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For Permalinks Go To  Mirror Universe. For Commentary go Here. Recent Archive
Visual (s) of the Day, Music Vid Archive, (Version 1) Phil's Anti Tony Mowad all vids (widescreen), Phil's Anti Tony Mowad/Anti BET on J Music Channel (widescreen!) or  Here


Important Update: For New Vid Adds Go Here and Here (Widescreen!) Got tired of looking for new videos. Note to Atrios: the kewl kids aren't creating old fashioned MP3 lists. They're creating their own television channels. I told you I'd have my vengeance Reginald Hudlin. Newest version of the Anti Bet on J/Anti Tony Mowad jazz channel. Actually, it's more than just acid jazz. There's straight ahead and a few rock tunes thrown in for good measure. Plus toons and politics. This is set on random play so every time you refresh the 80  230  350 502 1060 2100 4500 or so vids appear in a different order.  You shall rue the day that you crossed me Reginald Hudlin.   And Goddamn you Reginald Hudlin. Goddamn you and BET on J to Hell.  More legal update: This is actually more of a search engine (me plus the tech). All of these vids are available on the public youtubes (or have been publicly available) and such. Vids that are copyright violations are often taken down. More Update: Fullscreen function fully enabled. ON the bottom right corner that's the box that's furthest to the left.


Nov. 3rd

ITEM: Well, I'm off to vote. To be honest, I was kinda thinking of blowing off this election (I don't live in Pittsburgh or the mayor's race would have drawn some of my interest other than my endorsement of Franco Dok Harris...) but these judge's ads made my think I need to vote against Joan Orie and the other predictably evil republican nominees to the courts.

In fact, Planned Parenthood sent me a handy voter's guide which I intend to follow to the letter where I can. Here it is:

Justice of the Supreme Court

Jack Panella Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Joan Orie Melvin endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Judge of the Superior Court
(vote for four)
Robert J. Colville Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Kevin Francis McCarthy Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Anne E. Lazarus Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Teresa Sarmina Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC

Judy Olson endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Sallie Mundie endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Temp Smith endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Paula Ott unknown
Help Us Continue to Elect Pro-Choice
Candidates in Pennsylvania!
Donate Today.

Judge of the Commonwealth Court
(vote for two)

Barbara Behrend Ernsberger Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Linda S. Judson Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Patricia A. McCullough endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Kevin Brobson endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC

Pittsburgh Mayor's Race

Luke Ravenstahl endorsed by LIFEPAC
Kevin Acklin unknown
Franco “Dok” Harris Pro-choice

If this isn't clear, then it should be noted that I won't be casting a vote for anyone endorsed by LIFEPAC. Related: Here are some endorsements by Agent Ska and Maria of 2 Political Junkies.

October 27

ITEM: Sorry for the long hiatus here. I temporarily redirected to Mirror Universe but decided that I didn't like it. I can still post here. I just have to skimp on the pics which I hate. Hostway tech support hasn't contacted me in four days. I've been with them since 1997. I guess they're pushing me. Anyway, I've been posting a lot here and in other places. We should be back up to several posts a week here as soon as the account limits are expanded

ITEM: Here's something I posted over at my Progressive Examiner gig.

Franco Dok Harris is the only logical choice for the next Mayor of Pittsburgh

I really don't think this is a tough call. If its a choice between the former republican and the machine hack, then Franco Dok Harris is clearly the best choice to be the mayor of Pittsburgh. He's also taller.

Luke Ravenstahl is an uninspiring hack although he has managed to stay out of jail on corruption charges, which has surprised me, he's at heart a machine guy with no real vision for the city. Kevin Acklin, whose personal story is interesting, just decided that he's no longer a republican and is now an independent? That's like deciding you're no longer fighting for the South a year before the Civil War ends. Your timing just seems suspicious. Acklin should have just said he couldn't win as a Republican in town. I will confess this though: Acklin would probably be a better mayor than Luke Ravenstahl. I hate admitting that because I truly hate the Republican Party and anybody involved with such a fascist party ("Oh, I resigned from the American Nazi Party and all  their  horrible Santorum-like party candidates I endorsed. All better now.") but Acklin is clearly better and smarter than Luke. But then again who isn't.

I think Franco Dok Harris is the ony reasonable choice. We need some new blood. I also think, on paper, that Dok Harris is the best qualified person to be the Mayor of Pittsburgh. You might argue that he's inexperienced but they're all young and inexperienced.

Dok Harris has also produced superior television ads. Here's a really hard hitting ad that he's produced. I don't know if he has enough money to put them on air anyplace. This ad also showcases a rare moment of anger from Presiden Barack Obama at the end. I guess I would like to know the context of that.

You can catch two of the ads that I liked here. You can catch three of Dok Harris' ads above at the Acid Jazz Channel.

ITEM: We're actually winning on the public option. I don't believe it. And we may have Harry Reid to thank for it. I can't believe that either. If this all pans out, then we should remember this during what looks to be Harry's tough reelection campaign.

I think its because of ads like the one above. Remember: the pro public option campaign is mostly if not entirely fueled by the Internet. How powerful has the Internet grown? We're beating the corporate media which didn't lobby for the public option and the right wing corporate media which was openly hostile to it. We're winning. I still can't believe. The best wrap ups are from Chris Bowers and Mike Lux from Open Left.

What Should Have Been Published Sept. 30th

What Slinkerwink Says: Lobby the Progressive Caucus over the public option.

Keep in mind that if you don't have a public option, then there is nothing in the four or five bills in congress that will keep costs down. Nothing. No hard limit on costs anyplace I can see. But you would have to buy it! This would doom the Democratic Party for a generation. Remember: the IRS would be the enforcer. That means fines or at worst jail time! Think about that. Frankly, we would need a no vote on reform without the public option from the progressive caucus just to preserve the DNC 

Here's Slinkerwink with today's strategy:

Please CALL Our Progressives In Congress Today!!! Hotlist

Digg this! Share this on Twitter - Please CALL Our Progressives In Congress Today!!!Tweet this submit to reddit Share This

Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 08:28:09 AM PDT

I'm tired of all these fundraising e-mails from the DSCC, the DNC, and the DCCC blaming Republicans. The Republicans are NOT the ones to blame. Democrats like these below are the ones to blame. They're the ones that've been watering down the bill, voted against a public option, and allowed the Baucus bill to be a mandated bailout of private insurers.

Read the whole thing here.

Sept. 24th PST

ITEM: You can watch a preview of this here. People, okay Oliver Willis,  think that a Superman type person roaming around might be nice but it would be completely fraking frightening. Related: When I have time I'm going to write reviews of the two Dark Superman comics out right now, the Mighty and Irredeemable. They're both very disturbing.

ITEM: I gots nothing on the G20. For the record, I don't think these kinds of protests have actually changed policy though I do think dressing in black and V for Vendetta masks is kinda cool.

September 19, 2009

ITEM: Yeah, right. France, maybe. How about total replacement loser proles.  I should have posted these labor posters I found on labor day but I was busy or distracted or both. They're part of a new book called "Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters". They have a decent political message and they're pretty too.

