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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That damned bill

What's Mallard raving about today?

Health Insurance Reform.

OK, see now I'm excited. We're past the "get ready for school" craziness and now we get to watch Mallard's head explode over Health Care.

Like today, where Mallard conflates the fact that he hasn't read the bill, being too busy watching television, with the Straw Man that no one has read it.


HT said...

Well, at least Tinsley, unlike most conservatives, admits he knows nothing about the health reform bill. Apparently, so doesn't that person's adam's apple.

Also, who in the world outside of the conservo-blagosphere and Fox News uses the term "Obamacare"?

GeoX said...

Yeah, reading bills before you pass them is very important. Like, I remember how after 9/11, the "Patriot" Act took forever to get passed because everyone had to carefully read through it first oh wait a second.

I AM vaguely impressed that Tinley was able to both draw a semi-recognizable (though by no means "good") caricature of Henry Waxman AND have the confidence to not helpfully label it. That must be where those ninety hours went this week.

Iron Dragon said...

Wow, I actually can agree with this one. At least in the principle of 'Read the bill before you comment on it'. Mind you, this means in both directions, don't criticize the bill and claim that there are things in it that aren't and don't sing songs of praise to the thing without reading it. Or at the very least working with analysts on the damn thing so that you can debate it intelligently.

Tog said...

Shyeah, like Tin read the thing himself before deciding he opposed it.

Tin's two-week lead-time requirement bites him on the ass once again, as "Obamacare" is currently caught in a tug of war among Dems who want to alter it to win support, and those who want it to pass or fail unchanged.

Which brings a question to mind: if Tin wants to really "speak truth to power" (SNRK! ...I'm sorry, I can't say that without giggling!), why doesn't he go webcomic? He would be far more timely (able to slap the strip online the moment it's done), and truly free to speak his mind without editors who are, as we all know, part of the Jew-Liberal Media Controlling Conspiracy.

Instead of begging for an audience while waging the Culture War against "Doonesbury" and fighting for space against "Mary Worth" and "Get Fuzzy," he'd be reaching the hip crowd and speaking truth (Bwaaaaah!) to "Overcompensating," "Penny Arcade," and "Achewood."

(Yes, I know they'd tear him apart and he'd be dead of starvation within a month! Shhhh!)

Nick said...

I actually had a confrontation with someone like this yesterday on line for self-checkout at the store.

Background: I broke my left wrist two weeks ago, had surgery last week, and I'm in a cast w/ a sling.

Guy behind me, looks to be in his late-sixties or seventies. Says it's a good thing I "broke my arm now, instead of later." Later, I wouldn't be allowed to see a doctor for it. "That's what that neegra wants, nobody will be allowed to see a doctor. And people like me, we get killed. He better not change a Goddamned thing."

Normally, I defer to age. Yesterday, however, I told the guy that he needs to stop talking. Now. To anybody. I don't care WHAT side of the issue he's on, so long as he has some facts to back it up -- and he didn't have a single fact correct.

No, it wan't Tinz; he wan't buying liquour.

Nick said...

So, question to all out there: What's the "Uppity Proles?" comment about?

Waxman never used the term.

Ayn Rand did ("It was not a town, only a cluster of houses ... including an industrial district, without the help of any uppity proles..."), Is that what Tinz was going for?

Or is nothing more significant than just something he'd expect Mr. Straw Man to say?

rewinn said...

Concern has been expressed about the practice of voting on bills that one has not read. How can one possibly assent to or oppose a thousand-page document that has been finalized only the day before?

The answer is that this is both necessary and, if the effort is properly organized, wise. (Note the qualification).

Significant legislation is usually complex because it modifies already complex code (e.g. the U.S. Code), using necessarily imprecise natural language, in ways that humans naturally seek to twist to their advantage.

Ideally, legislation would be simple enough to fit on a notecard so we can all discuss it. "Cruel and unusual punishments are prohibited" for example, would be a good law to have. In fact we have it, but some fans of torture have found a way to allow it anyway.

So generally you need to state with great specificity which bits of the U.S. Code, or whatever, you are amending. The U.S. Code has grown very complicated and, regrettably, was not designed with the modularity et cetera that we have come to know and love in software. So unless you are doing something very simple and pretty sure no-one is going to try to get around it, it is necessary to write very long bills.

(As to health care reform, a very simple bill would be: "Any American citizen may subscribe to Medicare upon paying a premium to be set from time-to-time by the Center for Medicare Management" More Here

You can vote wisely for or against a thousand-page bill without reading the whole thing by organizing a team of subordinates to do the work for you. This is analogous to how a manger runs a team that writes software. It has been the practice for a very long time.

