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Labor Delusions

By: sp34n119w , 2:58 AM GMT on September 01, 2012

Last night at the RNC, Marco Rubio told us that if we work up to 16 hours a day for 70 years, like his dad, then we, too, may have a child at the front of the room one day. Unlike his father, he wants us to do it without looking forward to Social Security and Medicare, without significant unemployment benefits, without any chance of affordable health insurance or any other worker protection, and we'll do it with a minimum wage that is far less than a living wage. And our child will have to make it on stage without having had a quality free public education and its attendant after-school programs, etc., and without an affordable college education at a publicly supported university, such as that put to excellent use by Marco himself.

Do the Republicans mean it when they say they will bring jobs back to the U.S.? Sure. If you're willing to work like an uneducated immigrant. Or, if you want to work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, living in a dorm with hundreds of others, far from home, for very low wages, as do the Chinese workers who make iCrap. Many Chinese and other workers are desperate and don't yet have the economic power to fight back. We do, or did, and did, but seem willing now to give all that up. Are we that desperate? The Republican Party thinks so and it may be true.

But that message is not meant for the people who will do the work and pay the price of serfdom.
The largest voter/consumer demographic is now over 60 years old. The largest demographic in the Republican Party is also over 60 years old. They are done raising their families and are retired or near retirement, so schools and wages and other employment issues are not their problem. They are worried about Social Security and Medicare so the promise is made that those social programs will be there for them, while keeping their taxes low by cutting programs that benefit everyone. Their kids and grandkids will be on their own in old age or if they get sick, but, so what? The folks who will vote for the end of social programs will be dead soon. In the meantime, they will be courted by those who most benefit from turning American workers into desperate job-seekers.

Sacrifice. Republican Party leaders talk a lot about sacrifice. Not their own sacrifice. Not your sacrifice. No, they mean Other People's sacrifice. Immigrants, teachers, previous generations, the next generations, firefighters, our soldiers ... all these people who sacrificed so that you – yes, you! - could live the American Dream (tm). Goodness. Where do all these lambs come from? What happens when you run out? No worries. The important thing is that you – yes, you! - get what you deserve from your government while excluding those who you just know do not deserve a thing. Other People sacrifice so that you, special you, exceptional you, don't have to. How can that message not appeal?

Hmmm. I wonder where they get the notion that someone else can and should sacrifice himself for nothing more than an occasional mention.

I dunno. I'm rambling in an effort to understand these folks, my fellow Americans, and their willingness to toss hundreds of years of human progress into the sewer for an ideology they don't need and don't live by, all for the promise of a drug-induced erection at someone else's expense.
Oh. I guess that follows.


Somewhat related – a couple of years ago I wrote up a post about disappearing farm workers. It had been going of for awhile and it has continued. There was an article in last Saturday's paper about the dearth of pickers in Ventura County and I link it here as follow-up to the previous blog post, and as general interest. I don't have much to add to what I wrote back then, in the post and eventually in comments, but may write what I'm currently hearing around town in the comments. May not ;)


Oh. Happy Labor Day. Enjoy it while it still almost makes sense.


Cynical Swirls:

For the bigger picture, have a look at the NE Pac WVloop.

Campaigning Clouds :

Reactionary Rain:

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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97. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
8:14 PM GMT on October 23, 2012
sp34n119w has created a new entry.
96. LowerCal
6:29 PM GMT on October 23, 2012
Well, while we're waiting for a new blog...

There was an interval during the debate yesterday evening where Romney looked like HE wanted to vote for Obama, lol.

Random entertainment for those who like quizzes
World's Smallest Political Quiz
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
95. Ylee
6:14 AM GMT on October 21, 2012
The Mt. Wilson cam was showing the observatory under blue skies, even as the valley below is covered in clouds! Pretty neat!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
94. sp34n119w
8:43 PM GMT on October 20, 2012
Yuck. Cold and gray today! Everything was wet this morning, as if it had rained, which I guess it sorta did, in that the air at ground level could not hold any more water so that water stuck to every surface it contacted. Do you know why? Because yesterday, for the first time in two months, I washed my car, LOL

calpoppy - thanks for the heads up! Will probably watch online :)

Karen - hey! Good to see you out and about the blogs :) Bet you are enjoying the cooler weather!
Yeah, I don't often go far in the car, either, and tend to combine trips to save gas (actually, because I'm too lazy to go out multiple times when I can get things done all at once ;)).


Random link dump because I've still not finished writing a new blog entry:

Another look at how money is used without consequence in politics - this about anti-Prop 30 donors from ... Arizona?

Corporate bad actors do sometimes get punished.

Amazon may be stealing money from independent authors who sell through the site ... or, not, but something is wrong there.

Elsewhere: support good causes and get a great deal on some sf/f books in a Humble eBook Bundle. I have no affiliation with any of that and did not intend to buy the bundle because, well, stacks of unread real books are about to fall upon me even as I type. Then they added the comics a couple of days ago. That's me done for. So, thought I'd share :)

Going to Ghostwalk tonight! WooHoo! Or, erm, BooooooOooooo!

There's a Halloween parade and a Halloween carnival in SP.
The Pumpkin Patch is now open weekends - lots of family fun there. Don't know if anyone built a pumpkin chucker this year.
Many residential streets are already lined with goblins, ghosts, and ghouls ... all lit up at night.
The party at the library is Tuesday evening, the 30th. I love seeing the little ones all dressed up! But, I'll miss it this year :(
This town is insane for Halloween.

Happy Weekend, WU!
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93. SBKaren
2:52 AM GMT on October 19, 2012
Hi sp! We haven't bought gas yet either. Last time I got gas it was $3.93. I'm going to have to get gas early next week though. I use more gas driving my mom to doctors appointments than I do for me!!

Cal- we watch Bill Moyers every week. I love him and his shows. Usually very interesting guests and topics!
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92. calpoppy
8:11 PM GMT on October 18, 2012
A quick stop by to tell you that Chrystia Freeland author of Plutocrats the rise of the new global super rich and the fall of everyone else will bee on Bill Moyers show friday and of course this weekend, you can also watch it on his website.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
91. sp34n119w
11:38 PM GMT on October 17, 2012
Hello! Thanks for coming by WTS, calpoppy, Briar, gg, Ylee, and LC!
Yikes, I'm a bad blogger. Let's see ...

Gas prices are still high, as far as I can tell. I haven't bought gas since the day before the prices started going crazy but do glance at the boards as I drive by (sp says snootily from the seat of a Prius) (um, LOL, I should add, knowing that there's a bit more to it than that for most folks).

Update: haven't found shore's recommended sweet but did find their gelato. Didn't buy it as I'm holding out for the sorbet.

Just watched the VP debate Monday night (see, there was a Steelers game on Thursday) (which we won't discuss) and it played out pretty much as I expected. I like Joe, have to say, just personally. I don't have anything else on that – old news, and all.

I do think it's hard to get across the idea that opinions are not equally valid or valuable. It's especially difficult when opinion turns to action if that action does harm. I've got some more examples coming up at the end here.

Weather: I also saw LC's first graphic as a precip chart. As a temp chart it makes more sense, LOL! The actual precip outlook is pretty grim but I'd like to remind my fellow SoCalians that the forecast was wrong last year around this time, and most areas received more than expected. There is hope!
Right now we've got “rocking horse weather”, eh?

