Saturday, October 31, 2009

Congress Ethics “Furor” Over White House Cybersecurity Breach

All is Not Well in the White House IT Pumpkin Patch

WASHINGTON – House leaders on Friday called for an "immediate and comprehensive assessment" of congressional cybersecurity policies, one day after an “embarrassing data breach” revealed details of confidential ethics investigations and resulted in the termination of a staffer. Whether this breach is of a rotten pumpkins in the pumpkin patch persuasion or just another silly, silly little “youthful indiscretion", the incident raises questions about  the federal IT department's policies and protocols.

Ethics? Another “youthful indiscretion” from the White House? Politicians are always “youthful” when it comes to excusing crime.

Although recently appointed chief information officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra is responsible for oversight of federal technology spending, he may or may not be wondering what all the fuss is about with this latest White House cybersecurity ethics panel breach that has sparked furor and questions over competency and responsibility on the Hill. So many questions. As LWOH reported, Kundra can never be accused of not having federal bribery sting, crime-worthy direct reports.

Is the White House cutting corners on cybersecurity or did the CIO budget more than enough taxpayer loot to spend on souped-up firewalls and data security? Were the IT hiring choices competent but the technology choices abysmal, vice-versa or both? Whose ultimate decision is it to ensure smooth and cybersafe policies and protocols for sensitive government data?

Security breach? What's the big deal? It's not every day that, back in his early twenties, the current Chief Info Czar gets arrested for shoplifting four shirts at J.C. Penny's and THEN goes on to bag a gig as Chief Information Officer of the United States Federal Government. Huh? All that personal, discreet and confidential ethics data? GET OVER YOUSELVES, silly rubes, still clinging to data and flimsy peer to peer networks....

So what's being done about the technical problem? More legislation! We don't know what that means, per se, but many in both the public and private sectors would certainly agree that a review of technical and ethical core competencies at the highest chain of command in the federal department of information is the first place to start. In the meantime, we can always count on more legislation to protect sensitive cyberdata:

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is drafting legislation to protect sensitive government documents from public exposure through peer-to-peer technology.
"Unfortunately, this incident underscores the very urgent need to address the problems associated with peer-to-peer software," he said.
Towns was also mentioned in the disclosed document as having once been under scrutiny by the Office of Congressional Ethics for allegations he improperly received a Maryland homestead tax credit.”

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 30, 2009

2Truthy's Friday Happy Hour: Derek and the Dominoes on Johnny Cash Show

-Enjoy Eric Clapton, Carl Perkins and The Man in Black perform the awesome Blind Lemon Jefferson's “Matchbox” at 5:18.-

Yeah Baby!

If there were ever any question as to Carl Perkins' influence on Clapton, roll that video. But did you know that some of the most classic television shows of all time were purged between the years of 1970-1973 for their colloquial, down-home characteristics not being able to compete with a more urban demographic?

I loved the Johnny Cash Show during its short-run from 1969-1971. Its cancellation was a result of ABC's rural purge, which basically meant that between 1970-1973, the suits cut just about every TV show with a tree in it – classic “country” gems or favorites of yours truly like The Red Skelton Show, Petticoat Junction, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry R.F.D, Lassie, Hogan's Heroes (OK – not a “hillbilly” show per se but its sets were housed in leafy landscapes), and Family Affair - this one's a did a show that took place in a swanky Manhattan high-rise housing the twins Buffy and Jody, their butler, Mr. French, older sis' Sissy and uncle Bill (who always seemed like  they were playing husband and wife) ever make the “hillbilly” list? Ah, Wikipedia boo-boo.

“Let me be your big dog, 'till your little dog comes...”

Happy Friday, Loserettes!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Gay Swami Times Halloween Special Issue

(click on photo to enlarge) 

The Gay Swami's Scariest Halloween Masks Ever!


Welcome back to the Gay Swami Times Vol. 1 Issue 10. Click here for previous issues. This time, we did all the work ourselves since most of our outsourcing contacts are all either in jail or busy auditioning for dreamy Steven Spielberg's upcoming movie "Throw Grandma in the Ganges” to return our phone calls.

Our exclusive FIRST Halloween commemorative issue begins with a holy meditation on our abundance and steely (as in “Manhole cover”) craftiness, as we reflect upon how a brahmin should earn his livelihood. Sweet nirvana!

Lord Brahma said to Narad:

"Alms, which a brahmin gets without making any demand for it is called Vritta. 'Unchhavritti' is even better than Vritti, and it means collecting food grains which are scattered in places like fields, granaries, the market-place, etc.” 
The Gay Swami said:

Skip the Cheerios and Bombay Gin, we are taking over America! October 31st is a heavenly time for us in America, for we celebrate our divine skills of stealing US jobs AND candy from their children! It is sooooo spooky for Americans, where we TRICK them into TREATING our most holy people into sacrificing with their jobs, cars, houses and money. Candy, too! This practice, more commonly known as “Mother Bhumi” is the essence of the element earth. It is also called “Dhra” meaning 'that which holds everything'. Just like your candy bags, kids!” Or call it anything else you want - we just make it up as we go along...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

-Select from the "Ship of the Desert" Halloween Mask Collection Now!-

  • Johnny "Do me like a Slumdog" Chambers
  • Billy "Ride me like a Dromedary" Gates  OR be a DOCTOR (in PRISON):
  • Dr. Byrraju "The Rajah of Roger" Ramalinga Raju (The Scam of Satyam)
  • Naked Hillary "Does Tata" Clinton Costume from the Limited "Friendly Competition" Line
  • Your Own "Living Dead" face!

