Sunday, December 12, 2010

Headlines - Sunday December 12

Pope Benedict Totally Looks Like Joseph Ratzinger/Hitler Youth
Pope Joey the rat is scolding internet users (ie: everyone). Perhaps he should be more concerned with one of the most recent WikiLeaks revelations.
The 41 year-old son of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff was found hanging from a dog leash in his Manhattan apartment today.
Mark Madoff, in desperate early morning e-mails to his wife, said he could no longer live with the curse put on the family by his disgraced dad, sources told the Daily News. "At one point he said something like, 'You'll have a better life if I'm not around ... I love you ... Our son needs someone here,'" one source told the News. Madoff, 46, was discovered hanging from a pipe inside the living room of his luxurious Mercer St. home in Soho around 7:30 a.m. by his father-in-law, who immediately called 911, the sources indicated.
Mark Madoff was being sued by many of his father's clients, who claim that he benefited from the scheme to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. However he faced no criminal charges.
Keeping us safe
Information regarding our safety from being attacked by boogeymen terrorists has emerged that is so ironically stupid that I find it to be downright comical.

Courtesy of the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration is missing key information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the U.S. – a gap the agency fears could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.

Gee, do ya think so?

About 119,000 of the aircraft on the U.S. registry have "questionable registration" because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems, according to the FAA. In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or has been junked.

So while the TSA is busy molesting, groping, embarrassing, strip searching, and threatening innocent people with frivolous charges, the FAA cannot account for over 357,000 privately and commercially owned aircraft. Not to be Captain Obvious, but that's a lot of damn planes. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a bigger liability to me than forgoing the search of people's underpants.


Sarah Palin has resurrected the notion that Death Panels are being created to kill your family and kick your dog, and I would like to take this opportunity to say I agree. There are Death Panels, and they are created by Republicans

Democratic legislators again called for Brewer to hold a special session or use discretionary federal stimulus funds to reinstate cuts for certain transplant coverage through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. Brewer maintains her position that unless legislators provide a solution to what her office calls a $1 billion gap in funding for the Medicaid agency, she will not call a special session.

Under Brewercare, major cuts have been made to the state's funding of organ transplants and there are people who are literally weeks and months away from death if they do not receive a transplant soon. Jan Brewer clearly sees killing people as the most logical thing to do to close the state's budget shortfall.

Does anyone really believe organ transplants account for more than a few percentage points of a $1 Billion dollar shortfall? Aren't there better ways to save money? I wonder how much the legal defense of the "Papers Please" immigration law cost Arizona taxpayers.



h/t Dick: Harry will not be standing for reelection.


Tea party claptrap

Christopher Hitchens is one of those rare individuals whom I both loathe and love.  The former for his pompous, insensitive and demeaning approach to debate and the latter for his honest, witty and no-nonsense  style. Here is an excerpt from a piece in Vanity Fair where he rips into the Republican party, Glenn Beck and their following of teabagging dolts.

It may be true that the Tea Party's role in November's vote was less than some people feared, and it's certainly true that several of the movement's elected representatives will very soon learn the arts of compromise and the pork barrel. But then what happens at the next downturn? A large, volatile constituency has been created that believes darkly in betrayal and conspiracy. A mass "literature" has been disseminated, to push the mad ideas of exploded crackpots and bigots. It would be no surprise if those who now adore Beck and his acolytes were to call them sellouts and traitors a few years from now. But, alas, they would not be the only victims of the poisonous propaganda that's been uncorked. Some of the gun brandishing next time might be for real. There was no need for this offense to come, but woe all the same to those by whom it came, and woe above all to those who whitewashed and rationalized it.

As for the GOP's ignoring or excusing "the most hateful kind of populist claptrap"…

The poison they've helped disseminate will still be in the American bloodstream when the country needs it least."

There is a price to pay when leadership embraces the more radical elements of its following…if not today then certainly tomorrow.  And in this instance, the larger issue is that the suffering will not be isolated within the confines of the Republican party. An entire nation will be forced to suffer along.


Yes, I'm reposting this.


The colored worm is the entire projected deficit, seen from 2009. Bush tax cuts are that fat brown stain through the middle. Krugman's right: "There are no deficit hawks in Congress."

Phelps phuckheads outmatched again America is united over one thing...everyone hates the Wesxtboro Baptist Church attention whores who run around protesting funerals. Recent funerals have seen counterprotesters outnumber them 100 to one. Today when they showed up to protest at the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards, the scene was the same - five Westboro idiots and 300 counterprotesters showed up in the rain to surround them and block them from inflicing intentional pain and suffering on Ms. Edwards' children.

Rigging the game ...
So much for change:

On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.

The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

Our governance and our economy are all just one big backroom deal.


But big banks influence the rules governing derivatives through a variety of industry groups. The banks' latest point of influence are clearinghouses like ICE Trust, which holds the monthly meetings with the nine bankers in New York.

Under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, many derivatives will be traded via such clearinghouses. Mr. Gensler wants to lessen banks' control over these new institutions. But Republican lawmakers, many of whom received large campaign contributions from bankers who want to influence how the derivatives rules are written, say they plan to push back against much of the coming reform. On Thursday, the commission canceled a vote over a proposal to make prices more transparent, raising speculation that Mr. Gensler did not have enough support from his fellow commissioners. [my em]

The banksters own the pols and police themselves. Good thing they reformed the system after the meltdown 2 years ago, eh? It's gonna get worse come January too.
Confederacy nostalgia finds disturbing echoes in contemporary conservative politics
From a 'must read' article in The Guardian, UK:

These days, conservatives are the new Confederates. They may not all dress up and play Scarlett and Rhett, but their politics are at least 150 years old. Since Barack Obama was elected president, Fox News apocalypticist Glenn Beck has predicted a new civil war is coming. Senator-elect Rand Paul has expressed distaste for the Civil Rights Act. "Tenthers" – those who believe that the 10th Amendment gives states sovereignty – are increasing in number in state legislatures and in Washington. Recently, a Tea Party leader in North Carolina wrote in his newsletter, "Washington DC has become destructive of our economy and liberty. It is our right and our duty to throw off such a government."

Such language echoes the old southern justifications for secession: a "destructive and overweaning" federal government and a president seen as alien to their values. I guess that makes Barack Obama Abraham Lincoln. It's hardly surprising that the first black president has been an intestine-rocking shock for folks accustomed to power residing only in people who look like them. The coming years of American civil war commemorations will only throw gasoline on the fire already burning in the brains of white America. As William Faulkner famously said, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

I believe the south will rise again. Shit floats.

If, like a near-majority of your fellow Americans, you're currently taking at least one prescription drug on a long-term basis, Vanity Fair's article on "Deadly Medicine" will make you feel a little sick(er).


From C&L:

I apologize for the abomination of having to wake up to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, but I selected this video to make a point. There's been a lot of wailing and gnashing in the progressive community this week. Not without justification, mind you, but I think it would do all of us good to step back and take a look at the real big picture. For as much as we feel frustrated or betrayed or doomed, the fact remains that we have it so lucky in this country. We really do.

And in a related story ....

No, you stupid twit, Haiti is not "joyful" Sarah Palin, desperate to breathe life into flagging book sales (sales on this offering is off by 85% compared to the first one) the former half-term governor hooked up with fellow grifter Franklin Graham to make a made-for-Fox sell-some-books appearance in Haiti. She found the place "joyful." Not. Even. Kidding.


Ten years ago today George W. Bush "won" the presidential election by the first judicial coup d'état in our nation's history.

(For the "re-election", they resorted to outright theft.)


The Salvation Army says it refuses to distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys collected for needy children because they're incompatible with the charity's Christian beliefs.


So, after his bogus comparison of Social Security to a Ponzi scheme, now Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry wants to pull Texas out of the Medicaid system?

Not so fast, some of his fellow Republicans warn.

Such a move would be a disaster for the state -- at least for everyone who relies on that system for medical care. It would also be very bad in pure fiscal terms.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has warned that the state would lose $15 billion in federal matching funds and would have 2.6 million more Texans thrown into the ranks of the uninsured if our state did such a stupid thing.

Our state already faces a budget shortfall that, by some estimates, could exceed $20 billion. This has been a consequence of stupidity in itself, for which Governor Goodhair was somehow not held responsible on Nov. 2 by the voters of this state. More such stupidity would be far more than the taxpayers of Texas could afford.

State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, a physician from the Houston area, had this to say: "I don't think (opting out) of Medicaid is really viable. If you dropped out today, the human and economic consequences are pretty immediate."

Perry's response was to sort of pull back some, him and haw, and call for "increasing flexibility and innovation in Medicaid."

Here are quotes from the report: "Opting out of Medicaid means giving up federal dollars paid by the state's residents to provide healthcare for our most vulnerable residents."

But the report wasn't without cautions about the status quo: "Staying in the program forces states to pay for a federally-mandated expansion of Medicaid with little control over the program's ever-rising costs ..."

I'm shocked, shocked to be told that things actually have to be paid for. Texas has never been known for its largess for the poor -- much more known for its vast hospitality toward the rich and relocating corporations. Part of that lure is our "low" taxes. We're the second-most-populous state in the U.S., and there's still no personal state income tax here -- just very high sales taxes, user fees, and just about everything else you can imagine that's regressive.

Politicians like Governor Goodhair aim to keep it that way. Their demagoguery comes in when they start talking this sort of neo-secessionism. That plays very well in this state with Ballcap Bubba, and with Bubbette, too. He gets 80% of the vote in some areas of this state.

Granted, the gap between what the state is getting from the federal government in Medicaid dollars, compared with the need, is great. Texas has far more impoverished and uninsured people than it is getting money for. But, please explain to me how opting out of the system is going to solve that problem?

Somehow, Governor Goodhair's office always takes full credit whenever Texas gets federal disaster relief funds, like after hurricanes and such. They never turn down any military-base money or defense contracts, either. The game seems to be getting as many of the perks as possible, and then leaving the poor and sick to die in some shithole. It's all the perks we can get, with as few of the bills as we are forced to pay.


PolitiFact has compiled more than 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter.


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