Monday, June 28, 2010

So You Want To Be My Latex Salesman--Election Year Version

This has been making the rounds, but never too much of a good thing and all that:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shock Therapy

Do we really want to break our dependency on fossil fuels?  Here's how:
  • !00% tax on gas guzzling cars, trucks, and SUVs with exemptions only for those who can show legitimate business reasons for using them (construction workers, not stock brokers);
  • 50% tax on gasoline;
  • 50% of all monies now going to roads and highways transferred to public transit;
  • Rescind all subsidies to oil, coal, and gas and transfer them to wind, solar, and other alternate forms of energy
Let the rest of the status quo fall into line to accommodate these things, and watch how fast things change.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Can Brown Do For YOUR Political Prospects?

As you know, the states serve as the "laboratories of democracy", trying out ideas and concepts on a small scale and serving as jumping-off points for potential laws and regulations at the federal level. Arizona has served us admirably in this capacity. Thanks to its recent abrogation and deformation of federal immigration law enforcement, we know that an entire state can still collectively lose its mind to racial hatred, 150 years after the Civil War, and send tremors of monkey-see monkey-do to the big apes of its sister states. Not content with just taking over federal law enforcement, Arpaio-World now wants to take over the function of the Supreme Court, re-interpreting the Constitution to effectively rescind the 14th Amendment by taking citizenship away from those who were born on American soil. But evidently the author of this new nonsense didn't come up with it on his own. He appears to have been inspired by a cohort of D.C. ignoramuses who came up with federal legislation last spring. On April 2, 2009, Nathan Deal (R-GA) introduced H.R.1868 - the "Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009". The gist of the law is this:
Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to consider a person born in the United States "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States for citizenship at birth purposes if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is:
(1) a U.S. citizen or national;
(2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States; or
(3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Never mind that such changes to Constitutional law can only be made by either a 2/3 vote of the House and Senate followed by ratification by 3/4 of the states, OR by a Constitutional convention called by 2/3 of state legislatures followed by ratification by 3/4 of those legislatures. That won't stop them, because the Constitution only matters when someone wants to register their guns.

Who are the ignorant unwashed piling on to this abomination? The usual suspects...Bagger Wannabees and Yahooites, aided and abetted by a Crackercrat. See if you can find your state, kids:

Co-Sponsors (91)--

o Rep. Todd Akin [R, MO-2]
o Rep. Rodney Alexander [R, LA-5]
o Rep. Spencer Bachus [R, AL-6]
o Rep. James Barrett [R, SC-3]
o Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6]
o Rep. Brian Bilbray [R, CA-50]
o Rep. Gus Bilirakis [R, FL-9]
o Rep. Jo Bonner [R, AL-1]
o Rep. John Boozman [R, AR-3]
o Rep. Kevin Brady [R, TX-8]
o Rep. Paul Broun [R, GA-10]
o Rep. Henry Brown [R, SC-1]
o Rep. Michael Burgess [R, TX-26]
o Rep. Dan Burton [R, IN-5]
o Rep. Ken Calvert [R, CA-44]
o Rep. John Campbell [R, CA-48]
o Rep. John Carter [R, TX-31]
o Rep. Jason Chaffetz [R, UT-3]
o Rep. Howard Coble [R, NC-6]
o Rep. Mike Coffman [R, CO-6]
o Rep. Michael Conaway [R, TX-11]
o Rep. John Culberson [R, TX-7]
o Rep. Geoff Davis [R, KY-4]
o Rep. John Duncan [R, TN-2]
o Rep. John Fleming [R, LA-4]
o Rep. Randy Forbes [R, VA-4]
o Rep. Jeffrey Fortenberry [R, NE-1]
o Rep. Virginia Foxx [R, NC-5]
o Rep. Trent Franks [R, AZ-2]
o Rep. Scott Garrett [R, NJ-5]
o Rep. John Gingrey [R, GA-11]
o Rep. Louis Gohmert [R, TX-1]
o Rep. Robert Goodlatte [R, VA-6]
o Rep. Samuel Graves [R, MO-6]
o Rep. Parker Griffith [R, AL-5]
o Rep. Ralph Hall [R, TX-4]
o Rep. Dean Heller [R, NV-2]
o Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R, TX-5]
o Rep. Walter Herger [R, CA-2]
o Rep. Duncan Hunter [R, CA-52]
o Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49]
o Rep. Samuel Johnson [R, TX-3]
o Rep. Walter Jones [R, NC-3]
o Rep. Jim Jordan [R, OH-4]
o Rep. Steve King [R, IA-5]
o Rep. Peter King [R, NY-3]
o Rep. Jack Kingston [R, GA-1]
o Rep. John Kline [R, MN-2]
o Rep. Doug Lamborn [R, CO-5]
o Rep. John Linder [R, GA-7]
o Rep. Daniel Lungren [R, CA-3]
o Rep. Donald Manzullo [R, IL-16]
o Rep. Kenny Marchant [R, TX-24]
o Rep. Tom McClintock [R, CA-4]
o Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [R, MI-11]
o Rep. Howard McKeon [R, CA-25]
o Rep. John Mica [R, FL-7]
o Rep. Gary Miller [R, CA-42]
o Rep. Candice Miller [R, MI-10]
o Rep. Jerry Moran [R, KS-1]
o Rep. Tim Murphy [R, PA-18]
o Rep. Sue Myrick [R, NC-9]
o Rep. Randy Neugebauer [R, TX-19]
o Rep. Pete Olson [R, TX-22]
o Rep. Mike Pence [R, IN-6]
o Rep. Joseph Pitts [R, PA-16]
o Rep. Todd Platts [R, PA-19]
o Rep. Ted Poe [R, TX-2]
o Rep. Bill Posey [R, FL-15]
o Rep. Tom Price [R, GA-6]
o Rep. Michael Rogers [R, AL-3]
o Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46]
o Rep. Peter Roskam [R, IL-6]
o Rep. Edward Royce [R, CA-40]
o Rep. Peter Sessions [R, TX-32]
o Rep. John Shadegg [R, AZ-3]
o Rep. William Shuster [R, PA-9]
o Rep. Adrian Smith [R, NE-3]
o Rep. Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]
o Rep. Mark Souder [R, IN-3]
o Rep. Clifford Stearns [R, FL-6]
o Rep. John Sullivan [R, OK-1]
o Rep. Gene Taylor [D, MS-4]
o Rep. Todd Tiahrt [R, KS-4]
o Rep. Frederick Upton [R, MI-6]
o Rep. Greg Walden [R, OR-2]
o Rep. Zach Wamp [R, TN-3]
o Rep. Lynn Westmoreland [R, GA-3]
o Rep. Edward Whitfield [R, KY-1]
o Rep. Addison Wilson [R, SC-2]
o Rep. Rob Wittman [R, VA-1]

Since this has been making little progress over the past year, it may never become a threat. But the fact that it exists, and that so many supposedly educated individuals have dogpiled it, makes one despair for the Republic.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can You Still Spell "Resource Wars"?

Now we'll never leave:

U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
Among the minerals discovered is one grandaddy of a lithium deposit, which should be useful in medicating the bi-polar American political classes and their poll-taking constituencies.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Stupidity of Arrogance

Three weeks ago the wife of a friend had a stroke. It was believed to have been caused by an AVM, or cerebral arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the human brain most often formed during gestation. No one was aware of it before it did its damage. It has been an excruciating time for him, and the damage will take extended physical therapy and rehab to mitigate. Their lives have been shattered. In any other nation with access to the technology they had, it could have been avoided. But in this country, the "best health care system in the world" made it almost inevitable.

My friend's wife had been very ill for years. She was under the care of several specialists for an array of impairments and chronic ailments, and was given an ongoing battery of CT scans, MRIs, and other major diagnostic work for decades. Hardly a month went by that she didn't see a physician or have a test for one sytemic problem or another. On top of this she had her regular primary care doctor who saw her at least once a year. Yet throughout all this, her medical providers, rather than act as a team, were mostly islands of non-communication isolated from each other, and even when her husband tried to get them to talk to each other, he was mostly ignored. In addition, although she had complained of headaches for years (one of the symptoms of AVMs), no one seems to have thought to aim one of those many tests at her head, or to make a point of doing an angiogram. She was seen by some of the most reputable physicians in the country, at some of the most advanced hospitals in the world. In fact, the stroke happened at one of the nation's 5 top teaching hospitals, right after two consecutive surgeries for an unrelated problem, the second one done right after the first to correct a surgical fuck-up. In retrospect, great medical minds mused that the stroke may have been related to the stress of having the 2nd surgery so quickly. Hoocoodanode?

This is the irony of her tragedy: that surrounded by the best technology and brains and skill in the world, she was punished by the inevitable cluelessness typical of arrogance. Inundated with machinery, she was destroyed by the very thing that machinery was created to identify and cure, like a woman dying of thirst while surrounded by fresh water. She and her husband are now left to put the pieces back together as best they can while the edifice of technology that allowed her to fall apart chugs along with more endowments, more research grants, more awards.

These are not physicians we are producing now: they are mechanics. They are highly-skilled mechanics, and the machines they service are complicated and expensive, but they are only mechanics after all. It takes a human being to sit down and discuss symptoms, to care about patients and not just their parts, to mull over a differential diagnosis. It takes some time for that human being to get to the bottom of a difficult case that doesn't reveal itself, with a person whose mental or physical health makes it hard for them to advocate for themselves. And it takes a health care system that allows such time and encourages such interaction. What we have now is merely a factory, an assembly line of medical treatments being operated by mechanics with sonic screwdrivers. This is not medical care. It's auto maintenance done in fancy garages on vehicles that don't speak unless the machines they are hooked up to speak for them. And that's how the insurance companies like it.