Thank You, Speaker Pelosi

On May 8, 2009, this blog correctly diagnosed the health care crisis in these Untied States of America.

We argued that the real problem with health care in these Untied States of America is that, in order to have access to health care, you have to have a job. Untether one from the other, I wrote, and you’ll not only drastically improve health care, but you’ll also create at our society’s very foundation a more innovative, more entrepreneurial nation.

Last evening, appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show, a leader of the Democratic Party at long last picked up and ran with this argument.

Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer, a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance. Or that people could start a business and be entrepreneurial and take risks, but not be job-locked because a child has a child has asthma or diabetes or someone in the family is bipolar. You name it, any condition is job-locking. Think of a situation where we can be internationally competitive because we don’t have this weight on us that other countries, that other businesses really don’t have in other countries because they don’t have this expense of health care which will all be reined in, those costs, under this bill.

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True health care reform is about freedom. The proposals that are likely to be made into law are fairly useless on this score. I am generally supportive of any effort at this point, but I do think that the mandate without the public option simply delivers more truckloads of munny to Stevie Hemley’s house and accomplishes little else. I think if our leaders had been more forcefully equating universal health care with freedom, it might have served to hand the tea-partiers a nice steaming mug of STFU.

America's Calling, Mazer Rackham…

I am fond of often saying that a terrorist attack the likes of The September The Eleventh will never happen again, and I say that to understand why, you should read a novel called Ender’s Game.

There is an enormous idea in Orson Scott Card’s masterpiece that leads me to believe this and that I think was borne out on Flight 253. You can defeat your opponent by developing a drastically innovative strategy. Once you do, though, you alter the game entirely, and the strategy will never be as effective again.

Consider the Fosbury Flop.

Before the 1968 Summer Olympics, high-jumpers accomplished their goal by jumping the bar straddle-style or some other similar method. Then along comes this fella Dick Fosbury, who started leaping over the damned thing backwards. They laughed at Dick’s goofy technique, but the man won the gold and set astonishing records with his goofy flop. Now, that’s just how it’s done. And now, the Flop isn’t some innovative new technique that completely shocks and routs the competition.

The September the Eleventh was the Fosbury Flop of international terrorism. Before The September The Eleventh, the average Homer had heard of hijackings but generally expected that hijackers just want to fly to Cuba or some shit. After the Flop, though, there’s not a soul in the world who doesn’t know what time it is and who isn’t willing to pull a Jasper Schuringa if it’s needed.

That’s my theory, anyways.

I’ve read a bit of analysis on the foiled plot by Umar Farouk Hubbadubbadingdong to blow an aeroplane out of the sky over Detroit. But I haven’t read the problem boiled down to its simplest parts yet: The USA can its down our domestic air traffic—remember, the planes on The September The Eleventh were domestic flights—all it likes. But Flight 253 was an international flight. What does that teach us?

It seems to suggest that international cooperation and globally accepted security standards are more essential than previously imagined. It seems to suggest that a severe reconsideration of the visa process is needed. It also seems to suggest that flashing your own legs and playing possum just doesn’t work anymore. Travelers are ready to roll.

I also think it suggests something else: Most terrorists are far from the well-organized conspiracy that turned the Pentagon into a square so many years ago. This attempt was incompetent at best. Why would blowing up an international flight over Detroit strike terror into the average American’s heart? Wouldn’t that plane be mostly depleted of its fuel? Wouldn’t you mostly just kill those on board and a few cows on the ground? And doesn’t this asshole feel stupid that he’s been dubbed “The Underpants Bomber?”

As PB points out, Darth Cheney and his mighty minions are all over this shit like rabid flies. It doesn’t surprise me that Republigoats continue to get crazier and crazier. Having to defend the administration that allowed The September The Eleventh to happen will certainly take its toll on one’s mental facility, and it forces you to have to contort into positions on issues that are unfathomable to most normal Americans.

Now. On to an administrative note. I have tried in vain for a while to maintain a mirror of this blog at, mainly to improve our visibility on the old blogosphere. However, until now, this has required too much copying and pasting on my part, so it often did not get done.

However, thanks to a plug-in called “CrossPress,” when PB or I post here, it gets posted there, too. So now, the Blogspot site is more of a true mirror. Just to let ya know. If you’re a Blogger blogger, feel free to follow us, and we will return the follow. Thanky.


Mama Bonk had trouble reading us with the previous theme. Therefore, I’ve switched back to default. I am still toying with what to do with it. I know the last theme was more stylized than this, but that theme did not work here as I had it customized…I could not get the style sheets to play nice. I assume it has something to do with the new host company’s configuration. But it got me to thinking that maybe if I stuck with one of the default themes, or modified it only slightly, the widgets would work in a more stable manner, and I could add all kinds of toys. I also figure that WordPress regularly updates its default themes as upgrades come down the pike. So, this might be dull, but at least it will work.

