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Category: politics Page 1 of 3

El Supremo and Ivankita.

The New Peronistas

El Supremo and Ivankita.

El Supremo and Ivankita.

Trump Destroyer

Trump Remover

Trump Remover.

Right Reading does not normally do product recommendations. But recently we ordered this product, and so far we are encouraged by the results. You just drill down. The label does advise that “the decomposition, depending on the density of the trump, make take several weeks or months.”

Reading up on health care

At the Christian Science Monitor Marjorie Kehe offers a few suggestions for reading up on health care. Her list of five and a half books includes the following:

  • Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis – and the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn
    Case histories illustrating the complexity of insurance and health care issues
  • Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer by Shannon Brownlee
    Health care and economics.
  • Boomerang: Health Care Reform and the Turn Against Government by Theda Skocpol
    Analyzing the Clinton adminstration’s failed attempt to fix healthcare in 1994 offers interesting background and many instructive points relevant to today’s healthcare debate.
    Also recommended on the same topic: The System: The American Way of Politics at the Breaking Point by Haynes Johnson and David Broder.
  • The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care by David Gratzer
    The case against government involvement.
  • The Health Care Mess: How We Got Into It and What It Will Take to Get Out by Julius Richard and Rashi Fein
    The case for government-financed universal healthcare.

I have read none of these. Are they really the best?

A tip for authors

News that Sarah Palin’s political action committee has bought more than $63,000 worth of Going Rogue shows that the ex-governor knows how to manage her books. Going Rogue retails for $28.99. If the books were bought at full retail price and author got a 15 percent royalty off the retail price, that means that 15 percent of the $63,000, or $9,450, ended up in Palin’s own pocket.

The books were used by the PAC to mail copies to potential donors, so that more money could be raised, presumably to purchase more books, which could be then sent to more donors . . . and so on. All the while increasing the book’s sales rank in the marketplace.

Every author should have a PAC!

Sarah Palin

Never mind.

The Constipation Party

I am reading and enjoying Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. It is my misfortune, I realize, to be so sensitized to colonialist attitudes as to imagine I detect in the book a faint taint of colonialist condescension.

But I am not here today to rant about colonialism but rather to share the following amusing passage from the book. The detective, Mma Ramotswe, muses about her feelings about hospitals and doctors. After reflecting that she is not ashamed of her weight or her corns she continues:

Now constipation was quite a different matter. It would be dreadful for the whole world to know about troubles of that nature. She felt terribly sorry for people who suffered from constipation, and she knew that there were many who did. There were probably enough of them to form a political party — with a chance of government perhaps — but what would such a party do if it was in power? Nothing, she imagined. It would try to pass legislation, but would fail.

Here in California the Constipation Party — with its two warring wings — is already in power. Will it also dominate our national politics, currently focused on the struggle to pass health insurance legislation?


Image from the blog of the LA Times


What typeface says “Bali”?

“BALI” is a word that poses some problems typographically. The wide BA combination makes a lot of white space, while the LI tends to be narrow and sticklike. Furthermore, nobody seems to sure what kind of type connotes Bali. (You can confirm this by searching Amazon for books with “Bali” in the title — not many are great.)

I’m starting to think about this for a book that is more than a year off (maybe this is a way of avoiding current projects!). I like the way the word looks with some of the sans serif faces, like Avenir, but when I tested this on a few readers (notably, the author) none of them preferred this treatment.

Right now (and this is very preliminary) I’m here:


obama-mccain electoral map

Congratulations to Barack Obama and his campaign on their landslide victory, but even more so to the USA, which has taken a great step forward out of the depths of the past eight miserable years.

Obama’s win is being celebrated as a great moment in race relations and a triumph for black people. It is those, surely, which is wonderful and exquisitely moving.

At the same time, it’s worth remembering that America did not just select a black (as we strangely call a person with one black parent) president. It also selected a man who distinguished himself as steady, focused, capable, sensible, and eloquent. In a television interview, Obama colleague Valerie Jarrett spoke of his “core decency.” None of these are words we have heard in connection with our presidency in a long time.

So good on us.


map via


Dixville Notch goes Obama

Dixville Notch, first polling place in the nation since 1960, announces its results: McCain 6, Obama 15.

Obama’s 9 votes up, so now he just has to run out the clock!

I go Pogo

I go Pogo

Someone gave me a Pogo book recently. Among memorable campaigns, the possum’s ranks high. Howland’s comment above reminds us that it’s a good thing for Obama that Democrats now control the secretary of state position in several swing states.


Tailored messages

nice dudsWith one week to go, Barack Obama is unveiling his closing argument.

The McCain campaign, meanwhile, is still working on their clothing argument.


UPDATE, 11/05, via Newsweek

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin’s shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain’s top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family–clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent “tens of thousands” more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,” and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.


Two weeks until election day

advantage obama in electoral college

Impossible not to talk politics now. So let’s look at the electoral map. It’s hard to see how McCain can pull this one out. Even Ohio + Florida don’t seem to give him enough, assuming:

Palin’s vetting

M. Right Reading has been very busy and productive lately. Just not so much on the blog. Fear not, he will soon revert to his sedentary tendencies. Meanwhile, though largely stearing clear of politics on this blog, he leaves you with this quotation from the NYT:

Although The Washington Post quoted advisers to Mr. McCain on Sunday as saying Ms. Palin had been subjected to an F.B.I. background check, an F.B.I. official said Monday the bureau did not vet potential candidates and had not known of her selection until it was made public.

Sounds like someone is not being truthful. Draw your own conclusions.


Language is a virus

From a series by Tom Tomorrow.

language is a virus

via language log

Labor Day

My sites are closed today for Labor Day (and besides, all except Frisco Vista are moving to a new server. Nothing should change for visitors, but it means I can’t update the sites very well for a few hours). Meanwhile, here’s a Labor Day message from Can’t Keep Quiet.

labor day

A proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution

I’ve been thinking about how our system of appointing Supreme Court justices is flawed. Life expectancy is increasing and presidents are appointing younger justices now, who might serve thirty or forty years. If several positions open up during the same term, a single president has the ability to determine the course of the court for a generation.

Here’s the refinement I suggest: allow only one justice to be appointed during a particular presidential term. If another slot needs to be filled, appoint a temporary justice to serve until the next presidential term.

As we know from our history, many U.S. presidents are dimwits who should not be entrusted with this kind of legacy. This would spread the appointment of justices over more presidential terms, balancing things out a bit. It would not favor any particular position, such as liberal or conservative, but it would moderate the present randomness of the appointment process.

Someone help me get this enacted, okay?

Who has been editing Wikipedia?

The new ability created by Wikipedia Scanner to track Wikipedia edits by IP address has brought some folks hours of entertainment. Where have the collaborative encyclopedia’s edits been coming from?

No doubt more revelations will be forthcoming.

Update, 32 Aug. The Dutch royal family admits scrubbing an entry.

You didn’t think you had any privacy online, did you?

(The wikipedia scanner link, at this writing, is down .)

A New Test for Lying

basic instinct interrogationTimesOnline reports that liars have trouble telling their stories in reverse order. It’s a good way to trip up falsehoods. Let’s try it out …

“We’re fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, and, let’s see, we went in, the United Nations … no that was, um, there were weapons of mass destruction, no wait, that was, let’s see, er ..”

Bad Health Care, Deficient Welfare Keep Americans Short

short and tallThat’s the headline I’m reading here. Seems Europeans have been gaining on us, to the point where Americans are now shorter than the average Dutchman. From the article:

Researchers have established in recent years that wealthier families tend to provide better nutrition for their children and, as a result, they tend to grow taller. The drastic differences in the United States between rich and poor, the researchers pointed out, mean that the US average is pulled down by those who struggle to get by. Whereas in the US, some 15 percent of the population has no health insurance and those on welfare can barely get by, almost all citizens of northern and western European countries enjoy universal health care and a generous social net. The result is that even those children dependent on welfare in Europe have a sufficient living standard, the researchers concluded.

The downward trend started right around the time Reagan was president. It’s been pretty much all downhill from then.

Dick Cheney

tricky dick

According to the lawyer of the alleged “D.C. Madam,” Vice President Cheney “isn’t not” on her list of phone records.

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