Thursday, December 31, 2009
mad about republicans on christmas attack
will the cry in the next year be - "let the landlines go!"
the federal communications commission is delving into the future of communications with a request for comments on an all-ip telephone network. last week, at&t filed its comments, which shows someone at the carrier is reading gigaom, or at least the writing on the wall when it comes to landlines. in a 32-page filing, ma bell asked the fcc to eliminate regulatory requirements that it support a landline network and to provide a deadline for phasing it out. - gigaom
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
rush limbaugh...the drug addled gasbag
conservative radio talk host rush limbaugh was rushed to a honolulu hospital on wednesday afternoon with chest pains, sources told kitv.
paramedics responded to the call at 2:41 p.m. at the kahala hotel and resort.
limbaugh suffered from chest pains, sources said. paramedics treated him and took him to queen's medical center in serious condition. - politico
you can't take the "science" out of "science fiction"
you know, dick..
former vice president dick cheney accused president barack obama on tuesday of “trying to pretend we are not at war” with terrorists, pointing to the white house response to the attempted sky bombing as reflecting a pattern that includes banishing the term “war on terror” and attempting to close the guantanamo bay detention center. - politico
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
yet more proof that "intelligent design" is an oxymoron
the suit was filed in los angeles superior court by the american freedom alliance, an l.a.-based group described by senior fellow avi davis as a nonprofit, nonpartisan "think tank and activist network promoting western values and ideals."
the california science center, in contrast, canceled the afa's screening on oct. 6, saying that the afa had violated its rental agreement.
science center president jeffrey rudolph said in a statement entered in the case file that the news release violated a standard contractual requirement: all promotional materials for outside users' events must be submitted to the museum before they can be made public.
secretly privatizing california's water?
private companies could own, operate and profit from reservoirs and other water-storage projects built with billions in taxpayer dollars under a little-noticed provision of the $11.1 billion water bond that was approved by the legislature and goes before california voters next year.
lawmakers barely discussed the provision while considering the bond, and water experts who were asked about it by the chronicle said they knew little about it or why it was a necessary part of the plan to overhaul the state's water system.
...california historically has retained control of publicly financed water projects. privatization could allow companies to profit by selling back to the public a resource that is essentially the lifeblood of the state economy, or using it for their own profit-making interests like agriculture.
...the bond is set to go before california voters in november and requires a simple majority vote to pass.- sfgate
around blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase!
shakesville asks what's your favorite new year's eve movie?
the blogger formerly known as armando tells us how hcr can get even worse.
condolences to athena, who lost her grandmother.
madama b @ corrente totally regrets signing the firedoglake petition.
tengrain marvels at the education of highly paid writers.
bark bark woof woof gets all nostalgic for the white supremacist that is pat buchanan.
so who’s right? hell if i know. maybe they both are — the excise tax is a means of financing health reform that will impact many middle-class policyholders. or not. hard to say. note that ezra klein is less enthusiastic about the tax than mr. gruber but less alarmed than mr. herbert. exactly how the tax would impact individuals depends on a lot of other factors, apparently.
i have worked for health-care reform all my political life. in my home state of vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform — which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people. i know health reform when i see it, and there isn’t much left in the senate bill. i reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of america. (via)
health care reform
don't say we didn't warn ya
which is exactly what the tax is designed to do.
the tax would kick in on plans exceeding $23,000 annually for family coverage and $8,500 for individuals, starting in 2013. in the first year it would affect relatively few people in the middle class. but because of the steadily rising costs of health care in the u.s., more and more plans would reach the taxation threshold each year.
within three years of its implementation, according to the congressional budget office, the tax would apply to nearly 20 percent of all workers with employer-provided health coverage in the country, affecting some 31 million people. within six years, according to congress’s joint committee on taxation, the tax would reach a fifth of all households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually. those families can hardly be considered very wealthy.
if the republicans really cared
an attempt to blow up a trans-atlantic flight from amsterdam to detroit on christmas day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the transportation security administration — if there were one.
the post remains vacant because sen. jim demint, r-sc., has held up president barack obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of tsa workers joining a labor union. - mcclatchy
i'm not hearing this little detail in all this jaw yapping on the corporate infotainment programs.
Monday, December 28, 2009
saying farewell to 2009....
do your centrist pragmatist duty today
california's golden dream
lightning strikes again
over the past decade, according to bts, there have been 99,320,309 commercial airline departures that either originated or landed within the united states. dividing by six, we get one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.
these departures flew a collective 69,415,786,000 miles. that means there has been one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 mles flown. this distance is equivalent to 1,459,664 trips around the diameter of the earth, 24,218 round trips to the moon, or two round trips to neptune.
assuming an average airborne speed of 425 miles per hour, these airplanes were aloft for a total of 163,331,261 hours. therefore, there has been one terrorist incident per 27,221,877 hours airborne. this can also be expressed as one incident per 1,134,245 days airborne, or one incident per 3,105 years airborne.
