Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How Pakistan Weeds Out The Overweight, The Intoxicated & The Uncoordinated

"Self Made Man" Remix

(via the cats from DU) Fresh for 2010, you suckas!


This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory. I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to send via the US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After work, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to a house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post on freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.


For the last (and still effective) incarnation, go here.

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Hedo Turkoglu Caught By NBA Fans, Bloggers

Heh. Long Story = Short: Hedo claims he's sick and doesn't play; gets spotted clubbing latter that night; emails are sent; Hedo gets benched.

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Republicans & "Back-Up Plan" Just Don't Go Together

They didn't have a "Plan B" for invading Iraq and they apparently didn't have one for dealing with the passage of HCR:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



The question is whether this method of thinking is due to arrogance or ignorance.

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LOST: Korean 바보; Do You Speak It?

Whenever we get a Jin/Sun episode, we know that we're getting two things: subtitles and separation. Out of all the couples on the show, these two are the most frustrating because at the core they should be together and happy. I hate to say this, but it seems like everything wrong about their relationship stems from Sun's corrupt father.

Of course, with Sun and Jin being separated and on different "teams" means everyone gets screen time. Sadly, they only get like 5 lines each.

DISCOVERIES
  1. Jin was taken by Keamy because Keamy was looking for his payment.
  2. Widmore is aware of the MIB, even if he doesn't know the MIB's exact history.
  3. The MIB does not intend on Kate surviving, and has offered her life to Claire.
  4. Zoey is a geophysicist.
  5. Richard plans on destroying the plane to prevent the MIB from escaping.
  6. The Smoke Monster cannot travel over water on its own.
  7. Desmond was the package that was in the locked room in the sub.

OBSERVATIONS
  1. Flocke seems to believe that Sayid is enough of a badass to get Jin back all by himself.
  2. Sawyer believes that Widmore will actually keep his end of the bargain.
  3. Jin was kidnapped bu Widmore's people even though Jin was planning on leaving Flocke's camp anyway.
  4. Claire stills wants to totally kill Kate.
  5. Despite taking Ben in, Ilana still doesn't trust him.
  6. Flocke versus Widmore is like Dracula vs. Lex Luther.

QUESTIONS
  1. Why can't the MIB go across water?
  2. Credit Slate.com for this one: What happened to the MIB in the flash-sideways? Did he escape the Island?
  3. Why does Widmore have Desmond?
  4. If all the MIB wants is to leave The Island, why doesn't he just make a deal with Widmore? And if Widmore just wants the Island trouble-free, why doesn't he just make a deal with the MIB?
  5. Why is Zoey Widmore's second-in-command if she's just a geophysicist?
  6. If Sun's father just wanted Jin dead, why would he freeze Sun's account?
  7. How does Keamy and Mikhail know each other in the X-world?

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No Main Topic


  1. Drill here drill now.”
  2. "When you watch the Olympic Games, you can watch the flame for 15 days, but what you want to watch is the [torch] lighting."
  3. "Per your request, we have attached 10 pieces of unvetted correspondence addressed to you."
  4. He has longstanding recognition for expertise and for not being a partisan individual, so I think that will assist him in his dealings with the Congress, both with the majority and hopefully the minority, as well.’’
  5. "Yeah it’s pretty tough. There are definitely some emotions, some emotions of leaving my friends, and the emotion of letting him down."
  6. "My hope is that we are going to get this done this spring. I'm interested in seeing that regime in place in weeks."

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Magnetic Waves Can Change Your Perception Of Morality


You don't say:

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say such a device allowed them to observe the effects magnetic rays have on a person's sense of morality.



In a new study, volunteers were subjected to magnetic pulses just above and behind of the right ear, focusing on the area of the brain believed to be the area controlling morality. The pulses were intended to block cell activity that contributed to the volunteers' sense of right and wrong.




[snip]




To see what effect a 500 millisecond magnetic pulse had, researchers gave the 20 volunteers a series of tests. In one test, the volunteers were given an ethical dilemma: should a man let his girlfriend walk across a bridge he knew wasn't safe?




The volunteers based their answers on how the scenario played out. If the girlfriend crossed with bridge safely, the man wasn't at fault. The volunteers based their decision on the outcome of the dilemma, not the moral principle, because of the magnetic pulse, the researchers wrote.


I think we have the premise for the next Marvel crossover!

(Oh, and I love how Captain America is the only one who looks scared in that pic; I mean the other two guys are "Iron Man" and Wolverine, aka, "My-Bones-Are-Laced-With-Metal." Shouldn't they be the ones pissing on their pants?)

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"Fundamental" Basketball...

...right. The Daily Show exposes this self-esteemed deficient racist for who he really is:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Snowball
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

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Not All Catholic News Is Bad News...

