September 2009



American Thinker

(about the tea bagger grand finale)

9/12 demonstration a record DC turnout: National Park Service


The truth will out. Despite mainstream media attempts to characterize turnout as in the thousands, a spokesman for the National Park Service, Dan Bana, is quoted as saying “It is a record…. We believe it is the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.”

Democrats and their media acolytes may wish this weren’t so, and they may even employ the Ostrich Strategy, burying their collective heads in the sand, pretending that a major important political movement isn’t happening. But they only hasten their own demise in doing so.

Google search



From the Boston globe, Jan 2009…

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service says it will rely on a media report that says 1.8 million people attended President Obama’s inauguration.  

David Barna, a Park Service spokesman, said the agency did not conduct its own count. Instead, it will use a Washington Post account that said 1.8 million people gathered on the US Capitol grounds, National Mall, and parade route.

“It is a record,” Barna said. “We believe it is the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.”

Uh huh. What’s really pathetic about this is that there’s basically no way the mis attribution of the quote was a mistake. This is willful untruthfulness here.

The bastards.




Bob’s musings about how deeply we might have been had have been making me twitchy. I decided to see what Jacob Hacker’s been saying, in hopes that it might prove curative of my increasing paranoia. It has.

Sept 4th, 2009  interview with Hacker:

What do you make of the fixation on the public option, both from the left and the right?

I think it’s understandable that the public option has attracted a lot of attention from both sides. But I think it has also taken on an importance that has exceeded its intrinsic value. Both sides of the debate see health care reform and the way in which it’s done as symbolic of how government should deal with economic insecurity in the United States.

For those who are supportive of the public option, the fact that a reform proposal that doesn’t include it would be requiring individuals to obtain health insurance from the same private insurers that have gotten us into this present mess is deeply troubling. On the other side, the public option somehow symbolizes the specter that is entirely mythical that expanding coverage to all Americans is tantamount to government takeover.

It’s important, as we consider what options for the public plan are being proposed, that we understand what it’s meant to do. It’s not meant to become the sole insurer for most Americans, but instead to provide a critical counterweight to private insurance in markets where private insurance plans are increasingly consolidated.

So you have not given up hope on the public plan?

Not at all, not at all. I don’t think we should give up hope on health care reform, and I don’t think we should give up hope on having a strong public plan.

Ultimately, I have a great deal of faith the cause is just and the argument is correct. We have had many, many debates over health care that have resulted in failure, and it is not at all easy to be optimistic. But I still feel there is a real chance of victory.


And another, Sept 9th, 2009:

On page two he articulates the thought process I was assuming was behind Obama’s apparent “selling out” on the necessity of the public plan option…

To me, the real question — if the discussion is about whether there should be a public plan — is what would take its place? So far I’ve seen no proposals that have a real viable alternative to having this public plan competing with private insurance. That public plan provides both savings in the legislation, helps make it easier to expand coverage and provides a guarantee of a much greater degree of certainty that there will be long-term efforts to control costs and improve the quality of care.


I feel better. At the same time, I’m wondering if, since The Party Of No is going to keep on just saying no to any and everything no matter what…maybe we should just say “screw the public option” and support HR 676?

I mean, this really is doable, politics be damned. I’m pretty sure we could actually get a lot of openminded consevatives on board if we presented what’s the most logical course of action. Really, this is what we should have been doing all along.

Look at out healthcare expenditures compared to other nations.

healthcare 2

Source (chart 11-7)

Everyone else is able to cover their ENTIRE POPULATION on what we pay for Medicare and Medicaid ALONE.  Something is seriously wrong here. I mean, WTF???  We should be able to figure out what’s we’re doing wrong and switch to single payer without even raising taxes! Then, we wouldn’t even be “nationalizing” more of the economy or anything. (that stuff that makes conservatives think we’re really communists or whatever.)

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of it. You don’t multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn’t first take from somebody else. Whenever somebody receives something without working for it, somebody else has to work for it without receiving. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for half of the people to get the idea they don’t have to work because somebody else will work for them, and the other half to get the idea that it does no good to work because they don’t get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

~Dr. Adrian Rodgers, three-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1979-1980 and 1986-1988).

