American History&Politics04 Jul 2012 05:21 pm

The Affordable Healthcare aka Obamacare Debate

There’s been a lot of noise from some people who do not want affordable healthcare, in the form of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.  There are outcries such as “Get your hands off my healthcare!” which to me would only make sense if you were a CEO or shareholder of a crooked insurance company enjoying the benefits of gouging powerless little guys.  Of all the noise from this group, its unclear exactly what they are complaining about.  I’ve heard the complaint that the bill is too large and too detailed.  Well, sorry folks, there are many complicated problems that cannot be solved with a bumpersticker.  A space program that took us to the moon and back numerous times could not be calculated on the back of an envelope.  People who are employed are familiar with receiving healthcare benefits, and most employers assist in paying health care coverage.  So, these people would likely not even be affected by Obamacare.  So, where’s the rub?  It seems as though the dissonant voices are those who simply do not like anything our current President Obama and his administration does.

Politics29 Jan 2008 06:07 pm

A truly moving and inspiring speech, and fun too.


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Media&Politics28 Oct 2007 11:10 am

What is art? What is fine art? Are the visual fine arts at opposition with visualization? If a picture communicates, provides information, tells too much of a story, is to be cast out from the fine art museum?

This argument is not new to the modern world, and covered well by blogger David Apatoff’s Fine Art vs. Art That’s Mighty Fine. Another excellent analytical article by Donald Pittenger compares the commercial illustration work of N.C. Wyeth with his fine art paintings. This article explains why I tend to imagine myself someday painting fine art pictures in the far away Elsyian Fields of retirement.

Recently when exploring UC Berkeley’s MFA program I was advised by one of their faculty members that my work in medical illustration was too much in the visualization category of art, and that I would have to undergo a “transformation” to fit into Cal’s MFA in Art Practice program. Since I believe I have already achieved a high level of practical art practice, I take no interest in this transformation. Imagine the remolding of an artist into the university’s image. Would I emerge as a UC Berkeley artistic Frankenstein?

Agreeably, my medical animation is not fine art, and yet I see no strict borders, and I am open to exploring and experimenting with a wide range of visual styles and techniques. Picture a lordly professor advising a young Leonardo da Vinci, “Stick with those religious portraits, and forget about those anatomy drawings. Take it from me kid, there’s more money in the Church anyway.”

“Happy Halloween!” by Richard McGuireBack to illustration, take for example The New Yorker’s Covers. You will find an excellent mixture of medium and message. I tend to enjoy this kind of picture making, going back to my early appreciation of the art of Mad magazine. The blog article, Illustration is to Fine Art as Poetry is to Prayer provides additional illumination on this topic.

I recall seeing a retrospective exhibition of the works of “bad boy painter” Peter Saul at the Madison, WI Art Center’s Swen Parson Gallery. Shocking and perhaps lacking the craftsmanship required to be a professional illustrator, and yet free and radical. Saul is one of a handful of modern pop art painters whom I admire for their talent for merging the editorial cartoon into fine art painting (George Bush at Abu Ghraib by Peter Saul below).

Enough of this topic for now. I have commercial art to make!

George Bush at Abu Ghraib by Peter Saul

Humor&Politics27 Aug 2007 07:53 pm

Alberto Gonzales The Weasel

The blogosphere apparently enjoyed the Karl Rove piglet caricature, so here is Alberto Gonzales The Weasel.

Like Gonzales, I cannot exactly recall where this idea came from.

Media&Politics27 Jun 2007 08:36 pm

CIA Headline in NY Times

To see the full text of the C.I.A.’s recently released, yet censored, documents go to The National Security Archives. The National Security Archives web site was written about on this blog in an earlier post about the Nixon-Elvis photo session.

American History&Politics05 Jun 2007 07:14 am

Iraq Study GroupOn a May 24th Press Conference at the White House Rose Garden, President Bush referred to the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report. When pressed if he was talking about a post-surge Plan B, Bush answered: “Actually, I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so that would be a Plan B-H.”

While George the Second may be a slow reader – the report came out last December – it is encouraging that he is taking some of its well distilled knowledge more seriously. The report stated in plain black and white that “staying the course” in Iraq was not working and that sustained increases in U.S. troop levels “would not solve the fundamental causes of violence in Iraq.”

The “B-H Plan” is an interesting read, with many important, well thought out recommendations, among them:

Recommendation 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. (Recently contradicted by the White House’s Tony Snow and Robert Gates when comparing Iraq to a “Korea model.”)

Recommendation 13: There must be renewed and sustained commitment by the U.S. to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. (An effort basically ignored, if not undermined by U.S.-Israeli rhetoric.)

