Thursday, December 31, 2009

This is how conservatives are made

by Ellis Weiner on Huffington Post

The Corner, as my fellow intellectual masochists know, is the daily blog of the formerly-relevant National Review. Like the Jewish resorts in the Catskills--once the site of so much vitality and schpritzaturra, now mostly mouldering ruins in appalling states of neglect--this is where you go to wander around in a haze of alternating depression and morbid fascination.

Two days ago we had a fine opportunity to undergo the latter. Here, in its entirety, is the apercu of John J. Miller--conservative, writer, and proud father:

'They Just Took My Money' [John J. Miller]

That's what my 8-year-old son said about the sales tax on the ride home from Borders a few minutes ago. He had a $10 gift card from Christmas, bought a Clone Wars book for $7.99, looked at the receipt, and wondered why he still didn't have a full $2.01 on it.

This is how conservatives are made.

Truer words were never inputted. This is indeed how conservatives are made, and this is how they come off the assembly line: whiny with victimization, pissy about money, and in full possession of an eight-year-old's understanding of the real world.

... read the rest on Huffington Post after the click!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study

(with special thanks to mh)

Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

... read the rest after the click ...

Monday, December 21, 2009

You might be a Fundamentalist Christian if …

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

written by Charlotte Schnook

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Sample of Conservative Republican Logic and Tactics

Phase One
: Loudly proclaim that “Government is not the solution; government is the problem”.

Phase Two: Make the case to anyone who’ll listen that “government doesn’t work, its wasteful and corrupt” while neglecting to point out that all systems – governmental, corporate or otherwise – always have a certain amount of waste and that there are always those who’ll game the system. Focus on the existence of this waste and corruption rather than on the proportion it represents. Point out a questionable $200,000 Congressional earmark and make a lot of noise about it while remaining silent about the $6 Billion worth of good in the spending bill associated with the questionable $200,000 earmark. Look at the trees and direct attention away from the forest.

Phase Three: Offer tax cuts as the means to eliminate waste. “If you KEEP more of YOUR money, the government will have less … and that will cure waste and corruption.” Offer to shrink government until it’s so small you can drown it in a bath tub.

Phase Four: Tax reductions lead to infrastructural degradation. Levies, roads and bridges, supported by tax dollars fall into disrepair. Schools are forced to cut budgets and can’t hire teachers or offer pay that competes with other employment options. School buildings begin to fall apart. Parks, once free to all, now must institute entrance fees … and suddenly they are not part of the legacy of American culture but focused on gate income to stay functional. Police departments have cutbacks resulting in increased crime.

Phase Five: Now that everything is falling apart, loudly proclaim “See, We told ya so. Government doesn’t work! Government is not the solution! Government is the problem. Everything is falling apart. It must be government waste and corruption. Cutting taxes will solve everything! Eliminate all that waste and corruption!”

There should be a litmus test. People who believe that government can’t work should be barred from holding public office. If you believe at the core that government doesn’t work, you have no business being a part of it. You have a vested interest in proving that point and, from a position of power in government, you will be doing everything you possibly can to undermine your government to prove yourself right. If you believe that your government cannot and does not work, you will find yourself falling prey to the delusion that your allegiance to an ideology is actually patriotic and just ... while you do everything possible to destroy those things you were sworn to protect and defend.

You cannot believe, on one hand, that we live in the greatest nation on the planet and simultaneously believe that your government doesn’t work. Only one of those things can be true. If we live in the greatest nation on the planet, then your government must be working. If it is not working, then we are not the greatest nation on the planet. You choose ... but you can only choose one or the other. You can't have it both ways.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mythbusting Conservative Tax Theory

For decades my friends on the right have told me that the best way to stimulate the economy is to lower taxes … particularly for those in the highest tax brackets; those who make the most money. The theory is called trickle down. Those who make the most money, if allowed to “keep” more, would invest in business and that investment would create jobs. The jobs would create income for more people who, in turn, would pay collectively pay more taxes thereby increasing government revenues. The money in the hands of the most wealthy would effectively trickle down to those with more modest means.

I finally got tired of hearing about it so I thought I’d do a little research to see if the numbers might support the proposition. I mapped the tax rate assessed against those in the highest tax bracket (and for the sake of comparison, I mapped the lowest tax rate, too). Then I looked up the unemployment statistics and mapped them as well.

I looked at the period from 1948 to 2009. The post-WWII years are universally recognized as America’s most productive years …. the heyday of our growth. I discount much of the so-called “growth” of the last 15 years or so on the grounds that it was a fantasy based on over valued real estate. The recent real estate “bust”, with home values plunging faster than anyone could track, foreclosures, and the implosion of the over leveraged financial sector is evidence of that fantasy. The value, labeled “growth” by my friends on the right was an illusion. It was a house of cards, propped up by a banking Ponzi scheme that “monitized” bad debt by bundling shaky mortgages sold on the premise that home prices would never go down and repackaged into financial instruments to conceal their flaws.

So, let’s look at the numbers.

Sources: IRS and US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For the sake of this exercise, the Blue line at the top represents the highest marginal tax rate in effect during each tax year. One can read the tax percentage on the scale at the left of the graph. The Red line at the bottom similarly indicated the lowest tax rate and, again, the percentage can be read on the scale at the left of the graph.

The solid green line tracks the rate of unemployment from 1948 to the present while the green dashed line is the linear trend line of the unemployment rate through that period.

What I noticed is that there is a very high inverse correlation between the highest tax bracket rate and unemployment. What I mean by this is generally the lower that tax rate, the greater the rate of unemployment. As one tracks the tax breaks extended to the wealthy versus the unemployment trend line, one gets the distinct feeling that the conservative mantra of lower taxes equaling a stronger economy seems to fall apart assuming the rate of unemployment is any measure of economic strength.

