Monthly Archives: June 2011

Getting a late start on the blog today…

Bill & Elly Wide Awake

Elly and I had to get up at 6AM today, eat, walk the dogs and head for Baltimore to BWI to pick up our grandson Milo who flew in from Connecticut to visit his Aunt Penny and our other three grandchildren. We had to get to the airport, which is an hour and a half away from us at least, 45 minutes before his plane lands so that one of us (me) can get the consent papers to pick him up, go through the x-ray and search procedures to get down to the gate and then wait for his arrival.

Then we had to reverse direction and get him to Penny’s house for lunch. In all it took about 6 1/2 hours out of our day and now I’m back and can start posting and reading everyone else’s posts.

So give me some time to see what’s going on and I’ll get right back to you.

The Longest Day of the Year…

Summer Solstice… today. Sunshine from early morning to early evening… the longest stretch of the year. We began the morning with rain, but the sun is out now (although there is a 60% chance that the rain will return later in the day or overnight. Great for the gardens, though.

I spent most of the morning at the dentist having a replacement tooth installed after a root canal. On the way home I stopped in the new local pharmacy to get my dentist’s prescription filled and ran into Delegate Doyle, our representative at the State legislature and a frequent visitor to the radio show. We exchanged some pleasantries and, later, the pharmacist said Doyle was checking out the new store… so he’s showing interest in his District.

I’m back at home now watching the Senate on C-Span2 as they debate Leon Panetta‘s nomination for Defense Secretary and whether or not to pull out of Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Libya. Doesn’t look like we’re going to really get out anytime soon, although Obama is supposed to be presenting a partial Afghanistan withdrawal tomorrow (I don’t expect the percentage to be a big one or the time it takes to do it to be very fast.)

Meanwhile we move forward into the muck of the future..

If you can’t afford the Health Care system and there is no Medicare For All…

…then a creative solution may be your only choice. Take James Verone of Gastonia, North Carolina:

The best comment I saw about James Verone’s situation (and that of millions of others) was on Mickey Mills’ blog, The Prodigal Scribe:

“The story behind this story is the one that really grabs me. We can put a man on the moon. We are the richest country on the planet. We arguably have the best colleges and universities putting out the brightest and the best.

“And we can’t figure out how to get health care for the needy. Between the greedy insurance underwriters, lawyers and drug companies, we have created a medical behemoth that is strictly for the haves — the have nots be damned.”

My question is when are we going to finally get the Health Insurance companies out of our pockets and realize that medical care for all is a right and not a commodity for profit?

And a Quote for This Evening…

“I was taught evolution in high school. I do believe in it. I’m a huge science geek. […] I like to believe in the big bang theory and, you know, the evolution of humans throughout time.”

- California’s 21-year-old Alyssa Campanella, the 60th Miss USA, and one of only two contestants (out of 51) who believe in evolution.

It feels so good to have Olbermann back!

OK… It’s the first day of Keith Olbermann‘s Countdown on the Current TV Network, and I am watching him Interview Michael Moore on Obama’s ethical and legal avoidance of the War Powers Act in Libya. I’m thrilled that the first thing Keith did was show that he wasn’t a front for the current Administration… or Democrats in general.

When you compare him to Fox News with its talking heads adhering to the Roger Ailes Daily List of attacks that will be made on the left and no connection with the truth, you find the kind of independent thought that we have missed since Keith went off MSNBC.

It is great to hear again a Special Comment, this one giving the definition of his program’s point of view:

“The weakest citizen in this country is more important than the strongest corporation.”

John Dean is here to comment on Justice Clarence Thomas taking gifts and his wife taking funding from a conservative Texas millionaire and seeing how this affects his Supreme Court decisions, like the Walmart/ women employees class action suit which came down against the female employees of the big-time retailer. As Dean said

wearing army uniform

Markos Moulitsas (before Daily Kos)

about the Court, this is a great day for big business.

And Markos Moulitsas (of the Daily Kos) is back as a regular commentator after having been bounced off the tube by MSNBC a year ago for comments that network ( and especially Joe Scarborough) apparently didn’t agree with.

Welcome back, Keith. I’ll be watching.

Thinking about the Republican Leadership…

A poem for the morning:

Republicans are funny folks

They like to laugh at racist jokes…

But make a joke about their guys

And they will tell you “It’s all lies.”

Perhaps the thing their humor lacks

are ways of getting votes from blacks.

