Saturday, August 15, 2009

A random list of things that I truly enjoy

OK, yesterday in a cranky, pique, I cross-posted a list of things that really piss me off... I thought it might be healthier of me to share a list of things that I truly enjoy, that make me happy and help be forget the things that really piss me off:

My son Spencer, who is more important than air to me; my husband and best friend Milton, who is my rock; my maid of honor Jeri, who is as honest and sweet as anyone I know; the trees in my yard that I planted; riding my bike; chimarrão ; blogging; UFOP; walking anywhere, but especially in Ouro Preto, or in Rio along Copacabana with friends; the way the people in the Brazilian Consulate treat people; the way the delta breeze pushes out the heat after three or four days of apocalyptic heat; Bill Moyers; pancadas; sitting on the right hand side of the plane when you fly from San Jose, Costa Rica to Guatemala City; taking pictures; good service by a bureaucrat; Kathmandu and the Himalayas; my first classroom, not the kids tho; Mt. Shasta; San Francisco; Sequoia Sempervirens; gardening; the Empire State Building; the way Jon & I call each other on the phone just to talk; KCRW, especially on Saturday nights; Yosemite; the ocean, most anywhere; Highway 97 between Mt. Shasta and Klamath Falls; good art; good music; learning to be a little bit bitter; good food; good conversation; seeing the light in the eyes of a child when you show them something they never knew; Brazilian Portuguese; my iPod; people with open minds; Clo's house; my first car, a red '68 VW Bug; PUCC, 1998; Hina's; Araucaria Brasiliensis, or Angustifolia; All Things Considered; the call of a Vem-ti-Vi; the high road to Taos; Hong Kong; being a Dad; laptop computers; coming home to your own bed after a great adventure abroad; leaving for a new adventure; Brazilian music; Haifa; getting married to Milton, registering at the County Offices; Brazilian people; a good pair of shoes; Levis; when someone says thank you, and means it; my students, well most of them; being a friend; um chopes e dois pastel; saying no; saying yes; dinner at Ubiratan D'Ambrosio's home; Butch & Nellie's, midday; UNM: Milton's crazy family; the way I can get to almost anywhere in Brasil without a guide book; my men's yoga group; HGTV; coffee; a good joke; São Paulo at night from the air, especially on Xmas Eve; The News Hour on PBS; Northern New Mexico; São Paulo, especially Avenida Paulista;The UTNE Reader; wifi; my current car, a Ford Escape Hybrid; Spring in California; mathematics, especially ethnomathematics and algebra; the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral; the internet; the color of green on the new growth of a Redwood tree; the first really good rain of the year in California; rhubarb; a dinner with good friends; being treated fairly; a good glass of red wine shared with a friend; as Cataratas do Iguaçu; the No on 8 marches at the California State Capitol; DWELL; a good sound system; the first view of Ouro Preto when you arrive from BH; Italian coffee, in Italy; Highwy 1; cactus flowers...

Insurance Companies Holding US Hostage

Obama Says Insurance Companies Holding US Hostage

Jeff Mason and Matt Spetalnick, Reuters: "US President Barack Obama, pushing for healthcare reform during a trip to the West, said on Friday the country was 'held hostage' by insurance companies that deny coverage to sick people. Obama, on a multi-state swing to tamp down vociferous opposition to his top domestic priority, targeted insurance companies for dropping customers who become sick or forcing patients to cover huge costs. 'We are held hostage at any given moment by health insurance companies that deny coverage or drop coverage or charge fees that people can't afford,' Obama told a crowd of some 1,000 people in Montana."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bill Moyers

August 14, 2009

Media analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO Drew Altman discuss the messages in health care ads today, and how well they reflect the real issues of health care reform.

Afternoon rant...

