Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Archive for June, 2007

Are you an addict?

Posted by Greg on June 30, 2007

60%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Posted in The Blogosphere | Leave a Comment »

Mitt v. Dubya?

Posted by Greg on June 29, 2007

I’ve really tried to avoid commenting on Mitt’s dog because it’s just not worth it.  We already knew Mitt is a nimrod.  But this, from Firedoglake, really is priceless:

So not only did Mitt use an episode of incredible cruelty and lack of empathy as an example of his grace under pressure, but he also claimed that the helpless victim totally loved the idea (I’m assuming that diarrhea must be the dog equivalent of flowers and candy). Hell, he could almost be Dubya’s twin.

On the other hand, Mitt actually did manage to get the shit off. If it had been Dubya, he would have insisted the shit was chocolate and threatened to fight anyone who tried to clean it up. Five years later, after it was good and caked on (and after adding some more of his own), he would finally sell the car and the dog to a Democrat “as is” – possibly after setting them on fire.

Posted in Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

The law is an idiot

Posted by Greg on June 29, 2007

And so are many of its practitioners.  Why in the hell can’t they fix this abominable miscarriage of justice?

A judge denied bond Wednesday for a teenager who’s serving a 10-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex when he was 17 with a 15-year-old girl, an aide to the judge said.

Douglas County, Georgia, Superior Court Judge David Emerson said Genarlow Wilson’s conviction makes him ineligible for bail, despite a court ruling this month that reduced his sentence to one year, according to The Associated Press.

A minor gets blown by another minor and he gets a ten year felony conviction?  It was all due to an inconsistency in the law in the first place, and nobody with an ounce of common sense believes this kid belongs in prison.  He’s already been behind bars for double the reduced sentence imposed by the appellate judge.

Let the kid go home to his family, expunge his record, and be done with this asinine adventure that has made the Georgia legal system a national laughingstock.

Posted in Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

Court limits race based admissions

Posted by Greg on June 28, 2007

Another ruling from the Roberts Court:

The decision in cases affecting schools in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle could imperil similar plans in hundreds of districts nationwide, and it leaves public school systems with a limited arsenal to maintain racial diversity. …

[The case] was led by parents challenging the way race is used to assign students to schools for the purpose of integration.

Dave Schraub thinks Kennedy’s very narrow concurrence may have saved Brown from being blatantly overruled:

I’m going to read Kennedy’s opinion first, then get to the others. It still strikes me as the wrong decision, but it appears that we’ve dodged the worst-case scenario. Brown lives another day.

Posted in Civil Rights, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

New Edwards campaign spot

Posted by Greg on June 27, 2007

This is the new campaign ad Edwards is running in New Hampshire:

Not bad.  Of the candidates running, I have to say at this point Edwards would probably have my vote.

HT: Firedoglake which notes:

I like the ad as an introduction to Edwards, but I’m left wanting to know more.  Maybe that’s the point?

It also gives a great rundown on campaign advertising.   Read the whole thing.

Posted in Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

Funny from down under

Posted by Greg on June 27, 2007

This is hilarious – a creative use for male vanity.

Posted in Humor | Leave a Comment »

Nader’s ego enters race

Posted by Greg on June 27, 2007

from satirist Andy Borowitz:

The field of presidential candidates got a little more crowded today as the massive ego of consumer activist Ralph Nader announced that it was entering the 2008 race.

For its historic announcement, Mr. Nader’s ego chose New York’s Madison Square Garden, the only venue available large enough to contain the candidate’s bloated self-esteem.

After being loaded into the Garden’s freight elevator and wheeled out onto the stage, Mr. Nader’s ego said the words that its faithful had been waiting to hear.

“This gigantic ego has sat on the sidelines long enough and watched others’ egos get all of the attention!” the candidate’s ego roared.

Mr. Nader’s ego went on to enumerate the reasons for its latest candidacy, telling the audience, “I want to see an America where I am on campaign buttons, banners, and Larry King Live.”

