Tagged: Health Care

RSBS Presents: Black Holes

black-hole-galaxy.jpgOne of the most peculiar realms of science is understanding what exactly goes on inside of a black hole (and no, folks, we ain’t talkin’ about the vile emitting from Milton Bradley’s mouth).  Widely understood as a “deformation of spacetime caused by a very compact mass” — an area from which nothing can escape the immense gravitational pull of its centerblack holes are like the underground club scene of the cosmos: all kinds of weird s*** can happen… and does!

To me, the most interesting aspect of a black hole lies at its very center, past the event horizon, down the rabbit hole, settling on an infinitesimal point known as the singularity.  If you were unfortunate enough to be sucked into a black hole and lucky enough to survive the trip down its core, by the time you reached the singularity you would surely be a shredded mess, the result of being filleted by the strongest forces theorized by the human mind.

But boy would it be an exciting death!

The oddest thing about the singularity is that once we start working in and around that point, we realize that the laws of physics become completely erroneous and unnecessary.  That’s right, dear readers, when you get to the singularity, Einstein’s theory of general relativity makes no sense at all.

And while black holes and their singularities may be intangible to us from our terrestrial vantage point, if you look around you today you will see all sorts of things that could cause one to think we may be close to such a singularity — a place where what we see is so shocking, so odd, so perplexing that it just doesn’t make sense…

The Good Guys Win: Joe Mauer
Twins fans were so afraid they would lose their hometown hero to the evil chops of the Yankees and the Yankees 2.0 that doomsday scenarios and flat-out decrees of apostasy had already been accepted as fact.  But in the end, the Twins had to sign Joe — for the sake of their new stadium and for the sake of their fans.  And they did, for a very reasonable price.  Oh, and by the way, the Twins are not a small-market team, so this situation is getting even more black-holish by the minute!

nancy.pelosi.jpgLiberal US Americans Actually Accomplish Something
After eight long years of maddening sound bytes, phantom wars against phantom enemies for phantom purposes and an all-out assault on reason, the liberal majority in the House got together and passed a health care bill that might actually work.  Oh yeah, sure, not everyone is happy about it and the most concerning aspect is how we’re going to pay for it; but, in my opinion, the sheer fact that you won’t be financially punished for being sick anymore indicates a huge step forward.  And besides, since when do US Americans care about national debt?  Here, in the great state of Illinois, for as long as I can remember, the political machine has been borrowing money from the FUTURE to pay for current projects.  I hear that Illinois is rich in the future, so I’m gonna see if I can get in on that too.  I need a Lamborghini.

Exciting News Out of Cincinnati Reds Camp
You have to go back quite a few years to find anything worth anticipating from the Reds in March, but this year is different.  Under the wise hand of former Cardinal front office legend Walt Jocketty, Cincinnati signed Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman during the offseason, hoping he would live up to his international hype.  And boy does he!  Thought by many to be an ace-caliber pitcher going into this season, Reds fans have a whole lot to be excited about for a change… of course, that is… until Dusty Baker blows out his arm and ruins his career.

Forever.

Hate me ‘cuz I test the limits of physics, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Predator(s)

predator alien.jpgI didn’t think it was possible to make a better Predator film than the first, but then I saw the trailer for the latest incarnation and I got that same tingly feeling I get from watching that Smoltz-Morris World Series match-up from 1991 — a game that has a strong argument to be labeled the greatest post-season baseball game ever played.

Like Chris Hansen is the greatest on-air predator-catching person in the history of investigative television…

And Manny Ramirez is the most prolific ballplayer with Predator roots (he’s only 2/3 human) as I pointed out nearly a year ago today…

Sure.  I’ve got Predators on the mind.  But I know I’m not alone. 

And though this post doesn’t have much to do with politics (we’re getting health care I heard) nor baseball save the Manny reference, it is important that I prove to you that I am not alone, by showing you an even better version of “American Gothic” than the original “American Gothic”:

american predator gothic.jpgSee.  Now, aren’t ya glad you read this today?

