Last Week’s News (with a few updates for this week)

Just quick blurbs here,  got to get this stuff out.


The plan to raise the retirement age is on hold until Speaker Boehner feels the American people are scared enough to accept it.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he “made a mistake” when he suggested raising the retirement age to 70 last year.

“I made a mistake when I did that, because I think having the conversation about how big the problem is is the first step,” Boehner said Wednesday evening on CNN. “And once the American people understand how big the problem is, then you can begin to outline an array of possible solutions.”

[full story]

Not too surprising.  After all, what else can you expect from someone who is so dishonest?

They are also doing the “bait and switch” (i.e. lying) about privatizing Medicare.

Months after they hammered Democrats for cutting Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether to relaunch their quest to privatize the health program for seniors. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is testing support for his idea to replace Medicare with a fixed payment to buy a private medical plan from a menu of coverage options.

[full story]

And how does that work out in the real world?

Ron’s wife, Frances Flanagan, admits she made a mistake in November when she paid their monthly health insurance premium online. Frances swapped a 7 for a 9, leaving their $328.69 payment 2 cents short.

Their insurance benefits administrator, Ceridian Cobra Services, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., promptly dropped the Flanagans for the 2-cent shortage without a phone call, a certified letter or even a letter warning them they could be dropped, the Flanagans said.

[full story about the Veteran cancer patient having his policy cancelled over $.02]


Yes, yes he will.

Yes, yes they are.

It’s not freakin’ genetics, it’s simple, old-school laziness.

U-M researchers found that 58 percent of obese children had watched two hours of TV in the previous day, compared to 41 percent of non-obese children. Forty-five percent of obese students always ate school lunch, but only 34 percent of non-obese students ate school lunch.

Significantly fewer obese kids exercised regularly, took physical education classes, or were a member of a sports team.

[full story]

Oh, and since the suger-sellers won’t tell you (and the folks they advertise on won’t either), I will, EATING TOO MUCH SUGAR MAKES YOU FAT AND GIVES YOU DIABETES.

Violent rhetoric by politicians once again doesn’t lead to violence against their targets.  

This might very well be one of the best and most concise “History of Violence” things I’ve ever seen.

Them and Obama both.   Getting both to admit that would require a Herculean effort.

 I’d prefer they schedule a trip to the Statue of Liberty and just spit in her face all honest-like.   At least then I could give them points for directness and honesty, as it stands the assholishness just overwhlems everything.

Biden is pretty much awesome.

More of this group of hypocrites later.   Texas has been under a national emergency (yes, we can do that) since the electin to pass all sorts of ridiculous crap.

Palin Axed From Panel for Blatant Hypocrisy

Good on the students of Wash U for making sure their money doesn’t go to fund blatant hypocrites.

Here’s the story…

Anger over a decision to pay Bristol Palin several thousand dollars in student fees to talk to Washington University students about abstinence led to a decision Thursday night to nix Palin’s appearance on a panel here next month.

Washington University’s Student Health Advisory Committee had extended an invitation to Palin, a spokeswoman to prevent teen pregnancy, to speak on abstinence as part of the university’s Student Sexual Responsibility Week.

But because of a growing controversy among undergraduates over the decision to pay for her talk with student-generated funds, the advisory committee and Palin decided Thursday night “that the message that they intended on sharing would be overshadowed by controversy,” according to a university statement.

“Do what I didn’t do”  and “How I got rich and famous for doing so the exact opposite of what I’m about to tell you to do” were both rejected in promotional material as being “honest”.  

Scott Elman, president of the advisory committee, made this ridiculous statement concerning the slight reduction in blatant hypocrisy Washington University students have to swallow before graduating…

Scott Elman, president of the advisory committee, said the decision to halt Palin’s appearance as a keynote speaker was “100 percent mutual” between Palin and the committee. Elman added that he was very disappointed that students weren’t more open to having Palin speak.

Palin – the daughter of Sarah Palin, former GOP vice presidential candidate – became pregnant at 17 and is a single mom to a 2-year-old boy.

The university’s Student Union Treasury earlier this week approved spending $20,000 to sponsor a panel featuring Palin. Student government sources said they were asked not to divulge Palin’s fee. But Palin has signed on for speaking engagements with Single Source Speakers, and she reportedly will command between $15,000 and $30,000 per speech.

Yea, I just can’t imagine what they would lose on by paying a someone who could follow their own a advice a years tuition to sit there and tell people to do what she couldn’t.   I guess, though, having someone who could make it all way through high-school only getting pregnant once is better than someone who got pregnant in high school like three or four times.

