31 March 2010

Oh! So That’s Why They Did It!

Ross Douthat uses impeccable reason to explain away the reasons for the Catholic sex abuse scandal:

Using culture to blame individual’s actions! Brilliant work Sir. 

I guess they needed sex rehab like we have today.  We could send them to pal around with Tiger, Jesse James, and David Duchovny!  All would be resolved and the numerous lives that were ruined forgotten.

In reality, the scandal implicates left and right alike. The permissive sexual culture that prevailed everywhere, seminaries included, during the silly season of the ’70s deserves a share of the blame, as does that era’s overemphasis on therapy. (Again and again, bishops relied on psychiatrists rather than common sense in deciding how to handle abusive clerics.) But it was the church’s conservative instincts — the insistence on institutional loyalty, obedience and the absolute authority of clerics — that allowed the abuse to spread unpunished.

Poor Journalism How To…

Today I bring you WAPO write Charles Lane who attempts to stay in the middle on the tea party issue.  Maybe he has been spending too much time listening to Beck:

"But the parties are polarized; they have been captured by the extremes."

Really? Are you buying into the cries of ‘Socialism’ Mr. Lane?  Maybe because I am closer to the Dems I am defensive, but I think they are not left enough.  I also do not think the Republican party to be extreme either.  There is an extreme element which has risen out of economic discontent, but that does not completely describe the party itself.  Although, they decided to attempt to appease the extreme wing by not cooperating in the healthcare bill.

I just wonder where these people were to protest when previous presidents were expanding the power of the US government.  That includes, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Regan.  All enacted policies which altered the scope of the US government and expanded its control and power.  No Child Left Behind passed without many protests and it was a pure spending bill based on a terrible theory for education.  At the very least, the Obamacare bill is trying to be budget positive.

Improving US Development

From the ever wonkish economist Owen Barder’s blog:

Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, writes on the Modernizing Foreign Assistance blog that US foreign assistance should be more transparent, more predictable, reduce reliance on US contractors and NGOs, use local NGOs, use country-based rather than Washington-based planning, and focus on outcomes rather than outputs.

This is all good stuff (and particularly commendable for the concise way it is written, without any of the usual development-speak).

I would add three things.

First, “reduce reliance on US contractors” is an anaemic recommendation.  The US should follow international best practice and untie all its aid.  In particular, the way the US and EU dump their surplus food in developing countries, driving local farmers out of business, is a disgrace.

Second, a quick way to improve the effectiveness of scarce aid resources would be to spend more money in the poorest and most populous developing countries.  Less than 40% of total aid is spent in less developed countries. Just shifting aid to the countries that need it the most would make a big difference to the impact of that aid.

Third, Congress needs to stop with the earmarking which is a huge driver of inefficiency in US foreign assistance.  Perhaps it is implicit in the final recommendation (make plans in the country, not in Washington) but it needs to be explicit.  The Bush administration did a pretty good job of preventing Congress from imposing earmarks on the MCC; this approach should be extended to the rest of US foreign assistance.

29 March 2010

A Bridesmaid and a boy enter a partially destroyed Catholic church in Port-au-Prince March 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz) #

Remember Haiti?

Boston.com has a photo story of Haiti 70 days after the quake.  Right, remember that place where the world rose up to help because Jessica Simpson and George Clooney said so?  Life continues and rebuilding will take years.  Sadly, images like the one above continue to be in the minority.  The photo story does manage to allow a few smiles, but not nearly enough.

The world has moved on from caring about Haiti.  Now it is left to the activists and people who have been passionate about social justice long before the earthquake struck.  Much like the tsunami that struck the Pacific in 2004, most people will forget and then rally behind a new disaster.

28 March 2010

“Love is the fruit of sacrifice”

Blink Weighs in on Health Reform by onwardmaxink.

Quote comes from Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu and translated by Jonathan Star.

