Daily Gnuz

Wednezdaze, The Januarius Seventeeneth

Freedom Caucus chair: GOP leaders don’t have votes to avoid shutdown
H/T The Hill
And there’s a certain prezidunce who’s going to try to pin the shutdown on the Dems??? Right.

And,
The Health-Care Industry Is Sick
My insurer denied me coverage for a breathing machine and revealed the flaws of the for-profit health-care system.

H/T The Nation
The R’s will take great pains to destroy the ‘ni**er care’ system. From its ashes we need to get Single Effing Payer…

Finally,
Rising GOP star abruptly quits Republican party over Trump’s ‘appalling comments’ about immigrants
H/T Raw Story
Bad case of Trumpmoania

Open Thread, gadzooks, the jig’s up…!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

Welcome to Wednezday the median day in the workweek.
Here’z the Gnuz

Trump’s Trip To Asia Is Great If You Like To See U.S. Weak
H/T C&L
Make Amerika Grate (shred us like a sharp loaf of cheddar)…

And

Trump caught tweeting about the wrong mass shooting
H/T Raw Story
Fumbduck Prezidunce obviously keeping a library of insta-tweets to choose from. Sad!

Finally,

GOP targets health mandate in tax reform
H/T The Hill
They need to carve out more money to get this mess fillibuster proof. Only fifteen million or so will stop buying insurance, so that’s OK by them…Amerika the fumbduckable.

Open Thread, enjoy one byte at a thyme
RUCerious @ TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

It’s Tuesday, so here’z the TuesGnuz…

Trump Blames ‘Generals’ For Telling Him Obama Didn’t Call Family Members
H/T C&L
Always has to blame others for his failures and lies. So, is he lying as he blames others for his bullsh***ing?

And

Trump’s Latest Obamacare Attack Triggers Rate Hikes, Lawsuits, Confusion
H/T TPM
Not just raising rates, but forcing insurers out of the market, huge swaths of people to not be able to afford health insurance, and costing the gummint billions…preziduncial.

Finally,

The 4 steps Republicans have to take to pass tax reform
H/T Vox
Phase 1: before cutting taxes, Republicans need to pass a budget
Phase 2: overcome key policy disagreements
Phase 3: actually go through regular order — or so they say
Phase 4: get this bill through the Senate’s obscure budget rules — which is the really hard part

Let’s have a pool on which phase(s) the Republican’ts will fall on their faces. Perhaps giving HeWhoShouldNotBeNamed a __________ fill in the medical condition you prefer…

Open Thread, let’s try to get through the week with our sanity intact.
RUCerious @ TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

It’s FRIDAY! And herez the gnuz

‘Calm before the storm’ remark was Trump ‘just trolling all of you’: White House staffer
H/T Raw Story
Yes, HA HA HA!!! I just love it when the man with the football starts joking around about nuking millions of folks and starting WWIII. That’s just Hucking Filarious!!

And

Warning signs emerge in GOP’s tax reform push
H/T The Hill
Whoops, there goes the infighting, squabbling and fundamental gash/chasm between the ubernuts and the just sortanuts factions, screwing the legislative pooch again, and again…ad nauseum. Big Question?
When will Amerikka wake up to these incompetent idiots inability to govern>?

Finally,

Why Privatization Is a Disaster for Any Democratic Society
H/T AlterNet
A well crafted statement on why private health insurance is untenable in a civilzed society. Subtitled “In a totally free market health care system, you must be willing to let some patients die.”

Open Thread, enjoy one byte at a thyme
RUCerious @ TPZoo

Daily Gnuz (of the day)

Welcome to Wednesday the Nineteenth of July, in the year 2017

Here’s what’z in the gnuz.

Inside Trump Family’s Turmoil Amid Russia Scandal: Don Jr. Is ‘Miserable’ and Wants ‘These Four Years to Be Over’
h/t People (yeah, I know, please just ignore the noise on the cover about Blac Chyna, etc)
Ahh, Donny Junior, you’re not the only one with that sentiment. BUT! There’s an easy way out! Just have daddy resign, and you can go back to being the total sleazebag you’ve always been, just without all the damnable scrutiny that is routinely applied to those in the First Nepotistic Family!

And

Tax reform becomes a must-win issue for the White House
h/t Politico
Prediction…They’ll have exactly the same failure as the repeal of ACA. Rand Paul will insist on a flat tax, no Republikkin will agree to close loopholes the size of galaxies for their patrons and benefactors in Big (fill in blank here, Pharma, Oil…you call it)

Finally,

Trump: Republicans ‘never discuss how good their healthcare bill is’
h/t The Hill
Agreed, Orangeshitgibbon, the only question remaining would be ‘good for who/m’??? Idiot.

And ONE MORE find o’ the day at Vox!
Trump can’t make a health care deal because he doesn’t understand health care
A terrific treatise on how not to lead the nation in an area
like health care…

Open Thread, enjoy!
RUCerious @ TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

It’s Monday Morning (in case you were too hungover to know that), and here’s what’s in the Gnuz!