Suffice it to say, I guess it’s good that we have at least one instance this week where total and abject failure in a particular field isn’t seen as triumph and directly rewarded with large sums of money.

Roger Ailes Exposed as the Whiny Baby He Is (oh, and the Nazi Examples)

I mentioned in this post that after the tragedy in Tucson, certain folks put it on themselves to be the real victims.   A number of people backed up those claims, and all of these victims work for the same guy, Roger Ailes.

This always-the-victim-and-therefore-above-reproach approach that Fox News takes comes directly from the guy who runs it.

The full expose on Roger Ailes is here.  Please make sure his son reads it (and read it to find out why this is so important.)   It’s a really well written piece, take it all the way to the end, makes the same point I did in the title here.

The following anecdote covers pretty much the entire personality of Ailes and the news network he created and controls.

But what if Roger Ailes is a powerful man because he really is different from other powerful men? What if Roger Ailes really does have to win every fight because every fight is a matter of life and death? So listen again to an average American story from an average American childhood, and ask if Roger Ailes is an average American after all:When he was a baby, he fell out of his crib. He split his lip and he bled. A lot of babies do the same thing. But Roger kept on bleeding. Remember, this was seventy years ago. There was hardly anything known about hemophilia back then. And there was certainly not much that could be done about it, except transfusions of whole blood. “Well, you died. That’s what you knew about it. I was told many times I wasn’t going to make it.”

The closest he came to dying was when he was seven or eight. He bit his tongue when he jumped off the roof of the garage. His mouth filled with blood and the blood would not stop, the blood soaked the sheets of his bed, and he heard the doctor tell his father that there was nothing he could do. Roger Ailes was going to bleed out through his tongue. But his father was a fighter; that is, he got into fights, and Roger admired him for it. Now he fought for his son’s life. He picked Roger up, swaddled in bloody bedclothes, and drove him to the Cleveland Clinic with a police escort. At the factory where he worked, the old man tracked down everybody who had type-O-positive blood, and now he called upon all of them to come to Cleveland for his son. They did, and Roger can still remember their names, Dirtyneck Watson and the rest, men filthy from work who lined up one after another to give Roger their blood, arm to arm. ” ‘Well, son, you have a lot of blue-collar blood in you, never forget that,’ my father said after I got through it, and I never have. A lot of what we do at Fox is blue-collar stuff.”

But he was never that kid, not really. He couldn’t be. The disease he had was the Royal Disease, the disease of Queen Victoria’s progeny, a disease considered effete, a mortal taint. He used to have to sit on a pillow at school. He wasn’t able to go out at recess. And so one day he asked his parents to let him walk to school, like the other kids, and they let him. “And some guys beat me up. I went home a little beat up and my dad, I saw tears in his eyes for the first time. I’d never seen it. And he said, ‘That’s never going to happen to you again.’ He taught me how to fight. And he told me to stay away from any fight that I could. ‘But if you have no options, then remember, son, for them it’s a fight. For you, it’s life and death.’ ”

Everybody bleeds. We bleed all the time. We bleed when we move, we bleed when we bump into things. But for many years — there wasn’t much that could be done for hemophilia until the sixties — Roger kept on bleeding. That’s why he has such bad arthritis: because blood collects in the joints and ruins them. And that’s why he labors under the judgment of his bulk and finds it so deeply unfair when people call him fat. Because he can’t move. And that’s why he found a way to fight so many of his life-and-death battles through the television screen: It was his way of fighting the kids he saw playing outside through the window.

The article notes how Ailes, because he is the perennial victim, sees no irony or hypocrisy in holding others to standards that he himself, and his staff, do not.   Pointing out their hypocrisy does nothing, as they feel the hypocrisy is justified (and therefore isn’t hypocrisy).

To see a blatant and recent example of this modus operandi (merely the latest in a long, long line), here’s the summary with links to how it went down….

splice42 6 points 3 hours ago[-]

So, then, the argument goes kind of like this:

Steve Cohen: Republicans use nazi tactics to mislead the populace
Richard Socarides: Fox news commonly uses inflamed rhetoric such as comparing the other side to Nazis.
Megyn Kelly: NO WAI, WE DON’T

Jon Stewart: Are you stupid? Here is a series of clips showing various commentators comparing liberals to nazis. You do use inflammatory rhetoric all the time, and criticizing Cohen for doing that same thing is hypocritical.
O’Reilly: OH YEAH? Well, I was completely justified. Besides, look at that blog comment on the Huffington Post, it didn’t get removed.

What a [fracking] bunch of morons. If the other side does it, it’s evil, if we do it, it’s justified, and besides, random people that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand also have hateful opinions, they aren’t censored, so we’re completely in the right here. So the left is evil and inflammatory when they use this language and they should be muzzled, but the right is completely justified because joe everybody can say something stupid and doesn’t get censored.


