Friday, August 31, 2007

Clarification on Smiling Jack's Snake-Oil Show

I found a Wikipedia entry on the medical home con...cept that I mischaracterized the other day as "psycho-babble bullshit." What I really meant is, it's marketing-twaddle bullshit, which is even worse than psycho-babble. Anyway here's what the Wikipedia entry says:
Central to the Medical Home approach is the premise that patient-centered care requires a fundamental shift in the relationship between patients and their primary care physicians. There must be a higher degree of personalized care coordination, access beyond the acute care episode, and identification of key medical and community resources to meet the patients’ needs.
O.K., that sounds reasonable but scroll on down and see how the con...cept gets twisted.
Some suggest that the blended fee-for-service and partial capitation in this system mimics the “gatekeeper” models historically employed by managed care organizations. There are important distinctions between care coordination in the medical home and the “gatekeeper” model. In the Medical home, the patient has open access to see whatever physician they choose. No referral or permission is required. (Sounds reasonable, doesn't it, ES) The personal physician of choice, who has comprehensive knowledge of the patient’s medical conditions, facilitates and provides information to subspecialists involved in the care of the patient.(Here's where it gets interesting) The gatekeeper model placed more financial risk on the physicians resulting in rewards for less care. The Medical Home puts emphasis on medical management rewarding quality patient-centered care.
Let me see, as I understand this the "medical home" concept shifts the emphasis for insurance payments away from medical "specialists" to primary care physicians. From the Wikipedia article,
Primary care physicians, on average, earn about $90,000 less than the average specialist.[10] ...[T]he current health care payment system values medical procedures more highly than health maintenance and disease prevention through patient collaboration. The Medical Home concept moves payment towards a greater emphasis on physicians and their mid-level associates collaborating with patients to ensure health.
In other words it's a "share the wealth" program for neighborhood family docs and their more highly remunerated specialist friends. At the same time by "sharing the wealth" the unstated purpose of the "medical home" con...cept is to limit and over time reduce the number of medical specialists. Limiting the growth of medical specialists is controversial within America's medical community but as the pie for cardiologists, plastic surgeons, etc., become smaller more medical students will opt for the "general practitioner" degree. This explains former Iowa governor and current Des Moines University president and CEO Terry Branstad's inclusion on Smiling Jack's little snake-oil show.

So long story short, "medical home" just means the insurance industry and the health care industry works in coordination to shift the fee scale emphasis away from specialists to family docs and their staff. Like I said it's a share the wealth scheme designed to get kids, who'd otherwise enter medical school with thoughts of becoming millioniares by being dick-doctors or pussy-physicians, to think about being a kindly, old neighborhood sawbones, albeit one with a $90,000 per annum boost in income.

But won't this mean we, the sick public, will pay significantly lower healthcare insurance premiums.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How to look like doing something by doing nothing

Jesus Christ, state Senator Smiling Jack Hatch is playing the liberal bleeding-heart race card again. Here's what Iowa's favorite grinning DLC-jackass says about health care in his latest e-mail:
Hispanics and African Americans are more vulnerable to poor health because they have more families without health insurance than white Americans.

The Commonwealth Fund reported earlier this summer that among adults ages 18 to 64, nearly half of Hispanics (49 percent) and more than one in four African Americans (28 percent) were uninsured compared to 21 percent of whites and 18 percent Asian Americans. Children are covered under Medicaid and Hawk-I and seniors are covered under Medicare.

As a result of limited health insurance, Hispanics and African Americans also have differential access to a regular doctor or sources of care, with Hispanics particularly at risk. As many as 43 percent of Hispanics and 21 percent of African Americans report they have no regular doctor or source of care, compared with 15 percent of whites and 16 percent of Asian Americans.

This year, the Iowa Legislature created the Health Care Reform Commission to address how we can develop a system that provides coverage to the 271,000 Iowans who don’t have health insurance. Last month, the Commission, which I co-chair with State Representative Ro Foege, made a historic recommendation at its meeting in Mason City. It approved a series of guiding principles as the basis for restructuring of Iowa’s health care system.

