Friday, October 30, 2009

Holy Joe and Health Care


Senator Sanctimony has come under quite a bit of pressure after his threat to filibuster the Senate Democrats' health care proposal.

Yesterday's Courant pointed out Holy Joe's intransigence in an editorial.

Joe Conason points out that the senator's wife has worked for a large pharmaceutical company.

And, a few nights ago, Glenn Greenwald noted to Rachel Maddow that 68% of Connecticut's citizens back a public health option (Only 21% don't.), but the state's junior senator refuses to acknowledge them.

Finally, Steve Benen describes just what Holy Joe has to lose in this episode.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Piece-by-piece e-mails"


Golly. Could it be possible that Connecticut's oh-so-pious governor, who insists that all activities she hears about be squeaky clean, is herself a liar?

Uh, could be.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Constitution State Items


Arrests have been made in the Jasper Howard case.

District 10 (the Lewis Mills district) has been closed until further notice, as the superintendent wants to be "proactive" regarding the swine flu outbreak.

And, Holy Joe continues to support the endangerment of American citizens both by supporting their presence in various Mideast hellholes and by denying affordable health care to those who need it. Viz., the junior senator reasons,
"I want to vote for health insurance reform this year because we need it," Lieberman told CNN Tuesday afternoon. "But I will not vote for health care reform if it jeopardizes the recovery from the economic recession or adds to the national debt. And because I'm convinced that creating a government-run health insurance company will add to the national debt, increase taxes, and probably increase health insurance premiums, I can't vote at the end for a bill that has such a government-run insurance company in it."
What the pinheaded legislator obviously doesn't understand is that it's during tough times such as these that citizens need a social safety net more than ever.

And his strident advocacy of a foreign policy that's increased the national debt by nearly a trillion dollars certainly gives the lie to his economic concerns.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book War!


Interested as I am in books, I can't help but follow this situation:
The American Booksellers Association is asking the Justice Department to investigate the book price war that broke out last week between three of the nation’s top retailers: Wal-Mart, and Target. In a letter to the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division dated today, the independent booksellers group wrote that the three companies’ actions "constitute illegal predatory pricing that is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers."

The price war started when retail giant Wal-Mart slashed online prices on top-selling preorder books, including Sarah Palin’s upcoming memoir “Going Rogue” and Stephen King’s novel “Under the Dome,” to $10. matched that price on the same books. Then Wal-Mart went down to $9, and Amazon followed. Then Target jumped into the fray.

Right now Wal-Mart is offering the books for $8.98 or $8.99 on its website. Amazon has them for $9, and Target has them for $8.99. That’s a steep discount from the list price of these books, which range from about $25 to $35.
While I certainly am sympathetic to the ABA's plight, I don't quite see how this situation is "harmful to consumers." After all, they're getting deals the likes of which they've never received before.

Nevertheless, it's another case of Wal-Mart destroying the small retailer (A certain bookseller on the Connecticut shore comes to mind.)—a situation that's been deleterious on many levels. Thus, as I say, I'm sympathetic to the ABA's concern, but I do resent a lobbying group telling me that they're as concerned with me as they are with their own interests. I just don't think it works out that way.

Dithering, cont'd


I didn't vote for BO to have hideous events like these occur almost a year after his election:
Twin car bombs exploded [yesterday] near three Iraqi government buildings Sunday in central Baghdad, killing at least 132 people. It was the deadliest attack in the country in more than two years.

More than 500 people were wounded.
At least 14 Americans were killed today in two separate crashes involving helicopters in Afghanistan, NATO said ... Seven U.S. soldiers and three American civilians were killed when a helicopter crashed as a joint U.S.-Afghan force withdrew after a drug raid on a compound in western Afghanistan, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said in a statement. Fourteen Afghan soldiers, 11 U.S. military personnel and one American civilian were injured in the crash.
While all this carnage is going on, BO continues to sit on his hands while enjoying his Peace Prize, and the Grand Obstructionist Party keeps wanting to send more troops to Afghanistan so that more Americans can be killed. (What the hell—they're only Puerto Ricans and African-Americans, anyway.) This, while simultaneously blocking a national health plan because it's "too expensive."

