Progressive Calendar 10.26.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2009 09:55:56 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   10.26.09

1. Rainforest demo    10.26 12noon
2. Peace walk         10.26 6pm RiverFalls WI
3. Local economy      10.26 6:30pm
4. Amnesty Intl       10.26 7pm
5. Green capitalism?  10.26 7pm

6. Gender fairness    10.27 11:30am
7. Race/public policy 10.27 2pm
8. NWN4P vigil/last   10.27 4:45pm
9. Rovics-Feeney/CTV  10.27 5pm
10. Forum wards 3 4 5 10.27 6pm
11. Sami/Iraq today   10.27 7pm

12. Dave Bicking - We need you in the final stretch! {city council ward 9]
13. Fred Markus  - Birds of a feather/Not a done deal/hope for challengers
14. Fred Markus  - SWJ Ward 7 comment
15. Fred Markus  - SWJ Ward 10 comment
16. Fred Markus  - SWJ mayor's race comment
17. Bill Maher   - The ultimate sign Of our lethargy
18. Kip Sullivan - "Public option" bait-&-switch campaign fools pollsters
19. ed           - Hell's developers  (haiku)

--------1 of 19--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
From: Carrie Anne Johnson
Subject: Rainforest demo 10.26 12noon

Monday, October 26 Noon
Downtown Minneapolis

Join 6 Rainforest Action Network orangutans (in costume) at Cargill's
downtown Minneapolis office to tell Cargill to STOP destroying rainforests

This is a great, easy way to act locally to impact globally! Bring a
friend! Want to be an orangutan?? Call hillary [at]
< [at]> at (415)
283-9503 for more info.

--------2 of 19--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 10.26 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

--------3 of 19--------

From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at]>
Subject: Local economy 10.26 6:30pm

"Designing for a Changing Future: ECONOMIC STABILITY THROUGH LOCAL
INTERDEPENDENCE."  EXCO class being offered three times:

Monday, October 26; Monday, November 2; Monday, November 16
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Macalester College, Room 216 Campus Center (corner of Snelling and
Grand Aves.), St. Paul
Free.  Sign up at or at the door.  FFI 651-633-4410.

Environmental concerns, economic breakdown, and worries about peak oil and
other resource supplies-all are coming together at once. People are
seeking new ways to organize themselves. and their communities.  One
response is the new emphasis on building a local economy, to increase
sustainability and "community independence." What might such independence
actually mean?

This class will analyze the concept of "community independence" and
construct a framework within which the needs of a community might be
addressed through creative thinking, investment, and cooperative work. It
will offer specific ideas for evaluation in terms of their contribution to
community independence.  Half the class time will be devoted to class
discussion of the ideas presented and of ideas generated in those who

Given by Wilhelm Reindl, independent energy entrepreneur, former
researcher at UofM and Bureau of Mines, now using experience of growing up
on a small farm in Bavaria, Germany, to experiment with changes in farming
on his small farm in Wisconsin.

--------4 of 19--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 10.26 7pm

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, October 26th, from 7:00 to
8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street,
Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or
johns779 [at]

--------5 of 19--------

From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at]>
Subject: Green capitalism? 10.26 7pm

CAN CAPITALISM BE GREEN?   {Can pigs fly? Can fish ride bicycles? -ed]

MIKE CAVLAN-Formerly of the Green Party
DAN DIMAGGIO-Socialist Alternative
CHRISTINE FRANK-Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities & Socialist
ALAN MAKI-Save Our Bog & Lake-of-the-Woods Communist Club


The forum is sponsored by the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities
(3CTC).  It is free and open to the public.  The Clean Energy Vigil to
Cool Down the Planet takes place on the plaza outside the bookstore at
5:00 PM, followed by the 3CTC Business Meeting at 6:00 PM.  All are
welcome.  For more information, EMAIL:  christinefrank [at] or PHONE:

--------6 of 19--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Gender fairness 10.27 11:30am

October 27:  Supreme Court Gender Fairness Implementation Committee 20th
Anniversary of the release of the Gender Fairness in the Courts study
report. Join the Committee as it looks back on the original
recommendations and celebrates the progress made. Luncheon featuring Judge
Harriet Lansing, Vice Chair of Gender Fairness in the Courts Task Force.
Afternoon Continuing Education Seminars. 11:30 AM - 5 PM at the Crowne
Plaza Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. $25. Register. [You'll have to
figure out how. -ed]

--------7 of 19--------

From: Russ Adams <russ [at]>
Subject: Race/public policy 10.27 2pm

Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
2009 Regional Equity Series

The Alliance's 2009 Regional Equity Series brings local and national
leaders together to talk about emerging issues that are critical to
creating an equitable Twin Cities region. The final two events in the
series focus on Measuring the Racial Impacts of Public Policies and
Strengthening Our Regional Equity Movement.

