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TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

First Posted: 04/30/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:40 PM ET

Sunday Talking Heads

Hello, good morning, welcome to you Sunday Morning Liveblog. My name is Jason and today we will talk about health care reform for the 4,398th time in the past year on a Sunday because of the Health Care Summit where no one solved the problem but nobody killed each other either, so, win for America. I think that the Congressional Democrats are going to finally nut up and try to pass the reform or not.

I hope that's the case. It's been so long that I cannot remember a time before health care reform. As far as I can remember, this nation was founded specifically so that we could have a health care crisis. Someone hit me up on IM on Friday asking if it was true that Obama was going to ask for three more months of deliberations on health care reform, and I was like: "Uhm? Is having a hole in your face, from a gun considered a pre-existing condition? Because if that's true, I will be shooting myself in the face with a gun.

As near as I can tell, this is not the case. But if it were, it'd surprise none of you, right? Because: GAH.

Anyway, welcome to another Sunday. Please as always, feel free to act on any compulsions to send an email or leave a comment. For your in-between-Sunday snacks, you may follow me on Twitter. For no reason, here's a pretty good video on what it's like to talk with flacks over email all the time.

Okay, let's start.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

SO, today on Fox News Sunday...health care. With Jon Kyl and Robert Menendez and Paul Ryan and panels and I am bored to tears already. But we begin with the beginning because the end gets here faster.

So, Wallace says that it seems clear that we are heading to reconciliation in the Senate. Menendez says, "Well, first we hope we can get some movement from our Republican colleagues." Oh, STOP THAT. We do not want to have our legs pissed upon. Menendez says he thinks they'll have the votes. Kyl says that the Dems may have to make more backroom deals to get them, and he also thinks that their won't be enough Dems in the House to vote for it either.

Kyl is against reconciliation, despite the fact that the GOP loves using it to pass massive bills. It's pretty hilarious to see them running away from it, somehow, when you just know that as soon as the shoe is back on the other foot, and the GOp is in the majority and the Dems have decided to filibuster the Goat Rape Act of 2014, Jon Kyl will be out there, explaining how reconciliation is a grand tradition and non-controversial. And that's how, in the America of 2014, we will forced to rape goats to earn COBRA. I AM FUTURE SHOCKING YOU THIS MORNING.

Wallace notes that reconciliation has been used and used and used again. For welfare reform. Also, big tax cuts. Also, Clinton's budget. The GOP tried to use it to drill in ANWR. And Kyl will probably cosponsor that whole goat thing. But, maybe there will be some voter backlash? Menendez says that his read of the polls is that the bottom line is that the American people want to see movement forward on that. YES, YOU ARE RIGHT. This has become like having political foreplay with Samuel Beckett. But Menendez very easily slips back into old arguments: "Why are the Republicans against these tax cuts?" ROBERT, STOP TRYING TO LITIGATE. Just pass it!

Wallace asks Kyl if he thinks there was ever an intent to truly reach out to the GOP? Kyl doesn't answer the question, but, really, this past week? The answer is no. The whole reaching out happened all year long, when the bill wasn't single payer, and then not public option, and then not public option trigger, and then not opt-out public option and then not Medicare buy in, et cetera, et cetera. Didn't win any votes. No votes are coming. So you have to stage one last political ritual for the cameras and move on, vote for the bill, reap the political rewards, pay the political cost.

Wallace doesn't seem to want Menendez to speak, and so most of what he says I cannot make out.

Kyl says that Bunning's weird filibuster was essentially pointless, since the temporary extenstion of unemployment benefits will pass. But with Bunning's help, it will now costs state and local governments millions more to administer. Big picture guy, this Bunning.

Now here's Paul Ryan, who along with Tom Coburn, probably came off as the most serious member of the GOP at the health care summit. Ryan's contention is that the reform would not control the cost of premiums. "It's a deficit nightmare, it's a cost nightmare." And Ryan does not agree that the bill will bend the cost curve, because the Senate bill is rife with double-counting that the CBO isn't scoring correctly. All of this basically tells you that in order to improve the health care system, the government will have to raise revenues. And here's where you have the problem: the GOP is unilaterally averse to raising revenue, depite their predilection for spending. Meanwhile, the Democrats are terrified of raising revenue, because they'll be slammed for being big tax-raisers.

The only way you can really take on the problems that Ryan raises is to level with the American people and say, yes, this will cost you money, but the benefits are x, y, and z.

