Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why Does the GOP Love Government When it’s Time to Legislate Morality, but Hates it When it’s Time to Legislate What’s Morally Right (i.e. Health Insurance)?

A friend forwarded me this piece from the Daily Kos that infuriates me to no end. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) has introduced a bill “to protect against ‘lewd conversations and descriptions of the private behavior of public persons.’”

"It’s morally reprehensible," says Representative Hoekstra. "I walk down the street and I hear all these crude words – adultery, prostitute, incest, diapers, what-have-you – in conversations about our hard-working public servants. What kind of talk is this? Who is protecting us from these innuendos? We had to give Senator Ensign a standing ovation to cheer him up, for Christ’s sake! Lord knows what we’ll need to do for Governor Sanford.”

Yeah, hard-working, cheating, diaper wearing, public servants. Hey, Hoekstra! You want to know how you keep people from talking about public servants? Keep your nose clean and give them what they want!!! You’re standing there, asking us to feel sorry for Ensign and Sanford, two of the biggest philandering cheats going, and you want to pass legislation to stop everybody from talking about it? Here, I’ve got three words for you…GO FUCK YOURSELF!

Oh, this really gets my goat. The party that hates Government wants Government to legislate what we say. Rich. They love Government when it’s time to rule on morality, or Terry Schiavo, or prohibition, or war, but hate Government when it’s time to do what’s morally right, like FUCKING HEALTH INSURANCE OR A FUCKING RESPONSIBLE ENERGY POLICY!!!

Hokestra, you’re an asshole. You’re wasting time and taxpayer dollars on bullshit that if passed, opens up a whole can of worms as to what people can say, how they can say it. It’ll never pass and will, I suspect, be deemed unconstitutional. That said, you're a fucking shit heel for even bringing it up in the first place.

Word up to my boy Dan for the tip as well as mentioning Terry Schiavo and prohibition.

While Arguing Against Public Option, Sen. Snowe Actually Proves Why We Need It

Arguing against a public health care option, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said, "If you establish a public option at the forefront that goes head-to-head and competes with the private health insurance market ... the public option will have significant price advantages."

In other words, we can’t possibly have a public health insurance plan because it will cost less than private health insurance plans.

Isn’t that the idea?  Aren’t we trying to lower the cost of health insurance so that all Americans can receive quality care?  If a public plan lowers the cost of care, or in this case, has “significant price advantages,” then we’ve succeeded, right?  Why then are there folks in Congress portraying the solution as the problem!?!

Monday, June 29, 2009

94% of Nation’s Health Insurance is “Highly Concentrated”-In Other Words, is a Monopoly

When it comes to health care reform, I have never been convinced of the free market argument.  The argument says that we don’t need a public health care option because the free market will regulate private insurance companies itself.  However, we’ve had nothing but free market health insurance and we’re talking about reform, so there you go.  Also, if there was true free market choice, our employer would offer a number of options from a number of providers.  Speaking personally, and this has been the case everywhere I have worked, one company offers two or three choices.  In other words, I am locked into a health plan offered by one company, who can control who I see and where I go for care.  Isn’t a monopoly when one company controls the situation?  Take a look at what I found on Talking Points Memo today:

Defenders of the status quo on health care like to point out that a public option will destroy the system of robust free-market competition that currently exists.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), speaking earlier this month on Fox News, called President Obama's plan the "first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known." A public option, Shelby added, would "destroy the marketplace for health care."

But the notion that most American consumers enjoy anything like a competitive marketplace for health care is flatly false. And a study issued last month by a pro-reform group makes that strikingly clear.

The report, released by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), uses data compiled by the American Medical Association to show that 94 percent of the country's insurance markets are defined as "highly concentrated," according to Justice Department guidelines. Predictably, that's led to skyrocketing costs for patients, and monster profits for the big health insurers. Premiums have gone up over the past six years by more than 87 percent, on average, while profits at ten of the largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007.

Far from healthy market competition, HCAN describes the situation as "a market failure where a small number of large companies use their concentrated power to control premium levels, benefit packages, and provider payments in the markets they dominate."

So extreme is the level of consolidation, in fact, that one former top Federal Trade Commission official working with HCAN has sent a letter to the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, asking for an investigation into the health insurance marketplace. (emphasis added)

Are you surprised?  I’m not.  I’ve never had a choice of providers, only plans.  The only way real change will occur is if we have a public option.  See, the insurance companies are afraid that they’ll go out of business because they can’t compete with a fair, efficiently run public plan.  Either that, or they don’t want to spend the money to clean up their act.  Or, and this is probably the most likely, they don’t want to give up their profits on a level playing field.  The truth is, they don’t want to compete.  They have a sweet deal now and they don’t have to.  They’re certainly not going to compete with each other.  They don’t have to. 

Look, if you like your plan, then keep it.  I plan on keeping mine.  That said, I am waiting for the day when I can go see a doctor and get whatever I need done without incurring any costs.  I have paid and paid into a system and still have to pay after I get the procedure.  It’s time we got something back, like, I don’t know, a healthy America?

Grand Obstructionist Party Working Overtime to Keep Obama Nominees on Sidelines

I had heard grumblings that Republicans were holding up Obama nominations to key positions.  So far this year, the most famous was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  Her confirmation was held up for weeks until swine flu freaked the nation out, effectively forcing the hand of stalling Republicans.  That’s just one story.  What about all those positions you don’t hear about?  Important positions like attorneys in charge of oversight or the person in charge of the census?  No, they’re not sexy positions, but they’re important because without people in these positions, government can’t effectively operate.  Also, these positions are important enough that they need congressional approval.  Now, without these positions filled, staffs of individuals wait for marching orders from bosses that are held up in the confirmation process.  The wheels of Government stand still.

I honestly didn’t think much about it until I saw today’s Huffington Post, which in turn led me to this editorial from the New York Times:

Dawn Johnsen, an impressive nominee for assistant attorney general, has been on hold since mid-March. She has aroused Republican ire for her opposition to torture and her repudiation of extreme views of presidential power.

Robert Groves, the nominee for director of the Census Bureau, has been on hold since mid-May. He has been deemed suspect for his expertise in sampling, a statistical method for adjusting miscounts. Republicans charge that sampling could unfairly tilt the census results. That is highly debatable, but, more to the point, it is a nonissue. Mr. Groves testified at his confirmation hearing that sampling will not be used in the 2010 count. But the hold on Mr. Groves endures, enfeebling the Census Bureau in the critical final months before the count.

