Sunday, November 29, 2009

MIT Analysis of Senate Health Care Reforms Contradicts GOP

How do you know when Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is lying? If you answered when his lips are moving you are only partly correct. You know he's lying when MIT says so.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Science Quote of the Day

"Physics is not a religion. If it were, we'd have a much easier time raising money." - Leon Lederman

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please consider giving if you can afford it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Climate Change Scandal That Wasn't

By now, you have probably heard about the climate change scandal that erupted last week, when the private emails of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia were hacked and made public. Conservative figures in the United States have already latched on to the email scandal and are trying to use it as proof that climate change is a myth and that climate change skeptics are martyrs about to be vindicated by the revelation contained in the emails.

But George Monbiot, the well-known British writer of all things environmental, has an article about the brouhaha surrounding the matter which is well worth reading. While he does not deny the gravity of the episode, he claims that climate change science is strong enough to weather the storm of the hacked CRU emails.

Social Progress v. Religion

An interesting paper has recently appeared in Evolutionary Psychology that establishes a strong inverse relationship between religiosity and prosperity. While the author clearly identifies the relationship as one of correlation, and not necessarily causation, the fact remains that less religious countries are at the top of the prosperity scale and more religious one can be found at the bottom.

Given the progress-stifling religiosity of many prominent public figures and leaders in this country, it is not hard to believe that the high level of true or styled religiosity in this country is a hindrance to prosperity and progress.

But there is hope, I tell you. Many other more prosperous countries prove it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Insurance Bureaucrat Between You and Your Doctor

One of the most disingenuous, disgusting, and despicable tactics used by health care reform opponent is the threat that passage of a Democratic health care reform bill will interpose government (statist) bureaucrats between you and your doctor. Several people have made the point that there already are bureaucrats between you and your doctor: they work for insurance companies but health care reform opponent continue their demagoguery undeterred. So here is the article that you need to print, read out aloud, and shove up their ass if they try the "government bureaucrats" argument on you.

Not All 17 Year-Olds Are Created Equal

Jackie and David Vines are both high-school seniors.
They are both 17.
One is a dumbass. The other is smart.

After Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC put her on the spot for not knowing basic facts about Sarah Palin, whom Jackie reveres, Jackie went on to accuse (from a blog) O'Donnell of being crafty and "biased.

David Vines points out that "This notion that [reporters are] being 'crafty' and 'biased' when they correct factually inaccurate statements is ridiculous."

As I said, Jackie is a dumbass. David Vines is smart.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The U.S. Senate: Where All Good Intentions Go To Die

Author and think-tank director Steven Hill examines the madness that is the United States Senate, which he describes as "a patrician gerontocracy more closely resembling the ancient Roman Senate than a New England town meeting."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Local Idiots

Colorado is a wonderful state, but--like all others--it has its share of idiots. My apologies for this one, a Wheat Ridge car dealer, on behalf of the good people of the state.

Oh, by the way, do not threaten to kill him or physically hurt him and his employees, as he alleges to have happened. Simply boycott his dealership and encourage others you know to do the same.

It's incredible that this bit of asinine stupidity still has traction, and it's absurd to have to post the link to not one, but two fact-checking sites because there are lunatics who are too lazy to do their own "footwork" on the web.

By the way, should you encounter any of these Orly Taitz types who continue to push the "Obama was born in Kenya" bunk, just handle them like you would any undesired solicitor at your house.

The Sad Truth About The Public Option

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich calls it like he sees it. He says the only way the public option proposed by Senate Democrats could be more meaningless and gutted would be to make it available "to only twelve people" in America. The rest of his post is good, too.

April 30, 2010: A Dire Date for The Nation

On one date, April 30, 2010, we will lose two of the best (the best, IMHO) TV programs that this nation has.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Plea to The Good Democrats of Connecticut

Sen. Lieberman will be up for re-election in 2012, which means that we will have to endure him as a Republican camouflaged as a Democrat for four more years.

Currently, there is no recall law on Connecticut's books. But even in 2007, the Daily Kos had a couple of posts about the need to recall Sen. Lieberman. That need is even more urgent now that health care reform hangs in the balance in the Senate thanks to Sen. Lieberman opposition to the public option.

