Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Heart Google

I, for one, will welcome our Google overlords once their plans of
world domination come to fruition.

We have a computer system here at work that is, to put it mildly,
draconian in its limitations on what we can and cannot do... which
sites are blocked, etc...

Yet, here I am updating my blog on blogger (also owned by Google) via
Gmail. I can still keep up to speed on Balloon Juice, the Daily Kos,
TPM, and Ezra Klein's blogs (as well as my friend Liz and god-daughter
Jess's blogs) through Google Reader. At home I use the Google Chrome
browser and I have to say it's best browser I have ever used. I would
seriously be willing to try out the Chrome OS when it comes out and
throw off the yoke of Windows. What's not to love about them?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


People on the right side of the political spectrum are outraged that
James O'Keefe, their crusader, their "investigational journalist" has
been arrested. After all, this is the daring young man who exposed
ACORN for what they were and confirmed what Glenn Beck has been saying
the group for so long; and we all know how reliable and trustworthy
Glenn is.

For those of you who weren't familiar with ACORN before the name
passed through Beck's foam-tinged lips, let me clue you in to their
nefarious deeds and evil agenda:

1. They investigate allegations of predatory lending. As if that
wasn't bad enough they also petition local governments to enact strict
laws against such lending. In 2002 they leveraged a class action
lawsuit that set up a $72 million foreclosure program for people who
were at risk of losing their homes. (For those of you who do not
remember, in 2002 we were just climbing out of a recession in which a
number of people, including me, had lost their jobs.)

2. Fundraising for Katrina was a big thing for ACORN seeing as how
they originated from Louisiana before becoming a national organization
with a presence in Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Peru. To date they
have gutted and rebuilt nearly 2000 home in New Orleans with the help
of volunteers. They even helped bus displaced NO resident into the
city so that they could vote in the city's primary and general

3. They are involved in education reform and are involved in the
creation of charter schools. They work with nefarious socialist
organizations like teachers' unions in the unseemly task of securing
funding for schools and teachers. According to one source the ACORN
model for education "emphasizes small classes, parent involvement,
qualified teachers and 'community-oriented curricula'." If that's not,
at its core un-American, I don't know what is.

4. They are gun control advocates. In Jersey City, NJ they intervened
on the city's behalf when a lawsuit challenged an ordinance that
limited an individual's handgun purchases to one gun a month.

5. Voter registration is, of course, thanks to Fox News and the rabid
right-wing punditry what they are most well known for. For thirty
years ACORN has conducted large-scale voter registration drives,
focusing mostly on poor and minority citizens. In 2008, they
registered over one million voters in a number of different states. To
hear the likes of Hannity, Beck, etc., 3 million of those
registrations were fraudulent. ACORN made the mistake of instilling a
quota system for their employees working in voter registration drives.
People cut corners. People are human. You cannot tell me that you've
never worked with someone who took sloppy shortcuts and did
second-rate work. There are bad apples in every bunch. In spite of
these bad apples ACORN had an error rate of 7% when it came to voter
registration, some of which is legitimate human error. The fradulent
registrars were fired, fined and senteced for their misdeeds. This
doesn't change the fact that they helped hundreds of thousands of
Americans take place in the democratic process, which I was always
taught was not just a right, but a responsibility. In addition to
helping people register to vote they try to ensure that roadblocks are
not placed in the way of voters and have taken legal action on behalf
of Americans in Ohio and ensure that provisions put in place by the
National Voter Registration Act of 1993 were acted upon. The problem I
kept pointing out about voter REGISTRATION fraud and the difference
between that and voter fraud is that when you register Daffy Duck to
vote, no one names Daffy Duck is going to be showing up at the polls
and demanding to vote. That does not derail the democratic process.
Voter fraud, where you try to vote multiple times, under different
names is another matter all together.

So, I have a real problem with the idea of ACORN as some kind of
bogeyman, hellbent of destroying the very fabric of our democracy. It
doesn't add up. And if people actually took the time to find out what
they did instead of letting someone else do their thinking for them
they'd know better and stop disparaging these honorable people and the
altruistic work that they do that enhances the democrat process.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Karma in Action

Remember the conservative activist who posed as a pimp and made the
doctored videos of ACORN? He's just been arrested for taking part in a
plot to plant wiretap devices in the office of Senator Mary Landrieu
(D-LA). Her offices are federal property so that makes this a
felony... Federal prison and be someone's bitch or get shanked-type

Talking Points Memo pointed out the irony that this make this
"jouranlist" more like G. Gordon Liddy rather than his self-professed
idols, Woodward and Bernstein.

I used to be...

...a conscientious employee. I used to give a crap. I used to work 10 hours a day with little complaint and actually a great of satisfaction. I used to feel like that what I did made a difference.
Now I feel like a cog in a machine. ...a rusty, worn-out, barely-functioning machine. I do not feel appreciated; I do not feel like an individual. This fills me with a considerable amount of sadness because there was a time that I loved this job and this organization. When I started working here I felt like I belonged to something that was bigger than myself. I don't think that is an uncommon feeling for people who work in the healthcare industry. Your business is all about making people overcome illness, lead as healthy a life as possible. It's a line of work that it's hard not to (or at least once was hard not to) feel good about.
Sadly there are some things that are common to ALL jobs, no matter what field you work in, that attribute or detract from a person's overall job satisfaction: a modicum of respect, a sense that the employees concerns are being heard and at least considered, and finally a sense of security. I can honeslty say that I have seen a steady decline in all three areas in the nine years that I have worked for this organization.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Movie Weekend


I watched a few movies this weekend. I found out that we can watch
more than one streaming movie with Netflix at a time. It's so cool.
The number of discs you receive at a time determines how many devices
can stream movies at any given time. We're on a two disc at a time
plan so I can watch a movie on my computer (or, soon, on the Wii)
while Brenda watches one on her laptop.

Saturday I watched the latest installment of the Harry Potter series,
The Half Blood Prince. I simply cannot give an impartial review or
assessment of the film because I love the stories so much. The scale
and breadth of the world that J.K. Rowling has created has no
contemporary equal. It's easy to brush these off as kids' books; I did
for a long time. Then I read one and I have been hooked ever since.
This is the first of the movies that I have seen without reading the
book prior and I kind of regret it. I have to get back on track with
finishing the series.

Sunday I watched two movies on my computer (which is great! I can
finally see some of the movies on the queue that for some inexplicable
reason never seem to make it to the top). The first was "The Salton
Sea" with Val Kilmer, one of my favorite actors. It was OK... the plot
had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing and the cast was
amazing: Anthony LaPaglia, Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam
Goldberg... although B.D. Wong as a character named Bubba with a
southern accent was a bit disconcerting. The only thing about the
movie that was unbelievable was that Kilmer's character was a trumpet
player, which was surprising. For an actor who is so well known for
immersing himself into his roles it would appear that Kilmer made
absolutely no attempt to understand the mechanics of playing a brass
instrument. Being a band geek in high school, this was incredibly

The other movie was "Rashomon" by Akira Kurosawa which was, like all
of Kurosawa's work, amazing. It is the story of a woodcutter and a
monk recounting their experience in the trial of a bandit who had
raped a woman and then killed her husband, a samurai. The story is
told through the eyes of four different characters, all of whom give
contradictory accounts of the events: the wife, the bandit, the dead
samurai (via a medium) and the woodcutter. It was philosophical,
sparse and minimal... really made you think. If you can get past the
subtitles and the foreignness of it (I realize that foreign films are
not for everyone and there is something about Japanese cinema that is
especially foreign for some reason), I highly recommend this and any
other of Kurasawa's films.

Friday, January 22, 2010


It shouldn't come as a shock that I am not a fan of Cindy McCain, but I have to give her kudos for her support for the repeal of proposition 8 in California. Meghan McCain is also appearing in an image for the NO H8 Campaign, but she's a half-way decent person already. Cindy McCain doing this is a real shock. Her husband, Sen. John McCain, evidently ins't too happy about the whole thing and his office released a statement:

"Senator McCain respects the views of members of his family. The Senator chaired the effort to successfully pass Arizona Proposition 102, the Marriage Protection Amendment, and his opposition to gay marriage remains the same. Senator McCain believes the sanctity of marriage is only defined as between one man and one woman."

