Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've been saying things like this for some time, and it appears it's catching on.

Today, Michael Waldman (KagroX) at Dailykos.com:
You're going to force me to pay an insurance company for shit insurance that as a free market actor I decided not to even try to buy?

Fuck the hell out of that.

I started out presuming that Baucus, Conrad, and the conservaDems actually wanted health care reform that would work -- meaning it would work for citizens, not just for insurance companies. Then Baucus managed to diddle and delay a Finance Committee bill: delay serves nothing but killing good aspects of the bill.

Of course, wingnuts and astroturfers have spent the delay killing the public option, leaving the bill with a mandate which will shovel money to insurance company CEOs. It will changes some of their past abuses but will inevitably not consider the next wave of abusive practices that will make health insurance a hated commodity (i.e., insurers will plant--or find -- new loopholes to screw consumers).

Pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps will be gone, to some extent--but how will they work around that when they want to boost quarterly profits? And what about recission? (Supposedly it will be banned, but individuals will have to appeal the recission -- lovely during a medical crisis.) What about the next as-yet-unnamed scam the insurance companies come up with to screw people out of both their premiums and their life-saving care?

Think that'll get fixed before you die? Considering how hard taking on insurance companies proves to be, don't bet on it. Just mandatorily pay your money to Stephen Helmsley (2008 compensation: over $3 million) and prepare to get screwed.

People will end up hating their insurance and the Democrats -- not just the insurance companies -- will get blamed for it.

The stupidity of this scheme is just incredible.

At least keep a public option so one isn't a criminal if one doesn't reward Stephen Helmsley for his stock-dating scam.

Note to the unnamed White House official who included individual mandates in the list of so-called "goodies" that progressives will love: you are so utterly full of shit.

As Atrios put it: "mccain attacking obama on both corporatist and noncorporatist stuff. neat trick, they'll pull it off too."

They sure will. If people don't like their health insurance, they will blame Obama, and the Democrats. The Republicans will campaign against it, win, and rip out every change that was made. Welcome back, recission! Welcome back refusal due to pre-existing conditions! Welcome back, annual and lifetime caps! With half-measures, the Dems will apparently put together a healthcare system that people will hate. In a few years, Republicans will change it back to the current one!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Funny, and possibly not perfectible

Twitter / Peter Serafinowicz. A simple quote: "'He was revolting, yet mysterious; like a circular turd.'"

I find this sublimely hilarious.

But while I'm laughing, I have to be a pedant and say that while "circular" communicates the impression for most people, I'd think that some would prefer "torus" or "toroidal." "Toroidal" and "turd" would have the same first letter. Better for funny!

So, to belabor it beyond all reckoning, "toroidal turd" is the ideal rendering for the sense of the phrase, but it drains the joke for those without understanding of the topological term "toroid."

Still, as it stands, it's a friggin' funny line.

Peter Serafinowicz may be the funniest Twitterer I've seen.

Thank you Peter Serafinowicz, who spans the Atlantic as a funny person. He will be known to all funny-seekers here and there soon.

Roger Ebert: Smart Guy

I have come to understand Roger Ebert's take on movies more as years go by.

Nowadays Roger Ebert has had serious cancer, and has been treated in the US system. He's also a smart guy -- and not dead.

Roger Ebert's Journal: I'm safe on board. Pull up the life rope

His prior entry on health care "Death Panels." A most excellent term. is itself excellent: with graphics from one of the most powerful silent movies of all time.

I've come to like Ebert as a movie reviewer more and more. I don't always agree with him totally -- I generally don't disagree but may quibble. He's both empathic and analytical. He loves cinema. He gives movies a break, especially if they're trying to do something interesting.

In this legislative health insurance scrum, he's fighting a battle he isn't getting paid for, and he'll get screamed at by Cracker Nation. He's one of the good guys. Yet again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Political Idiots?

Jed at Daily Kos quotes some anonymous WH person: "The president continues to operate under the belief that liberals will warm to the bill when presented with a goodybag that includes an individual mandate...."

I can't believe the administration has a leading political idiot who would call the individual mandate part of a "goodybag."

What part of "pay a mandatory tax to a private health insurance company with a CEO who makes five million dollars a year -- or be a criminal" is a "goody?"

Without the public option, there should be no mandate. Even with a public option, I'm not sure there should be a mandate.

I keep hearing DC politicians, the President included, who say we need a "uniquely American solution" to health care.

Forcing the middle class and poor to enrich private insurance companies who are already making outrageous profits is "unique." It sure isn't American to me.

And an individual mandate is political suicide, to boot.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Wish

Where people are carrying guns near a Presidential event, I wish some folks would stand with signs that read "Book Depository."

Monday, August 17, 2009

What Digby Said

About insurance "reform" with a mandate that individuals buy health insurance from insurance companies:
Hullabaloo: "Insurance 'reform' will end up being defined as the government acting in concert with the insurance companies to force Americans to buy their expensive product --- and it will play perfectly into the right wing populist argument that's gaining currency. Without a public plan as a low cost option, this thing looks a lot less like reform and a whole lot more like a shake down. I could see the new Newtie Populist Republicans using that against all these Blue Dogs and Corporate Senators in their districts next time and taking them out. Personally, I'd be hard pressed to say they were wrong."
Force me to buy private insurance-- hand over cash to Aetna -- or be a criminal?

Fuck that. Forget it. I'm a progressive and want health care reform, but Congress putting in a sluice from my wallet to an insurance company? No way.

If I had a car I'd have to buy auto insurance -- but I don't own a car. What do I have to do in order not to be forced to purchase insurance: stop breathing?

It's an unfunded mandate on every person in the USA. Add the public option and it's not so bad.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Shorter Mark Halperin:
The agitated lunatic waving the assault rifle and the bystander trying to reason with him are similarly responsible for the spray of bullets.
That is a metaphor. It's probable this will cease to be metaphorical before August is over: I wonder what Halperin will think then?

Halperin is the unscrubbed taint of journalism.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Alastair Campbell watches In the Loop

Yet more In the Loop blogging and re-blogging.

It's an open secret that the character of Malcolm Tucker (played by Peter Capaldi) in In the Loop is based on Tony Blair's main advisor, Alastair Campbell.

In March, just before the movie opened in the UK, Campbell watched the movie and discussed it with critic Mark Kermode for BBC2's The Culture Show.

Oddly enough, Campbell isn't flattered by the portrayal. Go figure. Though he did laugh at the "Shitting Forecast" joke.

Alastair Campbell writes about the circumstances of this viewing and interview.


Also, The Onion AV Club has a long and wide-ranging interview with Armando Iannucci. The whole thing is worth reading. Here's one exchange of interest:

AVC: In that case, it’s almost more poignant than funny, because the abruptness just increases how pathetic it is.

AI: I wanted this to be about people who are several rungs down, and all the decisions are being made through there. The guy I met from the CIA said he spent his first year at the CIA doing desk paperwork, and dreaming that someone would tap him on the shoulder and say, “Listen, you’ve done very well, we’re going to move you through that door and show you the real CIA. Go through there, that’s where all the big screens are, all the equipment and the surveillance.” It never happened. There is no “over there.” It’s just this. Marker pens. He said they got a lot of their intelligence from the Baghdad newspapers, because they were actually more accurate than what they were getting back from their operatives.

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