Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Howard Dean on Health Care Reform: Daily Pulse Video Exclusive from Lindsay Beyerstein on Vimeo.

Too bad that guy's such a raving lunatic.

It might be the politically savvy move by Obama, but I think it just plain sucks that a guy like Dean has to be cut completely out of the discussion on health care simply because a small brain-dead portion of the country—even within his own party—regard him as too polarizing or controversial. I can only hope that people are actually listening to him on the down-low as they move this thing forward.

Monday, September 28, 2009

In Memoriam

Putnam “Putty” Brown
March 1, 1999 - Sept. 28, 2009

Me: “If there was AKC Manual of Dog Breeds,
that would be the picture: Ultimate Hybrid Bijon.”

Mrs F: “Factually the most attractive dog on Earth.”

To the dog without whom I would never have met my wife,
that my children have never known their lives without.

You stole food, you soiled countless carpets, you actually ate money...

You would bark unceasingly at any man who entered our home, but you were gentle, kind, stoic and patient with any child whoever laid a hand on you.

How many times I cursed you for being leash-potty-trained at 2:00 a.m. when I just wanted to go to bed...but the foot of the bed will never be the same again.

We love you and we will miss you terribly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Right Medicine?

Noted communists and terrorist-enabling fasci-libs MoveOn.org has a new video on health care reform. It might just be entertaining enough to get some good info across to people.

"What the...?"

So, I'm eating my little baggie of Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios and my fingers find a HUGE rock of the cinnamon-y stuff. Should I be excited? Or scared?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Out of Control

Von at Obsidian Wings, Radley Balko and Andrew Sullivan all link to this fascinating and upsetting post by Classically Liberal about Sex Offenders and Registry Laws. Why it's upsetting is not what you might think.

Sullivan also links to this Economist piece, which I think is even better.

This situation will never improve, because no politician or law enforcement person who has to answer to an electorate will ever come down on the right side.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This Way To The Ark

I took these Sunday morning at 10:45. It has rained every minute since, and it started late Saturday afternoon. Here's hoping the house is still there when I get home...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Dead Zone

The past few days I've been swamped with work...that's why there's nothing new 'round here.

This'll have to hold you...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Dennis Kucinich has a diary up at Kos, where he predicts what he thinks will happen with health care reform...
1. House will make a big deal about keeping/putting a public option in HR3200 because it competes with insurance companies and will keep insurance rates low.

2. The White House will refer to the President's speech last week where he spoke favorably of the public option.

3. The Senate will kill the competitive public option in favor of non-competitive "co-ops". Senate leaders like Kent Conrad have said the votes to pass a public option were never there in the Senate.

4. The bill will come to a House-Senate Conference Committee without the public option.

5. House Democrats will be told to support the conference report on the legislation to support the President.

6. The bill will pass, not with a "public option" but with a private mandate requiring 30 million uninsured to buy private health insurance (if one doesn't already have it). If you are broke, you may get a subsidy. If you are not broke, you will get a fine if you do not purchase insurance.

This legislative sausage will be celebrated as a new breakthrough and will be packaged as health insurance reform. However, the bill may require a Surgeon General's warning label: Your Money or Your Life!

The bill that Congress passes may pale in comparison to the bill that millions of Americans will get every month/year for having or not having private health insurance.

It will take four years for the new legislation to go into effect. During that time, we are going to build a constituency of millions in support of real health care, a constituency which will be recognized and a cause which is right and just: Health Care as a Civil Right.

Join our efforts. Sign the petition. Contribute. Insure a democratic future.

Thank you.


Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10)
U.S. House of Representatives

If I were a betting man, my money'd be on something very close to that.

Always a Good Idea to Add Armed Allies

Steves at ATK turned me on to Gun Toting Liberal. His link to "How to Address an Issue Without Addressing the Issue" is a look at the behind-the-scenes amendment processon big legislation like the health care bill. It explains how the opposition party offers amendments to legislation they oppose—not to improve it, but to set up talking points and a win-win situation for them. This was part of what led to Rep. Wilson (R-rich, white suburbs of Charleston, SC) to his outburst during Obama's address.

