Archive for November, 2009

Really explore the studio space!

Nov 30, 2009 in Media

There’s the stupid coverage of news items. There’s the not covering what should be news items. And then there’s the desperately covering non-items in the hopes that they’ll become items.

I normally could give a rat’s ass about jocks. The media always tries to put a sheen of importance on their insights that usually have the depth of a piss puddle and then when one of them behaves like a jock you have to endure all sorts of hand-wringing over them “losing their innocence”. You could say the same thing about Pitchfork Media except they usually don’t have distorted moral expectations from entertainers. Tiger’s right, though. To their detriment they left a vacuum in the wake of their “accident” and the media quickly filled it. With coverage about the lack of information to cover.


I’m weird!

Nov 30, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I always used to hate when completely non-weird people would declare that about themselves because they liked pickles on toast or something equally inane.

Well, I’ve become everything I hated, so I’m weird because I don’t enjoy blogging while home sick. Reading and storing tabs for later use, watching movies in the lower right-hand corner, playing around with my new Google Wave beta account, but my deep thoughts amount to, “Blech.”

In the meantime, check out this instantly classic episode of Parks and Recreation to see why it’s the funniest show on TV right now:



Nov 29, 2009 in Christian Right, Religion

Sullivan gives the pious both barrels:

It’s staggering really that modern American Christianism supports wealth while Jesus demanded total poverty, fetishizes family while Jesus left his and urged his followers to abandon wives, husbands and children, champions politics while Jesus said his kingdom was emphatically not of this world, defends religious war where Jesus sought always peace, and backs torture, which is what the Romans did to Jesus.

And obsesses over abortion, which is hardly mentioned at all in the Bible and requires creative and selective interpretation to conjure a moral opinion on the subject. And opposes taxing the rich to heal the poor.

Look, the New Testament wouldn’t have made it far if we didn’t have Paul to gloss over the Gospels and bring things back around to Old Testament style shepherding of unwieldy and sinful humans. Jesus survives as the model of a very nice person, but he was quickly morphed into a carrot to keep people out of Hell. Now Americans have turned Christ into an ATM and mega-churches kindly keep their flock poor and devotional, relieving them of their corruptive moneys.

It’s important to note that Andrew refers to “Christianism,” the conflation of rightwing politics with Jesus’ completely unrelated teachings, which gets practiced at least more loudly than Christianity in our society. But it’s defined itself as the real face of Christianity, wrapped in the American flag. It’s easy not to belong, but less easy to be heard. Many simply eschew any label at all, keeping their prayers private and their deeds under the radar. Some people embody the conflict, possessing both the virtues and the vices of Christianity, pious at times and deeply principled at others. Yet our balance is precarious, and wisdom is scattering thin and far.

On that note, let the War on Christmas begin!


How’s the recession affecting you?

Nov 28, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Economy

Don’t be afraid. My checking account balance as of today: $0.05

I’ve always been ready to stack jobs, and have usually done so. I’m always the most responsible person on a crew of nutsacks with no direction or work ethic, a by-product of my Iowa upbringing. I have a reasonable assurance of some seasonal work at the local college bookstore in January, but that’s it. Where before I used to go on and have a second job in a couple days, I now sit around wishing 7-11 would call me back.

I mean, my stack of screenplays is going to pay off someday as soon as all those Hollywood agents reading this blog get off their asses and bust down my door, but like any promising (not-so-young-anymore) author, I’m a broke-ass joke when it comes to the day job.

Be anon if you must, but how are you doing in the age of Geithner?


Rove still rules their world.

Nov 27, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

Sullivan recalls:

I remember very vividly a heated argument with Karl Rove over eight years ago in which I worried about spending and deficits. “Deficits don’t matter!” Rove kept repeating in that nasal world-weary tone he has. After a bit, I said, “What do you mean, deficits don’t matter? Don’t you remember the 1990s?” “No, no, no, no, Andrew,” he replied. “What I mean is that people don’t vote on deficits. That’s why they don’t matter.”

I learned then that nothing beyond short term politics motivates Rove. Nothing. And I also learned: this fathomless cynicism is not just repulsive, it’s invariably wrong. People sure did vote on deficits in 1992. And one small reason Obama won in 2008 is because many Independents and Republicans couldn’t trust the GOP to stop spending and borrowing us into oblivion in an era of economic growth.

Now, Rove – whose shamelessness is only matched by his incompetence – is writing a deficit hawk column for the WSJ.

The sliver of argument he has left is that the debt we now face is vaster than we imagined only a year ago. The reason? Rove would have you believe it’s those spend-and-splurge Democrats. In fact, of course, the massive debt has been building for years and its new height was precipitated by the recession begun under Bush (who was still in office a year ago), by the stimulus necessary to prevent a total abyss, by the bailout money required to rescue the banks, and by the continued de-leveraging after the reckless private borrowing of the Bush-Cheney years.

What Rove requires is what Palin requires: total amnesia of what they just said or did. There is nothing deeper to either of them than the cynical attempt to spin the next five minutes to their own advantage and at the cost of the country in general. One knows better; the other knows nothing. Together, they represent a useful spectrum of the degeneracy on the Republican right.

Hey, they had to say something, right? They’re Republicans and…that’s what they are.


Just like Bush.

Nov 27, 2009 in Barack Obama

Obama forbids lobbyists from being appointed to federal agency advisory boards and commissions.

Oh, also, forty-one Republican Senators are dead set against his health care bill that insures 36 million people because they were gonna do it under Bush II but they forgot and they really will do it next time there’s a Republican president.


You ungrateful bastards.

Nov 26, 2009 in Politics

Give thanks fer all ya have!


The elephant in the room.

Nov 26, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Health Care

Gosh, somebody besides a crazy liberal hippie is noticing that Republicans have overseen the massive inflation of the filibuster, transforming the Senate into a 60 vote body rather than the foreagreed majority vote requirement.

According to research by UCLA political scientist Barbara Sinclair, there was an average of one filibuster per Congress during the 1950s. That number has grown steadily since and spiked in 2007 and 2008 (the 110th Congress), when there were 52 filibusters. More broadly, according to Sinclair, while 8 percent of major legislation in the 1960s was subject to “extended-debate-related problems” like filibusters, 70 percent of major bills were so targeted during the 110th Congress.

The Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on here. They’ve abandoned all restraint, even to the point they would lobby the charge right back at Democrats if they reinstated restraint.

The fact is, the health care reform bill would pass if it cleared the filibuster, which is why the filibuster has become so important. The country has already elected the number of Senators in favor of health care reform to make it possible. They just forgot to make sure there weren’t enough Republican Senators willing to torpedo reform and leave our system broken.

As for Lieberman, who’s been a pro-health care reform guy his entire career, who used to look favorably upon single-payer care, the voters clearly got swindled.

Surrendering to that because Democrats don’t want to be called rude for ending or curtailing the filibuster is cowardice, ignorance, and abettal.


The party of 9/11.

Nov 25, 2009 in Journamalism, National Security, Uncategorized

I thought they were going to start firing staff for on-air flubs?

I hadn’t been paying attention to the semantics but it’s no surprise that the Republican party’s cable network would try to assert that George W. Bush’s tenure began after September 11th and that the Fort Hood shootings constituted a terrorist attack. Republicans have been praying since last January that something would happen that they could point to as an example of Obama’s lack of diligence and God answered them with Fort Hood (or Allah since there wouldn’t be a story had the shooter been Caucasian). Never mind the fact that men and women actively serving in the military can’t by definition be considered victims of terrorism. What’s important is that Obama wasn’t there to stop the bullets Jack Bauer style and has therefore not “kept the nation safe”. It’s a not so subtle shuck; you have to insinuate that Obama is blameworthy for Fort Hood yet at the same time excuse Bush who was clearly forewarned prior to 9/11. But then again, Flight Suit Boy wasn’t responsible for anything that happened after 9/11 so why should he accept responsibility for anything that happened before?


34,000 more troops.

Nov 24, 2009 in Politics

The announcement won’t be for a few days. I’m sure it’s because they’re still trying to figure out how to get those fiscally minded Blue Dogs on board with the decision.


Coralville Courier = Plagiarizers.

Nov 23, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives


Coralville Courier‘s Group2012 (who is probably also commenter Liberal Shark), one of the Thayer boys, offers somebody else’s work (one sample link, this is circulating all over the right-o-sphere) as his own without citation.

Of course, NO IT IS THE DEMOCRATS WHO ARE THE LIARS, but the problem is, we keep proving these teabaggers don’t have a single shred of intellectual honesty, shame, or respect for truth.

Naturally, this just about qualifies Troll2012 for higher office by GOP standards. Look out, Steve King!


The people elected a large Democratic majority.

Nov 23, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

The Republicans were ready to ban the filibuster after we tried to block the most extreme of Bush’s judicial nominations.

Since the Democrats regained control of the Senate, Republicans have abused the filibuster rule like never before. Until 1970, no session of Congress had more than ten votes on cloture to end a filibuster. Until 2007, the record was 58. But since Democrats regained control of the Senate, filibusters have skyrocketed. The last session had a new record of 112.
In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes needed to end a filibuster from 67 to 60. Now, with the Party of No blocking majority rule on virtually everything the country needs, we need to do it again.


Why not? Because it’s somehow a contradiction that Democrats wanted to keep the filibuster (when they weren’t abusing it)? What about the contradiction of the Republicans who wanted it gone when they had power, and now have used it more than any Congress in history?

They’ve turned the Senate into a de facto 60 vote body, and the press has simply rolled over. We have 55+ Senators willing to vote for cloture and then let the actual vote occur.

Why else would the filibuster vote be so hugely symbolic for Senators like Lieberman? Because they know the bill would pass. Lieberman and the Republicans are going to filibuster precisely because they’d lose the vote if debate were allowed to end.

These guys have taken a procedural loophole and turned it into the rule. Why can’t the loophole be closed? Why can’t we ease the requirement to 55? Why shouldn’t it be 50? Because the Republicans will say the word “fascism” again, but louder?

I say to Hell with it all. If they want it to be a war of procedure, use procedure against them. Of course, while the press rolls over for a Republican filibuster, it’ll be BAD NEWS FOR DEMOCRATS if they use procedural retaliation.

So we’re back to the paradigm of chickenshit Democrats vs. batshit crazy shameless Republicans and a press still afraid of being called liberal (memo to press: Unless you’re willing to be a literal propaganda machine ala Fox, you’ll never escape being called liberal).

So somehow we have 55+ Senators, fairly elected, willing to let Obama follow through on what he was elected to do, with a bill so staggeringly compromised you’d expect to see 75 votes in favor, but if a minority of teaparty zombies and corporate hacks
led by Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin, can create a roadblock…

…well, just guess who will get the blame if meaningful health care reform fails to pass?

Really, folks, if you’re worried about the economy, and losing your jobs (which means losing your health care), and you’re sitting around swallowing a single line of bullshit from the Republicans, I don’t know how you live with yourselves or try to lecture me about “real” Americans, or “freedom,” or the Constitution. Recently we’ve had a guest troll try every line he could glean from Limbaugh, and fail spectacularly (and behaving like a disgusting human being in the process).

Every chance I’ve had to corner one of these people and make them stand up for what they say they believe in, and try to get them to explain coherently why I should believe anything they say, it’s a complete blow-out. They can’t do it. They just go running back to their winger friends and assure each other that they’re the REAL AMERICANS WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR WHAT OUR COUNTRY REALLY REPRESENTS AND I DON’T EVEN THINK OBAMA IS AN AMERICAN YOU KNOW…

If Beck, Limbaugh, Palin and the like really represent this country, then face facts, America: this country has jumped the shark. We are no longer serious. We are no longer grown-ups. We are no longer governed by reason. We are no longer wise. We have surrendered to our worst.

But I don’t think they do, and so we haven’t. Yet.



Nov 23, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

If you say a beauty queen who couldn’t hack it as governor of Alaska or tell a scrap of truth to save her life shouldn’t be president, the teabaggers get upright and angry because they “identify” with her.

If you point out “Joe the Plumber” was completely wrong in his attack on Obama and virtually nothing he said about himself was true, the teabaggers get upright and angry because they “identify” with him.

