The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Archive for the ‘Public Outrage’ Category

Who Used the Term First?

Posted by ALmod on December 14, 2009

In an answer to Don, who commented on one of my blog postings just before comments closed– as they do after a month…

I’m going to turn this into a formal request to all of my readers.  Please Google a question before you ask it.  Otherwise, expect a long time before I can respond.  How long?  Well, Don posted his question on the 5th, and I’m just now getting to it, but a quick Google search allowed me to answer his question in about 5 minutes.  A lack of an answer doesn’t mean that I can’t answer.  It just means this…  I’ve been tied up with other things, and I simply don’t have time to answer every email that comes across my desk when you could have answered it yourself.  I’ve had no less than sixteen different people emailing me and wanting to debate in length the entire Tea Party issue, policy issues, and the health care bill(s).  From here on out, if your question starts out with something akin to “What does the health care bill say about…”, please don’t expect anything less from me than, “Here’s the link.   You tell me.”

December is a HORRIBLE month for me almost every year, but this year has been particularly bad.  Of course, the holidays are going to make December quite busy for anyone.  I have no less than five parties to attend every single year whilst toting a toddler and cramming in my last minute shopping that, yes, I should have done in October.  This December, that’s compounded by a few other things.  I had a car accident a couple weeks ago, and it’s taken me quite a bit of time in talking to the other people involved, dealing with the insurance company in totaling out the car, picking up police reports, getting a rental, getting out of the rental, and buying a new car (which involved quite a few days of haggling with dealers and doing research).  That’s not all.  My aunt sent me an invitation to a lesser family holiday event that led me to believe the big party had been rescheduled, so we accidentally scheduled two parties on the same day, but my mother seems to create drama over the fact that we’ll be late (as opposed to not showing up at all).  That’s not all.  My daughter is having some trouble in preschool that has required some parent-teacher conferences, a screening by the local public school system, and appointments and phone calls to a child psychologist for a screening.  The psychologist is supposed to be good, but their office apparently isn’t great about picking up the phone or returning phone calls when you do get through.  That’s not all.  A shipment of Christmas gifts purchased online hasn’t shown up yet, so I’m making calls to THEM to see what the holdup is.

In a nutshell, I’m swamped.

So now, to answer this question in particular, which seems to be the subject of many emails to me from many different people:

The first joke that I can recall was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in March, where he showed footage of Fox News’ Griff Jenkins saying demonstrators were going to “teabag the White House.”  You can find that footage on http://www.thedailyshow.com and various other places.

Here is one of those clips.

As is widely known, the tax day protests were highly PROMOTED (not merely COVERED) by Fox News.  I’ll let Rick Sanchez bust this one for me:

Various footage of Fox promoting the event, even to the point of them labeling the event as a “Fox News Tea Party”:

Speaking of Fox News and promoters…  I’ve already proven to SEVERAL of you via email about how the promoters and Fox News used pictures of other events from as early as the 1970s and represented them as pictures of the tea party protests to make the crowd seem larger.  That was easily proven to be the case, and if for some reason there’s still someone out there who’s going to ask me to prove it, I’d ask you to Google it.  It’s out there and quite easy to find.

By the way, I didn’t happen to notice anything snotty in the way CNN covered the event.  But in particular, pay attention to what starts at about 3:33 in the video, so I hope that when Fox News manufactured this outrage over something that they created (but claim that the liberal left created), nobody takes them seriously.  It’s why I brought up the subject of the photograph thing.  In fact, Fox News making things seem a certain way when it isn’t is nothing new:

Like when they used footage of the wrong event to make crowds look bigger at a later event.

Of course, by the time the jokes started from MSNBC– the most widely distributed source of the “humor”– it was early April.  By then, the meaning had already been widely known, as you can see from reports in February and March of tea party protesters using the term.

Here’s a sign in February.

That was in fact the earliest example of anyone using the term in that manner in regard to the tea party protests, and I’d challenge anyone who says otherwise to provide the evidence to back it up.

Well after the double meaning became widely known, it was still used by many sites promoting the events and people holding signs at the big rally:

Here’s one website.
Here’s one sign.

