Saturday, November 20, 2010

Headlines - Saturday November 20

In Sarah Palin's upcoming typing called America By Heart, the incisive pop culture sage ponders: "Did you ever wonder where the producers of Dancing with the Stars come up with the seemingly endless supply of people who can't dance but are deluded enough to get up in front of a national television audience and waddle to a song anyway?" Oh, pardon me! She is actually writing about American Idol and singing, not Dancing with the Stars and chachachaing. Nevertheless, as that Canadian harlot Alanis Morissette might snidely observe, "Isn't it ironic, don'tcha think?"
Via Zandar, a piece of legislative genius:
And that brings us to GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who along with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, have come up with a wonderful plan to fix health care reform.

If the states can come up with better plans, let them.  Ezra Klein explains:

This morning, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced the "Empowering States to Innovate Act." The legislation would allow states to develop their own health-care reform proposals that would preempt the federal government's effort. If a state can think of a plan that covers as many people, with as comprehensive insurance, at as low a cost, without adding to the deficit, the state can get the money the federal government would've given it for health-care reform but be freed from the individual mandate, the exchanges, the insurance requirements, the subsidy scheme and pretty much everything else in the bill.

Wyden, with the help of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was able to build a version of this exemption into the original health-care reform bill, but for various reasons, was forced to accept a starting date of 2017 -- three years after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect. The Wyden/Brown legislation would allow states to propose their alternatives now and start implementing them in 2014, rather than wasting time and money setting up a federal structure that they don't plan to use.

In general, giving the states a freer hand is an approach associated with conservatives. On Wednesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sent a letter to the Republican Governors Association advocating exactly that. "The most effective path to sustainable health care reform runs through the states, not Washington," he wrote. If it's really the case that the states can do health reform better, Wyden and Brown are giving them a chance to prove it.

Do this.  This is brilliant, and something that I'd expect all 41 GOP Senators (and Mark Kirk when Illinois gets off their asses) to vote for.  If your state can come up with a better plan than Obamacare, then prove it.  We'll give you the money to do it.

And it gets even better.

Because the state most eager to prove that it does, indeed, have a better idea is not as you might imagine Texas, but Vermont. That's right: Howard Dean's own liberal, single-payer-loving Vermont.
Welcome to West Virginia,
the Wild and Wonderful State!
(Bryce Canyon area to look like this soon. Thanks, Republian Governor Herbert!)
True Measure of America:
Note how red state voters and the biggest welfare sucks come in last.

A fate no prisoner deserves. "Haiti's cholera outbreak has spread to the country's largest jail, the national prison in Port-au-Prince. The head of Haiti's prison service told the BBC that 30 inmates have been infected and 13 have died in recent days. There are fears that the death toll could rise substantially in the overcrowded facility, which houses around 2,000 prisoners. Almost 1,200 people have died in the outbreak, which began last month. On Friday another 76 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 1,186, the health ministry said."


This isn't self-defense any more; it's just attacking. "Israeli air strikes hit three sites in the Gaza Strip, in response to a rocket and mortars fired into Israel from Gaza earlier, the Israeli military said. It did not confirm the targets, but AFP news agency said the towns of Deir al-Balah and Khan Younis were hit. At least six people were injured, witnesses and medical officials said. The Israeli army said Palestinian militants had fired 10 mortars and a rocket into Israel over the past two days which had caused no casualties."

An excerpt from a Glenn Greenwald piece you should read about why Bush is getting away with it:

[...] Sure, Hiatt acknowledged with a yawn, we're "a nation of laws" and we can't simply "forget" when our most powerful political officials commit the most serious war crimes, etc. etc. etc.. But criminal investigations are so terribly messy, uncivil, uncouth, distracting and disruptive. Prosecutions are for those dirty rabble on the street selling drugs to other adults whom I sometimes see from the window of my car, not for our upstanding, Serious political leaders. When they commit grievous crimes, we should have an impotent Commission of other upstanding, Serious political leaders politely look at what happened, issue a pretty Report, and then call it a day. That is why George W. Bush feels so free to run around beating his chest and boasting of his war crimes: because Fred Hiatt and his media comrades, masquerading as watchdogs over the politically powerful, have deliberately created the climate where such crimes can not only be committed, but publicly confessed and heralded, with total impunity.

If you aren't drinking already, you might want to start:

Afghans in two crucial southern provinces are almost completely unaware of the September 11 attacks on the United States and don't know they precipitated the foreign intervention now in its 10th year, a new report showed on Friday…

Few Afghans in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, Taliban strongholds where fighting remains fiercest, know why foreign troops are in Afghanistan, says the "Afghanistan Transition: Missing Variables" report to be released later on Friday.

The report by The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) policy think-tank showed 92 percent of 1,000 Afghan men surveyed in Helmand and Kandahar know nothing of the hijacked airliner attacks on U.S. targets in 2001.

I'm reasonably sure this is nothing that can't be fixed by heavy armor (seriously, has no one at the Pentagon watched the Beast?), some more drone strikes, and some friendly meet and greets with the local government.



New Study Shows That Tanks Dumped into the Sea Are Five Times More Useful Than Those Now Being Shipped
to Afghanistan


Jill: American Idiot Watch for Friday, November 19


Congressmean Mica, a man who thinks that government intrusion is bad (unless he wants the government to intrude, that is), wants all pilots to carry an FAA-issued photo ID in addition to the other forms of government issued photo ID that pilots carry.

Yes, all pilots are required to carry government-issued photo ID already, per FAR 61.3. But that makes no nevermind to Rep. Mica. One therefore has to wonder what company is ready to make the IDs and whether they gave him a hefty bribe campaign contribution.

You can read the rule
here. You can comment on the inanity of the rule here.


About those death panels....

…they are in Arizona, and ordered by the GOP legislature and governor.

The only political effort to implement death panels since Obama got his health reform bill passed has been in the state of Arizona. There the Republican-controlled legislature with the approval of GOP Governor Jan "there are headless bodies turning up all over our desert" Brewer has told 98 people waiting for transplants that they must die.

Those 98, who are either poor or uninsurable by private insurance due to pre-existing conditions, need bone marrow, lung, heart, and other forms of transplants. They were told by the state's Medicaid program—Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, or AHCCCS—that they qualified for coverage. But, this October 1, AHCCCS said it could not in fact pay for their transplants. Facing a billion-dollar-plus budget deficit, the Arizona legislature cut out all state funding for transplantation retroactively!

This means that people who were told they had a chance at life had the rug pulled out from under them without any warning. The Republican legislature not only acted as a death panel; it chose to balance the budget on the backs of the poorest and most desperate of Arizonians by welshing on a promise.

Just to be clear, the legislature and governor did not say there would be no more transplant funding going forward. They said they are telling those to whom coverage has already been promised to drop dead.

UPDATE: Olbermann has a piece on it. (MSNBC)


Love tends to find a way "Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, announced Thursday that he had witnessed a gay couple get married on a redeye flight from San Francisco to New York as it briefly crossed into Canadian airpace. ... "There was a wedding on my @VirginAmerica flight to New York! The captain flew briefly over Canadian airspace so two gentleman could marry," Mullenweg tweeted."


'Oh, whoops.'

When Keith Olbermann was suspended by MSNBC two weeks ago for making campaign contributions, everyone pointed out that Joe Scarborough had done the same thing. But apparently those were contributions MSNBC had approved, whereas they did not know about some new contributions that were dug up by America's Media Diglett, Politico. So now Scarborough has been suspended for two days too! Hooray! Everything is balanced out now! Everyone on MSNBC has learned their lesson and will never hold a political opinion ever again, unless it's for ratings. Or else they will face the wrath of getting two days off from work.

"These are bulls — local races that mean nothing to Joe," the friend told POLITICO. "Anybody who knows Joe's life wouldn't be surprised by the fact that these small, local donations were not top-of-mind. Once again, no good deed goes unpunished.

That's right, kids, you should only give contributions to candidates who mean absolutely nothing to you. If you're a true pundit, you will never give money to the politicians you actually admire and use your show to try to elect. [Diglett]

Take PEW's quiz to see how much you know about current events. I missed the one about phones.


Fancy Flying John Boehner not subject to death porn tubes or pat-downs

Yes, the government of the United States of America does have to rub down your child's genitals before he or she boards an airplane, because American toddlers are constantly being moved by their religious and political convictions to blow up large modes of transportation. But what about John Boehner? Nah, he's fine. We don't need to check him at all, much less make him go through even a metal detector. "Mr. Boehner, who was wearing a casual yellow sweater and tan slacks, carried his own bags and smiled pleasantly at passengers who were leaving the security checkpoint inside the airport terminal. It was unclear whether any passengers waiting in the security line, including Representative Allen Boyd, a Florida Democrat who lost his re-election bid, saw Mr. Boehner." Like everything the TSA does, this absurd anecdote makes a lot of sense.

