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10/2/09

Truthdig - Reports - ‘Socialism’ and Sham in the Senate

Posted on Oct 1, 2009

By Joe Conason

Listening closely to the politicians with the most clout in the debate over health care, it is startling to discover how little they actually seem to know about the subject.

Ignorance rules, even among the bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Six,” who supposedly have immersed themselves in the details of this life-and-death issue for many months. If they understood even the most basic facts about how the United States and other advanced countries provide and finance medical care, they simply could not utter the stupid comments that regularly emanate from their lips.

Every catalog of mindless remarks about health care must include at least one rant by Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who has wasted the country’s time by pretending to seek a bipartisan solution when he simply wants to stall or kill President Barack Obama’s proposed reforms.

Not so long ago, Grassley alleged he had been told that “government-run” systems in other countries would have denied treatment to Sen. Edward Kennedy for his ultimately fatal brain tumor because he was 77 years old. That statement drew outraged attention from British doctors, who believed that the Iowa senator was talking about their practices. “Jaw-droppingly untruthful,” protested the chairman of the British Medical Association, who said he found such attacks astonishing.

Sen. Mike Enzi, the Wyoming Republican who has connived in the Gang of Six farce, has made similar ominous comments about the medical rationing and reductions in care that would ensue from a “government-run option.” He often says something like this while making speeches in which he also claims to be defending Medicare for seniors—which indicates that he doesn’t understand that Medicare is, in fact, a “government-run” program.

It is hard to believe that any United States senator could truly be so obtuse about our own government-run system, having voted on Medicare finances and regulations annually for years. Yet these same geniuses don’t seem to realize that they have also authorized and financed one of the most thoroughly socialized medical systems in the world—the highly successful, respected and innovative Veterans Health Administration.

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Yes, the VA system is even more “socialist” than Medicare, because the VA runs the hospitals and hires the doctors directly (like the British system), while Medicare simply pays fees to hospitals and doctors (as does the Canadian or French system). Which brings us to the topic of health care regimes in other countries, and yet another amazing display of ignorance by a member of the Gang of Six.

Just the other day, Sen. Kent Conrad tried to explain his fervent opposition to a “public option” by mentioning the way they do things abroad. The Democrat from North Dakota wanted to tell his “progressive friends” that we can achieve universal coverage, reduce costs—like all of the industrial nations that pay far less than we do—and get better results. Referring to systems in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Japan, he said, “All of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high-quality care and yet are not government-run systems.”

It is true that the countries named by Conrad achieve all those benchmarks, but it is false that none of them have government-run health care.

France, which probably has the best system in the world, is essentially a single-payer plan that operates under the French social security system. Germany prohibits insurance companies from making any profit on basic coverage.

Japan provides insurance at a very low cost to families and individuals, with private coverage used for only a narrow range of services. Switzerland runs insurance plans that are so highly regulated, with prices of services and drugs set by the government, that they would be denounced as communist if anyone tried to impose them here.

Conrad, like his colleagues from Iowa and Wyoming, travels abroad on tax dollars, receives excellent briefings and reports from the Congressional Research Service and employs lots of staff members to help him.

Can they really be that dumb? Or do they just assume that we are?

Posted via web from iquanyin's posterous

Truthdig - Reports - ‘Socialism’ and Sham in the Senate

‘Socialism’ and Sham in the Senate

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Posted on Oct 1, 2009

By Joe Conason

Listening closely to the politicians with the most clout in the debate over health care, it is startling to discover how little they actually seem to know about the subject.

Ignorance rules, even among the bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Six,” who supposedly have immersed themselves in the details of this life-and-death issue for many months. If they understood even the most basic facts about how the United States and other advanced countries provide and finance medical care, they simply could not utter the stupid comments that regularly emanate from their lips.

Every catalog of mindless remarks about health care must include at least one rant by Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who has wasted the country’s time by pretending to seek a bipartisan solution when he simply wants to stall or kill President Barack Obama’s proposed reforms.

