Wiseline Institute and Center
For The Secular Humorism presents:||Mr_Blog's Left Turn||
A Seattle-based journal of Left-wing musings on local, national and world affairs, as well as baseball, pop culture and technology.
August 28, 2009
Health debate a boon for kids TV
Nickelodeon to spend lobbyist millions on more blue dog episodes
The heavy lobbying of Congress on health insurance reform has led to an unexpected benefit to American pre-school age children, it was learned today.
So much is being spent by insurance lobbyists that, in addition to millions in donations to Blue Dog Democrats, millions were given by mistake to the Nickelodeon TV network.
"The memo lines on all the checks specified 'for the blue dogs,' so we decided to order three more seasons of Blues Clues," said Cindi Cation, Nickelodeon director of non-Sponge Bob programming.
"The sponsor's wish is our command," Cation added.
Blues Clues, about a puzzle-solving dog named Blue, ran on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2006 and won critical praise as well as high ratings. Early childhood educators and development experts praised the absence of singing dinosaurs, and pop-sociologist Malcolm Gladwell called Blues Clues "as 'sticky' as the FEC filings of Senator Max Baucus (D-Schering-Plough)."
The Cupboard Was Bare, Blue's first-paw account of his time in Iraq as an International Atomic Energy Agency inspector, was the first mainstream media report to question the Bush administration's justification for going to war.
Disclosure of the donation error sent a shockwave through the Washington DC lobbying community. One lobbyist said privately that the return of Blue is being feared as equivalent to an appointment of a special prosecutor.
Clay M. D'Niall, executive director of the insurance industry think tank Liberty Copayment Institute, admitted offering Blue's Clues producers 50,000 shares of Cigna in exchange for Blue's Thinking Chair, but was unsuccessful. "Dammit, that mutt could figure out our entire scam," D'Niall said.
August 25, 2009
FDA recalls Republican Party
Contaminated by nuts
The Food and Drug Administration has ordered a nationwide recall on the Republican Party after tests revealed the party to be contaminated by nuts. The agency took the unprecedented step after the GOP refused to issue a voluntary recall.
Rep. Brian Baird (Connecticut for Lieberman Party-WA) became one of the high profile victims, when he was forced to hold a town hall meeting-style forum on health insurance reform via teleconference.
"I used to be fine with nuts, I opposed withdrawing from Iraq and everything," said Baird.
"But last week I had to go to my spin doctor with tightness in my throat. Imagine my surprise when he told me it was an anaphylactic reaction to nutjob dust," he said. The contamination was traced to contacts with the many deathers in his 3rd Congressional District in southwest Washington.
Baird pledged that he would seek to have mental health parity included in any health reform legislation in the House.
An FDA spokesman urged the public to always inspect their political parties for nuts. "Last week we had this one guy, ate a half-cooked bildernutburger and came down with Mad Larouche Disease," said Rick X. Frandle. He recommended that anyone with known sensitivity to nuts and nutjobs should stop consuming Republican ideas, and return the party's products unopened to the manufacturer.
Posted August 21, 2009
Seattle green monster sent into ocean - Gregzilla rampage ended by plastic shopping bags
The enormous mutant reptile awakened by sustainable energy has unexpectedly left Seattle after an eight year rampage. Gregzilla was last seen disappearing below the surface of Puget Sound off Alki Beach.
Gregzilla left after Tuesday's bloodbath involving a pitched battle with two newly arrived mutant monsters, bike-riding moth McGinnthra and Mallamar, the 500 foot tall T-Mobile executive. Each took huge, damaging bites out of Gregzilla.
Yukio, the middle school student who acts as Gregzilla's spokesperson, said that despite the injuries her friend still had a fighting chance -- until he became a victim of pollution.
"Gregzilla was launching a sneak attack on Mallamar from behind a computerized call center, when suddenly he began choking on discarded plastic shopping bags," said Yukio.
Peering into Gregzilla's maw, she said the hazardous litter was lodged in the esophagus, beyond her reach. Yukio believes that Gregzilla, unable to breathe correctly, left in order to recuperate and recharge. "He will return someday to promote his leadership in creating the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement in 2005, in which hundreds of cities aross the nation are pledging to reduce greenhouse gases in part by creating a smart, clean energy future," she declared.
The sudden departure of the city's well-intentioned beheamoth marks the end of an era of good-feeling, marred only by Gregzilla's occasional crushing of entire city blocks under his scaly feet. Luxury condominium highrises are rising to replace those losses, however.
Speaking from a log in the Foster Island sloughs, Gregzilla confidant Gamera mourned the loss of his longtime friend. "I won't be able to look at those million dollar downtown condo projects without shedding a huge tear, laden with salt that my tear glands absorb from sea water," Gamera said.