No Main Topic


  1. "Year after year, we've seen billions of taxpayer dollars handed out as subsidies to the bankers and middlemen who handle federal student loans, when that money should have gone to advancing the dreams of our students and working families."
  2. “Overall, ours is a model that works. We solved our problem at the state level. Like it or not, it was a state solution. Why is it that President Obama is stepping in and saying ‘one size fits all’ ’’?
  3. "Small amounts of chocolate may help to prevent heart disease, but only if it replaces other energy-dense food, such as snacks, in order to keep body weight stable."
  4. "Thank you for coming back. I've had a lot of people quit on me in life."
  5. "This is a very clever bacteria. If this problem isn't addressed, there is a real possibility that gonorrhea will become a very difficult infection to treat."
  6. "It's growing very rapidly, and there's more of it than you might think."
  7. “My feeling is this is not an isolated attack, that we will see more. If we are facing a situation where there is a chain of attacks, that would undercut every attempt to soften, liberalize, open up, and increase the demand for tougher measures.”

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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Best And Worst Pokemon

Via Comics Alliance (and it is hilarious).

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The (Iraqi) Times, They Are A'Changin

Bird Learn By "Egg-Mosis"

Mama birds sure are proactive:

By changing conditions within the egg, canary mothers leave a message for their developing chicks about the life they will face after birth. In response, nestlings adjust the development of their begging behaviour.

If chicks get a message that they will be reared by generous parents then they beg more vigorously for food after hatching. But chicks that are destined to be raised by meaner parents end up being much less demanding.

By attending to messages in the egg, nestlings gain weight more rapidly because they match their demands to the parents' supply of food, and can avoid either begging too little or wasting effort on unrewarded begging.

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No Main Topic

  1. “You didn’t used to be able to get that kind of information. “It was fascinating to see the pushback from the lower levels...”
  2. "People know intuitively that there's more to [overeating] than just willpower. There's a system in the brain that's been turned on or over-activated, and that's driving [overeating] at some subconscious level."
  3. “We also want to continue to make progress on the civilian process.’’
  4. I didn't know she was even trying.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Around the Internets

  1. Ladies: the problem you're having it that you're literally dating the same guy.
  2. Why do people go broke?
  3. Russell King's "An Open Letter To Conservatives."
  4. Um...Olivia Munn with cartoon animals.
  5. Wanna know how to make an inverted bookshelf?
  6. You'd have thought Heigl would have used something other than the "spend more time with my family" rationale, but there ya go.
  7. I need a pillow.
  8. Need help with your taxes?
  9. All opposition must be silenced.
  10. The question is: did any of these things get the team to win?
  11. Bart Stupak gives his side of the story.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Tea Party Makeup

Pretty much what people's first instincts were telling them.

UPDATE: One effective way to deal with most of them is to find them work.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Gilbert Arenas' Sentence

Not bad, considering all the drama. Now comes the hard part: image and performance rehabilitation.

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The Health Care Debate, Abridged

Via C&L:

Democrats: "We need health care reform"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Give us a majority and we'll do it better"
Democrats: "Done, you have majority of both houses"

12 years later, health care is irrefutably worse in every respect for every single person in the United States

Democrats: "We need health care reform"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Americans are tired of partisan politics!"
Democrats: "OK, let's compromise"
Republicans: "OK, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done"
Republicans: "Too liberal, get rid of half your ideas"
Democrats: "Done. Time to end debate"
Republicans: "Too liberal, we need more debate, we will filibuster to prevent you from voting"
Democrats: "OK, we'll vote--sorry guys, debate is ended. It's time to vote on the bill"
Republicans: "Too liberal, we vote no"
Democrats: "OK, it passed anyway--sorry guys."

One month later

Republicans: "Wait--wait, OK, we have less of a minority now so we can filibuster forever."
Democrats: "Sorry, the bill already passed, we need it to pass the House now"
Republicans: "But we have enough to filibuster"
Democrats: "Sorry, the bill already passed, we need it to pass the House now"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You haven't listened to our ideas! You've shut us out of this whole process!"
Democrats: "Sorry, show us your proposal"
Republicans: "Smaller government"
Democrats: "That's not very specific"
Republicans: "OK, here's our detailed proposal--It's our common-sense ideas we spent 12 years not enacting"
Democrats: "OK, we'll add a bunch more of your ideas"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You included all these back-room deals"
Democrats: "OK, we'll get rid of the back-room deals"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You're using obscure procedural tricks to eliminate the back-room deals!"
Democrats: "No, we're using reconciliation, which both parties have used dozens of times for much larger bills"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! You're pressuring Congressmen to vote for your bill! Scandal!"
Democrats: "It's called 'whipping', it's been done since 1789"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Can't you see the American people don't want this?"
Democrats: "This bill is mildly unpopular (40-50%), doing nothing (your proposal) is extraordinarily unpopular (4-6%)"
Republicans: "We need to start over! We need to start over!"
Democrats: "We should really consider voting--"
Republicans: "Liberal fascists! Start over! Clean slate! Common-sense! America!"




UPDATE: Lookie-lookie; someone found a cookie! A jar, even!

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Ah, The Movies

Is it weird that the animated movie How To Train Your Dragon seems to take itself more seriously than the live-action movie Hot Tub Time Machine?

