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The Velveteen Ocelot

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Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2003, 12:54 AM
Number of posts: 60,534

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I don't understand why you guys keep arguing about this stuff.

Religions and religious organizations are human creations that are only as good or as bad as the people comprising them. There have been obnoxious and destructive fundamentalist religious leaders like Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, but there were and are leaders like Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. The black churches, led by MLK and other pastors, were enormous forces in the civil rights movement. Desmond Tutu was instrumental in furthering the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. The Dalai Lama has been working for autonomy for Tibet since the '50s. Religions, which are far from a single monolithic belief system, can be a force for good or a force for evil; they can be very liberal or very conservative. Most importantly, we are all free to believe of not to believe. For my part, I'm an agnostic. I don't know whether there's a god and it doesn't bother me that I don't know. I care not at all what others believe (and therefore see little value in arguing whether there is or is not a supreme being, or whether people who believe in one are stupid and superstitious, or whether people who do not believe in one are arrogant and supercilious). I care only that it is not made the basis for legislation in our intentionally secular democracy, and that it is not used to justify hurting people. Beyond that, believe what you want, or not. It's just that nobody is ever going to convince or convert anybody by grumbling on an internet message board. That includes me, both as grumbler and grumblee.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Tue Mar 27, 2018, 06:31 PM (2 replies)

Any or all of the above, or some combination, would work for me.

My favorite fate-of-Trump fantasy has him dead broke and living alone in a run-down double-wide in a seedy trailer park somewhere in, say, Nebraska, where it gets very hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and is susceptible to tornadoes. He spends his days sitting on the steps of his humble home drinking diet Pepsi, eating KFC and railing about the injustices done to him. He has become dangerously obese; his old clothes no longer fit so most of the time he wears XXX-L sweat pants and a stained wife-beater undershirt adorned with a six-foot-long red polyester necktie. Because he is no longer able to manage his hairdo, his fringe of stringy, now-gray hair hangs almost to his shoulders, revealing his shiny, blotchy scalp. His neck wattles obscure his actual neck almost entirely.

He is living off proceeds from the sale of some items of personal property that Melania missed when she cleaned out the New York apartment and took off for Slovenia; these included several sets of monogrammed gold cufflinks and a roomful of dictator-Baroque gilded chairs. He kept the throniest-looking chair to sit in at night while he watches Fox News on a small, very old tv with a coat hanger for an antenna, hoping Sean Hannity will mention him. He never does. Don Jr. sometimes writes to him from prison but the rest of his family is in Brazil, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S., and he hasn't heard from them in months.

He wonders what he will do when he has sold the last set of cufflinks. The pawn shop owner is not very generous, and the only collectors who might be interested are those unemployed neckbeards who live in their parents' basements and collect knockoff Nazi memorabilia.

Sometimes he waddles over to the neighbors' trash bins and pokes around in them with a stick, never with his little hands, hoping to find a copy of the New York Times or the Washington Post that might have an article about him. He wonders if Maggie Haberman still writes about him. Since his neighbors do not subscribe to these newspapers, he is able to imagine that his name still appears in them from time to time. Sometimes he finds uneaten French fries in the bins, which is a nice bonus when it happens, but most of the time the neighbors chase him away.

The worst thing of all is that Vladimir Putin no longer takes his calls.

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sun Feb 4, 2018, 12:32 PM (0 replies)

Tupperware Goddess

High On Nyquil
Peel My Tangerines
I Love You But You Make Me Itch
Locked In The Basement With You
Don't Lick My Turtle Any More
Feel Me, Grandma

From the album "Total Nose" by Elmo and the Polyps

Tupperware Goddess

Goddess holding moldy meat
Plastic, slippery, cold and neat
Sturdy lids that tightly seat
Tupperware is her name

She's got the stuff I'll never eat
The casseroles that smell like feet
Dishes I shall not repeat
Tupperware is her name

Tupper, Tupper, Tupperware
I shall find her everywhere
She's my goddess, Tupperware
Tupper, Tupper, Tupperware
Tup, tup, tup, tup, Tupperware!

High on Nyquil

Little red bottle
Or maybe it's green
It's sticky and sweet
In the little plastic cup
And I get high, high, high
High on Nyquil

Cheaper than booze
My little green bottle
Or maybe it's red
I don't have to smoke it
And I get high, high, high
High on Nyquil

High on Nyquil
Nothing better
Drink from the little red bottle
Or maybe it's green
And I get high, high, high
High on Nyquil

Peel My Tangerines

Peel! Peel! Peel my tangerines.
Peel! Peel! Peel!
My tangerines, all orange and shiny!
Peel! Peel! Peel!
My tangerines are never tiny!
Peel! Peel! Peel!

