Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saw this graph at Firedoglake-link




The figure for deaths due to lack of health insurance came from a Harvard study that was published in the American Journal of Health Care, the other numbers for accidents and deaths due to sickness are from the National Center for Health Statistics (part of CDC). I did not realize that there were 10K deaths from Swine Flu this year, turns out, that's the estimate, might be as high as 14K.

At the right end of the graph is a sliver that represents 16 deaths due to terrorism. Certainly there are some Americans that are totally freaked out by shoe bombers and underpants bombers, unfortunately the heads of most of our media outlets are among that group. So, if you subject yourself to American news programs it's most likely going to be Terror! Terror! Terror! for the most part. Any news about HCR will probably be inside baseball about how the big players are wheeling and dealing.

My problem with the graph is that it says deaths due to lack of insurance, insurance is not health care. I have insurance from my employer, we're all required to enroll in the company health plan if we're not covered by any other plan. The deal is the coverage sucks, if I got seriously ill, the co-pays and out of pocket expenses might well drive me to bankruptcy.

The endless war on terror that we seem to be committed to is siphoning an enormous amount of resources away from our health care problems. that is the shame of this nation. My suggestion, ditch this piece of crap masquerading as health care reform now, enact universal single payer health care/ Medicare for all, pay for it by scaling back the MIC accordingly. It's a plan, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Recent Photos



Dark clouds brooding over peaks in the Raggeds Wilderness, they rained on me pretty good down the road.




Believe it or not, they call this Flat Top Mountain, it's gorgeously illuminated in this late summer sunset.




Wild turkeys that didn't seem to mind sharing the road with me for a short stretch west of Crested Butte.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Small Waterfall at Cold Springs



This is one of two small waterfalls at the Cold Springs Campgrounds in the Flattops Wilderness. I've camped by these falls a least once each summer over the past few years. Year after year the flow of water down these falls is so consistent that they seem like fountains to me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Myanmar cracks down on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi again!-link




The repressive junta that rules in Myanmar has sent Daw Aung San Suu Kyi home for another 18 months of house arrest. This is just beyond the pale, this poor woman has been stifled for years now. Bill Clinton, paging Bill Clinton to the freedom phone, Bill, we've got another job for you.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Trapper's Lake



Some moments of zen, punctuated by mosquito bites at a remote location in Colorado's Flattops Wilderness.

Friday, July 17, 2009

They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore, RIP Walter Cronkite-link


Wow, it doesn't seem like forty years ago, but sure enough it was, a hot summer night with families gathered round their televisions to watch Neil Armstrong hop down to the surface of the moon. All were sharing that moment with the most trusted man in America, Walter Cronkite. It's impossible to forget his face, eyes welling up, choked-up with joy and pride at the achievement, I shared those emotions, I'm sure everyone watching did.

The title links to the New York Times obituary, which covers his career and pays tribute to a man who set the standard for his profession, it's a very high standard that I don't see anybody surmounting since his day. Go read the obit if you've a mind to, the Times piece is fairly lengthy, fitting for a giant like Cronkite. In this summer's celebrity death parade, here's the real kingpin, a national treasure and a national hero.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

They Hang War Criminals, Don't They?-link

As Joan Walsh notes, a new Newsweek article just out from Daniel Klaidman is sub-headlined: "Obama doesn't want to look back, but Attorney General Eric Holder may probe Bush-era torture anyway" and reports:
Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter.
Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. "I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda," he says. "But that can't be a part of my decision."
I'll believe that only if and when I see it, but as Obama himself has recognized, it's ultimately irrelevant what Obama wants in this regard. The duty to bring prosecutions where they are merited falls squarely and solely with the Attorney General, and indeed, it would be highly inappropriate for the President to attempt to pressure him one way or the other.
As Holder ostensibly recognizes, the type of political considerations that Obama defenders typically cite in order to justify the President's opposition to prosecutions ("it will ruin bipartisanship; it will distract from health care; he has to focus on the economy") are completely inappropriate for an apolitical Attorney General to allow to steer him away from prosecutions where serious crimes were committed. That's particularly true where, as here, we're talking about serious war crimes which the U.S. is obligated by treaty to submit for prosecution. The appointment of a strong and truly independent prosecutor to investigate Bush-era war crimes would be a substantial step in the right direction.
-- Glenn Greenwald

Another great column from Greenwald today, he just keeps churning out these awesome posts, almost every day. I've bolded the last paragraph of the section I've pasted here. I think it's imperative to grasp the point he makes that the Attorney General has to act independently of the Obama Administration. Under Bush, the whole Justice Department, not just the AGs, was used as a political arm of the administration, you can judge for yourself the results, as more comes to light day by day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fail Cat



Introducing Fail Cat, I don't know how FC got on top of the door and I don't have any idea what it's plan is, the strategy is destined to failure, that's obvious.

Still, there's success here, the Fail Cat provides a wonderful metaphor for human failure. So, in the future, if I refer to a fail cat, or a fail cat move, or a fail cat business model, or some such, just remember the kitty on the door, that had the gumption to see impending disaster as fortuitous opportunity and go for it.

More funny critters at lolcats.com and at icanhascheezburger.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kung Fu Hillbilly



I guess this guy made a few appearances on the Jerry Springer Show a couple of years ago, see, this is what I miss by not watching television. So if anyone needs catching up on their kung fu training, here's your chance. Pay particular close attention to the section on the "Judy" chop, that looks like a truly devastating move.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taylor Park

I spent a couple of days in Taylor Park over the weekend and I thought I'd share some photos.
These were taken from my campsite.

The view to the North.
The beautiful Taylor River.
And to the Northeast, these peaks are to the right of the ones in the top photo.
The day after I took these photos I got home and in the afternoon I shot the video posted below, somehow that took precedence at the time, now I wonder why.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cold Air Funnel Over Denver, Colorado


Had some interesting weather around here today, Funnel cloud were seen above Denver and the authorities took no
chances and activated the alert systems. I shot this video and if you can listen you'll hear multiple sirens and dogs
going off.
I apologize for the poor quality of the video, I'm not the best cinematographer and while my camera shoots video,
I lose the zoom feature in that mode, you can probably still see the rotation in the funnel cloud.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

From NASA's Image of the Day Gallery-link

Transiting the Sun

In this tightly cropped image, the NASA space shuttle Atlantis is seen in silhouette during solar transit, Tuesday, May 12, 2009, from Florida. This image was made before Atlantis and the crew of STS-125 had grappled the Hubble Space Telescope.

The phtographer made this image using a solar-filtered Takahashi 5-inch refracting telescope and a Canon 5D Mark II digital camera.

Image Credit: NASA/Thierry Legault


Friday, May 08, 2009

Jeb Bush


It's plain to see, he shares his brother's "sunny nobility". Do you think he'll ever run for office again, I'm hard pressed to imagine where, when, or why, what with the lustrous sheen of the Bush brand being a bit nicked-up these days? I will say this, Jeb isn't a war criminal, as far as I know.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Quote of the Day

Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country. - George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775



This quote's about 235 years old, but it has no expiration date. The only problem I have with it is that I don't know if Washington is only referring to the lowest ranks when he says "soldier". It seems apparent to me that this admonition against the abuse of prisoners should apply throughout the chain of command.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Digby Said-link

 I hadn't realized that one of the costs the Republicans ridiculed and ultimately took out of the stimulus bill was money to fight pandemics. Susan Collins made sure it was stripped from the Senate version.

It's very tempting to say that those states whose leaders refused to fund this should be at the end of the line, but unfortunately it won't do any good when it comes to public health. You have to make sure the jackasses get treated as well or we all suffer. But I would hope that someone will remind their constituents of their shortsighted partisanship when the time comes.

Let's hope the Mexican Swine Flu doesn't become as virulent as the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918, as always, the adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure seems to make good sense.

More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops-link


The link is to an article in the N.Y. Times about the rise of interest in atheist organizations  nationwide  and in particular a group in South Carolina calling itself Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry.

According to a recent study (cited in the article), Americans who self-identify as nonreligious have increased to 15% nationwide, up from 8% less than 20 years ago. In S.C. that growth has tripled, up to 10% from only 3% in the same time. The article notes that while not all who say they're nonreligious can be called atheists, they may represent a pool of potential supporters.

As you might expect, an atheist organization centered in the midst of the Bible Belt, like this South Carolina group, might expect to encounter some local opposition. Indeed, some members relate fears of employment discrimination and some report being shunned in other ways;  Until recent years, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry were local pariahs. Mr. Silverman — whose specialty license plate, one of many offered by the state, says “In Reason We Trust” — was invited to give the invocation at the Charleston City Council once, but half the council members walked out. The local chapter of Habitat for Humanitywould not let the Secular Humanists volunteer to build houses wearing T-shirts that said “Non Prophet Organization,” he said.

The movement is fueled by it's popularity on college campuses, Bob Jones University excepted. Not surprisingly, some students take a light-hearted approach to atheism, claiming devotion to a new religion, the Pastafarians, who are followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Torture Memos-link

graphic by the heretik

You would think that a nation that celebrates the summary execution of Somali pirates would have the stomach for prosecuting war criminals.....maybe not.

Perhaps the best way to solve our dilemma is to out-source justice to Spain.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Hunter S. Thompson of Real Estate-link


 

Jim Klinge is a realtor in San Deigo county in southern California. In an article in the L.A. Times( follow link ) he's glossed as the Hunter S. Thompson of real estate. More than that, he's created a kind of time capsule that documents the anomilies of the housing bubble crisis that has plagued much of California and other parts of the country. Check out his blog, Bubbleinfo.com for the insider view of the disasterous SoCal real estate market from a man on the ground, also lots more video such as the one above.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Twitter-link

This would make a good quote of the day, I'm featuring it as an example of Christopher Walken's Twitter page, an example of what's good about it. Twitter messages are often called "twits", in many cases that I've seen this seems to describe the authors of the messages. Especially in the case of politicians and MSM pundits.

Wow! Twitter has unceremoniously dumped Walken's twitter page, without any explanation other than to say there was "suspicious activity", I saw none. Sorry if you missed it, I thought it was highly amusing.