It is something that cannot be done easily or quickly, but it is something that needs to be done because the country cannot afford four more years of people like Joe Lieberman.

Industry Talking Points and Republican Whores

Emptywheel (Marcy Wheeler) has a post that shows that corrupt politicians (as in politicians whose mouths and votes are bought with industry money) are mouthpieces reading from the same script. Big deal? I'd say.

In Which PZ Myers Refutes Creationist Fallacies

Here is a very interesting and fairly mild-mannered post in which PZ Myers of Pharyngula fame refutes a number of creationist fallacies commonly used to support Intelligent Design bunk.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Sarah Palin

Watch and laugh.

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Two Interesting Articles for Your Daily Reading List

A couple of interesting articles have come to my attention today: one is by WashPost journalist Ruth Marcus, about three fallaces of the abortion/health care reform debate. The other one is by Jim Hightower, about self-aggrandizing CEOs and their lack of moral perception or standards.

Oh, by the way, there's another one I almost forgot, by Robert Sheer of It asks, quite plaintively, what happened to the Obama we elected a year ago.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama's Betrayal of Environmental Reform

The German magazine Der Spiegel indicts President Obama for his failure to deliver meaningful action on climate change.

This reminded me of an excellent documentary which I watched last weekend on PBS. The title is Power Paths, and it examines the drive to use renewable and clean energy sources, and how the Indian nation is leading the way in the right direction.

Turning Conventional Wisdom on Its Head

I always thought that the Pledge of Allegiance is a clever bit of brainwashing and that it is a weird habit in a country that makes freedom and individualism its true religion.

Michael Lind makes a strong case against the Pledge of Allegiance.

Blind to Their Own Insanity

In a post titled "Insanity", the Constructive Curmudgeon complains that the press is trying to cover up the religious motives of the Ft. Hood killer (he is a Muslim and the Curmudgeon runs a right wing Christian blog.)

The Curmudgeon closes with the following question: "Now consider what the press would do if a Christian soldier turned on his own while shouting, 'Praise to King Jesus'." Luckily for him, our Christian soldiers are a bit more discreet when they do their killing in the name of JC. In other words, they do the killing without the shouting. Jeremy Scahill summed it up for The Nation.

Oh, by the way: The press on those who kill in the name of Christ? Unless you read non-mainstream press or watch Democracy Now, hardly a peep.

American Pastor Pinpoints What's Wrong with America

Seriously: The stuff some people say in the name of religion truly boggle the mind.

Via Pharyngula, I have come across this stunning, raving mad video of a Pastor Anderson, from Tempe Arizona, who blames America's problems on lack on manliness, measured through a very, very hilarious criteria.

Watch. (Watch soon, before the video is pulled from YouTube.)

The Insufferable Repuglycan Fearmongering About KSM's NY Trial

No sooner had AG Eric Holder announced that the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed was going to be held in NYC, close to the 9/11 site, than Repuglycans started throwing their fearmongering shit aroud like the truly despicable monkeys they are (no offense to monkeys).

Driftglass at the Daily Kos throws some of the shit back in their faces.

The Mystery of Sexual Evolution

While creationists waste some perfectly good time conjecturing the many ways in which "god did it", scientists--bless their brains--keep working at explaining how we got where we are.

The following, fascinatng article summarizes the discoveries scientists made in the field of asexual versus sexual reproduction.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Groothuis Never Learns Anything

In a post entitled "The Deniable Darwin", Mr. Groothuis of The Constructive Curmudgeon links to a website called "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism", which--says Groothuis--lists "over 600 people with earned doctorates in science" skeptical of Darwinism.

In response, I link to my own "authorities" web site, called Project Steve. The Project Steve website is hosted by the National Center for Science Education, which played a big role in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Board of Education trial which ended with the presiding judge ridiculing the Board's creationists (like Groothuis) for the breathtaking inanity of their decision, i.e. trying to introduce creationism into science classes, albeit under the camouflage of Intelligent Design.