Trump: Congress wouldn’t ‘dare’ leave without ‘beautiful’ healthcare bill
h/t The Hill
Idiot. The Republican Senators with a wisp of decency, and those who are facing re-election aren’t going to vote for anything that could possibly be approved by the House Conference…Idiot.

And

Trump’s son and top advisers met with a Russian lawyer to try and get dirt on Hillary Clinton
h/t Vox
And here’s the first thread to start unraveling…Motive is everything. And Junior’s big mouth just provided the investigators intent…Congratulations on being as big an idiot as your father.

Finally,

Trump’s cyber tweets cause dismay, confusion
h/t Politico
More evidence that this prezidunce either has onset of Alzheimer’s, or possibly is so compulsive/obsessive that he is unable to function, or has
advisors who are desperately trying to keep him from tweeting conflicting and confusing blobs of crap, or all of the above. Your thoughts?

P.S. fatherbob posted this yesterday, much worth a reposting today. How Trump is passing the baton of world leadership to China and Russia.
BRUTAL: Australian Journalist Sums Up Trump’s G20 Visit In 2 Minutes h/t C&L

Open Thread, enjoy one byte at a thyme
RUCerious @ TPZoo

The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 22, 2014 – Special Report

The first person I ever knew who had AIDS was a professor of Special Education at Temple University. He died a few months after being assigned to the facility where I was working. He was too weak to teach in the classroom anymore.This was in 1981, when the epidemic was just being discovered. Here we are, 33 years later and perhaps we have now found a cure. Fingers crossed.

Health: Temple University Researchers Successfully Eliminate HIV Virus In Human Cells

Open thread.

 

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 18th, 2013: Profit Contest to Photo Contest

Even though most of the people who need Obamacare have not yet taken advantage of it, other interests are poised to board the Obamacare money train. The Wall Street Journal’s Howard Gold is encouraging investment in the health care industry. A few snippets:

“This diverse sector, which includes red-hot biotechnology, Big Pharma, medical device makers, hospitals, health insurers, and other services, is profiting from structural shifts far beyond the changes brought in by the Affordable Care Act…In fact, health care stocks may have entered a new secular bull market, which is why you should take some profits on cyclicals and other market-sensitive stocks and reinvest the money into this group.”

“We’re clearly in a favorable environment,” said Andy Acker, manager of Janus Global Life Sciences fund since 2007. “I think this is a question of when this gets resolved, not if,” Acker said. “Millions of people will sign up for health care.”

In an earlier (March 2013) article from conservative moneynews.com, entitled “How Companies are Cashing in on Obamacare”, author Michael Kling wrote:

“Although its critics say Obamacare will increase business costs, some companies are cashing in on the healthcare reform law…CNNMoney reviewed six companies that might reap huge benefits from Obamacare.

Take, for instance, Health Recovery Solutions, a New York City-based start-up that helps hospitals avoid Medicare penalties for readmitting patients. To decrease preventable return visits by Medicare patients, Obamacare levies high cuts to Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that have a certain percentage of these return visits.

Health Recovery Solutions furnishes tablets full of educational videos and information patients can use to care for themselves. Using the tablet, patients send information, such as medications they are taking, to the hospital care team for review.

Eligible, another start-up, takes care of the complex wiring insurers need to quickly answer customer questions about coverage and eligibility, one of the many Obamacare requirements.

GoHealth offers an online tool that enables people to compare health care insurance plans. Consumers can use the platform to enroll in plans or just compare plans before contacting an insurance broker.

QuantiaMD offers a website where doctors can offer presentations, hold private discussions with each other and hold virtual consultations. Pharmaceutical and insurance companies and hospitals sponsor the content on the site.

Obamacare limits the proportion of premium revenue insurers can spend on salaries, overhead and marketing. That’s where Connecture comes in. The Brookfield, Wisc., company provides software that helps insurance companies cut costs through automation. It also helps states with technology needed to create insurance exchanges, another Obamacare requirement.

Another company getting involved with the state exchanges is hCentive, which has built a platform the exchanges can use.

Many of the companies saw their sales jump after the elections. Healthcare companies were not sure Obamacare would be enacted, and state officials were not sure they would still be required to create exchanges by this October…“Many states were waiting to decide to set up their own exchanges — they kept thinking maybe this wouldn’t happen,” Sanjay Singh, an hCentive partner, told CNNMoney.

“they kept thinking maybe this wouldn’t happen” No, they kept HOPING this wouldn’t happen. Because despite their hatred of all things Obama-related, despite all of the conservative hyperbole about “job-killing”, “bankrupting businesses”, “the end of freedom as we know it”, “it’s socialist Obama’s anti-capitalism agenda”, etc., ad nauseum; and despite the 40+ failed efforts by Congressional Republicans to kill Obamacare, every single one of those nay-sayers HAD to realize, deep down, that Obamacare is a boon to the private, capitalistic, for-profit healthcare “industry.” (spit!)