Not so long ago, Grassley alleged he had been told that “government-run” systems in other countries would have denied treatment to Sen. Edward Kennedy for his ultimately fatal brain tumor because he was 77 years old. That statement drew outraged attention from British doctors, who believed that the Iowa senator was talking about their practices. “Jaw-droppingly untruthful,” protested the chairman of the British Medical Association, who said he found such attacks astonishing.

Sen. Mike Enzi, the Wyoming Republican who has connived in the Gang of Six farce, has made similar ominous comments about the medical rationing and reductions in care that would ensue from a “government-run option.” He often says something like this while making speeches in which he also claims to be defending Medicare for seniors—which indicates that he doesn’t understand that Medicare is, in fact, a “government-run” program.

It is hard to believe that any United States senator could truly be so obtuse about our own government-run system, having voted on Medicare finances and regulations annually for years. Yet these same geniuses don’t seem to realize that they have also authorized and financed one of the most thoroughly socialized medical systems in the world—the highly successful, respected and innovative Veterans Health Administration.

Advertisement

Yes, the VA system is even more “socialist” than Medicare, because the VA runs the hospitals and hires the doctors directly (like the British system), while Medicare simply pays fees to hospitals and doctors (as does the Canadian or French system). Which brings us to the topic of health care regimes in other countries, and yet another amazing display of ignorance by a member of the Gang of Six.

Just the other day, Sen. Kent Conrad tried to explain his fervent opposition to a “public option” by mentioning the way they do things abroad. The Democrat from North Dakota wanted to tell his “progressive friends” that we can achieve universal coverage, reduce costs—like all of the industrial nations that pay far less than we do—and get better results. Referring to systems in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Japan, he said, “All of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high-quality care and yet are not government-run systems.”

It is true that the countries named by Conrad achieve all those benchmarks, but it is false that none of them have government-run health care.

France, which probably has the best system in the world, is essentially a single-payer plan that operates under the French social security system. Germany prohibits insurance companies from making any profit on basic coverage.

Japan provides insurance at a very low cost to families and individuals, with private coverage used for only a narrow range of services. Switzerland runs insurance plans that are so highly regulated, with prices of services and drugs set by the government, that they would be denounced as communist if anyone tried to impose them here.

Conrad, like his colleagues from Iowa and Wyoming, travels abroad on tax dollars, receives excellent briefings and reports from the Congressional Research Service and employs lots of staff members to help him.

Can they really be that dumb? Or do they just assume that we are?

Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer.

© 2009 Creators.com


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By ocjim, October 2 at 4:24 pm #

Joe, your comments are gold, but the wrong people read them. I wonder if the constituents of the Grassleys and Conrads would even care that their senators are blowhard ignorant people.

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By greenferret, October 2 at 4:02 pm #

Medicare For All, also known as single-payer health insurance, is favored by a majority of Americans.

How can we convince our Members of Congress to enact what the people want?

Let them know that unless they support Medicare For All, you won’t support them.

Take the Medicare For All Voter Pledge today:

http://bit.ly/medicareforallpledge

Report this

By 9circlesofhell, October 2 at 3:14 pm #

Congress is irrelevant.

It’s time for American citizens to take their vote back ... the Congress no longer speaks for individuals, families, and the collective good;  Congress simply speaks -unapologetically- for itself.

So how does the country take back its vote and gain back its voice?  Quite simple actually, and its actually based in our nation’s heritage ... it’s called civil disobedience, and it only takes two, yes two direct actions.

Stop voting and stop paying taxes.

One of two responses will result: congress will be out of work or they will come to the table and re-negotiate their contract with the American people.

It really is quite simple.

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By Blackspeare, October 2 at 2:57 pm #

Democratic socialism is the antidote to predatory capitalism.  The capitalist’s conservative wing used the bogeyman of communism/socialism as a red herring and quite effectively at that.  A change is coming, but the time table is still a bit blurry.

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By KDelphi, October 2 at 2:13 pm #

They are not so much “dumb” as they are held above the fray by their exhorbitant salairies and taxpayer supported benefits. I discovered yeaesterday taht most are not even really sure who funds Medicaid, (whether it is privitized—in most states, it is), dont know what Title 19 is, and have never had to PURCHASE nor CHOOSE in their lives.

