Friday, June 29, 2012

Obama/Romney 'Obamacare' - The Facts...

Since the Supreme Court announced the decision on the Affordable Care Act, both sides, left and right have made several claims about what the ACA does or doesn't do.

Naureen Khan of the National Review looks at a few of the most common claims:

A preview:


Obama, Romney, 'Obamacare' and the Facts

In the spinfest after the Supreme Court ruling, the presidential candidates are straying.

Updated: June 29, 2012 | 9:43 p.m.
June 29, 2012 | 4:13 p.m.

The Romney and Obama campaigns have gone into spin overdrive since the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. So what holds up to the facts and what doesn’t?
Three nonpartisan fact-checking outfits—, Politifact, and The Fact Checker (The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler)—have done extensive research on various health care claims that have surfaced for the last two years. Here’s a guide to their findings on what you have heard from the presidential candidates about the ruling, and are likely to hear many times again before Election Day:
1. If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it under the Affordable Care Act.
One of President Obama’s go-to points is that the Affordable Care Act won’t change things for Americans who like their current health insurance plan. On Thursday, in response to the Court’s decision, Obama reiterated, “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”
That will be true for most people. But, as points out, nothing in the Affordable Care Act prevents employers from switching their coverage plans just as they could do before. Also, some of the 30 million Americans who purchase their own insurance may have to change providers if their plan does not meet minimum benefit standards.
In addition, while the law requires employers to pay a penalty if they do not offer insurance, they might pay it because they prefer that their employees purchase insurance through the federally subsidized exchanges. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the law may result in "a small reduction" in the number of people who receive employer-provided insurance.
2. The Affordable Care Act will add trillions to the deficit.
Numerous leading Republicans have said this over and over again, presenting the health care law as another budget-busting initiative by the Obama administration in the same vein... 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Finds Affordable Care Act Constitutional...

Shortly before 10:00am, my inbox and facebook page began to percolate as we approached zero hour for the much awaited Supreme Court decision on President Obama's Affordable Care Act. By 10:15am, I was several songs into my first performance of the day. I had my phone sitting on the edge of my mixer and every time I'd look over at it, the number of emails and facebook messages were growing quickly.

During a brief pause, I opened up my twitter feed and saw the headlines. "Obamacare Stands", "Obamacare Constitutional", etc... I finished up my hour, packed up and headed for the car trying to read through all the tweets that had come in.

My initial reaction was relief. Surprised relief.

I knew what awaited me on facebook and in emails. I knew one group would be very happy this had passed, but express this pleasure via some barbs aimed at the Right. Another group would find this decision impossible to accept and take out some of their frustration on the Left. What I knew I'd hear too little of was the better health access for all the uninsured adults and children that will benefit from this.

Its so easy to view this as a game. Its not. Health insurance plays a big part in terms of living a healthy, capable life. Having about 45-50 million uninsured people in our Country is unacceptable. We're the only industrialized Country in the Western Hemisphere that doesn't provide access to good quality, affordable healthcare for all of our citizens. For a lesser Country, that might work, but not for the richest Country in the world. It just doesn't.

Some feel their liberty and freedom were reduced because of the Court's decision today. I'm not sure what was taken away from anyone. You may not like the Individual Mandate, but in reality, it effects a fairly small number of us. If you currently have insurance, which most of us do, it doesn't effect you. If you're over 65, you're eligible for Medicare, so it doesn't effect you. If you earn below the Federal Poverty Line, there's Medicaid, so it doesn't effect you. By getting the free-riders into the pool with the rest of us, over time our premiums should drop.

Since President Reagan signed the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), hospitals are required to provide medical services to those needing it with no regard to financial status. We don't let people die on the sidewalk. Hospitals try and collect for their services from patients with no health insurance but often, they are dealing with people who don't have the means to pay these size bills.

Let's suppose a hospitalization for an uninsured accident victim adds up $85,000. With no savings, a payment agreement of $100.00 a month would take 850 months or 70.83 years to pay off. That's crazy. So, typically the hospitals charge a large amount of the uncollectable monies back to Medicaid, which is the guarantor of the Federal Government. That was the deal Reagan made with the hospital industry. You treat everyone who needs it no matter what and if we have to, we'll step in with the bill. You know where the money comes, of course, to pay for these type situations, yes? From tax dollars that people like you and I pay to the government. Is this really the best way to spend our money? No. The mandate helps on that front as well...

