Tag Archives: Rants

NOW Is It Time To Have A Conversation About Gun Control?

Horrible news out of Charleston, S.C.:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in this city’s downtown, killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

South Carolina has the most liberal gun laws in the country, thanks to “reform” recently passed by wingnut Gov. Nikki Haley. And this is the result. The Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen sums up the laws thusly:

globe gun

Gov. Haley and South Carolina politicians who endorse the NRA’s agenda have blood on their hands today. Yes, there is a causal relationship between easy access to firearms and gun violence.

The idea that simple gun control measures wouldn’t have prevented this and thousands of other tragedies across the country every year is ludicrous. The idea that there’s absolutely nothing we can do about this bloodbath is insane. The idea that we have to live with this violence in our communities because Freedom and the Constitution is pure bullshit.

Enough. We do not have to put up with this. This is not how a free people live. This is how free people die.

12 Comments

Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

My Annual Healthcare Rant

It’s time for me to get my annual mammogram at the for-profit HCA/Centennial, which means it’s time for my annual rant about our for-profit healthcare system. I blogged about my experience last year, in which I was offered an opportunity to pay for the service out of pocket upfront, at no discernible benefit to me because it’s all going to be paid by my insurance anyway.

So this year I got the same “give me my money” phone call, which they laughably call “pre-registration.” I give them my name and address and other contact info (which they already have because it’s in their system) and then I get the rigamarole about how much the service will cost — this time she’s clear to say it’s “because my insurance hasn’t been verified.” Last year, they just told me the service would be $150. So I’m glad they’re at least clarifying the insurance angle. But still, I’m supposed to do what, exactly, with this information? Start selling off the family heirlooms? I have insurance, mammograms are covered, now go away, please.

And then 24 hours later I get yet another phone call from the same person who “pre-registered” me yesterday, to say my insurance has been verified. Which you’d think would be good news, but in HCA Land, it’s actually another opportunity for them to try to get my money. For a 20% discount, I can pay now! Yes, that’s actually the deal I was offered. I can pay for the service at 20% off now, or I can do nothing and my insurance company will pay the full price (repriced, but whatevs). I mean, my insurance pays 100%.

I mean, seriously, people? WTF? Why not just lower your prices 20% and then we can all reap the reward of lower insurance premiums?

I cannot believe this is going on.

Mr. Beale is furious. He wants to know, if I do pay now at the 20% discount, and then BlueCross/BlueShield remimburses at 100%, who gets that extra 20%? HCA?

19 Comments

Filed under HCA, health insurance, healthcare, Nashville

Relatable, Now With Electrolytes

Today’s front page of The New York Times has a story on Jeb Bush trying to lose weight, which is fine, I get that the political punditry wants to “humanize” presidential candidates and present a picture of them as “real people.” But this particular a piece of bullshit pissed me off:

The rigid abstemiousness runs the risk of putting him at a dietary distance from an American electorate that still binges on carbohydrates and, after eight years of a tea-sipping president, craves a relatable eater in chief.

What. The. Fuck.

America “craves a relatable eater in chief” who “binges on carbohydrates” like they do? No. I’m going to stop you right there, buckaroo. I don’t know from under which rock reporter Mike Barbaro pulled this piece of conventional wisdom, but let me say: nothing shows how out of touch you are from the rest of America than stupid statements like this. Americans don’t drink tea? Low-carb diets aren’t popular in the U.S.? Have you been to a fucking grocery store lately, buddy? A real one, not one of those little New York City corner delis, I’m talking the goddamn Kroger or Safeway. Do you ever step outside Manhattan for more than two hours?

Can we please stop portraying the American electorate and American politicians in such childish ways?

I am sick of this bullshit that crops up every four years, when the punditry suddenly decides it has its pulse on “real America” and it knows what we “crave” in a presidential candidate, which is to be exactly like their (completely false) image of us. We want to have a beer with them! But not any beer, certainly not one of those gay beers from Yurp, it has to be a manly-man beer! A Budweiser!

Do you people even hear yourselves? Do you hear how insulting that is to us, we Real Americans in the “flyover states,” not to mention how insulting it is to the candidates? Fucking-a.

Memo to the New York Times, writer Michael Barbaro, and the rest of you idiots in the political media: you have no fucking clue what America craves, so stop with the idiotic “real America” framing. You’re making fools of yourselves.