Posted August 19, 2009
Conservatives have rally safety concerns
Alarmed at cam-toting liberals
Conservative protesters are feeling threatened by pro-health insurance reform liberals who are coming to congressional and presidential town hall meetings with holstered video cameras strapped to their hips. So says an organizer of the anti-health insurance protesters who march outside the public forums.
"It sends the wrong message in our society," said former Texas Congressman Dick Armey, now Executive Director of the Pinkies Up Tea Party Coalition, which describes itself as "a patriotic front."
Armey is speaking out after his members contacted him about pro-reform counter-protesters carrying cameras in the open. One man came to a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a Sony HDR-CX520V slung over his shoulder. The incidents make Armey's fellow conservatives nervous.
"Cameras are so small now they can be easily concealed under a coat or in a bag," said Armey. "Suppose a conservative is shouting down the public option. Tensions rise. Heated words are exchanged. Next thing you know, a liberal pulls out a camera and: bang. A patriotic Republican gets splattered all over the blogosphere," he said.
Shirley A. Nutt of Westmost, North Carolina, says she is worried at the potential of running into camera-wielding Democrats at rallies, forums, and other chances to disrupt public discourse. "Takin' my picture is the kind of threat of violence we've come to expect from anti-gun, anti-death penalty, anti-war liberals," she declared.
"Besides, it steals little bits of my soul," Nutt added.
Law enforcement officials in North Carolina say there are no laws against openly carrying video cameras in public. "Or concealed ones, for that matter," said Sheriff Andrew Taylor of Mayberry. Taylor went on to say: "What I'm seeing a lot are people carrying concealed intellects."
Posted August 18, 2009
Obama health plan points the way
Now entire government could become co-ops
Only days after signaling it is willing to drop a public option from a health care reform package, the Obama administration is indicating that it is willing to end the public option for the entire federal government as well.
"If moving away from public options is how things are going to get through Congress, we're going to look hard at it as a best practice," President Obama said today at a town hall-style forum in Washington DC's Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Capitol Hill was chosen for the event by administration strategists as a test of the president's coattails. The area was strong for Obama in last November's election, but has recently seen a large amount of gentrification resulting from reverse "white flight" from the K Street district.
Although a clearly well-heeled audience, many in attendance at the meeting exhibited the boisterousness that has materialized at many such forums held by senators and representatives during their August break. One man, Cent Konrad of Bismarck, North Dakota, shouted out several times until he got Obama's attention.
"Since insurance corporations can't compete against a public option, what about the rest of government -- which is public by definition and therefore socialist? What other corporations are having their freedom restricted?" Konrad challenged Obama.
Obama moved quickly to reassure Konrad's concerns. "Public options are not the entirety of government, any more than it is the entirety of health care reform," Obama said. "This is just one sliver, one aspect of it."
Following his remarks concerning best practice, Obama added that he is looking with increasing favor on applying the so-called "co-op" alternative to a wide range of government programs, to which another man, Bax Maucus of Helena, Montana, responded favorably.
"I really like co-ops because co-op means cooperating with private corporations. That's what 45% of the American people voted for, and it's what 40% of the Senate will allow," said Maucus, who later identified himself to reporters as "just a concerned citizen."
Obama told Maucus he would do all he can to press for co-op solutions. "During my four years as a senator, I learned from Harry Reid that majority opinion cannot determine American policy. So we're not going to bow to the majority on health insurance, not on withdrawal from Iraq, not on the economy, and not on our foreign policy," said the president.
Obama then personalized the issue by relating a recent experience he had with co-operating. "When I was going to get my girls a dog, we proposed a public pound option -- a nice beagle, let's say," recalled the president.
"But Mitch McConnell called the public pound option socialistic, and he reminded Malia that a bureaucrat would stand between her and her choice of dog," Obama said. "So we co-operated, and got a Portuguese water dog from a private source."
"A co-op solution worked for Portuguese water dogs, so I think this proves co-ops deserve a chance to solve our health insurance crisis," he said.
The co-op approach is seeing an uptick in the opinion polls for Obama. A telephone survey of residents of Pyongyang, North Korea, shows 100% support if the president were to convert the U.S. State Department into a co-op.
Posted August 17, 2009
Madoff escape plan foiled
Oversold tunnel shares
An escape plot by Bernard Madoff was foiled recently when the disgraced financier was turned in by a disgruntled accomplice, federal corrections officials report.
Madoff, serving 150 years for a Ponzi scheme that defrauded his investment clients of an estimated $65 billion, has been placed in solitary confinement and deprived of access to his Ameritrade account.
In a statement released by Butner Federal Prison Director Ward N. Frandle, Madoff had circulated an 'escape prospectus' among the prisoner population, proposing a 1,500 foot escape tunnel under the prison's walls. The work would be done by 1,500 'shareholders' -- fellow prisoners digging one foot each, reports Frandle.
Each 'tunnel investor' was by Madoff to come to his cell at a scheduled time, according to the report. "Prisoner Madoff told each investor he was the first to dig. After a investor finished with his 12 inch segment, Madoff would fill it back in and await the next victim."
"Madoff essentially oversold the escape tunnel 1,500 times," Frandle said.
The plan came to light just after midnight Monday morning, when all 1,500 investors rendezvoused at Madoff's cell with their luggage.
August 11, 2009
Conservatives oppose forcible health
"Save our freedom to be sick"
(Upland, CA) Members of Congress from coast to coast are having their eyes opened this week, as they hear from constituents opposed to health care reform.
"We're speaking out to save our freedom to be sick," said Dee Fibrilasian, one of many self-described 'sickers' -- people who believe illness is a right.
Fibrilasian and like-minded sickers turned out here in force Monday for a midday town hall meeting held by 54th District Representative Dino Frandle, a member of the House Democratic 'blue dog' coalition. They hooted, hollered and booed as Frandle expressed cautious support for reforms that would cover additional Americans while leaving intact the private insurance system.
"Forcibly insuring more people is the opposite of the direction we should be headed," shouted one woman who declined to give her name because, she explained, she had called in sick to be able to attend the meeting.
"What will happen to our sick leave, if socialized Obamacare makes sure we are too healthy to use it?" she wondered. She went on to say she feared she might have to quit one of her three jobs, if cheaper insurance made it possible for employers to raise pay.
Fibrillasian said she agreed with statements former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made on her Facebook page, alleging reform would lead to government 'death panels' pruning high-cost senior citizens and the developmentally disabled from insurance pools. "What makes government think it can kill people better than the private sector?" Fibrilasian asked.
After the town hall meeting Rep. Frandle said he was impressed by the turnout and by the forceful way the sickers stated their opinions. "They were certainly loud," he said as he departed for a luncheon, a reelection fundraiser with employees of Aetna and Pfizer.
Posted August 10, 2009
Limbaugh changes show name
Now "The E.D. Show"
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has changed the name of his program, the latest shot in a continuing battle with progressive radio host Ed Schultz.
Limbaugh told his national radio audience this morning that the program will now be called The E.D. Show, a poke at the title of Schultz's MSNBC program, The Ed Show.
For a long time, Schultz has made it a habit on air to call Limbaugh "the druggster," a reference to Limbaugh's 2003 admission of dependency on prescription drugs and Frito-Lay products.
Limbaugh finally struck back three weeks ago, saying on air that Schultz's show is named after Mr. Ed Grimley, the character created and performed by Martin Short on SCTV and Saturday Night Live.
Schultz responded by challenging Limbaugh to perform a musical number on The Ed Show, leading to Limbaugh's re-branding announced today.
Limbaugh also announced a sponsorship coup, signing up a major pharmaceutical product as his show's first-ever title advertiser. "I am proud to say that this program is now The E.D. Show sponsored by Viagra," Limbaugh intoned.
Posted August 6, 2009
by Kim Jong Il
I was wondering if you would like to return to six-party talks?
Signed, The Hill
Posted August 3, 2009
GOP votes to dump mascot
"Elephant is not from America"
The Republican Party's familiar elephant mascot may soon join the ranks of the unemployed, if the recommendation of a special party panel is adopted.
The seven-member committee, led by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-6), took the unprecedented step today in response to rising sensitivity within GOP ranks about things really being from America.
"We have done a great investigation into the question, and quite simply the elephant is not from America," said Bachmann, shortly after the 6-1 vote which adopted the bald eagle as the Republican mascot.
The lone dissenting vote was cast by Governor Charlie Crist of Florida. "I prefer the faaabulous pink flamingo," Crist said.
Outside the committee's meeting place at Washington's Omni Shoreham Hotel, Bachmann spoke to a crowd of conservative activists known as "trunkers," who oppose what they call the non-American elephant mascot. Many in the gathering held placards reading "It Is From Kenya," and "Show Us The Pedigree."
One couple, M.F. and Shirley A. Nutt of Westmost, North Carolina, cheered as the Minnesota House member told trunkers that the Republican Party has no problem claiming the eagle, already a national symbol, for partisan political purposes. "That's what our party is all about," Bachmann said.
The Nutts denied being species-ist. "But if we follow something it has to be born in America, not something from Africa and probably Muslim," M.F. Nutt said.
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