31 July 09 (am)

Workout notes Nothing, maybe some yoga on my own. I have a bit of a back ache (mattress?); I’ll try sleeping on a hard surface tonight.

I’ll probably swim on Monday prior to getting on the road to return to Peoria. This weekend I have something interesting planned. We’ll see how well it goes. 🙂


Faux News Fail


From here.

Fox News Fail Part II
Glenn Beck is outraged that government money is being spent to protect turtles, and that much of the money will be spent out of the country (hint: the turtles migrate; there are no turtles that are citizens of the United States 🙂 )

(hat tip: Conservation Report)

Unfortunately, such “arguments” will be popular with the Beck audience. It sort of reminds me of this:

One of the big problems is that stuff that sounds stupid to the average person (sometimes to me too) actually has value; that is why we have a representative democracy rather than a direct one. We elect people to get their staffs to study such matters and then to make good decisions; the average person working 8-10-12-14 hour days simply doesn’t have the time nor the resources (nor, in many cases, the ability) to make a good decision on every single matter.

If the last statement sounds harsh, too bad; I mean it for myself as well. After all, I am not qualified to determine which physics projects should get NSF funding, and there is no shame in my admitting that.

Of course, people often DO make selfish decisions and sometimes “raid the public treasury” for personal gain, and, to be blunt, I really have zero confidence in some of the morons that we have in office (e. g. Senator Jim Inhofe, or, yes, even some of the Democrats who support creationism (Senator Pryor), support nonsense “alternative medicine” (Senator Harkin) or are worried about human-animal hybrids (Senator Landrieu, with many of her Republican buddies).

But there is a larger problem; many of us simply don’t share the same values; that is what makes modern bipartisan support for anything all but impossible at times:

Talking Points has a story about how Max Baucus is trying to craft a health deal with Mike Enzi at the table. Aside from the fact that Enzi, like Baucus, represents a mountainous state with very few people, it’s hard to see what possible common ground Baucus thinks he’ll find.

The central fact of the health care debate is that there is essentially no agreement on anything — values, philosophy, vision of how the world works — between the two sides. Progressives want universal coverage, and see an expanded government role as essential to getting there. Conservatives believe, in the face of all evidence, that free markets are the answer.

So, sometimes the answer is to roll over the other side if you have the numbers and have won the last election.

July 31, 2009 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, economy, injury, morons, nature, politics, politics/social, republicans, science | Leave a comment

Gates Arrest: He should have watched the Chris Rock Video

How to not get your ass kicked

Hat tip: Charles Fisher, a facebook friend)

How to get your ass kicked

(hat tip: Good Kentuckian)

More instigation from Charles:

July 30, 2009 Posted by | humor, politics/social, racism | Leave a comment

Mid Day quips (30 July 09)

Natural Selection in action. From the story of the battle between the humans in Tokyo and the crows:

TOKYO — The crows are back in town, feasting on garbage in Ginza, cawing with impunity.

“Yes, they have returned,” admitted Naoki Satou, the chagrined point man for the city’s 8-year-old war on crows.

The conflict had gone Tokyo’s way until 2006, when the formidably beaked carrion-eaters launched a counterattack. The crow count has since risen about 30 percent.

Besides indulging in their usual highjinks — ripping open plastic garbage bags, scaring children in parks, relieving themselves on passersby — crows have been sabotaging the city’s high-speed Internet network. Hundreds of fiber-optic cables have been slashed open by crows scrounging high-tech stuffing for their nests. […]

[T]he crow war commenced, with broad public support and not much carping from animal rights groups. Everyone agreed that the in-town population of the creatures had gotten out of hand. Their numbers had more than quintupled between 1985 and 2001, increasing from 7,000 to 36,400.

At last count, the city has exterminated 105,392 crows, with an estimated 21,200 still at large. Most were caught in traps baited with mayonnaise or lard. They were gassed with carbon monoxide and cremated in one of the city’s many high-efficiency garbage incinerators.

At the same time, ward governments in Tokyo distributed thousands of blue mesh nylon tarps. Residents were instructed never to put plastic garbage bags outside unless they were covered with the supposedly crow-proof blankets. […]

But alas, the crow problem is getting worse. Some say this is due to the city slacking off a bit. But:

Many bird experts disagree. They say Tokyo is losing control of the crow situation because it underestimates the intelligence of the birds and overestimates its ability to control their numbers through extermination.

“The older, more clever crows never go near those traps,” said Hiroshi Kawachi, an official with the Wild Bird Society of Japan. “They are catching only young, stupid crows, not the breeders.”

The only effective and humane way to limit crows in Tokyo is to get more serious about garbage control, Kawachi said.

Natural selection in action!

Leonard Pitts: understands why President Obama said what he did:

I’ll tell you why Barack Obama said what he did.

When he was asked last week about the racially-charged arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, the president could have — and as a political matter, should have — given a diplomatic non-answer. Instead, he gave a forthright response he later had to apologize for: police in Cambridge, Mass., he said, acted “stupidly” in arresting Gates, a prominent black scholar, at his own home, committing no crime.

So why did Obama, usually the smartest cookie in the jar, not do the politically-intelligent thing?

There, but for . . .

I think it’s simple. I think he looked at Henry Louis Gates and saw his brother-in-law, his nephew, maybe himself if he were not who he is.

I think he did what black men habitually do when news breaks of some brother beat down, gunned down or simply thrown down and handcuffed for no good reason: he breathed, “There, but for the grace of God . . .”[…]

One white guy I know recounts his own experience — cop barged into his home at 3 a.m., rousting him from bed, demanding I.D. — and says: “this [expletive] happens all over the place and it has nothing to do with race.”

Personal experience

And I say:

I’ll see your 3 a.m. roust and raise you Tony, jacked up on a street in Harlem, Bill, with a cop’s gun to his head, Bryan, pulled over for an air freshener on his rear view mirror, James, ordered to pull down his pants and lie on the curb, Robert, threatened with injury for drinking beer in the parking lot with friends after work. And that’s just among guys I know, including three preachers.

Now, broaden it to include the bridegroom shot to death on his wedding day, the African immigrant killed while reaching for his wallet, the Maryland man beaten senseless as he lay in bed, the Miami man beaten to death for speeding, the dozens of men jailed on manufactured evidence in Los Angeles and manufactured police testimony in Tulia, Texas, the man sodomized with a broomstick in New York. Are we supposed to believe it coincidence that the men this happens to always happen to be black?

Some of us do. Some of us have the luxury of never connecting the dots, seeing instead one discrete incident over here and tsk tsk, how terrible that is, and another discrete incident over there and tsk tsk again. And then move on and leave it behind.

But others don’t have that luxury, don’t get to move on and leave it behind. Others carry it like luggage, wear the residue like sweat, into every encounter with every cop, both good and bad: not always memories of what did happen, but fear of what could.

Unnecessary fear? Sometimes; there are many great cops out there. Perfectly valid fear? All too often.

Here, then, is the take-away of the Gates affair: apparently every black man knows what that fear is like, be he professor, preacher, pundit.

Just a note: People from all walks of life, including NBA players, Republican members of Congress (J. C. Watts), Generals and Secretaries of State (Colin Powell) and Presidents (Barack Obama) have reported that they were singled out, profiled, or treated differently because of their race.

Unfortunately, I’ve come to understand that there are people who don’t believe ANY of them; they refuse to accept it (being on facebook has been a big eye-opener for me).

July 30, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, evolution, nature, obama, politics, politics/social, racism, science | 2 Comments

30 July 09 (am)

Workout notes
5 mile walk; 4.2 loop in 49:23 (about 11:50 mpm). Then 3 sets of 5 pull-ups; I was too sweaty to get a good grip on the bar. 83 F, 74 percent humidity at the start, 75 F and 79 percent at the finish; dark storm clouds lead only to a brief light drizzle. Most people were smiling when they saw the storm clouds as Austin has been in a drought situation.

Here is a bit more about the conditions in Texas. Note: back in Illinois, conditions have been unusually wet and cool this year. There is a school of thought that says that we should get used to it.

Illinois farmers may need to take wet weather into account on a regular basis, said the director of the new climate change institute at the University of Illinois.

Spring rain that delayed planting in the state each of the past two years may be “the new norm,” said Wes Jarrell, interim director of the U of I’s Environmental Change Institute.

The time for debate about global warming is over, he said. “It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of fact,” said Jarrell. “Climate changes are already occurring in the Midwest. Temperatures are generally rising, especially in winter.”

