Monthly Archives: September 2009

I like Facebook because . . .

Uncle Chud and my grandfather, Dennis J. Scannell

Uncle Chud and my grandfather, Dennis J. Scannell

it makes things possible – I am communicating with my cousins’ children and grandchildren, who would otherwise become – over the years – strangers to me. Having a round right now with one delightful young relative – we are trading geneological information, family stories and photos. How great is that? Pretty great.

Breaking news . . .

A week after the Atlantic article from a week ago (see my post), Ross Douthat, NY Times latest conservative columnist cites the same statistics, allows as how they aren’t anything to brag about, but seems to think that with the surge and last fall’s bank bailout, Bush redeemed himself. Kind of like – as a Times’ commenter noted – giving credit to a guy for calling 911 to report a fire he set himself. At the top of the column, Douthat first describes the Census Bureau data:

“The numbers were brutal. On every indicator, Americans lost ground during the Bush era. The median income slumped. The poverty rate increased. The percentage of Americans without health insurance rose.”

He then goes on to say that the surge and the bailout fixed everything ? ? ?

Note to NYTimes: There are fine conservative writers out there who would die for a shot at the op-ed real estate.

Everything looks like a nail

Apparently my world is not weird enough. The awful facts are here.


Why we use Netflicks

Saturday night – from LOL Celebs.


Have we not eyes to see?

Job growth in the US

Job growth in the US

Drives me a bit nuts that the information in simple measurements, simple explanatory graphs, that tell such complex and important stories are absent or turned upside down by those setting the agenda for the national dialogue. I’m looking at YOU teevee talkers. I’m looking at YOU teevee anchors. I’m looking at YOU print press with all your ‘on the one hand (evidence), but on the other (someone somewhere said)”.

This graph is just a small example. The story it tells – and many like it that describe other aspects of our well-being as a people – all so easily accessed, but virtually ignored. And that is why I yell at the teevee.

(And sorry, but you’ll have to confirm it on your own. No link. Any of those statistical abstracts taken from US government reports should get you there.)

and what else is new?

Yesterday’s Altercation at The Nation is chock-a-block full of gems; the shiniest of which this week is from Charles Pierce, professional curmudgeon:

Does anyone honestly believe that, say, Chuck Todd gives a rat’s ass how many people out in the country slowly sicken and die . . .? Never in my long career as a professional cynic have I seen a spasm of Beltway bubblehood so far removed from the actual concerns of people’s lives — so far removed that, last weekend, we had a gathering of the politically halt, lame, blind, and crippled in Washington, gathered for the sole purpose of petitioning various oligarchs to keep screwing them with their pants on . . .  [this is] far beyond even the limits of Irish Smartass to describe. The political class in this country — politician and journalist, lobbyist and legislator, Republican and Democratic, Executive and Legislative — has made a collective decision to protect the profits of one of the least popular industries in the history of the Republic, to preserve the iron grip of corporate bureaucrats over the practice of medicine in America, and to refuse vitrually without serious discussion to adopt measures favored by 77 percent of the voting public. It is to be in awe, is what it is.

Watching them grow

firstday of school

Logan starts school

Don’t know quite how this happened. His Mom came to work for me at the theatre a few years before I retired and he was a wee wee wee thing. And then he walked. And then he talked. And then he spelled out letters and read to us from his books. And then he began to write the letters himself and make them into words that got a little bit bigger and a little bit longer every time. And he came to dinner last night, proud proud proud to be in ‘really’ school.

Logan got a new lunch bag for his first day of Kindergarten.

oh, what the hell

You know, the day care here is every bit as good as the health care. What's the problem?

You know, the day care here is every bit as good as the health care. What's the problem?

Shamelessly lifted from Eric Alterman who addresses the upside down-ness of our ‘dialogue’ about health care reform:


” . . . while writing Why We’re Liberals . . . I found the following:

  • The United States and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all of their citizens.
  • Nationally, 29 percent of children had no health insurance at some point in the last 12 months, and many get neither checkups nor vaccinations.
  • The United States ranks 84th in the world for measles immunizations and 89th for polio. These figures are particularly shocking given that Americans spend almost two and a half times the industrialized world’s median on health care, nearly a third of which is wasted on bureaucracy and administration.
  • Americans have fewer doctors per capita than most Western countries. We go to the doctor less than people in other Western countries. We get admitted to the hospital less frequently than people in other Western countries. We are less satisfied with our health care than our counterparts in other countries. American life expectancy is lower than the Western average. Childhood-immunization rates in the United States are lower than average. Infant-mortality rates are in the 19th percentile of industrialized nations. Doctors here perform more high-end medical procedures, such as coronary angioplasties, than in other countries, but most of the wealthier Western countries have more CT scanners than the United States does, and Switzerland, Japan, Austria, and Finland all have more MRI machines per capita. Nor is our system more efficient. The United States spends more than $1000 per capita per year—or close to $400 billion—on health care-related paperwork and administration, whereas Canada, for example, spends only about $300 per capita. And, of course, every other country in the industrialized world insures all its citizens; despite those extra hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year, we leave 45 million people without any insurance.
  • Meanwhile, the Finns, for instance, devote less than half of what we do to medical care, as a percentage of GDP, and yet their infant mortality rate is half that of the United States—and one-sixth that of African-American babies—while their life expectancy rate is greater. The United States ranked 42 in life expectancy behind not only Japan and most of Europe but also Jordan, Guam, and the Cayman Islands, according to the most recent census figures.”


It happens. In any case, it’s time to catch up on my blogsphere reading instead of contemplating my own navel.

And so proudly she waves . . .

Was actually thinking today about how it can’t be right, all these people wearing flag shirts and flag hats and flag whatevers. All those clothes made of flags. And then a commenter at Balloon Juice linked to the appropriate US Code on the subject, which is called Title 4.8 Respect for flag. Among the restrictions listed, as I expected, is

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel . . .

Explains a lot

floridaSince I have resided for the last 15 (very strange) years here in Florida, and since Florida offers an abundance of interesting stories, I’ve added a category. And this becomes the very first post in the Florida category.

And since it’s the first, let it be dignified and not  snarky, so . . . been meaning to reference this terrific story by Jeremy Wallace which appeared here in the Sarasota Herald Tribune some days ago examining why the State, with its 14 million citizens, has almost no clout in DC.  It’s just a great bit of local reporting and analysis from a newspaper that’s struggling to survive, just like papers all over the country. And it explains a great deal about why Florida is the way Florida is.

The housekeeper did it

The Daily Rush_Page_1

Since Rush is hitting the headlines again, I must admit that I periodically tune in for 15 minutes, no more.  And it’s necessary in understanding the size of his audience to acknowledge that the man is entertaining and still has the best radio voice, possibly ever.

A few weeks ago, during my weekly visit, I heard the blowhard say (I paraphrase). “Obama has never in his life exhibited a shred of responsible behavior.”

This from an often morbidly obese, thrice divorced, drug addled felon.  Precious, isn’t it?

Choice. Really?

Never, ever, ever have I personally encountered a single citizen of this great land who, when discussing health care reform, said that a choice of plans in any bill was important to them. Never.

The ol’ thrice married moralist

The Daily Rush_Page_1from Rod Dreher (a serious conservative) today on Beliefnet. Since it’s a religio/political site, his words may have more credibility with more people (but probably not).

“Does that man Limbaugh have any idea what rough beast he’s calling forth? . . . race hatred that was part of the society . . .  that world seems like a thousand years ago. But it only seems so far away because many people worked too hard — and some even gave their lives — to drive those demons out. And now here is Limbaugh, of Palm Beach, and his ilk, calling them back insouciantly, for political advantage. This is evil.”

He’s making sense

chrismatthewsSometimes Chris Matthews on MSNBC sounds quite sane – and it’s usually when he’s talking about the things he reveres – things like the traditions of the Congress or the Supreme Court. Stuff like that. Tonight, while discussing that fine old Son of the Confederacy, Rep. Wilson, Matthews said “I think what he did was totally deliberate. It was an act of insolence and contempt.” Yup.

Time – yes and no

Before retiring, I used to say “whenever I have the time, I don’t have the money and when I have the money I don’t have the time.” Now I can’t  figure out why I thought that was so clever or original. Because of course it’s pretty much a universal truth. On the other hand, when I used to hear retired people say “I don’t know  how  I ever had time to work” I thought that was just glib and silly.  I’m genuinely surprised to find out it’s true. I don’t know how I had time to work.

Don’t tell the children

monkey imagesWhere is George Carlin when I need him to mitigate the stupidity with his humor? Well, he went and died, not caring a bit about leaving me here wondering how in the world to react to this.

