Test out the Neutrogena Wave. It promises to change and brighten your skin in just one application. I shall be using mine tonight- reports at a later date.
Forget the Blue Dogs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday. The real "villains" in the fight for health care reform are insurance companies.
Work on the legislation resumed Thursday morning after more than a week of delays to accommodate conservative Blue Dog Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Blue Dogs won significant concessions and also forced delay of a full House floor vote on the final bill until after Congress returns from its upcoming month-long recess.
But Pelosi on Thursday cast the blown deadline as a positive, arguing that the process is further along than it would have been with no date set. Meanwhile, her blistering attacks against health insurers offered a good preview of what to expect from Democrats trying to rally support for reform back at home.
"They are the villains in this. They have been part of the problem in a major way," Pelosi said of the insurance industry after her weekly press conference. "It's almost immoral, what they are doing," she said, referring to industry lobbying against a public insurance plan option. "Of course, they've been immoral all along. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening, and the public has to know about it."
The current system works so well for insurers that they don't even want subsidies, Pelosi claimed. "They've had a good thing going for a long time at the expense of the American people and the health of our country," she said, adding that it will be tough to keep them from getting their way. "This is the fight of our lives."
Pelosi referred to the health insurance industry's campaign against reform -- specifically, the public option -- as "carpet bombing" and "shock and awe" during the press conference. She also sought to present a unified Democratic front, dismissing complaints from progressives that they have been shut out of negotiations dominated by swing Blue Dogs on Energy and Commerce.
"Progressives have been well represented," she said, noting that all three House committees that have worked on health care bills are chaired by progressives.
The public option currently outlined in the Energy and Commerce Committee is significantly weaker than the other two House committee bills, and more closely resembles that of the Senate health committee, in that it unlinks the plan from Medicare rates, leaving negotiation to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Pelosi reiterated her desire for a stronger public plan Thursday, but did not commit to it.
"I am for the strongest possible public option," she said. The Senate health committee bill "is one that I think would be okay. It's not my preference. My preference is a stronger bill. But it meets the test of having an effective public option."
The liberal wing of the party -- often Pelosi's strongest base of support -- is less willing to compromise. Chairs of the congressional progressive, black and Hispanic caucuses said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that they will not vote for the current Energy and Commerce language. They are circulating a letter to House leadership and the three committee chairs demanding a strong public option along the lines of the Ways and Means or Education and Labor language.
"Many of us favor a single-payer system standing up here today, but we have compromised," Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said. "We want a plan with a meaningful public option, and we can compromise no more." Fellow co-chair Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), also a vice chair of the Hispanic Caucus, said the delinking from Medicare is a particular sticking point
CHICAGO — In Michelle Obama's hometown, working women hustle back and forth from home to the office in stylish shoes they can walk fast and far in. They wear chic but commonsense coats that keep them warm in the winters – and those famous sleeveless tops favored by the first lady in the summer.
It's that Midwestern pragmatism with a cosmopolitan edge, personified by Mrs. Obama, that is shining a runway spotlight on Chicago's fashion scene, say style watchers, retail experts and fashion designers.
"It shows you can fashionably be from Chicago," fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger said this month at a Chicago event where he was introduced as mentor for emerging young designers from the city. "You don't have to be from New York, Paris or Milan."
Earlier this year, The Washington Post dubbed Chicago's fashion industry, home to Obama stylist and tony boutique owner Ikram Goldman and Maria Pinto, a favorite designer of the first lady, "The Milan of the Midwest."
"Her (Obama's) fashion instincts and how she puts herself together are a direct reflection on fashion in Chicago," said Terry Lundgren, the chairman, president and chief executive of the national department store chain Macy's Inc.
Obama's style is pure Chicago: She favors comfortable but hardworking off-the-rack separates that reflect the city's down-to-earth roots and livable style.
"She dresses like an urban working woman as opposed to dressing like a first lady," InStyle fashion director Hal Rubenstein said. "Chicago isn't showing off. Chicago is going through the day. She comes out there well-dressed but accessible."
