Friday, July 31, 2009

Shatner Returns to the Tonight Show to Read Palin’s Tweets

More classic Shatner:

In bonus Palin coverage, Bill Maher writes an opinion on those wacky birthers in today’s LA Times and delivers the quote of the day:

I'll show you Obama's birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin's high school diploma.

Opposition Blue Dogs Make Bank From Health Care Special Interests

Like we needed any more proof that health care reform obstructionists have been bought by the health insurance industry.  This one comes from the Washington Post.  Turns out that Blue Dog Democrats are raking in donations from the health care special interests nearly as well as their Republican counterparts across the aisle:

The roiling debate about health-care reform has been a boon to the political fortunes of (Arkansas Democrat Rep. Mike) Ross and 51 other members of the Blue Dog Coalition, who have become key brokers in shaping legislation in the House. Objections from the group resulted in a compromise bill announced this week that includes higher payments for rural providers and softens a public insurance option that industry groups object to. The deal also would allow states to set up nonprofit cooperatives to offer coverage, a Republican-generated idea that insurers favor as an alternative to a public insurance option.

At the same time, the group has set a record pace for fundraising this year through its political action committee, surpassing other congressional leadership PACs in collecting more than $1.1 million through June. More than half the money came from the health-care, insurance and financial services industries, marking a notable surge in donations from those sectors compared with earlier years, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

A look at career contribution patterns also shows that typical Blue Dogs receive significantly more money -- about 25 percent -- from the health-care and insurance sectors than other Democrats, putting them closer to Republicans in attracting industry support.

Sell out motherfuckers.

Good Quality of Life Requires a Strong Public Option

gas prices I’m sure you all have seen busy intersections with multiple gas stations, sometimes one on each corner.  In situations like this, have you ever noticed how the gas prices are always the same at each station?  They’re all competing for business, right?  They must set their prices the same.  I mean, gas is gas.  If one station sold better gas, then they might be able to charge more.  But let’s not kid ourselves, gas is all the same.  Therefore, should one station be just a penny higher, folks just might go out of your way to save a few cents, especially in these economic times.  That, my friends, is capitalism.  The gas stations are competing for your business and if one station is higher than the other, the higher priced station is going to find that they’re not selling as much gas as the guy across the street.

I offer this example because I feel that with a strong public health care option, like neighboring gas stations, the private insurers would have to price themselves competitively and offer identical care.  A strong public option would insure everybody, allow for care at anywhere health care is administered, with any physician, and would allow for almost every procedure your physician recommends.  The converse of this would be a weak public option, that offers substandard care and competes poorly with the private insurers.  The private system wouldn’t have to change a thing because nobody would want it.

If we want a good quality of life, and good quality health care, then we need a strong public option.  Otherwise, we’ll be here talking about the same exact thing in a few short years.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daily Show Picks Apart Obama’s Nuttiest Television Critics in “So You Think You Can Douche”

Who’s a bigger douche, Hannity?  Dobbs?  Beck?  The Daily Show attempts to find out with with their new segment “So You Think You Can Douche”!

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Most Americans Polled Think Palin Should Stay Home!

Sarah Palin has always freaked me out.  To me, watching her is reminiscent of fingernails on a chalk board.  And, frankly, her supporters are out of their minds batshit.  That said, Palin has the gifts of charm and charisma.  If she says the right things the right way and who knows what could happen.  That’s why I find her to be very dangerous.

Imagine my relief to come across this little piece of gold, courtesy of Think Progress:

When Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska over the weekend, she left pundits and politicos to speculate about her next career move, with the latest rumor focusing on Palin hosting a radio show. Earlier this week, Fox News released a poll revealing a plurality of Americans think Palin shouldn’t do radio — or be involved in politics:

About a third of Americans think the best job for Palin is homemaker (32 percent), while nearly one in five see her as a television talk show host (17 percent). Vice president of the United States comes in third (14 percent), followed closely by college professor (10 percent), with president coming last (6 percent).

Republicans think the best job for Palin is vice president (27 percent), followed by homemaker (18 percent), talk show host (14 percent), president (12 percent) and professor (7 percent).

According to the Fox poll, 51 percent of Americans have a negative view of Palin, compared to 38 percent who say they have a favorable opinion of her.

And a Fox News poll at that.  I often wonder about the American people and their ability to see through BS.  I got pretty sour on our citizens after G. Dubs won twice.  “How is this possible?” I would ask.  This poll renews my faith, if only just a little.

My New Column is up at the News Junkie Post

This is a pretty exciting day for me as my first submission is up over at the News Junkie Post.  I expect to be submitting over there on a regular basis, or until they get tired of me and say, “Thanks, but no thanks to your lousy opinion,” a la Sarah Palin.

You can find it here.  Please read and digg often!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sen. Sanders Fires Up Health Care Troops on Maddow – Time to Mobilize

What’s the phrase about how it’s always darkest before the dawn?  I truly want to believe that in the end, we will get a good health care plan with a strong public option.  The problem has become that between fearmongering and trying to make everybody happy, the nation is understandably uneasy about it. 