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No Main Topic

  1. "Our main goal was just to guard the three."
  2. “If the anti-incumbent tide is as strong as some people think it is, I will be swept out, despite all my efforts. If the anti-incumbent tide is a lot of conversation, but has no center of gravity as a true political movement, then I’ll be just fine. There’s no way to know.”
  3. "There still are a few technical issues we are working to resolve, but I hope to have an announcement and details on the new [tentative agreement] ready when you return from spring break."
  4. “They’re starting from scratch. I’m saddened in terms of what they lost.’’
  5. "The White House has expressed its desire to execute him. The day America makes that decision will be the day it has issued a death sentence for any one of you that is taken captive."

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

"We Are Losing America Right Before Our Blind Eyes..."

Sad-yet-powerful stuff. After reading this, ask yourself why this isn't on the news 24-7.

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Out Of Sight

Referring to Mars, which won't be in view again until 2012.

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So The Senate Sends The Reconciliation Bill Back To The House...

No Main Topic

  1. We're one step closer to ending cannabis prohibition and the unjust laws that lock people up for cannabis while alcohol is not only sold openly but advertised on television to kids every day."
  2. “I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood.”
  3. “I’ve battled through a lot of injuries this year and right now I’m as healthy as I’ve been all year.’’
  4. "This is a surprising result. We wouldn't have expected that cross-reactive antibodies would be generated against viruses separated by so many years."
  5. "Those of us who are the firstborn always dream of that imaginary brother or sister who will be their protector, the buffer, the one to take the blows. I'm a firstborn, and Bob was the answer to my dreams. He was the big brother that all of us wish for."
  6. "The evidence is pretty conclusive that we continue to have improvement in areas that we need it the most."

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Benefits of the Health Care Law

Sen. Chuck Grassley's Bottom Line

Look, Uh...Get 'Er Done

See what happens when a president scores a legislative victory? Other nations take notice.

WASHINGTON — President Obama and his Russian counterpart, President Dmitri A. Medvedev, have broken through a logjam in their arms control negotiations and expect to sign a new treaty in Prague next month that would slash American and Russian nuclear arsenals, officials from both nations said Wednesday.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev still need to talk once more to finalize the agreement, but officials were optimistic that the deal was nearly done.

The two sides have discussed a signing ceremony in Prague in early April, marking the anniversary of the first meeting between the two presidents and of Mr. Obama’s speech outlining his vision for eventually eliminating nuclear weapons.



OK, in truth one probably has very little to do with the other. However, perception typically trumps truth in this post-partisan political world of ours.

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A Bit Of Adivce...

When you have to cite comic book characters to support your side of a supposedly serious argument, you've lost.

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Bart Stupak Getting Death Threats

When I say that the Democrats fear their opponent's base more than their own, this is part of what I mean.

Michael Moore: you rallied to help get Stupak to change his mind; will you also back him up against these threats, or are you "done" with him? Politics is a two way street and if he's willing to put his family in danger the Democrats in his district should be willing to give him some kind of cover.

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This Will Make For An Interesting Father's Day

Wowzers.

ROME (Reuters) – An Italian woman who hired two assassins to murder her overbearing father was arrested after the second hitman changed his mind and confessed to the police, authorities said Tuesday.

Nineteen-year-old Ilenia Moretti had asked her father Rodolfo for 5,000 euros ($6,756) for a trip to America before using the money to hire a hitman to kill him, apparently with her mother's consent, a police statement said.

The teen-ager, from the small town of Luzzara near the northern Italian city of Milan, told authorities she could no longer bear her despotic father's ways.

"She said she wanted to bring to an end years of intimidation suffered by both daughter and mother," an investigator said in the statement.

The hitman, thought to be a young north African, pocketed the money before going to the police. His confession led police to re-examine details of a previous attack on Rodolfo Moretti, a 42-year-old porter.

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LOST: Y Mi Amor Tambien

This week's episode brings us back to the good old days of flashbacks, although it was more along the line of Meet Kevin Johnson where the flashback answered a question. The question here, of course was: How did Richard get to live so long without aging? As always with LOST, we get some answers but not quite everything. I will say one thing though: it's nice to have a character who doesn't have any mommy/daddy issues for a change.

DISCOVERIES
  1. The Black Rock crashed into the Statue, which is why it's only a four-toe sanctuary now. Cool.
  2. Richard was sold into slavery by his priest. Not cool.
  3. Jacob isn't the MIB's rival; he's basically the guys warden.
  4. Hurley can speak to dead people from any age, whether they died on the Island or not.
  5. Manipulating John Locke and Ben Linus wasn't the MIB's first attempt to kill Jacob.


OBSERVATIONS
  1. Frank has to be the only character even remotely curious about what the hell's going on on this Island.
  2. Is it me, or was Richard's story a little...Dante's Inferno? I mean, without the demon killing.
  3. Seriously, Richard's priest is a real douche for selling him off as a slave.
  4. And that Jonas guy is an even bigger douche for killing off the slaves so he can get a bigger lunch.
  5. In the end, despite his long tenure on the Island, Richard is as much a pawn as everyone else.
  6. Jacob is the second Formerly Loyal To Jacob Guy to make an attempt to join F-Locke after Jacob's death.


