Bill Scher's LiberalOasis

Home of the This Is Not Normal podcast, Bill Scher columns and other liberal commentary

Month: August 2009 (page 1 of 2)

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Do It For Ted Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast today at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. This week’s show features WHMP’s Bill Dwight on the childish state of the health care debate, and Momtroversies essayist Traci Olsen on true wealth during a recession. Plus, the importance of realizing the cause of Ted Kennedy’s life: health care for all. And, the latest front groups from Big Oil and King Coal.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

The Week In Blog: Wrath of Conn Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up at featuring The Heritage Foundation’s Conn Carroll and myself discussing blog reaction to Ted Kennedy and the cause of his life, health care, plus the Heritage-RedState tiff and the possible CIA prosecutions. Watch it below.

The Great Ted Kennedy dies

From AP:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate and haunted bearer of the Camelot torch after two of his brothers fell to assassins’ bullets, has died at his home in Hyannis Port after battling a brain tumor. He was 77.
For nearly a half-century in the Senate, Kennedy was a steadfast champion of the working class and the poor, a powerful voice on health care, civil rights, and war and peace. To the American public, though, he was best known as the last surviving son of America’s most glamorous political family, the eulogist of a clan shattered again and again by tragedy. (more…)

I’ll have more later. My heart goes out to the Kennedy family.
Statement from the Kennedy family:

“Edward M. Kennedy — the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply — died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port.
“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever.
“We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.
“He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it.
“He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”

Here’s Ted Kennedy at his best (in my opinion) endorsing Barack Obama.
As Kennedy said, “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.

Interview with McJoan of the Daily Kos – Politics and Healthcare

We discuss the current healthcare debate. This is an excellent discussion with a premier liberal blogger Joan McCarter (McJoan), who has really been all over this healthcare debate.
click here for the audio.
Last week, the Democrats and specifically those who have pushed healthcare reform were on the defensive. I think that they were overwhelmed by the ferocity and viciousness of those who do not want reform. There was a lot of activity that happened at the end of last week with the progressive Democrats in that House clearly stating that they will not support any healthcare reform bill that does not have a “strong” public option. President Barack Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seemed to back away from the public option over the weekend.
click here for the audio.
The leadership in the Senate seems to be either confused or completely silent. Senator Max Baucus does not seem to reflect the mainstream Democratic Party. He seems to reflect the interests of big medical business. Senator Kent Conrad, also a major player in the health care debate, has come up with this idea of healthcare co-ops. I’ve talked about co-ops on this blog before. Although we do not know all the details of how a co-op would work, it doesn’t seem that co-ops would help drive down prices and truly increase competition as they been billed.
I asked Joan about a couple of broad goals of healthcare reform which would be to control costs and to cover 46 million Americans who are currently uninsured. Jon points out how these two goals are interrelated. If the 46 million Americans have health insurance than they can go for preventative care which should decrease emergency room visits and decrease costs. This is critically important and I appreciate Joan for making this point.
We also discussed the fact that a strong public option, really single-payer, would make business more competitive. Small business becomes more competitive both in their local markets and also abroad because they don’t have to worry about the burden of providing health care for their workers. That cost is shared by all Americans.
This is a great conversation. Really, I don’t miss interview with Joan McCarter from the Daily Kos. Enjoy!
click here for the audio.

John Mackey of Whole Foods and the Republicanism of healthcare reform

If John Mackey came up to me in the grocery store, I wouldn’t know who he was. He wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled The Whole Food’s Alternative to ObamaCare. Why? Why is the CEO of a grocery store chain allowed to take up the opinion pages of the prestigious Wall Street Journal on a topic about which he has no expertise?
This article could have been penned by Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey or Senator Charles Grassley. It is a generic Republican healthcare article which hits all the talking points. People want choice. We should have health savings accounts and high deductible insurance plans (more choice). We need to let the marketplace work — decrease regulation. We need to allow health insurance companies to freely roam our country. There should be no mandates on what insurance companies can cover and can’t cover. We need to make costs transparent so that the marketplace will work better. Reform Medicare. Allow tax breaks so people can donate money to help those who have no insurance. Tax cuts, decrease regulation and cuts to government spending. The Republican trifecta.
One of the things that I find so infuriating is that a CEO is allowed to pen an article in the Wall Street Journal and has nothing new to say. He is regurgitating the same old talking points. He sprinkles on a couple of references to what “his employees want” and he gets time in the Wall Street Journal.

It has only been since Republicans have been crashing these town halls that we’ve heard anything about people who want healthcare choice. I think this is a complete myth. People want to go to their own doctor. People want to be able to choose their own hospital. People want to be covered. I don’t think Americans want any more choices. We don’t want to choose between this complicated healthcare insurance plan and that complicated healthcare insurance plan. Look, I’m a trauma surgeon and I have no idea when I sit down and look at my own health insurance plan that is provided by the hospital. I find these plans unintelligible. All I want to know is, when I go to the emergency room and when I go to the doctor, will that be covered. I want a plan that covers me (and my family) going to my doctor and the emergency room. That’s it.
I think health savings plans are crazy. If you want to save money, put your money in some sort of financial institution (assuming that it is solvent).

Repealing state laws will do the same thing for insurance companies that it did for the banks. It’ll be the wild wild West once again. Small insurance companies will be crushed. There will be insurance mergers. We will end up with a handful of insurance companies — wait a minute, that’s what we have right now. Basically, the big gets bigger. It doesn’t mean that they will offer lower premiums. It means that the healthcare executives will be flying nicer jets.

Why are employers in the healthcare business anyway? Why don’t we take them out of the healthcare business and let these employers get back to managing their business.
I think that tort reform needs to be enacted but we live in a society that is run by lawyers. 90% of the folks on Capitol Hill are lawyers. I think it would be very difficult to get meaningful tort reform especially in our polarized environment.
I wonder if I write an essay on grocery stores will the Wall Street Journal except it?
BTW, If you’re on Facebook, you can join the “Boycott Whole Foods” group now.

The LIberalOasis Radio Show: Recipe for America Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast today at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. This week’s show features my interview with Jill Richardson of La Vida Locavore and author of the new book Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. She will be bringng her book tour to the Pioneer Valley, with a 7 PM Monday stop at Boswell’s Books in Shelburne Falls, followed Tuesday visits to Northampton’s Knitting Liberally and Drinking Liberally. The podcast also features our monthly Poetry on the Radio segment with Sarah Lariviere, and my take on the week in health care.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

The Week In Blog: Ambinder Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up at, featuring Matt Lewis and myself discussing blogosphere reaction to the Tom Ridge revelations, Marc Ambinder’s depiction of the Left (since retracted) and developments in the health care debate. Watch it below.

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Netroots Nation Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast today at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. This week’s show features my report from Pittsburgh, PA and the Netroots Nation blogger conference. Today’s edition also features DJ Josh Frankenstein’s “Violence So Right,” John Cougarstein’s “All I Want To Do Is Discuss Sartre With You,” and the new segment “My Side Of The Story.”
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

The Week In Blog: Netroots Nation Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up at with me reporting from Pittsburgh, PA and the annual Netroots Nation blogger conference. Watch it below.

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: John Hughes Memorial Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast today at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. This week’s show featured myself on how organized disruptions of health care towns are backfiring on conservatives, Vijay Prashad on the upcoming Afghanistan elections and the state of US military policy, Traci Olsen’s “Momtroversies” feature on imbuing the values of diversity in a town that lacks diversity and our culture roundtable on John Hughes sudden death including Olsen and WHMP’s Jaz Tupelo.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

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