Tuesday Mashup (4/15/14)

April 15, 2014

equal pay

  • I know my “A” list “betters” have already pilloried Beltway media stenographer Ruth Marcus who said here in Jeff Bezos Daily that the Senate Dems’ language on equal pay for women is “revolting,” but I feel compelled to “pile on” anyway.

    And that is because what is really revolting is the fact that congressional Republicans have blocked the legislation Marcus ridicules three times now, including the occasion noted here from June 2012 (as the story notes, the equal pay issue sprung from the Lilly Ledbetter Law, passed and signed by Obama to correct yet another awful Supreme Court decision, this one limiting workers’ rights to sue for alleged pay discrimination – no word from Marcus on whether or not she thinks any of that is “revolting” also).

    With all of this in mind, I think it’s time to revisit the following lowlights from Marcus:

  • As noted here, Marcus also criticized Mary Cheney for supporting marriage equality (actually, opposing her sister Liz’s opposition to same, and yes, I know this puts me in the utterly weird position of actually defending a member of the family of Dick Cheney).
  • Marcus also said here once said that “80 percent of people with employer-sponsored health insurance would be unaffected” by a 2007 health care proposal from Dubya that would have led to smaller Social Security payouts for workers who participated.
  • She also sprang to the defense of former Bushie “Abu” Gonzales here.
  • Here, “Glenzilla” took Marcus to task in a discussion about NSA leaker Edward Snowden (yep, Greenwald is definitely someone who gives it to you straight, whether you like it or not).
  • Marcus had a problem here with recess appointments under Obama, but not under Dubya since her husband benefitted from it.
  • A whole bunch of stuff on Marcus can be accessed from here (some duplicate items I’ll admit).
  • It’s pretty disheartening to be a Dem when you don’t see your candidates mixing it up with the Repugs they claim to be running against, instead opting for some “sensible centrist” BS campaign that inevitably loses elections. And that is just fine with Marcus and her effete brethren, tut-tutting over that nasty rabble who dares to hold her to account while she hob-knobs with the “smart set” and politely asks to pass the sweet and sour shrimp.

  • And speaking of corporate media wankery, I give you this prize from Matt Bai (in the matter of “Wall Street Scott” Brown taking his act on the road to New Hampshire)…

    Constituency-shopping now isn’t only viable for a glamorous candidate like Hillary Clinton, an Arkansan by way of Illinois who followed RFK’s path to a Senate seat from New York. In a sense, most of our leading politicians now are carpetbaggers of one kind or another. Barack Obama is from Hawaii or Illinois or even Kansas, depending on how you look at it. Mitt Romney was a Massachusetts governor with a political base in Utah. The Bushes are from Maine and Texas and Florida.

    Yes, but not a one of them tried to flip from one Congressional seat to another representing constituencies from completely separate states, did they?

    Oh, and let’s not forget how Bai also once claimed that we lefties “demand…partisan government,” or something, here.

  • Next, it looks like Murdoch Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens is in a particularly crabby mood today, lashing out at Republicans and Democrats alike and basically arguing that Rand Paul should win the Repug presidential nomination (God, how can we seriously be talking about that already?) “because maybe what the GOP needs is another humbling landslide defeat” (here).

    See, our Pulitzer Prize-winning (ugh) scribe is mad at Paul (the junior senator from a state with eight electoral votes, as Stephens puts it) because the “ophthalmologist” criticized “Deadeye Dick” Cheney and the rest of Bushco for waging war in Mesopotamia to make scads and scads of dough for Halliburton (I think you can chalk this up to the broken clock that is right no more than twice a day).

    So how does Stephens put it?

    …It’s the signature question of every conspiracy theorist with an unhinged mind. Cheney. Halliburton. Big Oil. The military-industrial complex. Neocons. 9/11. Soldiers electrocuted in the shower. It all makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

    Is Stephens seriously trying to argue that the documented incidents of our soldiers electrocuted in showers in Iraq and Afghanistan (I must have slept through the scathing congressional hearings that took place over that one…right?) are instead the work of “every conspiracy theorist with an unhinged mind?”

