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Volleyball, Avatar, health care

Volleyball.  So the Penn State women’s volleyball team did an incredible thing Saturday night, coming back from two sets down to defeat Texas 22-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-13.  It was a remarkable comeback by a team that hasn’t been down 0-2 since their last loss in September 2007, and obviously isn’t used to playing under duress on every point.  So although the final score suggests that it was crazy tense, it was even more remarkable point-by-point, rally-by-rally.  In fact, I have to say that the entire match has to be seen to be believed—and someday I hope to see it, because I decided to DV-R the thing on my way out to a party that night, and even though I did the usual precautionary thing of adding half an hour to the two hours of taping time, I learned to my dismay and chagrin that my recording ended in the fifth set, just as the Nittany Lions tied Texas yet again, 8-8.  Yep, that’s right, I got back from a party with Janet and Jamie half past midnight, put Jamie to bed around 1, sat down to watch the NCAA women’s volleyball championship, and discovered around 2:30 that I would have to go to the Internets to find out what happened in the thrilling final minutes.  Mother of Moloch.

Avatar.  That was Friday night.  I didn’t want to go, because I’d heard all the Kewl Kidz were sneering at it and I wanted to be like them.  Apparently, there are many people who will never forgive James Cameron for Titanic, and I respect that.  Also, I have a thing about movies that last as long as five-set NCAA women’s volleyball matches with lots of long intense rallies.  But guess what?  All three of us enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  Yes, we knew that by the time we’d gotten home, we’d have to come to grips with (a) the fact that liberal Hollywood still doesn’t understand that we have to fight the giant blue Amerindian peoples over there so that we don’t have to fight them over there, and (b) the fact that it’s yet another Huck Finn Fantasy® about the saving remnant of good white people.  To answer Annalee’s question, white people will probably stop making these movies when they stop imagining themselves as sympathetic anti-colonialist white people; and to answer SEK’s response to Annalee, oh no you’re not going to bring King Kong back into this, are you, except that I will admit that Jamie said, on the way out, “they were like the islanders.” I just want to warn my fellow well-meaning white folk that there’s no way out of this particular maze: one way of expiating that white guilt is to call out an anti-colonialist film’s colonialist, guilty-white-liberal logic.

So the disabled jarhead goes into the Matrix, dances with wolves, falls in love with the princess, and (as Janet says) learns to paint with all the colors of the wind.  And people are complaining that they’ve seen this movie before?  Good grief, people, can’t you see that you’re getting at least five or six movies for the price of one?  I mean, you’ve even got some Antz in there, you’ve got Vasquez from Aliens reunited with Sigourney Weaver (hey, and some guys from the Company, too!), and you’ve got a bunch of Ursula LeGuin narratives incorporated by implication. The visuals really are stunning, and how great is it that they actually called the mineral ”unobtainium”?  It’s like calling it “macguffinite ore.” Anyway, we’re planning to see Avatar again over the holidays.  Just so you know.

Health Care.  From this point forward, no one gets to call opponents of the Senate bill crazed ideological purists, and no one gets to call its supporters corporate sellout hacks.  Everyone takes a deep breath.  From what I’ve been reading over the past week, everyone and her brother agrees that single-payer would be the way to go; the differences seem to be between those who (a) think the whole thing is so compromised and Liebermanized and Nelsonized that it’s better to scrap it and start over, and (b) think that the whole thing is compromised and Liebermanized and Nelsonized but who don’t believe it’s possible to start over and get any better outcome, either in terms of politics or policy.  And then there are the dire predictions from both sides, that (a) bad health care reform will demoralize the base, alienate the swing voters, and fire up the Teabaggers, giving us Speaker Cantor in 2010 and President Palin two years later, or (b) failure to treat this version of HCR as a success and insist that Republicans are the obstructionist Party of Lousy Insurance and ER Deaths will give us Speaker Boehner in 2010 and President Romney two years later. 

Well, I hate to say that I was right back in 2004, but I was right back in 2004, and you didn’t listen to me.  I had a thoughtful, serious suggestion for the future of the Democratic party, and if people had followed that advice then, we wouldn’t be vexed by senators like Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Mary Landrieu now.  We also wouldn’t have Coburn, Inhofe, Brownback, Roberts, Grassley, Thune, Enzi, or Barrasso on the other side.  So when you procedure-wonks complain that the Senate has become “dangerously dysfunctional,” I say, where were you when we could actually have solved this problem?