Exactly.

So don’t hate me, ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of B3TA)

The Filibuster

You guys talk a lot about baseball and politics.  What do you think
will happen first, national health care or the Pirates having a winning
season?

Beth
Allentown, PA
____________________________________

dead pirate parrot.jpgEureka!  This is proof that dear readers galore are finally playing to our strengths here at RSBS, so even if your baseball team (or your government) does fail you, know that RSBS will always have your back (unless we’re busy doing something else, of course).  I, personally, love taking below-the-belt hacks at the lowly likes of Pittsburgh’s not-so-finest, so I am delighted that our friend Beth here from Allentown, PA was willing to groove one right down the middle, in my proverbial wheelhouse.

Because this one is almost too easy:

We, the people of US America, will most certainly have a nationwide public option health care system set up before we ever see the Pittsburgh Pirates finish a season with a winning record. 

Sorry, folks, but it’s just true.

Have you been paying attention to what the Bucs have been doing the last ten years?

No, of course not.  Why would you? 

I assure you, dear readers, no other team relishes in arbitrary head scratching more than the Pittsburgh Pirates — a team caught in the perennial chaos of “rebuilding” — a rebuilding that is always abandoned before any plus remnants of said rebuilding can be seen, only to be followed up with more rebuilding in moves that still don’t make sense.

Here is but a shortlist of brain-busting Bucco moves from recent memory:

  • Signing Akinori Iwamura
  • Dumping Nate McClouth (they did get McCutchen up quick because of this deal, but look for them to screw this up too)
  • The Aramis Ramirez & Kenny Lofton for Bobby Hill, Jose Hernandez and Matt Bruback trade
  • Drafting Bryan Bullington and passing on Prince Fielder, BJ Upton and Scott Kazmir
  • Signing Derek Bell
  • Paying Jason Kendall $10 million a year for SIX YEARS!
  • Signing Raul Mondesi
  • Drafting John Van Benschoten over David Wright
  • Cutting Bronson Arroyo
  • Picking up Matt Morris’ contract (worth $13 million)

This is just an abbreviated list; the full record of crimes against baseball committed by the Pirates’ front office are too many to present here.  But I can tell you this: it will take an awful long time before such atrocities are remedied with the results of a winning season.  I have no doubt about that.

But what about national health care, you ask?  House Leader Nancy Pelosi says lawmakers are on the “verge of making history” with the strong possibility of a public option becoming a reality… very soon.  Of course, they don’t say when, or how, considering the staunch stance of Republicans and soft Democrats blocking the way.  So what are we supposed to make of this?

Look, I admit, the Democratic party has certainly had its share of Pittsburgh Pirate-like moments over the years.  How else can one explain the incompetence of John Kerry and the loss of Ted Kennedy’s senate seat?  But that doesn’t mean all hope is gone.  Behind this political push to join the rest of civilized nations we do have a clear and just motive:

To stop penalizing people for getting sick.

As long as this continues to happen, I have a hard time believing in my country.  This was my main concern when I went to the polls in 2008.  The Obama Administration — while obviously not gifted with super powers like election propaganda may have led us to believe — has tackled this issue and tackled it hard. 

And it can only get better from here… I think.

So hate me ‘cuz I still tout liberal ideals, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right about the Pirates continuing to suck.

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of Rum Bunter)

***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****

Something on your mind?  Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)?  Think you got a real stumper?  Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at kraulung@gmail.com. 

***Promotional materials relating to the Official Church of Pujols also welcome.


Tea Leaves, Tarot Cards and Other Tools of the Punditry

murtha.jpgThe Democrats just can’t catch a break these days.  First it was the embarrassing loss in Massachusetts.  Then it was the realization that nearly a year’s worth of work on overhauling the health care system will probably go out the window.  And now, with John Murtha’s death, the Democrats have lost one of their more moderate members and someone who gave them the “national security” credentials they seek so much.