All that being said, the argument that I keep hearing is that “it wasn’t all of the protesters/promoters or even a large percentage.”  Nevertheless, it was still protesters/promoters who first started using the term.  It was these same protesters/promoters who made up a decent portion of that large crowd that you boasted.  Are you going to say they didn’t count?  Even if they don’t, it’s still completely false to say that anyone from the “liberal left” or began use of the term in reference to tea parties to pick on you.  Your guys used it first, and it was funny.  The other guys just went with it.

Yes, I noticed the term the first time I heard Griff Jenkins utter it, and because I recognized the term without anyone having to tell me I’ve been accused of being crude or hanging out with questionable people simply because I recognized the term.  I’m sorry to break this to you, but I know because I (like 11 million other people) play World of Warcraft, which gives me significant exposure to high school and college age kids and their vernacular.  Anyone under the age of 35 (and some over) will likely be at least vaguely familiar with an urban dictionary and the words held within.  “Teabagging” isn’t exactly an obscure word, either.  In fact, I’d say it’s more widely used than “fallacio. ”  And because of the age of many of the players, it’s become quite common in-game to “teabag” your fallen opponents.  As you can see from the video below, which was made in 2008, it’s typically taken as a psych out or a joke to those you’ve defeated in-game:

By the way, if you are fnot familiar with the terminology used in that video, the jokes will go right over your head.  But please don’t ask me to break it down and explain what this guy’s talking about.  That would require nothing short of a novel.  Instead, I’d recommend a free 14 day trial of the game.  Run to a major city (which you can do at level 1), and read the chat.  After an hour or so, you’ll have a better idea.

Juvenile?  Yes.  Crude?  Maybe.  Out of the mainstream?  Obscure?  Hardly.  World of Warcraft isn’t the only MMOG out there, and I can assure you that the terminology is pretty much the same in all of them and even some outside the game.  And if WoW has well over 11 million subscribers, then imagine how those numbers add up when you include other games.  Does that make me crude?  No.  I just play a game, and part of playing that game exposes me to words that aren’t even necessarily limited to the other players within the gaming community.  It’s like calling folks who watch CSI crude or implying that they’re less morally sound than you simply because they’re familiar with the terminology used on that show.

So if you guys don’t mind, I’m going to be AFK for a while.  I realize this isn’t exactly OOC for me, since I do it a lot, but don’t expect me to run you through any instances anytime soon.

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Posted in Mainstream Media, Public Outrage, Tibits | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

More Tea Party “/facepalm”

Posted by ALmod on November 11, 2009

Jon Stewart caught something I completely missed.

Posted in Mainstream Media, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on More Tea Party “/facepalm”

Teabaggers v. Holocaust Survivors

Posted by ALmod on November 10, 2009

How is it exactly that something like this somehow flew under the MSM radar?

I suppose that using the Holocaust is convenient when you’re opposing health care reform– until the survivors start calling you out on it.

Then, all you have to do is just sit back and read the comments to see the true face of the Tea Party.

The people I feel for are the true Libertarians who started this back during Bush’s time in office to truly protest conservative principals before it turned into the right-wing Obama bash-fest that it is today. These were the true nonpartisans.

Not happy with merely hijacking the GOP from true conservatives, and realizing that the real conservatives have mostly moved on, the wolves had to change their wool sweaters. Unfortunately, that’s what I see when I hear the word “libertarian” these days.  It’s just not cool to be “Republican” anymore.

Posted in Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

The Heart of the Problem

Posted by ALmod on September 27, 2009

So here I was just reading the letters sent to The Birmingham News, and this one letter in particular stood out to me.  Here’s the letter, and I’ll see if you can pick out what it was:

Health care: Country headed for fall

In last week’s Viewpoints section, a Baptist preacher proclaimed that every person is entitled to health care (“An issue of morality”), and a letter writer from Montevallo declared we needed more socialism (“Could use little more socialism,” Views of Our Readers).

You can put any name you want on what the U.S. government is doing in health care, and it is still illegal and unconstitutional. There is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that covers taking money out of the public treasury to cover charity.