The last two days worth of news has been brutal.  The Senate Finance Committee proposal may not have a public option.  They do have chocolate covered potato chips and other tasty junk foods available while they work.  Today, I read that Obama’s Doctor in Chicago, who is in favor of a single-payer option, blasts his former patient for trying to please too many people.  Finally, I hear that while promoting reform, the White House has changed the phrase “health care reform” to “insurance reform”.  While this might seem like semantics, I read that to mean that they are no longer trying to reform our health care system, which is what we desperately need, to reforming insurance, which is nice, but doesn’t fix the problem.  It’s like putting a wad of gum into a leaky dam.

So, yeah, while I’m optimistic that all will end well, I, like the rest of the country, am feeling a bit uneasy at how this is progressing.  Fortunately, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was on Rachel Maddow last night.  As always, Sanders is honest and straightforward.  You owe it to yourself to take five minutes and listen to what he has to say.

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How about we all get together on Labor Day and march for a strong public option?

New DNC Ad Attacks Republicans for Playing Politics With the Stimulus

They broke, right?  I mean, Congressional Republicans went along with whatever G. Dubs wanted, right?  Then, last fall, the economy comes crashing down on the country.  Now, they’re claiming that the stimulus isn’t working and want heads to roll.  Here’s a new ad from the DNC to challenge their point:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fun With Sarah Palin’s Steaming Pile of a Farewell Staring the Santa Cruz City Council Idiot and William Shatner!

I just spent the last twenty or so minutes choking back vomit while sitting through the Sarah Palin “I’m quitting on you, but look at how much I’ve done and look at what I will do in the future” steaming pile of a speech she gave on Sunday.  See, I came across two funny pieces of video today, and in order to put everything in context, I had to watch the speech for myself.  Now, I’m not going to get into specifics about what I didn’t like about the speech, or why I don’t like Palin, or why I find her to be the most frightening individual in American politics today (well, I might, if you ask nice).  I’ll save that for when she wins the Republican nomination for President. 

No, today, I want to share the two clips I saw, because they’re damn funny.  First, there’s a mash-up over on the Huffington Post where they take the Santa Cruz idiot I shared yesterday and mix her into Palin’s speech.  It’s extremely amusing.  Sadly, the Huffington Post doesn’t allow for embeds, so head on over by clicking here.  Second, William Shatner was on Conan O’Brien last night and did his best, beat delivery of the speech.  Enjoy!

Let's Get Healthy America and Start Our Day With a Little Exercise

I just heard, and this should come as no surprise, that 10% of all health care costs are due to obesity. In the interest of health, I am offering this exercise video I found from the 80s that might help.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Now is not the Time to Get Cold Feet on Health Care Reform, Especially Since We’re So Close

Just like the groom who likes the way his fiancé looks, but doesn’t like her so much when she opens her mouth, the American people are getting cold feet on health care reform.  Nearly three quarters of Americans love the idea of quality, affordable health care for all.  They understand that the system, as it currently stands, is broken and needs to be fixed.  Start talking about details like overall cost and how we’ll pay for it, and people start to either gloss over, get scared, or get angry. 

Our Government doesn’t help clear the air.  In fact, they’ve made things worse.  Those Congressmen and women fighting to either slow or stop reform, directed by special interests, do a bang up job confusing the issue.  They love to throw up buzz words like the old stalwart, “socialized medicine”, or “DMV” to scare the villagers.  I might as well throw in the media as well, most of which is also owned by the same special interests.  One day, Paper X will run a positive story about how we must have reform.  The next day, Paper X will explain that the world is going to implode around us if we do have reform.  Mix these two factors with the public’s standard mix of apathy and outrage towards Government, and it becomes easy to see how the parking break on reform is getting applied.

Frankly, it doesn’t have to be this hard.  First, level the playing field.  Everybody who wants insurance gets insurance, regardless of history.  That means regulation of the private insurance sector and enact rules every insurer must follow.  Second, everybody has a choice, public or private.  The individual can decide which is better for them.  As for payment, it would remain the same through deductions in our pay check.  If an individual likes the private plan, deduct the payment from the check.  Everybody knows that, right?  Want the public plan?  Choose it and have the premium taken from your check, just like the private option everybody already knows.  Like gas stations on opposite corners of the street, their prices and care will be nearly identical and will improve because if an insurer wants business, they’ll need to be better.  As for those that cannot afford coverage, they will automatically covered by the public option, which I think should be paid for by letting the $1.35 trillion Bush tax cuts expire.

The reason it’s so hard is because there are too many interests getting paid vast sums of money to keep things the way things are.  But just like the US auto industry, who lobbied for years to keep fuel mileage standards obscenely low, these special interests do so at their, and the country’s, peril.  Back in June, the Economist said:

AMERICA'S health-care system is the costliest in the world, gobbling up about 16% of the country’s economic output. Comparisons with other rich countries and within the United States show that its system is not only growing at an unsustainable pace, but also provides questionable value for money and dubious medical care.

They also ran this handy chart:


Yep, we’re number 1…number 1 at ineffectively spending money on health care. 

I understand that this is a big leap.  On this subject, now is not the time to fear the unknown.  If mankind always feared the unknown, we’d still be throwing rocks at running game and living in caves.  We simply cannot continue this way.  Do not allow the noise to stop us. 