When Obama impersonator Reggie Brown took the stage Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, the audience howled as he joked about how he only celebrates half of Black History Month and that his mother loved a black man, “but she was not a Kardashian.” They were practically rolling in the aisles at a bit about how presidents age in office, in which a stylish “before” photo of President Obama and the first lady was followed by an “after” photo of actors Redd Foxx and LaWanda Page playing Fred Sanford and Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son.

But when Brown started in on the 2012 Republican candidates — he said Newt Gingrich‘s campaign is dropping “like Anthony Weiner‘s pants in an AOL chat room,” and that Tim Pawlenty could turn to “Obamneycare” for the spinal transplant he needs — Brown got the hook and was walked off the stage by a party official.

- from The Root

A Leadership Conference… give me a break.

Ironic Marketing Humor

From The Week:

56 spoonfuls of sugar - how healthy!

A KFC franchise in Utah is asking customers to help fight diabetes — by purchasing an 800-calorie Mega Jug of sugary soda to wash down their meals. For every $2.99 half-gallon drink it sells, the chicken restaurant promises to give $1 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

The promotion has drawn criticism from anti-obesity activists, who still haven’t forgiven KFC for last year’s unveiling of the Double Down sandwich, which ensconces bacon and cheese between two fried chicken breasts. But Gary Feit, a JDRF spokesman, is defending KFC, pointing out that the Type 1 diabetes his organization researches is not caused by diet or obesity. Besides, he adds, only one franchise is involved.

 

Perhaps it is fortunate that Colonel Sanders is no longer with us. What would he have thought?

Cartoon(s) of the Week – It doesn’t matter which Party… there are things we need to know.

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

It’s time to reevaluate our elected officials and figure out who they work for…

- and -

Signe Wilkinson at Philly.com:

… or think of what they could be spending our tax money on… things we need…

- and -

Pat Oliphant in the Washington Post:

… and what about those who are trying to get into office… will they bring us back to our earlier evil?

- and -

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

Why can’t the media spend it’s time on important things instead of sensation?

- and -

Tony Auth in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

…And, above all, when will parties ignore their competitive idiocy and evaluate policy by seeing what really works?

Remembering My Father…

My father didn’t make it into his sixties as I have, so I don’t know how he would have approached the requirements of age. I know he tried for an early retirement a number of years before he died… selling the Bristol Pharmacy which he had developed and built into a thriving business that put my sister and me through prep school and college. He moved down to Saint Pete with my mother and tried to enjoy the good life. One day he left the house and didn’t come home all day. My worried mother asked him where he had been all day and found out he had taken a pharmacist job in a drugstore. My Dad just couldn’t stop working… he was bored if he couldn’t work.

When the guy he had sold the Bristol Pharmacy let the business almost go bust, my Dad went back to Connecticut, called in his notes on the detail, and took over the store. It took a couple of years, but he built it back to where it had been.

It was hard to do “spare time” things with my father. The one thing he really liked was flying small planes (at different times he owned two classic Stinsons), something my mother found hard to deal with. When he was flying back from our summer house that we had on Cape Cod for three years, he had to make a forced landing due to weather near Willimantic, CT, and rolled down a hill on a small farm ending up crashing into a barbed wire fence that got the propeller all wrapped in sharp-pointed wire. He had to have the plane towed out and repaired and soon thereafter he sold it and never flew planes again.

When I was somewhat younger and, for a few months, took up golf, I went out golfing with my Dad late in the afternoon (don’t gt we wrong… he hardly ever played, but this was something we were attempting to do together.) There was a water hazard on the approach to the first hole and his ball plopped into it. Instead of pulling out another ball, he waded into the small pond and found the ball… and discovered there were lots of others there.  So he decided to recover as may as he could… after all, golf balls cost money. He picked balls until it got dark, and that was the end of our first…and last… golf outing.

There is no one I have missed more than my father over the past 35 or so years, and I am fortunate to have many fond memories.

Republican Alabama State Senator says Blacks are “Aborigines”

What is it about Republicans that they still live in the 19th Century when it comes to protecting their votes? Think Progress has  offered us this case to prove the point:

Alabama state senator Scott Beason (R), who sponsored the state’s tough new immigration law, has been caught on tape referring to black customers of a casino as “aborigines.” Beason made the offensive comparison while wearing audio recording equipment for the FBI as part of an investigation into a group of people accused of buying and selling pro-gambling votes in the legislature.

Beason is caught in one transcript making this statement in conversation with another Republican, according to the AP:

Beason and two other Republican legislators were talking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers at one of the county’s largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.

