Music

If this is a 5-year old boy, then God bless ‘im. But I’m not convinced. Nonetheless, he/she rocks…

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uhh…Politics

I try to keep gossipy trash-posts to a minimum, but I can never resist an opportunity to make fun of the state of Florida.

“The mayor of a small southwest Florida town on Thursday defended the town council’s decision to fire its city manager after officials learned his wife is an adult film actress.
“We didn’t fire him because his wife was a porn star,” (Ft. Myers Mayor Larry) Kiker griped, adding that the decision wasn’t a “knee-jerk reaction.”
“However, the mayor also noted: “It was not his job performance. We all liked Scott … He’s a good guy.”
“George Noakes, manager of the Sunflower Cafe in town, called it “prejudice.”
“I thought the guy was doing a good job. I don’t understand why his wife is even an issue,” Noakes said. “Whatever she does, that’s none of our concern. We shouldn’t even be bothered with it.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090723/ap_on_re_us/us_town_manager_fired

Socioeconomics / Politics

I’m going on and on about health care, but it’s worth it. People are finally figuring out that since the advent of the HMO system, the American health care system has been a gigantic, short-sighted, mean-spirited swindle. Even Michael Moore had it right:
“…a new Harvard study reports that the majority of people going bankrupt from medical costs are, in fact, insured.”

“The medical establishment does not like Medicare because it pays 20 per cent less than private insurance. Pure and simple. Medicare is actually the best thing going and were the White House to spearhead a plan to expand Medicare coverage much could be accomplished.
It doesn’t help Medicare when Congress passes a law forbidding it to negotiate for lower prices from the pharmaceutical industry.
In principle, Medicare makes the most sense of anything going in the US health system. And if it were to be run more efficiently, and the prices charged by the health industry strictly controlled, progress would be made. But to simplistically suggest that the country is going broke because of Medicare (and its sister legislation, Medicaid) without identifying the culprits, without looking over the payable invoices, does us all a disservice.
“With his fanatic commitment to free markets President Obama’s stated commitment to working families unravels with every passing day.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/ginsburg07242009.html

Expanding Medicare is a great idea; making the existing program available to younger recipients would, on average, reduce overall coverage risk, and help level out cost.

But, ultimately, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – every other major industrialized country on this planet has universal, single payer health coverage. People who argue against this for the United States are saying we’re too stupid and greedy to figure out how to do this for ourselves. And they’re OK with that.

And here’s another sweeping generalization –
I’ve been arguing for months for the expansion of the F.D.I.C., in lieu of creating new regulatory financial bureaucracies, to oversee banks that are in trouble but not necessarily outrightly failing. They’ve already done it once:

“After two decades at the same coverage limit, the U.S. government has finally stopped dragging its knuckles and raised the FDIC insured limit for bank deposits from the previous FDIC limit of $100,000 – up to the new limit of $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank.
The new FDIC limits are effective starting October 3, 2008 and tentatively scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009.
I predict that Congress will more likely than not make the new coverage limits permanent after that time. Frankly, in light of the current financial crisis and deteriorating consumer confidence sentiment regarding the safety and security of our nation’s banks and credit unions, there is no reason the U.S. government should not allow the new FDIC limits to stay permanent.”

http://www.moneybluebook.com/new-fdic-insured-limit-covers-bank-deposits-up-to-250000/
They’re already really good at what they do – it’s stupid that we’re not rewarding them for that by expanding their role even further.

Movies

Anthony Lane in the New Yorker on “Brüno”:

“I’m afraid that “Brüno” feels hopelessly complicit in the prejudices that it presumes to deride. You can’t honestly defend your principled lampooning of homophobia when nine out of every ten images that you project onscreen comply with the most threadbare cartoons of gay behavior. A schoolboy who watches a pirated DVD of this film will look at the prancing Austrian and find more, not fewer, reasons to beat up the kid on the playground who doesn’t like girls. There is, on the evidence of this movie, no such thing as gay love; there is only gay sex, a superheated substitute for love, with its own code of vulcanized calisthenics whose aim is not so much to sate the participants as to embarrass onlookers from the straight—and therefore straitlaced—society beyond.

“…I realized, watching “Borat” again, that what it exposed was not a vacuity in American manners but, more often than not, a tolerance unimaginable elsewhere. Borat’s Southern hostess didn’t shriek when he appeared with a bag of feces; she sympathized, and gently showed him what to do, and the same thing happens in “Brüno,” when a martial-arts instructor, confronted by a foreigner with two dildos, doesn’t flinch. He teaches Brüno some defensive moves, then adds, “This is totally different from anything I’ve ever done.” Ditto the Hollywood psychic—another risky target, eh?—who watches Brüno mime an act of air-fellatio and says, after completion, “Well, good luck with your life.” In both cases, I feel that the patsy, though gulled, comes off better than the gag man; the joke is on Baron Cohen, for foisting indecency on the decent.”

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2009/07/20/090720crci_cinema_lane

Politics

How negative, how scorched-earth, have the Republicans become on health care?

“If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” – Sen Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)

Let’s salute Sen. DeMint as he completes his final term. There isn’t a reason on God’s green earth that this half-ass should be re-elected.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0709/Health_reform_foes_plan_Obamas_Waterloo.html?showall
Thanks, Dave.
At least Michael Steele has managed to hire better speechwriters – never mind that most of their criticism is already covered in democratic legislation.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/20/AR2009072001004.html
As a primer for gutless conservatives to get re-elected by maintaining the status quo, it’s brilliant. As a cautionary tale of never ever making investments now for a better long-term future, it’s nice work.