Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Public Support for Another ACA Feature


As some Dem candidates in 2014 begin to emerge from a fetal position on the Affordable Care Act (see our post yesterday), they are discovering that a majority of Americans favor the key features of the Act -- coverage for pre-existing conditions, no lifetime caps, and Medicaid expansion are three that come to mind.  Now, the Journal of the American Medical Association has polled Americans on the provision that requires companies to provide comprehensive birth control coverage, and Surprise! it's favored by 70% of the public, including a majority of Catholics.  The Catholic Church and right-wing evangelicals have fought the provision, claiming that it violates freedom of religion.  A wingnut-owned business, Hobby Lobby, has taken the U.S. to court over its objection to providing health insurance with that provision.

As Dems find their voice on defending affordable health insurance for Americans, and pointing out their Rethuglican opponents don't have an alternative plan, they may prove the Rethug-wired pundits wrong in 2014 who had forecasted the Act would prove to be an albatross.

Mid-Week Lydian Song


The Lydian Collective are four London-based British jazz / modern fusion musicians, playing keyboards/Music Production Controller, guitar, bass and drums/percussion. ("Lydian" refers to a particular jazz theory).  Here's their studio recording of "Thirty One."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sen. Landrieu: Obamacare and Medicaid Benefits "Worth Fighting For"


Generally, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu isn't a Democrat we quote approvingly, but in an interview with Greg Sargent, Landrieu comes out swinging in favor of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana and supporting (but "fixing") Obamacare.  Here's a portion of the interview (our emphasis added):
"[Not expanding Medicaid] would be a real setback for the people of Louisiana, many of whom are working 30, 40, 50 hours a week but find themselves caught in the Jindal gap because the state refuses to expand health care options to the working poor at little to no expense,” Landrieu told me, referring to Governor Bobby Jindal’s opposition to the expansion. [snip] 
“[Obamacare's] a solid law that needs improvement,” Landrieu said. “My opponent offers nothing but repeal, repeal, and repeal. And even with all the law’s setbacks, we’re seeing benefits for thousands of people in Louisiana.” 
I think the benefits that people have received are worth fighting for...”
That's right, Senator, they ARE worth fighting for.  Let's hope you and other Democrats up for election this year (or not) fight for these humane and progressive laws and benefits, because that's a winning strategy.

"The Brainwashing Of My Dad"


There's a documentary being funded through Kickstarter called "The Brainwashing Of My Dad"which is about the effects of a multi-year diet of right-wing hate radio, Fox "News," and other right-wing media on the father of Jen Senko. It's a project deserving of our support (go to the Kickstarter page for more information and to contribute). Here's the trailer:

Earth Day 2014



Scanning today's news, there's virtually no mention of today being Earth Day.  Not the New York Times, not the formerly great Washington Post Bezos Bugle.  Nada.  The relentless climate change denialism from the fossil fuel empire and the right-wing have seemed to dilute what used to be a significant day of action and (as they used to say) consciousness raising.  For example, you have idiotic measures like the one in red state Oklahoma that would charge a fee for anyone installing solar panels.  Gotta make solar energy less competitive, so that we can continue to dole out oil depletion allowances.

When the Earth's carbon dioxide level has reached the highest level in millions of years,  it's not a coincidence, despite deniers' attempts to de-link human activity from the greenhouse effect.  But when well-financed entities insist on endlessly "debating" a scientifically settled issue, stalling so that their profits can be gained well into the future, the smog over Earth Day won't go away anytime soon.

