• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Pornhub Category: White H…
    HerStoryRepeating on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Kathleen A Wynne on Pornhub Category: White H…
    William on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Kathleen A Wynne on Pornhub Category: White H…
    William on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Sweet Sue on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Pornhub Category: White H…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
    bellecat on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    September 2009
    S M T W T F S
    « Aug   Oct »
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    27282930  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Inequality is Unnatural
      I’ve been reading UltraSociety, by Peter Turchin. Turchin’s a biologist turned to mathematical models of human society, and he’s done interesting work, not all of which I agree with (or agree is quite as radical as he claims.) But one of the points he makes in UltraSociety, which has been made by many archeologists and […]
  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

Greatest Speech on Health Care Reform EVAH!

flip-flop


Obama was for it before he was against it. The man who revived “Harry and Louise” to use against Hillary in the primaries doesn’t want to make the same mistakes she made. He drew a line in the sand and said everything is negotiable. What surprises does he have in store for us tonight?

He’s got his best TelePrompters fired up and ready to go, the Failbots have their reaction posts ready (“I was so overcome with emotion I filled my bathtub with Kool-aid and soaked in the holy nectar!) and Tweety’s legs are tingling.

Those of you with the courage to watch can help us document the atrocities historic moment as Obama gives a speech!

To help you get through it we will be playing a drinking game – every time the Congressional Democrats leap to their feet to applaud in a phony show of enthusiasm and support you must down a shot of your favorite liquor.

Keep count of each time Obama shifts from the left to the right TelePrompter screen.

The over/under is 212

(This is a kinda-sorta-semi-live blog)


digg!!! tweet!!! share!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Advertisements

Mt. Wilson and the fire

The last couple of weeks, the world in all of Greater Los Angeles has looked like this:

I’m 70 miles further west. The skyscrapers would be too small to see (and they’d be hidden behind the curve of the Earth) but the cloud looked much the same. That’s how huge it was. (There are many more amazing fire pictures at the LATimes site, besides the one by Dan Bartletti above.)

Three weeks earlier, I’d been up in the mountains that are now black stumps and grey ash, visiting Mt. Wilson. This was the view from the place that was going to be in the bullseye under that cloud.
Continue reading

Afghanistan: Is It Worth It?

THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNSThe Public Debate has been revolving intensely around Health Care lately, so we haven’t had much of a chance to discuss the War in Afghanistan.

Last night, I read an impassioned article by Tom Engelhardt, discussing the costs, escalation, public opinion, fraudulent elections, private contractors, ect. I would strongly recommend it to anyone, because it goes by numbers and facts. Here are just a few of them.

EscalationNumber of additional troops General McChrystal is expected to recommend that President Obama send to Afghanistan in the coming months: 21,000 to 45,000, according to the McClatchy Newspapers; 10,000 to 15,000 (“described as a high-risk option”), 25,000 (“a medium-risk option”), 45,000 (“a low-risk option”), according to the New York Times; fewer than 10,000, according to the Associated Press.

Number of support troops Defense Department officials are planning to replace with “trigger-pullers” (combat troops) in the coming months, effectively an escalation in place: 6,000-14,000. (“The changes will not offset the potential need for additional troops in the future, but could reduce the size of any request… officials said.”)

Number of additional NATO forces General McChrystal will reportedly ask for: 20,000.

Optimal number of additional Afghan National Army (ANA) troops to be trained by 2012, according to reports on General McChrystal’s draft plan: 162,000. (According to Naval Postgraduate School professor Thomas H. Johnson and retired Foreign Service officer M. Chris Mason,”[T]he U.S. military touts 91,000 ANA soldiers as ‘trained and equipped,’ knowing full well that barely 39,000 are still in the ranks and present for duty.”)

Public Opinion

Percentage of Americans opposed to the war in Afghanistan: 57%, according to the latest CNN poll, an 11% rise since April. Only 42% now support the war.

Percentage of Republicans who support the war: 70%, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Percentage of Americans who approve of President’s Obama’s handling of the war: 48%, according to the latest CBS poll, a drop of 8 points since April. (Support for increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan is now at just 25%, down 14% from April.)

Percentage of British who feel their forces should be withdrawn from Afghanistan: 59%.

Percentage of Germans opposed to that country’s 4,000 troop commitment to Afghanistan: More than 70%.

The Presidential Election

Estimated cost of staging the 2009 Afghan presidential election: $500 million.