Okay, since you were all good enough to put up with the above drivel, here’s your justly-deserved palate-cleanser…

It’s that time of year again: the National Geographic Photo Contest is open, but only ’til the end of November. I know quite a few of our Critters and Zoosters who should submit a few entries! Here’s last year’s “Nature” category winner, photographed by Ashley Vincent:
busaba-indochinese-tiger_62797_600x450
Here’s two ways to view some or all of the current entries: The Atlantic picked 39 of the photos, and you can just scroll through them. Note that you can also switch from 1024 pixels to 1280 (I chose 1280.) Or you can go directly to the National Geographic 2013 Photo Contest webpage, where there are links to the photos entered to date, as well as links to 2012 winners and other photo galleries. Here’s one of the 2013 entries, by Sam Morris:

Photo Copyright Sam Morris, 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest entry

Photo Copyright Sam Morris, 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest entry

This is our daily open thread, what do you have to say today?

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 21st, 2013: Mixed Nuts

First, Foreign Policy Magazine got a little ‘spacy’ towards the end of the shutdown, with author Michael Peck penning a pair of fantasy articles titled “The Empire Shuts Down” and “One Starship to Rule Them All”

Next, this piece from moneynews.com, features the always-wild-looking “economist” Jim Cramer prognosticating – and perhaps precipitating, if anyone pays attention to him – the shakiness of the dollar. An excerpt:

As the world laughs at Washington’s antics, CNBC’s Jim Cramer says smart money should look for any possible means to flee the dollar.

The United States is “a laughing stock around the world, maybe worse than Italy in some ways when I look at benchmarks,” he said on Squawk Box. “We have obviously lost the faith of a lot of countries.”

If there is a way to take your money out of this country, Cramer suggests putting it in Germany. If he were in the shoes of China, Kuwait, Brazil or Japan, “I would do it immediately,” he claimed.

Third, from Newsmax.com, Amy Woods has a piece on another peanut gallery member: “Sen. Coburn: ‘We’re Drunk’ on Government Spending.” Here’s a bit:

“Special-interest groups, and not the tea party, caused the 17-day government shutdown, Sen. Tom Coburn said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We didn’t do anything except create a big mess in Washington, and I’m not so inclined to think it was the tea party as much as it was outside interest groups and a few individuals within our party that took advantage of that situation,” Coburn said. All the bickering about the Affordable Care Act distracted Americans from the fact the government spends too much, he added.

Next, an October 19th article from Alternet brings us “Right-Wing Lunacy Never Sleeps: 10 Nutty, Vile and Absurd Utterances From the Fringe This Week.” In this round-up, Justice Antonin Scalia reaffirms his racism, Tony Perkins babbles some nonsense about Democrats wanting a theocracy, Glenn Beck and Pat Buchanan continue to howl in the wilderness, and more.

Finally, also courtesy of Newsmax, the other gum-flapping self-important Limbaugh, David, proves that he is just as delusional as his louder brother in “GOP Poised for Post-Shutdown Comeback”:

“Obamacare represented not only one of many policy setbacks under Obama but also the ever-acquisitive government’s consumption of another one-sixth of the formerly capitalist and robust American economy.”

[That’s a load of horseshit, David, enough with the fake “government takeover of healthcare” bogeyman. Last I looked, the U.S. is still a capitalist nation, and the last time we had a “robust American economy” was under a Democrat, President Bill Clinton.]

“Then Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee ratcheted it up a notch, going to the Senate to call Obama out on his destructive agenda and promising to do everything they can to defund and derail Obamacare. Cruz’s 20-plus-hour floor speech was a seminar in the eloquent communication of conservative principles.”

[“…eloquent communication of conservative principles”? ‘Green Eggs and Ham‘? I don’t think that David Limbaugh (or his louder brother, for that matter) watched the entirety of Cruz’s rambling and sometimes incoherent “seminar.”]

“Just as my brother, Rush, gave millions of conservatives hope through his radio show by validating the legitimacy of their beliefs, Cruz, Paul, and Lee let us know that we have people in office fighting for us, as well.

“I reject the conventional wisdom that Cruz and his warriors hurt our cause by increasing the likelihood of our defeat in 2014. To the contrary, they enhanced our cause by energizing the base and fighting. And they laid serious gloves on Obama; his approval rating has never been lower. They also gave him an opportunity, which he fully embraced, to demonstrate his mean-spiritedness, his pettiness, and his dishonesty for all to see.

“The shutdown was not the disaster he promised any more than sequestration has been; he was hyper-partisan and gratuitously punitive during the ordeal; and his egregious misrepresentations about Obamacare were manifesting themselves throughout.”

