Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Health Insurers' Willing Executioners

Baucus, Grassley, Hatch, Snowe. These are the murderers. Murderers for hire. They have been bought, or have willing sold themselves, to the Health Insurers — Wellpoint, Aetna, Cigna, United.... We remain ill, we die so they can make money.

In mythology and religious history, these vile creatures have their ancestors. In Dante, the Baucuses, Grassleys, Snowes suffer in the lowest levels of hell.

We the People must give them Hell on Earth, now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NASA's Messenger Spacecraft Flies by Mercury

Today, September 29th, the Messenger spacecraft will approach to within 142 miles (about 229 km) of the surface of Mercury. That's damn close — closer than many satellites are to Earth's surface.

Using the freeware Celestia, I created this image of what Mercury and the Sun would look like at a distance of 3000 kilometers, much further away than Messenger will be. The Sun looks a lot bigger there. Mercury is just 58 million km from the Sun, as opposed to Earth's 150 million km.
Further down, check out the comparison of how the Sun looks here on Earth with how it looks on Mercury (courtesy of messenger-education.org or here too). Click on the images to see full-size.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Twittering Again (too lazy to type)

Be afraid, be very afraid. Taser & all the Brave New Weapons can kill. But the gov't is sure they can be 'safely' used domestically & abroad

Less than Lethal Weapons: US et al (Brits, French, Israelis..) r all hot & bothered re Brave New Weapons LRAD sound cannon, Silent Guardian

Dept of Newspeak, 'Non-Lethal Weapons': LRAD Sound Cannon Used on Pittsburgh G20 Protesters http://gizmodo.com/5369190

Guess this is to make us feel better given we'll never be able to retire: "Workers thriving at 70, 80, and even 100" http://bit.ly/dM52N

RT @wired Fun fact: Colorado River Toads are psychoactive - skin contains hallucinogenic tryptamines which can be harvested by stroking toad

This is a Colorado River Toad. That's doing his best Spock impression. http://bit.ly/bUizU (via @nerdist) (via @wired)

Scary: Bullet Makers Can't Keep Up With Demand http://bit.ly/XjqG7 (via @AlterNet)

RT @bobfertik Historic first! Netroots crowdsourcing produces Bush Torture Indictment 2.0 http://bit.ly/U61Au @davidcnswanson

RT @thenation Arundhati Roy: So, is there life after democracy? Read "What Have We Done to Democracy?" @thenation http://tinyurl.com/ye63nwh

US dollar set to be eclipsed, World Bank president predicts http://bit.ly/11h8HW (via @GuardianUSA)

HuffPost - Obama Adviser Signals White House Giving Up On Climate Change Treaty - http://tinyurl.com/yamhnnw

HuffPost: Senator Schumer Receives $1.65 Million From Wall Street - http://tinyurl.com/ycdm4cx

Micheletti government suspends civil liberties in Honduras http://bit.ly/VuSQu And Obama & US support Micheletti - another Obama triumph

Stunning US successes in Iraq, Afghanistan so GOPs Jon Kyl & Kit Bond are calling for a 3peat in Iran http://bit.ly/p2mf0

Why is Obama pushing harder for Chicago's Olympic bid than he is for real change on the climate policy?

2 Parents, 5 Jobs, STILL not enough Health Care. Republicans, incl Olympia Snowe, think this fine. Obama grovels http://bit.ly/13qdfX

NYC is 49th in the Americas in Quality of Life. http://bit.ly/84WRB @mikebloomberg @Thompson2009

Mercer survey of quality of life finds the top 5 cities in the Americas are all in Canada: http://www.mercer.com/quali...

MAP: India as a growing global power. From Le Monde. http://mondediplo.com/maps/...
about 13 hours ago from web

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Paul Krugman: The American Dream Is Dying

This clip from the Huffington Post:
Krugman: On bad mornings I wake up and think that we are turning into a Latin American country.

