Ever see one of those massive floodlights that they use for big sales promotions? Ever see four of them? How about twenty of them?
Twenty floodlights that you can control from you computer while they decorate the Vancouver skyline.
Ever see one of those massive floodlights that they use for big sales promotions? Ever see four of them? How about twenty of them?
....that this were real. He's my favoritest poet in all the world.
I didn't get to watch today's summit where Mr. Obama hosted leaders of the GOP and the Democrats to discuss his health care proposals. Judging from this report from Salon, it seems that the only people coming of the meeting looking good were Mr. Obama and the GOP. Hardly surprising.
Obama debated Republicans vigorously and with precision—but it looked like a debate among people with actual philosophical differences, which in part it was. After an in-the-weeds debate about how the Congressional Budget Office accounted for premium increases, it became clear that the debate was between Democrats who want to set minimum standards for coverage and Republicans who want the market and individual choice to rule. The Democratic plan is more expensive but covers more people. The Republican plan is cheaper and doesn't.
As it played out, the event didn't look like one reasonable person aligned against a company of hooting morons. As Obama said during the lunch break: "The argument Republicans are making really isn't that this is a government takeover of health care, but rather that we're insuring the—or we're regulating the insurance market too much. And that's a legitimate philosophical disagreement." Obama continued to affirm this view by saying things like this: "Neither of these proposals is radical. The question is which one works best."Moments like this make me glad to have Mr. Obama as President. Although I disagree with much of his agenda, I appreciate the class he brings to the office.
If only the Democrats would have negotiated in good faith with the GOP, productive legislation might have already been signed into law. Instead they have to wait for Mr. Obama to show them how it is done.
One surprising change in our culture over the last 30 years or so is how afraid we have become of nudity in art.
Art. Not porn.
The example I typically turn to is the movie 'Logan's Run'. At one point in the movie, Jenny Agutter's [no direct nudity at the link, but her robe is rather diaphanous] character strips down to nothing. She and Logan have just gone through the city's water system and have arrived in the ice cave with Box. There are furs sitting in a pile and they decide that it is better to be warm and dry than cold and wet. And so Jenny does a quick trip out of her thing....facing the camera mostly...and wraps up in the furs.
'Logan's Run' was rated PG when it was issued. I doubt Hollywood could make that movie today.
Even YouTube is caught up in protecting people from the all offensive and powerful boobies. The recently decided not to host this short video from an artist. Caution, if you or your boss finds a nude woman offensive, then offense lies ahead.
After some protesting, then eventually changed their minds. But I can't imagine why they ever thought to pull it in the first place.
Except when I look at how our movies have changed, and how parents react to students studying art that includes people sans clothing. There are times when our Puritan founding is not an asset. The current trend in art is definitely one of those occasions.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out my new widget!
Now I've got a really good reason to be depressed about the number of people that don't stop by. [sigh]a
This one is too good to believe. An alternative news outlet in Atlanta, GA is parting ways with their senior reporter over differences of opinion about news reporting standards. Straight from the horse's mouth....
In the end, we had to make a very difficult decision to move forward as a publication without Jonathan Springston. Last Wednesday, we informed him it seemed more appropriate if he found work with another publication or started his own publication.
At a very fundamental, core level, Springston did not share our vision for a news publication with a progressive perspective. He held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News. It just wasn’t the right fit.They are a little more circumspect about such things at larger outlets.
Like the NY Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, etc.
Remember 2005. The GOP controlled the U.S House of Representatives. The GOP controlled the U.S. Senate. The GOP controlled the White House.
The Democrats in the Senate were putting holds on then President Bush's nominees left and left. Remember how the GOP thought it might be a good idea to do away with the filibuster and go with a straight 51 vote majority in the Senate? Well this is what the Democrats said then.....
The money quote from then Senator Joe Biden:
"I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don't make the kind of naked power grab you are doing."
Sorry, Joe. Prayer didn't work.
To be fair, some of the GOP "holds" are outrageous. Senator Shelby's [R-MS] hold on roughly seventy administration appointments that he claims will be in place until....essentially....Boeing is awarded the contract to build 179 refueling tankers is clearly an outrageous abuse of Senatorial privilege.
At the same time, bills are being processed through the Senate every week. The "people's work" is being done. The extremist stuff....like health care....that does not enjoy popular support is being blocked. That is how the Senate is supposed to work.
2005.....2010.....the only difference is the political labels of the people in the majority.
Why, the one Mr. Obama envisions coming into being in a gradual policy shift away from our relatively free market approach to a government controlled, government mandated, single payer system.
And he isn't alone in thinking that way.
If the destination is not desirable....and this
I have been working on a longer post on the subject of "socialism". There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the U.S. is heading towards becoming a "socialist" nation. Hopefully I will get that finished and posted soon. [yeah, right - ed.]
In the meantime, I would like to point out one identifying behavior of socialist nations. Specifically, that how you vote and the initiatives you support tend to determine how well you do in terms of receiving government largesse.
Gone is the principle that one should earn what they get. Gone is the principle that we are all equal before the law and before our government.