Wexler—I agree, but, the problem with Grassley is BaucASS—he just gives WAY too much deferrance to him and they treated Cantwell and Stabinow like shit!! How offensive! And the $50 million for “abstinence education”?? COME ONE DUOPOLY AND SHEEPLES! DEFEAT THIS BILL! It wil make things worse and only the medical industrial complex will benefit.

montanawildhack—a 60” tv?? (how bourgeoisie!!)And you whack off drinking gin? Bleeaugh!! Try pot, it wont make you barf that horrible gin up in your mouth when you come…

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By Anarcissie, October 2 at 1:55 pm #

Conason can usually be counted upon to supply the obvious Democratic Party talking points.  In this case the deficiencies of Congressional work on medical care and insurance programs are attributed solely to the pretended ignorance or dishonesty of the minority party.  The fact is, however, that in a legislature the majority party is the responsible party.  If nothing, or worse, is accomplished, then it is the majority party which the voters will (correctly) hold to account, in spite of propaganda like this.

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By oblivius, October 2 at 1:43 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

OK.. It is obvious that we know that the umbilical cord is the campaign
funding via profitable corporations. What’s the solution? Do we elect different
people whom will A: not win unless they have all that money to run? Or B:
Reform campaign fincance laws for which none of the “reps” will likely vote?
Looking for any logical answers here will be a challenge worth taking..
DC

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By Spiritgirl, October 2 at 1:40 pm #

“Can they really be that dumb? Or do they just assume that we are?”

They really are that dumb, and they believe that with enough repetition the dumbed down American people will buy it.  Hey, it’s working among the “Tea Party” crowd!  Besides, prostitutes never beat down their pimps - which is exactly what the “gang of 6” and their allies obstructing real reform represent! 

Their “talking points” memos are furnished by the very BIG: HEALTH, PHrMA, players that stand to loose those millions that they are paying their CEO’s whose “death panels” are condemning thousands to death every year!  Montanans, and Idahoans, North Dakotans - all must be extremely proud of their “Representatives” - even as those polls show that most of the people in those states want a “PUBLIC OPTION”!  Can you people in those states start connecting the dots, following the money and vote those bastards out next time around!

Report this

By Jon, October 2 at 1:27 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

Congress legislates and favors socialism for corporate power and banking power—-just look at the 22 trillion dollars handed to the banks and to Wall Street in the last few months.  American workers go broke and live on the streets, while the Congress, bankers, and Wall Street get nice pay raises, all paid for by unemployed American workers.

Workers get ‘market forces,’ while corporations and banks get socialized welfare from Congress and the White House.  What will it take to reform Congress AND this White House?  So far, we see that Congress is more worried by lobbyists than by Americans—-time to change this.  Congress needs to be very afraid of the American voter, not the lobbyist community on K Street.

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By felicity, October 2 at 1:20 pm #

Years ago in America, it was agreed upon that the lowest form of life was the used car salesman - in fact Nixon’s picture was often accompanied by the question, “Would you buy a used car from this guy?”

Well, now that the lowest form of life in America is the politician it should be written under a picture of any one of them “Would you buy a health-care system from this guy?”

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By herewegoagain, October 2 at 1:10 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I watching the Senate Finance Committee debate, and I was dismayed by the ease with which some of them made statements easily disproven, or at least unfounded. For example, Senator John Ensign claimed that one out of three Canadian doctors refer their patients to the US. I searched for his source and could only find a single white paper from the “free” market group, the Cato Institute. The author made this exact claim, then gave his source, which was a single study written SIXTEEN YEARS AGO in a health journal. So I looked it up. It stated that at some point, out of the doctors they surveyed, 32% of Canadian doctors had referred a patient out of the country or abroad. It didn’t note at all if this was the US, just out of the country or abroad.

I think many of our Senators just read these position papers that are cranked out by the various “think tanks” and don’t do any follow up at all. That’s either intellectual laziness or a willful desire not to find out if what they’re reading is the truth.

