Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Love Tilda Swinton

I really do, and I am convinced that her public wardrobe is one of God's inside jokes.
And I am grateful that her appearances at the Venice Film Festival drew gofugyourself comment, because otherwise I would have forgotten that my friend Pam's favorite web site still thrives.

Erm, About Those Despicable Big Bonuses

I Never Thought of That Dept.:
“Traders must be bribed not to plunder the firm. If you don’t pay them millions, they’ll sell the banks’ assets cheaply to rival firms, for which they then go and work.”
Another witty Brit — politics and economics — from  The Times' best blogs.

Best Blogs

Andrew Sullivan linked to Norman Geras this morning, and I loved the post, about how you cannot possibly read enough books no matter how long you live. Made me feel better about not actually having read any books in months, although there are four new ones I picked up at the library this week.
Anyhoo, Geras had this link from the Times of London and I was happy to see two at the top of the list that I already check out now and then. Well, Sullivan daily, Clemons now and then. So I don't feel so out of it after all.
And I loved this quote:
This, combined with the relief involved in getting something instantly off my chest, is what keeps me blogging. I want to quit, I really do. I dream of going cold turkey, I even once posted my resignation. But someone somewhere always says something stupid or funny, Lord Jeff emits another post or I am stunned by some unexpected fragment of beauty and truth — and, once more, I am lost in the limitless land of fancy now known, to me, anyway, as the blogscape.
bryanappleyard.com
I suspect the Brits have this blogging thing down better than we do. I have skipped blogging on occasion, but can't conceive of going cold turkey, although I'm definitely dropping my obsession with Word Challenge on Facebook, which is not blogging but more like dry drinking.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Quote O' Teh Day

Bill Maher to Obama:
Stand up for the 70 percent of Americans who aren't crazy.

Rob Miller

may become as famous as Joe Wilson.
He's received $1 million in donations to oppose the man who called Obama a liar during his speech.
Wilson claims he's received $750,000.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friviolity Friday Is Back. On Thursday!

With Yoga Dogs.

Cannoli!

I ate my first cannoli while visiting friends in Chicago. They lived down the street from an Italian bakery.
Crazy Legs Conti won this year's cannoli eating contest during NYC's celebration of the feast of San Gennaro. He ate 20 in 6 minutes, but I think this picture is from an earlier year, because the image I saw on the Dish had him in Mickey Mouse ears.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Loyal Opposition

The Dish found this:
"[Tea baggers and conservative bloggers] want Obama to be ruthless and authoritarian because they want to think of themselves as a heroic resistance. They evoke Hitler not because they fear another Hitler, their very obsession with Nazi imagery betrays their attraction; no, they're longing for a Leader, a Hitler of their own. Even a Hitler in high heels, if you can picture such a lady, and I think we all can," - James Wolcott, Vanity Fair.

Basic Health Care Reform

Wapo explains.

Bob! On The Public Option

Reich has a public option video out. Make it viral.

Here's the link. Send it around. Thank you.

Health Care Reform: Cut To The Chase

This guy has it down in an easy-to-digest article:

But if Snowe signs on, according to nearly every person I consulted, it’s quite possible the legislation she supports would become the Senate’s bill with very little change--and that, in conference, the Senate bill would prevail. She’d hold the leverage, as long as the administration and Democratic leadership prefer to pass pass legislation with 60 votes. And that certainly seems to be the inclination of Obama and his advisors. (It's harder to tell about Congress, particularly the House, but they're unlikely to challenge the White House openly on this.)
Unless, of course, it never gets that far. Snowe may not sign on; even if she does, one source close to the process notes, she "may not bring a sufficient number of conservative Democrats" to reach 60. If that happens--if consensus proves elusive, for whatever reason--then Obama and his allies would focus on trying to pass a bill through reconciliation. And they would move quickly.

History of Health Care Reform in America

 From Robert Reich, that cute, really short guy. Well, okay, not as cute as Rahm. But even shorter.
This, just to remind you, that politics is politics.
Tidbit:
An honest economic forecast would most likely have sunk Medicare.

