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Scuba's Journal
Scuba's Journal
December 1, 2013

Apple maps development team

December 1, 2013

Lots of problems, but ...

December 1, 2013


November 30, 2013

Speeches from the launch of “Unintimidated: Wisconsin Sings Truth to Power”


At long last I am blogging about the November 19th launch of “Unintimidated: Wisconsin Sings Truth to Power”. In the videos below you’ll hear from the publisher Barbara With, First Amendment Fund coordinator Katy Reeder, and writer Ryan Wherley. Barbara, Katy, and Ryan are among a legion of Wisconsinites that engage in the Solidarity Sing Along. They have – we have – contributed in so many ways large and small to keep a bright flame of resistance lit against the Walker administration’s cloud long after the huge crowds thinned out and disappeared.

Speaking of dimness, you’ll notice the videos are a bit dark. If natural light isn’t streaming through the upper windows of the Capitol Building the rotunda becomes a cavern lit only by globe lights at the edges (a creepy cavern, if you ask me). The sensor in my camera went out repeatedly and I realized I had to focus 1/2 on the speaker and 1/2 on the slide show behind to keep the viewfinder working. At times I focus fully on the slideshow of images behind the speakers. That works out since those images reveal the arrests, the signs, and the faces of the unintimidated who live and breathe dissent as if our future depended upon it.

And doesn’t it?




The book “Unintimidated: Wisconsin Sings Truth to Power” is available online at http://unintimidated.org/ and in Madison, WI bookstores. All proceeds from sales go to the First Amendment Protection Fund which helps defray court costs for the many who have been arrested while standing up for free speech in the Wisconsin Capitol building.
November 30, 2013

Remind me again why Jeb Bush is considered the “smart” Bush?


For someone who’s supposed to be the “smart Bush,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sure is dumb.

Jeb Bush ✔ @JebBush
Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.

What’s really ironic about Jeb Bush’s Twitter attack on President Obama is that he really really should know better than to attack President Obama for supposedly “closing” the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican, considering it was his brother, former President George W. Bush, who actually initiated the move in question.

So you might be surprised to learn that, in fact, Obama is not closing the embassy — or diminishing U.S. diplomatic relations with the Holy See in any way.

There are no embassies for any country in Vatican City itself — there is simply no room. All countries locate their embassies in the city of Rome. The United States has decided to move its embassy from its current location — an unremarkable converted residence — to the same compound as the U.S. Embassy to Italy. It will have it’s own separate building and a separate entrance on a different street. The new building is actually a tenth of a mile closer to the Vatican than the old one. There will be no reduction in staff or activities.

Poutrage sells with the Republican base.
November 30, 2013

Worst Black Friday gift idea ever!

from my email ....


Instead of venturing into the cold this Black Friday, stay in and give your children a gift that will keep on giving.

This year, we are celebrating the Holiday Season with a Black Friday special that is better than any deal found in stores. Donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker get reelected and save your children from a future of double-digit tax increases and billion dollar budget deficits.

Instead of electronics or toys that will undoubtedly be outdated, broken, or lost by the next Holiday Season, help give your children the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of. Governor Walker is helping Wisconsin move forward to a future where your children and grandchildren can experience:

Economic Prosperity
Improved Schools
Freedom From Government Dependence
The Governor wants his sons to grow up in a Wisconsin as great as the one he grew up in. When asked why he never stopped fighting for Wisconsin during the Recall, Governor Walker says he has two reasons, his sons Matt and Alex.

With your help, Governor Walker is enacting reforms that are securing a strong state for the future of Wisconsin’s children. This Black Friday, donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker win reelection so he can continue to help Wisconsin move forward.

A strong Wisconsin is the best gift you can give.


Taylor Palmisano
Friends of Scott Walker

I'm pretty sure my loved ones would prefer a sharp stick in the eye.
November 29, 2013

Same difference

November 29, 2013

Krugman: Obamacare’s Secret Success


Much of the Beltway establishment scoffed at the promise of cost savings. The prevalent attitude in Washington is that reform isn’t real unless the little people suffer; serious savings are supposed to come from things like raising the Medicare age (which the Congressional Budget Office recently concluded would, in fact, hardly save any money) and throwing millions of Americans off Medicaid. True, a 2011 letter signed by hundreds of health and labor economists pointed out that “the Affordable Care Act contains essentially every cost-containment provision policy analysts have considered effective in reducing the rate of medical spending.” But such expert views were largely ignored.

So, how’s it going? The health exchanges are off to a famously rocky start, but many, though by no means all, of the cost-control measures have already kicked in. Has the curve been bent? The answer, amazingly, is yes. In fact, the slowdown in health costs has been dramatic.


Still, the facts are striking. Since 2010, when the act was passed, real health spending per capita — that is, total spending adjusted for overall inflation and population growth — has risen less than a third as rapidly as its long-term average. Real spending per Medicare recipient hasn’t risen at all; real spending per Medicaid beneficiary has actually fallen slightly.


So what aspects of Obamacare might be causing health costs to slow? One clear answer is the act’s reduction in Medicare “overpayments” — mainly a reduction in the subsidies to private insurers offering Medicare Advantage Plans, but also cuts in some provider payments. A less certain but likely source of savings involves changes in the way Medicare pays for services. The program now penalizes hospitals if many of their patients end up being readmitted soon after being released — an indicator of poor care — and readmission rates have, in fact, fallen substantially. Medicare is also encouraging a shift from fee-for-service, in which doctors and hospitals get paid by the procedure, to “accountable care,” in which health organizations get rewarded for overall success in improving care while controlling costs.
November 29, 2013

Rooting for Failure

The brilliant question that should be asked of every Republican on every talk show: When did Republicans in Congress hold an oversight hearing on the leading cause of personal bankruptcy -- medical debt?

(Have Democrats held such a hearing?)


I just spent 15 minutes on my local health care exchange and realized that I could save a couple hundred dollars a month on my family’s insurance. Of course, I live in Washington State, which has a very competitive market, a superbly functioning website and no Koch-brothers-sponsored saboteurs trying to discourage people from getting health care. California is just as good. It’s enrolling more than 2,000 people a day. New York is humming as well. And Kentucky, it’s the gold standard now: More than 56,000 people have signed up for new health care coverage -- enough to fill a stadium in Louisville.

This is terrible news, and cannot be allowed to continue. If there’s even a small chance that, say, half of the 50 million or so Americans currently without heath care might get the same thing that every other advanced country offers its citizens, that would be a disaster.


It’s hard to remember a time when a major political party and its media arm were so actively rooting for fellow Americans to lose. When the first attempt by the United States to launch a satellite into orbit, in 1957, ended in disaster, did Democrats start to cheer, and unify to stop a space program in its infancy? Or, when Medicare got off to a confusing start, did Republicans of the mid-1960s wrap their entire political future around a campaign to deny government-run health care to the elderly?

Of course not. But for the entirety of the Obama era, Republicans have consistently been cheerleaders for failure. They rooted for the economic recovery to sputter, for gas prices to spike, the job market to crater, the rescue of the American automobile industry to fall apart.

November 28, 2013

Wendell Berry


Wendell Berry (born August 5, 1934) is an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. A prolific author, he has written dozens of novels, short stories, poems, and essays. He is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012. He is also a 2013 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berry has been named the recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award

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