Archive for August, 2007

The Great Bottled Water Controversy
August 30, 2007

The environmentalists pointing out the problems with bottled water are generally right. Too much plastic, too much waste, and so on. Not really arguing with them on the basic principle.

But I live in Falmouth on Cape Cod. The public water supply reeks of chlorine and runs through some thirty-five miles of pipes that the town admits increase the risk of cancer. They claim they’ve taken steps to mitigate the risk, but hey, they’re local politicos and like politicos everywhere, they’d most likely rather cover their ass and lie or mislead the public than admit a mistake. So I neither trust them nor believe them. About anything frankly, but definitely about the water supply. And especially so since too many of them are business types. And business people running politics in a tourist economy should always be viewed with a jaundiced eye. Two jaundiced eyes. As many damned jaundiced eyes as possible.

They refuse to remove the carcinogenic pipes, and the chlorine still reeks at the tap.

So to hell with the environment. Bring on the plastic bottles. I’ll stick with my Poland Spring water in an attempt to keep the environment inside my skin safer.

Wampanoag Mashpee Leader An Admitted Liar, Convicted Rapist. So, Are The Wampanoags Really A Tribe?
August 30, 2007

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe just tossed out their leader for lying repeatedly about his military record and not telling them about his conviction for rape back when.

Fair enough.

Evicted leader Glenn Marshall was the guy who led the group through the certification process which finally got them officially declared a legal tribe. He’s been credited with being a major force in getting the act done.

Okay.

But if this guy was so unsavory that the tribe rushed to throw him out, how can we be sure that the certification process was on the up and up? Aren’t there reasonable grounds to consider that the process may have been fudged and therefore should be reopened?

Considering that there is a movement within the tribe to reopen an ugly lawsuit claiming that large areas of the town of Mashpee and surrounds belong to the tribe, thus dispossessing homeowners and landowners there, maybe the town should be calling for complete and serious reconsideration by the feds, based on Marshall’s admissions, and demanding that in the meantime the feds suspend the tribe’s certification and operations.

I should note that the current new leadership doesn’t favor a land lawsuit, but there is no guarantee that the new guys will keep control. After all, Indians are human, and there’s all that money and power at stake. Kind of hard to take seriously all those quaint little rituals from the 17th century when you’re driving a Lincoln from your mcmansion to your glitzy new casino.

Healthcare Reform In Massachusetts A Sick Joke. Insurance Companies, Pols, Bureaucrats, and Governor Deval Patrick Screw The Sick. Again.
August 30, 2007

Here’s some nice logic from the State of Massachusetts as it whores for the insurance companies.

The Deval Patrick administration wants to cut the Free Care Pool that catches sick people who fall through the cracks.

Why? Because the existence of the FCP, which is an effective safety net, is ‘incompatible’ with the state’s now-mandatory health insurance boondoggle.

That’s right. Unaffordable health insurance is better than providing health care to sick people.

Got to make sure those health insurance executives keep getting their outrageous salaries, no matter how many people have to get sick and die or lose their homes and life savings. Can’t do anything to keep the politicians from getting their whore money from the insurance companies. Gotta screw the poor folk and the working poor because it’s what we do and we don’t want to actually think realistically about the problem, and besides we got our health care, so screw those other people.

Next year the penalty for not having health insurance will run more than $1,000, per year. And even if you pay the fine, you still don’t have insurance. And that fine is larger than the fines for pretty much every criminal act in the lawbooks.

When are we going to put an end to health insurance terror and provide real health care in this country?

Read the full column in the Globe, by Benjamin Day.

Pat Buchanan Puts Craig’s Foot (?) In His Mouth
August 30, 2007

Rather than reading an intelligent book last night (currently Henning Mankell’s The Man Who Smiled) I lazily flipped through the channels hoping to catch some actual news. And lo and behold, to my utter disgust, there was Pat Buchanan toiling in the groves of a group gangbang discussion of Senator Larry Craig, of recent “I’m not gay” fame.

Normally I cannot stand to look at or listen to Buchanan or his ilk, but I caught a bit of what he was saying, and it was just so…so hypocritically Conservative, so foul and worm-ridden, that I forced myself to listen for a brief moment. Deer in the headlight sort of thing, you know.

Buchanan was arguing that Craig was not being hypocritical when he pummeled gays through anti-gay legislation while engaging in blowjobs in public bathrooms.

Buchanan suggested that Craig suffered a compulsion to engage in gay sex, so his actions didn’t disqualify him from being a strong family values promoter (read anti-gay, anti-poor, anti-healthcare, pro-war, pro-rich), didn’t qualify him as a hypocrite. Compulsion is a defense against hypocrisy, says Paddy. So, let’s see, a serial murderer publicly condemns killers and votes for the death penalty, but he’s not a hypocrite because he suffers a psychotic compulsion. Or a rapist condemns rapists, but he’s not a hypocrite because he’s compelled to rape. Conservatism at its finest.

