Thursday, October 01, 2009

Healthcare and the Public Option

I like the public option, because I like what it is supposed to do. That, however, does not mean this is the only route we can take. The problem is both parties are not participating in shaping the future of healthcare. The idea is that the public option* would provide a means of containing cost in medical treatment. One would assume that they (the public provider) would limit what they'd be willing pay out and utilize a cost vs. overhead ratio that is more similar to Medicaid (around 7-10% for overhead) instead of that of private insurance (around 30%). This bargaining muscle would control costs because they'd control what is paid. This is the exact way that Wal-Mart uses its purchasing power to control the costs of the market.

If something else can control this cost inflation, I'd be fine with it. No matter if it be a co-op (like a public option but a privately run non-profit), a public option, or whatever. it just has to be something that actually exists. what it cannot be is a tax break that ignores the increase in cost and tries to paint over the problem by subsidizing the outrageous growth in cost. I've yet to hear many ideas dealing with this issue, but does not including a public option or a co-op. Other than the 'single payer', I've not heard anything. The Republicans have not even been in the room for the most part, let alone submitting ideas, which isn't helpful. There has been talk by Sen. Olympia Snow (R-ME) about not doing a public option at first, but having a 'trigger' that activates it if the 'other' ways don't work. I'm fine with this if it gets the job done, but I honestly think that's more about political expediency rather than actual sound policy. while i know that the public option has a cost (which seems to be/not be deficit neutral based on how much of a subsidy you give to poor-er people to offset the expense of buying in). I, however, think the real cost calculation is "what is the cost of full(er) coverage with the public option AND the longer term price controls it brings vs. no public option, no expense of such a program but also no alternative governor on the growth of medical expense and the half-assed care we get for this level of expense over, say...10 years.

Some things simply have costs. This is one of them. we have to figure what can give us the most bang for the dollars we are trying to spend. the only thing i don't approve of is an option that covers fewer people at a more steeply increasing rate. if there are other leading options beyond the public option, the co-op, or the triggered public option, i'd really like to hear it. I'm quite tired of the misguided notion that the price of the various plans are simply too if doing nothing were cost free. or less expensive.

It isn't.

*NOTE: Just for clarification, my understanding of the "public option" is that if you meet certain criteria, people who need coverage would be put into an "insurance exhange", in which a public option would be one of the choices. the others being private insurers. if someone speaks to you about the public option being a stand alone item, not as part of a group of available policies in this 'exchange', then they most likely don't know what they are talking about.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gog and Magog Bring You Freedom Fries

know what else i'm tired of?Gog and Magog being the reason that we went to war in Iraq. not WMD or what-the-hell-ever made up crap we used to justify it.


...Stranger still are new accounts emerging from France describing how former president Jacques Chirac was utterly baffled by a 2003 telephone conversation in which Bush reportedly invoked fanatical Old Testament prophesy -- including the Earth-ending battle with forces of evil, Gog and Magog -- in his arguments to enlist France in the Coalition of the Willing.

"This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people's enemies before a New Age begins," Bush said to Chirac, according to Thomas Romer, a University of Lausanne theology professor who was later approached by French officials anxious to understand the context of the biblical reference. (toronto)

In the winter of 2003, when George Bush and Tony Blair were frantically gathering support for their planned invasion, Professor Thomas Römer, an Old Testament expert at the university of Lausanne, was rung up by the Protestant Federation of France. They asked him to supply them with a summary of the legends surrounding Gog and Magog and as the conversation progressed, he realised that this had originally come, from the highest reaches of the French government.

President Jacques Chirac wanted to know what the hell President Bush had been on about in their last conversation. Bush had then said that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw "Gog and Magog at work" and the biblical prophecies unfolding. But who the hell were Gog and Magog? Neither Chirac nor his office had any idea. But they knew Bush was an evangelical Christian, so they asked the French Federation of Protestants, who in turn asked Professor Römer. (uk)

Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East.... The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled.... This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

This bizarre episode occurred while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to unleash the Iraq invasion. Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

After the 2003 call, the puzzled French leader didn’t comply with Bush’s request. Instead, his staff asked Thomas Romer, a theologian at the University of Lausanne, to analyze the weird appeal.

....In 2007, Dr. Romer recounted Bush’s strange behavior in Lausanne University’s review, Allez Savoir....Subsequently, ex-President Chirac confirmed the nutty event in a long interview with French journalist Jean-Claude Maurice, who tells the tale in his new book, Si Vous le Répétez, Je Démentirai , released in March by the publisher Plon.