Posted by on 12/21 at 06:32 AM
  1. "From what I’ve been reading over the past week, and her brother agrees that single-payer would be the way to go”
    Um, you’re not reading the same stuff I’m reading. Everyone absolutely DOES NOT agree that a single-payer is the way to go. In fact, everyone I know agrees that is NOT the way to go. We don’t want government run health care. And MUCH of the American public feels the same way. You guys just aren’t listening to us.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:03 AM
  2. I had a thoughtful, serious suggestion for the future of the Democratic party

    Yep, that purchase document is as phony as a Hawaiian Certificate of Live Birth--the centre should not hold.

    We complement each other on the volleyball; I was out getting some cultcha earlier Saturday evening and got home at about 8-8. I won’t give it away, but I think you’ll like it! And then some War on Xmas program-related activities (turns out I’m supposed to be for it, who knew?) took me away when there was a replay on local FoxSports. Bah Humbug! (And I don’t even *own* a DV-R.)

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:10 AM
  3. "one way of expiating that white guilt is to call out an anti-colonialist film’s colonialist, guilty-white-liberal logic.”

    I think the strongest part of Analee’s argument was her assertion that movies like this aren’t just about purging white guilt, but about purging guilt while getting to lead colonized people anyway and fly giantbirdsomg!

    captcha: British. As in, hasn’t someone been through this before?

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:18 AM
  4. I look forward to the push from Pam’s silent majority to eliminate Medicare and the VA system.  Because that’s electoral gold right there.

    failure to treat this version of HCR as a success and insist that Republicans are the obstructionist Party of Lousy Insurance and ER Deaths will give us Speaker Boehner in 2010 and President Romney two years later.

    (1) What did you think of Avatar‘s 3D effect?  Or is that only at certain theaters?

    (2) I think “President Romney” would be the much less catastrophic of the two dire outcomes.  And Boehner is easier to make fun of than Cantor.

    (3) Treating it as a success if it doesn’t produce concrete positive results for enough people will only discredit “big government” Democrats, and who knows how long it will take to implement the fixes that even many boosters acknowledge will have to be made?  Especially with smaller Congressional majorities?  See also my scientific monograph, “Fæces as an Inadequate Substitute for Shinola Shoe Polish.”

    (4) It’s not that “bad health care reform” will demoralize the base, it’s “bad health care reform” plus inadequate climate change legislation plus toothless finanical reform plus “getting tough on the deficit” via such means as “entitlement reform” that are already demoralizing the base.  Sure, the Kos people are cranky, but they let an outside firm do the polling showing that a whole lot of Dems are inclined to sit on their hands next year.  What, Ben “Years of 10+ % unemployment is hunky-dory” Bernanke’s reappointment is going to bring them around?  Hey, maybe the Obama administration can send Larry Summers to talk to NARAL about why a variant of Stupak / Nelson is a small price to pay for mandatory insurance purchases from for-profit companies.

    (5) For what it’s worth, I don’t think most proponents of this result of an infinite number of monkeys compromising at typewriters are corporate sellout hacks.  The urge to get something after all these months is understandable.  I’m just afraid that a dysfunctional bill will make it more likely that we get only one shot at this.  Also, my new business cards say “Crazed ideological purist,” so I don’t have a problem with the label.

    (6) Congratulations to the Penn State Nittany Lions Women’s Volleyball Team!

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:19 AM
  5. Ah yes, the sadly muffled voices of the opponents of health care reform. Who shall let them speak? Not the monied elites. It’s a veritable Majorité Silencieuse.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:25 AM
  6. So the Penn State women’s volleyball team did an incredible thing Saturday night, coming back from two sets down to defeat Texas 22-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-13.

    Thanks for salting the wounds, professor. Seriously, though, that was one great match. PSU was certainly tenacious. With all due respect to Megan Hodge, I think Destinee Hooker was the best player on the floor.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:34 AM
  7. I will only see Avatar if somebody fighting the smurfs says “NO KITTY THAT’S A BAD KITTY!”

    P.S. When did they make it that everything leads to a point, not just those made while serving?

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  11:03 AM
  8. I say we need to eliminate government funded roads. I don’t want no gummit telling ME where to drive. That’s what Hitler woulda done, by gum.

    <i> there’s no way out of this particular maze<i>
    May I suggest this?Of course, it has its own problems, but its mistakes are so much smarter than anything Avatar, Thin Red Line, etc., could ever do.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  11:03 AM
  9. I’d go along with returning the Louisiana Purchase except as a Minneapolitan (you can take the girl out of Minnesota, you betcha, but ... ) I’d be screwed.

