Trying To Maintain Rationality

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mark Green's Voting Record & His Base Of Support: Pathetic, Sad BushBot

The guy is a (not so) hilarious parrot of George W. Bush - the guy who's ALREADY one of the worst executives [and who, arguably, has presided over the worst combination of foreign + domestic policy, ever] in this country's history, and the guy hasn't even been investigated(!) - yet Jim Doyle isn't taking the easy opportunity to point out the obvious and waste Mark Green in one gut-blast.


Anyhow... here's a sample of Green's voting record:

Wait. Fuck that. I tried to summarize it in a few bullet points, but it quickly became a dozen... and then 30... there's so much shit on this guy that it's almost comical.

Just go read it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ha! Ha! Googlebombing The Election.

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"The Best Medical Care In The U.S."

(Crossposted in a diary entry at DailyKos)


The July 17th edition of Business Week [that publication known for its wacky, liberal agenda **cough**] magazine just came out with a big article on how Veterans Affairs gives the best medical care in the United States.

How about that? The VA. Single-payer, government-provided healthcare... is the best. This "socialized medicine," as it turns out, is a misnomer -- it's actually "efficient medicine." I suppose could go into the economic theory, definitions and esoterica explaining why publicly-provided healthcare makes sense, but... not now.


Let me simply give you some blurbs from the article:


The 154 hospitals and 875 clinics run by the Veterans Affairs Dept. have been ranked best-in-class by a number of independent groups on a broad range of measures, from chronic care to heart disease treatment to percentage of members who receive flu shots. It offers all the same services, and sometimes more, than private sector providers.

According to a Rand Corp. study, the VA system provides two-thirds of the care recommended by such standards bodies as the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. Far from perfect, granted -- but the nation's private-sector hospitals provide only 50%. And while studies show that 3% to 8% of the nation's prescriptions are filled erroneously, the VA's prescription accuracy rate is greater than 99.997%, a level most hospitals only dream about. That's largely because the VA has by far the most advanced computerized medical-records system in the U.S. And for the past six years the VA has outranked private-sector hospitals on patient satisfaction in an annual consumer survey conducted by the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan. This keeps happening despite the fact that the VA spends an average of $5,000 per patient, vs. the national average of $6,300.

Ok then. Works better for less money.


A nationwide health-care network that gets its funding from a single payer can institute mighty changes. Proponents of national health-care reform extrapolate even further. "The VA proves that you can get better results with an integrated, organized, national health-care system," says Dr. Lucian Leape, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and a leading expert on hospital safety. "We will not achieve even close to the level of quality and safety we need [in the U.S.] as long as we have individual practitioners and hospitals doing individual things."

The VA is, in many ways, the exact opposite of America's fragmented private-sector system, where doctors work for hospitals as independent contractors, and third-party insurers pay the bills as they see fit.

Jeepers. What else?

Because it treats patients throughout their lives, it can invest in prevention and primary care, knowing it will reap the benefits of lower long-term costs. Because the government pays the bills, the VA doesn't have to waste time or money on claims-related paperwork. Unlike Medicare, the VA is allowed to negotiate prices with drug companies and other suppliers, and it uses that power aggressively. The consumer group Families USA estimates that Medicare Part D enrollees, on average, pay 46% more than the VA for the same drugs.

The VA also gets to keep any money it saves through cost efficiencies. In the private sector the savings flow back to whoever is paying the bills.

Zoinks. I'll bet the caregivers suck, huh?

That doesn't mean it's settling for second-rate physicians. Among the VA staff is a Nobel prize winner, and clinical research is conducted throughout the system. The Buffalo VA recently hired one of the city's top surgeons, Dr. Miguel A. Rainstein, as chief of surgery. He had spent 26 years in private practice, where, he concedes, he made a lot more money, but he was ready for a lifestyle change. "I feel the VA has always gotten a bad rap. They have an excellent medical staff here, in surgery and in specialties."

The staff is happier, too, since much of the bureaucracy that once hobbled the organization has been streamlined.

Oh - guess not.

... here's the part that I normally work with - the VistA system:

The centerpiece of that culture is VistA, the VA's much praised electronic medical-records system. Every office visit, prescription, and medical procedure is recorded in its database, allowing doctors and nurses to update themselves on a patient's status with just a few keystrokes. In 1995, patient records at VA hospitals were available at the time of a clinical encounter only 60% of the time. Today they are 100% available. Some 96% of all prescriptions and medical orders, such as lab tests, are now entered electronically. The national comparison is more like 8%. "One out of five tests in a civilian hospital have to be repeated because the paper results are lost," says Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson. "That's not happening in our hospitals." VistA is a big reason why the VA has held its costs per patient steady over the past 10 years despite double-digit inflation in health-care prices.

VistA has also turned out be a powerful force for quality control. The VA uses the data gathered in its computers to pinpoint problem areas, such as medication errors. The network also allows it to track how closely the medical staff is following evidence-based treatment and monitor deficiencies. Such tracking pays off. When Rand did an extensive study comparing quality of care at the VA with private-sector hospitals, it found that performance measurement played an important role in helping the VA score higher in every category except acute care, where it came in about even.

