Aug. 26th, 2009 09:39 am
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We lost Ted Kennedy, cornerstone of healthcare reform in the U.S. :-(

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Personally, I think a public health insurance plan is not going to accomplish anything as long as patients still have to deal with no co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, limited provider networks, and lifetime benefits caps.

Another reason why medical conditions are a major contributor to personal bankruptcies is the loss of income, so even if your medical expenses are covered, unless you have managed to build an emergency fund, you are still in danger of losing everything.

What really annoys me about the healthcare debate is that everybody talks about what it's going to cost, but nobody seems to talk about how much money it is going to save; or the fact that healthy people will be able to work instead of staying home sick, which means increased tax revenue.

Well put!

Mar. 12th, 2009 11:53 pm
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"There's an inherent hypocrisy (within the GOP) that they can't reconcile.  They want the government out of their lives and out of their business, but they want to legislate what others can do so they're just like them.  Example: stay out of my life, but make sure two loving men in Nebraska can't get married.  Don't take away my guns but make sure a teenage girl who was raped by her uncle in Oregon has to deliver her baby." (Source here)

Thank you, Brian Crooks from Naperville, IL, for putting words to something that's been bugging me for a long time!


Mar. 12th, 2009 10:37 pm
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"At Obama’s request, House leaders removed a $335 million Medicaid provision funding contraception programs for low-income people." (Source here)

Because those people need to have more children.

Great job, Mr. President.
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This morning finds me at the same time elated because Obama won and dismayed because at least two anti-gay constitution amendments passed. I rejoice at the sound defeat of abortion limitations in South Dakota and of the absolutely ridiculous attempt to declare a fertilized egg a person (was that in Colorado? I forgot).

I was saddened to hear the crowd booing again when McCain mentioned Obama's name during his concession speach, which almost made me cry. If we had heard more of that McCain during the campaign instead of smears and fears, the result might have been different yesterday.

Most of all I'm glad this election is over, though. In a good way!

ETA: I just realized that this was the second major historic event I had the privilege of witnessing in my lifetime: the first one was the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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Published on Thursday, October 2, 2008 by The Guardian/UK


From Empire to Democracy


Let's not waste $700bn on a bail-out, but use 'big government' for what it's best at – shaping a society that is fair and peaceable


by Howard Zinn

Read more... )
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The 'bums' try for an end run


Garrison Keillor

September 10, 2008
(source here)


Read more... )
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"Maybe market meltdowns are what happen to a country when commentary on matters economic becomes the exclusive province of business thinkers. When labor unions are systematically crushed. When
dissent is divorced from matters economic or social and becomes instead a quality of middle-class taste preferences, of 'extreme' cars and 'radical' packaged goods. When management theorists take it as their duty to dazzle us with a crescendo of free-market worship. When leaders of left parties cleanse their ranks of laborites, of New Dealers, of Keynesians, of socialists. When newspapers refuse to open their columns—on grounds of laughable, self-evident dinosaurdom—to doubters and second-wavers and old-school liberals.

Today we are paying for each of these, for all of the ways in which we expunged the common sense of our parents' America from our lives. With each month's nauseating returns, we are making good the intellectual folly of the last 10 years."

Sound familiar? - This is an excerpt from an article called "The Rah-Rah Boys" by Thomas Frank, published in the Los Angeles Times in 2002 (source here).

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It's another icky, yucky, rainy day here in the Florida panhandle where people are just going on and on about Sarah Palin's visit.

One comment in the regional rag: "She's a strong, everyday person. That's what we need." - No, honey, what we need as leaders for this country is not Sally Sixpack and Joe Blow. We need educated people who don't live in denial of environmental problems and other woes. We need people who are capable of long-term thinking. And most of all we need people who are not too old to live through 10, 20, 30, or 40 years of the consequences of their political decisions.
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I am dead tired but I can't sleep because our local high school has their homecoming game tonight. We live a block down the road from the school but they're making so much noise that it sounds like they're playing in our backyard. And then they're playing that really annoying panther howl/growl really loud until 11 at night. I HATE football season! * sighs *

Oh well... Since I am too tired to work on the prompt for October's "No Pressure Prompt Exchange" - 
[livejournal.com profile] nppe [profile] nppe  - I thought I'd share with you the following nausea-inducing column by Ron Hart, a "southern libertarian" (whatever that may be), that our local rag printed the other day.

Read more... )
Fortunately, it was followed by Clarence Page's "Memo to Obama" in the regional rag a day or two later.