Problems arise when bills are thrown together without giving the team time to analyze the provisions (e.g. USA/PATRIOT) or when assent is giving as a matter of obedience to party or class masters (e.g. USA/PATRIOT), but bills whose provisions have been chewed over for YEARS (e.g. healthcare) will typically be addressed by teams of legislative aids familiar with the topics.

Now I'm not going to say whether HR3200 or any of the other proposals being tossed around are wise or necessarily complex (I favor Hartmann's short-form patch to Medicare) but I hope I have addressed the criticism that HR3200 or whatever hasn't been read. It has ... just by teams, not individuals.

We don't expect Bill Gates to read every line of code before relasing the next version of Windows.

Rootbeer said...


Is that supposed to be an actual person? If so, whom?

Rootbeer said...

Henry Waxman, you say?

Hey Bruce, "wax man" is just his name; he's not actually made of wax. He doesn't actually melt when exposed to TV lighting, as you've depicted him...

dlauthor said...

Can't help but noticing that, rather than reading the bill himself, Mallard's just sitting there pantsless in front of the tube, box o' snacks in hand, like he always does when he's not (a) at "work" or (b) luring minors into rolling around on his floor.

Anonymous said...

That is actually quite a good caricature. Is he farming out the artwork perhaps?
It's not a very good argument for the Health Care bill to point out that no one read the "PATRIOT" Act either. If anything, this highlights the obvious danger to our freedoms (such as they are) of rushed legislation with sweeping consequences.

rewinn said...

Nick - the funny thing about Tinkley quoting Ayn Rand is that few people KNOW what "prole" means, most of that few do not CARE, and Tinskley is nearly alone in not having figured this out!

People who love Rand ( Alan Greenspan...) do not seem to understand that most of the world regard her as somewhere between Scientologists and Mormons on the crazy scale. Tinkley might as well attack Democrats for the lack of clarity in their Thetans and their doubts that American Indians are Jewish (...seriously! read the Book O'Mormon sometime...)

Today's "comic" would be more effective if Tinkley had used "peasants" instead of proles, but he's apparently drinking himself into both a cult AND a coma.

Hibryd said...

Greenspan backed off the Rand love recently. In late 2008 he basically admitted that his entire worldview, wherein people looking out for their own self-interests would act rationally and thus the market would self-regulate, was wrong.

As far as the comic, it's become painfully clear in the last two weeks that Republicans didn't want extra time to read the bill, they just wanted extra time to repeat the same false talking points over and over again until the idiots believed them.

fuckreagan said...

I want to mention my comments on yesterday's comic:

"To get ready for school starting next week, you could work ahead...."

Sentence Structure: Learn how it works, or go to Hell!

Parenthetical statements, also, should be flanked with commas , "school, starting next week, you..."

Tinsley should not complain about grammar, until he learns to write at a better than sixth grade level.

Regarding today's today's comic:

O Tinsley, we know that you hate the poor, stop trying to side with them while supporting elitist policies. Note to Conservatives: The idea of social policies being used by the rich to torture the proleteriats comes from Communism--maybe, Tinsley is one of your enemies?

Tog said...

Anon: The point of mentioning the Patriot Act is to illustrate that Tin doesn't believe his own point; he doesn't really give a damn if a bill is read or understood before being voted on, he just hates Democrats (among other people) and fears anything he doesn't understand (pretty much everything). How about you? Did you advise caution on the Patriot Act at the time?

If I read her comic book biography correctly (it seemed a most appropriate medium), Rand created her "philosophy" as a cover for her inability to overcome nic fits. Thanks a lot, Ayn.

Republican teabaggery has perverted Randism to a level that might offend even her; I wish I could provide a source, but a recent LTTE in my area declared that part of the resistance to all things Obama was "a simple desire to determine as individuals when, and to whom, we give our charity."

Translation: "Die in the gutter for all I care! Not my problem! I want a tax cut! Me me me me me!"

Nick said...

You said it, Tog. "Provide for the common good" is just plain unpatriotic.

wavydavy said...

Tog --

That is, exactly, the conservative and/or Repubican platform, and has been since the days of St. Ronnie. As Gov. Mario Cuomo said it more elegantly, "Reagan made a virtue of denying compassion to those most in need of it." Fast forward to 2009, and we now hear that "empathy" is a terrible thing, at least for judges.

As for Ms. Rand: well, to be polite, she couldn't think her way out of a wet paper bag. I once had the (mis)fortune of seeing her in a small group setting (maybe a dozen of us) which ended with a Q&A seesion. I asked her a question regarding her economic "theory", using Econ 101 language, and not only could she not give a coherent answer, she needed me to explain some rather basic economic terms, such as "externalities" and "exogenous".

Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

NLC said...

To be a bit picky here:

"Proles" goes back to Orwell's 1984[*]. I.e. the peasant/underling class in the book. Slang-ish expression for "proletariat".