Measuring the Racial Impacts of Public Policies
2 - 5 pm
Tuesday, October 27
McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis

Racial disparities in our region are growing at an alarming rate - and the
way we plan growth and development in the Twin Cities is one of the major
contributing factors.Terry Keleher of the Applied Research Center, one of
the nation&rsquo;s experts in studying the racial impacts of our public
policy design, will deliver the keynote address.

Terry and a local reactor panel will provide participants with an
opportunity to learn about the different types of existing racial equity
policies and explore the advantages of this type of policy.

The panel will include: Minnesota State Senator Mee Moua, Readus Fletcher,
deputy director of the St. Paul Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Department, Vic Rosenthal, executive director of Jewish Community Action,
and Jermaine Toney, lead researcher for Organizing Apprenticeship Project.
A reception will follow.

Alliance for Metropolitan Stability I 2525 Franklin Ave E, Suite 200 I
Minneapolis, MN 55406 I 612-332-4471

--------8 of 19--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P vigil/last 10.27 4:45pm

Tuesday the 27th will be the last weekly vigil for NWN4P for the season.

Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM.
All welcome; bring your own or use our signs.

--------9 of 19--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Rovics-Feeney/CTV 10.27 5pm

St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 10/27, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 10/28, 10am
David Rovics: Live from the Minnesota Music Cafe

Rovics performs new songs including "In the Name of God" and "Pirates of
Somalia" along with covers like Phil Ochs' "I Ain't Marching Anymore".
Outstanding labor singer-songwriter Anne Feeney is also featured. (10/09)

--------10 of 19--------

From: Nik <kreuzauge [at]>
Subject: Forum wards 3 4 5 10.27 6pm

The Minneapolis Branch of the NAACP invites you to hear from the
candidates for the City of Minneapolis City Council, Mayor and Park Board.

October 27, 2009
6:00-8:00 PM
North Commons Recreation Center
1801 James Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55411

Come here from the candidates of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Wards and the office
of Mayor and at-large Park Board.  Also hear about Rank Choice Voting and
how to become a part of the NAACP.

--------11 of 19--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Sami/Iraq today 10.27 7pm

A Talk by Sami Rasouli: "Iraq Today: an Eyewitness Report"
Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 Third Avenue
South, Minneapolis.

Sami Rasouli, an Iraqi-American with dual citizenship, who left Iraq in
the late 1970s, lived in the Twin Cities area for more than 17 years. In
November 2004, nearly 30 years after leaving Iraq and following the 2003
invasion and occupation of his country of origin, Sami returned to Iraq to
help rebuild his country. During this time, he founded and supported the
development of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams, groups dedicated to the
principles of nonviolence.  He recently brought a delegation of thirteen
Iraqis from the city of Najaf to the city of Minneapolis as a part of the
Sister City Project.

Sami will speak about the situation on the ground in Iraq today; the U.S.
pull-out from the cities; the return of the giant oil companies; political
divisions; the upcoming elections in January 2010; and the prospects for
U.S. withdrawal and a substantive change in U.S policy toward Iraq. He
will also speak about the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq and the building
of peaceful relationships between the people of Iraq and the people of the
United States through the Iraqi Art Project, the Sister City Project,
Water for Peace, and Letters for Peace ( Sami will be
joined by his nineteen-year old son, Tarik, who recently returned from a
trip to Iraq.

Artwork from Iraq will be on display and will be sold to raise money for
continuing human rights efforts in Iraq. Sami will be returning to Iraq in
January to continue his work there.

Sponsored by: Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq (TCPC) and WAMM.
Co-Sponsored by: the Anti-War Committee, Iraq Peace Action Coalition
(IPAC), St. Joan of Arc/WAMM Peacemakers, Veterans for Peace (Chapter 27),
and others. FFI: Call TCPC, 612-522-1861 or WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------12 of 19--------

Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2009 21:43:50 -0500
From: Dave Bicking <dave [at]>
Subject: We need you in the final stretch!

Dear friends,

We're coming close to the election - and we are coming close to winning!

Just a week and a half left, and what we do during this time - what we are
able to do - could easily make the difference.  Please help us make the

Our campaign so far has built a solid base, getting information about the
issues out to the voters.  We have door knocked, with good response; we
have placed ads in some of the neighborhood papers, we have held a number
of events to raise the money we need, we've put out lots of lawn signs,
we've got a website, and T-shirts and buttons, and we have built a good
base of volunteers and connections.  We have delivered 2 pieces of
literature to all the households in the ward, and mailed literature to
people in towers and security buildings.

Now, we need to lit drop our final piece of literature, do one more
mailing, make phone calls, knock on doors, and visit local businesses and
leave literature.  We also need a big effort on election day to get out
the vote.

