June 26th 2009 - Friday

under-the-radar-1images3Hour One"Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) joins Thom for his weekly nationwide town hall meeting www.sanders.senate.gov

Hour Two: "News Under the Radar" Christy Harvey with the Center for American Progress stops by www.americanprogress.org


Making Progress (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

So what’s it going to take? When will all this blow up in the face of the wealthy elite and cause mass protests in the streets? Unfortunately, I'm cynical after 30 years of apathy from the general populous. Most Americans just don't seem to get it. The following article documents the clintonization of Obama. Campaign as a liberal, yet govern as a conservative.

Foreclosure Fiasco
By Robert Scheer

It’s not working. The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis is a huge bust. The financial moguls, while tickled pink to have $1.25 trillion in toxic assets covered by the feds, along with hundreds of billions in direct handouts, are not using that money to turn around the free fall in housing foreclosures.

As The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, “The Mortgage Bankers Association cut its forecast of home-mortgage lending this year by 27% amid deflating hopes for a boom in refinancing.” The same association said that the total refinancing under the administration’s much ballyhooed Home Affordable Refinance Program is “very low.”

Aside from a tight mortgage market, the problem in preventing foreclosures has to do with homeowners losing their jobs. Here again the administration, continuing the Bush strategy, is working the wrong end of the problem. Although President Obama was wise enough to at least launch a job stimulus program, a far greater amount of federal funding benefits Wall Street as opposed to Main Street.

State and local governments have been forced into draconian budget cuts, firing workers who are among the most reliable in making their mortgage payments—when they have jobs. Yet the Obama administration won’t spend even a small fraction of what it has wasted on the banks to cover state shortfalls.

California couldn’t get the White House to guarantee $5.5 billion in short-term notes to avert severe cuts in state and local payrolls, from prison guards to schoolteachers. Compare that with the $50 billion already given to Citigroup, plus an astounding $300 billion to guarantee that institution’s toxic assets. Citigroup benefits from being a bank “too big to fail,” although through its irresponsible actions to get that large it did as much as any company to cause this mess.

How big a mess? According to the Federal Reserve’s most recent report, seven straight quarters of declining household wealth have left Americans $14 trillion poorer. Many who thought they were middle class have now joined the ranks of the poor. Food banks are strapped and welfare rolls are dramatically on the rise, as the WSJ reports, with a 27 percent year-to-year increase in Oregon, 23 percent in South Carolina and 10 percent in California. And you have to be very poor to get on welfare, thanks to President Clinton’s so-called welfare reform, which he signed into law before he ramped up the radical deregulation of the financial services industry, enabling our economic downturn.

Citigroup, the prime mover for ending the sensible restraints of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, is now a pathetic ward of the state. But back in the day President Clinton would tour the country with Citigroup founder Sandy Weill touting the wonderful work that Weill and other moguls were doing to invest in economically depressed communities. It wasn’t really happening then, and now millions of folks in those communities have seen their houses snatched from them as if they were just pieces in a game of Monopoly that Clinton and his fat-cat buddy were playing.

Once Weill got the radical deregulation law he wanted, he issued a statement giving credit: “In particular, we congratulate President Clinton, Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, NEC [National Economic Council] Chairman Gene Sperling, Under Secretary of the Treasury Gary Gensler, Assistant Treasury Secretaries Linda Robertson and Greg Baer.”

Summers is now Obama’s top economic adviser, Sperling has been appointed legal counselor at Treasury, and Gensler, a former partner in Goldman Sachs, is head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which he once attempted to prevent from regulating derivatives when it was run by Brooksley Born. Robertson worked for Summers in pushing through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which freed the derivatives market from adult supervision and contained the “Enron Loophole,” permitting that company to go wild. Robertson then became the top Washington lobbyist for Enron and was recently appointed senior adviser to Fed Chair Ben S. Bernanke. Baer went to work as a corporate counsel for Bank of America, which announced his appointment with a press release crediting him with having “coordinated Treasury policy” during the Clinton years in getting Glass-Steagall repealed. As a result of deregulation, B of A too spiraled out of control and ended up as a beneficiary of the Treasury’s welfare program.