Administrative Note

My apologies. Certain aspects of this Web site do not look like themselves. Every time I upgrade to a new version of WordPress, the style sheet reverts to default. Inevitably, I forget to save the one I altered. So the letters are too close together, the header and foot colors get all messed up, the sidebar text lightens, and I have to figure it out all over again.

I will try to save my changes this time. Thank you.

AP Reports: September 1981

I have just been reviewing some statistics at the recently-deployed Google Analytics. As such, I have discovered something very interesting: Many visitors to this site do not arrive here seeking our sparkling political dialogue. Some visitors arrive here hoping to learn the truth about the “ketchup is a vegetable” story.

I feel it is our duty here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology to deliver. Therefore, it is my intention to research and report from time to time and to keep a page over there for it somewheres. ~~~~~~>

I have today been fortunate enough to locate an AP wire story on the subject, from the day that the Reagan administration was smarting from this particular boondoggle. Even today, it is entertaining as all hell to read.

From the Free-Lance Star, Sept. 26, 1981

Hold the ketchup: School lunch cutbacks a ‘bureaucratic goof’

WASHINGTON (AP)—President Reagan, faced with adverse public reaction, has ordered the Agriculture Department to reconsider its controversial school lunch regulations that trimmed portions and classified ketchup as a vegetable.

The action came Friday, announced first by budget director David Stockman and then by other administration officials following a meeting between Reagan and Agriculture Secretary John R. Block.

“They’ve been withdrawn. It was a bureaucratic goof that we’re going to change,” Stockman said, adding that the Agriculture Department “not only has egg on its face, but ketchup, too.”

Chief White House spokesman David Gergen said later that Stockman jumped the gun and that before leaving for a weekend at Camp David, “The president requested, and Secretary Block agreed, to withdraw these regulations.”

Gergen said that after the proposals generated controversy, Reagan raised questions about them several times and wanted to know “what are these all about?”

After seeing the president, Block, citing “adverse public reaction,” said he “made the decision to withdraw” the regulations.

The proposals would have cut the minimum portions of meat, vegetables, bread and milk. They would have allowed food such as tofu—a soybean meal curd—to be sustituted for meat and ketchup to be used to meet some vegetable requirements.

Stockman said the regulations were “misleading” and had not been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

“The idea that suddenly this was a federal requirement to cut the hamburger by a quarter, by 25 percent, was ridiculous,” Stockman said. “These are simply minimum standards…The schools can do anything they want beyond that in terms of the portions they serve and in terms of what kind of meals they compose.

“What we’re going to do,” he added, “is put out a new set of regulations that will remvoe that misleading aspect.”

As soon as they were issued, the portion reductions became the target of severe criticism, with opponents accusing the adminitration of playing with the health of 26 million children.

USDA officials said when the proposed changes were issued theat they expected school officials to exceed the minimum requirements. Critics argued that most school officials would interpret the minimums as maximums and provide no more food than required to meet the standards.

The proposed changes followed congressional approval of substantial cuts in federal subsidies for school lunches. Those cuts doubled the price of a school lunch to 40 cents for millions of poor children and raised average price [sic] of a lunch for another 14 million children from 60 cents to 75 cents.

The regulations were to take effect in mid-November. Agriculture Department officials said they were intended to help local school districts offset some of the lost federal subsidies by saving them as much as 10 cents a meal.

Good times.

Green Geeks

Update #2: Okay, this is us for now—generic and drab. I will likely have to find a new theme to match the Ketchup theme as I cannot make the old one work over here for some reason. D’oh!

Update: The installation is going all right. KIAV is on its new server. Unfortunately, the full XML file containing the posts is too big to upload all at once, so I am having to edit the file for size. All of 2009 is present and accounted for, but previous years will take some time to update. I also see I’m going to have to make an adjustment or two in the style sheet.

I have just completed a test installation of WordPress at the new Web service provider I’ve selected: Green Geeks. As I noted, this blog has been a loyal DreamHost customer for many, many years, but this week’s outages and their handling of it spurred me to look for a new company.

Green Geeks claims that it’s “300% Green Web Hosting.” It claims to be the “world’s most eco-friendly web hosting company.” This certainly did inform my choice, though it also so happened that they also have the features needed to continue this blog and that, with a coupon code found on the Twitter, the price was right.

A few initial impressions: When I signed up, the Web site informed me that they’d be calling me shortly to confirm my transaction, and they did. This knocked my socks off, especially considering that it was poor customer service that’s led me to this decision. Second, the test install went well, and I think the move is going to make KIAV considerably peppier.

If you see interruptions this evening, don’t fret. I’m just moving a few things around.