Jan. 19th, 2003

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Thousands Oppose a Rush to War

How many thousands?

Tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators converged on Washington yesterday, making a thunderous presence in the bitter cold and assembling in the shadow of the Capitol dome to oppose a U.S. military strike against Iraq.

How many tens of thousands? Somewhere between ten and fifty.

Organizers of the demonstration, the activist coalition International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), said the protest was larger than one they sponsored in Washington in October. District police officials suggested then that about 100,000 attended, and although some organizers agreed, they have since put the number closer to 200,000. This time, they said, the turnout was 500,000. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey would not provide an estimate but said it was bigger than October's. "It's one of the biggest ones we've had, certainly in recent times," he said.


Thousands attended similar rallies in cities including San Francisco and Tampa as well as in other countries.

And how many thousands would that be? Somewhere between fifty and a hundred.

And demonstrators filled downtown San Francisco, with police estimating the crowd at 50,000, while organizers said it was closer to 100,000. The crowd appeared significantly larger than the one for October's march, which police had pegged at 42,000.

Apparently the pro-war contingent included a guy in an SUV, some yuppies drinking on a balcony and about fifty other people.
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which only ventures "thousands":

Two hours before the start of the antiwar rally here, supporters of the war effort held a counter protest on the National Mall, southeast of the Vietnam Memorial. Fewer than 100 people - mostly from two groups, one called Move-Out and another called Free Republic - waved flags as "The Star Spangled Banner" played over a portable speaker.

just fyi.


Jan. 19th, 2003 05:54 am
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digby and Atrios already had this:

SACRAMENTO -- A California Republican Party leader has called on the highest-ranking African American in the state GOP to stop "parading" his race by complaining about "how awful it is to be a black Republican."

In an angry letter distributed to GOP activists statewide, Randy Ridgel, a member of the party's Board of Directors, responded to an accusation by fellow board member Shannon Reeves, who is black, that Republicans have treated African Americans as "window dressing."

"I, for one, am getting bored with that kind of garbage," Ridgel wrote. "Let me offer this suggestion to Mr. Reeves: 'Get over it, bucko. You don't know squat about hardship.' "

Ridgel added: "I personally don't give a damn about your color ... so stop parading it around. We need human beings of all human colors in our party to pull their weight, so get in without the whining or get out."


He [Reeves] recalled that during the 2000 Republican national convention in Philadelphia, delegates asked him six times to "fetch them a taxi or carry their luggage."

Ridgel responded by calling Reeves "a bombastic gasbag." He criticized Reeves for writing "a lengthy whining letter explaining how awful it is to be a black Republican."

Ridgel added: "Your sniveling letter makes me sick, young man; you are a superstar because you are a black Republican, and you love it. Now I wonder if you can make it as just a Republican ... like the rest of us. And don't try any of that Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters racist garbage on me."

The Washington Post adds this grace note, under the tasteful hed

Calif. Republican Leaders Still Bickering About Race:

Ridgel's letter was distributed by party vice chairman Bill Back, who told the Los Angeles Times that he sent it in response to requests from members.

The exchange comes on the heels of another recent, racially charged imbroglio. Earlier this month, Back -- who is running for the state GOP chairmanship -- apologized for distributing literature suggesting the nation would have been better off had the Confederacy won the Civil War. In his letter, Ridgel also defended that literature. Reeves has called on Back to drop his race for the party chairmanship.

nice, huh.


Jan. 19th, 2003 07:11 am
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One of the most memorably nasty eviscerations I've seen recently, on David Frum, in the Washington Post.

Highlights include:

David Frum seems to be trying a little too hard to make it in this town -- and that's saying something.


Frum's coinage of "axis of evil" was revealed in a tacky episode last March when his wife, the writer Danielle Crittenden, bragged of his achievement in a mass e-mail.


(It's unclear, however, how familiar the author was with the president's thinking. Asked how many one-on-one meetings he had with the president, Frum says there were "six or eight." But when pressed to exclude walk-by encounters in the hallways, the total falls to "two or three.")

