Introducing the 2010 PUMA

“A thousand people have donated over $16,000 to Dennis since yesterday to thank him for standing up for what he believes in. We’ll be asking him to return it.” [Firedoglake]


The Dems are going to get massacred in 2010 either way. If they pass HCR they’ll get killed by the right-wing crazies and all the people they managed to scare. If they don’t pass HCR they’ll get killed by all the aforementioned people as well as reliable Democratic voters who are so disgusted at the party they’d rather sit home and watch Gilligan’s Island re-runs than go out an vote.

So pass the damned bill: it’s the right thing to do.

Plus, as they say in Hollywood: we’ll fix it up in post-production.

Anyone who believed that the final bill would fix all the problems needs a clue.

@Serolf Divad: The entire psychocon-industrial plexus is gearing up for a “Repeal the Death Panel Legislation” campaign now in concert with the insurance industry which will, 10 seconds after HCR passage, jack premiums 500% citing, “government-imposed costs and regulatory burdens that have destroyed any possibility of quality care, likely being responsible for tens of thousands of deaths within hours of passage.” Wait for fabricated faxes on Health and Human Services ordering the abortion of white babies and termination of people with chronic illnesses over the age of 25 to start appearing on Fox.

@Serolf Divad:

Who knows, though. I have a feeling once the frothing at the mouth really gets going we’re going to see some pretty hot wingnut-on-wingnut action. Purity tests for all! And the massive fabrications and obvious racism may just have driven the all important “independent” vote away from any candidate that looks vaguely Teabaggy. The combination of the two may help forestall what looks like a coming bloodbath for the Dems.

@Tommmcatt Loves The Giant Floating Head: Purity tests for all!

This includes the pissing match between Hamsher and Kos.

Sport TJ: Adjust your bracket picks accordingly if you thought Kal Bezerkley would get out of the first round.

@libertarian tool:

Thank god they don’t allow sockpuppets around here!

Nice of you to re-post for Barrington, tho.

How do you put that alt-text thingy in the pictures?

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: You put the alt-text in the image with the “title” tag, like so:

<img src=”IanJNaked.jpg” title=”Cover your eyes!”>

That would show the picture, and if you moused over the image, you’d see a box pop up with “Cover your eyes!” in it. Unfortunately, we can’t post images in comments here, so this little tutorial only applies to situations where you’re writing your own HTML (such as a blog, or an old-school website).

Although I think it works different with IE than it does with Firefox and Safari, like it might need a different tag. Google up “alt text” and you’ll probably find a good reference on it.

@IanJ: I f I recall, IE uses alt=”Cover your eyes”, rather than “title”–thus the name alt-text.

@mellbell: Uh, I am a serf of The Farm for at least another few years while I am repaying loans, so it pained me to no end to use the rational part of my brain and pick Kal to win the first round. Only worse things would have been picking U$C or Uklah (kisses, Dodger!). Nothing made me feel better than to go back into my various brackets and have the time to change that selection.

I am so meh on the HCR front. If it passes, as is, it’s a huge win for the health-insurance scam. If it passes with the promise of some kind of after-market corrections (i.e., public option), well, maybe I can get behind it. Sort of. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for those corrections.

The whole thing smacks of business as usual, brand it Repug or Demrat as you like: a transparent vehicle to fleece the masses while they still have fleece to shear.

@Pedonator: I’ll accept the party-line judgment: that as awful as the Senate bill is, it’s still marginally better than the status quo — and, alas, the only game in town.

And while I also won’t hold my breath for substantial fixes, it’s a lot easier to tinker with something on the books, rather than starting again from scratch a generation from now.

If the Senate bill is marginally worse than the status quo, well, that’s another story. But I’m not hearing convincing arguments in that direction, even if it does shovel a shitload of money at our beloved insurance cartel.

@Mistress Cynica: I f I recall, IE uses alt=”Cover your eyes”, rather than “title”

Really? I’ll have to check that next time I’m on the Dark Side. I always use “title”, since that’s what Safari & Firefox recognize. If you’re browsing here with Explorer — well, you have my condolences. But if you are and see the image comments, then “title” works there too.

Deep Geek: Were images even part of Tim’s original WWW spec? Or were they an innovation with Mosaic? I’ve always treated alt tags as, well, alt — text that displays if the image isn’t available.

@nojo: My not-so-hidden libertarian streak just refuses to accept a mandate to buy insurance. I know it’s the price for not excluding pre-existing conditions, etc. But I see nothing to control costs premiums. My socialist streak still screams, WHY CAN’T WE HAVE SINGLE PAYER? LIKE ALL THE OTHER KIDS ON THE BLOCK?