And one groovy one that I think was made during the 60s:

ITEM: I really think that Joe Sestak should hire Lee Stranahan. He's doing the best pro health care reform ads in the country. This would create two public goods: I'm assuming that Joe Sestak offers his employees health care and it would give Joe Sestak the best attack ad viral video maker in the country. Here he calls out on the President on the public option. For the record: I don't think he's going to get a 100 dollars for his IPOD.

ITEM: You can't really stop Slinkerwink. You can only contain her. I'm going to repeat what I said over at my Progressive Examiner column about her and Jane Hamsher: One more thing: if through some miracle we get decent health care reform despite the millions being spent by the insurance lobby, then you need to thank Jane Hamsher and Slinkerwink. They did the hard fighting, the hard organizing and the public whip counts. Don't thank your dead tree newspapers, afterall, they were "objective". They would be equally "objective" on the issue of Nazi death camps and the Civil War (Slavery: Good or Bad? We just don't know and we can't make a call. It would upset too many of our advertisers...)

Anywayz, it looks like Slinkerwink is mirroring the MoveOn campaign of some weeks ago but it has much better specificity about refusing a triggerless public option. Its just as moving and they name the names of the evil insurers. And many are mentioned let me tell you. You can watch all of them here. Here's several more:

Here's one that mentions an evil insurer by name: AETNA. I mean, when President Obama mentioned that these guys were just trying to make a buck...I really wish he could make note of the fact that when your business practices murder people that this should  be an unacceptable form of capitalism...Shouldn't it?

And here's another person that the teabaggers would boo at a public forum.

And I like justifiably angry psychotic dude. I can relate.



What Should Have Been Published Sept. 15th

ITEM: As per usual, I'm doing more stuff over there.

Sept. 9

ITEM: Yes I've been a lazy blogger, even though I comment on other websites and still churn away over at my Progressive Examiner gig. To make up for it, here's me liveblogging the president's speech tonight. One word for the president as one of his punching bag "progressive" critics: The only replacement I would accept for the public option would be medicare for all because that would actually bring down costs.

Liveblogging President Obama's Speech on Healthcare

September 9, 8:06 PMPittsburgh Progressive ExaminerPhilip Shropshire

Before the speech, a number of falsehoods by the Corporate Press on CBS.

One, we have the votes to pass the bill with reconciliation. Two, deficit spending shouldn't be an issue. We always find the money to kill people. We can find money to help people. Three, Katie doesn't acknowledge that the summer recess was fueled by insurance industry antics and propaganda. The Death Panels are nonsense. However, the mandatory payment and subsequent fines if you don't buy in do have fascist elements to them.

Oh well. Let's hear the speech. Wait, still hasn't started...more corporate media slant: reconciliation isn't the nuclear option, getting rid of the filibuster is the nuclear option...still waiting. I hope they're right that Nancy Pelosi stands tall. Not a lot of people have faith in a strong progressive block.

Okay its 8:11 and speechifying time. Wait...just the president talking and gladhanding. Looks like Bob S. is describing "The Reality of Things". Katie not adding much analysis. Still no speechifying...Time 8:15 and the Prez has taken the podium...

Starts out with the heavy burden he's had to bear when his administration started..."won't let up until Americans who seek jobs can find them". Uproarius standing applause. He'll need a second stimulus for that. We'll see...

Says he's pulled the economy back from brink, not according to Atrios...he needs a second stimulus. Really he does...

Okay, now he's talking about health care. Says he's determined to be the last president to take up the cause of healthcare. Hope that's a good thing. Goes into history of health care reform. Alerts us to nepotism within the Dingell political dynasty...okay, he's making good arguments. Stressing middle class people, not those scary poor black folks. That's good politically let's be honest...."only democracy on earth, only wealthy nation, that allows such hardship for its people". All good points, especially the part about how it can happen to anyone. Makes sense to me....more insurance company nightmare stuff at 22 minutes in. Jesse Jackson Jr. looks credibly concerned...

He's hitting the cost issue now. Everybody knows these things...his solutions? Still waiting...."our healthcare problem is our deficit problem". Well, you could cut defense spending or fed bailouts...no? "Those on the left" uh oh that's a bad sign. Oh good, he's using single payer as the far left crazy time argument. Thanks.Makes the argument of building on what works while keeping those evil insurance industry death panel goons in the game. Not convincing. Says we're close to a possible solution. I can feel the tension building. Bad move when he talks about big pharma is eager to change without mentioning those close door meetings...Now he's criticizing the FUD fear uncertainty and doubt..."Now is the season for change". We'll see.

His plan will meet three basic goals: more security for those who have it, coverage for those who don't and slow down costs. A plan that asks everybody to take responsibility...that translates into fines and mandatory buy in. He's repeating talking points about his plan. Hope he's right. Talks about getting rid of losing coverage without a preexisting condition...but in exchange for what? Mandatory buy in that I can't afford? "No one should go broke because they get sick". Amen. Routine check ups should be covered. We'll see. If you don't have health insurance...okay, he's explaining the new insurance exchange. Okay, he's not saying the public option by name but he is shaming congress about their incredible health care plan...just the exchange, will take effect in four years? Immediately offer help for catastrophic care? Still no mention of the public option uh oh, looks like he's about to make the arguments for mandatory buy ins at 8:35. Jesus. This still sends a chill down my spine.Small businesses would be exempt. Oh that's nice.

At 8:37 he addresses "bogus claims" such as death panels. He calls it a lie. But the mandatory buy ins...that's what's scary.

Oh jesus. No federal money would fund abortion...that could kill the bill. You would be intermingling federal funds with private dollars. You could kill choice that way...good lord.

Actually, insurance companies do it because they are bad people! People who kill you for profit are bad people. Really they are. He doesn't want to kill the insurance industry, he just wants to make them accountable.

Finally, at 8:41 he mentions the public option!  But he also describes the shortcomings. You won't be able to get out of your crappy private insurance plan....and you'll have to pay for it! How much? Who knows. He's reminding progressives of stuff. I don't need the reminders. The pubic option as you've designed it is way too weak. "We will provide you with a choice". You know, I would accept Medicare for all as a replacement for the public option.

Blames the republicans on the deficit. That's true. No limits on money to kill people...now he's speaking directly to seniors.Seniors have nothing to fear afterall they vote....momentarily distracted by Oudin US Open match...she lost the first set again...back to speechifying...

Oh great at 8:52 he embraces medical malpractice malarkey. He wants to move forward on, what, letting doctors kill me without legal consequences...? Thank gawd for trial lawyers I sez...Okay, here's his plan again at 8:54, says he's open to real ideas. "Won't waste time with people who thinks its better to kill this bill for political reasons." "Won't accept status quo. Not now." That mandatory buy in is worse than the status quo....I don't like mandatory auto insurance. I'm alone in the world on this but that's how I feel.