The mandate forces all those who don't have insurance, yet can afford it to buy insurance (on the free market) for just such accidents. This way the amount of hospital bills we wind up having to pay gets reduced dramatically with the bulk of the costs being passed onto the health insurance companies. Don't feel too bad for the insurance companies, they are picking up over 30 million new customers. Paying customers...

You don't have to like it, but understand its not reaching into your pocket and ripping out your kids college funds or your retirement. Its a policy that was founded by the republicans during the Clinton presidency. The Heritage Foundation was heavily involved. Prominent Conservatives were on board. If it was "the right thing to do" back in the 1990's, how in the world is it the end of liberty twenty years later? Its not. 

Beyond the mandate, the rest of the Affordable Care Act polls strongly among most Americans. Kids staying on parents plans until 26, free preventive services, donut hole reduction for seniors, no lifetime caps or maximums anymore, etc. The bulk of the ACA (the exchanges) kicks in 2014. This won't cover everyone, but its a big improvement.

Its also not perfect. The mandate penalty for the first year is only $95, the donut hole isn't closed totally for several years, its not very aggressive on costs or quality, etc. Politically its been a heavy lift for this Administration and reaching for even more wasn't practical. We have a long way to go before our health care costs as a percent of GDP are in line with other industrialized countries. We have a long way to go before our outcomes compare favorably with other industrialized countries. We have a long way to go before our coverage compares favorably with other industrialized countries. But today's ruling keeps us on the path towards improving our nation's healthcare delivery system, which is something we simply must do. The previous path was fiscally unsustainable. Doing nothing wasn't an option...

Let's Remember This...

The Supreme Court is about ready to rule on obamacare...Regardless of what happens there will be people very upset. I suspect there will be more attention paid to the political ramifications of this decision than there will be for the actual effects on health care delivery in this country.

We should keep in mind that the affordable care act has a lot of good in it. More people would be insured,  more people would have access to preventative testing and procedures. There is help for senior citizens with the donut hole, help for younger people to be able to stay on their parents insurance policies until they are 26, help for people trying to pay for their healthcare knowing that they can't be cut off because of financial limitations by their insurance carrier. Things like requiring all insurance companies spend at least 85 cents of every premium dollar on direct patient care. And much more...

There is a strong possibility that all or least most of this may be gone within about 40 minutes...

I eagerly await the details of the republican replacement strategy it's time for details, not vague rhetoric...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jon Huntsman Interview...

Our hat's being tipped once again in the direction of Pete Dominick, host of Stand Up with Pete Dominick on Sirius/XM Channel 124 (POTUS). Today Dominick interviewed former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has served as US Ambassador to China and Singapore. He also ran for President recently but dropped out fairly early after failing to generate what he considered adequate support.

Huntsman was my favorite of the GOP field. The least prone to partisan attacks, yet the most willing to embrace science and research, his was a voice of moderation and intelligence. I hope we see him return to the national stage again in the future.

As usual, Dominick gives his guest tons of time and space to give the audience thoughtful responses. no shouting, no arguing, no gotcha questions. Just a very interesting discussion between two adults. Once again, an example of what quality talk radio can be. This is radio worth paying for.

Listen to Pete's interview with the Governor by clicking here...


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Supreme Court Rules on Profanity on TV...(New Yorker)

Cute video that accompanies this article from the New Yorker on todays's Supreme Court ruling on profanity on television:

 Fuck, that was funny...

Read the entire article here...

Prediction on SCOTUS Ruling on ACA...

(UPDATE: No decision today, very likely Monday at 10:00am, but if not Monday, then Thursday for almost certain...)

People are asking me what I think the Supreme Court will decide with regard to the upcoming decision on the Affordable Care Act. Experts are of a mixed mind on this. Those in favor feel this is clearly Interstate Commerce and falls under the  umbrella of the Federal Government's right to legislate. Those against it feel it is an over-reach by President Obama and especially finds the Individual Mandate un-Constitutional.

After listening/reading dozens of interviews, articles, etc. on this case, here's where I am on this:

I think the Supreme Court will strike down the Individual Mandate, and potentially (due to no severability clause written into the legislation) the entire law. This Court doesn't seem inclined to support the President on his Administration's interpretation of the Commerce Clause, in my opinion. Also, the mandate is unique and I think will be cast out.

