Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Easier said than done

Stuart Zechman explained the problems with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and how to fix them on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. Here's Stuart's text outline of those issues. Homework includes a piece from last year in the WaPo, "A Limit on Consumer Costs Is Delayed in Health Care Law."
Joan McCarter and Jay Ackroyd discussed "the politics of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; Harry Reid's filibuster reform talk; expanding social security; and the results of the 2013 elections and the attendant exit polls" on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Today's healthcare frauds: Johnson & Johnson

"The rich: 'A class of people for whom humans are disposable commodities'" - Gaius Publius recommends pieces by Chris Hedges and Digby on the pathology of the Cloud People.*

More like this, please: Keith Ellison and Tom Guild in Oklahoma. Talk like the people matter and even the reddest states might just come out on the right side.

Noam Scheiber in The New Republic, "Hillary's Nightmare? A Democratic Party That Realizes Its Soul Lies With Elizabeth Warren"

Key Obama priority: "Getting the Republican Party back in a functioning state"

David Dayen in The New Republic, "Congress Is Starving the Agency That's Supposed to Prevent Another Meltdown"

Matt Taibbi, "Chase Isn't the Only Bank in Trouble"

If your business model requires you to break the law and continuously go to court and pay fines as a matter of course, you'd better make sure you have sufficient reserves of funds for the legal process.

WaPo: "The Great Recession may have crushed America's economic potential [...] The paper offers a depressing portrait of where the economy stands nearly six years after the onset of recession, and amounts to a damning indictment of U.S. policymakers. Their upshot: The United States's long-term economic potential has been diminished by the fact that policymakers have not done more to put people back to work quickly. Our national economic potential is now a whopping 7 percent below where it was heading at the pre-2007 trajectory, the authors find."
Paul Krugman on "The Mutilated Economy". The administration and Congress have conspired in their attack on the nation's economy at the behest of their corporate masters, but there's no reason we shouldn't call it what it is: a national security crisis.

Another surprise from the Pope.
"This might be the worse thing you read today: This story from New Mexico is just insane, and show just how out of control the 'War on Drugs' has gotten."
Election highlights: There's bad news, of course, but a surprising amount of good news.
Well, it would have been nice if they hadn't kept saying "trans fats" and just said margarine is bad for you. Doesn't anyone listen to Julia Child? Jeez.
Not everything is lost, in the world we all want to live in.

"Australian David Hicks: Survivor of Gitmo's Sadistic Abuse: Richard Phillips in 'David Hicks seeks to overturn Guantánamo "terrorism" conviction' reveals that former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Australian citizen David Hicks has lodged an appeal with the US Court of Military Commission Review to overturn his 2007 conviction of 'providing support for terrorism.' It is expected that the commission will NOT quash Hicks' conviction. His American lawyer from the Center for Constitutional Rights will then appeal the case to the US federal district court. "

Digby on the culture of unaccountability and prosecutorial misconduct that puts innocent people in prison - on purpose.

The Rorschach test controversy on Wikipedia. Oh, my!

Black Panthers' Fight For Free Health Care

"Terrible Columnist Richard Cohen Shocked To Learn That Slavery Was Really, Really Bad"

Cartoon: The high cost of incarceration

"Legal paper maps out conservative plan to abolish pornography"

Michael Moore recommends 12 years a slave.

"Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous"

Every now and then I think of these bitter things, and try not to break things.

Laurie Anderson's Farewell to Lou Reed

You can now look at the original Mary Shelly drafts for Frankenstein online.

Photoset: Steampunk DC characters

H.P. Lovecraft's "The Haunter Of The Dark", animated.

Sail - Awolnation with Tesla coils! FOR SCIENCE!

Masha and the Bear - a cute little children's show from Russia.

Fortean Times: 40 years of covers - in pictures

Halloween costume that makes lemons into lemonade.

"41 Camping Hacks that are borderline genius" - I don't do much camping, but a few of these are things you can use at home or in the wilds of, say, Central London.

Famous paintings animated

The M&S Christmas TV Advert 2013

The Essex, because it's the moment to just do it.


  1. Thank you for sharing the 10 Years on Link in particular. I'm feeling like throwing things too. But, it is good for me to remember why I hate our wars so much. We are choosing and they are dying (well some of us too and that's not a good story either.) That they had the audacity to use the same language in an attempt to get us into Syria made me feel insane. And I don't believe they've really let it drop. It's just a ploy to do it over Christmas or sometime when we are not interested in the news.

  2. I wrote about Heritage Foundation employee Morgan Bennett's plan to end internet porn here: http://business.avn.com/articles/legal/Op-Ed-Another-Jackass-Has-a-Plan-to-End-Internet-Porn-534171.html I was a little bit testy when I wrote it, but she deserves it.

  3. Shelly drafts - nice! Thanks.

  4. Now we're Speaking:

    [39:33] Jay Ackroyd: ...[R]ight now you tell us an ideology tells us what's thinkable and what's unthinkable. Now, what do you mean by that?

    Ian Welsh: Well, why is it- jeez, what is thinkable to us?

    Jay Ackroyd: Well 90% taxation is pretty much unthinkable to us, right now.

    Ian Welsh: Right, 90 to 95 percent taxation is unthinkable, distributing a basic income is pretty close to unthinkable and these are not really radical ideas, I mean this is stuff which, in the 70s, was mainstream. You know, this is not radical, radical is saying, "Why are we distributing things through jobs?" Even some of the really simple stuff, which is to say, why haven't we made it so every new building created in the entire country and, for that matter, all of Europe has to be energy neutral? We had the technology in the 90s, okay, that a building could do that. All you have to do to make this happen is to say if it isn't, it's not a conforming mortgage. Done. Okay- and why aren't we refitting every single building in the country to do this, right? Why are we still nattering on...

    Jay Ackroyd: But you're point isn't we are not doing it, why is it not thinkable, is what your point is.

    [40:49] Ian Welsh: Yeah, why is it not thinkable? Why are we doing things this way, why in the U.S., although it's thinkable in other parts of the world, why didn't we just go to Medicare? Why aren't we getting off of petroleum entirely, why aren't we doing a radical build out of rapid transit and so forth and so on? And moving radically to electrical cars? Why aren't we feeding everybody in the world when it costs on $50 billion? Why, or maybe a $100 billion, which is, you know, a rounding error, really- right, given all the money we waste, right? Why...

    [41:21] Jay Ackroyd: One aircraft carrier is a $5 billion item.

    Ian Welsh: Yeah, and then add in the running costs.

    Jay Ackroyd: That's not running it, that's just building it. That's just paying a defense contractor to build it.

    Ian Welsh: Yeah, and so forth and so on. So why is it we aren't doing any of the obvious things and we aren't even doing the obvious things that would have been obvious to somebody sixty years ago, right? What has become the window of the possible has moved so much -I hate to say but- to the right, but it has changed so much that we can't even do things that were obvious sixty years ago.


    1. ...continued

      Jay Ackroyd: Like not allow people to accumulate a billion dollars income in one year because that's disruptive to society.

      [42:03] Ian Welsh: It's disruptive to the society. It's crazy but you can't- and this stuff isn't even radical, radical is saying why do we distribute surplus through jobs? All right, why do you need a job in order to survive, right? I mean the fact of the matter is the 80% of the population could stop doing what they do tomorrow and all the food would still get produced, and all of the goods would still get produced. About 60% of the population does nothing but shuffle numbers at this point. What they're doing is keeping track of who owns what, right? It's- the actual productive labor in the economy is remarkably little and this is something that people won't address, and they just refuse to address.

      Jay Ackroyd: You mean it's unthinkable to get rid of retail?

      Ian Welsh: I mean do we really need this many Starbucks? I mean how many-- I mean I live downtown in Toronto and do you know how many Starbucks there are within two blocks of me? Let's see...

      Jay Ackroyd: Five.

      Ian Welsh: That's about right actually, yeah.

      Jay Ackroyd: Where I'm living now there are three but there used to be nine where I used to live.

      Ian Welsh: Yeah, I mean it's crazy, do we really need this?

      Jay Ackroyd: Well it's the kind of thing you can do at home, too.

      [43:18] Ian Welsh: Yeah it's- well, again, it's what I would is raise the minimum wage to about twenty bucks an hour and if your business model can't survive that then maybe they shouldn't be doing that, anyway. And then just implement a basic income and that can be done within our own economy. But we have the possibility with the new technologies that are coming on line to change things.