-Bribe the Kids

  • Give them Gummy Worms IN EXCHANGE for THEIR DADS' JOBS!!!!!!!
  • Offer Reeses Pieces AFTER they give you 2,000 rupees 

-How to Steal Candy from Trick-or-Treaters so You'll Have More!

  • Re-wrap your Starburst Fruit Chews with old raisins, give THEM out!
  • Pretend to GIVE candy in their bags, then TAKE theirs!!

Trick or Treat! Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


Mel Toast: America's Labor Shortage Lie Wake-Up Call

A Mel Toast Wake-Up Call for Deluded Americans

“America Scared to Tell Wife It's Unemployed, Just Sits in Park All Day”
-Hamilton Nolan

A mighty screed from Gawker. Read it.

Americans are hopelessly deluded and passive suckers who would allow their jobs to be given away to imported and outsourced workers in order to feel philanthropic and superior, as do their trickle-up feudal slave masters. What do these cowering, blockheaded fools get in return? What is the source of “progressive” middle class Americans delusion? No matter.

Deceitful, plutocratic-bound corporate and congress creatures who LIE about skilled shortages of American professionals (h/t The Economic Populist) have found their toadies in the “yes man, yes sir” sycophantic pool of dependent, nanny-statist supporting parasites who beat the drum about creating nothing out of thin air and then steal from us what isn't nailed down to the floor.

Dictators - smiling, Machiavellian or Manchu -- like to surround themselves with plenty of lickspittles.

It's time for Revolution.


Melvin Toast

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chinese Drywall, Snapping Bridges

San Francisco, CA --  Toxic drywall and snapping bridges. Three pieces of an emergency repair to the Bay Bridge's cantilever section made over Labor Day weekend snapped and crashed onto the upper deck of the span late Tuesday afternoon, striking three vehicles and forcing the indefinite closure of the region's busiest bridge. The pieces that snapped were two high-strength steel rods and a crossbeam from a steel saddle, said Tony Anziano, Caltrans toll bridge program manager.

At the rate safety standards, workmanship and quality control are eroding all around us, you'd almost think our government leaders are working extra-hard to ensure these trivial matters remain the stuff of rubes.

Party on, plebes!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk Stands Up for American Professionals

Trading India's Mangoes for U.S. Pistachios, NOT American White Collar Jobs

For Immediate Release

Washington – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk has landed a spot on 2Truthy's official “Your Invited to My Party List.”

Kirk met with Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma for the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting in India this week to discuss one of India's shameless, top agenda items: getting more H-1B visas, even though millions of educated American professionals are unemployed/underemployed and there is NO skilled U.S. labor shortage. Click here to read the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative press release. (h/t Rob Sanchez #2068.)

Basically, Indian officials asked for more of our jobs and Kirk firmly and politely ripped them a new one with assurances of making “a note” of their outrageous request here:

On the issue of a more liberal visa regime for Indian professionals, the US assured India that it would take up the issue with the US immigration department and see what changes could be made. "We have made a note of India’s concerns and are going to certainly discuss it with our colleagues (in the immigration department)," Mr Kirk said.

Here is the best part, where Kirk noted some trade reciprocation deficiencies:

In the much talked about example, we open up our agricultural market to Indian mangos. These freely flow into our country. In return, we had hoped to export pistachios, which are very strong staple of your diet, not grown domestically and high-end motorcycles. Today, not one Harley Davidson motorcycle has been sold in India,” he added.”

For now, at least on the face of it - when it comes to “improving the tone and frankness” regarding stemming the abuses of H-1b visas, Ron Kirk's stand on behalf of U.S. trade is what I call progress.


Fair Game: Sean Penn and Naomi Watts "Plamegate" Test Screening Preview

Fair Game: Plamegate Movie Test Screening Review
-Starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts-

Breaking News

Los Angeles, CA – A test screening for Fair Game, the movie starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts based upon the real-life saga of husband and wife team Ambassador Joe Wilson and spy Valerie Plame was held a few days ago. Directed by Doug Liman, this exclusive review rates the movie a 9/10. (h/t LWOH Santa Monica operative Ben.) We hear Sean is absolutely Oscar worthy, if not bound...

Click here for LWOH's coverage of the Plame/Wilson saga, including yours truly's original casting picks of Lisa Kudrow and Dennis Quaid and to sing along with “Scooter Libby's Prison Number” and to “The Plame Game.”


Monday, October 26, 2009

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) No Cure-All

Scary Stuff from Electronic Medical Records (EHR) Vendors

Outer Hades, USA – Just in time for Halloween.

Do mandated electronic health care records (EHRs) improve patient safety and the quality of health care delivery between physician/patient delivery? Why are taxpayers subsidizing for-profit corporations to develop error prone software technologies? Shouldn't these funds be applied instead to the much needed skilled physicians and medical infrastructure centers responsible for treating us? Who IS driving this ghost train of a for-profit health care industry that profits from killing us?