Pretty spiffy, huh?


There's much more to the article; read up!

The whole thing is right here.

Single-payer. Publicly-provided. That's the future of healthcare that WORKS.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why Did I Not Think Of This?

Sheer fucking genius.

Hats? I'd have NEVER looked there - seriously.

Here's the "complete set of the 1968-1974 Alcoholics Anonymous comic strips," with many thanks to Ethan Persoff.

Be sure to check out the "How To Spot A Jap" strips, from the same site...

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Jim Bob Cooter"

I can't make this shit up.

From the story:

Tennessee backup QB suspended after DUI arrest

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee quarterback Jim Bob Cooter was suspended indefinitely Monday after campus police arrested him on a drunken-driving charge.

That's right. Tennessee. Jim Bob Cooter.

I haven't had a belly-laugh like that for a while. Thank you, ESPN, the University of Tennessee football team and, most of all, Jim Bob Cooter's parents.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Just Heard Paul Hackett Go Berserk On Jack Murtha, On AAR

Majority Report Radio had Paul Hackett on the phone.

Major Hackett, a man who I respect greatly, just... *absolutely* went off on PA Congressman Jack Murtha for speakling out about the Haditha Massacre. Hackett presented a completely different story from what has been widely reported (regarding newly-uncovered information and the military's official position on the purported events, that is) -- his alternative account included insurgents methodically attacking the 4-vehicle convoy, after detonating the IED.. which is completely contrary to everything that's been presented...

The only indicator that made me think twice about the Major's motive was that he, er, kinda sounded like he was taking a completely ideological position, saying stuff to the effect of (not a quote) 'don't bash the marines' and 'you're disparaging good men'...

I'm just. I don't know what to think, to be honest. Murtha has long had the ears of the highest-ranked military officers; Hackett's always seemed anything but disingenuous.

Guess we'll have to see...

[edited for misspelling, grammar and general retardation]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Seven Questions: Supporting the Veterans"

Foreign Policy magazine sat down for a conversation with Jon Soltz of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America PAC, where they caught up on both the progress in Iraq/Afghanistan and veterans' issues.

The VA stuff is what always gets *my* attention.

Here's a few blurbs from the article:

FP: What are you hearing from soldiers in Iraq?

JS: The best data are a recent Zogby poll, which showed that 75 percent of soldiers in Iraq don’t know of a clear strategy for victory there.


FP: How would you rate the administration’s policies relating to veterans?

JS: The veteran who walks into the Department for Veterans Affairs
(VA) today is drastically worse off than he or she was four or five years ago.


FP: Why are so many Iraq war veterans in debt?

JS: If you’re making $80,000 a year in the civilian world and then you get called up and make $25,000 or $30,000 fighting in Iraq, you take a tremendous hit... (* this next one really irks the fuck out of me -- EconAtheist) There’s also the problem of insurance scams on military bases. [Insurance salespeople] try to get 19- or 20-year-old kids—who don’t know a lot about finance—to buy life insurance and mutual funds that charge high fees. When soldiers come home, many of them have a lot of money from their deployment because they had nothing to spend it on, and they end up being targeted by loan sharks.


But perhaps most importantly, and most disgustingly:

FP: When we think of homeless veterans, we often think of Vietnam veterans. But there are reports of a large homelessness problem among Iraq veterans. Why is that?

JS: When a soldier goes to the VA and his arm is broken, you can fix it. You can give him disability for a broken arm, a busted leg, or a messed-up back. But when you go to the VA after being off active duty for six months and you realize that you’re depressed—you’ve got anxiety, you can’t sleep at night, and your marriage is falling apart—they cannot give you a blood test to see if you have PTSD. Right now there are hundreds and hundreds of Iraq war veterans who have gone to Department of Defense psychiatrists and been coded with “adjustment disorder.” So they do not get disability. If they did get disability, they would get enough money to help them through their depression.

There are hundreds of Iraq veterans who have gone to private psychiatrists who have diagnosed them with PTSD, yet the VA says they have “adjustment disorder.” And that’s because the VA has not been fully funded by the Bush administration to address this new demand for PTSD treatment. It equates to turning their backs on the same people they sent to war. And that’s why we have homeless veterans. Homelessness is a symptom of a larger issue. Whether it’s beating your wife, suicide, or homelessness, it all comes back to this nasty word called PTSD.

"Adjustment Disorder." Yeah.

Time for this country to make some similar political "adjustments."

Monday, May 15, 2006

Palm Treo 700p FINALLY Officially Announced


Your's truly seen running around the house, spazmodically. It's not the perfect all-in-one device, but it's a helluva lot closer to the device I've been waiting for - the Treo 650 just didn't do it for me.

I hope to have one in hand before I head off to the YearlyKos festivities in LAS VEGAS, baby... coming up in June! Be there or... be relatively square... not a square as a Republican dullard, but still... you'll be square.

If I can't get hold of one by then, well, I'll have to shoot someone in the face while I'm drunk.

What? With a camera.

Suck It, Irrational Ones

Here's a nice and lengthy little list of Things Creationists Hate.

The site's disclaimer:

The following is not intended as an attack upon the Bible as inspirational, divinely inspired, or of literary merit. Nor is it in any way an attack upon Christianity or any other religion, or upon the moral fabric of American society (although, inevitably, many creationists will see it as such, since any questioning of their own views is seen as an attack upon God Himself, and all that's holy). Neither is it an attack upon those who see divine purpose in evolution, or view evolution as the handiwork of a divine Hand. It most emphatically is intended as a verbal pie-in-the-face to those who insist that the Bible is to be read as an accurate science book and description of the natural world. I hope it is an affront to those who demand that Genesis, in particular, be taken as literal, historical fact. And most particularly, I wish to be downright offensive to those who would remove evolution from our public schools or insert into schools sectarian religious teachings under the guise of "scientific creationism."

See now? All in good fun. I'm sure the Biblical Literalists won't be appalled/outraged. =)

p.s. spirituality ≠ religion or belief in a supernatural being

Michael Weiner "So Racist That It Hurts To Even Listen To Him Talk" Savage

Seriously. Can Michael Savage be any more disgusting?

From this past Wednesday's Weiner Show, posted at

SAVAGE: What will it take to wake you up to the fact that you are being erased from the future of America? And why are you being erased? If you're a person of European descent, why do they want your child to be a minority in America? And when your little girl is a minority in America, what will happen to her? Tell me what will happen to her? Do you think that the minorities, when they take over the country, will be quite as benevolent and as enlightened as the European-Americans are today? Or do you sense that just perhaps, just maybe, they will not bring the learnings of the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, to their new power?

What the hell does... "your little girl"..."what will happen to her"... ?? Do I even have to begin to break this down?

Von Weinerschnitzel has more:

SAVAGE: Now, then, the question becomes in 20 years, what will America look like? And, what is the social landscape like? And what happens to white people? That's the real question here. Will our brown brethren, who are so nationalistic and so anti-gringo and anti-Anglo, be as enlightened as the European-American is? I don't think so. Do you?

Okay, so... again, do I need to break this down?

Aaaaaaaaand crazyguy with the fake name takes another faceplant. People actually listen to this shit and... agree. Sad.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Boston College Faculty Object To Honorary Degree For Rice"

From this morning's AP wires, posted at news:

May 3, 2006

BOSTON --Nearly 100 faculty members at Boston College have signed a letter objecting to the college's decision to award Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice an honorary degree.


Rice was announced Monday as commencement speaker for the May 22 ceremonies. Hollenbach said he has no objection to Rice being a speaker, but said she does not deserve an honorary degree.

"On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work," the letter said.


I tell ya -- good on the Jesuits of Boston College.

Chick's a shifty, lying, duplicitous, creepy ho-bag...

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Money = Speech" Doctrine; ACLU Being Asshats

- - this entry is cross-posted here, over at - -

* NOTE: I am a member of the ACLU *

Every once in a while, the American Civil Liberties Union finds itself defending some form of speech that's so repulsive (think: KKK, etc.) that I'm forced to pinch myself and repeat the "I wholeheartedly reject your stupid argument, but I'll continue to defend your right to present your stupid argument" mantra.

This is not one of those times.

In an April 29th, 2006 article, writer Jeffrey Kaplan notes that the ACLU is cockpunching [my description, not Kaplan's] Vermont's right to govern itself by:

"... attacking a Vermont law that limits contributions to political candidates and candidate spending in state elections. In a case now being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, (Randall v. Sorrell) the ACLU argued the law conflicts with the infamous "money equals speech" doctrine first promulgated by the Court in its 1975 Buckley v. Valeo ruling."

(Those totally unfamiliar with the Buckley ruling (which actually upheld federal limits on campaign contributions, but gave us the "money equals speech" doctrine) can head over to this Wiki entry for a quick primer.)

As Kaplan notes, the "money equals speech" doctrine is completely silly - and fundamentally flawed - because it ignores:

"... the fact that there is a profound difference between who we are (human beings with an inalienable right to self-expression) and what we may possess (money or other forms of property)."

Ok... Lemme jump back to my gripe:

The ACLU, by supporting this doctrine, is in fact contradicting its own declaration which states that "If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled." It's very simple -- money influences the election process, so... people with less money have less influence. Until citizens become, essentially, incredibly wise, there's no getting around that bugaboo -- voters are swayed by the candidates that get the most coverage, and the most money buys the most coverage. The net result is that those with the most money can drown out those who are best at governing.

Kaplan best summarizes the situation here:

"In view of its ongoing denial of political reality, the ACLU's position that the "power, even of a democratic majority, must be limited to ensure individual rights" is replete with irony. In this instance, what the ACLU is ensuring is the "right" of the moneyed minority to exercise political power commensurate with its wealth."


I could go on, but I don't want to spoil the read. Well, that plus and reprinting everything gives me a migraine. Oh - I didn't really proofread this... cut me some slack... it's Sunday nite and I'm really only concentrating on eating a gigantic handful of delicious "real fruit pectin" jellybeans.

Check out the entire article!

... psst! check out the rest of the site, too... Restoring Citizen Authority Over Corporations

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