May 9, 2012 archive

I’m Fired Up And Ready To Go!

Stephen Colbert, The Wørd: Debt Panels

Adapted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Wørd – Debt Panels

One of the nation’s largest medical debt collectors sneaks into hospitals to seize patients’ money before treatment.

Debt Collector Is Faulted for Tough Tactics in Hospitals

Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.

The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined in hundreds of company documents released by the attorney general. And they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount.

Third Way Electoral Victory!

Look at Amendment 1 in NC!  Obama narrowly won the state in 08, and probably has a narrow edge right now.

Is it worth the risk of losing even (a) few crucial supporters?

Let Obama lose the election on this issue, because Romney would be wonderful for gay rights. That’s totally selling out gay voters.

North Carolina, Uppity Negroes, and Pushy Homosexualists

Posted by Gen. JC Christian, Patriot

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Emancipation sentiment was ascendant in the South after 1783 though Northern inventions like the cotton gin and mills hungry for raw cotton perpetuated the existence of slave labor on Southern plantations. Fearful of slave revolts as the black population grew, and shaken by the Nat Turner massacre of women and children, Southerners erected anti-emancipation laws to control slave populations. The constant agitation of slave revolt by abolitionist fanatics culminating in John Brown’s crime in Virginia, was an effective means to end even voluntary emancipation in the South. Peaceful emancipation initiatives from the North would have had a better effect and avoided war.

All those complaining about last night’s Amendment One results should take a lesson from Brother Thuersam’s historical account. The good people of North Carolina wouldn’t have passed Amendment One if homosexualists wouldn’t go around demanding basic human rights.

ENDA: That’s the Sound of Jim Messina’s Blood Curdling

By: Jane Hamsher, Firedog Lake

Tuesday May 8, 2012 12:32 pm

Unless I miss my guess, “we have heard from at least half a dozen major gay and progressive donors” is code for what used to be known in donor circles as “the Cabinet” or “the Gay 8.”  The group has grown over the years,  and it includes many of the biggest Democratic Party donors of the past decade.   In addition to Jonathan Lewis, it now includes David Bohnett (Geo-Cities), Jon Stryker (Stryker Corp), Tim Gill (Oracle),  James Hormel (Hormel), Henry van Amerigen (International Flavors & Fragrances), Linda Ketner (Food Lion), Weston Milliken (Milliken & Co.), Esmond Harmsworth (Daily Mail) and Laura Ricketts (Chicago Cubs).

While most in the group have already maxed out to Obama campaign and the DNC, that’s small potatoes.  The Obama campaign has recently been tapping members for multi-million dollar donations to the 527s  – but according to Open Secrets,  all conspicuously missing from the top 2012 election cycle donors.

The White House is pushing back on the Sargent article and telling journalists that there really are no problems.  But if that’s the case, where are the traditional LGBT 527 donors?  They should name the ones that already have, or plan to donate.

The decision of LGBT donors to shut off campaign donations over Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order on ENDA has tremendous downstream implications.  It could have serious consequences for members of congress who rely not only on LGBT donors themselves, but who will need well-funded GOTV support for 2012 as well.

LGBT donors can check to see whether the names of their representatives appear on the naughty or nice lists when it comes to signing the letter to President Obama, asking him to issue an Executive Order on ENDA.

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new city administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

Birmingham City Jail, 16 April 1963

Conspiracy Theory

Leaks Abound as Details Around CIA Sting Operation Surface

By: Kevin Gosztola, Firedog Lake

Wednesday May 9, 2012 11:30 am

Anyone that follows how the bulk of defense or national security information becomes known understands much of it comes from what is often referred to as “selective leaking.” Officials that will not put their name to comments or statements talk to the press and provide details on covert drone operations, foiled terror plots, secret activities going on in wars, etc. People in the press, who work for establishment media, win over these “sources.” Their job depends on “selective leaking,” as it is how they get scoops like this scoop about the CIA having an informant. It is why Barbara Starr and Fran Townsend go on TV-to parrot without question the details that were given to them and profess fealty for the national defense and security state of America.

This is not all that different from what the CIA does when it leaks details about the drone program. Unnamed officials routinely “selectively leak” details on the “covert” program to build support for expanding the program or to reassure the public that the program is not illegal or conducted without restraint. This is done as the CIA argues in court the program is “secret” and they can neither confirm or deny the existence of documents on the program that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups are trying to get released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

Is it acceptable for anyone in government who wishes to show government agencies are doing their job to leak classified information? Is it acceptable for these people to be able to whip the press into a frenzy and get them to provide great PR designed to prop up counterterrorism operations and ensure the fight against al Qaeda continues with certain players at the helm? Is this acceptable while the Obama administration is prosecuting whistleblowers and endangering press freedom to a greater extent than any presidential administration in history because they released classified information without authorization?

