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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quickly noted...

The scariest story on the internet. If you really want to be frightened this Halloween season, then "dead sea scroll" your way through this piece.
The next leg of the long voyage was from Osaka to San Francisco and for most of that trip the desolation was tinged with nauseous horror and a degree of fear.

"After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead," Macfadyen said.

"We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

"I've done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I'm used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen."

In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.
It gets worse from there.

Obamacare silver lining: Ross Douthat argues that the ultra-glitchy opening of Obamacare could lead to single payer, or Medicare for all, or at least Medicare for more.
Keep pressing the Medicaid expansion on states that haven’t taken it (and look for John Kasich-style Republicans to partner with), return to the Joe Lieberman-killed idea of expanding Medicare to 55-and-overs, and basically try to further shrink the percentage of Americans who aren’t eligible for one or both of those single-payer programs. This wouldn’t amount to the full-on push for single payer that some people expect from the left if Obamacare fails or gets repealed, but it would move the U.S. toward the closest thing to single payer that we’re ever likely to get: A system in which both the late middle-aged and the lower middle class gradually get folded into government-run insurance alongside the poor, the disabled, and the aged; the individual market survives as a kind of de facto high risk pool (overpriced but technically accessible); and the employer mandate helps prop up employer-based health insurance for a shrunken but still substantial share of the population.
If America possessed a greater number of rational citizens, then Douthat's very compromised Medicare expansion would stand a chance. Douthat goes on to offer a convoluted argument against the idea of Medicare for all. He's wrong, nuff said, next topic.

As for the Obamacare botch: What we are facing right now is a case of propagandists pretending that bad software equals bad law.

Was the rollout sabotaged? It's possible. Consider: Many of the best coders come from Silicon Valley, a.k.a. Ayn Randland. Those who dwell within that place would consider it both ideologically justifiable and within their rational self-interest to accept the greasing of the palm.

Why I'm glad I opposed Romney (even if I was never particularly happy about supporting Obama): Sheldon Adelson, the ultra-wealthy casino magnate, was Mitt's biggest backer. Here's his advice on Iran:
Last night in New York, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire supporter of Israel, said that the U.S. should fire a nuclear weapon at Iran rather than negotiate. He said that if Obama fires a weapon into the desert, killing no one, and then threatens to send the next one to Tehran so that Iran is “wiped out,” Iran will cease its nuclear program.
The recommendations were met with applause by a Yeshiva University audience.
Hategasm. Denator Dick Durbin has reported that a top GOP leader told Obama to his face: "I cannot even stand to look at you."

In related news, Koch mouthpiece John Hinderaker writes:
No Reason, Just Hate: That’s a Modern Liberal

The Left’s hatred for conservatives has become so obsessive that it is hard to engage a liberal in rational discussion of any public policy issue.
I believe this tactic is called "mirror imaging." At any rate, I'll be keeping an eye on Hinderaker. The guy's hilarious.

Spying on France -- the response: The post below this one offers a much-needed translation of an immediately notorious piece which revealed the astounding extent of NSA eavesdropping on France -- 70 million phone calls each month. James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, has offered a reply...
Recent articles published in the French newspaper Le Monde contain inaccurate and misleading information regarding U.S. foreign intelligence activities. The allegation that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million “recordings of French citizens’ telephone data” is false.
His denial seems to be based on the word "recordings," which conjures up images of old-fashioned tape recorders. But this, amusingly enough, is simply a matter of slightly-incorrect wording. (And yes, I used that translation as well; see below.) "Interceptions" might have worked better. Modern technology allows computers to intercept the data stream, check for certain key words, then winnow down the take.

For more on this unusual denial from the DNIer-in-chief, see this analysis by the wonderful Marcy Wheeler.
Joseph, I believe that "can't stand to look at" comment was uttered by a member of GOP leadership and is being reported by Durbin.
D'oh! I typed that one out WAY too quickly. Thanks, PP. I've made the necessary correction.
"Hategasm. Denator Dick Durbin told Obama to his face: "I cannot even stand to look at you.""

Durban didn't do this. He said that a Congressional GOP leader said this.

I know you find this if you follow the link. But not everyone follows links.

You might want to edit
In regards to the Oceans

Radiation probably is not helping things...
I already fixed it, barabra. It was just a hasty typo. your name really barabra? Just curious...
Wouldn't it be better to extend medicare to kids, rather than over-55s? Cheaper, and everyone loves kids. Get 'em a good start in life, and such like. Pay for 'em till they're about eighteen. Make the parents grateful.
barabra is nearly an anagram of barbara.
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