Today, GTL has a post up on "The Republican Double Standard". It's mostly stuff you've heard about, but it's a nice recap to go with your coffee.

Adding to the blogroll... now.

UPDATE: That blogroll addition is provisionary. After spending a bit of time over there, not so sure about it...some good posts, but absurd guest posters, and the comment threads are worthless.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reading Assignment: The Final Fall of Bush's White House

Former Bush speechwriter Matthew Latimer has a book coming out on the time he spent in the White House—the Administration's final 22 months. GQ has an excerpt in the upcoming issue, and it's now online. It details events last fall—the botched bailout, McCain's "five-spiral crash," and Bush's reaction to the Palin pick. It's a good read...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sullivan's Travels

The other day I took Andrew Sullivan to task for a series of posts I thought were prettyweak/flawed/flat-out ridiculous. Today he has two posts that are so diametrically opposed I don't even know how to process them. First I'll give you the sensible, well-reasoned conclusion from this response to the current right-wing freak-out.
It's perfectly proper - even admirable - to demonstrate and argue against the new administration's ideas, but it's also worth recalling that this plan in its essentials was an integral part of the president's campaign platform and his party's effective manifesto. It was debated ad nauseam last year, and Obama won by a hefty margin. The tone of these protests suggests that this is some wild power-grab. It isn't. It's a centrist and not-too-ambitious plan to fulfill a clear campaign pledge as responsibly as possible within a sensible fiscal framework.

The protestors keep saying that they want their country back. Sorry, my fellow small-governmenters, but this country is a democracy, and you didn't lose your country, you just lost an election. You had your chance for eight years. You blew it, and you lost. What Obama is doing is what he was elected to do. The principled response is not a massive, extremist-riddled hissy fit a few months in, but a constructive set of proposals to build on universal care for a more market-friendly and cost-conscious system in the future. You have to win some political credibility for that; and then you have to beat the man you lost so badly to last year. That's the civil and civilized way forward for the right. It also seems, alas, to be the one they are currently refusing to take.

Sounds about right. Right?

But he also wrote this today:
Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but one effect Obama has had on the right is to galvanize its small government, balanced budget wing and cool off the Christianist boilerplate. I haven't noticed the tea-partiers going on and on about gays getting married for example, or cracking down on drugs. Yes, abortion remains an issue for some - but it is hardly front and center. And yes, there are the Dobbsian slights at illegal immigrants. But again, this is a minor theme. All of this, to my mind, could be healthy in the long run. Heaven knows what else would have pushed the GOP off its theocratic rails, but Obama's cultural conciliation has worked in a way. Economics is again the focus. And a small-government party that is not just an expression of cultural panic could conceivably wrestle its way out of the Bush legacy in time.

Of course, the right is a large coalition; and I'm not saying that the tea-partiers wouldn't accept any number of anti-gay moves if they won back power with the religious right. Many are anti-gay, but many who aren't accept the demonization of gays as the price to pay for political power in such a coalition. Nonetheless, to see the parties re-orient around the critical questions of the size and role of government is encouraging.

DougJ at Balloon Juice had it about right when he said, "I want some of whatever Sully is smoking today"

Reading Assignment: Beck's Army of God

I'm on deadline, so I don't have time to say anything, except go read this now:

The Fred Phelps of Iraq

A disturbing story from Iraq [via Sullivan]:

...Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone.

The deputy leader of the group, which is based in Baghdad, explained its campaign using a stream of homophobic invective. "Animals deserve more pity than the dirty people who practise such sexual depraved acts," he told the Observer. "We make sure they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God's forgiveness before they are killed."

And why, exactly, is this not enough of a confession to put this asshole under arrest? If the Iraqis won't do it, I seem to remember U.S. forces detaining, torturing, and even killing plenty of Iraqis for far less.

(Photo: The bodies of gays on the streets of Iraq. By Bilal Hussein/AP.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Talking Head (the good kind)

David Byrne's essay on his idea of a "perfect city"...

New Orleans on a rainy day. National Geographic Stock

Sunday Comics

Click to embiggen...

[h/t Bob at ATK]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reading Assignment

This is a pretty close approximation of my thoughts each year on 9/11...
Have you finished composing your "where I was" blog post or, god save us, your #whereiwas Tweet? Have you muted MSNBC's deplorable annual encore performance of the televised deaths of thousands? Have you remembered to never forget? Good. Fine.

Shortly after (or maybe during) that day, our president at the time, a little fuckhead no one liked, handed over the reins to the most psychotic elements of his administration. In the vast national wave of jingoism, paranoia, dread, and fear that followed, he and his friends led us into an unrelated war they'd been planning beforehand, allowed the CIA to wiretap and torture anyone they liked (and encouraged the CIA to wiretap and torture even more than they were comfortable with!), and regularly insisted that our memory of that day should not be sullied with critical thinking or expressions of anything other than still-palpable fear. This played better in the sorts of places that had nothing to fear from international terrorism, but plenty of formerly reasonable-acting people in the major targets did play along, both out of personal conviction and partisan duty.

In fact an entire cottage industry of dudes who were Changed Forever On That Day thrived on the internet. Bloggers, all of whom were self-professed Former Liberal Democrats, were suddenly freed to be racist, bloodthirsty warmongers. They were rewarded with traffic and mainstream legitimacy (even as they ritually attacked the MSM as terrorist-loving fifth columnists). Most are still treated as Serious People, even though their defining characteristic was a hysterical response to a crisis.

Yeah, pretty much. The damage done to the country from 9/11 was mostly self-inflicted. [h/t Anne at Balloon Juice]

UPDATE: Great comment thread in that BJ post.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Daily Dissent

Andrew Sullivan is back from his weeks long retreat to Provincetown, and it's as if he's gone back in time. Back to when I would disagree with just about everything he writes.

For instance...

The Cap -- Since Obama mentioned it in his speech, Sullivan has a series of posts in support of tort reform (1, 2, 3, 4) and the institution of a cap on malpractice awards. The President is wrong to throw the "tort reform" bone along with all the other concessions he is making, and Sullivan's support is just as misguided. Tort reform is a red herring issue and a crock of shit. I'll need to say more about that later.

Give Wilson His Due? I'm not even sure wtf Andrew is talking about here, but there's no real apology in this three minute campaign cash appeal.

9-11 -- Good God is Andrew right back to his bedwetting post-attack patheticalness. Still rationalizing the mistakes made by Bush and his own ridiculous posture and lockstep support ("fifth column," anyone?). A sample [my emphasis]:
It's worth also recalling, after the bitter and often justified criticism of the last president's subsequent war policy, how intense and terrifying it was for those in power back then. They deserved the support they were given because they were our elected leaders, regardless of party, and the nation had been attacked. It was extremely hard to know what to do in the absence of actionable intelligence and a display of such theatrical nihilism. Emergency measures in the aftermath are what the executive branch is there for. Mistakes are [made?] and should be forgivable at a moment like that. And, as readers know, my own passionate support for fighting back against Islamism under the last president only collapsed with the feckless negligence toward Afghanistan, the disastrously conducted occupation of Iraq, the shady intelligence fiasco that made it possible, and, much more profoundly, the embrace of torture in a war for human rights.

Terrifying for those in power? Horseshit. I'm no Truther, but I don't think any part of Cheney was terrified for even a moment. The clear path to power must have been exhilarating to him and his ilk. I'm not exaggerating when I say that one of my first thoughts when I realized what had happened was that the Bush Administration would capitalize on and milk the shit out of it. And I wasn't half as cynical back then. But, while cold-hearted, I was being realistic. And I was right. We didn't ALL lose our shit, Andrew.

Wrong Again -- He declares David Brooks' flawed and frame-laced "analysis" of Obama's speech as "brilliant." Trust me, it's not. I read it so you don't have to.


