Quote of the Day

“Chris Wallace at Fox News asked Michele Bachmann if she is a flake. I think that’s an insult to the fine folks at Kellogg’s.” –David Letterman

Mark Halperin Suspended From MSNBC, To Remain At Time Magazine After Calling Obama A Dick

Mark Halperin has been suspended by MSNBC after calling Barack Obama a dick on the air. Following is a transcript:

Joe Scarborough: Mark Halperin, What was the president’s strategy? We are coming up on a deadline and the president decided to please his base, push back against the Republicans.I guess the question is, we know a deal has to be done. Is this showmanship? A lot of times you go up there and both sides and they act tough so their base will be appeased, then they quietly work the deal behind the scenes.

Mark Halperin: Are we on the seven second delay?

Mika Brzezinski: Lordy.

Halperin: I wanted to characterize how the president behaved.

Scarborough: We have it. We can use it. Go for it. Let’s see what happens.

Brzezinski: We’re behind you, you fall down and we catch you.

Halperin: I thought he was a dick yesterday.

Scarborough: Delay that. delay that. what are you doing? i can’t believe — Iwas joking. Don’t do that. Did we delay that?

Halperin: I said it. I hope it worked.

Scarborough: My mom is watching! We’ll know whether it worked or not.

Halperin did apologize for this remark.

Time Magazine has not suspended Halperin but did issue this response:

“Mark Halperin’s comments on air this morning were inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time’s views. We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable. Mark has appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter and on The Page.

I”m not terribly upset about a conservative pundit calling Obama a dick. I’m sure the president can handle such insults. The  bigger problem with Halperin is that he has had a long career promoting conservative memes, usually a bit more subtly, while being billed as an objective reporter. Hopefully the result of this will be that more people will be aware of his bias.  Plus, once his contract ends with MSNBC, I’m sure there will always be a spot waiting for him at Fox.

Quote of the Day

“Yesterday Sarah Palin said that she read Bristol Palin’s new book and she found it ‘shocking.’ When asked what was shocking, Palin said ‘the fact I read a book.'” –Conan O’Brien

Neil Gaiman on Craig Ferguson


Neil Gaiman on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson last night. Includes a discussion of Doctor Who including the episode written by Gaiman, The Doctor’s Wife.

Obama Beats Palin In Hypothetical Alaska Match Up

Obama beats Palin in by nine points in  Alaska in hypothetical match up. (Palin supporters question this poll, asking what “hypothetical” means.)

Neil Gaiman on Craig Ferguson Tonight

Neil Gaiman, whose book American Gods is being made into an upcoming HBO series, and writer of The Doctor’s Wife, will be visiting Doctor Who fan Craig Ferguson’s show tonight. Maybe Neil can get Idris to come out of the TARDIS on Craig’s desk.

Quote of the Day

“More bad news for Newt Gingrich. One week after his campaign staff quit, his campaign finance team quit. In fact, newt was going to pull out of the race, but today the guy who writes his concession speeches quit. He can’t do anything.” –Jay Leno

Pat Robertson: God Will Destroy America Due To Allowing Marriage Equality

Pat Robertson warns that God will destroy America for allowing marriage equality:

I think we need to remember the term sodomy came from a town known as Sodom and Sodom was destroyed by God Almighty and the thing that they practiced was homosexual activity and even they tried to rape angels who came down there, so that’s the kind of people they were. But beyond that, Jesus when He spoke of Sodom He didn’t say anything about the homosexuality he talked about just the fact that business was as usual until God decided to destroy it. And He sent an angel down there and He said to Lot and his family, ‘get out now because I’m gonna destroy this whole area.’ That’s where sodomy came from, we use the term sodomy and it means Sodom. What’s it like? We’re heading that way as a nation. In history there’s never been a civilization ever in history that has embraced homosexuality and turned away from traditional fidelity, traditional marriage, traditional child-rearing, and has survived. There isn’t one single civilization that has survived that openly embraced homosexuality. So you say, “what’s going to happen to America?” Well if history is any guide, the same thing’s going to happen to us…

It’s not a pretty world we live in right now, and we need all of God’s help we can get. And I don’t think we are not exactly setting ourselves up for His favor.

Video above via Right Wing Watch

Global Payments Failing In Massachusetts–Should Provide Warning For Obama Administration

Health care reform was necessary to curb the abuses of the health insurance industry and provide affordable care to those without coverage, but some of the reform ideas based upon good intentions have been faulty. The Obama administration has been using health care reform to push for new ways to pay for health care and to push for larger medical practices. Both ideas are counterproductive to the goal of providing more affordable, quality care.

Attempts at getting away from fee for service for health care failed miserably during the HMO era, often leading to restrictions on necessary care and unhappy beneficiaries. Not content with letting a bad idea die, the Obama administration has been trying to find ways to adjust a failed idea to make it work. Massachusetts has provided a model for Obama’s health care proposal, and hopefully the Obama administration can also learn from the aspects which have failed. Attempts to pay physicians and hospitals with the types of ideas they are considering has wound up costing more, and part of the reason is that big groups have managed to use their clout to use the system to increase their income. Boston Public Radio reports:

“Our examination found that paying providers on a global basis has not resulted in lower total medical expenses.”

It’s just a short, no-frills sentence, but it amounts to a bombshell dropped on a central tenet of the Massachusetts governor’s plan for the next phase of health reform.

That finding anchors a report issued this morning by state Attorney General Martha Coakley. And it appears to contradict Gov. Deval Patrick’s argument that shifting to global payments is a key to “cracking the code” of ever-spiraling medical costs…

Global payments are supposed to re-align doctors’ incentives and put a stop to the rise in costs. Under such a global system, instead of being paid for each specific treatment, health care providers are put on an overarching budget for every patient. At the end of a year, if they’re within the budget and meet quality standards, they can win bonuses; if not, they risk penalties. The Patrick administration and private insurers have been pushing doctors toward this model, saying it leads to better, thriftier practices.

But Martha Coakley says: “Our investigation shows that a move to global payments is not the panacea to controlling costs.” The attorney general’s report suggests that in fact, thus far, care has tended to end up costing more under global budgets rather than less.

The report suggests continuing to adjust the system, but it is probably doomed to fail as HMO’s did. Despite the faults of fee for service payment, any other form of payment turns out to work far worse. Concentrating health care in larger groups, rather than lowering costs as the Obama administration believes, leads to higher costs (which really should have been predictable).

Quote of the Day

“BREAKING: Gingrich’s Dog, Cat Latest to Bolt Campaign.” –Andy Borowitz