Why was I so naive as to have expected this Democratic president to not do the bidding of the banks when the last president from that party joined the Republicans in giving the moguls everything they wanted? Please, Obama, prove me wrong.

Mark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I think Obama is afraid to make moves that are too "radical" because whatever move he makes, someone is going to be hurt no matter what in the short term, and he's going to be blamed. Obviously, it is better to hurt the fat cats than everyone else, but let's remember who holds all the cards here. The only way that real reform is going to come is if people march out into the streets and demand it. As it is, the vast majority of people in this country are really afraid of "change", or don't know exactly what it means. The world slowly turns, each day seems the same as the one before. As long as they have a job and a place to live, most people are satisfied; if things are bad now, they could get a lot worse rather than better. Those more farsighted know, however, that sometimes maintaining the bridge requires major repair work; while those driving over the bridge may feel nothing is amiss, without those repairs it will eventually collapse--and no one is going anywhere until it is done.

Elsewhere, it seems to me that the reason why Republicans like small government (unless it is military expenditures) is that they don’t like to concern themselves with the welfare of the proletariat. The negative effect of this is that Republicans have too much free time on their hands, used to expectorate inconsequentially and daydream of omnipotence. If they are Republicans, it is not against any moral or ethical law to engage in a little corruption or harmless dalliances. Effete New Yorkers might not understand this, but South Carolinians are made of stranger—I mean stronger— stuff. Spitzer’s call girl escapade—that’s supposed to be more censorious than Monicagate? Clinton, being a Southerner, didn’t resign. Sanford’s sexcapade with an Argentine tart (who isn’t even American) was merely an exercise in straight-up American “foreign relations.” At least somebody is holding the American "end" up.

In regard to the conversation with Michael Tanner from the Cato Institute, I find it remarkable the suggestion that doctors are motivated more by visions of great wealth than the Hippocratic Oath. In order to bring healthcare costs under control, everything has to be on the table—including reimbursement requests that are usually inflated in order to receive an “adequate” return. It is simply unconscionable that this country spends so much on healthcare for so little return relative to other countries. What this country spends on healthcare now should by all reckoning cover everyone, and all with first-class treatment. One reason why healthcare costs continue to skyrocket is that there are too many hands in the cookie jar. The vast majority of the healthcare dollar is spent to pay people to perform a certain function, much of which has nothing to do with providing healthcare.

streamer (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I dont think I will be around on chat today---hardly ever miss Friday but sunny day beckons and I will be headed to Plum Island, Seabrook or Salisbury Beach.

Re: Health Care haggling. I think when Blue Cross - Blue Shield came out publicly against Public Option that that signals that the battle is getting serious and likely to be dirty.

There will be a lot of unsourced rumors floated with attempt to confuse and divide Public Option supporters. Conservative big business (and Blue Cross and other insurers are big big business).

View all unsourced rumors very SKEPTICALLY in the health care debate.

streamer (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Editing my comment--I clicked too soon

"Conservative big business (and Blue Cross and other insurers are big big business) uses Rumor tactics and they have open door to big media sources to help them spread.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Last night, I was sitting in my living room reading President Obama's 1st book, "Dreams from My Father", when a fly landed on my left leg. With as much stealth as I could muster, I moved my right hand to within about 8 inches, and struck!

It wasn't the cleanest hit - I stunned the bug, it landed on the floor, and I finished it off by stepping on him.

"Not bad," my wife said. "Evidently, something's rubbing off. Finish the book, and we'll see how you're doing later in the summer." :D

Loretta Long (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

PICA will be after you now mstaggerlee :-)

Singe Pay USA is having an action event tomorrow in Portland, Oregon.

Saturday June 27, 11 AM
David Douglas High School, South Cafeteria
1400 SE 130th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97233
Their comment is "Let's attend this town hall and get Sen. Merkley on record in front of his constituents about Single payer Healthcare."

