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    • Know Your Enemies
      An enemy is someone who means you harm and has the means to inflict it. A friend is someone who has wants to do good for you, and has the means to bestow it. I once wrote primarily to predict and to change the world. I now write to help a few people, those who […]
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Tuesday: crying all the way to the bank

Promises, Promises . . . They say President Obama is a little testy these days when questioned about some of his unfulfilled promises. And who wouldn’t be grumpy? WE might have known Obama was just saying what he had to say to get through the (long) primary and election seasons. But, a fair number of voters fell under the sway of his pretty words and they’re starting to wonder what happened to some of his shiny presents:

The promises Obama wants you to keep forgetting

In early December, a combative President Obama challenged reporters at a press conference: “Look at what I promised during the campaign. There’s not a single thing that I’ve said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do. And if I haven’t gotten it done yet, I’m still trying to do it.”

Given the president’s challenge, and the fact that we’re about to reach the halfway mark of his administration, we took the opportunity to check in on his campaign pledges. As it turns out, there are plenty of clearly stated promises, in areas big and small, that Obama has not kept.

While the graphic for the story is a hoot, the list presented isn’t earth-shattering … things like flying to the moon, expanding the Peace Corps and an annual “State of the World” speech.

But, it was interesting to see the Hart-like challenge to the press. (shrugging) I don’t actually think Obama cares whether they find unfulfilled promises or not. I think that (like Liberace) he’s crying all the way to the bank.

I’m always been a happy receiver of gifts — kind of like a kid who just wants to play with the wrapping paper and boxes. We even have a tradition in our family of wrapping anything bought from about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving through Christmas just to make our present pile hilariously tall. And we get a lot of laughs when we open some of those mostly boring household items.

Still — apparently the hassles surrounding the return of unwanted gifts is a HUGE deal for online retailers. and (OMG!!) — Amazon has a plan for preemptively saving all those who are stuck with gifts they can’t stand:

Amazon is working on a solution that could revolutionize digital gift buying. The online retailer has quietly patented a way for people to return gifts before they receive them, and the patent documents even mention poor Aunt Mildred. Amazon’s innovation, not ready for this Christmas season, includes an option to “Convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred,” the patent says. “For example, the user may specify such a rule because the user believes that this potential sender has different tastes than the user.” In other words, the consumer could keep an online list of lousy gift-givers whose choices would be vetted before anything ships. check its price – is hardly the same as unwrapping the item at home.

. . .

Amazon’s patent is 12 pages long, with numerous diagrams, including a “Gift Conversion Rules Wizard” that shows how a user could select rules such as, “No clothes with wool.” The document makes for curious reading, reducing the art of gift giving to the dry language of patentry.

. . .

Most cleverly – or deviously, depending on your attitude toward this sort of manipulation – the gift giver will be none the wiser: “The user may also be provided with the option of sending a thank you note for the original gift,” according to the patent, “even though the original gift is converted.” (Alternatively, a recipient could choose to let the giver know he has exchanged the item for something else.)

(blinking) As a gift-giver the implementation of this idea would make me extremely reluctant to have gifts sent directly from Amazon to friends & family. Does the giver have the right to specify, “No substitutions”? I’ve given several gifts that were unwanted at the time they were received but, VERY welcome sometime later. How does Amazon’s fancy algorithm handle that possibility?

And as a programmer, I don’t see why this has to be so complicated. How about a box in account settings that says, “Confirm gifts with me before mailing” …. Then an email goes out anytime a gift is addressed to this user. Why do they need this virtual Rube Goldberg Contraption?

This story sent a shiver down my leg when I read it yesterday:

Obama looks to Chicago for campaign headquarters

Never in modern history has a U.S. president attempted to win reelection with a campaign operation based beyond the Potomac.

But that’s what President Barack Obama is apparently proposing to do. It’s a daring move that strategists hope will enable him to recapture some of his 2008 magic.

Obama’s top advisers have concluded that potential drawbacks to locating the headquarters in his home base of Chicago are outweighed by the benefits they anticipate from a break with precedent. And with Republican contenders already circling, there’s a sense of urgency toward beginning to set up the reelection effort.