Her everywoman appeal is clear – note the spikes in sales of the Obama family's J.Crew outfits, for example – but Mrs. Obama is also drawing attention to new, under-the-radar talent. She's already been named a fashion icon by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Obama largely puts her confidence in Chicago's designers to guide her White House style, Rubenstein said. Goldman's boutique ikram in the city's Gold Coast district is a favorite of the first lady.
"Her hotline is not going through New York," Rubenstein said. "Her hotline goes through a place where she feels comfortable. She trusts this voice from her hometown. It's not about, 'I have to get a Washington D.C. coordinator to find out what to wear to a state dinner.'"
And the source of Obama's fashion inspiration is enjoying a newfound respect for its designers and boutiques. The style-conscious sets in California, New York and Europe now pay attention to Chicago, said Barbara Glass, a Chicago fashion commentator and image consultant.
The city had been viewed as having conservative taste. Its previous run as a fashion capital came and went in the early 20th century when it was home to many menswear manufacturers.
At one time, "people weren't necessarily impressed if it was a Chicago designer," Glass observed. "It didn't have a good ring to it. She's changed that."
Now, shoppers are seeking out the designers behind the first lady's signature style.
"They'll ask me, 'Is this something Michelle Obama would wear?'" said Melissa Serpico Kamhout, 32, describing the clientele at her boutique, Serpico, in the Wicker Park neighborhood. A particular pale blush-colored dress caught a lot of customer eyes, she said.
"A lot of people have mentioned they think it would be a beautiful color for her," Kamhout said. "You can tell how influential she is. It's on their minds what designers she wears."
Although a major one, Obama is just a single factor in the growth of Chicago's fashion scene, said Beth Wilson, Chicago correspondent for Women's Wear Daily.
In 2006, Mayor Richard Daley convened the Mayor's Fashion Council to put support behind the city's designers. Two years later, the city partnered with Macy's to form the Chicago Fashion Incubator to give young designers space and training for their work.
"That started creating momentum and awareness," Wilson said.
Both Chicago and Obama set fashion standards for themselves that are acceptable to most of the world, Glass added.
"The Midwest is all about no nonsense," she said. "She maintains that philosophy. We are not about glitz. We are not fluff, but we do enjoy looking glamorous and pretty."
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted to approve Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice over nearly solid Republican opposition, paving the way for a historic confirmation vote.
The panel voted 13-6 in favor of Sotomayor, with just one Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, joining Democrats to support her. The nearly party-line tally masked deeper political divisions within GOP ranks about confirming President Barack Obama's first high court nominee.
"I'm deciding to vote for a woman I would not have chosen," Graham said. Obama's choice to nominate the first-ever Latina to the highest court is "a big deal," he added, declaring that, "America has changed for the better with her selection."
The solid Republican vote against Sotomayor on the Judiciary panel reflected the choice many GOP conservatives have made to side with their core supporters and oppose a judge they charge will bring liberal bias and racial and gender prejudices to her decisions. Others in the party, however, are concerned that doing so could hurt their efforts to broaden their base, and particularly alienate Hispanic voters, a fast-growing segment of the electorate.
Democrats, for their part, are lining up solidly in favor of the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was raised in a South Bronx housing project and educated in the Ivy League.
"There's not one example – let alone a pattern – of her ruling based on bias or prejudice or sympathy," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Judiciary Committee chairman. "She has administered justice without favoring one group of persons over another."
The senior Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, countered that Sotomayor's speeches and a few of her rulings show she would let her opinions interfere in decisions.
"In speech after speech, year after year, Judge Sotomayor set forth a fully formed, I believe, judicial philosophy that conflicts with the great American tradition of blind justice and fidelity to the law as written," Sessions said.
Republicans pointed with particular concern to Sotomayor's record on gun and property rights, as well as a much-discussed rejection by her appeals court panel of the reverse discrimination claims of white firefighters denied promotions.
