No Difference between Democrats and Republicans?

Check this out:

Charlene Dill didn’t have to die.

On March 21, Dill was supposed to bring her three children over to the South Orlando home of her best friend, Kathleen Voss Woolrich. The two had cultivated a close friendship since 2008; they shared all the resources that they had, from debit-card PINs to transportation to baby-sitting and house keys. They helped one another out, forming a safety net where there wasn’t one already. They “hustled,” as Woolrich describes it, picking up short-term work, going out to any event they could get free tickets to, living the high life on the low-down, cleaning houses for friends to afford tampons and shampoo. They were the working poor, and they existed in the shadows of the economic recovery that has yet to reach many average people.

So on March 21, when Dill never showed up with her three kids (who often came over to play with her 9-year-old daughter, Zahra), Woolrich was surprised she didn’t even get a phone call from Dill. She shot her a text message – something along the lines of “Thanks for ditching me, LOL” – not knowing what had actually happened. Dill, who was estranged from her husband and raising three children aged 3, 7 and 9 by herself, had picked up yet another odd job. She was selling vacuums on a commission basis for Rainbow Vacuums. On that day, in order to make enough money to survive, she made two last-minute appointments. At one of those appointments, in Kissimmee, she collapsed and died on a stranger’s floor.

Dill’s death was not unpredictable, nor was it unpreventable. She had a documented heart condition for which she took medication. But she also happened to be one of the people who fall within the gap created by the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, which was a key part of the Affordable Care Act’s intention to make health care available to everyone. In the ensuing two years, 23 states have refused to expand Medicaid, including Florida, which rejected $51 billion from the federal government over the period of a decade to overhaul its Medicaid program to include people like Dill and Woolrich – people who work, but do not make enough money to qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies. They, like many, are victims of a political war – one that puts the lives and health of up to 17,000 U.S. residents and 2,000 Floridians annually in jeopardy, all in the name of rebelling against President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

To my fellow liberals: the Republicans know that there is a big difference. And you should too. Our Democrats aren’t as liberal as we’d like them to be and they too are often in the clutches of Big Money. The same holds true for President Obama.

But there are differences and they are significant. Shame on you if you can’t see them or won’t admit that they are there.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, health care, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | 2 Comments

GMO, El Nino, Obamacare’s legs and Ukraine …

GMO: this is a nice editorial, though I don’t agree with labeling laws. Mandatory label laws should be done for science reasons and not to appease the woo-woos:

GMOs are made by inserting a foreign gene into a plant or animal with the goal of conferring properties that have some agricultural benefit. At present, only GM plants have entered our food supply. In the United States, commonly used GM corn and soybean varieties contain a bacterial gene that confers resistance to the herbicide glyphosate, marketed under the brand name Roundup. Roundup kills weeds but not the GM crop. Other GM corn, soybean and cotton varieties produce a bacterial protein called Cry with insecticide activity that lessens the need for application of toxic chemicals that pollute the soil and groundwater.

The creation of GMOs is indeed sophisticated, but in fact agriculture is a high-tech revolution in progress that began 10,000 years ago.

To put GMOs in perspective, that beautiful organically grown heirloom tomato is a biologically distorted, genetically engineered product of human innovation derived from a small, hard, poisonous fruit created by nature. Virtually everything in your garden is the result of many hundreds of years of genetic tinkering through breeding, resulting in organisms that bear little resemblance to the native species, and which would not exist without human intervention.

It is amusing that the now popular “Paleo” (or Paleolithic) diet advocates eating food that did exist in the Paleolithic area, and that would be unrecognizable by our ancestors of that time.

There is a strong consensus in the scientific community that foods derived from GMOs are safe. Reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found that no adverse health effects attributed to GMOs have been documented in the human population. Moreover, they conclude that GMOs reduce the application of insecticides, the most dangerous herbicides and overall have fewer adverse effects on the environment than non-GMO crops produced conventionally. [...]

Seriously: check out the science magazines for yourself (e. g. Nature’s GMO issue)

El Nino: Australia is now saying that we’ll have a strong El Nino; this means that we (in Illinois) are likely to have a 1998 like winter. But time will tell.

Obamacare Perhaps there is some hope on the horizon?

The good news for Obamacare just keeps coming in. Via Charles Gaba, the Rand Survey — which was the subject of a report in the LA Times, but which wasn’t publicly available — is now in. And it says that as of mid-March — that is, before the final enrollment surge — the Affordable Care Act had already produced a net gain of 9.3 million insured adults. Again, that’s a net gain; so much for claims that more people are losing insurance than gaining it.

At least some Republicans are realizing that (a) the ACA is not going to collapse and (b) they can’t simply take away insurance from millions of Americans. So they have to come up with an alternative.

And as Sahil Kapur reports, at least a few of them are coming to a terrible realization: there is no alternative. You can’t just support the popular pieces of reform, in particular coverage for preexisting conditions, and scrap the rest. As Jonathan Gruber taught me, and I and others have said many times, reform is a three-legged stool that requires community rating, the individual mandate, and subsidies; take away any leg and it collapses. And Kapur finds a GOP aide who admits to the awful truth: any workable GOP plan would look pretty much the same as Obamacare.

I don’t know how many GOP leaders, as opposed to aides, understand this. And even those who do won’t dare to admit it. The party line, literally, has been that Obamacare is an unworkable monstrosity, and the base will destroy anyone who points out, this late in the game, that it’s both workable and pretty much the only doable alternative to single-payer.

My guess: the GOP will huddle and then say that THEY “forced President Obama to the center” by pointing to tweak x, y, or z….and take credit for what is basically…a Republican idea.

Ukraine: It might not be exactly like what some bloggers say (e. g. a Nazi like “rolling over Europe) but it is looking more and more that Russia will dominate Ukraine in one way or another; this, to my amateur eyes, looks more like a return to the old cold war USSR.

April 8, 2014 Posted by | health care, republicans, republicans politics, science, social/political, world events | , , , | Leave a comment

Cue Republican heads exploding on 3…2…1…


I love it!

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political humor, politics, republicans | , , | Leave a comment

Good old fashioned COMMON SENSE!

I suppose that Republicans just eat this stuff up:

Convinced? :-)

To say that we speak different languages is…well…an understatement.

March 27, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

Political quips

These two races (Nebraska, Kentucky): we don’t have a great chance. Ok, we have an oh-so-slim chance in Kentucky and none at all in Nebraska. But I’ll comment anyway because, well, I like politics.

Who knew that Duke basketball was popular in Kentucky?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) presumably meant to feature a clip of the University of Kentucky’s basketball team in a new campaign spot released Tuesday, but the ad’s release was instead ridiculed on Twitter for a brief shot of the Duke Blue Devils celebrating their 2010 NCAA Championship victory.

The ad, titled “Rebuild,” comes as McConnell faces a primary challenge from tea party-backed businessman Matt Bevin.

“If I’m given the opportunity to lead the U.S. Senate next year, I won’t let you down,” McConnell says, as the ad pans across the senator giving speeches and talking with supporters.

The shot of Duke players Jon Scheyer and Lance Thomas jumping in celebration comes at 1:09 of the video.


McConnell’s campaign spokeswoman, Allison Moore, said the error was made by a vendor and not the campaign itself.

“The ad was intended to highlight Kentucky’s basketball dominance and obviously the web ad vendor has become so accustomed to watching national championship celebrations in the bluegrass state that they made a mistake with one of the images,” Moore wrote in an email Tuesday to The Huffington Post. “Obviously we were horrified by the error and quickly changed it.”

This ad is part of a Republican primary campaign.


Remember when a Navy pilot landed a P-3 aircraft in China?
I remember thinking at the time: “the old breed will be disgusted; no one lands a plane loaded with secret spy gear in a communist country!” Personally: I am a bit of a chicken…who knows what I would have done.

But I didn’t see this as especially “heroic”.

Well, evidently the pilot is running in the Republican primary in Nebraska and trying to pass this off as “heroic”.

Not everyone agrees and so he got someone in the Navy to write a letter for him…but:

Read the memo circulated by Shane Osborn’s U.S. Senate campaign to counter criticism about his decision in April 2001 to land a disabled Navy reconnaissance plane in China.

* * *

Dogged by questions about his 2001 decision to land a crippled Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane in China, U.S. Senate candidate Shane Osborn has distributed an official-looking Navy memo supporting his account.

The memo, written Aug. 8, 2013, on Navy letterhead, is titled “Disposition of actions by EP-3E flight crew on April 1, 2001.” It explains that Osborn’s plane was authorized to land on China’s Hainan island “due to the extreme circumstances and condition of this aircraft.”

