He who has the gold makes the rules, chapter 341

gaspricemap

The above is proof that 1)the world is not full of angels, 2) as a result, government regulation is needed, and 3) because corporate greedheads are everywhere.

You wanna know why North Dakota and the northern half of Minnesota have the highest gas prices in the nation? It’s because two local refineries, and three of the four regional gasoline refineries, did their usual spring shutdown for maintenance and formulation changing for summer driving — at the same time.

The average price of gas in April was $3.46; today it’s $4.16.

Was this a calculated move? Did businesses with dollar signs in their eyes plan this?  Does a bear shit in the Minnesota Boundry Waters regularly?

About these ads

Cheaters never prosper, Willard.

Whatever you happen to think about Ron Paul and Willard Romney as presidential candidates, Ron Paul won the moral battle last night at the Republican National Convention.

Delegates from Nevada tried to nominate Mr. Paul from the floor, submitting petitions from their own state as well as Minnesota, Maine, Iowa, Oregon, Alaska and the Virgin Islands. That should have done the trick: Rules require signatures from just five states. But the party changed the rules on the spot. Henceforth, delegates must gather petitions from eight states.

That’s what the hubbub on the floor early yesterday evening was about. The Paulbots discovered that the governing committee changed the rules on them, and changed them at such a time when it was impossible to make the deadline to obtain one more state’s petitions.

So, it wasn’t enough that Romney had a lock on the Rethuglican nomination; he and his cronies had to take a five-pound sledgehammer to the hand that was fumbling for keys to that lock.

As much as it pains me to say so, Ron Paul won the moral battle yesterday.

Do you think directly violating the law will make a difference to the Republicans?

From the statute 2 U.S.C. § 441e:

(a) Prohibition

It shall be unlawful for—

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 434 (f)(3) of this title); or

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

Violating 2 U.S.C. § 441e is punishable by a fine and (in the case of clause 2) possible disqualification of the candidate. The law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (9 to 0) in 2011 in Bluman v. Federal Election Commission in 2011

Guess which presumed U.S. presidential candidate did some quiet, not-very-well-hidden fundraising in Israel on his recent foreign tour-de-disaster?

State Hall of Shame: Florida

Why do the voters in Florida continue to tolerate Governor Rick Scott?

Scott co-founded Columbia Hospital Systems in 1987. He resigned from Columbia’s CEO position in 1997 amid proven Medicaid fraud to the tune of an $880 million repayment to the U. S. government; this was in addition to over $2 billion in successful civil law suits filed by individuals. Columbia’s board paid Scott $350 million in stock and $9.8 million to just go away.

In 2001 Scott co-founded Solantic, a chain of medical clinics. Solantic has been repeated sued by those who claimed that the company would not hire elderly or overweight employees; those suits were settled out of court for undisclosed sums. (Solantic is mentioned again in a moment.)

Once Scott was elected Florida’s governor in 2010, he has:

  • maneuvered implementation of a state amendment that would prevent political parties from jiggering voting districts to favor one party or another at elections.
  • refused to put his considerable assets into blind trusts, as is usually done by office holders so as to prevent conflicts of interest. (His Solantic holdings were gifted to Mrs. Scott, so the couple could both keep an eye on them.)
  • signed a bill requiring welfare recipients to pay for their own drug tests in order to receive state aid. Scott also requires all state employees to take quarterly drug tests. (Solantic stands to gain a good deal of income, since it was the first business given permission by the state to administer such tests.)
  • refused over $2.3 billion in federal money to develop high-speed rail in Florida (thus turning down development and jobs).
  • refused to obey the state-level provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These provisions would expand medical care available to the poor and elderly in Florida.
  • not only tried to bury an April 2012 CDC report about an outbreak of tuberculosis in Florida (thus endangering the public), but then proceeded after the report’s release to close the state’s only hospital dedicated to TB treatment.

How many shady deals and outright crimes must Rick Scott commit before Florida voters finally get wise?

Will he have to eat a puppy during a press conference?

Fooled me once…

You remember that post of mine about Josh Weed from last week? The post about the gay Mormon who is married to a woman and has a family?

He fooled me. And a lot of other people as well. The Spouse hit this one on the head right off the bat, and Joe has now outed his two-faced-ness.

