Friday, October 30, 2009

Video of the day

Zombie 101 by Matt Zoller Seitz

Picture of the day

From Popular Science and some amateur photographers round the world comes this look at a staggering event of great scientific and cosmological importance....the dumping of 150 pounds of astronaut urine and wastewater from the Space Shuttle Discovery as it undockified itself from the International Space Station.

This was all a part of NASA's top secret $3 billion Project Freezer Burn initiative, in which the space program conspires to get gullible humans ('land meat' as NASA calls them) to make wishes on "shooting stars" that are in fact frozen balls of astronaut piss evaporating on re-entry into the earth. So, word of warning: that wish you made last Wednesday night isn't going to come true.

Stay classy, Pat

Christian Broadcasting Network televangelist Pat Robertson, on the chilling effect that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Law will have on the baby Jesus
PAT ROBERTSON: The noose has tightened around the necks of Christians to keep them from speaking out on certain moral issues. And it all was embodied in something called the Hate crimes bill that President Obama said was a major victory for America. I’m not sure if America was the beneficiary.
Pat, unless the way these Christians are going to "speak out" on "moral issues" is by beating to death a gay man because he was gay in order to intimidate, scare, oppress, and threaten (in short, terrorism) the larger gay community, you aren't going to be affected. I haven't read the Bible in a while, but I'm pretty sure Jesus never said I had to be able to murder people I hated in order to practice His religion. I'm not entirely sure about that, it could be in the back somewhere.

Word to the wise though: tightening nooses around the necks of people (psst: black people) is what got laws like these passed in the first place. So try to choose your words more carefully next time you're outraged because you don't think you can fag-bash as hard as you used to. You can, just as long as there is no physical bashing involved. All your old bestiality, pedophile, threat to the family stuff is still good to use. Now go leg press 1 ton and relax.


For those wags in the media (you know, assholes like Paul Krugman and other various acclaimed and Nobel winning economists) who spout their opinions about how the bailout and stimulus didn't focus enough on regular people, was to loaded with tax cuts a measure that didn't work at the behest of Congressional idiots, was too small, and hasn't created nearly enough jobs, then the Government has just one number to show you: 650,000. As in 650,000 jobs. Or basically the amount of jobs that will be wiped out in the next two months. Probably more like a month and a half.
About 650,000 jobs have been saved or created under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, the White House said Friday, saying it is on track to reach the president's goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

New job numbers from businesses, contractors, state and local governments, nonprofit groups and universities were scheduled to be released publicly later Friday. White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein said the figures will show that, when adding in jobs linked to $288 billion in tax cuts, the stimulus plan has created or saved more than 1 million jobs.
3.5 million jobs? .....That's certainly a goal all right. So how are they going to do it? I think you'll like it. See they took out credit default swaps against any catastrophic losses in the economy. The tanking job market as well as the first 2 quarters of negative GDP growth means that financial giants are going to have to pay out nearly 3.5 million jobs cover the swaps the government took out on the economy. It's a shame that we saw growth in the 3rd quarter or we really could have gotten a killer job payout.

Just kidding, they think it's going to happen by magic.

Correspondence of the day

The chronicle of a young child named Billy (otherwise known as adult pop-culture historian Bill Geerhart), the sage wisdom of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, and the cruel tyranny of porn stealing authoritative parents. Just one of the many amazing episodes of The Billy Letters, one small boy's disturbing correspondence with Charles Manson, the Night Stalker, the Unibomber, Larry, the Governator, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

My God, what a stunner

Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that lawmakers and aides in one of the elected branches of the United States Government would be rife with crooks under investigation for various ethics violations and accusations of scumfuckery? I'm a little floored here at the revelation. I mean sure, breach of the public trust, throws a pall over the actions of government, rabble rabble rabble. But I'm talking about the real shockers here: the investigations aren't happening in the Senate and it's only 30 representatives.
House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.
The 22-page "Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report" gives brief summaries of ethics panel investigations of the conduct of 19 lawmakers and a few staff members. It also outlines the work of the new Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body that initiates investigations and provides recommendations to the ethics committee. The document indicated that the office was reviewing the activities of 14 other lawmakers. Some were under review by both ethics bodies.
Christ, corruption stemming from the defense industry? I mean who would have ever thought that the goal of every military contractor to try to get every military piece of hardware built across as many Congressional districts as humanly possible, would result in undue influence and corruption? Seriously, what was it, like one guy? If you have Lockheed-Martin building something in your district you should be thrown in jail as a precautionary measure. But the defense industry money whores are easy pickens and low hanging fruit, just think of all the extra investigations the House panel can do because of this health care fight. Think of all the investigations the Senate panel can do. Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman are already giving them plenty of material.

Those who are being investigated include nearly half the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Charlie Rangel for "inconsistencies" with his and his family's finances, Jane Harman for "shenanigans" relating to Israeli "lobbyists", Maxine Waters for accidentally making sure that a small bank her husband owned stock in got a lucrative federal bailout. I mean sure, like all other ethics investigations, these will probably end with nothing happening or at best a mild censure. Because the basic function of the House and Senate ethics panels isn't to investigate and prosecute members, that would make things awkward in caucus meetings, the point is to have the appearance of looking into the matters that are so egregiously obvious that Congress is forced to act. Like basically everything John Murtha does.

Sorry for the inconvenience, leaked House crooks, I know this is supposed to end with a private words of consternation and the panel clearing you, not having this all pointed out in public by the Washington Post. Here's hoping you learn to keep your crookedness better hidden for the upcoming climate change debate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cheap Blogging Crutch 10.29

The High Drama Behind Reid's Public Option Decision
TPM gives the lowdown on how the White House and Harry Reid in the decision to put a public option in the Senate bill. Long story short: the WH told Reid they'd back him and it was his decision, Reid said he was "motherfuckin' goi' with the motherfuckin' public option", the WH asked if he was sure he had the votes, Reid said he did, the WH asked if he was sure he was sure he had the votes. Reid repeated yes, then strutted out of the Oval Office jauntily whereupon he was kneed in the groin by Joe Lieberman. President Obama is reported to have then preceded to give the definitive "fail facepalm" as a little piece of him died inside.

Victory for Obama Over Military Lobby
How might you ask does signing a $680 billion dollar defense spending bill that increases spending from the previous yea constitute a win? Uhhh....because military/defense lobbyists and M-16 humpers in Congress only got most of what they wanted instead of all of what they wanted. I'll throw the parade. Remember that we'll easily fork over $680 billion a year plus God knows what else for our two ongoing wars and give little thought to it. But try to spend $900 billion over a decade plus in an attempt to give people health care? Whoa buddy, you're out of your fucking mind.

Climate Change Caused Radical North Sea Shift
It seems that because of the effects of climate change on the North Sea, the ecological makeup of the area has changed, radically altering the food chain and sea based businesses. Which is fine if you think the jellyfish market is going to replace the cod market, but bad otherwise for tose who believe massive rapid ecological changes are a bad thing. Someone want to wrap this study around a brick and throw it through Jim Inhofe's front window? Does anyone know the number of a good discount masonry supplier?

Inside Astronaut Boot Camp
Popular Science takes a look at the preparations and people who are looking to be the first people in 40 years to go out further than the space station, out towards our enemy the moon. Because that's America's new space ambition: to re-do stuff that NASA already did decades ago. Marvel as the astronauts learn to drive moon buggies and laugh as a drunk Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stumble onto the test course to heap withering abuse on what they've dubbed "Team Bitch". The only thing standing in these new astronaut's way, besides an inebriated Buzz Aldrin waving a golf club and muttering about "punks copying his shit"? That whole funding thing. Whoops, don't have that yet.