    Also too (okay, Minnesotans don’t actually say that -it’s reserved for a special class of Alaskans), I took Spanish in school not sissy French and some of the state’s best topography is along the Mississippi in southeastern corner of the state and we can’t cede that to the French.

    But if we could swap all or part of Idaho and Utah ... I’m in.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  12:29 PM
  10. I’d go along with returning the Louisiana Purchase except as a Minneapolitan (you can take the girl out of Minnesota, you betcha, but ... ) I’d be screwed.

    Sheesh, would French citizenship really be so bad?  If it didn’t make the logistics of family visits even more trying, I’d be relocating to Trondheim* right now.

    *Yes, I am aware that Trondheim is not in France.  On the other hand, Minnesota’s population has a significant contingent with Scandanavian ancestry, and ... Forget it.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  01:11 PM
  11. I was looking at that old post from five years ago and wondering, upon reading through that old thread, where did all my right-wing trolls go? Thanks, Pam, for showing up and reminding me to keep government out of your Medicare!

    I was, of course, referring to the vitriol coursing through left-liberal blogistan.  The viciousness I’ve seen over the past week—among people who favor single-payer—is really remarkable and depressing.  I think it has a lot to do with left-progressive voters and activists feeling kicked in the teeth all year by the Obama crew, even when they actually weren’t (as on Afghanistan or the economy—Moloch knows I love me some Matt Taibbi, but where he got the idea that Obama campaigned on a kind of nationalize-the-banks progressivism I’ll never know), and especially when they were (civil liberties and gay rights).  If this team has a lick of sense and self-preservation, they’ll do some executive-ordery hopey-changey things between now and next November.  A big if, that.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  01:21 PM
  12. Thanks for the link to Annalee’s piece.

    Think of it this way. Avatar is a fantasy about ceasing to be white, giving up the old human meatsack to join the blue people, but never losing white privilege. Jake never really knows what it’s like to be a Na’vi because he always has the option to switch back into human mode...When whites fantasize about becoming other races, it’s only fun if they can blithely ignore the fundamental experience of being an oppressed racial group. Which is that you are oppressed, and nobody will let you be a leader of anything.

    Exactly.

    And reading the comments over there, you only had to get to the second one before you had someone trying to change the focus from race to class. See, when the issue is class, we’re all in it together. If it’s race, then White folks have to recognize their privilege, and that’s just too uncomfortable. It reminds me of what happened post-Katrina when I’ve never seen so many White liberals en masse in race denial: “Oh no, it wasn’t because they were Black, it was because they were poor. Bush doesn’t care about poor people.”

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  01:25 PM
  13. Posted by  on  12/21  at  01:35 PM
  14. And I see that The Left has a pointed question:  P.S. When did they make it that everything leads to a point, not just those made while serving?

    I don’t know, but I like it.  My guess is “at some point since I played volleyball in high school.”

    Karl @ 8:  interesting!  I’ve never heard of Queimada, shame to say.  Is it available in 3D with hippogriffs?  (I did like the Pandoran alien mind-meld thing with the optic fibers / split ends.  I am trying to figure out how to do something similar with Lucy the Dog.)

    CJ @ 9: I’d go along with returning the Louisiana Purchase except as a Minneapolitan (you can take the girl out of Minnesota, you betcha, but ... ) I’d be screwed.

    Yeah, I know what you mean.  You’d have national health care, not just subsidized private health insurance in 2019, and then PAM would tell you you’re on the ROAD to SERFDOM.  But if you look through that old thread from five years ago, you’ll find that people came up with all kinds of interesting amendments that we can work into the bill via reconciliation—exempting New Orleans, Minneapolis, and St. Louis, for example.  We have to find a way to keep Franken, after all, without whose 300-vote defeat of Coleman there wouldn’t even be a “Senate bill” to talk about today.

    O-Girl @ 12:  you know, the American left’s Classifier(TM) works for all kinds of injustices that are not specifically about, but inevitably inflected by, wealth and poverty.  So as you note, when the subject is race, you just run it through the Classifier(TM), and lo, suddenly we’re all in it together against The Man.  The Classifier(TM) also has two ways of dealing with abortion rights:  they’re (a) important because restrictions on abortion affect poor women most dramatically, or (b) not really that important after all.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  01:53 PM
  15. I’ve never heard of Queimada, shame to say.  Is it available in 3D with hippogriffs?
    Possibly! Depends on what you were smoking before you popped in the DVD.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  02:08 PM
  16. Pam:

    What kind of ignorant imaginary interlocutor are you?