I think this illustrates at least some of the ideas that populate both extremes of the divide on healthcare.  It does not apply to every person and I want to be clear that I am not accusing everyone or an amorphous group as feeling as such.  However, it has been expressed that way and the Tao Te Ching quote is something that I can say connect with.

Can the States Fire their AG’s?

Found in Economist Brad DeLong’s blog.

Pres. Signs H-Care Insurance Mandate-212 Years Ago!

-P.J. O’Rourke

A Lesson in American History, Healthcare and the Constitution for 14 State Attorneys General

Let’s begin today’s history lesson with the following news:

(CNN) -- Officials from 14 states have gone to court to block the historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, arguing the law's requirement that individuals buy health insurance violates the Constitution.

Thirteen of those officials filed suit in a federal court in Pensacola, Florida, minutes after Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The complaint calls the act an "unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states" and asks a judge to block its enforcement.

"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit states.

The history lesson

In July, 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” authorizing the creation of a marine hospital service, and mandating privately employed sailors to purchase healthcare insurance.

This legislation also created America’s first payroll tax, as a ship’s owner was required to deduct 20 cents from each sailor’s monthly pay and forward those receipts to the service, which in turn provided injured sailors hospital care. Failure to pay or account properly was discouraged by requiring a law violating owner or ship's captain to pay a 100 dollar fine.

This historical fact demolishes claims of “unprecedented” and "The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty...”

Perhaps these somewhat incompetent attorneys general might wish to amend their lawsuits to conform to the 1798 precedent, and demand that the mandate and fines be linked to implementing a federal single payer healthcare insurance plan.

The other option is to name Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison et al. in the lawsuits. However, it might be difficult to convince a judge, or the public, that those men didn't know the limits of the Constitution.

Because the attorneys general research is obviously lacking a comprehensive review of history and the Constitution, I’m providing a copy of the 5thCongress’ 1798 legislation.

CHAP. LXXVII – An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen

Section 1.  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled -

That from and after the first day of September next, the master or owner of every ship

or vessel of the United States, arriving from a foreign port into any

port of the United States, shall, before such ship or vessel shall be

admitted to an entry, render to the collector a true account of the

number of seamen, that shall have been employed on board such vessel

since she was last entered at any port in the United States,-and shall

pay to the said collector, at the rate of twenty cents per month for every

seaman so employed; which sum he is hereby authorized to retain out

of the wages of such seamen.

SEC2. . And be it further enacted, That from and after the first day

of September next, no collector shall grant to any ship or vessel whose

enrolment or license for carrying on the coasting trade has expired, a

new enrolment or license before the master of such ship or vessel shall

first render a true account to the collector, of the number of seamen,

and the time they have severally been employed on board such ship or

vessel, during the continuance of the license which has so expired, and

pay to such collector twenty cents per month for every month such

seamen have been severally employed, as aforesaid; which sum the said

master is hereby authorized to retain out of the wages of such seamen.

And if any such master shall render a false account of the number of men, and the length of time they have severally been employed, as is

herein required, he shall forfeit and pay one hundred dollars.

SEC3. . And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the

several collectors to make a quarterly return of the sums collected by

them, respectively, by virtue of this act, to the Secretary of the Treasury;

and the President of the United States is hereby authorized, out of the same, to provide for the temporary relief and maintenance of sick or

disabled seamen, in the hospitals or other proper institutions now established

in the several ports of the United States, or, in ports where no

such institutions exist, then in such other manner as he shall direct:

Provided, that the monies collected in any one district, shall be expended

within the same.

SEC. 4. .And be it further enacted, That if any surplus shall remain

of the monies to be collected by virtue of this act, after defraying the

expense of such temporary relief and support, that the same, together ,

with such private donations as may be made for that purpose (which the

President is hereby authorized to receive) shall be invested in the stock

of the United States, under the direction of the President; and when,

in his opinion, a sufficient fund shall be accumulated, he is hereby

authorized to purchase or receive cessions or donations of ground or

provision for buildings, in the name of the United States, and to cause buildings,

when necessary, to be erected as hospitals for the accommodation of sick and disabled seamen.

