Slept in; I might swim anyway.
Update: walked 4 miles; 2 on the track (12:17, 11:29) 2 on the treadmill (hills), and did a few pull-ups (pathetic).
There were some slow people on the track and, internally, my “inner Republican” flared up and I thought “out of my way, slowpokes!” But my “inner liberal” rescued me; I thought about how some were overweight but were doing something about it, how some were elderly and one guy (who was moving faster than most) was 1 year into his fight with pancreatic cancer. The doctors had said that he was to die about 6 months ago.
Yet there he was, walking his laps, and walking faster than most!
Politics: Some food for thought:
What is the truth here? From Factcheck.org:
Clinton said that Obama’s health care plan would leave 15 million Americans without insurance, while her plan provided universal coverage. Obama countered that his proposal would cover everyone in the country. Clinton’s plan will likely cover more people than Obama’s, but it’s doubtful the difference between their very similar proposals would be as high as the figure Clinton cites. [...]
In the analysis part:
15 Million Left Out?
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded words about their health care plans, and we found both dabbled in exaggerations:
Clinton: His plan would leave 15 million Americans out. That’s about the population of Nevada, Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire. I have a universal health care plan that covers everyone.
Obama: Well, let’s talk about health care right now because the fact of the matter is that I do provide universal health care. … [W]e’ve put forward a plan that makes sure that it is affordable to get health care that is as good as the health care that I have as a member of Congress.
Clinton uses a dubious statistic when she claims Obama’s plan would leave out 15 million of the uninsured. But Obama’s statement that his proposal provides “universal” health care is also suspect.
Clinton based her claim on a column by The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, who loosely estimated Obama’s plan would leave 15 million uninsured:
Cohn (The New Republic, June 3): The best studies out there — by Urban Institute researchers, the RAND Corporation, and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — suggest that, without a mandate, improving affordability will cover roughly one-third of the people who don’t have coverage. Mandating that kids (but not adults) have coverage bumps that up to about a half. Obama’s advisers think that, by really loading up on the subsidies … they can goose that up to two-thirds. But that’s getting optimistic — and, even then, you still have around 15 million people who are uninsured.
Cohn makes it clear here that he is offering an estimate based on the best information available, not a hard and fast calculation. And the best available information doesn’t always agree. One of the people Cohn cites, economist and influential health care expert Jonathan Gruber, has gone on record saying that without a mandate, Obama’s plan would still leave 6 percent of the nation – about 18 million people – uninsured. But it’s not clear whether he meant “without an individual mandate” or “without any kind of mandate.” The Obama plan does include limited mandates, including a requirement for employers to either provide health insurance or pay into a public fund. A Gruber study from 2006 estimates that a plan with generous subsidies and an employer mandate would lead to 82 percent of the uninsured gaining coverage, based on 2001 data. Applied to today’s figures, that would leave about 8.5 million without insurance. Gruber found that a proposal that included an individual mandate would lead to 100 percent coverage of the uninsured.
Other studies also find only a small discrepancy between the types of plans that Obama and Clinton are proposing. For instance, a 2003 Commonwealth Fund study found that a plan with mixed private-public options (as the leading Democratic candidates have put forth) that also included an individual mandate would reach near universal coverage, leaving just 1 percent of people uninsured. Not including a mandate would still reach most of the uninsured, leaving about 3 percent without coverage.
It’s true that Clinton’s plan would likely lead to somewhat higher levels of coverage than Obama’s, according to the research we’ve seen. But the difference in outcomes may not amount to much. The main distinction: Clinton calls for a mandate that would require all individuals to have health insurance; Obama requires only that children have coverage and that dependents be covered under their parents’ insurance up to age 25. Of the estimated 46.5 million uninsured in the U.S., 9.4 million are children and 37 million are adults, according to an analysis of Census data by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute. But neither candidate has provided enough detail for analysts to predict confidently how many might be left uninsured under either plan.
* Sara Collins, an assistant vice president at The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that calls for higher quality and accessibility in health care, says that the Obama and Clinton plans (as well as Edwards’) are “very, very similar in structure.” Studies show that mandates make a difference, but Collins says the “15 million” seems like too big a number based on past analyses.