Representative John A. Boehner, soon to be the Speaker of the House, has pledged to fly commercial airlines back to his home district in Ohio. But that does not mean that he will be subjected to the hassles of ordinary passengers, including the controversial security pat-downs.

Right, John Boehner would never do anything to hurt this country.

So if you happen to fly from D.C. to Ohio in the next few years, you may get a glimpse of this dark-skinned man bypassing security, unmolested, with whatever it is he's carrying under his sweater. You may feel he is a threat to security, or recognize him and feel he's taunting you for having to go through the damn invasive security measures he let happen to you, but you will probably not be doing either of those things, because you will be concentrating on trying not to get a boner (or lady-boner) while the nice TSA official rubs down your gonads.

So the only way to truly "opt-out" from this sort of thing is to be a presumptive or current Speaker of the House. Fine. Where do we sign up for that? [NYT]

Turnabout is fair play
Wisco: R stands for "Rich" and "Republican"
Following up on today's press release denouncing a new federal rule allowing the partners of LGBT patients to visit them in hospitals, the American Family Association took their objections to their national radio show, which is broadcast on over 200 stations nationwide.
Why is it always the "family" and religious groups that want to discriminate? What a bunch of homophobic hateful bastards.
Go James!
"If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he'd have two." - Democratic strategist James Carville, speaking about the president's commitment to the repeal of DADT. After Carville's comment was widely criticized, he fired back: "If I offended anybody, I am not sorry and I do not apologize."
What could possibly go wrong?
If the clash over rebuilding the nation's nuclear arms complex has an epicenter, it lies in New Mexico on the flanks of an extinct volcano near an active geologic fault that has sent the project's costs spiraling upward.

There, in the Jemez Mountains, amid the tall pines and deep canyons of the Los Alamos laboratory, work has begun on a weapons site that, when finished, will rival in size the Capitol in Washington, according to Nuclear Watch, a private group in Santa Fe, N.M.

The jittery foundations of the project and the safeguards meant to deal with earthquakes help explain its soaring costs. Jay Coghlan, the director of Nuclear Watch, said that the project at Los Alamos started in 2004 with a price tag of $660 million — a tiny fraction of its current projected cost of up to $5.8 billion.

So we're building a crapload of nuclear weapons -- on an active fault line. I have only one thing to say about this: if you live in New Mexico, RUN!


A cancer surviving flight attendant was forced to remove her prosthetic breast during a TSA pat-down.


Supreme Court Justice Scalia has a problem with the State of the Union address.

Fat Tony never had a problem when the Disaster Monkey and his duck-hunting buddy were in office.
Dubya's presidential center

I can't make use of the above illustration often enough.

News item:

Surrounded by veterans of his administration, former President George W. Bush broke ground on his presidential center on Tuesday and promised to continue to advance the "principles that guided our service in public office."

"We believe that America's interest and conscience demand engagement in the world, because what happens elsewhere inevitably affects us here," Bush said at a ceremony at the future site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a library, museum and think tank to be built on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

I imagine that if the words George W. Bush, library and think tank can all be linked in some meaningful way, then any three words one can possibly think up can equally be placed side by side regardless of how little relevance the first might have with the next two (baboon/Mayo Clinic/rocket science quickly comes to mind.)

The only 'presidential center' I can think of which would be a fitting tribute to the incredible ignorance of George W. Bush would be the freak show at a traveling carnival showcasing Louise-The Bearded Lady and Barney-The Dog Faced Boy.

Letterman is more on the mark with his Top Ten Highlights of the George W. Bush Library Groundbreaking.

10. While digging, they found Obama's birth certificate
9. Read warm congratulatory note from Osama and Julie bin Laden
8. Displayed thousands of books Bush pretends to read
7. George arrived wearing a flight suit and piloting the Conan blimp
6. Dubya only had three shoes thrown at him
5. Dug up thousands of Gore ballots from 2000
4. Bush gave Halliburton $300 million check just for the hell of it
3. George correctly pronounced the word "nuclear" (it doesn't get any more groundbreaking than that)
2. After a few seconds of digging, Bush raised "Mission Accomplished" banner
1. Bush and Cheney celebrated the day with a long, passionate, open-mouth kiss

The last item preferably while sharing a cell at a Federal Correctional complex.

1 comment:

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