[* Or "at least" that far back. Don't know if GO snatched it from anyone. Maybe it was just something "in the air" at the time the book was written.]

[WV: "icult" : i.e. the collection of other-worldly practices from which Tinsley and his ilk get their "facts".]

Frank Stone said...

Well, we all knew it was coming, didn't we? On the upside, it does give us the opportunity to see how many lies Brucie can cram into a given strip. Let's see what he's got for us today.

A) The proposed health care reform legislation is called "Obamacare".

B) The Democrats in Congress all LOVE it.

C) None of the Democrats in Congress have actually read it.

D) It doesn't matter that none of the Democrats in Congress have actually read it, because they all love Obama so much that they'd never disagree with him anyway.

Wow -- that's four, Brucie! Think you can top it? I betcha can!

Bill the Splut said...

GAH! Waxman looks like that?! I thought he was Lando's copilot on the Millenium Falcon from "Jedi." Wearing horrible, horrible dentures.

"Health care reform--IT'S A TRAP!"

WV: "monstig." As in "Tinny drew a frigging monster--a monstig!"

Ducky is Right said...

This would bother me less, if Ducks had any idea how Congress works.

See, no one's read the bill, cause there's no bill yet. I hasn't been put up to a vote. Hell, it hasn't been voted on in committee, far as I know.

There's several thousand proposed bills introduced every session in Congress. If they took the time to read every single one, there'd be even less getting done. Congresspeeps rely on committee peeps and friends to decide how they vote, for the most part. "I trust Congresspeep X on, say, Transportation funding. If they like this bill, I"m voting for it."

"Obamacare". Oooohhhhh scary names! Is it any surprise that these people can only come up with "The gum'ment wants to turn old people into glue and horse food!"

No idea why we're still the superpower. None. It'd be so easy to topple us.

Anonymous said...

A Duke University Professor explains what's actually in the bill. We are addressing Obamacare here folks.
John David Lewis: "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009." He sights a few relevant passages that are in the bill HR 3200. His "Evaluation of Passages" are at the end of each point covered.

There can be no comparison of the Patriot Act vs. the Health care bill HR 3200. The Patriot Act was used to successfully stave off another terrorist attack. HR 3200 will hand the control of your health and life to Obama's government. Did Obama scrap the Patriot Act? No, because he knows if he dumps the Patriot Act and we are hit again, the finger of blame will be pointed straight at him and his party.

My opinion is that BT's caricature of Henry Waxman flatters him. His nostrils are actually much larger. Would be interesting to see him waterboarded.

p.s. Bill Gates no longer works for Microsoft on a daily basis so no he would not "read every line of code" before a new product is released. But there are people at Microsoft who do go through the code, believe it or not, prior to a new product release. Would be nice if the Democrats would read the bills they sign. Probably would not change their small minds if they did.

Michael said...

That troll is casting with 5 lines, deep sea fishing style. Will he get a bite?

Tog said...

My opinion is that BT's caricature of Henry Waxman flatters him. His nostrils are actually much larger. Would be interesting to see him waterboarded.

In all the trollery I've witnessed, that last line is the weakest, most desperate-to-offend, ever. Are you six?

The Patriot Act was used to successfully stave off another terrorist attack.

Ah, the "tiger-prevention rock" theory from The Simpsons. You are indeed learned.

Of course, you (and the GOP's superpatriotic Yellow Elephants) read every line of the P-Act before the sold America's freedom for the sake of false safety.

...Didn't you?

Or did you just wait for your favorite bawling pundit to tell you what to think?

GeoX said...

Would be nice if the Democrats would read the bills they sign.

...unless they're bills Republicans like. Jeez, you're transparent.

CW in LA said...

I like how after no fewer than four earlier posts address the non-validity of the term 'Obamacare', our Anonytroll bursts in and announces, "We are addressing Obamacare here folks." Nice to see how much he values the courtesy of reading what's been posted before him.

Congressman Waxman represents my district. I'll admit he's not a handsome man, but he's a good congressman. Here Tinshley has actually managed to draw a charicature less misleading in its appearance than in the words he's stuck in its mouth. I guess that's some sort of progress if his drawing has gotten less egregious than his intellectual dishonesty.

Tog said...

Wednesday's strip is up, and I can't wait.


Yup, the very same loser who was calling Obama a fear-monger only a couple of weeks ago.

Ducky is Right said...

It is true that if you take troll's made-up fantasy land as absolute fact, then he is right.

rewinn said...

Dear Anonymous Coward:

There are people in Congress who do go through the code, believe it or not, prior to a new bill vote.

These are called "Congressional aides". If you ever managed staff you'd understand how teams work so that a leader does not have to read every word of a contract, bill or computer program to make correct decisions on them.

P.S. Your failure to understand the Gates tagline demonstrates your difficulty with reading comprehension.