Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Headlines - Wednesday December 29

Click here to read Citizens of Sarah Palin's Alaska Don't Like Her 

Citizens of Sarah Palin's Alaska don't like her
What they never show on Sarah Palin's Alaska is the 58% Alaskans who hate Sarah Palin. There's logging, hunting, and halibut-smushin', but never any shots of the mobs of Alaskan citizens who despise her everything. Otherwise, it's a decent sitcom.
political pictures - GOD BLESS AMERICA
American conservatives are a national embarrassment. Frightened, gullible, and angry over things that aren't actually happening, they take up the most insane positions merely to be contrary (see Sarah Palin's pro-childhood obesity stance). And, in reaction to healthcare reform, they've given themselves plenty of phantoms to be afraid of. PolitiFact's Lie of the Year for 2010 is the claim that healthcare reform marks a "government takeover of healthcare." Last year, the big winner was Sarah Palin's "death panel" lie. If you need to become terrified of something that doesn't actually exist, go find a conservative. They can help you out, because they're the experts at this stuff. Keep reading:
Apparitions and distractions

Lawrence Murphy was an evil man. He was a Wisconsin priest who molested over 200 boys, and just to make the story particularly deplorable, they were deaf children. Preying on the weakest and most vulnerable was apparently his life's mission. Furthermore, this was the scandalous case that was reported directly to then Cardinal Ratzinger in his role as the Vatican enforcer; his enforcement involved shuffling the guilty around to hide their crimes and give them fresh opportunities in new hunting grounds.

Well, the Vatican has finally found it in its black (but gold-plated!) and shriveled husk of a heart to do something for Wisconsin: they've blessed a ghost sighting as genuine. Woo hoo! That'll fix everything right up!

The church has declared that a sighting in 1859 of a blond Mary hovering between two trees was real and worthy, and the local Catholic church is now busily expanding their parking lot to cope with the expected influx of gullible suckers pilgrims who will flock to the site to imagine a floating cheerleader for Jesus.


It's a funny story, too. A Belgian immigrant, Adele, claimed to see this:

As they approached the hallowed spot, Adele could see the beautiful lady, clothed in dazzling white, with a yellow sash around her waist. Her dress fell to her feet in graceful folds. She had a crown of stars around her head, and her long, golden, wavy hair fell loosely around her shoulders. Such a heavenly light shone around her that Adele could hardly look back at her sweet face.

You know what really made it miraculous? Adele was accompanied by two other women, who couldn't see or hear the floating lady.

" 'Adele, who is it?" said one of the women. 'O why can't we see her as you do?' said another weeping.

" 'Kneel,' said Adele, 'the Lady says she is the Queen of Heaven.' Our Blessed Lady turned, looked kindly at them, and said, 'Blessed are they that believe without seeing. What are you doing here in idleness...while your companions are working in the vineyard of my Son?'"

That settles it. It must have been a magical manifestation if it was invisible. Invisible and blond, just like I always imagined a Middle Eastern Semitic peasant woman. And the statement that you're blessed if you believe without seeing is pitch-perfect Catholicism.

Another funny thing is that the priests are obviously uncomfortably aware that this all sounds like rather convenient timing.

Catholic leaders described the decree in Wisconsin as a bolt of joy at a trying time for the Catholic church, which is troubled by revelations of sex abuse.

"This is a gift to the believers," said the Rev. Johann Roten, director of the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton.

"It would be devious to say that this was somehow pulled out of the attic to exorcise the problems of the church today," Father Roten said in a telephone interview. "But hopefully this will have a beneficial impact on the people, showing them that there are ways of living with faith that are very pure."

Yeah, how?

Never mind that! We've got child-raping priests! This calls for an immediate distraction in the form of invisible blond women, bugger the blatant nature of the ploy, and pass out the platitudes!

Obama took time out of his presumably busy schedule to call the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles to thank him for hiring perpetrator of violence against animals, Michael Vick.
Awesome, Barry! 


Law & Disorder

Make what you will of this.

What?  And there's no room for these two felons?


Here's the "greatest health care system in the world" in action.

As the Great Recession has sown unemployment and downgraded work even for those people who have held on to their jobs, the number of Americans lacking healthcare has swelled beyond 50 million, according to a sobering new report from the Kaiser Foundation.

Among the report's most troubling findings: The number of Americans without any health care coverage grew by more than four million in 2009. That left almost one-fifth of non-elderly people uninsured. Among those between 19 and 29 years old, nearly one-third lacked coverage.

The study underscores the degree to which the recession has accelerated the loss of basic elements once viewed as inextricable pieces of a middle class life. The number of Americans lacking medical coverage now exceeds the population of Spain.

About one-in-four uninsured adults have forgone care in the past year because of costs, compared to only 4 percent of those who have private coverage, according to the report.

Why would anyone have thought that an employer-based health care system could ever have led to a different outcome?  Or for that matter, a system which treats health care as a commodity no different than any other for-profit enterprise.

The core of the Affordable Care Act won't kick in until 2014 at which time many more Americans will have access to health insurance.  Until then, it is what it is with Republicans vowing to do their best to repeal the health care bill by whatever means necessary, including defunding. Lovely bunch of uncaring bastards these GOPers.  Fifty million Americans are operating without health insurance and Republicans literally don't give a damn.

With a growing divide between rich and poor and more Americans falling between the cracks, I wonder how many of those 50 million uninsured actually cast their vote for a political party which treats them like insignificant fools.   Misinformation is the conservative politician's best friend.

Best health care in the world?  Very well might be…for the most affluent Americans who actually have access to it.

Best health care system in the world?  Not even bloody close.


Remember, the GOP is really concerned about the budget. They're extremely serious, you know, and won't let any frivolous spending or "porkulus" money into the budget because they stay awake at night worrying about federal spending. God bless America.


Creating jobs for Americans. Oh ... wait ...

Perhaps if we purged the tax code of the numerous incentives to move jobs overseas (the latest was in the recent tax cut deal), it would be more likely to translate into jobs within shorter commuting distance than India:

It's so nice that the 1.4 million jobs created by American business didn't go to Americans. Good thing they got all them tax cuts so now they have "certainty". The only thing we can be certain about is that their bottom line will be better this year. Any certainty middle class Americans have is that they'll get screwed just as badly in 2011 as they did in 2010, maybe worse.
You thought the recent blizzard was bad? That while splotch is a storm on Saturn. As the Bad Astronomer notes, the storm itself is 6,000 miles across. The tail of the storm stretches for 36,000 miles.

Cool Science News of the Week. "A particular type of ancient rock art in Western Australia maintains its vivid colours because it is alive, researchers have found. While some rock art fades in hundreds of years, the "Bradshaw art" remains colourful after at least 40,000 years. Jack Pettigrew of the University of Queensland in Australia has shown that the paintings have been colonised by colourful bacteria and fungi. These "biofilms" may explain previous difficulties in dating such rock art. Professor Pettigrew and his colleagues studied 80 of these Bradshaw rock artworks - named for the 19th-Century naturalist who first identified them - in 16 locations within Western Australia's Kimberley region. They concentrated on two of the oldest known styles of Bradshaw art - Tassel and Sash - and found that a vast majority of them showed signs of life, but no paint. The team dubbed the phenomenon "Living pigments". "'Living pigments' is a metaphorical device to refer to the fact that the pigments of the original paint have been replaced by pigmented micro-organisms," Professor Pettigrew told BBC News."

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