October 7, 2009 archive

Limpin’Along: Senate Finance Committee CBO Score Comes Back

According to what I just saw on MSNBC on my local cable channel, out here in my nearly bankrupt coastal state, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus (D, Sort of, Montana) their version of the health insurance reform bill that they have been balking and dawdling over for months, just came back from being scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and the price tag is:  (drumroll, please! )

829 billion dollars over a ten year period

The obscure Republican Talking Head they had on for this occasion immediately demanded we just throw the entire thing out, and start over again because this was an “830 billion dollar TAX INCREASE and the American people don’t want this plan.”

I thought, man, even I could do a better job of making the thing unpalatable as possible, why doesn’t he just say that Cal yee forn nee yah Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed the concept of health insurance reform yesterday in order to butter up Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, another coastal state, with another “moderate” Republican, and then they could have all the True Republicans run screaming from the Capitol Building calling for an air strike.

Oh, wait, they can’t do that anymore.. Darn it.


Four at Four

  1. Americans want high-speed and improved passenger rail. The AP reports $50B in high-speed rail applications submitted. Twenty-four states are seeking $50 billion for high-speed rail projects, “more than six times the money designated in the economic stimulus plan.”

    Add to that, the Federal Railroad Administration received in August “214 applications from 34 states totaling $7 billion for corridor planning and smaller projects, which would include trains traveling less then 110 miles per hour, the rate defined as high-speed in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

    The CS Monitor reports that alone, California wants $4.7 billion in high-speed rail stimulus. That is more than half of the “roughly $8 billion of the federal stimulus funds set aside for high-speed rail projects.”

    Not enough money is being dedicated to improving America’s passenger rail infrastructure.

Four at Four continues with climate progress and U.S. roadblocks, 8th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, and Saturn’s super-sized ring.

Obama pursues unlimited global Warfare

This reported today by the A.P.

“Obama said the war would not be reduced to a narrowly defined counterterrorism effort, with the withdrawal of many U.S. forces and an emphasis on special operations forces that target terrorists in the dangerous border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Two senior administration officials say such a scenario has been inaccurately characterized and linked to Vice President Joe Biden, and that Obama wanted to make clear he is considering no such plan.”


Think about that.

Translation: There is no change in U.S. Foreign Policy.

The illegal and corrupt Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Gates global Warfare will just continue on and on and on for 8 more terrible years.

The whole 2008 Presidential Election was just a theatrical bit of stage acting by Obama designed to fool liberals, progressives, libertarians, moderates, and conservatives of good conscience, that have been horrified at all the reckless human carnage, War atrocities, and collosal waste of tax payers money, into voting for promise of a change in direction (that was never to even be considered).

Natural Fusion is Energy (and otherwise) COOL …

Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new fascinating concepts, approaches, and technologies.  Fascinating … exciting … even hope inspiring at times.  And, as well, as the passion builds, so many of these are truly Energy COOL.

And, Natural Fusion truly does look to be Energy COOL …

No, we’re not speaking about Cold Fusion, but Penn State’s entry into the DOE Solar Decathlon, which opens Thursday on the Mall in Washington, DC.  

Let’s take a look at some of Natural Fusion’s features from its website, which is dynamic, enabling rapid connection of concepts and approaches with the home’s physical layout.

I just Gave Up

A World Without Republicanism

Simulposted, lol, at Daily Kos

I was standing on a bridge last night, ready to commit suicide over the inability of our government to actually DO anything about stuff like health care, reigning in the greed of Wall St. and the Banksters, the millions of foreclosures, the increasing number of homeless resulting from that, kids going to bed hungry while CEO make 57,000 dollars an hour, the trumpeting that the recession is over while we have HUGE unemployment, the Corporate control of our government, the fact that we STILL find it necessary to kill Brown People in various locations around the world and of course….Climate Crisis. When, all of a sudden….a funny little man appeared beside me just as I was about to jump.



Joe smacked down this Morning (VIDEO/POLL).

Wow. Max Blumenthal sticks it to him. I’m not sure if I have ever seen anyone rattle Joe this badly. Joe attacks him immediately when he comes out. Nobody else says a word through the whole thing.

“Well, we had small government conservatives in power for 8 years and… you guys failed, and we had an economic collapse as a result of your policies.”

I don’t know if I have ever seen Joe turned into such blathering mush in this way. So he brings the guy out, attacks him one on one, loses, and ends the segment. What a class act.

Smacked down hard on his own show. I hope Grayson lit a fire and we see a lot more of this. When it’s put straight to conservatives in this way, they have no response.  

Humans Behaving Humanly

Maureen Dowd’s recent column takes on the David Letterman controversy and the power dynamics that shape romances between superiors and subordinates, particularly on the job.  She stakes claim to a middle ground between those eviscerating the long-time late night comic and those who find nothing much objectionable about his behavior.  To me, Dowd’s columns are often hit or miss, but this one does hit on some interesting and pertinent points.  Still, what I find most off-putting is her reliance on a different school of feminist critique that is, in my humble opinion, several decades out of date.  Our own generational mindset forms our opinions and may still be relevant to those of our age range, but staying resolutely within these parameters does not often allow one to remain current or even pertinent.

Dowd writes,

In an ideal world, bosses would refrain from sleeping with subordinates, so as not to cause jealousy and tension in the office. But we’re not in an ideal world. Otherwise, we’d already have health care for everyone and Glenn Beck wouldn’t have any influence over the White House.

Some have been quick to criticize Letterman for his dalliances.  I am not among them.  In truth, I myself have broken the unwritten rule of office politics and engaged in a relationship with a co-worker.  It should be noted that I was not in an subordinate position either time and once even dated a “superior”, though the lines separating chain of command at that workplace were rather fluid.  It has been my experience that while such behavior might not necessarily be problematic in and of itself, in stable work environments, it need not be a major issue.  In dysfunctional work environments, however, it is courting disaster.    

The most contentious assertion to be lifted out of Dowd’s entire column is this one.

A few years ago, I wrote that 40 years of feminism had done nothing to alter the fact that older men often see young women in staff support as sirens. For some men, it’s the very inequality of the relationship that’s alluring, the way these women revolve around them and make life easier, the way they treat Himself like the sunrise and sunset of their universe.

Temptation lies inside of each of our hearts and whether we merely lust in them or actively engage is a decision purely ours.  What I object to in Dowd’s line of logic is what it implies.  As she posits it, young women have no defenses and no say against the sinister designs of an older man in a position of authority.  This is a tad insulting to women, because it implies that men pull the strings and that a woman’s individual intentions are somehow predestined to be superseded and overruled by the men in charge.  Women certainly have every right and capability to object and decline an offer of sexual intimacy if it is made.  They are not powerless to guard off the insatiable carnal lust of any man, nor somehow obligated to fall into bed with him, whether or not he is their boss.  There is often something attractive about authority figures for all of us, regardless of gender, and this is when power dynamics enter the picture and influence our decision-making process.    

Part of the argument advanced by Dowd is rooted in a paternalistic belief that the young are too immature and too childish to know how to make correct decisions for themselves.  While I know that I made foolish choices in my past out of a combination of youth and inexperience, I do recognize now that age has brought things into focus that were once blurry and uncertain.  It would seem that the matter we are discussing now is not consent, rather it is judgment.  Even so, I never saw instances where some magnetic, voodoo force compelled my female friends to engage in sexual relationships with their professors or bosses.  If I was even aware of such things, what I saw was highly consensual and if immaturity was present, it was frequently present within both parties, age notwithstanding.  Still, the ancient motif of the vampire older man with sinister intentions preying on the innocent, virginal young girl/woman still persists to the current day and it’s a caricature as deeply insulting to men as it is as women.      

Dowd continues,

But it’s absurd to compare a jester (unmarried at the time) to Bill Clinton and other philandering pols. Officeholders run as devoted family men upholding old-fashioned values. They have ambitious public agendas and loyal acolytes whose futures depend on whether these leaders succumb to reckless dalliances.