But they’ll shout down an ordinary citizen who lost her daughter and grandchild due to a lack of health care coverage.

I mean, how can you look at that and not feel a wave of revulsion and horror towards these loud, cruel, and stupid people? How can you feel anything but discomfort as you realize these people are holding the health care issue hostage, and one of our two primary political parties?

I guess all I can do is hope these people destroy the Republican Party entirely before they drag the U.S.A. into 37th place on every count.


Constant stupid.

Nov 23, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

This has to break some kind of record for number of insanely wrong and empty-headed statements in a row.

Republicans are for good things! Democrats for bad things!

Do we really deserve to be the most powerful country in the world at this rate? Not if these people are calling the shots. Non-stop, prideful ignorance, with no desire to learn or have their beliefs held accountable to reality.


Stimulus should have been bigger, but still working.

Nov 21, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy


…with roughly a quarter of the stimulus money out the door after nine months, the accumulation of hard data and real-life experience has allowed more dispassionate analysts to reach a consensus that the stimulus package, messy as it is, is working.

The legislation, a variety of economists say, is helping an economy in free fall a year ago to grow again and shed fewer jobs than it otherwise would. Mr. Obama’s promise to “save or create” about 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 is roughly on track, though far more jobs are being saved than created, especially among states and cities using their money to avoid cutting teachers, police officers and other workers.

“It was worth doing — it’s made a difference,” said Nigel Gault, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, a financial forecasting and analysis group based in Lexington, Mass.

Mr. Gault added: “I don’t think it’s right to look at it by saying, ‘Well, the economy is still doing extremely badly, therefore the stimulus didn’t work.’ I’m afraid the answer is, yes, we did badly but we would have done even worse without the stimulus.”

In interviews, a broad range of economists said the White House and Congress were right to structure the package as a mix of tax cuts and spending, rather than just tax cuts as Republicans prefer or just spending as many Democrats do. And it is fortuitous, many say, that the money gets doled out over two years — longer for major construction — considering the probable length of the “jobless recovery” under way as wary employers hold off on new hiring.


Among Democrats in the White House and Congress, “there was a considerable amount of hand-wringing that it was too small, and I sympathized with that argument,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s and an occasional adviser to lawmakers.

Even so, “the stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do — it is contributing to ending the recession,” he added, citing the economy’s third-quarter expansion by a 3.5 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate. “In my view, without the stimulus, G.D.P. would still be negative and unemployment would be firmly over 11 percent. And there are a little over 1.1 million more jobs out there as of October than would have been out there without the stimulus.”

The article does point out that Obama shouldn’t have projected 8% unemployment max, and that Republicans harp on that constantly (as we well know here, thanks to monkey troll Group2012). But what was their plan to save jobs again? Cut some more taxes? As it is, our unemployment levels can be directly attributed to the stimulus being too small, because of Republican protests.

And we’re supposed to reward them in 2010?


The utter corruption of the GOP, a test for Democrats.

Nov 19, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

Guess what? Republicans think ACORN stole the election for Obama. Not just the wacky teabaggers. 52% of all Republicans. Now Doug Hoffman, pathetic as he already was, has retracted his concession of the race, because he says ACORN stole that election too. Does he have any evidence? Of course not. He just said “ACORN!” and the GOP jumped up to see who could vigorously agree more.

Politico reports that Democrats are raising more money than Republicans lately. By jove, if you aren’t able to break paralysis and do whatever you can to make sure these people don’t gain power, I don’t know what else it would take. They were unhinged from reality during the Bush years, but hating Obama has turned them utterly bonkers. All they do is filibuster bills (even the ones they like), offer jack shit for solutions, dismiss hopelessly compromising Democrats and scream that fascism has arrived in America. Their heroine, Sarah Palin, doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground and they want to be like her.

I really don’t see how 2010 really goes in their favor. What can they offer? Some more “NO!”? They screwed up constantly when they had power, and they’re not even handling being a minority party well. The health care reform bill is shaping up to be a fiscally conservative product, something that would, in previous eras, have been done with bipartisan cooperation and garnered popular support. It’s more attentive to paying for itself than either of Bush’s wars or Medicare Part D (of which his administration straight-up lied to the public about the cost). Some of its expected cost is still due to Bush-style refusal to let the government use its size to bargain for lower prices. Yet 40 GOP Senators plus Joe Lieberman still plan to filibuster it. Do they even know why anymore? Joe Lieberman won’t even explain how he thinks costs will hurt us, he just recites the GOP talking point of attacking the CBO and generally making things up as he goes along.

As far as I can see, what Democrats need to do is a) dispense with all fear immediately, b) get done the things they were elected to get done, health care merely one among the many, and c) ramp up the effort to stimulate job growth as directly as possible (naturally, Republicans will try to filibuster anything they do, but this will force them to either walk the walk on jobs or shut the hell up). If they can make some progress in the next 11 months, they’ll be fine.

Of course, that’s their Plan B. Plan A is a) tremble with fear wherever there is risk of Republicans saying mean things about them, b) cave in on everything, and c) make some improvements on jobs but refuse to attack Republicans for having no better ideas.

Unfortunately, if one party is broken and corrupt, and the other is constantly afraid to stand up for anything that is right, and these people represent us, then that’s where the indictment ultimately falls. I keep wanting us to do better, but the adage says that with democracy we get the government we deserve.

Harry Reid seems to have somehow discovered his spine, but it will soon be put to the test. May there be such a fight on the floor of the Senate. We’ve still got 50+ Senators who will vote for the bill once it’s finished. Those Senators need to force the Republicans to pull whatever stunt they dare and keep punching them back. If we can wipe the floor with them on this blog in our comment wars, there is no reason our politicians can’t win the same battle.


Yeah, yeah…I’m posting a cat video.

Nov 19, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Kitteh interferes with official acts!


More on the mandate.

Nov 19, 2009 in Health Care

The incomparable Ezra Klein:

But what’s the alternative? No one wants an individual mandate. But the folks who spend all their time trying to solve the first problem Ross describes have concluded that you can’t do it without an individual mandate. After all, why do people get priced out of insurance? The answer, aside from “they’re poor,” is that they’re bad risks. They’re older, or they’re sicker, or they’ve been sicker at some point in the past, or they work at a dangerous job or a job associated with chronic injuries.

