Monday, August 17, 2009

Howard Dean Stands up for Public Option

After it appears the Obama administration is backtracking from the public option provision of health care reform, Howard Dean is standing tall and calling for real reform.

"You really can't do health reform" without allowing the government to compete with private insurers, said Howard Dean, a former Democratic Party chairman. "Let's not say we're doing health reform without a public option," he added in a slap at the administration's latest move.

Get 'em, Howard.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

History of Republicans' Systematic Lying

If you think the blatant lies fostered by the Republican Party against President Obama's health care plan is new, you have to read Robert Parry's essay, Palin's 'Death Panel' and GOP Lying.

Parry traces the tactic back to the start of the Reagan administration:

It was during the early Reagan administration that it hit me that falsifying reality was no longer an aberration for Republicans – something done by a politician caught in a tight spot or a debater spinning a losing argument – but had become part and parcel of GOP strategy.

Not that Democrats and other politicians don’t lie or dissemble, too. As a reporter for the Associated Press, I had encountered devious politicians of various stripes while covering Rhode Island politics and Washington’s Capitol Hill in the mid-to-late 1970s.

But something new was afoot in the early 1980s. Republicans were adopting a conscious approach to deception that was qualitatively different from what was common in politics. With the aid of a growing right-wing media, the GOP covered up ghastly crimes by its allies and enflamed public opinion against its adversaries, regardless of the facts.

I first confronted this pattern while covering Reagan’s hard-line policies toward Central America. The lies started just weeks after Reagan’s 1980 election, when four American churchwomen were raped and murdered by government security forces in rightist-ruled El Salvador.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Criminalizing Being Poor

Barbara Ehrenreich's latest op-ed in The New York Times - Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor? - illustrates many cities' efforts to make being poor a crime.

In defiance of all reason and compassion, the criminalization of poverty has actually been intensifying as the recession generates ever more poverty. So concludes a new study from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, which found that the number of ordinances against the publicly poor has been rising since 2006, along with ticketing and arrests for more “neutral” infractions like jaywalking, littering or carrying an open container of alcohol.

She writes of Al Szekely, a wheel chair-bound disabled Vietnam vet who was "dragged out of [of a homeless] shelter and put in jail" because he failed to appear in court for a charge of sleeping on a sidewalk in a suburban Washington, DC, town. As Eric Sheptock, a homeless advocate, put it, "They arrested a homeless man in a shelter for being homeless."

To rid their cities of the homeless, many municipalities are passing ordinances against the sharing of food. Teenagers are being targeted with outrageously high fines for truancy - $250 in Los Angeles and up to $500 in Dallas.

Writes Ehrenreich:

The pattern is to curtail financing for services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement: starve school and public transportation budgets, then make truancy illegal. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Be sure to harass street vendors when there are few other opportunities for employment. The experience of the poor, and especially poor minorities, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks.

What I don't understand is how this can happen in a supposedly Christian nation. How those who claim to believe in the teachings of their Christ can be so cruel and heartless. After all, Jesus is to have said, "What you do to the least among you, you also do to me."

So, by attacking the plight of the poor, they are also attacking their own religious icon.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

WTF? $90 Pizza

Word has it that pizza in one of the luxury suites at the all new Dallas Cowboys Stadium will set you back $90.

So let me get this straight, a company pays $800,000 for the suite, plus the price of tickets for each game, and they still have to pay 90 bucks for a freaking pizza?! Oh yeah, it's $66 for a 12-pack of domestic beer, probably that chilled down panther piss called Lone Star Beer.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Astronaut Wears Same Underware for a Month

Another advancement from the space program:

According to astronaut Koichi Wakata, who is returning to earth from months at the International Space Station, he’s been sporting a brand new pair of J-Ware briefs. For the last few weeks. Straight. Without changing.

But don’t worry. These aren’t any ol’ normal kind of underwear. These are high-tech briefs, designed by a team in Japan to be odor-free.

But still, a month?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wizard Pigged Out

Bad news for the fans of Harry Potter - the boy wizard dethroned by a herd of (sorta) talking guinea pigs.

The Associated Press reports:

The 3-D "G-Force" was the top movie at the box office this weekend, opening with $32.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Walt Disney release from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, with its mixture of live action and computer-generated animation, is a "Mission: Impossible"-style adventure. It features voiceover work from Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan and Penelope Cruz as resourceful rodents.

Last week's No. 1 film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," came in a close second with an estimated $30 million. That's a whopping 61-percent drop from its huge opening last weekend of $79.5 million.

Has the magic of Harry Potter finally run its course?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Stray in Dubai, Go to Prison

If you are having an extramarital affair, better stay out of Dubai or you could go to prison.

A British couple was sentenced to two months in prison after being found guilty of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

No, the sex police of Dubai were not conducting an undercover investigation. The woman's husband tipped them off.