His ego added that it hoped to fill what it saw as a void in the 2008 campaign: “There is no other narcissistic whackjob in the race, unless you count Kucinich.”

The consumer activist’s bloated ego received rave reviews from those in attendance, many of whom had fond memories of Mr. Nader’s successful bid to wreck the 2000 presidential race.

“It was great to see that ego back on stage,” said Nader supporter Ralph Nader, 73. “Finally, a candidate who speaks for me.”

Others echoed that sentiment, including Nader supporter Ralph Nader, 73: “I couldn’t believe how handsome he was.”

Elsewhere, in a serious setback for former Florida governor Jeb Bush, new research finds that the eldest children in families tend to have higher I.Q.’s than their younger siblings.

Posted in Election 2008, Humor | Leave a Comment »

Edwards takes on the mouth

Posted by Greg on June 26, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards calls in to Ann Coulter. An amusing listen.

Posted in Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »

Economic reality

Posted by Greg on June 26, 2007

Interesting stuff from Sully

I guess some readers are a little shocked by this statement:

I see no problem with the wealthy having access to better care than the less wealthy.

It seems to me that this is equivalent to saying: I see no problem with living in a free society. Even if Michael Moore achieved his dream of corralling us all into a British-style healthcare system, private medicine would still endure in America. In fact, you’d have to make it illegal to prevent the wealthy having access to better care, newer drugs, faster service, better doctors. I know some leftists would gladly prevent the successful from getting better healthcare, but it won’t happen in a free country.

At a fundamental level he’s correct. Health care isn’t a right, it’s a collection of goods and services for which eventually a bill comes due.

But that’s not the whole story.

The right wing is working itself into a frothy lather in anticipation of Sicko, the new Michael Moore movie. Yes, yes, Moore is an asshole propagandist and presents an attractive target to his critics but it will be unfortunate if they focus on Moore and not on the issue of health care in America.

Because health care, though not a “right” in meaningful terms, is absolutely a public good. And as a public good we can’t afford to continue down the road we’re on.

Let’s be blunt and honest about things here. When it comes to the health care dollar the United States spends more and gets less for it than anywhere else in the developed world. A shocking number of people lack easy accessibility to even basic medical and preventative services. Costs are skyrocketing and it’s coming home to roost affecting not just patients and hospitals, but even our competitiveness in the business world as the marketplace goes global.

Lots of things are public goods – roads, the airwaves, telecommunications networks, etc. We know from practical experience that doesn’t mean the private sector can’t be part of the solution. But it does mean there needs to be an appropriate investment in government oversight and regulation to make sure the public interest is being met. It does mean we can do better in spreading the cost of care out so nobody has to worry about financial ruin from an unforeseen emergency. And in some cases it might even mean the government is in competition with the private sector – if the really believe competition is good for all, they should say, “Bring it on!”

It means we accept the premise that “being human” implies a certain level of shared responsibility within our society such that people are cared for and we are honest and up front about what it takes to do that. I grow tired of critics who use personal anecdotes, “My dad suffered from XXXX and spent however long in the hospital and was taken care of even though he is poor and nobody that wants treatment in America goes without…” when we all know damn well that the cost of his dad’s treatment was made up through accounting tricks and overcharges to other patients. And whatever “dad” says, we all know people who HAVE suffered because of inadequate care.

There is no free ride, let’s be honest and create an infrastructure that’s above board and reduces people falling through the cracks. Sully’s right, the rich by definition will find a way to do what needs to be done, but this isn’t an issue because of a fraction of a percent of the population. It’s the rest of us – and our nation’s economy, that are driving the discussion.

We get the usual whining about “socialized medicine” but there are myriad systems out there, there isn’t a single meaningful definition. Having lived in Europe I know full well there’s no pot of gold at the end of the health care rainbow. But at some point quantifiable results have to enter into the picture and whatever system they have adopted a common feature is they spend less per capita, and get more in terms of lower infant mortality rates, lower rates of lifestyle diseases, longer life span, etc.

We don’t have to endorse every single policy in every single country to recognize they’re doing some things right, and we’d be foolish to not learn from them. where appropriate.

