Wednesday, May 18, 2005

ramblins of buddy don: this n that

frum the aint necessarly so file, heres a few stories that go agin whut folks lacks to bleeve. fer instunts, ye mite could thank thonly reason innybidy wood kill thar self in a bombin ('suicide bomber') is on a counta how they bleeve thar a'gone git 72 virgins or sumthin. lots of folks druther cum to thar conclushun n then bleeve whut they wonta bleeve in sted of lookin at the evidents n then cummin to a conclushun. taint so fer this here robert a. pape feller, witch he did a study of all the suicide bombins frum 1980 to 2003 n writ a story bout it in the new york times name of Blowing up an Assumption. ye orta read the hole thang, but heres sum points he makes in that thar articull:
  • Over the past two years, I have compiled a database of every suicide bombing and attack around the globe from 1980 through 2003 - 315 in all. This includes every episode in which at least one terrorist killed himself or herself while trying to kill others, but excludes attacks authorized by a national government (like those by North Korean agents against South Korea). The data show that there is far less of a connection between suicide terrorism and religious fundamentalism than most people think.

  • First, nearly all suicide terrorist attacks - 301 of the 315 in the period I studied - took place as part of organized political or military campaigns. Second, democracies are uniquely vulnerable to suicide terrorists; America, France, India, Israel, Russia, Sri Lanka and Turkey have been the targets of almost every suicide attack of the past two decades. Third, suicide terrorist campaigns are directed toward a strategic objective: from Lebanon to Israel to Sri Lanka to Kashmir to Chechnya, the sponsors of every campaign - 18 organizations in all - are seeking to establish or maintain political self-determination.

  • Some have wondered if the rise of suicide terrorism in Iraq is really such a bad thing for American security. Is it not better to have these killers far away in Iraq rather than here in the United States? Alas, history shows otherwise. The presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula after 1990 enabled Al Qaeda to recruit suicide terrorists, who in turn attacked Americans in the region (the African embassy bombings in 1998 and the attack on the destroyer Cole in 2000). The presence of nearly 150,000 American combat troops in Iraq since 2003 can only give suicide terrorism a boost, and the longer this suicide terrorist campaign continues the greater the risk of new attacks in the United States.
nuther thang ye mite not speck is how mayhap them ceos is the ones to lead the charge to git sangle-payer health care in this cuntry. thats the point matt miller makes on the same page of the new york times today in a articull name of Waiting for C.E.O.'s to Go 'Nuclear'. agin, tiz wurth readin (even ifn ye half to register n ye orta doot whilst ye kin doot fer free since thar a'gone charge fer this page purty soon), but heres sum points he makes, startin with his idee of how to git the movement goin:
  • Here's my version of the script: A dozen marquee C.E.O.'s would convene a "Manhattan Project"-style effort on the future of health care. They'd propose a new goal: instead of health costs rising from today's 15 percent of G.D.P. to 20 percent by around 2020, as is now projected, the nation should shave two to three percentage points of G.D.P. (or more) off projected growth in ways that improve quality, even as we extend coverage to the 45 million uninsured.

  • We spend 15 percent of G.D.P. on health. Other rich nations spend 10 percent or less, but they manage to insure everyone - and have equal or better public health outcomes. And we have huge variations in practice patterns and medical spending that bear no relation to quality. Bottom line: radical inefficiency.

  • Our C.E.O.'s would add that a new health strategy would get excess costs off businesses' backs - costs that competitors don't face in countries where governments pick up the tab. It would re-engineer the delivery of care so governments would have cash left for other purposes. And it would cope with the political reality that every dollar of health care "waste" is somebody's dollar of income.
in case ye thank thangs is a'goin jes fine on a counta how them publicans has been a'claimin they kin cut the budget deficit in half by 2009 (meanin half of whut they projected the deficit wood be, not whut twuz, givin tharself a good 100 billion dollars in wiggle room), witch thar a'doon it by increasin it this year, but mayhap they kin git on it nex year of sumthin.

innywho, thays folks on bof the lef n rite thats a'gittin wurried on a counta how we mite end up lack argentina, meanin thonly thang we wood be able to pay fer is the inerst on the nashunul debt. kin ye pitcher the event whar ye gut folks frum the rite wing heritage foundayshun (stuart butler) n the lef wing brookins institushun (isabell sawhill) meetin with comptroller genrull david m. walker to talk bout the same thang n agreein more often than not? accordin to dana milbank of the washington post it happend n he writ a articull name of Almost Unnoticed, Bipartisan Budget Anxiety to proov it. heres sum points frum the articull:
  • With startling unanimity, they agreed that without some combination of big tax increases and major cuts in Medicare, Social Security and most other spending, the country will fall victim to the huge debt and soaring interest rates that collapsed Argentina's economy and caused riots in its streets a few years ago.

    "The only thing the United States is able to do a little after 2040 is pay interest on massive and growing federal debt," Walker said. "The model blows up in the mid-2040s. What does that mean? Argentina."

  • Walker put U.S. debt and obligations at $45 trillion in current dollars -- almost as much as the total net worth of all Americans, or $150,000 per person. Balancing the budget in 2040, he said, could require cutting total federal spending as much as 60 percent or raising taxes to 2 1/2 times today's levels.

  • Butler pointed out that without changes to Social Security and Medicare, in 25 years either a quarter of discretionary spending would need to be cut or U.S. tax rates would have to approach European levels. Putting it slightly differently, Sawhill posed a choice of 10 percent cuts in spending and much larger cuts in Social Security and Medicare, or a 40 percent increase in government spending relative to the size of the economy, and equivalent tax increases.

  • Not surprisingly, the Heritage and Brookings crowds don't agree on an exact solution to the budget problem, but they seem to accept that, as Sawhill put it, "you can't do it with either spending or taxes. Eventually, you're going to need a mix of the two." Butler wants taxes, now at 17 percent of GDP, not to exceed 20 percent. Sawhill prefers 24 or 25 percent.

    But such haggling seems premature when both parties still deny the problem. "I don't think we're there yet," Walker said. "The American people have to understand where we are and where we're headed."

    And where is that? "No republic in the history of the world lasted more than 300 years," Walker said. "Eventually, the crunch comes."
    He wasn't talking about filibusters.
finely, ye know how folks thats gut thars alreddy hates ye to menchun class warfare (on a counta ye kin win a war better ifn yer opponents dont bleeve the war is a'gone on). in todays boston globe, derrick z. jackson splains how tiz a'gone in a articull name of A steeper ladder for the have-nots . tiz always bes to read the hole thang, but heres sum of the points he makes:
  • The [Wall Street] Journal reported last Friday, "Despite the widespread belief that the US remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists say that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in continental Europe or in Canada has had a better chance at prosperity."

    In an echo, the Times wrote virtually the same thing, adding that in America, a child's economic background is a better predictor of school performance than in Denmark, the Netherlands, or France. The best that could be said was that class mobility in the United States is ''not as low as in developing countries like Brazil, where escape from poverty is so difficult that the lower class is all but frozen in place."

  • In 1973, the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 43 to 1. By 1992, it was 145 to 1. By 1997, it was 326 to 1. By 2000, it hit a sky-high 531 to 1. The post 9/11 shakeouts and corporate scandals of recent years on the surface narrowed the gap back to 301 to 1 in 2003. But a much worse parallel global gap is emerging in the era of outsourcing. United for a Fair Economy published a report last summer that found CEOs of the top US outsourcing companies made 1,300 times more than their computer programmers in India and 3,300 more than Indian call-center employees.

    Such groups say if the minimum wage kept up with the rise in CEO pay, it would be $15.76 an hour instead of its current $5.15. Looking at it another way, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, another often written-off liberal think tank, published a report last month that in the last three years, the share of US national income that goes toward corporate profits is at its highest levels since World War II, while the share of national income that goes to wages and salaries is at a record low.

  • A quarter century of a ''mine, all mine" ethos continues to work for CEOs and the upper class. The rest of America finds the ladder taller and steepening. Much of the nation is now one catastrophic injury away from falling into poverty. It should be a national emergency that stratification in the richest nation in the world has us fading from the relative mobility of Europe and sinking toward the discouragement in developing countries.

    It is no wonder why politicians who protect the wealthy scream ''class warfare" every time someone talks about inequity. It is a diversion to keep those who vote against their own interests from realizing they are victims of friendly fire.
how could we let all this happen? mayhap on a counta how we aint kep verr informd by the fourth estate, witch ye kin read all bout it in this here articull on bill moyers speech to the nashunull confernce fer media reform in st louey name of "A democracy can die of too many lies". tiz too long to make sense without readin the hole thang. so jes go read it. ye wont be sorry. corse, ifn ye aint a sub scriber to salon, ye mite not git the hole thang, so ifn ye ack fast, ye kin git the hole thang at c-span fer free.

i been dreamin bout ifn we still had real jurnlists lack edward r. murrow, witch im a'readin a book bout im name of Edward R. Murrow; An American Original. he wuznt skeerd of nuthin, unlack them folks we have now thats trine to keep thar seat on air force one by playin stenogruffer fer the bushies.

whut skeers me is not havin such real jurnlists innymore.

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