Most significant to eliminating the health care disparity between minority and white Iowans is the principle that “everyone should have a medical home(emphasis added).” A medical home is a health care setting that provides patients with timely, well-organized care and enhanced access to providers. It emphasizes preventive care, especially in managing and eliminating chronic diseases and ethnic disparities in medical care. Individuals should be able to select their own health care (again emphasis added).
Now what in the fuck is this supposed to mean??? Medical home? Sound like some psycho-babble bullshit, doesn't it. Follows the best definition I can find on the Web for the critter: A medical home is not a building, but rather a team approach to providing comprehensive primary health care services in a high-quality and cost-effective manner. And it seems to be the only definition. Still reads like bullshit to me. And notice the emphasis on individuals selecting their own health care, obviously a sop to both free market fundamentalists and the insurance industry.
The report from the Commonwealth Fund (founded in 1918 by Anna Harkness (wife of one of the original Standard Oil investors, Stephen Harkness, ES) indicates that the concept of a “Medical Home” shows promise for promoting equity in health care and addressing racial and ethnic disparities. According to the report, “When adults have a medical home, their access to care and rates of preventive screenings improve substantially… and when minorities have a medical home, racial and ethnic differences in terms of access to medical care DISAPPEAR.”

This is good news for political leaders, like State Representatives Wayne Ford and Ako Abdul-Samad who have been working with me to promote greater collaborations within the health care system. We believe equity will not come without restructuring our health care system here in Iowa and nationally. And that is where we are heading with our Iowa Health Care Reform Commission.
O.K., you may ask, what the Hell's wrong with that? Yeah, it's true what Smiling Jack writes about medical care and private health care insurance ownership rates for African Americans and Hispanics . I don't dispute that fact. And Wayne Ford's my state representative and Ako Abdul-Samad seems like an good guy, from the little I've personally had to deal with him. But why are they swallowing this crap? But let's read on:

In the months ahead, we will hold three public hearings chaired by former Governors Vilsack and Branstad. For those of you in the Des Moines area who may want to participate, there will be hearing at Simpson College in Indianola on Sept, 26 at 6 p.m. The Commission will also hold meetings in Iowa City, Sioux City, Dubuque and Des Moines in the coming months.
Tom Vilsuck and Terry Brainsdead!!! Holy shit! There's a pair of jokers to draw to. Branstad's on the board of Iowa Health System-- an ostensibly "nonprofit" chain of hospitals and clinics whose CEO pulls down $1.3 million a year!--and president of Des Moines University the second oldest osteopathic college in the country. Talk about the foxes watching the chickens!

As co-chair of this commission, eliminating the disparity between minority and white Iowans is one of my top priorities. Time will tell if our political and business leaders are truly committed to the health care of ALL Iowans (weasel words, ES), but I have faith in this Commission and in my colleagues that we will not debate health care reform without addressing this issue.
Smiling Jack's emphasis on minorities is a surefire method to ensure backlash. I mean this isn't going to set well with the white rednecks who are getting raped by high monthly premiums and co-pays in what passes for health insurance from their employers. I don't think Smiling Jack is this stupid. He so wants to look like he's doing something but...when those evil Republicans in the Iowa Senate shoot this initiative down...well it ain't gonna Smiling Jack's fault.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Idaho Senator Larry Craig as you've never seen him

...until now

News item:
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.
  • Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record. (Dec 2003)

  • Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)

  • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)

  • Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)

  • Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)


    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Gonzo out, Skeletor in at DoJ?

    Holy smokes, Batman, this news is buring up the Internet!
    Published: August 27, 2007
    WACO, Tex., Aug. 27 — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. A senior administration official said he would announce the decision later this morning in Washington.

    Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.
    New York

    As I noted yesterday, and as almost confirmed by

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush will likely nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, senior administration officials told CNN Monday.

    Chertoff received his law degree from Harvard University and was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William H. Brennan Jr. in 1979 and 1980.

    Between 1994 and 1996, Chertoff was counsel to the GOP Whitewater committee investigating the business dealings of President Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton, who is now New York's junior senator and a candidate for president of the United States.
    Here's an interesting quotation from the Wikipedia entry for Justice William J. Brennan: Known for his outspoken liberal views, including opposition to the death penalty and support for abortion rights, he is considered to be among the Court's most influential members.

    This leads one to wonder how a nice "liberal" Jewish boy became an arch NeoCon? Suffice it to say, his Wikipedia entry makes for some interesting reading. Coincidently, Skeletor Chertoff was once Boy Wonder to Republican presidential hopeful, and former 9/11 New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani's Dark Knight.

    Gentle reader, if there should be another big terrorist attack on the United States sometime between now and November 11, 2008 we'll be stuck with Rudy and Mike for a long time.

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    Going from bad to worse

    Latest rumor on US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' fate.
    Maybe Trading Up Soon at Justice
    August 24, 2007 06:02 PM ET Bedard, Paul Permanent Link

    The buzz among top Bushies is that beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally plans to depart and will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Why Chertoff? Officials say he's got fans on Capitol Hill, is untouched by the Justice prosecutor scandal, and has more experience than Gonzales did, having served as a federal judge and assistant attorney general.
    U.S. News and World Report

    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    Religious zealots

    I've been watching CNN's Christiane Amanpours' God's Warriors series of special reports. Tonight's episode, God's Christian Warriors, concludes the three night series.

    I've already come to a conclusion about religious zealotry: it is a mental illness.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    LTE: August 21, 2007

    The August 21, 2007 guest column by Matthew Hittle, "Attract younger generation by limiting government," is an ill-informed, ignorant mishmash of pseudo-libertarian sloganeering, historical distortion and generational self-centeredness.

    Hittle's distorted perspective reduces eighty years of America history, everything before January 20, 1981, to easy to digest cliché.

    The so-called "Greatest Generation,"--Americans who lived through the Great Depression, fought World War II and Korea, while attempting to live normality under the shadow of the nuclear war-- in Hittleh's critique, are dupes of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal crypto-communism.

    Hittleh caricatures the Boomer Generation as shiftless bums almost wholly dependent on government handouts. One wonders what his parents must think.

    Hittle's vision for the Republican Party is nothing more than the catechism of anti-tax lobbyist and Baby Boomer Grover Norquist. Hittle also ignores that for the past twenty-some odd years both Republicans and Democrats have gone on a deregulation spree, which is leading to business consolidation, i.e. monopoly, and wage stagnation.

    In the end Hittle merely sings the same, old Republican song of running against Washington, even if it means demonizing his party's own lame-duck president.

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Heart's in the right place, head's up the ass

    Sheese, boys and girls can the elistist left, or whatever Alexander Cockburn and his merry band of cryptoanarchists-cum-libertarians wish to call themselves these days, get any nuttier? Take a gander at professional golfer turned polemicist James Rothenberg's, solution for saving the republic posted at

    If only 1 million people vote each major party will have ulcers at the prospect of their vulnerability to the maverick. The fewer people who vote, the fewer needed to upset the power balance. Is this a partial explanation of why the establishment frets about low voter turnout?

    So the message is if you really want to see things shaken up, stay away from the polls. This will take some discipline considering how it counters the prevailing advice. Your vote may be personal to you, but to those in control it is a commodity. It is bought and paid for in accordance with a formula (dollar/vote correspondence) well known to those in the field (applied electioneering), only you're not supposed to know this, even though you really know this.

    You may feel that you vote freely, but ask yourself why you don't feel free to vote for a minor party candidate. Ask yourself why you don't want to "waste" your vote, yet instead reward with it the very parties responsible for this state of futility.
    Tsk,tsk, tsk. Mr. Rothenberg, even though he is offering the seemingly radical solution of shaking up the American electoral process, really still believes in "the system." To think the two major political parties really cared if only one million souls out of a total population of 300,000,000 cast votes for the next president is, on the face of it, patently absurd. Yeah, yeah, there'd be the usual tut-tutting, and hand-wringing over voter apathy by the mainstream media but we'd all still have to live with the results.

    And, anyway, the vast majority of non-voting morons would just go on eating, breathing, farting and bitching about their shitty kids, shitty spouses, shitty bosses and the "illegal" Mexicans threatening to take their shitty jobs.