SEC5. . And be it further enacted, That the President of the United

States be, and he is hereby authorized to nominate and appoint, in

such ports of the United States, as he may think proper, one or more

persons, to be called directors of the marine hospital of the United

States, whose duty it shall be to direct the expenditure of the fund

assigned for their respective ports, according to the third section of this

act; to provide for the accommodation of sick and disabled seamen,

under such general instructions as shall be given by, the President of

the United States, for that purpose, and also subject to the like general

instructions, to direct and govern such hospitals as the President may

direct to be built in the respective ports: and that the said directors

shall hold their offices during the pleasure of the President, who is

authorized to fill up all vacancies that may be occasioned by the death

or removal of any of the persons so to be appointed. And the said

directors shall render an account of the monies received and expended

by them, once in every quarter of a year, to the Secretary of the Treasury,

or such other person as the President shall direct; but no other

allowance or compensation shall be made to the said directors, except

the payment of such expenses as they may incur in the actual discharge

of the duties required by this act.

APPROVED July 16, 1798.

EPL Salary Cap Would be Great…

if every other league followed suit.  The talk about a salary cap is heating up in the wake of the Portsmouth debacle that has been this season.  That coupled with the financial crisis makes it a great idea for the EPL.  It would make the league more competitive and break up the big four.  It is why the NFL is such a great league and MLB is so stratified.

However, it cannot be compared to American sports.  The NFL is the top football league, same for MLB in baseball and NBA in basketball.  They can do whatever they want with salaries because the best players go there and they can still far out-pay the rest of the world.  The EPL does not have this advantage.  If they started a cap and cut salaries players would leave to Spain, Italy, France or Germany.  Competition would drop, performance in UEFA would fall and so on.

In order for it to work, all UEFA leagues would have to agree on the same salary cap.  With such varying economies and cultures, the likelihood of this being adopted has to be at near zero.  So, while the debate in England is nice and makes sense in many ways; it should not be implemented.

27 March 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

In Kenya, it cost 30KSH for a 500 mL bottle of cold Coke.  500 mL of water was 35KSH.  So if you were thirsty, it was cheaper to down a bottle of Coke.  With no reliable drinking water it is easy to see how people can turn to soda more often.

Here is how we became consumers of bottled water and some of its negative effects (other than the fact that you are paying for something which is essentially free).

 

Escape Hatch

Iowa’s Republican Senator Orin Hatch used to support the individual mandate.  When Clinton was trying to pass healthcare, he and fellow Republicans came out with a bill that was pretty much the same thing as the bill that was just passed.

Hatch was one of the first opponents to Obamacare because of the unconstitutionality of the mandate.  The change of support is supposedly based on two things.  First, the presented bill was meant only to derail Clinton.  Second, he realized later that it was in fact an unconstitutional thing to do.

Forgetting the constitutional issue, Hatch admitted that he and fellow Republicans acted politically to defeat the Clinton bill.  The response was not based on cooperation but in defiance.  Does this seem familiar?

How does this not make the actions and rhetoric of the Republican party an exact copy of what they did 17 years ago?  This, to me, further proves that they did not reject Obamacare on principal or ideology, but on political grounds.  By demonizing the bill and continuing to do so, they are acting in the interest of their political careers and not the people they represent.  Somehow, they are able to convince some that they are doing this because they want it, but it is a top down imposition of values.

People voted in a president and congress who campaigned on healthcare reform.  In the debates for the primaries, all that was spoken about was healthcare reform.  While many voted in rejection of Republican party values, they choose Obama and a majority in both chambers to pass health care.  Anyone who voted for Obama and was surprised might want to think about doing some homework for this November.

What is most shocking, is the fact that there has been such strong reactions to a president doing exactly what he wanted.  This is not Socialism or a tyrannical take over of America, this is a president doing what he said he would do.  I wish that he stuck to more of his promises and am not surprised that he has come up short; but it is just that, Obama has been short of what he promised.  Not too far.