If reform simply forces insurance companies to sell to these people, then prices skyrocket for everyone, as the sicker or the older rush into the market, while the young and the healthy hang back. In that scenario, you’ve not solved the problem of pricing people out. You’ve arguably worsened it. If you want to solve the problem of pricing out but you don’t want an individual mandate, you need to think of an alternative to it.

Moreover, it’s simply not true, as Ross says, that the people paying the $750 individual mandate penalty get nothing in return. Far from it, in fact. For one thing, they get access to emergency care, as happens now. For another, they get the chance to come back into the system when they actually need insurance. Someone who puts off purchasing coverage and then tries to buy Aetna’s plan the first time they collapse unexpectedly will not be sold a plan. Having chosen not to buy insurance when they didn’t need care, they can’t buy it now that they do need care. They become the priced out or, in some cases, locked out.

Under reform, these people get the chance to come back into the system when they need coverage. They can’t be discriminated against.

People would probably realize this if they weren’t busy trying to make sure the Democrats didn’t have a legislative success.


Upholdin’ the Constitution!

Nov 18, 2009 in Politics

Man-on-the-street ignorance footage is easy to come by but the above video demonstrates a log on the tea-bagger fire that’s been crackling since election day. In the span of a few weeks it became part of accepted right-winger lore that TARP and its related bailouts were a product of the Obama administration and their ultimate goal for Big Government takeovers of industry and subsequent feudal enslavement. “Conservatives” laboring under this collective delusion therefore fancied themselves as staunch defenders of what they imagined the Constitution to be much like emasculated militia-men in Michigan and Montana fantasize about their imaginary roll in a great, armed struggle for freedom.

The subtext of all of this is obvious; that unlike them, librulz (as personified by Obama) aren’t real Americans.


The Matt Foley Show.

Nov 18, 2009 in Media, Uncategorized

It just occurred to me that Matt Foley has all it takes to become a right wing media personality. He comes from a humble background and has a checkered past. He’s not much to look at but has a resonating baritone voice. And most importantly, he’s one of us! A simple man with a simple message. All he needs is to fine tune his inspirational speaking message to include scatter shot “conservative” commentary.


Women as a purely biological entity.

Nov 18, 2009 in Abortion

Full comic here.

All religious fundamentalists have a few characteristics that they share in common; one of them is their view of a woman as a purely biological entity whose sexuality must be studiously controlled. The issue of abortion then comes down to punishing women for having sex.


I’m back from the UP.

Nov 18, 2009 in Sport, Uncategorized

That’s upper peninsula for the uninitiated; land of guns guns guns! We fished for trophy walleye on Little Bay de Noc until the wee hours of the morning with terrific success. Here’s a twenty eight incher I caught earlier in the evening:

I almost got seasick this time. I say almost because I was definitely green but not enough to pollute the icy cold waters of Green Bay and consequently ruin everybody’s appetite. It must be because I’m getting older because earlier this year I was motion sick after just one ride at a local amusement park which hasn’t happened to me in thirty years. I’ve also never experienced motion sickness on a boat before this weekend and since I’m not accustomed to the feeling I always forget to take dramamine previous to my excursions. Luckily I was able to stave off nausea long enough to land this ten and a half pound, thirty inch monster:

Congratulations were exchanged, pictures were taken and cans of half warm Budweiser were raised.

I didn’t get into any politics with the locals but for an excruciating twenty minutes I endured the Glen Beck program. A female audience member was lamenting how you’re unable to engage in a civilized discussion about Barack Obama’s policies without him calling you a racist. Judging by the thundering applause I guessed that the audience agreed with her assessment. What color is the sky in their world?


Commie hippie bastards.

Nov 18, 2009 in Global warming

Europe on track to meet or exceed Kyoto goals.

Meanwhile, if you favor doing anything about carbon emissions in America, you’re now a treehugging liberal, despite the fact that rightwingers have lost the argument everywhere except within their own hermetically sealed media environs.


Speaking of Rush…

Nov 18, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

Caught five minutes today while running to Subway due to an unexpected work break, as I’m not usually on the road when he’s on.

So Genius Republican Party Leader tells me that Democrats want terrorists kept prisoner in the U.S. because that means more prison guards. Union member prison guards, therefore more cash for Democrats.

I mean, yeah, that’s gotta translate into almost dozens of extra inmates and guards.

Hey, Rush, who wants to decriminalize marijuana and end the War on Drugs, you junkie idiot?

Nearly every dysfunction in the GOP today can be traced to the day they shifted all allegiances to this pathetic charlatan. Logic? Factual truth? NO GIMME SOUNDBITES THEY TASTE SO GOOD IN MY MOUTH! He’s just one more megachurch pastor fleecing his sheep to see how high he can stack money, and half of our two-party system has surrendered itself to him and even lesser idiots like Beck and Palin. Today a GOP Congressman suggested Carrie Prejean had a future in politics:

“[Carrie] has the ability to draw crowds and if she has a strong message to go with that, who knows what she can do? She has star power which can open doors.”

These are the people who shriek like banshees whenever a liberal celebrity opens his/her mouth. But the universal law of Republicans is if they can find somebody with the slightest scrap of celebrity who agrees with them, they’ll propel them as high as they can. Stick hot-ass mama Carrie Prejean on the policies of outwardly sick bastards like the human slug Limbaugh or Cheney’s walking corpse and you can sell that message!


Ain’t no rush if you’re doing it right.

Nov 18, 2009 in Health Care

May Congress follow the lead of Blizzard Entertainment, and vote on the health care bill “when it’s ready.” Ezra Klein, who’s essential reading on health care reform, points out some of the cost control measures being considered.

The first comes from the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans. The idea here is simple enough: you’re taxing any growth in health-care premiums that’s faster than the rate of growth in GDP plus one percentage point, which is going to make people a lot less accepting of premium increases and unchecked growth. This is, in the simplest sense of the term, a cost control. In theory, it controls costs by taxing one of the drivers of cost growth into submission. It is, by far, the policy economists are most united on, and the one that works in the most straightforward and blunt way.