    That was an excellent idea you had back in 2004. It’s cool that we could keep Jackson Hole and the Tetons. Shame about NO though. And maybe Iowa City.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  03:51 PM
  17. 1)I liked how the Pandorans’ planet goddess was called “Enya” or something that sounds like Enya. New Agers vs. the Man! Crazed ideological purists versus corporate sellout hacks deathmatch!

    The actor playing the jarhead did a good meathead impersonation of the dumb grunt/jock variety. I thought that was convincing having known all types of meatheads over the years, but the part where he “went native” wasn’t that convincing for me. Anyways, see it in 3D, it’s very cool. Pulp Fiction and the Matrix were probably the last movies to be that different.

    2) I’m finding true believer conservatives taking the time to troll are my favorite commenters, followed by pot-heads who are convinced legalization would be an economic stimulus, followed by gold bug Ron Paulites.

    Posted by Peter K.  on  12/21  at  04:21 PM
  18. Just one (maybe two?) health care reform related question(s). If the bill simply requires that nobody can be denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, what is to prevent the insurance companies from offering the insurance at prices that people cannot afford and saying “O. K. we are not denying anybody. They just have to pay absurd prices for it” OR what is to prevent the insurance companies from simply raising rates for everyone to include the pool of “undesirables” that they are now forced to serve?

    “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch”....

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  05:04 PM
  19. to answer SEK’s response to Annalee, oh no you’re not going to bring King Kong back into this, are you, except that I will admit that Jamie said, on the way out, “they were like the islanders.”

    We have the oddest Christmas traditions.  ("Time for some eggnog and a heady dose of thinly-disguised racism in popular American film.  Party time!")

    Posted by SEK  on  12/21  at  05:05 PM
  20. Professor:

    well, yes, I agree, but the sorry truth is that we do only get one shot at this.

    Yes, you’re almost certainly right yet again.  I hate that.  However, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a steaming helping of some mds quibblins:

    not FDR, not Truman, not LBJ, and especially not Clinton.

    Perhaps they might have succeeded if they had aimed as low as the current Senate bill.  There’s really no comparison to the trophy Truman earned for attempting his lofty enterprise.

    honestly do think that in 2019 or thereabouts, when people get subsidized coverage despite their pre-existing conditions

    This is going to sound like “The food there is terrible.  And the portions---so small.” But if this bill is meant to accomplish any good, allowing lots more time for the demagoguery to continue unbalanced by little tangible benefit probably wasn’t the way to go about it.  Whether being clubbed over the head for doing nothing or being clubbed over the head for doing something will produce more trouble in November 2010 will have to be determined by comparing parallel universes after the fact.  Assuming President Tom Coburn hasn’t bombed CERN and destroyed the dimensional gate before the results are in.

    We have the oddest Christmas traditions.

    Oh, really?  Are you suggesting ... a challenge?

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  08:23 PM
  21. Perfectly good questions, Elliot.  This is one of the things to be hashed out in conference:  both bills contain regulations to address premiums after reform—and also to ensure that insurers don’t hike premiums between now and 2013 (House version) or 2014 (Senate version).  The only provision about “undesirables,” as I understand it, is the 3:1 age band (where older folks would pay up to 3 times as much as younger folks), which the anti- camp is saying (inaccurately, imho) amounts to making age a “pre-existing condition.” (There should be a line from The Princess Bride that is applicable here.)

    The $200 billion in subsidies, also, is really not trivial.  Harold Pollack says it “exceeds the combined total of federal spending on Food Stamps and all nutrition assistance programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Head Start, TANF cash payments to single mothers and their children, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Institutes of Health.” And David Dayen at FDL makes much of the funding for community health centers.

    mds, two things:  There’s really no comparison to the trophy Truman earned for attempting his lofty enterprise.

    True dat, but oh, for the luxury of bargaining with Truman-era Republicans.  Unfortunately, it’s 2009, and the GOP has been purged of all serious statespeople and lawmakers.  To put this another way, if Truman were dealing with this crew, the armed forces would still be segregated.  (And, Trent Lott would add, we wouldn’t have all those problems today!)

