Daily Archive: 20 Nov 2013

Nov 20

How About Some Good Obamacare News?!

Jonathan CohnI really like this: actual stories of Obamacare successes. Because here’s the thing: that’s the rule, not the exception. If the mainstream media want to present stories of people losing crummy healthcare policies and being forced to pay more for good policies, fine. But don’t present them as typical of what’s going on. In the two biggest states in the union, people are getting better insurance at lower prices. That’s the story. Leave the “Obamacare is destroying America” stories to Fox News and right wing hate radio. Because that isn’t news; that’s just propaganda.

In addition, Lawrence O’Donnell mentions that the administration now claims that 80% of users will be able to get insurance on the website. Despite what he says, 80% is the vast majority of users. It can be better and it will be better. But as Jonathan Cohn notes, there will always be people who won’t use the website. As I know from my own experiences with the well working Covered California website, some people have complicated situations that cause problems.

Anyway, watch at least the beginning of this. It is worth it.

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Nov 20

Martin Bashir Was Wrong to Apologize

Martin BashirI want to be perfectly clear. Martin Bashir was wrong. He never should have apologized for his commentary about Sarah Palin last Friday. For one thing, what he said made perfect sense. I am so tired of this pretend outrage. Sarah Palin used slavery as an analogy for current deficit spending. What she said was not stupid by her standards because there are plenty of supposed smart people who agree. Think: Niall Ferguson. But what is truly vile is the conservative tendency to bring up slavery as though it were just a system of control—as though it had nothing to do with racism and the basest of reptilian brain desires to subjugate anyone you can.

So Bashir was right on in his analysis of Palin’s terrible analogy. This stuff isn’t academic. Sarah Palin makes us a worse nation. She not only brings the level of discussion about current events to primordial levels, she carelessly abuses the history of this country and those who have suffered during it. I am fully aware that what Martin Bashir said was harsh. But I’m not at all sure that anything said could compete with the pernicious effect that Palin herself has had on our culture. And to say that maybe someone should defecate in her mouth strikes me as mild to what a traitor like her deserves.

Here is the original video:

Now I’m going to show you Bashir’s apology. As I said, I think he was wrong. No apology should have been offered for what was a very concise bit of political commentary. But if you are going to apologize, this is how you do it. Martin Bashir is a class act. I am grateful that he is part of the liberal movement. There’s no “I’m sorry if you were offended.” If things were reversed, I’m sure right now that Sarah Palin would be claiming that Shakespeare wrote potty humor. But I’m sure she would allow that it might be sad if Martin Bashir’s family were offended. But let me just be blunt: liberals are better.

Martin Bashir is a better man than I am. But Sarah Palin shows that words can be treasonous.

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Nov 20

Edwin Hubble and the Big Bang

Edwin HubbleOn this day in 1900, the cartoonist Chester Gould was born. He is best known as the creator of Dick Tracy. It is not one of my favorite strips. But one can’t deny that it is iconic: Roman nose and literally squared jaw. What’s more, Gould was a great illustrator. That’s especially true when you compare his work to the other strips of that period. I’ll go out on a limb here (Andrea’s sure to disagree!) but he was the Bill Watterson of his day.

The writer Alistair Cooke was born in 1908. I know him from two things. First, of course, as the host of Masterpiece Theatre where, on a weekly basis, he made millions of Americans think they were beneath the English. Second, he used to do audio essays on NPR that I enjoyed. I didn’t necessarily agree with him but he was always thoughtful, interesting, and amusing.

Robert F. Kennedy was born in 1925. That’s kind of amazing to think about. There’s a fair chance he would be alive today if he hadn’t been assassinated. I’m not so convinced that he would have actually beat Nixon in 1968, however. In general, elections are won and lost on the fundamentals. But it is quite something to think about: a second Kennedy administration and no Nixon? Who knows where we would have gone from there. Maybe no Reagan. We might have a much better nation today.

One of the greatest guitarist ever, Duane Allman was born in 1946. Here he is at the Fillmore East just a year before his death doing “Whipping Post.” Allman is the blond guitarist; Dickey Betts is the brunet, who is pretty damned great himself.

Other birthdays: physicist Otto von Guericke (1602); painter Christian Wilberg (1839); actor Richard Dawson (1932); comedian Dick Smothers (74); two beauties: Bo Derek (57) and Sean Young (54); and screenwriter Larry Karaszewski (52).

The day, however, belongs to the great astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born on this day in 1889. He is known for his observational research showing that the further away a galaxy is from us, the greater its redshift, or speed moving away from us. This indicates that the universe is expanding and is the first experimental finding in support of the Big Bang theory. Although there is no doubt about Hubble’s importance (he did a lot of other work too), the theoretical work associated with this particular finding was actually published two years earlier by Georges Lemaitre. I don’t think there is question but that Lemaitre was a great theoretical astrophysicist and Hubble was a great experimentalist. But we really ought to name some important stuff after Lemaitre. (I actually have a lot more to say about Lemaitre than Hubble. Oh well.)

Happy birthday Edwin Hubble!

Afterword

Happy 71st Joe Biden! Drink a cool one for me!

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