Weekend Update 03-24-2012

Employer sponsored health insurance coverage has dropped precipitously throughout the recession, indicating the “system” on which most Americans have relied is coming apart at the seams. The uninsured are up to a fifth of our population with almost as many on Medicaid. Right now, the ACA is all we have to begin to address this problem. If the ACA falls apart, either through judicial or legislative action, we’re in for a world of hurt as a nation. Krugman’s column tries valiantly to drive this point home. He does a good job, but I don’t know if those who need to pay attention are listening.

Read this post about Trayvon Martin. Then sign this petition. I really don’t know what else to say. The more we discover that the Sanford Police Department either ignored or never even bothered to investigate, the worse the story gets.

As Krugman points out, part of our problem is that one party, the GOP, outright lies constantly and refuses to engage in anything resembling a reasonable debate. The latest howler about the cost estimates of the ACA going up when in fact the referenced report says on the first page that the cost estimates are going down is just one in a continuous series of such lies. Now, I’m well aware that every politician stretches and twists the truth to their advantage, but we keep pretending there’s some sort of equal distribution in the lies told across the political spectrum and that’s simply not true right now. We have one party that lies at will and apparently with impunity while the other party continues to stay as close to the truth as politicians ever get. That state of affairs can’t possibly continue if we wish to govern ourselves in any vaguely rational manner. But the only ones who can reasonably hold their politicians accountable for speaking something at least vaguely like the truth are GOP voters. Krugman seems to think “the media” can somehow do it. But even if we didn’t live in the world of newstainment rather than serious reporting, a wide swath of GOP voters get their “news” solely from right wing propaganda machines like Fox News. Yes, I suppose if the other media empires actually wanted to return to something like serious reporting, they could do more to expose the right wing wheel of never-ending lies to the rest of America, but I don’t see how that would really help anything. Many of the rest of us already see what’s happening, I think, and catch at least some of the stream of constant falsehood and distortion. It’s the half of our country living in an altered state of reality we somehow have to recover. And frankly, I don’t even know where to begin. And in this post, Krugman discusses the issue again. It’s a serious problem. Historically, when a large portion of a population have become mired in an alternate reality of delusion, some really bad things have happened.

Age of Ignorance. “It took years of indifference and stupidity to make us as ignorant as we are today.” Indeed. It’s pretty frustrating.

Central Tendency in Skewed Distributions: A Lesson in Social Justice. Richard Beck does an excellent job explaining the math and its implications in our current skewed income distribution.

Our current radical right-wing Supreme Court has at least three and possibly four members who care nothing about precedent or Constitutional interpretation going back in our history decades or centuries, even back to the opinions of those who wrote the thing. (That’s why I don’t call them ‘conservative.’ A true conservative would be attempting to conserve something that currently or previously existed, not simply ruling in any way that conforms to their ideology.) So I’ve been watching this other argument closely. I agree it’s more worrisome than the part about the mandate. We can hope that Anthony Kennedy, who has more often truly been conservative rather than a radical right-winger, will be the brake on the other four in his wing of the court. If not, we’re in serious trouble as a nation.

What is a soul? I agree with Fr. Stephen. Many people today do seem to take a “ghost in the machine” perspective. I often hear at even Christian funerals that the body is simply a shell the person has left behind. I particularly liked the quote from St. Gregory of Nyssa he references in the post. “The soul is not in the body, but the body in the soul.

Fr. Ernesto points out precisely one of the areas in the latest Roman Catholic Church controversy over contraceptive coverage that many of us have noted. Take a moment to read it. Those of us who are not Catholic can still read and be familiar with Catholic doctrine. And when priests and bishops make public statements on policy or on individual politicians and are inconsistent in their approach, we do see that as well.

What do you do when the lunatic fringe takes over one of our two main political parties?

Republican primary voters embrace government! Or at least the benefits from government they receive ….

The series finale of Anyone But Me was extremely well done. This is one of the better web series out there. If you’ve never watched it, I recommend you take the time. For me it ranks right up there with The Guild and Dr. Horrible in quality (though obviously a different genre).

An older TED talk by Jamie Oliver. Honestly, those who might read my blog have probably already seen it. But still, it doesn’t hurt to post it again.

The Power of Introverts. Boo-yah. This blog represents as much ‘opening my suitcase’ as I’m likely to do with a public audience.

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