As the truth around the CIA’s sting operation surfaces, as we begin to find out how much this is used in counterterrorism operations, the leaking that occurred here should be a part of the discussion too. It should because the six people indicted under the Espionage Act have had their lives wrecked. They have given up security in their careers so that Americans can know the truth about how America “protects” national security. They have been made to pay the price, and people should be appalled that they would have to pay while people who leak so they can get a massive stroke job from the press and public, get to continue along their career paths without being held responsible for doing something that is much more concerning.

US attack kills 5 Afghan kids

Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 10:17 AM EDT

To the extent these type of incidents are discussed at all – and in American establishment media venues, they are most typically ignored – there are certain unbending rules that must be observed in order to retain Seriousness credentials. No matter how many times the U.S. kills innocent people in the world, it never reflects on our national character or that of our leaders. Indeed, none of these incidents convey any meaning at all. They are mere accidents, quasi-acts of nature which contain no moral information (in fact, the NYT article on these civilian deaths, out of nowhere, weirdly mentioned that “in northern Afghanistan, 23 members of a wedding celebration drowned in severe flash flooding” – as though that’s comparable to the U.S.’s dropping bombs on innocent people). We’ve all been trained, like good little soldiers, that the phrase “collateral damage” cleanses and justifies this and washes it all way: yes, it’s quite terrible, but innocent people die in wars; that’s just how it is. It’s all grounded in America’s central religious belief that the country has the right to commit violence anywhere in the world, at any time, for any cause.

At some point – and more than a decade would certainly qualify – the act of continuously killing innocent people, countless children, in the Muslim world most certainly does reflect upon, and even alters, the moral character of a country, especially its leaders. You can’t just spend year after year piling up the corpses of children and credibly insist that it has no bearing on who you are. That’s particularly true when, as is the case in Afghanistan, the cause of the war is so vague as to be virtually unknowable. It’s woefully inadequate to reflexively dismiss every one of these incidents as the regrettable but meaningless by-product of our national prerogative. But to maintain mainstream credibility, that is exactly how one must speak of our national actions even in these most egregious cases. To suggest any moral culpability, or to argue that continuously killing children in a country we’re occupying is morally indefensible, is a self-marginalizing act, whereby one reveals oneself to be a shrill and unSerious critic, probably even a pacifist. Serious commentators, by definition, recognize and accept that this is merely the inevitable outcome of America’s supreme imperial right, note (at most) some passing regret, and then move on.

Conspiracy Theories are explicitly allowed on DocuDharma and have been since its inception on August 20, 2007.


Boobs in the Woods

Wild Thing

On This Day In History May 9

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 9 is the 129th day of the year (130th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 236 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1860, James Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, is born in Scotland.

Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (9 May 1860 – 19 June 1937) was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright. There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The ), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, a “fairy play” about this ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. This play quickly overshadowed his previous work and although he continued to write successfully, it became his best-known work, credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously. Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents. Before his death, he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which continues to benefit from them.

Peter Pan

The classic Peter Pan starring Mary Martin. This is the 1960 version for NBC. Has been very limited in its showing. The DVD is long out of print and expensive to own.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Late Night Karaoke

Fight fiercely, Harvard

I know it’s very bad form to quote one’s own reviews, but I would like to mention something that The New York Times said about me a year ago which I’ve always treasured — they said:

Mr. Lehrer’s muse is not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste.

Now we come to that peculiar bit of americana known as the football fight song. I was reminded not too long ago, upon returning from my lesson with the scrabble pro at the Harvard Club in Boston, in the days of my undergraduacy long ago when there used to be these very long Saturday afternoons in the fall with nothing to do — the library was closed — just waiting around for the cocktail parties to begin. and on occasions like that, some of us used to wander over to the… I believe it was called the stadium, to see if anything might be going on over there. and one did come to realize that the football fight songs that one hears in comparable stadia have a tendency to be somewhat uncouth, and even violent, and that it would be refreshing, to say the least, to find one that was a bit more genteel. And here it is, dedicated to my own alma mater, and called Fight Fiercely, Harvard.

Fight fiercely, Harvard, fight, fight, fight! Demonstrate to them our skill.

Albeit they possess the might, nonetheless we have the will.

How we shall celebrate our victory, We shall invite the whole team up for tea (how jolly!)

Hurl that spheroid down the field, and fight, fight, fight!

Fight fiercely, Harvard, fight, fight, fight! Impress them with our prowess, do!

Oh, fellows, do not let the Crimson down, Be of stout heart and true.

Come on, chaps, fight for Harvard’s glorious name, Won’t it be peachy if we win the game? (oh, goody!)

Let’s try not to injure them, but fight, fight, fight! (let’s not be rough though)

And do fight fiercely! Fight, fight, fight!