Saturday, October 31, 2009

Iconoclast: Part Deux

By Ellipses

A couple of weeks ago, I thoroughly demolished the notion that Canadians are coming to the US en masse for health care. Using the same powers of mathematicking, I will today take on the second rail of conservative anti-health care reform: "Like OMG! America has TOTALLY the best health care in the UNIVERSE, bitches!"

This will get really boring and "numbery," so I will state the conclusion up front and then pick up back at the beginning (kinda like "Memento" but without the tattoos)...


I chose a relatively random selection of countries: Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Sweden, and The United States of America. How did I select these? I scrolled through an alphabetical list and picked places that seem relatively civilized. Then I added Israel because conservatives are completely gay for Israel. Then I added the US because, well, that's the point of this post.

Next, I picked diseases that I could get data on that would be consistently methodologicalized across that spread of countries. I did NOT cherry-pick diseases that cast America in a bad light... in fact, I picked the diseases before I had the data regarding the performance of each country in the category. For all I knew at the time, America would be W00t and the rest of the world would be Suxorz.

Finally, I put the lime in the coconut, spun around three times, and wiped Larry David's piss off of Jesus' chin.

Before we look at diseases on a case-by-case basis, I want to just lob a data grenade toward Sean Hannity, who is convinced that if we have evil socialized medicine in America, then all the doctors are going to quit and become plumbers or cashiers or something like that.

Medical Doctors per 1,000 People
Finland 2.6
France 3.4
Germany 3.4
Israel 3.8<------------- First!
Spain 3.2
Sweden 3.3
United States 2.3<-----------Not first! (nor 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th)

And now for a second auxiliary point... dental care for children. I would posit that a family that does not have regular health insurance is probably not getting routine dental care. For those "slippery slope" folks who think that socialized dental care would be a frivolous act of overt Stalinism, I would point to the causal relationship between gum disease and bacterial induced heart disease. Dental health is an indicator of overall health and early detection of oral health problems prevents extremely expensive cardio-thoracic, emergency care. So, how do we do when it comes to our mouths?

Number of Bad Teeth Per Child
Finland 1.2
France 1.2
Germany 0.7<-----------First!
Israel 1.66
Spain 1.12
Sweden 1
United States 1.19<---------- Not First! (not last, either, so... yay?)

Ok, how about we look at behavior-related diseases. HIV is primarily transmitted through a behavior (sex). So, how do those bad, liberal, socialist countries do compared to us on sexual health, specifically, HIV among 15-49 year olds?

% of 15-49 year olds infected with HIV
Finland 0.07
France 0.35
Germany 0.11
Israel 0.11
Spain 0.46
Sweden 0.07
United States 0.64<---------- Last again... damnit already!

Ok, so I hear a lot about how the US does better with breast cancer than Canada or England. Too bad Canada and England aren't on my list. Let's see how we do on breast cancer among our sample countries:

Breast Cancer Deaths/100,000 Women
Finland 15
France 18
Germany 19
Israel 22
Spain 15
Sweden 15
United States 17<---------- 4th place...

Good news is, 4th place gets a ribbon... Bad news is, the ribbon is pink, and it's because your mom's dead of breast cancer.

Let's go downtown to Cervixville:

Cervical Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
Finland 0.86
France 1.4
Germany 2.2
Israel 1.5
Spain 1.5
Sweden 1.9
United States 1.9<---- Fuck! Tied for second to last place!

In all fairness, though, only 1 in 8 Finnish women actually HAVE a cervix. Little-known fact.

Maybe we'd have more luck 'round back:

Colon Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Men
Finland 11
France 15
Germany 19
Israel 17
Spain 18
Sweden 13
United States 13<----------- Tied for SECOND PLACE! I feel like I'm cheering for the slow kid just because he fouled one off! "Good contact Sparky!" While I'm thinking "stick to the drama club."

And with the girl's butts?

Colon Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
Finland 7.3
France 8.8
Germany 11
Israel 12
Spain 9.7
Sweden 9.9
United States 9.2<---- we slipped... France AND Finland are kicking our cancer-ridden asses

Ok... Liver cancer. We HAVE to beat Germany and France on this one!

Liver Cancer Deaths per 100,000 Men
Finland 4.5
France 10
Germany 4.9
Israel 4.1
Spain 7.9
Sweden 4
United States 4.6<--------- 4th place :-/

Liver Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
Finland 2.2
France 2.3
Germany 1.8
Israel 2.1
Spain 2.7
Sweden 2
United States 1.8<------------- Holy Cirrhosis Batman! Tied for FIRST! It's about damn time.

Alright, let's keep the addiction-related ailments train going! Next up: Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Deaths per 100,000 Men
Finland 31
France 44
Germany 40
Israel 28
Spain 45
Sweden 20
United States 44<------ Tied with goddamn France for second to last? Shit.

Lung Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
Finland 8.1
France 8.2
Germany 11
Israel 9.1
Spain 5.1
Sweden 14
United States 26<---------- WTF?

Side rant for a moment... In the United States, smoking is an activity that is enjoyed disproportionately by people with lower incomes and lower levels of education. People who are MOST likely to forgo routine health care due to the expense of the care or the inability to obtain insurance. It comes as no surprise that a demographic segment that overindexes in propensity to smoke as well as propensity to NOT have health insurance or receive routine care would show high levels of death resulting from a smoking-related disease.

Alright, back up the ass:

Prostate Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Men
Finland 18
France 14
Germany 15
Israel 9
Spain 12
Sweden 20
United States 12<---------- another second place finish! Good contact, Sparky!

We have to find SOMETHING that we are good at... How about... stomach cancer?

Stomach Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Men
Finland 6.8
France 5.9
Germany 9
Israel 7.7
Spain 9.5
Sweden 5.4
United States 3.4<--------- Suck it, Finland!

Stomach Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
Finland 4.1
France 2.3
Germany 4.7
Israel 4.5
Spain 4
Sweden 2.8
United States 1.7<----------------- in your MOUTH, France!

Not to piss on your gold medal in Special Olympics Bowling... but on average, a woman is 30 times more likely to get breast cancer than stomach cancer. A man is 18 times more likely to get prostate cancer than stomach cancer. The combined male + female likelihood of getting lung cancer is 50 times the male+female liklihood of getting stomach cancer. So, it's kinda like bragging that the US has the fewest number of soccer injuries...

However, if you are an alcoholic woman who doesn't smoke and has had the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine (decreased risk of Cervical Cancer), then there is no country on earth where you'd rather get liver cancer! Except Germany, maybe. Go to Iconoclast, Part Trois Sphere: Related Content

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jon Stewart Fox Around

by Cylinsier

Jon Stewart breaks down the White House/Fox News war in the way only he can.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
For Fox Sake!
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Bonus: watch to see a rare moment of objective truth in Fox's admission of their role in reporting the news...which is that they don't play any role in reporting the news. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where's Joe Wilson when you need him?

By Ellipses

Joe Lieberman, you lie!

Are there any doubts where this senator's allegiance lies, now?

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Selective Memories

by Cylinsier

Here's some quotes:

"[This bill] threatens our most basic civil liberties."

"Critics of the Act initially focused on the question of whether [it] sacrificed constitutional protections of liberty and privacy."

"[This bill] undermines the human rights of Americans."

"We must continue to respect our Constitution and protect our civil liberties."

"If we are not careful, [this] will lead to far worse secondary damage, if the U.S. Congress adopts 'preventive measures' that take away the freedom that America stands for."

"[The President and his administration] apparently think Americans are too free."

Just a handful I chose from literally thousands of potential quotes. What do you think they are talking about? If you guessed health care reform, you are wrong. These are all quotes about the PATRIOT Act, the bill that supposedly kept us safe from domestic terrorism for 7 of the previous administration's 8 years of control. Funny how those that supported it so strongly are the same ones telling us now that health care reform threatens the very principals that support the same Constitution they treated like toilet paper when they still had votes. This is what you would call hypocrisy.

The consistency in the conservative argument against health care reform and in favor of the PATRIOT Act is fear. Conservatives feared people of Islamic faith, and that fear bled out to cover anyone not blatantly pro-American and pro-Bush (because he was the President at the time). That fear made the PATRIOT Act seem like the logical choice to them. Now, without the power to control votes in Congress and no presence in the White House, conservatives instead fear the loss of power. That fear bleeds into a fear of anything and everything that is done in government because fear always assumes the worst case scenario. The conservatives cannot conceive of a world that can exist without their control. Thus, they grasp at straws to try to sway opinion back in their favor, claiming the Constitution is at risk, when it is only their biased understanding of it that wavers. In short, conservatives are blinded by fear. This is why they have acted so erratically since losing the last round of elections.

The Republican party is Lord of the Flies, a bunch of children with no mature leadership stranded on an island, trying to establish a new hierarchy where the smart will manipulate the fear to trick the gullible into falling in line.

