Quelle surprise

Reuters - Seven former heads of the CIA urged President Barack Obama on Friday to end the probe into allegations of abuse of prisoners held by the agency, arguing that it would hamper intelligence operations....


Scallywags and land lubbers welcome, says Chicago's Field Museum...

The Field Museum will be commandeered by pirates of all ages for International Talk like a Pirate Day. Kids (or squids in pirate-speak) and adults can join in all the pirate fun

link: The Real Pirates | Events and Programs

...which is a good thing because, matey, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is today.


Crab From Bridge/Bridge From Crab

Photo: Phil Compton

Chicago takes to the air

Clearwire Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp. are bringing WiMax broadband service to Chicago by year-end, fulfilling a long-awaited plan to blanket the area with turbo-charged Internet speeds accessible by mobile gadgets....

Morrow said Clearwire's 4G service will be available in Chicago by Christmas under the brand name Clear.

link: WiMax coverage for Chicago expected by year's end -- chicagotribune.com

So much for "right to life"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday....

Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.

link: Study links 45,000 U.S. deaths to lack of insurance - Yahoo! News

Blue Over Green

Photo: Phil Compton

Picky, picky

Compared with Canada (aren't we always comparing our HC system to Canada's?) the US expends, in public and private funds together, 63% more on healthcare. . .


Sure, but what's a little money when we have the 43rd best...wait. 43rd?

Just a little technical thing

Eighty-six percent of US adults believe the country remains in recession despite upbeat statements to the contrary from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, a CNN/Opinion Research poll out Thursday showed.

"Economists have typically called an end to recessions long before the public thinks hard times have passed," said Keating Holland, the CNN polling director.

"The recession of the early 1990s was officially over by 1991, but a majority of Americans didn't think the recession was over until late in 1993," Holland said.

link: The Raw Story | 86 percent in US believe recession continues: poll


How's that secession thing coming? Any progress?

A death row inmate in Texas does not deserve a new trial even though the judge in his case was having an affair with the prosecutor, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

link: The Raw Story | Death row inmate denied retrial despite judge-prosecutor affair

New on the book list...

...Fire Sale, No. 12 in Sara Paretsky's fine V.I. Warshawski series is maybe not the best of the lot, but Paretsky gets extra points for writing about Chicago.


A Warm Welcome

Photo: Phil Compton

So how come we ain't all dead?

There are some things it is better just not to think about. Like the 10,000 bacteria you inhale with each breath in the average office building. Or the 10 million bacteria in each glass of tap water. Microbiologists have now added something else to the list of things too gross to contemplate: the deluge of bacteria that hit your face and flow deep into your lungs in the morning shower.

link: Bathing, but Not Alone - NYTimes.com

Yeah, you're healthy enough, Bunky, get used to it

Mr. Baucus’s plan, expected to cost $850 billion to $900 billion over 10 years, would tax insurance companies on their most expensive health care policies. The hope is that employers would buy cheaper, less generous coverage for employees, thereby reducing the overuse of medical services.

link: New Fee on Health Insurance Companies Is Proposed to Help Expand Coverage - NYTimes.com

Just one more reason...

In eight states and DC, domestic violence victims (even those who have moved out on the batterer) can be refused health insurance because battering is a “pre-existing condition.” In 2006, Republicans killed a legislative provision that would have forbidden that practice. Mike Enzi, now one of the “Gang of Six” joined in, and defended, the effort to kill the provision, reasoning that it would increase insurance rates.

Savor that for a moment. Republicans voted solidly against giving crime victims access to health insurance.

link: Battering as a “pre-existing condition” « The Reality-Based Community

Red Rock

Photo: Phil Compton


And they begged us, says Chase

The U.S. government asked JPMorgan Chase to participate in the TARP program because it was the right thing for the American financial system- not because our bank had any need for capital to maintain solvency.

link: Learning Center | Learn how JPMorgan Chase is committed to harness our resources to help

But too late now

The Senate has defunded ACORN due to the misbehavior of a few of its staff. If the Senate had applied the same principle to Wall Street, there never would have been a bailout.


Afraid forever is the plan

WASHINGTON – After a 60-day review of the nation's terror-alert system, a special task force is expected to recommend that the Obama administration keep color-coded alerts, but reduce the number of colors — or levels of risk....

The nation has never been below the third threat level, yellow — an elevated or significant risk of terrorist attack.

So then, no need for the no need for the "safe" colors (if low risk, not no risk, is your idea of safe). But those scary colors like "High" and "Severe," well...

Though some members of the task force argued for scrapping the system altogether, that move could prove complicated because manylocal governments have policies and procedures triggered when thefederal government changes the alert level.

link: Panel to recommend keeping some color-coded alerts - Yahoo! News

Taibbi: PhRMA's Big Bribe Comes In

To recap: PhRMA, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry, earlier this year announced that it would be setting aside $150 million to pay for an ad campaign supporting the President’s health care bill. The deal was apparently struck in July, after former Louisiana congressman and current PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin (Rod Blagojevich’s underdog opponent in the upcoming semifinal match of the Corrupt Scumbag of the Century So Far tournament) met with Rahm and other Obama aides in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Also in attendance were representatives of the usual panoply of awful medical corporations, including Abbott laboratories, Merck, and Pfizer. It was in this meeting that the White House agreed to sell out health care reform in exchange for a few bucks to fund the next couple of election cycles.

link: Matt Taibbi - Taibblog – PhRMA’s Big Bribe Comes In - True/Slant


The green

IMG_0204, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Adventures with caffeine

Flavored coffees have never been my thing; you can keep your French vanilla and your hazelnut. But I was at the coffee store this morning to, well, buy coffee, and I decided I might as well also pick up a cup to go and it turned out they had coffee flavored with toasted coconut, or something that tastes like toasted coconut, and it was, you know, not too bad. So you can still keep your French vanilla and your hazelnut, but maybe I should give this flavored thing another chance.


GREEN BAY -- No way. This wasn't possible.

Of all the scenarios that might have crossed even the most virulently pro-Packers mind, Jay Cutler throwing three interceptions by halftime in his Bears debut was not one of them....

link: Bears QB Jay Cutler's miserable 1st half: You had to see it to believe it -- chicagotribune.com