Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Poverty, Thanksgiving and Black Friday

On Black Friday, I finished reading Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. It is a classic example of narrative nonfiction. It is so good that it won the 2012 National Book Award. While reading this book, you will find yourself asking, “Is this real?” Real, it is. Read the rest here

Poverty, Thanksgiving and Black Friday

On Black Friday, I finished reading Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. It is a classic example of narrative nonfiction. It is so good that it won the 2012 National Book Award. While reading this book, you will find yourself asking, “Is this real?” Real, it is. Read the rest here

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What You Need to Know About Obamacare

From Smartypants:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Everything you need to know about Obamacare

Apparently one of the biggest challenges we're going to face next year is the lack of accurate information about Obamacare. As you probably know, many of the most important provisions kick in on January 1, 2014. But most people have only heard about the individual mandate portion of the reforms.

Enroll America held focus groups in Philadelphia in mid-November, working exclusively with those who probably would qualify for benefits. Looking to understand how much public education will be needed, the researchers came back with a simple answer: a lot.

Participants’ hands shot up when researchers asked whether they had heard about a requirement to buy health insurance. But when asked about whether they had heard about any provisions that might make insurance more affordable, none of the 31 participants in the four groups answered yes.

Who knew that having the American public lied to for almost two years would leave them uninformed and confused? (< snark off >)

The truth is that there is tons of information out there to help people understand these reforms. And so I decided to compile some of where you can find it in order to help us spread the word. I'll be putting this post in a tab at the top of the page (titled simply: Obamacare) so that you can come back and find it when/if you need to.

First of all, bookmark the page for Enroll America. They are the non-profit group that is going to be working over the next year to get the word out.

One of the group's that has consistently put out quality information on the Affordable Care Act is the Kaiser Family Foundation. To get started on how much you do/don't know about the reforms,take their short quiz. They also have a pretty helpful video that gives a summary.

And they have a calculator to help people determine if they’ll qualify for a subsidy.

Of course one of the best places to go for information is HHS’s own Two of the things I found most helpful there are the map that provides implementation progress by state and the tool to help people find their insurance options.

Healthcare and You also has lots of helpful information – including some details broken down by state.

Young Invincibles is specifically working on getting good information about health care reform out to young adults. And yes…there’s an App for that!

The Washington Post can help you find out exactly how Obamacare will affect you.

That does it for now. But it should be enough to get you started. We have NO excuse for not knowing/sharing all the good stuff that is about to happen with the implementation of Obamacare. My plan is to link one of these resources per day on Facebook and Twitter. What’s yours?

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We here at MOA wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy family, friends, food and sports today.


hat tip-The Obama Diary:

Thanksgiving with the Obama family

MSNBC staff

8:16 pm on 11/21/2012

President Obama pardoned one turkey on Wednesday morning, but other birds weren’t so lucky. Later that day, the president and his wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson helped serve an early Thanksgiving dinner at the Capitol Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. Members of the Oregon State men’s basketball team joined the Obamas at the food bank. Michelle’s brother, Craig Robinson, is the team’s coach.

“I’d like to ask every American to do what they can to help families who are in need of a real Thanksgiving this year,” the president said.

The Obamas will be celebrating with their siblings (and their spouses and children), friends from Chicago and Hawaii, and White House staff and their families. On the menu: brine-soaked, thyme-roasted turkey with gravy, cornbread stuffing, oyster stuffing, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and kale salad. For dessert, says the White House: six different kinds of pie including apple, huckleberry, cherry, banana cream, pumpkin, and sweet potato with honey-meringue topping.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ryan, Cantor, Boehner and the Failure of the 2012 Election

Why is political compromise so difficult? In an election year where Congress’s approval ratings are historically low, Americans still returned more than 90% of the incumbents who stood for reelection. This happens because of the age-old adage that Americans hate Congress but love their congressperson.
Through the magic of districting congressional boundaries, we have a system where it is the politicians themselves (mostly state legislators) that are responsible for jerry rigging, ahem…make that gerrymandering their districts to be as favorable as possible for their own reelection.
So now Paul Ryan, who Americans summarily rejected at the polls two weeks ago, is the rest here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Still Alive

Want to thank Dr. King, Rikyrah & other contributors, readers and those who have commented.

Wish I could write everyday or even every other day. But life has gotten in the way over the past couple of years... (especially over the last year). I have grad courses that require about 12+ hours of reading a week.... not to mention a job that takes up plenty of my time. And I have one personal crisis after another... Have been dealing with a lot of crap. I can't even get good sleep... that's a luxury. Any time awake that I have to myself is spent completely stressed out/attempting stress management. Have been pretty much unable to write/contribute much of anything here.

Every now and then I can focus long enough to sneak something in. I do enjoy reading the posts as well as the comments. Try to comment when I can.
I'm a little more relieved post-election. I wrote in Jill Stein for President...and voted Democrat the rest of the way. Jill Stein supports ideas a little more in line with what I believe... and I knew Obama wasn't competitive in my red State... so I wanted to vote my heart. (But if it had been close... he would have had my vote again). If I ever find the time i'll throw my two cents in on where we're heading.

I still believe the Country is in bad shape (structurally it's not built to deal with the current problems effectively). I still think the U.S. is screwed if it doesn't do more to transform the economy, change how it deals with energy, stay out of senseless wars/stop sticking its nose in the business of other nations, extricate itself from so many foreign entanglements, fix the deficit/debt problem, do something about income inequality, make sure the healthcare works better and do something about labor rights....

I don't see any of that changing right away with Obama's re-election. But I would much rather go forward with Obama than deal with more Republican madness. At least with Obama... there's a better chance that the Country will be able to deal with all of its various problems. But it's only a slightly better chance. Too many of his policies look like Republican policies to me. For Example, if he chooses Susan Rice for Secretary of State, my head is going to explode. She is a Pro-war Democrat... what Int'l Affairs scholars call (when talking about leaders on the left) an interventionist. Basically...what that means is that she is a milder version (slightly milder version) of the Neo-Cons who we have seen on the right. I may attempt to explain this better in another blog post. But basically, while someone like a John Bolton hates international institutions and wanted to pull out of or weaken those institutions which he thought got in the way of American war & hegemony...someone like a Susan Rice loves those same institutions and seeks to use them as tools to expand U.S. involvement overseas. She uses those institutions (whether it's the UN, the EU, the senseless expansion of NATO) as a way of getting into war, or to set the stage to trigger war down the road, finding excuses to send Western troops into all sorts of situations around the world, whether it's under the guise of humanitarianism to hand out food or to train foreign troops as a way to sell the brand and to project power whenever possible... the point is she sees the use of military power..or hard power, as the answer for solving international disputes. She would be a terrible Secretary of State. (Obama's Foreign Policy is just one of a few reasons why I decided to symbolically support Jill Stein..the Green Party candidate).

My confidence in voters only improved slightly. As I thought...the election followed a 2000-2004 pattern. But he received more EV's than I thought. But with the kind of things that Romney/Ryan were running on it should not have been as close as it was.... either in the national polling leading up to the election or in the final popular vote tally. Voters came perilously close to falling for Romney's sales pitch...that included so many lies it became hard for us to keep them all straight. Hell, even Romney couldn't keep them all straight by the end. I think even he may have gotten tired of lying so much. Point is... voters gave Romney more credibility as a serious candidate and more attention than what he deserved, under the circumstances. Americans are gullible. But luckily we dodged a bullet on Nov. 6th.

... Thanks to those folks who send messages and e-mails about the blog... or about a particular commentary of mine. I read them all.... even though I don't always have the time to reply.

I want to revamp this blog... but unfortunately I don't have the time or the resources.... if my situation gets better by New Years... I may be able to get a web developer and put in a better template.

I will still use Twitter several times a week.... you can find me pretty easily there. Enjoy the Holidays (worst time of the year for me. I hate it). Call me scrooge if you want.... I don't care.

Take care...

- Brian

Legalizing Marijuana: Will Colorado End the Drug War?

The recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State is an important development for both political and policy reasons.
In Washington, Initiative 502 passed with 55% of the vote. The measure “legalizes the production, possession, delivery and distribution of marijuana.” In Colorado, a similar measure that allows adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana also passed with nearly 55% of the vote.
The biggest obstacle though the rest here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Best Recap of what we won by Romney losing

From the opening segment of Rachel Maddow's Wednesday Show. I've watched this segment at least 10 times.

Opening part of this segment:

MADDOW: And thanks to you for staying with us this hour.

That happened! That really happened. We are not going to have a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more Antonin Scalias and Samuel Alitos added to this court.

We`re not going to repeal health reform. Nobody is going to kill Medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation fight it out on the open market to try to get themselves health insurance. We are not going to do that.

We are not going to give a 20 percent tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kid`s insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut.

We`re not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control under the insurance plan that you`re on.

We are not going to redefine rape.

We are not going to amend the United States Constitution to stop gay people from getting married.

We are not going to double Guantanamo.

We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of Education or housing at the federal level.

We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the military does not want. We are not scaling back on student loans, because the country`s new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents.

We are not vetoing the DREAM Act. We are not self-deporting. We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt.

We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in January. We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared, gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help and there was no apology, not ever.

We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with architects of the Iraq war. We are not going to do it.

We had the chance to do that if we wanted to do that, as a country. And we said no, last night, loudly.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

President Obama Re-Elected

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama embrace Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden moments after the television networks called the election in their favor, while watching election returns at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 6, 2012.

---Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Next Four Years

I predict that Barack Obama wins 290 Electoral College Votes. Obama could lose a state like Ohio or Virginia and still win, but he cannot lose both. While the latest polling indicates that many toss-up states might break for Obama, I hedge my bets and predict that Romney and Obama split the swing states. However, Obama’s base is deeper than Romney’s, thus carrying the incumbent to victory.
Once November 7th is here and Obama knows what Congress looks like, again I predict no significant change with Democrats retaining the Senate and Republicans retaining the House, Obama will have to decide which of the following issues should be his biggest priorities. Strong arguments can be made for any and all of these, but political reality means some of the following will get short shrift over the next four years.


Well, this is it.

Today is election day 2012.





1. Make sure you're in the precinct you're supposed to be.

2. Make sure you fill out all the information that you need to: Name, date of birth, address, whatever ID information you have to give.




Don't let them disqualify your vote because of these routine mistakes.

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Winner’s Mandate?

Many commentators ask if in an electorate as closely divided as America’s, is it possible that the winner will have a mandate? Pundits will say the winner is not receiving a clear and unmistakable message of what course Americans want the next president to take.
Pundits are asking the wrong questions and drawing the wrong conclusions. Read the rest here

Was Martin Luther King a Republican?

This seems to happen every election season. In an effort to attract the black vote,conservatives try to convince African American voters that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican.
Here’s the truth. Read the rest here

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

If this doesn't make you smile, nothing will.

Halloween costume: The Obamas

Keeping Track of Willard's Lies

Unless Willard wins the Presidency, this will be the last of these. I doubt Benen thought he'd do FORTY-ONE of these.

It's time for Willard's Lies of the week.

Once again, I will point out the site on the blog roll: Romney The Liar: because there are Liars, Damn Liars, and then there's Mitt Romney.

Steve Benen, now at The Maddow Blog:. Here's last week's entry of Chronicling Mitt's mendacity:

The opening:

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XLI

By Steve Benen

Fri Nov 2, 2012 2:45 PM EDT

In a way, I blame my friend Greg Sargent. In the first week in January, he noted, almost in passing, that Mitt Romney seemed to be making a lot of false claims, and someone "really should document them all." That struck me as a good idea, so I decided to tackle this on my own.

After all, I thought at the time, how hard could this be? Once a week, I'd let readers know about Romney's whoppers, which I assumed would total about a half-dozen a week, and maybe after the election, I'd do a top 20 list of my favorites. The project would be a nice little Friday-afternoon feature.

Little did I know at the time that Romney would become an ambitious prevaricator, whose rhetoric would come to define post-truth politics. Nearly 11 months after Greg Sargent's harmless suggestion, I've published 40 installments in this series, which, before today, featured 884 falsehoods. (If you include today's edition, the new total is 917 falsehoods for the year.)

I wish that were a typo. It's not.

The outcome of next week's election remains in doubt, but regardless of who wins, I suspect this will be the final edition in the series. If President Obama wins, the project will have run its course. If Romney wins, I rather doubt I'll be able to keep this going every week for four years. So, with that in mind, enjoy the 41st and probably final installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.

1. At a campaign event yesterday in Roanoke, Virginia, Romney again suggested the president is to blame for the fact that "gasoline prices" have "gone up."

This is wildly misleading. It's true that when Obama took office, gas cost about $1.81 a gallon, and it's more than double now. And how did gas prices get so low in late 2008 and early 2009? Because there was a global economic catastrophe -- gas was cheap because the economy had fallen off a cliff, and demand crawled to a stop. As the economy improved, demand went up, and the price of gas started climbing. It's Economics 101.

2. In the same speech, Romney said he should be elected in order to prevent "four more years of trillion dollar deficits in Washington."

According to the budget plan Romney endorsed, we'll have four more years of trillion dollar deficits in Washington anyway.

3. Romney added he has a "five-point plan ... that'll get this economy going."

The five-point plan -- oil drilling, trade, privatizing K-12 education, vague assertions about debt reduction, and ambiguous promises about doing nice things for small businesses -- is a rehash of Bush/Cheney promises. No credible analysis of the vague agenda has found it capable of boosting the economy.

4. At a campaign event in Doswell, Virginia, Romney said "Obamacare" is "crushing small businesses across America."

There is literally no evidence to support this claim in any way. Indeed, a a significant portion of the ongoing cost of the Affordable Care Act is to give small businesses a tax break.

5. In the same speech, Romney also argued, "The president wants to raise taxes on small business."

In reality, Obama has repeatedly cut taxes on small businesses -- by some counts, 18 times -- and if given a second term, his tax plan would have no effect on 97% of small businesses.