Instead, government money and programs become skewed so that they favor the people that vote for the politicians that create and continue such initiatives. Protesting such largesse makes you a target for retribution both politically and literally.
What does that have to do with the health care debate?
Juan Diego Castro's immigrant parents urged him not to be a burden on their new country. They taught him the value of hard work and personal achievement. So what happened when he began "volunteering" as a part of the Americorps program?
See for yourself.
Megan McArdle has a brief story about Ryan Sorba's brief rant condemning CPAC for inviting GOProud; a group of openly gay conservatives. Mr. Sorba has issues with homosexuality. Megan indicated that he was booed off stage and suggests that this modest amount of progress is worth noting.
So I went looking for video or audio only to find a much longer story over at Hot Air. With video....
Now CPAC is a self limiting sample. There has been an "open tent" trend towards ignoring social issues in favor of the more broadly supported fiscal issues. However I'm not saying that the GOP is liable to adopt a platform position in favor of gay marriage anytime soon.
But you have to admit that you normally wouldn't have expected a room full of self described conservatives to [largely] boo someone off the stage for suggesting that homosexuality is wrong. Right?
An earlier look at the issue may be found here.
The Daily Mail from the UK has the recent story of Apple removing thousands of applications from their "App Store" due to "racy" content. The removed applications range from a shopping app that lets the user browse for bikinis to an entertainment app that lets the user take advantage of internal motion sensors to cause a bikinied model's body to...um....jiggle by tapping the side of the iPhone/iPod.
So where is the double standard?
While these apps ranging from the useful to the salacious have been removed, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit app remains available. I don't own an appropriate Apple product, but I'm willing to bet that this app includes photos of models wearing body paint as well as swimsuits!
Apparently Apple only approves of bikinis on models if you have more lawyers than God and are therefore capable of fighting back against their arbitrary "rules".
The Knoxville News Sentinel has the story of a Tennessean who has received an apology from the chief of police for the Knoxville Police Department.
The short version is that Trevor Putnam had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. It is also legal in Tennessee to carry an unconcealed weapon. One evening a while back, Mr. Putnam escorted his girlfriend on a shopping trip to the local Walmart. While he ordinarily would either wear a jacket or pull his shirt tail out to cover his pistol and holster, on this evening he did neither.
KPD officer Glenn Todd Greene pulled him aside to ask why he was carrying a firearm in public. Officer Greene eventually told Mr. Putnam "he'd find a reason to put me in jail,". A clear abuse of authority.
The fact that Mr. Putnam had a Constitutional right to do so apparently never crossed Officer Greene's mind.
A KPD investigation following Mr. Putnam's complaint concluded that Officer Greene did not know the law and had acted unacceptably. A letter of reprimand and mandatory supplemental training on the law resulted. Department wide training will also take place over the course of the coming year.
My sole complaint when it comes to our law enforcers is when they forget that ordinary citizens created the governments that they serve. Our rights supercede their perceived duties.
Any other arrangement makes us property of the government; subject to the whims of government agents.
Fortunately, most of the law enforcers I've had the pleasure of knowing look at things the same way. They walk a tough line and I'm glad to have their honorable service.
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, David Kopel has the story of armed defense of the civil rights movement. He relates the story of John Salter and his many examples of how armed minorities...and the widespread knowledge that they were prepared to defend themselves....actually saved lives during the Civil Rights movement. Given that local law enforcement was not only unwilling to defend minorites from the Klan, local law enforcement was a part of the Klan in some parts of the South.
Having received many death threats, Salter carried a Smith & Wesson .38 special in his attaché case. One night, on a long stretch of isolated country road, a Klan vehicle tried to force Salter’s car into a high-speed chase, by tailing him nearly bumper-to-bumper. "But I continued to drive sedately, mile after mile with my revolver in my hand." Salter and the other community organizers had put out word on the grapevine that they were all armed, and he surmises that this was the reason that the Klansmen did not try to shoot him that night.
Soon after, "a local civil rights stalwart, Mrs. Alice Evans, of Enfield, opened fire with her double-barreled 12 gauge, sprinkling several KKKers with birdshot as they endeavored to burn a cross in her driveway one night and, simultaneously, approaching her home with buckets of gasoline." The Klansmen fled and went to the hospital. Mrs. Evans donated the cross to the Smithsonian Museum.
Modern gun proponents point out that most of our anti-gun laws were born during the Civil Rights era as an attempt to disarm minorities while leaving everyone else with their guns.
To advocate for Civil Rights is to advocate for our Second Amendment rights. One doesn't exist without the other.
Several more stories surfaced today regarding Newfoundland's Premier, Danny Williams, and his visit with us in the states to have a bit of repair work done on a leaky heart valve. From what I've read, no point in adding links - Google is your friend, the procedure Mr. Williams required was not available in Newfoundland, but was available elsewhere in Canada; specifically Toronto and Quebec. At least one story I read indicates that his doctors recommended coming to the states for whatever he had done.
"The vast majority of heart procedures are available all across Canada, in most centres," says Dr. Christopher Feindel, a cardiac surgeon at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the University Health Network in Toronto. That would include the "whole gamut" of heart surgery, from coronary bypass, to all forms of valve procedures, heart transplants and operations to restore abnormal muscle inside the heart.
