Burris May Block Health Care Bill if it Includes Opt-Out

Who could have predicted….


“It’s time to lower the cost of health coverage. it’s time to restore accountability to the system. and it’s time to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care. public option will spur new innovations that will help us get there. that’s why I will not back any insurance plan that does not carry with it this major, major issue of public option,” Burris said.

Regardless of whether or not he was appointed by scandal-tainted former Governor Rod Blagojevich and regardless of the fact that he’s not running for election to his seat from Illinois, Burris holds one of the 60 votes Democrats will need to pass a health reform bill.

It is becoming hard to imagine a bill that will garner the vote of all 60 Senators who caucus as Democrats. Burris won’t support a bill without a public option. Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman link: won’t support a bill with a public option.


Apparently there is a giant all encompassing conspiracy to drive me stark raving mad.  I’m not thrilled with an opt-out, but hey, if Mississippi wants to continue to have third world health care stats, who am I to stop them.  However, getting a bill with a public option for those sane states is worthwhile.

extreme and outrageous (extrajudicial) prejudice and bias

Sasha Baron Cohen character and crossdresser Orly Tai(n)tz has responded to the Judge Land regarding his imposition of sanctions upon her.


Finally, the undersigned counsel appeals all aspects of this Court’s Order in Document #28, wherein the Court proved its pervasively extreme and outrageous (extrajudicial) prejudice and bias against the undersigned counsel by not only denying her Motion to Recuse (Document #24) but also her Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to the Court’s Order to show cause (Document #25, referencing Document #17).

Ordinarily, counsel admits that it would have been prudent if not required to seek relief from these sanctions by the filing of a motion under Rule 59 to preserve or perfect error in the trial court regarding the manifest errors of law and fact which the court made in its last entered order contained in Document #28.  However, the undersigned counsel submits to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit that this Court’s (Judge Clay D. Land’s) refusal to grant either of her last motions, while doubling its unreasonable assessment of sanctions against her from $10,000 to $20,000 rendered such a “normal” course of litigation conduct both futile and potentially self-destructive.  Judge Land’s actions that amounted to misstating or misrepresenting ninety percent of what was presented in the pleadings and argument, completely ignoring ninety percent of the argument and facts, making extremely rude and demeaning remarks, showing bias; taken together,  appear to be designed to silence her and, intimidate her and above all, punish her for what the Court perceived as political rather than “core” constitutional questions. It appears to be a thinly veiled threat to other attorneys not to pursue similar Constitutional issues, which will have a chilling effect on the ability of the public to use Federal Court system to uphold their constitutional rights.   Judge Land’s remarks amounted to nothing short of  political lynching, which turned into feast and celebration by the media mob.   Accordingly, the undersigned counsel submits that she reasonably feared that filing any further motions might lead to the imposition of further sanctions by this particular Judge and Court. Judge Land might well have increased the sanctions amount from $20K to $40K or even $100K, all without specifying any real violations of Rule 11, even if such further filings were merely to show the undersigned counsel’s status as an attorney working pro bono without compensation, or to point out how the U.S. District Court had misconstrued some of the key precedents it cited in this case, including but not limited to Mindes, 453 F.2d 197 (5th Cir. 1971).


As far as I can tell, there is no actual response to Judge Land’s ruling other than to call him names.


I’m sure that will work well for her.

Nothing Says Innocence Like Pushing Reporters Out the Door

Well, that pretty much gives Fitzgerald a handy wrapped up investigation all ready to prosecute.  I doubt Hassan is as loyal as Sorich.

What, does Brown think this is 1970?

I have to really hand it to Hassan for the I have no documents rant after being caught on tape crumpling them up.  That kind of stupidity is hard to find.  Well, for people not working for Dorothy Brown.

Not To Mention, He’s a Blithering Idiot

Dave Weigel, who you should be reading if you are not, finds a particular bit of indecipherable verbiage from Illinois’ fine junior Senator. I think Roland should put it on the mausoleum:


BURRIS: This has — being a constitutional and political science student, I mean, this is Political Science 101 or Political Science, maybe, 1000. The panel’s just been terrific.

And I have so many thoughts just rolling through my head, I don’t even know where to start. I mean, this is — this is the meat that caused us political scientists to even exist, because you’re dealing with these major issues of the separation of powers and the creation of this country and whether or not you want your president to really have the powers that you granted it, and whether or not the Congress, which is on similar or equal footing, can then control or muscle in on those powers of the president.

Based on the fact that — especially the House of Representatives, since they stand for re-election every two years and senators much longer, you — you have this constant power struggle as who is really representing the people and what that representation is going to mean when it gets to the — the policy decision that’s going to impact the public.

And I don’t know whether or not — I don’t think you can come up with a definition dealing with this. Having served in a governor’s cabinet and having dealt with those staffers, it almost depends on how strong the cabinet member is as to just what and how he’s going to deal with those situations and those circumstances.

Because having experienced that on the state level, and knowledgeable to some extent on the federal level — I was very close to the — to the Carter administration and had good insights into the workings of the White House and all of those decisions that were being made and how the gatekeepers really sought to filter the information that got to the president.

Every president’s going to go through it. I don’t even know how we in the Congress can legally — I mean, I heard the distinguished ranking member say that we passed a law. We can pass a law and say there’s going to be a position in there, but I don’t think the Congress can tell the president who to put in that position.

I mean, if we do that, then I think that we’re violating the separation of powers. I mean, this is what we get into. And you can create a position. What happens if — what happens if the president says, “I don’t want to appoint anybody as secretary of state. I’m going to use the undersecretary as an acting secretary”?

Is there a law that would require us or require the president to appoint a secretary of state? Is there? Is there?

CASEY: A law that requires the president to appoint a secretary of state?


CASEY: Specifically, there would not be a law requiring him to do that. Now, of course, if he wants the functions that you vested in a secretary of state performed, he — he probably has to do…


BURRIS: But there is no law that says he has to even appoint a secretary of state, is that — am I correct?


BURRIS: There’s a statute that says there’s a position — a secretary of state position…

CASEY: Right, right — shall be appointed in the following — yes — I’m unaware of any…


BURRIS: But is there a law that says the president has to make that appointment?

CASEY: Not that I’m aware of.

BURRIS: That’s the difficulty that we’re dealing with here. Is there a law that says that the president can appoint an acting person and how long can that person act?

CASEY: Yes. There is actually a law that governs…


BURRIS: OK. How long can that person act?

CASEY: It is — I would actually have to look at the statute but it’s a matter of months, it’s not…

BURRIS: A matter of months, so that person…


BURRIS: Otherwise, then, does the authority then leave that…


BURRIS: … that position?


BURRIS: And who then assumes that authority in that position if the president refuses to send the name up for confirmation to us?

CASEY: Well, yes, there — there are various — many circumstances in which an acting official can continue to serve, especially if they are the — the normal principal deputy of the office that — that you’re talking about.

BURRIS: And what about these midnight appointments, as we hear? You know, the judges in the interim time, or Congress in — in recess…

CASEY: Recess appointments.

BURRIS: The recess appointments. And they serve for only a certain period of time, and — and otherwise…

CASEY: Right.

BURRIS: … that person would have to leave the position and — I mean, you can see all the questions that are just flowing through my process here, as we try to talk about czars and policy-makers. This is even bigger than — than czars.

I mean — you’re — you’re wrestling with this — this just wonderful document that’s created 200 and plus years ago that created our entity and this thing called separation of powers.

We haven’t even gotten into the judiciary side of this, which could also raise a whole lot of other questions.

So, Mr. President (sic), I really don’t have many questions, I just — I got more questions than I have answers, Mr. Chairman, in reference to this, because I — I just sit here and listen to the experts talk, and every time there was a statement made, there’s a — there’s a new question come to my mind, well, what about this? What ifs — What if? What if? And — and so, I find this so fascinating, and I’m — I’m certainly going read each and every one of you all’s testimony.

I don’t know how I’m going to get back to — to, you know, the hearing again to try to follow up on this but, Mr. Chairman, I would imagine that our grandchildren are going to be still wrestling with this same problem.

I don’t know whether or not — given us wanting to have a weak president who’s going to kowtow to Congress or us having this — a weak Congress who’s going to let a president run all over us, which you see in some of these cases.

I mean if, you know, if — if you say that we’re going to appropriate some money, then they don’t want to spend it, you know, they don’t spend it.

And you just heard what my distinguished senator from Utah says, that who the gatekeeper is to stop the information from getting to the president. So, you know, I’m more frustrated than I am — with questions.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, this is — this is — I mean this is. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m done.



I believe the technical term is a blithering fucking idiot.  I didn’t think anyone else approached Jeff Sessions stupid in the Senate.  I have been proven wrong.

Trib Picks Up Wash U Story Concerning Racism at Mother’s

The Trib’s story is generally good, but one of the key points gets ignored in there:

The black students offered to change clothes in their hotel, but the bar told them it wouldn’t matter, students said. They also said a white student traded pants with Murayi and got into the bar without trouble. Benson said the manager nearly let the black students in until they crowded him, shouting, and the situation went downhill.


Essentially by having the white student trade pants and enter, there are incredibly strong grounds for complaints.  This is essentially the same as housing tests to determine if a landlord is discriminating against individuals.  So the claim he almost let them in is pretty much discounted. He let a white student in without any ‘special’ consideration.  Usually these kinds of cases are essentially word against word, but the students acting smartly performed a legitimate test that can then be demonstrated in a court of law with the two students modeling the two different pairs of pants.

Gubernatorial Candidates Look for Billion Dollar Pony

Via Rich who is always the best way to get back to blogging, the Republican candidates were asked to come up with $1 Billion in spending cuts.  Results are not promising:

Asked where each would make specific cuts to trim more than $1 billion from the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit, Dillard, Brady and Schillerstrom each said they would first look at Medicaid, the state subsidized health-care plan for the poor. Proft said he would target funds to create high-speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis and the proposed third metropolitan airport near Peotone. Andrzejewski said he would look at the current share of state income taxes that go to local municipalities—an immensely difficult political move.

Dillard, Brady and Schillerstrom also said they backed tax breaks and other incentives to attract business, but Andrzejewski and Proft belittled them as not doing enough to help make Illinois’ business climate more attractive.


Let’s start with the admittedly most specific and thus at least a little courageous attempt by Proft.  High speed rail and Peotone funds are small and most are not recurring.  High speed rail funds by the state are included in the capital bill at $400 million which is significant, but essentially a one time outlay and not part of the operating budget.  Peotone land acquisition is around $150 million I believe and again, is not a part of any operating budget.  It’s all one time funds.  That does not impact the operating budget deficit in a significant way.

That’s not to pick on Dan because he was specific. Saying you are going to cut $1 Billion (10% of the budget deficit) from Medicaid is quite a claim as well. The two large areas of spending on Medicaid are acute care and long term care.  The mental health facilities are pretty much off the table in creating big cuts in long term care. The money just isn’t there.

The next big category is nursing facility care which is largely for elderly people without their own means to support nursing home care which comes in around $1.3 Billion/year and Home care at about $1 billion.  You might be able to chop some of the nursing home care by moving more people to home care, but given the long term need for better pay for such jobs, the savings are somewhat limited.

Nearly $9.3 billion in acute care is the biggest amount of Medicaid spending. The long term solution is reducing health care costs and a universal health care plan for the country.  Otherwise, Medicaid will end up picking up more and more costs for the uninsured just as other insurance does.