LWOH has reported here and here and here about President Obama's designated taxpayer stimulus of $19.5 billion plus to force or mandate the use of electronic medical records. This excellent Washington Post article by staff writer Alexi Mostrous entitled Electronic medical records not a cure-all is based upon interviews with more than two dozen doctors, academics, patients and computer programmers. They all indicate electronic health records (EHRs) increase errors, add hours to doctors' workloads and compromise patient care. One doctor reported his department found that physicians spent nearly five of every 10 hours on a computer. "I sit down and log on to a computer 60 times every shift. Physician productivity and satisfaction have fallen off a cliff."

Something is very wrong when the corporate health IT/EHR industry gains control over the health and safety of hospital patients and their doctors. Since electronic medical records are not classified as medical devices, hospitals are not required by law to report problems. Many health IT contracts do not even allow hospitals to discuss computer flaws, so who is driving this Ghost Train?

The WaPo article describes how doctors using EHRs are forced to deal with “cluttered screens, unresponsive vendors and illogical displays.” Christine Sinsky in Dubuque, Iowa, whose practice implemented electronic records six years ago offers this description of the poor EHR development and vendor support service she is confronted with here:

"I can't tell from the medical display whether a patient is receiving 4mg or 8mg of a certain drug. It took us two years to get a back-button on our [Electronic Health Record] browser."

In addition to compromised public health safety and taxpayer stimulus dollar waste, doctors can be fired for mentioning problems with EHRs as IT-health industry executives and powerful government and health administration officials are shrouded in profitable secrecy. Stimulus dollars should be going directly to support physicians and hospitals and NOT to wasteful and life threatening IT health record development (many from shops who outsource to sub-par “skilled labor” guest visa and green card holders).

One ER physician explains how EHRs are, well, “a complete nightmare” here:

"It's been a complete nightmare," said Steve Chabala, an emergency room physician at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Mich., which switched to electronic records three years ago. "I can't see my patients because I'm at a screen entering data."

A short list of many potential life threatening problems reported that are caused by shoddy development and vendor support service from EHRs have included:

  1.  An IT program designed to warn physicians about wrong dosages that was disconnected when the vendor updated the system, leading to misdoses.
  2. A software bug that misdiagnosed five people with herpes.
  3. Faulty software that miscalculated intracranial pressures and mixed up 
  4. kilograms and pounds.
  5. A computer system that systematically gave adult doses of medications to children.

David Blumenthal, the head of health tech at the Department of Health and Human Services, acknowledged that the systems have flaws, and over the next tow months he will finalize the definition of “meaningful use” - a term to describe the standard used by hospitals and doctors to qualify health-IT stimulus funds. (Read more about “meaningful use” here with CCHIT's Mark Leavitt.) Blumenthal did not mention whether applicants would be required to submit “adverse event reports”, which are a safety net that many physicians and academic experts demand but health-IT vendors have resisted. Why would vendors not want to stand by their products' quality and submit adverse event reports? Could it be that these IT health EHR vendors are too preoccupied with cost cutting and profit hording to notice the life threatening risks their technology products and services have the potential to pose to the public?

So who IS watch-dogging the high-risk EHR/health-IT industry? Nobody.

David C. Classen is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah who recently completed a study on health IT installations and he explained the utter lack of IT-health regulations here: 
"If you look at other high-risk industries, like drug regulation or aviation, there's a requirement to report problems. That just doesn't happen in health IT."

What is being done about it? The Senate Finance Committee has amassed a thick file of testimony alleging serious computer flaws from doctors, patients and engineers unhappy with the current systems:

On Oct. 16, the panel wrote to 10 major sellers of electronic record systems, demanding to know, for example, what steps they had taken to safeguard patients. "Every accountability measure ought to be used to track the stimulus money invested in health-information technology," said  Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the panel's ranking Republican. “

Mostous didn't mention the top ten major sellers of EHRs, so yours truly dug up this BNET list. For regular LWOH readers who have reviewed this list of corporations, how many of you want to place your bets that these IT workers predominantly consist of imported visa and green card holders instead of skilled American IT professionals? Why wouldn't these corporations want to ensure the health and safety of the American public by safeguarding their products and services with top notch, local techies?

As physicians confront a government mandate to switch from paper to cumbersome electronic records that reportedly pose higher risks to patients' lives, it comes as no surprise that physicians want to get back to the comprehensive basics of patient care, as many who are using them are uninstalling them, according to a June survey by HealthLeaders-InterStudy. But U.S. doctors are in danger of losing their jobs for complaining about the wasteful and unsafe technology.

Sharona Hoffman, a professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said:

"Doctors who report problems can lose their jobs. Hospitals don't have any incentive to do so and may be in breach of contract if they do." 
What is the competency level of these IT health record developers? Are they predominantly outsourced or insourced imported visa holders who are working for a fraction of the pay of highly skilled, American IT developers (many who have been replaced by such imported workers and are currently unemployed and underemployed)? The article noted one senior internist at a major hospital (who requested anonymity because he said he would lose his job if he went public) who described a 2006 installation that provoked mayhem.

