Recent Articles

How to stay classy after a breakup

| July 26, 2015 | Reply

Good article by Seth Borkowski. Points to the frailty of all relationships.

However, watching “Annie Hall” after my relationship ended was unexpectedly different because I felt as if I had grown with Alvy. I felt comfortable with my understanding of the madness and the irresistibly addictive nature of relationships. With that understanding, I discovered the closure I had been searching for. Of course, it wasn’t entirely satisfying.

Read More

About your surgeon. Propublica offers a database to compare excellence

| July 19, 2015 | Reply

This article, “Making the Cut,” could affect your life or the life of someone you know. The article offers its database so you can compare the complication rates of surgeons regarding common elective surgeries.

“About 63,000 Medicare patients suffered serious harm, and 3,405 died after going in for procedures widely seen as straightforward and low risk. Taxpayers paid hospitals $645 million for the readmissions alone.”

“A small share of doctors, 11 percent, accounted for about 25 percent of the complications. Hundreds of surgeons across the country had rates double and triple the national average. Every day, surgeons with the highest complication rates in our analysis are performing operations in hospitals nationwide.

Subpar performers work even at academic medical centers considered among the nation’s best. A surgeon with one of the nation’s highest complication rates for prostate removals in our analysis operates at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, a national powerhouse known for its research on patient safety. He alone had more complications than all 10 of his colleagues combined — though they performed nine times as many of the same procedures.”

Read More

The relevance of military service in preparation for political service.

| July 19, 2015 | 1 Reply

I’m sitting back, rather indifferent to the Trump/McCain feud. What relevance does soldier experience have to being a politician? Truly, does experience firing a weapon, flying a plane or following orders in a bureaucratic hierarchy make one a better visionary or leader? I wondered these same things when presidential candidates John Kerry, George W. Bush and McCain all trotted out their actual and alleged military backgrounds as though that type of work would make for a better politician, rather than possibly a worse politician. For that matter, what does being rich, being a real estate developer, or being an entertainer have to do with being a good politician? If only the pushback against Trump were really about honoring military service rather than the GOP’s attempt to soften some of its embarrassing official and unofficial positions.

In our current highly corrupt elections system, I would think that better foundations for being a politician would include 1) an indifference to acquiring money above and beyond an amount necessary to support a truly modest lifestyle, comparable to that of those earning the median American household income, 2) a long-documented history of refusing to be bought off by big money, and 3) a humble reluctance to assume a position of great power. My suggested qualifications would disqualify almost every member of Congress, many of whom are borderline psychopathic.

Read More

Pushback against anti-GMO

| July 15, 2015 | 1 Reply

From Slate, questions about the integrity of the anti-GMO food movement:

That’s the fundamental flaw in the anti-GMO movement. It only pretends to inform you. When you push past its dogmas and examine the evidence, you realize that the movement’s fixation on genetic engineering has been an enormous mistake. The principles it claims to stand for—environmental protection, public health, community agriculture—are better served by considering the facts of each case than by treating GMOs, categorically, as a proxy for all that’s wrong with the world. That’s the truth, in all its messy complexity. Too bad it won’t fit on a label.

Read More

The way politicians talk with their owners: Case in point with Scott Walker

| July 15, 2015 | 1 Reply

Even though this conversation was the result of a prank, it substantiates what many of us imagine when we think of politicians talking with their rich owners, otherwise known as contributors. Here’s how Scott Walker talks when he allegedly has no time to talk to anyone else, and when the caller is purportedly David Koch. I think of this kind of thing as pillow talk between a prostitute and his customer.

Read More

The Focus of Southern Succession was Slavery

| July 14, 2015 | Reply

This article by the Daily Beast addresses the main issue driving Southern Succession and leading up to the Civil War. Amazing that we are still debating this:

The Ordinance of Secession and “Declaration of the Immediate Causes” drafted by South Carolina grandees intent not only on justifying their own state’s withdrawal from the Union in December 1860, but on persuading the other slave-holding states to join it, was concerned entirely and exclusively with the question of slavery. It quoted the Constitution. It cited the Declaration of Independence. But it was not about all men being created equal. And it was not about tariffs, as some have argued since. And it was not merely about the general principle of states’ rights. It was specifically about the states’ rights to enshrine slavery, pure and simple—and evil—as that was, and the obligation of the federal government to guarantee the rights of human-property owners. Since the Feds weren’t likely to do that under the new Lincoln administration in Washington, the Carolinians argued, “self-preservation” dictated secession. They were determined, come what may, to make their world safe for slavocracy.

More on the role of slavery in the Civil War here.

Read More

How to address the issue of “Addiction”

| July 9, 2015 | Reply

This TED speech by Journalist Johann Hari criticizes conventional “war on drugs” and “just say no” approaches, making ample reference to data from Portugal, which ended its war on drugs 15 years ago.

Read More

Lee Camp looks at the so-called Obama Legacy

Lee Camp looks at the so-called Obama Legacy

| July 6, 2015 | Reply

What is the Obama Legacy? Lee Camp explores, not letting Obama take credit for the SCOTUS gay marriage decision, and sharply pointing to Obama’s promotion of the TPP, as well as Obama’s war on whistle-blowers:

Read More

Alan Grayson’s new Declaration of Independence

| July 4, 2015 | Reply

I received this new Declaration of Independence in a mass emailing from Alan Grayson:

We need a new declaration of independence. FDR took a stab at this, with his “Four Freedoms.” Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Freedom from want. Freedom from fear. That’s a good start.

But now, eight decades later, we need to declare our independence from other forms of oppression.

We hereby declare our independence from bigotry, in all its evil forms. We declare our independence from racism, sexism, homophobia, language discrimination and chauvinism. Everyone has equal rights, no matter where you’re from, what you look like, what language you speak, and whom you love. Everyone deserves respect.

We hereby declare our independence from narrow-minded, extremist or violent religious fundamentalism. We live in a land where church and state are separate. Religious belief, no matter how sincere, is no license to dictate to others whether to terminate a pregnancy, whether to use contraception, or whom to marry. Earlier this year, I placed my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution; I didn’t place my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

We hereby declare our independence from the greedy. Malefactors of great wealth have no right to buy and sell elected officials thorough the legalized bribery of “independent expenditures.” They have no right to despoil our land and our water, the air we breathe and the food we eat. They have no right to manipulate or gut our laws in order to increase their lucre. They have no right to jack up the price of what we buy, or determine what we see on TV or on our computer screens.

We hereby declare our independence from “1984”-style surveillance. Neither the Government nor a private company has any reason to monitor the activities of innocent people, without their express, informed and freely given consent. Who I’m with, what I say, what I buy, what I read; that’s none of anyone else’s business. Privacy – the fundamental right to be left alone – is an essential part of what it means to be a human being.

We hereby declare our independence from exploitation. Bad bosses are today’s King George. They want to work employees as hard as they can, and pay them as little as possible in return. They call the difference profit. If workers are organized, they can fight back. But if not, then they need legal protection from exploitation. If you have a job, you should have a living wage, and time-and-a-half for overtime. If you have a job, you should have health coverage. If you have a job, you should have paid sick leave. If you have a job, you should have a pension. As John Mellencamp would say, “Ain’t that America?”

We hereby declare our independence from misinformation. Fox News is a lie factory. Special interests used to lie to us about the dangers of smoking; now they lie to us about the dangers of pollution and climate disruption. They claim a right to “free speech,” but we have a right to honest speech. We have to be part of what a Reagan aide once dismissed as the “reality-based community.”

We hereby declare our independence from hubris. No, we can’t bring peace through war. No, we can’t force our way of life or our way of thinking on seven billion other people. No, we aren’t going to end the 1200-year-old civil war between the Sunnis and the Shia. No, we aren’t going to go and kill everyone everywhere in the world who harbors some harsh views of us. And no, they won’t greet our soldiers with flowers, bake apple pies for them, and salute the American flag with a hand on their hearts. They want to be them, not us. We can care for victims, protect ourselves and help our friends without sticking our nose into every else’s business.

We hereby declare our independence from a rigged system of fake trade. We buy their stuff, creating tens of millions of jobs in other countries. But they don’t buy an equal amount of our stuff. Instead, they buy our assets — $11,000,000,000,000.00 of our assets. They not only rob us of our jobs, but they drive us deeper and deeper into debt. When did Uncle Sam become Uncle Sap? If we don’t declare independence, the endgame is national bankruptcy.

And me? I hereby declare my independence from the corrupt system of campaign finance. I will not carve up the law into little pieces, and sell it to the highest bidder. I will not make “friends” with lobbyists and special interests and the minions of multinational corporations, and then “help” those “friends.” I will not forsake my real job – doing something good for the 700,000 people who chose me to be their Congressman – in favor of begging millionaires and billionaires for a few crumbs from their tables.

Read More