The second comes from the newly formed Medicare Commission, which is a lot stronger than people realize. The idea isn’t simply that a panel of experts gets to dream up interesting reforms to try out in Medicare. It’s that they are charged with making sure that Medicare hits certain growth targets, and their package of reforms has to achieve that goal. Those reforms are then sent to Congress, where Senate debate is limited to 30 hours, and amendments must be both budget neutral and “germane.” This report, in other words, is exempt from the filibuster. So far as anything is ever easy to pass, this is easy to pass. If Congress cannot manage action even within this streamlined process, then it simply cannot cut health-care costs at all, and our federal government will go bankrupt.

The third is the delivery-system reforms. The House bill has these too, though they’re a bit weaker. They key alchemy, however, is the interplay of the delivery-system reforms and the MedPAC commission. The Senate builds in a lot of pathways by which an idea that starts in Medicare through the commission and proves successful can be brought to pilot and then brought to scale across the health-care system. Medicare serves as the laboratory, but other institutions created in the bill serve as the factory.

All three of those stories make sense, and any of them, on their own, would represent the most significant effort at cost control in a generation, if not ever.

We really have no choice but to take our time to truly address cost control as part of health care reform. The long term costs of health care demand it. Our current system is fundamentally broken.

Within the next fifty years, medical technology is going to advance to levels that we simply cannot properly gauge in 2009. Life expectancy will, barring interference from energy and climate issues, increase, perhaps significantly. By the time I am eighty years old, it is entirely conceivable that I may have access to technology that will allow me to live to 150, or 200 years. To live indefinitely is not out of the question. What we have come to understand in the last ten years will pale next to what we will have mastered by then.

Very likely then that the same kinds of research will yield benefits on how to keep us healthier longer. At eighty, I may have strengthened bones and more muscle mass than I possess now. Nano-tech may be cleansing my blood. Yet, despite all these measures, an extended life creates a bigger window for costly life-threatening issues, and simply persisting may be a hugely expensive undertaking itself.

In such a world, notions of when we should retire will face upheaval. Working 47 years and living another 150 simply won’t be feasible. More than ever, sustainability will be a part of our vocabulary. If you’re 100 with the body of a 50 year old, you will be expected to work. The very concept of retirement may become drastically altered or largely obsolete, reserved for the wealthy.

Addressing long-term costs isn’t merely a panacea for teabagging fools who suddenly woke up to the deficit the day George W. Bush left office. Sustainability must remain a constant concern, whether the subject is health, energy, or preserving our Constitutional rights.

Let Congress work on it, and make real cost control part of the final bill. The cries of the foolish will diminish, and we will see who is dedicated to solving difficult problems responsibly.



Nov 16, 2009 in Music

Mike was out fishing in Michigan this weekend. While you eagerly await his return, enjoy my favorite Stereolab song via a terrible placeholder video (so you can surf and listen!):


Remembering the dishonesty.

Nov 15, 2009 in Politics

Would it surprise you that the Bush administration tried to puff itself up after 9/11 and pretended they responded quickly?

Yet both Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney, (John) Farmer says, provided palpably false versions that touted the military’s readiness to shoot down United 93 before it could hit Washington. Planes were never in place to intercept it. By the time the Northeast Air Defense Sector had been informed of the hijacking, United 93 had already crashed. Farmer scrutinizes F.A.A. and Norad rec­ords to provide irrefragable evidence that a day after a Sept. 17 White House briefing, both agencies suddenly altered their chronologies to produce a coherent timeline and story that “fit together nicely with the account provided publicly by Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and Vice President Cheney.”

Farmer further observes that the Bush administration wrongly asserted that the chain of command functioned on 9/11; that President Bush issued an authorization to shoot down hijacked commercial flights; and that top officials at F.A.A. headquarters coordinated their actions with the military. Farmer’s verdict: “History should record that whether through unprecedented administrative incompetence or orchestrated mendacity, the American people were misled about the nation’s response to the 9/11 attacks.”

Dick Cheney 2012! Can’t we just move forward?

Some details on the 9/11 Commission trying to wrangle the truth from Cheney and the WH here. Like liars, their stories conflicted and changed.

If Farmer’s book, “The Ground Truth” gains notoriety, attacks should be expected on him, so here’s who he is:

As senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, Farmer, who was the attorney general of New Jersey and is the dean of the Rutgers School of Law, investigated the derelict conduct of the national security apparatus. He was well prepared to do so. In their valuable account of the commission’s activities, “Without Precedent,” the commission chairman, Thomas Kean, and the vice chairman, Lee Hamilton, noted that shortly after the attacks, Farmer — “one of our most important hires” — ­established a victims’ assistance center in New Jersey and helped the F.B.I. uncover important evidence in garbage at Newark International Airport.

I expect the rightwinger Dick Tracys, should they catch his scent, to shortly inform us that he’s William Ayer’s cousin or, *gasp*, he gave money to a Democrat once.


In search of redundancy.

Nov 15, 2009 in Politics

DougJ at Balloon Juice:

I did some searchers on “dithering” in the New York Times and Washington Post archives. In the Times, there were eleven uses of the word post-Cheney out of a total of 47 in the past year. In the Post, there were 36 post-Cheney out of a total of 46 in the past 12 months.

Michael Gerson, Jackson Diehl, and David Broder have all accused the president of “dithereing” post-Cheney. Gerson also used the phrase about a week before Cheney’s speech. Ronald Krebs and Dana Milbank also wrote pieces accusing Obama of dithering before Cheney’s speech (Jim Hoagland also wrote a piece, praising the dithering). The phrase seems to have originated with Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” on October 4.

It’s interesting how these words take off and I think it’s likely that neocons settled on it and that Krebs, Gerson, and Cheney all using it within a week of each other was no accident (Diehl and Broder fall more in the category of useful idiots).

