Entry for April 11, 2007

Screen shot of the banner ad running today on Roll Call. The caption reads, “click here for the Bob Dole on Medicare website and other success stories.”
Dole works for the Alston & Bird law firm, which lobbied on the Medicare bill. You know, the law which prohibited price negotiations on drugs. Also at Alston and Bird is Thomas Scully who joined from his position as Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid 10 days after bill was signed, according “Medicare’s Revolving Door” by Mother Jones’s then-editor Tim Dickinson (who now edits the National Affairs Daily blog at Rolling Stone.)
Like many Bush appointees, Scully came from the industry before joining the administration. Again according to Dickinson, Scully came from his position as CEO of and lobbyist for the Federation of American Hospitals. Before that he was a health care lobbyist at Patton Boggs and before that he advised the elder President Bush on Medicare payment.
By the way, one of the first things, Scully did was run a contest to rename his agency, It had been called the Health Care Financing Administration.
Last night I was looking at Google news for stories about medicare negotiations with drug companies and was surprised to find only 33 articles, with only 5 that specifically mentioned Harry Reid’s Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007 (S.3). The House passed its own version ,Dingell’s H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007 on a vote of 255 to 170, January 12, with 24 Republicans voting for it. Bush issued a Statement of Administration Policy January 11, promising to veto the bill, if passed. 2/3 majority of those present and voting are required for an override, which would mean 290 votes in the House and 67 in the Senate, if everyone is present.
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From Dan Eggen at the Washington Post: Six U.S. Attorneys Given 2nd Posting in Washington by (April 10, 2007; p A03)

A half-dozen sitting U.S. attorneys also serve as aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales or are assigned other Washington postings, performing tasks that take them away from regular duties in their districts for months or even years at a time, according to officials and department records. Acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, for example, has been effectively absent from his job as U.S. attorney in Montana for nearly two years — prompting the chief federal judge in Billings to demand his removal and call Mercer’s office “a mess.”

And something from Marty Kaplan, USC Annenberg School for Communication prof and former president of the Harvard Lampoon: MSM Voluntary Code of Conduct and Badges of Approval. Kaplan asks readers of his blog at Huffington Post for additions to his list of “badges of approval” the mainstream media could use, if they voluntarily agreed to its own set of principles, a la those the NYT story suggested for the blogosphere. Some include:

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Story contains pairs of contradictory quotes with no indication of which side is factual and which side is gaming the system via disinformation.

DRUDGE MATCH: Story assigned because a GOP talking point planted in Drudge convinced an editor or producer that it had to be covered.

LIES ‘R’ NOT US: No matter what outrageous falsehoods were uttered by a source in this story, the words “lie” or “liar” do not appear.

FRAME GAME: Story uses terms like “slow bleed strategy,” “nuclear option,” “death tax,” “pro-life” etc. as though they were neutral descriptors rather than GOP coinages.

Over at Rolling Stone, in his April 10 article, “The Return of Evil Campaign Journalism, Matt Taibbi has coined his own label, SWEET ‘N BLOW, you know

a no-calorie substitute for real journalism, a gossip column masquerading as political reportage.

Also check out Taibbi’s April 2 story on Seymour Hersh, “Cheney’s Nemesis” about Bush’s secret plan to bomb Iran.

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Carl Hulse scooped Roll Call by six days on the article cited today by Carpetbagger Report’s Steve Benen (email). The New York Times ran Hulse’s A Narrow Window for Recess Appointments” April 5, which Aspeculated that Bush’s April 4 recess appointments may lead the Dems to cut down on recesses. And you can get it for free!

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