    But if this bill is meant to accomplish any good, allowing lots more time for the demagoguery to continue unbalanced by little tangible benefit probably wasn’t the way to go about it.

    The delay until 2013 or 2014 is pure unadulterated budget-jiggling horseshit, brought to you by Blue Dog Enterprises.  And it’s not going to help anyone who needs care in the next three or four years but isn’t old enough for Medicare (this means all of my in-laws, just fyi).  So yes, it’s colossally stupid, like so much of this.  And that’s why it’s imperative for Democrats to say, “we beat back the crazies with not a vote to spare to make sure you can get health coverage you can afford regardless of ‘pre-existing conditions,’ and we expanded a bunch of community health centers if you need them [hint: don’t mention the Other People], and the other guys ran on a policy of ‘don’t get sick, but if you do, die soon.’” Because otherwise the demagoguery will kick in, Republicans will pose as the defenders of Medicare and the stalwart opponents of government healthcare, and we will be well and truly teabagged.

    Posted by Michael  on  12/21  at  08:58 PM
  22. Thought I’d hate it, but “Avatar” turned out to be completely cool pop culture, though the art direction reminded me of Laguna Beach at its hippie-dippiest. As for “only the white man can lead them,” you’re overlooking the reason the evil American imperialists knew so much about the natives in the first place. It was because our hero had been spying on them out for three months, and giving away their secrets. So let’s just call it Guilt-Ridden Redemption with a Banshee Hippogriff. (The only serious loose end for me was wondering whatever happened to our hero’s original Banshee Hippogriff once he became King of the Chinese Dragon. I mean, weren’t they supposed to be bonded together for life?) Mostly, I was just pleased to see an unambiguous condemnation of American wars of choice that was directed at 15 year old boys. What a tonic.

    Posted by sfmike  on  12/21  at  08:59 PM
  23. I was just pleased to see an unambiguous condemnation of American wars of choice that was directed at 15 year old boys. What a tonic.

    See, it’s a lot like the Senate HCR bill.  Even though it comes along with a lot of crap we don’t like, I’m willing to consider it the left wing of the possible, and I’ll take it.  For now.

    Posted by Michael  on  12/21  at  09:18 PM
  24. Sure the Senate bill is better than no bill. 

    BUT, it’s not over.  There’s still the conference—and much very, very, very, very bad horseshit (even worse than what is already there) will be inserted into the bill in conference by ex-members of Congress working for drug companies and health insurance companies. 

    THAT is why it is necessary for the middle (much less the left) to screech about how it needs to be dragged to the left. 

    It’s still the negotiating phase—points off for premature celebration.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  11:18 PM
  25. Wake me when the final draft reconciliation bill is formalized.  Until then, none of this matters much; you still have two votes to go in the Senate as it is. 

    If you have the VB match up to 8-8 in the last set, you have the best of all the action.  It was really two separate matches and both were exciting.  As for when they changed the rules, i am thinking it was around 1990 or so.  The more competitive the game, the longer it took to play; matches were lasting four or five hours.  The beach & indoor scenes needed to make the sport more receptive, with more offense, and came up with the rule changes. 

    I plan on seeing Avatar on Wednesday.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  12:53 AM
  26. procedural question.....  After committee reconciliation of the House and Senate bill. Can the Senate pass the revised bill with a simple majority or will they need 60 votes again?

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  02:24 AM
  27. (There should be a line from The Princess Bride that is applicable here.)

    Never get involved in a land war and euthanasia.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/22  at  03:35 AM
  28. The film is, in my opinion, incredibly racist. The blue people need a white guy to show them how to fight back - really? Come on. The whole “noble savages” thing is racist crap anyway. I liked the visuals, but the more I think about the politics, the less I like it. And at the end they live happily ever after because surely those greedy bastards won’t come back with bigger guns next year? Bull. I saw the movie with a friend whose grandmother is an Apache and she said she sat through it asking herself “I wondered when they’d arrive in Oklahoma”.

    I honestly see no reason at all to defend this kind of thing.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  03:52 AM
  29. Elliot, they’ll need 60 votes again. I’m torn about the bill. I’m not sure the supporters of passage actually read it. It’s all well and good to say “no more pre-existing conditions, no recissions”, but implementation matters. If, as Howard Dean claims, the insurance companies are allowed to charge some populations up to four times the rate they charge others, the regulation isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    By the way, serious question: why does it matter what Obama did or did not promise? How on earth does having promised horrible policies mean they are okay? I don’t recall people refraining from slagging off Bush just because he had a “mandate”.