Either is disgraceful, especially for sitting US Senators.

Report this

By William W. Wexler, October 2 at 1:09 pm #

Please help us rid ourselves of Grassley.  I was going to write something here about what a putz he is, but I think you know that already.

There is a Dem challenger, Bob Krause.  If you are in the mood, please visit his website, drop a few bucks on him, and tweet it up.

http://www.krauseforiowa.com/

Thanks in advance, I sure would like to wake up some day and find out that Grassley no longer claims to represent us.

-Wexler

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By tropicgirl, October 2 at 12:39 pm #

If the politicians know little about health care reform, then Obama knows the
least.

He listens to crazy Dr. Emmanuel who thinks health care should be rationed to
save money. Read it yourself.

He says, “the system is broken” Broken. But…. “we don’t want to do anything too
radical to upset what is working”

This is pretty verbatim from his speech.

He is a lost man from an alien planet. He needs to be returned.

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By bogi666, October 2 at 10:26 am #

ThomasG,The current beneficiaries, Congress and Business, of socialized private capitalism, THE CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS, know a good thing and want to restrict socialism for themselves.These same beneficiaries are quite happy with their lot and with the Federal deficit financed by Treasury bonds with the proceeds DOLED OUT TO THE CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS and the interest and principle paid by individual taxpayers. It was Reagoon who ushered in the huge Federal deficits explicitly for this purpose while simultaneously cutting and/or eliminating corporate taxes.

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By tomas, October 2 at 9:55 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with the last sentence as saying it all. It can actually be re-written as “They
are smart. They know we are really that dumb.” Unfortunately, the educated and
vocal few do not outweigh the uneducated and complacent many. Great article,
thanks.

Report this

By LostHills, October 2 at 9:49 am #

No they’re not really that dumb. They’re just trying to cash in on the legal bribes they’re allowed to collect while the money spigot’s running.

Report this

By montanawildhack, October 2 at 9:45 am #

Ain’t nothin gonna change and for a simple reason…. The Congress of the US are members of the Party and as such could give a damn about the Proles. (that’s you and me folks)  They’ve got their gravy health care plans and their gravy pension plans and to hell with the Proles….  Give the Proles their Victory Gin, their Victory Cigarettes and their internet porn and we will provide the Perpetual Wars to keep their simple minds off of what really matters…. Orwell maps it all out in “1984” and we have no excuses for not seeing this country for what it is:  A Gigantic Lie!!!  And my fellow peons it’s just gonna take another attack by the freedom fighters/terrorists to completely and totally seal the deal…. We will all be sitting in front of our 60” telescreens watching the latest carnage brought to our shore and will realize as a Gin soaked tear glides down our cheek that we too Love Big Brother…. Back to my internet porn… So long losers!

Report this

By ThomasG, October 2 at 9:09 am #

The United States is resigned as a nation to having socialized responsibility for privatized capitalism, therefore the U.S. government should move to having Socialized-Capitalism, rather than Privatized-Capitalism, so that the masses of the population of the United States receive benefit from Socialized-Capitalism, rather than only a select minority of privatized interests being subsidized by socialized responsibility for the privatized benefit of Privatized-Capitalism.

Socialized Capitalism can provide both jobs for the masses of the population of the United States and socialized benefit to the masses of the United States beyond jobs and a paycheck; the obscene profits of capitalism when returned to the interests of the masses of the population, rather than a few greedy, self-serving private interests will reduce taxes for the masses of the population and provide a monetary resource for funding the government and maintaining the infrastructure of the United States.

The time is past for the “smash and grab greed” of Privatized-Capitalism in the United States.

The time has come for socially responsible “Socialized-Capitalism” in the United States that will provide benefit for the many, rather than benefit for the few at the expense of the many.

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By godistwaddle, October 2 at 6:32 am #

That U. S. politicians are ignorant is a tautology.  They run on the fact that they are NOT better educated or more expert than their constituents.  They teach their constituents that ignorance is preferable to education with their “pointy-headed intellectuals,” and “eggheads,” and “so-called experts.