On good mornings I think "This is America" and we have always in the past managed to turn ourselves around, and there's an FDR just around the corner.... I was kind of hoping that Obama might be FDR, but maybe not.

If America was officially a third world country, the International Monetary Fund would come in and say, "You have to break the power of your oligarchs. Those banking interests, they have too much power."
...

The truth is that most people don't have parents who [can send them money].

...

The American Dream is not totally dead but it's dying pretty fast. You look at the numbers on social mobility, on the ability of people to move from modest or poor backgrounds up, the United States is way down on the list.... You have a much better chance of getting up the scale in Finland or Sweden or France than in the United States.

On "Real Time with Bill Maher" Friday night, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said that while the American dream is not totally dead, it is "dying pretty fast," particularly when it comes to social mobility. Krugman made this statement during a lengthy discussion with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and host Bill Maher about the troubled state of the American economy and where we are in terms of reforming the system.

Both Krugman and Spitzer expressed optimism that America could right itself in the coming years if the correct steps were taken, but they were also highly critical of the degree of inequality that has become a part of American life and the lack of reform that has so far taken place.

"On bad mornings I wake up and think that we are turning into a Latin American country," Krugman said. "But on good mornings I think, well this is America, we have always in the past managed to turn ourselves around, and there is an FDR just around the corner if we could only find him. I was kind of hoping Obama might be FDR, but maybe not. "

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Most Corrupt Members of Congress

"Trying to find the most corrupt member of Congress is like trying to find the wettest fish in the ocean."
— me
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has published a report on the 15 most corrupt members in Congress. Of those 15
  • 12 are under investigation
  • several are under pressure to resign
  • at least one is an adulterer
  • one is a tax evader

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will War's Idolaters Ever Just Shut the Fuck Up?

Martin Bright in the Spectator
Incidentally, I now think the invasion was indeed an error: carried out at the wrong time, by the wrong coalition for the wrong reasons. But where I do agree with the “decents” is that those who opposed intervention in 2002/3 were arguing for the murderous Baathist regime to stay in power. This should remain on their conscience just as the murderous consequences of the invasion are on the conscience of those who supported the war.
(via Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber, via comments at Aaronovitch Watch)

Martin Bright's assertion that those who argued against the war were arguing for preservation of the Baathist regime is simply idiotic. False logic, false dichotomy.

First, it is patently obvious that the intent of the two sides was different, and the difference is essential. The pro-war brigade intended that the 'coalition' go to war. (I'm tempted to say they wanted a war. That might be unfair, though not in the case of the Dick Cheneys. It both fair and accurate that a significant portion of them wanted to see Arabs killed. Whether Martin Bright is among those genocidal racists I do not know. Daniel Pipes, Ann Coulter and their ilk certainly are.)

The anti-war activists expressly (1) advocated other techniques for achieving 'regime change (if that really was the goal of war's advocates — it wasn't), or (2) argued against war on the grounds that the consequences of war would be disastrous (which has proven true), or (3) argued that Bush & Co had not only failed to make their case but had likely misrepresented the facts (at best) or lied outright (which has also proven true). This is by no means an exhaustive list of the arguments against the war. The second argument is unambiguously one of accepting the lesser of two evils — by no stretch of the imagination an argument for the continuation of the lesser evil.

Let's take an example from ethics and popular entertainment. A person is threatened with the murder of her child if she does not surrender secret X — the nuclear launch codes that will enable terrorists to kill vast numbers. Any of us can easily imagine the person herself desperately arguing that she cannot surrender the codes. I do not imagine many, if any, saying that she is arguing for the murder of her child even though a consequence of her following the line of her own argument will be the child's death. You might as well suggest that, because she won't surrender the codes, she is killing her child. And of course, the weak-minded right-wing did indeed take this line of un-reasoning from 2001 on — that those not "with us" were "against us," those against the war were for terrorists. Utter nonsense, bordering on actionable libel.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Plausible Stupidity

Have you noticed the frequency with which conservatives and assorted right-wingers are caught denying they said something revolting when in fact they did say that thing.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Ronald Reagan, John Boehner, Dan Quayle.