The only thing the federal government is duty-bound to guarantee the people is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and this is covered in the Bill of Rights.

If this country continues in the direction our leaders have been taking us for the past 50 years, you only need to read about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to see how this country is going to end. There are several good books on the subject, but I recommend “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell.

Jim McLendon
Birmingham

Anyone?

Okay, if you haven’t spotted it by now, I’m referring in particular to where Mr. McLendon appears to be referring to the U.S. Constitution regarding his statement about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  That line is actually from the Declaration of Independence, and while it’s a good line, it’s not from the U.S. Constitution.  The preamble for the Constitution actually states the following:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Pay attention to that quote in particular because I’m going to get back to it very soon.

If you read the other letters, you’ll also note where someone else makes the statement that health care isn’t a guaranteed right in the Constitution and then backs that up with a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling.  Again, I’m sure it’s a fine point to make, but the SCOTUS doesn’t actually maintain the Constitution.  They merely interpret it, and they’ve been known to get it very wrong and can reverse their decisions.  The Constitution can be altered for the most part through the legislative branch, which is a completely different branch of our government.

I have a huge problem with people who say that health care isn’t a right because it’s not guaranteed in the Constitution.  Saying that only shows that one hasn’t read the Constitution or at least isn’t somewhat familiar with the contents thereof.  In particular, the argument that something isn’t a right unless specifically stated is thrown out by the Bill of Rights, Amendment Nine to be exact:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

In other words, Amendment Nine specifically states that it should not be assumed that a right does not exist merely because it isn’t specifically stated in the Constitution.  And then there’s that whole bit about promoting the general welfare that was mentioned in the preamble.  Whether or not you agree that health care would fit under the description of “general welfare” or that it should be considered a right, the mere argument or insinuation that something isn’t a right because it’s not in the Constitution is nonsense and easily disproven with the text itself.

Further, consider that you could have made the exact same argument about a woman’s right to vote about a hundred years ago.  The Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.  The Constitution changes, so even if your argument is that something should be specifically mentioned in the Constitution to be considered a right, well that can be taken care of.

Which brings me to my real beef.  Statistics show that only one-third of Americans can even name the three branches of government.  Can you?  (I’ll give you a hint:  Two of them are talked about thus far in this posting, and one of them is specifically mentioned by name.  The third will be talked about in a bit.) And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  How many people can tell you what each branch does instead of just naming them?  Only about half of Americans can tell you who represents them in the U. S. Congress.  Most can’t tell you who is next in line for the presidency should something happen to both the president and vice president.  Even if they could, most couldn’t give you a name for the person currently holding that position, but I can guarantee you that if you gave them the person’s name, at least some will tell you they hate that person but couldn’t tell you exactly why.

Americans should know how their government works.  They should know these things beyond sound bites and talking points.  If you call someone a “socialist” or a “fascist,” you should know what those terms mean, and you should know that you know what they mean.  Nothing is more wince-inducing that watching Craig T. Nelson talk about how he was on welfare and got food stamps and he didn’t get any help.  It’s why birthers get laughed at when they start talking about the constitutional requirements of presidential candidacy and/or being a “natural born citizen.”  I’m not saying that it would change the stance of anyone having these arguments in either direction, but at least it might make for a more intelligent discussion.

Health care: Country headed for fall

In last week’s Viewpoints section, a Baptist preacher proclaimed that every person is entitled to health care (“An issue of morality”), and a letter writer from Montevallo declared we needed more socialism (“Could use little more socialism,” Views of Our Readers).

You can put any name you want on what the U.S. government is doing in health care, and it is still illegal and unconstitutional. There is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that covers taking money out of the public treasury to cover charity.

The only thing the federal government is duty-bound to guarantee the people is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and this is covered in the Bill of Rights.

If this country continues in the direction our leaders have been taking us for the past 50 years, you only need to read about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to see how this country is going to end. There are several good books on the subject, but I recommend “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell.

Jim McLendon
Birmingham

Posted in Education, Federal Government, Mainstream Media, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on The Heart of the Problem

How to Address an Issue Without Addressing the Issue

Posted by ALmod on September 12, 2009

If anything, I wonder if Democrats shouldn’t be thanking Joe Wilson right about now.