In all, there are 21 positions on hold.  That’s 21 jobs that are not being done.  21 bosses who oversee hundreds of people who can’t do their jobs because they don’t have orders.  The party that argues that Government can’t do anything right is preventing Government to work at all.  If there is a legitimate reason to stop a nominee from reaching a post, then reasons should be given.  Instead, most of these holds are “anonymous and unexplained, by Republican senators.” 

This is chicken shit and it’s wrong.  Either tell us why they’re being held up or let them do their jobs.  It’s this self fulfilling prophecy dealt by Republicans.  They tell us that Government doesn’t work.  But it’s their obstruction that won’t allow Government to work.  Therefore, let’s cut out the cancer, unload these obstructionists, and get some good people in that want to see our Government succeed for our benefit.

Let’s Go Go White Sox!

The Chicago White Sox are my favorite baseball team.  Thanks to my father and my father’s father, I am a third generation fan.  This year, for my birthday, my wife was kind enough to purchase two seats for this last Saturday’s game against the Cubs.  Other than the playoffs, there’s no better atmosphere as fans for both teams are keyed up, hoping to secure city bragging rights.

White Sox won Saturday’s game 8-7 on a two out double from Gordon Beckham in the bottom of the ninth.  The game was a back and forth slugfest.  Lots of ups and downs, great plays and even better hitting.  It was easily the best game that I have ever seen live.  What makes it better is that the Sox won the game and the overall series, securing bragging rights.  Well, they have bragging rights at least for now as there was a rain-out at Wrigley which will be made up in September.  But as of today, the Sox have bragging rights!  So, in honor of the terrific weekend, let’s cheer the Sox on to victory!  Let’s go go White Sox!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons – Tom & Jerry in “Slicked-up Pup”

Just look at Jerry’s face when he finds out that Tom has to keep the puppy clean.  It’s going to be a long day for ol’ Tom.

For more Saturday morning fun, I’ve got action over at Back to Saturn X!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Andrew T.’s Late Late Late Show - “The Astro Zombies”

Folks, I can’t sugar coat this one.  It looks just awful.  These zombies look like they’re heads are bad Lucha Libre masks, with some added depth in the cheek bones.  It looks painful, so I’ll give you the preview.  How’s that?

The one good thing that came out of this movie is the fact that the Misfits wrote a song called Astro Zombies inspired by the movie.  Here, how’s this?

Friday Night! Outta Sight! Michael Jackson in “Off the Wall”

Truly amazing.  And if you didn’t know, now you do.

In the Big Scheme, is $1.6 Trillion For Health Care Really So Scary? Not if we Adjust Our Priorities

090626-TWIToons-20.ss_full Over at the Washington Post, Ezra Klein says that paying for health care is “A Question of Priorities”:

As we speak, the Senate is toiling to cut the health care reform bill from $1.6 trillion to $1 trillion over 10 years. Health economist Uwe Reinhardt puts those numbers into context:

A price tag of $1.6 trillion seems immense if one contemplates the figure in the abstract. It is, however, only about 4 percent of the total cumulative health spending of $40 trillion, the amount government actuaries now project for the decade from 2010 to 2020. That is also less than the 6 to 7 percent that total national health spending has increased each year in the past decade.

And $1.6 trillion is only about 1 percent of the amount of G.D.P. that America can reasonably be expected to produce in the next decade (about $150 trillion to $170 trillion).

Klein continues:

This isn't a question between borrowing $1 trillion or $1.6 trillion. It's a question of spending priorities. The president, for instance, has proposed limiting the itemized deduction rate to 28 percent for taxpayers making more than $250,000 (the rate for most of us is between 10 and 15 percent). This would raise more than $300 billion over 10 years.

But the Senate has been unimpressed by the proposal. A world, however, in which we cut coverage to bring costs under $1 trillion but leave the itemized deduction, is a world in which we have explicitly decided that we would prefer to spend that $300 billion helping wealthy Americans lower their tax bills rather than helping low-income Americans afford health insurance.

Bob Cesca also wonders:

Nevertheless, Max Baucus has decided to arbitrarily limit the price tag for the healthcare reform bill to $1 trillion over ten years. I can't recall who wrote this recently, so forgive the lack of attribution: In 2002, did any member of Congress randomly set a spending limit for the invasion and occupation of Iraq?

I think this is a point that needs to be amplified.  We have the money.  It’s there.  We just need to adjust our priorities and do the right thing.

The Results of Andrew T.’s Customer Appreciation Survey Are In!

A couple of weeks ago, I had asked you, my loyal readers, to tell me what AtiotC can do for you.  I was interested to know what you liked about the blog and what you wanted to see more of.  The choices were:

  • More news & politics (especially on the weekends)
  • More light fare (music and humor)
  • Perfect balance (don’t change a thing)
  • Reading this blog is agonizing (please, stop the madness and shut it down!)

Before I destroyed the poll all together by messing with my template, I managed to get 14 responses, which I thought was pretty good for my first poll.

One person wanted more news & politics.  I take that to mean you like my analysis and the presentation, so thank you one person. 

Three people wanted more light fare.  Sadly, I haven’t lived up to my end on this request this week.  I’ll do what I can to unearth some good laughs and grooves.  That said, you can always find more obsessions, laughs, and general nonsense over at ATiotC’s sister site, Back to Saturn X.

Five people felt that I had the perfect balance.  Thank you for both your support and patronage.  It warms me to know that I’m pushing all the right buttons and you five are enjoying it.

Finally, five find me to be agonizing.  To which I say, I live to fuck with you.  I’m not going anywhere.  I don’t write this for you.  I write it for the other nine and those like them.  Of course, you are always welcome to disagree on my positions and civilly debate in the comments, but I’m not here for you.  If you don’t like it, find some other site to keep you warm because this ain’t it.

So there you have it.  The first Andrew T. Customer Appreciation Survey was a great success, at least in my book.  Frankly, I’m flattered that 14 people took the time to respond.  I really enjoy blogging and am happy that there are those of you out there that are enjoying it with me.  I figure that the longer I do this, the better I’ll get, so stick with me, ok?  If I ever say something that’s so far gone, don’t be afraid to let me know.  I also hope to be changing the look of the page soon and am working on a new design now, albeit slowly.

Thanks again for tagging along!  I’m extremely excited about the future and hope that AtiotC is a big part of bringing that future to you!

-The Management

Energy Bill’s Fate Will Let Americans Know if We’re Either Getting “Change” or “Chump Change”

Today could be the day we find out exactly what kind of “change” we can expect going forward to as the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Bill comes to a vote.  According to today’s New York Times Editorial:

The American Clean Energy and Security Act would, for the first time, put a price on carbon emissions. The bill has shortcomings. But we believe that it is an important beginning to the urgent task of averting the worst damage from climate change. Approval would show that the United States is ready to lead and would pressure other countries to follow. Rejection could mean more wasted years and more damage to the planet.

We’re supposed to find out which way we go today.  It is my opinion that the fate of this bill will have ramifications for other pieces of difficult legislation.  Either we are going to get substantial, meaningful bills that bring this country into the new century, or we’ll get watered down, meaningless legislation masquerading as change, or what I like to call “chump change.”

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clown Shoes Bachmann - “We Used the Census to Imprison Japanese During WWII. I’m Not Sayin’, I’m Just Sayin’”

Did you know that if you don’t answer the census next year, black helicopters are going to swoop down on your house?  Yep.  Then, men in black, storm troopers actually, complete with scary Darth Vader type masks, drop ropes and repel onto your roof.  It’s true!  Then, they’ll cut a hole in the roof drop into your house, stuff you and your family into bags, hook you to a wench which will take you up into the helicopter.  You laugh, but I’m not making this up!  Finally, they’ll drop you off at an ACORN “re-education camp” where you will learn the ways of the liberal.  After a successful reprogramming, you will be released back into society, under close supervision, of course.

Ok, I made all of that up.  Listen to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) long enough and you’d start to believe that it’s actually happening.  Back in April, she was claiming that forced community service would be the same as going off to a re-education camp.  So she already has concentration camp delusions.  Just wondering, but if she was able to have her “pro-American/anti-American” hearings, what would she have done with those who were deemed anti-American?  Camps?

Now, she’s obsessed with the census.  She has already said that she was only going to fill out the part about how many people live in her house and ignore the rest.  Mainly because that dreaded community organizing group ACORN is going to recruit individuals to help complete the census.  Today, she took her fight against the census, which, by the way, is mandated by the Constitution, to incredible new heights.  Listen as she explains how the census was used against Japanese-Americans during World War II:

There is no question that the US did some dastardly things when they started the internment camps during WWII.  However, for her to sit there and connect what happened then to what’s happening now, on the basis that a community organizing group is helping complete the census is preposterous.  Not only is it preposterous, it’s irresponsible seeing as how we have crazy nutters running around shooting people.  The last thing we need is a United States Congresswoman say that she’s not going to fill out the census because she doesn’t trust the Government, of which, she is a part, and she’s going to use 1942 as proof.

Here, to ease everybody’s minds on the upcoming census, I looked it up to find out what would have to happen for ACORN to come to your house.  Per census.gov:

The Census Bureau will mail or deliver questionnaires to your house in March 2010. We will mail a second form to households that do not respond to the initial questionnaire.

Households that still do not respond will be called or visited by a Census worker. (Census workers can be identified by a census badge and bag.)

So in order to avoid ACORN, all I have to do is FILL OUT THE FUCKING FORM AND DROP IT IN THE MAIL?  Stupid.

This is all so silly.  Why do conservatives get so pee-their-pants freaked about ACORN.  They didn’t have any sway in the election.  Oh, sure, a couple of bad apples forged voter registrations for extra cash and ACORN got in trouble.  I assure you, they didn’t forge the 10 million votes that Obama beat McCain by.  Obama won, easily.  Get over it.

As for Bachmann, well she is entertaining, that is if you find smacking your forehead in disbelief fun.

Here, This Will Help You Keep Your Philandering Republicans Straight

Many thanks to the genius who took the time to create this and thanks to Talking Points Memo for sharing!


Get Your Name on TV and Tell Congress “We Want The Public Option”

Thanks to Crooks & Liars, I found out about a new ad campaign and you can get involved.  You can add your name to the list found here, and apply pressure to those in Congress who are working to stop the public health care option.

I’m convinced that the only way to get true health care reform is through a public option.  If you agree, take a second and add your name to the list.  Who knows, you might see your name on TV.

Regardless if you add your name to the list or not, take a second to look at the ad and note what opposing Senators have earned from the insurance industry.  Watch:

Wow! I Got an Email From Michael Steele! What? They’re Going to Tax My Lights Out? (cue scary music)

This is too good not to share.  If I was a chattering teeth, knee knocker type, this might work.  Instead, I laugh hysterically at the ridiculousness of it all.

Dear Andrew,

Nancy Pelosi and liberal Democrats in the House of Representatives are preparing to pass so-called "cap and trade" legislation THIS WEEK. This bill is nothing but a huge national energy tax on families and small businesses.

But don't just take my word for it. Watch the video at this link, and listen to Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, admit that "...cap and trade is a tax, and it's a great big one."

Don't let the Democrats tax your lights out. Pick up the phone now. Call your Congressman at 202-224-3121. Tell your Congressman to vote NO on the Democrats' cap and trade energy tax.


Michael Steele
Chairman, Republican National Committee

Oh, that damn cap and trade tax is going to kill us right?  Right?  Isn’t it?

The main argument conservatives and big oil and coal companies use against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) is that it would cripple American households with a crushing energy tax. To make that claim, they have distorted cost estimates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted their own biased studies. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency obliterated these phony numbers with the release of its economic analysis of H.R. 2454. The EPA estimated the bill would actually lower household electricity bills:

As a result of energy efficiency measures, consumer spending on utility bills would be roughly 7% lower in 2020 as a result of the legislation.

That’s right — lower bills. In 2007, this would have saved the average residential user $84, or 23 cents per day. EPA’s analysis also found:

The overall impact on the average household, including the benefit of many of the energy efficiency provisions in the legislation, would be 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year).

Thanks Wonk Room!  Another adult diaper saved through research!

New Senate Report Uncovers Healthcare Insurer Dirty Tricks-First They Take Your Money, Then They Screw You on Care

If you have seen “Sicko” (and if you haven’t, you should) then this story from the Washington Post shouldn’t come as a surprise.

At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care.

For example…

The report released yesterday alleges that insurers have systematically underpaid for out-of-network care. The issue had been brought to light previously in litigation, committee hearings and other investigations, including a probe by New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. But as politicians and interests groups clash over the current effort to overhaul the nation's health-care system, it took on new relevance.

Cuomo described it last year as "a scheme by health insurers to defraud consumers by manipulating reimbursement rates."

Many Americans pay higher premiums for the freedom to go outside an insurer's network of doctors and hospitals. When they do, insurers typically pay a percentage of what they call the "usual and customary" rates for the services. How insurers determine the usual rates had long been opaque to consumers and difficult if not impossible for them to challenge.

As it turns out, insurers typically used numbers from Ingenix, a wholly owned subsidiary of the big insurer UnitedHealth Group. Ingenix had an incentive to produce benchmarks that low-balled usual and customary rates and shifted costs from insurers to their customers, the report said.