there were a total of 674 passengers, not counting crew or the terrorists themselves, on the flights on which these incidents occurred. by contrast, there have been 7,015,630,000 passenger enplanements over the past decade. therefore, the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. by contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. this means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
environmental news stories sunday
nebraska, other states' water worries flow in watchdog analysis. - the environmental working group has obtained the water testing records of omaha, lincoln and towns as small as stromsburg, population about 1,200, and is using them and thousands of others from 45 states to call attention to public health issues. - lincoln journal star
ships will be subject to more stringent emissions standards. - large u.s.-flagged ocean-going ships such as tanker, container and cruise ships will be subject to more stringent emissions standards in 2011 under a rule adopted this week by the federal environmental protection agency.- bergen country record
plasma plant presents powerful possibilities for montgomery. - montgomery is trying become the first city in the country to set up a plasma gasification plant, which could potentially convert up to 175,000 tons of household waste into energy or reusable byproducts - montgomery advertisor
earthquakes stress the heart long-term: study. - the emotional stress from an earthquake and the mayhem that follows may boost the rate of fatal heart attacks long after the disaster.- reuters health
using waves to generate energy is coming, but slowly. - energy companies are trying to take advantage of what surfers have known for years — there’s a lot of energy in the waves pounding the shores of california.- ventura county star
nature's race against time as climate changes. - global temperatures are set to rise faster than the speed at which most animals and plants can move to cooler areas, according to a study estimating the velocity of climate change.- london independent
color this family's home 'green.' - porsche walker's new habitat for humanity house - which could become the third house in the state with leadership in energy and environmental design, or leed, certification - shows "going green" is possible, even for those with a lower income- des moines register
green biz in the black. - when the banks failed and the recession hit last fall, lots of people predicted that the burgeoning green economy would get nipped in the bud. but that's not what happened.- environment report
go tell it on the mountain: the edge doesn't need five homes here. - the u2 guitarist is lining up political muscle and environmentalist star power to support constructing his eco-friendly castles on a pristine ridge near malibu. what's greener? not building at all.- latimes
new spill at same alaska reef as exxon valdez. - a tugboat has struck the same reef as the exxon valdez tanker 20 years ago, spilling diesel into alaska's prince william sound and creating a three-mile-long slick. the us coast guard said on friday that an unknown quantity of the fuel had leaked from the pathfinder tug - afp
texas supreme court ruling discouraged suits against gas drillers. - jim and pat bartlett had just bought 2 acres at the end of a dirt road outside boyd. it turned out that the water in their well was shot full of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide, a corrosive gas that is sometimes produced along with natural gas - fort worth star telegraph
environmental case shows need for tougher regulation, critics say. - a 562-foot smokestack that spewed a plume of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals over 1,000 square miles of washington state's puget sound for nearly a century remains a fitting symbol of the largest environmental bankruptcy in u.s. history- mcclatchy
report finds pollutants lurking in s. florida tap water. - an environmental group's report found that dozens of chemicals show up in tap water, but utilities and regulators defended the safety of south florida's drinking water- miami herald
solar savings. - when san francisco assessor-recorder phil ting looked into solar-powering his own family home, he saw firsthand the hurdles - and the daunting price tag. ting's gosolarsf initiative was begun in july 2008 to make "going solar" more affordable for san franciscans. - sfchron
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Dances with Smurfs: Some Holiday Movie Reviews
1) Avatar - Yes, it's Dances with Smurfs told with a $350 million budget. You will be in awe of the realistic detail of an alien world that's up on the screen...for about 20 minutes. Then you start to wonder, Hey, Is this really the plot? Haven't I seen this story before about a bajillion times, only better? When are these people going to start acting like people and not plot devices? And why did Cameron cast Signorney Weaver when all she does is out-act everyone else in the flick, making us long for the complex character development and emotional depth of Aliens?
Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful and imaginative canvass of a film...like a glorious painting that moves. But unfortunately, it's a movie, not a painting, and the writing is so superficial, that even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool tree-hugging environmentalist progressive liberal, I thought the "white man saves the planet" message to be far too heavy-handed to swallow for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Honestly, the themes are so on-the-nose and the plot is so terribly shallow, that it makes Dr. Seuss's The Lorax seem like the writings of Rachel Carson.
So, be forewarned: it's the most beautiful and awe-inspiring science fiction film ever made, and it seems to have been written by Western Union Plot Telegraph Service for third graders.
Also, I saw it in 3D, and though the effect was more nuanced than previous efforts, the result (like most 3D projects before it) seemed to be not a world of depth and dimensions, but rather a series of various planes that actually appeared to be visibly behind and in front of each other. That is to say, it was if a Movie Screen in the exact shape and size of Giovanni Ribisi was a few feet in front of a Movie Screen in the exact shape and size of a computer console with three guys staring at monitors, which was a few feet in front of a Movie Screen in the shape of a wall with big windows, through which we could see in the distance little tiny Movie Screens shaped like space ships and helicopters. Unfortunately, on the Giovanni Ribisi Movie Screen, his nose didn't look like it stuck out from his face.
The 3D effect looked best in closed rooms; the opening shot in a Zero-Gravity space ship compartment as people were awakened out of their pods from their cryogenic sleep was fantastic. Also any scenes inside rooms at the base, or in temporary outpost huts lent themselves toward better 3D effects.
