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Month: November 2009

Sarah Palin’s Book Title, Going Rogue, Couldn’t be more Perfect

Sarah Palin’s Book Title, Going Rogue, Couldn’t be more Perfect

Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue, was released this week.  Why “rogue?”  Well Merriam Webster defines “rogue (adj.)” as:  “resembling or suggesting a rogue elephant especially in being isolated, aberrant, dangerous, or uncontrollable.”   Perfect!

The day before her book was released, she was featured on the cover of Newsweek Magazine, but Sarah didn’t like the photo they used.  It was from a photo shoot she did for Runner’s World magazine.

Palin-Newsweek-sm Sarah Palin's Book Title, Going Rogue, Couldn't be more Perfect

Sarah blasted Newsweek on her Facebook page.

“The choice of photo for the cover of this week’s Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this ‘news’ magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant.  The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now.”



Funny… I read a review of the book on NPR today.  Here’s what Rod Dreher wrote:

Going Rogue is a book designed to re-introduce Palin as a national political force, and — though she’s coy about this — to lay the groundwork for a 2012 presidential run.

The rap on Palin is that she’s too shallow and inexperienced for the presidency — a conclusion that early Palin supporters like me came to during the 2008 campaign.  Alas, for conservatives in search of a champion, there’s nothing in Going Rogue to challenge that conclusion.  It’s like this: Palin spends seven pages dishing about her appearance on Saturday Night Live, but just over one page discussing her national security views.

When you consider what weight she gave to National Security versus SNL, the Newsweek cover seems very relevant to the degree of her intellect.

But she doesn’t think so:  she told Barbara Walters that she found the photo “a wee bit degrading.”   So it’s degrading now but it wasn’t when she posed for Runner’s World just three months ago?  Well that doesn’t make any sense, but it’s the response that is “oh-so-expected” from her, and she didn’t let us down.

Unfriend is the word of the year?

Unfriend is the word of the year?

Oxford University announced the Oxford Word of the Year 2009:

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

Whatever…. Doesn’t everyone know that it’s ‘defriend’ not ‘unfriend’?

Here is a partial list of some other notable words in 2009:

hashtag – a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets
intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle
netbook – a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory
paywall – a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers
sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone

freemium – a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content
funemployed – taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests
zombie bank – a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

Politics and Current Affairs
Ardi – (Ardipithecus ramidus) oldest known hominid, discovered in Ethiopia during the 1990s and announced to the public in 2009
birther – a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate
choice mom – a person who chooses to be a single mother
death panel – a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed
teabagger -a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)

brown state – a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations
green state – a US state that has strict environmental regulations
ecotown – a town built and run on eco-friendly principles

Novelty Words
deleb – a dead celebrity
tramp stamp – a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Friday Night Videos – Nirvana, Jack Kerouac, Chuck Prophet

Friday Night Videos – Nirvana, Jack Kerouac, Chuck Prophet

Geffen Records released a DVD/CD of Nirvana live at Reading Festival from 1992. Here’s a bootleg video of “In Bloom” from that concert. Sub Pop also released a 20th Anniversary, remastered edition of Bleach

One Fast Move or I’m Gone– A Movie about how Jack Kerouac came to write Big Sur.  Highly Recommended!   It’s available in a DVD/CD package.  The music is by Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard.  Great stuff.

A video about the recording of Chuck Prophet’s new album, ¡Let Freedom Ring!, that he recorded in Mexico.  My copy came with a souvenir swine flu surgical mask that might come in handy some day soon.

The Best Health Care System in the World?

The Best Health Care System in the World?

I read Nicholas Kristof’s column in The New York Times today, and he called out one Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who last June said that the United States has “the best health care system in the world.”  But who else in the party has made that claim?  Turns out a lot of them have.  Here are a few quotes:

Representative Mike Pence (R-IA), “And ‘we the people’ have the ability to protect the finest health care system this world has ever known and demand real health care reform that will reduce the cost of health care without growing government.”

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), “America’s health care system has a lot of problems, there is no question, and we ought to be addressing those problems.  But, don’t forget it’s the best health care system in the World.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), “There’s a better way to reform the best health care system in the world.

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), “Democrats and Republicans understand that we do have the best health care system in the world.

Rudy Giuliani (R-former NYC Mayor), “The reality is that, with all of its infirmities and difficulties, we have the best health care system in the world.  And it may be because we have a system that still is, if not wholly, at least in large part still private.”

Rush Limbaugh (R – Disinfotainer), “Well, you don’t have to convince me.  I think it’s the best health care system in the world.  We never hear anything good about it from the leaders of the Democrat Party.”

They all said it and they are all wrong.  Why do they keep saying it?  Because for them –  wealthy people  –  there’s no problem.  They get all the health care they need from the best doctors.  They are privileged and they’re covered, and the current system works great for them, so there’s no problem.  They want to believe we have the best system because they can’t believe that they would participate in anything but the best system.

Kristof throws out a few inconvenient truths about our health care system that say otherwise:

The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile)

We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality.

Canadians live longer than Americans do after kidney transplants and after dialysis, and that may be typical of cross-border differences.  One review examined 10 studies of how the American and Canadian systems dealt with various medical issues.  The United States did better in two, Canada did better in five and in three they were similar or it was difficult to determine.

[In a study of how] well 19 developed countries succeeded in avoiding “preventable deaths,” such as those where a disease could be cured or forestalled. What Senator Shelby called “the best health care system” ranked in last place.

…in the United States, 90 percent of hernia surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. In Britain, only 40 percent is, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

Americans take 10 percent fewer drugs than citizens in other countries — but pay 118 percent more per pill that they do take, McKinsey said.

Kristof closed with this point that blows apart the Republican argument that a government healthcare  plan will destroy the best health care system in the world.

…there is one American health statistic that is strikingly above average: life expectancy for Americans who have already reached the age of 65.  At that point, they can expect to live longer than the average in industrialized countries.  That’s because Americans above age 65 actually have universal health care coverage: Medicare.  Suddenly, a diverse population with pockets of poverty is no longer such a drawback.

Here is the World Health Organization’s 2000 ranking of of health care systems in all countries around the world: 