Ingenix got its data from the same insurers that bought its benchmark information, the report said. Insurers that contributed information to Ingenix often "scrubbed" their data to remove high charges, and Ingenix further manipulated the numbers, removing valid high charges from its calculations, the report said.

Dirty, rotten bastards.  I’m not one to throw around insults at individuals directly, but you’re a fucking idiot if you think insurance companies care about you.  If you’re one that defends these guys, then your a fucking asshole.  On this subject, I have no patience.  I want a choice.  Yeah, there’s a shit ton of providers in this world, but my employer offers three choices from one provider.  Outside my employer and the coverage is either substandard or too expensive.  Drop my coverage and I die on the sidewalk because the hospital won’t let me in. 

This is insane!  This is not how a civilized industrial power cares for their people!  Demand better!  Call your representatives!  Tell them what you want!  If you don’t get it, vote them the fuck out!

It’s time Government work for us!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

WTF?!? Kos Exposes Fox News’ Habit of Turning Disgraced (R)s to (D)s

People, for the love of God, stop watching Fox News.  They are lying to us on a daily basis.  They are manipulating information for the political benefit of the GOP.  Now, I realize how obvious that last statement is.  I am fully aware that they exist solely to advance the GOP game plan.  But the subtle thing I’m about to share is completely and totally reprehensible.

Daily Kos has a series of screenshots from Fox News showing former Republican golden boy, Mark Sanford, with an (R) following his name every time.  At today’s press conference, he has a (D).

During the stimulus fight:

Sanford R

During today’s press conference:

Sanford D

To prove this isn’t just a mistake, that there is indeed a pattern of displaying disgraced Republicans as (D), the Kos has more photos.

Freedom of the press exists because the founding fathers believed that the public deserved unfettered access to the facts.  By manipulating facts to meet their ends, Fox News has time and again betrayed the public trust.  Unfortunately, the only way to get them to change their ways is to stop watching them.  Sadly, they’re the highest rated cable news channel in the country.

Please, put the word out.  People need to open their eyes.  Until they do, they will continue to be played for suckers.


Even more proof here.

Come to South Carolina! Home of the Shit Heel Politician!

It’s no wonder the fine citizens of SC don’t trust government.

Take Governor Mark Sanford.  He fought like mad to stop the stimulus money from coming into his state.  When the state legislature voted to accept it, he tried to make them put it towards debt.  They wanted to use it for its intended purpose, unemployment benefits and education.  He didn’t like that.  They told him to fuck off, so he took them to court, which he promptly lost.  Defeated, he sauntered off to the Appalachian Trail to clear his mind.  Or, at least, that’s what his staff thought he said.  His wife didn’t even know.  After a soul searching press conference, Sanford admitted that he was in Argentina, breaking up with his mistress.  I’m sure that before he broke the bad news, he nailed her. 

Another rotten politician for South Carolina!  Mark Sanford…state citizen hating, extramarital affair having Shit heel!

Here we have Senator Jim DeMint.   Now, clear your mind of all you know.  Forget that 76% of Americans want a public healthcare option.   Dig the conservative virtues from the man that is DeMint.

Yeah, American’s don’t want a public plan!  The 76% that do don’t count!  Therefore, nobody wants a public choice!  More interesting to me is this argument that Government can’t do anything right.  Excuse me, but isn’t Sen. DeMint part of the Government?  If Government can’t do anything right, then why do we keep sending people like him back?  Why aren’t we more interested in getting people in there that can?  He ain’t part of the solution, he’s part of the problem!

Another rotten politician from South Carolina!  Senator Jim DeMint…poll ignoring, Government hating Shit Heel!

What amazes me is the fact that while South Carolina suffers through this nonsense, they keep voting these guys back in.  It’s as if they like being miserable.  In fact, I can already hear South Carolina yelling at me from their porches.  Whatever.  I’m glad I don’t have to suffer through self-indulgent pricks like these.

What’s Wrong With the Idea of Powering Your Own House?

While nosing around the internet, I came across this anti-climate change gem from the World Net Daily.  Don’t waste your time clicking on the link, unless you’re looking to slap your forehead in disbelief.  It’s a typical nutter screed about how Google’s investment in solar panels ends up costing them in the end.  The author uses coffee makers as an example and concludes that the coffee makers end up costing Google $1,500 a piece.  I’m sure in his mind the numbers add up, but they didn’t make any sense to me.  If you can show his math, then, please, by all means, let me know

On second thought, don’t because I really don’t care.  The story itself is not the point of this post.  I noticed that the article had been submitted to Digg, so I headed over to bury the utter nonsense.  While I was there, I began to read the comments.  It was the typical Digg comment scene of environmentalists clashing with climate change deniers for the hearts and minds of people who haven’t made up their mind yet.  That said, it has been my experience that if you’re reading the comments, you probably already have an opinion. 

While I read, I came across two comments, both from an individual who identifies himself as ItSaulGood, that struck me.  First, he argued that all technology, while expensive at first, always comes down in price.  He uses the example of cell phones to prove his point.  You know, they went from rare, big, and unreliable to small, cheap, able to work everywhere and everybody has one.  The second, and the more powerful comment of the two, had to do with the fact that he has solar panels on his home.  These panels power 80% of his home needs and that he in the process of adding more, with the goal of selling the excess power he creates back to the power company.

The idea of selling power to the power company should blow everybody’s mind.  Everybody is looking for ways to cut costs, right?  Interested in saving money?  Yes?  Can you imagine if you didn’t have an electric bill?  Sure, it’s only thirty or forty bucks a month, but that’s 30 or 40 bucks saved!  Costs cut!  And, if you make more power than you need, you can sell it back into the system!  Money earned!  Why wouldn’t anybody be interested in making money?  I’m talking about an actual possibility that along with your water heater and your oven, wind turbines and solar panels could be required home appliances.  What is wrong with that idea?  I understand that it’s not cost effective now, but using the cell phone as a template, costs will come down and everybody will power their own homes!  Amazing! 

Of course, the climate change deniers say there’s enough oil and coal for centuries and we don’t have to worry about it.  Why would we want to change?  There’s no need.  I mean, Glenn Beck said himself that we pollute when we exhale (to laughs), so this whole global warming business is bunk, right?  Plus, it’s too expensive to cover your roof in solar panels anyway.  And, we pollute when we manufacture the panels, so we’re damned if we do damned if we don’t.  Right?  I find this whole defeatist, “it’ll never change, so why bother” mentality insulting.  While we’re at it…you’ll never get a companion, never have a friend, never get thin, never finish a book, never see the world, etc., etc., so why bother?  Just dig a hole and die already, right?  I mean, really, what’s to live for?  Just stop it!  We’re Americans!!!  We can do anything!!!

Back to the matter at hand, I’m sorry to say this is where Al Gore fucked up.  See, people look outside, see a clear sunny day, and tell themselves that nothing is wrong, therefore, there is no such thing as global warming.  Miami and New York haven’t flooded yet, so, obviously, there’s no problem.  Unless people exhale a black cloud, the Earth’s climate just doesn’t register in real, concrete terms.  You can blow stats and show pictures until your about to faint, but until it hits their backyard, it doesn’t register.  Add all of that the the fact that the right hates Al Gore’s guts for nothing that I can see except for being a Democrat, and you’re fighting an uphill battle against an already dense section of the population.

What does register with these people is money.  They argue that the new energy policy is another of Obama’s sneaky tax schemes.  Alright then, how about the country gives you a tax credit to install solar panels on your roof and another credit to install a wind turbine?  All of the sudden, your energy costs are down and you got, gasp, government help to do it.  Your tax dollars returned for a noble cause!  Add enough home energy improvements and before you know it, your home is powered independently of the local utility.  Make excess power?  Make extra money by selling your surplus back to the network.  Before you know it, we’ve addressed climate change and we didn’t have to discuss the environment to do it.  Brilliant!

That, my friends, is how I propose we sell climate change going forward.  Yes, we’re saving the environment, but people aren’t interested.  They are interested in money.  Therefore, make it a pocketbook issue.  I’m confident, it’s a winner.

2006 Story Tells of Company That Sends Employees Overseas For Medical Procedures Because, Frankly, It Costs Less

A buddy sent me this article from the American Medical News, which is published by the American Medical Association.  The piece is dated September 28, 2006 and tells of American companies who send their employees overseas for medical procedures because it costs less:

This month, a Blue Ridge (Paper Products Inc. of Canton, N.C.) worker headed to New Delhi to have his gallstones removed and his rotator cuff repaired. Blue Ridge has added overseas hospitals and physicians to its PPO.

For Blue Ridge, it costs less to send an employee 7,800 miles to New Delhi than nine miles to the nearest hospital -- with the quality being equal in the company's eyes. The company estimates the employee's surgeries would cost $100,000 in North Carolina but $20,000 in India.

"We want better than what we can get here," said Darrell Douglas, vice president for human resources. Blue Ridge is even kicking in for travel expenses and paying employees a bonus of up to $10,000 for going to India.

The lure of huge savings is tempting for payers: Blue Ridge testified at the Senate hearing, and one West Virginia state legislator has introduced a bill that would allow state employees to fly first class, with their families, stay at a four-star hotel and receive extra sick days in order to get cheaper care overseas.

United Group Programs, a third-party administrator based in Boca Raton, Fla., outlined why it anticipates a receptive audience for its overseas network. The average cost of a kidney transplant in the United States is around $73,000, versus $28,000 at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Time magazine reported that Bumrungrad last year treated 55,000 American patients -- a 30% increase over 2004.

A coronary artery bypass costs roughly $6,500 at Apollo Hospitals in India, while surveys show the average cost in California is $60,400 -- a difference that is more than enough to make up the travel costs.

Of course, there are concerns with going overseas for a procedure.  Specifically, coordinating care after the procedure between the foreign and domestic doctors.  After that, there are no concerns.  These companies, Blue Ridge and United Group Programs, are confident that care is equal, if not better and don’t seem worry about any disconnect between doctors.

Might I suggest one procedure for the entire country?  It’s free.  It’s called “head from ass removal surgery.”  I doesn’t cost a cent.  Just open your eyes to the rest of the world and know that we’re being screwed out of a quality of life that the rest of the planet takes for granted, all in the name of profit.  I’m all for making money, but not at the expense of me, my family, my neighbors, and my country.  When a company can fly a family to India, put them up, cover expenses, pay for surgery and recovery, and save $60 to $70k, then this country has a big problem. 

The United States comes in at #37 on “The World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems.”  Take a look at some of the countries above us.  I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t heard of some of them.  Yet, there are those telling us that we have the best health care in the world.  Um, actually, the best healthcare in the world is in France.  Ah!  Those dreaded French, with their bread and wine and cheese and cigarettes and art and healthcare.  I find it ironic that Americans spend so much time putting down the French when they’re living happier, healthier lives.  They’re sitting in a sidewalk cafe, enjoying a summer day, while we’re across the street, wheezing insults.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to use a college basketball analogy.  Being #37 might get us into the tournament of 64, but at a low/mid seed and we would get beat in the first round.  As Americans, we should be embarrassed by this fact.  We have been raised to believe in American exceptionalism, that we are special because we are the best.  We’re special alright, short bus special.  We need to stop being so blinded by our greatness and see that the world is passing us by.  Once we open our eyes, we can go back to being a country of “can do!”  How about we get our dignity and confidence back?  Why don’t we start with healthcare?  Let’s get strong and healthy and then believe that we can do anything we set our minds to.  It is possible!  Don’t let them tell you otherwise!  Let’s get healthcare fixed in this country and start believing in ourselves again!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Inside an Anti-Healthcare Reform Brainstorm Session

This is tricky because while it’s presented as a joke, I’m afraid that it’s too true to be funny.  Regardless, I thought enough of it to share it.  Enjoy?

EPA Proves “Energy Tax” is Just Another Invented Lie By Big Energy and Their Allies

Great news on the energy reform front from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Per The Wonk Room:

The main argument conservatives and big oil and coal companies use against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) is that it would cripple American households with a crushing energy tax. To make that claim, they have distorted cost estimates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted their own biased studies. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency obliterated these phony numbers with the release of its economic analysis of H.R. 2454. The EPA estimated the bill would actually lower household electricity bills:

As a result of energy efficiency measures, consumer spending on utility bills would be roughly 7% lower in 2020 as a result of the legislation.

That’s right — lower bills. In 2007, this would have saved the average residential user $84, or 23 cents per day. EPA’s analysis also found:

The overall impact on the average household, including the benefit of many of the energy efficiency provisions in the legislation, would be 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Frankly, it’s becoming quite funny in it’s predictability.  Regardless of the issue, when the right starts screaming “change is going to kill you!”, it comes out that the opposite is true.  Instead, we have to endure lame candle stunts and ads like this

Schaeffer Speculates That if the Religious Right Won, America Would be Exactly Like Iran

Frank Schaeffer is quickly becoming one of my favorite columnists.  He has an incredible insight into the mind of the neoconservative religious base as he used to be one of the founders and leaders of the original religious right movement.  Sometime in the mid-eighties, he had an epiphany and left the movement.  Now, it seems he does everything he can to stop them.  This weeks piece for the Huffington Post is no exception.

