s skippy the bush kangaroo: December 2009

skippy the bush kangaroo

Thursday, December 31, 2009

mad about republicans on christmas attack

mad kane, that is!
posted by skippy at 10:09 AM | 2 comments

will the cry in the next year be - "let the landlines go!"

at&t certainly hopes so.

the federal communications commission is delving into the future of communications with a request for comments on an all-ip telephone network. last week, at&t filed its comments, which shows someone at the carrier is reading gigaom, or at least the writing on the wall when it comes to landlines. in a 32-page filing, ma bell asked the fcc to eliminate regulatory requirements that it support a landline network and to provide a deadline for phasing it out. - gigaom

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:48 AM | 5 comments

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

rush limbaugh...the drug addled gasbag

apparently was in need of immediate healthcare..something to do with chestpains. more gas perhaps....cuz we know that guy doesn't have a heart.
conservative radio talk host rush limbaugh was rushed to a honolulu hospital on wednesday afternoon with chest pains, sources told kitv.

paramedics responded to the call at 2:41 p.m. at the kahala hotel and resort.

limbaugh suffered from chest pains, sources said. paramedics treated him and took him to queen's medical center in serious condition. - politico

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 7:24 PM | 8 comments

you can't take the "science" out of "science fiction"

the kids over @ the intersection science blog discuss the science in avatar (and are actually quite pleased with it).
posted by skippy at 10:48 AM | 2 comments

you know, dick..

shut the f**k up.
former vice president dick cheney accused president barack obama on tuesday of “trying to pretend we are not at war” with terrorists, pointing to the white house response to the attempted sky bombing as reflecting a pattern that includes banishing the term “war on terror” and attempting to close the guantanamo bay detention center. - politico

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:17 AM | 5 comments

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

yet more proof that "intelligent design" is an oxymoron

those wacky folks behind the anti-evolution "intelligent design" theory are at it again ! they're suing the california science center for cancelling a showing of their anti-darwin film:

a lawsuit alleges that the state-owned center improperly bowed to pressure from the smithsonian institution, as well as e-mailed complaints from usc professors and others. it contends that the center violated both the 1st amendment and a contract to rent the museum's imax theater when it canceled the screening of "darwin's dilemma: the mystery of the cambrian fossil record."

the suit was filed in los angeles superior court by the american freedom alliance, an l.a.-based group described by senior fellow avi davis as a nonprofit, nonpartisan "think tank and activist network promoting western values and ideals."
the biggest problem the afa is going to have is that the california science center cancelled the showing due to contract violations on their part.

on oct. 5, the science center, one of 165 national affiliates of the smithsonian that enjoy special access to loans from its massive collection, received an alert -- and a complaint -- from harold closter, director of the smithsonian's affiliates program. closter gave the science center the head's-up about a news release that had been issued not by the afa but by the discovery institute, a seattle-based think tank that promotes intelligent design and whose researchers are featured in "darwin's dilemma." in an e-mail that's an exhibit in the lawsuit, he wrote that the news release wrongly implied that the california science center is "a west coast branch of the smithsonian, and that the film showing is a smithsonian event." closter asked science center officials to correct the error but did not mention canceling the screening...

the california science center, in contrast, canceled the afa's screening on oct. 6, saying that the afa had violated its rental agreement.

science center president jeffrey rudolph said in a statement entered in the case file that the news release violated a standard contractual requirement: all promotional materials for outside users' events must be submitted to the museum before they can be made public.
posted by skippy at 7:50 PM | 4 comments

secretly privatizing california's water?

seems that a bond on next years ca ballot could quite possibly allow for the privatization of the states' dwindling water at the "commons" expense....

private companies could own, operate and profit from reservoirs and other water-storage projects built with billions in taxpayer dollars under a little-noticed provision of the $11.1 billion water bond that was approved by the legislature and goes before california voters next year.

lawmakers barely discussed the provision while considering the bond, and water experts who were asked about it by the chronicle said they knew little about it or why it was a necessary part of the plan to overhaul the state's water system.

...california historically has retained control of publicly financed water projects. privatization could allow companies to profit by selling back to the public a resource that is essentially the lifeblood of the state economy, or using it for their own profit-making interests like agriculture.

...the bond is set to go before california voters in november and requires a simple majority vote to pass.- sfgate

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 7:29 PM | 1 comments

around blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase!

steve benen points out that the recent failed terror bomb attempt is almost identical to the richard reed shoe bombing, yet nobody yelled about civilian courts in that case.

shakesville asks what's your favorite new year's eve movie?

the blogger formerly known as armando tells us how hcr can get even worse.

condolences to athena, who lost her grandmother.

madama b @ corrente totally regrets signing the firedoglake petition.

tengrain marvels at the education of highly paid writers.

bark bark woof woof gets all nostalgic for the white supremacist that is pat buchanan.
posted by skippy at 3:29 PM | 3 comments

reform madness

maha points out the opposing opinion to bob herbert's rant against the tax on "cadillac" insurance policies:

in yesterday’s washington post, an mit economics professor named jonathan gruber presented an enthusiastic endorsement of the excise tax on “cadillac’ health insurance policies. gruber calls it “an innovative way of financing the health reform we so desperately need.” on the other hand, in today’s new york times, bob herbert says the tax “will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.”

so who’s right? hell if i know. maybe they both are — the excise tax is a means of financing health reform that will impact many middle-class policyholders. or not. hard to say. note that ezra klein is less enthusiastic about the tax than mr. gruber but less alarmed than mr. herbert. exactly how the tax would impact individuals depends on a lot of other factors, apparently.
meanwhile, howard dean, after coming out against the bill, then walking his objections back again, now seems to be at his original position:

if i were a senator, i would not vote for the current health-care bill. any measure that expands private insurers’ monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all americans a meaningful choice of coverage. the current senate bill accomplishes none of these…

i have worked for health-care reform all my political life. in my home state of vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform — which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people. i know health reform when i see it, and there isn’t much left in the senate bill. i reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of america. (via)
posted by skippy at 3:10 PM | 0 comments

health care reform

without a public option it's all just rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.


posted by mahakal at 2:58 PM | 0 comments

don't say we didn't warn ya

don't say we didn't warn ya that the current hrc bill is a stinker...bob herbert tells us:

the bill that passed the senate with such fanfare on christmas eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called cadillac health plans, which are popularly viewed as over-the-top plans held only by the very wealthy. in fact, it’s a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

which is exactly what the tax is designed to do.

the tax would kick in on plans exceeding $23,000 annually for family coverage and $8,500 for individuals, starting in 2013. in the first year it would affect relatively few people in the middle class. but because of the steadily rising costs of health care in the u.s., more and more plans would reach the taxation threshold each year.

within three years of its implementation, according to the congressional budget office, the tax would apply to nearly 20 percent of all workers with employer-provided health coverage in the country, affecting some 31 million people. within six years, according to congress’s joint committee on taxation, the tax would reach a fifth of all households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually. those families can hardly be considered very wealthy.
hell, those families can be considered simply treading water these days.
posted by skippy at 12:36 PM | 3 comments

if the republicans really cared

about the safety of our country and it's citizens....they would quit playing politics. apparently, republicans think that unions are more dangerous than terrorists.
an attempt to blow up a trans-atlantic flight from amsterdam to detroit on christmas day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the transportation security administration — if there were one.

the post remains vacant because sen. jim demint, r-sc., has held up president barack obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of tsa workers joining a labor union. - mcclatchy

i'm not hearing this little detail in all this jaw yapping on the corporate infotainment programs.