We do not have the luxury of playing that stupid media game this time around. We simply do not have the luxury of pretending to give a crap that the presidential candidate put Dijon mustard on his hot dog instead of a Real Murcan Mustard like French’s (irony alert). We do not have the luxury of debating whether Hillary Clinton should have gone to Taco Bell instead of Chipotle. And I am not going to pretend that because I live in Nashville, Tennessee my diet consists solely of deep fried fat balls and a side of sweet tea. It does not.

I am not going to pretend that I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s on a Paleo Diet instead of binging on microwavable Mac’N’Cheezybits like Real Murcans. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s a conservative hawk who has embraced the architects of his brother’s Iraq War fiasco. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because while he claims to favor small government, in actuality he inserted himself into the Schiavo family’s darkest hour. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he would return us to the same pro-corporate, pro-wealthy policies that sank the economy when his brother was in the White House.

What he eats for dinner isn’t even on my damn radar, you fools. Stop treating the electorate like idiots.

8 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, media, rants

Stop Calling It Road Rage

It’s just gun culture reacting in predictable ways, with completely predictable results:

LAS VEGAS – The family of a Las Vegas mother of four who was killed in an apparent road rage shooting last week says she was just trying to protect her daughter when she went home to get her son and his gun, then drove around the neighborhood searching for a man who may have eventually killed her.

[…]

“My mom was protecting me this night, you know? She was doing what every mother would do is protect her baby,” 15-year-old Kristal Meyers said Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil in the cul-de-sac where the family lives, about 5 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Yeah, how’d that work out for you guys, now that you’re making funeral arrangements? She could have gone inside and called the police but no, gun culture and the NRA says you gotta take matters into your own hands and hunt down your fucked up, also-armed neighbor. Because Freedumb:

Meyers said his wife and son went looking for Nowsch after the road rage incident because they knew him and where he lived.

This isn’t road rage. Road rage implies a randomness, strangers whose chance encounter on the highway escalates because one person can’t control their emotions. These people knew each other. Both were armed. And that’s what changed everything.

I’m done feeling sorry for you people. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Constitution, Founding Fathers, blah blah. This is the country you want to live in? These are the neighborhoods you’re creating for our families? Fuck you.

21 Comments

Filed under gun control, gun violence

The Unwashed Free Hand

Proving yet again that Libertarians are morons, I bring you North Carolina “free market” Republican Thom Tillis:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans are challenging several health regulations, with one senator suggesting restaurants shouldn’t have to make their employees wash their hands after bathroom visits.

Such restaurants would have to prominently disclose their decision, and then would probably would go out of business, said newly elected GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. But they should have that choice, he said.

[…]

“Let them decide” such issues, Tillis said, adding: “That’s probably one where every business that did that would go out of business. But I think it’s good to illustrate the point, that that’s the sort of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country.”

Um, Okay. So basically you want to get rid of one regulation requiring employees wash their hands and replace it with a different one requiring restaurants post a sign if they opt out. This is preferable how? Because it sounds more shiny, sparkly, free-markety? Really? Because all you’re doing is shifting the “burden” to restaurant consumers, who would then have to hunt around for some sign. Never mind the idea that if you’re going to opt out of a hand-washing regulation, maybe you’ll dodge a sign-posting one, too. We’ll just never know.

This makes my life better how, exactly?

See, this is what’s wrong with Libertarians. They think that the glorious unfettered magical free hand of the market makes everything wonderful when all it really does is burden the general public. You know what? I have a life. I don’t want to have to research every fucking restaurant in town to determine if they’re opting out of certain health regulations or not. I’d much rather have a health department fully staffed with health inspectors who enforce our health laws. If we truly did make our restaurant health regulations optional, I’d never eat out again. Because if you’re going to skirt one, you’ll no doubt skirt all the others. And for fuck sakes, Thom Tillis: a regulation is a goddamn regulation. One isn’t “better” because it sounds more “choicey.”

You people are fucking idiots. Please, let’s keep them as far away from the reins of power as possible.

20 Comments

Filed under deregulation, Libertarians, Republican Party

Dumbass Overzealous Wingnut Militia FAIL

A group of ATV-riding, camo-wearing, gun-brandishing DIY law and order types from Colorado decided they’d travel to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and, by God, do the job that our useless gummint has refused to do! And boy did they think they hit the jackpot when they thought they’d found smugglers or illegal immigrants in the Arizona desert one night, too!