QUESTIONS
  1. How long was Richards chained up before he was freed? I would expect that he would be starving (and well...stinking).
  2. What does Richard know that will help the Candidates?
  3. Why did the MIB only leave Richard alive?
  4. If the MIB is so evil, why didn't Jacob just destroy him?
  5. Why can't the MIB just turn into smoke and float off the Island?
  6. Did Jacob give anyone else the ability to live long/forever?
  7. What made Richard decide to join Ben an attacking the Dharma Initiative?

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No Main Topic

  1. “I don’t know that it’s any different than a situation where you’re driving down at the end of the game and you gotta make a decision on if you kick a field or go for it on fourth and 1, knowing that the other team is going to get the ball back.’’
  2. "I took him out of the game because I wanted to talk to him about not getting back on defense."
  3. “Legislative majorities come and go. This health care bill is forever.”
  4. "The Washington Capitals are not the target of this investigation, and there is no evidence that steroids were provided to any Capitals players. This has been a thorough investigation, and we are satisfied that law enforcement, the NHL and our own internal investigation have not led to any link of steroid use by Capitals players."
  5. "I've got to use every pen, so it's going to take a really long time."
  6. "Women who decide to be physically active may also decide to eat healthier and do other things to maintain a normal body weight. This study doesn't tell you it's the physical activity."

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Riddle Me This...

What happened to the GOP to make them switch from using "the terrorists" as their bogeyman term to using "socialists?"

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From The "Most Surprising Files"

High fructose corn syrup can make you fatter:

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."

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And I Wanted The Wizards To Draft This Guy...

It Really Sums Things Up

For those who think Obama can still work with the GOP, well:

57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president" 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did" Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."


They're just not that into him.

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Better Late Than Whatever

Eric Boehlert's Bottom Line

Meet The New Captain America

For both the solo movie and planned mega-Avengers crossover, the studio has selected Chris Evans. Considering Joe Johnston's directing, I'm not that worried (then again, I'm one of the few people who like the Rocketeer and Jumanji.

The best thing about this decision it that it probably means that the Fantastic Four will be (mercifully) re-booted.

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No Main Topic

  1. "What we're realizing is that the welfare . . . of the oyster virginica is really at stake here. What we are saying is, if you do this, we are going to catch you."
  2. We wanted to give the gaming industry a head’s up about what to expect from Nintendo at E3. We’ll invite people to play with the new device then.”
  3. “I have to see what they are proposing. I’m heading back to get briefed. I think everyone is fighting fiercely, and I’m going to fight fiercely for jobs in Massachusetts."
  4. "I think it's nerve-racking enough to girls to get up on a stage and speak, let alone in a swimsuit."
  5. “The first thing they did to quell foreign protests was to reduce it to trade secrets. The second was to discredit the defendants in the eyes of their employers.”

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Soleil Moon Frye

Because she (and Punky Brewster) were/are awesome.

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Health Care Reform Fallout

  1. Looking at the Democrats who voting against HCR, barely more than half had a true constituent-based rationale.
  2. John McCain confirms what the GOP has been doing since Obama was sworn in.
  3. David Frum swoops in after the game has been called to say the GOP messed up.
  4. Rush: "America is hanging by a thread." TRANSLATION: Scary Black Democrat scares me.

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Doin' The Bump

Via Media Matters: Gallup says that Obama's approval rating up to 50%. Will this be mainstreamed by the media like his "crashing" or "falling" numbers were?

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No Main Topic

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For Those Who Believe Health Care Reform Was Being "Rammed Down" Your Throats...

...allow me to pass along some advice from DJ Kool:

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Enter: Rielle Hunter

This is a very interesting GQ interview with the now-infamous mistress of John Edwards. If I could rank her as far as celebrity mistresses go, I'd say she's the classiest and smartest one yet.

If there one quote from her worthy of repeating for the ages, it would be:

"People pay attention to scandal more than they pay attention to politics."


So that's the short version. For the long version, some notes/observations:
  1. Like just every other mistress, she is heads over heals in love with the guy and believes that he's completely honest with her.
  2. Her account of how she first met John Edwards and how Elizabeth Edwards found out about the affair are completely different than what's been out there.
  3. Again, she has a brain ("Who gets a cell phone for a one-night stand?")
  4. From her POV, Ms. Edwards was the shot caller in the marriage.
  5. Hunter sees John Edwards as more of a humanitarian than a politician, saying his position to embrace the latter contributed to his public downfall.
  6. On that note, she doesn't view the ordeal as a net loss for Edwards, but rather an opportunity for him to finally be himself.
  7. Edwards wanted, but didn't exactly push for, Hunter to have their baby aborted.
  8. Based off of Hunter's comments throughout the interview, it's safe to say that out of the last three Democratic Contenders for the 2008 Primary, John Edwards definitely had planned to be president for awhile (of course, the media would lead us to believe that Obama was molded and Hillary was "next in line").