The Book of Mormon is absolutely hilarious. Also, the story is super harsh, much “bad” language and some situations are obscene/offensive (do NOT take the kiddos – this ain't Lion King), but the music, story, and overall production values are good, and the characters are sweet and easy to sympathize with. I felt that the pacing was a little uneven, and my middle-aged sensibilities found the fast dialogue difficult to follow at times. I would say that if you have any desire whatsoever to see it, GO and see it :)
Anyway, it's been donkey's ears since I've been to a big production like that and I probably would have had fun no matter what, so, maybe I'm not the best reviewer ;)

Think that's it for catching up with you all, considering the amount of time that's passed.
Really appreciate the continuing additions you bring! Also, I noticed the other day that I have 6 plusses on this blog! That's three or four more than usual! Don't know when that happened and it's probably too late but want to say “Thanks to the lurkers and extra plussers! Nice to know you're there.” :)


Speaking of Mormons … The creator of the youtube series “Mr. Diety” was raised a Mormon (if you watch the series, you can tell). He has another series called “Way of the Mister” and the latest installment of that is about Mormons and racism. He does make it funny, but it is also informative and interesting. As a side note: the way that is treated in TBoM is, yes, hilarious.

[Oh, what the heck. Let's do a bunch of religion-related links today, shall we? …]


The combo of that congressman who is on the House Science and Technology Committee and is obviously unqualified to be there (along with Akin), plus the story of Malala which, to me, exemplifies exactly the same kind of thinking, really got me down last week. That's unusual for me, but, geez. What's wrong with people? Believe whatever you want but keep the rest of us out of it. How hard is that?

You can read about Broun and Akin's fellow science committee members at Salon. There are petitions calling for the resignations from the committee of both of these men (at change.org, for instance), but we need congress to appoint reasonable people to these committees to start with, rather than using them to provide political favors. They have real power over the rest of us and need to be able to approach issues objectively.

A Pakistani writer voiced his view of how attacks like that on Malala keep happening, at Pakistan Today. Here's an exceprt:
“Let’s stop carving out quasi religions, or defending ideologies that we’ve all grown up blindly following as the truth. Let’s call a spade a spade instead and realize that at the end of the day as much as you might have a cardiac arrest admitting it, the root cause of religious extremism is: religion – especially in its raw crude form, which again is the only ‘authentic’ form.

Every single religion has a violent streak. Every single one of them orders violence and killing in one form or the other for the ‘non-believers’. One can quote verses from every holy scripture depicting loathe and despise for anyone who doesn’t believe in the said scripture and its propagator. Sure, those scriptures would have the occasional fit of peace as well, … “

I love that phrase, “the occasional fit of peace”, LOL


Then, there is the Newsweek cover story about a guy who calls himself a scientist and thinks he saw heaven while very ill, in a coma, and under the influence of drugs … couldn't be a typical and well-known phenomena, could it? No! His personal experience is evidence. Well, one expects a neurosurgeon to have an over-inflated ego but Newsweek's editors should know better. How often do they allow speculation and/or personal opinion to pass as factual information? I can't trust them at all anymore.
Sam Harris seems uncharacteristically angry about this one but his take-down (with references and links!) is very much worth the read just for what can be learned about brain function.
Anyway, it's just sad. Sad for the man who could have learned from his amazing experience, sad for folks who will be duped by his book, and sad for Newsweek.


Another? Oh, okay. If you insist :)
BBC reality program called "Conspiracy Road Trip" follows creationists learning about evolution in America. It's a series that includes a look at UFOs and 911 Truthers (Bogon might like that one ;)). It's an hour long.
How do you explain to someone that what they feel about something has no bearing on reality? If they've been led to believe that their feelings, or their opinion, are always as valid and valuable as those of anyone else?


Enough? Fine :)

Back to politics:
[This is from last week, or so]
Two of my favorite groups are exchanging favors. The Union of Concerned Scientists sent an email plugging Public Citizen's work to overturn the Citizens United decision via constitutional amendment. Meanwhile, Public Citizen is promoting UCS's petition to stop the censorship of government scientists. This is good. Very, very good.


I didn't watch the entirety of the debate last night so don't have much to say. I thought the format favored Obama and he took good advantage of it. Romney looked angry most of the time and sounded aloof and out of touch. What else is new? Doesn't seem to bother his supporters.

It isn't hard to find the true story about the “binders full of women” if you haven't seen it yet.
I think there's a piece at salon, linked above, in fact. These guys trip me out.



Alright, I'll shut up now. Working on a new blog but not sure where I want to go with it so decided to do this, instead. Hope I haven't used up all my words, but it will certainly be more brief than this comment, lol

Happy Midweek, WU :)
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90. LowerCal
10:55 PM GMT on October 17, 2012
WTS, either color scheme is not particularly intuitive by itself.

104° for a high here today. The forecast high for Sunday is 68°. The transition between seasons is swinging like a saloon door in an old Western.
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89. WatchinTheSky
10:04 PM GMT on October 17, 2012
LowerCal - must have had rain on the brain still, I looked at that chart a couple times and always saw precip before commenting, oh well.. hopefully they are right about catching up by Jan.
A bit toasty here today - 101 for high.
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88. sp34n119w
9:32 PM GMT on October 16, 2012
Apropos of nothing in particular ...

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87. LowerCal
7:16 PM GMT on October 16, 2012
WTS that outlook is for October temps. What I thought was remarkable is the narrow strip of below normal along the Central and Northern California coast with above normal everywhere else. The pattern would be consistent with persistent high pressure over Nevada/Utah. The precip outlook for the same period

shows below normal precip so it doesn't look like we'll have an easy Santa Ana season but we should catch up to normal by the end of the year.

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86. WatchinTheSky
11:16 PM GMT on October 15, 2012
I am not too excited by LowerCal's precip chart, most of the west above ave - except near the coast. At least they are not predicting below ave, silver lining? Normal would be more than last year.
Ylee, At least there were a few fines there, not the case here. I guess that's what Jack gets for taking on Big Oil!
Hi sp!
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85. Ylee
7:26 AM GMT on October 13, 2012
I thought there were similar goings-on after 9/11, but a brief search brought me to this story from the Louisville Courier-Journal:

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A state investigation into price-gouging at gasoline stations last September, when Hurricane Ike hit the United States, has resulted in seven stations in Western and Southern Kentucky paying settlements of $107,500.

Attorney General Jack Conway, in announcing the results of the investigation at a news conference yesterday, said a settlement with an eighth gas station is expected to be completed soon.

As a side note, Conway lost to Rand Paul in the 2010 Senatorial election. We hillbillies can pick 'em, can't we? :P
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84. Ylee
6:48 AM GMT on October 13, 2012
WTS, if my memory(for what it's worth) recalls correctly, there were actually some convictions and fine involved. Some fact checking is in order, I think, somehow!
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83. LowerCal
7:36 PM GMT on October 12, 2012
Precipitation in my nearby area ranged from nothing to 3/4" yesterday. In my particular spot all afternoon it was a constant cycle of dark, rain, bright blue between towering white clouds and then repeat. We had light tiny hail at least three times. BB sized hail melts so quickly it's hard to spot unless it lands in a dry spot at your feet or bounces a couple feet high nearby. It's sound is hard to distinguish from a pelting rain. We also had a loud crash of thunder that crackled on and on resurrecting itself from the brink multiple times before it finally died for good.