I wonder if the first Mrs. McCain agrees with her ex-husband who ran off with the beautiful heiress on the whole the whole "one man and one woman thing."

Monday, January 18, 2010

60th for or 41st Against?

It's seems that the special election to fill Ted Kennedy's vacant seat in the senate has come down to this: Martha Coakley(D) is the needed 60th vote to pass the legislation. Scott Brown (R) is running as the 41st vote needed to filibuster the legislation. How anti-healthcare is Scott Brown? His entire campaign staff has been hired as independent contractors so, presumably, all of them are paying for their own healthcare insurance and payroll taxes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Feeling blue

There is enough bad news in the world today. Do we really need people standing at the ready waiting to throw gasoline on the flames the moment they flare up. The news from Haiti is heart-breaking. Unequivocally, gut-wrenchingly horrible devastation. Isn't that enough to move people to have a little common decency and keep their sniping and idiotic, bigoted, hateful rhetoric to themselves?

Rush is up in arms because President Obama took three days to make a statement about the "underwear bomber" and 12 hours to make a statement about Haiti. He's convinced that the president is moving swiftly to provide help to Haiti solely to "to burnish ahhh their, ahhh shall we say, ahhh credibility with the black community, both the light skinned and, ahhh, hmmm ... dark skinned black community ..." He's so filled to overflowing with vitriol and hatred that he can barely speak. And yet, he contends, that President Obama is the racist and not him.

And then there's Pat Robertson... Crazy, old Pat implying that the Haitians have brought this disaster down upon themselves because their ancestors "swore a pact with the devil" to liberate themselves from the French in the 1800's. This is the most racist of lies, spread by the defeated colonials. Why? Because certainly, black slaves and hal-breeds certainly could never defeat the noble French on their own. (Incidently this is the same kind of racist mindset that fuels the fires of the birther movement - "a black man? President? There has to be some kind of foul play involved!") This is what Pat Robertson says instead of feeling empathy for the plight of the Haitian people? I think someone needs to buy the "Reverend" Pat Robertson a WWJD bracelet... apparently, he has no idea.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Own Personal Healthcare B.S.

So, my insurance company has told me that I can no longer take Lipitor™ for my hyperlipidemia. There is no generic (especially since Pfizer recently went to court to extend their patent a few more years) and it is very expensive. Even with insurance I was paying a dollar a pill for the stuff. BUT it works and it works really well. All my different cholesterol numbers look great, my liver enzymes are normal and I am not experiencing any aches and pains that can come from taking statin drugs. For me to continue to take Lipitor™, my doctor would have to petition my insurance company and give a reason why I need to be treated with Lipitor™ and not some generic equilovlent of some other statin drug.

Hopefully, whatever he puts me on works. If not, it will probably be a long, tortuous, trial and error experiment to find the right drug at the right dosage that keeps my cholesterol in check without making me feel like I've been hit by a truck or give me hepatitis.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Least Surprising Announcement Ever...

Sarah Palin has inked a multi-year deal with Fox News to be a regular contributor to the Fox News network. In other words, the crazy just keeps getting crazier. What I find amusing is that so many people thought Lou Dobbs was going to go to Fox when he quit CNN and that Palin was going to run for president when she quit Alaska - just the opposite turns out to be true. Well, it's not a known fact that Dobbs is actually running for any elected office but he certainly is throwing out enough clues that he might be running for some kind of elected office, like back-pedaling on his harsh anti-immigration stance in letters to several news outlets and notable bloggers.

According to the NY Times, Palin won't be on a regularly scheduled program but will host a series that runs on the network on an intermittent basis much like Oliver North (another ethically-challenged, dubious character who is also for some inexplicable reason held in high regard by the right.)