Right now, for me and Mr. Pedo, it won’t matter much. But I can’t imagine a fambly of four, living in SoCal, with a household income of, say, $50K a year gross, being forced to shell out $500 or more a month on health insurance, while they struggle to pay a mortgage/rent, car payments, car insurance, food, etc. They will be eating kitty litter if they want to comply with the law and have health insurance.

Not to mention the millions of young’uns who have no reason to worry about their health, forced to pay at least $300/month on top of their student loan debt payments, if they even have an income.

Not to mention the millions of famblys who don’t earn even near that much. Do you really think whatever “tax credits” or whatever the fuck is in the bill(s) is going to do anything for them?

If there is no public option, no incentive for the insurance companies to compete on cost, we will see the Blue Crosses do what they are allowed to do: raise rates by 30% a year, reaping the short-term profits until the entire system collapses.

@nojo: I’ll accept the party-line judgment:…and, alas, the only game in town.

Exactly what needs to Change™.

I will not accept the party-line judgment, because I know that will get me exactly what we have, except perhaps worse.

The only game in town needs to be called off, or we’re all fucked.

OK, we’re all just fucked.

@Pedonator: We were always fucked.

Unfortunately, it’s our fellow Americans doing the pestorking.

@nojo: That is the saddest part.

And it’s usually the people being most-pestorked who protest the loudest against anything that could possibly prevent their ongoing pestorking.

Meanwhile, those who pestork but really mean well, with the best intentions, fully invested in the betterment of the commons (while benefiting from the raping of the commons, i.e., people like me) decry the status quo, hope for a chance at revolution, and vote Democratic.

Which is a Good Plan. Yes.

@Pedonator: Marginally more effective than voting Republican.

But like I say, collectively we get the politicians we deserve. They certainly work the system to perpetuate themselves, but they really benefit from a nation living in false consciousness. And desperately wanting to remain that way.

@nojo: Marginally more effective than voting Republican.

That margin grows ever more effectively thin. One might need a microscope to discern the difference.

And it’s the proud, willful ignorance that makes me ashamed of my fellow citizens.

@Pedonator: I’ll have to defer to other policy wonks for the authoritative reply, but the story goes that with companies being required to spend 80-85 percent of premiums on actual care, with some kind of regulation for price hikes, and subsidies for premium payments, somehow it will all work out. Sort of.

I’ve been without health insurance most of my adult life, so I’m in that boat, and I haven’t been exactly happy about the mandate or the penalty. I’m sucking it up for the good of the Republic.

Yes, a public option would be nice — after this passes — and there’s chatter about it, although good fucking luck getting anything through the Senate right now. But the public option itself was a compromise, so why not incremental extensions of Medicare? We almost had a form of that in the Senate bill, before Douchebag Joe had a hissy fit.

@Pedonator: Among other things, we may have a second Supreme Court vacancy soon. Yes, we could have done better than Sonia — but with President McCain we surely would have done a shitload worse.

Marginality you can believe in!

Meanwhile, “I’m a shrimp blogger” is probably not going to get you laid.

@nojo: I hadn’t heard of the requirement (?) that insurance shysters would have to spend 80-85% on actual care. That would be something, something to consider. Any enforcement provisions for that?

But as a low-budget self-employed person, are you prepared to spend $500+/month on health insurance?

And even if so, what about all those who fall between the cracks, i.e., perhaps 30-40% of the population who earn maybe $1K-2K take-home per month? Should they have to spend 25-50% of their income on mandated health insurance?

I admit that I’m tossing these demographics out of my ass, but I have anecdotal evidence that someone pulling in, for instance, $3000 a month might have considerable hardship paying $300-500-1000 a month in health insurance premiums.

To me, it’s fine that if you want to drive a car mobile death machine and benefit from the roads and maintenance thereof, you are required to purchase insurance.

But what this law proposes is basically that, if you want to have life, or any social support of that, you’re required to feed the next-quarter maw of rapacious private insurance companies who seek only bottom-line profit and have little no interest in your continued existence. After you get sick and need their services, that is.

@nojo: we may have a second Supreme Court vacancy soon

I will fixate on that potential light in the darkness.


My not-so-hidden libertarian streak just refuses to accept a mandate to buy insurance. I know it’s the price for not excluding pre-existing conditions, etc. But I see nothing to control costs premiums.