Meanwhile…Fox is still editing the President’s State of the Union, and then criticizing him for the [edited] non-reactions.

Oh, and if you missed it from the Megyn Kelly lie expose link, here’s Ailes doing the same thing his employees do…being a huge douchebag hypocrite.

“A guy who gets fired and humiliated in the press [for being a poor journalist -ed] can lose a lot of confidence,” Ailes says. Calling [Juan] Williams “a pure liberal,” Ailes says he wanted to compensate the pundit for his losses because he was “mad” and “I didn’t want him to have to call his wife and say we lost money.”

Then he turned his sights on NPR executives.

“They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive.”

While Ailes later apologized…to the ADL…which they somehow accepted….he has never apologized to the kids outside he hates so much for having fun while his “stuff” keeps him inside, weak and pitiful….err, I mean he never apologized to the Nazi’s at NPR, yea, that’s what he meant.

The [Annotated] Michele Bachmann State of the Union Response Speech

As prepared for delivery: [mouseover links for the good stuff, click them for the rest]

Good evening, my name is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota’s 6th District.

Two years ago, when Barack Obama became our President, unemployment was 7.8 percent and our national debt stood at what seemed like a staggering $10.6 trillion dollars.

We wondered whether the President would cut spending, reduce the deficit and implement real job-creating policies.

Unfortunately, the President’s strategy for recovery was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program, fueled by borrowed money.

The White House promised us that all the spending would keep unemployment under 8 percent.

Not only did that plan fail to deliver, but within three months the national jobless rate spiked to 9.4 percent. And sadly, it hasn’t been lower for 20 straight months. While the government grew, we lost more than 2 million jobs.

Let me show you a chart.

Here are unemployment rates over the past ten years. In October 2001, our national unemployment rate was at 5.3 percent. In 2008 it was at 6.6 percent. But, just eight months after President Obama promised lower unemployment, that rate spiked to a staggering 10.1 percent.

Today, unemployment is at 9.4 percent with about 400,000 new claims every week.

After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the $410 billion spending bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have.

But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.

Deficits were unacceptably high under President Bush, but they exploded under President Obama’s direction, growing the national debt by an astounding $3.1 trillion-dollars.

What did we buy?

Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that tells us which light bulbs to buy, and which will put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama’s healthcare bill.

ObamaCare mandates and penalties will force many job creators to stop offering health insurance altogether, unless yours is one of the more-than-222 privileged companies or unions that has received a government waiver.

In the end, unless we fully repeal ObamaCare, a nation that currently enjoys the world’s best healthcare may be forced to rely on government-run coverage that will have a devastating impact on our national debt for generations to come.

For two years President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight. Yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.

Here are a few suggestions for fixing our economy:

The President could stop the EPA from imposing a job-destroying cap-and-trade system.

The President could support a Balanced Budget Amendment.

The President could agree to an energy policy that increases American energy production and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

The President could also turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years, many of which will cost our economy $100 million or more.

And, the President should repeal ObamaCare and support free market solutions like medical malpractice reform and allow all Americans to buy any healthcare policy they like anywhere in the United States.

We need to start making things again in this country, and we can do that by reducing the tax and regulatory burdens on job creators.

America will have the highest corporate tax rate in the worldLook no further to see why jobs are moving overseas.

But, thanks to you, there’s reason to hope that real spending cuts are coming. Last November you went to the polls and voted out big-spending politicians and you put in their place men and women with a commitment to follow the Constitution and cut the size of government.

I believe that we are in the early days of a history-making turn.

Please know how important your calls, visits, and letters are to the maintenance of our liberties. Because of you, Congress responded and we are starting to undo the damage that’s been done.

We believe in lower taxes, a limited view of government and the exceptionalism of America. And I believe America is the indispensible nation.

Just the creation of this nation was a miracle. Who’s to say that we can’t see a miracle again?

The perilous battle that was fought in the pacific, at Iwo Jima, was a battle against all odds, and yet the image of the young G.I.s in the incursion against the Japanese immortalizes their victory. These six young men raising the flag came to symbolize all of America coming together to beat back a totalitarian aggressor.

Our current debt crisis we face today is different, but we still need all of us to pull together. We can do this.

And that’s the hope we hold tonight as Americans. We will push forward to reclaim the greatness of our country and to proclaim the liberty upon which we were founded.

And we will do so because we the people will never give up on this great nation.

God bless you, and God bless America.

