Monday, August 31, 2009
Drake is challenging State Senator Vince Sheheen for the nomination. Sheheen has been full-time campaigning for quite a while, lining up donors and, in our opinion, getting more comfortable in the role.
Getting to the point...I got an email from Drake last week asking me to sign a petition to call for Sanford's resignation. Now, it looks like Drake is using Sanford as the foil in his campaign ad, which in all candor, is pretty good.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
As Ezra Klein points out, the problem with pushing "rationing" as the reason not to reform, is that it ignores the very real fact that we already "ration" healthcare in this country. Don't believe it? Just check the picture for this post. It's a photo of a free clinic in Inglewood, CA this month.
Klein argues, accurately, that pricing healthcare out of the financial reach of 1/4th our population is rationing. He proves his point by citing a 2001 Health Affairs survey:
(It) found that 38 percent of Britons and 27 percent of Canadians reported
waiting four months or more for elective surgery. Among Americans, that number
was only 5 percent. This, Americans will tell you, is the true measure of our
system's performance. We have our problems. But at least we don't sit in some
European purgatory languishing without our treatments. That's rationing.
There is, however, a flip side to that. The very same survey also
looked at cost problems among residents of different countries: 24 percent of
Americans reported that they did not get medical care because of cost.
Twenty-six percent said they didn't fill a prescription. And 22 percent said
they didn't get a test or treatment. In Britain and Canada, only about 6 percent
of respondents reported that costs had limited their access to care.
The numbers are almost mirror images of each other. Twenty-seven
percent of Canadians wait more than four months for treatment, versus only four
percent of Americans. Twenty-four percent of Americans can't afford medical care
at all, versus only 6 percent of Canadians. And the American numbers are
understated because if you can't afford your first appointment, you never learn
you couldn't afford the medicine or test that the doctor would have
As commenter "_SP_" notes about Klein's argument, the survey should really say:
27 percent of Canadians waited more than four months for surgery, 6 percent
waited forever.5 percent of Americans waited more than four months, 24 percent
waited forever.Which would you prefer?
Friday, August 28, 2009
Good thing these guys have a patent pending, huh?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here's the problem with that argument. First, it seems as though all the elected (and non-elected) leaders of your party have been infected. Congressmen and women and Senators are saying things which make them either: a) extremely gullible and ignorant; or b) dangerously deceitful.
It is not just the fringe. The crazy has taken completely over. Latest example, this question on a health survey distributed by the RNC:
"It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to
determine a person's political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters
might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed
health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you?"
I'm sorry. This shit is just insane. It would be hilarious if there weren't people out there buying this shit and doing things like showing up at rallies carrying loaded weapons. And it's absolutely pants-shitting scary that the Representatives and Senators saying this crap may be naive/stupid/gullible enough to believe this crap. I mean...aren't some of these folks getting classified briefings? No wonder we can't keep state secrets worth a shit.
What's the latest? Steele's comical attempts during an NPR interview to explain how good Medicare is and how you the GOP is for it, while also railing against government run healthcare for everyone. First, can we please acknowledge that the most-often cited problem with Medicare (that it's running out of money) has absolutely nothing to do with the efficiency of the program (which at 4% overhead costs is way more efficient than any private insurer), rather it has to do with a lack of funding for the program. Okay...now that we have that out of the way, here's where Steele really shows his ignorance:
INSKEEP: Let me ask another question here because you warn that some of the
proposals out there would “create government boards that would decide what
treatments would or would not be funded.” You want that treatment to be between
the doctor and the patient. When a private insurance company pays now, what is
your impression of who decides what that private insurance company is going to
cover? Is that purely between the doctor and the patient now?
STEELE: Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. It depends on the type of treatment and the medicines that are at stake, and I’ve had that same example experienced my own self, where I’ve needed a certain type of medication and the insurance
company is like, “You can have, but we’ll only pay for this amount or this
portion.” I don’t like that anymore than I like the government doing it.
My point is, you know, if the government is going to do it, it’s going to do it 10
times worse and it’s going to be more pronounced than the private insurers, and
I think that’s a feature that we can fix right now. Sure, there are issues in
the insurance market that we can regulate a little bit better and that we can
control better to maximize the benefits to the consumers. That’s something that
yeah, we can rightly reform and fix.
INSKEEP: Wait, wait — You would trust the government to look into that?
STEELE: No, I’m talking about the private — I’m talking about citizens. I’m talking about — (CROSSTALK)
INSKEEP: Who is it you — You said it is something that should be looked into. Who is it that you think should look into that?
STEELE: Well, who regulates the insurance markets?
INSKEEP: That would be the government, I believe.