Jarrell also cited the facts that extreme rainfall events are becoming more frequent, and that lake ice is arriving later and leaving earlier.

State climatologist Jim Angell said Illinois rainfall has increased over the years.

“If you look at Illinois history – in the 20th century, we saw 10 percent more annual rainfall from the 1960s to the end of the century than from the period dating from the late 1800s to the 1960s,” he said.

“In the 21st century, we’re not just seeing more overall rain but more heavy rains, ” said Angell, referring to storms that drop four to six inches of rain in a 24-hour period.

Global warming is partly to blame for the heavy storms and floods that have hit the United States in recent months, said Amanda Staudt, climate scientist for the Washington, D.C.-based National Wildlife Federation.[…]

The recent runs of Get Fuzzy cartoons have been funny; here is one:


Countdown (with Howard Dean): Senator Brown of Ohio discusses the current bills with Governor Dean:

President Obama in Virginia at a health care town hall:

I am glad that President Obama is doing this; right now we are losing the message war:

[…]The national poll was conducted by telephone starting on Friday and ending on Tuesday. It involved 1,050 adults, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Mr. Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 10 points, to 58 percent, from a high point in April.

And despite his efforts — in speeches, news conferences, town-hall-style meetings and other forums — to address public misgivings, 69 percent of respondents in the poll said they were concerned that the quality of their own care would decline if the government created a program that covers everyone.

Still, Mr. Obama remains the dominant figure in the debate, both because he continues to enjoy relatively high levels of public support even after seeing his approval ratings dip, and because there appears to be a strong desire to get something done: 49 percent said they supported fundamental changes, and 33 percent said the health care system needed to be completely rebuilt.

The poll found 66 percent of respondents were concerned that they might eventually lose their insurance if the government did not create a new health care system, and 80 percent said they were concerned that the percentage of Americans without health care would continue to rise if Congress did not act.

By 55 percent to 26 percent, respondents said Mr. Obama had better ideas about how to change health care than Republicans in Congress did.

There is overwhelming support for a bipartisan agreement on health care, and here again, Mr. Obama appears in the stronger position: 59 percent said that he was making an effort to work with Congressional Republicans, while just 33 percent said Republicans were trying to work with him on the issue.

Over all, the poll portrays a nation torn by conflicting impulses and confusion.

In one finding, 75 percent of respondents said they were concerned that the cost of their own health care would eventually go up if the government did not create a system of providing health care for all Americans. But in another finding, 77 percent said they were concerned that the cost of health care would go up if the government did create such a system.

Helene Cooper, Marina Stefan and Dalia Sussman contributed reporting.

And yes, Dick Morris gets this one right:

In 1993-94, when the Clintons tried to pass healthcare reform, the opposition to their proposals was concentrated among middle-aged voters, galvanized by the “Harry and Louise” ads. But opposition to the Obama proposals centers among the elderly, who suspect that it will mean a sharp curtailment of their medical care.

The Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll of July 21-24 found that voters over 65 opposed the Obama plan by 35-47. They oppose a government-run insurance plan to compete with private plans by 31-56 and believe that the Obama plan will “cost me money” rather than “save me money” by 57-20! Only 24 percent of the elderly feel that the Obama plan will lead to better healthcare for “you and your family,” while 45 percent believe the quality of care will be worse.

By 61-29, elderly voters reject the idea that “it is possible to have major healthcare reform without increasing the budget deficit. They also say, by 65-29, that it is impossible to have it without raising taxes. Three-quarters expect their personal taxes to go up if the plan passes.

Oddly, for a population that now gets its health services through government-run Medicare, they would rather be in a privately run system than one managed by the government, by 67-7.

Most resistant to change, the elderly voters cite fears that they “will have to change existing healthcare arrangements” as the greatest reason to oppose the Obama plan.

Of course, my vision for health care is very different from Mr. Morris’s vision; I’d like to see single payer (but I won’t see it) but I’d settle for a strong public option.

I have an idea of one reason why the elderly are resisting: the Republican ads appear to be very effective with that age group:

When my elderly mom saw this, she said “that doesn’t seem fair, does it?” I said “Mom, the Republicans put this ad out” and she said “oh”. She happens to distrust the Republicans and is extremely skeptical of anything that they say. But before she knew who put out the ad, it was effective!

