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Across 110th Street

by Odd Man Out
Bobby Womack’s song from the Jackie Brown soundtrack. And that’s Pam Grier, of course, not little surfer girl Bridget Fonda.

You gotta be strong if you wanna survive…

I’d better start eating my spinach, this has been a rough year.

And a choir of angels sing

At the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference last week, Sen. Pat Toomey defended capitalism because of its inherent goodness (no, really):

“Think about what being middle class in a free enterprise society means,” he continued. “It’s not just phones but smart phones. Not just a computer, but high speed internet access and often an iPad. It’s not just a car but its two cars, and they’re safer and more fuel efficient and more durable than anything you could buy just 10 years ago. Thanks to a free market competition, everything we need constantly gets better and becomes more affordable.”

Except housing, food and fuel. But whatever.

He went on to use the case of David Fosbury to describe perfect capitalism, since Fosbury revolutionized high-jumping using the rules already in place, and therefore was able to reinvent the wheel, if you will.

Bill Gates, too. The senator described Gates as “one of the most successful capitalists of all time.” He then noted that while he respects Bill Gates’ decision to give his wealth to charity after he’s dead, that money likely won’t do as much for humanity as he did while he was alive.

“I’ll go out on a limb and say Bill Gates did more for anybody in a capitalist venture than he ever will in giving away all the profits he reaped,” Toomey said.

Capitalism, he continued, isn’t just the best form of economics there is—it’s basically all there can ever be, the world’s best hope, because it is the best, no matter what. Capitalism relies on everyone to have a strong initiative and lift themselves up, all the time, and it rewards those who invest in themselves, he said.

Especially if you somehow manage to “lift yourself up” with a corporate boot on your neck. Just sayin’! Plus, the massive student loans you took out in an effort to lift yourself up, yet you went sadly unrewarded. Hmm.

“It is an empirical fact that capitalism helps the poor and reduces poverty so much better than a hand out,” he said. “It’s no accident that as capitalist nations enrich themselves, life improves, the life expectancies rise and the infant mortality rate falls.”

Of course, the infant mortality rate here in the USA, that mothership of capitalism? Not so hot. Our rate is almost double that of socialized countries like Norway.

Which is why, when a friend who’s married to a Norwegian called me the other night, and told me she was thinking of moving to Norway for the year after her baby’s born because of the paid parental leave, I urged her not to wait. After all, her insurance won’t kick in until Nov. 1. “What happens if you have a premature baby?” I said. “Here in the U.S., most policies won’t cover anything but routine medical care for the first 30 days after birth. You could be talking a quarter of a million dollars, enough to bankrupt you.” (She’s pregnant by IVF and she’s older, which puts her into a high-risk category.)

“Why wait? Go soon.”

She told me she was worried because Norwegian hospitals aren’t all modern and shiny like the U.S. “That’s marketing,” I said. “Remember, medicine here is for profit. In other countries, they put that money into the care. If anything, your baby will be safer there.”

Of course, now that I’ve read this speech by Pat, I’m obviously going to have to call her back and tell her to stay here, because I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

Would a white, pointed hoodie be OK?

by Odd Man Out
From Truthdig:

Members of the New York City Council have worn them. Players on the Miami Heat were photographed wearing them. Numerous celebrities have donned them. And on Wednesday, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., was escorted from the House floor for wearing one while addressing members of Congress over the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager who was gunned down last month…

Who’d pay for sick and uninsured?

by Odd Man Out
Justice Scalia’s clownish show of contempt and Justice Alito’s skeptical questions during oral arguments regarding “Obamacare” don’t necessarily mean the reactionary contingent of SCOTUS is ready to overturn the law. As TPM noted yesterday:

A similar scene took place last fall, when the D.C. Court of Appeals took up the case. As news outlets reported at the time, Judge Laurence Silberman — a Reagan appointee who was elevated by President George W. Bush — was among those hammering the administration’s lawyer with questions about the individual mandate and the limits of power.

Forbes declared, “D.C. Appeals Court Points the Way to the Defeat of Obamacare’s Individual Mandate.” Conservatives then sounded triumphant too…

Less than two months later, Silberman cast the deciding vote to uphold “Obamacare.”

In his majority opinion, Silberman located the “limiting principle” he was looking for on his own, and knocked down the heart of the conservative argument. The judge declared that not buying health insurance was hardly an economic “inactivity” because the uninsured directly impact the system regardless.

Meaning that somebody ultimately must pay for the medical care of the uninsured. There’s no way around that fact. This week Chief Justice Roberts actually conceded, “Everybody is in this market. So that makes it very different than the market for cars or the other hypotheticals that you came up with, and all [the Obama administration] is regulating is how you pay for it.”

Can the SCOTUS right-wingers kill the mandate without creating chaos? Roberts will have to answer that question soon.

You are everything

Hall & Oates:

Earl Scruggs died today……

by Boohunney


Great video with some of the BEST pickers around…


Mayer Hawthorne:

Our day will come

Daryl Hall does the old Ruby and the Romantics tune:

Nothing but a miracle

Diane Birch and Daryl Hall:

Day 2

SCOTUS and healthcare reform.

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