The Liberal Elite

"They always throw around this term 'the liberal elite.' And I kept thinking to myself about the Christian right. What's more elite than believing that only you will go to heaven?"
-- John Stewart, The Daily Show

Kipling Understood War in Afghanistan

A scrimmage in a Border Station
A canter down some dark defile
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail

- Rudyard Kipling

My comment: The more things change, the more they remain the same. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

Quote of the Day

"Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn't be religious people."
-- Doris Egan

My comment: It takes a certain genius to state the obvious ... and real genius to state it so succinctly.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I am a liberal because …

I posted the following in April, 2006. Now, with the bruhaha over Harry Reid's comments on the floor of the Senate about consevatives, I think its appropriate to re-post it. I would caution not to confuse "conservative" with "Republican". Today's Republican Party may be the home of American Conservatism today but it hasn't always been that way. Lincoln was a Republican when he authored the emancipation Proclamation but he was also a liberal.


In a firefight with several conservative types, I woke up this morning and sent this off to a friend (a liberal) who edits a newspaper out in the world to get his/her feedback and maybe help me sharpen it up a tad:

I am a liberal because I believe that every child should have a childhood filled with learning and school days and the endless days of summer while conservatives opposed the child labor laws which make that possible.

I am a liberal because I believe that women are equal human beings capable of independent thought while conservatives in the past opposed a woman's right to vote and now to have any say in her destiny.

I am a liberal because I believe no one should be the property of another while conservatives fought a war in this country to preserve slavery and the proposition that people should be property.

I am a liberal because I believe in equality under the law while conservatives worked to preserve "Whites Only" drinking fountains, lunch counters and restrooms.

I'm a liberal because I believe the richest nation on the planet should provide a safety net for its citizens; that it should protect those disadvantaged by social or economic factors or who have been subjected to the ravages of age from the starvation we see in so many other places in this weary world - while conservatives take the position of Cain, who, when asked by God, "Where is Able?" replied, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

I am a liberal because, in spite of failures along the way, liberals have never failed to look for new solutions to old problems while conservatives have never failed to embrace the causes of the problems and label them virtues.

I am a liberal because I believe that by working together we can make a better future while conservatives believe the best future we can hope for looks exactly like the past.

I am a liberal because, throughout history, liberals have consistently supported these ideals while conservatives have, with equal consistency, positioned themselves on the wrong side of history.

In response, I received the following from my editor friend:

Perhaps you should share this with your liberal brethren, because they seem to be lost these days, unable to work up a moral high ground.

The real reason you're a liberal is that you're not afraid, not in the bone-weary sense that the right is. Fear of change, fear of "others" and fear of oneself create the state in which all things conservative can fester.

I have seen some extraordinarily liberal individuals turn into cowering conservatives when their sense of safety is shattered.

Right now, we have an entire nation of people whose fear outweighs their security. Somehow, the liberals have to push the notion that an open, free nation is not just our imperative, it's necessary if we want to become secure.

That ain't an easy sell. Good luck.

More: Why Right Wingnut Republicans Can't Govern

  • don't understand economics
  • can't read polls
  • can't balance a budget
  • support deficit spending when they're in office
  • can't understand the implications of climate change
  • are afraid of the census
  • don't get that "tax and spend" is actually "pay as you go"
  • think that Medicare for All is a government takeover
  • imagine funding war is good and while providing health care (at a fraction of the cost) is bad

My comment: You'd think they'd get it after getting debunked time and time again. No poll has ever represented 120% of the respondents. Only 100% of the people who answer a given question can represent all the people who answer the question. But in Fox-Conservative la-la land, 120% of respondents can answer a question.

Fact checking is a lost art on the right.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Why Right Wingnut Republicans Can't Govern

  • don't understand economics
  • can't read polls
  • can't balance a budget
  • support deficit spending when they're in office
  • can't understand the implications of climate change
  • are afraid of the census
  • don't get that "tax and spend" is actually "pay as you go"
  • think that Medicare for All is a government takeover
  • imagine funding war is good and while providing health care (at a fraction of the cost) is bad

It's because they think a pie chart can add up to more than 100%!

Faux Noise brings it all together ... one picture is worth thousands of words!

Zombie Reagan Fails The Reagan Test

or watch the video on on YouTube after the click ...

My comment: not since the days of Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler has a political party demanded a loyalty oath to the party before the country ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Death Party

David Sirota on Huffington Post

Think about it: On health care, Republicans are arguing that Democrats are "rushing" legislation through Congress - legislation that would bring down the astronomical number of deaths that occur thanks to our broken health care system. At the same time, they are attacking President Obama for not more quickly escalating the Afghanistan War - an escalation that would likely result in a large number of American and Afghan deaths.

Read the rest on Huffington Post after the click.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Word: Republizombie

by Andy Borowitz on Huffington Post

Republizombie (re-PUB-li-zom-bee) (n)

1. Former GOP office-holder, now undead, unkillable; see Palin, S.; Cheney, D; Delay, T.; Armey, D.; Gingrich, N. A flesh-eater, the Republizombie counter-intuitively eats the flesh of other GOP; see 23rd Congressional District, NY.

2. Former relative of a former GOP office-holder, such as the former fiance of the daughter of a former Governor; like the other Republizombies, the second-tier Republizombie is seemingly ubiquitous, appearing on The Today Show, Tyra, and naked in Playgirl.

Candy's Latest

Spread out over the living room floor. Sunlight streaming through the glass door to the patio. Still unfinished, but getting there. Borders, binding and quilting still to go.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Experts have described the situation as the worst mass poisoning of a population in history

from Discover

It was a twisted cycle: In the 1970s, Bangladeshis used surface ponds or rivers to collect rainwater for drinking. But thanks to garbage dumping and sewage, that water became a breeding ground for disease. So UNICEF sought to fix the problem—the agency helped residents drill simple wells that drew water from a shallow aquifer. But this remedy became a tragedy. Bangladesh’s groundwater was laced with arsenic. Now, in a study in Nature Geoscience, a team from MIT has answered one of the outstanding pieces of the Bangladesh puzzle: Just how all that arsenic got into the water in the first place.

Bangladesh occupies the flood-prone delta of the river Ganges [New Scientist], and that river brought the arsenic to the region’s sediments. But why doesn’t it just stay in the sediments once it’s there? Back in 2002, another MIT team began to answer the question by showing that microbes digest organic carbon in the soil in such a way that frees up the arsenic, but they couldn’t say where that carbon itself came from until Rebecca Neumann and colleagues figured it out this year: man-made ponds left behind by excavations.

Read the rest in Discover after the click ...