Finishes with late Ted Kennedy's letter. Oh this is good. He's using Ted Kennedy to shame republlican senators McCain, Hatch and Grassley. I'm still stuck on this mandatory buy in. It just can't go beyond three percent of gross income for people under 30 or the dems will lose people under 30 like, forever....

Ok. He left on a strong note. Inspirational. He gives great speeches. We'll see.

Okay corporate spin: We can't get the public option says Bob. Here's our position if you can't get the public option you can't solve the problem of high insurance costs. Nothing else works, except medicare for all. That's it.

 Republican response? Who cares. Well, let's hear it. Oh he's concerned about deficit spending and the jobless recovery...did he vote for the stimulus that would have provided jobs? Gawd I hate the republicans. Lies about evil big guvmint healthcare....hate these guys. Now you're concerned about deficits and medicare costs? Kill me now...spout on corporate lackey....Oh, the doctor blames poor lifestyle choices. Frak you man. Frak you. Junk lawsuits...you mean where you can kill me with impunity...? Thanks doctor pal. The republican spokesman is a doctor...what ker razy Tom Coburn wasn't available....and its over. Not very convincing. No one should buy this deficit double think stuff.

Related: Agent Ska wrote some good stuff.

What Should Have Been Published Sept 1st but I've Been Busy

There are three things you can do to support and fight for a public option today (Sept. 2). Two of them involve events at Flagstaff Hill.

More information here, here and here.

August 26

Roundup of Sen. Ted Kennedy Stories

ITEM: I've been listening to NPR for the last several hours and I had no idea how many important laws that Sen. Ted Kennedy had passed. In fact, I just learned that he was the one that created damages for victims of employment discrimination. Of course, I'm beginning to think that employment discrimination should carry criminal penalties but I appreciate the possibility of a significant money settlement as well. Thank you Ted. I also hope the Senate uses this sad event to pass meaningful healthcare reform. That would be healthcare reform with a strong public option that limited payroll deductions to 5 to 7 percent (for anyone under 30 certainly...we want to keep the youth vote, right?"), as opposed to making you pay upwards of 18 percent of your salary for a kind of junk 20000 dollar deductible insurance plan. Let's not do the latter.

Here's Sen. Kennedy on health care reform several years ago. Ha. "Everyone in Pennsylvania." Go get 'em Ted.

President Obama has made this statement.

The best eulogy I've read is from the Booman Tribune's Steven D. who quotes house favorite Robert Reich.

by Steven D
Wed Aug 26th, 2009 at 10:33:12 AM EST

There will be a lot of hateful glee expressed on the right wing blogs today regarding Ted Kennedy's death. If not from the owners and front page writers on those blogs, than from most of those who post their vile comments there about the news that Ted Kennedy has died. They will make much of the scandals that dogged his life, and how his brand of liberalism was outdated and dangerous, and that while never wishing anyone ill (no, they would never do that, would they) the country is better off now that he is dead. A very few, like Nancy Reagan, who worked with Senator Kennedy in the fight for stem cell research, will be gracious and generous, but they will be in the minority.

This is hardly unexpected. Ted Kennedy became a polarizing figure, and a particular bogeyman among the right. If not for his brothers' horrific assassinations, I doubt he would have felt compelled to expend the energy to remain in the Senate all these years. He was a deeply flawed individual, like most of us, and, in truth, he was likely not prepared to assume the mantle of a powerful political faction when his brother Robert was gunned down in 1968 while running for President. We will never truly know what those two ghastly events did to change him both for better and worse, throughout his life. But I would not have wished such a fate on anyone.

In response to what is likely to be a raucous litany by the hatemongers that make up the right wing media circus of all his many sins, let me leave you with these words by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, and a man who knew Ted Kennedy far better than most of us who are not members of his immediate family, regarding Ted Kennedy's legacy of service to his country:


Most Americans will never know how many things Ted Kennedy did to make their lives better, how many things he prevented that would have hurt them, and how tenaciously he fought on their behalf. In 1969, for example, he introduced a bill in the Senate calling for universal health insurance, and then, for the next forty years, pushed and prodded colleagues and presidents to get on with it. If and when we ever achieve that goal it will be in no small measure due to the dedication and perseverance of this one remarkable man. We owe it to him and his memory to do it soon and do it well.

Imagine, forty years of fighting for universal health care coverage for all. Coverage for everyone regardless of whether they were white or black, poor or rich, blue collar or white collar, young or old, healthy (at the moment) or desperately ill. Forty years of perseverance in the face of constant defeats and disappointments. Let us make his final achievement the accomplishment of this worthy goal he set for America some forty years ago.


August 25

MoveOn Starts A Brilliant Campaign on Behalf of Healthcare Reform

ITEM: This is simply a brilliant photo campaign started by MoveOn. Here's the letter I received:

Dear MoveOn member,

Every day we hear new arguments that America should just put off health care reform.

But millions of Americans can't afford to wait. Like Joe B., a MoveOn member whose family is facing over $20,000 in costs for their autistic son's treatment because his insurance company won't cover what the doctor prescribed. And Nicole T.'s mother, who lost herinsurance coverage after being diagnosed with cancer. 
With just 14 days until Congress heads back to D.C. to vote on health care, we need to bring the health care debate back to what matters. 
To do that, we're launching 
"We Can't Afford to Wait," a photo petition to remind Congress of the real lives at stake. Will you join the photo petition today by submitting a picture of yourself holding up a sign showing why you or someone you love can't afford to wait?

Click here to get started. 

Submitting a photo is really easy, and we provide step-by-step instructions. 

We'll share the photo petition—pictures of thousands of MoveOn members holding up signs saying why they or a loved one can't afford to wait for real health care reform—with Congress and the media. 

Through our "We can't afford to wait: Public Option NOW!" vigils next week, by delivering photo albums to each member of Congress, and by making sure your stories are heard in the news media, we'll help bring the debate back to what really matters. 
It's too easy for Congress to get mired in the politics of health care, and forget the substance. By reminding them about the true cost of inaction in a visible and visceral way, we can make sure the needs of real Americans are front and center when our senators and representatives head back to Washington to vote on health care reform.

Can you submit a photo today and remind Congress why America can't afford to wait for real reform?

Click here to get involved:


Thanks for all you do.

August 22

Part Three: Why Progressives no longer trust the Obama administration according to Ruben Bolling.

ITEM: I think Ruben Boling explains why progressives have lost faith in the Obama administration. Just substitute "healthcare reform" for "Asteroid 2" and there we are.

Look, progressives have lost on every single issue of import so far. A very weakened climate change bill has stalled out in the US Senate. We can't get anybody to investigate War Criminals within the Bush administration. We can't even investigate Rove justice department goons who, apparently, targeted Democrats illegally on purely partisan grounds. (Don Siegelman and Cyril Wecht.). Don't even ask about EFCA and the dems don't win without labor. Astonishing. I'm holding out scant hope for real health care reform and maybe a second stimulus.

One very important point: You will get health care. The question is what kind. Do you want to be forced to pay, and without the public option there will no limits on what the insurance companies can charge, upwards of 15 to 25 percent of your salary to buy what would arguably be the worst kind of health care. Think of it as liability only insurance for health care but you'll have to buy it. And if you don't buy it? You'll get civil or criminal penalties. You might go to jail if you choose not to pay 18 percent (or more)of your salary toward health care. You can actually end up in jail for missing a court date in order to talk about as little as a 300 dollar debt. Yes, that's a personal story. I'm not in jail yet but its the kind of "law" that seems to be targeted more and more at poor people.

One more point: we want the public option in order to save the Obama presidency. Because right now, the only question that the current administration is answering is "How do you elect a black republican to the highest office in the land?" Answer: "You run him as a Democrat".

More About: clean jobs · corporate greed · public option for healthcare · US Senate · war crimes · Climate Change Bill · Ruben Bolling · Don Siegelman · Cyril Wecht

Part Two: Why Progressives no longer trust Obama according to Glenn Greenwald.

Part One: Why progressives no longer trust the Obama administration according to Paul Krugman.

It's actually very simple: He hasn't delivered on any of our issues and has shown the annoying tendency to move right whenever he's being pressured by the usual big money suspects. The Big Four for progressives, just as a reminder, are health care reform, the prosecution of bush administration war criminals, EFCA and a meaningful climate change bill.

We want these things not just because we would like them but because they're essential for another Obama presidential run. I suppose if we didn't want them or care about these issues we would have voted Republican and gotten exactly what we asked for, plus tax cuts. So imagine our surprise as we look upon the landscape and notice that we might be going 0 for 4.

A number of progressive writers have spoken about this over the last several days or so. First up is Paul Krugman

Read the whole thing as they say.

What Should Have Been Published August 19

When you root for an elderly Jewish Man (Men) to slug a woman with glasses....

ITEM: Actually, there are two videos like this out there. One features an elderly Israeli men being told "Heil Hitler" by some Ker Razy anti health care activist. I thought he was going to slug her. And, frankly, I think that would have been appropriate. The NAZI argument by the anti public option crowd is pretty bad...Yes, I used to compare the Bush regime to fascists, not necessarily Hitler, because, like Hitler, the Bush regime seemed to like to kill lots and lots of people for money and power.  Naomi Wolf even wrote a book about it. Just to repeat, Barack Obama is working to help insure 100 million uninsured and underinsured people. Swastikas don't immediately come to mind here. Check out that video here. The second video features Barney Frank in fine form telling this woman she's silly in so many words. That's because she's silly. You can check out the second video here.

Public Option War 8-19: Slinkerwink explains why the public option is a must have

ITEM: No matter what you've heard the public option isn't dead.

You can still fight for it.

Slinkerwink tells us how:

Over 60 Progressives Say The Public Option Is Non-Negotiable!
by slinkerwink
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Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 03:28:53 AM PDT

I've received word from Jane and others at Firedoglake that we now have over 60 progressives in the House of Representatives who are absolutely furious with the White House's backtracking on the public option, and diminishing it as an essential cost containment for affordability of insurance premiums.

Let me be clear again today as I was last night:

You'll have health insurance, but it won't be affordable. Because if we allow the White House and the Senate moderates to give away the store to the insurance companies on the public option, you know what's going to happen next? Subsidies would be pared back as the next starting point for conservatives. And after the Democrats give in on subsidies to get "bipartisan" votes, the next starting point might be the community rating where the 2:1 requires that you as an adult, doesn't pay more than twice the premiums of a young adult.

You know what's in the Baucus "Fauc-Us" bill draft language from two months ago? A community rating of 7:1. That makes health insurance near unaffordable for most adults.

Read the whole thing as they say.


August 16 CPT


Netroots Nation: Longtime Obama aide Jarrett greeted with mild applause and some slight hissing.

You know I voted for Obama but I did not come away that impressed with what I saw this Saturday morning from longtime aide, friend and confidante Valerie Jarrett.  Ms. Jarrett spoke for about an hour and a half during the last day of Netroots Nation, the annual get together of Kossacks and fellow travelers who schoomze and network and can afford to pay about several hundred dollars to do so. Hey, if I wasn't reporting this I couldn't afford to go. I got a press pass worth 200 bucks.
The format was that Baratunde Thurston was to lob her questions, mostly softballs apparently, and she was to hit away but I felt that I didn't really learn very much other than "give us time" and "I trust Obama". Those are beginning to not be very satisfying answers when you're continuing a lot of shockingly bad Bush policies.
Here's a sample of what Valerie gave us. So, Baratunde reads a question that asks what blogs, specifically the president reads, and whether he reads them on a Mac or a PC. She answers back that the president reads lots of blogs but couldn't or didn't know (more likely) which ones he read and that she can't tell you whether he uses a Mac or a PC. Do you feel more informed, about anything?
Or here's another one: Baratunde reads another question off his computer and this time it's about Tom Daschle. And she goes on about what a cool  and swell and great guy Tom is. I'm trying to get what world she's coming from. Actually, its clear now that Daschle would have been a horrible addition. First, he rejoined some awful insurance lobbying firm that pays more money than God to promote evil policies. Second, even though he says he likes the public option, he came out against it in his role as insurance company hack. Here's the thing: would he have ever left the insurance industry even if he had joined the administration? And does Kent Conrad want a cushy job as an insurance hack lobbyist as well? Must be.
Or, and here's another one, she actually had the nerve to talk about how the Obama administration has limited the influence of lobbyists in his White House. She must not have read all those stories about how he cut backroom deals with Big Pharma that would have undercut House and Senate efforts to regulate these industries. I think this story was broken by the Huffington Post by the way, thus forcing an Obama ally into some real journalism.
Did I mention that there was slight hissing and even some boos? Well, its not Valerie. Its the record of the administration.  Valerie is a professional and has to back the boss. But if you really wanted a concise picture of the administration so far, I really think this Ian Walsh post hits it on the head.
Miscellania: Healthcare, Unemployment, Resistance and Obama 
by: Ian Welsh 
Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 22:00
After visiting Victoria for a week, let's do a quick roundup post 

Healthcare: I remain convinced that nothing that will come out of this Congress won't be pretty awful. My current belief is that what will be passed will mandate everyone buy insurance but because of inadequate cost controls and subsidies will leave ordinary people forced to buy insurance which will increase in price faster than wages. The optimistic view would be that once everyone is in the system, pressure will build to make the system actually work. We'll see, even if true, there'll be a lot of pain in between. 

Unemployment: According to the BLS, the economy lost 274,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate dropped from 9.5% to 9.4%. Welcome to the world of statistics that don't mean what you think they do. People who want jobs, but who are convinced they can't get one and so aren't looking actively don't count as unemployed. So the number of employed people can go down and the unemployment rate can go down. In other words, we're a long way from things getting better, they're just getting worse more slowly. 