 

Here is Hatch interviewed by Andrea Kramer about his change of heart:

"The other day I went to look at their platform for the Democratic Party for our nation. I couldn't understand any of it.  I don't speak any French," - Gov. Tim Pawlenty

26 March 2010

Lack of Social Mobility Proved Again

Dan Froomkin in the Huffington Post writes about something that has been well documented and for some reason always needs more evidence:

Social Immobility: Climbing The Economic Ladder Is Harder In The U.S. Than In Most European Countries: Is America the "land of opportunity"? Not so much. A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) finds that social mobility between generations is dramatically lower in the U.S. than in many other developed countries. So if you want your children to climb the socioeconomic ladder higher than you did, move to Canada.

The report finds the U.S. ranking well below Denmark, Australia, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Spain in terms of how freely citizens move up or down the social ladder. Only in Italy and Great Britain is the intensity of the relationship between individual and parental earnings even greater. For instance, according to the OECD, 47 percent of the economic advantage that high-earning fathers in the United States have over low-earning fathers is transmitted to their sons, compare to, say, 17 percent in Australia and 19 percent in Canada. Recent economic events may be increasing social mobility in the U.S. -- but only of the downward variety. Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, for example, argues that America's middle class had been eroding for 30 years even before the massive blows caused by the financial crisis. And with unemployment currently at astronomical levels, if there are no jobs for young people leaving school, the result could be long-term underemployment and, effectively, a lost generation. According to the OECD report, the main cause of social immobility is educational opportunity. It turns out that America's public school system, rather than lifting children up, is instead holding them down.

One particularly effective way governments can help children from disadvantaged backgrounds improve their prospects, according to the report, is to increase the social mix within schools. Doing so "appears to boost performance of disadvantaged students without any apparent negative effects on overall performance." Early childhood education also helps a lot. Another big factor in social mobility is inequality, the report finds. The greater a nation's inequality, the harder it is for its children to improve their lot. That confirms findings by other researchers. "The way I usually put this is that when the rungs of the ladder are far apart, it becomes more difficult to climb the ladder," Brookings Institution economist Isabel Sawhill tells HuffPost. "Given that we have more inequality in the U.S. right now than at any time since the 1920s, we should be concerned that this may become a vicious cycle. Inequality in one generation may mean less opportunity for the next generation to get ahead and thus still more inequality in the future"...

25 March 2010

Beck Says the Gov't has Him in Their Crosshairs

This is beyond crazy and exactly what gets people up in arms. Although him saying the loss just the start of a war. And his comments have nothing to do with people looking towards more dramatic action?

Pro Life to Abortion Rights Opponent

NPR is attempting to present a more neutral approach to the abortion issue.  They thought the labels ‘pro life’ and ‘pro choice’ were not neutral; hence the switch.

I think that the change does not make it any more neutral but swings it from a positive anti-abortion pair to a positive pro-abortion pair.  Both of the existing options were chosen by each group to highlight the positive aspects of their arguments.  I believe they should stand as they are because there is no real way to phrase it better.

Maybe the intentions are good, but I do not think that it will center the subject.  Rather than change the phrase, why not focus on presenting centered news stories that present the two sides to the issue.

NPR News is revising the terms we use to describe people and groups involved in the abortion debate.

This updated policy is aimed at ensuring the words we speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible. This is important given that written text is such an integral part of our work.

On the air, we should use "abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)" and "abortion rights opponent(s)" or derivations thereof (for example: "advocates of abortion rights"). It is acceptable to use the phrase "anti-abortion", but do not use the term "pro-abortion rights".

Digital News will continue to use the AP style book for online content, which mirrors the revised NPR policy.

Do not use "pro-life" and "pro-choice" in copy except when used in the name of a group. Of course, when the terms are used in an actuality they should remain." [An actuality is a clip of tape of someone talking. So if a source uses those terms, NPR will not edit them out.]