My comment: How can "the worst mass poisoning of a population in history" escape the notice of the world press? Probably because Bangladesh doesn't have anything that anyone anywhere else in the world covets ... like oil or other minerals. Gotta have something that someone else wants if you want someone else to be interested in your plight. Otherwise, you're on your own ...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


You can retire to Phoenix, Arizona where........
1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.
2.. You've experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.
4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
5. You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.
6. The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!

You can retire to California where...
1. You make over $250,000 and you still can't afford to buy a house.
2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
3. You know how to eat an artichoke.
4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party..
5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
6. The 4 seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud, and Drought.

You can retire to New York City where...
1. You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan .....
2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circleto Battery Park, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.
3. You think Central Park is "nature."
4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.
5. You've worn out a car horn. ( Ed note: if you have a car)

You can retire to Maine where...
1. You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco .
2. Halloween costumes fit over parkas.
3. You have more than one recipe for moose.
4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
5. The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.

You can retire to the Deep South where...
1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
2. "Y'all" is singular and "all y'all" is plural.
3. "He needed killin'" is a valid defense.
4. Everyone has 2 first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary Sue, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.
5. Everything is either "in yonder," "over yonder" or "out yonder." It's important to know the difference, too.

You can retire to Colorado where.....
1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car .
2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and so he stops at the day care center.
3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.
4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.

You can retire to the Midwest where...
1. You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3. You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.
4. You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at? "
5. When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, "It was different!"

OR You can retire to Florida where..
1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind -- even houses and cars.
3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist.
4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
5. Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Republicans believe strongly in property rights

... unless the property happens to be yours:

Chris Christie Rips Off Monty Python, Risks Copyright Infringement

Jackson Brown v. John McCain

Heart to Sarah Palin: Quit Playing 'Barracuda'

Aerosmith to House GOP: Don't Use Our Song

Satire, Parody, and Copyright: Republican Govs Ape NYT’s Format netting a cease and desist order.

Dont' Worry, Be Happy: The song was used in George H. W. Bush's 1988 U.S. presidential election campaign until McFerrin, who was a Democrat, objected and the campaign desisted.

I guess it's always easier to defennd a lawsuit beg forgiveness than it is to ask for permission?

Monday, November 02, 2009

FACT CHECK: GOP Math Suspect In Stimulus Debate

Beware the math. Some Republican lawmakers critical of President Barack Obama's stimulus package are using grade-school arithmetic to size up costs and consequences of all that spending. The math is satisfyingly simple but highly misleading.

It goes like this: Divide the stimulus money spent so far by the estimated number of jobs saved or created. That produces a rather frightening figure on how much money taxpayers are spending for each job.

On Friday, the White House released estimates that $160 billion in stimulus spending created or preserved 650,000 direct jobs.

By the critics' calculations, that's over $246,000 a job – and a terrible deal for taxpayers. Why spend nearly $250,000 to employ a highway worker or a teacher making a small fraction of that?

The reality is more complex.

First, the naysayers' calculations ignore the value of the work produced.

Any cost-per-job figure pays not just for the worker, but for material, supplies and that worker's output – a portion of a road paved, patients treated in a health clinic, goods shipped from a factory floor, railroad tracks laid.

Read the rest on Huffington Post after the click

My comment: During the 2008 Presidential campaign, then Republican candidate, John McCain, experienced a stunning moment of truth telling when he admitted that economics was not his strong suit. (Presumably "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" foreign policy is his strength.) Republican policies of deregulation on Wall Street, tax cuts for the rich and the off-shoring of American industry drove our economic buss into the ditch. Perhaps it's time for the whole right wing to admit that economics is just not their strong suit.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Warfare vs. Health Care: What Do Americans Value?

Actions speak louder than words, which means you can tell a lot more about what a person truly values by looking at what they do rather than merely at what they say. We can, though, also learn a lot by looking at a person's contradictions. No one is perfectly consistent, and while some inconsistencies may be due to outright hypocrisy, far more are likely due to blindness — probably a self-defense mechanism to prevent us from truly seeing how our real values may be pulling us in a direction different from what our professed values are.

I think we're seeing this in the contradictions between how people treat America's foreign wars versus how they treat domestic health care. The justifications being offered by conservatives and "moderates" for continuing wars in the Middle East are ignored when it comes to questions about providing domestic health care. So what are the real values which lie behind it all?

Read the rest after the click ...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Yes Men Rule (A lesson in how the invisible hand of the market REALLY works)

The bottle looks beautiful. It sports an old-fashioned spring-top stopper. The red, diamond-shaped label features an elegant font. From a distance, the silhouetted landscape on the label looks exotic. It is, like all fine gourmet water, "bottled at source." Even the French name of the water suggests elegance: B'eau Pal.

But wait: B'eau Pal? That sounds rather familiar. You look at the label more carefully. The top of the label reads: "25 years of pollution." The picture on the label isn't an exotic location after all. It's...the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India that poisoned a half a million people and killed thousands back in 1984 when it accidentally released tons of methyl isocyanate.

B'eau Pal is the work of the Yes Men, the dynamic duo of disinformation. Five years ago, one of the pair, Andy Bichlbaum, appeared on BBC as a spokesman for Dow Chemical, which now owns Union Carbide, to announce that his company would provide $12 billion in medical care for the 120,000 victims of the Bhopal calamity and fully clean up the site. Dow lost $2 billion in market value in 20 minutes. That's how long it took before the hoax was exposed.

"We demonstrated what would happen if Dow did do the right thing in Bhopal," Bichlbaum told Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) senior analyst Mark Engler in Pranksters Fixing the World.

Read the rest after the click.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Anthony Weiner Points Out the Hypocrisy of Members of Congress on Medicare but Against the Public Option

Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) office today released an internal study showing that 151 members of Congress “currently receive government-funded; government-administered single-payer health care — Medicare.” Of those 151 members, 55 are Republicans who also happen to be “steadfastly opposed [to] other Americans getting the public option, like the one they have chosen.”

Included on Weiner’s list are anti-public option crusaders Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

From a C-SPAN interview:

WEINER: Well it’s more kind of another way of looking at this debate, this discussion about the public option, to put it in focus. We went, just out of curiosity, looked at how many members of Congress get the public option. And I know a lot of people have said, “Well under the new bill, how many of you members of Congress would choose the public option?”

