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2009 July 13 — Why Now?
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Imperative Purring

From the BBC, Cats ‘exploit’ humans by purring

Cat owners may have suspected as much, but it seems our feline friends have found a way to manipulate us humans.

Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a “soliciting purr” to overpower their owners and garner attention and food.

Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a “cry”, with a similar frequency to a human baby’s.

The team said cats have “tapped into” a human bias – producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore.

“Soliciting” ? I think not. It’s imperative. Just try ignoring it at 5AM and the outraged meow will follow.

July 13, 2009   15 Comments

Single Payer Is Good For All Insurance

Yesterday Avedon Carol noted that a single payer system would reduce the cost of malpractice insurance, as the bulk of those awards is to cover the future medical costs of the plaintiffs.

Almost every type of insurance you buy, auto, home, business, workman’s comp, disability, etc. includes some form of medical coverage for you or others. If everyone already has health care coverage, the cost goes down. Given that health care costs rise faster than any other segment of the economy, the upward pressure on premiums will be significantly reduced.

Single payer reduces everyone’s costs.

July 13, 2009   Comments Off on Single Payer Is Good For All Insurance

The More Things Change…

An opinion piece at McClatchy’s reminded me of Jimmy Carter’s address to the nation on July 15, 1979. This link provides audio, video, and a transcript of the speech that the GOP and media called the “malaise speech”, although “malaise” isn’t mentioned, and Carter called The Crisis of Confidence.

I recommend reading it because Jimmy Carter sounds extremely boring when he gets serious, and this was a very serious speech. This is his diagnosis of the national problem thirty years ago:

As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning.

These changes did not happen overnight. They’ve come upon us gradually over the last generation, years that were filled with shocks and tragedy.

We were sure that ours was a nation of the ballot, not the bullet, until the murders of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. We were taught that our armies were always invincible and our causes were always just, only to suffer the agony of Vietnam. We respected the Presidency as a place of honor until the shock of Watergate.

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July 13, 2009   2 Comments

New Surgeon General?

NBC has reported: “President Barack Obama has chosen Alabama family physician, Dr. Regina Benjamin, to be the next surgeon general, White House sources have confirmed to NBC News.”

I’m familiar with Dr. Benjamin and her clinic over in Bayou La Batre on the Alabama Gulf Coast, and it’s story of rising from Katrina, to be struck down by fire, and then being rebuilt. I admire her dedication to her patients.

The Times-Picayune fleshes out the bare announcement: a BS from Xavier in New Orleans, MD from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and an MBA from Tulane.

While most reports mention her recent award of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Nelson Mandela Award in 1998, the T-P notes that Pope Benedict awarded her a distinguished service medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and a commenter mentioned the Mother Teresa National Caring Award.

A better choice than CNN’s “medical talking head”, unless you support choice. I don’t claim to know for certain what Dr. Benjamin’s views are on “family planning”, but a medal from Pope Benedict, and this announcement following a meeting between the Pope and the President don’t exactly point towards support from the doctor for empowering women. I hope I’m wrong.

Update: DonoWho’s Catholic League calls this “an excellent choice”.

July 13, 2009   6 Comments