September 28, 2005

DeLay Indicted
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September 22, 2005

I just watched Fahrenheit 9/11...

and I forgot how pissed off I am. Especially about this:

So Al Gore was the choice of Florida’s voters -- whether one counts hanging chads or dimpled chads. That was the core finding of the eight news organizations that conducted a review of disputed Florida ballots. By any chad measure, Gore won.

Yeah, that really pisses me off. Who knows where we would have been with a real President, someone who wasn't bought and paid for by corporate interests. But, at least Bush has learned from his mistakes of cronyism - especially after the Brownie disaster.

Good news: Democratic governors have embarrassed the federal government into acknowledging the oil price gouging issue, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced a formal probe. Bad news: President Bush made sure to preempt any real investigation into price gouging by his financial backers in the oil/gas industry when last year he appointed a former ChevronTexaco lawyer, Deborah Majoras, to head the FTC.

Silly chuckles, a Neocon doesn't learn from his mistakes, he denies them until his death. Remember this?

In the years following, various episodes served as occasions for one pundit or another to declare Nixon's reputation restored. Nixon would visit Capitol Hill, or criticize George Bush's Russia policy in a strategically leaked memo, or meet with President Clinton; each time he was pronounced rehabilitated, even as polls showed that he remained unpopular. His death on April 18, 1994, brought a new zenith of revisionism: an outpouring of praise from President Clinton and other public figures. Television and radio networks aired a relentless parade of fond reminiscences about Nixon, news anchors drummed home the now-familiar lines about his comeback (again creating the fact they were ostensibly just reporting), and the eulogies at the funeral itself never once mentioned Watergate.

My greatest fear is that the Republicans will get their ship back on course before November 2006 - right now they are screwing the pooch as thoroughly as possible. Stay the course, George, stay the course.

September 20, 2005

McUSA Drops in World Health Measures

As I have noted here earlier, the US does a horrible job of keeping its infants and children alive. Now, new data from the UNDP Human Development Report for 2005 shows that the US has dropped in comparison to the rest of the world with respect to life expectancy.

1 Japan..........82.0
2 Hong Kong......81.6
3 Iceland........80.7
4 Switzerland....80.5
5 Australia......80.3
6 Sweden.........80.2
7 Italy..........80.1
8 Canada.........80.0
9 Israel.........79.7
10 France........79.5
18 Cyprus........78.6
19 Luxembourg....78.5
27 Chile.........77.9
29 United States.77.4
30 Cuba..........77.3

An interpretation of this data by others suggests the following:

Health is measured by life expectancy which is a pretty robust number. Not only have other countries moved ahead of us the gap between the US and the healthiest country has increased yet again. It is now 4.6 years, and if we eradicated heart disease, our leading cause of death, it would gain us about 3.5 years and we'd still be behind. Regarding the sensitivity of the number, doing the calculations with and without the 3000 deaths of Sept 11, 2001 would only affect it by 0.01 years.

So, what we have here is an indicator that the United States is once again, going backwards with respect to the rest of the world. They are getting healthier, faster than we are. Heart disease plays a major role in our unhealthiness, which is no surprise if you simply look around at all the McDonald's manging, Taco Bell stuffing, KFC finger-licking meals you see at work and at play. In both Florida and South Carolina, it was not uncommon for me to see parents drop off their kids at preschool or daycare with a McMeal for breakfast or lunch. Bad habits are hard to break. Giving kids bad habits is criminal at worst, stupid at best. The public needs help in educating themselves and kids need help educating their parents.

September 16, 2005

Smoke & Mirrors: Bush Relief Ends New Deal

There have been a number of diaries about the Bush Relief plan, but I haven't read one that has seen the true underpinings of the Bush Relief Plan.  This is everything the Neoconservative Movement could have hoped for - the End of the New Deal.

  • The President will live up to his promise.

  • The President will spend $200 Billion on Katrina relief.

  • The President will spend another $200 Billion on Iraq.

  • The Neoconservative movement will then have its wish, the destruction of the New Deal.

    What happens if the President gets his way and we spend all this money?  Do you think the fiscally conservative Republicans are going to forget about the balanced budget they want?  No, they can play right along with the Neoconservatives to make sure everyone get what they want.

    ...On Thursday, even before President Bush promised that "federal funds will cover the great majority of the costs of repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone," fiscal conservatives from the House and Senate joined budget watchdog groups in demanding that the administration be judicious in asking for taxpayer dollars....That sore spot was rubbed raw earlier this week when Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, suggested that the Republican Congress had already trimmed much of the fat from the federal budget, making it difficult to find ways to offset hurricane spending.

    Mr. Coburn called such a claim ludicrous and other Republicans took exception as well.