In the jungle, or outside, the 3D effect was minimized, but by then the screen was full of brilliant CGI of alien flora and fauna. And, truth be told, the sequence where the Hero White Guy and his Native Love Gal flew on dragon/bird/winged lizard creatures through the forests and down valleys and up mountain sides was breath-taking.
Also, mad props to Cameron for great technical advancement in motion-capture. The technique was so seamless that my disbelief suspension was never in question when switching back and forth between scenes of Humans and scenes of Aliens; indeed, my mind registered such scenes as if it were an actual film of actual aliens, with no thought of computers or technology.
If you are at all interested in Cameron's films, or science fiction, or even just the buzz and/or coming attractions, by all means, go see Avatar. But unless you really ate up Titanic and the first two Terminator films and Aliens (and maybe even The Abyss, if you need a tie-breaker), you can afford to pass on this one, or at least wait until it comes out on DVD.
2) Sherlock Holmes: Great! Nice re-imagining, not so much of the original Conan Doyle work, but of Hollywood's treatment of Holmes as a cerebral misanthrope. Robert Downey Jr. captures the mad brilliance of Holmes, and is quite physical (he gets into more than a few fist fights, and wins), which is actually quite canonical to the original character. Also, Jude Law did Dr. Watson a great service by playing him as Holmes' equal, and not a buffoon.
And speaking of technical achievement, this film while not hitting Avatar's amazing technical high notes of progress, did nonetheless look spectacular. I felt as if I was seeing Victorian London, with all its grubbiness and industrial soot and crowded cobblestone alleys. Kudos also to the film's depiction of the Tower Bridge in mid-completion, where the final denouement takes place.
3) It's Complicated: It wasn't really, but it was funny. I laughed out loud many times, and Meryl Streep is one of the funniest people working today (and I say that after seeing her in a movie with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin). Also of interest: John Krasinski from the American version of The Office steals every scene he is in.
It's light, frothy, adult humor (ie, humor about adults, not sex jokes, though there are plenty of those, too). A nice change for those not wanting to see explosions or Princesses and Frogs.
In short, I highly recommend Sherlock Holmes, I'd suggest It's Complicated for some good jokes about relationships and life over 50, and go see Avatar if you are sci-fi geek, but otherwise, skip it.
down the penrose lane
more @ penronse on politics!
once again, the army decided to side with the same contractor that has overcharged them for feeding our troops, electrocuted our forces due to faulty work, and exposed them to human sewage through their inability to even get a building properly plumbed.
...if it were not for senator byron dorgan and his democratic policy committee, there would be no public record of kbr’s outrageous behavior in congress. but dorgan’s good intentions have yet to get his senate colleagues to put some teeth into kbr oversight. as former kbr workers and members of the u.s. military testify about the outrageous behavior of kbr and their arrogant and disturbing corporate culture, these stories are being told to a committee without the power of the purse or oversight authority. the democratic policy committee cannot take testimony under oath or issue subpoenas. it is an ideal setting for a congress afraid of too serious an investigation. by not passing a hot potato on to a big boy committee, you make the public think you are doing something when, in fact, all you are doing is putting on a dog and pony show. - dcbureau
happy boxing day!
simon and garfunkle - the boxer
Friday, December 25, 2009
christmas blast from the past
the pogues & kristy mccoll - fairytale of new york
merry christmas, everyone!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
skippy's thursday night music club
where have we heard this before?
and the belief that, if legislation passes, americans’ own health care costs would rise and quality of care would not improve was reflected in george washington university battleground and kaiser family foundation polls, as well as in many of the other surveys. -- kaiser health news
you know what else is the enemy of "the good"? "the bad."
and an even worse enemy? "the ugly." and that's what this bill is, bad and ugly.
but for the sake of this specific argument, we're not debating the merits of what the senate passed.
no, what we are saying is what kaiser health news adroitly points out: most americans think this bill sucks.
may we remind all those high-minded "something's better than nothing" centrists that a majority of americans wanted a public option, and in lieu of that, an early buy-in to medicare?
now the senate has ignored those americans, in their eyes. why should americans, be they progressive or not, support those who ignore their wishes?
and let us be clear, here, we're not saying "neener neener neener we'll show you by taking our ball and going home." we're saying that most of america feels (or will feel) betrayed by this bill. and we're saying that centrist policy wonks, by holding a holier-than-thou-how-dare-you-complain-about-obama position, do nothing to convince america of the good in this bill, or of their validity of thought.
the worst way to convince someone you are right is by insisting you are, dummies.
this bill will be bad for dems in 2010, especially if the economy stays as stale as it is now.
from bad to perverse
this program is not even a good foundation on which to build later reform. it will be a wasteful, expensive, and probably unpopular program for only a small subset of lower income americans. that is a recipe for making it a target for cuts by conservatives, not expansion by progressives. this bill could easily discredit the move for true universal health care by being such a poorly designed failure.