    As repugnant as that false equivalency is, it is totally in character for Stephens, given his prior commentary on Iraq as noted here.

  • Further, this story seemed to come and go about the U.S. potentially allowing international control over domain names that used to be under our purview, but I thought it rated a mention (especially since that moonbat Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was caterwauling about it in the House)…

    The “domain name system” is sort of like the phone book for the Internet—it’s the tool your computer used to convert the URL “Time.com” into the unique code of numbers and letters that are the actual address for this website—and it has historically been owned by the United States but administered through the international nonprofit ICANN. The Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act (a name excruciatingly eked out of the DOTCOM Act acronym) would, if passed into law, prevent the Obama Administration from going through with its plan to permanently turn control of the Internet’s domain name system over to an international authority comprised of various Internet stakeholders. Under the DOTCOM Act, that handover would be delayed at least until the completion of a government study into the implications of such a move.

    I honestly don’t know enough about this issue to comment much one way or the other, but here is my question – how come there are so many congressional representatives on both sides who are apparently up in arms over a real or imagined threat to the Internet from non-U.S. “actors,” but these same folks apparently have no issue with the telcos running completely roughshod over any attempts to maintain a free and open internet in this country via Net Neutrality?

    Yes, I know the answer (ka-ching!), but I need to ask anyway.

  • Continuing, I haven’t bothered to find out what “The Pericles of Petticoat Junction” (as James Wolcott calls him) has been up to for a little while now, so I give you the latest from a certain V.D. Hanson here (looks like it’s more indignation over supposed liberal persecution)…

    What if you supported equality for all Americans regardless of their sexual preference, but — like presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 and about half the country today — opposed making gay marriage legal?

    If you were the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, you would be forced to resign your position.

    Awww…

    The departure of Brendan Eich, as far as I’m concerned, was nothing more than the free market, so beloved by Hanson and his playmates, at work. And that would be the same free market that dispatched Martin Bashir from his job as an MSNBC commentator, even though he apologized for an inference about Sarah Palin that was admittedly sickening (matched only by Palin’s original comments about slavery).

    abughraibhood
    Oh, and as long as we’re talking about a supposed liberal “inquisition,” let’s not forget that this image (the closest thing to an honest-to-goodness, for real inquisition that I can recall) can be traced back to the foul, fetid Bushco reign, with that gang being comprised of anything but liberals.

    Besides, if Hanson honestly cared about free speech in the workplace, then he might want to read this column from Slate’s Jamelle Bouie on the subject, particularly the following…

    …let’s grant that…Eich’s forced resignation is an attack on speech, and that this is an ugly bout of bullying against someone who hasn’t expressed his views in the context of his job. If that’s true, then Eich is just the highest profile victim of a status quo that threatens countless workers.

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act might protect workers from discrimination on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin, but almost everything else is fair game for private employers who want to get rid of workers. Not only can you be fired for your political views—for sporting the wrong bumper sticker on your car, for instance—or for being “sexually irresistible” to your boss, but in most states (29, to be precise), you can be fired for your sexual orientation or gender identification, no questions asked.

    In any case, there’s nothing conservatives can do about Eich’s resignation. But they can join with labor activists and others to push for greater worker protections, like the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. For as much as employer flexibility is important to a dynamic economy, it’s also true that no one should fear firing for the people they love, the identity they claim, or the donations they make.

    Simply put, if conservatives are frustrated by the treatment of Eich for his role in Proposition 8, then they should be outraged by the treatment of ordinary people at the hands of the people who employ them.

    More on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is here, which has been introduced in congressional sessions for just about 20 years and has been stalled every time (the latest version has passed the Senate and is currently stuck in the U.S. House…shocking, I know).

    Update 4/16/14: And as long as I included that pic, here is an update.

  • On we go – this from The Daily Tucker tells us the following…

    Senate Republicans warn that President Obama’s new focus on agricultural methane emissions could mean a tax on livestock emissions — including cow flatulence.

    South Dakota Sen. John Thune and fellow GOP senators sent a letter to Obama administration officials urging them not to regulate livestock emissions as part of the president’s crusade against global warming.

    Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” would require the dairy industry to reduce methane emissions by 25 percent by 2020. The Agriculture Department, Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency are set to put together a “Biogas” roadmap to reduce methane emissions.

    Republicans argue that Obama’s methane reduction plan could lead to “heavy-handed” regulations that would “have detrimental implications on livestock operations across the country.”

    The EPA is currently barred from regulating methane emissions from livestock production through an “annual appropriations rider” that expires every year. But this does not mean the EPA will not try again, warn Republicans.

    Of course, EPA head Gina McCarthy (as the piece tells us) said that the EPA has no plan to try and regulate methane emissions from “cow flatulence.” Which is a shame, actually.

    And that is because, as noted here, “cow flatulence and indigestion is really no joke: measuring and reducing methane emissions from all of the world’s livestock is a serious area of study.”

    Continuing…

    …there is general agreement that livestock farming worldwide is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, producing 80 million metric tons of methane a year, or about 28% of global methane emissions from human-related activities.

    Meanwhile, researchers at the University of New Hampshire had to defend their $700,000 Department of Agriculture grant to study reducing emissions from cow burps at organic dairy farms, when it wound up on Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s list of the most wasteful government programs.

    Researchers in Argentina don’t think cow farts are a laughing matter either. They have strapped plastic tanks to cows’ backs in order to trap and measure the amount of methane each animal produces (a 1200-pound cow produced 800 to 1000 liters of emissions each day). With about 55 million head of cattle grazing on grasslands in its beef industry, Argentina has a significant stake in understanding this source of its greenhouse gases (which could be as high as 30 percent of its total emissions).

    And as noted from here

    Most of the planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution in the United States comes from carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning coal, oil and natural gas. Methane accounts for just 9 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution — but the gas is over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so even small amounts of it can have a big impact on future global warming.

    So go ahead and keep making your “Apocalypse Cow” jokes, wingnuts, while our planet slowly melts, our waters dry up and we all choke to death on our own fumes. Heckuva job!

  • Kathleen_Sebelius_official_portrait

  • Finally, I just wanted to say thanks to departing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who probably will get only a speck of the credit she is due for helping to ensure that the Affordable Care Act became law; millions of Americans have benefitted and will benefit by obtaining health coverage when they would have otherwise been denied, in no small part because of her efforts (I thought this was a well-done appreciation – this also).

  • Tuesday Mashup Part One (9/14/10)

    September 14, 2010

  • 1) Here’s a late-breaking development from the Media Research Center…

    Appearing as a guest on Friday’s (9/10) Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, formerly with Newsweek, referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s plan to burn the Koran on September 11.

    Wow, congratulations to the MRC for finding a droplet of water in an ocean and complaining that it’s wet.

    Yes, as it turns out, the story was retracted by Newsweek after the unnamed official used by the magazine as the source changed his story. However, as we also learn from here, “accusations of Qur’an desecration as a part of U.S. interrogations at prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Guantánamo Bay had been made by a number of sources going back to 2002,” with about a dozen such accusations cited.

    Besides, the real story here (which the MRC actually notes…shocking, I know) is that, given the uproar the last time a Quran desecration story appeared, the relative silence by conservatives on this was dangerously irresponsible (though, fortunately, the whole issue became moot when “Pastor” Terry Jones came down with an attack of sanity and decided not to do anything, though here is a story of a chronic offender on this who really is likely not to be restricted by anything except a jail cell…and kudos to the kid on the skateboard in this story.)

  • 2) Also, here’s another alert for Sheryl Gay Stolberg, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm, and everyone else worried about the “negative perception” generated by Michelle Obama (more hard-hitting Politico “journalism” from here).

    And she didn’t even say “freedom fries”! Worse, I didn’t read about it from either Malcolm or Stolberg. I actually had to find out about this on my own!

