Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Music Blogging

Some Glenn Gould, eccentric Canadian and damn fine pianist.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Hail the Earth Bound Misfit

Who always manages to find these gems first, but I have to post them for those who have never been there.


Is Using A Minotaur To Gore Detainees A Form Of Torture?

Idaho Republicans show some grasp of reality

It seems that the loose lips of Rex Rammell, who joked about Obama hunting tags, are seen as going to far by the institutional GOP in Idaho.
The list of Idaho Republicans condemning a GOP gubernatorial candidate's comments about buying a license to hunt President Barack Obama grew Friday, as party leaders worried the incident would reflect badly on the state.

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo said former elk rancher Rex Rammell's comment at a Twin Falls GOP merits an apology, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch disavowed him from the Republican Party, and Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter called Rammell's comment "reckless and inflammatory."

...In a statement Friday, Crapo said, "Rex Rammell's comments are in very poor taste and should not have been said. Remarks like these should not even be made jokingly. He should apologize for those remarks and for the perception they may have created."

Otter said Friday afternoon that there was no place for Rammell's comments in Idaho, which he said damages confidence in the political process and those who serve the public.

"As governor, as an Idaho Republican and as a citizen of our state, I reject and condemn this kind of rhetoric," he said.
It is pleasant to hear some GOP actually speak like grownups. Still, there is a touch of political opportunism as it also gives them a chance to rip the outsider running against the chosen one.

Do we need to worry about the deficit?

Yes, say Paul Krugman, but not the way you think.
The only real reason for concern is political. The United States can deal with its debts if politicians of both parties are, in the end, willing to show at least a bit of maturity. Need I say more?
Given the current antics of the GOP, we could have a lot to worry about.

Rep. Pete Stark D-CA is one smart man.

Smart enough to know what the Blue Dogs are and man enough to tell it like it is.
On a recent conference call, Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) had strong words for his centrist Democratic colleagues in the House: “They’re, for the most part, I hate to say, brain dead” and looking to obstruct health insurance reform in order to pick up large campaign contributions.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, listening in to a conference call with liberal group with Campaign for America’s Future, Stark insisted “they just want to cause trouble,” according to the Associated Press.

“[They're] just looking to raise money from insurance companies and promote a right-wing agenda that is not really very useful in this whole process,” he said, added AP.
In spite of his remarks, the AP insists on calling the Blue Dogs moderates.

Chalk up another for the Taser

From the Raw Story:
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says a man has died after a deputy shocked him three times with an electric stun gun at a subway station.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You could pasta fazool

But you couldn't pass this tune in the jukebox.


Yout Two Minute Ed

In which he interviews Froma Harrop who lost her husband to an insurance company run death panel.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


They are only in it for the money

Because if they were really caring of their constituents interest they would be screaming for single payer. They, in this case, being the Blue Dogs, who are not really blue and a disgrace to the great family of dogs.
As the Obama administration and Democrats wrangled over the timing, shape and cost of health care overhaul efforts during the first half of the year, more than half the $1.1 million in campaign contributions the Democratic Party's Blue Dog Coalition received came from the pharmaceutical, health care and health insurance industries, according to watchdog organizations.

The amount outstrips contributions to other congressional political action committees during the same period, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit watchdog organization. The Blue Dogs, a group of fiscally conservative lawmakers, successfully delayed the vote on health care overhaul proposals until the fall...

...On average, Blue Dog Democrats net $62,650 more from the health sector than other Democrats, while hospitals and nursing homes also favor them, giving, respectively, $5,680 and $5,550 more, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that tracks the influence of money in politics.

At the same time, many Blue Dogs were also rubbing shoulders with health care and insurance industry executives and their lobbyists at fundraising breakfasts and cocktail receptions that cost upward of $1,000 a plate, according to public information compiled by the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation, which advocates greater government transparency. Since 2008, more than half the Blue Dogs have either attended health care industry fundraising receptions or similar functions co-sponsored by lobbyists representing the health care and insurance industries.
Besides their bird dogging every last dollar available, Blue Dogs can be recognized for their fondness of pissing on people's shoes and declaring it is raining. If you have one in your neighborhood, remember the best remedy is a stong primary opponent.

Pat Oliphant says farewell


My mother always told me

That we are known by the friends we choose. On that basis, we are in deep shit in Afghanistan and should just pull out and let the local good old boys have at it. Everyone knows about Hamid Karzai, our boy at the top, but do you know about his soon to be VP?
It was a heated debate during the Bush administration: What to do about evidence that Afghanistan’s powerful defense minister was involved in drug trafficking? Officials from the time say they needed him to help run the troubled country. So the answer, in the end: look the other way.

Today that debate will be even more fraught for a new administration, for the former defense minister, Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim, stands a strong chance of becoming the next vice president of Afghanistan.

In his bid for re-election, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has surrounded himself with checkered figures who could bring him votes: warlords suspected of war crimes, corruption and trafficking in the country’s lucrative poppy crop. But none is as influential as Marshal Fahim, his running mate, whose trajectory in and out of power, and American favor, says much about the struggle the United States has had in dealing with corruption in Afghanistan.
We get into these messes saying all the right and righteous words, but we seem to gravitate to the worst elements of whatever society we are engaged with.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

If bank robbery is successful, then bank robbery is OK?

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Quote of the Day

On the contrary, this fair, efficiently run health care system costs roughly a third less per person that the US system - that’s right, about 1/3 less per capita – despite (or because?) everyone being on board and receiving comprehensive health care.

That figure doesn’t come from rationing, long waits to see a doctor, or long waiting lists to get an operation, either - that doesn’t happen here. What that figure does reflect, however, is just how much waste, duplication, and gouging of consumers must be taking place in the US health care system every day.
Dr. med. Frederick B. Lacey Jr., an American doctor describing, in the WaPo how well the German health insurance system works.

