May 13, 2006

I think they might have heard that

Verizon is being sued for what could go up to $50 billion for bending over for the NSA.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:39 PM

May 12, 2006

Smartass retort of the day

Actual quote from a FreeRepublic thread about Bush's delightful new 29% approval rating:

The only person President Bush needs approval from is Jesus Christ.
Well, sure, but I thought the Freepers' big complaint was how dead people vote for Democrats.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:43 AM

May 11, 2006

In which Augie the obvious idiot asks the question those smarties over at the AP didn't

The AP headline for this story is "Four in 10 Malpractice Cases Groundless." This seems like a brainbuster, but if four in ten malpractice cases are groundless, doesn't that mean six in ten- which I believe is a majority- aren't?

The psychotic outrage over the existence of Spanish-speaking people in the United States has overtaken other pet peeves of the right wing as of late, but over the last few years one of their side projects was convincing the country that the entire health care crisis in America is not because of an untamed for-profit health care industry, but because states aren't allowed to regulate holding those companies and doctors accountable.

While the headline seems like a ringing endorsement to Republican attempts to cap damages and limit lawsuits, I don't think it really is. Among other findings are that while frivilous claims are files, they are usually settled for less, and that the majority of malpractice claims- in fact, 97 percent of them- are for serious injury or death.

And, as I expected, you'll note the average settlement payment for a frivilous claim was just over $300,000. GOP bills aimed to cap damage settlements at $250,000, which means the impact on the damage costs for insurers would be close to nil... except, of course, for those lawsuits where they have to pay millions when they screwed up in ways too horrific to describe here. How convenient.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:21 AM

May 9, 2006

You kids get off my lawn

I feel like an elderly curmudgeon writing this, but whatever.

The last video game console system I actually owned was the Super Nintendo. The pure love for Final Fantasy VI aided me through not wanting anything else after that, until I hit college and bought my first PC of my very own. Since then, the only games I've played were computer games, which usually go for about 30 to 45 bucks, max.

So keep that in mind when I express pure unbelievable surprise at this. The new Playstation is going to cost six hundred dollars? People are paying six hundred bucks for game systems, plus seventy bucks a pop for games?

Good lord. For less than a grand I can custom build a computer for myself. Ten miles to school each day in the snow and all that, but come on. That's insane.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:57 PM

Mission Accomplished

This is from a post over at MetaFilter; there are so many relevant links I'm just copying the whole thing over.

UN reports "vast" levels of hunger for Iraq's children. The World Food Programme is reporting that a "dismal shortage of cash" is jeopardizing the health of over 3 million Iraqis, over half of them children. The organization cites "a growing negative impact on the most vulnerable". Last year, a survey indicated that over 27 percent of all Iraqi children under the age of five were chronically malnourished. This was before reports came out, indicating that food rations have been cut off, and reports of food prices escalating sharply. Some Iraqis have resorted to selling their blood for money to make ends meet. Approximately 400,000 Iraqi children now suffer from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein. Iraq now has the third highest infant mortality rate in the world, just ahead of Afghanistan.
Heckuva job, Georgie.

Heckuva job.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:46 AM

Well, yeah

Ezra ponders what I had sort of assumed was obvious:

I fear some serious lowering of expectations here, as Democrats talk up their chances of gains ("Three chambers of Congress! The House, the Senate, and one Rahm Emanuel HASN'T EVEN INVENTED YET!") and the Republicans inflate their likelihood for loss. If this gets bad enough, I fear anything less than a a total, crushing victory, particularly in the House, will be seen as a "win" for Republicans.
It's a give and take here: Democrats are actually adapting the GOP's rather successful technique of just saying speculative things as if they're a fact ("Well, Sean, I mean we already know Saddam was involved in 9/11...") over and over until they're part of the mainstream dialogue ("Tonight: why are Democrats refusing to hold Saddam accountable for his role in 9/11?") So honestly, it's not really a bad overall strategy to just keep saying "well everyone knows we're going to gain seats in November." It forces the media to start saying it as well. Election season is the time of year when you just have to admit punditry isn't as much a strategy as it is the Ludovico Treatment.

So for the expectations angle, this was sort of expected. Here in Virginia last November, the conservative tone went from "bye bye, Mark Warner's Presidential bid! LOLO!!!1!!11" to "what ARE you Dems braying about, all you did was hold two governor's offices" in the span of about twelve hours.

Also, the invasion of Iraq wasn't about the WMDs. How silly of us to have thought that.

Outside of some kind of October surprise so huge it actually kills the term for the rest of history, it's understood that Democrats are going to gain seats in Congress. They've already established that control of Congress is the official "victory" line. Hell, Liddy Dole's laughable fundraising letters are now based entirely on that concept. ("If Democrats win, they might even try to hold the President accountable for his actions!" Umm.... alrighty then.)

The backfire, of course, is not with liberals overextending their hopes, but conservatives overextending theirs. The right-wing base of the party has suffered the inconvenience of total dominant power in Washington, thus leaving them with only one standby: them damn Activist Judges™. In other words, the Democratic "victory" might be taking over at least one House of Congress, but until about a month ago the Republican "victory" for 2006 for the last 18 months or so has been 60 Republicans in the Senate. Let's face it; it's not going to happen.

All of this, of course, revolves around the pesky problem of liberals still actually caring how Republicans spin whatever happens, and letting them get away with it. The ultimate issue is that we need to stop doing that

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:01 AM

May 8, 2006

Latest comic - "C.E.K.S.P.N.C.I.A.D.T.V.M.A.B.A."

So much of me wants to have something to say about this. And yet, it all just speaks for himself. You know it's true. You will pass on to your friends and stare at him on CNN and be unable to think anything except It's true. It's so true.

As for merchandise, I have an order of Attitude 3 books coming in hopefully this week, which means hopefully within a week I'll have signed copies available on the site. Don't let that stop you from buying anything now, of course.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:07 AM