Unwrap them, lap them, peel them bare
Peel them, feel them everywhere
Tangerines are large and round
Orange and slippery by the pound!
Love my lovely citrus sweeties
Love them on my face and feeties!

Peel! Peel! Peel my tangerines.
Peel! Peel! Peel!
My tangerines, all fat and orange!
Peel! Peel! Peel!
Nothing ever rhymes with orange!
Peel! Peel! Peel!

I Love You But You Make Me Itch

Touch me, touch me, fondle me
Make me feel your love
But because you make me itch
You have to wear your gloves.

Cover me with calamine
After that I'll make you mine
When I'm with you I feel so rich
But wear your gloves, you make me itch.

I get a rash and hives and bumps
And welts and wens and warts and lumps.
You make me flaky, red and crusty
Hot and itchy, hot and lusty.

Cover me with calamine
After that I'll make you mine
When I'm with you I feel so rich
But now you know: you make me itch.

Locked In The Basement With You

I don't know how I got here
Down in the basement with spiders and dust
And I can't get out, the door is locked
And it's dark.
But here you are
I'm locked in the basement with you
And I don't know why
But I like it
I like it in the dark with the spiders and dust
I like being locked in the basement with you.

I don't know how long we will be here
Down in the basement with spiders and dust
They won't let us out, the door is locked
And it's dark.
But we're both here
We're locked in the basement together
We'll never know why
We'll be here together forever
In the dark with the spiders and dust
But I like it.
I like it in the dark with the spiders and dust
I like being locked in the basement with you.

Don't Lick My Turtle Any More

I saw you licking my turtle.
You took him out of his bowl
With the little plastic palm tree.
He hid in his shell
But you licked him anyhow.
Don't lick my turtle any more.

I saw you licking my dog.
You saw him sleeping on the couch
Where he isn't supposed to be.
He growled at you
But you licked him anyhow.
Don't lick my dog any more.

I saw you licking my cat.
You found her sitting at the window
Chattering at the birds.
She hissed at you
But you licked her anyhow.
Don't lick my cat any more.

You licked my dog
You licked my cat
But the worst thing you did was
You licked my turtle.
Turtles carry salmonella.
You won't lick my turtle any more.

Feel Me, Grandma

Feel me, Grandma
Sit me in your rocking chair and feel me.
Feel me, Grandma
Beat me with your cane and then feel me.

You're ancient and wrinkly and gray
You pour Geritol on your prunes
You play bingo at the church every day
You watch Lawrence Welk reruns
But I love it when you feel me.

Feel me, Grandma
Stomp me with your walker and feel me.
Feel me, Grandma
Beat me with your cane and then feel me.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Fri Jan 26, 2018, 10:45 PM (2 replies)

Yes. Their main export is covfefe,

which they sell mostly to Normay.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Mon Jan 15, 2018, 12:57 PM (0 replies)

Probably. It's all about being a member of the tribe.

They really don't care what he did; he's their guy and that's all that matters. Trump proved that point.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu Nov 9, 2017, 09:32 PM (0 replies)

I don't have your direct experience but I don't doubt any of what you're saying.

It seems to have become a cult of personality, at least in some locations. The hard-core "base" is not going to come around. No matter what he does, his approval ratings will never drop below 25%-30% - which sucks for a president but is still a whole lot of people. But it's not surprising. At the end of the Watergate scandal, when the release of the tapes proved conclusively that he was directing the cover-up, Nixon left office with 26% approval, and that stayed pretty steady for years afterwards. To this day there are people who think he was framed.

The psychology of this is that people don't like to be wrong. They don't like to admit they made a wrong or foolish decision, and there have been studies showing that the more wrong they are shown to be the more they will dig their heels in and refuse to admit they were wrong. So: You voted for Trump because he told you, for example, that he'd bring the jobs back to the factories and coal mines or that he'd build a wall to keep out the Mexicans who are stealing American jobs. These things were so important to you that you didn't care that he's a thuggish, racist, mean-spirited boor with the morals of a jackal (for some, those characteristics are actually features, not bugs), so you voted for him.

And now, the more he's revealed as an erratic, narcissistic man-baby who doesn't give a shit if you ever get another job or lose your health insurance, the more you will support him. You will insist that he'll bring the jobs back soon, just give him more time; and that the media who criticize him are wrong and unfair and fake - because to acknowledge how bad he really is, is to acknowledge that you were duped into voting for a con man. You were stupid and foolish for believing a grifter. You can't admit such an embarrassing thing about yourself - that you're a sucker for a fast-talking con artist - so you double down on your support. That's where that dead-end 25% will come from.