Number of complaints of voting irregularities: More than 2,500 and still climbing, 691 of them described as “serious charges.”

Number of members of the “Independent Election Commission” not appointed by Afghan President (and presidential candidate) Hamid Karzai: 0.

Cost of blank voting-registration cards in Ghazni Province in May 2009: $200 for 200 blank registration cards.

Cost of such a card purchased by “an undercover Afghan journalist working for the BBC” this fall: $8.

Number of voter registration cards (not including fakes) reportedly distributed countrywide: 17 million or almost twice the estimated number of eligible voters.

Number of ballots cast at the Hajji Janat Gul High School polling place, half an hour from the center of Kabul: 600.

Number of votes recorded for Karzai at that polling station: 996. (Number of votes for other candidates: 5.)

Number of ballots marked for Karzai and shipped to Kabul from 45 polling sites in Shorabak District in Southern Afghanistan that were shut down by local officials connected to Karzai before voting could begin: 23,900.

Number of fake polling sites set up by backers of Karzai where no one voted but hundreds of thousands of votes were recorded: as many as 800, according to the New York Times. (Another 800 actual polling sites were taken over by Karzai supporters “to fraudulently report tens of thousands of additional ballots for Mr. Karzai.”)

Number of ballots in Karzai’s home province, Kandahar, where an estimated 25,000 Afghans actually voted, submitted to be counted: approximately 350,000.

It is becoming apparent, and has been apparent for some time now, that there is likely no military solution to Afghanistan’s problems, problems that we largely created, I might add.

Here may be the single strangest fact of our American world: that at least three administrations – Ronald Reagan’s, George W. Bush’s, and now Barack Obama’s – drew the U.S. “defense” perimeter at the Hindu Kush; that is, in the rugged, mountainous lands of Afghanistan. Put another way, while Americans argue feverishly and angrily over what kind of money, if any, to put into health care, or decaying infrastructure, or other key places of need, until recently just about no one in the mainstream raised a peep about the fact that, for nearly eight years (not to say much of the last three decades), we’ve been pouring billions of dollars, American military know-how, and American lives into a black hole in Afghanistan that is, at least in significant part, of our own creation.Imagine for a moment, as you read this post, what might have happened if Americans had decided to sink the same sort of money – $228 billion and rising fast – the same “civilian surges,” the same planning, thought, and effort (but not the same staggering ineffectiveness) into reclaiming New Orleans or Detroit, or into planning an American future here at home. Imagine, for a moment, when you read about the multi-millions going into further construction at Bagram Air Base, or to the mercenary company that provides “Lord of the Flies” hire-a-gun guards for American diplomats in massive super-embassies, or about the half-a-billion dollars sunk into a corrupt and fraudulent Afghan election, what a similar investment in our own country might have meant.

Ask yourself: Wouldn’t the U.S. have been safer and more secure if all the money, effort, and planning had gone towards “nation-building” in America? Or do you really think we’re safer now, with an official unemployment rate of 9.7%, an underemployment rate of 16.8%, and a record 25.5% teen unemployment rate, with soaring health-care costs, with vast infrastructural weaknesses and failures, and in debt up to our eyeballs, while tens of thousands of troops and massive infusions of cash are mustered ostensibly to fight a terrorist outfit that may number in the low hundreds or at most thousands, that, by all accounts, isn’t now even based in Afghanistan, and that has shown itself perfectly capable of settling into broken states like Somalia or well functioning cities like Hamburg.

The MSM has, to no one’s surprise, been paying little attention to this, and would instead like to bloviate endlessly about things no one cares about, like Michelle Obama’s shorts.

In a perfect world, Congress would be putting more pressure on the President. They would be demanding a timetable for withdrawal, since a majority of Americans are now opposed to how he is handling the War.

Americans who voted for Obama expected better. He ran his entire Campaign on an obscure speech he gave in 2002 as a State Senator from Illinois, where he allegedly said

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars.

[…]

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

Well, I’d wager that this is a dumb war, wouldn’t you?

Obots threw this speech in our faces, citing it as proof of his superior foreign policy judgment.

Too bad for them, huh?

Cross posted at Age of Aquarius

digg!!! tweet!!! share!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Wednesday morning at 5 O’clock

The world – or at least that bit of it that sits between Canada and Mexico – waits with bated breath for President Obama’s speech clarifying his Health Care Plan to the joint session of Congress tonight. Meanwhile:

U.N. Afghan panel cites fraud in vote as Karzai pulls ahead

Citing “clear and convincing evidence of fraud,” an Afghan election complaints commission on Tuesday ordered an audit and a recount of votes at numerous polling sites across this warring nation.