“That’s y’all’s Indians,” one Republican said.

“They’re aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” Beason replied.

Questioned in Federal Court as to the subject of their conversation, Beason said they were concerned that a large black turnout would hurt Republican candidates. As to the “aborigine” comment Beason explained: “I don’t know what I meant at the time… I don’t use that term normally. I don’t know where it even came from that day.”

Uh huh. You betcha.

Think Progress goes on to say:

Back in February, Beason warned Republicans that immigration will “destroy a community” and advised his colleagues to “empty the clip and do what has to be done.” Beason later insisted that his comments were taken out of context and that he was using an analogy, not urging violence. He has also been leading the charge to redraw district lines in a way that would significantly dilute the power of black voters.

You make your own decision on the “context” of his statements.

We’re off to Morgan’s Grove Market… but the weather looks chancy…

Elly and I are volunteering for Peter Corum today over at the Market. He has to leave early, so we’re going to help out n the afternoon getting all those veggies sold and just keeping things moving.

Instead of it’s usual 9 – 12 hours, we’re joining the Farm Day celebrations locally and saying open all day. I had hoped the overnight thunderstorms would have gotten all the rain out of the sky, but the Weather Bureau is calling for a 30% chance of rain today, with the biggest chance this afternoon. The clouds are pretty thick as well… not sure we’ll see any sun.

But the Market goes on Rain or Shine… so if you are in the neighborhood, come on by and you’ll get groceries, crafts, snacks, live music (starts at 10) and more… and you can take a look at the Sustainable Shepherdstown Community Garden (where the corn is now has high as an elephant’s knee). Elly is still signing people up for the few remaining plots… very inexpensive (provides for water and deer security).

Want Single-Payer health Care? Move to Libby, Montana… but hold your breath

Max Baucus, U.S. Senator from Montana.

Max Baucus helped keep the rest of us from a Single-Payer system - my idea of a Democrat with Republican motives.

This article, reproduced here in full, is from Firedoglake. Read it and see why I don’t like Max Baucus:

How Libby, Montana, Got Medicare for All

By Kay Tillow

http://my.firedoglake.com

In 2009 when the Washington beltway was tied up with the health care reform tussle, Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the all powerful Senate Finance Committee, said everything was on the table–except for single payer. When doctors, nurses and others rose in his hearing to insist that single payer be included in the debate, Baucus had them arrested. As more stood up, Baucus could be heard on his open microphone saying, “We need more police.”

Yet when Senator Baucus needed a solution to a catastrophic health disaster in Libby, Montana, and surrounding Lincoln County, he turned to the nation’s single payer healthcare system, Medicare, to solve the problem.

Baucus’ problem was caused by a vermiculite mine that had spread deadly airborne asbestos killing hundreds and sickening thousands in Libby and northwest Montana. The W. R. Grace Company that owned the mine denied its connection to the massive levels of mesothelioma and asbestosis and dodged responsibility for this environmental and health disaster. When all law
suits and legal avenues failed, Baucus turned to our country’s single payer plan, Medicare.

The single payer plan that Baucus kept off the table is now very much on the table in Libby. Unknown to most of the public, Baucus inserted a section into the health reform bill that covers the suffering people of Libby, Montana, not just the former miners but the whole community—all covered by Medicare.

They don’t have to be 65 years old or more.
They don’t have to wait until 2014 for the state exchanges.
No ten year roll out—it’s immediate.
They don’t have to purchase a plan—this is not a buy-in to Medicare—it’s
free.
They don’t have to be disabled for two years before they apply.
They don’t have to go without care for three years until Medicaid expands.
They don’t have to meet income tests.
They don’t have to apply for a subsidy.
They don’t have to pay a fine for failure to buy insurance.
They don’t have to hope that the market will make a plan affordable.
They don’t have to hide their pre-existing conditions.
They don’t have to find a job that provides coverage.

Baucus inserted a clause in the Affordable Care Act to make special arrangements for them in Medicare, and he didn’t wait for any
Congressional Budget Office scoring to do it.

Less than two months after the passage of the health reform bill on March 23, 2010, Nancy Berryhill of the Social Security Administration in Denver joined personally in
setting up an office in Libby to sign up these newly eligible people.  “This is a new thing,” Berryhill told the Missoulian. “No other group like this has ever been selected to receive Medicare.” Berryhill issued a nationwide alert to inform anyone who had lived or stayed in Lincoln County of their eligibility. She opened a storefront in Libby at the old downtown city hall where she signed up 60 people on the first day. She plastered the towns of Whitefish and Eureka with pamphlets explaining the program and added three new staffers to the office in Kalispell.