I didn't find anything worthy of remark for SoCal in the Climate Prediction Center outlooks except maybe this:

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82. WatchinTheSky
5:42 PM GMT on October 12, 2012
Rain!! With a wee bit of lightning on top as well. It CAN rain in way south SoCal! At least .2", maybe twice that - rain gauge on the fritz.

Ylee - were there actually prosecutions or just calls for and then investigations? We are getting calls here (again...) from politicians to investigate - but that is all that happens. I suppose it makes some people happy to hear the calls but it goes no further and people forget.

calpoppy - we need to file the papers for our oil company right away! We are missing out on a lot of good stuff :)
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81. GardenGrrl
5:11 PM GMT on October 12, 2012
Have to say the Biden/Ryan debate was the most fun to watch out of all previous political debates. Great entertainment...Heck they are all crooks so at least we should be entertained. The moderator was wonderful. Tough gal.
Hope Obama sheds the stuffy school teacher approach and acts a bit more presidential for Tuesday debate.
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80. Ylee
9:13 PM GMT on October 11, 2012
If I remember correctly, after 9/11, there was an uproar in my state(and prosecution by the AG) because a few gas stations raised their prices to $1.70/gal(I think it was $1.15 at the time).

I guess if all the oil futures traders and oil companies do it, it's OK....:P

Getting any rain?
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79. GardenGrrl
2:17 AM GMT on October 11, 2012
Aren't there laws against price gouging during natural disasters? Guess price gouging (fixing) is okay during some what fair weather.
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78. BriarCraft
10:19 PM GMT on October 10, 2012
Good article you linked me to in #75. I'll quote a couple of paragraphs that caught my eye in particular, because, well, they caught my eye.

The problem with "entitled to my opinion" is that, all too often, it's used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for "I can say or think whatever I like", and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.

So next time you hear someone declare they're entitled to their opinion, ask them why they think that. Chances are, if nothing else, you'll end up having a more enjoyable conversation that way.

Now, I'll say, by golly, I am entitled to my opinion, but I do try to differentiate that fact unless I can actually point to some actual, real facts to substantiate my opinions. Except, of course, for truly subjective things, such as "This is a nice day. Glad I woke up to enjoy it."


Twice now, I've seen a SoCal gas station operator (on the evening TV news) with a sense of humor. The gas prices listed are:
Unleaded = Arm
Mid-Grade = Leg
Premium = Both
The oil companies never fail to find an excuse to stick it to California because of the requirement for "special" gas mixes. Considering that California is something like the 7th largest economy in the world, I hardly think that much economy of scale should make such a difference.

That's my opinion for the day. >8-D
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77. calpoppy
11:26 PM GMT on October 09, 2012
You saw the book of mormon! Review please! It looks very funny.

I agree WTS! It would be nice just to make money no matter who you screwed over, destroy the environment and claim we need to because America can't be energy dependent anymore. And we can rally around Mitt with his war cries about the middle east, so we can get a piece of that juicy pie. Oh, and we can make the ignorant believe that global warming is a leftist ploy. What fun we will have!!!!!!

We have the money and the power, plutocracy here we come!!!
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76. WatchinTheSky
11:36 PM GMT on October 08, 2012
I was a bit premature with the gas grumble, more like .50 to 1 buck more. Oh I wish I was a giant corporation, not responsible to anyone, do what I like with no regard to consequences. Just $$$$. There should be a few nice commercials from the oil companies soon telling us how they are making the would a more wonderful place!
I don't think too many tea partiers are buying those tee shirts :)
And I don't think that is such a difficult concept(Entitled to your opinion), but that's just my opinion!
Speaking of such, it's going to rain Thursday! (Ha!)
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75. sp34n119w
9:34 PM GMT on October 08, 2012

Briar - thanks for the link! It's depressing.
I came across a pretty good essay that relates to how folks fool themselves - No, you're not entitled to your own opinion - and which articulates a difficult concept.

Ylee - and your new blog was worth the wait! I haven't been in at all hours, yet, and look forward to seeing the China cam especially. The first time I saw it it was night and there was a shadowy figure at the top and the light was electric ... looked like a scene from Blade Runner :)

Skyzics - I think Obama has to be just as careful now as last time to not come across as "angry black dude" or risk scaring off certain folks who might vote for him. I also think he didn't hurt himself in the debate and, more importantly, did not help Romney. I thought Romney looked manic and desperate, really agitated, but, what do I know?
It may be that the next two debates will be more interesting. Also, the VP debate could be a real barn burner.

WTS - It takes a long time for that basket to reach its destination, lol. One presidential term - or five - won't get it there. Perspective helps. Things really are better today, by almost any measure, than at any time in history. For humans, that is. Overall.

As you probably have heard by now, gas prices went up because Cali has its own blend and two refineries are offline (something about a pipeline, too). They are meant to go back into production soon. Apparently, the billions of dollars in profits and subsidies are not enough incentive for oil companies to build new refineries or improve the old ones. Go figure.
Anyway, Brown just told the CARB to do what they can to roll out the winter blend a bit early which, together with the reopening of the refineries, should bring prices down a bit.

Hey, they got pictures of the little fishy building its cool pad - it must be true!

calpoppy - Finding a new monkey (especially one that's a dead ringer for Gene Wilder, lol) is a wonderful thing! And shows how much there is still to discover about our world. But, the fact that humans have found a new-to-us critter hardly matters to the critter, except that it means we are there, in its territory, and its days are numbered. Such is life.

Cooler, yes! Rain, maybe! I should do a blog about that ... ;)


I have something fun in here, somewhere, I swear ...

Ever wonder what the Mormon Temple Endowment ceremony is like? Sure you have. It's on youtube, natch, lol
I only watched the first 7 or 8 minutes. Not for lack of interest - just time. Though, having seen The Book of Mormon last month, I can say that those stories don't have to be so boring!


Massachusetts Senate Race Gives New Meaning To Gender Politics. Oh, that Scott Brown. A guy's guy, he is.

Somewhat related: a picture is worth a thousand words? Women are disappearing


Okay, not really fun ... but funny!
TeaParty TeeShirts
[note: not advertising - just sharing]


Look out. It might rain in SoCal this week.

You know, I am not in quite so bad a mood as this comment sounds, LOL

seewu :)

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74. calpoppy
6:36 PM GMT on October 07, 2012
Neat links, I do like the monkey! I find it really interesting that we keep discovering new animals and insects. That gives me hope that man hasn't despoiled our whole planet yet.

Cool weather this way comes! Maybe a splash of moisture?

My son is headed up to Barrow Tuesday. I guess Shell oil is still up in the Arctic and as long as they are there the Coast Guard will be up there also. He is excited, Polar bears and whales, walruses and Inuits!
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73. WatchinTheSky
7:30 PM GMT on October 05, 2012
I knew there had to be another brightsider! I tend to believe that our 'good life' has too much inertia to revert to the stone age as some GOP far right supporters claim will happen next year if O is re-elected. Not to say that plenty of bad things don't already happen, but let's have some perspective, please. At least some reasoning?
Why did gas go up over 30 cents this week down here, grrrr. Don't get me started..
'the most spectacular thing I've ever seen' is pretty cool though I have to reign in my skeptical side so as to not think someone did a nice job making up the solution because it would be a good story. Things that animals do, particularly to attract a mate, are just amazing!

Yay for nice weather! Soothing swirls.
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72. Skyzics
12:48 PM GMT on October 05, 2012
Since the 'debate' in which Obama, for the most part at least, refused to challenge Romney and the GOP, Romney is now 'tacking left' (as I publicly suggested he should do here on this board) and lying brazenly. Since some people will believe anything any politician says, especially if the politician 'looks you directly in the eye,' perhaps this race is not over yet! The Dems and pundits like Chris Matthews are aghast, asking 'Where was Obama' in the debate. The answer is he is the same old Obama he always was - a political non entity with lofty rhetoric at times but no political substance or history to speak of. He is essentially a manufactured product for public political consumption in support of the current (in 2008 and today) general economic and political trajectory. The lack of substantial political differences with the Republicans was revealed in this debate, and this, more than anything, explains Obama's refusal to go on any offensive, lest he offend his wealthy benefactors and Wall Street financiers that finance his campaign, not to mention the corporate-owned media. In the end, Obama and the Democratic party establishment would rather lose than offend these social layers, although due to criticism of Obama's performance in the debate, an uptick in the phony populist rhetoric can now be expected intermixed with embedded verbal cues and winks to the financial elite to assure them that any such populist rhetoric is not to be taken seriously.
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71. Ylee
3:10 AM GMT on October 05, 2012
More links? Darn you sp, I'm afraid they will have to wait until I finish my new blog! :) The sun will be setting in the Far East soon, and I want to find a cam there before it gets dark!

Maybe tomorrow night! :)
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70. BriarCraft
9:33 PM GMT on October 04, 2012
#68 got me to thinking yet again about the RepubliCon spin factory. Following the example set by Karl Rove, they seem to have brainwashed the very people who would be helped by Dems into voting against their own best interests. I could rant on and on, but I think the regulars here all know what I'm talking about.

Fact-checking the Denver presidential debate showed more half-trues and falses on both sides than I had hoped. Really makes me wonder if any politician or talking head remembers what the truth sounds like. Or even cares any more. Is the winner the one who tells the prettiest lies?
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69. sp34n119w
8:55 PM GMT on October 04, 2012
... or so.

calpoppy – wow does that make legislators look stupid. Lazy and greedy and selfish, yeah, but really stupid. I can't help but think that Republican voters would not like ALEC any more than you or I do. How ironic that the folks who rant all over the internet about the global conspiracy and New World Order that will enslave mankind are, in fact, voting for the pawns who are building it right here in the U S of A. And around the world, now.
Well. We knew that.
Funny how, in the debacle (sorry - “debate”), Romney kept going back to the idea that things like health care should be handled by individual states, isn't it? I wonder why.
The secrecy and the national agenda of ALEC actually undermines States' Rights as well as the voters' best interests.
Thanks for bringing that to my attention – I watched it at Democracy Now but it is available elsewhere, too.

Ylee – oh, yeah. It's October! Thanks for the reminder (and the bunnies!) :)

WTS – now I'm going to have to dig out old calendars to check on the Oct-Feb connection, LOL Otherwise, you're right - not much to say about October. September is my second favorite month and I'm sorry to see it go. I didn't get to enjoy it as much as usual this year so I'm going to extend it in my head for as long as I can. Think that'll work? ;)

Well, the notion that the common good supersedes that of the individual is one basic Marxist idea (though not necessarily part of its degenerate forms that led to Communist States) but it is also basic to Christian ethics, real family values (where the grown-ups deny themselves 'good' in favor of their children or the family as a whole), and many other forms of thought. What the Right is saying is that They are taking from Us and many folks are, like my friend mentioned in the previous comment, unaware that they are part of the “They” and not in with the “Us” that the politicians and pundits are talking about.

I'm a bright-sider by nature. I tend to think that things will work themselves out, that good people will prevail. Then I look at history - lately, in particular, the times leading up to the Dark Ages - and realize that, no, things do not always work themselves out. Not without a whole lot of avoidable misery and pain, first.

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." Edmund Burke

ooooh, I may have found my new bio quotey thingy!


Some downers:
What is wrong with people? A Florida jury found a woman guilty of neglect for “allowing” a crazy man with a knife to kill one child and injure her and another child, after he had killed someone else and injured yet another person. What was she supposed to do? Sick. People are sick.

There's an account of that film about Obama that I mentioned up there somewhere – the one put out by D'Souza that slanders Obama's mother – and how it is being used in Churches. From that essay:
“When a church applies for tax exemption, the institution agrees to abide by certain rules, which are intended to enforce the separation of church and state. Officially, the IRS prohibits:“voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates.” Unofficially, however, enforcement of this policy is so toothless that only one church has ever lost its tax-exempt status, and pulpit politicking is the norm across the country. “
I saw an article in the local paper in which a pastor openly, from the pulpit and in the interview, advocated voting for Romney. A few commenters noted that that church should lose their tax-exempt status but nobody responded to those comments. Too busy calling each other names to recognize a real threat.

Did you see where someone used KitchenAide's corporate Twitter account to say a nasty thing about Obama's grandmother? Yikes. Who does that, anyway? In private, okay, your friends might laugh, but, in public like that? He really wants to be known for all time as that guy?


Let us turn to the everlasting glory of nature for respite, shall we? :)

I know I've heard of these plants but did not know so much about them and their relatives and their veryveryvery long history. Neat! I want one!

Is it lovely? Perhaps not. Is it wonderful? Oh, definitely! What else is out there?

This may be the most spectacular thing I've ever seen.
The story of discovery is part of what puts it on the short list, at least.

“... endless forms most beautiful … “
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
68. sp34n119w
6:46 PM GMT on October 04, 2012
I wonder if we're done with this blog, hm? Well, far be it from me to let a dead horse go unbeaten! So to speak.
I wrote the following on the 25th, I guess, but it is so long and I didn't want to add to my self-spamming. If I'm going to try for a new blog soon (could happen!) I might as well dump this now. It'll bug me if I don't.
Actually, I have three times this number of words that I could post … but I won't ;)
First story is the one I really wanted to tell …

Story: I was chatting with my friend (who, when he is working, spends his day listening to talk radio) about the election. As I always do, I asked him if he is going to vote this year because, in his 50's now, he never has. This time he says he will! Why? He wants Romney to win because otherwise Obamacare will bankrupt his boss. Drrrr, what now? His boss has 5 employees and so will not be required to offer insurance coverage as an employer. Also, his boss has private insurance (his wife does not work) and his premiums are likely to go down while coverage goes up so the boss who my friend is worried about going bankrupt will actually have nothing but benefits from the ACA. But, both of these guys think it's terrible and must be stopped!
Then, my friend's daughter recently found out she's pregnant at the ripe old age of twenty. Unmarried, she and her boyfriend both work full-time but do not have health insurance through employers and cannot afford it on their own (and premiums are much higher when the plan includes coverage for pregnancy and delivery). Thanks to the ACA, the young woman is insured on her mother's plan and will get the prenatal care she needs and a better chance to walk away from the hospital with a healthy baby and little debt.
As an only-sometimes-working man whose adult kids are struggling mightily each in their own way there is no reason for my friend to vote for Romney or for the Republican House candidate in our district, even aside from the health insurance issues. There is every reason for him to vote against those people. I suspect that, in the event, he won't vote at all.

