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Feb 19: Wisconsin, Assault on Healthcare, Islamic Revolution
Feb 19th, 2011 by Sam

2011-02-19-samantha-clemens.Mp3

- What’s driving the Wisconsin governor’s attempt to break the union (can only negotiate on cash compensation – not on benefits?? what’s up with that? why not? how bizarre. And, it’s also bizarre that working class tea partiers have no concept of why unions exist – since it was their forebears that died/were injured just to be treated decently.

- Were Republicans voted into office to dismantle everything women fought for since I was growing up? Really? Will we eventually be banned from running in the Boston Marathon (again) because we’re too weak (yes, I was alive the first time a woman was permitted to run)? On the other hand, once they gut healthcare, maybe we WILL be too weak to run a marathon (cuz we’ll all be pregnant cuz no birth control and husbands have the right to demand their wives have sex and women need his permission to open a checking acct or buy a car (yes, I remember when my mother bought a car in her own name) and there was no alimony and the guys got the kids. You know, the good old days that conservatives are just dreamy about.

- Are we really experiencing a moment in history that will forever change the world? Do young citizens living in Islamic countries want to live more fully in the world? And, what does this say about US tea partiers who want to build walls and shut us off from the world (like, before the invention of the airplane)

Health Reform Myths
Mar 12th, 2010 by Sam

Paul Krugman clears up some of the baloney that’s been going around about the health care reform effort…

  1. President Obama is NOT proposing a “government takeover” of 1/6 the economy.
  2. The proposed reform DOES help control costs.
  3. Healthcare reform IS fiscally responsible.

Don’t believe it?  Read the article.

Mar 13: on the radio – AIG pay and Glenn Beck annointing himself
Mar 12th, 2010 by Sam

What’s on my mind…

  • Warren Buffet pay*, AIG pay, teachers’ pay, government employees on strike in Greece pay;
  • “Glenn Back annointing himself spokesperson for Christianity”, or, “Jim Wallis says social justice IS a religious issue”

What’s on your mind?

* or, why I adore Warren Buffet…

Audio

Michael Smerconish: For Me, the Party Is Over
Mar 2nd, 2010 by Sam

Michael Smerconish: For Me, the Party Is Over.

I think President Obama is earnest, smart, and much more centrist than his tea party caricature suggests. He has never been given a fair chance to succeed by those who openly crow about their desire to see him fail (while somehow congratulating one another on their relative patriotism). I know he was born in America, isn’t a socialist, and doesn’t worship in a mosque. I get that he inherited a minefield. Still, the level of federal spending concerns me. And he never closed the deal with me that health insurance is a right, not a privilege. But I’m not folding the tent on him. Not now. Not with the nation fighting two wars while its economy still teeters on the brink of collapse.

Doing nothing is a choice, a BAD choice….
Mar 1st, 2010 by Sam

Love your current coverage?  Want to throw out the bills and just start from scratch??  Check this out…

Even those families that enjoy generous insurance now are likely to see the cost of those benefits escalate. The typical price of family coverage now runs about $13,000 a year, but premiums are expected to nearly double, to $24,000, by 2020, according to the Commonwealth Fund. That equals nearly a quarter of the median family income today.

While some employers will continue to contribute the lion’s share of those premiums, there will be less money for employees in the form of raises or bonuses.

Where we could be if prior legislation had been passed….

What Might Have Been - NYT, Feb 26, 2010

Feb 27: Healthcare Summit – is there a compromise?
Feb 24th, 2010 by Sam

What’s on my mind…

  • Healthcare  summit – is there a compromise?  should the party that represents only 41% of the country in the senate get to dictate what we get in the country?
  • Scott Brown – votes yes on the jobs bill (yea!), says he understands the IRS-hating nut(he said whaaat?), says the stimulus did not create one new job (same old Republican crap…)
  • Is the IRS-hating nut a Tea Partier?  A terrorist? Does it matter?
  • Health insurance premiums sky-rocketing (well, maybe everyone isn’t so happy with their current insurance…)
  • Seems that “we the people” want it both (well, every-which) way – no new taxes, don’t reduce my social programs, cut the deficit programs…

Audio

California Death Spiral
Feb 18th, 2010 by Sam

Krugman says:

California’s case shows that to do nothing to reform healthcare would be a disaster…  what would work?  End discrimination on the basis of medical history, keep healthy people in the risk pool by mandating they buy coverage, offer subsidies to lower-income American so they can afford coverage.

and

…some claim that health costs would fall dramatically if only insurance companies were allowed to sell policies across state lines. But California is already a huge market, with much more insurance competition than in other states; unfortunately, insurers compete mainly by trying to excel in the art of denying coverage to those who need it most. And competition hasn’t averted a death spiral. So why would creating a national market make things better?

More broadly, conservatives would have you believe that health insurance suffers from too much government interference. In fact, the real point of the push to allow interstate sales is that it would set off a race to the bottom, effectively eliminating state regulation. But California’s individual insurance market is already notable for its lack of regulation, certainly as compared with states like New York — yet the market is collapsing anyway.

Finally, there have been calls for minimalist health reform that would ban discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions and stop there. It’s a popular idea, but as every health economist knows, it’s also nonsense. For a ban on medical discrimination would lead to higher premiums for the healthy, and would, therefore, cause more and bigger death spirals.

Boyfriend with health benefits
Jan 7th, 2010 by Sam

A not to be missed commentary on our current health care system…..

Jan 9: Profiling, body scanners, & Wall Street pay
Jan 3rd, 2010 by Sam

  • Racial profiling of passengers on airlines:  Does it work? (no)
    • Here’s the post of a conservative radio host named Scott Allen Miller who made the point beautifully in 2006 – check out his Profiling pop quiz – pictures of various people – pick out the terrorist.
    • Here is a summary of the issues from Jack Rice, journalist and former CIA Officer.
    • And here are the results of a study published in Scientific American that show racial profiling is no more effective than randomly choosing from the general population.
  • Body scanners: Do you want this job??  looking at virtually nude real bodies??  what will this do for the fashion industry?  the porn industry?  LOL…
  • Let’s unleash the Power of the Free Market on Wall Street Pay – here’s how!

Podcast

Dec 26: A country’s social health is tied to economic equality
Dec 19th, 2009 by Sam

Segment 1

The Importance of Economic Equality:

What if there was a way to raise a population’s life expectancy and reduce its rates of crime, suicide, teenage pregnancy and mental illness, among other social problems? British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett believe they have found one. In The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, published in the U.S. on Dec. 22, they present data suggesting that almost every indicator of social health in wealthy societies is related to its level of economic equality. (See the data here). Comparing statistics between developed economies and within the U.S., Wilkinson and Pickett argue GDP and overall wealth matter little to wealthy societies. Rather, it is the gap between the rich and poor that is telling. They spoke to TIME about what they believe are revolutionary findings.

Segment 2

Tom Clark; Director, Center for Naturalism

Explains what Naturalists celebrate during the holiday season, where they find meaning in life, and how they answer questions of ultimate concern.

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