Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dear Dick Cheney

Dear Dick,

What do you use to wash the blood of our American Soldiers off your hands with?  I only ask because it seems really effective.  Based on your attitude one tell that you feel no remorse at the thousands of soldiers who died for your wallet.  I won't even mention the almost countless dead Iraqis, because they don't really count, right?

I really would like to know in case I ever find myself in a situation where I can make myself and my friends blindingly rich at the cost of hundred of thousands of lives.  Good trade off, eh?

Seriously, the United States of America has signed no less than two treaties making the use of torture by the American Government a crime punishable by international law.  One of these treaties is the Geneva Convention.  Why is the international community not pressing charges against George Bush and Dick Cheney?  The entire world knows they are guilty of war crimes just as much as Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler.  Where is the international outrage?  Obama is NOT going to do it.  The American people are not listened to by their government, or they would already be on trial.  The American Government proves this every day.  They listen to big corporations.  That's who they represent, that's who they protect.  Not you, not us. 

It's up to you, the rest of the world, to make this happen.  Stand up and say "we will not tolerate war crimes, whether they be committed by Iraq, Iran, Germany, Italy, or the freakin' U.S.A".  Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech entitled "Beyond Vietnam" about a year before his assassination.  In it he spoke of a worldwide revolution.  I think this revolution has largely occurred, and just as he predicted, the United States is dead last in keeping up. 

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

It's time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ramblings

Note: Please refrain from religious comments.  Been there done that.

I have a guitar and a cause, but I don't know how to play yet.

I have direction but no plan

I have a quick temper and a brilliant mezzo tenor, but I never sing anymore.

Nicotine stains on my fingersI have nicotine stains on my fingers and a persistent cough.

People ask how I'm doing, but they don't really want to know.

If they did, I wouldn't know what to say.

I'm melancholy, but I don't know why.

I have a body that's older than I am, but I just keep going.

I have an awesome car, but it doesn't run anymore.

If I drink enough the pain goes away for a while, but it's worse the next day.

I do what I'm supposed to, but never what I want to.

 

What now?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

6-12-24

10 years ago, the average family paid $6,000/year for health insurance.

Today, the average family pays $12,000/year for health insurance.

It's estimated, at the current rate of increase, that in 10 years, without reform, the average family will pay $24,000/year for health insurance. 

The poverty line has been defined as $20,000/year.  This hasn't changed in a very long time.  If no health reform is passed, or even worse, if something like the Baucus Bill is passed that does not control costs or provide a public option, and requires every citizen to buy private insurance under penalty of fine, well… do the math.

People who make $30,000 a year or less will have to decide, give all or most of their income to health insurance or face a fine of up to $3,800?  Unfortunately, breaking the law will become the economical choice.  At least until somebody becomes sick.

If you oppose reform, do the math.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The way things are now…

Even Fox News reported this one.  Surprisingly they even reported the fact that their previous insurer raised their rates 40% for the audacity of having a baby.  Then the new insurer denied the baby health coverage.  

17-Pound, 4-Month-Old Baby Denied Health Insurance for Being Too Fat - Children's Health - FOXNews.com

I find it amazing that they can report a story like this, yet continue to defend a system that treats Americans this way.  Would the insurer have reversed their decision had the dad not been a local news anchor?  Not likely.  You can almost hear the "oh shit!" when they realized who they had screwed.  They're expected to not cover their child.  This kind of insanity only occurs in this country, and the right wing continues to call this the best health care system in the world despite mountains of facts to the contrary, and endless stories just like this one.  Nearly everybody has a health insurance horror story.  I have more than one.

I just heard today about a friend of my wife's, who had lost their insurance because the father had become unemployed (a fairly common occurrence these days), and now their baby has a serious condition.  They'll never recover from this.  You have to wonder how they're going to send children to college when they'll most likely be paying for saving their child's life for the rest of their lives. 

That's all it takes to destroy a family here.  Lose a job, get sick. 

The right-wing takeaway: If your child is careless enough to develop a serious condition, let 'em die.  Serves them right for being so thoughtless.

My takeaway: This is like living in a George Orwell novel.  If our elected leaders can't take this seriously and put a stop to it, vote them out. 

I'm making a list of politicians who A) support real reform, B) oppose any reform, and C) are pretending to care about reform but really trying to fuck it up as badly as they can (i.e. Max Baucus).  I will post this if reform fails.  I may post it anyway.  I'm going to use it as my voting guide in the next election.  I hope you do too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama Derangement Syndrome?

I was as shocked as anybody that President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.  I didn't know he was nominated.  Now that the surprise has worn off, I'm proud.  The leader of our nation has won the Nobel Peace prize.  That doesn't happen very often. 

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

The right is angry.  They think he didn't deserve it.  They think he should give it back.  They think the world will view this as a huge joke. 

I have two questions for them.  Answer these, and we can talk. 

1) Is the Nobel Peace Prize awarded by an American institution or an international one? 

2) Why has no Republican president in recent memory won the Nobel Peace Prize?  I say recent memory, but I'm not sure ANY Republican has won one.

Should Bush have gotten a peace prize?  I don't think they award it for starting pre-emptive wars on false pretenses.  In face, things like that usually lead to war crimes trials. 

Rachel Maddow cited a right-wing viewpoint from the beginning of the decade called Bush Derangement Syndrome.  It goes something like this: we hate Bush therefore he can do nothing right.  I guess that means that being opposed to two ceaseless wars, torture, ignoring the Constitution, undoing the Constitution, warrantless surveillance, and other things along those lines is only because I didn't like Bush.  This is an interesting viewpoint, since I actually liked Bush until I found out about those things.