Let's face it: These guys are dumb. They just aren't particularly intelligent. Whatever native intellect they once possessed was long ago obliterated by the blind hatreds and bigotries that infest right-wing thinking in the United States.

We need a new term — Plausible Stupidity. Incidents of right-wing Plausible Stupidity are typically characterized by a flat denial by the wingnut even when confronted with direct evidence.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Twitting Twitting Twitting

  1. IF there is a time when it is incumbent upon us to speak freely, it is before the president, who so far is proving deaf as a doornail
  2. 2. Decorum be damned. If free speech exists anywhere in US, it exists in Congress (may not be practiced but it does exist) AND
  3. I've caught flak 4 defending Joe Wilson. 2 thoughts: 1: Wilson is a idiot & like rt-wing generally, engaging in no more than mudslinging BUT
  4. If "He's our president" is true, then is "We're his people" true also? (Maybe some will want to say "We're his subjects".)
  5. Still waiting for explanation of why we owe the president unique respect that doesn't take form: "Because he's our President!"
  6. @mikebloomberg We know you sneer at questions, Mike. But: What'll happen to your Brave New York when unemployment stays over 10% for years
  7. RT @Greg_Palast When Obama opened..talk to Congress sayng he'd saved..economy, I thought all that's missing is..banner: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
  8. Between 3 and 6 percent of Earth's total surface is rainforest. 50 percent of all animal & plant species live in that 3 to 6 percent.
  9. Darwin film can't find US distributor because...too many Americans still have a fit over evolution. http://tr.im/yBl6
  10. #SinglePayer & #PublicOption Debate: we know what moves Libs - Justice. What moves rt-wing? Money? Is that best they can say 4 themselves?
  11. Question for Republicons & Blue Doggy Dems: Why does private insurance have priority over getting health care to every American?
  12. Sen. Gregg, NH, "no way the private sector will be able to compete" w/ #PublicOption YET Britain France Canada have both http://tr.im/yAo4
  13. New York Times admits #PublicOption dead. Obama's big biz bosses, health insurance & big pharma oppose it. End of story http://tr.im/yAo4
  14. Democrats are afflicted by the need to have everyone like them, Republicans by the need to get their way - 2 siblings forever fighting
  15. The 'Moderate Center' supported war in Iraq, bailouts for billionaires, denial of rights for detainees. Some moderation! Some center!
  16. The 'Moderate Center' (which is neither) paints all left & right as fanatics, then claims the 'Right' to ignore them (esp. the left)
  17. US political discourse is marked by each band of the spectrum shouting it needn't talk to others. The 'Moderate Center' is worst on this.
  18. Is there an 'American attitude' that leads athletes to behave revoltingly, like Serena Williams, and politicians to act like spoiled brats?
  19. Nikki White because she was denied health care - she had no insurance. http://tr.im/yzut
  20. @BeathThePressDB Do you believe estimates of number of Americans w/out health insurance are understated, as are figures for unemployment?
  21. Personal vitriol upending political compromise isn't new: Witness Alexander Hamilton & John Adams, election of 1800; Hamilton & Burr...
  22. 1790 Hamilton et al agree to US capital on Potamac. New York becomes business capital. 2009 Wall St moves to Washington: http://tr.im/yzoY
  23. @KatrinaNation "degradation of..political sphere..hatred" needs understanding, much as y some hate US. It's not new, the ill-formed polity
  24. Any thoughts on the psychological profile of @mikebloomberg ? I suspect a little man bedeviled by longstanding feelings of inadequacy
  25. Suggestion @mikebloomberg - You have a multi-million dollar mansion in Bermuda. Move there & appoint yourself Lord Protector or whatever