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:54 AM | 3 comments

Monday, December 28, 2009

saying farewell to 2009....

the jibjab way.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:44 PM | 0 comments

do your centrist pragmatist duty today

declare as "left of the left" anyone who agrees with 77% of the american people. it is what centrist pragmatists do.

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posted by George at 9:33 PM | 1 comments

california's golden dream

is almost running on empty.

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:38 AM | 1 comments

lightning strikes again

nate silver, via balloon juice:

over the past decade, there have been, by my count, six attempted terrorist incidents on board a commercial airliner than landed in or departed from the united states: the four planes that were hijacked on 9/11, the shoe bomber incident in december 2001, and the nwa flight 253 incident on christmas.the bureau of transportation statistics provides a wealth of statistical information on air traffic. for this exercise, i will look at both domestic flights within the us, and international flights whose origin or destination was within the united states. i will not look at flights that transported cargo and crew only. i will look at flights spanning the decade from october 1999 through september 2009 inclusive (the bts does not yet have data available for the past couple of months).

over the past decade, according to bts, there have been 99,320,309 commercial airline departures that either originated or landed within the united states. dividing by six, we get one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.

these departures flew a collective 69,415,786,000 miles. that means there has been one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 mles flown. this distance is equivalent to 1,459,664 trips around the diameter of the earth, 24,218 round trips to the moon, or two round trips to neptune.

assuming an average airborne speed of 425 miles per hour, these airplanes were aloft for a total of 163,331,261 hours. therefore, there has been one terrorist incident per 27,221,877 hours airborne. this can also be expressed as one incident per 1,134,245 days airborne, or one incident per 3,105 years airborne.

there were a total of 674 passengers, not counting crew or the terrorists themselves, on the flights on which these incidents occurred. by contrast, there have been 7,015,630,000 passenger enplanements over the past decade. therefore, the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. by contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. this means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.
posted by skippy at 9:06 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, December 27, 2009

environmental news stories sunday

looking forward to the next decade edition...

nebraska, other states' water worries flow in watchdog analysis. - the environmental working group has obtained the water testing records of omaha, lincoln and towns as small as stromsburg, population about 1,200, and is using them and thousands of others from 45 states to call attention to public health issues. - lincoln journal star

ships will be subject to more stringent emissions standards. - large u.s.-flagged ocean-going ships such as tanker, container and cruise ships will be subject to more stringent emissions standards in 2011 under a rule adopted this week by the federal environmental protection agency.- bergen country record

plasma plant presents powerful possibilities for montgomery. - montgomery is trying become the first city in the country to set up a plasma gasification plant, which could potentially convert up to 175,000 tons of household waste into energy or reusable byproducts - montgomery advertisor

earthquakes stress the heart long-term: study. - the emotional stress from an earthquake and the mayhem that follows may boost the rate of fatal heart attacks long after the disaster.- reuters health

using waves to generate energy is coming, but slowly. - energy companies are trying to take advantage of what surfers have known for years — there’s a lot of energy in the waves pounding the shores of california.- ventura county star

nature's race against time as climate changes. - global temperatures are set to rise faster than the speed at which most animals and plants can move to cooler areas, according to a study estimating the velocity of climate change.- london independent

color this family's home 'green.' - porsche walker's new habitat for humanity house - which could become the third house in the state with leadership in energy and environmental design, or leed, certification - shows "going green" is possible, even for those with a lower income- des moines register

green biz in the black. - when the banks failed and the recession hit last fall, lots of people predicted that the burgeoning green economy would get nipped in the bud. but that's not what happened.- environment report

go tell it on the mountain: the edge doesn't need five homes here. - the u2 guitarist is lining up political muscle and environmentalist star power to support constructing his eco-friendly castles on a pristine ridge near malibu. what's greener? not building at all.- latimes

new spill at same alaska reef as exxon valdez. - a tugboat has struck the same reef as the exxon valdez tanker 20 years ago, spilling diesel into alaska's prince william sound and creating a three-mile-long slick. the us coast guard said on friday that an unknown quantity of the fuel had leaked from the pathfinder tug - afp

texas supreme court ruling discouraged suits against gas drillers. - jim and pat bartlett had just bought 2 acres at the end of a dirt road outside boyd. it turned out that the water in their well was shot full of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide, a corrosive gas that is sometimes produced along with natural gas - fort worth star telegraph

environmental case shows need for tougher regulation, critics say. - a 562-foot smokestack that spewed a plume of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals over 1,000 square miles of washington state's puget sound for nearly a century remains a fitting symbol of the largest environmental bankruptcy in u.s. history- mcclatchy

report finds pollutants lurking in s. florida tap water. - an environmental group's report found that dozens of chemicals show up in tap water, but utilities and regulators defended the safety of south florida's drinking water- miami herald

solar savings. - when san francisco assessor-recorder phil ting looked into solar-powering his own family home, he saw firsthand the hurdles - and the daunting price tag. ting's gosolarsf initiative was begun in july 2008 to make "going solar" more affordable for san franciscans. - sfchron

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 1:27 PM | 3 comments

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dances with Smurfs: Some Holiday Movie Reviews

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo here, with three quick opinions about the top movies this week. (Note: no plot spoilers here, no plot revelations at all, there are plenty of places on line to find out "what the movie is about." I suggest Rotten Tomatoes.)

1) Avatar - Yes, it's Dances with Smurfs told with a $350 million budget. You will be in awe of the realistic detail of an alien world that's up on the screen...for about 20 minutes. Then you start to wonder, Hey, Is this really the plot? Haven't I seen this story before about a bajillion times, only better? When are these people going to start acting like people and not plot devices? And why did Cameron cast Signorney Weaver when all she does is out-act everyone else in the flick, making us long for the complex character development and emotional depth of Aliens?

Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful and imaginative canvass of a film...like a glorious painting that moves. But unfortunately, it's a movie, not a painting, and the writing is so superficial, that even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool tree-hugging environmentalist progressive liberal, I thought the "white man saves the planet" message to be far too heavy-handed to swallow for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Honestly, the themes are so on-the-nose and the plot is so terribly shallow, that it makes Dr. Seuss's The Lorax seem like the writings of Rachel Carson.

So, be forewarned: it's the most beautiful and awe-inspiring science fiction film ever made, and it seems to have been written by Western Union Plot Telegraph Service for third graders.

Also, I saw it in 3D, and though the effect was more nuanced than previous efforts, the result (like most 3D projects before it) seemed to be not a world of depth and dimensions, but rather a series of various planes that actually appeared to be visibly behind and in front of each other. That is to say, it was if a Movie Screen in the exact shape and size of Giovanni Ribisi was a few feet in front of a Movie Screen in the exact shape and size of a computer console with three guys staring at monitors, which was a few feet in front of a Movie Screen in the shape of a wall with big windows, through which we could see in the distance little tiny Movie Screens shaped like space ships and helicopters. Unfortunately, on the Giovanni Ribisi Movie Screen, his nose didn't look like it stuck out from his face.

The 3D effect looked best in closed rooms; the opening shot in a Zero-Gravity space ship compartment as people were awakened out of their pods from their cryogenic sleep was fantastic. Also any scenes inside rooms at the base, or in temporary outpost huts lent themselves toward better 3D effects.

In the jungle, or outside, the 3D effect was minimized, but by then the screen was full of brilliant CGI of alien flora and fauna. And, truth be told, the sequence where the Hero White Guy and his Native Love Gal flew on dragon/bird/winged lizard creatures through the forests and down valleys and up mountain sides was breath-taking.

Also, mad props to Cameron for great technical advancement in motion-capture. The technique was so seamless that my disbelief suspension was never in question when switching back and forth between scenes of Humans and scenes of Aliens; indeed, my mind registered such scenes as if it were an actual film of actual aliens, with no thought of computers or technology.

If you are at all interested in Cameron's films, or science fiction, or even just the buzz and/or coming attractions, by all means, go see Avatar. But unless you really ate up Titanic and the first two Terminator films and Aliens (and maybe even The Abyss, if you need a tie-breaker), you can afford to pass on this one, or at least wait until it comes out on DVD.

2) Sherlock Holmes: Great! Nice re-imagining, not so much of the original Conan Doyle work, but of Hollywood's treatment of Holmes as a cerebral misanthrope. Robert Downey Jr. captures the mad brilliance of Holmes, and is quite physical (he gets into more than a few fist fights, and wins), which is actually quite canonical to the original character. Also, Jude Law did Dr. Watson a great service by playing him as Holmes' equal, and not a buffoon.

And speaking of technical achievement, this film while not hitting Avatar's amazing technical high notes of progress, did nonetheless look spectacular. I felt as if I was seeing Victorian London, with all its grubbiness and industrial soot and crowded cobblestone alleys. Kudos also to the film's depiction of the Tower Bridge in mid-completion, where the final denouement takes place.

3) It's Complicated: It wasn't really, but it was funny. I laughed out loud many times, and Meryl Streep is one of the funniest people working today (and I say that after seeing her in a movie with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin). Also of interest: John Krasinski from the American version of The Office steals every scene he is in.

It's light, frothy, adult humor (ie, humor about adults, not sex jokes, though there are plenty of those, too). A nice change for those not wanting to see explosions or Princesses and Frogs.

In short, I highly recommend Sherlock Holmes, I'd suggest It's Complicated for some good jokes about relationships and life over 50, and go see Avatar if you are sci-fi geek, but otherwise, skip it.
posted by skippy at 6:22 PM | 3 comments

down the penrose lane


more @ penronse on politics!
posted by skippy at 6:13 PM | 0 comments


why are we still doing business with them? and why aren't the dems growing a spine and asking the tough questions we need answered?
once again, the army decided to side with the same contractor that has overcharged them for feeding our troops, electrocuted our forces due to faulty work, and exposed them to human sewage through their inability to even get a building properly plumbed.

...if it were not for senator byron dorgan and his democratic policy committee, there would be no public record of kbr’s outrageous behavior in congress. but dorgan’s good intentions have yet to get his senate colleagues to put some teeth into kbr oversight. as former kbr workers and members of the u.s. military testify about the outrageous behavior of kbr and their arrogant and disturbing corporate culture, these stories are being told to a committee without the power of the purse or oversight authority. the democratic policy committee cannot take testimony under oath or issue subpoenas. it is an ideal setting for a congress afraid of too serious an investigation. by not passing a hot potato on to a big boy committee, you make the public think you are doing something when, in fact, all you are doing is putting on a dog and pony show. - dcbureau

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 5:39 PM | 1 comments

happy boxing day!

simon and garfunkle - the boxer
posted by skippy at 9:57 AM | 3 comments

Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas blast from the past

in past years during this season skippy international would hold discussions to find our readers' favorite christmas song. invariably, each and every year, this would be the winner:

the pogues & kristy mccoll - fairytale of new york

merry christmas, everyone!
posted by skippy at 9:29 AM | 10 comments

happy christmas


posted by mahakal at 8:08 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, December 24, 2009

skippy's thursday night music club

christmas eve edition...

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 11:00 PM | 0 comments

where have we heard this before?


president barack obama: "with today's vote, we are now incredibly close to making health insurance reform a reality in this country. these are not small reforms. these are big reforms." -- mcclatchey

in the last two weeks, polls by the washington post/abc news, wall street journal/nbc news, the pew research center, usa today/gallup, cnn/opinion research, and quinnipiac university have shown pluralities or majorities of americans opposing the health care reform legislation.

and the belief that, if legislation passes, americans’ own health care costs would rise and quality of care would not improve was reflected in george washington university battleground and kaiser family foundation polls, as well as in many of the other surveys. -- kaiser health news
for the purposes of this piece, we're not saying this bill is bad. tho we think it is. we've heard, many times in the past few weeks, that progressives are letting "the perfect" be the enemy of "the good."

you know what else is the enemy of "the good"? "the bad."

and an even worse enemy? "the ugly." and that's what this bill is, bad and ugly.

but for the sake of this specific argument, we're not debating the merits of what the senate passed.

no, what we are saying is what kaiser health news adroitly points out: most americans think this bill sucks.

may we remind all those high-minded "something's better than nothing" centrists that a majority of americans wanted a public option, and in lieu of that, an early buy-in to medicare?

now the senate has ignored those americans, in their eyes. why should americans, be they progressive or not, support those who ignore their wishes?

and let us be clear, here, we're not saying "neener neener neener we'll show you by taking our ball and going home." we're saying that most of america feels (or will feel) betrayed by this bill. and we're saying that centrist policy wonks, by holding a holier-than-thou-how-dare-you-complain-about-obama position, do nothing to convince america of the good in this bill, or of their validity of thought.

the worst way to convince someone you are right is by insisting you are, dummies.

this bill will be bad for dems in 2010, especially if the economy stays as stale as it is now.
posted by skippy at 11:57 AM | 8 comments

from bad to perverse

matt yglesias thinks we're perverse...

the health care bill passed! as you know, my view is this: for all its flaws, if signed into law this bill would be the greatest progressive social policy achievement in over forty years. it’s fine not to be satisfied with this legislation, but it’s perverse not to be happy about it. the important thing is to try to make sure that we don’t need to wait another forty years before additional major improvements become possible.
well, color us perverse, because we tend to agree (in content, tho not in tone) w/john walker @ fdl:

this is not progressive reform. this is a perverse democratic version of reagan style trickle down economics. hundreds of billions will be given to poorly regulated private health insurance companies in the hope that they spend roughly 80% of that money on actually providing people with health care. it forces millions of people to buy very expensive insurance that they cannot afford to get actual health care, so that democrats can proudly say millions more people are “covered.” private health insurance companies are what have ruined our current system and are dramatically less efficient than public insurance programs, yet democrats will use them almost exclusively. it is a massive reward for a history of terrible performance. instead of reining in the insurance companies, it only enriches, empowers, and entrenches them further. the only “check” on the industry will be new regulations, but with extremely weak to practically non-existent enforcement, it is basically no check at all.

this program is not even a good foundation on which to build later reform. it will be a wasteful, expensive, and probably unpopular program for only a small subset of lower income americans. that is a recipe for making it a target for cuts by conservatives, not expansion by progressives. this bill could easily discredit the move for true universal health care by being such a poorly designed failure.

