September 13, 2009 archive

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

The Robust Public Choice Made Simple

Burning the Midnight Oil for the Next American Revolution

crossposted from The Hillbilly Report, also available in orange

From some online dictionary somewhere:

Robustness is the quality of being able to withstand stresses, pressures, or changes in procedure or circumstance

So: (1) Public Choice

“No Taxation without Representation”. Every single person facing an individual mandate must be provided with the choice of a publicly administered plan. Otherwise the government is forcing the citizen to pay without the elected representatives of the citizen controlling the spending.

You want to put a trigger on the public option. Fine, except the exact same trigger applies to the individual mandate.

You want to restrict access to the public option to some smaller group? Fine, except the same restriction applies to the individual mandate.

The system is not politically legitimate if it requires payment to for-profit commercial corporations.

(2) Robust

It cannot be lumbered down with any restrictions not faced by private insurers.

State by state public options? Really? You are really prepared to restrict the corporations to firms with no commercial activity across state lines? If they are free standing state by state public options, it has to be state by state for profit corporations. Oh, not allowing UHC into the exchanges defeats the purpose of lining private pockets at the public expense? Yeah, kind of thought so.

Overnight Caption Contest

Where Do Stories Come From?


A Social Flycatcher

One possibility is that I make up stories. I dream them up, I fantasize them up, I just make them up. They come from me, from my brain or my mind or my heart. If that’s where the come from, that’s ok with me. I’m convinced that dreams, fantasies, stories are really important, often more important than physical objects and things you can see, so if they spontaneously arise from somewhere inside me, and I write them down, that’s fine with me.

But there’s another possibility. One that’s more exciting. I like this other possibility a lot better.

I spent two weeks in Mexico, north of Tulum, Quintana Roo, writing every day. I was trying to finish the first draft of my second novel, working title “Tulum.” Where did the ideas in that draft come from? Did they come from me? Or did they come from somewhere else?

When I first arrived at Bahia Soliman, where I was going to write, I noticed a particular kind of bird that was very pretty, very unusual for me. It’s unusual for me because it only lives in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. It’s called a “social flycatcher.” I don’t know why it’s called that. Its Wiki explains all kinds of things but not its name.

I think it’s called “social” because it doesn’t immediately fly away when it’s near people. Or other birds and animals. That’s just what I think. Anyway, I was wondering about this beautiful bird, and whether it might be near me because it was carrying stories for me and wanted to give some of them to me.

Whenever I got to the point in writing when I couldn’t sit at the computer any longer, whenever I got stuck, whenever I had to figure something out about what I was writing, whenever I needed new ideas, whenever I needed inspiration or endurance, I’d go out for a walk. And maybe I’d see one of the social flycatchers.

I liked looking at this very pretty bird. Maybe, I thought, it was carrying the information, the story I needed to write down. And sure enough, after I went for my walk, I would find that I was able to continue to write, that I was able to go on with my writing, that I knew what to type.

This process went on for about two weeks. For about 15,000 words (I had a lot of words before I got to Mexico). And then one day, I thought, “Ah hah. That is the finish line, that is the end of this book, that is how it ends. I will finish this up tomorrow or the next day or the day after. I can see the conclusion, the last paragraph. Finally it has appeared. That’s where and how this book ends.”

After that I didn’t see any of these birds again. No more social flycatchers. Not a one.

There are a lot of possibilities here. Maybe it was time for them to move on to another place to feed. Maybe it was time for them to move west or north on their migration. Maybe they ate all of the bugs where I was. Maybe having passed on whatever information they had for me, they decided to go and help somebody else, somebody else who was dreaming something up. Maybe somebody who was writing, or painting, or writing music, or making something.

I prefer that they went on to help somebody else.

Wherever they might now be, I want to thank them for all of their help. But, I’m sorry to say, I don’t know how to thank them except to write about what a wonderful assistance they were to me and to acknowledge their help.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles


I`m late this week in posting my “Distractions”.

I do hope you`ll overlook my tardiness, especially since, at the end of my essay,

you`ll see my sunset efforts.

Tonight I`ll start with a reef face.

