Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday "What I Found on You Tube" Post

And if I'm a little slow to post over the next few days, Happy Holidays and Merry Solstice everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Working Class Heroes

Cat blogging from the New York Times--felines earning their keep in the Big Apple even as they're forced to step lightly or risk getting into trouble with the man.

The article links to this site devoted to their stories.

Having seen a couple of working class cats on visits to the city, count my vote in their defense...
One Thing I Learned This Week

Even though it's MILLIONS of dollars, it CAN'T be fraud, because there's no fancy teevee.

I mean, it certainly isn't because Ms. Jasper is elderly and black, right?
Happy Holidays

Something sure to cause rabid wingnuts to cackle while soulless bureaucrats chortle this holiday season:

A 17-year old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed.

Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday night at about 6 p.m. at University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

"She passed away, and the insurance (company) is responsible for this," she said.

Nataline had been battling leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. She developed a complication, however, that caused her liver to fail.

Doctors at UCLA determined she needed a transplant and sent a letter to CIGNA Healthcare on Dec. 11. The Philadelphia-based health insurance company denied payment for the transplant.

On Thursday, about 150 teenagers and nurses protested outside CIGNA's office in Glendale. As the protesters rallied, the company reversed its decision and said it would approve the transplant.

Despite the reversal, CIGNA said in an e-mail statement before she died that there was a lack of medical evidence showing the procedure would work in Nataline's case.

I'll bet whoever issued the initial denial got a nice fat bonus check. Enjoy your blood money.
Race to the Bottom

In the nano-percentage range of public approval lies FEMA--no big surprise there--with numbers slightly BELOW the I.R.S., but, presumably, slightly higher than virulent staph and Dick Cheney, in that order...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mitt-Ray Vision

"Far out..."

In the reality-based world, it's called making shit up.
Putting the "Gag" in Gaggle

Is there a more disgusting site--at least in areas NOT torn apart by conflict due to their meddling--than Shrub preening from a podium?

I've seen honest-to-god spoiled rotten brats who look the picture of mature and restrained behavior in comparison.
"Failed Public Housing"

Bill Quigley:

"This is the season of celebrating the most famous homeless man of all time, and now we are going to dramatically and drastically reduce the number of housing units in our community."

Dangerblond has more.
Holiday Greetings

Satan and Vice-Satan pass along their warmest wishes this winter season.
Sweeping the Dirt Behind the Curtain

More reality denying from not just wingnuttia but the cringing, soulless media as well. Yesterday I noticed a couple of blog posts about the Congressional testimony of Jamie Leigh Jones, who makes a pretty compelling case that she was brutally raped and assaulted by Halliburton co-workers...a story that the New York Times seems to think is only worthy of a couple of perfunctory wire service reports. Oh, and it turns out that at least ten other women have reported being assaulted (meaning it's likely there are even MORE victims who, for various reasons, decided to NOT file reports).

Then, also reported as sort of an afterthought, is the tragic, ugly story of Private Steven Green, accused (with strong evidence) of brutally raping a 14 year old Iraqi child, then just as brutally murdering her AND her family. Four others have been already been convicted for their roles in this. Green's trial is now set for...April of 2009.

Finally, this morning I noticed this article about a real-life situation somewhat loosely akin to the Vincent D'Onofrio character in Full Metal Jacket: a clearly disturbed young soldier killed himself (he did NOT shoot a drill instructor or anyone else) after repeated and loud signals that he was clearly NOT suited for Army life...yet the military continued to carry him, even as they deliberately did all they could to make his life miserable.

Now maybe it's just me, but I don't think these articles are unrelated: they point to the VERY obvious reality that--DUH--war IS an extraordinarily ugly endeavor, ergo, an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT. Wingnuts seem to lack the understanding that a MAJOR consequence of war is A. TOTAL. BREAKDOWN. OF. SOCIAL. ORDER...either that, or they welcome it. Neither is particularly pleasant to consider, and both point to very serious issues among that crowd. Referring to them as socio- or psychopaths is NOT mere rhetorical hyperbole, particularly when their response to the stories above tends, as often as not, towards even more perverse crudity, at least in their verbiage.

Some "Good" Germans eventually had to take a LONG look at themselves when the truth, inevitably, came out. Are we ready to do the same?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You'd Be Better Off Giving Your Credit Card to the Town Drunk

Congress votes to waste another $70 billion dollars and lord knows how many more lives...
Through the Roof

Things are going soooo well in Bush America that upwards of one in five will be borrowing money or using the credit pay the heat bill:

For perhaps as many as 27 million American adults, keeping warm this winter will mean borrowing money and 20 million will use credit cards to be able to afford their heating bills, according to a poll.

Nearly 12 percent of Americans say they will need to borrow money to pay winter heating bills; 9 percent will need to use credit cards to be able to afford their heating bills. The poll, commissioned by and conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, surveyed 1,004 randomly selected American adults by telephone Dec. 7-9, 2007 to gauge their attitudes about energy costs in 2008. A majority say they expect oil and gasoline prices to get worse in 2008.

Like a third world country but on steroids...
And The Winner Is, Redux

My initial post was supposed to be a mix and match of satire and condemnation (of a VERY cynical and ugly government decision to possibly deport the foreign national wives of US soldiers serving overseas).

Looks like I wasn't all that far off from genuine "news," though. Weird.
Life in the Slow Lane

Not that anyone with a few functioning brain cells should be all that surprised, but Team Bush only seems to whine about bureaucracy when it gets in the way of their wholesale looting of treasury funds (e.g., the war of choice in Iraq)...turns out they CAN'T GET ENOUGH bureaucracy when it comes to abandoning entire regions of the United States:

A week after Hurricane Katrina, a senior official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of streamlining the flow of disaster aid issued a directive that would have helped a staggering 1,029 rebuilding projects and $5.3 billion in funds cut through the agency’s infamous red tape.

But in a decision critics say led to losing precious time in the post-storm recovery, her three-day deadline to clear projects through a final bureaucratic hurdle was rejected. The rebuilding of schools, roads, hospitals, firehouses and other desperately needed infrastructure was stalled for months of interagency reviews that ended at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

If you've got the time, read the entire article. It really captures the essence of Team Bush indifference, and again, is worth contrasting with their tantrum-like behavior when it comes to things like warrantless wiretapping (and retroactive immunity), Terry Schiavo, the wars, tax cuts for the rich, etc. Talk about hypocrisy.

In fact, about the only thing they've shown less enthusiasm towards (if not more bureaucratic indifference) has been the anthrax attacks. Hmmm...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Laying it on Pretty Thick, I See

The polymers that make up Trent Lott's rug must have a toxic effect on anyone close enough to inhale the fumes:

In a speech on the Senate floor today, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) paid tribute to Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), who recently announced his resignation. Smith remembered Lott’s "warm slap on our backs" and the "steely look in his eye." He also defended Lott’s comments in 2002, which heralded the segregationist platform of former senator Strom Thurmond...

Former attorney general John Ashcroft remembers Lott as "Lincoln-esque."

My own theory is that Lott's, um, "hair" must've been manufactured in China and coated in lead-based paint...
Another Day, Another Case of Wingnut Cruelty to Animals

Today's example is "courtesy" of Blackwater International, but comes on the heels of revelations that Mike Huckabee's son David took delight in hanging, then slitting the throat of, a supposedly mange-infested dog that happened to cross his path.

And let's not forget "Seamus, you ride on the top" Romney, Bill Frist, cat adopter from hell, or Shrub's own fascination with inflicting pain, suffering, and death.

By the way: a large number of serial killers were animal abusers first. Something to think about.
Healthcare ABC's

"It's actually quite simple, really"

Browsing around Pravda's Science Times, I came across a story about Health Insurance Counselor Frederic Riccardi, certainly an individual engaged in heroic effort...while the article itself is an equally damning indictment of the byzantine labyrinth that defines "care" these days.

You really do have to wonder if anti-reformists are expressing mere bureaucratic indifference (i.e., the Banality of Evil) or are genuine sadists...
Dies Irae

Pravda on the now more or less permanently exiled New Orleanians: the accounts from people who left New Orleans after the storm, the missing or ruined physical landscape is barely half of it. Even more absent now is the human landscape -- the network of friends, relations and acquaintances that often, in New Orleans, helps compensate for fragmentary families and neighborhoods that can be dangerous. Life in the city takes place outside the home as much as inside; now, that would not be possible.

"It’s not New Orleans to me," said Ms. Shanklin, the retired bus driver in Terrebonne Parish. "And I find myself asking, Where are all the people? I see all the empty houses, and I knew once there was people in all those houses."

"Where are the people, you know? Where are the people?" Ms. Shanklin said. "It’s like somebody threw a bomb on it."

To his credit, Nossiter doesn't sugar-coat things--New Orleans can be a pretty rough city. But nonetheless it was home to literally hundreds of thousands of folks who were forced out, thanks to federal government neglect before AND after the flood. Contrast this with the steps they're now taking in attempting to forestall the home mortgage disaster that also occurred on their watch. Whether too little, or too late, at least they're doing something, unlike their response to the largest forced diaspora of American citizens since I'd guess either World War II (the internment camps) or the Civil War...

Monday, December 17, 2007

But Minus the "Slack"

Tbogg's commentors notice an eerie resemblance between the latest Mittwear and Bob Dobbs.
Scientists Stumble Upon Cheney's "Secure, Undisclosed Location"

It's in Indonesia--who knew?

Scientists believe they have found...a pygmy possum and a giant rat -- in the jungles of a remote mountain range in Indonesia's Papua province...


"The giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat," said Kristofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. "With no fear of humans, it apparently came into the camp several times during the trip."

The possum was described as "one of the worlds smallest marsupials."

Yep, must be the place.

Bonus rat sighting
"You Want Fries With Your Economy?"

Good grief--President Dipshit, looking more and more like the pathetic used-war salesman he is, shows up "unannounced" (yeah, right) at--I shit you not--a "Yak-a-Doo's" Holiday Inn restaurant in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to insist that, facts nothwithstanding, the economy is "safe and sound."

Aside from resembling the equally cheesy circumstances of his being "saved" religiously, his appearance at a Rotary Club gathering really demonstrates how low they've sunk, reduced to pitching their ideas before a group that, if nothing else, will maintain a sense of decorum if only to be polite.

Meanwhile, in the real world, people are beginning to realize that eight years of prosecuting war the way a sailor pursues alcohol and whores on shore leave does come at a price. And, to cite Hullabaloo again, yes, when the new president takes office, presuming she or he is a Democrat, the noise machine will commence to roar while its media chorus will, quite suddenly, rediscover at least a smidgen of capacity for critical, adversarial "thought."

I guess the only real question is whether it will be too late, or waaay to late. I think we'll know the answer as it registers in our wallets...
The Kiss, Redux

Holy Joe says he ♥'s Crazy John.