And yes, they are largely unpersuadable. There will be people at the edges - those who saw Trump for what he was but had ideological reasons for voting for him, as well as some of the people who voted for him only because they irrationally hated Hillary - who will desert him; this is already starting to happen. Some of them are Democrats, and they can be won back. The main target should be the people who didn't vote at all. The hard-core Trumpistas are completely hopeless, like the hard-core Nixonites.

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sun Jul 2, 2017, 11:31 AM (0 replies)

There is no workable *free market* solution to health care.

That's why the GOP can't make it work. They can't think outside their restrictive free-market box, so they just keep moving the pieces around hoping somehow it will all come together - but it never will. Insurance, as originally conceived, is almost pure socialism. One of the earliest forms was invented in the 18th century or thereabouts by shippers who were losing a lot of money as a result of shipping accidents, shipwrecks and piracy. So they created a system whereby everybody would pay some amount of money into a pool, and anyone who lost their ship would be compensated out of the pool. If you never lost a ship you were still paying to compensate those who did. This kind of insurance works pretty well. Most other kinds of hazard insurance (car, homeowners, etc.) works pretty much the same way: lots of people pay premiums but only a relatively small percentage make claims, so the insurer can charge premiums that most people can afford. With life insurance eventually a claim will be made, but because premiums are paid over some period of time the insurer can invest the money and thus make enough to cover the eventual payout (which is why younger people pay lower premiums, determined by actuarial data).

Health insurance is different. Sooner or later everybody gets sick or injured, but it's impossible to predict when or how. Statistically, younger people are less likely to have to make claims, but they do get sick or injured, and they can end up with conditions that will require treatment for many years. And the ability to pay for health care isn't optional: You pay or maybe you die. Because medical treatment is very expensive and the need for it is not very predictable, if you are relying on private insurance a very large premium pool is necessary, which was the reason for the individual mandate. If everybody is paying into the pool, statistically, in any given year, not everybody will make claims and there will be enough to pay for those who do. But if the only people who pay premiums are the people who are more likely to need medical treatment (e.g., older people, the disabled, pregnant women) and need the coverage, there won't be enough money in the pool unless the premiums are extremely high or there are a whole lot of deductibles and exclusions. So the GOP is in an impenetrable box. Every version they come up with can make private health insurance "affordable" only if the coverage sucks. If it actually covers what most people need and doesn't have pre-existing condition exclusions and lifetime caps it's too expensive for many people. So lower income people will opt out entirely because they have no choice (the GOP is big on "choice", and then the pool becomes even smaller and the premiums go up some more.

There is no way to make "free market" private health insurance work. Either it's shit coverage or it's too expensive. There's no way around it, but McConnell, even using his super turtle powers, can't figure that out because his tiny reptile brain can't imagine anything that operates outside the myth of the free market.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Wed Jun 28, 2017, 11:20 AM (1 replies)

Comey is 6'8", making him taller than almost everybody.

And that probably bugged Dolt 45 at least a little. The real reasons, of course, have been amply described. Comey is a guy who, perhaps arrogantly, follows his own rules. His mishandling of the Clinton emails was, perhaps, not so much a partisan move as an attempt to show off what a Dudley Do-Right sort of guy he is - instead of simply stating that the FBI found no evidence of any criminal act and leaving it at that, as he should have done, he launched into his own opinion that Clinton acted improperly, though not illegally, because that bothered him personally. He's entitled to his opinion, of course; but as FBI director he had no business appending it to his factual determination. Then in October there's his infamous letter, which was much more damaging because of the timing. The other day Comey testified that he sent the letter because he felt the need to protect the reputation of the FBI - apparently concluding that protecting the reputation of the FBI (and by inference, himself) was more important than risking influencing an election. If that was his true motive it's as bad, for its arrogance, as if his motive had been partisan.

All this said, on occasion Comey's self-styled Dudley Do-Right persona has also led to positive results, as when in 2004 he prevented Bush officials Gonzales and Card from taking advantage of John Ashcroft's serious illness to get him to sign an extension of a warrantless wiretap order. More about this incident here: https://thinkprogress.org/comey-breaks-silence-white-house-tried-to-force-incapacitated-ashcroft-to-back-spying-program-66fb293ac29 This incident was one of the reasons Obama hired him. The point is, though, that for good or ill Comey seems to be someone who does his own thing and tends not to knuckle under to much of anybody. For an authoritarian like Trump this quality could not be tolerated. It was apparent to Trump that Comey was going to proceed with the Russia investigation as diligently as he could, regardless of what he might have been told or leaned on to do. Plus, he's 6'8". So he had to go.