Here, I offer this document from Michael Moore that reminds us why we need to fix this system, and with all the noise, we definitely need to be reminded from time to time:

Sicko Factoids

A trillion thanks to my new research assistant Firstdaughter, who gave up the Economist and the Michael Moore facts.

Blabbering Idiot Goes to City Council Meeting and Argues for, Well, I’m Not Really Sure What She Argues For

Um, I going to give this girl credit for taking the time to go to a city council meeting and take advantage of her civic rights, as an American citizen, to express her concerns.  Now, if I could only figure out what those concerns are…

Yes, the clip is well over a year old.  However, I think she’s arguing for a conservative, pro-business platform.  Therefore, I’m glad she’s fighting the good conservative fight so the rest of us can point and laugh.

I’m Baaaaaccccckkkkk!!!! Back in the Saddle Again!!!!

Howdy folks!  Well, I’m back at it after a relaxing week off.  I have to say, it’s done some wonders as I feel pretty great!  I figure I’d kick things off with a little Aerosmith.  I hope you don’t mind.  Do you?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Andrew T.’s Late Late Late Show - “The Mini-Skirt Mob”

When I hear a title like “The Mini-Skirt Mob”, I think I’m in for a movie that’s something like “Heathers”.  You know, the ultra-hot, popular girls who cause trouble for all the geeks and nerds, that is, until the geeks and nerds exact revenge in the end.  Well, this mini-skirt mob isn’t exactly like that.  They look like Heathers, but they’re actually a rough and tumble motorcycle gang causing trouble along the desolate roads of America.  Watch out!

Saturday Morning Cartoons - “Billy Boy”

Somebody leaves a Billy Goat, Goat, Goat, Goat on the Wolf’s doorstep.  Lucky for the Wolf, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy eats everything.  Sadly for the Wolf, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy eats everything.  It’s quite a predicament man, man, man, man.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Night! Outta Sight! Journey in “Any Way You Want It” LIVE!!!

Howdy y’all!  I am winding up my vacation and am looking forward to getting back to the grind.  Let’s kick off the weekend with a little Journey, shall we?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sad Day For Beasties and Fans as Adam Yauch is Diagnosed with Cancer

Per Pitchfork:

This morning, the Beastie Boys announced some sad news: Adam Yauch (aka MCA) has been diagnosed with a tumor in a parotid (salivary) gland. Though the tumor is cancerous, a press release says, "luckily it was caught early and is localized in one area, and as such is considered very treatable." Unfortunately, Yauch must undergo surgery and "several weeks of additional treatment." Therefore, all of the Beasties' upcoming shows (including performances at All Points West, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits) have been canceled, and the release of their new album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 1, has been postponed. Thankfully, the tumor will not affect Yauch's vocal cords.

This breaks my heart.  Although, it’s not all bad as it sounds like they’re confident that he’ll make a full recovery. 

Here’s the video message I received earlier today:

Adam, I know you’ll stay tough and keep a positive attitude.  Know that Beastie fans everywhere are pulling for you and we can’t wait to see you back on the road!

Friday, July 17, 2009

ATiotC Programming Note

I just wanted to quickly let everybody that I am currently on a much needed vacation.  Now, I’m not going anywhere special, but I do plan to stay busy with things that need to be cared for around the house.  Therefore, I’m afraid I’m not going to be posting this next week as much as I like.  I might find some time while I enjoy my morning coffee, but I won’t be at my computer all day digging for fresh stories.  I do intend to honor the weekend schedule, so look for a fresh cartoon tomorrow morning and a trashy movie tomorrow night. 

This is a good opportunity to suggest subscribing to the ATiotC RSS feed.  Either click the orange button with the white quarter circles on the right to subscribe to your favorite browser or home page.  If you don’t like that idea, just enter your email in the field under the orange button to receive daily inbox joy.  Either way, you’ll never miss a post!

That’s all for now.  Thanks for your patronage!

-The Management

Friday Night! Outta Sight! Barry White in “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” Baby!!!

Your boy Andrew T. pulled this one out of his ass!  Running late, and without a song on deck, I was going to run “The Hustle” by Van McCoy, but I decided it was low grade elevator music and not worthy of an outta sight Friday night!  This one is.  Dig the velvety sounds of Barry White!  First, you’ll want to do it, then you’ll want to dance!!!  Cheers!!!

Jimmy Kimmel’s Proposal for Internet Based Homeland Security Terror-Alert System

Homeland Security is working to replace the original, color coded terror-alert system.  Jimmy Kimmel has an interesting idea:

Buchanan on Maddow Show – Sotomayor “Affirmative Action Pick,” Exemplifies Old, Bigoted, Ignorant, White Male

Last night on the Rachel Maddow show, Pat Buchanan exemplified what’s left of the conservative movement.  For over 10 minutes, Buchanan spit his hate filled, racist, ignorant venom towards Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.  He argued that because she was a “product of affirmative action” she was unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court.  In fact, he went on to say that she was an “affirmative action pick,” ignoring that she graduated from Princeton with honors, that she was editor of the Yale Law Journal, and that she’s the most qualified nominee in 70 years.  According to Buchanan, it’s all been handed to her because she’s Latina. 

Wait, there’s more:

When Maddow pointed out that 108 of 110 Supreme Court justices have been white, Buchanan responded, “White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks.”

