Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Girlfriend-on-Vacation Food Pyramid

Via Lunchbreath's photostream on flickr

Health Care Debate Ignores Public Voice

It's disheartening, but not surprising, that those in Congress tasked with passing health care reform are dragging their feet on those items most popular among the citizenry.

After all, it's a tough slog when you're carrying massive satchels of cash provided by the very industry we're asking you to battle.

National Public Radio (NPR) reports that a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health finds 71% of respondents believe that Congress isn't doing enough to listen to what the publics wants as an outcome.

According to the polling data, who is most trusted when it comes to health care reform? Groups representing nurses, at 79%, followed by patients, doctors and seniors.

Least trusted? No shocker here, with insurance companies, drug makers, and large corporations continually seen in what I would describe in their traditional roles as money-grubbing robber barons, lashing all of us to the railroad tracks as illness and disease comes 'round the bend.

Since we can only seem to be able to make up our minds when voting on American Idol or some other insipid reality show, it's difficult to reconcile the fact that half of those polled believe the federal government is partially responsible for the current health care mess, yet we're expecting that same government to fix the problem for us.

So let's see...the least trusted organizations, who people overwhelmingly view as having caused the crisis in health care in America, spend millions of dollars each year funding the campaigns and interests of the American government that we're hoping will stand up and provide leadership and solutions that are diametrically opposed to their self interests.

Yeah, that could happen. More likely is a scenario being advanced by filmmaker Michael Moore, who said, "To the Democrats in Congress, find your spine. Read the polls. And see us coming."

Moore added:

"We're going to start in the primaries. Any Democrat that gets in the way of true reform, reform that has to include the public option, we are going to campaign against them in the primary. We're going to try to find people to run against them. They are not going to get away with this."

It's put up or shut up time, Dems. The White House cannot count on the continued support of progressives like those polled by Kaiser.

Kudos to for essentially telling Rahm Emanuel to stop complaining about ad campaigns criticizing Blue Dog democrats and lily-livered Congressional leaders like Harry Reid, Max Baucus, and Ben Nelson. And make no mistake - failure to pass a public option will result in a furious backlash against the ruling party.

Democrats have talked the talk. Now they must walk the walk.

Tornado Hunting

My son is fascinated by all things tornado. He's not allowed to go hunting.


1980s Dating Video Compilation

I'm glad I never did one of these in the 80s. And hey - isn't that Seth Green sandwiched in there at the end?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Health Care Reform Is Spooky - BOO!

The Traffic Circle of Afghanistan

In America, they are called traffic circles. Other geographic locations use the term roundabout. Regardless of where you are, the concept is the same - a whole bunch of twirling, bustling activity that you must somehow thrust yourself into and exit the other side, hopefully unscathed.

So it is with Afghanistan.

Pundits and politicos galore have surfaced scores of ideas about strategies that might deliver the increasingly elusive goal of success. From better governance to protecting the citizenry as a primary mission, to building out infrastructure and ramping up Afghani police and military capability, there's no shortage of suggestions.

But which to choose?

Adam Serwer at TAPPED makes the following observation:

So everyone agreed COIN was the way to go, which isn't much of a "debate," but their emphasis on different aspects of COIN inadvertently shows how difficult it will be for this strategy to work. There are so many difficult objectives that need to be achieved, and the whole COIN strategy falls apart if the U.S. fails to achieve any one of them. With no legitimate government, there's nothing for COIN to strengthen. With no strong civil society, the Afghan government will collapse. If the U.S. can't persuade the Afghan population to see American soldiers as being on their side, there's no way for a U.S. backed government to gain the trust of the Afghan people. Without functioning police and army, there's no one for the U.S. to hand over the job of protecting the Afghans over to. And so on and so forth.

The margin for error grows ever smaller. Is there really an answer?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Freaky Japanese Sesame Street Rip-off

Via BoingBoing

Monday, September 28, 2009

Insecurities Worksheet

Sort of like "pin the tail on the donkey" but involving your shameful maladies.

Via Lunchbreath's photostream on flickr

Shredsors - Shredding Scissors

From the Department of Dumb Dept. comes Shredsors.

Why spend $20 for a actual shredder when you can drop $19.95 for the privilege of manually hacking your bank statements to pieces using a 9-blade gizmo?

I see blisters in your future if you buy one of these.

Link by Neatorama

FRHACK OS v1 alpha1 - LiveCD for Security and Penetration Testing

I've written often about the BackTrack suite of security assessment and penetration testing tools. Slap BackTrack on a bootable USB drive and you're ready to wreak security geek havoc anytime, anyplace.

Darknet reports the release of FRHACK OS v1 alpha1, an updated and tweaked version of BackTrack 4 that contains fixes and additional tools.

I can't wait to try it out. You have to be somewhat Linux-friendly to work with either BackTrack or FRHACK, but it's a good way for the Wintel crowd to get some exposure outside of their comfort area.


Snuggie Fashion Show

You might think that the whole Snuggie thing would have jumped the shark by now. When it goes from late night infomercial to TBS (very funny!), you can almost see the Fonz strapping on the water skis.

With the introduction of the Snuggie fashion show, it's no longer in doubt. The final grains of sand are slowly moving to the bottom half of the hourglass.

Since the host of the fashion extravaganza was Jay Leno's intern Ross, I'm assuming the Snuggie marketing folks were looking to avoid the fashion death panels for a little while longer, and here I am, your intrepid blogger, falling right into their trap.


Via Neatorama

Sexism and Technology - SMBC

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Don't Be Lonely, Mr. Weiner

Via The Agitator

The Public Opts In

Sick for Profit

Via Hullabaloo

Glenn Beck Explains White Culture

Hot Milk Lingerie Makes Pregnant Sexy Again

Thanks to Five Blogs Before Lunch for putting this into my head.

Strip Club

Female Sprinter Face Plant

Ouch. She was so close.

EMBED-Female Runner Faceplants Right Before Finish - Watch more free videos

Friday, September 25, 2009

Get Your Crazy Michele Bachmann Action Figure

She doesn't have the kung-fu grip of GI Joe, or wet her pants like Hasbro's Baby Alive, but the Michele Bachmann action figure doll most certainly involves bending and twisting in order to distort common positions into unrecognizable wack-a-doodle poses.

And it's only $34.95. That's probably due to supply & demand.

The market is flooded with crazy right now.

Via Talking Points Memo

Stick Figure Guide to AES Encryption

Well, this makes perfect sense now.

If you're really interested in AES encryption, be prepared to spend a few minutes scrolling through this. It's sort of lengthy. But good.

Are Democrat Supporters Pissed?

Much has been written (and aired) about growing discontent among the core demographic of Dems and Indies who claim, rightly or wrongly, to have propelled Barack Obama to victory last November. The hint of change that was wafted by then-candidate Obama, it is said, was the reason so many cast Democratic ballots to give the party control of the White House and both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Hardly mentioned at all is the concept that people were frightened by the scary-ass ticket of the old guy and batshit-crazy woman, or that the GOP was rudderless after running aground their flagship, the USS Feckless. Change is nice, but incompetence and lunacy usually helps people to decide how to flip the lever.

John Avarosis from AMERICAblog weighs in on a WaPo offering that includes the following snippet:

Democrats said a struggling economy is only partly to blame for the poor fundraising performance and acknowledged a more perilous problem: satisfaction among activists that the party now holds the White House, 60 votes in the Senate and 60 percent of the House.

"There was a little sense of complacency that set in despite our best efforts to warn people," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "We made it very clear: Beware."

Avarosis posits that complacency isn't the problem - it's the lack of intestinal fortitude by the party that holds all the cards.

Democratic activists are pissed, and see no reason to fund a party that doesn't have a backbone or the desire to keep its promises.

Say what you will about the Republican party - while they may be utterly out of step with what most people want, completely unable to generate new ideas and implement policies that make a difference in the lives of Americans - they are able to maintain unity and consistency of message. Through heavy-handed tactics and Lord of the Flies strategies, the GOP makes the most of their limited toolset to drive through their agenda or put the other side's into a ditch.