This viewpoint in interesting, though, because it seems that no matter what Obama does, they hate him for it.  Even on issues that should not have a political slant, they boo his successes and cheer his failures.  I don't think Obama is perfect, in fact I'm keeping a running list of things he's done (or not done) that upset me, but compared to Bush, he's fuckin' Jesus Christ. 

I don't understand the hate that leads someone to cheer America's loss regarding the Olympics.  This is from the same party that said "Country First".  I don't understand the hate that leads someone to be angry that their president earned the Nobel Peace Prize.  This is also from the same party that said "Country First".  Apparently "Country First" really means Republicans First. 

Well, that's not entirely fair, apparently John McCain had nice things to say.  I may not agree with his viewpoints, but at least he's capable of showing tact. 

America… WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Message to Max Baucus: FUCK OFF AND DIE!

 

Max Baucus has introduced legislation that is basically a handout to the private insurance companies.  This legislation cannot pass.  It will bankrupt millions and make billions for the insurance companies in the process.  In other words, the rich getting richer off the misfortune of the poor. 

Fuck off Max.  You may be a Democrat, but you're a fucking corporate stooge.  You might as well be George "I represent the top 1% of the rich in this country and the rest of you losers can fuck yourselves" Bush.  Jay Rockefeller is trying to get anything even remotely resembling something good for the people in this bill, and you stump him at every turn.  I hope they're paying you well, fucker.  If there's a Hell, I hope you like it warm.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act

Wendell Potter is a former vice-president of Cigna.  One day he had an attack of conscience and chose to expose the insurance industry's practices.

 

---Update:

I had to share this too.  It came, from all places, from a commenter on Sarah Palin's facebook page.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The New Face of Conservatism in America

These were seen at a recent "Tea Party".  The stated goal from the 9/12 website (Glenn Beck's little project):

image

Reconcile that with the reality of hate and intolerance:

Capture1 

Comparing Obama to Hitler.  Seriously?  Hitler?  Please, oh please somebody try to justify that one to me.  I'm just itching to have a go at somebody with that low of an IQ.

Capture2

Comparing Obama to Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and Castro.  Ignorance knows no bounds. 

Capture3

I'm pretty sure threatening the President's life is a felony.  Slogans like this are supposed to unite the country?

Capture4

Heil White Supremacist Moron!

Capture5

This one doesn't deserve a comment.  The bearer is a waste of oxygen.

Capture6

If Fred Phelps showed up to the funeral of one of her loved ones, Maybe she would have an idea how distasteful that sign is.  Then again, probably not. 

These people make me sick.  The only thing missing here are white hoods and a burning cross.

Glenn Beck, go fuck yourself.  Would you please find another country in which to peddle your hate, lies, and fear-mongering?  We're all stocked up here.

These people's hate speech is, unfortunately, protected by the Constitution, the same document they seem to believe Obama is subverting.  It protects the morons too.  Where were they when Bush started chopping out the parts of the Constitution he didn't like?  Did they march then?  They have no clue that if things had continued the way they had under Bush for a few more years, they likely would no longer even have THAT right.  One has to wonder if they've even read it.

This is the face of modern "conservatives" in America.  If you're a conservative, take a long look.  If you feel disgusted, congratulations, you're still human.  Please rethink your convictions and stop listening to idiots.

If you don't feel disgusted by this, get help. And please never vote again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Religious Right

I'm a bit confused by something, and I would appreciate it if somebody could help me out here.  First, a caveat.  I'm not a Christian, but having once been in a Christianity-based cult, I know a little bit about the Christian bible. 

I would like to know how the Religious Right reconcile their views on Health Care Reform and Social programs with the following passage, taken verbatim and completely in context, from the Christian bible. 

Matthew 25:31-46 (New International Version)

The Sheep and the Goats
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

The cult didn't pay much attention to Matthew 25, but I did.  I would like to know how the Jesus depicted here and in many other parts of the bible reconciles with the "Why should I give up what I have for somebody else?" views we've been hearing?

Then, a final footnote.  The Health Care bill is carefully crafted to not take away from you what you may already have, but only to offer a choice to those that currently have none.  In other words, the poor.  How does somebody oppose this and call themselves a "Christian"?  Is fighting science and oppressing homosexuals somehow more important than this?  That's not what I read in my bible*.

Discuss.

* Common catch phrase from the cult

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The "Case" Against Socialized Medicine

My blog has gone quite political over the past year, and the reason for this is that I've gone quite political over the last year.  The is the inevitable end result of roughly the last decade, starting with my exit from the cult.  After leaving, I found it harder to just simply accept what I'm told.  It becomes exceptionally hard to remain a conservative with this viewpoint.  Most people fall into one of three categories:

  1. I don't want to hear about it.  By far most people fall into this category, and for most of my life I did as well.  What little readership I had before has most likely left for these reasons.  I'm pretty sure I have, not counting myself or the Chinese porn sites who spam my comments, two readers now.  That's okay with me.  If one person finds me through Google and questions long held heretofore unquestioned beliefs as a result, I've made the world a better place.  In other words, I'm not going to shut the fuck up.
  2. My beliefs are right and yours are wrong and I don't really want to hear what you have to say and I'll shout until you give up.  It's difficult to not fall into this category myself, but mostly because when I get into arguments like this, I've actually spent a little time looking into facts myself rather than just regurgitating Rush Limbaugh.  Even that's not fair, Rush proves he's "right" by belittling his opponents.  The logic fallacy in that should be clear even to those who have never studied logic.
  3. I'd like to hear what you have to say and judge it's merit for myself.  This is by far the smallest of the three categories, and, ironically, the group I'm talking to now. 

In the interest of trying to remain a member of group #3, I followed a link from an obviously conservative acquaintance on Facebook recently.  I'd like to offer a rebuttal to this article, and as a result will probably end up quoting the entire thing. The link is here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1229567/posts.  It's very entertaining, and is posted by, apparently a political science major.  I've never studied political science, but, well… here we go.