The quotes above come from:

- Paraphrase of ACLU
- Amnesty International
- Senator Feingold
- Richard Stallman for Slashdot

One last quote for you. This one is from the US Constitution, Article I Section 8.

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States."

I guess the founding fathers didn't account for wild variations in interpretation. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, October 26, 2009

Feel free to choose the option of having the choice of an option if you feel like it

by Cylinsier

The Public Option. Is it alive? Is it dead? Is it in some kind of half-dead half-living state of zombie-like existence, shuffling back and forth on the floor of the Senate, incoherently mumbling and grasping at nearby people as they stare, horrified? Or is that last one Richard Lugar trying to remember where the bathroom is? I don't know.

But I do know this: the whole optional public option thing is kind of silly. Mostly in name. "Optional public option." Think about that. Its like a bullet gun or a wooden tree. In other words, it was optional before you made it optional. The only thing that "optional" part of "optional public option" is accomplishing is the essentially the exact opposite of what anti-reformists have been crying about, and that is more government control.

Let's be reasonable here for just a second. Those of you against the public option are all about making your own decisions without government intervention...right? So if the public option does get passed, do you really want your dumbass governor deciding whether or not you will convert to socialism? We're talking the principal here. The whole point of the option is that individuals are supposed to choose if they want it.

Not that I care that much. It'll be better than nothing and I live in a state that'll choose it. Once the option has been instituted in various states and shows a certain level of success, the other states will bow to pressure and eventually allow it. And it will be successful, as Republicans continue to remind us. Otherwise, they wouldn't be so worried about private insurers going out of business. But I felt the need to point out yet another ridiculous lack of consistency in the anti-reformists' playbook: Using government intervention to protest the intervention of government. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh... THAT's why Fox News can go fuck itself

By Ellipses

It looks like "Token" from South Park has some recurring gigs on Fox News as the "make us not look like crazy, pasty white guys by being a black voice of opposition-consultant."

I thought "all the blacks" voted for Obama because he was black...

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who's the clown, again?

By Ellipses

To return to The Elliptical Press, click here. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crazy Glenn at it Again

by Cylinsier

And you thought shit couldn't get any more fucked. Well it can! Volunteerism is the new communism!

That's right! If you volunteer, you are one of Barack Obama's commie gestapo! This guy... Sphere: Related Content

Open mic

By Ellipses

As of a few minutes ago, I am a confirmed friend of Daryl Metcalfe on Facebook.

Rather than just blindly start badgering him, any suggestions as to the types of questions I should ask him? He only has 218 friends right now... so it's not like I'm one person out of a million probing him on issues... I'd like to get something substantive from him before he "Beveridges" me (*wink).

I'm thinking it may be time to set up a new facebook account... one for a feller who is a Gay Muslim Pro-Obama Soldier who drives a Prius and is married to an abortion doctor. Just for kicks... Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Health Care Rationing: the boogeyman under your bed

by Cylinsier

I was happily reminded recently about another of my favorite arguments against reforming the current health care system, which in case you haven't noticed is so shitty you couldn't possibly make it any worse. The buzz word here is "rationing" and its wielded like a dull rusty knife in the hands of a criminally insane man, running around the room threatening to slash you with it. Its time to set the story straight on what health care rationing is and why people need to stop being so gullible as to piss themselves at the very mention of it.

First, let's establish that your health care is rationed now. It is. If you say its not, you're either lying or you don't know what you're talking about. Health care is currently rationed by cost. You buy a policy that you can afford. You get the level of care associated with that policy. If you need costly surgery for an illness and your insurance doesn't cover it, guess what? Your care just got rationed. How do you know it just go rationed? Because you needed it and you didn't get it. A lot of people who have had great health care most of their lives (military, government, etc.) are going to be scratching their heads at this concept. Since they have never actually experienced what most Americans experience in the insurance market, this is foreign to them. But it is the truth. If you are happy with your current health care, than you are satisfied with a system that rations care.

Will reformed health care also ration? Probably. Will it ration care to people who haven't had it rationed before? Maybe. And I can see how that is scary. But is rationing a bad thing? Brace yourselves: no, it isn't. Let's say grandma is close to death. The doctor comes in and tells you that her insurance will fund a surgery that has a 10% chance of not killing her outright but will grant her another three months of life. Should you do it? Even assuming it is successful and you buy three more months, was it worth the cost, in the tens of thousands of dollars? Consider that by having the operation, you have caused premiums within grandma's network to go up. This means that somewhere else in the state, a little girl with treatable pneumonia can't quite afford to go to the hospital because daddy's premiums got too high the month before and he had to drop his coverage. That little girl eventually goes to the emergency room, but too little too late. The little girl dies so grandma can suck oxygen out of a hose for three months. We can cry and feel offended by this story all we want, but the fact of the matter is it isn't just a liberal fairytale. It happens. Every day.

