klMGPj Wow, great blog post. Really Cool.
First, a confession. I am not one of Michael Moore's biggest supporters, and I had to be tricked into seeing SiCKO this weekend (I was promised Paris, je t'aime, which was conveniently no longer playing at the theatre!) There are two reasons: 1. his scattershot, anecdotal approach is unsatisfying to the extent that I feel I leave his movies without having learned anything substantial about the topic, and 2. I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to documentaries. Incidentally, the better half tried to persuade me not to think of Moore's films as documentary, but as "entertainment with a point."
That being said, I wanted to bring the topic into a front-page story since we've had both solid diaries and long comment threads banging around the healthcare debate. Obviously this is going to be a major topic in the next presidential race, dominance of the Iraq debate notwithstanding.
The Supreme Court has acknowledged that efforts to make a more egalitarian society by means of government action have failed. Even without their latest ruling, statistics have shown that re-segregation of schools systems has occurred in many areas.
One of the popular arguments for not taking action is that racism no longer exists. The evidence cited includes the visibility of "minority" sports and entertainment figures and the multi-cultural makeup of many TV shows and films. Even interracial romantic couplings are now seen in films and TV.
On the other hand, when surveys are taken as to whether discrimination exists, minorities say yes in numbers as high as 80%. Tests of employment and housing opportunities using matched applicants who differ only by race show that this perception is still a reality. In one study white ex-felons were more likely to be hired than blacks without any criminal record.
For all of us money is a nessecity, and without money nobody would last very long in todays' society. It is for the majority of the human race the only means of survival within the capitalist system. So you would think that with its' "life giving powers" and constant everyday use, money would be better understood by those most dependant upon it. Unfortunetly this isn't the case. It is not what money is or how it impacts on the whole of society, but how money can best be "made" by the individual, for the individual. Why? Greed is a factor, but the need to survive is probably the most accurate answer among those who have to work for it. The need to know what it is, is over shadowed by the need to have what it is. So what is it?
The price of a commodity is determined by three factors. The competition between seller and seller. Competition between buyer and buyer, and finally competition between seller and buyer.
Seller Vs Seller; whoever sells the same commodity of the same quality for the cheapest price will dominate the market. This has the effect of pushing down the price of a certain commodity.
Buyer Vs Buyer; this has the effect of increasing the price of a commodity.
Seller Vs Buyer; the outcome will depend upon the result of the first two groups. If there is less competition between the sellers than that of the buyers the price will rise, and the opposite will produce the effect of lowering prices. In the same proportion in which the competition between sellers decreases, the competition among the buyers increases. In reality it is usually competition among the sellers that is most often the case; an excess of supply over the demand, and the selling of commodities at ridiculously low prices.
Full article here . Key points:
The FDA should be able to limit the type and number of stores that can sell tobacco products and gradually cut the allowable nicotine content to reduce the addictive power of cigarettes, it added.
[...]"If tobacco cigarettes were now being introduced into the marketplace for the first time, there is no doubt that they would be banned under any one of several consumer protection statutes," Bonnie said.
[...]"Tobacco use causes 440,000 deaths every year in the United States, and secondhand smoke claims another 50,000 lives every year," it said.
We're moving towards this , and about time too.
From CNN , the bill would provide a process for obtaining legal citizenship to current illegal immigrants and would establish a program for guest workers:
The 380-page bill, which comes after nearly three months of negotiations, would give immediate work authorization to undocumented workers who arrived in the United States before January 1, 2007. Those workers would be granted a "Z" visa and placed on the path to permanent residence, according to a summary provided by Kennedy, who is chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee.
[...]After the provisions are in place, a guest-worker program would be initiated, under which 400,000 temporary workers per year would be granted a "Y" visa. The two-year visas would require they return home for a year, then allow them to re-enter for an additional two-years. The process could be repeated twice more.
Bush is backing the bill and there is bipartisan support in the Senate. The reaction outside of Washington appears to be decidedly mixed, with some conservatives interpreting this as amnesty and some liberals concerned about the creation of a non-citizen immigrant working class. Some quick thoughts below the fold.
Whether we would choose to be a part of society, the simple truth is that we are. Whether we would choose to progress or not in knowledge and technology, the obvious fact is that we do. As a result, with these progressions life should become easier. As human society has evolved the conscious and physical level of co-operation has also risen. It is this co-operation which has allowed technology and our understanding to brilliantly explode in the way that it has. But everything created today owes its' existance to what was created before, that is to say, the evolution of technology and machinery is akin to the human condition, an unbroken chain of progression through co-operation within society. This was achieved due to the division of labour, specialization in a certian area of work. Where one man hunted another made the spears. As society evolved the spear maker no longer had to gather the raw materials as that area of work was divided into flint miner and woodsman, and so on. The production time (or work) early societies had to do to first survive fell in relation to the advancement of divided labour, ie; co-operation, and living conditions rose. The tools, machines and knowledge in society are exclusivly for the use of that society. They are of a purely social nature, they owe thier existance to humans working in co-operation. Man, alone, is weak. He is unable to produce by himself what you now see in front of you. To accomplish such a feat as the world today requires more than one pair of hands.