One of the greatest dreams of American liberals is a nationalized health care system similar to the one in Canada. They argue in favor of such a system because they believe health care is a basic "right," and because they believe the current system is flawed beyond repair. As with most problems, they advocate government solutions, not private enterprise solutions. Unfortunately, the government has an abysmal record of correcting problems, and American health care would be no exception.

Most of this article provides no backing for any of it's claims (so neither will I), so I think we can take the statement that the government has an abysmal record with a shaker of salt.  Private enterprise had their shot at this problem, and I think it's pretty clear they blew the pooch on this one.  Advocating private enterprise solutions to this problem would be similar to trying to cure a headache by pounding yourself over the head with a mallet.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  That was Einstein, if I'm not mistaken.

First, let's examine the "right to health care" claim. Obviously, there is no right to health care established in the U.S. Constitution. However, we do have a moral right to health care, some will argue. Unfortunately, those who make this argument do not understand what a "right" is.

Of course there's no right to health care in the U.S. constitution.  It would have read something like "The people shall have the right to government sponsored bloodletting and leeches as needed" at the time.  The Constitution was designed to be flexible, and meet the needs of the people as they changed.  Over 200 years later, they've changed a little.  In a government for the people, of the people and by the people, a "right" is what the people determine it to be.  We call this "Elections".  Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment , Fire and Police service are also not covered by the Constitution.  By this argument, we should disband all of them.

A "right" is the ability and autonomy to perform a sovereign action. In a free society founded on the ideal of liberty, an individual has an absolute ability to perform such an action - so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another individual. Health care is not speech: In order for you to exercise a theoretical "right" to health care, you must infringe on someone else's rights. If you have a "right" to health care, then it means you must also have the right to coerce doctors into treating you, to coerce drug companies into producing medicine and to coerce other citizens into footing your medical bill. This is Orwellian. "Freedom" for you cannot result in slavery for others. Thus the concept of a "right" to health care is an oxymoron: It involves taking away the rights of other individuals.

Here we start to sound a bit like Glen Beck, full of conspiracies.  We'll ignore the obviously emotionally laden choice terms like "slavery".  We seem to have re-defined what the term "slave" means.  We're also ignoring the fact that true slavery existed in this country under the Constitution until the mid-1800s, when it was amended (under rather considerable protest) to redefine what "rights" are to include people who aren't white.  This is a great example of how our Constitution adapts to changing times.  If anything about his statement were true, then police and firemen could effectively be considered slaves by the same argument.  This is a completely illogical leap, and I just can't buy it.

Surely, though, we can agree that doctors, the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies earn excessive profits, you say. Well, that depends on what your definition of "excessive" is. Doctors literally hold the lives of their patients in their hands.

So do police officers, but the chief of police doesn't make 9 digits a year.

How much is someone who saves lives everyday worth?

How much is a human life worth?  Are the 250 million Americans who have health coverage somehow more valuable than the 50 million who don't?  Oh, and Police save lives every day too.

The same is true of pharmaceutical companies. While it has become fashionable to condemn their profits, the fact is that these profits fund medical research, which leads to more medicines being produced, and, consequently, more lives saved. Insurance companies spread the cost of health care among many people who might not otherwise be able to afford it, and thus make health care readily available for many.

Pharmaceutical companies do make excessive profits, and the new medicines being produced seem to consist largely of Viagra and similar products.  That's because that's where consumer demand is.  The cost will be spread among many in a government plan as well, making health care readily available for all.  I would hate to be the guy who has to choose who isn't included in the "many" group. 

While on the topic of profits, we should examine them. The word "profit" is considered to be a dirty word by many on the political left, but why? What makes a profit bad? Nothing.

Normally I would disagree that liberals consider profit a dirty word, and I would agree that there is nothing wrong with making profit, but when denying care to citizens with or without coverage increases profits, then they are profiting off of death and disease.  That would make profit bad. 

On the contrary, profits are very positive. When you come to class in the morning, there is a good chance you either drive a car or ride a bus. Do you think the bus driver and the workers who built your car or the bus did so that you could get to school on time? Of course not, they did because they wanted to make money. Yet their pursuit of a profit benefited them as well as you.

Comparing bus drivers to insurance company executives is just a little skewed.  I don't the the guy who built my car got paid 100 million in compensation last year (maybe the guy who owns the company did though).  The rhetoric usually throws the word "socialist" around, playing off the fact that most Americans don't know the difference between the words "socialist" and "communist".  They hear "socialist" and all they see the hammer and sickle.  The truth is that socialism is not the inverse of democracy, it's the inverse of capitalism (and even that's not entirely accurate). And neither pure capitalism nor pure socialism is a good thing, that's one of the things America tends to do well, maintaining a balance between capitalism and socialism.  However we've made socialism a bad word through years of indoctrination and association with communism (e.g. Cold War, Red Scare, etc etc).  Evil is in the eye of the beholder, and most of the rest of the world views the U.S.A. in the same light we used to view the U.S.S.R.  Some popular socialist programs we already have that you might not realize are socialist are Medicare and Social Security.  Similar arguments were made against these programs before they passed "Socialism, BAD BAD BAD!"  Most politicians these days are smart enough to know that proposing the abolition of these programs would be political suicide. 

Adam Smith once said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest." As we have seen, profits and self-interest are not bad things.

Ditto, bad comparison.

Let's pretend, for a moment, that the left gets its way, and the United States adopts a universal health care system. This profit motive will effectively be removed.

