Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This is bullshit...

Everyone involved in the Gates-breaking-into-his-own home episode has had a turn playing victim and now the woman who made the 911 call is taking hers. I don't believe her. Lets go over the facts again. She observed two men, one of whom is in his 50's walking with a cane, dressed in a sports jacket, with a suitcase pressing on a door. When asked she identified at least on of them as possibly hispanic. The officer later writes in his report that she claims to have seen two black men, so one of them is lying. Whatever.

Look. I don't claim to read minds and I don't know this woman from Eve, but I do know this. If she had seen a bearded, bespeckled, gimpy, older, sport jacket wearing, white man pushing on a door in or around Harvard I'd bet my life that her life experience would suggest a plausible scenario for that behavior that would not have included calling the police. This is racism. When you jump to a conclusion about someone's behavior that is informed entirely by the color of their skin then there is no other word for that in the English language.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


When you look back on all the things to have disliked about George Bush's presidency it is clear to my mind anyway that his approach to immigration reform was not among them. It was poor politics on his part to not have appeased the zealots in his party first by focusing on enhanced enforcement and then tacked on the path to citizenship as an etc. but we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory.

In any event the wingnuts shot him down and instead seem to be happy with.... the same intolerable shit we've always had. So the official whack job right wing position is " I'd Rather It Suck Like It Does Now Forever Than Compromise"

It must be endemic to the conservative mindset because we see that all the time. All or nothing. Either we close the borders and build a damn fence by-god or we do nothing at all. Same with healthcare. They are not troubled one wit by the fact that they do not have an alternative approach or feel even moderately compelled to offer one so by default they endorse the status quo. Sometimes these people just have to be drug kicking and screaming into the future. And scream the do.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Makin' me crazy...

Can't turn off my brain to sleep so here we go......

I don't love Obama's healthcare plan. Single payer, universal coverage, or "socialized medicine" is clearly clearly clearly the better option but Im not going to piss and whine and let perfect be the enemy of vast improvement because single payer is a non-starter and that's just reality. This is the difference between being dogmatically liberal and a pragmatist.

But that's not what keeps me awake nights, this does.

What makes my head wanna explode is that when conservatives oppose reform they aren't then offering a better option, or even a worse option. They aren't bothering to engage the issue period. So lets look at what conservatives are working for when they work against reform.


Will it cost a lot of money to change the current system? Why yes, yes it will. CBO estimates put the tab at something like $1.5 trillion and conservatives would like you to believe, or at least fear, that our grandchildren will have to eat dirt three times a week for 20 years to pay for that. Not so. Im not going to claim that it is revenue neutral but its hardly a budget buster in the way that things like wars of choice are or unfunded Medicare Drug plans, for instance.

So where's the dough? About 1/3 comes from savings from Medicare/Medicaid and the most of the rest comes from a modest tax increase on people who have money coming out of their asses, otherwise known as the top 1.5% of earners. But even after that increase those people will still be paying less in taxes overall than they were when Reagan (conservative Jesus) cut their taxes almost 30 years ago. To review... paying less, getting more.... reallllly struggling to see the suck in that.

On the other hand the conservative do-nothing approach supports a system that is already the most expensive in the world by a wide margin and is getting more costly by the day. The GOP supports a system that is doubling in cost every decade as of now and that's before most of the baby-boomers have really begun to stress the system further.. If your Congressman or Senator is against healthcare reform then they are choosing for you to pay 300-400% more for your healthcare when you retire in name of not taxing 1.5% of the population at a rate lower than it was 30 years ago. That's their deal.

Do that math. Sit down with your 401K statement and then extrapolate your current healthcare expenditures at a 300% increase and try to imagine how that's going to work out for you and yours. It doesn't work out at all but that's what conservatives stand for in this. They want you to pay a lot now, and then pay a helluva lot more later because it is easier for them politically.


Everytime I hear someone who is ostensibly educated call Obama a socialist it makes me wanna smack em in the fuckin' head with their college diploma, twice ,and then burn it because it clearly is doing them no good.

This is not socialized medicine. Im in favor of socialized medicine because its a much better idea. Im not getting my better idea but Im taking the next best thing. So what the hell is this?

Its the government incentivizing the market. Yes. It is a program that injects free market forces into a system and then letting that competition lower prices. Doesn't that sound kinda like a conservative idea? Why yes, yes it does. So why aren't they are board? Because they're too invested in the notion that taxes are always evil to get anything done and it blinds them to the possibility of common good, except of course when we're talking about bombing the shit out of some brown people cause that's a bargain at any price. So to be clear, taxes=bad. Out of control cost structures=good.