According to the web site authors', Project Steve "is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" or 'scientists who dissent from Darwinism'." As of 10/09/09, over 1000 scientists named Steve have signed their name in support of the Theory of Evolution, and since Steves represent about 1% of all scientists... well, you do the math.

As the Project Steve site says, "NCSE has been asked numerous times to compile a list of thousands of scientists affirming the validity of the theory of evolution. Although we easily could have done so, we have resisted. We did not wish to mislead the public into thinking that scientific issues are decided by who has the longer list of scientists!" Exactly, science is decided by who can come up with the better natural explanation for natural phenomena, something that creationist fail to do as their whole idea of science rests on the supernatural. Case closed.

WIll Sen. Reid Heed Robert Reich's Call?

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, wrote an excellent open letter to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV). It contains the following words, which echo what I have written about Senate Democrats in weeks past: "Your responsibility isn't just to pass whatever will muster 60 votes and that the President and Dems can later call "health care reform." It's to do the right thing by the American people and bring down future health-care costs."

Read it, please.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Republican Idea of a Technicality

After AG Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 conspirators will be tried on U.S. soil, in U.S. federal courts (which have a 100% conviction rate in federal terrorist cases), the right rose in protest of the DOJ's decision, saying that there is a danger that the terrorists might be released on "a technicality". Let me translate what these people mean by technicality, for the naive amongst you: if any evidence is introduced in trial that resulted from the torture of KSM, who at one point was waterboarded 183 times--in one month!--all that evidence, and any evidence which was subsequently obtained as a result of torture, could be thrown out by the judge. If the government were not able to build a case based on evidence obtained independently of KSM's torture, then--yes--KSM could, theoretically, walk out of court a free man. But that's the price you pay when you jettison the rule of law and replace it with one man's sense of what is or should be lawful when the going gets tough.

If you are on the side of those who would consider torture a mere technicality, then I pity you and I fear you. Because if this country ended up in your hands it would cease (as it did for the eight year of the Bush administration) to be a country we should be proud of. It would be no different than any of the many post-Soviet Union "-stans", where torture is a staple of their undemocratic diet.

Those who believe that torture is a justified, effective mean of obtaining information would do well to read A Question of Torture, by Alfred McCoy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time For The 35 Hour Working Week

President Obama is looking for ideas to jump start the employment market. Here's one: Do what the French did in 1998 and legislate a 35 hour work week for all businesses which employ more than 50 people (in France, I believe, the threshold was 20, but hey, this is America).

I can almost hear the cries of "socialist!" rising from the right, but extreme times require extreme measures.

To allay the fears of those who would be ready to label this as yet another move toward the destruction of America, the President should attach a couple of provisions to such a job creation bill:

  • It should contain a sunset provision, which would automatically return the working week to 40 hours unless Congress reauthorizes the bill. (After all, even the French have all but repealed the 35 hour working in week, in 2008.
  • It should be optional, meaning that employers should not be forced to participate, but it should also contain tax incentives for employers to offset the higher cost of employment and to make participation an attractive option.

The obvious downside of such a plan is that individuals who are employed would lose 5 hours of wages per week. But this could easily be compensated by offsetting the money lost by such individuals with matching tax credits or by, guess what, a stimulus package aimed at workers rather than, say, the usual financial institutions that have caused or contributed to the predicament we are in.

The upside would be that more people would be employed. This would be a) a politically smart move ahead of the 2010 elections, b) a boost for the morale of a nation shocked by unemployment, and c) the morally right thing to do.

An additional plus would be that people who are employed also enjoy company benefits, including health care benefits, at a time when the number of uninsured or underinsured Americans is frighteningly, immorally high. It would also mean that the government would not spend as much on health care and unemployment benefits for individuals out of a job.

Of course, Republicans would oppose such a move, but who cares? Don't they oppose anything in the name of political advantage anyway?

Call me crazy, but I think we can learn from the French on this one.

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

In a pretty shocking (or is it?) and embarrassing (it is!) twist, it turns out that the Republican National Committee, whose members publicly blast "abortion-on-demand", has a health-insurance plan that DOES cover "abortion-on-demand."

Read here for more on this interesting morsel of Repuglycan hypocrisy. (Incidentally, Focus on the Family finds itself in a similar quandary.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Most Evil Man in the Senate?

Right now, you would think the most evil man in the Senate would be Connecticut grandstander Douche Lieberman. Maybe he is, but he has serious competition from Tom Coburn, the Republican senator and obstetrician from Oklahoma.

Let's pretend this is the $100,000 Pyramid and play:

The public option.
S-CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program).
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage
Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Banning cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees.
Not using bribes to keep mistresses quiet.
Gay and lesbian teachers.
Suing companies whose employes have raped you.
Global warming.
Paying for veteran's health care (on Veterans' Day, too).


He is a dick, and an unctuous, sanctimonious one at that. He is up for re-election in 2010. You know what to do.

Oh, and by the way: Rachel Maddow tears Coburn a new one in the segment below, starting at about 2:53 into the segment.

And They Continue To Call Themselves News?

Watch this clip from last night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who caught the stupid, lying, insufferable Michele Bachmann and Sean Hannity inflate attendance numbers for the "Superbowl of Freedom" (oh god!). Not only that, Hannity used footage from two months ago to support the appearance of a larger crowd.

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There is an additional point of irony which, strangely, Stewart and his excellent staff missed, and here it is: Hannity used footage from the 9/12 teabaggers' rally to support Thursday's presumed attendance of 20 to 45,000 people. But back in September, that same footage was shown to claim attendance figures of well over a million people. But then again, facts have never been Hannity's area of expertise.

On The American Second Amendment Madness

Here is an excellent article on the history of mass shootings in the U.S. My favorite passage is this:
One of the only other countries that has had a similar violence problem has been Australia which saw a string of mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s. Finally, in 1996, armed with a semiautomatic rifle, Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people at a Tasmanian historical site. Australian lawmakers reacted with tough gun control legislation banning semiautomatic rifles. The result? No mass shootings since the ban.

Deconstructing Sen. Lieberman's Ignorance of Terrorism

R.J. Eskow of the Huffington Post has written an excellent deconstruction of Sen. Lieberman's misuse of the word "terrorism". As a bonus, it applies to other Islamophobes, like my favorite target for misinformation and ideological hatred (of the Christian kind), Mr. Groothuis of The Constructive Curmudgeon.

Meteor Blades on The Economy, via The Daily Kos

Meteor Blades reprises a couple of sad but true articles on the state of the economy for working people.

It is frankly absurd that we have come to simply accept that the lion's share of profits belongs rightfully to corporations, and that no moral consideration is given to the plight of workers, who are increasingly seen as expendable capital, to be replaced with cheaper capital from abroad without pause.

Not uncoincidentally, the decline in the wages of the American worker matches the decline of union enrollment in this country and is a result of the constant right-wing and corporate attacks on unionization.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Via Obsidian Wings

A few days ago, a blogger using the pseudonym Von posted the following defense of the Republican alternative to health care reform. It seems he quite liked it because, among other things, if you measure it by the right yardstick, the alternative would lower costs for more Americans than the Democratic plan without increasing taxes, and it would address reform via incremental changes, instead of introducing sweeping changes.

I am highlighting here some of the best responses to his post, the ones which I found amusing and to the point.

Of course, what von fails to mention is that the lower premiums would result from changes that allow the insurance company to cover fewer things than they are currently required to cover.

I could buy a really cheap policy if it only covered gall bladder surgery performed in July.


It's not just a matter of getting people to "have" insurance, the insurance has to be worth a damn, otherwise people are just giving money to insurance companies and still losing everything they have...



I wish you and Andrew would learn one simple lesson: the moment you identify medical malpractice "reform" as a part of a health care solution, you brand yourselves as nothing more than the worst sort of republican hacks, the rest of whose arguments are unworthy of any attention.


A conservative radio talk-jock has compared people with preexisting conditions and thus no or very expensive insurance to drivers with DUI convictions and thus higher car insurance premiums. If one thinks that these two situations are morally equivalent, then you'll like the GOP bill.