Resistance: The American right has decided on a policy of resistance to Obama which can be summed up as "thuggery". People are being trained and financed to go out and shout down Democrats or intimidate them. There has already been some violence, there will be more. The Obama administration thought they could avoid the rise of the refusnik right by refusing to act on most social issues, which is why they abandoned their promises to gays and have generally been unwilling to move on other social issues. They took the lesson of the Clinton administration to be "don't inflame the fanatics on the right-avoid social issues, and don't slash the military". They were, of course, wrong: the radical right (and there is hardly a non-radical right left) will oppose Obama no matter what he does and if Obama is unwilling to use to the full might of the administrative apparatus against them, they will simply take advantage of his weakness to escalate. Tactics which are seen to work, will not be abandoned, to the contrary, they will be used more and more. 

Obama: Obama's active period is about over. Health care "reform", if he gets it through, will probably be the last major policy. While there are rises and falls, his overall popularity is trending down and that will probably continue. The "honeymoon" is over, and it was used primarily to shove through a lousy stimulus that won't lead to enough of a recovery, and with luck (for him) a bad global warming bill and health reform that isn't. Fortunately, banks and financial firms have been bailed out and are making lots of money, and should be in a position to reward Obama with significant funding in future elections. 

Unless they decide that the Republicans will give them everything they want, too. 

Add to that Republican weakness, and Obama's inner circle may think they're still cruising for reelection. I'm not so sure. Counting on your enemy's weakness is a dangerous tactic, especially when you are doing little to ensure that they remain weak or that you remain strong.
I really think that's the truth of the last six months of the Obama administration. I will forgive him for everything if he manages to pass a strong public option and I'm in a positiion to buy affordable healthcare. If not, that smattering of hisses and boos will turn into a chorus, and hit a depressingly high note right around the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

Netroots Nation Quick Impressions: LEAP's Jack Cole

Netroots Nation, the annual gathering of Kossacks (derived from the Daily Kos, a political must read by the way) and fellow travelers, ends today In Pittsburgh and I hope to do some reporting on Saturday's events..

I did attend Thursday evening's events at this year's Netroots nation and I ran into people who, and I'm probably incorrect about this, I felt that I had known fairly well because I had read so much of their work and seen so many of their youtube vids.

One of those persons that I met in the flesh was Jack Cole, one of the elder retired spokesman for a really sane group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Every police officer involved in LEAP has done their share of drug arrests which, according to Jack at least, they feel a certain amount of shame about.  I think Jack described the work he was doing with LEAP as a kind of penance.

This is a person and a group that I discovered entirely through Youtube and I believe they held a session on decriminalization on Friday which unfortunately I couldn't attend. But here are some of the Youtube vids I first discovered and I immediately put them on rotation at the Acid Jazz Channel. (One note: Jack Cole appears second in this vid and is not Norm Stamper. Repeat: Jack Cole is not Norm Stamper.)

And here's Norm Stamper's interview with Reason magazine:


I did ask Jack one question that I was kind of curious about: I had noticed that most of the cops in LEAP were retired and I asked him if there were any active duty policemen who were members of the organization and was that dangerous? He told me there were 5 to 7 active duty police officers who were members of LEAP, although one of them had been fired but he won a big lawsuit  worth over 800000 dollars. Apparently, he can't actually do any police work anymore but they can't fire him either. So, there might be a bit of a risk there for active duty police officers to get involved in LEAP. Or  a big payday.

Netroots Nation Quick Impressions: Atrios the man, the legend, the Vulcan.

Now, Atrios is a  guy I've been reading about and watching for the last several years now. One of the things that I thought really revealed the Real Him was this video segment on Philly bloggers where I swear he was trying to hide. He just didn't look comfortable as a public figure. And sure enough when I spoke to him he was quite reserved and circumspect. I suppose if you were the kind of person who described people you met as to how well they conform to Star Trek stereotypes then Atrios would be a Vulcan. I thought that at any moment he was going to urge me to always look toward logic and to harness my human half. Or something. I made sure to ask him what he thought of our urban hellhole of a city and how he enjoyed our public transit system. I just had to.

One specific question, as opposed to meandering, that I did toss his way is if he trusted the Obama economic team or the Hellish ilk known as Rubin, Geithner and Summers, with just a dash of Rahm. I sort of got the impression that he didn't from his "the recession isn't over" talk but I wasn't sure. His answer: a fairly unambigous "no". We chatted a bit more and then he was off.

Related: I noticed that he wrote about Dwelling House Savings and Loan getting "EATED". But its not qute the same kind of "EATED" that he usually talks about. Dwelling House is, or was I guess, a black owned bank that didn't collapse because of the bubble. They were robbed, apparently by hackers who weren't black nationalists. Truly a very sad story. Its being taken over by PNC but here's the thing: the reason you had a black owned bank is that the PNCs of the world weren't loaning to poor and working class black folk. How does this help exactly? Will the bank's mission be retained? i have my doubts.

More Related: One thing I forgot to thank him for, as an African American, are his many angry rants against the Bell Curve crowd. ("Did you know black people were inferior...oh its not racism. Its just science! Feel better now?...not at all like eugenics...") I was always glad to read that but I never understood why he was passionate about this issue. Until I found out that his wife is African American. I guess that would explain it, that and wanting to have kids who aren't marked at birth as being inferior by way of Hue.

Anyway, thanks for doing that. Some of us appreciate that more than others.



What Should Have Been Published August 14

ITEM: I have been wearing my Progressive Examiner hat this week and I've been sneaking around Netroots Nation for as long as I can. I can't swear over there (Well, I can frakkin' swear...they haven't banned that yet but they have banned WTF...WTF?) but at least they have accessible permalinks.

What Should Have Been Published August 11

ITEM: You know, even if we lose, and by "we" I mean the 100 million Americans like myself who either don't have healthcare or are underinsured, I'm beginning to respect the president's efforts on my behalf. With this kind of effort Malia and Sasha might get to attend that fancy private school as opposed to that scary Hell school in the Wire. (Reference here.)

First, here's a snippet of the Obama's townhall today where he demolishes much of the silliness behind crazy gun carrying right wing yelling points, such as the death panels:

 Then there's a pretty good ad that spells out some of the advantages of the President's plan. Bad news: not clear how this will be done if no public option passes. 

 And here: back to today's town hall, he explains in depth about how the White House reform plans will help the average person. Again, I really really appreciate this as someone who's uninsured.

August 7 PDT

ITEM: Sorry for the lack of posts. As per usual I've had other concerns in my life, nothing earth shattering but time consuming.

ITEM: I wrote my initial reactions to the Sodini shootings over at my Pittsburgh Progressive Examiner niche. I'll just repeat what I wrote because I'm lazy. I've provided yet another mirrored copy and an explanation as to why its important and why that's news.

I wanted to comment more about this in my next column and I wanted to make sure you could access it. I do think this is news and its an interesting peek into a psychopath. But I have to admit: I really think if someone had reached out to him or if he had manned up and reached out to the proper psychiatric authorities I don't think the shootings would have happened.