Read more... )
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I wish I were witty enough to come up with stuff like this. Unfortunately I'm not - but fortunately I have friends who send me things like that.

The Birk Plan )
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"A pit bull with lipstick? I'd describe Palin as a hog who recommends diet books while feeding at the trough."

Why Sarah Palin shouldn't complain about big government wasting taxpayer money. - By Timothy Noah

Read more... )
On NBC, Tom Brokaw said a few moments after Palin concluded, "Tonight makes a very auspicious debut as the vice presidential candidate before this hall and a national television audience. She could not have been more winning or engaging." On CBS, Bob Schieffer said after the speech, "I think she passed the first test. The people in this hall absolutely loved this speech. ... Now we'll see how it plays with the rest of the country." On ABC, George Stephanopoulos said, "There were a lot [of] beautiful and effective lines in this speech." On ABC's Nightline, Stephanopoulos added, "She definitely gets an A. ... It was appealing and funny and warn [sic] at times. Very, very tough at times as well. And she really did have an ability to bring these things down to earth, bring it down to earth."
On CBS, Jeff Greenfield said she "made a very strong first impression, the kind Republicans want appealing to people beyond the base." On NBC, Brian Williams referred to a "tough and warmly received speech," while on MSNBC, David Gregory said, "I think this was a very strong presentation. ... If this was a first test for ... Palin on the national stage ... then she's gone a long way toward being very successful." On CNN, Wolf Blitzer said, "She really did hit it out of the park tonight not only here but for millions of Americans watching across the country. No doubt ... their first real impression of her had to be very, very positive given this speech that was obviously very carefully written but very well delivered." Anderson Cooper added, "If anyone is wondering why she is such a popular governor in the state of Alaska, you saw the answer tonight."
Told you so.
What interests me today about Palin's speech, however, isn't its predictable reception. Rather, it's the cognitive dissonance of the following passage:
[W]hen the cloud of rhetoric has passed; when the roar of the crowd fades away; when the stadium lights go out, and those styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot—what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger—take more of your money—give you more orders from Washington …
The woman who made this complaint about big government taking your money is the governor of Alaska. Please take a moment to look at this U.S. Census chart showing federal-government expenditures, per capita, in the 50 states. You will observe that Alaska receives about $14,000 per citizen from the federal government. That's more than any other state, and a good $4,000 more than every other state except Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico, and North Dakota. The chart is from the Census Bureau's Consolidated Federal Funds Report for Fiscal Year 2005. I skipped over the 2006 report, the most recent one available, because Hurricane Katrina put Louisiana and Mississippi ahead of Alaska that year. But that's an anomaly. Alaska held the per-capita record for sucking on the federal teat in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000. According to the nonprofit Tax Foundation, Alaska gets back $1.84 for every dollar it pays into the U.S. Treasury—even though Alaska enjoys a higher per-capita income than 34 of the 50 states. This is a state that preaches right-wing libertarianism while it practices middle-class socialism.
Palin has not bucked this venerable tradition. It's been widely reported that even though Palin came out against the federally funded, $223 million "bridge to nowhere," a wasteful Alaska earmark (and one she'd supported before it created an uproar in Congress), Alaska ended up receiving the same amount of federal money as transportation funds to be spent at the state's own discretion. When Palin was mayor of Wasilla, she hired the former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Stevens, the recently indicted dean of the Alaska congressional delegation, to lobby for the town (pop. 6,700)—which, as a result, wound up receiving nearly $27 million in federal earmarks over four years. As governor, Palin just this past February sent Stevens a memo outlining $200 million in new funding requests. Granted, Palin enjoys inexplicably warm relations with the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, whose founder's anti-Americanism, Rosa Brooks points out in the Los Angeles Times, puts Rev. Jeremiah Wright in the shade. ("The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government," he told an interviewer in 1991—a year when Republicans controlled the White House and U.S. troops went into battle to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.) But there's little real danger that Alaska would ever choose to secede from the Lower 48. Independence would cost it too much in lost federal revenue.
A pit bull with lipstick? I'd describe Palin as a hog who recommends diet books while feeding at the trough.

Timothy Noah is a senior writer at Slate.

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"“Commodities have been a hot market for a while, and electronic trading has been taking over on the institutional investing side because it’s much more efficient,” says Jay Gaines of Jay Gaines & Company, an executive search firm specializing in financial services in New York." (Source here)

Right! That's just what we need: a bunch of Wallstreet hotshots let loose on the oil, grain, and other raw products markets. - That's our world's food supply you're speculating with, you heartless greedy corporate asshat bastards!

