Thursday - October 22 2009
Hour One: What's up with the Public Option? Peter DeFazio www.defazio.house.org
Hour Two: Tax the rich and save America with Matt Welch www.reason.org
Hour Three: "Will humanity go extinct if we don't pass climate legislation?" Thom spars with Marc Morano of the Climate Depot www.climatedepot.org
Plus environmentalist Bill Mckibben joins Thom on the "biggest day of action the world has ever seen" www.350.org
plus..."Geeky Science Rocks - is your body dying to sleep?"
After experiencing firsthand the havoc that heavy snowfall can have on airport operations last year, and snow fall as late as April in a part of the country that rarely sees snow at all, it is a fair question to ask if global warming is really happening at all. However, according to many scientists who know more about this than I do, this is also a function of global warming, it is said, to be responsible for extreme weather conditions. At any rate, statistical analysis over the past few decades also suggests that there have been far more incidents of record high temperatures than record low temperatures, which would suggest an overall warming tread.
Naysayers such as Thom’s guest from the Climate Depot say that because oceans have risen only barely perceptibly, that this is solid proof that global warming is not occurring. Others say that even if climate change is occurring, it is doing so at such a slow pace that we have plenty of time to figure out how to adapt to it. One scientist, Princeton physicist J. Richard Gott, has assured us that that humanity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, like say between 5,000 and 7,800,000 years. As Alfred E. Newman would say: “What, me worry?”
One problem seems to be that most of the harm humans do to the environment is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Fishermen the world over know that decreasing yields in catch means something bad is happening. They may or may not admit that the cause of this is over-fishing and pollution, but in spite of warnings that they must effect changes in their way of doing business, they continue to resist adjusting themselves regardless of the ultimate consequences of their actions. Why? Maybe it is because they see the same thing landlubbers do—a vast expanse of ocean filled by what we imagine, not what we don’t wish to know.
What the naysayers won’t admit is that human activity, more than that of any other animal that has ever existed, have effected the environment in ways that nature had never been intended to adapt to, and because of this has reacted in ways that are opposed to the “natural” fashion of adapting to alterations in the environment. Man-made chemicals, toxins and pesticides had properties that had never been encountered before; the environment has absorbed these abnormal products, but has been unable to assimilate them. Because of that, fish die off, the number of song birds in many areas of the country have been reduced by 70 percent, trees are dying of disease, nuclear and chemical waste sites are ticking time bombs, drinkable fresh water is diminishing, and the deliberate processes of nature are too slow to replace what humans have destroyed.
We are told that there is plenty of time to mend our ways; in the mean time, we do virtually nothing. Year after year, nothing. We know, but we do nothing. There may come a time when what we know isn’t enough to allow us to do anything.
Didn't Thom coin the phrase "Medicare E" ? Olberman tried to take credit for it tonight. He keeps stealing Thom's ideas:-) I guess that's a compliment, but geeze give some credit, eh.
To Thom's credit, I believe he attributed the Medicare Part "E" idea to Dennis Kucinich. Thom certainly deserves credit for reinvigorating it's application at a opportune time.
My take on who coined the term "Medicare Part E" is a big yawn. I don't think it will change the debate this late into the game and it's easy to imagine that a number of people have independently come up with that term.
There's already Medicare part A,B,C and D. What would the next logical expansion be called? Help me people... I'm really stumped by this one. Let's see, Part A stands for "Alright", Part B stands for "Bigger", Part C stands for "Cool" and Part D stands for "Donut Hole".
I'm trying to work my way through this but I'm still stumped. Help me people!
Re: "We are truly an evil nation."
We are all entitled to our own opinions. I have no doubt that your feelings are heartfelt. Along with the right to voice our opinions comes the responsibility to not only add constructively to understanding but guard against incitement of irrational emotions. I admire the depth of your convictions and share much of the alarm you obviously feel, but, wonder about the effectiveness and wisdom of such shrill cries. The kind of hyperbole you employ seems to be better suited for Teabaggers than the intelligent and thoughtful contributors who predominate here. It is always easier to tear down than to build up. You are preaching to the choir in a way that is frankly insulting. I love my country. I am not evil. I labor to hate the sin and not the sinner. Lumping people together in the way you do serves to dehumanize and alienate people who should by all rights be your brothers and sisters.
