Monday, April 30, 2007

Medicare Program overpays private plans ...

  • Medicare Overpayments to Private Plans
    Changing the payment policies for MA plans would save Medicare almost $65 billion over the next five years and almost $160 billion over the next ten years.

Gonzo's hacks, what was the DOJ, didn't solicit information from the applicant ...

so•li•cit |səˈlisit|
verb ( -ited , -iting ) [ trans. ]
ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone : he called a meeting to solicit their views. See note at beg .
  • ask (someone) for something : historians and critics are solicited for opinions by the auction houses.
  • [ intrans. ] accost someone and offer one's or someone else's services as a prostitute : [as n. ] ( soliciting) although prostitution was not itself an offense, soliciting was.
Gonzo's hacks did not solicit such information as party affiliation from applicants. Oh, no, their hands are clean, clean, sticky clean. They went on the web and found 'inappropriate' information.

Why, why, why ...

If Bush vetoes the money for the troops, he is the one turning down the money.

Why does Congress refuse to understand their own power and worse, their responsibilities? Because the Republican Congress kowtowed to the the childish tantrum-throwing Bush does not mean the Democratic Congress has to do the same.

If Bush vetoes the bill ask him where he's going to get the money from?

And why are Democrats letting the corporate press dictate the debate. The corporate press just parrots baby Bush's childish babble ...

Why do Democrats keep saying publicly that they will go back and create another bill? There's the bill. Sign it, kiddo.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Once upon a time most US policemen were trustworthy ...

Are there any police left who can be trusted? Another tale that shows that not only can the public NOT trust the police but police officers should not have much confidence in each other either.
... Johnston fired only once through her door and didn't hit any of the officers. That means the officers who were wounded likely were hit by their own colleagues ...
This sorry state of affairs started even before BushCo as part of the Republican poorly thought out (as are all things Republican) get-tough on crime wave that started the U.S. on its way to being a prison nation.

Bill Frist's get out of jail free card ...

Well, we certainly can't assume the corrupted US attorney's did anything right and above boards. There's not much choice but to assume that the corrupt Attorney General gave Bill Frist a get-out-of-jail-free card whether he deserved it or not.

Something else to thank the moron in the White House for. We can't trust American justice. Torture, gulags and Republicans get special passes from corrupt US Attorneys.

Why do the Democrats think we should support them ...

Why should we support Democrats when they make no attempt to impeach a criminal administration.

Republicans, whether elected or appointed to public office, actively ignore and subvert the Constitution and US laws. Most of them are crooks. All of them put their party before the country.

Though elected Democrats know this, they do nothing of any substance to change it.

Why should we trust them? Just because the Republicans are worse? That is not a qualification. That is not a defense. That is not a justification. That has absolutely no value. Worse is just a matter of degree. If Democrats will not defend the Constitution as the Republican tear it to shreds they have no value merely because they are not personally doing the shredding.

Wal-Mart lot resting place of ancient camel ...

The AP reports camel bones found by Greenfield Citrus Nursery owner while digging a hole in which to plant a tree on Wal-Mart property in Mesa, Arizona. Brad Archer from ASU has verified the find as a camel ("creatures [that] walked the land here until about 8,000 years ago").

Camel and Monkey 1
Camel and Monkey 2

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Because they lie ...

The term print media is used in the title. I think a more apt term would be the corporate media: Grimm Fairy Tales; Why are Print Media Dying? They Deserve to!
[ ... ]The newspaper industry scrambles as readership declines and as luck would have it I have made a study of why readership is on the wane. I have discovered a very simple answer, they don’t tell the truth! If I want fantasy I’ll read Harry Potter. Sometimes they’ll tell a little truth or part of the truth and sometimes just a flat out lie to keep from telling any part of the truth. It has reached the point to where even sports scores are to be questioned.

Last year the local paper printed a front-page story about the new 200 bed homeless shelter, it was a wonder, marvelous, a model to the world, praise be and laurels to all responsible. Only it neglected to mention that it was replacing a 500-bed shelter that was being closed down or that it was located in an industrial area making it more difficult for the homeless to reach. It was for all intents and purposes a camp, out of sight out of mind and when it comes to the subject of politicians out of mind is the operative part of the sentence.

This week Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich brought forward his articles of impeachment against the Vice President. Dennis Kucinich is a rarity in Ohio politics these days because he’s not under any indictments or tainted by scandals of any kind. Kucinich has stood against the war on his principles from day one his arguments have not changed one iota unlike the President’s. He stood against the Patriot act and warned before it’s passage that such far-reaching powers would surely lead to abuses. He thinks America needs a single payer healthcare plan.

He made these same arguments when the President’s popularity was in the 80% range even if you disagree with his positions the rarity of a politician standing up on principle alone should earn him some respect.

Here’s what that liberal bastion the New York Times said, “Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich undoubtedly would like to be one of the front-runners in the 2008 Democratic presidential nominating campaign, but being a distinct longshot does give him the luxury of saying whatever is on his mind.” Did I sleep through the convention? ......

Friday, April 27, 2007

Charlie Chaplin would be proud ...

This video clip of the border patrol and a car full (and I do mean full) of people who I assume are illegal entrants is marvelous slapstick.

Sure it wasn't staged? And if real, I do hope nothing bad happened to any of them --Border Patrol officers and the cars occupants alike.

Link via Tucson Weekly.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Leave it to the Tucson Citizen to obfuscate ...