UPDATE: This isn’t even close to the dumbest stuff she’s said before.   This woman is a walking, talking, cliche.   Which is to say, she’s the perfect representative for the Republican Tea Party.

BTW, here’s another takedown on her “Founding Fathers hated Slavery” comedy-bit.  At least we hope it’s supposed to be comedy.

You Say You Want Some Revolutions, Well ya know…

…here’s a couple. 

From the recent past…

The reign of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali is over. His government’s response to the steadily growing unrest in the country was marked by successive tactical retreats: On Jan. 12, he declared his intention to immediately do away with restrictions on the press and step down once his term expires in 2014. When that concession only emboldened the protesters further, he responded on Jan. 14 by sacking his government and announcing that new elections would be held in six months. And now, the latest news suggests that the military has stepped in to remove Ben Ali from power and the president has fled the country.

Given the historical ineffectiveness of Arab publics to effect real change in their governments and the Tunisian regime’s reputation as perhaps the most repressive police state in the region, the events of the past week are nothing short of remarkable. And while reports and analyses have focused on the extraordinary nature of the protests, it is equally important to consider what has been missing — namely, Islamists.

[full article]

BTW, don’t feel bad if this link provides you some information you didn’t ask for.  😉

This week’s revolution is taking place in Egypt.

You will find a lot of info here, it could be in arabic so you will have to use Please reddit get the word out, you will find pictures and videos posted.

Twitter is blocked right now, probably facebook later that’s how people managed to organize this. Right now I am trying to make a guide how to use proxys, if anyone could help me with any other simpler way I would appreciate it.

I will try to update as much as I can

Main requests:

  1. Reassembling of people’s assemble.
  2. Canceling(is that the correct word?) marshal law which has been up for over 30 years now.
  3. Not allowing the president to reelect himself after 2 times.
  4. Setting a minimum for wagers of 1200 local pounds.
  5. Sacking of minister of interior affairs.

Excuse my grammar and english, I am pretty tired.

  • The main protest in AlTahrir Square(stream is down) is still holding, they cut off all supplies from them, including mobile network. pic
  • Confirmed news that food and water and tents are getting through to protestors in AlTahrir.
  • Live ammunation is being fired in Suez, Alexandria and Ismailya.
  • First death in Suez, 20 year old Moustafa Reda Mahmoud.
  • Second death in suez, 31 year old Soliman Saber Aly.
  • Sources say army units are being dispatched in Cairo and Alexandria.
  • Unconfirmed sources that Gamal Moubarak – the president’s son – have fled with his wife along with 97 bags of luggage to london.
  • After live ammunation being shot in Alexandaria and crowds were scattered, they are regrouping right now and it’s said the numbers are in 7000 right now.

[full link with requisite nonchalance]

This should, hopefully, make the real news soon.  With foreign desks slashed or non-existent for all the 24-hour-outrage stations, don’t expect this latest revolution to be a big story.

Here’s another first hand account of the day’s action.

We’ll see how both of these turn out, and if the internal, technology-driven revolutions provide better results than the external, bomb-driven ones.

Derp, Derp House of Reps Passes Lie, Debates a Few More

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Job-Killing Health Act Repeal” bill last week.  Everyone stand up and give them a big round of applause for wasting everyone’s time and money in doing so.  Give them an encore for passing it, even though it’s title was exposed as a lie many moons ago.

What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of it would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job.

“The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount _roughly half a percent_ primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,” budget office number crunchers said in a report from last year.

That’s not how it got translated in the new report from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other top Republicans.

CBO “has determined that the law will reduce the ‘amount of labor used in the economy by.roughly half a percent.,’ an estimate that adds up to roughly 650,000 jobs lost,” the GOP version said.

Gone was the caveat that the impact would be small, mainly due to people working less. Added was the estimate of 650,000 jobs lost.

[full story]

Yes, the “job-killing” in the title of the repeal bill came from a willful mis-understanding of the CBO’s report.   Unless you consider old people, who were only staying at their jobs to get healthcare, deciding to leave those jobs as they get health insurance from another avenue as a “job killed” instead of a “job opening”.  Ultimately, what the Republicans called “job-killing” is actually an acceleration in the turnover of the workforce, something the economy desperately needs right now

I am not surprised the Derp, Derp Congress is voting directly against the interests of the country, and I am happy they don’t have enough power to do anything other than waste taxpayer time on this issue.   Sadly, their impact on other issues could be more…actual.

They did find the time to pass two job-creating-anti-abortion-funding bills.  Because, you know, federal abortion funding was a huge issue during the election…well…for some people…others realized Obama wrote an executive order banning funds in HCR being used for abortions, and the legislation itself forbade it.  That did not stop Tea Party Republicans from telling people the exact opposite was happening (noticing a trend yet?) and so we get two bills focused on this non-topic.