Watch, if you can stomach it:

While this upsets me to no end, I take comfort in the belief that Buchanan, and those that agree with him, are becoming marginalized and irrelevant.  Yes, there are folks that agree with him.  You see them Tea Bagging in the park.  The good news is that their numbers are dwindling and, like Buchanan, they’re getting older. 

I would rather think about the youth of this country.  The kids that took a stand last year and got involved.  I think of them and realize that it won’t belong before cranky, ignorant, bigoted ideas of the past will drift quietly off into the sunset.  Those that are left can go forward to make this world a better place.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Late Show Top Ten - Cheney Excuses for Crooked CIA Programs

Surprise!  Dick Cheney got found out running CIA programs under the table.  Secret assassination squads under his command.  Agents lying to Congress on Cheney’s orders.  Wow.  Well, David Letterman identifies 10 Cheney excuses as to why he would do such a thing.


This summer, from the people that brought you classics like “Shock & Awe” and “Domestic Surveillance…I’ve Got Nothing to Hide” comes the most horrific, piss your pants scary thing you will see this year.  You thought you were covered.  You thought you were cared for.  In reality YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!!!

WARNING-Watching this may cause loss of bowel control.  Adult diapers are suggested.

Sen. Bernie Sanders on “Socialized” Health Care

You owe yourself to take 3+ minutes to watch this clip of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) explain, with crystal clarity, what the majority of Americans want and why.

Thanks to Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog! Go! for the tip

Paying for Health Care Revisited – Real Choice Will Come When We Decide to Pay For It

Yesterday, in a post regarding the proposed House health care bill, I argued in favor of the bill’s payment structure.  Specifically, those making $500,000 or more annually should help pay for it.  I stand by my words, because I don’t think that somebody making that kind of money will loose their standard of living by kicking in $1,500 a year into the health care system.  Having said that, these taxes on the rich shouldn’t happen just because of health care.  They should happen on principle.  As I’ve said many times, they were doing just fine before the Bush tax cuts, and I’m confident they won’t end up like Sanford & Son when they’re rolled back.  Sadly, Congress flinches every time it comes up because they’re owned by those who have.  So there you go.

But I digress, sort of.  The truth is, if we want true choice in this country, then we cannot put the burden on the rich.  As I understand it, the House bill does not have a true public option.  The plan will insure those under a certain threshold, but folks like me, making a certain amount and have employer provided benefits, will not have that choice.  After the smoke clears and a bill is passed, I’m willing to bet that nothing will change for me.  This is because the bill asks 1.2% of Americans to foot the bill.  If we want a viable choice, that will lower costs and provide good care, then we all need to pitch in.

Here’s how I see it.  I have enrolled my family, me, my wife, and my daughter, in an HMO, provided by my employer, that costs $198.00 a month.  The same plan for an individual costs $48.00 (so much for a bulk discount).  There are just over 300 million people in this country, roughly 50 million of which do not have health insurance.  For my example, I will leave those 50 million out, and figure that 250 million people will be taxed on health insurance.  Multiply $48 by 12 months and multiply that by 250 million and there will be $144 billion exclusively for health care per year.  Take that out 10 years, and we have $1.44 trillion, which is more that the estimated cost of the $1 trillion House bill.  I should also mention that my employer offers a less expensive HMO, which runs $35 per month for the individual.  Using the same numbers as above, the country would make $1.05 trillion over 10 years.  House bill is paid.

The above assumes that everybody is in on a single payer plan.  Sadly, we’re not going to get a single payer plan this go around.  There’s just too much money working against it.  The way this is working out, there will be “universal coverage”, in the sense that everybody is covered, but there isn’t a choice.  Therefore, the insurance companies have won.  Everybody with employer provided benefits will continue to be bound to private product.  However, if there was a true choice, and I could either put my $48 towards my current plan or a public plan, then we would see real changes in efficiency, costs, and care.  Ultimately, I think we’re moving in the right direction.  That said, don’t be surprised if we’re right back here arguing for more choice in 10 years. 

Let me ask, how much would you pay for a plan that allowed you to walk into any hospital, or see any doctor, without the fear of out-of-network penalties?  How would you like to get treatment or tests without having to call and fight with administrators who’s job requires them to stop you from having that procedure at all costs?  How would you like to have a necessary procedure without fear of future bills and costs?  Those of you with pre-existing conditions, would you like to be insured?  What are these things worth?  $35 a month?  $48?  $50?   

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Countdown Worst Person – Birther Soldier Seeks Order to Prevent Afghanistan Duty

Talk about chicken shit bullshit:

The fringe group of right-wing conspiracy theorists derisively referred to as “birthers” have obtained a new believer to their cause, a Maj. Stefan F. Cook, who is using the birthers’ beliefs that President Obama is not a natural born citizen, to refuse his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Maj. Cook filed a suit in U.S. District Court as a conscientious objector, seeking a temporary restraining order from serving in the military under President Obama, claiming Obama is ineligible to be commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Ineligible to be commander-in-chief because you haven’t fondled his birth certificate?  Major Cook, I believe Keith Olbermann would like to say a few words:

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Roll Back Those Elitist Tax Cuts and Health Care is Paid

The House released their proposed health care plan yesterday.  The preliminary Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is $1 trillion.  Here are the details:

Starting in 2011, a family making $500,000 would have to pay $1,500 in additional income tax to help subsidize coverage for the uninsured. A family making $1 million would have to pay $9,000.