From the Tucson Citizen with the byline of the AP: Threats in Arizona, elsewhere target cheerleader footage
The Tucson Citizen article begins with the reward for information ($5,000) offered by the FBI and reports on the inclusion of a powdered insecticide with the mailed threats. Toward the end the article we learn that the person sending the threatening letters has something against the closeups that camera crews take of the cheerleaders and also some of the coverage of the WNBA players.

My first assumption is that this is some far right wacko.
From the East Valley Tribune (Phoenix): FBI probes cheerleader coverage threats
Now read the East Valley Tribune. The story begins to take a different slant. Appears the person may be very involved in the events and may be one of those who have the cameras trained for long periods of time on particular parts of their bodies (for private perusal by the cameracreeps, perhaps).

I must learn to stop jumping to conclusions ...

McCain was much more interesting when he played a Maverick ...

The AP writes of John McCain that
... a planned four-day romp through early primary states and his Arizona home — gives Mr. McCain [Ed. Why the 'Mr.' instead of Senator or just plain McCain?] an opportunity to restart his campaign after a troubling four-month period ... [McCain casts himself as voice of experience, Associated Press]
and quotes his latest pablum for the masses.
“I'm not running for president to be somebody, but to do something; to do the hard but necessary things not the easy and needless things,” he said. “I'm not running to leave our biggest problems to an unluckier generation of leaders, but to fix them now, and fix them well.”
I gather the press 'like' John McCain which seems to be the most important criteria in the 'selection' of our Presidents, but McCain just does not have the kind of wealth and family mafia style connection to make them insist his most endearing quality is the ability to inspire a whole press pack to salivate at the thought of having beer with him. Until he can inspire that kind of loyalty from scribblers and keyboarders I don't know that there is much hope for him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Just 10 easy steps ...

And the steps have already been taken: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

... As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. ...
Link via Crooks and Liars.

The Charlton - Renzi connection ...

UPDATE - From TPM Muckraker - The dam breaks? Appears micromanaging by the 'Justice' department included delaying investigators actions for months and years. No wonder Renzi thought he was safe. He was part of the Bush mafia.

On March 20th I asked if Rick Renzi was safe now that US Attorney Charlton was fired and on March 21st I posted about the Arizona Republic's lack-luster reporting of the Renzi matter.

Information has been dribbling out and with the Congressional hearings the now inept traditional media is no long able to ignore the situation.

Talking Points Memo points out that the 'Justice' Department did not pass on to Congress the information that Rick Renzi's office made contact with US Attorney Charlton's office after hearing about an investigation into his affairs. Wonder why they wanted to hide this fact?
Renzi's top aide Brian Murray then called Charlton's office and asked Charlton's spokesman, Wyn Hornbuckle.

Unlike what happened with David Iglesias, Charlton's chief investigator did report the contact to the Department of Justice, as DOJ regs dictate.

Now, here's the key: after all Congress's document and information requests to DOJ, the Justice Department had not revealed the Renzi-Charlton contact. For some reason, they've held that back.

The late-out-of-the-gate AP story: Lawmaker leaves panels after FBI raid

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The market place saves money farce ...

If we believed Republicans, the GOP and/or Conservatives (which I did once-upon-a-time) then business can always perform more efficiently than the government.

Well, not exactly. It appears that big business cannot even operate without handouts from the government to ensure their obscene profits. The government still subsidizes Medicare private insurance plans:
... study after study, by MedPAC, the Congressional Budget Office, the Commonwealth Fund, and numerous scholars, show that taxpayers are paying at least 12% more to private plans than would be paid for the same beneficiaries in traditional Medicare. The Congressional Budget Offices estimates that these subsidies will cost taxpayers $54 billion over the next five years and $149 billion dollars over the next ten years. As former Medicare Administrator Bruce Vladeck has said, the experiment with privatizing Medicare has not saved Medicare a nickel. [Give The Real Medicare Program A Chance, USA]

Get that? I'll repeat it: " ... the experiment with privatizing Medicare has not saved Medicare a nickel."

But then the Republican goal was not to save Medicare any money. The goal was to destroy Medicare.

The Medicare Part D drug plan was also set up with subsidies to ensure even more profit for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. In addition the government by law cannot negotiate drug prices for medicare. So those who financially support our government (that us, the rich don't pay anymore) are paying twice, at least. First we pay the insurance companies extra in order to guarantee they will make obscene profits. Then we pay (directly or through an insurance provider) whatever the drug companies decide they want to extract out of the American consumer for their obscene profits. Oh, and if you are on Medicare Part D there is always the potential that you will be fleeced a third time with the bait-and-switch program built into the legislation. Legislation written by the pharmaceutical industry and probably not even read by your Congress Critter.

The article quoted above has this to say about AARP's entrance into the Medicare Advantage Insurance market:
Unfortunately, AARP's entrance into the private Medicare market provides a major boost to the privatization of Medicare. It also significantly reduces the organization's ability to speak as an objective voice for the interests of Medicare beneficiaries and the future of Medicare. The Center for Medicare Advocacy's mission is to advance fair access to Medicare and health care. Private Medicare is not best for beneficiaries and it's more expensive for taxpayers. Based on these standards and the history of Medicare, we can not support the privatization of Medicare, and we regret AARP's decision to do so.
I agree. Democrats had better start working on universal health care coverage. Letting the insurance companies chip away at this is disastrous. It can only get worse when greed is the sole motivation of these entities.

Sense and Nonsense ...

