Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Dispatches: Democrats Head for the Life Boats, An Oops Moment in Syria, and Rob Ford Isn't Mad in Toronto

Consider the quail flushed.

Earlier today republican congressman Fred Upton's bill hit the floor of the House of Representatives. The gist of it would allow insurance companies to continue issuing health care policies to individuals, even though the coverage doesn't meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Upton's argument is this will allow those people who have received cancellation notices to keep their current plans. However, being a republican, he couldn't help himself and he worded the bill so the same companies could sell substandard policies to new customers thereby undermining the ACA down the road.

His proposal passed with the help of 39 democrats who are suddenly trying to put as much distance between them and Barack H. Obama as possible. In a minor victory, of sorts, for the president, the number of defectors were actually less than what was originally estimated. NBC reports GOP staffers had predicted as many as 60 democrats would vote for the measure. Unfortunately for the administration there is no hiding the fact the ranks have now officially splintered.

It certainly isn't a surprise. Given what has gone on lately Obama should probably be thankful it didn't happen last month. A democratic version of the legislation went down the drain so quickly most didn't even know it existed. Chances are Harry Reid will stall Upton's bill in the Senate, but if it does get to a vote in the upper chamber there is no telling who else will rush pell-mell for the life boats. At the moment things seem perilously close to that frantic point where someone yells, "Screw the little people in steerage, it is every man and woman for themselves!" The Obama people know it and are making noises about a presidential veto if the bill hits the oval office.

Meanwhile in Syria, the boys who make up the organization known as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham had a real OOPS moment. The group, also known by the acronym ISIS, is as busy as bees fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad. They have also been linked to al-Qaeda, which renders them pretty much humorless when it comes to prisoners of war. On Wednesday they posted a video on YouTube of one of their members holding a severed head in front of a crowd while proclaiming this was the sort of thing they would do to all of Assad's supporters.

It didn't take long for someone to mention to whoever runs ISIS the dangling head belonged to a man named Mohammed Fares and he really wasn't a supporter of Assad. In fact he had been fighting against Assad's forces for years and had just been wounded during a battle with government soldiers.

A spokesman for the group issued an apology for cutting off the shaggy noggin of the wrong guy and said something along the lines of, "sometimes these things happen." He also assured all those involved the Prophet wrote in the Quran that Allah would forgive a man for killing a believer by mistake. Well, you have to say something don't you.

Finally, up in Toronto, that party hearty Mayor, Rob Ford had a couple of his powers pared back by the city council. Ford, who is currently the world's leading candidate to die face down in a puddle of his own vomit, was barred from appointing, or removing committee chairs, or a deputy mayor. In addition his authority during a state of emergency was limited. The votes were 39-3 and 41-2 respectively. They nay votes were from Ford and his brother Doug, plus one other councillor.

Mr. Ford was quoted as saying, "I completely understand where they're coming from . If I would have had a mayor acting the way I've conducted myself I would have done the same thing." He then told the press he wasn't mad at anyone, but added, "Obviously I can't support this and I have no other options but to challenge this in court."

I don't know Rob, you might want to stay away from voluntarily entering a court room right now. Odds are, given your behavior, it won't be long before you don't have a choice.

So that is it for this Friday. It is a clear and unseasonably warm day here in the middle of Oklahoma.

And--it is time for a cocktail.

Mr. Scott you have the con. I'll be in the bar.

sic vita est


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