Meanwhile, Ryan's health care alternatives, the things he would suggest, if he had his druthers, are terrifying. They are basically, as Matt Yglesias points out, "massive rationing."

The way Medicare works is that if you're old, and you're sick, the government will largely pick up the tab for your health care. Back in 1975 "your health care" referred to something pretty cheap. By 2005, health care had become much more expensive. And by 2035 it will be even more expensive. And Ryan's proposal, simply put, is for the government to not pay for it.


Rather than have the government pay for your health care, the government will give you a voucher with which to buy private insurance. Initially, the voucher will be worth the same amount as the average cost of providing health care to people. But the insurance company will have higher administrative costs than Medicare, and it will have profit margins and such that Medicare doesn't have, and it will pay more for services than Medicare does. So on day one you'll lose your Medicare coverage and instead get a voucher that costs the government the same amount, but buys you much less in the way of health care services.

The way the government saves money over the long run, however, is that over time the voucher won't keep up with the cost of health care. As the CBO explains in its analysis (PDF) of Ryan's outline, the voucher will be "indexed to grow at a rate halfway between the general inflation rate, as measured by the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U), and the rate of price inflation for medical care, as measured by the consumer price index for medical care (CPI-M)." That means the value of the voucher "would increase at an average annual rate of 2.7 percent for the next 75 years, in comparison with the average annual growth rate of nearly 5 percent that CBO expects for per capita national spending for health care under current law."

In other words, Ryan is proposing to ration care for seniors. He'll take the baseline level of per capita medical costs for seniors in 2020 and then draw a curve representing 2.7 percent annual growth and say that any costs above that won't be covered. If grandma's got a bunch of money, then she can spend her money. If not, then the plug is pulled.

One could speak about this in detail, but in brief my take is that it's totally unworkable. The whole reason Medicare was put in place in the first place, rather than just hiking Social Security benefits, is that the individual insurance market doesn't work and it especially doesn't work for senior citizens. As I observed in a little-read December 29 post, this would change if congress passed the Obama health care plan. If Obama's efforts to create a viable regulatory framework in which individuals can buy private health insurance (a) pass congress, and (b) turn out to work well and be popular, then you can imagine a version of Ryan's plan being put into place. But in the absence of that kind of reform, I just don't see how you can do this, which is presumably why the implementation is delayed all the way to 2021 which helps Ryan avoid needing to think about implementation details.

Emphasis mine, because I think it's important to point out something that Ryan surely won't: even as he's identifying budget gimmicks in the Senate health care reform bill, he's designing his own great gimmicks for the alternative measure's he'd put forward.

"We propose to [cover 30 million people] with refundable tax credits," Ryan says. And the value of those tax credits would diminish over time, leading to rationing. Hell, it's early and I just came from a Wedding and I'm feeling saucy, so let's just call it a Death Panel! Woo!

Ryan is as uneasy as I am about insurance mandates, but this is why I like a public option. Ryan credits Pelosi with the ability to "muscle votes" but he doesn't think that the House will pass health care.

Panel time, today with Liz Cheney sitting in for Brit Hume. She's wearing canary yellow. Cheney says that her dad is doing well, and watching the show.

So, reconciliation! Liasson says that reconciliation was always on the table, and that the bill was written to accomodate that possibility. Liasson says no one should be surprised that nobody should be surprised that the Summit failed to bridge gaps, but it was valuable for the purpose of clarifying the two sides philosophical differences. I guess people didn't realize that there were philsophical differences between the two parties or something?

Bill Kristol says he didn't watch the summit because he likes dog shows on animal planet but Obama was good at saying some things and Ryan was good at saying other things, and the bottom line is that Kristol is a terrifyingly lazy thinker and all of his New York Times Columns basically read like that, except sometimes he was finding books in airport bookstores and OMG! DOG SHOW!!

Juan Williams says, "the president's goal was to break things down into little pieces," and I gather believes that he was successful at doing so in the Summit. He also says the he was impressed by how well prepared and substantive the GOP was, but again, unless he likes hearing the words "blank sheet of paper" over and over again, that wasn't true, save for Coburn and Ryan.

Liz Cheney says that attempting to pass health care reform now represents "supreme arrogance." I need to now take seven minutes or show to dry-heave a molten lump of irony that has suddenly congealed in by abdominal cavity.

Cheney's take on the polling is that the American people are against the bill. The polling obscures the fact that there are three cohorts involved. . The latter two groups are being lumped together, and sold as generic opposition.

Meanwhile, people are not against reconciliation. They are just for the passage of bills they like and against the passage of bills they don't like.

That's why the Democrats should be thinking about what is the best bill that can be passed with fifty votes in the Senate, and they should pass that bill.

Also, Democrats should reflect on this: Why is Liz Cheney so concerned about the electoral future of Democratic legislators, and saying they will be doomed if they pass the bill? Since there's no rich tradition of Cheneys safeguarding the electoral hopes of Democrats, I'd probably do the opposite of what she advised. Look at the war on terror! We're doing the opposite of what Liz Cheney wants, and it's working like gangbusters.

LONE EXCEPTION: Definitely follow your doctor's orders, with regard to coronary artery disease!

Only Juan Williams believes that the health care reform bill will pass, but Bill Kristol thinks it won't, and since he's nearly universally wrong about anything, I call this a tie.

Now the panel is talking about Desirae Rogers, the White House secretary, and this is, indeed, a little more this panel's speed.

Friend of the liveblog Chris Blakely write in to say, "GAH, Liz Cheney."

I thought Chris Wallace missed a great segue opportunity when he opened the FOX News Sunday panel discussion asking Liz Cheney about her father, Dick Cheney's, current health status. Following this inquiry, the panel began discussing the Healthcare summit. Why not use Dick Cheney's long history of top-notch healthcare as the spring board for today's panel discussion? Chris could have asked: "Shouldn't every US citizen have access to the healthcare that your father, Dick Cheney, has had? Liz are you for or against such access?"

Maybe healing Dick Cheney isn't technically "health care?" But something you learn to do whilst matriculating at Hogwarts and boarding in Slytherin?

Instead, once again,we had to endure Liz dropping one sweeping generalization after another, the problem being, like with her father, her statements almost always go unchallenged. Worse, her false or hyperbolic statements are repeated so often (on FOX in particular), that they are accepted as gospel. Even Juan seemed reluctant to challenge Liz today.


Regarding the discussion about the departure of the White House Social Secretary, Liz said that it was the first time anyone has been held accountable, in an administration that has held no one accountable (sweeping generalization), especially in the area of homeland security. Somehow, at that point, Liz failed to slide in a plug for her father's forthcoming book and/or her "scare-your-pants-off" website, KeepAmericaSafe.

She wanted to! You could tell! Meanwhile, I was like: "Damn, now Liz Cheney WANTS Obama to hold the inelligence community accountable?" But then I realize that she wasn't talking about the lawless torturers who wasted time on bad intel and who produced no net positive outcomes for America. She was talking about the ones who have been following the rule of law and getting arrests and good intelligence.

Hey, let's watch this show, for a change!

FACE THE NATION

Bob Schieffer! I was at a wedding last night talking about how much I love this mofeaux, and his charming old-school ways, and the way he tries to do an hour of show in a half-hour, and how he absolutely CANNOT BE STOPPED IN A KARATE FIGHT. Seriously! The next time you are playing one of those martial arts videogames, unlock the Bob Schieffer character and watch as you unleash carnage. Anyway, I said all of this last night, and I was perfectly sober, too, because I was the designated driver. Now, of course, I have had three glasses of scotch, so you have to sort of take everything I say here with a grain of salt. Hey, did I hear something about a Goat Rape bill that was slated to come up for debate in a few years?

Anyway, this show is going to end with a statement on the mystery of curling! HELL YES. But first, news and politics. Schieffer runs down the Chilean quake. Death toll is at 300, due to increase, but the devastation is much less than it was in Haiti. He talks to Global Post reporter Pascale Bonnefoy, in Santiago. She says that the quake was "terrifying." "The house started to shake, and rock, and then jump up and down...it seemed to last forever." Devastation is spread throughout Santiago, with power restored, but in the southern part of Chile, the damage is more widely felt. This was also the last week of Chile's summer vacation. so there's a lot of folks on vacation in some of the places that were hit hard.

And now, health care debate. Schieffer cosigns Liasson from before, in that it didn't solve problems, but it clarified differences. Steny Hoyer thinks it was good though, and was glad it was a "civil and substantive discussion."

But what about the votes? Schieffer points out what Ryan said, earlier. And Hoyer says that this is going to be something that will take "a few more weeks." Tom Coburn says that to bridge the divide, the debate will have to start over, and private sector solutions will have to be deployed to control costs. I gather he is referring to a different private sector than the private sector that has thus far been terrible at this. Kent Conrad, very sunnily, believes that some stuff and junk could be added to the bill to bring people together and get GOP votes. He's wrong. Marsha Blackburn has the same two ideas that the GOP has put forward a billion times before: tort reform that affects a teensy sliver of cost, and purchasing policies across state lines, which without a lot of very heavy regulation would result in a "race to the bottom," with terrible insurance plans covering most Americans.

Conrad says that fighting for tort reform would be far too modest on its own. "Fraud," he says, "would help." Schieffer bails Conrad out by saying, "You mean attacking fraud would help." Yes. He meant attacking fraud would help. But maybe fraud would, too! Who knows?

Brief commercial, because Bob Schieffer thinks you have plenty of time to watch ads in the GRAVE, man!

Steny Hoyer says that the House will "go first" on health care, and that if they use reconciliation, that's fine, and the Republicans do it all the time. Coburn says that he doesn't know what the GOP will do if it goes to reconciliation, other than a period where they will have a crazy Fiesta of Bonkers Amendments, which to my mind, only makes the prospect of reconciliation more awesome. Coburn doesn't like reconciliation, however, because what if it leads to Democrat things? Conrad won't support reconciliation, either, for the whole thing, but SNAP, there's no one talking about passing "the main package." Rather it would be used to pass "sidecar issues" related to the budget.

Blackburn says, "It shouldn't be done at all." To which Conrad replied, "That's not a reasonable position."

Blackburn: "If they had the votes, we wouldn't have had the summit." That's not why they had the summit! The summit was to allow all the lawmakers to have themselves some therapy and reach closure and resignation so that they don't get quite so emo when this is all voted on.

Will health care reform pass? Blackburn says no, Conrad says yes, and I think that Coburn and Hoyer are both having massive existential crises of doubt and remorse.

And now, here's Bob Schieffer, on curling:

SCHIEFFER: Finally today, I'm going to admit something up front. I'm not very smart. Please hold the applause. I can hear some of you out there already saying, well, he finally got something right. But here's the deal. If I were smart, I could figure out curling. If I were even smarter, I could figure out why people would actually watch other people doing it. I have tried. I can't. I can't even figure out the object of the game. Is it like darts? I just don't get it. But listen to this. Wall Street likes it so much that the New York Times took note of it, put it on the front page. "On Wall Street an after hours romance with the curling stone." When the market closes, it seems, and the CNBC business channel switches to Olympic curling, ratings go up as the traders wind down by watching the sport that's been described as horseshoes combined with housekeeping. No, I don't know what those people with squeegees are doing but one trader said watching it is so relaxing it is a lot like drinking Merlot. Now, wait a minute. That makes about as much sense as four years ago when I heard a teevee analyst describe one curler as the Roger Clemons of curling. Whatever the case, we're done with it. They held the championships yesterday. Canada won. We should be happy for them. I guess. I'm just not smart enough to know why.

BOB SCHIEFFER, YOU ARE THE GOOSE GOSSAGE OF TALKING ABOUT THE ROGER CLEMONS OF CURLING (which I find is more like drinking a Lambrusco.)

MEET THE PRESS

Gah. I am going to summarize Meet The Press for you. John McCain was on, like he always is, and today, he managed to unlock the Foursquare badge making him officially the Mayor of Meet The Press. HE NOW HAS AN EIGHTH HOME! He gets many privileges now, and he will be on the box of the Meet The Press home game, the object of which is to roll dice and flip cards and eventually succumb to the blinding white pain that grows from behind your eyes into a powerful pulsating throb of pure mental devastation. I AM REMINDED OF THE ELECTION EVERY DAY. I AM REMINDED OF THE ELECTION EVERY DAY. I AM REMINDED OF THE ELECTION EVERY DAY.

And there was a panel, I guess? Was Katty Kay on it today? Let's just say that Katty Kay was the smartest person in the room. BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC Five, BBC Six, BBC Seven, BBC HEAVEN!

Susanna Hoffs for Meet The Press hostess, 2011.

THIS WEEK, with SOMEBODY

Oh right, today THIS WEEK is being hosted by Elizabeth Vargas, from 20/20. I had at one point, misread or dreamed or lived in hope or mixed up my vargases that it would be hosted today by Natasha vargas-Cooper, but alas, this is not the case. That would be bonkers, though! The good kind of bonkers. Oh, but okay, Elizabeth Vargas, 20/20, who I believe is not actually a contender for the THIS WEEK chair? Yes, this is true. But with nothing at stake, Vargas should go nuts or something, sing a song, rub tomato paste on George Will's glasses, or just go out on the balcony of Newseum, light up a cigarette, and start monologuing.

The alternative, of course, is having the same conversation we've had all day.

Vargas sat down with Nancy Pelosi, though, to have the conversation at some non-Newseumy locale.

When is this bill getting passed? Pelosi says that "right now they are working on the policy." SHOOT ME. SHOOT ME, ELIZABETH VARGAS. And Pelosi says that the president is "still hoping to have a bipartisan bill." OH, ELIZABETH VARGAS, take the chunks of my shot-up body and SHOOT THEM AGAIN.

What does Pelosi say to members who are in fear of losing their seats? Pelosi says that "we are not here to self-perpetuate our service in Congress." As for the President's plan, she seems to have no regrets, and she says the House will continue to fight -- if not for the public option -- for "what the public option would do."

Would we still be debating this if the President had put it out years ago, Vargas asks. Uhm, yes! The whole point has been to try to run out the clock on the non-election year in the first step, and then the Congressional majority in the second.

Also, like legislators sit around tables at Blair House, the American people sit around tables at home.

Can Pelosi muster the 217 votes? Pelosi says, first we "zero in on the policy," second we "see what the Senate can do," and then the House moves on it. She seems pretty confident she can get the votes.

Everything is a jobs bill! Except maybe the jobs bill?

Will Pelosi take Rangel's chairmanship away? WHY THE HELL NOT? Pelosi says that he did not "knowingly violate ethics rules." This is basically not something I believe! I think that if you are in Congress, and you notice, "Hey, it looks like my office comes with all this free stuff and crazy perks, which I will accept," then you have violated ethics rules. Vargas is all appropriately EYEROLL and WHATEVS on the whole Rangel-didn't-know nonsense.

Pelosi says that she believes there is common ground to be had between the Democrats and the Tea Partiers, especially in the role of special interests in government and the Citizens United ruling. And that's such a pretty thing to say? But as a matter of first principles, Pelosi should understand that the Tea Partiers are deranged individuals who believe tyranny is impending, and that the solution to impending tyranny is to take an eliminationist stance on people they do not agree with, and then, once those people are eliminating, solve the problems of the country by drawing Hitler mustaches on them.

For the rest of the story, rent Idiocracy, by Mike Judge.

Pelosi gives herself an "A for effort." (Really? We're still doing this "give yourself a grade" stuff, on teevee journalism?) She says that her grade is best measured by the actions of her members, and in fairness, the House has done a fine job passing legislation, doing the people's business, and everything's gotten bogged down in the horrorshow that the Senate has become.

Vargas mets Pelosi end on a bromide monologue.

And now, here's Lamar Alexander, who is pretending that there is a possibility that the GOP would ever vote to extend health care to people. He would be willing to vote for a blank sheet of paper, and that blank sheet of paper could then be used to stanch a single gaping wound. And then the person who's wound had been stanched by the blank sheet of paper would die of an infection, because David Vitter touched the blank sheet of paper.

"We know that Americans do not support health care in general." What, Elizabeth Vargas?!

Lamar! says that Obama is trying to do the same thing that Bush did when Bush wanted to privatize Social Security, except it is a good idea to make people less sick, and it is a bad idea to take Social Security money and give it all to Wall Street executives.

My wife says: I want to live in the bubble with Lamar Alexander, where it's okay to be against health insurance policy premiums going up because in the bubble they are not going up already! But you do not really want to live in a bubble with Lamar! Not even a bio-dome.

Lamar! warns that the Democrats will lose seats in November, if they try to pass health care, because if that happens, "the rest of the year we will be involved in a campaign to repeal it." Again, there is no rich tradition of Republicans helping Democrats keep their seats. It's one of those things I would not heed.

Vargas points out that Congress has proven to be incapable of passing big bills. But Lamar! just thinks the country is too big to do anything important for it. It's our fault! We got too big! We should let more people secede! It's sort of crazy! If Lamar! was in the majority, he'd be trying to do all kinds of crazy, sweeping things! The GOP platform in 2008 was "AMERICA MUST DRILL HOLES IN THE GROUND AND THE WATER TO GET ALL OF THE OIL!"

Panel time, with George and Paul and Sam and Cokie. George Will says that the summit didn't mean very much to him. Health care reform does not excite him, but protean pronouncements of the American political predicament do, so "we slog ahead," into an uncertain future.

Sam Donaldson elucidates my point of view on the matter, which is basically: HOLY SHIT HOW MANY MORE MONTHS CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS BEFORE YOU REALIZE THAT YOU CANNOT AFFECT PUBLIC OPINION OR THE VOTES IN THE SENATE ANY MORE! FOR THE SAKE OF SPACEPOOP JUST VOTE VOTE VOTE! SIGN YOUR NAME TO SOMETHING AND FIGURE OUT THE WINNER AND WE'LL MOVE ON DOT ORG TO THE NEXT PARALYZING CRISIS, BORNE FROM OUR STAGGERING INCOMPETENCE, THAT WE ALSO WILL NOT SOLVE.

Also? Sam thinks Obama should become like Ulysses S. Grant, which I take to mean he should become a drunk white guy from the 19th century.

Paul Krugman says that health care is a "three-legged stool," that can't be further deconstructed into component parts. He also says that the Democrats just need to pass the bill. BUT THE REPUBLICANS ARE SO WORRIED THAT MIGHT LEAD TO BAD ELECTORAL OUTCOMES, FOR DEMOCRATS.

Actually, I joke, but maybe the GOP in the Senate really does want the Democrats to keep their seats. There's no better job in politics right now than being in the minority in the Senate. Here's the basic job description on Craigslist:

--show up sometimes for work
--get paid, like, crazy dollars
--also get your palms greased by every special interest in the game
--occasionally get fellated by lobbyists whist straddling pommel horses made of rich creamery butter
--do no work, ever.
--LITERALLY EVER!
--solve no problems
--contribute nothing to public like
--every once in a while, stand up for a day so that unemployment benefits don't get extended, to poor people
--did I mention how awesome your own benefits package is?
--do this everyday
--eventually die and become a mummy that craves the blood of small animals

Sam Donaldson says, whatever, ther Democrats should put their seats at risk for a good cause. Will says, you want Obama to be the General Grant that was indifferent to his own casualties. BUT HE ALSO WON, THE CIVIL WAR I THINK? Or, rather, the War Of Northern Aggression That Inevitably Leads To People Wearing Blue Jeans.

Will says that the GOP has ideas! "Selling across state lines, tort reform...all of this." THOSE ARE THE ONLY TWO THINGS! The GOP is not good at coming up with health care reform ideas, but they are getting amazing -- and my hats are off to them -- at taking those two ideas, and using the mouths and lips to say them in such a way that suggests they have FORTY IDEAS. Will is really good at this: he says those same two ideas with the immediacy of a great stage actor -- you almost imagine that he just came up with those ideas right this very minute.

Also, I love the throwaway, "all of this." As if there were thirty more great ideas behind them, far too many for Will to get into. Someone should do a mash-up of those TWO REPUBLICAN IDEAS, that stand in for two hundred ideas. The GOP has, at this point, FORGOTTEN more of their health care ideas than they currently promote! What happened to high-risk pools, to protections for small business? (The answer is that the Democrats ADOPTED those ideas, which got them a grand total of NO VOTES in return.)

Sam Donaldson understand that ending Medicare Advantage subsidies are not a "cut in Medicare." But also, the GOP really, really wants to cut Medicare, just as soon as they can "save it" from health care reform.

Sam also says Pelosi "will get the votes" because of the old adage "we will hang together or we will hang separately." Everyone misses the critical ABC synergy with LOST: "live together or die alone." Jake Tapper wouldn't have passed on that one.

Now they are talking about Charlie Rangel. Everyone really like him, personally! But he should probably get tossed off the committee. But Krugman's right that Rangel's nonsense hasn't the "national significance" of Billy Tauzin writing laws that benefit the pharmaceutical lobby and then piss off to become the King of the Pharmaceutical Lobbyists.

New York State politics is a complete shit-show, on this, we all agree. What I cannot agree with is that the "bumpy tenure" of the White House Social Secretary has any significance to my life whatsoever. Anyone who thinks otherwise either needs to get their head checks or is Sally Quinn and needs to get their head checked twice. Cokie Roberts, though, is going on and on and on about this issue. Krugman finally comes out and says it: UHM, MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE UNEMPLOYED. "It's a light way to end, Paul," says Vargas.

Okay! So that's that. Here's a programming note for next week! No liveblog, I am afraid. This is because I will be driving around Acelastan in a car, to Wilmington to a family event. Go Salesianum and all of that! Your regular HuffPost reporters will be on the site, serving up Sunday content in manageable chunks. I will be back March 14th, to talk about the months left to go on the health care reform debate, I'm certain.

Go team USA!

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