Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Next Argument Against Health Care

Opponents of developing an American health care system can only seem to demonize the Canadian health system. They essentially are comparing no oranges to oranges since current proposals in Congress are not the same as the Canadian system and the United States doesn't have a health care system. Since their no oranges argument is a distraction I have found their new argument:

Lucy Van Pelt Is Not Really A Doctor.

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Barack Obama's birthday is next week do you think we will do anything special, such as getting over this craziness?

Apparently CNN chief Jon Klein will allow Lou Dobbs to descend deeper into the lunacy he is helping to foment. After telling the Dobbs show that the birth certificate story was dead Klein has said that he will not stop the network or specifically Dobbs from continuing to discuss this "dead story."

According to the LA Times Klein says referring to Dobbs:

"He's got more than 30 years as a television journalist, and I trust him, as I trust all our reporters and anchors, to exercise their judgment as various stories evolve."

Klein's lack of courage in the face of the truth is disgusting. To defend Dobbs as a journalist of great experience, while at the same time you explicitly describe his reporting as ignoring facts. Klein wrote in an email earlier to Dobb's producer:

"It seems to definitively answer the question. Since the show's mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonight. And then it seems this story is dead -- because anyone who still is not convinced doesn't really have a legitimate beef."

I can understand, I don't agree, but I understand not just accepting the claims of authenticity of the certificate from but to ignore the confirmation from the State of Hawaii is just wrong. Dobb himself has said that the Certificate of Live Birth is a document that shows that there is another document. It takes a special kind of genius to ignore the logical conclusion at which you just arrived. The State of Hawaii is saying that they have the birth certificate.

I don't think that Dobbs should be fired for perpetuating this non-issue but he should be fired for not doing his job. If Dobbs is truly a journalist and CNN, therefore Klein, truly values good reporting based on facts and the logical conclusions that those facts present they should stop this mess before any further legitimization of the conspiracy nuts continue.

I firmly believe that this non-issue is so important to the conspiracy nuts because the of 44 presidents Mr. Obama is “one of these thing is not like the others, one of these thing does not belong” (Sesame Street for the ill informed). Responses from readers to previous posts about the birthers have used language that sounds troubling. Perhaps I am being too sensitive. Here is an example:

“Mr. Obama was born to a woman separated from her Kenyan husband, a woman who went to see him shortly before Obama was born. Obama spent his early youth abroad, thinks of himself as a citizen of the world, and wrote an autobiography strongly focused on his absent father and his supposed African roots.

That's unusual. We've never had such an exotic candidate with such a peculiar personal story. Most past presidents have had two American parents.

So it's not unreasonable to ask to see some proof of his place of birth. What is unreasonable is that he steadfastly refuses to provide it. In fact, that goes beyond unreasonable: it's bizarre.”

What do you think am I being too sensitive? Are the use of "exotic", "citizen of the world", "unusual" and "peculiar" innocent or are they displaying that President Obama's differentness from the previous 43 presidents is threatening?

Barack Obama's birthday is next week do you think we will do anything special, such as getting over this craziness?

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Rhetorical Terms

I love my copy of The Handlist of Rhetorical Terms. Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic has brought a new term of argument to my attention. reductio ad Hitlerum. Hopefully it makes in to the next addition.
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Gary Kreep, Attorney at Law

The birthers have the best names. They have two lawyers with names that could come out of a Mike Myers movies or the next Naked Gun movie, Gary Kreep and Orly Taitz.

The Washington Independent reports how the McCain Campaign dimissed these nutjobs and how McCain fought his own battle on this front.

The Daily Show on Taitz
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Born Identity
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day
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Get Your Berlusconi 'sex tapes' Here

I would rather not, but if you want it The Times Online has the story. Sphere: Related Content

Phuket, Hillary Clinton Insulted By North Korea

Alex Wagner writes at
"While in Phuket, Thailand, for the regional ASEAN conference, the Secretary of State has been trying to drum up regional support for isolating the North Korean government and for U.N. sanctions on North Korean arms and missile development. In an interview with ABC on Monday, HRC had this to say in response to Pyongyang's recent missile tests: 'What we've seen is this constant demand for attention. Maybe it's the mother in me, the experience I've had with small children and teenagers and people who are demanding attention: Don't give it to them." 'When she added on Wednesday that North Korea 'has no friends left,' Pyongyang hit back in personal terms, asserting that Clinton was 'by no means intelligent' and that North Korea 'cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community. . . . Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping."
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538 Asks: Where Did The Optimism Go?

Nate Silver calls some of the left's defeatism due to the delay of a health care bill the stupidest thing since Chris Weber's time out screw up at Michigan.

Silver writes:
"The media likes to talk about 'momentum'. It usually talks about the momentum in the present tense -- as in, 'health care has no momentum'. But almost always, those observations are formulated based on events of the past and sloppily extrapolated to imply events of the future, often to embarrassing effect: see also, New Hampshire, the 15-day infatuation with Sarah Palin, the Straight Talk express being left for dead somewhere in the summer of 2007, the overreaction to 'Bittergate' and the whole lot, and the naive assumption that Obama's high-60's approval ratings represented a paradigm shift and not a honeymoon period that new Presidents almost always experience."
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Kinsley on Dr. Gates, Race and Police

Michael Kinsley on Dr. Gates arrest.
Kinsley writes:

"generalizations about race don't lead only to bad things, like an unjustified arrest. They can lead to good things, too. The best example is well known around Harvard Square and other academic communities: affirmative action. Part of the rationale for affirmative action is that African Americans are more likely than whites to have struggled harder, under the burden of greater disadvantages, to reach the point where they are poised to enter Harvard. Therefore, they deserve a break. No doubt this is true on average. And no doubt it is false in many cases. You can easily decide that some generalizations are just too toxic to allow, even if true on average, and race might be a good area to start. But you'd be hard-put to justify forbidding racial generalizations in split-second decisions during tense confrontations between citizens and cops, while allowing them in the relatively leisurely precincts of a college admissions office."

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Rest Of The World Likes US More Now. Must Be Because Pres. Obama Is Not American.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project announced Thursday that the image of the United States in the world has improved. Much of this can be attributed to the election of Barack Obama.

I will read the full report tomorrow and write something if anything strikes me as interesting. Sphere: Related Content

Hopes For The "Race To The Top Fund"

I am hopeful that President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan's "race to the top fund" will help public schools. Finally we will be able to get a clear picture of the state of our education system. With 50 different standards for performance the data available about performance is very inaccurate. We are well past the time and need for absolute local control of standards and curriculum. The department is to hand out five billion dollars to states and nearly three quarters of a billion dollars directly to districts. Hopefully this is just to start. But this is a nice carrot to present the states when they can really use the dollars.

Arne Duncan said in February:

"If we accomplish one thing in the coming years—it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America.

I know that talking about standards can make people nervous—but the notion that we have 50 different goal posts is absolutely ridiculous.

A high school diploma needs to mean something—no matter where it's from.

We need standards that are college-ready and career-ready, and benchmarked against challenging international standards."

Amen. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Michael Eric Dyson Makes A Joke Regarding Dr. Gates Arrest

Michael Eric Dyson makes a fair joke about the arrest of Dr. Gates. I think it goes to my previous point. Henry Louis Gates Arrest.

Sorry about the quality of the video. Sphere: Related Content

Henry Louis Gates Arrest

I read the police report and have initially three questions.

1. Is it possible to act disorderly on your own property or in your house?
2. If you are going to show ID to an officer in this situation why not show ID with your address?
3.It is possible the person with the real problem with race is the woman who called the police?

I did find funny the line in the report that says Gates said his front door was unsecurable because of a previous break in attempt. Sphere: Related Content

Transexuals In Iran

Sex change is not forbidden by religious law or Iran. Surprising.

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The Plank @ TNR on Gates and Pres. Obama's Statement

Jason Zengerle at The New Republic distills the aftermath of Dr. Gates interaction with Cambridge police and President Obama's statement.

Race, Power, and the Law

And, while I realize there are all sorts of issues of race tied up in the Gates case, I think that the power dynamics involved are getting short shrift. Even if you're white, any time you have an encounter with a police officer, the officer has the upper hand in terms of power, since he's the guy who has the power to arrest you. After that initial encounter, however, that power dynamic can be reversed--at least if you're sufficiently rich, accomplished, and connected, as Gates is. (If you're not those things, that power dynamic will probably never change.) Which is why, at this point, Gates clearly has the upper hand over Crowley in terms of power. The irony is that Crowley's initial abuse of power has now put him in the position of being largely powerless.

