The Obama/Clinton health care debate

Max, 2008/02/29 

Having just seen Sicko recently and having recently endured my own nightmares with the dysfunctional American health care system in recent years, I’ve been very interested in what the Democratic candidates intend to do to fix the problem. The differences between the two remaining candidates’ approaches pretty much comes down to Clinton wanting to mandate coverage for everyone and Obama wanting to mandate coverage of the children while greatly reducing costs for adults. Both of these approaches look terrible next to the universal socialized health care plans of most of industrialized nations and hardly even seem worth quibbling over. It seems a forgone conclusion that the great for-profit corporations responsible for limited coverage at great expense cannot and will not be dislodged by either candidates’ plan. How depressing.

Finally, however, I’ve read an analysis that makes me think there is a reason to support one of these approaches and, no surprise, it’s Obama’s. One my new favorite writers on the web is a commenter at TPM who goes by FlyOnTheWall. Fly’s point is that Obama’s plan recognizes how things get done in America- the incremental way. He notes a pattern of instances in which federal support for the most vulnerable is considered acceptable by Americans and becomes a foot in the door for the eventual expansion of such programs to cover everyone. Examples are welfare, wage and working hours, and workplace safety protections.

Well worth a read.

Fear vs Hope



If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.

-Bill Clinton, 2004

Meet the candidates:

Hillary Clinton:

Barack Obama:

I just want to take a moment to respond to an ad that Senator Clinton is apparently running today that asks, ‘Who do you want answering the phone in the White House when it’s 3am and something has happened in the world?’

We’ve seen these ads before. They’re the kind that play on peoples’ fears to scare up votes.

Well it won’t work this time. Because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is – what kind of judgment will you make when you answer? We’ve had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer.

But I stood up and said that a war in Iraq would cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars. I said that it would distract us from the real threat we face – and that we should take the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan. That’s the judgment I made on the most important foreign policy decision of our generation, and that’s the kind of judgment I’ll show when I answer that phone in the White House as President of the United States – the judgment to keep us safe, to go after our real enemies, and to provide the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States with the equipment they need when we do send them into battle, and the respect and care they have earned when they come home. And I’ll never see the threat of terrorism as a way to scare up votes, because it’s a threat that should rally this country around our common enemies. That’s the judgment we need at 3am. And that’s the judgment that I am running for President to provide.

looking presidental: obama

raison detre,  

just in progress… started another one with a big smile, this one not so much.

But this guy does

Max, 2008/02/28 

Obama doesn’t suck


… and he’s got some NEWS for John McCain:

I want to watch this about ten times. Poetry in motion.

BTW, ah Hillary? Forget it babe, you can’t do this. But don’t feel bad. There aren’t too many folks that can.

They’re nuts

Max, 2008/02/27 

Sometimes a comment thread is much more interesting than the post it follows. Case in point:

RNC warns Tenn. GOP on “Hussein”

The post is a fairly straightforward account of the Republican National Committees admonishment of the Tennessee GOP for using Obama’s middle name in a press release. Interestingly enough, they don’t criticize them at all for insinuating he’s a Muslim terrorist and including the now infamous picture where he’s in Somalian garb. The comment thread is where it gets really interesting because it breaks into three basic camps; those who are appalled at the RNC for infringing on the free speech of good ol’ boy bigoted redneck Americans, those who agree with the RNC because Obama’s obviously a commie librul whose positions are so unAmerican as to disqualify him despite his name, and a few sane Obama supporters. Some of the posters are just terribly confused.

One other thing. There’s not a whole lot of love shown for the putative nominee who is lovingly referred to more than once as McAmnesty. Here’s one of my favorites:

Note to the GOP… Go Straight to Hell!!!! You all have become spineless cowards, who are too busy kissing the Butts of Open Borders advocates, CAIR, and trying to “Out Liberal” Professional Liberals. The GOP is a Dead Party now.

November could be fun.

Come And Dance And Love The Fish.


I suddenly know how to speak Russian! Thanks, Buffalax!

From Sadly, No!.

KRS-One freestyles for Obama



I don’t know where this is goin’
But KRS-One is right now freestyle flowin’
Me, I’m not into votin’
All that wishin’, beggin, and hopin’
Me, I get open
Let me tell you Obama’s not a token

I think this brother comes from Dr. King
And everything Dr. King sings
Even Malcolm X
You want change? A black man is coming up next
Oh man, Obama
You gotta
Find out what’s happenin’
Without putting a comma
On the truth
Listen to hip-hop’s youth

Not a masterpiece or anything, but hey- it’s freestylin’


None were Scots


Raison is losing her touch. How did she miss this one?

Nine experienced cross-country skiers hurriedly left their tent on a Urals slope in the middle of the night, casting aside skis, food and their warm coats.

Clad in their sleepwear, the young people dashed headlong down a snowy slope toward a thick forest, where they stood no chance of surviving bitter temperatures of around minus 30 degrees Celsius.

Baffled investigators said the group died as a result of “a compelling unknown force” — and then abruptly closed the case and filed it as top secret.

The deaths, which occurred 49 years ago on Saturday, remain one of the deepest mysteries in the Urals. Records related to the incident were unsealed in the early 1990s, but friends of those who died are still searching for answers.

The Deadly Case of 9 Fleeing Skiers

Very weird stuff…

“Will” and “Wish”



I shall offer here some provisional definitions. Will is the capacity to organize one’s self so that movement in a certain direction or toward a certain goal may take place. Wish is the imaginatively playing with the possibility of some act or state occurring.

But before we move on to more intricate questions, we must do two things. One is to block in a rough dialectic of the interrelation of will and wish.This is intended to show some of the phenomenological aspects that must be taken into consideration. “Will” and “wish” may be seen as operating in polarity.”Will” requires self-consciousness; “wish” does not. “Will” implies some possibility of either/or choice; “wish” does not. “Wish” gives the warmth, the content, the imagination, the child’s play, the freshness, and the richness to “will.””Will” gives the self-direction, the maturity, to “wish.” “Will” protects “wish,” permits it to continue without running risks which are too great. But without “wish,” “will” loses its life-blood, its vitality, and tends to expire in self-contradiction. If you have only “will” and no “wish,” you have the dried-up, Victorian, neo-puritan man. If you have only “wish” and no “will,” you have the driven, unfree, infantile person who, as an adult-remaining-an-infant, may become the robot man.

This is an absolutely fascinating passage from Rollo May’s Love and Will that I have spent many days pondering. It seems to explain so much about my life and my foolish misconceptions about what these terms mean and imply. May is the first writer I have read- and understood at least to a limited degree- that frames these impulses in a complimentary relationship rather than as antagonistic foes battling for supremacy. And this, unfortunately, is how I have always misunderstood the role of these concepts. That I must pick a side; to be the prudish Victorian with “will-power” or the free and easy hippie hedonist. When seen in this light it’s an easy choice. One brings pleasure, the other pain- at least in the short run. Of course, May is only offering this nugget as a precursor to the meat of his discussion, which is the role of the third, often unconsidered element, intentionality. This idea builds upon the discussion of Eros undertaken earlier in the book and is central to May’s philosophy and his therapeutic practice. I’ve read over his entire treatment of intentionality in the subsequent chapters of the book and know only that I must read it again. I’ve been advised against citing writers I don’t understand, so I’ll wait before elaborating on this crucial idea.

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