April Ramblin’

Fun Interpretation of the Google Books Settlement

What I love about my Bible study: we talk a LOT about current affairs. Part of the conversation recently, in reading the 23rd Psalm, was “What IS evil?’ One of the examples I thought of was the deliberate misrepresentation of the truth with the intent to incite.

We also were distressed about the new Arizona immigration law Two thoughts on that. Remember the Sun City (video) album from the 1980s? Sun City was the resort town in South Africa, which, during apartheid came to symbolize the difference in conditions for blacks and whites. On that album was the song, Let Me See Your ID (video).

The other thing is that famous quote by theologian Martin Niemöller
“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Having been profiled one or twice (yeah, right), this really disturbs me.
***
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: FOX News, GOP further ‘the un-mooring of politics from fact’ (video)
***
Gunn High School Sings Away Kansas Hate Group known as the Westboro Baptist Church (video).
***
The vengeance of Bernie Goldberg on the Daily Show (Link to video). I don’t recall Goldberg being quite so wack when he was on CBS.
***
Plaque in honor of activist William Moore unveiled. He was a civil rights activist from around my hometown of Binghamton, NY, who was murdered in Alabama in 1963. The local branch of the Congress of Racial Equality, with which my father worked, was named after him. It even rhymed: The William L. Moore chapter of CORE.
***
Very soon, you can listen to the sounds of the cosmos yourself. All of the data from the SETI program will soon be available at setiQuest.org to download or play.
***
New national park quarters unveiled: U.S. Mint debuts designs for the first five coins in its America the Beautiful Quarters Program, which will honor 56 national parks. The rest will be released through 2021. I probably WON’T collect them; still haven’t found most of the 2009 quarters.
***
MAD Artist Jack Davis’ Illustrations of NBC’s 1965-66 Season for TV Guide is really cool, especially if you remember the shows, which I do.
***
Angelina Jolie is in the summer movie I can’t wait to see, Salt, which was filmed in part in Albany, NY. The filming caused massive traffic delays for days.
***
Siren’s Crush Receives Rave Reviews from NAMM (short video). This is my niece’s group; Rebecca is the brunette female.
***
My friend Deborah, who I met in 1977 in Manhattan, and who’s been living in France for the past quarter century, recently bought a beautiful old stone house in Brittany with a plan of partly financing the loan by renting it out as a holiday home.

The Kan ar Vouac’h website and its listing on VRBO are finally done, and she’s hoping to be putting the final touches on buying the final necessaries over the month of May.

I’m told it’s a lovely and reasonable place to stay in Brittany.
***
Retiree Bathtub Test

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, “How do you determine whether or not a retiree should be put in an old age home?”

“Well,” he said, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the retiree and ask him or her to empty the bathtub”

“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No” he said. “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?”

ROG

The Unhealthy Health Care Debate

I just don’t understand it.

All this talk about rationing health care under “Obamacare”. We already ration health care. from patients bounced from insurance coverage for unrelated pre-existing conditions to serves denied until patients actually die. WE RATION health care. Perhaps that’s even necessary in a world of finite resources, but to dump it on the current plan(s) is most disingenuous.

Rationing. Why else does Remote Area Medical®, founded by Stan Brock in 1985, provide “free health care, dental care, eye care, veterinary services and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the U.S. and the world”? The “remote” area of the United States this week? Los Angeles, California. For his efforts, Brock was picked as ABC News’ Person of the Week.

I know, from personal experience, that people without insurance wait as long as they can before seeking medical assistance. I know that, until I got dental insurance, my trips to the dentist were few and far between, going only when I was in extreme pain, instead of going regularly to maintain my dental health.

I may have told this story before but can’t find it. Two days before I was going to college in 1979, I was at a friend’s house and somehow got an infection under my toenail. It hurt mightily but I had no insurance. But I WOULD have insurance in a couple days. So I hobbled through college registration; if I had had a walker or wheelchair, I would have used it. Then I went to the infirmary. By this point, the infection was going up my leg; if it had reached my heart, I most likely would have DIED. As it was, I spent the next six days – the first six days of the semester – in bed.