[Sorry, but to Rush Limbaugh, the word “hope” is part of a punchline, certainly not something that Rush ever gave to his Rushbots. You can “reject conventional wisdom” all you want, but that doesn’t mean that conventional wisdom, in this case, is wrong. Obama’s approval rating is currently around 50%, according to a recent Rasmussen poll; on the other hand, according to the Gainesville Times, a new poll puts Congress’s approval rating at an all-time low at 5%. I’m not sure exactly what planet David Limbaugh, along with the other mixed nuts listed above, inhabits, but it must be a particularly miserable place to dwell.]

This is our Open Thread. Go ahead, get cracking!

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 30th, 2013: “UBUNTU”

I know that Wayne posted this on yesterday’s Sunday Roast, but it bears another look – especially in light of the myriad inhumane arguments, diatribes, and lies rising to a cacophonic crescendo over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Just look at so many of the self-serving and ignorant comments on Think Progress’s various threads about the ACA. It’s getting to the point where I think I’d rather live in a more simple society where greed and selfishness are not idealized.
ubuntu

These children put the childish “adults” running/ruining our country to shame. It seems that those who supposedly revere our founding fathers have forgotten one of the earliest ideals of this once-great country, as depicted in the Great Seal of the United States:
Great Seal of the United States

“E Pluribus Unum”: “Out of many, one.”

“Ubuntu”: “I am because we are.” Even those children understand the basic concept of what a workable society should be, and are living it. Why the fuck can’t we?

This is our daily open thread. I’m totally disgusted – how about you?

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 23rd, 2013: Ignorance is…Ignorant

I wasn’t planning to go to the pharmacy counter at our local A&P grocery store the other day, but I needed some Mucinex and, because somehow weird people might make meth out of it, I had to take a card from the shelf hook and bring it to the pharmacist. Despite standing more than the required 4 feet away – for privacy purposes (4 feet = ‘cone of silence’?) – I caught quite a bit of the conversation between a customer and the pharmacist. The beginning of their discussion was about a delay in getting the man’s medication, so the pharmacist offered to give him several pills to tide him over. The man was grumpy about the whole thing, but eventually accepted the pills, and I thought “finally, my turn.” No such luck.

Their conversation then turned to ‘Obamacare’ and, although they lowered their voices a tad, the bits that I overheard were the usual drivel: “it’s just another step toward socialized medicine”, “it’s insane”, “nobody knows what’s in the law”, “socialized medicine is the WORST!” (those last two were from the pharmacist herself), and so on. While I endured about five minutes of waiting for their fear-fest to end, I debated about interrupting to try to inform them; however, since I, along with Wayne and his mother, are regulars at this store, I didn’t really want to start a fight. By this time I had already been joined by another customer waiting outside the cone of silence–luckily it was one of the nice women from my vet’s office, so I turned to her and muttered “I’m going to slap them both soon.”

Just a few days before this, I took advantage of one of the ACA’s rules that had already taken effect: I had my annual physical. No co-pay for the visit; no co-pay for the bloodwork; no co-pay for the colonoscopy that my doctor told me to get; no co-pay for the mammogram that I need to schedule. In addition, several months ago Wayne and I both received checks from United Healthcare because they did not comply with the 20/80 rule about how the insurance companies spend our/our employers’ premiums.

It just pisses me off that neither the angry customer or the pharmacist, in the course of their conversation, ever thought to admit that one of them should actually look into what the law is about. I would have thought that the pharmacy, since it will likely be affected by some of the new rules that go into effect on October 1st, would have studied up on Obamacare, or what New York State is doing to implement the newest regulations. Unfortunately, these two are amongst the millions of people who would rather bitch and moan about what they don’t know instead of trying to find answers. Anyone with a computer can do a search for information, starting with the White House’s website itself.

Ignorance is not bliss…it is a decision to remain uninformed.

This is our Open Thread. What would you like to talk about?

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 1st, 2012: Pander Much, Mitt?

Romney’s Misleading Mailer (H/T Think Progress)

A thread posted at ThinkProgress on Saturday discussed how a man named Michael Farris, a “highly influential social conservative in Virginia” apparently impressed the Romney/Ryan campaign enough for them to send out the above mailer to potential Virginia voters. Mr. Farris “believes that people can contract “chronic Lyme disease” that must be treated with long-term antibiotics. The Center[sic] for Disease Control says there is no such thing as “chronic Lyme disease” and “long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been associated with serious complications.” Farris claims that his wife and seven of his children all suffer from “chronic Lyme disease”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Mr. Farris’s opinion – and the comments following TP’s article are quite mixed** – one has to question both the purpose and the content of the Romney/Ryan mailer.

