Monday, November 30, 2009

Odd News

(southern living's super-de-duper holiday issue, complete with instructions on how to deliver a baby. i sure hope patricia had this on hand.)

It's Monday! Time for some odd news.

Today I'm only going to feature one story:
"Boston Woman Delivers Grandchild On Thanksgiving."

This was reported by WHDH News in Boston, but in my opinion they left out all of the most interesting information. Here is the story word for word, with my questions in red.

BOSTON – A Boston woman says she was forced to split her time between helping her daughter deliver a baby at home and cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

(Was there nobody else at home who could have helped with either task? A husband? A neighbor? A very intelligent dog? And why do you say she was "forced"? Was she considering NOT helping her daughter? Was there a weapon involved? Or just a lot of screaming?)

Patricia McCalop was in the middle of preparing the meal when Africa McCalop suddenly went into labor two weeks early.

(Ok, so WHY would someone from Boston name their daughter "Africa"? Did Patricia mean to write "Arica" on the birth certificate, but she was maybe like totally drunk and added an extra letter and went several years before realizing that her daughter was, in fact, named Africa? I am fascinated by this.)

The grandmother called 911, and a dispatcher talked her through the delivery and helped her confirm that the baby girl was healthy and breathing. Paramedics arrived shortly afterward and took the mother and newborn to the hospital. They are both in good health.

(Ok, that's good! No questions here.)

McCalop said she kept running between the kitchen and her daughter in labor because she didn't want the turkey to burn while helping her child deliver the baby.

(Who on earth were they having for dinner? Would they not have understood if dinner was overcooked? Seems to me a brand new baby who was JUST BORN IN THE GUEST BEDROOM is a pretty good excuse.)

The infant weighed six pounds.

(THIS is how you end the story? "The infant weighed six pounds"?? I have lots more questions. Did Patricia send poor Africa to the hospital all by herself? Were the dinner guests totally grossed out by the thought of what Patricia was doing in between stuffing the turkey and baking the pies? Did Africa name her baby after some random continent? Australia, maybe? Or North America?)

Come on, WHDH News. Inquiring minds want to know ...


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I am thankful for ...

Faithful friends ...

Words of wisdom ...

Never-ending blog material ...

And, of course, all of the other hard-working politicians who do so much for the country we all love ...

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More odd news!

(so many odd things to talk about - so little time)

Gee, the news just keeps getting odder and odder!

Let's see, first there are the endless Sarah Palin interviews. Barbara Walters actually asked her with a straight face who she might consider for her Vice President, and managed to keep that straight face when Sarah went on to praise Glenn Beck. Good lord.

Very odd.

Then, there's the endless process of health reform. I heard yesterday that there are 4 members of the Democratic Caucus who are threatening to filibuster THEIR OWN PARTY'S BILL. Has this happened before? Aren't they supposed to filibuster bills from THE OPPOSITION??

Very odd.

As a little side note, I heard that Mary Landrieu sold her "yes" vote for $300 million. I definitely need to get into politics. I would sell my votes for way less than that.

And last but not least, there is the question of where on earth our President has gone?

I mean, sure, we all saw him bowing in Tokyo the other day. And we hear that he's working on Afghanistan and global warming. But look. When was the last time you saw the guy? Where did all those inspiring speeches go? And why does he look all fuzzy and far away in photographs these days?

Surely the real Barack Obama wouldn't let the health reform debate flounder like this. Surely he wouldn't allow Wall Street to continue its reckless ways while Main Street suffers. Surely the guy that I voted for wouldn't sit back in silence while the critics have a field day with the decisions being made about the Guantanamo prisoners.

Barack? Is that you?

Very odd.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Odd News

(it's time for some good news!! but I couldn't find any.
so let's do Odd News instead.)

Here are a few odd stories I found today, with my comments at the end of each one in red.


Story # 1: Man Tied 15 Lizards To Chest At Airport

LOS ANGELES – Federal officials say they arrested a man who strapped 15 live lizards to his chest to get through customs at Los Angeles International Airport.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that 40-year-old Michael Plank of Lomita, Calif., was returning from Australia when U.S. Customs agents found 11 skinks, two geckos and two monitor lizards fastened to his body Tuesday.

"Excuse me sir, could you explain those tails poking out between your buttons? And why is your carry-on bag full of crickets and spiders?"

