Monday, July 22, 2013

Ryan Braun Deserves our Contempt

I've maintained since Ryan Braun won the appeal of his 2012 suspension that he is truly despicable for the way he treated the collector of the urine sample.

Braun has been suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season due to his connection to Biogenesus, making him worthy of our contempt, but he's not alone in this regard.   In a rare moment of class, Braun has decided not to appeal his suspension.

As Josh Levin points out in Slate, what is perhaps most reprehensible is how he slanderously lied and smeared Dino Laurenzi Jr., the poor man who collected his urine sample full of PED to save his own skin,
Why is Braun such a villain? Because after getting a reprieve last year that it’s now pretty obvious he didn’t deserve, he had the gall to smear the lowest man on the baseball org chart to make himself look a teeny-tiny bit better. In February 2012, after he successfully appealed a 50-game drug suspension, the 2011 MVP smarmed his way through a victory press conference, whining that he’d been wrongfully accused and that the whole process had been so very hard on him. He also attacked the integrity of Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who’d collected his urine sample. "There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened," he said, citing nothing at all to support his claims. “We spoke to biochemists and scientists, and asked them how difficult it would be for someone to taint the sample. They said, if they were motivated, it would be extremely easy.” At the same time, Braun praised his own moral rectitude, saying, “I will continue to take the high road. We won because the truth was on my side.”
In his written statement today, Braun wants everyone to know he is a victim in this matter, "This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family,..." but no where does he acknowledge the damage he's done to Mr. Laurenzi.  Braun owes Mr. Laurenzi a public apology that includes acknowledging his crimes against that gentleman.

Braun is an enormous creep and I hope Brewers fans don't let him off so lightly.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ACA to Reduce Health Insurance for New Yorkers by 50%?

New York Times Graphic. Source: NY State Dept of Financial Services
So says the New York Times,
State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower.
These kinds of stories will only make Republicans more desperate. If the cost of insurance nationally falls by similar amounts, the ACA will became hugely popular.

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Hard to Exagerate the Awfulness of the House Farm Bill

This legislative disaster doesn't just devastate food aid to the poor, but also delivers a gut shot to the small farmer.

How bad is it? Franz Matzner takes a swing,
To start with, the bill takes aim at the environment by first crippling, and then outright ending, conservation programs, as well as zeroing out mandatory funding for rural renewable energy and efficiency development. Thousands of farmers from every state have participated in these programs, generating income while helping restore wetlands and prairies, reducing fertilizer and pesticide pollution that poison our rivers and drinking water, and decreasing the nation’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels.

In stark contrast, the bill would make permanent billions of dollars in subsidies for corporate farmers. This would upend decades of precedent and lock taxpayers into these high costs, at least creating a deterrent to regular updating and improving of our farm policies, and at worst threatening the continuation of important policies to protect soil, water, wildlife, and public health.

Dreher's Monty Burns Republicans

The House Republicans have loaded up the Farm Bill with all kinds of cash to corporate big agra while completely cutting out any food aid to the poorest among us.  But this is nothing new:  It's been going on for 50 years which is why the food stamp program was tied to the farm bill 40 years ago.

FINALLY! A self identified Christian conservative points out the obvious.

The American Conservative's Rod Dreher says what no one else inside the so-called Christian conservative movement has the, um,...well Christianity to say,
You know who needs to find their voice and use it right now? Conservative Christian pastors and leaders. Christians need to seriously reconsider uncritical support for a political party that prioritizes lavishing subsidies on the agribusiness rich while telling the poor to sit quietly and wait for scraps.
There is no question where Jesus falls on this issue, but those who are constantly moralizing in his name seem to have lost their morality.