Of course the darwinian capitalists, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and many others have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. But the principle of a safety net is ingrained well in the civic consciousness. People “get” it, they understand why it’s appropriate and even necessary to have the kind of society we want to live in. What we haven’t done well is figure out how health care ties into that.

Recognizing the nature of the discussion is that of health care as a public good is an essential first step. But just as important, we have to do a better job holding our elected representatives’ feet to the fire. What are their plans? How do they propose to move forward?

A lingering lesson of the Hillarycare debacle is that it isn’t safe for candidates to address health care head on. That needs to change. We should demand better.

Posted in Health Care | Leave a Comment »

Whither Cheney?

Posted by Greg on June 26, 2007

Whither Cheney?

In the Watergate heyday in 1973 Senator Barry Goldwater had the task of telling Nixon it was time to go. Now, it seems, various members of the GOP are fighting over who gets to take a similar hike to the not-Executive branch to give the same message to Dick Cheney.

Sally Quinn in the Washington Post details:

The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. Even before this week’s blockbuster series in The Post, discontent in Republican ranks was rising.

As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration’s leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party — including the presidential nominee — in next year’s elections.

Politics aside, Cheney needs to go. As much fun as it would be to run against him in 2008, the damage he has inflicted upon the country and the Constitution speak for themselves. We are all better off if he quietly goes away to spend more time with his new grandson who, thanks to his cronies and fellow travelers, lacks the stability of two legal parents.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Number four

Posted by Greg on June 25, 2007

A fourth sextuplet has passed away.

Another one of the sextuplets born to a St. Louis Park couple has died, hospital officials said Monday.

Cadence Alana Morrison is the fourth sextuplet to die since the babies were born on June 10. She lived nearly two weeks before dying Saturday morning, officials at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis said.

Hopes continue for the remaining two.

Posted in Health Care | Leave a Comment »

What are they THINKING

Posted by Greg on June 25, 2007

I’ve really tried to refrain from comment on the Bobby Cutts case – you know, the police officer accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child.

But that doesn’t stem the tide of hangers on trying to get their name in the paper.  Like this one:

Today on “Good Morning America,” Cutts’ former girlfriend and the mother of his 9-year-old said he has a darker side.

“In a relationship with him I was frightened many times where he would exert control physically,” said Nikki Giavasis. “There were instances when he pinned me down and held me against my will.”

So, he has an ex with a 9 year old kid, a current wife with two kids by him, a (deceased) current girlfriend with two kids by him.   Hello?   History of violence.   Hello? 

Ok ladies, what am I missing that would lead any rational woman into wanting to do the horizontal tango with this kind of loser?  Are some people just pathologically incapable of good decision making?  The point here isn’t to blame the victim – obviously nobody expected this – but WTF?

Posted in Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

More questions from California

Posted by Greg on June 25, 2007

Some curious questions in the California Supreme Court marriage equality case.

Useful questions…but ones which require a bit of thought.  More later.

Posted in Civil Rights, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

Giving records

Posted by Greg on June 25, 2007

Not surprising.

Americans gave nearly $300 billion to charitable causes last year, setting a new record and besting the 2005 total that had been boosted by a surge in aid to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma — and the Asian tsunami.

Donors contributed an estimated $295.02 billion in 2006, a 1 percent increase when adjusted for inflation, up from $283.05 billion in 2005. Excluding donations for disaster relief, the total rose 3.2 percent, inflation-adjusted, according to an annual report released Monday by the Giving USA Foundation at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy.

Posted in My Musings | Leave a Comment »

Elections and consequences

Posted by Greg on June 25, 2007

Not that any of this is surprising:

Monday’s Supreme Court rulings in three high-profile cases showed that Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, both appointees of President Bush, are putting their imprint on the high court’s decisions.

Yeah, they are.  I actually agree on campaign finance and the Faith Based Initiatives ruling isn’t quite as bad as it seems.  But this really underscores the need to pray for Stevens’ and Ginsburg’s health…

Posted in Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »