May 27, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. $1.85 Fee to See a Doctor? Some Say It’s Too Much

    An interesting story from The New York Times about health care being a basic human right in the Czech Republic and how the right wing wishes to undo this. See if this sounds familiar – “What we want to achieve in the health system is a higher individual responsibility, making the consumers more responsible for what they consume”. No longer are people patients or the sick, instead they are consumers and a profit center.

    In the Czech Republic, you can now see a doctor for about $1.85. A day in the hospital can verge on $4. This is not cause for celebration.

    For Czechs, who visit their doctors more often than anyone else in Europe, it has led to great outrage. In fact, the idea of charging anything at all for health care can generate significant controversy, not to mention abrupt about-faces in policy, here and in other Central European countries…

    For healthy people with jobs, the fees are quite literally pocket change, usually paid with the same 10 and 20 crown coins as streetcar tickets in Prague ($1 is worth around 16 crowns)… But many Czechs see it as a matter of principle that health care should be free — though the system is financed in part through payroll deductions — along with a strong sense of solidarity for the poor.

Four at Four continues with the housing boom, dictatorships being held accountable, and yet another report that Osama bin Laden is dead.

A Midnight Thought on the Next American Revolution (26 May 08)

Excerpted from Burning the Midnight Oil for the Next American Revolution (26 May 2008),

in the Burning the Midnight Oil Revolution-within-a-Revolution,

hosted by EENR

The Midnight Thought at the moment is on the issue of building the Progressive Populist Change Coalition in the context of the soon-to-begin US Presidential General Election Campaign.

As the Long, Flat, Bataan-Death-March to the Nomination winds down, it is perhaps natural for those deeply immersed in the day to day of the campaign to get caught up in identity-politics that it has descended into.

However, Senator Obama has an Appalachia problem, and the most promising way to overcome his Appalachia problem is not with identity politics, but with policy politics.

So, in this diary, three policy planks to stress when running in Western North Carolina, Western Ol’ Virginia, West Virginia, Northeastern Kentucky and … oh, yes … western Pennsylvania and southeastern Ohio.

Do not ever entirely forget Southeastern Ohio … its one reason why Ohio and Kentucky have swung together every since I’ve been alive (that is, ever since 1960).

McCain Attacks Obama on Foreign Policy Calling Ending the War: “Surrender”

The General Election is on!

Obama, speaking in Las Vegas this afternoon, slammed McCain on a number of issues, including the Bush-McCain fundraiser, noting McCain’s position on Iraq.

Earlier today, McCain had attacked Obama on foreign policy. Interupted four times by protestors, chanting, “End this War,” John McCain continued his attacks on Obama as being “naive” during his speech on Nuclear Security Policy.  

Using Obama

War and Famine and suffering stalk the planet. Climate disaster looms. What brought us to this sorry turn? A mode of thinking about our own survival, how to utilize the resources of the planet, and how to treat our fellow humans. A mode of thinking that due to extraordinary circumstances has been given free reign for the last eight years to “prove itself.” And prove itself it has…it has proven itself to be an utter, across the board, complete and abject failure, by any metric you wish to measure it by save one. The rich have gotten obscenely richer and more powerful. The greed of their corporate entities has been fed…which only increases their appetite.

Republicanism has failed.

Even the Republicans are at least (partially) admitting it

Conservatism, in a world that is so rapidly shifting and changing and increasingly revealing it’s mind bending complexity and inter-connectedness, has proven to be not just a bankrupt and ineffectual philosophy, but one that is actively damaging to the planet and her people.

The only solution to the huge array of challenges we face is, to reduce it to the simplest component, to embrace change. As a species, we MUST change, not just our actions, but our entire way of thinking. And we must do it as quickly as possible, using every avenue that presents itself as the possibility of greatest change. In the critical world of politics, that avenue is the prospect of the presidency of Barack Obama.


Constructivism revived in NCLB’s shadow: two books

This is a review of two books suggesting a constructivist critique of the public school system as it stands: Kaia Tollefson’s Volatile Knowing, a constructivist critique of NCLB, and Tollefson and Osborn’s Cultivating the Learner-Centered Classroom, a practical guide to constructivist teaching.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

PTSD… is a bitch

Most who know me know it’s not often I am left speechless at some piece of news or a story illuminating the depths of amorality to which the people who created the Debacle in Iraq have fallen, or perhaps in their case have actually risen, as it may well be that they had to have been as low or lower than the lowest slime mold to have conceived and executed their plans in the first place.

But it leaves me nearly unable to focus my thoughts and words to occasionally read the writing of the victims of their propaganda and manipulations of reality.

In any rational world George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, along with many others, would be sitting in prisoners docks now, and would have been for some time already.

This was posted this morning at six AM at OOIBC by Decline and Fall, a civilian currently working for a defense contractor in Iraq. In Fallujah as far as I know.

I’m reposting it here without D&F’s knowledge, though I doubt he will have any objection. I’ll let him know I’ve done so after I post it here. He crossposted it from his own blog, Decline and Fall.

It might be a nice idea to leave some comments there as well, if unlike me you are not left completely speechless by it. His full post is on the flip here….

The Day After Memorial Day

With all due respect to those who serve in the armed forces, we owe it to them to ask hard questions about the sacrifices demanded of them and their families.

It’s fine and good and perfectly appropriate for us to honor our dead, but if we allow ourselves to be whipped into a patriotic frenzy every time some yahoo waves a flag it can serve to legitimize the military enterprise – and that is the point I wish to make.  The military enterprise is not legitimate.


Burma’s Military Unilaterally Extend Aung San Suu Kyi’s House Arrest

From the AP:

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was personally informed of her continued imprisonment by officials from the Home Ministry who entered her villa prior to the announcement, the official said.


The extension was issued despite a Myanmar law that stipulates no one can be held longer than five years without being released or put on trial.

The junta faced a deadline to extend Suu Kyi’s house arrest for another year or release her. Members of her National League for Democracy were marching from the party’s headquarters to her home when riot police shoved the group into a truck.

It was not immediately clear where the truck was headed or exactly how many people were detained.


According to this YouTube, “Dust In The Wind” has been adapted as a song of protest by Burmese refugees living along the country’s border (it’s YouTube, so take it with the appropriate grain of salt):

Pony Party, wherein i confess my suckitude

ok, so i really, really meant to find an interesting item to discuss this morning, and post the most inviting pony evah!!!….even though the morning population doesnt necessarily notice or care what i actually put in  😉  (for which i thank you profousely)

Myanmar: Free Aung San Suu Kyi!

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

PhotobucketEnough is enough.  The NY Times reports that the Myanmar government has yet again extended Aung San Suu Kyi’s dentention:

Myanmar’s military government has renewed the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

A government official said that Suu Kyi’s detention was officially extended Tuesday afternoon. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

It was not immediately clear if the extension was for six months or one year. The extension became official when an official drove to her house to inform her of it, he said.

Suu Kyi has been in detention continuously since May 2003, most of the time under house arrest.

She has been confined without trial for more than 12 of the past 18 years.

Docudharma Times Tuesday May 27

Stay Left

Never Right

Tuesday’s Headlines: Burden on Dean to bring harmony  Egypt: bread shortages, hunger and unrest   Fears of new civil war as Sudanese town razed   German snoopers ‘tracked thousands of phone calls’  Health care fees trouble Eastern Europe   The two faces of Burmese aid: a starving village and a state lie   Protests in S Korea over US beef   Sadr Pursues Image to Match His Power  FARC leader’s death: another blow to Colombian rebels

Nuclear Agency Accuses Iran of Willful Lack of Cooperation

PARIS – The International Atomic Energy Agency, in an unusually blunt and detailed report, said Monday that Iran’s suspected research into the development of nuclear weapons remained “a matter of serious concern” and that Iran continued to owe the agency “substantial explanations.”

The nine-page report accused the Iranians of a willful lack of cooperation, particularly in answering allegations that its nuclear program may be intended more for military use than for energy generation.


U.S. Medical Research Gets $600 Million From Institute

Hughes Supplements Gap As Government Funds Lag

One of the world’s largest private philanthropies will announce today a $600 million initiative to fund risky but potentially lifesaving medical research by 56 of America’s top scientists.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is expanding its flagship investigators program to nurture a new class of scientists. By endowing scientists’ research over many years, the institute hopes they will make major discoveries in a variety of fields, including genetics and biology.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning


The Cost of Speaking

So many

imagine they celebrate

the right to speak freely

while choosing

on the one hand

not to exercise

their ability to listen

closely and intently enough

to actually hear

and on the other hand

to avoid the responsibility

to respond

which ensures

that freedom

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–April 2, 2008

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