House Republicans turned their focus to abortion on Thursday, introducing two bills to ban federal funding for the procedure.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the measures necessary, even though President Barack Obama signed an executive order last year that bars federal funding for the procedure.

“Clearly, there is an awful lot of doubt as to where the administration really is on this issue,” Boehner said. “I think the will of the people is that we enact this clear-cut prohibition on the use of taxpayer funds for elective abortions.”

[full story]

Yes, I clearly remember abortion being a front and center issue that tha Tea Party wouldn’t shut up about.    And the ties between federal-abortion-funding and job creation are too numerous to count.   This legislation is essentially the long form of  Joe Wilson’s “you lie”, and is just about as accurate.

But the Derp, Derp, Congress isn’t done yet.   Given that NASA recently pointed out that 2010 was tied for as the hottest year on record, and that a majority of Republicans believe that thermometers have a liberal bias and are all secretly controlled by George Soros, you can guess how the Derp, Derp, Congress plans to deal with the issue.

Top staff members for key House and Senate Republicans met in a closed-door session Tuesday with energy industry interests to work on strategy to handcuff the Obama administration’s climate change agenda.

With the backing of GOP caucus leaders, aides for House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) are seeking unwavering support from a host of industries for an all-out push to block federal and state climate rules.

“The feedback we got was ‘hey, great, go for it guys,’” one Republican aide told POLITICO. “And we pretty strongly told them we do need your help to get this done. And when we walked away from the meeting the feeling was we got that.”

Read more:

Yes, the Derp, Derp, Congress is not only ignoring the brightest minds for the shiniest objects on this one, they are actively trying to screw stuff up.   Check out the name of this other bill that will pass and then fail (since the Derpsters only control the House, derp)…

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouses gases if they pose a danger to the public, some have criticized the prospect of government-set limits on carbon pollution from fossil fuels.

The House legislation, the Free Industry Act, introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has 96 co-sponsors — all Republicans except Rep. Dan Boren, a Democrat from Oklahoma.

The bill would change the law so that greenhouse gases couldn’t be considered air pollution and it would tell the EPA that nothing in the law empowers the agency to regulate the pollutants that cause climate change.

Read more:

See how that works?   All you have to do is say that a problem is not a problem and it is solved.   Derp, derp.

Or, to be more creative, you can take a solved problem (fed funds for abortion) say it isn’t solved, and pretend to solve it again.  Derp, derp.

But that’s on the national stage, what about the states?   We have previous coverage of the Derp, Derp, States here.

Some more…

From the Christian-Only State of Alabama to the Corporate States of Florida, Texas, Ohio, Nevada, Michigan, and Oklahoma.   Public coffers are at all time lows, corporate profits are all time highs…time to reward the tax cutters (who created that very scenario) with lavish parties and huge cakes.

Oklahoma is also going the direct and no-questions-asked anti-science route.   Considering that their Senator Inhofe is a leading “thermometers-are-a-socialist-conspiracy” proponent, this is less than surprising.

Final, bonus link…if you want to see how *actual scientists* deal with overblown rhetoric and press releases, this is a good story for you.   If y0u want to see how quotes and skepticism are taken from science stories out of context and overblown, check out Inhofe’s next press release referencing the same thing.

GE/NBC/Comcast Merger Approved, Olbermann Fired…50th anniversary of what speech?

Oh yes, the first Texan in the White House (and just for the official records, this guy was a yankee).  Here’s that speech..

There’s some great historical context here.  This was the previous election that he mentions in passing. The direction the country would go next was very much up for debate and led to a very close election (and the subsequent second amendment rebuttal).

Wonderful under-quoted part of this (@5:00), “Crises there will continue to be.  In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great of small, there is a recurring temptation to feel some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.”   For some reason, “Shock and Awe” springs immediately to mind.

His call to balance that followed was nice as well.

But the tides have changed since his warning.  He notes how military spending was roughly on par with corporate earnings in 1961.  Fifty years later, the balance of power has shifted as much as how we engage our enemies.

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

[full story]

Military spending was roughly $0.750 trillion in 2010.     So while I love Eisenhower’s take on it, and it’s been around for a while, the balance of power really has shifted away as mergers, consolidation, and attrition have brought this whole military industrial complex thing to a whole new level.  Which the acquisition of NBC some time ago, there was a mouthpiece, and with Universal, always something to say (and charge for).  Now with Comcast thrown into the mix, you do *really have* a vertically integrated global behemoth that can start the wars, cover it up, hide the news, broadcast something else, and keep pumping out half-hour crap that seems to be the only thing the only cable company left in town carries.