    You’re slipping, people!

    Actually, I take that back on Malcolm; as it turns out – he did have something typically snark-filled to say about it here, including the following…

    First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been unable to convince the Smoker-in-Chief to give up that dreadful habit, now has some health suggestions for other American families and for restaurant menus across the country.


    Yeah, it sure is a shame when presidents have their “dreadful habit(s),” isn’t it?

  • 3) Finally, I came across the following from Joel Stein of Time (one of the stupidest columns about Net Neutrality that I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something; more info is here)…

    I like that everything is allowed to be on the Internet, which is like a planet-size bookstore with, for some reason, a continent-size section for pets doing stupid things. But I like that at a real bookstore, I can instantly tell the difference between works by actual historians and works by conspiracy theorists, since the real books are printed on good paper with pretty covers and the others are smudgy pamphlets. We need to bring those barriers of entry to the Internet, and speed is a key way to do it.

    Senator Al Franken, at the Netroots Nation conference in late July, talked about a dystopian future without Net neutrality: “How long do you think it will take before the Fox News website loads five times faster than Daily Kos?” Hopefully, this will happen right away. Fox News should load 20 times faster than Daily Kos, because far more people read it. It’s better for society that millions of people get someplace a little faster while the relatively few Daily Kos readers wait a few seconds. This is why not all roads are the same width. And more people go to the Fox News site because it’s got tons of people reporting, balancing and fairing, whereas two of the contributing editors at Daily Kos are named DarkSyde and Angry Mouse.

    Their names are also Steven Andrew and Kalli Joy Grey, but that’s not the main point, I know (also, according to this, the “relatively few” readers of Daily Kos include “thousands of diarists” and “millions of page views” every day – and this was in 2008; I should note that I found out everything in this paragraph through some truly easy Google searches).

    I want to comment also on Stein’s bookstore analogy, which may be more apropos than he realizes (and I know from whence I speak on this, since I toiled briefly in such an establishment that, happily, went out of business long ago…it was a big conservative donor).

    In a typical chain retail bookstore, you’ve got the mass market titles on display all over the place, since they will sell the most, obviously. And if the “self-help” and Edgar Cayce titles will sell more than the John Grishams and the Richard North Pattersons, well then, they get the center display table so it’s the first thing the customer sees after they shuffle in from Spencer’s, FYE, or whatever.

    But suppose you get somebody like me who may be looking for “The Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard, and I need to go to the microfiche counter to order it. Should I have to be told “well, we have more bandwidth for the best sellers than we do for some dusty piece of sociological piffle like the book you want” (and that certainly doesn’t describe “The Hidden Persuaders,” by the way, written about the ad biz in the era of “Mad Men”)? And for that reason, I get told that they have no possible idea of when the book can be shipped.

    I guess a scenario like this is just fine for Stein, but it certainly isn’t fine for me (Stein being a writer callow enough to concoct allegedly humorous columns about Asian Indians in America here, and here, where he said, “Most of what I know about poor people comes from watching ‘Good Times’”).

    Oh, and let’s not forget this from Stein about our troops and Iraq……

    After we’ve decided that we made a mistake, we don’t want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

    But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff’s pet name for the House of Representatives.

    I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

    Yes, but somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever click on a pop-up ad and, as a result, have my leg or another body part blown to bits, or suffer a concussive brain injury (idiot).


  • “Hanging Up” The Teabaggers On Net Neutrality

    August 13, 2010

    This post from The Hill tells us the following…

    Tea Party groups are staking out an anti-regulatory position in the fight over net neutrality rules for phone and cable companies.

    A coalition that included 35 Tea Party groups sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday urging the agency not to boost its authority over broadband providers through a controversial process known as reclassification.

    The process could give federal regulators the power to impose net neutrality rules, which would prevent Internet access providers from favoring some content and applications over others.

    The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation was among the groups that signed the letter. Jamie Radtke, the group’s chairman, said interest in net neutrality is rising in the Tea Party movement.