By the way, your corporate media masters have called this a "blog". Even though he's a computer expert Sodini didn't use any major blogging software. Looks like he set up a webpage with just the most minimal of HTML and went at it. People wonder why people reading this weren't inspired to call their local law enforcement agency. One: it might not have been published until just before the shootings. Two, if you make no attempt to promote  yourself or your blog trust me you can pretty much post anything on the Internet and it will remain virtually anonymous. I know whereof I speak as a guy who actively promotes his own work. Its not easy. One more point: I kept the names in but I removed the personal addresses. Not exactly a love letter to various relatives.

I'll probably write more about this later, but I didn't find this guy's complaints all that unusual or, dare I say it, far off the mark. People keep saying "Well, he had that good job...!" but if you read the diary its clear he was never secure in that job and thought he was going to be laid off any minute. That's the American condition by the way. In a lot of ways, the United States is kind of a fucked up place to live. Its a pressure cooker where you have ready access to high powered firearms. Not a good combination probably. When you don't have health care your country is telling you in very clear terms that it doesn't give a fuck about you. Really, it is. More on this later where I take a look at the local blogosphere reaction and where I try to answer Maria's question of "What can be done..."

ITEM:  Speaking of the health care I'm not getting...Yesterday I thought it was 50/50 that a strong public option could be passed until I heard about that sweetheart deal Obama and Rahm (I blame everything on Rahm...) tried to arrange with Big Pharma. Horrible really. Now it looks like its 30/70 against. I swear if Obama negotiated for his two kids the way he negotiates for the public interest they wouldn't be attending Sidwell Friends. They would be the newest enrollees in that scary training for prison school that was featured in The Wire. What's worse, Obama would be calling it a "great victory for consumers" because no one managed to have consensual threeway sex with Malia this year or that Sasha didn't get the White House burnt down cause she snitched....See, that's the "bipartisanship" that Grassley and Baucus wanted for his kids so he got a deal done and its all good now.

Great ads keep coming from the pro public option side,  though. Here's one from MoveOn equating insurance companies to sharks which is insulting to sharks because they don't kill as many people.


July 30

ITEM: Big news on the healthcare front. First, Jane Hamsher:

Dear Friend,

It's working. Your phone calls are making the difference.

The progressive caucus is finally realizing it can stand up for a real public option. Yesterday progressive members actually blocked the Blue Dogs from watering down health care reform - for the time being.
What does it mean? We need to push harder than ever to get members to take the pledge to protect a real public option.
Call, call, call. Click here to get the phone numbers of progressive members of Congress and start calling.
We need to flood progressive members' offices with calls. When you call, ask if the member will Take the Pledge to vote against any health care bill that doesn't have a public plan which is:

  • available nationwide
  • on day one
  • and accountable to Congress and the voters

This is our best chance yet to make sure health care reform includes a real public option.  Already 14 members have taken this pledge.  We need at least 26 more to stop a bad bill.

Click here to get their phone numbers and start calling.

Your calls are making the difference.  Keep it up.

Take care,

Jane and Eve

P.S. Stay tuned to Firedoglake.com all day for the latest on our campaign.

Then Slinkerwink:

Congressional Progressives Threaten To Block Health Reform!

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Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 05:50:29 AM PDT

Could this be the beginning of something new in the Congressional Progressive Caucus? The progressives in Congress threw a revolt over the compromises to the Blue Dog Democrats, and delayed the mark-up of the House Tri-Committee health care bill from yesterday to today at 10 am. They forced the Democratic leadership to meet with them to hear out their concerns about the watering down of the public option in the Tri-Committee bill.

Seriously, this is like the first time this has ever happened from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They're working on marshalling up 50 votes to block the passage of health care reform if the public option is severely weakened in the final bill.

However, the White House and the Democratic leadership got worried, and started making phone calls to twist some arms to make sure the progressives stay in line to swallow any crap. This is where you come in. We NEED you to call the progressives on our target list below to make sure they continue to STAND UP for us on health care reform!

It's working.  Your relentless phone calls are making the difference. The progressive caucus is finally realizing it can stand up for a real public option.  

What does it mean?  We need to push harder than ever to get members to take the pledge.  Flood progressive members offices with calls and ask them to Take the Pledge to vote against any health care bill that doesn't have a strong public option.

Also, since the mark-up on the Energy and Commerce Committee is today at 10 a.m., we NEED you to call the progressives on the committee since some of them may be wavering into accepting the Blue Dog compromise. Tell them to offer amendments to restore the public option!

Some supporters of the public plan on the committee said they could live with the changes. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) said the briefing of committee Democrats made her "more inclined to support" the Blue Dog amendments.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who serves on the committee, said the compromise "eviscerates" the public plan. And he's frustrated that the agreement was presented to committee members as "take it or leave it."

But he still may vote for it, because he's concerned that if the bill stalls in committee, House leaders will simply bypass the committee. Engel said he's undecided.

Please TELL Rep. Eliot Engel NOT TO support the compromises by the Blue Dog Democrats that weaken the public option, and ask him how he can support the paring back of the subsidies for the middle class, the establishment of fake state-based co-operatives which will do NOTHING to reduce costs, and the weakening of the public option.

Here's Rep. Eliot Engel's phone number for you to call:

CALL Rep. Eliot Engel at 202-225-2464

And we have another target--Rep. Jan Schakowsky. She's the one that ALWAYS leads the fold-in of the progressives into accepting whatever shit sandwich comes out of the House, like the weakened ACES bill, the war supplemental vote, and other legislation that progressives were forced to accept.

It's why the White House called her to twist her arms into accepting the compromise from the Blue Dogs and convince her to pressure the other progressives into accepting the same. Did you know that Rep. Jan Schakowsky's in the charge of health policy for the Congressional Progressive Caucus? It's why she's our big target.

Please TELL Rep. Jan Schakowsky NOT TO support the compromises by the Blue Dog Democrats that weaken the public option, and ask her HOW she can support the paring back of the subsidies for the middle class, the establishment of fake state-based cooperatives which will do NOTHING to reduce costs, and the weakening of the public option.

CALL Rep. Jan Schakowsky at 202-225-2111

We'll also NEED you to CALL the other Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee below to ask them NOT TO support the compromises by the Blue Dog Democrats that weaken the public option, the paring back of subsidies for the middle class, and the establishment of state-based cooperatives that do nothing to reduce costs.

CALL Tammy Baldwin at 202-225-2906

CALL Jane Harman at 202-225-8220

CALL Jay Inslee at 202-225-6311

CALL Bobby Rush at 202-225-4372

CALL Anthony Weiner at 202-225-6616

CALL Peter Welch at 202-225-4115

Please also LIVEBLOG the Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up below if you can. It starts at C-SPAN.org at 10 a.m., and I think it might be carried on TV as well.


And here's an e-mail from the Congressional Progressive Caucus asking for more attendees to come to their press conference at 2:30PM today. If you know anyone in the DC/MD/VA area, PLEASE GO to the press conference!

Today, the Energy and Commerce committee accepted a compromise with the Blue Dogs which would have the effect of crippling the public option. (As reported, it specifically makes it so that the public option no longer pays Medicare+5%, but instead has to individually negotiate rates with providers. In addition to dramatically increasing the overall cost of reform, this has a big negative impact on the public option’s ability to jumpstart operations.)