More on health care: PBS went around the world to see what other industrialized countries do.

Birthers: Mano Singham has a few words to say. 🙂

Science did you know that jelly fish can affect the earth’s climate? It seems impossible but read on:

When it comes to churning up the world’s oceans, Mastigias jellyfish are quite the little blenders. New research suggests that large groups of the small, placid creatures–along with all of the sea’s other motile beings–can mix as much heat, gases, and nutrients through the water column as the winds and tides do.

On the surface, the sea is a roiling mass. But dip 100 meters below and the water is calm. How, then, do the world’s oceans distribute heat and food throughout their depths? Currents driven by salinity and temperature differences can transport a lot. But another part of the answer comes from an idea conceived by the grandson of Charles Darwin. About a half-century ago, the famed naturalist’s descendant–also named Charles–proposed that a body moving through a fluid would tend to drag some of that fluid with it. Applied to the oceans, the hypothesis means that the churning action created when aquatic creatures swim–even the smallest and slowest–might stir a significant amount of water.

Most scientists have remained skeptical, however, arguing that small marine creatures in particular could not overcome water’s viscosity enough to circulate much of anything. Now, it turns out, the idea first posed by Darwin’s grandson may be right.

Bioengineers Kakani Katija and John Dabiri, both of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and their colleagues tested the idea by performing a series of remarkably simple experiments last September in a lagoon on the South Pacific island of Palau. There, they studied how the Mastigias jellyfish mixed water as the softball-size creatures swam peacefully by the scuba-diving researchers. “Their relatively simple swimming motions make them amenable to a careful study of fluid dynamics,” Dabiri writes in an e-mail. “We consider them a model system.”

The researchers recorded the water-mixing effects of the jellyfish by placing a harmless dye near the creatures and tracking how the dye moved with video cameras. Then the team analyzed the results using computer simulations and calculated the amount of energy produced. The observations showed that despite water viscosity, Mastigias jellyfish mixed a surprising volume of water. So much, based on estimates of the number of living creatures in the ocean and their collective efforts, that the mixing is comparable to that of the winds and the tides, the researchers will report tomorrow in Nature.

Surf to the link to read the rest and see a related video.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, health care, humor, morons, nature, obama, political humor, politics, politics/social, republicans, science, Spineless Democrats, training, Uncategorized, walking | Leave a comment

29 July 09 (am)

Workout notes: weather, 85 F, 63 percent. Ran once around the Town Lake Hike and Bike; 38:16 for 4.2 (9:07 mpm), plus 1 walk; the pace was uncomfortable toward the end and I had to focus on relaxing. Many younger women had rolled up their shorts. 🙂

Nature: Evolution in action; see animal camouflage and plant camouflage. The latter shows plants disguised as rocks.

Big corporations: sometimes seek to retaliate by filing lawsuits; this time, a corporation filed a lawsuit over someone sending a twitter post to 21 friends.

Republican lawmakers: advocate abstinence sex education for teenagers, when in fact, THEY can’t practice extra-marital abstinence themselves. Yes, this is a new one, from Tennessee.

The Gates (Harvard Professor) arrest: two voices of reason: Kathleen Parker and Etan Thomas (NBA star)

Health Care
Yes, we are losing the propaganda war. True, more than 70 percent of Americans want a public option, but a plurality oppose what is perceived as the Obama/Congress plan. Of course, there are several plan and no “Obamacare” plan, but the opponents of health care reform need an opponent, so they just made one up.

In short, while the Republicans don’t have the votes to do squat, they realize that they do have the power to campaign against the plan thereby putting pressure on the “blue dogs” to stand up for the insurance companies. Currently, there talking points are to portray government as looking at ways to ration care so as to let people die prematurely (see here, here and here); never mind that thousands of younger people are dying prematurely due to the current set up.

I am not saying that there shouldn’t be honest debate about the costs (e. g., should a health care plan spend 100,000 dollars to take, say, a 10 percent chance that an 80 year old might live another low-quality 6 months? Ok, what about a 5 percent chance? For an honest discussion of these topics, see this article by Professor Singer)

But these people are not interested in an honest discussion; they are interested in labeling whatever plan comes out as “socialist”, “rationing”, “taking away your choice”, etc.