Missing the point

Honestly, it’s not about “the audacity of hypocrisy” exhibited by people like Rep Wilson, it’s about how the media treat them with any kind of respect and entirely without context, as seen here. I weep.

Older but better

smile imagesI’m on Medicare and it’s the best health insurance I’ve ever had. More user-friendly; paperwork is absolutely minimal. At $1200 a year, it’s actually less out of (my) pocket than any insurance I ever had through an employer.  And – as a new retiree, I’ve been paying into it for 40 years. I just love this free health care.

Maybe this works

OrhanThe Glenzilla himself said today that Jim DeMint is a liar.

Note that the picture at left is not Jim DeMint. And further note that the referenced post by the inimitable Greenwald actually says nothing at all about DeMint – it’s just that I am so excited to have this link thing working I scribbled the first thing that came to mind after ‘said’.

Thanks Orhan.

How soon we forget


Darn good thing all those angry people are in DC today protesting the government. (They’d have come before; it’s just that they didn’t notice they wuz being robbed till now.)

According to The Atlantic today:

“On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially. . . .” the author concludes with “ in terms of actually implementing poor policy, wrecking finances of average Americans, racking up trillions dollars of debt during an expansion, and decimating our military and international prestige, Bush II was something new under the sun.”

Can’t resist

sou carolinaAdding a word -not about Rep Wilson – but about the fine state he represents. South Carolina 1) tried to secede from the Confederacy and 2) still has not a single woman in their state senate. It’s also got a stupid shape.

My hero

Cool Kids fishilng

Logan, Charlie and Dorian

Blog contributor Dorian, one of the very best people I know, is about to donate a kidney to his brother. In addition to being a fine person, Dorian is an artist, a musician, an actor, a singer, a theatre designer, a really good brother . . . and a really good friend. He’s recently been, and will be for a while yet, preoccupied with more serious matters.

Lonesome Rhodes

beck imagesWell, it’s pretty lame – pathetic even – that I still haven’t managed to create a link from text. And it’s probably one of the easiest things in launching this entire endeavor – so (crediting James Poniewozik of Time mag today, from his column about Glenn Beck’s call for the 9/12 march and a return to the national solidarity of the day after September 11) :

“So what has Glenn Beck been doing to re-establish that sense of nonpartisan national brotherhood? Calling President Obama a racist, declaring that the government was bringing fascism upon us, asking his fans to dig up dirt on political figures he doesn’t like, and predicting civil-war-like uprisings. Because that’s how you bring people together.”


Been reminded today . . .

. . . that contempt for Congress is an old American tradition, so things are apparently going exactly as they are supposed to.

Sisters . . .

. . . just had a lovely lunch. Lucsueandmoeky us.

“You lie”

Rep. Wilson – the GOP congressman whose passion to defeat any goverrnment-run healthcare led him to call his (he’s retired reserve) Commander in Chief a liar? Turns out he, and his four sons who also serve, have pretty much always had TRICARE , the US government run healthcare system that takes care of millions of military families – active or retired. He likes it too:

“As a 31-year Army Guard and Reserve veteran, I know the importance of TRICARE,he said in a press release. “The number of individuals who choose to enroll in TRICARE continues to rise  because TRICARE is a low cost, comprehensive health plan that is portable and available in some form world-wide.He went on to call TRICARE “world class health care,” concluding on a personal note. “I am grateful to have four sons now serving in the military, and I know that their families appreciate the availability of TRICARE,” he said.

This is from Newsweek. The cables of course have ignored this inconvenient fact, although we may expect Olbermann et al to report it tonight, after which report they will be soundly denounced as attacking our military. Count on it.

I didn’t forget you . . .

AidenHospital. . . Aidan. Are you ready for your closeup??? Are you hoping for another visit to the emergency room? We can see pretty clearly how much you enjoyed this one. Aidan’s a New Yorker, but he won’t wear a leash which worries his mother quite a bit.

It’s just the sandbox

Why do news anchors thank reporters for reporting and tell them they did a great job? Is this the third grade? The proper conclusion to a report (see BBC, PBS etc) is “That was (insert name) reporting to us from (insert place).”  But I guess we can forgive that since CNN now has a countdown clock to use for every friggin’ thing.


It appears the GOP is calling upon their brethren across the aisle to ‘start over’ on the health care reform bills. Which is Republican for “we don’t like the bill because it isn’t what we would do if we wanted to do anything, which we don’t”.  Have they not noticed that they lost the election?