Its safe to say, I hope I'm wrong. I really do. Millions have already benefited from the Affordable Care Act and by the end of 2014, millions more will as well.

Should it be overturned, we'll see the Administration submit something smaller, and less invasive to present to the American people as an alternative. Getting anything as controversial as health care through Congress anytime soon is a long shot, given the partisan differences. It would be a step backwards, for certain...

I hope I'm wrong...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

School Monitor Video Stirs Old Memories of Being Bullied...

When I was in 6th - 8th grade, I was bullied.

I was the proverbial little kid, who no matter how quiet I was, how low a profile I tried to carry, seemed to always attract attention. The bus ride to/from school was terrible. I remember trying to get kids to change seats with me and that would only make it worse. You try everything. You ignore them-wrong move. You try and talk to them-wrong move. You try and stand up to them, but they're bigger, tougher, stronger, than you so that doesn't usually work so well.

I remember staring straight ahead on the bus while the kids behind me would smack my head, or throw things at me or even sometimes spit in my hair. I just took it, because I didn't have a clue what to do about it.   The words hurt, but you'd never let them see you were upset or for God's sake cry. If you cried, you might as well just kill yourself. You'd (think to yourself, wrongly of course that) you'd never live it down, no girl would ever look at you, your Dad would be ashamed of you, etc. NO CRYING...

There was NO WAY I could beat up any one of those guys, let alone all of them. If I told on them at school, then as we said back then, my ass really would be grass. Even though the bus ride only took about 30 minutes to get to or from school, it seemed like an eternity. I'd pray for green lights like you wouldn't believe.

My other friends were like me and while they felt sorry for me, they weren't about to step in because then they would've gotten pushed around. I used to fantasize about walking up to one of them and hitting them as hard as I possibly could right in the face. Blast the biggest/toughest son of a bitch one time right in the mush and maybe that would change things. But I couldn't do it. I physically couldn't make myself walk up to the guy and do the deed. Which just makes you feel even worse.

By the end of 8th grade, it was over...I'd discovered choir and after school activities where the kids were more like me and not remotely interested in looking for a fight. I spent the summer playing baseball every day and having sleep-overs at night at various friends houses.When I went back to school for 9th grade, it was different. I don't know why, but nobody really bothered me anymore. It just stopped...

Sometimes in high school, where I was very happy and comfortable in my music courses and friendships, one of the old bullies came up to me and apologized for being so mean to me. I never really trusted him in spite of the apology but I did appreciate it. I remember I asked him why he and his friends had been so mean to me. I remember him answering that there really wasn't a reason. I hadn't done anything. They were just in a mood one day and I was the lucky guy.

Its worse now for kids who are bullied. Once I got home, it was over. No cell phones, no internet, MySpace, Facebook, emails, etc. Today's kids have a hard time finding a port in a storm. I wouldn't be young again for nothing. I never experienced anything like that again. I don't think it messed me up long term, I think those kids were probably as scared as I was and that's how it came out. Who knows?

I shared all of this because of the video below. The bus monitor's name is Karen Huff Klein and several kids are really giving it to her. Name calling, mean spirited, hateful shit that just has no place in being a human. The  most disturbing point in the ten minute video is when the kids said that "...she was so ugly that her kid should kill them self." Which, is exactly what Ms. Klein's son did about ten years ago.

It seems that after this hit the internet, she was flooded with support, flowers and gifts to help move her past this incident, which is being investigated by the local school district. Good for her.

The video is below...its disturbing, trust me...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GOP Flip-Flop on Immigration...

Ezra Klein in this morning's wonkbook had a powerful paragraph:

"In 2001, Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act -- better known as the DREAM Act -- into the Senate. The legislation would’ve made it possible for the children of undocumented immigrants to gain permanent residency if they stayed out of trouble and went to school or joined the military...More than a decade later, the DREAM Act still hasn’t been signed into law. Some of that is simply because of the vagaries of the Senate and the political calendar...But some of it is because the Republican Party has executed an almost total flip-flop on the idea...When Democrats endorse ideas Republican pioneered, that doesn’t lead to bipartisanship. When they endorse ideas Republicans currently support, that doesn’t lead to bipartisanship. And when they act on their own, that’s too partisan. So what, exactly, are they supposed to do?"

Read the entire article here...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Goodbye to a friend...

