Apr 10 2010
was am a smoker. I will always be a smoker. I started smoking when I was in my early teens. Over the last 40 or so years, I have smoked as much as not; and I have quit more times than I can count. My longest quit was for eleven years. My shortest quit, excluding the quits where I started up again within a day or two, was one year. I am currently quit again and going on three plus years this time. If I added all of my quits together, I would guess that I have not smoked 15 – 20 of the last 40 years. If I was diagnosed with a terminal disease and told I have only a short time left to live, I would run to the store to buy cigarettes.
Tobacco’s physical addiction is a cake walk to kick. A nicotine patch for a few weeks clears the way for the grudge match I have to wage with myself while I try to kick my psychological additions to the habit. Yes, I get that smoking is bad for my health. Yes, I know stale smoke and butts smell really bad. Yes, second hand smoke is bad for others; and yes, they have a right not to smell or breath smoke. Cigarettes are also outrageously expensive, and there is no place left on the planet to smoke in peace except at home. I know. I know. I know. Yet, cigarettes are my best friend; my entertainment when bored or restless. They help me think, and they make my mouth and hands particularly happy.
So, you can imagine how interested I was in this piece from Reuters. It explores why some smokers get lung cancer and others don’t.
(Reuters) – Researchers have identified a group of genes that are especially active in lung cancer patients — even in healthy tissue — and said they may be used to predict which smokers will eventually develop lung cancer.
And, they said, a natural supplement derived from food that is being tested to prevent lung cancer appears to halt the precancerous changes.
“Even in normal cells or premalignant cells prior to cancer development we see this pathway being turned on,” said Andrea Bild of the University of Utah, who worked on the study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Myo-inositol is also found in fruits, beans, grains and nuts, although Bild said the finding does not necessarily explain why people who eat more of these foods have a lower risk of cancer in general.
I’ll be sure to save this tidbit right next to my copy of Final Exit.
Apr 08 2010
I really don’t have the time to write this up, but I wanted to draw your attention to this series on HuffPo. In is quite an indepth, inside look and well worth the whole read. Despite the cheerleading, there are pissed-off liberals. We are not alone. Enjoy.
Doug Kahn, a big Democratic donor and heir to the Annenberg fortune, is not giving any money to candidates running for office this year even though he has donated more than $200,000 to candidates in past election cycles.
“The people who are really liberal, like me, are disgusted. And the ones I’ve talked to are just saying, forget this. They’re throwing their hands up. They’re not going to give money,” says Kahn.
In 2008, says Kahn, he asked the DCCC to list candidates who had an outside shot of beating a Republican and weren’t currently getting much party backing. He jumped in and gave the maximum contributions, donating to several of the 34 Democrats who voted against health care reform. In 2010, he says, he’ll spend his money in a different way. “Anger is a real motivator,” says Kahn.
The Florida donor plans to spend $100,000 between two districts currently held by Blue Dogs. He’ll come in during the last few weeks and spend money educating Democratic voters about the Blue Dogs’ record. “I’m convinced that if they know what the voting records of some of these people are — that is, Blue Dogs — a significant percentage, a percentage that could beat the Blue Dog, will simply not vote. I might be wrong about that, but I’m going to try it out,” says Kahn.
Kahn says he doesn’t yet know which districts he’ll attack and has no interest working to defeat a Blue Dog who is already going to lose. He wants Blue Dogs on the edge and he wants to push them off. The purpose, he says, is not to teach those particular dogs a lesson, but “to move the Blue Dogs who are in the House to have some fear of Democratic voters.”
Pelosi worked to muzzle progressives who said they could never vote for the watered-down Senate version. “I told the members, the members who said, ‘I’m never voting the Senate bill,’ I said, ‘Fine. Let me take care of that, but to the extent that you go out and say that, you are empowering the insurance industry and those who are trying to say just do a small bill,” she said. “That empowered them: ‘See, she’s never going to be able to pass the bill, so why don’t we just go for this thing, which happens to be what the insurance company is advocating.’ So we’re saying, ‘No, you have to have the courage to go for it, and what is it that we can put over the finish line that is strong and tough as possible, giving the president his opportunity to strive for bipartisanship?”