Murtha makes sense while Kyl is, of course, the nonsensical one ...
Kyl ‘Walks Off The Battlefield’ Of Intellectual Honesty
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) attacked the plan this morning on CNN, claiming it was “the first time I know of — in the middle of a war — that a country just announces that on a specific date it’s walking off the battlefield.” ... Kyl doesn’t mention that on two separate occasions during the Clinton administration, he voted explicitly in favor of setting “a specific date” for American troops to “walk off the battlefield” ...
There's also a CNN video clip of Kyl's lying eyes ...

Instead of bomb, bomb, bomb Iran ...

John McCain could have shown himself well informed, straightforwardly honest, politically responsible and able to lead:
A wise statesman might have told the audience that the problems of the Middle East are complex and that we must question "well documented" claims suggesting simple solutions. A true political maverick might have pointed out how quite recently, it had been "well documented" that the "real problem" in the Middle East was Saddam Hussein and that "regime change" in Baghdad would bring not only utopia on the Tigris but an "arc of democracy" throughout the region.
There really are no Republicans who are qualified to be President, Senator, or Congressman. Instead they qualify as some of the best con-men there ever were ...

It's not only the US Gov't that hides critial information from the public ...

English authorities keep life and death information secret also (Women cyclists ‘risk death’ by obeying traffic lights).
The report by Transport for London’s road safety unit was completed last July but has been kept secret. It suggests that some cyclists who break the law by jumping red lights may be safer and that cycle feeder lanes may make the problem worse.
Appears that women cyclists obey the traffic laws more frequently than men and as a result also are killed by lorries more frequently than men.

Wonder what their justification was for keeping this report secret? It might encourage women to disobey some traffic laws in order to stay alive?

This is a news article?

One sentence could have provide the totality of 'news' contained in:
Gas prices topping off

Jodie Snyder
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 23, 2007 08:26 PM

Nebulous authorities think gas is going to 'top off' around $3.00/gallon, but gas in Arizona is always higher; and Rip Wilson has a 4 mile commute (goody); and "Adriana Castro's red Mini Cooper gets about 39 miles a gallon" but she tries to get others to drive so she can save more on gas.

Did I miss anything?

Democrats in Congress MUST Impeach ...

Karl Rove's Jim Crow Voter Suppression Machine is Humming Along Just Fine, All Ready for 2008
... What is clear is that the Bush Administration is not continuing to try to expand totalitarian "Unitary Executive" authority so that the Bush Republicans can hand over a virtually unchallengeable presidency to a Democrat. They are steam rolling a dictatorial presidency forward with the expectation that they will be handing over unprecedented powers to a Republican.

As BuzzFlash has written before, remember that after all of the hullabaloo about the replacement of U.S. Attorneys with GOP hit men and women who will do Rove’s bidding, those loyalists are still in place and gearing up for carrying out the political dirty work that will help defeat a Democrat for president in 2008.

Furthermore, the U.S. Attorneys who weren’t fired and have cooperated with Rove’s grand scheme to deny minorities the right to vote, those U.S. Attorneys who conducted partisan prosecutions, are also still in place.

Gonzales may or may not stay in office. But whether he leaves or not, you can be sure that his replacement -- an Orrin Hatch or Ted Olsen, for example – will make sure that the Department of Justice’s role in voter suppression keeps humming along.

The RNC and Rove e-mails that the White House claims are "lost" no doubt would reveal the grand scheme behind the effort for the Bush Republicans to control the U.S. government for 100 years, as Rove has bragged.

It won’t be because they received the most votes. It will be because they suppressed the most votes.

And Rove is smiling because the machine he built is not being dismantled.

To the contrary, it is just being fine-tuned.

Being stubborn isn't a foreign policy ...

So says Bill Richardson in this ad.

But what will the press do with a candidate who talks sense? There's all kind of things they can write about. His hair, his barber or stylist. His tailor or his lack of one. His accent or lack of one. They could make fun of him for speaking more than one language. The list is endless. I'm sure those university journalism classes taught them much about tearing the good people down and raising bumbling fools up. They must have learned this skill somewhere. They are so good at it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Violence ...

Disturbing: The two types of violence via American Liberalism

F**k Daily Kos?

A contretemps at Conceptual Guerilla about Daily Kos. The comments are the real interest here. Such as:
This particular rant brought me into contact with the "peanut gallery" over there. It's an interesting dichotomy. The writers - both the front pagers and the popular diarists -- are generally very good. But they aren't really the audience -- something I never really understood until this episode. I thought I was talking to guys like you -- large numbers of whom were invisible to me. ...
He's right, though. Kos is a major factor in closing off the rest of the progressive blogs from view. His success, which had so much potential, has been used to limit the field rather than expand it.

AARP keeps making friends ...

AARP: helping insurance companies take old people’s money

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Real ...

... misconstruction (a word I found under delusion).

Tragedies, Virginia Tech and Gun Control ...

This column by E.J. Montini of the Arizona Republic was published just after last week's murderous rampage by a known crazy person who had access to guns.

I did not link to the article earlier because it just seemed too soon for the inevitable discussion about gun control.

I cannot agree with gun-control advocates because when you get down to their basic message, control means a ban for most of us. This is the situation in most of the world. Governments and the rich (or their body guards) have guns. The rest do not. This is what is being advocated (albeit in easily digested steps) by most gun-control advocates. If you wonder why many Americans, not just NRA nut cases, are leery of gun-control advocates just follow the 'reasonable' steps that England took to ban guns making the country a robber's paradise.

Should we have law governing guns? Of course and we do. Could the laws be better? Of course. But I would suggest that our laws cannot improve because of the two extreme factions making sure they do not: the NRA and the ban-all-guns crowd.

From Montini's commentary: After the massacre, an argument over gun control

When I first moved to Arizona in 1980, my view was that it was entirely too easy for a person to get a firearm here. Over the years, that view has changed. In our own way, Arizona is a Petri dish on this issue.

If you believe that the more armed citizens there are the safer we'll be, owing to our ability to defend ourselves, Arizona should be the safest place in the union. If you believe that the more armed citizens there are the more killings there will be, Arizona should be the lease safe place in the nation.

As it turns out, neither is true. Which leads me to believe that on gun control, those on the margins have it wrong.

A reasonable middle ground is nationwide uniformity in gun legislation. If there is a problem now, it is that the variation in laws from state to state makes the system porous and unworkable. The states know this. That's why so many of them have passed legislation preventing individual cities and counties from establishing their own gun laws.

An overarching federal law is the only thing that makes sense. Which it why it will never happen.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Border depression ...

Tucson Weekly writes about Arizona's border quandary: The Corridor of Killing --A rash of bloody violence is taking lives on both sides of the border by Michael Marizco
"I interpret this as belief by the bandidos that it's actually easier to hit on the U.S. side than on the Mexican side," said the official, who spoke to the Tucson Weekly on condition of anonymity.

Dared to ask to talk to Gonzales, did he?

This article gives the impression that US Attorney Paul Charlton's main mistake was not quite following the kill, kill, kill directive of Bush's US Attorney Generals Office.

For example he did not wish to seek the death penalty in one case "because there was no forensic evidence directly linking the defendant to the victim."
Charlton appealed to the deputy attorney general and Gonzales to reconsider. The lawyer said Charlton had asked to meet with former Attorney General John Ashcroft in a similar case and had been able to change Ashcroft's mind.

But Gonzales' office denied Charlton's request.
My, my don't confuse Gonzo with facts now, he's already made up his mind. I can see why Bush likes this guy. Besides the baby face he has a mind as open as Bush's.

Disagreement is deemed confrontation. Doing one's job is usually deemed poor performance by the Bush crowd. Failure to do one's job is cause for medals and ceremonies.

Thank you Talking Heads, thank you Washington Insider Journalist Types, thank you Corporate Media. This is what you wanted all along, right. Mush-for-brains as leaders so that you could buy the government and destroy all that didn't make your personal wealth explode exponentially. Thank you. Thank you.

Another enlightened Republican ...

Arizona Republican State Senator Ron Gould from Lake Havasu City voted against a bill requiring businesses to give emplohees needed time --to obtain a protection order from a court-- because
"If you are a good employee your boss is going to accommodate you because he wants to keep good employees"
Notice that Gould still lives in a world where all bosses are 'he.'

Sexism aside, is Gould thinking that a not-so-good employee does not deserve the time to get a protection order? Or that employees, good and bad, of a bad boss who refuses to give anyone time off for anything do not deserve the time to required to get a protection order?

Bomb threat at Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix ...

UPDATE: State Capitol reopens after bomb threat by Matthew Benson, The Arizona Republic
Apr. 20, 2007 11:25

A bomb threat at the state Capitol in Phoenix early Friday prompted an evacuation of the Senate, House and governor's tower in central Phoenix. Matthew Benson, The Arizona Republic, Apr. 20, 2007 09:20 AM

The weird world of Republicans, Conservatives and Incompetents ...

Gonzo Panel half full: TPM Muckracker

Arizona's own Rick Renzi (house republican) "stepped down temporarily from the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday" after the family business (Patriot Insurance Agency, Sonoita, Az) was raided by the FBI.

The Horse's Mouth: So is it possible that John McCain has the same "electability" problem -- or even conceivably a worse one -- than Hillary does? A new poll suggests that it's time to at least ask this question. But will the pundits ask it?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


It is precisely because having children is so important that abortion is something that can't be legislated away. When it's illegal, desperate women who know the importance of children will still abort pregnancies they know they can't bring to term. Because women will do anything, including risk their own lives, for their kids. Women have had abortions from time immemorial. To call abortion "selfish," as some do, is to completely deny that women are moral agents, to completely deny the importance of motherhood. I have no doubt that there are women who are selfish, who have abortions for idiotic reasons, who do stupid things. Women can be fucked up. But fucked-up women make fucked-up mothers; more importantly, the vast, vast majority of women take this whole question of children incredibly seriously. It is one of the most serious things we have to deal with (whether or not we have them, because having them will, as people say, "change your life"), and there is just no way that it's right to take away from women, to take away from mothers, the right to make decisions for their children. Because no one is better qualified, no one cares more, no one knows better than I do, or than any woman does, what is best for my kid. Period.
Read the entire post at Bitch Ph.D.

Pacific Views: "Vague" Abortion Ban Could Have Broad Reach

Surprise? The GOP RNC doesn't believe in the Constitution or the law ...

GOP RNC doesn't believe in the Constitution or the law ... except when it runs in their favor, of course. Then they become fanatics about it.
RNC to turn over e-mails to the White House and not to Congress.

This would be like someone subpoenaed to turn over evidence to a court or prosecutor deciding instead to turn over the evidence to the accused so that he could have first crack at destroying it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This is really bad news ...

AARP is expanding as an insurance company to carry individual policies for people from 50 to 64.

AARP should stop pretending that they an advocacy organization. They are just another greedy corporation who will put their obscene profits ahead of the citizens of this country who need universal health care, not another insurance company taking their cut.

AARP ENTERS THE PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKET - Great. Yet another powerful group with a vested interest in experience-rated private healthcare that works for everyone except, you know, the people who actually need it. That's just peachy.