He uses the turmoil in Iran and surmises that America would be experiencing the same exact thing had the religious right managed to achieve their plans to take over government here in America.  He offers some hard, but obvious, lessons that we all should take away from Iran:

What are the real lessons of Iran for the USA?

1) Don't mix religion and politics.

2) Thank God for the separation of church and state.

3) The Republicans are utter hypocrites.

It’s a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Invades Bonnaroo

Back when I was in college, Lollapalooza was the thing.  For about $60+, you'd get, something like, eight bands on the main stage and another 16 on the second stage, all in one day.  I went a couple years in a row and truth be told, it was exhausting.  Understand, I'm no concert lightweight as I've seen hundreds of bands in a variety of venues.  However, at one point during both years, there was a moment where I'd look at my watch and say, "Christ, there's another band after this."  That may have been because I didn't like every band that was there, so that made things difficult as well.  "Damn it, I don't want to watch Front 242, I already walked around and sampled the hippie wares, and there's nobody on the second stage."  It was this experience that soured me to the whole multi-day festival idea, because, frankly, one day was hard enough. 

Having said all of that, it's certainly something that I don't regret doing.  Now that I'm older, I can look back and form an opinion because I went.  Had I not gone, I probably wished that I had.  I can also say that it wasn't all bad as I saw some amazing performances.  So there you go.

I ramble on about this because last weekend was Bonnaroo, which is a four day festival in Tennessee.  Much to my glee, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog decided to deliver a report to Conan O'Brien.  Here's what he found:

Good, Rational Health Care Argument From Paul Krugman

Please take a moment to read Paul Krugman’s New York Times column today.  He discusses the current battle over health care.  First, polls prove people want a public option.  Second, he’s not concerned of costs:

I’m not that worried about the issue of costs. Yes, the Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary cost estimates for Senate plans were higher than expected, and caused considerable consternation last week. But the fundamental fact is that we can afford universal health insurance — even those high estimates were less than the $1.8 trillion cost of the Bush tax cuts. Furthermore, Democratic leaders know that they have to pass a health care bill for the sake of their own survival. One way or another, the numbers will be brought in line.

Third, he takes “centrist” democrats to task:

Honestly, I don’t know what these Democrats are trying to achieve. Yes, some of the balking senators receive large campaign contributions from the medical-industrial complex — but who in politics doesn’t? If I had to guess, I’d say that what’s really going on is that relatively conservative Democrats still cling to the old dream of becoming kingmakers, of recreating the bipartisan center that used to run America.

But this fantasy can’t be allowed to stand in the way of giving America the health care reform it needs. This time, the alleged center must not hold.

Take a moment and check it out.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Andrew T.’s Late Late Late Show – “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” (NSFW)

Honestly, this is one of my favorite movies.  No, it’s not a great movie, but it’s a great movie, if you know what I mean.  It turns the trash up to 11.  Basically, three girls and their boyfriend move to L.A. to be big time rock stars.  It would be pretty standard fare if it weren’t for the debauchery. 

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a Russ Meyer classic and was written by a young Roger Ebert.  When I watch it, I have this picture of a nerdy Ebert surrounded by a set full of beautiful Meyer actresses, rolling joints on the script, running up to Meyer between takes with outrageous ideas, which Meyer puts to use with glee.

Dig this preview man and get into what’s now!

Just a quick note for the puritans out there regarding the X rating.  Yes, there’s a lot of sex and nudity, but no more than what is in today’s movies.  I get it.  Standards back then and such.  I’m just saying, today, this is easily an R.

Friday Night! Outta Sight! Bee Gees in “You Should Be Dancing”

Who ever posted this video to YouTube is a genius.  They took the extended cut of the song, started with footage from “Saturday Night Fever”, cut to the live video version from VH1, and finished with more “Saturday Night Fever.”  I don’t think I need to tell you that this is one hot song!  So let’s not wait any longer and kick this weekend off right!!!  Here’s the Bee Gees with “You Should Be Dancing!”

New Ad in Favor of Public Option To Target Flaky Members of Congress

Per Huffington Post:

On Friday, Health Care for America Now (HCAN) -- the nation's largest health care campaign - launched a $1.1 million television ad campaign pushing a public health insurance option. The spot, titled "What If," is targeting senators in Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington and will run for ten days. Among the lawmakers being targeted include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Kent Conrad (D.N.D.) -- all of whom have been difficult-to-pin down on a public option for health insurance coverage.

Go get ‘em!

Head of Committee to Create Health Care Reform is Owned By Private Health Care Lobby

Here’s what we’re fighting against…Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which has been charged with creating health care reform, is owned by big insurance:

As Sen. Max Baucus has taken the lead on health reform legislation in the U.S. Senate, he also has become a leader in something else: campaign money received from health and insurance industry interests.

In the past six years, nearly one-fourth of every dime raised by the Montana Democrat and his political action committee has come from groups and individuals associated with drug companies, insurers, hospitals, medical supply firms, health service companies and other health professionals.

These donations total about $3.4 million, or $1,500 a day, every day, from January 2003 through 2008.

While discussing how the Finance Committee’s draft health care proposal is missing a public component, Bob Cesca notes:

Think about the principle here: the health insurance companies buy politicians who force the rest of us to buy health insurance. And upwards of 30 percent of that money goes to private health insurance profit and overheard. Max Baucus and the phenomenally stupid "Coalition of the Willing" wants to force you to finance health insurance profit margins.

It's a crime. It's exactly like being forced to pay tribute to a mafia boss -- or else they intimidate and kill you. My first instinct would be to outright refuse to pay, simply as a matter of principle. But principle doesn't put us back together when we're sick, so we're stuck. I can't imagine anything more sinister than this.

Nor can I.

Health Care-Time to Act as Forces Work to Kill Public Option

As I eluded yesterday, the clouds are moving in on health care reform, specifically, the public option. 

I came across this article that tells us that former senators Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and Howard Baker, have created the Bipartisan Policy Center which has drafted their own insurance plan.  Their “policy center” has been funded by, ta-da, the insurance industry.  Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that just yesterday it was reported that Daschle was trying to talk Obama out of the public option.  Ezra Klein has an article at the Washington Post, titled “The Finance Committee’s “Comprehensive Incrementalism.”  The article is mostly concerned with the Finance Committee’s attempts at cutting costs to the detriment of a public plan.  Klein says:

It is one of the paradoxes of the legislative process that something that is substantively quite timid can also be quite bold. This version of health reform is far from what the country needs. It is far from what any health-care experts would develop left to their own devices. But it is still a monumental initiative and, if passed, it would be the most significant step forward since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid.