But you don't have to believe me. If you're afraid of socialized medicine do this little experiment.
Call your doctor and ask what he/she charges you for a specific procedure and then call your favorite hospital and do the same. Assuming they'll even tell you then take those figures and try to negotiate a better deal for yourself with another doctor or hospital. Ill wait....

Naw I wont wait either cause we both know what will happen. You will get nowhere. How can this be? In a non-Socialistic free market you should be able to shop around for the best price. There is no such thing as shopping around now for two reasons. First of all in many states insurance companies have effective monopolies and don't have to listen to your shit. Secondly the business of risk management is not about lowering *your* costs its about lowering *theirs* which means insurance companies are all about denying coverage when they can and charging as much as possible when they can't. A for-profit health system has no incentive to keep patient costs lower. Absent some redress it will never get any better than it is right now and will only get much much worse. This is what conservatives are in favor of.


When my dad was dying of cancer he couldn't get certain palliative medications because his insurance wouldn't pay for it. So instead he wretched and threw up his putrified stomach tissue till the day he died and those are among the last memories my mother has of him. Someone, not a doctor, made that choice for us because to have paid for his medication would have decreased the potential payout to their investors. When conservatives work against health care reform they are by default endorsing what my dad went through to preserve massive corporate profits. No way around that.

Now this is dicey territory I'll admit because there are horror stories in every system and one can't really know what's the exception and what's the rule. But really isn't that the point?

If our current system is so much better than the proposed alternative, or Europe , or Canada or anyplace else, why can we point to similar systemic failures? Shouldn't our delivery system be vastly better if the underlying principles are superior? Why yes, yes they should. But our delivery system isn't vastly better. It is marginally better in some instances and clearly worse in others but it costs more than twice as much and is bankrupting business and government, but even so conservatives would rather have us pay more for less because they lack the political courage to really address the issue. This is who they are. This is what they're in favor of.

If you support Obama's plan call your Senators and Congressman and tell them. If you don't support Obama's plan call your Senators and Congressman and ask them to offer a better idea.
But if you like having money and health you simply cannot sit this one out. Something has to happen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This acting thing may work out yet.

At the risk of sounding prick-ish sometimes I absolutely know if Im going to get a job or not. If a role is particularly in my strike zone and I nail the audition then I have a pretty good track record of predicting whether or not that call is going to come, and my agents can totally vouch for that.

So it was back in April when I auditioned for a role in this big commercial production that has been running in town for awhile now and has "Next Stop New York" written all over it. Nailed it, nailed it, nailed it, and called my agent and said "this is happening". And I sat and sat and sat until just last week when the call finally came offering a 26 week contract for pretty sweet money considering we're talking about Chicago theatre.

I've never done a big commercial production like this and so far Im really enjoying not worrying about money when Im wide awake at 2am. Im sure I'll start to stress soon enough that I'll never work again after this but for now Im content to just have some vague anxieties about getting old and fat. That I can deal with.

The only problem is that this opportunity for me is coming at someone else's expense. The guy currently doing this role is not going to have his contract renewed for reasons I know nothing about. I feel badly for him, I know him but not particularly well. But I also kind of feel like the slightly less sickly water buffalo watching the lions take down a more unfortunate comrade. Its been me before, and it'll be me again in the future Im sure but this time it wasn't. So Im just gonna get back to this grazing I have to do and worry about the lions sometime later on.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Somebody should have said something

It wasn't for lack of a plan that this happened. No. Pipelaya, X2C, Satisfaktion and the crew had a clear vision. They had a specific issue that needed addressing, they formulated a course of action, and they have an expectation of results. Sometimes things don't work out though, we've all had that happen. If I had to put my finger on it I'd say that this went from the planning phase to the execution phase much much too quickly. They should sat on this one for a little while. If they had probably someone would've said "wait.... what?" Didn't happen.

Instead I imagine it went something like this:

"hey, you know we outta hump the shit out of that ottoman and put it on You Tube"

"Yes, Yes. Im liking this idea very much but wont it be repetitive if we all hump the ottoman?"

"No, no, no. We'll break it up by humping the air and stuff too and it'll all flow together"

"This is very good. Very good. I think its important not to overthink this"

"It'll be some of our best work"


I'd like to say no ottoman were harmed in the filming of this video but I cannot in good faith make that claim. And remember; in no way should this be construed as gay or even sexually confused behavior.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why the Iranian regime will fall.

Achmedinejad, this woman is coming for you. Good luck.

"Real Bitches"

I don't know if this is really real or letters to Penthouse real but either way its my new guilty pleasure.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Never go here

Medieval Times. Good Christ.

Where does one begin? Its hard to know what's worse. Is it worse for me to have been there at all or is cosmically worse that a couple chose to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary there with a joint knighting? That's pretty bad but as in all things I gonna say its worse for me. By a lot.