Friday, January 8, 2010


The only experience to which I can liken watching Avatar is the very first time I saw Star Wars in the theater. It was amazing. It made me change what I perceive to be possible in movies.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Assassin by John Mayer

"I work in the dead of night
When the roads are quiet
No one is around
To track my moves

"Race in the end of lights
To find the gate is open
She's waiting in the room
I just slip on through

"You get in
You get done
And then you get gone
You never leave a trace or show your face
You get gone

"Should have turned around
And left before the sun came up again
But the sun came up again

"Enter the morning light
To find the day is burning the curtains and the wine
In a little white room
No, I'm not alone
Her head is heavy on me
She's sleeping like a child
What could I do?

"You get in
You get done
And then you get gone
You never leave a trace or show your face
You get gone

"Should have turned around
And left before the sun came up again
But the sun came up again

"I was a killer, was the best they'd ever seen
I'd steal your heart before you ever heard a thing
I'm an assassin and I had a job to do
Little did I know that girl was an assassin too

"Suddenly I'm in over my head and I could hardly breathe
Suddenly I'm floating over her bed and I feel everything
Suddenly I know exactly what I did, but I cannot move a thing
Suddenly I know exactly what I'd done and what it's gonna mean to me, mean to me
I'm gone

"I was a killer, was the best they'd ever seen
I'd steal your heart before you ever heard a thing
I'm an assassin and I had a job to do
Little did I know that girl was an assassin too

"She's an assassin
She's an assassin
She's an assassin
She's an assassin and she had a job to do"

It sounds like he's talking from experience...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It's amazing how pissed off I can be after being at work for only an half hour...

Monday, January 4, 2010

I wish I could...

...just remove myself from the problems of the world. Rush Limbaugh is thankfully recovering from his heart attack (or heart flutter or whatever landed him in the hospital). I may consider him to be a horrible, rotten person and one of the greatest contributors to the partisan deadlock that is hindering us from fixing the problems we are as a nation facing, but I do not wish him ill; I don't pray for his death. Having been discharged from the (I am assuming) private, VIP, suite at the hospital in Hawai'i where he was being cared for he had this pearl of wisdom to share: "Based on what happened to me here, I don't think there is one thing wrong with the American healthcare system. It is working just fine, just dandy." I should hope so with the amount of money Limbaugh has to toss around. For the average, working schlub it would mean possible lost wages, medications to buy after meeting a hefty yearly deductible and running the risk of having his health insurance coverage rescinded. For millions of other Americans out of work or unable to afford health insurance it would most likely mean financial ruin and possible bankruptcy due to insurmountable bills from the ER, the hospital, the surgeons, etc., lost time from work, missed mortgage payments, etc, etc...

For Rush to come out of the hospital and say this is akin to a hedge fund manager stating "The recession is an amazing opportunity to grab up some under-valued stocks and properties and thanks to all the TARP money we received we don't have to worry about liquidity and are allowed to take greater risks than normal." Meanwhile unemployment is 10%, average people are losing their homes and watching their lives and their children's futures evaporate. But AIG executives are complaining that a $500,000/year compensation without a bonus is simply too low a figure for them to accept...

It must be nice to live in their world.

Open foot, insert holier-than-thou foot...

Brit Hume should keep his mouth shut. If you're being paid by a "news" organization (and yes, the quotation marks are intentional) such as Fox News as a senior political commentator then talk about politics. I wouldn't accidently tune into Access Hollywood and expect vapid Billy Bush talking about say, Jim DeMint blocking the appointment of the head of the TSA during a failed terrorist attempt. So, Brit Hume should not take it upon himself to comment on the Tiger Woods infidelity debacle:

"Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person, I think, is a very open question. And it's a tragic situation .... But the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal, the extent to which he can recover, seems to me to depend on his faith.

"He's said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"

So...? Is the implication that because he is a Buddhist he is somehow automatically morally inferior? (How did that work out for Jerry Falwell and Jim Bakker?) ...or is the implication that, in Mr. Hume's "expert" opinion that Buddhism is inferior or flawed? Even if that is his (or your) opinion, a person's faith is between him and God and should not be the topic of conversation on a network "news" station by a political analyst. Or any television show for that matter, unless you choose to live your life in the public eye.