STEELE: Well, and so what. Now wait a minute. Hold up. You’re doing a wonderful little dance here and you’re trying to be cute. But the reality of this is very simple. I’m not saying the government doesn’t have a role to play. I’ve never said that. The
government does have a role to play; it has a very limited role to play.
INSKEEP: Mr. Chairman, I respect that you think I’m doing a dance here. I
just want you to know that as a citizen, I’m a little confused by the positions
you take because you’re giving me a very nice nuanced position here —
STEELE: It’s not nice and nuanced. I’m being very clear.
INSKEEP: You’re giving me, nevertheless, a nuanced —
STEELE: What’s nuanced? I’m being very clear!
INSKEEP: What “nuanced” means is you’re not doing it exactly black and
white. You recognize the government has a role to play here, but you and your
party, come to the actual rhetoric, it seems more along the lines of absolutes.
It’s between a patient and a doctor.
STEELE: Well, I’m sorry. I don’t accept your premise, and you have your view and you can see it as nuanced all you want, but the reality –
INSKEEP: I’m not saying nuanced is a bad thing, sir.
STEELE: I’m being very clear. I want to have an open debate. I want to put
ideas out there. I want people to understand when it’s all said and done. And
seriously, I’m not trying to be nuanced, I’m not trying to be cute, I’m trying
to be very clear. I’m not saying the government doesn’t have a role to play
here. It does. It’s managing a Medicare program. So it has a role to
INSKEEP: Maybe we’re getting hung up on the word “nuanced”; maybe I
should say “challenging.” Do you find it challenging to get into this
complicated debate and explain things to people in a way that it’s honest to the
facts and still very clear –
STEELE: That’s a good point.
INSKEEP: — and doesn’t just kind of scare people with soundbites?
STEELE: Well, no. Look. No one’s trying to scare people with soundbites. I have not done that, and I don’t know any leaders in the House and the Senate that have done that. So yeah, it’s complicated and you want to do that.
First, the only thing that is "clear" here is that Steele has no idea what he's talking about. How does he expect private citizens to regulate the insurance industry? And after saying it should be regulated, he has to ask the interviewer who regulates the industry. Apparently that's not all Steele does not know, does he expect us to believe he knows of no one in the House or Senate scaring people with soundbites?
Last time I checked, Republican Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) was the minority leader of the house. Here's what he had to say about the "death panels:"
The House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, said, “This
provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged
But you can understand how Steele, if he is not keeping current with Rep. Boehner's comments, could make that mistake. I mean, after all, Boehner was for death panels before he was against them:
Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the
votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care?
Ding ding ding!!
I don't need to continue. Pick your favorite Republican elected representative and google that person + death panels and have fun. And that's just the elected representatives. I think we all have seen over the past year who really calls the tune for the GOP: Boss Limbaugh. Google him or Newt or any other of the select few picked over and over on Sundays to look into the camera and shill the party's talking points and you'll find all of them throw fuel on the fire. Some more subtly than others, but they are all doing their part.
I suppose I should have some sympathy. I mean...given how badly they ran the country into the ground over the past 8 years, it's easy to see how they can't fathom government not being any good at anything.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
There are many on the right who may feel good riddance at his passing, but they should not. Ted Kennedy raised more money for the Republican party than any other figure. As Pat Buchanan just brought up on tv this morning: How many Republican elected Senators and Congressmen owe their election and fundraising to saying, "if my opponent wins, Ted Kennedy and his buddies will be running the country." A lot.
Kennedy was always haunted, and most likely will continue to be haunted, by Chappaquiddick. There was a time when it appeared he was destined for the White House. If not by fate, then surely by succession. But those aspirations died alongside Mary Jo Kopechne in a tidal channel in Massachusetts.
No, Teddy never became President. But there is an argument to be made that what he did become has left a more lasting impression on the country than he could have as President. Senator Kennedy dies as one of the greatest American legislators of all time. As a Time article points out:
(Kennedy) had 46 working years in Congress, time enough to leave his imprint on
everything from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve
America Act of 2009, a law that expands support for national community-service
programs. Over the years, Kennedy was a force behind the Freedom of Information
Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Americans with Disabilities
Act. He helped Soviet dissidents and fought apartheid. Above all, he conducted a
four-decade crusade for universal health coverage, a poignant one toward the end
as the country watched a struggle with a brain tumor. But along the way, he
vastly expanded the network of neighborhood clinics, virtually invented the
COBRA system for portable insurance and helped create the laws that provide
Medicare prescriptions and family leave.
As that Time article asks, does it matter that Kennedy himself was never president? "The Romans understood, there can be Emperors of no consequence — and Senators whose legacies are carved in stone."
Kennedy's legacy will long be remembered in the words of his 1980 convention speech: "the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
Sunday, August 23, 2009
One of the attendees, who claimed he could trace his ancestors back to the
Mayflower, declared to Herger, "I am a proud right-wing terrorist."
