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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Calling a Duck a Duck

This paragraph appears on this blog post on the White House's official site:
For even more Fox lies, check out the latest "Truth-O-Meter" feature from Politifact that debunks a false claim about a White House staffer that continues to be repeated by Glenn Beck and others on the network.

More Olympics

My last Olympics post was pure snark. I don't think we didn't get the Olympics because Obama is a failure (although many people would like him to be) or because Chicago is not an Olympic-caliber city.

I think there were other factors, some of which may have been these:

A) Atlanta got the summer games in 96, Salt Lake the winter games in 02. I see no reason why the US, as "1st world" as we are, should always be a contender. It's a big world out there.

B) Last time we held the summer games in 96, a right-wing nutjob set off a nail bomb that killed a few people and terrorized thousands more. And that wasn't even in the age of terrorism. Now there are more terrorists AND more right-wing nutjobs. You do the math.

C) The United States is not the free, open, and tolerant society we used to be. We don't like foreigners (especially brown ones with funny names), we're pussies about border security, and let's face it, we don't think much of the rest of the world. There are already plausible reports that the IOC were worried about the hassles athletes, officials, and the foreign press would get at the airport.

D) No country in South America has ever hosted the Olympic games. Canada, the US, and Mexico have all hosted summer games. Being South America's largest country, it's only fitting that Brazil get a shot.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Question of the Day

If paying $590 today would save you $3,045 some day in the future...would you do it?

Doh!

This fucking Obama dude just can't anything done, can he?

Go Rio.

Seriously?

I haven't had the chance to watch this video, but did Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican from Georgia, really say this?
“people who have depression, who have chronic diseases in this country...can always get care in this country by going to the emergency room.”
Not only is that not true, it's remarkably dumb.

They don't treat mental illness in emergency rooms, so there goes the "go to the emergency room for your depression" idea.

But the chronic diseases? Man...that's just stupid.

I mean, when Republicans argue that they don't want Washington (ie, dude's like Paul Broun) to get between you and your doctor, they have a point. Because a doctor would tell you to go see an oncologist if you have cancer, and Rep. Broun says go to the emergency room.

Fool.

Updated:

Maybe I'm the fool. I just watched the video. The above quote is heavily edited. There are sentences that are completely omitted, indicated previously from the ellipsis, but not for clarity as it turns out. No, they're edited in a way that changes the fundamental meaning and tone of Broun's statement.

Not cool.

The full quote, transcribed with my own ears:
People who have depression, who have chronic diseases in this country...(pause) In this country, physicians are treating folks. People can always get care in this country by going to the emergency room. The question (muffled) everybody has access to healthcare in this country. The question is who pays for it, where do they get it, and what cost?
Broun then goes on to say that going to the emergency room is the most expensive way to get healthcare, and even speaks in a way that indicates he views that as a problem. A bad scenario that no one should go through.

So the headline, "Rep. Broun says that constituent with depression should go to the emergency room" is just dishonest.

Broun didn't say that. He didn't mean that. He just hasn't formulated a coherent way to convey his point. Watch the tape. You'll find a man searching for words in front of a sometimes hostile crowd.

You won't find a guy callously telling depressed people to hit up emergency rooms.

So yeah, I'm the fool. For taking Think Progress at its word.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Stupid...or Just Snark?

I'm having trouble figuring out if Megan McArdle is being deliberately stupid to make a point (a game she plays all too often) or if she's just stupid. She writes:
What a PR disaster for Toyota: the company is having to recall millions of cars because four people were killed in a crash that apparently involved improperly installed floor mats.
This isn't the stupid part...just the summary. It's not exactly accurate, but hey...it's Megan McArdle.

For instance, these "improperly installed floor mats"? From my understanding, it's not the improper installation of the (removable) floor mats that's the problem; it's the design of the floor mat. The solution: Remove the fucking mats.

Also, she seems to be under the impression that the crash caused the recall. (That's usually what the word "because" means, right? It denotes a causal relationship, right? Or am I the one being deliberately stupid here?) In actuality, though, the poorly designed floor mats caused the crash AND the recall.

Hopefully after hearing all of this, she can retract this dumbass question.
What I sort of don't get is, why didn't they just shift into neutral, slam on the emergency lights, pull the parking brake, and coast to a stop? I'm sure that this is a perfectly idiotic question...
Yes, it is a perfectly idiotic question, but I'll answer it anyway.

Because the fucking accelerator pedal was stuck in the "go fast and die" position due to a poorly designed floor mat.

The Politics of Death

Oh, the hypocrisy!

Saying something like this is beyond the pale and completely crazy:
If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly. That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.
But this is a-okay.
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.

At any rate, Grayson was wrong about the "die quickly" stuff. It would be more accurate to say their plan amounts to "die in debt."

The speed of one's departure has little to do with it. In fact, slowly would be better from a profit-maximization perspective. If you die too quickly, that would dramatically reduce the number of times healthcare providers could say "Fuck you, pay me."

Only Unity Saves the Mercenaries

Here's a weird story about a private security firm operating in the town of Hardin, Montana. The lede:
A shadowy private security company that has no known clients but claims to have helped foreign governments combat terrorism and will protect anything from cruise ships to Pakistani convoys has taken over a jail in a small Montana town, with plans to build a law enforcement training facility on the property.
Now what's really weird about this is the strange appopriation of Serbian nationalist symbols in their logo.

Note the double-headed eagle and the 4 C's, which are really S's in Cyrillic. The 4 C's stands for "Only Unity Saves the Serbs," a monarchist slogan that fell out of favor in the aftermath of WWII but came back with a vengeance during the Yugoslav wars of the 90s.

This is the flag that Chetnik paramilitaries flew as they burned villages in Bosnia. The Serbian soldiers that laid siege to Sarajevo wrote the 4 C's on their helmets.

Now I'm not saying the flag is bad, but it does have connotations (not to mention an already accepted use) that makes it unusual to be used in a logo for a security company in Hardin, Montana.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stupidity of Olympic Proportions

Oh Lord. This is all too predictable, and all too silly.
President Obama's decision to travel to Copenhagen to boost Chicago's chances of winning the 2016 Olympics has drawn criticism from some Republicans, who call it a boondoggle for Obama's hometown allies and evidence the president has blurred his priorities.
Leading the pack is Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

He says:
"Where is the focus?" Steele asked. "At a time of war, at a time of recession ... I think this trip is nice but not necessary for the president. The goal should be creating job opportunities not seven years from now, but job opportunities today."
Seriously?

You need to get out of 24/7 opposition mode, Mike, and think about this one for a second.

If Obama is successful in getting the Olympics Committee to commit to Chicago, would that be a bad thing? Get some perspective, people.

Why I'm Not a Conservative - Reason 749

I don't have much of a problem give poor people food stamps. They don't have very much to begin with, and let's be real, they're not getting very much: Milk, cheese, eggs. These things are cheap.

The kind of welfare I don't like is giving Jerry Jones hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys.

I left a comment on this post from my alter ego, Herb, snarkily saying:
I tried to get the city to pay for almost half of my new construction project, but they said no. Of course, I'm not a billionaire like Jerry Jones...
This prompted James Joyner, a conservative blogger I respect and read with some regularity, to reply with this:
You're probably not bringing national TV exposure and hundreds of thousands of tourists in, either.
To which I say, So???

The guy who can afford to bring to Dallas "national TV exposure and hundreds of thousands of tourists" can afford to build his own fucking stadium.

Means-testing anyone?

And as much as I respect Joyner, his answer was a bit too glib for me. Yes, we can point to all the great things Jerry Jones does for the community. Give the dude a medal! But don't pay for his stadium.

Field of Screams

This should make the anti-immigrant crowd happy.
Police in Framingham, Mass., say an illegal immigrant from Guatemala entered a police station, told officers he had stolen another man's identity and asked to be deported because he could no longer make ends meet in America.
Now if we could just make it even harder to "make ends meet in America," we can get the rest of them!

Keep listening to that little voice in your head that says "If you make life hard, they will leave."

And ignore the one that says, "If you build it, they will come." Yeah, that's the ticket...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still On Top

And still unbeaten.

I was quite glad to see Mentioned the Bisque, the point leader, drop to 6th place. Now if only I can maintain my tenuous hold on the top spot...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Acoustic Weapons

This is not a scene from a big Hollywood production about a dystopian future that would make George Orwell's eyes bleed. This is Pittsburgh, PA.

Creepy, innit?