Dave Kehler, 1968-2012
This Wednesday afternoon at 2:00pm Winnipeg time, a funeral service will begin for Dave Kehler. Dave and I had been friends for over ten years, a friendship forged out of a mutual love for the sport of ice hockey. Dave loved his Jets and I loved my Penguins. Dave won the very first championship in my online hockey simulation league in 2004 with a victory over my team. I've won my share of championships since then, but we often called each other "champ" in emails to each other. Dave called me champ because I've won the league championship a few times. I called Dave champ because I thought it was the thing to do for a guy who literally battled everyday against his disease. Dave never seemed interested in talking about himself very much so we didn't really get into the particulars too often as to his medical situation. He suffered from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, for which there is no cure. Dave passed away from pneumonia, not the SMA, by the way.

Dave and I had many a conversation via Skype about hockey, family, politics, etc. I found him to be an intelligent man with a quick wit and a sharp mind. Dave attended the University of Manitoba, studied computer science, ran his own businesses in the computer field, served on the boards for various organisations dealing with aiding those with disabilities and had recently begun work as a Court Stenographer in Winnipeg. He loved to vacation in Las Vegas and enjoyed the band RUSH, as I do...

 For a guy bound to a wheelchair that needed help from others to do the sort of things most of us can do on our own, I found him inspiring. Never heard him whine, bitch or complain about his condition. Frankly, he was too busy, I think...

He was a guy that would cross my mind sometimes when I was having a rough day or frustrated by something. Thinking of him and his strong, positive attitude would serve as a bit of a wake up call to me to get a grip, you might say.

He leaves behind a beautiful wife and his beloved dogs and cat. And a ton of friends, some who he met in person, some he didn't - all around the world. I'll miss him.

You always really miss the good ones, eh?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Win-Win Strategy: Michael Tomasky’s Foolproof Plan for Obama - The Daily Beast

Win-Win Strategy: Michael Tomasky’s Foolproof Plan for Obama - The Daily Beast: "Obama should go to Congress and say: “I offer you the following deal. I will extend all the Bush tax cuts for one year—yes, even for the wealthiest Americans. One year. In exchange, I’d like you to agree to fund the initial, startup $10 billion for the Kerry-Hutchison infrastructure bank, and the $35 billion I asked of you last September in direct aid for states and localities to rehire laid-off teachers and first responders. Then, after I am reelected, my administration and I will take the first six months of 2013 to write comprehensive tax reform, and Congress will then have six months to pass it, and we’ll have a new tax structure that we’ve both agreed on."

What if he did make this offer?

Lindsay Graham willing to raise taxes...

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham says he'd be willing to consider raising taxes along with spending cuts to reduce the deficit.

We need more republicans to step up and take this position...

Top conservative says read my lips: Don’t sign ‘no new tax’ pledge

Ya need a liscence to do that?

An interesting look at what jobs require a liscence to perform. Some are sensible, some are money grabs...

NYT: So You Think You Can Be a Hair

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Two Articles that Illustrate the Erosion of Our Surplus...

Two articles I point you toward today regarding our debt & deficit:

The first article is a report generated by the Congressional Budget Office, the Bi-Partisan group in Washington DC that provides budgetary and fiscal analysis for Congress. The crux of the report is a look back at the the CBO's baseline projections since 2001. It considers the surplus we had heading into January 2001 all the way through 2011. The CBO had projected an increase in our Country's surplus by a rough factor of four.

As we know now, the surplus didn't last for another ten years. Or nine, or eight or seven...In fact, the surplus turned into a deficit within a year and by 2002, the United States was running a deficit. As we continue to do today, of course. By a factor of just under ten.

The report is highly informative with a line by line account of where the surplus was spent. Discretionary spending is where the cost of our military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are reflected with fairly staggering numbers. Also prominent in the growth of our debt has been the outlay for the costly Medicare Advantage program that was voted into law in 2003. Which fed directly into increasing the deficit.

Click here to read their write-up and see the table.

The second article I refer you to is one by Bruce Bartlett, former Senior Policy Adviser in the Ronald Reagan and GHW Bush Administrations, who has also worked for former Congressman Jack Kemp and current Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Bartlett provides analysis of the new CBO report and considers the claim by current day Republicans that Obama is responsible all of our debt and deficit and that we should stop mentioning George Bush' name any longer as having had a meaningful role in the creation of our current debt picture.