Some things that really piss me off right now:

Wingnut-teabagger-anti-health-reform-birthers; religious zealots of any belief and creed; racists and homophobes, especially homophoic minorities that think GLBT rights aren't civil rights; most republicans - especially gay republicans; people who get their news from FOX and Limbaugh; most CEO's of major corporations; Sarah Palin; people who lack compassion; home schooling; universities and school districts who hire administrators / superintendents from outside of the state to solve their problems, as if this has worked in the past; people who don't vote; most administrators in the CSU system; bacon; furloughs; fireplaces in bathrooms; people who have no sense of vision; banks; lima beans; guns and people who own them; NRA stickers on cars; people who can't return email in a timely fashion; people who use their cars as an air conditioner and/or idle their auto while they use the ATM; picky eaters; the passive students and faculty in the CSU, including many of my colleagues who are willing to work more for less; people who fling cigarettes out the window when they drive; people who have no opinion; people who do nothing; suburbs; litter; selfish bastards who think that paying less in taxes is the answer to school reform; people who can't keep their yards tidy;people who don't pay union dues, yet take the raise and benefits; people with no sense of style; NCLB; PACT; people who think that those who earn $250,000.00 a year are middle class; and finally... (insert drum-roll here)... yes, I am unapologetic in my fundamental belief that all individuals be allowed to marry. I am not willing to settle for second-class citizenship for anyone in the United States of America.

New Urbanism

today's favorite signature line

It isn't where you come from; it's where you're going that counts. - Ella Fitzgerald

UK Health System Hits Back...

Britain Says Health Service Is Splendid, Thank You Very Much

Britain's health service says it's sick of being lied about, hits back at US critics

UK health system hits back at US critics

Three from Buzz

"When the kooks take the stage": "All we’ve learned here is something we already knew: This nation never has to worry about suffering from a shortage of kooks, cranks, and ideologues."

Town hall farces as GOP focus groups. P.M. Carpenter Exclusively on BuzzFlash for Friday, August 14. Even after all these years, it's really quite stunning: the squalid hypocrisy, the petty religiosity, the fierce ignorance, the absolute refusal to acknowledge even the most profoundly verifiable wrongs or grant the inexorability of the most profoundly needed improvements -- that's the modern Republican Party for you.

Must Read Paul Krugman on the "Terminator" Burn the House Down Paranoid Knife Attack of the GOP: "So much, then, for Mr. Obama’s dream of moving beyond divisive politics. The truth is that the factors that made politics so ugly in the Clinton years — the paranoia of a significant minority of Americans and the cynical willingness of leading Republicans to cater to that paranoia — are as strong as ever. In fact, the situation may be even worse than it was in the 1990s because the collapse of the Bush administration has left the G.O.P. with no real leaders other than Rush Limbaugh. The question now is how Mr. Obama will deal with the death of his postpartisan dream. So far, at least, the Obama administration’s response to the outpouring of hate on the right has had a deer-in-the-headlights quality. It’s as if officials still can’t wrap their minds around the fact that things like this can happen to people who aren’t named Clinton, as if they keep expecting the nonsense to just go away." Amen! 8/14

Did you see the news?

Dear MoveOn member,

Did you see the news? A former health insurance executive just went on record saying that right-wing mobs at town halls are the result of "stealth efforts by health insurance companies."1 And The Huffington Post reports that dirty energy companies are helping bankroll the mobs.2

It's infuriating—but the good news is that everyday folks are fighting back. And the great news is that we're making strides. In city after city, MoveOn Councils—local groups of active MoveOn members organizing in their communities—are proving to the media that the vast majority of Americans support the change agenda that President Obama ran on.

As we ramp up our "Real Voices for Change" campaign, here are some recent inspiring stories from MoveOn Councils around the country:

* We're keeping it positive. At a town hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, national media were expecting a hostile and extremist crowd—but Rep. Tom Perriello was met by a large and very friendly group. NBC reported, "for the most part the crowd was subdued and in support of reforming the system."3 An event with Rep. Joe Sestak in Philadelphia, where the local MoveOn Council helped to turn people out, was "overwhelmingly civil."4 In Denver, at a high-profile event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a few right-wing protesters compared President Obama to Hitler—but progressive protesters vastly outnumbered them.5

* We're making direct contact with decision-makers. At a Jobs Fair in northwest Indiana, Council Coordinator David Lambeth handed a flyer supporting a REAL public option directly to Senator Evan Bayh—a key vote on health care reform—and had a quick conversation with him. The Council had organized a flyering event at that Jobs Fair precisely to create such a face-to-face opportunity.