So, that puts the Democrats in a box. On one hand we must explain the details, but we must also counter the misleading and false labels that the enemy is going to attempt to attach to the forthcoming plan. It is a tricky line to walk.

We’ve been down this road before. I was reminded of the passage on page 595 of Bill Clinton’s autobiography My Life. There he points out the following (excerpted from a Waldman American Prospect article):

On March 10, 1994, less than four months after Bill Clinton’s health care plan was introduced in Congress and half a year before it would die its bitter death without ever coming to a vote, the Wall Street Journal published the results of a poll and focus groups they had conducted on the Clinton plan. The article explained that although only 37 percent of respondents said they supported the Clinton plan, when various health care options were read to them without identifying their sponsors, 76 percent said the Clinton plan had either “a great deal of appeal” or “some appeal,” making it more popular than any of the competing proposals.

Voters had no idea what was in the Clinton plan, but they knew they didn’t like it. Among many of the focus group participants, “the most memorable source [of information on the Clinton plan] has been health-insurance-industry commercials strongly criticizing elements of the Clinton plan, including the famous ‘Harry and Louise’ ads that depict an ‘ordinary couple’ worrying about the White House bill.” The Journal’s story was titled “Many Don’t Realize It’s Clinton Plan They Like,” and it would stand as a testament to the smashing success of one of the most extraordinary campaigns of misinformation in recent history.

One of the reasons for the plan’s failure is that the details were not made clear:

The Clintons hid the details of their health care reform plan; their opponents turned ignorance to their advantage. And a rare chance for major change was squandered

Christopher Lasch’s obituary was written before the Health Security Act’s was–he died in February 1994, the health care reform effort some six months later–so there’s no knowing how he would have viewed the undertaking. But from his writing, notably the posthumously published The Revolt of the Elites, it’s not hard to make an educated guess. Our have and have-not health care system epitomizes the “two-class society” he abhorred, in which “the favored few monopolize the advantages of money, education, and power.” That monopoly of advantage threatens not just equality of opportunity, Lasch believed, but quality of life. In the case of health care, it can threaten life itself.

But it also seems likely that Lasch would have found the effort to reform the health care system equally disturbing. “Having effectively been excluded from public debate on the grounds of their incompetence,” Lasch wrote in The Revolt of the Elites, Americans “have become almost as incompetent as their critics have always claimed.” As several new books(1) show, the health care “debate”–the word seems overly generous given the quality of the exchange–affirmed his tautology.

To start, the Clintons deliberately obfuscated the details of their plan, keeping the discourse of the debate as vague as possible. Their opponents–whether Rush Limbaugh, the small business lobby, or GOP strategist Bill Kristol–saw the public’s ignorance as a weapon, not a problem. And journalists did too little to fill the breach of understanding.

The result was a confused, then fearful, public. In March 1994, in one of the press’s more enlightening moments, The Wall Street Journal’s Hilary Stout published a story headlined “Many Don’t Realize It’s the Clinton Plan They Like.” Polls showed that most Americans opposed the Clinton bill; but a focus group indicated that may have been because they didn’t understand it. “No one [in the focus group] expresses support for Mr. Clinton’s sweeping proposal,” Stout wrote. “In fact, no one can explain it.” (Among their misimpressions: Under the Clinton plan, using a doctor other than the one you’d been assigned would land you in jail.) When asked to evaluate an unnamed plan with the Clinton plan’s features, however, poll respondents–and the focus group–were overwhelmingly approving, even preferring it over rival proposals in Congress. There were few starker illustrations of the failure, by all sides, to educate the public or argue the issues on their merits.

So, here is an explanation of the details of the main House plan. It is written by Representative Lloyd Doggett:

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I’ve been seeking a meaningful answer to the many shortcomings American families encounter with health care.

During recent Central Texas meetings, I heard from some neighbors with legitimate concerns about the complexities of the House approach, others who suffer from a steady diet of cable television misinformation, and a few who are just against anything that President Barack Obama favors. Here is how this imperfect bill affects you.

Health care peace of mind. If you are among the one in four of our neighbors with no health insurance, the 24,000 additional Texans who lose coverage each month, or the many who have insurance with more exceptions than coverage, you will finally be able to get affordable health care through a new Health Insurance Exchange. An estimated 96 percent of the coverage available through that marketplace will be from private insurance carriers subject to national standards and no longer able to decline those with preexisting conditions. One alternative available through the Exchange is a public plan similar to Medicare but subject to the same standards as private carriers. Like Medicare, the government would not own health care facilities or employ physicians. You can keep the same doctor, and health decisions will continue to be between you and your doctor.

• Competition cuts costs. Budget analysts project that in a decade only 4 percent of Americans under age 65 will choose this public plan option. What some shamelessly call a “government takeover” is in truth a modest reform. The public option expands individual choice and spurs competition among private insurers instead of pouring billions more into a system that is failing too many while doing little to control costs. Opponents, who insist that government cannot do anything well, claim that a little public competition threatens these private insurance giants.

• Ending coverage games. Even if you have satisfactory coverage, perhaps through an employer, you gain from this initiative. Insurers are prohibited from refusing to renew coverage, charging different premiums to different people for the same coverage, using policy fine print to deny coverage, or shifting to you the cost of catastrophic illnesses. And insurers have less justification for increasing premiums and copays while cutting benefits. As the president said, “Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage.” No longer will losing insurance prevent your seeking a better job or starting a business.

If you rely on Medicare, you’ll get better access to preventive services and medications, including gradual closing of the “donut hole” gap in drug coverage. Increased payments to physicians means more will accept new Medicare patients.

To those fearing the “rationing” of health care, consider that in 2006, 22,000 Americans died because they lacked health insurance. That’s real rationing.

Small businesses win. With skyrocketing costs, limited bargaining power and routine discrimination, many firms struggle to maintain decent coverage, paying 18 percent more per employee than other employers. The Health Insurance Exchange will offer lower cost, higher quality coverage. Eligible businesses will get rates and a wider choice of plans currently available only to large employers. For small-business owners concerned that they will be penalized for not providing insurance they cannot afford, tax credits can assist many with as much as 50 percent of the cost and an exemption for those with an annual payroll below $250,000.

Keeping the price affordable. If you are a taxpayer concerned about costs, covering the many uninsured does initially add about 4 percent to the cost of the current health care system. But rather than incurring more public debt, we pay for this — with about half coming from savings through improved health care delivery and most of the rest from a surcharge on those with incomes over $350,000. A family with $500,000 in income would pay an extra $1,500 a year. Other revenues are gained by ending tax shelters and international tax avoidance schemes. We’ll go from a sickness system to a wellness system, which will save costs as people access the preventive care and other services on the front end rather than seeking more expensive care after getting sick.

If we can get a better handle on health care costs, which have consistently spiraled faster than inflation, families can devote less income to health care, employers can give raises rather than just pay higher premiums, and we can ensure Medicare’s long-term sustainability.

I agree that this bill is no panacea. During the legislative process, it will be changed, hopefully, to do even more to contain costs. But it can lead us to a victory for healthy families, a healthy economy, and a healthy America. Let’s keep improving it until we get this important job accomplished.

Doggett is senior member of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee.

July 29, 2009 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Democrats, economy, free speech, health care, obama, politics, politics/social, racism, republicans, running, Spineless Democrats, training | Leave a comment

You can’t make this stuff up: dad on bike shot because he was being unsafe

Deranged, just totally deranged:

A driver, now identified as an Asheville firefighter, shot a bicycle rider because he was angry the man was riding with his child on a busy road, Asheville police said. […]

Officers said the victim was riding with his wife and had his 3-year-old son in a child seat attached to his bicycle when a driver approached him.

Police said the driver, Charles Diez, claimed he was upset that the victim was bike riding with his child on the heavily traveled Tunnel Road.

Diez pulled a gun and opened fire, hitting the victim in his bicycle helmet, according to police.

They said the bullet penetrated the outer lining of the helmet but did not actually hit the victim’s head.


July 29, 2009 Posted by | bicycling, politics/social | Leave a comment

Fox Host Glenn Beck: Obama Is A “Racist” (VIDEO)

Glenn Beck; moron.

