March 10, 2010 archive

Pony Party

Some of you already know that I think the best piece of classical/jazz ever written is Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin.  Here are two versions: you decide.  I love them both.

Pony Party is an Open Thread.  Please bring your own thoughts, YTs, or whatever, and join the party.

Social Security Works for Women

This is the second installment in our Social Security Works series. The first post focused on how Social Security works for America, and today we will show how Social Security works for women.

Since January 31, 1940, when Ida May Fuller was issued the first monthly retirement check  in the amount of $22.54, Social Security has worked for women.

Social Security is neutral with respect to gender – individuals with identical earnings histories are treated the same in terms of benefits.  But, with longer life expectancies than men, elderly women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income.

Women represent 57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older and approximately 69 percent of beneficiaries age 85 and older

• Women reaching age 65 in 2007 are expected to live, on average, an additional 19.8 years compared with 17.5 years for men

In 2008, Social Security provided benefits to 31.3 million women. Women are:

• Over two-fifths of the beneficiaries of disabled worker benefits

• 99 percent of the spouses receiving Social Security benefits

• 99 percent of the nondisabled surviving beneficiaries

• 98 percent of the dually entitled, that is, persons entitled to benefits as retired workers and as spouses

Women are more likely than men to be out of the work force, or to have breaks in employment. Even with the narrowing gender gap in the rates of labor force participation, women often leave temporarily or permanently for pregnancy, child care, and other family care responsibilities.

As an insurance protection for older women, Social Security provides a modest benefit. Old-age insurance in 2006 supplied such a measure for women through an average monthly benefit of $904.

This bare-bones floor of protection provides elderly women, in Roosevelt’s words, “security against the inevitable hazards and vicissitudes of life.”


The poverty rate for women would be significantly higher without Social Security, increasing from 12.4 percent to over 50 percent.

• In 2007, Social Security kept 39.5 percent of women out of poverty

• In 2005, 42 percent of women over age 62 relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income, compared to 28 percent of men

• In 2007, for unmarried women – including widows – age 65 and older, Social Security comprises 48 percent of their total income. In contrast, Social Security benefits comprise only 37 percent of unmarried elderly men’s income and only 30 percent of elderly couples’ income

Social Security works for women; Social Security works for America.

This blog series is a joint project of America’s Future and Social Security Works.

Also posted at and The Seminal

Pony Party

On The Fear Of Government, Or, Let’s Get Back To Basics

It seems like everywhere you look these days, someone’s trying to spread…The Fear.

All around us…in every town…on every corner…a massive Army Of Fear is standing by, according to the Messengers, ready at a moment’s notice to obey the dictates of some unappointed Czar or another.

Just ask Glenn Beck: concentration camps for the white people, jackbooted stormtroopers ready to snatch the guns from your cold dead fingers…Socialist Government-Controlled Healthcare That Threatens Your Not Socialist Medicare…it’s all coming, my friends-and unless we organize, as a community, to return to the values of the Founding Fathers, The Government, meaning that awful Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and George Soros and all the other Evil Community Organizers, will win.

There’s no government, we’re told, like no government.

You know who would find all of this fear of self-government just entirely bizarre?

The Founding Fathers.

In today’s conversation we’ll consider the fundamentals of American patriotism, we’ll ask one of those Founding Fathers how he saw the role of Government-and we’ll toss in a few words from Abraham Lincoln, just for good measure.

Political economy in free-fall

In a previous diary I discussed the notion of progressive ideology, which suggests that basic tenets of “progressivism” prevent it from articulating any sort of meaningful political resistance to neoliberalism, which in this era is the one ideology which has triumphed over all of the others, and thus the one ideology which matters.

In today’s discussion I will put forth the political meaning of this ideological formation: political economy in free-fall.

(Crossposted at Orange)

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Pope denounces ‘atrocious’ Nigeria bloodshed

by Aminu Abubakar, AFP

2 hrs 22 mins ago

JOS, Nigeria (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday denounced the “atrocious” bloodshed in Nigeria after a massacre of Christian villagers, as police said 49 people would be charged over the killings.

As new gunfire added to the tensions around the flashpoint city of Jos, the Catholic Pontiff added his voice to a chorus of international revulsion over the weekend slaughter which police now say left 109 people dead.