The Republican congressman said with a broad smile, "Amen, God bless you.
There is a great American."
Remember when the Right was livid back in April because the Department of Homeland Security released a report on the rising threat of violent right-wing extremism? Remember Michael Steele calling it "the height of insult?"
It is exactly comments like this from Rep. Herger that has created the environment reflected by the Southern Poverty Law Center's latest report. What have they found? Conditions described as such:
A federal law enforcement agent told the center that he hadn't seen growth this
steep among such groups in 10 to 12 years. "All it's lacking is a spark," he
It's time for the grown ups to act grown up.
Friday, August 21, 2009
No...You get freaky here. Take notes. I will expect a full report upon my return.
Enjoy your weekend. Remember...if you're driving, don't drink. And if you do...don't drive.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
"That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt
the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress," said Bachmann, "and let
them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control
over my body and my health care decisions."
Wow...I suppose everyone can have a epiphany. Congrats, Congresswoman. By the way, how are those shock treatments going? Perhaps they should up the voltage.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Our Top 10 for the BTPC:
-They drink Behind The Pine Curtain in the Congo.
-It's not tv, it's Behind The Pine Curtain.
-Strong and beautiful. Just like Behind The Pine Curtain.
-Be young, have fun, drink Behind The Pine Curtain.
-See the Behind The Pine Curtain, feel the shine.
-Behind The Pine Curtain prevents that sinking feeling.
-We do Behind The Pine Curtain right.
-Strong enough for a man, made for a Behind The Pine Curtain
-This is not your father's Behind The Pine Curtain
-The real smell of Behind The Pine Curtain
Hattip, Pop Candy.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Back in 2002, Columbia, SC resident and career activist/protestor Brett Bursey got arrested for "threatening the life of the president" when he refused to go protest George W. Bush's appearance at the Columbia Airport for a "free-speech zone."
Bursey's threatening actions were that he was standing at the intersection of Aviation Avenue holding a sign that read "No War for Oil" and he refused to leave to the "free speech zone" over 3/4ths a mile away when asked to by a Secret Service agent. Now some will say if the Secret Service agent orders you to move, you move. Bursey had some issues with that. First, he was in the middle of a bunch of Pro-Bush supporters and none of them were told to leave. Second, he did actually move from where he was to get out of the "restricted area." But on that day, there were no boundary markers showing where this area began and ended. In fact, it was obvious that some people were allowed in the area (the pro-Bush supporters) while some were not. (Memo to terrorists...apparently your chances of staying hidden increase if you appear to be "pro" whatever you wish to destroy). Third, it is patently ridiculous to have a "free speech zone." We live in a free speech zone. It's called America.
Fast forward to today and they news that increasingly, health care reform opponents and birthers are showing up outside President Obama's events strapped. What. The . Fuck? The dipshit with the AR-15 in the pic above is on a You Tube video in which he states:
"We will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength
of the majority with a vote."
Anyone want to explain the difference here? I'll tell you what it is:
One protest took place towards a President who was a self-righteous, ignorant who surrounded himself with sycophants, had no respect for the Constitution, no humility for the possibility of his own fallacy, lived off of a culture of fear and did every thing he could to stifle opposing views.
One protest took place under a President who is the opposite of the above.
Which do you think is which?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Well...looks Henry done flip-flopped on that. Kinda like he did with that whole Craig'slist thing.
After watching The State and the AP do his job for him, Henry is finally thinking it might be a good idea of the State's chief law enforcement officer showed up. McMaster is "calling" for the state ethics commission to look into the Luv Guv's travel records.
Is this a surprise? Not now. I mean, it's all in the papers now and Henry figures: I sure do appreciate you news fellas for looking through all that paperwork and giving me the cliff notes. I've been a little busy lately. I don't know if you heard...but I am running for Guv'nur.
Good job, Henry.
This one is for my pal Doug, who better get his DVR ready. Sunday will be the 32nd anniversary of the King's death. In tribute, Turner Classic Movies is running a 13-movie marathon (schedule here). So get your fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches ready. The King is back in the building Sunday.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Oh...and by the way, the hits were ordered on rival drug dealers, because it seems tv show host and state legislator ain't enough for Mr. Souza. He's also accused of being a drug trafficker. Hey...he's a renaissance man, you know.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
That has long been my problem with MSM outlets. They have been so scared of being called biased by the right, that they often look for the "other side of the story." Guess what, there is often not another side.
It looks like ABC is finally acknowledging this about some of the "issues" people have with the healthcare debate. As Benen notes,
It wasn't a he-said/she-said report; it was just reality.
Good for them. Now if everyone else would get with the program.
Here's the treat: former Prime Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair is here to share his thoughts on what he thought of this attempt.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
He has been known to cure narcolepsy, just by walking into the room.
His organ donation card, also lists his beard.
He’s a lover, not a fighter, but he’s also a fighter, so don’t get any ideas.
When it is raining, it is because he is sad.
Even his parents’ advice is insightful.
If there were an interesting gland, his would be larger than most men’s entire lower intestines.
His shirts never wrinkle.
He is left-handed. And right-handed.
Even if he forgets to put postage on his mail, it gets there.
He once knew a call was a wrong number, even though the person on the other end wouldn’t admit it.
You can see his charisma from space.
The police often question him, just because they find him interesting.
He once punched a magician. That’s right. You heard me.
When he orders a salad, he gets the dressing right there on top of the salad, where it belongs…where there is no turning back.
If a monument was built in his honor, Mt. Rushmore would close, due to poor attendance.
His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body.
His blood smells like cologne.
On every continent in the world, there is a sandwich named after him.
He doesn’t believe in using oven mitts, nor potholders.
His cereal never gets soggy. It sits there, staying crispy, just for him.
His pillow talk is years ahead of it’s time.
Respected archaeologists fight over his discarded apple cores.
He is The Most Interesting Man In The World.
It's been 40 years since "the sixties died," as Joan Didion wrote in her memoir, The White Album. Didion was referring to the discovery of 5 bodies at the home of celebrity couple Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. One of the bodies was Tate herself, a beautiful and famous starlet who also happened to be 2 weeks short of giving birth to her and Polanki's first child, another a famous hairdresser (Jay Sebring) and another the heiress to a coffee fortune (Abigail Folger). Four of the bodies, including the pregnant Tate, were brutally stabbed numerous times. It was by all accounts a grisly crime scene.
One personal note. I remember the movie Fatal Vision coming out in 1984. Based on a true story, the movie documented Green Beret Captain and physician Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of murdering his wife and children on base at Ft. Bragg in 1970. The crime scene bared a striking similarity to the Manson-Tate crime scene, which seemed odd to investigators. MacDonald's story was also odd, describing a crime committed by hippies and druggies. The US Army CID on Bragg didn't believe MacDonald's story, because the physical evidence did not add up. Then, on the floor of the living room, the found an issue of Esquire magazine that detailed the Tate-LaBiance murders. It became obvious to investigators that the scene was staged and it had very likely been staged to resemble the murders described in the magazine article.
I watched that movie as a 9 year old and it scared the shit out of me. But I remembered the part about the Manson murders and in 7th grade, I discovered Bugliosi's book, Helter Skelter, in the library. It was probably the first "real" book that I read cover to cover. Probably not the fare a 7th grader should be reading, but what are you gonna do? Anyway, it created an interest in me of what made people tick and do that kind of crazy shit. In my line of work, I often have to deal with people who do some pretty evil crap. I'd like to think that I'm pretty good with dealing with such people. If that is so, it's probably got something to do with that early fascination with what makes people commit such heinous crimes.
Anyway, I've probably read Helter Skelter 10 times throughout my life. If you have never read it, you should. It's an interesting glimpse into the way a person can exploit other people's wants and needs to the point of making those people do inexplicable things.
Happy Anniversary, Charlie. Rot in hell.
Friday, August 7, 2009
But that ain't how it works in the healthcare industry, is it? I copied the following straight from Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish, because I thought it was a great view of the kind of efficiency we get by having private insurance companies handle health care instead of the big, bad G.
As Reino's favorite motivational-speaker, fitness instructor Susan Powter would say: STOP THE INSANITY!
I work for a national insurance company and it's my job to pay hospitals
and clinics for services performed. Now when I say pay, you should think of that
in air-quotes. Assume it takes a week for the bill to be routed to the right
person in the right department at my company. Once the bill reaches the right
desk it heads back out. Because before we pay a bill we send it to a 3rd party
company who reviews it to see how much we "really have to pay" for the services.
This is because every state has different guidelines about what services should
cost. This takes a week. Then the bill comes back to us, and if there are no
issues with the hospital's records in our systems we pay the bill then.
However, if there are any issues it comes to me.
It's my job to call the hospital for updated tax forms (because it's
not enough that we know their tax id, we have to have a government form showing
the number). Then I send the records to another company who updates our database
with the information. This takes another week, or longer if I have trouble
getting a hold of the right person at the hospital.
Finally, we pay the bill. During this time the hospital has been
waiting to get paid X number of dollars. Only instead we'll be paying them Y
because that's what the state says is the minimum we have to pay.
So while your readers are being charged $50 for asprin; my company
employs an entire department just to shuffle bills around while they decide what
they will pay the hospital for that asprin.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|National Peach Month|
My favorite line: when Stewart excuses himself to see a man about a horse...he's been f*cking.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Thank You, South Carolina!|