Obamacare

The (Endless) Sound of Single Payer

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"Section 1a, paragraph 4, line 23…"

Sometimes it's tough to tell the difference between Senate tactical maneuvering and performance art. Earlier today, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a 700 page amendment to the health care bill that would transform the country's health care into a nationalized, single-payer system. Sen. Tom Coburn's response? Make the Senate clerk read the bill. All of it. As I type this, the clerk has just finished reading the table of contents — and, according to TPM, he'll continue to read unless Coburn's request is dispensed by unanimous consent. At the current rate, according to Philip Klein's estimate, it will take 38 hours to finish reading the entire text. It's pretty clearly intended as a delaying tactic, but if an art-school grad did the same thing on a tiny stage in a run-down part of Brooklyn, it would be called "experimental theater."

UPDATE: The reading of the body of the bill is going faster than expected. Revised estimates suggest that it will actually take between eight and 12 hours to complete the reading.

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  1. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to make Bernie read it in?

    That poor clerk. If he doesn’t pull out a pistol and shoot himself in the head before halfway through, you know that he’s already dead inside.

  2. Clerk: “You’re fucking kidding me, right? I’ve quit better jobs than this. Then again, the health benefits are awesome…”

    1. Nonsense. I’m sure that clerk realized how monumentally important their central role in this debate truly is.

  3. “The body of the bill is going faster than expected.”

    The advantage of comic-book form….

    1. That’s graphic novel to you!

  4. Hilarious. Makes me wish every bill and amendment was required to be read by the clerk.

    1. Read by the clerk to the jerks.

    2. It IS required — unless the members agree to waive the reading.

      The Rs should use this rule for every single reading of every bill and amendment, pushing the healthcare bill into next year and then some.

  5. This should be mandatory for every fucking bill. Only those trying to introduce it (not the clerk) should be the ones who read it aloud, or it can not be put up for vote. Anyone not present for the reading doesn’t get to vote.

    1. Seconded.

        1. fourthed? Fourthded?

          1. BETTER YET: All bills must fit on one page of readable text; no microprint.

            1. Let them have their thousand page bills. All bills must be handwritten by the legislator submitting them to congress, and subsequently read on the floor of the respective body. Voting on a bill implies a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that the congresscritter voting has read and understood the bill under consideration.

              1. And, of course, any health care bill must first apply to all civilian federal employees and members of Congress for five years, and only afterwards applied to the public at large.

    2. A nun shall be appointed to walk the aisles with a meter stick to make sure everyone stays awake.

      1. Colonel, keep your fantasies to yourself.

      2. Meter stick? What are you? Canadian?

        This is the USA- we use YARDsticks here.

        1. No RULERS, though.

    3. Hell, yeah. Sounds like 28th Amendment material to me.

  6. I think they should be forced to render the bill in verse.

    1. Epic verse.

      1. Sing oh muse of the Anger of Barrack of Kenya’s son over the uninsured.

    2. or sung in Judaic cantor style.

      1. Nah, either ancient Greek or maybe something Germanic.

        1. I want Nordic saga. Where’s VM to regale us with such prose?

          1. Nordic is good.

            1. Heroic triplets!

            2. It is the Senate after all; all bills should be written and read aloud in Latin.

              1. Okay, but in epic verse.

    3. Ice, ice, very nice…

    4. No, from memory.

    5. I prefer Tolkienesque…

      “I don’t insure half of you half as well as I should like; and I insure less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

  7. God Bless those dead white guys who created the Senate in the constitution.

    1. That comment can not be parsed with confidence.

      Are you saying the present day disrepute of the Senate is fault of the ‘dead white guys’ who created it?

      1. All we can know for sure is, it’s the fault of white guys and they must be made to pay.

  8. Given that single payer couldn’t even make it in the House and a government option can’t even make it in the Senate, I’m going to go way out on a limb and predict that the Sanders amendment doesn’t have much of a chance.

    At least he’s wasting a whole bunch of time for nothing though.

    1. Surely, even an idiot like Sanders must know this. Anybody have any idea what the point of this is? Or is he just that stupid?

      1. One day we will have socialism, and then Sanders will be seen as “ahead of his time.”

      2. He just wants to be a dick.

        Although I don’t support his amendment, if I was in the Senate 90% of my activity would qualify as “just being a dick” [10% would be “eating meals” and “using the Senate squash court”] so I can’t really fault him.

      3. The point is to pander to lefty voters in Vermont and get re-elected.

  9. UPDATE: The body of the bill is going faster than expected. Revised estimates suggest that it will actually take between eight and 12 hours to complete the reading.

    So, nationalized healthcare isn’t as bad as we thought…

  10. I hope the clerk has water or Gatorade or something. Otherwise its a human rights violation (serves him right for having a bitch job though).

