Monday, August 31, 2009

Compelling facts and analysis from an expert and friend, ranting away on healthcare..

So here's a rant/a few replies to some "know-it-not," from a new, brilliant friend of mine who recently completed law school, and is now getting her PhD in cellular & molecular biology/virology; she has a clear understanding about the current state of affairs with regards to healthcare and healthcare reform, and what American needs. She's also read lots of the different currently-proposed bills out there. - sj

"...Now onto what I like about the Health Bill Proposal, in a word, everything. What I like most is the objective of the bill a socialized medicine system. I take no issue whatsoever with the implementation plan proposed. I support this plan because medical bills cause more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies.

..Furthermore, it seems to me to be a much smarter idea to have the government being a "middle man" between ourselves and our health care provider, than insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It is simply bad news to have your health care supplied, managed and paid for by someone with a fiduciary interest in your being sick. What is better about having a government official in charge? At least in a government run plan you can elect people to represent your interests. Try influencing what Aetna will cover. Go ahead, try.

...It is in the government’s best interest to keep you healthy so you can work and pay taxes. It is Aetna’s best interest to charge you the most that they can while covering the least stuff they can get away with. Also, the coverage determines the health care you can even have access to because if Aetna doesn’t cover it you are not getting it done.

...I have never heard anyone suggest that we should privatize fire companies, the post office, or the police forces. That being said, some people choose to hire private fire companies or security agents or send something via UPS. My point is that similarly there will always be private insurance companies for people who want to pay more because for whatever reason they prefer that kind of care, but if Obama’s bill passes, there will be insurance for us poor schulbs who cannot afford to pay $1200 plus a year to a company that has a financial interest in our being ill.

You can be general, I just mean don't cite blogs, or FrontPage news. Discuss the content of the bill why exactly you don't like it. Also you misquoted me and misunderstood the part you misquoted. I wrote "It is simply bad news to have your health care supplied, managed and paid for by someone with a fiduciary interest in your being sick." And them went on to note that insurance company express their financial interest by restricting and limiting often essential coverage. Hospital and Doctors certainly want us to be ill because they are for profit institutions. If we are not ill we do no need them. Unlike government which has no interest whatsoever in getting our "sick business." I find it very interesting that the US is one of the riches countries in the world and was ranked 37th out of 191 countries by the World Health Organization in the quality of their health care.

(see here for official site)

...At the top of that list? All nations with socialized health care systems. France provides the best overall health care followed among major countries by Italy, Spain, Oman, Austria and Japan. We were also beat by:
Norway, at 11th .
Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica and Cuba– 22nd, 33rd, 36th and 39th in the world, respectively.
Singapore, ranked 6th.
In the Pacific, Australia ranks 32nd overall, while New Zealand is 41st.
Let's not forget the Middle East and North Africa: Oman is in 8th place overall, Saudi Arabia is ranked 26th , United Arab Emirates 27th and Morocco, 29th."

Obama's official birth certificate

Here it is you fucking birth survivors (clik official birth certificate for bigger view). Oh, and by the way, the other presidential candidate, John McShame, was born in Panama. Is Panama in America? - sj

Sunday, August 30, 2009

As Sponsors Flee, The Glenn Beck Show Gets More And More Awesomely Bonkers

Glenn Beck. Batshit Crazy.

Please, oh, please, click on this link. It's only two minutes of IQ-stealing idiocy, you can afford it, I promise.

As Sponsors Flee, The Glenn Beck Show Gets More And More Awesomely Bonkers

Ouch. Glenn, you flunked English, didn't you. "O-L-I-G-A-R-C-H-Y. Don't forget the "C", pal.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just 28 of the reasons I'm a liberal democrat...

I posted this earlier in the year; I'm posting it again today. I found this several years ago and don't know who originally wrote it. - sj

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance; and now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax payer-funded roads. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by the Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification. He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans - and aforementioned sub-species, Conservatives - have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. And Joe agrees: “We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have!”