    Here’s a song to capture my mood.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  03:59 AM
  30. triozyg @ 24:  It’s still the negotiating phase—points off for premature celebration. Hey, there are no premature celebrations around here.  There aren’t even any celebrations.  Just a grim sense that it’s going to take a few more years of work to make the left wing of the possible on HCR remotely democratic-socialist.  (Those community health centers are a decent start, but that’s about it.) So I’m with spyder @ 25—wake me when the final draft reconciliation bill is formalized.  And even then, stay on top of precisely how those premiums are going to be regulated.  Devil in details and all that.

    To Christian @ 69, yep, they’ll need 60 goddamn votes again, which is why there’s no chance of sneaking in a public option and passing it through reconciliation.  But that’s not right about Dean’s claim (and that game of telephone has already gotten out of hand):  there is a 3:1 banding ratio in the bill, not 4:1, and it’s pegged to age, on the theory that older and more well-to-do folk should be keeping premiums lower for the young’uns.  For the older folk who aren’t well-to-do, there’s still that 8-percent-of-income limit and annual caps on co-pays combined with (and this was an important last-minute thing) no annual or lifetime caps on services.  I believe this amounts to comprehensive catastrophic-care coverage, and I’m glad it’s back in there.  Again, it ain’t single-payer, not by a long shot, but it’s so much better than the status quo that I don’t want to kill the bill.

    About Obama and expectations:  why does it matter what Obama did or did not promise? Srsly?  OK, (a) his having promised bad policies does not mean they are OK; it simply means that progressives and leftists shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that Obama promised X and delivered Y; and (b) it always matters whether elected officials are doing what they said they would.  As for Bush, you know perfectly well that the winner of the ridiculously close election of 2004 (the closest for an incumbent in over 80 years) didn’t have a Man Date, and we kept after the bastard not only because we opposed his GWOT but also because he ran on killing the wolves in the forest but then announced, the morning after the election, that it was time to kill Social Security instead.

    Posted by Michael  on  12/22  at  07:14 AM
  31. you know perfectly well that the winner of the ridiculously close election of 2004 (the closest for an incumbent in over 80 years) didn’t have a Man Date

    [Somewhere on the Internets, an URGENT MESSAGE window appears]

    Ahem.

    Jeff Gannon? Chicka-Wow Chicka-Wow Wow!

    Never get involved in a land war and euthanasia.

    ... I will pretend to my local acquaintances that I thought of this.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  01:06 PM
  32. I’m pretty much where you are, Michael—it is not what we hoped for, it is not, by a long shot, what is needed, but it is probably all we can get for now. So pass the damn thing already.

    [My own personal caveat: Pass the damn thing, but please, please lay off words like “fundamental” and “overhaul” and “groundbreaking.” It’s a step. If you want to argue that it’s a step in the right direction, more power to you, but please—a little perspective, huh?]

    Having said that, a quibble, because I can’t resist:

    in 2019 or thereabouts, when people get subsidized coverage despite their pre-existing conditions, they’ll think of Republicans as the people who fought mightily to deprive them even of that

    Right. Which is why everyone who benefits from Medicare today curses the memory of Ronald Reagan.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  02:12 PM
  33. Right. Which is why everyone who benefits from Medicare today curses the memory of Ronald Reagan.

    This is indeed the main flaw in any argument that relies on constructions such as: “And that’s why it’s imperative for Democrats to say ....” Democratic politicians of this latter age of the world have been doing an absolutely shitty job of making the case for supposed Democratic policies.  Doing jazz hands while protesting weakly that you don’t really want to kill Grandma doesn’t count.  So we can enjoy the spectacle of Congressional Republicans bravely standing up to Democrats to protect Medicare, even as they continue their quest to destroy it.  (Joined by several members of the Wanker Caucus from across the aisle who are oh-so-concerned about long-term entitlement spending, of course.)

    Meh.  Pat Paulsen in 2012.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  03:34 PM
  34. When Jake was first brought to the tribe and they were all making their noises and reaching out to touch or push him I was thinking, “Hey! This is like the scene where Daniel Day-Lewis walks into the tribal village in Last of the Mohicans!” and then the old guy spoke in Na’vi and wouldn’t you know it, it was Wes Studi. That was enough to tell me that Cameron knew damn well what he was doing and was aware of what people would say.

    Me? I very much liked it. No way perfect, of course. But a heckuva ride.

    Posted by Derryl Murphy  on  12/22  at  07:34 PM
  35. From an email from a Health Care insurer today: “We won… we got everything we asked for and are free from both the public option and the Medicare expansion… We can breathe a sigh of relief...”

    As they say in Paris, c’est la vie.  Two votes down, one to go, and then folks like me get screwed.  Thanks.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  09:00 PM
  36. Looks like your website is under attack from supernatural forces…

    dyn.politico.com/members/forums/thread.cfm?catid=2&subcatid=7&threadid=3449994

    you really need to add comment moderation to your blasphemy…

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  10:26 PM
  37. Meh. Pat Paulsen in 2012.

    Hmmm.

    On the one hand, he’s dead.

    On the other hand, that would make him a formidable opponent should John Ashcroft decide to run.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/22  at  10:30 PM
  38. Right. Which is why everyone who benefits from Medicare today curses the memory of Ronald Reagan.

    Indeed/yup/word. The political optics of this bill suck ass. My kingdom for a Liberal Media for reals.

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  01:18 AM
  39. Well maybe the whole disaster will blow up the Democratic party and so do something good at least… it’s becoming increasingly clear that progressive politics are impossible with the party intact.

    Also I wish supporters of the bill would stop pretending that next time a crappy bill comes up they’ll draw the line, promise. You won’t.

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  12:00 PM
  40. Here’s some more Avatar fun for you compliments of Mark Morford

    Snippets:

    Let’s just say it outright: This is a movie about alien porn. It’s about the great, timeless, hypererotic white man fantasy of the Other.

    Behold, the ultimate in guilty colonialist fetish fantasy epic porn filmmaking, ever. Flawed, broken white man can, with his righteous modern technology, fuse his DNA with super-hot exotic sexually flawless alien species and become the Other and save the world and then score the hot chick from “Star Trek.”

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  02:44 AM
  41. Well maybe the whole disaster will blow up the Democratic party and so do something good at least… it’s becoming increasingly clear that progressive politics are impossible

    Full stop, probably because it’s so grey and gloomy outside today.  The whole “Things need to get worse before they can get better” thing seems to keep running afoul of events.  For instance, a global economic crisis brought about by conservative economic policy led to the empowerment of conservative parties in Europe.  In Germany, it led to a more “free market” right-wing coalition gaining power.  In Norway, the center-left coalition just barely survived, and would have lost if it weren’t for disproportionately-weighted farming areas.  In the UK, people aren’t flocking to the Lib Dems or the Impossibilists; they’re going to vote the Party of Thatcher back in to fix the common people’s woes.  Australia might turn out to be a partial exception to the trend, but not because Kevin Rudd is particularly Red.

    So, sorry, but I’d rather that the modern GOP implode before the modern Democratic Party disintegrates.  Because at least then we’d have a slightly sane right-wing party slowing our slide into fascism, a party which might then fracture to produce a progressive party again.  (I’ll confess that my old perspective on creative destruction has been altered by the presence of the mdslet.  Since escape has proven difficult, I’d rather live with the malaise of right-wing Democrats than having current Republicans calling even more of the shots again.)

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  04:27 PM
  42. Michael, I’m not sure you did justice to Avatar’s contribution to the white-guilt genre—There are at least six layers of race-complex all wrapped up in this taco, and it’s so potent I don’t understand how the target demographic doesn’t notice it’s being turned inside out.

    1. First, the male Avatars are all built like Kobe Bryant—28” waist, 38” shoulders, thigh muscles the size of my stomach, hairless round asses, long slender dark men—And who gets to inhabit these ersatz black bodies? a nerdy little white guy with shrunken body parts.  The best of both worlds!

    2. Pointed references to preemptive wars, while the Dr. Strangelove anti-hero is the same General McChrystal we’ve been worshipping for the last ten years, & we get to kill him with arrows!

    3. Mexican illegal immigrant invasion on steroids,

    4. native american revenge served cold, but you pointed that out,

    5. standard corporatist colonialist master-mind, humanized this time into a more plausible stereotype,

    6. Hispanic Lesbian heroine who predictably sacrifices herself for God, country and whitey,

    etc. etc.

    Even with all the pyrotechnics, it’s so in your face I don’t see how all the little teen Beck/Rush/Hannity clones don’t revolt.

    Posted by John Arthos  on  12/28  at  11:32 AM

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