1.) Desperate Dems attempt to rebrand the Obamacare repeal effort — House Republicans politely declined to remove the word “killing” from the “Repealing the Job Killing Health Health Care Law Act,” so Democrats decided to come up with a phrase of their own. “The Patient’s Rights Repeal Act” is what they settled on. Incidentally, the GOP’s name is pretty accurate: In June, the Boston Globe reported that “a 2.3 percent excise tax on companies that supply medical devices like heart defibrillators and surgical tools to hospitals, health centers and ambulance services will cost medical device manufacturers an estimated $20 billion in new taxes over the next decade. And they say that will force them to lay off workers and curb the research and development of new medical tools.” A report released by Senators Coburn and Barasso in October found that the outlook was equally bad in other industries. Meanwhile, “patient’s rights” is pure hogwash–as any depressed owner of a now useless health savings account will tell you.
2.) Obama DOJ defends DOMA — “Gay groups are furious with a Justice Department brief defending — though in quite narrow terms — the Defense of Marriage Act, which Candidate Obama, unlike even his Democratic rivals, had pledged to repeal in full,” writes Ben Smith. “DOMA is supported by rationales that constitute a sufficient rational basis for the law,” the brief says. “For example, as explained below, it is supported by an interest in maintaining the status quo and uniformity on the federal level, and preserving room for the development of policy in the states.” Whatever that means! Listen, gays, take it easy. This is how political football works: Democrats throw y’all around like pig skins, eventually push for legislation that matters to you, then ask you for votes and/or money as if they’d been in your corner all along.
3.) SCOTUS sniff-checks the Fourth Amendment — Money For Nothing, “a 25-year-old Dire Straits song written by Mark Knopfler and Sting, has been ruled too offensive for Canadian radio play,” writes Kelly McParland of the National Post. “What’s interesting, apart from the simple lunacy of suddenly banning a tune that’s 25 years old and has already been played about a billion times, is the reason: A radio station in St. John’s received a complaint.” That is how Canada works, apparently. If you don’t like something, you can simply bitch about it, and the entire country has to bend over backwards to make you happy. This is why Montreal chef Martin Picard will not cook for Ottawa’s annual Winterlude festival (pre-emptive complainers raised concerns that the famed chef might serve foie gras), and why the “entire city council of London, Ontario” had to take sensitivity training classes after one of the members posted a racy song on a friend’s Facebook wall. You may have wonderful commie health-care Canada, but everything else about you completely sucks.
4.) NASA set to dump a quarter of a billion dollars in the money pit by March — The federal government’s Welfare Program for Aerospace Engineers and Bureaucrats, otherwise known as NASA, “will waste $215 million on its canceled Constellation program by March unless Congress takes ‘immediate action’ to reverse a law protecting the dead-end moon project,” reports the Orlando Sentinel. “The investigation by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, which follows a December report by the Orlando Sentinel, confirmed that NASA is being forced to keep funding Constellation — even though the program was canceled in October after spending $12 billion during five years.” The cancelled Constellation program could eat up more than half a billion dollars by September. Said one senior NASA official, “There’s a point coming up soon where we would just be spending money to spend money.”
5.) Medicaid likely to usher in the state budgetocalypse — “One of the biggest problems for states is Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for low-income individuals. Between 2008 and 2009, spending growth on the program nearly doubled, growing from 4.9 percent to 9 percent. At the same time, in 2009, new enrollment totals came in at their highest in 40 years,” writes Reason’s Peter Suderman. “State governments have been feeling the fiscal pain. In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick called for $9.6 billion in Medicaid spending last summer. That was a record sum, but it still wasn’t enough. Since then, Patrick has gone back to the legislature twice more to look for almost $600 million in extra funds.” Circumstances are equally bleak in 33 other states that asked for a waiver allowing them to drop Medicaid recipients and still keep their federal health funding. Remember to clip those cat-food coupons, America!
6.) Bill Daley and associates are already plotting the course for a second bailout — Incoming Obama chief of staff Bill Daley was formerly a board member for Third Way, a pro-Too Big To Fail think tank that exists solely to perpetuate the corporate-welfare guzzling policies that landed America in this horrible recession, so you know that the group’s ideas will carry weight in the Obama White House. What is Third Way’s newest idea? “To save the banks from their own, colossal abuses of contracts that they devised, Third Way advocates Congressional intervention into well established, well functioning state law,” reports Naked Capitalism. More specifically, Third Way has argued, in the wake of a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling, that consumers should not be allowed to challenge foreclosures. Third Way’s logic is that if homeowners continue to exercise their rights, every homeowner will want to exercise his rights, which could slow down the foreclosure process and create uncertainty in the market–and hurt the banks. Third Way’s solution to this “problem” is for Congress to intervene in state laws by creating a “safe harbor from paperwork-related litigation for pending foreclosures.” In other words, banks can take your house for any reason they say fit, and you can’t say a damn thing about it.