His outburst has created a discussion on the true status of illegal immigrants in regard to H.R. 3200.  And what appears to be getting through is the truth, for once.  I wonder if that discussion would have taken place had Wilson kept his mouth shut.

And so, as more and more and more people are learning that the bill actually does contain a clause (on page 143 of the bill) that specifically states that “[n]othing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States,” the argument from the right appears to have shifted more toward enforcement of such a measure (or lack thereof).  The Heller Amendment seems to be the rallying cry, in particular.  If there is concern for making sure that illegal immigrants do not receive federal money for health care then why would the measure have been shot down?

The answer is simple.  The Heller Amendment was never intended to pass.  The only reason for its existence is to be a talking point.

First we have to consider something.  The bill does in fact address how illegal aliens would be handled under the new health care system.  Not only does it specifically say that they will not be covered, but the Congressional Research Service has suggested that illegal aliens would be required to purchase private insurance to cover their expenses or face a hefty fine.  And further clarification from the White House offered on September 12 stated that they will not be able to purchase insurance through the new exchange or the public option.  (In other words, they would still be paying for their own health coverage just like many of them are already doing today.)  Verification would be required when purchasing insurance through the exchange and/or public option.  So all this considered, why on earth would an additional amendment be needed– particularly one that might cause problems for legal immigrants?  It isn’t.

So why would anyone suggest an amendment that they knew wasn’t needed?  Again, it’s a talking point.  Dr. Steven Taylor summed it up quite nicely here.

Minority member proposes amendment which it claims will do X (or prevent X or somesuch).

Majority votes it down, because they are already happy with their majority-crafted, majority-approved bill.

Minority and its supporters (e.g., talk show hosts) then claim that the rejection of the amendment is proof that the Majority is opposed to X.

However, there are any number of reasons for the rejection of the amendment, not the least of which being that it was a minority amendment to a majority bill. Why should the majority accept the amendment? Also, it is usually never so simple as X or Not X.

Still, the whole purpose for the minority in proposing the amendment in the first place was to create the X/Not X debate, as it knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to get the majority to accept the amendment. It is textbook (seriously, this kind of behavior can be found in any text on the legislative process in the US).

I will add to that.  Assume that the majority party passes such an amendment.  At this point, the minority party can insinuate that whatever minor issue they inserted into this amendment is now something that the majority supports.  It’s a win-win situation for the party proposing the amendment– provided of course that your talking point is short enough so that the opposing response would result in a one way hash political argument.

A very similar situation has cropped up in the form of the anti-abortion argument.  Many have pointed to the Capps amendment which will mandate that the public health option cover some abortions.  But these same people overlook the fact that the exact same amendment also states that federal funds cannot be used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is in danger– situations where many Republicans have a hard time arguing against abortions.

But those who point out these problems do have a point.  More needs to be done to address these issue if in fact it’s something you believe in.  Tougher standards on abortions and hospitals that provide them.  (Even abortion advocates can agree that they want women to be safe.)  Tougher laws that address illegal immigration and reduce the number of illegal aliens that we have– thus reducing the number of them that show up in the ERs with a serious ailment and without insurance.  These things are needed, but to tack them onto a health care bill that is already very long and very complicated probably isn’t the best way to go about it.  Politicians aren’t exactly restricted to drafting and passing one bill per session.  So why not draft a separate bill to address these issues?

Because they don’t want it to pass.

Many Republicans have already made it clear that they have no intention of supporting any health care legislation regardless as to what’s in there.  Many seem more interested in making sure that the Democrats fail rather than making sure the country succeeds.  Why do I say this?  Because the only platform that I’ve seen thus far as been generic at best.  At worst, it’s been anti-Democrat rather than clearly a Republican platform of small government and strong defense.  In fact, some might find the irony in a party who goes on about how government has no business in health care and yet in the same breath insists that they should put restrictions on what can be covered, even by private funding.

