Archive for the ‘Unbelievable’ Category

Bush Plans to Put 9/11 Workers’ Care in Company Based Outside NY – Sick Would Pay Upfront

WASHINGTON – The outgoing Bush administration appears to be working “covertly” on a contract that would strip the 9/11 health and treatment program from the FDNY and Mount Sinai Medical Center, sources told the Daily News.

The plan, which sources say is being batted around within the Department of Health and Human Services, would yank all Sept.  11-related monitoring and care from the city and put it in the hands of of one company – likely based outside the city.

A new contract could potentially force 9/11 patients pay up front for services, and then be reimbursed. Currently, the tab is covered.

More than 50,000 people are enrolled in the city-based health and monitoring program, open to those exposed to Ground Zero. About 16,000 participants are actively receiving treatment.

Some 4,000 people are enrolled in a national version.

“The department is not working on a solicitation of this type and this allegation is untrue,” HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson insisted.

Nevertheless, a source told The News officials within the department “have not liked this program from the beginning.”

“They are ideologues, and they could stick the Obama administration with this contract. At best, it’s disruptive,” the source added.

A spokesman for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which administers the 9/11 programs, said the contract for treating ill Americans outside of the tri-state area would end in the summer – but could not say if there were any plans for the city programs.

“What they want to do is broaden that national contract, and put everyone in there,” a source with New York ties said, adding that federal officials appear to be trying to bid out the new program before Barack Obama takes office.

The source said New York legislators learned of the impending move after a potential contractor called them, hoping to get help preparing a bid.

That prompted Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler (D- Manhattan) to fire off a angry letter Thursday demanding an explanation for the secret moves after officials had promised to keep them in the loop.

“Last week, we were dismayed to hear of a new solicitation about to be issued by your department that would apparently replace all current arrangements,” says the letter addressed to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and obtained by the News.

“This information on the new solicitation concerned us not only with regard to the potential damage to the current program,” the letter went on, “but also regarding the apparent attempt to covertly announce this contract solicitation in the last days of the Bush administration.”

Maloney and Nadler gave the secretary three days to respond.

“We just received this letter today and immediately called their offices to say these allegations are unfounded,” Pearson said.

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When are you corrupt SOB’s going to get the message – the game is OVER and we’ve had ENOUGH!?

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrested in conspiracy to benefit from Obama’s Senate replacement.

This is an AP article, so you need to click HERE to read this unbelievable story!

Gosh – if they’d sent her to “TLC’s What Not to Wear” it would have only cost them $5,000!

From The NY Times

Published: October 22, 2008

Sarah Palin’s wardrobe joined the ranks of symbolic political excess on Wednesday, alongside John McCain’s multiple houses and John Edwards’s $400 haircut, as Republicans expressed fear that weeks of tailoring Ms. Palin as an average “hockey mom” would fray amid revelations that the Republican Party outfitted her with expensive clothing from high-end stores.

Cable television, talk radio and even shows like “Access Hollywood” seemed gripped with sartorial fever after campaign finance reports confirmed that the Republican National Committee spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue in September for Ms. Palin and her family.

Advisers to Ms. Palin said on Wednesday that the purchases — which totaled about $150,000 and were classified as “campaign accessories” — were made on the fly after Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, was chosen as the Republican vice-presidential candidate on Aug. 29 and needed new clothes to match climates across the 50 states. They emphasized, too, that Ms. Palin did not spend time on the shopping, and that other people made the decision to buy such an array of clothes.

Yet Republicans expressed consternation publicly and privately that the shopping sprees on her behalf, which were first reported by Politico, would compromise Ms. Palin’s standing as Senator McCain’s chief emissary to working-class voters whose salvos at the so-called cultural elite often delight audiences at Republican rallies.

That possibility was brought to life, for instance, on “The View” on ABC, as Joy Behar, a co-host, noted the McCain campaign’s outreach to blue-collar workers — like an Ohio plumber who recently chided Senator Barack Obama over taxes — after another co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, defended the expenditures.