* Kenneth E. Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory University who worked in President Clinton’s administration and who has evaluated several presidential candidates’ health plans, also says that “it’s hard to come up with precise numbers” without knowing the details on the federal subsidies these plans would include. “Whether it’s 15, 20 or 10,” he says, that estimate makes “an assumption on the subsidies that the campaign hasn’t put out.”
* Robert Blendon, director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy, estimates Obama’s plan would end up covering 5 percent to 10 percent fewer individuals than Clinton’s. But that’s assuming that it’s possible for Clinton to require everyone to purchase insurance. Blendon suspects that it isn’t. “At the end of the day,” he tells FactCheck.org, “it’s not going to be everybody. We have no idea what the actual falloff would be.”
Among the unknown factors is what sort of insurance would turn out to be available under either plan. Preliminary data from Massachusetts, which implemented a sweeping health insurance plan last year, is showing that many people would rather remain uninsured than purchase a stripped-down plan. “People always say having some insurance is better than no insurance,” Blendon says. “It turns out, in some of the focus groups in Massachusetts, people don’t believe that.”
So, why is Clinton attacking Obama? Because she is trailing in the Iowa polls!
In Iowa — where voters across the state have had a chance to see all of the candidates up close and learn about where they stand — Barack Obama continues to surge in support and is now leading the Democratic field, according to a just-released ABC News/Washington Post poll.
According to the poll, Obama leads among all likely caucus-goers with 30%, compared with Clinton at 26% and Edwards at 22%. Obama also leads among those who are “certain to attend” the January 3rd caucus, those who have previously caucused, and those who are planning to caucus for the first time.
Obama also showed that he’s the candidate who is resonating the most with women voters. 32% of women polled are supporting Obama, compared with 31% for Clinton and 19% for Edwards.
And by a 2 to 1 margin, Iowans find Obama more “honest and trustworthy” than Clinton.
Also of note: Obama doubled Clinton’s support among Independent voters (Obama 35% to Clinton 18%)– another indicator that he will be the strongest candidate going into the general election. For more on Obama’s general election strength, check out the diary I posted last week, which shows Obama leading among Iowa voters when matched up to Republican opponents.
Update Hat tip to Jed at Hillary Attacks.
Workout Notes 5 miles; 2 miles of running on the treadmill (at home), three outside walking. The walking outside felt very fast, until I realized that I had a wind at my back.
I need to do some yoga tonight; either on my own or at a class.
Local Paper: today’s editorial page was all about Barack Obama. Eugene Robinson writes about Oprah endorsing him.
[...]The Obama campaign’s announcement Monday that Oprah Winfrey will barnstorm the early primary states with the candidate she has called “my favorite guy” was big news in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Theoretically, the active support of a popular talk-show host shouldn’t have much impact on Obama’s prospects. But we’re talking Oprah here.
The Pew Research Center polled on the subject in September, shortly after Winfrey hosted a star-studded fundraiser that netted an estimated $3 million for Obama’s campaign. According to the Pew survey, 15 percent of Americans said Winfrey’s endorsement would make them more likely to vote for Obama, 15 percent said less likely, and 69 percent said it would make no difference.
But 60 percent of respondents predicted that Winfrey’s support would help Obama’s candidacy, against only 3 percent who said it would hurt. Among Democrats, 23 percent said they would be more likely to vote for Obama because of Winfrey’s support, while just 13 percent said they’d be less likely.
The Pew survey found that Winfrey’s endorsement also gives Obama a boost among women (17 percent more likely to vote for him, 12 percent less likely) and African-Americans (28 percent more likely, 16 percent less likely) – groups now leaning toward front-runner Hillary Clinton.
No one expects Winfrey’s appearances with Obama next month to have the astonishing impact of Oprah’s Book Club, which has made Winfrey one of the most powerful individuals in book publishing. Perhaps the best example of the “Oprah effect” came three years ago when she picked Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” as a monthly selection, and the epic tome shot to the top of the best-seller list. [...]
Oprah’s endorsement does have an effect on me: it makes me like Oprah better!
[Shelby] Steele writes that “the Sixties stigmatized white Americans with the racial sins of the past – with the bigotry and hypocrisy that countenanced slavery, segregation and white supremacy. Now, to win back moral authority, whites – and especially American institutions – must prove they are not racist.”
Steele likens Obama’s success to the fame and fortune won by Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. But the earliest of the crossover heroes he calls “Iconic Negroes” was Sidney Poitier.