there is some good in the bill, but not much. it will put roughly 15 million more people on medicaid/chip, but mainly because the private insurance companies did not even want to cover these poor people. it will put some needed regulations on the books, but does not create the strong enforcement mechanisms to make them a reality. but these improvements come at a huge cost. there is a poorly designed tax that will cause many people’s insurance to get worse, a rollback of women’s reproductive rights, and a mandate forcing people to buy low quality, expensive insurance for unregulated private insurance companies. this bill will make the enemies of reform even stronger for the next fight.

the only silver lining is that we live in a bicameral constitutional democracy regardless of how much the washington media refuses to acknowledge this basic fact. the house has passed a better bill that contains actual reform. if progressive house members would use their power to stop any bill that doesn’t contain real reform from becoming law, we could get actual reform. they need to stop enabling the senate transformation of our government into a broken, unicameral, non-representative, super-majority plutocracy.
as we have stated before, one of the biggest and most immediate problems w/this bill is the framework upon which opponents (and the just plain ignorant) can easily hang the "socialism" charge against liberals. we've said it before and we'll say it again: the idea of a government mandate to force people to buy a private corporate product (ie, health insurance) will be a public relations nightmare.

oh, and yglesias...we'd rather be perverted than vanilla, any old day.
posted by skippy at 9:06 AM | 5 comments


now that the senate has passed health insurance reform, the house and senate conference get to make changes. the abortion language can be removed along with the mandates, denying the coathanger advocates an argument they are being forced to pay for safer medical procedures. otherwise, or if these changes are filibustered, substitute reconciliation and pass a real health care reform bill with a public option.

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posted by mahakal at 7:49 AM | 0 comments

peace on earth



posted by mahakal at 12:13 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


no matter how you feel about the "health care reform" bill it can't be a good sign that a bunch of obama's supporters in 2008 now feel the need to fact check him

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posted by George at 2:35 PM | 2 comments

jane hamshers of the left are wrong...oops, we mean, they're right

ezra klein admits that what the "kill billers" have been saying is actually true: that obama actively campaign on the promise of a public option, ergo, their disappointment and sense of betrayl in this final senate bill is justified, and not just partisan screaming.

oy. i'll defend the argument that the health-care bill that looks likely to pass is structurally similar to the health-care proposal released by the obama campaign. but it's impossible to defend obama's statement that "i didn't campaign on the public option." for one thing, it was in his campaign plan, which is to say, he campaigned on it. the proposal (pdf) assured voters that obama's plan will "establish a new public insurance program available to americans who neither qualify for medicaid or schip nor have access to insurance through their employers."

the white house argues that they didn't emphasize it in public speeches, and according to salon's alex koppelmann, that's true. but speaking as someone who did a lot of reporting on their health-care plan, they emphasized it privately quite a bit. it was, in fact, their answer to a lot of the other flaws in their proposal. so whether obama used it in his speeches, his campaign purposefully pushed it to, at the least, some reporters, which is to say they worked to ensure that people knew about the public option's important role in their health-care thinking.
before we continue, may we just say that the phrase "kill billers," which lefty opponents use to refer to the progressives who want to scuttle the senate version of the hcr, and start over with what the house has crafted, seems rather incongruent. that is to say, the phrase makes them sound like fanboys of the uma thurman/quentin tarrantino blood-fest flicks of earlier this decade. not that that's a bad thing, we'd be proud to be labeled "kill billers," if it referred to uma. we love referring to uma, at any time, which is the reason we digress here. but as to health care reform, shouldn't the proper gerund be "bill killers"?

anyway, even if this bill gets passed, there are many progressives that feel it won't be as big a win as the moderate centrists are hanging their hats on. and we'd have to admit that some of the arguments make good sense.

whether or not the policy turns out to be a boon to people's economies in the long run, the idea of a government mandate to force people to buy a private corporate product (ie, health insurance) will be a public relations nightmare. even we at skippy international, who are dyed-in-the-wool leftys, balk at the idea of the government telling us we have to buy something.

we think health insurance is a good thing, and we think that young healthy people who elect not to have health insurance are taking risks they don't understand, but we certainly give them their right to shoot themselve in the foot. who are we, or moreover, the government, to force them into unwanted, albeit utlimately worthwhile consumerism?

if the dems think they can sneak under the mighty wurlitzer that drudge/fox/limbaugh/beck have established without a barrage of cries of "socialism will kill us all!" once this bill gets passed, they are deluded. of course, they think ben nelson is a democrat, so maybe the deluded point is moot.

addendum: on the other hand, it's a bit disconcerting to see jane not only agree w/grover norquist, but also actively work with him against this administration.
posted by skippy at 12:58 PM | 5 comments

the governator hates poor people, disabled people

commuters and santa barbara. oh, hell....he aims to "pooch" us all.
facing a budget deficit of more than $20 billion, gov. arnold schwarzenegger is expected to call for deep reductions in already suffering local mass transit programs, renew his push to expand oil drilling off the santa barbara coast and appeal to washington for billions of dollars in federal help, according to state officials and lobbyists familiar with the plan.

...if washington does not provide roughly $8 billion in new aid for the state, the governor threatens to severely cut back -- if not eliminate -- calworks, the state's main welfare program; the in-home health care services program for the disabled and elderly poor, and two tax breaks for large corporations recently approved by the legislature, the officials said.- latimes

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:00 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

screw the bats and the bees here's the fats and the reindeer

our usual xmas tradition:

the drifters - i'm dreaming of a white christmas
posted by skippy at 3:31 PM | 1 comments


that's how bill mckibben is calling it. i believe him.

it’s possible that human beings will simply never be able to figure out how to bring global warming under control — that having been warned about the greatest danger we ever faced, we simply won’t take significant action to prevent it. that’s the unavoidable conclusion of the conference that staggered to a close in the early hours of saturday morning in copenhagen. it was a train wreck, but a fascinating one, revealing an enormous amount about the structure of the globe.

...james hansen, the great climate scientist who started the global warming era with his 1988 testimony before the u.s. congress, and whose team provided the crucial 350 number that now defines the planet’s habitability, refused to come to copenhagen, predicting it would be a charade. he was correct.- yale environment 360

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:09 AM | 4 comments

Monday, December 21, 2009

down the penrose lane


more @ penrose on politics!
posted by skippy at 6:05 PM | 0 comments

walk this world


posted by mahakal at 1:11 PM | 2 comments

more insurance outrage

these insurance thugs...they just don't stop, do they....
california's third largest auto insurer, mercury insurance, created a front group called californians for fair auto insurance rates (cal-fair), to advance a ballot initiative that, if passed, would allow insurers to slap surcharges on drivers who allow their auto insurance coverage to lapse for any reason. - prwatch.org

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:41 AM | 5 comments

love the irony

that the owner of the station that is "home" to the hate-mongering bloviating radio rethuglicans is filing for bankruptcy.
citadel broadcasting corp., the nation's third-largest radio broadcasting company, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on sunday in an effort to restructure its hefty debt load as it continues to face declining advertising revenue.

citadel owns and operates 224 radio stations, including kabc-am in los angeles, wls-am in chicago, wabc-am and wplj-fm in new york and kgo-am in san francisco. citadel's wabc is home to several syndicated hosts, including don imus, rush limbaugh, joe scarborough and mark levin. - sfgate

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:31 AM | 3 comments

yet another outsourcing problem

yet another healthcare conundrum. those infamous kbr contractors are "poisoning" their employees...and our soldiers.

the burn pit contracts: kbr and the army. - kbr exposed soldiers and their employees to toxic burn pit smoke at joint base balad in iraq. soldiers and kbr workers have suffered from health problems consistent with exposure to burn pit smoke since returning home. - dc bureau
should we bill kbr for the cost of healthcare for the soliders that taxpayers are paying for?