There’s a whole lot more.
Apr 03 2010
And they say we’re a center right country. Ha!
(Reuters) Most Americans believe tax hikes are OK if you’re making more than $250,000, a policy proposed by President Barack Obama, but hands off Medicare and Social Security, a poll released on Monday found.
The Quinnipiac University poll found that 60 percent of Americans among both major political parties think raising income taxes on households making more than $250,000 should be a main tenet of the government’s efforts to tame the deficit. More than 70 percent, including a majority of Republicans, say those making more than $1 million should pay more.
But 80 percent say raising taxes on those making less than that should not be part of the government’s approach. Moreover, most oppose touching Medicare and Social Security – two long-term drivers of the budget deficit over the coming decades. Link
Mar 28 2010
Just the other day, I declared my liberation from politics and talk radio and blogs that promote the party line. With this liberation came a renewed interest in the only man outside the system, Ralph Nader.
Today, I got this email from him on health care. It contained the usual stuff that we all know. The bill is corporate welfare and was written by the health care corporations. Many people recognize the Obama spin for the lie it is, and it contains many money quotes from Chris Hedges and others who know that when it smells like a skunk, looks like a skunk, well you know the rest of that.
I have copied and posted the entire email below in case someone wants to donate to the single payer cause; but there is one short paragraph on Howard Dean in the email that caught my attention. I bolded it because I think it is important. Apparently Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders got their pound of flesh for
their support shutting up. Bernie got clinics for the people, and Dean got – well read it for yourself.
Mar 19 2010
I heart Glenn Greenwald and urge you to read the whole article if you already haven’t.
Has Rahm’s assumption about progressives been vindicated?
For almost a full year, scores of progressive House members vowed — publicly and unequivocally — that they would never support a health care bill without a robust public option. They collectively accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars based on this pledge. Up until a few weeks ago, many progressive opinion leaders — such as Moulitsas, Howard Dean, Keith Olbermann and many others — were insisting that the Senate bill was worse than the status quo and should be defeated. But now? All of those progressives House members are doing exactly what they swore they would never do — vote for a health care bill with no public option — and virtually every progressive opinion leader is not only now supportive of the bill, but vehemently so. In other words, exactly what Rahm said would happen — ignore the progressives, we don’t need to give them anything because they’ll get into line — is exactly what happened. How is that not vindication?
Pretty simple really. No money, no votes. If we all stay home in November, what will they do?
Mar 06 2010
NEW YORK TIMES — “Just a year after laying off millions of factory workers, China is facing an increasingly acute labor shortage. As American workers struggle with near double-digit unemployment, unskilled factory workers here in China’s industrial heartland are being offered signing bonuses. Factory wages have risen as much as 20 percent in recent months (see chart).
Some manufacturers, already weeks behind schedule because they can’t find enough workers, are closing down production lines and considering raising prices. Such increases would most likely drive up the prices American consumers pay for all sorts of Chinese-made goods. Rising wages could also lead to greater inflation in China.
Reasons for the labor shortage?
For one, the Chinese government has rapidly expanded postsecondary education. Universities and other institutions of higher learning enrolled 6.4 million new students last year, compared to 5.7 million in 2007 and just 2.2 million in 2000. At the same time, China’s birth rate has been sliding steadily ever since the introduction of the “one child” policy in 1977. Labor shortages have returned quickly in recent weeks as these long-term trends have collided with a recovery in overseas demand for Chinese goods.
Consumer spending is also rising briskly; auto sales more than doubled last month from a year before, and this has created many jobs in retailing, restaurants, hotels and other inland businesses.
Though the wage boost increases the prospect of inflation, it may have another more salutary aspect. The Obama administration has been pushing China to let the renminbi rise against the dollar, which would erode some of China’s formidable advantage in export markets. Rising wages in China have the same effect – while also giving Chinese families more spending power.”
HT: Lyle Meier
Posted @ 9:38 AM Post Link 10 Comments links to this post
Feb 25 2010
A whole pile of people know that it is Obama and the Democrats that refuse to support
medicare for all the public option, despite the fact that is what a most of the country wants. If mandates, a middle class tax, fines, medicare cuts, and no public option is the best Obama and the Democrats can do with a mandate and a solid majority, they deserve to lose their jobs.
They gave pharma and the insurance companies almost as good a deal as Wall Street got. Free access to our money with no strings attached.
Feb 23 2010
Seeking to brand himself as the anti-establishment politician, Rep. Joe Sestak has put up a Web ad directly attacking President Obama for supporting Republican-turned-Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary.
It features a black-and-white montage of Obama supporters expressing deep disappointment that the president is supporting Specter. An acoustic star strums throughout, the whole effect similar to the “Yes We Can” music video made by Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas in the 2008 campaign.
“That’s not change we can believe in,” the Obama/Sestak backers say.
Since Sestak is now aiming at Obama, it sheds an interesting light on his blurting out last week an accusation that the White House had offered him an important federal job in order to drop his challenge to Specter. Was it an accident? (By the way, Sestak still has not provided any details of that offer that can be independently confirmed.) link
Genuine or not, it is a pleasure to have a Democrat call Obama out.
Jan 26 2010
From Who I Was, To Who I Am by Kevin Adams
Paint splashes all across the board. Vibrant shades of red and yellow pour over the pure white walls, creating a massive whirlpool of color spilling all about the floor. To some this image is unsettling, the purity of the whitewashed sanctum ruined; but to others the room has become something much more than just four walls and a ceiling, for it has become a work of art.
I am an artist; the canvas upon which I paint, however, is not a solid. My whitewashed room; my masterpiece is inside. Constantly crafting, molding and creating, we are all artists of the mind. The clay we sculpt is the ideas of others, always being molded, recreated, and improved to fit ones personality. The paints we use are made up of life’s experiences, its truths and untruths. The dark tones of betrayal, the bright pigments of joy all color the regions inside of us.
The artist’s work is never done. Our portraits lack stasis and are ever changing. Through life, through death, through all, our work never remains stationary. Colors are added and mixed, the clay touched up in areas and completely rearranged in others, but the work is always our own. As life goes on, these works of art grow and develop into an individual, changed and rearranged by the world around them. I am an artist. We are all artists of the mind, constantly changing our masterpieces, constantly developing as individuals.
Goodnight, but not Goodbye
Gliding, almost flying, in circles around the frozen lake, my soul smiles. The calm, chilled air breezing across my skin erases all worry from my mind. On the ice there is no drama, no pain, no confusion; all the loud colors of life drain from vision, leaving only the purest, truest feeling of joy streaming from my eyes.
Glancing down I see my fallen friends, my worn warriors that have meant so much. Covered in blood stains and bruises, tears and tears, they are shadows of their former selves. While no longer the shiny and clean entities of the past, their magic and power still hold true. Each crack, each scar, tells a different tale. They speak of epic battles of wit and power, speed and of strength. Night after night they hide me from the weight of the world, transporting me to paradise.
But tonight, they sing their final ballad. Tonight, the beauteous steel, pumping in majestic harmony with my body, plays a magnificent song. Tonight the magic lives. Tomorrow, they shall hang their laces for good, and be replaced by the shiny, clean entities of the future. A new novel, ready to be written, the blank pages begging for words. The stories of old, however, will never be lost. Tonight, as they sing their final ballad, all is well. My soul will forever smile with enamored memories of fallen friends; the magic will never die.
Clouds and Concrete
The wind rushes through his hair. He closes his eyes and smiles. Suddenly the air pushes him off balance and he tips over, staring death in the face, only to be saved by another calm breeze blowing the opposite direction. As if watched by a guardian angel, he has managed to yet again escape his imminent defeat, for luck is always on his side. In his mind he is invincible and has no infirmities.
As I observe from below, he rides above on the clouds, sliding through life without a worry in the world. The fluffy white paradise upon which he floats glides off into the distance and the thunderstorm begins yet again pouring over my head. Memories flood into my mind as I pain for a life like his. My feet drag upon the concrete, leaving craters with every step, for I was once like him. Knocked off my holy chariot I have fallen to reality and become a pariah. I long for the simplicity of the carelessness my brother enjoys.