there is some good in the bill, but not much. it will put roughly 15 million more people on medicaid/chip, but mainly because the private insurance companies did not even want to cover these poor people. it will put some needed regulations on the books, but does not create the strong enforcement mechanisms to make them a reality. but these improvements come at a huge cost. there is a poorly designed tax that will cause many people’s insurance to get worse, a rollback of women’s reproductive rights, and a mandate forcing people to buy low quality, expensive insurance for unregulated private insurance companies. this bill will make the enemies of reform even stronger for the next fight.
the only silver lining is that we live in a bicameral constitutional democracy regardless of how much the washington media refuses to acknowledge this basic fact. the house has passed a better bill that contains actual reform. if progressive house members would use their power to stop any bill that doesn’t contain real reform from becoming law, we could get actual reform. they need to stop enabling the senate transformation of our government into a broken, unicameral, non-representative, super-majority plutocracy.
oh, and yglesias...we'd rather be perverted than vanilla, any old day.
peace on earth
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
jane hamshers of the left are wrong...oops, we mean, they're right
the white house argues that they didn't emphasize it in public speeches, and according to salon's alex koppelmann, that's true. but speaking as someone who did a lot of reporting on their health-care plan, they emphasized it privately quite a bit. it was, in fact, their answer to a lot of the other flaws in their proposal. so whether obama used it in his speeches, his campaign purposefully pushed it to, at the least, some reporters, which is to say they worked to ensure that people knew about the public option's important role in their health-care thinking.
anyway, even if this bill gets passed, there are many progressives that feel it won't be as big a win as the moderate centrists are hanging their hats on. and we'd have to admit that some of the arguments make good sense.
whether or not the policy turns out to be a boon to people's economies in the long run, the idea of a government mandate to force people to buy a private corporate product (ie, health insurance) will be a public relations nightmare. even we at skippy international, who are dyed-in-the-wool leftys, balk at the idea of the government telling us we have to buy something.
we think health insurance is a good thing, and we think that young healthy people who elect not to have health insurance are taking risks they don't understand, but we certainly give them their right to shoot themselve in the foot. who are we, or moreover, the government, to force them into unwanted, albeit utlimately worthwhile consumerism?
if the dems think they can sneak under the mighty wurlitzer that drudge/fox/limbaugh/beck have established without a barrage of cries of "socialism will kill us all!" once this bill gets passed, they are deluded. of course, they think ben nelson is a democrat, so maybe the deluded point is moot.
addendum: on the other hand, it's a bit disconcerting to see jane not only agree w/grover norquist, but also actively work with him against this administration.
the governator hates poor people, disabled people
facing a budget deficit of more than $20 billion, gov. arnold schwarzenegger is expected to call for deep reductions in already suffering local mass transit programs, renew his push to expand oil drilling off the santa barbara coast and appeal to washington for billions of dollars in federal help, according to state officials and lobbyists familiar with the plan.
...if washington does not provide roughly $8 billion in new aid for the state, the governor threatens to severely cut back -- if not eliminate -- calworks, the state's main welfare program; the in-home health care services program for the disabled and elderly poor, and two tax breaks for large corporations recently approved by the legislature, the officials said.- latimes
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
screw the bats and the bees here's the fats and the reindeer
the drifters - i'm dreaming of a white christmas
it’s possible that human beings will simply never be able to figure out how to bring global warming under control — that having been warned about the greatest danger we ever faced, we simply won’t take significant action to prevent it. that’s the unavoidable conclusion of the conference that staggered to a close in the early hours of saturday morning in copenhagen. it was a train wreck, but a fascinating one, revealing an enormous amount about the structure of the globe.
...james hansen, the great climate scientist who started the global warming era with his 1988 testimony before the u.s. congress, and whose team provided the crucial 350 number that now defines the planet’s habitability, refused to come to copenhagen, predicting it would be a charade. he was correct.- yale environment 360
Monday, December 21, 2009
down the penrose lane
more @ penrose on politics!
walk this world
more insurance outrage
california's third largest auto insurer, mercury insurance, created a front group called californians for fair auto insurance rates (cal-fair), to advance a ballot initiative that, if passed, would allow insurers to slap surcharges on drivers who allow their auto insurance coverage to lapse for any reason. - prwatch.org
love the irony
citadel broadcasting corp., the nation's third-largest radio broadcasting company, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on sunday in an effort to restructure its hefty debt load as it continues to face declining advertising revenue.
citadel owns and operates 224 radio stations, including kabc-am in los angeles, wls-am in chicago, wabc-am and wplj-fm in new york and kgo-am in san francisco. citadel's wabc is home to several syndicated hosts, including don imus, rush limbaugh, joe scarborough and mark levin. - sfgate
yet another outsourcing problem
the burn pit contracts: kbr and the army. - kbr exposed soldiers and their employees to toxic burn pit smoke at joint base balad in iraq. soldiers and kbr workers have suffered from health problems consistent with exposure to burn pit smoke since returning home. - dc bureaushould we bill kbr for the cost of healthcare for the soliders that taxpayers are paying for?