“I don’t think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks,” Ms. Behar said.

Advisers to Mr. Obama — as well as those of his rival in the Democratic primaries, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — said that campaign money was never spent on personal clothing but that potentially embarrassing purchases could be blended into advertising budgets.

Mr. Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, however, listed two $400 haircuts as a campaign expense, and after they were detected he struggled to shake an elitist image in his failed Democratic presidential bid.

Such an image is unhelpful at this late stage of the general election, Republicans said, especially when many families are experiencing economic pain, and when the image applies to a candidate, like Ms. Palin, who has run for office in part on her appeal as an outdoors enthusiast and former small-town mayor who scorns pretensions.

“It looks like nobody with a political antenna was working on this,” said Ed Rollins, a Republican political consultant who ran President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. “It just undercuts Palin’s whole image as a hockey mom, a ‘one-of-us’ kind of candidate.”

Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, have been described as elitist by both Republicans and Democrats at times, and so much was made when she appeared on “The View” in June in a black-and-white patterned dress. Turns out it sold for $148 at an off-the-rack store.

Few Republican operatives or politicians, even those critical of the McCain-Palin campaign, were publicly criticizing the ticket on Wednesday over the clothing purchases. Some said privately that doing so would be akin to kicking a campaign while it was down.

Others said the issue was tainted with sexism, given that male politicians often spend thousands of dollars on suits.

“She had a legitimate need to purchase clothing to get her through three months of grueling campaigning in the constant spotlight of television cameras,” said William F. B. O’Reilly, a Republican consultant in New York. “No one would blink if this was a male candidate buying Brooks Brothers suits.”

Other Republicans said the focus on Ms. Palin’s clothing did not fairly reflect the challenge she faced: Neither she nor her Republican allies expected that she would be tapped as Mr. McCain’s running mate until the last minute, when she was elevated from her comfort zone in Alaska and presented to the nation as the first female Republican vice-presidential nominee.

“If they hadn’t done this, ‘Saturday Night Live’ would be doing jokes where Governor Palin would be dressed in elk skin,” said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant not associated with the McCain campaign.

Party officials, who said they had discussed the matter with McCain and Palin advisers, said all concerned wanted Ms. Palin to present herself as a fashionable-but-sensible on-the-go working mother — a multilayered sartorial strategy, in other words, that has yielded an array of well-cut jackets and skirts, suitable for the different seasons and state climates.

More than $130,000 of the charges used to outfit Ms. Palin and her family were initially footed by Jeff Larson, a prominent Republican consultant in St. Paul whose firm has been tied to the onslaught of negative robocalls about Mr. Obama from Mr. McCain’s campaign. Mr. Larson was also the chief executive of the local host committee for the Republican National Convention, in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Federal Election Commission records showed Mr. Larson was reimbursed by the Republican National Committee for charges at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Barneys New York and Atelier New York, a men’s clothing store.

Other purchases by the R.N.C. included $98 from Pacifier, a children’s boutique in Minneapolis.

Hours before Ms. Palin was to speak at the convention on Sept. 3, a woman burst into the store, said Jon Witthuhn, an owner. After she said she needed something for a 6-month-old boy and was doing shopping related to the convention, it began to dawn on him that he might be outfitting Trig Palin, Ms. Palin’s youngest.

The woman paid for a blue striped convertible romper, a matching monkey-ear hat and socks. Trig Palin appeared on television that night wearing the outfit — without the hat.

Republican officials said all the clothes would be given to charity after the campaign is over. If Ms. Palin kept the clothes, the $150,000 would have to be taxed as income, tax experts said.

Had the purchases been made by the McCain campaign, it would be a conversion of campaign money into personal use, which is prohibited. The same rule does not apply to money from party committees.

