After about eight straight entries on music, it's time to catch up on what's happening in the world around us. Faster and furiouser, trying to keep up with it all, I find myself dizzy from the information overload, accompanied by more spin than my bed in college after a two day Bloody Mary binge. But as far as I can tell, here's the scorecard:
The fight for National Health Care rages on. The right attack it as socialized medicine, citing the countless horrors from marginal medical treatment in Canada and the UK. Best line so far: Investor's Business Daily warned of end-of-life counseling asserting that people like Stephen Hawking "wouldn't have a chance" under socialized medical care. The irony (doubtless lost on these tools) being that not only is Hawking an English citizen (where all this allegedly shoddy nationalized healthcare has been in place for decades) but that after this bold claim was made, Hawking himself claimed that he wouldn't have survived without it.
Stephen Hawking: No complaints about socialized medicine from him.
As for Sarah Palin's unsupported allegations about the proposed plan creating "death panels" for senior citizens and the handicapped, "the Anchorage Daily News reported this last July, the situation in the state's Medicare- and Medicaid-funded in-home elder care program became so bad that the federal government had to step in and force Alaska to make necessary improvements."
The feds had been tipped off to the systemic problems "by doctors and other health care providers, who found the state unresponsive when confronted with their incompetence. No other state faced comparable problems." What a shock, Sarah the know-it-all allowing citizens of her state to die because of the incompetence of her administration? Oh, that's right, she hasn't been there to do her job for the last year or so while she was running for an office way beyond her limited grasp, or courting corporate sponsors. Can't wait for the Fox talk show to begin, to run against Oprah. Sorry, Sarah, but "The View" (apparently not of the eastern frontier of the Soviet Union!) is already taken. "Say it isn't so?" "You bet'cha!""In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help."
And here's some more statistics to undercut the insurance and pharmaceutical industries blatant scare tactics and appalling LIES about the "true cost" of health care: "The GAO estimates that a comprehensive national health plan would cost roughly $1Trillion over ten years. This is not unusual considering the size of US budget; we blow through about a trillion on the military every two years, and their computer systems are still obsolete by the time they get them. Anyway, if we kept our current system unchanged, normal costs--as they are now--would end up as $35 Trillion (yes, that's "trillion" with a "T", Dr. Evil!) over ten years, most of this being paid by the government anyway, so, you know, the "conservative" option looks like a national health service." (Many thanks to my pal Shane for the spot-on statistics that put this ridiculous argument in black and white terms that even the moron from Crawford should be able to get.)
Speaking of Sarah Palin: Another victim of the vast left wing conspiracy to deprive sub-morons from future occupation of the White House, Saucy Sarah announced that she was calling it quits, but she still can't keep out of the limelight in her desperate attempt to control the destiny of the Grand Oil Party. After blaming the "frivolous complaints" brought against her for charging the State of Alaska for staying at home in Wasilla; spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on wardrobe and personal items for herself, the "First Dude," and their litter of kids; having the state pay for their personal travel expenses as well as those of the esteemed Governor; dragging the name of teenager Levi Johnson, the unwed father of Ms. Palin's grandson and Crystal's ex through the mud after their acrimonious break up, and shilling for the oil companies in Alaska to try to derail a transition to a green energy policy, now SarahPAC, her campaign committee to back a run for the higher office she apparently believes she deserves, is now under investigation for bookkeeping issues and donating more money to campaigns of friendly candidates than is legally permitted. Ms. Palin, let me speak loud and clear for the 98% of non-drooling America when I say: "Don't let the door hit you in the ass."
Wow, what a class act. This qualifies her to be on tool calendars in garages around the country! But will that also make her an expert on engine repair?
Goldman Sucks: Yeah, mere months after they swindle American taxpayers out of $180 billion dollars, and paid back about 5% of our loan to them, these Wall Street fat cats have ratcheted up their salaries by an average of 33%, and recorded RECORD PROFITS for last quarter. In the mean time the national unemployment rate has surpassed ten percent, with five states registering over 15%! What the...? Bernancke (nominated to a second term by President Obama) and the Fed are so busy congratulating themselves that they've turned the economy around that they've completely failed to regulate those conditions which brought it about in the first place, and according to Paul Krugman, among other authorities, "Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely." And now the risks they take are covered not just by speculative investors, but by all taxpayers, who will likely never recoup the money we paid to bail these thieves out in the first place, much less our share of the "profits" they make so long as they can dump that into hefty bonuses for themselves...
for more, read Paul Krugman's various essays in the New York Times about how these swindlers have kept people distracted and managed to amass more of our tax dollars to keep them rolling in dough while the rest of the country holds bake sales. And a tip o' the 1600 lid to Bill and Ray for following this story, and contributing to this post...
Billy Mays: Everybody was broken up over this guys death, which temporarily eclipsed even the passing of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson (more on that later). Am I the only one in the world that had no idea who this guy was? When an infomercial comes on, I reflexively change channels. He was an advertising pitchman, for crying out loud! AND HIS ANNOYING, MONOTONOUS 120 DECIBEL DELIVERY! IT'S THE SAME WHETHER HE'S SELLING COOKING UTENSILS OR KEYCHAINS! Couldn't he hear? Or did he have to sound like LIKE HE WAS TRYING TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH A BULLHORN? MAYBE THE COKE AFFECTED HIS HEARING? You decide. Still, he would have made a great play by play announcer for ESPN if anything ever happened to Chris Berman, because it always sounds like he's ready to narrate the highlight reel at any second...HE. COULD. GO. ALL. THE. WAY. Wait, I guess he already did.
Speaking of marginally talented newsmakers, Dick Cheney's out of the bunker and on the road with his "I'm Not Apologizing for Anything" tour: perhaps the longest running show off Broadway in 2009! Dead Eye Dick is on every politics show this side of MSNBC, writing letters to the editor, and out stumping for torture, spying, and the unAmerican Way. Even as reports from the State Department and the CIA have rebuked his claim that the use of waterboarding, dogs, and fire ants, threatening the families and children of prisoners, and warrantless wiretaps on American yielded any valuable information, Dick maintains that he and George Bush have personally kept every man, woman and child in this country safe for 8 years....except for that one really bad day they had in 2001 eight months after taking office and ignoring any intel generated by the previous administration. Now Dick is cryin that this is politically motivated. OK, Bunker Boy, I have 2 words for ya: "Valerie Plame." Now that Novak's dead, we'll never get to the bottom of that, but if you don't think that outing a covert CIA agent and endangering the lives of her contacts (at least a couple of whom were killed after that fiasco) wasn't politically motivated, if not outright TREASON, than gargle some more of the purple Kool Aid, and pray at the altar of Newt Gingrich for a new Contract on America. And thanks for the Act of Non-Contrition, Dick- see you at the Hague.
Oh, yeah: Not only does the report find there is no proof that the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques" led to ANY valuable information, in fact, these policies may have even impeded the process of learning about planned attacks and other details from the detainees.
Now, finally, in spite of resistance from the Obama Administration, Attorney General Eric Holder has finally nominated Special Prosecutor John Durham to conduct a "preliminary investigation" of the CIA's practices. But some see this as only a lukewarm endorsement by Holder to examine the record, as Durham is not empowered to prosecute any crimes that are revealed during the inquiry. Time will tell....
Methinks he protests too much. "Heckuva job, Dicky."More sour grapes dep't.: And what of poor Glenn Beck, with his advertisers becoming scarce as siberian tigers, and pulling out of his show (and some, the whole FauxNews network) with tremendous abandon usually executed by rats on sinking ships? Maybe not everyone thinks that calling the President a racist and stoking your viewers to arm themselves and commit acts of treason isn't a wise move. Over 36 companies, including AT&T, Sprint, Geico, UPS, Proctor & Gamble, and even the ultraconservative Wal Mart have removed their ads from Beck's show. Do ya think this might be putting a dent in the bloated Murdoch disinformation empire? One can only hope. But boy, the letters and boycotts of Faux News advertisers sure seem to be taking their toll on this troll! And what of his cohorts like propaganda-spewing Sean Hannity? Take note: you're next, bub.
Glenn Beck: Talk Show Host of the Damned?
1600 also sends its belated congratulations to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, on her confirmation by a 68-31 vote, in spite of partisan bickering and claims that her "liberal activism" will lead to decisions that don't follow established precedent. At least a few of your colleagues need a reality check, and we're betting you're just the tough, self- reliant woman that can give them one- in a New York minute!
And last but not least, to the new (and improved) Senator Al: Stuart Smalley goes to Washington. 'Bout f*ckin' time! Coleman's not a sore loser, just like Jim Vitter, Sanford and Ensign are all upstanding, ethical, family values guys... Mr. Senator, you can do a lot of good here- be the leader we all know ya are, and don't cave to the special interests that some of your cowering colleagues let dictate their decisions. We fully expect that you will continue in the proud populist tradition of Eugene McCarthy, Hubert H. Humphrey and Paul Wellstone. Your state and your country will thank you.