Oh, Dear. An Award.

My dear heart sister NP has won the Kreativ Blogger award.  Huzzah!  She promptly passed the thing on to me.  And, like so many things in life, it comes with strings attached.  Deary, deary me.

It seems the requirements are thus: award seven other bloggers, and then list seven favorite fiction authors.  Those of you who frequent the cantina know how I feel about sevens.  So Dana’s doing eights, and you lucky recipients can revert back to sevens if you like.

Onward ho, then.  Alphabetical order so as not to play favorites.

Cujo359’s Slobber and Spittle.  Seeing as how he’s the official Thinking Brain Dog of ETEV, I think you can see why he’s chosen.

Efrique’s Ecstathy.  Mathematics and charts aren’t so scary when he’s around.

George W’s Decrepit Old Fool.  Going there always makes me feel smarter and happier than I was starting out.

John Pieret’s Thoughts in a Haystack.  Nobody spanks the creationists quite like John.

Last Hussar’s Barracks.  An Elitist Bastard tried-and-true.

NP’s The Coffee-Stained Writer.  Her enthusiasm for the craft keeps mine burning.

Paul Sunstone’s Cafe Philos.  The world always seems a lot more beautiful after a visit there.

Z’s It’s the Thought that Counts.  Always plenty of thought to be had, and fine Elitist Bastardry it be.

Damn it.  Too many wonderful bloggers, not enough room.  Consider a free drink poured for all of you I didn’t get a chance to mention.

And now, the authors.  Not bothering with alphabetical this time.

J.R.R. Tolkien.  Dear Professor Tolkien didn’t used to be one of my favorites, but now he most certainly is.  He set out to create a mythology for England.  He ended up creating something much greater.  And the fact that it took him so damned long is a great comfort to me.

Neil Gaiman.  He’s one of the most extraordinary authors I’ve ever read.  If it weren’t for him, I would never have appreciated comics. What I feel for Roger Clyne in the music world, I feel for Neil in the writing world.

Terry Pratchett.  Comedy in his hands turns into some of the most incisive social commentary I’ve ever had the privilege to read.  In the old days, he would’ve been a bard feared by kings.

Connie Willis.  She’s hands-down one of the finest science fiction authors ever.  Her serious stuff makes me weep, and her funny stuff also makes me weep.  I will never see space programs or spice pogroms the same way again.

C.S. Friedman.  Her Coldfire Trilogy contains one of the greatest anti-heroes ever written.  Her science fiction includes one of the best space battles ever written.  Reading her is an all-encompassing experience.

Robert Jordan.  My only complaint is that he died before he finished the Wheel of Time.  He created one of the most richly-imagined worlds ever to exist in fantasy.  Tolkien’s heir, for sure.

Patricia McKillip.  She’s one of the most lyrical writers out there.  When I need poetry in prose, I turn to her.

Guy Gavriel Kay.  Basically, the male version of Patricia McKillip.  Words like music, stories like symphonies.

Right, then.  Duties discharged, congratulations handed around, now it’s time for another drink, my darlings.  Salud!

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Well, ’twas a big day in the Senate, where Cons and Con-like Dems were busy defeating the public option, just as we suspected.  Some of the arguments against it were remarkably inane, even for Cons.  So does that mean the public option’s dead?  Not at all.  And support for reform is rising

Still.  It would be nice to know the names of the Dems who seem like they’re planning to stand with the Cons on a filibuster.  Those folks need a few reality checks sent to them from their constituents.

I’ll bet you a dollar to a Con promise that one of those assclowns is Sen. Ben Nelson, who really outdid himself on the stupidity today.  Where to begin?  He’s planning to vote against reconciliation should it come to that.  This despite the fact he loved him some reconciliation when it came to the Bush tax cuts.  He’s yammering about health care reform needing 65 votes to really mean anything, rather ignoring the fact that voters put 60 Dem butts in Senate seats for a reason.  And despite the fact he liked 60 votes just fine when it came to the stimulus.  And the fact that he won his elections with well under 65% of the votes.  Speaking of elections, he thinks we need another one just to make sure the voters were really truly serious about getting health care reform done.

Next election, I hope his constituents are smart enough to throw him out on his ear.  What a fucking useless piece of shit.

He almost overshadows the stupidity of Cons, but Chuck Grassley’s doing his best to hold onto the title.  When backed into a corner, he defended Medicare by calling it part of our social fabric, but scorned a public option because government is a predator.  This only makes sense when you realize he’s attempting to hold two mutually exclusive positions, and getting a groin pull trying to straddle them.

Other Cons are trying to claim they do, too have a health reform plan!  That’s probably news to their leadership.  Bad news, because their “plan” sucks leper donkey dick.

Meanwhile, Blue Dog Dems attempt to hold insurance subsidies hostage over abortion.  I know the Democratic party is a big tent, but for fuck’s sake, aren’t there any limits?

Their insurance company friends are busy scaremongering seniors to drum up business.  Totally shameless, these fuckers are.

I’ve saved some of the best news for last.  Sen. Byron Dorgan is getting ready to blow up the sweetheart deal between Baucus, the White House, and PhRMA.  Those fireworks should be very much worth seeing.

The next few weeks should be very interesting indeed.

Texas Schools Admit Abstinence-Only is Bullshit

Looks like someone woke up and smelled the reality, eh?

Texas currently has the third-highest teen birth rate in the country and “the highest rate of repeat teen births.” It also leads the nation in the amount of government money it spends on abstinence-only education. But some school districts in the state are now shifting away from that approach, admitting that it isn’t working:

“We mainly did it because of our pregnancy rate,” said Whitney Self, lead teacher for health and physical education at the Hays Consolidated Independent School District. “We don’t think abstinence-only is working.” […]

Let’s hope other school districts show as much sense. The teenagers of Texas deserve better than the misinformation they’ve been getting.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

You know, I’d really like it if so many of our elected officials didn’t sound just like Teabaggers.  I’ve come across more snippets of Rep. Trent Franks’s performance at the Take Back America confab, and might I just say this is conduct unbecoming to a Congressman:

Rep. Trent Franks (R) of Arizona has been moving fairly aggressively lately towards the edge of the right-wing cliff. By agreeing to appear at an extremist conference in St. Louis over the weekend, Franks further cemented his position as one of the caucus’ most unhinged members.

But if there are any lingering doubts, consider the fact that the Arizona congressman labeled President Obama an “enemy of humanity” at the event.

“Obama’s first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers’ money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries…there’s almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that.

“We shouldn’t be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can’t do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.”

Remember, he thinks the president is “insane.”

And here’s his staff’s feeble effort at damage control (h/t):

Bethany Haley, spokeswoman for Franks, said the congressman was referring to “unborn humanity” and should have clarified his statement.

Because that makes it sound so much better. Only the minds of madmen think that helps.

And I’m sure the freaks and fantatics at the conference happily swallowed that excuse (unless, of course, they were pissed at Franks for backpedaling).  After all, they’re the ones who’ve decided the President is, indeed, a Muslim:

At the How to Take Back America conference last weekend, attended by several Republican lawmakers, former Reagan official and prominent neoconservative Frank Gaffney, right-wing historian Bill Federer, and Christian activist Walid Shoebat hosted a panel on “How to understand Islam.” An attendee of the panel asked the three speakers if they would consider President Obama a Christian or a Muslim, given his “roots.” While Gaffney gave a now familiar response linking Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood, Federer and Shoebat provided new theories, which elicited praise from the crowd:

GAFFNEY: If Bill Clinton, on the basis of special interest pandering and identity politics, was properly called the first Black American President, on that same basis, Barack Obama should be called the first Muslim American President. […] But there is evidence that a lot of Muslims think he is Muslim. But whether he is or whether he isn’t, the key to me, is is he pursuing that is indistinguishable in important respects from that of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose mission ladies and gentlemen, we know from a trial in Dallas last year, is to quote to destroy Western civilization from within by its own miserable hand. That’s what we need to keep our eye on.

FEDERER: In Islam, if your father is a Muslim, you’re automatically a Muslim. Since Barack’s father, stepfather, and grandfather were all Muslim, the Muslim world views him as Muslim. Mohammad allowed his warriors to say they’re not Muslim to gain advantage and um, but he’s uh, Islam permits you to lie to advance Islam, Saul Alinsky allows you to lie to advance your communist agenda, you can put them together.

SHOEBAT: I came from an American mother, Obama came from an American mother. I came from a Muslim father, Obama came from a Muslim father. […] Did you know that your President knows how to do the call to the prayer in eloquent classical Arabic? […] No one can do this in classical Arabic language unless he grew up and was raised as a Muslim.

 Um.  How about anybody who can use Google and listen to a recording?  Back in college, in fact, I had the whole thing memorized.  In Arabic.  And my family’s a bunch of white rednecks from Indiana.

How divorced from reality is the right?  Well, we not only have Teabaggers and Teabaggy Congresscritters, Tenthers, Birthers, Deathers, and whatever the fuck you call a bunch of dumbfucks who get together to feed each other conspiracy theories and some of the most idiotic “evidence” that the President’s a Muslim ever cooked up by a fevered mind – we also have Richard Cohen deciding that a President making an announcement whilst flanked by two world leaders is not “presidential:”

Richard Cohen’s columns are getting increasingly difficult to read, and even more difficult to understand.

Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief.

Take last week’s Group of 20 meeting in Pittsburgh. There, the candidate-in-full commandeered the television networks and the leaders of Britain and France to give the Iranians a dramatic warning. Yet another of their secret nuclear facilities had been revealed and Obama, as anyone could see, was determined to do something about it — just don’t ask what.

As criticism goes, this is pretty odd. President Obama talking to television reporters about current events from the White House is, apparently, not “presidential.” Why? Because Richard Cohen says so. The public disagrees — recent polls show Americans entirely comfortable with the amount of time the president spends communicating through the media — but that apparently doesn’t matter.
But more important is the notion that Obama, standing alongside British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was also not presidential enough in publicly revealing the existence of a secret Iranian nuclear facility. The problem, as Cohen sees it, is that the Western leaders warned Iran, but were vague about potential consequences.
It’s unclear why Cohen found this so offensive. Obama’s goal was to give the U.S. leverage, and put Iran on the defensive, in advance of this week’s talks in Geneva — representatives of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Germany, and Iran will meet, and Obama, Brown, and Sarkozy added an increased “sense of urgency” to the discussions.
Indeed, President Obama seems to have played this very well. After achieving a victory on Thursday with the U.N. Security Council, his remarks on Friday had exactly the intended effect. Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, said Obama “played Iran perfectly, to isolate Iran, unite all the other countries around him, with an open hand to Iran, and then he springs the trap.” Even a Washington Times columnist noted, “Not only did the president look strong, he looked cunning.”

Ohforfuck’ssake.

I’m too tired for this shit.  You all have fun Googling Bush flanked by various and sundry world leaders whilst making vague pronouncements, and see if you can find any Cons bitching about how “unpresidential” that was.  Bet you a dollar you’ll find plenty of the former and none of the latter.

Time now for our next installment of “But Really, We’re Not Racists!”  If that’s the case, I can’t wait to hear the compelling explanation for this:

I’m going to start this off Matt Drudge style:
BLACK MAN ORDERED NOT TO RUN BY REPUBLICANS 
Awesome.
Okay, here’s the story from RedStateStrikeForceWolverineMedia:
You know Larry Elder: the African-American, Californian, libertarian, popular radio host and firebrand. He’s been around for a while, and he’s a solid presence on the California media-and-politics scene. Elder is a serious name and presence among California Republicans. He just wrapped up his radio show. “Why,” you might ask, “doesn’t Larry Elder run for the Senate?”
There is an answer accorinding(sic) to many of Elder’s friends at the Republican Convention — Senator Cornyn and the NRSC told him not to.
[snip]
How incompetent is this? The NRSC actually told a popular African-American with statewide name recognition to NOT run? Last I checked, our party isn’t overflowing with those.
Oh, and the NRSC expects Carly Fiorina to lose to Barbara Boxer — and they told a talk radio host this?
This is so full of win.

Mind you, it’s Red State breaking this news.  I don’t leap to see racism in every little misstep by the right, but like I said, it’ll be interesting to hear what the alternative explanation is.

And, finally, I have big news.  I am 95% of what’s destroying America:

Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-Equal Rights Amendment activist who heads the Eagle Forum, hosted the right-wing conference How To Take Back America last weekend. Several GOP members of Congress attended the conference, and each paid their respects to Schlafly for her leadership in the conservative movement. Schlafly delivered several speeches and led a discussion advocating traditional roles for women as well as warning about the dangers of feminism and blasting single mothers:

I submit to you that the feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today. […] My analysis is that the gays are about 5% of the attack on marriage in this country, and the feminists are about 95%. […] I’m talking about drugs, sex, illegitimacy, drop outs, poor grades, run away, suicide, you name it, every social ill comes out of the fatherless home.

Ladies, pour yourselves a drink.  We finally beat out Teh Gays as the right’s biggest enemy in the Culture Wars.

I’m especially proud of my dear heart sister NP, who’s busily undermining the sacred institution from within by being a happily married wife and mother.  Woot!

An Invite to Me New Invitation-Only Blog!

Well, my darlings, summer’s over, which means Dana’s done playing hooky.  Time now for writing.  The cantina will get a bit quieter, although I’ll still be providing at least two posts daily most days.  I’m not likely to neglect my regulars, now, am I?