We'll file this one under, "Von understands only first order effects, and doesn't want to evaluate incentives when it comes to anything other than taxes."


the 'anti-recission' part contains the exact loophole that insurance companies use today to rescind, i.e. "fraud" like misspellings on forms, forgotten 'preexisting conditions' ("you did not tell us that you had nausea one day in 1st grade and pimples in 3rd grade, you maliciously concealed that you had a bloody knee after soccer on July 7th 1962 etc. and now you expect us to pay the treatment for the Lyme infection you got from that tick last Wednesday? Be grateful that we do not sue YOU")etc.


And, finally, my favorite comment, on choosing "the right yardstick":

I am also grateful to finally know that all discussions and disagreements can be smoothed over by simply finding a different yardstick. That really helps.

There are more comments to the post, which are well-worth reading if you click the link at the top of this post and have a few minutes to spare...

The Vacuousness of the So-Called "Pro-Life" Argument

Now that Congress has approved the truly hideous Stupak Amendment I am surrounded by sanctiomonious self-described "pro-lifers" who insist that no taxpayer money should ever be used to kill innocent (unborn) babies. It really irks me--scratch that: it truly angers me--that these idiots never insist with the same militance that no taxpayer money should be spent to kill innocents in wars of choice (like Iraq, or many of the other wars the U.S. waged on countries that had done nothing to America).

Next time they try to pull that bullshit on you, try reasoning with them. If that fails, tell them their abortion would have lowered the level of self-serving dishonesty in the world.

John Barrasso and the Art of Contradicting Oneself

I just heard Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) make the following two-faced argument (summarized) on Hardball:

I do want to vote for health care reform, but I want it to be centered around the patient and doctors, not around the government--as the Democratic plan is.

Then, one minute later, he said, in so many words:

Obesity is a problem in this country for one third of Americans and yet this health reform plan does not do anything to address the costs associated with obesity.

There you have it: On the one hand the duplicitous senator complains about the fact that health care choices should not be dictated by the government; on the other hand he complains that the government does not have any wording in the plan to address obesity. Well done, Senator! I guess that is the same kind of logic that allows one to say that medical decisions should be left between a patient and his or her doctor, while having the government legislate against the constitutional right of a woman to choose to have an abortion.

You know, Senator, there is another thing that the plan does not address, and it probably should: the ability of a senator to make consecutive non-conflicting statements in the space of a minute.

The Return of the Fairness Doctrine

Don't get too excited. It ain't gonna happen, at least any time soon. It should, though, and Steve Almond explains why.

P.S. Note that there are some talk show hosts (none on the right, really) who have already enacted their own independent versio of the Fairness Doctrine. For example, Thom Hartmann, who often invites on his progressive show people from the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and a host of other conservative and libertarian voices.

Is Any Health Care Reform Better Than the Status Quo?

Marcia Angell, author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, does not think so.

Why Congressman Kucinich Opposed H.R. 3962

While I believe that passage of H.R. 3962 is, to some degree, a good thing and a step in the right direction (as long as a bunch of assumptions become reality), I commend Congressman Kucinich (D-OH) for his principled stand against H.R 3962.

The one thing that is particularly disturbing is the fact that the Kucinich Amendment, which would have shielded states that wished to establish a single-payer system at the state level from legal challenges, was removed stripped from H.R. 3962. Keep in mind that Canada's national health care system started exactly as a state movement, state by state.

Watch Congressman Kucinich's interview on today's Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Groothuis's Hypocrisy on Civility

Lately Mr. Groothuis, over at The Constructive Curmugeon, posted something about publishing civil discourse on his blog, including the following thought: "As is typical, Darwinists insult, condescend, and label anyone who disagrees as an ignoramus. The policy of this blog is to not post insults and invective." (Emphases added.)

Hmmmm, really? Labeling others as ignoramuses is not civil, perhaps ad-hominem? But a quick search of his blog reveals the use of the word ignoramus(es) several times (see below). The author? Why, Groothuis himself. No one should take lessons on civility from a theocratic censor.
  • Slippery slopes do exist. Legalizing abortion on demand led to an overall cheapening of unborn life in America. The argument was that abortion would only occur in "hard cases"--threats to the mother's life, extreme fetal deformity, etc. Now people have abortions for sex selection and to murder Down's babies--80-90% of which are now killed before birth. The slope is real, Mr. Jones. To say otherwise to be be [sic] a flagrant (if popular) ignoramus. (From "Tony Jones on Perverse Unions". Of Jones he also said this: "He stares into the camera and opines idiocy with great smugness...")