If you live in another city, you could come to Portland to support this meeting and spend the rest of the day having fun in Portland. It's a beautiful beautiful city! Bring your bicycle!

I think people in favor of starting with public options should attend "single pay" events and vice versa because we all want health care!

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Re: Governor Sandford's Argentine dalliance -

At least MY ex-Governor (Mr. Spitzer) took his business to a reputable, LOCAL hooker!

Perhaps this is meant to be just another example of the Republican meme of foreigners doing the jobs that Americans simply refuse to do? ;)

tktvr (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Charlie Rose had a CEO on his show last night [6/25/09].
Here are some of the things he said.

Business leaders in the U.S. must become good American citizens again.
We have to make our country competitive again.
Corporate managers should start bringing back some manufacturing to the U.S.
We need more manufacturing and R&D in the U.S.
Healthcare absolutely has to be reformed; it is needed by G.E. and by the American people.
People who say we don't need healthcare reform are living in an alternative reality.
CEOs who are going to put millions into ads against healthcare reform are delusional.
He said that he voted for John McCain, and that he's a Republican.
The last __ years didn't work out that well for working people in this country.
Middle class income has declined since 1980, but the top 20% have done fine.

Who was he?
Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric.

People ought to send a video of this interview to everyone in congress.

Tim (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Please ask Bernie about the Office of the Attending Physician at the Capitol (ran by the Navy). Sounds like Government run health care to me. And I am assuming the law makers have few complaints about it, or the Pharmacy which I am betting is right next door.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Reply to tvtkr -

NICE! That guy was from GE, huh? ... the company that popularized the outsourcing craze?! NOW there have regrets, because the shortsighted bastards are FINALLY realizing that the main thing the US had going for it was a HUGE, nearly insatiable, consumer market. However, as decent paying jobs have left the country (sent overseas by Jack Welch and the like), demand has dried up and suddenly, GE's bottom line is threatened not by cheaper suppliers, but by plummerting demand.

Haven't we serviced the supply side long enough? Isn't it time for that pendulum to start swinging back to the demand side?

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


With your permission, I would like to send your comments re: Jeff Immelt on Charlie Rose to members of congress, along with a link to the video (If it's available online.)

OK with you?

Loretta Long (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Here is the list of the ten Senators refusing to vote for a public option. The list comes from
http://www.billpressmedia.com/?p=3783 The contact information is listed on the Senate site.

Lets fill up their voice mail and email boxes.

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR): (202) 224-6551 Web Form: bennelson.senate.gov/contact-me.cfm

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE): (202) 224-2441 ; web form carper.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (202) 224-3441 Web Form: cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) (202) 224-5244 Web Form: wyden.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) (202) 224-6551 Web Form: bennelson.senate.gov/contact-me.cfm

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) (202) 224-5824 Web Form: landrieu.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) (202) 224-6342 Web Form: hagan.senate.gov/?p=contact

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) (202) 224-2043 Web Form: conrad.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) (202) 224-2651 Web Form: baucus.senate.gov/contact/emailForm.cfm?subj=issue

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

sorry - tvtkr

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Quark -

Nope - you were right the first time ... _I_ was wrong, it is tktvr.

Oops. :)

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Recommendation to everyone especially Mark

I recommend everyone go to www.democracynow.org and watch today's program.

The program is devoted to the commemoration of the Stonewall Riot which is seen as the starting point of the modern gay and lesbian movement. In the program, you'll hear from people who were involved in the events and from people whose lives were touched by those events.

I recommend the program because many of us who aren't LGBT ( lesbian - gay - bisexual - transgendered) aren't aware of, or tend to forget, the how great the discrimination against LGBT has been and still is.

I recommend this program to everyone. I recommend it specifically to Mark because he has posted comments on this blog that has shown disdain towards LGBT people.

I hope that today's Democracy Now program will help all of us understand the circumstances that LGBT people have lived under and still live under. I really hope Mark takes the time to watch or listen to the show. Maybe he can develop more empathy toward these members of our human family. I know that progressive radio, like Democracy Now and Pacifica Radio has helped me overcome our cultural prejudices against LGBT people.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Paul Krugman today:


"Not Enough Audacity "

When it comes to domestic policy, there are two Barack Obamas.