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Around The Internets

  1. God Of War 3 reviewed.
  2. A challenege from Eric Boehlert.
  3. If you want to know why people constantly urge Nintendo to pave the way for a Legend of Zelda movie...
  4. You have to be careful when you hear about a celebrity dying.
  5. Hell on Earth.
  6. Avoiding interview mistakes can go along way in this current environment.
  7. Miley Cyrus on relationships, religion, and her political connections.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

One More HCR Post

This piece puts the whole HCR battle in different perspective, to be sure:

More than a quarter century before, Ted Kennedy came close to the prize with none other than the Republican president, Richard Nixon, who embraced ideas that mainstream Republicans today cannot tolerate. Nixon was ready to force businesses to provide health insurance to their workers or pay heavy penalties.

Sound familiar? It will.

At its core, Nixon's proposal is a pillar of Obama's plan today. Nixon's willingness to subsidize coverage for the working poor is also seen in the plan, though writ larger.

Back then, Kennedy's union and liberal allies gambled that by spurning Nixon, they'd get something better later. They didn't. In similar fashion years after that, President Bill Clinton aimed high and crashed hard.

Clinton no doubt drew on his own failure when, in December, he advised Democrats to pass what they could manage and not make it an all-or-nothing fight. "America," he said, "can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

Obama absorbed these lessons.

For him, a system with government as the sole or principal payer of everyone's medical bills was a nonstarter, nice for the ideologues and other countries but not the American way. He would have liked the option of a government-run plan competing in the marketplace, but didn't need it.

For months he stood so far back from the legislative nitty-gritty that it was hard to tell what he stood for.

In the end, he stood for more than the incremental steps that succeeded in the past, and for less than the towering ideas that failed.

It's another reason Obama didn't go for the whole pie: unfortunately members of both parties would find something wrong with it. In the end, you just can't pass something as grandiose as HCR without making concessions.

It's going to be up to those who want more to continue to champion for it until it happens; the moment they let up, Congress and the White House will just assume that it's all good.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

No Main Topic


  1. “Every day, nearly 4,000 kids under the age of 18 try their first cigarette. And a thousand of those young people become daily smokers.”
  2. "Politicians' children should not be involved in public political debates and we deeply regret this mistake."
  3. "When you get on court, you have to play. They were better today. They did everything they needed to win."
  4. Every vote around here is a heavy lift.’’
  5. The government has allowed the demonstrations to take place, avoiding confrontation. The security forces have held back.
  6. ''The prevalence of extreme obesity was much higher than we thought."
  7. “I said, ‘For God’s sake, he desperately has to be kept away from working with children.’ I was very unhappy about the entire story.”

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Jon Stewart vs The Blackboard

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No Main Topic

  1. “Health care is a central theme in the teaching of Catholic social justice. This chance will not avail itself for another decade, and the status quo is unacceptable.’’
  2. "I didn't do this to him, he did it to himself because of his actions, and he has to pay for the crimes he's committed."
  3. "The largest deficit-reduction bill that members will have a chance to vote on."
  4. “After dark the city is like the kingdom of the Taliban. The government and international forces cannot defend anyone even one kilometer from their bases.”
  5. A study shows that it takes less effort for the brain to register predictable as compared to unpredictable images.
  6. "You can't turn your back for a second, or he's putting something in his mouth."

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LOST: Criminal Minded


I delayed posting my thoughts on the this week's episode because I missed most of the live broadcast and I wanted to see in full before I made any comments. One thing can be said about a Sawyer story: it's typically full of references (both subtle and overt) and there's usually a twist. The cool thing about Sawyer's twists is that they haven't ever really changed who the character is. For example: last week's episode revealed that Ben truly wants some kind of redemption, somethings we've never seen him even bother with previously. Sawyer, whether he's a con man on the Island or a detective in the X-World, is still a man trying to find the person who led to his parents death. Its this constant that defines him, more than any "good" or "evil" category. For James Ford, good and evil is just a unnecessary perspective.

DISCOVERIES
  1. F-Locke's plan to leave the Island involves the plane. I just think this is an interesting point, considering the most successful means of traveling to and from the Island have been by boat or sub.
  2. F-Locke is not above lying (to Sawyer about his "mission" and to Claire about Aaron) in order to get his way. I only bring this up because of the theories that suggest that the Smoke Monster was supposed to be some kind of "judge" for people on the Island.
  3. Widmore is setting up camp at the Hydra Station before he makes his attempt to take back the Island.


OBSERVATIONS
  1. Kate was not above shooting or beating Claire with her gun; then again, the girl was trying to kill her.
  2. Sayid seems to be embracing "the dark side" a little too much. I mean, he couldn't even muster a "Hey, Claire; please don't stab Kate?"
  3. Sorry, but anyone who's seen at least two seasons worth of this show would have known that Zoe was a plant. Nice try though.
  4. Charlotte's X-version is a little loose, ain't she?