Health Care Budgeting 101: Congress’ Fiscal Scolds Earn an “F-”
FDL looks at how Blue Dog Democrats, all in the name of "fiscal accountability", have decided (and succeeded in getting) that the cost of the original House bill was too high, so in order to cut it down.....they weakened and gutted provisions that would have cut the deficit, saved money, and reduced health care costs. As always, they want to save money in the short term at the expense of costing us gobs more in the future. So just remember, anytime you hear some Blue Dog idiot droning on about "fiscal responsibility" or the deficit or some such shit, what they're really saying is that they're an idiot who doesn't understand basic economics and that they need to have their head held under water until the twitching stops.

Picture of the day

From the gaming site UK Resistance comes proof that yes, some North Koreans do have two nickels to rub together. In fact, some have five nickels to rub together and use them to play sad, sad video games. Tracigally it looks like they're going through a joystick knob drought as most are probably needed for making happytime explosion of many radiations for imperialist aggressors. If this doesn't impress you, you should see Kim Jong-Il's setup. He's got a Sega Genesis with NHL '95 and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Broken In Brief: Area man flirts with insanity as he attempts to explain mother's computer problem to her

HARTFORD—Today, after a brief period of around five minutes when the entire world did not make sense to him and his thoughts were consumed by paranoia and murder fantasies, area man Ron Durham was able to regain his senses after a disastrous attempt to explain to his mother how he fixed the problem she was having on her computer.

The brief flirtation with insanity began early in the day when his mother called him up with complaints that her computer, which Mr. Durham had mistakenly bought for her in an attempt to move her into the 21st century, was “acting funny” and added to it a list of nonsensical claims that included the gem “the packets aren’t sizing.”

As Durham arrived to look at the computer, his sanity was initially tested by his mother’s complete inability to explain what was happening in terms that a normal human would comprehend. After a fifteen minute period wading through this crazy woman’s cluttered desktop of solitaire games, pictures of grandchildren, and wrongly installed programs, he finally found the problem and fixed it quite easily.

Tragically he made the mistake of informing his mother of the actual problem and solution, explaining that it was “a simple matter of updating drivers.” As he slowly realized what he had just done, Durham was unable to run out of the house in time to avoid the rapid fire rash of bizarrely nonsensical computer/automotive questions.

As his mind caved in on itself, devouring his will to live under the weight of a carburetor/Windows tandem word bludgeoning, he finally understood the only two solutions to end this madness: murder or escape.

"Magic,” he blurted out. “I was wrong. It was magic that caused it. Magic also fixed it. It was magic all along...inside each of us." As his mother paused, perhaps to contemplate the witness of said magic or perhaps in affront to what she had to know was an egregious lie, Durham used the momentary pause to gather his senses, say goodbye, run from the house, and take stock of how precious life is.

Pretty much

The House bill

The House released their health care bill, and while it isn't the liberal bonanza of socialist and thinly veiled communism that Nancy Pelosi vowed to throw on the backs of this country in order to destroy it, it's still fairly good and allows us to further persist in the myth that this country will get a public option.
Pelosi said the bill will "insure 36 million more Americans" and "will not add one dime to the deficit" -- covering 96 percent of Americans and costing less than $900 billion. The bill includes a public option and will end "discrimination for preexisting medical conditions."

She said the plan will be put online "for all Americans to see." You can read it here.
In fact the bill will cost "$894 billion price tag and will result in a $30 billion surplus at the end of its first 10 years" and doesn't include the "robust public option" (rates based on Medicare + 5%) but will instead negotiate rates. In addition the bill will expand Medicaid to the rate of 150% above the poverty line and ditch the Senate's free rider provision in favor of an employer mandate. It essentially covers more people and in a better way than the Senate for almost the same price.

What's also great about the bill is....ah fuck it. It's not like any of this stuff is going to get in. Some idiot Senator or Senators will demand that they be taken out or they'll just be stripped out in the conference committee and we'll all be forced to accept whatever contradictory nonsensical terrible bullshit Joe Lieberman wants in return for getting his feelings hurt in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic primary.

Still, nicely done House. There's still one mildly sane, not completely terrible section of our government that largely seems to be actually concerned with the problems inherent in our health care system. Too bad you're counterbalanced by the Senate. I guess a couple people will read the bill and imagine what it would be like if it got passed, so your efforts won't be a total waste. Shame about the Senate though. Well, you must be used to that kind of disappointment.

How apt

My, my, my, it's Barry planting a tree at the White House in order to appease his liberal hippie base. Is that how desperate he is for positive attention these days, what with health care getting Liebermanned, not really doing a whole lot on Gitmo and all those "War on Terror" policies that Bush started, and gearing up to escalate the war in Afghanistan? We've already hit "cheap photo-op" time in October? What other possible reason...
The President will plant a Linden tree on the White House North Lawn.

Benjamin Harrison first planted a Scarlet Oak in 1889 in the same spot, but the tree, quite old and rotten inside, was split in half and downed in a 2007 rain storm. Former President George Bush replaced the tree with another Scarlet Oak in the same spot – but the White House says "it didn't take well” last year – so a new tree needed to be planted.
President Bush couldn't even plant a tree right? My, what an apt metaphor for his administration's terrible environmental record: he can't even do a rote photo-op with a tree without killing it dead. In honor of Dubya, his dead tree will be pulped and made into paper upon which a secret torture policy will be written along with notes from a meeting with oil executives. It will then be shredded in a ceremony involving a Dick Cheney impersonator.

See the thing about Bu...wait, did they say Linden tree? Obama planted a Linden tree? Dear God, I never thought I'd have an excuse to post this:

Now that's what the entire White House grounds are going to smell like.

Good news/bad news

The end of the recession has been signaled. Technically. In the smallest, most unimportant terms possible. Woo-hoo, break out the good tin of beans.
Gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the three months ending in September, a significant spike from a relatively shrunken base. The economy had contracted at annual rates of 0.7 percent and 6.4 percent in the second and first quarters of this year, respectively.
Durable goods spending shot up 22.3%, spending on housing jumped 23.4%, and there were other numbers that indicated growth. Even the unemployment rate rose, hitting 9.8% as employers cut 263,000 jobs! Wait, that's bad. And sure first time jobless claims are still at over half a million and consumer spending on non-durable goods was flat, but....uh......GDP...stock market! Look, if you're going to whine about being unemployed and the predictions that unemployment is going to continue into next year, hitting 10.5%, then I don't know what to tell you. Yes, the economy is long as you aren't one of the people in that economy, can't you miserable hobo wretches just be happy for that fact?

So everything's ok, everything's largely fixed, and we just have to wait for that pesky job market to....oh, what's that Dr. Nouriel Roubini, a guy best known for their prescient predictions of the financial market collapse, you have something to say?
“Markets have gone up too much, too soon, too fast.” Noting that stock markets have soared by around 50 percent since their lows last March, he added, “The real economy is barely recovering while markets are going this way.”