Well there already is one; it’s called Medicare. And we found that 55 Republicans and 151 members of Congress are on Medicare right now. So they’re already getting the same type of public option that we’d like people who are without insurance to be able to get. And I guess the purpose of this list was to kind of point out some of the hypocrisy of this debate.

You have members of Congress thumping their chest how they’re against government health care, against government control of health care, socialized medicine and yet when it’s time for them to accept Medicare, they’re like, ‘Sign me up!’

Source: Crooks and Liars

My comment: You were elected to represent ... THE PEOPLE!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Annual Car Show at St Gregory's

Hood Ornament from the 1930s.

I haven't seen that many gold ornaments/

Pontiac styling (found on a Firebird)

I think I'm getting better at this ...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why do Republicans love them some rapists?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Or catch the video HERE after the click ...

Competition? What do YOU mean by competition?

Everybody in the health care debate talks about it. Everybody in the health care debate says it’s a good thing. On the face of it, you’d think both sides agree but that’s not the case. Those who favor the “public option” say that it will create competition.. Those who oppose the “public option” say that the option will generate “unfair competition.”

What is missing from the discussion is the definition of “competition.” If you think about it for a moment you have to come to the conclusion that both sides of the argument are using different definitions of the word.

To the health insurance companies, “competition” means the pursuit of more profit dollars for its shareholders than the other insurance companies. Profit dollars are based on the ratio of income to expenses, as it is with any corporate entity. More income and fewer expenses yield greater profits.

On the other side of the issue are those who favor a “public option”. Their definition of “competition” is the pursuit of the best health care for the greatest number of American citizens.

The two definitions are at odds with each other. Greater profitability comes from lower expenses. Lower expenses don’t come from providing health care; they come from weeding out those who will most likely need health care because they are an expense and it means courting the people who are less likely to need health care because they represent more premium dollars and therefore greater income. Claims denial exists as a means of protecting profits. Caps on benefits are not designed to provide superior health care. They exist as a means to protect profitability. Pre-existing conditions are not about providing health care. They are totally about profit protection.

If health insurance companies were competing with each other to provide the best health care to the greatest number of people, we wouldn’t have a debate, but that’s not the case.

Unfair competition? A public option would certainly create unfair competition for profit dollars. Profits are not the point of the public option. But, would a public option create unfair competition in providing better health care for everyone? Not at all. There is no one currently in that end of the healthcare insurance business. There is no competition. Insurance companies would be forced to change their whole priorities structure, lowering the profit priority in favor of the priority of providing healthcare service … a far less profitable proposition.

The invisible hand of the market only works if we all define "competition" the same way. So, the question is, how do you define "competition"? What's your priority? Is your priority the best, most affordable health care for the greatest number of American citizens or is your priority the greatest profitability for healthcare insurance companies at the expense of actual healthcare?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sell the Vatican, Feed the World

Or catch the video HERE on YouTube after the click.

Rambling thoughts on passing

LP in California, whom I knew mostly through her brother some 50 years ago, wrote to tell me that BA had died of pancreatic cancer in Oregon. They'd been good friends and my mother's elementary school students many years ago. I didn't know BA except by name and the pride my mother had taken in the two of them. They'd stayed in contact with their old teacher and I guess I'm the only remaining contact point with those days and with Mrs. K, who died almost a decade ago.

When I was between marriages, Mary (Mrs. K) tried to hook me up with LP. It was a strange, surreal afternoon ... sitting on lawn chairs, under a tree at the house in Jamesville, drinking lemonade with my mother, my daughter and LP. We've written back and forth, now and then, since that afternoon.

When we are young we make friends and acquaintances faster than we loose them. But nature loves balance. There comes a time when we loose friends faster than we can make them.

I honestly don't know why LP thought I should know ... or even wanted to know that BA had died. I received the note from LP more than a week ago and I don't know how to answer it. She included a picture of my mother's class that she shared with BA.

Somehow "I'm sorry for your loss." seems so detached and impersonal.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Alan Grayson sums it up nicely ...

October 08, 2009 C-SPAN. Rep. Alan Grayson had a few words for both Democrats and Republicans on health care reform.

Grayson: Maddam Speaker I have words for both Democrats and Republicans tonight. Let's start with the Democrats. We as a party have spent the last six months-- the greatest minds of our party dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote for health care reform. I want to remind us all... Olympia Snowe was not elected president last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population.

What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets fifty one votes in the Senate or sixty votes in the Senate, or eighty three votes in the Senate-- in fact America doesn't even care about that. It doesn't care about that at all.

What America cares about is this. There are over one million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bill. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are forty four thousand seven hundred eighty Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care. That's a hundred and twenty two every day. America sure cares a lot about that.

America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot.

But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities-- America doesn't care about that at all. So we have to remember that as Democrats. We have to remember that's what's at stake here is life and death, enormous amounts of money and people are counting upon us to move ahead. America understands what's good for America.

America cares about health care. America cares about jobs. America cares about education, about energy independence. America does not care about process or politicians, or personalities or anything like that.

And I have a few words for my Republican friends as well. I guess I do have some Republican friends. Let me say this. Last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there's forty four thousand seven hundred eighty nine Americans who die every year according to this Harvard report-- published in a peer reviewed journal-- because they have no health insurance.

That's an extra forty four thousand seven hundred eighty nine Americans who die, whose lives could be saved-- and their response was to ask me for an apology... to ask me for an apology. That's right... to ask me for an apology. Well, I'm telling you this-- I will not apologize. I will not apologize.

I will not apologize for a simple reason. America doesn't care about your feelings. I violated no rules by calling this report to America's attention. I think a lot of people didn't know about it before hand.

But America does care about health care in America and if you're against it, then get out of the way. Just get out of the way. You can lead. You can follow-- or you can get out of the way. And I'm telling you now to get out of the way.

America understands that there's one party in this country that's in favor of health care reform and one party that's against it and they know why.

They understand if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world, the Republicans would blame him for over-population.

They understand that if Barack obama could somehow bring about world peace, they'd blame him for destroying the defense industry.

In fact they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.

