Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Dr. C: In Praise of Writing Binges
Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
Yesterday's Massachusetts' election affects me personally. I'm self-employed and have a cheap health plan. Within the first few months of beginning a new plan, I'm already involved in a dispute with the provider, Golden Rule, a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare. My health plan, I recently discovered, doesn't cover preventive care in the first three months. I don't know why they have this restriction. It would not be a big deal except that no one told me about it, not when I signed up and not when I called to confirm that my physician was in network. I learned of the restriction only when I received the bill for my annual check up, which happened to come two-weeks before the three-month limit. But I'm sure that it's written in my contract somewhere. [Read more]
Last Thursday, I received a phone call from my friend, Lily, a San Francisco native halfway through her kindergarten year. In truth, we are more than friends. We married in an unofficial ceremony during the summer of 2008, and over a few brief hours of marital bliss and several cups of imaginary tea, we were blessed with four or five children, one of whom resembled a furry red monster. But alas, the marriage could not survive the age and geographical distances. We drifted apart. Lily claims not to remember the wedding, and the kids are stuffed in a box somewhere. [Read more]
In the wake of resignations by Democratic Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan, Democrats may be taking some shortsighted solace in the prospect of a brewing conservative civil war between the Republican Party establishment and the revolting Teabaggers, no pun intended. The differences between the warring camps are not ideological - the G.O.P. long ago purged its dissenting moderates - but attitudinal. [Read more]
God issued an unusual apology on Monday for failing to stop Senate Democrats from cutting off a Republican filibuster of the health care bill. In a brief press statement, God acknowledged underestimating Democrats' resolve and promised a thorough review His divine intercession policies. [Read more]
When I was twelve years old, my father took a sabbatical in London, and our family moved from quiet, middle class Iowa City to London's buzzing if somewhat downtrodden Camden neighborhood. I enrolled in a "state school" called J.F.S. (Brits confusingly call their private academies "public schools".) I would walk to school by myself past the gloomy "estates" (housing projects) and the jumbled little shops of Kentish Town, shyly self-conscious in my blue blazer, gray sweater, and striped blue-and-gold tie. [Read more]
Orrin Hatch--Utah's longest serving senator in history, former presidential candidate, proud member of the Finance Committee, the subcommittees on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure and Taxation and IRS Oversight, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as well as the Joint Committee on Taxation--can now add another feather to his well-befeathered hat: Hanukkah lyricist.
You may be surprised to learn that in addition to his senatorial duties and occasional cameos on major motion pictures, the 75-year-old Republican senator is also a songwriter. From his profile page at LDS Music: [Read more]
Demonstrating the brilliance of direct democracy, the Swiss people declared their nation to be a minaret-free zone. One cannot help but admire the simplicity of Swiss thinking. They did not bother with definitions or rationales. There was no legal gobbledygook, no extended rationales, no conscience-driven caveats. They simply voted to amend their constitution with the inspirational words, "The building of minarets is prohibited."
True, it might have been more fitting to insert the words into Article 15: Freedom of Faith and Conscience rather than Article 72: Church and State, but that's a quibble. The important thing is that there will be no more dangerous minarets in Switzerland. [Read more]
In yesterday's NYT, NASA-affiliated scientist William S. Marshall, wondered why no one seems to care about NASA's discovery of water on the moon.
Almost as surprising as NASA’s announcement is the lack of attention it has received. Thirty years ago, a development like this would have been heralded as one of humanity’s greatest discoveries.
Marshall hypothesized that astronomers were disappointed because they couldn't see the impact plume and that the rest of us were too distracted by problems on Earth.
Marshall should stick to astrophysics. [Read more]
Friday, November 20, 2009. 145 evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," in which they declared their shared opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Though only hours old, the declaration has already been declared "historic" by those whose job it is to designate historic declarations. Several reasons were cited for the historic designation of the declaration: [Read more]
Six months ago, I wrote a column decrying President Obama's compulsive bowing before foreign leaders and monarchs. After my editorial onslaught, the administration appeared to take note, and I thought that the matter resolved.
But now, as reported in the headline of the ever relevant Drudge Report, Obama is back to his old bowing games, shaming the nation with his obsessive genuflection. Here he is with Japan's Emperor Akihito, bowing almost to the ground like a shogun-era peasant before a guy whose dad bombed Pearl Harbor. Then he followed up the deep bow by jigglin' his noggin' like a drunken bobble-head to the Empress. These people don't even have an economy anymore! [Read more]
As God had promised, Sarah gave birth to a son at the age of 91. She and Abraham were very happy. Abraham named the boy Isaac and cut off his foreskin.