It’s rare that I feel outsmarted by the right, but this is one thing they do that is so skillful, I almost feel humbled. Most of it is mindless repetition of some new buzzword that they can all latch onto and drive into the public consciousness within days. But the thing that always fascinates me is how they find those words. How come it became “dithering” and not “lollygagging”? Could it have been lollygagging if they all agreed on it? I think not…too comical a choice. The word has to be subversively subliminal, as if it were the most obvious choice. Could it have been “biding his time”? Perhaps, but that’s three words, and far too obviously insulting. No, folks, it’s DITHERING, and it was made most famous by Dick Cheney, who oversaw our army fucking around for over six years and watching the country descend into disorder before passing it off to Obama. It goes without saying that it’s also against all wisdom on the subject to expect Obama to make a quick decision rather than a correct one, as virtually anything from Cheney’s mouth is guaranteed to be wrong.

Once the lexicon is established, it’s mere brainless repetition, the only thoughts generated directed towards new combinations and permutations. I guess they’re saving brainpower for the quest to find the next big word?


Fox tries removing most embarrassing clips from Youtube.

Nov 14, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Journamalism

Because they’re all about letting us decide.


Sarah Palin blames everyone but herself.

Nov 14, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

One expects this from middle schoolers. Presidential wannabes?

Even Ann Althouse gives up and declares Palin a hopeless dummy. Her comments thread comes alive with accusations of elitism. Of course, none of them question that a bunch of Ivy League chickenhawks casually manipulate the masses to thirst for ever more war while absurdly rich contractors and weapons makers reap the benefits. They understand how the system works: get a dummy with a nice smile to sell the policies the eggheads concoct. Nobody expects Sarah Palin to know anything. Her diehard supporters know that if they can somehow figure out how to get America to once again drop all standards and put another used car salesman in office, she’ll be told who to put in her cabinet to carry out the unbridled interests of entrenched power. What’s so entertaining about her is that she’s so terrible at being charming or feigning good judgment, yet the depraved GOP base simply refuses to accept that there’s a problem. They’re so hopelessly broken over past glories, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the movie I just finished watching, 500 Days of Summer, that they’re unable to function in the present.


DADT out.

Nov 12, 2009 in teh gay

With the next military appropriations bill. Only a tiny minority of Americans anymore believe in hating gays more than defending the country.

Today we salute the veterans, with a special nod to those who served while forced to hide who they really were.


Ya coverin’ this one for Veteran’s Day, Fox?

Nov 12, 2009 in Politics

Support the troops, right?

According to a study released by the Harvard Medical School, 2,266 veterans under the age of 65 died last year as a result of not having health insurance. Researchers emphasize that “that figure is more than 14 times the number of deaths (155) suffered by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2008, and more than twice as many as have died (911 as of Oct. 31) since the war began in 2001.”

The 1.46 million working-age veterans that did not have health insurance last year all experienced reduced access to care as a consequence, leading to “six preventable deaths a day.”

A Ft. Hood every two days, one could say.


Old Democrats.

Nov 12, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems

The Democrats swept two elections across the country, in the West and the South, because they stopped being afraid of being Democrats. As a general rule, Democrats who do their best to impersonate Republicans don’t win races. Democrats who stand up and make the case for voting for a Democrat win. After 2004, the grassroots took rein in the party because the Republican-lite approach had utterly failed.

These guys ain’t learning that lesson, and the GOP is already salivating.

Obama did try warning them: No number of concessions will please the Republicans. Even being a Republican won’t please them. Olympia Snowe is likely to get toasted in the next primary so a Democrat can win her seat in Maine, but not if we get some weak sauce plastic moron who tries running away from the party and Obama. If you’re not a tea-partier, you’re not a Republican anymore, and you’re not their friend either. The GOP base hates every one of those Democratic Representatives, and they hate every Democrat in the Senate who’s considering voting against health care.

We have 51+ votes in the Senate already. Hell, we’ll let Nelson, Conrad and the rest play whatever chickenshit game they think will keep their seat safe. All that is expected of them is that they don’t enable a radical Republican minority filibuster. And this is one of the Democratic Party’s most prized issues. Much different than the Lindsey Graham-censuring GOP base that can’t tolerate the slightest deviations from an increasingly unhinged platform.


The obnoxiously vocal minority.

Nov 11, 2009 in Politics

Boehlert points out that the libruls as the root of all evil jive has diminishing rates of return.

Doug Hoffman was, first and foremost, a media candidate (a media creation), which means we are entering a very new and different realm in American politics. We’re entering a sort of Fox News Era where media outlets — where alleged news organizations — essentially co-sponsor political campaigns. We’ve moved well beyond the time when Fox News, for instance, leaned right and gave conservative candidates more air-time and tossed them lots of softball questions. We’re now watching unfold a political reality where Fox News literally selects candidates and then markets them through Election Day.

But alas, time and again they’ve shown that they are unable to influence elections. And the evidence doesn’t end with Hoffman. The right wing media machine was actively opposed to McCain in South Carolina and the results were similar.

Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, and Malkin, among others, all put their reputations on the line in NY-23, touting the contest as a referendum on the anti-Obama, Tea Party movement in America. And they lost, big time. Not unlike the way the same right-wing media leaders put their reputations on the line in early 2008 and went all-in against McCain in the South Carolina Republican primary. (FYI, McCain wasn’t sufficiently conservative.) Result? McCain won the SC contest in a walk.

The article doesn’t mention any of the other feeble attempts by the right wing media to influence elections. One that springs to mind is Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” which, if judged by his stated goals, was a complete failure. During that same time, Limbaugh’s preferred candidates, Romney and Giuliani, fell to pieces so for all of the bluster you hear about “the majority of (real) Americans” the tea-baggers don’t have any successes to point to as the direct product of their efforts. The article goes on to say that a lot of the fringe dead-enders failures are a result of their inability to grapple with realities outside of the right-wing echo chamber, that if what you’re saying doesn’t strictly coincide with the “liberal fascists are trying to socialize the communism” narrative you’re hastily dismissed as an enabler of far left propaganda. I’d also add to that a severe overestimation of the efficacy of their trad rhetoric with the voting public at large. Young and racially diverse voters are never going to be sufficiently moved by invoking Hitler or warning them of the encroaching Red Menace. And telling them that Barack Obama, the candidate that they came out in droves to support, is actually a stealth Muslim bent on sending them to work camps is only going to show them just how low of an opinion the right wing has of their intelligence.


Most. Shameless. Ever.

Nov 08, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

If Maddy doesn’t have health insurance and gets sick, though, she may have to die so we don’t become Commies.