Sunday, December 20, 2009
rip brittany murphy
brittany murphy, the bright, peppy star whose career was in its early stages, died tragically today at the young age of 32.
her mother discovered her unconscious in the shower this morning and called 911. paramedics took her to cedar-sinai hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
brittany was a pleasant screen presence who was always believable and bright in her comedies, such as her break-out role in the alicia silverstone vehicle clueless. she was also known for her dramatic turn opposite marshall mather, aka eminem (and boyfriend at the time), in 8 mile.
it's always especially disheartening when someone so young is taken from us. latest reports from the la coroner say that she died of natural causes, and no foul play is suspected. an autopsy will be performed tomorrow.
we were especially taken with her work w/dakota fanning in the frothy comedy uptown girls. she also worked w/ashton kutcher in just married. the two dated briefly after meeting on the set.
god rest your soul, brittany murphy.
environmental news stories sunday
the santa cruz looks healthier, but is it really? - one of the first things newcomers learn about tucson is that the santa cruz river here is no rio grande, let alone a mississippi. it's basically on life support, carrying no water except during increasingly rare storms.- tuscon daily starlouisiana tells epa that it should let congress handle greenhouse gas regulation. - the state department of environmental quality has demanded that the federal dpa rescind its recent finding that greenhouse gases endanger present and future generations, and take no action to require industries and small businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - washington post
city of cyclists. - bicycles are everywhere in copenhagen. the city invests heavily in this low-tech mode of transportation – with wide bicycle lanes, car-free streets, and special traffic lights, to make cycling safe, easy and fun - living on earth
biggest private funder of amazon conservation teams with google and scientists to develop earth monitoring platform. - the platform, which was officially unveiled at climate talks in in copenhagen, promises to enable near real-time monitoring of the world's forests and carbon at high resolution at selected sites before cop-16 in mexico - mongabay
residents of area say nosebleeds, breathing problems part of life now. - some 140 families took the tva buyout of their homes and land and relocated after the ash spill at the kingston fossil plant, but others remained. nearly a year later, living near the ash spill disaster zone remains a horror story - knoxville sentinel
pines residents still not certain of coal ash’s effects. - year after year, toxic chemicals from coal ash dumped in the town of pines spread under residents' feet. what it has done to their surroundings, their children, themselves, the residents of pines are still unsure. all they can do is wait. - michigan city news dispatch
drinking problems. - like many water utilities across the u.s, disinfectants like chlorine are added to the supply to remove life-threatening microbes. but when the disinfectants interact with organic material that seeps into drinking water, new chemicals are formed that could be a potential health hazard. - glens falls post star
dry coffers can mean that fires burn longer. - the budget-challenged city of sacramento has instituted rolling brownouts at fire stations to save money, at the risk of precious seconds during fires. - nytimes
oceans becoming nosier thanks to pollution. - the world’s oceans are becoming noisier thanks to pollution, with potentially harmful effects for whales, dolphins and other marine life, us scientists said in a study published sunday. the concentration of chemicals that absorb sound has declined from ocean acidification - afp
in industrial thailand, health and business concerns collide. - villagers in map ta phut avoid walking in the rain because it burns their skin and causes their hair to fall out. they have trouble breathing at night when factories release toxic fumes, they say. and the community is terrified by what studies show are unusually high cancer rates - nytimes
high lead levels found on soup can reopen mystery of doomed franklin expedition. - lead levels that are “off the scale” have been confirmed after tests were done this morning on the lid of a soup can dating back more than 150 years. the findings reopen the mystery surrounding the cause of death of sir john franklin and his doomed crew as they searched for the northwest passage- exchange magazine
un left hundreds of kosovo kids to die of lead poisoning. - sara jahirovic is dying a slow, painful death. sara is just one of hundreds of forgotten children abandoned to suffer brain damage and await death in an international scandal exposed today by the sun. - london sunand, regarding copenhagen...not everyone walked away with the idea that it was a winning accord.
climate scientists underwhelmed by copenhagen accord. - top climate scientists said saturday that the eleventh-hour political deal hammered out at un talks in copenhagen falls perilously short of what is needed to stave off catastrophic global warming- afp
copenhagen summit ends in blood, sweat and recrimination. - gordon brown and barack obama did their best to put a positive spin on it, but copenhagen was a disaster- london daily telegraph
'toothless' climate deal struck by superpowers. - president barack obama said that an "unprecedented breakthrough" to curb greenhouse gas emissions – including a mechanism to verify compliance – was achieved, after a frenzied day of diplomacy at the un climate talks. - edinburough scotsman
climate leaders: the rhetoric vs. the reality. - they had been urged to side with the angels but ultimately, base political instinct seems to have prevailed among the world's most powerful leaders as they sealed a climate pact among themselves, sparking fury elsewhere. - afp
one planet, different worlds. - all eyes in copenhagen were on china and president barack obama friday night, but no event captured the discord, mistrust and distance separating all sides at these climate talks than a pair of press conferences held simultaneously at the bella center earlier in the afternoon. - daily climate
poorest of the poor ask why copenhagen failed to listen. - it's hard to see how the copenhagen accord delivers justice to people in poor countries that are least responsible for climate change but suffer its impacts right now. - sydney morning herald
always to play
Saturday, December 19, 2009
it's the feel-good post-apocalyptic cannibal movie of the year!
rahm it up your ass
they think that progressives who dislike the bill are spoiled middle-class trust fund babies who don't have to worry about healt insurance.
well, for both of those gentlemen, we have four words:
steve gilliard and jim capozzola
(yes, techncially, that's 5 words, but we're not counting the conjunction.)
both steve and jim were incredibly astute progressive bloggers who were not only keenly analytical about the problems facing this country, but also incredibly generous with their time and attention.