I'm tired and cranky, and I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Quote of the Day

"[Tea baggers and conservative bloggers] want Obama to be ruthless and authoritarian because they want to think of themselves as a heroic resistance. They evoke Hitler not because they fear another Hitler, their very obsession with Nazi imagery betrays their attraction; no, they're longing for a Leader, a Hitler of their own. Even a Hitler in high heels, if you can picture such a lady, and I think we all can..." — James Wolcott, Vanity Fair

Sunday, September 06, 2009

No Option On the Public Option

A petition in support of a strong public option from ActBlue and BoldProgressives.org—two major Democratic base operations that got Obama and the Democratic majorities elected:
PETITION TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: "We worked so hard for real change. President Obama, please demand a strong public health insurance option in your speech to Congress. Letting the insurance companies win would not be change we can believe in."

In the space to add comments, I added this:
All the polling and support for your agenda was made clear last Novmeber. Do not be swayed by a vocal minority, a craven media or the timid among our party. Now is the best chance for the bold action on health care that ALL of this country needs. Reform of the insurance industry will mean nothing without a public option. Bargaining away the public option in search of Republican support that will not materialize is foolish, and selling out to industry is inexcusable.

Now is the time for leadership. Now is the time to deliver the change you promised.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Furious Rules: “I’m Bringin’ the Liam.”

Mrs F just asked me “if I heard about the guy in Georgia who slapped a stranger's two-year-old in the face?”


I don't even have the full story, yet adrenaline is gushing into my body.

She continues, “This guy threatened a mom whose two-year-old was having a tantrum in WalMart, ‘if you don't shut that kid up, I will.’ He followed the mother and child into the next aisle where he slapped the child across the face four times."

Holy shit—if that was my kid—they'd've been vacuuming that man out of the carpet after slap number one.

This discussion took place just after the four of us returned from Target and Lowe's and it was easy for me to picture the whole thing going down.

I've never struck a person in my life, but you better believe the one thing that would trigger a Wolverinesque berserker rage would be someone striking my child.

Then Mrs. F goes to the story on CNN.com, hits the video, and I just about lose my shit.

On anchor Rick Sanchez.

His report starts with the words, "What would you do—" and my brain, naturally, finishes the sentence with, "if a stranger struck your child?"

But that's NOT what he says.

"What would you do—seriously—what would you do, to get a kid to stop crying?" Sanchez asks.

Are you for fucking real, you asshole? That's your fucking angle? Right after I'm done burying that child-abusing motherfucker in WalMart, I'm coming for you next, Sanchez.

"What would you do" about somebody else's tantruming kid is walk the fuck away. And when you report a story about some sadistic asshole that didn't, you check your "smug" at the fucking door. Yeah, this story is unusual, but it ain't a goddamn novelty—it's an outrage. To frame this as if the two-year-old is anything but a victim of violence is ridiculous.


Mrs F: "If someone laid their hands on my kid—that's the last time they'd have hands." [I laugh] "Seriously," she continues, "I'd head right to 'Kitchens' for a knife and give them a custom amputation."

Kudos and h/t to Supermom for the story and the Liam Neeson "Taken" reference.

Step The Fuck Up

Bill Moyers calls Obama out. Watch it.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Al Franken Fan Club — Sign Me Up

Al Franken Is The Change We've Been Waiting For

Seriously. This guy is good.

I don't think there's another Senator in either party that can stand there and have that kind of discussion with a crowd—particularly a crowd of his political adversaries.

He's informed, he's engaged and engaging, he speaks clearly and directly and treats the people he's talking to like adults. He answered every question and treated each questioner with respect—and received it in kind.

Every one of those teabaggers will walk away from that conversation, at the very least, questioning what they thought they knew going in. Some might even walk away persuaded.

The GOP should be scared shitless of that guy—maybe they already are and that's why they stalled the election certification so long.

As for the rest of the Democrats—all the way up to Obama: Watch, and take fucking notes, you jackasses.

[h/t Balloon Juice]