All was well in the Abraham clan until Sarah remembered Abraham's bastard, Ishmael, and his slave-mother, Hagar. She said to her husband, "Drive away this slave together with her son. The son of this slave will not share the inheritance with my son Isaac!"
Commentary: Readers may remember that fifteen years earlier, Sarah had encouraged Abraham to impregnate Hagar, but after the girl became pregnant, Sarah jealously tortured her until she ran away. Hagar eventually returned after God encouraged her to submit to Sarah's abuse. [Read more]
I'm a freelancer and pay for my own health insurance. Since I'm (relatively) young and healthy, and since I rarely see a doctor more than once a year, I have a fairly inexpensive plan with a pretty high deductible.
Stupid question: If the House health care bill is adopted, shouldn't I opt for the cheapest plan that I can find?
Who cares about the deductible, the benefits cap, or the allowable procedures? Since the health care bill prohibits insurance companies from rejecting customers based on preexisting positions, couldn't I buy the "Kia" plan and upgrade to a "Cadillac" if I were to get sick? [Read more]
In a unanimous resolution, the United Nations declared the Afghan presidential election to be "credible" and "legitimate" despite widespread fraud allegations and the withdrawal of President Karzai's opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. In a separate unanimous resolution, the U.N. declared Pope Benedict XVI to be "Jewish" and "possibly Buddhist" despite his Catholic baptism, confirmation, papal election, and long history of pro-Jesus sentiment. [Read more]
One of the recent propaganda tactics of the right wing has been to appropriate the leftist language of discrimination and civil rights to argue that liberal elites are persecuting white Christian conservatives. The most extreme form of this tactic is the Nazi attack, according to which liberals are portrayed as Nazis or fascists in order to represent them as brutal oppressors of helpless conservative victims. Commentators on the right have revised history to represent fascism as a leftist movement. They have invented or exaggerated associations between Democrats and Nazis. They have belabored the slightest similarities between Nazi doctrine and liberalism. And they have darkly hinted at the possibility of a fascist revolution in America. [Read more]
In his book, What's the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank documented the emergence of an angry populist movement in the prairielands. Christian fundamentalists and anti-abortion activists had exploited the anxiety of working class midwesterners by fabricating a persuasive myth of persecution. According to the myth, a tyrannical minority of liberal elites in control of the media and judiciary seek to repress the religious practices and traditions of "regular Americans" whom they despise and disdain. [Read more]
Hello dagsters. I'm happy to announce the marriage of one of our legendary founders, the man who puts the D in dagblog, the blogger with a thousand questions and inordinately large sunglasses: Deadman. He was married to the lovely Mrs. Deadman on Halloween night in Saratoga Springs, New York. There have been reports of widespread despair among eligible women across the nation. One distraught young woman was so upset that she ate seven pints of passionfruit Pinkberry yogurt with gummy bears and had to be hospitalized. (Sales of the popular frozen dessert spiked immediately after the ceremony.) [Read more]
Last month, Glenn Beck accused the Obama administration of deliberately instigating a national emergency in order to justify a totalitarian revolution. No disrespect to Mr. Beck's investigative skills, but his account was short on details. He had not determined what kind of emergency would occur, when it would happen, or whether the revolution would be communist, fascist, or some monstrous hybrid of the two. (Fascmunism?) [Read more]
One reason that right-wing commentators continue to spout paranoid hysteria is that no one has told them to shut up. OK, Keith Olbermann and a bunch of left-wing bloggers have told them to shut up, and the White House has indirectly implied that they should please keep it down. But the people who really have the power to undermine the conspiracists--the non-paranoid conservative leaders, or what's left of them--have not said a damn word about the wild accusations hurled by Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Michele Bachmann. Some may be afraid, particularly after Limbaugh schooled RNC Chair Michael Steele when Steele called him an "entertainer." But others have cynically calculated that the paranoia works for the party, so they just let it ride. [Read more]
When I worked for a software company, a fellow computer programmer once lamented that the salespeople earned so much more than the coders, despite the fact that the coders were generally better educated, more intelligent, and more essential to the company's core value: its products. The reason for the disparity is straightforward. Salespeople are closer to the money. It is very difficult for executives to perceive the value good programmers, who represent cogs somewhere deep in the machine, but the value of good salespeople is obvious from their sales numbers. For instance, it is easy to justify paying $200,000 in salary and bonus to a salesperson who makes sales worth $500,000 in annual profits. [Read more]