To read the essay click here

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Was That The Purpose Of The News Conference?

Tom Shales writes in the Washington Post,
"Still, viewers who sincerely wanted to know the essentials of the president's health-care reform plan got an opportunity."
The evening was a little weak on policy specifics. I was hoping for much more from President Obama. I was disappointed with only ten questions. The reporters were also disappointing because they did not ask detailed policy questions.

The only two detailed questions were why the rush? and are the "American people are going to have to give anything up in order for this to happen?" The Presidents answer to the timeline question was ridiculous. President Obama responded to the query about the dealine with,
"I'm rushed because I get letters every day from families that are being clobbered by health care costs. And they ask me, 'Can you help?'"
He goes to convey some very touching examples and anecdotal stories about Americans experience with health care. But he gets letters everyday. Come on. He is the President of the United States I am sure he get many letters everyday. This does not seem to be a justification of this timeline he is demanding. Is there wisdom in the philosophy that we need to get this done quickly?

The image that the President needs to express more, as does the Congress when speaking to the American people is that "in a country like ours, that's not right." It is not right that people suffer because we don't have a health care system, but we need a system that is structured smartly not rushed in a couple months. I want the President to come to me and be able to explain what the plan is not just anecdotal stories that display the urgency. Even though those stories are important.

Can President really say that the American people with health insurance are not going to sacrifice something after a new structure is in place? Maybe he his correct but it does seem fanciful.

Shale's also wrote,
"Obama did nothing at the news conference -- other than preempt or delay some prime-time shows -- that would seem potentially harmful to his image. About the most justifiable criticism that could likely be made: "Barack Obama still seems too good to be true." It's doubtful any president would lose sleep over such criticisms as that -- no matter what the Cambridge police department might be saying about him Thursday morning. "
I don't care that he did nothing to hurt his image. I wanted more information.

I love that a reporter stood up to ask a question even though he was not called on bt the President. Sphere: Related Content

The birthers have a website???

The birthers have a website Sphere: Related Content

I Think Michelle Malkin Fantasizes During Presidential News Conferences

While I don't think the news conference was very informative or very useful there are some reactions that just don't make sense. It is almost as if they watch the news conference on television but imagine what is being spoken.

Michelle Malkin describes the evening as fear-mongering. She writes, "Uhhhhhh, demonizing doctors doesn’t exactly seem the best way to shore up support for the ailing, failing government health care takeover." Fear-mongering. demonizing doctors. What was she watching. It can't be news to her that doctors are susceptible to incentives. Malkin does not provide specifics when she makes claims such as fear-mongerer, much like the president was very weak on specifics last night. I can only assume that she was referring to this section of the news conference:
"Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, "You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out."
Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I'd rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid's tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change -- maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference.

So -- so part of what we want do is to free doctors, patients, hospitals to make decisions based on what's best for patient care. And that's the whole idea behind Mayo. That's the whole idea behind the Cleveland Clinic."
This is where President Obama was the most expansive regarding doctors but is this fear-mongering? Perhaps the President could have quoted George Bernard Shaw's The Doctor Dilemma and avoided this jab from Malkin. Shaw wrote:
"That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair..."
Much more colorful and entertaining and it makes the same point. The Progressive Policy Institute reported last year that "$700 billion is wasted each year on unnecessary tests and procedures that do not improve patient outcome." To call out behavior that is wrong doesn't equate to Demonization. Sphere: Related Content

McIntosh Repeat Errors About Sotomayor's Judicial History

David McIntosh has created of number of errors. I made some coffee and now to get to work.

In today’s Wall Street Journal McIntosh writes “Vote No On Sotomayor.” He attempts to assert facts that support his case but his claims are wrong.Unlike Mr. McIntosh, I am not a lawyer but I can read. To be fair these errors have been made everywhere.

As I said I am not a lawyer so if this wrong or boring I apologize (I hope I am not wrong).

Mr. McIntosh writes:

“Judge Sotomayor is almost certainly a vote in favor of restricting Second Amendment protections and property rights, upholding racial preferences, and providing unlimited abortion on demand.”

From this premise he cites rulings she has made while on the Court of Appeals.

