Sarah Palin went all Pam Geller on us the other night with Greta Van Susteren on Fox:
Palin: Ya know, it sounds cliched to say the president is disconnected from the American people on this issue, but how else do you describe it? He just doesn't get it -- that this is an insensitive move on the part of those Muslims who want to build that mosque in this location, that feels like a stab in the heart of, collectively, Americans who still have that lingering pain from 9/11.
Oh please. These drama queens on the right need to explain to us just who among the survivors of the 9/11 attacks -- let alone those right-wing bedwetters traumatized by repeated viewing of the attacks -- sees someone expressing their religion freely as an attack on them.
We know, they're out there (right, Pam?), but then someone needs to explain why we need to pay any attention to -- let alone make important decisions based on their input -- these fundamentally irrational hysteria-mongers.
It's gone viral of late, and definitely warms the heart. Watch as an eight month old baby, deaf since birth, hears his mother's voice and laugh for the first time. How can you not melt at little Jonathan's face as he realizes his mommy is talking to him and he can hear her?
Boy, doctors sure love to scare women who dare to question their judgment.
Via Susie Bright, here's an issue close to my heart. My first son was born in a hospital with a obstetrician and a nurse-midwife. They induced labor for what I found out later was a weak reason, he was born prematurely with hyaline membrane disease and he almost died.
I told my husband: "If I have to go back in the hospital, I'm not having another one." Fortunately, we located a supportive doctor and some good lay midwives, and my second child was born uneventfully in our bedroom. (On a bean bag chair.)
"What if something went wrong?" well-meaning people kept asking. "Being in the hospital saved your first kid's life." I tried to explain to them he would have been born full-term if I'd been at home, and no life-saving would have been necessary, but there's no talking to people about this. They're just too well indoctrinated with fear tactics.
Most complications of labor are identified with good pre-natal care. Obviously, if you have high blood pressure, an infection or similar factors, you should be in the hospital. There are very few conditions that are the proverbial "bolt from the blue" - and there are enough things that go wrong in hospitals.
What I avoided: An unnecessary episiotomy, low blood sugar (because I could eat in labor), hospital-bred bacterial infections, a higher risk of C-section (often brought on by staying in bed so the ultrasound monitor would work, causing compression on the umbilical cord -- or by an impatient doctor with a tee time, or by Pitocin-induced contractions) and being separated from my other kid. I felt so good after delivery, I got up and made breakfast for seven people.
Women should have real choices in childbirth. (In European countries, home delivery is no big deal.) But labor and delivery is the biggest cash cow American hospitals have, OB-GYNs are often reluctant to share power with their patients, and medical consumers have been trained to follow a doctor's authority without question:
The collapse of New York's legal home birth midwifery services has come as a result of the closure two weeks ago of one of the most progressive hospitals in the city, St Vincent's in Manhattan. When the bankrupt hospital shut its doors on 30 April the midwives suddenly found themselves without any backing or support.
There are 13 midwives who practise home births in New York, and under a system introduced in 1992 they are all obliged under state law to be approved by a hospital or obstetrician, on top of their professional training.
St Vincent's was prepared to underwrite their services, but most other doctors and institutions are not, and they now find themselves without the paperwork they need to work lawfully.
Miriam Schwarzschild, one of the 13, is now in the invidious position of either abandoning her clients or operating illegally. "Apparently by taking a woman's blood pressure I am committing an illegal act," she said. She has no doubts about what she will do: she will stand by the six to eight women she helps in labour every month, law be damned. She said she intends to "fly under the radar", but is anxious about what would happen should she be reported to the state authorities. "At any time a nurse or doctor could report me, and once that happens they could go after my licence and shut me down."
Jitters are spreading among the tiny community of home birth midwives. The rumour has circulated that one of them has already been shopped to the authorities by an obstetrician at a hospital where she transferred one of her clients in need of medical attention.
The crisis of home birth in New York city is an extreme example of a pattern found across America. Fewer than 1% of babies are born at home in the US, and in New York that figure is as low as 0.48% — about 600 babies every year out of 125,000. That compares with a rate of about 30% in the Netherlands.
he crisis of home birth in New York city is an extreme example of a pattern found across America. Fewer than 1% of babies are born at home in the US, and in New York that figure is as low as 0.48% — about 600 babies every year out of 125,000. That compares with a rate of about 30% in the Netherlands.
In much of Europe, midwives play the lead role in assisting most low-risk and healthy women to give birth, handing over to a specialist doctor or surgeon only when conditions demand. In the US, that relationship is reversed.
Obstetricians, who are trained to focus on interventionist methods and often have never even witnessed a natural birth, are in charge of about 92% of all cases. As a body, they are fiercely resistant both to midwives – who under the private medical system in America are their competitors – and to women choosing to remain at home.
Feist isn't exactly wrong about this. Goldman Sachs employees did contribute nearly a million dollars to Obama's presidential campaign in 2008. But Robert Yoon's article linked in his post is wrong, and I can't figure out if it was just an editing error or intended to be inflammatory. Whatever it is, it's probably worth putting a stake through the heart of the ever-recycled rumor of Goldman Sach's PAC donations.
What Yoon says:
According to Federal Election Commission figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Goldman Sachs' political action committee and individual contributors who listed the company as their employer donated $994,795 during 2007 and 2008 to Obama's presidential campaign, the second highest contribution from a company PAC and company employees. Only the PAC and employees of the University of California, which donated more than $1.5 million, topped Goldman Sachs. Federal law prohibits a company from directly giving money to a campaign committee.
This is important. There is a refund of one effort by a PAC to donate, and an issue-related donation of $300. That is the only PAC money applicable to the Obama 2008 campaign. I can understand how Yoon concluded that such a large total must have included PAC funds. There's a summary at the top of the Open Secrets page which cautions viewers to understand what PACs are and what role they play, since companies can't be direct donors. However, if Yoon had clicked on the donor stats tab on the page he viewed, he would have gotten a little more perspective on the whole Goldman Sachs campaign donation thing, and why he's wrong to make a big deal out of it.
While it is true that Goldman-Sachs employees gave nearly a million dollars to the Obama campaign, it's equally true that no one donor gave any more than any other individual from any other profession, and when taken as a percentage of the total given to his campaign, it was less than 1% of the total given by everyone.
It is also true that the Obama campaign received more from small contributors ($200 or less) than any other campaign in history -- over $25 million. That number represents more than 125,000 individuals.
319,706 people donated $200 or more to the Obama campaign in 2008. 60.5% of them donated $1,000 or less. Those donors represent 21% of total donations, or $73.5 million. In contrast, if every single Goldman Sachs employee gave $2300, it would represent 433 donors. If we added up every Wall Street firm on the Open Secrets list and assumed each employee gave the maximum, it would represent 1,576 donors out of the nearly 59,000 who gave more than $2300 to his campaign.
Now that we have donor information from the Center for Responsive Politics in perspective, what exactly is CNN's point, anyway? Lots of people donated. Who gets more weight? The ones who gave $25 million in increments of $5 each, or the ones who gave $1 million capped at $2,300 each?
Doug Fieger, the lead singer of the rock band The Knack, has died after a battle with cancer, his brother, the prominent Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger, confirmed today.
He was 57.
Fieger sang lead vocals on the 1979 hit "My Sharona," which held the No. 1 spot for six weeks.
I was lucky enough to play with him a few times over the years, mostly for fun and even then he was very serious about his music. Doug was a great man who helped a lot of people in his life. He put up an incredible struggle that came to an end around 6am this morning.
James Cameron eat your heart out. Click here for the original poster.
Lots of us will be off to see Avatar this weekend; let's make this a movie thread. Which movies of the past year (or decade) are most memorable for you? [Paste Magazine has a list of their top 50 with trailers.]
Please keep spoilers from movies being released this week out of the thread. Thanks.
'Tis a rhyme for your lips and a song for your heart
To sing it whenever the world falls apart. "
Look, look, look to the rainbow
Follow it over the hill and the stream
Look, look, look to the rainbow
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.