Sadly for them they’d uncovered a group of wildlife biologists conducting a bat population survey. Hilarity did not ensue:

Estrada says one of the militiamen apologized to the group of conservationists, who apparently did not want to hear it.

“Of course, they weren’t very receptive about the apology. They actually told them that’s something you should not be doing. There’s danger out there. There’s other groups of people in campsites,” Estrada says.

Sheriff Estrada says Santa Cruz County does not welcome border militia groups.

“These people that are completely out of their environment. They really don’t know the area. They don’t know the terrain. They have little knowledge of the dynamics of the border. So it can be a real problem,” Estrada says. “We really don’t want them here.”

Dumbasses. I just love these idiot wingnuts who live in their information-bubble fantasyland, where they’re just so convinced that they’re the only ones who can save America from whatever issue is dominating the far reaches of the AM dial that month. And then they sail in like Captain fucking America and find out that a) the problem isn’t nearly as bad as the mouth-breathers have said it is and 2) they’re actually not helping things.

This all goes back to the psychological problem at the root of the conservative extreme: the idea that they’ve lost cultural relevance. Poor dears, trying so hard to be important somehow, to have an impact. Making fools of themselves every step of the way.

Take a pill, get some therapy and for God’s sake, stop listening to nativist right-wing hate radio.

Comments Off on Dumbass Overzealous Wingnut Militia FAIL

Filed under immigration

About Those “Friends” Of The Supreme Court …

In case you wondered about some of those dubious recent Supreme Court decisions, this article sheds some light:

“The court is inundated with 11th-hour, untested, advocacy-motivated claims of factual expertise,” she wrote in an article to be published in The Virginia Law Review.

Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them. Recent opinions have cited “facts” from amicus briefs that were backed up by blog posts, emails or nothing at all.

Some amicus briefs are careful and valuable, of course, citing peer-reviewed studies and noting contrary evidence. Others cite more questionable materials.

Some “studies” presented in amicus briefs were paid for or conducted by the group that submitted the brief and published only on the Internet. Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.

Yet the justices are quite receptive to this dodgy data. Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times, Professor Larsen found.

Huhn. “Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.” Nobody could have anticipated!

Seriously, is anyone surprised by this? Anyone at all? In a world where everything is manipulated, skewed, twisted, freeped and reshaped to favor one political agenda or another, is anyone shocked to learn that groups have targeted the United States Supreme Court along with every other corner of American civic life?

No, what’s truly shocking is that our esteemed Justices haven’t used, pardon the pun, better judgment when it comes to the sources they cite in their opinions.

For example:

In a 2012 decision allowing strip searches of people arrested for even minor offenses as they are admitted to jail, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy cited an amicus brief to show that there are an “increasing number of gang members” entering the nation’s prisons and jails. The brief itself did little more than assert that “there is no doubt” this was so.

And in a 2013 decision, Justice Stephen G. Breyer cited an amicus brief to establish that American libraries hold 200 million books that were published abroad, a point of some significance in the copyright dispute before the court. The figure in the brief came from a blog post. The blog has been discontinued.

Good grief.

What’s really horrendous is that, as the article states, folks like Justices Scalia and Alito have criticized their colleagues’ practice of citing facts from amicus briefs in their decisions, yet they themselves do it, too — when it’s convenient for their arguments, of course. In the Hobby Lobby case, Alito….

…[refused] to consider “an intensely empirical argument” in an amicus brief. “We do not generally entertain arguments that were not raised below and are not advanced in this court by any party,” he wrote.

… yet in a 2011 decision,

… Justice Alito cited an amicus brief to show that more than 88 percent of American companies perform background checks on their workers.

“Where this number comes from is a mystery,” Professor Larsen wrote. “It is asserted in the brief without citation.”

What this tells me is SCOTUS justices have already made up their minds about the cases before them and cherry-pick dubiously-sourced “facts” from amicus briefs — or not! — to justify their pre-arrived decision.

This is a horrible thought, because it diminishes America’s highest court in the land to mere Kabuki. That’s a level of cynicism even I never fathomed.

We’re so fucked.

11 Comments

Filed under Supreme Court