Ignoring the fact that Doctors in other industrialized nations with universal health care plans make rather good money, medicine just simply should not be about profit, it should be about saving lives, and this is where America differs from the rest of the industrialized world.  I'm a little apprehensive of the doctor who became a doctor for the money, rather than for the desire to save human life.

Doctors will then be government employees, and, as such, have far less accountability,

I'm yet to see the government employee who has less accountability.

as well as lower pay. Could we still expect the best and brightest to strive to be doctors?

Yes, but the greedy will probably be forced into politics now.

Probably not. More than likely, they will pursue other careers where they can make more money.

It appears we've lumped the best and brightest in with the greedy, and I think that's unfair.  Many pursue careers in teaching and law enforcement despite the abysmal pay.  A few of them still pursue these careers for the wrong reasons, but mostly they are people who are doing what they love.  While I strongly feel that they deserve more pay, I think this fact, along with lack of recognition for societal contributions, filters out a lot of bad eggs.  If somebody decides to not pursue a career in medicine because of the pay, it probably wasn't where they belonged.  They should try being CEO of Halliburton, or perhaps starting a war in Iraq.  There's a lot of money to be made there.

Some love to bemoan the fact that the United States is one of the few industrialized nations without a government health care system.

I looked this one up, and we have some company on this one.  Mostly Africa and the Middle East.  Interestingly enough, Iraq and Afghanistan have universal health care programs paid for by United States war funding!!!, but we don't have one back home.  And "love" seems a highly inappropriate and emotionally laden word to choose there.

Yet they rarely note that the United States produces disproportional amounts of the new, life-saving drugs, largely because of the profits drug companies make. Will we continue to produce these drugs if we abolish the profit motive? Not likely. Chances are, they will not be produced at all, and more people will needlessly suffer and die as a result.

The truth is a disproportional amount of the profits drug companies make go to their executives, not research.  50 million Americans do not have health insurance.  That's roughly one out of every six Americans who cannot afford to see a doctor, and this number has been steadily growing for decades.  What good does it do us to produce the cure for cancer if nobody can afford it?  And we're making some big assumptions here that don't seem to be grounded in fact again.  There's no indication that drug companies will stop producing drugs if we reform health care.

When we examine countries that have embraced socialized medicine, we find long waiting lists, expansive red tape and little concern for the individual. Do you really want to be told which doctor to go to? Do you want to wait years to have necessary medical procedures performed? If so, then socialized medicine is for you.

Conservatives love to throw this one around, but there's no backing data for it.  We're told what doctors we can see now.  We have necessary medical procedures denied now.  We have long waiting lists now.  I suppose if want that sort of thing, then privatized medicine is for you.

But if you believe in individual rights, competent healthcare and sound economic policies, we must get the government out of the doctor's office.

The government isn't in the doctor's office.  The author has completely failed to show what individual rights, competent healthcare, or sound economic policies have to do with "the government in the doctor's office".  Most conservative arguments seem based on inducing fear of change.  They fail to mention that you've already got someone intervening between you and your doctor, and they have a financial interest in finding some way (any way) to deny your claim.  Denying a claim is the equivalent of denying health care, because very few Americans can afford the outrageous charges for even minor operations under the American system.  A recent study showed that different insurance companies were denying between 20-40% of all claims they received (one[Cigna] was 20, another [UHC] was 40).  Does it sound like this is just a problem for the uninsured?  People who are paying their premiums (or being a "Grown Up", as Lynn Jenkins of Kansas recently called a young waitress supporting a two year old) are still being denied care.  People are DYING as a result, and we should, as Americans, each and every one of us, find that shocking and unacceptable. 

We're very fond of talking about how superior we are to the rest of the world (freedom fries, anyone?), and that's very easy to believe as long as we don't actually look at the rest of the world

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist - Health Care Fit for Animals - NYTimes.com

Opponents suggest that a “government takeover” of health care will be a milestone on the road to “socialized medicine,” and when he hears those terms, Wendell Potter cringes. He’s embarrassed that opponents are using a playbook that he helped devise.

Op-Ed Columnist - Health Care Fit for Animals - NYTimes.com

Death Panels are REAL!!!

 



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Truth about Health Care

Dear friends, as I've become extremely busy over the last few months I'm afraid I've been neglecting my blog.  In the interest of maintaining compelling content, I've invited my first guest blogger.  I present the esteemed Mr. Richard Head. --Cowboy

"Health Care Reform".  Have you ever heard three more frightening words put together?  Why do the Democrats feel that they must shove Government-Run Health Care down our throats?  Folks, I'm here to tell you the frightening truth about the Democrats and their evil plan for World Domination.  That's right, World Domination.  You might think this is just about the Democrats making a fast buck by preying on your sickness, but the sad truth is that it goes far… far further than that. 

Mr. Obama, or should I call him Mr. SATAN!!!!, has every intention of dismantling the beautiful heath care system our loving benefactors at the Insurance Companies have lovingly put together for us out of the goodness of their hears.  He wants to destroy that.  He'll force you to stand in long lines just to be seen by a doctor, and at the end of that line, you'll be denied care, or you'll be forced to pay outrageous sums for even being seen.  It's true, this is what they have planned.  The elderly will just simply be euthanized.  That's a pretty way of saying MURDERED!!!! 