I'm interested in summarizing the conservative approach to education reform. This goal is motivated by the idea of the debate I proposed with the Forvm, but it's also a personal interest of mine, and judging by the response to the education subthread the other day we have a lot of interest and knowledge here to draw upon. I'd like to use this diary to collect information and work through particular arguments, so please jump in to question, correct, or clarify.
Let's start with vouchers (some info here -- biased source, obviously). The basic idea is to place some of the per-pupil funding in the hands of parents, allowing them to afford tuition at private schools. The consequence is to drain funding from public schools, particularly those performing poorly, and to also drain resources such as parental involvement. Those students who switch generally do somewhat better in their new school. The argument is that the students left behind also benefit because the loss of funding will motivate improvement in the public school. One other point to consider: as with health insurance, not everyone costs the same amount, and so moving the lower-cost students out of the public system has a non-proportional impact upon education cost.
Promoted by Brendan
My better half sprained an ankle last week, for the first time ever. I examined it, determined that it appeared to be a routine even if moderately-severe sprain (accepts pressure, can walk, can move toes and flex foot, minor-to-moderate initial pain, normal swelling and bruising), and followed routine procedures (ice, compression, elevation, and rest). When I was younger, I sprained my ankle several times and also helped my mother through a major sprain, so I have had some personal experience with this type of problem. So far, the injury seems to be progressing normally.
I have suspected for sometime that Dr Bob's RWA's were more than a statistical anomaly, and perhaps also a pathology not a lot different from depression or schizophrenia, containing a wide range of severity and a somewhat nebulous array of symptoms that, taken together, still have clinical meaning.
Missing from this Idea was specific causes and what mechanics might be involved. I suspected trauma as a place to start, as I had seen Religious cults, and groups that behave as cults zero in on PTSD like sharks smelling blood. What I had missed was the possibility that the biggest pool of recruits was abused, and neglected children.
So I find it highly ironic (and enjoyable) that free market capitalist conservatives are decrying his firing by MSNBC and CBS. What do these whining conservatives want? A socialist state where a bad investment like Imus is protected from the marketplace by some kind of socialist, politically-correct, government-mandated free speech maxims?
Some of us celebrated Easter last weekend, one of the most significant Christian holidays. The death and resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of Christian faith, our hope for salvation. Easter should be a time of reflection and gratitude for Christians, of spiritual joy and renewed faith.
These days we hide Easter eggs and eat candy.
This sounds like the jumping off point for a rant about our cultural decline, about how we've lost sight of the important things in life and become too focused on material possessions and immediate gratification. I do worry about the relentless commercialization of everything we once held sacred, and I do worry that we as a society are too focused on accumulating wealth and gizmos. However, the decline in the emphasis on Christian tradition has the positive effect of making the holiday somewhat more inclusive to those who aren't strongly Christian. The evil awful commercialization has somehow morphed into benevolent family rituals -- hiding the eggs for the children, inviting relatives over for lunch, maybe going for a hike outside if the weather is nice. Easter has become a day for people to retreat from the breakneck world of work and school and money and spend time with their family, with the emphasis on spiritual enlightenment partially replaced by creating a fun day for kids and catching up with friends and relatives. Even as most Americans describe themselves as religious (and the majority of those Christian), the importance of religious rituals seems to me to be decreasing. We're integrating our religion into our daily life and diluting its impact, replacing faith with consumerism -- but paradoxically, the commercialization of holidays does not diminish their importance to family life, it merely alters their format.
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To find a job you love, to make millions from this job and then retire at 30, never needing to work again. The dream of capitalism. The driving force behind our ecconomy and by extention (although not that far extended) our goverments and educational systems. For the majority of us the dream will remain thus, a dream, and even fewer still will realise why. For a society of "free thinkers" very little thinking actually takes place. Most of the time "we go with the flow", that is, we believe what we are told rather than find out for ourselves. Why? Because it's easier, apparently. But thats life for you, a quick fix and forget the long term consequences. Unfortunatley some consequences take time to occur, and when they do their origin may be lost or uncertain to us, the trouble with money being a prime example. The lethargy towards self education and exploration is, to put it bluntly, why life's a bitch. Of course there are some people who exploit the current system, knowingly, causing anguish and murdering the "innocent", but these are as a few as those who know how they are being exploited (and just about as willing to do something). As money and capital become ever more concentrated, as goverments have no choice but to pander to big business' demands, as the poor get poorer and the rich get fewer, the world gets ever more desperate for solutions.
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