But that's what America wants. America wants solutions to its problems and that begins with health care. And that's what I'm speaking for tonight.

Friday, September 25, 2009

'Capitalism' as Comedy and Tragedy Now Playing in NY and L.A. ...a message from Michael Moore


The time has arrived for, as Time magazine called it, my "magnum opus." I only had a year of Latin when I was in high school, so I'm not quite sure what that means, but I think it's good.

I've spent nearly two years on this new movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story," and have poured my heart and soul into this project. Many early critics and viewers have called it my "best film yet." That's a hard call for me to make as I'm proud of all of my films -- but I will tell you this: What you are about to see in "Capitalism" is going to stun you. It's going to make some of you angry and I believe it's going to give most of you a new sense of hope that we are going to turn the sick and twisted mess made by the last president around. Oh, and you're going to have a good laugh at the expense of all the banking and corporate criminals who've made out like bandits in the past year.

Read the rest ... after the click

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.
He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, "We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Which One Wins?

One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside every person.

"My son, the battle is between two wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is God. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."

The grandson pondered a moment and then asked: "Which wolf wins?"

The grandfather replied, "The one you feed."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Could it be what they call "projection" in psychology?

For a long time the far right has accused liberals of conspiring to establish a world government. I've been a liberal (or progressive) for a long time and I can attest to the fact that people on the left are simply not that unified or organized. (As Will Rogers was fond of saying, "I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.")

However, the same cannot be said for those on the right:

Ensign's "C Street House" Owned By Group Touting Plans For Christian World Control

Most recently covered by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (1, 2), Washington D.C.'s "C Street House" has over the past two weeks become the center of a media firestorm. Along with GOP Senator Tom Coburn, sex-scandal embroiled GOP leaders Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford have been tied to the row house, assessed to be worth 1.84 million dollars, which is registered as a church and provides Washington politicians with substantially lower than market rate rent. Coburn and Ensign have lived at the C Street house, while Sanford has participated in its Bible study group.

According to the Washington Post the house is owned by Youth With a Mission D.C. Youth With a Mission is one of the most extensive Christian fundamentalist para-church organizations on Earth, and YWAM founder leader Loren Cunningham has publicly outlined a vision for Christian world-control.

... read the rest after the click.

Monday, June 29, 2009


There are those who suggest a public health care option would eliminate competition. Frankly, if health insurance companies were in the business of competing to provide quality health care, it would be a good argument. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not in that business. They are in the business of competing for profits and profits come from providing selective health care. Selection is made at two points in the process. First, insurance companies seek to insure those least likely to need health care. Second, insurance companies have active profit protection programs based on claims denial. The more claims for health care they can deny, the more profitable they are. Health insurance companies see no value in providing health care where it's needed. Only the people who pay the premiums see value there.

Interestingly enough, the same people who claim that a public option would kill competition also claim that the government is incapable of providing effective and efficient health care coverage. If that's true, then what are they worried about. the current system of competition will certainly out-compete an ineffective, inefficient government supported system. No one will take the government sponsored health care option ... right?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Asking people who know ...

KOUROSS ESMAELI: What is interesting about the criticisms that are coming from the right is that it’s been coming primarily from Senator John McCain. The Iranians know Senator John McCain as the man who sang “Bomb, bomb Iran” during the elections of last year. The man holds no credibility as far as supporting Iranians or seeming like he’s got the best interests of the Iranians at heart. And that, for Iranians and for this issue, that discredits him altogether and discredits this whole attack on President Obama.

President Obama’s stand, I think, has been the most sensible, and it’s amazing that the President of the United States is taking such a sensible stand. And that — everyone I’ve talked to in Iran has said the same thing, that we do not need any symbol of Western, especially American, interference in Iran’s internal politics. And the fact that America does not have diplomatic relations with Iran really ties its hand, as far as how far he can go in really supporting Iran. So the only thing they can do is to just scream as loud as they can, which will be immediately used by the Iranian authorities.

... get the whole story after the click.

My comment: It's interesting how the people with the least credibility on a topic are often the loudest voices. McCain said during the campaign that the economy was not his strong suit ... then he proved it. He claimed foreign affairs was his strength yet his approach is that of a fighter pilot as opposed to a global strategist. Why do these people get air time after they've been discredited time and time again?

Virtually every interview I've heard with Iranians states unequivocally the the American right is not being helpful ... yet Republicans persist in trying to make political points here at home at the expense of our national interests.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mythbusting Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism

1. These are just "lone wolf" psychos who are acting alone. You can't hold anybody else responsible for what crazy people decide to do.

True and false. But mostly false.

2. These terrorists are really left-wingers, not right-wingers. Because everybody knows that fascism is a phenomenon that only occurs on the left.

False does not even begin to cover the absurdity of this claim.

3. Public right-wing groups like Operation Rescue or the Minutemen don't advocate violence, so these acts have absolutely nothing to do with them.

False. ... these groups may not engage in violence themselves, but they do provide the narrative and worldview that convinces people that terrorism is the only available means of getting what they want

4. This is just a minority movement that isn't really capable of changing anything. We don't really need to worry about it.

False. And evidence of tremendous denial.

5. It's not fair to hold right-wing media talking heads responsible for the things their listeners might do.


6. All that crazy stuff you hear on the right -- you can find the left wing saying things just as bad. They're equally culpable for how bad it all its.

False. There is no equivalency whatsoever to be drawn here.

7. "Dial it down?" Don't you mean that you want to use the power of government to forcibly shut up right-wing hate talkers?

False. There are a few folks in Congress who tried to gin up support for some kind of legislation -- but progressives should resist this impulse, and denounce it as the shameless grandstanding that it is. We believe in the First Amendment. And if we compromise it now, we're no better than the Bush-era conservatives who were so eager to shred the Constitution when they felt threatened. We are better than that -- or should be.

8. But what you're suggesting is censorship! You're trying to censor free speech!

Oh, please.

9. What about that guy who shot the recruiters in Arkansas -- isn't that proof that the left wing is just as bad as the right?

False. I mean: really, really false.