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July 28, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, morons, politics, politics/social, racism, republicans | 1 Comment

28 July pm topics

Health Care Not every Democratic Senator has given up on having a “public option”:

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Of course, there is much ignorance around:

Why Americans hate single-payer insurance

Because they don’t know they have it. A commenter points me to this:

At a recent town-hall meeting in suburban Simpsonville, a man stood up and told Rep. Robert Inglis (R-S.C.) to “keep your government hands off my Medicare.”

“I had to politely explain that, ‘Actually, sir, your health care is being provided by the government,’ ” Inglis recalled. “But he wasn’t having any of it.”

One of the truly amazing and depressing things about the health reform debate is the persistence of fear-mongering over “socialized medicine” even though we already have a system in which the government pays substantially more medical bills (47% of the total) than the private insurance industry (35%).

In a way, this is the flip side of the persistent belief that the free market can cure healthcare, even though there are no places where it actually has; people also believe that government-provided insurance can’t work, even though there are many places where it does — and one of those places is the United States of America.

Unfortunately, some of the ignorance is at places where it shouldn’t be:

Instead, it’s about another Harvard professor, economist Martin Feldstein, who today penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post that is sadly misinformed on the health care debate.

Take a look at this:

Obama has said that he would favor a British-style “single payer” system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry. The Obama plan to have a government insurance provider that can undercut the premiums charged by private insurers would undoubtedly speed the arrival of such a single-payer plan.

Feldstein is simply mistaken here. “Single-payer” has to do with who pays for health care (in the case of single-payer, the federal government does). It has absolutely nothing to do with who provides health care. It’s the difference between the Canadian system, in which private doctors and hospitals are paid by the Canadian government (and indirectly, Canadian taxpayers) to provide health care to its citizenry, and the British system, in which the providers themselves — doctors, nurses, hospital administrators — are actually in the employ of Her Majesty’s Government. For that matter, it’s the difference between Medicare — a single-payer system for American seniors — and the British system.

Other social misconceptions:

Actually, I did visit Amsterdam for a week in 2004 and absolutely loved it.

No, I don’t do drugs nor do I drink. 🙂

But now that we are no O’Reilly: I actually agree with him on something! Yes, normally I’d agree with the Southern Poverty Law Center, but here I think that O’Reilly is right.

Speaking of “birthers”: evidently the embarrassment is taking its toll:



Personally, I am enjoying the fact that the main stream conservatives are suffering the consequences of reaching out to the nut bags. Can they win without them?

Lest you think that the conservatives are out of the intellectual woods yet:

NRO Cover II

(hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

More of this please! 🙂

Ok, here is one time where I disagree with Friendly Atheist.

To me, it isn’t much different from them say, given a discount for someone who brings in a race number from a marathon or say, a name badge from a science meeting.

July 28, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Barack Obama, Democrats, economy, Fox News Lies Again, health care, obama, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, travel | Leave a comment

28 July 09 (am)

Workout notes 5 miles on the trail (walking), 4.2 loop in 47:27 via 2-1, felt ok, went after some slower runners but couldn’t put them away. First mile was about 12 minutes; mile 3 was in the low 34s.

Pull ups (5 before, 10 after), stretching. 83 F, 58 percent humidity (felt ok).

Last night, my left piriformis tingled a bit; it went down the side and outside of my leg.

Nature: Yellow legged frogs discovered in California. These are endangered; and adorable.



Heath care: A case study of what is wrong with our system.

You’d think that this is common knowledge, but it isn’t.

Interview This is a 10 minute excerpt of a Bill Maher interview:

Rush Limbaugh

Mr. Limbaugh needs to make up his mind.

He says that President Obama is black and has a chip on his shoulder.

Now he calls President Obama an oreo?

The second clip is especially interesting. Note: the “enemy” is “they”; it is “they” who are coming after your hot dogs, potato chips and cookies!!! 🙂

Just who is “they” and what does he mean by “coming after”?

Is “they” “the liberals”, like, say, Michael Moore? (who I do like, by the way). What does he mean by “coming after”? 🙂

Notice: the idea is to keep his listeners in fear of “they”; that fuzzy, ill defined threat.

July 28, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, health care, injury, nature, obama, politics, politics/social, racewalking, republicans, Rush Limbaugh, science, training | Leave a comment

Oh Noes!

The Republicans want us to be aware of these people:

Scary, no? 🙂

July 28, 2009 Posted by | morons, republicans | Leave a comment