Exclusive: The Rest Of That Barney Frank Town Hall Meeting With The Teabaggers | Crooks and Liars: “Rep. Frank’s office provided C&L with the tapes of that town hall meeting in Dartmouth from last week, and I put together a sort of greatest hits reel.”
Archive for August, 2009
[Here's the real problem with private healthcare in America, for anyone still paying attention. It's also something that's largely glossed over by the bills and proposals currently running through Congress, sadly.]
A Doctor Speaks Out: He’s Mad As Hell and Won’t Take It Anymore.: “I can tell you from first-hand experience that the private managed care plans are out of control with their denials, pre-authorization requirements, and drug formulary restrictions. Plain old Medicare is the last bastion of health care insurance that actually allows the doctor to make a decision on what a patient needs without having to fill out reams of paperwork or spend endless amounts of time on hold, waiting for insurance company representatives who barely have a high school education to tell me if I can provide needed procedures or specialist referrals for patients they’ve never laid a hand on.”
‘Truth’ vs. ‘facts’ from America’s media — latimes.com: “rather than be battered, the media … increasingly strive for the simplest sort of balance rather than real objectivity. They marshal facts, but they don’t seek truth. They behave as if every argument must be heard and has equal merit, when some are simply specious.”
Rosemary Port’s name may not mean anything to you now, but I’m willing to bet she will serve as an interesting anchorpoint for blogging going forward.
She is, apparently, a fashion student living in New York City who decided, through a blog called “Skanks of NYC,” to anonymously defame a fashion model named Liskula Cohen for reasons that remain muddled at this point — neither Cohen nor Port are copping to having any sort of relationship beyond a casual acquaintance.
Anyway, people take anonymous shots at each other on the Internet all the time, but Port took it a bit too far, and Cohen reacted by taking Google — the host of Port’s blog — to court to reveal her identity, and a New York court agreed. So Port’s identity was revealed, she was publicly shamed on television last week, and, in typical American fashion, she’s responding with a lawsuit this week.
Even given the normal hyperbole that we expect high-profile lawyers to bandy about, Port’s attorney, Salvatore Strazzulo, is over the top: He compares her to Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and the other authors of the Federalist Papers, who published their thesis anonymously.
How the New York courts respond to this will be particularly telling. Strazzulo noted in his comments that anonymity in public speech is guaranteed in the First Amendment, and while it’s true that various federal circuit courts have ruled in accordance with this philosophy, it’s far from a home run, especially (as far as I know) in the New York court where this will be tried.
There is, of course, a lot of money at stake: Port is suing Google for $15 million for revealing her identity. I can’t imagine that their legal department has been girding its loins for this battle since the second the Manhattan court ruled they had to reveal Port’s identity, either, so I’m sure that this will be a long, bloody, drawn-out fight.
Undoubtedly some of the saucer-eyed right-leaning loons who want to stymie health care reform are claiming this as a victory for themselves, but I think Barney Frank’s refusal to capitulate to shrieking protestors shows an enormous amount of restraint on his part.
Things certainly got heated, and Frank gave as good as he got, according to reports, but he consistently called for people to lower their level of hostility and to engage in thoughtful discussion — something impossible to do when people are yelling and name-calling.
Anyway, I love the guy. Just wish I could vote for him.
A while back I gave James my “fat” original PSP. He’d had it for about a month when he broke it — he’d put a replacement thumbstick on it, and it broke the mechanism underneath.
He’s used my slim one on and off since then, but I finally got around to ordering a replacement part. It cost all of $6 and had to be flown in from China, where it was made, and the shipping cost more than the part, but I have it, and I did the replacement yesterday. It was actually a pretty easy fix.
The analog thumbstick on the PSP is connected to a controller board that’s fastened to the underside of the PSP’s front faceplate, held in by two tiny screws. The entire faceplate comes off when you pull five other screws — one at the top, four on the back (two are hidden in the battery compartment, and one is underneath a “warranty void if removed” sticker – given the age of the PSP, I had no compunction about removing the sticker).
With the faceplate removed and two retaining screws removed, the thumbstick component is quite literally a drop-in replacement. It connects to the PSP’s motherboard by physical contacts; there are no wires or ribbon cables that need to be attached. The only things that hold it in place are the two tiny screws on the underside of the faceplate.
The only tool I needed was a #000-sized Philips head screwdriver. The replacement part I bought came with one, but it was useless — too small to get a good handle on. That’s a common-enough tool if you’re doing any sort of electronics work. I got a modular screwdriver kit with some torx heads as well from Home Depot, but I’ve seen them at Sears, The Shack and other stores too.
With that, it was just a quick reassembly to get it put back together, and James is playing the PSP for the first time in a while.
ISS – Far-right religious group behind “death panels” myth linked to other health reform distortions
ISS – Far-right religious group behind “death panels” myth linked to other health reform distortions: “It appears [Palin] pulled [her wrong information about 'death panels'] from a set of talking points … assembled by the Liberty Counsel, a far-right religious group that’s part of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University empire based in Lynchburg, Va.”
(Via Joe Muscara on Twitter.)
Is anyone honestly surprised that the Moral Majority is behind this?
So the Sedona is back from two days at the spa, and I’m almost $800 poorer. But I don’t feel particularly ripped off, and here’s why: Kia met me half-way.
The Sedona developed a coolant leak — two coolant pipes that connected the rear heater core (used in the passenger area) had corroded to the point where the van was leaking copious amounts of fluid, enough to overheat after being driven for about a half an hour or so.
It’s pretty clearly a manufacturing or design defect. Checking Kia message boards on the Internet and talking to other owners of Sedonas, I’ve learned that these particular pipes on this model range are prone to corrosion and failure.
The problem here is that I’m not the van’s original owner – I bought it at a Kia dealer second-hand about two years ago – and I’m outside both the factory warranty and the extended warranty I purchased on the van. So when I dropped it off, I had little reason to expect I was going to pay anything less than full price for the repair, which was estimated to run north of $500 to fix.
While it was up on the lift I had them do a few other things, too — a brake line was leaking and chafing, and an axle had developed a problem that was causing some shuddering at speed. So I had some work to do, regardless.
But when the bill to fix the coolant leak came in, I suggested to the dealership that maybe Kia should pitch in, since this was, based on my conversations with other owners, clearly a design flaw.
As it turns out, they were — Kia ended up footing the bill for $200 worth of parts, or about half the cost of parts to repair the coolant system. It was still a bundle to spend, but it could have been worse, by a long shot.
CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive – CNN Poll: Favorable view of Palin dipping « – Blogs from CNN.com: “Americans appear to be souring on Sarah Palin, according to a new national poll.”
Wow, Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that Sarah Palin is a clueless, idiotic demagogue.
Better late than never I suppose.
The downright disturbing thing is that “GOP voters still like Palin — two-thirds continue to have a favorable view of her,” according to CNN’s polling director.
When I was a teenaged boy, I was car-crazy. As I’ve gotten older, my love for motor vehicles has changed. And I guess it’s safe to say that I hate them as much as I love them now.
At one point in my life, owning a car was very ego-driven. While there were practical reasons for why I needed a car — suburban America is a very, very car-centric culture, after all — what kind of car I drove, how it was maintained and so on became much more important than what I was using it for.
That’s changed, as it does for almost everyone, along with a lot of other responsibilities and changes in my life. First as a husband and then as a father, my vehicle ownership has changed from what suited my ego to what was practical. So I’ve gone, at one point in my life when I was single, from owning a sports car, to today, when an SUV and a mini-van are both registered in my name.
Along with that, my anxiety over car ownership has increased dramatically. Maybe it’s because Bonnie and I still aren’t in a comfortable financial position yet, but it seems that every time I take one of my vehicles for a trip to the mechanic even for something relatively minor, it takes a month or two for us to recover from it to the point where we’re not scrambling to pay bills.
Obviously, there are alternatives, like for us to do without a car. But that’s not really a reasonable option where we live, because of the relative absence of accessible, convenient public transportation or ride-sharing. I suppose we could move to a more urban area, but that also would saddle us with a whole host of additional problems — higher rent, less living space, crime, potential school problems, and so on.
Really, I’d settle for a balance, where I can afford to keep a couple of modest cars in decent shape. And judging from what I see around me, that shouldn’t be an impossible goal for two people who work full-time making livable wages. I honestly don’t understand why it’s so bloody hard for us sometimes.