This compromise is in direct conflict with one of the core tenets of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s criteria for a robust public option. The belief appears to be that the progressives will once again just roll over.

Not this time. Not this fight.

Tomorrow afternoon, the CPC will be holding a press conference in conjunction with their allied caucuses the CBC, CHC, and CAPAC. They are going to draw a very clear line in the sand – unambiguously and so brightly it’ll be seen all the way at the White House. We need the largest crowd we can get at the press conference:

Thursday July 30, 2009
2:30 pm
At the triangle on the southeast side of the Capitol

This is the first real moment in which the progressives inside of Congress are being tested for their resolve on healthcare. And this is the most significant ask they’ve made of progressives outside of Congress in the day-to-day fight.

Please help.

Can you also please help nyceve, Jane Hamsher, me, and others in this fight for health reform by donating to our fight?

PLEASE RECOMMEND THIS DIARY so others  can see the phone numbers and call today!




What Should Have Been Published July 28

Slinkerwink Sez:

Don't Let Baucus "Fauc-Us" With Crappy Health Care Bill!

Want to fight back against the crappy "Fauc-us" so-called health reform bill by Senator Baucus? We NEED you guys to put even more pressure on the House today with your phone calls! We're going to need the progressives, the Democratic leadership, and the chairs of the Tri-Caucus to push back against any CRAPPY legislation that doesn't involve a public option!

We need you to tell the Democratic leadership, the White House, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Tri-Caucus to STAND UP TO THE BLUE DOGS and to the Baucus "Fauc-us" health bill!

It's why we have to keep up with the phone calls today! Please CALL Speaker Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, and the White House with these talking points below! Remember, first thank them for supporting the House Tri-Committee health care plan, and then tell them why they can't go on vacation before dealing with health care reform, and NOT to support the crappy Senate Finance legislation:

I'm calling to thank [Name of Member] for supporting the House health care plan, and for supporting the public option and the national insurance exchange. I don't want Congress to go on vacation before they deal with the passage of health care reform! As an American who's faced denials of claims and has been facing higher insurance premiums, the public option and the national insurance exchange is NECESSARY to hold down the costs of private insurance and give us the kind of care we need. Please DO NOT delay the passage of health care reform in the House. We need you guys to stay in and work for us. Also, I've been hearing that the Blue Dog Democrats want to cut back subsidies for my family, that they want a fake state-based co-op plan, and have a trigger on the national insurance exchange by having it as state-based insurance exchanges at first. What they want is unacceptable for me and my family. Don't give into their demands. I'm an American who needs the choice of the national insurance exchange and the public option.

CALL Speaker Nancy Pelosi at (202) 225-4965 and try her local office at (415) 556-4862 if you can't get through.

CALL House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at (202) 225-3130

CALL House Majority Whip James Clyburn at (202) 226-3210

July 23 PST

ITEM: I've been writing more over at my new post of Pittsburgh Progressive Examiner because I have to submit three to five posts a week. I'm still not as productive as Atrios. But I tend to get better with time. We'll see.

Here's one recent headline.  Keep in mind that while you can't participate in Thursday's noon rally you can still tweet and/or facebook our very legitimate Democratic Party Senator Arlen Specter and urge him to stop the gutting of  the Clean Air Act.

MoveOn and other progressive groups are urging you to save the Clean Air Act.

I had no idea that the Clean Air Act actually needed saving but apparently its in some trouble. It looks like that underwhelming climate change bill would actually weaken Clean Air Act protections. Tell me again, as a lifelong and loyal democratic party member, how the dems in charge will make things better?
First, from the Huffington Post. Here's the title:


MoveOn.org, which drove support for the bill in its early stages, has now shifted its focus. Rather than using its weight to propel it through the House, the group is hammering the bill for gutting the Clean Air Act. Log onto its homepage and the first message sent your way is a warning that the "current version of the energy bill would repeal a key part of the Clean Air Act -- revoking Obama's authority to crack down on global warming pollution from dirty coal plants."
The language causing the heat comes in section 311 of the bill: "No standard of performance shall be established under section 111" -- the section of the Clean Air Act that regulates coal-fired plants -- "for capped greenhouse gas emissions from a capped source unless the Administrator determines that such standards are appropriate because of effects that do not include climate change effects."

In other words, no carbon regulation.

"We need that authority to go back and clean up these old coal plants and the current bill would repeal, in large measure, that authority," said Josh Dorner, a Sierra Club spokesman.

and here's another:

Tell Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute the Bush administration for War Crimes.

Democracy for American thinks you should tell Attorney General Eric holder to prosecute Bush administrations officials.

Recently, Newsweek broke big news. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may be on the verge of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate cases of torture from the Bush era.

This is a major step in the right direction. If we hope to ever hold Bush or Cheney or Karl Rove accountable for their reckless disregard of the Constitution, we need the Attorney General to get the process started.

The problem is there's enormous political pressure to sweep the past under the rug. The fact Attorney General Holder is sending signals that he may move forward despite this pressure shows real courage. But courage alone is not enough. We need action. Attorney General Holder needs to hear from you.


July 18 PST

ITEM: Obama is starting to fight hard for real healthcare reform and its about fucking time. Remember: 2012 is looking like a nightmare of record level unemployment. His climate change bill won't change the climate and worse it won't create enough green jobs. And as I predicted, EFCA is being weakened as we speak. I'm trying to figure out how he wins reelection if he pisses off the average worker, the environmental movement and labor. The answer is "he can't" unless he passes historic healthcare reform which improves the well being of every single American. Its his only shot.

I also like the fact that he's running this ad below in Pittsburgh and other key blue dog spots throughout the country.

It targets  both Jason Altmire, who has not come out in favor of an immediate public option probably because his former job title was that of "insurance lobbyist" and John Murtha who signed that horrible dems pro life petition against health care reform. (See...You have a bill that would, according to the Senate HELP committee, insure up to 97.3 percent of Americans, save and insure perhaps one third of the nation or over 100 million people who are uninsured or underinsured, not to mention ease suffering and misery and hardship throughout the nation so you oppose it because you're...Pro Life? I mean, can I have a WTF from the audience please...?) (Note all the Pennsylvania dems and Marcy Marcy Marcy Kaptur...how could you have signed that?)

More of this "Battlin' Barrack", please. ("He's Battlin'...!")

ITEM: Doug Henwood, main writer behind "The Left Business Observer" which is both a magazine and a radio show, has a new blog by the way. If you were literate before the Internet, Doug was kind of your Atrios.

July 14

ITEM: By the way, Daphne Covington is my winner of the Three Rivers Arts Festival for best of show. She placed third according to the judges but I'm my own judge and jury around here and here Daphne rules.

