Weekend Update 01-21-2012

Posted: January 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Weekend Update | Comments Off on Weekend Update 01-21-2012

As it happens, my favorite color is blue, not pink, though I don’t dislike pink. So I don’t share the specific problem. But I tend to shape my appearance the way I like, though I’ve mellowed considerably with age. These days I at least make an effort not to embarrass my wife. When we were dating (I guess that’s the right word) back in the 80s, I used to raid my wife’s closet for shirts and sometimes the 80s style jackets to wear to clubs. (And since I dressed that way everywhere I went, I guess for other places as well.)  I would also raid her earrings and sometimes other costume jewelry. She married me anyway. 😉 I’ve never been big on conformity and I don’t shame easily.

America is especially unequal and has especially low social mobility. Shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but probably is. The Dream isn’t doing so well.

Throughout 1976-1979 I frequented both the theaters discussed in this article. The Alabama was a block or so from my house. It showed cheap matinees during the summer. It was at that theater I watched Jaws, Grease, Star Wars, and other movies over and over and over again. River Oaks would show marathons and other than mainstream movies. It was there I saw marathons of Alfred Hitchcock movies, Liza Minnelli movies, Streisand movies, the hours long (4? 6?) Dylan movie, Tommy, and many more. Houston’s not a particularly nostalgic place, but those theaters hold a special place in my memory.

When did Kumbaya become such a bad thing? This is kind of bizarre, actually.

Supporting the interstate commerce implications of health care, MA groups file an amicus brief. Seems a lot of uninsured skiers injured in other states cross state lines to get emergency health care as mandated under existing laws.

The GOP has the world it wants — one in which the overwhelming majority of our country absorbs the economic risk so that those at the top face no risk. They get massive payouts whether they succeed or fail. They’ve done a masterful job of setting groups of us against each other while they have — quite literally — looted our country over the past several decades.

A post on pink slime which includes the Jamie Oliver videos. As with many things we eat today, it doesn’t even really qualify as food.

Ari Fleischer wants us to feel sorry for the wealthy and their [gasp] horrible tax burden. Of course, his figures on the increase in the share of taxes the wealthiest pay are correct. He just conveniently omits the fact that over that same period of time their share of income (income, not wealth!) has grown from 11% to nearly 25%. Over that same period of time, wages have essentially stagnated on average (and dropped for many) for the rest of us. Today, more than half of Americans subsist below or not too far above the poverty line. You know that old saying about squeezing blood from a turnip? Yeah. Greed apologists like Fleischer want to squeeze some more blood from us turnips because the poor Potters of the world are suffering so much with their heavy tax burden. (It’s a tax “burden” that has Romney paying about 15% in taxes and Buffet with a lower tax rate than his employees. To give credit to Buffet, at least he acknowledges there’s something wrong about that. Romney appears to be proud of it.) On top of that, it ignores the fact that federal income tax is only one piece of the tax burden. The working poor and middle class also pay payroll taxes, which takes a much larger proportional bite out of their income than it does the wealthy. And then there are sales taxes, property taxes, gas taxes, state and local income taxes (for those states which have them), and fees of all sorts. Even the unemployed poor can’t escape taxes. And as far as the wealthy go, even if the overall share of income tax they pay has increased as more and more of the total income has gone to them, their overall tax burden has dropped significantly, especially since 2003. Of course I’m sure that Ari Fleischer and the other propagandists like him are counting on the fact that a significant number of Americans seem to be unable to do basic math anymore. Romney’s dance on the issue of his taxes is bringing some attention to this issue, at least.

The Fence of Matthew Shepard. I really have little to add. I have no idea how people can follow Jesus and not see him on the crosses of the world. I have no illusion about my own strength or piety. I fear I would have been silent in the face of the nazis or any of the other tragedies of a similar sort in history. But I at least hope I wouldn’t justify my weakness. I know where Jesus hangs, whether or not I am strong enough to hang with him.

I hadn’t realized the Republican strategy when it comes to Medicare, Social Security, and now health care, was actually a Leninist strategy. Nor did I realize that is was openly acknowledged as such by GOP operatives and had been for decades. It’s a bizarre world in which we live, my friends. It makes sense of all their strategies and public pronouncements, but it’s still pretty strange.

Not that the code ever fooled anyone about the extent of Southern racism, but it’s still strange that the GOP no longer feels constrained to speak in coded messages.

Why I Love Religion, and Love Jesus. A really good spoken word response to that other video which went viral.

 

Here’s a short illustrated explanation of health care reform narrated by Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who helped design both the Massachusetts health care reform and the Affordable Care Act.

Below is a talk by Mikko Hypponen on three types of online attack. Only one of them is illegal. It’s definitely something to think about.


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