QUESTIONS
  1. Does Sawyer know how to drive a sub?
  2. Why didn't F-Locke just go over to the Hydra Station himself?
  3. Why was X-World Charlotte snooping around James' folder when she was only looking for a shirt?

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  1. "We are thrilled to have a concert of such magnitude and performing talent raise the curtain on the first FIFA World Cup in Africa. It is testament to the universal and unifying power of football and music, and will start the competition off on the right note -- of celebration."
  2. “As our representation in Parliament increases, so will our power. We will soon play the role that we have been given.”
  3. “It is time for the president and the Democratic leadership to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan that does not threaten to bankrupt this country.’’
  4. "As you know, in recent months the Church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis. As a sign of my deep concern I have written a pastoral letter dealing with this painful situation."
  5. "Wu-Massacre."

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Health Care Debate, Sadly No!-Style

A Tangible Benefit of Being In Iraq & Afghanistan

The conflict has gotten us to rethink how we train our men and women in uniform:

Heeding the advice of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, commanders are dropping five-mile runs and bayonet drills in favor of zigzag sprints and exercises that hone core muscles. Battlefield sergeants say that's the kind of fitness needed to dodge across alleys, walk patrol with heavy packs and body armor or haul a buddy out of a burning vehicle.


I just hope this doesn't become the excuse for the next war (we have to invade so our troop will be better trained!).

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Shia LaBeouf To Kloe Kardashian: Back the Hell Off

Just because I'm cynical about a movie doesn't mean that I don't like the star. And on this issue, LaBeouf makes a good point: don't use life comparisons to "give advice" when you don't know the facts.

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  1. “They were hungry for a victory. They came out and took it to us.’’
  2. "At this point we don't have any indication the victims were targeted because of their employment at the consulate."
  3. "I'm hopefully taking the skills I've learned of being a fighter to the national stage at Westminster."
  4. "If Katrina had not happened, this would be a mail-in area. But since Katrina, we wanted to make sure we had the most updated address list."
  5. "If you look at it, [Campbell's] skates were parallel to the [wall]. Once Campbell dishes [the puck] off, he knows Alex is there. Alex doesn't hit him, he pushes him. As he's going down, it looked to me like [Campbell's] left leg stumbled and he almost toe-picked the ice."
  6. These special forces were not accountable to anyone in the country, but General McChrystal and we carried the burden of the guilt for the mistakes they committed. Whenever there was some problem with the special forces we didn’t know who to go to, it was muddled and unclear who was in charge.”
  7. "He knows the rules over there. He would never do that. He wouldn't even do it over here."
  8. "Mr. Ballmer snatched the iPhone out of the employee's hands, placed it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it in front of thousands of Microsoft workers, according to people present."
  9. "When they are treated aggressively early, we can prevent heart attacks and stroke and they can have many years added to their lives."

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Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ugly Truth Regarding The "Health Care Reform" Bill

I'm not one to write 1,000 words when several would suffice, so let me just say it: If Health Care Reform doesn't pass, the Democrats in Congress won't get anything of significance done for the rest of this year.

For those wondering why, let me just say that I really don't believe the GOP when they claim to "helping" Democrats by "warning" them of the dangers of passing HCR. It's not like the GOP would suddenly back off and begin working with the Democrats if they dropped the whole thing. In actuality, it would be the opposite: Republicans running in 2010 would just scream and yell about how ineffective the Democrats are.

And that's just the elections. In the meantime, the Republicans in Congress will just continue to obstruct and delay Democrat-sponsored legislation and President Obama's nominations with impunity. Of course, they're likely to do this regardless of whether HCR passes, but in this instance it'll happen under the (media-promoted) guise of "GOP COMEBACK," putting the Democrats in a PR hole.

And one more thing (and this is probably more controversial than my first statement): those people out there who want to derail HRC because the bill isn't perfect, because it doesn't have the one, two of three pieces you think it needs to be authentic, it's partially your fault that the legislation is in its current form.

Why do I say this? Because many of you dropped the ball last year. There was no reason for us to go through the Month Of Hell, aka August 2009. I understand many liberals, Democrats and just plain Obama supporters were tired after the 2008 election and wanted a little reprieve. Nevertheless, the opposition never rests and it didn't take them long to combine the Wall-Street induced recession, rising unemployment, general ignorance about government and not-too-subtle racism with Obama's health care push, resulting in old white people screaming nonsensical things like "Keep the government away form my Medicare."

If I could ask Dennis Kucinich a question, it would be: "Where the hell were you when people were screaming at the top of their lungs about 'death panels' and 'raising taxes' and 'forcing abortions?'"

Point is, the people who decry this bill's imperfection where just as surprised by what happened as everyone else. What they don't seem to understand is that our options (excuse the pun) became limited the moment those Town Hall Meetings become the story.

UPDATE: fivethirtyeight sums up the legislation in two Wordle images.

UBER-UPDATE: Bart Stupak's abortion rhetoric is such bullshit .