But The World-Herald has learned that the unsigned memo was not authorized by the Navy, or vetted through normal channels, and was written as a favor to Osborn by a Navy buddy working at the Pentagon.

“We cannot confirm the authenticity of this document,” said Lt. Cmdr. Katie Cerezo, a Navy spokeswoman. “We couldn’t discuss a memo that we can’t authenticate.”

Osborn’s campaign sent the memo to a World-Herald reporter Feb. 26. The paper later contacted the Navy’s public affairs office to verify its accuracy and requested an interview with the author, who was not named in the memo. After three days of searching, the Navy said it couldn’t authenticate the memo and declined to discuss it further.

Ultimately, John Comerford, a St. Louis attorney who is a fellow Navy veteran and close friend of Osborn’s, put a World-Herald reporter in touch with the author.

Osborn sought the memo to respond to critics, including some former military reconnaissance pilots, who have said that he should not have landed in China. Analysts have concluded the Chinese were able to recover some documents and equipment from the aircraft despite the crew’s efforts to destroy classified intelligence.

Osborn said the landing was proper and saved the lives of his crew. He dismissed the complaints as politically motivated or as being from Cold War veterans who don’t understand that surveillance rules have changed since they served.[...]


The memo’s author said the contents are accurate. He said his immediate supervisor at the time OK’d it, but he declined to give that officer’s name and said he is currently unavailable because of a deployment.

“This was an effort to put (the orders) into an unclassified format, on a tight timeline,” he said. “It was not something that was intended to go through channels.”

The author asked for anonymity, saying he was concerned his career could be jeopardized if anyone learned he had written the memo.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. But we did it to sort of shortcut the process,” the officer said. “I’m passionate about it. I flew with John and Shane. If they would have ditched that aircraft, none of these guys would be alive.”

A typical Navy vetting process would send a memo slated for public release to relevant military offices for approval to ensure that it is accurate and that classified information isn’t leaked.

Will this make a difference? Time will tell…though if it matters, it will matter only within the Republican primary.

March 25, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republican senate minority leader, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

Fox News conservatives: please make up your mind…

So, Putin acting like a tyrant: good, much better than Obama.

But you complain that “Obama is a tyrant”?

It is hard to take these people seriously.

March 15, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political humor, political/social, politics/social, republicans | Leave a comment

Presidents and “dignity”: remember GW Bush and Misty May?

To those complaining about President Obama appearing on a comedy show:


Here is a clip of past Presidents appearing on comedy shows.

March 15, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political/social, politics/social, republicans | | Leave a comment

IL-Governor’s race (primary)

We have a primary election in 6 days; there isn’t much happening on the Democratic side so, as is allowed in Illinois, I might take a Republican ballot.

So, our Republicans have a 4 way race going on to see who will get the honor of losing to Gov. Pat Quinn in November.

Here is the state of the race as of last weekend:

The Illinois Republican governor’s race is tightening, with Bruce Rauner leading and Kirk Dillard surging as the candidates head into the final days of the campaign trying to peel away support from rivals and recruit undecided voters into their camp.

A new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows Rauner, the wealthy first-time candidate from Winnetka at 36 percent support — down 4 percentage points from a month ago amid a blitz of labor union-backed TV ads attacking his business dealings as a venture capitalist.

But Dillard, a state senator from Hinsdale with the backing of major public employee unions, has emerged as the new chief alternative to Rauner. The poll showed Dillard at 23 percent, doubling his support since last month, especially among Downstate voters.

Dillard’s gains came as state Sen. Bill Brady and Treasurer Dan Rutherford lost support in recent weeks. Brady was at 18 percent, down from 20 percent in early February. Rutherford, who was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former employee last month, was at 9 percent — a 4-percentage-point drop from the last poll.

Note: in a previous debate, Rutherford sounded the best to me but Republican moderates usually don’t do so well with the Republican base. Brady lost a hotly contested race against Gov. Quinn in the previous election (2010).

The nature of the attacks on Rauner are interesting. One PAC (Illinois Freedom) is going after him. They are attacking his nursing home related businesses:

Via Illinois Freedom:

Hasn’t Bruce Rauner’s business done enough damage? Check the facts:

From 1981-2012, Rauner Has Served As Managing Director, Senior Principal, And Chairman Of GTCR [Bloomberg Profile]

2004: Trans HealthCare Press Release Identified TransHealthcare As “A GTCR Portfolio Company.” [Trans HealthCare Press Release, 6/2/04]
GTCR Co-Founded Trans Healthcare Inc. In 1998. [GTCR Press Release, 12/5/2002]

2013: A Florida Man Was Awarded A Verdict Of $1.2 Billion In A Suit Against Trans Health After His Mother, Arlene Townsend, Died In The Nursing Home. [Christian Post, 7/24/13]
Attorneys Presented Evidence That Townsend Suffered 18 Falls In Her 6 Years At The Home- Suffering A Broken Hip That Went Undiagnosed For A Week As Well As Severe Infections, Chronic Stomach Pains With Fecal Impaction, Skin Tears, Malnutrition And Dehydration Before Dying At The Age Of 69. [WTSP, 7/25/13]

2012: Jury Awarded $200 Million To Family Of Elvira Nunziata Who Fell Down A Flight Of Stairs In Her Wheelchair And Died At A Home Managed By Trans Health—No One Noticed Her Absence For An Hour And She Died Shortly After Paramedics Arrived. [Tampa Bay Times, 1/13/12]

2010: A Jury Awarded A $114 Million Dollar Verdict To The Family Of Juanita Jackson Who Died After Staying At A Nursing Home Managed By Trans Health Care; The Woman “Was Hurt After Falling Down And Received Other Injuries From Pressure Sores, Overmedication, Malnourishment, And Dehydration.” [The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), 7/21/10]

2010: A Widow Was Awarded A $900 Million Verdict Against Trans Health Care After Her Husband Joseph Webb “Suffered Pressure Sores And Infections That Required Surgeries, Including An Above-The-Knee Amputation Of His Right Leg.” [Gainesville Sun, 2/12/10]

They also go after him by “guilt by association” attacks:

The Dillard campaign is also attacking him….for being….too rich and not caring about the poor? (remember: this is a REPUBLICAN primary)

He is too rich to understand us? (remember: this is a REPUBLICAN primary)

This ad: probably more effective, as it links him with Democrats and influence peddling:

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Illinois, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics | , , | Leave a comment

Ok, something other than whining…:-)

Humor: I don’t know if I’d call these “intellectual” but they are funny:


(Click for larger)

unintentional humor
A former Bradley basketball star and coach is now coaching the UC-Davis basketball team. It has been a rough year for them:


They finished 9′th out of 9 teams in their conference. Now of course, a basketball coach inherits a situation and only so much can change over a period of time.
So, this coach decided to post this on his Twitter account:


Hmmm, though I can appreciate the message (e. g., sometimes it is beneficial to be pushed beyond your self-perceived limits), I’d say that a college oriented message ought to be, well, better written? Isn’t being able to write beyond a grade school level part of being…employable? (at least for a college graduate) :-)

Issues of the day
This isn’t good: a US Senator claims that the CIA is hacking into Congressional computers. IF true, this is very troubling.

A Republican won an open Republican seat in a special election (FL-13). The seat was open due to the death of the incumbent Bill Young, who was a Republican. But President Obama carried this Congressional district twice: 50.1 to 48.6 in 2012 and 51.3 to 47.5 in 2008. So the Democrats tried to flip it and came up short 48.5 to 46.7. The Democrats did make a special effort for this prize.

Now what to make of it? I’ll say this: I sure hope that my fellow liberals who just “know” that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would just SWEEP the country realize that neither would win districts that President Obama carried. Too many of us live in a bubble and think that the rest of the country is ….well….JUST LIKE US.

Nuclear safety (weapons)
Though this article is about thermonuclear weapon incidents from the 1950′s, it is still worth reading.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political, technology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Talking past each other: Rep. Ryan’s CPAC remarks

Ok, his story was about historically true as his marathon time. :-)

But the idea is this: conservatives of this type don’t see the lacking in poverty to be a genuine, material lacking (e. g. REALLY not having enough to eat). They see it was a type of “spiritual poverty”: that is, had the poor did “the right things” to begin with, they wouldn’t be poor.

I won’t deny that many HAVE made terrible choices but statistically speaking, many are lacking the material basics from which to build a better life from. It isn’t “just attitude”. Paul Krugman talks about that here.

And please, dispense with this “Rep. Ryan is a smart, principled” conservative stuff.

Instead, he is a Sarah Palin who knows how to use powerpoint. His articles might cite actual research papers, but that doesn’t mean that he understands what he cites.

March 8, 2014 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment


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