I understand your frustration and the urgency you express but urge that you have more respect for the persuasive powers of goodwill. I came across a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche that seems to apply: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you."
I wish you well Gerald.
Note: Gerald's comments can be found at the end of yesterdays blog.
I raised this with Gerald about a week or so ago. You also had raised it that day. His reply to me was that he posts for two reasons.
1) to share information
2) as a form of therapy
I didn't reply to his reply because I felt that the therapy aspect of just venting has priority to him even if it diminishes his credibility when trying to share information.
I remember the exchange you mention. There are a few reasons I was willing to "stir up the bees" again.
1) I resent being lumped in.
2) I am concerned about being EFFECTIVE in fighting the forces that Gerald abhors. His exhortations could be used against Progressive's credibility.
3) I don't believe that this "therapy" is so much therapeutic, as it is rude and self-absorbed.
Goodbye (at least for now) B Roll and Loretta. Since Friday's exchange, I just don't have the heart for this anymore. Bullying (not yours) goes hand-in-hand with physical abuse.
i have one question for dick cheney. what is his opinion on the bill that will protect women from rape by government contractors. i wish someone would ask him. also need to ask glenn beck and sean hannity and bill oreilly the same question.
@Frank Feuerbacher -
So, what's your point? It would appear that you are equating taxes with punishment. That is not at all the case.
PRISON is for those who have violated the laws of the nation, state or community, and have either caused harm to others or placed themselves at an advantage over others by illegal means.
TAXES are the price of living in a democracy. Taxes are used to finance the commons. the idea behind the progressive tax structure is NOT to punish the successful, but to have those who have those who have profited more from the use of the commons pay a greater share for their use.
@DDay: Personally, I'm a big fan of my 'therapy' both rude and self-absorbed . . . Although making that public would run afoul of decency laws. I believe your observations follow a similar track.
Thom's site provides a more appropriate venue than this for simple venting - it's called the chat room.
That said, I do realize I'm probably as guilty as anyone of using this blog as if it were a chat room. But that's a more appropriate place for venting than this is.
I'd hate to see you go. You know you're one of my all-time faves here and I look for your posts every day (even on the weekends).
I'm not sure what upset you. I just looked at last Friday's blog and with the exception of the first two posts it looks like everything was from you, me and mstaggerlee. DDay too, but had to leave him out for the sake of rhythm and rhyme.
The only thing I see that I can see might have upset you is (in my opinion) a little good-natured teasing by DDay. I wouldn't call anything I saw "bullying". Sometimes we just don't get other people's sense of humor. Believe me, as a compulsive joker, I know what it's like to be misunderstood. :(
Here's the link to last Friday's blog.
Please look at it again (if you can) and see if there's anything there that's really offensive or abusive. Maybe you took something the wrong way or maybe I'm missing something, in which case I'd appreciate you pointing it out.
I know you were traumatized by abuse in your past, and although I don't see anything that would bring back those feelings, I can't say that I understand what you may be going through.
I hope you'll decide to stay or that you'll be back soon.
To put it in blues language...
"Baby please don't go"
If you do decide not to participate, I hope you'll continue to read. I heard a great story I want to share as soon as I can listen to it again. And by the way, it's music related. It involves a hit song, a rising star in music (who's been a star on the progressive music scene for years) and a well known actor who has a reputation for being a bit of a wild man.
Love you too... coz dat's how I roll
@mstaggerlee: Yes, taxes are not punishment; they are the fee to gain access to the benefits of the great American Experiment. It is good to understand ans highlight that.
Feuerbacher's point was pushing the idea that reaching the top of the economic strata does not mean that one should gain social benefit beyond one's fair share of social responsibility. Paying for one's legal transgressions in proportion to the transgression and not one's ability to amass wealth DOES bear similarity to adequately paying to one's portion and usage of the Commons . . . Both are measures of social responsibility.