And maybe I missed it, but I didn’t hear Buchanan forgive all the other gay people out there, apparently compelled to live gay life styles without benefit of being a United States Senator with great power over people’s lives. Apparently a ‘sick’ Senator is supposed to get more slack and more perks than common, ordinary, voting ‘sick’ folk.

Of course if Craig had been a Democrat, we would have seen saliva drooling down Buchanan’s chin as he lit into him and accused him of willfully destroying what’s left of Western Civilization. We would have heard Patty booming “Compulsion and disease is no excuse for depraved and disgusting behavior. This sick Democrat should be hurled from the Senate forthwith and locked up where he can no longer visit his sickness on society.”

That’s my good ol’ Conservative boy. Suck it up, Patrick. Your argument just won’t fly.

As for Craig, I admit to feeling some pity for the poor bastard. For maybe three seconds during his bravado schizo  speech. But that was it. He chose his bathroom; let him wallow in it.

Economics Professor Proposes Another Stupid Conservative Republican Health Plan
August 28, 2007

In the Globe today, a Boston University economics professor named Laurence J. Kotlikoff offers his solution to health care in America.

It reeks of conservative idiocy. Here’s the proposal, quoted at length:

My solution is called the Medical Security System. It would eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, and (by dropping the tax breaks) employer-based healthcare. The government would give everyone a voucher each year for a basic health plan. The size of the voucher would be based on one’s health status. Those in worse health would get bigger vouchers, leaving insurers no incentive to cherry-pick. Furthermore, insurers would not be permitted to refuse a voucher or otherwise deny coverage.

The government would set the total voucher budget as a fixed share of gross domestic product and determine what a basic plan must cover. We would choose our own health plans. If we cost the insurer more than the voucher, he would lose money. If we cost him less, he would make money. Insurers would compete for our business and could tailor provisions, like co-pays and incentives to stop smoking, to limit excessive use of the healthcare system and encourage healthy behavior.

Nothing would be nationalized. Virtually all of the cost would be covered by redirecting existing government healthcare expenditures as well as tax breaks. Doctors, hospitals, and insurers would continue to market their services on a competitive basis.

This is not a French, British, or Canadian solution. It’s an American, market-based solution that Republicans should love. It’s also a progressive solution that Democrats should love.

What is it with these guys and their overweening desire to protect the insurance companies?

A voucher? To the insurance company? Why? If you’re going to hand out money, give it to the doctors and the hospitals when they provide actual health care to someone.  Why hand it to a useless middleman who will take a twenty or thirty percent cut to pay outrageous salaries, and then crap all over the sick patient?

Why? Because that’s the Conservative and the Republican way.

And who’s going to determine the size of these vouchers? Who’s going to determine the health status of an individual? Some government or insurance bureaucrat?

And doctors and hospitals do not market their services on a competitive basis. Ever see an ad with a list of prices the doctors are charging? Or how about a hospital ad pushing this week’s specials in heart surgery? As for insurers, hell, they’re thieves from the get go.

You bet it’s not a French, British, or Canadian solution. Those countries have healthcare that actually works to take care of the patient instead of insurance bigwigs.

And market-based solutions? Oh spare me the failed mantra. There’s forty-seven million people out there in America with access to the ‘market’. Guess what? They can’t afford it. They’ve got a choice, alright. Go broke paying for health insurance designed to deny them health care, or go broke paying medical bills. Some frigging market, Professor.

You want proper healthcare? Then go to single payer.

Free the doctors to deliver healthcare instead of filling out a wasteful myriad of insurance forms.

Free the people from the dread of illness that can take away their life savings, their home, their dignity, their freedom.

Free the business community from an increasingly unbearable burden of insurance costs that damages their ability to compete in the ‘market’ you conservative clowns value so highly.

You get sick, you go to the doctor. The doctor takes care of you and bills the government. The government pays him. Charge an affordable co-pay if necessary. Raise some taxes to pay for it. Quit wasting billions on a bloated, useless, ineffective military and on senseless wars. Tax the rich instead of giving them a free ride on the backs of the working people.

We don’t need insurance companies with their fancy buildings and overpaid CEOs and executives, and their office drones making healthcare decisions that doctors should be making.

Go back to your little ivory tower, Kotlikoff. And if you ever manage to pull your head out of your butt and get out and see how real people live and struggle and how their lives are screwed over by harebrained ideologies like yours, maybe then you can come up with something that works in the real world for real people.

Vick Finds Jesus
August 28, 2007

We should have seen it coming. In his little mea culpa Michael Vick announced to the world that he had found Jesus, who was apparently missing. He said he found God, too, if I understood him correctly.

Well, we’re glad that’s cleared up. Perhaps he’ll get credit from the judge for his good work in finding those two missing miscreants.

Naturally his discovery had absolutely nothing to do with an attempt to salvage his multi-million dollar career and his bloodied image. No sir, not a thing, not one little bit.

And that bit about his actions being ‘immature’? Oh, that was priceless. He’s not such a bright boy, after all. He has confused immaturity with sociopathy. Let’s all chip in for a big dictionary that he can take to bed on those long prison nights.

Maybe he can look up ‘public relations spin’ and ‘hypocrisy’ when he’s not dreaming of savaging and killing dogs.