Thanks
David

David Sweeney
Managing Editor

What happens when your Attorney General does not want to file a suit against the Healthcare Bill?

Georgia Gov Perdue (R) has asked his Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D) to file a suit against the constitutionality of the healthcare bill.  Baker declined saying that it was frivolous.  Now, Perdue is looking to find a work around to file the suit.

Yes, politics are in full play from both sides.  However, politics should not be a part of cases filed by states’ Attorneys General.  I doubt Thurbert will be re-elected.

Liar Liar?

Looks like things were said before they were investigated.  Did Congressman Cantor use the incident to deflect the threats made against Democrats?  From the report, it sure seems like the bullet was an accident.  Also, twitter is buzzing that it was a building that he seldom used and housed many other offices outside of his own and the bullet went through the lobby.  Take from that what you may, but if this incident was used for political game Congressman Cantor deserves a strong rebuke and should issue an apology. 

The Richmond Police Department released the following statement:

Richmond Police Investigate Cantor Building Vandalism

March 25, 2010

The Richmond Police Department is investigating an act of vandalism at the Reagan Building, 25 E. Main St., Richmond, Virginia. A first floor window was struck by a bullet at approximately 1 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23. The building, which has several tenants including an office used by Congressman Eric Cantor, was unoccupied at the time.

A Richmond Police detective was assigned to the case. A preliminary investigation shows that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds. There was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman.

The Richmond Police Department is sharing information about the incident with appropriate law enforcement agencies.

At this time there are no suspects.

Obama a Socialist Muslim

SIDE-BY-SIDE: From seeing President Obama as a Socialist to the Antichrist, the diverging views held by Republicans, Democrats and Independents, as reported by the new Harris poll. Graphic by LiveScience

From Live Science.

Not Nearly Enough for DADT

There had been discussions on the softening of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and I hoped them to be untrue.  Now ABC confirms that I feared.  The policy remains but the rules have changed.  Frankly, it does not matter what the change because anything that allows the policy to remain is not enough.  We are fighting a war in two countries yet service members are kicked out or not allowed entry because of their sexual orientation.  13,000 military members have been discharged due to DADT since its inception 17 years ago. 

While the number itself is startling, doesn’t US law protect people from being fired based on their sexual orientation?  Is the military above or exempt from US laws?

Violence Goes Both Ways

It would be unfair to single out the actions take against Democrats.  Eric Cantor reported that bullet was shot through his campaign office and he received threatening emails.  It is just as wrong to react with threats and violence because a person voted against the bill.

At Least She is Honest

I feel like this could be one of those fake email chain things, but it is not really bad. It is a doctor’s change of policy to her patients. Even if it is not real, I think it is within the rights of a doctor to write this letter and practice this way.

From National Review Online:

An M.D. in family practice passed along this letter she sent to her patients after Obamacare became law. She relates that, so far, "100% of those who have contacted me about it have supported me and accepted the new conditions."

March 23, 2010
My Dear Patient,
As you must know, Congress has just passed extensive legislation governing health care delivery and insurance systems. Whether you agree with what it does or not, we are all now subject to this law and its sweeping changes.
I have always conducted my medical practice with my patient’s best interests as my first priority. Although not legally obliged to do so, I have routinely provided you with a receipt that has all the codes necessary to bill your own health insurance company for any reimbursement to which you are entitled. Until now, that insurance company was a free enterprise despite the fact that it was heavily regulated by state and federal laws. Now the situation is quite different. Through the new law’s mandates, regulatory powers and reform, health insurance is and will be largely a government activity which will have an ever larger jurisdiction over how doctors practice, make clinical judgments and are paid.
The new law provides for about 150 new government agencies, many of which are designed to be ‘oversight’ bureaucracies which will have the right to decide what medical care is legal to provide through insurance. Among other things, they will have the right to review my medical care of you and read your medical record. Now, as soon as you submit our economic transaction to your insurance company for reimbursement, you have involved me in these regulations and put me in the jurisdiction of government for my activities, decisions and behavior as your doctor.
No one can have two masters. Either I can serve you as my patient or I can serve the government. Either I can continue to make your welfare and health my only concern, including the protection of your privacy and medical records, or I can abide by ever-increasing amounts of government regulations and dictates to my decisions. I can’t do both. I choose to continue to follow my conscience and practice medicine to serve you.
For this reason, I am responding to the situation created by this new law by exercising my right not to participate in any health insurance program. I will still provide you with the same medical services that I always have, but the interaction will be exclusively and privately between you and me. This means that I will provide you only with a receipt for the services you have paid for, but without the additional information that is required to submit your receipt for reimbursement to your health insurance company. That is the only way I can make sure there will be no conflict between following the law and serving you. Because the law is now in effect, so must these changes be to my practice.
Sincerely,
Linda Johnston, MD