The order came on a pivotal day in the drawn-out — and increasingly tense — aftermath of the Aug. 20 presidential election.

College for $99 a Month

Luckily for Solvig, there were new options available. She went online looking for something that fit her wallet and her time horizon, and an ad caught her eye: a company called StraighterLine was offering online courses in subjects like accounting, statistics, and math. This was hardly unusual—hundreds of institutions are online hawking degrees. But one thing about StraighterLine stood out: it offered as many courses as she wanted for a flat rate of $99 a month. “It sounds like a scam,” Solvig thought—she’d run into a lot of shady companies and hard-sell tactics on the Internet. But for $99, why not take a risk?

Solvig threw herself into the work, studying up to eighteen hours a day. And contrary to expectations, the courses turned out to be just what she was looking for. Every morning she would sit down at her kitchen table and log on to a Web site where she could access course materials, read text, watch videos, listen to podcasts, work through problem sets, and take exams. Online study groups were available where she could collaborate with other students via listserv and instant messaging. StraighterLine courses were designed and overseen by professors with PhDs, and she was assigned a course adviser who was available by e-mail. And if Solvig got stuck and needed help, real live tutors were available at any time, day or night, just a mouse click away.

Stuck in the Middle

It is a core belief of Washington’s political culture that policymaking by compromise—“meeting in the middle”—is the way to gain and keep the support of the vast, moderate, essentially reasonable group of voters who constitute a coherent political center. My problem with this analysis is that so many of the big decisions that have to be made are binary: yes or no. The only terrain in the middle consists of “maybe” or “kind of,” and I see no evidence that the country is in a “maybe” or “kind of” mood.

It Could Be the End of Our Democracy as We Know It, By E.J. Dionne

This sounds melodramatic. It’s not. The court is considering eviscerating laws that have been on the books since 1907 in one case and 1947 in the other, banning direct contributions and spending by corporations in federal election campaigns. Doing so would obliterate precedents that go back two and three decades.

The full impact of what the court could do in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has only begun to receive the attention it deserves. Even the word radical does not capture the extent to which the justices could turn our political system upside down. Will the high court use a case originally brought on a narrow issue to bring our politics back to the corruption of the Gilded Age?

Making your COBRA policy look good: Sen. Baucus proposes fee up to $3,800 for the uninsured

The Baucus plan would require insurers to take all applicants, regardless of age or health. But smokers could be charged higher premiums. And 60-year-olds could be charged five times as much for a policy as 20-year-olds.

Thank Susie at Suburban Guerrilla for this: emptywheel at FireDogLake crunches the numbers:

The Bad Max Tax

“Of course, both these families would be in the 25% federal tax bracket. Bad Max is asking middle class families to pay more for health care than they pay in federal taxes.

And let’s look whether it…’ll solve the debt crisis so many in the middle class are experiencing.

Here’s a very rough budget for that family making $67,000 (I’m not an accountant, so tell me where my assumptions are wrong).

Federal Taxes (estimate from this page): $8,710 (13% of income)

State Taxes (using MI rates on $30,000 of income): $1,305 (2% of income)

Food (using “low-cost USDA plan” for family of four): $9,060 (13.5% of income)

Home (assume a straight 30% of income): $20,100 (30% of income)

Bad Max Tax: $20,610 (31% of income)

Total: $59,785 (89% of income)

Remainder for all other expenses (including education, clothing, existing debt, transportation, etc.): $7,215 (or 11% of income)”

And finally – also by emptywheel:
The Max Baucus WellPoint/Liz Fowler Plan

All this time I’ve been calling Max Tax health care Max Baucus’ health care plan.

But, as William Ockham points out, it’s actually Liz Fowler’s health care plan (if you open the document and look under document properties, it lists her as author). At one level, it’s not surprising that Bad Max’s Senior Counsel would have authored the Max Tax plan. Here’s how Politico described her role in Bad Max’s health care plan earlier this year:

Bonus link: The Max Tax Distribution List

Well, this is interesting. Not only did Bad Max send the MaxTax plan out with the name of WellPoint’s former VP still on it, but he distributed it to the industry hacks too. Only the industry hacks.

digg!!! share!!! tweet!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine