Recent Articles

The Problems with Obamacare and the need for Single Payer.

Ryan Cooper comments at The Week:

ObamaCare plays to precisely the opposite of America’s strengths. Instead of being a simple,

straightforward program to hand out insurance coverage — the policy equivalent of a honking great axe — it’s got complex regulations, fiddly quasi-market structures, and mandates everywhere you look — the policy equivalent of the repair box from Toy Story 2. It should be no surprise that many of those regulations do not completely fix the problems they were intended to address, or are effectively ignored. We need simpler, bigger, blunter tools, and single-payer fits the bill.

March 25, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

It’s time to help raise lots of money for Melania Trump

It’s stunningly clear that Melania Trump can’t stand Don’t Trump, yet she is still married to him. That she is extremely uncomfortable around Donald is increasingly clear from widely available photos and videos of the two of them.  And see here.  Recent revelations suggest Melania despises Donald and won’t sleep with him.  Further, Melania has no intention of living in the White House even though it’s a big house with a lot of room for the entire family.  So why does she stay with him?  And why won’t she go public with detailed stories about Donald’s misconduct and potential illegalities?

When Donald Trump married Melania Knauss we know for a fact that he forced her to sign a prenuptial agreement.   That agreement is carefully hidden from public view, but we know enough about Trump’s love of money and power, as well as his vindictiveness and narcissism, that we can assume that the prenup is laden with incentives to keep Melania well-behaved and quiet.

But why limit the legal restrictions to a prenup? There are additional types of contracts that Trump could have foisted on Melania, before or since the wedding. Imagine that you were a psychopath like Trump?  What else would you entice Melenia to sign? How about non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement agreements laden with penalties for whispering even a word about Donald’s dirty laundry? The Donald Trump we all know would rig his agreements with Melania so that she would be financially incentivized dress up pretty, quietly stand there to look like a wife but keep her mouth shut.   Donald Trump’s penalty-filled contracts with Melania, crafted by the best lawyers money can buy, would make sure that Melania would end up destitute if dishes Donald’s dirt.  None of this is difficult to imagine.

What do we need to do to hear Melania’s front-row seat stories about Trump’s double-dealing, lying, betrayals and illegalities?   What if we set up a “Free Melania!” GoFundMe page?  What if we raised enough money for Melania to share copies of the contracts Donald made her sign?  What if we raised so much money that even a gold-digger like Melania would have enough money to live on after she files the divorce papers and tells all?

March 24, 2017 | By | Reply More

Comedian Lee Camp offers a sobering view of the state of the world

Lee Camp summarizes what is going on. He’s a comedian, but it’s getting ever more difficult to hide his deep concerns behind his laugh lines. I suspect that what is especially bothering Lee Camp is something that Trump and his dysfunctional friends are immunized from: Facts.

In this second video, Camp and his guest, Alnoor Ladha, set for an alternative to the current U.S. priority of Banks and Tanks.

Ladha is Executive Director of an organization called “The Rules”:

The Rules is a worldwide network of activists, artists, writers, farmers, peasants, students, workers, designers, hackers, spiritualists and dreamers, linking up, pushing the global narrative in a new direction. We’re tired of the incremental reforms. The corrupt CEO’s. The tax havens. The esteemed economists. The development industry. The secrecy regimes. The empty promises. The cancelled futures.

March 18, 2017 | By | Reply More

Only one space after a period!

In high school typing class (in the 1970s), I learned that there are TWO spaces after a period. Since then, I’ve learned and relearned from reputable sources that there should only be one space following a period, but shaking that habit has not been easy. Today, I was reminded that there is no dispute about what to do after hitting a period on a keyboard:

Felici writes that typesetters in Europe began to settle on a single space around the early 20th century. America followed soon after.

Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It’s one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men’s shirt buttons on the right and women’s on the left.

Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, used widely in the social sciences, allows for two spaces in draft manuscripts but recommends one space in published work.)

Let this be the day when my fingers start doing what my brain has been trying to tell them to do for decades!

March 18, 2017 | By | Reply More

In Light of the GOP’s new Health Care Proposal, it’s Time to Rename the GOP as the “Social Darwinist Party.”

In light of the GOP’s “solution” to the “problem” of Obamacare, it’s time to simply and clearly declare that the GOP has become (and should be renamed) the “Social Darwinist Party.”

Addressing the cries of the Super Rich (“I want even more money”) is no solution at all to the medical crises many of us face. I realize and recognize the frustration of the GOP that people who are lazy and/or who repeatedly make bad decisions resulting in being poor should not be able to mooch off the rest of us. But what about those who have worked hard and have been laid off by downsizing, and now earn $10/hour? What about people who are doing their best after being raised by dysfunctional families and/or “taught” at dysfunctional schools? Should they really be told that health care is totally out of their reach?

I’m lucky that I am a 60 year old man who can afford to pay the market rate of $900/month for a $6,000 deductible (“Bronze”) health care policy with Anthem for me and my teenage daughter. It was the best deal I could find this year.

But there are good hearted hard-working people who are paid minimum wage, meaning that they gross about $1,500 a month for full time work. After Social Security taxes, if they were to pay $900/month for health insurance (and then all the co-pays and deductible) they would have NOTHING left on which to live. NOTHING.

The GOP solution, I assume, is to have these people (many of whom voted for Trump) begging for health care at hospital doors, with many of them eventually dying in the streets. Is the GOP then going offer block grants to cities to help clean up the bodies of sick and dying people on the sides of streets?

Obamacare was an flawed attempt to balance the many competing interests at play. But it was an attempt. It was far better than the GOP proposal, which is essentially, “If you can’t come up with a LOT more money than minimum wage will pay you, then into society’s scrap heap you go!”

We can do better than Obamacare. We can do a LOT better than the current GOP proposal. It’s time for single payor, a solution used by almost every other industrialized country.

March 13, 2017 | By | Reply More

GOP can’t afford $75B/year to provide public college to everyone, but CAN afford handing $600B tax cuts to top 1%

When Bernie Sanders proposed that the US spend $75 Billion per year to eliminate tuition to those attending public colleges and universities, the GOP scoffed and said that this money wasn’t available and that Sanders’ plan was irresponsible. For example, see the criticisms by Betsy DeVos, President Trumps’s Head of the Department of Education.

Now we hear that we can make America great again by handing the highest earning taxpayers (mostly the top 1%) a giant tax cut of $600 Billion stretching into 2026. And that $600 Billion tax cut also buys the horror of throwing tens of millions of Americans into the status of lacking health insurance.

Therefore, we can’t afford $75 Billion per year to give young Americans a college education, but we can afford to threaten the health and lives of tens of millions of Americans in order to hand the 1% $600 Billion in tax cuts. It’s time to rename the GOP for what it is: The Social Darwinist Party.

March 12, 2017 | By | Reply More

Pan: Saturn’s tiny oddly shaped moon

NASA just published photos of Pan, one of Saturn’s moons. Such an unusual shape!

[caption id="attachment_28101" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Pan – Moon of Saturn. Photo by NASA[/caption]
March 11, 2017 | By | Reply More

On Reverse-Engineering a Soldier’s Death to Justify More of the Same

From Glenn Greenwald, of The Intercept:

While there is certainly truth in the claim that Trump’s use of the suffering of soldiers and their families is politically opportunistic, even exploitative, this tactic is hardly one Trump pioneered. In fact, it is completely standard for U.S. presidents. Though Trump’s attackers did not mention it, Obama often included tales of the sacrifice, death, and suffering of soliders in his political speeches — including when he devoted four highly emotional minutes in his 2014 State of the Union address to narrating the story of, and paying emotional tribute to, Sgt. Cory Remsburg, who was severely wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

George W. Bush also hauled soldiers wounded in his wars before cameras during his speeches, such as his 2007 State of the Union address, where he paid tribute to Sgt. Tommy Rieman, wounded in Iraq.

There are reasons presidents routinely use the suffering and deaths of U.S soldiers and their families as political props. The way in which these emotions are exploited powerfully highlights important aspects of war propaganda generally, and specifically how the endless, 15-year-old war on terror is sustained.

. . .

By dramatizing the deaths of Americans while disappearing the country’s victims, this technique ensures that Americans perpetually regard themselves as victims of horrific, savage, tragic violence but never the perpetrators of it. That, in turn, is what keeps Americans supporting endless war: These savages keep killing us, so we have no choice but to fight them.

Greenwald points out that our natural sympathy for family members of brave dead soldiers is consciously reverse engineered at events such as President Trump’s recent speech, such that the heroism of the soldier appears to make the war a worthy war and the President a worthy President.

March 3, 2017 | By | Reply More

“Mercy,” short violin-piano piece by Max Richter

I’m loving this musical offering by Max Richter (performed by Hilary Hahn and C. Smythe). So short, sweet and deep.

March 1, 2017 | By | Reply More