More Hannity Insanity

One of the most vocal boosters of freeloading Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's lawlessness and the right-wing militias behind him is the utterly execrable Fux Channel thug Sean "Heil" Hannity.  But as Jon Stewart pointed out last night, Heil, like his man Bundy, likes to pick and choose which laws he supports and obeys.  It's one thing for Heil to be a hypocrite, but it's another to be a dangerously reckless one.  Check it out:


BONUS: Bundy's claimed that his family has owned his ranch since the 1870s. That's turned out to be a flat out lie: his family bought the property in 1948, and only the water rights transferred, not the Federal lands surrounding it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cardinal Dolan - The Face Of What's Still Wrong With The Catholic Church


The moral midget who protected pedophile priests and hid money intended for victims of that sexual abuse while Archbishop of Milwaukee, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, was asked about the pending Supreme Court Hobby Lobby case on "Face the Nation" Sunday.  Dolan, known as the Republican Party's Cardinal, offered his support to the plaintiffs and then pulled this straight out of his ample ass:
“Is the ability to buy contraceptives, that are now widely available — my Lord, all you have to do is walk into a 7-11 or any shop on any street in America and have access to them — is that right to access those and have them paid for, is that such a towering good that it would suffocate the rights of conscience?”  (our emphasis)
A Sem'n'Elemen? Jeez, those contraceptives must've been hiding behind the Slim Jims.  We'll have to look more closely next time.  But, if they're out, we're sure "any shop on any street" will have them.

As for "the right of conscience," this hack has no moral authority to talk about "conscience" in the first place.  What gall.

What does it take to get someone like this overfed huckster "retired" to the Old Reprobates Home?

What Seems To Be The Problem?

News item:  NBC hired a psychologist to interview Press the Meat host and Karl Rove's dancing partner David "Dancin' Dave" Gregory's friends and family.  NBC is alarmed about the slide in the iconic Sunday program's ratings from first to third, and may be concerned that the pressure is getting to Dancin' Dave.  A year ago, Dancin' Dave made news for his unneighborly outburst at people parking in his wealthy neighborhood in northwest DC who were there to view an award-winning home.  Short fuse, sense of entitlement, sociopathic behavior.   Hmmm, maybe NBC needs to reassign Dancin' Dave to a less stressful job, say, covering the Westminster Dog Show, and save money on the shrinks.

BONUS:  Meanwhile, NBC could have saved whatever coin it paid for the shrinkage if it had asked the advice of Kaili Joy Gray over at Wonkette.  Here's a small , but pithy, sample, of her psychoanalysis wisdom:
NBC could explore the widespread rumor that Gregory is Awful Terrible The Worst at allowing his guests, especially — totally coincidentally, we are sure — his conservative guests to spew whatever stupid they want without actually challenging them on their “facts” or demonstrating even a kindergarten level of knowledge about, well, gosh, anything.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon - Sagebrush Seditionists


(click to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Worth reading:  the University of Michigan's (Go Blue) Juan Cole on calling these far-right cretins and their "militia" gun fondlers what they are:  domestic terrorists.

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You


Texas Governor and future Just For Men spokesmodel Rick "Oops" Perry (R- Secessionland) is finishing up his final several months in office.  His run for the Rethug nomination in 2012 failed miserably when he exposed himself as a cocky doofus who couldn't remember which three Federal agencies he would close.  Recently, he's been making the rounds at right-wing events and signaling that he's strongly considering another run for President in 2016 (he's even added horn-rimmed glasses to his wardrobe to appear smarter).

But Oops' intellectual shortcomings may not be the biggest hurdle (especially in the Stupid Party):  a grand jury is now considering whether Oops abused the power of his office in vetoing funding for the state's Public Integrity Office which investigates official corruption.  The jury will operate for three months, and Oops is being represented by a top defense lawyer who charges $450 per hour (all paid for by the citizens of Texas).

(photo:  Oops demonstrating he can now count to two)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Holiday(s)

Yes, it's a major religious holiday for Christians, so Happy Easter to those celebrating it.  But if you're walking around in some public areas of the U.S. today, you may notice a pungent, earthy aroma, and it's not incense.  It's 420 day, the national "weed" smoking holiday, particularly in those jurisdictions that have legalized personal use of marijuana.  In Denver, Colorado, thousands of weed aficionados turned out to celebrate the state's more lenient marijuana laws.