Monday, August 24, 2009

GOP Rep. Trent Franks Considering Obama Citizenship Lawsuit

Apparently, obstructing any kind of meaningful healthcare reform just can't keep GOoPer congresscritters busy enough. So we get this kind of manure:

GOP Rep. Trent Franks Considering Obama Citizenship Lawsuit

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To be fair, Franks did say he believed Obama was a natural-born citizen. But it is kind of funny that this guy also sponsors legislation for tort reform!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Things that make you go, "Hmmmm..."Expanding waistlines may cause shrinking brains - health - 23 August 2009 - New Scientist

Expanding waistlines may cause shrinking brains - health - 23 August 2009 - New Scientist

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We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to Nicole Pagonis who won the random drawing and pair of tickets to the Eagles/Jag-wires game at the Linc this Thursday night!

thanks everyone for following me/and entering. maybe do something else like it in the future!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tom Ridge (Homeland Security top dog) admits Bush/Cheney used color-coded terror chart for political gain! ..and y'all called Mike Moore crazy!

More evidence Bush & Cheney lied to you about terror alerts ("gasp!") and the possibilities of getting attacked here at home, for NOTHING more than political gain! Yes, unfortunately, making up shit and falsifying intelligence (like they did for the wholly unnecessary Iraq war) on a seemingly daily basis, trumped serving American citizens for the good of the country. It's really a shame that 58 million of y'all voted for them. Some of y'all have come around and realized what terrible assholes Bush/Cheney are, others...not so much. Well, read this little summary here of Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge's new book (and any links in the piece you feel like clicking on), and learn something new, perhaps. People always ask, "how; why would Bush/Cheney lie to us like this?" Well, one answer is this: "Because they're aware how effective it is; they know damn well how gullible & ignorant you are."

Tom Ridge: I Was Pressured To Raise Terror Alert To Help Bush Win
by: Rachel Weiner
Posted: 08-20-09
Huffington Post

In a new book, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reveals new details on politicization under President Bush, reports US News & World Report's Paul Bedard. Among other things, Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise the terror alert to help Bush win re-election in 2004.

Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.

click here for rest of article, and highlighted links.

Missing John McCain

Here's a great piece by a friend, and I'm really excited for him for this reason: the editors at Huffington Post thought it was great also, and posted it on their blog/site! Click here, or on title of this post for Huff Po view. Congratulations, Seth! - sj

Missing John McCain
By Seth Pendleton
Partner, 4C Partners
Posted on Huffington Post: August 17, 2009 10:41 AM

During the presidential campaign, there were many things about John McCain that were hard to take. He was angry, awkward, and wrapped a little too tightly. And lest we forget, it was John McCain who unleashed Sarah Palin (aka the Big Quit) upon the American landscape. That alone we could legitimately see as utterly unforgivable. Nonetheless, at this moment in American politics, I find myself missing John McCain.

I don't miss the faux maverick shtick, or the bus, or the way he looks exactly like Nikita Khrushchev in a certain light. What I do miss is his courage. Not the incredible courage he displayed in the skies over Vietnam and during his horrific imprisonment in the Hanoi Hilton, though that courage illustrated the best part of John McCain the man.

I am speaking of a moment during a town hall late in the campaign, when a woman stood up and declared that Senator Obama was "an Arab." McCain did an amazing thing. Before she could finish, he reached out and took the microphone from her hand. You could clearly see his face harden as he backed away, refusing to look at her. Then he spoke. "He (Obama)'s a decent, family man, a citizen who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about."

McCain shut the woman down. He didn't even let her finish. He took the mic, turned away, and spoke the truth to someone speaking absolute lies.

Which leads me to wonder: where is that steady, sane, courageous voice in the Republican Party today? Where is the Republican leader willing to say to the frothing birthers: "The President is as American as you and me. We just disagree."

Where is the Republican Senator or Congressperson with the guts to buck the Limbaughhannitybeckdrudge machine and say, "Comparing the President to Hitler is an affront to the memory of every one of the six million men, women, and children who died in the Nazi death camps of World War II"?

Where is the one conservative commentator willing to say, "You know what? I believe in the Second Amendment, but bringing a loaded gun to a venue where the president is speaking just makes us all look crazy."

As a longtime liberal, a certain side of me relishes watching my political adversaries rushing headlong to form a circular firing squad. But some things transcend politics and point to a moral failing that harms the fabric of society. And that moral failing belongs increasingly to the Republicans who stand mute on the sidelines.

I am not saying it would be easy. Bucking your party is hard. And bucking your base -- as batshit crazy as it may be -- can be even harder. Kicking a can of kerosene onto the fire instead of grabbing a fire extinguisher can be the path of least political resistance. And if we are looking for courage from most politicians, we are on the ultimate fool's errand.

I know there must be one Republican out there with the courage to follow John McCain's example -- to take the microphone and turn away from the crazy person. But as the days tick by and the level of vitriol rises, there is, as of yet, no one calling bullshit on the absurd and dangerous happenings in America today.

Republicans have been bellowing for decades about how tough they are, and that they are ready to kick ass all over the world to protect America. It's time to see what they are willing to do to protect America right here at home.

If anyone can find one courageous Republican who is up to the task, tell them that their party -- and their country -- is looking for them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Poor thing....

Let's talk about great healthcare around the world

"All that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies."

The Swiss Menace
Published: August 16, 2009

It was the blooper heard round the world. In an editorial denouncing Democratic health reform plans, Investor’s Business Daily tried to frighten its readers by declaring that in Britain, where the government runs health care, the handicapped physicist Stephen Hawking “wouldn’t have a chance,” because the National Health Service would consider his life “essentially worthless.”

Professor Hawking, who was born in Britain, has lived there all his life, and has been well cared for by the National Health Service, was not amused.

Besides being vile and stupid, however, the editorial was beside the point. Investor’s Business Daily would like you to believe that Obamacare would turn America into Britain — or, rather, a dystopian fantasy version of Britain. The screamers on talk radio and Fox News would have you believe that the plan is to turn America into the Soviet Union.

But the truth is that the plans on the table would, roughly speaking, turn America into Switzerland — which may be occupied by lederhosen-wearing holey-cheese eaters, but wasn’t a socialist hellhole the last time I looked.

Let’s talk about health care around the advanced world. Every wealthy country other than the United States guarantees essential care to all its citizens.

click here for the rest

win a free pair of Eagles/Jaguar tix for next week's game!

Who wants to be entered in a very-winnable drawing for a free pair of Eagles/Jag-wire tix for Thurs. 8/27 (M. Vick's debut)?! Simply be 'following' me on my blog (see 'follow my blog' on left sidebar), or twitter (also on left sidebar, see 'follow me on twitter, at bottom of twit-log), by 11:59PM this Sat (drawing at midnight)! You don't need to live in region: tix will be mailed Monday morning to anyone/any address you dictate! Only new followers from this week eligble!

Good luck!

Friday, August 14, 2009

my initial take on the Vick signing

My initial take on the Vick signing…

Let me offer an olive branch, and a potential silver lining, with regards to Vick's reputation, the animal abuses, and the social/cultural implications of the whole mess that he was responsible for.

We don't need to go through the felonies Vick was charged with, pleaded to, and convicted for, and we don't need to have a lick of a debate on how brutally disgusting his offenses were, and how all animal abuses of this nature are. If you're reading this, I am confident we're all in agreement on that subject. If you're not aware of how sick, criminal, and brutal the type of animal abuses are that Vick was involved in and punished for, then you are ignorant, and have a lot to learn.

Is it possible, in this vein, that Michael Vick can actually help, moving forward, with educating people who are truly ignorant about this; people who are dumb enough - like he was - to think there isn’t much wrong with raising, breeding, housing and pitting dogs against each other in fatal contests, and killing/torturing them along the way?

