Monday, December 21, 2009

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I'm Really Pissed Off About Health Care Reform

by Bob Cesca

I'm pissed off at health care reform. I'm pissed off at this endless process of emotional highs and lows and exhilaration and dejection and history and infamy.

I'm pissed off that President Obama "thanked" the independent senator from Connecticut even though the senator nearly killed health care reform this week.

To that point, I'm pissed off at Joe Lieberman. I'm pissed off at his childish, vengeful, opposite-day hackery. I'm pissed off at his giant pie-shaped head and his passive aggression. I'm pissed off that he enjoys government-run Medicare benefits while opposing government-run insurance for the rest of us.

I'm pissed off at the Senate. The whole Senate. The rules, the senators, the color of the walls, the fact that a doof like Chuck Grassley can actually be elected to it. Multiple times. I'm pissed off that even though we finally have a 60 seat supermajority, it's dysfunctional and Harry Reid is in charge of it. I'm pissed off that senators of both parties receive government-run primary care from the Office of the Attending Physician, while denying it to everyone else.

I'm pissed off at cable news and the establishment press for focusing more on The David Letterman & Tiger Woods Underpants Party than the substance of health care reform.

I'm pissed off at Rahm Emanuel and I'm pissed off at the "scary profane a-hole" mythology that's built up around him, and how he only seems to use his powers of intimidation to bully the left.

I'm pissed off at the Republicans. I'm pissed off at their ongoing self-contradictions and lies and bumper sticker sloganeering. I'm pissed off that around 55 Republicans are on Medicare, yet they oppose government-run health care for the rest of us.

I'm pissed off at Tom Coburn's bulbous Dirk Diggler haircut.

I'm pissed off at having to compromise while a handful of lopsidedly powerful conservadems get whatever they ask for.

Scientists crack 'entire genetic code' of cancer


Professor Mike Stratton: "This is a fundamental moment in cancer research"
By Michelle Roberts

Scientists have unlocked the entire genetic code of two of the most common cancers - skin and lung - a move they say could revolutionise cancer care.

Not only will the cancer maps pave the way for blood tests to spot tumours far earlier, they will also yield new drug targets, says the Wellcome Trust team.

Scientists around the globe are now working to catalogue all the genes that go wrong in many types of human cancer.

The UK is looking at breast cancer, Japan at liver and India at mouth.

China is studying stomach cancer, and the US is looking at cancers of the brain, ovary and pancreas.

Church courts controversy with Christmas billboard

Christmas billboard

Dumbest business moments of the decade

1 of 10
Jan 10, 2000: You've got disaster!
Jan 10, 2000: You've got disaster! AOL and Time Warner (Fortune's parent company) announced a $165 billion merger, promising to marry the best news and entertainment content with the distribution medium of the future, the Internet. To say it was a bad match is an exercise in understatement.

In 2002, AOL Time Warner posted the largest-ever U.S. corporate loss as it wrote off most of the value of the merger. The next year, the company bid adieu to the managers who created it and stripped AOL from the corporate letterhead.

This month, Time Warner and AOL finally parted ways, nine years later and more than $100 billion poorer. So much for the deal Ted Turner once gushed was better than sex.

2 of 10
Jan 25, 2001: The Maestro's dubious debt warning
Jan 25, 2001: The Maestro's dubious debt warningJust days after President George W. Bush took office, Fed chief Alan Greenspan admonished budgeteers about the dangers of -- get this -- too little federal debt.

"At zero debt, the continuing unified budget surpluses currently projected imply a major accumulation of private assets by the federal government," Greenspan told the Senate Budget Committee.

As it turns out, the United States has been able to kick its nasty surplus habit, spilling at least $158 billion of red ink every year since Greenspan's testimony. Yet thanks to the financial sector debt crisis that precipitated bailouts such as TARP, the feds ended up accumulating huge amounts of private assets anyway. We've got 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup -- any takers?

NEXT: July 19, 2002: WorldCom's bankruptcy

Weathering the storm of stupidity

Climate change deniers arm themselves with ignorance and fight bravely against science

By Gene Lyons

The spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought. --P.B. Medawar

So what's next? A series of essays by Sarah Palin about the Large Hadron Collider and the mysteries of dark matter? An MIT lecture series by Rush Limbaugh regarding the thermodynamics of black holes? A Festschrift of Sean Hannity's scholarly articles on plate tectonics and volcano formation? Glenn Beck performing live heart-lung transplants on Fox News?