"The system crashed soon after it went online. I walked in to find no records on any patients. It was like being on the moon without oxygen. While orange-shirted vendor employees ran around with no idea how to work their own equipment” the internist said, doctors struggled to keep chronically ill patients alive. "I didn't go through all my training to have my ability to take care of patients destroyed by devices that are an impediment to medical care." 
Isn't it time to put the control of health care delivery back into the hands of physicians and to ensure Health IT jobs are done by our citizens?


Harvard Study: 45,000 U.S. Deaths Annually Linked to Insurance Industry

"Clearly, this mangy and murderous health insurance industry is one sick puppy that needs to be taken out back and shot like the rabid dog it is."

-Single Payer Saves Hundreds of Billions of Dollars-

U.S. Health Insurance Mafia: Murdering 45,000 Americans Annually

Cambridge, MA -- This is sickening. Why isn't Obama declaring a National Health Emergency?

First, greedy politicians used American white collar jobs as bargaining chips under the greatest lie ever told of an American skilled technology and nursing labor shortage in order to enrich themselves via the importation and abuse of cheap H-1B visa and green card holders. The bleeding of U.S.  citizens' white collar jobs to imported and outsourced  workers is ongoing today. Where are the “progressives” to protest? Chicago's James Carlini provides excellent analysis into the U.S. labor shortage myth in his article entitled Financial Collapse: Student Loans, Hospitals and Cars.

But this isn't enough for these greedy bipartisan corporate and beltway insiders. Now, they don't even try to hide the fact that they are picking off Americans (as in murder) and everyone else they invite through the front and back doors to take U.S. jobs and drive down wages while denying them access to health care. To them, its all one big, 24/7 global philanthropy free-for -all where American citizens are their bargaining chips who foot the bill for them. Isn't it high time we started focusing on domestic affairs by taking care of our own citizenry for a change?

This Harvard study concludes that nearly 45,000 U.S. deaths each year are linked to a lack of access to quality health care. In the United States, deaths associated with lack of “health insurance” now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease, according to this new study available on line “Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults.”

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, study co-author, is a professor of medicine at Harvard and a primary care physician in Cambridge, MA. She noted:

Historically, every other developed nation has achieved universal health care through some form of nonprofit national health insurance. Our failure to do so means that all Americans pay higher health care costs, and 45,000 pay with their lives.”
She added: “Even the most liberal version of the House bill would have left 17 million uninsured, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The whittled down Senate bill will be worse – leaving tens of millions uninsured, and tens of thousands dying because of lack of care. Without the administrative savings only attainable through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer reform – real universal coverage will remain unaffordable. Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives.”

Note that these articles use the terminology “health insurance” instead of “health care” when in fact, the for-profit, monopolistic health insurance industry is in the business of profiteering from sickness and death of those who pay their obscenely overpriced and unaffordable premiums. Clearly, this mangy and murderous health insurance industry is one sick puppy that needs to be taken out back and shot like the rabid dog it is.

If the Insurance death industry disappeared tomorrow, what would happen to all of those horribly officious claims processors who deny coverage and those self-important, insufferable Insurance Commissioners if Single Payer were enacted? Are there not decent and noble professions that can actually help our families and neighbors for them to shift to?

There will be no change unless American citizens demand oversight of these corporate sociopaths who are killing our white collar jobs and our families and neighbors. Yes, the health insurance mafia is killing American jobs and its citizens by awarding their insider group of corporate and beltway sponsors with blood money.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

D.C. Metro and U.S. Airports Outsourcing Technology, Software Development

Travel Safety in the Skies and on Rail: At What Cost to the American Public?

-D.C. Metro and U.S. Airports Outsourcing Tech Development-

For Immediate Release

Washington – Fly the Scary Skies may soon become our national airline industry's leading soundbite, as job losses, pilot/controller fatigue, cutbacks in pilot pay and eroding quality of service abound in the once vibrant “friendly skies” of American air travel. Earlier this week, a Northwest Airbus A-320 overshot its Minneapolis runway destination by nearly 150 miles, leading to speculation that the pilot and co-pilot fell asleep in the cockpit or were somehow otherwise distracted. In America these days, Michael Moore reports pilots are on food stamps. BTW, our own national hero, Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger has no pension and his pay was reduced by 40% as LWOH reported here.

And how about rail safety? Although no conclusive findings have yet to surface from the NTSB regarding the cause of this year's June 22nd fatal D.C. Metro Red Line crash that killed 9 people and injured at least 80, the Washington Post reports this week that Metro has been working with Annapolis-based ARINC, a transportation communications and engineering systems company to develop a backup for the train protection, or track circuit, system. As LWOH reported here, speculation into computer failure as the cause has yet to be ruled out.