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:00 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, December 20, 2009

rip brittany murphy

brittany murphy, the bright, peppy star whose career was in its early stages, died tragically today at the young age of 32.

her mother discovered her unconscious in the shower this morning and called 911. paramedics took her to cedar-sinai hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

brittany was a pleasant screen presence who was always believable and bright in her comedies, such as her break-out role in the alicia silverstone vehicle clueless. she was also known for her dramatic turn opposite marshall mather, aka eminem (and boyfriend at the time), in 8 mile.

it's always especially disheartening when someone so young is taken from us. latest reports from the la coroner say that she died of natural causes, and no foul play is suspected. an autopsy will be performed tomorrow.

we were especially taken with her work w/dakota fanning in the frothy comedy uptown girls. she also worked w/ashton kutcher in just married. the two dated briefly after meeting on the set.

god rest your soul, brittany murphy.
posted by skippy at 10:25 PM | 2 comments

environmental news stories sunday

yes, virginia, there were other stories other than copenhagen this week.

the santa cruz looks healthier, but is it really? - one of the first things newcomers learn about tucson is that the santa cruz river here is no rio grande, let alone a mississippi. it's basically on life support, carrying no water except during increasingly rare storms.- tuscon daily star

louisiana tells epa that it should let congress handle greenhouse gas regulation. - the state department of environmental quality has demanded that the federal dpa rescind its recent finding that greenhouse gases endanger present and future generations, and take no action to require industries and small businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - washington post

city of cyclists. - bicycles are everywhere in copenhagen. the city invests heavily in this low-tech mode of transportation – with wide bicycle lanes, car-free streets, and special traffic lights, to make cycling safe, easy and fun - living on earth

biggest private funder of amazon conservation teams with google and scientists to develop earth monitoring platform. - the platform, which was officially unveiled at climate talks in in copenhagen, promises to enable near real-time monitoring of the world's forests and carbon at high resolution at selected sites before cop-16 in mexico - mongabay

residents of area say nosebleeds, breathing problems part of life now. - some 140 families took the tva buyout of their homes and land and relocated after the ash spill at the kingston fossil plant, but others remained. nearly a year later, living near the ash spill disaster zone remains a horror story - knoxville sentinel

pines residents still not certain of coal ash’s effects. - year after year, toxic chemicals from coal ash dumped in the town of pines spread under residents' feet. what it has done to their surroundings, their children, themselves, the residents of pines are still unsure. all they can do is wait. - michigan city news dispatch

drinking problems. - like many water utilities across the u.s, disinfectants like chlorine are added to the supply to remove life-threatening microbes. but when the disinfectants interact with organic material that seeps into drinking water, new chemicals are formed that could be a potential health hazard. - glens falls post star

dry coffers can mean that fires burn longer. - the budget-challenged city of sacramento has instituted rolling brownouts at fire stations to save money, at the risk of precious seconds during fires. - nytimes

oceans becoming nosier thanks to pollution. - the world’s oceans are becoming noisier thanks to pollution, with potentially harmful effects for whales, dolphins and other marine life, us scientists said in a study published sunday. the concentration of chemicals that absorb sound has declined from ocean acidification - afp

in industrial thailand, health and business concerns collide. - villagers in map ta phut avoid walking in the rain because it burns their skin and causes their hair to fall out. they have trouble breathing at night when factories release toxic fumes, they say. and the community is terrified by what studies show are unusually high cancer rates - nytimes

high lead levels found on soup can reopen mystery of doomed franklin expedition. - lead levels that are “off the scale” have been confirmed after tests were done this morning on the lid of a soup can dating back more than 150 years. the findings reopen the mystery surrounding the cause of death of sir john franklin and his doomed crew as they searched for the northwest passage- exchange magazine

un left hundreds of kosovo kids to die of lead poisoning. - sara jahirovic is dying a slow, painful death. sara is just one of hundreds of forgotten children abandoned to suffer brain damage and await death in an international scandal exposed today by the sun. - london sun

and, regarding copenhagen...not everyone walked away with the idea that it was a winning accord.

climate scientists underwhelmed by copenhagen accord. - top climate scientists said saturday that the eleventh-hour political deal hammered out at un talks in copenhagen falls perilously short of what is needed to stave off catastrophic global warming- afp

copenhagen summit ends in blood, sweat and recrimination. - gordon brown and barack obama did their best to put a positive spin on it, but copenhagen was a disaster- london daily telegraph

'toothless' climate deal struck by superpowers. - president barack obama said that an "unprecedented breakthrough" to curb greenhouse gas emissions – including a mechanism to verify compliance – was achieved, after a frenzied day of diplomacy at the un climate talks. - edinburough scotsman

climate leaders: the rhetoric vs. the reality. - they had been urged to side with the angels but ultimately, base political instinct seems to have prevailed among the world's most powerful leaders as they sealed a climate pact among themselves, sparking fury elsewhere. - afp

one planet, different worlds. - all eyes in copenhagen were on china and president barack obama friday night, but no event captured the discord, mistrust and distance separating all sides at these climate talks than a pair of press conferences held simultaneously at the bella center earlier in the afternoon. - daily climate

poorest of the poor ask why copenhagen failed to listen. - it's hard to see how the copenhagen accord delivers justice to people in poor countries that are least responsible for climate change but suffer its impacts right now. - sydney morning herald

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 2:29 PM | 0 comments

always to play


posted by mahakal at 10:00 AM | 0 comments

sunday satsang


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posted by mahakal at 9:22 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, December 19, 2009

it's the feel-good post-apocalyptic cannibal movie of the year!

posted by skippy at 10:33 PM | 1 comments

rahm it up your ass

as the health care reform bill approaches the finish line, we are reminded of our discussion yesterday the insulting position of ron brownstein (and, by extension, rove emanuel), whose central premise in his rant against those opposing the current sans lubricant ass-fucking health care bill seems to be

the broad mass of college-educated white voters are an increasingly central component of the democratic coalition. but it remains a challenge for the party to manage the expectations of that community's most liberal segments because they tend to see politics less as a means of tangibly improving their own lives than as an opportunity to make a statement about the kind of society they want america to be.

they think that progressives who dislike the bill are spoiled middle-class trust fund babies who don't have to worry about healt insurance.

well, for both of those gentlemen, we have four words:

steve gilliard and jim capozzola

(yes, techncially, that's 5 words, but we're not counting the conjunction.)

both steve and jim were incredibly astute progressive bloggers who were not only keenly analytical about the problems facing this country, but also incredibly generous with their time and attention.