Unfortunately, our tax system and our justice system DO have a inherit bias towards folk with a little jack in their back pockets. Feuerbacher was pointing out that taxes are even more unequal than justice. The attempt at irony was lost in the sadness of the situation AND due to the collapsed concepts of taxes and punishment.
We, all, must become less personal and less pointy about folk processing their thought processes.
At the risk of being deemed paranoid or self-absorbed, I can't help but fear that your post may be directed at me..at least in part, given the chronology of posts.
If this is the case, I am saddened. I remember a tongue in cheek exchange between B Roll and myself regarding Bob Marley, Minnesota, and you last Friday which ended with B Roll saying that you embodied "charm" for him. I couldn't have found a more appropriate statement myself.
At times I've been accused of using a howitzer when a fly swatter would have done. I hope that this is not the case here, but if it is, I regret it. No malice was intended. The primary motivation in most of what I do is a deep devotion to country. Gerald hit a sore spot. If there is any specific thing I bring to the table, it is an ability and willingness to be muscular in my advocacy. I try to balance the warrior with the compassionate, but fall short sometimes. You and Loretta offer a good role model for tolerance and patience to be emulated.
Richard & mstaggerlee,
Your posts confirm my "hunches". I thank you both for your two cents worth. I am still new and learning about the rules of the road in this venue. I am also learning about the personalities encountered.
Richard, I share your delight in confounding convention. You seem to perceive my point exactly. There is a time and place for everything. Just because I might revel in the abandonment of the polite doesn't excuse being inconsiderate to decorum.
That being said, I will admit to having a yen for playing hardball and mixing it up a bit at times. I assume, (admittedly a dangerous thing) that everyone here is an adult and can defend their positions. Some of Gerald's posts are for me the literary equivalent of farting at the dinner table. You ignore it for a while, but after a time, continued silence becomes deadly to me; so I fling some food. I'm a barbarian at heart. I hope I can be ultimately deserving of forgiveness.
I'm so grateful to you for your thoughts. Maybe I am finally realizing that I am sensitized to sarcasm and bullying. I grew up with them (along with the physical abuse) and felt so torn down that I refused honors and awards in school and later on because I didn't feel worthy. Something Karen Armstrong said was so poignant. To paraphrase, if you can't give yourself a break, it's hard to give it to others...
Yes, I did feel belittled by some of DDay's comments, whether that was the intent or not. Also, I would have appreciated it if he had addressed them TO me, not PAST me.
Thank you for reaching out. Lessons about oneself are hard to learn. I hope your off-the-blog friends cherish you, too.
@ mstaggerlee: My issue with your chatroom vs blog-comment-thread observation is I believe that words which I do not agree with just like words I do agree with both deserve a place to gain a level of permanence. Sometimes dreck must hang on the wall to allow the full impact of its crappiness to to be fully grokked.
As an example: I hate Rasta's P.o.S. anti-Israel rants with the passion hotter than the heat of thousand white hot stars. My soul cries out almost every electron that Rasta turns towards what I consider his/her/its wicked and unhelpful spewings. Having typed that . . . I have also on more than one occasioned defended his/her/its right to SPAM my existence. If sometime almost wholly lacking merit can be allowed to remain extant . . . THEN my rational ramblings perhaps stand a chance (lol).
All of us here have dwelled in the trivial or the whimsy at one time or another. All of us here have expressed less than fully acceptable or less than fully formed concepts. Yes, I'm am for calling out haters and jingoistic sloganeering BUT this place is about redefining our understanding through interaction. I play here with that point of view.
The chatroom does not allow for lasting impact. Yes, somethings may not appear to anyone else to merit extended existence, but the expresser has a right to choose . . .
SIDE NOTE: When I become the one banging drum for rational discourse, the universe is truly in trouble. . .
You're forgiven. Will you forgive me?
Karen Armstrong's emphasis on compassion with her "Compassion Project" goes to the heart of so much...
The pace here is more suitable to intellectual discourse.
So long as I don't have to page down to read a single post.
I agree with you, too. In the chat room, a sentence is typed and gone in an instant --- 'too fast to really pursue and digest.
@Quark: Farting at the dinner table . . . If timed properly . . . Can be fun and entertaining. I not saying that one should not apologize afterwards . . . BUT . . .
Often, for me, reading the perceptive comments here is much more interesting than Thom's show. Sorry Thom. It would be fun to someday have the opportunity to get together and break bread and/or share a drink together. I'll buy the first few rounds and promise to try and resist starting a food fight.
Thom - on the taxing of junk food, why not start with REMOVING the subsidy on corn syrup! That is really the root cause of much of this. If corn syrup were more expensive, manufacturers would select sugar over corn syrup as the main ingredient of sweets. It has been proven in a number of studies that corn syrup is a large root cause of much of the incidents of obesity in our society as well as a source of mercury and other toxins. I also read recently that, when heated, it converts one of its chemicals to one that is toxic to bees and that beekeepers replace the honey in hives with corn syrup so they can sell the honey while letting the bees survive on the inferior corn syrup.
the problem is not the government, the problem is the government run by republicans and consevatives.
Yes! I think about this corn syrup problem nearly every day. There is hardly a "prepared" product you can buy that does not have corn syrup added to it. I frequently invoke Chuck Grassley's name in the midst of these thoughts.
I laughed out loud at your last post. I could "hear" my son making the same claims! LOL
Cancer means there are more cells . . .
brian a. hayes,
With all due respect Brian; most progressives now believe it is the Large Corporations that are the problem Republican & Democrat alike.
Campaing finance reform is a weak attempt to address removing Politicians motivations for corruption.
@THOM: While you point about biochemistry is true at the time that the cork is popped . . . Champaign does go flatter quicker at lower pressures and temperatures temptress than STP (Standard Temperature and Pressure). At lower pressures, CO2 sloughs as static pressure lessens. As primarily water-based liquids approach their triple point, water molecules align to form crystalline structures they squeeze out dissolved gasses. Both conditions exist at extreme mountain top conditions.
Thanks for pointing that out. I keep forgetting about them, even though I fiercely believe that the corporations are our main problem. That explains why, with Republicans comprising only 19-20% of the population (and falling), we still have these big battles to fight, politically.
I was having a little fun at your expense last week. That was not gracious. I also was for the first time,(I believe), for taking a little issue with some of your comments. That was innocent in intent. I just wanted to mix it up a bit. You mentioned pedantic about Al Franken, which stood out at the time. I winced and wondered if I should take care because I am the most pedantic SOB you'll ever encounter. (Question: Is it pedantic to use the word pedantic?)
As has been mentioned by others, like others, my humor is often misundersetimated. I find it hard to not amuse myself and too often expect others to understand. Without getting too sappy, I thought you must realize that I had rapidly grown very fond of you in particular. Your generosity of spirit is transparent and profound in my estimation. Then again... you might be a real a-hole. (Just kidding) See? I have little impulse control!
Quark...of course I forgive you but you don't need it.
Richard: I would love to get fully grokked...I think...What are the parameters?
To all interested parties: I agree with all of you, (for the most part) in your comments. So now we had our first little kerfuffle! I'm chagrined to learn that yet once again I was the source of discord. My apologies. It's my nature. I would like to make one more observation. Once again it took FARTS to clear the air....and bring us together again. Which one of us called this "Mensa with Fart Jokes" ?
I want to say something and I can't figure out what it is. I think it has something to do about how we are constantly presented with opportunities to learn about ourselves and others, but we usually fail to do so.
I really don't think that DDay addressed his comments past you. He was responding to my comment to you not knowing much about Bob Marley when I referred to your previous comment about people living in different worlds and then asking where the heck is Minnesota.
His comment was in response to my joke and he was playing with the idea of a quark being in a small world.
If you look at the comments he posted to you, especially in your discussion of Al Franken, you'll see what a kind and thoughtful person he is. To the best of my reckoning, my two favorite participants on this blog are Quark and DDay.
By the way, in one of your posts to me you mentioned Leon Redbone. I use to sing his version of "Aint Misbehavin'" to a young lady I was seeing at the time. You can't imagine the inhibition I felt singing to her since a few years before we were dating she had been the girlfriend of Stevie Wonder. She also knew quite a few very well known singers.
Even further by the way, as I was looking at the Friday blog trying to find what upset you, I noticed that mstaggerlee mentioned the singer I have the story about, Michael Franti.
I always say the truth is right there for us to see.
Your point is apropos too.
Anyone seen Michael Moore's New Movie?
Again, Thom is right on the Science. Nice
It's why Ireland has nice summers, at all.
My take is slightly different although I share some of your analysis. I assume that the readership of this blog is very small, if you don’t include the FBI, CIA and whatever other governmental and commercial organizations get reports on what may be said here. See
I really don’t imagine that Gerald Socha will be quoted around the Internet and on this blog, his style has put him in a similar category as Rasta, who’s also way over the top, sincerely concerned and often referenced good sources.
The reason I dropped the topic with him is because I didn’t see much of a chance of getting a useful response.
I don’t see why Gerald (an unknown private citizen) would be quoted when they could get the same thing and more by quoting Mike Malloy, who is more well known and incendiary than Gerald.
I’m far more concerned about things said by the progressive talkers I’m aware of: Mike Malloy, who would be my favorite if he only believed in self-control. Randi Rhodes who is the reason I turn my radio off when Thom’s show ends because I think she’s self-absorbed and obnoxious, Stephanie Miller who is sillier than she is deep and Thom Hartmann who I have many many issues with.
Don't forget the Hard-Core Republicans posing as Moderates or Democrats pushing subtle dissent among progressive media fans.
Regarding the addictive nature of junk food, I believe I posted a link, in early August, to an a segment of Democracy Now in which former FDA commission David Kesller talked about how our foods (especially fast foods) have been engineered to be addictive and the effect they have on our brains.
@DebbieKat: The problem is while high fructose corn syrup appears to short circuit the Krebs Cycle, it if fact is stored rather than burned. Added to its addictive nature . . .
The issue is NOT subsidy of corn and corn syrup; it is price breaks and subsidies of the customers of those products. That way Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Corn Syrup Manufacturers) gets to claim that there are no corn subsidies and not actually be lying.
The other issue is “poor folk food”. When we worked in fields and did manual labor, single meals of high calories high fat (and therefore tasty foods) was required to support the laborer. NOW we eat the same food three times per day. In addition, these foods tend to be cheaper . . . So our lower economic strata consume double the calories to receive the same sustenance . . . So they are fatter.
Here is another fact to think about with the great conveyor belt of ocean water. Not only is heat released when it arrives off the coast of Greenland (the Labrador Sea), but it also is the place where the greatest amount of carbon dioxide is dissolved in the seawaters and sequestered to the depths of the ocean as the cold water sinks. Cold water dissolves more gas than warm water, which is also why trout like fast moving, cold water : )
Somehow I felt that you might have taken some of my criticism of Al on yourself and you maybe felt a little stung (and responded accordinginly.) Let me just say that I critique Al like this because I DO wish I felt differently about him.
As a public persona, his beliefs and demeanor aren't things I care that much about. As a representative of the electorate, though, he is too authoritarian and not very open to other ideas or points of view or approachable enough for me.
I have always been able to talk with my representatives. I cannot talk with him. He tends to make up his mind and that's it, for better or worse. At least that's my impression and experience. I think he very much wants to make a positive difference and I applaud him for that. Maybe that is as much as I could want and I should be (and am) grateful for that, tho I miss the other qualities.
I will try to see the situation as a glass AT LEAST half full. I do believe he is a good person (and his tender heart always leaves me with tears in my eyes.)
Hey B Roll,
I take it back...Quark isn't that generous....it's you. (Just kidding again Q!) You explained my true intent regarding MN & Marley better than I could. Your praise has meant a lot to me on more than one occasion. I can't tell how much I was raised by your praise of my post about Martine & Lucien & The Little Prince. It was like I won the lottery. When you put sincere effort into something, and get no feedback, it is easy to wonder if you're full of crap. To know that someone who you have grown to respect sees merit in your work means so much. Encouragement is a precious gift too often discounted or neglected. Thank you friend.
I've noticed that, when I become aware that there is a learning opportunity (about myself or others), I feel the most truly alive. It's that "sink or swim" moment --- you might die, but you might also break through with a "treasure." I guess that's what has motivated me to take risks in life. You never know 'til you try.
I was recently telling my husband that I haven't been adventuresome or taken any real risks for a long time. A home and family have kept my feet on the ground for more years than I can believe. Thom, by contrast, takes risks all the time (tho maybe he doesn't think of his globetrotting that way.)
I have to give this more thought.
"Aint Misbehavin' " --- what a great way to serenade a young lady. It's hard to sing that without a twinkle in your eye! (I also love Fats Waller for the same reason.) I guess humor is as important to life (for me) as breathing! Bless you, B Roll. (I would really miss you if I didn't make this blog part of my day.)
Re: Gerald Socha
I don't really disagree. Gerald is unlikely to be quoted by name. His message is however counterproductive and enforces stereotypes about liberals. Not helpful.
As to your assessment of the various radio personalities, I have little opinion except in Stephanie's case. I must come to her defense. Humor can be a sharp sword, laughter is the music of the soul, and most importantly...when I was last in her company she called me her STUD MUFFIN so all could hear her. She had me for good at that point. Yes... I'm easy...I'm cheap... and I'm shallow. men are pigs :-)
Oh, the things I could say about Stephanie Miller but that would be talking out of school and she's not here to defend herself, as Thom would say.
Re: Al Franken
My response to your observations about Al was guided by a sense of loyalty and ego. Your comments were entirely justifiable in my opinion. I had a similar response...initially. I was trying to get you to look past his apparent unease dealing one on one. Al is not a natural glad-hander or retail politician. He is a very complex dude. Your perceptions are absolutely accurate and valid. I just wanted to explain his discomfort. Underneath it all he is a really good guy, I believe. He is arrogantly smart and maybe that will serve him well in the World's Most Exclusive Club. I am confident that he'll vote in our best interests. Hopefully he'll grow more confident and relaxed with us mortals in the future.
I'll share a funny anecdote concerning Al. When Amy was running almost three years ago, there was a fund raising event in ST. Paul. It was $250 a head to have cocktails with Walter Mondale, Al Franken & Amy Klobuchar. I decided to go and take my wife. We had planned to go out to dinner that night anyway, and I figured I could take in a bunch of Al's books to get them autographed. I use them at silent auctions to raise money for down-ticket candidates. I had met Al on several occasions previously and expected to receive no recognition from him; as had been my experience before. Therefore, instead of approaching him or bugging him, I instead went over to talk to his aid, (Body man) Andy who I knew. While I was telling him my request, unknown to me, Al was hitting on my attractive wife at the strawberry pyramid. She later told me that he came up to her and said rather proudly: "Hi, I'm Al Franken". She said "yeh, I know". Al wouldn't have paid attention to me if I had been on fire, but he was real outgoing with my Janis. Some months later I was able to get back at him a little when I relayed this story to Franni Franken while Al listened in. Giving him shit broke the ice for Al and I. That being said, the next time we are together, he may well act like he doesn't know me again. Time will tell.
Tell me everything you know about Stephanie! I guarantee she won't mind a bit. I'll bet Thom is enamored by her too. She is one of the best retail politicians I've ever seen. Absolutely charming in a slightly naughty way. Women hate her because she is like a Queen Bee surrounded by drones. :-)
Food for thought. It would be ridiculous for prison sentences to be based on someone's hourly wage. In such a system, Bill Gates might spend 15 minutes in prison for a crime, while a peach picker would spend 30 years. Likewise we have a progressive tax system, where people are taxed according to their ability so that the load is more equal.