“There’s no advantage achieved by all this fuss.”

Nov 07, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

Republican representatives mutate into town hall screamers, trying to drown out voices of opposition instead of challenging them.


Dana Pico, you are compelled!

Nov 07, 2009 in Health Care

The Catholics endorse the health care reform bill.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered a critical endorsement to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday by signing off on late-night agreement to grant a vote on an amendment barring insurance companies that participate in the exchange from covering abortions.

“Passing this amendment allows the House to meet our criteria of preserving the existing protections against abortion funding in the new legislation,” the Bishops wrote in a letter to individual members. “Most importantly, it will ensure that no government funds will be used for abortion or health plans which include abortion.”

The group goes on to say, “The Conference will remain vigilant and involved through this entire process to assure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation. With this important step forward we hope the House can come together and finally move forward essential reform which truly will protect the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We also hope the Senate will follow the example of the House and include these essential safeguards in their version of health care reform legislation.”

Keeping tax dollars away from abortions certainly angers some, including our own Thomas Tallis. However staunchly pro-choice I am, I still understand and perceive the moral repugnance of the actual deed. I oppose restrictions on women’s rights, but that doesn’t translate into an entitlement of cash to do them. People have a say in how their tax dollars are spent, and I think ultimately it’s fair to grant people the right not to have their tax dollars spent on something they abhor so much. If that concession brings the Catholic Church on board with everything else, I think it’s a valid compromise that respects and balances everybody’s rights.


UPDATE: Comments thread has shifted my thoughts somewhat. When you look at the fine print, it’s a horrible deal that holds trillions of private dollars hostage. Can’t lose it fast enough, and it isn’t going to change anybody’s vote about the final bill.

You can’t get laid if your penis makes girls laugh.

Nov 07, 2009 in Politics

I really don’t hear many Republicans bragging about their health care plan lately. Seems they were forced to finally come up with one, confirming what everybody already knew, that they had no real plan to change anything.

There’s no question that the Republicans’ bill is cheaper because it does so little to help the uninsured. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would provide $61 billion over 10 years to expand coverage, compared with more than $1 trillion in the Democrats’ bill.

That paltry effort, the budget office estimates, would extend coverage to a few million people who would otherwise be uninsured in 2019, leaving 52 million citizens and legal residents below Medicare age without coverage or about 17 percent of that population, right where it is today. This is a dismaying abdication of responsibility.

The bill is destined to become the crazy ex-wife lurking in the attic. Republicans have no desire to bring attention to the bill, they merely want to say they have a really awesome one. You get to trust them on it.

I really don’t care if Democrats pluck out a few decent ideas and add them to the ultimate bill. Wake me up when somebody finds one in there, I’m due my Saturday morning nap.


Another day…

Nov 06, 2009 in National Security

Another hero. Kimberly Munley, everybody…


More please!

Nov 06, 2009 in Politics

Kos with some EPIC pwnage:


UPDATE: Crooks and Liars links to a Denver Post article detailing Tancredo’s 1-Y Vietnam deferment.

A hero who will be remembered.

Nov 05, 2009 in Politics

A man stands up and speaks with real authority to the fake authorities in Iran. Yet they have reacted interestingly. Mahmoud Vahidnia was, of course, immediately arrested, but now Khameini is projecting a humane image by sparing him further punishment.

“Vahidnia showed a new atmosphere which is the true characteristic of the Iranian people,” Ataollah Mohajerani, a former pro-reform Cabinet minister, wrote on his Web site. “If from now on in gatherings in the presence of the supreme leader one finds the courage to get up and speak in defense of justice and right, the climate of tyranny will suffocate.”

Speaking to The Associated Press, Mohajerani dismissed the idea that Vahidnia could have been planted by authorities, but said the state was using the incident to try to paint itself in a better light.

“Khamenei wants to show that the leader is totally prepared to face criticism,” Mohajerani said in a telephone interview from London.

Does he? Well, I’m certainly prepared to let him keep making that case. Nobody could imagine it will be easy for others, but there they are, out there in the streets again, crying out, standing up for themselves.

Pursuing this angle is so much more interesting and promising than drawing up plans to bomb Iran, don’t you think? Can we really attack a country when its people are trying to reject the leadership naturally? Does Israel really think a military strike can do more damage to the Iranian leadership than Mahmoud did?


They wanna filibuster?

Nov 05, 2009 in Health Care

Alan Grayson shows how to counter.


Pillars of reason

Nov 05, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Health Care, Politics

It is my contention that were we dealing with a genuine opponent in Republicans, instead of a gang controlled by the know-nothing musings of the Beck/Palin/Limbaugh Idiot Trinity, this piece by the Brookings Institution may carry some weight.

The proposal starts from the conclusion that the standard short-term measures to address rising costs, like reducing prices, are not sufficient to succeed. Instead, legislation must support necessary changes and improvements in health care by reforming payment systems, regulations, and institutions that currently prevent patients from consistently getting the best quality care at the lowest cost.

This strategy consists of four interrelated pillars. First, as a foundation for improving value, all stakeholders in the system need better information and tools to be more effective. Second, provider payments should be redirected toward rewarding improvements in quality and reductions in cost growth, providing support for health care delivery reforms that save money while emphasizing disease prevention and better coordination of care. Third, health insurance markets should be reformed and government subsidies restructured to create competition and improve incentives around value improvement rather than risk selection. This step requires near-universal participation in insurance markets to succeed. Finally, individual patients should be given greater support for improving their health and lowering overall health care costs, including incentives for achieving measurable health goals.

Also appreciated would be more Democrat politicians who win on grassroots power instead of big money donations they curiously vote in line with.

While we are potentially looking at a likeable bill, endorsed by the AMA and AARP and a number of other big players, it’s important to remember that there are still numerous concessions being made in the name of political expediency and big donor waahbabiness. Or waahbabitude, although I feel that imaginary word to be a little too positive for the desired effect.

While I remain personally optimistic that a series of bills in the future may be able to ferret out some of the absurdities and inch us closer to the idyll most of us realize needs to be manifest, that shouldn’t lie in the way of this current bill, which is by any analysis a huge step away from the barbarisms of past decades.