. . .

Why worry about all of this with 20-plus months to go before the 2012 election? It’s never too early to start fundraising, for one, especially when you’re expected to raise nearly $1 billion. Nor is there such a thing as too soon to begin reinvigorating the national grassroots network that famously powered Obama in 2008. And as Republican contenders become less shy about declaring their intentions, Obama will need a means of responding to their attacks that doesn’t distract from his official presidential activities.

Maybe you thought that The Cheeto’s new beta version looked a little plain? I guess it’ll soon be jazzed-up with some spiffy new ads!

Here in Kansas the weather hasn’t been worth mentioning. But, it sounds like it’s been a miserable couple of days for some of you on the east coast:

Stranded on the Subway, Some Through the Night

Around 9 p.m. on Sunday, Grigoriy Zilbergleyz, 64, bid farewell to a friend he was visiting on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and began his journey home to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He hopped on a C train, transferred to a D and was riding on an aboveground N when he called his wife around 10:55 to let her know that he was only three stations away.

“ ‘In five minutes, I will be home,’ ” Mr. Zilbergleyz recalled saying. He allowed a rueful laugh. “And after that, I only came home after 15 hours.”

Mr. Zilbergleyz’s train stalled at the New Utrecht Avenue station, paralyzed by a snow-clogged third rail, its propulsion and heating systems rendered useless. Its passengers, huddling in winter jackets, waited all night for a rescue train that never came.

. . .

Snowdrifts up to four feet high saturated the electrified third rail on some stretches of outdoor track, officials said, making it difficult to dispatch rescue crews to the stranded trains. And with many roads unplowed, shuttling passengers by bus was not an option. So they waited. Some were luckier than others: those stalled at a station platform could at least exit the train for periodic exercise, cigarettes or bathroom breaks.

Mr. Zilbergleyz eventually left the train and walked home, arriving around noon on Monday. “Every time when I see the situation like this, I’m very proud of the American people,” said Mr. Zilbergleyz, who immigrated to New York 11 years ago from Belarus. “No panic, no yelling. Just understanding.”


Starve the Beast: The Republican Plan to De-Fund the Health Care Law

Republicans have made absolutely clear what they intend to do to block the new health care law — starve it.

Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, recently told Fox that “We can dent this, kick it, slow it down to make sure it never happens. And trust me,” he emphasized, “I’m going to make sure this health care bill never ever, ever is implemented.”

Brad Blakeman, who worked in the Bush White House agrees, saying, “They are going to be looking at the budget items that affect healthcare. They are going to be dissecting that 2000-page bill and picking apart those parts of the bill that can be defunded now.”

They say their hope is to defund and stall the health law’s implementation, at least until they have more power to stop it.

Brad Blakeman says Republicans are taking the long view, “Hopefully we’ll be able to defund and stall enough of the implementation that we’ll make it into 2012, hopefully with a new president and perhaps take the majority in the Senate.”

Well, I’m glad to see they’ve got their priorities straight (snort).  This starve the beast shit makes me sick.  This isn’t a GAME. The bill stinks but, it’s not like these guys are attempting to come up with something better for regular people who are desperate for a real solution to the Health Care Crisis:

Number Of Uninsured Americans Soars To Over 50 Million

As the Great Recession has sown unemployment and downgraded work even for those people who have held on to their jobs, the number of Americans lacking healthcare has swelled beyond 50 million, according to a sobering new report from the Kaiser Foundation.

Among the report’s most troubling findings: The number of Americans without any health care coverage grew by more than four million in 2009. That left almost one-fifth of non-elderly people uninsured. Among those between 19 and 29 years old, nearly one-third lacked coverage.

The study underscores the degree to which the recession has accelerated the loss of basic elements once viewed as inextricable pieces of a middle class life. The number of Americans lacking medical coverage now exceeds the population of Spain. [emphasis mine]

4 million more without Health Care Insurance.  And President Obama challenges reporters to find unfulfilled promises & sets up his re-election campaign.  Isn’t THAT special?

83 Responses

  1. I think we’ve seen the last of Obama struggling with the first job he’s ever had. From now on it’s back to getting the next job he won’t actually do, another term. He’s special isn’t he?

  2. Number of uninsured soars to over 50 million?? That’s great news for the government, because think of all the fines they’ll be able to collect now from people who don’t have insurance.

  3. My guess, he has not a clue what he said or promised during the campaign. He went from answering any question with a joke and a grin in debates to whatever his speech writers wrote. The denial Dems are not accepting that the electorate dose not believe Obama or his Administration, they he, are perceived as dishonest, slick or incompetent take your pick the results are the same.

  4. I *like*! It’s beginning to get that memey feel to it.
    Promises, promises

    Isn’t Dionne Warwick’s voice divine?

  5. And are they mentioning that premiums are increasing?? What’s the benefit of that bill?? Silence from the bots–like Silence of the Lambs.

    • I can’t wait until the Republicans try to repeal the rescission amendments and the coverage of children who normally can’t get coverage because of pre-existing conditions. It makes my all a-tingle.
      OTOH, these amendments helped so few people that it’s amazing that THAT fact didn’t get more attention. Didn’t some of those states have slots for getting people covered that never got filled because the whole thing was written so narrowly that you would have needed to be in some super duper special economic class to begin with on top of having some super duper special pre-existing condition? And we all know what squaring the rare leads to.

    • The consensus of the country in 2007 and 08 was: Insurance profits and Ins. Company CEOs have no place in Health Care.
      Single payer was the practical solution.
      We all knew it. It’s logical.
      Look where we are today.

      The democrats had the wind at their backs and a huge mandate to make fundamental change for a better future.
      Look where we are still headed.
      So depressing.

      I better go prune back my rose bushes.
      At least when I get stabbed by those nasty thorns, I know a beautiful flower is guaranteed.

      That’s a lot better than when getting stabbed by this Administration.

      • Um, this administration has not disappointed me. It has entirely lived up to my expectations and has even surpassed them.
        Whenever someone goes out of his way to steal primary delegates and eliminate the votes of more than half of his party, we shouldn’t be surprised at the actions he takes later on.
        All very predictable.

  6. Looks like Brooke may be stuck in Texas through New Years due to the winter storm. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/nyregion/28airports.html?hp
    By the way, the roads in central NJ were pretty dreadful last night as I was driving home from the movie theater. There was a lot of snow still on the road. The car had to stay in the “tracks” and when I wasn’t afraid of slipping out of them, I was skerred $@#!less of the gusts of wind that threatened to blow me into a ditch. I have to question my sanity in choosing to see The King’s Speech in the first place but wouldn’t you know, the theater was *packed* with bearded Princeton types and their wives.
    Go figure.

    • Don’t you mean bearded Princeton types and their lovahs?

      • Good point. They aren’t all wifely types and some of the women could be professors.
        It’s just that the Princeton types seem to have a standard uniform.

  7. Time for the last 2010 edition of the DUdies: The Hugger (of Vick) in Chief edition

  8. You know what Amazon could do for me? Let me create a list of cookbooks I already have, and anytime someone tries to order one for me that I already have, let the the gift sender know that I already have it. This year Amazon gift wrapped and delivered two copies of the same book to me, Flagging that for the sender would be a nice service.

    • That WOULD be a good idea. Or other flags…. “user says they don’t like wool” might be better than setting up a system to deliberately lie to one customer at the behest of another.

      • OR givers could just consult your wish list! Hey, there’s an idea. And when someone places an order from your wish list, the link could be colored differently or a message could be displayed that says, “This gift has been previously ordered, please select another”.

        • Yeah — the wish lists… I forgot about those. Have you ever used them? I’ve never even thought to look for someone’s.

        • But sometimes I get cookbooks that I never would have considered putting on a wishlist, but when they come, I love them. I just don’t want two the same. Any cookbook I don’t already have is a treat to get as a gift. And they need to work out a way to let people buy Kindle books for other people. I don’t want an Amazon gift card. I want you to send me a book you know I’ll love, but I want to read it on my Kindle. My BFF and I bought matching Kindles and we swap the actual eReaders every couple of months so we can read each other’s purchases, but there should be another way.