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I just watched a very unsettling documentary by David Earnhardt called "Uncounted" that described how the outcome of elections in this country can be (and probably has been!) manipulated by - among other things - the use of electronic voting machines.

We all need to be alarmed about this! I urge you to watch the documentary and contact your local Supervisor of Elections to find out how they are going to make sure that every citizen will be able to vote and that all votes will be counted. 
Educate yourself. Write to your Congressmen and -women, State Representatives, and whoever else it concerns and demand that if electronic voting machines are used, they give you a paper "receipt" (like the TruVote system) and can be audited.

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Another interesting article, thanks to NatNews:

"John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the "transcendent challenge" of the 21st century,
"radical Islamic extremism," contrasting it with "stability, tolerance and democracy." But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers."

Read more... )
McCain pledged to work for peace based on "the transformative ideals on which we were founded." Tolerance and democracy require freedom of speech and the press, but while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin inquired of the local librarian how to go about banning books that some of her constituents thought contained inappropriate language. She tried to fire the librarian for defying her. Book banning is common to fundamentalisms around the world, and the mind-set Palin displayed did not differ from that of the Hamas minister of education in the Palestinian government who banned a book of Palestinian folk tales for its sexually explicit language. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."
Palin argued when running for governor that creationism should be taught in public schools, at taxpayers' expense, alongside real science. Antipathy to Darwin for providing an alternative to the creation stories of the Bible and the Quran has also become a feature of Muslim fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia prohibits the study, even in universities, of evolution, Freud and Marx. Malaysia has banned a translation of "The Origin of the Species." Likewise, fundamentalists in Turkey have pressured the government to teach creationism in the public schools. McCain has praised Turkey as an anchor of democracy in the region, but Turkey's secular traditions are under severe pressure from fundamentalists in that country. McCain does them no favors by choosing a running mate who wishes to destroy the First Amendment's establishment clause, which forbids the state to give official support to any particular theology. Turkish religious activists would thereby be enabled to cite an American precedent for their own quest to put religion back at the center of Ankara's public and foreign policies.
The GOP vice-presidential pick holds that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or severe birth defects, making an exception only if the life of the mother is in danger. She calls abortion an "atrocity" and pledges to reshape the judiciary to fight it. Ironically, Palin's views on the matter are to the right of those in the Muslim country of Tunisia, which allows abortion in the first trimester for a wide range of reasons. Classical Muslim jurisprudents differed among one another on the issue of abortion, but many permitted it before the "quickening" of the fetus, i.e. until the end of the fourth month. Contemporary Muslim fundamentalists, however, generally oppose abortion.
Palin's stance is even stricter than that of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2005, the legislature in Tehran attempted to amend the country's antiabortion statute to permit an abortion up to four months in case of a birth defect. The conservative clerical Guardianship Council, which functions as a sort of theocratic senate, however, rejected the change. Iran's law on abortion is therefore virtually identical to the one that Palin would like to see imposed on American women, and the rationale in both cases is the same, a literalist religious impulse that resists any compromise with the realities of biology and of women's lives. Saudi Arabia's restrictive law on abortion likewise disallows it in the case or rape or incest, or of fetal impairment, which is also Gov. Palin's position.
Theocrats confuse God's will with their own mortal policies. Just as Muslim fundamentalists believe that God has given them the vast oil and gas resources in their regions, so Palin asks church workers in Alaska to pray for a $30 billion pipeline in the state because "God's will has to get done." Likewise, Palin maintained that her task as governor would be impeded "if the people of Alaska's heart isn't right with God." Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of Iran expresses much the same sentiment when he says "the only way to attain prosperity and progress is to rely on Islam."
Not only does Palin not believe global warming is "man-made," she favors massive new drilling to spew more carbon into the atmosphere. Both as a fatalist who has surrendered to God's inscrutable will and as a politician from an oil-rich region, she thereby echoes Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has been found to have exercised inappropriate influence in watering down a report in 2007 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Neither Christians nor Muslims necessarily share the beliefs detailed above. Many believers in both traditions uphold freedom of speech and the press. Indeed, in a recent poll, over 90 percent of Egyptians and Iranians said that they would build freedom of expression into any constitution they designed. Many believers find ways of reconciling the scientific theory of evolution with faith in God, not finding it necessary to believe that the world was created suddenly only 6,000 ago. Some medieval Muslim thinkers asserted that the world had existed from eternity, and others spoke of cycles of hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Mystical Muslim poets spoke of humankind traversing the stages of mineral, plant and animal. Modern Islamic fundamentalists have attempted to narrow this great, diverse tradition.
The classical Islamic legal tradition generally permitted, while frowning on, contraception and abortion, and complete opposition to them is mostly a feature of modern fundamentalist thinking. Many believers in both Islam and Christianity would see it as hubris to tie God to specific government policies or to a particular political party. As for global warming, green theology, in which Christians and Muslims appeal to Scripture in fighting global warming, is an increasing tendency in both traditions.
Palin has a right to her religious beliefs, as do fundamentalist Muslims who agree with her on so many issues of social policy. None of them has a right, however, to impose their beliefs on others by capturing and deploying the executive power of the state. The most noxious belief that Palin shares with Muslim fundamentalists is her conviction that faith is not a private affair of individuals but rather a moral imperative that believers should import into statecraft wherever they have the opportunity to do so. That is the point of her pledge to shape the judiciary. Such a theocratic impulse is incompatible with the Founding Fathers' commitment to tolerance and democracy, which is why they forbade the government to "establish" or officially support any particular religion or denomination.
McCain once excoriated the Rev. Jerry Falwell and his ilk as "agents of intolerance. " That he took such a position gave his opposition to similar intolerance in Islam credibility. In light of his more recent disgraceful kowtowing to the Christian right, McCain's animus against fundamentalist Muslims no longer looks consistent. It looks bigoted and invidious. You can't say you are waging a war on religious extremism if you are trying to put a religious extremist a heartbeat away from the presidency.


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I found the following via NatNews:

"For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help."

Read more... )


nico1908: (Jackass!)

A friend sent me the following recent examples of Palinese: Language of the Double Standard:

If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a 'token hire.'
If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a 'game changer.'
Black teen pregnancies? A 'crisis' in black America. - White teen pregnancies? A 'blessed event.'
If you grow up in Hawaii you're 'exotic.' -  Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're the quintessential 'American story.'
Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you're 'unpatriotic.' -  Name your kid Track, you're 'colorful.'
If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual you're 'reckless.' - A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a 'maverick.'
If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review,create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African Amerian voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.
 If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as
 the governor of a state with 650,000 people, you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.
If you are a Democratic male candidate who is popular with millions of people you are an 'arrogant celebrity'. - If you are a popular republican female candidate you are 'energizing the base'.
If you are a younger male candidate who thinks for himself and makes his own decisions you are 'presumptuous'. - If you are an older male candidate who makes last minute decisions you refuse to explain, you are a 'shoot from the hip' maverick.
If you are a candidate with a Harvard law degree you are 'an elitist 'out of touch' with the real America. - If you are a legacy (dad and granddad were admirals) graduate of Annapolis, with multiple disciplinary infractions you are a hero.
If you manage a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign, you are an 'empty suit'. - If you are the part-time mayor of a town of 7,000 people, you are an 'experienced executive'.
If you go to a south-side Chicago church, your beliefs are 'extremist'. - If you believe in creationism and don't believe global warming is man-made, you are 'strongly principled'.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian. -  If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years with whom you are raising two daughters you're 'risky'.
If you're a black single mother without insurance who waits for 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're an irresponsible parent, endangering the life of your unborn child. - If you're a white married mother who waits 22 hours, you're spunky.
If you're a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, the right-wing press calls you 'First dog.' - If you're a 17-year old pregnant unwed daughter of a Republican, the right-wing press calls you 'beautiful' and 'courageous.'
If you kill an endangered species, you're an excellent hunter. - If you have an abortion you're not a Christian, you're a murderer (even if you got pregnant because you were date-raped).
If you teach abstinence only in sex education, you get teen parents. - If you teach responsible age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

Unfortunately, my friend did not mention her source, only that she had got it from a friend herself. Should YOU happen to know who the author of the above is, please let me know so that I can give proper credit.


Sep. 17th, 2008 09:03 pm
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"(I)f history is a guide, an Obama victory in November would lead to faster economic growth with less inequality, while a McCain victory would lead to slower economic growth with more inequality. Which part of the Obama menu don’t you like?" 

Read more... ) for original article.)

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... or rather, the lack thereof, is the subject of a letter to the editor of our local newspaper, published today. 


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January 2013



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