It's TRUE!!! Mr. Obama wants to murder your grandparents!  If you don't oppose this bill, you'll have to explain to your children why you let the evil Democrats murder Granny and Pappy.  Your children will be brought before the Death Boards, and there they will be judged whether or not they will be fit to live.  So will you, for that matter.  And if you're white, It doesn't look good for you.  It's right there in the bill on page 666, appropriately enough.  They'll force unwed mothers to get abortions.  They'll force wed mothers to get abortions.  They'll force you into homosexual and lesbian marriages.  And to pay for it you'll be forced to give them the password to your bank account.  After that happens, they'll drain your account to settle your bill, which should reach an appropriate portion of the national deficit.  Now you know the real reason behind the Stimulus Bill.  It's not about "saving the economy", an economy they destroyed in the first place, it's to drive up the national debt so high that they can justify the outrageous amounts they're going to charge you at the hospital after they get done slaughtering the rest of your family.  But they wont' take responsibility, all they say is "Bush spent 10 billion a month in Iraq!"  Like defending freedom had anything to do with it!  The unmitigated gall!  And they'll brand the number 666 on your forehead, "for quick processing next time" they'll say. 

The Health Insurance companies want to stop this madness.  We're your friends!  We've already managed to save you from the nightmare of free universal heath care like the fascists in Europe have to contend with, we only have to defeat the mandatory public "option" they want to force you into.  We want to give you the health care you deserve.  We don't want to get between your doctor and you the way the Democrats do, we want to make sure your every need is taken care of.  Don't let the Democrats destroy democracy!  Oppose Health Care reform everywhere!  Make sure you listen to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh for details on how to debate the evil Democrats, they've read the bill so you don't have to.  Don't worry, it's all taken care of!   Just say "NO" to Pinko Commie Heath Care!

Dick.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Health Care Debate

I tried to find the Republican sponsored commercial that depicts a Washington bureaucrat (who looks suspiciously like an IRS agent caricature) interposing himself between a patient and her doctor.  What the ad doesn't say is that we have that now.  Replace "Washington Bureaucrat" with "Insurance Agent".  No difference. 

What, you've never watched your doctors fighting with the insurance company to attempt to justify care?  I have. I watched my Dad's doctors more or less blackmail the insurance company to get them to approve an "experimental" procedure that has extended his life far beyond the year or so he had in 2001.  He's enjoying time with his grandchildren today.  If that doctor had capitulated, my dad would have died when his oldest grandchild was a baby.  This is the healthcare system Republicans want to protect.  They have a financial interest in doing so, not a humanitarian one.  Republicans warn that Obama wants to destroy our healthcare system.  Damn straight!  We want to destroy the broken system that only works for the insurance companies and replace it with something that works for everybody.

The problem here is that in a Democracy (which is what the United States claims to have, if you weren't aware), the Government is supposed to be afraid of the people, not the people afraid of the Government.  If the government were truly afraid of the people, Universal Healthcare would not be a debate at all.  Ask yourself honestly, are you afraid of the Government, or is it afraid of you? 

Insurance companies are spending millions of dollars with anti-reform commercials and buying Washington votes.  Why?  Do they have the best interests of the American People at heart, or are they interested in the billions to be made under the current system which routinely denies needed care to millions?  They're afraid, because they know that every other industrialized country in the world has universal healthcare and it works.  They know that our system of paying huge insurance premiums is entirely concocted and unnecessary.  They don't want you to know that.

Did you catch that?  The crutches that cost $15 in Canada were $45 in the U.S.? We must have some damn good crutches here in order to charge 3 times as much.  Right?

I expect the first conservative to come across my post will respond with something like "If you think it's so much better in Canada, why don't you move there?"  This probably seems like good logic to them.  When you don't really understand logic, it's easy to miss a fallacy.

I believe in America and I believe we can fix this.  I don't want to move to Canada, I want the United States' healthcare system to be the envy of the world, not the laughing stock it is today.  You should too.

'What can I do?' - SiCKO

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wall-E

First, a recant.

I blasted Xbox support in a previous post.  While their support still sucks, there was an answer, and the second reply actually got me close enough to find the answer for myself.  I appreciate that the support personal are A) providing support for free (well, they get paid, Microsoft provides it) and B) probably constrained to certain responses due to efforts to actually improve support.  I also understand that support is a difficult job.  I've done it.  It doesn't change the fact that their support sucks dog crap, but whatever.  It's fixed now.  I won't sell the Xbox just yet, but I'm not ruling out a Playstation either.  At any rate, if the same thing happens to you, the answer is "The License Consolidation Tool".  Despite the websites many assertions that it's not necessary, it was necessary.  Just because the job is difficult doesn't excuse poor support. 

That leads me to DRM and why it sucks and is completely pointless, but that's another post for later.

Today I had two of my nieces over. I happened to have Wall-E recorded, and thought the kids might enjoy watching it.  My wife The Face of Evil vetoed it because she heard from a friend that it was actually some Hollywood plot to bash fat people and accuse them of destroying the world. 

So I watched it to see for myself what Hollywood's latest evil plot was.

What I saw was a cute movie with a sub-plot containing a cartoonish over-exaggeration of the dangers of rampant consumerism. 

So what's the problem?

It occurs to me that this is exactly what the religious right are deathly afraid of, having a social consciousness and actually being forced to think for themselves.  I think the social message "hidden" in the movie is dead on, and not really a bad thing to expose children to. 

The Wal-Mart generation could learn something here.

It seems that the religious right are always looking for some plot "to destroy our way of life."  To them I say: "What Would Jesus Buy?"  Lookin' good, big J!First, let me be clear.  I've abandoned Christianity for many reasons, not the least of which is I no longer believe the adult fairy tale of a "benevolent" "God" watching over all of us and allowing all of the bad things to happen because he works in "mysterious ways".  It's a load of crap.  It's Santa for grown-ups.  I think that there is some sort of higher consciousness, but it doesn't look out for us on an individual level, it's not a God, it isn't accurately described by any religious text ever, and it's completely explainable by science, even if it's science we don't understand yet.  So all criticisms of Christians as to whether or not they have any idea of what their own religion dictates should be taken with a grain pound of salt.