Annapolis, MD headquartered ARINC Incorporated, a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, provides communications, engineering and integration solutions for commercial, defense and government customers worldwide. ARINC also announced this week that its Managed Services and ServicePower partnership is launching its news On-call IT support for small and non-hub airports. What a great opportunity for U.S. unemployed techies, right? So where are they getting the “On-call IT” support developers from? Will ARINC and ServicePower hire the unemployed and underemployed U.S. IT developers (h/t who have been replaced by cheap imported labor to put the “Q” back into quality software development and support? Incidentally, UK based ServicePower Technologies Plc is an outsourcing software company that just announced on Sept. 30 that it axed 47 jobs after losses. Well, if American software developers aren't profiting by getting these jobs, who is profiting? Metro needs reliable software programs:

Metro uses a software program to check for circuit malfunctions. Since the Red Line crash, those software checks have been run twice a day to look for anomalies. If problems are found, crews are sent to inspect the circuit; if necessary, adjustments are made on the spot. Circuits might be disabled if fixes can't be made immediately.

But the software check occurs after rush hour; the new program would run in real time. Officials said they plan to run both systems next week to see whether they pick up the same malfunctions.”

In an interesting side note, the WaPo article adds that ARINC has a $15 million contract with Metro “to provide electronics for the agency's backup operations control center in suburban Maryland and upgrade equipment at the main control center in downtown Washington.” But Metro officials have repeatedly declined to disclose how much the company is charging the transit agency for the additional work on track circuits. Why not disclose the amount for the additional work?

Hopefully, Metro, ARINC and Google all would agree that quality IT development and support deliverables are non-negotiable to ensure public safety. This, all Americans would agree, surely takes precedence over executive and government personnel profiteering at the expense of Joe and  Jane Taxpayer's safety.

Metro officials also told a board committee Thursday that the agency is ready to move forward by Jan. 1 to offer riders Google Transit, an online mapping tool, “if key issues can be resolved.” What key issues might those be? “Among them: persuading Google to agree to exempt Metro from liability for downloading corrupt data and Google's request that data be provided in a format that would require more work from Metro employees.”

Why would Metro possibly anticipate “corrupt data downloads” from Google's IT employees and/or contractors? Aren't they supposed to be the best and brightest? How many of them are imported? Given Metro's crash track record, it comes as no surprise that they might not want a lawsuit against them if Google's IT developers provide corrupt data. (OK, sure, nobody is perfect but taking an “accidents happen” attitude about public safety in exchange for profit motives is not applicable here.) And why would Google request that “the data be provided in a format that would require more work from Metro employees”? Ah, for the bygone days when professional American programmers, pilots and engineers were compensated for their education and leadership with good pay and benefits... But such trivial incentives are no longer necessary, as our feudal slave lord inspired government agencies and neo-frat boy run corporations can't seem to get enough Burnt Fries. Who needs skilled American professionals when our politicians can become rich brokering third world imports to take U.S. jobs and drive down wages?

While Metro may be moving closer to sharing data with Google Transit, Metro’s top technical people say that Google Transit may be available to their riders, as Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner, “but only if the search engine giant is willing to abide by the agency’s terms, specifically Metro’s demand that it is shielded from lawsuits spurred by bad data.” Metro has shared data previously under terms which include the right to “institute a license fee at any time” and indemnification….But Google, which has relationships with 121 transit systems nationwide, has refused to meet Metro’s demands.

What to do about improving rail safety standards? There is no federal agency that mandates technology standards for rapid transit systems to date, but there IS a Federal agency that legally allows corporations and gov't. agencies to transfer American jobs to cheap, imported H-1B visa and green card holders.

Forbes recently reported that IT outsourcing poses risks. Isn't it time that the Hope 'n Change administration got onboard the right track to stop it? The United State of Slave Labor has devolved into a cheap labor junkie, willing to risk passenger safety and destroy the quality of life for our best and brightest American professionals like Pilot Sully and millions of other educated Americans who have been kicked to the curb for cheap imported labor so a few beltway and corporate “thought leaders” can wildly, wildly profit. Will citizens of the USA unite to stop these abusive H-1B/green card hiring practices and restore civility and quality again in the workplace on the ground and in the skies?

One of the most popular albeit fellatious fallacious arguments in favor of outsourcing/insourcing cheap imported labor is that there is just not enough gosh darn money for corporations and government agencies to pay competitive wages/benefits commensurate with local standards of living to our educated citizens. Author David Zirin offers this insightful article entitled DC Metro Crash: Who Will Die Next Because We Throw Money at Billionaries and Scrimp on the Public Good? and describes how publicly funded stadiums have become a substitute for urban policy and asks why the District is on the hook for a $700 million ballpark when funds could be spent on upgrading the Metro. It also looks at “the twisted policies of the underfunded Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority” or what the Brookings Institution calls “deficits by design.”

The WMATA gets no dedicated federal funds despite the fact that it serves thousands of federal workers. In fact, it has no dedicated source of funds at all, depending on fares and ads for three-fifths of its budget.”

Zirin suggests that Americans question our priorities here:

This is a question of priorities, plain and simple. But not our priorities. A majority of DC-area residents opposed the public funding of the stadiums. These are the priorities of power and they must be opposed at all costs. The advice of peace activist Sister Joan Chittister has some relevance here. "Anger is not bad," she has said. "Anger can be a very positive thing, the thing that moves us beyond the acceptance of evil." It's time to get angry. Or the next city may be your own.”

All aboard, America?


Thursday, October 22, 2009 Moves to Subscriber Model

For Immediate Release

New York – LawnGylanders will soon have to pony up for the scoop.