But many might find it hard to pass immigration legislation that seriously penalizes employers who hire illegal aliens.  Some of them might find themselves sans nanny.  And many might find it even harder to pass legislation that would ban abortions outright for any reason.  So what better way to show you tried to do something about these issues (*nudge nudge* *wink wink*) than by showboating an amendment to another piece of legislation while knowing full well that your suggestion will never make it out of committee?

So the response to the right from the left is simple, and there need be no long answers to explain why X wasn’t included.  Rather, they merely need to ask the following:

“If this issue is so important, why hasn’t Senator Y attempted to pass this as stand alone legislation that would address the issue rather than trying to tack it onto a bill he’s trying to defeat?”

I’m sure the talking heads will eventually find a way to get around that one way hash, but at least it will be entertaining to watch.

Posted in Health and Wellness, Legislation, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on How to Address an Issue Without Addressing the Issue

Sen. Sessions to Host Town Hall on Health Care

Posted by ALmod on August 11, 2009

Because the best person to inform the public on a bill is someone who’s vehemently opposed to it and tends to encourage misinformation?  And of course, the glass-eyed masses in this state will eat it up like ice cream.  Not that they’re interested in any serious discussion on the issue, or the truth, for that matter.  Just a few predictions on things that will be “drilled home” with the faithful:

Illegal immigrants will have health care paid for by taxpayers.

“They don’t want illegal immigrants getting the same health care as tax-paying, law-abiding Americans.”

How, exactly?  A public option is simply that, and just like Medicare, folks would be required to have a card and identification.  Even Canadians who have a single payer (which is not being discussed seriously) have social insurance cards.  Of course, there’s always the possibility of identity theft, but that happens now under private plans as well as government plans, and it’s just as illegal.  Nobody is discussing free health care for illegal immigrants.  Period.  Only about 21% of the uninsured are immigrants, and that includes those who are here legally (as in those who pay taxes, too).

A public option is designed to insure people who don’t “earn their keep.”

“They don’t want to spend a bundle of money they don’t have to insure millions of Americans who can’t afford to pay for their own policies.”

This is simply untrue.  As you can see from this Fact Check article, the uninsured has almost nothing to do with not being able to afford health care.  “Twenty percent of the uninsured have family incomes of greater than $75,000 per year, according to the Census Bureau…  Even higher-income jobs don’t always offer employer-sponsored insurance, and not everyone who wants private insurance is able to get it.”  In fact, the problem isn’t entirely limited to those without coverage.  Rather, some with coverage are denied benefits later based on whatever loophole the insurer is able to find.

Speaking of broke people…  I forget the numbers, but there are  quite a few bankruptcy filings that are the direct result of medical costs.  Many of those are from people who actually had insurance.  I wonder what the overall effect to the economy would be as a result of removing those medical costs from the equation.

And we all know how Sessions feels about the uninsured…  Those children ought to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and buy their own health insurance.

Democrats bad.  Republicans good.

Parker Griffith is a fine example of how people just don’t pay attention to what is actually going on.  The poor guy is a member of the Blue Dogs and has very loudly proclaimed his opposition to what’s currently out there, but that didn’t stop some rather disturbing scenes at a recent press conference.

“They complained he was scared to hold a town hall meeting of his own, regardless of the fact that he held one in Huntsville in early July. He said his staff is working out the details for another such meeting this month in the Shoals.”

Yeppers.  The opposition won’t let little things like “truth” and “facts” get in the way of their outrage.  It makes me wonder how many of these yahoos showing up at the town halls are birthers.  Then again, I probably don’t want to know.

It’s “socialism.”

In the words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  In all seriousness, the word “socialism” gets thrown around so much that it’s hard for me to take it in any form of seriouness.  I’d imagine that it’s having that affect on a lot of people, since it was thrown around quite heavily in the last election, for all the good it did.  The reason why it continues to be used is because it conjures up pictures of Nazis in the heads of the weak-minded.  Yes, the idea of using taxes to pay for public services could possibly be defined as like socialism, but it’s far from the actual thing.  And regardless of that, we’re far from becoming a Nazi state.  The thing that politicians and their nodding, smiling (when they’re not foaming and shouting) minions are calling “socialist” is the same principle that is applied to schools, police protection, fire departments, water and utilities, road work, etc.  And yes, there are some things that should be considered rights and no privilleges, and those things are better left to government as oppposed to private industry.  Can you imagine the expense if you had to pay a private organization for all these services?  Not to mention, could you imagine the chaos if different companies were working in the same areas for some of these things?  I happen to be one of thos people who thinks that health care is one of those things that should be a right, and that it’s better organized and less expensive in the hands of government.  And considering that countries with have government-run health care pay less for better care and live longer…  I’d say there’s good evidence to support my belief.  We aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel, here.