He warned that “easy money” had already created “asset bubbles in equities, commodities, credit and emerging markets,” and concluded, “… we may be planting the seeds of the next cycle of financial instability.”
Well, wonderful, even our sad recovery will be short lived. Thanks for the heads up, I know not throw out my man sized cardboard boxes and bindle just yet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stay classy, West Contra Costa Unified School District

West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesman Marin Trujillo, taking time to note that other than a 15 year old girl getting raped by multiple people, the Richmond High School dance went off without a hitch:
"Multiple offenders, multiple people raping over prolonged period," said Lt. Mark Gagan with the Richmond police.

What makes this crime so shocking is that police say at least 20 people were involved in the rape or stood and watched the crime without going for help.
"Dance was successful event and safe for the students that were there," said Marin Trujillo, the West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesman. "This dance itself was a successful event."
Yeah, other than that gang rape type situation, the dance went off like gangbusters. The DJ was kickin' it with some tasty jams, the gym had a really well put together theme, and all the raping that occurred happened off of the dance-floor and at least 20 or 30 feet away from the main building.

I'm just glad that Mr. Trujillo was there to clear things up. I wouldn't want to have though that some got raped and the dance sucked. Also, I think people are failing to applaud the fact that no one was murdered anywhere near the event. When that is taken into consideration, this might be the most successful school dance ever. Stay classy, Marin.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 10.28

Fox-Friendly Poll on Imaginary White House Policies
From Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting comes a report of a dandy of a poll from Fox News and Zogby whereupon they ask the question if Americans think that Obama's communist diversity czar's imaginary desire to force out the "good white people" in the broadcast industry to make room for the blacks and the gays and the gay blacks represents a threat to free speech. Nothing like a little conspiratorial race bait push polling to start your day. Gee, I wonder why it is that the Obama Administration doesn't like Fox News?

Analysis: Public Option Is Likely Popular in Most Blue Dog Districts
Nate Silver of 538 works his number witchcraft to look at the popularity of the public every single congressional district. The conclusion? That the public option has support in almost 2/3rds of all districts and in regards to the biggest Democratic gainsayers, the Blue Dog caucus, the public option holds majority support in 34 of 52 of their districts. The conclusion supposedly being that a public option should have more support of our elected betters. Ahh Nate, your cold robot logic has failed you again. Don't you know no one in Congress actually cares about what its constituents thinks? But we do appreciate you giving us yet another mathematically valid reason to hate everyone in Congress.

New York Fed’s Secret Choice to Pay for Swaps Hits Taxpayers
Pop quiz: how do you get AIG to look good? Answer: Make sure they're being compared to Tim Geithner. That's right our beloved Treasury Secretary Timmy demanded that the US government pay AIG 100 cents on the dollar for their utterly worthless credit default swaps when AIG was only seeking to get 40 cents on the dollar for them. This cost taxpayers and additional $13 billion dollars. The kicker? This allowed AIG to pay back the $14 billion it owed to Timbo's former employer Goldman-Sachs. Next time Tim, can you put on some cowboy gear, cover your face with a black bandanna, tell us "to reach for the sky", and make us pile the money into a burlap sack with a dollar sign on it? If we're going to get robbed, can we at least get to appreciate the theatre of it?

Losing Net Neutrality: The Worst Case Scenario
Gizmodo links to a half satirical/half terrifying representation of what kind of internet deal we'll be getting from cable companies if Congress votes to ditch net neutrality. Why wouldn't we want our internet priced out and divided up like cable channels, everyone loves how that works, don't they?

LHC Reawakens, Sending Proton Beams Running at the Speed of Light
Finally the scientific community gets off its lazy, goldbricking asses and starts trying to kill God in earnest again. They've fixed the helium leak, stopped the problem they've had with magnets overheating, scrapped plans to convert the LHC into a pussy magnet, and found that missing pallet of particles that idiot Jenkins misplaced. Hopefully within the next few months God will be dead or the French/Swiss border will find it has a new black hole taking up residence and consuming our solar system. Just get it over with, it's not like any of us have jobs or anything to live for.

Broken News: All hope lost as evil hordes overrun Cushion Fort

THE LIVING ROOM—An otherwise idyllic, peaceful morning was shattered when two car bombs rocked the market district of South Awesometown, killing dozens and splaying action figures and broken plastic limbs all over the immediate area.

What was initially believed to be yet another gruesome attack on an overwhelmed populace turned out to be something far more sinister as the horrible violence was merely the opening gambit of an invasion that threatened the entire living room and outlying territories as far west as the dining room table.

As the vile hordes of the Enemy poured through the Great Front Gates of Awesometown, the citizens saw the true horror that awaited them. Not only were there hordes of orcs, goblins, and trolls, but the Enemy had been able to marshal the support of the stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire, several Darth Vader figurines, a couple of badass looking Matchbox cars, the international terrorist organization Cobra, and a perverse menagerie of mismatched and augmented Lego vehicles.

This was not merely another battle in the fraught with violence, daily struggle that is life in Awesometown, no; this was the battle to end all battles.

“Blaargh, mercy is for the weak,” a booming voice was heard to yell as giant hands smashed an X-Wing into the prone body of a battered Han Solo, one of the many confusing episodes of this pitched and narratively baffling confrontation.

As the fight raged on, many were sickened by the tactics of the Enemy as his elite Vader squad was seen to mutilate and dismember a group of Lego citizens who had not been able to flee the area.

“We’re just a group of engineers, architects, and motorcycle cops, don’t hurt us,” they were heard to yell. But their pleas went unheard as the Vader squad pulled them apart and stomped on them in a violent up and down motion as the spit-flecked sounds of screams, explosions and machine gun fire permeated the air.

Citizens were left with little hope for protection as a fire truck took to the air and violently crashed into a large red barrel that housed the city’s elite Monkey Squadron. Those who had survived the firetruck’s initial vicious aerial assault soon learned the meaning of true pain as the massive frame of The Incredible Hulk came into view.

“DIE DIE DIE,” the voice boomed again, as the Hulk engaged in the most common fighting tactic of the day; jumping up and down on the heads of his victims. Torrents of childish laughter were heard as the Hulk finished of this awful session by proceeding to hump the bodies of the noble apes in a lewd and lascivious fashion.

As the unending horror and violence consumed the outskirts of Awesometown near the Great Recliner and End Table of Power, those still alive knew the only possible solution left was the one that had served them so well in previous periods of war: they would gird themselves in Nerf and make for the Cushion Fort.

The seven cushion fort, built by their ancestors and allowed to stand for nigh on three days now, had protected them whenever violence encroached and the nearby area had become littered with the dismembered bodies of the girly doll-people of the Repellent Sister Creature. Now it was their only hope in this completely badass final battle to end all final battles. But unluckily for the remaining survivors, the army of the Enemy knew of these plans and had vowed to leave a trail of pain and blood as the evil battalions made their way to the vaunted Cushion Fort.

Indeed they were true to their brutal word as the path to the fort became littered with the broken and flayed bodies of the fallen, piled in various states of homoerotic and gay poses. Those who had seen it would never forget the tragic sight of the corpses of Dumbledore, Gandalf, and Yoda piled on top of each other as though the venerated wizards had been engaged in some sort of three-way anal intercourse.

But the assembled armies of the Enemy were too much for the fabled defenses of the cushion fort, as their superior numbers soon overran the valiant warriors. As the remaining citizens of Awesometown declared that all hope was lost, they looked to the heavens to plead for help and salvation. The booming voice returned, cried “No! The time of judgment is at hand!” and prepared to lay waste to the fort with a full body splash from off of the nearby couch.

