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The New York Times is reporting that Lobbying Imperils Overhaul of Student Loans, an unsurprising outcome for anyone following, well, anything for the past thousand years of American politics. Yet, this story--though still unfinished--offers sobering parallels for the debate that dominates much of our thinking in progressive circles: health care reform.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 09:18 AM PDT

Constituency, redefined

by teachergonz

(My apologies to jamesarthur that his earlier confusion went on deaf ears.)

Yesterday, in the new-and-improved-press-briefing-disinformation room, the President of the United States of America expanded democracy beyond what even the most visionary of political thinkers have ever imagined. Enemies of this great nation have now been incorporated into our political processes, into our great and wondrous system of government for the people, by the people, etc. Terrorists--those bad guys who brought it on, and bombed us on 9/11, y'know, the same, exact bad guys we're fighting in Iraq--are now a part of our representative democracy. They are constituents to which our commander-in-chief-executive-officer is listening, voices that will help shape the future of our country for years to come. Or at least until September.
//Rewrite history and amend the dictionary after the jump.//

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Should the enemy be given the vote?

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Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 07:21 AM PST

More money, better sex

by teachergonz

From MarketWatch....

The richer you are, apparently, the better sex you have. That's according to a recent survey of more than 600 high-net-worth individuals. And rich women, it seems, enjoy sex the most.

We all knew we wanted to be rich; what we didn't know is that we wanted to be rich women.

The tawdry, tawdry details under the covers...

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This is something all progressives must have an opinion about. How much money should the superrich among us ....okay fenced off from the rest of us....give to charity, to NGOs, to any of the agencies and groups who help to alleviate poverty and to save people dying of preventable causes? More than they do, right? But how much, exactly? And how do we decide?

Peter Singer is a philosopher who has been dealing with these issues for a number of years. He comes at the problem by first asking, What is the value of a human life? Tough to measure in numbers, so he then asks, Are some lives worth more than others? He says no; in the abstract all of us say no (except wingnuts ....sigh). But, if we're being honest with ourselves, he says, when we look at our wealth, our luxurious, pampered wealth, and we look at our patterns of giving -- charity + foreign aid  -- we see that we don't value all lives the same. If we did, we'd give more. Much, much more.

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How much SHOULD people give?

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In the wake of pension "reform" and with Social Security and health care existing less as salient issues to be discussed and more as looming spectres of certain doom, some of us have been asking: "Why is corporate America unable to admit that in these areas, nationalization and socialization might actually benefit their interests?" The best answer has been simple: they are motivated by ideology. Their ideology clearly and blindly refuses to accept that any enterprise or institution may be better served by a governmental or a societal entity. This is useful so far as understanding your opponent, but it is more difficult to use this to work towards positive change, to convince those people with the blinders on that our ideas are not so radical and dangerous after all.

[the good stuff follows]

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It happens every once in a while that you read a book or two, and it/they change your eyes. I'm sure we can all name our favorite illuminating reads. Lately it was the one-two punch of reading (as opposed to skimming) Fast Food Nation and then moving on to Michael Pollan's The Ominvore's Dilemma. Both are about food supply and the political and moral choices we make -- or shirk -- whenever we buy food and eat it. So as a foodie, as a liberal, as a spoiled middle-class east-coaster, both books told me to stop using the industrial food supply to keep me fat.
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