On one side there’s Barack the Policy Wonk, whose command of the issues — and ability to explain those issues in plain English — is a joy to behold.

But on the other side there’s Barack the Post-Partisan, who searches for common ground where none exists, and whose negotiations with himself lead to policies that are far too weak.

Both Baracks were on display in the president’s press conference earlier this week. First, Mr. Obama offered a crystal-clear explanation of the case for health care reform, and especially of the case for a public option competing with private insurers. “If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care, if they tell us that they’re offering a good deal,” he asked, “then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical.”

But when asked whether the public option was non-negotiable he waffled, declaring that there are no “lines in the sand.” That evening, Rahm Emanuel met with Democratic senators and told them — well, it’s not clear what he said. Initial reports had him declaring willingness to abandon the public option, but Senator Kent Conrad’s staff later denied that. Still, the impression everyone got was of a White House all too eager to make concessions.

The big question here is whether health care is about to go the way of the stimulus bill.

At the beginning of this year, you may remember, Mr. Obama made an eloquent case for a strong economic stimulus — then delivered a proposal falling well short of what independent analysts (and, I suspect, his own economists) considered necessary. The goal, presumably, was to attract bipartisan support. But in the event, Mr. Obama was able to pick up only three Senate Republicans by making a plan that was already too weak even weaker.

At the time, some of us warned about what might happen: if unemployment surpassed the administration’s optimistic projections, Republicans wouldn’t accept the need for more stimulus. Instead, they’d declare the whole economic policy a failure. And that’s exactly how it’s playing out. With the unemployment rate now almost certain to pass 10 percent, there’s an overwhelming economic case for more stimulus. But as a political matter it’s going to be harder, not easier, to get that extra stimulus now than it would have been to get the plan right in the first place.

The point is that if you’re making big policy changes, the final form of the policy has to be good enough to do the job. You might think that half a loaf is always better than none — but it isn’t if the failure of half-measures ends up discrediting your whole policy approach.

Which brings us back to health care. It would be a crushing blow to progressive hopes if Mr. Obama doesn’t succeed in getting some form of universal care through Congress. But even so, reform isn’t worth having if you can only get it on terms so compromised that it’s doomed to fail.

What will determine the success or failure of reform? Above all, the success of reform depends on successful cost control. We really, really don’t want to get into a position a few years from now where premiums are rising rapidly, many Americans are priced out of the insurance market despite government subsidies, and the cost of health care subsidies is a growing strain on the budget.

And that’s why the public plan is an important part of reform: it would help keep costs down through a combination of low overhead and bargaining power. That’s not an abstract hypothesis, it’s a conclusion based on solid experience. Currently, Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance companies, while federal health care programs other than Medicare (which isn’t allowed to bargain over drug prices) pay much less for prescription drugs than non-federal buyers. There’s every reason to believe that a public option could achieve similar savings.

Indeed, the prospects for such savings are precisely what have the opponents of a public plan so terrified. Mr. Obama was right: if they really believed their own rhetoric about government waste and inefficiency, they wouldn’t be so worried that the public option would put private insurers out of business. Behind the boilerplate about big government, rationing and all that lies the real concern: fear that the public plan would succeed.

So Mr. Obama and Democrats in Congress have to hang tough — no more gratuitous giveaways in the attempt to sound reasonable. And reform advocates have to keep up the pressure to stay on track. Yes, the perfect is the enemy of the good; but so is the not-good-enough-to-work. Health reform has to be done right.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

B Roll,

Thanks for your suggestion --- I want to understand others' lives and their highs and lows.

Your comments always leave me with something to ponder or chuckle about!

bones (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

You can contact members of Congress/Senate and the Whitehouse with the following toll free number from the AMA: 1- 800-833-6354. If you want to contact a senator outside your district you will need a zip code from their district which you can get from their website.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


That's why I always preface my comments to politicians with a brief resume of my activism in the Dem Party --- I want them to know I get involved and am part of their "base."

Loretta Long (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Here is the list of the nine Senators refusing to vote for a public option. The list comes from
http://www.billpressmedia.com/?p=3783 The contact information is listed on the Senate site.

Lets fill up their voice mail and email boxes.

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR): (202) 224-6551 Web Form: bennelson.senate.gov/contact-me.cfm

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE): (202) 224-2441 ; web form carper.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (202) 224-3441 Web Form: cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) (202) 224-5244 Web Form: wyden.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) (202) 224-6551 Web Form: bennelson.senate.gov/contact-me.cfm

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) (202) 224-5824 Web Form: landrieu.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) (202) 224-6342 Web Form: hagan.senate.gov/?p=contact

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) (202) 224-2043 Web Form: conrad.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) (202) 224-2651 Web Form: baucus.senate.gov/contact/emailForm.cfm?subj=issue

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


You're a good soul. Could you tell me what your screen name means to you, why you chose it and how you pronounce it (i.e., phonetic spelling). Thanks.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Even if the public option is a resounding success, will it really mean the end of the for-profit insurance providers? I, for one, sincerely doubt it.

Around 40 years ago, when I was entering the labor market, there was only one health insurance provider - the non-profit (at that time) Blue Cross/Blue Shield. There was also a thriving for-profit insurance industry, providing liability coverage for drivers and homeowners, life insurance, etc. Most of the companies that provide Health Insurance today are simply new divisions or subsidiaries of those same companies.

If a very successful and well-run public plan supplants all the corporate providers that are around today, those companies aren't going to go out of business - will simply shut down their health insurance divisions. They'll simply have to find a way survive on the auto/home/life insurance business - JUST LIKE THEY USED TO!

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Suggestion for the Webmaster -

For those of us that like to appear literate, is it possible to put an "edit post" button here, accessible ONLY to the person who posted a given message? I've seen that feature on other message boards.


Textynnn (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Dear Sen. Sanders,
Please talk about how awful the idea of getting our health care from non caring employers is. This is a letter I wrote to Sen Patty Murry and Sen Cantwell.

Telling people to get their health care through their employer is not only forcing people to put themselves in a completly vulnerable position in which a supervisor can take your health care away on a whim, but it is a complete myth for millions of people. Poor people are expected to go to work in jobs without health care everyday in many thousands of types of employment while our leaders smugly pretend that getting health care from an employer is a given, and that it is a given that this is a stable situation that people can depend on.

People lose jobs every day. Make a wrong move, you fired and you have no health care. Get too sick to work, well, it won't be long before you are gotten rid of on some pretext or another. Get pregnant, oh the odds of you doing something unacceptable just went up real real high. Make you supervisor feel threatened accidentally, your health care is threatened....your child's health care is threatened...etc. Multiply this vulnerability by an infinite number of reasons a person could lose a job and health care without warning and you'll begin to get a picture of what it is like to have to depend on flaky supervisors or floundering businesses, or offices full of back stabbers to maintain your and your love one's health.

Pretending to believe that a person can depend on an employer for health care is not only ridiculous; it is based on a lie. Replacing jobs that provide health care is extremely hard and people go for years trying to find an employer that will make this commitment to them. Most employers would rather exercise the many formulas to avoid having to provide health care to employees. I have been sent home from several jobs after paying daycare, transportation costs, and other sundry costs of coming to work only to work an hour and then be told to go home because I was going to have too many hours and my employer would legally owe me health care. This is just one example of how the poor subsidize the rich with their very small resources and their very valuable health. This practice is common and it was done at the community college regularly and that employer was Washington State.

It has been my experience that employers who provide health care also demand huge amounts of unquestioned wage theft. The attitude across the board is that you better be grateful and that means doing a lot of tasks on your own time. I worked for the Community Colleges of Spokane and this problem was rampant. It was horrible and to make it worse my work school site was in a Superfund site that was loaded with heavy metals. The fact that this site was in a Superfund site was hidden from our knowledge and I only found out because I was seriously ill and started paying attention to some info that I was gathering, small bit by bit, from things mentioned in the newspaper. It took me many years to gather enough of this hidden info to successfully research the problem as site names was hidden and addresses placed on unmarked dirt road behind my work site.

To make a long story short, I was exposed to lead, arsenic, chromium 3 & 6, and cadmium. I finally quit work when my employer reduced my hours below the number which made me eligible for benefits. This was SOP for employees who became seriously ill which, of course, happened regularly.

Before all that, I got my best friend a job at the community colleges as my aide. This, of course, before I knew I was asking her to join me to work in a filthy Superfund site. She died June 1, 09 of 5 different kinds of cancers... stomach cancer, intestinal cancer, bladder cancer, gall bladder cancer, colon cancer. She was a 47 year old single mother of three kids.

I am sick of these lies and myths that are killing people. With the lax pollution laws, the secrecy that is enjoyed by polluters, the bomb testing by the US Government, the leaks and pollution from Nuclear Plants like Hanford, Americans deserve Single Payer Health Care. Americans are owed Single Payer Health Care.

Telling people to pretend that getting health care from an employer is a good idea is also a complete lie. It is smothering position for people and it keeps people in jobs that are miserable and is a recipe for employers to exploit employees when it does happen. There are no laws making employers provide health care and they only provide health care to some employees even if they provide any. High deductibles are a given.

Anyone not working to fix this horrible life threatening health care nightmare in America will not be receiving my vote, but will find me fighting for someone that will.

This travesty and exploitation of lower classes is inhumane and not one bit better than segregation by race. Now we have segregation of health care by class. Promoting the phony lie that people should expect health care from an employer is just that, a lie for millions counted and millions more uncounted.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


The folk you keep referring to as conservatives are RECESSIVISTS.

This is about turning America into feudal fiefdoms. This is about eliminating the middle class. This is about creating dynastic economic royalty and reducing the rest to the undeserving poor. STOP CALLING RECESSIVISTS CONSERVATIVE! They aren’t.

Textynnn (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Webmaster, my "remember password" function never works on this site. Also I am not finding a place to change my password to something I can remember.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

B Roll,

How kind of you. Thanks.

I chose "quark" because I love science --- always have. I love challenges and mysteries. I guess I just want to know the things that are still unknown, like how does all this existence really work? What does it mean, if anything? It's amazing the number of areas of interest that covers!

Want to read a fascinating article? If so,please tell me what you think about it.

"Is Quantum Mechanics Controlling Your Thoughts? "


Also, what does the "end" of the universe look like? (Is there even such a thing?) And on and on ...

This kind of stuff really gets my adrenolin running! (Along with other areas of science, art, history, literature and language.) I guess I am still just a kid asking "why?"

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

B Roll,

'Love music, too -- all kinds, but especially folk music from around the world.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

B Roll,

Oh, yes. I pronounce it kwark (rhymes with "park.")

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Thom criticized Barack Obama yesterday for what he considered caving to right-wing pressure and making a statement in support of the Iranian protesters and critical of the Iranian government for violently repressing them.

Was Thom right?

Thom’s concern was that incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was declared the winner of the election would use Obama’s statement as an opportunity to blame the unrest on the United States.

Ahmadinejad, of course, immediately used the opportunity to point a finger at the U.S.

But was Thom right?

My impression of Thom’s comment was that he was reacting in fear, that the Iranian people would be turned against us, especially because of America’s intervention in the Iranian affairs from 1953 forward. (We were behind a coup against Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq. Then we brought back the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and supported his dictatorial regime until he was overthrown by the Iranian revolution in 1979.)

The Iranian people are well aware of the U.S. involvement in those events and have been suspicious about American intentions toward their country since then. But that was almost 6 decades ago and a lot has happened since then.

Like most societies, Iranian society is very complex. We know that Iranians, especially the young and urban young, as well as the middle class, like American culture and society. They also like Barack Obama.

I think, but I’m not sure, that they may be more sophisticated than you’re giving them credit for. Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader had already begun pointing fingers at the United States. The people protesting the election aren’t likely to fall for the Iranian government’s propaganda. In fact, they may take hope in the fact that Obama has spoken up in their defense.

I’m agnostic on this point, but I don’t know how long the United States, as the sole super power in the world with the claim of being the world’s moral leader, could be expected to remain too low key when the government of an important country is cracking down on its population they Iran is doing now.

I guess we’ll just have to hope for the best and see how things work out.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

OMFG! Thom,

Real property has value; folk are just flesh and blood . . . therefore dead and waiting to die.

nora (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Bush One instituted torture programs, engineered Iran-Contra traitorous games, used the U.S. military to secure his economic interests in Latin America, and committed a WAR CRIME when he permitted the retreating Iraq army to be burned alive. If Bush Two is a war criminal, well, he's just a chip off the old block. Like father like son.

Why doesn't anyone want to talk about Bush One's crimes, too?

Just getting old and spending (at least) $250,000 of our high security tax money)every year just to skydive (with a nanny parachutist chained to his waist!), is NOT an excuse for allowing a war criminal to walk, unexposed or unpunished! Just because War Criminal Pinochet got old, the world did not forget his crimes.

eDebbie (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Thom, I wonder if you've ever heard of a book by Marjorie Kelly, "The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy"? I never finished the book but as far as I got into it, Kelly is proposing another model of corporate structure, one in which the shareholders are relegated to a position below that of the worker. She posits that shareholders are a drain on a corporation and don't deserve all of the worship that they currently receive. I've never heard you mention the book... since I didn't get very far into it, maybe you HAVE read it and there's good reason for never mentioning it. But I thought I'd throw that out there. My son, who's studying political science, recommended it to me. One of these days, I hope to finish it.

Thanks for your show!

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

High fructose corn syrup has a friend in Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

KEWL! I just went to gravatar.com to add an avatar to accompany my posts here. Then, I came back to do a "test post" to see if it worked, and discovered that I didn't even need to ... my prior posts already display the avatar that I added!

Ain't it swell when things work better than you expect?

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

What is this record industry sponsored "Performance Tax" versus saveyourradio.org "Free Radio" thingy that KTLK keeps pimping about?

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


I asked those questions about your name because I ran across the following the other day and thought you’d be interested.

"For some time, physicist Murry Gell-Mann was uncertain about assigning the name quark to the fundamental constituents of the nucleus. Then he came across a line in James Joyce’s book Finnegan’s Wake. “Three quarks for Muster Mark.” End of quest. “The number three fitted perfectly the way quarks occur in nature,” Gell-Mann wrote. (And by the way, he prefers to rhyme it with pork.)"

P.S.: I had the pleasure of meeting Murry Gell-Mann some years ago at an event. Didn’t really get to speak to him much. He won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1969 for his work on elementary particles.

mathboy (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

For the caller Sylvia, who can only use the Internet at the library: Ron Wyden can be e-mailed directly through his senate page. You do not have to have an e-mail account to contact him, at least, if e-mail is the way you want to do it.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

NO! Don't tell me that my last post, abouit the avatar, WON as post of the day - that one's BORING.

I thought my FIRST post today - about "Dreams from My Father" and the fly - had a chance to win, but the avatar post ... how dissappointing!

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


I support your request for an edit button. And I'd like the return of the features the previous blog had, which were buttons below the text window that allowed us to do things like bold text, insert graphics and pictures and more.

AZAFVET (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I want to tell a little story about health care that a friend of mine told me. She developed a heel spur and needed to have it removed so she could walk without pain. She went to a foot doctor who recommended a non-invasive procedure that would use ultrasound to remove the spur. The date was made for the surgery and she made plans to take off time with her employer. The day before surgery her insurance company Blue Cross/ Blue Shield called and said the surgery was denied. Her doctor was furious, her wanted answers. BCBS has a program they call peer to peer where the her doctor can talk to the insurance company doctor. The call was set up and when the BCBS representative picked up it was a medical assistant not a doctor. When her doctor asked to speak to a doctor her was told the the BCBS med asst was as all he would get. Her doctor wanted to know why they wasted his valuable time? He also said that in 27 years of practice, he had never been treated so rudely. When my friend apologized the doctor said it wasn't her fault it was BCBS's fault. Well my friend finally had surgery but it required incisions and more healing time and was more expensive.

Another case of the (government) insurance company coming between you and your doctor?


B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


I'll read the article and get back to you next week, if the world or my world doesn't end in the meantime.

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I wonder if some of Michael Jackson's eccentricities weren't connect to his possible homosexuality; and if he was homosexual, his feeling that he didn't dare reveal it.

Not a theory, just a possibly unanswerable question.

louise (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

anyone having problems with website - email- webmaster@thomhartmann.com

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Boy, could I use that "edit" button now.

I would have added to my post about Michael Jackson that I wasn't implying that he eccentricities were an expression of his homosexuality (if in fact he was) but might have been a channeling of his feelings and inner conflicts over it in other directions. The repeated plastic surgery he underwent may have been the result of inner conflicts he felt over his identity.

AZAFVET (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I want to tell a quick health insurance story that happened to a friend last month.
My friend had bone spurs in her foot. She went to her foot doctor who recommended a non invasive ultrasound procedure to break up the spurs. She made arrangements with her employer to take time off for the procedure. The day before it was to happen, her doctor received a call from her insurance company, Blue Cross/Blue Shield denying the procedure. BCBS has a program named peer to peer where the patients doctor can talk directly to the insurance companies doctor. My friend doctor called the program but instead of being connected to a doctor he was connected to medical assistant who told him bluntly that that was the best he could get. The doctor asked why they were wasting his time? Well he said that that in his 27 years of practice, he has never been treated as poorly by an insurance company. My friend apologized to him be he told her it was not her fault.

Eventually, my friend had a outpatient procedure that involved two incisions and considerably more pain and healing time as well as being more expensive.

There it is another example of the government, uh excuse me , the insurance company coming between the patient and his doctor.

Want to know more about what's happening in health care?

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

B Roll,

Yes, let's hope there's no short-term gamma-ray burst in the "neighborhood" before then! LOL!

B Roll,

Please tell me (at your leisure) what your screen name means. I've been curious about that, too.

I'm going to refresh my knowlege about Gell-Mann in the meantime. (I would have liked to meet Richard Feynman, too. I've thought that both he and Groucho Marx wouldn't belong to any club which would want them as members!)

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

B Roll,

I have been having similar thoughts about Michael Jackson. I've been thinking about the extent to which pain in one's life affects his success. (So many of Jackson's lyrics talk about his painful childhood.) How do talent, access and luck fit into the equation (compaired with pain)?

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

And, of course, 98% perspiration!

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


When I considered a screen name it was so I could participate on the message board, which I actually have done very little of. The discussions there get so complicated, and convoluted.

From reading the message board, it seemed that there were some very smart people there; the kind who have deep and detailed knowledge of subjects they discuss. You know, like the way Thom can tell you what Thomas Jefferson's favorite flavor of ice cream is and go into detail about it.

I figured I'm not in that league, but I think I have some interesting insights (insights may be too glorious a word), and tend to see things from a different angle based on my experiences and whatever has made my mind work the way it does.

So, I felt that I might not be able to tell a whole deep detailed story, but I might be able to add some facts, thoughts, analysis and interpretations to discussions.

When you're watching the news, there's the main shot and the cutaways. The main shot is usually the reporter or anchor, if there is an on screen reporter, and then there are the cutaway shots that are supposed to give more flavor and help fill out the story. The main shot is called the A Roll and the cutaway shots are called the B Roll.

That's me. I might not have the main storyline, but I can add some cutaway shots.

I assume that the terminology comes from an organizing principle of shooting and editing. To make it easier, you'd want your main footage on one roll of film or tape and your cutaways on another. That way, when you're editing and you want to add a detail, or maybe you just need to make a transition, you can easily go to your B Roll (of tape/footage) and pick a shot to insert.

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