Health

Ezra Klein, channeling Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson: There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs so much more than health care in any other country: because we pay so much more for each unit of care.

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When Joe Lieberman declared on yesterday's “Face the Nation” that no health care reform bill at all would be preferable to one with the public option, he reminded me less of a wannabe John Boehner than a bombast on the other end of the political spectrum: Howard Dean. Like his former opponent, Dean is no stranger to grandstanding for attention. Less than two months ago, Dean made a similarly extreme proclamation at a DC town hall event I attended, declaring that no reform bill would be better than one without the public option.

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Misrepresentations

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. A week ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was upset when The Yes Men, a group of pranksters and activists, held a fake press conference, claiming that the Chamber has reversed their opposition to climate change legislation. It’s true that the Chamber was misrepresented.

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It was Halloween 2001, and Kennesaw State freshman Nick Ayers was sitting anxiously in an Atlanta airplane hangar. A friend had recommended him for a campaign position with Republican state senator Sonny Perdue, who was mounting a long-shot gubernatorial run against Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes. The portly, middle-aged politician disembarked his Bellanca Super Viking and, as Ayers recounts the story, walked down the stairs holding a lid-less cup of coffee. Eager to make a good first impression, the nervous blonde teenager extended his hand for a firm shake.

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Color Commentator

The saga of Rush Limbaugh and his failed attempt to acquire a piece of the St. Louis Rams may be the quintessential postmodern American racial incident. When word first leaked of Limbaugh's potential ownership, a couple of sportswriters, joined by a handful of cable news talking heads, repeated what turned out to be totally unsubstantiated quotes by Limbaugh praising slavery and James Earl Ray.

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Product Roll-Out

WASHINGTON--The next health care fight has already started. It's the battle to define the bill that President Obama will eventually sign as a victory for consumers, taxpayers and the common good. You might say this view is premature. Legislation has yet to pass the House or the Senate, there are differences between the two bodies, and some moderates still have doubts. But barring astoundingly self-defeating behavior by Democrats, a decent bill will get to Obama's desk.

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Weight Watchers

In New Jersey, any candidate for high office can count on getting smeared over taxes, corruption, the economy, or all of the above. But in this fall's hard-fought gubernatorial race, an unlikely issue has popped up amidst the usual mud-slinging: the portly physique of Republican challenger Chris Christie. Ever since Jon Corzine released his now-infamous attack ad, in which a disdainful voiceover claims Christie improperly "threw his weight around" as a U.S. Attorney, neither candidate has managed to entirely escape the politics of fat.

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From Grover “Uncle Jumbo” Cleveland to Chris Christie, a History of Smearing Heavyweights in American Politics, by Dave Jamieson The Fork in J Street: Will the New Israel Lobby Disavow Its Extreme Left Flank? by James Kirchick Philadelphia Freedom: The Most Noxious Sports Fans in America Have Gone Soft, by Buzz Bissinger Why Gavin Newsom Dropped Out, by Joe Mathews A Health Care Proposal That Should Absolutely Be in the Final Bill, by Jonathan Cohn Who Came out of the Honduran Crisis Looking the Best? Hillary. by Francisco Toro and Juan Nagle What Does Joe Lieberman Really Want?

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Organizing for America is a complicated beast, and my story yesterday couldn’t quite contain some of the interesting things about it. For all the activism geeks out there, here are some outtakes. About elections: OFA doesn’t just exist to push the administration’s agenda.  If all of its issue campaigns failed, OFA would still serve the purpose of keeping volunteers engaged so they’re ready to help in 2012. "In '04, if you opened your door, it was a paid staffer coming to your door,” OFA deputy director Jeremy Bird told me.

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From a Guardian column by Maura Keaney on Lieberman: Joe Lieberman has become the Balloon Boy dad of the Senate Democratic caucus, a fame-whore so addicted to media attention that he hatches ever-more-desperate and risky schemes that sell out his "family" to earn press attention. It's a catchy lead, but I think this misdiagnoses Lieberman's motivations for his filibuster threat on health care legislation that includes the public option.

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