I don't know what type, if any, community service he had to partake in (his prison term was 18 months, before being released to house arrest); I heard mixed things, but with no researching, I can't say for sure. If I were him, or his agent, PETA, another animal rights group (or heck, Andy Reid, or any other concerned citizen for that matter), I would demand he take this opportunity, moving forward, to talk about what he's learned, to the kids in the communities throughout this country, who don't view his crimes as 'real' crimes. I can assure you, that while there may be plenty of kids in deep corners of various big cities and regions throughout the country who know that dogfighting and Vick-like operations, are crimes, many don't know how cruel, despicable, bad, and unacceptable that conduct really is. And none of them know what the consequences are of those decisions and that lifestyle, like Vick does. (If anyone knows anything about Vick already heading down this road, or has already done community service of this nature, please enlighten me).

There are a millions of kids who grow up not knowing what's really right from what's really wrong in this country. Millions who grew up without parents or role models to speak of. People just like Vick. He learned. Maybe he can enlighten these folks, like lots of other role models have, who fell from grace in not-to-dissimilar horrific or criminal ways; I don't know - trying to find something good in all this.

If nothing else, Vick's high profile case shined a light on a sub-culture that is more widespread than most people realized, and brought much-needed attention to it. I have heard that since the crimes were exposed, several states and jurisdictions have looked at their animal abuse statutes and sentencing guidelines (and the related organized crimes that go with them), and increased both their enforcement, as well as their resources, to both prosecute and investigate these crimes. I would be willing to bet there are less of these types of abuses taking place nationwide now, than there were before Vick's ring was exposed. If Vick could go the extra mile with his efforts to make kids in inner-cities/backwoods/wherever, aware of the ethical and moral implications with this criminal behavior, he would not only start to genuinely undo the damage he has done, but continue to keep these abuses in the spotlight, thereby making the fight to end this bullshit a lot easier.

Regarding his on the field implications, signing, etc....I'm not sure what the Eagles have in mind for him, where he'll fit in with the team, or if I even like the pick-up from a pure football perspective, But I do know this.

Vick is a great football player. The last time he played - 2006 - he rushed for 1,039 yards, and he passed for 2,474 yards. That's 3,513 yards total, along with 22 TD's. On a team with a below average WR corps, and a system that didn't play to his abilities as much as it could have.

If Vick is gonna be our 2nd string/back up QB, we could do a lot worse. But he's not gonna be. He's potentially suspended for the first six games of the season (as per the NFL commissioner, who hasn’t decided yet, whether to let him play week #1 or not), and he doesn't have a clue about how our mutated, bastardized version of a west coast offense, and unnecessarily-complex "offensive scheme" works. AJ Feely, our current third-string QB, will move into second (w/ Kevin Kolb's injury), and will be a more than adequate backup if needed. This would make Vick our third string. Without question, he's the best 3rd string QB in the league.

Here's how he'll be used. Wait, let me rephrase that. Here’s how he SHOULD be used: In any combination of the following, trick plays, decoys, kick returns, one-and-done-until-following-quarter quarterbacking, punt returns, running back, WR, unique formations, etc. In THIS vein, he can be phenomenal, because he is terribly fast, and an incredible, pure athlete (If he didn’t lose too much, the last few years, not playing).

We got him for peanuts. As I understand it, it's a 2-year deal, w/ $1.6mil the first year, and an option for $5.2mil the second year. I don't know this to be true, but the option on the second deal is entirely up to the Birds. The $1.6mil he's getting for the first year isn't much more than the league minimum can be these days. We may end up just paying the league minimum for a year. Peanuts.

If I HAD to predict if this signing helps or hurts the Eagles, I would guess it helps more than it hurts. But if it ends up hurting the team, whatev. Nothing compares to the hurt Andy Reid himself inflicts on this team, with his all-too-frequent poor coaching and GM decisions (although he did engineer his best off-season in 11 years this past off-season).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Viagra-style ice cream to go on sale at Selfridges

I don't know where to begin with this one. Oh wait, yes I do: "I'll try one!" - sj

Pop-up boutique The Icecreamists will serve The Sex Pistol - an ice cream cocktail packed with libido-boosting ingredients and served with La Fee Absinthe

The London Paper
by: Serena Kutchinsky
August 10th, 2009

Forget traditional vanilla. Londoners will be able to treat themselves to a new “vice cream” in autumn when pop-up ice cream boutique, The Icreamists opens in Selfridges.