Rank       Country 

        France (and they make great wine too)
2         Italy (they also make great wine)
3         San Marino
4         Andorra
5         Malta
6         Singapore
7         Spain (some good wines from here)
8         Oman
9         Austria (really good reislings)
10        Japan
11        Norway
12        Portugal (port!)
13        Monaco
14        Greece (wine is not so good)
15        Iceland
16        Luxembourg
17        Netherlands
18        United  Kingdom
19        Ireland
20        Switzerland
21        Belgium
22        Colombia
23        Sweden
24        Cyprus
25        Germany (fine white wines)
26        Saudi Arabia
27        United  Arab  Emirates
28        Israel
29        Morocco
30        Canada (beer)
31        Finland
32        Australia (shiraz)
33        Chile
34        Denmark
35        Dominica
36        Costa Rica (damn good coffee)
37        United States of America (But they make really great wine)
38        Slovenia
39        Cuba
40        Brunei
41        New Zealand (but they make really greate wine)
42        Bahrain
43        Croatia
44        Qatar
45        Kuwait
46        Barbados
47        Thailand
48        Czech Republic
49        Malaysia
50        Poland
51        Dominican Republic
52        Tunisia
53        Jamaica (damn good weed)
54        Venezuela
55        Albania
56        Seychelles
57        Paraguay
58        South     Korea
59        Senegal
60        Philippines
61        Mexico
62        Slovakia
63        Egypt
64        Kazakhstan
65        Uruguay
66        Hungary
67        Trinidad and Tobago
68        Saint     Lucia
69        Belize
70        Turkey
71        Nicaragua
72        Belarus
73        Lithuania
74        Saint Vincent  and the   Grenadines
75        Argentina
76        Sri  Lanka
77        Estonia
78        Guatemala
79        Ukraine
80        Solomon   Islands
81        Algeria
82        Palau
83        Jordan
84        Mauritius
85        Grenada
86        Antigua   and Barbuda
87        Libya
88        Bangladesh
89        Macedonia
90        Bosnia-Herzegovina
91        Lebanon
92        Indonesia (they grow some awesome coffee)
93        Iran
94        Bahamas
95        Panama
96        Fiji
97        Benin
98        Nauru
99        Romania
100       Saint Kitts and Nevis
101       Moldova
102       Bulgaria
103       Iraq (boom)
104       Armenia
105       Latvia
106       Yugoslavia
107       Cook Islands
108       Syria
109       Azerbaijan
110       Suriname
111       Ecuador
112       India
113       Cape Verde
114       Georgia
115       El   Salvador
116       Tonga
117       Uzbekistan
118       Comoros
119       Samoa
120       Yemen
121       Niue
122       Pakistan
123       Micronesia
124       Bhutan
125       Brazil
126       Bolivia
127       Vanuatu
128       Guyana
129       Peru
130       Russia
131       Honduras
132       Burkina   Faso
133       Sao Tome and Principe
134       Sudan
135       Ghana
136       Tuvalu
137       Ivory Coast
138       Haiti
139       Gabon
140       Kenya
141       Marshall Islands
142       Kiribati
143       Burundi
144       China
145       Mongolia
146       Gambia
147       Maldives
148       Papua New Guinea
149       Uganda
150       Nepal
151       Kyrgystan
152       Togo
153       Turkmenistan
154       Tajikistan
155       Zimbabwe
156       Tanzania
157       Djibouti
158       Eritrea
159       Madagascar
160       Vietnam
161       Guinea
162       Mauritania
163       Mali
164       Cameroon
165       Laos
166       Congo
167       North Korea
168       Namibia
169       Botswana
170       Niger
171       Equatorial Guinea
172       Rwanda
173       Afghanistan (boom boom)
174       Cambodia
175       South     Africa
176       Guinea-Bissau
177       Swaziland
178       Chad
179       Somalia
180       Ethiopia
181       Angola
182       Zambia
183       Lesotho
184       Mozambique
185       Malawi
186       Liberia
187       Nigeria
188       Democratic Republic of   the Congo
189       Central   African   Republic
190       Myanmar

NPR 50 Great Voices Online Poll

NPR 50 Great Voices Online Poll

NPR has an online poll to choose the 50 greatest voices of all time.  There are 126 candidates from which to choose the top 50.  Those who made the cut were chosen based on reader comments submitted over the past month or so.

The web page they created is pretty cool.  The nominees are displayed in a photo grid that you can sort by name, year of birth, or randomly.  When you hover your cursor over a photo you get the singer’s name, and when you click you get to hear a song clip, some bio information, and a pop-up that allows you to vote and enter a comment.

I hovered over all the nominees, and was a little disappointmed to not find Nick Cave, Nick Urata, P.J. Harvey, Mark Lanegan, or Patti Smith in the grid.  You fans of more classically trained voices will probably be just as disappointed to not find Luciano Pavarotti. 

I voted anyway and these are my five picks:  Johnny Cash, Neko Case, Jeff Buckley, Bob Marley, and Tom Waits.

Take five to visit the site and cast your vote.

Stephen Colbert on Washington State Referendum 71

Stephen Colbert on Washington State Referendum 71

Today I spent some time between the Vikings vs. Packers game and game 4 of the World Series filling out my mail-in ballot for the Washington State, King County, Seattle elections.  (Damn I miss going to my neighborhood polling place to vote.)  Anyway, when I got to the Referendum 71 box, I recalled a great segment from The Colbert Report last week. 

If you are not sure why you should approve Referendum 71, watch and learn.

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