Thursday, July 19, 2012

What's a Gym?


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

California GOP for Smoking. Nice.

California Republicans join Altria, RJ Reynolds and other tobacco companies and contribute over $1 million to fight cancer research tax on cigarettes.

SUPPORT: $12.3 million raised in total

RankContributor nameTotal

OPPOSITION: $46.8 million raised in total

RankContributor nameTotal

Reference: Prop 29 Funding for $1 per pack tax for cancer research.


Quote of the Day:

All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.

~ Benjamin Franklin, letter to Robert Morris, December 25, 1783

(h/t Andrew Tobias who has an excellent discussion of the topic of wealth creation, protection, anti-tax zealots and the intent of the Founders of the US government.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Words we get from India

50 words from India

  • A - atoll, avatar
  • B - bandana, bangle, bazaar, Blighty, bungalow
  • C - cashmere, catamaran, char, cheroot, cheetah, chintz, chit, chokey, chutney, cot, cummerbund, curry
  • D - dinghy, doolally, dungarees
  • G - guru, gymkhana
  • H - hullabaloo
  • J - jodhpur, jungle, juggernaut, jute
  • K - khaki, kedgeree
  • L - loot
  • N - nirvana
  • P - pariah, pashmina, polo, pukka, pundit, purdah, pyjamas
  • S - sari, shampoo, shawl, swastika
  • T - teak, thug, toddy, typhoon
  • V - veranda
  • Y - yoga
And the expression, "I don't give a dam" is not profane, Rhett Butler notwithstanding.

From the BBC article:

Take the entry for the Indian word dam. The dictionary defines it as: "Originally an actual copper coin. Damri is a common enough expression for the infinitesimal in coin, and one has often heard a Briton in India say: 'No, I won't give a dumree!' with but a vague notion what a damri meant."
That is the etymology of dam. But Yule and Burnell have more to say.
"And this leads to the suggestion that a like expression, often heard from coarse talkers in England as well as in India, originated in the latter country, and that whatever profanity there may be in the animus, there is none in the etymology, when such an one blurts out 'I don't care a dam!' in other words, 'I don't care a brass farthing!'"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Quote of the Day:

 “Fraud is a crime in ordinary business — why shouldn’t it be so in banking?  Punish wrongdoing. Right the wrong of the age of irresponsibility.”

George Osborne, Conservative British Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking on Barclays' manipulation of LIBOR.

My comment: One of three things will happen:

1. This advice will be heeded and the banksters will be perp-walked, indicted and imprisoned as the law requires.

2. "Sense" will be talked into Mr. Osborne, the scandal will bow over and Western civilization will continue down its destructive path.

3. Mr. Osborne will be eliminated in some other way.

My guess is #2.

Monday, July 09, 2012


Quote of the Day

"We've got the message, but my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact."
                         ~Romney Campaign Donor at $75,000 per couple Hamptons Event, refused to give her name.

We are so-o-o-o fortunate that the plutocrats have our best interests at heart, we the unwashed laborers who are just too damn ignorant to "get the message."   Because, after all, it was we, the nails ladies and babysitters-- I resemble this class much more than that of the plutocrats' class-- who broke the world.

How come I'm not reassured by knowing that this woman "understands how the the systems work" better than I do?  I'm certain she does know how the "systems work" better than I do and maybe it just means that we need to change the "systems."

Friday, July 06, 2012

There is no GOP healthcare plan

Even if you have nothing to write, write and say so. ~ Cicero

We've known this all along. but sometimes it's important to remind ourselves.

Occasionally in the heat of campaign stops a candidate blurts out the already apparent, against his better judgement.  The Republicans have promised to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act as soon as taking office. It turns out the repeal part will be a lot easier than the replace part.  What will the GOP do instead of Obamacare?

Rep Lee Terry (R-NE)
Republican Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE), a 10-year member of the House, was recently interviewed on the campaign trail. From ThinkProgress:

KEYES: If it does ultimately all get struck down, what do we do for 57 million people who have pre-existing conditions?
TERRY: We’re going to work on that. We’re going to do it by looking at first, how do we lower health care costs, how do we make the system more efficient and less costly.
KEYES: Are there any ideas on how to do that?
TERRY: There’s going to be lots of ideas. We just have to accept all of them.
KEYES: Do we have any yet?
TERRY: We’re going to hold hearings, we’re going to invite experts. This is not going to be a closed process at all. It’s going to be completely open where we take as many ideas for reform as we can get and then we’ll see what it takes to deal with those that need more attention if they have significant pre-existing. So we’re going to deal with all of those issues.
KEYES: The mantra for a while has been “repeal and replace.” Is there an idea of what the replace would be yet?
TERRY: No. We want to take it in a very deliberate, open approach and take everybody’s ideas.
[Emphasis from ThinkProgress].