    I agree with Rothenberg that more poltical parties would spice things up and get more people into the voting booth but not voting isn't going to scare the corpocracy one bit. The only thing that really scares the corpocracy is getting its money out of the process way before one ballot is ever cast.

    And as far as throwing my vote away by voting for a third party candidate, I plan on doing just that, should Hillary Clinton be the Democratic Party nominee.

    Of course Rothenberg's not-voting idea could be intended to hasten the great armed revolution which will cleanse the land of our corrupt capitalist-oligarchy masquerading as a democracy. Naw! A professional golfer as revolutionary? Please!

    I think it is time we update the definition of lumpenproletarian.

    Sunday, August 19, 2007

    The delusions of intellecutal snobbery

    If you've been a regular reader, and I doubt many of you have, you'll know that I have something of a love-hate relationship with columnist Alexander Cockburn. Well, it's a one-sided relationship as he doesn't even know I exist. Be that as it may, however, there are time I heartily agree with Mr. Cockburn and times that I don't. This is one of the "don't" times.

    Perched on his journalistic version of Olympus, Cockburn spurns the suspicion shared by many in the left-learning blogoshpere that Karl Rove's departure from the White House has less to do with embarrassment, shame or contrition and more with the up-coming 2008 presidential campaign. Writes Cockburn:
    The Left designated Rove as the arch engineer of America's supposed lunge in the Bush years into the arms of the Christian right. Indeed the left has so demonized Rove it can't even accept he's gone and advances devious explanations: he's not really resigning at all; he fears impending indictment; he's preparing to "work behind the scenes".
    Oh, yes, I too am one of the unlettered "Left" who think KKKarl left the White House to work unfettered, behind the scenes, for the defeat of whomever many be the Democratic Party's nominee for president. And what was my evidence, slim though it many be? Why nothing other than Wall Street Journal commentator Paul Gigot's August 13 "interview" with the devil himself.

    Interestingly Cockburn, who formerly dropped off a column or two at the Wall Street Journal, makes no reference to the Gigot column. The voice of Rove the anti-Christ is silent.

    Cockburn then turns his sights on one of my personal favorite reactionary wing nuts, the inimitable Richard Viguerie:
    The conservative right similarly detests Rove as the man they claim pushed Bush towards socialism. Richard Viguerie, a prominent conservative, bid Rove adieu with these words: "Karl Rove's departure from the White House is good news for conservatives. As President Bush's chief political advisor, Karl Rove was a master in the care and feeding of conservative leaders, keeping them mostly silent as the Republican Party moved Left during the Bush presidency." As evidence of Bush's left agenda Viguerie cited Bush's signing of the "No Child Left Behind" education bill, his wildly expensive prescription drug benefits bill, soaring farm subsidies, steel tariffs, higher federal deficits, plus "Nation-building on a scale never attempted before". Viguerie's demonization is rather more persuasive than the left's.
    I guess, the erudite Mr. Cockburn is taking Viguerie at face value. That is something I've learned, from my wormlike prospective, never to do when it comes to the words or writing of reactionary apparatchiks. And everything Viguerie writes one should take with a very large grain of salt. Obviously Cockburn discounts the notion that the reactionary right of Twenty-first Century United States will react to a small set-back, like the 2006 congressional elections, roll with it, lose the White House if need be; nurse an unfounded grudge four long years, obstruct a Democratic administration at every turn; charge out spitting piss and vinegar, crying "We told you so!" with a new cadre of right wing fanatics and retake the government. Jimmay Carter was an aberration, Bill Clinton an irritant. Why should it be any different now?

    But the "I'm-smarter-than-you-are" Cockburn sees Rove's departure as nothing more than routine:
    So why did Rove quit? Like many White House counselors in the third or seventh year of their White House sojourns, Rove is getting out before the last humiliating year of a lame-duck presidency, when governors of second tier states won't answer the White House's calls. He'll serve out the stipulated year selling his memoirs, rediscovering his family and learning their names. Then he'll become a lobbyist.
    Oh? Cockburn's essay went to press, or Web page, before Peter Wallsten's analysis of Rove's departure and subsequent actions in the Sunday Los Angeles Times saw light of day. Reports Wallsten:
    Day after day last week, outgoing White House political strategist Karl Rove delivered slashing attacks on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner. Her healthcare record was "spotty and poor," he declared. Her candidacy was "fatally flawed," he said. And no one with her negative poll numbers, he stated, "has ever won the presidency."

    The decision to focus on the New York senator to the exclusion of other potentially formidable Democratic standard-bearers such as Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois offered a rare glimpse into a world where things are not always what they seem -- the world of modern-day electioneering, whose denizens often prefer going from A to B by way of Z.

    Their thinking went like this,[Rove lieutenant Matthew ]Dowd explained: Democrats, in a knee-jerk reaction to GOP attacks, would rally around Kerry, whom Rove considered a comparatively weak opponent, and make him the party's nominee. Thus Bush would be spared from confronting Edwards, the candidate Republican strategists actually feared most.

    "I haven't known Karl to do many things accidentally or spontaneously," said Dowd, who has broken ties with Bush, Rove and others and has expressed disappointment in the president's leadership and political tactics.
    I suggest you read the entire LA Times story. Wallsten even has an interesting quote from small government guru Grover Norquist, who avers that Hillary Clinton is the easiest person to beat.

    But what does Cockburn care. He has his home somewhere in the Northern California woods, his vintage car collection and, perhaps, yet some contacts with Wall Street via old and useful friends at the soon-to-be Murdochized Journal.

    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    Like this is a bad thing?

    The things you read in the newspaper while taking a dump.

    This morning's Des Moines Register, a Gannett newspaper, reprinted a week old story by USAToday reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman on young adults dropping out of church. Oh, the horror!

    Anywho here's what Grossman has to say:
    Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 — both evangelical and mainline — who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to the survey by LifeWay Research. And 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30. That means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church.

    Just over half (51%) of Protestant young people surveyed (both the church dropouts and those who stayed on in church after age 22) saw church members as "caring" or had other positive descriptions, such as "welcoming" (48%) or "authentic" (42%).

    Among dropouts, nearly all (97%) cited life changes, such as a move. Most (58%) were unhappy with the people or pastor at church. More than half (52%) had religious, ethical or political reasons for quitting.

    Dropouts were more than twice as likely than those who continued attending church to describe church members as judgmental (51% for dropouts, 24% for those who stayed), hypocritical (44% vs. 20%) or insincere (41% vs. 19%)
    O.K., I don't know Cathy Lynn Grossman but I assume, and I know this is a word that gets a lot of poeple in trouble, she is a religous reporter, just from glancing at her body of work. So, O.K., she's on the church beat but there's no attempt at objectivity in this reporting, dropping out of church is bad. End of story.

    Unlike reporting about atheists or even Buddhism there's no running over for opinion from "experts" with an opposing view. No one is interviewed who says, "This is a good thing!" No, the thrust of the story seems to be that Protestant Christianity, both mainline, meaning Methodists, Presbyterian etc., and Evangelical, i.e. snake handlers and so forth, in the United States is on the ropes and preachers must do something to stem the rising tide of backsliding and incipient atheism. Or, even worse yet, incipient Catholicism.

    Quite frankly I think that young adults liberating themselves from organized religion is a welcome development. Hell, if they want to continue in delusional thinking in the privacy of their own homes that's just fine. If we have to put up with religion let it be disorganized. I mean, once you realize the monkey in the pulpit really doesn't know any more than you do, it's time to go.

    Friday, August 17, 2007

    King Wing Nut's appraisal of Rove's skedaddle

    Richard Viguerie on Karl Rove’s Resignation:

    Good News for Conservatives

    (Manassas, Virginia) The following is a statement from Richard A. Viguerie, author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books, 2006), on the resignation of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove:

    “Karl Rove’s departure from the White House is good news for conservatives. We may—may—have a more conservative Bush presidency with Rove back in Texas.

    “As President Bush’s chief political advisor, Karl Rove was a master in the care and feeding of conservative leaders, keeping them mostly silent as the Republican Party moved Left during the Bush presidency.