    "There has never been a time where there is more total spending and more wasteful spending in Washington than we have today," said Pat Toomey, a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and the head of the conservative Club for Growth. "There is ample opportunity to find the offsets we need so that this does not have to be a fiscal disaster as well as a natural disaster."

    Are you beginning to see it?  Sure, we'll spend $200 Billion dollars for businesses to build up the coast, paying sub-minimum wages.  In the meantime, how should we pay for it?  Well, I guess we will have to cut all those programs that poor people abuse.  At a time like this, we need to focus on those who have suffered real tragedy and turn out those who are just lazy.

    Where will they have their needs met?

    "It is my hope that my constituents will join me in making a contribution to a charitable organization.  The people affected by this storm desperately need our help right away.  A donation to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or other charitable groups will help provide the resources necessary for these people to survive." Representative Virginia Foxx

    From the mouths of idiots, the plan.  How many times did you something like this from the President last night:

    Coast Guard and other personnel rescued tens of thousands of people from flooded neighborhoods. Religious congregations and families have welcomed strangers as brothers and sisters and neighbors.

    Before giving credit to the state or cities, or to private individuals, or even FEMA - he makes it clear that CHURCHES provide the help needed.

    This is how the New Deal will be lost - through the use of religious propaganda.  Who needs Medicaid or Medicare, your churches will take care of you.  Who needs welfare or food stamps, your churches will take care of you.

    This is it people - the fight for the New Deal.

    Our responsibility is to make this fight about the inability of the Neoconservative small government movement to keep a working government in place.  Our responsibility is to make everyone realize that tax cuts to the rich are to blame for the levees breaking.  Our responsibility is to make America see that Democrats, not Neoconservatives will protect ALL of our citizens, not just the rich, white citizens.

  • Truth and Politicians

    Do as I say, not as I do.
    Lesson 1 - Town Rules are for YOU, not for US!!!

    Signs proliferate, despite Cary rule
    Candidates' campaigns fail to follow the town's ordinance, but they don't face fines.

    ...Since the campaign for Town Council kicked off a few weeks ago, candidates have broken the town's sign ordinance 62 times...The town's politicians are supposed to follow the same rules that bar their neighbors from advertising their yard sales on telephone poles or dressing up like Uncle Sam and waving to traffic to drum up business. ...Most prefer not to talk about it. Ed Yerha, whose campaign has had 23 illegally placed signs confiscated by the town, professed ignorance at a recent candidates' forum.

    "I have always been a supporter of the sign ordinance in Cary because I think it makes it as attractive as it is," he said as his volunteers stifled snickers. "Hopefully, we're complying as much as we can with that."

    So, as much as you can? As much as you can. "I'm sorry Officer, I tried to comply with the DUI laws as much as I can, but that waitress was really cute, soooooo, I had to keep buying drinks."

    ..."To me, if you're running for Town Council, you need to obey the law," council member Jennifer Robinson said recently. "If these people are sincere, they should take down the ones that are illegally posted."

    Amen, and I am sure that all the good people running for office will realize the error of their ways and immediately change their ways.

    "I originally said, 'I will not put any in public right of ways,' " [Jack Smith] said. "But the absence of mine was just too compelling."

    September 15, 2005

    UNC and Duke Hospitals - First Do No Extra

    I just read through a story in the News & Observer concerning UNC Hospital and the loss of a child's fingertip. There are two sides to each story, but in this one, it appears that bureaucracy trumped care.

    I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. The Original Hippocratic Oath

    One afternoon in March, Claudine Lee rushed her 20-month-old son to the only hospital in rural Bladen County, the tip of his right pinkie hanging by a flap of skin. The emergency physician, Dr. Vicki Lanier, told her the boy, whose finger had been crushed in a door, needed a larger hospital with surgeons who could repair it.

    Lanier tried UNC Hospitals, but a doctor there refused to see the child. She tried Duke, where a doctor agreed to treat Marcus, but only after arguing that UNC should have.

    It is probably an hour and a half drive between UNC and Bladen County Hospital in an ambulance, tops.

    More than seven hours after the accident, a Duke surgeon stitched Marcus's finger back together. But the tissue died; his fingertip eventually was amputated...

    The UNC physician who took Lanier's call, whose full name is not given, told her "it was not appropriate to send the patient" to Chapel Hill, the reports say. He also told her that Bladen County Hospital should have an orthopedic surgeon on call who could evaluate and treat Marcus, according to the report. "They are getting paid to do it," Lanier said the UNC physician told her. UNC, he told her, typically accepts orthopedic transfers only after a local orthopedist has seen the patient and determined that care at UNC is needed. But Bladen County Hospital, which has just 25 beds, does not have a full-time orthopedics department, just visiting orthopedists who come in from outside the county once or twice a week. Lanier explained this to the UNC physician repeatedly, the reports say.