So, I would like to know how, or if it is even possible, to get through that level of brainwashing. The repetitiveness of talk radio begins to sound like truth to a person who will never hear the opposing view more than once, at most, and will never read any legislation or proposed policy to make up their own mind.


Here's another way you can tell that the Republicans have no interest in repealing the ACA: vouchers for Medicare. This is Paul Ryan's baby at the moment but has been bandied about by the far Right for years. Like any voucher system, it moves taxpayer money into the private sector while eliminating oversight by the people the taxpayers elected to manage their money. So, like the ACA's mandate, Medicare vouchers will enrich private insurance companies. Insurers will start by taking their 30% off the top and then whatever is left will be meted out as they see fit. The people providing that profit – the taxpayers – will have no say in how their money is spent. We don't elect company CEOs and you probably know that you can't just switch to another insurance company at will, as a means to express displeasure.


Vouchers were mentioned in the campaign speeches – oops, I mean “debate” - last night. Obama did point out that insurance companies will take their profit, regardless of where the money comes from. I think he should have hammered that a bit more to show the problem.

bb in a few …
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
67. WatchinTheSky
4:41 PM GMT on October 01, 2012
Happy October! I don't see a lot of fodder for an October blog, no gods, no Romans :) Does October really end on the same day of the week as February, always?

There must be some axiom about 'economies of scale' breaking down when the scale gets too big. Companies benefit from becoming larger, existing on smaller margins because efficiencies improve. But the US can't seem to put one foot in front of the other, the world seems to be headed for hell in the proverbial hand basket. Too many disparate opinions and evermore louder ways to shout!!!

No one can espouse the common good without being communist or is it socialist? Or so so many seem to be saying.

There is a big cliff ahead and the right is constructing a springboard!

oooh, that seemed a bit random.

I see you may be in for a warm one today, otherwise I do like the looks of your forecast for the end of the week! Washington IS a long way. This is surely not the last of summer, but as it begins to cool generally (it will, won't it?), the occasional blast of summer will be easier to take. Looks like Sweltering Swirls.

Nice catch on the Curiosity photo! Rovers Rule.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
66. Ylee
9:24 AM GMT on October 01, 2012

White rabbits, sp!
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65. sp34n119w
12:27 AM GMT on September 30, 2012
calpoppy – you're welcome and no, I didn't see but will look for it – thanks!
I did finally watch the Tom Brokaw thing on Baby Boomers and it wasn't too bad. I didn't know that Nixon won the youth vote so, there you go, I got something out of it.

I should have been out enjoying today's relatively nice weather but … had kind of a rough week and feel more like writing … reading … knitting … eating … ;)
But now must go run some errands before the day is completely shot and the evening begins. Alas.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
64. calpoppy
10:25 PM GMT on September 29, 2012
Thanks for the link on Democracy is for the people! They are fighting the good fight.

Did you catch Bill Moyers last night. A great show on ALEC or American legislative exchange council. Don't know whether he is doing a series of shows on it, but last night's show was an eye opener for me.

Enjoy your last bit of summer!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
63. sp34n119w
8:53 PM GMT on September 28, 2012
Hiya. As noted in other SoCal blogs, we've got a heat wave coming along with fire weather. Stay safe, stay cool, and don't be stoopid with hot things.

Following up on the "respect for beliefs" idea and because Sunday is Blasphemy Rights Day International, this is a pretty good article about blasphemy: We Are All Blasphemers. The article he is responding to is linked there, somewhere, I think.

The Right has now stooped to calling Obama's mother a slut. Because it must be true and because that would be relevant to policy. Anyway, it's in the lovely D'Souza's latest (and NYT Best Seller!) and in a video that is being shown at Tea Party gatherings and, of course, at churches.
Do I have to "respect their beliefs" in order to be considered a properly tolerant person? Guess I'll have to forego that label, then.

Local Sheriff's department letting us know that tomorrow is national drug take back day. woohoo. They do it in large part to keep drugs away from the kiddos but the best reason to get rid of old pharmaceuticals, including OTC stuff, is that it ends up in wastewater, landfills, and then groundwater. Seriously not good for us.
You can look it up for your area at www.dea.gov.

You know, that Mars Rover Curiosity is just plain awesome. The pics of Mars' moons really give some perspective (here's Phobos - the pale crescent not the black dot, which is just a data glitch). The latest finding, of an ancient stream bed, is enough right there to justify sending it.
Meantime, Opportunity is still doing yeoman's work, finding nifty little "bubbles" that nobody can yet explain.
Ran across the Atlas of the Universe today (I think it was linked at apod) and found it simple and interesting. Each link on that page takes you to more so dig down a bit.

Jerry Brown signed legislation that forbids employers and universities knowing people's passwords for social media sites. Doesn't mean much to me but apparently a big deal.
He also did something about free online textbooks for college students that sounds good.
He's been on a roll, lately, and there's better one but I don't remember right now, lol - just putting it out there for the locals who may want to feel good about government for a change.

If you're in the UK (perhaps even if you're not) and a fan of House, the fire cane from season 3/4 is up for auction to benefit a good cause.
[via Stephen Fry]

/PSAs and general rambling for today.

Can you tell I had some time to kill but didn't know how much so just typed until I ran out?
seewu :)

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
62. sp34n119w
10:16 PM GMT on September 25, 2012
That was two! But, I wanted to add some off-topic stuff, too. You know, like weather!

On Saturday I went to the big city! Well, a corner of it, anyway. When I pulled into the parking lot in Hollywood it was 91 degrees! And really hooomid. Just as Fabio brought us clouds and a lovely sunset on a day trip to L.A. in July, Lane (remnants of, presumably) provided another cloudy day, but much more humid and warm, with another gorgeous sunset. Well, Fabio also brought a little bit of rain, but, that's okay.
Today it is downright cool and, after having the windows open until late last night, I needed a blanket for sleeping for the first time in many weeks. Sad :(
Yes, I know. For others that's a happy, LOL

Oh, darn. Out of time. The rest of my self-spamming will have to wait ;)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
61. sp34n119w
8:19 PM GMT on September 25, 2012
Skyzics - really glad you asked that health care question! The numbers are important but personal stories bring it home.
You've sort of hit on my main objection to the ACA – the fact that insurance companies, the one industry that never fails to make its 30% profit no matter what else happens in the economy, is getting a government bailout in the form of countless new “customers”, ensuring their own continued hegemony over our health care. We don't vote for insurance company CEOs and they are not beholden to their policy holders but only to their shareholders.
So, I'm not sure it does serve most employers or the government. I think that most of its provisions mainly serve the health insurance industry. Recall that this version of the ACA is nearly identical to the one put forward by Republicans in the nineties. Both were written by and for the health insurance industry. For this reason, I think all the talk about repealing it is bogus. Politicians of both stripes get too much money from the industry to consider taking profit away from them.
The solution is single-payer. Everybody in, nobody out. This takes the pressure off both employers and government, provides health care for all, and still leaves the health insurance industry reasonably intact. That is, insurers could still offer supplemental insurance to those who can pay and would be able to deny such to anyone they like. The wealthy and well could have their extras and employers could offer supplemental plans, if they wanted to, to attract talent. Meantime, having everyone covered would lower costs and improve productivity. Additionally, as per gg's example up there, more people would be able to own and operate very small businesses (called "micro-business" in today's parlance). Win!