The scary part, at least from the recent developments file, is how they’ve been using an idiot led mob-horde of political opinion to make net neutrality, the obvious policy-level antidote to the entire scenario I described above, something akin to death panels/commie/socialism/etc. etc. the same bag of connotation and guilt by association used by all the media slime balls to slime things.

So where are we now?  GE owner of NBC Universal has been approved to buy Comcast and later that week Olbermann gets the quick axe.   I wouldn’t doubt he pulled it down faster, he’s just that kind of guy, but while his hyperbole wasn’t really my cup of tea, I didn’t doubt his sincerity, and found folks like him to be something of a bulwark against *actual* policy threats, and not the imagined ones.   Kind of like Donahue used to be.

You know about Phil Donahue, right?  He was a lefty political commentator on MSNBC back before the Iraq War.  He started asking lots of questions.  Having lots of guests.  As the war rhetoric heated up, so did his ratings. Three weeks before the bombs started dropping in Baghdad, GE dropped one on Donahue.

It simple doesn’t do to have one division of your company making and selling bombs, and the another of your division riling up domestic opposition to the use of them.  It’s not really a conspiracy folks.  There’s not man behind the curtain pulling all the strings.   There’s just a lot of people doing their jobs, trying to make it through the week/month/year.

But how it works, ultimately?  And how the *system* as a whole works to protect itself, and it’s profits?    That bothers me, that scares me.  That is something I try to fight against, in whatever way possible.  Unfortunately such a system is not an easy thing to combat, as I agree that each discrete decision such a system makes is rational, or very close to it.

Net neutrality is one of those things that would acts as a check and balance against such concentrated market power.   The Net can level the playing field, but only if the Net is level.

So there’s one less loudmouth on the air, and one more corporate behemoth encircling the globe (NEW AND IMPROVED: With a completely unfettered ability to distribute political money [and free airtime/bandwidth to the good kids]).


Obama’s Death Panels (much like himself) Gaining Popularity (UPDATE: Texas Connection)

Kinda figured this would happen when government troops didn’t start showing up and killing old people like we were repeatedly warned…

The poll finds that 40 percent of those surveyed said they support the law, while 41 percent oppose it. Just after the November congressional elections, opposition stood at 47 percent and support was 38 percent.

As for repeal, only about one in four say they want to do away with the law completely. Among Republicans support for repeal has dropped sharply, from 61 percent after the elections to 49 percent now.

[full story

I wonder if all this “will of the American people” talk from the Republicans hoping to kill the recently passing and increasingly popular legislation (and that’s not rhetoric, they put the word “kill” in the title of their repeal effort) takes into account new information like this poll. 

After the election, and with more time and familiarity, I’d say this poll is more accurate than those taken during the heat of battle.  And given how much the numbers have changed in such a short time (and those are pretty big changes), I wouldn’t be surprised if HCR ends up as popular as the two other programs that keep this country from falling apart (or at least keep the fallen off the streets, eating, clothed and sheltered).   Which is to say, it will likely become a 3rd rail of American politics like Medicare and SS (and like how healthcare is in every other first world country).

Obama’s numbers are also up sharply after leading Congress to a “lame-duck” compromise on a number of issues. (I don’t like that term, BTW. I think it’s lame, way overused and was completely inaccurate this year, as the LD session of Congress got waaay more done than the others).

At the same time, 48 percent of American voters approve of how the president is doing his job, up from 42 percent the month before. Forty-three percent disapprove, down from 50 percent.

Similarly, 53 percent of voters have favorable opinions of Obama, up from 47 percent, and 40 percent have unfavorable opinions, down from 49 percent.

Looking forward, 61 percent of voters think the president will do a better job in the second two years of his term, while just 21 percent think he’ll do a worse job.

Read more:

So the President is gaining popularity (which hit a pretty solid bottom of 42% or so bottom and didn’t go lower) and there is more hope for better change over the next two years.  This is largely because American voters love compromise (even if most are largely ignorant on what that actual compromise entails)…
In the capital’s changed political landscape, those surveyed are looking for things to get done:
• Eighty percent say the president should work to pass legislation Democrats and Republicans can agree on, even if it’s not what most Democrats want. Even 70% of Democrats feel that way.
• Eighty-three percent say it’s extremely or very important for House Republicans to pass legislation that both parties can agree on, including 77% of Republicans.
So we see the President, a largely centrist pragmatist with liberal aspirations, making deals right along those lines and the country largely agreeing with him.
In 2010, we saw the midterm election happen, with the big lie winning out.   In 2011 we started off in a horrific direction, but perhaps we can see a better political climate come out of it.  One where the facts of the matter are the important part of the debate, and not something to find out after the dust has settled.
In such an environment, Obama will shine, much like he did on the stage in Tucson.