A preview of the article from today's NY Times Economix Blog:

Republicans assert that Barack Obama assumed sole responsibility for the budget on Jan. 20, 2009. From that date, all increases in the debt or deficit are his responsibility and no one else’s, they say.
Perspectives from expert contributors.
This is, of course, nonsense – and the American people know it. As I documented in a previous post, even today 43 percent of them hold George W. Bush responsible for the current budget deficit versus only 14 percent who blame Mr. Obama.
The American people are right; Mr. Bush is more responsible, as a new reportfrom the Congressional Budget Office documents.
In January 2001, the office projected that the federal government would run a total budget surplus of $3.5 trillion through 2008 if policy was unchanged and the economy continued according to forecast. In fact, there was a deficit of $5.5 trillion.
The projected surplus was primarily the result of two factors. First was a big tax increase in 1993 that every Republican in Congress voted against, saying that it would tank the economy. This belief was wrong. The economy boomed in 1994, growing 4.1 percent that year and strongly throughout the Clinton administration.
The second major contributor to budget surpluses that emerged in 1998 was tough budget controls that were part of the 1990 and 1993 budget deals. The main one was a requirement that spending could not be increased or taxes cut unless offset by spending cuts or tax increases. This was known as Paygo, for pay as you go.

During the 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush warned that budget surpluses were dangerous because Congress might spend them, even though Paygo rules prevented this from happening. His Feb. 28, 2001, budget message reiterated this point and asserted that future surpluses were likely to be even larger than projected due principally to anticipated strong revenue growth.
This was the primary justification for a big tax cut. Subsequently, as it became clear that the economy was slowing – a recession began in March 2001 – that became a further justification.
The 2001 tax cut did nothing to stimulate the economy, yet Republicans pushed for additional tax cuts in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The economy continued to languish even as the Treasury hemorrhaged revenue, which fell to 17.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008 from 20.6 percent in 2000. Republicans abolished Paygo in 2002, and spending rose to 20.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2008 from 18.2 percent in 2001.
According to the C.B.O., by the end of the Bush administration, legislated tax cuts reduced revenues and increased the national debt by $1.6 trillion. Slower-than-expected growth further reduced revenues by $1.4 trillion.

Read Bartlett's full article here...

Foreign Policy Experts on US/Egypt Future...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nate Silver Begins Presidential Forecast Coverage...

Nate Silver of the 538 Blog which concentrates on polling and forecasts, has released the first of his presidential forecasts. You have to begin somewhere, and Silver sees Obama with a slight edge if the election was held right now. He projects the current advantage Obama enjoys to shrink in size and indicates that any number of events could easily flip the edge to challenger Mitt Romney.

Here's a preview, follow the hyperlink below for the full article:

Election Forecast: Obama Begins With Tenuous Advantage

The first look at the 2012 FiveThirtyEight presidential forecast has Barack Obama as a very slight favorite to win re-election. But his advantage equates to only a two-point lead in the national popular vote, and the edge could easily swing to Mitt Romney on the basis of further bad economic news.
Mr. Obama remains slightly ahead of Mr. Romney in most national polls, and he has had a somewhat clearer advantage in polling conducted at the state level. Mr. Obama would be about 80 percent likely to win an election held today, according to the model.
However, the outlook for the Nov. 6 election is much less certain, with Mr. Obama having winning odds of just over 60 percent. The forecast currently calls for Mr. Obama to win roughly 290 electoral votes, but outcomes ranging everywhere from about 160 to 390 electoral votes are plausible, given the long lead time until the election and the amount of news that could occur between now and then. Both polls and economic indicators are a pretty rough guide five months before an election.
The forecast works by running simulations of the Electoral College, which are designed to consider the uncertainty in the outcome at the national level and in individual states. It recognizes that voters in each state could be affected by universal factors — like a rising or falling economic tide — as well as by circumstances particular to each state. Furthermore, it considers the relationships between the states and the ways they might move in tandem with one another. Demographically similar states like Minnesota and Wisconsin, for instance, are more likely to move in the same direction than dissimilar ones like New Hampshire and New Mexico.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two very different interviews with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf...

Two very different interviews with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf...

Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf has been in America long time. Born in 1948 Kuwait to Egyptian parents, Rauf  moved to New York City in the 1960's, where he, from 1983 to 2009, served as Imam of Masjid al-Farah. Rauf studied physics at Columbia University, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in nuclear engineering in 1969 before earning a master's degree in plasma physics at Stevens Institute in Hoboken, New Jersey. He has also authored three books on Islam and its place in Western society and founded two non profit organisations charted with improving the caliber of the conversation of Islam in the West. He was also invited by President Bush immediately after the attacks in New York City and the Pentagon to speak with the FBI and the US State Department officials. He has a reputation for being a moderate Muslim, who condemned the attacks on 9/11 as "un-Islamic." He has rejected radical forms and practices of Islam. I have watched/listened to several interviews with this man and in my opinion,  he is a model of an American Muslim. I've listened to him defend the building of an interfaith community center, (which was supported by the local Community Board), which has been quite controversial. While I agree that the Center could have been built in some other place, I don't necessarily agree that it should have been. Its removed far enough from the actual ground zero, despite the pejorative nickname many gave the project, ie. "the ground Zero Mosque." 

I hear a man of grace defending his faith, finding fault when applicable and a man who has spent decades trying to help bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians in our Country. I say we need more men like Imam Rauf. This is not to say he is without controversy himself. He has made statements in the past which many found highly offensive, especially those in the aftermath of 9/11. He has also publicly apologized for all of them. 

With Islam growing in practice here in the United States, surely there is no version of the world that I can comprehend that doesn't include sensitive relationships with Islamic Countries. I say the better we can understand each other, the better for us all. This notion that suggests that the Muslim faith is an enemy of Christianity is wrong and dangerous. We should agree that radical "any faith" isn't good, but also avoid the broad brushstrokes of ignorance and hatred.

Recently, there have been two very different interviews with Imam Rauf. One was conducted on May 10th of this year by Pete Dominick, talk show host of "Stand Up with Pete Dominick" heard on the Sirius/XM POTUS channel (#124) Monday through Fridays at 3:00pm. Dominick is a slightly left of center host who's strong point is having interesting guests from all viewpoints making their case. He does not engage in the "gotcha" journalism or bullying/shouting over his guests that other talk show hosts utilize heavily. The conversation with Rauf was friendly, probing and highly informative. Dominick asked tough questions of his guest pertaining to Shariah Law, the radical Islamic voices shouting louder than the moderate ones, women's right's, etc. I felt I learned something from this interview. 

You can listen to the entire Imam Rauf/Pete Dominck interview here... (...its about 45 minutes long and I highly recommend it.)

The other interview I'd like readers to consider is the one conducted by Fox News' Sean Hannity on May 23, 2012. Hannity is one of the most popular talk show hosts in America with both a radio and a television show Monday through Friday, with millions of listeners. Hannity is firmly to the right on most issues and makes no attempt to suggest otherwise. Hannity took a very different approach than Dominick, almost being hostile with the Imam, especially about a few previous comments Rauf had made in the aftermath of 9/11. The bulk of the interview was spent on these controversial comments as opposed to the current state of Islam in America, the Middle East, etc... To my eyes, it was Hannity bringing up one comment after another, sometimes giving Rauf time to provide some context and sometimes not, and then moving directly onto another comment, and another, and another. Rauf apologized for most of his controversial remarks. Hannity clearly looked the hero to his loyal viewers, who in their eyes, saw the host toss around the Imam like a ragdoll. Instead of a 80/20 split between bringing up old comments and some current issue discussion, I wish it had been inverted, with more time being spent on current affairs involving Islam and the US. 

You can watch the entire Imam/Hannity interview here... (...its about 15 minutes long and worth watching...)

I understand why Hannity handled the segment as he did. For his audience, a dense policy discussion isn't what they want to hear. Also, to be fair, his program is set up in :15 minute segments, not 45-60 minute blocks, which makes it hard to develop much context or nuance. That said, in my opinion, Hannity had this list of comments from Rauf, and only wanted to force him to deal with those words, even though that many of them were over ten years old. There's no question that Hannity is a skilled host and quite adept at controlling the conversation to suit his needs. Ironically, with the charges of "left wing gotcha journalism" being a standard ingredient of many voices complaints, I felt Hannity "got" Imam Rauf that evening. 

Some will prefer Dominick's interview and some will prefer Hannity's. Its hard to say that there was as much depth to the Fox segment as there was on POTUS. I wish Hannity and Rauf would have been able to have more of a conversation than they did. Hannity does what Hannity does. Dominick is consistently providing the quality interviews across a wide swath of subject material that many listeners crave but have a hard time finding on their radios or televisions. 

Listen/Watch both and tell me which you preferred and why...

(Edited for clarity...)