You see, I was to go to a meeting at the store this morning. I understand why the meetings can sometimes wind up being scheduled for one's day off, and I had dodged that particular bullet for long enough. Still, it's a bummer when you have to rouse yourself at 5:30 to make a 7:30 AM meeting, and wind up being late anyway because of three consecutive accidents in the same location on 880 (Davis St., for the curious).
Sitting in traffic I decided to make the most of waiting and called E, if only to hear her voice. That's when she mentioned the "gaffe" where Cheney urged viewers to go to a website to check the facts behind some of Edward's accusations, which I'm sure he meant to be factcheck.org, essentially a republican spin machine. Except he made a common error, one that I make on a regular basis with non-com addresses -- he made the shout out to factcheck.COM [emphasis mine, of course!].
The difference is substantial, as the domain redirects to a George Soros website. Mr. Soros is one of those pesky people with money that decided the republicans weren't his cup of tea. He's more my speed of social libertarian, funding initiatives to overturn drug laws and such. Needless to say he's decidedly anti-Bush.
Now, originally I laughed (as did others at the store when I mentioned it), but now I'm starting to wonder what's going on. In a debate where the media actually called Cheney on his comment that he never linked Al Quaida to Saddam (except Dick seemed to forget there's this pesky thing called video tape that has him doing just that as recently as last fall), they're either deliberately over-looking or outright lying about the incident. E happened to send me this note, waiting for me when I got home:
"This is interesting! I wanted to get something to back up what I told you this morning about factcheck.com and factcheck.org. This is what I found.
"The transcript at NPR, which is where I heard about Cheney's gaff this morning, shows him saying factcheck.com:
"The transcript on the cnn website doesn't even mention any website:
"And the MSN website says that he said factcheck.org. Hmmmmmm..... why are they not wanting to be accurate about his mistake?:
I'll be interested to see if enough bloggers and other commentators can whip this up into a full fledged conspiracy by the end of the week or not.
On a related topic, I was listening to KCBS in the car after picking Kim up in Hayweird (remember that backup? Nothing gets me on AM faster than weird traffic patterns) when they mentioned that there had been two bomb threats called in up in Marin.
Minor Digression: Has it occurred to anyone that it is no longer necessary to actually PLANT a bomb to bring areas to a grinding halt? All it takes is an anonymous email with a general location or flight number, and the next thing you know whole courthouses and skyscrapers are being emptied, planes diverted, and general economic mayhem perpetrated. End Digression.
Anyway, they mentioned a "suspicious device" had been found. Without missing a beat I turned to Kim and said: "But upon closer inspection it turned out just to be a touchscreen voting machine." This made Kim snort, which is her upper level of laughter.
Since I seem to be on a bit of a political rant this morning, one last point: Bush actually made a comment to the effect that Kerry was all for creating an environment where big government took more control of people's lives. I almost choked on my McHash Browns. This from the man from whose administration sprang that finer example of legislative incursion on civil liberties called the Patriot Act? You know, the one that's slowly being whittled away as unconstitutional by those darn "activist judges"?
That's right up there with the Republican insistence that single-payer health care means having some nameless government drone making your medical decisions for you. As opposed to their solution, where some nameless corporate drone is doing the same thing for twice the money and half the coverage.
Yes, I'm libertarian, and think that an unregulated private industry solution to problems is the best path. The trouble is the regulation part -- the system is so skewed by byzantine legal requirements and regulation that the possibility for a solution is completely suppressed.
Part of the relates to another scary trend that Michele I spoke about yesterday. She mentioned that she had high blood pressure, which confused me considerably. That's because I *had* remembered her numbers accurately after all... 150/90. While not the best pressure ever, that's not much higher than my own 120/70.
It's all part of a larger medical industry tendency to keep raising the bar on what constitutes "healthy". Blood sugar is now too high if it hits 120. Weight criteria have been tweaked so that more people are considered "over-weight" than ever. Cholesterol levels are considered unhealthy at lower levels.
The single most common tie to all of these? Pharmaceuticals. Insurance companies won't pay the money unless it's a real sickness, but you can't call it a sickness unless the guidelines back you up. We're becoming a nation of people being "cured" of diseases we don't really have, consuming an obscene amount of drugs, all legally prescribed, simultaneously doing untold long term damage to our health. The end result is that insurance spiral everyone's been talking about, but not really looking too closely at the root cause of.
Making this especially disgusting is the shortage of a lot of the same drugs elsewhere in the world, mostly because the same companies are fighting to keep cheaper drugs from seeping back into the US market.
What a weird time to be alive and in this country. The media seems to be doing a fine job of being it's own censor, the bald faced lies are being swallowed whole by people who should know better, and now doctors are almost as much the enemy as the diseases they're trying to fight. I hope I get to see how this one turns out.