... read the full demythification after the click

Since when is a 63 percent approval rating a bad thing?

from Media Matters for Amerca

It's generally accepted that the news media obsess over horse-race political coverage at the expense of serious examinations of important issues. Media critics on the left, right, and in the middle tend to agree that there is too much focus on polling and not enough on policy, while many reporters seem proud of their focus on the game rather than the stakes. (Politico is, after all, called "Politico," not "Policy-o," and features blogs "on Politics," "on Hill intrigue," "on Gossip," and "on Campaigns" -- but not "on Policy." ABC News' senior White House correspondent calls his blog "Political Punch." And so on.)

The media's obsessive focus on politics does not, however, mean their political assessments are of a high quality. Remember David Broder's prediction that Hurricane Katrina would spark a recovery in George W. Bush's political standing? Or Matt Lauer's suggestion that Bush's poor approval ratings were a political blessing for the GOP? Chuck Todd's statement that if Democrats won control of Congress in November of 2006, Bush's approval rating would be above 50 by the following July? Katie Couric's suggestion that the Bush White House was "breathing a sigh of relief" in response to a poll in which Bush had an all-time low approval rating? Howard Fineman's late-2005 argument that Democrats, not Republicans, had reason to be gloomy about their electoral prospects? Calling the media's coverage of politics and policy "horse-race journalism" is an insult to horse-race journalism -- the Daily Racing Form isn't in the habit of advising readers to bet on the filly with the broken leg.

Not only does the media's keen interest in politics frequently fail to result in politically astute observations, there is also considerable evidence that they tend to overrate the Republicans' political skills -- and the public's predisposition to prefer the GOP.

... so read the rest after the click.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bill Maher Noticed Something

Maher: Now people talk a lot about a third political party in America. We don't need a third party. We need a first party. You go to the polls and your choices are the guy who voted for the first Wall Street bailout, or the guy who voted for the next ten. This week we're hearing that a public option for health care is unlikely because it doesn't have the support of enough Democrats. Even Ted Kennedy's plan, Ted Kennedy, yeah, leaves thirty seven million uninsured.

This is because we don't have a left and a right party in this country any more. We have a center right party, and a crazy party. And over the last thirty odd years, Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital.

My comment: Yup!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thought for the day

from Quotes of the Day

"I've gone into hundreds of [fortune-teller's] parlors, and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her."

-- New York City detective

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin's "Outrage" is Misplaced and A Little Late...

by Shannyn Moore

10) Last September, a skit on Saturday Night Live suggested incest in the Palin family. "What about the husband?" asked a mock Times reporter. "You know he's doing those daughters. I mean, come on. It's Alaska!" No outrage. Sarah Palin appeared on the show one month later in late October.

9) Days after the announcement of Bristol's pregnancy, Conan O'Brien joked, "It's true, John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Palin said, 'We should never have introduced her to John Edwards.'" Where was the outrage? Was Conan promoting infidelity with an underage girl?

8 ) From two different Tonight Shows: "Governor Palin announced over the weekend that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant. Oh, boy, you thought John Edwards was in trouble before, now he's really done it!" AND..."All the Republicans are heaping praise on Governor Palin. Fred Thompson said, as an actor, he could see them making a movie about Sarah Palin and her family. Didn't they already make that movie? I think it was called 'Knocked Up!'"--Jay Leno

... read the rest of the Top Ten after the click.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dear AMA: I Quit!

Dr. Chris McCoy
Policy Chair for the National Physicians Alliance

Dear American Medical Association,

I recently had the opportunity to read your response to the Senate Finance Committee proposal [pdf] for health care reform, and it is clear to me that I cannot remain a member in your organization. Please remove my name from your membership rolls, effective immediately.

In reading the response, I was frustrated and disheartened by the fact that you couldn't get through the second paragraph before bringing up the issue of physician reimbursement. This merely highlights how the AMA represents a physician-centered and self-interested perspective rather than honoring the altruistic nature of my profession. As a physician, I advocate first for what is best for my patients and believe that as a physician, as long as I continue to maintain the trust and integrity of the profession, I will earn the respect of my community. The appropriate financial compensation for my endeavors will follow in kind.

... read the whole letter to the AMA after the click.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Twenty Economic Models Explained

(forwarded from a friend in the UK)

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

My comment: The right wing of the American political spectrum appears to believe the Royal Bank of Scotland models is the best. In the US it's known as "UNRESTRICTED, UNREGULATED, FREE MARKET, REAGAN CAPITALISM". It works just fine until someone looked under the hood!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Bush Hangover: Guantanamo Undercuts Our Protests of North Korea

by Mitchell Bard

I woke up this morning to the chilling news that two American journalists had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor by a North Korean court for the "crimes" of illegally entering the country and committing "hostile acts." We can only hope that the reclusive, bizarre and barbaric leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il (or those working for him), is putting on a show to get the attention of the rest of the world, and the two Current TV reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, will be allowed to return home soon.

The two journalists have clearly committed no crimes (as such a term would be understood in any rational section of the world), and the international community has to stand against the heinous actions of the North Korean government. Clearly, the United States should be at the head of such international action.

But today, I also read about Lakhdar Boumediene, and the truly disturbing story of what happened to him after the 9/11 attacks. An Algerian man living with his wife and two children in Sarajevo, Bosnia, he was working for the Red Crescent in October 2001 when he was arrested and charged with conspiring to blow up the American and British embassies in the city. An investigation revealed no evidence of his involvement in any plot, so a Bosnian judge ordered him released, but the Bush administration intervened, and in January 2002 he was shackled and flown to Guantanamo Bay.

... read the rest after the click.

My comment: How can we take the moral high-ground? How can we set an example for the rest of the world? How can we condemn North Korea in a way that doesn't sound hollow and hypocritical? Who have we become? How are we different?

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Question For Dick Cheney:

Should We Now Waterboard Tiller's Murderer?

from Chris Wright / HuffPo

I have a question for former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been staunchly defending the Bush administration's use of waterboarding and other torture against prisoners in our care. My question: Should Scott Roeder, accused murderer of abortion doctor George Tiller, now be waterboarded? Roeder has just gone on the record stating that further violence is coming, in "many similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal." In other words, Roeder is claiming the now-infamous "ticking time bomb" scenario of what can only be termed domestic terrorism. So, Mr. Cheney, doesn't this mean (following your own "logic") that Roeder should immediately be waterboarded to tell us what he knows? Anything less, by your standards, would be hypocritically picking and choosing which terrorists get a pass, and which don't.

