Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chart of the day

via the New Republic's John Judis, comes this look at what seems to be very important in judging Presidential & Congressional popularity: unemployment. Seems like there's a heavy correlation. So maybe all of our elected betters who seem to be thrilled that the economy seems to be roaring back without job numbers acting as a drag on economic productivity, maybe ought to be concerned about said job numbers. Not for any reasons like for the well being of the country, for all the people who are out of work, or even the well being of the economy, but because they need to save their own asses. It seems to me that's the best motivation for action we can hope for.

Crisis averted....for now

Health Insurance Stocks Rise After Defeat Of Public Option Amendments
Shares of companies that operate private health plans turned higher or trimmed losses in afternoon trading Tuesday after a Senate committee rejected an amendment that would have created a government-run insurance option. Humana Inc. (HUM) shares, which had been down earlier, were recently up 1% at $38.41. UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) shares gained 3 cents to $25.83.

Private health insurers have bitterly fought the creation of a public insurance option, fearing that such an option would cut into their profits. Yesterday, Life And Health Insurance News reported that the insurance industry has responded positively to the defeat of the public option amendments. “We are pleased by the rejection of both the Rockefeller and Schumer amendments,” said Tom Currey, president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Janet Trautwein, president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, also told the press that her organization is pleased by the failure of the Schumer and Rockefeller amendments.
Whew, that's a relief to hear. We have averted the looming crisis of middling stock growth for insurance companies. I'm glad. I wouldn't want our precious health insurance industry to be unable to grub every dime it has coming to it. I'm just sad the stocks grew so little. 1%? 3 cents? For shame, Wall Street. I can only hope that the stocks went up in the previous days knowing that the amendments were almost 100% likely to be defeated. Still, we're not out of the woods yet. Chuck Schumer still seems optimistic and there's still a danger that a public option could come out of the House/Senate conference committee.

Stay vigilant, otherwise our health care system might have to suffer the indignity of lower quarterly dividend payments, creating insurance options that don't vacuum money out of people's pockets in return for nothing, and *shudder* covering sick people. Hopefully we can still avoid that nightmare dystopian future.

Broken In Brief: North Korea threatens retaliation if not awarded 2016 Olympics

PYONGYANG--Presumably in reaction to President Obama's personal appeal to International Olympic Committee members in Denmark this week, the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, or, MYNUTS, held a press conference earlier today entailing the rouge state's new charm offensive aimed at convincing the IOC to award the 2016 Olympic games to the failed state.

"As we have clarified with repeat on occasion of many numbers, we justified urge the west to cease its monopoly over the athletic contests of athleticism and reward our great land with honor games of compete," proclaimed the unnamed press official, who went on to threaten unnamed aggressors with "Death, embarrassment, great fire, death, deathly fire, and embarrassing death," should the games not be held in North Korea.

As a group of generals and bureaucrats acted out a proposed opening games ceremony that the Dear Leader had sketched out on a napkin at breakfast that very morning, the unnamed press official yelled out "You gave one to South Korea!" before one of the generals informed the assembled press that the man would be holding his breath until such a time as the games were awarded to North Korea.

According to IOC spokesperson Jhavid Helal, the organization has never never received any manner of request for consideration from North Korea. Helal then quickly added, "Not that we could really consider it, on account of the whole 'international economic sanctions/death squad/that crazy four-foot pile of jerky running the country' thing."

Despite being met with what can best be described as laughter and derision by the rest of the world, North Korea continued to press its case to the media. Citing its "Giant throwermen of the people's javelin", "half-dolphin competition swimmers", "expert sliding on water path of many twists", and "one-soldier 1600 meter relay team," the isolationist nation persisted in shouting its empty, seemingly drunken threats at what had rapidly become an empty room.

Bad news is good news again!

Open up the tin of beans you were saving, drink the bottled water you stole and hoarded, and put down that bindle: bad news about the economy is good news again! What's the great news this time? GDP shrunk 0.7%! Happy days are here again! Everything is fixed! Cha-ching! High fives all around!
The American economy performed better than expected this spring, contracting at its slowest pace in a year, the government reported on Wednesday. The report offered more evidence that the recession probably ended this summer, and that the economy would now grow through the end of the year.

The Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product — a billboard number that tallies the country’s economic output — shrank by an annual rate of 0.7 percent from April through June, a revision from earlier estimates of a 1 percent contraction.

The numbers for the second quarter appeared to get a lift from the government’s $787 billion stimulus package. Federal, state and local governments spent more, and business spending on equipment and software was better than first reported. Military spending rose, and American exports posted a narrower drop than imports, a balance that lifts the government’s G.D.P. figures. Economists were heartened by the final revisions after an earlier adjustment found no change in the pace of contraction in the second quarter.
Socialism bitches~! It turned our thousand mile per hour nosedive into a canyon floor into a more graceful 3/4 twisting pike off a high rise, it's has heartened economists, and it has set us up for a theoretical third quarter rebound. Theoretical rebounds baby! Just spend that money already, theoretical money is just as good as the real thing. The economy is back! On paper.

Still if the rotten negative fuckers, who are trying to totally ruin our celebration, must harp on one thing, it's the small matter of the economy still doing that whole "not producing any jobs" thing. To them I say: we just went through a massive economic boom period which didn't actually improve the lives or wages of Americans, doesn't it make sense to go through the recovery period of the recession that followed that phony boom without creating jobs for anyone? Think logically.

So, you know, while you're fighting other unemployed Americans for that roadkill possum on the highway, forming the hobo hierarchy that will rule your tent city, and explaining to the children who have been born post-financial apocalypse all the Mad Max references you and your fellow homeless citizens are making, remember to celebrate about how the US economy is back. Celebrate with confetti and streamers and shit.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 09.30

As Subprime Lending Crisis Unfolded, Watchdog Fed Didn't Bother Barking
It's things like this that make you well up with pride over our regulatory structure in this country. I mean who can doubt the logic of Alan Greenspan, who looked at the regulatory requirements of the Fed and said "the best kind of oversight is no oversight, I'm sure everything will work out if the subprime market is allowed to police itself." I forget, how did that work out again? This illustrates one of the fundamental flaws in the regulatory system. Sure it's useful to have government agencies with oversight on important areas, but it's also important that they not be staffed with dipshits.

Landmark Decision: Massive Relief for Homeowners and Trouble for the Banks
You may have heard of the recent Kansas Supreme Court decision that gave millions of homeowners a legal wedge to avoid foreclosure. It essentially ruled that the clearing system used for mortgages is, to put it charitably, unreliable. That, and that whole mortgage backed securities thing wasn't entirely legal either. Or, to quote Matt Taibbi, means that "half of the mortgage market has been run as a criminal enterprise for years." The ruling basically invalidates foreclosure proceedings on 60 million mortgages. Good times.

Is the media exaggerating the Iranian nuke threat?
Yes. *claps hands, gets up, walks away* Oh, did you want more explanation and perhaps specific examples? OK then, go read Juan Cole's opening salvo at just some of the preliminary exaggerations and outright lies that are already starting to creep into the debate on America's next Middle Eastern fiasco. If you're wondering what the media learned from the run-up to the Iraq war, the answer is: absolutely nothing.

Nike Resigns From The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Board Of Directors Over Global Warming Disagreements
So, for those of you keeping score at home: Nike employing defacto Asian child slave labor to make shoes that the "workers" could never even hope to afford? Nike's cool with that. Being affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce and it's global warming denialist tendencies? Nike's not cool with that. That' ethos....of a sort.

Roman Polanski Reviews 'Hannah Montana'
Screen Junkies gives and outlet to detained director/rapist Roman Polanski so that he can apply the film knowledge he gained during his three decades as a fugitive from justice to films that catch his eye. Hopefully, in the future, he'll be able to contribute more reviews so that the world will not be denied his insights just because the US is hostile to fugitive rapists.

Quote of the day

Just a word of advice, if you have a lot of money invested in Sarah Palin futures, sell short. Because the media vultures who have swept in to make every dime they can off of her and pick her bones clean don't seem to have a lot of confidence in her moneymaking abilities in the future. Or even right now.
SARAH Palin is said to have pocketed a $7 million advance for the 400-page memoir she turned in four months early, but she might not have such an easy time on the lecture circuit.
Palin's bookers are said to be asking for $100,000 per speech, but an industry expert tells Page Six: "The big lecture buyers in the US are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because they think she is a blithering idiot."
Ouch. That's gotta sting for someone who left their job because they would have "lost millions by staying in office." Still, there is that book. And who wouldn't want to read a ghostwritten book on Sarah Palin that even has industry insiders a little shocked because it was written so fast. Plus they moved Going Rogue: An American Life up from a spring release to November and are stressed with milking hardcover sales. I wonder why they might think that people won't be interested in reading about her past the new year?

Hmmm, a slapdash book written hastily and rushed into production because they're worried about making money. This has all the hallmarks of quality that the Palin brand is known for. I can't wait.

Art of the day

via the Jailbreak comes this look at artist Walt Creel's series Deweaponizing the Gun, in which he shoots metal hundreds/thousands of times with a gun to create portraits of animals and subvert the gun's use as a tool of destruction.

I don't know what the big deal is, I've been shooting a smiley face into my victims for years and they don't call me an artist. Hell, you should see Sean's hobo etchings and homeless carvings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lick my bootheel, shiteyes

In and event that surprises no one, Sen. Rockefeller's strong public option amendment failed 15-8 and Sen. Schumer's weak public option amendment failed 13-10, thus the Senate Finance Committee health care bill goes out without a public option. Baucus, Carper, Conrad, Lincoln, and Nelson voted against Rockefeller's, and Baucus, Conrad, and Lincoln voted against Schumer's.

Conrad and Baucus were quick to point out that while they totally supported a public option, they were going to vote against it because it didn't have enough votes to pass...because they didn't vote for it. Circular logic....head..hurts. Which also means that they're essentially protecting Democrats who would support a Republican filibuster (against the biggest attempt public health care reform in US history) by making sure they won't ever have to raise their head up and stick by that "no public option" "no reducing the cost of health care" conviction they allegedly seem to so strongly believe in. Awesome, we wouldn't want to play hardball with public plan opposing Democrats or try to exert pressure based on the extreme unpopularity of supporting a GOP filibuster, now would we?

For their part Schumer and Rockefeller were quick to declare moral victories, what with their moral health care savings, claim that the public option is not dead, and claim that a future fight for the public option in the full Senate will be less daunting. Proving that both of them must have hit their heads on something very hard and forgot how the Senate works. Thanks again for all this nothing Democrats.

Broken News: Protest banners usher in new era of peace, prosperity

The protest banner many are saying ushered in a new era of global action and political responsibility

NEW YORK—In what has been a surprising addendum to last week's G20 summit in Pittsburgh, many of the Presidents and Prime Ministers who attended the global forum gathered today at the UN to announce that for once they were going to act on all the promises that were made and start making serious progress towards reforming many of society’s ills. But what was most surprising about today’s events was the reason these dignitaries and leaders gave for deciding to finally make that change: the widespread protests, riots, and demonstrations that again accompanied a gathering of the world’s elite.

“I think it was when I saw that large banner unfurled on one of Pittsburgh’s many bridges,” observed Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, referring to the Danger: Climate Destruction Ahead sign hung by Greenpeace. “I mean sure, we all knew that climate change was a serious issue. But when the problem was so succinctly summarized in a sarcastic banner made to look like a warning label, it was then I knew that action needed to be taken.”

“Plus,” he added, as other leaders nodded in agreement. “I’m a big fan of bridge rappelling as a device for social and economic change.”

It was at this point that others stepped forward to tell what protest moment had personally touched them.

“For me, it was when I saw a guy wearing a black mask and looking like he just got out of ska band practice wave around a sign that said 'Abolish Money',” said German Prime Minister Andrea Merkel. “Instead of thinking it was perhaps the most sad and pathetic thing I’d ever seen or how the man probably had his parents buy him a plane ticket and drive him from his upper class suburban residence to the airport to be able to come here and protest, I thought about how we had failed to make economic fairness a big enough priority. Thank you, Abolish Money guy, we just never thought of it before.”

Prime Minister Merkel's sentiments were common amongst the world leaders. Several confessed that many of the placards, banners, and angry chants contained ideas that no one in government at any level had ever thought to consider before.

“I mean, ‘Don’t bailout fat cats’?” an exasperated Gordon Brown of the UK asked. “It had just never occurred to me! Brilliant! Same goes for the suggestions that we increase regulation and oversight. I mentioned it to President Obama and he seemed dumbstruck. Furthermore, as we’re finding out, it seems that getting these new laws enacted and passed is a relatively simple matter, seeing as there are no competing political ideologies within our countries, nor any feuding economic or social interests with our legislators in their pockets.”

“Unbelievable,” Brown said, laughing as if he couldn’t believe he hadn’t realized all of this. “Governing really is as easy as all these protesters seem to believe it is.”

For others, it was the violence of the weekend that made the greatest difference.

“When I saw how willing the protesters were to bust out the windows of an Arby’s, recklessly destroy property, and deliberately provoke and attack police, I knew they were serious about their beliefs,” said Prime Minister Recep Erdogan of Turkey, still clearly moved by the events.

“I mean sure, some cynical people might say they were just selfish egotists deliberately destroying things and getting themselves arrested in order to head back to their liberal arts colleges and talk about ‘how real shit got at the G20’ to their classmates. Or that their naive and dimwitted political philosophies wouldn’t be fit to run a country larger than a parking lot grilled cheese stand at a Phish concert, but I know differently. I saw the Arby’s storefront."

Added Erdogan, "With my own two eyes, man.”

The press conference ended when one reporter asked if the G20 would be bringing in some of the protest leaders to help formulate policies and strategies and the world leaders, bursting at the seams, broke out into what seemed to be long contained and stifled laughter.

“Fuck no,” cried out Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, doubled over with laughter, tears streaming down his cheeks. “It was all useless posturing that changed nothing. The world is a complicated place and it’s difficult to get things changed on a large enough scale when you don’t have half-wits outside getting tear gassed while you make an honest attempt to do so. We suggest they all grow up.”

President Obama smiled and pointed to the assembled media “God, ‘protests changing something’” he guffawed. “Admit it, we totally had you fooled. I can’t believe you bought that bullshit. Now if you’ll excuse all of us, we have to go run the world according to the way it really works. Which is almost too depressing to think about. Fuck off.”

Sin maps

Number of violent crimes (murder, assault, and rape) per capita.
Number of STD cases reported per capita.
via Wired comes the American Vice series, in which Kansas State took the seven deadly sins and mapped out in relation to per capita rates of said sins. Surprises? There is no place in the US that has a below average number of fast food restaurants. Appalachia is below the national average in STD's as hogs and sheep don't give the clap. What do we learn from the series? Texas, the South, and America's Wang are consistently dragging us down in God's eyes. Hopefully Jesus doesn't decide to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just sink the South into the sea, as well of parts of California and NY/DC.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 09.29

Revolving Door Spins Ex-Hill Aides Into Lobbyists
I know this is something you probably didn't need to be told, but it seems that out of the 2,737 vultures swarming Washington on behalf of the health care and pharmaceutical industries trying to convince our unelected betters to forgo the pleasantries of lube when they screw us, 52% or 1,418 are former government employees/elected representatives. Duh! Do you really think a Senator wants to take corporate contributions and marching orders from a stranger?

Keeping Iran honest
One of those smug assholes who had the politically debilitating misfortune of being right about Iraq, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, has decided to stick his big nose and his "I know things about the Middle East and weapons" attitude into this whole Iran mess. Apparently this ass thinks that by calmly stating what is going on, explicitly explaining the international laws involved, and cogently using his knowledge of weapons systems and manufacturing capacity to tamp down fears of Iranian nukes, that he can somehow enlighten people and clam them down over what is happening. Hopefully we'll ignore this jerk-off before his dirty facts taint our precious "start a war or start a nuclear war" debate.

Four-Winged Fossil Bridges Bird-Dinosaur Gap
Listen, I know I caused a controversy yesterday when I, perhaps too hastily as it turns out, suggested that Jurassic Park was not as accurate a documentary as we all thought. It turns out I was wrong. It seems that, as Dr. Alan Grant postulated, that the thunder lizards just up and became birds. And now there's a fossil record. Of a transitional evolutionary species. That sound you heard was Kirk Cameron shrieking as Darwin planted a size 11 Timberland right in his groin. That's the scientific theories of Darwin/Jurassic Park - 1, the scientific theories of Growing Pains - 0.

Girl Talk, Working Memory and Creativity
One man takes a recent GQ profile of Pittsburgh musician and mash-up artist Greg "Girl Talk" Gillis and takes it as a jumping off point for how memory works in relation to music and specifically mash-up music. It turns out there's a little more to it than "Wu-Tang and Boston were always meant to be together."

Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on
That's right, the Oxford English Dictionary re-opened its killing fields for another year and this time no hyphen was spared. Ice-cream is now icecream. Test-tube is now test tube. And both Sean and I are nervously awaiting the rulings on fuck-face and jerk-off for a piece on Glenn Beck. Who's to blame? The interwebs and all it's various assorted hyphen hating tubes combined with a populace that is just to damned lazy to use them. Don't worry about all those hyphens...*sniff*...they're with Jesus now.

Chart of the day

From comes this handy chart showing how the American newspaper is more or less screwed, a shambling zombie, staggering down the street waiting for that sweet sweet bullet to the head. Come now, don't gawk and the deceased, it's impolite.

On the bright side, Glenn Beck built a lovely ski chalet at the top of the Scripps stock plunge. Though due to the steepness of the drop it is rated a black diamond course. Less brave souls might want to try the bunny hills on Gannett, McClatchey, and the Times more gently downward angled slopes. Still, lovely scenery from up that high and the snowboarding is excellent.

mint death of the news

Fairness! Now w/ Balance.

It's time for another installment of "Shep Smith's pesky conscience virulently asserts itself as his brain tries to come to grips with the news practices his network is engaging in." It happens, from time to time. On the bright side, it's starting to happen so much that he'll stop being surprised soon and just come to accept it.

Yes Shep, your instincts were right. Not only isn't it even a fair comparison, the amount of Canadians that use US health care, because theirs is supposedly so terrible, is almost completely negligible. A tip without an iceberg. That's alright Shep, take another swig of the brown fix-it juice. Booze will make it all better, it'll kill your "working for Fox News" related pain.


What's that sound? It's a ticking clock strapped to a a bundle of TNT. Why? Because this health care debate is READY TO EXPLODE!!! Like a roadside bomb in Afghanistan or like a pro wrestling grudge match. Why? Because the Huffington Post said so. Why would they say that? Sensationalism, but also because the Senate Finance Committee is going to consider public option amendments and SHIT is about to GO DOWN and simultaneously GET IT ON. Why? Because these rotten SOB's finally have to go on the record about a public option.
As reporter Jill Lawrence puts it in Politics Daily, ""The debate over whether to create a public insurance plan to compete with private plans is about to explode in the Senate Finance Committee. The stakes are high and so is the suspense."

Although the public plan isn't expected to get a majority of the panel, supporters say at least they'll know where everybody stands.
Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is already in the hot seat -- accused of being lukewarm, if not downright hostile, to the government option.
Senators will have at least two Democratic alternatives to choose from – and maybe a compromise from a moderate Republican who is keeping all her options open.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is proposing a public plan modeled on Medicare, in which the government would set what it pays doctors, hospitals and other medical providers.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is proposing a government plan that looks more like a private insurance company and negotiates payment rates with providers.
As the story goes, 9 of 13 panel Democrats have publicly come out in favor of some public option. If the dark and mysterious Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) comes out a supports one, then Baucus will have the tiebreaking vote. And one can see why Baucus is hesitant about including a public option, I mean why would Max Baucus want to tie his vote to a crazy idea that fringe leftists like Max Baucus support in their health care white papers. Plus, as Max Baucus knows, the public plan doesn't have much support in the Senate because jerkoff Senators like Max Baucus say they won't support it. Can't you see what he sees? Riddles wrapped up in enigmas wrapped up in Senators from Montana.

If these various public plans fail in the finance committee, there is still the weak-ass public option trigger supported by Olympia Snowe (R-ME) back when she thought she was the big shit 60th vote. But now that Massachusetts altered its Constitution in time to get a Kennedy replacement seated, its unclear whether or not she still feels like she has to be a responsible adult. So...tick-tick-tick. The assured childishness is probably happening on C-SPAN as I type. Go watch and weep as you see Democrats try to hem, haw, and weasel their way out of supporting the one thing that will be guaranteed to put the reform in health care reform

Monday, September 28, 2009

Broken In Brief: Polanski shocked Los Angeles DA doesn’t remember how good Chinatown was

ZURICH—Today lawyers for Roman Polanski, the embattled Oscar winning auteur who fled the United States 31 years ago after raping a 13 year-old girl, took to the media to express the director’s confusion over his recent arrest and planned extradition back to America. According to his legal team Polanski seemed most confused over the fact that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, which filed the detainment request with Swiss authorities, could be so unfamiliar with just how good the director’s 1974 masterpiece Chinatown was.

“Mr. Polanski is finding it a little hard to believe that Los Angeles law enforcement could be so unfamiliar with a heralded film about crime and intrigue in Los Angeles,” said Robert Mikkleson, head lawyer for Polanski. “In fact he’s beginning to suspect that they have heard of it, know how good it is, and still have chosen to drag up this little matter of my client being on the run from justice for three decades. May I also remind them that he directed Rosemary’s Baby as well as Knife in the Water, both of which were extraordinary films.”

Polanski’s lawyers were quick to point out that their client had already suffered enough, having been forced to live on his many estates in Europe while living the life of a multi-millionaire director, and being shamefully forced to have his Academy Awards shipped to his French villa because he was unable to show up to accept them.

Furthermore they feel that Polanski can’t be expected to go back and face a cruel and capricious California justice system that, while good enough to investigate, capture, prosecute, and imprison the Manson Family that murdered his wife, was not fit to judge him for the rape of a 13 year old that he had admitted to.

“All we’re saying is that he got a best director Oscar in 2002 for the Pianist,” said Mikkleson. “He still might have another one of those left in him. Do we really want to risk that with prison time?”


Our possibly robotic/cardboard/wax replica President, meeting and greeting the swells during a function at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC as compiled by Eric Spiegelman.

Can he really turn that thousand watt smile on and off in such a dependable manner hundreds upon hundreds of times in a row? Or is he in danger of snapping one day, heading into the kitchen to destroy all the fine china, finally violently accosting the head chef and an staffers that try to make him go back out to greet people again? Perhaps his brain has been severed from his central nervous system? I think he's just that excited to see the President of Senegal and the Prime Minister of Albania. Who wouldn't be?

Raptor facts

I don't try to shatter too many dreams in one day, but I'm afraid it must be done. It seems that Jurassic Park was not the historical/anthropological record of fact that we all thought it was.
So you know those large sickle-shaped claws Velociraptors have on their hindfeet? Of course, everyone does. Well, once upon a time paleontologists thought the claws were used to disembowel the raptors' prey—certainly that was the working theory in Jurassic Park. But now a new study by Phil Manning of the University of Manchester has found that, sadly, no, the Velociraptor's claws simply weren't sharp enough to tear rip open dinosaur flesh. Instead, biomechanical analysis suggests the raptors used the claws to scale trees, from which they'd pounce down on other dinosaurs and cling tight with their sickle claws, biting and killing all the while.
Great, scratch packs of raptors with razor claws off the things that I feared would kill me. Now its just down to zombies, sharks, and Dick Cheney with a Bowie knife in his teeth. Still...raptors from above? No, it's not the same. As an addendum, I just want you to know that also not true, despite what the creationism museum says. This is probably wrong as well.

Picture of the Day

Via Wired Science comes this satellite image of the 2,700 mile wide (that's the size of the US) "apocalyptic dust storm" that turned Australia into....

...this, via the Big Picture blog. Sydney as Mars.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 09.28

As Seen On TV! Birthermercial Asks, Where Was Obama Really Born?
I kind of wish I thought of this. No, not the "Obama is a Kenyan, show us the birth certificate" conspiracy. As you can see from our Broken News and Broken in Brief pieces, Sean and I aren't that creative. No, the part where I create a bullshit infomercial about it and then charge suckers $30 for a bumper stickers and a fax to 50 state attorney generals and Eric Holder. Though this might create a problem where state attorney generals are just being forwarded a list of the craziest individuals in America with disposable incomes and free time. At least that's helpful to the rest of America.

Tea Party Founder Announces: "A Huffington Post Of Our Own"
You people do not disappoint. Now I'm not going to have to read up to 10 different sites to keep track of all the bizarre conspiracies that the government is involved in. Now I can get my crazy content aggregated. If I can also get some critiques of red carpet fashions, a site runner with an accent, and video of stuff that happened on TV, I can just jettison the HuffPo entirely.

France, Poland want Polanski released on bail
Just a word of advice to any French cultural ministers, actors, film buffs, and the two HuffPo bloggers that already have decried Polanski's arrest: stop wasting my time with bullshit about how he's the real victim, and sure rape is bad but everyone else affiliated with the case is worse, and "isn't being forced to live abroad as a millionaire director punishment enough?". Just say "Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown were really fucking good, I don't care how many 13 year-olds he drugs, rapes, and sodomizes" and be done with it. It's a lot easier than going through 700 words to find out that's what you really wanted to say anyway.

A Presidential Olympic Bid
Hey, I don't have any real idea of the Presidential schedule, but doesn't Barry have better things to do than to fly over to Copenhagen to push for Chicago's Olympic bid? I mean sure, I hate the time delays as much as anyone, but really, a special trip? Is Chicago in dire need of a world class diving arena? Ah, what the hell, it's Yom Kippur, government's probably shut down. You go get Chicago that cycling velodrome its wanted, Barry. You go get it.

New Cheney Taking Stage for the G.O.P.
Whew! I was worried for a while that this country would have to go on for too long without the amoral, crooked, grunting spawn of the hellbeast lying to the American public from a position of influence within the GOP. If only some state would bless us with Liz Cheney in the House of Senate, I think I could die whatever nuclear conflict she'd invariably provoke us into. C'mon, doesn't George H.W. Bush have any ignorant grandkids we could pair her up with?

Quote of the day

President Obama, relaying a conversation he had during the G20 about the stupidity of American political debate.
"I was up at the G20 -- just a little aside -- I was up at the G20, and some of you saw those big flags and all the world leaders come in and Michelle and I are shaking hands with them," the president said. "One of the leaders -- I won't mention who it was -- he comes up to me. We take the picture, we go behind.

"He says, 'Barack, explain to me this health care debate.'

"He says, 'We don't understand it. You're trying to make sure everybody has health care and they're putting a Hitler mustache on you -- I don't -- that doesn't make sense to me. Explain that to me.'"
The President was momentarily taken aback by the question, as trying to explain Sarah Palin, the modern GOP, Glenn Beck, the American news media, Fox News, teabaggers, the Christian right, and the Senate Finance Committee in one sitting might have caused the unnamed world leader to despair so heavily at the state of the USA and their ability to lead in any future crisis that he or she would have gone out and committed suicide in front of the zinnias at Phipps. Instead, Obama told the world leader that if he "wanted to look into the empty eyes of evil" that they should go back to the hotel and watch 15 minutes of Hannity's America after the dinner. As a precaution he then had the State Department tell that country's protective services to remove sharp objects from the leader's hotel room and that they should prepare to see their head of state "go to a dark place."

It is unclear what world leader made this request, but unconfirmed reports had Spain's José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero leaving the summit in a wheelchair, his hair completely white.

This'll learn 'em

The United States has standards, people. If you rig an election (in a way we don't want) and then brutally suppress the uprising, well, you'll just get a few cryptic statements about legitimacy followed by a few timid remarks about how you're treating all the people you're arresting under false pretenses. But build a reactor? Strike that. Find out that the US has known about the reactor you built for a good long time but that they didn't know that you knew that they knew? That's a paddlin'.
The Obama administration is scrambling to assemble a package of harsher economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program that could include a cutoff of investments to the country’s oil-and-gas industry and restrictions on many more Iranian banks than those currently blacklisted, senior administration officials said Sunday.

The administration also is seeking to build a broader coalition of partners for sanctions so that it may still be able to act against Iran even if China and Russia were to veto harsher measures proposed in the United Nations Security Council.
This combined with all those sanctions the world enacting for stealing an election and killing, beating, and arresting anyone who thought that maybe votes should be counted, really ought to put a serious damper on Iranian plans. Oh, they didn't get sanctioned for that coup/suppression thing? My bad. Well, at least these new theoretical sanctions that won't get past the UN Security Council, really ought to make Ahmadinejad's non-Jew rhetoric a lot more interesting.

But let that be a lesson to future Ahmadinejads. You say "democracy shemocracy" and we will stifle a yawn with the full brunt of America's might. But you find out we've been reading your diary, perhaps even writing "I know you're reading this America" into its pages, then we will try to place sanctions that will affect everyone but the leadership of the country. Why not? Those people have had a rough few months, they'll barely notice the extra hardship. If they didn't want it, they shouldn't have not elected Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quote of the weekend

"We were very afraid it (the G-20) was going to put Pittsburgh in a bad light," said Gruelle. "Everybody was walking around on eggshells for the past two weeks with all the police, and protesters, and military, and this and that, and we were afraid some schmucks were going to come in and put a bad face on Pittsburgh and, well, we weren't going to let that happen. We figured the best way to do that, and the most effective way that's going to get our point across and still make people laugh, was to, you know ... well ... Let's Go Pens."
The words of Marco Gruelle, the man who organized the Let's Go Pens counter protest, in an extensive and exclusive interview to AOL's NHL Fanhouse. He provided the only worthwhile moment of this entire G20 weekend. Well, if you don't count all the hippies and various assorted douches that the cops tuned up.

Summing up the G20

Hey, that was great. Some trust fund anarchists got maced, Hu Jintao learned not to order the large fries at the O unless you're really hungry, John Oliver looks to have a good piece for the Daily Show next week, Silvio Berlusconi tried to fuck Michelle Obama, the Burgh set some sort of sarcastic protest record, a bunch of storefronts got their windows busted, the TFA's got to meet some OG's from the Hill down at county, and our world leaders solemnly swore that they'll try to do something preventative and ahead of time the next time there's a economic crisis on the horizon or something. Super. Now fuck off and let's never do this again.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A proportionate response


Some people think all these G20 protests are about poverty, or climate change, the bailouts, or just general douchey left wing rabble rousing. But I think we're missing the main angle. These aren't protests, they're left over celebrations from the Penguins Stanley Cup. Geno!!!!!! LETS GO PENS!

This guy certainly gets around

Brooklyn Tech 1, Westboro Baptist Church 0

A dozen or so of those gutless lunatics from the Westboro Baptist Church showed up in Brooklyn yesterday to spread Christ's words of forgiveness and love. The only problem? Over 200 Brooklyn Tech students found out about the protest in advance, organized, and staged a much bigger counter-protest.
Outnumbered by nearly 200 students from Brooklyn Technical High School, the Westboro Baptist Church protesters, escorted by police officers, left the corner of Fort Greene Place and Fulton Street at 3:45, 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. (The protest had been scheduled for 3:20 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
Be sure to scroll down and read young Brian Benavidess sign near the bottom of the post. Such a clever little bastard.

h/t Sammy

Cheap Blogging Crutch 09.25

Banks fight to kill proposed consumer protection agency
This is part 3,874 in our Not Learning Anything: The Global Financial Apocalypse and You series, in which banks decide that since almost nonexistent and un-enforced regulation worked out so well for banks and the public at large last time, why not try to handicap any efforts to provide any new oversight. Sounds like a good plan. Maybe next go around we can have every bank fail, or at least be consolidated into one super bank. This seems like the smartest way to go.

Democrats Are Jarred by Drop In Fundraising, Complacency, Absence of Big Donors Cited
Yes Democrats, after a summer in which you spent all your time fucking over the priorities of your base, dicking around on health care, not doing all that much to overturn Bush terrorism policies, and generally just spitting in the face of people who would be willing to give you money, you want to say it's complacency that's making your coffers a little light. That's half right. It's complacency from Democratic leaders, who think they can piss on everyone's shoes and tell them it's raining, that's the reason people can't seem to find money for people who can't seem to find the time to try to do what they ran for election on.

Mount Vernon council distances itself from honor for talk-show host
This is odd. Who would have ever thought that there would be people who would be mortified that their mayor was going to honor Glenn Beck with a Glenn Beck Day and a key to the city? I mean who wouldn't want to tie that crazy albatross around your neck and promote the fact that America's foremost aardvark lover was born and raised in your fair town? Build a statue to him, he's earned it.

Water Found on the Moon
You thought the Fiji and Voss water people were insufferable beyond all belief, wait till you meet the Moon Water people who drink their water from a moon aquifer that has never even touched an atmosphere, let alone air impurities. That's right, the friggin' moon has friggin' water on it. Don't worry, they're going to investigate this in the best way they know how: by crashing a spacecraft called LCROSS into it. Eat it Japan! We're the moon smashing water kings now.

Ford China Plant: Automaker Will Build $490 Million Facility
That's how you rebuild the American car packing it up and putting it in Chongqing, which I'm pretty sure was named after the villain in Van Damme's Bloodsport. Let's see, they have a plant in China, with Chinese labor, making cars under Chinese manufacturing standards, for sale in the Chinese market. Those goddamn things must be so cheap they actually give you money to take one. But I guess Ford are the smart ones, they're the ones we didn't have to bail out.

Bill Kristol finds new purpose in his life

Hey, what's the thing you most wanted to hear in the news this morning? Police exhaust world's supply of pepper spray on puppet wielding protester? Cast of Transformers 2 dead in tragic meteor strike? Neoconservatives have 4 hour plus boner, need to consult doctor after Obama and Iran reveal existence of secret nuclear facility? Sorry, only the third one happened.
President Obama and leaders of Britain and France accused Iran on Friday of building a secret underground plant to manufacture nuclear fuel, saying the country has hidden the covert operation from international weapons inspectors for years.

Appearing before reporters in Pittsburgh, Mr. Obama said that the Iranian nuclear program “represents a direct challenge to the basic foundation of the nonproliferation regime.” President Nicholas Sarkozy of France, appearing beside Mr. Obama, said that Iran had a deadline of two months to comply with international demands or face increased sanctions.
American officials said that they had been tracking the covert project for years, but that Mr. Obama decided to disclose the American findings after Iran discovered, in recent weeks, that Western intelligence agencies had breached the secrecy surrounding the complex. On Monday, Iran wrote a brief, cryptic letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying that it now had a “pilot plant” under construction, whose existence it had never before revealed.
Well that's the way you always want to reveal things, with cryptic letters. Maybe a short text message. I'm sure it was just an accident that they never revealed the existence of this "pilot plant" before this week. I mean they were so busy rigging an election, coming up with new Holocaust denials, and suppressing protests that they probably didn't have time. What's Farsi for "my bad"?

But this is good. This country needed a good, honest media debate about whether to nuke Iran into parking lot status or to bomb them back into the stone age and then invade. I'm sure all the people who were tragically wrong every step of the way about Iraq will be brought back and treated as "serious people" with "serious opinions" about the war boner they have and the need to quench their lust with another Middle East conflict. The people who were right about Iraq or display any skepticism towards a new war with Iran will of course be treated like the fringe lunatics that they are. This is good, because we don't have enough going on right now. Ah well, hope you're all prepared for the stupid.

The face of dissent

This sick move probably convinced the G20 to forgive all third world debt and finally reach a consensus on climate change.

/via HuffPo's G20 protest slide show

G20: Day One

Ahh Pittsburgh, it was a busy first day for as the center of the free world/magnet for trust fund anarchists. Protesters decided to riot and destroy things in Lawrenceville, but given the fact that it was Lawrenceville, failed to damage anything that urban blight hadn't taken care of. Handy tip for next time protesters: want to get us riled up, then go after Squirrel Hill or Heinz Field. Protesters decide to take their rage out on chain chicken restaurants, with Boston Market and KFC not being spared the wrath of spoiled upper middle class white kids. There was even a report on KDKA tv that the KFC got its windows busted out after a protester went inside and demanded a free meal, because he had left his wallet and ID at home in order to fight the man even harder, and was denied. It was also a day where the cops decided to honor one of the city's greatest sports heroes, when in tribute to Mario Lemieux, they arrested 66 people. Also, some leaders met or something to discuss something.

All in all it was a typical G20 kind of day, probably with muchmuchmuch less actual destruction/violence than during G8 summits and previous G20 summits. You might think things are going well. You would be thinking wrong.
The Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership welcomes world leaders with an array of locally-made gifts that represent the vitality and culture of Pittsburgh. The gift bags, which will be handed out to the top three members of each delegation, include:

-Art glass bowls custom crafted by Sewickley, Pa. glass artist Jeffrey Phelps in Pittsburgh's signature colors of black and gold

-Eco-friendly CD case (to hold CDs of local music legends) and Metal Steelers-themed bag

-Signed Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Cap to commemorate a team that has been a part of Pittsburgh's love affair with professional sports for more than 100 years.

-The Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel, made famous by the late Pittsburgh Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope.
Gah! Flog the Steelers and Black and Gold much? We almost let the leaders out of the city thinking we maybe had some class. Then we had to blight them with the Pirates and the towel we wave while we're drunk in parking lots and/or rioting at the G20. Who the fuck autographed the Pirates hat? I will say the G20 leaders probably know who's on that team about as much as we do. Come now, Yinzburgh, when London had this shindig do you think they were handing out Arsenal football jerseys and "100 Greatest Hooligan Riots" DVD's? Let them take a painting from the Warhol museum or something. Andy mass produced those things, there's plenty. Just remember that for the next time the G20 is here, or you know, if they upgrade us to the G8 based on how well they like the Donnie Iris and Joe Grushecky CD's they got. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Broken News: The Battle of Pittsburgh begins

PITTSBURGH--What had been a peaceful beginning to this week's G20 summit erupted into chaos this morning as various anarchist and anti-government fringe groups coalesced into a massive resistance force reportedly under the command of a single shadowy figure.

These neo-anarchists, known only as the Militant Yinzer Naysayin' Usurpers of Totalitarian Scumbags, staged a stunning pre-dawn Oakland raid that left 14 federal agents dead, with nearly twice as many injured. The assailants reportedly took to removing their victims' ears, presumably to use as war trophies. Some have witnessed these severed human parts being placed between two slices of Italian bread, covered with french fries and coleslaw, and devoured in some bizarre local ritual.

Authorities have instructed citizens to avoid entering the city until the conference has concluded or the insurgency quelled, whichever comes first. Roadblocks and checkpoints have been established at all major points of entry into the city, as well as at both ends of over a dozen area bridges.

Given that preparations for the summit included the forced relocation of known anarchist ringleaders, anyone who still possesses "Ron Paul 2008" campaign literature, and half of the faculty from Carnegie Mellon University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences to a "freedom camp" outside of Blawnox, few anticipated such a unified, successful uprising.

"We weren't prepared for this," admitted man-child mayor, Luke Ravenstahl. "We figured it'd be business as usual: mace a few hippies, arrest everyone from the Thomas Merton Center, and let the cops use their batons to work out any lingering anger over pay disputes. You know, remind everyone how the world really works. This isn't what I was told I had been signed up for."

"I did two tours in Iraq," explained Johnstown police officer Jimmy Armstrong, who is somehow collecting double-pay for his "security" role in Pittsburgh while still drawing standard salary from his home precinct. "But I never saw anything like this, man. This morning, two federal badges got dropped by what looked like frozen shitballs filled with razor blades. Not even Hadji did that!"

Several agencies confirmed the assailants' use of sophisticated improvised weaponry, including the aforementioned weaponization of human feces. Insurgents also deployed what appeared to be several hungry, obese beagles wrapped in homemade explosives and trained to attack Kevlar, as well as the constant, morale-crushing drone of Donnie Iris' music blasting from speakers attached to makeshift dirigibles.

"I just remember how ironic it all was," said Pennsylvania state trooper Ben Hammond while recovering at Allegheny General Hospital. "They were pelting us with rocks while Love Is Like a Rock rang out in the streets. Some poor rookie from Harrisburg who got hit with an IC Bomb screamed out 'Ahhhh' during the chorus to Ah! Leah! That's a damn underrated song, by the way. Hadn't heard it in ages. Now I'm always gonna associate it with watching a man taking aluminum shards to the face courtesy of some dynamite strapped to a sixer of Iron City tallboys."

Hammond paused, wincing as a single tear rolled down his cheek. "Sure, the shrapnel must have tore the kid up a bit. But that was god-damned dirty pool to let that carbonated bilge-water spray into his wounds. These people are without honor."

As the confluence of local, state and federal law enforcement struggled to assert authority throughout the day, Pittsburgh Chief of Police Nathan Harper took to the airwaves.

Speaking from an undisclosed location, Chief Harper declared, "This aggression will not stand. If we allow these vagrants to spread their message of hate, MYNUTS will be in the eyes and ears, on the lips of every man, woman, and child within this fair city. If I were MYNUTS, I would come out of hiding and lay myself on the mercy of the courthouse steps."

The success of this morning's attack have given rise to additional splinter groups with no clear demands or purpose beyond organized violence. Police have reported a wide range of rallying cries emanating from the advancing militants.

These included, "Jagoffs fuckin' around on our bridges", "Stillers don't play til Sunday", "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!" and numerous references to national news coverage depicting Pittsburgh as a polluted, post-industrial sinkhole that hasn't existed in any reputable form since the Kennedy administration.

When asked to comment on the damage already caused and the possibility of several more days of violence, a spokesman for the G20 world leaders stated simply, "It's still nicer than Cleveland."

Quote of the day

George W. Bush at a 2008 California GOP Fundraiser, as relayed by Matt Latimer:
He said things that could ruffle feathers, such as how he’d recently gone to a faith-based program run by “former drunks.” He said he went to see a prison ministry program, noting that ‘everyone was black, of course.” All eyes turned in search of the sole African American in the audience of donors. They wanted to see if he was offended.
As was noted in the book, the black guy, who coincidentally enough had been elected by the black community to go to this event and stand in as a proxy for all black people, was seemingly not offended. He probably knew what happened to people who protested during a Bush event and didn't want to do the prison time.


ThinkProgress hits us with another except from former speechwriter Matt Latimer's book on the White House, which may or may not be titled I'm Not Shitting You: This Is Really What Was Going On For Eight Years. This go around he looks into the practice of awarding Presidential Medals of Freedom. You know, the award that was designed back in 1945 by Truman in order to award those who had toadied longest and hardest for his most unpopular policies and make it look like some level of success had been achieved. At least that's what I think it was for. Anyway, this bit is about why Harry Potter author JK Rowling didn't get one.
This was the same sort of narrow thinking that led people in the White House to actually object to giving the author J.K. Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged witchcraft.
This in addition to the fact that she had ladyparts, she's a foreigner, and Dick Cheney felt her novels unfairly slandered snake faced, demonic warlocks. That's right, in an office populated with hundreds of adults, the question over whether to award an intensely politicized award hinged on a serious discussion about witchcraft. And the person they were debating over wasn't Aleister Crowley. It's a shame that waterboarding, rendition, or illegal wiretaps didn't involve mystical incantations, lightning scars, or wands, otherwise we might have been able to avoid that whole bit of unpleasantness.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 09.24

Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine
Just in case you were worried that the global financial apocalypse, wayward asteroids, the swine flu, or zombies weren't going to effectively wipe out all of humanity, rest assured, the Cold War still might be able to. That's right a Dr. Strangelove-esque Russian nuclear doomsday machine called Perimeter, is still active. If there's one silver lining, it's that the system isn't completely autonomous. So...sleep tight!

Prosecutors say half of Bernie Madoff's investors lost nothing in Ponzi scheme
Awww. Let's get him out of prison early then. And people try to say Ponzi schemes don't work. Hell, 50% of Madoff's clients were able to withdraw more money than they "invested" so I have to say Madoff's scheming worked out pretty well for them. Truly these are people who can say the glass was half full.

Newly Declassified Files Detail Massive FBI Data-Mining Project
I don't want to alarm you, but the government probably knows exactly how many socket wrenches you bought with your Sears card. Not to mention how many Days Inn travel points you have. That's right, because everyone loved data mining when it was applied to phone calls and e-mails, the feddy gov has decided to expand that to hotels, car rentals, corporate databases, and retail chains. Because why shouldn't we open up all areas of privacy to repeated government abuse?

Poll Begs Question: Is Extremism Mainstream?
Far be it from us not to take a free cheap shot at left wing lunatics when the opportunity arises. According to a Public Policy Polling...poll, nearly a quarter of Democrats are part of the 9/11 Truther movement and 14% believe G-Dub was the anti-Christ. Go fuck yourselves and take the PETA people and the bridge protesting banner people with you. George Bush was not some Bloefeld type terrorist mastermind. Everyone smart knows it was Dick Cheney and the Bilderburg Group that caused 9/11. Ron Paul 2012!

Beck attacks 14th Amendment, complete with picture of man, baby in sombreros
God, this new Glenn Beck book is going to be like ten Christmases. Not only does he have an entire section where he criticizes all the Amendments to the Constitution, he attempts a scholarly critique of how judges have misread re-writing them in the most racist terms possible replete with stereotypical cartoons of Mexicans.Then he goes off to praise provisions that protected and incentivized the slave trade. I stand corrected: twenty Christmases. Never let this man stop talking or writing.

Chart of the day

Via the site Weather Sealed comes this graphical representation of every single McDonald's in the continental US. You want to hide from Grimace and the Hamburglar, you need to head West my friend. In his research he found that the furthest you could possibly get from a McDonald's in this country was a 107 mile flight and a 145 mile drive. Of course that means you have to live in the remoteness of South Dakota outside of the Rapid City-Spearfish-Sturgis megalopolis, so you're probably better off dead if you want to avoid Ronald.

I suggest he chart one out for the Jared-ification of America. Because not only is Subway the Thomas Nast-esque octopus strangling America's food gullet, it will soon dominate McDonald's worldwide as well.

Things that will completely help the state of poltical debate in this country

Moammar Gaddafi Rants at U.N. General Assembly
Amid his rant, Gaddafi praised President Obama, who spoke just before him. He began his speech by congratulating Obama on his election. Later he referred to him as "our son" and suggested he remain in power for life.
Oh yeah, I can hear Glenn Beck's boner forming. An African Muslim dictator praising Obama as a son and wanting him to stay in power forever? Catnip. And that's before Gaddafi declared the UN was founded by terrorists, that the swine flu was a military/pharmaceutical conspiracy ("What's next? Fish flu?" he asked rhetorically), called for new investigations into the assassinations of MLK and JFK, demanded Europe repay Africa for their colonial pillaging, and that whole thing where his country honored and welcomed a guy who blew up Pan Am 103. I can already smell the intelligent debate wafting up from talk radio.

Feds probe US Census worker hanging in Kentucky
The 51-year-old Sparkman was found this month hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.
Wow. I'm sure this had nothing to do with right wing media sources drumming up fear of the census as everything from a tool for ACORN to get information on you, government databases being used to target conservatives, that it was an unconstitutional violation of rights, part of a government conspiracy to steal from productive people to give it to the poor and minorities, and as a way to catalog how many guns you have so the government can better steal them. You think Michelle Bachmann is going to regret all that time she spent demonizing the census as the tool of the devil? Of course not.

EDIT: Also....this. Don't they know not to start the indoctrination songs and chants until after socialism has fully taken hold?

Preexisting conditions

In case you needed one last nudge into thinking health care needs a smidge of reform, the Washington Post is here to give you a rundown on the insurance industry practice of not insuring people with "preexisting conditions." Sure, we know that practice would include people with serious diseases like cancer, but did you know it affected people with Firefighter's Disease? Symptoms of which include feeling the need to work and earn a living as a firefighter. There's more.
A proposal to make preexisting health conditions irrelevant in the sale of insurance policies could help not just the seriously ill but also people who might consider themselves healthy, documents released Friday by a California-based advocacy group illustrate.
A PacifiCare "Medical Underwriting Guidelines" document from 2003 lists under "Ineligible Occupations" such risk-takers as stunt people, test pilots and circus workers -- along with police officers, firefighters and migrant workers.

Uninsurable conditions included pregnancy, and being an "expectant father" was grounds for "automatic rejection." So was having received "therapy/counseling" within six months of the application. There was also this more general disqualifier: "currently experiencing/experienced within the last 12 months symptoms for which a physician has not been consulted."
The full Consumer Watchdog study shows that other uninsurable jobs include public utility workers, people who have landed on the Water Works or Electric Company spaces during a regulation game of Monopoly, and war correspondents. Yeah, fuck you too Michael Ware. Also, don't ever think of having a baby, those little shits cost insurance companies money and the practice of procreation needs to be stopped immediately. If you were taking medications like Zyrtec for your allergies or Lamasil for your yellow toenails, had acne or sought therapy, meant that you didn't deserve coverage. I shudder to think about what will happen to the coverage of all the people using Latisse for their insufficient eyelashes or those who have stubbed their toe in the last six years. I'm think maybe we shouldn't wait until the insurance companies have figured out a way to work the actuary tables to figure out how to insure only those who will never get sick/injured or been given sufficient time by our elected betters to consult on ways they could better weaken proposed legislation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Farewell and adieu?

Hey remember that system the government used to keep us all paranoid and afraid immediately after 9/11? No, not Fox News. I meant the Homeland Security color coded alert system. You remember the one. It got raised and lowered depending on how Bush was doing in the polls and laughably had to two green and blue rectangles, "guarded" and "low", that we all had a good laugh about because we knew they'd never be used. Well, we might have to wave goodbye to that little bit of fear inducing brilliance, it seems the chart has outlived its usefulness.
The often-spoofed, color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System may get an overhaul – moving from five colors to three in a bid to win the public trust.

The nation has been at Yellow, “an elevated significant risk of terrorist attacks” for three years. International and domestic flights have been at an Orange “high risk of terrorist attacks” for the same period.
Just so we're clear, they've shitcanned the two we knew they'd never use and have redefined the previous three. They are now:
Yellow=Guarded - Did that Muslim just look from side to side in a shifty manner?
Orange = Elevated – Vague, non-specific threat that is going to kill us any second...WHAT'S THAT BEHIND THAT BUSH OVER THERE!?!
Red = High Alert – Barack's gone rogue, Barack's gone rogue!!! Joe Biden is dead and Osama is prowling the White House grounds. Glenn Beck was right!!
Remember them and stay fearful. In all this confusion about being afraid of socialism, you may have forgotten that the Muslims are still out there. That's why we still need this useful and effective system that Americans take completely seriously.

Broken In Brief: Goddamn worthless fucking dog hears man, doesn't care

WILKES-BARRE—Oh for the love of God, area man and former pet lover Mark Gibbons cannot believe his fucking dog isn’t fucking listening to him. That goddamn mongrel, which Gibbons knows can fucking hear him, is just standing over there at the far corner of the yard, smelling its own piss spots or maybe chewing on a bunch of rabbit turds. Whatever that dimwitted fleabag is doing, it's obviously something that piece-of-shit animals are free to do when they don’t have to go to work at five in the fucking morning.

“Look at that shit! The fucker just looked at me when I said its name,” the exasperated man exclaimed as he counted off the minutes he was going to be late to work. “Oh! Now it’s gone back to walking in circles and sniffing the goddamned ground like there's some skier trapped in a cockin' avalanche. Fuck this shit! I know you can hear me!”

The dog, a rotten beagle mix named Tuffy from the fucking shelter who is clearly retarded or something, apparently doesn’t know how close it is to just getting left the fuck outside all day. The moronic creature apparently thinks it has he survival skills to brave a day in the suburbs, which it most assuredly does fucking not.

As of press time-- oh, mother of fucking bleeding baby Jesus, did you fucking see how that little shit walked further away as Gibbons approached its mangy, freeloading ass? According to area reports, this goddamned dog doesn’t know what kind of trouble it’s fucking in for.

Don Draper gets his shit wrecked

It's the fiftieth anniversary of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and they're not content just to sit and bask in their reputation as an invaluable and impartial agency that has dramatically helped improve the safety of cars. No, they need to celebrate their 50th in the only way they know how: by taking a new car and smashing it into an old car. The cars? A 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The verdict? You'd probably be better letting the Malibu hit you while you walked on a crosswalk wearing full hockey pads than straight on in the Bel Air. Still, the Bel Air looks waaay cooler. So it's a trade-off.

That still leaves one remaining problem I have. It's 2009, we should be smashing a 1959 Bel Air into a 2009 Fusion Powered Hover Malibu. Let's go Detroit, crumple zones aren't the future car designers imagined in 1959.

Typo/Unintentional Irony of the day

From today's Human Events email urging subscribers -- no, they still haven't booted me -- to purchase Glenn Beck's new book, How Stupid Godless Liberals Want to Puree and Can Your Grandmother Then Store Her in the Root Cellar Until Winter and What You Can Do About It*:
Fox News television host Glenn Beck are all returning to bookstores to save us from one of life's greatest irritants: people with big mouths and small minds.
Leaving aside the unflinching hypocrisy of that "big mouth/small mind" canard, there are many Glenn Becks? Who the fuck went and cloned him? How could one not be enough when one is one too many? This is worse than I thought...

*Editor's Note: May not be actual title of book.

Picture of the Day

From the pages of Flickr, comes something that is finally worth our time. Stéfan and his Stormtroopers 365 project. The mission parameters: one shot a day of stormtroopers...for a year. This is what the internet was built for.

Cheap Blogging Crutch 09.23

Survey: One Quarter of Americans Could Claim 'No Religion' in 20 Years
Praise Jesus! People who don't believe in God/follow no "religious tradition" are the fastest growing segments of the US religious landscape. So that's a big thanks to you American religious right. I think those anti-science, anti-choice, pro-war, pro-death penalty, hypocritical, evangelical moralizing insanity you've decided to amp up to 11 over the years has convinced people that God is either dead or never existed. Don't worry, I didn't forget the molesting priests and church cover-ups. They helped too. Again, thanks.

Health Care Is Hazardous to Poll Numbers for Grassley, Other Senators
Who would have ever thought that nakedly shilling for insurance companies, not having an alternative plan to do anything about health care, and disseminating lies would ever come back to haunt Republicans? And who would have thought that dicking around, ignoring constituents, and going out of your way to compromise with people who weren't willing to compromise would alienate Democrats? This was all unforeseeable.

Palin Hong Kong Speech Blames Government For Financial Crisis; Some Walk Out In Disgust
Oh God, she went overseas to deliver a "major policy address". Doesn't this constitute a hostile act of aggression towards China? Ah well, least she hasn't seemed to learn anything, what with all this free time she has now. Not only did she blame the global economic collapse of government, instead of those pesky bankers and financial conglomerates, she said the solution was....wait for gains cuts and the removal of the estate tax! One other solution she offered: freedom. I really hope she does more of these "policy" speeches.

With G-20, Pittsburgh gets its 15 minutes
The LA Times tries to come to grips with the question all of us in Pittsburgh are asking: Why in the hell is the G-20 being held here? No one knows. No one will ever know. I just think it has something to do with President Obama and Dan Rooney practically becoming a couple. All I can say is that I hope the G20 summit can do for us what it did for Morelia, Mexico

Senate OK’s Kennedy successor bill
That's the Massachusetts we know and love: ready to drop trow and amend its laws in order to feed the democratic machine. Massachusetts could have a new interim senator and Democrats could have their 60th vote by as early as tomorrow. Some have been suggesting Dr. Atul Gawande. That sounds like a damn fine idea. Just as long as it isn't another damned Kennedy.

Parody becomes reality

Hey, remember yesterday? You know, when joking about defending insurance companies being the highest priority of health reform was a funny, tinged with truth joke and not an exact template for a new front of attacks? Someone should have told the GOP that Will Ferrell was joking.
Republicans took to the floor of Congress, the Internet and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page Tuesday in a rush to defend a health insurance company that used taxpayer-subsidized communication to terrify seniors with the prospect that health care reform will cut their Medicare benefits.

Republican leaders in both houses of Congress ripped Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) for urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to put a stop to the insurer's efforts, decrying what they called a "gag order" and reading the First Amendment on the floor of the Senate.
So what happened? Humana, a crooked group of fucks, got mad about a provision in one of the health care bills that took the Medicare Advantage plan, where the government pays 14% more to insurers than under regular Medicare, and cut those payments to the tune of $12 billion a year. An OMB study said that through Medicare Advantage the government ends up paying $1.30 for every dollars worth of service it gets from insurance companies. Humana got mad about its profits and used a Medicare beneficiaries list to send out a bunch of dishonest scare letters telling grandma that the government was coming to steal her stuff. After Max Baucus heard about it, thought to himself "this sounds illegal in addition to being full of lies" he got them to stop, so the Kentucky based Humana called up several Senators and Congressmen it owned lock and stock to bitch about it.

Whew! Thank God for this, we had gone a few days without seeing how political opposition to health reform was nakedly fueled by corporate toadying and greed. I'm glad that we have men like John Behner and Mitch McConnell in our congress to stand up for the first amendment rights of government teat suckling insurance companies to lie to the elderly because their "pay a $1.30 for a $1" gravy train is going to be marginally affected. Finally, we're off of discussing this unimportant "making health care coverage more affordable for the people" thing and on to seeing our elected betters fist fight in the aisles of congress for campaign cash. It's much more dignified than pretend concern for health care access.