  26. Did @mikebloomberg just wake up one morning and think, "New York just can't do without me. I am too important to the city."
  27. GOP & Blue Doggy Dem states to get hammered most by Climate Change in US! Must be The Wrath of God! http://tr.im/yydD
  28. 80% of Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch (twice the size of Texas) is just discards by people on shore. http://tr.im/yyco
  29. 10% of the 260 million TONS of plastic produced worldwide each yr end up in oceans. 26 million tons. 52 billion pounds. http://tr.im/yybq
  30. Giant rat discovered ... NOT in New York subways! http://tr.im/yyap
  31. And now a word from our sponsor, Planet Earth: "Before you try to re-engineer me to stave off warming, think." http://tr.im/yya7
  32. They're all Lucky! They're all Stars! Be Faithful and Be Saved!
  33. Who is Your Personal Lucky Star? Could it be Timothy Geithner or Larry Summers or Lloyd Blankfein or maybe Barack Obama or Dick Cheney?
  34. Do you have a personal relationship with Your Lucky Stars?
  35. Join The 1st Church of Your Lucky Stars. Church of Modern Media Saints! Church of The New York Times, Harvard, Goldman Sachs. Say Amen!
  36. Have you thanked your lucky stars today?
  37. Every day I thank my lucky stars we have 'experts' 'journalists' 'scholars' to tell us what's right, what's wrong, what's true, what's false
  38. Bernanke, Blankfein, Thain, Greenberg, Lewis. The very archetypes of Failure by any reasonable measure. But they = Success in US Meritocracy
  39. Go to the Hugh Sansom Business School. Cost: Zero. 3 Easy Lessons: Lie Cheat Steal. Harvard BS teaches same, charges over $100k
  40. Meritocracy Case 5: Bernard Kerik, former NYPD Commish, Harvard Kennedy School; now under indictment for conspiracy, wire & mail fraud
  41. Meritocracy Case 4: Mike Bloomberg, NYC Boss, Harvard BS; currently proving understanding of democracy by overriding voters, buying 3rd term
  42. Meritocracy Case 3: John Thain, ex Merrill Lynch CEO, Goldman Sachs 'alum', MIT, proved superior intellect shitting $35,000 on toilet
  43. Meritocracy Case Study 2: Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs, Harvard U, Harvard Law, proved business skill by stealing 100+ billion from US
  44. Meritocracy Case Study 1: Katherine Weymouth, Washington Post publisher, Harvard Oxford Stanford, inherited job, now driving into oblivion
  45. Myth of Meritocracy, Pt. 1: How many people have a 'boss' who couldn't organize a riot?
  46. Truth about @nytimes reporter Stephen Farrell who got 3 people killed in Afghanistan because he wouldn't heed warning http://tr.im/yxdj
  47. Georgia arrests man, seizes 500 turtles...to protect the turtles. Man is acquitted. But Georgia has *killed* 362 of the turtles...protection
  48. Newt "PornBoy" Gingrich names Porn Co 'Entrepreneur of The Year' for 'Stimulating' ... uh ... the economy
  49. Birthers Truthers now Tenthers. Governors of limited intelligence may challenge Fed HealthCare by appeal to 10th Amendment http://tr.im/yx9p
  50. @washingtonpost Heard you guys lost $143 million. Maybe Katherine Weymouth should go to school that actually requires learning something
  51. @KBAndersen WaPo lost $143 mill: Katherine Weymouth proves the value of Harvard, Oxford, Stanford degrees - big poles up big asses
  52. Here's the Greek or Old Testament solution 4 Annie Leibovitz: She can keep 1 mill for each silver gelatin print of her's that she can eat
  53. Annie Leibovitz charges $100,000 for 1 portrait (yeah u read it right) & she still can't keep her financial shit together. Just like Wall St
  54. Leibovitz: 3 adjoining houses in Greenwich Village (many millions); Estate in Rhinebeck (more millions); Chutzpah - priceless
  55. If Annie Leibovitz is such an 'artiste', what's with her money-grubbing lust? Whatever happened to old world Greek or biblical justice...
  56. Wall St gets bailout, Annie Leibovitz gets reprieve. http://bit.ly/AMnKB What do us regular folks get? A kick in the teeth.
  57. Can I get an Annie Leibovitz deal on my credit cards? Maybe I have to owe millions first. http://tr.im/ywN9
  58. RT @wiredscience: Universal "death stench": Is dead bug juice the best defense against infestations? Yummy, yummy.
  59. 1 Yr After Cataclysm, Little Change on Wall St http://bit.ly/Lt2L1 Surprised? Obama & Co REWARDED Wall St w/ 100s of billions
  60. http://tinyurl.com/nbraqm - Summers: Unemployment To Remain "Unacceptably High" For YEARS. Good for green shoots?...
  61. RT @haaretzonline Amos Harel: Clock is ticking for Iran as Israel appears ready for strike http://bit.ly/3q4aJA
  62. The hysteria over the mere shout against a president is proof of how completely Americans believe that President is also King
  63. Where does this idea that we owe fealty to the president come from? Joe Wilson's a vile idiot for lying, not for daring to challenge Obama
  64. Health industry lobbyist sees some sense, particularly on the criminal behavior of health insurers http://tr.im/yu5P
  65. Brzezinski: We're moving "to a [Soviet] level of military force" http://tr.im/yu3h In fact, with US mercenaries, we exceed Soviet level
  66. 1979: Brzezinski on Afghan war "We've given Soviets their Vietnam" 2009: B says "We're giving ourselves Soviets Vietnam" http://tr.im/yu3h
  67. RT @FDLnewswire Pelosi Fundraiser at UnitedHealth Lobbyist’s Home, just after Pelosi shitcans the #PublicOption http://bit.ly/RVHhp
  68. RT @haaretzonline France's interior minister allegedly caught on cam uttering anti-Arab slur http://bit.ly/4CVqGq
  69. Jeter beats Lou Gehrig's all-time hits record! Here's to Jeter & to The Iron Horse, one of the finest ball players ever http://tr.im/ytP3
  70. "Bring Richard's...private art collection into your home" So reads ad 4 re Weisman's collection http://tr.im/ytKc Someone took it literally
  71. RT @jeremyscahill UnitedHealth Lobbyist Announces Pelosi Fundraiser As She Begins Backing Off #PublicOption http://bit.ly/YtHDY
  72. Person stands on pier next to life preserver but does nothing as swimmer drowns. Life guard does SAME. Who has committed greater crime?
  73. Obama is engaged in a war purportedly to bring to justice the murderers of 3000 Americans. Health insurers kill hundreds of thousands.
  74. [The People] can exercise their constitutional right of amending [the government] or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it
  75. Lincoln "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it" Not Obama, Not GOP, Not Dems, Not Insurers, Not the Rich
  76. @nprnews "Muslims Seen As Facing Discrimination" http://su.pr/1jGpoN No, NOT Muslims SEEN as facing.... Muslims ARE facing discrimination
  77. If Obama will not prosecute and impose sentence on the health insurance murderers, We the People must do so.
  78. Angela Braly, Wellpoint. H Edward Hanway, Cigna. Ronald Williams, Aetna. Murderers all. All should be subject to the penalty any murderer is
  79. Sacrificing people's health and lives for money makes a person a murderer for hire. It's a crime. It's murder.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What Rough Beast

What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? Now we know, the beast Blankfein, the beast Braly

We the People need to provoke a suit for libel by Angela Braly or Lloyd Blankfein so that, via discovery, we can uncover the hideous beast

Perhaps a new subspecies has evolved, so retrograde devolution from Homo sapiens - Homo moneta, Man of money. That crawling creature, leech

We need a new word, not "lust", to describe the ravenous hunger for money of Lloyd Blankfein/Goldman Sachs or Angela Braly/Wellpoint

RT @nytimes Movie Studios See a Threat in Growth of Redbox http://bit.ly/6znXn (translation: studios see threat in competition)

RT @ThePublicRecord Growing Number of Guantanamo Detainees Cleared For Release Remain Imprisoned. http://bit.ly/4x83wa