Will Elisabeth Hasselbeck Be Kicked Out Too?

On The View this morning, she agreed with the other hosts that the speech by Republican commentators has been hurtful to the argument against the healthcare reform bill.  She condemns the speech of the talking heads in light of recent threats and actions against congress members who voted in support of the bill.

Disagreement is necessary and I still remain opposed because the bill does not go far enough.  However, death threats take it way too far.  The great Sarah Palin did not help much by putting a map up on her facebook page with crosshairs on each of the districts where she wants people to “get organized” and “take back” the seats.  I think she is getting a little too much blame, but the choice of crosshairs was poor.  She should have used something else.  With people upset and the large demonstrations by Tea Party members, the move towards violence and threats was only natural.

MSNBC and Fox News are equally as slanted in either direction, but I believe that the former is slightly better because it does not instruct people how to act.  That, to me, is what is most problematic.  I can’t find the report, but I think it was the FBI that reported soon after the Obama election that there would be a rise in fringe Conservatism.  Many on the already extreme right disputed the report and now have become the de facto leaders in the growth of Conservative extremism.  By using extremism I do not connote violence.  It more relates to political belief.  However, it probably makes extreme action more likely (as evidenced by the most recent threats on Democratic Congressmen and Senators).

 

I am not sure if the above was babble, but it was definitely stream of thought.

Frum Fired for Disagreeing

From Mark Thoma’s Blog today:

Bruce Bartlett on AEI's decision to fire David Frum:

David Frum and the Closing of the Conservative Mind, by Bruce Bartlett: As some readers of this blog may know, I was fired by a right wing think tank Called the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2005 for writing a book critical of George W. Bush's policies, especially his support for Medicare Part D. In the years since, I have lost a great many friends and been shunned by conservative society in Washington, DC.

Now the same thing has happened to David rum, who has been fired by the American Enterprise Institute. I don't know all the details, but I presume that his Waterloo post on Sunday condemning Republicans for failing to work with Democrats on healthcare reform was the final straw.

Since, he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI "scholars" on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.

It saddened me to hear this. I have always hoped that my experience was unique. But now I see that I was just the first to suffer from a closing of the conservative mind. Rigid conformity is being enforced, no dissent is allowed, and the conservative brain will slowly shrivel into dementia if it hasn't already.

Sadly, there is no place for David and me to go. The donor community is only interested in financing organizations that parrot the party line, such as the one recently established by McCain economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin.

I will have more to say on this topic later. But I wanted to say that this is a black day for what passes for a conservative movement, scholarship, and the once-respected AEI.

24 March 2010

Exactly

image

Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor, is doing work in development because there could be terrorist havens growing in Africa.  The picture above is from the WSJ and shows where they have contracts with nice colors for countries at risk.  I don’t see how all of Kenya is at risk (especially when they are set up in the western part of the country, away from the areas where Taliban growth could take place).

  Why does this approach to development seem so blatantly wrong to a non-expert?  Yet, it is the approach that the US continues to use and is championed by our Secretary of State. I would say that it is a clear example of new American Imperialism.