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  1. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
  2. I have to decide between passing this bill or doing nothing at all. I need to do what’s best for my district.”
  3. “Families are seeking experiences that are different from those they perceive as part of a traditional funeral or memorial service.’’
  4. "It would be great to find a bipartisan solution, but if we can't, we have to be true to the policy of ending the malpractice on Wall Street."
  5. "The last pope to resign was in the 12th century. To date, very few Catholic bishops of any sort have resigned over mishandling the crisis."
  6. I don’t want any other kids to go through the pain that our family has gone through. My grandma and I want Barack Obama and Congress and everybody to come together and to help get the health care bill passed.”

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Around the Internets

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Enter: The Communications War

Courtesy of the FCC:

The plan, which will be submitted to Congress on Tuesday, is likely to generate debate in Washington and a lobbying battle among the telecommunication giants, which over time may face new competition for customers. Already, the broadcast television industry is resisting a proposal to give back spectrum the government wants to use for future mobile service.

The blueprint reflects the government’s view that broadband Internet is becoming the common medium of the United States, gradually displacing the telephone and broadcast television industries. It also signals a shift at the F.C.C., which under the administration of President George W. Bush gained more attention for policing indecency on the television airwaves than for promoting Internet access.


Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it's controversial nonetheless.


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Friday, March 12, 2010

Haiti's Still Waiting...

...for their money, that is. What's up, Wyclef?

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  1. This is a good settlement and we are gratified that these heroic men and women who performed their duties without consideration of the health implications will finally receive just compensation for their pain and suffering, lost wages, medical and other expenses, as the U.S. Congress intended when it appropriated this money.”
  2. "These organizations do extraordinary work in the United States and abroad helping students, veterans and countless others in need. I'm proud to support their work."
  3. "This type of action is not part of the job responsibilities of carers and nurses."
  4. "I gave it all I had. I have nothing more. I am the most successful American ever and I am very, very happy."

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crazy Like a Fox

Conan O'Brien's remedy for his "time off?" How does the "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour" sound?

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Why DC Comic Characters Will Not Crossover In Movies

Christopher Nolan pretty much sums it up:

"Each [superhero] serves to the internal logic of the story. They have nothing to do with each other."


To be honest, that's how it should roll in the DC Universe. The creators of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman never thought their individual characters who had their individual struggles in their individual worlds would crossover, let alone unite. Hell, it was a topic of a Justice League episode! And while it's cool to see Superman and Martian Manhunter knock some crook between the two of them like a demented form of tennis, the fact is the DC guys are so different smoothing things out has become an almost full-time job.

Compare this to Marvel; as Stan Lee was creating Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, the X-Men and others he left ways (but obvious and vague) for characters to crossover without it looking too ridiculous. On paper, the Avengers is a much of a superhero goulash as the Justice League, but by linking the hero's alter egos and secondary characters, a connection was made (when's the last time Lois Lane hung out with Commissioner Gordon?). And as powerful as the Avengers were individually, each hero had noticeable flaws that all but disappeared when they discovered they needed to work together.

Sure, the Avengers Movie may turn out to be a huge pile of crap, but Marvel's still closer towards doing a killer cinematic crossover than DC...and DC, quite honestly, has way more iconic characters.

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It Didn't Have To Be This Way

Hmmm...

WASHINGTON AP) — Unable to muster bipartisan agreement on key banking provisions, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said Thursday he will offer his own version of a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations without Republican support.

A month of talks between Dodd and Republican Sen. Bob Corker had found common ground on but details on key provisions, including consumer protections and other sticking points.

"Together we have made significant progress and resolved many of the items, but a few outstanding issues remain," Dodd said in a statement. Dodd said he still aimed to get a consensus bill, but said time was running out.

Dodd's go-it-alone choice comes in the midst of an emerging culture of high partisanship on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans have been at odds for over a year on health care changes, little progress has been made on climate change and energy legislation, and members of both parties watch warily as an angry voting public continues to show heavy disdain for incumbents.

Two points: first, it's comments like the one above that make the Democrats think that they have to include the Republicans in everything on equal footing (just like the GOP did when they ran Congress, right?). It's not like the Democrats had a mandate or anything.

Second, the story makes it seem like Dodd is going solo because he figures that's the only way to "get 'er done." Survey says: WRONG. As Rachel Maddow points out, Dodd brought this mess on himself by not taking advantage of the Democrat's committee majority:





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Which goes back to my title: it didn't have to be this way.

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You Can't Take Them Seriously: Part Whatever

Via Media Matters: Erik Erikson argues that, well

It is not conservatives burning down homes in Washington State with the ELF. It is not conservatives throwing blood on women wearing fur. It is not conservatives burning down the Texas Governor's Mansion during riots. It is not conservatives rioting during G-8 summits.

It is and has always been the left. Deal with it.


As in: it's only the left who's violent.

I think he has a point. It's hard to find any evidence of anyone considered being on the right being that violent. I mean, who on that side would act that way? Seriously, there's no point arguing. Not at all. The list would be so small.


