Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Robert Reich's Scathing Critique of the Obama Plan for Reforming Wall Street (from Guernica Mag)

I've been posting Robert Reich's essays (usually on matters having to do with the economy) to Guernica Magazine's blog since before Obama was president, and rarely has he had a negative thing to say about the President. Never has he torn the administration apart like he does in his post today at Guernica.

I tend to stand along with Mr. Reich on financial matters; I like what he has to say and usually agree with him. That being said, his post today worries me immensely. It seems that President Obama has lost sight of who is important in these matters (while some may argue that his sight was never on anyone but Wall Street).

Read Robert Reich's latest (and scathing) piece at Guernica, here.

The Lab Did Some Very Cool Things This Year

The Lab, a program in the St. Paul Public Schools founded by Mary Tinucci, is growing at a rate that is nearly exhausting just watching it from the outside. It's hard to imagine all the work that must have gone into it this past year.

Check out all of The Lab news from the past year here.

My favorite project of the year was the Shoe Design project. From The Lab's web site:

"[I]n the Visual Lab, students from many schools have been designing and creating their own shoes. Inspired by the collaborative project between Beautiful Losers & Nike, “Make Something!!! from Nothing,” where designer Jesse Leyva designs sneakers with youth. “Start thinking about storytelling in your art,” says Leyva to his students, encouraging them to think about their own clothing and ask, “What were they [the designers] thinking when they designed it?” and “Why did I buy this?”

Using some of these ideas, Lab students begin with an outline of a high-top shoe and plan out their color scheme, textures, and decorative accents for their shoe design. Next, they translate their design to a blank canvas shoe in the style of the “Chuck Taylor” using paints, paint markers, glitter, glue, beads and other materials. The group has used this activity to talk about individual identity, ideas of “cool” and fashion, and self-expression.

After our small groups and Enrichments are over, Lab staff will be heading out to the programs to conduct evaluations and distribute the next volume of The Lab’s Poetry Anthology. The book is at the press right now, to be printed and bound in a couple of weeks. Designed by a volunteer graphic designer and student in The Lab, it includes poems written by students through this semester. Get a sneak peak at the cover and few poems here!"


To get involved with the Lab, click here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Approaches of John McCain and Barack Obama

As we saw so often during the presidential race, the approaches to foreign policy by John McCain and Barack Obama couldn't be farther apart. On the elections in Iran and the subsequent protests we see the same old, same old from Senator McCain: American tough talk that has only served to turn more people in the world against us, than it has rallied them to our interests.

In a New York Times article today (as well as many other places reporting on this story) we see what will surely come of U.S. officials taking a hard line on this issue:

"The [Iranian] Foreign Ministry, meantime, summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents American interests in Tehran, in protest of what it called “meddling” by the United States into its affairs because of statements by American officials on Iran’s elections."


There's no sense in making it seem like we are attempting to plant a pro-Western politician, as we have been known to do so often. Let the Iranian people take up the fight. When will those of John McCain's ilk realize that tough talk isn't always the best way to go about things? As John Kerry put it in a recent Times op-ed:

"If we actually want to empower the Iranian people, we have to understand how our words can be manipulated and used against us to strengthen the clerical establishment, distract Iranians from a failing economy and rally a fiercely independent populace against outside interference. Iran’s hard-liners are already working hard to pin the election dispute, and the protests, as the result of American meddling. On Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry chastised American officials for “interventionist” statements. Government complaints of slanted coverage by the foreign press are rising in pitch...

[I]f the street protests of the last days have taught us anything, it is that this is an Iranian moment, not an American one...

What comes next in Iran is unclear. What is clear is that the tough talk that Senator McCain advocates got us nowhere for the last eight years. Our saber-rattling only empowered hard-liners and put reformers on the defensive. An Iranian president who advocated a “dialogue among civilizations” and societal reforms was replaced by one who denied the Holocaust and routinely called for the destruction of Israel."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Republicans in Congress Don't Want a Public Health Care Option, But Republican Voters Do

If the following numbers from a recent Huffinton Post article are correct, then it is very clear that Republicans in Congress are in bed with Big Insurance and Big Pharma:

In a poll taken earlier this year by Lake Research, 73% of respondents favored a health plan that gives them the choice between a private plan or a public health insurance plan. Only 15% preferred to have only the choice of a private plan. And the preference for a choice between public and private health insurance plans extends across all demographic and partisan groups, including Democrats (77%), Independents (79%) and Republicans (63%).


So, what else are we to take from this? How else can you spin it when the majority of Republican voters would prefer a choice, but more than likely, ZERO Republicans in Congress would vote for health care reform that included a public health option?

If a party is not voting for their constituency, but is instead voting a certain way due to pressure from heavy lobbyists in Washington then there is certainly no obligation to attempt to pass a bill with bi-partisan Congressional support. Absolutely none.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Radio Happy Hour Tomorrow



I've been working with my friend Sam Osterhout on this show he's created that should be a blast. It's called Radio Happy Hour, and tomorrow we premier at (le) Poisson Rouge in NYC with our very special guest, Norah Jones.

This is the first of three Radio Happy Hours that will happen this summer (we welcome Michael Showalter and Andrew W.K. in July and August, respectively).

Check back here to find out how you can listen to these shows after they take place.

Check out what the Onion's Decider had to say:

Host Sam Osterhout leads guests on a strange journey involving offbeat interview questions, audience participation, live performance, and plenty of drinks throughout—and he only charges five bucks for it, which makes this a fairly low-risk proposition.


