LA Story

I’ve always wanted to hike Runyon Canyon:

Not my Cup of Tea

I didn’t know Glenn Beck’s circus was coming to DC when I booked a trip out to California for the weekend. But now that I know, I’m really (really!) glad I’m not going to be here.

I’m hoping to use my travel time wisely and finally finish the last of the Stieg Larsson trilogy. This past week, I’ve been reading – and watching – other stuff instead. Stuff like…

1. Matt Taibbi on the Tea Party movement and the dangerous media machinery and corporate greed fanning the flames:

In fact if you follow Fox News and the Limbaugh/Hannity afternoon radio crew, this summer’s blowout has almost seemed like an intentional echo of the notorious Radio Rwanda broadcasts “warning” Hutus that they were about to be attacked and killed by conspiring Tutsis, broadcasts that led to massacres of Tutsis by Hutus acting in “self-defense.”

He goes on to give seven terrifying examples of just how bad the rhetoric’s gotten.

2. Todd Purdum in Vanity Fair on how and why Washington’s dysfunctional. A snippet:

Current law requires someone to “register” as a lobbyist only if he or she spends at least 20 percent of the time lobbying. And yet much of the real work of lobbying is not done by registered lobbyists at all but by the rainmaker lawyers and former politicians, like Vernon Jordan and Tom Daschle, who “counsel” private-sector companies on how to thread the needle and achieve their objectives. If you throw in all the people doing “government outreach” and “congressional liaison” at the countless trade associations and advocacy groups, the total number of people in Washington working to influence the government in one way or another actually runs closer to 90,000.

3. Jon Stewart debunking Beck:

See why I’m psyched to be getting away from what’s on its way?

Have a good weekend. I’ll catch you back here Tuesday.

Friday Funny

I could do without the crass title, and it totally screams for a “Slinky” jingle soundtrack. But that aside, enjoy. Via Jezebel:

We’re On the Air

This morning, I returned to radio and got the chance to chat with Geoff Berg who was filling in for David Sirota on 760AM in Colorado. Here’s the blurb on our conversation:

Geoff Berg in for Sirota today. He led off talking about the Florida Governor primary won by Rick Scott. Rick Scott’s narrow victory over Attorney General Bill McCollum, the preferred candidate of the Republican establishment, in the Florida gubernatorial primary could cost the GOP a key governorship in a race that could have implications for years to come. The deep-pocketed Scott, who spent nearly 40 million in the nasty and bruising campaign, was the CEO of the Columbia HCA hospital chain, which was fined 1.7 billion for Medicare fraud not long after he left. He has a long history of screwing people over on health care. We then talked to AMERICAblog‘s Jacki Schechner for further analysis. She is the former National Communications Director for Health Care for America Now and Internet reporter for CNN.

The podcast is here. You have to guesstimate the halfway point, but once you move the marker there, you can hear my assault on the scumbag who’s now Florida’s GOP nominee for governor.

F is for…

Rick Scott won the Republican primary for governor in Florida last night:

A businessman who became an outspoken critic of President Obama’s health care law has won Florida’s GOP primary for governor, besting the state’s attorney general.

Health care executive Rick Scott, who pumped $39 million of his own money into the race, hammered opponent Bill McCollum with a series of attack ads after jumping into the competitive race this spring and positioning himself as a conservative outsider.

Scott, 57, will face Florida’s chief financial officer, Alex Sink, who is running to become the Sunshine State’s first female governor. Also in the race: Independent candidate Bud Chiles.

Let’s take a quick trip down reminder lane. NYT:

Once lauded for building Columbia/HCA into the largest health care company in the world, Mr. Scott was ousted by his own board of directors in 1997 amid the nation’s biggest health care fraud scandal. The company’s guilty plea and payment of $1.7 billion to settle charges including the overbilling of state and federal health programs was taken as a repudiation of Mr. Scott’s relentless bottom-line approach.

“He hopes people don’t Google his name,” said John E. Hartwig, a former deputy inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, one of various state and federal agencies that investigated Columbia/HCA when Mr. Scott was its chief executive.

Oh, we Googled. Forbes:

[HCA] increased Medicare billings by exaggerating the seriousness of the illnesses they were treating. It also granted doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. In addition, it gave doctors “loans” that were never expected to be paid back, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.


Under former Chief Executive Richard Scott, it bought hospitals by the bucketful and promised to squeeze blood from each one.

Scott was forced to resign in the wake of the initial fraud charges in 1997.

Media Matters has a full dossier. Florida voters should be particularly interested in this kind of information:

Columbia/HCA Eliminated 1,000 Hospital Beds In Dade County, Florida. According to the Omaha World Herald, “Columbia/HCA has bought eight general hospitals in Dade County since December 1988. It closed two hospitals and transferred some general medical services out of a third to eliminate 1,000 acute-care hospital beds.” [Omaha World Herald, 3/19/95]

Scott sacrificed patient care to cut costs. In Florida. And guess where he made a good chunk of the money he’s now spending to run for office:

According to the Florida Times-Union, Richard L. Scott left Columbia/HCA “with a $10 million severance package and 10 million shares of stock valued at more than $300 million.” [Florida Times-Union, 6/21/06]

This is Rick Scott:

From my letter to The Hill about Scott published 5/6/09:

In what is perhaps the most outrageous claim of Rick Scott’s latest diatribe, the former hospital chain CEO who was forced to resign just before his company paid out $1.7 billion in penalties and fines — the largest in U.S. history — for defrauding the government, making illegal deals, filing false data, granting kickbacks to doctors, and overbilling Medicare — accuses Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) of wanting to “cook the books” to pay for healthcare reform. Just because Scott ran a corporation that believed in making money at the expense of honesty and good healthcare does not mean anyone else believes that’s a justifiable strategy.