Ever plumbing the depths of the abyss

Drug Limbaugh marks the passing of Ted Kennedy with all the class of a shit stain on a wino's underwear.
Rush Limbaugh offered himself some kudos Wednesday for predicting in March that the health care bill wouldn't be passed before Ted Kennedy's death.

"Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care Bill," Limbaugh said at the time.

I predicted it.
Other than sucking in air that could be used by decent people, Drug Limbaugh continues to exhibit no known human qualities.

jurassicpork has collected the remarks of the never-right wing blogoscopy so you don't have to. It seems many of them are trying for their own Shit Stain with Dingleberry Clusters.

O how sharper than a serpents tooth

To read words like this.
Beer drinkers beware: The cost of a cold one is going up. Anheuser-Busch InBev., which brews Budweiser, plans to raise prices.

"We plan on taking price increases on a majority of volume and in a majority of markets this fall,"
Just in time for beer season.

KO looks at one of the health insurance families

The other companies are doing just fine, also.

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R.I.P. Senator Ted Kennedy

1932-2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A little New York night music

For all you old movie buffs.


Your Two Minute Ed

Wherein our heroes wonder if the is a sea change blowing in.

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Dickwahd al-Cheny, same shit different day

In a statement Monday evening, former Vice President Dick Cheney accused the Obama White House of politicizing the Justice Department and insisted that a new report on interrogation policies by the CIA proved the efficacy of torture.

Neither statement was correct.
There are still people who have to be told that a statement from Dickwahd is false.

The lawyers made me do it

Such is the latest defense of the indefensible in the continuing story of Bank of America, its settlement with the SEC and the judge who wanted to know more.
Responding to questions posed by a federal judge, Bank of America and the Securities and Exchange Commission said the bank had relied on its outside lawyers to fill in the fine print in that firm’s controversial marriage with Bank of America.

That meant that lawyers at two firms — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as well as Shearman & Sterling — handled a decision to keep Merrill’s $3.6 billion in bonus payouts a secret from Bank of America’s shareholders, according to the filings.
That is some fine management there. Imagine how big that bank would be if it was run by someone who knew what he was doing.

Why are we there

Bob Herbert asks that question about the legacy Bush wars in the context of the troops who have to fight it.
The war in Afghanistan made sense once but it doesn’t any longer. The war in Iraq never did. And yet, with most of the country tuned out entirely, we’re still suiting up the soldiers and the Marines, putting them on planes and sending them off with a high stakes (life or death) roll of the dice.

“2nd Tour, Hope I Don’t Die.”

Or maybe it’s the third tour, or fourth, or fifth. The book’s title came from graffiti scrawled on a wall at an Air Force base in Kuwait that was one of the transit points for troops heading to Iraq. America’s young fighting men and women have to make these multiple tours because the overwhelming majority of the American people want no part of the nation’s wars. They don’t want to serve, they don’t want to make any sacrifices here on the home front — they don’t even want to pay the taxes that would be needed to raise the money to pay for the wars. We just add the trillions to deficits that stretch as far as the eye can see.

To the extent that we think about the wars at all, it’s just long enough to point our fingers at the volunteers and say: “Oh yeah, great. You go. And if you come back maimed or dead we’ll salute you as a hero.”
Let's just bring them all back now, so they can return the salute.

Glen Beck attacks a black man

Nothing unusual there. Nor was the attack anything special, just another ad hominem assault. What was different was that his target is the founder of Color of Change, the group that has successfully developed a boycott against that Beck creature. One might think that Beck would have tried to argue his case, but it appears that Glenny has conceded that point, which only leaves him with pointless, baseless attacks. The essence of Beck.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Traveler, stop a minute to say a prayer

The tablets are among 40 or so memorials dotted all over Russia to commemorate not only Chernobyl but earlier disasters, or nuclear tests, that were kept secret for decades — near Chelyabinsk in 1957, at Semipalatinsk from 1949 — as well as all who have died or suffered as a result of joining the hundreds of thousands of people who were drafted or volunteered for the cleanup and encasing of the reactor, the “liquidation” of the Chernobyl accident, as the Soviets called it.

These memorials have drawn scant attention either nationally or internationally. They have sprung up mostly on local initiative by members of a national association, Soyuz Chernobyl, or the Union of Chernobyl, a nongovernmental organization founded in 1990 to remind everyone of the dangers of radiation (which were unsuspected by most Soviet citizens at the time of the Chernobyl accident).

Vladimir V. Bondarenko, a group member reached by telephone at its Moscow headquarters, said some branches apply to town or regional councils to pay for the memorials, while others raise their own money. The installations range from Tarusa’s simple plaques to elaborate commissioned sculptures.
Mind you, the rest of the nuclear community is not without similar events, but the old USSR had a splendid disregard for the sanctity of life.

Props to Michele Bachmann

She done got herself a Dickipedia entry. Not that it would be difficult for someone with her talents, but it is good to see her abilities recognized by the world at large.
In addition to being a dick, Bachmann's track record has proven she is also a full-fledged nutjob. The type of person that makes you turn to your friend the moment she gets up to use the bathroom and mouth "She's craaaaaaazy," complete with hand motions and bug-eyes.

While Bachmann has always been a local dick, she didn't come onto the national dick scene until the 2008 election when she accused Barack Obama and many members of Congress of being "anti-American."

Like her pal Palin, Bachmann is deceptively attractive. While Palin is attractive in a "if she just put down that gun, took off those glasses, and started forming complete sentences" sort of way, Bachmann has the whole girl next door thing working for her. But only if you grew up next to an insane asylum.
Congratulations to the woman who put the bat shit in bat-shit crazy and makes sure we will never run out.

UPDATE: Never one to disappoint the crowd, Michele Bachmann's latest batshit outburst is to call for people to pray to God to kill another 20,000 Americans in the year ahead. No doubt Michele's god has been hanging around the phone waiting for that call.

Your Two Minute Ed

Where he talks to Jack Rice about the Bush torture investigation.

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GOPer to sue Obama for birth certificate

Because there is nothing dumber than a member of the Republican Party, except maybe those who think it is too liberal.

And no, there is no truth to the rumor that Trent Franks was born Trini Francisco.

The most important thing to remember about the GOP's "Senior Bill of Rights"

You may have read the Mickey Steele opinion piece in the WaPo today. The most important thing to remember is not anything that Mickey wrote, but what he didn't write.

If the GOP ever regains serious power, the entire GOP caucus will suffer 100% amnesia about this.

The insurance companies have the champagne on ice

And they have probably even sampled a few bottles every time Kent Conrad and Max Boughtcus open their mouths. The LA Times has a look at the joyful faces in the insurance companies.
Lashed by liberals and threatened with more government regulation, the insurance industry nevertheless rallied its lobbying and grass-roots resources so successfully in the early stages of the healthcare overhaul deliberations that it is poised to reap a financial windfall.

The half-dozen leading overhaul proposals circulating in Congress would require all citizens to have health insurance, which would guarantee insurers tens of millions of new customers -- many of whom would get government subsidies to help pay the companies' premiums.

"It's a bonanza," said Robert Laszewski, a health insurance executive for 20 years who now tracks reform legislation as president of the consulting firm Health Policy and Strategy Associates Inc.

Some insurance company leaders continue to profess concern about the unpredictable course of President Obama's massive healthcare initiative, and they vigorously oppose elements of his agenda. But Laszewski said the industry's reaction to early negotiations boiled down to a single word: "Hallelujah!"
There is still some concern because the public option is not yet DOA, but the thought of all those new mandatory customer, without any pesky option and all the reforms watered down to nothingness and a new even lower payout percentage, What's not to love. Hell, they may even keep their death panels.

Krugman looks at the battle between ideology and reality

And he is depressed because it looks like a failed ideology is going to trump reality, again.
Call me naïve, but I actually hoped that the failure of Reaganism in practice would kill it. It turns out, however, to be a zombie doctrine: even though it should be dead, it keeps on coming.

Let’s talk for a moment about why the age of Reagan should be over.

First of all, even before the current crisis Reaganomics had failed to deliver what it promised. Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the “magic of the marketplace” were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn’t happen.

To be sure, the wealthy benefited enormously: the real incomes of the top .01 percent of Americans rose sevenfold between 1980 and 2007. But the real income of the median family rose only 22 percent, less than a third its growth over the previous 27 years.

Moreover, most of whatever gains ordinary Americans achieved came during the Clinton years. President George W. Bush, who had the distinction of being the first Reaganite president to also have a fully Republican Congress, also had the distinction of presiding over the first administration since Herbert Hoover in which the typical family failed to see any significant income gains.
What next, Michael Jackson's Zombie Tour 09?

They are back and just as bad as ever.

They being the comedy duo of McCain and Liebermann. In seperate but coordinated messages the laugh a minute pair passed a couple of knee slappers to an adoring public.
“I believe that one of the fundamentals for any agreement would be that the president abandon the government option,” said McCain, leaving his studio audience in stitches.
Not to be outdone, Liebermann, back in the public eye after a hiatus that left many fans hoping he was dead, dropped this comedic shiv 'tween the ribs.
“I’m afraid we’ve got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy is out of recession. There’s no reason we have to do it all now.”
Oy vey, such a mensch, protecting his wife's gravy train.

But let's be serious for a moment. These two should be thanked for pointing out one of the unmentioned dangers of government healthcare. These two old farts have been sucking on the taxpayer financed healthcare tit for most of their lives. And they are still alive.

Intel experts call for a wide ranging investigation into Bush torture

Three guys who know whereof they speak say an investigation into Bush torture policy and practices is needed and it won't harm national security to do so.
Far from jeopardizing US security, as some politicians claim, an investigation into torture practices during the Bush administration would prevent future abuses, say three senior veterans of the intelligence community.

An article by Jason Leopold at the Public Record news site says that former FBI counterterrorism expert Jack Cloonan, military interrogator Col. Steve Kleinman, and “Matthew Alexander,” the pseudonym of a special-ops interrogator who was part of a task force in Iraq, are all urging Congress and the White House to launch investigations into torture practices during the Bush era.

Not only would the three like to see a wide-ranging investigation into torture practices — as opposed to the “narrow” investigation being mulled by Attorney General Eric Holder — they would also like to see a separate investigation into how the policies allowing torture were formed in the first place.

Monday Music Blogging

Mozarts 9th Concerto written at age 21, K 271, not bad.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

She was on an insurance company death panel

And she looks so ordinary.


Stark raving lunacy as party policy

Frank Rich writes one of those columns you need to read. In it he describes the GOP descent into White Madness. And in the end he has a piece of valuable wisdom for President Obama.
The G.O.P., whose ranks have now dwindled largely to whites in Dixie and the less-populated West, is not even a paper tiger — it’s a paper muskrat. James Carville is correct when he says that if Republicans actually carried out their filibuster threats on health care, it would be a political bonanza for the Democrats.

In last year’s campaign debates, Obama liked to cite his unlikely Senate friendship with Tom Coburn, of all people, as proof that he could work with his adversaries. If the president insists that enemies like this are his friends — and that the nuts they represent can be placated by reason — he will waste his opportunity to effect real change and have no one to blame but himself.
This is not a new idea, but it would be nice if Obama showed some inkling of understanding it.

Quote of the Day

If nothing is done to slow current trends, the number of people in this country without insurance or with inadequate coverage will continue to spiral upward. That would be a personal tragedy for many and a moral disgrace for the nation. It is also by no means cost-free. Any nation as rich as ours ought to guarantee health coverage for all of its residents.
New York Times editorial 8/23/09

Competition is the heart and soul of America

So why is the GOP so opposed to it?
Several studies show that in lots of places, one or two companies dominate the market. Critics say monopolistic conditions drive up premiums paid by employers and individuals.

For Democrats, the answer is a public plan that would compete with private insurers. Republicans see that as a government power grab. President Barack Obama looks to be trapped in the middle of an argument that could sink his effort to overhaul the health care system.

Even lawmakers opposed to a government plan have problems with the growing clout of the big private companies.

"There is a serious problem with the lack of competition among insurers," said Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the highest-cost states. "The impact on the consumer is significant."

Wellpoint Inc. accounted for 71 percent of the Maine market, while runner-up Aetna had a 12 percent share, according to a 2008 report by the American Medical Association.

Proponents of a government plan say it could restore a competitive balance and lead to lower costs. For one thing, it wouldn't have to turn a profit.

A study by the Urban Institute public policy center estimated that a public plan could save taxpayers from $224 billion to $400 billion over 10 years by lowering the cost of proposed subsidies for the uninsured, while preserving private coverage for most people.

"Right now, there's no incentive for insurers or big hospital groups to negotiate with each other, because they can pass higher payments on through premiums," said economist Linda Blumberg, co-author of the report. "A public plan would have the leverage to set lower payment rates and get providers to participate at those rates."
Competition is bad if you are trying to run up impressive profits for your friends on Wall St.

A viper in our midst

Of all the disgustingly anti American remarks coming from the GOP, the most reprehensible has been uttered by a member of the US Congress.
US House Representative Wally Herger, of California’s 2nd congressional district, expressed “enthusiastic approval” of a town-hall attendee who described himself as a “proud right-wing terrorist,” newspapers in northern California report.

According to the Redding Record Searchlight, an incident broke out at a town hall at Simpson University in Redding on Tuesday when Herger signaled encouragement to a 67-year-old town hall attendee, Bert Stead, who called himself a “proud right-wing terrorist.”

“Amen, God bless you,” Herger reportedly replied to the comment. “There is a great American.”

...“Our democracy has never been threatened as much as it is today,” the Mount Shasta Area Newspapers quoted Herger as saying.
And you should look closely in the mirror for the source of that threat, sir.

He still can't figure it out

John McCain lost the election. He not only lost, he was beaten like a rented mule. Still, he thinks that the public sees value in what he says.
Sen. John McCain believes that President Barack Obama must drop his support for a public insurance option before Republicans will consider supporting reform.

“I believe that one of the fundamentals for any agreement would be that the president abandon the government option,”

...“I think that Republicans are more than agreeable to sit down and talk about various reforms,” he added.

Asked about the president’s remark that McCain’s former running mate Sarah Palin’s “death panels” comment is an “extraordinary lie,” McCain argued that “the way that [that clause] was written made it a little ambiguous.”
It would be a kindness if someone told him, and half pint Georgie Stepintoamessofit, too.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Billionaires for Wealthcare



h/t to Kiss My Big Blue Butt

Why are they there?

That question might make a better headline for the NY Times report on the Marine efforts in Helmand province of Afghanisand. It turns out the "brave freedom loving" government in Kabul is not even making a pretense of following up the Marine pacification efforts.
Even with the new operation in Helmand Province, which involves the Marines here and more than 3,000 others as part of President Obama’s troop deployments, the military lacks the troop strength even to try to secure some significant population centers and guerrilla strongholds in central and southern Helmand.

And they do not have nearly enough forces to provide the kinds of services throughout the region that would make a meaningful difference in Afghans’ lives, which, in any case, is a job American commanders would rather leave for the Afghan government.

Meanwhile, Afghans in Khan Neshin, the Marines’ southernmost outpost in Helmand Province, are coming to the Americans with requests for medical care, repairs of clogged irrigation canals and the reopening of schools.

“Without the Afghan government, we will not be successful,” said Capt. Korvin Kraics, the battalion’s lawyer, who is in Khan Neshin. “You need local-level bureaucracy to defeat the insurgency. Without the stability that brings, the Taliban can continue to maintain control.”

Local administration is a problem throughout Afghanistan, and many rural areas suffer from corrupt local officials — if they have officials at all. But southern Helmand has long been one of the most ungovernable regions, a vast, inhospitable desert dominated by opium traffickers and the Taliban.
I guess those opium traffickers are not the same opium traffickers that support our boy Karzai. And if Kabul doesn't want it, why do we waste our time and money and men there?

And the toon shall set you free

From the pen of Jim Morin


A few Hammer jokes for you

Daniel Kurtzman's Political Humor Blog has collected some of the jokes made at the expense of the latest "Dancing With The Stars" entrant, Tom "The Hammer" Delay. Of my three favorites, two are from people not known for their humor.

- "Does he know the 'Perp Walk?' —ABC News's Brian Ross

- "Tom DeLay will appear on 'Dancing With the Stars.' Should do well. With all that experience tap dancing around the truth." —Will Durst

- "Isn't it interesting that in our society somebody who is indicted for violating campaign finance law is now a celebrity. He ought to be running for prom queen in San Quentin or some place." --CNN's Jack Cafferty

Hey Jack, can't you just see Bubba and Sluggo duking it out for Tom's next dance?

Dept. of It's About Time

Liberal activists are pressuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and party leaders to crack down on renegade centrist Democrats who might block President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.

Democratic leaders should make it clear to Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and other centrists that they have an obligation to help the party advance a Democratic healthcare bill this fall, the activists say, and those that disregard the call and join in a Republican filibuster should face real consequences...

...Now liberal activists say it is time to instill some party discipline so that Democrats can take full advantage of the power they have controlling 60 Senate seats. They have gone so far as to suggest that centrists should be threatened with lack of financial support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

"There ought to be real pressure in terms of making it clear to people what is expected,” said Robert Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future. “They are not going to get support from DSCC if they’re not going to be loyal on basic procedural votes to give the president an up-or-down vote on his plan.
If you have a phone or an e-mail account, add your voice to those who are working for you.

Quote of the Day

That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress, and let them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions.
Michele Bachmann R-MN, abandoning her anti abortion stand and coming out foursquare for a woman's right to choose.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's all relative

If you ever wondered just what that means, consider these remarks by NY Mayoral strongman Michael Bloomberg.
Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical companies and their chief executives on Friday, declaring that they "don't make a lot of money" and shouldn't be scapegoats in the health care debate.

The mayor – and wealthiest person in New York City with a fortune estimated at $16.5 billion – made the comments on his radio show Friday during a discussion about health care.

"You know, last time I checked, pharmaceutical companies don't make a lot of money, their executives don't make a lot of money – not that they couldn't be better," Bloomberg said.

Pharmaceutical CEOs are known to make millions, with generous salaries, stock options and other perks.

Abbott Laboratories Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Miles White's compensation was $25.3 million in 2008. The North Chicago, Ill.-based company saw profit rising 35 percent to $4.88 billion.

Merck & Co.'s chief executive, Richard T. Clark, received a $17.3 million compensation package for 2008. The company's profit more than doubled to $7.8 billion.
Those of us with a not worth far, far less than His Gracie the Mayor generally take a different view of insurance CEO compensation. It's all a matter of looking up or looking down.

Friday Night Music

For those planning to go to the roadhouse for a little two-steppin'


Your Two Minute Ed

Are you ready to march on DC for health care?

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I don't understand how your brain works.

Jon Stewart goes head to head? with the Unreal McCaughey

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Pataki had it right.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

We hope this bit of the imagination of Pat Oliphant remains imaginary.


Obama plays fast and loose with out trust

That is the crux of todays Krugman.
A backlash in the progressive base — which pushed President Obama over the top in the Democratic primary and played a major role in his general election victory — has been building for months. The fight over the public option involves real policy substance, but it’s also a proxy for broader questions about the president’s priorities and overall approach.
He watched the GOP do it and forgot that you have to stroke and feed your base, if not red meat at least a bowl of Purina Base Chow.
Now, politics is the art of the possible. Mr. Obama was never going to get everything his supporters wanted.

But there’s a point at which realism shades over into weakness, and progressives increasingly feel that the administration is on the wrong side of that line. It seems as if there is nothing Republicans can do that will draw an administration rebuke: Senator Charles E. Grassley feeds the death panel smear, warning that reform will “pull the plug on grandma,” and two days later the White House declares that it’s still committed to working with him.

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased, and who take every concession as a sign that he can be rolled.

Indeed, no sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.

So progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it. And now he needs to win it back
So now he has to work twice as hard to get back where he started. Nice job, sir.

Doesn't know when to shut up

You might think that a man as clever as TurdBlossom would know when enough has been said. Apparently not.
Lawyer declines to say how he found out accuser didn’t talk to Justice Department

Karl Rove’s latest attempt to proclaim his innocence and demand apologies from those who have accused him of being behind the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman may backfire if it turns out that Rove was improperly receiving inside information after leaving his position as Deputy White House Chief of Staff.
How nice. The Old Turd, being too clever by half, might yet be hoist on his own petard.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Your Two Minute Ed

The moral imperative, from the faith based community.

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KO & Wendell Potter

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The CIA hired Blackwater

Allegedly to do some "wet work" for the agency. The CIA spent a few million dollars, some people underwent some training, nothing was done and Blackwater kept the money. Sounds like a typical Bushovik security initiative, expensive and useless.

Not what did he know, but why didn't he.

Phil Gramm, erstwhile senator and vice chairman of UBS' investment banking business is in a tight place right now. As Robert Scheer points out
In recent days yet another wealthy private customer of the Swiss-based banking conglomerate UBS admitted to criminal fraud in a growing parade of perp walks that could extend into the thousands. It is a case that threatens to ensnare former Sen. Phil Gramm, the Texas Republican who is vice chairman of UBS' investment banking business. Given the widespread involvement of UBS in what the Justice Department alleges were systematic efforts to violate U.S. tax laws, it must be asked: Did Gramm as a top executive have no inkling about what was going on?
And Phil the Gramlin was not your ordinary bank exec. In addition to his knowledge of finance was his knowledge of government. He wrote or blocked more laws than most lawyers ever come across. Indeed, in his own words on ascending to the vice chairmanship,
"It will provide me with an opportunity to practice what I've always preached.... I have a strange combination of experiences that a lot of people don't have... knowledge of economics, a knowledge of government policy."
Or to put it in English, he is more likely to have designed the tax evasion policy of UBS than been ignorant of it. Will Phil the Gramlin get his day in court? Or will he bite the cyanide like his friend Ken Lay? Stay tuned.

Some GOP senators are scared

Scared of the possible results of an investigation into torture by the Dept of Justice. They use the standard and very threadbare excuse of national security being endangered by any one looking into their past criminal activity.
Nine Republican Senators are urging Attorney General Eric Holder to drop the idea of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Bush-era torture practices, news reports indicated Wednesday.

