Daily Topics - Wednesday December 23 2009

green eco christmas imagesHour One - Do the Democrat's have a secret plan...shhhh, don't tell anyone...to get health care passed?

Hour Two - Why do conservatives want all American's to get a lump of coal? Dan Gainor www.businessandmedia.org

Hour Three -  Is the commercial "spirit" of Christmas killing us? Alex Epstein www.aynrand.org


Quark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

The Top 10 Stories of the Last 4.5 Billion Years --- Onion Annual Year 2009


('Sorry everyone, but I need to laugh. We are going through a health emergency --- ER, etc. --- with our 28-year-old son.)

Mark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

The comic opera of Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith switching from Dem to Republican was made more so when after the initial “welcoming” by the Republican gentry, the tea baggers decided to weigh in to say that he was a fraud because he was not “conservative” enough. Remarkable how they keep telling us themselves what they are all about, and Thom keeps hearing something else. Someone on Rachel Maddow’s show stated the obvious last night: that most Americans—rather than feel a connection with them—are terrified of the tea baggers, because they appear to be (not to mention to act) more right-wing extremist than “populist.” We have to realize that hate is a powerful motivational force, especially when the principle object of that hate is a black man. Meanwhile, with near everyone on the left falling in line with the Senate health care bill (including Howard Dean), it is hard to ascertain who was the more foolish—tea baggers who most people dismissed as hooligans, or “lefties” who stayed home and belly-ached. In the end, with the exception of a few who were guided by their conscious and public spiritedness, lawmakers were always listening to other voices—the ones with the cash.

Mark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

On Monday Thom mentioned the level of education equality in Wisconsin being among the highest in the country. Wisconsin, ground-zero for the popularly-supported progressive and socialist movements in the late 19th and early 20th century, did not shy from instituting relatively high state taxes to pay for progressive social policies. Some of this money was used to pay for one of the best public university systems in the country; the University of Wisconsin has thirteen fully-functional four-year university branches, and an equal number of two-year branches, serving more than 160,000 students.

Compare this to the state of Washington, which has no progressive state income tax, but an antiquated property tax and a regressive sales tax--and still has a backwater mentality in certain places. Washington has a population roughly equal to Wisconsin, yet the University of Washington system has only two tiny branches that offer only a very limited curriculum, in all serving less than 40,000 students. Its main campus in Seattle is less than half the size of the Madison campus. Although there is a handful of four-year institutions outside the public system, in toto Washington not just serves far fewer students, but far fewer students from its own backyard. The percent of UW’s student population that is made-up of foreign students—particularly from the Pacific Rim—would rather shock most residents if they bothered to be aware of it. One caveat, however, to the lower drop-out rate in Wisconsin: it has a lower percentage of minority students as well, mostly concentrated in the southeastern portion of the state. The number of minority students in a 1,000 student high school I attended in a town midway between Milwaukee and Madison could be counted on one hand.

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

All we need is a miracle.

Mir (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Thom...it ain't going to happen! First, I do not believe that top progressives, even like Sen. Sanders, are going to go against (or will be allowed to go against) the 'rest' of the democratic party in an election year.
I actually think the bill will pass the house without any changes to it and that will actually get it thru to the president (if I understand the process correctly).
If this issue is forced to go to reconcilliation (highly unlikely) even then I do not believe the majority of democrats will openly go against the president (who looks to be in control of Rahm Emanuel and other 'corporatists) and get a 'medicare for all' option (which might be the only possible option thru this process). So the bill might as well die at that point and the democrats will suffer heavily in the subsequent couple of election cycles.

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Thom you're an incredible optimist. God bless you.

However, I think the insurance companies are prepared for this just because its in their nature to assume the worst outcome.

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Are the Democrats really ready to face the onslaught of advertising coming from the Health Insurance companies?

Ich denk nicht!

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

I say concentrate on Frankin then, of all the Senators mentioned, I think he has the gumption and willingness to do it.

Wendy (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Perhaps that what Obama meant when he said "Make me do it."

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Obama names conservatives to Legal Services board


Wendy (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

A very Happy Yule to you and yours Thom! =)

Brightest Blessings!

Christian Ready (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Tom, please stop talking about the possible secret plan of the Democrats! The insurance companies are listening!!!!! :) They probably are but they're probably getting their intel from hill staffers anyway. Thanks for the hope though!