In a summary of the bill, House Democrats said their proposal for a surcharge, or surtax, would raise $544 billion over 10 years — roughly half the cost of the bill — and affect “only 1.2 percent of all households in the United States.”

The House bill would create a new government-run health plan, which would compete with private insurers, starting in 2013.

A question to those making $500,000 a year or more…do you think that $1,500 a year is really going to affect your standard of living negatively?  I don’t think so.  Here’s how Paul Krugman put it:

OK, so the CBO score for the 3-committee House health care plan is in: $1 trillion over the next decade for 97 percent coverage of legal residents.

That’s a bargain: the catastrophe of being ill without insurance, the fear of losing insurance, all ended — for much less than the Bush administration’s useless $1.35 trillion first tax cut, quickly followed by another $350 billion.

That’s right, roll back those sweet tax cuts that the “1.2 percent of all households in the United States” and health care is paid, and then some, for 97% of Americans.  I ask those of you who don’t make $500,000 and don’t want a public option, why do you care?  You win in the end.  You get health care and those elites you despise so much pay their fair share!  And don’t talk to me about redistributing wealth or punishing those who have because they have.  Those people were doing great before the Bush tax cuts and they’ll be doing great after they’re done.  I don’t feel sorry for them one bit.

I do feel sorry for those that have not and still defend and argue for those that do.  Those fools are being played.  A public option is in their best interest as it will lower costs all around.  Everybody wins with this plan.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Daily Show – Samantha Bee Reports on Pailn’s Decision to Resign

Samantha Bee stepped in front of a green screen to report live from Wasilla, Alaska.  John Stewart questions Sarah Palin’s decision to resign from her position as Governor of Alaska while Bee defends the move, arguing against the elites that ran her out of town.  It’s terribly funny.  Enjoy!

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Today’s Must Read – The Jay-Z Hegemony and International Relations

Foreign affairs can be tricky, especially for the top dog.  The United States has been number one for a long time and there’s always debate as to how to handle those pesky nations challenging our position.  How do we approach North Korea or Iran?  Should we talk to them or do we slap them back into place? 

Believe it or not, rappers have similar problems.  Rapper on top of the game is attacked verbally by up and coming lyricist, challenging his position and his masculinity.  Does the top rapper respond or remain silent? 

Jay-Z is the current reigning rap king and has a new album due in September.  In anticipation of this, West Coast MC, The Game, is challenging Jay-Z’s status, hoping to get notoriety and, possibly, the top spot.  Marc Lynch at NPR uses this as a jumping point to review Jay-Z’s career, the various beefs and missteps, subtly comparing his life to how nations on top can deal with nations who want to be on top.

It’s today’s must read!  Click here for the article.

German Pimp Offers Discount for Customers Arriving on Bike, Bus

Here’s one way to encourage folks to think eco-friendly.  Thanks to the Guardian UK, I learned of a brothel owner in Germany who is offering a discount for those arriving either by bike or bus.

Thomas Goetz, owner of a Berlin brothel called Maison d'Envie, is currently offering a discount to any customer who arrives by bicycle or public transport.

"The recession has hit our industry hard," Goetz told Reuters. "Obviously we hope that the discount will attract more people. It's good for business, it's good for the environment – and it's good for the girls."

Hey, everybody wins!  Here’s the deal:

Any punter who arrives by bike – the puns readily spring to mind with this story – or who can prove they've travelled by public transport qualifies for the discount (they must present a valid ticket and a map of Berlin's public transport network upon arrival). The room hire for a 45-minute "session" is normally €70 (£60), but cyclists qualify for a €5 "eco" discount. Customers with, er, less time on their hands can opt for the 15-minute session which normally costs €30, but with that eco discount it drops down to €25. (For unexplained reasons, though, no eco discount is available for a 60-minute session. The mind boggles.)

It seems to be working, though, as Goetz says the offer is attracting three to five new customers every day, adding that the incentive has helped to reduce traffic and parking congestion in the local area.

When it comes to the environment, this is the forward kind of thinking we need in this country!  Ha!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gingrich Prefers Black-Op Sabotage to Diplomacy

Just as in 1994, Newt Gingrich is offering a choice.  Today, the choice concerns foreign policy.  This country can either A) adopt a diplomatic foreign policy, which is what President Obama is pursuing, or we can B) follow Gingrich, who prefers a more covert brand of dealing with other nations.  For Example, in an interview with Al Jazerra, Gingrich claims that sabotaging Iran’s gas refineries would cause the Iranian public to rise up and overthrow the government.  Here, read it for yourself:

Al Jazeera’s Avi Lewis told Gingrich, “In the past, you’ve called for the bombing of Iran’s oil refineries.” Gingrich clarified, “I called for sabotage, not bombing. … Fundamental difference.” Gingrich explained that the U.S. should use “covert operations” against Iran’s refineries because they “have only one refinery that produces gasoline in the entire country.” (According to the Energy Information Administration, Iran has nine refineries operated by the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company.)

