mm324: Obama speech on race: a statesman and patriot

March 21, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

It wasn’t just this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© and the NYTimes editorial board who were impressed with Tuesday’s Philadelphia declaration.

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Obama Offers a Progressive Vision of Patriotism

By Drew Westen, Huffington Post. Posted March 21, 2008.

Obama’s brilliant discussion of race, class and patriotism shows substance unlike any politician in recent history.

I watched Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday morning intently. The “pre-game show” of cable commentators predicted a somewhat grim outcome. What could Obama say that could possibly overcome his association with the words of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright? Would he throw his pastor on the train tracks? And even if he did, would he still suffer from guilt by association?

But then, for 45 minutes, I saw a man who for days had appeared somewhat at sea, buffeted by waves that relentlessly pushed him off course, seem to find his compass and chart a course directly into the eye of the storm. I saw a man with the inner confidence, and the steadiness of a captain who knew he was sailing on uncharted waters but needed to go there anyway, take the nation with him and land them safely on the shore.

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mm323: Get medicine out of the hands of the payers, stat!

March 20, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

The dysfunction of the medical system in the U.S. is a cliché by now.

20% of the population uninsured, forced to use the trauma centers of hospitals as their first-aid clinics.

Doctors chased out of the business due to the impossible costs of malpractice insurance.

And most egregiously, the practice of medicine, until recently under the control of highly educated scientists, i.e., medical doctors whose guiding principle for more than two millennia has been “first, do no harm,” is now constrained by the U.S. health insurance industry whose guiding principle is “maximize return to the stockholders, come what may.”

In search of that return, insurers, who charge fortunes to individuals and their employers for the privilege of providing medical “care” at haggled piecework rates, continue to cheerfully leave millions of Americans uninsured while forcing practitioners to drive medical considerations financially, rather than medically.

So, what’s new? Not much, of course. The presidential candidates of both parties recognize that health insurance remains one of the hot buttons of this electoral season, although nobody has revealed a solution that makes complete medical, as well as financial sense. But all seem to recognize that business as usual, i.e., the business of excessively rewarding the executives and officers and stockholders of health insurers at the expense of un- or under-treated citizens must change.

And Exhibit No. 3,023,670 stands before us for your edification:

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mm322: Blast from the past No. 5

March 19, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

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Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From our very earliest days, originally posted July 1, 2007.

mm043: Rip van Mudge awakes!

MUDGE’S Musings

This blog, having just become active less than 60 days ago, is the symptom of a quickening of interest in life, in the world and its politics, in my career. especially, that is most unexpected, even unlikely, at my (corporate reference only!) advanced age.

Don’t misread me, I’ve always been ferociously interested in my career, especially the part where the electronic deposit to my bank occurs like clockwork every second Thursday. And especially the global collaboration part, in my position as evangelist for our enterprise’s web conferencing tool, a role I’ve played to rave reviews for more than four years.

But, the career development part here in the Heart of Corporate America (HCA, remember, not it’s real name!) I’ve left dormant.

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mm321: Barack Obama tackles race in the U.S. head on

March 18, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

A defining moment in history? Please judge for yourself.

I had a difficult, tiring, news-free day today. Dragged myself home. Dealt with a clogged toilet. Ugh.

Thought I would “phone it in” as far as the blog was concerned.

Then, I encountered today’s speech, Barack Obama’s response to his pastor’s inflammatory sermons that have raised such a hullabaloo of late. Doesn’t seem to matter that McCain’s endorsements from Evangelical wingnuts are glossed over without comment.

The NYTimes was impressed, as you’ll see.

But, please click the “continue reading” link; I’ve posted the speech in full (YouTube version, thus in 4 parts).

Dare to invest the time, as I did. It will repay your 38 minutes.

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mm320: Soothing the savage, etc.

March 17, 2008

Danger! Western Cultural

Treasures Content!

Run Away!

MUDGE’s Musings

Sunday, actually got off of my lazy — uh, seat, and made the effort to attend a cultural event: a concert in town of our community orchestra.