[which, in fairness, is about as many times as Peggy Noonan met with Ronald Reagan]

Conversations with people who know Frum begin with on-the-record praise and spiral into on-background ridicule. "There's a sort of desperate edge to David's need to be noticed," says one well-known conservative who knows Frum and has ties to the White House. Frum has an outsider's zealousness for recognition, he says. In addition to still being a Canadian citizen, Frum was also one of the few Jews in the Bush White House, a point of which he seems acutely conscious.


A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Frum is the kind of conspicuous smarty-pants that Bush had little use for during his own days in the Ivy League.

Shame no-one in the White House realized what a loser this guy was before he set our foreign policy, isn't it.
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Apparently no new taxes doesn't exactly mean no new taxes. Mostly it seems to mean keep the tax cuts, add sales taxes.

The lucky duckies are going to take the hit. How novel.
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Over at PLA, a brilliant formula for halting the increase in at least three things I can think of.

Genius. Sheer genius.
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Think how low our expenses will be once grandma and that wheezy kid die - the Bush administration clarifies the whole Right to Life thing

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 In a reversal, the Bush administration has ruled that managed care organizations can limit and restrict coverage of emergency services for poor people on Medicaid.

The new policy, disclosed in a recent letter to state Medicaid directors, appears to roll back standards established in a 1997 law and in rules issued by the Clinton administration in January 2001 and by the Bush administration itself in June 2002.


But Cindy Mann, a Medicaid expert at Georgetown University, questioned the legality of the new policy.

Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, a principal author of the 1997 law, said the new policy "would undermine access to essential emergency services for low-income Americans," including children, the elderly and the disabled.

Mr. Graham said he did not understand how the administration could, by a letter, make such profound changes in a policy established by statute.

Administration officials said the basic Medicaid law allowed states to set reasonable limits on the amount, duration and scope of services.

The letter was sent to state officials by Dennis G. Smith, the Bush administration official in charge of Medicaid. Under the old policy, Mr. Smith said, states could not limit coverage of emergency services for Medicaid beneficiaries in managed care. "When the prudent layperson standard is met," the old policy said, "no restriction may be placed on access to emergency care. Limits on the number of visits are not allowed."

More than 40 million people are insured through Medicaid. More than 55 percent of them are in some type of managed care.

The letter does not specifically say what kind of limits can be imposed, but state officials have discussed ideas like limits on the number of emergency room visits that would be covered.

Ben A. Bearden, the Medicaid director in Louisiana, said his state wanted to limit Medicaid coverage for adults to three emergency room visits a year.

"Three emergency visits a year for an adult may sound like a small number, but it's really not," Mr. Bearden said today in an interview. "I'm 60 years old, and I've been to an emergency room once in my life. The E.R. is very expensive, and people in this state use it inappropriately. They go in for a stubbed toe."


Michelle Mickey, a policy analyst at the National Association of State Medicaid Directors, said state officials had sought a clarification of federal policy on emergency care. The new policy, she said, is "above and beyond what the states ever requested or expected."

Senator Graham introduced a bill to establish the "prudent layperson" standard for all insurers in 1997. The standard was included in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, as a requirement for managed care plans serving people in Medicaid or Medicare. The purpose, Mr. Graham said, is "to allow a person who reasonably believes that he or she is undergoing an emergency condition to be evaluated, treated and stabilized in the emergency room without fear that the health plan will later deny the claim."

A prudent layperson is defined in the law as a person with "an average knowledge of health and medicine."

Doctors and hospitals said the prudent layperson standard was needed because H.M.O.'s had often refused to pay for emergency care after concluding that there was no real emergency if, for example, chest pains resulted from severe indigestion rather than a heart attack.

Under the law, the managed care plan is supposed to pay for the emergency care, regardless of whether the patient got "prior authorization." The patient can go to the nearest hospital, regardless of whether it is in the health plan's network of providers.

The Bush administration issued rules interpreting the law on June 14, 2002. In a news release at the time, the administration said, "Health plans must pay for a Medicaid beneficiary's emergency room care whenever and wherever the need arises."


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