“The R.N.C. cleverly used the party committee’s money to avoid the liability that would have occurred if campaigns funds were used,” said Kenneth Gross, a lawyer who is an expert in campaign finance.

Under disclosure requirements of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Ms. Palin would need to report any gifts valued at over $250 from a single giver.

Elisabeth Bumiller and Leslie Wayne contributed reporting.

Stumped by an 8-year-old – can you spell “Potato(e)?”

Wednesday, October 22nd 2008, 2:54 PM

She’s contending for arguably the second most powerful title in the country – if not the world. But it seems Sarah Palin could use a brush-up on the vice-president’s job description.

Asked by an elementary school student what a vice president does, Republican candidate Sarah Palin responded that the vice president is the president’s “team mate” but also “runs the Senate” and “can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes.”

While aimed at a typical 8-year-old, Palin’s explanations oversimplify the U.S. Constitution’s definition of the duties of the vice president and don’t match the office’s traditional role in Senate activities.

The vice president’s main duty is to replace the president if the president dies, resigns, is removed from office or can no longer carry out his or her duties for other reasons. The Constitution names the vice president as the president of the Senate but allows the vice president to cast a vote only to break a tie.

The vice president, as a member of the executive branch of the government, has no official role in developing legislation or determining how it is presented to or debated by the Senate, which is part of the legislative branch. In all meaningful ways, the leader of the majority party runs the Senate.

Traditionally, the vice president appears in the Senate for ceremonial events and in case of a tie vote. Although the vice president can preside over the Senate, vice presidents have left that day-to-day chore to senators themselves. In the past, each president has determined the role of the vice president in an administration.

The subject of the vice president’s duties came up as Palin sat for an interview with KUSA-TV in Denver, which has a feature called “Question from the Third Grade.” The interviewer asked, “Brandon Garcia wants to know, ‘What does the vice president do?'”

“That’s a great question, Brandon, and a vice president has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the president’s agenda, they’re like the team member, the team mate to that president,” Palin said.

“But also, they’re in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it’s a great job and I look forward to having that job,” she said.

It’s rare that we are left speechless – but this is truly one of those times. What has become of the United States of America that this would be allowed to happen – and that the candidates for whom these people were gathered said nothing? We are saddened…and sickened beyond words.

Another McCain-Palin supporter yells ‘kill him!’ about Obama.

The Scranton Times-Tribune notes that yet another McCain supporter at a rally today with Gov. Sarah Palin yelled “kill him!” in reference to Sen. Barack Obama:

Chris Hackett addressed the increasingly feisty crowd as they await the arrival of Gov. Palin. Each time the Republican candidate for the seat in the 10th Congressional District mentioned Barack Obama the crowd booed loudly. One man screamed “kill him!”

Last Monday, a supporter also yelled “kill him” at a rally. In the past weeks, McCain supporters have called Obama “an Arab,” “Little Hussein,” and a “terrorist.”

I would also pray Lord that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their God — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his [McCain’s] opponent wins for a variety of reasons.

And Lord I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you would step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day.

Oh Lord, we just commit this time to you, move among us, make your presence very well felt as we are gathered here today in Jesus’ name I pray.

This was the invocation at a John McCain rally in Davenport, Iowa this weekend, given by Rev. Arnold Conrad.

Is this questioning Obama’s faith – suggesting that “his” God is “Hindu, Buddha, Allah?” There is more than one God?!

This is BEYOND outrageous – this is intolerant and ignorant at best. This smacks of insincere acceptance speeches at awards shows and after football games, insinuating that God was somehow on the side of the victorious person/team – blasphemy of the highest order, from where we sit. To a good number of us, it looks plainly devious and despicable. And we are, frankly, appalled.

Contrary to the misguided theories of some – including the present occupant of the White House – this country is NOT a theocracy.

OUR GOD DOESN’T  VOTE.

This is scandalous! They are assuming you are too tired and beaten down to care. A lot of these people are up for re-election – continue to let them know what you think!