    “He used the usual carrot and stick to do this. The carrot was access to the White House—and conservative leaders proved just as vulnerable as others to the lure of a photo op with the President, lunch in the West Wing, or a returned phone call from Karl Rove. The stick was fear—speak out, and not only will you lose any hope of access, you will be branded as an extremist, or someone who’s helping the Democrats by speaking out.

    “Using both carrot and stick, Karl Rove was able to silence or get the support of most conservative leaders as President Bush and congressional Republicans greatly expanded the size and reach of the federal government, including (but certainly not limited to)…

  • No Child Left Behind
  • McCain-Feingold
  • Prescription drug benefits
  • Nation-building on a scale never attempted before
  • Farm subsidies
  • Steel tariffs
  • Massive federal deficits

  • “Yes, Karl Rove was a political genius—he was, after all, the successful architect of Bush’s election in 2000 and reelection in 2004. But as the President’s chief policy advisor, Rove was the architect of George W. Bush’s betrayal of the conservative cause.

    “Karl Rove’s biggest failure was to leave the White House without achieving his stated goal of establishing the Republicans as America’s permanent governing party. To even mention that today—after the 2006 elections, President Bush’s plummeting poll numbers, and the GOP’s bleak prospects for 2008—brings embarrassment or laughter, depending on your political viewpoint. No wonder Karl Rove wants to forget about those boasts.

    “Rove failed in that goal primarily because he attempted to advance the Republican Party by using raw, naked political power and bribing voters. He copied the Democrats and was more successful than them—for a while. But then conservatives and independents caught on to his game. We started rebelling, first over Harriet Miers and most recently over the amnesty bill. Meanwhile, the Republican Party had lost its “brand” as the party of small government.

    How do we recover from the Rove Era? We have to reject the bribing of voters and instead build on President Reagan’s legacy. We must re-establish the conservative movement (and the Republican Party, if it wishes to survive) as the movement and party of ideas, empowering people instead of government, and with a strong national defense but no more nation-building.

    “Bush’s brain” will soon be gone. Let’s hope that wiser counsel prevails in the White House in the future, but let’s not depend on that. We conservatives have work to do.”

    Ya know, how far right do these assholes like Richard Viguerie want to go?!

    Well, the truth is assholes like Vigerie really don't want the political system to go as far right as they claim. If something should happen overnight and Grover Norquist's wetdream " cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub[,]" came true these phony fucks would all have to get real jobs.

    Like vampires Viguerie, Norquist and the rest of this right wing cabel, who take their ultimate marching orders from nameless, faceless financiers, investment bankers and major stockholders who control the nation's economic fate through the manipulation of Wall Street, feed off the fear of small businessmen, one-man owners of independent printing shops, hardware store, bakeries and so on, living on the edge of bankruptcy and ruin every day they open.

    Guys like Vigerie and Norquist are the cat's paw distracting the of suckers, rubes and chumps, who imagine themselves independent businessmen, macho working men and Christian protector-fathers, from the Wall Street pickpockets stealthily working the crowd. Once, and if, the dupes, the suckers and the chumps ever wake up there will be hell to pay.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Obsessively, relentlessly in your, or some one's, pocket

    Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy says it’s interested in building a natural gas pipeline on the North Slope of Alaska.

    David Sokol, MidAmerican chief executive, told Petroluem News that MidAmerican and unnamed partners plan to submit an application to the state this fall.

    The deadline for applications is Nov. 30.

    In 2004, MidAmerican proposed building a $6.3 billion, 745-mile natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the border with Canada’s Yukon Territory. The company later withdrew that application[.]
    Des moines Register
    Awww...ain't that nice.

    Here's some more of what the Register didn't tell us:
    The only thing that could stand in the way of MidAmerican’s application, [Sokol] said, was if the FBI investigations and indictments of Alaska State and U.S. lawmakers would somehow “circle back to implicate any of the producers. If they do, our concern is the process might negatively impact a gas line project from a timing standpoint.”

    Applications for a project to take North Slope gas to Lower 48 markets have to be filed under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act by Nov. 30. Strongly supported by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, AGIA passed at the end of the 2007 legislative session despite intense criticism from the North Slope’s three oil producers and gas owners, BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. The three mega-majors, which own controlling interest in the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline, have indicated it’s imperative they also own controlling interest in a gas line in order to keep project costs down. They say AGIA, as written, won’t work.
    So just what is the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act so favored by Republican Governor Palin?

    Supposedly it is designed to start "competative" bidding for the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope oil fields. But there is a sweetener and this is what undoubtedly drew MidAmerican.
    Sec. 43.90.110. Natural gas pipeline project construction inducement. (a)
    15 Subject to the limitations of this chapter, a license issued under this chapter entitles the
    16 licensee or its designated affiliate to receive
    17 (1) subject to appropriation, state matching contributions in the form of
    18 reimbursements in a total amount not to exceed $500,000,000,
    paid to the licensee
    19 during the seven-year period immediately following the date the license is awarded;
    20 the payment period may be extended by the commissioners under an amendment or
    21 modification of the project plan under AS 43.90.210; a payment under this paragraph
    Governor's office Alaska, pdf
    And here's another tidbit the Register didn't have room to report, once again from Petroleum News story cited above:
    So, what about costs? Gas prices are high now, but what if they drop? Opponents of an independent gas line say the producers will be more concerned about keeping construction costs low because they’ll be shipping gas in the line, whereas a pipeline company such as MidAmerican isn’t going be as worried about cost overruns because it can simply charge a tariff based on whatever the pipeline costs them to build.

    So MidAmerican, the utility company obsessively, relentlessly at your service, if this deal goes through recoups part of its contruction costs by a handout from the Alaska state government, then can turn around a jack up our natural gas bill some time in the future.

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Karl Rove to resign at end of month...big whoop...

    By now the liberal blogosphere is in ecstasy*.

    Karl Rove to Resign at End of August

    By TERENCE HUNT AP White House Correspondent
    6:55 AM CDT, August 13, 2007

    WASHINGTON - Karl Rove, President Bush's close friend and chief political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of August, joining a lengthening line of senior officials heading for the exits in the final 1 1/2 years of the administration.

    A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name but he was never charged with any crime. In a more recent controversy, Rove, citing executive privilege, has refused to testify before Congress about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

    Rove became one of Washington's most influential figures during Bush's presidency. He is known as a ruthless political warrior who has an encyclopedic command of political minutiae and a wonkish love of policy. Rove met Bush in the early 1970s, when both men were in their 20s.

    "I just think it's time," Rove said in an interview at this home on Saturday. He first floated the idea of leaving to Bush a year ago, the [Wall Street Journal] said, and friends confirmed he'd been talking about it even earlier. However, he said he didn't want to depart right after the Democrats regained control of Congress and then got drawn into policy battles over the Iraq war and immigration.
    So the little turd blossom is vamoosing before the posse gets 'em. Well, I don't buy none of it.

    The AP story says this weasel will be "obliged" to stay on the White House staff until January '09, the end of Dubya's term, if he doesn't get out of town by Labor Day. Now why do you suppose one of the most Machiavellian political operatives, of this or any century, is leaving? Being the suspicious kind that I am, I'm not taking the lame "to spend more time with my family" excuse. The 2006 Democratic gains in the U.S. House were just a bump in the road in the Rovian/Norquistian plan for permanent Republican domination. In fact the turd blossom is looking to the immediate future as illustrated in this exchange reported by Wall Street Journal columnist Paul J. Gigot:
    "[Bush] will move back up in the polls," says Mr. Rove, who interrupts my reference to Mr. Bush's 30% approval rating by saying it's heading close to "40%," and "higher than Congress."

    Looking ahead, he adds, "Iraq will be in a better place" as the surge continues. Come the autumn, too, "we'll see in the battle over FISA" -- the wiretapping of foreign terrorists -- "a fissure in the Democratic Party." Also in the fall, "the budget fight will have been fought to our advantage," helping the GOP restore, through a series of presidential vetoes, its brand name on spending restraint and taxes.