Just under half is spent on hospitalization, about one quarter on outpatient, and about 13% on other services.  Can you pull $1 billion out of this?  Sure, you can insure fewer people or you can reduce reimbursements so that fewer providers will take Medicaid patients (remember there is already an incredibly long wait on getting paid by the state Medicaid program).  Long term, universal care and movement towards more prevention and thus more outpatient services could save significant money, but short term not much will change.

So pretty much no one offered much of an idea in how to reduce 1/10 of the Illinois budget deficit.

Well Rich, The Pantagraph Has Improved

Yes, it’s a mindnumblingly stupid editorial, but you should remember the schlock of yester years like the breathless reporting of Satanic Worship coming to McLean County because a sheep was found bloodied and dead.  After reporting that it must be a sacrifice from a Satanic Cult, turns out someones dog got himself a bit of sheep. Oops.

Rich covers the basic problem of the proposal well:


One painful lesson we learned over and over when Rod Blagojevich was around was that the Illinois governor has too much constitutional power. Yet, the Pantagraph would weaken the General Assembly further without touching the governor’s authority.

Are the legislative leaders too powerful? Of course. But they got that power through political muscle, not the Constitution. Because they have so few powers enumerated to them, they’ve had to build their own power base with politics. That’s one reason why they are so reluctant to give up their political powers via campaign finance reform (although they are also undoubtedly loathe to cede their grand fiefdoms to the whims of a bunch of reformers and Republicans). Take away their political leverage and the governor’s constitutional powers will only be enhanced.

The same is essentially true of the Chicago mayor. Legally, the city has a “weak mayor” form of government, so the only way mayors have been able to truly govern effectively is if they had a powerful political organization. Witness Jane Byrne’s flip-flop after she defeated the Machine for a prime example, and Harold Washington’s losses to the Machine until he elected more sympathetic aldermen.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s a fact.


I still think Rich misses the stupidest part of it:

The biggest argument against term limits is that voters can apply them any time they want by defeating an elected official’s re-election bid.

But that’s only partly true. Voters might be able to toss out statewide officials and lawmakers from their own district, but they have no voice in removing lawmakers in other districts who wield inordinate power, such as the House speaker or Senate president, for example.


So then, people should be able to veto other citizens’ choices.  Ah, democracy at work!  Voters do have a voice in removing the House Speaker.  They can elect people who promise to not vote for Mike Madigan.  I don’t think anyone from Bloomington has voted for Mike Madigan as Speaker since the cutback amendment so losing an argument is not the same as not having a say.

This is teabagger argumentation at its best.  Losing an election is not like taxation without representation and having a legislative leader who you don’t support does not mean that you should be able to remove another citizens’ choice. Even those idiots who vote for Dan Lipinski. Illinois citizens have routinely elected a majority of Democrats who were always going to vote for Madigan for Speaker.  That’s a choice and Republicans have used that as an effective campaign argument against Democrats in some districts and that’s as it should be.

Are there ways to reduce the power of the Lege leaders?  Yes, and when the Republicans instituted them the members gave the power right back to Tom Cross.  That’s no bad mark on Tom Cross–it’s a bad mark on his colleagues who like it to be easy.

Beyond all this, I’ve seen term limits in action and I see nothing that has improved in Missouri with term limits and a lot of bad decisions and half-ass lawmaking.  Does it happen in Illinois too–sure, but experienced legislators are the best defense against determined lobbyists.





Fine Moments in Racism

Generally I avoid any mention of Wash U, but it seems Mother’s in Chicago decided some black students were wearing too baggy of pants:


About 200 Washington University seniors were attending Mother’s Night Club Original bar on Saturday night as part of their class trip to Chicago, sponsored by the Senior Class Council. According to Senior Class President Fernando Cutz, the six black students were told they would not be allowed in because of their failure to comply with the bar’s “baggy jeans” policy. A few white students who had already been admitted then came out to demonstrate that their jeans were more “baggy,” but the black students were still denied admission.

The six students offered to change their clothes, but the bar manager still refused to allow them in. The white students were allowed to return.

The management at Mother’s did not immediately return phone calls from Student Life seeking comment.


