Saturday, October 31, 2009

Faux Version Of A Poll

Some kind of a Faux Poll


Would you support health care reform legislation if it did not contain the government-run insurance option?

Absolutely. Congress should stick to legislating laws and regulations, and let the free-market system work.

Probably. I’m still unsure whether reforms will cut my medical bills, but something has to be done.

No. The current health care system works fine. Leave it alone and let the free-market system work.


You have got to be kidding me. They did note that it is not a scientific poll. No shit?

OH NO! We're not the propaganda arm of the Confederate Party of Republicanism ... not even a little bit.

Ahahahahaha, etc.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gov John Baldacci's Same Constitution

Governor John Baldacci (ME-D) is campaigning against M1 to reverse the legislated same sex marriage he signed. He was not a supporter of same sex marriage two years ago. He has had, essentially, an epiphany consisting of the realization that the lack of congruence between marriage and civil unions creates a second class citizen. People who are not treated equally under the law.

This is exactly the point. I am a married heterosexual and have absolutely no interest in marrying or having sex with another male; I do have a very basic interest in my law abiding fellows having the same rights and responsibilities as all others. It is not real complicated, it does not involve religion or special treatment or any of the canards the opponents bring forward, it is entirely a civil matter of equality under the law. If you choose to not civilly formalize a relationship you forfeit some of that - a choice. Barring such a union does not involve a choice.

I have an abiding respect for acting out of principle and if that involves changing a previous view, it is just as deserving. Kudos to the Governor and best of luck to Maine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Republican Purity, Please

Politics is about doing what you can do, ideology is about what you want. There is a difference. In order to get things done you have to get the votes, whether in an election or in legislation. Our favorite lizzard Newt has pointed this out to some of his "compatriots" in regard to a special election in upper NY. There is a Republican candidate and there is a Conservative Party candidate and prominent (R)s have been coming out for the non-(R). Dede Scazzafava seems to be way too liberal for "the base" and Doug Hoffman is the cat's pajamas. Now I'm not going to comment on the political leanings of the (R)s in that district, though it does have a conservative leaning area.

What I will comment on is what the former revolutionary Newt had to say, it takes 50%+1 to win. Primaries are low turn-out elections to begin with and special elections are particularly low, this means that a dedicated minority actually can determine outcomes. That sort of thing doesn't mean a lot at General Election and what is even more meaningful is putting a 3rd party candidate forward kills the Party loyalty vote. There is a large segement of voters who don't so much vote policy, rather they vote the (initial) after the name. It is a low information group, but their votes count.

Bill Owens (D) doesn't seem to be a knee jerk liberal Democrat, but he's not a Republican by any real stretch. If the potential (R) vote splits much at all 2 ways a Democrat will very probably be the outcome. Another (D) in the House isn't really a very big deal, the (R) caucus is now so small as to be immaterial. I am aware that a Representative here and there can add up to something, but this election is to replace a Republican.

A lesson for Republicans could be taken if Hoffman were a Republican candidate and was defeated by Owens. That isn't the case, it will be a 3 way election and the loon wing will once again make the argument that their loss was from the Republicans being insufficiently conservative/right wing. It has become an issue of faith with that bunch that the right wing can't fail, only be failed by others. The difficulty they have with that argument is that there is no real modern backing for it. This idea would seem to rationally include the concept that insufficient rightness caused people to vote for people actually well left of anything remotely like that.

It is surely true that if the Conservative Party candidate can cause a loss in NY23 their swat within the (R) will increase, simply due to that threat. It does not mean that they will win squat in anything other than some narrow range of localized races.

More of that please

I'm The Most Important Person - Joementum

The Baucus debacle made Olympia Snowe as 1/40th of the Party Of No the most important person in the room. For some types of people such a thing is an untenable prospect, like say Joe Lieberman's supposed position on Health Care Reform.

Just to be clear, I think Joe is a complete dickhead, a tool of AIPAC only happy when we're blowing up something in the Middle East and a deficit hawk, especially while voting for unfunded warfare. It might be piling on to note Hartford and HealthInc.

If you live in CT it would behoove you to write something polite and persuasive to his office, you know the drill - business envelope, letterhead, proper salutation...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rental, 2010 Mustang Convertible

The initial rental was a 2010 Corvette Convertible, the necessity of carrying three people brought that idea to a halt. The Mustang seats four fairly comfortably, provided those in the rear aren't real tall. This car had slightly over 1K miles at time of rental. I have never had a Mustang.

There have been slight body changes, which I think of as improvements from the previous iteration. The smoother sides and the more hooded headlights are more appealing to my eye.
****click photos for full size****

The tail lights have been changed, wrapping around in a more angular fashion and with larger barred backup lights. I think this emphasizes the shape of the rear end more and adds appeal - not to mention superior lighting for reverse.

The cabin is pretty comfortable and the forward angled headrests do make them more useful during driving. The controls are pretty comfortably placed. I do not at all care for the tilt steering activation. It is a latch/unlatch position mechanism rather than a self-latching mechanism. There is plenty of front seat foot room.

This is a 6 cylinder 4 speed automatic car. It has enough "butt" to get out of its own way, but isn't particularly impressive nor is it particularly easy on gasoline. I do not like the feel of the transmission shifts, there is a noticeable lag time in shifts and the initial gear engagement feels mushy. The lighting system is particularly annoying to a Chevy owner which turn their lights on with the ignition, the dash lights on the Mustang light on ignition but the headlights require switching, easily fooling one into thinking the head lights are actually on.

The car's handling and braking are crisp, but for some reason this car is prone to wandering in slight winds. I find this tendency very aggravating, on a smooth flat straight road I expect a new car to stay where it was pointed when my hands are staying still. I have checked the tire inflation and looked at the wear pattern (what there is at this low mileage) and I can see no evident reason for the wandering.

The power top mechanism is pretty simple and seems to latch securely and seal well. The top is pretty quiet, no noise from its material but no more sound proof that you'd expect from fabric. The top folds down into a well behind the rear seat, take note that anything carried back there will break the rear window if the top is put down. There is an unfinished look when the top is down because the front of the top does not rest flush with its well. According to the manual there is an optional cover of some sort. If you care about looks, it would seem a loss to not have it.

Over all it is a nice car. It is not something I'll rush out and buy but despite my general lack of Ford enthusiasm I have no problem recommending giving one a real look if someone is in the market for such a car. I have had the car 6 days at this point and have not had any difficulties with it and I have been impressed enough to write about it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Faux News Persecution

The latest round of lying dissembling Republican propaganda arm Fox News horseshit is that the Obama administration tried to exclude them from a press opportunity with Treasury official Kenneth Feinberg. That would be rather unseemly even in the face of the behavior of that organization, it would be if it ever happened. How odd, a "respectable news" organization tells an absolute falsehood slamming the President. (note: black Democratic President)

Evidently Faux News Chief Roger Ailes isn't going to run for the Republican Presidential nomination. It should say something to you that it seemed a good idea to prominent Republicans to run the ex-(sorta)Republican Presidential Flack now FN Chief for President because he's a good political operator despite zip, nada policy or governing credentials.

The really sad part of this is that it will put not the least bit of dampener on the FN fans. They will protest and scream and throw tantrums over the evil Obama thugs' behavior because they'll never see its refutation. Not only will they not watch somebody who isn't in their loon corner - those somebodies will not make any kind of a deal about it.

It seems to be persecution of the press for the Obama administration to criticize the Faux News reporting and assorted idiocies and that they don't call on them in press events. If the administration were indulging in any of the BushCo tricks I'd be real damn critical, but you could see Glenn Greenwald to find out just what utter nonsense that is. The fact is that you'd get better reporting from one of the grocery store checkout aisle tabloids than the outfit the MSM has been commiserating with - to even things out they should be defending the "My Uncle Was A Space Alien" reports also.