That being said, if Jesus were alive today, he'd puke at the sight of the people who call themselves his followers.  Yes, I'm talking to YOU Ray Comfort and Pat Robertson!  I don't know a Big J beatin the crap out of the greedy! single "Christian" alive today that lives the life prescribed by the Christian Bible.  For all their faults, the only group I know that actually came even somewhat close was the cult. 

I believe that Jesus would say "Stop the wars in the Middle East".  Christians say "Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here."  I believe Jesus would say "Help the needy" (see Matthew 25), the Religious Right say "No Socialist Health Care!" 

Why?  Why do Christians (as a whole) seem to be so off?  The only answer I can come up with is "Someone told them that."  Why was Do as you're told, morons!my wife opposed to Wall-E?  Because someone told her it was somehow un-Christian.  I don't think anything that was lampooned  by the movie is anything Jesus would not condemn.  Why do so many Conservatives/Christians/whatever seem to believe whatever they're told?  Are none of them capable of thinking for themselves? 

The other night I watched "Sicko".  Just on a whim.  I wanted to see what liberally biased crap Michael Moore was spewing in this movie.  I'd never liked him because he was obviously a rampant Liberal with an agenda and a movie camera.  While I did spot a few places in the movie that were obviously biased, for the most part it The sad state of healthcare was a dismal and unfortunately accurate depiction of the piss poor state of health care in America.  I'm shocked at how much better it is almost everywhere else.  And he identified why it's different here, and traced it back to Nixon and Edgar Kaiser in 1971.  It's appalling that in this country we give doctors bonuses on being able to deny as many people health care as possible, while in England doctors are given bonuses on crazy dumb-ass criteria like how many people they got to stop smoking. 

I was so surprised by my own reaction to this movie, I wanted to share it with my wife.  Her first question was "Is this that Michael Moore movie?" and was uninterested in anything that came from it.  She was intentionally rejecting anything she might have This doesn't look biased at all. learned from it based solely on things she had heard about Michael Moore, presumably from her religious right friends.  I'm glad I didn't let my own bias stop me.  I've finally realized that despite being an ignorant conservative for years, I'm really a flaming liberal and I'm finally coming out of the closet.  While most people my age are becoming more conservative and start voting Republican, true to the story of my life I'm doing exactly the opposite, I've wised up.  I'm actually looking in to becoming an activist.

I'm aware that war only begets more war.  Our actions in the Middle East are inspiring hate and fear of the West in the youth of that region and actively swelling the ranks of those who want to destroy us.  I'm aware that that it takes strength to say "we will not negotiate with terrorists", but it takes more strength to stick to that principle when the time comes.  I'm aware that that it takes a kind of Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out! strength that's hard to find to say "we will not submit to terrorism, but neither will we become terrorists ourselves."  It takes one kind of strength to stand up and criticize people like George Bush and Dick Cheney for sacrificing America's principles when times were dark, and it's entirely another to stick to those ideals when you find yourself in their position.  The recent disappointments from President Obama serve to illustrate that he, just like the rest of us, is only human.  Still, let's hope it doesn't happen again.

</LiberalPropaganda>

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Attention XBox: F*ck you!!!

Today is the day Microsoft kicked me in the balls. It was inevitable. I’ve built a career around working with Microsoft technologies. I’ve bought thousands of dollars of their software. I’ve paid an outrageous amount of money for their XBox. I’ve bought their arcade games. etc etc. For fuck’s sake I’m writing this goddamned post using Windows Live Writer on my new Vista OS.

Recently My XBox fried, all of one month out of warranty. I let that slide. I sent it in and got it fixed for the measly cost of $99. I let that slide. I recently noticed, however, that the arcade games which previously worked for everybody with a profile on my XBox (e.g. the rest of my family) no longer allow them to play the full version of the games.

That’s right, the games which I paid money for and have legally can now only be played on my profile.

That’s new.

So I, being the dumbfuck Microsoft groupie that I am, innocently assume this is some glitch, probably a result of Microsoft’s hard-on for DRM. I figure if I e-mail support and explain it, they’ll fix it. Right? Today I got this in reply:

Hello X,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft online support for XBOX. I am Y and I will be helping you today with this issue.

We have received your email and as I understand that your other account are unable to play your Xbox Live Arcade Games on Xbox Live. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience you have felt regarding this unfortunate matter.

With regards to this, X, you may only use the downloaded arcade games if you use only the account in which you've downloaded. Also, some items that you have stored on your Xbox 360 console cannot be transferred from one profile to another profile.

Thank you for your time and understanding.

If you need to reply to this e-mail, please reply 'with history' (include any previous e-mail) or reference to Service Request Number N so we can expedite our service to you.

You may also contact Xbox Customer Service for US and Canada by calling 1-800-469-9269 at your earliest convenience, and we'll be happy to help you. We are open everyday from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 A.M. Eastern Time and 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. Pacific Time

For international customers, please contact Xbox Customer Service in your local region. (To find the correct Customer Service number for your region first use this link http://www.xbox.com/en-US/ChangeLocale.htm to select the appropriate country and then use the contact number found under the support menu). You may also choose to call international assistance (direct dial to the US) by dialing 425-635-7180.

Thank you for visiting Xbox.com. If you should have future questions on Xbox products or services, please be sure to revisit our Web site as we are continually adding information to enhance our service.

Best Regards,

Y

Microsoft XBOX Support Services

http://support.microsoft.com/

Yep, a fucking form letter. That’s verbatim, with the names changed to protect the (somewhat) innocent. In case you got lost in all of that, it basically says “Fuck you. We’re Microsoft and we can fuck you if we want to and there’s not a fucking thing you can do about it, dipshit!” Either that or “I hate my fucking job and didn’t really read your e-mail and hit the ‘Send the Fuck-You-form-letter’ button without thinking”.