Perversely, I abandoned my libertarian leanings to say I’d support a mandate under the Wyden-Bennett plan, just because I could not see any other way of providing near universal coverage. But Wyden-Bennett provided 99% coverage while being deficit, revenue and tax neutral over the status quo. It did this magic trick by directly attacking the core problem of a employer centric delivery of health care insurance. Which is to say – real reform. Of course Wyden-Bennett went nowhere, since that would have made too much sense.

This monstrosity will cost at least 2-3 times what is represented now and does nothing to control costs. It will have to be shitcanned before the benefits are scheduled to fully kick in 2018, because by them it will no longer be debatable whether we can afford it or not. We can’t. Maybe that is the whole idea with this bill. Take a moderately dsysfunctional system like we have now, and break it completely within 8 years.

As a people, we only seem capable of change when confronted with crisis. This bill will give us that crisis sooner rather than later. Of course, there is no way to predict what will eventually be put back together from the broken pieces.

Cue unintended consequences.

@Pedonator: But as a low-budget self-employed person, are you prepared to spend $500+/month on health insurance?

The practical question is whether I’m prepared to pay the fine.

How does libertarianism, at its essence, square with the tragedy of the commons? Isn’t it actually the cause of it?

@nojo: whiny bastards, I have good coverage, and I pay $500 a month in co-pays. Thats fucking co-pays.


I’d *like* to believe that the 85% rule will help, but anyone who’s studied the entertainment business knows how that game will work out. The creative accountants who brought us the LotR trilogy turning a net LOSS will be hard at work.

@Prommie: In Ron Paul’s version of libertarianism, the Magic Market cures all ills. You sue the motherfuckers who pollute the commons until they’re out of business.

Not saying I think it would work, but the status quo certainly doesn’t. Corporations are allowed to spew chemicals at will into the environment, and you and I have no redress because trashing the commons is basically an exercise of free speech by corporate persons. Or something like that.

@Pedonator: In Ayn Rands version, which I think is perhaps Ron Pauls secret version, the strong get to kill and eat the weak, for pleasure, not even out of necessity, and pollute the fuck out of anything they are strong enough to pollute the fuck out of, and fuck everyone who has a problem with that, because anything less than violently taking anything and everything you can is slavery.

32 countries give their citizens universal health care.
is it naive to ask why our imbeciles aen’t looking over someone’s shoulder?

will someone tell me how to put sites in the sentence in red?

@Pedonator: I am more referring to the freeloader effect, BTW, for example, if everyone gets vaccinated, 100 people per year will die from vaccination complications, but if noone gets vaccinated, 100,000 will die from whooping cough. Now the thing about vaccination is that they will work up to a key tipping point, if 90% of the population is vaccinated, the 10% who don’t get vaccinated are still protected, because the prevalence of vaccination cuts down the transmission vectors so much that an outbreak is still impossible. But then, your Paultards all decide, hey, they are going to freeload, by not getting vaccinated, and avoiding the vaccination risk, and freeloading on the protection afforded them by the fact that 90% of the people do get vaccinated.

The commons issue, to me, is more a freeloader issue, like that.

This whole insane, and I mean, completely insane, attack on collectivism, on the very idea of cooperation and mutual obligation in a “society,” its, well, not even stupid, its worse, its insane. My term for it is “social ludditism.” Its fucktarded. Its proponents are mostly pathologic narcissists, I think, who simply cannot see, are utterly blind, to how much they benefit from being a part of a larger society, and think only of how much better it would be if they were completely independant of all obligation to others.

Almost every IT guy I have ever known gets that strange squirrely stare when the issue of taxes comes up, and mumbles aspergery-ly about slavery and theft, at the very notion.

@baked: Kristof’s column on that today was depressing.

To do the linques:
Nojo helpfully has the info in the instructions right above the comment box where it says “tag helper” – cut and paste the tag helper that is closest to the comment box that has URL in it. (The one that is right before where it says “Sorry, image tags won’t work”)

Now, type in the web address in quotations marks of the site you want to link in to where it says “URL”
Example: “”

and type in your snarky comment you want to be in the sentence where it says LINK TEXT
New York Times

and voila!

New York Times

@Prommie: I hear you. And I think you’re right that most of the Teabaggers out there who claim to be libertarian basically want to freeload. But I don’t think you can paint all libertarians with that brush.

Anyway, the phenomenon of expecting, nay, feeling entitled to something for nothing isn’t restricted to any particular political persuasion. I think it’s something you get automagically when you’re Born in the USA.

(PS — this IT guy doesn’t have any problem with the concept of paying taxes to maintain the commons. Unfortunately most of our taxes seem to be spent further destroying the commons. But since that seems to be the collective will, I guess I’ll just have to go along to get along.)

That part about government oversight of insurance rates? Never mind.

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