Mary Landrieu

The House just passed Fred Upton’s bill. He calls it the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” because its ostensible purpose is to make sure people losing their existing health plans can keep them. It might or might not have that effect. But an equally accurate description would be “Go Back to the Old Lousy Health Care System Act.” Under its provisions, insurers could keep denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, continue selling policies that have huge gaps, and so on.

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Five reasons a Congressional fix will be destructive

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“We’re Americans,” Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu told me two weeks ago in the Russell Senate building in Washington, D.C. “We don’t eat our dogs, and we don’t eat our horses.” She had just finished delivering a speech to a rapt audience of two-dozen bright-eyed teenage girls, a handful of congressmen, top members of the ASPCA and Humane Society, and Lorenzo Borghese, star of the ninth season of the reality television show The Bachelor.

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[with contributions from Matt O'Brien and Darius Tahir] The prevailing story about passenger air travel is that it used to be a lot more fun or, at least, a lot more comfortable. I wonder how true that claim is. Weren’t the old planes a lot noisier? Didn’t they take longer to reach their destinations? Weren't they less safe?  But a few things clearly have changed – among them, the introduction of separate fees for baggage. Virtually every major airline now charges passengers to check bags.

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Anderson Cooper the daytime talk show host does not look all that different from Anderson Cooper the disaster reporter. He is still boyish, still earnest, still reliably clad in a button-down that accentuates the blue of those sympathetic eyes. Yet much of the new show’s media coverage has harped on the apparent contradiction between the two Coopers: windblown Anderson in a flak jacket vs. spruced-up Anderson ministering to celebrities on his talk show couch. “Anderson Cooper offers another version of himself on talk show ‘Anderson,’” announced The Washington Post online.

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In the war of words over Barack Obama’s presidency, one important asset for conservatives has been the ability to identify at least a few self-styled “centrists” to periodically support the standard Republican claim that Obama is a dangerous leftist who is recklessly expanding the federal government beyond any past precedent or reasonable expectation.

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Today brings yet another story about disgruntled Democratic lawmakers complaining about President Obama's jobs bill. It's from the New York Times and quotes a series of Democrats, from both houses, complaining about various aspects of the proposal.  Some of this complaining is obviously real and genuinely worrisome. Particularly when it comes to new taxes on corporations and the wealthy, Obama's proposed way of paying for his jobs bill, Democrats are all over the map -- albeit in some predictable ways.

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If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ve read a lot of criticism of Republicans for talking economic nonsense, placing their political fortunes ahead of the country’s good, or some combination of the two. But sometimes Democrats, particularly conservative Democrats, do the same things. And now is one of those times. Mary Landrieu and Jim Webb – I’m looking at you. An article by Manu Raju, in Politico, quotes the three senators criticizing Obama’s jobs proposal.

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&c

-- Could liberals dump Nancy Pelosi? -- Kevin Drum offers one impeachment scenario, involving South Carolina, nullification, and a book deal for Mary Landrieu. -- Tom Scocca has found "the dumbest libertarian quote ever."

So much for the deepwater-drilling ban. Earlier today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that he was lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling early, well ahead of the original November 30 deadline. The reason? "There will always be risks associated with deepwater drilling," Salazar explained, "but we have now reached the point where we have, in my view, reduced those risks." It's too early to tell whether he's right about that. What is clear, however, is that Salazar was under plenty of political pressure to lift the ban as early as possible.

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