    1. New job for Guantanamo inmates.

    2. He has both a saline drip and a foley catheter.

  11. Coburn is a hero.

    Now, if he could just make the Senate read every piece of garbage it tries to shove down our throats.

  12. lol that poor clerk. That gavel would be looking mighty tempting around hour 2

    1. SHIIIIIIIIITTTTTT…

      1. you mean Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit

  13. This should be mandatory for every fucking bill. Only those trying to introduce it (not the clerk) should be the ones who read it aloud, or it can not be put up for vote. Anyone not present for the reading doesn’t get to vote.

    Most excellent.

    1. Technically, it IS mandatory. It can be suspended only by unanimous consent.

  14. UPDATE: The body of the bill is going faster than expected. Revised estimates suggest that it will actually take between eight and 12 hours to complete the reading.

    Anyone placing bets yet? Has Vegas computed any odds?

  15. The C-SPAN camera is far away that I cannot see the poor clerk.

  16. If only Andy Warhol were alive to make it into a movie. Starring Joe Dallesandro as the clerk, with soundtrack by the Velvet Underground.

    1. I’m thinking Herzog, circa Aguirre: The Wrath of God.

      1. Sucks that Kinski is not available.

        1. Nastassja is.

      2. The movie should end with wild monkeys climbing all over the clerk, as he is finishs reading the bill.

        1. That’s how every movie should end.

          1. I prefer a head in a box. Not the poor clerk’s mind you. Maybe Sander’s.

            1. I think it should end like a Twilight Zone. The clerk finishes the bill and drops it to the table and wipes his brow. He looks up and everyone in the Senate is staring at him.

              “What?” he says, his throat still dry and raspy. “What’s wrong?”

              “We…we can’t pass this bill!” shouts a Senator from Nebraska. “We simply can’t pass this! Not after that!”

              The clerk furrows his brow. “Why not?”

              Coburn steps forward slowly and hands the clerk a mirror. “Because,” the Senator states gravely, “you’re HITLER!” as the clerk gazes in the mirror and sees that, yes, indeed, he IS Hitler!

              1. “Save me, Eva Braun!”

              2. Or a disheveled Jimmy Stewart runs in screaming, “It’s a cookbook! A COOKBOOK!”

                1. Oh man, that’s even better!

          2. Hell, yeah. That scene was highlighted on Monkey Tuesday, many Tuesdays ago.

      3. When does his raft get overrun by monkies?

        1. For people unwilling to follow my link, here’s what Kinski had to say on the raft with the monkeys:

          I, the Wrath of God, will marry my own daughter and with her I will found the purest dynasty the world has ever seen. We shall rule this entire continent. We shall endure. I am the Wrath of God!

  17. What? No hat tip? I am totally taking credit for this

    1. I believe there’s a five year statute on credit-taking.

      1. Missed it by that much(/DonAdams voice)

        1. You didn’t get credit because you mentioned it while sitting under the Cone of Silence.

  18. Does he get potty breaks? Is there a stand-in?

  19. Its a common sense idea. It ought to be a fucking Constitutional amendment, applying to both senate and representatives.

  20. As fun as this is to watch, I am curious what the political costs may be to the repubs. Making valid arguments against reform is one thing. This is such an obvious bit of political thuggery that it could have serious consequences. It’s the type of thing that makes Obama all tingly and he will certainly use it to his advantage.

    1. I’m not sure the Dems want to inject into the news cycle the fact that one of their own introduced a single-payer amendment into the bill. Add to that the fact that most people are against this bill, and I don’t see how stalling it is going to hurt the Repubs.

      1. Umm, Sanders is an Independent.

        There may be a handful of Democrats who want single-payer (Dean for one) but it’s not something the party leadership wants to boost right now..

  21. They switch clerks/readers every 5 or 10 minutes or so to prevent them from…well, killing themselves.

    1. Kucinich did the same thing with his articles of impeachment resolution for Bush.

  22. There is more than one clerk. They just did a handoff and a man is now reading the amendment.

    1. They should pass it around the Senate. Each Senator has to read ten pages aloud until they finish it.

  23. Revised estimates suggest that it will actually take between eight and 12 hours to complete the reading.

    The *English* reading, if you catch my drift …

  24. I heard he became opposed when he found it did not contain a red cent to fight his pet issue, the scourge of lesbianism in the Oklahoma City school system…

    “Lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that’s happened to us?” ?Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

    Seriously though, that was an amusingly clever parlimentarian move by Coburn.

    1. Lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom. […] How is it that that’s happened to us?

      Maybe it has something to do with Oklahoma being fucking awesome.

      1. Are you implying teenage lesbianism isn’t awesome? Homophobe.

        1. The exact opposite, Mr. Reading Comprehension.

          1. I’m Mr. Reading Comprehension? Bullshit, Mr. Writing Clarity. Oh, and you smell. Like baby poop.

            1. Clarity? Must I write to the lowest common denominator?

              Here… HURR DURR DURR! Satisfied?

              1. Coburn’s quote is one of my all time favs.

                The ignorant homophobia.
                “Think about that.” (Don’t mind if I do!)
                And the misspeaking “they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom” (think you meant one at a time Dr. Coburn)

                If you ever get a chance to watch Coburn’s debates with Brad Carson from his Senate race by all means take that opportunity. It’s one of the most hilariously poor performances in a political event I’ve ever seen…*

                *btw-I doubt Coburn is dumb,iirc he’s some kind of medical doctor, he’s just clearly not a polished public speaker

                1. What if it is only one girl a day? Do you think they tell the other girls the day before who won the lottery so that they don’t drink a lot of fluids the next morning?

                  Do you think the one girl even gets to pee with the lights on? I mean, she might see, you know, herself and immediately become autosexual.

                  1. Maybe its just one girl in the whole of Oklahoma City. All the other little dykes just have to hold it.

                    1. Imagine… an entire city doing the pee-pee dance.

                2. “they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom”

                  That is some pretty weak shit there MNG. I think the “at a time” part is implied. That is the best you got? You really grasping for straws.

                  1. Oh John I’m just giving him the same benefit of the doubt you’d give to Obama :).

                    I said it was a misstatement. If he wrote that on an English paper any teacher worth her salt would circle it.

                    But since you asked it’s clearly not the best I’ve got, did you read the quote? Rampant lesbianism in the Oklahoma schools…Hilarious.

                    1. Well if he said something as stupid as Germans’ speaking Austrian, no I wouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt. But, I would also give Colburn a much bigger benefit of the doubt than I would Obama because people like you haven’t been telling me what a genius he is and how he is the greatest speaker of all time.

                      If Colburn’s supporters were like you and were telling me that his speeches were the equal of Homer and Lincoln, I would hold him to a bit higher standard.

                      So how is that whole “Obama’s speeches will echo through history” thing coming for you? You think they will be reading his Afghanistan speech in its original English 2000 years from now like you think they will everything else he utters? I wonder how they will translate “umm” and “make it clear” into future languages? I am sure future clasicists studying the classics of ancient American English will be doing PHD disertations on the full context and meaning of “um”.

                    2. John
                      You’re not a very bright guy, are you? I submit maybe your partisan fanatacism may be to blame.

                      I said the later place of a President’s speeches in history is a function of how successful that President is seen to be, and that if Obama turned out to be seen as successful as Lincoln his speeches, like Lincoln’s, would be considered of historical note.

                      There’s a search mechanism on the right side of your screen you know.

                    3. Not a bright guy MNG? Do you not recall the long thread you and I had where you claimed that Obama’s 2004 Convention Speech and 2008 nomination speech were the equal of Cooper Union and would be read by all future students of history?

                      Do I need to run the google search and post your gushing about Obama’s speeches and humiliate you? Or do you just want to give up now?

                    4. You two need to relax. Watch a lesbian watersports movie or something. SugarFree’ll be glad to hook you up.

                    5. Please do. I said that the Cooper Union speech was to Lincoln’s career what the keynote speech was to Obamas, and that if Obama later becomes seen as a President as important and successful as Lincoln then his speech will be read like the Cooper union one is.

                    6. MNG|9.29.09 @ 6:02PM|#
                      Obama’s keynote speech was pretty much his Cooper Union. For both of them, their impressive oratory at these respective events got them their party’s nomination later.
                      MNG|9.29.09 @ 6:03PM|#
                      Of course you don’t find his keynote speech to be up there with Cooper Union because you disagree with his points.

                      The Democrats of the day thought the Cooper Union speech sucked eggs.

                      MNG|9.29.09 @ 6:09PM|#
                      “how they fawned over the Philadelphia, “Reverend Wright is just like my grandmother” speech”

                      I agree with liberal shill Charles Murray that it was one of the most profound and thoughtful speeches on race given in decades by a major politician.

                      MNG|9.29.09 @ 6:24PM|#
                      Only time will tell if Obama is another Lincoln. At this point in Abe’s term the nation had split, not a very good start I’d say…

                      And some of his speeches strike me as being as well crafted as Cooper Union, and they both served the same purpose for the two men respectively, wowing a major party into thinking about nominating them as Presidential candidates.

                      Yeah MNG, you made that point. But behind it is your dellusional view that Obama’s speeches really are as good as Lincoln’s.

                    7. “well crafted as Cooper Union”
                      “one of the most profound and thoughtful speeches on race given in decades by a major politician.”

                      But you don’t have a dellusionally inflated view of Obama’s rethorical skills or anything, right MNG?