  • But Obama, like the good liberal ignoramus that he is, trusts "the international community" (read the UN) more than the historic strength of his own country. The foolishness of this man is breath-taking, mind-boggling, and bone-chilling. (From "Ignoramus In Chief")

  • Any presidential candidate who claims he does not know when human life begins or when a fetus gets human rights is both a moral and biological ignoramus and unfit for The White House. (From "Propositions to Ponder Considering the Presidency")
That is not all, of course.

Groothuis calls "ignorant Americans" people who are swayed by "Obama's pseudo-gravitas" (in "It Gets Still Worse: O's Anti-Semitism Connection.") He calls "ignorant Christians" those who do not share his own view on abortion (in "Obama on 'The Least of These'.") He said that "The euphoria over Obama can only be explained on the basis of massive ignorance and massive credulity." (From "Review of Mark Levin, Tryanny [sic] and Liberty", emphases added. One can just assume that those who voted for Bush's first term, and especially for second, were enlightened Christians--oxymoron anyone?)

You know, I am no Christian, but even I remember hearing something about "casting the first stone" or being good "examples to the flock."

Had enough of condescending hypocrites, yet?


I read this in disbelief, obviously on the pages of The Constructive Curmudgeon, who earns yet another dishonorable mention in the annals of blogging with this post about the truly dismal and ill-conceived Stupak-Pitts amendment (in that it discriminates against a class of women--poor women--while preserving the right to any kind of abortion for those who can afford one):

"I am somewhat happy about this vote, but...what this means, if the public (statist) option goes through, is that many women may claim rape or incest in order to get federal funds. When the civil government promises to pay, many people lie to get it. Consider all the Medicare fraud going on! That means pro-life people will be paying for abortion that they do not agree with."

Yes, I can just see scores of accidentally impregnated women ruining their brothers or fathers' lives under baseless accusations of incest, or accusing strangers of rape so they can get that much sought after abortion. To make a statement like the one in italics, Groothuis must really have no shame, no morals. The solution for reducing fraud and abuse is obviously not to ban a service, product or whatever, for all. It is to go after those guilty of fraud. But the worst has yet to come:

"In fact, I do not think rape or incest justifies abortion, since a human being has been conceived, however wrongfully. You don't solve one problem (illicit, immoral intercourse) by another one (aborting an innocent human being made in God's image). I do not want my money going to pay for these abortions." (Emphases added.)

Hey Doug, guess what? Not everybody on this planet is convinced that we are all made in your god's image. (How cruel would that be?) You and your fellow theocrats must stop interfering with the non-privileging covenant that the Founding Fathers you revere when it's convenient to you have made for posterity.

Moreover, as stated before, I do not want my tax dollars going for illegal wars or to subsidize education at Christian colleges, but you know what? Shit happens in a pluralistic society.

And regarding the ludicrous, deliriously theocratic statement that one should force a victim of rape or incest to carry the pregnancy to term (why, because it's a gift from god?) in spite of the will of the unwanted fetus's host, the raped mother, I am really sorry that there is no hell bad enough (or no hell at all) for people like you, Mr. Groothuis. People who believe in the Constitution and freedom only as long as it conforms with their fanatical, fairy-tale-modeled view of how things should be.

Now tell me: for a non-believing American, given the statements Mr. Groothuis made in his truly appalling post, what is the difference between an Islamic extermist and a Christian extremist? (I am not talking about terrorists, of which Christians re not devoid, either.) Theocrats are theocrats, the world over, no matter what jersey they wear.

Close as it is to Sharia law, you could call Mr. Groothuis's view of a truly Christian society "Sha-really". Truly evil and shameful, whatever your intentions.

Teabaggers: Swallow This! (Pill)

Health care reform has passed the House. Well, I never!

One Republican even voted for it. So not all Republicans are heartless, politically and financially motivated dicks. All, that is, but one. Congratulations for being on the losing side of morality, history, and politics.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Another Hero: Earl Blumenauer, D-OR

To paraphrase: Republicans could have passed anything they wanted on health care during the 6 years when they and Bush controlled everything. They did not. They have met the challenge "not to govern".

Jim McDermott (D-WA), My New Hero

Just heard a one minute speech by Jim McDermott on the floor of the House. In a nutshell? Republicans hate government. They did nothing when they had all the power. Remember what they did during Katrina? Clear, concise, cruelly true.

When/if a clip of McDermott' speech is available, I will post it.

My Dream Outcome for the House Health Care Vote

The health care reform bill passes by one vote: Rep. Owens (D-NY-23). Bachmann, Palin, and Limbaugh choke on one of the pieces of crap they have been dishing out to the teabagging crowd. Oh, wouldn't that be sweet?

How Will the House Health Care Reform Plan Affect You?

McJoan at the Daily Kos has found a practical and useful interactive tool that you can use to see how the House's Affordable Health Care for America Act will affect you, based on your current coverage situation.

Listening to Speaker Nancy Pelosi from the House Floor

It sounds like we have the votes to pass, H.R. 3962 on health care reform. The road will still be long and difficult. Passage in the Senate is not guaranteed.

I have to say, having listened to about 2.5 hours of debate, that Republicans are--for the most part--sour grape dickheads. For about half of the 2.5 hours they have done nothing but fear-monger, lie, misrepresent, and acted like their plan is far better. On the contrary the Congressional Budget Office says, in so many words, that their plan is a fraud. Not only that, they had years since 1994 to do something about health care reform. Instead, they chose to obstruct, defend the status quo, and make the lives of hundreds of million of Americans more miserable than they already were.

To this moment, they are still talking about the fact that this bill will destroy jobs, increase taxes, kill seniors, land Americans in jail, lie, after lie, after lie.

What the Repugnant Ones' don't say in their floor speeches is that taxes will be raised by 5.4% on individuals making more than $500,000 and couples making more than $1 million a year.

What they also don't say is that small businesses that the bill is supposed to put out of business because of health care mandates are exempt below a certain size or income.

What they refuse to acknowledge is the fact that guaranteed health coverage is particulary important now that unemployment has broken the 10% threshold, and that real unemployment (which includes those who are looking for full-time employment but can only find part-time jobs or who have stopped looking altogether) has reached 17.5%.

They accuse Democratic health care bills to forecast cost increases of 8% a year (a dubious claim, to be sure), omitting the fact that health insurance companies have been increasing premiums at a yearly pace of 12%.

They warn us about skyrocketing deficits when in fact the CBO has projected that in the first 10 years of the bill's implementation costs will be reduced by $100 billion.

They want to scare us into thinking that the government will play interference between doctors and patients, when in fact the American Medical Association, the AARP, and countless other medical advocacy groups (including nurses and other practitioners) back the Democratic reform plan.

And finally, the Repugnant Ones keep misrepresenting the cost of the bill, putting it at $1.3 trillion over ten years, where in fact the CBO has rated the cost at $894 billion. Consider the fact that Republicans have not had any qualms about supporting Bush's three trillion dollar war or voting for this year's defense budget of $600 billion.

This is why Republicans have earned the moniker of Repugnant Ones. There is nothing they won't do or say to protect the moneyed interests that promote their careers, no matter what the cost, in dollars and lives, to the American people.

On the Fort Hood Killings and Islamophobia

The man responsible for the slaughter of 12 comrades and the injuries sustained by many others at Fort Hood was a Muslim. So the Islamophobic crowd has lost no time decrying Islam and Muslims, as if all Muslims were equal. You can see what I mean below.

No one questions that the action of Major Hasan are unspeakable and no one doubts that Islamic terrorism is a problem. But no one should forget that we do not yet know if this is an act of terrorism or simply one of rage (big difference), nor that many Muslims serve honorably in the U.S. military, day in, day out. Often these soldiers are subjected to the harassment and the suspicions of their comrades, but they still choose to discharge their duty with honor among many difficulties. That's why I am posting the picture below, as a reminder that bigotry and hatred are as worth fighting against as terrorism is.

