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Slacker Friday Night | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Slacker Friday Night

My new CAP column is called Think Again: Health Care Promises, Predictions, and Propaganda and it's here.

My Nation column is called Will ABC Let Amanpour be Amanpour and it's here.

And I did a really short Beast post on the passage of the healthcare bill here.

From the Huffpo Investigations Fund:

Heather Galeotti was hit by a car and rushed to the hospital, where she lay in a coma in the intensive care unit. Her health insurance company, Kaiser Permanente, told her family that she was covered through her father's group plan. But five months later, they received a letter from Kaiser. Her policy had been retroactively terminated and they owed more than $4 million in hospital bills.

It's a hole in the health care reform bill that was never discussed. The new bill bans retroactive decisions by insurers in policies sold to individuals, except in cases of fraud. However, as it stands the ban would not apply to group policies, such as the one held by the Galeotti family, which cover some 150 million Americans. Why? Because most experts think it can't happen. This case, reported for the first time at the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, shows that -- even in the group market -- people might be vulnerable.

This story came to the Huffington Post Investigative Fund through its citizen journalism project, which seeks to shed light on the inner workings of the insurance industry. Former and current employees at Kaiser responded to the Fund's online requests for help from insiders. Their tips led the Investigative Fund to identify the Galeotti family and obtain records of the case, including internal Kaiser e-mails.

Read more.

From CHARLES PIERCE

NEWTON, MA.

Hey Doc:

"You just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day/It's great to be an American."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Deuces Up, Double Down" (Breakestra) -- RIP, Marva Wright, Blues Queen of the city I love more than Eric Cantor loves being the Village idiot.

Abbreviated Slacker Friday post, On The Road With Limited Computer Access Edition -- Back in 1998, I wrote a piece about John McCain for Esquire. Now, 12 years later, I am witness to his final degradation as a serious public person. Granted, this has been a long time in the making, ever since wheneer it was that he decided he wanted to be president more than he wanted to be, well, sane. The 2008 campaign was an extended tour of the swamp wherein reside his various grudges, pretensions, and poisonous ill-will toward anyone who didn't recognize his Green Room-endowed right to run the country. He sold himself to all the people who'd immolated his well-loved 2000 campaign. He violated the campaign law that bore his name. He said that, in retrospect, he wouldn't have voted for the half-sensible immigration-reform law he'd proposed. Then, in his biggest bow to the Nervous Hospital that the base of his party had become, he picked an ambitious, half-bright goober from Alaska to run with him, made her a star to people who should not be trusted to cut their own meat, and then, when her innate clownishness had made her (and him) such a laughing stock that the Republican ticket lost in places like Indiana to a black man whose middle name was "Hussein," he sent his remaining loyalists out to emphasize (anonymously) that his running mate was even dumber than the rest of us imagined.

He then walked back to the Senate and engaged in a prolonged temper tantrum that culminated in his announcement last week that he was so insulted by health-care reform that he would hereafter decline to do his job any more -- a refutation of his old "Country First" slogan that was so obviously hilarious that even Harry Reid noticed. Meanwhile, back home, he was being primaried to within an inch of his life anyway by J.D. Hayworth, a former sportscaster who went on to a brief, Abramoff-enriched career as the dimmest bulb in the congressional chandelier. So, here I sit, today, in Arizona, and not eight miles from this computer. John McCain has flown in Sarah Palin to be the featured speaker at a rally that he hopes will push him to victory over a guy whom even all the other congressional dumbasses thought was a box of rocks. She's endorsing him but, at the rally, HE'S introducing her, and all I can think of is a paraphrase of the late, great Dr. Thompson's memorable vale to the cursed 1972 campaign;

"Jesus, how low do you have to stoop in this country if you want to almost be president?"

Name: Stephen Carver

Hometown: Los Angeles

Regarding your CAP article, the Republicans want nothing less than America to fail. Rush said it first and said it loudest, but that seems to be their strategy. They seem to believe that if we fail as a nation, then they can be seen as the knight in shining armor (which is how they still view Reagan) coming in to save the day and the country. HOW they would do this, what policies they will use, they never seem to have an answer for (except fewer taxes for rich people), but they WILL do it, by golly!

As for Wallace Shawn, the man is a brilliant playwright and humanitarian. He understands modern day motivations for some of the horrible things we do to each other and can portray them in sympathetic and incredibly funny ways. I've been a fan of his for many years now.

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