Next thing you know they'll be saying that white people cannot be terrorists.

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Eater Beware

Oy.

The recall of products containing a potentially salmonella-tainted flavoring ingredient ballooned this week with the addition of 1.7 million pounds of ready-to-eat beef taquito and chicken quesadilla products from a Houston firm.

Ruiz Foods of Denison, Texas, also recalled 115,700 pounds of Tornados Ranchero Beef & Cheese roll-ups.

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  1. "Many individuals are transmitting herpes to others without even knowing it. It is important that persons with symptoms suggestive of herpes-especially recurrent sores in the genital area-seek clinical care to determine if these symptoms may be due to herpes and might benefit from treatment."
  2. “There is no federally funded abortion. That is the law of the land. It has not changed in this (Senate) bill. There is no change in the access to abortion -- no more, or no less. It is abortion-neutral in terms of access or diminution of access.”
  3. "You took an oath to preserve life and you destroyed your family. I cannot imagine the evil that you have done to these people, especially your children. It is my great hope and the only that I can think of at this moment that they forget you ... and that whatever legacy you had is wiped away."
  4. "The rock star tour. We're going total AAU basketball after this. Games every day."
  5. “The political reality right now is that the public has lost some confidence in this institution, and one of the reasons is the past abuses of the earmark process.”
  6. "This is the most painful vote I have ever cast."

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Markos To Kucinich: Threaten Health Care Reform And You Risk a Primary Fight

The convo starts at about 4:16 into the clip:

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Now Markos isn't calling for Dennis' head exactly, but he has a point (as he's made before) that liberal purists and grandstanders are just as damaging for the progressive agenda as conservatives.

Nobody who wants reform thinks this is a perfect bill, but perfect can't become an enemy of the good.

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LOST: The Doctor & The Grave Digger



I know a few people will disagree with me, but this was the best episode so far. For me, the thrill is the psychological drama the characters face, and no one faces as much as Ben Linus. He episode was the best example of this season's "What If?" flash-sideways, as we see how meek-yet-caring a person Ben would be if not for that darn Island.

Also, what I like about this episode is the relevations/discoveries. LOST is at it's best when it tells you things subtly; not when there's a character throwing exposition all over the place.

DISCOVERIES
  1. In the X-reality, destroying the Dharma Initiative saved Ben's relationship with his father, but at the cost of his dad's health.
  2. Miles power is more about reading the last moments of the dead, rather than simply talking to them after the fact like Hugo.
  3. Richard Alpert reveals to Jack and Hugo that he has an unusual lifespan.
  4. We learn that Leslie can hack into people's email accounts.
  5. Ilana was charged with protecting the Candidates (bang-up job so far, lady).
OBSERVATIONS
  1. Judging by the diamonds he was holding, Miles was talking to Nikki and Paulo; it's quite possible he was having conversations with every corpse at the graveyard.
  2. Sun's returned to her more docile role, after being so kick-ass last season.
  3. Jack now believes that he's immortal, or something.
  4. Alpert is a wreck. Just saying.
  5. Locke's willing to follow Ben (to a degree) regardless of the reality.
  6. Ben has the making to manipulate in either reality, but in the X-reality he doesn't have the same level of motivation (ruling a mysterious Island > being a principal).
QUESTIONS
  1. Why didn't X-Ben just go ahead and expose Principle McPervert after he wrote Alex the recommendation?
  2. How did Flocke undo Ben's leg shackle?
  3. Is Alpert's claim that anyone touched by Jacob can't kill themselves really true?
  4. What part does Widmore play in all of this? Does his plans conflict with the MIB; meaning (i) would the MIB care if Widmore becomes the "owner" of the Island and (ii) does Widmore want the MIB to leave? Has Widmore ever encountered the MIB?
  5. Why didn't Ilana go to the Lighthouse?
THEORY

Just one this time: Jacob was looking for a replacement, but I think the job was more managerial than anything else. Consider that the Island already has a consultant (Richard Alpert), a security system (MIB/The Monster) and patrons (the Others, the Dharma Initiative, etc.) there's a good chance that any or all of the remaining Candidates could stay in around in some capacity. Jack (doctor) could be the healer; Sawyer (thief) and Kate (runaway) are the survivalists; Hugo (sees the dead) is the Oracle/messenger; Sun and Jin may represent the two sides of the caretaker: aggressive in defending the island against intruders (Jin) and passive when guide the inhabitants (Sun).

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  1. Some humanitarian resources, notably food aid, have been diverted to military uses. A handful of Somali contractors for aid agencies have formed a cartel and become important power brokers — some of whom channel their profits, or the aid itself, directly to armed opposition groups.”
  2. "Although the period is longer for men, they lose more years of sexually active life as a result of poor health than women."
  3. "I started on the downers which were a hell of a lot better than the uppers because I was a nervous wreck. But one led to two, two led to four, four led to eight, until at the end it was about 85 a day - the doctors could not believe I was taking that much."

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