The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Finally, Some Mediclarity
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I toyed with “Making Medicare Mediclear” as a title, so be happy with what you got.

Anyhoo, I’ve been known to occasionally advance the completely unfounded assertion that Ruy Teixeira only got where he is by telling liberals exactly what they want to hear. But he’s taken some strong strides towards accomplishing something I’ve been loudly pining for for some time now — writing a readable, interesting article about Medicare.

There’s a little eye-glazing that happens during his big numbers graf, but pound for pound, this piece pretty clearly lays out the problems seniors are currently having with this bill, that the deductibles, premiums, coverage gaps, and co-pays spotted all over the bill’s 600+ pages mean that it doesn’t help the average senior all that much:

The average drug spending by Medicare beneficiaries is projected to be about $3,250 in 2006, when the benefit takes effect. Under the bill just passed, a beneficiary will wind up having to pay 70 percent of this typical drug bill.

The rest of Donkey Rising, Teixeira’s “WebLog,” looks to have some pretty good stuff also. Check it out.

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If the Label Don't Fit…
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… apply it to Howard Dean anyway.

A few days ago, I dismissed this New Republic article as an evidence-lacking, context-destroying, Pickler-esque, and pretty-much-instantly-debunked attempt at creating a new DeanMeme

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Mom in the Mirror
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http://www.mominthemirror.com/

Read more…

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The Village Genius
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Here’s a good WaPo series (Parts 2 and 3) on a woman from a rural Kenyan village sent to college in America, on a scholarship and with considerable financial help from her fellow villagers. She was sent with the agreement that she would return to the village after she got her degree, build a school there, improve the water system, and possibly even bring electricity.

It’s a good read, looking at American culture, and at an American college, through an unfamiliar lens. The portrait it paints of rural Kenya is most fascinating. Do the villagers have unrealistic expectations for what a college degree means, or is it legit to think that one person with a degree could transform life for the folks back home? I mean, I’m pretty proud of my degree and all, but I don’t know if it would equip me to start even the most humble school. And I sure don’t know anything about irrigation or electricity.

I guess if I went to college with such predetermined needs for what I wanted to learn or accomplish, I might have gotten some great insights into bringing irrigation or electricity to a rural village. Kakenya Ntaiya, the woman in the article, started out planning to be an economics major. I wonder, would an economics major feel s/he’s graduated with the skills necessary to reform the life of a town? Prod, prod.

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The Atlantic Lowers Its Standards
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All right, ‘fess up. Who stole Andy Rooney’s meds and set him loose into The Atlantic Monthly newsroom?

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Label Howard Dean!
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Is it just me, or have our top political journalists been competing to see who can pin the longest-lasting label to the Dean campaign?

First, Dean was too liberal. Then, he was too Northern and/or elitist (He’s from Vermont! Vermont’s not the real America! or He grew up in New York, completely detached from the corn-fed youth of the real America!). Too politically uncalculating. Too forthright. Too angry.

The Bush reelection team got into the game last week.

But my favorite so far is Franklin Foer’s, from The New Republic: He’s too secular.

You’ve gotta love any article that starts with an essentially unproveable thesis — “Howard Dean is one of the most secular candidates to run for president in modern history” — and then attempts to back it up with a steaming pile of lack-of-proof. When Foer makes an assertion accompanied by the word “often” or “generally,” expect him to offer one shabby out-of-context quote as evidence, e.g.:

When Dean talks about organized religion, it is often in a negative context. “I don’t want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore,” he shouted at the California Democratic Convention in March. And, when he discusses spirituality, it is generally divorced from any mention of God or church. “We are not cogs in a corporate machine,” he preached last month in Iowa. “We are human, spiritual beings who deserve better consideration as human beings than we’re getting from this administration.”

A quarter of Foer’s treatise is devoted to explaining how Dean’s religion just isn’t quite religious enough. Another quarter of the article details how Dean’s mainstream Democratic positions fail to endear him to fundamentalist Christians (whom, by the way, Foer insists on confusing with evangelical Christians).

Ah well, no matter. Dean, seeing a new media label in the making, seems to have put out a foot to squash this one early.

What label do you think they’ll come up with next?? I’ve got one idea…

Read more…

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Earthquake in Iran
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This is the best site I’ve seen so far for news on the horrible earthquake in Iran. The site is going with reports on Iranian television that at least 4,000 people have been killed and 30,000 injured.

Update: In case you hadn’t heard. 20,000 people dead, by latest official estimates. With that, I’ll stop the depressing count of death. What a sad thing.

Update II: OK, I lied. 25,000. I know, I know. This doesn’t help. If you’re like me, your mind reels. You can neither fathom 25,000 dead, nor muster up anything but a vague sort of concern. We think of ourselves as thoroughly decent people, yet we can’t even summon up any sort of tears for this massacre, when just last week, we were fighting them back watching Gandalf cheer Peregrin Took in preparation for certain death. How awful am I, we think, if the imminent deaths of two fictional characters cause more emotion than the very real deaths of 25,000? In fact, we’re more concerned about our relative lack of concern than about the Iranian apocalypse itself. (Yes, I know, I’m projecting. Bear with me.) Well, yes, no bones about it, we’re awful, as sentient beings go. But, as humans, with a few fortunate exceptions, we’re mostly all this awful. So what are you going to do?

No guilt trip here, see? We’re all aware on some level of our considerate shortcomings, and if you’re again like me, you can find some strange sort of frightening solace in the knowledge that one possibly-imminent day you too will die, and with a few fortunate exceptions, no one will be all that concerned.

Meanwhile, give a little. Pretending to care at least is something.

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Letter to George Curry
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Because this horse I’ve been beating isn’t quite dead yet, here’s the letter I wrote to George Curry in response to this column:

Dear Mr. Curry,

As a young black journalist, I have looked up to you. It heartens me to see the heights you’ve achieved in your career, and the accolades you continue to garner.

But, as a black man, it disappoints me greatly to now see you and other black leaders fall victim to the same prejudices that our community battled against so short a time ago. And as a journalist, it pains me to hear you discard truth in favor of sloganeering and propaganda.

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Dean/Clark Prospects Fizzle
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Clark says Dean asked him to be his VP in September; Joe Trippi says Dean didn’t. Doesn’t really matter. But Clark also said a run as VP probably isn’t “in the cards.”

I offer no thoughts on whether that will change if Dean goes on to win the nomination, but there it is.

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One Way Ticket to Canada
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Full Disclosure: Yes, I am. And yes, I purposefully call opponents of gay marriage “anti-marriage,” instead of making the distinction, because I think it’s distasteful and Orwellian that a remarkable little bit of doubletalk like the “Defense of Marriage Act” is still just humbly acquiesced to in 2003. I’m kind of a radical on this point, I understand that.

This is bad news.

I won’t say I didn’t see it coming, but it’s bad news, nevertheless.

By and large, Americans pretty much don’t like the prospect of same-sex marriages, and a larger number than had been thought (a significant majority, in fact) favor a Constitutional amendment banning it.

I’m still rather cavalier about the prospect of an anti-marriage amendment making it through the long process of ratification, but it’s not impossible. Once such an amendment made its way through Congress (which it easily might), it would go out to all 50 states. If the amendment fails in one house of Congress in at least 13 states, it fails, period.

Those seem like pretty good odds. But we can’t forget that 37 states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts prohibiting same-sex marriage.

And even though we knew this was coming, the article itself is interesting, frightening, and sort of weird.

Read more…

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