Meet the real Josh Weed:

Please note several items here:

  • the Seattle Pacific University degree (where school code specifically forbids “pre-marital, extramarital, or homosexual sexual activity”). SPU is a religious university whose degrees are, well, not well-esteemed within academe
  • Josh’s self-professed therapeutic preference: “those with sexual identity issues and unwanted sexual attractions and/or behaviors”
  • the other therapists who work at LifeStar Washington, including LifeStar Washington director Shawn Gillies, who “especially enjoys speaking to and educating parents on how to teach their children healthy sexuality”

It seems odd that Josh would choose to go to a college where his very preferences were outlawed by school code. It seems odd that Josh would choose to “help” others deny their sexual feelings, just as he has denied his. It seems odd that Josh would associate with other therapists who “especially enjoy” telling gays and lesbians that what they feel is wrong (as if society didn’t do enough of that).

Josh Weed is just another George Reker. Weed is just another badly-adjusted closet case who practices an unrecognized form of treatment– “ex-gay therapy” — a therapy thoroughly repudiated by professional psychology and psychiatry groups; moreover, he doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to tell his patients that their sexuality is a problem, while freely admitting that it’s okay for him to be gay.

It is particularly horrifying that Weed’s clinic concentrates its efforts on children, and cloaks himself as someone who “just wants to help”. Imagine paying someone to tell your child/teenager that the way she/he feels is wrong and sinful and a one-way trip to Hell.

So the next time you see Mr. Weed and his lovely family basking in the sun of het privilege, look him straight in the eye and ask him what it’s like to be a good and thorough hypocrite, and a professional fraud.

Karma can be a cast-iron bastard at times

Shellie Zimmerman was charged with perjury in Seminole County, Florida, today.

She and her famous husband George apparently (allegedly) conspired to hide his web-generated $200,000 nest egg before the trial judge twigged to its existence. Their behavior and actions indicate that they had both knowingly lied about its existence and tried to hide the money before George’s bail was set.

She hid a good bit of it in a bank account belonging to her sister.

First the discovery of George’s second passport (the existence of which he failed to divulge), then the discovery of the $200,000 (after George and Stella both lied and said they were “almost penniless”), and now a perjury charge.

Ain’t karma a bitch?

In industry controversies concerning food, someone always lies in order to make more money.

The corn industry has a new cause: corn sugar.

You gotta love the media spins here. Walking in the corn fields, in the open air and sunshine. Cute children. Calm, rational-sounding voice saying, “Hey, don’t worry. High-fructose corn syrup is just like cane sugar.”

How about a fact or two?

  1. Cane sugar is sucrose, which is a chemical combination of 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Corn syrup is a mechanical mixture of fructose and glucose in varying proportions depending upon intended use of the product. They are not identical.
  2. The body digests sucrose by secreting sucrase, which breaks down sucrose into its constituent parts. Corn syrup is dumped directly into the small intestine without intermediate digestive processes.
  3. Glucose is absorbed by the small intestine into the body for metabolic needs, while undigested fructose is taken by the bloodstream into the liver, where it is metabolized into, among other things, triglycerides and fatty acids. (Here is more than you ever wanted to know about fructose metabolism.) High levels of triglycerides and fatty acids are bad news for everyone.
  4. Corn syrup processing dumps significant amounts of sulfites into the end product. The FDA has not allowed sulfite use with fresh fruits and vegetables since 1986. Why do they allow it in corn syrup?
  5. Princeton performed a study upon rats where groups were given the same (high) caloric levels of corn syrup and sugar. The corn syrup-fed rats became obese at a much higher rate than the rats fed sugar; the exact cause is unknown.
  6. Manufacturers of food-like substances use high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) because it’s cheaper than sugar. The cost differential is caused mostly by taxpayer-funded subsidies to corn growers. Your government encourages HFCS use.
  7. If HFCS is as harmless as the corn industry claims, why do so many manufacturers of food-like products brag about not using it?

Guess what the most prevalent ingredient is in non-fat “half-and-half”? HFCS. In many condiments such as barbeque sauce and ketchup? HFCS. In Coke and other sodas (after water)? HFCS. In almost all commercial breads (after flour)? HFCS.

So, there’s lots of money involved in this issue, and that is always a big red warning flag — when money’s involved, someone is always lying to make more of it.

Using large amounts of sweeteners is never a good thing in any event, no matter which sweetener is used. Check the ingredients in the processed food you buy, and, as Michael Pollan admonishes, eat nothing that has any sweetener listed as one of the first three ingredients.

“Let me drop a hint: does flaming acid mean anything to you?”

The Phone on God’s Desk rang, startling him out of a afternoon nap.