The article misses a bit of the story. At least one white student exchanged pants with a black student.  The jeans were then baggier on the white student who was then readmitted.

I do wonder about the choice of such a crappy bar by the students, but tourists…

Mother’s has had numerous complaints about this kind of discrimination in the past, but they don’t seem to care.  The students are a bit naive about how to go after this sort of thing, but also pretty smart.


When You Reference Amos ‘n Andy to Find a Comparable Figure to the President

You are an old racist who needs his family to take away his keyboard:


In 2008 it seemed to many that Obama was the embodiment of sweet reason on race: a highly cultured Sidney Poitier type who starred in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”-the 1967 soft-liberal rendition that showed us a black physician who was every bit as sophisticated as the upper-class family played by Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. But to many Obama has emerged as a dangerously unskilled president…maimed by his soft-hidden but nevertheless demonstrable black radicalism…to show himself as an immature, consummate narcissist really uneducated-and for all his suavity–a boob. He’s wearing very thin.

He’s even wearing thin with the Left: Howard Fineman of Newsweek and George Herbert of The New York Times editorial page…not to mention Frank Rich of the NYT. In short he’s beginning to be lampooned on Saturday Night Live as an unskilled orator who substitutes speech-ifying for strategy. With his speeches, he is coming very close to the caricature of Algonquin J. Calhoun, the fast-talking lawyer on radio and TV’s old Amos `n Andy…someone who can stretch definitions beyond the breaking point. Lawyer Calhoun was an egotist too…remember, people who are old enough?… who believed he could spin words faster than listeners could compute.


Ayers ‘Admitted’ Writing Obama’s Book Before!

Imagine lots of caps and hysterical run on sentences with the build up to this from Dave Weigel:


Jonah Goldberg steps back from the “Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s memoir” conspiracy after catching an Oct. 3 writeup of an Ayers speech. It appeared in National Journal, behind a pay wall, so few people saw it as Annie Leary’s “scoop” flitted around the blogosphere.

When he finished speaking, we put the authorship question right to him. For a split second, Ayers was nonplussed. Then an Abbie Hoffmanish, steal-this-book-sort-of-smile lit up his face. He gently took National Journal by the arm. “Here’s what I’m going to say. This is my quote. Be sure to write it down: ‘Yes, I wrote Dreams From My Father. I ghostwrote the whole thing. I met with the president three or four times, and then I wrote the entire book.’” He released National Journal’s arm, and beamed in Marxist triumph. “And now I would like the royalties.”

Ayers is messing with conservatives. People he’s duped so far: Jonah Goldberg, his mother Lucianne Goldberg, Tom Maguire, Dennis Byrne, Carol Platt Lieblau, and a bunch of other conservatives, some of whom try to split the difference by suggesting that Ayers is revealing a little bit of truth behind the sarcasm. How embarrassing.

One reason that I suspected Ayers of messing with people? He’s done it to me. In 2001, I met him at a book signing, joined by a few fellow college students who were attempting to nail him on the then-hot controversy of his comments that he wished he’d made more bombs–comments that happened to appear in the 9/11/01 edition of the New York Times. Ayers messed with us, joking back and forth, giving us a map of Afghanistan, and signing my copy of the book with a happy left-wing message.


Scott Turow long ago explained such interpretations in Presumed Innocent:

“Your Honor,” says Nico, “the man admitted the crime.”

“Oh, Mr. Delay Guardia,” says Judge Lyttle.  “Really!  You see, that is my point.  You tell a man he’s engaged in wrongdoing and he says, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’  Everyone recognizes that’s facetious.  We all are familiar with that.  Now, in my neighborhood, had Mr. Sabich come from those parts, he would have said, ‘Yo’ momma.'”

There is broad laugher in the courtroom.  Larren has scored again.  He sits on the bench, laughing himself.

“But you know, in Mr. Sabich’s part of town, I would think people say, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ and what they mean is ‘You are wrong.'”  Pausing.  “To be polite.”