While some of the more specialized procedures are concentrated in larger centres, "for the most part as far as I can tell everything is available in Canada," Feindel said.
The one significant exception would be surgery to the thoracic aorta, the giant blood vessel that carries blood that's pumped out of the heart to other organs. If a person develops a swelling or aneurysm, an abnormal bulging, in the thoracic aorta, and needs surgery to open the chest cavity, "that's a very extensive operation," Feindel said.
The Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, "has tremendous expertise in this. They're doing almost one or two of these cases a day, whereas in Ontario we might get two or three cases a year," Feindel said.
It's the only procedure Feindel has come across "that we would specifically refer to the states."
There was a least a 4 to 6 week delay before the surgery was performed at a Florida hospital. Again, my bit of research has yet to yield anything definitive regarding delays in Canada for heart surgery in general. A couple of research papers seem to suggest that delays of over a month...and in the case of one paper, several months...are common for patients in need of heart [bypass] surgery. But again, he scheduled his procedure 4 to 6 weeks after being diagnosed by his local physicians.
On the one hand, Canadian critics of Canada's health care system complain about delays. On the other hand, the people running their system say almost uniformly that there is not problem.
Perhaps this isn't the best example of problems in their health care system. It certainly isn't a good enough example to justify most of the crowing being done by the right over the last week or two.
My larger point remains. That not only immediate treatment, but also future medical developments and inventions are disproportionately the province of American medical researchers. Without our modestly free market system to pay for successive generations of medical developments, where will the rest of the world turn when they need the next cure, the next drug, or the next procedure? What happens to them and their heirs if we decide to follow their lead down the road of nationalized health care systems?
As a part of keeping up with our two 'round the world sailors, Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson, I came across this interesting site. Apparently, a few hardy souls are going to re-create the voyage of Captain William Bligh of HMS Bounty after he and a handful of loyal seamen were set adrift in a 23 foot launch by mutineers.
Mike Perham, currently the youngest person to solo navigate the globe, is reported to be taking part in the expedition.
.....sometimes for the better. Take a look at the photos that accompany this story. Heck...read the story! Notice anything going right? Like folks with different amounts of
melatonin melanin [thanks to Ruth for the correction] in their skin having a good time together?
Karma being what it is, I have no doubt that we will be treated to yet another story that reminds us that we still have a long way to go when it comes to race relations. We ought to enjoy the small victories when we can.
"Oh Lord! Please save our dumb butts from the logical result of "electing" a socialist as El Presidente!"
As I noted back at my old blog, the Obama administration decided to last summer to make mental health coverage equal with physical health when it comes to insurance coverage. Their decision takes effect this summer.
In effect, the administration has mandated a new insurance benefit.
As most normal people would expect, health insurance premiums have been rising to cover the costs associated with this new benefit. The increases have been staggering. We just got hit by them where I work. Insurance premium increases are ginormous this year.
The response by the Obama administration? To seek power to block insurance premium increases.
Now as any first year economics student can tell you, when the government mandates that the price for a good or service be less than the cost to provide that good or service, the obvious and predictable result is that the good or service in question will cease to be available. Someone needs to hire a good first year economics student to advise the administration.
Were I a more cynical person, I'd start to believe that the administration had purposefully orchestrated the current increase in insurance premiums in order to gain political support for their attempts to seize control of one seventh of our economy via a federally dictated insurance benefit.
On the other hand, I have no idea what the insurers are thinking. Perhaps they think that national health care is a fait accompli and they are better off reaping whatever profits they can while they can. Pretty short sighted of them, but that seems to be the national standard for public and private policy these days.
I have been working on a longer post regarding the recent Citizen's United case. In the meantime, my old buddy Vin Suprynowicz from the Las Vegas Review Journal as an excellent column on the issues at hand.
The one thing he says that needs to be repeated is how wrong some of the critics are when they mis-state the impact of this case.
Domestic corporations remain barred from using corporate treasuries to make direct donations to candidates — they have to contribute to “PACs.” Foreign corporations remain barred from contributing to American campaigns, at all.And of course he is correct to note the double standard in play here. If the GOP were reacting as the Democrats are reacting, they would be crucified by the major media.
If she is successful, then Princella Smith may be the first black, woman Republican in Congress. She would also be the first Republican to represent her district since 1872.
Kind of an interesting guy. Sounds like he's put together pretty well. Pity there aren't more like him.
Now here's a guy to admire. Faced with IRS liens and a bank that would rather have his home than the money he owes, Terry Hoskins tells 'em both to eat sand.....by bulldozing the home that the IRS and the bank want to get their hands on. The story I saw on NBC indicated that he had never been late with a mortgage payment.
In related news, actor Wesley Snipes finds all of the news about tax protesters to be nothing new. I'm still amazed to find that they want to put him in prison for 5 years. Over a tax issue. Putting productive, tax paying citizens in prison over tax related issues is a complete and utter waste of time. And it is inherently immoral given the "special" breaks being given to well connected politicians like Timothy Geithner and Charles Rangel.