The elderly will be euthanized.

Mark my words.  Some form of this will be encouraged.  None of it is even close to being true.  The language that many of these people are referring to is actually describing counseling every five years on setting up a living will.  As for “cutting Medicare expenses” as some have latched onto, what’s being discussed is how to cut out unnecessary tests and procedures by those who are trying to milk the system and essentially drive up costs for everyone.  I’m talking about that doctor who actually ran a blood test on me to diagnose an ear infection and the other doctor who decided that a freak one-time high cholesterol test was cause to put me on expensive medication for the next 50 years of my life rather than attempt diet and exercise first.  Both were situations that I actually experience, and for the record, my cholesterol was better than normal at my checkup the following year– without any expensive meds, I might add.  It doesn’t just happen with humans, either.  Keep an eye on your vet bills, folks.

And kudos to the team at The Daily Show for coming up with this piece regarding the “death panels” comment by Sara Palin.  I was in stitches last night, no pun intended.

Rationing!

…is what you call what’s happening now.  Most (if not all) plans out there now have limits on what they’ll cover.  Even if you wish to have a covered procedure, the insurance company can deny coverage should they find a loophole.  No, the government isn’t going to cover every single thing you want them to, but neither is private insurance.  Chances are, you’ll actually get more coverage from a public plan.

You won’t be able to choose your doctor.

Not true.  You should be able to keep whatever doctor you like.  The truth is that it’s actually private insurers who force you to stay “in network” with the doctors you select.

Horror stories!

Medical malpractice happens under private insurance, too.  Denial of coverage happens under private insurance.  In fact, it’s more likely.  Next.

Abortions will be covered!

Not even close. Sorry.  Next.

We do want reform.

Okay.  Here ya go, Skippy.  What are you going to do?  What exactly is this profound revelation you have for us that is going to put our health care on par with other industrialized countries?

Yeah, that’s what I thought you were going to say.

Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Legislation, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Sen. Sessions to Host Town Hall on Health Care

A Quorum, Indeed

Posted by ALmod on July 2, 2009

It took jurors so little time to find Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford’s buddy John Katopodis guilty on all counts that I didn’t even realize they were done.  I’m so used to slow trials, that I went out and had a late lunch.  I didn’t even bother to look at the news, so I heard from my husband when he got home from work.  Smart jurors.  Now if we can just hurry up and get Langford’s trial in gear before he can do even more damage to Birmingham.

Leave it to Scott Stantis to call it like it is…

Scott Stantis, The Birmingham News

Scott Stantis, The Birmingham News

Posted in Laugh It Off, Local Government, Mainstream Media, Public Outrage, Scandal | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on A Quorum, Indeed

Right-wing Extremists: Is it okay to admit they exist, now?

Posted by ALmod on June 10, 2009

Remember this?  Remember how shocked and outraged right-wing bloggers were at the mere suggestion that extremists exist who might hold a considerable right-wing stance (albeit “extreme” by definition) on issues?  Remember how that was the reaction despite an almost identical report on extremists on the left and the fact that the FBI’s Most Wanted was soon topped by one such person?

And then there was the last few weeks.  Who could have possibly predicted that an anti-abortion activist with priors who was part of an anti-government group would attempt (and succeed) in a violent act?  Who could have predicted that a military veteran of World War II and a white supremacist would have opened fire in a Holocaust museum?  Why wasn’t our government looking into these things?  Oh that’s right…  They were.  In fact, the descriptions of these two people almost read word for word from the FBI report on what to watch out for.

And if you’re waiting for the conspiracy theory that this is actually an Obama coverup to make the report seem feasible, you need not do so.  It’s already out there. It’s been deleted, but you can still see the page title.