BO keeps denigrating Fox News because it's a duplicitous messenger. He'd be better advised to create a more palatable message.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quote of the Day


—Cal Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the fact that his
team has played eight games in the last twenty days
The morons at MLB strike again. The World Series may end as late as November 5. Apparently I'm not the only person who sees this situation as utterly ludicrous.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Soupy Sales


It's hard to describe how influential this guy was to New York-area adolescents in the mid-sixties. I can remember being at a party where kids were doing entire routines—with friends playing Pookie and the whole bit. In those pre-VCR and DVR days, kids would rush home from high school to watch the latest late-afternoon craziness. It was silly; it was pointless; but, at that point, so were our lives.

Requiescat in pace.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Manny being wet


Was it something he did?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

She can dish it out ...


I see that a video I posted last month has been taken off of YouTube due to "a copyright claim by WWE."

Golly. You don't think Madame Chairwoman has anything to hide, do you?

Tragic news


A University of Connecticut football player died Sunday following an on-campus stabbing, hours after the team's victory over Louisville.

Twenty-year-old Jasper Howard of Miami, a junior and starting cornerback, was stabbed during a fight early Sunday. A message posted on the university's Web site said the fight and stabbing happened near Hillside Road, which is near the center of the Storrs campus. The perpetrator was still at large.
This is sure to cast a pall over the rest of the Huskies' season and will no doubt be the story of the week in the Constitution State.

Another example of global warming


So, a bear walks into a grocery store ...

Friday, October 16, 2009

1 in 4


FYI. As of 12:33, nearly 1 in 4 people responding to this question: "Should a Louisiana justice of the peace be punished for refusing to marry an interracial couple?" have responded "No."

18 years ago tonight


On October 16, 1991, my favorite Seinfeld bit of all time aired.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"A complete failure"


Another item I don't want to find in my stocking in a few months ...

Bob Dylan has just released—of all things—a Christmas album.
You might think that as he enters the sixth decade of his career, with 34 studio albums and countless live recordings to his credit, Dylan couldn't come up with anything to surprise us anymore. Well, he just found something.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the music, the album is a complete failure.
I've actually heard some snippets of the album on NPR, and to say it's hideous is to give it too much credit.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Judicial Review


Stat of the week.

Number of questions Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked in her first hour on the SCOTUS: 36. Number of questions Justice Clarence Thomas has asked in his last three years on the SCOTUS: 0.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A pat on the head


I fancy myself a social democrat in that I certainly have no problem in having my tax money go toward the public good. However, I'd just as soon that money not go toward an apparently insecure politician.
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell's administration came under fire Thursday, accused of spending taxpayer money for personal political purposes by hiring a University of Connecticut polling expert to conduct a study on issues, including whether citizens hold the governor in "high regard" as a leader.

The controversy involves a "focus group" of nine people in Wethersfield that dealt with opinions of the relative leadership qualities of Rell and a potential 2010 Democratic opponent, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ...

"When asked if Governor Rell or Attorney General Blumenthal fit these [leadership] characteristics" such as "principled" and "consistent" "many of the participants agreed that Blumenthal fit the characteristics well. ... Most held the governor in high regard. ... We recommend emphasis not only on solving the budget deficit by eliminating waste, but also on the governor's vision for the future of Connecticut," [the UConn professor who ran the focus group] wrote to [two of the governor's aides] after the focus group.
This may or may not be a story that has legs, but it's so typical of our shallow and duplicitous governor who has no trouble gutting various state agencies and then tries to use taxpayer money in a secret attempt to feather her own nest.

Maybe, she's not the anti-Rowland after all.

Quote of the Day


— Mrs. Monocle upon being informed that the POTUS
had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
This certainly seems to me a legitimate question. The wingnuts are sure to be [updated link] all over this choice, and I can't help but think that this is a pretty bizarre decision.

The decision seems to have been based on the fact that BO isn't his predecessor and has some very nice thoughts on how the world should go. Well, cripes, I have many of those same thoughts, and, like XLIV, I'm a former Time mgazine Person of the Year, and I don't see a bunch of Norwegians knocking on my door.

(I wonder what he'll do with the money.)