    I am not surprised in the least to hear that, given their propensity for being on the wrong side of partly-corporate causes (and more’s the pity, I might add).

    As noted here, what “reclassification” means is that the FCC “will seek to reclassify broadband as a transport service, opening up a way for the agency to enforce network neutrality recommendations and implement some aspects of the National Broadband Plan.”

    And as Michigan Law Professor Susan Crawford tells us in the post…

    …the FCC plans to forbear from rate regulation but ensure that the transmission portion — but not Internet applications and content — is subject to basic rules of the road. They still have a lot of work to do to develop the factual record that will support regulatory reclassification of transmission services, but courts will likely defer to their classification if they do their job right. I have every expectation that they will.

    And at that point, things were progressing smoothly – that is, until this from earlier in the week…

    Efforts to protect net neutrality that involve government regulation have always faced one fundamental obstacle: the substantial danger that the regulators will cause more harm than good for the Internet. The worst case scenario would be that, in allowing the FCC to regulate the Internet, we open the door for big business, Hollywood and the indecency police to exert even more influence on the Net than they do now.

    On Monday, Google and Verizon proposed a new legislative framework for net neutrality. Reaction to the proposal has been swift and, for the most part, highly critical. While we agree with many aspects of that criticism, we are interested in the framework’s attempt to grapple with the Trojan Horse problem. The proposed solution: a narrow grant of power to the FCC to enforce neutrality within carefully specified parameters. While this solution is not without its own substantial dangers, we think it deserves to be considered further if Congress decides to legislate.

    From what I can determine, the plan concocted by Google and Verizon features the following pitfalls (here)…

    …the framework also contains two features that trouble many Silicon Valley start-ups and public-interest lobbyists.

    First, it allows for a second layer of vaguely defined digital services in the future, a sort of gated Internet. These digital entities would have to be substantially different from services being offered now, such as 3-D video or medical monitoring, both heavy users of bandwidth.

    Critics call this a first step toward a two-tiered Internet, creating a pay-to-enter private tier of premium services and a public Internet for those who can’t afford it. Might carriers like Verizon concentrate on delivering service to their premium customers and leave the Internet as we know it as a dusty relic that receives little attention or maintenance?

    Google claims it plans to compete only on the open “public Internet,” including keeping its YouTube video service there. That provides some assurance for now, though company policy could change in the future.

    The proposals also only apply to the “wired” Internet, through which most homes and businesses receive service today. The mobile wireless networks – companies such as Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless – would be left free to discriminate – say by offering faster speeds to websites that pay for the privilege, or slowing delivery from sites that compete with the companies’ own offerings.

    Of course, leave it to the crowd wearing those funny hats and carrying their racist signs to interpret Net Neutrality as a government plot to censor the Internet, when in reality it assures a level playing field for all participants, with any “regulation” (or hierarchical content designation anyway) to be done by private entities.

    I think there are two things we can do in response: 1) Learn about the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for anyone who hasn’t done that already (here), and 2) Sign Sen. Al Franken’s petition to support Net Neutrality (here).

    I don’t really care much about the internet habits of the teabaggers, but I care very much about my own and those of a like-minded political view. And I’d like to make sure we don’t see a day when the telcos can roll out their fancy new apps with the exquisite streamlining of a Porsche 911 Carrera, for example, while humble blogger types such as yours truly do what we do with the speed, precision and reliability of a Yugo by comparison.

    Update 8/17/10: What mcjoan sez here…


    “Help Me Fight This”

    July 30, 2010

    This is how a Dem with guts is supposed to sound (and to do something about it, click here).


    Friday Mashup (10/30/09)

    October 30, 2009

  • Over at the AEI blog, Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich opined as follows on Wednesday (here, specifically concerning health care legislation)…

    …Senator Jim Bunning (R-I Hear Voices) recently introduced an amendment that would require legislators to make all bills public for 72 hours, with legislative text and an official budget analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), prior to being considered. Democratic senators blocked the amendment.

