Telling the Truth is “Controversial” and “Incendiary” at Politico

Former Politico White House Reporter Joe Williams

This morning, Politico fired their White House Reporter Joe Williams for supposed “incendiary” remarks that he made in an appearance on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir show last week. He had been suspended after complaints from ultra-right-wing outlets Breitbart.com and The Washington Free Beacon.

POLITICO reporter Joe Williams has been suspended pending review of recent controversial comments he made on television and Twitter, POLITICO editors informed staff late Thursday night.

On MSNBC today, Williams made a remark suggesting Mitt Romney was only comfortable around white people. The video was first flagged by conservative website Washington Free Beacon. Breitbart.com ran the video and also flagged a series of tweets Williams had written that made fun of the Republican candidate, particularly in regard to his wealth.

“Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams’s public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment to this responsibility,” POLITICO’s founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a memo to the staff. “His comment about Governor Romney earlier today on MSNBC fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way.”

Here is the appearance in question, followed by a transcript of the offending comments:

Transcript:

It’s very interesting that he does so many appearances on “ Fox & Friends .” And it’s unscripted. It’s only time they let Mitt off the leash, so to speak. But it also points out a larger problem he’s got to solve if he wants to be successful come this fall. Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in some town hall settings, why he can’t relate to people other than that. But when he comes on “ Fox & Friends,” they are like him, they’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company, so it really is a very stark contrast, I think, and a problem that he has not been able to solve to date, and he’s going to have to network harder if he’s going to try to compete.

Frankly, I have no problems with any of that. I think it’s demonstrably true that Romney is more comfortable with people like himself–whether they’re right-wingers, rich people, or white people. Williams’ tweets are a little more inappropriate. Here’s a collection of them at Breitbart.com. The worst was a retweet of a penis joke about Ann and Mitt.

So what are Politico’s “standards?” Supposedly they want their reporters to be objective and unbiased. Really? The site was founded by two conservatives, John Harris and Jim VandeHei, who were previously at the Washington Post. In my opinion, Politico has a definite Republican slant–in fact I’ve always thought of it as a Republican blog.

I’m not alone in my point of view on this. Here’s TBogg’s characterization of the firing:

The ankle-nippers at Big Dead Andy’s Big Mausoleum of Otherwise Unemployables have claimed another head to be mounted on their wall of Black People We Don’t Like Because They Are Black People. In this case, Joe Williams from the Beltway Daily Racing Form known as Politico

.

This is probably a rude question, but how many black reporters does Politico employ? I’m sure there must be a few, but Williams is was the only one I’m aware of. And Breitbart is now an acceptable arbiter on journalistic ethics? Seriously?

I think it’s understandable that Williams would be thinking in terms of race as well as ideology when he refers to Romney’s comfort level on Fox and Friends. I suppose Fox’s token black guy Juan Williams may occasionally appear on the show, but would Romney even be comfortable with Juan Williams? Remember when he was booed at a Republican debate for asking some questions about Newt Gingrich’s attitudes about poor people and food stamps? I don’t recall Romney protesting the audience’s vile reaction.

At the African American blog NewsOne, Syracuse University Professor Boyce Watkins has a different take on the suspension than Joe Williams’ former bosses at Politico:

[T]here’s a pattern and unfortunately Joe has been affected by it. For the most part, being born a Black man who speaks conscientiously or accurately about issues of race effectively defines you to be a rogue. There isn’t much of a disconnect between the Black man who is stopped and frisked on the street, and the Black male professor/journalist/doctor/lawyer who has his capabilities questioned, even when he does nothing wrong.

Cornel West was a rogue at Harvard for seeking to reengage the black community. I was a trouble maker in elementary school when I answered questions without raising my hand. Barack Obama was defined as a radical leftist by the Republican Party for saying that the wealthy should pay slightly higher taxes. It’s easy for black men to be marginalized very quickly in most mainstream environments, primarily because people are waiting for you to say something that they can define to be volatile or dangerous.