When Lewis pressed Gingrich on the likely disastrous consequences of “sabotaging” Iran’s oil refineries, the former Speaker responded by claiming his plan was highly “strategic”:

GINGRICH: The only purpose of sabotaging them would be to create a gasoline-led crisis to try to replace the regime. I’m against using tactics that don’t have any strategic meaning.

I think we have a vested interest – the world has a vested interest – in a responsible Iranian government. […]

LEWIS: Which you can precipitate by provoking a gas crisis with black-ops sabotage? [Laughs] That’s the scenario you have suggested here.

GINGRICH: Look, I think that’s one piece out of many.

Hell, let’s go full boat!  Sabotage is just one piece out of many, right?  How about we throw assignation in there as well?  Let’s just cause chaos and mayhem with everybody we don’t like and wait for the vacuum to be filled with regimes we do like.  That is, until the people in question decide they don’t like the new boss either, rise up, and start the process all over.  Here’s an idea, why don’t we BUTT THE FUCK OUT AND TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN SHIT HERE AT HOME!!!

Folks, sadly, Gingrich is the best they’ve got.

When it comes to sabotage, this is the only kind I’m interested in:

Former Health Care Exec Confesses Dirty Industry Tricks to Bill Moyers

Wendell Potter sat down for a chat with Bill Moyers over the weekend.  Potter was the head of Corporate Communications for CIGNA.  Potter crossed himself and confessed the sins of the health insurance industry to Moyers.  The Daily Kos describes these highlights:

It starts with Potter, the high paid head of public relations for CIGNA getting out of his corporate office and taking a trip to his native Tennessee:

Potter attended a "health care expedition," a makeshift health clinic set up at a fairgrounds, and he tells Bill Moyers, "It was absolutely stunning. When I walked through the fairground gates, I saw hundreds of people lined up, in the rain. It was raining that day. Lined up, waiting to get care, in animal stalls. Animal stalls.

He talks about how a lot of these executives, including himself, are so removed from the real world, that the insured are no more than just numbers.

And that was my problem. I had been in the industry and I'd risen up in the ranks. And I had a great job. And I had a terrific office in a high-rise building in Philadelphia. I was insulated. I didn't really see what was going on. I saw the data. I knew that 47 million people were uninsured, but I didn't put faces with that number.

Most interesting to me is the part about the industries attempt to discredit Michael Moore’s “Sicko”.  I’ve said this many times, but if you haven’t seen it, now is the time.  In this clip, Potter explains exactly how the insurers undermined the film:

Watch the whole interview here.  It is certainly worth your time.  Again, see “Sicko” as soon as humanly possible.

Many thanks to Twitter friend, Shoq, for the tip.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Andrew T.’s Late Late Late Show – Danger: Diabolik!

Meet Diabolik, master thief extraordinaire.  It’s like he’s bizarro James Bond.  Actually, now that I think about it, he could be Bond’s greatest challenge as he does everything Bond can do.  He’s got a swinging underground pad with rotating bed and a hot car.  He gets the chicks and can do a bunch of stealthy, tough spy tricks.  Yeah, I should write this movie.  James Bond v. Danger: Diabolik.  There’s only one problem, Bond movies are actually good while this one is all style and no substance.  Oh well.  I do recommend the clip for it’s over-the-top-ness!

Quick note to all of you Beastie Boys fans…the Body Movin’ video was deeply inspired by this film to the point where they pretty much ripped it off, minus the fondue recipe.

Saturday Morning Cartoons – Huckleberry Hound in Sheriff Huckleberry

Ol’ Huckleberry Hound is fixin’ to score a bounty on the last remaining member of the Dalton Gang, brother Dinky.  Huckleberry figures that because Dinky is the smallest of the Dalton Brothers, he’ll be an easy catch.  Huck’s in for a rude awakening.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Night! Outta Sight! Loverboy in “Working for the Weekend”

Well, if this isn’t the all time, greatest weekend kick-off song ever recorded.  Those five o’clock dj’s really love to bust this one, to the point where it’s cliché.  Therefore, I’ve decided to perpetuate the cliché just one more time.  What I find most amusing about this video is how hard these guys are working to dance with any type of rhythm, especially the guy playing guitar on the left with the cream jacket.  Ouch!  Roll down the windows and turn it up!  It’s Loverboy in “Working for the Weekend”!  Your weekend starts NOW!

DeNiro/SNL – Homeland Security Announces Names of Suspected Terrorists

Here’s some Friday afternoon levity for you.  This is a tip from my man, Talidan.  It seems that the Homeland Security Terrorist Tip Line has revealed a number of good leads:

Obama Approval Numbers Slip Due to False Messengers, Spineless Interviewers, and American ADD

There’s been a lot of talk today about Obama’s dipping approval numbers.  Many attribute this to the public’s impatience when it comes to the stimulus and unease regarding unemployment numbers.  They say it’s just not working fast enough, which, to me, is maddening.  Those that have been paying attention know that Obama said it was going to take at least a year and a half and that jobs would be the last to recover.  For those that haven’t been paying attention, I’m sure they could bring us up to speed on Michael Jackson’s death, the stunning mix-up, double dumping on the Bachelor, and the latest on Jon & Kate.