They give us proof, almost daily ...

GOP Senators have shown once again that Republicans love their corporate masters and hate the rest of us:
Effort to let government negotiate Medicare drug prices falters in Senate

Believe it or not ...

... a long taxi ride
Retired Couple Begins Cab Ride From NYC To Arizona

First they came for the spinach ...

... a must read: E. coli conservatives by Rick Perlstein

Surveying the results, what once looked to me like principle now looks to me now like mania. Conservatism has been killing Americans. The recent food safety crisis is only one case study.

Let's start connecting the dots.

(via digby)

It's all about marketing and spin ...

UPDATE: For more on the destructive direction of the U.S. read: Forty Million High-Skilled Jobs Headed Over Seas
The multinational corporations have no loyalty except to the bottom line and their compensation.
Is there anything else left in the U.S. We have no manufacturing to speak of. We import too much of our food. There is a 'christian' movement to deny science and to turn us into a country of dunces. We have politicians, lawyers, fast food restaurants. Media companies and insurance companies (which control our politicians more than we, the electorate, do).

In order to control those being 'served,' businesses need advanced clipping services. And, apparently, they have them. One is called Relevant Noise.

From their sign-in page:

Welcome to relevantNOISE and the sonar blog mining platform. Log in to easily track and view the blogosphere "noise" that's important to you.

sonar provides an easy-to-use reporting interface that shows you the volume of relevant mentions over time - and whether the tone of those mentions is positive or negative. You can even sort your results and drill down to view the actual blog posts.

With sonar you'll be able to determine real-time fluctuations in your share of voice versus your competitors', gather the intelligence you need to quickly address brewing problems with your product or brand, and identify and capitalize on growing trends in your marketplace.

Listen and LearnTM

If you have any questions or need help, give us a call at 908.788.8844, or send us an e-mail at We'll be happy to assist you.

Notice that they've trademarked a very common set of words in a very common grouping?

And a blog too? The blogger is, I think, on his/her way to appointment in some government agency aiming to keep the public pacified.

An excerpt from a post on poisoning-our-pets (Menu Foods and the Pet Food Recall Scandal):
Bloggers are a very vocal bunch (really, we are) and Menu Foods has been taking a beating in the blogosphere. Is it just that people blame them exclusively for poisoning their beloved pets? As Jeanne Bliss over at MarketingProfs Daily Fix sees it, this was “another majorly missed opportunity” Not their responsibility over the ingredients, but Menu Foods’ responsibility to its customers to provide timely, honest communication on a horrible situation.
And another post [cute title; murky Merck] -- Mercky Waters: Bloggers on Gardasil, the HPV Vaccine
Has the damage been done? Looking at sonar the buzz around Merck and Gardasil the tone is mixed; however if you take school-aged children out of the mix, it’s definitely negative. Looking at their stock for the past year, the negative buzz doesn’t seem to be hurting Merck where it counts, at their bottom line.
The bottom line's OK. Is there anything else?

There's just something unsettling about marketers (and economists) when they apply their verbal/visual/psychological (and numerical) trades to the detriment of our lives and well being in favor of making money.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Universal Health Care would be cheaper ...

Universal Health Care should not only be a right of every American, it could also be cheaper that the mess we now have in the United States.

The following is copied from Wringing Costs Out of the Health Care System
We spend more than twice on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, yet we don't have universal access and our outcomes are worse. The reason we don't have universal access to quality health care is that too much of our health care spending -- our premiums, co-pays, prescriptions -- is wasted on profits, CEO bonuses and inefficient health care.

According to a recent Commonwealth Fund report, 16 percent of the US GDP is spent on health care, compared with 8 to 10 percent in most major industrial nations. Unless something is done to moderate costs, total spending will double to over $4 trillion, or 20 percent of GDP, by 2015. Some states are already seeing these high levels of spending. Conversely, serious cost controls can help contribute to the money needed to extend health care to all our citizens.

In the absence of any meaningful federal action, states are once again leading the way. This Dispatch will discuss how states are improving quality of health care, forcing efficiency upon insurance companies, targeting prescription drug and hospital spending, and transforming the health care system from one that primarily treats illness to one that helps people stay healthy -- all efforts to reduce health care costs and spending without sacrificing access to quality care.

More Resources

Monday, April 16, 2007

Like most of the 'liberal' media ...

Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services questions sound like verbatim GOP talking points:
Arizona Daily Star: Labor official: All employees are welcome in state's unions

We need universal health care in the U.S. ...

Arizona Daily Star: Dems slowed in try to cut Medicare HMO costs by David Espo
Attacking the health care problem piece meal will never get us anywhere but deeper in debt to the health care industry and pharmaceutical industry crooks. It's time for Democrats to step up to the proposition that this country needs universal health care. Not just for the rich. Not just for politicians and Washington government workers. Not just for children. Not just for seniors.

For everyone.

The title's right ...

The book's out of print, or at least one can only get used copies through, so I don't know what the author's take is. Too often those who take AARP on are working from an interest in eliminating all universal social programs and attempting to cause a divide between generations instead of promoting an interest in the welfare of all.

If AARP took their role seriously they would be concerned that all Americans, present and future are guaranteed a healthy and livable retirement. To ensure that they would have to be interested in what is happening to the economy, to the jobs, to the health care of all Americans.

We are in a fight for the future of America. AARP is in marketing mode. Their aim is profit and obscene salaries for their executives like all for-profit American corporations in this day and age.

They start from the position that they own their membership -- not the other way around.