Remember that little bit that Napolitano added that everyone was so upset about?  Let me remind you:

“The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.”

Now considering that the shooter from today is credited with this post, among others like it, does the above statement sound so far-fetched?  Considering that people got so worked up during the 2008 campaign that some actually believed (and still believe) this stuff, was this a shock to anyone?  Really?  Does anyone actually believe that more people like these two are not still out there?  Allow me to enlighten you here, here, here, here, and here, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  That was a good 10 minutes of Google searching that likely put me on a watch list of some sort.

Are these people your typical right-wingers?  Of course not!  Are they your typical right-wing nutjobs?  Of course not!  Are these the typical person who disagrees with the president and/or his policies?  Of course not!  In fact, most of these people will rightly agree that these acts are completely horrific and unjustified and hurt the very message they want to deliver rather than help it.

These are extremists, and just like the left-wing extremists, the fact that they are “extreme” means that they are not even close to being mainstream.  That’s the whole point.  But the fact that they are in the extreme minority doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, and it doesn’t mean that our government shouldn’t be doing all it can to protect innocent citizens from being caught in the crossfire of crazy.

The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific
information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,
but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about
several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first
African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and
recruitment

Posted in Federal Government, Public Outrage, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Conspiracy Alert: The White House statement that never was, but it is.

Posted by ALmod on June 10, 2009

Okay, so this is kind of a response to this blog post (h/t to The Snake Pit).  It popped up on my RSS feed, and it got my attention.

Before I begin, let me just say that this particular blogger could easily be grouped with those who broke the hero-shot non-scandalwhich I promptly made fun of.  When you take a look at his typical fare, it pretty much falls in line with what Bob McCarty and Michelle Malkin are pumping out.

Now, I will give the writer that, at the time of this post being written, he is correct in that the release does not appear on the White House website.  Does this spell conspiracy?  Not exactly.  Some press releases are distributed to certain media outlets, some are televised, and some are distributed through electronic feed.  If something was distributed to the major news outlets but not placed on the feed or website just yet, well it wouldn’t be the first time that something like that had happened on the White House website or any other website for that matter.

Do I agree that the matter was handled differently than the Tiller murder?  Yes.  Do I agree that the statement came later than it should have?  Yes.  Do I think it shows that President Obama “disrespects” or “DOESN’T care about his troops” or “DOESN’T appreciate his troops”?  No.  Particularly since it’s not unusual for any president to be occasionally late with a statement– particularly this one and not just on this matter.  Besides, there are worse things that he could have done that would have been far more disrespectful to dead soldiers than taking a few days to release a statemtent.  But depending on which way you lean politically, the question of respect is a matter of opinion.

Did the media report differently on the two issues.  Yes, and they should have.  They were, in fact, two totally different issues that should have been handled differently.  Whether or not they media did a good job of that or not is another matter of opinion, and it depends on who you read and consider to be your media source.  Either way, the president has no control over how the mainstream media covers these things, as no public official ever should.

The part that is a matter of fact is whether or not the White House released a statement.  Did they or didn’t they?  It’s as clear cut as that, and the writer says that they didn’t.  There’s the fact in this posting, and whether or not he got it right is going to heavily play into whether or not the rest should probably be considered to be credible analysis of the president’s actions.  So on the author’s suggestion, both AP and CNN came up with the exact same lie at the exact same time and participated in a conspiracy to cover up Obama’s failure to release a statement.  At face value, the suggestion already sounds absurd.

But then I also look to Fox News for my media “checks and balances.”  Leaning heavily to the right, Fox News would be and should be the first to jump on any perceived conspiracies regarding such a matter.  But as it turns out, Fox News reported on the same statement.  So now according to the writer’s suggestion, CNN and AP both reported on a statement that doesn’t exist, and Fox News is helping them in their conspiracy to make Obama look good.  Let me repeat that.  Fox News is part of a conspiracy to make Obama avoid embarassment.  Tell me when that starts to sound a bit off.

