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Archive for July, 2009

Amazon is being sued for deleting e-books from their customer’s Kindles when Amazon found out the e-books were pirated copies.

The lawsuit said Amazon never disclosed to customers that it “possessed the technological ability or right to remotely delete digital content purchased through the Kindle Store.”

No shit. I didn’t know that about the Kindle either. The book? You’ll never believe. Orwell’s 1984. Check out the story.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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I thought this piece from Matt Yglesias was interesting regarding reforms other than the public option.

The most important part of the bills that actually exist—the part that will impact the lives of most Americans—are the new regulations on insurers.

The administration is proposing:

— A ban on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

— Caps on out-of-pocket spending.

— No cost-sharing for preventive care.

— No “rescission” of coverage for people who get seriously ill.

— No gender discrimination.

— No caps on coverage, either lifetime or annual.

— Extension of family coverage for kids up to the age of 26.

— Guaranteed insurance renewal.

The fact that liberals like to talk about the uninsured and Peter Orszag likes to talk about bending the curve and I, personally, like writing about tax policy and don’t like seeing doctors has tended to obscure this whole set of issues. But your typical middle-aged, middle-class voter is going to be impacted dramatically by this stuff and fairly little by all the rest of it. This is also, in political terms, the stuff that polls really well. The “goodies.”

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, since the bulleted points above are just proposals and not reality, but Yglesias raises a good point. The above reforms would certainly mean a lot to people like me — people who already have insurance.

What’s amazing is that we didn’t create these regulations decades ago. I mean isn’t it pretty straightforward? Think about it. Each state has an insurance commissioner whose sole job is to make sure that people don’t get screwed over by insurance companies, and yet not one state has these types of regulations.

A few years back there was a noted story in Seattle about a man who tried to crash his vehicle into his girlfriend’s vehicle while driving ultra-fast on the highway. In making this attempt, the man veered into another car and a woman in that care was seriously injured. Her car insurance company, Farmers Insurance as it happens, refused to pay for her hospitable bills because they posited that the accident was intentional. The man meant to hit her car. Well in truth, the man meant to hit his girlfriend’s car and he didn’t care a lick about this other woman. The state insurance commissioner told Farmers Insurance that if they didn’t pay the innocent bystander’s hospital bills, FI would no longer be allowed to sell car insurance in Washington state. FI reversed their original position.

So why haven’t insurance commissioners played hardball with the health insurance companies? I really don’t know the distinction here and I don’t know a lot about this topic, but from a consumer standpoint it really confuses me.

If the Dems can get these new regulations through, I think it will be an important victory. I just can’t believe it’s taken this long to get here.

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Need more traffic on your blog? You might consider creating a post with the very same title as this one. How do I know this? Danny Westneat in 2007 wrote this editorial:

As I look back at the year in news, it’s clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses.

That’s the conclusion I reach after reviewing a new list of the year’s top local news stories. Only this list is not the usual tedious recounting by news editors or pundits who profess to speak for you readers. This is the people’s-choice list.

It’s not a survey of what news you say you read.

It’s what you actually read.

By tallying clicks on our Web site, we now chart the most read stories in the online edition of The Seattle Times. Software then sorts the tens of thousands of stories for 2005 and ranks them. Not by importance, impact or poetic lyricism, but by which stories compelled the most people to put finger to mouse, click, open and, presumably, read.

Which brings me back to sex with horses. The story last summer about the man who died from a perforated colon while having sex with a horse in Enumclaw was by far the year’s most read article.

What’s more, four more of the year’s 20 most clicked-upon local news stories were about the same horse-sex incident. We don’t publish our Web-traffic numbers, but take it from me — the total readership on these stories was huge.

If you really want to know about the South Carolina man who had sex with a horse, you can check out the esteemed HuffingtonPost for all your titiliating bits of news for the day.

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On the brink of pandering

I don’t know a lot about Tim Kaine, but I find this speech a little on the sleazy side:

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine suggested on Tuesday that opposition from Republican senators to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor — along with the Republican National Committee’s failure to attend a major Latino-issue forum — will seriously hurt the party with Hispanic voters.

“I find it puzzling that a group with the great credentials of the Council of La Raza would invite both parties to send their chairmen and that the RNC didn’t send their chair,” Kaine told the Huffington Post in a brief phone interview. “They could have had somebody else here. And with the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, with the exception of Senator Graham, every Republican voting against Judge Sotomayor, I just don’t get that as well.”

Of course, really everything he is saying is true, but why bring it up in this particular way in this forum? As a minority, this comes across to me as pandering. I want to hear actual content. Okay, so your a Democrat. What are you going to do for me other than talk? Give me your views of Latinos beyond how significant their votes are.

It has been argued in the past that the Democratic Party has taken advantage of the Black vote. Sure they talk the talk, but when it comes to actually creating noticeable change in our society, any programs that the Democrats have fostered don’t seem to be having a real affect. Look at the numbers of young black men in prison. I just don’t think Affirmative Action while pretty scarce these days is really having an affect, but it is a bone that the Democrats throw at the black community nonetheless.

Once again I have to say that as a minority, I just want we want to be treated equally. End of story. One of the most frustrating things is having people tell you how easy everything is for you because of your race. If the Republicans keep highlighting this falsehood, then the Democrats may never have to worry about losing the Latino vote. But nonetheless, I wish these guys highlighted our similarities more. How we are the same. How our needs are the same. And maybe one day we’ll get to the point when people aren’t just a vote. They’re just people.

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Not to fear. Here’s a fun summary in Haiku via Slate. And a teaser.

Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
What Sonia has done
Is so very impressive
So I am impressed

Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
A wise Latina
Would set aside her bias
She just can’t do it

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With the news that FINA has banned bodysuits in competitive swimming…

FINA, the international governing body of swimming, voted today to ban the controversial high-tech, non-textile swimsuits. Not only have the suits been responsible for a rash of world records but there has been a Wild West atmosphere among apparel manufacturers and swimmers, all trying to gain a competitive edge.

…I’d like to argue that the only surefire way to make certain that the athletes are all competing at the same level is to require them to swim in the nude. Sure, the athletes would go to town with the body hair removal but at least they would all have equal access to waxing parlors. These high-tech swimsuits are just too expensive for every athlete. And hey, it could get a boost from the Beach Volleyball fans.

1. Full body suit.

2. Rick Berens swimsuit malfunction. Notice the split in the butt. Apparently those suckers are hard to get on.

3. Your Beach Volleyball photos of the day. Photo via BSR-12’s photostream.

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