          • They do have a “give as a gift” link now. I don’t have a need for it, but I remember they announced it last month for this holiday season.

    • What type of cuisine? It might be one I don’t already have.

  9. Just so everyone knows how serious things have been for me….

    My Nook froze the night I got to my sister’s place in Falls Church, VA almost 3 weeks ago….

    Not only have I been going around and around with B&N’s customer service, I haven’t been able to read any of the books I planned to read. And since I gave all my hard-copy books away 3 days before the thing crashed, I don’t have much to fall back on.

    It’s horrible.

    I keep seeing books (all these end of year lists) that I’d like to buy but, I’m starting to doubt I’ll ever have a working Nook again.

    I don’t do very well if I don’t have something fun to read……

    • Wow, that is horrible, are you using your phone to post things too. If so, double KUDOS to ya, you done well, beyond well given the weather conditions and all the havoc it has caused.

      • Luckily I never got in too deep with the Nook’s Internet browser. It’s OK for reading/lurking but pretty bad for posting. And it doesn’t work at all with WordPress’s dashboard scripts….

        So, I’m using my desktop for blogging.

        But, I kind of feel like one of those people who’ve had half their brain removed…..

        • I gave some books away, but decided on getting one of those large sheds/barn things and insulating it, sheet rocking it and making it like a little library out there so I can keep all my books and extra gadgets. My big bookcases just don’t look very good (custom made) and I need to access all my printers and pdf’ing gadgets and I have to get my security system back up and running too.

          It has been a year since I lost track of the base to my infrared sensors (painters moved them) that would prompt you to go look at the cameras where you would spot the squirrel doing their photo op…OK, it gave you exercise going from one thing to the next.

          Oh Katie you have to check this out,

          it really works, pretty soon I will have Michelle arms again. Yup it works, except I can only do about 1.5 min at a time, but do about five each day. 😉

    • Can you read your same books over the internet? B&N may have a nook player type application thingy that you an use on a desktop/notebook or just via a web browser. I know for example there is a nook app for the various iDevices (and I think Android devices). At least you would have access to all your books if not your actual device.

      • Yes they do — I could read them on either my laptop or my PC. But, I keep thinking something will happen and I’ll actually get a replacement Nook.

        I guess I’m sulking.

        • I’d keep pushing. You should be able to get a replacement. If not, the nook app on the iPad is wonderful. As is the kindle app. As is the iBook app. Three for one. 🙂 Just saying.

          • Say, are those iPads on sale yet?

          • They were at 399 in some places. I think the second generation of iPad (faster processor, front and back cameras, higher resolution screen, etc.) will probably happen in the next month or two, which means the first generation will be even cheaper. Other, mostly Android based, tablets will be coming too. Lots of great gadgets. Most if not all of them should have the ability to have the same book based apps.

    • Local free library?

      • I actually HAVE checked out books (and from the library where I used to work, too) but, It’s just not as handy as a 24-hour/day bookstore.

        You are all entirely too reasonable. 🙂

    • Have you downloaded the ibooks or kindle app to your PC? You could probably use that as a backup and get your books from them.
      Or get a subscription from audible.

    • I gave all my hard-copy books away


      They can have my books when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers. Books are my friends!

      • Well, these books were taking over my life … if/when I get my Nook back, I’ll replace them in ebook form as I want to reread them.

        I’ve found that I love the words and the packaging doesn’t matter so much.

      • Books with paper pages can last for centuries. I am not optimistic that e-books will last even a few decades. (And what happens if the poles switch or a solar storm hits?) Also, I doubt there are e-versions of many books I want to read. But I can understand using e-books for convenience, while traveling, for example.

        I prefer to cling to my old fashioned books, thank you very much.


    • Earth, the book, by Jon Stewart………fun.