Establishing peace talks between Israel and Palestine has been ignored since Clinton left office. The B-H Report states, “The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

And so it is impossible to ignore, Israel is the key. Forty years after the June 1967 Six Day War in which Israel captured Arab land, the dispute continues with no end in sight.

Amnesty International ReportAmnesty International has published a report, “Enduring Occupation: Palestinians under seige in the West Bank,” addressing this central problem in greater detail.

Diplomacy in the Middle East is apparently too difficult for the current White House administration. The tone of the current Presidential debates is for setting the bar higher on a new and improved U.S. foreign policy… at least that’s the talk. Shrub’s policies of ignorance and postponement will come to an end. If it were only sooner – innocent people are suffering.

Support Amnesty International

Media&Politics26 May 2007 09:50 am

Major General John Batiste

“Somebody Had to Speak Out. If Not Me, Who?” – Maj. Gen. John Batiste Fired by CBS News for Anti-Iraq War ‘Advocacy’ – From Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk specifically about that decision and, especially for young people to see how you, with your history in the military, your history going back to your father and your grandfather, what those days were like? Where were you when you made this decision?

MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: Tough decision. As you said, both grandfathers served. My father served multiple times, career infantry officer. Myself, a West Point graduate, thirty-one years in the military. Decision was made in my quarters in Germany in the summer of 2005.

You see, we got this war terribly wrong. I’m not antiwar at all. I don’t support MoveOn.org. That’s the reason I joined Vote Vets. This is all about getting it right. This is all about recognizing that it’s not about timelines and deadlines. It’s more about recognizing that this administration got the national strategy so wrong in Iraq, wrong in March 2003, wrong today in May 2007. This administration failed to mobilize this country in any way, shape or form to complete the important task of defeating worldwide Islamic extremism, global terrorism.

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CBS News is being accused of political censorship after it fired the retired U.S. general, John Batiste, from his position as a paid news consultant after he criticized President Bush’s Iraq war policy. The controversy began when the general appeared in a television commercial sponsored by the group VoteVets.org.

Colby Buzzell, a former U. S. Army machine gunner has won the Blooker Prize, awarded for the best book that began as a blog on the Internet. His book My War: Killing Time in Iraq began as a blog written during his time serving in Iraq. Colby Buzzell continues to blog at MY WAR and has spoken on the radio, recently on NPR’s Talk of the Nation and KQED’s Forum, a program about Memorial Day. He has returned to live with his parents in the San Francisco Bay Area and struggles to adapt and adjust back into civilian life. See also the SF Chronicle story about Colby Buzzell.

Hearing the words, wisdom and insights of those who have been there in combat and faced death while in service to their beloved country provides direct knowledge of war and its implications. These soldiers and those who fought with them deserve our respect and an extract measure of credit in balance for the extra steps they have walked in their boots.


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Movie TV DVD Review&Politics18 May 2007 07:30 am

Brain, optic nerve and EyechartHere are a few links to help us wake up from our collective amnesia and neglect. Matters such as global warming are not going to be swept under the rug, if the rug is under 6 feet of water.

A panel of 11 retired military officers released a report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, in conjunction with CNA Corp. The report is available on the CNA web site, http://securityandclimate.cna.org/report/.

CNA National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.This might seem like a new angle on the impending climate change problem, but let’s face reality. If catastrophic weather events such as hurricane Katrina happen again, thousands of people are suddenly displaced, and in effect need to invade neighboring safer territories. It’s a battle for survival on higher ground waiting to happen.

In typical counter intuitive fashion, the Bush Administration is pushing for weakening of global warming limits proposed for agreement at the G-8 summit meeting scheduled for June 6-8 in Germany. What’s wrong with these people?! GM, Ford and Chrysler are in a terrible business slump anyway, so easing gas emission standards isn’t going to help them. Their best bet for a business revival is for green innovation. Come on, wake up Detroit!

NPR in conjunction with Natioinal Geographic has a page full of climate change links, CLIMATE CONNECTIONS. And if that is not enough, check out the GREEN PARTY web site.

IFC Films logoThe Green Party link was stumbled upon in a list of links at An Unreasonable Man: A Documentary about Ralph Nader. This film, and many other fine and unusual movies, such as the current After The Wedding and Factotum, were produced by IFC Films which has an impressive and though provoking web site. Be sure to look at their link to Quality Blogs which connects to numerous film review and independent cinema web sites such as Cinematical and Filmbrain.

And to top off this thoughtful preparation, I received email from Michael Moore’s organization announcing the premiere at the Cannes Film Festival of his long awaited next documentary “Sicko“, over 3 years since the release of Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore has had to protect his film from possible confiscation by the U.S. Government after Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, launched an investigation of a trip Moore took to Cuba to film scenes for the movie.


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