(and, surprise surprise, steve was not a "middle-class white voter.")

both of those wonderful gentlemen passed off this earth this last decade, because they didn't have health insurance that could adequately cover their illnesses.

both of these enormously gifted writers were special friends to this blog...both gave early encouragement to skippy's efforts in the beginning, and jim even secrety bought away the blogger banner ad at the top of this blog back in the paleozoic period of blogging, as gesture of kindness to us.

for blogtopia and yes, we coined that phrase, to have lost two such dynamic and important voices due to lack of affordable insurance is the large, gaping wound into which brownstein and emanuel rub their inside-the-beltway salt when they disparage progressives as being out of touch with this issue.

so, ron and rahm...kindly go f^ck yourselves.
posted by skippy at 12:28 PM | 3 comments

happy zappadan!

frank zappa at age 22 on the steve allen show, playing the bicycle:

happy zappadan!
posted by skippy at 10:27 AM | 2 comments

ben nelson held his healthcare vote for ransom

and his asking price? nebraska gets extra medicaid funds. s**w the rest of the country.

under the current merged legislation (the version unveiled on november 18th), the federal government fully finances care for the expanded population for two years and increases its matching funds (known as fmap) thereafter. page 98 of the managers amendment specifically identifies nebraska for higher federal matching funds, fully funding its expansion for an additional year: - think progress wonk room

as part of the deal to win nelson's support, the federal government will pay for nebraska's new medicaid recipients. it's a provision worth about $45 million over the first decade.

medicaid is usually paid for with a mix of federal and state funding, but nelson's carve out means that any medicaid beneficiaries who join the program after the bill passes will be paid for in full by the federal government. - politico
yeah...he "understands" what christmas has become all about...."gimme gimme gimme"

i thought it was supposed to be about caring for mankind...showing generosity and kindness...treating others like you want to be treated yourself.

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:43 AM | 1 comments

within you without you


posted by mahakal at 1:33 AM | 1 comments

大麻 ( マリファナ ) を吸うとこうなる!

just enjoy the show.


posted by mahakal at 1:23 AM | 4 comments

Friday, December 18, 2009

rahm: a lot of ding dong

who needs progressives? apparently not rahm emanuel:

turn off msnbc. tune out howard dean and keith olbermann. the white house has its liberal wing in hand on health care, says white house chief of staff rahm emanuel.

“there are no liberals left to get” in the senate, emanuel said in an interview, shrugging off some noise from the likes of sen. bernie sanders (i., vt.) that a few liberals might bolt over the compromises made with conservative democrats.

nor ron brownstein, either:

maybe one reason former vermont gov. howard dean and so much of the digital left can so casually dismiss the senate health care reform bill is that they operate in an environment where so few people need to worry about access to insurance.

the 2004 presidential campaign that propelled dean to national prominence was fueled predominantly by "wine track" democratic activists-generally college-educated white liberals. (in the virtually all-white 2004 iowa caucus, for instance, exit polls showed that two-thirds of dean's votes came from voters with a college degree.) those are the same folks, all evidence suggests, who provide the core support for online activist groups like moveon.org or dean's democracy for america and congregate most enthusiastically on liberal websites. (according to studies by the pew internet & american life project, college graduates are more than twice as likely as those with only a high-school degree to communicate about politics online.) along with dean, those digital democratic activists are generating the loudest demands to derail the senate bill.

some individuals in these overlapping political networks undoubtedly face challenges with access to health care, but as a group college-educated whites are much less likely than any other segment of the population to lack health insurance.

uh, that's right. ron thinks that we're objecting the hcr bill not because of policy or agenda, or substantive differences we have with the idea of corporate giveaways. no, it's because we're some kind of 'liberal elites.' wait, where have we heard that before?

well, we suppose the white house and the dnc don't need those votes. not the vote of the blogger formerly known as armando:

certainly expanding health insurance premium assistance for the less well off is a very good thing, but no one can seriously argue it is reform. oh btw, 200 billion dollars annually? where'd that number come from? and what congress is going to approve it? i'd like to hear more about that number. finally, health insurance premium assistance can be done via reconciliation, as dean has called for. so the senate bill is really not critical to what brownstein is arguing is the key provision of "health care reform." the more they write, the more nonsensical the very serious people are becoming.

or the vote of john aravosis

as for brownstein's argument that none of us have problems with our insurance, i've talked about my health insurance problems before on this blog. about the fact that i could have lost sight in my right eye this summer when my retina suddenly detached while on travel. about how carefirst blue cross blue shield couldn't even figure out if my imminent visit to the emergency room was covered or not under my policy. they still aren't sure if my $2,800 surgical bill is going to be covered (and i'm lucky, had i had the same emergency surgery in the states, it would have been well over $20,000.)

then there's my asthma. the asthma that my doctor tells me i need to get under control or i'll be carrying an oxygen tank around with me in 20 years. carefirst cut me off my asthma drugs november of last year because i'd reached my annual limit. you see, the same drug companies sell the same drugs in the states at three to five times the prices they charge in europe. so my asthma medicine, the only one there is for my condition, there are no alternatives, broke the bank. why did it break the bank? because my insurance company only gives me $1500 a year in prescription drug coverage. and that's the same amount they gave me in 1999 when i began on this plan. my premiums have nearly tripled in ten years, while my prescription benefits remain the same - meaning, with inflation/rising drug prices, my benefits are going down.

ron brownstein needs to graduate beyond schoolyard journalism. as for the white house, i'm glad to see that they're finally learning how to fight. now if they could only channel their nascent backbone towards taking on republicans, conservative democrats and other people who didn't help put them in office - rather than crapping on people who put them in office - then their education would be complete.

or the vote of taylor marsh:

if we listen to mr. krugman, rep. wasserman-schultz, and mr. axelrod and others like sen. harkin, a tireless champion on the public option, painfully defend the current action by democrats, we’re going to be in even bigger trouble than we are today going forward. for krugman, it’s absolutely unconscionable to run around saying “pass the bill,” suggesting the american people should be forced to buy insurance from an industry without any competition included to keep costs down.

i’ve been uninsured many times in my life and it was for a reason. as a self-employed person i couldn’t afford it. i see this plan to force people to buy insurance, looking at those un-insured times in my life and thinking about paying a penalty, and i just want to scream at the top of my lungs.

this is a free country last time i looked.

democrats have absolutely no right and no moral authority to tell me or anyone else they must buy anything, least of all inside a rigged market that sends me further into debt or maybe worse.

my inner libertarian is on fire, and i’m a die hard liberal. if that isn’t a warning sign nothing is.

or, apparently, the votes of 63% of democrats in america:

conducted by research 2000 for the progressive change campaign committee (pccc) and democracy for america (dfa), the survey finds only 33 percent of likely voters favor a health care bill that does not include a public health insurance option and does not expand medicare, but does require all americans to get health insurance. slightly more democrats -- 37 percent -- favor the idea, while only 30 percent of republicans and 31 percent of independents do.

meanwhile, if the public option and medicare buy-in are added, 58 percent of people support the idea. the number of republican supporters drops to 22 percent, but independent support rises to 57 percent and democratic support to a whopping 88 percent.

nah. who needs those votes anyway?
posted by skippy at 10:59 PM | 3 comments

mad about dressing down the president

mad kane, that is!
posted by skippy at 5:46 PM | 2 comments

how the democrats can still win with meaningful health care reform

30,000 people have died as sen. reid has raised the votes from 55 to 59.5. he should use the nuclear option instead.

