Friday, November 21, 2008

The Jeff Farias Show - 11/20/2008

Great interview with young talents Dakota and the Black River Bandit!

read more | digg story

Buy their sardonically titled CD "Reagan Lives!" at Independent Freedom Tribe records !

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Strategy for Helping U.S. Automakers and Reforming Health Care

If the U.S. auto industry wants a bailout, let us respond by offering to foot their health care bills. The U.S. auto industry is at a comparative disadvantage to foreign auto companies because they pay for part of employee (including retired employee) health insurance. This dollar figure has grown far faster than inflation for over a decade. If the U.S. government offered to include all auto industry employees in its government employee health care pool (this is Obama's plan for national health care), it would not only take a huge weight off of Detroit's shoulders, but also benefit the US by serving as a proof-of-concept for national health care. The success of the plan will take a lot of wind out of the sails of the anti-national healthcare lobbying groups (who derailed Hillary's proposal in 1993).

It's a win-win idea!

Myth That Doctors Love Private Healthcare

New survey:
Many doctors plan to quit or cut back...dealing with our current system involves too much paperwork

Remember, a Single Payer, Universal National Health Care system streamlines paperwork.

I like the quote from the doctor who says he was trained in medicine, not in running a business. The myth is that as true Americans, everyone in their heart of hearts really wants to RUN A BUSINESS.

Yes, I know a lot of doctors do get off on being entrepreneurs. But this survey casts doubt on the true prevalence of that trait. Also, it will be interesting to see how the changing demographics (more women, more minorities) of doctors alter how common this trait is among doctors.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So Crazy It Might Just Work

Crazy scheme to fix the economy:

The Theta Plan, as it is known, has drawn mixed reviews from economists. While most agree that the financial theory behind the scheme is "crazy," others counter that the idea of [sneaking into the Federal Reserve Bank with two cans of Barbasol and a giant fishing net in order to adjust the overnight lending rate while no one is looking] is so outside the realm of conventional thinking that, paradoxically, it just might work.

From The Onion

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holding the Bush Administration Accountable: Obama's Agenda

I was reminded of how strong the urge for vindication is for those aghast at the Bush Administration's seemingly precedent-forming legal maneuvers over the past 8 years over at Democracy Interactive yesterday.

Is it wise or foolish to be bipartisan and forgiving? I cringed during the early Clinton years as he reached across the aisle, but felt I had been taught an important lesson in leadership and grew to see his approach as difficult to stomach but wise and ultimately strategic. Of course, it might be easier for me to appreciate Clinton's middle of the road approach because I directly benefited from some of the "concessions" he was able to wrangle from the Republicans (portability of health insurance). Less substantial, but gratifying all the same, was the real difference it makes in cultural approval of a Democratic leader. Clinton effectively took the bite out of Republican attacks in the early Clinton years.

Obama is of the same mold, albeit more overtly and perhaps (I guess we won't know for while) less strategically (or, "more sincerely", judging from his writings).

Do we take this as a reminder to reach for the higher ground, a lesson in civility? Or do we force Obama to take a more aggressive stand?

For now, my hope is that Obama will, strategically, use the goodwill to get some real legislative victories in his first year, but not abandon the real need for Democrats to resolve the injustices of the past 8 years. The accountability can, and from a strategic political perspective, should, come later. I hope there is some way he can signal such intentions to the Democratic base and that the Democratic base will be perceptive and patient. That is my wish. And I say this as someone who voted against Obama in the primary largely due to my fear (based on reading his books) that he would be far too bipartisan for my tastes (and as someone who came to be fan of Max and the Marginalized after hearing their song "Revenge").

Health Care

On Obama's innovative site last week, I sent my two cents of advice. My number one priority for the agenda is Healthcare. Universal healthcare is a policy that has the potential to lift all boats during this economic malaise. I won't list all the numerous benefits of Universal Healthcare here (but do want to remind pro-business folks that it will help our businesses compete with foreign businesses who don't' have to worry about paying for their employees healthcare....Ford and Chrysler anyone???) but I am convinced that tackling this issue would be far more productive than short term fixes to the economy (though I think investment in infrastructure is a close second).

Given that one of my biggest concerns vis a vis Obama winning the Democratic Primary was his lukewarm stance on Universal Healthcare (see Krugman's critiques), I was very pleased to see Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) quickly chiming in this week . This could be very good dynamic, with the Congress leading the charge rather than the Administration (as opposed to the opposite in 1992). Keeping my fingers crossed.

I also hope to see more recognition of what is at stake for women, and hope there is more visibility for the women's groups that are making it clear that women have the most to gain from Universal Healthcare.

Quote of the Day

On Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan points out " But even if she is history, she is history that matters", and then goes on to say:

"The impulsive, unvetted selection of a total unknown, with no knowledge of or interest in the wider world, as a replacement president remains one of the most disturbing events in modern American history. That the press felt required to maintain a facade of normalcy for two months -- and not to declare the whole thing a farce from start to finish -- is a sign of their total loss of nerve."

One of the most irritating tactics of the Republicans, ever since at least Reagan, is trying to come off as being for the "common man", when in fact they are and have always been a party of, and for, the wealthy ("not that this is anything wrong with that..."). Toward that goal, they have succeeded in placing figure heads that appeal to the working class. With Reagan, they found, quite appropriately, an actor. This was a landmark in politics, a milestone representative of the culmination of the video age. Bush Sr. was an aberration for the Republicans, a result of the inconvenient settlement of the Republican primary in 1980 which resulted in Bush being picked as vice-president.

Not quite willing, perhaps out of incredulity, to pick a true "common man", the Republicans found in Bush Jr. a man of their social class that, due to his dimness, actually fit the role of the "common man" quite well. His lack of qualifications pushed the limits of the public, no, the press, even more. The envelope had been pushed and tested: yes, the press would let such a character pass their inspection.

With Palin, we had a run in with pushing that envelope even further. And I supposed in 2012 we'll see if the Republicans continue with that tactic or whether a new age is truly borne.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008