Everybody understands that these things couldn't happen. That when it comes to serious scientific endeavor, years of study and professional apprenticeship are required. In a word, expertise.

Ex-beauty contestants, drive-time DJs, TV sports announcers, hairstylists, newspaper columnists -- basically anybody whose math skills topped out in the 10th grade -- rarely have anything substantive to add to the sum of technical and scientific knowledge. That's what they most resent about it.

It's not impossible that such persons could educate themselves sufficiently to have an informed opinion, but it's rare. Most of us, most of the time, are like historian and blogger Josh Marshall: "The fact that the vast majority of people with specialized knowledge in the field think there's a problem is good enough for me," he wrote. "I can't be knowledgeable about everything. And I'm comfortable with the modern system in which the opinions of really knowledgeable people with expertise counts more in cases like this than people who know nothing at all."

Unless and until, that is, scientific endeavor impinges upon either A) religious belief, or B) the ability of tycoons to keep making money in precisely the way they or their ancestors have always made their money. Then it's every man and woman a climatologist, and every genuine expert an "elitist" enemy of God and the American way -- creationism with a thermometer.

Franken Denies Lieberman an 'Additional Moment' to Continue Speaking on the Senate Floor

Marvel Universe President Obama versus Fox News President Obama – Who’s Worse?

by Avi Brand

The recent blockbuster news flash that Disney is buying Marvel Entertainment for $4 Billion made me wonder once again who is the worse President of the United States: Barack Obama as portrayed by the Marvel Universe, or Barack Obama as portrayed by Fox News. Well, I decided to stack them up head-to-head to settle the question once and for all.

The newly elected Marvel Universe Barack Obama made one of the most infamous cabinet appointments of all time, choosing Norman Osborn (formerly the murderous and insane Green Goblin) as head of all global peacekeeping agencies, including the revered Avengers. This version of Barack Obama has literally handed the reins of world peace and safety over to one of the most evil men on this or any other planet. Osborn has already clandestinely allied himself with Doctor Doom, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Loki the Norse God of Mischief, and the Criminal Syndicate Boss/Demon Sorcerer The Hood in an attempt to cement his power base and further extend his villainous tentacles into every corner of the Marvel Universe. Meanwhile, his agents are hunting down heroes like Tony Stark (Iron Man) and even Captain America, the very symbol of American power. And all with the Marvel Universe Obama's tacit approval. Makes Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers look like kindergartners.


The Fox News Barack Obama is a shady, smooth-talking totalitarian communist who is on an unholy mission to strengthen the federal government by any means necessary to a deadly sharp edge at home while systematically weakening our military oversees. His failed economic policies have destroyed this great country that we grew up in, and he will stop at nothing to blame America first for any problem anywhere in the world. Under his iron-fisted rule, the US will devolve into a Soviet-style, Nazi dictatorship that will enforce mandatory abortions on women, Koran classes on men, and euthanasia for old people. After barely seven months in office, he is already the worst president this nation has ever had. He is certainly the most anti-American. Makes Stalin and Hitler look like amateurs.

Fox News

So who's worse?

Tom Friedman, museum exhibit

Glenn Greenwald

This might be one of the most self-contradictory episodes in the annals of American punditry:

Tom Friedman, The New York Times, yesterday:

A corrosive mind-set has taken hold since 9/11. It says that Arabs and Muslims are only objects, never responsible for anything in their world, and we are the only subjects, responsible for everything that happens in their world. We infantilize them.

Tom Friedman, over and over and over, for the last two weeks, on Afghanistan:

I feel like we're like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a special needs baby.

The person who has spent weeks depicting Afghanistan as a "special needs baby" is now lecturing us about the "corrosive mind-set" of "infantilizing" Muslims.  And the person who is now inveighing against seeing ourselves as "subjects" and Muslims as "objects" was one of the most vocal cheerleaders for the attack on Iraq on the ground that our invasion would "put Iraq on a more progressive path and stimulate some real change in an Arab world."

The "point" of Friedman's column yesterday is to call for a "civil war" in the Muslim world.  Calling for wars is what Tom Friedman does most frequently.  Today's not one of those days when I'm willing to wallow in the muck of his "argument," but Daniel Larison's superb response makes that unnecessary.  Suffice to say:  if I had to identify one fact that would illustrate for historians the rot and destructiveness of American political and media culture in this era, I would point to the fact that the trite, sociopathic, and grotesquely muddled mind of Tom Friedman is widely considered by political and media elites to be deeply Serious, profound and oozing great wisdom.

Traitor Joe's