a left leaning political blog -- it's not really about pie
a political blog, mostly, with a few cat pictures

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Wake Up, Sheeple

The most overhyped and underreported stories of the year

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Thanks, Scoobie, for pointing this one out:

As hard as he would have tried not to, at some point in the 2004 campaign, Al Gore would have said something untrue. He would have done so not because he's a congenital liar but because none of us, no matter what our integrity and rhetorical gifts, could give a dozen speeches a day without slipping up once in awhile. Had he made a mistake, the fax machines at Republican National Committee headquarters would have hummed with a thousand press releases. Perhaps Dick Cheney would have offered, as he did in 2000, that he was "puzzled and saddened" that Gore told a fib. Republican pundits would have trooped to the studios of FOX, CNN and MSNBC to offer identical denunciations of Gore's mendacity. And chances are that with a collective, "Aha!," reporters would have pounced, declaring that "questions are being raised" about Gore's trustworthiness.

Monday, December 16, 2002

I rank 9th in google for the search phrase "Lott racist pig." I am so proud.

Also, go to PLA and vote for your favorite blogs. (Hint-I was nominated for "best design!")

Al Gore is my President

Jr. must have breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday, as the only candidate that could beat him in '04 quit the race. In an interview, Gore made it clear that he wants to run, but democratic leadership does not want him to. A hostile press is, no doubt, another factor.

And I thought I lived in a country where the people elect their leaders.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Gore has announced that he will not be running in '04. My guess is that he's thinking of '08. Maybe he figures that Bush can't be beat this time around, but by '08, so many people will be unemployed that a republican -- even if they run Jesus Christ himself -- will have no chance of winning. (I'm pretty sure Jesus would be a democrat, though.)

Friday, December 13, 2002

Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) was on cnn the other day, talking about the smallpox threat. He's pretty anxious to get everybody vaccinated, despite the health risks, rather than waiting a few years for the safer vaccine that is being developed. He says that Iraq will surely use the smallpox virus against us if it is available to them.

That is like having said during the cold war that the USSR would have surely used nuclear weapons against us if they were available to them. That would be a ludicrous statement, because fear of retaliation prevented the use of nuclear weapons.

Antrax is something that has already been used as a weapon. What's the difference between smallpox and anthrax? Smallpox is incredibly virulent. How could Iraq use smallpox in a way that would protect Iraqis from exposure? They couldn't. As far as I know, Iraqis have not been vaccinated. In fact, the entire population of the world would be at risk for exposure if smallpox was used as a weapon. So not only is fear of retaliation going to prevent the use of weaponized smallpox, but fear of exposure to smallpox will also prevent it.

I don't think the need for vaccination is so urgent that we can't wait for the safer alternative in a few years.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

When I heard yesterday about George Mitchell resigning from the 911 committee, I thought, hey, he doesn't want to be a part of a big cover up. I naively thought that he might have said so. I had to check with cnn to see what reasons he gave for resigning.

Conflict of interest and lack of time? Could he have found lamer excuses? These are things that he certainly would have given plenty of thought to before accepting the commission. Something must have changed after he accepted it. Could it have been that he found out that the committee's report was not going to be as truthful as he had hoped?

It turns out that xymphora was thinking the same thing.

Everyone is talking about the racist pig Trent Lott, and since I haven't said a word about it, I wanted to make sure that my position is clear. The truth is, I read every word that Atrios writes, and Josh Marshall, too. But I won't be unhappy when Lott is fired from his majority leader position and the whole thing goes away.

A racist republican? I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Be sure to read troubletown today.

Friday, December 06, 2002

You better watch what you joke about if you don't want to go to jail.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

A judge ruled the president can detain enemy combatants even if they are U.S. citizens, however Padilla gets to see his attorneys.

Be careful what you take pictures of if you don't want to go to jail.

Thanks to the new police powers introduced by the USA-PATRIOT act, police can now arrest you for taking pictures.

An amateur photographer named Mike Maginnis was arrested on Tuesday in his home city of Denver - for simply taking pictures of buildings in an area where Vice President Cheney was residing. . .

Maginnis's morning commute took him past the Adams Mark Hotel on Court Place. Maginnis, who says he always carried his camera wherever he went, snapped about 30 pictures of the hotel and the surrounding area - which included Denver police, Army rangers, and rooftop snipers. Maginnis, who works in information technology, frequently photographs such subjects as corporate buildings and communications equipment.