* The media is taking notice. Our signs and footage from MoveOn events are all over the news, including several national spots on MSNBC and NBC Nightly News (one of the most-watched shows on TV). And in one wild moment, conservative Tom Tancredo—a former Colorado congressman—actually waved a MoveOn health care sign on MSNBC!

* We're getting good responses from members of Congress—even in "red" states. In Johnson County, KS, the Council organized a "honk and wave" outside of Rep. Dennis Moore's office. (Rep. Moore is a "blue dog" who supports the public option.) As Organizer Ian Rogers reported:

Despite some right-wing protesters who showed up and tried to disrupt the event, the members stayed strong and their efforts paid off. About twenty minutes after the right-wing protesters showed, Rep. Moore himself drove by the honk and wave. He honked, the tea-baggers booed, and Moore gave the thumbs up to our people and honked again.

Thank you so much for all you're doing to push back against the misconception that right-wing extremists speak for all of us. And there's much more to do in the weeks ahead—keep it up.

–Nita, Lenore, Anna, Ilya, and the rest of the team


1. "Former exec: Insurers fomenting town hall chaos," The Hill, August 12, 2009

2. "Townhall Mobs—Brought to you by Big Oil and Dirty Coal," The Huffington Post, August 7, 2009

3. "Tom in Your Town Hits Charlottesville," NBC, August 11, 2009

4. "Sestak health-care meeting a spoonful of sugar," Philadelphia Enquirer, August 13, 2009

5. "Pelosi Protesters, Including Kid In Stroller, Compare Obama to Hitler," The Huffington Post, August 8, 2009

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.
PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to Daniel Orey on August 14, 2009. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today, we received truly great news...

Today we went over to the Brazilian Consulate to register our marriage certificate. We were informed that under -- Resolução Normativa no. 27 de 15/11/1998 -- Milton has the right to sponsor me for a Permanent Visa, just like any other married couple. This is a right that GLBT people in the Unites States do not have. So the first step is to register our marriage document at the consulate, which we did today, and it will be ready for me to pick up next week. Then I will need a full FBI finger print and check sent to the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and confirmed by them to include in our file. Then we will need all our documents (marriage certificate included) translated in Brasil, and then we can apply for my visa... after Milton swears in front of the appropriate official that he will protect me, take care of me financially, and he will have to declare that he is responsible for my moral conduct in Brasil. This is just amazing.

Now I am even more ashamed of our federal government and this state for its homophobic laws in regards to GLBT relationships, and its lack of protection and respect for GLBT people.

It is a deeply moving to me to have such kind and very sweet people in the Brazilian Consulate, who obviously very happy to help us. Needless to say, we know where we are going for the Xmas holidays this year!

The pictures here are taken from Twin Peaks after a great lunch at Harvey's on Castro Street.

My son Spencer went along for the ride... it was breezy...

Yesterday with Spencer, Nikki and Julian

RE: Health Care Reform

Dear Friend,

This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.

Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed.”

So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.


David Axelrod
Senior Adviser to the President

P.S. We launched this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we've just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

Health Insurance Reform Reality Check

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details:

8 common myths about health insurance reform

  1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:

Big Polluters Dirty Tricks

Big Polluters Dirty Tricks - Help Fight Back
Environmental Defense Action Fund []
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 2:00 PM

Dear Daniel,

Most Americans find the disruptions and shouting matches at recent
town hall meetings across the country a disgraceful perversion of the
democratic principle of free speech.

Big polluters opposed to climate action, on the other hand, see an
organizing model.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal this week (

"Taking a cue from angry protests against the Obama Administration's
health care restructuring, the oil industry is helping organize
anti-climate bill rallies around the nation.

"The American Petroleum Institute, along with other organizations such
as the National Association of Manufacturers opposed to the climate
legislation Congress will consider again in the fall, is funding
rallies across 20 states over the August recess."

Here's what these protests look like (video footage of a couple of
dozen protesters at this week's Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, NV):

This follows news reports last week ( ) that a lobbying firm working on behalf of a leading coal industry trade association, the American
Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, was responsible for forging a
dozen letters opposing House passage of the American Clean Energy and
Security Act in June.

The forged letters were purported to be from non-profit groups. One
forged letter sent to Virginia Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello
was falsely signed by the Albemarle-Charlottesville chapter of the
N.A.A.C.P. In fact, the N.A.A.C.P. supported the House bill and
believes it will lead to a cleaner environment and better jobs.