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posted by George at 3:01 PM | 1 comments

without within


posted by mahakal at 12:13 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, December 17, 2009

health care q & a - holes

in response to your question, jim, no, we can't just pass the stupid damn bill now and work on its f&%k@#g flaws later already.

and smarter, more erudite bloggers than we have explained why:

firstly, nate silver @ 538 expressed much the same feelings as you did, jim, only with less keyboard symbology substituting for profanity. he asked 20 questions for bill killers.

jon walker @ firedoglake gave him 20 answers, as did markos moulitsas. our own alumnus, rj eskow, mulled over the same ground @ huffpo.

to his credit, nate responded to the jon and markos. but sometimes he still actively misses the point:

2. would a bill that contained $50 billion in additional subsidies for people making less than 250% of poverty be acceptable?

mm: this betrays a simplistic view of liberals, as if our answer is to merely shovel money at a problem. what we're looking for is good policy, which in this case, would also be good politics. so no, throwing money at the insurance companies doesn't change a thing. the insurance industry would simply absorb the new subsidies just like universities have raised tuition to shovel up any increases in financial aid.

jw: that money will help a few people in the short term, but, in the long run, our system built on private insurance companies is unsustainable, and will ruin our entire economy. i have zero confidence that the subsidies promised today will remain the same in the future. they might be increased by future democrats or reduced in 2016 by a republican congress. without cost controls, that money will quickly be eaten up by the ever-growing cost of health care. this reform is about trying to fix the system, not patch it with more money.
here's one of the bits that i find disingenuous. "that money will help a few people in the short term"? that framing doesn't seem proportionate to the good that this bill would do. as i wrote earlier tonight the bill is and always was "a big bleeping social welfare program". indeed, it's almost without doubt the biggest bleeping social welfare program that liberals have had an opportunity to pass in a generation. i don't know how you can just brush off providing $900 billion in subsidies, or helping 30 million people to become insured. that's not some side effect of the bill; it's the whole point of the bill.

markos' point that this represents a "simplistic view of liberals" is intriguing -- certainly, it is interesting to me how some of the liberal and conservative critiques against the bill have started to coalesce -- but we'll address this at another time.
here nate completely ignores the main point jon makes, by objecting to jon's qualifying of the time frame that the subsidies would be relevant to. jon basically says yes, the money will be good, but without major overhaul of the system, the system will collapse. nate counters with "oh, the money will only be 'good?' why not 'great?' huh? not great enough for you? geez, you liberals are so whiny! and i'll address markos's point some other time, too!'

and as to nate's counter that he doesn't "know you can just brush off...helping 30 million people to become insured":

howard dean's democracy for america points out:

what they are actually talking about is something called the "individual mandate." that's a section of the law that requires every single american buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. so, the bill doesn't actually "cover" 30 million more americans - instead it makes them criminals if they don't buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.
there are more flaws in nate's response to other's response to his response to the health care bill, but we don't have time to innumerate all of them.

basically we are of the opinion that without a public option (or, at the very least, a medicare buy-in), this bill is simply another bail out of yet another multi-billion dollar industry, with no help for the middle class, let alone poverty level americans.

does that answer your question, jim?
posted by skippy at 1:48 PM | 7 comments

jack bauer interrogates santa

via huffpo.
posted by skippy at 10:45 AM | 0 comments

games without end


posted by mahakal at 2:59 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

if the senate version of "reform" becomes law can we please not call it historic?

histrionic maybe but not historic. from the death panel nonsense to the medicare buy-in whiplash this has been poorly stage managed. i hope i am wrong but it appears obama has bungled this to the point where there will be enough republicants elected next year to extend the bush tax giveaways to the rich in the name of balancing the budget.

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posted by George at 9:37 PM | 1 comments

sick health care

firedoglake has a great run down on today's headlines in health care ass-fucking reform.

also via fdl, here's glenn greenwald on msnbc explaining why this whole thing sucks:

msnbc! it's like nbc, with ms!
posted by skippy at 5:50 PM | 0 comments

uk-ular option

via steve benen

oddly enough, that's just how we sing that song, too.
posted by skippy at 5:31 PM | 1 comments

united congress of big pharma

re-importing (or importing) drugs from canada isn't dangerous to our health...it's dangerous to big pharma's profits.

there’s no legitimate reason to bar re-importation, except one: to preserve a subsidy for the pharmaceutical industry and, by extension, preserve the flow of campaign contributions to the democratic party. that is why president obama is now opposing the sensible measures he endorsed as a candidate. he is pursuing this year’s expedient goal of getting a campaign war chest now that he’s already achieved last year’s expedient goal of getting elected. - matt taibbi
might i remind those morons in d.c. that they are siding with criminal corporations over americans?

pfizer pleaded guilty in 2009 to the largest health care fraud in u.s. history and received the largest criminal penalty ever levied for illegal marketing of four of its drugs. called a repeat offender, this was pfizer's fourth such settlement with the u.s. department of justice in the previous ten years - wikipedia
oh...and lets see...since all those "foreign countries are so unreliable in safety", guess we shouldn't buy any drugs from bayer (germany), novartis (switzerland), glaxo-smith kline (united kingdom), hoffman laroche (switzerland), astrazeneka (uk/sweden). and the "big secret"...

the implication in that warning is that drugs purchased in the united states are therefore safer, correct? what the fda didn't tell anyone, however, is that most pharmaceuticals purchased in the united states are manufactured outside the u.s.; many from china or puerto rico. - natural news.com

i think that anyone who voted against giving americans the ability to save their lives with affordable drugs should line up for one, huge suppository. cuz that's what they gave the rest of the country.

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 3:28 PM | 2 comments


forty republicans plus joe lieberman control the filibuster, and no good health care reform can pass the senate. there isn't and was never any possibility of it, except under reconciliation rules.

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posted by mahakal at 10:01 AM | 3 comments

nothin's gonna change my world


posted by mahakal at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

while the media circus circles around tiger

they fail to mention what nasa satellites have recorded during their circling the globe...
satellite imagery has revealed the full extent of the unsustainable water use in california for the first time. the data released yesterday (december 14) by the north american space agency (nasa) paints a bleak picture for the state, which has suffered a drought for the past three years.

..."the findings have major implications for the us economy as california's central valley is home to one-sixth of all us irrigated land and the state leads the nation in agricultural production and exports." - edie.net

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 5:51 PM | 3 comments

more outrage over institutionalized anal gang rape, er, we mean, health care reform

commenting over @ matt yglesias' post on nate silver's chart of apology for obama, don williams sez:

shorter matthew:

” the republicans fuck you 95 percent — we only fuck you 90 percent. merry christmas.

ps remember to sign up for gotv”
posted by skippy at 5:46 PM | 1 comments

public option...out

medicare buy-in...out.

it wasn't much in doubt, but sen. olympia snowe (r-me) confirmed to reporters tonight that senate majority leader harry reid assured her all of the
contentious aspects of the public option compromise--particularly the medicare
buy-in provision--have been dropped. - tpmdc
corporate democrats....need to get the f*** out.

why should i vote for another "democrat" again? they don't give a flying rat's a** about working americans. at least the republicans are openly hostile toward working americans. you know right off the bat they want poor americans to just keel over and die.

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 5:15 PM | 6 comments

Please Hit the Tip Jar

No, not mine. (I'm hopelessly underwater.) Or Skippy's. (If there even is one.)