  10. This isn’t a GAME. The bill stinks but, it’s not like these guys are attempting to come up with something better for regular people who are desperate for a real solution to the Health Care Crisis:

    The SICKO that is leading the charge is someone that drops ‘Jesus’ as his cover and ‘claims’ to be a man of the ‘clothe’…I guess the ‘clothe’ must be stitched with lies as ‘Jesus’ was about healing the sick and caring for the poor.

    That is why many of us wanted The Public Option, because SICKO Preachers want to KILL US Americans with pre-existing conditions!

    Pre-Existing Loser: Republican Mike Huckabee Compares a Patient To a House That Burned Down!

    • The irony of course is that Mr. Ed here pushed Obama who was never for and would never allow the public option. But he’s loud at least. /snark

      And yes, Huckabee is frickin scary. We have such wonderful choices from the pile of shit moneybags that run things don’t we.

    • from the standpoint of insurance companies, He is right. We are going to pay a TON of money for that insurance because for companies to stay in business they will have to make up that money somewhere.
      That is why single payer, everyone in is the ONLY solution that will work.

  11. Liberal bloggers and everyone else who wants to make this health care thing actually work should drop the “Public Option” wording.

    Single Payer is the solution.

    Everyone in at birth and out at death. No exceptions.
    We all pay equal. We receive equal.

    Unless, of course, some of us are more equal?

    • Funnily people pushed “liberal bloggers” to drop the “single payer” wording and go for the “public option” compromise. Of course it was all kabuki because the public option was never on the table as we learned later. Sadly most of us here were not the least bit surprised.

      • Yes, and it irks me to no end that the news media doesn’t report that it was OBAMA who took out Single Payer First, then The Public Option, and then took the Dog Bone they waved at us, which was The Medicare Buy In (For those over 50 who essentially can’t buy insurance due to financing/prohibitive costs, have a higher death rates and are more opt to loose their coverage). So, in the END we didn’t even get the BONE

    • My theory, and I’m sticking with it, is that no one should be pushing any particular plan without thorough research and a proposed model that is structured for the type of economy we have and want to have in the future. Of course, getting health care costs under control would go a long way to promoting the economy. But it doesn’t matter to me what form it takes as long as it is 1.) affordable, ie, won’t cost more than 10% of your current income 2.) covers everyone and 3.) doesn’t discriminate based on gender, age, sexual orientation, etc, etc.
      I’m guessing that some services will have to be rationed or limited. People will have to get used to not being able to see a chiropractor. Mothers will have to get over their irrational fear of innoculations and antibiotics will no longer be prescribed for a cold.
      And then there are the pharmas. Don’t even get me started. There’s so much restructuring to do there it isn’t funny. But, eliminating the need for advertisements would make me happy.
      Among other things.
      I suspect that if you want the pharmas to negotiate on prices, you will have to accept limitations on class action lawsuits.
      JMHO. I don’t speak for the industry.

      • In a word, regulation. How about no advertising for pharma, hospitals, or other health related things. Period. Just like no advertising for smokes. That would save them and us money.

        Ask your doctor about PepYouUp. Side effects include depression and suicidal tendencies. 🙂

        • I don’t mind all the pharma ads, some actually inform, but the VIAGRA I can do without, as even 2 year olds say VIAGRA!

          As to Smoking Ads, the Biggest Ad is in the White House, and it will be interesting to see a post Obama Administration and the affect smoking will have 10-15 years out as a result of the ‘President smoking cool thing’.

          • I wouldn’t miss the pharma ads. Most of them are not very informative. They’re just filled with fuzzy feel good stuff, like any other ad for consumer goods. IMHO, medicine is not like other consumer goods and we shouldn’t treat them that way. Marketing people would disagree but then marketing people make very bad executives in research and development related industries.

          • I have found some informative in that they got me to go take a peek, but then most people don’t do what I do nor do they deal with pharmacies etc., so point taken.