About 8,000 Nigerians have also fled their homes around Jos in the wake of the violence, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Setback in America’s War With Terror

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLess than two weeks after the well-publicized capture by Pakistani security forces of the Taliban’s 2nd in command, Pakistan scored an even bigger coup by assisting in the capture of the leader and founder of the notorious terrorist group Jundallah, Abdolmalek Rigi.

Unlike the capture of the Taliban leader, Rigi’s capture has received very little press attention in America. There is an obvious reason for it.

Moslehi said Rigi had been in a US military base 24 hours before his arrest and was carrying an Afghan passport supplied by the US.

Since then Rigi has confessed to one of the most open secrets in southern Asia.

In the tape, Mr Rigi alleged that the US had promised to provide his group with military equipment and a base in Afghanistan, near the Iranian border.

He says he was on his way to a meeting with a “high-ranking person” at the Manas US military base in Kyrgyzstan when he was captured. Open Thread

I Yam Wot I Yam and That’s All Wot I Yam

How To Save Health Reform?

Markos Moulitsas (DKos) is now calling progressive Congressman Dennis Kucinichreprehensible” for having the strength of integrity and character to refuse to agree to this hollowed-out, Insurance-Monopoly, bailout-bill (unlike Barack Obama and the Democratic Leadership).   Link:  Markos attacks the progressive Congressman.

Gee, isn’t that what we all wanted from Democrats? The strength not to just cave in all the time like scared sheep, and actually stand up for something? (unlike Markos himself apparently).

Even as we speak, both Howard Dean and Alan Grayson have now also ramped-up the rhetoric for introducing some type of Medicare Buy In (a.k.a. “public option”) as a reconcilliation fix for the existing corrupt Health Care Bill. Alan Grayson has even formally proposed a “public option act” H.R. 4789.

In reality, Obama and Rahm Emanuel really don’t want there to be any “fixes” of any consequence made to their happy Insurance Monopoly bill.  And without Presidential leadership and support, any reconcilliation efforts will quickly fail, and may never even see any formal debate or consideration (as the Democratic Leadership always happily succumbs to the pressures exerted by Rahm Emanuel and Obama — like yet another massive War Funding bill).

Perhaps the best thing that could happen here would be that the Obama Health Care Bill falls short by a vote or two in the House. At that point, instead of a $70 Billion Bailout to Insurance Fat Cats, and IRS fees for defenseless U.S. citizens, the whole process would then have to be rethought.

In the event of Obama and Rahm having failed to shove a Insurance Monopoly bill down our throats, perhaps then a set of individual, stand-alone bills could be brought forward to make some real progress on Health Care Reform. For example:

  • A stand alone bill to end the denial of care based on “pre-existing conditions” (even many GOP members support this provision).
  • An expansion of Medicare, or Medicare-Buy-In, passed through the reconcilliation process.
  • A repeal of the existing Anti-Trust rules that protects the Insurance Monopoly.
  • Funding for local, cost-effective Health Care Clinics.
  • How about a bill to actually allow the reimportation of cheaper generic drugs from Canada? (Rahm and Obama would be pissed)

The Democratic talking-point here that the Obama’s sell-out bill is “the only way” to ever make forward progress on Health Care, is just like the same faulty logic that we heard before with the crooked Goldman Sachs/Wall-Street bailouts (who by the way are now making big profits, and the CEOs are getting huge bonuses — with that money that we gave them).

Lies don’t equal reform.

And neither does a corrupt system of bailouts, and mandates in the service of a Monopoly.

Keeping a Progressive Eye on Immigration Reform: Enforcement


One of the most ubiquitous arguments made on the issue of immigration is that before we can do anything of a progressive nature we need to “secure our borders.”

If we don’t “secure our borders,” heaven alone knows what will happen!  The terrists will get in, that’s for sure.  And millions of Mexicans and others from Latin America will descend upon our fair nation like a hail of locusts and we shall all be destroyed in the horror.

Over at Migra Matters, Duke Reed has a post entitled The down-payment’s been paid, when will the goods be delivered?.

To those who are convinced enforcement-only policies are paramount, the question all progressives should ask is:  How much enforcement is enough?

Open Ticket


Would We Hear This Here? We Should!

Spoken Publicly and with Force of Conviction!

And not only as to those leaders who send our Military to wars of choice but also the war profiteers who reap wealth from the huge defense budgets spent and these wars!

Unlawful killing: coroner attacks army inadequacies over blast that killed four

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