To the writer’s credit, he did include a half-sentence to suggest that Obama “is playing favorites with whom he sends his statements.”  It’s not so much a matter of that so much as when you want to get something out, it’s not unusual to fax it to a few larger news outlets and then let it spread out from those sources.  And it’s quite possible that the statement will be posted on the website (the source of the press release feed, to which I am also a subscriber) but simply hasn’t been yet.  It could be as simple as an oversight made by any number of people, but none of that makes this a conspiracy.

Posted in Bama Bloggers, Federal Government, Mainstream Media, Public Outrage, Religion, Scandal, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Is it just me? An increase in incorrect billing.

Posted by ALmod on May 28, 2009

Over the past few months, I’ve considered myself lucky and at the same time cursed.  I consider myself lucky because if I’d been raised to be less diligent in reading my bills and documentation, we’d have paid out roughly $2000 more.  At the same time, this has been at the expense of wasting countless hours over the phone with various customer service reps while arguing over how I’ve been charged for something I shouldn’t have been.

I’m not the only one.  A quick Google search would suggest that incorrect billing is on the rise just in time for the economy to be in a mess and your paycheck to be feeling the stretch.  Could this be a coincidence?  Maybe, but I don’t believe in coincidences.

I’ve heard the stories, and I’m sure you have, too.  There are some companies out there who do it on purpose to see if people will pay the bills to avoid the hassle, but if you call them, they’ll remove the charges.  (By the way, keep an eye on your credit report, too.  If they “forget” to correct their mistake, they could very well report you.)  My current battles have been with Windstream/Dish Network and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

The problems with Windstream started when they offered to bundle my phone service with my internet and dish service (Dish Network).  At the time, it was explained to me that it would cost the price of the bundle plus whatever my current rate was with my dish service.  It was never explained to me that it would renew my contract with anyone, though I assumed my contract with my phone company would be renewed.  Since the price on my dish service remained the same according to the person I spoke with, I never assumed my contract with Dish would be renewed.  Imagine my surprise when we switched to DirecTV and were told by Dish that to cancel would cost us nearly $200 for breaking our contract.  There was nothing in writing other than a call summary ticket that was written by an employee of the company who sad I owed them money (how convenient).  Nowhere did you see anything written with my signature agreeing to the terms.  I was able to talk them out of the cancellation fees on the grounds that they deduct the $5 savings that we’d received for a few months from our prepaid month of service that was to be returned.

But that’s not where it ended.  After the service had been cancelled and the receivers for Dish had been returned, our next phone bill came in with the usual monthly charge for dish service.  We called Windstream and thought we’d resolved the issue.  We didn’t have to pay the dish charge.  When the bill came again, there was the charge same as it was before, and so the process began again.  (If this happens a third month in a row, we get free DSL service for two months.  Perhaps that will give them proper motivation to correct the bill.)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield has been a matter of not receiving coverage we’re paying for.  Our documentation states that regular office visits and preventative care are covered with a $20 copay.  There have been no changes to that coverage in 2-3 years and there will be no further changes until August of this year.  So when I showed up for my yearly gynocologist exam and find that I had an unpaid account balance, I wasn’t happy.  I actually paid that one, since it was only $10.

But then I got the bill for $50 from a lab in Atlanta for my pap smear.  It had been filed with the insurance company, and BC/BS hadn’t paid up.  Maybe it was filed incorrectly, so I decided to wait until I got the statement from BC/BS.  I only had to wait one day.  The statement showed where my doctor’s office had charged them for the test and the exam (all standard and all covered in every single yearly visit I’ve had since my teens), but BC/BS didn’t pay it and stated in the statement that I owed $150 to my doctor and the lab for services that should have been covered in my roughly $130/month premium.  The reason given according to the statement is that I’ve already received maximum benefits for this treatment for the year.  Considering that I only have one exam per year and I’d actually waited longer than a year in between, I don’t see how that’s a possibility.

So tomorrow I get to do the dance over the phone with BC/BS.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

So keep this in mind when you get your bills.  These are just two of the most recent situations where we’ve noticed problems.  Don’t just pay your bills.  READ them.

Posted in Corporate Craziness, Economy, Health and Wellness, Public Outrage, Scandal | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »