Daily Topics - Monday - February 22 2010

healthcare imagesQuote:  "The best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class." --   Aristotle, Politics

Hour One - Obama Healthcare?

Hour Two - What does privacy mean to you and is Orwell's 1984 here?

Hour Three - Bob King UAW Vice President www.uaw.org When is organized labor going to get serious about demanding protectionism like China and Japan?

Upcoming Events with Thom Hartmann:

Friday, March 5th - 6 to 8pm, Denver, CO - AM 760 presents Thom and David Sirota taking opposite sides "Is it Time to Abandon the Democratic Party?"  Event is  sold out but you can still enter to win tickets!!  Visit AM760.net for details.


Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

I had an opportunity to watch “Frontline” on National Public Television (February 16, 2010). The subject was our Digital Nation.

Students are different today. They are into multi-tasking and multi-tasking is very difficult. Distraction affects our learning and our students should not be multi-tasking. But, trying to stop students from multi-tasking is not easy. Our students are becoming addicted to technology. Addiction to technology can cause health problems and it may also be a psychiatric problem. Our students’ mental health is at stake.

Our students are playing too many violent games on the computer. Eyes and ears are also affected by technological addiction. Computer games shrink the brain. Using the internet is short term and a student can become bored. Reading and writing skills are important but technology is interfering with these skills. Reading on the internet is not the same as reading a book. Time on the internet and with computer technology interferes with a student’s writing skills. Our college students are revealing poor writing skills.

Is technology preventing students from thinking and how do we separate the real from the unreal and how do we differentiate from what is right and from what is wrong? People are living in a make believe world. Virtual reality and virtual interaction are the waves of the future.

Frontline also shared information that the drones attacking various countries are directed from a military base near Los Vegas, Nevada. The United States is expanding the numbers and use of drones in our military world.

The military services are using video games to recruit more students and people to join military service. The video games of killing human beings are becoming more and more accepted by our students and our people. We are continuing to be a violent nation. School learning is more important than computer learning but it appears that a digital life is here to stay. Our digital life is affecting our human values and apparently the killing of human beings in video games is easing our killing of human beings in the real world. A kill mentality is becoming more accepted in the United States of America.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

We keep hearing how great we have it as Americans. In Europe August, the entire month, is considered a national holiday. There are thirty days of vacation with fun and frolic. In December the last two weeks of the month are furlough time from work. Plus, workers in Europe are respected and they also have safety nets for unemployment and for catastrophic health problems. In America the worker is treated like cannon fodder and plow horses with little or no safety nets for unemployment and catastrophic health problems.

Americans need more down time for mental health. Here is how I would set up the Down Time as holidays. Each month would have at least one day set aside for down time and holiday pay.

1, 2, and Martin Luther King’s Day

Presidents’ Day and George Washington’s Birthday

One workday

Good Friday and one workday

One workday and Memorial Day

One workday

4 and one workday

One workday

Labor Day and one workday

One workday

Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week

24, 25, 26, and 31

Twenty-three days would be set aside as holidays. The American worker needs more down time from slave work and slave wages.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

The Justice Department in the Obama Administration has ruled that the torture memos by Bush officials were poor judgment. These officials cannot be prosecuted for any crimes. International law prohibits torture of human beings but America and her citizens are above the law. American officials can do whatever they desire and they can only be charged with poor judgment. Even if we could imprison poor judgment, these officials cannot be imprisoned.

It would appear that human life is irrelevant; the killing of God’s children is irrelevant; the Ten Commandments are irrelevant; torture is irrelevant; crimes against humanity are irrelevant; the Golden Rule is irrelevant; and the Beatitudes are irrelevant. The decision by Obama’s Justice Department will make America’s healing process impossible. We will continue to be above the law.

I have tried through my words to make a difference for a better world. My comments and posts will have no affect on change. My comments and posts will place me in a state of anxiety, exhaustion, and stress. Since I am in the twilight of my life and my health is tenuous, I do not need to remain in this state. I have found that less commenting and posting has eased my state of anxiety, exhaustion, and stress. I will not say that I will not comment and post my thoughts and words but I do believe less commenting and posting will be better for my health.

I will continue to listen to Thom’s radio show but I will try to comment and post less and between various intervals. At some point God will call me for judgment and with less to say you may recall my words, “Old posters will never die; they will just fade away."

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

I am thoroughly bewildered. I like to think I have a good grasp of what liberals and conservatives are. Albeit, there is some confusion regarding the conflict of economic and social factions within each. What is a "Centrist"? Or more precisely, what do centrists stand for.

The posts and comments I read seem to indicate a hodge-podge of thoughts, none representing a clear viewpoint on any particular policy. In most cases the stance taken is to be in disagreement with whatever is put forward as a solution. This then leads the author to declare not being able to support the person offering the solution.

Are these the same people who object to school fundraisers to purchase copy paper; then vote against a millage to adequately fund the local school system? Complain about the cost of snow removal and garbage pickup while lobbying the city council to lower property tax rates? "Fix our problems as long as I don't have to personally contribute to the solution. Let me go about my day." Are centrists the proverbial "something for nothing crowd"?

Pease help me understand what centrists stand for?

River Wolfe (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

very interesting blog all about unemployment and the middle class or lower middle class, written from the perspective of a survivor


Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago


Can't say it better than Jim Hightower did:

“There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Centrists or moderates seem to stand for everything while at the same time stand for nothing. The seek to compromise for the sake of compromise regardless of the outcome.

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

I contacted my other Senator, Voinovich, asking him to sign onto the public option. He's a Repub not seeking reelection so I incouraged him to stop towing the party line and do what is right for the people for once.

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

"My" rep, Mike McCaul (R) is sponsoring several Tea Party rallies in the next few weeks.

Patricia Acheff (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

You have it all wrong about this man who flew his plane into a building. He's not anyone to be admired or pitied, for heavens sake, he set fire to his family's home (what a nice person, huh?) before committing suicide in a way that would take some people with him. Please don't turn him into some kind of symbol of our country's recent frustration, he was one of these angry men who've been angry all their lives! These anti-tax folks have been around for decades, they use it as a target for their own personal failings in life.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Jim Hightower on pigeons:

“The only difference between a pigeon and the American farmer today is that a pigeon can still make a deposit on a John Deere.”

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

re; pigeons: hey Thom! If pigeons are robots, how do you explain squab?

Quark (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago


Have you ever talked about Nikola Tesla and his pigeons?


Increasingly frequent pigeons became his company, and Tesla turned his hotel room into a pigeon-loft. He would bring to it all wounded, starving, ill and old pigeons. Then he would give them a medical treatment and a help. If he did not know the way he should cure them, he would give them to the vet asking a complete medical treatment for his "friend". Once, Tesla became ill and it was obvious that he could not go back to the hotel that day. Ha ordered his secretary to phone the hotel room-maid and ask her to feed the white dove every day until his return.

If he were not able to go to the Bryant Park, he would pay the "Western Union" newspaper carrier to feed the birds. The dove was so close to Tesla's heart that he did never let her go. He was deeply shaken when she died and he decided to bury her where he could come to her grave. He told about the white dove to his biographer John O'Neill: "I have fed pigeons, maybe thousands of them, for years. Nevertheless, there was a pigeon among them, an exceedingly beautiful and perfectly white bird with pale greyish spots on its wings. It was just different. It was a female. I would recognise her anywhere. Moreover, wherever I was that white dove would find me. When I wanted her to come, I would just make a wish and whistle, and she would fly right to me. She understood me and I understood her. I loved that dove indeed. Indeed, I loved her as a man loves a woman, and it loved me. When she got ill, I knew and understood it at once. She came to my room and stayed there with me for days. That pigeon was a real happiness of my life. If she needed me, nothing else was important to me. As long as she was with me, my life had sense. Then, one night, while I was lying on my bed as usual solving some problem, she flew in through an open window and landed right on my desk. I knew she needed me. She wished to tell me something important, so I stood up and made a step towards her. As soon as I saw her, I knew what she wanted to tell me – that she was dying. At the very moment when I realized her message, out of her eyes came a flashed some light-powerful rays of light. Indeed, it was a real powerfully blinding, dazzling light, stronger than any other I had ever produced with my best laboratory lamps. When the pigeon died, some part of my life died too. Up to that moment, I had known that I would have finished my work no matter how ambitious my program was. However, when that part of mine died I realized that my life work is finished too. Yes, I have fed those pigeons for years and I still feed them, thousands of them, but. In the end-who will know…"

thebinxster (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

thom is dead wrong about tea partiers being soms sort of leading indicator of political turmoil.
when are progressives - and everyone, for that matter - going to understand that the tea party movement is and always has been a total fabrication of the republican party.
republicans realized that their brand was so tarnished, after bush, that they would have to do something drastic to make themselves viable again, by the next election.
their solution?
create, out of whole cloth, with the help of fox news and deep pocket donors, a new movement.
and while the movement may have had differences, initially, with republican principles, those differences are steadily, but surely being smoothed over.
all of a sudden, republican leaders are trying tea partiers to come home, essentially, to their rightful place at the republican table.
this has been their entire plan all along.
anything that provides any credibility to the movement - including the idea of attempting to reach out to tea partiers - misses the essential nature of the movement and is horribly misguided.
the tea party movement is simply the republican party after a bath and makeover. and despite the bath and makeover, they will still be republicans. the sooner everyone recognizes that fact, the better off everyone will be.

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Pigeons were used many years ago in early rocketry and the early space race. they were actually used as guidance systems , steering by pecking (which is, by the way, how many people steer.). Many were used in the scientific study of fecal matter (stool pigeons). ;D

Phil Kane (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

How we the people can benefit from the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Tax the income that the media make from advertising of political campaigns at a 50-75% tax rate, and
put that into a public election campaign fund similar to "Clean Elections", where candidates wanting to
recieve public funding must collect a certain number of qualifying contributions from registered voters.

This would allow more political party's to compete in the political system.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@Gerald -

Referring to your initial post today -

"Is technology preventing students from thinking and how do we separate the real from the unreal and how do we differentiate from what is right and from what is wrong? "

I find it somewhat amusing that the above sentence is included in a post that states that students TODAY are not learning to write properly. My wife had been an educator for the past 30 years, until her recent (forced) retirement. In her view, as the world changes, education needs to change, too.

The world that today's children are being educated to survive in is very different form the world you and I were educated to live in, Gerald. Forms of communication that nobody dreamed of when we were children are in widespread use today. Everything happens faster. There was only ONE form of instantaneous communication when we were young - the telephone. Do you recall what a big deal a LONG DISTANCE CALL was in the late 1950's/early 1960's?

Today, almost ALL communication is instantaneous. I sit here in New Jersey, hear something on a radio show or read a post here and it inspires an idea - I type it here, and in seconds, Gerald in Minnesota and Charles in Ohio and Richard in California are all privy to my inner thoughts. I'm one of the vanishingly rare breed that actually READS what he typed before hitting the post button, probably because I write for a living (technical manuals) and am simply used to proofreading. I'm occasionally amused by the poor excuses for spelling and sentence structure I find these days, but amusement is about as far as it goes - I don't let it upset me.

The new generation is the first that was raised by people who grew up with television. TV reinforces distraction and lack of focus - here, let us tell you this story ... it's gonna take about 40 minutes to tell it, but every 10 minutes, we're gonna break away from the story for 5 minutes and tell you about lotsa other cool stuff that you're gonna want. So, we learn to concentrate in short bursts only. Is it, then, any wonder that taking the time for trivia like making sure that you spelled everything right and making sure your sentence structure makes some kinda sense in the post you've just written are deemed trivial to today's youth?

rewinn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Whenever I hear Boehner and the rest of the GOP complain about the upcoming health care summit, I think of Admiral Akbar saying "It's a Trap!"

Unlike Admiral Akbar, the Republicans are cowards, and we need to take every opportunity to remind America of this

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@mstaggerlee: yeah! Technology can now mess with time itself. How else can you make a 60-minute NFL game last 3 hours and 40 minutes?

mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Thom asked earlier today if Joe Stack represents a symptom of the screwing of the middle class. I'd have to reply with a resounding "NO!"

I consider myself to be representative of the upper-middle class. Neither I, nor any in my circle of friends owns an airplane that he could fly into any building, if we were so motivated. A couple of us do have pianos, but none of us are looking for ways to write them off our income for our next tax return.

Joe Stack a wealthy, selfish bastard, who thinks the world owes him something, but that he owes the world nothing. He quite simply a sociopath who became too frustrated and enraged with trying to avoid the price of entry into American society (taxes) to continue living. There is absolutely NO lesson to be learned from this incident.

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

changing the subject.. how do you feel about the "medal count"? I hate the metal count. To me, its the opposite of the whole spirit of the olympics. And we're infecting the rest of the world.

Do ya'll remember olympic gymnast Paul Hahn, who was awarded the gold in (I think) the Tokyo olympics because of a scoring error? The lame IOC left it up to Hahn whether to keep the gold, and he kept it, rather than ceding it to the rightful winner, a Chinese gymnist. That, to me is the epitome of "the ugly american". And this "metal count" crap is a consequence.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

If I point out that the White House's just-published, potential healthcare bill appears to be literately the same piece of crap that Senator Lieberman 'extorted' the Senate DEMs to get for the healthcare insurance industry, would I be called impolite names for saying so?

Quark (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Our Politics May Be All in Our Head


Speaking of Republican cowards, you may be more accurate than you know. Did you see this Nicholas Kristof piece from the Feb. 20 NYTimes?

"Our Politics May Be All in Our Head"


mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@thebinxter - I think you have it backwards - the tea partiers are the unwashed Republicans, not the other way around. ;-)

rewinn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

The Torture Memo lawyers that Thom just referred to may have been exonerated by the same lawyers they worked with, who obviously have a reason for exonerating them.

We don't have to take their exoneration seriously. The Justice Department appears to be hopeless compromised in that regard.

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@rewinn - might you be suggesting a Kucinich Congressional Investigation of War Crimes

thebinxster (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago


true, in a metaphorical sense. individually, that is.
the "movement" as it is, however, is simply the old republican party with a newly scrubbed face, a face that they hope the electorate won't recognize.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago


I must say, as a former editor and proof reader, I am often ashamed at the errors I make on this blog --- my previous post as an example. (I meant to delete the first heading, but didn't.) My tortured mind isn't what it used to be, I guess...stress+age=imperfection. 'Wish it weren't the case. I keep trying, though. :-~

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago


I've called both Conyer's & Leahy's offices today, both are scheduling hearings on the torture memos, and asked that they call Mr. Holder in to testify on why he is refusing to prosecute torture.

Leahy's hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@Charles in OH:

The problem is there is no left-wing in American politics at this time and the corporate-owed media has an “all is fair in the middle” story-line to sell. In truth:

1. About 40% plus of the Congress Critters are purely politically motivated, knee-jerk obstructionists,

2. 15 to 25 % are solidly dependable right-wingers,

3. The majority of the rest are centrists, and

4. There is a meager dozen or so in the Senate and House combined that have any moderate pretense toward being ‘Progressive’ or ‘Liberal’.

The folk we are labeling “Moderate” are RIGHT- WINGERS.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago


I said the other day that we were on the precipice of disaster in Marjah, in our effort to defeat the Taliban and win hearts and minds...

Ask the Afghanis how that "hopey, changey" thing is working for them.

MARJAH, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A NATO airstrike in Afghanistan mistakenly killed 27 civilians, the government said on Monday, hurting a campaign to win over the local population and defeat Taliban insurgents.

rewinn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@Charles and Zero - I'm glad to hear of some action, however small. We need to keep this issue going, if only so that we are not shamed as a nation when Spain indicts them

ignatzfattis (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

I think it's a real mistake to give Stack a podium after what he did -the Unabomber had a manifesto as well, probably with some valid points -some sick people agree with Tiller's murderer too -I don't see any difference just because Stack might have had some valid grievances.