Trigger With A Twist

That's what I'm betting we're going to get in the health care reform package. A public option that is activated at a certain point if premium prices and what all don't come down. I'm guessing they're going to make that trigger look "tough" by dictating just how much costs must come down, how quickly, etc., so it will be a "compromise" on the trigger that those favoring a trigger like Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine (and her cohort Susan Collins) can't wiggle out of support for it.
But what do I know?
And they'll relook at it very soon, like as soon as this thing passes the Senate.
But what do I know?

UPDATE: What did I tell ya? First Nelson, now four House progressives. Trigger with a twist. Yep.
"It depends on how strong that trigger is," Farr added. "The only way I could see it getting progressive votes is by making sure the public option is strong and goes into operation."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fired Up. Ready To Go.

Know hope.

Happy Labor Day

From Barry Ritholtz:
Speaking with Marketwatch’s Rex Nutting, I learned yet another incredible datapoint: Over the past decade, the U.S. private-sector has lost 203,000 jobs.
That’s right: Zero job growth for 10 years.
In the 1940s, we created 10 million jobs. In the 1990s, we added 19 million new jobs. Even during the much-maligned 1970s, we added almost 16 million jobs.
The 2000s might be zero. Some economy, huh?
The government has created 2.1 million jobs over that period — primarily teachers. And, that’s the weakest government job growth in nearly two decades.
Happy Labor Day!
all employess private industry

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Public Option Is Crap, Too

Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone article is finally available online, and some Kossacks at least, are pissed about the mess.
I haven't read everything on this, so I have no opinion yet. Just an FYI.
But just to hedge its bets even further and ensure that no real reforms pass, Congress has made sure to cover itself, sabotaging the bill long before it even got to Baucus' committee. To do this, they used a five-step system of subtle feints and legislative tricks to gut the measure until there was nothing left.
UPDATE:
Okay, I've read Taibbi's piece.  It's scary.  I'm back to the pass it, then fix it  solution. Nothing else will work at this point.  Or maybe  the White House really does have something up its sleeve.  Know hope.

All that's left of health care reform is a collection of piece-of-shit, weakling proposals that are preposterously expensive and contain almost nothing meaningful — and that set of proposals, meanwhile, is being negotiated down even further by the endlessly negating Group of Six. It is a fight to the finish now between Really Bad and Even Worse. And it's virtually guaranteed to sour the public on reform efforts for years to come.

Obama May Write His Own Health Care Bill

The White House denied it last week, and the AP considered it so unimportant that it's the second to last sentence in this story.
But I'm inclined to believe that the President's own bill might hold more sway over recalcitrant Dems than anything Congress has come up with so far. For some, they just might decide they'd rather have the product of their own give-and-take out there to run on next year than something they had no part in to try and defend.
Also, I'm beginning to hope that Obama's non-position on the public option is a stance being held as long as possible to win some more concessions from the insurance industry. Maybe, for instance, they'd agree to an early trigger and promise, so help me God, they will bring costs down before then or face costly consequences.
I've seen no speculation along these lines, maybe because everyone is so focussed on what's going on publicly. But you know there's all kinds of kabuki here.
Obama can say, look, I'll put the prestige of my office behind this thing that you should be able to live with even though it's painful, or you face public option through reconciliation.
No one knows publicly at least how between 12 and 15 senators would vote to get it to 50, but they know there are 45 now. Arms can be twisted. Some of those 12 to 15 may be holding out at the President's request, but privately telling the insurers what's going to happen if they don't bend.
Oh, well, might make a good novel if the good guys win in the end.

Poetry 101

Take a short class from one of the masters.
Grammar, "Church Monuments" makes me think, is the soul of poetry.
More classes — I promise you'll enjoy them — here.

Dear Mr. President

I told him to forget the trigger option, that Olympia Snowe should not be dictating health reform for the entire country and that a trigger means the insurance companies win and he needs to fight even if it takes a reconciliation process.
You can tell him anything you want.