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The Hunger Games
My kid and I were going to go see The Hunger Games this weekend, but for various reasons, we decided we would wait until later in the week (and hopefully, slightly less packed theaters, because Mama doesn't like crowds). If you're unfamiliar with the story, it's a dystopian future where North America is now a country called Panem. The Capitol of Panem is populated with the privileged wealthy (the 1 percent, if you will) and the rest of the country is divided into districts. Every year, for the pleasure of the residents of the Capitol, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 17--known as a tribute--is chosen to compete in a fight to the death. There are complicated themes of poverty, desperation to survive, authoritarianism and even racism in that protagonist Katniss is described as olive skinned and dark haired and the wealthier, more privileged people are whiter and blonder, so Katniss is looked down upon and discounted.
It occurs to me that the 1 percent are laying the groundwork for our own Hunger Games now. More and more money stays locked at the top, impoverishing those of us not within the inner circle. Those elites keep telling us that we should consider ourselves lucky for the scraps we get, for sacrificing for the greater good. And now look, we're killing each other, claiming survival as our justification. And in real life, as in The Hunger Games, those elites, when they sense a rising tide of empathy for one tribute over others, will change the rules of the game just to extend their amusement. Sound familiar?
Look at your elites within the Capitol. Here are those who want you to be a tribute for their amusement.
ABC's "This Week" - 2012 Presidential Race: White House adviser David Plouffe; Healthcare, 2012 Presidential Race: Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Panel: George Will; Terry Moran; Cokie Roberts; Donna Brazile; Matthew Dowd.
NBC's "Meet the Press" - 2012 Presidential Race: Plouffe; Influence of military; jobs for veterans: Rachel Maddow; Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont.; former Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss.; Panel: Panel: Michele Norris, NPR; Ben Jealous, NAACP; Doris Kearns Goodwin; David Brooks.
NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" - Panel: Kelly Evans, David Leonhardt, Gloria Borger, John Heilemann. Topics: Can Mitt Romney effectively and credibly campaign against Health Care? What is it about the "Mad Men" era that we find so seductive? Meter questions: Romney better off if Supreme Court strikes Individual Mandate? YES: 6 NO: 6; Will the GOP Candidate move to the center for the general? YES: 7 No: 5
MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" - Panel: Steven Pinker, Author of ?The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined?; Robert Wright, Author of ?The Evolution of God?; Susan Jacoby, Author of ?Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism?; Journalist Jamila Bey. Guests: Richard Dawkin. Topics: How atheism intersects with our politics. Coming a day after Saturday's Reason Rally on the National Mall, this episode of Up will include atheist views on religion's role in political subjects ranging from climate-change science to Rep. Paul Ryan's budget. We will also look at prejudices against atheists, including disparaging remarks by presidential candidates.
MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry" - Panel: Kenji Yoshino, NYU Law Professor; Tim Wise, Author of ?Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority?; Jelani Cobb, Rutgers University Professor of Africana Studies and History; Susan Douglas, Author of ?The Rise of Enlightened Sexism?; Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Anthea Butler, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Religious Studies. Topics include: Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act; GOP budget; brokered convention; Trayvon Martin; Mad Men
CBS' "Face the Nation" - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum; Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
CNN's "State of the Union" - The White House; the budget; healthcare and politics: White House advisor David Plouffe. Jobs; the economy; 2012 campaign; Trayvon Martin killing: Gov. Rick Scott (R- Fla.). Afghanistan; jobs; the economy; 2012 campaign: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Panel: Mike Duffy, Time; Susan Page, USA Today.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" - 2012 elections; Russia, China, France, Israel: Author Bruce Bueno de Mesquita ("The Dictator's Handbook"); Richard N. Haass, Council on Foreign Relations; Anne-Marie Slaughter. Global economy: Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn. Business; the economy: Venture capitalist Reid Hoffman.
CNN's "Reliable Sources" - Reliable Sources Trayvon Martin case: Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay Times; Lauren Ashburn; Derek McGinty, WUSA. Romney campaign's Etch-a-Sketch gaffe; Illinois primary coverage: Amy Holmes, Glenn Beck; David Corn. Cameras in the Supreme Court: Brian Lamb, C-SPAN.
"Fox News Sunday" - Budget/Economy: Ryan; 2012 election: Plouffe. Panel: Brit Hume, Fox News; Kirsten Powers, The Daily Beast; Paul Gigot, Wall Street Journal; Juan Williams, Fox News
So what's catching your eye this morning?
Visual source: Newseum
Advisers to the president now see their likely rival as having suffered potentially permanent damage from a campaign in which he has had to run to the right to win acceptance from his party?s conservative base. Romney?s advisers believe otherwise. They see any damage as overstated. They believe the president has vulnerabilities that have been largely ignored by the media while the Republicans have been on center stage. And they say that will change once the nomination battle ends.Yeah, largely ignored. Like his birth certificate, or palling around with terrorists. And it will all change because no one has been paying any attention to Obama for four years. So here's one for the Romney people: When Obama said "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," it was a pitch perfect response. When in this campaign has Romney ever been pitch perfect? He makes a gaffe a week, and a major gaffe a month. And why will that "advantage Obama" suddenly change?
I wonder if we in the news media aren?t inadvertently leaving the impression that there is a genuine debate among experts about whether an Israeli military strike on Iran makes sense this year.AP:
There really isn?t such a debate. Or rather, it?s the same kind of debate as the one about climate change ? credible experts are overwhelmingly on one side.