The dark hair upon my head is pressed down by the rains of life, while his blonde mane shimmers in the sunlight of blissful unawareness. I watch and wish for a life like his, but I also worry, for I know how it shall end. Like me, the day will come when he shall meet his finish. An obstacle that need be overcome will look in his eyes and laugh, as he simply waits for it to move from his path. He shall fall from his holy chariot down to the earth, and like me, journey on the concrete, having finally realized he is not invincible. I watch, wait, and worry, for the day he will fall.
A Grown Man
Cold and covered in blood, an infant opens his eyes for the very first time; the constant darkness he has always known has been replaced with a bright and complex new reality. From the very moment this newborn takes his first breath his incipient body begins to grow. Destination unknown, he begins to transform, slowly, into a man. Through the years he shall learn to become a man; he shall grow up.
The process of growing up is a complicated mess of emotions and experiences, each changing the man that is to walk out into the world upon his eighteenth birthday. He learns to feel; finding and discovering love, only to have it torn away, thus teaching him heartache. He watches those around him, seeing their plunders and successes, comparing their lives with his, predicting for some their futures, and in others seeing his own. He listens to those wiser than he. He crafts his opinions. He crafts his morals. He crafts his character.
With his arsenal of knowledge, he is ready. Throughout time he has learned many lessons, some painless, others pain-full. He is a result of the world around him, those who taught him, those who tested him. He has grown into a man.
Reprinted in full from Kevin’s blog.
So I got my Vignettes back today and wasn’t exactly satisfied with my grade. I recieved a 72%. I just thought I’d post them up here (new page up top) and get some feedback from some other readers. Thank you.
Jan 20 2010
In only one short year, Democrats have managed to redirect away from the Republicans and at the Democrats the rage voters felt at Bush, Cheney and Republicans for destroying our economy and our country .
In only one short year, Democrats drove up deficits to bailout Wall Street and fund two wars nobody wants but Republicans. They couldn’t manage to reinstate usury laws or Glass-Steagall, but they sure as hell could pass bankruptcy reform just in time for the meltdown. Only tone deaf, elitist Democrats living in Washington’s bubble could possibly blow blue MA and lose Ted Kennedy’s seat.
Democrats ran on change and proceeded to deliver Bush and Clinton’s third terms. And if they think people are angry at them now, just wait until they use deficit reduction to cut Social Security and Medicare instead of raising taxes on the rich and corporations.
By surrounding Obama with Clinton and Goldman Sachs’ reruns, the idiots in charge of this Party managed to make a liar out of Obama the reform candidate, a hypocrite out of President Obama and destroy the party and country’s desperately needed opportunity for real, fundamental reform. Instead of a New Deal, a Fair Deal, they gave all of their supporters a raw deal.
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Dec 23 2009
Attorney General Henry McMaster said he and his counterparts in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, Texas and Washington state – all Republicans – are jointly taking a look at the deal they’ve dubbed the “Nebraska compromise.”
“The Nebraska compromise, which permanently exempts Nebraska from paying Medicaid costs that Texas and all other 49 states must pay, may violate the United States Constitution – as well as other provisions of federal law,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said.
Ramsey, McMaster and Michigan’s Mike Cox are running for governor in their states.
“Whether in the court of law or in the court of public opinion, we must bring an end to this culture of corruption,” McMaster said. The negotiations “on their face appear to be a form of vote buying paid for by taxpayers,” he said.
Health care reform will be an Obama victory
Dec. 22: When Senate health care legislation finally passes, it will be a win for the president. NBC’s David Gregory offers analysis.
‘We’ll assist anyone’
McMaster is encouraging a South Carolina citizen to step forward to sue to challenge the measure if it is signed into law. “We’ll assist anyone to the extent that we’re able,” McMaster said.
Also Tuesday, U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said Republicans need to stop complaining about deals their colleagues made.
“Rather than sitting here and carping about what Nelson got for Nebraska, I would say to my friends on the other side of the aisle: Let’s get together and see what we can get for South Carolina,” Clyburn said.
For instance, Clyburn expects states will get more help covering Medicaid expansion costs. Critics say the federal government’s coverage of 91 percent of those future costs will disappear, leaving states with huge holes in their budgets. Clyburn says the legislation the federal share should be 95 percent, with states picking up no more than 5 percent.
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