Why would anyone running for the office of the Presidency take one person’s unconfirmed story and run a campaign mailer on it? A March 2012 article from realloudoun.com provides some insight, as does roanoke.com. A few excerpts from roanoke.com articles:

“I believe that anybody who’s dogmatic about any side of the kind of controversies around Lyme is speaking prematurely,” said Farris, the chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County. “We’re in the early scientific stages of a very important disease that’s affected a lot of people, and I think we need more science.”

and,

“Appointed to lead Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Lyme Disease Task Force, Farris is challenging the state’s medical establishment to take a hard look at the way it diagnoses and treats acute Lyme and its chronic, long-term counterpart — a condition that most infectious disease experts refute outright.
Long a champion of creationism — to the point that several Patrick Henry professors left the college in 2007, claiming his views limited their academic freedoms — Farris is now traveling the state with his task force, seeking input and stirring up doctors.”

Here’s a couple of links to the Task Force’s “final report”.
(Note: A member of the panel as listed in the second link appears to have been misidentified as Michael Cameron MD of Mount Kisco, NY (a few towns south of us.) A google search found a Daniel Cameron, MD, listed as a Lyme Disease expert, with a website called lymeproject.com, which mentions an article published by Dr. Cameron called “Proof That Chronic Lyme Disease Exists.”

Okay, so Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell allowed his old pal Michael Farris, who has no background whatsoever in medicine, to appoint himself as head this “Task Force”.

Now let’s look at what the mailer actually says (of course, you have to enlarge the photo to read the damn thing):

ROMNEY AND RYAN WILL DO MORE TO FIGHT THE SPREAD OF LYME DISEASE – how? See below.

“It’s a serious problem that demands immediate attention.” – Um, Lyme Disease has been given “immediate attention” since the first case was diagnosed a few DECADES AGO.

“As President, Mitt Romney will ensure that real action is taken to get control of this epidemic that is wreaking havoc on Northern Virginia.”


IMPROVE SYNERGY Ensure that government agencies have an open line of communication and work with patients, researchers, doctors and businesses in an objective, comprehensive manner.
– Buzzwords, totally meaningless.
INCREASE AWARENESS Work with federal and state health agencies to support Lyme Disease awareness efforts to help prevent further spread of the disease. Seriously, Federal Health agencies have been supporting awareness efforts since the 1980s. Virginia seems to be lagging quite a bit behind; but then again, Virginia Republicans think that it’s a conspiracy promulgated by the CDC.

(And here’s the real kicker): SUPPORT TREATMENT Encourage increased options for the treatment of Lyme Disease and provide local physicians with protection from lawsuits to ensure they can treat the disease with the aggressive antibiotics that are required.

This is the part that Michael Farris really, really wants. Apparently the doctor who had been treating Farris’s family with long-term antibiotics, Dr. Joseph Jemsek, lost his North Carolina medical license and is now practicing in Washington, DC. Obviously, Mr. Farris couldn’t find a doctor in Virginia who would agree to treat Farris’s family with the non-standard, possibly dangerous treatment that Farris wanted.

The upshot is that Mitt Romney is more than willing to take the word of one nutjob, simply because that nutjob happens to be an influential conservative Republican and friend of Governor McDonnell. This appears to put Romney just one step above Batshit Crazy Michele Bachmann when it comes to believing a single person about a complicated medical issue. Republicans and science simply don’t mix.

This is our daily open thread — have at it!!

**Something weird happened to the thread at ThinkProgress: as of Sunday morning, there were over 100 comments; suddenly, after refreshing the page, all comments were completely gone. I don’t know what Judd did, but people were really pissed off.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 28th, 2012: Decisions, Decisions

On this, the day on which the Supreme Court is supposed to announce their decision regarding the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), I offer first a few articles from Wednesday’s Washington Post:

In the first article, John Boehner issues a typical lugubrious pronoucement, and Eric Cantor chimes in, too:

“We’ve made it pretty clear and I’ll make it clear one more time: If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday morning. “‘Obamacare’ is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added that the health law “was a mistake. We would like to see the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, not bureaucrats here in Washington.”
[Yes, the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, like whether they should get that needed prescription, or buy food. Patients, not bureaucrats, can make their own decisions unless the patient is a pregnant woman.]

“As we know, this bill has also presented big problems for our employers,” Cantor added. “Small businessmen and women are having a difficult time keeping the lights on, much less hiring new people. ‘Obamacare’ just makes it more difficult because it makes it more expensive for these business people to create jobs.”

[Then what was keeping those business people from creating jobs in the Bush years, before “Obamacare”?]

As I commented on an excellent article at our local online newspaper, the Southeast-Brewster Patch, “And does Speaker Boehner not see that the two are connected? Does he have any explanation as to WHY healthcare costs continue to rise? Do the Republicans who want to repeal the PPACA – and yes, some say “repeal and replace” – have any concrete solutions to the rising healthcare costs?”

Perhaps some of my questions were answered by this paragraph in the same WP article:

“Beyond their general comments, neither Boehner nor Cantor provided specifics on their path forward, waiting until the court rules before spelling out any further plans. But Republican aides have said in recent weeks that the House is unlikely to vote on any significant health-care-related legislation before the November elections — other than efforts to repeal the entire law if the high court doesn’t — preferring instead to keep focused on more overt attempts to boost job creation, strip away federal regulations and renew various tax cuts.”