As Craig Ferguson, whose show is produced by Letterman, joked: “If we are now holding late-night talk-show hosts to the same moral accountability as we hold politicians or clergymen, I’m out.”

This arises from a hypocrisy we all carry.  Though we rarely hold ourselves to a standard of perfection, because we recognize all too well how exhausting and impossible it is, we certainly hold others to this same unfeasible expectation.  This isn’t just illogical, it’s also completely nonsensical.  In my real life as well as my online existence, I have seen this sort of matter destroy whole communities or severely compromise unity.  In a Feminist internet community I regularly frequent, a mini-drama has recently broken out over matters of semantics.  A member has taken much time, energy, and effort to file a protest, accusing the moderators of not adequately monitoring and refuting numerous instances of offensive, and anti-feminist language.  While I can tell that the protest is motivated out of good intentions, I also am aware that within any movement which feels a compulsion to bring to light to a multitude of enemies lurking insidiously in the in the shadows, sometimes aiming to find every instance of genuine injustice can be taken a bit too far.  

This is itself a kind of Sisyphean struggle for perfection, a kind of wack-a-mole activism that will only create frustration, hair-splitting, and nitpicking in the end.  One could conceivably devote full-time hours specifically to highlight inflammatory, objectionable instances of societal evils—the sort found in every corner of this big, broad world and even broader internet, but still be no farther towards resolution.  There is no sin in admitting that we ourselves are imperfect people and that we ourselves are limited in our scope of influence.  If identifying a problem were sufficient in and of itself, we would have put behind many stubborn problems long before today.  Admitting our limitations does not mean that we are impotent or incapable, but it does insist that we recognize that we have the capacity to accomplish a few things very well before it comes our time to pass away to the next life.  Life is short and I myself would rather devise a way to do a few things exceptionally well than spread myself so thinly that I unintentionally dilute my efforts to making improvements and pushing badly needed reforms.

Rahm to negotiate for WH in Conference! If you wanna kill the PO you gotta do it yourself

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    If you missed the last two nights of Countdown with Keith Olbermann you missed a lot of new details in the Health care Reform debate, and I don’t want to sound bleak, but things do not look good. The main points are these.

Wendel Potter:      “If there’s not a public option, the plan that is passed, if it’s passed and signed by the President, will not be sustainable. And it ultimately will be a disaster for the middle class and ultimately be a disaster for the Democratic party . . .


    “We’ll be paying a lot more out of our own pockets. We’ll have the appearance of being able to afford premiums but we won’t be able to afford health care. That can not be sustained.”

    You can watch the video here

    And then there is the news that Rahm Emanuel will be representing the White House in the presumably upcoming Houuse-Senate Conference committee. Thus the title “If you wanna kill the (Public Option) you gotta do it yourself.

    More below the fold, and it ain’t pretty, with a call for action that puts it all on the line.  

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

34 Top Stories.  You know you want to.

1 Reality TV shifting focus to everyday life

by Audrey Stuart, AFP

Wed Oct 7, 2:09 am ET

CANNES, France (AFP) – Train to dance like Michael Jackson, cook like a chef, or just learn to be happy! Reality TV is here to stay, according to the experts, but is shifting from glamour to tackle everyday life.

Reality TV has steadily grown over the last decade, according to production companies and market watchers attending the MIPCOM entertainment industry fair taking place on the French Riviera this week.

“We’re really astounded by the extraordinary rises in audiences for our shows this year,” Tony Cohen, CEO of leading reality and format production group, Freemantle Media, told a press conference.

Hey You…

10.07.09 Eight Years In: Chances Lost in Afghanistan

Afghanistan stopped being anything about 9/11 when the talk and the beating of the war drums started and got louder for invading an absolutely innocent people and country, a country led by our once good friend, and brutal dictator, that some wanted silenced.

Now we enter the ninth year of occupying a country that if we had really kept our promises, as we didn’t once before, and helped them might look and be a completely different country, for the innocent Afghans.

Load more