The National Rifle Association is opposing Sotomayor and took the extraordinary step last week of warning senators that it would include their votes on her confirmation in its annual candidate ratings, meaning a "yes" vote would hurt their standing.
"Some of her decisions demonstrated the kind of results-oriented decision-making, one that suggests perhaps a liberal judicial activism that has too often steered the court in the wrong direction over the last years," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
And every GOP senator alluded critically to the now-infamous remark Sotomayor made in 2001 that she hoped a "wise Latina woman" would often reach better conclusions than a white male without similar experiences.
Sotomayor dismissed the comments during her confirmation hearings as a rhetorical flourish gone awry, a defense that rang hollow with many of her critics.
"I regret that I cannot vote for her ... not she's a Latina woman (or) because she said all those things, (but) because she wouldn't defend what she said, and stand up and say, 'I really believe this, but I can still be a great judge anyway, because I will never let that interfere with my judging,' " said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
My most memorable sighting of her was on Madison Avenue in the low 80s one weekday late afternoon in the last 1970s. It was chilly mid- autumn. I happened to notice this woman wearing a belted trenchcoat, black stockings and flats, moving quickly through the crowd across the avenue. A long stride, she had; and well-shaped muscular calves. The sidewalk was busy, so she was dashing in and out to move ahead of the crowd.
At 83rd Street, she dashed and jumped like a thoroughbred, just ahead of traffic, across the avenue from west to east, and then disappeared down toward Park Avenue. It was the energy that was so alluring; the gait, which was wide and brisk. So when I realized whom I was watching, it was an even greater pleasure.
This friend, who was more than her social peer, did not like her. She said she was mean (stingy) with money and always looking for someone else to pick up the check. This friend also imitated her “little” voice in a way that was not flattering. I don’t doubt the veracity of my friend’s take on her. And I don’t doubt that maybe my friend was a tad jealous of Jackie for reasons unknown to me. It was also true that Jackie was famous among others for not picking up the bill, as well as being famous for liking rich people who did, including her last husband. She was also shrewd.
I have another friend who knew her from the time she entered publishing. Also a woman. Their friendship began on mutual professional grounds and over time blossomed into a friendship in which Jackie would share some of her thoughts and memories with this friend. My friend would go up to 1040 Fifth for dinner, just the two of them, and Jackie would talk about her life for five hours. It should also be noted that this particular mutual friend is a very discreet and trustworthy individual. I would no more expect her to break Jackie’s confidence (even in memoriam) than I would expect her to break mine. I don’t doubt Jackie had the perception to know this.
As a historical figure, she was clever and even prescient. She claimed, in interviews anyway, to be interested in historical figures, especially those in the Court of Versailles in the 18th century. In many ways, it seemed to me, she resembled many aspects of court life, including creating a court of her own. It also could be that her historical notions were highly romantic and fit in well with the popular notions but had little basis in reality.
Fate handed her a role: the widow of a fallen martyr. She played that role with finesse, style, and humanity; an amazing feat. She got kudos for being a good mother to the aggrieved man’s children. True or not, no one questioned her intense interest in her children’s welfare. She demonstrated truly regal stature to her world.
She dreamed up the idea of “Camelot” after her husband’s death, and it created a beautiful dream to frame a tragedy. That was brilliance, and leadership, on her part. She also knew when to stop. No public interviews with Jackie. A big smile, even a lawsuit to chase away the nuisances of publicity maybe, but always standing tall. And moving quickly like the thoroughbred that she was.
She was a master at public relations, and what was remarkable about her accomplishments in that department was that she produced a Good Effect. We do not remember John F. Kennedy in a morbid way but instead as a dream that was dashed with hopes lost; a man of his people.
At the very end of her days, I was told by another friend who knew her well, she burned many of the letters that she’d received and saved over the years. She sat before a blazing fire, with this particular friend at her side, and threw bundles of envelopes tied up in ribbon into it, erasing history.