And a couple other places have mentioned us.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Norman Solomon on Guernica Magazine

"And henceforth," Albert Camus wrote, "the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions."

Read Norman Solomon's article about war, and how words are used to further our military state and mask the human costs of war.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Profits For Some or Health Care For All?

People like Rick Scott, and physicians and surgeons who are in bed with Big Pharma and Big Insurance are trying to scare the public out of a public option for health care, for one reason and one reason only: profit. And while it's despicable and shameful, it's anything but new. Remember when somehow George W. came out looking like the patriotic soldier and John Kerry was painted a coward? The swiftboating is in full force again. Luckily (maybe) in today's interconnected world it's getting harder and harder for these people's true intentions to be masked, and easier and easier for people to spread the word.



So, who is Rick Scott?



From Bill Moyers Journal last night:

BILL MOYERS: CPRights.org is sponsored by Richard Scott, who had to leave his company. The largest health care chain in the world, Columbia/HCA. After the company was caught ripping off the feds and state governments for hundreds of millions dollars in bogus Medicare and Medicaid payments. He waltzed away with a $10 million severance deal. And $300 million worth of stock. And here he is telling us that his way of health reform is the way the public should go. Now, how does the public get the facts about an ad like that. And a guy like Rick Scott?

BROOKE GLADSTONE: How did you get the facts? The fact is that I've seen Scott being identified, more or less, as you did, in every single story about this campaign. You know, I think that there is now a willingness, as there wasn't even during the Kerry swiftboating earlier on, and certainly not during the sinking of the Clinton health care plan, to acknowledge the source of these ads. I think that all of us, as news consumers, as the American people, are becoming more and more aware that just because you see it on TV doesn't mean that it's true.

JAY ROSEN: I think that an ad like that is assuming that the receiver of it is an isolated person, who hearing these scary tales of government-run health care will therefore pick up the phone and pressure Congress. And the way the ad imagines the viewer is in social isolation. Where no other messages will get through. And I think that is what's changing. Is that people are not isolated anymore. They're not sitting on the end of their television sets and receiving messages from the center only.

And in a way you could see these kinds of campaigns where you raise money from rich people to scare less educated people. Or low information voters, as they call them in the political trade. As a sign of weakness. The rhetoric might be more furious, the ads might be more outrageous. But it's because this kind of communication is actually weaker and it's working less.



From Robert Reich on Guernica Magazine:

"I'ved poked around Washington [yesterday], talking with friends on the Hill who confirm the worst: Big Pharma and Big Insurance are gaining ground in their campaign to kill the public option in the emerging health care bill.

You know why, of course. They don't want a public option that would compete with private insurers and use its bargaining power to negotiate better rates with drug companies. They argue that would be unfair. Unfair? Unfair to give more people better health care at lower cost? To Pharma and Insurance, "unfair" is anything that undermines their profits."

More at Guernica Magazine...



From "The Cost Conundrum" by Atul Gawande (the New Yorker, June 1)

"Health-care costs ultimately arise from the accumulation of individual decisions doctors make about which services and treatments to write an order for. The most expensive piece of medical equipment, as the saying goes, is a doctor’s pen. And, as a rule, hospital executives don’t own the pen caps. Doctors do...

Other [physicians] think of the money as a means of improving what they do. They think about how to use the insurance money to maybe install electronic health records with colleagues, or provide easier phone and e-mail access, or offer expanded hours. They hire an extra nurse to monitor diabetic patients more closely, and to make sure that patients don’t miss their mammograms and pap smears and colonoscopies.

Then there are the physicians who see their practice primarily as a revenue stream. They instruct their secretary to have patients who call with follow-up questions schedule an appointment, because insurers don’t pay for phone calls, only office visits. They consider providing Botox injections for cash. They take a Doppler ultrasound course, buy a machine, and start doing their patients’ scans themselves, so that the insurance payments go to them rather than to the hospital. They figure out ways to increase their high-margin work and decrease their low-margin work. This is a business, after all."




Contact your Representative and Senators today and tell them we need a public health option. The days of such greed in our health care system must become a thing of the past now:

Write your Representative here.

Contact the Senate here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Minnesota-Based Magazine, NEED, is Making Headlines Across the Country

With it's "Screw the Man, Save the World" campaign NEED, the humanitarian magazine based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is making a splash across the country. NEED is looking to get rid of all of its ads in favor of a subscription-only revenue model. According to Reuters (via Market Wire), "If successful, the humanitarian magazine's nationwide "Screw the Man, Save the World" campaign could transform business models and mean the end of print advertising."

Strong words, and ones that NEED CEO Stephanie Kinnunen hopes are true: "Relying on advertising is no longer a viable business model, but readers will save the magazines they care about."



About NEED Magazine:

NEED magazine is an educational artistic hope-filled publication focusing on life changing humanitarian efforts at home and abroad.

NEED magazine's mission is to support humanitarian efforts.

NEED magazine's dynamic visual narrative is educational, drives awareness, involvement, personal connection and contributions.

Public Health Care

Sign MoveOn's petition showing Congress your support for President Obama's health care reform.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Amazing Pudding

My friend Trevor's blog is a great spot for fantastic links on music and politics. I don't go back to it often enough, but every time I do I find something that passes my time just fine.

Like this (wow! seriously, wow.) & this.

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

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