Saturday, June 6, 2009


There's apparently a site at Twitter called "adult desires." They plug in "rape photos" and they get to my Abu Ghraib post.
Not as many as Stumbled Upon sent for the vulva prom dress though.

Cowboy Love Story

This is just so American I can hardly breathe.
PIERRE, S.D. — If this were a movie, nobody would believe it: A rancher struggling to eke out a living in one of the poorest corners of America claimed one of the biggest undivided jackpots in U.S. lottery history Friday _ $232 million _ after buying the ticket in a town by the name of Winner.

Wages And Health Insurance

What nobody else I've seen has put quite this way, quite this clearly.
The verbiage on the graf is confusing. Essentially, your wages have flatlined ---, while your total compensation has risen because of your employer's health care costs.
Wondering out loud why the employer would choose to give it to insurance companies rather than you. Answer could be that the actual skyrocketing occurred in a relatively short period of time. A lot of companies, such as my former employer, charged employees more, but not nearly enough to cover their increased costs. I'm also wondering if there hasn't been some tax benefit to doing it this way.
But now, of course, a lot of them are just dropping the benefit. Without increasing the wages, I'd guess. Would love to think someone out there is studying this and has real data. I can dream, can't I?
You could be making $200 more a week — or whatever — if it weren't for this goddam health insurance system. I've heard my former employer allude to it at the bargaining table, but nobody actually came out and gave the numbers.
[M]ost workers think stagnant wages mean their employer is paying them less. They don't know that the main reason for stagnant wages is that their wage increases are going to pay for their health insurance premiums. If they did -- if they realized that compensation is pretty much a zero-sum endeavor and their employers don't so much buy them health insurance as garnish their wages to pay for their health insurance -- you'd probably see a lot more general anger at rising health care costs.

Ezra Klein via Andrew Sullivan.

Some commenters are grousing about the data behind the graf. Me, I don't know. But I'm biased enough to accept what it shows. Should be noted that the full discussion of this cited by Klein is written by Zeke Emmanual, Ram's bro and an Obama advisor on health care. Some progressives don't trust him either. What can I say? There's a debate I'm not part of.

Health Care Public Option: Status Urgent

Bob Reich (Shorty's namesake) has a chilling update on what's going on in D.C. with insurers and Big Pharma voodooing away the most crucial part of the health care bill. This is upon us folks. It's anybody's guess whether Teddy Kennedy and the others can win out.
Did I say Kabuki?
Anyway, here's the crucial fact and here's how you do it.
Let your representative and senators know you want a public option without conditions or triggers -- one that gives the public insurer bargaining leverage over drug companies, and pushes insurers to do what they've promised to do. Don't wait until the concrete hardens and we've lost this battle.

Here's where to find your Congress critters.
I recommend FAXing because I think it's more effective, but you can e or snail mail, too.
Here's the free internet FAX site, extremely useful, bookmark it for yourself.
Here's what I'm writing. Feel free to plagiarize.

Dear Sen. Murray, Today Robert Reich has published a chilling summary at the Talking Points Memo blog about the behind-the-scenes machinations in Washington, D.C. this week over the emerging health care plan. I urge you to firmly support inclusion of a public option in a health insurance plan without any watering down, without conditions or triggers. Thank you for your attention to this matter and all you do for your constituents. Yours truly,

UPDATE: Oh, Okay. EE wants me to publish the FAX numbers of the two Washington senators from Washington State just to make things easy for Contrariennes in my home state.
Reps you have to look up yourselves.
Patty Murray--202-224--0238

Friday, June 5, 2009

10 Years And Counting

At least, that's what they tell us we have to change the way we live or else it's too late. It haunts me, I don't know about you.
Home debuted today to explain what's at stake. It's not a sermon, it's a beautifully photographed and simply narrated science lesson, 1 hr. 33 min.
Embed disabled, so you'll have to click. I encourage it.
Oh, happy Environment Day. Didn't know there was one.

Friviality Friday: Beer And Porn

Welcome To The Not George Bush Show

In a roundtable with Muslim journalists after his Cairo speech, Obama teases at some future plans (and reminisces a bit). From the official White House transcript:
Q    Thank you, President Obama.  Of course, as an Indonesian, my first question would be when will you come to Indonesia?

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, I need to come to Indonesia soon.  I expect to be traveling to Asia at some point within the next year and I would be surprised if when I came to Asia I did not stop by my old home town of Jakarta.  And I'll go visit Menteng Dalam and have some bakso -- nasi goreng.  These are some special dishes here that I used to eat when I was a kid.

Q    Actually I live only 300 meters from your old house.

THE PRESIDENT:  Is that right?

Q    Yes, Menteng Dalam.

THE PRESIDENT:  Except now it's all paved.

Q    Yes, it's all paved.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, see, when I was there it was all dirt, so when the rains came it would all be mud.  And all the cars would get stuck.

Q    And your school is much better now.

THE PRESIDENT:  It's nicer now, yes.
This has been another episode of He's Not George W. Bush.
From Michael Crowley at The New Republic.

Burgers everybody?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Miss Otis Regrets

A fb friend tagged this story on research into animal regrets. I wonder if Shorty felt sorry about chewing up my favorite sandal?
the female chimpanzees at the Tulsa Zoo that took advantage of a renovation project to steal the painters’ supplies, don gloves and paint their babies solid white. When confronted by their furious keeper, the mothers scurried away, then returned with peace offerings and paint-free babies.

Single Payer Health Care Chap. XX...and counting

Quote O' Teh Day:
For the first time, Baucus, who has been deluged with protests inside his Senate Finance Committee which has been in the forefront of drafting legislation and in town hall meetings at home in Montana, was apologetic. "I made a mistake," he said, "I should have left it (single payer) on the table, front and center with everything else."
More from the National Nurses Movement.

Obama In Cairo: Highlights

Wherefore Teh Wiretapping

Remember all that stuff last year about the government and the telecoms listening in on whoever whenever and the Constitution and stuff? I know, I know, some couple is on TV with their eight kids every night, bickering and cheating. And Susan Boyle and Angelina's got a new tattoo.
Anyway, the feds are still fighting for their unConstitutional right to do anything they damn well please and the ACLU and the Electronic Freedom Foundation are hanging in against them.
I like the California judge and there's still hope, although I'm not clear how much.
Quote O' Teh Day:
“Judge Walker ruled, effectively, that President George W. Bush is a felon.”

A Syncopated Poem

I can't define syncopation, but I know it when I hear it.

Talking About New Orleans
 by Jayne Cortez

        Talking about New Orleans
About deforestation & the flood of vodun paraphernalia
the Congo line losing its Congo
the funeral bands losing their funding
the killer winds humming intertribal warfare hums into
two storm-surges
touching down tonguing the ground
three thousand times in a circle of grief
four thousand times on a levee of lips
five thousand times between a fema of fangs
everything fiendish, fetid, funky, swollen, overheated
and splashed with blood & guts & drops of urinated gin
                                                            in syncopation with me
riding through on a refrigerator covered with
asphalt chips with pieces of ragtime music charts
torn photo mug shots & pulverized turtle shells from Biloxi
                                        me bumping against a million-dollar oil rig
me in a ghost town floating on a river on top of a river
          me with a hundred ton of crab legs
                              and no evacuation plan
me in a battered tree barking & howling with abandoned dogs
my cheeks stained with dried suicide kisses
my isolation rising with a rainbow of human corpse & 
                                                            fecal rat bones
where is that fire chief in his big hat
where are the fucking pumps
the rescue boats
& the famous coalition of bullhorns calling out names
          hey          I want my red life jacket now
& I need some sacred sandbags
some fix-the-levee-powder
some blood-pressure-support-juice
some get-it-together-dust
some lucky-rooftop-charms &
some magic-helicopter-blades
I'm not prepared
to live on the bottom of the water like Oshun
I don't have a house built on stilts
I can't cross the sea like Olokun
I'm not equipped to walk on water like Marie Laveau
or swim away from a Titanic situation like Mr. Shine
Send in those paddling engineers
I'm inside of my insides
& I need to distinguish
between the nightmare, the mirage,
the dream and the hallucination
Give me statistics
how many residents died while waiting
how many drowned
how many suffocated
how many were dehydrated
how many were separated
how many are missing
how many had babies
and anyway
who's in charge of this confusion
this gulf coast engulfment
this displacement
this superdome shelter
this stench of stank
this demolition order
this crowded convention center chaos
making me crave solitary confinement

Am I on my own
exhausted from fighting racist policies
exhausted from fighting off sex offenders
exhausted from fighting for cots for tents for trailers
for a way out of this anxiety  this fear  this emptiness
this avoidance  this unequal opportunity world of
disappointments accumulating in my undocumented eye
of no return tickets

Is this freedom  is this global warming  is this the new identity
me riding on a refrigerator through contaminated debris
talking to no one in particular
about a storm that became a hurricane
& a hurricane that got violent and started
eyeballing & whistling & stretching toward
a category three domination that caught me in
          the numbness of my own consciousness
              unprepared, unprotected and
                    made more vulnerable to destabilization
by the corporate installation of human greed, human poverty
human invention of racism & human neglect of the environment