Here’s what really gets my goat.  This morning on the GOP Today Show, Dee Dee Myers and everybody’s favorite grumpy old man, Pat Buchanan, were on with softball thrower, Matt Lauer, discussing the plummeting approval numbers for the president, which still reside at a respectable RealClearPolitics average of 56.5%.  During the conversation, they all decide that the stimulus has failed, because of American ADD and whatnot, and because there weren’t enough tax cuts:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Meanwhile, over at NBC online headquarters, MSNBC First Read asks, “(b)y the way, how has it gotten lost in the public debate that about 40% of the stimulus consisted of tax cuts?”

Andrew T: (Like Horshack in “Welcome Back, Kotter”) Oooo, oooo, oooo, Mr. Kotta, oooo, oooo, oooo.  I know!  I know!

Mr. Kotter:  Yes, Andrew T.

Andrew T:  It’s because you have partisans pushing an idea and interviewers to chicken to challenge their assertion!!!  At the same time, spineless opponents agree!!!  In this case, Buchanan wants 50% tax cuts, without acknowledging the 40% everybody received, and he’s acting like nobody got anything.  Meanwhile, Matt and Dee Dee sit there, with their gaping mouths, playing right along, saying “Yes, more tax cuts” like zombies.

And we wonder why the approval numbers are slipping.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sen. Ensign’s Mommy and Daddy Pay Off Mistress, Mistress’ Husband, and Mistress’ Kids

Ok, so Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) admitted to having a number of lance waxing sessions with campaign staffer, Cindy Hampton.  The problem for both Ensign and Hampton is the fact that they’re both married.  It should come as no surprise that when you’re married, the ol’ in and out with somebody other than your spouse isn’t cool.  And, when you’re a US Senator tossing rocks at somebody who’s had similar problems, like say, Larry Craig, while standing in a house made of windows, you would do whatever you could to keep it quiet, right.  I mean, it’s the American way!

Being a good, cheating American, Ensign did what any good, red-blooded, philandering politician would do…he went to Mommy and Daddy to pay off his side action and their family:

In April 2008, Senator John Ensign's parents each made gifts to Doug Hampton, Cindy Hampton, and two of their children in the form of a check totaling $96,000. Each gift was limited to $12,000. The payments were made as gifts, accepted as gifts and complied with tax rules governing gifts.

After the Senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time. The gifts are consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and others.

None of the gifts came from campaign or official funds nor were they related to any campaign or official duties. Senator Ensign has complied with all applicable laws and Senate ethics rules.


Talking Points Memo reveals, “(t)he senator's father, Mike Ensign, is a casino mogul who sold his shares in the Mandalay Group for around $300 million earlier this decade.” 

Nice.  Real nice.   Rich kid, 51, gets in trouble and richer dad bails him out.  It’s as American as baseball and apple pie!!!

Sen. Baucus Wants Bipartisan Health Bill Because Sen. Baucus is Owned by Big Health Care

Simply put, a bipartisan health care bill will be useless.  Republicans will not vote for a public option, which is the key to bringing down costs and keeping the private insurers honest.  The Senate Finance Committee is one of two committees drafting health care legislation.  Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is the head of the Finance Committee and he’s bound and determined to present a bipartisan billHere’s the rub:

Lobbying disclosure filings for the first quarter of 2009 reveal that five of Baucus’ former staffers currently work for a total of twenty-seven different organizations that are either in the health care or insurance sector or have a noted interest in the outcome. The organizations represented include some of the top lobbying organizations in the health sector: Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Researchers of America (PhRMA), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Amgen, and GE Health Care.

The overall health and insurance sectors haven’t just been kind to Baucus’ staffers, but they’ve also aided his campaigns handsomely over the years, especially in his barely contested 2008 reelection campaign. In 2008, Baucus received $1,148,775 from the health sector and $285,850 from the insurance sector. For his career he has received $2,797,381 from the health sector and $1,170,313 from the insurance sector.

That’s a grand career total of $3,967,694!  That kind of bread, along with knowing the people giving it to you, sure does make it easier to sell out millions of nameless, faceless Americans.  Alright Mr. Stranahan, let him have it!

We don’t need a bipartisan bill!  We need reform!  The only way we get that is through a public option!  The alternative is weak half measures that don’t offer choice or better care while the insurance companies get richer.

Sell out Dems like Baucus and Bayh make me sick (and I’m confident I’m not covered by my provider).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

60 Votes Don’t Matter When We Have Senators Like Evan Bayh

It’s a great week to be a Democrat, right?  I mean, since Al Franken has been sworn in, and we have a filibuster proof majority, bills like health care reform should have no problem getting an up/down vote, right?

Now is the time I wish I could spell out the sound of a turntable stylus being yanked from a record because one of my senators, Evan Bayh of Indiana, is ruining the party!

Evan Bayh , a moderate from Indiana, said he would not be inclined to vote to cut off a filibuster on a bill if he opposed the substance of the underlying measure, and he predicted his colleagues would feel the same way.

“Most senators aren’t sheep,” he said. “They don’t just go blindly along without thinking about things, and I don’t think we want them to do that.”