After the assassination of John Kennedy in Dallas, for the rest of her life, Jackie encountered or was stopped by people who would say to her, evidently in expression of sympathy, “I remember where I was when the President was shot.”
What these people never seemed to realize, Jackie told a friend of mine, was that she too remembered where she was when the President was shot.
My friend asked her how she dealt with those moments. She said that she trained herself so that a “steel door” came down and separated her from the thought and the voices expressing them.
Oftentimes public personalities are quite different in private moments, and it is all privately revealed in the gossip of the day. Usually the revelation is that the person is a “bitch,” or a “monster,” or a “phony” or has some other glaring (and unattractive) weakness. Something along those lines. Somehow Jackie eluded that kind of talk.
There were others who agreed with my friend that she was “cheap” when it came to spending a buck. Greed and venality is a decisive aspect of possessed wealth. There is and there was no doubt that she went for the money when making decisions about her future. Others still might have a laugh over her breathless little Marilyn Monroe voice (which at her dinner table was less breathless, ahem).
And it was true, that at the end of her life, she was living with a man who had a wife from whom he was not divorced who lived less than a mile away at the crow flies. They lived publicly in full view of the world and so great was the public respect for her, nothing was ever said either in print or in gossip about it.
After that moment in Dallas, the public allowed the woman to do as she wished. And she allowed the public to view it all publicly, and with dignity, and self-respect. To think of her is to miss her.
Read this earlier, and I had to post it! Kerr's style is fabulous!
Stacy Kerr, 31
Special assistant to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
What she’s wearing: An Old Navy cardigan ($7.99!), Theory skirt, her grandmother’s jet beads, and Hale Bob flats from the Palisades consignment store Inga’s Once is Not Enough.
Tell me about style on the Hill: “Well, I obviously work for a very stylish woman. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I’m as influenced as the rest of America by Mrs. Obama. In recent months, I’ve tried to wear less suits and more dresses. Partly because it’s summer, but partly because it’s more accepted now. Capitol Hill is still a man’s world in terms of dressing—it’s freezing inside so men wear three layers! So it’s hard to wear a sheath dress, and it’s hard to make a coffee run in a long-sleeved sweater. The air conditioning is my fashion pet peeve on the Hill.”
And what about pantyhose? “I’m anti-pantyhose. If Michelle Obama can go sleeveless to the State of the Union address, I think that career women on Capitol Hill can go without pantyhose to the Capitol.”
Where do you shop? “In addition to working for Nancy Pelosi, I have a toddler at home. For efficiency, I hit the troika at Mazza: Saks, Bloomie’s, and Neiman Marcus. They’re all right in a row. With my schedule, I’m loyal to several brands: Theory, Tory Burch, and Diane von Furstenberg. But I have to admit that my favorite place is T.J. Maxx. I can leave the Hill at 8 PM, and they’re open til 9:30.”
What are you shopping for now? “Things I can wear through fall. And Pelosi’s personal assistant is getting married so we’re all shopping for wedding outfits. It’s an August wedding in South Dakota.”
Rachel says: Stacy’s cardigan will serve her well once fall comes to Washington—it’d look great belted with a dress and tights—and I love the bright color. Conservative staples in not-so-tame colors are a great way to inject personality into a work look. And come fall, she might revisit her grandmother’s jewelry box for a handful of brooches to add to her outfit.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says it won’t be déjà vu when it comes to the Democrats and health care reform.
Asked whether she had any concern that Democrats could be punished in the 2010 midterm election the way the party was in 1994 after former President Bill Clinton tried and failed to achieve health care reform, Pelosi said things are different now.
“I think the American people want us to perform,” Pelosi said. “They need this. This is urgent. It's urgent in terms of their health, the economic stability of their families, and they want to see Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and a Democratic president in the White House to show that we can work together to have a positive impact on their lives by removing the instability that the uncertainty of access to health care causes for America’s families.”
July 21st: Michelle Obama staged a movie night last night at the White House.