Berryhill said she did not know how much the care would cost. That kind of analysis was beyond her directive to sign the people up. There have been no reports of competition from the private for-profit Medicare Advantage plans. The sick are not profitable.

No one should begrudge the people of Lincoln County. The mine wastes were used as soil additives, home insulation, and even spread on the running tracks at local schools. Miners brought the carcinogens home on their clothes. The W. R. Grace Company dumped much of the clean up costs onto the federal government. A June 17, 2009, order by the Environmental
Protection Agency, the first of its kind, declared Lincoln County a public health disaster. The Libby Medicare provision in the health reform law is based on the area covered by that EPA order.

Baucus gave his reasons to the New York Times for its only story on this unique benefit: “The People of Libby have been poisoned and have been dying for a decade. New residents continue to get sick all the time.  Public health tragedies like this could happen in any town in America. We need this type of mechanism to help people when they need it most.”

Health tragedies are happening in every town. Over 51 million have no insurance. Over 45,000 uninsured people die needlessly each year.  Employers are cutting coverage and dropping plans. States in economic crisis are slashing both Medicaid and their employees’ plans. Nothing in last year’s reform law will mitigate the skyrocketing costs. Most insurance is threadbare and doesn’t cover. More than 50% of us now go without necessary care. As Baucus said of Medicare, “We need this mechanism to help people when they need it most.” We all need it now.

Bill Clinton recently stated that the U. S. could give coverage to all for one trillion dollars a year less than we now pay if we adopted the system of any other advanced nation. (Unfortunately, he did not say this when it would have mattered most during the 1993 and 2009 health care reform debates.)

Other industrialized countries have found that to cover everyone for less they must remove the profit-making insurance companies. Congressman John Conyers has reintroduced HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which does exactly that. There are 60 cosponsors. It would cover all medically necessary care for everyone including dental and drugs by cutting out the 30% waste and profits caused by the private insurers.

So as the Ryan Republicans try to destroy Medicare and far too many Democrats use the deficit excuse to suggest cuts in its benefits, let us counter with the Libby prescription to clean up the whole mess. Only a single payer, improved Medicare for All, can save and protect Medicare, rein in the costs, and give us universal coverage.

Medicare will celebrate its 46th birthday on July 30, 2011, and all are invited to join in the festivities. Medicare was passed in 1965 and implemented within less than a year. When we pass HR 676, this single payer bill, we can all be enrolled in the twinkling of an eye.

So write and call your Reps and Senators and the President and tell them to get insurance companies out of healthcare and get us all on Medicare. We’ll save money (government AND the people), we’ll have a healthier nation, and we’ll join the rest of the civilized world in the 21st Century.

Stephen Colbert Addresses Northwestern

American comedian and television show host Ste...

Stephen Colbert

Today was the 153d Commencement at my Alma Mater (class of 1968), Northwestern University. Stephen Colbert, of all people (NU class of 1986), was the Commencement Speaker.

Go HERE and listen to his very funny address.

…and congratulations to graduates everywhere.

This will give you a laugh in the afternoon…

The Political Carnival introduced me to La Cucaracha…  here’s today’s:

Gee… don’t us senior citizens get a bigger discount? (cough, cough)

Quote for the Morning – Tim Pawlenty learns his lesson…

From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Tim Pawlenty said he made a mistake dodging the chance during their debate to once again tie Mitt Romney to “Obamneycar” – but he corrected it on Fox last night:

“I think in response to that direct question I should have been much more clear during the debate… I don’t think we can have a nominee that was involved in the development and construction of Obamacare and then continues to defend it and that was the question, I should have answered it directly and instead I stayed focused on Obama…I should have been more clear, I should have made the point that (Romney) was involved in developing it, he really laid the groundwork…

I don’t think you can prosecute the political case against President Obama if you are a co-conspirator in one of the main charges against the president, on the political level.”

He then used his Obomneycare phrase again… and apparently he’s is letting this stuff out on Twitter – perhaps he should remember what Twitter did to Anthony Weiner.

On my way to WSHC…

I’m getting my stuff together for this morning’s broadcast with John Case on WSHC, 89.7 FM in Shepherdstown. If you are out of the area and want to tune in by web, go to http://www.897wshc.org from 7:30 to 9:00 AM.

Here’s a Fracking update – June 13th Protest in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY

Let’s add this one to our list:

Meanwhile, our own legislators in West Virginia are PROMOTING Fracking… and handing out the corporate claims of safety.