    As for the Democrats, "They are likely to nominate a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate" by the name of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Holding the White House for a third term is always difficult given the pent-up desire for change, he says, but "I think we've got a very good chance to do so."
    This prick is not finished running presidential campaigns by a long shot. By leaving now he's free to maneuver. Free to leech himself onto another vapid, vacuous Republican candidate. That candidate, I believe, is none other than Willard Mitt Romney, erstwhile one-term governor of Massachussetts (see my comment at

    Really, Rove's departure from the White House shouldn't be taken lightly. It is as if a detoxified, fit and trim Herman Goering escaped his Nuremburg cell with the intention of reconstituing the Third Reich. Congressional Democrats need to throw a net over this rabid dog but quick! Lock him up and throw away the keys.

    But they won't. So I'm afraid we will not being hearing the last of Karl Rove until he is dead and buried in the South Texas Plains and a stake driven through what counts for his heart.

    *I've just finished a random check of liberal blogs. No one is cheering. Most bloggers are as wary of Rove's motives as I.

    Sunday, August 12, 2007

    Who said of Iraq, "It's a quagmire..." in 1994?

    From Editor and
    NEW YORK It's not the first time that citizen "investigative journalists" have uncovered some embarrassing, or telling, nugget from the past that apparently remained buried for years. But it has happened again with the posting of a now wildly popular video on YouTube that shows Dick Cheney explaining in 1994 that trying to take over Iraq would be a "bad idea" and lead to a "quagmire."

    The people who put it up come from a site called Grand Theft Country, the on-screen source appears to be the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and the date on the screen is April 15, 2004. That looks right, by the look of Cheney.

    Posted on Friday, it had received over 100,000 hits by this morning, after being widely-linked around the Web. The transcript of this segment is below.

    Cheney had helped direct the Gulf War for President George H.W. Bush. That effort was later criticized for not taking Baghdad and officials like Cheney had to explain why not for years. Some have charged that this led to an overpowering desire to finish the job after Cheney became vice president in 2001.

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    LTE: August 6, 2007

    Let me see, Smiling Jack Hatch, state senator and real estate developer, buys two derelict buildings for remodeling in the now fashionable Western Gateway Park. And according to the story by reporter Sean Miller, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs hands out tax credits to said real estate developers for the rehabilitation of old, rundown dumps if it's discovered they have some sort of historical significance, .

    One of Smiling Jack's purchases, the Chamberlain building , qualifies.

    Now as I understand it, tax credits are intended to lighten the income tax burden of working poor families. And I guess they've been a huge success.

    Well, what's sauce for the poor goose is better sauce for the rich gander. Now state and local governments are tripping all over themselves awarding tax credits to those what don't need'em.

    It still sticks in my craw that a couple of year back Smiling Jack sheparded a $17 million tax credit through the Iowa Senate so MidAmerican Energy, a struggling little energy company, could comply with the Renewable Energy mandate of 1997. I'm sure MidAmerican's major stockholder, humanitarian Warren Buffett, approved the measure.

    Meanwhile, Smiling Jack's other purchase, the Kruidenier building, has no historical value, fit only for the wreckingball and therefore no tax credits. So Smiling Jack's doing the right business thing and attempting to unload the dump on some unsuspecting moke. More than likely, though, Smiling Jack will peddle the Kruidenier to some other, wealthier local developer, for the proverbiable song, with the promise of future, fat re-election campaign contributions in mind.

    What a guy.

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    FBI gets it: Everybody smokes pot

    If the FBI can figure it out why can't the rest of law enforcement and the rehab industry get it:
    FBI drug standard lowered for hiring

    By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON — Aspiring FBI agents who once dabbled in marijuana use won't be barred from getting a job with the elite crime-fighting agency, which has loosened its drug policy amid a campaign to hire hundreds of agents.

    The bureau's pot-smoking standard, in place for at least 13 years, was revised after internal debate about whether the policy was eliminating prospects because of drug experimentation, said Jeff Berkin, deputy director of the FBI's Security Division. The policy disqualified candidates if they had used marijuana more than 15 times.
    Just legalize it, already.