Newt Gingrich Praises Obama Speech to School Children

While many conservatives have been acting outright paranoid about Barack Obama’s speech to school children, Newt Gingrich has praised it:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich defended President Barack Obama’s speech to school children Tuesday, urging “every child” to read the remarks.

Some conservative critics have accused the president of trying to “indoctrinate” school children with a speech Tuesday welcoming students back to school, but Gingrich said during an interview on NBC’s “Today Show” that the attacks are without merit.

“President Reagan did it, President George H.W. Bush did it,” he said. “I read the speech yesterday when it was posted and I think the White House was smart to post it.”
“It’s a good speech,” Gingrich added. “I recommend it to everybody if you have any doubts. I would love to have every child in America read it, think about it, and learn that they should stay in school and they should study.”

Many conservatives are claiming that the speech is intended to indoctrinate school children in socialism and are urging boycotts of the speech. The text of the speech is posted here.

Manhattan Madam Threatens To Run Against Spitzer

If Eliot Spitzer decides to run for office he will have a problem with the opposition. It is not that someone who has indicated her intent to run against him is more qualified for the position but that the campaign would be a constant reminder of the past scandal. Kristin Davis, who provided Spitzer with “escorts,” is threatening to run against her on the Manhattan Madam blog (hat tip to Political Wire):

Eliot Spitzer has the bug. For the second time in six months he has been caught planning a come-back. First, he floated a trial baloon for his old job as Attorney General. It was more like a lead balloon. Now he is contemplating a run for the US Senate or New York State Comptroller.

As I told the New York Post yesterday, “if he runs for public office I may have to run myself to focus attention on the  multiple illegal acts for which he has not been punished, his abuse of women and the SEXISM in the way he walked away scot free while I went to Rikers for four months for supplying him with ‘company”.

There is far more to tell about Eliot Spitzer, the ladies and the way he treated them. There is also far more to tell about Spitzer’s relationships with multiple New York Escort services including several of my competitors when I was in the business. I’m sure if he and I both ran these facts would come in during a spirited campaign.

Voters would get to decide whether it is fair and equitable that Spitzer broke multiple state and federal laws and avoided prosecution while I was punished for my supplying girls for Spitzer, Madoff and others. If it fair that a rich white male walked while a woman entrepenuer did hard time for a victimless crime.

I would make sure everyone remembers how Spitzer violated the public trust and at the same time I would push a REFORM agenda. Prostitution should be legalized, regulated and taxed to help solve our fiscal problems. Marijuana should also be legalized, regulated and taxed. With both, New York could balance our budget without raising taxes or cutting essential services. Gay Marriage, hamstrung in the State Senate, should be legalized as a matter of total equality.

Yes indeed, if Eliot spitzer throws his hat in the ring, I may just have to jump in the race myself. After all, how I could I do worse than the clowns we have in Albany now?

Baucus Offers New Health Care Compromise

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus tried again with another compromise health reform bill. The bill does have some useful provisions to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage but I will have to go through this in more detail to see if such benefits out weigh the compromises in his legislation.

Baucus continues to propose requirements for companies to pay only for employees who receive public assistance as opposed to a full employer mandate. As with his previous proposal this method of payment risks providing considerable incentive for employers to avoid hiring low income employees to avoid this requirement.

The bill proposes coops instead of a public option. I find this difficult to evaluate as, while we have concrete evidence of the success of Medicare as a model for a public option, we do not have similar information to use to judge the coop proposal. There will also be new charges on insurance companies to help pay for the plan.

One negative in the plan is to offer low income individuals Medicaid coverage with even less benefits than in the current Medicaid program. I already find expanding Medicaid a poor substitute for true universal coverage and question the value of what Baucus will provide with his Medicaid-lite.

There is at least one major improvement in this bill as opposed to the previous compromise suggested by Baucus. He has dropped the idea of charging Medicare beneficiaries a twenty percent copay on laboratory charges.

Update: Initial response in the liberal blogsophere is divided between finding this to be worthwhile reform even if not going far enough to seeing it as a total sell out. Matthew Yglesias sees this proposal as establishing a system similar to that in Switzerland while Scott Lemieux sees a number of holes in this analogy.

Update II: More on the problems caused by the employer requirement