Sunday, March 01, 2009

Moved to Wordpress

I haven't blogged in a long while. I am moving to Wordpress to continue/restart blogging at

Thursday, March 06, 2008

House Approves Mental Health Bill

Via TPM, from NYT

After more than a decade of struggle, the House on Wednesday passed a bill
requiring most group health plans to provide more generous coverage for
treatment of mental illnesses, comparable to what they provide for physical
illnesses. The vote was 268 to 148, with 47 Republicans joining 221 Democrats
in support of the measure.

The Senate has passed a similar bill requiring equivalence, or parity, in coverage of mental and physical ailments. Federal law now allows insurers to discriminate, and most do so, by setting higher co-payments or stricter limits on mental health benefits. “Illness of the brain must be treated just like illness anywhere else in the body,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. Supporters of the House bill, including consumer groups and the American Psychiatric Association, said it would be a boon to many of the 35 million Americans who experience disabling symptoms of mental disorders each year.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Millennials Rising

Interesting post on the Millennial generation's profile.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Current Reading and the Religious Left Vote

I just read significant chunks of Bob Shrum's book, No Excuses: The Life of a Serial Campaigner. Basically, all I was interested in was aspects of the Gore campaign and, of course, the Kerry campaign. It was a nice read and sad. It was hard re-living the last weeks of the Kerry campaign. How quickly we forget that going into the final week, we felt great about our chances and then Osama Bin Laden showed up . . .

Apparently, Shrum himself was the one who at 5 pm on election day jinxed Kerry by referring to him as "Mr. President" and it went down hill from there.

I'm currently reading Dana Milbank's Homo Politicus. Very insightful and funny stuff--written from the perspective of an anthropologist studying Washington politicians, aka, Potomac Man.

My next read is Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape our Decisions or The Long Tail. The Long Tail, from what I remember from NPR is an observed phenomenon of how on Amazon, bestsellers, account for a very small percent of sales and 98% of the remaining sales derive from small quantities of many other things. Besides these two, if George R. R. Martin still remains asleep at the switch, I may go on to read Microtrends.

A quick note on the Religious Left. Amy Sullivan had an article in the WaPo: "How would Jesus vote?" and Joe Feuerherd "I Voted for Obama, will I go straight to . . . (Hell)" I wasn't too surprised to see Sullivan's article because this is her theme. I was surprised to see Feuerherd's because he was a journalist, I'm pretty certain he isn't any longer, but it must have been hard for him to move into the realm of stating a personal public opinion. I found them both interesting and I hope they got good enough readership. Feuerherd was the first journalist to call me after Hudson's piece, in fact he told me about it. He asked for a response and I had no idea what he was talking about. Which reminds me, Milbank does have a couple of pages on Deal Hudson, doesn't mention me, but uses Feuerherd's expose on Hudson, who is in his view, a Potomac Man.

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SNL on the Candidates

Somehow, NBC has found a way to showcase a very weak political SNL program on its programs. There were funny moments but overall, excruciatingly dull and not up to the standards we've come to expect from SNL. The Obama guy was either uptight or a joke. Amy Poehler is just not great at Clinton. She does do a real funny Six Flags guy.

Of course, as has been pointed out in WaPo, if SNL kept a decent and diverse stable of actors, desparately searching and auditioning for Obama possibilities wouldn't be necessary.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Blacks vs Latinos

Via Salon's Blog Report

Do Blacks and Latino's Get Along?

On the study’s title question, the largest differences were between whites,
on one side, and the other groups, on the other, although blacks tended to see
black-Hispanic relations as better than did Hispanics. Among whites, only
8 percent thought that the other two groups got along "very well", while blacks
(24 percent) and Hispanics (22 percent) thought they did. On whether the
two minorities got along "pretty well," 31 percent of whites said yes, while 46
percent of blacks and 35 percent of Hispanics agreed. Hispanics were
significantly more likely than blacks to say that inter-group relations are
strained (30% vs. 18%). Reasonably enough, 29 percent of whites did not know or
refused to give their opinion on how the other groups got along.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Is Romney Being Misunderestimated?

I think so. I think he just may have the Republican thing sewn up. Craig Crawford of CQ, who gives me the hibby jibbies, believes that Romney is no joke. I agree. Romney has shown true national appeal by competing in every primary and make decent or winning showings. Now that the silliness of "Do you believe every single word in the Bible?" type questions is over, Romney is now coasting along focusing on change and economics and it wears well. Here's Crawford's take:

Democrats should fear Mitt Romney more than they think. Laughing him off as a
phony Ward Cleaver overlooks the upside of that image.
Like the Dad on TV’s “Leave it to Beaver,” Romney offends no one. You can well imagine him also lounging around the house in a suit and tie dispensing platitudes to errant kids. Most importantly, Romney endures such teasing without a hint of
displeasure – and then goes on being just as goofily unwrinkled as ever. People
like that.

Sure, there are those who gripe about his flip-flops on the “hot
button” social issues, or who cringe at the sight of his creepily rigid strands
of naturally tinted hair. But at the end of the day the man gently smiles with
his head in that slight Reaganesque tilt and says something so benign, so
forgettable and yet so intensely melodious that he lulls audiences into a silent
chorus of head-nodding agreement.

Many times in town halls and other such settings I have watched Romney cast his spell. So much so that back in November I gave him my Trail Mix Stump Award after evaluating the personal appearances of all major candidates on both sides of the political aisles. There is a relentless and somehow endearing efficiency about his campaign style.

Romney puts NY, California, NH, and host of other Democratic strongholds in play. I suppose it would depend on his running mate. But consider this. If Romney picked Colin Powell, they would be unstoppable, unless, Obama was the candidate and he picked a compelling VP. The social conservatives have no where to go and would line up behind a Romney/Powell ticket. However, independents would trip over themselves to get to Powell and, like it or not, Romney quite simply does not repulse Democrats.

Watching Romney in Jacksonville on MLK day with Black folk letting the dogs out and commenting on babies' "bling" is the sort of clueless but endearing type of thing that takes the edge off. I would be wary of Romney.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Economic Stimuli

It seems that Congress and candidates are promising stimulating the economy short term by offering rebates that would give a few hundred dollars to people. The idea is that low to middle income folks will spend and that should give the economy a boost.

I know I'd love a few hundred extra dollars, but the problem here is this. As long as the government is unlikely and unable to control things such as gas and energy costs, rebates are not that effective. Any short term spike in energy, and thus food costs, would gobble up that rebate and we're back to square one.

What we need are some fundamental changes in the economy. I'll take the short term fixes but ultimately, it is not going to cut it. Something simply that can be done is to provide tax breaks for consumer green investments, such as given tax deductions for switching to lower energy lights and appliances, etc. Anyway, there are a lot of people far smartter that I would ever hope to be looking into this thing.

USOs--Underwater Submerged Objects

I watched a fascinating documentary on the History Channel on the phenomenon known as USOs or Underwater Submerged Objects--basically deep sea UFOs. Quite creepy actually. They claim that through the years objects, underwater crafts have been spotted and perhaps lived or survived in ocean depths for years. These are believed to be alien craft . . . or something.

The difficulty with the USO phenomenon is that unlike UFOs, which everyone can see, mostly only Navy's can and do spot these USOs and so if they exist, and many believe they do, the evidence is top secret.

They gave accounts of the Argentinian Navy, the Norwegian Navy and the US Navy tracking these things. In the case of the Norwegians, the USO emerged and flew briefly and then re-submerged. They actually fired on the craft and block off the Fjord for days to trap it to no avail.

Here is Wikipedia on USOs.

I watch the History channel on occasion, especially their shows on the Universe and Gangland. I'm not sure if they are considered credible. Does the fact that the History Channel made a case for USOs give these things plausibility?

I for one am a believer in these things. In fact my novel does have Aliens submerged and concealing their activities and craft in the oceans. It makes perfect sense if they want to not be disturbed.