You know that Andy Dick and how he seemed funny until we noticed that he wasn't? You'll tell me when it's time to stop, right?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Presidential Grey



I found this image at Corrente without attribution, I don't think Obama will get that grey, that fast. Who can tell? Even people who aren't leaders of the "free world" start to show their age at some point.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Dept. of HOLY CRAP!-link

 From the state that brought you Bush vs. Gore here's the latest humiliation to be heaped on the backs of the less fortunate. Yes, Florida state Senator Mike Bennett, R., Sarasota, wants 10% of all applicants for unemployment  benefits to be tested for drug use, supposedly at random. People already receiving unemployment benefits would be subject to the same testing plan.

Aside from the fact that this scumbag is dumping on his neediest constituents, and he doesn't appear to be pushing any effort to mediate Florida's 8.6% unemployment (800,000 people), why isn't he petitioning the FCC to drug test Rush Limbaugh before he gets any more air time?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Krugman's Latest Post

February 27, 2009, 11:04 AM

Triumph of the dull

No comment:

In his CPAC speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted that conservatives are more “interesting” and “fun” than liberals. Here’s his proof: “who wants to hang out with guys like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich when you can be with Rush Limbaugh?”



In comments the first poster notes that Rush would probably bring better drugs.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Headlines I Love to See-Link

New GOP Standard Bearer Rush Limbaugh Is Less Popular Than Jeremiah Wright


Max Blumenthal links to a poll that was conducted before the 2008 elections which explored voter attitudes toward a variety of subjects. While Rush enjoyed modest popularity among Republicans, among all voters he had lower positive ratings than either Rev. Wright or William Ayers. No word yet on how he stacks up against athletes foot and telephone solicitors.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Quote of the Day-link

I could probably offer a quote by Glenn Greenwald every day that he posts, but anybody can just read his column, and I highly recommend that, so I'll just glean the ones that really jump out at me, like this one........

And, just as a general note: if you watch cable television news during the daytime, you can actually physiclly feel your brain shrinking.

Krugman; Please Listen To This Guy-Link

Great post on Paul's blog today, he's calling for Obama to resist the urge to appease Republicans and just stimulate the economy already,
I thought this section caught the kernel of what he's been advocating for months now.


You see, this isn’t a brainstorming session — it’s a collision of fundamentally incompatible world views. If one thing is clear from the stimulus debate, it’s that the two parties have utterly different economic doctrines. Democrats believe in something more or less like standard textbook macroeconomics; Republicans believe in a doctrine under which tax cuts are the universal elixir, and government spending is almost always bad.

This Krugman fellow is a Nobel Prize winner in economics, ignore him at your peril.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Most Republicans approve of torture-link

Wow....any Republican you know, the chances are better than even that this person is a torture advocate. The link leads to Behind the Numbers, a political blog at the Washington Post.
Here's the money quote;
"Overall, 58 percent support the prohibition Obama declared before taking office, but there's a wide gap across party lines: 71 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents in the poll said torture should never be used, but most Republicans, 55 percent, said there are cases in which the U.S. should consider using torture against terrorism suspects."
Could it be these people just watch too much television?

The poll was conducted by Washington Post/ABC News.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If News Was Truth





Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

SNL called their shot in 1999



I don't think they were too far off the mark.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quote of the Day-link

Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.

And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make.


These are the last two paragraphs from Krugman's column today, he drives a point that I've repeatedly emphasized for about the last eight years or so, all federal office holders take the same oath with respect to the Constitution. Aside from their nominal duties that is the only requirement they have to fulfill. Any talk of mandates is pure BS, the president is not your daddy and the laws of the land are what protects us, not an obstruction to our "protection". Great column, as always, go, read.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gunther and the Sunshine Girls-Suntrip



It's not all doom and gloom here at Itflows, and who couldn't use a laugh about now anyway? Here's the Swedish parody group Gunther and the Sunshine Girls, I've never heard of them or seen them anywhere but on the internet. Apparently they tour, they've been here in Denver (I was unaware of that) and Las Vegas, L.A., all over. I'd say as comedy they compare favorably with Flight of the Conchords and they remind me of Sprockets from the Saturday Night Live of a generation ago.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Human Shield



A very brave young Palestinian woman places herself between demonstraters and Israeli guns.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bill Moyers





This is the most fact-based and fair commentary you're likely to see on the subject of the current events in Gaza.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Clusterbombs being used in Gaza-link

Your tax dollars at work.

Quote of the Day-link

"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side ... The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." - George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism, 1945

I found this quote in Glenn Greenwald's blog at Salon.com today (title-link). I highly recommend his recent posts dealing with the events unfolding in Gaza. The comments section of the blog offers many examples of the pathological mentality Orwell described. One needn't wade into those comments to see that kind of thinking on display, simply tune to any American news broadcast. American politicians of any stripe can be depended on to echo the exact same sentiments, as if that would give cover to their funding of the atrocities committed on their behalf. Of course the greatest offense in evidence here is that all the Palestinians in Gaza have been denied their humanity, they're less than human, barbarians, beasts that can only be dealt with by brute force. The last forty years has certainly taught us that!