Putting Nancy Pelosi on Notice RE: Healthcare

April 30, 2009

By Karen

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outdid herself for smug ignorance at a recent Christian Science Monitor event, infuriating supporters of single-payer universal healthcare. She said…

“As our members came back from their recess, a great deal of what they heard out there was public options, public options, public options, public options. In our caucus, over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer, single payer. Well, it’s not going to be a single payer. … We had an opportunity for that awhile back, and it was not realized. And that’s not what it’s going to be. So we had to take people from a place that they see universal, affordable, quality health care available best in single payer and say this can be achieved in other ways.”

Pelosi can ignore the will of the people because she’s already got what we want — government-sponsored healthcare. Yeah, WE pay for it so she can sit in Washington and help her insurance buds screw us.

Private health insurance is based on making a profit from premiums by providing little or nothing in return. Denying claims and rescinding policies are used as employee incentives for personal bonuses and to boost the bottom line.

Because lives are on the line, it’s morally indefensible. Yet these are “the other ways” Pelosi coyly refers to.

Why is she so keen to protect health insurers? Because they’re generous campaign contributors — bribing politicians with OUR health insurance premiums. Eliminating them would mean hundreds of billions instantly freed from bureaucratic waste and political corruption for medical care.

Any politician who refuses to consider the single-payer option is really saying,

“Your healthcare expenditures should continue to be wasted or end up in my campaign coffers. To hell with you and your family’s medical needs.”

Two bills for universal single-payer care, HR.676 and S.703, now sit in the House and Senate. If one of them, or something similar, doesn’t pass, then we need to wipe Washington clean in the next election of every politician who puts insurance company profits above constituents’ health.


Simple Solution to the Pirate Problem

April 29, 2009

By Yul

What is the world coming to when packs of young men in cheesy little speedboats can terrorize mammoth cargo and passenger vessels?

These so-called Somali “pirates” don’t even know enough to fly a skull and crossbones.

It’s sad when life is so bad that hostage-taking becomes a viable career option. But they’re hijacking vessels trying to bring them food and aid. As a way of overcoming poverty, it’s self-defeating.

And now the civilized world is wringing its hands over whether to arm crews of the targeted ships, and where the captured pirates should be put on trial.

Consider this: the crew of Maersk Alabama was unarmed, and it took circling warships and the USS Bainbridge 5 days to kill just 3 pirates and rescue the Alabama‘s captain, Richard Phillips.

Cost? Probably millions.

This past weekend, the Italian cruise ship MSC Melody had Israeli security guards on board who, embarrassingly, had to retrieve pistols from a safe while passengers kept a gaggle of pirates from climbing up the side by throwing deck furniture at them. But gunfire from the ship eventually repelled the attack.

Cost? A few bullets, plastic tables, and chairs.

It’s a no-brainer that all crews sailing the Indian Ocean should be armed, with orders to shoot to kill if attacked.

It also resolves the question of whose laws will prevail for crimes committed in international waters. Dead pirates need no trial.

The world must confront these seafaring thugs. The next bunch of pirates who sets sail needs to know the sea will be littered with little ghost ships crewed by skeletons or the rotting, bullet-riddled corpses of their predecessors.

If certain death becomes the immediate reward for attacking a ship, the pirates’ career prospects on land should look a lot brighter.


Top Designers Diss Michelle Obama’s Style

April 28, 2009

By Adele

My catty attitude toward Michelle Obama’s clothes has good company. Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang agree the First Lady needs help.

De la Renta told Women’s Wear Daily, “you don’t… go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater.”

The haute couture crowd is miffed at being passed over, but Michelle isn’t necessarily behind it. Keep reading…

But first, let me dismiss complaints that Michelle wears the same thing twice. That’s going overboard. She’s not in a movie. Normal people don’t wear disposable clothes.

However, somebody PLEASE confiscate that black dominatrix belt she loves, wearing it across her white bow blouse over a wide-open cardigan like she wants to look fat.

In Prague a few weeks ago (Geuereislove/Getty)

In Prague a few weeks ago (Geuereislove/Getty)

At the White House, this week. (Zimbio)

At the White House, this week. (Zimbio)

Just when Michelle seems stylistically clueless, the New York Times reveals she has a long-time fashion mentor: Chicago boutique owner Ikram Goldman.

Ikram now plays go-between with designers so they never hear directly from Michelle what she wants. It’s a weird setup.

The designers make clothes blind, having no idea if Michelle will like or ever wear them. Designer Maria Cornejo has made 8 suits, 3 coats, and 3 dresses. Jason Wu, creator of that white one-shoulder inaugural gown covered with used dryer sheets, did it in exchange only for the glory of having the dress in the Smithsonian.

And many of the relatively obscure designers Ikram solicits happen to be sold in Ikram’s boutique, so they really have no choice but to play her little games.

Can you say “conflict of interest?”

Under the circumstances, I don’t blame Oscar and Vera for being peeved.


The Latest Anthony Bourdain Roundup

April 27, 2009

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain and wife Ottavia paused for a photo at the Food Bank for New York City’s Sixth Annual Can-Do Awards Dinner to honor Jon Bon Jovi on April 21, along with Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, and Mario Batali. Bourdain always looks good in a suit and tie, but what’s with Ottavia’s cat-ate-the-canary smile? The poofy dress? Could a sib for Ariane be on the way? Only time will tell, but if I’m right, remember you read it here first.

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The Feedbag reports that Tony was in Flushing, NY, about a month ago eating a lamb face salad for an upcoming No Reservations. If that’s true, maybe it will be in the Rust Belt episode, which included Buffalo.

YumSugar reports that guest judge Toby Young will be back for Season 6 of Top Chef, which starts filming in a secret location today. Here’s hoping Tony returns to show the boring Brit how to cut a chef down to size with style.

Burrito Justice led me to Somali Pirate with the tongue-in-cheek claim (I think) that Bourdain was named “Somalia’s Next Top Pirate” on some weird Somali reality show last year. I do agree that Tony’s got the je ne sais quois to appeal to pirates.

Cats Working reader Bob alerted us to a new installment of Tony & Friends where Eric Ripert uncharacteristically rips into Gordon Ramsay’s take-no-prisoners style and what it bodes for future chefs.

Reader Adele found this account at Food Lovers Like Me on what it was like to actually be there when Bourdain and Ripert talked to Martha Stewart recently on her Sirius Radio show.

I just found this May 2008 interview with the New York Post I think I missed. Tony revealed he and Ariane loved watching Yo! Gabba Gabba on Nick Jr. and that her favorite book then was Good Night, Gorilla.

She should be ready to tackle NR: Around the World on an Empty Stomach before too long. It’s mostly pictures, and it’s dedicated to her.

And if you’re a DVD collector, No Reservations: Collection 4 goes on sale July 14 with 688 non-stop minutes of Bourdain’s travels.

The Pandemonium Of The Sun wrote a not-so-glowing review of Bourdain’s book, Typhoid Mary, which I recently read and admired for his ability to humanize a widely reviled woman. According to this reviewer, that makes me a “Bourdain fanatic.”

Just FYI, we call ourselves “Bourdainiacs” around here.


Feline Streaker Nabbed by Tail at Wrigley Field

April 26, 2009

By Fred

Most humans are blaming the cat who ran across Wrigley Field on April 21 for interrupting the 4th inning of a Chicago Cubs/Cincinnati Reds game, and they say she got what she deserved when she was tossed into the stands by her TAIL.

Run, kitty, run! (AP photo)

Run, kitty, run! (AP photo)

The Chicago Tribune claimed felines aren’t weighing in on the controversy because “repeated attempts to seek comments from cats were unsuccessful.”

Well, let’s set the record straight on that. Cats are not happy about it. Not one bit.

Our tail is an extension of our spine, so a tail is never, under any circumstances, to be used as a handle to lift us.

But the tail is exactly what the security guard grabbed when he finally nabbed this calico cat, tossing her to someone else waiting in the stands with a towel.

I’m assuming the cat’s female because most calicos are. To her credit, she put up a good fight, clawing and biting several humans who tried to catch her as she streaked to her 15 minutes of fame.

A bunch of strays live nearby, and some people think they recognize this cat as one of those. No one knows what possessed her to join the game, unless she was interrupted in hunting rats reputed to live at Wrigley, or some fan smuggled her in as a joke.

Fortunately, a vet said she appears to have suffered no lasting damage from the rough handling and waits in a local animal shelter for someone to claim her or give her a good home.

I hope this story has a happy ending.


Watching Dick Cheney’s Slimy Slide Into Senility

April 23, 2009

By Fred

One can only pity Dick Cheney’s incessant grousing about Obama’s “mistakes,” including that handshake with Hugo Chavez. It must be galling for a soulless, snarling geezer to watch the new guy carefully dismantle what he hoped would be his lasting legacy of evil. Closing Guantanamo. Refusing to engage in unprovoked mayhem and cruelty under the guise of a “war on terror.”

And now, apparently at Senator Diane Feinstein’s urging, Obama is leaving the door open to prosecuting the architects of our policies on torture.

Starting with the lawyers in the Justice Department, the fingers won’t have to point far to implicate the Marquis de Sade himself — Cheney.

Some have suggested that Bush is having Cheney bash Obama for him. I don’t buy that. Bush has nothing to gain, and everyone knows Cheney never took orders from Bush. No, Dick is acting alone, shooting his mouth off and revealing that his marbles are rattling looser than ever.

For example, Cheney still swears waterboarding works, even though we now know they did it a total of 266 times to accused terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Jack Cafferty worked that out to be about 6 times a day while it lasted.

If waterboarding is so effective, to have been doused hundreds of times, those 2 guys must have the highest IQs in history and divulged unprecedented amounts of knowledge.

They must have given us the cure for cancer, confirmed if there’s other intelligent life in the universe and what planets it lives on, and answered the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Instead of wasting ink and air time with his sour grapes, Cheney should get lost in the woods enjoying his favorite pastime — killing small, defenseless creatures — and thank his lucky stars he’s not rotting in some jail awaiting trial for war crimes.


To Preserve U.S. Dominance, Cut Off Obama’s Hands?

April 21, 2009

By Yul

You’d think Barack Obama French-kissed Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas the other day, for all the hoo-ha their handshake caused.

Where's the threat in this? (Photo - TimesOnlineUK)

Where's the threat in this? (Photo - TimesOnlineUK)

As Obama meets other world leaders for the first time, some people are upset that he’s politely listening rather than preaching. Doesn’t he realize the U.S. embodies the absolute perfection every other country should strive for? That he should remind them of it every chance he gets?

Right. We’ve got more white-collar crooks and gun-riddled corpses per square inch. Not to mention a healthcare system that costs billions more than theirs yet benefits millions of people fewer.

I see no down side to friendly relations with every country in North and South America — including Cuba, which has already annexed southern Florida — creating a cooperative powerhouse of shared interests. It could come in handy if Russia, China, or South Korea start lobbing missiles at us and we need backup.

Eight years of George Bush’s bravado left many fences to mend. That’s what Obama’s trying to do, one handshake at a time. He never said he’d take Bush’s place as the world’s schoolyard bully, so why expect it now? He’s smart enough to know there’s no “winning” any war against countries with an inexhaustible supply of ignorant fanatics willing to die for their cause.

Somebody has to say “Enough’s enough,” so why not us, the model of perfection? Let’s get back to leading by example.

Many conservatives claim to be Christian, yet clamor loudest for Obama to display more rudeness and hatred. Whatever happened to “turn the other cheek?” Where in the Bible does it say enemies must remain enemies forever?

Every time I see Obama shake hands with another leader, no matter who it is, I feel our chances of avoiding the next war just got a little better. Anybody who has a problem with that is just a fool.


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