Saturday, November 21, 2009

HOUSE DEMOCRATS PASS GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF NATION’S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM; Republicans Offered Common Sense Alternative

While the title of this post sounds like something crazy that you might find on The Onion, this headline is directly from a real-life press release from Indiana's 4th district US Representative Steve Buyer. I saw the press release because I am a member of the press and a member of Congressman Buyer's district (Indiana-4). When I first read the press release, I wondered how Bloomington, Indiana, with Indiana University's main campus and all of its diversity, could elect and re-elect a Congressperson that would defame legitimate legislation from the other political party. I looked my district up and discovered that I am only in Indiana-4 because the district is gerrymandered to include the rural areas south of town and my house in in the connecting sliver. Regardless of his constituents, Congressman Buyer would do well to refrain from slander when presenting his spin.

Senator Dick Lugar, in the other chamber of Congress, for example, released a newsletter simply titled Senator Lugar to vote against health care reform after releasing a press release this summer titled Lugar says ailing economy is the wrong time for costly health care remedies. While I disagree with Lugar, he presents reasonable arguments and is willing to discuss the issue. Senator Evan Bayh will possibly vote for a Senate bill today, and although Lugar will not, he is opposing earnestly, with honesty and integrity.

Congressman Buyer, on the other hand, is opposing with obstinance, name-calling, and defamation. Buyer represents a conservative district, and he has a responsibility to look out for his constituents. However, Buyer also has a responsibility to be honest. With a scheduled procedural vote in the Senate today, I expect to see more exaggerated libel, but I hope not to see any. The House bill passed without Representative Buyer's vote or support, and he is trying to make the bill he opposed look bad. When health care reform finally passes into law, Buyer doesn't want his top campaign contributors to look at him distrustfully. And what better way to build trust than slander?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Auf Wiedersehen, Little Miss Beauty Queen!

Carrie Prejean is, at least in some respects, intelligent. Or at least has a handler (ie, agent) that is intelligent.

I say this because she turned a meaningless beauty contest victory into a pity-fueled war against "liberal America". Her views on gay marriage landed her in hot water (rightfully so, IMHO), which she parlayed into a claim of religious discrimination and, naturally, a friggin' book deal. Apparently any bozo with a story can get a book published these days.

Long story short, Ms. Prejean is a little self-obsessed. She finds herself much, MUCH more important in the American discourse than she is. Does she realize that if she hadn't said some really dumb stuff almost EVERYONE would've forgotten about her by now? Or is that precisely WHY she said the stuff she said that ultimately made her famous? The old "any press is good press" routine?

But it appears she may have jumped the shark. Last night she appeared on The Larry King Show. King, known for his fair-handed questions and guest-friendly interview style, asked Prejean a very simple and, in my estimation, harmless question. I mean, why would she appear on his show if she wasn't prepared to answer some tough questions? Not having a scripted answer prepared is no reason to be uncooperative.

Well, long story short, she had a meltdown. Or at least a beauty queen meltdown. Smiling through her teeth when asked why she settled her complaints with the pageant board, she removed her microphone and effectively stopped the interview. Larry King appeared to be really surprised, even confused. He'd clarified what he meant (she didn't listen), and then moved on to a caller, yet she didn't let it go. She kept being difficult, acting like a 4-year old and being wholly uncooperative.

What can be learned from this? For the average person, that even when a "celebrity" shares your views that doesn't mean that person is any sort of role model or authority. The Argument from Celebrity is not a sound one. What do you wanna bet she lost a big chunk of supporters last night with her whining? Time will tell. Hopefully it hurts her book sales and she will learn a lesson!

Secondly, why would she think she could take on *THE* Larry King? He's a broadcasting legend! Nothing helpful (for her) could come from her tantrum. She can say bye-bye to interviews with legitimate news outlets now. Not to mention having even less credibility than she did when this began (which was minimal on a good day).

Thirdly, should we be surprised that a beauty queen, who idolizes Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman while thinking Sonya Sotomayor and Michelle Obama are radical liberals, really has nothing of value to say?

Here's the video:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Poor Lisa Drozdowski

Driving home from work today, I heard a wacky deejay say something along the lines of (I paraphrased because I was driving and not taking notes),
Some people have all the luck. A Pennsylvania woman won a lawsuit against her company for $150,000 because she had to wear diapers to work. They didn't have any portable bathrooms where she worked, so a bathroom break 'involved walking a quarter mile to her car and driving several minutes to the nearest restroom, often came after she had already urinated on herself.' So this lady got 150 grand just for peeing on herself at work? Worth it.
This commentary is insanely insensitive and offensive. She didn't get $150,000 "just for peeing on herself at work." She was compensated $150,000 for being forced to pee on herself and then going through the nearly intolerable struggle of a lawsuit against a well-funded and well-organized entity (Danella Construction Corp. - PRIDE IN EVERYTHING WE DO®) and winning. For a compelling but still less-than-experiencing-for-yourself account of a struggle like Ms. Drodowski's, check out

Fair use poster image from Quentin X

Fair use book cover image from C. Merced
the 2005 film North Country or the 2002 book the film is based upon, Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler.

What I heard on the radio this afternoon was disheartening. I'm afraid of what wacky morning deejays will say tomorrow and on Monday.

I, for one, am happy that Ms. Drozdowski won her suit, and I am sorry that she was only granted $150,000 in damages. I will also be sure not to use Danella for any of my construction projects.

Zero Sum

I am disheartened and confused as to why people assume that economics and health-care are intrinsically zero-sum games. The world population has long been growing. If economics and health-care are zero-sum games, then each generation will by definition have less money per person and less health-care per person. Since a zero-sum situation is clearly disadvantageous to the world in general and most people in particular, let's stop acting like zero-sum financial and health-care economics is the best or only model! With more people, we need more money and more health-care to spread around. Let's figure a new model out, one that doesn't involve cutting a cake into infinitely small pieces.

Jon Stewart fills in for Glenn Beck

Jon Stewart fills in for Glenn Beck, who is out with apendicitis.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary

Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary edited by Carol Serling

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I read Twilight Zone 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary without ever having seen an episode of any version of the book's namesake television show.

The collection seemed forced to me. An interesting assortment of authors are included, and, having worked on anthologies myself, I am impressed with the turnout here. However, the stories are uneven, as other reviewers have mentioned. Most of the anthology seems to be written as an introduction to fantasy/horror/sci-fi/thriller short fiction. Perhaps the book is intended as an introduction. As a collection for collectors, I'm not sure this book stands up and holds water. A few of the stories stand out, but most of the anthology is filled with clich├ęs and cheap thrills.

I think if the stories had been in a different order, an order that felt like a progression of short stories instead of simply a collection, I would have given the collection a higher rating (3/5 stars instead of 2/5). I understand the motivation to begin with "Genesis" and end with "El Moe", but I would have rather read the collection in the following order (original placement in parentheses):

1. "The Art of Miniature" (4) by Earl Hamner
2. "Your Last Breath, Inc." (16) by John Miller
3. "Ants" (15) by Tad Williams
4. "The Street that Time Forgot" (11) by Deborah Chester
5. "Truth or Consequences" (6) by Carole Nelson Douglas
6. "Genesis" (1) by David Hagberg
7. "Vampin' Down the Avenue" (9) by Timothy Zahn
8. "El Moe" (19) by Rod Serling
9. "Torn Away" (8) by Joe R. Lansdale
10. "A Chance of A Ghost" (10) by Lucia St. Clair Robson
11. "The Good Neighbor" (18) by Whitley Strieber
12. "Ghost Writer" (13) by Robert Serling
13. "A Haunted House of Her Own" (2) by Kelley Armstrong
14. "On the Road" (3) by William F. Wu
15. "The Wrong Room" (12) by R. L. Stine
16. "Family Man" (17) by Laura Lippman
17. "The Soldier He Needed to Be" (14) by Jim Defelice
18. "Benchwarmer" (5) by Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn
19. "Puowaina" (7) by Alan Brennert

Try this order out if you like, and let me know what you think!

This review originally published on Goodreads.com