            The one part they have to get rid of is, ‘It may cause fatal events.’, as if you could have more than one. 😯

          • No medicine is 100% safe for everyone. The “fatal events” disclaimer is probably a CYA for unexpected things that may pop up for that rare phenotype created by crossing a Tierra del Fuegan with someone from Lapland.
            Srsly, tho, if there are people out there who still expect side effect free medicines that are not customized to match your unique HLA and cytochrome P450s, you can stop holding your breath now. I think history has shown that when there is a drug approved for a broad population, there will be side effects. There’s probably some Murphy’s law about it. Probably related to Harvard’s law.

          • Harvard Law :
            Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, any experimental organism will do as it damn well pleases.

            In case anyone (including clueless CEOs) is paying attention.

          • Cool, so there is a law that describes me. 🙂

      • Sounds like Single Payer or The Public Option (Medicare) to me, because after that last increase I tell ya, I will be making bus trips to Canada for medication.

        What is Single Payer (Maybe someone should sue as we were denied ALL the OPTIONS and that is not the OPEN Market way!)

      • Once the rationing starts, where does it end? If chiropractic treatment is eliminated, what specialty will be eliminated next? Who determines what treatments are valid? I am biased, but where does your “some services will have to be rationed or limited” start and end? Will people be limited in care available to them because of age? It seems you do not want to discriminate, but you have already discriminated against those who might be helped by chiropractic care. Once the special interest groups get involved, the battle of the lobbyists begins and the voice of the people is ignored in favor of those who can lobby with the most money. This is the failing of our current governmental system. I believe Pres. Obama promised to stop the revolving door from government to the lobbyist industry. I wish he would have succeeded in closing that door.

        • Chiropractic Treatment and dental is optional now, in fact some Fire Fighters don’t even have dental coverage! So, it sounds like hoo haa from the dental lobby a miss with the objective of killing Single Payer or at the very least The Public Option.

          So, sure lets continue to have 50 million people with no insurance and 14,000 loosing their health insurance daily, and no coverage for pre-existing conditions.

          By the way, I pay my chiropractor cash, and he seems very happy about it. It is actually cheaper that way than the coverage for everyone and then the darn thing isn’t used. Also, chiropractic care is a big drain on Workers Comp, but I am sure you knew that already.

          • Chiropractic is more effective against back pain than other treatments — and it is cheaper. There was an AMA study that determined that comparative effectiveness several years ago, much to their members’ chagrin.


  12. OK, the carpenter is here, gotta go fix the gate and all kinds of other things that got hit by parts of the tree, but thankfully it didn’t drop on the house…thanks to the Tree Climbing Crew (sixty feet up…the guy…chubaki or some such name, must be part bird or thinks he can fly with his harness).

  13. Interesting Tea Party organizer jumps into ’12 Virginia senate race. Not exactly GOP orthodox being against tax cuts.

    In an interview, Ms. Radtke said she decided to run after watching Congress pass legislation during this month’s lame duck session, including a package of tax cuts, that added to the national debt.

    “It has become clear that many in Congress still don’t get it,” she said. “The tax bill did nothing to cut the huge debt burden on all of us.”

  14. “We even have a tradition in our family of wrapping anything bought from about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving through Christmas …”

    What a fantastic idea! I’m so going to copy that in the Pips household next year!

    Already giggling with anticipation, lol.

    • I should have qualified it by saying …. everything but GROCERIES!!

      • What about delicacies? Like e.g. exotic canned food … and stuff? The more the merrier, right! 😀

        • Oh, delicacies absolutely get wrapped. We ate some canned wasabi peas a couple of nights ago that were a gift from a couple of Christmas’s ago. NOTHING goes to waste around here. But, sometimes it takes a while for us to catch up with everything.

          • We ate some canned wasabi peas a couple of nights ago that were a gift from a couple of Christmas’s ago.

            That explains those really weird comments you were making. I thought it was an acid flashback.

  15. Hillary talked about universal health care that everyone would participate in during the great primary, but did she mean “single-payer”? I have to add that Obama mocked her plan lacking freedom of choice to join and then put that requirement, under payment of fees if one refuses, in Obamacare.

    There’s no forgetting the crooked road he’s taken!

    • I suspect that any successful health care reform plan will include a mandate. The question is, will there be competition? From what I can tell, a mandate only works if costs are controlled from a provider POV.

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