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A wee problem with the text of the Thirteenth Amendment

Here's the text:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Not that I'm an originalist, but I'd be a lot happier if the Thirteenth Amendment were revising as follows: Read below the fold...

The unknown Lannister

Robert Fitch's awesome 2008 called shot on Obama and the Democrats: "Friendly FIRE"

(As in the FIRE sector: FInance and Real Estate, a.k.a "the banksters.") Via Eyes That See gives the full text of Fitch's speech to the Harlem Tenants Association on November 14, 2008:

Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins. But it’s more than just Chicago FIRE. Also within Obama’s inner core of support are allies from the non-profit sector: the liberal foundations, the elite universities, the non-profit community developers and the real estate reverends who produce market rate housing with tax breaks from the city and who have been known to shout from the pulpit “give us this day our Daley, Richard Daley bread.”

Aggregate them and what emerges is a constellation of interests around Obama that I call “Friendly FIRE.” Fire power disguised by the camouflage of community uplift; augmented by the authority of academia; greased by billions in foundation grants; and wired to conventional FIRE by the terms of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995.

And yet friendly FIRE is just as deadly as the conventional FIRE that comes from bankers and developers that we’re used to ducking from. It’s the whole condominium of interests whose advancement depends on the elimination of poor blacks from the community and their replacement by white people and—at least temporarily—by the black middle class—who’ve gotten subprime mortgages—in a kind of redlining in reverse.

This “friendly FIRE” analysis stands in opposition to the two main themes of the McCain attack ads. Either they try to frighten people into believing that Obama is a dangerous leftist who hangs with Bill Ayers the former Weatherperson; or they assert he’s a creature of the corrupt Chicago machine.

Lots of interesting material here! Read below the fold...

Cam replacement

Apparently the Humboldt Bay Eagle cam was causing some users problems, so I replaced it with another, and possibly more interesting, cam: Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Happy Easter Weekend

I'm neither a "believer" nor churched, so Easter as such leaves me cold. However, we may wish to celebrate the advent of spring! Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: If you've got leukemia and good coverage, wait, and your policy will hit the lowest common denominator

An interesting paper from Millman, Inc (a provider of actuarial services):

2014 Individual Exchange Policies in Four States: An Early Look for Patients with Blood Cancer
The ACA rules do permit variation among exchange plans, and these variations can be significant for services important to people with blood cancer.

This variation among plans is high in the initial 2014 exchange launch, but the authors believe it may diminish in future years as competing insurers converge toward lower-cost and more restrictive features.

So if you like your plan, you won't be able to keep it. Read below the fold...


Mashable ran a Glass* launch post mortem in early April. Tossing aside the tech stuff, I found this interesting:

Glass in 2014 has become an emblem for technology's worst stereotypes: ultra-geeky, expensive and — worst of all — privacy-destroying.

The ostentatious design had a secondary effect: It ensured Glass's earliest ambassadors would be people who wanted to be noticed. These aren't the soccer moms and guitarists we saw in the earliest promo videos for Glass, sharing clips and getting directions to the nearest cool food truck. No, the people introducing Glass to the world are digital marketers, consultants and bloggers — people more likely to use Glass for a reality show or advertising campaign than logging their everyday moments.

[B]ut standing out from the crowd is part of the deal, and a large number of Glass Explorers clearly see the device as a $1,500 ticket to notoriety.

I suppose that neo-feudalism** requires banners and devices exactly as did feudalism, so Glass instead of armor, a lance, and a shield? This Wired article sharpens the class angle:

Wearing Glass separates you. It sets you apart from everyone else. It says you not only had $1,500 to plunk down to be part of the “explorer” program, but that Google deemed you special enough to warrant inclusion (not everyone who wanted Glass got it; you had to be selected). Glass is a class divide on your face.

And this Glasshole sharpens the class angle and cuts themselves on it: Read below the fold...

Horse race: Coverage for NH 2016 primary begins

I want to claw out my eyeballs:

A new WMUR Granite State poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and released Friday night showed 7 percent of likely Democrats have definitely decided who to vote for, while 1 percent of Republican primary voters have made up their minds.

Among Democrats, Clinton is currently ahead with 65 percent, followed by Vice President Joe Biden's 6 percent. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul leads the GOP field with 15 percent, and 2012 vice presidential nominee and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire are tied at 13 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gets 12 percent, down from the 21 percent of last July.

I wish the primariez were like Hollywood, where nobody knows anything. Read below the fold...

Single Payer: The Vox video

Here's the Vox original, in case this is just too small for you. (Vox is Ezra Klein's new venture, and apparently he brought along Sarah Kliff, who narrates the video, from WaPo. I have to say that I reread a good deal of Wonkblog's health care coverage looking for ObamaCare big lies, and Klein/Kliff actually seemed to maintain a little critical distance, amazingly enough.) Read below the fold...

Independent single payer candidate in California

A colorful character:

James Hinton of Napa, a former online Texas Hold 'Em poker player, is doing something no Republican has dared to this year: He's going all in and challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson in the heavily Democratic 5th Congressional District.

And Hinton said despite the odds, he's not bluffing in his quest to unseat Thompson.

So, who is Hinton?

In a recent Times-Herald interview, the 39-year-old underdog described himself as a fiercely independent social libertarian. Unencumbered by a political party, Hinton's views are a mix of libertarianism and liberalism: He favors legalizing marijuana, taxing Wall Street and replacing the Affordable Care Act with a one-size-fits-all [note editorializing] single-payer health care system.

His dislikes?

America's two-party system and deep-pocketed special interests, he said.

"I'm running for U.S. Congress ... in order to work with and for the people to protect our beautiful God-given environment, strengthen our economy and improve our health," his campaign leaflet says.

Sounds like a middle-of-the-road reformist, to me. Read below the fold...

Evil as a state of matter

I ran across this quote from William Burroughs the other day:

We have observed that most of the trouble in the world has been caused by ten to twenty percent of folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus. Now your virus is an obligate cellular parasite and my contention is that evil is quite literally a virus parasite occupying a certain brain area… The mark of a basic shit is that he has to be right.

So, today we read this about sociopaths: Read below the fold...

Boeing to experiment by building planes with a de-skilled, demotivated workforce

What could go wrong? Seattle Times:

Boeing’s December disclosure that it will transfer about 1,000 research engineering jobs out of Washington state has sown widespread internal dissent, distrust and confusion, according to internal employee feedback gathered by company managers.

Employees cited in the feedback meetings expressed concerns that those high standards can’t be maintained.

Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: About the 8 million

(Wonkblog has improved since Ezra Klein went elsewhere, interestingly.) WaPo:

Last summer, the administration had hoped that 40 percent of exchange enrollees would be between 18 and 34, based on the Congressional Budget Office's estimates that 7 million people in all would enroll in 2014. Instead, the administration got 28 percent, which the White House and supporters very eagerly pointed out Thursday was nearly identical to youth enrollment in the first year of the Massachusetts health-care law that Obamacare was based on. ...*

The 2014 enrollment stories aren't over, however. We're still waiting to find out at least the following: How many purchased coverage off the exchanges, how many paid their premiums, what kind of coverage they purchased, how many joined Medicaid because of the expansion and more.

Yep. Read below the fold...

Whatever happened to the captain going down with the ship?

These days, the captain always escape! OK, OK, the Korean ferry disaster has conveniently usurped the MH370 disaster*, but nothing prevents us from pointing out the obvious moral of the story:

And the Korean captain's behavior isn't an isolated case; the Costa Concordia captain did just the same thing**. And then there's this: Read below the fold...


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