It remains to be seen what will happen.  The Democrats are in no danger of losing their majority in the House despite the special election but every time one of these circuses takes place, the press start chatting it up as a bellwether for the fortunes of the parties.  It’s like using a team’s record at the All-Star break as an indicator of their final standing.  Pretty much every year we see how ridiculous that is.

But, that doesn’t mean that pundits won’t continue to draw meaning from these useless statistics.  Sure, sometimes they point you in the right direction.  But more often than not they’re an anomaly or based on some fortuitous happenstance.  If you play a four game series with the Pirates heading into the mid-way point of the season, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be riding a four game win streak when you hit the break as well.

John Murtha is gone.  The Democrats have been making a pretty poor showing of it recently.  But there are nine months before the mid-term elections so there’s probably not a whole lot to read into at this point.  If you want a prediction, though, I have one for you.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that Murtha’s home state of Pennsylvania will not be sending it’s Pirates to the World Series this year.  Remember, you heard it here first.

-A

Waffle House

Belgian_Waffles.JPGAfter spending the last three days in Brussels, it isn’t a stretch to say I have waffles on the brain. Frites and moules, too, of course, but mainly waffles. I mean, if you can’t get a good waffle in Belgium, where can you find one?

Well, after further consideration of that question, there are two answers that pop into my head. Major League Baseball and American politics. Let’s start with politics.

Of course we all remember the 2004 election and John Kerry’s famous non-answers that led to his being described as a waffler. I’m no fan of George Bush but right or wrong or just plain misguided, at least the guy could give you an answer. Kerry was so far inside his own head he practically turned inside out.

And even more recently, Joe Lieberman seems to have taken up the mantle with his seeming indecision on the necessity of a “public option” in the health care bill. Despite proposing a de facto public option in the past, he said he couldn’t vote for the bill this time around with the plan in it. Of course he attempted to parse his words in true Clintonian fashion but at the end of the day we all saw him for what he was. A waffler.

Those two guys don’t have anything on Bud Selig, though. He has been getting away with murder on his watch. Like a modern-day Nero, he’s fiddling (or waffling) as MLB is burning. The whole PED debate? It never should have been a debate. If MLB under Selig’s not-so-watchful eye had simply instituted a testing program similar to what other pro sports were doing, there’s no way that guys like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa would have ever gotten away with their shenanigans. And more than that, we wouldn’t have to argue about the inclusion of asterisks in the record book.

Here’s what it all comes down to. Waffles may be delicious, especially when topped with whipped cream, strawberries and hot chocolate sauce, but they aren’t so great when they affect our lives and the things we care about. I’m pretty sure even a Belgian could agree to that.

-A

A Miracle on Capitol Hill

nancy_mrT.jpgWhile the east coast continues to dig out from the 20 inches of snow that fell over the weekend, Congress is doing its part by expelling as much hot air as possible to aid in the recovery. This isn’t exactly something new for our esteemed parliamentarians but debates like this ongoing health care discussion seem to bring out even more bloviation than usual.

The worst part is that we all know it’s just a dog and pony show since the bill is going to pass once Joe Lieberman finishes lobotomizing it. And when it’s all said and done, it will be up to President Obama to gloss over the facts and say that this lump of coal given him by a Congress all dressed up in a Santa suit is exactly what he had on his Christmas list.

If it was me sitting on this pseudo-Santa’s lap, I’d turn and punch him right in the face. This isn’t Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street replacing a drunk Santa Claus and making a little girl believe in Christmas. This is Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa getting drunk, pissing himself and all but sodomizing little children. Come to think of it, that’s not too far off the mark when it comes to describing Congress anyway.

So, how about it ladies and gents of the Congress? This could be our Christmas miracle. America wants it, you can make it happen and more than that, wouldn’t it be nice to give your constituents some sort of assurance that if they get sick, they will be taken care of? Too bad that instead you seem hell-bent on making the same kind of joke out of health care that Nancy Reagan made out of drugs.

-A