For those of you who are younger, who may not quite get exactly what the Kennedys meant to us, this lovely piece from Bob Herbert explains it well - they made us feel better than we were, and made us want to be better people. He suggests that their theme song, rather than "Camelot," should instead be "Follow the Rainbow" from "Finian's Rainbow":
The Kennedy message was always to aim higher, and they always — or almost always — appealed to our best instincts. So there was Bobby speaking to a group of women at a breakfast in Terre Haute, Ind., during the 1968 campaign. As David Halberstam recalled, Bobby told the audience: “The poor are hidden in our society. No one sees them anymore. They are a small minority in a rich country. Yet I am stunned by a lack of awareness of the rest of us toward them.”
Bobby cared about the poor and ordinary working people in a way that can seem peculiar in post-Reagan America. And his insights into the problems of urban ghettos in the 1960s seemed to point to some of the debilitating factors at work in much of the nation today. Bobby believed, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has noted, that the crisis of the cities ultimately came from “the destruction of the sense, and often the fact, of community, of human dialogue, the thousand invisible strands of common experience and purpose, affection and respect which tie men to their fellows.”
Kennedy worried about the dissolution of community in a world growing ever more “impersonal and abstract.” He wanted the American community to flourish, and he knew that could not be accomplished in an environment of increasing polarization, racial and otherwise.
“Ultimately,” he said, “America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.”
Like his brothers and sisters (don’t forget Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Special Olympics), Bobby believed deeply in public service and felt that the whole point of government was to widen the doors of access to those who were being left out.
“Camelot” became a metaphor for the Kennedys in the aftermath of Jack’s assassination. But I always found “Finian’s Rainbow” to be a more appropriate touchstone for the family, especially the song “Look to the Rainbow,” with the moving lyric, “Follow the fellow who follows a dream.”
That was Ted’s message at Bobby’s funeral. The Kennedys counseled us for half a century to be optimistic and to strive harder, to find the resilience to overcome those inevitable moments of tragedy and desolation, and to move steadily toward our better selves, as individuals and as a nation.
I spent all day traveling yesterday, so I wasn't able to get this up, bu Darcy Burner's keynote speech at Netroots Nation on Saturday night was classic Darcy: concise, but compelling. Especially the heart of the speech:
So President Clinton -- how many of you were here for President Clinton's speech the other night? -- President Clinton did something very interesting in his speech. He delivered two fundamentally contradictory messages. He said, support the health-care legislation no matter what it is. That was one message he sent that he delivered quite clearly. But the other message that he delivered was that "Don't ask, don't tell" became policy even though he knew it was the wrong thing, because, he said, we didn't support him and make him do the right thing. That second message, that we have to make our leaders do the right thing was raw and true.
We can't rely on people in authority to make everything right. We have got to do the hard work of governing. It's our job as Americans. It's our obligation. And to be perfectly blunt, I consider it my obligation for Henry.
The vehicle we have for change is the people we have elected, and we have done, collectively, a tremendous job of electing people to office in this country. We have taken back the House, we have taken back the Senate, we have taken the presidency of the United States.
But that is just the beginning of the battle. There are a lot of people -- mostly not the people in this room, but a lot of people who thought that was sufficient and have stopped. We have to help the people that we have elected. And to be perfectly blunt, we have been asked to.
I have been working for the past several months with the Congressional Progressive Caucus -- eighty-three of the most progressive members of the United States House and the United States Senate -- and the message that I get from them consistently is: "We are doing everything in our power to make a difference. But we have to have the support of the grassroots. We need the grassroots helping to frame the message, we need the grassroots applying pressure."
In the health-care debate that's going down right now, the Congressional Progressive Caucus did something absolutely revolutionary in March -- which is that in March Congressman Raul Grijalva, the newly elected co-chair of the caucus, whipped the progressive members of the caucus and got enough of the members to say, "We will not support any piece of health-care legislation that doesn't include a public option."
That the progressives were able to then send a letter to President Obama and to Nancy Pelosi and to Steny Hoyer saying, "Guess what? You want health-care legislation? It isn't the Blue Dogs you need to be worrying about. You need to talk to progressives, because we are drawing the line, and we are not going to back down."
The next day I heard it being bandied about that Darcy suggested caving on the public option. As I told my friends, that wasn't what I heard. And if you watch the video, I don't think it's what you'll hear either.