UPDATE — Bob Reich has more.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

"A flotation device"


Steve Benen this morning on Senator Sanctimony's push for new legislation to solve the alleged problem of Obama's "czars":
In 2006, when running for re-election, Lieberman vowed to voters that he would use his committee chairmanship to hold the Bush administration accountable.

After the election, he changed his mind. Over the course of the entire 110th Congress (spanning 2006 and 2007), Lieberman's most notable accomplishment with this committee had to do with seating arrangements. I mean that literally -- Lieberman made it so that senators sit D-R-D-R-D, instead of Dems on one side and Republicans on the other. Other than this, the committee has precious little to show for the entire 110th Congress.

Despite the Bush/Cheney administration being among the most scandal-plagued in generations, Lieberman, who had oversight responsibilities, "conducted zero proactive investigations into Bush administration malfeasance." Instead of a Senate Committee on Government Affairs that functioned as it should, Lieberman just treaded water, using his gavel as a flotation device. It was an embarrassing waste of what's supposed to be the Senate's watchdog committee, when the nation desperately needed lawmakers to hold Bush accountable.

But nine months into a Democratic administration, Lieberman has rediscovered his interest in oversight. Bush had three dozen "czars," but Lieberman didn't care. There's already been one pointless hearing on "czars," but Lieberman doesn't care.

This is, of course, exactly what Lieberman's detractors predicted would happen.
Sigh: Right again. Not that it's doing me any good.

Primum non nocere


As one who knows at least one person who decided to end her life with assistance and who has seen the ravages of old age affect various friends and relations, I'm struck by the big story in the Constitution State this morning.
Two Connecticut physicians and end-of-life advocates have filed a lawsuit in Hartford Superior Court seeking to clarify whether a decades-old law banning assisted suicide affects doctors who help their terminally ill patients die.

Dr. Gary Blick, a Norwalk physician who specializes in treating patients with HIV/AIDS, said Wednesday that he and Dr. Ron Levine of Cos Cob want the court to declare physicians will not face criminal charges if they provide a prescription to mentally competent patients who want to use medication to end their life peacefully.

Connecticut law makes it a crime to assist another person in committing suicide, which Blick vehemently denies is what he and Levine are advocating.
The state's hysterics are a little taken aback over the concept, but giving Connecticut doctors the right to help out terminal patients seems like a no-brainer to me.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Latest Poll


While it's too typical of Americans to vacillate in their opinions according to what they just heard from Glenn Beck or some other cretin of his ilk, it's nevertheless somewhat comforting to know that
An Associated Press-GfK poll says 56 percent of those surveyed in the past week approve of Obama's job performance, up from 50 percent in September. It's the first time since he took office in January that his rating has gone up.

People also feel better about his handling of the economy and his proposed health care overhaul.
Apparently, the hysteria of August has abated somewhat as a majority of the reupublic's citizens now feel that maybe having a government-sponsored safety net of health insurance isn't the road to depravity the Limbaughs and McConnells of the country would have.

However, the news isn't all good for BO.
Support for the war in Afghanistan has declined, the poll said Tuesday. And approval of Obama's handling of it is holding steady — in contrast to his gains in other areas — as he considers a big troop increase there. Poll respondents narrowly oppose the increase.
The Afghanistan nonsense is contrary to why people voted for BO in the first place. We weren't going to continue nation building, and we certainly weren't going to pour billions down the toilet in an effort to effect a situation that isn't ours.

It's the constant dithering by the POTUS (and the concomitant appeasement of the Republicans) that's driving BO supporters crazy.

Since, when people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong, the whole situation is making me a little nervous.

Monday, October 05, 2009

American Idiot


The story is told that the Sage of Baltimore was once asked why, if he could find nothing to "revere" in the United States, he continued to live here. His rhetorical response: "Why do men go to zoos?"

So it is with a lot of current happenings in the republic, not least of which has to do with birther queen Orly Taitz. Of her latest escapades, David Kurtz opines at TPM
I've started to wonder if her apparent prominence in the birther movement isn't some big joke. Or maybe it just drives home how fringe these folks are.
Justin Elliott provides details of the latest plot wherein a mysterious man with a "trim upper lip mustache, not large of stature and general olive complexion" plays an important role.