Feed on

Even in NYC

The bigots win.


Greg Sargent on the NYT report that Obama considered cutting Social Security to get Republican support for tax increases:

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could conclude that it would be a good idea to signal a willingness to entertain major changes to Social Securityat the outset, on the theory that it could induce Republicans to make concessions on tax cuts for the rich. So let’s presume this isn’t an indicator of what’s to come in the speech even in the most general sense.

Now that I’ve stopped laughing, I’ll say that I really, really hope Greg is right.

To the young brilliant minds

Dave Winer talks to his readers about aging and health insurance.


No longer a Philadelphia company.


7.1 in Japan.

Winning the future

Remote Area Medical is shown at a free clinic in Kentucky back in 2008.

It’s really strange, being trapped in this American nightmare without end. People who once had happy, productive lives are standing in the cold all night to see a desperately-needed free dentist, the Republican House majority leader thinks sick old people should learn to weave straw into gold, and the Democratic president is patting himself on the back for how politically clever he is to broker the deep, painful cuts to be inflicted on services to the needy. Not only that, he plans to announce more of them this week!

What is wrong with this picture?

By the time the free health clinic at the Oakland Coliseum opened Saturday at dawn, some 800 tickets had been handed out to people who waited in the cold all night for the chance to have a tooth extracted, get new glasses or to finally get prescription medications for arthritis or other painful conditions.

Geneva Clay, 51, of San Leandro worked as a project manager and had health benefits before she was laid off in 2009. She had been waiting in line since 11 p.m. Friday and was number 282.

“We are the middle class. We are in need of health care because of the lack of jobs,” she said, trying to keep warm until her number was called. “In this country, we shouldn’t have to fight for medical coverage, we shouldn’t have to fight to see a doctor. We can send money all over the world, but we can’t take care of our own.”

Clay was one of about 1,000 people expected to be seen on the first day of the huge, four-day health clinic organized by Remote Area Medical. RAM, a volunteer medical corps based in Tennessee, has been providing health clinics in underserved areas around the world since 1985 and has been offering them in this country since the mid-’90s.

Discuss! From AmericaBlog:

During the Seventies, we had two ineffectual presidents unable to deal with the economic and other hard times that confronted them. Both were primaried and both went on to lose the general election. However, their parties had very different fates after those elections.

After Ronald Reagan lost to Gerald Ford, he did not stop campaigning and organizing. Not only did he go on to win the next time, but his 1976 campaign is basis of the Conservative Movement that has dominated American politics ever since. In retrospect, conservatives would surely say that the Reagan Revolution and all that followed was worth it to suffer through four years of Carter. Additionally, what most people remember of Gerald Ford is Chevy Chase’s imitation, and no one brands his failures onto the Republican Party.

Even thirty years after Carter’s defeat, we can’t use the word Liberal because the Republicans succeeded in branding him a “Liberal.” Of course, Carter was a moderate at best and actually started the country on the road to de-regulation. But for anyone old enough, his feckless “malaise” is forever mixed up with the word “liberal” and the Democratic Brand.

The question with Obama is, can we afford not to primary him?

If Obama continues on his present course and does not show real strength and leadership, he will lose. In losing, his ineffectualness and lack of spine will become that of the Democratic Party and Progressives. The Left will be redefined in terms of Obama’s positions, as the Republicans try to roll back even those small accomplishments. And we will be out of power for another generation.

In Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, a far-sighted scientist can see that the Galactic Empire is crumbling and is to be followed by a thirty-thousand-year-long dark age, but with the right steps, the darkness can be limited to only a thousand years. There is probably no saving an Obama Presidency that stubbornly refuses to save the country and itself. There may even be no way of preventing the Republicans from taking the White House. But conducted properly, a primary challenge now can result in victory: if not in 2012, then in 2016.

Frankly, a 2012 challenge has a better chance of winning than conventional wisdom gives it. The fight for a nomination is about the base and appealing to its parts. At this point, what part of the base has Obama not disappointed and angered? Challenging Obama may be like pushing on a partially opened door.

We saw in 2008 that organizing a primary campaign apart from the built-in support of the established party can create a national movement for change. A successful campaign has to recruit and organize supporters around the country, it must create its own message machine and rapid response team, and it must create donors and fundraise successfully in order to support all of these efforts. Modern technologies make this even easier than it was in the days of Reagan’s 1976 campaign. But, to really succeed, the movement cannot be discarded at the moment of the Inauguration (just ask the poor folks trapped in the tunnel with the Purple tickets).

Personal Note: I have worked in Democratic politics for 25 years and continue to make my living working with campaigns and organizations – because many of the views I feel I need to express would be considered subversive – I have to blog them anonymously. So I will be taking the pseudonym of Tom Wellington and will be also blogging at my own blog – What is to be Done.

My goodness

I am of course deeply shocked that energy companies would misrepresent the advantages of allowing them to extract natural gas!

Drilling companies rapidly expanding their U.S. operations in places such as Pennsylvania’s vast Marcellus shale formation repeatedly tout they are providing American jobs and securing the nation’s energy future.

Yet, a Tribune-Review examination found foreign companies are buying significant shares of these drilling projects and making plans for facilities to liquify and ship more of that natural gas overseas.

A leading player in the natural gas grab is China, whose thirst for energy to fuel its industrial explosion is growing rapidly. Others include the governments of South Korea and India, and companies in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan and Australia.

“They’re going to come in, extract all this stuff for next-to-nothing, and make global profits off it,” said Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields. “This is beads for Manhattan, in a global sense.”

Much of the salesmanship to promote gas exploration nationwide, and especially in Pennsylvania, pressed the point that the country must become less dependent upon foreign energy sources.

It avoided discussion about exporting that gas overseas.

Poor Japan

Translated from the Japanese:

Japan’s Meteorological Agency on Friday warned the country’s 20 volcanoes have come alive due to the massive March 11 earthquake, and a study said an earthquake over 9.0-magnitude might hit Japan.

The Agency said volcanic explosions occurred after earthquakes several times in history and people should maintain vigilance against this tendency.

Still I long for your kiss


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