The Supreme Court?s ruling on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama?s health care overhaul is likely to shake the presidential election race in early summer.Ezra Klein:
But the winners in the court will not necessarily be the winners in the political arena.
No doubt, a decision to throw out the entire law would be a defeat for Obama. His judgment and leadership, even his reputation as a former constitutional law professor, would be called into question for pushing through a contentious and partisan health insurance overhaul only to see it declared unconstitutional by the court.
But it would not spell certain doom for his re-election. In fact, it would end the GOP argument that a Republican president must be elected to guarantee repeal of the law. It also could re-energize liberals, shift the spotlight onto insurance companies and reignite a debate about how to best provide health care.
There?s an added complication for Republicans. They have assumed huge savings from applying the exchange-and-subsidies model to Medicare. But they don?t assume ? in fact they vehemently deny ? that those same savings would result from the identical policy mechanism in the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats haven?t assumed significant savings from the exchange-and-subsidies model in either case. If the concept works as well as Ryan says it will, then the Affordable Care Act will cost far, far less than is currently projected. There?s no compelling reason to believe competitive bidding will cut costs for seniors but fail to do so among younger, healthier consumers who, if anything, are in a better position to change plans every few years and therefore pressure insurers to cut costs.Frank Bruni:
Rethinking His ReligionLongish, very interesting piece about people and assumptions. Good Sunday essay.
This man attended Catholic services every Sunday in a jacket and tie, feeling that church deserved such respect. I kept a certain distance from him. I?d arrived at college determined to be honest about my sexual orientation and steer clear of people who might make that uncomfortable or worse. I figured him for one of them.
About two years ago, out of nowhere, he found me. His life, he wanted me to know, had taken interesting turns. He?d gone into medicine, just as he?d always planned. He?d married and had kids. But he?d also strayed from his onetime script. As a doctor, he has spent a part of his time providing abortions.
For some readers his journey will be proof positive of Rick Santorum?s assertion last month that college is too often godless and corrupting. For others, it will be a resounding affirmation of education?s purpose.
I?m struck more than anything else by how much searching and asking and reflecting he?s done, this man I?d so quickly discounted, who pledged a fraternity when he was still on my radar and then, when he wasn?t, quit in protest over how it had blackballed a Korean pledge candidate and a gay one.
First, we must recognize moderation once again as a virtue, both in our public and private lives. Those who shun political moderation view its practitioners as traitors to some higher cause, spineless and weak. Many Republicans cheered Olympia Snowe?s announcement that she would retire from the U.S. Senate. What use was a moderate voice to the hard-right agenda?A mild reference to the GOP's "hard-right agenda" doesn't begin to describe the problem, let alone solve it. So, Kathleen, what are you going to do about it? Nothing at all, besides some tut-tutting while barely mentioning that the problem resides squarely with Republicans. And that's why there's no more moderates.
But the shunners are something worse than spineless or weak. They are incurious and, by the rigidity of their convictions, lacking in imagination. Want boring? Talk to someone enamored of his own certitude.
On this gorgeous spring Sunday morning, how about something to get you riled up enough to go outside and pull weeds?
Born with spina bifida and dependent on a wheelchair, 26-year-old Jon Michael Fox cannot hurt a soul, his mother and lawyer say.
But after being caught with more than 1,200 images of child pornography on his computer, some of which he traded with others, Fox was sentenced in 2009 by a federal judge in Louisville to 14 years in prison - with no option of early release.
The Justice Department says that long sentences for offenders such as Fox - even if they have had no contact with children - are vital in slowing the demand for child porn and the abuse of children exploited in making it.
But Fox's attorney, Frank Campisano Jr., called Fox's sentence "ludicrous," saying his client "never could be a threat to anyone, including a child." Fox's mother, Kathy, said, "He could have killed someone and got less."
The facts appear to back her up.
But the failure to distinguish between viewers of child pornography and producers of child pornography - like the failure to distinguish between flashers and molesters or sexually active teens and rapists - is an indictment of our criminal justice system.
It is particularly egregious in light of the failure to so much as investigate - much less prosecute, convict and imprison - the Wall Street criminals who destroyed trillions of dollars in middle-class income and equity.
That crime cost millions of jobs and will continue to cripple the U.S. and global economy for years if not decades.
Is what Jon Michael Fox did really so much worse?
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Life is a kind of campaign.
People have no idea what strength comes to one's
soul and spirit through a good fight.
Born March 25, 1867
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The stock market is a game of expectations. And one of the best ways of gauging investor expectation is by looking at a stock's price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E for short.
As readers of my Game-Changing Stocks newsletter know, I like to turn conventional thinking on its head. So while most investors like to look for stocks with low P/E ratios, ostensibly to find a "cheap" stock, I recently decided to look at companies that have high P/Es. My thinking behind this is that I just might find a stock with high expectations that are warranted and could outperform.
First, a bit about P/E ratios… It's calculated by dividing a company's stock price by its earnings per share . . . → Read More: These Are Some of the Most Expensive Stocks I’ve Ever Seen…
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The Six Wazillion Dollar Duck, Season 3 Episode 11 Part 2 [...]
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Masaccio hosts FDL's Book Salon this afternoon, Broke. Stuart Zechman and Avedon Carol are Virtually Speaking this evening. And Holy Rollers is our Movie Night Monday.Topics on the shows today are the shooting of hoodiest Trayvon Martin, Afghanistan, the[...]
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