Entitled The Sex Pistol, this bespoke creation is served as an ice cream cocktail and is packed with libido-boosting ingredients such as ginkgo, biloba, arginine and guarana. It’s served with a shot of the highly intoxicating La Fee Absinthe and is guaranteed to get your blood pumping. Customers are limited to one serving per person.

Matt O’Connor, founder of The Icecreamists, says: “This is the perfect apr├Ęs shopping treat. Just one Sex Pistol will leave you feeling energised and confident – but please, don’t pester the staff!”

The Sex Pistol costs £11.99 and is available to customers aged 18 and over.

From 10 September, Selfridges shoppers will be able to indulge in more guilty pleasures when The Icecreamist boutique opens in the department store’s basement. It’s open daily until 1 November and will serve cryogenic cocktails frozen at -196°C, pure frozen yogurts and an array of artisan ice cream flavours.

click here for the icecreamist's crazy-ass website! - sj

CBO expert states preventive care will rise - not cut - healthcare costs

I've stated this many times, and I will again: during Bush's 8 years of destroying America, no one's numbers, analysis and measured foresight was more accurate than the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO), with regards to spending on wars, bailouts, defense, infrastructure, economy, security, and on and on. The CBO did an amazing job of impartially stating things how they saw it, and informed all of us what things would cost, and how those costs - or cuts - would shape the years, and decades ahead. I trusted them then, I trust them now. And as much as I want universal healthcare for every american, a public option, competition for the corrupt healthcare insurance industry, etc, now might just not be the time. The CBO won't be going away any time soon (it's their job to shed independent light on congress's machinations), and seriously, the bottom bottom bottom line is this: there is only so much fucking money. It would behoove Obama and the Dems to listen to the CBO. As a liberal dem, I WANT them to listen. The stakes are extremely high for this healthcare reform fight; and Americans, the Democratic party, and the status quo, can't afford the dems screwing this up; not now, or for the years to come. - sj

Congressional Budget Expert Says Preventive Care Will Raise -- Not Cut -- Costs
from ABC News
by Jake Trapper, ABC News Sr. WH Correspondent and the ABC News WH Team
August 09, 2009 9:27 AM

In yet more disappointing news for Democrats pushing for health care reform, Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, offered a skeptical view Friday of the cost savings that could result from preventive care -- an area that President Obama and congressional Democrats repeatedly had emphasized as a way health care reform would be less expensive in the long term.

Obviously successful preventive care can make Americans healthier and save lives. But, Elmendorf wrote, it may not save money as Democrats had been arguing.

"Although different types of preventive care have different effects on spending, the evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall," Elmendorf wrote. "That result may seem counterintuitive.

click here for the rest

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sick for Profit

Check out this preview of Sick for Profit. If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

zero-emission car unveiled! check out Nissan's 'Leaf!'

Nissan rolls out electric car at new headquarters

By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer – Sun Aug 2, 3:42 am ET

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn drove quietly out of the Japanese automaker's soon-to-open headquarters Sunday in the first public viewing of its new zero-emission vehicle.

It was the first time the external design was shown of Nissan Motor Co.'s environmentally friendly electric automobile, set to go on sale in Japan, the U.S. and Europe next year. The blue hatchback had a sporty design and a recharging opening in the front.

Designer Shiro Nakamura said the vehicle was designed to avoid a stereotypical futuristic design.

"This is not a niche car," he said. "We didn't make it unusual looking. It had to be a real car."