So you wonder why the news media is in finacial trouble?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This Is Florida

To be more exact this is Sand Key, FL just outside Clearwater. We are here to get my son Matt married off. The wedding is in Bartow as is the new home of the bride, Emily, and the groom. Matt's soon to be in-laws own a beach condo for get aways from Bartow and this is shot from that beach.
****click pic for full size****

I was last in Florida in 1971 as a hitch-hiker at the end of summer before my first year of College. Oddly enough, a part of that trip took me right through this same part of the state. Not to put it too severely, I haven't been back for the simple reason that I felt I'd had all the use of Florida that I cared for. So, I am not a tourist, I'm here with a purpose and wouldn't be other wise.

Now this having had all the Florida I cared for has to do with too many people, way too much humidity, too flat, and generally speaking not my sort of place. I don't have anything against Florida as a place, it just isn't on my list of places to be. My mother is down from N Michigan and along with my wife seemed to think that some beach time was called for if they were in FL. I took them to the beach and took myself to a blue collar tavern and sucked down unsweetened iced tea and shot the breeze with some locals. I just couldn't be less interested in tourist traps or in laying in sand in the sun.

I've really enjoyed meeting Emily's family and I'll be glad to see Matt get himself married to such a great gal, so this is a good trip.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Eighty Mile Pictorial Harley Tour Of NorthEast Oregon

This is one of my favorite shorter loops out of Baker City, Oregon with its apex at Union, Oregon and returning to Baker City about 2 1/2 hours later. The route is Oregon 203 to Union and Old US 30 back to town.

This is all two lane blacktop with no real shoulders and lots of curves. Oregon is pretty conservative with its speeds for curves; experienced riders won't find close to 150% of speed excessive - if you can see far enough around one for that.

****Click the pics for full size - miss out if you don't*****

Rising up out of Baker Valley gives you a vista of the Eagle Caps of the Wallowa Mountains across sage brush and cheat grass. This is dry country.

The apparent desolation gives way to farm and ranch land where there is water. The hilly land is cut by numerous creeks, the one at the base of this is Big Creek.

Pondosa was a thriving logging/mill town of over 500 at one time, the current Pondosa Store is what's left, a former residence. Pictured is my scooter and my buddy Aubrey on his '07 Kawasaki Concours.

Inside you'll find a warm old timey general store atomosphere and friendly proprietors and something to take a break with.

After winding down through Medical Springs, a one time therapeutic hot springs, you'll begin to climb into the timber and reach Catherine Creek State Park. This is a pretty site with multiple facilities and a large pretty creek.

Not far from Catherine Creek you begin to find the bare bones of the earth as you cut through canyons.

Without the afternoon sun in your eyes (and camera) this is what you're rolling through.

Union is a nice little town with multiple opportunities for food and drink including the turn of the century Union Hotel. There is more to downtown than this but it isn't a big place.

Old US 30 winds though canyons and past a wind farm and tops out looking into Baker Valley and the Elkhorn Mountains, the valley floor is at 3500 feet and the mountains rise to 10,000 feet.

There isn't a lot to North Powder but you can find a couple cafes and convenience stores and nice people.

Haines is about 14 miles outside Baker City and home to the much acclaimed Haines Steak House. This really is about all there is to downtown Haines.

If you don't stop to fool around this ride will take about 2 hours, but where's the fun in that? The road surfaces are quite good and traffic is very light. You never want to forget that you are in country where there may be critters on the road and where the road hugs up against slopes rocks can fall onto it. Temperatures rise and fall quickly in this country and elevation can mean real changes as well.

You will ride through near desert, farm land, towns, and timber all in a few hours and still end up right where you started without repeating anything. There aren't many places like North Eastern Oregon and if you haven't explored some of it you've missed some real riding, fine folks, and pretty scenery - don't do that, come see us.

There Are Not 41 Republicans In The Senate

But then, you knew that didn't you?

So what's up with HealthInc and Investment Banks and all that?

Ahahahahahahaha - sucker

A Moody's Rating In One Hand And Crap In The Other

...And what do you actually have? According to McClatchy you've got two handfuls of very smelly crap (I know that's spelled/pronounced differently). Now some people trust these agencies to do something a bit differently than this:
As the housing market collapsed in late 2007, Moody's Investors Service, whose investment ratings were widely trusted, responded by purging analysts and executives who warned of trouble and promoting those who helped Wall Street plunge the country into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

I suppose you could ask yourself how things could get like that and maybe the answer would be that money trumps anything remotely resembling ethics, honor, or other old fashioned behavior like that. You see:
The ratings agencies were under no legal obligation since technically their job is only to give an opinion, protected as free speech, in the form of ratings.