... read the rest on Huffington Post after the click.

Is IOS affecting you?

The very information meant to inform us is actually making us STUPID! It's affecting millions of business people.

Is IOS affecting you?

... or catch the clip on YouTube after the click.

If you don't know Mr. Fish ....

An Offensive Mr. Fish Cartoon Fiesta

from Daryl Cagle's Cartoon Web Blog

I did a speaking tour of China last year and wherever I spoke the audience asked about censorship in America – they were convinced that censorship for us was no different than in China. I explained that cartoonists in America often complain about editors killing their cartoons, but that is different from China because in China it is the government that kills the cartoons – well, not exactly, the editors and cartoonists in China know where the limits are and choose not to cross those limits. The Chinese audience would ask, “isn’t it the same in America?” I’d explain that, yes, we know what the limits are, but American cartoonists are limited by good taste rather than point of view, and if we’re too offensive we know our cartoons won’t get printed. The Chinese would respond, “same here.” I was surprised that I was always explaining what seemed to my audience to be petty differences and the hypocrisy of an American “free press.”

Which brings me back to Mr. Fish, who doesn’t censor himself for taste at all. It works for the Village Voice and L.A. Weekly, but keeps Mr. Fish’s work from being seen by a general circulation audience. I appreciate Fish’s unwillingness to compromise, so I thought I would post a selection of some of my favorite, offensive Mr. Fish cartoons that I would never have drawn myself.

... get offended by Mr. Fish after the click.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Friday, June 05, 2009

Harvard researchers link medical costs to personal bankruptcy

-- even if people have health insurance

Medical problems caused 62% of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. in 2007, according to a study by Harvard researchers. And in a finding that surprised even the researchers, 78% of those filers had medical insurance at the start of their illness, including 60.3% who had private coverage, not Medicare or Medicaid. Medically related bankruptcies have been rising steadily for decades. In 1981, only 8% of families filing for bankruptcy cited a serious medical problem as the reason, while a 2001 study of bankruptcies in five states by the same researchers found that illness or medical bills contributed to 50% of all filings.

... read the rest on C&L after the click.

My comment: Yes, the middle finger of the invisible hand of the market is making sure that only you get screwed.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

President Obama Hits All the Right Notes in Cairo

by Joseph Palermo on HuffPo

President Barack Obama's speech today in Cairo hit all of the right notes and was exactly what he needed to say after eight years of saber rattling, racist diatribes about "Crusades," and Biblical quotes affixed to "Worldwide Intelligence Updates." For years we've heard mouthpieces from the American Right uttering every offensive slur against Arabs and Muslims imaginable. Obama's contrast in tone as he addressed directly the world's 1.2 billion Muslims could not have been further from the toxic mixture of arrogance and incompetence that characterized the Bush-Cheney years.

... read the rest on Huffington Post after the click.

In Case You Missed it ... Dick (Uncut)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Dick (Uncut)
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorEconomic Crisis

... or catch the clip on The Comedy Channel website after the click

Things aren't as bad as you think they are ...

... or catch the clip on YouTube after the click.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How Health Care Stole Your Pay Raise

This amazing graph bouncing around the web is the most striking example of why health care reform isn't just about reforming care. It's about reforming the economy. New bumper sticker: "Reform Health Care; Get a Raise!"

... get the rest on The Atlantic website after the click.

My comment: Health Care is probably the most vital economic issue we face today. Our current system forces virtually every company in the United States to pay some sort of employee health care insurance. That cost of doing business channels directly in to the price of every manufactured good made in the USA ... adding a substantial cost to American made products that our international competitors don't have to pay. It makes foreign made goods more competitive than American made goods. I would think that every American conservative would get that ... but it seems it's beyond their short sighted thought processes.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism

from Shannyn Moore

It's shocking to write. But it's time to start calling it what it is.

When Jim D. Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church with 76 rounds and a shot-gun, he killed 2 people and was charged with murder. His motive was "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general as well as gays." He should have been charged with terrorism.

Today, George Tiller, the Wichita doctor was killed INSIDE the lobby of his Wichita church. Reformation Lutheran Church became a crime scene; fundamentalist terrorism.

... read the rest after the click.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Animals can tell right from wrong

Scientists studying animal behaviour believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans.

Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions and have a sense of morality.

But Prof Marc Bekoff, an ecologist at University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that morals are "hard-wired" into the brains of all mammals and provide the "social glue" that allow often aggressive and competitive animals to live together in groups.

... read the rest in the London Telegraph after he click.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Genesis as Read by a Creationist

"To convey the logical absurdity of trying to squeeze the round peg of science into the square hole of religion, I penned the following scientific revision of the Genesis creation story. It is not intended as a sacrilege of the poetic beauty of Genesis; rather, it is a mere extension of what the creationists have already done to Genesis in their insistence that it be read not as mythic saga but as scientific prose. If Genesis were written in the language of modern science, it would read something like this."

- Michael Shermer

... or catch the video on YouTube after the click.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bible Quotes on "World Intelligence Updates?"

Since the time of the February 1979 revolution in Iran that swept Ayatollah Khomeini into power Americans have grown accustomed to looking down their noses at "Islamic fundamentalists." Many of us see these religious fanatics who call America "the Great Satan" and promise to "avenge the Crusades" as backward people susceptible to extremism and the influence of radical clerics. But what are we to make of Robert Draper's reporting in GQ magazine that during the initial stages of launching the war in Iraq senior intelligence officials in the Pentagon affixed Bible quotations on eleven different cover sheets of President George W. Bush's "Worldwide Intelligence Updates?"

... more from Joseph Palermo after the click.

My comment: So ... our religious fundamentalists are different from their religious fundamentalists because .... ??

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Prince of Tolerance Offers Lessons for the Future of Race Relations

Another piece of American history you never heard about ...

from a piece by Alex Storozynski
Author, "The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution"

"Jefferson said of Kosciuszko: "He is as pure a son of liberty, as I have ever known, and of that liberty which is to go to all, and not to the few or rich alone."