23 March 2010

It Goes Both Ways

Heard it on the radio this morning, but found it on Publius Forum.

WRAL had a news story on local reactions to the signing of Obamacare and the report featured video of resident DeCarlo Flythe of Durham, N. C. who was "overjoyed" that Obamacare is here.

Here was Mr. Flythe's reaction to Obamacare:

"It's gonna be like Christmas, you know your first Christmas when you want that Barbie doll, so it's gonna be just like Christmas. I mean it's gonna be great, you know worries, you know the bills, we can go ahead and pay our co-pay and be all right."

22 March 2010

A Movement Based on Substance?

Just some Wright State students asking questions to people who compose the Tea Party movement.

To pretend as if one side or group has a hold upon stupidity is unfair.  Just as many people opposed Bush who were equally as clueless as to why they did.  What is more dangerous is the fact that there are more specific outlets that feed into the current growth of Conservative extremism.  Misinformation is peddled by Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Levin, Church, Wilkow, Palin, Rove, Cheney (daughter and father) and so on.

This speaks to my previous post in regards to the fact the above listed figures have stirred people in opposition to something they do not understand.  They are against it because they are told to be (again it works in both directions).

Maybe it is my entire disagreement with all that the people say and are told in the videos above that colors me in a way that is more bothered by them, but I think that it is not just a fringe with no voice that should be ignored.

Frum: Waterloo for Conservatives

David Frum on his blog today.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

He continues:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible.

The division caused by the tea party has led to the passing of a bill that the Republicans did not cooperate with.  Sadly, it could have been a better bill if the two sides worked together.  Certainly, tort reform would have been included.

Shouting Baby Killer Helps A Lot

Somehow debating the inclusion of a legal procedure in healthcare reform was taken seriously. Ironically, it comes from the party that advocates for smaller government and individual rights.

Isn't that still the government determining care and exactly why the Republican party voted in a block against the bill? I oppose both the bill and abortion, but the convenience of opposition for political gain is abhorrent.

21 March 2010

Alexa Meade and Human Canvas

AlexaMeade

_Alexa-Meade_2

AlexaMeade_1
_Alexa-Meade_3S

Saw this a few days ago and just saw it again and thought it was worth a share. Alexa Meade used acrylics directly on people and used them as live art work. Generally I hate modern art, but this concept, to me, is really cool and very progressive. Maybe someone else did this first, but the presentation is exceptional in my opinion.

See more from the showing here.

Sadly, the Healthcare Bill Will Pass

Looks like the Dems have the votes and will be passing it soon.  Pro-life Dems are in and all is a go.  Maybe reconciliation will actually improve the poorly crafted bill.

More Interesting than Red-Blue Map

[world_christiandenoms_usa_100305.jpg]

This seems to be more telling than maps that distinguish based upon just politics.  This informs the politics and the divide.  Most interesting, the band of Methodists from New York west to Kansas.

See big image here and original post at Floating Sheep.

CBO Should Come with a Label

From Harvard Econ Prof Greg Mankiw’s blog

[The CBO’s] estimates should come with a warning label:

I will default to the experts on this when it comes to econ because I know nothing.  However, what I understand is that the projections are made upon assumed growth of GDP, inflation, tax changes and so on.  With the CBO predicting savings based on the data given and assumed, I would think that the chances that the healthcare bill is budget neutral is high.  But, I am not going to pretend like I know a lot about economics.  Either way, I still do not support a bill that does not take care of tort reform and places a large decrease on doctors when we are in need of more primary health physicians.

How to Deflect a Comment 101

Glad I got to see this on This Week this morning.  Karl Rove gives a great lesson on how you take a comment and turn it into anti-American and military hating.

Plouffe: “If Karl and a lot of Republicans want to call the election already, they ought to break out that ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner.”

Rove: “That’s cheesy, David. … You should not denigrate the mission of the USS Abraham Lincoln.”

Permissions