And oh yeah, don’t you just love the way the mainstream commentators are just eating up his little apology speech? Suddenly he’s an okay guy again.

Tell that to the dead dogs, morons.

Democrats Need A New Language
August 28, 2007

You know how the Dems are always saying stuff like “We’re going to fight for the working people”?

What they should be saying:

“We’re going to get the rich tax shirkers off the backs of the working people.”

“We’re going to bust the anti-unionists and give the working people back their right to organize.”

“We’re going to get the wealthy insurance companies out of the business of denying healthcare to working people.”

And then they had damn well better do it.

Obligatory Gonzales Post
August 28, 2007

Yeah, I stole the headline from Brad over at Brad’s Brain. It was just too good to resist.

Couple of things.

First off, the little toad said in his public resignation speech “…I have lived the American dream.”

Yes you did. You had a hardscrabble childhood, grew up to go to Harvard Law School, found yourself a rich white guy to suck up to, got yourself installed in the highest legal office in America, and then betrayed everything good this country has ever stood for.

Your dream. An American nightmare.

Good riddance. I hope to hell you end up in a prison cell. Preferably next to your boss.

Second off, how amazingly typical and revealing that Bush blamed everyone but the Toad for the little guy’s downfall. And that he couldn’t even get the speech right.

The Globe quotes Bush as saying “It’s sad we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.”

You’re right, Georgie. These are sad times. That’s on you.

But the Toad is neither talented nor honorable. Hell, he’s not even a good liar. And his ‘important work’? Let’s see – justifying torture, spying on Americans, suspending key provisions of the Bill of Rights, lying to Congress, lying to the American people, and on and on.

But what Bush really said was “It’s sad we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeding [brief pause]  from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the [long pause] mud for political reasons.”

Yes, George, m-u-d spells ‘mud’. You know, that stuff that’s covering you from head to foot, that stuff your brain lives in. The stuff you’ve smeared the country with. Yeah, that mud.

You and the Toad deserve each other, Georgie. But the rest of us, we Americans, we don’t deserve the foul things you’ve done to this country.

Conservatives Confused About Vick. So What Else Is New?
August 28, 2007

Conservatives, as usual, are mixing apples and oranges with their Michael Vick blabberings.

This morning on Morning Joe, former Congressman Joe Scarborough pronounced himself offended that people were more upset about the dogs Vick brutally victimized than about people brutalized by sports figures.

On the surface that’s an easy position to take. But in the Conservative way, it ignores facts.

Scarborough noted emails coming in stating that human victims have a choice and the dogs had none about their respective situations. To paraphrase, he said that a little woman being raped or beaten by a two or three hundred pound football player didn’t have much choice in the matter and didn’t choose to be raped. He’s offended that people can’t see that.

Apples and oranges, Joey.

The salient and emotional fact is that we don’t know that woman. We don’t know anything about her. She’s a stranger. We can express sympathy for her, but there’s not going to be much depth to it, because she is a stranger.

And when the ordeal is over (it doesn’t have to be a woman getting beaten – could be a guy getting shot or beat up or whatever) the victim can seek justice or seek revenge. That’s where the victim generally has some choices.

But dogs are not strangers, not even pit bulls raised for fighting on some hidden farm. We all know dogs. We know our own dogs. We know the neighborhood dogs. We can relate viscerally and emotionally and immediately to dogs, to any dog, anywhere.

Dogs have no choices. They can’t go to the cops and complain. They can’t talk to a friend or confidante. They can’t get justice. They can’t fight back. They can’t even run away because their chains are ones of steel and of ignorant love for the foul and disgusting people who abuse them.

So, Joey, stop whining like a Conservative. You clowns never show any concern for human victims. You’re the guys who keep trying to suppress women. You’re the guys who put down gays and others victimized by social attitudes. You’re the guys who look down on people you don’t think are as good as you. You’re the guys who think it’s okay for the poor and working poor to suffer ill health. And as far as animals, Joey, it was on your show that your people joked about breaking the necks of puppies. You had yourselves a good laugh over that.

You guys may win elections, but you never get the important things right.

The Political Brain – A Must Read
August 27, 2007

I’m not going to write a genuine review of Drew Westen’s The Political Brain. But if you’re a Democrat or a Liberal or a Progressive or someone suffering from a related disease, you have got to read this book.

The subtitle is “The role of emotion in deciding the fate of the nation” and the guy lays out an absolutely convincing case about who wins elections and why, and shows how to win.

[From the cover blurb.] Westen is a clinical, personality, and political psychologist, and Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University, as well as the founder of Westen Strategies, a political and corporate consulting firm.

Disclaimer: I’m on page 145 of a book that’s over 450 pages. But the guy is just so spot on over and over again that I don’t hesitate to recommend the book.

What he says just feels absolutely right. Get it from the library. Hide in a corner of the bookstore and read. If nothing else, read starting at the bottom of page 129 the response he suggests Gore should have made to Bush in their first debate when Bush called Gore a liar. We’d be living in a different world if Gore had actually responded as Westen suggests.