Now that might interact with this if a bunch of near crooks were running the show:
To promote competition, in the 1970s ratings agencies were allowed to switch from having investors pay for ratings to having the issuers of debt pay for them. That led the ratings agencies to compete for business by currying favor with investment banks that would pay handsomely for the ratings they wanted.

Wall Street paid as much as $1 million for some ratings, and ratings agency profits soared. This new revenue stream swamped earnings from ordinary ratings.

"In 2001, Moody's had revenues of $800.7 million; in 2005, they were up to $1.73 billion; and in 2006, $2.037 billion. The exploding profits were fees from packaging . . . and for granting the top-class AAA ratings, which were supposed to mean they were as safe as U.S. government securities," said Lawrence McDonald in his recent book, "A Colossal Failure of Common Sense."

Hey, how's that 401K looking these days? Ain't their problem, bucko. AAA horseshit.

Oh yeah, you can just bet the Senate will clean up this mess - sure, and I've got a bridge...

Friday, October 16, 2009

The 1st Amendment And Dickheads

Just so we all know what the heck it is that I'm talking about, here is the text of the 1st Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now you may notice first off that the Amendment refers to Government's actions, in particular the Congress. It does not, for example mention Football. This Rush guy and his loon supporters would have you believe that his 1st Amendment free speech or free press rights are somehow being screwed with. Umm, the guy makes gadzillions of dollars spewing crap over the air waves and he's somehow, uh, infringed upon?

The other piece nonsense is that the left is crushing the dreams of conservatives, or more particularly, Rush, by stomping on his free speech. Rather simply, it would seem to be a case of Rush can say what he wants to and nobody gets to call BS. I would kind of think that this is actually an example of free speech in action, Rush says what he does and some other people state that someone who says that is a dickhead and would be bad for a sport. Now I might take that a bit farther, like doubting that his oxygen isn't an entire waste or that the excessive space occupied by his carcass should be condemned once vacated, but it would be unkind, so I won't.

What has his people (and himself) upset is that this argument broke out in public and the side that business people listened to was something other than that one that Rush stands on. The government didn't say anything at all about it or try to do anything about it, business got done. Rush is perfectly free to continue to blather on, he's just learned that free speech doesn't mean consequence-less speech. When enough people don't like your horseshit it has outcomes in a business world that is based on perceptions - like fandom is.

I don't watch much football and I've never paid any attention to the Rams but people do watch and do pay attention to the Rams and a bunch of business people decided that dinging Rush's fans was better than having his money. Hey Rush, when you're too offensive to take your money in this country - buddy you're an asshole.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Wet Snowy Hunt Thoughts - Without Bucks

October 3rd was opening day of buck mule deer rifle season and it got off to a pretty lame start, a blown tire and inoperable jack. Once that was straightened out I managed to get myself into the mountains, which were in the process of getting six inches of very wet snow that was sticking. Not too promising.

For my more urban readers I present the following as a beginner's primer.

Mule deer depend on the three senses of sight, smell, and hearing to stay alive in a world containing things that want to eat them. Sight is the least effective of those, from practical experience I can state that what alerts them is motion that is separate from other things. Despite very human appearance in jeans and flannel shirt standing still with something as a background (rock, tree, whatever) does not bother them. Neither does it bother them that I have moved from one place to another if they don't see the actual motion. Their visual acuity or processing of information so gained is limited.

A mule deer's nose is a pretty fantastic organ, it picks up very little very quickly, being down wind from them or in a condition that knocks odor out of the air quickly (like rain or lots of wet snow falling) is about the only defense against their nose.

Mule deer get their name from the size of their ears, great whacking ears that pivot toward sounds at the least provocation. If a human can actually hear himself moving a mulie will hear it at over 100 yds.

This information is all important to a hunter or even nature viewer. There is a lot of spiritual hoohaw around about thinking like your prey or becoming one with it. Please give me a break. A deer's mind (or pick your critter) is a complete mystery. It does not operate in a world you can comprehend, its senses are not developed in a manner anything remotely human and figuring out the processing requires some kind of mind meld that belongs to a Spock. What you can do is understand what works for the animal and try to avoid falling into its range or not looking for them where those senses are compromised - since they'll stay away from that.

I mentioned the wet snow, trying to walk quietly in that stuff was ludicrous, every foot fall was a deep bass crushing sound. When the snow finally started falling from tree branches it began to cover my noise with something similar and pervasive. I became sonically invisible. Understanding this, one should not look for deer in areas with something like running water, they may need to go there for a drink but they will not haunt such a place.

Scent pretty much leaves you at the mercy of the wind, bow hunters will go to great lengths to cover their scent with something common to deer. That works to an extent, you still stink. Mountain air is difficult, it swirls and eddies, you do your best. You can know some things, like cooler air sinks and warmer air rises. This means that in the early morning the air will slide downhill, as the day warms it will move uphill until finally at the cooling of the evening it will once again begin to move downward. You want to be on the receiving end of moving air, pretty simple, so your position in terrain is determined by relative temperatures.

Avoiding the sight of deer isn't that complicated if you see them first, a challenge. Deer depend on that weakness of processing visual information as their first line of defense, staying still in some form of cover, even a slight depression. That doesn't work quite so well against a human's highly developed sense of sight and complex processing of that information. We recognize that something has changed, that it doesn't belong. Deer don't seem to. By moving only when deer had their heads down eating I have moved in wide open ground to within 60 feet of them, covering over 100 yds in wide open. The air shifted and they spooked otherwise I am unsure how much closer I could have gotten, they were clearly beginning to get nervous, something was bothering them.

You cannot think like a deer but knowing their abilities can help you to think a way around them. Fortunately for having success in this heavily stacked game you have the ability to reach out, whether with a weapon or camera. Reaching out is meaningless if you can't find them or you alert them well beyond your effective range - and you will. Someplace is always downwind of you, something will make a sound, or they will see you first. I'm not talking about hunting tame deer, these are wild animals and in OR the bow hunters have been in the woods for a month prior, stinking it up, making noise, and leaving gut bags and other remains in or near deer habitat.

Mule deer are creatures of habit, it takes a great deal to move them out of their patterns and their area. People knocking around in the woods will disrupt their habits and break up groupings but not move them far. Hard droughts and extreme icing conditions in winter will move them. Deer will, within those circumstances, be not too far from where you have previously found them. Not too far is a relative term considering deer, it may involve some pretty extensive human foot travel to match their nearby. There is the rub, if you have to move around the game is all on their side.

Having a nice accurate gun and knowing how to hunt doesn't mean success will happen, luck is still a large piece of the puzzle. Despite some presentations, a hunt is not a slaughter of defenseless creatures. I don't trophy hunt, but as in this hunt I will sometimes pass on deer for being either too difficult to get out once down or being too small. The distinction in too small is this: it is very nearly the same work after a kill if a deer weighs 100 pounds or 25o pounds and it is a lot of work. You have to gut it, you have to get it out of the woods, you have to skin it, you have to hang it, and you have to butcher and package it. A large dead animal is no joke to deal with. This time I've managed to give all that work a miss, next year; maybe.

No Rams - Waaaaaa!!!!

No, I'm not kidding. Rush:
it's not about the St. Louis Rams, it's not about me. This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative. That's what this is about. Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we're going to have.

Whether I, as a racist asshole, get to buy the Rams determines the future of the nation?

This is not about the National Football League. It's not about the St. Louis Rams. That's just a subset. This is the latest in a long line of attempts by the left to discredit any of us who believe what we believe. Sarah Palin, the list is as long as I wanted to make it. And I wanted to make sure that I thank you all for your support, and I wanted to make sure you understood that I know exactly what this is all about, and I want you to also understand, I'm not even thinking of exiting. I'm not even thinking of caving. I am not a caver. None of us are. We have been betrayed by too many who have caved. Pioneers take the arrows. We are pioneers. It's a sad thing that our country over 200 years old now needs pioneers all over again, but we do.

Who are the Indians in this scenario, you know, the ones here first? Was Sarah wanting to buy a football team .... Also. I really don't know about "attempts to discredit" since the damage was done out of his own mouth and her's.

Somehow his "right" to say any damn thing he pleases on air trumps the "right" of anybody to publicly not like what he said (or she or they or..."conservatives"). This was, of course, intended for his audience so it is really unfair of me to mock it.

"It's not about me..." ahahahahaha, choke, ahahaha

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm Sorry Texas, You've Got Perry

Really Texas, I'd feel sorry for you except you gave us GWB and you wanted Rick and now it looks as though he's actually a murderer. Strong? He directed the killing of a man it certainly begins to look as though should have lived and that Rick knew that when he directed that killing. He is going to rather extraordinary lengths to make sure there is no public airing of that killing. Y'all do like your executions and it would have been inconvenient politically for Perry to delay one and you certainly don't want to know that you're a bunch of murderers.

Yes, Oregon has executions and I oppose that adamantly and they also are rare. Rare isn't none but considering Texas' population you guys like it a lot real often. By damn near any measure if you do something a lot you're going to screw it up on occasion. Is it uncomfortable to think that you put a guy in a cage, then you manacled him and strapped him on a table and very deliberately murdered him? It sure seems your Governor finds it a bit of that.

Yes, my sensible Texan friends, it is a damn shame you're connected to this kind of thing - please do something about it.

Olympia Who ?

One one fortieth of the GOP Senatorial caucus voted to move the Baucus abortion out of Committee and that one one fortieth is real important? That was 10% of the GOP representation on the long stalled Finance Committee that voted to move on and now it is called bi-partisan support. I don't propose to set a floor for the definition of bi-partisan but the term seems to indicate cooperation rather than single defection from a Berlin Wall position.

It takes 60 votes to bring a bill to the floor for vote at which time it takes 51 to pass it (assuming a full Chamber). HealthInc lap-dog Democrats like Baucus can go home and tell their lunatic fringe they voted against it once it reached the floor and still have something useful pass. Olympia Snow doesn't matter one iota unless you you somehow count that one one fortieth as being bi-partisan and I don't know who the hell you sell that to. If you could get, say one quarter, of the Confederate Party of Republicanism to go along the Public might start thinking,"Hey, they can work together for our good." If you got one tenth of the GOP you might be able to sell it to the weaker of mind and more Pollyannaish. One GOP Senator is damn laughable.

I'd like to see responsible government in which the two Parties worked for the general good of the public. That would mean that some significant portion of each Party voted together disregarding the partisan advantage of defeating the other Party's measure for no other reason than to defeat it. That would require something that is not in evidence today in the GOP. One Party rule is bad for the US, in this environment it also seems to be the alternative to sitting on hands. Given that the alternatives are doing something or doing nothing; the GOP and Olympia are meaningless and subject only to mockery.

Instead, Olympia Who becomes the most important vote in the goddam Senate. WTF?

Keep America Safe ... Um

Liz Cheney has hooked up with Bill Kristol to form a non-profit (I've got a bridge...)called of all things, "Keep America Safe." Now I am not a fan reader of Bill Kristol but I am familiar with his record on issues concerning national security - wrong going on massive fail. I 'm not talking about opinions that haven't been tested, I talking about point blank statements proven absolutely false. He has as much credibility on national security as my dog does.

Liz Cheney is who? Other than the spawn of a Dick and a nepotistic State Department appointment she has done what? Well she was a part of the transition in Iraq that went so horridly wrong and then she was a part of the Syria and Lebanon desk - that went well. She gets a lot of air time lately, for some reason.

It has been rumored she'd like to run for office in VA. That should get a lot of the monsters in the closet and sadist vote - since I'm not from VA I won't speculate on the percentages. The tough girl smirk and arrogance would probably work better in TX, especially if she can work some dog whistle racism in. You'd hope a majority would find her as repellent as I do, but ... well, this is America.

