Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Max Baucus to 60 Million Uninsured Americans: Drop Dead

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (Democrat from the great state of Montana) has done something today no member of the Cato Institute or Ron Paul supporter could ever hope for--he destroyed public health care (which was not even much of an option, considering the pathetic nature of the bill, but at least it was something). I suppose a lobbyist's thanks needs to be extended to Max, as well as Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel--your continuous flaking for these Blue Dogs enabled the victory of the same folk who gave us Grover Cleveland and George Wallace.



I think this is what Gore Vidal meant when he once opined that the US has one political party with two right wings.



We get to live another year to see 45,000 more of our people die without health insurance. By the way, if you are one of the staffers for this receptacle of insurance money, from the bottom of our hearts, and I rarely say this so it is with full effect and meaning, Fuck You --and yes, Max, that most certainly includes you. If indeed there is a hell, may you burn in it for all of the stacked bodies of uninsured homicides whose early deaths you made possible.

Now, we get the pleasure of seeing whether the Senate Majority Leader will put the public option in budget, staving off a filibuster. Here is to hoping that Harry is not as spineless as Max.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Prostitute and the Pimp: A Blue Dog's Tale

According to health care reform opponent and "Democrat" Rep. Mike Ross (of the great state of Arkansas), he has nothing to hide from public scrutiny, including his services on behalf of a pharmaceutical company with ties to the medical industry groups bankrolling and spearheading the business community's opposition to health care reform.

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Dem congressman defends pharmacy sale
Posted: September 23rd, 2009 08:20 AM ET

WASHINGTON (CNN) — One of the leading critics of some of the more liberal elements of the House Democrats health reform bill is answering questions about his ties to a company with a stake in the debate.

Rep. Mike Ross, D-Arkansas, is a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition in the House of Representatives who pressed the congressional leadership to include more cost savings than originally proposed. Last month he came out against the idea of a government-run insurance plan that is included in the bills already passed by 3 House committees.

Ross' 2007 sale of his pharmacy in his hometown of Prescott, Arkansas to a company that operates several drug store chains, Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc., is raising new questions. In the past LaFrance has been a critic of universal health care telling the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette it would lead to "…long lines, they won't be able to get treated, potential doctors will be afraid to go into medical school."

Ross did very well as a result of the transaction. He and his wife, who jointly owned the pharmacy, were paid $420,000 – about 40% more than the most recent appraisal of the property. An independent real estate tracking service shows the prices in the community during that time did not escalate very much.

In a statement, Ross dismisses the idea of his ties influencing his views on health care reform saying he has always supported it, but it must reduce costs, increase access and include insurance reform

"I welcome any debate and review on my voting record and my positions on the issue."

The congressman adds there was nothing improper regarding the transaction saying it was reported and disclosed as required by House ethics reporting requirements.

"I sold it for the amount that I have indicated it was worth on every personal financial statement since 1999. I spent $316,000 in 1998 constructing the building that houses the pharmacy and sold it for $420,000 in 2007 – the annual return on investment is less than four percent. I would have made more during that time period if I had invested in a certificate of deposit (CD)," he says.

This all came to light because of a report by the independent investigative news service ProPublica.

On top of the sale of the building, congressional financial disclosure forms filed by Ross show he and his wife made at least $500,000 by selling the pharmacy's other assets to LaFrance. His office says that was the sale of the "business," which includes inventory, prescription/customer files and says it is "common practice" when selling such a business.

"I have never done a favor for the buyer, who I have only met a few times in my life. The buyer did not just buy brick and mortar; he bought a successful, trusted, centrally-located and profitable pharmacy in my hometown. In two of my closest races, the buyer supported my Republican opponent in both of them. He has since supported my campaign," Ross says in the statement.

LaFrance, who donated $2,800 to Ross according to center for responsive politics, did not return calls to CNN seeking comment.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/09/23/dem-congressman-defends-pharmacy-sale/
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Notice the line, "In two of my closest races, the buyer [of Congressman Ross] supported my Republican opponent in both of them. He has since supported my campaign." Ah, yes, and I am sure "has since supported" Congressman Ross's campaign is purely coincidental to his servicing his sponsor by being one of the foremost Democratic opponents of a health care bill that potentially hurts the economic interests of the representative's pimp, I mean supporter.

I am certain that the 40% markup on that property sale (at the height of the collapse of property values in 2007 [a market that began contracting back in '06]), as well as the half mil the congressman and his wife made from LaFrance, was just "normal" business, much in the same way that it is "normal" for anyone to fork over a share of his/her "investment" in a sponsor, with the anticipation of a return of a different kind. No favoritism at all. And to be sure, the time Ross spent shredding the original House bill down to below a $1 trillion, so not to do crazy things like extend coverage and health care for people (and by inference damage the bank accounts of his major financial contributors) was just a heckuva fluke. The folks at LaFrance had no clue, after they began supporting Ross, that this would ever happen. It's whorery Blue Dog-style, where the magical meets happenstance.

If ever you want to see the true face of evil, you need to look no further than the Blue Dog coalition. At least with Republicans, you know there will be no pretense of caring about anyone outside of the upper 1% income tax bracket (unless they are overly religious and in need of hate inspiration against gays and abortion doctors). But hey, Mike Ross opposes gun control, too, so I am sure ole Alex thinks he's a misunderstood hero of anti-fascism.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Profiles in Domestic Genocide: The Cost of Our Private Health System

If a recent Harvard study is to be believed, we are killing 45,000 of our fellow citizens every year for a lack of health insurance.

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Study links 45,000 U.S. deaths to lack of insurance
Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:11pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.

Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.

The findings come amid a fierce debate over Democrats' efforts to reform the nation's $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry by expanding coverage and reducing healthcare costs.

President Barack Obama's has made the overhaul a top domestic policy priority, but his plan has been besieged by critics and slowed by intense political battles in Congress, with the insurance and healthcare industries fighting some parts of the plan.

The Harvard study, funded by a federal research grant, was published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health. It was released by Physicians for a National Health Program, which favors government-backed or "single-payer" health insurance.

An similar study in 1993 found those without insurance had a 25 percent greater risk of death, according to the Harvard group. The Institute of Medicine later used that data in its 2002 estimate showing about 18,000 people a year died because they lacked coverage.

Part of the increased risk now is due to the growing ranks of the uninsured, Himmelstein said. Roughly 46.3 million people in the United States lacked coverage in 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week, up from 45.7 million in 2007.

Another factor is that there are fewer places for the uninsured to get good care. Public hospitals and clinics are shuttering or scaling back across the country in cities like New Orleans, Detroit and others, he said.

Study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler said the findings show that without proper care, uninsured people are more likely to die from complications associated with preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Some critics called the study flawed.

The National Center for Policy Analysis, a Washington think tank that backs a free-market approach to health care, said researchers overstated the death risk and did not track how long subjects were uninsured.

Woolhandler said that while Physicians for a National Health Program supports government-backed coverage, the Harvard study's six researchers closely followed the methodology used in the 1993 study conducted by researchers in the federal government as well as the University of Rochester in New York.

The Harvard researchers analyzed data on about 9,000 patients tracked by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics through the year 2000. They excluded older Americans because those aged 65 or older are covered by the U.S. Medicare insurance program.

"For any doctor ... it's completely a no-brainer that people who can't get health care are going to die more from the kinds of things that health care is supposed to prevent," said Woolhandler, a professor of medicine at Harvard and a primary care physician in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

(Editing by Xavier Briand)

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE58G6W520090917
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That is the equivalent of 15 September 11s, the first one of which led to the right-wing-engineered elimination of our Fourth Amendment and increased federal law enforcement snooping of our entire population (including the cataloging of all our phone calls). And the money it cost for that? According to Congressman Mike Pence, you can never put a price on killing Muslims (aka, freedom).



Of course, if you ask Mr. Pence his view on spending some of that money so our people do not die, his response is quite different.



You see, they are killed by a system our free marketeers support, because the guardians of this very real health care death panel are either subsidized by its sponsors, or have enough disposable income so not to be harassed by the less fortunate who die so the Cato Institute's donors can keep their McMansions.