Perhaps with so many folks deserting the party due to the zealous purity cleansing that's going on, the GOP finds it easier to keep all of their bobcats in one bag. They've effectively eliminated most of the voices of dissent, leaving them the small tent party of Richie Rich, Chuck Norris, and Lil' Abner.

Democrats seem unable to grasp how small the window for change can be, while treating the dem platform as a zero-sum game. If a rising tide lifts all boats, then wouldn't the broader interests of progressives be bolstered by administration victories on issues like health care reform, revamping of the financial system regulatory environment, and the pressing of incremental changes to labor and foreign policy?

Such a tide doesn't produce notable results right away, but through gradual build-up over time. It's easier to start from a higher plane when you're coming off of a victory, especially a resounding one. With conservatives playing an obvious stall game, hoping to cap significant movement on major legislation until they believe the numbers are more to their liking, the lack of unity and purpose evidenced by progressives is of tremendous benefit to the other side.

Democrats have long struggled with the hardball tactics required to advance a cause, while Republicans have been unapologetic in their goal-oriented approach to power. Even in the minority, shouting insane mistruths from the sidelines, they are dominating the conversation and causing the progressive agenda to slog through fields of mud, a task made even more difficult by the feet of clay belonging to congressional leadership.

So yes, I think it's safe to say that if supporters of democratic candidates in 2008 aren't pissed, their temperature is definitely rising, and there's only so much pressure that can build before the whole thing blows.

Leadership has limited opportunity to remove the kettle from the flame, and should they fail to heed the warnings, they have only themselves to blame.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Boss Has A Birthday

Bruce is 60. Can you believe it?

Meat Sweats

For more clever works, check out the Lunchbreath photostream on Flickr.

Twist Barbie

via BoingBoing

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spin That Old School Vinyl With USB Style

So you have a waxy stack of Journey records, or perhaps some Bananarama. A fan of REO Speedwagon and Def Leppard, but no turntable on which to spin your old school vinyl?

Worry not, you party animal. The Linos USB record player is here.

There's no mention of the sound quality, so take this whole thing with a grain of audiophile salt. I'm not sure this device is marketed toward hardcore sound enthusiasts in the first place.

I went to high school with a guy whose senior yearbook snippet included the concept that distortion was worse than death. So there's that.

Toasty Warm Monkey Gloves

Mrs. Skepticist has a difficult time keeping her hands and feet warm when summer is over.

And by that I mean from September through June.

She's soooo getting a pair of these for Christmas.

Via Neatorama.

Atheist Cafe

Via Neatorama

This Toy Toughens Kids Up, Dammit

None of those wussie Hannah Montana dolls or sickening My Little Pony figures for some kids. Oh, no.

It's a competitive world out there, and the sooner they learn the brutal facts of life, the better.

And wouldn't you know it, the thing isn't even American.

No wonder the far east is kicking our ass.

Via Geekologie

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Laptop Burka

There have been some stupid products marketed to computer users over the years.

Now there is one more.

The laptop burka allows you to hide the shame and humiliation that comes with sitting outdoors with a sheet over your head while you type away on your Dell.

In case you're wondering, yes, it would get very hot under there. Instead of a Dell, perhaps you should invest in a Panasonic ToughBook in case multiple drops of sweat fly off your nose like tiny liquid ski jumpers headed for your keyboard.

As Scott Adams said, “There's nothing more dangerous than a resourceful idiot.”

Via Dvice

Michele Bachmann Kills Hamsters?

She doesn't really kill hamsters. It's just a play on words by Margaret and Helen.

Michele Bachmann’s wheel is still spinning, but the hamster is dead.

Helen rips into the republican party for their numerous positions that straddle the crazy fence.

I am not sure when it happened but the base of the Republican party either got lazy or stupid or both… or maybe they always were.   It took me only a few minutes of research on the internet to learn that America spends more on healthcare than any other wealthy nation and yet we don’t live longer or have better health outcomes. So unless we just enjoy making health insurance companies rich, all those tea party morons  need to use the internet for something other than ordering their penis enhancement pills.

When even satirical old people turn on you, perhaps it's time to reconsider your platform.

Image via Wikimedia Commons