(and, surprise surprise, steve was not a "middle-class white voter.")
both of those wonderful gentlemen passed off this earth this last decade, because they didn't have health insurance that could adequately cover their illnesses.
both of these enormously gifted writers were special friends to this blog...both gave early encouragement to skippy's efforts in the beginning, and jim even secrety bought away the blogger banner ad at the top of this blog back in the paleozoic period of blogging, as gesture of kindness to us.
for blogtopia and yes, we coined that phrase, to have lost two such dynamic and important voices due to lack of affordable insurance is the large, gaping wound into which brownstein and emanuel rub their inside-the-beltway salt when they disparage progressives as being out of touch with this issue.
so, ron and rahm...kindly go f^ck yourselves.
ben nelson held his healthcare vote for ransom
under the current merged legislation (the version unveiled on november 18th), the federal government fully finances care for the expanded population for two years and increases its matching funds (known as fmap) thereafter. page 98 of the managers amendment specifically identifies nebraska for higher federal matching funds, fully funding its expansion for an additional year: - think progress wonk room
as part of the deal to win nelson's support, the federal government will pay for nebraska's new medicaid recipients. it's a provision worth about $45 million over the first decade.yeah...he "understands" what christmas has become all about...."gimme gimme gimme"
medicaid is usually paid for with a mix of federal and state funding, but nelson's carve out means that any medicaid beneficiaries who join the program after the bill passes will be paid for in full by the federal government. - politico
i thought it was supposed to be about caring for mankind...showing generosity and kindness...treating others like you want to be treated yourself.
within you without you
大麻 ( マリファナ ) を吸うとこうなる！
Friday, December 18, 2009
rahm: a lot of ding dong
“there are no liberals left to get” in the senate, emanuel said in an interview, shrugging off some noise from the likes of sen. bernie sanders (i., vt.) that a few liberals might bolt over the compromises made with conservative democrats.
nor ron brownstein, either:
the 2004 presidential campaign that propelled dean to national prominence was fueled predominantly by "wine track" democratic activists-generally college-educated white liberals. (in the virtually all-white 2004 iowa caucus, for instance, exit polls showed that two-thirds of dean's votes came from voters with a college degree.) those are the same folks, all evidence suggests, who provide the core support for online activist groups like moveon.org or dean's democracy for america and congregate most enthusiastically on liberal websites. (according to studies by the pew internet & american life project, college graduates are more than twice as likely as those with only a high-school degree to communicate about politics online.) along with dean, those digital democratic activists are generating the loudest demands to derail the senate bill.
some individuals in these overlapping political networks undoubtedly face challenges with access to health care, but as a group college-educated whites are much less likely than any other segment of the population to lack health insurance.
uh, that's right. ron thinks that we're objecting the hcr bill not because of policy or agenda, or substantive differences we have with the idea of corporate giveaways. no, it's because we're some kind of 'liberal elites.' wait, where have we heard that before?
well, we suppose the white house and the dnc don't need those votes. not the vote of the blogger formerly known as armando:
or the vote of john aravosis
then there's my asthma. the asthma that my doctor tells me i need to get under control or i'll be carrying an oxygen tank around with me in 20 years. carefirst cut me off my asthma drugs november of last year because i'd reached my annual limit. you see, the same drug companies sell the same drugs in the states at three to five times the prices they charge in europe. so my asthma medicine, the only one there is for my condition, there are no alternatives, broke the bank. why did it break the bank? because my insurance company only gives me $1500 a year in prescription drug coverage. and that's the same amount they gave me in 1999 when i began on this plan. my premiums have nearly tripled in ten years, while my prescription benefits remain the same - meaning, with inflation/rising drug prices, my benefits are going down.
ron brownstein needs to graduate beyond schoolyard journalism. as for the white house, i'm glad to see that they're finally learning how to fight. now if they could only channel their nascent backbone towards taking on republicans, conservative democrats and other people who didn't help put them in office - rather than crapping on people who put them in office - then their education would be complete.
or the vote of taylor marsh:
i’ve been uninsured many times in my life and it was for a reason. as a self-employed person i couldn’t afford it. i see this plan to force people to buy insurance, looking at those un-insured times in my life and thinking about paying a penalty, and i just want to scream at the top of my lungs.
this is a free country last time i looked.
democrats have absolutely no right and no moral authority to tell me or anyone else they must buy anything, least of all inside a rigged market that sends me further into debt or maybe worse.
my inner libertarian is on fire, and i’m a die hard liberal. if that isn’t a warning sign nothing is.
or, apparently, the votes of 63% of democrats in america:
meanwhile, if the public option and medicare buy-in are added, 58 percent of people support the idea. the number of republican supporters drops to 22 percent, but independent support rises to 57 percent and democratic support to a whopping 88 percent.
