July 27, 2009 archive

Looking Past the End of the End of the Recession

crossposted from Daily Kos … comments there after the “recent diary list” deadline has passed are also welcome.

Bonddad has YERRD (yet another reclisted Rosenberg diary) up, on the issue of whether the recession is coming to an end, or the sky is falling and we face an unending recession from now through to the visible horizon.

But the Great Depression was not made of a recession that did not end for ten years. It was, indeed, made up of one and a half complete business cycles … the post-Crash Recession, from late 1929 to 1932, the New Deal Recovery, from 1932 to 1937, the Roosevelt Recession of 1937/38, and then the recovery that merged with the start of WWII, which was the government spending program substantial enough to actually bring us back to a full employment macro equilibrium.

So the question of whether or not we face another Depression is not, “will this Recession ever end?” … but rather, “After this recession, what comes next?”

So over the fold, I turn to that, far more urgent, question.

But first, an Action Note: Transportation for America reminds us that its not too late to tell your Congressmen to increase support for clean transportation.

REAL Health Care Reform

I keep reading on all the blogs that the debate is about how to get everybody (including those who simply cannot afford it) to buy in to the health insurance scam. But that’s not health care and it’s not health care reform. It’s just a way for insurance companies to make a lot more money denying medical care to people who need it.

So if you’re like me and see clearly that none of this is going to “reform” our health care system or extend health care delivery or fix any of the serious problems we’ve got within the health care system itself, bear with me while I cite some of the details.

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of my son’s death. It always hits hard, due to the considerable amount of trauma involved in having your son bleed to death while hovering in a Life Flight helicopter refused permission to land for a pre-approved transfer.

It was a situation of such gross medical malpractice involving blatant lies, clear violation of regulatory and criminal law that it took seven years, 6 regulatory and criminal complaints, more than $150,000 we didn’t have, and a whole lot of do-it-yourself investigation and lawyering to get a modicum of justice. 2 of 5 doctors are no longer allowed to practice medicine, an  ex-Medical Examiner has a criminal record for producing a completely fraudulent autopsy report (on an autopsy never performed), and laws governing emergency services and transfers were strengthened considerably. And when I say a “modicum” of justice I mean just that. It cost us money, we didn’t make any. Though several lawyers padded their pockets nicely. See, that’s how insurance scams work. It’s ALWAYS the lawyers who make money.

Four at Four

  1. The World will warm faster than predicted in next five years reports The Guardian. “The world faces a new period of record-breaking temperatures as the sun’s activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted over the next five years, according to a new study… The new research suggests, temperatures will shoot up at 150% of the rate predicted by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

    The research, to be published in a forthcoming edition of Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Judith Lean of the US Naval Research Laboratory and David Rind of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Lean said: “Our paper shows that the absence of warming observed in the last decade is no evidence that the climate isn’t responding to man-made greenhouse gases. On the contrary, the study again confirms that we’re seeing a long-term warming trend driven by human activity, with natural factors affecting the precise shape of that temperature rise.”

    Yesterday Edger noted that the The Observer had published Secret evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide.

    Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months. The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week.”

Four at Four continues the Army farming in Afghanistan, an update from Pakistan, China shaping the 21st century, and dams versus fish.

Weekly Torture Action Letter 19 – Investigate For The Sake Of Our Troops

Happy Monday and welcome to the Dog’s on going letter writing campaign for accountability and the rule of law for the apparent Bush Era torture programs. The premise of this campaign is the Dog will write a letter to one of the key decision makers (with carbon copies to others) and provide the links to reach these worthies. Your job, gentle reader, is to either use the letter as a jumping off point for your own letter, or just cut and paste the letter and send it off under your own signature.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

My Impending Fifth Blogiversary

In August I will have been posting on my personal blog, The Dream Antilles, for five years.  That’s about 640 posts. Because of a host of unreliable hit counters, I don’t have an exact number of how many people have visited my blog.  I estimate that the number of hits is something between 50,000 and 100,000, but I can’t really prove it.  Maybe I’m exaggerating. Maybe not. Who knows?

This Blogiversary has to be some kind of an achievement:

“Douglas Quenqua reports in the NY Times that according to a 2008 survey only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days meaning that “95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream – or at least an ambition – unfulfilled.” Richard Jalichandra, chief executive of Technorati, said that at any given time there are 7 million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet, but it’s probably between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views. “There’s a joke within the blogging community that most blogs have an audience of one.”


So we live in a world in which most individual blogs are quickly dropped. I can easily understand why. The reason has to do with the need repeatedly to create content.  It’s easy to post once.  But after that, the road is strewn with casualties and unposted rough drafts.  In fact, it requires writing regularly, which anyone will tell you, isn’t all that easy.  Writing regularly is far easier in theory than in practice.  In practice it requires something that looks and feels a lot like work, only you don’t get paid for it.

Keeping an old style, individual blog afloat with original content has to be a labor of love.  Or of obsession.  In a way an old (more than 3 years is old) personal blog resembles a treasured fountain pen or beloved portable typewriter or even a well worn pencil.  Using it becomes second nature.  For me it has become something I do, whether or not anyone is looking.  Why I would do this is a harder question by far.  It has something to do with writing and having things I want to say about topics that interest me.  In some ways it’s like those other pursuits one embarks on just because they’re there.

And most times, nobody’s looking.  Group blogs get far more hits in a day than I get in a month.  Some blogs get as many hits in an hour as I’ve had in 5 years.  None of that really seems to matter.  I go on and on and on.  I continue to have things I want to say, so I say them.  If people read it, that’s great.  If they don’t, I’ll just continue to write and to hope that some fine day readers will discover my blog and get lost in it for an hour or two and that they’ll enjoy the way it makes time disappear.  After all, that’s what it’s there for.

Which brings me back to this Fifth Blogiversary.  I have no idea how to celebrate this milestone.  But I suspect that you, dear readers, might have ideas. Any suggestions you have are appreciated.


cross-posted, of course, from The Dream Antilles

Is U.S. Health Care Reform Dead Or Alive?

The Real News Network talks to Executive Editor Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report.

Ford has a little different take on the situation and analyzing the current political dynamics surrounding the issue says that by excluding a single payer plan, Barack Obama allowed the right to dominate the reform debate, and concludes that the longer the Democrats wait to reform the health care system, the more likely it is that the public is going to turn against the so-called reforms.

To The Barricades!!! …er…Telephones!!!

Simulposted at Daily Kos

We have not yet begun to pester!

John Paul Jones

Damn the Republicans, Full Speed Ahead!

Admiral Farragut

Did we quit when The Germans bombed Pearl Harbor???

Senator Bluto Blutarsky

CNN Pres: Birther coverage “Legit”, MSNBC Pres: Birthers “Racist”. Okay, so how about Buchanan?

Crossposted at Daily Kos

  It’s official. CNN is FOXlite

    On Friday, the Southern Poverty Law Center called on CNN to fire Dobbs for trading in “racist conspiracy theories.” And some of Dobbs’ staff at CNN have told him and network executives that they are uncomfortable with his persistent focus on the story.

    Klein defended Dobbs, saying that the host’s treatment of the so-called “birther” movement has been “legitimate.”


    Does this guy even watch his own network? Or does he just prefer to let Dobbs’s xenophobic McCarthyistic mania masquerade as objective journalism?

Docudharma Times Monday July 27

Monday’s Headlines:

Reach of Subsidies Is Critical Issue for Health Plan

Infectious Diseases Study Site Questioned

Afghanistan agrees provincial ceasefire with Taliban

Teenage bombers are rescued from Taleban suicide training camps

Son of leading scientist dies in jail as fears grow over fate of Iran’s political prisoners

Reformist gains in Kurdish vote shake Iraq’s quiet north

Bayreuth Festival starts new era by discussing Hitler and Wagner

After 25 years of conflict, Turkey makes overtures to Kurds

South Africa faces strike chaos

Military signals softening in Honduras crisis

Ben Bernanke says Fed didn’t act quickly enough to stop reckless mortgage lending

But the central bank’s chairman defends its role in rescuing giant firms such as insurer AIG, saying that it needed to take steps to stave off an economic collapse.

By Don Lee

July 27, 2009

Reporting from Kansas City, Mo. — After taking a pounding in Congress over the economic crisis and the multibillion-dollar bailout of ailing financial firms, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke went to Middle America to try to explain the central bank’s actions and shore up its bruised image.

In his efforts to open a window into the traditionally secretive institution, Bernanke conceded to an assembled audience here Sunday that the Federal Reserve did not act soon enough to stop reckless mortgage lending that fueled the global financial crisis.

But he defended the Fed’s part in rescuing giant firms such as insurer American International Group Inc., saying that he was “disgusted” by their reckless behavior but needed to take steps to stave off an economic collapse.

“I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression,” he said firmly in an event to be aired this week on the PBS program “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.”

Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future


Published: July 26, 2009

WUBU, China – For much of his education, Xue Longlong was silently accompanied from grade to grade, school to school, by a sealed Manila envelope stamped top secret. Stuffed inside were grades, test results, evaluations by fellow students and teachers, his Communist Party application and – most important for his job prospects – proof of his 2006 college degree.

Everyone in China who has been to high school has such a file. The files are irreplaceable histories of achievement and failure, the starting point for potential employers, government officials and others judging an individual’s worth. Often keys to the future, they are locked tight in government, school or workplace cabinets to eliminate any chance they might vanish.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

2009 Poems



Good news

bad news

steps forward

and steps back

There’s a world ahead

that some day

will be reached

by some of you

if you want it

And there are

some of us

who want it

so very much

who will never

reach it

Oh, the irony

of it all

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–May 15, 2009

Late Night Karaoke

 Open Thread  

Considered Forthwith: Armed Services committees (with DADT update)

Welcome to the 18th installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

This week, I will look at the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Forces Committees. Obviously, these members are the ones to contact to advance the bill that would repeal the “Don’t ask/don’t tell policy.” These are also the committees that need a proverbial kick in the pants to advance legislation that would close Gitmo. More information below.

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