Franken asks KBR Lawyer some questions

Offered without comment.

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New Federal ID?

My Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen emailed me about the new Wallet Passport Card. It has an RFID chip in it - for convenience!


http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_car d/ppt_card_3926.html

I can see all sorts of additional uses for this beyond its stated intent. Medical ID. Employment ID. Voter ID. Silent tracking ID... the possibilities seem endless!

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100 Day Update - Al Franken Edition

An email from my BFF came today.

Dear Poindexter,

One of the best parts of my week comes Wednesday morning, for two reasons. One, I get to talk with a bunch of Minnesotans at our weekly constituent breakfast. And two, said breakfast is Mahnomen Porridge -- a Minnesota treat made from wild rice. If you haven't had it, trust me, you don't know what you're missing. So I'll tell you -- you're missing something delicious.

Now, I know that there's no way we could have built a grassroots movement for change in Minnesota without you -- our dedicated, generous, amazing online supporters. So I figure, even though you all can't enjoy a warm bowl of nutritious porridge with my staff and me, you should get the update on what's been happening in Washington anyway.

Jump

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Public Option Opt-Out

Senator Tom Carper (Democrat from Delaware) has crafted a compromise that would allow States who don't want Communism to ruin Health Care to Opt Out of any Federally sponsored Insurance Plan commonly called a Public Option.

A Win-Win for true Red-Blooded America as well as Blue-Commie-Fascist-Socialist America.

From Sam Stein at Huffington Post:

In conversations with the Huffington Post, sources have said that while the opt-out approach to the public plan is in its nascent stages it has been discussed with leadership in the Senate. It was pulled out of an alternative idea, put forth by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and, prior to him, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, to give states the power to determine whether they want to implement a public insurance option.

But instead of starting with no national public option and giving state governments the right to develop their own, the newest compromise approaches the issue from the opposite direction: beginning with a national public option and giving state governments the right not to have one.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/07 /dems-discussing-public-op_n_313054.html

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Al Franken, my new Man-Crush

If Al decides to 'Primary' Obama, I'll support him.

Franken Gets His First Amendment Passed on Roll Call Vote

After operating largely under the radar during his first few months in office, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is slowly beginning to make political ripples.

On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Democrat got his first piece of legislation passed by the United States Senate via roll call vote. The amendment stopped federal funding for those defense contractors who used mandatory arbitration clauses to deny victims of assault the right to bring their case to court. It passed by a 68-30 margin with nine Republicans joining each voting Democrat. And in the immediate aftermath, Franken was granted the chance to revel, ever so slightly, in his victory.

"The story came to my attention of Jamie Leigh Jones who, when she was 19, went to Iraq to work for [defense contractor] KBR and she was put in the barracks with 400 men and was sexually harassed," Franken told the Huffington Post in a brief interview shortly after the vote. "She complained. But they didn't do anything about it. She was drugged and gang raped and they locked her up in a shipping container. She tried to sue KBR and they said you have a mandatory arbitration clause in your contract. She tried to fight back and said this is ridiculous. She took it to court and they have been fighting her for three years."

"This bill would make it so that anybody in business with the Department of the Defense can't do this," he concluded emphatically. "They can't have mandatory arbitration on issues like assault and battery."

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/07 /franken-gets-first-amendm_n_312399.html

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Game Brain (Bread and Circuses)

Any football fans out there?

Game Brain
Let's say you run a multibillion-dollar football league. And let's say the scientific community--starting with one young pathologist in Pittsburgh and growing into a chorus of neuroscientists across the country--comes to you and says concussions are making your players crazy, crazy enough to kill themselves, and here, in these slices of brain tissue, is the proof. Do you join these scientists and try to solve the problem, or do you use your power to discredit them?
By Jeanne Marie Laskas

This is great journalism.
http://men.style.com/gq/features/landing ?id=content_10980
Mark My Words!

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Let us take pause....

Memories are short, at least mine is/are/whatever. Sometimes a little elbow in the ribs is useful.

TPM TV fromlast year:

McCain Leaves Fox Speechless:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aMDJP4Vx Y4&NR=1&feature=fvwp

GOP 2008: I Love This Fight!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz4e7MwAt EI&NR=1

And one from this year:
Local Man Triumphs In Foreclosure Fight thanks to....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4tP1fB5A gU&feature=fvw

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The Catholic Church, Private Insurance and Abortion

Found this at a Blog called The Pruning Shears (link below), and thought it worth sharing. Before reading it you should carefully consider that if you find yourself in agreement with its premise there's a good chance you will burn for all eternity in a lake of fire. Fair Warning!

Background: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB] published a Letter opposing a House health care plan on the grounds that its prohibition of abortion funding was a "legal fiction". That prompted the blogger BDBlue to ask a question...

(snip)My question is, has the American church, the Conference or any other official Catholic body or agency taken a position on Catholics' purchasing insurance from companies that provide abortion services? All of the major ones - Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna, United Healthcare and so on - provide abortion services in their policies. Doesn't anyone who pays premiums to these insurers help to fund abortion, and wouldn't that also amount to cooperating in evil?

Oh, snap!

http://www.pruningshears.us/pruning-shea rs/2009/9/16/the-catholic-church-private -insurance-and-abortion.html

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Bill Clinton says......

Don't read this if you love Bill Clinton and hate the Baucus Bill. I warned you!
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=2 0601087&sid=a0XLQZ1JVZgg

Clinton said the legislation proposed by Baucus, a Montana Democrat, was as far-reaching as the Senate would accept. Some Democrats have criticized the proposal because it doesn't include a "public option" for a government-run insurance program that would compete with private carriers.

The finance committee is the last of five congressional panels to grapple with legislation intended to expand coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and rein in health- care costs, which account for a sixth of the U.S. economy. The plans being considered would mark the most sweeping changes in the nation's medical-care system in more than four decades.

Clinton said potential Republican support for the bill could end up evaporating.

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My Florida Ambivalence

I've lived a third of my life in Florida, and I have a Love / Hate relationship with the place. (I have lived in 7 other States, and I hated all of them except Rhode Island).

I got a form email from my Democratic (sic) Senator Bill Nelson in response to my rather strongly worded email encouraging him to support the House Bill with specific attention to a PO.
I leave you to read it and feel my pain.

Dear Mr. Idiot:

Thank you for contacting me about health care reform. In his recent speech to Congress, President Obama also provided us with a clearer view of his desires for health care reform.

What the President described is pretty close to the draft of a bill I'm helping prepare as a member of the Senate Finance Committee. This legislation will let folks who are happy with their insurance keep what they've got, including veterans and seniors on Medicare. It will also create State-based exchanges - a nationwide marketplace - where those without coverage, or those who are unhappy with what they have, can get it at an affordable price.

The bill will hold insurers' feet to the fire, requiring them to cover everyone and preventing them from dropping someone who gets sick. Additionally, it contains several measures aimed at reducing overall medical and prescription drug costs and eliminating waste and fraud in the system.

I plan on improving the bill through amendments that will, among other things, help pay for reform of our health care system. One of my amendments would require drugmakers to provide rebates to Medicare, just like they do for Medicaid. This would save Medicare a ton of money and help reduce out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for many seniors. Further, by eliminating the tax break drugmakers get for TV and other advertising, we would see another $37 billion to pay for health care.

Regardless of where anyone stands on the specifics, I think we all can agree that the system we have can be unfair and too costly, and needs to be fixed. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future.

Sincerely,
Senator Bill Nelson

Now, I think I'll take this Mango & Myers out to the pool and drown my sorrows.

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Diaries

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