I’d like to go back in time and ask him what he thinks of Finland.

To be fair, welfare in the US was apparently (to me) pretty ineffective, but I wonder why it works so well in the Nordic European areas? A few key differences were that racial issues were/are virtually non-existant in N Europe. So the effects of racism apply here but not there. Also, there is no stigma attached to welfare in Nordic Europe. And the stigma, itself, might encourage abuse.

At the end of the day, I’m perplexed. How does N Europe get a peaceful, secure and stable society and we get a messed up ‘culture of poverty’ by doing very similar things? Someone smarter than me, please explain it to me. Is it racial issues? Is it the stigma? What is it?


Of course it should be used if necessary. Who cares if it really pisses off the GOP? When reconciliation was used by Bush et al to push through tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, it pissed us off! And you know what we were told? “If you don’t like it, you are free to leave.”

So, if they wish to leave, I wish them good luck with that, and here is a convenient map of the UHC-free countries  they can peruse at their leisure, to help them decide upon their preferred destination. I’ve heard that the autumn foliage and climate in Burundi is absolutely fantastic, by the way.

public transportI ran across this link in the comments over at SCM’s latest post.

Here’s the US blog.

Here’s an excellent article on fare-free transit.

Some of the arguments are based on global warming, and I’m not really so sure about global warming science, really. “Bad liberal”, I know, *smacks self on nose with newspaper*, but sometimes pseudoscience becomes “mainstream”.It’s true. I am very pro-science and “believe in” the scientific method, but really bad science makes it into the mainstream fairly often, and it takes a lot of curiosity and passion to identify that when it happens. I can give you multiple examples of pseudoscience going mainstream from medical science, and I’m unconvinced that climatology is immune to “mainstream pseudoscience”. I suspect, by the way, that global warming is real. I’m just not 100% sure on it.

But anyway, I’m really more impressed by the aspects of fare-free transit that would be beneficial to Memphis in particular; sprawl reduction, access to employment, and perhaps most appealing of all, reducing the number of cars on the road, making the process of getting from point A to point B safer. I mean, driving in Memphis is freakin’ scary! And think of all the gas money that could be saved or redirected into the local economy.

I did a google scholar search on fare-free transit earlier, and the numerous naysayers all seem to want to point back to Austin TX as “proof” that it “can’t” work in a big city in the US. I see Austin as an example of “how NOT to do it”. I think we could aim for “free at point of service” access, and plan to not repeat Austin’s mistakes.

I also think Memphis, with and because of all it’s many problems, would be perfect for the next demonstration project in “free at point of service” transit. We’re not rich, and are always looking for a good deal, so “we’ll” use public transportation if it’s good. The “criminals on buses” issue can be troubleshot. As far as the homeless hanging out on buses issue goes…we really, really need better services for the homeless in Memphis. This should not be an issue, although it is. So we’d have to hit two birds with two stones here.

But I think “free at point of service” public transit should be on the long-term, not now, not next year, but eventually, agenda for ideas worth exploring.

Memphis is messed up. We are one of the two most huge and also most totally fucked up cities in the whole of the US. While 4 years ago, my next door neighbor was screaming that closing down the projects was screwing up our working/middle class neighborhood, all of we residents of the inner city now have lots of present insights that would be valuable to academia. But nobody ever thinks it’s potentially valuable to just go out and talk to inner city residents in Memphis.

I’m seeing one of the end products of welfare reform, where single mamas live with their mamas and most all (non-gang) adults in the overcrowded houses are working 40-60 hours a week. I’m seeing latchkey kids ruthlessly targeted by gangsters to form an affiliation. The resulting gang-membership prevalence for kids ages 9-16 is exceeding 75%. I have watched this happen, but it was not “captured” by science.

 I think the U of M needs to step up and start observing and documenting shit as it happens. Or, somebody, other than what can (rightfully) be dismissed as anecdote.

I don’t mind us being the “perfect little urban lab” as long as the disastrous results are at least documented.  Otherwise, it’s just a human rights travesty.

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