Online rag has announced it is moving to a “subscriber model” which is another fancy way of saying pay us to read the news, suckas.


A shot across the bow?  A shot heard ‘round the world? A cheap shot?

"Despite the false premise that has been floating around for the last 19 years, that information on the Internet wants to be free, [it] is just not true,
"Morton said. "People have always been willing to pay for information they have felt was useful to them."


Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Poop on Pollution Profiteering: Methane Gas from Cows to Green Energy

Something Cheesy in Colorado?
-Congress, Cows, Cash, and Carbon Credits-

GREELEY, CO – Not nearly as pungent nor knee-deep as the town of Washington, DC and the malodorous Sand Hill Road venture capital ties to the Beltway, the distinctly bovine odor of huge cattle manure piles in Greeley hangs over the city “as it has for half a century.” JBS, which runs two of the largest feed yards and the local slaughterhouse, is testing a new technology that heats cattle excrement and turns it into energy.

But imagine converting that dreadful, smelly poop into “clean energy” where the local cattle slaughter house is right next door to the cheese factory? Emm, good! (This story reminds me of a local strip mall in our SF Bay area town where the sushi restaurant and the sausage factory share the same storefront – one needn't stretch the imagination with the visual of biting into a piece of seaweed-wrapped, raw sausage after the harried chef dips into the wrong bowl of ingredients for the Nigiri – Sake order...)

While the residents of Greeley expressed cautious excitement over the new technology speculated to blow off the town's methane stink, some local residents  might want to  fire up their Ford F-150 flatbeds  and drive to Wisconsin for cheese shopping junkets until all the quality control kinks are worked out. 

Investors are now lining up in Greeley to support a planned clean energypark that “eventually” will convert “some” “of the methane gas released from the manure piles into power for a cheese factory and other businesses. The  article did not mention who these investors are or the name of the methane conversion technology company - nor did it explain the differences in volume between how much “some” manure is or what the technology's limitations are for not converting ALL of it to green energy. Is it possible that even if some of the manure is converted to green energy, the remaining piles will still emit the bovine odor, anyway? Lots of questions here, about Cap 'N Trade emerging (yet to be developed, tested and successfully deployed) venture capitalist backed technology companies in this increasing space of public/private partnerships where American taxpayers foot the bill. (It's good to know that mega-multimillionaire, Health IT/ global climate change businessman Al Gore is a venture partner at Kleiner Perkins, one of the leading investors in emerging, lucrative health IT and green technologies to ensure these public/private partnerships aren't merely licenses to print stock options for a few tech/beltway insiders.)

With the town of Greeley, the idea is to lure new business to the area with what Bruce Biggi, the economic development coordinator likes to call its renewable natural gas — “the endless supply of methane from cheap manure”: Biggi describes turning cow dung into dollars here:

"What once used to be a waste stream that was just a byproduct ... they are now recognizing has value. We needed to take that strong traditional economic base and ... merge it with emerging renewable energy and technology."

To be sure, the incentives abound. The city of Greeley received an $82,000 grant from the governor's energy office this year for the park to study renewable energy where grants will leverage more than $550,000 in matching funds from public-private matching funds. Biggi also added that the money will be used to study the feasibility of an energy park in east Greeley that could use waste from the JBS Swift plant and the soon-to-be-built Leprino cheese factory and Greeley’s own wastewater to create energy. The new Leprino cheese facility will initially bring 260 more jobs to Colorado's economy, with potential for more in the future, said State Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.

Leprino Foods, incidentally, provides mozzarella cheese to huge corporations such as Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut (whose industry served as the role models  which inspired the AFL/CIO video Pizza 2012 and your health care and the job outsourcing investors and body shops who profit that LWOH reported here) that are potentially primed at the teat to profit from tax incentives and other taxpayer goodies:

The construction of the plant, which will use about 7 million pounds per day of milk, is expected to be complete by 2012. Leprino has invested USD 143 million in the new 847,000 square-foot plant and will mainly produce cheese for pizza makers. Leprino reportedly chose the location partly due to the quality and availability of milk in neighboring Weld County. Moerover, [sic] in December 2007, FLEXNEWS had reported that Leprino had also considered other locations for the plant in north Colorado and in south west Kansas.”

What about pollution politics, local farmer pay and productivity? Remember, climate change legislation in Congress that would reduce the gases linked to global warming will do little – if nothing – to stem the planet's heating unless third world countries don't take the same action (which they resist.) The article notes that if President Barack Obama signs the bill, it would “put a price on each ton of carbon dioxide released” that would drive up the cost of polluting fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas and lead to investment in cleaner sources of energy. Rep. Betsy Markey, D-CO voted for the climate bill when it passed the House in June. Her vote could play a role in her re-election race next year in the largely Republican district. Markey said in a recent interview:

"Our rural communities aren't sold on this yet, there is a lot of uncertainty. But I think in the long run it will stabilize energy prices."

Others, like foruth generation local farmer David Eckhardt, are struggling with the math:

Despite meeting with Bennet and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Eckhardt remains skeptical of an Agriculture Department's analysis of the House climate bill that says farmers stand to make more money from trapping carbon in their soil and crops than they will pay out in higher energy prices."

In addition, local radio host Amy Oliver Cooke had this to say regarding recent concerned protestors who wore shirts that said "Congress, Don't Take Away my Job":

"Why would we do anything to drive up their cost of doing business?"

For citizens like Eckhardt who are concerned about jobs and the economy, a climate law could change what crops he plants. But for JBS, which operates the feedlot down the road from his farm, “changes are already afoot.”

Who ultimately benefit$ from public/private, emerging green (and IT) technology partnerships? You be the judge. There are, to be sure, merits with proven green technologies that provide sustainable energy jobs and alternatives to rescue our overcrowded, dying planet. Let's hope that the shit doesn't hit the fan before Cow Power could become the next best thing en masse.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

2Truthy's Lunch Break: Turn Up the Volume!

(Click HERE for the Great Non-Static Version)

This is cool...

Back! By popular demand. Very special thanks to John Scatman.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Dave Letterman's Love Shack

(Very special thanks to the B-52's and to Dave Letterman)

-Alleged Extortionist with Dave “Love Shack” Letterman-

Dave's Love Shack

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
Right this way to Dave's... Love Shack! Love Shack yeah yeah
I'm headin' to 53rd and Broadway, lookin' for Dave's love getaway
Heading for the love getaway, love getaway

I got an extortion note for Dave getting' tail and now I'm heading' to jail
For the Love Shack
I demanded a check for around $2 million
So hurry up and pay so I can make a killing
Oh The Love Shack is a little old place where Dave can shag his interns
Love Shack baby, {a Love Shack bay-bee}.
Love shack, baby love shack, love shack, baby love shack, love shack. {love baby, that's where it's at) love shack {love baby, that's where it's at)

Sign says.. Woo... stay away fools, 'cause love rules at Dave's Love Shack!
Well it's set on top of Ed Sullivan's Theatre
Just a swanky hot shack where he won't be goin' back

Glitter on the mattress
Glitter down on Broadway
Sleepin' on the front porch
Dave is in the doghouse...

The Love Shack is a little old place where Dave can shag his interns love shack baby...
{Love Shack baby!} Love Shack, that's where it's at! Love Shack, that's where it's at!

Huggin' and a kissin', dancin' and a lovin', wearin' next to nothing
Cause Dave's hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies
YEA! the whole shack shimmies!
The whole shack shimmies with seven interns
Movin' around and around and around!
Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin' baby!
Folks linin' up outside just to get down
Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin' baby!
Funky little shack! Funky little shack!

I got an extortion note for Dave getting tail and now I'm heading' to jail!
Oh Dave's Loves Shack it sleeps about seven
Where he nails some tail and goes to heaven!

Oh the Love Shack is a little old place where Dave can shag his interns
love shack, baby! {a love shack baby}
love shack! baby love shack
love shack! baby love shack
love shack! baby love shack {love baby that's where its at, yea, love baby that's where it's at}

Bang bang bang, on the door baby! {Knock a little louder, baby}
Bang bang bang,on the door baby! {I can't hear you}
Bang bang bang, on the door baby! {Knock a little louder sugar!}
Bang bang bang, on the door baby! {It's Regina!!!}

Bang bang {on the door baby}
Bang bang {on the door}
Bang bang {on the door baby}
Bang bang
Your what?.... Dave you're busted!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love Shack, baby Love Shack!
Love Shack, baby Love Shack! love baby that's where its at, yea, love baby that's where it's at}
Love Shack, baby Love Shack!
Love baby, love shack
Huggin' and a kissin', dancin' and a lovin' at the love shack.

Your pal,


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Austan Goolsbee: A Mel Toast Exclusive

Mel Toast Laughs With the Economic Advisor-in-Chief

White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee took home the top prize in the 16th annual "D.C.'s Funniest Celebrity" contest last week.

Goolsbee...Goolsbee...Let's see now, isn't that the fella who discreetly informed the Canadians that Obama was lying about NAFTA during the campaign?

Yes! This is the same Austan Goolsbee who recently said to Stephen Colbert “Don't believe anything the Canadians say” who is now hitting the laugh circuit, rolling out the haha by pulling out that old chestnut of calling Sarah Palin a “wingnut” and of course, just doing that whole side-splitting disciple of Milton Friedman schtick whose economic theories delivered us this world-class, global financial crisis.

Wicked funny!

I can't wait for Goolsbee's next performance where he riffs on the Cheney-Bush “Halliburton” model of turning this place into El Salvador where the haves deploy armed guards to patrol the huge numbers of have-nots in trashed out streets where the ramshackle houses have bars on the windows after all the US citizens whose jobs were sold off to imported Indians are “competing as friends” for near-minimum wage jobs as IT slaves, bed-pan cleaners, and massage therapists. And cut-rate copy writers where the typo now becomes credible.

The financial meltdown and this “recession” that spawned all those toxic assets are all about handing over white collar jobs to cheap imported workers and their homes to the bankers. Toxic Assets aren’t toxic when you earn what you earned when you took out your loans. When your income reduces your ability to pay for things like health care, food, clothing, cars, ice cream, Halloween costumes/decorations, hookers and a decent line of blow, your ability to pay the mortgage typically decreases, too. Or so I've been told.

Does Goolsbee ever pay lip service to the fact that our white collar jobs have been shipped offshore while what's left of them are being given to imported H-1B visa and green card holders as wages plummet? No. Despite the fact that the United States government is not legally required to issue one single H-1B Visa, our country will nonetheless give away ANOTHER 65,000+ US high-technology jobs via the upcoming U.S. CIS H-1B Non-Immigrant lottery. U.S. taxpayers and workers are the biggest rubes in this global house of cards. Not only has imported cheap labor and jobs outsourcing under the myth of a great skilled labor shortage  decimated our purchasing power and destroyed our economy, it has left millions of highly-skilled, well-educated US workers without jobs to ask just who this Democratic controlled government really represents. (Never mind, we already know the answer to that.)

Skull-n-Bones Goolsbee is not the next Krugman. For one thing, he is a center-right economist. Sure, he took McCain apart during the campaign, but he opposes the most economically feasible solution when it comes to health care reform like Single Payer. Funny – how the head White House Economist could be so oblivious. Or, perhaps the joke is on us?



Mel Toast

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Yo-Yo Ma!

(Very special thanks to Yo-Yo Ma and the Honkers)

Ma with his Luis and Clark carbon fiber cello

Eclectic and "omnivorous" master cellist Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris on October 7, 1955.

Click here to watch Yo-Yo Ma with The Silk Road Ensemble perform Ascending Bird and to learn more about his work with the Silk Road Project.

Ma's primary performance instrument is the Domenico Montagnana 1733 cello built in Venice and nicknamed Petunia. Some readers may recall the headline news ten years ago when this cello, more than 270 years old and valued at US$2.5 million – was lost in the fall of 1999 when Ma accidentally left the instrument in a taxicab in New York City. It was later recovered undamaged.

Happy Birthday, Yo-Yo Ma! You still look like a spring chicken!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Famous Dancers of the Burlesque Stage: Turn Up the Volume

(Very special thanks to the extraordinary and brilliant Pat MacDonald)

In the interstellar desert there is a milky way bone man navigating a highway that does not exist. He speaks with a searing harmonica, setting the guitar lines on fire like the yellow breaks separating the highway at dusk as they pass in a rhythm of 33 and a 3rd, boot heels on the floorboards of a haunted car.”


If the Russians Did This to Us, We'd Kill 'Em, Right?

...Our national and private resources are being stripped bare. This country is being looted, and everything in it that isn't nailed down is being carted away and sold off.”

-David Michael Green

New York – What if we were invaded by Russians? This is the question Hofstra's David Michael Green asks in his pertinent, must-read essay If the Russians Did this to Us, We'd Kill 'Em that explores this war on America's educated white collar middle class via US government sanctioned outsourcing and importing cheap labor from India that yours truly has been writing about before the topic of white collar American cleansing becomes en vogue. Will the left finally start making white collar American job cleansing as sexy a political issue as WMD or Global Warming? Green wonders why Americans are not “angry” below:

Our jobs, our industries and our community resources have been bundled up and exported to where the work can be done far cheaper, and the workers are compliant. Increasingly we are scrambling just to survive. Admittedly, our government remains absolutely dedicated to making sure that some of us do extremely well. It's just that that ‘some' doesn't include anyone you know.

What's astonishing about the moment that we live in is that we have been essentially invaded, we have been absolutely looted, and yet we don't seem to be the slightest bit angry about that.”

It's astonishing, alright. As LWOH readers know by now, corporate welfare whores and their media sycophants don't SHAKE WELL with yours truly. We've been invaded by sociopathic, neo-frat boy corporate welfare “best and brightest” monkey-business leaders with spreadsheets and derivatives aphrodisiacs whose bought and sold politico thugs with smiling faces and pseudo-sophisticated demeanors are deluding the lefty plebs, you know - the same ones who are supposed to be so smart -- with the false promise of immunity from the looting class elite. But what's MOST astonishing is the deft manipulation with which the media rolls out its diversion messages from toenail fungus to Afghan poppy pickers to distract the looted plebs. As they crank up the noise away from here to over there – and tug on the Achilles heel of compassion on the left, Americans watch their neighbors lose their jobs, homes and health care and dismiss it with an “oh, well, at least it isn't me” sentiment once reserved exclusively for Repubs and other insufferable wannabes.


Indeed, the most astonishing tools right now are not the distracting Vicks VapoRub clowns like Beck but the pseudo-cool media chasers who gate-keep these indefensible corporate welfare crooks 24/7 under the pseudo-guise of compassion and scramble for a place at the the nanny-stater teat with a warm spot at the trough in defense of their honor, flaunting their duplicity and shaking their money makers right on down this pole of a plundered Empire.

Speaking of Empire...Thank GOD for the real people like Chris Floyd (h/t Empire Burlesque) and Arthur Silber who deliver well-researched analysis on world affairs and have no time for such idiots and blowhards parading around the media/blogosphere. Most of all, for extraordinary artists and real-deal musicians like Pat MacDonald who remind us that once upon a time, when our future was so bright we had to wear shades, we had the soulful will to can the Man - we had some faith in looooove...

Can we do it again?


P.S. A shout out to our old friend CC in Detroit – Pat MacDonald is playing Callahan's Oct. 8th.