Story # 2: Johnny Depp Named Sexiest Man Alive

Seriously? Who were the other candidates? Michael Moore and Homer Simpson?

Story # 3: Santa Gets A Face-Lift

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – A Santa in New Zealand with a droopy eye has received a NZ$100,000 ($74,000) face-lift in the run-up to Christmas so that his aging face does not scare children.

Hello ... you don't think the sight of THIS will scare the children??


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Palin Resigns From Book Tour

(somebody move that street sign. it's blocking my face)

A week into her much-anticipated book tour, Sarah Palin gave a surprise resignation speech this morning at a local Christmas tree farm.

As a buzz-saw decapitated a live tree behind her, Palin breathlessly explained that the tour was not quite what she expected.

"People who know me know that nothing is more important to me than faith, family and daily headlines on Fox News," she said. "But let's be real here, people. A BUS?? You expect me to travel on a BUS day after day?

"Oh sure, it's a pretty nice bus - and it does have the biggest picture of me, like, ever, other than the one in my living room back home. But please. It's a bus.

"There is absolutely nothing mavericky about a bus.

"Rest assured, my loyal and devoted followers with the adorable Psalm 109:8 secret code t-shirts and the balloon animals on your heads and the concealed weapons in your purses, I am not retreating. I am advancing in another direction.

"I'm coming, Oprah! Save that 4:00 time slot for me."


Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm so confused

(forgive me lord, but i hate his guts)

I got another email today from Senator John Cornyn, here in Texas. He is very confusing.

His emails consistently contradict everything else I read. Perhaps, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he has different, official, Senatorial sources. Or perhaps, as I suspect, he is a dunderhead.

Here are some of the points in his email, followed by some points from an article on on the exact same subject. Draw your own conclusions.

Senator Cornyn:
Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released his 2,074-page health care bill, which Senate Budget Committee analysis shows will cost American taxpayers $2.5 trillion when fully implemented over ten years.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled a sweeping health care bill Wednesday that would expand health insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans at an estimated cost of $849 billion over 10 years.

Senator Cornyn:
The bill will increase taxes on all Americans by nearly half a trillion dollars and breaks the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on working families earning less than $250,000.

The Medicare payroll tax on individuals earning $200,000 a year and couples earning $250,000 a year would increase by half a percentage point, from the current 1.45 percent to 1.95 percent.

Senator Cornyn:
The Reid bill increases taxpayer spending and liability for health care over the next ten years—instead of reforming our already insolvent entitlement programs.

The budget office estimated that the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years and by more than $600 billion in the following decade.

Senator Cornyn:
I am a complete dunderhead who loves to make up stuff and email it to people.

That is the first accurate thing I have ever heard from you.

Senator Cornyn:

But hey, who cares? I have great health insurance and nice white hair and I get to be on TV saying whatever the heck I want. I'm a Senator, you know.

Not for long, buddy. Not if I have anything to say about it.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Orrin Hatch promises "Holy War" over health reform.

(denying health care to your fellow Americans ... there's a cause we can all get behind)

Now that the Senate has unveiled its health reform plan, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has promised a "Holy War" during the final long, agonizing, and at this point extremely pointless process of coming up with a final bill.

From the L.A. Times:

Republicans, who have criticized the Democrats' initiative as a step toward government control of the healthcare system, are already planning a series of delaying tactics, including forcing the entire bill to be read aloud on the Senate floor.

"It's going to be a holy war," Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said Wednesday evening.


I was curious about Senator Hatch's choice of words, so I called his office last night. Here is an official transcript of our fictional conversation:

Me: Holy Health Reform, Senator Hatch! You seem to feel very strongly about this issue.

SH: I certainly do, young lady! It is preposterous to allow the government to take over health care. The insurance companies are doing a fine job.

Me: So, those checks from PhRMA are still coming through for you?

SH: Yes indeedy. Flowing like a river.

Me: Holy Handouts! That's great for you. But I'm curious about this "Holy War" you have promised. Don't you think that's a little inflammatory and right-wingy?

SH: I'm just telling it like it is. Health reform is wrong. Abortions are wrong except under certain conditions like for instance when nobody realizes they are in your health coverage for, like, 2o years, at which point they become extra emphatically wrong. And anything the Democrats propose is, of course, wrong.

Me: Holy HowBullheadedCanYouBe! This whole health reform thing has been so totally watered down and compromised, at this point even Republicans should be able to find things in there that they like! Come on. How about promoting unity and charity and health care for everyone? Wouldn't those be Holy ideas we could all get behind?