Mark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Yeah, that's right Thom, blame everything on "illegal aliens" working in janitorial jobs (especially the Eastern Europeans that Wal-Mart employed, although I'm sure those are not the people Thom's thinking of). Given Thom and Dan's argumenting, is it not odd how the "illegals"--that is "Mexicans"--are the all-purpose scapegoats--just as I have been saying since I've been writing on this blog. Brown is the new Black.

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

FDR saved capitalism from itself in the 30's.

The elite just don't seem to understand, at a certain point a person without hope acts desperately and irrationally. Its just not good to have a society filled with the hopeless.

Heck even Bismark, the Iron Chancellor, the man who was forced to resign by Kaiser Wilhelm II because he felt him to conservative, even he supported workers compensation, health care and social security. (Of course it was because he understood that it would placate the masses instead of agitate them).

jack (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

All this talk about insurance companies leeches makes my head and my wallet hurt... but I betcha Tom is in the bag for one particular insurance company...... Progressive! He's always taking their side, isn't he....? : )

Merry Yule!

Jim Carravallah (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

I'm a retired federal worker, finishing a 27-year career supporting the US Army as an Acquisition Logistics specialist.

My job was to oversee contractor efforts (the last being Boeing -- hired to execute a program in behalf of the government just after GW Bush invaded Iraq and sent money to Army modernization efforts).

In that job, I oversaw contracted effort where the government bought services from Boeing at $400,000 per person per year, watching eighty alleged logisticians (actually retired soldiers ranging in rank from sergeant through 3-star generals) perform work which my six person staff could have done more efficiently. In the end the six did the planning and scheduling that the 80-some persons couldn't accomplish in seven years.

The traditional cost plus overhead for persons working at a contractor is 50-50, meaning we were paying Boeing $200,000 in salary and $200,000 in overhead for each person working the program.

There were few cases where I encountered contracted persons who I could engage in a meaningful discussion of planning to execute a complicated logistics program. At the end of the program I earned $126,000 for the year (plus 11-percent overhead for retirement and government share of health benefits).

The skill set Boeing provided me ranged from two levels below me to three above. One of the maybe 200 Boeing personnel I encountered over seven years could have passed the job interview I conducted to hire those on my staff.

If libertarians are attempting to lower government salaries, it has to be to allow this type of abuse to be expanded in the private sector.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

U-Tube and Videotape are the banes of the Recessivist . . .

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

The health care reform win certainly wouldn't hurt Obama's chances in 2012, but in reality it'll all come down to whats happening from Aug - Oct 2012.

Hope the economy doesn't tank by then.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Yes, the string is pushed through the Legislative branch BUT the Executive branch’s fingerprints are all over the handle being used to pull the string back outta the hole.

midnightride (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Per the importance of using the correct word, Mark Twain made the following observation:

The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
- Mark Twain Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888

Stan (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Anybody got any brilliant ideas? I came up with this sign for teabagger rallies.
I'm dissatisfied with it. Can you do better?

Big Banks


Big Insurance


Vapor Democrats


Vapor Republicans

-Less Substance Than

The Bubbles in Pop-

Incidentally, government salaries, social security and unemployment payments are a way to keep buying power in the economy during recessions. To cut them is to make the economy worse.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

The commercialization of Christmas is okay by me . . . and yes, I know that me being a Hebrew colors my personal view. I am, also, okay with the FUAX News sponsored War on Christmas.

I am shameless . . .

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago


Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

The age of the Robber Barons was one of the greatest periods in human history?

OK Polyanna, lets just espouse anarchy too, who needs rules and regulations anyway.

Freak'n idgit.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

@THOM: The middle class does NOT matter to folk who worship the destruction of society as their primary tenet. Argue the best of times for any group makes no difference to the worshipers of the sole self . . . Alex Epstein is a douche, also.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago


After listening to you trying to talk with Alex Epstein, it seems clear to me that Alex has too much invested in his cultish beliefs. Whatever evidence you give for liberal political intervention which actually HELPED the economy at a period of time, Alex dismisses those things as being merely incidental. It seems that he will not accept that anything you have to say might be correct.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago


i.e., Alex is brainwashed and not able to argue in good faith...

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

@Quark: I disagree with your premise . . . For Alex Epstein to be brainwashed, it would require the existence of a brain . . . There is no empirical evidence of that.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago


Maybe it would be worthwhile to have deprogrammers as guests to help us "talk" with right-wing cult members. Maybe they could help us use language that would help "wake up" such people. Remember est?


Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

I guess Obama isn't really worried about keeping the insurance companies honest.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

@THOM: Stop trying to re-inflate the "HOPE" bubble . . .

AZAFVET (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

I'm confused. If those who deny global warming and that increasing CO2 levels don't matter are wrong, it could mean the end of humanity on earth. If those who believe that global warming and get CO2 levels decreased are wrong, we end up with clean air. It's a no brainer!

Quark (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago


LOL. What do you suppose is sending electrical signals to Alex's nervous system?


Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Thom, please put links to the Senators you want us to write to in regards to your health care bill theory, in you daily newsletter.

Will be happy to write them (even if I doubt they'll act, couldn't hurt).

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Happy holiday y'all

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

@Quark: I am reminded of the page or so in Douglas Adams’ book “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” where Ford Prefect supposes that humans talk in an effort to keep their brain from working . . .

Dianescat (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Thom was talking about the Supreme Court case now going on that will enshrine corporate control of the government by giving corporations full citizenship and right to spend as much as they want on campaigns

Does anyone know the best place to respond to this so it will make a difference to the court?

bobbler (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Does anyone read the previous day blog?

It is not an option for me to listen live, so my posts are always 6 hours behind..

So, the question is; should I bother to respond to anything (below is one of my previous posts):

> I liked the Thomas Moore lawyer. He wasn’t a jerk, and he gave us something
> to think about.
> Perhaps the solution to religious displays on public property
> is to have more of them. Let the deists, agnostics and atheists get off
> their duffs and put up displays too. Here in Washington state there’s a
> minor controversy about after-school clubs on public property that
> propagandize for Christianity. The non-Christers should organize their own
> clubs, and let them fight it out by providing better service kids.

The fundies that fight so hard to put their religious symbols on public property are the same ones who want to make america into a theocracy.. So, its not religious freedom on the public square they are after; rather they want to control it.. Rather than expecting atheists to retaliate with our own displays, I say they should put these displays in front of churches (take a look at how many churches have these religious Christmass displays on their own property.. very few).. I believe the act of putting these displays on public property is symbolic to the fundies, that they are the power behind our government..

Every time I can recall when we (atheists) did as you suggested, our displays were resented, and stolen on more than one occasion (even after some court decided that all displays would be allowed).. Its a pain, and I believe counter productive (because it always generates animosity toward atheists)..

Freethought Society

Eric Cooper (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

hmmmm....I wonder why old Max Baucus is smiling this Christmas Eve?

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 4 weeks ago

Hi bobbler!

I think atheists need to be more effective. If they tear down your sign, put up another one. If they aren't inspired by your display, come up with a better one.

Winning isn't easy. If it was, you'd have already one.

Remember last year when here in Washington State, there was an atheist holiday display that went beyond promoting atheism to insulting religion? It was ineffective.

In contrast, "Festivus for the Rest of Us" is effective because it's funny, non-insulting, and makes a point.

Democracy Itself Is on Trial

Thom plus logo While Donald Trump is on trial in the Senate impeachment hearings, many commentators are pointing out that the Senate is also at trial. Few, however, are pointing out that the fare and future of our country may will also be decided by this trial.

Latest Headlines

Who rejected United States-North Korea peace talks?

There were conflicting reports on Sunday regarding a recent proposal for United States-North Korea peace talks which was allegedly made before North Korea"s recent nuclear test

U.K. Pound Falls As Markets Get Brexit Jitters

Bloomberg said on Monday the pound had sustained its biggest fall against the dollar in 11 months

Clinton: I'll defend Israel but push for 'two-state solution

Hillary Clinton believes both Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz "missed the mark" with their approach to the Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict
From Screwed:
"Hartmann speaks with the straight talking clarity and brilliance of a modern day Tom Paine as he exposes the intentional and systematic destruction of America’s middle class by an alliance of political con artists and outlines a program to restore it. This is Hartmann at his best. Essential reading for those interested in restoring the institution that made America the envy of the world."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a creative thinker and committed small-d democrat. He has dealt with a wide range of topics throughout his life, and this book provides an excellent cross section. The Thom Hartmann Reader will make people both angry and motivated to act."
Dean Baker, economist and author of Plunder and Blunder, False Profits, and Taking Economics Seriously