It was at this moment that two larger creatures stumbled into the scene of the carnage, demanding to know “What is all this racket going on?” As the ensuing tale of the war at hand, ape rape, the cushion fort stronghold, and the battle to end all battles was regaled, the story was rebuffed with a curt “I don’t care” from the larger of the two beings, a week-long ban from watching cable news, and a demand to “Clean all this shit up, because it’s a goddamn mess in here.”

Amid much grumbling and protestations of unfairness the battlefields were swept clean, the cushion fort was razed and returned to its rightful place on Sofa Mesa, and the citizens were spared their final destruction and placed into a bin in the closet, perhaps some of them reemerging tomorrow as part of an RC car stunt spectacular or to perhaps suffer the heat of fire conjured from magnification glass.

A/V of the day

Fun fact

As you hear wonderful new news about the Afghan/Pakistan region, like that interesting little tidbit about how Hamid Karzai's opium dealing brother is on the CIA payroll, or how a bomb ripped through Pakistan and killed 90 people...while Secretary Clinton is visiting there, or the Taliban storming a "protected" house in Kabul and killing 6 UN workers, or the bit about how the Obama Administration has decided that in regards to the Afghan War "the debate is no longer over whether to send more troops, but how many more will be needed", remember this: Troops already outnumber Taliban 12-1.
There are already more than 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan working with 200,000 Afghan security forces and police. It adds up to a 12-1 numerical advantage over Taliban rebels, but it hasn't led to anything close to victory.

Now, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan is asking for tens of thousands more troops to stem the escalating insurgency, raising the question of how many more troops it would take to succeed.
The Taliban rebels are estimated to number no more than 25,000. Ljubomir Stojadinovic, a military analyst and guerrilla warfare expert from Serbia, said that although McChrystal's reinforcements would lift the ratio to 20-1 or more, they would prove counterproductive.
Well I can certainly see why we're so eager to put more troops in. 12-1 is hardly and overwhelming advantage. Better bump it up to 20-1. Fuck it, 40-1. Let's have more soldiers than Afghans, then I'm sure we'll be able to outwit and kill the 25,000 Taliban fighters. One thing I'm sure of is that occupation armies never piss off citizens and inflame insurgencies, especially not after 8 years of futility, and especially not in Afghanistan, with its long traditions of welcoming foreign forces with open arms. What do they call Afghanistan, the Welcoming Center of Empires? I'm sure this will go as well as every armed conflict has ever gone in Afghanistan. Good luck, get to work.

Chart of the day

As if you needed a graphical representation that the event of yesterday were in no way good for you, ThinkProgress stepped to the forefront to shove a chart in your face and make it clear.

The first part of the graph charts the stock performance of WellPoint, United Health the Connecticut based Aetna when news of Reid including a public option on around 11AM of the 26th. Note the downward trajectory.

The second part is where Joe Lieberman announces his opposition to voting on health reform with a public option at around 1:30 on the 27th, whereupon the health industry stocks shoot up.

God bless the stock market, it's always there to tell you in the starkest dollar and cent terms just how well founded your suspicions were that something bad happened. Not that we needed a reminder beyond the beginnings of the phrase "Joe Lieberman said..." to know we were getting screwed, but it's nice to be able to measure it in terms of a stock price.

Harry has got problems, man

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, gettin' all third person when discussing Joe Lieberman deciding he'll filibuster health care reform
"Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid's problems," Reid told reporters at his weekly press conference.
I'll say. I can think of a few expletive filled ones off the top of my head. Not that I want to pile on Harry Reid and his mistakes after his latest staggering failure. These are, after all, mistakes we all made when we heard him say that a public option was in the Senate bill. I mean when we all heard him announce it a few days back, I made the assumption, like most others, that he had made some hoary, evil blood pact with the pig molesters, avowed pederasts, and spineless insects that populate the Nelson/Lincoln/Landrieu/Bayh/Lieberman end of the caucus to actually do something crazy, like letting a bill with the overwhelming support of Democrats in Congress get voted on. No, that seems like it was a bridge too far.

But that isn't Reid's problem. No, the problem Reid has that's bigger than Lieberman, is his staggering inability to count. Or, at least be able to count to 60. We've all been there one time or another, where our massively important plans were ruined when the lack of basic counting and math skills conspired to derail them. Granted, it was when we were four, but there we are. And it happened to Harry Reid too, when he announced he was moving forward on legislation without checking to see if the waffling cretins in his caucus were on board. Naively thinking that people who were elected as Democrats would actually find Democratic priorities important. But that's the sad end point we've reached with Democratic leadership: we can't even rely on them to have basic counting skills. Abilities that five year olds possess are just out of the reach of our elected betters.

So sorry, we don't get to move on to other things, like climate change, getting angry over the same cast of characters fucking up on that bill. Nope, still stuck on health care, as the Senate decides that the compromise of a compromise of a compromise......probably needs two or three more compromises in there. Maybe four. Get excited!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who could have foreseen?

Human swine Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
Lieberman told reporters today that he would in fact filibuster any health care bill he doesn't agree with--and right now, he doesn't agree with the public option proposal making its way through the Senate.

"I told Senator Reid that I'm strongly inclined--i haven't totally decided, but I'm strongly inclined--to vote to proceed to the health care debate, even though I don't support the bill that he's bringing together because it's important that we start the debate on health care reform because I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told him that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill."
My oh my. Of course he wouldn't want a public option, I mean it's not like he ever argued for making health care cheaper and try to strive for universal coverage, especially when he was running for re-election as an Independent after he lost the Democratic primary.
What I’m saying to the people of Connecticut, I can do more for you and your families to get something done to make health care affordable, to get universal health insurance.
MediChoice to allow anybody in our country to buy into a national insurance pool like the health insurance pool that we federal employees and Members of Congress have. ...It will cover 95% of those who are not covered now, and it will reduce the pressure on rising costs for all the millions of others.
Wait, he argued for expanding and creating more single payer government health care plans in 2006 but feels an even more watered down public option is much too generous and expensive for the peasants in 2009? Not to mention that all the reasons he gives for opposing a public option now are utterly without merit. God, I command you to smite this fuck with a flaming sky rock.

Who could have ever foreseen this waffling, spineless fuckup would to try to stop important Democratic priorities that elections were won on, like health care reform, by not even allowing it to be voted on? Oh, Rachel Maddow:

So glad all these Democratic efforts to placate this spoiled, self-centered egomaniac have engendered such stunning and obvious benefits for the American people.

Important earth shattering news

The entire run of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Jessica Stevenson/Edgar Wright TV show Spaced is up on Hulu. Of course both Sean and I would throttle you to death if we ever met you in public and learned you had not seen it, here on the internet we can only throttle you with hateful words of scorn and disdain. So, if you haven't seen Spaced and you're too much of a cheap wretch to buy it, go watch it, all of it, right now. Though hurry, because soon even Hulu will be charging money for their programs, which is the fine for makers of quality things like Spaced, but the worst thing ever for cheap bastards like yourself.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 10.27

Auditor Faults Work on U.S. Embassy in Iraq
It's a shame that most of us will never be able to see the $700 million "monument to shoddy work and incompetent oversight" that the government built in Iraq. It seems like they put so much work into providing a stark metaphor for everything we did in Iraq that it hardly seems fair that only some members of the State Department will get to see it. Well, theoretically. It can't pass safety regulations and is "significantly deficient in multiple areas”, so I doubt many State officials will see it either. Perhaps we can just frame the bill next to the Iraq war authorization and hang it in a modern art museum.