And if you want to join me on my writer’s journey, you are officially invited to become a Wise Reader.  A Slight Risk of Insanity is my invitation-only blog for musings, writerly snippets, and various and sundry other items related to the writer’s life that I don’t feel like cluttering the cantina with.  If you’re interested in becoming a Reader, shoot me an email at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.  You’ll even have the chance to read excerpts nobody else can get their hands on.  How awesome is that?

As to the regulars who don’t have time for yet another bloody blog but like the occasional post on writerly stuff, no worries.  I’ll be cross-posting anything of general interest right here at the cantina.  No excerpts, though.  Gotta reserve something of interest for the privileged few!

Hope to see you over at the new place. 

Mystery Solved

A few days back, I mentioned that the commercials for the new season of The Shift contained an unidentified promo song. No one on the intertoobz could figure out what it was or where it came from.

A day later, Dave from Investigation Discovery hopped into a forum where folks were bitching and promised he’d find out. And Dave came through:

And the answer is . . . . .

The Shift’s Season 2 theme from the promos is called “Something Is Wrong”

It was recorded & produced by David Ayers & Felix Tod, the MC Vocals & rhymes are by Skeme and the publisher is West One APM (ASCAP).

More details to come on availability of this track outside of THE SHIFT’s promos . . . which comes back for its second season on Wednesday, September 30at 10 PM on Investigation Discovery!

More elements are going to be online soon – but check the series’ website out at http://investigation.discovery.com/t…the-shift.html to learn more.

Thanks for all your enthusiasm for The Shift promos – and be sure to check the show out!

Dave

Dave, you are so my hero!

By the way, if you like cop shows, three reasons to watch this one. 1) It takes place in Indianapolis, IN, which is a rather interesting place; 2) the detectives are fascinating; and 3) the cameras aren’t horribly intrusive.

In my case, though, I’ll mostly be doing it for Dave. But it really is a good show.

One thing I learned from The Shift marathon I watched Sunday: there’s a damned good reason to hire women as detectives. How many men would haul off and hug a suspect? How many male suspects would accept that hug and then start babbling a confession, complete with telling where they buried the body, as if they were admitting to Mommy that yes, they’d been a bad, bad boy? Extraordinary. Let that be a lesson to the ladies: don’t be afraid to be feminine in a traditionally “male” job. It can absolutely work in your favor.

Anyway. Mystery solved. Moving on, now…

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Just when you thought insurance companies couldn’t get any more ridiculous in determining reasons to jack up premiums, they do:

I’m really glad Republicans and Democrats in Washington are so intent on protecting the insurance industry when I read stories like this from the Longmont Times-Call newspaper:

David Sirota :: Post Office Zip Code Change Prompts Insurance Industry Attempt to Jack Up Rates

Nancy Clinton got a surprise when she called her health insurance company recently. She was calling to ask about a benefit issue, and she said that as long as she was on the line, the company might as well note her new ZIP code: 80504.

“So, she went in and came back and said, ‘Oh, this is going to significantly increase your premium,'” Clinton said Friday…

Clinton’s was one of 8,610 northeast Longmont addresses that had their ZIP codes changed to 80504 from 80501 on July 1.

“Our health insurance would go up about $60 a month,” Clinton said. “I didn’t move, and the hospital didn’t move.”..

Best health care system in the world, eh? Go on, pull the other – it’s got bells on.

NJ Dems prove they’re just as greedy for medical industry cash as Cons, pressuring the FDA to approve an unsafe medical device. Methinks this is an indication that we should remove industry cash from political coffers.

Cons are currently out trumpeting their creds as valiant defenders of Medicare. Steve Benen reminds us why this isn’t a very credible claim at all. Keep that link handy for your more gullible acquaintences.

The Washington Times has a piece up called “Death Panels By Proxy.” Remarkably enough, their assumptions are total bullshit.

In a sign that Progressives in the House aren’t backing down on the public option, Rep. Grijalva unloads on both Baucus and Obama.

Little-known fact: 24 Blue Dogs actually wouldn’t mind supporting the public option. Looks like Dems may not be so fractured as some health industry friends would like us to believe.

Meanwhile, more rationing and long wait times for health care in America. Looks like some o’ that there “socialized” medicine wouldn’t be such a bad idea, eh?

Speaking of socialized medicine, Jennifer Nix likes her socialist kidney just fine.

And finally, bad news for states determined to protect their citizens’ right to crap health care: nullification is right out. Socialized kidneys for all!