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Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:20 PM PDT

Mandatories

by BlueinLouisville

There's a nice quote from Reid on one of the front page posts right now:

If Republicans want to trim Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, Reid said, they'd have to give on tax revenue in exchange. Asked specifically if the deal must be revenue for entitlements, he said: "Yes, and we call it mandatories."
Just a small suggestion, but this is something the progressive community should adopt. Mandatories. Entitlements are about the individual. Mandatories are about the fact that the wealthiest nation on earth - probably the wealthiest nation in the history of humanity - cannot let seniors starve and the poor die of easily preventable and treatable diseases.

We have a mandate. Whether from God (for those Abrahamic religionists) or from a sense or morality (for my co-humanists), we have a mandate to prevent unnecessary suffering and death. I don't support Social Security because I think anyone is entitled to such a thing - I support it because it seems inhumane for a nation such as the United States of America to not provide for the elderly.

There's another front page post at this moment, just slightly further down, that is headlined "Making people suffer is bad, whether in shutdown or via entitlement 'cuts.'"

Let's stop using their language. I'm not a huge fan of Harry Reid, but here he has it right - These programs are mandatories.

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Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 03:55 AM PDT

Just Another Friday in Beirut

by BlueinLouisville

At 3:05 p.m. Friday my roommate told me the pants I'd just put on to wear to work were too big for me, and I should change into jeans.
At about the same time, less than a kilometer away a bomb went off in the middle of the Acrafieh neighborhood in Beirut.

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 12:25 PM PDT

Syrian Refugees

by BlueinLouisville

I've spent the summer in the states, and just got back to Beirut last week. Tonight was my first time really getting out of my neighborhood (Gemayze). Went with a friend downtown, then grabbed a burger at Burger King (My friend's choice, it kills me how popular American fast food is here), before riding over to the Corniche and Zeitounay Bay.

I left Beirut in June, and there were definitely plenty of Syrians here, but there are always quite a few in Beirut, and the only noticeable difference was the increase in Syrian children on the street. That's changed big time in the last two months. My heart-breaking dinner experience after the jump.

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 08:55 AM PDT

Thoughts on Mursi

by BlueinLouisville

Quick and short thoughts on Mursi. Spent the afternoon waiting for the election committee to announce that Shafiq had won, listened to Faruoq's entire agonizing blow by blow account of every single disputed vote, and than had my jaw drop when the result was actually announced.

There are a few diaries already posted, nothing terribly interesting being said in the comments, besides the normal "At least it's not Mubarak" or "They'll oppress the women" or "Iran! Iran! Iran!" My personal opinions below the squiggle.

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I've been dismissive and resentful to Obama's (previous!!!) refusal to endorse marriage equality. I've said for the last year that when he finally does endorse it, presumably after the election, he doesn't deserve credit, that the time to be ground-breaking and progressive has passed, and that at this point it would be following not leading.

That's how I felt about the issue. Until the moment I read his remarks.

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When a consumer defaults on debt, their credit rating is hurt, and their ability to borrow funds in the future is greatly reduced. But when a corporation defaults on debt, it doesn't necessarily prevent them from turning around and borrowing more money, sometimes from the very lenders who just got shorted. This is because corporation's credit ratings (bond ratings) are based on their ability to pay back funds more than based on past actions. I'm guessing the logic is that corporations are rational actors, and defaults are caused by market actions, not irresponsible behavior, unlike consumers. So if a corporation defaults, and bond holders take a loss, the company may now be on sound financial footing, so bond holders will turn around and begin lending to the reorganized company immediately. I know, simplified explanation of a complex situation, but it's undeniably true that corporate default is less stigmatized than consumer bankruptcy in America. Going bankrupt in America can even effect your ability to find work.

I'm guessing the difference in treatment of personal and corporate default is also true in Israel, based on legislation being proposed to remedy this. More after the squiggly.

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Kos's post about Lugar's residency (which as several commenters including me have pointed out is entirely baseless on a legal basis) got me thinking about residency for federal officials, and how real the issue is.

I think most people want their representative to continue to living in the district, right? Because if they move to D.C., they will lose sight of the issues that actually affect their constituents, and will evolve into that DC beast that is a career politician, more swayed by lobbyists than their own constituients.

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Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:41 AM PST

Some tips for anti-Zionists

by BlueinLouisville

There was a post a while back calling on the site to reject anti-semitism. It had a couple of examples of things that the authors suggested should automatically considered anti-semitic. Things like holocaust denial, talk about Jewish control conspiracies and accusations of dual-loyalty.

I think some tips would be helpful to people who are anti-Zionist.

First, talk about facts and actions. Jews aren't anything. They're not evil, they're not moral, they're not war criminals, they're not better than or worse than anyone else. When you say Jews are __, you've already lost credibility. Jews include millions of people, all around the world. Some are Israeli, some are not. Some are Zionist, some anti. There are ultra orthodox Jews who say there should be no Jewish state until the messiah arrives. They no more monolithic than Americans or Christians or Muslims.

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Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:09 PM PST

Pointless

by BlueinLouisville

I've never written a diary on this site before, just read the front page and recommended diaries, so I feel like this is kind of pointless, but after 59 minutes and 43 seconds of conversation with my best friend about what the fuck is wrong, I felt like posting it (his phone died, otherwise we would have gone on longer).

We lost healthcare. Both electorally and on substance. The bill we're debating pushing through the house will not help in November, not, in my opinion, will help long term. The Senate bill will not affect the cost curve.

So assuming that the senate bill is not going to help the real issue (which is the USA spending more per capita on healthcare but receiving lesser results), I posit the following:

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