Over at Political Animal, the astute Steve Benen notes

It's hard to overstate how absurd this is. If legislation Bayh doesn't like comes to the floor, he can vote against it. Before that, he can offer amendments, give speeches, and encourage others to agree with him. Senators, as he noted, aren't sheep. Some bills may enjoy the party's support, but not everyone in the party will see the issue the same way.

But that's not what Bayh is arguing here. He's saying he's inclined to help the failed, discredited minority block the Senate from even giving bills a vote in the first place. It's not enough for Bayh to vote with Republicans on key issues, he wants to help the GOP ensure there is no vote.

This is so upsetting.  Bayh was our Governor and I always liked him.  Now it appears that he’s preparing to honor the insurance companies that have bought his services.

Rep. Boenher Starts Talking Smack About Jobs and the Stimulus, Gets Unflattering Commercial in Return

What do you get when you start complaining that the stimulus isn’t working and that jobs aren’t being created in your district, when in fact, there are jobs being created in your district?  You get a commercial that makes you look like the dope you are!  Here you go John Boehner (R-OH)!  You’ve earned this one!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No Sell Out! Sen. Whitehouse Explains Exactly Why We Need Energy Reform

Here is Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), explaining in very simple, plain terms, exactly why we need to pass energy reform now:

Most who write about these things are saying that the energy plan, recently passed by the House, will die in the Senate.  It’s good to know that there are some folks there who are fighting for what is right, as opposed for fighting for what special interests have paid for.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Joe the Fake Plumber Wants the Government Out of His Pockets, but first, He’s Willing Pay To Get Illegal Immigrants Out of the Country

Today is like K-Tel releasing “Now That’s What I Call Campaigning - McCain ‘08 Edition!”  All the dumb asses he made famous are poisoning my news day.  Sarah Palin is obvious.  Sadly, Joe the Plumber is in the news today as well.  On Saturday, there was another round of Tea Baggin’ fun, and fake plumber was in Houston, Texas for the festivities.  As always, he had some thoughts about the current state of our country.  As always, his thoughts don’t make much sense:

Think Progress was kind enough to transcribe:

WURZELBACHER: I believe in making sure our country is safe first. I believe we need to spend a little more on illegal immigrants. Get them the hell out of our damn country and close the borders down. We can do it. We’ve got the greatest military in the world and you’re telling me we can’t close our borders? — That’s just ridiculous.

TP was also kind enough to analyze what his proposal would cost:

Wurzelbacher dedicated a private interview to saying that he’s tired of the government “sticking its hand” in his “back-pocket” and urging the government to “pull its head out of its butt.” Apparently he’s against bailouts and the stimulus bill, but he completely supports spending approximately $206 billion over five years, or $41.2 billion annually, to hunt down and deport all the undocumented immigrants living in the US. Joe probably doesn’t realize that such a policy would also mean a loss of $1.8 trillion in annual spending and $651.5 billion in annual output.

With so many bad things happening economically, I don’t think going on an illegal immigrant witch hunt is going to solve our problems. 

Once again, thanks a ton, John McCain!

GOP Cannibalism – Fox News Commentator Verbally Destroys Palin

You know things are bad when Fox News shreds their own.  In this example Fox News commentator Liz Trotta chews up and spits out Sarah Palin.  “Inarticulate and under educated” says Trotta and concedes that “the criticism is well deserved.”  What I find interesting about this clip is that it appears that Trotta is making an attempt to take back the Republican party from the extreme right, tea bag fringe.  I suspect we’re going to see more of this in the coming weeks.  At the very least, it’ll be entertaining.

Fox News 2010 Primetime Lineup…Beck, O’Reilly, Palin, and Hanity – Yes, Sadly, We’re Stuck With Sarah Palin

sarah-palin-fish Sarah Palin scares me.  She scared me when she first spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention.  She scared me when people bough it, giving the McCain campaign a huge bump in the polls immediately after the convention.  She scared me when she was on the campaign trail, playing to the racist (Obama/Wright), terrorist (Obama/Ayres) fears of the crowd. 

After the election, she never really went away.  At times, it seemed like a comedy act with all the ethics inquiries and the Bristol/Levi nonsense.  Don’t forget about the will she/won’t she be there hilarity of the June GOP fundraiser.  More recently, there was the David Letterman dust-up followed by last week’s Vanity Fair article.

Which brings me to last Friday’s resignation.  I’ve been stewing on this all weekend.  I’m not going to speculate as to her motivations, political or otherwise.  She quit, therefore she’s a quitter and will always be a quitter.  This fact makes it nearly impossible for her to ever run for office again. 

That said, there are millions of people out there that love her regardless of what she does.  She speaks for them, and God knows idiots need somebody to verbalize what they’re thinking.  If you know that, then you must know that she’ll never go away.  She always wanted to be famous.  The story is that she loved ESPN so much, and having wanted to work there, she named her daughter after the network’s home town (Bristol, CT).  Now, she is famous (or infamous).  Add fame to America’s short attention span and that always Christian value of forgiveness (only when the person in question is on their side!  Otherwise, forget it!), and we’ll end up with Fox News’ hottest new crazy hour!  Either that, or she’ll be the next big, conservative talk radio thing, which will give us three to four more hours of batshit.  Great!

Regardless, we’re stuck with her.  Once again, thanks a million, John McCain!