aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Gladwell changes his mind
Apparently Malcolm Gladwell’s argument on the wrong side of the national health care debate, opposite Adam Gopnik in the Washington Monthly some years back, has gotten some recent attention in the blogosphere.
Well today he says, “I shudder when I read what I said back then:”
Why have I changed my mind? Some of my reasons are in the piece on moral hazard I wrote for the New Yorker last summer. The bigger reason is simply that I woke up one day and realized what much smarter people than me (Adam Gopnik) realized a long time ago, which is that the idea of employer-based health care is just plain stupid Ã‚- and only our familiarity with it and sheer inertia prevent us from rising up in rebellion.
I always try to think of a suitable analogy and fail. The closest I can come is to imagine if we had employer-based subways in New York. You could ride the subway if you had a job. But if you lost your job, you would either have to walk or pay a prohibitively expensive subway surcharge. Of course, if you lost your job you would need the subway more than ever, because you couldn’t afford taxis and you would need to travel around looking for work. Right? In any case, what logical connection is there between employment and transporation? If you can answer that question, you can solve the riddle of the U.S. health care system. And maybe I’ll change my mind back.
Via Kevin Drum, who got first dibs on the wonderful Gladwell Blinks headline!
Has the global Christian community lost its moral bearings?
The Episcopal Bishop of Washington in todays WaPo:
It’s no secret that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are engaged in a bitter internal struggle over the role of gay and lesbian people within the church. But despite this struggle, the leaders of our global communion of 77 million members have consistently reiterated their pastoral concern for gays and lesbians. