Saturday, September 5, 2009
View of I5 South
The Mighty Xodó
Above the delivery entrance of Spencer's building
S's Apartment Building is 1/2 block from the beach, on a nice, green, little street...
View from Kathy's Front Door in Palos Verdes...
took my son's stuff to him at his new apartment in Venice (California, not Italy), walked around a bit and, sat about trying to find wifi while he unpacked his stuff. After awhile we went for a walk on the beach 1/2 block from his house... and spotted Dimetri Martin (Taking Woodstock) standing talking to a friend...
Its good here.
The OECD, a Paris-based watchdog of industrialized nations, urged the United States to shift more of its public spending to its youngest children, under the age of six, to improve their health and educational performance.
The report released Tuesday, "Doing Better for Children," marks the first time the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has reported on child well-being within its 30 member countries.
The U.S. spends an average of $140,000 per child, well over the OECD average of $125,000. But this spending is skewed heavily toward older children between 12 and 17, the OECD survey showed.
U.S. spending on children under six, a period the OECD says is key to children's future well-being, lags far behind other countries, amounting to only $20,000 per child on average compared to the OECD average of $30,000, the survey showed.
"A better balance of spending between the 'Dora the Explorer' years of early childhood and the teenage 'Facebook' years would help improve the health, education and well-being of all children in the long term," the OECD said.
As a result, it says, infant mortality in the U.S. is the fourth-worst in the OECD after Mexico, Turkey and Slovakia. American 15-year-olds rank seventh from the bottom on the OECD's measure of average educational achievement. Child poverty rates in the U.S. are nearly double the OECD average, at 21.6 percent compared to 12.4 percent.
The rate of teen births in the U.S. is three times the OECD average, with only Mexico recording a higher rate among OECD countries, the report said.
Timothy Smeeding, author of "Poor Kids in a Rich Country: America's Children in Comparative Perspective," said America's troubles stem from a flawed mix of government spending and not enough help for the working poor.
"Most of what we spend is for health care, so there is less money to spend on income support programs, to keep the incomes of the poor up. We do spend highly on education - but it's off the charts on health care," he said by telephone from the United States.
Some European countries have public preschools and day cares, for example.
"The parents in Europe aren't as poor. They have universal health care, and it's understood that you have access to health care without recrimination. ... They have children when they're ready," said Smeeding, who also heads the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"A lot of kids born in our country are accidents," he said. "Young women need to learn to wait to finish their education, not have a kid at 18 or 19. And it is these poor, unwed mothers having most of the babies in the U.S."
Among other OECD countries, France, Germany, Britain and Belgium spend more on their children than the U.S., while Switzerland, Ireland, Australia and Italy spend less, according to the survey.
The countries that spend the most on early childhood include Hungary, Finland and the Slovak Republic, which each devote well over a quarter of all childhood spending to children under the age of six.
Britain also spends more than the OECD average on its children, and like the U.S., devotes most of this spending to its older children between the ages of 12 and 17.
But Britain is plagued by high underage drinking and teenage pregnancy rates. British teen drunkenness, as measured by the number of 13 and 15 year olds having been drunk at least twice, topped the charts at 33 percent, far above the OECD average of 20 percent and the 12 percent rate recorded in the U.S.
Friday, September 4, 2009
By Mark Karlin
For nearly 10 years, BuzzFlash has focused on how Americans generally support progressive policies if asked about them individually, but are swayed against them by right wing media propaganda campaigns.
This has been the lesson since Nixon, and it has become more virulent over the years.
Now we are faced with a coordinated incendiary attack on President Barack Obama as an individual and beneficial public policies such as healthcare reform and climate control the likes of which are terrifying to a democracy.
What is occurring is the same model: corporations who control the mainstream media and control the majority of elected officials on Capitol Hill use facistic "coded" misinformation to rally a thunderously loud confused base to bollix up any legislation that would diminish their profits or power to control what happens in D.C.
The marriage of big corporations and government is fascism, and propaganda is what sanctifies the marriage and keeps it from ending up in a divorce.
Now, the White House's passivity to the imminent danger of a toxic pathology out of control has resulted in media attention once again distracting us from the issue at hand -- healthcare --by covering a right wing, GOP, Corporate PR Firm "boycott" of a speech by President Obama encouraging students to study hard and take education seriously.
Of course, Reagan and Bush spoke to students, but the "white is right" crowd had no objections then.
The White House and President Obama are to be faulted for thinking, once again, of some bipartisan heaven that can be attained on earth when you are struggling against the type of destructive and potentially violent movement that has in the recent past led to fascistic governments of "purity." (Look at Chile and Argentina during the Reagan years, or Central America at the time.)
President Obama has to stop dreaming of being voted the "most liked" politician in D.C. That aspiration was rendered impossible when he was elected, because the corporations, the GOP, and the white right wing racists were going to go after him with a machete of hate whatever he did.
If President Obama doesn't becomes less Pollyanna and more Richard the Lionheart soon, the terrorism we will face will not be from Afghanistan but from within.
It could happen at any moment, an army of Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann molded Timothy McVeighs.
The nation is afflicted with a pathological cancer that has moved into a real Red Alert for domestic and personal danger.
President Obama needs to put on his armour suit and grab Excalibur, because the right is once again defining the debate and shifting it toward igniting a powder keg.
BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG
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Thursday, September 3, 2009
Dear MoveOn member,
Wow. Last night's health care vigils were our biggest event of the year, and they were a scathing indictment of our broken health care system.
And last night we shared stories of people bankrupted by medical bills and shut out by pre-existing conditions. Together with folks from Democracy for America, TrueMajority, Center for Community Change, Doctors for America, Health Care for America Now, and the Service Employees International Union, we helped shift the momentum.
The New York Times wrote, "Under the banner of 'Can't Afford To Wait,' the vigils...put a human face on the need for" health care reform.1 Many local newspapers and TV stations prominently covered the vigils as well (see below for links)—and last night they made it on to the front page of the Washington Post's website.2
Next week, lawmakers will return to D.C. with these vigils fresh in their minds.
"Seeing the mix of the crowd, old and young, joining across generational lines to advocate for reform which will make a difference for everyone."
–Phoebe G., Mattapoisett, MA
"Hearing the testimonies of all the people who have suffered under the current health care system—nightmare stories of people sick and dying from being denied care from private insurers, denied coverage, financially bankrupt, foregoing treatment because they can't afford it, etc. It makes you realize even more how crucial it is that we enact health care reform NOW—with a public option!"
–Anna E., New York, NY
These amazing vigils were organized by MoveOn Councils across the country. The Councils are local teams of committed members who go beyond email to run hard-hitting events in their communities. If you're not already part of a Council, click here to find out more and join a local MoveOn Council to plan actions targeting health insurance companies for later this month:
Together, we're reframing the health care debate to focus on the serious needs of real people, not ridiculous political fights. And as we head into this make-or-break fall, we've got momentum on our side.
Thanks for all you do.
–Nita, Peter, Michael, Kat, and the rest of the team
P.S. While all of us were out sharing stories in person, tens of thousands of other MoveOn members who couldn't make it out gathered online to share photos, stories, and light candles as well, at our virtual vigil. Check it out, here:
P.P.S. We've also posted photo albums from vigils across the country on our Facebook page. Take a look:
1. "Rallying for, and Against, an Overhaul," The New York Times, September 2, 2009
2. "Health care reform advocates rally at Fargo-Moorhead bridge," Grand Forks Herald, September 3, 2009
"1,000-plus rally in Denver in favor of health care reform," Denver Post, September 3, 2009
"Hundreds rally at state house over health care," WPRI-TV Providence, September 3, 2009
"At Vigils, Support Shown for Health-Care Bill," The Washington Post, September 2, 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, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to Daniel Orey on September 3, 2009. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.
NASA has just posted a chilling time-lapse video of the ongoing collapse of the cryosphere. "It has been said that the frozen parts of our planet, also known as the cryosphere, may be the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine' when it comes to climate change. This video shows some of the most dramatic fluctuations to our cryosphere in recent years using visuals created with a variety of satellite-based data." Stand by for the Freepers, etc to claim that the images are faked. And if they're not faked, they're meaningless. And if they mean something, it's just a natural cycle not caused by man.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
WIDE ANGLE was created in 2001 as a response to the lack of in-depth international news coverage in the United States. Seven years later, WIDE ANGLE is the only program exclusively dedicated to international current affairs documentaries. For each broadcast, producers and journalists from around the globe report on an event, issue or trend through the eyes of the people who are living it day to day. In its first seven seasons, WIDE ANGLE traveled to nearly 60 countries to explore the forces that are shaping the world today, presenting global stories on a human scale and offering Americans uncommon and invaluable insight into today’s interconnected world.
WIDE ANGLE is anchored by former CNN and ABC journalist Aaron Brown. Brown introduces the featured documentary by putting it in the context of the news of the day and follows up with a hard-hitting one-on-one interview with a foreign policy expert, administration official, legislative leader, author or journalist who provides context and critical perspective on how global issues connect to American concerns and U.S. foreign policy.
WIDE ANGLE is a production of WNET/Thirteen and airs Wednesdays from July through September at 10 p.m. on most PBS stations nationwide. Check our TV Schedule to find out when WIDE ANGLE is broadcasting in your area.
Obama's Best Answer to GOP's Hypocritical 'Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights' Would Be Medicare for All
by Meg White
I'm no political tactician, but I know a cheap video backed up by nonsensical scare tactics when I see one. And the latest attempt at smearing President Obama's healthcare initiatives coming out of Republican Party headquarters is exactly that. Take a look:
My favorite part is the end, where Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele says: "Oh, and President Obama? It's not too late to change your mind. Stand with us, and stand with seniors. After all, they've earned it."
If you watch closely, you can see a weird little grimace emanating from Steele's half open mouth before the blackout, as if he knows that he's peddling some serious bull (for more on the lies themselves, check out Media Matters, which does a good job dissecting the content of the new RNC ad).
You'd think he'd be used to that icky taste in his mouth by now. After all, it's been a full week since the publication of his op-ed in The Washington Post trumpeting his "Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights."
I noted the hypocrisy of Republicans rushing to the right hand side of Medicare on its 44th birthday earlier this year:
So, if it works and people like it, how is the GOP using Medicare to campaign against healthcare reform? Easy: They're arguing that Obama is going to pay for reform by cutting Medicare.
Obama said this week that he would not make cuts or changes to Medicare, but that he wanted to make it more efficient. But that doesn't stop the GOP from stoking the fear seniors have over what would happen if they lost Medicare, and connecting it with healthcare reforms now on the table.
Granted, there is a good reason people are afraid of Medicare disappearing: Republicans have been threatening to kill it for decades. They've suggested cutting funding and/or privatizing Medicare pretty much since it began. Now, all of the sudden, they are great defenders of the program.
But then Steele had the audacity to come out in favor of revamping the inefficient parts of Medicare to make it more cost-effective. This is the same proposal that Obama has made, which Steele maligns as raiding Medicare. One of the very few members of the media to call Steele out on this fundamental flaw in logic was Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio. You can listen to the full interview with Steele here (I recommend it, if you have a free minute or two; Steele's arrogance in the face of the stark truth is amazing, especially when he calls Inskeep's facts "a wonderful interpretation by the left") but here's a portion of the transcript from the broadcast last week:
INSKEEP: So you would be in favor of certain Medicare cuts?
STEELE: Absolutely. You want to maximize the efficiencies of the program. I mean, anyone who's in the program would want you to do that, and certainly those who manage it want you to that.
INSKEEP: Here's another thing that I'm trying to figure out: Within a couple of paragraphs of writing we need to protect Medicare, you write that you oppose President Obama's, quote, plan for a government-run health care system.
INSKEEP: Now you're a veteran public policy official. You're aware that Medicare is a government-run health care program.
STEELE: Yeah, look how it's run. And that's my point. Take Medicare and make it writ large across the country, because here we're now - how many times have we been to the precipice of bankruptcy for a government-run health care program?
INSKEEP: It sounds like you don't like Medicare very much at all...
STEELE: No, I'm not saying that. No, Medicare...
INSKEEP: ...but you write in this op-ed that you want to protect Medicare because it's politically popular. People like Medicare.
STEELE: No, no, no, no, no. Please, don't...
INSKEEP: That's why you're writing to protect Medicare.
Listening to that interview last week, I saw the precariously hypocritical line the GOP was trying to walk. But I didn't think they'd be able to get away with the gross distortion of being Medicare's best friend, or taking it to the lengths that they have with this silly bill-of-rights bull.
How do they continue to get away with it? As the president recently pointed out, the media has been extremely lax in calling out the lies propagated by the right about the healthcare legislation. But the administration and its party -- as well as its political outreach group, Organizing for America (OFA) -- have really fallen down on the job here, making the undermining of said effort a piece of proverbial cake.
Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.com, explained Wednesday her frustration with being asked for donations by OFA after they -- and their benefactors -- fumbled the healthcare reform play:
The lies took hold at least partly because reform foes have been more organized that reform supporters, including OFA. But I also found myself rephrasing a familiar gripe: How can Obama ask his supporters to rise up and fight for him when he hasn't defined what they're fighting for?
...if I'd been one of Obama's legendary small donors, I'd tell [OFA Director] Mitch Stewart that he won't get another dime from me until the president comes out swinging in September for the kind of reform he promised on the campaign trail back when he was raking in all that dough -- and for me, that includes a robust public option.
I got a healthcare-related e-mail from Stewart and OFA this morning which ends, "There's too much at stake for any of us to sit this one out. Please chip in." My sentiments were similar to Walsh's. Had I been "one of Obama's legendary small donors," I'd ask Stewart what the hell he's doing with my money, and why it seems like the leader of his party is the one who's chosen to "sit this one out."
To be fair, there are some signs of life at this late stage in the debate. Chris Good prints the Democratic National Committee's robust reaction to Steele's proposal as an addendum to his piece at The Atlantic Online. DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said this in his response to Steele (emphasis mine):
Michael Steele takes the cake -- appearing in an ad today promising "zero" cuts to Medicare less than 24 hours after he told ABC's Top Line, that "absolutely" there needed to be efficiencies and an elimination of waste in Medicare -- which is exactly what President Obama and Democrats have proposed. The RNC's "Seniors' Bill Of Rights" is nothing more than a scare tactic built on a foundation of lies about the effort to reform health insurance. Which begs the question, why can't Republicans debate health insurance reform on the merits instead of making stuff up out of whole cloth? Because they know the crux of what President Obama has proposed -- lowering costs, preserving choice, expanding access and reversing decades of unfair insurance industry practices -- is popular with the American people and they don't stand a chance of blocking reform if they deal with the issue honestly.
And luckily, it seems seniors aren't buying the RNC's lies, at least on the official level. The AARP released a statement in reaction to Steele's proposal that said in part that they "are pleased nothing in the bills that have been proposed would bring about the scenarios the RNC is concerned about."
But, as I said, this is extremely late in the game, calling for a different type of play. At this point, the only way to combat the GOP on the ground level of this issue is to do exactly what Steele is challenging the president to do: Join up.
The president should indeed "come out swinging" this month, as Walsh suggested. He should swing for Medicare for All. This cost-effective option is almost unbeatable from a public relations standpoint, now that the GOP has finally begun to sing the praises of Medicare. If I were advising him, I'd tell President Obama to get behind that presidential seal in front of a bunch of cameras in prime time, and say something like this:
OK, Chairman Steele. I'll take you up on your offer to find something we can all agree on: Medicare is a wonderful program. So let's give every citizen the option of enrolling in it.
And that whole bill of rights thing is right on. I agree, as I always have, that we should not make cuts to Medicare. I agree that we should not only keep the patient-doctor relationship firmly intact, but strengthen it by making insurance companies more respectful of that relationship. We also agree that healthcare should not be rationed by age, but I'd also like to add "pre-existing conditions" to that list of non-discrimination.
The only way to achieve these objectives, however, is through a public option -- one that we will call "Medicare for All." Stand with me, Chairman Steele. Stand with seniors and the rest of the American people.
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Joe Garofoli, The San Francisco Chronicle: "People relying on TV advertising or partisan sources for information about health care legislation in Congress have heard that it will 'ration' care to the nation's oldest citizens and hike premiums '95 percent.' Or that Republican voters 'might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system.' President Obama, meanwhile, has said don't worry, the plan 'will be paid for.' Such statements, made in what analysts say is likely to be one of the most expensive issue-oriented campaigns ever, are misleading - if not flat-out wrong."
Sometime this year, we taxpayers may again receive an Economic
Stimulus payment. This is a very exciting new program. I will
explain it using the Q and A format:
Q. What is an Economic Stimulus payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV
set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?
A. Shut up.
Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending
your stimulus check wisely:
* If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money
will go to China .
* If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.
* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India .
* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico ,
Honduras and Guatemala .
* If you buy a car, it will go to Japan .
* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan .
* If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to
management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.
Instead, keep the money in America by:
1 spending it at yard sales, or
2 going to ball games, or
3 spending it on prostitutes, or
4 beer or
(These are the only American businesses still operating in the US .)
I'm going to go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that I met at a
yard sale and we're going to drink beer all day!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Failure to consider this increase in new levees and coastal structures – such as buildings, water intakes and wastewater outfalls – could mean these investments are jeopardized later, or that people are put at risk.
Sacramento Bee article
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The sensation that Fall may not be all that far away is on this breeze. Fall in California only happens after the prerequisite acreage is offered in a burnt offering to the goddesses of harvest and technology. Some years the gods require ever more and more, other years they may allow the rains to come early...
I don't participate in this ritual, as I don't smoke. You see the importance of this act is that you must drive down a freeway, or if at all possible in the forest, and smoke, and fling your cigarette out the window, in hopes that the home of someone you don't know is burnt to the ground. This assures the good people of the golden state another year of prosperity and plenty to the surviving population. Apparently we didn't do this enough and we have displeased the gods last year as the economy is the gutter. The republicans, being by and large, very religious people, have assured us that we may have more to torch, as the freeways are no longer kept clean and trimmed, the added tinder is makign a far more pleasing sacrifice. This year we pray that the sacrifices are accepted early, allowing the rains to arrive soon.
But I digress...
I am a bit cranky and bitchy in that way I get when little things all begin to take on extra time... a box of fly/yellow jacket stuff, that I have been too lazy to refill, I put it in some location so I wouldn't loose it. It was a smallish yellow box, and of course I got increasingly more pissed off because a seemingly simple chore I didn't want to do, but I knew would only take a few stinky minutes if I just did it, ended up 30 minutes, with Milton and Spencer fleeing my wrath. They are smart, they know it is far better to hide than to help when I get this way. I used to think these moods were to be blamed on low blood sugar... if I was a woman, I could blame it on something else. But alas...
Those of you that are my age know the drill, part of this is caused by an increasingly absent mindedness. A trip to the gym is repeated as I left my keys at home and the annoying little fob thingy that you need to enter was on it. A trip to the compost pile in my boots (my tendon is being a pain, so I even tho I would love to wear my flip flops, I need to wear some substantial shoes) means that I tracked in dirt into the house which I needed then to sweep up, and so I went to the place in the garage that hold the broom and dust pan and that falls off, so had to nail that back... all the time I was making oaths, and swearing like a sailor. Then a nice (but slightly nutty) Indian woman (the lady who brought us our dear departed Cleo) came to the door and said she couldn't start her car. she takes a daily walk in the park during the hottest part of the day,witha warm jacket and sweatshirt (102f is fairly pleasant weather in New Delhi I guess. I tried my best to hide, but of course, they found me... no problem, back out the Xodó, hook up the cables, and started her up... of course she had run the ac with only the battery (bless her for not idling... but honey!). So now I am finally calmed down, sitting in the backyard, listening to KCRW on the ITunes radio, watching my magnificent trees blow in the delta breeze. Milton brought me some popcorn, and life is good... finally.....
Yesterday we all went to two movies, a good idea as it was 102f. Somehow I managed to sell my soul to the devil and promised M if we saw Final Destination (in 3D for gawd sakes!) he would go with me to see Taking Woodstock. Despite our strong state of the union, we both have wildly divergent tastes when it comes to TV and the cinema... He likes movies, the bloodier the better. He doesn't dream so these things do not seem to affect him. How is it that the sweetest, calmest, kindest person on the planet can sit (and write... he finds it relaxing?!?!?!?) for hours in front of the SiFi channel and work for hours. He likes to sneak out and catch a bloody matinee ( I refuse to see gore, if I possibly can). I prefer films that are subtitled, and have magnificent vistas... he prefers movies with gore and things that come at you (in the case of 3d it makes you duck). Needless to say, I was far fonder of the film 2 than movie 1 yesterday. His mother sits and watches the most appalling things on television, and then hurries off to mass. I like HGTV, Travel, PBS and MSNBC. The one area we both agree on is AMC and Turner classic films... always good...
I best go, there are screams and cries coming from the living room, he must be writing his dissertation. I like to wander by and ask, “who died?”