This is a conference call place BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT – it’s too long to post here in its entirety – so read and listen at NakedCapitalism.com.

Mussolini-Style Corporatism in Action: Treasury Conference Call on Bailout Bill to Analysts (Updated)

From the U. S. Treasury – (Our emphasis in bold red.)

President George W. Bush nominated Henry M. Paulson, Jr. to be the 74th Secretary of the Treasury on June 19, 2006. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Paulson to the position on June 28, 2006 and he was sworn into office on July 10, 2006 by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. As Treasury Secretary, Paulson is the President’s leading policy advisor on a broad range of domestic and international economic issues.

Before coming to Treasury, Paulson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs since the firm’s initial public offering in 1999. He joined Goldman Sachs Chicago Office in 1974 and rose through the ranks holding several positions including, Managing Partner of the firm’s Chicago office, Co-head of the firm’s investment Banking Division, President and Chief Operating Officer, and Co-Senior partner.

Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Paulson was a member of the White House Domestic Council, serving as Staff Assistant to the President from 1972 to 1973, and as Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon from 1970 to 1972.

Paulson graduated from Dartmouth in 1968, where he majored in English, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an All Ivy, All East football player. He received an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1970. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children, Amanda and Merritt.

Now – this is an interesting “take” on the bail-out issue from a columnist at Bloomberg.com and why Goldman Sachs NEEDS this money (your money). It’s a tough read for those of us who did NOT make $68.5 million last year, as did Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs…or even the $10 million or more “many otherwise ordinary human beings took home” – but well worth your time to see how these guys think. Here’s an excerpt about our boy Henry –

…One of the things they say is that, in leaving Goldman for government service, Paulson made the greatest trade of his life. Not only was he required to sell his half-billion dollars in Goldman stock near the high, but also, as Treasury Secretary, he was exempt from capital-gains taxes. By getting out of Goldman while the getting was good, the guy may have doubled his net worth.

$700,000,000,000 to save the butts of people who intentionally cheated for profit – and a bill to provide long-term health care to 9/11 First Responders who are ill. These people tried to SAVE LIVES and are dying as a result. Priorities need to be reassessed.

BY OREN YANIV
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Congress Sunday shelved a $10.9 billion bill to provide health care and compensation for Ground Zero workers, at least in part due to opposition from Mayor Bloomberg.

The House of Representatives failed to vote on the bill after City Hall objected to a provision that would have required the city to pay 10% of the cost of a long-term Sept. 11 health program.

The total cost would have been $5.1 billion for a 10-year program that would have provided health care to those sick from working amid toxic World Trade Center debris. The city’s share was to be $500 million.

The bill also would have reopened the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, adding an estimated $6 billion for those who became sick after working amid the debris.

John Feal, a 9/11 responder and founder of the FealGood Foundation, went to Washington in a failed push for the bill.

“The mayor pretty much squashed the bill on us,” a disappointed Feal said last night. “We should do right by these people who are sick and dying.”

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), Vito Fossella (R-S.I.) and Pete King (R-L.I.) said the New York delegation would reintroduce another bipartisan bill next year.

“We will work together to meet the sizable need to care for those who lived and worked in the immediate area around Ground Zero – not to mention those who helped in the immediate aftermath,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

Supporters had hoped the House would vote on the package over the weekend, but time and support ran out amid intense congressional negotiations over the $700 billion financial bailout package.

The Senate would likely not have had time to pass the bill anyway, but backers said House passage would have helped move the measure forward.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said the Sept. 11 health bill was “a step backward” and said “it put an undue burden on city taxpayers.” He noted the bill would raise fivefold the city’s annual tab for 9/11 programs.

Other city officials said the feds should pay the full cost as a matter of principle because Sept. 11 was an attack on America.

Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, countered that the bill was doomed by “shortsighted” thinking at City Hall.

“What really sunk this was the mayor’s opposition,” Hughes said. “I think they miscalculated.”