The following is Maginnis's account of what transpired:

As he was putting his camera away, Maginnis found himself confronted by a Denver police officer who demanded that he hand over his film and camera. When he refused to give up his Nikon F2, the officer pushed him to the ground and arrested him.

After being brought to the District 1 police station on Decatur Street, Maginnis was made to wait alone in an interrogation room. Two hours later, a Secret Service agent arrived, who identified himself as Special Agent "Willse."

The agent told Maginnis that his "suspicious activities" made him a threat to national security, and that he would be charged as a terrorist under the USA-PATRIOT act. The Secret Service agent tried to make Maginnis admit that he was taking the photographs to analyze weaknesses in the Vice President's security entourage and "cause terror and mayhem."

When Maginnis refused to admit to being any sort of terrorist, the Secret Service agent called him a "raghead collaborator" and a "dirty pinko faggot."

After approximately an hour of interrogation, Maginnis was allowed to make a telephone call. Rather than contacting a lawyer, he called the Denver Post and asked for the news desk. This was immediately overheard by the desk sergeant, who hung up the phone and placed Maginnis in a holding cell.

Three hours later, Maginnis was finally released, but with no explanation. He received no copy of an arrest report, and no receipt for his confiscated possessions. He was told that he would probably not get his camera back, as it was being held as evidence.

Maginnis's lawyer contacted the Denver Police Department for an explanation of the day's events, but the police denied ever having Maginnis - or anyone matching his description - in custody. At press time, the Denver PD's Press Information Office did not return telephone messages left by 2600.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

This says that "California's managed care system may be unraveling as growing numbers of independent physicians, unhappy with low fees, refuse to take on new HMO patients, making it harder for even the fully insured to find a doctor." I can assure the writer that it has already "unraveled." I am fully insured and I cannot find a doctor. I haven't settled on one for at least the last few years. I go from one to the next, leaving on account of some problem or other. The last doctor was unbelievable.

On my first visit, I was told that I would have to stop taking the davocet, which I took for chronic pain, because none of the diagnostic tests I had taken had shown what the problem was. I suppose the implication was that I was lying and I just enjoy taking darvocet. (The chronic pain is no longer a problem, no thanks go to any of the doctors, chiropractors, herbalists, homeopaths, accupuncturists, etc, that tried to help me. Email me for details if you are interested.)

The real problem came when I decided it was time for a mammogram. Now, I am easily old enough to need a baseline mammogram. My doctors have always known that my mom is a breast cancer surviver. My doctors never mentioned to me that I needed a mammogram, but you sort of expect that with my insurance. So I let my "physician" know that it was time.

A few months later, I got a letter in the mail from my medical group, saying that I am NOT APPROVED for a mammogram. HEY! I AM IN MY EARLY FORTIES, and MY MOM HAD BREAST CANCER. WTF! Yes, I am yelling.

I called my doctors office, and they said that they cannot help me. I need to talk to my medical group. I called the medical group. They told me I need to talk to my doctor. Whatever. I have been looking through the insurance company's book, trying to find a doctor that I don't have to drive an hour to get to, who will take new patients.

This article doesn't come close to describing the decline of the managed health care system in California. Several years ago, I had excellent doctors and never had to pay a cent, except a small amount for prescriptions. I needed some minor surgery back then, and I didn't have to pay anything. This july, I had a problem with some of the nerves in my foot, and they had to be excised. It was a minor procedure that took less than an hour. I was shocked when I received a bill for $980, for my share. Looking at the itemized bill, they had charged me (and my insurance) over $1200 just for blood work. The blood was drawn right before the procedure, which must have made it more expensive. It could have been done much sooner. I would have been happy to show up a few days early to get blood drawn, but I was not asked to. The hospital knows that they can do it the more expensive "rush" way, and the insurance will pay, so why bother doing it sooner?

It's almost like free money for the hospital, isn't it? Or, I guess you could call it stealing. The hospital is stealing from me and my insurance company, however, the insurance company has no reason to care. It will just be passing those costs down to the consumer eventually.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Thankfully, Skippy appears to be back, after a long period of little or no blogging. Glad you're back, Skippy!