Naturally it would be asking too much for any political leader in the west to speak out against this joke of a trial. No, we need China too much to build cheap stuff or to fund our debt. What a tangled web we wove. Proof again that the Olympics failed to change anything.
Liu Xiaobo was one of 300 democratic activists in China to author a bold call for constitutional reform last December. The manifesto was published under the name Charter 08, and called for greater freedom of expression, multi-party elections and independent courts. Seen as a figurehead for the movement, Liu was taken into detention shortly before the document was published online. Then, in June, he was formally arrested on suspicion of incitement to subvert state power.
In the latest development ? which came on International Human Rights Day, a year and a day after the charter's publication ? officials told Liu's lawyer they would charge him. He will almost certainly be convicted and sentenced to jail, say experts, probably within weeks.
"The timing is not coincidental," said Joshua Rosenzweig of the Dui Hua Foundation, which supports political prisoners. "It draws attention away from commemorating the document and says: 'Look, you want to talk about Charter 08? This is what it gets you.'?"
Professor Perry Link, of Princeton University, New Jersey, who translated Charter 08 into English, said: "He must have known that he was running a risk of becoming the regime's target."
Found the following report in The Huffington Post. The trend reported here is one we've noticed in[...]
Read The Full Article:
Happy Chanukah (Hanukkah) everybody! And if you can this season, drop five bucks via the paypal button below, rather than under the Crooks and Liars' Hanukkah Bush.**
Every little contribution makes a huge difference in our monthly server bill. Thank you for making this blog possible.
**(If you think that's bad, you haven't heard Orrin Hatch's Eight Days of Hanukkah song.)
Open Thread below...
Co-Written by Marin Katusa & Marc Bustin, Editors of Casey’s Energy ReportCapturing energy from the earth’s heat is pretty easy pickin’s for geologically-active areas of the world like Iceland, Indonesia, and Chile. In some locations, hot fluids are so near the earth’s surface that heat from naturally-occurring hot fluids can be directly circulated through buildings for heating. Iceland, in particular, takes advantage of this low-hanging energy fruit.However, in most areas of the world where geothermal energy is captured, the heat is used to generate electricity. Conventional Geothermal EnergyUnlike some of the more common alternative energies — hydro, solar, and wind…
Read The Full Article:
This evening's Rescue Rangers are jlms qkw, blank frank, HoosierDeb, shayera, srkp23, and sunspark says, with watercarrier4diogenes at the wheel of the Editmobile, the Robes of Objectivity flapping wildly behind him.
If some of the less noticed initially, nonetheless tonight's diaries are some of the very best that 'teh Orange' has to offer. Please read them, recommend them, and comment in them. Let the diarists know that you appreciate their efforts and their viewpoints (even if you don't happen to completely agree with them).
jotter has High Impact Diaries: December 11, 2009.
carolita has Top Comments 12-12-09 – Critical Solidarity Edition.
Enjoy and please promote your own favorite diaries in this open thread (even if you're the author! Here's where that's actually appreciated). And, of course, since it's an open thread, PLAY NICE, OK? 8^)
To which, and I cannot stress this enough, if it's a choice between "slavery" and "having to look at Mitch McConnell's shriveled butt-cheeks," I for one am signing up for Option A.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Title: Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You Artist: Bob Dylan
video details and more
A lovely song for tough times or anytime.
Our sister site Newstalgia has Duke Ellington Live at the Hollywood Bowl, 1966.
Thanks to those readers/listeners who have contributed five bucks (and sometimes more) to keep this site going. We have huge bandwidth costs, advertising revenue is way down everywhere,
...and your support in small individual contributions really makes a huge huge difference. Thanks.
Elin Woods to file for divorce from Tiger Woods.
Read The Full Article:
Read The Full Article:
Jacob Hacker, the health policy expert known now as the "Godfather of the public option," qualifies his widely reported endorsement of the Medicare buy-in proposal in a new post at TNR's Treatment blog: he likes the idea, but doesn't know enough of the details.
What I said (on PBS "Newshour") is that I like the idea of a Medicare buy-in for uninsured Americans aged 55 to 65, and I do. We don’t know the details of the buy-in--and the details matter a great deal for whether it is a workable idea for this age group and their families--but this could be a simple, popular way of providing affordable coverage. It’s also one, valuably, that could be made available almost immediately, not almost a half decade from now, like the rest of the Senate bill’s big steps.
He then goes on to talk in detail about the other part of the compromise, the OPM idea.
To put it briefly, offering one or a few national plans under the auspices of the OPM won't provide what a public plan can--the choice of a broad, transparent, accountable, and affordable plan that doesn't deny needed care, restrains the growth of premiums over time, and serves as a benchmark for private plans. Indeed, because Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) is the most likely national non-profit to take advantage of this new opening, and because the Blues dominate most states, the plan perversely amounts to trying to increase competition and choice by encouraging Blue Cross and Blue Shield to compete against, you guessed it, Blue Cross and Blue Shield. That’s competition?
The public plan has been at the core of the health debate for a number of reasons: (1) it will significantly reduce costs; (2) it will provide broad, transparent coverage at an affordable price, setting a benchmark private insurers will be pressed to follow; (3) it won’t be in the business of denying or delaying needed care to people with costly conditions or shifting excessive costs onto them; and (4) it’s a vehicle for driving delivery and payment system reforms that private plans have proven unable and/or unwilling to do. Since we live in a democracy, it also seems relevant that (5) the public plan has been consistently popular with Americans (and doctors, according to a recent survey in the New England Journal of Medicine), despite the unrelenting false attacks on it.
We were reminded of (1) again last week. The CBO, which has been lowballing estimates of the potential savings of a public plan, told the Senate negotiators that if they dropped the public option, they would give up $25 billion in savings. That’s right: viewed through the CBO’s pessimistic lens, the Senate public option saves $25 billion, even though it not only requires that the Secretary of Health and Human Services negotiate rates directly with providers (rather than use rates based on Medicare’s, as I originally proposed), but also allows state political leaders to forgo offering the public option within their boundaries by passing a state law.
The OPM alternative, by contrast, isn’t going to be able to deliver serious savings. The Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) run by the OPM had premium increases almost exactly as large as the rest of the private insurance market between 1985 and 2002--and much larger than the growth rate of Medicare per capita. According to a just-released Congressional Research Service brief (not available online), premiums for enrollees increased almost 9 percent last year, and some plans had double-digit increases.
The most revealing statistics in the brief concern the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. These are the only national plans offered by FEHBP that are not affiliated with a federal employee organization. As such, a national BCBS plan would be the most likely--and perhaps only—OPM-sponsored plan to emerge under the proposed Senate deal. In 2010, BCBS will raise the premiums charged enrollees of its "standard" (more generous ) plan 15 percent for individuals and 12 percent for families, and it will raise the rate of its "basic" (no out-of-network coverage) plan 9 percent.
The regulations on private insurers in the current Senate bill are weak in many areas. Moreover, their implementation is left mostly to the states, many of which lack the wherewithal or will to regulate private plans effectively. So a dreamily hopeful vision of the OPM might see it as potentially providing much-needed national regulatory clout. But that's not a realistic vision. The OPM is already stretched thin. Even if a bunch of new resources could be found for it, it isn't in the business of creating a transparent, accountable plan; it is a manager and contractor and regulator of private plans, much like an exchange, only with even less regulatory power. OPM's former director, Linda Springer, says bluntly, "I flat-out think that OPM doesn't have the capacity to do this type of role...I don't think it would be a good call."
That's a long excerpt, but it's really a very good, and important, post. The public option is being sacrificed purely for politics, not for policy reasons. Done right, it saves money, provides much needed competition, and would provide what the American people want and need "broad, transparent coverage at an affordable price." What the group of 10 cooked up, this OPM excuse for Blue Cross to be able to increase its hold on the insurance market, is not a substitute, and we don't know enough of the Medicare buy-in yet to evaluate.
For now, I'm with Hacker, who concludes "Since I’m being called "the godfather," let me put it this way: this phony public option is an offer I can refuse."