Monthly Archives: March, 2012

Kiersten Marek:

Funny post about baby names!

Originally posted on The Wordslinger:

As the wife and I (but mainly the wife) reach halftime of pregnancy #3, I thought an update might be in order.  20 weeks down, 20 more to go.  Based on results from the first two matchups, I don’t expect this to go to overtime.  There’s no doubt that Mommy showed up ready to play, but as the half wore on, she seemed to tire and even had to fight off a few bouts of nausea.  The plan is to hydrate feverishly here at halftime and throughout the second half in an attempt to negate the effects of the impending summer heat.  It’ll be a grueling final 20 weeks, requiring stamina and endurance that I (a two-time marathoner) simply do not have.  But my wife is strong.  She’s been here before.  So buckle up for an exciting second half!

(This extremely long basketball metaphor, which ran its course at least…

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Inequality Marches On — The Death March of American Inequality

I know some of our readers believe that no matter how unfair and extreme income inequality becomes, there is nothing the government can do — we must let the free markets set the course. But what if those free markets are setting us on a course for destruction?  Do we accept our ultimate demise as a necessary consequence of maintaining our free market belief system?  From Steve Rattner:   The Rich Get Even Richer – NYTimes.com.

Kiersten Marek:

Speaking of Barack…

Originally posted on Emily L. Hauser - In My Head:

“Let’s be clear here: Women are not an interest group…. They’re half of this country.”

“If you truly values families, you shouldn’t play politics with a woman’s health.”

Word.

(Do you think the President saw my tweet?)

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Kiersten Marek:

Wow. More than half of the uninsured in the US are people of color.

Originally posted on Nursing The Buddha:

A recent article published in America’s Wire discussed the scope of race-related health disparities and the financial implications for the U.S. health care system.

The article focuses on how racial and ethnic health care disparities can affect earning capacity within a household, which can have long-lasting adverse effects on the entire family, particularly children. In addition, where one lives is a significant contributor to the existence of racial-related health disparities, Thomas A. LaVeist, director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, noted. “Where you live determines what schools your children get to attend… It also determines whether you are exposed to environmenta

l inequalities and the type of health care facility that is available to you,” LaVeist said. According to the study cited in the article, 30.6 percent of medical expenditures from 2003 to 2006 for blacks, Asians and…

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Kiersten Marek:

Always interesting — the question of what constitutes objectivity.

Originally posted on mikhailzinshteyn:

Photo credit: Mikhail Zinshteyn (all rights reserved).

With the term “reform” being tossed around like an Ivy League acceptance letter at a high school graduation party, the need to suss out the possible bias and slant of a source often gets overlooked. Is a columnist with undisclosed connections any different than a press relations officer? Is a reporter on the payroll of a group with an agenda really a reporter?

The search for a touchstone on objectivity doesn’t often lead to treasure, but sometimes perspective can be gained from casual reads far removed from one’s beat. While not offering any definitive answer, I plucked this novel definition of objectivity from Sports Illustrated tennis reporter Jon Wertheim:

“‘Objectivity’ doesn’t mean an absence of opinion. It means an absence of conflict or motive. We expect the movie reviewers to have strong feelings and subjective observations about movies. We don’t expect them to be on the payroll of a…

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How to Lose Friends yet Influence Elections

Kiersten Marek:

The Dems do have to worry about the Republicans playing the Citizens United Super PAC card.

Originally posted on Joe Mohr's Cartoon Archive:


The next edition of this board game hopefully won’t have that card included…

More on Citizens United and Super PACs

From HuffPo: Citizens United and Contributions to Super PACs: A Little History Is in Order
From Salon: The hard truth about Citizens United
From Open Secrets: Super PACs (full breakdown)

Joe’s cartoon archive, twitter ramblings and StumbleUpon page

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My Letter to Michelle Obama

Did any of you other liberals get the email from Michelle Obama yesterday entitled “Up Late”?  It started:

Dear Kiersten,

Every night in the White House, I see Barack up late poring over briefings, reading your letters, and writing notes to people he’s met.

I decided to write a response.

Dear Michelle,

Please tell Barack that I would prefer he not stay up late at night.  Sleep is one of the most important factors in mental health, and I would prefer to have a president who understood this and got his proper supply of Z’s.  Without sleep, a person can become quite emotionally imbalanced.  Without sleep, your body cannot properly rejuvenate to fight off disease and infection.

I like your husband very much and I want to see him survive for another term in the White House, as well as long into his retirement years.  Please tell Barack to go to bed and stop worrying so much about the next election.  The Republicans don’t stand a chance, IMHO.

Sincerely, Kiersten

What do you think, should the President stay up at night writing notes to people he’s met, or should he let his body and mind rejuvenate so he can make decisions and lead the free world? Just sayin’.

Be Fair to Those Who Care

Salon has a review of the third day of the Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Care Act, titled ‘A Brutal Day for Health Care.’

What I hear on the radio and read in the news as I work in the industry has me heartsick. Science, common sense and common decency say we cannot be a healthy or just nation when some of our hardest workers are one health problem away from bankruptcy. I see the expensive and devastating consequences of having to postpone basic preventive care. With a demographic bulge of older Americans entering Medicare, it seems insane to set them up to enter with dire needs when basic primary care could keep most of us healthy.

On the front lines of health care are millions of low-wage workers, many of whom lack health insurance themselves. They will be some of the first people who will benefit from strong health care reform. If you don’t think of a family, a worker, or an elder when you hear the word, ‘Medicaid’, you should. These are the people I serve. Why should those whose labor makes a public good possible be denied the benefits?

The federal spending issue turns on the expansion of Medicaid. Under the ACA, millions of the working poor – people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level – are eligible for Medicaid. From 2014 to 2016, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs. Then its share decreases, to 90 percent after 2020. Because the ACA also gives states assistance with their new administrative costs, overall state spending will actually be lowered.

Twenty-six states are claiming that this conditional spending unconstitutionally coerces them, because they cannot realistically forgo the money, and because if they refuse to expand their rolls, they might lose every cent of Medicaid money. But let’s be clear: This is not about the states wanting to conserve their own money. It is about the states refusing to spend federal money, to help people that they do not want to help. (Paul Clement, the attorney for the challenging states, declared that his argument would not change if the federal government permanently paid 100 percent of the costs.)

Last week at Brown I heard a legal expert, Sara Rosenbaum, say that this case is the most important since Brown v. Board of Education. Those times also were contentious and painful. This time I fear that we will land on the wrong side of history.

Maybe the Government Needs to Regulate CEO Pay

After adjusting for inflation, we pay CEOs today four times what they made in the 1970’s.  Pay-for-performance is the idea behind exorbitant CEO pay, but the fact is that CEO’s make big money whether their companies perform or not.  CEO pay is a problem that is affecting us all as we struggle to afford housing, health care and education in the middle class, while the 1% continues to hoard resources.  We need to reach some social consensus on what to do about this problem.  Otherwise, the stratification will continue.  From Time:  Are We Paying Our CEOs Enough: A New Survey From the Wall Street Journal and Hay Group Suggests Maybe Not | Business | TIME.com.

A fascinating post by a Chinese Herbalist about the “Hunza” indigenous people of Northern Pakistan, who eat the apricot or “Hunza” as a main staple of their diet.

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