Just heard from NPR – Weiner to Resign

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) plans to resign from Congress today.

The news broke a short time ago when The New York Times sent out an alert that Weiner “has told friends that he plans to resign his seat.” It cited “a person told of Mr. Weiner’s plans” as its source.

Bloomsday

yay!

James Joyce by Brian Whelan

James Joyce by Brian Whelan

… and celebrated on June 16 by those who remember and reread the greatest (to some) of Joyce’s novels, Ulysses, and Leopold Bloom‘s excursion around the Dublin of 1904. Oh the sites visited that day, from #7 Eccles Street to the Byrne Pub to Martello tower… and then culminating in the brothels of Nighttown… and the thoughts and actions of all (the thoughts of Molly Bloom outstanding in the pile) on that June day so long ago.

The first celebration, indeed the invention, of Bloomsday was a pubcrawl in 1954 in Dublin with writers and poets assuming the identities of Joyce’s characters. It is now an event around the world and especially in the locales that Joyce lived and wrote…Trieste, Genoa… and farther places like Seattle and New York, Australia and South America, Budapest and beyond. Those may start with Buck Mulligan shaving in the tower, or the funeral procession that Bloom begins to Poor Paddy Dignam‘s wake… most end in a pint or two (or many more) of Guinness.

And now, we  remember Joyce and participate in oral readings of Ulysses and  share frivolity with those worldwide who got out of bed, or those who combed their bookshelves, or those who forgot …

Start your morning with a quote from Newt:

“Look, Callista and I have a very similar relationship to Nancy and Ronnie Reagan. And people blame Nancy Reagan for things that Ronald Reagan did.”

– Newt Gingrich, on reports his wife didn’t get along with his now departed campaign staff.

Does that make Newt the New Ronnie?

On my older MacBook and life has slowed down…

White MacBook laptop

My regular MacBook is sitting alone on the kitchen table awaiting a call from Apple tech Services at 2:00 this afternoon. This morning I changed the case bottom on it (second one I’ve had to put on do to the “warping” problem this model has… new base was at Apple’s expense since they know they have put a less than perfect machine out here) and after I replaced it, sticking point for point on Apple’s instructions, and turned the machine on, the network wouldn’t connect. The error message was that “the Airport card is missing,” which is unusual since I didn’t touch any Airport card… just took off te old base and put on the new one.

I’M ALMOST CERTAIN THAT APPLE WILL FIND A WAY TO COST ME MONEY HERE. They always eind a way.

Meanwhile, my older book is back in service (Elly has been using it but her new MacBook Pro came in yesterday.)  Hope your day is going better than mine.

If you are tired of hearing Republicans tear down the Affordable Care Act…

… then this video from the Kaiser Family Foundation will give you an overview of what is actually covered, what it costs and how it keeps more people safe than not having it:

Those candidates who “debated” last night should sit down and watch this all the way through.

Nothing but static…

Gee… I don’t know what happened but my podcast didn’t record (except for the opening and closing music) giving us 28 minutes of static. I’ll try to find out what happened.

Sorry folks.

UPDATE:

Apparently the problem was with the iPhone and streaming… should have the situation fixed by next week… I may try a 15 minute test later in the week.

My Podcast is Live this morning at 10 Am Eastern Time…

Stop by and have a listen… Go  HERE to  BlogTalk Radio.

If you miss it, the recording will be at BlogTalkRadio, HERE .

You can call in during the half hour that it’s on at 1 (661) 554-9186. I’ll be glad to discuss just about anything with you

.

Fantastic program for art lovers and students everywhere started by Google…

I was enjoying myself this morning touring museums on the Google Art Project, a major collection tour of 17 world famous museums including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection, and the Freer Gallery of Art and International Museums such as  The Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain, The  Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic, The National Gallery, London – England (one of my favorites), The  Palace of Versailles – France,  and The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia, among others.

"Carafe and Book" by Juan Gris - Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

The website enables users to discover and view more than 1,000 artworks online in extraordinary detail, with documentation on the works, biographies of artists, interactive 360 degree tours of the galleries and more.

For someone trapped in West Virginia like me, this is a remarkable opportunity to experience the joys of art tourism without leaving my living room.

The site was launched today after 18 months of development in cooperation with the 17 museums. Artwork can be seen in extremely high resolution and viewed in microscopic detail.

Take a look… http://www.googleartproject.com,… and have a good time.

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