SH: No. No. No no. Nononononono. That is the official Republican Holier Than Thou position. And we're sticking together. Come Holy Hell or high water.

Me: .... sigh ...


Monday, November 16, 2009

Sarah Palin on Oprah: Wowie, what a show!!

(aren't my kids cute? stop talking about them!!)

What a blockbuster moment!! The media event of the year!! The two most self-absorbed women in the world, on stage together. Brought a little tear to my eye.

Here is an actual, unauthorized, and completely imaginary but not that far from the truth transcript of the much-anticipated Oprah-Palin interview:

Oprah: I am delighted to welcome you to my show, Sarah! Is this spotlight bright enough for you?

Sarah: Yes, it's lovely! I've been in lots of spotlights, and this is one of the best so far.

O: I need to apologize for not having you on sooner. I had some hard-hitting subjects to tackle, like Get To Know Your Colon With Dr. Oz and Why You Schmucks Are All Hopelessly Bankrupt with Suze Orman.

S: Oh, I totally understand! I've only recently become articulate, so really it works out better this way.

O: So tell me. What was it like to get that phone call, telling you that John McCain wanted to speak with you about the vice presidency?

S: It was no big deal. It was just a natural progression from the rest of my stellar career. I mean, I worked super hard just to get my bachelor's degree. Took me twelve years and nineteen different colleges. How much harder could it be to be the VP? No biggie.

O: And what about all those nasty rumors about your family? Did that bother you?

S: Oh yes. That was terrible. Every time I dragged my entire family out in front of huge crowds on national television, I pleaded with people NOT to say anything about them. Just because I carried my baby around like a canned ham and kept my other children out of school all year, that does NOT make them fodder for the radical left-wing media. It's so unfair. Right, kids?

S's Kids: Yes Mommy!

O: I have SO many other questions but your publicists told me I couldn't ask them and besides we are out of time. Thank you Sarah! Hope to see you soon!

S: Oh, I'll be around. You betcha.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

More stuff you just can't make up

What a fun week in politics!

First, a story broke in Politico, revealing that the RNC has provided employees with a health insurance plan that covers elective abortions since 1991.


Michael Steele immediately promised to end this coverage, insisting that it was only in place for emergency situations such as mistresses who live in New Jersey instead of Argentina.

"No self-respecting Republican would condone this despicable practice," said Larry Craig at a press conference held in the men's room of the San Francisco airport. "What were they thinking? This is morally indefensible. Now excuse me, someone is waiting for me in stall # 3. Coming, pookie-ooks!"

Next, the AARP endorsed the House health care bill, prompting John McCain to urge supporters to tear up their membership cards. The white-haired tea partiers in the crowd looked at each other in confusion.

"What about my Applebee's discount?" yelled Bertha Twittlebottom from Des Moines. "You expect me to pay full price for my Maple Butter Blondie? What is this country coming to?"

Somebody also started leaking portions of their new book this week, but I'm not going to pick on that.

It's just too easy.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Breaking News: 85% of Americans exempt from health reform

(i've got email - again.)

Hey! Good news for Tea Partiers! 85% of Americans will be exempt from President Obama's health reform plan.

How do I know? I read it in an email.

Well, kind of.

My husband got an email from a right-wing friend, with this picture in it:

Since I am a concerned blogger, I am dedicated to the truth, and I was extremely bored at the time, I looked up the page and line in question, from the Senate finance committee bill.

Sure enough! Page 114 Line 22 says that the Public Health Insurance Option will not be available to anyone who is covered under the Federal employees health benefits program.

So, Barack, Michelle, Sasha, Malia, Puppy Bo, Congress, and Senators will be unable to choose that option. Or, if you want to put it that way, they will be "exempt."

And guess what?? The VERY NEXT paragraph (Page 115, Line 1) says that anyone with "employer-sponsored coverage" is ALSO unable to choose the public option - I mean, "exempt from health care reform."

Think about this.

The right-wingers should be delighted! The 85% of Americans who are supposedly happy with their insurance coverage are EXEMPT from health care reform! Happy day!

There is no need to send any more emails. No reason to wear your baseball caps and accost your congress-people at Tea Parties. If you have insurance through your employer, the public option will not affect you. You are exempt.

Now please shut up and let the rest of us have a choice.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We salute you

Here is what you must know: your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched. Their life's work is our security, and the freedom that we too often take for granted.

Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - that is their legacy.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.

This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in a time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different and difficult places. They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war. They are man and woman; white, black, and brown; of all faiths and stations - all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life.

In today's wars, there is not always a simple ceremony that signals our troops' success - no surrender papers to be signed, or capital to be claimed. But the measure of their impact is no less great - in a world of threats that know no borders, it will be marked in the safety of our cities and towns, and the security and opportunity that is extended abroad. And it will serve as testimony to the character of those who serve, and the example that you set for America and for the world.

Long after they are laid to rest - when the fighting has finished, and our nation has endured; when today's servicemen and women are veterans, and their children have grown - it will be said of this generation that they believed under the most trying of tests; that they persevered not just when it was easy, but when it was hard; and that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples.


From President Obama's speech honoring the victims of the tragedy at Fort Hood. Click here for the entire transcript.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear Congressman Burgess:

(a tort reform a day keeps the doctor away)

The Republicans have ideas for health care reform. Just ask them. They'll tell ya. Tort reform, tort reform, tort reform. They have been tort reform telling us about their tort reform ideas for tort reform months. Tort reform.

I got an email from my Congressman, Dr. Michael Burgess, yesterday. Dr. Burgess reminded me that tort reform was sadly lacking from the House health reform bill. On his Congressional Health Care Caucus blog, he made this very interesting statement about the House bill:

"Medical liability reform, which has greatly improved access to health care and lowered costs in Texas, is completely missing."

Dr. Burgess also complained about the length of the House bill, which is a hefty 2000 pages.

I left a comment, but for some reason my comments never seem to appear on his blog. hmm. So just in case you stop by, Dr. Burgess, here are my thoughts:

Surely you know that Texas has the highest level of uninsured residents in the country. More than 25% of the people here have no insurance.

The Dallas Morning News recently did a comprehensive story on health care in the area. They summed it up like this:

"Medical care in Dallas is delivered in a broken market where doctors, hospitals and other providers shower patients with services of diminishing value but staggering cost."

In Texas, those of us who are self-employed are completely on our own to buy individual policies. If we have pre-existing conditions, the only fall-back option is a statewide high risk pool that costs twice as much as an already-expensive individual policy.

Tort reform may be a dandy idea for you and your doctor friends. But it has done diddly-squat for people like me here in Texas. Shame on you for implying otherwise.

As far as the length of the House bill, I do apologize. I realize it is many many pages long. But Dr. Burgess, there is a simple explanation. It includes more than one idea.


Monday, November 9, 2009

What's in the House bill?

The health reform bill that passed the House is not perfect. But in my opinion, it includes lots of good stuff! If this version becomes law (big "if" - there is still a long way to go) - the following things would happen:

Insurance companies would not be allowed to turn you down or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition.

There would be caps on annual out-of-pocket expenses - $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a family. Just think - an accident or illness would not necessarily result in bankruptcy. What a concept.

Insurance companies could not say "Sorry, we have spent too much on you. We're not paying any more." There would be no lifetime caps on the amount they would have to cover.

A temporary national high-risk pool would help cover the uninsured right away.

In 2013, an Insurance Exchange would help individuals and very small businesses obtain coverage.

In 2013, a public option would be available as one choice in the Exchange.

There would also be new insurance co-ops to help provide choice and competition.

There would be a new tax credit for small businesses that provide insurance for employees.

The anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies would be repealed.

There would be federal subsidies for lower-income people to help them buy insurance.

About 96% of Americans would be covered.

There's more. A lot more. Some good, some not so great. But overall, there's a lot to like here. Let's see what happens in the Senate.

Click here for the official summary of the House bill, or here for the entire bill. Here is another good summary.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

YAY!!! Health reform passes the House

The House of Representatives did it!!! They passed their version of health care reform last night, 220 - 215. They even got one Republican vote, from Joseph Cao (R-New Orleans) so they can call it a bipartisan bill, which I really don't care about except that it pissed off Eric Cantor, which only adds to my glee.

The House bill has some really, really good things in it. I will detail them later.

For now, if you have been listening to the scary voices telling you the Big Bad Government is going to take over your health care, I just have one thing to say:

Don't be afraid.

The bill that just passed the House will make things better. Even for you.

For the Democrats who decided to vote "no" on this bill, I have another thing to say:

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Here are their names:

Artur Davis
Lincoln Davis
Chet Edwards

Betsy Markey
Scott Murphy


Friday, November 6, 2009

Unemployment hits 10%

(smile. it might keep you from screaming.)

I found a funny Odd News story for you! This will make you smile. Unless you just lost your job. Which is highly possible, since the unemployment rate is now officially over 10%.

In fact, if you include the long-term unemployed who for some reason have dropped off the radar, the rate is closer to 18%.

Think about this for a minute. These cold statistics represent people. American families. Your friends and neighbors, who have suddenly realized that, number one, their job is gone and number two, their health insurance is teetering on the brink.

Maybe they can afford COBRA for a while. Maybe they have a spouse who is still working.

But maybe, God forbid, they will come down with the sniffles or a pesky rash.

Maybe they will try to buy insurance on their own, with a "pre-existing condition" now on their record. Good luck with that.

Maybe they will find a job that doesn't include benefits and doesn't pay all that well. If they are "lucky" enough to find an insurance company that will cover them, they may very well have to choose between making a mortgage payment and making an insurance payment. Good luck with that, too.

Oh, you're waiting for the funny story, aren't you? Sorry about that! Here it is:

Dick Armey, Mr. Teabagger himself, is featured in an interview with the New York Times magazine in which he says, I kid you not:

"The largest empirical problem we have in health care today is too many people are too overinsured."

Oh my gosh Dick, you are so funny! Stop! My sides are hurting!

Why are all the funny people from Texas? Kinda makes me want to move.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Teabaggers rally against health reform. Oh good grief.

(another Mad Hatter Tea Party ... sigh)

Michele Bachmann organized a rally in Washington today. Woo hoo. She urged opponents of health reform to come to the halls of Congress, look their Congress-people in the eye, and tell them "Don't take away my health care."

"Nothing scares Congress more than freedom-loving Americans," Bachmann told Blondie Anchorwoman on Fox & Friends.

Ironically, at the very same time a side banner proclaimed: "House version would provide coverage to 96% of Americans."

Here's the video:

Meanwhile, John Boehner, who is one of the reasons I will need to ask God's forgiveness when I reach the pearly gates, showed up at the rally and told the Tea People, "This bill is one of the greatest threats to freedom I have ever seen."

I have a few questions.

Firstly, Michele, who the heck is talking about taking away your health care?? We can all tell that you need health care. Preferably long-term residential health care. The only way you will lose your health care is if you don't get re-elected. (come on, Minnesota! you can do it!)

Secondly, John, what types of freedom will this dastardly bill take away?? The freedom to be rejected by heartless insurance companies when you get sick? Providing health care to your fellow Americans is one of the greatest threats to freedom you have ever seen? Give me a break.

I'm getting tired of this whole debate. The reform bill will probably end up so watered down, it won't make any difference anyway.

Tomorrow I'm gonna find something fun to write about.

Yahoo Odd News, here I come!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The best things in life are very expensive

(the best things in life are free? hah! think again.)

Here are some things you can get without spending a penny:

~ used chewing gum from the sidewalk

~ bricks, gravel, dirt, broken appliances and a lovely floral sofa with a missing cushion from the "Free" section of craigslist

~ the swine flu

Oh. Wait. If you got the swine flu, you might need Mucinex, Tylenol, or that excellent NyQuil stuff, which was originally called Cheese-Heroin Extra-Addictive Night-Time Formula. That stuff is expensive.

Plus, if you get the swine flu you might have to visit the doctor. He might write a prescription for Tamiflu. Or send you for x-rays. Or check you into the hospital.

All of this will cost you LOTS of pennies.

Let's face it. Health care is expensive. So why should health care reform be free?

Why is it such a big deal that the current reform proposals will cost around a trillion dollars?

-Haven't we spent that much on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
-Didn't we lose much more than that through the Bush tax cuts?
-Isn't the net effect of reform a reduction in the federal deficit?
-What the heck?

Where were all these "fiscal conservatives" when the Bush administration was running up record deficits?

Maybe they were working on the fiscally conservative version of health care reform, which to date includes 4 ideas, none of which will help me get affordable health insurance.

Seriously. Four ideas.

I think John Boehner should try selling these ideas on craigslist. Put them in the "free" section, John. Maybe somebody will take them off your hands.