Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Bit More Republican Hypocrisy

Republicans are foaming at the mouth for an apology from Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida, after he said that the Republican health care plan was that the sick should die quickly. They say he should have to apologize, just like the guy who interrupted Obama's speech was made to apologize (because those are very comparable events, apparently). But my favorite bit of ridiculousness comes from them saying that this will taint the healthcare debate with wild and unfair accusations.

So just in case you're confused, saying the President's healthcare plan will appoint death panels to kill you is enlightened debate, whereas saying that denying people healthcare will maker them die faster is a juvenile and harmful remark.

Those conservatives, so good with rhetoric. Might be why Sarah Palin is having an incredibly difficult time booking lectures as, according to an industry insider, too many people view her as "a blithering idiot."

But I'm sure she was right about the death panels...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

I've often thought U.S. saber-rattling over nuclear arms was easily the height of our hypocrisy (which is saying quite a bit for a nation that so loves the hypocrisy). There is only one nation in the world to ever use nuclear weapons, and they used them on a nation that was already preparing to surrender (well, according to some radical named Eisenhower, but like he'd know anything about that...). This same nation, of course, has the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, housing more than most other nations combined and enough to destroy our world multiple times over.

And yet this nation goes around deciding who is morally upstanding enough to also possess the ability to end all human life in a matter of minutes. Well, for those of you confused as to how the only people to ever use a weapon (and use it very irresponsibly) get to decide who else even gets to have said weapon, Glenn Greenwald has put together a handy glossary to help you understand.

For example: what's the difference between two countries defying international law and developing long-range ballistics with possible nuclear capability? One is our friend! Duh!

The act of dangerous, threatening Hitlers -- NYT, today:

Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf in what seemed a show of force.

The acts of a peace-loving democracy - Telegraph, January 18, 2008:

Israel has carried out the successful test launch of a long-range, ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, in what was intended as a clear show of strength to Iran.

Read the rest here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

You're Never Too Far From a Big Mac

Growing up in a town of about 20,000, it was big deal when the second McDonald's in town opened up. Yes, no longer would you have to drive upwards of 10 minutes across town to get your flavorless-meat-product burger©. Nope, now we were a real town, with the ability to drive past one McDonald's and say "No, that one's no good; let's go to the other McDonald's."

And truly that did make it a real city, because if there's anything that defines a real American city, it is the ubiquity of McDonald's. The map below shows the saturation of McDonald's throughout the nation. Only the desserts and mountains out West can even begin to interrupt the blanket coverage.

Oh, and incase you're curious, the furthest you can possibly be from a McDonald's is 107 miles in the no man's land of the Dakotas. 107 miles. That's it. Meaning if you wanted to, you would have to put a great deal of effort into getting triple-digit miles away from a McDonald's.

At the risk of sounding too radical, I might argue this has a bit to do with our nation's obesity epidemic, but I don't want to pick on a morally-upstanding corporate citizen like McD's...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good Thing We Don't Have Socialized Medicine...

...or this might happen: a man who suffered a stroke died while waiting 90 minutes to see a doctor in the ER waiting room.

I know I said I was getting off the healthcare stuff for awhile, but this just happened to come out today. And you know, in this instance, it may have been an honest mistake -- the nurse who screened him didn't diagnose it as a stroke for whatever reason so it wasn't classified as an urgent matter. Or maybe it was because he had a history of problem drinking, so his condition wasn't taken seriously. Obviously, they're still figured out what exactly happened.

But even if it turns out to just be a mistake, albeit a tragic mistake, the point remains: you can't criticize a socialized system for forcing patients into dangerously long waiting times for medical attention (which doesn't actually happen anyway) when that's something that routinely happens in our current system.

steps off soapbox

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good Ol' For-Profit Healthcare Defends America Against The Scourge of Abused Women

The funniest thing about the healthcare debate going on right now has to be the idea of death panels. Or more specifically, that death panels will be instituted. You see, we already have death panels. The one I belong to is called Health Partners, though my death panel used to be Blue Cross/Blue Shield. And I'm one of the few Americans lucky enough to get to pay a significant chunk of my income for a death panel to decide I don't deserve coverage.

And decided people don't need coverage they do, and do with a vengeance. For it makes no sense to pay out money if you're a for-profit business. So you go about finding clever and morally repugnant ways to prevent people from getting the healthcare they pay for. Because if you go around letting people use their health insurance to get healthcare, your profits are going to go down pretty quickly.

The most egregious example of this? Well, there are millions of great examples, but this is the best I've found lately: 8 states and D.C. allow insurance companies to regard victims of domestic abuse as having "pre-existing" conditions.

And I say good for them. After all, in a capitalist society you should be aware of the choices you make. If you choose to be beaten so badly by your husband that it requires extensive medical procedures, you should know you're not going to be able to get healthcare in the future. You should be smart enough to not marry an abusive husband.

Now if we have a government take-over of healthcare, all of a sudden there's going to be a giant drain on our economy as abused women suddenly start receiving care for their injuries. And that alone is far worse than a death panel...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Once More To Make It Clear...

Been harping on this point pretty hard lately, but I can't get over how ridiculous this hypocritical double-standard is, even for an extreme cynic...

Remember how people were constantly. getting. arrested. at Bush speeches simply for wearing shirts that said stop the war? Seriously, google it and you'll find dozens of examples. Hell, one guy was even arrested for wearing a peace t-shirt at a mall where he had bought the shirt.

But yet with Obama in the White House, it's apparently a-ok to bring guns to hear his speeches, because after all, that's your constitutional freedom. Constitution says nothing about wearing whatever t-shirt you want, but good God damn, it sure as hell says you can bring your gun anywhere you want, even to a speech by the president.

Take this good local example from today's strib. This fellow brought his gun to Obama's healthcare stump speech last weekend and got into no trouble at all. And why should the police be suspicious of him? After all, he had just gotten out of jail after serving time for an assault charge. Certainly not someone who should be viewed as dangerous or barred from carrying a gun within sight of the President. Even the state lawmaker responsible for the conceal & carry legislation, while not agreeing with the guy's decision to do so, defended his right to bear arms in front of the President.

Anyway, I'll try to quit writing about this for awhile, but just to recap:

T-shirt: Dangerous weapon. If found, wearer should be arrested immediately.

Gun: Perfectly harmless. Make sure to give them a good sight line to the President in case they need to exercise their constitutional right to commit grand felonies.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hitler Made The Trains Run On Time...

While I've always liked Weird Al, I gained a lot of respect for him while reading an interview he did over at the AV Club. They used to have a segment called "Random Rules" in which they would have a musician put their iPod on shuffle and justify the first 5 tracks that came up. When it was Weird Al's turn, a song from Hole came up, and after a short defense of their music he ended with "What can you say about Courtney Love...Hitler made the trains run on time, after all," which I think pretty much sums up any defense of Hole or Courtney Love in general.

Well, it turns out she's making the trains run on time again as she prepares to sue Activision, makers of Guitar Hero, over their use of a Kurt Cobain avatar in the game.

I'm glad to see someone finally stepping up to stop all of this "cashing in on the dead who would never have allowed you to cash in on them when alive" crap going on. Seeing as Cobain killed himself rather than continue having his music turned into yet another money-making cog for giant soulless corporations, he probably would not be too keen to have his image rendered in a colossal money-grubbing video game series.

Of course, I also had the same thought when first seeing the incredibly regrettable Rock Band commercial with the digitally-raped corpse of John Lennon standing on Abby Road made to look so excited about the release of his very first video game. The only problem is, I don't think Yoko is going to put up any fuss.

Not being as good to your dead partner's legacy as Courtney Love? Forget breaking up the Beatles, that is truly the worst thing anyone can ever say about you...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Short Guide to Socialist Indoctrinaition

1) Stay in School

2) Work Hard

3) Don't Do Drugs

Phew! Good thing I'm too old to be stuck in a schoolhouse being force-fed this socialist nonsense. Hopefully America's children will be able to resist this brainwashing and realize that only socialists want to do well by working hard and living sober. Real Americans neither work hard nor remain sober, thank you very much.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Horrifying, Interesting, and Trivial: A News Roundup

1) Over a Randball this morning, a good, snarky dissection of why Derek Jeter doesn't deserve the MVP more than Mauer, even though he seems to be a genuinely good guy who's been lucky enough to play decent baseball for a team that can purchase every player in baseball.

2) So remember how a bunch of people compared Bush to Hitler and were called crazy for it (though attempting to give public healthcare does apparently qualify someone as worse than Hitler)? Well, now news is coming out that CIA doctors likely performed illegal human experiments on detainees. Or in other words, the exact same thing Nazi doctors did that lead to their execution at Nuremburg. So not to go all crazy and say some of the Bush-Hitler comparison may be apt, but...

3) Jason Frank, best known as the Green Power Ranger (and then the white Power Ranger after Lord Zedd destroyed his Green Power coin while Rita Repulsa had control of his powers), is know making a comeback in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Even though I feel my Gopher loyalty should make Brock Lesnar my favorite almost-real-sport fighter, it's hard not to root for the sworn protector of Angel Grove...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Finally, People Are Starting To Get Serious

The BBC recently ran a report on the work done by a group of Canadian researchers who study unfamiliar infectious diseases and how to combat them. How did they model a debilitating, unknown contagion and its possible effects? Easily, and in the only way that makes sense: they modeled a zombie attack.

The conclusion? Well, I think the article summary speaks for itself:

If zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.

While the "if" in that sentence is just more clear proof that we're truly not prepared for said attack, it's at least a good first step in the right direction for the inevitable day when undead hordes descend upon our towns and cities hungering for our flesh..

And in fact, that day may be sooner than we think. has unearthed the following footage from a Russian military envoy. I'm not saying you should panic, but if you don't have a survival kit packed and ready by the door, I'd suggest you have some work to do...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wrapping Up The Regular Season

The regular season of the TCAMBL (twin cities adult men's baseball league, for those not in the know) wrapped up the past weekend. While my season end stats don't look good by any means at .176/.235/.300 (avg/slg/obp), it was my first time playing any form of organized baseball in well over a decade. Plus, being understandably a back up, I didn't get many opportunities at the start of the season, and hitting's a funny rhythm thing. If you knock out the first games where I got one late-game at bat and inevitably struck out looking at better pitches than I ever saw when I played little league/early highschool ball and instead look at just the second half of the season the numbers go up to .273/.363/.313. Of course, those still aren't good, but they are far less embarrassing, and I believe they qualify me to hit second for the Twins. Plus I had one fly out that was about two feet from being a home run, which again means nothing, but I think it makes the shitty numbers seem at least a little less bad...

So on the plus side, I'm peaking at just the right time for the playoffs. Finishing up at a respectable 6-7 drew my Wobblies team a tough playoff assignment in the bracket. While we're got a very good chance of winning our first game, the second game will almost invariably be against the team that twice beat us by margains of 15-2 and then 14-4. (But if we do pull off some sort of miracle, Bad News Bears-esque run at the championship, we get to play that in the Dome, so keep your fingers crossed.)

Anyway, given that the last time I played baseball was my freshman year in high school and I'm pretty confident I didn't get a single hit the whole season, I'm at least seeing some upward progression. And given that I've never demonstrated prowess in any type of physical competition, I have to say I'm extremely satisfied with my mediocre-at-best play...