It is in this environment that we have the modern day Bourbon Democrats--basically, closet case Republicans, making sure the lumpens are kept at the mercy of the forces that murder by omission 45,000 of our people every year. The same Blue Dog gang, Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Tom Carpenter, Ken Conrad, and Evan Bayh, all of these anti-universal health care folk voted in favor of taking $700 billion of our money and handing it over to Bear Sterns, AIG, and Citigroup (while saying little to nothing about the execs at AIG who gave themselves large payouts and bonuses at our expense). A trillion dollars for the people we kill or nearly a trillion who kill and rip us off for the god of free enterprise? I think we all know who the winners of that battle are. Such is the cost for those who do not have enough money to donate to Mr. Baucus's campaign fund.

I am sure if the Supreme Court decides to rule that corporations are humans with the First Amendment right to unfettered sponsorship of our elected prostitutes, the water carriers from the Blue Dog coalition will be there to tell us not to worry about the scrape marks on their knees and backs. After all, we would not want to see poor Max go without his servicing for those payoffs he receives from the 45,000-people-a-year-killers. Who knows, maybe one day we will even recognize those 45,000 dead as being as equal and worthy of human life as the companies.

Conservative Race Baiting 101

I rarely, if ever, comment on the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs on this site. I see them more or less as sideshow entertainment for right-wing media conglomerates, used to keep us asleep, docile, and in prayer, while their business allies go before the Supreme Court and argue that corporate sponsorship of politics is a form of free speech.

I do not know or care to know Rush, after reading about his past exploits with synthetic heroin, Viagra-pumped sex tourist trysts, and acting like an all around louse with his ex-wives (which after the revelation of his propensity for Caribbean prostitutes it is perfectly understandable that they are ex-wives). When I was a kid, we used to call men like this bums (a term reserved not just for the unemployed but more often used to describe supposedly productive members of society who were wretches as people). Today, we pay these kinds of wretches millions of dollars to tell us how racist Sonia Sotomayor and Barack Obama are.

It turns out that Obama is also to blame for everything, including individual acts of violence committed by children on buses (amazing how forgiving they are of Bush for being in charge when 9/11 happened). And God forbid if the victim is white and the perp of a non-baize hue. Ole Rush has a message for all of you black kids in "Obama's America": To the back of the bus.

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Limbaugh: We need segregated buses
Raw Story

In a remark extraordinary even by the standards of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio heavyweight declared on his program Wednesday that the United States needed to return to racially segregated buses.

Referring to an incident in which a white student was beaten by black students on a bus, Limbaugh said: “I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.”

A full transcript of Limbaugh’s comments on his radio show is available at MediaMatters.org.

Limbaugh’s comments came after a called complained to say that local law enforcement said the attack probably wasn’t racially motivated. The incident had been hyped by the conservative Drudge Report, which posted a video of the fracas.

“Police initially said the beating of the white student by two black students appeared to be racially motivated,” the Associated Press wrote. “But police on Tuesday backed away from that.”

That didn’t stop Limbaugh from making his comments Wednesday.

“In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, ‘Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” Limbaugh also said. “I wonder if Obama’s going to come to come to the defense of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard.”

“White Americans are racists who have created what they call free markets that really just enslave the rest of America and her trading partners,” Limbaugh also mocked. “I mean, it was white Americans that ran off Van Jones. No, look, let’s just follow Eric Holder’s advice and not be cowards about all this. Let’s have an open conversation, an honest conversation about all of our typical white grandmothers. You had one, I had one. Obama had one. They’re racists just like our students are. ACORN — hey, nothing but racism fueling the pursuit of ACORN.”

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/09/17/limbaugh-we-need-segregated-buses/
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Apparently, if you are black, get shot by the police, or beaten half to death by them, it is your fault. But low and behold, one white kid gets a beat down (as wrong and criminal as it was), and the entire edifice of racial integration needs to be stopped. Remember how conservatives responded with a near eruption about the charge from ex-President Jimmy Carter that the opposition to President Obama from the right is based in large part on racism? Can there be any doubt that much of what Carter said is true? Could any of you imagine Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh noting or calling for discrimination against whites after an African American female Army officer was attacked and assaulted in front of her 7 year old daughter at the entrance of a restaurant in Georgia by a white male, who heaped racial taunts on this poor lady while he was beating her? You see, for the "post-racist" right it is only racism when the victim is white.