That's the same attitude that the GOP has about the United States. They believe they do (or at least should) own us. Not the other way around.

Like AARP members ...

... a Midwest Union Local has an enemy in their midst.

AARP has Bill Novelli. Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) has William "Bill" E. Dugan.

Novelli is a know Republican and as his tenure at AARP goes on his Repug credentials are solidifying.

Dugan tells us he's just being smart (is that Bush-smart?) in helping anti-union politicians get elected.
Why Would a Midwest Union Local Support Two Generally Anti-Union Republicans in Governors' Races? -- Part I
And why would this local keep this guy in office for 20 years?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Meet Weird Wally ...

... who has as little faith in AARP as have I.
Weird Wally Gets Even Weirder

A walk in the park ...

McCain makes photo ops to show us that Iraq is so much improved. But US forces can leave unexploded bombs in Iraqi orchards to kill Iraqi children for which the US accepts no responsibility. After all Saddam was a bad, bad man and that excuses everything!

For black-hearted dumbbells it does.
Claimant filed a claim for $5,500 on 3 Sept. 2005.

Facts: Claimant alleges that a CF [coalition force] dropped a bomb in his orchard. The bomb allegedly did not explode upon impact. Claimant's son went to investigate and was killed when the UXO detonated. Claimant's cousin was seriously injured in the explosion. A couple of hours later, CF allegedly took the body and Claimant to LSA Anaconda for medical treatment. In support of their claims, the Claimants have offered witness statements, medical records from LSA Anaconda, and police and judicial reports.

Opinion: Under AR 27-20, paragraph 10-3, Claims arising "directly or indirectly" from combat sctivities of the US. Armed Forces are not payable. AR 27-20 defines combat activities as "Activities resulting directly or indirectly from action by the enemy, or by the U.S. Armed Forces engaged in armed conflict, or in immediate preparation for impending armed conflict." Here, an airstrike clearly constitutes combat activity. While unfortunate, this claim is precluded from compensation under the combat exception.

Recommendation: The claim is denied

Arizona's Jon Kyl critises his betters ...

Jon Kyl who tags along at Bush's heels and repeats Bush's latest slogans (albeit in better English) criticises Speaker Pelosi for doing what our congress critters have done, Democrat and Repug, since Congressional time began ...

What's new? Kyl is a hypocrite. We knew that. He just likes to re-affirm the fact every now and then.

Here's a link to a blog that does a nice deconstruction of Jon Kyl rhetoric: Senator Kyl and the lies that keep us in Iraq

Feel a little queasy about the GOP's Real ID?

Here, this should help ...

"I want to kill somebody today ..."

Is this the kind of 'good things' McCain is talking about ...
"I want to kill somebody today," [Jacob C.] Washbourne said, according to the three other men in the vehicle, who later recalled it as an offhand remark. Before the day was over, however, the guards had been involved in three shooting incidents. In one, Washbourne allegedly fired into the windshield of a taxi for amusement, according to interviews and statements from the three other guards.
Washbourne says the three other men in the vehicle are lying about his actions.
... another man in the vehicle, Fijian army veteran Isireli Naucukidi, said [Charles L.] Sheppard, who was driving, cut off the taxi on Washbourne's orders, giving him a better shot. Naucukidi said the three American guards laughed as they sped away, the fate of the Iraqi taxi driver unknown. Schmidt told Washbourne, "Nice shot," according to Naucukidi.
But Washbourne "seemed in a good mood." Going on vacation the next day. Decided to have some 'fun?'

And the US made these people untouchable. Bush probably sits in the oval office daydreaming out being one of these monsters. They have the flavor of an 'old west' melodrama. Bush obviously decided long ago that he was one of the bad guys ...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why doesn't AARP look to their own members?

The AARP is looking for a blogger April 13th, 2007

Full-time, in New York, and they want to make you a TV star, too. Why not just get an actual AARP member or two to blog?

Good question and I think it's because AARP sees the membership a source of income (for AARP) and not as members of an organization brought together because of common goals. AARP's goal is like any for profit organization, the non-profit arm is just a convenient fiction.
AARP's goal is to make money by any means
  • 1st through marketing efforts
  • 2nd by providing service if necessary

Prisons R Us ...

... America took a distinctly conservative turn in the 1970s. ... One of the effects is that there has been a pandering to really very ill thought out prejudice on an array of issues.
Like three strike and you are out. Only in the Republican mind would baseball be the model for a justice system.

And I know, some Democrats very stupidly followed this disastrous route just like they followed along on the Iraq war ...

Too bad Markos at DailyKos wont read this ...

Please send Markos to PacificViews to do some much needed homework.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Recording industry keeps making enemies ...

The Communist-like we-control-everything Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sues Tucsonan. But they can't quite get it together. Do they want to sue the father or the daughter? Really they want to sue everyone generally but there are still a few pesky laws left that keep getting in their way ...
Battle Raging in Tucson, Arizona, in Loud v. Sanchez; RIAA Allowed to Amend Complaint to Add Daughter As Defendant

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Markos at dailyKOS needs to get over himself ...

I agree with Markos' point that a blogger-code-of-conduct has very little to do with the issue of the threats that Kathy Sierra received.

And I would have preferred that she felt she had the kind of support from others on the web with similar problems to stick it out. That was one of the things that the feminist movement provided: support. But a later generation started backing away letting themselves be convinced that 'feminist' was another dirty word like 'liberal.'

But what really galled me about Markos' post is his equating 'a gem' of a email (or comment, I'm not sure which) he received with the explicit and obscene missives that Sierra received.