I mean even Buddy Bolden came back to say
          move to higher ground
               because a hurricane will not
                    rearrange its creativity for you
& the river will meet the ocean in
                                        the lake of your flesh again
so move to higher ground
and let your jungle find its new defense
let the smell of your wisdom restore the power of pure air
& let your intoxicated shoreline rumble above & beyond the
water-marks of disaster

I'm speaking of New Orleans of deportation
of belching bulldozers   of poisonous snakes
of bruised bodies   of instability and madness
mechanism of indifference and process of elimination
I'm talking about transformation about death re-entering life with
Bonne chance, bon ton roulé, bonjour & bonne vie in New Orleans, bon

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Conservative Gay Catholic Reconsiders Late-Term Abortion

Andrew Sullivan considers himself a true conservative, and dismisses the so-called Christianists. But despite his church's position on gays, Sullivan, who is gay and married to another man, remained steadfast on abortion.
Until now, until Tiller's assassination. Tiller performed late-term abortions, and Andrew was death on late terms. But his readers have been educating him.
He replies:
I have to say I am beginning to believe that these abortions, given their excruciating moral and personal choices, may be the most defensible in context of all abortions. And yet they seem to be taking life in a more viscerally distressing way. I need time to think and rethink these things. I would not have without reading these extraordinary accounts.
BTW, I don't think the Catholic Church forbids termination of an ectopic pregnancy.

Behind the Curtain

Just a little reminder and expansion on what The Tortureman, Dickhead, was up to a few years back.
From TPM, which cites a new WaPo story.
War crimes, anybody? Anybody?

Andrew Sullivan picks jumps on an interesting detail in the WaPo story:
The CIA made no mention of his role in documents delivered to Capitol Hill last month that listed every lawmaker who had been briefed on "enhanced interrogation techniques" since 2002. For meetings that were overseen by Cheney, the agency told the intelligence committees that information about who oversaw those briefings was "not available."
Who's in Panetta's office this morning, I wonder.
Kabuki, JW, Kabuki.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Could Abortion Doc's Murder Been Prevented?

From TPM

Roeder, the suspect in Tiller's murder, had apparently twice tried to vandalize another clinic in the last two weeks -- and in a way that suggested it might be setting the stage for a more serious break in. An employee at the clinic managed to get Roeder's license plate number and reported it to federal authorities, only to be told that nothing could be done before a grand jury had been impaneled.
It seems difficult to imagine that similar suspicious behavior, let alone actual vandalism, would have generated such a passive response if the clinic had been a synagogue or a federal building and the suspect had an Arab name.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rape Photos Chapter XXX...And Counting

Scott Horton says he was wrong, but ...

The GOP's Latino Problem

Nate Silver via Andrew Sullivan:

In 2008, the Latino vote made the difference in the outcome of three states: New Mexico, where about 2 in 5 voters identify as Hispanic, as well as -- somewhat surprisingly -- Indiana and North Carolina -- where Obama lost nonhispanic voters by a tiny margin and was put over the top by Hispanic votes. It probably also made the difference, believe it or not, in the 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska -- Omaha actually has a decent-sized Hispanic minority -- although the exit polls aren't detailed enough to let us know for sure.
So this Sotomayor thing is nothing but a minefield for the GOP. And more than one commentator/blogger has proposed that this is exactly what Obama intended. The old Kabuki theme.

Getting It: Late Term Abortion

Two of Andrew Sullivan's readers share their stories.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not Just An Abortion Doctor

A diarist at Daily Kos tells how George Tiller saved and enhanced lives.

UPDATE: Rape, etc. Photos

So about those photos the administration does not want to release for fear they'll cause renewed rage in the Middle East and escalating violence against American troops.
Apparently, they don't include the rape and sexual abuse photos, which are another set of photos and some are already out there.
Anyway, it doesn't much matter because the American media has pretty much ignored the worst of the worst (to spare readers, the Washington Post said) all along anyway.
Taguba, originally cited as confirming the photos, said he didn't mean those photos and agreed with the administration's position.
Confused? Scott Horton supposedly said the photos at issue in the legal proceedings do include rape and sexual abuse. I dunno anymore. It's Sunday and I'm going to church.
Some guy from Harvard is speaking to the Unitarians and I told a friend I'd go with her. I think the last time I attended a service was the memorial for a friend killed in the mid-90s. I cried.