Nissan has promised that the Leaf, which goes into mass-production as a global model in 2012, will be about the same price as a gas-engine car such as the 1.5 million yen ($15,000) Tiida, which sells abroad as the Versa, starting at about $10,000.
Ghosn drove out on stage with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sitting next to him, and with a Yokohama governor and mayor in the rear seats.

"This car represents a real breakthrough," Ghosn told reporters and guests at a showroom in the new headquarters.

He said the new car and new office building in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, marked two fresh starts for Nissan, which hopes to take the lead in zero-emission vehicles.

Nissan, which has an alliance with Renault SA of France, has fallen behind Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. in gas-electric hybrids that have become increasingly popular recently.

Nissan said the new 22-story headquarters was designed to be sufficiantly energy efficient to qualify as one of the most ecological buildings in Japan. The company, which is losing money amid the global downturn, is selling its old Tokyo headquarters as part of efforts to cut costs.

Koizumi said environmentally friendly auto technology is key to Japan's economic growth.

"It was so unexpectedly smooth and quiet," he said after getting out of the car. "I am sure this car is going to be popular."

click here for official site (more views, FAQ, and live chat!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Real Problem with The Senate's Small-State Bias

The Real Problem with The Senate
(click on above link for awesome piece)

This is an analytical report/study/article (complete w/ awesome graphs!) detailing just how campaign contributions from corporations influence policy-making, w/ special detail on the current healtchcare reform initiative, and committees writing legislation, and why certain house/senate members - by name - are "in the way." Also included: a complete list of the source of campaign funds for all 100 senators follows below. - sj

here's an excerpt:
"As you all surely know, the Senate is not a terribly democratic institution. A voter in Wyoming -- population 533,000 -- has about 70 times more ability to influence the Senate's direction than one in California -- population 36.8 million. And the lack of representativeness can be particularly acute when the Senate is conducting business at the committee level. Max Baucus's Table for Six, for instance, which may very well determine the fate of efforts to reform health care, is made up of members who collectively represent about 6.5 million people, or around one-fiftieth of the country's population.

This in and of itself is problematic for Democrats, since there is a correlation between the size of a state and how Democratic it tends to vote in elections for national office, although the relationship is not as strong as you might posit (Rhode Island, Delaware and Hawaii are small states too). The bigger and more structural problem, however, may have to do with the ways that small-state senators raise funds, and in turn, whose interests they are beholden to."

"...This goes a long way toward explaining, however, why the Senate tends to be more protective than the House of corporate interests -- be they in the form of bank bailouts, tax breaks, or whatever else (consider, for instance, that H.R. 1424 -- the second take on the bank bailout -- was approved with the votes of 74 percent of the Senate but just 60 percent of the House). We don't need vague notions about the "cultural" differences between the two chambers to explain this -- they have mostly to do with where the money is flowing in from."

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Billy Bob Thornton: The Asshole Lives

If you haven't seen this, settle in, and look at just what Billy Bob has become. I swear on my grave, if I ever see this puny punk in public, I will verbally assault him until he cries. - sj

Health bill inches forward in House

an informative, quick read, on where we are right now. click on title of post for complete report - sj

Health bill inches forward in House
Erica Werner
July 30th, 2009

House Democrats pushed ahead with a compromise health overhaul Thursday over liberals' complaints, intent on achieving tangible – if modest – success on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority ahead of a monthlong summer recess.

"We've got to pass the bill. Not only do we have to, but we're going to," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the last of three House committees to act on the sweeping legislation.

There was late-night drama in Waxman's committee as an anti-abortion amendment passed when conservative Democrats joined Republicans to support it – then failed less than two hours later when Waxman used a procedural maneuver to bring it up for a second vote.

In the intervening time one conservative Democrat – Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee – changed his vote from "yes" to "no." And a second conservative Democrat who hadn't voted the first time – Rep. Zack Space of Ohio – voted "no." It was enough to take the amendment down on a vote of 29 to 30.

The measure would have specified that health care legislation moving through Congress may not impose requirements for coverage of abortion, except in limited cases.

click here for the rest