The Nation on Scott from March 11, 2009 titled Healthcare Enemy No. 1:

Having Scott lead the charge against healthcare reform is like tapping Bernie Madoff to campaign against tighter securities regulation. You see, the for-profit hospital chain Scott helped found–the one he ran and built his entire reputation on–was discovered to be in the habit of defrauding the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

It took a little while, but eventually the news caught on, and even Fox couldn’t ignore Scott’s shady past:

When Scott didn’t like the TV ad HCAN ran against him, he sent out a fundraising email saying Comcast pulled the ad off the air, and people should give him money. Small problem there. It wasn’t true. None of it. The ad came down because the ad buy ended as scheduled, and Comcast had to issue a statement countering Scott’s b.s. claims. Here’s more from The Huffington Post.

Scott likes words that begin with “f”: fraud, falsification, fabrication. Now he wants to be governor of Florida.

I say we teach him one more “f” word. Fail.

Job of the Day

From the listing: is a new startup that will be launching this fall. The site will be made up of news, reviews, community functionalities and other auxiliary content concentrating on the gun world (handguns, rifles, shotguns, hunting, tactical, competitive, military, self defense, 2nd amendment, legal, etc). aims to become the central meeting point for all facets of the online gun world.

I don’t have a good feeling about this.

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

I was walking home last Tuesday night and saw a small crowd in the middle of a very busy road. They were huddled around a biker who had reportedly been hit by a car. Emergency personnel got to the scene about the same time I did, and I watched as they had the woman wiggle her fingers. It was the only thing I could see from where I was standing on the curb, but I felt alright walking away knowing she was at least conscious and responsive.

It got me thinking about all the close calls I’ve had as a jogger in this town. Drivers love to make right turns on red without checking for pedestrians in the crosswalk. They also tend to make left turns on green without doing the same. I can’t even count the number of times someone has “waved me through” in front of his car as though he’s doing me a favor even though I am within the white lines and have the right of way.

I don’t know why everyone is in such a rush and so callous about paying attention. I’ve had my fair share of almost collisions with bad bikers too – those who speed through lights or race down the sidewalk when they should be on the street. But it’s the cars that frighten me the most. And as it turns out, I have good reason to be concerned.

After finding this link to a site that keeps track of how many people get Struck in DC each week, I now know it’s not just me. This is a big problem. I signed up to follow DC Fire EMS on Twitter. It’s not even 3pm, and there already have been three incidents so far today:

Something’s got to get done. I don’t know what the answer is. No rights on red? More “Yield to Pedestrians” signs? You tell me. I’m game for whatever works.


Poll Dancing

The new commercials drive me batty. If you’ve turned on your TV at any point in the last month, you’ve probably seen them. They’re the ones with footage from “actual first dates” with the following tagline: has led to

more dates
more relationships
more marriages

than any other site.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote to Match and asked how they were determining these declarations. They sent me a link to a poll they commissioned themselves. As a smart friend pointed out, all the poll shows is that Match wins the numbers game. More subscribers will inevitably lead to more hook-ups, but accurately gauging anything of substance beyond sheer volume is a huge stretch.

Also, the same company that owns owns and, and since just acquired Yahoo! personals, comparing to these “other” dating sites seems a touch disingenuous and wildly unscientific.

My brief stint on Match was amusing but unimpressive. Here is an alternate tagline culled from personal experience: has

more bad spelling and grammar
more desperation and social awkwardness
more guys fudging their (pick one) marital status/body type/height/age/income

than any other site.

Really Shabby Chic

I’m not a huge online shopper – especially when it comes to clothes – because my size varies by brand, and I end up returning a lot more than I keep. But I hopped on the Gilt Groupe bandwagon a while back, and even if I’m not in the market to buy, I do like to log in and browse.

Today I was tempted to take a look at the latest from Charlotte Ronson and came across the following called “Bleach Splattered Shorts:”

They’re selling on Gilt for about $50, but check out the original price:

So here is why I find this funny. These are mine:

Similar color. Same white splotches. Not bleach but paint from fixing up my apartment back in August 2007. They’re Old Navy, and while I don’t remember what they cost, they couldn’t have been more than $15, if that. They’re comfortable and solid “just around the house” shorts, but at some point I was planning to toss them, assuming they were too destroyed to give to Goodwill.

Apparently not. Apparently I can start wearing them out and calling them all the rage.

You Oughta Be In Pictures

Whether you oughta be consumed is a whole other issue entirely.

Introducing my very first attempt at baking a pie: