Jon Stewart on Healthcare

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart takes a look at the healthcare successes of the Democrats:

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(h/t GottaLaff :)


Score One For The Working Families Party in NYC

Score two, actually... Via The Gotham Gazette, The Working Families Party, a political party that has made significant contributions to Connecticut's political landscape, has taken over New York city:

Both Liu and de Blasio had the endorsement of the Working Families Party, yesterday and in their original primaries two weeks ago. De Blasio’s ties to the party are particularly tight.

The victories yesterday continue a very successful election year for the Working Families Party. In the Sept. 15 primary, challengers backed by the party toppled four sitting council members.

“The Working Families Party, once derided as a ragtag collection of Brooklyn progressives, is now the pre-eminent political force in New York City politics, replacing a forlorn, disorganized Democratic Party,” Michael Barbaro observed in the City Room.

The kinds of issues that the Working Families Party pursues?


Billionaires for Budget Cuts is a diverse group of insurance company CEOs, bailed-out Wall Street executives and hedge fund managers, united to stop even a pay increase in taxes on the very rich, even if it means slashing healthcare and education.

See the Billionaires' recent press clips.

Join the Billionaires for Budget Cuts Facebook group.


Our healthcare system is broken. Costs are through the roof, and yet we still have hundreds of thousands of families in Connecticut without coverage. It's time for a high quality public health option. Read more.
And the other thing:

Paid Sick Days. Between the outbreak of swine flu and the recession, it's clearer than ever that working families need paid sick days. We're leading the fight. Learn more.
I don't expect that they will see a lot of corporate money flooding their coffers as they endorse candidates from every and any party that has a proven record of voting for the little guy.

In The News:
Read the our great CT Post Op-Ed on why people are voting Working Families and help spread the word:

"When you vote for a Democrat or a Republican on the Working Families line, you're vote counts for the candidate just the same as a vote on the major party line. But a Working Families vote also sends a powerful message to all politicians that it's time to put working families first again.

The real work to fix our economy will start the day after Election Day. Our elected officials will have to make difficult choices to put our country and our state back on the right track.

Voting on the Working Families line is a small way that each of us point our politicians in the right direction -- and give them a little push."
More details here.

Who needs sleep?

Those who know me well know that I am a part-time insomniac. At times I can go days without sleeping before I finally burn and crash. Many of the posts I have written were done in the middle of the night and saved to post later. Don't ask me which ones' because I probably won't remember. Now I may be able to tell you why:

A Connection Between Sleep and Alzheimer's?

You shouldn't stay up all night worrying about it, but a new study has found a connection between a lack of sleep and a biomolecule thought to be important in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

In both humans and mice, levels of a peptide called amyloid-β rise during waking hours and decline during sleep, researchers have found. They also report that sleep-deprived mice are more prone to developing deposits of amyloid-β, called plaques, like those found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Although far from proven, the finding suggests that sleep disorders could be a risk factor for Alzheimer's. On a brighter note, it also hints at new avenues of treatment.

Many lines of evidence suggest that the naturally occurring amyloid-β builds up in the brain over many years in people who develop Alzheimer's disease, beginning long before people show signs of memory loss. But very little is known about what factors might influence levels of the peptide in the brain, says David Holtzman, a neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri.
Please remind me if I forget to post this diary... 
And enjoy this barenaked lady I found in the bathroom in the middle of the night:


Senator Dodd On Snowe Delaying Legislation

ctblogger uploaded this video and I thought I would yank it from him because it shows a lot slicker version of the material I covered:

Pay no attention the Blogging geek asking the question nor the mug of Sam Adam's Octoberfest beer on the counter behind him.

Senator Chris Dodd on Obama's Afghanistan Strategy

In this video, taken on Saturday, September 26th, '09, Senator Chris Dodd makes sense on the situation in Afghanistan. It starts with Nutmegger John Kantrowitz, from My Left Nutmeg and the Conn-Post Blogs, discussing the shades of Vietnam parallels. But there is an 800 pound guerrilla that too many ignore that I try to point out at the end of the video:

Just so you understand what I am talking about at the end of the video, General Petraeus re-wrote the doctrine for dealing with counterinsurgencies:
The first chapter of Petraeus's manual calls for a "force ratio" of 25 counterinsurgents (here meaning US, allied, and Iraqi soldiers and police) per 1,000 residents. In Baghdad that would require a total force of 120,000. But even with the additional 17,500 US troops President Bush has called for, and a reallocation of Iraqi troops from the North to Baghdad, the total force will be approximately 80,000, a full third less than what the manual prescribes.
I was shooting from the hip and based on my faulty memory, but the numbers I was talking about were sufficiently close to make the point. Thinking in terms of the situation in Afghanistan a quick look at the math tells you what you need to know.

The population of Afghanistan is 28,150,000 according to wikipedia - And the math based on 25 soldiers per thousand residents?


By Genral Petraeus' own standard that is how many soldiers would be needed to effectively stabelize Afghanistan. Accounting for US, UN and even the Afghanistan soldiers that have been trained up to provide security there are nowhere near enough. And there will never be anywhere near enough without a draft. That is an 800 pound guerilla that nobody will address.

Little wonder why Obama may be suffering from buyer's remorse on campaign statements and early decisions after he was sworn in:
Once in office, Obama compounded the damage by doubling down his bet on the war. In March, he introduced a “comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan” in his first significant public statement on the subject, which had expansion written all over it. He also agreed to send in 21,000 more troops (which, by the way, Petraeus reportedly convinced him to do). In August, in another sign of weakness masquerading as strength, before an unenthusiastic audience at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, he unnecessarily declared: “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity.” All of this he will now pay for at the hands of Petraeus, or if not him, then a coterie of military men behind the latest push for a new kind of Afghan War.

As it happens, this was never Obama’s “war of necessity.” It was always Petraeus’s. And the new report from McChrystal and the Surgettes is undoubtedly Petraeus’s progeny as well. It seems, in fact, cleverly put together to catch a cautious president, who wasn’t cautious enough about his war of choice, in a potentially devastating trap. The military insistence on quick action on a troop decision sets up a devastating choice for the president: “Failure to provide adequate resources also risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs, and ultimately, a critical loss of political support. Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure.” Go against your chosen general and the failure that follows is yours alone. (Unnamed figures supposedly close to McChrystal are already launching test balloons, passed on by others, suggesting that the general might resign in protest if the president doesn’t deliver — a possibility he has denied even considering.) On the other hand, offer him somewhere between 15,000 and 45,000 more American troops as well as other resources, and the failure that follows will still be yours.

It’s a basic lose-lose proposition and, as journalist Eric Schmitt wrote in a New York Times assessment of the situation, “it will be very hard to say no to General McChrystal.” No wonder the president and some of his men are dragging their feet and looking elsewhere. As one typically anonymous “defense analyst” quoted in the Los Angeles Times said, the administration is suffering “buyer’s remorse for this war… They never really thought about what was required, and now they have sticker shock.”
At this moment in time the Generals are asking for more troops and, even by Petraus' own standards, they aren't asking for enough to deal with the issue. And that is assuming the strategy of more boots on the ground is even an effective one. It isn't because the whole strategy is based on loonytunes logic [emph. mine], according to Pen and Sword's Jeff Huber:
Obama said that he would only approve another escalation if he has "absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be." McChrystal’s report is incoherent on the subject of strategy.

It says, “We must conduct classic counterinsurgency operations” and states that success depends not on “seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces” but on “gaining the support of the people.” That’s laughable in light of the fact that classic clear-hold-build counterinsurgency operations involve seizing terrain and destroying the insurgent forces that occupy it.

The notion that we can separate the Afghan people from the insurgents is as ludicrous as the idea of invading Mexico to separate the Hispanics from the Latinos. Nor can we pretend to be the good guys when the Karzai government we prop up is as bad or worse than the insurgents. McChrystal admits that Afghans have “little reason to support their government.”

McChrystal says he sees no sign of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. So, his argument goes, in order to disrupt al-Qaeda terror network, we need 45,000 more troops to occupy a country al Qaeda is not in to make sure it doesn’t come back. And what exactly is this al-Qaeda juggernaut we’ve come to quake in fear of? As former CIA officer Philip Giraldi recently noted, “An assessment by France’s highly regarded Paris Institute of Political Studies [suggests that] Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda has likely been reduced to a core group of eight to ten terrorists who are on the run more often than not.”

If McChrystal and his allies get their way, we’ll have deployed over 135,000 troops to Afghanistan—on top of the roughly 130,000 troops still in Iraq—for the purpose of rounding up fewer than a dozen bad guys. Daffy Duck and Wiley Coyote could come up with a better strategy than that.
Our military leadership and its supporters are a thundering herd of buffoons whose only real objective is to keep the cash caissons rolling and the gravy ships afloat and the wild blue budget sky high.
I still have a pile of video to sort through and edit from this event, and more from another event that featured Ned Lamont and Rep. Rosa DeLauro.