Here's how YOU can help to make a real change in city government:

Lit dropping:  With our new literature just arrived, we will be delivering
lit every day until the election, from dawn to dusk, every day it doesn't
rain (or snow).  It takes a lot of people to cover 10,000 households!
And there is a deadline!!  We'll provide the lit, a map of the precinct
you want to do, and instructions.  You can do it any time you are free.
Please call me to make sure I am available for you to pick up the lit at
my house (3211 22nd Ave. S.)  No need to call ahead if you can pick up lit
Saturday or Sunday morning this weekend:  Saturday, 8am - 11am, and/or
Sunday, 8am - noon.

Phone calls:  We'll be calling potential voters.  You can do it from the
comfort of your home, with a list of people to call, and a script to
follow.  Call Becki Smith, 612-378-0081 to volunteer and get set up.  We
need a lot of people in the last few days especially, to remind our voters
to get out and vote.

Mailing:  We need some people to get together on Wednesday evening,
October 28, to prepare 4,000 postcards for mailing.  Call me for details
if you can do that.

Door knocking:  It's never too late!  We'll tell you how to do it, and
give you a "walking list" to follow.  It's really not that hard - and
isn't talking to people the very heart of political work??  Call me to set
it up.

Visiting businesses:  Call me if you would like to talk to small business
owners and managers about the campaign, and leave literature - and maybe a
lawn sign.

Get out the vote:  Arrange to take election day off.  We want to be all
over the ward, talking to people on street corners and bus stops, holding
signs, just encouraging people to get out and vote!  It's fun, and people
appreciate it.

This is what winning elections is all about, and if we want to be a
successful electoral party, this is the work we must do.

Campaign news:

We finally have a debate set up for this ward.  Mark your calendar for
Thursday, October 29, 7 - 9pm, at Sibley Park, 1900 40th St. E., Mpls.
I'll send more details soon.

It's real hard to get any press coverage in this election, but we did
recently get one fun mention, for our campaign song.  (Thanks to Eskit!)
MinnPost put up the song and a brief article here:
council-campaign-song I think the Daily Planet also picked up the article.

Meanwhile, Schiff has been getting some negative press.  His fundraising
techniques are questionable.  Southside Pride has run a story based on
allegations from a developer and former City Council member, Steve Minn,
that Schiff has been essentially "shaking down"  developers with business
coming before his Zoning & Planning Committee.  That story will be
delivered to every doorstep in the ward before the election.  Read it
online at:

Schiff's response is also in the paper, and online at:

Minn's accusation came after I wrote about Schiff's campaign contributions
on the Mpls Issues List.  You can find my post at:

While I'm giving you links, I may as well include another post laying out
my campaign positions, in response to a question as to whether my campaign
was just based on anti-Schiff rhetoric:

And another post about my own policy on campaign contributions:
[Thanks to the Green Party for its high standards and the example it

So, back to what's most important in this next week and a half:  YOU!
Can you help?  Please let me know.  If you have been involved, it will
just make our victory party that much sweeter!

And thanks for all the work so many of you have done already, and the work
you have done for other deserving candidates.

For a more fair and compassionate city,
Dave Bicking 612-276-1213

--------13 of 19--------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 2009 06:38:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Fred <fredric.markus [at]>
Subject: Birds of a feather [Not a done deal -hope for challengers]

Posted on Mpls Issues this morning:

Our fine feathered friends who have been voting consistently in election
after election are tuned in to this municipal election because that's what
we do whether the Star Tribune is paying attention or not.

There are some variables in turnout that traditionally get stacked on top
of the basic population of persistent voters. Turnout swells substantially
in presidential years and subsides equally markedly in municipal election
years. The "Obama effect" in 2008 was very substantial. The total turnout
was 206,380 and of these voters, 94,012 (45.6%) were "newbies" who
registered at some point in 2008 and voted for the first time in November,

The newbie percentages by ward:
 > 60% in wards 2, 3, and 6;
50% - 60% in wards 5, 7, and 10
40% -50% in wards 8 and 9
30%-40% in wards 1 and 4
<30% in wards 11, 12, and 13

There's something awesome about this when one states these results another
way: 2/3 of all the voters in Ward 6 were brand new registrants.
Conversely, less than 1/3 of all the voters in Wards 11, 12, and 13 were
brand new registrants.

The serious question now is how many of these 94,000 new voters will
participate on November 3, 2009. No matter how you slice it, the ward-
level outcomes are going to include quite a few voters who have no
institutional memory. To them, the incumbents running for reelection are
not familiar faces. Even with minimal mainstream news coverage and several
examples of a rose garden strategy (Mayor R.T. Rybak, CM Goodman and CM
Schiff come immediately to mind) the efforts made by challengers will have
significant impact because so many of the new voters from 2008 came to the
polls with considerable determination and will not have abandoned interest
in electoral politics.

My point is that the minimalist incumbent approach to this municipal
election may backfire in part because there is widespread dissatisfaction
among the more persistent voters and in part because it won't take a very
big slice of the newbies - say 20% - to have a major impact however the
RCV choices pan out.

In Ward 6, Mohammed Cali will draw on over 700 voters of likely Horn of
Africa ethnicity who voted in 2008 and may have added 300 or more new
voters to that cohort of the voting population. Given the fact that barely
3000 people voted in 2005, giving CM Lilligren a 46-vote victory over CM
Zimmerman, there's room for an upset in this ward! There are similar
daunting statements to be made in Ward 3, Ward 5 and Ward 7 and I daresay
in Ward 4, Ward 9, and Ward 10.  Throw in the possibility of an upset in
Ward 13 and by golly, there may be a new day dawning in Minneapolis
political life.

Citywide, the clear determination of the incumbent Mayor to pursue the
governorship has a negative coattail effect. Both newbies and persistent
voters may find this awkward - there's more smoke than fire in the mayor's
campaign pitch, what little can even be found, and the RCV impact further
compounds the challenge for incumbents . The partisan conventions are a
distant memory IMHO, only having a significant appeal to the remnant of
core constituents who put up with these events on a continuing basis.

Fred Markus
Phillips West

--------14 of 19--------

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 22:40:39 -0000
From: Fred <Fredric.markus [at]>
Subject: SWJ Ward 7 comment      [SWJ = SouthWest Journal]

The tomato season is long gone.

By Fredric Markus, October 21, 2009

Afficianados of the "love apple" - one likeable medieval impression of the
tomato as opposed to the early school of thought that declared the tomato
be be dreadfully poisonous - may appreciate this metaphor. A luscious ripe
tomato is a culinary delight in the here and now. An overripe tomato,
however, is not good eating and not by any means a "dainty dish to set
before the king".

CM Lisa Goodman is well-schooled in municipal affairs. She had her early
days as a staffer for Mayor Paul Soglin in Madison, WI - a personality and
a venue about which I have fond memories from the 1960s. CM Goodman became
quite the belle of the ball in her 3 terms on the Minneapolis City Council
in more recent years but alas, overripe in her approach to a fourth 4-year
term of office.

It is never a good idea to let one person, however gifted, evolve into a
larger-than-life presence in government. Robert Moses was such a mover and
shaker in New York until Jane Jacobs finally brought him back to a reality
other than his own. An adjustment to reality on a more modest scale in
Minneapolis may write finis to a similar arrogance of power that has
become increasingly apparent in the case of the long-standing Ward 7

Lisa is no FDR. Her extended tenure has had a significant influence on the
city's development policies but lately has come under fire for what is now
an adjudicated abuse of process. Even FDR had his wings trimmed by the US
Supreme Court in that time of our nation's history, a classic example of
the system of checks and balances that essentially stated that his crop of
tomatoes had gotten overripe.

When I was in the seminary in Ohio back in the early 1950s, we teenagers
were tasked with picking tomatoes in the rather extensive fields devoted
to growing tomatoes for our eventual consumption. At the end of the
growing season, there would be lots of overripe tomatoes out in the field
and we would have a great time thowing rotten tomatoes at one another.
Harmless smelly fun at the time.

Here in 2009, we are not teenagers and "fun" can't include rotten and
smelly barrages of overripe tomatoes - now expressed, I suggest, by
questionable practices by superannuated members of the City Council.

In contrast, Michael Katch has repeatedly demonstrated a very keen grasp
of municipal governing processes honed in large part by his experience as
a licensed commodities trader with a global reach. Not bad for someone who
had to come back from a near-fatal car accident that left him with very
little cognitive capacity. It is a great thing that his wife Peggy and
Michael himself had the patience to rebuild this very able, perhaps even
brilliant mind.

This is a tomato in prime condition, to abuse that metaphor once more.
Arriving just in time I must say, since there's no preparing an edible
meal with spoiled fruit.

--------15 of 19--------

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 22:43:05 -0000
From: Fred <Fredric.markus [at]>
Subject: SWJ Ward 10 comment

Moving forward

By Fredric Markus, October 21, 2009

The Iron Range is to be thanked for producing the personable and smart
member of that liberal redoubt who now approaches the voters of Ward 10
for permission to turn her considerable talent to the financial affairs of
the city. Kim Vlaisavljevich (aka "Kim V") moves in elevated corporate
circles in her day job as an accounting consultant. This is a sorely
needed presence for the City Council as a whole and for Ward 10 in

At issue is the fact that members of the City Council are a mixed blessing
when it comes to financial acuity. Dependence on staff capacities and
advice in financial matters can lead the elected leadership into uncharted
waters. We seem to do well with attorneys, generally speaking, but money
matters - especially at the billion-dollar level - require a professional
background that seldom emerges from the Minneapolis electorate.

Meg Tuthill is by all acounts, including personal testimony from Kim V, a
civic participant with a long history of involvement centered around her
store on Hennepin Ave. and adjacent neighborhoods. She comes with sterling
endorsements from the DFL leadership. But times are not so good and
decisions about stability and development are discussed in a digital
vocabulary these days and the good work Meg has done deserves praise - but
not orders from headquarters that would thrust her into a policy
environment beyond her ken.

--------16 of 19--------

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 22:46:01 -0000
From: Fred <Fredric.markus [at]>
Subject: SWJ mayor's race comment

Missing in action

By Fredric Markus, October 21, 2009

How very unlike our popular mayor to pursue a rose garden approach in his
request to the voters for a third term. We have a weak mayor system of
governance, but this is a demeaning gesture by R.T. that precludes any
substantive dialogue in public settings. The notion that the
responsibilities of the mayor set so lightly on R.T.'s shoulders that
there is ample spare time to pursue the governorship is not helpful to
anyone, voter or not, who is aware of the municipal tensions that have
come from vetoes and unallotments by Governor Pawlenty, himself the lamest
of ducks as he in turn prepares for a run for the presidency of the

We often speak of the value of checks and balances in our remarks about
the American system of governance and of all those various mechanisms the
most basic is surely the consent of the governed.

Anyone who has spent quality time in the voluntary political parties in
Minnesota knows that running for a statewide office is a huge commitment
of time, energy, and money. Pity the rubber chickens sacrificed to this
cause, but consider accepting the premise that our chief executive officer
cannot credibly do justice simultaneously to either proposed personal plan
of action.

The mayor quite frequently asserts credit for initiatives and
accomplishments that are not his to claim. It is a very bad idea to leave
the functioning of the office of the mayor to nameless and inaccessible
people in the mayor's entourage while he himself is in effect missing in

Conversely, even a quick read of John Kolstad's literature demonstrates
the authenticity and capacity of this sometimes charming, sometimes
peppery individual. We have no opportunity to evaluate these two major
candidates in a public setting. We have no chance to look past the bombast
and politically charged sniping that marginalizes other applicants for the
mayor's job. We are in fact being bamboozled by political operatives who
assume that civic indifference is the steady state of awareness within the
market reach of the Southwest Journal.

If history is to be believed, fully ten percent of the turnout on November
3 will come from Ward 13 alone and similarly stout participation will come
from adjacent areas in Wards 7, 10, 11, and 12 - a broad sweep of
neighborhoods familiarly known as the "Fertile Crescent". In 2005, this
part of the city strongly preferred R.T. over Hennepin County Commissioner
Peter McLaughlin. In 2001, the voters were unwilling to give Mayor Sharon
Sayles Belton a third term, rejecting what seemed to me at the time to be
a triumphalist approach to her candidacy that demeaned the cogency of the

This time out of the box, we have an astonishing indifference by the
incumbent mayor to any serious evaluation by the elctorate and that, dear
reader, moves me to urge a rejection of R.T.'s rather transparent pitch.

Papa John puts a simple question in his headline - "Are you better off now
than you were 8 years ago?"

--------17 of 19--------

The Ultimate Sign Of Our Lethargy
By Bill Maher

September 29, 2009 "Huffington Post" - New Rule: If America can't get
its act together, it must lose the bald eagle as our symbol and replace it
with the YouTube video of the puppy that can't get up. As long as we're
pathetic, we might as well act like it's cute. I don't care about the
president's birth certificate, I do want to know what happened to "Yes we
can." Can we get out of Iraq? No. Afghanistan?  No. Fix health care? No.
Close Gitmo? No. Cap-and-trade carbon emissions? No. The Obamas have been
in Washington for ten months and it seems like the only thing they've
gotten is a dog.

Well, I hate to be a nudge, but why has America become a nation that can't
make anything bad end, like wars, farm subsidies, our oil addiction, the
drug war, useless weapons programs - oh, and there's still 60,000 troops
in Germany - and can't make anything good start, like health care reform,
immigration reform, rebuilding infrastructure. Even when we address
something, the plan can never start until years down the road. Congress's
climate change bill mandates a 17% cut in greenhouse gas emissions... by
2020! Fellas, slow down, where's the fire? Oh yeah, it's where I live,
engulfing the entire western part of the United States!

We might pass new mileage standards, but even if we do, they wouldn't
start until 2016. In that year, our cars of the future will glide along at
a breathtaking 35 miles-per-gallon. My goodness, is that even humanly
possible? Cars that get 35 miles-per-gallon in just six years? Get your
head out of the clouds, you socialist dreamer! "What do we want!? A small
improvement! When do we want it!? 2016!"

When it's something for us personally, like a laxative, it has to start
working now. My TV remote has a button on it now called "On Demand". You
get your ass on my TV screen right now, Jon Cryer, and make me laugh. Now!
But when it's something for the survival of the species as a whole, we
phase that in slowly.