Over the course of 10 months 11 days of daily posting, yr (justifiably) humble svt has been circumspect about his identity, as well as specific locality.

If one was paying attention, one might find some references in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© to north-eastern Illinois, and especially Chicago, the source of the energy driving this 3rd largest U.S.metropolitan area.

Well, my suburban town is hereby outed.

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mm319: Blast from the past No. 4

March 17, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

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Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From our very earliest days, originally posted June 15, 2007.

mm022: Unblocked

guess it’s the sophomore slump.

It’s been more than a week since I last posted to this blog, vs. my strong beginning last month. See I read somewhere that you have to get into a habit of daily blogging, exercise like any other (and if you saw what I look like, you’d note immediately that blogging is not the only exercise I’m failing to perform daily!).

So the new has worn off, and no one seems to be reading this anyway, so what’s the point?

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mm318: 10,000

March 17, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

10000a

Not dollars, silly, hits on this site, a threshold that many bloggers cross every month, week or day. It’s taken this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© 316 days to get here since mm001.

Thanks to faithful reader, who clicked our link 10,000 times AddEmoticons08047, or, incredible as it may seem, perhaps 40 of you who come back regularly.

I’m awed, and most grateful.

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mm317: Water — the theme — part 2

March 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Yr (justifiably) humble svt always considered himself the curmudgeonly anti-environmentalist.

MUDGE’s reaction to soft-headed hand-wringing over pollution, water shortages, spotted owls and the like was: guys, the human species is going to use this planet up; there’s no going back. So stop wasting time looking backward (golden age for environmentalists: the year 1700? — when the average Western European lived to the ripe old age of 25), and start looking outward, toward new planets to discover and migrate to.

That’s what I used to say. It still may be correct, in a macro way, but it’s not going to happen in my lifetime, I reluctantly conclude, so I’d best pay more attention to what I breathe, eat and absorb, or that lifetime might be shortened drastically. Not to speak of the lifetimes of my children and grandchildren.

But, oh,  the final frontier

We’ve commented frequently on topics such as alternative energy for transportation (none too soon, paid $3.26/gallon the other day); alternative energy for electric utilities; and the safety and continuity of our food supplies.

And water (here and here and, the source of today’s title, here).

A couple of environmentally discomforting stories hit this week, obscured perhaps in the shadows cast by the unseemly fall of hubris filled governor (political hypocrisy, THE story of the week, disquiets us pretty much every week), and water is the theme.

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mm316: Blast from the past No. 3

March 15, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

lhc250x46_thumb2_thumb2

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From our very earliest days, originally posted May 24, 2007.

mm015: Welcomed back to the guild

So, it just keeps getting better…

While the webtronic world I spend much time in swoops along, I can’t help but touch base in the real world occasionally — okay, every day. Today, for example, for the first time perhaps ever in a passenger car, I paid $54 to fill up my tank with 87 octane. Ouch.

I guess I’m kind of shocked and annoyed that gasoline prices climbing toward $4/gallon haven’t created much of an outcry as yet. Maybe I should start outcrying. And while the rest of the world is smirking knowingly, and the rest of the U.S. is breathing with relief that they don’t share my northern Illinois local conditions (summer blend regulations, a key nearby refinery off-line due to a March fire), I have to feel we’ve all not seen the worst. And why so little concern?

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mm315: Blast from the past No. 2

March 14, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

lhc250x46_thumb2

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From our very earliest days, originally posted May 28, 2007.

mm016: Unimpeachable?

When do we impeach?

Saturday’s Washington Post drove it home once more:

Months before the invasion of Iraq, U.S. intelligence agencies predicted that it would be likely to spark violent sectarian divides and provide al-Qaeda with new opportunities in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Analysts warned that war in Iraq also could provoke Iran to assert its regional influence and “probably would result in a surge of political Islam and increased funding for terrorist groups” in the Muslim world.

The intelligence assessments, made in January 2003 and widely circulated within the Bush administration before the war, said that establishing democracy in Iraq would be “a long, difficult and probably turbulent challenge.” The assessments noted that Iraqi political culture was “largely bereft of the social underpinnings” to support democratic development….

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