Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

to everyone.

I think you all know by now what song this is.

In Philadelphia, Pierre Robert, a DJ on WMMR 93.3 FM, has made a tradition of playing the entire song every Thanksgiving at 10 a.m. Click here to listen. (For those of you with less time this holiday, there's a CliffsNotes version of the song on Pierre's page. Click here to check it out.)

I used to have Pierre and Alice on the radio on the way to my favorite high school football Thanksgiving rivalry -- a rivalry in which my brother played, I am proud to say.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Afternoon Music Club

For Cindy, if I read that right.

Labels: , ,

The best healthcare in the world


Meet six-year-old Madison Leuchtmann. Madison was born with bilateral artesia, meaning she was born without ear canals. She needs a hearing implant in order to recognize sounds. Without it, she could lose her hearing.

Madison's family has health insurance, but their insurer, Cigna, refuses to cover the $20,000 cost of the implant. The company claims that the device is not medically necessary. Madison's pediatrician, Dr. Randall Clary, disagrees, saying, “This is obviously medically necessary. You have a child that has no ear canals!”

In addition, as reported by Think Progress, Cigna said in a written statement to the local news station Fox 2, “It is not unusual for commercial benefit plans to exclude hearing assisted devices.” Get it? There's nothing unusual about this situation. This is standard operating procedure.

But there is a silver lining in this horrible mess: At least it's an employee of a for-profit health insurance company -- and not a government bureaucrat -- coming between this six-year-old girl and her doctor.

It seems that if you need to use your health insurance, having health insurance is not much different than not having it. And remember, Cigna is doing this while the nation's attention is focused on the for-profit health insurance industry, and while legislation that could put them out of business is being crafted in Congress.

Imagine what Cigna and other for-profit insurance companies will do when no one is looking.

Why do we always have to shame these amoral scumfucks into doing the right thing? That this is a necessary and oft-repeated step in the process of getting healthcare is evidence that the for-profit health insurance system Just. Doesn't. Work.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Enemy of traditional marriage

The state of Texas.

“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”
This is the language of an amendment to the Texas Constitution that was adopted in 2005. But don't worry. Apparently it doesn't mean what it says.

“The Texas Constitution and the marriage statute are entirely constitutional.”
Hear that? The Texas Constitution is constitutional. So everyone can relax.

Until they hire some people better versed in the English language, Texas might want to consider a "You Know What Was Meant" amendment, because in their attempt to trample the civil rights of some of their citizens, Texas lawmakers have trampled the civil rights of everyone. In the process, they made it unlawful for anyone to become married or to be recognized as married in the state.

But you know what was meant. So go ahead and ignore this particular provision of the constitution.

Unless you're gay.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Haven't gotten the lead out

Just in case you thought this wasn't happening anymore.

Children's toys carrying the Barbie and Disney logos have turned up with high levels of lead in them, according to a California-based advocacy group — a finding that may give consumers pause as they shop for the holiday season.

The Center for Environmental Health tested about 250 children's products bought at major retailers and found lead levels that exceeded federal limits in seven of them. Lead can cause irreversible brain damage.

Among those with high lead levels: a Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit and a Disney Tinkerbell Water Lily necklace. The group said it also found excessive lead in a Dora the Explorer Activity Tote, two pairs of children's shoes, a boys belt and a kids' poncho.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has sent letters to Target, Wal-Mart and the other retailers who sold the seven products, warning that children's goods on their store shelves were found to contain illegal levels of lead and should be pulled immediately.

The findings released Tuesday come about a year after a product safety law that ushered in strict limits on the amounts of lead and chemicals allowed in products made for children 12 years and younger. Congress passed the law after a slew of recalls of lead-tainted toys in 2007, including several Mattel-related recalls that involved more than 2 million toys.
If you ever found yourself in a store wondering how they can make something so inexpensive, now you know.

When you get tired of reading reports about unsafe lead levels in toys and wondering about the toys your children are playing with, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Where the money is

If you want to cause as little pain as possible when levying taxes, you don't tax people who have next to nothing. You go where the money is.

When it comes to paying for a health care overhaul, Americans see just one way to go: Tax the rich.

That finding from a new Associated Press poll will be welcome news for House Democrats, who proposed doing just that in their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system, which passed earlier this month and would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The poll found participants sour on other ways of paying for the health overhaul that is being considered in Congress, including taxing insurers on high-value coverage packages derided by President Barack Obama and Democrats as "Cadillac plans."
Hopefully this will give some political cover to senators who lack the balls and/or brains to ignore senseless political compromises and do what will actually work.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fact check

Who could have predicted that Sarah Palin's book would be a fact-challened pile of bullshit?

It says a lot about the condition of the Republican party that she is one of its "leaders" and high-profile stars. I would root for a Palin-Jindal (or any number of lying, empty-vessel GOP shitheads long on ambition and short on ethics in the VP slot) ticket in 2012 if the mere existence of such a ticket weren't a threat to my country.

Labels: ,