    It is unfortunate that the Democratic leadership has decided it would be easier to rush their legislation through rather than honoring the people’s right to know. At healthtransformation.net, we have posted a petition to Washington to support the principle of Senator Bunning’s amendment by requiring Congress to make all bills public for 72 hours before voting.

    Openness is never a bad thing, I realize, even though this is tantamount to a publicity stunt by the about-to-retire Sen. “High And Tight” Bunning (can YOU read a nearly 2,000 page bill in three days? I can’t). And Gingrich is right that the amendment was voted down in the Senate.

    However, this TPM story from last month tells us the following…

    Accepting Republican demands, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to post health care reform legislation online for 72 hours before a final vote on the bill, The Hill reports.

    House Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner, have introduced a petition to require three days for lawmakers to read the final bill before voting. Two Democrats, Brian Baird and Walt Minnick, have also signed on. At today’s press conference, Pelosi said she would “absolutely” support the petition.

    Besides, House Bill 3200 has been available from the House HELP site for months (how else do you think Bucks County’s big mouth pundit J.D. Mullane was able to supposedly find his “angel of death” clause?), as has the HELP bill from Sen. Bob Casey’s site, among other places.

    Oh, and the following should be noted from here concerning Mr. Former House Speaker Who Resigned In Disgrace and his alleged “openness”…

    Gingrich was the author of an infamous secret memo to GOP leaders in 1995 titled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control”, which one of America’s foremost linguists called an outline of a strategy to frame the word “liberal” as “something akin to traitor” in the media. This was in line with his once-described goal of “reshaping the entire nation through the news media” (New York Times,12/14/94).

    And I’m still waiting to hear about Newt’s space-based air traffic control system, by the way (from here).

  • Repug Senators Orrin Hatch and Jim DeMint also inflicted us with the following from the Murdoch Street Journal site today (here, opposing the Net Neutrality rules proposed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski)…

    Ten years ago, we effectively had no broadband marketplace. Dial-up Internet was common, but not ubiquitous. Consumers had a choice of service providers, but they were typically confined to walled gardens of preselected or preferred content. The broadband revolution led us out of that desert. Instead of dog-paddling, we could surf the net, choosing between broadband service offered by traditional phone and cable companies and, now, wireless companies as well.

    Compare that to the last decade of success at government dominated companies like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM or Chrysler.

    Of course (as alluded to here, concerning what is probably the “granddaddy” of all the Repug big lies out there, right next to Casey Sr. not being allowed to speak at the ’92 Democratic National Convention because he was pro-life), if it weren’t for the “government,” there probably wouldn’t be an internet at all, something the Journal and their Repug playmates are counting on people to forget (heaven forbid that Al Gore actually get any credit here, right?).

    Also, it’s a good thing Hatch and DeMint opposed the “stim” and the 7.2 billion for “complete broadband and wireless Internet access,” right (here – snark)? Especially since the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a report from the summer of ’08 that lists the U.S. as 15th in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants (here, with Japan, Francesacre bleu, wingnuts! – and Korea 1, 2 and 3 respectively).

    And it wasn’t that bad “gumint” that was found guilty of violating Net Neutrality principles by “secretly degrading or blocking peer-to-peer traffic — specifically that used by BitTorrent,” was it? Nope, it was Comcast (here).

    And by the way, to learn more about the principles of Net Neutrality (which, not coincidentally, debunk in total this ridiculous Journal column), click here.

  • Finally, House Repug John Shadegg of Arizona patted himself on the back as follows (here)…

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is a time for women across America to highlight the importance of prevention and to celebrate the millions of breast cancer survivors across our nation. This year, it is also a time to recognize the looming danger of government-run health care and what it could mean for America’s women. If Democrats in Congress pass a bill that allows Washington to take over health care, future generations of American women may be at risk.

    Shadegg then goes on to say that he “offered an amendment that would have ensured that US (breast cancer) survival rates remain high and women had the option of choosing (another health care plan). But Democrats shot it down.”

    This tells us more about Shadegg’s amendment, which would have…

    … require(d) the Government Accountability Office to perform an annual study of breast cancer survival rates. Based on the study’s findings, if five-year survival rates for breast cancer decreased by more than .1 percent, women and families with at least one female member would be allowed to purchase health insurance that does not meet the requirements set forth in the bill, 22-36.

    So basically, the amendment would not have “ensured” anything, except portability of insurance if the GAO allowed it.

    And as far as Shadegg’s record on women’s health issues is concerned, the following should be noted from here…

    • (He) twice co-sponsored legislation to override the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone (RU 486), a safe and effective early abortion medication. [H.R.3453, 108th Cong. (2003); H.R.1079, 109th Cong. (2005)]
    • Twice co-sponsored legislation crafted establishing “personhood” at the moment of fertilization. [H.R.552, 109th Cong. (2005); H.R.618, 110th Cong. (2007)]
    • Co-sponsored legislation forcing women to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure before receiving abortion care. [H.R.5032, 110th Cong. (2008)]
    • Voted to de-fund Title X, the nation’s only federal program dedicated exclusively to family planning and reproductive-health services. [House vote #614 (8/2/95)]
    • Voted five times to deny federal employees the right to choose a health plan that covers abortion care. [House vote #526 (7/19/95); House vote #320 (7/17/96); House vote #288 (7/16/98); House vote #301 (7/15/99); House vote #422 (7/20/00)]
    • Voted against contraceptive equity for federal employees – a provision of law that ensures health plans cover birth control equally with other prescription medications. [House vote #493 (10/7/98)]
    • Voted twice to eliminate funding completely for all international family-planning programs. [House vote #358 (9/4/97); House vote #360 (8/3/99)]

    And to get an idea of how this has worked for Shadegg’s constituents, this tells us that teen birth rates have risen sharply in his state. Also, this Think Progress post tells us more about Shadegg’s flair for demagoguery; he claimed that the congressional Democrats are trying to give us “full on Russian gulag, Soviet style health care.”

    Actually, given Shadegg’s contempt for basic women’s health care, a gulag might one day be more preferable as a location to obtain services than his own state if it continues on its present, ruinous path.

  • Update 11/7/09: Wow, I’d never consider bringing the young one to my job, and he’s way older than this baby Shadegg uses as a prop here (words fail me).


    A Cell Phone Conundrum And The Wireless Wrangle

    January 5, 2009

    angry_cell_phone_user_1_t250I found this item in Parade Magazine yesterday, which tells us what many have known for some time; namely, that for all of the invention and entrepreneurship that went into the development of the Internet and personal computers in this country, the exact opposite has happened in the area of cell phone technology…

    Cellphones in the U.S. transmit data more slowly than phones in Europe and have fewer features than those in Asia, where you can make calls on the subway or use your handset like a credit card. According to Kent German of Cnet.com, a technology website, “The U.S. is going to be behind for a long time.”

    Why? Competition. Carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM, a network that works in a completely different way from CDMA, the one used by Sprint and Verizon. Phones are not compatible across networks, and customers can’t roam between them. Because Europe and many countries in Asia decided years ago to adopt a single cellular network, GSM, their infrastructure works with all kinds of phones, and developers can add more bells and whistles.

    German also tells us that, because there was no standard network agreed upon by Sprint and Verizon, it will be harder to develop across platforms than upon a single environment.

    All of this makes me scratch my head a bit as I read the following from Larry Magid, the technology correspondent from CBS News, who tells us here that…

    Even though most phones from (Sprint and Verizon) are configured to access cellular networks that are totally incompatible with the GSM (Global System for Mobil) networks used in Europe, Australia, parts of Asia, Africa and much of the rest of world, both companies do offer phones that are also capable of accessing GSM networks overseas.

    To enable GSM, you need a Subscriber Identity Module (or SIM) Card. All GSM-compatible phones have a slot for this card, as Magid tells us.