                    8. Everything here supports what I’ve been saying all along. That Obama’s keynote speech played a role in his career similar to the one Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech did (both had little claim to a national stage at the time and the speech did it for them) and that if Obama becomes seen as important as Lincoln then his speech will be of similar historical note.

                      You also have a quote about his race speech. I still agree with Charles Murray that the speech was one of the best on race by a major political figure in decades.

                      You did all that work and I was right all along. You should’ve just trusted I was right from the beginning. As a general rule it would save you oodles of time!

                    9. Well, yes I thought the race speech, which was a different one than the keynote, was as well crafted as Cooper Union and that it clearly was one of the best given on race in decades.

                    10. I heard his Nobel one the other day and I would say that one is as good as Cooper Union btw.

                    11. “I heard his Nobel one the other day and I would say that one is as good as Cooper Union btw.”

                      Uh huh. Especially the part where rainbows flew out of his ass and the Arch Angel Gabrial came to fly him to Jerusalem.

                      It is amazing that you have no idea how dellusional you sound.

                    12. You sound like the black knight. It is only a flesh wound. You are only person on earth who thinks that Cooper Union was the average speech that is only remember because Lincoln became a great President. Not every speech Lincoln gave is remembered like Cooper Union. He gave hundreds that have been forgotten. Cooper Union is remember because Lincoln went on the great things and becuase it was a great speech. To say that anything Obama has ever done is the equal of what is considered one of the five or ten greatest pieces of American political rethoric is to have an amazingly inflated view of Obama.

                      As far as the race speech, decades? That is a long time. More MLK only died four decades ago. And further, no one but you remembers that speech. He repudiated it and Reverend Wright not a month later and never spoke of it again. The whole world pretends it didn’t happen. But you think it is the greatest speech on race in decades.

                      You love Obama. Good for you. But stop pretending you don’t have a seriously infalted view of the man.

                    13. My point John is that the “intrinsic” worth of a speech has less to do with how well remembered it is than the fame and importance of the speaker. Had Lincoln lost the election his Cooper Union speech would be hardly remembered today, and had Franklin Pierce been hugely successful kids would be reading his speeches.

                      I think I can say “for decades” and that excludes something four decades out, and besides I (echoing Charles Murray) noted it was by a major politician. The idea is that it was, compared to most politicians speeches on race in the past few decades, of higher quality and candor. And yes I stick with it. I think how this nation deals with race is one of its more pressing issues historically and I think Obama addressed that in that speech with intelligence, candor, and insight matching that of Lincoln in his speech on slavery. In fact Obama’s is in my opinion better since how we deal with race is still a very pressing and live issue in this nation.

                    14. “You are only person on earth who thinks that Cooper Union was the average speech that is only remember because Lincoln became a great President”

                      Goodness John, is this an argument from authority, popularity, or both? I know from the climate change threads you don’t think much of that, so I’m suprised to see you relying on it here 😉

                    15. MNG

                      “think Obama addressed that in that speech with intelligence, candor, and insight matching that of Lincoln in his speech on slavery. In fact Obama’s is in my opinion better since how we deal with race is still a very pressing and live issue in this nation.” People were about to kill each other over slavery in the 1850s. Lincoln’s speech was quite topical in case you don’t know.

                      To each his own. You can think that. But you will be in the small minority. And your statement is self evidently rediculous to anyone but the most ardent Obama supporter. There is no final way to judge how good or bad a speech is. Everyone likes something. But you are definitely way out of the mainstream on this one.

                    16. “You love Obama.”

                      John, I realize you live in a simplistic talk-radio, conservative blog world where there are Obama-lovers and Obama-haters and no in between, but as I have pointed out to you many times if you had a history here you would find it funny to say I “love Obama.” I was pretty harsh on him as the Democratic nominee here quite a bit. He wasn’t my first, second or third choice. If we did not need to temper GOP arrogance by turning them out McCain could have gotten my vote (I greatly admire McCain and have said so many times on H&R for years).

                      But I’m not out to get Obama. It’s just a fact that Obama and Lincoln, both of who had rather sad political accomplishments in their lives at the time, gave speeches that made their respective parties nominate them for President. You may not think Obama is a good speaker, but many of Lincoln’s foes thought he was a poor speaker too. The fact is both were seen as electric and thoughtful speakers by their supporters.

                      And if both end up equally noted in history our kids will be reading both of their speeches…

                    17. You don’t love Obama. You just think he is Lincoln’s equal. Yeah that makes sense.

                    18. “And if both end up equally noted in history our kids will be reading both of their speeches…”

                      And if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we would all have a merry Christmas. Yeah, if Obama is Lincoln’s equal, people will remember him like Lincoln. No shit. If he were 6’7 and had a great jump shot and won six NBA championships, they would remember him like Michael Jordan. But he is not either. And there is no indication he will become either in the future.

                    19. “I said it was a misstatement. If he wrote that on an English paper any teacher worth her salt would circle it”

                      Because only women teah English.

                    20. Joes law strikes!

                    21. That doesn’t excuse your sexest mindset.

              2. HURR DURR DURR

                NUTRASWEET SMELLS LIKE LIBERTARRD SHIT

                KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS ARE THE SUPERIOR MACROECONOMIC THEORY

                HURRR DURR DURR

                1. HURRR DURRR HURRRRRR
                  GODD POINT EIPSIARCH
                  SURGARGREEE HURRR DURR RHURRR

    2. Oklahoma is a weird state. Porn of any kind is technically illegal there, but it actually has the highest per capita porn consumption rate of any state in the nation.

      1. It’s also the lesbian watersports capital of the US.

      2. Actually, according to this, it’s actually fifth (Utah and Mississippi are the top 2). Still, pretty high.

      3. It also has a huge underground gay community. Steers and queers you know.

        1. It’s fairly “rampant”, eh John?

          Think about that.

          1. I lived there for 11 years dumb ass. OKC and Tulsa both have a thriving gay community. It is not out in the open like other places but it is there and is much larger than other cities of their size and location. It is kind of surprising.

            1. Well of course not out in the open, its hiden in the school bathroom. Didn’t you read the quote?

            2. Yup. There’s even a big gay pride parade in OKC every year (probably one in Tulsa too).

              1. Its cheaper to have the pride parades in OK than other parts of the country because of the enormous savings on Port-a-potties.

      4. Porn is illegal? I think someone done misinformed you. I live in Oklahoma. If I wanted to, there are any number of places I could buy porn around here. Fuck, Waldenbooks sells Penthouse and Playboy.

        1. From what I understand, the laws on the books are not enforced due to the fact they’d be struck down on First Amendment grounds.

          And Penthouse and Playboy aren’t porn.

      5. I was once driving through rural Tennessee, when I saw an enormous multi-level sign by the highway. It read:

        ADULT
        VIDEOS
        MAGAZINES
        NOVELTIES
        LARGEST IN STATE
        CLOSED SUNDAYS

        I love the bible belt. Hurry up and buy your porn, I gotta get to church!

    3. All this talk of lesbianism as if it’s a bad thing.

  25. Andrea Mitchell is bitching about it right now on MSNBC. She wants to know why the bad people keep slowing down health care.

    1. Some things once seen, cannot be unseen.

      1. “…But the bills of Congress are easily corrupted… And the Reform of Healthcare has a will of its own.”

      2. Carmela Soprano?

    2. And of course, Sanders doesn’t get blamed for introducing a pointless amendment which even his dog knew wouldn’t pass.

      Even C-SPAN2 is getting a bit passive-aggressive. They’re making a note in their caption that Coburn requested the reading and has since left the Senate floor.

    3. Obviously, hubby Alan G. needs to take some husbanding lessons from Mr. Connery, if she’s still this uppity.

      1. Actually, Greenspan in married to Judy Woodruff, not Andrea Mitchell.

        Though I am sure they are interchangeable.

        1. Nope.

          “Mitchell was born in New York City, New York She married her second husband, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in 1997.[8] Previously, she was married to Gil Jackson; that marriage ended in divorce in the mid-1970s.”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Mitchell

          But, you are correct, otherwise interchangable. Perhaps Greenspan created Woodruff as a spare?

          1. Entirely possible.

            Thank you for the correction.

            That’s twice today; methinks I may be getting a touch of Teh Alzheimer’s

  26. If one of the clerks makes an error, they are required to start over from the beginning, correct?

    1. I was about to suggest that they treat the reading like a religious ceremony in ancient Rome, where this rule applied, but robc beat me to it.

      1. Mormons still do this when reading the sacrament blessing. Fuck up even one word (or use the word “fuck”), and they make you do it all over again.

  27. Awesome work, Coburn. I wonder why people say “Party of No” like it’s a bad thing.

    Sen. Helms proudly kept his giant “No” stamp in his office, and adorned his office with editorial cartoons making fun of him with big googly eyes and glasses. He told us (was visiting as part of the NC Mathcounts team for nationals) he rotated them in and out since there were so many he had to store the rest in a warehouse.

    1. Jesse Helms.

      Lord lets hope the GOP uses that man as its political amd moral compass for the next few decades.

      Fingers crossed…

      1. As opposed to the Dems who use Barney Frank and Jesse Jackson. Helms was a lousy guy, but last I looked he wasn’t a crook. Also, I recall him never losing an election.

        1. How is that good? I make a point of only voting for politicians that consistently lose elections.

          1. For MNG is is not good. He makes a point of smugly pointing to anyone he doesn’t like and saying “please Republicans don’t follow that idiot”. Of course said idiot has usually made a living of kicking Democrats’ asses. So it kind of defeats the purpose of his smug humor.

            1. Now John I find this fascinating. Consider your enthusiastic hatred of Woodrow Wilson because of his racism and support for segregation.

              You do know Helms supported segregation, right? Where, oh where is your righteous indignation now?

              1. Where have I ever defended Helms? I only said the guy was effective and there are many Dems who are both still alive an in positions of leadership who are just as vile.

                Further, you defend Wilson even though he was an unreptetant bigot who used his considerable power specifically to harm and subjegate black people. Even if they both were equally melevolent, Wilson was able to do a lot more damage. Yet, you still openly defend and admire him as if wanting the league of nations makes up for resegregating Washington.

                1. I think my argument was that Wilson is not the liberal hero many people around here think he is, and that to the extent liberals like him they like where he broke from his times and background not where he stuck with it. Again, there’s this search mechanism doo-hickey thing on the side of the screen.

                  1. Okay, so his liberalness makes up for the fact that he was a racist Southerner of the worst sort. Yeah that makes sense. About as much sense as Republicans who claim that Helms being for small government makes up for him being a racist.

                    Admit it MNG, for you being a liberal is like some kind of morality car wash. Even horrible bigots like Wilson are still redemable. No liberal for you is ever that bad.

                    1. I like Wilson where he was right (like appointing the first Jewish SCOTUS justice in the face of the anti-Semitism of the times) and dislike him where he was wrong (like his racism). I don’t know what to say, that’s always been my line.

                      I have though argued that it is ironic to use Wilson’s racism as a stab at liberals since his racism seemed to plainly flow from conservative sources (supporting the mores of his time and place).

                    2. Wilson’s suppression of dissent during war-time is pretty widely hated by every liberal writer on him that I know of. On the other hand, many liberals admire how he defended autonomy for various people post-WWI. Again, as a liberal I’ve just never heard any discussion of Wilson that wasn’t mixed at best.

                      I’m not even sure Wilson was a “liberal hero” in his day. It strikes me that while he ran to the left of Taft he was probably to the right of TR. Teddy had become pretty radical by then…

                    3. MNG|11.30.09 @ 9:17PM|#
                      It’s hardly remarkable that the first Southern president elected post-Civil War adopted a more Southern attitude on race. Does that have to do with his liberalism or his Southernness?

                      In accepting the social mores that were dominant where he grew up was Wilson being a liberal radical or social conservative?

                      You say that you understand how Wilson was a bigot because of where he grew up. Great, why don’t you give the same benefit of the doubt to Helms. Ultimately, you just ignore and minimize his vileness in a way you never would with someone from the otherside.

                    4. Again, it’s just like I told you, isn’t it? I think it’s ironic to try to score points against liberals by pointing to Wilson’s racism. He was just being a good conservative when he accepted the mores of his time and place.

                      It’s not so much that I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to Helms as I’m hard pressed to think of anything the man did I think was laudable. When he was aged he worked with Bono on AIDS funding for Africa, I guess that was OK…Helms never stepped outside the mores of his time and place, and as such was a moral cretin. Wilson sadly was conservative on many issues, but on a few he made laudable progress. What does that make my “overall” impression of him? I don’t know, he had many loathesome positions and many laudable ones imo.

                    5. I know it is just so hard to admit that a liberal can be a piece of shit isn’t it MNG? Who cares that he had laudable positions? Couldn’t he have had those positions and not been a racist scumbag? One doesn’t excuse the other. He was neither the first nor the last liberal who was a horrible bigot. The quicker you realize that and admit your own side’s warts, the more credibility you will have pointing out the other sides. As it is, you just sound like a whiney bitch saying “but it is different if you are a liberal”. No its not.

                    6. Why is racism a strictly conservative position? That seems a bit unfair. There are tons of liberals throughout history who supported things like forced sterilization and population control to keep the undesireable races in check. There is nothing conservative about people like Margaret Sanger. Racism is an equal opportunity vice.

        2. John
          I would think someone as obsessed as you are with, say, the bigotry of Woodrow Wilson would be leaping to attack Helms as the bigot he was.

          1. If Helms had been elected President and done all of the damage Wilson did, I would be less willing to defend him. Why are you so willing to defend an old time South bigot like Wilson who did a hundred times more damage than Helms ever did? Does being a Democrat excuse all sins?

            1. So Helms’ bigotry and support for segregation doesn’t bother you because he was only a Senator?

              WTF?

              1. Of course it bothers me. If you would bother to read the damn thread, you would see I never defended Helms. I only said that there are living Democrats who are just as bad or worse than Helms who have real influence. I don’t admire Helms. He was nasty bigot.

                You in contrast seem to admire and defend Wilson. You won’t admit he was horrible President and a horrible human being despite his obvious sins. In the end, I don’t think you beleive being a racist bigot, at least if you are a Democrat, is that big of a deal. If you thought otherwise, you wouldn’t defend Wilson.

                1. OK, look,if you can’t figure out how to use the search thing just say so.

                  Otherwise let’s see this evidence of my “admiration” for Woodrow Wilson…

                  1. MNG, John, why don’t you two get a room already, goddamn

            2. At least Helms never held office in the Ku Klux Klan like Robert Byrd…

  28. I’d vote for a No Party.

    1. No you wouldn’t.

      1. In Soviet Russia, No Party votes for you.

    2. A Dr. No Party?

      1. That would rule. Except then I think I’d prefer a Goldfinger Party: No, Mr. President, I expect you to veto!

  29. What about the apathy party?

    1. I don’t care.

      1. You’re in, brother!

    2. I understand it’s the largest thid party.

      1. *third, if anyone cares.

      2. Third party? I’d wager it’s got a gigantic supermajority.

        1. I think you have confused the apathy party with the ignorance party.

          1. They always seem to be part of the same coalition.

            1. “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

                1. I loved Lisa Loeb and the Nine Tails, then she went all Natalie Merchant…

                  1. I liked Lisa Loeb until I was mercilessly made fun of and called a fag by the other guys at school.

              1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with “I don’t know and I don’t care” so as long as you don’t vote. Imagine how fucked this country will be when they pass madatory voting legislation.

                1. apathy + party …seems somewhat contradictory.

                  How about ‘apathy herd’?

  30. Someone’s reading an entire amendment-another first for the this healthcare scam legislative hoax.

  31. Thank goodness. Now everyone should have a clear understanding of the ammendment. The one clerk just handed off the reading to another clerk – pussy! The camera just panned over and he had Bernie Sanders in a Jack Bauer choke hold.

  32. Bernie Sanders just withdrew the amendment, now he gets 30 minutes to bitch about the fact the Republicans forced the reading of the amendment.

    1. Now force a reading of the entire bill.

  33. Just imagine Keith Olbermann’s tear-streaked face as he reports the woeful tale of Bernie Sanders’ untimely demise.

    “The autopsy showed that Senator Sanders was apparently force-fed several hundred pages of a document which is now being analyzed in the FBI lab.

    “Sources report federal investigators are interviewing several pages, but n o details are available.”

    1. LOL I’ll bet Olbermann shits a gold brick about this episode tonight. He’ll probably give one of those trembling-lip “special comments”.

  34. Remember when the US let Hussein commit all sorts of evil *until* he started selling oil in euro instead of dollars? Oh boy, we were up his ass in a hot minute. Well, Mission Accomplished: Arab petro powers are moving to displace the dollar itself with their own currency to price oil.

    Blame it on Time’s Man Of The Year.

    1. Remember when the US let Hussein commit all sorts of evil *until* he started selling oil in euro instead of dollars? Oh boy, we were up his ass in a hot minute.

      I remember it more as when the US let Hussein commit all sorts of evil so long as it was against Iran, whom we didn’t care for either.

      1. Your point is well taken, that certainly seemed to be the bargain–much like the US/Karzai bargain today versus the evil alQaida.

        But I was thinking a little later, ‘food-for-oil’/embargo era; 1990s-2001. No sooner than Hussein departed the traditional dollar denomination, the US withdrew all the stops to get over there in a hurry. The main political opponents of the US in that effort? France and Germany, prime backers of the euro currency. Oooh, shocker.

        Unnamed Admin flunky says “No one could have foreseen this coming!”

  35. Sanders is speaking now on cspan. Did they stop the reading?

    1. Yeah, someone above posted he withdrew it and proceeded to cry for a few minutes about it.

  36. I like how the AP report on this just says that Coburn forced the reading of “a 767-page amendment proposed by Sanders that was not expected to pass.” No mention of the fact that it was a single-payer amendment, with “single-payer” in large friendly letters in its title.

  37. I would like to throw a few bucks in the kettle for John and MNG to get a room.

  38. Bernie Sanders just withdrew the amendment,
    I think that was probably caused by a “I submitted this piece of crap” moment. That and the fact that he realized there would be a test afterward.

  39. Found this quote

    Coburn also asked Democrats to accept his amendment requiring certification that all senators had read the bill and understood it before they voted on it.

    ‘IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY THEY UNDERSTAND’

    “I think it is impossible to certify that any senator fully understood. They may read but not fully understand for a variety of reasons,” Democratic Senator Max Baucus said in rejecting the request.