Lance Mannion's.

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posted by Ken Houghton at 4:31 PM | 1 comments

progressives for palin

we are stunned, but not surprised.

we knew things were bad when obama threw the lgbt community under the bus.

we shuddered when he refused to close gitmo.

we were stricken when he announced the afghan surge.

now we are completely in despair, since the democratic majority in both houses and the democratic president have cowered before the mighty lieberman and cried out, "thank you sir, may we have another?"

and on monday night, democratic senators emerged from a tense 90-minute closed-door session and suggested that they were on the verge of bowing to mr. lieberman’s main demands: that they scrap a plan to let people buy into medicare beginning at age 55, and scotch even a fallback version of a new government-run health insurance plan, or public option.

mr. lieberman said he believed that the medicare expansion was off the table, though he did not get any guarantee. “not an explicit assurance, no,” he said. “but put me down tonight as encouraged at the direction in which these discussions are going.”

mr. lieberman could not be happier. he is right where he wants to be — at the center of the political aisle, the center of the democrats’ efforts to win 60 votes for their sweeping health care legislation. for the moment, he is at the center of everything — and he loves it.
do you know who doesn't love it? progressives.

the kos kids are cantankerous. the firedoglakers are furious. dr. dean is disgusted. blogtopia is boiling mad, and yes we coined that phrase.

there are centrists who say we should hold our noses and support this watered-down version. but we agree w/rep. lynn woolsey, who said on msnbc that this bill w/o a public opition (or at least a medicare buy-in) might be health insurance reform, but it's certainly not health care reform.

we also agree w/the commentor pinson on greg sergent's blog who says:

if the senate bill passes with mandates forcing everyone to buy insurance yet leaving in place coverage limits – the wave of medical bankrupticies will keep right on rolling. the democratic party will own medical bankruptcy like bush owned iraq. it’s a political black hole of epic proportions. and after 2010, majority leader mcconnell will pummel obama with it every day.
the democrats in congress apparently believe they can totally alienate their progressive base and still get elected.

we are afraid they are mistaken.

it won't be pretty, but we can foresee the mid-terms turning both houses a little (or perhaps even a lot) red. the dem base will probably stay at home, or vote third party.

and this mis-step on health care reform, along w/his previous back-peddling on other campaign promises, might even be bad news for obama in 2012.

paging president palin...
posted by skippy at 3:46 PM | 5 comments

down the penrose lane


more @ penrose on politics!
posted by skippy at 12:24 PM | 1 comments

the future is certain

give us time to work it out.


posted by mahakal at 12:38 AM | 3 comments

Monday, December 14, 2009

enough of sensible, moderate, "responsible" bipartisanship

let the current healthcare reform bill sit in lieberman's lap. introduce free medicare for all and let republicants and conservadems explain why they want you to die in the name of balanced budgets and insurance company profits.

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posted by George at 7:53 AM | 6 comments

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Second Sunday in Mad Music Xmas Countdown

It may be the Third Sunday in Advent, but it's the second Sunday of the Mad Music Top 120 Xmas Songs Countdown. (Songs 120-81 are available here.)

As an added treat, you can also vote for the best new Xmas song here. I suspect "Sarah Palin Shot Santa's Reindeer" has the advantage of ballot placement, but "Healthcare Blunderland" and "Santa's Gonna Telecommute This Xmas" deserve some consideration.

In honor of that, a noble song covered by someone whose "Most of '81 passed along that way" means "Gosh, the original was twelve years old when I was born."

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posted by Ken Houghton at 4:00 PM | 3 comments

environmental news story sunday

"climate-gate" version on this rainy, blustery day.

the doubt industry. - there are many reasons why a binding agreement may not emerge from copenhagen. we would put near the top of the list the well-funded campaign of junk science designed to mislead people into thinking that there is a difference in scientific opinion about climate change - brattleboro reformer

climategate gives ammo to global warming skeptics. - the first thing to know about climategate is that, despite the uproar, it doesn't prove global warming is a fraud. that said, the e-mails do reflect a disturbing level of pettiness, groupthink and willingness to disguise inconvenient data among leading climate scientists - usa toady

climate e-mails were hijacked 'to sabotage summit.' - un officials have likened the theft of e-mails from university climate researchers to the watergate scandal, after claiming computer hackers were probably paid by people intent on undermining the copenhagen summit - london times

hackers paid by climate sceptics, un says. - united nations officials have suggested that computer hackers who pilfered thousands of emails and files from a british university were probably paid to undermine the copenhagen climate change summit. - melbourne age

special investigation: climate change emails row deepens - and russians admit they did send them. - the claim was both simple and terrifying: that temperatures on planet earth are now "likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years." - london daily mail

climategate: anatomy of a public relations disaster. - the way that climate scientists have handled the fallout from the leaking of hacked e-mails is a case study in how not to respond to a crisis. but it also points to the need for researchers to provide more open access to data. - yale environment 360

us republicans vow to rain on copenhagen parade. - republican lawmakers critical of efforts to battle climate change said they would fly next week to the copenhagen summit to undercut president barack obama's promises of strong us action - afp

sceptics 'willing to resort to illegal acts to stop deal'. - climate sceptics are willing to resort to “illegal acts” to stop a deal on global warming, the united nations top scientist has warned as key climate change talks open in copenhagen. - london daily telegraph

climate scientist sent death threats. - an australian born scientist at the centre of the east anglia university email affair says he has received a number of death threats. - abc news

the climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. - remember this the next time you hear people claiming that climate scientists are only in it for the money, or that environmentalists are trying to create a communist world government: these ideas were devised and broadcast by energy companies. - london guardian

and some other news that is getting lost in the fabricated "war" over 10 year old emails.

climate change: turning up the heat. - for the african fishermen whose lake has dried up and the cuban family whose home was flattened by a hurricane, global warming is a reality. photographers matthias braschler and monika fischer put a human face on the biggest threat facing our planet.

acidification threatens the world's fish species. - while in copenhagen the world debates its response to global warming, a related but little-known menace is threatening b.c.'s salmon and other fish species: ocean acidification. - vancouver province

.'s old-growth forests being systematically cut down. - the old-growth forests of vancouver island and the british columbia coast are canada's most valuable weapon in the battle against climate change, but they are being systematically destroyed, according to a new report by the sierra club b.c - victoria times colonist

why britain faces a bleak future of food shortages. - britain faces a 'perfect storm' of water shortage and lack of food, says the government's chief scientist, and climate change and crop and animal diseases will add to future woes. science is now striving to find solutions - london observer

in new orleans, chaos in the streets, and in police ranks too. - new orleans police shot 10 civilians, at least four of whom died, after hurricane katrina made landfall. but a fresh examination of the post-storm period — a joint effort by propublica, the new orleans times-picayune, and pbs “frontline” — raises additional questions about the actions of police - propublica

coral climate crisis puts 250 million at risk. - more than 250 million people risk losing their livelihoods because of dying tropical coral reefs in what a senior un environmental economist said on saturday was part of a double climate crisis facing the world - reuters

'renewables produce cheaper electricity than generators.' - president mohammad nasheed believes climate change is the 21st century's greatest human rights issue and has called for massive investments in renewable energy and green technologies to address this critical issue. - dubai gulf news

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 3:32 PM | 3 comments