Sep 21 2017

Netroots Nation

There’s a reason I don’t go to Netroots Nation any more and it’s not because I’m ashamed of anything I’ve done or said in a little over 12 years of public writing (as a matter of fact I’m mostly pretty proud of all of it except the stuff that was uninspired which while not bad because I never publish anything that’s a total piece of crap there’s no denying that some stuff is better than others).

Nope. It’s because for several years they’ve chosen as a policy (and I don’t necessarily disagree with it) to hold their events in Red States because they think that’s where they’ll have the most political impact.

Fair enough, but it means that you end up in places like Georgia and Texas during the hottest and most humid parts of summer and the climate entirely sucks the joy out of seeing people tremble and blanch when they realize I’m not a 7′ 1″ airline pilot and am instead ek hornbeck.

Sports as Politics

I too have suffered the embarassment of hamstring pulls while filling out lineup cards.

I never watch Reality TV

Umm… who is she again?

Orange Lanyards. That takes me back.

Sigh. They didn’t interview me and I would have recognized them and given a good one too. I’m already famous on 2 French channels and CBC.

Sep 21 2017

Russiagate: An Update (Mainly Manafort)

Manafort indicted? A no brainer. Will he turn on Trump? Hey, even Goodfellas squeal.

(W)as he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

On the other hand Goodfellas normally give you a cement overcoat, not a case of polonium poisoning delivered by a Kingsman brolly.

But Wait! There’s More!

And That’s Not All!

That last one by the way is totally legal under present law, though perhaps it should not be. The intent is to finance claims against campaign committees and ballot recounts.

Sep 21 2017

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Wendel Potter: Even Business Leaders Are Realizing Health Insurance Companies Serve No Purpose

Polls show a growing number of Americans are warming up to the idea of single-payer health care. Whether that’s a reaction to the repeal-and-replace bills proposed by congressional Republicans or to the failure of the Affordable Care Act to get us to universal coverage (or even reduce medical costs in a meaningful way) is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is that most of us have lost faith in private health insurers and want the government to do more in health care.

In fact, according to a June 2017 poll by the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of those surveyed said the federal government has the responsibility to provide coverage to all Americans.

We’ve seen similar poll results in years past. As the former head of corporate communications for the global health insurance company Cigna, I saw surveys on a regular basis that consistently showed a sizable percentage of Americans held private health insurance companies in very low regard and would be happy not to have to deal with them. Those surveys also showed growing support for single-payer health care. In 2007, when I was still an industry executive, a proprietary poll conducted for the industry showed that only 19 percent of Americans viewed insurers favorably. That same poll showed that 77 percent believed Congress “should do something about the unreasonable cost of health insurance and other health care services.” More people favored a Canadian-style health care system than any other potential solution.

What is different and significant this time, though, is that US business leaders are among those questioning our multi-payer system and embracing a system with just one payer, the government. That shift could prove to be the game changer that moves single-payer health care from what many pundits and politicians have considered a pipe dream to a very real possibility.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Trump shows ‘America First’ is utterly incoherent

The worst aspect of President Trump’s speech at the United Nations on Tuesday was not his immature taunting of a dangerous foreign leader when the stakes far outweigh those of a schoolyard fight.

Calling North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” may make Trump happy by reminding him of the glory days of “Little Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted” and “Crooked Hillary.” But it does nothing to win over the allies we need.

And his threat “to totally destroy North Korea” is what you’d expect to hear in a bar conversation from a well-lubricated armchair general, not from the leader of the world’s most powerful military.

But the most alarming part of an address that was supposed to be a serious formulation of the president’s grand strategy in the world was the utter incoherence of Trump’s “America first” doctrine.

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Sep 21 2017

What about funny do you not understand?

You’re a pistol, you’re really funny. You’re really funny.
What do you mean I’m funny?
It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.
What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, you know the way you tell the story and everything.

Funny how? What’s funny about it?
Tommy no, you got it all wrong.
Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Jus…
What?
Just… ya know… you’re funny.

You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little screwed up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m only here to amuse you?

What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?
No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the heck am I funny, what the heck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!

“Help me out. Which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 Billion from federal health care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where States would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill where federal funding disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where plans are no longer required to pay for essential benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits? Or the part where the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the Americans with Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, ALS, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the March of Dimes among many others all vehemently oppose your bill.”

“Which part of that am I not understanding?”

Never pick a flame war with someone who buys their ephemeral photons by the medium sized star.

Sep 21 2017

The Breakfast Club (Useful Tool)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

President Bill Clinton’s grand jury testimony in the Monica Lewinsky scandal aired on TV; Authors H.G. Wells and Stephen King born; ‘Monday Night Football’ premieres; Actor-comedian Bill Murray born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.

Stephen King

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Sep 21 2017

Stephen Colbert is Wrong!

I rarely call out Stephen (actually, it’s not that rare) but on this occasion he is totally, 100% wrong! This is a great commercial!

