What Jason doesn't know about health care reform could fill a blog post

Pop Quiz:

1. True or False? The Senate bill mandates that Americans buy health insurance, but since it does nothing to reign in costs, it amounts to a huge giveaway to the insurance industry.

2. Multiple choice: If the House passes the Senate's bill and they all fix it during Reconcilliation, will they address affordability by...

a) including a Public Option to drive down costs.

b) allowing the government to set levels on costs

c) using taxpayer dollars to provide subsidies to Americans who can't afford the overpriced insurance

d) doing nothing... they will hope it works itself out after the midterms.

3. Short answer: If you picked c or d, how does this not amount to a huge giveaway to the insurance industry?

4. Essay question (optional): How are we not completely fucked on this one?


Micro-charity: There's an App for that

I don't grok CauseWorld.

I'm supposed to feel good about donating "Karmas"--which are tiny bits of money, about 1 cent per karma--that Citi and Kraft have already donated? Something does not compute in the state of Denmark.

To be clear, charitable giving via micropayments is a great idea. Micropayments have already proven effective at separating me from my money for music, games, and other trifles. And early evidence shows that micropayments in charity have been very effective at encouraging non-givers to start giving, and to get those who already give substantially via existing channels to give a little bit more. Combining it with facebooky merit badges is fine too. Whatever gets the job done.

But what job is getting done here? Aside from a slightly higher profile for their 500 million dollars worth of charity, what to Citi and Kraft get out of this? (Clearly the stores themselves aren't involved, because I can "check in" to every shop on the block while actually only drinking in the bar at the corner.)

And let's say that it is pure charity on the part of Kraft and City. I still want to know...

1. Would these institutions have not given the 500 million if it were not for all of our potential involvement in CauseWorld? Or is it inside their already established charitable outlay that was going to happen either way?

2. Does our participation in CauseWorld make them more likely to give more in the future?

What do you think? I am going to use the app for a bit on the off chance it might help somehow, and at the minimum redirect a few charitable dollars towards the causes I care about more than planting trees (and that is not at all to diminish how good an idea it is to plant lots of trees).

But if you were planning on helping the Haitians out, it's probably a good idea to donate directly to the Red Cross.


Haloscan is now Echo

New Coke is the new black. Discuss

There's a difference between what Trent Lott said and what Harry Reid said

Harry ran afoul of some still-charged, awkward language around race. But he had no ill intent, and in no way was suggesting that "negros" should be treated any differently than the crackers in this country.

Trent, by contrast, embodied the very reason this language is still charged and awkward when he implied that we might be better off if we hadn't ended segregation.

(P.S., more posting today after I figure how to turn comments back on).


Hearts and minds

The only bright spot in the cases of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who tried to blow up that Christmas Day flight, and the five men who went to Pakistan to receive terrorist training, was that members of the wannabe-terrorists' families approached authorities because of their children's behavior. As an ever-larger percentage of right-wing commentators demand that Abdulmutallab be water-boarded or worse, it does seem worth asking whether parents will offer their children up to law enforcement if they--the parents--believe their kids will be tortured. | Choitner |

Buy a hybrid, change your light bubs, fail to save the world

Not to be a downer about things, but...
Did you know that just 16 large sea going cargo ships can produce as much pollution as all the world’s cars. Think about that! There are 100,000 of these ships on the sea! And none are restricted from burning dirty sulphur laden fuel oil that is not allowed as fuel by others. And that means they produce 6,250 times as much pollution as ALL the cars in the world!

The shipping industry makes a valid point: If you want those jeans from china for 19 bucks, you better not be messing with the shipping industry.

I have no idea whether carbon output from shipping is covered in current cap-and-trade proposals. But speaking of other kinds of polution, it seems like the EPA could enforce some new regs. on ships coming in and out of U.S. ports. Right?
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