“That’s odd. No one is supposed to have that Phone Number.” He punched the speaker button. “Hello? How did you get this Number??”

A tiny, tinny voice hesitantly responded after several seconds of silence. “God? Is that you?”

“Who the hell do you think answered the phone? WHO IS THIS??”

“Uh, God, this is Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and His Holiness told me that You might answer at this number. I’m sorry to disturb You.”

God closed His Eyes and rubbed His Brow. That was the last time I make THAT mistake, He thought to Himself. “Yeah, yeah. What do you want, Dolan?”

“Uh, God, I…uh…”

“Make it march, guy. I’ve got Stuff going here.”

“Well, I need some guidance on something I did awhile back…”

“Go to confession. Next.”

“Well, Lord, I’m dealing with a public relations nightmare right…”

“The New York Times caught up with your little ‘quit the priesthood and I’ll make sure you get paid off’ schtick, didn’t they?”

“Lord, they’re distorting the tru…”

“Listen, Timmy m’boy, you’re talking to an Omniscient God here. That’s exactly what you did, and now the press is going to fry your butt in butter for it.”

“Lor…”

“Save it. If I told you what Lucifer has planned for those pedophile creeps, the very utterance of the details would cause your brain to liquify and run out your ears. And as for the people that tried to cover it all up,” God laughed His deepest scariest laugh, “they’re going to get even worse.

“Now. Don’t call this Number again, and you tell Ratzi that if he gives it out again, he’s going to get a taste of what you bunch are going to get.

“Got it?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Good. Now go away.” God slammed His Phone down, ripped the Cord out of the Wall, and leaned back into His Chair. With any luck, He thought, I’ll be able to get another Hour’s nap before I have to be anywhere.

Honesty just doesn’t come easily to some people

There is a kerfluffle going on in North Carolina these days.

For those of you not in the know, there is a state amendment up for popular vote on May 8th in the Tar Heel State. It would dictate that valid marriages could only occur between one man and one woman.

Let’s ignore the fact that same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina; the legality of the issue is not at heart here.

And now the spouse of the amendment bill’s author dished on what the real issue is:

Chad Nance, a Winston-Salem freelance journalist who is currently active in electoral campaigning, says poll workers outside the early voting site at the Forsyth County Government Center in downtown Winston-Salem reported to him that the wife of NC Sen. Peter Brunstetter remarked today that her husband sponsored legislation to put the marriage amendment on the primary ballot ‘to protect the Caucasian race.’

Nance paraphrased the remarks, as told to him by those who were present: ‘During the conversation, Ms. Brunstetter said her husband was the architect of Amendment 1, and one of the reasons he wrote it was to protect the Caucasian race. She said Caucasians or whites created this country. We wrote the Constitution. This is about protecting the Constitution. There already is a law on the books against same-sex marriage, but this protects the Constitution from activist judges.’

So there ya are. Much like Minnesota, the homophobes and wingnuts are trying to prevent a select minority from enjoying the same civil rights that everyone else enjoys: the right to be married, with all the legal privileges therein. In order to short-circuit judicial review of such blatant violations of the 14th Amendment, these yahoos demand a popular vote (a popular vote on civil rights??!) and then solicit massive funding from out-of-state interests.

Being honest just isn’t in their blood.

(Thanks to Joe for the tip.)

Same shit, different day

Everyone over the age of 40 should remember this magazine cover:

(I bet you hid your copies of NatLamp from your mom, didn’t you?)

Today, the Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives did something that was similar but  not quite so funny:

Can you say “the Republican War on Women”?

Side note: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi nicely summed up the situation when she referred to the Democratic party’s proposal, which was to generate money for the student loan fund with an additional tax on oil and gas companies (that don’t pay their fair share of taxes anyway):

“We [Democrats] prefer tax subsidies for big oil rather than the health of America’s women.”

Allen West, channelling Joe McCarthy

“I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1950

…and the new, unimproved, 21st-century version of fear-mongering, Allen West style:

…and two parting thoughts on the matter:

“The junior senator from Wisconsin, by his reckless charges, has so preyed upon the fears and hatreds and prejudices of the American people that he has started a prairie fire which neither he nor anyone else may be able to control.” –  Senator William Fulbright, 1969

Someecards hits the X-ring!

To tell the truth, it’s small surprise. The Komen Foundation, much like United Way, is infamous for wasting large percentages of donated moneys to staff salaries, administration, and overhead. Less than 15% of your donations go to cancer research, and now none of your donations go to fund breast cancer screenings for poor women — at least as far as Planned Parenthood is concerned.

