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Medical costs

Stories like this make me crazy. Of course, we can’t talk about the only sane solution, because that would upset the establishment apple cart.

Inequality

This doesn’t seem right to me. I think people are very, very angry but they’re not yet at the point where they want to fight back.

Believe nothing they say

I have to say, it’s rare that I talk to someone these days who still buys the “we need to cut to protect our grandchildren” argument. (Except the hard-core wingnuts, and there’s no talking reason to them.)

When I read stories like this, pointing out the money that’s poured into military spending, I just want to spit on anyone who suggests Grandma could find cheaper catfood if she really tried.

The call for rational economy

Michael O. Church:

The most interesting right-wing movement in the United States is the nascent Tea Party. While I disagree with them vehemently (as a left-libertarian, and also as one who favors science over emotional argument) I will give them credit for this: at their intellectual core (and, yes, there is one) they are aggressively anti-corporate.

Post-2008, Americans get that the Corporate System is not a meritocracy, not rational, and not even real capitalism. It’s designed to provide the best of two systems (socialism and capitalism) for a well-connected social and increasingly hereditary elite, regardless of merit, and the worst of both systems for everyone else.

For themselves, they create an economic arrangement in which they can derive enormous personal benefit from random variables that exist in the economy, but at the same time build and jealously guard a private social-welfare system that ensures they stay rich, well-positioned, and well-connected even if they fail. For the rest, they provide mostly downside, displacement, and discomfort.

A perfect metaphor for this is air travel. Well-connected people get discounted or free air travel, special lounges in the airport, and access to comfortable private aviation. The rest of us get Soviet-style service and capitalistic price volatility: the worst from both systems.

If only I had a dollar

For every time someone told me Obama would never do this. He was “playing chess” or “boxing the Republicans into a corner.” I think they still don’t believe it. Chumps!

President Barack Obama told Senate Democrats that they should be open to changes in entitlement programs to achieve a long-term budget deal, according to several lawmakers who attended a meeting with him on Capitol Hill today.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said Obama told Democrats during the 90-minute meeting that he wanted a broad, bipartisan deficit-reduction deal this year. Harkin said Obama rebuffed his demand, joined by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, for an assurance that Medicare and Social Security benefits would be remain untouched in any “grand bargain” agreement.

“Of course some of us responded ‘yes, but, what is in that grand bargain?’” because “we don’t want to start whacking away at Social Security or Medicare,” Harkin told reporters. “He didn’t make a commitment but he seemed to indicate that, yes, there are other ways of solving the entitlement problems without doing that.”

Obama’s meeting with Senate Democrats marked the start of three days of meetings the president has with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He holds closed-door meetings tomorrow with House Republicans and on March 14 will meet with Senate Republicans and House Democrats. Obama didn’t make a statement while entering or leaving the meeting.

Asked following the meeting if he could support increasing the eligibility age for Medicare, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin declined to answer directly. Instead he said he liked that Obama “is taking a very pragmatic approach” to entitlements.

“We’re not going to be, as Democrats, changing our core values on Medicare or Social Security,” Manchin said. “But with that, running more efficiently, looking at things that do make sense, I think he’s looking at that.”

Sweet baby James

I never realized until today that James Taylor’s birthday is March 12th, and my son’s is March 13th — and he’s named after this song!

Happy birthday

To James Taylor:

Suit & tie

Justin Timberlake:

I am the cosmos

Scarlett Johannson and Pete Yorn with the Chris Bell song:

Bob Woodward

This article tells you everything you need to know.

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