The appointment of a special prosecutor would “have serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans,” nine GOP senators told Holder in a letter, as reported at the Hill.

Among the nine are Kit Bond (R-MO), who is the ranking GOP member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The others are Christopher Bond (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Kyl (R-AZ), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
This is analogous to 9 bank robbers complaining about the surveillance cameras down at the old 1st National.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Night finds us in Dire Straits

But now we know why Senators want to be rock stars. Money for nothing isn't much is you have to pay for your chicks.



The only down part is some guitar punk in a pink suit.

The Colbert Word

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Your Two Minute Ed

Where Ed does a little fact checking and Luntz is shown to be a liar, as usual.

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Quote of the Day

What do you mean blow up the Senate rules? Look, there’s a reason that there’s a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and Democratic presidency. That middle block of Americans want us to get this done.
Rep. Anthony Weiner D-NY, proving that Democrats don't have to leave their brains with their balls at the door when they enter Congress.

You go, Barney!


If you haven't figured it out by now

KO presents the health care position of the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

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Parts is parts

Unless they are your parts, then you want to have some say over their disposal or dispersal.
The Israeli press is in flames over what is being called a “medieval blood libel” by a Swedish newspaper which alleged today that Israeli Defense Force soldiers have been killing Palestinians, including children, and selling their organs.

The claims were so offensive to Israeli officials, they ordered the nation’s embassy in Stockholm to demand the Swedish government condemn the paper, according to published reports.

The reporter, according to Israeli publication Y-Net, characterized a Palestinian man’s offenses as interfering with “Israeli conquering forces.”
It is a horrible story that I hope is untrue. If it is true may the perps suffer the full penalty.

We here in the District support and encourage organ donation, a way you can give life to someone after yours is done. The taking or harvesting of others without their consent is a repugnant act.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

Giving up on the public option might be expedient. But we didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one.
Eugene Robinson, explaining in the WaPo what President Obama has to live up to.

We can't afford health coverage for All Americans

But there is plenty of money to give your dog this.



The health insurance company death panels are waiting for this woman

Will Congress come to the aid of this woman?
Health insurance is mighty important to three-time cancer survivor Mary Duffy, of Redwood City, California. So when she lost her job in June 2008, she opted to pay the big premiums to keep her coverage under the COBRA program. But COBRA has a time limit -- 18 months. In December, Duffy's being kicked loose.
Or will they let the insurance companies death panels, staffed with nameless, faceless bean counters, condemn her to certain death because her life is no longer profitable for them?

Call or write your Representative and Senator and ask them what her future holds.

Rachel teaches Journalism 102

How to spot a fake.

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Tom Daeschle, not a Blue Dog, just dog shit

From Swampland:
Sounds like tough-talk from a man who was introduced on the show as "former Senate majority leader Democrat Tom Daschle, an informal adviser to the White House and author of 'Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.' " Left unmentioned was the fact that Daschle, in his capacity as a high-paid consultant at the law firm Alston and Bird, is once again working closely with lobbyists for UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. industry player, aiding the company's effort to convince moderate Senate and House Democrats to, among other things, kill the public option and keep company profits high.
The insurance companies must have been pissed off when the GOP found Tom's tax problems and blocked his appointment to HHS. He was the perfect mole.

Bob Herbert looks at the state of health insurance reform

And what he sees is about as ugly as Tom Delay pole dancing.
Forget about a crackdown on price-gouging drug companies and predatory insurance firms. That’s not happening. With the public pretty well confused about what is going on, we’re headed — at best — toward changes that will result in a lot more people getting covered, but that will not control exploding health care costs and will leave industry leaders feeling like they’ve hit the jackpot.

The hope of a government-run insurance option is all but gone. So there will be no effective alternative for consumers in the market for health coverage, which means no competitive pressure for private insurers to rein in premiums and other charges. (Forget about the nonprofit cooperatives. That’s like sending peewee footballers up against the Super Bowl champs.)

Insurance companies are delighted with the way “reform” is unfolding. Think of it: The government is planning to require most uninsured Americans to buy health coverage. Millions of young and healthy individuals will be herded into the industry’s welcoming arms. This is the population the insurers drool over.
So the insurance and drug company dons get rich and the rest of us get slimed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Somebody has some wicked pictures of Max Baucus

Probably with little boys. Why else would he move from proposing a health insurance system with a public option to being a prime blocker in its path, all in 12 months. Hopefully some patriotic American will bring forth the pictures so we can see what has turned a man so quickly and deeply against his own self

Jane Hamsher sets the record a little straighter

For Mrs Alan Greenspan


The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Before any congressional action took place, the GOP said they would not support any single payer plan. The President Obama said he wanted a "Public Option" the GOP stood foursquare against that possibility. So this weekend the White House makes noises about dropping the Public Option and going with Not for Profit Co-ops. And the GOP position on the Co-ops? Just what you would expect.
perhaps Democrats can win over a few Republicans if they keep government out of the insurance industry and create a system of privately-held health-care co-operatives instead. Simple right?

Not if the RNC has anything to say about it.

They're out today with a new release, attacking the co-op idea
If Jesus returned and asked them if they would join him in the Kingdom of Heaven, those meanspirited bastards would say, in unison, "NO!". Mostly out of habit.

From the pen of Nick Anderson


A quick comparison

Of the methods of providing health coverage to all our citizens is Paul Krugman's column today. You have read or heard about them before but it needs all the reps it can get. Curiously it appears that Obama wants to turn us into a nation of lederhosen-wearing holey-cheese eaters.
the third route to universal coverage relies on private insurance companies, using a combination of regulation and subsidies to ensure that everyone is covered. Switzerland offers the clearest example: everyone is required to buy insurance, insurers can’t discriminate based on medical history or pre-existing conditions, and lower-income citizens get government help in paying for their policies.
The flaw in this plan is that Swiss insurance companies still maintain an integrity and probity long ago cast aside by American insurers. Which is why we face this.
At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies.
Sort of like having to climb Everest, K2 and the Eiger with one hand to get home.

Monday Music Blogging

A beautiful melody played by the finest flautist alive and, sadly, an unnamed group accompanying him.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Glen Beck's best health care in the world.

No wonder Asian charities are sending missions to the US to provide free health care.



click pic to big

stolen from Digby

If Glen Beck keeps losing sponsors

Soon his only advertiser will be Sham-Wow! Wouldn't that be appropriate.

And I think they would like a Democratic Bill

Rachel speaks truth to Gregory and The Village.


The Tree of Crazy is the New Kudzu

Growing everywhere and with its poisonous flowers polluting the land, it is choking out natural American growth. Rick Perlstein looks at the madness, organized and abetted by evil narrow interests that attack America whenever it seeks to move this country beyond the abyss of Neanderthal thinking that comforts too many people.
So the birthers, the anti-tax tea-partiers, the town hall hecklers -- these are "either" the genuine grass roots or evil conspirators staging scenes for YouTube? The quiver on the lips of the man pushing the wheelchair, the crazed risk of carrying a pistol around a president -- too heartfelt to be an act. The lockstep strangeness of the mad lies on the protesters' signs -- too uniform to be spontaneous. They are both. If you don't understand that any moment of genuine political change always produces both, you can't understand America, where the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, and where elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests.
This is really quite a depressing piece because, as Perlstein points out, we no longer have leaders with the courage to stand up to the bullshit nor journalists capable of calling it bullshit.

Do Not Ask for Whom the Tom Toles

Today it is for the Bush/Cheney legacy.


You can pass all the laws & regs you want

But when the Army needs something done it calls upon whatever troops are available and Bush War II in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that it matters little if that troop is a man or a woman.
As the convoy rumbled up the road in Iraq, Specialist Veronica Alfaro was struck by the beauty of fireflies dancing in the night. Then she heard the unmistakable pinging of tracer rounds and, in a Baghdad moment, realized the insects were illuminated bullets.

She jumped from behind the wheel of her gun truck, grabbed her medical bag and sprinted 50 yards to a stalled civilian truck. On the way, bullets kicked up dust near her feet. She pulled the badly wounded driver to the ground and got to work.

Despite her best efforts, the driver died, but her heroism that January night last year earned Specialist Alfaro a Bronze Star for valor. She had already received a combat action badge for fending off insurgents as a machine gunner.

“I did everything there,” Ms. Alfaro, 25, said of her time in Iraq. “I gunned. I drove. I ran as a truck commander. And underneath it all, I was a medic.”
They are professionals, doing the job that needs to be done.

President Obama on Health Insurance Reform

In the NY Times the President has put forth his position on health insurance reform. First and foremost he makes clear that he will end the insurance company death panels that so frequently and sometimes fatally come between patients and their doctors.
What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.

These are people like Lori Hitchcock, whom I met in New Hampshire last week. Lori is currently self-employed and trying to start a business, but because she has hepatitis C, she cannot find an insurance company that will cover her. Another woman testified that an insurance company would not cover illnesses related to her internal organs because of an accident she had when she was 5 years old. A man lost his health coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because the insurance company discovered that he had gallstones, which he hadn’t known about when he applied for his policy. Because his treatment was delayed, he died.

I hear more and more stories like these every single day, and it is why we are acting so urgently to pass health-insurance reform this year. I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is. But it’s just as important for Americans who do have health insurance.
And he explains in plain English that even an honest deather could understand what he is trying to do. Hell, even his summation is easy to understand.
This is what reform is about. If you don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options once we pass reform. If you have health insurance, we will make sure that no insurance company or government bureaucrat gets between you and the care you need. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. You will not be waiting in any lines. This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance. I don’t believe anyone should be in charge of your health care decisions but you and your doctor — not government bureaucrats, not insurance companies.
Simple enough for even your average Cheetos eater to comprehend, if he wanted to. Sadly, he is preaching to the choir, those who need to read it won't because what does a black man know anyway.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Forty years ago the VC were able to do the same type of attack

Afghan authorities are trying to determine how a suicide bomber breached tight security in Kabul's diplomatic quarter on Saturday and detonated an SUV packed with explosives in front of NATO headquarters five days before the presidential election.
I guess when you hitch your wagon, again, to a power structure that is more criminal than powerful, you get the same results

Gawker does Betsy McCaughey

And lays out the arc of her career in a simple easy to read way.
Betsy McCaughey is a professional liar. She lies. The things she writes are untrue. They are not even "distortions." They are made-up. Everyone has known this for years and yet she was still allowed to derail the nation this month.

McCaughey's schtick, as described by James Fallows, is to pose as a disinterested, objective researcher who is just shocked and dismayed to find something insane and evil in a piece of legislation supported by a Democratic president.

And then she sits down to write a very serious and nonpartisan and concerned piece of analysis of this evil thing in the legislation that she made up. And then some respectable outlet publishes her serious analysis. And then, within minutes, partisan Republican columnists, talk radio hosts, politicians, and operatives are disseminating talking points taken directly from that serious piece of entirely made-up bullshit analysis.
Yet despite this and more, no one is able to say clearly why anybody who does not hate America listens to her. Oh, the brain pain!

There was some great TV on Friday

And if you missed it then, here is your chance. First we have Dana Gould reporting for Real Time on a town hall in California and the RAM medical event in the Forum and it is not comedy.



Next is Lawrence O'Donnell giving the full O'Reilly to a Texican congressman on Hardball and finally calling him a liar.

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When cancer is the diagnosis

One AmericaBlog reader from Canada provides us with his story. Go and read about the horrors and indignities he suffered.

A real eye opener, isnt it?

Quote of the Day

You know who really is opposed to the Obama healthcare plan? The Republicans. Apparently it does not cover breast implants for their mistresses so they think, 'We don't want it. We don't need it.
David Letterman, exposing the real truth behind GOP opposition.

From the pen of John Sherrfius



click pic to big

What is a Blue Dog

The Nation has an editorial that calls for a progressive effort to get health insurance reform back on track. In it they have the perfect description of the Blue Dog "Democrats".
The Blue Dogs come largely from rural and Southern districts, and often campaign by distancing themselves from the national party. Their support comes from voters who are conservative on social issues like guns and abortion. But on bread-and-butter concerns, these legislators are voting with their contributors, not their constituents.

The Blue Dogs parade as "fiscal conservatives" and "moderates," false advertising that the mainstream press mindlessly echoes. In fact, they are the epitome of a Washington captured by moneyed interests. They aren't working to ensure that healthcare reforms are paid for; they are laboring on behalf of insurance companies to protect their obscene profits. The Blue Dogs are maneuvering on behalf of Big Pharma to make sure the government won't negotiate reasonable drug prices. They're doing their best to derail reasonable tax hikes on the affluent, hikes that would make insurance affordable for working- and middle-class families. Even on the Blue Dogs' signature issue--the "pay-go" rules, which they insist must be passed into law--they exempt reductions in the estate tax on the wealthiest Americans and, of course, the cost of any military adventure whatsoever.
Sort of like getting a moderate fucking from a middle of the street whore. You have to pity their voters who think they are actually getting some from the Blue Scum.

Is sugar the new gasoline?

Could be if you believe the folks making market predictions. Sugar prices currently looks poised for a speculative rocket ride to the stratosphere.
Earlier in the week we noted that the price of sugar hit a 28-year high because drought in India and rain in Brazil — the top-two producers — have reduced crops. A contributing factor is the increasing amount of sugar being used to produce ethanol fuel. As a result, hedge funds and other speculators are betting the price will rise further. Their bets paid off yesterday: it jumped 4.4%.
And the signs are pointing to a hedge fund retreat from their efforts to drive the price of gasoline up to the profitable levels they want.
Gasoline futures may fall from $2.02 a gallon to $1.76 by mid-September and below $1.35 by the end of the year, according to technical analysis by Infinitytrading.com.

The front-month gasoline contract is poised for a slide to $1.9575 within seven to 10 days and then $1.7619 within 30 days, said Fain Shaffer, president of Infinitytrading.com, a commodities brokerage in Medford, Oregon. Prices may then reach the April low of $1.3411, he said.

“We’re coming out of the peak demand time, we’ve seen the highs in the market and could be setting up for a pretty good fall,” Shaffer said in an interview. “I think we may have seen a peak in the market at $2.08. The next objective is $1.95 and from there we could free-fall.”
If the great wads of speculative money follows the usual herd pattern, we should see $Billions piling into the sugar futures market any day now.

Your premium dollars at work

That is if you are fortunate enough to have any health insurance coverage. And you thought those dollars you pay faithfully would go to pay for you treatment when you need it.
If there is any doubt that President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul U.S. health care is the hottest topic in Congress, just ask the 3,300 lobbyists who have lined up to work on the issue.

That’s six lobbyists for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, according to Senate records, and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense. More than 1,500 organizations have health-care lobbyists, and about three more are signing up each day. Every one of the 10 biggest lobbying firms by revenue is involved in an effort that could affect 17 percent of the U.S. economy.

These groups spent $263.4 million on lobbying during the first six months of 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group, more than any other industry. They spent $241.4 million during the same period of 2008. Drugmakers alone spent $134.5 million, 64 percent more than the next biggest spenders, oil and gas companies.

“Whenever you have a big piece of legislation like this, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for K Street,”
If you thought those dollars would pay for your cancer treatment, forget about it! Stopping the immenent threat to their golden rice bowls is way too important.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Night Music

Just has to be happy music. Kick off your shoes, roll back the rug and dance.


Your Two Minute Ed

Tonight he calls Drug Limbaugh a liar, and he is so right.

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Noted evil lying GOP bastard demonstrates how it is done, again

Sen. "Up" Chuck Grassley proves again that truth, like moderate Republicans, has been driven out of the party, never to return.
As Time’s Amy Sullivan reported late last night, Grassley voted for the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, which — ready? — provided coverage for “counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning.”

The only difference between the 2003 bill and the House Dem one that’s inspired the “euthanasia” talk, Sullivan reports, is that the earlier one “applied only to terminally ill patients.”

Let’s go back and check the roll call on that 2003 vote to see who else voted for it. Turns out Boehner, McCotter and Isakson all did, too.

Boehner and McCotter, as you know, have said that Medicare coverage of end of life consultations could lead to “government encouraged euthanasia.” While Isakson supports end of life counseling generally, he opposes the House bill because it allows “government to incentivize doctors by offering them money to conduct end-of-life counseling.” Grassley said people are “right to fear” that government could “decide when to pull the plug on grandma.”

Fun postscript: GOP Rep. John Mica of Florida voted for the 2003 bill — and last week he denounced the current House measure for creating Medicare-funded “death counselors.”
None of these (dis)honorable gentlemen can hold a candle to Newt "Melonhead of Mendacity" Gingrich for the speed of his reversal but they all get some points for style, except Boner.

Understanding Glen Beck

By that World Famous Explicator Steven Colbert.

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