Yes, I believe in universal coverage. Heck, I believe in “socialized medicine”, though I know THAT’S not gonna happen. But why can’t we just debate the reasonable differences, such as its effect on the deficit, a legit question.

Take Sarah Palin, who is repeating her “death panel” claims. Someone please explain why she would say this, yet again. If there is a third option, PLEASE let me know, but I have to think that the only reasons would be that 1) she is stupid or 2) she is lying. I tend to think she’s not stupid, but I could be wrong about that. Of course, the White House’s reality check page won’t be believed, or listened to, by those who’ve been listening to the Sarah Palins.

Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center, was recently on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS to discuss some aspects of Medicare in national health reform. The specific topics related to Medicare discussed during the segment include the much-discussed reimbursement for end-of-life counseling, as well as other provider reimbursement rates. Here is a link to the transcript and video of the segment. It seems that a good libertarian position would be for individuals to control their own end=-of-life decisions, rather than have others do it for them. Expect that this provision NOT to show up in the final bill.

The cost of health care reform is $1 trillion over 10 years; that’s real money. But what is the cost of NOT doing reform? Current estimates based on the recent rise health care costs is $70 trillion or more in ten years.

Did you happen to see Jon Stewart this week when FOX News was “monitoring” some town hall debate and promised to go to the event if it got heated? Evidently, people screaming at elected officials is some sort of infotainment, but a reasoned conversation must be too boring to cover.

Finally, I HATE the phrasing of current poll questions about health care, one of those “How’s he doing?” things. More people think he’s not doing well than think he is. But saturated by coverage of the screamers, one could conclude that all the objectors think the plan’s too radical. In fact, there are some people, and I number myself in their ranks, who would answer the question negatively as well because I don’t think the plan’s “radical” enough. Amazingly sloppy poll questions, which, I guarantee will be cited by the host of at least one Sunday morning talking heads program; David Gregory of NBC’s Meet the Press is almost a lock.

ROG

The CRANKY question

It’s a brand-new year. Everything is shiny and fresh. Yet I feel a tad, oh, let’s say, not 100% positive.

I sorta kinda understand what Obama was trying to do picking Rick Warren – my local newspaper, back on December 19, editorialized in favor. But the letters – here’s one example – definitely disagreed, rightly.

FBI Warns of Inauguration Terror Threat. Swell. I’ve been nervous since the open-air conclusion to the Denver convention.

That blonde conservative woman has managed a faux insult into more self-serving promotion: “After NBC canceled me ‘for life’ on Monday — until seven or eight hours later when the ban was splashed across the top of The [Sludge] Report, forcing a red-faced NBC to withdraw the ban.” As Col. Potter used to say on M*A*S*H, “horse hockey!”

This week, after CNN did a story on the Gaza war, teased with the next story about “Oprah’s war”. It turns out it’s with her weight! Not only is it an unfortunate segue, Oprah’s weight – who cares! – was so last week.

Joe the Plumber Heading to Middle East To Be Correspondent for Conservative Media Outlet. Joe, who I’ve NEVER heard say anything approaching coherent, has officially reached minute 16 of his 15 minutes of fame.

The whole Roland Burris thing. I never thought Congress really had to right to not seat him, unless he were under 30 (he’s over 70) or didn’t live in Illinois. More than that, Evans-Novak play it as sport: “Burris and Richardson Flaps and Panetta Pick Enliven Washington”. I’d link to the story except that it seems to be attached to some computer virus.

And it’s cold, it’s going to snow again tonight and by Friday, it’ll even be colder, with highs in the low teens.

I need something to lift my spirits. How about Obama and Spider-Man appearing in a comic together?

Spider-Man IS my favorite character. And Obama, while not a superhero…

…or maybe he is?!

Anyway, how are YOU this cold winter? What’s bugging you? Or pleasing you? (Note to Nik and Arthur: careful about telling me too much about the New Zealand summer!)