It's clear some of our opponents have no conscience. They can't win
this debate on the science or the policy. So they're spending hundreds
of millions of dollars trying to win it in the gutter with dirty

We must remain vigilant in our efforts to get the truth out and urge
our members of Congress to support climate legislation.

Here are five things you can do right now to help fight back:

1) Go to to look up the home district
offices of your Senators. Call them and express your support for
climate legislation that caps America's global warming pollution, puts
Americans back to work building out our clean energy future, and frees
us from our dependence on foreign oil.

2) While you're on the phone, ask if there is a local event or town
hall meeting scheduled where you can go to publicly express your
support of climate action.

3) Send an email to your Senators supporting strong climate

4) Forward this email to your friends and family to let them know
about the underhanded tactics that opponents of climate action are
using to undermine an honest debate about America's global warming and
energy policies.

5) Make a donation to support our campaign to pass a strong climate
bill this year.

Here are five reasons we need to pass a strong climate bill:

1) Global warming is the most serious environmental threat facing the
planet today. Scientists warn we have very little time to begin
cutting our emissions if we are to avoid the catastrophic threat of
run-away global warming.

2) A strong cap on global warming pollution will help free us from our
dependence on foreign oil, cutting oil imports by more than $20
billion a year.

3) We can create millions of jobs and grow our economy with a strong
cap on global warming pollution. The 21st century will be a clean
energy century and the country that seizes the opportunity to innovate
and unleash the clean energy future will gain a huge economic

4) If left unchecked, many military leaders say global warming poses a
threat to our national security because it will promote economic
instability and political unrest around the world. Former Republican
Sen. John Warner, a staunch and highly respected supporter of the U.S.
military, strongly supports action on climate change in part for this
very reason. Read Senator Warner's recent testimony supporting U.S. leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [PDF]

5) The world is meeting in December to negotiate the next
international treaty on global warming. America has an opportunity to
lead the world toward a strong international framework, but only if we
show leadership back home by passing a strong bill. Failure to act
could dramatically undermine international agreement and set the whole
world back years if not decades on this critical threat.

This is the fight of our lives. We can overcome the dirty tricks and
the hundreds of millions of dollars the opposition is spending, but
only by maintaining constant grassroots pressure for action.

Thanks for taking action and staying engaged,

Environmental Defense Action Fund

P.S. If you have a Facebook or Twitter page, please use the following
posts to help spread the word through your social networks.

Facebook: The coal industry has been forging letters to Reps from
charities, and now the oil industry is funding anti-climate rallies
across 20 states during the August recess. Help fight back and email
your Senator supporting strong climate legislation.

Twitter: Coal forges letters, Oil funds mob-like protests, Help fight
back for #ACES #climatebill

Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Parents, kids today more in harmony than prior generations

From USA TODAY, Wednesday, August 12, 2009. See
Parents, kids today more in harmony than prior generations

By Sharon Jayson

Popular wisdom suggests many young people and their Baby Boomer parents get along great - unlike many Boomers and their own parents did back in the '60s and '70s. So does that mean the generations see eye to eye?

Not at all. But they aren't fighting about it like they used to. Forty years after Woodstock, the generation gap has mellowed.

A survey out today from the Pew Research Center finds two-thirds of Americans 16 and older see an age divide in every one of the eight areas listed. Among the biggest gaps:
*Technology: 73% call tech use "very different."

*Music: 69% say tastes are "very different."
*Moral values: 80% call them "very" or "somewhat" different; 80% said the same for work ethic.

But can these kinds of differences be called a real generation gap? That depends, demographers say.

"The generation gap referred to a vast gulf between the basic values and norms for youth and the midlife generation of parents and leaders," says historian and demographer Neil Howe of Great Falls, Va., who has co-written several books on the generations.

"Those were the Americans who had been through World War II and presided over great American prosperity and affluence. They felt a million light-years removed from these kids that seemed to have no loyalty or connection, or even thanks. The music, the literature, the poetry, the pop culture of the young all expressed a repudiation of older people and the system they stood for. It was a time of screaming matches between generations over basic values."