UPDATE:  Texas, bastion of Tea Party opposition to HCR, is setting up insurance exchanges (one of the hallmark ways HCR expands coverage (and nixes lifetime caps and pre-existing condition exclusions)  while keeping prices in check).   Love the quote…

“My opposition to the federal health care reforms is no secret, and I continue to support Attorney General Greg Abbott’s efforts to have the law declared unconstitutional,” he said.

“But the ‘connector concept’ has been around for decades and did not originate with Obamacare,” Zerwas said. “Quite frankly, it is something that we should consider on its own merits regardless of the fate of the federal reforms.”

Under the federal law, state exchanges will require insurers to compete in offering standard coverage in five categories. The idea is to make it easier for consumers to compare policies and prices. Exchanges also will help administer federal subsidies to low- and moderate-income individuals and families buying coverage.

“I completely hate this law and want it repealed…but it is filled with very good ideas people have been trying to implement for decades.”

Give it enough time and the truth does eventually get its shoes on and catches up.

PS3 Cracked Liked Humpty Dumpty, Sony Tries to Sue Internet to Put it Together Again

Ars has the coverage…

The PlayStation 3 is currently the Wild West. The system’s master key has been published online, custom firmware allowing the use of pirated games and custom software is easy to find, and Sony is not at all pleased with this turn of events. The company is asking the courts for a temporary restraining order to get the infringing keys and software offline, and is targeting George Hotz, the FAIL0VERFLOW group, and 100 unnamed John or Jane Does.

No money is being asked for; Sony just wants everyone to stop telling the world how to hack its system

[full story]

I wish Sony best of luck with that one.  I downloaded a jpg with the keys on it a couple weeks ago, just in case the millions of other copies disappear, we can make a million new ones the next day.

It should be noted (and is in the article) that the impetus for cracking the thing came when Sony removed promised funcionality from the device.

My guess is that, ultimately, this will extend the PS3’s shelf life, as custom software (and esp emulators) slowly creeps up and take over the majority of PS3’s.  This certainly makes me more interested in getting one.

Some of the best and worst things make the least sense, it would seem

Shot in the head less than a week ago, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes briefly for the first time Wednesday, with her husband, her parents and other members of Congress in the room.

“It was extraordinary,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, who was holding Giffords’ hand at the time. “It was a miracle to witness.”

The incident occurred shortly after President Barack Obama had visited Giffords in her hospital room. Less than an hour later, given permission to disclose the information by Mark Kelly, Giffords’ husband, Obama electrified a memorial-service crowd and a national television audience by revealing one of the most promising pieces of news about Gifford’s condition to emerge since an assassination attempt against her on Saturday.

Giffords was squeezing and stroking Gillibrand’s hand, as doctors previously said she had been able to do.

“She took a moment to focus, you could see she was focusing,” Gillibrand said. “And then Mark said … ‘Gabby, if you can see me, if you can see me, give us a thumbs-up … She didn’t only give a thumbs-up, she literally raised her entire hand. We were just — we couldn’t stop crying … It was just one of those moments that life brings you so rarely.”

But Giffords didn’t stop there, Gillibrand said. She reached out and grabbed her husband “and is touching him and starts to really choke him like she was really trying to hug him.” He asked her to touch his wedding ring, “and she touches his ring, then she grabs his whole watch and wrist and then the doctor was just so excited, he said, ‘You don’t understand … this is amazing what she is doing right now and beyond our greatest hopes.’ ”

[full story]

And no, my friends, wonders will never cease.

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. (see photo gallery)From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

[full story]

No matter how bad the crazy gets, they can’t beat all of us.

Sarah Palin Reveals the Real Victim of Tucson : Sarah Palin (bonus: Krauthammer supplies the glue, Brooks the solution)

I hope not to have to spend too much time on this topic.   I’ve already said my piece, the data stands on its own.

I am going to point out some of the inadvertent arguments a few pundits have brought up to disavow any responsibility for this tragedy, and how they make a really strong for argument taking some.

First up, the real victim in all of this: Sarah Palin

After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.
“Irresponsible statements”…why does that phrase ring a bell?  Oh yeah.  Getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar does usually lead to concern, and then sadness.  It is also usually accompanied by quick deflection and accusation of others.  To wit…
If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

There’s two things that jump out of this statement, both very revealing and hopefully enough people will see how dangerously hypocritical this woman is.

