The Week in Review looks at news stories from the past week with added commentary and perspective. (more)

This week President Barack Obama travelled to Great Britain for the G-8 Summit. He made a stop in Ireland to visit the ancestral village of his great-great-great grandfather, tipped a pint and then flew off to Britain just ahead of the ash from an Icelandic volcano. In London, he had tea with the Queen and succeeded in giving her a gift that did not draw the scorn of the pundits. We (the royal we) assume he was quite relieved to hear that.

There was other news this week: a special election in NY-26 followed by a vote on the GOP 2012 Budget, a tornado in Joplin MO and Vermont signing single-payer health care into law.

Spinning … the results
A special election in NY-26, a congressional district in upstate New York, produced a stunning upset for Kathy Hochul, the Democratic candidate. Many saw this as a referendum on the GOP 2012 Budget, passed by the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives, which privatizes Medicare in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy. This prompted Senate Republicans to immediately vote to … privatize Medicare in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy. Pundits declared that the problem was one of messaging not policy with one GOP pundit claiming that Democrats running on Medicare would be “making a dangerous gamble” because “Republicans happen to have reality on their side.” Recent polls, reflecting an alternate reality perhaps, show that 6 in 10 Americans do not want Medicare changed.

Spinning … winds and callousness
A deadly tornado hit Joplin Missouri leaving a 7 mile path of destruction and causing hundreds of deaths and enormous property damage.

Republicans immediately raced to the microphones:
1. Arabian horse expert “Mike” Michael “Brownie” Brown criticized President Obama for not cutting short his visit to London in order to get in the way help remove debris in Joplin. The man who asked how his shirts looked while failing to handle the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina felt it was unseemly for the president to be seen “toasting the queen.”
2. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that the Missouri tornado was punishment from God for allowing gay people to live in Joplin. (Wait, let me check something.) Oh, sorry, that was Pat Robertson. Actually Rep. Cantor said that no help would be sent to Missouri unless cuts were found in the federal budget to offset it. No word yet on whether the new FEMA Voucher Act would include disasters in Virginia.

We ran these comments through the Google word analyzer and found these:

callous, contemptible, despicable, dishonorable, evil, ignoble, knavish, low-down, dirty, malicious, nasty, rotten, rough, shameless, sour, the lowest, ugly, unpleasant, unscrupulous, vicious, vile, cold-blooded, hardhearted, heartless, indifferent, insensitive, soulless, uncaring, uncompassionate, unfeeling, unsympathetic, indifferent to suffering … ::sputter:: ::sputter ::

and then the Google word analyzer started weeping and refused to produce any more output.

No Spin: Good government gets going
Governor Peter Shumlin (D-VT) signed new legislation setting Vermont on the path towards a single-payer health care system:

“Last month, the Vermont Senate passed legislation, approved earlier by the House, that would establish a single payer health care system in the state. The legislation would make Vermont the first state in the nation to, as Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said, make health care “a right and not a privilege.”

… Shumlin signed the legislation into law this morning, making the state the first in American history to pass legislation that will establish a single payer health care system to provide care to all citizens. Now that the law is signed, Vermont will spend the next four years setting up the system and preparing it for implementation. “

The Google word analyzer recovered and sputtered out “Thank you, Vermont for being willing to lead the way. We will be watching closely and hoping for your success.” Actually, that was not the Google word analyzer … that was me.


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