ITEM: I keep forgetting to post this but the Regional Monitoring Equity Project, an outlet of BPEP that's actually watching and wondering where all that stimulus money is going and if it actually benefits disadvantaged communities, has a meeting Wednesday night at the Hill House. If you want to keep up to date on what they've been doing check out the website here. I have caught the last two Jake Wheatley meetings at the state level about where the stimulus dollars are going and judging from those hearings it looks as if the stimulus monies will reach, possibly, hundreds of black hands, which isn't nearly enough to make a dent in unemployment or joblessness rates. More black people probably benefit from the lottery. But I could have read those meetings wrong. I'm going to email Jake and ask him to forward me his final report.

July 13

ITEM: I think the E Rocket bike is a winner though expensive. Like the British announcer said "Was keen on it until I heard the price." But the $40000 price would come down once it was mass produced. It looks like there's less there than in motorcycles or mopeds. It would end up costing in the 2000 dollar range. It looks like a fantastic ride. It apparently amplifies your pedaling power by a factor of 50. Wow. How does it do that? I guess this is the kind of product that I wish was being built in the U S of A.

July 10th PST

ITEM: Sorry for the long breaks between formal posts, although I am posting at other places oddly enough. I'm just not always posting here. I also have a space problem which I'm trying to figure out. Even though my provider gives me 12 gigs I'm limited to 200 megabytes with this old server they have me on. I can switch to a better server but the last time I did that with Majic 12 the site was down for about a week and I'm not sure if redirects would even work. So I'm trying to figure out my next move. I should decide within the next week or so.

And on with the show:

ITEM: A total stranger posted my "No public option, no Obama second term" piece over at the Daily Kos. This stranger, who I do not even probably know, also added a poll that I thought was oddly amusing:

July 4th

 ITEM: I think I've used this before as a holiday item. That's because its cool.

 ITEM: New youtube hero puts July 4th and the healthcare battle in perspective:



July 3rd

ITEM: I should get one of these bracelets. Two stunning pro public option ads came to my attention the other day. One is by MoveOn which is raising money to put this on the airwaves. Out here on the Internets, of course, we can provide your artificial progressive consensual reality free and easy.

And this guy Lee Stranahan, an uninsured guy who's taking on the insurance industry, does fantastic progressive ads. Check out his whole page.

June 26 PST

ITEM: I've looked deep into my soul and I have nothing pertinent or interesting to say about the deaths of Michael Jackson or Farrah Fawcett. She was never my favorite angel anyway. I liked the smart one. I am guessing that if you look elsewhere you may find some news about those people.

June 24 PST

Tuesday April 15, 2008

Bloom County character Oliver Wendell Jones and NPR Senior Producer Walter Ray Watson: Separated at birth? Actually, it was a closer resemblance before Walt got the dreds...

Morrissey was right. We hate it when our friends become successful. My former New Pittsburgh Courier colleague Walter Ray Watson is the recipient of a Nieman Fellowship. I think that means he gets to teach and write for a year or a summer and he still gets to go back to his job at NPR when he's done. One of the great crimes of this world would be if Walter was unable to finish a book--I mean, any book--before he leaves this plane. One of the most gifted natural stylists I've ever seen, let alone worked with. Congrats. I should note that this gives me another opportunity to take a shot at my old union busting Courier boss Rod Doss. Keep in mind that not only did Rod not hire Tony Norman, arguably the most interesting essayist in the local corporate media, he wouldn't give Walter a recommendation. True, that's because he sort of supported the union I organized down there. I guess that's the kind of thing that angers a pro life republican. But, and I do so hate giving Rod any credit at all, perhaps its best to have had a bad father than no father at all. Rod at least hired you when the white papers in this town wouldn't.  I have to also confess I'm also interested in the topic he's studying which is: "will study how the new media will affect communities that lack access to the changing way news and information are delivered." Welp, as Walt used to write, I think the answer is that the new media will probably supplant and replace most of what now constitutes the mainstream media or at least that's my sincere hope. I do hope that NPR is the last to fall, however, in that they do represent excellence. One snarky point: shouldn't someone who's writing about the New Media actually have a blog or two? Then again, I suppose you could talk about my Morrissey impression among other embarrassing hijinks that we had at the Courier, which we once joked about turning into a sitcom proposal...

July 31

I wish I could say that I was watching Sicko as a completely disinterested party. Unfortunately, I'm one of those 50 million Americans who doesn't have health insurance--

--quick aside: I indirectly work part time for UPMC. I even have an UPMC identification card. But part timers don't get health care benefits for the smaller company that I work for and apparently UPMC, with only 400 million in profits last time I checked, can't afford to cover me as well. Quick note to all you folks who spout AMA propaganda about the "long waits" whenever single payer comes up: I would prefer long waits to never seeing a doctor at all--

--True, I'm in good health (I think. Nothing has fallen off, so far....) and I walk a lot but it would be nice to talk to a doctor other than in an emergency room. The main thing I took away from the movie is that other people in other countries live much better than we do, period. They get better health care, better education, and probably better lives. And yes there are other reasons why they want us to hate France as Mike Moore makes clear in this clip. I guess this is why your usual corporate media outlets don't do more journalism about How People Live abroad. One: They rather you didn't know and two: you might notice that where people have the six week vacations and unemployment insurance that pays better than our minimum wage they tend to have real opposition/labor parties, as opposed to pretend ones that think NAFTA is going great. I guess, and this could be the theme of all of Mike Moore's movies: I live in a country that really doesn't give a fuck about me. Hail America and so forth....

Moore also offers a number of solutions at his website. I'm definitely printing out that Sicko health care card above. Its the only health card I'll have. There's also this:

Tell congress to pass HR 676 now.
31101 submissions so far.

Moore also points out that there is a House Bill that would simply expand Medicare to everybody. Sounds good. I'm sure the insurance lobbies and the AMA will take a break on this and let it pass without objection or outcry or multimillion scary ad campaigns. Yes I like to openly amuse myself. Related: there was a big debate recently between Nathan Newman and Ezra Klein about whether the states should take the lead on providing health care or the feds. I found myself on the Nathan Newman side of things here. Let the states take a crack at it. The federal  Republican only filibuster will kill all meaningful change in health care policy and other issues of meaning as well.

June 16

Keep checking out her work. Someone stole her bike recently. Goodwills and second hand shops have great cheap bikes.

(Comment here as well.)

Dec 2004 thru March  2005

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.ensure a free and fair election (ban paperless voting machines)
20 amazing facts about voting in the usa : the brad blog : ohio election fraud : rotten in denmark : blackboxvoting.org : help america recount : votergate : verifiedvoting.org : voteprotect.org : blackboxvoting.com : instant runoff voting : black box notes : diebold variations

Old TV List

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Links of note:

Comic Look at 2008 Election That Feels Realistic and is Markos "Our Man on the Internet?"
Saying Goodbye To Mr Gone/Joseph Zawinul Obit
Why I Read Marx and Support the Real News
Things A Decent Congress Would Do Featuring Cindy Sheehan
11 Notes That I Would Attach to Bricks I've Thrown Through Bank Windows
My Evening with Markos or "And Mah Mitts"