In media, the pattern is quite the same: Just a couple of years ago, Marc Lamont Hill was ambushed by the Right Wing and fired from Fox News for no good reason. After that, Roland Martin was suspended from CNN for making remarks that I personally didn’t agree with, but were acceptable to many millions of African Americans. The consistent and unfortunate reality for many African Americans who work with mainstream (read: White-owned) media organizations is that you must either be a good little boy who goes along with the program or you have to “take your black ass back to the ghetto.” Most of these organizations have little interest in true and meaningful diversity of ideas, they only want to have a black face or two at the table so they can pretend that they are making racial progress.

I’m sure Joe Williams saw the writing on the wall as soon as he was suspended without pay. That’s probably why he went on Current TV on Wednesday, without getting approval from his Politico masters, and spoke honestly once again.

Williams acknowledged to host Bill Press that he made “errors in judgment” but pointedly blamed right wing publications such as The Daily Caller and Breitbart.com for relentlessly reporting on Williams’ purported liberal bias. “Certainly they’re in the business of gathering scalps and we’ve seen it,” he said. He said the story quickly became “about him” rather than what he said. This made him uncomfortable.

After several patronizing attempts by Press to school him on journalistic ethics, Williams said:

“We are paid to observe, but we are not blind.” The host asked if Williams would apologize to Romney. He said if he did that, then “a lot of other people would have to as well.” Further, he said his thoughts on white people are nothing new and that he should not have to apologize: “I probably should have selected my words more carefully. In some people’s minds they were incendiary.”

And finally,

Williams declared that the Washington Press Corps. as a whole has a problem with minority hires and said Politico is no exception.

I’d say he knew he was already gone and had nothing to lose–so why not speak the truth? I’m hoping MSNBC will continue to use Williams as a commentator. He’s far more insightful than hacks like Howard Fineman and Richard Wolffe.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Deadly Shallows

Wonk the Vote mentioned a great article today about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her commentary on the ACA published in New Yorker Magazine and written by Amy Davidson.  I wanted to follow up on this with some more information on the court’s sharpest mind.

“Staying power” is something that Ginsburg has. As Jeffrey Toobin says in this week’s Political Scene podcast, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seventy-nine. She is about five feet tall, eighty pounds, she has had every disease known to humanity. She is as tough as nails.” She made her way at a time when you could have a legal education from Harvard and Columbia and still be turned down for a job because you were a woman. She is not as loud or colorfully charismatic as Scalia—who is?—but neither does she seem to have learned to give up. (Those wondering about the liberal future of the Court might note that, on a point related to Medicaid expansion, Ginsburg was joined by only one Justice: Sonia Sotomayor.) We don’t know what happened inside the Court, or why Roberts voted the way he did. But by writing a scathing opinion, Ginsburg may at least have done him the favor of showing him what he might have looked like if he had signed on with Scalia: a political opportunist, and almost a fool.

She wasn’t the only one exerting that pressure, of course. But she is the leader of the liberal wing and the one who articulated what would have been the Court’s internal reproach.

Ginsberg’s writing on the case was full of gems including her use of Romney Care as one reason for upholding the Obama version.

In her opinion of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made note of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law as a reason why the individual mandate was constitutional.

While Ginsburg was a part of the majority opinion, she had differing reasons as to why the mandate was constitutional. The rest of the justices found that under the Commerce Clause, the mandate requiring all U.S. citizens to buy health insurance was not valid. They upheld it as a tax.

Ginsburg, however, said it should have been upheld under the Commerce Clause, and explained how Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead in preventing only sick people from signing up for health insurance:

“Massachusetts, Congress was told, solved the adverse selection problem. By requiring most residents to obtain insurance … the Commonwealth ensured that insurers would not be left with only the sick as customers. As a result, federal lawmakers observed, Massachusetts succeeded where other States had failed.”

Ginsburg continued, citing briefs “noting the Commonwealth’s reforms” and “noting the success of Massachusetts’ reforms.” She noted that the reforms reduced the number of uninsured to less than 2 percent, the lowest rate in the nation. 

“In cou­pling the minimum coverage provision with guaranteed­ issue and community-rating prescriptions, Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead,” Ginsburg wrote.

Ginsberg did not write an ideological screed like the opposition.  Instead, she actually focused on well known economic theories like adverse selection or the “lemons” problem and indicated a direct knowledge of the concept of externalties noting that broccoli was a private good.  It is a good that is separable from public benefits and costs.  This is the traditional microeconomic way of looking at how to determine if a good should remain in a basically unfettered private market or should be considered for regulation or public provision.  Scalia’s broccoli horrible indicates the man has no knowledge what so ever of basic market structures and economics. Ginsberg toasted his cerebral marshmallows on that one.