It is also worth remembering, however, that this bill has not been merged with the more liberal legislation being considered by Sen. Ted Kennedy's HELP Committee. Nor has it been reconciled with the legislation being driven through the House of Representatives, which Speaker Pelosi promises will feature a strong public plan. And most importantly, the White House has not forcefully stepped in with its priorities and preferences. Health care reform still has a long road to travel. This is just one snapshot that helps to illustrate how the landscape is changing along the way.

All is not lost, but it will be if we don’t take action. 

Look, I am all for being fiscally responsible.  That said, there’s no way to do this on the cheap.  The last time we tried to do something on the cheap was Iraq, and look at how that’s gone.  Congress approved the budget which accounted for a large amount of money to be set aside for a new health care plan.  Do not let them funnel that large sum to the insurance companies.  Do not let them allow the insurance companies to reform themselves.  I assure you they won’t.  Don’t believe me?  Watch this:

Everybody knows somebody that has some kind of health care horror story.  Far too often we make health decisions on what it will cost, not how it will improve our lives.  The only way to get quality care in this country and lower costs is to put a public option on the table.  That is true competition and competition is the only way the insurance companies will clean up their act.  For those of you who are scared shitless of a government plan, then we must make sure that our private options remain.  Then, like toothpaste and shampoo, we can make the decision based on what works best for us. 

Supporters of a public option, such as myself, do not give up.  There’s still time.  These are only drafts, so make sure that they include a public option.  Call your representatives today!  Think of it as a vote.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Do You Want Change or Not? If You Answer Yes, Then It’s On You!

Look, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one and I’m not going to ramble on and link cites to prove my point.

If you want real change in our country, then it’s on you to do something about it.  I’m not talking about taking it to the streets.  I’m talking about firing off an email to your representative.  I’m talking about picking up your phone and leaving a voice mail for you senator.  The negative headlines are already beginning to sprout up.  If you want a public option for health care and want to see clean energy become a reality, then contact your people in Washington and tell them.  Tell them specifically what you want.  It doesn’t take any time. 

It’s time we stop bending over.  It’s time we start reminding congress who they work for!  They work for you!  Remind them!  Tell them what you want!!!

Confirmed! George W. Bush is Still a Dumb Ass

When G. Dubs left office, he said that he was going to keep his opinions on the new Administration to himself.  In fact he said the new Administration “Deserves my silence.”  He kept his word up to June 17, 2009.  See, G. Dubs was in Erie, Pennsylvania last night to give a speech and had these gems of ultimate wisdom to share:

"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."

Nice double negative.  So, do you mean that persuasion is going to work?  Knowing W.’s penchant for butchering the English language, I am going to assume that he’s afraid that we’re going to coddle the terrorists into seeing things our way, because, you know, waterboarding worked so well.  Yes, there are people at Gitmo that will kill at the drop of a hat.  That’s why we’re going to give them restitution.  Brand new homes in gated communities and $1 million to blow on whatever bombs and weapons they need to “thin the herd.”  Whatever!  Therapy?  Yeah, right.  How about due process instead?  This line of BS is so thick I need a chainsaw to get through it.  For the last time, there is no need to fear the inmates at Guantanamo Bay!  They are in prison and will be moved to other prisons!  In case you didn’t know, there were other prisons on this planet before Guantanamo that could handle dangerous people and there will be Prisons that can handle dangerous people after Guantanamo.  Next!

"Government does not create wealth," Bush said. "The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States."

Take risks to expand the job rate?  Aren’t we taking risks by doing things that you didn’t do?  Hey, MBA President, you understand the concept of spending money to make money.  You should.  All of your friends made money sucking off the government’s tit.  Your risks in the form of tax cuts and deregulation put us into the situation we’re in now!  Therefore, we need to do the opposite of what you did to fix it!  Instead of dropping billions down the endless hole that is the “War on Terror” maybe we should drop billions on things that matter here!  It wouldn’t be an issue if you hadn’t blown the surplus you inherited!  Frankly, I find it ironic that the man that made so many corporations and individuals even more wealthy than they were when he started feels that “Government does not create wealth.” 

I liked it better when you didn’t speak.

Fuck!  I need to get some drywall over the weekend.  I just made a nice dent in this wall with my head.  Christ.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Classic Stand-up - David Cross v. George W. Bush From 2002 (NSFW)

Can we agree that today was a pretty heavy news day?  Do you mind if I try to lighten it up a bit by playing some classic David Cross slamming G. Dubs?  No?  Great!  David Cross is one of my favorites.  From Mr. Show to Arrested Development, he’s been funny throughout.  This is from his album, Shut up, You Fucking Baby!  Even though this bit is seven years old, it’s still relevant and somewhat clairvoyant.

Anyway, take a second and have a good laugh with David Cross.

NSA Domestic Spies Looked At Bill Clinton’s Email

Back in April, Keith Olbermann reported on the Obama Administration’s attempts to continue and expand domestic spying.  Since then, there’s been a slow simmer on this topic, which would include this blurb from Think Progress:

The New York Times reports today that members of Congress are increasingly concerned about the extent of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, particularly the overcollection of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans. An anonymous former intelligence analyst tells reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau that during much of the Bush years, the NSA “tolerated significant collection and examination of domestic e-mail messages without warrants.” Reportedly, one of the accessed domestic e-mail accounts belonged to former President Bill Clinton(.)

Interesting, no?  I’ll keep an eye out for more of these stories.  There’s no doubt this will boil over when the Patriot Act comes up for renewal this fall.

Iran is Shutting Down the News – Not Just MSM…All of It

Speaking of crackdowns, Think Progress reports:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard “has warned online media of a crackdown over their coverage of the country’s election crisis.” It “said through the state news service that Iranian Web sites and bloggers must remove any materials that ‘create tension’ or face legal action.” “Iranian authorities appear to have successfully blocked all access to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter Wednesday morning.”

More per Huffington Post:

9:16 AM ET -- Trying to create a black hole. What they can't censor with technology, they'll try to censor with a violence-backed threat.

The BBC claimed today that Iran has widened electronic jamming of its services, as the country's Revolutionary Guard ordered domestic websites and blogs to remove any material that might "create tension" amid post-election unrest.

Both the BBC's World News and Persian TV channels are now being jammed by "ground-based interference" in what one senior corporation insider told MediaGuardian.co.uk was akin to "electronic warfare".

Iranian authorities also blocked access to Yahoo Messenger early today as the country intensified its crackdown on all means of communication following Friday's controversial presidential poll.


