rachel looks at the Question 1 fight in Maine, the house health care bill, and the coal industry’s forged letters to Congress.
Rachel started us off with the breaking news that Senator Evan Bayh (D – Indiana) is backing way off of his apparent threat to join a filibuster to stop debate of the health care bill.
Bayh’s office said that he was “clarifying” his position rather than skittering away from it in fear.
It’s good to know that I can now tell people I clarified my position with the black widow spider I found in my apartment a few months ago. Let’s hope that Senator Bayh will not be reduced to dropping a pizza box on the health care bill and then stomping on it.
This leaves Senator Joe Lieberman (I – Connecticut) standing alone in jerk territory.
Why does he seem so happy about it? Does he have trouble interpreting other people’s facial expressions? Or hand gestures? Or angry phone calls and e-mails? Who’s going to explain it to him?
Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake.com dropped in to explain what’s up with a genius beauty pageant metaphor that will have you scrambling for the brain bleach.
Stuck in the Middle with You
Rachel moved on to the House health reform bill, which does have a public option. Sort of.
It’s so watered down that it’s kind of appropriate that only ten Tea Partiers could pull it together to go protest it.
You can go with the “Well, at least it’s there,” optimism, and it’s true, there was a point a couple of months ago when it looked like health care reform would consist of getting insurance executives to agree not to punch us directly in the kidneys while we’re dropping off our wheelbarrows full of premium money.
And yet, said insurance executives will not be trading their suits in for comical barrel costumes any time soon. Thanks, Blue Dogs.
Rachel had some footage of an outright disgusted Representative Dennis Kucinich (D – Ohio), who had some choice words on the subject. I love him.
Congressman Anthony Weiner (D – New York), on the other hand, was way calmer than I expected him to be.
Popping the Question
As you may have guessed, Rachel is geeked for Election Night.
And you should be too, because the Question One referendum in Maine is going to be a nail-biter. If you have loved ones — or, hell, acquaintances — in Maine, make sure they get out there to vote.
Tell them you’ll keep talking about Joe Lieberman in a bikini until you do.
Rachel welcomed Maine’s Governor John Baldacci (D), who was against gay marriage only a couple of years ago, but has since had a change of heart.
Here’s what I’ve noticed: People who move from opposing gay marriage to favoring it tend to either realize that the issue directly affects someone they care about or, like Baldacci, they come to believe it’s about fairness and equal protection under the law.
People who stick to opposing gay marriage tend to cite Jesus, and when you point out that he didn’t actually say much about that, they become intensely interested in a single verse of Leviticus.
It’s kind of like saying we should change our nation’s drug laws because of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Good luck, Maine! And remember that if you don’t live there, you can still jump on a phone bank.
Rachel took another look at Congressman Steve Buyer’s (R – Indiana) Frontier Foundation, a scholarship fund with such amazingly high standards that it has never actually seen fit to award one.
Buyer, however, has been tirelessly subjecting himself to golfing fundraisers in beautiful locations in the hopes that one day some student will be diligent enough to qualify for the more than $800,000 the foundation has raised.
In other news of the Buyer family’s civic-minded selflessness, Buyer’s son Ryan sits on the board of the Frontier Foundation when he’s not busy at his job at PhRMA, a drug industry trade group.
PhRMA has donated extensively to the Frontier Foundation, and you could have knocked them over with a feather when they realized that Representative Buyer sits on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, which regulates the pharmaceutical industry.
Truly, they had no idea. Small world, eh?
Rachel also noted that according to President Obama’s former campaign manager David Plouffe, Evan Bayh was once a strong contender to get the Vice Presidential nod.
That story really gave me pause. Not because Obama was considering such an obstructionist conservadem, but because I couldn’t decide in which position Bayh would be more irritating.
Are you ready for some comical, transparent lying to Congress? You’re in luck.
In their zeal to keep the world safe for coal dust, Bonner & Associates stole some letterhead and forged missives to three members of Congress before a critical climate change vote.
Or rather, a “temporary employee” did. Right before he jammed the copier and took two packets of breakroom tea home for personal rather than office use. He just couldn’t be stopped!
Nor could Bonner & Associates bring themselves to tell the Representatives they’d sent the letters to after they discovered what the naughty temp had done.
I guess another temp was running the phones that day.