"After the revolution, Kosciuszko made Jefferson the administrator of his last will and testament, in which he instructed the founding father to use his money to buy slaves and free them, and to give them each 100 acres of land, farming tools and cattle, so that they could earn a living as free citizens of the United States. But Jefferson never carried out that will, and a lawsuit wound its way through the courts for decades, until the will was thrown out by the United States Supreme Court in 1852."

... read the rest after the click.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Regarding Pelosi and Torture

1.) Weren't those briefings covered by security clearances containing a restriction by law on spilling the beans on their content? If Pelosi had said anything, wouldn't she find herself a defendant in a Federal Court? If she had outlined the content of the briefings publicly at the time, wouldn't Republicans branded her as a traitor ... and in this case, rightfully so (for a change)?

2.) In that no notes were taken by anyone at those highly secure briefings and there are no transcripts, it seems to me there is some doubt about the exact content of the briefings. Is it even remotely possible that Pelosi might be actually telling the truth and that "torture" was discussed in the abstract or hypothetical rather than the real, here and now? It seems to me that the CIA has traditionally had some level of disdain for civilian oversight and I personally find it very plausible that an agency dedicated to secrecy would couch a briefing for civilians in the most vague and ambiguous terms possible. Isn't there a "need to know" unwritten rule around here somewhere? Isn't there a Jack Nicholson, "You can't handle the truth!" attitude in some quarters? No, I guess not. Everyone always plays it straight.

3.) As for the Republicans, it seems to me they have taken the unenviable position that, on one hand, "It wasn't torture! It was nothing more than a fraternity hazing!" while on the other hand, maintaining, at the same time and with equal vigor that, "It most certainly WAS torture and Nancy Pelosi was complicit!" When you come right down to the bottom line, it seems to me that the Pelosi "scandal" is just another distraction from the important issues - in a similar vein to the Republican discussion of whether or not Monica swallowed.

Torture is an interesting topic. If we used torture in order to gather honest, actionable intelligence, it would set a precedent of historic proportions because torture has never before in the history of man been used to get honest answers. It HAS been used throughout history to get people to say things they didn't want to say, regardless of the truth because, under torture, people will say whatever it is they think will make it stop ... truth is not an issue .... getting it to stop is the issue.

McCain was tortured by the North Vietnamese. They wanted a list of names of the people in his squadron and in his chain of command. He gave them the names of members of a football team (though now it seems he can't keep straight just which team). They wanted names; he gave them names. The torture stopped .. at least temporarily. But it stopped .... not because he gave them the truth but because he gave them what they wanted to hear. But of course, McCain was a whole lot tougher, smarter and more dedicated than those brown skinned, ill-educated, religious fanatics, counting their virgins due as they face their martyrdom.

Jessie Ventura got it right the other night on Larry King. "Give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and a half hour and I'll have him confessing to the Tate murders."

Torture has had one and only one purpose throughout history. That purpose has been to get the answers the torturer wants to hear, whether it be a conversion from one religion to another or a list of other "witches" in the village. Getting the honest, objective truth has never been the issue. Has the "intelligence" gained been actionable? Absolutely! Jews, Polish resistance fighters, Salem Massachusetts "witches" and a lot who weren't got swept up, tortured and killed as a result of that kind of actionable "intelligence".

Evidence is mounting that the purpose of torturing al Qaeda captives (the three that we admit to torturing) was not to defuse a ticking time bomb but to create a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda ... whether or not such a link truly existed. It was necessary to the "selling" of the war, both here and abroad. If was a political end, not a security concern. One hundred eighty three waterboard sessions over the course of a month, six months into captivity does not speak to a ticking time bomb a'la "24"! And, if it took 183 sessions, was it really working? It seems to me that somewhere after five or ten the motives for inflicting that level of terror come into question.

We have a serious mess and we have, to my mind, two choices ... and only two. Either we clear it up, find out the who, what, where and when of the situation, determine which laws were broken and whodunit ... and bring those people to justice under the law. -OR- Someone from some other country (Spain leaps to mind, given at least three Spanish citizens got swept up in this fiasco) will do it for us (as was done in the case of Pinochet and Milesovich, Eichmann and others) ... creating an even greater embarrassment for us than if we take care of it properly ourselves.

Do Republicans and Conservatives still think they're in favor of strong enforcement of the law? Or is the new motto, "Sure I robbed a bank, but look at all the bills I paid off!"

Saturday, May 09, 2009

President and Laura Bush's Deviled Eggs Recipe

12 large eggs, boiled hard and peeled
1 Tbsp (plus) soft butter
1 Tbsp (plus) mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard <----------------
1/2 tsp Yucatan Sunshine Habanero sauce

Salt to taste Cut eggs in half and set aside. Put egg yolks in food processor and add all ingredients. Process for 20 seconds or until mixture has blended. Check for taste and increase mustard, salt or Habanero sauce if desired. Place mixture in piping bag with star tip and pipe into egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley. Chill for about an hour before serving.

Source: White House / Recipies

My comment: Just sayin', Mr. Hannity. Is that all you got?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fair and Balanced? ... yuh ... .right!

... or catch the clip here on YouTube after the click.

The GOP Deserves Its Current State of Isolation

by Joseph Palermo on HuffPo

Every Sunday I look forward to reading Frank Rich's column in the New York Times. He's one of the few commentators the Times has who can both write and think. Last Sunday he offered a lament of sorts about the current state of the Republican Party. "We need more than one functioning party," he writes, "not just to ensure checks and balances and pitch ideas at a time of crisis, but to temper this president's sporadic bursts of overconfidence and triumphalist stagecraft." Rich digs deep to unearth signs of "sporadic bursts of overconfidence" citing three superficial examples from the last presidential campaign. His point got me thinking about whether or not we should be concerned, as many journalists seem to be, about the fate of the GOP. This argument would have more weight if we were discussing policy differences between Ike Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. But the modern Republican Party has been largely in power since 1981 and during the brief periods when it found itself in "opposition" it behaved so miserably it does not deserve our sympathy and regrets.

... read the rest on HuffPo after the click.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Los Angeles Archdiocesan Youth Commission Logo

Yup. It's the real thing. I wonder what the message is ...

It's either an example of total obliviousness or an attempt at "truth in advertising".