The Pew survey of 1,815 people in July and August found that although differences were clear, respondents didn't believe they created much trouble in their own families or in society overall. Just 26% say there are strong conflicts between generations.

"This survey suggests the generations have discovered they can disagree without being disagreeable," says Paul Taylor, director of Pew's Social and Demographic Trends Project, which did the survey as a follow-up to a survey in June that found a generation gap wider than in 1969, at the height of conflict.

To a Boomer, the generation gap is more than just a catchy phrase; it represents an era when clashes over civil rights, women's rights and Vietnam forged a counterculture that would change American life. For their kids, often called the echo boomers, Generation Y or the Millennials, the gap that was a chasm decades ago isn't so deep now.

"Part of Baby Boomers challenging the status quo might have played more into the fact that they were challenging their parents," says Matt Heineman, 26, a freelance filmmaker in New York. "We're not necessarily challenging our parents. We're trying to figure out what challenges of the world to take on."

Only 10% of survey respondents with a child over 16 say they've often had major disagreements with the child in his or her late teens or early 20s. But 19% of parents say they had major disagreements with their parents.

"When young people say they're close to their parents, they don't mean they agree on these issues. It's a psychological and emotional closeness," says William Galston of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

"Most Boomers would rather have been caught dead than have serious discussions with parents about these things, because serious discussions tended to break down into painful arguments," says Galston, who has studied the younger group. "I don't think today's young people are afraid the relationships they have with their parents will be frayed or broken if they're more candid."

As the father of two daughters in theirs 20s, David Hesel, 62, of Concord, Mass., says parents really do try to understand kids. "They're bombarded with much more than we ever were," he says. "That's not to say I endorse everything they do, but when they look for guidance, it's not based on what it was when I grew up."
Most say differences persist

Kate Cleary, 53, of Lutherville, Md., has two sons, 17 and 19. "I can relate to my kids on some issues my parents couldn't relate to me on, because it wasn't in their experience at all," she says.

Eric Chester, 51, of Lakewood, Colo., says "if there's more accord, it's because the parent tries to be young at heart and tries to give the kid their space."

As president of Generation Why, a consulting firm, he says misunderstandings in the workplace come from different expectations. "They may have skills and are techno-savvy and book-smart and streetwise, but they don't understand what the big deal is if they're five minutes late," he says of young people today. About half of those surveyed (53%) call the generations "very different" in the respect they show others.

"The classic thing is they show up on Day One and want to tell you how to change your business," says Bruce Tulgan, 42, founder of Rainmaker Thinking, a research and management training firm in New Haven, Conn., and author of the 2009 book Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y.

"It leads older people to think they have a radically different work ethic, but Gen Yers said 'I thought you want me to care about this place.' "

Galston says such attitudes aren't just about work but rather about hierarchy. "These young people have grown up in very flat, horizontal relationships. So, the idea of deferring to someone older, simply because that person is there, is not part of their makeup."

Although Pew didn't define "moral values," some cite sex.

"I think some people in my generation are more liberal when it comes to sex as opposed to my parents' generation," says Margot Hesel, 25, of Manhattan, who works for the city of New York.

But the greatest gap Pew found was over technology.

"It's at the core of their relationships," says David Morrison, 41, of Twentysomething Inc., a Philadelphia consulting and research firm. "It's difficult for them to understand how other generations are not as connected as they are."
The technology divide

Kate Hesel, 27, a graduate student in public health at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., says that for her parents' generation, technology is "less fluid and less easy and more of a foreign thing to them." For her peers, it's "second nature - like a part of you."

But computers make it so easy to copy and paste that many do, raising new questions about the definition of cheating, says English professor Mark Bauerlein, 50, of Atlanta's Emory University. "Enormously high rates of people said they used other people's work and were not really seeing it as cheating," he says.

Also, he says, many young people text peers to warn them about things like pop quizzes. "They have more of a sense of unity and togetherness that they regard as virtuous," he says. "It's kind of a moral code of togetherness."

Pew found the generations actually disagree about almost everything except the type of music they listen to. Except for those 65 and older, rock 'n' roll is king. That's a striking change from 1966, when a national Harris survey of 1,250 adults found almost half (44%) said they didn't like rock 'n' roll; 21% said they liked it and just 4% said it was their favorite kind of music.

Pew gave respondents a list of 20 performers and groups from the 1940s to the present and asked which they liked a lot, a little, disliked or haven't heard of. Results show that 1960s rock has a strong place among not just Boomers, but Millennials. Performers including the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix are among favorites of Gen Y - even those who haven't performed in their lifetimes, such as Elvis, who 24% of 16- to 29-year-olds said they like "a lot."

But some say the idyllic relationship may not last.

Steven Mintz, a history professor at Columbia University in New York City, worries that cuts in government spending could pit the Boomers and Millennials in a kind of generational warfare over limited resources.

"As the Baby Boomers retire, there's going to be a limited budget, and the question is 'Where do those resources go? Are they going to go into health care and Social Security for the elderly or to child care for young parents?' "

Morrison says there will always be differences between generations, but these groups do have a strong connection.

"Generation Y gets their Boomer parents. They fully understand where they're coming from," he says.

And "Boomer parents, in part, get Generation Y."

The percentage of those surveyed who say younger and older people are "very" different in:

* The way they use computers and new technologies: 73%

* The music they like: 69%

* Their work ethic: 58%

* Their moral values: 54%

* The respect they show others: 53%

* Their political views: 43%

* Their religious beliefs: 41%

* Their attitudes toward different races and groups: 34%
Source: Pew Research Center
To see AGE AND MUSIC LIKES and bar graphs for "Percentage of people who say they like the artist "a lot" (by age group / 18 artists in each age group), go to
READ: Pew Research Center report --

BUSINESS TO FUN: How different generations spend time online --

'DUMBEST GENERATION'? Professor blames technology --

'CIVIC GENERATION': Rolling up their sleeves in record numbers --

This Time, We Can't Leave the Middle Class Behind

Jared Bernstein: This Time, We Can't Leave the Middle Class Behind


AP/Alex Brandon

Jared Bernstein: Yes, we want to see a GDP recovery take hold as soon as possible, and once we start seeing robust, consistent job growth we'll know we're solidly on track. But even then, we won't be done: not until the prosperity we're generating reaches everyone who's contributing to it, not until all the bakers get their fair slice of the pie -- not just the owners of the bakery or the investors in the bakery, but the men and women who are actually doing the work. Click here to read more.

Stephen Hawking On Health Care Reform

Several days ago Investor's Business Daily said this about Obama's health care reform plan:
"The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof, are legendary. The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror script … People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."
The problem with that is that Hawking is from the UK and has lived there his entire life. He responds: "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

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posted by Joe

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Daniel Orey, Moon Memories

How can right-wing extremists retain even the smallest shred of credibility when they characterize pre-arranged disruptions of town-hall meetings as legitimate forms of protest? How did hysteria become the norm at a time when only prudent deliberation can make sense of matters that affect the lives and fortunes of main-street Americans? And when did imbecilic rhetoric based on misinformation and deceitful political maneuvering become the standards by which ordinary folks are encouraged to decide their futures?

We had eight years of contrived presidential press conferences and town halls where audiences were pre-selected and dissenters ejected just for wearing opposition political buttons or articles of clothing. But suddenly, we are told it's the Democrats who trample on the first amendment, not the people creating disorder and threatening violence at meetings. Members of the White House staff are accused of trying to stifle free speech by raising questions about comments made by media pundits who say the president is a fascist, un-American or, silliest of all, stupid.

It's bad enough that questions about the president's birth certificate continue to percolate. And Rush Limbaugh's outburst comparing the health-care logo to the Nazi emblem is a deranged talking point that must have taken shape after a long, sleepless night. For the vast Limbaugh-Hannity-Beck audiences, however, acceptance of far-fetched claptrap is buttressed by an alarmingly limited grasp of history and political movements. If listeners were at all knowledgeable, they would be insulted by the expectation that they could swallow such nonsense. On the subject of fascism, they would realize that the fulminations of their heroes actually bear far greater resemblance to Goebbels' "big lie" propaganda in Hitler's time, than anything that informs the President's philosophy or behavior. But accusing Obama of being stupid, that's the last straw - - best not to project one's own failings onto others.