*(so you don't think i'm just going all lefty on this, the first two links are separate non-american accounts of this international incident.)

So let's get this straight. when bush pitched a WAR in the middle east to France, part of his 'sell' was that this was HIS hand dealing with the fruition of Old Testament prophecy? well no-the-hell-wonder they said 'thanks but no thanks'. if someone came to me with that shit, i wouldn't let them MOW MY YARD. Outside of the multi-level absurdity, isn't this the very thing that we accuse Islamic extremists of doing? trying to take the world and make it over in the image of their own faith? HELL, weren't we brushing away those 'crazy' muslims that were alarmed about bush starting the crusades over again? that was just silly! we just wanted to give them 2 scoops of freedom!

THIS is why we sent kids to die while the jackasses back home demanded to have freedom fries? THIS!?! i'm so angry right now.

For Mississippians Worried over ID'ing Voters

It's worth your while to click here. If you had any illusions that the voter ID project had anything to do with actually protecting voter fraud, read this. Last session the GOP got a compromise bill to 'finally' bring Voter ID to MS and on the verge of passage it was killed.

By the GOP in the Senate.

The reason why is this brings in money. this scares people and riles them up. it plays into racial politics. actually PASSING the bill would take that out of the argument. now they're trying to run petitions in order to get the topic on the public ballot. it's a joke. the voter fraud its supposed to stop is virtually non-existent. I've worked in election law for years, in this very area. If they think THIS is how it is done, they're kidding themselves. i've fought voter fraud for years. this isn't it.

Notes From the Ground

A friend of mine is a student here at Tulane. she's in her last year and she has just under what it takes to pay the bills. she's exhausted nearly all of her options, save one. Tulane has a hardship SCHOLARSHIP that the dean has agreed to help her with. to get this, she must apply for the PLUS Loan that the federal gov't offers...and be DENIED that. Then the other options are triggered. her mom is the only guardian she has that can do this and she's a cinch to be rejected bc of her lack of income. all she has to do is apply, get rejected, and the dean has agreed to waive the holds so the woman can start classes now while it is being processed.

Cool huh?

nope. See she's a Glen Beck fan.

Glen Beck has let her in on a few things...namely that the federal government, under Obama's direction, has created viruses (?) that infect your computer when you log on to apply for that PLUS Loan. These viruses let Obama look into all your personal dealings and business and monitor your every (digital) move on that computer. so, no sir. thank you very much, but she's not going to have any of that and her daughter will just have to drop out.

no joke. The student had to call her attorney expert (me) in to go over the matter with her mom and only after a half hour legal consult did it look like she'd agree.

There are consequences, real consequences in people's lives, when the public is fed a lie. The point to these people's work is to create a constant boil and siege-fear in their viewers and listeners. The people who are concerned about how their america is changing. The fact that these same fears were not burning as real government intrusion occurred during the era of the patriot act/bush/et al era is telling. It's amazing what you can get away with if you look and sound like your audience and have an 'other' to worry over.

oh, and here is a bonus. enjoy:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Amazing Video from Iran

Iranian students attacked by the police. you can see them group across the parking lot and then just charge. The events going on right now in Iran are some of the most amazing in years. Earlier today Ahmadinejad's on party members in the Iranian Parliament broke into fist fights over the whether the President's people were sending plainclothes thugs to attack students. Note: Ahmadinejad has not been seen in public since Monday.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Zephyrs take 1st Place

Very exciting night!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boy, Tom Tomorrow is GREAT!

Those last 2 are the best, in light of the Gov. of Texas threatening to secede!

This Modern World By Tom Tomorrow

Democrats Can Be Hypocrites Too!

Seems this Blue Dog Democrat was just FINE with that felony warrantless wiretapping that Bush instigated...until she found out she was being wiretapped herself!

Jane Harman: Angry, partisan, civil liberties extremist

Blue Dog Rep. Jane Harman -- once the most vigorous Democratic cheerleader of Bush's NSA warrantless eavesdropping program -- is rip-roarin' angry today.  Apparently, her private conversations were eavesdropped on by the U.S. Government!  This is a grave outrage that, as she told Andrea Mitchell just moments ago, demands a probing investigation:

That's what I asked Attorney General Holder to do -- to release any tapes, I don't know whether they were legally made or not, of my conservations about this matter  . . . and to hope that he will investigate whether other members of Congress or other innocent Americans might have been subject to this same treatment.  I call it an abuse of power in the letter I wrote him this morning. . . .

I'm just very disappointed that my country -- I'm an American citizen just like you are -- could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power in recent years.  I'm one member of Congress who may be caught up in it, and I have a bully pulpit and I can fight back.  I'm thinking about others who have no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening in on their conversations, and they're innocent Americans.

So if I understand this correctly -- and I'm pretty sure I do -- when the U.S. Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and in violation of the law, that was "both legal and necessary" as well as "essential to U.S. national security," and it was the "despicable" whistle-blowers (such as Thomas Tamm) who disclosed that crime and the newspapers which reported it who should have been criminally investigated, but not the lawbreaking government officials.  But when the U.S. Government legally and with warrants eavesdrops on Jane Harman, that is an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violent assault on her rights as an American citizen, and full-scale investigations must be commenced immediately to get to the bottom of this abuse of power.  Behold Jane Harman's overnight transformation from Very Serious Champion of the Lawless Surveillance State to shrill civil liberties extremist. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saints Fan!

They Probably Just Forgot!

This one won't help them much...The GOP is tired of being called "The Party of NO!", as if they're only obstructionist, possessing no alternatives of their own.  They're set to put an end to that today with the release of the Republican budget titled "The Republican Road to Recovery".

...The problem is the budget they released DOESN'T HAVE ANY NUMBERS IN IT!  That's right!  no deficit projections, no savings projections, nor a calculation of where this savings would manifest itself.  They couldn't have thought this was a good idea.  Really?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ricky Gervais and Elmo

This was pretty funny...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You Know, I've Been Wondering...

The Republicans have a long history of loyalty to their leadership. regardless of my own feelings, i'm a little amazed at how harsh the GOP faithful are turning on this guy. Whether it be Rush or members of congress, they're not really known for shooting down their own kind. Have you ever seen it? find a relative older than you. did THEY ever see anything like this?


I guess the real question is how long they plan to let a black man run the party? maybe it was a little too soon for this much progress?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

3 homeruns so far!

What a great Saturday!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wish you were here!

Geaux Hornets!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sworn IN

Well, I just watched the ceremony. This is actually something I did not intend to watch. i'm a little odd when it comes to the ceremony around politics. anyway, a friend talking to me about this made me (without her realizing it) rethink this. Maybe because it has been 16 years since the Inaugural Address was meaningful to me. As readers here may have noticed, my posts have been sporadic. this is (in part) because elections take a lot out of me. i devote a lot of my time, money, and heart into these things and i just feel exhausted and sometimes have trouble picking back up. (look at old posts here after each election).

The speech was good. I cannot tell if it will go down in history as profound, but it was very much something we (i) needed. He took great pains to address what i call the Republican fears. not just fears about Democrats or Obama, but rather fears that the Republican Leadership have created: The government's existence is terrible and can't be trusted, then using this notion as cover to run a government designed to fail and privatize work for more expense. The idea that we must give up our rights to be protected. That the President is above the law and and you're unpatriotic to disagree. A passive aggressive, and sometimes not so passive, tone that not everyone here is quite as American as everyone else. An enabled irresponsibility.

The speech hit on the themes i really liked from the acceptance speech. the parts of both that were important to me were the the references to this serious state we are in. One of the most impressive things i've seen (along with his speech on race) was on election night when he ordered the fireworks not to be shot at Grant Park. the reason was the serious, almost grave tone that he took. We won, but this is the beginning of the real work. That we are in dire straits and that the previous leadership as not required sacrifice from us. That is ending. I like hearing our problems taken in a serious tone. Not simple platitudes that suggest "we shall prevail," but a shaking of the people by their collars. We are in tough times and we ALL need to fix it. not "it will be ok" or "THEY will fix it" or "I will fix it". I think it has been a decade since I've heard an elected official tell us that WE have to meet these expectations...and hearing that the expectations go beyond "freedom" or "liberty".

We have to conserve. We have to be responsible for the obligations of the nation.

I have said many times about the change in leadership, that i'm ready for the grown ups to be back in charge. I'm tired of Men that fight 2 wars and never budget the cost. I feel like the nation's inside has been hulled so that the favored may get their way. I did feel happy today and i did feel slightly inspired. To be quite frank, the real way i felt was relief. Like i don't have to be sick anymore. I've been very sick for a very long time. I am ready for life to be better again.

I really liked the comments stating that we are 'ready to lead once more'.

People were cheering the helicopter taking bush away, and that is telling.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dinner from last week

This is a test.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

New Orleans Musem of Art Sculpture Garden

I like the New Orleans Museum of Art a lot. the entrance to the grounds is pretty damn awesome. CLICK the photos for nice big shots. I really liked the last one.