At what point does one person's life carry more value than another person's life? Where do you draw the line? Is person A's three months worth person B's 70 years? In the above example, it apparently was. And why? Because person A could afford it. That is the difference between the rationing aspect of the current system and a reformed system. In the current system, the value of your life is determined by your paycheck. In a reformed system, it will be determined by your need. And as much as it might hurt to recognize, its time for Americans to grow up, stop being the most selfish people on the planet, and recognize when its time to make the right decisions about health care. And yes, the people that have cash out the wazoo and buy cadillac plans are going to be bent out of shape. Its obvious why; they have lots of money and they demand that it be used to buy them respect. But money shouldn't earn you respect. If you actually put grandma next to the little girl with pneumonia in a room and asked who should get the medical care, just about everyone including grandma would say the little girl.

Does this open frightening doors in a reformed health care system? Yes, there is potential for a slippery slope. But doing the right thing and doing the easy thing are seldom the same. You have to take risks to get rewards. We cannot stonewall any and every type of reform because somewhere down the road someone might be told they don't deserve to be treated for tetanus or something. Ensuring that that doesn't happen is the duty of each and every one of us. Health care is not a switch that gets flipped and then we can all kick back and relax. It will be a constant struggle to monitor it and make sure it is doing what it is supposed to do: serve the people. Why do you think it got so fucked up to begin with? We weren't paying attention. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The "new" GOP... now, with TWICE the rape for more of that rapy goodness you crave

By Ellipses

Remember, 30 republicans voted against the amendment that would prevent the US from using contractors that require this binding arbitration.

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Logical fallacy and health care deform

by Cylinsier

So now that Olympia Snowe has jumped ship and neutered her party (no 40 votes, no sustained filibuster), I've been thinking about the various arguments they will probably try to bring out in a last ditch effort to not piss off those insurers and pharma giants lining their wallets. As I went back over some of the classic GOP arguments, I came to realize just how moronic they are.

First, there's this "choice" one. The inclusion of a public option, a single payer system, or even some reform that lightly suggests that insurance companies lower their rates, probably in a Hallmark card that says "pretty please" in it, will grossly encroach on Americans' freedom to choose where they get their insurance. The GOP seems to be laboring under the impression that people have a wide variety of preferences in coverage. Let's say you take any random person off the street and ask them the following question:
Which form of health insurance do you want?

A. Coverage I can afford that doesn't cover me
B. Coverage that would cover me if I could afford it
C. Coverage that covers me that I can afford
What do you think the breakdown of that question is going to be? I'm guessing a pretty consistent "C" although you'll probably get some smartass with a shitty haircut who claims to be a libertarian saying that you're a nazi. Buying health insurance isn't like buying a car. You don't have to decide what color you like, what kind of hauling power you need or if fuel efficiency is crucial to you. There's not a wide range of designer features to be opinionated about. Health insurance exists to do one thing: make you not dead when you otherwise would be. A good health insurance policy would cover whatever you need it to cover at a price you can meet. This does NOT mean everyone's policy would be identical, it just means that everyone would be catered to by their policy. When you look at it this way, there's no need for a "choice," because everyone's choice will be the same. Maybe this is why the GOP is skittish about the public option; if its good, it will become single payer. But why shouldn't it?

My second favorite illogical argument is really a family of arguments. These include, "a public option will be too bureaucratic," and "your care will be rationed." I call this family of arguments the "what the fuck do you think we're dealing with now" family. This is basically the tactic of taking what's wrong with the current system and implying that its a problem that doesn't exist but will if a new system is introduced. Its like arguing that you shouldn't drink water because it will make you dehydrated. What drives me crazy about these arguments is not that they are wrong but that they are irrelevant. Assuming the GOP is correct, introducing a public option with these flaws that aren't apparently inherent in our other insurance options would work in their favor. It would prove them right. You would think that if the Democrats were so stupid, the best way to show the American people would be to let them fail as proof. No, the GOP is saying all this stuff not to convince you or me, but to try to convince themselves.

We've heard all this before but prepare to hear it again. As debate on bills in both houses of congress heat up, we will get the same rehashed nonsense shoved down our throats again and its going to get very tedious and obnoxious for all involved. But I'm not sure it matters now. Snowe is on board for at least some kind of reform and there is the possibility that Susan Collins will join her. If that's true, then they've thrown their lot in with the Dems and if the final bill does include a public option, it may be politically disadvantageous for them to pull back at the 11th hour. Of course the rest of the GOP will stonewall, but 38 votes cannot sustain a filibuster, and even if blue dogs do not vote in favor of the bill its also politically unwise for them to actually join the Republicans in trying to kill it. With only 51 votes required to pass legislation, a public option is still very possible. Sphere: Related Content

Glenn Beck increases his efforts to offend as many people as possible.

by Cylinsier

Glenn Beck compares the treatment of Fox News by normal people to the treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust. If he still had sponsors, they'd be dropping him right now. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wait... What?

By Ellipses

I thought republicans were "for reform" but just had some philosophical differences with democrats... but Michael Steele is happy to be a big, dead bovine in the way of progress... I don't get it. Are you for reform or are you a 1,500 lb. carcass fucking up everyone's commute?

We know the answer:

Click here to watch Michael Steele moo.

Sorry, for some reason, the embed doesn't work for this video so I can't just stick it on here... innernetz are broke, yo! Sphere: Related Content

The Hypocrisy of Fox News

By Ellipses

So, Fox News covers every flannel-clad circle-jerk tea party in every backwater burgh and boro in America... but then can't find it in them to send ANYONE to cover the gay rights protests in DC?

Queer and Loathing in D.C.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview
Sphere: Related Content

Tim Pawlenty's health care ideas are dumb

by Cylinsier

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is tired of your shit, and by "your" I mean people who actually need health care reform. That's why he's introducing his own state wide legislation to help people not in need of reform feel like they have reform while simultaneously not helping the people who actually need help, something that is actually probably considered a valuable skill for people with Presidential aspirations on a Republican ticket.

Pawlenty's Timsurance plan is three pronged, like a trident. And also like a trident, it will be very effective in killing people. Well, okay, maybe not killing people outright, but it won't be very good at saving people.

Here's how it works:

First, the plan lets Minnesotans purchases health care from out of state, an idea repeated heavily by the right based on the claim that it will inspire more competition. This one isn't terrible but it doesn't really help much with just Minnesota doing it. I honestly don't think health care companies are going to be too concerned about one state doing this. Plus it doesn't really help the uninsured because they still can't afford to buy. And if you're wondering, MN is about equal with the national average on premium costs (a tad higher), meaning just as many states will be charging more for coverage as will be charging less. There's also the distinct possibility of a race-to-the-bottom style market where out of state insurers in states with few regulations will sell very cheap policies that don't actually do anything. People in need of actual services, in other words sicker people, will be forced to the more expensive plans which will become more expensive as they become top heavy with only the sick.

Second, the plan sets up a system where customers of the state's MinnesotaCare/Minnesota Advantage services would pay more if they go to a clinic that is deemed to be more costly and/or less efficient. I don't know, I thought the reason these people got on these programs was because they couldn't afford to pay more (or they're just old). I understand encouraging more efficiency in clinics by trying to steer people away from less efficient ones, but what if your only available option is slow and pricey? Well, you're fucked. Pawlenty probably thought of this, he just doesn't care.

Third, the bill requires people at 133 percent of the federal poverty level or higher to contribute to the cost of MinnesotaCare, which is a head scratcher to me because I thought the GOP was all about less taxes. Oh wait, they're all about less taxes for people that can afford to pay them. Silly me! Now it make sense. Actually, I'm surprised that in a Republican state, they didn't have people all the way down to the 101 percent level already paying in to these services.

By the way, Minnesota yearly wages are below the national average by a small but noticeable margin. That means Minnesotans make less than average but pay slightly more than average for health care. If I lived in Minnesota, I would want to trust Tim that this plan will alleviate the cost of health insurance in my state because its obviously too high. The problem is, you can't trust Tim on health care reform. Why? Track record.

In 2009, Tim Pawlenty cut 381 million dollars from the budget for a health care program for about 35,000 childless adults at or near the poverty line, most with mental illness. Why? Because he doesn't give a fuck. He's going to give a fuck when these people start hitting the ER, driving the state premium rates even higher. And this is just one example of Pawlenty's many cuts to the health insurance budget of his state, where apparently only the wealthiest people should have the right to care. Tim has also threatened to assert state sovereignty to keep Minnesota from having to participate in any federal reform bill that comes out of Congress. Yes, you read that right. Tim will hold his own state's residents hostage from valuable reform if he wants to. Source.

A quote, attributed to many different people, including the likes of Winston Churchill, Gandhi, and Pope John Paul II, says, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." If a man's greatness is measured in the same way, then let's remember how great this man is should he decide to run for President as some suspect he might. Tim Pawlenty is a Grade A asshole, and you don't trust Grade A assholes to have your best interests at heart when they talk about reforming the very thing they've been tearing down for the past year. Pawlenty's plan may sound like it has potential, but its harder to believe that when you consider the man who came up with it. PawlentyCare? No thanks.
Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Party of "No... doesn't always mean 'No'"

By Ellipses

Jamie Leigh Jones alleges that in 2005, she was drugged and gang-raped in the "Green Zone" by employees of Halliburton/KBR, for whom she was also an employee. Afterwards, she was quarantined in a sparsely furnished storage container with armed guards posted outside. According to Jones, she was told that she would lose her job if she left Iraq.

Jones' contract with Halliburton stipulated that her complaint be heard in private arbitration, rather than, you know, in a court of law where there is a record of the proceedings and usually a jury and a verdict and punishment for guilt.

So, freshman senator Al Franken proposed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would prohibit contractors from, and I'm paraphrasing, "doing fucked up shit like that."

Slam dunk, right?

Ok, before we continue... here's a link to a story about Jones' ordeal.

Here's a link to the roll call record for Franken's amendment. 

And here's a link to what I think about the fine folks that we're going to talk about next.

Did I mention that October is "domestic violence awareness month?" Yeah, it even has a nice ribbon that, ironically, is about the exact color of a black eye.

Anyway, Franken's amendment passed 68-30. Senator Byrd didn't vote because he's almost dead and senator Specter didn't vote because, well, hell I don't know why he didn't vote.

But 30 nays? Really? 30 people went with "yeah, you should be able to take tax dollars and then settle your employee rape cases off the record with an arbiter that you appointed to your kangaroo court."

Certainly, with relatively broad support (one third is pretty broad) for handling rape cases the same way you deal with people that take too many sick days, the last thing you'd expect is for the group of pro-desert-ass-rape to be easily grouped into a little box of "What the fuck were they thinking-ness." But alas, such is not the case. The thirty nays came from 30 MALE REPUBLICANS. "The hell," you say? Take a gander:

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Hey! It's our old buddy Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III! I was almost afraid that I was too hard on ole' Jeff back during the Sotomayor debacle. Luckily, Sessions is a syphilitic fuck-stick through and through.

Wow! The south sure is overrepresented in this list! Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, the cackalackies, and Texas... The heartland also makes a strong showing in the "no means 'yes' unless the dude is black" category.

John McCain? What the fuck? You'd think that the venn-diagram of "anti-torture" and "anti-gang-rape-followed-by-shipping-container-imprisonment" would be a single distinguishable circle.

Anyway, Sessions objected to the amendment based on his perception that it was a political attack on Halliburton. Ok, let's say that it is (which it isn't). Does that make it A-okel-dokel for a corporation to take the place of our courts in the event that one of its employees gets assaulted and raped by other employees while doing contracted work a war zone?

Sessions argued that the Franken amendment was an unreasonable intrusion into the private sector and violated the due process clause of the constitution. First, the Franken amendment actually ensures that the due process rights of the individual are maintained... and I'd LOVE to see an argument to the contrary on that one because I don't think there is enough acid in the world to warp my reality enough for me to generate a counterargument to that one. Second, isn't the whole "intrusion into the private sector" argument the same one used against the public option in the health care debate? How do you figure you get to use the same argument against health care reform that you use in favor of corporate cover-up of GANG RAPE?

I want to see the teabaggers make up some signs saying "Keep the government out of my rape trial."

Jeff Sessions.  Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 8, 2009

UFL kicks off tonight!

by Cylinsier

Don't forget, the UFL has its inaugural game tonight at 9 PM, and you can watch it online, for free, right here:

If I'm not mistaken, its also being televised on Versus. So that's another two people that can join the hundreds, maybe thousands, that will be watching online.

If you needed to be reminded of a good reason to watch, some shmuck online made an argument for it a while back.

UPDATE 9:07 pm: Well it took me for goddamn ever to connect to the feed, but the game is up. The teams are only just now taking the field. I tuned in just in time for a Men's Warehouse commercial.

UPDATE 9:15 pm: Kickoff! JP Losman is out on offense first. Jim Fassel seems happy. The stadium is damn near empty and the crowd noise makes it sound like a high school game. I hope Denny Green has a contractual obligation to flip the fuck out in post game at least once this season. It'll be great for ratings.

UPDATE 9:43 pm: Las Vegas finally scores the first points, a field goal. So far, the first thing that stuck out to me is the weird colors; the uniforms are a bold bright mixture, the refs where red Tiger Woods style polos, the first down poles are neon green, and so are the goal post pads. The second thing that stuck out to me is they don't nearly have all the kinks worked out yet. There were several audio problems and some video feed cuts that were a little odd. The announcers are trying hard though and they cut down to live audio of the coaches and players more often than the NFL which is...interesting I guess.

UPDATE the next morning: Well the Mentalist came on at 10 and I watched that instead of the game, then fell asleep. What can I say? I really want to like the UFL and I appreciate that the game was shown for free online. Vegas won 30-17 if you were curious. But the product just didn't have that zip that NFL or even college ball has. It might get there, but it isn't there yet. Sphere: Related Content

Levi Johnson one step closer to literally being a whore

by Cylinsier

CNN reports (via People) that Levi Johnson will be posing nude for Playgirl. He's like herpes: he's annoying, he comes in unpredictable intervals, and all forms of treatment seem to only temporarily hold him at bay. Sarah Palin might be at the point where even she regrets that she became famous.

Here's hoping the Daily Show picks this up; we'll post the clip if they do! Sphere: Related Content

Wow, I'm dense

By Ellipses

I just realized that the "protection" is the body guard... Jeez, I'm slow.

Sphere: Related Content

They should threaten to spank them, too, for good measure!

By Ellipses

Money and power. That's why you go to Worshintin', right? Well... without the power, all you really have is a low 6 figure job generating ad-free content for C-SPAN. Good strategy.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things that Republicans can never do

So many precedents have been set by the opposition party in the past year... Here's a list of things that Republicans can never again do, if we hold them to the stuff they have been saying since Obama's election:

1. The only candidates that the GOP can run in 2012 are George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter. They are the only two people on earth who have experience comparable to Obama and are eligible to be president. In 2008, "experience" was the viagra of the GOP. In 2012, Obama will have more experience being president than anyone, sans Carter and Bush.

2. Females in the GOP must never again show their upper arms.

3. Republicans can never reduce the size of Medicare. That kills old people.

4. Republicans can never expand the size of Medicare. That's a steady march to socialism.

5. Republicans can never push for an amendment. Ever. Not flag burning, not homo-hating, not anti-abortion. The founders, inspired by Jesus Christ, got it spot-on perfect the first time.

6. Republicans can never reduce troop numbers in a warzone. That equals surrender.

7. Republicans can never appoint anyone to a position that may be referred to as a "czar." George Bush's 46 czarist appointees are the last appointed by a Republican president.

8. Republicans must never again admit to being wrong. Not that they were all that good at it before, but just in case they had been practicing, they must never do it in the future.

9. Republican presidents may never lobby for the olympics to be held in America. There is always something more productive that the president can be doing during those 18 hours.

10. Republican presidents must never campaign in Chicago, mention Chicago, go to Chicago, or otherwise acknowledge that Chicago exists. If they must acknowledge Chicago, it must be referred to as "that murderous shit hole of a town, Chicago."

11. You are not allowed to be a Republican if you went to a college that everyone has heard of. Harvard? Elitist. Yale? Liberal bastion. East Texas Institute of Animal Husbandry? Ok, that will work.

12.  Republicans may never again speak to children. Not even their own.

Feel free to add more of your own. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

That's kinda funny

By Ellipses

So, Cy writes up a piece about Windows 7 that praises Vista and criticizes only the pricing for the Service Pack that is Windows 7. Oh, and he mentions Mac OSX in passing... so what does "the google" do? Serves up a hackintosh Psystar ad, of course!

Sphere: Related Content

Windows Pisseda

by Cylinsier

I've already done one blog on my thoughts about Windows 7, but I felt it was necessary to do another because of how fucking pissed I am at the way they are handling the Windows 7 transition this month. For those that don't remember or didn't read the first entry, I am a dedicate Windows Vista user. My current homebuilt machine runs Vista Ultimate 64 and while I am a little disappointed in the lack of features that were allegedly coming at some point, I am actually really happy with the OS and have never had any problems with it. Seriously. It runs like a dream for me.

In my last post, I basically ranted that Windows 7 is a Vista service pack and that its a little absurd that Microsoft is expecting its consumers, especially early adopters of the much maligned Vista, to shell out huge amounts of cash for it. For the record, for me to upgrade to 7 Ultimate, it would cost over $200. If you're buying a fresh install (and you have to if you use XP; there is no upgrade option) its over $300 for Ultimate. Of course, its cheaper for lesser versions, but not that much cheaper.