C’mon, a Top Gun homage? That takes some cran (that’s French, normally paired with elan and meaning “Guts” or “Nerve” and “Dash” respectively though it formally translates as “notch” which leads me to believe there is a more colloquial connotation).

Parsing la belle langue aside the only thing wrong with this is that Dan Helmer is running to the illusionary center where the only things are yellow stripes and dead armadillos.

Sep 20 2017

Wonder Woman was not such a bad movie.

Actually I liked it a good deal, it’s the first entry in the DCEU that’s not unrelentingly bleak. On the other hand let me explain just what it is that movie producers and executive producers do- they’re in charge of organizing the financing, and hiring and firing the personnel. Yes they can have creative input but frankly “the talent” normally resents the heck out of that and quits unless they’re just looking for someone to blame because they’ve created a bomb.

Anyway someone with Hollywood style creative accounting ability is exactly what you want in a Treasury Secretary.

He’s the perfect person to explain to all the D.C. Deficit Hawks why $1.5 Trillion in Tax Cuts for the wealthiest .01% is going to reduce the debt (us Modern Monetarists know that debt and deficits don’t matter to sovereign currency nations unless there is demonstrated hyper-inflation, but people in the Beltway are stupid- must be the water).

Sep 20 2017

Kimmel Care

It needs no commentary, you should watch it all.

Ok, a little commentary. I don’t like Jimmy Kimmel. I remember him from The Man Show with Adam Carolla and thought he was the dumb one. I was wrong, Adam Carolla is much dumber.

Dumb?

  • One skit featured Carolla and Kimmel setting up a booth at a farmer’s market and successfully asking people to sign a petition to “end women’s suffrage”, demanding the repeal of the 19th Amendment.
  • One recurring skit featured Kimmel’s impression of former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone. Kimmel would appear in a blackface make-up while wearing a bald cap and body suit, filmed at an angle which made it look like Kimmel (who is much shorter in real life than Malone) was very tall, and dole out advice on subjects such as history, health, and China. The impression pokes fun at Malone’s well-known inarticulacy, and Kimmel’s impression strongly implied that Malone was stupid, reliant on having the “Jamz” star player repeat himself constantly, speak in an odd Southern accent, and throw in a large number of double negatives.
  • The 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons occasionally featured segments entitled “The Monkey Bar”, where chimpanzees duplicated real-life human exploits in a similar style to that of the 1970s American Broadcasting Company program Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. One such performance entailed a conversation in a bar which referred to a penguin joke. In another, (not in the Monkey Bar setting) Jimmy Kimmel sent his (then) wife, Gina, to Poland in order to allow him to be with his new “simian wife”, referred to by his real-life children as “monkey mommy”.

They also lampooned Bill Forester who was dying of Prostate Cancer throughout the filming. When does someone taking prat falls down the stairs stop being funny?

Never much of a physical comedy fan myself. Still, while I’ll not stop watching Stephen, Jimmy has a point.

Sep 20 2017

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Matt Taibbi: Single-Payer Movement Shows: Life After Trump May Not Suck

The president is behaving like a candidate again, which is bad news for his political opponents

Donald Trump sure has changed a lot. Back in 2000 he wrote a vociferous defense of single-payer health care in his otherwise odious book The America We Deserve.

But as president, Trump is fighting single-payer tooth and nail. In a tweet this week, he called it “a curse on the U.S. and its people.”

He wasn’t the only one. Much of the Beltway intelligentsia is recoiling in horror after Bernie Sanders introduced a new Medicare-for-all bill, an idea that has gone from zero to 16 sponsors in the Senate in the space of two years.

In the pre-Trump universe, a Medicare-for-all bill would have had no chance of passage. But now that the hated Trump has come out against it, and moreover since Democrats were forced to argue during the Trumpcare debate that leaving people uncovered is morally untenable and even murderous, single-payer suddenly has wheels.

Trevor Timm: America gives $700bn to the military – but says healthcare is a luxury

When Bernie Sanders released his much anticipated healthcare plan last week, countless pundits and members of Congress asked why the government should pass such a bill given its potential cost. Now that Congress on the verge of sending a record-setting $700bn Pentagon spending bill to Trump’s desk, you can bet those deficit scolds will be nowhere to be found.

On Monday evening, the Senate passed – in bipartisan fashion – a policy bill that set the parameters for military spending in 2018 that tops $700bn, including tens of billions in spending for wars Trump has been expanding in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Amazingly, the bill far exceeds even the increase in spending that the Trump administration was asking for, and as the Associated Press reported, it would put “the US armed forces on track for a budget greater than at any time during the decade-plus wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Sep 20 2017

The Breakfast Club (Pleased To Meet You)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Magellan begins globe-trotting voyage; Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal dies; Actress Sophia Loren born; Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in ‘Battle of the Sexes’; Singer Jim Croce dies in plane crash.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

You can have the power to destroy, but it doesn’t give you the power to reform, or improve, or build.

George R. R. Martin

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