Merkins fall for it, and, taking direction from their “betters,” decide that education is bad for one.  The Chinese and Indians feel differently about education, and our arable land and ignorant peasants mean we can provide food and stoop labor for our Asian masters.

Report this

By ardee, October 2 at 5:52 am #

It is good to read a Joe Conason article here. He usually writes with great clarity.

This time I believe he fails to complete his thought, however. While it is certainly true that the opposition to health care reform has uttered many untruths and even absurdities, a rather common phenomenon in the halls of Congress anyway, the reasons behind such silliness must , once again, be noted.

All the BS, all the denials of the desperate need for reform of a system that kills about 40,000 a year to increase profitability, that refuses to cover far too many of us, that is helping to wreck our economy, that plunges a million or so into bankruptcy every year is sparked by the desire to continue to receive campaign funds from the industries that would see a lessening of profitability from said reform.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 2 at 4:44 am #

I think the last sentence says it all.  All of them (Dems and Repubs) play with words and on our fears to manipulate the debate.  They know that most Americans are uninformed and naive which enables them to lie and obfuscate without risk.  The reality is they are firmly in the employ of big business and make decisions based on what their employers want.  They count on the 15 second attention span of the typical American to get re-elected over and over.  What a wonderful system we have made for ourselves!

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Ignoring RIAA lawsuits cheaper than going to trial - Ars Technica

Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Joel Tenenbaum captured the nation's attention when they were defendants in the RIAA's first two trials against accused online infringers. But here's the mind-warping reality: both defendants would have been far better off monetarily if they had simply ignored the complaint altogether and failed to show up in court.

That counterintuitive logic played out again this week in Massachusetts, where federal judge Nancy Gertner issued four default judgments against accused P2P file-swappers who never bothered to respond to the charges against them. Their failure to appear meant an automatic loss, and though the judge does have some discretion in setting penalties, judges often pick the minimum awards in such cases.

That was true in all four cases, where Gertner accepted the record labels' claims and awarded them the minimum statutory damages of $750 per song. The defendants were accused of downloading an average of ten songs, putting total awards in the $7,500 range, in addition to a few hundred more for court costs.

Having $7,500 in damages assessed against you by a federal court is no picnic, but it pales in comparison to the two twenty-somethings who actually showed up to court, got attorneys, went through a multiyear process and a nationally covered trial, and came out the other side owing far more money.

The chart below illustrates the point by graphing the various damage awards per song:

RIAA damage awards.001.png

When it comes to total damages, the disparities are even greater. Thomas-Rasset's retrial ended up with a $1.92 million award, while Tenenbaum faces $675,000 in damages. Those who didn't show up owe around $7,500.

In fact, this might well have been Tenenbaum's fate. He was actually included in a massive complaint consolidated into a single docket, and it was only when he showed up to a court hearing that Gertner stopped the default judgment proceeding against him and actually helped find him a lawyer—Harvard Law prof Charles Nesson. Now, Tenenbaum faces a life-altering damage award and the prospect of bankruptcy if not reduced or overturned on appeal.

Update: I was interested more in what happens within the federal court system for this article, but several commenters rightly point out that "not showing up" isn't the cheapest way out of such situations. Settling with the RIAA usually leads to payments of between $3,000 and $5,000, lower than the default judgments issued here by Judge Gertner. Convincing a jury that you're innocent could be cheaper still (if you find a pro bono lawyer), though it comes with certain obvious risks.

so the lesson is: just ignore the RIAA

Posted via web from iquanyin's posterous

Death Metal and Black Metal Blog

Metal Blog :: Buddhism and Death Metal

« Free Beethoven Sympho… | Sadistic Metal Review… »

05 02 09 - 13:53

Raj asked Buddha, "Reverend Sir, how come my mind wanders around to forbidden places and yours does not?" "Sir, how come I do back-biting and you don't?" "Sir, how come I don't have compassion for others, while you have?" All the questions that Raj asked were of similar nature.

