27 March, 2009

Really Interesting Lecture Video (I Swear)

My International Social Work prof showed this to our class a while back and it's been stuck in my head since. It's from the 2007 New Yorker Magazine conference and though the title is "Morality: 2012" there is a lot here that relates to politics, policy, international development, and a lot of other things. The player can be a bit slow to load, though.


26 March, 2009

E is for euphemism

Always a fan of a good euphemism, I appreciated this one from Eugene Robinson on Countdown with Keith Olberman last night:

"Dude, the guy just made you his companion*!"

*Replace companion with a five letter word for female dog.

Robinson and Olberman were discussing the way Pres. Obama ably handled a silly muddle of questions from CNN's reporter at the press conference. The CNN reporter later wrote that he had really cornered the president with his choice questions, which really couldn't have been farther from the truth. Obama's response was pretty cool, calm, and collected: "It took us a couple of days [to respond] because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."
Boo-yah, sir.


Getting My Nerd On

I wonked out and downloaded the stimulus bill in its entirety. It's more convoluted than a DVD manual, less so than your insurance plan's fine print. It's not beach reading and I'm not sure it's actually written in English. This may be that Esperanto language I've heard so much about. I would love to find out if any of the members of Congress actually read more than an extensive brief on this. I'm just trying to take it in chunks. Or, as we say in Morocco, "Little by little we eat the camel."


AIG May Not Be Most Egregious Bailout Begger

As the old Buffett song goes, "If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."

I am a huge Mad Men fan and now love Jon Hamm even more.

Senator Cassandra (D-ND)

24 March, 2009

Another Great Read

Listening to: Beth Hart, Lou Reed, Nina Simone
Fighting: a head cold
Missing: My roommates from Saturday night - "Lucy and Ethel"

Just finished another great book, courtesy of my professor:
The Lost Children of Wilder by Nina Bernstein (2001)

The book tracks the lawsuit brought by the NY Civil Liberties Union in 1972 against NYC and the religious organizations they were paying to serve orphans and foster children. Only problem was the predominantly Catholic and Jewish agencies were only really adequately serving white kids, mostly of their same denominations. The case started as a first amendment violation, but was really more about skin color and would drag into the nineties with questionable results. To read that nuns at one home would take children to the Museum of Natural History for a consult if they couldn't determine the "amount of Negro blood" gives you some idea. Shirley Wilder was the young woman who served as plaintiff. She'd suffered enough in the system by the time she turned 15 and gave birth to a son who also ended up lost in the system. The book tracks all three stories: those of the case, Shirley, and her son Lamont. It's a masterfully written book. Heartbreaking, maddening, and certain parts should move anyone to profound anger. I can't recommend it enough.


Go Texas!

No, I'm not talking March Madness. According to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Texas has the largest percentage (28%) of uninsured workers in the country. Well, we're tied with New Mexico. Way to go Tejas! Nationwide, about one in five U.S. workers lacks health insurance. While the economics of a potential fix must be considered, how about we start talking about health as a basic human right and go from there with this discussion? Anyone?
As was pointed out in my policy class, it's all well and good that Pres. Obama has gathered another working group on this, but only LBJ, master politician and strongarmer, was able to bring about any change in the system. Maybe change requires The Treatment, not another working group.