[De-regulation, and tax cuts for the corporations – yeah, how’d that work out for Bush? Sigh]

I’ll leave you with two more articles from WP, one infuriating, one informative.

Possibly by the time you finish reading this post, the SCROTUS/SCREWEDUS (thanks, RUC) will have announced their decision. Hopefully, we won’t have to see a repeat of this:

Justice Antonin Scalia

UPDATE: The SCOTUS has decided that the Individual Mandate is Constitutional, read the text of the decision here.

This is our daily open thread — have at it!

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 23rd, 2012: I Have a Thesis. And It’s Mine.

Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Virginia) is currently in the process of reviewing the Commonwealth’s restrictive new “personhood” law prior to potentially signing it into law. This is the bill (SB484) that contains the “informed consent” language, which (translated from the legalese) “[R]equires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestation age, every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion.” I’m sure that pregnant women of Virginia will be ever-so-thankful if Bob grants them a free poke-and-a-prod prior to having an abortion. (Yes, that was snark.)

You may remember Bob McDonnell as the newly-minted and previously unknown Governor who provided the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s first State of the Union speech. (Or you may not – he was not impressive.)

Well before Bob McDonnell acquired the power to possibly make a lot of women more unhappy than they already are, he had ditched his job and decided to attend Regents University. His recently resurrected 1989 thesis, titled “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade”, is a frightening vision indeed. I’ll just give you the introductory “Abstract”, and let you read the entire work for yourselves:

“The traditional family is the cornerstone upon which Western civilization has been built, but changes in demographics, ideology, and political philosophy during this century have resulted in the decline in the strength of the family institution. The model relationship among church, state, and family, based on history, law, and scripture, is presented as a framework in which legitimate public policy decisions must be made to facilitate family restoration.

“Fundamental Republican Party principles concerning the family and the role of government are articulated, and recent federal legislative initiatives are analyzed for consistency. Political factors affecting family policy development are examined to determine why Republicans are not more successful. The paper concludes that Republicans must stay consistently committed to their principles, communicate more effectively with the American public, and take bold action to restore the family to a position of strength in modern society.”

Between the Abstract and the Introduction, McDonnell includes a quote from, inevitably, Saint Ronnie Reagan.

(Sigh) I’ll leave you to it, then.

This is our Open Thread: have at it, folks.

Oh, and my apologies to John Cleese’s character Ann Elk and her theory.

The Watering Hole: Thursday, September 1, 2011: “Rick Perry wants to get all up in your uterus and take a picture.”

From Raw Story:

Filling in on the Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday night, Tulane professor and MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry took Texas Governor and GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry to task for supporting “government so small that you don’t even notice it” on the one hand and the inconsistency of supporting the Texas sonogram law on the other.

Harris-Perry said that Gov. Perry “wants the government to be so small that it doesn’t provide a social safety net, that it doesn’t support you when you grow old and retire and need health care. That’s big government and he wants to set us free from those shackles …So, Rick Perry’s version of small government conservativism means government so small it’s not there to help you.”

“Rick Perry wants to make the government so small you don’t event notice it …unless you’re a lady. In which case, Rick Perry wants to make the government so big that it can control the pregnancy of any given woman in Texas. On nearly every other issue, Rick Perry wants government to be practically non-existent. He wants government to be nowhere near you as a citizen. Not even if you want it or need it. But on this one issue, on the issue of abortion, he wants government to be right there with you. Handing your doctor a script, whispering in your ear, that you should be ashamed of yourself. Rick Perry wants to get all up in your uterus and take a picture.”

The Texas sonogram bill requires women to get a sonogram at least 24 hours before getting an abortion. It also requires doctors to describe the fetus to the woman. Critics of the Texas sonogram law, as Raw Storyreported in March, say “the bill is really about shaming women into deciding against terminating a pregnancy.”

The video is from MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show. This episode, being hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry, can be viewed here.

So… What do you think? What is it about the GOP that wants SMALL government when it comes to programs that help American citizens, and creating a social safety net for the most vulnerable citizens among us, but BIG government when it comes to what you do in your bedroom, and what you discuss with your doctor. What IS that?? Is that the role of government?

This is our Open Thread.  What do you think?  Speak Up!

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Nick AndersonHouston Chronicle Editorial Cartoonist and Animation Artist.
For Nick’s animations, visit Nick Anderson: Animation Archives.
For Nick’s cartoons, visit Nick Anderson.

The Watering Hole: July 7 – Bathroom Tissue

Cleansing instruments used in lieu of bathroom tissue from the Nara period (710 to 784) in Japan. This illustrates why the Samurai (侍) were so tough.


Image is courtesy of Chris 73 via Wikipedia.

The first written reference to bathroom tissue is from the writings of Yan Zhitui dated to 589 CE in China. This was not recognized as good hygene by visitors tp that country from the Middle East and Europe where washing with water (Using the left hand for the task.) was the vogue. The bidet was to follow. Many materials, yes, including corn cobs, were used to remove the offensive material from ones person.

Mass production of bathroom tissue commenced in the United States during the mid 19th century CE.

Today, we take the product for granted.

For the straight poop on the subject, look here.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Watering Hole: June 18 – Waterloo

On June 18, 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte met his Waterloo. Now the middle class is about to meet its own.

The battle that will decide our lives is happening right now. Last night on MSNBC I saw a GOP ad being foisted on the American public equating the Ryan assault on Medicare to what those in Congress will receive in their future. They say that the elderly will not be affected by those changes. What about the other Americans?

Right now, Medicaid is intended to fill the gap between a disability and 65 when Medicare takes over. The GOP wants to destroy that as well.

When the GOP is finished, the ideal of Americans feeling safe from debilitating medical expenses will have met its own Waterloo. Individuals will be making the decision to withhold treatment(die) in order to spare their families the expense of their treatment(survival).

Is this the America we want to see?

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: May 14 – Young Talent

We too often associate talented young folks as actors, but here is an example where a HS student may have made significant progress in medicine which may well bear fruit in the very near future towards a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. At the very least, this could alleviate some of the suffering from this disease.

This young man relied on a super-computer to assist in his research. The key issue is that he had decided that he would direct his research along a direct path to test out his own theories. He performed the biology work himself.

Now over to my intended post:

Today happens to be the date (in 1796) when Edward Jenner started tests on a smallpox vaccine developed on the observation that milkmaids were less likely to contact the disease. He guessed, correctly, that the agent causing the disease was related to a disease in cattle – cowpox and demonstrated that immunity to smallpox could be developed by contact to the pox suffered by cattle. This immunity was conferred without suffering anything beyond a mild rash. He was in effect using a weakened version of the virus.

Up to that point in time, immunity to smallpox was conferred by applying the pus from the scabs of smallpox victims to a small wound in the skin. This was in effect a vaccine, but the pus had to be harvested after the donor’s immune system had weakened the virus (Yuk! – 😯 ).

Jenner’s method led to the virtual World wide extinction of the smallpox virus in recent times.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Update: Fixed paragraph ordering.

Court freezes Obama’s funding of embryonic stem cell research

The Raw Story:

A US court on Monday issued a temporary halt to federal funding of embryonic stem cell research which President Barack Obama had authorized, saying it involved the destruction of human embryos.

US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in favor of a Christian group that opposes the research, issuing a temporary injunction that will allow plaintiffs to bring their lawsuit before the court.

“ESC (embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed,” the judge said.

“To conduct ESC research, ESCs must be derived from an embryo. The process of deriving ESCs from an embryo results in the destruction of the embryo. Thus ESC research necessarily depends upon the destruction of a human embryo,” he added.

In March, Obama lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, lauding potential medical breakthroughs and a new era for US science shorn of political ideology.

The president’s executive order reversed predecessor George W. Bush’s ban, which critics say hampered the fight to find treatments for grave diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes.

Let me get this straight.. The Religious Right won’t allow embryos, that by the way are already slated to be discarded from fertility clinics, to instead be used for good in the research to find cures that will very likely save many lives.. AND YET, they have absolutely NO problem whatsoever with starting wars that kill hundreds of thousands of lives (many who are innocent), flying manless drones over countries we aren’t even at war with that drop bombs killing so many innocent lives, or even denying medical care in THIS country to those who can’t afford it.. Those lives don’t have any value I guess.. Or is it just that once the embryo becomes a live, breathing human being, their responsibility to ‘value’ life ends?? Or is it that they only value lives they consider valuable?

It seems to me that if the Right applied this fervancy to ‘preserve life’ at all costs, and to ‘do no harm’ across the board, wars would end and we as a nation would take care of all our citizens, the living, breathing ones who are the most vulnerable or at risk.

Hmmm, while I’m at it..

Is the way they ‘value’ life the same way they ‘value’ marriage between one man and one woman (well, one at a time I guess.., with others on the side)? I just can’t follow this logic..

Health Care Reform Passes! Both Houses of Congress Override Veto!

Dateline: March 20, 2011.

Acting swiftly on their promise to undo ObamaCare last year, the Republican super majority in both Houses of Congress voted to override President Obama’s veto of their HealthCare Reform.

Health insurance company stocks rebounded overnight, with many companies doubling in value at the close of trading today. The Frisk/Boehner Health Care Reform Act removed all Federal Regulation of not only health insurance, but the entire health care provider industry. Using the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Frisk/Boehner also prevents States from regulating health care or health care insurance.

Tort Reform, a central piece of the Republican legislation, is now the law of the land nationwide. Literally hundreds of medical malpractice lawsuits were stopped dead in their tracks as doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies were granted blanket immunity from such suits, effective immediately.
Continue reading

Keep the Government’s Hands Off My Medicare and Social Security!

The Teabagger’s concerns aren’t too far off the mark. With an eye on running for Governor of California, Senator Diane Feinstein has unveiled a plan to create a super-commission tasked with gutting the country’s most popular and effective social programs, Social Security and Medicare.

According to the article on Credo, Calfornia’s senior Senator is willing to cripple the federal government by blocking any increase to the debt ceiling unless she gets her way. And her way is to create a commission that’s given extraordinary legislative powers:

“The commission would be able to offer legislation in both chambers of Congress that could not be filibustered or amended and that would pass on simple majority vote.”

So, it appears that Democrats can operate with resolve. Rather than make Social Security solvent by removing the cap upon which wages can be taxed – Income over $100,000 per year is Social Security Tax-Free – meaning the wealthy get a tax break, but not the minimum wage earner — Senator Feinstein would cut benefits to retiree’s whose sole income is Social Security.

Now, I must admit, I am a bit biased against Senator Feinstein. She lost my vote when she voted for a Constitutional Amendment aimed at restricting a particular form of political speech, flag burning. But she’s revealing her true Corporate Colors now.

And, one more thing to think about. If a super-commission can be created and given the powers to introduce legislation that cannot be filibustered, cannot be amended, cannot be blocked:

WHY THE HELL DIDN’T THE DEMOCRATS DO THAT WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM! WE COULD HAVE HAD UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE MONTHS AGO!!!!!

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Well, Something got Passed in the House

Republicans acted like obnoxious two-year olds, repeatedly objecting over the Democratic Women’s Caucus’ attempts to speak.

An amendment preventing the government plan from covering abortions was passed.

And some sort of health care reform was passed.

Republicans have tried, for the past several months, to insure it would be the worst plan possible. They succeeded, and in the end, after months of concessions and compromise in order to come up with a bipartisan bill – no Republicans voted for it.

Democrats will own this, for better or worse. And if it turns out for worse, the party of appeasement will have appeased itself out of power in short order.

Republicans are gearing up for the 2010 elections. If you thought their posturing was bad in 2009, wait until you see how ugly they will get these next several months. This author is surprised there weren’t violent outbreaks last summer. This coming summer we might not be so lucky.

A HEALTH CARE PLEDGE FOR CONSERVATIVES

by Larry S. Rolirad

As a Conservative who DOES NOT have Health Insurance:

I, ___________, as a conservative who DOES NOT have health care insurance, do hereby refuse all health care paid for by the government. I pledge if I become sick, or a member of my family becomes sick, that I will refuse to be treated by any doctor, hospital or emergency personnel if the cost for these services will in any way be subsidized by a state or federal government.

I, ___________, as a conservative who DOES NOT have insurance, do hereby pledge to wait one year from the time of my first symptoms until I go to the emergency room of a government funded county hospital because I believe the 45,000 people who die every year because of access to health care deserve to die, because they are really deadbeats who could afford health insurance if they wanted it. Continue reading

Boehner: I HAVE A PLAN!

Republicans finally unveiled their long-awaited health care reform plan today:

The American people have spoken. They oppose government-run health care. Republicans are on the side of the American people.

What Americans want are common-sense, responsible solutions that address the rising cost of health care and other major problems. In the national Republican address on Saturday, October 31, 2009, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) discussed Republicans’ plan for common-sense health care reform our nation can afford. Boehner’s address emphasized four common-sense reforms that will lower health care costs and expand access to quality care without a government takeover of our nation’s health care system that kills jobs, raises taxes on small businesses, or cuts Medicare for seniors:

■Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
■Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.
■Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.
■Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.
For the full text of Leader Boehner’s address, click HERE. For more information about these and some of the other common-sense health care reforms proposed by Republicans, please visit the links below. The Republican health care substitute to be offered during floor debate on Speaker Pelosi’s government takeover of health care will incorporate all or part of the following bills:

■Empowering Patients First Act (Republican Study Committee Health Care Reform Bill, introduced July 30, 2009)
■Improving Health Care for All Americans Act (Shadegg Health Care Reform Bill, introduced July 14, 2009)
■Medical Rights & Reform Act (Kirk-Dent Health Care Reform Bill, introduced June 16, 2009)
■Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act (Gingrey medical liability reform bill, introduced June 6, 2009)
■Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009 (Johnson small business health plans bill, introduced May 21, 2009)
■Promoting Health and Preventing Chronic Disease through Prevention and Wellness Programs for Employees, Communities, and Individuals Act of 2009 (Castle Wellness & Prevention Bill, introduced July 31, 2009)
■Improved Employee Access to Health Insurance Act of 2009 (Deal auto-enrollment bill, introduced October 15, 2009)
■Health Insurance Access for Young Workers and College Students Act of 2009 (Blunt bill to improve health insurance coverage of dependents, introduced October 21, 2009)

So, let’s look a the four reforms put forth by the Republican Party. Continue reading