THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Is Obama Already A Lame Duck?: Chinese President Hu Jintao not only stymied any progress President Barack Hussein Obama hoped to make on such issues as sanctions against Iran and human rights, but also turned the tables on his American visitor, reports The New York Times:
“China effectively stage-managed President Obama’s public appearances, got him to make statements endorsing Chinese positions of political importance to them and effectively squelched discussions of contentious issues such as human rights and China’s currency policy,” said Eswar S. Prasad, a China specialist at Cornell University. “In a masterstroke, they shifted the public discussion from the global risks posed by Chinese currency policy to the dangers of loose monetary policy and protectionist tendencies in the U.S.”
Case in point: Chinese officials asked “detailed questions” about how Obamacare will affect America’s gargantuan fiscal deficit, reports James Pethokoukis in the Reuters blog, "Political Risk":
Boilerplate assurances that America won’t default on its debt or inflate the shortfall away are apparently not cutting it. Nor should they, when one owns nearly $2 trillion in assets denominated in the currency of a country about to double its national debt over the next decade.
† Is Biden Qualified To Be A Heartbeat Away From The Presidency?: Is there more to Michael Crowley’s article on Hillary Clinton’s missteps at the State Department than meets the eye? With some Dems already speculating that Clinton might seek a rematch against President Barack Hussein Obama in 2012 (fifth item), maybe the White House is giving her the Chicago treatment and roughing her up as a warning.
† Banks Giveth, But Mostly Taketh Away: Noting that “[d]uring the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Hussein Obama vowed to back a strict limit on credit-card interest rates, The Boston Globe reports “[e]fforts in Congress to cap credit-card interest rates are faltering because of opposition from Democrats and a lack of specific support from the White House”:
Obama finds the behavior of credit-card lenders “outrageous’’ and “looks forward to reviewing additional legislation that caps interest rates,’’ but he has not taken a specific position, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Vice President Joe Biden, whose home state of Delaware is headquarters to many credit-card companies, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Senate soundly defeated legislation in May that was introduced by Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont Independent, to cap most credit-card interest rates at 15 percent. Nearly half of the Democratic senators joined Republicans in defeating the measure, 60 to 33. …
Sanders said many of the credit cards in the hands of American consumers are issued by four banks that received taxpayer bailout money after last year’s economic meltdown: Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.
Another day, another broken Obama campaign promise. Oh, and Gitmo won’t close by January, either.
† The Right To Bear Arms Belongs To Us All: Part II: The owner of the Food Zone store in Prince George's county, VA, wrested a gun from a would-be robber and shot him to death, reports The Washington Post. This incident is notable because it is a reversal of the most commonly cited reason liberals do not want law-abiding citizens to be armed – a criminal can take your gun away and use it against you. One or more customers were in the store when the armed robber and an accomplice entered, and police spokesman Officer Larry Johnson tells The WaPo that the store owner is "definitely a hero" and that he performed a "very courageous act." The second robber is still at large.
† Dangerous, Either Way: Unlike Madonna’s pretend pistol pumps, these Louise Goldin stilettos can really do damage:
[Hat Tip: New York magazine]
† Updates To Previous Posts (second item, Nationalized Healthcare Always Leads To Rationing): Reacting to new recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force that mammograms for women in their 40s – a preventive health tool that has saved thousands of lives through early detection of breast cancer, which is more aggressive in younger women - are unnecessary, Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi writes that “[m]aybe Sarah Palin’s ‘death panel’ warning isn’t hyperbole after all.”
For her part, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) – who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 and underwent seven surgeries, including a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery - issued a statement noting the irony that, “[a]t a time when we are working to reform our health care system to provide greater access to preventative care, these guidelines and the fact that they conflict with many of the recommendations from leading cancer organizations only adds to the confusion that so many women have when it comes to breast health.”
The Obama administration wasted no time dancing away from the controversy, reports The New York Times:
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, acknowledged in a statement that the recommendations, by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, had “caused a great deal of confusion and worry.” Ms. Sebelius then stressed that the task force “is an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who make recommendations” and who neither “set federal policy” nor “determine what services are covered by the federal government.”
“The task force has presented some new evidence for consideration,” she added, “but our policies remain unchanged. Indeed, I would be very surprised if any private insurance company changed its mammography coverage decisions as a result of this action.”
The Washington Post reports that James H. Thrall of the American College of Radiology, “praised Sebelius's statement but called on the secretary to order the task force to rescind its recommendations "to avoid confusion as health-care reform moves forward”:
Thrall also urged Sebelius to make sure the panel included "experts from the areas on which they will be advising lawmakers and submit their recommendations for comment and review to outside stakeholders in similar fashion to rules enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A more inclusive process can only benefit Americans as we seek to improve our health care system."
But supporters of the new guidelines slammed the Obama administration for backing down after promising that its decisions “would be driven by science and not politics,” according to The WaPo:
"This should not be an issue of political pressure or public pressure," said Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, which supports the task force's findings. "It should be an issue of what the science says and what's best for women. We're not rationing care; we're doing what's best for the health of women."
The Stiletto personally knows a half dozen women who are alive today because they were routinely screened for breast cancer in their 40s. With older mammography machines that make images on X-ray film rapidly being replaced with digital machines at hospitals and women’s health centers, the putative rationale for the Task Force’s recommendations – excessive radiation exposure and the rate of false positives creating unnecessary worry for women - are rendered moot. Digital mammograms use 25 percent less radiation than film mammograms, and the images can not only be analyzed by computer but also enlarged and enhanced for more accurate interpretation by a radiologist. The bottom line: These new recommendations are not meant to save women’s lives, but to save money.
† Updates To Previous Posts (third item, Terrorist Mouthpiece Disbarred): The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld radical attorney/activist Lynne Stewart’s 2005 conviction for providing material support to a terror conspiracy by passing messages from her client Omar Abdel-Rahman (AKA "the blind sheik") to an Egyptian terrorist group, revoked her bail and directed the sentencing judge to reconsider increasing the short prison sentence he imposed, reports New York Law Journal. U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl had originally sentenced Stewart to two years and four months in prison; the government was pushing for a 30-year stretch.