    Senate grinds to brief halt on healthcare

  40. I never realized how much of the content of bills/amendments is just editing commands. About half of what they were reading was actual prose (in dense legalese of course), while the other half was stuff like, “in subsection (c) of paragraph 18 of section 1537 of 61 USC 2322, strike ‘and (b)’ and replace with ‘(b), (c), and (d)’, remove parts (5), (7), and (9), and renumber parts (6), (8), and (10) as (5), (6), and (7) respectively…’

    So even just reading the bill doesn’t give you the full story about how it would change the law. You have to have the entire annotated US Code, which is like 17 phone books, at your fingertips and seriously fast look-up skills.

    1. and bills are written by dumb kids of connected parents who rarely know anything. If you are an expert in a field that to rely on the law, you will often find horribly written and vague statutory language that was obviously written by someone who knew just enough to be dangerous.

  41. I have a cunning plan. We should all go through the bill and look for embedded statements. Like “We love al Qaeda” or something else that equals the kiss of death for supporters. The bill is long enough to find something like that.

  42. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..94070.html

    Two of the country’s largest labor groups, the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, are each holding emergency executive meetings today to discuss whether they should support the latest round of health care compromises made by Senate Democrats.

    Though there’s no official word yet, early indications based on talks with various officials are that the groups will either formally oppose the legislation or, less dramatically, just not fight very hard to ensure its passage….

  43. Sometimes I love Coburn. Other times he’s an asshole. Right now, I feel the former, not the latter.

    1. He was great in The Magnificent Seven.

  44. Just saw this, via Google News:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders was at the center of controversy Wednesday on the U.S. Senate floor when he introduced an amendment to the health care bill. Sanders wanted to debate a single-payer system. But Republicans blocked the move by invoking a rule to have the entire amendment read out loud. The Senate came to a standstill while clerks read from the 767 page amendment for more than 2-and-a-half hours. Finally, Sanders gave up and withdrew his amendment and then lashed-out at Republican leaders.

    “We’ve got two wars, we’ve got global warming, we have a $12 trillion national debt — and the best the Republicans can do is to try to bring the United States government to a halt by forcing the reading of a 767 page amendment. That is an outrage,” said Sanders, I-Vermont.

    But “bringing the government to a standstill” by introducing a stupid and pointless amendment is a noble pursuit.

    Shut the fuck up, Bernie Sanders.

    1. But Republicans blocked the move by invoking a rule to have the entire amendment read out loud.

      ..thereby exposing the amendment to open debate ridicule.

    2. If only the Senate had been unable to vote or act on anything for the past two decades, we wouldn’t have those two wars and the national debt would be tiny in comparison.

      Not sure about whether we’d still have global warming, but it couldn’t hurt.

  45. Howard Dean has a WaPo editorial saying, basically, “Just give up, and put this thing out of its misery.”

    1. what? healthcare entirely?

      1. I heard that yes, he’s saying give up the health care bill entirely.

        Maybe at least one Democrat is thinking about what happens over the next several dozen election cycles.

  46. Bernie Sanders introduced a 700 page amendment to the health care bill […]

    Sen. Tom Coburn’s response? Make the Senate clerk read the bill. […]

    UPDATE: The reading of the body of the bill is going faster than expected. Revised estimates suggest that it will actually take between eight and 12 hours to complete the reading.

    He’ll get tired. Reading aloud is harder than it sounds.

  47. Done:

    Go to xvideos dot com. Type in “lesbian watersports” in the search function. Hit enter. ‘Bate.

    I’d give a link, but any links get killed by the fucking spam filter.

    1. This was meant to be in response to :

      Bergholt Stuttley Johnson|12.16.09 @ 2:48PM|#

      You two need to relax. Watch a lesbian watersports movie or something. SugarFree’ll be glad to hook you up.

  48. This country is finished. Over and out. Tipping point has been reached (see recent presidential election and national debt for evidence).

    Enjoy the maelstrom.

  49. Apparently Sanders withdrawing the amendment to stopit’s reading is technically against the rules of the Senate. Once a reading begins, nothing can stop it but unanimous consent, except that the parliamentarian relied on earlier violation of the rules in 1982 to justify it. Oh, the wonders of stare decisis.

    Here’s a quote from Sen. McConnell complaining about the parliametarian’s decision:

    “But one mistake does not a precedent make. For example, there is precedent for a Senator being beaten with a cane here in the Senate. If mistakes were the rule, the caning of Senators would be in order. Fortunately for all of us, it is not,” he said, adding: “It’s now clear the majority is willing to do anything to jam through a 2000-page bill before the American people or any of us has had a chance to read it ? including changing the rules in the middle of the game.”

    I suppose the prohibition against caning Senators is only fortunate if happen to be in that club.

  50. Any way to filter John and MCG out of this into a separate room? How about the ‘Jane You Ignorant Slut’ room? Everything else is hilarious. Is the Oklahoma bathroom law related to Lesbian Watersports?

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