Afghanistan: Kicking the can down the road.

Nov 05, 2009 in Politics

Daniel Ellsberg speaks of the similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan.


Republicans support the troops.

Nov 05, 2009 in Politics

Except when they shove a broomstick up their asses.

Earlier this fall, Coburn placed holds on S 252, the Veterans Health Care Authorization Act of 2009, and S 728, the Veterans’ Insurance and Benefits Enhancement Act of 2009, which led to the introduction of S 1963, which combines key provisions of the two earlier bills in an effort to get around Coburn’s opposition.

In a letter sent Monday night to the Senate majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the 13 military and veterans groups ask the Senate to get on with it.

“It is essential that Congress act on this comprehensive measure without further delay,” the letter reads. “Thousands of disabled veterans with serious medical conditions and the family members who care for them are counting on this additional support.”

The letter says passing the bill by Veterans Day would be a “fitting way” to honor veterans.

Those signing the letter include the nation’s major veterans groups — The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AmVets, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Blinded Veterans Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Jewish War Veterans, plus the Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association and Wounded Warrior Project.

Steve Robertson, legislative director for The American Legion, said delaying the bill hurts families caring for severely wounded combat veterans who would benefit from the stipends, health care, counseling and respite care that would be provided to caregivers in the bill.

“For a lot of family caregivers, delay is costing them their jobs and their savings. It’s having a big impact,” he said.

Mr. Coburn really hopes the troops stop calling his offices. By the way…

DC Office:
172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3603
Phone: 202-224-5754
Fax: 202-224-6008
Web Email

District Office- Lawton:
711 Southwest D Avenue, Suite 202
Lawton, OK 73501
Phone: 580-357-9878
Fax: 580-355-3560

District Office- Oklahoma City:
2250 West Modelle Street, Suite C
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Phone: 405-231-4941
Fax: 405-231-5051

District Office- Tulsa:
3310 Mid-Continent Tower
401 South Boston
Tulsa, OK 74103
Phone: 918-581-7651
Fax: 918-581-7195


It’s all good.

Nov 05, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

I don’t believe Dick Armey raped a woman in 1980 and another in 1994 (both in Fargo), but I’m okay if other people do.


Tonight’s lessons.

Nov 04, 2009 in Politics

1. Enough of the trembling in your boots already Democrats, you damn lily-livered cows. Never be afraid to run against a teabagger candidate who Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are excited about. If you can’t take down a politician beholden to those idiot kings, you suck. Obama has earned the consensus view that he brought the economy back from the brink of disaster, and you’re worried about a bunch of ninnies who think the stimulus was the harbinger of a Communist takeover?

2. Keep up the purge, Republicans! After all, Barack Obama is destroying the country and IT IS 1939 YOU ARE JEWS THE OVEN IS JUST WARMING UP so drive out those moderates. Eventually people will stop thinking you’re a gang of know-nothing authoritarians who discovered fiscal conservatism on January 20, 2009 and who will forget it again as soon as you get your hands on a seat somewhere, who would have left the fate of the Bush recession up to the forces of chaos. If we’d only lowered more taxes and drilled for oil! You’ve got absolutely no real plan for reducing the deficit and putting America back in the black, but you’re Republicans. You don’t actually know how to govern, but you know how to run smear campaigns!



Nov 03, 2009 in Politics


Just wanted to beat them to it.


UPDATE: Holy smokes…not even close to being a referendum on Obama. Scorecard here.

UPDATE: More bad news for Democrats: CNN uncovers the shocking truth about Republican domination of the angry, white and aged demographic.

UPDATE: It’s not over yet, but Bill Owens has been leading Doug Hoffman all night. My impression is that nobody cares about Bill Owens and that this is mostly anti-Hoffman voting. Absentee ballots narrowing the count somewhat but Owens still ahead by two percent…

UPDATE: I changed some text to reflect that this isn’t a referendum on Obama, to better reflect the content of the link. Voters are fine with Obama, they’re just really concerned about the economy.

And, it seems, not to impressed with the teabaggers. Sarah Palin has even favorable/unfavorable numbers in a ribbon-red district. Hoffman’s pledge of loyalty to Glenn Beck couldn’t have been very helpful. It seems that smiling, declaring yourself a common American, and not knowing your ass from a hole in the ground is enough to please the extreme GOP base, but not encouraging for one’s election prospects…with 85% reporting, Owens is ahead four percentage points. One prominent Hoffman supporter throws in the towel…

UPDATE: It’s over for Hoffman. Not good news for teabaggers, but Republican moderates who can fight them off in the primaries can still win elections. Could this mean the return of a sane Republican Party? Reactions from the base tomorrow will tell us if the YOU ARE BLIND IF YOU DO NOT SEE OBAMA IS TURNING AMERICAN INTO AUSCHWITZ faction of the GOP is waking up from the fever dream…

Even southerners prefer Obama to Bush.

Nov 03, 2009 in Politics

Ouch. Especially considering he’s scientifically proven to be the most LIBRUL PRESIDENT EVER!!!

But not too bad for an ambitious first year:

Another factor that may be boosting Obama’s overall rating is the inevitable comparison with the man he replaced in the Oval Office. Fifty-seven percent say Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush; only a third say Bush’s track record was better.

“Compared to Obama, Bush does fairly well among southerners and rural voters. But even in those categories, a majority still says Obama has done a better job than Bush,” says Holland.

The survey also suggests that by 24 points, Americans think that Joe Biden is a better vice president than Dick Cheney.

So contrary to the grave warnings (by right wingers) that Americans were waking up to realize they were being lead down a path towards socialist Armageddon things are almost statistically identical to where they were a year ago.


Quick Question

Nov 02, 2009 in Politics

Question for our right-leaning friends who argue that the information we might get from torture (or, as they’d have it, “enhanced interrogation” – double-plus good, right?) offsets the underlying moral issues: if I told you I could prevent an attack on Americans by kidnapping a terrorist’s pregnant wife and threatening her with abortion, you’d call foul if it actually progressed as far as performing an abortion, right?

The way you’d feel about that is the way those of us who oppose torture under any circumstances feel about your “attacks prevented” argument. Greater good isn’t compelling in the presence of absolutes.