Buddha replied, "Raj, your questions are good, but it seems to me that in 24 hours from now you will die."

Raj got up and started getting ready to go.

Buddha asked, "Raj, what happened? You came with such vitality now you are totally dismayed."

Raj said, "Sir, my mother told me that your words are true and are to be held in high esteem. So please let me go so that I may meet my family members, friends and others before I die."

Buddha said, "But there are still 24 hours. Sit, we will talk more."

Raj said, "Reverend Sir, please let me go. I must meet my people before I die."

So Raj left and went home. Met his mother and started crying. The word spread. His friends came; other family members came; neighbors came. Everyone was crying with Raj. Time flew.

Raj was busy either crying or counting the hours. When only 3 hours were left, he pulled up a cot and lay down. Although the Death had not yet arrived, poor Raj was kind of dead.

When only an hour was left, Buddha walked in.

Buddha said to Raj, "Raj, why are you lying down on the cot with your closed eyes. Death is still an hour away. And an hour is 60 minutes long. That's a lot of time. Get up, let us talk."

Raj: "Sir, what is it now that you want to talk? Just let me die peacefully."

Buddha: "Raj, there is still time and our talk will get over before the 'ordained' time."

Raj: "Okay, Sir . . . say what you have to say."

Buddha: "In the past 24 hours, did you curse anyone?"

Raj: "How could I curse anyone? I was all the time thinking about death."

Buddha: "In the past 24 hours, did you think or wish ill for anyone?"

Raj: "How could I do that? I was all the time thinking about death."

Buddha: "In the past 24 hours, did you steal?"

Raj: "Sir, how can you even ask that? I was all the time thinking about death."

Finally the Buddha said, "Raj, I don't know who has to die and who has to live. But understanding the ultimate truth — i.e. death — can be very enlightening. All the questions you posed to me have been answered by yourself because of the awareness of death that you experienced during the past 24 hours. The difference between me and you is that you were aware of death for the past 24 hours, I have been aware for the past 24 years."

http://www.amerika.org/2009/social-reality/what-the-buddhists-got-right/" target="_blank">Amerika

Contrast this to the founding statement of death metal, and the same idea it echoes through its fascination with death, disease, morbidity, horror, sadness, misery and apocalyptic destruction -- that we and our thoughts are temporary and insignificant, and that reality itself determines outcomes more than our wants or needs:

Only death is real. From Black Sabbath onward, metal bands have been telling people that they are helpless against forces greater than them that cannot be controlled with (a) technology and (b) social rules (play fair, don't be evil, etc). Buddhism has been telling people the same thing: all of what society endorses is drama but, once you get outside the dogma and the misery, there's a world of truth out there and the entrypoint is accepting mortality and the literality and supremacy of natural forces.

« Free Beethoven Sympho… | Sadistic Metal Review… »


one comment

YES! Beautiful! WE need Buddha-metal. Someone get on this. Great post. Buddhism is death, meditation on death and realization of death but many practitioners choose to ignore this. Maybe some Metal will help.

Cheers,
Jack
Jack Daw (Email) - 02 10 09 - 10:10


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10/1/09

Glenn Beck EXPOSED - Crying On Cue Using Vicks under His Eyes.

holy shit!

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twitter failwhale graffiti in left for dead

saw this because of a codinghorro tweet.

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Dev Team Jailbreaks 3.1 | Apple iPhone School

Dev Team Jailbreaks 3.1

October 1, 2009 by Douglas  
Categories: dev team, jailbreak
Tags: ,

14 Comments
1,568 views

DevTeamA recent tweet from @cpich3g claims the dev team has upgraded from firmware 3.0 to 3.1. It looks like they were on a jailbroken 3.0 and upgraded to 3.1 without having to rejailbreak. We’ll know more soon once we hear officially from the dev team. We’ll keep you updated once a tool is released. Here’s a screenshot of the tweet and the images @cpich3g posted in the tweet.