I will say that none of Liz being in the public view really hurts my feelings politically. She keeps alive the crazy of the BushCo years and keeps it in front of people who might start to forget what it actually was like. Oh, yeah, about the Safe part ... ahahahahahahaha

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mess With Us And We'll F**k You Up - AHIP

Association of Health Insurance Providers today, on the eve of the Baucus Bill vote in the Finance Committee, released a report commissioned from Price Watershouse Coopers that says the HealthInc bunch will raise rates 40% and then 70% and then 110% at the end of 10 years. I think you get the idea.

I shoot guns and I like them, but I don't much care for one held to my head. So...?

A Gay Speech By The President

There sure has been a lot of steam and noise since the President spoke to HRC regarding the gay agenda. I'm not even going to bother to link to the critiques, if you read the 'net you know about it. I will point out that I've even heard GOP operatives criticize Obama for inaction and state how friendly they are (really not kidding you here). I've heard a lot about how Obama is in campaign mode rather than Presidential so I'd like to go somewhere I'd assumed was obvious.

There is a vast difference between Candidate and sitting President and just a small measure of that difference applies to speeches given by one. A Candidate has no power regardless of how powerful their rhetoric, they are trying to get power by getting enough votes to get elected. They may get press and hope to do so, but everyone knows it is a campaign speech. A President is already elected, a President has power and a very real portion of that power is that what he says is important. Referring to someone essentially immaterial as a "jackass" is press fodder for days. A filmed and televised speech to something like HRC is important and a President with any brains knows that.

Such a speech is a clear and very public signal to the Legislative Branch (or other in other circumstances) of the President's desired actions. It tells them that 'the most powerful man in the world' wants something. This is quite different than sending a letter down to Congress, it is done with the public's informed participation. It is a stirring of the pot with a very big stick. It is intended not only to inform Congress but to stir the public into comment and action. Boy, has it generated comment... That's not supposed to be the end of it, it is supposed to drive that fervor toward its intended target, in this case the Legislature. I'm less confident that is happening.

I'm not an Obamabot, I've had my disagreements (some of them pretty angry) with the President, but in this case I'm in his corner. I want something done sooner than later to address these issues but I also want something that will stand, something like Law that the SCOTUS will defend against all comers. Those who haven't engaged in the 2nd A battles might be unaware of how every half-ass will try to find some way around it, anyhow. Those interested in abortion rights will certainly understand . Congress responds to letters from its constituents so I'm asking for letters in response to what the President said, letters that will persuade not angry toss-offs.

I'm a straightmarriedgunowningHarleyridingdragracerconstructionNE-OR guy and I'm also a strong ally of the DPO LGBT Caucus and some other organizations like BRO (however odd that may seem). These people are in some cases my friends and many are colleagues and I want them treated with justice and fairness by the state. I don't care about religions or emotional baggage, just the state and my own behavior. I expect a lot of people find themselve in that position, my delegation is already (with one glaring omission) in the right place, so please help the President out with this with your less committed ones.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Death Merchants

As Keith Olberman noted in his extraordinarily good special comment last night, health care is about death. It is a major facet of our avoidance of that inevitable consequence of life. Very many people are very afraid of that ending. That fear can lead to all kinds of strange behavior, including going nuts over lying rat bastards' talking points about reform or spending outrageous sums to little or no effect to stave off death.

Here is a number Keith brought up, you are 40% more likely to die if you don't have health insurance. Health insurance companies make a fortune from selling a product that adds nothing to health care performance. Nothing whatever. What they sell is access to health care and, hopefully, the avoidance of economic catastrophe from accessing health care. Understand that what happens is that these outfits ensure that a good portion of the public die in the name of their profits. They ensure this by cutting out any recourse for the uninsured through political means and policy limits and exclusions.

Some of what is going on is a sociological problem, excessive fear of death. Death has been isolated from us, it seldom happens in the home - instead it is pushed into the cold sterile environment of hospitals. Very nearly death is something participated in only by conscious choice. Sure, we hear about it on the news and watch movies with horrendous body counts, but only at that distance. Mortuaries have removed the necessity of keeping a body in the home prior to burial and go to great efforts to prettify it. We are all going to die and while it may be reasonable to not unnecessarily court it, it is bad to be freaked out by the prospect.

Don't expect the health care reform project to be reasonable or even particularly rational, not in consideration of what it finally is about. It is about who gets to die and when and whether we give a damn. The Republicans have made it pretty clear that a whole bunch of people could do the nation a big favor and get around to dying.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Harley, Chilly Weather, Rain, 350 Miles

What the hell is the matter with me? I ask that because I mostly enjoyed it. If it were a matter of public policy I'd call it a GOP kind of thing, but it was...necessary. Harley Davidson built a very cool motorcycle with the Screaming Eagle Springer Soft Tail but that came with a caveat, some of those parts are real ... special. I refer specifically to the front tire, a Dunlop D408F in 130/70R18 a wonderful tire that apparently is made of unobtainium. That is to say that they are on back order ... everywhere. Well, there was one, in Vancouver, WA at Columbia Harley Davidson and that is better than 350 miles from me here in Baker City, Oregon.

The tire issue was not a minor deal, the scooter had reached its 10,000 mile service schedule and the tires were in shape for no more than 500 miles of usage without getting flat out dangerous. Time was an issue, buck season opened 10/3 and closes 10/14 and 10/19 I need to be in Florida until 10/27 for a wedding, October is a scheduling nightmare. I talked to Columbia and the Parts Manager went to the shelf and pulled my tires and scheduled me for 10/1 for tires and service. So far so good, then came the weather reports and they sucked for motorcycling - 50s and rain showers ... and that's not in the mountains several thousand feet higher.

I don't much care for long underwear but I bought a set of poly propylene top and bottom and dressed a bit. At 5300 feet at Dixie Summit it wasn't enough at 65 mph in the driving snow. The operative word for that was, "Brrr." Things moderated a bit later as I dropped down into the valley to Prairie City and stayed pretty good until a ways past Mount Vernon where it began raining ... at a road construction flagger stop. The flagger assured me of a 10 minute wait so I broke out the new rain suit, yes new, I don't like needing such a thing. Ten minutes was a bit conservative, I sat in the rain for about twenty. It was a bit blustery with temperatures barely into the fifties and either high humidity or drizzle so I wore the suit - to Sandy, Oregon. I don't have anything polite to say about the weather crossing Mt. Hood at dark other than two words - rain and cold. The amber goggle lenses proved their worth as did the face wrap. My brother-in-law remarked on my status as "crazy son-of-a-bitch" when he put me up.

The ride from Sandy to Vancouver was pretty nice other than being almost all freeway. I got to Columbia at a few minutes after 9 AM and they pulled my bike directly in and started in on it ahead of some others because I was riding and they understood my situation. The 10K service is pretty extensive anyhow and when it involves that bike it is more so. I got to visit with the tech some as he worked on it and I learned some things that the service manual doesn't cover. Bill Green has a passion for motorcycles and his 30 years of working on them is evident. He corrected the torsion resistance on the springer axle moment arm, a condition that should not have existed and affected tire wear pattern and handling. From the beginning I've been impressed by this scooter's behavior on the road, the correction made a very real difference for the better.

I like family businesses and especially ones that endure, Columbia started in 1945 and is still in the Kreofsky family. I didn't buy the bike from them and I'm not in their service area but they treated me real well, so I pass out a kudo to them. Thanks all.

The return ride was a near replay of the one over, Mt Hood did its job on me and the last 20 miles were also in the driving rain. Some of you familiar with the state may wonder why I took OR7 to US26 to Sandy from Baker City. It is prettier than I-84 a ride and has a much smaller chance of forceful winds. It also allows a slower pace, the difference in wind resistance between 60 mph and 70 mph is astonishing to those who've never ridden and I have no windshield or farings or ... Add to that the idea of riding in the wet road spray of semis and others - well the two lane seemed a much better bet.

That trip tired me out, but in the end balance it beat sitting around picking my nose.