Mac went through a similar situation with the recent release of Snow Leopard. I want to point out that Tiger, the version of OSX that precedes Leopard is 10.4. Leopard is 10.5 Snow Leopard is 10.6. Mac, being the smart and savvy company that they are, offered very cheap upgrades not just to Leopard users, but to Tiger users as well! We're talking $30 or less.

Microsoft, not to be outdone, nevertheless managed not to grow a soul by offering their own "discount program." Buy a Vista computer now (anytime after June I believe) and get a free 7 upgrade. In other words, adopt the OS we are abandoning at the 11th hour and we'll hook you up. Which is fine, actually; they should give anyone who buys a Vista machine 7 for free at this point since they are kicking Vista to the curb. But I've had my computer much longer than that. What about me? "Fuck you," is basically what Microsoft has to say to me and everyone else that actually supported Vista. You know, the loyal customers.

So why did I make a big deal about the version numbers of Leopard? Here's why: Windows XP is 5.1. Windows Vista is 6.0, a whole new version. Its understandable then that they can't offer upgrades to XP users because they've stepped up to a different architecture. Windows version 6.1. That's right. 6.1. Just like I said before, Windows 7 is a fucking Vista service pack that costs 200 bucks.

I stayed loyal to Microsoft and this is the thanks I get. Same for anyone else out there that, love it or hate it, took a chance on Vista. Right now, 20% of the PC market is Vista. That's one in five people who just got kicked in the nuts, excluding the small portion of those who made the Vista "commitment" after June. Is this pissing me off enough that I'm going to go out and buy a Mac? No. I used OSX 10.4 at my last job for almost 2 years and it drove me bonkers. But it does mean that I'm going to go against my early adopter tendency and skip Windows 7. I won't be getting it any time soon...maybe not ever. Unless Microsoft gets smart and sweetens the deal for those of us that actually deserve it. But what are the chances of that happening? Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In war, mistakes are made

by Cylinsier

Who is Todd? Don't know, but if this sign were posted in Afghanistan, he would potentially be getting a phone call very soon. It seems that the "war" in Afghanistan is stealing some of the attention away from the health care debate and threatening to take center stage in the theater of politics. There's been a drop in support for it and now the politicians are taking sides and arguing if we should stay or go and when and what we do about it and a whole bunch of other shit that, let's be honest, all of us are thankful isn't our responsibility. We haven't even gotten all the way out of Iraq yet and we could be looking at another withdrawal. Don't even want to think about the logistics.

Like Iraq, Afghanistan has gone on for a very long time and hasn't yielded particularly exciting results since the initial ousting of the Taliban. Unlike Iraq, there was an actual reason for us to go to Afghanistan and the people there in large part want us to stay. There were a lot of factors that lead to us leaving Iraq which included the general feeling of our not being wanted around by the local population and the general feeling in the States that we had no business being there. With Afghanistan, the situation is more complicated.

Presidential Adviser James Jones has said today that he doesn't believe there is any immediate danger that Afghanistan would fall back to the Taliban if we left. There are many on the conservative side that disagree with him. I think this is really what its going to boil down to. Troop numbers are important and so is money spent, but in my mind the deciding factor is going to be how stable the nation will be when we leave. Considering the first elected leader is suspected of having cheated to win, I have to say I'm not feeling too comfortable.

But maybe the decision shouldn't rest on that. I'm starting to wonder at what point our own nation's problems trump that of another. I don't think we're there yet but how far off is it, really? At what point do you assume the worst possible outcome, assess the potential damage, and decide that that is acceptable? That's not a rhetorical question, I'd love to hear the responses of commentors from all places on the political spectrum.

My personal opinion is that, assuming the worst case scenario is basically that the current government is corrupt but it remains in power and stays allied with us and fends off the Taliban, then maybe its time to chalk this one up in the win column and get the hell out of dodge, with the caveat that a small force hangs around to help them build a counter-terrorism network. In general, this is how I feel they stand right now, so I'm leaning towards supporting withdrawal in the near future. I eagerly await supporting information as well as counter-arguments. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Glenn Beck really does have to turn in his man card now...

By Ellipses

Sphere: Related Content

I'm Gay For Grayson

By Ellipses

This guy is on fire...

1. In your mouth, Bernanke!

2. The hell you say?

3. I said it and I meant it... you knuckledragging neanderthal!

4. Uhm? Please go fuck yourself?

Sphere: Related Content