Picture 1

35aulj8

2pow5mx

-->

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iPhone 3GS Jailbroken 3.1 (Proof of ability)

Posted via web from iquanyin's posterous

9/30/09

Dropico - Drag & Drop media over the net

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Oh, my kittens, we have a problem on our hands. I know that I do not usually...

Project Rungay is one of those heartening examples of blogs that just sort of started out, making their way into the world with only a song in their hearts and change of clothing in their cardboard suitcases, and were discovered and promoted on the basis of sheer merit. And, once famous, they did not slack off or decide to be part of the Gawker empire; they kept doing what they did best.

Tom and Lorenzo describe themselves as gay (duh), married for 12 years, more or less homebound and total fans of "Project Runway," the hit series in which designers compete with each other for a chance to be sort of rich and maybe famous.

When I say "fans," I do not mean "uncritical lovers of the program," I mean snarky commentators who care enough to separate the wheat from the chaff and to quarrel with the producers, stars, designers and judges - all while being pretty darned funny. They can be found at projectrungay.blogspot.com, and they post frequently and almost immediately after the airing of each show.

You may not be aware, probably having important financial decisions to make every day as the fate of the free world lies in your hands, that "Project Runway" has been going through some changes lately. The program had been running on Bravo, but there was some extremely boring and contentious disagreement between Bravo and the Weinstein Co., which wanted to move the program to Lifetime, the channel of women-in-peril movies, and hire a new production company to run it.

Well, litigation, countercharges, blah blah, but in the end "Project Runway" ended up on Lifetime, where it is the same, but different. Tim Gunn, America's most unlikely TV star - some company is holding a contest where first prize is a lunch with him - is still there, still funny, still trying to be useful - and Heidi Klum is still there being Heidi Klum, which certainly has its advantages.

The contestant pool has not yet yielded a television natural, like Jay McCarroll or Santino Rice; the designers with personality seem to be mostly nasty rather than snarky (such a big difference) - and there are certainly no amazing designers, like Christian Siriano - but it is, to be fair, early days yet. But the show is a wee bit boring already, and when it's boring, it's just oddly dressed people wielding scissors, which has limited entertainment value.

Tom and Lorenzo have put their attractive fingers on the problem, of course. In former seasons, the judging panel was as fixed as the Hindu pantheon of gods. There was Michael Kors (Project Rungay calls him the Duchess); Nina Garcia, a sensible fashion editor; and some guest judge with relevance to that week's program. Now, all of a sudden, Michael and Nina have departed with no explanation and instead we have, well, who knows? "An Oscar-nominated costume designer" - couldn't they get a winner at least? - or "a well-known fashion commentator" - judging from the blank looks on the contestants' faces, it's not clear how well known he is.

And these people, however well credentialed they may actually be, seem to be unable to talk interestingly about fashion. They seem sometimes not even to be aware of the parameters of the challenge. It's as if we're watching judge auditions at the same time as we're watching contestant eliminations.

And why were we having all the guest judges? Because the show is in Los Angeles. Nothing against my hometown, but if you're gonna have a fashion design show, you've got to have it in New York. Of course they design clothes in L.A. too; they design clothes in San Francisco, for that matter, and no one thinks we're the fashion capital of the world. According to Tom and Lorenzo, the show was moved to L.A. so Klum could be close to her family (her husband is the singer Seal), which is all very admirable, but it's a continent away from the action.

It's a continent away from Kors and Garcia, who have real jobs, which is why we're not seeing them. It's also, by the way, a continent away from the place where people talk really well. If you want repartee, you want New York. If you want fashion repartee, you really want New York.

So, I'm still watching it. Hell, I watched "Lost" during the so-called Period of Plot Famine, so I can hang on a bit longer. And I never ever thought I'd say this, but: I miss Michael Kors.

In which we talk seriously about a trivial matter, although of course fashion itself is extremely serious.

Like Miles Davis, I've been swayed by the cool. There's just something about the summertime. There's just something about the moon. So I'll lay a kiss on a stone, toss it upside your window by the roof. Before you change your mind, Miles, bring in jcarroll@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page E - 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Posted via web from iquanyin's posterous

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