But worst of all I think are the people who work there. It seems to me they fall into two distinct camps; those that would rather be anywhere else and those who would not be anywhere else for anything. They both cause me lots of pain but for very different reasons.

When the serving wench comes by with the tip tray after having asked, "will you be needing a take home bag for your roast dragon my lord?" I want to give her all my money and just hope she takes off running as fucking fast and far as she possibly can. I want to liberate her. She prays every night that the Hooters by the airport will be hiring soon and Im going to start praying for her too.

But when the Green Knight (our knight) comes galloping by I can't help but notice how much time and effort has gone into cultivating his sweet jerri-curl mullet, in fact alllllll the knights have a sweet jerri-curl mullet. The King too, and it doesn't flatter a man his age. Not only that but the young squire knights-in-waiting are starting to grow out their hair in the same Harlequin Romance cover model style, pining for the day they get called up to the Bigs. This isn't a summer job, these people are making a fucking career choice and I can't decide if it would be more awful to be trapped at a social function next to a Professional Knight or an aspiring Professional Knight.

Im hoping these people keep mostly to themselves.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Where the hell are all the people?

Here's another in long list of reasons Im not a rich man:

In as much as I think about these things I just assumed that when the bottom fell out of the housing market it would be a sweet time to be a landlord sitting on some rental housing property. It aint so , in fact it sucks to be a landlord right now as vacancies are high and rents are dropping.  

So where did everyone go?  I mean the logic follows that when someone gets kicked out of their foreclosed home with the adjustable rate jumbo mortgage they gotta live somewhere and rented apartments looked like a nice hedge against housing gloom.   

And I'll bet here's why I was wrong.   You know all those condos that got built the last ten years?  They didn't sell of course and now they're, you guessed it, rental units which means  overcapacity in the rental market must be extreme which sounds like a very bad thing to me because unless we start tearing down lots of condos that are only at 1/3 capacity there is going to be an excessive supply for a good long while which is going to depress new housing construction even if things turn around in the short term.  The list of things that can be classified as "lagging indicators" is getting longer by the day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

When conservatives fight.

The hardcore intellectual right is finally starting to see Palin in the same light the rest of us did the very first time we ever heard her try to talk in her grown up voice.  She is and was a deeply cynical political play pushed on the GOP and the electorate at large by people like Rove and Kristol who don't really care what happens to the country long term if they can control the next election cycle.

That said the gloves are coming off on the right as they can't distance themselves from her fast enough. First Krauthammer calls her out on the Palin Network of all places and now Goldberg displays his talents for windsock-ery and informs us in NRO that she's "blowing it".    This is only new information for folks who have been waiting for Obama to cause chunks of sky fall on them.  The fan boys however are outraged.

In each case though its telling that even her detractors are willing to overlook her vast intellectual shortcomings for the sake of her "charisma".    Its as though they think the path back to legitimacy is just a "youbetcha" and a wink away.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

And Israelis will be welcomed as liberators

Sheesh, these neo-cons never quit but you can say that they aren't simply wrong, they are consistently wrong.   Never one to pass up an opportunity to blow some shit up and kill some people former UN ambassador John Bolton opines in a WaPo editorial today that the unrest in Iran offers the perfect opportunity to explain to the people that an Israeli air strike is meant only for the regime's nuclear program and not intended to give offense in any way to Iran in general. 

That sounds plausible because of course these guys did such a good job of pulling that off in Iraq.  Its like cake.

Dangerously dumb is what these people are.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Does that corn field make my ass look fat?

While Im very much in favor of expanding health coverage anyway we can I believe its only one leg of the stool when it comes to containing health costs.   Our on going policy of farm welfare creates surpluses in some of the least healthy food by-products like high fructose corn syrup but leaves growers of fresh fruits and vegetables out in the cold when it comes to government hand outs and that adds significant costs to our health care system on the  back end, as it were.

Farm welfare recipients and their lobby go to no end of trouble in pointing out that there is yet no definitive link between increased use of  corn syrup and higher rates of obesity and they're correct, but it would take a fool to ignore the import of this kind of correlation.

Neurotic parenting. The Upside.

Maybe I don't have a fancy working paper or a doctorate in economics or even a mathematical acumen beyond high school algebra but this study strikes me as entirely correct except that the competition for educational placement starts welllllll before college.    I'll pat myself on the back that we didn't stress at all about our kids getting into "the right" preschool but I will admit that though our son is years away from high school we are certainly making implicit, if not explicit, choices that we think will  enhance the likelihood of his getting into "the right" high school.  And we are hardly alone in that respect or crazy.

The sweetest slice of the pie grows ever thinner and as more and more people belly up to the table it clearly incentivizes parents spending more one on one time with the kidoos.    None of which is to say that I was abandoned as a kid but I recall much more "family time" than I do direct one on one time.