It reminded me of the political biography of Obama by author David Mendell, who reported the reaction of a focus group of Chicago North Shore female voters, middle-aged and elderly, when shown a videotape of Obama speaking in his 2004 Senate campaign. Asked who Obama reminded them of, the answer was “Sidney Poitier.”
While all of the others mentioned by Steele were entertainers of one kind or another, Obama is the first to carry the “masking” technique of the “Iconic Negro” into the realm of politics. Steele contrasts Obama with “challenger” types such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. [...]
I consulted an old and close friend of Obama’s and this was her response: It is true that Obama approaches whites with the expectation of a “core of decency.” But he is not exploiting any racial guilt feelings.
Second, she noted that Obama has said repeatedly that while blacks face real issues of discrimination, they also have responsibility for their own lives. Parents must turn off the TV, he says, and read to their children. Fathers must take responsibility for the children they bring into the world. As to whether that message will separate Obama from the black voters he needs, his friend made a point supported by the Pew research: The black community is really two societies now, with a middle class whose values are closer to those of middle-class whites than of the black underclass.
Obama, whose constituency is skewed to the middle class, may reflect those values better than Shelby Steele thinks.
There was a cartoon as well:
But the author also wrote a more recent one:
(you can see more of David Granlund’s work here.)
Sidenote (humor) While looking for a photo of Oprah doing a marathon, I stumbled upon a site which had a post called “Why I hate White Pants“. I just about died laughing; there are some photos there too.
Sample of some of the photos:
I am not sure as to what is going on, but I am waking up at strange hours only to get sleepy early. This tends to happen in the weeks after a long race where I’ve cut back training.
I am behind on work and will need to try to catch up this week. Yuck. That is one of the things I don’t like about the Thanksgiving holiday.
Irrelevant note My university just hired a new president. She is a lady who wears pooffed up hair, sort of like Elvira:
She doesn’t wear tops like that though. I wonder if Fred Thompson knows about Elvira?
I suppose that this is an improvement as the previous president reminded me a bit of Dick Cheney.
PALM BEACH –
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter is nationally notorious for vitriolic broadsides, but she has been unnerved by invective she received at her Palm Beach home. So much so that she got the county property appraiser to remove her name from public records identifying where she lives.
In doing so, she won an exemption from public disclosure of her address, allowed by law for victims of stalkers or harassment.
Coulter, 45, has called Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a ”faggot” and said she wished he would be killed by terrorists. She once said President Clinton ”could be a lunatic” and wrote of a group of widows of men killed in the World Trade Center that she had ‘never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”
So maybe it came as no surprise when somebody delivered a greeting card to her home in March with this salutation: “You self-aggrandizing — sociopath!! The only thing left after a nuclear war are you and cockroaches.”
Her house is one of 2,674 properties in Palm Beach County whose owners are confidential in property appraiser records. Homeowners must complete an affidavit stating why they should be exempt from the state’s public records law.
Florida law allows people in occupations where harm could come to them — judges, prosecutors, police officers, firefighters and child abuse investigators, for example — to remain anonymous in those records.
Also allowed an exemption from public disclosure are victims of domestic violence, aggravated stalking, harassment and aggravated battery. Coulter cited that proviso to get an exemption, but her application is not public record. Unlike the occupational exemption, this one expires after five years.
A person who receives an exemption must submit another affidavit requesting confidentiality every time he or she relocates.
Coulter, a lawyer and author, paid $1.8 million for her two-story home on a quiet street between the Breakers Hotel and Worth Avenue in March 2005. Police have received a trickle of phone calls from or regarding her home since. Two of them generated police reports. [...]
In June 2006, Coulter received several nonthreatening but antagonistic phone messages from an Alameda, Calif., man whom she did not know.
”Hey, Ann, now that you’ve moved to Florida and you’re in your 40s, did you know that you can join the Florida National Guard?” the man, later identified as Brian Hatoff, 58, said in one message.
“Oh, I forgot, you and your rotund buddy down the street [an apparent allusion to radio commentator Rush Limbaugh] and the vice president, you’re all registered chicken hawks. You love war until you have to put your own ass on the line. I don’t call that patriotism. I call it cowardice.”
Coulter told police the calls were made to an unpublished phone number that only a few people knew.
After subpoenaing phone records, Palm Beach police traced the calls to Hatoff. [...]
Workout notes 2000 yard “welcome back” swim, yoga on my own.
I am getting back into it, and well, I almost wish that we didn’t have this holiday at all. Sure, I like the time with my daughter, my mother, my sister, and I enjoyed watching football on TV with my brother in law. But the travel I can do without.
I suppose that I am like most Americans in this regard; I’d enjoy the holiday a bit more if we had Star Trek “beam me there Scotty” technology!
I have to catch up on work so this will be short and brief:
An update on the Obama campaign:
[...]Electability is Key Among Iowa Democrats
Well, it is shaping up to be a key of the argument. Not the total argument, but a great key. We have great candidates this cycle. But which one will emerge is the key.
Nearly half the Iowa Democrats in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll – and nearly seven in 10 New Hampshire Democrats – said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the party’s most electable candidate.
Yes, that is in the CBS Poll. But, when you talk to Democrats, they are stating things vastly different. I wrote a diary called, “The Experience Game. Though, electability is a key, it is not the total winning key for this nomination. Especially, since Democrats are shifting to a new direction, with new ideas.
The top three candidates are electable. For me, Clinton is the most vulnerable. Yes, with baggage and all. The Clinton decision will be made by Democrats, knowing and accepting, that she is the most vulnerable candidate, and willing to fight for her, with baggage and all. John Edwards is very electable. His main problem is beyond Iowa. He of the top three has raised the least amount of money, but the one Democrat with fantastic plans. Many are wondering how he will fight February 5th and beyond, with possible limited resources. The Edwards decision will be made by Democrats knowing and accepting, that he is the one Democrat who accepted public financing, and that he will not be able to use any funds until September. Meaning he will beholden to whatever 527′s will step in and free publicity. Barack Obama is very electable. Out of all the Democrats he has a huge likeability factor and crosses over well with Independents and Republicans. His problem is the perceived lack of experience. The Obama decision will be made by Democrats, knowing and accepting that he is the one Democrat that will bring change to the ticket, and White House. And experience?
Hillary Clinton declared the other day — apropos of whom, she didn’t say, or need to — “We can’t afford on-the-job training for our next president.” Barack Obama immediately retorted, “My understanding is that she wasn’t Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. I don’t know exactly what experience she’s claiming.” As wit, that round goes to Obama. Clinton was elected to the Senate in 2000, her first experience of public office. Obama was an Illinois state senator for seven years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. In terms of experience in elective office, this seems to be a wash.
But since she brought it up, how important is experience in a candidate for president? If experience were a matter of offices held, however briefly, the best candidate running would be Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico and former so many different things that you can hardly believe this is the same person popping up again. But that is ticket-punching, not experience.
This is correct. The only one with vast experience on paper, along with life, is Bill Richardson, period. So, experience has been used very loosely here. Just because one was in the White House does not mean anything, unless he/she was president. As I stated before, only former presidents and that present sitting one, are qualified to step into the role of President of the United States.
Clinton touts experience, but we ask “What experience?” We are still, waiting for that question to be answered, because she won’t answer it. Though she continuously provides it in speeches of what she did as First Lady. Her senate record is that of a junior senator, not used much. Especially, with these disastrous war votes, but if you are going to talk experience, provide the information so we, can examine it. Edwards was a one-term senator from North Carolina, whose record mirrors that of a conservative moderate, not like the populist campaign he is running now. Obama has been in the Illinois State Senate, along with his almost three years as a U.S. Senator. If anyone has more legislative experience, it is Barack Obama. But, the naysayers want Washington, D.C. experience, and I say, that is the problem.
In the end, all three candidates have the experience to walk into the White House and lead. Now, it is up to Democrats, what type of leadership they want. [...]
The whole update is worth a read, if you are interested in the Democratic Presidential race.
Social: it is no secret that I don’t care for the more vocal, zealous feminists. Much of the time I see them more or less as fundies who prefer a different brand of kool-aid. But on occasion they are right about things, and this is one such occasion:
No, I don’t see this as some sign that those horrible men are conspiring to keep womyn down or anything like that. I see this as simple ignorance: spouse killing simply isn’t funny. Of course, I don’t find stuff like the play Arsenic and Old Lace. funny either.
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