Stack's actions nullified his points -he vacated his own position with anyone whose values are civil instead of political first. That his daughter and others should see him now as a hero worries and sickens me.

I love to listen to you Thom, but I turned you off this morning -I just could not stand to listen to any more of Stack's dead empty words.

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@ Richard - I completely agree with your assessment. What I never hear from the Big 3 cable "news" talking heads is exactly what does moving to the center really mean. They offer up blathering talking heads and meaningless polls that suggest politician (Dems) move to the "center" in order to get bipartisan support. There is rarely, if ever, any substance of what that center looks like.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Richard L. Adlof,

Re: "The folk we are labeling “Moderate” are RIGHT- WINGERS."

Yes, I am SO tired of Democrats like Sen. Evan Bayh referring to themselves as "centrists" or "moderates." I also bristle at the so-called "conservative" self description by the Repugs. and the tea baggers. They are anything BUT!

Then the corporate media happily reinforces this nonsense.

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@rewinn - In the case of my other Senator, Voinovich, he appears to be taking the roll of lame duck seriously and has checked out. I couldn't even get a response, pro or con, from his office. "Thank you for your comment."

I am grateful my active Senator is Sherrod Brown. One of the originators of the current public option push.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

As Ray McGovern points out, the NY TIMES, long the epitome of the so called "liberal media" is banging the drum against Iran, just as they fanned the flames with Judith Miller and Gordon Brown in Iraq.

New Grist for Hype on Iran
By Ray McGovern
February 21, 2010

Here we go again. A report issued by the new Director General of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, injected new adrenalin into those arguing that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

The usual suspects are hyping — and distorting — thin-gruel language in the report to “prove” that Iran is hard at work on a nuclear weapon. The New York Times’ David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, for example, highlighted a sentence about “alleged activities related to nuclear explosives,” which Amano says he wants to discuss with Iran.


harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Errata: Earlier i reported that "my" rep Mike McCaul(R) is sponsoring several upcoming Tea Party events. The original reporting source, local NBC affiliate,now denies that report. Musta gotten a McCaul call.

glenn n (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

I am tired of losing all the perception wars to the republicans and the right wing echo chamber.
this is what Obama needs to unveil for his health care reform proposal (which should have been called "health insurance reform" in the first place):


if we all can't get medicare, then abolish it for EVERYONE. let the republicans try to end medicare and see how far they get with that one.

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@Zero G re: Iran: We Americans never get tired of hearing "wolf!".

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago


Spain's Baltaza Garzon, who gained notoriaty by indicting Augusto Pinochet, is hinself in legal troubles for daring to investigate the crimes of Franco:

Spain's 'human rights judge' facing own legal worries
Madrid - When Spain's most famous judge, Baltasar Garzon, decided in 2008 to investigate the crimes of General Francisco Franco's 1939-75 dictatorship, he broke a taboo. Spain had never conducted a legal investigation of the Franco regime, which Garzon holds responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 alleged opponents during the 1936-39 civil war and the ensuing dictatorship.

A few months later, however, Garzon bowed to pressure from some legal experts and conservative politicians to drop the probe. Now he could face his own trial for his aborted investigation.

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@Zero G: Baltaza Garzon is spanish for Don Siegelman.

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Zippo is made in PA.

Albatross (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

If President Obama came out strongly against hitting oneself in the head with a ball-peen hammer, the Teabaggers would proudly sport lumps the size of goose-eggs, Glenn Beck would give himself a concussion live on the air, and Sarah Palin would try to hit herself in the head and miss.

I really hope Obama announces his position against hitting oneself in the head with a ball-peen hammer.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

And . . . American Canteen is 'hecho en china.'

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Levi's "An American Tradition" are no longer made in North America.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

Ooooo . . . American Canteen now goes by US Canteen . . . I wonder, why?

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@Albatross: Great idea! I'm with you.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
- George Washington, U.S. President

Happy Birthday George

harry ashburn (not verified) 12 years 13 weeks ago

@Albatross: I think a taser would be more appropriate.

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