It’s the noxious “broccoli” argument, a Tea Party cock-and-bull story elevated to law by the chief justice of the United States. But as the unflagging Ruth Bader Ginsburg explains, in her often hilarious separate opinion, “although an individual mightbuy a car or a crown of broccoli one day, there is no certainty she will ever do so;” nor will she get broccoli for free “at the expense of another consumer forced to pay an inflated price”. Ginsburg calls this freshman slippery-slope reasoning “the broccoli horrible”, and she mocks her conservative benchmates for imagining that “a vegetable-purchase mandate” could bring down the healthcare costs of “lithe Americans”:

“The court would have to believe that individuals forced to buy vegetables would then eat them (instead of throwing or giving them away), would prepare the vegetables in a healthy way (steamed or raw, not deep-fried), would cut back on unhealthy foods, and would not allow other factors (such as lack of exercise or little sleep) to trump the improved diet.”

Unlike broccoli, healthcare is something everyone, but everyone, will need at some time. For Ginsburg and the other liberal justices, the individual mandate is not the unprecedented dilemma Roberts insists it is. There is nothing particularly new here. On the contrary, it fits in naturally with what Ginsburg calls “Congress’ large authority to set the nation’s course in the economic and social welfare realm”, and failing to recognize the legislature’s power to do so under the commerce clause is for her “stunningly retrogressive”.

Scalia was so played in her argument that he should blush every time he sees her if he had any intellectual honesty at all.

Again, the argument is insane. It’s even difficult to apply the term shark-jumping because that sounds too mundane for this leap to surreality.

What’s so horrible about eating broccoli?, the legal naïf might wonder. But then Justice Ginsburg comes back at him very sharply:

Consider the chain of inferences the Court would have to accept to conclude that a vegetable-purchase mandate was likely to have a substantial effect on the health-care costs borne by lithe Americans. The Court would have to believe that individuals forced to buy vegetables would then eat them (instead of throwing or giving them away), would prepare the vegetables in a healthy way (steamed or raw, not deep-fried), would cut back on unhealthy foods, and would not allow other factors (such as lack of exercise or little sleep) to trump the improved diet.Even in her brave opinion, Justice Ginsburg reveals the heart of the problem: nobody on the Supreme Court knows how to cook broccoli.

Speaking of intellectual dishonesty,Governor/exorcist/kidnapper Bobby Jindal took the leap to intellectual dishonesty infinity and beyond with this one. He obviously spent know time with the court’s opinion.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said Thursday’s “frightening” Supreme Court ruling could lead to penalties for Americans whose lives are out of step with government priorities.

On a call with reporters, Jindal said that the decision to uphold the healthcare law as a tax is a “blow to our freedoms.”

“What’s next?” he said, expressing concern for people who “refuse to eat tofu” or “refuse to drive a Chevy Volt” — a popular hybrid car.

He doesn’t even realize how he just got dumped into Ginsburg’s trap. But, that’s about what happens when you go after the crazy little Teabot vote.

She even managed to call Roberts an “activist” judge by reminding every one of precedent.

“Rather than evaluating the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision in the manner established by our precedents, THE CHIEF JUSTICE relies on a newly minted constitutional doctrine. The commerce power does not, THE CHIEF JUSTICE announces, permit Congress to `compel individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product.’” This argument gets “no force from our precedent and for that reason alone warrants disapprobation.”

Jindal sure missed this one.

Ginsburg: Congress can’t do silly things like compelling people to eat broccoli or buy General Motors cars because that would violate the well-established reasonableness test under previous Supreme Court decisions. But even if it did, the voters would rebel.

“As the controversy surrounding the passage of the Affordable Care Act attests, purchase mandates are likely to engender political resistance. This prospect is borne out by the behavior of state legislators. Despite their possession of unquestioned authority to impose mandates, state governments have rarely done so.”

It’s a good thing we have a few true intellectuals and scholars around still. May we continue to be blessed by her fine mind.

You can read the entire ruling here.


Caturday Heroines

1950’s Jean Patchett

Morning, news junkies! Okay so not a cat picture, but Jean Patchett qualifies as pretty darn feline in my books… heh. Also, I can’t get this pic to post because it’s copyrighted, but here’s a photo of Hemingway and Patchett in tow with kitties.

Well that’s it in the way of an intro for today. Let’s get right to the links.

First up… by now I’m sure you’ve all read quite a few of the “Hillary makes history” items in the headlines lately, so I won’t reinvent that news wheel. But, in case you missed it…here’s a neat profile on Hillary Rodham Clinton at makers.com, entitled “The Lesson of ‘Hillarycare'”. Includes several video interview clips of Hillary reflecting on her life. Snippet from the write-up:

Wellesley College seniors had never before chosen a commencement speaker from their own ranks when Hillary Rodham stepped to the podium on the last day of May in 1969. Education, she said, must grant “the courage to be whole” and permit people to live “in relation to one another in the full poetry of existence.” The speech received national attention and marked Rodham as a leading light for the young women of her generation.

By now, it’s safe to say that the early promise has been borne out; had Hillary Rodham Clinton “merely” attended Yale Law, served on the staff of the Senate Watergate Committee, become a respected children’s rights advocate, been the first female partner at her law firm, been a mother, and served as First Lady of Arkansas, we would think of her as a leader. And yet she has by now spent two additional decades at the very heart of the national consciousness—as a sometimes-embattled First Lady, as a distinguished senator from New York, as a groundbreaking 2008 Presidential candidate, and now as the 67th Secretary of State. Clinton has outlasted the smears to top Gallup’s “most admired woman in America” a record 16 times since 1993. “The courage to be whole,” indeed.

Next, from the New Yorker’s Amy Davidson… Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hero:

I am glad that John Roberts, the Chief Justice, voted to uphold almost all of the Affordable Care Act. But the stance of humble gratitude toward Roberts that’s been assumed by many in the past day is beginning to be a bit much. This is especially true since the real hero of the day is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

On the front page of the late edition of the Times Friday morning, there were four stories on the Supreme Court decision. One talked about Roberts’s “exquisite delicacy,” and how he “considers himself the custodian of the Supreme Court’s prestige, authority and legitimacy.” Ginsburg’s name didn’t appear before the jump in any of them; she only ever appeared in one, seventeen paragraphs in. Her picture and surname were in the infographic—all the Justices were there. There were four pull-quotes: two from Roberts, and two from the joint dissent from Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy.

And yet Ginsburg wrote what would have been the dissent—and a strong one—if Roberts had voted with the four conservatives to throw out the entire health-care law.

Read the rest. It’s worth the click and it’s news you won’t find out from the Dewey Defeats Truman newsrooms of America!

Historiann on Nora Ephron…. I highly recommend clicking on the first link in her post, which I’ve linked here too for your convenience:

Now I will really miss her.

From the New York Times obit:

The producer Scott Rudin recalled that less than two weeks before her death, he had a long phone session with her from the hospital while she was undergoing treatment, going over notes for a pilot she was writing for a TV series about a bank compliance officer. Afterward she told him, “If I could just get a hairdresser in here, we could have a meeting.”

Ms. Ephron’s collection “I Remember Nothing” concludes with two lists, one of things she says she won’t miss and one of things she will. Among the “won’t miss” items are dry skin, Clarence Thomas, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, and panels on “Women in Film.” The other list, of the things she will miss, begins with “my kids” and “Nick” and ends this way:

“Taking a bath

Coming over the bridge to Manhattan

Pie.”

And, on that note. I’m gonna go draw a nice soothing bath and bake something yummy this Saturday. You know what to do in the comments, Sky Dancers… Have a lovely weekend!


Late Nite Lite: Open Thread Wave…Heat Wave

Damn it is hot down here in Banjoville!

Good Evening!

Time again for those funny cartoons, Fridays do seem to come on you fast sometimes, with all the news this week…it is gonna be a good one.

First up, 7/1 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Pre-existing condition | Mike Luckovich

For more on the SCOTUS Decision:

BB will like this one:

So many to choose from, I love the expression on this elephant:

But…it is all Bush’s fault!

