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Tuesday: Keeping it Real …. or something.

I don’t know where this last week went …. have you seen it any where? There’s a reward waiting for anyone who can get it back to me.


And the YouTube clause makes it all OK? I don’t think so. But it will make it easier for us to post videos from Jon Stewart and Saturday Night Live.

Comcast-NBC joint venture approval expected Tuesday

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski threw his support behind the deal in late December with a number of conditions. Among them, senior FCC staff said the joint venture would have to commit to assurances that it wouldn’t stifle competition in the fast-evolving online video market.

To that end, sources said the company may also be required to share NBC content with Internet companies, such as YouTube and Roku, if other networks, such as CBS and Walt Disney, are doing so.

Justice is expected to impose conditions that prohibit “anti-retaliatory” moves by the joint venture against competitors and partners. As Justice did in the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the new company couldn’t retaliate against any venue owner that chooses to use another company’s ticketing services or promotional services.


First of all — 35-40 kids taking Advanced Placement macroeconomics …. in high school? What’s that about? And then they make the kids GO to the school to work at a computer lab? Are pajamas allowed in the dress code? Because otherwise it just doesn’t seem fair.

Florida Has Classes Without Teachers

These virtual classrooms, called e-learning labs, were put in place last August as a result of Florida’s Class Size Reduction Amendment, passed in 2002. The amendment limits the number of students allowed in classrooms, but not in virtual labs.

Under the state’s class-reduction amendment, high school classrooms cannot surpass a 25-student limit in core subjects, like English or math. Fourth- through eighth-grade classrooms can have no more than 22 students, and prekindergarten through third grade can have no more than 18.

Alix Braun, 15, a sophomore at Miami Beach High, takes Advanced Placement macroeconomics in an e-learning lab with 35 to 40 other students. There are 445 students enrolled in the online courses at her school, and while Alix chose to be placed in the lab, she said most of her lab mates did not.

“None of them want to be there,” Alix said, “and for virtual education you have to be really self-motivated. This was not something they chose to do, and it’s a really bad situation to be put in because it is not your choice.”


Knowing full well the Republicans have no real intention of changing anything, I can’t wait to see how people feel about this bill if the subsidies are stripped from it. Can you imagine that mandate without any subsidies? How can they guarantee all that sweet, sweet cash to the insurance companies without subsidies? I have to laugh at the thought that they’re seriously planning to cut funding:

Repeal vote just the first step for Republicans on health care

The real work begins immediately afterward, with Republicans using every legislative and political tool at their disposal to wage a two-year campaign against the overhaul. And there won’t be anything subtle about this slow-drip strategy as Republicans aim to erode public confidence in the law and, they hope, make it so politically unpalatable that even some Democrats turn against it.

And it seems that we’ll be substituting “passion” for “overheated” in the future. Don’t forget:

House Set to Launch Health Law Challenge

Both sides, though, may try a little harder to keep the debate from becoming overheated. President Obama and Republicans alike reject claims that political rhetoric contributed to the shooting last Saturday in Arizona. But the president urged Congress to keep the discourse “worthy” of the victims. And in the days following, House Speaker John Boehner has noticeably avoided describing the bill as the “job-killing” health care law.

Instead, Boehner substituted the term “job-destroying” during Republicans’ retreat in Baltimore over the weekend. And in a post on his official House speaker blog Monday, his office referred to the policy as the “job-crushing” heath care law, which contained “job-destroying” taxes and requirements.

That doesn’t mean the name of the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” will change. Sources say it will not. It doesn’t mean either side will do away with the dire warnings about what’s at stake. But it suggests lawmakers may show a tad more restraint in setting the terms of a debate which is unavoidably passionate.


It looks like Steve Jobs medical fight continues. It’s really bad news, but at least he should be able to pay his bills:
Apple’s Steve Jobs takes medical leave

For the second time in two years, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking leave of absence from the company because of a medical condition, according to a letter Jobs sent to Apple employees.

“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company,” Jobs says in the letter.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, will take control of the company in Jobs’ absence.


I don’t think this is going to be a surprise to anyone who’s lost a lot of weight all at once. I thought it was from the diet changes but, it doesn’t surprise me that fat cells hide pollutants in addition to fat. They’re already storing fat so we know they have no loyalty to us at all.

Weight loss may send pollutants into bloodstream

Body fat stores certain pollutants, including such pesticides as DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). If a person loses weight and significant amounts of body fat are broken down, these chemical compounds, known as persistent organic pollutants, are released and can lead to disease, said researchers from Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea.

“The strong dogma on weight change is that weight loss is always good while weight gain is always bad,” but that may not always hold up, said study researcher Dr. Duk-Hee Lee, a professor at the university.

Hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis have been linked to persistent organic pollutants, Lee said.


While some people were shocked I thought Ricky Gervais was the best thing about the Golden Globe ceremony the other night:

Globes host Ricky Gervais explains ceremony absence

In the latter part of the show, having been off stage for a lengthy period of time, a more subdued Gervais appeared, prompting speculation he had been told to tone down his act.

But Gervais insisted: “I was allowed to choose who I would introduce in advance. I obviously chose presenters who I had the best jokes for, and who I knew had a good sense of humour.

“Everyone took it well and the atmosphere backstage and at the after show was great.”