According to McIntosh, as Justice, Sotomayor will certainly “vote in favor of restricting Second Amendment protections.” His first error is the reading of a Second Circuit decision on Maloney v. Cuomo (2009). Here McIntosh quotes the Second Circuit opinion, “the Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose on this right.” In Maloney v. Cuomo the court considered a claim by a New York attorney that a state law prohibiting possession of a chuka stick (also known as nunchaku, a device used in martial arts consisting of two sticks joined by a rope or chain) violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The problem with McIntosh’s complaint is that it does not support the idea that legal precedent and rule of law. His argument is that in ruling on Maloney, Sotomayor disregarded the Supreme Courts decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Unfortunately a close reading of Heller shows that the ruling is not explicitly applicable to Maloney. Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in Heller states,

“The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of ‘arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute. Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights, banning from the home ‘the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family,’ 478 F. 3d, at 400, would fail constitutional muster.”

The first problem I find is that a chukka stick is not a handgun therefore not the weapon “most preferred” “to keep and use for protection”. It is also not in the “class or arms” considered in Heller. As written in the Maloney decision Heller “did not present the question of whether the Second Amendment applies to the states.” Knowing this and the importance of rule of law and precedent there seems no way the Second Circuit could have ruled the way McIntosh would have preferred without being the horrible “judicial activists.” Since Heller was not applicable the Second Circuit applied Presser v. Illinois, it explained that it was “settled law . . . that the Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose” on the individual’s right to bear arms.

McIntosh commits the same error as he cites Ricci v. DeStefano. McIntosh writes “a Second Circuit panel of judges, including Judge Sotomayor, upheld the city’s decision to disregard the results of a promotion examination because too few racial minorities passed.” But in reality, if McIntosh had read the decision he may have avoided his error. The Second Circuit upheld the case because they found:

“The remedy chosen here was decidedly less “race conscious” than the remedies in Kirkland and Bushey, because New Haven did not race-norm the scores, they simply decided to start over, to develop some new assessment mechanism with less disparate impact. Thus, while the evidence shows that race was taken into account in the decision not to certify the test results, the result was race-neutral: all the test results were discarded, no one was promoted, and firefighters of every race will have to participate in another selection process to be considered for promotion. Indeed, there is a total absence of any evidence of discriminatory animus towards plaintiffs-under the reasoning of [Hayden v. County of Nassau, 180 F.3d 42, 51 (2d Cir. 1999)], “nothing in our jurisprudence precludes the use of race-neutral means to improve racial and gender representation.... [T]he intent to remedy the disparate impact of the prior exams is not equivalent to an intent to discriminate against non-minority applicants.”

Again I’m not a lawyer but I can read. I agree with McIntosh that this sucks for the firefighters that did well on the first test but that is not the standard by which the law functions.

There are other problems with McIntosh’s latest attempt but I won’t don’t want to bore you with why Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund aren't crazy abortionists.

Note: There has been a correction from the original posting. I attributed the essay Vote No On Sotomayor to Karl Rove. The essay was written by David McIntosh. Apologies.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

False arguments on health care.

I have heard twice tonight the argument that the world comes here for care. That is true. The world comes to the United States for complicated surgeries and procedures. People who can afford to come here and pay for procedures use that market power to take advantage of the amazing research and hospitals. But no one is coming here from Canada to take part of the everyday medical care because it is so great. We need to be honest about the differences between everyday health care or preventative care and the complicated procedures make our health care amazing. But don't forget that too many people can't afford either. Sphere: Related Content

The Mystery That is Glenn Beck. Solved.

I have thought that Glenn Beck was not for real but have not tried to articulate the idea. Luckily Cajun Boy @ has the overnight at Gawker to think about Glenn Beck.

Cajun writes:
"...I think that Glenn Beck is a guy who looked out across the vast expanse of America and saw a nation filled with paranoid dipshits waiting to have their irrational fears confirmed and exploited by an expert modern charlatan, a role he's been all too happy to fill."

This idea sound right to me.

Here is the video that enlightened Cajun.

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Mayo Clinic CEO, Denis Cortese on Charlie Rose Tonight

In a Charlie Rose teaser Dr. Cortese makes the point that has not occurred to me nor have I heard anyone else say. We can't have health care reform because we never had a health care system. He says that truth is very liberating because it tells us that we can design one.

I look forward to the interview. Sphere: Related Content

Jeffrey Goldberg Names The Nut Job Du Jour

Are Birthers the New 9/11 Truthers?

Bob Cohn recently tweeted the idea (I can't believe I just wrote that) that the new hip nutjobs are the birthers, and compared them to the now-out creationists. I get the point, but the more appropriate comparison might be to the 9/11 "truth" movement. Creationists don't believe in conspiracies; they just believe that dinosaurs are 5,000 years old. Birthers and 9/11 truthers (or, alternatively, "birfers" and "troofers") both believe that the government is out to get us.
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Impressions of News Conference IV

Did the President say "health insurance reform" and not "health care reform"? Why the change? Sphere: Related Content

Impressions of News Conference III

I find it hard to believe that there will be no sacrifice needed on behalf of the currently insured Americans if these reforms are enacted.

I think he should have given a more adequate answer to the LA Times reporter's question about transparency.

Dissociated there was no question regarding the birthers. Sphere: Related Content

Impressions of News Conference

The evening was void of anything new. But the President did offer some moral ideals for health care. At one point proclaiming that "in a country like ours that's not right." He was referring to a story about a family that was told that their health insurer would not cover their daughters leukemia treatment. I think he sounded strong but could have been stronger regarding the deadline in August. I am still unsure what happens if there is not a bill by the deadline, besides the President will look weaker. Sphere: Related Content

Conor Friedersdorf at the Daily Dish On Dr. Gates Arrest

Benefits of Doubts

by Conor Friedersdorf

On Internet discussion boards I've been following, people are debating the altercation between black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department. A point of disagreement is whether police officers should be given "the benefit of the doubt" in these situations due to the difficulty of their jobs.

Lest anyone doubt that the job is difficult, let me share a brief story. On a ride along with the NYPD in Manhattan, the squad car I inhabited got a call that sent us speeding from Union Square to a destination maybe 10 blocks away, tires screeching, sires wailing. The dispatcher said merely that someone reported a street scuffle involving a dozen men, that one wielded a baseball bat, and that a street front window had already been shattered. As we pulled onto a small street in question, under cover of darkness, view of the altercation was obscured by a large truck parked illegally on the street. The effect was that after the squad car rounded its cab, we found ourselves on the edge of the melee.

It all happened damned quickly. The two officers in the front of the car jumped out immediately, pushed through the onlookers at the edges of the commotion, grabbed a guy and pinned him against the wall. As I watched from the backseat of the squad car, I couldn't figure out why they grabbed that particular guy, but it quickly became apparent that in a split second they'd somehow identified the only man on the scene with a weapon (a knife), separated him from everyone else, and disarmed him, without ever brandishing their own guns. I was impressed, and conscious of how easy it would've been to make a mistake in that situation: a violent altercation already underway, a crowd of men, one of them armed, and darkness. It gave me a better idea of how police officers are sometimes killed, and how they sometimes injure or kill the wrong person.

Given that kind of situation, where split second decisions are forced upon officers, adrenaline is pumping, and all the rest, I understand the impulse to give them the benefit of some doubts. But why should police officers require the benefit of the doubt when they are confronted with a lone guy -- old, nonthreatening in appearance, apparently well-dressed -- who is pushing on the front door of a house in a nice neighborhood? Does that sound like a particularly dangerous situation? That isn't to make a judgment about what actually happened, or whether the officer misbehaved. It is merely to say that the matter should be decided on its merits, that it is irrational to give the officer any special "your job is hard" benefit of the doubt, especially in a circumstance significantly less difficult than many police face. Why privilege the story of the officer over a law-abiding citizen who turns out to have been outside his own house? If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt in cases like this one, it is the citizen.

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Quality Reporting From Ana Marie Cox via Twitter

anamariecox.@whitehouse: You are out of toilet paper in the ladies' restroom in the press area. TY, amc Sphere: Related Content

‘Birther’ Boom at The New York Times Is Worth A Visit

'Birther' Boom Sphere: Related Content

Lindsay Graham That Liberal Multi-Culturalist F__K

Michelle Malkin is not surprised that Senator Graham has announced his intention to vote yes on the nomination of Judge Sotomayor. Sphere: Related Content

President Meets With Mormon Leader. Maybe They Know Where He Was Born.

President Obama sat down with Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They likely spoke about the posthumous baptizism of President Obama's mother. After that uncomfortable subject perhap they discuss where Barack Obama was born. Monson did present to the President "a detailed family tree in five leather-bound volumes." Can we have the birthers copied on that.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Thanks to
Andy Lesage Sphere: Related Content

The Health Care Debate Made Simple

I don't know what I am taking about, therefore I can't have an opinion on the policy choices.