Folks, we don't need more efficient cars. We need something to replace
cars. That's what's wrong with these piddly, too-little-too- late
half-measures that pass for "reform" these days. They're not reform,
they're just putting off actually solving anything to a later day, when we
might by some miracle have, a) leaders with balls, and b) a general
populace who can think again. Barack Obama has said, "If we were starting
from scratch, then a single-payer system would probably make sense." So
let's start from scratch.

Even if they pass the shitty Max Baucus health care bill, it doesn't kick
in for 4 years, during which time 175,000 people will die because they're
not covered, and about three million will go bankrupt from hospital bills.
We have a pretty good idea of the Republican plan for the next three
years: Don't let Obama do anything. What kills me is that that's the
Democrats' plan, too.

We weren't always like this. Inert. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed
Medicare into law and 11 months later seniors were receiving benefits.
During World War II, virtually overnight FDR had auto companies making
tanks and planes only. In one eight year period, America went from JFK's
ridiculous dream of landing a man on the moon, to actually landing a man
on the moon.

This generation has had eight years to build something at Ground Zero. An
office building, a museum, an outlet mall, I don't care anymore. I'm
tempted to say that, symbolically, all America can do lately is keep
digging a hole, but Ground Zero doesn't represent a hole. It is a hole.
America: Home of the Freedom Pit. Ironically, it's spitting distance from
Wall Street, where they knock down buildings a different way - through

That's the ultimate sign of our lethargy: millions thrown out of their
homes, tossed out of work, lost their life savings, retirements postponed
- and they just take it. 30% interest on credit cards? It's a good thing
the Supreme Court legalized sodomy a few years ago.

Why can't we get off our back? Is it something in the food? Actually, yes.
I found out something interesting researching last week's editorial on how
we should be taxing the unhealthy things Americans put into their bodies,
like sodas and junk foods and gerbils. Did you know that we eat the same
high-fat, high-carb, sugar-laden shit that's served in prisons and in
religious cults to keep the subjects in a zombie-like state of lethargic
compliance? Why haven't Americans arisen en masse to demand a strong
public option? Because "The Bachelor" is on. We're tired and our brain
stems hurt from washing down French fries with McDonald's orange drink.

The research is in: high-fat diets makes you lazy and stupid. Rats on an
American diet weren't motivated to navigate their maze and once in the
maze they made more mistakes. And, instead of exercising on their wheel,
they just used it to hang clothes on. Of course we can't ban assault
rifles - we're the first generation too lazy to make its own coffee. We're
the generation that invented the soft chocolate chip cookie: like a
cookie, only not so exhausting to chew. I ask you, if the food we're
eating in America isn't making us stupid, how come the people in Carl's
Jr. ads never think to put a napkin over their pants?

Bill Maher is host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher"

--------18 of 19--------

"Public option" bait-and-switch campaign fools pollsters
By Kip Sullivan, JD
Monday, Oct 19, 2009

The New York Times reported on Saturday, October 17, that Sen. Ron Wyden
(D-OR) is warning his constituents that the "public option" is not going
to be available to the great majority of Americans. No one who has
actually read the Senate health committee's "reform" bill or the House
"reform" bill (HR 3200) disputes this. According to the Congressional
Budget Office, the "option" will be available only to about 30 million
people, or about one American in ten. As the Times put it (slightly
inaccurately), the "option" in the Democrats' legislation "would be out of
bounds to the approximately 160 million people already covered through

Does the public understand this? According to Wyden, they don't. Wyden
says his constituents are shocked when they are told the "option" will not
be available to the vast majority of Americans. When he began informing
his constituents about this truth last summer, "They nearly fell out of
the bleachers," he said ("And the public option is..",. New York Times,
October 17, 2009, A10).

Democrats and "option" advocates should pay attention to Wyden's
observation. Wyden is saying, in so many words, that "option" advocates,
with help from the media and the blogosphere, have fooled the public into
thinking everyone will be eligible to buy insurance from the "option,"
and when the public finds out this isn't true, they're not going to be

I was not surprised by Wyden's observation. I have written several papers
warning the public that they have been the object of a "bait and switch"
campaign by the leadership of the "option" movement. The "bait" in this
campaign was the original version of the "option" promoted by Jacob
Hacker. This version would have created an enormous public program that
would have insured half the non-elderly population. Among several
provisions of this first version of the "option" that would have ensured
large size was one that said the "option" had to be available to all
non-elderly Americans. The "switch" occurred when Democrats on the Senate
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and three chairmen
of House committees drafted legislation that would create a very small and
weak "option". One of the provisions in the Democrats' legislation that
ensured their version of the "option" would be weak was a provision
limiting subsidies and eligibility for the "option" to a small fraction of
the population, namely, the uninsured and employees of small firms.

After reading Wyden's warning, I examined over 50 polls to see if any
pollsters had bothered to investigate the issue Wyden is raising. It would
be interesting, I thought, to see if (a) pollsters had allowed themselves
to be fooled by the bait-and-switch campaign for the "option" and (b), to
the extent that they hadn't been fooled, what did they find out about how
badly the average American had been fooled?

I discovered that the nation's best known polling firms have allowed
themselves to be fooled. Pollsters are asking the public the wrong
question. They are asking the public to comment on Hacker's original
version of the "option" (the "bait"), not the actual "option" proposed in
the Senate HELP Committee bill and HR 3200. Not surprisingly, the polls
tell us very little about whether the public thinks the "option" will be
available to everyone or to just a small minority.

    Pollsters are asking about the "bait," not the actual "option". is a widely used source of polling data. I don't know
how they select the polling firms they report on, but I do know many of
the most recognizable polling firms appear on their website. On October
17, I visited their website, clicked on their "health policy" section, and
read every one of the 52 polls listed for the period June 1 to October 8.
I selected June 1 as my beginning date because congressional Democrats did
not publish drafts of their bills until mid-June. October 8 was the date
of the latest poll listed on as of October 17.

Twenty-three of these 52 polls asked a question related to the "option".
(In a few days, I'll post a listing of these polls and the questions they
posed in an appendix). Of these 23 polls, the questions in one of them
conveyed no information about who would be eligible to participate in the
"option". The remaining 22 polls all posed questions that stated
explicitly or implicitly that all Americans would be eligible to
participate in the "option". One of these 22 polls asked a follow-up
question (it was a follow-up to a question asserting that the "option"
would be universally available) that informed respondents that the
"option" might turn out to be available to only a small fraction of the
populace. None of the other polls gave so much as a hint that the "option"
would be available to only a small fraction of the population.

Four of the 22 polls that conveyed some information about who would be
eligible to participate in the "option" explicitly stated the "option"
would be available to everyone. For example, the September 17-20 NBC/Wall
Street Journal poll asked: "Would you favor or oppose the government
offering +everyone+ a government-administered health insurance plan -
something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get - that
would compete with private health insurance plans?" (emphasis added)

The remaining 18 polls (of the 22 that conveyed information about who
could participate in the "option") used language that would lead most
readers to infer the "option" would be offered to everyone. The most
common method used by these 18 polls was to state (1) the "option" would
be (2) "like Medicare" and would (3) "compete" with the insurance
industry. Referring to the public program as "an option" without
qualification implies the program will be universally available. Comparing
the program to Medicare (a program that is available to almost the entire
elderly population) also implies universality. And depicting the program
as a competitor with the "insurance industry" or "health insurance
companies" also connotes universality. Any one of these three features -
employing the word "option," comparing the "option" to Medicare, and
depicting the "option" as competing with the entire insurance industry -
is sufficient to mislead the average reader into thinking the proposed
"option" is going to be available to everyone. The appearance of all three
features in a single question virtually guarantees that outcome.

The September 12-18 Kaiser Tracking Poll illustrates this method of
misleading readers. The poll asked respondents if they favored or opposed:
"Creating a government-administered public health insurance option similar
to Medicare to compete with private health insurance plans". The average
reader could be expected to infer from this question that all non-elderly
Americans would have the choice of enrolling with the "option".

Sometimes polls used only two of the three deceptive phrases. For example,
the question posed by the June 23-29 Quinnipiac University Poll asked,
"Some people say that giving people the option of being covered by a
government insurance plan will keep private insurance companies honest. Do
you agree or disagree?" Here, two features - saying "people" will have
access to an "option," and referring without qualification to the entire
insurance industry - are misleading.

Only one poll - the one conducted by ABC and the Washington Post between
September 10 and 12 - bothered to ask how respondents felt about the
"option" actually being proposed by the Senate HELP Committee bill and HR
3200. And this question came only after the poll had asked a question
implying the "option" might be available to everyone. Here are the two

"Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health
insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans?"
Support: 55%
Unsure: 3%

If oppose/unsure: "What if this government-sponsored plan was available
only to people who cannot get health insurance from a private insurer? In
that case, would you support or oppose it?"
Support: 21%
Oppose: 24%

The fact that the authors of this poll felt it necessary to ask a separate
question about a version of the "option" limited to the uninsured
indicates they understood that their first question implied an "option"
available to all. The first question doesn't say explicitly that the
"option" will be universally available, but it conveys that impression
with just one of the three deceptive features commonly used by the polls
examined here. It doesn't use the word "option," and it doesn't compare
the "option" to Medicare; it merely depicts the "option" as competing with
the entire insurance industry. In my opinion, that device alone is
sufficient to connote universality. By asking the follow-up question, the
authors of this poll indicate they agree with me.

            What can we learn from these polls?

Of the 23 polls that posed a question about the "option," only the
ABC/Washington Post poll I just discussed could be said to be accurate,
and even that is a questionable statement. To put this the other way
around, at least 22 of the 23 polls I examined failed to convey accurate
information about the actual "option" under consideration by Congress. It
is impossible, therefore, to reach any conclusions about how the public
feels about that "option". Because 21 of the 22 polls that conveyed some
information about the "option" asked questions exclusively about a version
of the "option" that resembles the one Jacob Hacker originally proposed,
we can only draw conclusions about that version. The one tentative
conclusion we can draw is that the public appears to support the original
Hacker version of the "option" - the large, Medicare-like public program.
We must consider this conclusion tentative because the campaign for the
"option" has been so deceptive and vague, and because the polls made no
effort to undo the deception or compensate for the vagueness.

With one exception, the polls that sought to measure public support for
the "option" found majority support. The one exception was a poll
conducted for Fox News between July 21 and 22. That poll found 44 percent
in support of the "option" and 48 percent opposed. An examination of the
wording of that poll does not indicate why Fox came up with such a low
estimate of public support. Among the other polls, support ranged from 52
to 76 percent. My eyeball analysis of these results suggests support did
not decline over the summer as criticism of the "option" and the
Democrats' plans escalated.

It is impossible to say with any confidence whether the support reported
by these polls is strong or weak. I found only one poll that offered
useful information on that issue. The poll - the ABC/Washington Post poll
quoted above - found that the public's support for the "option" (the
original version, not the actual one) is somewhat wide but very shallow.
After posing the question I quoted above and finding a 55-percent support
level, the poll asked:

"Say health care reform does NOT include the option of a
government-sponsored health plan. In that case would you support or oppose
the rest of the proposed changes to the health care system being developed
by Congress and the Obama administration?"

Fifty percent said yes to this question. In other words, only 5 percent of
respondents felt the "option" was essential to effective reform. However,
we should take into consideration how vague and inept the bait-and-switch
campaign for the "option" has been. A more skillful campaign for a huge
public program, as opposed to the know-nothing, deceptive campaign waged
on behalf of the mouse version of the "option," might have created more
enthusiasm for the "option".

          Reporters and pollsters need to do their homework

In previous essays about the "option" I have called on the leaders of the
"option" movement to notify their followers and the public that Congress
is not talking about the original Hacker version of the "option". That
plea has fallen on deaf ears. I will not repeat it here.

I would, however, like to urge polling firms, reporters and bloggers to
report on the deception being practiced by the leadership of the "option"
movement or, at minimum, to stop participating in that deception by
repeating the myth that "poll after poll" shows Americans want the "public
option" being discussed in Congress. If pollsters, reporters and bloggers
had refused to go along with the "option" campaign's bait-and-switch
tactic, the tactic would not have worked. But they did go along with it,
and the tactic appears to be working. The vast majority of Americans, even
Americans who attempt to stay abreast of the health care reform issue,
appear to be under the impression that the "option" will be available to
the entire non-elderly population (or at least to that portion without
access to a non-Medicare government program such as Medicaid).

This illusion cannot, of course, last forever. But the longer it goes on,
the worse the backlash will be when Americans are finally disabused of the
illusion. If they are "falling out of the bleachers" now (to quote Sen.
Wyden) when they learn how few Americans will be able to participate in
the "option", how are they going to feel when Republicans and the lazy
media start telling them, say, next January? Americans need accurate
information about the actual option - under consideration in Congress, and
they need it now. If Health Care for America Now and other "option"
advocates won't provide that information, pollsters, reporters, and
bloggers should. But with woefully few exceptions, pollsters, reporters
and bloggers are selling the notion that the "option" will be universally

Pollsters, reporters and bloggers are also selling the unproven claim that
the public supports the "option" described in the Democrats' legislation.
Pollster Celinda Lake, who actively participated in the bait-and-switch
campaign for the "option," was quoted recently saying, "Poll after poll
shows that large majorities of Americans support reform that offers a
choice of a public health insurance plan or private insurance". To take
another example, in an interview on October 15 Tamryn Hall of MSNBC asked
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), "Do you believe in the polling data that says
that the American people want a public option?"

Lake's statement and Hall's question were not demonstrably false (it's
possible a majority of Americans support the mousey version of the
"option" called for in the Democrats' legislation), but they sure were
misleading. The fact is we simply don't know what the public thinks of the
moribund little "option" proposed by the Democrats. Perhaps someday we
will. Perhaps someday pollsters will get around to asking accurate
questions about the real "option" - questions that do not suggest the
"option" will be available to all and do not suggest that it will resemble

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You
can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
PNHP welcomes comments on its blog by its physicians and medical student
members, and other health professionals active in the movement for single
payer national health insurance. Comments by other readers are welcomed
but may not be posted.

--------19 of 19--------

 Developers plan
 and build the rings of Hell, but
 won't be caught dead there.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
              please send all messages in plain text no attachments

                          vote third party
                           for president
                           for congress
                          now and forever

                           Socialism YES
                           Capitalism NO

 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg
 --------8 of x--------
 do a find on

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.