Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ukrainian Artist Interprets '41-'45 Occupation

A friend who always sends me the most amazing things forwarded this video to me while I was away. Germany was the occupier.

Here are the notes:
Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who recently won the "Ukraine's Got Talent" competition. She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret the invasion and occupation of her country from 1941-1945.

Joke - Republican v. Democrats

This joke was just sent to me by a good friend. Enjoy!


A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

"She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat."

"I am,"replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Economist: Obama Doesn't Lack Steel

Check out this defense of Obama in The Economist:

Most of these barbs are bunk. Yes, Mr Obama favours trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of September 11th 2001, in a civilian court. But that is not a sign of weakness. Several terrorists were successfully prosecuted in civilian courts under George Bush. And though Mr Obama is willing to admit his country’s failings, he is quite ruthless about blowing its enemies to scraps. American drones fired missiles at suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan’s tribal areas 55 times last year, killing hundreds of jihadists and who knows how many civilians. This year, the killing has accelerated; so far more than a dozen strikes have been reported. Mr Obama orders assassinations at a far brisker pace than George Bush ever did. For some reason, his habit of blowing up alleged terrorists and bystanders from the air causes less global outrage than the smothering of a lone Hamas operative, allegedly by Israel, in a hotel room in Dubai. But whether you think it justified or not, it is hardly evidence that the president is “against killing terrorists”.
Emphasis mine.

The whole thing is worth a read: Is Obama Tough Enough? The essay ends with a note about Iran.

Charlie Wilson Forthright Letter

Politico's playbook today highlighted this, saying it was making the rounds. I see why - refreshing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Live Blogging the Health Summit

10:45 am
Good choice to pick Lamar Alexander to lead the repugnants. Gosh there is so much broken trust. And now they're issuing an ultimatum right from the start. Alexander is lying when he says there has never before been a huge bill pushed through reconciliation. Says "we don't do comprehensive well." What? Because Republicans label anything big as a scary government takeover and/or expansion. Has to be comprehensive - can't eliminate "pre-existing conditions" and not have mandate. Obama says he'll address some of Alexander's points regarding process. Good. Many need to be addressed!

10:50 am
Here is NPR's "Health Care is No Stranger to Reconciliation"

10:55 am
Wah, wah, wah. The conventional wisdom that politicians need to cite specific examples grows tiresome. Reid is telling a story I already heard. I think on NPR this morning. Who cares? Point is - stop wasting time telling these stories. We know it's a problem. Get to work. Stop telling these horror stories. We KNOW. It SUCKS. Now Reid is pleading that the discussion is based on facts. Yeah - good point! Now making point about process - noting accurately that reconciliation has been used, mostly used by Republicans. TRUE. It's as if there's "a different set of facts from the reality." Noting Dodd (Chair of HELP) committee and Baucus (Finance) incorporate hundreds of amendments from the Republicans, representing "significant imput" from Republicans. Now citing Harvard study about deaths and bankruptcies due to excessive health care costs, even those who have health insurance. Boy this is depressing.

11:05 am
Obama addressing Alexander. Many of the items you suggested are in the bill. Your characterization would not be mine, understandably. Suggests they "discuss the substance and we might surprise ourselves and that might help to dictate how we move forward." If not, then take it from there. Graciously spurning the ultimatum.

11:09 am
Alexander and Obama getting into it over what is factual. Whether premiums would go up or down, according to CBO. Gosh, my mom would have LOVED this debate! Obama now pointing out that buying insurance across state lines IS IN THE BILL.

I'm behind. Have help over to move somethings around the house given that I can't walk today. Coburn is now speaking for the Republicans. He's a personal friend of Obama. Suggesting that we are treating the symptoms and not the disease and that's bad medicine (he's a doctor). Says there needs to be more prevention. (There is a lot of prevention). Now citing Harvard and saying 20% is fraud. Obama making note. I bet he's got a team of fact checkers in the back. Colburn is taking about the need costs are driven to minimize risk and that needs to be addressed too. Ried points out the Colburn is filibustering. Funny!

11:45 am
Okay - I can't do this live blogging and deal with the movers/helpers, so I'll have to pick up later. MSNBC sucks btw. They've interrupted Hoyer to provide "analysis" and go to commercials. To be continued.....

1:10 pm
Obama is responding to Cantor. Shaming him for use of prop (stacks of paper - the bill). Obama also makes the point that if we only implemented Republican ideas - there'd be a bunch of papers too. Now, making argument for effective government. Food would be cheaper without meat inspectors and regulations. Drugs would be cheaper with out the FDA. This point was in response to Eric Cantor raising the fear that BUREAUCRATS would decide rates. I'd rather government do it than insurance executives.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"The courage that my mother had"

Here's a poem for St. Valentine's Day

"The courage that my mother had"

The courage that my mother had
Went with her, and is with her still:
Rock from New England quarried;
Now granite in granite hill.

The golden brooch my mother wore
She left behind for me to wear;
I have no thing I treasure more:
Yet, it us something I could spare.

Oh, if instead she'd left to me
The thing she took into the grave!--
That courage like a rock, which she
Has no more need of, and I have.

By Edna St. Vincent Millay