Markos repeatedly shows his insensitivity to women's issues.

SS is NOT the problem, Medicare is NOT the cause ...

Mark Thoma at Economist's View:
... as Dean Baker continually and correctly reminds us, Social Security is not the problem, and the programs themselves are not to blame - Medicare is not the cause of the growth in costs for health care:

The Washington Post ... complained about ... "the coming crisis in Social Security and Medicare." The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's most recent projections show that Social Security can pay all scheduled benefits, with no changes whatsoever, until 2046, and roughly 75 percent of scheduled benefits for many decades after that date, even if no changes are ever made. ...

The Medicare story of course boils down to projections of exploding health care costs. If the health care system is not fixed, then "fixing" Medicare is irrelevant. We can zero out the program, but exploding health care costs would still devastate the economy. If the health care system is fixed, so that costs in the U.S. are in line with health care costs in other wealthy countries, then Medicare would be easily affordable. ...

We must not let the Bush Administration, The GOP and The Republicans cause generational warfare between various age groups in the US. Everyone deserves a decent retirement (and decent access to employment before same) and everyone deserves health care. There is absolutely NO reason other than Republican intransigence and corporate evil and greed for the fact that the US does not cover everyone with Medicare or something similar.

Arizona Legislature protects Maricopa County ...

The Arizona Legislature (in SB 1169) has decided to protect only Maricopa residents from having public documents posted on the web with SS numbers intact.

The Arizona legislature will allow the rest of us to individually 'request' the removal of our SS number from an online document ... starting in 2009. I can imagine how well that process will work ...

Why do we pay these legislative creatures anything at all? They should pay us for the privilege of calling themselves 'legislators' and 'representatives' and 'senators.'
Arizona Daily Star: AZ bill keeps SS numbers off Internet --But legislation would apply solely to residents of Maricopa County by Daniel Scarpinato

Evaporative cooling at the zoo?

Sprayground: The Az Daily Star tells us that the Tucson Reid Park Zoo has "a new interactive water feature" and warns that one might leave the zoo slightly damp. That kind of evaporative cooling will be very appealing in a month or so ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Presidential Townhall ...

This is the full question and answer session at's Presidential Virtual Town Hall video at

I found it interesting that Obama did not say in this video that if Bushie vetoes the bill the Senate would just approve a version of the bill without the constraints that the administration does not want in the bill. In fact he says something very different, though also very involved, than has been discussed around and about (like at dailyKOS).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here's a dirty thought ...

The Science Daily reports that Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood because in a study at the University of Bristol:
Treatment of mice with a ‘friendly’ bacteria, normally found in the soil, altered their behavior in a way similar to that produced by antidepressant drugs, reports research published in the latest issue Neuroscience.
Is this the reason some of the birds in my yard 'roll' in the sandy soil?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Wrong directions ...

The Talking Dog: Gitmo Leaner, Meaner

TPM Media: Israel and Bush conspire against Pelosi?

Associated Press: Let's beat someone up' – Unprovoked beatings of the homeless soaring

The trend in the diciplining of school children by policemen: 6-Year-Olds Under Arrest

... but Bush insists Iraq is improving --again! Just trust him as his administration Iraqifies the US.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Novelli's AARP censors left leaning posters ...

This post at the Senior Citizens Consortium Blog documents the problem with the increasing corporate control of message boards and other individual communications and posting mechanisms on the web. As these entitities merge there will be less and less freedom of expression and more thought control as with the established media.

Boycotting the AARP Issues and Elections forum

BuzzFlash entry that led me to the above post.

Note that the post explains that it is not AARP 'the non-profit entity' that is treating these individuals based their political viewpoints.
It should be clearly understood that the AARP itself does not operate the board, it has relegated that responsibility to its “for profit” subsidiary, AARP Services. This organization in turn has outsourced the operation of the AARP Forum to a company that has placed individuals who appear, to have a strong oriention against non-right wing posters.
It is AARP 'the for-profit' mindset that Arch-Republican Novelli brings to the AARP world that hands off the responsibilty, not to the AARP membership, but to some corporate organization. That's the Republican big-daddy approach that AARP embodies.

The Sierra Vista connection ...

Drawing conclusions with insufficient data ...

Piffle and nonsense from Rich Brain, Poor Brain by Mary Beckman, Science NOW Daily News:

The results suggest that rich people don't value small coins as much as poor people do, Tobler says.
Without offering 'more valuable' rewards to the more wealthy test subjects the 'researchers' did not prove any such thing. As for 'suggesting' such a conclusion, most would have jumped to the same conclusion without the help of this experiment.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

What is real?

Science News has an article about the changing world of photography: Picture Posing Question -The next steps in photography could blur reality [as if that hasn't already happened] by Patrick L. Barry

Friday, April 6, 2007

Do Republicans really believe they are the party of small government?

If Republicans had their way they would require each and everyone of us to prove we are here legally before we could buy a loaf of bread.

Now they are going to add more bureaucracy to the granting of business licenses. Just what everyone needs. Increase the cost of doing business so that the Republicans can feel they've done something.

The Republican Way - Do Something, Anything; Except Think the Problem Through.
The Arizona Daily Star - AZ House: Prove legal status to do business by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Would that human males were as smart ...

So they find that female barn swallows are not as dumb as they thought: More flight than fancy?

Scientists from the universities of Exeter and Cambridge have turned a textbook example of sexual selection on its head and shown that females may be more astute at choosing a mate than previously thought.
Now if we could do something about human females (and males) who follow the dictates of a woman-hating fashion industry.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be monsters ...