The history behind the term "420" is too lengthy to recount here, so here's the Wiki version.

The Chilly War

Following a day in which a border incident in Ukraine left three dead, despite the agreement reached last week in Geneva for the pro-Russian separatists to stand down, there are reports that the U.S. has concluded that Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin's Russia must be contained and made a pariah state. In his piece in today's New York Times, Peter Baker writes that President Obama has written off Putin as someone he can deal with, and sees a future where Russia is cut off economically and politically as a result of its destabilizing, expansionist activities in Europe and Central Asia.

There were hopes after the disintegration of the Soviet Union after the Cold War that new Russian leaders would bring their country into the fold of Western democracies.  Instead, many former Soviet apparatchiks -- including Putin -- adapted what they had learned from the Soviet system and translated it into an autocratic form of crony capitalism.  Perhaps Putin's moment in the sun at the Winter Olympics deluded him into believing the world would applaud a new Russian Empire.  Instead, the world is appalled.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Cartoons: Obamacare Derangement Syndrome


(click to enlarge)


As we note in the posting below, Rethugs and their enablers in the media are having to scramble to counter-spin the demonstrable success of the Affordable Care Act in its first year of implementation.  

(cartoons:  top, Stuart Carlson, bottom, Mike Luckovich, via Gocomics.com)

Pols and Pundits: Betting on Obamacare Failing, And Losing


Pardon our indulging in a little more schadenfreude over the success of Obamacare in its first enrollment cycle.  After years of gibberish about "death panels," tripling insurance premiums, beellions being kicked off of their insurance plans, deficit busting, and the end of Freedom in America (courtesy of right-wing media, the Koch brothers and other lying malefactors), we have millions more Americans being covered by affordable health insurance.  While the dead-ender right isn't finished with Obamacare (and will never give up), they may yet pay a price for going all-in on opposing this humane and decent achievement.  Here are snippets of some worthwhile readings:

Greg Sargent:
The announcement of eight million Obamacare sign-ups may finally be enough to jolt commentators into realizing that maybe, just maybe, the Republican plan to build an entire campaign against the law for the next six months might suffer from a few imperfections. The President, for his part, seized on the moment to urge Democratic candidates to stand proudly by the law’s achievements — and to attack Republicans for wanting to strip them away.

Josh Marshall:
On Obamacare, the Republican party has bet big on failure for four years. Now the results are in. And they lost. Big time. 
Of course, substance policy success and political outcomes aren't the same thing. And just as importantly they do not always run on the same time scale. So it is entirely possible. I would say it is likely that the GOP will still derive benefits this November from the core of voters who are extremely upset about Obamacare, extremely motivated to vote and also happen to be the same people who routinely turn out in disproportionate numbers in mid-term elections. But on the core of the policy, which I think there is good reason to believe will align with political outcomes in the future, the results are in. And they lost. 
And, finally, Lucia Graves at the National Journal calls out specific Republican journalists pundits who, in toeing the hyperbolic party line on Obamacare, are seeing their predictions of doom blow up in their smug faces.  The list of numbnuts is much longer than Graves has space or patience to cover, unfortunately =cough= Fox "News" =cough= Krauthammer =cough= Will =cough=.  Of course, the "mainstream media" is/was often complicit in peddling Republican lies in their typical "he-said, she-said" narratives (because,  as NBC's  Chuck Todd has schooled us, it's not the media's job to sort out the truth!). Nonetheless, history will surely and righteously enroll all of them in its Book of Shame.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Twofer - Beating Like a Drum


We're still exploring Beck's beautiful "Morning Phase" album, so one of our weekend songs is another rich, transcendent cut from that album, "Heart is a Drum."



Now that we've posited "heart is a drum," check out the propulsive, aerobic heart beat of Max Weinberg's drumming on Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Goin' Down," from 1984's "Born in the U.S.A." It'll get your heart pumping for the weekend (it's ok to turn up the volume).