You should read this article, too, from the Huffington Post.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Ft. Hood Killings

I am not very familiar with the ways of the Military, so I was surprised to learn--in the wake of today's killings at Fort Hood, that soldiers do not typically carry weapons on base. Only military police and authorized security personnel do. This was a shocking revelation, because every time there is a shooting at a school, in a civic centre, or any public place whatsoever, the Second Amendment freaks (as opposed to ordinary Second Amendment supporters) always say that if teachers, students, employees, the general public (anyone really) carried a weapon all the time we would not have anything to fear, or--at the very least--we'd be able to respond to fire with fire.

I always thought such argument insane, and I was heartened to hear Lt. General Robert W. Cone, commanding officer at Fort Hood, say this about the fact that soldiers do not carry weapons withing the base's confines: "As a matter of practice, we don't carry weapons here, this is our home."

The GOP Health Care Reform Plan

Previously I wrote that Republicans believe that there is nothing wrong with health care, nothing to fix. I was wrong. Republicans do not think that things are not bad. They think they are not bad enough.

If you think that's hyperbole, read this.

Kos Gets It. Do Democrats?

The latest post at the Daily Kos is titled Motivate the Base. It contains the following explanation of Conservadem logic:
1.Do nothing this year, so they can get reelected
2.So they can do nothing again next cycle, so they can be reelected
3.So they can stick around to name post offices and issue "National Bratwurst Day" proclamations

Nailed it.

Names Of The Dead

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) came up with a few pretty brilliant ideas. For example, this week he recited the number of deaths in each congressional district attributable to lack of health care. Needless to say, Republicans went ballistic about it.

Another great idea was to create the website Names of the Dead, which lists people who died for lack of health care and their stories. You should visit it, particularly if you are a reform skeptic. And if you are not, then pass it on to those who are.

Rep. Grayson quoted Truman, who--as one of his supporters pleaded with him to give his opponents hell during the 1948 presidential campaign--replied: "I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell."

Some things never change.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Problems With Last Night's Election Results

Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos has this interesting analysis of last night's election results: The Democratic base collapsed.

The risk is that other experts will explain the defeat of the Democrats who ran for governor in NJ and Virginia with their unpopularity or the fact that they ran bad campaigns. I don't buy that explanation, because while there are some bad Democrats, and god knows there are many, the alternative--Republicans--is even worse. The real problem is Democrats who do not stand up for the values they were elected for, as Markos explains in his post.

Another problem is that in time of economic crises a majority of electors still buys the Republican rhetoric that the solution to everyone's problems lies in lower taxes (which benefit middle- and lower-class Americans only marginally) and fewer regulations (which never benefit anyone other than corporations or the very wealthy), in spite of all contrary evidence, which by now abounds. These solutions have been tried over and over again by Republicans over the last 30 years and--while they may bring a small dose of temporary relief--they wreak havoc and lead to disaster for average Americans in the long run. It is hard to believe that the American people are so stupid that they keep buying the Republican "free-market" mantra, but the evidence is under eyes. We look away at our peril.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Clash of the Teeny-Minded Narcissists

McJoan at the Daily Kos gives a good analysis of Douche Lieberman's appearance (yesterday) on the eminently unwatchable Face the Nation. Both of these idiots (Lieberman and Schieffer) vie for relevance, one by prancing around the Senate with his Joker-like grin, threatening to single-handedly kill health care reform while the limelight shines on his ephemeral ego-boosting trip, the other being as insipid as possible and holding back the punches, in the hope he will get to moderate yet another presidential forum or debate before he, hopefully soons, abandons the stage.

They are both excellent examples of how mediocrity prospers in today's United States and how the media reward political pettiness.

Healthy Hypocrites

Jim Hightower chastises 55 particularly annoying hypocrites for fighting against the public option.

There ain't a hell hot enough for any of them.

Our Nation's Twisted Priorities

Read and grrrrrrr!!!

(Note: hc stands for health care)
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