Am I not the only one who finds it odd that white conservatives will complain about Al Sharpton or anyone who is black that dares to complain about racism as "using the race card," and opposing affirmative action on the grounds that it racially discriminates (indeed, the rationale behind their viewpoint on the issue is that race should never be considered for anything in American life), but then transform into the most vociferously race-conscious bigots when someone who looks like them gets beaten up in one incident? If this is what has become of modern American conservatism, reversion to open racism and calls for segregation, what does this say about the Republican Party that is a repository for this kind of thought?

Just to give another example of this post-election stupidity, from a blue state where Republicans tend to be more moderate: a full one-third of Republicans in New Jersey think the President of the United States was not born in the U.S. Another sixth think he is, drum roll, the anti-Christ. Yes, the anti-Christ. This means if you encounter a Republican in New Jersey, there's a one in three chance he or she will think Obama is a foreigner and one in six that he is the last horseman of the apocalypse.



It is a long way from Russell Kirk.

Monday, September 14, 2009

President Alvaro Uribe: Latin America's Double Standard

One of the great sins of Hugo Chavez, other than angering white American conservatives by calling their president the 'devil', is overstaying his term limit welcome, winning a referendum to run for reelection. The response amongst the brahmins and compradors, and upper income European elites everywhere in the region, was instantaneous and not at all surprising. At the behest of their brethren, they held a series of wealth strikes and demonstrations against the dictatorial evils of reelection, as well as socialism or anything that remotely appeals to people without control over the economic resources of society.

Like with Batista and Pinochet, the right-wing in Latin America, even more than in the US, has a long and selected memory when it comes to democracy and human rights. In essence, it only seems to matter to them when they are not in power. After losing an election, no matter how democratic, they instantly become fanatical supporters of the use of military coups to re-obtain and maintain political and economic control over their polities. Notice, not a single demonstrator at the anti-Chavez rallies said a thing about the very real crushing of dissent in Honduras, where the upper income sponsors decided to vacate the results of the voters by having the armed forces depose its president. Indeed, the right's favorite democratically-elected leader in Latin America, Colombian President Uribe, is admittedly "sympathetic" to the military coup in Honduras. No, they choose the one place where democracy and socialism most interacts, where a 'repressed' upper crest of society responds to the results by trying their own coup (back in 2002) and, when that fails, running off to the US to lobby the American government on the behalf of wealthy European folk everywhere.

No better exemplar of this wealth hypocrisy in democratic politics persists than in Colombia, a country racked by nearly five decades of civil war, in which the military and military-backed paramilitary groups have committed nearly 90% of the killings, to which the government has decided to dedicate its resources to crushing the ones responsible for the other 10%. These are what the folks at The Weekly Standard call 'narcoterrorists.' Not the ones in the AUC, mind you, or the the Medellin cartel, which has been strong backers of President Uribe (and whose home rests in the middle of the cartel's power base), well, the rules do not apply to them. Those are the 'freedom fighters.' You see, they kill the right people, the reward of which we shall all soon see coming to fruition in this hapless nation.

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Colombian lawmakers OK referendum on Uribe third term

(CNN) -- Colombia's House of Representatives overwhelmingly has approved a measure that could allow President Alvaro Uribe to run for a third term next year.

The 85-5 vote late Tuesday would let Colombians vote on a referendum on whether a president can serve three consecutive terms.

The Senate passed a similar bill August 19. The measure now goes to the Colombian constitutional court for approval.

Supporters hope to have the measure on the ballot in congressional elections scheduled for March.

The relevant part of the measure states, "Whoever has been elected president of the republic for two constitutional terms can be elected solely for one other term."

Uribe, a conservative, was elected in 2002 to a single four-year term allowed by the 1991 constitution. He won a constitutional amendment in 2005 that let him run for a second term in May 2006.

Uribe has not indicated whether he would run again in May for a third four-year term if voters approve the referendum, but many analysts expect he would. He retains high voter approval ratings, and no strong challengers have emerged.

Colombia's measure follows similar recent moves in other Latin American countries.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won a referendum in February that will allow the leftist leader to run for a third six-year term in 2012. Venezuelan voters had rejected the same measure in December 2007.

In Bolivia, leftist President Evo Morales won a constitutional referendum in January and congressional approval in April to run for re-election in December.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa also won passage of a new constitution last year that could allow him to rule until 2017. Correa won election in 2006 and will be allowed to run again in a special election this year under the new constitution. A referendum approved this year would allow him to run for another four-year term in 2013.

Other leftist leaders in the region also have eyed constitutional amendments that would allow them to run for office again.

Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya was ousted in June on the same day that citizens were scheduled to vote on a measure that would have allowed a referendum on this year's November presidential ballot. The referendum would have let voters decide whether to hold a constitutional assembly to do away with presidential term limits.

The nation's congress and supreme court ruled the June vote illegal, but Zelaya vowed to hold it anyway. Coup leaders said they overthrew Zelaya because he was maneuvering to stay in power illegally. Zelaya's term, however, would have ended in January before a constitutional assembly could have met.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has indicated he, too, would like a constitutional referendum to seek another term.

In a separate matter in Colombia, Uribe said on his Web page he is recovering from his bout with H1N1 flu and expects to return to normal duties Thursday. Uribe became ill after attending a summit in Argentina on Friday.

He is the second Latin American leader to contract swine flu. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias also reported being infected last month but apparently has recovered.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/09/02/colombia.referendum/index.html#cnnSTCText?iref=werecommend
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Just what kind of murderous thug is President Uribe? After graduating from Harvard, not unlike many children of foreign elites with political designs back home, Alvaro returned to Colombia and began a friendship and business relationship with organized crime, including to drug lord Pablo Escobar (whose hobbies included personally executing any and all of his business and political opponents [there is no way Uribe could have been ignorant of this back in the '80s, when everyone knew what the consequences were of facilitating the drug trade in Colombia]). Had Mr. Uribe committed his pre-presidential crimes in a place like China or Indonesia, he would have faced a prosecution and early departure into the hereafter. Colombian politics, however, operates on a different scale. This is also the same man who ordered his military to invade and bomb rebels (granted, of the leftist variety, not the Medellin crime family who supports him) in neighboring Ecuador. Imagine what the response would have been from the millionaires of Latin America and Fox 'news' if President Chavez ordered the bombing of the Medellin family's home base. We might well have gone to war with Venezuela. Not against Uribe, of course.

This is not to say all is well in Venezuela. Its dependence on oil is going to eventually cost Venezuela dearly, as it already has this last year when its national budget was slashed to meet with falling oil revenues from the 2008 global recession. The single-industry nature of its economy will only support socialism inasmuch as Americans and Chinese purchase its oil. Moreover, as democratically-elected as Chavez may be, he has shut down t.v. stations of his opponents (clearly based on political considerations). He has respected the results and votes he lost, most prominently the constitutional referendum that went against President Chavez back in 2007, but in democracies you or your party will one day lose. How will he respond to an election that goes against him at the national level? Any honest person, even those of us on the left, cannot say with any confidence because of the station shutdowns.

Still, if I had to choose between losing a station, or having a drug kingpin and militarist who invades and attacks neighboring countries as my reelected leader, I do not think it would be much of a choice. It is sad that we have yet to get ourselves to the point where all sides can accept and play by the same rules (and accept the results without bombing, conspiring to violently overthrow, or shutting each other down). Then again, one can not so easily prejudge ideologues south of the border, when compared to the ones in the US who want to assassinate our president for breathing in the general direction of those who do not look like them.



I am sure somewhere downstairs Augusto Pinochet is looking up with a smile on his face.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Moron Report #34: State Assemblyman Mike Duvall

This is a first at the un-famous and barely read Discourses site. For the first time, we have back-to-back moron awards. You know it had to be special. Introducing California Representative Mike Duvall. This married, family values fellow is quite an active cad. And when not being active with people influencing his vote on such trifling matters like energy policy, Rep. Duvall prefers to delve into displays of foot-in-mouth syndrome.

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Recorded sex comments cost Calif. lawmaker his job

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Mike Duvall's second term as a member of the California Assembly was progressing pretty much like his first — in relative obscurity, with few notable legislative accomplishments.

The Orange County Republican is now a YouTube hit after KCAL-TV aired his racy comments about sexual conquests that were caught by an open microphone in a Capitol hearing room. Several media outlets said the comments referred to Duvall's affairs with a female lobbyist and another woman. He resigned Wednesday.

California's legislative leaders have been trying to focus on a number high-profile issues — from water policy to prisons to renewable energy — during the waning days of their legislative session. On Wednesday, they instead found themselves answering questions about a lawmaker who bragged about a spanking fetish, the type of underwear worn by a mistress and his apparent ability to carry on two extramarital affairs at once.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, called it "a very sad day."

"We have such big issues before the Legislature and to have this become a distraction, he felt his responsibility was to step aside," she said.

Duvall, 54, lives in Yorba Linda with his wife when he is not in Sacramento, and has two adult children.

He made the comments about the affairs to Assemblyman Jeff Miller during a break in a committee meeting inside the Capitol on July 8, apparently unaware that the microphone at the desk was on.

"I'm getting into spanking her," Duvall is heard saying on the videotape, which was made as a matter of routine by a legislative office.

Miller asks if she likes it too. Duvall responds: "She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah, that's 'cause you're such a bad girl.'"

Duvall also describes the woman's "eye-patch underwear" and the age difference between himself and his mistress, identified in some media reports as a lobbyist for an energy company. He tells Miller, a fellow Republican from Corona, that the woman's birthday was two days earlier.

Duvall said he joked with the woman that she was getting old after turning 36 and told her, "I am going to have to trade you in."

The lawmaker then brags about an affair he is having with another woman.

"Oh, she is hot! I talked to her yesterday. She goes, 'So are we finished?' I go, 'No, we're not finished.' I go, 'You know about the other one, but she doesn't know about you!'" Duvall can be heard saying in an apparent reference to his affair with the lobbyist.

The unseemly remarks also raise questions about the relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists. The Assembly Ethics Committee is investigating Duvall's comments, in part to determine whether the affair might have influenced his votes.

He was vice chairman of the Assembly Utilities Committee.

Several media outlets reported the woman Duvall refers to in his comments works as a lobbyist for Sempra Energy, a San Diego-based energy services company that operates San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co. Sempra issued an e-mail statement saying it was investigating the claims.

"The employee has denied the speculative media reports. Our investigation will be conducted to ensure not only that our policies on employee conduct are strictly adhered to, but also that our employee is treated fairly," the company said.

Duvall was elected in 2006 to represent an Orange County district that includes Fullerton, Anaheim, Placentia, Orange, Brea and Yorba Linda. Before that, he served six years on the Yorba Linda City Council. He also owns an insurance agency.

In stepping down, Duvall said it would not be fair to his family, constituents or friends to remain in office.

"I am deeply saddened that my inappropriate comments have become a major distraction for my colleagues in the Assembly, who are working hard on the very serious problems facing our state," he said. "Therefore, I have decided to resign my office, effective immediately, so that the Assembly can get back to work."

The lawmaker had received a 100 percent rating from Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative advocacy group, for his votes on legislation considered pro-family during the 2007-08 legislative session.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090910/ap_on_re_us/us_california_lawmaker_sex_comments
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"The Assembly Ethics Committee is investigating Duvall's comments, in part to determine whether the affair might have influenced his votes." No, really? I am sure it had no influence whatsoever. I mean, like with Hugh Hefner, I am certain the 30-something professional ladies out there like nothing more than cohorting with a married skeletor who takes to bragging about the women he objectifies. I am positive that if Mr. Duvall was a sanitation maintenance worker, these lobbyists would be giving him the time of day. Pure coincidence.

By the way, just in case you want to hear Duvall's comments, here they are. Remember, this is the same man who thinks gays and lesbians are not mature or moral enough to be married.



Watching that reminds of how so many of these folk tell us of the sinful nature of our bodies, and how much we are going to get zapped by the man upstairs for partaking in any inappropriate behavior outside of (and sometimes within) marriage, and yet they are almost always the most perverse people in the room. I am sure that is a coincidence, too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Moron Report #33: The Romantic Robber

Rule No. 21 in Robbery 101: After robbing your victim, do not return to the scene and ask her out on a date, particularly if the said victim is near a phone or anyone/anything that can alert the authorities. Check.

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Police: Robber Returned To Ask Victim For Date

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 6:59 AM
Updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 6:22 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Police said they arrested a suspected robber on Sunday after he returned to his victim's home to ask her out on a date.

According to investigators, Stephfon Bennett was one of three men who robbed a couple on the city's north side late Sunday night, 10TV News reported.

Less than two hours after the robbery, police said that Bennett, 20, returned to the home and asked the woman out.

"We are not exactly sure what he was thinking at the time," said Columbus police Sgt. Sean Laird. "She recognized him right away when he returned and was able to have her cousin call 911."

Officers arrived and arrested Bennett in front of the house, police said.

He faces aggravated robbery charges.

The other two men suspected of breaking into the home remained at-large.

©2009 by 10TV.com.
http://www.10tv.com/live/content/local/stories/2009/09/08/story_bennett.html
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Congratulations, Stephfon. You have now been officially inducted in my hall of shame. Nice to see that the stache is making a comeback, by the way. As a fellow stache man, I only wish we would stop robbing people and committing genocide.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Obama and Labor

Here is a cream puff piece on our President and labor, via the Associated Press.

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Obama thanks labor for hard-won rights at work

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer

CINCINNATI – President Barack Obama declared Monday that modern benefits like paid leave, minimum wage and Social Security "all bear the union label," as he appealed to organized labor to help him win the health care fight in Congress.

"It was labor that helped build the largest middle class in history. So, even if you're not a union member, every American owes something to America's labor movement," said Obama, whose run for the presidency was energized in no small part by unions.

Obama asserted that "our recovery plan is working," but repeated that he won't be satisfied until jobs are much more plentiful.

Shortly after taking the oath, Obama confronted a rapidly deteriorating economy, a clogged credit system, failing or ailing banks and a a shaky stock market. He used his speech here to tick off a host of steps the administration has taken to steady the economy, and he made a special pitch for the health care overhaul he has pushed.

"We have never been this close," Obama said. "We have never had this broad an agreement on what needs to be done." He accused vested interests of trying to thwart it. Some union-circulated posters held up by audience members proclaimed, "Health Care Can't Wait."

For their part, some elements within the labor movement have indicated frustration with Obama, who traveled to Cincinnati to speak to a state AFL-CIO gathering, because some key items such as legislation making it easier for people to join unions has languished in Congress. To vigorous cheers, Obama made a pitch for the bill in his speech. He also noted that the first bill he signed into law was one guaranteeing equal pay for equal work.

Obama spent a good deal of his time extolling the virtues of the union movement.

"We remember that the rights and benefits we enjoy today were not simply handed out to America's working men and women. They had to be won," he said.

"They had to be fought for, by men and women of courage and conviction, from the factory floors of the Industrial Revolution to the shopping aisles of today's superstores. They stood up and spoke out to demand a fair shake, an honest day's pay for an honest day's work," he said. "Many risked their lives. Some gave their lives. Some made it a cause of their lives — like Sen. Ted Kennedy, who we remember today."

At one point before Obama spoke, some in the crowd broke into chants of "Fired up" and "Ready to Go."

Obama closed with a story about how that phrase became one of his campaign slogans, and appealed to the assembled union rank and file to for help. "Your voice can change the world. Your voice can get health care passed. Your voice will make sure the American worker is protected. You can build America. I need your help," Obama said as the audience broke into more chants.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis accompanied Obama to Ohio, and the pair appeared in front of a large American flag, nine smaller ones and red, white and blue bunting. Local union organizers handed out 10,000 tickets for access to the area where Obama was to speak. The event was moved indoors to a music pavilion because of threatened thunderstorms.

Obama chose the Labor Day union picnic as the backdrop to announce his selection of Ron Bloom as senior counselor for manufacturing policy.

Bloom was senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as part of the auto industry task force since February. Bloom, a Harvard Business School graduate, previously advised the United Steelworkers union and worked as an investment banker.

Bloom will work with the National Economic Council to lead policy development and planning for Obama's work to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, the White House said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090907/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_labor_day
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President Obama, if you cared so much about unions, why are you not more vigorously supporting the Employee Free Choice Act? It is the Democrats in the Senate holding up that legislation, the same prostitutes for industry who are killing your health care plan. In fact, you have yet to lobby a single member of the Senate on behalf of the legislation. Have you no backbone with the traitorous elements in your own camp? Why is it that Republicans never have to compromise, indeed, they can go down to defeat on principle, but we are supposed to constantly compromise our values and beliefs for you? Why do we have to be held hostage to corporate-sponsored hacks like Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu?

Readers, remember the whole NAFTA/GATT debate during the presidential primaries when then-Senator Obama claimed that we needed to renegotiate those trade agreements to take into account labor and environmental standards? We are on month eight and not a single finger has been lifted. Our jobs continue to be taken, our car companies the government took over forced by this administration to lay off most of its workers (under the guise of 'reform'), all the while Mr. Geithner's and Summers' executive friends at Citibank and Bear Sterns give themselves hefty pay raises at our expense.

And is it too much to ask for you to support a striker replacement bill, which makes it illegal for employers to fire their striking workers? We are the only (post)industrialized nation that continues to do this (the last holdouts being apartheid South Africa and fascist Spain under General Franco). Bill Clinton campaigned on it back in 1992 and chose to spend the first year of his administration, instead, lobbying Congress to pass NAFTA. Are you going to allow the EFCA to be your striker replacement bill?

I suppose I should not be too critical. I long anticipated Obama's views on unions and free trade, but to see the way he has refused to do anything, other than give platitudes and speeches, on the EFCA and unions in general, I wonder how long our labor unions in this country will continue to allow itself to be treated this way?

The campaign is over, Mr. President. I do not care about what you say. Those of us who work and suffer for this economic system only care about results. If you cannot produce anything for us, it is time to look elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Unions and Labor Day

Ever wonder why we are one of the few countries in the world that celebrates labor day in September? Well, you can thank the anti-Communist wave in this country. As noted in a previous May Day post, the real labor day, May 1, was started by unions as a movement throughout the world following the Haymarket massacre (brought to us by Chicago's finest and the Illinois criminal justice system). However, because of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, and the Soviet expropriation of May Day as a major holiday (after all, it was the worker's paradise [I always enjoyed watching those marching throngs of pipe fitters in uniforms, guns, and tanks]), the US Congress responded by turning May 1 into Law Day (yes, law day, so to make you complacent workers into obedient citizens who would never violate a court order against your union).

As a result of the aforementioned, our Labor Day was switched to the first Monday of September (this year, September 7), several months away from those May Day heathens, and more importantly dividing our unions and population from everyone else's. It is this mindset that has contributed to our 'exceptionalism' or as some would call it isolation from the outside world.

And just in time for the upcoming Labor Day festivities is the gutting of the Employee Free Choice Act. You may remember some of the news stories on it. Those rapscallions in Congress are trying to give employees the right to form unions, a difficult process currently, since employers get the first crack at browbeating and threatening their workers if they were ever so inclined to a union. And why would those workers want a union? Because in every industry where workers are in one, without exception, unionized workers have greater pay and benefits when compared to non-union workers in similar jobs. All of this is known to the employers, of course, which is why they so steadfastly hate unions.

Just how much do our anti-union friends in business hate this bill? Here was the response of Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus (who has never met an employee he didn't want to underpay): "If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys," then those retailers "should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs." I guess there will be no weekends at Bernie's for us. Nothing like an honest businessperson to remind you of why capitalism demands the division of labor and rationalized poverty (including murder when the owner does not get his way).

Low and behold, just in time to rescue the employers, like they are rescuing the insurance industry, some of our esteemed members of the Senate are holding out on the bill. They are the usual suspects. DLC/Blue Dog Democrats, who feel as though holding the water of employers and the financial interests who subsidize their campaigns is their primary mission in life--Senators Nelson, Lincoln, and the newly-minted Democrat Arlen Specter (all of whom have taken corporate PAC money, including those linked to the business interests lobbying against the legislation in question). Thanks to them, the part of the EFCA that would have allowed worker-initiated unionization with a single majority vote is going down to defeat. In other words, EFCA is dead, no matter what else they call it once the bastardized version is passed, assuming it is ever passed (the same kind of defeat the striker replacement bill went down to in the first year of Clinton's reign).

Mr. Marcus can rest easily. His returns and 6,000 square foot mansion will not be threatened by the thought of a cashier making $15.00/hour with full benefits. Naturally, Marcus thought nothing of the executives of his company getting a $240 million buyout. No, civilization is only for those considered more equal.