Meanwhile, political opportunists continue to maintain that their shout-outs are acceptable forms of protest. Attempts to take control of meetings are excused by organizers as justifiable because, gosh darn it, people are upset and free speech shouldn't be denied, a right that doesn't seem to apply when those who have called the meeting try to speak. Why it's probably even a really good idea for attendees to take weapons with them just in case someone needs killing. A lot of these folks are a bit long in the tooth for the call to arms by which they have been summoned, but the vitriol they express is ferocious and, if they can stave off cardiac arrest, they could conceivably continue to succeed in preventing serious discussions from taking place.

Disruptions and mindless assertions have consumed the air in much of the debate about health-care reform, and it isn't easy to combat the torrent of false information that rains down on a frightened and confused public. Sarah Palin says the president's plan is a prelude to euthanizing Down-syndrome babies like hers and others claim he would assemble a death tribunal to make end-of-life decisions; the alarm engendered by such false claims often overwhelms truth and reason.

Families that have had to deal with the suffering of a loved one in their last days have always discussed that person's care with physicians. There is nothing unusual about that process; health-care legislation would just make a physician's time spent in conversation with family and patient reimbursable. Some patients elect to have every conceivable effort made to prolong their lives, others refuse further treatment, issue orders not to resuscitate, decide not to be hospitalized or opt for care in a hospice. It's all about choice, not government intrusion. Suggesting otherwise is just political hogwash.

It does seem, however, that the proposed legislation is overly complicated, that it attempts to cover too much and should be pared down and made more easily understood. As it stands now, its length and scope allows opponents to zero in on minor elements, turning smaller issues into major talking points and allowing orchestrated protests to assume far greater importance than is warranted. Whatever the reason, whether it is a political ploy or simply reflects a vast reservoir of ignorance, there is no excuse for striking fear into the hearts of susceptible people. Bill Maher may be on to something when he says "we should forget town halls and replace them with study halls."

Please respond to Ann Davidow's commentary by leaving comments below and sharing them with the BuzzFlash community.

FINDING A VOICE by Ann Davidow

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Health Care Debate Is Making Me Sick by Brian Unger

August 10, 2009

The health care debate is toxic, revealing a lot about us as a nation. And it feels embarrassing — like the whole world can see our underpants. Or hear us fighting in the kitchen.

First, most of us can't describe accurately the details of the health care reform now under debate. That makes us look stupid or too busy to care.

Second, most of us can't describe accurately the health care or insurance we currently have, so that makes us look kind of stupid, too, or lazy.

Some of us don't care about people who don't have health insurance, so that makes us seem unsympathetic or super lucky.

Most of us don't understand that we're already paying for people who don't have health care — which makes us too busy to care, in denial or merely rich.

Some of us — a lot of us — already receive health care under some form of government plan, but don't believe in health care under some form of government plan. That makes us hypocritical or selfish. In some camps, I hear that makes us patriotic.

A lot of us are a combination of these things: too busy, lazy, a bit stupid perhaps, lucky, unsympathetic, in-denial, really rich, hypocritical, selfish ... and patriotic.

Brian Unger
Enlarge Courtesy of Brian Unger

Brian Unger is a writer, satirist and actor. He helped launch The Daily Show and he is a regular contributor to NPR.

We're having an identity crisis when it comes to caring about the nation's health, which makes me think what we really need is psychotherapy. But, sadly, that's not covered under most health plans, if you have one at all.

To many, health care reform is scary, like someone's building a halfway house for criminals right at their doorstep. It's a N.I.M.B.Y. ("Not In My Backyard") issue evolved into a N.O.M.B.O. ("Not On My Back, Obama") issue.

People never change. But policy can, so our health care reformers must get more creative and visionary.

How about a Cash for Clunkers Program? Not for cars, but for older, beat-up people whose bodies have wear and tear, and can't go long distances when they're filled with gas?

Our government is offering us $4,500 to buy a new car. Can it also offer humans incentives — say, a tax break — to join a gym? To quit smoking? Or to buy produce from local farmers? Reward schools that teach kids how to eat right and exercise? You know, kind of like that class we used to offer kids called "gym."

Let's pay people to stay healthy, instead of only paying for them when they get sick. Then maybe our nation will find its compassion, the one true antidote for its health care identity crisis.

Courtesy of NPR

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