House Democrats John Adler, Carolyn Maloney Move To Weaken Investor Protection Bill
It's nice to know that even after Enron, Worldcom, and the financial apocalypse that there's still people walking around that believe that Wall Street is over-regulated and investors are over-protected. I mean haven't we learned that making sure oversight is as ineffective as humanly possible all but ensures companies will follow the rules out of some duty bound respect for the public trust? I thought that was the clear lesson of The Day the Money Went Away. Keep on makin' us proud Democrats!

Revealed: Like McCain, Bush is ‘Jack Bauer kind of guy’
On the Surprise-O-Meter, what's the level of surprise you're registering over the fact that the man who ordered America to torture was an obsessive fan of 24, to the point where he harassed actors about upcoming plot points? I'm somewhere around -15. I'm surprised that this article didn't reveal that Bush had a back tattoo of Jack Bauer sticking a knife into a terrorist's head. I wonder if Obama is a fan of 24? That must be why he's not doing anything serious to combat Bush's torture and claimed national security and executive powers either.

Saudi female journalist sentenced to 60 lashes
Whew! I had forgotten there for a second that Saudi Arabia was an immensely backwards and oppressive state that represses, suppresses, and brutalizes its people. I appreciate the reminder. See what slips your mind when it's all IranIranIran, AfgahnistanAfghanistanAfghanistan, and PakistanPakistanPakistan 24/7? You forget about the smaller scumbags. Isn't that always the way?

Schumer: We Prevailed On White House That Public Option Was The Way To Go
Chuck Schumer gives a bit on a rundown of the process that finally ended up with Harry Reid putting the a public option into the Senate bill. It involved a stick of truth being effectively and publicly used to spank the behinds of non-believers, progressives actually making a stand and succeeding on the matter of a public option trigger, and a wacky ghost mystery that resulted in Reid falling through a revolving bookcase, finding the mummy's hidden gold and a spare spine. He doesn't talk about how the debate got so shoddy that a weak public option opt-out was viewed as a victory, but I think we know the answer to that. (*psst* the Senate is a stupid place)

Picture of the day

via FuckYeah4Chan

Take that, Natalie Portman.

Nice to see the kid doing well

When last we left former President Bush we were all exhaling in relief as he finally left Washington for good, frantically reassuring each other that there was no way he could still enact legislation anymore. But we all wondered what he would get up to in his post-Presidential years. Would he try to become a large scale player on the international humanitarian field like Bill Clinton and his Clinton Global Initiative? Would he build houses and try to act as a foreign policy conscience like Jimmy Carter? Or would he do one of the things we all hoped he do, like get arrested and prosecuted for all the shit he did while he was President, or, even better, get rabies during a possum hunting trip?

None of the above. No, after finding that people didn't want to hear him on the lecture circuit, he found something more on his level: stealing gigs from 3rd string Dallas Cowboys running backs from the eighties, ex-Texas A&M linebackers who found God, and fifth tier Tony Robbins' wannabes on the motivational speaker circuit.
Yesterday, he spoke to nearly 15,000 people at the “Get Motivated!” seminar in Forth Worth, TX. He mostly focused on “lighter topics such as picking out a rug design for the Oval Office that reflected his ‘optimism.’” The Dallas News reports that for this 28-minute speech, Bush received at least $100,000 — a rate of $3571 per minute:
It was a rousing, upbeat celebration of positive thinking and conspicuous success. Speakers were introduced with peppy music, confetti drops and bursts of pyrotechnics exploding from each corner of the stage (but not for Bush – Secret Service orders).
Oh a rousing time was had by all. There was even a greatest hits recap from his Presidency as a protester with an "Arrest Bush" sign was forceably removed from the proceedings so that the boy former-king wouldn't have to see it. Hell, even Terry Bradshaw was there throwing out "Pigs for Jesus" wristbands, promoting a nonprofit slaughter operation that benefits children. Seriously. That actually happened. So you can see why an ex-President would want to be involved and make plans to do another: the prestige. Just kidding, it's obviously the money. $100,000 smackeroos just for bullshitting about the Oval Office rug and justifying your massive unpopularity to an underwhelmed audience. Nice to see him cash in at his own intellectual level. He's earned it.

The new disappointment

With the health care debate largely over and only the scope and size of the public option left to get to get blindingly angry about, the choice of whether to allow people access to it was successfully fobbed off onto states (states rights, bitches! eat it Lincoln!), and the spectacle of largely conservative, right wing states enacting a hilarious process of screwing their own citizens on health care with the tacit tea bagging approval of those citizens, Congress now moves on to a new debate for us all to get immensely worked up over inevitably leading to anger and disillusionment in government as intelligent plans based on science and research are diluted and made terrible by the dumbest and most politically craven members of the Democratic Senate caucus: the environmental debate! The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee starts public hearings on climate change bills! Whooo!
With a clearer picture on health care, the Obama administration and Congress today are pivoting toward climate change legislation.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began hearings this hour on Chairman Barbara Boxer's bill, with President Obama's Green Cabinet expected to testify.
With just over a month before climate change negotiations begin in Copenhagen, environmental advocacy groups have been pressuring the White House and Congress to take action so world leaders have a framework to build upon.

Administration officials have stressed for weeks they are comfortable with negotiators using the House-passed bill as a starting point, but the activists closest to the issue say that's not enough.
Sorry activists, hope you like getting less than what's in the House bill you think is inadequate. Hell, I hope you like getting less than what's in the Kerry/Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733) that the hearings are going to be about. Because the lesson around here, and we try to impart it on a daily basis, is that the Senate is a stupid place and legislation only goes there to be made worse. The climate bill has been ordered to pass through the land of wind and ghosts and we can only hope that it emerges from the other side in a manner that doesn't worsen climate change, only fails to inadequately and effectively address it and fails to help set up the American economy to grow and expand into green technologies.

It matters not that people support cap-and-trade measures by a 60% to 37% measure and that the numbers are even higher for people under the age of 50. They felt the same way about a robust public option and we all saw the bruised, battered, and dismembered body that is still trying to drag itself out of the US Senate's shame basement. No, the future of America is clearly coal, so coal state Democrats (and God there are more of them than the ones who opposed a strong public option) will make sure that climate change legislation reflects the wishes of the coal industry that will fuel our economy into the 22nd century. Get ready, we've found the next Country Polarizing Thing To Hate that everyone on both sides can get angry about: climate change legislation! Get your teabags and haikus about Mother Earth ready.

Chart of the day

As if you needed a reminder, the Awl looks at major newspaper circulation since 1990 and finds that airplanes fall flaming from the sky in less deadly trajectories than the American print news industry. But hey, I'm sure they'll fix everything somehow and get those numbers moving up.

Not pictured: the Boston Globe. Because a chart can only be so tall when describing horrific downward spirals. Just know that the Globe started out on the bottom of the chart and quickly fell of the fahkin face of the fahkin earth. No one denies this! Also of note: you can see your house from the top of the LA Times circulation in 1990.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cheap Blogging Crutch 10.26

Women pay up to 50% more for health insurance premiums
Now that we've inexorably moved one step closer to our new health care utopia with cotton candy insurance that lets us see marmalade doctors, a new study is released showing you the best way to cut your health insurance costs: not be born a woman. Some call it sex discrimination, I'm just glad to note that neither Sean nor I was born with this debilitating pre-existing condition, what with it's assorted lady parts, emotions, and hairless faces. I'm just glad that I can't catch whatever it is they have because...well...let's just say that its because I've quarantined myself off from them and that definitely not the other way around, no matter what Pittsburgh area women tell you.