Think those violent video games don't matter? Read this from the Science Daily: Violent Video Games and Hotile Personalities Go Together
"What seems to matter is whether the players are practicing intentional harm to another character in the game. That's what increases immediate aggression -- more than how graphic or gory the game is."

The researchers were surprised that the relation to violent video games was so strong.

"We were surprised to find that exposure to violent video games was a better predictor of the students' own violent behavior than their gender or their beliefs about violence," said Anderson. "Although gender aggressive personality and beliefs about violence all predict aggressive and violent behavior, violent video game play still made an additional difference.


A third new study in the book assessed 430 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, their peers, and their teachers twice during a five-month period in the school year. It found that children who played more violent video games early in the school year changed to see the world in a more aggressive way, and became more verbally and physically aggressive later in the school year -- even after controlling for how aggressive they were at the beginning of the study. Higher aggression and lower pro-social behavior were in turn related to those children being more rejected by their peers.

"I was startled to find those changes in such a short amount of time," said Gentile. "Children's aggression in school did increase with greater exposure to violent video games, and this effect was big enough to be noticed by their teachers and peers within five months."

The study additionally found an apparent lack of "immunity" to the effects of media violence exposure. TV and video game screen time was also found to be a significant negative predictor of grades.

Original article is available by pdf: Violent Video Games Can Increase Aggression from APA Press Releases.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

28 year old man killed 75 year old man in 'self defense' ...

Mesa, Arizona - Even if the 75 year old had a knife (which apparently he didn't) the 28 year old could presumably out run him.

I have trouble believing this story. Does that fact that the newspaper put 'road-rage' in the title mean they don't believe it either?
Arizona Republic: Man says road-rage death of 75-year-old was self-defense

Sometimes the Tucson Citizens gets it right ...

Tucson Citizen Our Opinion: Cancer and races
... Together, the Edwardses have decided to continue John Edwards' campaign for the nomination.

Critics have said the family needs to get its priorities straight. Leave the campaign trail. Concentrate on family. Get right with God. (That last one comes from the ever-helpful St. Rush of Limbaugh.)

All of the suggestions are offered with the best of intentions. But they're all variations on the same theme: Go home and wait to die.

Elizabeth Edwards doesn't want to do that. She feels fine, she knows her family better than anyone and she wants to continue the race. She wants to make the same life choices everyone else does. She wants to accomplish something she feels strongly about. ...

Monday, April 2, 2007

About the Big Pharma Mafia ...

60 minutes documents the passing of the Medicare Part D (the prescription drug plan) legislation and the subsequent exodus of individuals, who helped the pharmaceutical industry get what they wanted, to highly paid positions with the industry or their enablers.

Watch the video clip at Crooks and Liars:
Under the Influence: How Lobbyists Wrote and Bought the Rx Drug Bill
Though initially AARP came out against this bill AARP's Republican CEO Bill Novelli made a last minute switch in favor of the bill and even advertised for its passage.

Personal disclaimer: When AARP made that switch to the dark side I cancelled my membership. I still am not a member but when I began looking into prescription drug plans AARP's was definitely the best (from my perspective). Best does not necessarily mean good. Many plans I looked at would not have saved money, in fact with their trick of only covering certain drugs and not others it can actually cost more. Though AARP's plan seems good at present it still has the ability of becoming a bait and switch, a capability that was written into the Pharma Mafia legislation.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

By implication Arizona's Shadegg and Flake consider spending money for a potential bird flu outbreak as pork ...

Shadegg, Flake criticize Democratic tactics on war bill by Mike Sunnucks, The Business Journal of Phoenix

I guess from the point of view of Arizona Republican Congresscritters John Shadegg and Jeff Flake instead of spending money on the health and welfare of the nation our tax dollars should be streamlined into the veins of Haliburton or some other Republican mafia corporation.

Though I'm not up on the issue of peanut storage in George (perhaps it is pork) but levee reconstruction in New Orleans and the potential of a bird flu outbreak are real issues that the Republicans ignored as they spent down the treasury with their pet war in Iraq.

How they can mention budgets and pet projects and pork with a straight face and how anyone with a brain (oh, sorry, that excludes most of the media, doesn't it) would actually care or write about what these Bush enablers think is beyond belief.

Sheriff Dupnik criticizes how 'homeland security' funds are used ...

The Pima County Sheriff isn't too happy with how the feds help (or don't) with the mess expanding out from the border (due to the totally insane US border policies and enforcement).
Dupnik spoke at a news conference about a fatal ambush Friday west of Green Valley of a pickup truck packed with at least 23 illegal immigrants, including three small children. Two people were killed by gunfire, and at least one was injured. It was the second such incident in the past two months.

"The violence associated with the problem of migration and narcotics and other contraband going both north and south has reached epidemic proportions," Dupnik said, "and the safety of everyone in this state, if not in this country, is in some way affected by what's occurring."

The resources of the U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Attorney's Office and state and local law enforcement have been "taxed to their maximum," Dupnik said. "We are literally overwhelmed by the problem."

Local law agencies don't have enough people to cover nonborder crimes, let alone divert resources to cover border issues, he said.

He criticized the distribution of Homeland Security funds, which he said were largely going for "reactionary" purposes, such as costly training exercises during mock disasters.

"If we had the money for the kinds of resources we need, we could make a huge impact on the border violence and crime," he said.

Tucson Citizen: Sheriff: Feds fail to address 'epidemic' of border violence by Claudine LoMonaco