Shame, shame on the Komen people, especially the chair of its board Alexine Clement Jackson, and its CEO Nancy Brinker.

The Komen Foundation corporate office number is 877-465-6636. Give them a call (be firm but polite, please.) Tell them exactly how you feel the next time you go to a women’s health event in which Komen has the nerve to raise its head. Let’s see if the anti-choice haters make up the difference from the millions in lost donations that will be needed to keep Jackson and Brinker in their phoney-baloney jobs (at $400K+/year, thanks for asking). [It seems Jackson took no salary for the position of board chair -- my bad.]

Side note: The Denver and Connecticut chapters of the Komen Foundation have broken with their national organization and told the board to go fuck itself. Those two groups didn’t break faith with those who need their services most.

Thanks to Joe for the Someecards barb, and thanks to The Spouse for this tip on Mr. Colbert’s take on the Komen litigations:

“Anybody who knows me knows I am a huge supporter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, which raises millions of dollars a year in the fight against breast cancer . . . So I’m giving a big Tip of my Hat to the Komen foundation for spending almost a million dollars a year in donor funds to sue these other groups. If they don’t own the phrase “for the Cure,” then people might donate money thinking it’s going to an organization dedicated to curing cancer, when instead it’s wasted on organizations dedicated to curing cancer.”

 

I’m very confused, but he’s not.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul fashions himself as the libertarian standard bearer who will carry on his father’s political legacies after Ron Paul goes to that great Objectivist Utopia in the sky.

However, it seems that the libertarian rules of “less government, more personal freedom” have gone out the window. He’s now flip-flopping for government intervention at the womb level:

Senator Paul is now pushing for popular support for legislation that calls for a definition of “personhood” that goes all the way back to the moment of conception. This would satisfy both the anti-choice religious airheads who demand that the womb belongs to God and the anti-choice political airheads who demand that womb belongs to the State. It would mean hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies, and hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions.

The law would thus prevent any sort of contraception that doesn’t prevent sperm from penetrating ova. That would outlaw everything except condoms and diaphragms/cervical caps — two contraceptive methods that are known for their relatively high levels of failure.

Of course Prince Paul the Younger has let the cat of the political bag early. He showing his true colors here; he no more wants less government and more personal freedom than his old man. They’re just another couple of right-wing Rethuglican morons who use the youth vote to grasp power.

“You let one little ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up!”

There was an episode of The Sopranos back in 2000 that dealt with Tony Soprano’s friend (played by Robert Patrick) who had a gambling problem. He got into Tony and his crew for $45,000 in a high-stakes poker game that he had no business in. In an effort to get out from under the debt, Patrick’s character gave Tony control of his sporting-goods business. The family proceeded to act like locust by stealing huge quantities of merchandise and selling it on their own. A healthy business goes bankrupt within a matter of months.

Patrick’s character ended up without a business (which was owned by the character’s wife), without a marriage (his wife divorced him), without his children’s love, and without a home.

This episode was brought to mind with the current discussions concerning Bain Capital, the equity company started by Wilfred Romney (and bankrolled by his father George). Bain is in the business of buying up companies to generate profits for its investors. But instead of investing on those acquisitions and improving the business, profits are usually generated by selling off the valuable pieces of acquired companies and thus bankrupting them. This has the effect of destroying many healthy business and putting a lot of people out of work.

Equity companies make no products and provide no services. They solely exist to turn a profit for those who own them, much like the grasshoppers in the Pixar film A Bug’s Life.

One of the interesting (and entirely predictable) aspects of Wilfred Romney’s current presidential campaign is that he doesn’t represent himself as a parasitic bloodsucker, which has been his business role for his entire professional life:

“Bain’s top 10 dollar investments under Romney — averaging $53 million — spanned a number of sectors, including healthcare, entertainment and manufacturing. The firm’s largest investment was its 1999 buyout of Domino’s Pizza, into which Bain put $188.8 million, eventually reaping a fivefold return…four of the 10 companies Bain acquired declared bankruptcy within a few years, shedding thousands of jobs. The prospectus shows that Bain investors profited in eight of the 10 deals, including three of the four that ended in bankruptcy.”

Doesn’t sound like much of a “job creator” to me. Sounds to me more like a great big dog tick.

I wonder how many Republican supporters have thought this through.