I'm trying out American Airlines' wireless service aloft on a free trial and it's pretty speedy. I'm between NYC and Chicago and looking forward to my own bed, shower, etc.
I see the Hogs whipped Spurrier's Gamecocks. Woo pig.
I see the House is still wrangling on the health bill.
I see there have been layoffs by some of the wealthiest business owners in Arkansas and the only coverage to speak of has been in a startup Internet operation. I'm referring of course to the monopolized NWA newspaper operation where the dozens of layoffs haven't been tallied by the surviving nmonopolist news organizations, best I can tell. Ozarks Unbound is doing Chris Spencer's best.
Is it still raining?
I don't think I'll have my traditional welcome-home pizza this trip.
Call it an open line.
UPDATE: The House late Saturday passed a health care bill by a five-vote margin. Democratic Reps. Vic Snyder and Marion Berry voted for better health coverage for American citizens. Rep. Mike Ross linked arms with John Boozman to oppose a move toward catching up with the rest of the western world. The three Arkansas Democrats joined most Republicans in adding an amendment to further limit the likelihood that an abortion could be covered by a woman's health insurance. No Viagra limitation was proposed.
Berry prepared statement follows: and some predictable howls from Republicans:
"I appreciate the thousands of Arkansans who have called, written, e-mailed, and met with me over the last several months to share their concerns about health care in this country. There is broad agreement that the cost of health care is currently unsustainable for individuals, families, small businesses, and taxpayers. Ensuring that American citizens have access to quality, affordable health care is critical to the long-term strength of our economy.
“Throughout the current debate over health insurance reform, I have repeatedly stressed my principles for providing health care and prescription drugs to Americans through the private sector in a way that they can afford. I believe that health care reform must preserve the freedom of individuals to choose their own health plans and providers. I believe that reform should maintain competition among private plans within the marketplace, and that health care choices must continue to be made by physicians and their patients using the best available information. Above all, we must work in a bipartisan and a fiscally responsible way to make sure Americans have access to affordable, high-quality health care.
“I vote for this bill today to move the process forward, not to endorse its entire content. This bill is not perfect; however, it represents significant progress in achieving more affordable and better quality health care. This legislation represents compromise among a wide variety of voices from vastly different regions of the country. It prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, prohibits federal funding for abortion, and bars illegal immigrants from receiving federal benefits under the bill. In addition, I fought for and was successful in including several priorities for health care reform in this bill, including provisions to provide cheaper prescription drugs for seniors by requiring pharmaceutical companies to negotiate prices with Medicare and filling in the Part D “doughnut hole.” The legislation also preserves access for patients to receive durable medical equipment such as diabetic testing supplies from their local community pharmacist.
“For too long insurance companies have found ways to cheat Americans out of the lifesaving care and procedures they desperately need simply because they were more interested in boosting their quarterly profits rather than providing care. One of the most important accomplishments of the House bill is that it puts an end to these practices and ensures that doctors and patients, not insurance companies, make health care decisions. There is no doubt that reform is needed to control rising health care costs, increase quality and value, and to improve access to coverage and care. This legislation is the next step toward that goal.”
FROM BERRY'S POTENTIAL GOP OPPONENT, RICK CRAWFORD:
“Tonight we saw history made where a liberal congress decided they know how to deal better with healthcare decisions than the American people do. Marion Berry voted in favor of this legislation and in doing so, completely ignored what his constituents wanted. Marion Berry proved again how he is nothing more than a Yes vote for Nancy Pelosi and her liberal agenda.”
FROM NATIONAL GOP
“Vic Snyder’s vote for government healthcare, tax hikes and Medicare cuts wasn’t entirely unexpected – but it’s disappointing nonetheless. Central Arkansans were surely hoping he’d come to his senses on a bill as disastrous as this, but once again their concerns fell on the deaf ears of a congressman too enmeshed in Washington’s ways to hear.” Andy Seré, NRCC spokesman