Michael Wolff writes,
"So how is it possible to have an opinion -- for so many people to have such heated opinions -- about something that they cannot possibly understand?

The answer is that most of us don't have opinions. The only people who really have opinions are people being paid to have opinions -- for or against. To the extent that people who are not being paid to have opinions have an opinion, these are largely opinions not about health care reform, but about other people's opinions about health care reform. We've been propagandized, in other words."
I think he may be correct. Sphere: Related Content

John McWhorter On The Arrest Of Dr. Gates

Henry Louis Gates has been getting some poor treatment from some outlets.
Perhaps Dr. Gates could have behaved differently if certain reports are accurate, but that misses the larger point. Luckily, John McWhorter works to bring the focus back to the broader issue that Dr. Gates' arrest displays. Sphere: Related Content

Where is the Transparency

Barack Obama needs to live up to his promise of transparency. The administration should release the White House records regarding health care meetings. The LA Times Article. Sphere: Related Content

A Birther Responds: President Obama's Family Is Unusual

Here is a reader's response (via Facebook) to the post An Answer to Crazy Birthers; Amend Article II Section I.
"Thanks for the post, but it's hardly an answer, as you don't actually address the issue at all.
You do, however, play the race card. You imply that it's simply the fact that Mr. Obama is not white that prompts us to question his place of birth. And that's a cheap shot.
Mr. Obama was born to a woman separated from her Kenyan husband, a woman who went to see him shortly before Obama was born. Obama spent his early youth abroad, thinks of himself as a citizen of the world, and wrote an autobiography strongly focused on his absent father and his supposed African roots.
That's unusual. We've never had such an exotic candidate with such a peculiar personal story. Most past presidents have had two American parents.
So it's not unreasonable to ask to see some proof of his place of birth. What is unreasonable is that he steadfastly refuses to provide it. In fact, that goes beyond unreasonable: it's bizarre."

The reader believes I am taking a cheap shot and playing the "race card". His implication is that Barack Obama's race has nothing to do with the birthers ridiculous ideas. But he goes on to tell me that the reason the birth certificate is important is because President Obama is "exotic" and his family background is "unusual". These sound like code words but perhap this reader does not even recognize his own implication. I would concede that President Obama's family is not typical of past presidents but "unusual". This debate is bizarre. Sphere: Related Content

Implicit Support For Crazy People and A Non Issue

Why can't some republican talkers follow Mike Castle's example and just speak the truth about these nutty birthers. Here are two videos where republicans are nearly implicit in support for the crazy concerns of these people. The first is Liz Cheney with Larry King. The second is Chris Matthews speaking with Rep. Bill Campbell of California. Watching this you could think that the congressman had gun to head forcing him not to say that Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States.

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The Toke Tax

To help close a budget gap Oakland, CA will tax medical marijuana. At $18 per $1,000 in sales or 1.8 percent will generate $300,000 for the city estimates the city adminsitrator. Sphere: Related Content

Adding Historical Context To The Birthers

John Avlon at The Daily Beast puts the birther craziness in some historical context.
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The Economy May Be Deader Than We Thought

According to the Los Angeles Times more bodies are going unclaimed at the coroners office because families can't afford funeral services. Perhaps these families should read yesterdays New York Times. Sphere: Related Content

The Cost of Marriage Laws

Time and the pecuniary cost of marriage laws has effect on the rate of marriage finds new NBER study
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Klein on The Difficulties of Health IT.

Ezra Klein nails The Difficulties of Health IT. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Answer to the Crazy Birthers; Amend Article II Section I

The video of Rep. Mike Castle's recent town hall meeting in Delaware is scary. Scary because Castle did not know what to do and the woman ranting was not only crazy, but intensely passionate. Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic asks, "should The GOP Take The Birther Threat Seriously?" It is obvious from this video that Mike Castle might want to take it seriously but does he have to? Castle won the seat in 2008 by 23 percentage points. Barack Obama won Delaware by 25 points. Up until a few days ago he must have thought he was safe in 2010. This seems to point that Castle could ignore these crazy folks but as Ambinder points out:

Republicans have to be extra careful. If they give credence to the birthers, they're (not only advancing ignorance but also) betraying the narrowness of their base. If they dismiss this growing movement, they might drive birthers to find more extreme candidates, which will fragment a Republican political coalition ignorance but also) betraying the narrowness of their base. If they dismiss this growing movement, they might drive birthers to find more extreme candidates, which will fragment a Republican political coalition.
This crazy issue has raised a few questions about past presidential campaigns. In the past how have presidential candidates formally expressed their natural born citizenship? Did they at all? I think that it is important. What did they do beyond the prima facie evidence that they are white. It is troubling if being white is a sign of natural citizenship.

Also, if there are going to be efforts wasted to argue both sides of HR 1503 why not shift those efforts to change Article II Section I of the constitution to allow naturalized citizen eligibility for president. Does this restriction have any meaningful purpose today?

You can look at the bill specifics here

Here is the list of cosponsor:
Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R-TN7]
Rep. Dan Burton [R-IN5]
Rep. John Campbell [R-CA48]
Rep. John Carter [R-TX31]
Rep. John Culberson [R-TX7]
Rep. Robert Goodlatte [R-VA6]
Rep. Kenny Marchant [R-TX24]
Rep. Randy Neugebauer [R-TX19]
Rep. Ted Poe [R-TX2]
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Want To Be A Model -- FACEBOOK Can Help!

Facebook is now using the photos of "friends" in ads. After the blow back from user over the ownership of content you would think that Facebook would be more careful.

Facebook now lets advertisers use your picture.

Thanks to Shawn.
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Terrible TARP

When I invest my money understanding where it is is vital to understand risk. If a broker doesn't answer my questions I sell and move my funds elsewhere. I wish we could do that with the TARP funds.

Wall Street Journal article this afternoon states:

While Mr. Barofsky [TARP Special Inspector General] said the Treasury has generally been cooperative, one issue could be communication between Mr. Barofsky and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Asked Tuesday when he last spoke to Mr. Geithner, Mr. Barofsky acknowledged that their last conversation occurred in January, just a "couple of minutes before a larger meeting."

This is a bad way to invest. The administration that campaigned on transparency needs to fix this problem. Sphere: Related Content

Rick Astley & Nirvana

Found at Daily Dish Sphere: Related Content

I coined a word

Check it out on Urban Dictionary Sphere: Related Content

Do The Right Thing? Delaware Edition

I love when politicians have to confront crazy people. I love it even more when they do the right thing.

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Has Barack Obama had a lasting effect on our election participation?

Has Barack Obama had a lasting effect on our election participation?

The Census Bureau has released data that shows the turnout in the 2008 election was up by about five million voters over 2004. That increases include an increase of 2 million black and Hispanic voters along with 600,000 Asians voters. The number of white voters remained nearly even with 2004. Voter turnout between 18 and 24 increased by two percent. The turn our among young black increased by about eight percent.

The data from the Census can be found here.

This increase in turnout is a great shift for American elections. This change will broaden our discussion to policy and make marginal voice louder in the ears of politicians.

It is proper to assume that Barack Obama was the catalyst of the increase in turnout. But will this Obama Effect be long lasting? Will the new voters which Mr. Obama brought into the voting booth stay in the voting booth?

I hope the Obama Effect is permanent and growing. The first indication of the power of this effect will be the congressional elections of 2010. The turnout for the 2008 presidential election was nearly 62% nationwide and the 2004 turnout was about 60%. While turnout in past seven midterm elections was only 38 percent and 42 percent the 2004 midterm was only 40 percent. If that spread between president election and midterm narrows in 2010 we could have an indication of Barack Obama's impact on our elections.

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I'm Rick James, bi...

Police in New Rochelle don't think Dave Chappelle is funny.

Here is a story of teen apparently mocking police by performing some Dave Chappelle. Not surprisingly he was arrested.

Here is some Chappelle.
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Herculean Editors Tackle Sarah Palin's Resignation Speech

Editors at Vanity Fair take the red pencil to the Governor's speech and turn it into poetry, well at least English. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 20, 2009

Does Apple Have a Monopoly With the iPhone and iTunes?

A writer at PCWorld thinks that Apple's iPhone content market should be broken up to allow competition. Unfortunately David Coursey’s economic reasoning is all wrong. His ideas rest on his assumption that the Apple iTunes store is a monopoly.

The Apple iTunes store is not a monopoly. As Coursey writes in his article music can be purchased from many other firms, virtual and brick and mortar, then loaded onto a handheld devices. A monopoly is a market that has only one seller. In the area of applications for the iPhone and other Apple devices there also does not exist a monopoly. Apple is not the only seller. There are thousands of sellers. The iTunes app store is essentially a virtual mall where each developer sells his or her apps. Apple is, for the sake of this metaphor, the owner of the mall.

A deeper analysis of the argument would lead us to conclusion that the iPhone, iTunes and the iTunes store are bundled products. Bundling is way for firms to move multiple products together. You get iTunes for free because you bought the expensive iPhone. If Apple were to unbundle these products iTunes would no longer be free. It is likely that the price for products on the store would rise from their current “prices low” enough that the remorse of a bad purchase is negligible.

There may also be added costs to consumers if the package is unbundled. The time or search costs associated with finding the right application would increase.

You want to tackle a problem get Apple to distribute the phone to other carriers.

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I think Sarah Palin is twourettic!!

I looks like Sarah Palin is giving a speech in 140 character nuggets. You can read the thread here. I don't think she is done yet. Remember to read the thread in the reverse order.

Are people tired of Sarah Palin? Her nuttiness fascinates me. Perhaps I will do a poll on Facebook.

The highlights are that she doesn't want to sue the people she calls "serial complainers" (ethics complainer) but she thinks a veteran should sue them. As she says, "someone who's put their life on the line protecting even opponents' right to speak & protest, was willing to die for freedom of press."

Her argument is disgusting. Hidden behind her false patriotism is the implication that there are bad people exercising that freedom that soldiers fight to protect. Perhaps someone is abusing the AK Ethics Act but to try to guilt people with the cliche "someone who's put their life on the line protecting even opponents' right to speak" tremendously insulting to the soldier.

  1. AKGovSarahPalinHopefully these political critics filing this stuff (& some in press perpetuating it) appreciate the freedom to do so, protected by our vets
  2. Sarah Palin
    AKGovSarahPalinknows it's shameful 4 valuable time& public resources to be diverted frm needed causes to deal w/this abuse of govt accountability system...
  3. Sarah Palin
    AKGovSarahPalinsomeone who's put their life on the line protecting even opponents' right to speak & protest, was willing to die for freedom of press but...
  4. Sarah Palin
    AKGovSarahPalinBUT if there was a suit to end public waste of time/funds to constantly address false allegations I could see perhaps a veteran filing it...
  5. Sarah Palin
    AKGovSarahPalinit costs political critics NOTHING to file/play their wasteful game;They should debate policy in political arena,not hide w/process abuse...
  6. Sarah Palin
    AKGovSarahPalinSome ask why not sue abusers of Ethics Act bc state wastes 1000's hrs/millions of tax dollars to fight (and win!) frivolous charges, tho....
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Fast Food Made Pretty

Ask for this meal at Wendy's

I found the Fancy Fast Food site at Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish.

'Adventures In Niche Blogging' Sphere: Related Content

Follow up on Should Supreme Court nominees be questioned by the Senate?

Here is a link to Stephen Carter's essay advocating the end of judicial nominees appearing before the Senate.

Here is my previous post:
Should Supreme Court nominees be questioned by the Senate? Sphere: Related Content

Is The Majority "Minority" The Finish Line?

Is a demographic majority enough to end racial affirmative action? Ross Douthat thinks so. I am not sure that he is correct.

Douthat argues in his NY Times column that a “minority” majority populous can’t rightfully sustain an affirmative action policy because it will become a “spoils system for the already successful.”

I agree with the broad idea of Douthat’s column that a system of racial affimative action is unsustainable. But as a society we need to discuss when race based affirmative action should end. But I don’t think a simple racial headcount is enough. When there is one more “minority” person than there is white people is that enough? That seems entirely too shallow and without any real assessment of the issue.

We need to determine how to measure equal opportunity for all people. Along with when the power used to distribute that opportunity is broadly dispersed to all types of people. It seems indefensible to claim that the white New Haven firefighters were denied a promotion because of the power of an “African American ‘kingmaker’” while the history of insularity of the profession assigned points for a lineage “including nepotism or political patronage.”

Will that de facto affirmative be completely erased from our society before the "minority" majority?

These are tough questions to answer and I hope we can answer them and reach a goal before 2028.

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