Personally, I’m surprised. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I had actually bought into all of Microsoft’s bullshit, just to find out that I’ve been a fucking idiot. With a blog. So now I’m supposed to buy the same game four times? Fuck that!

I replied back and carefully explained the situation. Something that used to work on my console now does not. I don’t expect to get anything different, but after all of the money I’ve invested in my XBox, I figured I should try at least one more time before I chuck the piece of shit out the window and go buy a Playstation.

Companies usually only get to fuck me over once. I will never again have a Verizon account, even if they do have the cooler phones. I don’t care. I will never again buy Quicken or TurboTax. You only get to fuck me once, guys. I’m not that kind of girl.

This is a little different. My entire career is intertwined with Microsoft, so I can’t just simply say “Fuck off” and buy a Mac. I actually even wanted to work for Microsoft prior to today. I’ve even talked to the Channel 9 guys about a job opening before. We’ll see where this goes, but I can say I don’t have to buy anything that isn’t a development tool or an OS in the future. If Microsoft continually treats their end users this way, Steve Jobs has got nothing to worry about (unless Apple fucks their customers too, which I wouldn’t know. I don’t buy much Apple stuff).

Oh, and one more thing guys, every so often one of the customers you piss off will have a blog. Someday you might piss off somebody with a blog that actually has readers. Be careful…

Monday, April 20, 2009

My New Hero

Let’s be honest, these “Tea parties” are sponsored and architected by the Republican party.  The people attending them may well have valid gripes, but they’ve been misled, and don’t really want to hear that they have.  They’re unwittingly campaigning for the rich against the poor, which most of them are (if you define poor as making less than $250,000/year).  I have to give credit to this guy, who had the balls to get up in front of a group of these people and tell them things they didn’t want to hear.  The result is predictable. 

As Americans, when we get angry we want to direct that somewhere, and we usually don’t care if it’s misplaced.  That’s how Iraq happened.  Bush used the momentum of American anger to vault us into a war that had nothing to do with 9/11.  We’re a pretty gullible lot.

“I want to start off by honoring the service of our veterans, our current service members, thank you so much for all you've done for this country. I also want to say, a little history lesson here. Back in 2000, there was a bunch of surplus in the country. And then the next ten years, it was just destroyed by the profligate spending by the Bush administration. Here we are today in a situation where we have to...Cheer if you make less than $250,000 in a year. Just cheer. Your taxes are going to be cut under the current budget. Congratulations. I was laid off in September because my employer had to make budget cuts. That was before the election. Let's remember if you're going to argue about more taxes and less spending, to place the blame where the blame belongs and that's squarely in the hands of the Republican congress and...”

Just in case you were under the illusion that this is not a Republican event.  That took some serious balls.

I’m very disappointed in the Republicans.  Apparently their answer for recovering from the disaster that was the Bush administration is to put all of their efforts into making Obama look just as bad.  When Obama starts a war that costs over 4,000 American lives needlessly, get back to me.  When Obama starts pissing on the Bill of Rights in the name of “freedom”, get back to me.  When Obama makes spying on and torture of American citizens legal (which it is, if you didn't know), get back to me.  This crap is ridiculous.  Obama hasn’t even been in office long enough to fuck up.  It took Bush longer than that to really fuck the country up.  Two years from now I might be joining you, but right now you’re all blaming Obama for the fuck-ups for the Bush administration, and it makes you look really, really stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re right to be angry.  The country is pretty messed up, just be honest about how it got that way, and about who is really promoting this event.  Hint: it’s the same people who fucked it up.  Stop playing politics and do something positive.

P.S. if you want to vent about Obama and the Second Amendment, don’t bother.  You haven’t read it.  I will ignore you and your uninformed opinion of what it means.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Your to-do list for today

THINK

FOR

YOURSELF!

 

Boston Tea Party my ass…

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Required viewing for the entire human race.

Damn logic and it’s ability to always be right!  On the other hand, it explains Ray Comfort.

 

 

----- Update: I found this one about 10 minutes later. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Favorite Bastard

Every so often I get curious about what Kip McKean is up to these days.  It doesn’t happen often, I think the last time was over a year ago.  Today, I saw this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kip_McKean

There’s a flaw in the Wikipedia philosophy.  Mostly it works, but on edge fringe cases like this, it simply can’t.  If you can make it to the bottom without vomiting or suffocating from incredulous laughter, note how the tone changes.  At the beginning the writer(s) makes an honest effort to sound legitimate, as though everything reported is mere fact.  In a sense they are, in the same way North Korea reports facts on their state sponsored news agency.  Towards the bottom all pretense is lost.   Note the use of exclamation marks and the use of the words “we” and “our”.  It’s not too hard to figure out the perspective of the writer.  How many other Wikipedia articles use “we”, especially in an article about an individual?  I was tempted to “correct” the article, but I suspect that’s already happened a couple of times.  It’s surprising to see the “critical” links at the bottom haven’t been removed.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this article has been “cleansed”.

For an alternative view of Kip McKean, try out these sites.

He has an official website, but I don’t recommend you waste your time.  http://www.kipmckean.org/  It’s boring as dirt.

A bit more interesting reading is http://www.kipmckean.com/.  How pissed off do you think he was when he saw that domain was taken?

This man started a cult, this cult grew to frightening proportions, and damaged countless people.  Eventually the ICOC (his cult) more or less kicked him out for not living up to his own standards (nobody can live up to those standards, incidentally) and went to Portland Oregon to start again.  The ICOC more or less collapsed under it’s own weight without the charismatic cult leader to hold it together.  He’s still out there and he’s still ruining lives.  He’s since moved back to Los Angeles and more or less rebuilt his “movement”.  Apparently the current name is the Los Angeles International Christian Church (Ironically, I.C.C instead of I.C.O.C., the International Churches of Christ.  Creativity does not appear to be one of his sins). 

Why do I tell you this?  Simply this.  If you’ve read this post then you’re most likely not a member of the church (they don’t allow members to browse the Internet unsupervised, this post would be considered “spiritual porn”), but you might know someone who is.  They might approach you.  If you’re even mildly on the fence about the existence of God they’ve got an in with you. 

Mostly, though, I hope that I’ve completely wasted your time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today, the world is a slightly better place

BushPoster

I'm still keeping up on the news, and despite several Republican attempts at revisionist history (e.g. "Bush defeated the Taliban/Al Queda" which still hasn't happened, the economy problems started before Bush, blah blah) I see the mess beginning to be straightened out.  Apparently President Obama was shocked to find out that he had the authority to declare American citizens as enemy combatants, and could indefinitely detain them and deprive them of their civil rights without due process.  Yep.  Apparently the damage done to the Constitution didn't just apply to Iraqis. 

I got a slight chuckle when I heard there's a movement in Canada to have George Bush detained on suspicion of torture (which shouldn't be too hard to prove), where he is headed now to give his first post-presidential speech.  I believe that it will be an American first to have a president arrested for war crimes.  As embarrassing as it would be for the country, it would still be good to see.  One can hope...

I like President Obama.  I think he's shown moral fibre in his first couple of months as President which has been sorely lacking in America's leadership for a very long time (e.g. more than eight years).  It saddens me to see Republicans still playing politics.  The Democrats do too, but Obama seems (so far) to be above it.  The fact that he's a Democrat seems almost incidental to him.  He's out to repair the damage of eight years of Sith rule. 

I don't hate all Republicans because of Bush, nor do I like all Democrats because of Obama.  I wonder how people justify what happened to themselves solely because they call themselves "Republican".  I wonder how many people no longer call themselves "Republican" because they couldn't.  That's the danger of being a party-liner.  I'm neither Republican nor Democrat.  Neither Conservative nor Liberal (well, maybe just a bit Liberal).  This gives me the ability to be a bit more objective about politics.  I didn't like what I saw and I didn't have to rationalize it.  I like what I'm seeing now and I can be confident I'm not rationalizing.

I wish he weren't a Democrat, but if he weren't he wouldn't have been elected.  It still bothers me to see our government stuck in the grip of these two massive political parties that for the most part seem interested in nothing but bickering.  I think there's light at the end of the tunnel, though.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Darwin was wrong, duh!

All this time, I can't believe how stupid I've been.  I thought I had a basic understanding of the Theory of Evolution, but finally, at last, I've been freed from my delusions by the smartest of the smart, the wisest of the wise. 

You see it's quite simple.  Darwin was just mad at God, he had no scientific grounding for his theory.  Thousands of us idiots just simply bought it without question, not even once considering that when certain animals like, say, a dog spontaneously sprang up from the primordial goo, they would have simply died out had not a female dog also spontaneously sprang up fully formed and fully evolved at the same exact moment from the primordial goo.  What are the odds on that, eh?

Why, it's so simple now!  How could I have been so blind?

</sarcasm>

Enjoy the latest thing to spontaneously induce a migraine in my primordial head.  Warning, take the aspirin first.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh Cowboy, where art thou? (part deux)

You may have noticed a serious drop in the frequency of posts on the goodness we refer to as Another Idiot with a Blog.  There's a reason for that.  I'm sure it's a good one.  I'll let you know when I think of it.

The truth is about every couple of years I seem to re-invent myself.  It's not intentional, it just happens.  Usually after a breakdown of some kind

I'm going to be focusing on something else for a while.  Don't worry, loyal legions of Cowboy-ites, the Cowboy is not gone.  The wisdom you need is still contained within the posts of this blog and will not go away (again), and I'll still be back from time to time to impart more wisdom your way.  You'll be angry at first, you might even turn away from your faith, but you cannot resist the Cowboy.  He's not just a man, he's a freakin' force of nature, baby!  You'll be back.

I'm working on another blog at the moment.  The reason is I'd like to be taken seriously for once, and let's be honest, that ain't happenin' here.  For those who care, post a message or send me an e-mail.  If I like you and want you to know where it is, I'll tell you.  If not, I'll fart in your general direction, you silly English kanigot. (If you don't get the quote, I can't help you). 

I'm also spending a lot of time with my new Zune.  If I had only known how easy it makes it to follow podcasts, I would have gotten one years ago.  And it probably would have been an iPod.  Then I would have gotten angry at just how shittily Apple software runs on a PC, and chucked it against the wall.  Then I would have taken the shattered remains back to the Apple store demanding a refund.  There would have been an awful row after the resident Apple "genius" calmly explained to me that you can't return a smashed iPod, as the smashing of said iPod voids the warranty of said iPod.  It's right there under paragraph 411 subsection 831 part b, where it states that willful destruction of the iPod is cause for termination of the warranty.  Yelling loudly that the crappy iTunes software brought my poor PC to it's four year old knees and eventually caused it to blue-screen itself in despair and that they should give restitution for the pain and suffering I've endured as a result probably wouldn't help.  *sigh* That's Apple for you.

I've mentioned before that I've been quite interested in XNA, despite my complete inability to produce a working game.  It turns out that if you subscribe to the Channel 9 podcasts tagged XNA, most of them were done by Mr. Rory Blyth (so far, anyway).  Who knew?  That guy's everywhere.  I wonder how I could get him to move to the Midwest and come to work where I work?  I'd move to Portland, but the whole moving thing didn't work so well last time.  We're not talking about that anymore.

So, farewell for now, my lovely fans.  I love you all too!  Don't despair!  Go forth and live eventful lives, and always say: WWCD?