For Walker, financial fouls mount
For anyone looking to glimpse into the lifestyles of rich athletes and their almost immediate bankruptcies the second they stop playing, take a look a former Celtics power forward Antoine Walker who, at 33, has squandered over $110 million in career earnings. This is why sports fans don't have to worry about player strikes anymore. One would last a month before half the players were out of money.

The New Color Line
I'm about to blow you mind: whites and blacks not only have differing views about things, but those views extend to health care as well! 40% of whites support health care reform compared to 75% of nonwhites, while 38% of whites believe the Obama agenda will decrease their opportunities and 60% of nonwhites believe his agenda will increase their opportunities. So wait, large percentages of those teabaggers were scared that the black man was coming to take their shit? I guess that's something you only could have understood with a poll, or if, you know, you read their placards.

Campaign Report on Human Rights in Iran since 12 June 2009
The International Campaign for Human Rights did an analysis of the situation in Iran and it turns out things aren't so great. Their conclusion? Iran is accelerating its slide into a dictatorship. Excuse me, that must have been a misprint. It probably meant to say further accelerating it's slide into and even more oppressive dictatorship than already exists. That must be it. Still, it surprises me. I mean we all changed our Twitter icons green and made our Facebook location Tehran. Wasn't that supposed to solve everything?

End State: Is California finished?
Yes. Now break it up and sell it to the Chinese. Otherwise they might take us all down with them in their swirling vortex of initiative stupidity and referendum backed budget destroying insanity. Oh sure, we'll miss the entertainment industry, celebrity murder trials, and probably a third and fourth thing. But this is triage man, cut off the diseased leg so the rest of the body can survive! I'm just saying: nukes in the San Andreas fault to break California off from the mainland. It was in the Superman movie being attempted by a super genius, it has to be valid.

Broken In Brief: NFL celebrates continuation of league wide conspiracy to rig games for the Steelers

Rugged Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre, who just has fun out there, is forced to watch as the referees hand another game to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

PITTSBURGH--Following the 27-17 Sunday afternoon defeat of the Minnesota Vikings in which the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense turned two Brett Favre miscues into 14 points, representatives from the NFL front office, the Bilderburg Group, and Steelers ownership gathered to celebrate the victory, due entirely to a heretofore unknown refereeing conspiracy to fix games for the venerated Pittsburgh sporting institution.

"I'm just glad I could be here to witness yet another occurrence of our league-wide conspiracy to steal victories from deserving franchise and give them to the Steelers," said a beaming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a press conference to the national media. "Wow, what's that make it, 530 regular-season games? That's a hell of a milestone. It doesn't even factor in the 31 playoff wins and 6 ill-gotten Super Bowls we handed to them on a silver platter. I look forward to ordering up this travesty anywhere from another 5 to 7 times before the end of the season, depending on the playoff picture."

"Yeah, I thought so. Just look at the tripping call on Jeff Dugan. Total bullshit. Refs had to be in the bag," observed Vikings fan Carl Henriksson, wearing a #4 Favre jersey despite the presence of other, better players on the roster that will actually be playing next year and showing an expert ability to gloss over a questionable penalty on Heath Miller that negated a Steelers TD, as well as a holding penalty that went uncalled during Percy Harvin's 4th quarter kickoff return for a TD. "Glad to see the league is finally admitting what we all know is the truth, don' cha know."

Later in the evening, Goodell clarified that, due to a longstanding pact with both Satan and the Freemasons, this legitimacy-crippling corruption would continue to benefit the Steelers for roughly the next 100 years. Almost immediately, fans of the Vikings, Ravens, Bengals, Chargers, Raiders, Seahawks, and Browns began to nod their heads in recognition of the infernal bloodtrust. Many were heard to mutter "I knew it" under their breath before declaring that this was the only logical explanation for their respective franchise's latest step toward eternal futility, as well as the Steelers' post-NFL merger success.

At press time, no explanations had been offered for the routine ineptness of the aforementioned franchises.

Your afternoon cryptic comment on health care

From TPM, comes this little gem about Majority Leader Harry Reid's 3:15 press conference where he will announce that the public option will make it into the Senate health reform bill with an "opt-out" clause for states...or not. Because we need another cryptic layer of intrigue in the health debate. Maybe he'll announce that he tried hard but can't get it in, or that there will be some sort of public option "trigger", or that he'll be running for re-election as a woman. Who knows?
Democrats are being very tight lipped today about exactly what Reid will say, but are suggesting strongly that there will be news.
Gee, you think? Until such a time as that alleged news happens These Bastards just wants to strongly wish Harriet Reid success in her gender re-assignment surgery and upcoming re-election campaign. Solidarity, sister.

EDIT: Opt out public option. And he'll be running for re-election in a giant furry wolf suit.

Buy things!

Warren Ellis is launching a t-shirt of the week scheme in which you can buy body coverings emblazoned with the anti-social ravings and angry commands of a professional comics writer. Because why wouldn't you want a coffee mug that asks "Where's my fucking coffee?" or an apron bearing this slogan:

Chart of the day

click to embiggen

From Zach Klein comes this graphical representation of how the US ranks in regards to price and speed of the intarwubs/intertubes. #15 with a bullet! It isn't just health care where most of the world bangs us in the behind. Take that, United Kingdom! You may have cheaper health care resulting in better lives for your citizens, but how fast can you find and watch a new keyboard cat video...and at what cost?

A quote to make you feel better about our involvement in Afghanistan

From the New York Times Week In Review article entitled The Great American Arm-Twist in Afghanistan
“Mr. Karzai got 48 percent of the vote and Abdullah got 27,” said Azizullah Ludin, the chairman of the Independent Election Commission. Despite its title, the commission is widely seen here as a tool of the president. “We will have another election, and we’ll have the same result.”

Mr. Ludin smiled broadly. “Karzai is going to win.”
In case you glossed over this part: he's the chairman of the Independent Election Commission.

I don't ask for much, but if we're going to go to the trouble of propping up your bullshit government while we pour billions of dollars and thousands of lives into your massive religious fundamentalist jugfuck of a country, can you not more or less smile and wink at a second round of vote rigging after you just got caught doing it in the first round? Especially if you're the guy in charge of the elections? Thanks. Also? Less of this.

Rapture dog

You know there's a question I hear all the time: "Matt, I'm an atheist who doesn't believe in God or have any stake in organized religion. But what if I'm wrong and God exists and all his true believers are raptured up into heaven? How can I make money off of that and get a free dog?" If I had a nickel for every time I heard that I could buy an island. Well, good news everyone, there's finally an answer: Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA.
You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each
Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.Our service is plain and simple; our fee structure is reasonable.
For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Each additional pet at your residence will be saved for an additional $15.00 fee. A small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged and feathered friends.
First off how could a just God exist if He didn't rapture up man's best friend? Also: allow the world's pain, suffering, et cetera, et cetera. I do know what you're thinking, though, and they're two steps ahead of you.
Q: Is this a Joke?
A: No. This is a serious offer to our Christian friends who believe in the Second Coming and honestly care about the future of their pets after the Rapture occurs.
But how long post-rapture will it take for Tuffy to get picked up by his new atheist master?
A: The timing is contingent on the number of subscribers we have in each state/region and travel distance. Our rescuers know that this is a time sensitive service. Pets' lives are at stake. We will limit the number of subscribers in each zone so that any given rescuer will not be over burdened. Naturally, we must anticipate that there will be widespread chaos and confusion immediately following the Rapture that could impact travel times. Thus, we are targeting a maximum of between 18- 24 hours from realization of the Rapture, to animal rescue.
That's good, during the whole wailing and gnashing of teeth period, but before the riding of the four horsemen.

So if you don't believe in God, need some cash, live in Maine New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Carolina, or Georgia, and want a free dog, cat, bird, rabbit, and small caged mammal to help you through any God based apocalypse, contact Eternal Earth-Bound Pets.

Hmm, enacting health reform early...sounds like a crazy idea

How fait accompli is some kind of health reform right now? Well, it's basically to the point where everyone glosses over tiny things like the White House opposing the public option in the Senate and Harry Reid having to lead the way on his own and just moves on to a debate about how soon to implement health reform proposals. Because how can you be expected to get re-elected or reap the popularity of health care reform in 2010 if it doesn't kick in until 2013? There's also something about helping people in need and providing much needed relief in what is actually a life or death situation for blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
The most significant changes to the health care system wouldn’t kick in until 2013 – two election cycles away. With Republicans expected to make next year a referendum on health care reform, Democrats are quietly lobbying to push up the effective dates on popular programs, so they'll have something to run on in the congressional midterms.

Democrats are anxious to mix the good with the bad since some of the pain would be phased in early, including more than $100 billion in industry fees that critics say could be passed on to consumers.

“We want to be able, within the cost framework and the implementation framework, to have as much start as early as possible, even though we know all of it can’t,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a Finance Committee member who is working with other senators on the effort. “And the White House wants to have as much as possible to start.”
Among the proposals: make prescription drug discounts available to seniors as well as start randomly adding poisons into those drugs as part of the "death panel" program, tax credits for small businesses, a high risk pool for filth with pre-existing conditions like rape, low birth-weight, or high birth-weight, and money to hire ILM to do enough CG and special effects work to make it look like the severely underwhelming minor tweaks to our system were a massive overhaul and top to bottom reforming of American health care.

Of course there is opposition to these efforts. Sen John Cornyn (R-TX) argues that this is just a seedy and transparent attempt to get people to see the benefit of the legislation by letting them, you know, enroll in programs and get coverage. Plus there's that unfair election advantage where people might be fit to reward Democrats and punish Republicans just because one made an attempt at reform while the other shrieked about grandma getting ganked. And really that's what this all comes down to: elections. Because isn't that the whole point of doing something like this: so one can get re-elected and look good politically? It's certainly not about providing the best and cheapest plan and reforms to cover the American people, so the process of elimination only really leaves politics.

Maybe this "too big to fail" thing is a bad idea

Well after months and months of intense study and analysis, our elected betters, in conjunction with our economic and financial betters, have decided that it's possible that having financial and banking institutions that are "too big to fail" is a terrible idea that should be avoided all costs. I don't want to go too far out on a limb here, but I think that I might agree with that proposition.
A senior administration official said on Sunday that after extensive consultations with Treasury Department officials, Representative Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, would introduce legislation as early as this week. The measure would make it easier for the government to seize control of troubled financial institutions, throw out management, wipe out the shareholders and change the terms of existing loans held by the institution
The White House plan as outlined so far would already make it much more costly to be a large financial company whose failure would put the financial system and the economy at risk. It would force such institutions to hold more money in reserve and make it harder for them to borrow too heavily against their assets.

Setting up the equivalent of living wills for corporations, that plan would require that they come up with their own procedure to be disentangled in the event of a crisis, a plan that administration officials say ought to be made public in advance.
I don't want to be too much of a stick in the mud, but I think we've seen that corporations already have a fairly well thought out plan in the event of a massive crisis of their own creation: bankrupting the world, cashing in massive bonuses, having the government bail them out, cashing in another round of massive bonuses, crying out for the need for another round of massive bonuses to retain the "talent" that wrecked the company in the first place, using the bailout money to make it look like you made a profit, fund another round bonuses and hire lobbyists to stop any attempts at regulation, hand out another round of bonuses just for the executives, then retreat to one of your estates to hide behind a fort made of gold bullion whilst shouting missives about "class warfare", seems like a damn fine plan. Why come up with a new one?

Still, if Barney Frank wants to be a dick about it, I guess the financial institutions of this great nation will have to take one more freedom death blow for the betterment of mankind. They're so selfless. I do see one flaw in this plan: it still allows for the "too big to fail" institutions to become "too big to fail" and do bombing and strafing runs on the economy. It is a plan for buying a pool skimmer after AIG drops a turd in the punchbowl, not getting security to tase the shit out of it when it drops its pants and tries to clamber up on the table. Maybe, and again I don't want to go too far out on a limb here, we should work on laws that stop it from happening in the first place, instead of coming up with the most streamlined way to boot executives out and funnel a trillion bucks worth of tax dollars into the financial sector the next time the do something silly and make unemployment hit 10%. I'm just saying.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Art of the Day

Blake Loosli, busy making you recite quotes from your favorite movies and television shows.

Quote of the day

Economist Larry Summers, current Director of the White House's National Economic Council, drops a quote attacking the notion that markets act rationally in an unpublished paper. It's successful in that area, but it's useful in so many other areas too.
THERE ARE IDIOTS. Look around.
Can I get that on a t-shirt? Maybe a mug or a mousepad?

Chart of the day

According to Gallup, in 2009 America is the most supportive of legalizing marijuana as it has ever been. 44% of the country not only want to burn one, but is going to bump into you while it dances to "Trippin' Billies" at a DMB concert. When the question is made more specific, legalizing and taxing weed in your own state, 2% of the population checks out and support drops to 42%. In fact, the only area of the country that outright supports legalization is the West, where 53% support everyone not being so goddamn uptight about pot as well as sewing patches onto baggy corduroy pants.

So are we ever going to see action on legalizing something that isn't harmful and stop wasting law enforcement's time prosecuting potheads? No, of course not, that would open up our elected betters to charges that they're "soft on drugs" and that they want to turn the streets over to tea shade wearing dope fiends who constantly jack off when they can't find a rape victim. Still, we're almost to the point where support become overwhelming and our elected betters are forced to listen to the public. I mean just look at how well that's going with health reform and the public option. Wait, bad example.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 10.23

How Drug-Industry Lobbyists Got Their Way on Health Care
We all know the government goes out of its way to favor corporations over citizens, especially when the issue is important, but it's always interesting to find out the sordid inner workings of it. Thanks to Time, we now know how pharmaceutical industries were able to whack $378 billion out of US citizens. The debate over lowering costs on biologic drugs was described as being so easy and so common sense to regulate in the same way as normal drugs that it was "low hanging fruit". Well, never underestimate the ability of our government to take low hanging fruit, carve a hole into it, and then fuck it while hooting onlookers throw nickels at them. It's the only way they know.

AIG’s Top Swaps Managers Kept Bonuses, Feinberg Says
My God, the word of AIGFP executives is worthless? You mean to tell me that all their proclamations about fiscal solvency and how credit default swaps wouldn't collapse the world economy shouldn't have been taken seriously either? What is the world coming to? I mean sure, they didn't return the bonuses thy said they would, but didn't they earn them? Shouldn't they be entitled to keep them? Not because they're smart or know one goddamn thing about intelligently managing money, but because people were mean to them. Awww, keep your ill-gotten millions you poor, poor babies.