Obamacare Roberts © Steve kelley,The New Orleans Times, Picayune,John Roberts, Supreme Court, Constitution, Obamacare

And what about Holder?

Holder and Contempt of Congress © Daryl Cagle,MSNBC.com,Fast and Furious,the fast and the furious,Eric Holder, Darrell Issa, Congress, Contempt of Congress,Gun Running, elephant,clown,seltzer

Okay, I have to add this one from last week…on Sandusky:

Sandusky Cellmate © Bruce Plante,Tulsa World,Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, prison

And finally a couple of comments about immigration:

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Chan Lowe, Sun-Sentinel – 06/28/2012

Now this last one is particularly fabulous because of the scene it portrays:

Arizona immigration law Flesh wound © J.D. Crowe,Mobile Register,arizona immigration law, us supreme court

Alright…we’ll call it a draw!


Just in Case You Didn’t Notice …

Congress finally renewed highway funds and extended the lower student loan rate.  This news comes via the HILL.  This should save a few jobs and fill a few potholes.  It also renews my Flood Insurance during the hurricane season!!!

Congress on Friday approved legislation that will extend federal highway programs through 2014, a low interest rate on student loans for one year, and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years.

Leaders in the House and Senate negotiated the giant package, leaving no doubt that it would have enough support to pass. The bill will likely be the last major piece of legislation approved by Congress until after the November elections.

The House voted 373-52 in favor of the bill, which was supported by every voting Democrat, while 52 Republicans opposed it. In the Senate, the tally was 74-19, with 23 Republicans joining every Democrat in voting for the measure. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted present, while Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) missed the vote.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama looks forward to signing the bill.

Congress faced a weekend deadline for extending the highway and student loan provisions. The rates for federally backed student loans were set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, and transportation funding was due to expire.

See?  They can work together ever so often.


TBIF Reads

Good Morning!!

Here’s some reads to get you started today!

Hillary Clinton was asked about the SCOTUS ruling yesterday in St. Petersburg, Russia.  She said she was “obviously quite excited”.

“I haven’t had a chance to read the decision. I literally just heard as we landed that the Supreme Court has upheld the healthcare law. Obviously I want to get into the details, but I’m very pleased. That’s how I hoped it would turn out,” Clinton said in video posted by PSB’s “NewsHour” and reported by Agence France Presse.

The high court ruled to uphold the healthcare law in 5-4 decision that prompted calls for repeal from Republicans and daylong praise by Democrats.

“I think it’s a great moment to just think about what this will mean for the millions and millions of Americans who have already benefited from the Affordable Care Act and some many more who will continue to do so,” Clinton added.

She noted that although there is still a lot of work to do implementing the healthcare law, she was “obviously quite exited to hear the results.”

Most right-wing hacks responded in their normal over-the top way.  Rush Limbaugh–why is he still relevant?–said that SCOTUS was a “death panel”.   The Aqua Buddha doesn’t understand the role of the Supreme Court in the constitution.  He said that just because SCOTUS says it’s constitutional doesn’t mean it is constitutional.   Representative “Mean Jean” Schmidt gives all women a bad name with this show of hysteria.  (Let’s not even mention Quitterella or “I married a closet case” Michelle Bachmann.)  Let’s just say the Teabots are on a rampage.

I’m sure we will find more realistic assessments of the ruling in a few days when constitutional law scholars sift through the thing.

Nobel Prize winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz is out on the interview circuit in support of his new book.   Here’s an interesting interview with Stiglitz on the terrible consequences of income inequality.

One of the myths that I try to destroy is the myth that if we do anything about inequality it will weaken our economy. And that’s why the title of my book is The Price of Inequality. What I argue is that if we did attack these sources of inequality, we would actually have a stronger economy. We’re paying a high price for this inequality. Now, one of the mischaracterizations of those of us who want a more equal or fairer society, is that we’re in favor of total equality, and that would mean that there would be no incentives. That’s not the issue. The question is whether we could ameliorate some of the inequality — reduce some of the inequality by, for instance, curtailing monopoly power, curtailing predatory lending, curtailing abusive credit card practices, curtailing the abuses of CEO pay. All of those kinds of things, what I generically call “rent seeking,” are things that distort and destroy our economy.

So in fact, part of the problem of low taxes at the top is that since so much of the income at the very top is a result of rent seeking, when we lower the taxes, we’re effectively lowering the taxes on rent seeking, and we’re encouraging rent-seeking activities. When we have special provisions for capital gains that allow speculations to be taxed at a lower rate than people who work for a living, we encourage speculation. So that if you look at the design bit of our tax structure, it does create incentives for doing the wrong thing.

Basically this means that lowering taxes for the hyper-rich doesn’t create jobs.  It creates gambling and influence peddling.

Here’s “Eight Great Lines Written by the Late Nora Ephron” from truthdig.

Even people who don’t like Nora Ephron movies have to concede that she broadened things for women, both the female professionals following in her wake and the female audience members soaking in her stories. She was no bleeding-edge feminist, but in a culture that produces one vapid Prince Charming chick flick after another, Ephron generally focused on characters—Julia Child among them—who had their own force of personality, their own reasons for being.

Truthdig contributor Carrie Rickey remembers on her own blog eight of her favorite Ephron lines. Here are three:

“When your children are teenagers it’s important to have a dog so someone in the house is happy to see you when you get home.” — from the book “I Feel Bad About My Neck”

“Harry, you have to find a way of not expressing every feeling you have, every moment you have them.” — spoken by Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally … ”

“She makes coffee nervous” — spoken by Tom Hanks (of Parker Posey) in “You’ve Got Mail”

I guess I’m going multimedia these days.  I have another Youtube for you.  This one is kinda kewl.  It’s on “mathematics made visible and the art of M.C. Escher. Who hasn’t had at least one of his posters hanging on your dorm or bedroom wall as a kid?

His cool, analytic tendency was apparent from the start. “Maurits Escher is a good graphic artist,” wrote the headmaster of the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts in 1922, the year of Escher’s graduation, “but he lacks the right artistic temperament. His work is to too cerebral–neither emotional nor lyrical enough.” Escher’s work became even more cerebral over time, as it grew in geometric sophistication.

There’s a great 1 hour long documentary available too.  Follow the link above when you have the time.  It’s well worth it.

I also recommend that you read the FT and “A manifesto for economic sense” by Paul Krugman and Richard Layard.

As a result of their mistaken ideas, many western policy makers are inflicting massive suffering on their peoples. But the ideas they espouse about how to handle recessions were rejected by nearly all economists after the disasters of the 1930s. It is tragic that in recent years the old ideas have again taken root.

The best policies will differ between countries and will require debate. But they must be based on a correct analysis of the problem. We therefore urge all economists and others who agree with the broad thrust of this manifesto for economic sense to register their agreement online and to publicly argue the case for a sounder approach. The whole world suffers when men and women are silent about what they know is wrong.

Here’s an interesting archaeological find from the UK. A woman and a cow were found buried together in Cambridgeshire.

The grave was uncovered in Oakington by students from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire.

At first it was thought the animal skeleton was a horse.

Student Jake Nuttall said: “Male warriors might be buried with horses, but a woman and a cow is new to us.”

He added: “We were excited when we thought we had a horse, but realising it was a cow made it even more bizarre.”

Co-director of the excavation, Dr Duncan Sayer, from the University of Central Lancashire, said: “Animal burials are extremely rare, anyway.

Skeleton of a woman found in Anglo-Saxon grave Grave goods including brooches indicated the woman was of high status

“There are only 31 horse burials in Britain and they are all with men.

“This is the first animal to be discovered with a woman from this period – the late 5th Century – and it’s really interesting that it’s a cow, a symbol of economic and domestic wealth and power.

“It’s also incredibly early to find any grave of a woman buried with such obvious wealth.”

One more totally bizarre dig story.  I know.  I wanted to be an archaeologist as a kid. I’m still fascinated with it all. This one is from Philadelphia: “How Thousands of Headstones Ended Up Under a Philadelphia Bridge”.  Go look at the pictures.  They are very haunting and macabre.

The Betsy Ross Bridge in Philadelphia seems like any other. It doesn’t have the grace of the Golden Gate or the history of the Brooklyn Bridge, nor does it draw any acolytes wanting to make the trek across. The structure exists primarily to move people, and this it does well, helping connect Pennsylvania to New Jersey. Most commuters, however, are surely unaware of what the bridge’s foundation is actually built on: a cemetery.

The bridge springs from the headstones of a forsaken graveyard, dumped unceremoniously into the Delaware River. The sunken stones at the base of the bridge came from Monument Cemetery, once located two miles from City Hall. Monument Cemetery, established in 1839, was the second Victorian garden style cemetery in Philadelphia, after Laurel Hill, now a protected historic landmark. Monument was modeled after the Pere Lachaise in Paris, and was created to function both as a final resting place for the dead as well as a green respite from the surrounding urban environment.

That’s my offerings today!  Thank Buddha it’s Friday!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Late Night: Round-Up, Move ‘Em Out and Get Along Little Doggies…

Good Evening!

Wow, today has been one of those news days that many have waited for.  We got the SCOTUS decision on RomneyCare…oops, I mean ObamaCare.  The rightwing is questioning the vetting and the appointment of Chief Justice Roberts…some idiots are calling for Roberts impeachment, and then if that was not enough for you, Holder got a contempt charge thrown at him by the House of Representatives GOP and a shitload of Democrats…well, folks who call themselves Democrats.

Before we get to all the news links I just want to throw this out there, because I have some mixed feelings about all this “stuff.”

I have had some experience with this Obamacare first hand, and I gotta tell you…even though I fully supported (and still want btw) the single payer option, however, after trying to get coverage through the ACA Healthcare system I honestly can’t see how anyone would be satisfied with this kind of health care reform.

It Stinks!

First, let me explain my experience with the “thing” that gets a lot of hype when it comes to the ACA. That is the requirement regarding pre-exhisting conditions, that employers must not deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions…you see…companies found a way to get around it. Walmart is one of those employers that now denies “coverage” for those with pre-existing conditions by the use of carefully thought out words…your estimated healthcare cost are above coverage limits. By that they mean that, sure we have to cover you but you have so many health issues we are putting a limit on what we will cover. In my case, they only cover 80% of the limited amount of coverage which was 10,000 a year…and that is after a 2,000 dollar deductible, in addition to the cost of the policy which is over $300.00 a month…just for me!

If I did not get the Medicare/Medicaid Health Insurance through Disability, I would never have been able to get my hysterectomy, which was not an elective surgery…since I had so many health issues and tumors and cyst and infections etc. ObamaCare would not work for me because…

1. I was “covered” if you could call it that, from the insurance through my husbands work. (To get the ObamaCare you have to fill out all these forms and paperwork, along with getting a certified copy of the rejection letter from the employer’s insurance company. Because of the wording on my “rejection letter” I was not qualified as a candidate for the ACA insurance.)

2. Even if I could get coverage through the ACA, I would never have been able to afford it. While waiting for the Obamacare approval, which never came, I got some quotes via the Gov insurance webpage. For my conditions and past medical history…my ACA plan would have been 700 bucks a month…with a 5000 dollar deductible and then it would be one of those 80/20 plans. I simply couldn’t pay that much.

Maybe things will change as the program gets fully rolled out, but even though the ObamaCare system considered me “covered” via my husband’s employer, I couldn’t afford the cost of my surgery, the surgical suite alone was over $43,000. Not including doctors, meds, hospital stay etc. I would still be in serious pain and experiencing major health problems.

So after all that explanation, I must say the SCOTUS decision does not make a huge impression on me. Yes, it is a “victory” for Obama…but it is no way a victory for people like me…those with health issues, over 26 and making just over the yearly income designated as “poverty.”

In my opinion, this decision wipes out any possibility of a revamp of ACA to include the single payer option. The words being slung from the right-wing politicians and news outlets and loud-mouth pundits is a load of bullshit! This Obamacare was and is exactly what the GOP wanted and pushed for…it is loaded with an unbelievable amount of bureaucracy and it favors insurance companies and BigPharma.

Maybe I am just being cynical…but to me this SCOTUS decision does not come as a surprise, and I just don’t feel like it is something to be raving about. My final word on this ObamaCare victory is  actually a form of slang…meh.

As for the Holder Contempt of Congress…to those GOP Reps and the Dems who voted for it…fucking basturds, they are all assholes.

Dammit, I think I hit the publish button by mistake…and only realized it after I went through and reworked it. I guess I will just call it an open thread.