Sebelius, 60, is seen as a solid choice to head HHS because as a governor responsible for the Medicaid program in Kansas, she faced the pressure of rising health care costs directly, and saw how hard it is to expand coverage, particularly in bad economic times. She is also familiar with the insurance industry, a key interest group in the health care debate. Before becoming governor, she served as insurance commissioner, and her fellow state commissioners selected her to be national president of their association.
This is a guy who has never played a full season, and who has never played more than 65 percent of the snaps. He is someone who has had off-the-field issues and someone who has been an underachiever for much of his career. Keeping fit and motivated has been an issue, and it isn't clear how he'll respond with this kind of guaranteed money in his pocket. The pressure on him is enormous as well; he must elevate the entire defense, be an MVP type of performer and play with consistency -- at a time when the team has eliminated 45 employees who were paid far, far less.
The Republican governors of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, along with Alaska and Idaho, have raised protests, saying that expansion could eventually require them to raise taxes. On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee became the first Democratic governor to express reservations on the issue.It's unfortunate timing for Bredesen because this is also the day that newspapers are reporting Tennessee's unemployment rate jumped to nearly 9 percent in January. And then there's that health and human services job that our governor covets. To win a spot in Obama's Cabinet, it's not exactly a great PR strategy to appear in the national media disrespecting the president's stimulus package along with such governors as Sarah Palin. Maybe that's why Bredesen has been hopping on cable TV lately at every opportunity to try to explain himself.
Back in Nashville Monday, Williams listened as Rep. Steve McManus, R-Memphis, gave an 11-minute lecture against the federal stimulus package. From the podium, Williams responded:
"I was in Shelby County this weekend and I probably met with a different group than you met with. I met with a group that really wasn't concerned about IRAs because they didn't have any. They weren't concerned about retirement, because they didn't have any. They were concerned about getting food on their table and some of them, the elderly are worried if they are going to die if they don't have their medications. So there are two sides to this issue."
Pith in the Wind hereby demands mandatory tours of inner-city Memphis for every wingnut in America.
Long ago, a senator tried to amend a gun bill to let people take weaponry into the Capitol. Suddenly, the Senate's many Second Amendment champions decided that actually (ahem) the government can restrict gun rights under certain extremely limited circumstances, namely when a politician's own safety is at stake.
Pith asked one of the House gun nuts, Rep. Henry Fincher, a Democrat from Cookeville, whether he'd favor opening the Capitol to gunmen.
"I personally, as a handgun carry permit holder and certified handgun carry permit instructor, don't have a problem with people bringing them up there," Fincher said. "Some of my colleagues might. That'd be a good debate. We license people to carry all over our society now. ... I feel like handgun permit holders are very responsible, are trained in both the use of firearms and the laws of self-defense, and I don't fear a law-abiding citizen who chooses to carry a handgun for personal protection. I fear the law-breakers who use them to take advantage of citizens, to rob citizens and to kill 'em."
Why then hasn't someone introduced a bill to allow guns into Legislative Plaza? we asked. "I'd urge you to contact your legislator," Fincher replied.
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