    However, get a load of this (in the third paragraph)…

    Sprint’s world phones are unlocked, which means you can buy a SIM card in the local country and pay much lower rates. In some cases, it costs as little as 10 or 15 cents a minute for outgoing calls and nothing for incoming calls.

    The Verizon phone is locked, but upon request Verizon can provide an unlocked code. There are also third parties and Internet sites that, for a one-time fee, will unlock most but not all locked GSM phones or provide you a code to unlock it yourself. I’ve used, an independent cell phone dealer to unlock phones that I and family members have used when traveling overseas.

    When you’re using a SIM card you buy abroad, callers have to dial into the country where you bought the card. So if you bought a SIM card in Spain, callers would have to dial a Spanish phone number to reach you. If you then traveled to France and bought a French SIM card, they would have to dial a French number.

    However…

    Another option, especially useful if you plan to travel to different countries, is to purchase a global SIM card. Sim4Travel.com and GoSim.com sell cards that can be used in most countries at rates starting at about 60 cents a minute to call back to the United States. It may not be as inexpensive as buying a local SIM card, but you get to use the same number in each country and it’s cheaper than paying international roaming rates through your U.S. carrier.

    For the purposes of disclosure, I should point out that I don’t do a lot of travelling in my job, and it has not involved overseas travel to date. I imagine that a tech-savvy traveler can figure out how to negotiate using a wireless device across multiple countries and continents. But, as a third-party observer to this situation, I think having to buy a SIM card in each country I happen to visit is pretty damn silly (and the “workaround for a nominal fee” of buying the global GSM card sounds to me like something else you shouldn’t have to pay for).

    With this in mind, I’ll defer to Wall Mossberg of the Murdoch Street Journal here, who, though he seems to summarize this situation nicely, blames the wrong people for the problem…

    …it’s intolerable that the same country that produced (all kinds of innovative PC and web-based technologies) has trapped its citizens in a backward, stifling system when it comes to the next great technology platform, the cellphone.

    A shortsighted and often just plain stupid federal government has allowed itself to be bullied and fooled by a handful of big wireless phone operators for decades now. And the result has been a mobile phone system that is the direct opposite of the PC model. It severely limits consumer choice, stifles innovation, crushes entrepreneurship, and has made the U.S. the laughingstock of the mobile-technology world, just as the cellphone is morphing into a powerful hand-held computer.

    Oh, right, I forgot; we’re talking about the Murdoch Street Journal here, so it’s imperative that “government” be blamed for the greed and short-sighted ignorance of the carriers who are supposed to be the technological innovators in this scenario.

    And as long as the Journal has spoken out so eloquently about the importance of PC and web innovation in this country by helping to foster “one of the greatest technological revolutions in human history, as well as one of the greatest spurts of wealth creation and of consumer empowerment,” you would think they would be equally dedicated to the cause of Net Neutrality, wouldn’t you?

    Well, as Tim Karr, campaign director for SaveTheInternet.com told us here a couple of weeks ago…

    We are now on the cusp of making history for an open Internet. But don’t tell that to the Wall Street Journal, which today published an article that portrayed the movement for Net Neutrality as losing steam.

    Say what?

    Contrary to claims of the Journal that Net Neutrality forces are receding, we are actually closer now than ever before to victory. We have arrived at the moment when Net Neutrality has its greatest appeal, clearest need, and best chance of becoming law.

    Our opponents will try to divide and distract us. But now is not the time to retreat but to move forward.

    Yep, true to form, the Journal, in its best “concern troll” mode, wants to help propagate the lie that the forces in favor of Net Neutrality are all but ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as it were, by (as Mossberg did) giving a pass to the parties truly at fault, as others have done concerning the telcos and their stifling of cell phone technology in this country by failing to adopt the GSM standard already used throughout much of the world.

    Government isn’t innocent, I know, but it also isn’t responsible for the technology itself. However, you can bet that they will be blamed by Mossberg (a tech-savvy guy otherwise) and his brethren all the same.


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