Palin Supporters Protest Letterman Show – Prepare to Pick Your Mouth Up From Off the Floor

I’m sitting here trying to come up with words for this piece of video that I’m about to share.  Some people felt it was their duty to stand outside the Ed Sullivan Theater and protest David Letterman and his bad Sarah Palin jokes.  Never mind that he’s apologized and Palin accepted.  Per Huffington Post:

Tuesday afternoon's "Fire David Letterman" rally proved to be a failure, as it drew more press than activists, CNN reports:

A crowd of 15 protesters upset with the late night comic held signs and occasionally shouted as they stood across the street from Letterman's studio.

But they were often hidden from view by the more than 35 members of the media there to cover the protest, and out-shouted by a few very vocal counter-protesters.

These people are apparently incapable of letting go.  A failure?  Absolutely.  Especially for Sarah Palin.  This clip, along with clips of other like minded individuals from last year’s election as well as her own collection of embarrassing interviews, will be played again and again until she crawls back into her crypt, never to be seen in daylight again.

Watch in awe and don’t say I didn’t warn you:

Dedicated To The Brothers & Sisters Taking it to the Streets In Iran – Jefferson Airplane in “Volunteers”

Before you literal folks write me saying this is solely an American protest song, I would like to note that it’s a protest song first and foremost.  It was written in a different time under different circumstances, but it still applies.  If the tables were turned, and there was an Iranian protest song that kicked this much ass, I would hope that somebody over there would play it for us.

Look what's happening out in the streets
Got a revolution got to revolution
Hey I’m dancing down the streets
Got a revolution got to revolution
Ain’t it amazing all the people I meet
Got a revolution got to revolution
One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry
Hey now its time for you and me
Got a revolution got to revolution
Come on now were marching to the sea
Got a revolution got to revolution
Who will take it from you
We will and who are we
We are volunteers of America

I’m going to be running protest songs all day over at Back to Saturn X.  Stop by and let me know if you have a request.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Classic GOP Twitter Fails for First Half of 2009!

Here’s a fun piece found at Talking Points Memo detailing the GOP’s bumbling attempts to socially networking.  Well, fun might not be the right word as some of these are down right awful (i.e. racist).  That said, it’s funny to go back, review these disasters and wonder why they even try.  Here’s a small sampling:

…South Carolina Republican operative, Mike Green, apologized for a racist Tweet against President Obama himself:


Back in February, then-Virginia GOP chairman Jeff Frederick Tweeted that a Democratic state Senator was in negotiations to switch parties and give the Republicans control of the chamber. The Democrat in question then ended up not switching -- with some reports indicating that the Tweet itself played a part in any potential deal falling through. Frederick was later removed from his post as chairman, due to various complaints of mismanagement.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R) accidentally Twittered a public announcement that he was challenging incumbent Sen. Robert Bennett for the Republican nomination -- he thought he was sending private text-messages to a friend.

That last one is my favorite.  Dude, seriously, ask your kids to help you or something.  Otherwise, stick to having your secretary send your emails and other electronic correspondence.  It’s embarrassing, like my grandparents trying to program a VCR.  That said, if you can’t handle Twitter, then maybe you shouldn’t run for Senate.

It Gives Me Great Pleasure to Introduce “Back to Saturn X”

Friends, I have been a blogger now for a little over four months and it’s been amazing.  I’ve made some great friends and have the extra bonus of getting some things off my chest.  That said, I am under the impression that my readers have come to expect certain things from ATIOTC.  This is fine because I most definitely expect certain things as well and, frankly, I don’t want to change a thing.  However, I do want to cut up a little from time to time.  Maybe rock a little harder or laugh a little more.  Not that I don’t do that on ATIOTC, but sometimes, things just don’t apply.

That’s why I would like to introduce you to Back to Saturn X, the red headed stepchild of the Andrew T. online empire.  Think of Saturn X as my second pirate radio station.  Whereas ATIOTC is my Radio Free America, Saturn X is my Christian Slater, underground, basement rocker. 

Again, ATIOTC will not change one bit.  In fact, I hope it enhances your Andrew T. experience and act as more of a fun distraction to the typical frustrations and outrage that generally comes with following the politics of the day.  As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

Oh, one other thing.  Please pardon the mess as I’m still trying to tweak the look and feel of the site.  That said, it is up and running and waiting for you to stop on by.

-The Management

Thank God John McCain is not President – Reaction to Iran Election Typical, Misguided

Last August, when Russia invaded Georgia, McCain started rattling sabers, talking tough and saying, “We are all Georgians.”  McCain’s quick, decisive action failed to account that “early reports suggest that Georgia — not Russia — first escalated the conflict, sending its troops into the disputed region after border skirmishes.”  In late September 2008, when the bottom was falling out of the financial markets, McCain decided to put his campaign on hold and return to Washington to act as a “knight on a white horse” to save the world.  In the end, he sat quietly at the end of a long table while President Bush and other legislators discussed ways to fix the problem.  This knee jerk sham of a decision was highlighted by a snub of David Letterman, who really let the good Senator from Arizona have it.  Therefore, it’s fairly safe to say that McCain has a history of snap decisions that, in the end, were relatively harmless.  However, they could have easily been detrimental had he been President.

This morning, on the GOP Today Show, McCain had a moment to discuss the Iran situation with David Gregory:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Iran is a theocratic republic.  The country is ruled by the Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-Khamenei.  He is not elected.  Rather he “is appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts.”  The President, who is elected, answers to the Supreme Leader.  Therefore, the President is the face of the republic, but the Supreme Leader is calling the shots. 

McCain fails to understand these facts.   He said, “(Obama) should speak out that this is a corrupt, fraud, sham of an election.  The Iranian people have been deprived of their rights.  We support them in their struggle against an oppressive, oppressive regime and they should not be subjected to four more years of Ahmadinejad and the radical Muslim clerics.”

Hey, John!  Hate to tell you this, but Ahmadinejad doesn’t matter!  Anybody could be President of Iran, as long as they say what the “radical Muslim clerics” want them to say!  On top of that, the “radical Muslim clerics” aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!  Unless you want to get involved in ol’ time Cold War government building and other nefarious types of “support.”  Well, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised seeing as how Cold War tactics are all you know.

I agree that this is a fraud of an election and that the Iranian people have been deprived of their rights.  That said, this is their business.  If this was America protesting an election, we’d tell the rest of the world to take a long walk off of a short pier.  The folks protesting the results of the election are not asking for help, they’re asking for justice from their own government.  If the Iranian people overthrow their government, then we should be there for support and guidance.  Until that happens, let them handle it.

Obama is right to remain hands off and mouth shut.  He’s made some strides, albeit slowly, opening the door to diplomacy.  Should he pick to support the loosing side, then that door slams shut.  McCain is the opposite of this.  He’s a bull in a china shop and he proves it time and again.  I’m happy he lost.