Ah, yes, very deliberate, indeed! Ten years in the House!! Is this a serious answer to a serious problem? The same answer that the Republicans have muttered for all those years that they were in power? How many more decades will Mr Terry need for deliberation? 

My Comment.   Here's the deal: If the Republicans feel that the federal government has no place in health care reform, fine, then why not just say it?  That would be a truthful response and maybe lead to further debate about the overreach of government, etc. Why pretend that the Republicans have anything better than the Affordable Care Act to address this yawning economic problem? 
Answer: because they want to have it both ways. They can whine about having to deal with the current law, complain about its weaknesses, but offer nothing to replace or improve it.
This is similar to their views on Medicare. The Republicans whined and complained for a generation about how evil Medicare was but once their constituents retired they were immediately okay with it.  In fact, they even increased the benefits through Medicare Part D at a cost of a trillion dollars over 10 years!!
I understand why Republican representatives would support existing Medicare even if they disagreed with the concept: after all their constituents paid into it for all their working lives, and even assuming they had paid too much for the benefit, they certainly deserve to get it once retired. What I don't understand is why these same small-government Republicans would then increase the (supposedly) insolvent benefit program with no way to pay for it. It's cognitively dissonant and they've rescinded their bitchin rights.
Now they are doing similar obfuscation with the Affordable Care Act, and 20 years from now a Republican President and Republican Congress will be spending a trillion dollars of borrowed money to expand the ACA for some short-term political gain. 
Anyway, here's the video of the Esteemed Deliberator:
As Cicero, the great Roman Senator implied, even if you have no plan, and no intention of a plan, please tell us.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Youk delivers in the 10th

The South Side's latest addition, Kevin Youklilis, hit the walk off single to score Alejandro De Aza in a come from behind win against the daunting first place Texas Rangers.

Care must be taken not to read too much into one game or one regular season series, but this one feels real good.  Tonight's win comes off last night's 19-2 drubbing the Sox put on the Rangers' ace Roy  Oswalt who gave up 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Youkilis's at-bat tonight was a grinding affair of a dozen or so pitches that ended in a solid hit to left, but the preceding at-bat by De Aza was similar, including a foul ball off his knee that had sent him to the ground. In between, De Aza had the wherewithal to steal second to put himself in position to score.

This game, while not as flamboyant as last night's 19-run jobbing, was prettier. The White Sox struggled from behind, made some excellent defensive plays and toughed it out with base hits and base running. There simply is nothing prettier than a tough mano-a-mano at-bat that results in a walk-off win. That's baseball.

The bigger story is that so many sports pundits had picked the White Sox to come in last place this year. Yes, the season is far from over, but the Sox are also far from last place.  General Manager Kenny Williams, much maligned here and elsewhere on the interwebs, has a redeeming quality: he's the eternal optimist. Williams never stops trying to improve his team, never hesitates add a player who might help in some tiny way. To catch lightning in a bottle, you have to keep the lid open.

We've had some good baseball and the second half brings the White Sox another veteran hero in Kevin Youlilis, a bullpen full of kids to go along with their rookie manager, and lots of heart. We have a World Series to win.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Rick Scott, Professional Liar

As I was watching CNBC yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott was expounding on his dislike for the Affordable Care Act, which is fine, there are certain elements of the act that are bothersome to me as well. As he continued, however, the charges against the ACA became wilder and more brazen, with no challenge from the journalists, that is, if kool-aid drinkers Joe Kernan and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera could be considered journalists.

CNBC is apparently a fact-free zone, although in the network’s defense they did post a clarification today on their website-- but not on air-- from the Associated Press remarking that Rick Scott “overstated” one claim about the ACA.

Rick Scott, in fact, lied. This was not a mere overstatement, he made numerous specific false claims. Politifact has a detailed piece outlining Scott’s orchestrated attempt to deceive CNBC viewers about the legislation.  

And make no mistake, Rick Scott knows a lot about health care and he knows a lot about health care deception.  He's a pro. In the 1990’s, Scott was forced to resign as CEO and Chairman of the giant hospital conglomerate Columbia/HCA after 19 counts of felony fraud were rendered and fines of over half a billion dollars were paid for cheating Medicare-- yes, Medicare, your grandma and grandpa’s health insurance.  Yet Scott can get on TV with a straight face and expect to be taken seriously.
Of all the millions of qualified people, this is the guy Floridians chose? This is the guy CNBC chose to interview on the ACA?

Scott’s a grifter, found to have overseen the heist of tax dollars by the ton, and, unsurprisingly, he’s still full of shit. How on earth could anyone vote for such a malicious lying prick to be governor? 
Have we as a nation lost our collective mind?

Monday, July 02, 2012

GOP is stunningly wrong on healthcare

No question the Affordable Care Act has problems that will need to be addressed at some point. The issue at hand is what is the alternative to it?

The provisions within the ACA that are popular and would go away with the promised repeal are:

1. Insuring kids up to age 26 on their parents' plan
2. Including 30 million uninsured into either private insurance or Medicaid
3. Prohibiting life time benefit limits on chronically ill patients
4. Wellness coverage for routine screenings
5. Pre-existing condition coverage at the federal level

If the GOP has it's way, all these would be repealed in January 2013 with no alternative plan in place.

House Speaker John Boehner: "Deal with it"

Boehner explains: "We believe that the state high-risk pools are a much more effective way to make sure that those with pre-existing have access to affordable health insurance."

"Access" to affordable health insurance," O'Donnell repeats, "You're not saying that you would be for a law that would prevent discrimination against those individuals?"

"No," states Boehner flatly, "We just believe there's a better way to make sure that they have affordable access to quality health insurance."

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell: The uninsured "are not the issue."

Video here.

"I just want to ask what specific steps are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?" Wallace pressed.

"That is not the issue," McConnell insisted.

"You don't think the 30 million people who are uninsured is an issue?" Wallace wondered.

"We're not going to turn the American health care system into a Western European system," the Kentucky Republican replied. "They want to have the federal government take over all of American health care."


From Forbes:

...Under RomneyCare, as Rick Santorum supporters called it during the primaries, 98 percent of the state’s residents have affordable health insurance. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has not gone broke. It’s unemployment level is 6 percent this month, falling from 6.3 percent in April and better than the national average of 8.3 percent. No one is even considering overturning the 2006 law, sources from Blue Cross Blue Shield told me earlier this year. Mike Widmer, president of the non-partisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, told me the same thing when I was covering the New Hampshire primaries for Forbes. 

Companies are not going belly up because of RomneyCare. Private insurers operate in the state along side the non-profit health insurers like Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross Blue Shield. There have not been massive layoffs in the industry because of the law.

Over the five full fiscal years since the law’s enactment, the state has spent $91 million a year, well within the budgeted expectations. RomneyCare is not a budget buster, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says.

Boehner and McConnell would deny people like this:

(h/t OTS)

My comment:

While I am loathe to put 30 million individuals on Medicaid, the status quo of having one out of three adults under age 65 uninsured is not sustainable.

The Republicans would be cognitively consistent if they would also be calling for the repeal of Emergency Medical and Transfer Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and admit that if the Constitution cannot compel people to get insurance it also cannot compel doctors and hospitals to care for the sick without payment.

Kentucky tried to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions without a mandate and the predictable happened: everybody just waited until they got sick to take out a health insurance policy-- like getting car insurance after you ran into the telephone pole-- and premiums went up 40%. Duh.  But then Kentucky also elected Rand Paul to the Senate so that fits.

The mandate is necessary. My fear is that the ACA's penalty (or tax or fee or whatever you want to call it) for free-riders is not strong enough...but that's another issue.

Boyz N Da Hood on the Uke

Keepin it real, yo.

from Ashley F. MIller


Meritocracy and self-delusion

Just 3 minutes.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

My short comments on ACA, i.e., Obamacare

I've read almost everything I could find on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the recent ruling by the SCOTUS.

1. Employer-based health insurance is insane.

2. Anyone who bemoans "big government" compelling individuals to have health insurance but ignores the compulsion explicit in EMTALA laws is either too ignorant to have an opinion or is being disingenuous.

3.  I find it laughable that of the dozens and dozens of Republican senators, governors, representatives, ex-politicians, former cabinet secretaries, diplomats and operatives, the guy the GOP chose to run against Obama on the Affordable Care Act is Mitt Romney, the governor who signed the prototype of the ACA into law. WTF?

4. The ACA is hardly the definitive legislation regarding health care reform, but it's a start, and it's size and apparent perplexing complexity is a function of the lack of any previous reform measures over the past 3 decades. Revisions and further legislation are a given.

5. Remember: One-third of adults under age 65 do not have health insurance. This is not consistent with a modern developed society.

6. Republicans, when they were in power, had every opportunity to reform health care and reduce the number of uninsured.  They did nothing substantive and they were too squeamish to repeal EMTALA-- you can't have it both ways.

7. Chief Justice Roberts did the only wise thing he could do.