Top-down vs. bottom-up government assistance. Or, some balance between the two. Is it best to provide insurers with more customers or provide citizens with affordable health care directly? Was it best to bailout the banks or would they have been “saved” if homeowners had been bailed out, instead? Going back to the original post, should agricultural corporations continue to receive subsidies or could we provide farm workers with housing, health care, and education for their kids with that money? I guess I see both sides of these things but, all else being equal, I think that direct intervention by government should be on behalf of its people, not its own or corporate interests. Using profit-making corporations as a proxy to serve people's needs does not seem to work very well.

calpoppy - that's as expected, isn't it? It was a weak Bill to begin with, with tons of room for that kind of fudging. Frustrating!
There is one thing that could help – a constitutional amendment to end the “personhood” of corporations. Many municipalities and even States (including California) have called for such a thing. Obama has said (pretty plainly, for a change), that he would support such an amendment. I think politicians are sick of the situation and most corporations are, too, believe it or not. Corporations are left with no choice but to spend millions on campaign contributions in order to have their voice heard at all. Would be better for them to use that money elsewhere.
This, unfortunately, provides another reason to vote a straight Democratic ticket - even though it might still not happen, the chances are far better with Dems than Reps, don't you think?

For the general readership on this topic: Here's some info from Democracy is for People with stuff people can do (sign the petition, at least!). Oh, I just looked at the map! It's a much bigger movement than I thought, lol There are many more blue dots (in-progress efforts) than green (resolutions done!), but it's very heartening. Lots of chances to help out on that.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
60. sp34n119w
8:12 PM GMT on September 25, 2012
Trying to keep this comment a manageable size … but will ramble on, no doubt ;)
Hmmm … two comments are better than one, I'm thinking.

gg – your story from the beginning has been an illustration of what is wrong – and what is right (you are 50 :) ) - with medical care in the U.S.
I remember your story of another chemo patient who was paying hundreds more than you were for each treatment. That's what galls me. Often, folks who are paying the same premiums (or have no option for a different plan) are getting different levels of coverage and different levels care, depending on deals between insurers, employers, medical facilities, and government entities, and it has nothing to do with actual health care, only profit.

BTW, if you heard me speaking you'd hear various and sundry deity-related words with fair frequency. I try to be careful when writing so as not to offend others (no, really – it's the least I can do) and for other reasons. But, it doesn't bother me and FSM just would not fit in that most excellent song :) (though I think it's an odd one, coming from him). I do think that for most folks (here in librul Cali anyway) those words are part of phrases that are completely separate from reference to any deity, and are handy placeholders like any idiomatic expression.

Bogon – oh, great tune! Thanks.
Morality is a very mutable concept for most people. “Thou shalt not kill” applies when someone is trying to kill them, but not when they want to kill someone else. Really convenient, that.
And, of course, if you (General Yu) happen to be a citizen of god's own country, you get to take pride in the killing of a million defenseless and impoverished brown people half a world away with no moral qualms whatsoever. Oh, and steal all their stuff, leaving survivors even more impoverished. Forget that “Thou shalt not covet” garbage. That only applies to other people trying to take your stuff.
Morality. The word, as it is most often used, makes me cringe.

Briar - Thanks for sharing your (and your husband's) story. Sheesh that's crazy. It seems incredibly inefficient to have people getting worse, to the point where they need more and more expensive care, instead of just taking care of things as soon as medically possible and practical. The loss in productivity must be enormous, overall.
Except … those actuarial people are good at what they do. I don't know. I suppose that this is part of the problem – that the folks who make decisions about how much to charge and what procedures to do and so forth, are making those decisions for their own bosses, rather than for society at large (let alone the individual). So, what works out well for a particular insurance company isn't necessarily what's good for the country (Romney would stumble over that one, LOL). Yet another way that a single-payer option would help even the field.
[sorry, kinda went off sideways, there]

So, um, any group can be subdivided, certainly, but one cannot simply opt out of a group so well defined by simple numbers as Baby Boomers. As a group, BBs have had a great deal of power and influence for several decades, now. That's just true. The result of that truth is evident in the world around us. Can't get away from that, either.
Most of the people I spend time with are anti-war and fairly progressive, generally, and that is a function of who I choose to spend my time with - not their ages. My group of friends is not indicative of the whole of our society or, at least, not of the voting public. If they were, we'd have a different bunch in leadership positions. I bet that's true for you, too.
Tom Brokaw did a thing on BBs and it can be found at the CNBC site (look for the “Full Program” link). I've seen only a few minutes of it, towards the end, but it sounds like it's pretty well balanced.


That's one :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
59. Skyzics
11:43 PM GMT on September 23, 2012
Wall Street bankers and speculators own both major parties and both parties are tools for them. This is not a phenomenon unique to the US. It is increasingly the case in all developed 'democracies' today. Today so called 'democracies' answer only to international finance capital. The various national political systems today of all stripes, to a one, amount to little more than regional dictatorships of the banks. This time, in the US, these forces are directly running one of their own, candidate Romney. This is probably destined to backfire, for it is too blatant, even in this nitwit country. The financial elite needs institutions that will run interference for them while deceiving the masses. In this regard, the Democrats, the Labor Bureaucracy and Obama, despite the record of the last 4 years, have them covered.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
58. calpoppy
10:10 PM GMT on September 23, 2012
The Dodd-Frank act required financial advisors of municipalities to register with the SEC and accept fiduciary duty to respect the best interests of the taxpayers they are advising.

So along comes HR 2827 that says any advice provided from a broker, dealer, bank or accountant that is any way related to or connected with the sale to municipalities of financial derivatives, loan participation agreements, deposit products, foreign exchange ( and you get the point).

This gives them the right to sell a city anything, some nasty swap deal or any other shady deal just like before Dodd-Frank.

This passed with the support of both parties :((((

The lobbyist is Washington are more powerful then us the American people. Where did our Democracy go?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
57. calpoppy
7:05 PM GMT on September 22, 2012
As this country sinks deeper into plutocracy ( thank you Supreme Court) I can't help but get the feeling that between Wall Street and the big banks our country will be raped and pillaged before our eyes. The financial giants are treating America like Bain Capitol treats it's corporate takeovers. HR 2827 passed the House last week making more of the Dodd-Frank Act useless. This part of the Act was designed to protect cities from toxic swap deals and now there are loopholes to get around it. I don't have the time to talk more about this now but I will tomorrow.

Have a great Saturday Sp!
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56. sp34n119w
4:29 PM GMT on September 22, 2012
Good morning! Happy Equal Day! :)
The long slow slide into darkness begins ... dun dun dunnnnnnn

Wow, I really appreciate your comments, all!
I can't stay to rant ... er, that is, play ... but couldn't miss the Equinox greeting.
(and check out those clouds!)

Take a moment to note the light, and note that it notes us not ;)

Another analemma at apod today. Nice one!

Hope everyone's having a great Saturday!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
55. Skyzics
2:13 PM GMT on September 22, 2012
Thanks for your responses Gardengrrl and BriarCraft. Your stories reveal a health care system in this country that is in crisis, though not for insurance companies and other profit making enterprises, but a crises for everyday people such as yourselves.

'Obamacare' it seems to me primarily tries to address the problem by lowering costs for employers and the government while rationing care for people in need. As for the cost for everyday people in need of services, if the cost goes down it seems to me to likely be at the expense of available, sometimes critical services that may be denied or require additional costs either paid directly or through supplemental private insurance.

'Obamacare' does serve employers, as the fees for not insuring staff are at a level that many employers may just pay rather than actually providing insurance for employees. At the same time, the insurers are guaranteed a huge pool of new customers though the mandate for most to purchase their own insurance if they do not currently have it.

Will this bring down costs? That remains to be seen. It is likely to increase profits for the insurers, though.

To the extent that the Romney camp incorrectly portrays 'Obamacare' as a 'socialist' program, they are doing Obama's campaigning for him, as they do when they falsely portray Obama and the Democrats in general as leftist radical quasi-socialists. Money cannot buy that kind of effective campaigning for the Democratic party and Obama.

Perhaps Romney is right that the 47 percent (and more) SHOULD consider good affordable health care, decent housing, secure jobs with a liveable wage and free public education as a social right. After all, the financial elite gets their socialism through Wall Street big bank and corporate bailouts, the military-industrial complex and the tax code that provides safe havens and low rates for mainly the rich and primarily parasitic speculative rather than productive economic activities.

Perhaps 'the left' should take its cue from Romney's accusations and demand a new social mindset. After all, society's wealth is produced by workers, not social parasites such as the Wall Street financiers (which candidate Romney personifies) and that both parties in the most corrupt and venal manner stumble over themselves to represent and keep from offending.

As seen on the Forbes 400 richest list that just came out, the claim by both parties that 'there is not money' for critical social programs for everyday people is a lie.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
54. BriarCraft
8:22 PM GMT on September 21, 2012
RE #51: Well said, Ggrrl!!!

RE #53: What you're describing as the "same people" are not Baby Boomers, they're Bible Thumpers who just happen to have been born during the Baby Boom era. I am a Boomer and most of the Boomers I know are still anti-war liberals. I was against the invasion of Afghanistan since the beginning. A 20-year Afghan war is what bankrupted the Soviet Union and helped break it up. That's as much an unwinnable war as Vietnam was. I was against the invasion of Iraq, which was just an excuse for so many horrible things. I was against the Patriot Act because it turned the U.S. into a police state in too many ways. Failure to undo those travesties is why I'm mad at Obama.

On the other hand, and going back to #51, I need for Obama to be re-elected to preserve Obamacare. My husband had open heart surgery in 2007 (which cost us $27,000 out-of-pocket) and can't get regular insurance through Blue Cross or Kaiser or you-name-it. Instead, he has to buy insurance through the Washington State Health Insurance Pool for otherwise uninsurable people. He has a $3400 annual deductible before coverage kicks in at 80%. Quarterly premiums are over $2000. I get my policy through Blue Shield. My quarterly premiums are $1370 with a $2500 deductible before coverage kicks in at 80%. My hip replacement surgery last March cost $10,000 out of pocket. I should have had that surgery 2 years ago, but I had to wait until we could save up the money to afford it, which meant erosion of the pelvic bone that required planing and bone grafts in addition to the standard joint replacement. What if I had cancer instead of arthritis? I'd be dead. In round numbers, last year, our income was $54,000. Of that, our medical expenses including premiums was $19,000, and that was a good year. That's 35% of our income going to medical expenses. This year, with my hip replacement, it's going to come in closer to 50% of our income.

So no, Obamacare is far from perfect. I view it as a starting point. If Obama gets re-elected, it will go into effect and it will get tweaked and improved over the years. Medicare didn't start out very good and it still leaves something to be desired, but ask anyone among the 99% who is on Medicare and they'll tell you they're glad to have it. GGrrl and I won't be the only ones glad to have Obamacare when it goes into effect.
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53. GardenGrrl
4:44 PM GMT on September 21, 2012
What HAPPENED to the baby boomers? The same people that dodged the draft and spit on returning soldiers cheerfully send their grandkids to the Middle East and advocate usurping most of our hard earned freedoms in the "name of Jesus and the Constitution?"
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
52. Bogon
4:13 PM GMT on September 21, 2012
To religious fanatics everywhere: one cannot establish one's moral superiority by doing murder. If you cannot immediately see why I would say such a thing, then you need to get a dictionary and reaquaint yourself with the definitions of such concepts as ‘murder’ and ‘morality’.

Murder does guarantee eventual silence and low rates of recidivism on the part of the victim. Alas, anyone, who resorts to murder as a convenient means to achieve these laudable goals, must forever abandon moral claims on his own behalf. Furthermore, any deity worthy of your allegiance should be eminently capable of keeping score on that basis.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
51. GardenGrrl
3:42 PM GMT on September 21, 2012
Skyzics, the problems inherent in Obama Care are the same that exist in going to a simple flat tax system.
Suddenly streamlining either into somthing simple, user and budget friendly would put thousands out of work. If we went to a simple flat tax with no more write offs then every person that makes a living planning, preparing, scrying income and corporate taxes would suddenly become unemployed.
The same is true for a simple nationwide health care plan. The current situation just has too many people at the trough. That is one of the many reasons health care costs so much.

Obama Care is really a long term transition to affordable health care in America. Look at how many "insurance" companies there are; United, Blue Cross, Kaiser etc.... Obama Care gives them a chance to stay in business being providors to individuals. These private companies also make much better watch dogs over fraud than goverment Medicare bureaucracy. That alone results in savings to the rest of us.

Technically many people on the medicare/medicaid programs are already participating in "Obama Care" because they have to buy supplemnetal insurance policies in order to get decent health care.

Just like car insurance, having everyone purchase a policy drives the price down. Yes, car insurance is expensive but it would cost a whole lot more if it was not mandatory. The same goes for health insurance. Check out what a private policy costs right now...Ouch! It will be a lot more affordable under this imperfect but better than what we have now program.

Suppose you have a family and want to start your own small business? Right now you can't afford to insure your family. If your business does not make too much money your kids can be enrolled in welfare programs to get vaccinations and other care. But if you or your spouse gets ill, the medical bills could bankrupt you. Many people with families choose to work for companies with health insurance rather than start their own business. Obama Care gives people a chance to work for themselves with the specktor of health related bankruptcy removed.

Then there are the clauses about no cap on the amount your insurance company pays out. Some plans have some small caps on them. If you have a chronic treatable illness that with health care allows you to still work and earn a living, this cap could use up your savings and force you to welfare. Or worse, the zone where you don't qualify for help until you are too ill to be helped. I'm in that catagory.

Also is the pre-existing condition clause. Obama Care removes that as well. Right now if you get cancer, ms, a back problem, adult diabetes, you can be denied insurance if you leave your present carrier and get a new job. If you have a major illness that could re-occur or has other illnesses associated with it you are trapped at your present job. If you leave, you most likly will not be covered if your illness flares up. Hello bankruptcy or death from not getting treatment. It can take six months to a year to qualify for any type of "welfare" medical help. Hopefully you will have relatives to stay with because at that point you will not be able to afford your own place.

Obama Care is no where near perfect. It's a political animal constructed by committees each with their own agenda. It is however the best answer we have for affordable health care for everyone in the US. Right now it could mean life or death for me. I have had ovarian cancer, it tends to come back. Aggressively treated it can be managed. Welfare/medicaid does not pay for aggressive treatments. I would most likly become terminal before I qualified anyways.

I cannot change jobs because a new company insurance plan will not cover the cancer or some of the problems that have developed from the treatment. Because my condition is expensive, my company would prefer I don't work there. I have already been "written up". The past five years I have had stellar reviews. Texas is a "right to work" state. That means unions are weak and employers can fire you without any reason. It is very hard to find a lawyer in Texas that will take a wrong-full termination case.
If I get fired there is not much I can do about it.

So, for my own survival I am hoping Obama gets re-elected, that congress does not repeal the health care law (Which would happen under a new president as that is their campaign promise) and that I do not get fired in the next two years.

One thing the plan does have right now before the rest goes into effect is insurance for the "uninsurable". Unfortunately, one has to go six months without insurance and the premium is around $700 a month. These rates will come down once most of the country buys insurance.
No it's not perfect, but Obama Care really is life or death for many people like me.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
50. Skyzics
10:35 AM GMT on September 21, 2012
Gardengirl, can you describe what you see as the positives of the legislation enacted under the Obama Administration that restructures the US health care system (so-called 'Obamacare') and, more specifically, how you see this legislation benefiting yourself personally?
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49. GardenGrrl
1:26 AM GMT on September 21, 2012
*sigh* really don't have much to add. Fascist Democrat or Fascist Plutocrat. Neither is giving us the rights back that were taken for "Homeland Security". Can't believe Obama went after the medical marijuana growers in Cali.
I don't smoke it or think it's a good idea, but atleast semi-legal weed grown here and passed out in semi legal dispensaries doesn't have the blood on it that smuggled drugs do. Prohibition only breeds violent crime.
The only reason I'm voting for Obama is for medical care. Until that bill is in effect I am a slave to my present job. It's not a great solution, but it is better than what we have now. Otherwise, I would write in Mickey Mouse.
So here is my contribution. Feel free to fill in "Lord" with Flying Spaghetti Monster if you like.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
48. sp34n119w
10:18 PM GMT on September 20, 2012
calpoppy, Skyzics, richteas - thanks very much for continuing to add your thoughts on politics. I hope everyone who reads gets as much out of hearing your perspectives as I do!

It does seem that the only way to differentiate the two parties would be for Romney to tack left, LOL
We sure don't have much of a Liberal view being put forth anywhere in politics these days. “One Party, under god” is what we got.

I said in 2008 that I thought the Reps were trying to lose the election. It seemed to me then that they would rather not be the party out in front and would rather focus on Congress and behind-the-scenes action. It did work. Reps were able to keep the Dems from doing much of anything for two years while making them seem responsible (in the media) for all that was wrong in the world since Dems were, technically, in the majority. The result was a far-Right landslide in the mid-terms followed this year by amazing Primary victories over incumbent Reps who were seen as too compromising. Very well played, I'd say.
There are plenty of Republican voters who will not vote for Romney this year, even if they can't bring themselves to vote for Obama. They will, however, vote for the Republican candidates for House and Senate (and in local/State seats), and then it won't matter who is Prez. Tell your friends. Those Reps, if elected, will toe the GOP line all the way.

I didn't watch the entirety of the DNC, certainly, but was surprised that only one of the main speakers that I heard mentioned (barely) the need to retain or take House seats this year. Don't they usually use the Convention stage to do that? To fire up the base to get out and canvass? Aren't their any governorships up for grabs? Maybe I missed it.


John Scalzi (among others, I'd guess) noted the other day that, if Romney does win, all those who vote for Obama can tell the IRS that they don't have to pay taxes, anymore. Heck, vote for Romney and just tell the IRS that you voted for Obama – they can't check ;)


Has everyone seen that entire Romney fundraiser video? Yikes. That guy really doesn't have a plan, at all, and no intention of making a plan. His entire message is that he'll make sure that the rich get richer and the rest, well, it will sort itself out.
Watching on tv as Endeavour landed at Edwards AFB I was thinking about the 747 pilot. Is he a nice guy? Would I enjoy sitting down over a beer with him? Do we have the same religious views? Is he a good golfer? Because, you know, these are the most important considerations when choosing someone to do a complicated and sensitive task, right?

Okay, one more thing. These are the folks who hate "career politicians", right? I mean, they've used that over and over again to attack Dems. Then, they choose a VP candidate who's had, like, one real job, briefly, in his entire life! He is the very definition of the career politician. Where's the tea-party outrage?


Enough rambling from me … let's hear from Sam!
Sam Harris has weighed in on the unrest over the stupid youtube video. Now, I don't see eye-to-eye with Harris on some things, but, I always find him worth reading. His latest essay is no exception. I have to tell you that the more Liberal among you will not like what he says and may choose to stop reading at some point before the end (well, I almost did). Don't. If you're going to read it, read it all – it's brief and the completeness of his argument requires that.
On the Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God


Want something funnerer? Today's apod is an analemma and appropriate as we approach the Autumnal Equinox. In their links is a description of a way-cool analemma project that almost anyone could do!

Equinox: September 22, at 14:49 UT
which is Saturday the 22nd at, um, [dangit], 7:49 AM PDT (?)


We did get that tropical moisture, sort of, but it's not even causing clouds. You can see it on the wv graphic, though.
Very cool the last two nights. Yup, Autumn is in the air :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
47. Skyzics
10:18 AM GMT on September 20, 2012
Richteas, my 'modest proposal' for the GOP and Romney to 'tack left' was meant tongue-in-cheek, though that is in fact the strategy they need if they are to appeal to on-the-fence voters and former Obama supporters. However it is clear that, as you say, the GOP is tacking the opposite way, that is, far to the right, and this despite Romney's more moderate record than many Republicans. This is seen in Romney's VP pick, Ryan, a right wing ideologue. The Republican party does seem more interested in pushing the Democrats farther to the right than actually winning and in this the ultra right is clearly succeeding and has succeeded over the last 4 years. In fact, the mid-term debacle suffered by the Democrats in 2010 was a result of this Democratic party tacking to the right as a response to Republican criticism, something the Democrats will always respond to before criticism from their own base. Lastly, while many Obama/Democratic party supporters are quick to criticize policies of the Republicans, they are silent on near identical policies if they originate from Democrats. This reveals cynicism and the bankrupt trajectory and response of the Democratic party and its supporters to the continual media and Republican ultra right onslaught.

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