US critics appeared divided, with The Los Angeles Times saying his jokes set “a corrosive tone” for the night.

Jon Stewart ‘Offended’ by Rickey Gervais’s Golden Globes Comedy

On the other hand:

Last night, Jon Stewart weighed in on the debate over whether or not Ricky Gervais blew it at the Golden Globes, admitting that he was “offended that a comedian could be that funny at an awards show.”

So, I think we’ve settled THAT.


That’s the news here in Kansas … what’s going on in your Internet?

Ambivalence Revisited

Yesterday, I talked about the recent upsurge in interest in the “Public Option” (Bad News and More Bad News) and my mixed feelings about the whole thing. Well, I’m inspired by Lambert to revisit this topic:

Who kidnapped Paul Krugman? Partial truths, false statements, bad writing… It’s almost like he’s turning into an access blogger!

I read Paul Krugman’s piece yesterday with some interest ::

Here’s the story: About 800,000 people in California who buy insurance on the individual market — as opposed to getting it through their employers — are covered by Anthem Blue Cross, a WellPoint subsidiary. These are the people who were recently told to expect dramatic rate increases, in some cases as high as 39 percent.

Why the huge increase? It’s not profiteering, says WellPoint, which claims instead (without using the term) that it’s facing a classic insurance death spiral.

. . .

Now, what WellPoint claims is that it has been forced to raise premiums because of “challenging economic times”: cash-strapped Californians have been dropping their policies or shifting into less-comprehensive plans. Those retaining coverage tend to be people with high current medical expenses. And the result, says the company, is a drastically worsening risk pool: in effect, a death spiral.

. . .

Finally, there have been calls for minimalist health reform that would ban discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions and stop there. It’s a popular idea, but as every health economist knows, it’s also nonsense. For a ban on medical discrimination would lead to higher premiums for the healthy, and would, therefore, cause more and bigger death spirals.

So California’s woes show that conservative prescriptions for health reform just won’t work.

And Krugman goes on to discuss what he believe WOULD work. And his discussion made me so uncomfortable, I blocked the whole thing from my mind ::

And if you put all of that together, you end up with something very much like the health reform bills that have already passed both the House and the Senate.

Because if Krugman thinks those bills are actually going to “work” — that they’re more than just fragile baby-steps that start us on the path to doing something serious some day — well, I didn’t know what to say about that.

When he says, “Finally, there have been calls for minimalist health reform that would ban discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions and stop there.” I guess he’s right.  But, what about the other calls — for Single Payer (Medicare for Everyone) — Krugman doesn’t mention this possibility at all.

And how about the possibility of letting the Death Spiral for the Health Insurance parasites continue to it’s logical conclusion ::

But the main point is this: California’s death spiral is a reminder that our health care system is unraveling, and that inaction isn’t an option. Congress and the president need to make reform happen — now.

CRAP — I’m such an idiot. It’s been obvious for almost a year (the second we started talking about Health Insurance Reform instead of Health Care Reform) that we were heading toward a bailout of the insurance industry. But, I thought it was just because there was no way WE were going to get bailed-out :: why isn’t Krugman writing about the death spiral that PEOPLE are in over a lack of health care?

I didn’t realize that the insurance industry was in a death spiral and that they can’t survive without the bailout. What would letting the death spiral play out mean to us?

My ambivalence has just about melted away . . .

Bad News and More Bad News :: Health Insurance Reform

I’ve seen links to this all over the place from Facebook to blogs :

Public Option Support Surging In Senate

On Tuesday, four Senate Democrats joined the effort, urging Reid to pass a public option using reconciliation. The group was led by Sen. Michael Bennet, facing a primary challenge in Colorado. Sen. Kirstin Gillibran, facing a primary in New York, was also one of the initial four. Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (Oregon) rounded out the foursome.

And now somewhere between 16-19 Senators have supposedly signed on with Kathleen Sebelius claiming that President Obama himself will support the “Public Option” if the Senate Leadership signs on first:

Health Care Reform Back from the Dead? Obama’s Team Signals Support for Public Option; 18 Senators Sign on

From Thursday’s Rachel Maddow interview with Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

Maddow: “The private insurance company writ large hasn’t done a great job. That’s why we want a public option to compete with them. These 18 Democratic senators want to bring that back into the fold. If that happened, would the administration fight for it?”

Sebelius: “Well, I think if it’s… Certainly. If it’s part of the decision of the Senate leadership to move forward, absolutely.”

The onus is now really on the Majority Leader. As of Thursday, at least 18 senators had signed an open letter urging Reid to make the public option a necessary part of the final Senate bill.

So we’re supposed to swoon over the fact that ~18 Democratic Senators (out of 58-59) are publicly supporting a “Public Option” — that’s absurd.

  1. The Public Option as it stands won’t be an option for the general public.  In fact, the policy is so complicated most people I know don’t know if they’d be eligible or not.
  2. This Public Option has been dangled in front of us so often this story actually feels like a joke.
  3. I heard Harry Reid announce that he had enough votes for the Senate to pass the Public Option the day he announced the Senate Health Care Plan. What happened with that? And didn’t THAT imply that he supports the thing?
  4. And (really?) something less than 20 Senators are supporting this thing? So what?

After all this time I can’t tell if I support it.  So why does my heart start pounding when I read these stories?

Pure desperation.  That’s why.