Saturday, September 12, 2009

Catching Up With Teh Internets

Well it's once again been a busy week on teh internets machine, hasn't it? I am finding it difficult to make the time to both read and write about it all. A more cynical person might say here that some people in power are liking that just fine -- the busier we are, the less time we have to think about things like, oh, I don't know: war?

Rather than pontificate about any one story in this news, I think this morning I'll just pass along some good reading that I've stumbled across in the last few days. Such as:

Newt Gingrich Accidentally Names Porn Exec 'Entrepreneur Of The Year'

Oh yes he did! In fact, "Newt Gingrich's 527 group sent a letter to porn exec Allison Vivas Wednesday telling her she'd won their "Entrepreneur of the Year" award and inviting her to an "intimate event" with Gingrich."

From our pretend girlfriend Rachel Maddow's tweets (yes, I stalk her teh twitter. so?), we get:

Meeting Enrollees' Needs: How Do Medicare And Employer Coverage Stack Up?

Which includes some pretty interesting stuff, including: " Compared with the employer-coverage group, people in the Medicare group report fewer problems obtaining medical care, less financial hardship due to medical bills, and higher overall satisfaction with their coverage. Although access and bill payment problems increased across the board from 2001 to 2007, the gap between Medicare and private employer coverage widened."

Meanwhile,you may have heard about a new Census Bureau report that finds more Americans live at or below the poverty level. Truth is, it's even worse than the report's findings:

New Poverty Figures Will Show Massive Increase, but Reality Is Worse, Says UM Expert"

"... [T]he official poverty measure does not reveal the full degree of financial hardship and dislocation caused by the current downturn in the economy, says [Douglas J.] Besharov, a professor of public policy and director of the Welfare Reform Academy at Maryland. The official measure fails to capture the massive job, income, and wealth losses among the lower-middle and middle classes."

Always a good read, Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo always takes political analysis one step deeper than the rest. So it's refreshing to read his take on Politico's pseudo analysis:

"I'm seeing the Politico tell me that the Republicans are in danger of having their public profile dominated by cranks on the fringe right."

Go read it, it's short.

If you're thinking of sightseeing in D.C. today, take a cue from the gray, rainy weather and don't do it. Plus, there's this:

Exploiting 9/11, Glenn Beck, Extremists And Corporate-Backed Groups Plan Anti-Obama March

That's right a march on Washington. Or against President Obama, rather. I actually feel sorry for these teabagging marchers. Clearly they are scared and also, not very bright. They like to think that they are a part of a massive grassroots, populist movement, but of course, it's not:

"However, most of the day-to-day organizing has been orchestrated by a now familiar set of lobbyists and Republican operatives who have helped plan anti-Obama "grassroots" tea party events since February. In addition, a set of far-right groups are supporting the event, bringing along self-described "American mob members" to join in on the Obama-bashing."

On a different note, I just found out I have a new label: "agri-intellectual." Who knew?

"The sustainable-food movement needs to step up and start grappling with big questions. I’ve said for a while that I see three big challenges for the sustainable-food movement as it scales up: 1) soil fertility—in the absence of synthesized nitrogen and mined phosphorous and potassium, how are we to build soil fertility on a larger scale?; 2) labor—sustainable farming requires more hands on the ground; who’s going to work our farm fields, and at what wages?; and 3) access—in an economy built on long-term wage stagnation, how can we make sustainably grown food accessible to everyone?"

Germany has an exciting election coming up, you know. Or not.

How to Win an Election Through Boredom

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel is being criticized for running a boring election campaign. It may be part of a cunning plan to win by deterring opposition supporters from voting....

Making the campaign dull stems from the calculation that it can pay off for politicians if as few people as possible bother to vote. It sounds cynical but it works, and this can be proven. It's an illusion that all political campaigners want a high turnout. What counts is who actually goes to vote."

Never say it's dull around here, though:

Hours After Pelosi Backs off on Public Option, Health Lobbyist Announces Fundraiser in Her Honor

The headline really says it all, but go ahead and read the story anyway. And then bookmark AlterNet, please.

And finally, when we're so concerned about where our federal and state money is being spent, should we really be spending money to arrest and prosecute citizens who enjoy the occasional spliff? Because really, can you throw that stone? (heh. She said "stone." heh.)

Over 100 Million Americans Have Smoked Marijuana -- And It's Still Illegal?

"41 percent of the U.S. population say they've tried cannabis at least once in their lives, 10 percent say they've used it in the last year."

Just sayin'

Monday, August 17, 2009

Uh oh. Did the "Public Option" Leave a Living Will?

'Cause I think it just met Obama's Death Panel:
As President Obama finishes a western swing intended to bolster support for his signature policy initiative, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius opened the door to a compromise on a public option, saying it is "not the essential element" of comprehensive reform. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Obama "will be satisfied" if the private insurance market has "choice and competition.

I don't want to write about this story. I want Barack Obama to live up to his campaign promises so that I can spend my time writing about the German lady's TaTas, instead (Oh, go ahead and click -- it's safe for work.) But no, I have to write about how President Obama is doing some backroom maneuvering and wheeling and dealing and the end result is going to be a watered down bill that the Republicans and big pharma companies approve of -- and therefore health care will remain ... status quo.

Far from lighting up my world with hope and promise of change, Barack Obama reinforces every cynical view I have of national polititicians. He's no FDR, he's no Kennedy, he's no Abraham Lincoln, heck, I'll say it: He's no Bill Clinton. He's not showing leadership on this issue, but is letting the mainstream media run the direction of the "debates" on health care. Anyone with a brain knows at this point that these "Town Hall Health Care Debates" are not about health care -- they are about people who are fed up with government, with big banks, with unemployment, even with having a person of color in the White House. There's a lot of change in America right now, and big part of the population is not happy with it.

Leadership does not mean being led around Sen. Kent Conrad's North Dakota hometown, as Obama has done this past weekend. Can someone please tell me the point of Obama's big tour out west? Montana? Really?

The only thing I find at all heartening about the current status of the health care debate is there is still a handful of elected officials in the House of Representatives who are willing to fight the good fight and will not vore for a bill that does not include a public option. Senator Barack Obama didn't exactly light up the Senate floor with his leadership, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised at the way he's handling the health care reform effort.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why are you still coming here? We've Moved!

Go visit (and bookmark!) our new site:

As most of you know by now, I've decided to move our blog to new digs at WordPress. This blog was one of many -- hundreds? thousands? -- blogs that got caught in a Blogger "spam blog filter." I don't think there's anything devious about this occurrence. I think instead that Blogger (i.e., Google) overreacted to reports that they are the number 1 host of malware. I think, basically, they turned the spam filter to "eleven," which any Spinal Tap fan knows, is more powerful than "ten."

I was considering moving to WordPress anyway, because it's a much more robust platform for us to continue our conversations. Yesterday when Blogger locked me out, I decided it was time to take the plunge. But as you can see, only 24 hours after I received the email saying I had been locked out and could not post until further notice, Blogger reviewed this blog and we're back up and running. In the end, that's not bad for a free service.

Nevertheless, please join me at our new home, conveniently called: