September 8, 2013 archive

Sep 08

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Syria — Can we talk? by UnaSpenser

I mean it. Can we simply talk about this? There are so many things to consider and ponder. We have a responsibility as US citizens and fellow human beings to those whom we might hurt, to be uncomfortable while we determine whether military action on our part is the right thing to do. It is also incumbent upon us to consider whether there are other things we might do. So, can we dig in and look at all that we know and enumerate all that we don’t know and speculate on all the possibilities which might explain both the current realities and the impacts of possible courses of action? Can we do this without being upset with each other for seeing things differently? Can we allow ourselves to remain open and to let more in than what we think we know or feel?

I challenge us all to hear out those who have a very different perspective, whether you think it’s a neoconservative tyranny or a manipulated scenario. We’re talking about bombing people. Certainly, we can afford the innocuous process of allowing ourselves to mentally wend our way down the myriad possibilities before we kill people, right? We have nothing to lose and they have everything to lose. If some country was threatening to bomb us and we learned that they weren’t willing to have a discussion about all the alternative assessments about what’s going on here and all the alternative action possibilities, we’d feel pretty worthless. Syria isn’t another target. It’s a country full of people. Give them the courtesy of considering every reason why we might not want to bomb them.

I’m going to outline some talking points for conversation starters below. I don’t claim to be an expert, in any way shape or form. I’m another Citizen Jane of a super-power wielding nation and I have tons of questions. I also have principles from which I approach things and, for the sake of disclosure, I’ll make those known as I pose the questions.

Sep 08

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Syria — Can we talk? by UnaSpenser

I mean it. Can we simply talk about this? There are so many things to consider and ponder. We have a responsibility as US citizens and fellow human beings to those whom we might hurt, to be uncomfortable while we determine whether military action on our part is the right thing to do. It is also incumbent upon us to consider whether there are other things we might do. So, can we dig in and look at all that we know and enumerate all that we don’t know and speculate on all the possibilities which might explain both the current realities and the impacts of possible courses of action? Can we do this without being upset with each other for seeing things differently? Can we allow ourselves to remain open and to let more in than what we think we know or feel?

I challenge us all to hear out those who have a very different perspective, whether you think it’s a neoconservative tyranny or a manipulated scenario. We’re talking about bombing people. Certainly, we can afford the innocuous process of allowing ourselves to mentally wend our way down the myriad possibilities before we kill people, right? We have nothing to lose and they have everything to lose. If some country was threatening to bomb us and we learned that they weren’t willing to have a discussion about all the alternative assessments about what’s going on here and all the alternative action possibilities, we’d feel pretty worthless. Syria isn’t another target. It’s a country full of people. Give them the courtesy of considering every reason why we might not want to bomb them.

I’m going to outline some talking points for conversation starters below. I don’t claim to be an expert, in any way shape or form. I’m another Citizen Jane of a super-power wielding nation and I have tons of questions. I also have principles from which I approach things and, for the sake of disclosure, I’ll make those known as I pose the questions.

Sep 08

Operation Cockamamie: Manufacturing Non-Consent?

Stars and Stripes reports…

Congressional Black Caucus instructed to hold tongue on Syria

WASHINGTON — As an increasing number of African-American lawmakers voice dissent over the Obama administration’s war plans in Syria, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus has asked members to “limit public comment” on the issue until they are briefed by senior administration officials.

A congressional aide to a caucus member called the request “eyebrow-raising,” in an interview with FP, and said the request was designed to quiet dissent while shoring up support for President Barack Obama’s Syria strategy.

The caucus, a crucial bloc of more than 40 votes the White House likely needs to authorize a military strike in Syria, is scheduled to be briefed by White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Monday. Until then, caucus chairwoman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, has asked colleagues to “limit public comment until [they] receive additional details,” Fudge spokeswoman Ayofemi Kirby told FP.

When asked directly if the White House requested the partial gag order, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden floated a beautifully executed sidestep dodge worthy of some TalkCenter and Daily BS armchair warriors, and…

…said “the administration is reaching out to all members to ensure they have the information they need to make an informed judgment on this issue.” Kirby said it was her boss’s request and was aimed at keeping members informed rather than silencing anti-war members.

Sep 08

On This Day In History September 8

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 8 is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 114 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1966, The TV series, Star Trek, debuted on NBC-TV, on its mission to “boldly go where no man has gone before” and despite ratings and only a three year run that gave us 79 episodes, the series did exactly that.

When Star Trek premiered on NBC-TV in 1966, it was not an immediate hit. Initially, its Nielsen ratings were rather low, and its advertising revenue was modest. Before the end of the first season of Star Trek, some executives at NBC wanted to cancel the series because of its rather low ratings. The chief of the Desilu Productions company, Lucille Ball, reportedly “single-handedly kept Star Trek from being dumped from the NBC-TV lineup.”

Toward the end of the second season, Star Trek was also in danger of cancellation. The lobbying by its fans gained it a third season, but NBC also moved its broadcast time to the Friday night “death slot”, at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (9:00 p.m. Central Time). Star Trek was cancelled at the end of the third season, after 79 episodes were produced. However, this was enough for the show to be “stripped” in TV syndication, allowing it to become extremely popular and gather a large cult following during the 1970s. The success of the program was followed by five additional television series and eleven theatrical films. The Guinness World Records lists the original Star Trek as having the largest number of spin-offs among all TV series in history.

The series begat five televisions series and 11 movies with more to come. I knew I loved Lucille Ball for a reason.

Sep 08

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

US: More countries ready to back Syria action

US Secretary of State says number of countries ready to take military action against Assad regime runs in double digits.

 Last Modified: 08 Sep 2013 04:08

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has said that many countries were prepared to take part in US-led military strikes against the Syrian regime for an alleged chemical attack near a Damascus suburb last month.

“There are a number of countries, in the double digits, who are prepared to take military action,” Kerry said at a press conference on Saturday with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

“We have more countries prepared to take military action than we actually could use in the kind of military action being contemplated.”

Kerry also said he was encouraged by a European Union statement calling for a “strong” response to the alleged Syrian chemical attack.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Shi Tao: China frees journalist jailed over Yahoo emails

Shell close to deal over ‘ruinous’ oil spill in Niger Delta

Navalny challenges Putin-backed rival in Moscow poll

Israel becomes a ‘Promised Land’ for non-Jewish geeks

Tony Abbott: Australia’s pugnacious new prime minister

Sep 08

Seamus Heaney

Seamus died on Friday.  I honestly enjoyed his translation of Beowulf, wherein he welded the monkey wrenches of English together.  I don’t have time to find his grave words from the introduction of that text, wherein he describes the vague menace at the border “from Grendel,” but it’s a beautiful figure of speech relevant to our time. I don’t give a fig whether or not he was greater than Yeats.  How would I know?   But this was truly a great one, from 2002, both didactic and beautiful:

Sophoclean  

First he was shivering on the shore in skins

Or hunkering behind shell-middens in a cave.

Then he took up oars, put tackle on a mast,

And steered himself by the stars through gales.

Once upon a time from the womb of earth

The gods were born and he bowed down

To worship them. Then he walked tall

From temple to agora, talking against himself.

The wind is no more swift or mysterious

Than his mind and words; he has mastered thinking,

Roofed his house against hail and rain,

And worked out laws for living together.

Homemaker, thought-taker, measure of all things,

He survives every danger except death

And will yield to nothing else. Nothing

Else, good or evil, is beyond him.

When truth is the treadle of his loom

And justice the shuttle, all due honor

Will come his way. But let him once

Overbear or overstep

What the city allows, treat law

As something he can decide for himself –

Then let this marvel of the world remember:

When he comes begging we will turn our backs.

–Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney is dead, amidst the countless dying generations of fish, flesh, and fowl, and the mercury sank again in the mouth of a dying day.

best wishes.

Sep 08

Late Night Karaoke

Sep 08

Three Things On The Internet

Chris Hayes shares the three most awesomest things on the Internet for September 5: 1) Norweigan duo Ylvis debuts a new single “The Fox” that is sure to give you an unwelcome earworm. 2) A new program called “Wedding Crunchers” allows you to search key words of wedding announcements from the New York Times and chart them. 3) Today, officials at DC’s National Zoo reveal the gender of the new baby panda, and who the panda’s father is.

Sep 08

Why 6 Liters of Salt Water is $546

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The cost of health care in the US is four times what it is in other countries that have universal health care polices. In the US hospitals the cost are often buried in red tape and layers of bureaucracy. As an example of items that jack up the hospital bill for a stay in an American hospital take something as simple and life saving as a liter bag of normal saline, salt water.

How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater

by Nina Bernstein, New York Times

It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater.

Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1.

Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as I learned when I tried to trace the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York.

Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution.

Salt in the wound, the cost of healthcare

Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s All In

Just keep all of this in mind when people talk about Obamacare implementation and scream about Socialism and a government takeover. We are trying to move-slowly, incrementally-toward a system that’s sane. But as long as the price in the American health care system is $546.00 for six of these, the system is still broken.

And you know the reason they can’t just charge those kinds of exorbitant rates in places like Belgium? The government simply prohibits it.

As Obamacare implementation rolls out, it won’t take long for it become clear that the problem isn’t that it’s a government takeover of healthcare.

It’s that it’s not enough of one.

Sep 08

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