    In the future, McCall said, UNC will accept transfer requests even if there is debate about whether UNC is the best place for the patient to receive care. "We don't want anything like this to happen again," she said.

    Really? How interesting. Go figure.

    When UNC refused Marcus, Lanier paged a Duke orthopedic surgeon, who agreed that Marcus needed to be seen...

    Thank goodness, way to go Duke, let's save this little boy's finger

    But before starting the transfer, the surgeon asked Lanier to call UNC back and demand to know why the boy's injury wasn't worthy of its attention.

    Uhmm, maybe you could find that out AFTER you save his finger?

    He waited to hear back from Lanier, who told him that UNC repeated that the transfer was inappropriate and again refused to treat the child, according to the reports.

    So, okay, UNC f**ked up, let's save the 20-month old boy's finger...

    The Duke surgeon then called Duke's hospital transfer center.

    Really? How interesting. Idiot.

    According to the investigation reports, which quote a transcript of the call, the Duke surgeon said he wanted documentation that UNC had refused to accept the transfer of a 20-month-old child who needed orthopedic services. The surgeon said Duke was "getting dumped on by UNC Hospitals" and that he was "tired of this." Finally, the surgeon asked the Duke transfer center to call Bladen County Hospital and begin the transfer. Marcus then was treated; his finger was stitched back on, not actually reimplanted.

    Can anyone else say, M-A-L-P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E.

    State regulators also reviewed Duke's part in Marcus' treatment. The state recommended that Duke also be found in violation of the federal emergency care law, which also specifies that hospitals may not delay emergency treatment. But the federal government disagreed. Duke officials got a letter from federal regulators in July indicating that Duke had met its obligation to provide care.

    I for one call Bullshit. Duke is every bit as much to blame as UNC. UNC might have made a bad initial decision, but they made it quickly. Duke dragged this shit out for hours and hours, which probably helped in the loss of a 20-month old's fingertip. But, hey, it's just a fingertip and he's only 20 months old - he'll never miss it.

    September 13, 2005

    Why Americans Have It All Wrong

    How many more SUVs, BMWs, Mercedes, beach houses, and face lifts do we need in America?

    How many families do we need to foster and adopt children? Apparently, lots.

    Eleven Children Found Caged in Ohio Home

    Sheriff's deputies found 11 children locked in cages with alarms in a north Ohio home, and prosecutors are looking into possible charges of abuse and neglect.

    The children, ages 1 to 14, were in nine cages in the walls of a house outside this city of about 1,000 about 50 miles west of Cleveland, according to the Huron County Sheriff's Office. They had no blankets or pillows, and the cages were rigged with alarms that sounded if the cages were opened, Lt. Randy Sommers said.

    The children told authorities they slept in the 40-inches-high by 40 inches-deep cages at night. Doors to some of the cages were blocked with heavy furniture.

    Sharen and Mike Gravelle are adoptive or foster parents for all 11 children, officials said. Prosecutors are reviewing the case, but no charges had been filed as of Monday night.

    My wife and I are considering adopting or fostering now, or waiting until our kids are a little older. This kind of disgusting crap makes me realize that NOW is more likely. There is evil in the world, if you doubt that, read the blockquote again...EVIL. The reason these people get away with things like this is simple, because our society does not value the lives of poor children. Children born into poverty, who are taken from their families, or given away by parents who cannot raise them, are considered the dregs of our society. The righteous right would never make this an issue, because in their viewpoint these children must be bad, must have deserved this treatment.

    The only people who can fix this is us, now. Only the Progressive Left with its belief in a caring family, with its belief in equality and equity for all, even the poor, we are the only ones in our society that can make a difference. We must not stand by, we must not focus our lives on more cars, more this, more that, but on raising up those who are less fortunate. Only then can we be truly Progressive, only then can we shame the Righteous Right, who care only about the birth of fetuses and not about what happens afterwards.

    September 02, 2005

    Natural Disaster vs. National Disaster

    For those wondering why the government, including sock puppet Scotty McClellan, are focusing on the Natural Disaster meme: From September 1, 2005 Press Conference with Scott McClellan

    Q Scott, I know the President obviously is focused on response efforts right now, but can I talk to you about preparedness? Is the President satisfied with the way assets were pre-positioned, specifically in those areas like New Orleans and Mississippi, New Orleans particularly, a place that was identified by the Red Cross as being particularly vulnerable because of its geographical location. Is the President satisfied?

    MR. McCLELLAN: ...This is not a time to get into any finger pointing or politics or anything of that nature. This is a time to make sure all our resources available are focused where they need to be, and that is on the people who have been displaced or the people who have been otherwise affected by this natural disaster. And that's exactly what we're doing.
    I think on Tuesday everybody recognized that this -- if not sooner -- that this natural disaster is unprecedented. It is, as I said, perhaps the, if not -- certainly one of, if not the, worst natural disasters in our nation's history.

    Natural Disaster - There is nothing we could do, it is an act of God. Any suggestion of blame is sacrilege.

    National Disaster - Nation = United States; United States = President; President = George W. Bush; GWB = Republican; therefore, National Disaster = Republican Disaster

    View Original

    Katrina was a Natural Disaster, from yesterday on is a National Disaster. It is now Friday and there are still tens of thousands of people stranded in Katrina's wake. Hundreds of thousands without food and water. Millions without power. Reports saying that at one sight, hundreds of elderly and infants have died from exposure. THAT is a National Disaster based, once again, on poor planning by Nero, who diddled while Katrina churned.

    President Bush Playing a Little Guitar AFTER Hurricane Katrina Hits

    September 01, 2005

    David Brooks, The Johnstown Flood, and Hell To Pay

    I started off calling this diary David Brooks is a Goddamn Liar based on his opinion piece in the New York Times.  However, while he does let a lie slip through early in his opinion, the rest of the piece reads fairly well.

    He begins by discussing the Johnstown flood, based upon his reading of David McCullough's book of the same name.  While McCullough is famous for a variety of books now (John Adams, 1776), I first heard of him when I picked up The Johnstown Flood book back in 1996.  So, a little about the Johnstown flood from Brooks.

    In 1889 in Pennsylvania, a great flood washed away much of Johnstown. The water's crushing destruction sounded to one person like a "lot of horses grinding oats." Witnesses watched hundreds of people trapped on a burning bridge, forced to choose between burning to death or throwing themselves into the churning waters to drown.

    The flood was so abnormal that the country seemed to have trouble grasping what had happened. The national media were filled with wild exaggerations and fabrications: stories of rivers dammed with corpses, of children who died while playing ring-around-the-rosy and who were found with their hands still clasped and with smiles still on their faces.

    If it sounds bad, but not hideous, you're wrong.

    It has been described as a rolling hill of debris (trees, trains, tracks, boulders, houses, people), 40 feet high and a half-mile wide.

    Then, as David McCullough notes in "The Johnstown Flood," public fury turned on the Pittsburgh millionaires whose club's fishing pond had emptied on the town. The Chicago Herald depicted the millionaires as Roman aristocrats, seeking pleasure while the poor died like beasts in the Coliseum.

    Even before the flood, public resentment was building against the newly rich industrialists. Protests were growing against the trusts, against industrialization and against the new concentrations of wealth. The Johnstown flood crystallized popular anger, for the fishing club was indeed partly to blame. Public reaction to the disaster helped set the stage for the progressive movement and the trust-busting that was to come.

    Actually, the fishing club was totally to blame.  The fishing pond was large enough to house a paddle-wheel river boat, sat on top of a mountain, behind a day.  It was the club's responsibility to maintain the dam. The dam was allowed to fall into disrepair because it was going to cost too much to do the repairs.  This from the wealthiest men in the world.  The crest of the dam was allowed to droop and the flood gates were allowed to fall into disrepair.  Had it not been for those actions, MAYBE the flood would never have happened.

    This incredible painting gives the best indication of what happened.


    BTW, What an Incredible Site

    So, that is the lie, that Mellon, Frick, Carnegie and the gang of robber barons had a little bit to do with the Johnstown Flood.  They were negligent and responsible.

    However, I have to say that the rest of the article seems to suggest that their will be hell to pay for this flood.  Most surprising, he seems to suggest that it is the current administration that will pay said hell.

    Then in 1927, the great Mississippi flood rumbled down upon New Orleans. As Barry writes in his account, "Rising Tide," the disaster ripped the veil off the genteel, feudal relations between whites and blacks, and revealed the festering iniquities. Blacks were rounded up into work camps and held by armed guards. They were prevented from leaving as the waters rose. A steamer, the Capitol, played "Bye Bye Blackbird" as it sailed away. The racist violence that followed the floods helped persuade many blacks to move north.

    Civic leaders intentionally flooded poor and middle-class areas to ease the water's pressure on the city, and then reneged on promises to compensate those whose homes were destroyed. That helped fuel the populist anger that led to Huey Long's success. Across the country people demanded that the federal government get involved in disaster relief, helping to set the stage for the New Deal...

    Civic arrangements work or they fail. Leaders are found worthy or wanting. What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come.