The First Lady invited a few friends, staffers and stars, to the private screening room for Julie & Julia, the upcoming biopic of Julia Child and Julie Powell, the blogger who cooked every recipe in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
She invited Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Stanley Tucci, plus the film’s writer-director Nora Ephron to watch with her.
The Washington Post:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she doesn't feel bound by the $235 billion in deals that the White House and the Senate Finance Committee cut with hospital and pharmaceutical companies to defray costs of a new health-care plan, stating that she thinks the industries could do more.
"When we're trying to cut costs, certainly we know that there are more costs to be cut in hospitals and pharmaceuticals. . . . So we'll be subjecting everything to some very harsh scrutiny as we see whether we can get more savings," Pelosi said in a late-afternoon interview, shortly after she left a marathon negotiating session with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, who have put the brakes on the House version of the health-care reform bill. "As we look, there may be some more ways to get money out of pharmaceutical companies."
The nation's hospitals have agreed to forgo $155 billion in government health-care reimbursements, and drug companies promised $80 billion, to help keep the cost of President Obama's health-care reform plan under $1 trillion.
Pelosi said she is eager to see the Senate's version, which is currently held up in the Finance Committee, and she indicated she is sympathetic to House Democrats' concerns about voting on a bill before the Senate shows its hand. Conservative Democrats say privately that they worry about being asked to spend political capital by voting for a measure far too liberal for their districts -- when the final bill hashed out by the House and Senate could be dramatically different.
"That's fair. That's fair," she said. "And I don't think the bills will be that dramatically different. Now, we don't know the rest of the Senate proposal, and we're eager to see that, but the House sets the pace at ground zero a good deal of the time."
Asked if she could accept a final bill that didn't have a "public option" -- or government-run health insurance plan -- she said, "I don't think so."
"But it has to be a level playing field," she added. "It has to be an option that is administratively sound -- actuarially sound, too -- and that it's sustainable in every way, has to pay back to the government any start-up funds that it has, so that it can be a true competitor and not a subsidized entity."
Pelosi declined to comment on the negotiations, which ended Thursday without a deal.
She dismissed the notion that some House members are skittish about voting for health-care reform because they are already facing a hard time in their districts over their recent votes supporting energy legislation. Republicans have framed that issue as a tax increase.
"The Chinese have an expression: 'Shoot the chickens to scare the monkeys.' They use one issue to scare you on another issue, and I don't think they're scaring our members," she said. "I think they, many of them, are just taking a good, hard look at what is in the [health-care] bill, have we squeezed the cost out that we can, and that's very fair. We all want to do that."
|By Mike Soraghan|
|House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said she's open to keeping the House in session through the August recess to pass its healthcare overhaul.|
"I think 70 percent of the American people would want that," Pelosi said. "I want a bill."
That stance contradicts House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who said Tuesday that he didn't see any point in staying into August if Democrats haven't reached consensus on a bill by then.
But Pelosi also said she believes she has the votes to pass the bill on the floor of the House. Still, she indicated it will be important for members to look at the Senate Finance Committee's version, which is not yet finished. That suggests she may change the House version to more closely resemble the Senate bill.
The Senate Finance version should have broader appeal with Democratic centrists and Republicans, particularly if it does not include a government-run insurance option to compete with the private sector, as expected.
The House healthcare plan is bogged down in the Energy and Commerce Committee, where seven Blue Dog Democrats are threatening to block it unless it is changed to cut more costs.
But it faces other problems. Many members don't like the income surtax on the wealthy to pay for it, particularly freshmen from conservative districts. And rural lawmakers say the bill would build on a Medicare system that shortchanges rural doctors.
Pelosi's comments came at a news conference held hours before President Obama’s primetime news conference to promote the healthcare plan.
Pelosi's news conference highlighted the stories of people who have racked up huge medical bills because they lacked adequate insurance.
"There were days I prayed I wouldn't make it because I knew what I would face when it was over," said Molly Secours of Nashville. Secours had only "catastrophic coverage" when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2007. She ended up with $25,000 in debt and faces foreclosure on her home.