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu May 11, 2017, 03:33 PM (0 replies)

I think, quite a lot. Before the Airline Deregulation Act,

passed in 1978, airlines were treated pretty much like public utilities. Before that, the Civil Aeronautics Board regulated all interstate airline routes by setting fares, routes, and schedules. Airlines had their fares and routes approved by the CAB, and were able to charge enough to make a profit but prevented from overcharging - pretty much the way your electric company is regulated by your state utilities commission. If you're old enough to remember air travel before 1978, it was fairly expensive but it was also reasonably pleasant. The seats were wide enough; there was leg room; the food was decent; and passengers weren't treated like cattle.

But then some free-market enthusiasts decided it would be a good idea to get rid of the CAB and let the airlines compete among themselves, which, it was thought, would result in more airlines and lower fares. For awhile this was true. A lot of low-fare, minimum service new airlines were created, like People's Express and ValuJet (unfortunately some of these new airlines were also low-safety). Eventually and inevitably, however, the big ones started eating the little ones, and there went most of the competition the ADA was intended to create. Because of the need to keep fares low, most of the amenities were discontinued.

The basic reason the ADA was a flop is that airlines are very expensive to run and their profit margin is tiny. Their fixed operating costs - mainly fuel, equipment and maintenance - are very high (labor costs are also high, but when fuel and maintenance get too expensive and the airline isn't making money, guess who gets screwed, thanks in no small part to the Railway Labor Act, which grossly favors airline/railroad management over labor). So, now airlines are "free" to compete for passengers, but passengers have become used to low fares. In order to compete with the other airlines by keeping fares low, airlines started ordering planes with smaller seats in order to carry more passengers; they started charging more for baggage; there were no blankets, little or no food; etc. (to reduce weight). Most of the things (other than the TSA) that make air travel unpleasant these days are a result, directly or indirectly, of the ADA.

And before the ADA they didn't overbook because they didn't have to. The rationale for overbooking is that the airline's "product" is seats on the plane, and once the airplane takes off with empty seats, those "products" have become worthless. So they calculate the historical number of no-shows for any given flight, and if the expected number of people don't show up they can either re-sell those seats or accommodate standby passengers. (Note: I'm not defending this practice; I'm merely explaining it.)

So, I'd be in favor of repealing the ADA, reinstating the Civil Aeronautics Board and re-regulating airline fares and routes. I think air travel is sort of like health care: there is no "free-market" solution that actually works. It would be more expensive again but might incidentally encourage the development of better ground transportation, like high-speed rail. Not that the GOP would ever let any of this happen...
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Mon Apr 10, 2017, 05:58 PM (0 replies)

I don't agree with Lawrence O'Donnell's theory

that Putin planned and arranged the whole thing. Putin would be taking an enormous risk by intentionally setting up a scenario that would operate as justification (for domestic purposes, mostly) for any kind of military action. I'm sure Putin realizes that Trump is unpredictable and acts, without thought or analysis, in a fashion he believes will offer him the most benefit. If Putin had told Assad to go ahead with the sarin attack so Trump would retaliate and thereby provide cover for his connections with Russia, Putin could not be sure what Trump would actually do, since he's completely unreliable. Military people might have talked him out of the missile strike, or maybe he could have decided to do something far more damaging than the strike that did occur. Putin couldn't count on his erratic puppet to do exactly what he wanted. Furthermore, Putin has other, more pressing interests than merely helping Trump deflect suspicion in the US. The money connections are sufficient to keep Trump obedient, and Putin has already succeeded in his efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of our election and generally sow chaos.

I think Trump acted exactly as he always does: he saw an opportunity to make himself look good and he took it. The fact that it was completely opposite to the position he took when Obama was president was not important to him, because facts don't matter. Consistency doesn't matter. Policies don't matter. He does what he wants to do at a particular moment because he thinks it will benefit him, period. He does not think ahead. He does not understand or appreciate complexity. This was an opportunity for a twofer: deflect from the Russia investigation (temporarily) and look strong and manly and mighty. And, of course, our stupid media ate it up.

It won't last, thought. Everybody thought Bush was the bee's knees at the beginning of Shock 'n' Awe; but that all went to hell, along with W's popularity, tout suite. I just hope smarter people will take SCROTUS' missiles away from him before we get Iraq Redux.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sun Apr 9, 2017, 06:38 PM (0 replies)
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