nah. who needs those votes anyway?
mad about dressing down the president
how the democrats can still win with meaningful health care reform
Thursday, December 17, 2009
health care q & a - holes
and smarter, more erudite bloggers than we have explained why:
firstly, nate silver @ 538 expressed much the same feelings as you did, jim, only with less keyboard symbology substituting for profanity. he asked 20 questions for bill killers.
jon walker @ firedoglake gave him 20 answers, as did markos moulitsas. our own alumnus, rj eskow, mulled over the same ground @ huffpo.
to his credit, nate responded to the jon and markos. but sometimes he still actively misses the point:
jw: that money will help a few people in the short term, but, in the long run, our system built on private insurance companies is unsustainable, and will ruin our entire economy. i have zero confidence that the subsidies promised today will remain the same in the future. they might be increased by future democrats or reduced in 2016 by a republican congress. without cost controls, that money will quickly be eaten up by the ever-growing cost of health care. this reform is about trying to fix the system, not patch it with more money.
markos' point that this represents a "simplistic view of liberals" is intriguing -- certainly, it is interesting to me how some of the liberal and conservative critiques against the bill have started to coalesce -- but we'll address this at another time.
and as to nate's counter that he doesn't "know you can just brush off...helping 30 million people to become insured":
howard dean's democracy for america points out:
basically we are of the opinion that without a public option (or, at the very least, a medicare buy-in), this bill is simply another bail out of yet another multi-billion dollar industry, with no help for the middle class, let alone poverty level americans.
does that answer your question, jim?
jack bauer interrogates santa
games without end
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
if the senate version of "reform" becomes law can we please not call it historic?
sick health care
also via fdl, here's glenn greenwald on msnbc explaining why this whole thing sucks:
msnbc! it's like nbc, with ms!
oddly enough, that's just how we sing that song, too.
united congress of big pharma
there’s no legitimate reason to bar re-importation, except one: to preserve a subsidy for the pharmaceutical industry and, by extension, preserve the flow of campaign contributions to the democratic party. that is why president obama is now opposing the sensible measures he endorsed as a candidate. he is pursuing this year’s expedient goal of getting a campaign war chest now that he’s already achieved last year’s expedient goal of getting elected. - matt taibbimight i remind those morons in d.c. that they are siding with criminal corporations over americans?
pfizer pleaded guilty in 2009 to the largest health care fraud in u.s. history and received the largest criminal penalty ever levied for illegal marketing of four of its drugs. called a repeat offender, this was pfizer's fourth such settlement with the u.s. department of justice in the previous ten years - wikipediaoh...and lets see...since all those "foreign countries are so unreliable in safety", guess we shouldn't buy any drugs from bayer (germany), novartis (switzerland), glaxo-smith kline (united kingdom), hoffman laroche (switzerland), astrazeneka (uk/sweden). and the "big secret"...
i think that anyone who voted against giving americans the ability to save their lives with affordable drugs should line up for one, huge suppository. cuz that's what they gave the rest of the country.
the implication in that warning is that drugs purchased in the united states are therefore safer, correct? what the fda didn't tell anyone, however, is that most pharmaceuticals purchased in the united states are manufactured outside the u.s.; many from china or puerto rico. - natural news.com
nothin's gonna change my world
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
while the media circus circles around tiger
satellite imagery has revealed the full extent of the unsustainable water use in california for the first time. the data released yesterday (december 14) by the north american space agency (nasa) paints a bleak picture for the state, which has suffered a drought for the past three years.
..."the findings have major implications for the us economy as california's central valley is home to one-sixth of all us irrigated land and the state leads the nation in agricultural production and exports." - edie.net
more outrage over institutionalized anal gang rape, er, we mean, health care reform
” the republicans fuck you 95 percent — we only fuck you 90 percent. merry christmas.
ps remember to sign up for gotv”
it wasn't much in doubt, but sen. olympia snowe (r-me) confirmed to reporters tonight that senate majority leader harry reid assured her all of thecorporate democrats....need to get the f*** out.
contentious aspects of the public option compromise--particularly the medicare
buy-in provision--have been dropped. - tpmdc
why should i vote for another "democrat" again? they don't give a flying rat's a** about working americans. at least the republicans are openly hostile toward working americans. you know right off the bat they want poor americans to just keel over and die.
Please Hit the Tip Jar
progressives for palin
we knew things were bad when obama threw the lgbt community under the bus.
we shuddered when he refused to close gitmo.
we were stricken when he announced the afghan surge.
now we are completely in despair, since the democratic majority in both houses and the democratic president have cowered before the mighty lieberman and cried out, "thank you sir, may we have another?"
mr. lieberman said he believed that the medicare expansion was off the table, though he did not get any guarantee. “not an explicit assurance, no,” he said. “but put me down tonight as encouraged at the direction in which these discussions are going.”
mr. lieberman could not be happier. he is right where he wants to be — at the center of the political aisle, the center of the democrats’ efforts to win 60 votes for their sweeping health care legislation. for the moment, he is at the center of everything — and he loves it.
the kos kids are cantankerous. the firedoglakers are furious. dr. dean is disgusted. blogtopia is boiling mad, and yes we coined that phrase.
there are centrists who say we should hold our noses and support this watered-down version. but we agree w/rep. lynn woolsey, who said on msnbc that this bill w/o a public opition (or at least a medicare buy-in) might be health insurance reform, but it's certainly not health care reform.
we also agree w/the commentor pinson on greg sergent's blog who says:
we are afraid they are mistaken.
it won't be pretty, but we can foresee the mid-terms turning both houses a little (or perhaps even a lot) red. the dem base will probably stay at home, or vote third party.
and this mis-step on health care reform, along w/his previous back-peddling on other campaign promises, might even be bad news for obama in 2012.
paging president palin...
down the penrose lane
more @ penrose on politics!
the future is certain
Monday, December 14, 2009
enough of sensible, moderate, "responsible" bipartisanship
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Second Sunday in Mad Music Xmas Countdown
As an added treat, you can also vote for the best new Xmas song here. I suspect "Sarah Palin Shot Santa's Reindeer" has the advantage of ballot placement, but "Healthcare Blunderland" and "Santa's Gonna Telecommute This Xmas" deserve some consideration.
In honor of that, a noble song covered by someone whose "Most of '81 passed along that way" means "Gosh, the original was twelve years old when I was born."
environmental news story sunday
the doubt industry. - there are many reasons why a binding agreement may not emerge from copenhagen. we would put near the top of the list the well-funded campaign of junk science designed to mislead people into thinking that there is a difference in scientific opinion about climate change - brattleboro reformer
climategate gives ammo to global warming skeptics. - the first thing to know about climategate is that, despite the uproar, it doesn't prove global warming is a fraud. that said, the e-mails do reflect a disturbing level of pettiness, groupthink and willingness to disguise inconvenient data among leading climate scientists - usa toady
climate e-mails were hijacked 'to sabotage summit.' - un officials have likened the theft of e-mails from university climate researchers to the watergate scandal, after claiming computer hackers were probably paid by people intent on undermining the copenhagen summit - london times
hackers paid by climate sceptics, un says. - united nations officials have suggested that computer hackers who pilfered thousands of emails and files from a british university were probably paid to undermine the copenhagen climate change summit. - melbourne age
special investigation: climate change emails row deepens - and russians admit they did send them. - the claim was both simple and terrifying: that temperatures on planet earth are now "likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years." - london daily mail
climategate: anatomy of a public relations disaster. - the way that climate scientists have handled the fallout from the leaking of hacked e-mails is a case study in how not to respond to a crisis. but it also points to the need for researchers to provide more open access to data. - yale environment 360
us republicans vow to rain on copenhagen parade. - republican lawmakers critical of efforts to battle climate change said they would fly next week to the copenhagen summit to undercut president barack obama's promises of strong us action - afp
sceptics 'willing to resort to illegal acts to stop deal'. - climate sceptics are willing to resort to “illegal acts” to stop a deal on global warming, the united nations top scientist has warned as key climate change talks open in copenhagen. - london daily telegraph
climate scientist sent death threats. - an australian born scientist at the centre of the east anglia university email affair says he has received a number of death threats. - abc news
the climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. - remember this the next time you hear people claiming that climate scientists are only in it for the money, or that environmentalists are trying to create a communist world government: these ideas were devised and broadcast by energy companies. - london guardian
and some other news that is getting lost in the fabricated "war" over 10 year old emails.
climate change: turning up the heat. - for the african fishermen whose lake has dried up and the cuban family whose home was flattened by a hurricane, global warming is a reality. photographers matthias braschler and monika fischer put a human face on the biggest threat facing our planet.
acidification threatens the world's fish species. - while in copenhagen the world debates its response to global warming, a related but little-known menace is threatening b.c.'s salmon and other fish species: ocean acidification. - vancouver province
b.c.'s old-growth forests being systematically cut down. - the old-growth forests of vancouver island and the british columbia coast are canada's most valuable weapon in the battle against climate change, but they are being systematically destroyed, according to a new report by the sierra club b.c - victoria times colonist
why britain faces a bleak future of food shortages. - britain faces a 'perfect storm' of water shortage and lack of food, says the government's chief scientist, and climate change and crop and animal diseases will add to future woes. science is now striving to find solutions - london observer
in new orleans, chaos in the streets, and in police ranks too. - new orleans police shot 10 civilians, at least four of whom died, after hurricane katrina made landfall. but a fresh examination of the post-storm period — a joint effort by propublica, the new orleans times-picayune, and pbs “frontline” — raises additional questions about the actions of police - propublica
coral climate crisis puts 250 million at risk. - more than 250 million people risk losing their livelihoods because of dying tropical coral reefs in what a senior un environmental economist said on saturday was part of a double climate crisis facing the world - reuters
'renewables produce cheaper electricity than generators.' - president mohammad nasheed believes climate change is the 21st century's greatest human rights issue and has called for massive investments in renewable energy and green technologies to address this critical issue. - dubai gulf news