Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Senate passes overhaul of food safety regulations:
The biggest U.S. food-safety overhaul in more than 70 years won Senate passage as lawmakers sought to curb food-borne illnesses that cost the nation an estimated $152 billion a year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would gain more power to police food companies under the bill that passed today in a 73-25 vote. The measure, backed by the food industry, public- health groups and consumer advocates, adds inspections and lets the FDA force recalls, rather than relying on companies to voluntarily remove contaminated foods from store shelves.
Emphasis mine. I'm still trying to find out the names of the 25 senators who voted against this bill but I know one of them is Sen. Coburn (R-OK), so it's fairly safe to assume the other 24 are likely Republicans.

Let me understand, the food industry (i.e. big business) backed this bill, AND food illness costs this country over $150 billion per year, and yet still many Republicans felt the need to vote against this bill....? Really? And Tea-baggers wish to "take back this country" and hand it back to these partisan idiots?

UPDATE: Yup, all 25 were Republicans -- including John McCain. Maverick my arse.
It didn't take long for preppie-rock gods Vampire Weekend to sell out to commercial interests. But then again, that's assuming they had any artistic integrity to begin with. I tend to doubt it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom DeLay found guilty? But I thought he said repeatedly that he was innocent...? I guess he meant of things other than this....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Go ahead, click here and try to balance the budget without touching Medicare, Social Security or military spending, and without raising any taxes -- GOOD LUCK!
Is Glenn Beck sending coded messages? Sounds completely plausible to me.
Another study, another unsurprising verdict:
A third of Americans say they have gone without medical care or skipped filling a prescription because of cost, compared to 5 percent in the Netherlands, according to study released on Thursday.

The study is the latest in a series by the non-profit Commonwealth Fund showing that while Americans pay far more per capita for healthcare, they are unhappier with the results and less healthy than people in other rich countries.

The study published in the journal Health Affairs also showed that 20 percent of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, compared with 2 percent in Britain and 9 percent in France, the next costliest country.

"U.S. adults were the most likely to incur high medical expenses, even when insured, and to spend time on insurance paperwork and disputes or to have payments denied," the report reads.
Yes, we better make repealing watered-down healthcare reform priority #1!

Friday, November 19, 2010

True dat, from The Economist:
As to hubris, the Republican freshmen bound for Congress next January are in danger of reading into the election a message of their own creation. Many see the mid-terms as a popular rejection of the president’s “extreme” policies. This is doubtful. Voters were more likely registering a protest at the economy than repudiating an ideology. Besides, to the disgust of his own progressive base, Mr Obama enacted no extreme policies. Obamacare is a good deal less radical than the plan Richard Nixon proposed in 1974 or Bill Clinton 20 years later. In fact it closely resembles the bill the Republicans put up as an alternative to Mr Clinton’s, and its central idea—the individual mandate—was introduced in Massachusetts by none other than Mitt Romney, who hopes to become the Republicans’ presidential nominee in 2012.
Summarizes the state of things quite nicely.
The always-insightful Frank Rich:
The G.O.P.’s arguments for extending the Bush tax cuts to this crowd, usually wrapped in laughably hypocritical whining about “class warfare,” are easily batted down. The most constant refrain is that small-business owners who file in this bracket would be hit so hard they could no longer hire new employees. But the Tax Policy Center found in 2008, when checking out similar campaign claims by “Joe the Plumber,” that only 2 percent of all Americans reporting small-business income, regardless of tax bracket, would see tax increases if Obama fulfilled his pledge to let the Bush tax cuts lapse for the top earners. The economist Dean Baker calculated that the yearly tax increase at the lower end of that bracket, for those with earnings between $200,000 and $500,000, would amount to $700 — which “isn’t enough to hire anyone.”

Those in the higher reaches aren’t investing in creating new jobs even now, when the full Bush tax cuts remain in effect, so why would extending them change that equation? American companies seem intent on sitting on trillions in cash until the economy reboots. Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ranks the extension of any Bush tax cuts, let alone those to the wealthiest Americans, as the least effective of 11 possible policy options for increasing employment.
Love that small business nonsense the GOP has stooped to offering as reason to extend tax cuts. Completely ludicrous.

But then while on the subject of what's ludicrous and nonsensical, Kevin Drum points out a sad fact, one that has been the case for decades:
This comes from the LA Times, but I think it could be the lead story in pretty much any newspaper in the country:
Californians object to increasing taxes in order to pare the state's massive budget deficit, and instead favor closing the breach through spending cuts. But they oppose cuts — and even prefer more spending — on programs that make up 85% of the state's general fund obligations, a new Los Angeles Times/USC Poll has found.

That paradox rests on Californians' firm belief that the state's deficit — estimated last week at nearly $25 billion over the next 18 months — can be squared through trimming waste and inefficiencies rather than cutting the programs they hold dear. Despite tens of billions that have been cut from the state budget in recent years, just a quarter of California voters believed that state services would have to be curtailed to close the deficit.
Well, there you have it. This is America in a nutshell.
Americans have always been all for cuts in "wasteful" spending -- just as long as those cuts do not affect any spending that benefits them. Nothing will ever get resolved with that kind of ass-backwards, delusional thinking, but you can count on politicians refusing to explain and force voters to recognize their flawed logic, fearing an angry backlash. Thus, we remain in this increasingly worsening state, seemingly paralyzed and sinking.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I could probably add another 20-30 items to the list, but not bad for starters.
I think we've known or suspected this for quite some time: "Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate"
Most global warming skeptics are ignorant about many things when it comes to that which they deny, this study not withstanding.

Whereas these folks seem to judge the veracity of global warming research based on daily weather patterns in their immediate location (!), the fact remains this subject involves highly complex and sensitive matters that go way beyond whether or not it happens to be inordinately cold in city/state/region "X" of the country. Ocean currents play a huge part in this complicated equation and as the study points out, it doesn't take much to skew the balance of seawater salinity (due to global warming) to significantly alter the direction of currents.

And we already know the ocean salt balance is changing. Weather patterns are already likely changing as a result.

But not to worry, it's all just cyclical, or due to sun spots, or something.... Let's get back to focusing on truly important things, like tax cuts for the wealthy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I wonder why the Tea Baggers never have a misspelled sign angrily protesting this (the fact that many bankers haven't been prosecuted). Instead, they choose to focus solely on getting rid of the African-American in the White House. Quite telling.
It's been quite a long time since my last post (!) -- did you miss me? Bet you thought I died, or better yet with the election of Obama that I was content to stop blogging now that our national nightmare (GW/Cheney) was over. Wrong on both counts.

Admittedly, with the Bush reign of incompetence no more, I did find fewer things to raise the blood pressure. However, by no means has the new guy in the White House been a bang-up success, and many of his supporters -- including myself -- will tell you about our great frustration with how he has let us down, repeatedly. His excessive willingness to proffer compromise with Republicans who only wish to see him out of office, his seemingly inability to grow a spine and fight for what he believes in ala FDR, his fear that he will be perceived as a -- brace yourself -- "liberal" despite the fact that right-wingers portray him to be much farther to left than he actually is, ultimately alienating the many who put him in office just two short years ago.... The list goes on and on.

Anyway, I'm back and I hope to return to my schedule of posting entries daily. As always, I'd love to receive emails from readers.