It`s quite pretty when I wear my reefer face, & just fantastic when I have my mushroom face on.


 reef face XXl DSCN5440

50 Questions asked by the Asian Times about Sept 11

The U.S. News will never ask these basic questions to which there remains no sufficient answers for, even 8 years after the September 11 event.

Thanks to the Asian Times, someone still cares about reality: Fifty Questions On 9/11

Remember the Bloggers of Yesteryear

Remember back when,

we let them work us?

Because we didn’t know better

weren’t practiced enough

too easily led.

Remember when we used to fight each other

over stupid stuff

not realizing we were like rodents at each other’s throats

while meanwhile, the hawk swooped menacingly


well, that is if hawks could laugh.

And I like hawks

I just don’t like the people in that hawk metaphor.

Remember back when

we thought we needed them?

The heavies, the big guys.

It was all so attractive, all that action.

And we thought we could really change each other

instead of changing into each other.

Now, sometimes

changing into each other

ain’t all that bad.

In fact, it’s kinda underrated

when it happens as a free-form process.

it’s the controlled version that wasn’t quite so good

not quite so happy

and the built in fighting

and the built in judging

and the built in publicity

that was too often about the fighting and the judging

that wasn’t so good.

Remember when we realized that

we didn’t have to do that

because we really didn’t need that

because what we really needed

was each other?

Pure, unadulterated, each other.

Warts and all.

So here’s to blogging the future

since it got us here

because somebody cared

and then some more people cared

and then a whole hell of a lot of more people cared

and then, one astonishing, amazing, frightening day

We were there.

We’d blogged the future, and it was us.

And none of us were the enemy anymore,

because we’d learned

that there doesn’t have to be an enemy

because life itself is enough of a hassle.

now that we spend our time

with each other

instead of alone

enemies are relegated to fairy tales

They are things to warn children about

lest they become their own enemies

that would be bad

and we understand that now.

We understand the importance of

children, and their strangeness

and how wonderful that is

instead of something to be hit.

So thanks to those people

so long ago

too long ago

who blogged the future and saw these things

and how they must be

because it had to be

because there wasn’t any other

way to do it

that worked.

GOP Anti-Terrorism vs Democratic Anti-Terrorism

It was eight years ago that we were told America was changed forever, that we would need to go to the “dark side” to fight terrorism, that we would get Osama Bin Laden “dead or alive”.  The Bush administration was correct about some of it; they did change America and they did lead us to the “dark side”.  

What they failed to do, however, was effectively deal with terrorism.

Environmental Justice: Kampala, Uganda: Case Study I

(Previously posted at DailyKos and Get Energy Smart Now)

The road between Kampala and Entebbe

Larry Rhodes joined Rotary International four years ago after visiting Tororo, Uganda, where Rotarians were meeting to discuss their rocket stove project.

“One of the enduring images from my first trip four years ago was the huge amount of plastic “grocery” bags discarded along the road and in particularly at the trading centers,” says Rhodes. “The multi-nationals had introduced them in Uganda only a few years before. As they have no infrastructure for hiding their waste, it was just dumped alongside the road.

“The impression I had was that there was no recycling of the plastic bags–with the exception that children would wrap them tightly into a ball and use them as a soccer ball. To its credit, the Government outlawed the use of these plastic bags about two years ago.”

Kampala and Environmental Justice

Travel with me to Kampala and its environs to examine the issues confronting east African communities as they battle towards attaining environmental justice.

Throughout this virtual journey, I will be incorporating a few of the  17 principles of environmental justice authored by Robert Bullard, who is recognized by many as the “Father of Environmental Justice.”  

Baucus’s proposal … an Insider Trader move to protect an Industry

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, interviews Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, regarding a Robust Public Option:

AMY GOODMAN: Congress member Grijalva, I also want to ask you about Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus and his close ties to the healthcare industry. […]

REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: I think the product that has come out from his committee and himself, I really believe that it has no legitimacy in this debate. It’s an insider product. It’s there to protect the industry. It is not there to try to look for that middle ground. He is key in holding up deliberations, has been key in trying to work on a consensus, but everything you see in his legislation had to be approved by the industry before it became part of the plan. So I don’t think it’s legitimate.

[…] I consider Senator Baucus’s proposal to be essentially an insider trader move to protect an industry and really doesn’t have validity at all, both political validity or content validity.

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