ROG

Russert, Sports, Obamas

Yeah, I know I’ve written a lot about dead people lately, but-
This one was only three years older than I, a political and news junkie from upstate New York, just like me. I RELATED to Tim Russert. He worked for politicians I had voted for, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo. He was a sports fan. I did not always agree with him. But more than most in his profession, I thought he tried hard to be fair. And he clearly enjoyed his work.

So, I get a terse New York Times message at 3:28 pm, “Tim Russert, the host of the NBC program ‘Meet the Press,’ has died of an apparent heart attack at age 58, his family confirmed.” No story, just a sub-headline. No story on the NBC networks. But soon enough, I found it was all too true, as Tom Brokaw broke the news:

I did not know that he was on the board of the Baseball Hall of fame until I read about it yesterday.

This begs a different question for me. Why did I continue to listen to the news on MSNBC for another hour after his death was confirmed? Why did I watch the CBS Evening News, which Harry Smith was anchoring, but for which Katie Couric showed up to tearfully explain how Russert had hired her to be deputy Pentagon correspondent for NBC some years ago? I don’t know. Sometimes, you keep watching to try to make sense of it all.
***
The good news is that In a blow to Bush, the Supreme Court restores habeas corpus re: Gitmo. the bad news? It was a 5-4 vote, and most of the five are considerably older than the four.
***
Apparently, the FOX News ‘baby mama’ comment towards Michelle Obama was, I’ve read. FOX trying to be cool by referencing the Tina Fey movie that came out a little while back.
***
The basketball officiating scandal had specifically targeted game 6 of a series between Sacramento and the LA Lakers. Apparently, there is a group called the League of Fans who had complained about this years ago. The founder of the League of Fans? Ralph Nader? The page looks as though it was all but defunct for about a year, except for a recent flurry of press releases. the group also has taken positions on steroids, public financing of stadiums and other topics. Interesting, albeit somewhat dated stuff.

ROG

Obamatics


I’d been meaning to write about Barack Obama again ever since I watched Meet the Press back on Sunday, May 4 and saw Tim Russert’s interview spend THE FIRST 15 MINUTES talking about the Reverend Jeremiah wright. Lest you think I exaggerate, check out this. Given ABC News being ridiculed for doing a similar thing during the “debates”, Russert should have known better. This came up after both George Will and my local paper scolded Obama for not severing his association with Wright sooner; a related story generated mucho comments.

But assuming that Obama is the Democratic party nominee, the conversation shifts to who will be the Vice-Presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton shows up in the mix, of course, and her strengths (support among women and older, rural Americans, et al.) are as well known as her liabilities (generally, the baggage of being a Clinton), so that she’d be portrayed like this.
Gordon let me know about the buzz over John Edwards.
I’m still keen on Bill Richardson. In fact, I’ve been touting him since December of 2005, when I thought that Russ Feingold was running for President.

Obama’s Vision (30 minute video).

Tangentially, I was reading this quote on CNN yesterday:
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, an uncommitted superdelegate, said the delegate numbers are in Obama’s favor, but the popular vote is important to the people of his state.
“I think we see what happened in 2004, when Al Gore won the popular vote, and where the country has gone and the feelings toward government since then. I put a lot of stock in that,” he said on CNN’s “American Morning.”

I just had to know: did the governor of West Virginia really think that Al Gore ran only four years ago? No, the transcription of the video was wrong.

Tom Hanks Endorses Obama (video). Actually quite funny, I thought.

Observations from my favorite Albany grouch and my favorite American expat in New Zealand.

Finally, at the request of a good friend of mine, I was asked to comment on some specific comments about racism and the race in this dialogue on the Daily Kos. Part of the thrust of the conversation was about Hillary Clinton, whether her campaign engaged in racist campaign tactics. And I find I can’t go there. Those liberals fighting is far more irritating than the conservatives I check out, maybe because I care more. I must admit that while I sometimes read the stories, I seldom follow all the comments, especially when they descend into Sturm und Drang; they tend to exhaust me. But no, I didn’t think the comments you made were racist or even insensitive, but I’m sure some of the participants would disagree…

Photo courtesy tsevis’ photostream

ROG