better the devil we know, beach house view, freedom and tuna

Some sly satire re the public option as part of health-care reform, Debate over government-funded police protection heats up

Now that the president and the Democrats in Congress have set a fall deadline for legislative action on universal police protection for all Americans, battle lines are being drawn on Capitol Hill. On the right are conservative defenders of America’s system of for-profit, private mercenaries. The Democrats are divided among progressives who favor universal, publicly funded police who would protect all citizens against crime, and moderate and conservative Democrats who argue that any citizen security reform should leave America’s existing system of soldiers for hire in place.

“Do we want long wait times when we call for the police, like people in countries with socialized police forces?” Sen. Russell Flack, R-Ga., asked during a floor debate yesterday. “Under our system, we can choose our own police officers, as long as we pay for protection out of our own pockets. Do we want some government bureaucrat choosing the police for us?”

Which reminds me of Timothy Noah’s privatized miltary comparison. The tiresome argument usually goes that the police and military are been pronounced by the woodland nymphs of all things that reside under the sacred tree of a market economy and engraved in stone no less, that thy govmint shall run stuff like the military and police, but may the great Morrigan, Goddess of war  and revenge have mercy on your soul should the people have a competitive public option for health-care. Slightly ironic that the military has take it or leave it health-care. Its the genuine article, the authoritarian socialized medicine that keeps the public options opponents up at night thinking of new epitaphs to call it and combing over obscure cheery picked statistics that wilt in daylight.

You’re giving up basic freedoms to save a little money. A public option is just that. Its hardly freedom for millions of Americans to rely on emergency rooms and bills that drive them into bankruptcy. Almost all police and sheriffs departments rely on state run plans or plans that have been negotiated with private insurers, why can’t everyone else have that option. Actually Lind’s piece is barely satire since block grants, specific government funding aimed at law enforcement, accountability to Department of Justice guidelines and various federal statutes, our police departments are, using the current political pundit criteria, already socialized. Since we always seem to have a few rogue or corrupt police on trial isn’t that a good argument against doing the same with health-care. Only if we ignore the corruption, malpractice, neglect and miscellaneous issues with private insurance companies and health-care providers. All the analogies that one can find between a public option and the vaulted virtues of the private sector include the same institutionalized problems that follow every human run organization – thus anecdotal stories up the yinyang. For many the argument against any kind of optional public health plan seems to include, either directly or by insinuation, the better the devil we know argument. Its not a good argument, but it scares enough people to keep the debate a little over heated.

Street Portrait Photo How To(VIDEO)

Photographer Clay Enos goes from shooting super heroes on the set of Watchmen to taking street portraits of random people.

Enos uses a Nikon, natural light and some white background paper to get some amazing results.

beach house view

French fishermen vs. media stars in “The Tuna Wars”

French fishermen do not normally cross paths with the stars of stage and screen, but recent environmental fights have put these mismatched groups at odds:

At stake is the survival of the bluefin tuna, a single specimen of which can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars – a price that has seen stocks decline in some areas by up to 90%.

This month Sienna Miller, Elle Macpherson, Jemima Khan, Sting and others signed a letter to Nobu, a famous upmarket restaurant chain part-owned by Robert De Niro, threatening a boycott of their favourite haunt. Stephen Fry, one of the celebrity campaigners, wrote: “It’s astounding lunacy to serve up endangered species for sushi. There’s no justification for peddling extinction, yet that is exactly what Nobu is doing in restaurants around the world.”

The restaurant has so far refused to take it off the menu, citing its cultural importance in Japan and “enormous demand”, but the battle goes on. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Atlantic bluefin will be wiped out in three years unless radical action is taken.

What will the blue fin tuna eaters do once their coveted sushi favorite becomes so rare fishing for it is impractical or extinct. Move on to the next delicacy, then on to the next. Applying our heath-care thinking caps, stopping the carnage of the blue fin fishery would deprive sushi fanatics of their freedom. So extinction please and more of it.

beach palms