First up…the explicit acknowledgement that “blood libel” serves only to incite hatred and violent, and that it is reprehensible.    Think on this for a moment, in Palin’s dismissal of any responsibility for the violence associated  with her own heated rhetoric, she cites the hatred and violence that might be directed at her by heated rhetoric.

For her point to hold any water here, it would have to have been her, not Giffords who was the actual victim of violence.

Second, and to understand how absurd Sarah Palin’s claim is here, you need to understand a few things.  One, Gabrielle Giffords was Jewish.  Two, Sarah Palin targeted Giffords in the campaign, both with fiery rhetoric and images.  Three, Giffords, and not Sarah Palin, was shot.   That last bit is important.  Sarah doesn’t seem to have quite yet processed that essential piece of information.

The jewish lady being the target of the physical violence after repeated irresponsible statements is not nearly as a big a victim of “blood libel” as the Christian lady who repeatedly directed that heated rhetoric that way (and who now is afraid of attacks inspired by people pointing out her history of vitriolic rhetoric….can you taste it?   The hypocrisy is so thick here I am choking on it).


How much blame should Palin take?  Charles Krauthammer (noted Republican apologist and general douchebag) makes it very clear here (after you wade though a bunch of half-statements and accusations against liberals).

Furthermore, the available evidence dates Loughner’s fixation on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to at least 2007, when he attended a town hall of hers and felt slighted by her response. In 2007, no one had heard of Sarah Palin. Glenn Beck was still toiling on Headline News. There was no Tea Party or health-care reform.

I see…so Loughner is fixated on Giffords since 2007, but doesn’t get the gumption to reload and use a second amendment solution until 3 years later in 2010 after Palin takes her bulldog act to the national stage, and the Tea Party storms the Capital (unarmed…this time)…at the urging of Glenn Beck, and the political discourse in this country descends below the sewer, largely driven by the continued irresponsible statements of one Sarah Palin.

Thanks Chuck.  I know you didn’t mean to, but you have layed out the most concise reasoning possible for why Palin should, at the very least, quit attacking others verbally after they’ve been attacked physically.  And for once, just once, admit that maybe, just maybe, she’s a bit over the top and should take it upon herself to try and tone down the volume.

But no.  None of that.  She’s the victim here of the those vicious liberals who, BTW…ect.., etc.., etc..


David Brooks, on the hand, while still dismissing any sort of responsibility for anyone or anything in this, appears to have completely forgotten recent history when he offers some solutions…

If the evidence continues as it has, the obvious questions are these: 1) How can we more aggressively treat mentally ill people who are becoming increasingly disruptive? 2) How can we prevent them from getting guns? 3) Do we need to make involuntary treatment easier for authorities to invoke?

1) Universal Health Care

2) Sane Gun Control

3) Expand state power and control?  Really?!

This wouldn’t be such a bad list of suggestions (except for that last one), David, if the response to them wasn’t already known and goes thus;




In conclusion, I’m going to re-iterate Krauthammer’s inadvertent point with Palin’s text

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated?
Back before you showed up.   There was a time in this country, not so long ago (back before September 2008 to be precise), when one Presidential candidate accusing another of finding common cause with terrorists would have been beyond the pale.  Instead it became your bread and butter, and one of your more tame themes.
If we can be that beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy and can live in a country that would allow intolerance in the equal rights that again our military men and women fight for and die for for all of us. Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country?”
The sad thing…I don’t expect Palin to stop, or even slow down.  Her own delusions have her sitting in the Oval Office someday, fightin’ terrorists and keepin’ Putin in his place.    Fortunately that is never going to happen, unless we amend the Constitution again and change the Presdent’s military rank to Victim-in-Chief.
If we do that, I’ll deal with the Palin question again, until then, I’m pretty much done with her.
UPDATE: Fox News, Palin’s only current employer, agrees, she is the real victim here.  BTW, if you read the details on this one…you see how obvious it is that Fox is the one pushing this…

A four-minute video montage of the the “tweets” — apparently sent after Saturday’s massacre in Arizona that left six people dead and 14 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — was posted to YouTube on Tuesday.

The video montage, set to the tune of The Beatles‘ “Imagine,” had nearly 400 views of as Thursday afternoon.

Wow, nearly 400 views….that’s huge.   Definitely worthy of national coverage.   Especially when, after getting into the details of who was making the  threats, it gets even dumber.

Attempts to reach some of the Twitter users who posted the messages were unsuccessful, but one claimed she is a “Reagan conservative” whose intent was taken out of context.

BTW, this is going to be used as another one of those examples on how “both sides are bad”, even though only one side keeps getting shot.