Don’t fire Tasers at the chest, manufacturer warns

After years of telling law enforcement officials to fire their taser into the chest of whoever it is they feel the need to electrocute, the Taser International company is deciding that maybe it isn't such a good idea, what with an increase in the number of taser related deaths, and the fact that "take this hippie" followed by a 50,000 volt jolt to the chest now seemingly comes before "you have the right to remain silent." The bad news? Now they're advising cops to shoot the taser into your groin. I think cops need to put away their electrical gizmos and remember the time honored tradition of truncheon beatings. Where's the pride? Stop relying on Thomas Edison to do your work for you.

Food Dance Gets New Life When Bees Get Cocaine
You know, just in case anyone tries to talk bullshit on what drugged bees are like, science has once again stepped in to answer the important questions: what are bees like on cocaine? Turns out they exaggerate the quality and amount of sugar/pollen they found, would dance too much, have similar withdrawal symptoms to Lindsay Lohan, and lose the ability to tell lemon and vanilla apart. We've all been there: bathroom of some night club, snorting lines of cocaine, unable to tell if the rum and coke we're drinking used coke with lemon or vanilla. Solidarity bees, solidarity.

Human Spaceflight Ball in Obama’s Court
Well a final NASA review is in and if we want to ever do anything again outside of low earth orbit, Barry and the feddy gov is going to have to pony up about $3 billion a year more than they already do. So which is it Barry: humans on Mars or a future where space robots do all our exploring for us. That's the first line in letting the robots take over. Who do you side with: the metal ones or their rightful flesh overlords! Answer Barry, only the future of humanity is at stake.


Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is quickly becoming one of my favorite elected representatives in the health care debate. He fights for a robust public option, seems to understand obvious truths, tries to humiliate and shame liars in public forums, makes a hell of a lot of sense on the issues, stays within the realm of fact, and his last name is Weiner, which is of critical importance to someone as childish as myself. Now, he's also getting into the 'shaming Republican hypocrites' business, which is admittedly easy, but he still does a good job of it.
WEINER: It’s more another way of looking at this debate, this discussion about the public option, to put it in focus. We went, just out of curiosity, looked at how many members of Congress get the public option. And I know a lot of people have said, “Well under the new bill, how many of you members of Congress would choose the public option?”

Well there already is one; it’s called Medicare. And we found 55 Republicans and 151 members of Congress are on Medicare right now. So they’re already getting the same type of public option that we’d like people who are without insurance to be able to get. And I guess the purpose of this list was to kind of point out some of the hypocrisy of this debate.
Yes, he's done his own study, naming names on who is full of it on the health care debate. These 55 oppose a public option while they themselves not only have a public option, while they not only have government run health care, but are using single-payer government run health care in the style of the Socio-fascist League of Homosexual European Freedom Haters that they despise so much.

Now there is one critical flaw in Weiner's plan: he is trying to point out hypocrisy in politicians and shame leaders who have no capacity for acknowledging hypocrisy and had their sense of shame removed in a procedure paid for by Medicare. Plus he's doing it in a media environment that can't find time to give srious proponents of the public option interview time, but can find time to let Overlord McCain warble on and on about nothing for the millionth time. And why not, Gramps won so convincingly a year ago. Still Mr. Weiner (tee-hee), the effort is appreciated. Maybe next time you'll want to accuse the 55 leeches of seeking to kill health reform because they want everyone's grandmother to die bankrupt. It's pretty much the only way to get on TV nowadays. Unless you've got a precocious kid who is willing to hoax the media about a balloon mishap. Don't know how you'd tie that into the health care debate.

Your morning cryptic quote about health care

After a late afternoon flurry of quotes and stories about how things might be looking up for the public option in the Senate bill, and that Harry Reid had made a decision to include it in the bill, someone from Reid's office stepped forward to offer an update on the status of his mind.
ABC reported today that they have the goods, citing Democratic sources and claiming Reid “has concluded he can pass a bill with a public option.” ABC said Reid is now convinced that even if some moderates are still holding out against it, they will ultimately vote for it on the procedural vote to get it past a filibuster.

Not so much, the senior Senate aide claims. “He has not concluded anything yet,” the aide said of Reid. “But he is more optimistic.”
It's not quite a full "we're leaning towards talking about a public option" on the Reid Zen-meter, but yet another time in which we're supposed to gauge the esoteric status updates of the Majority Leader's mind to decide whether or not we we should be jumping off of bridges over the public option. But such are the arcane measures of the Senate, where Olympia Snowe talks about using a public option 'trigger' as a means of securing her vote and then tells everyone that she won't vote for a bill with any public option when it looks like at the very least a 'trigger' will be in.

But there we are. Daily updates from Reid about the possibilities of maybes, extensive discussions on talking about talking, how you 'like-like' a public option but don't 'like-like' it, and various and sundry texts about conclusions and your state of mind, are considered positive signals to everyone about your leadership and stewardship of the Senate negotiations, such as it is. This just in: Reid is looking into the option of considering calling a quorum to gauge support for whether he has enough votes for the discussion on the question of declaring Opposite Day before any final health care vote. Maybe. I hope all this bullshit leads somewhere productive and nottowards the most obvious conclusion: "Ohhh we tried, for serious, but we'll just have to accept the milquetoast reform you all knew we were going to pass months ago. Honest, we made an attempt. Didn't you see all those quotes about 'maybes' and 'conclusions' and discussing discussions? Too bad, no public option."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Art of the Day

Joshua Hoffine has taken it upon himself to recreate basically every nightmare you had as a child. Sleep well.

/via soothbrush

Broken In Brief: Opera house tragically rebuilt after fire

SEATTLE—An overwhelming sense of grief descended upon the city today as the Civic Light Opera announced it had secured enough funding to commence rebuilding the Seattle Metropolitan Opera House, which burned down late last year in an electrical fire.

“It is with great sadness and regret that we announce that the local arts community, in conjunction with business leaders and the region’s moneyed elite, have cobbled together the financing required to rebuild the opera house. I’m sorry,” a shaken Giovanni Finnochio, director of the Seattle CLO announced.

“I know we had all hoped that this project would be abandoned and the money directed toward constructing a new sports arena so that we might lure an NBA franchise back to the city. But for now, that dream is dead,” said Finnochio, fighting back tears.

A somber and depressed mood seemed to permeate the crowd as most demographic representatives came to grips with the fact that they would be expected to buy tickets to support the rebuilt opera house. Indeed many local executives and upper middle class status seekers were cringing at the thought of enduring night after night of tuxedo rentals, dinners with their spouses, and the music, oh God, the unending dirge of classical music.

“If I wanted to see a bunch of Italians sing in Italian, I’d go to the local prison and check out the men’s choir,” said a distraught Jeffrey Logan, whose wife had already inquired about the possibility of purchasing a season pass.

“I just wanted to watch Kevin Durant ball,” he said as the emotion of the situation overwhelmed him. “Maybe even a hockey team. I’ll take anything: WNBA, roller derby, jai alai. But not this. Not this...”

As those nearby moved to console Logan, none could offer anything beyond cheap platitudes that did little to mitigate the fear caused by the continued assault of the arts on the sporting community.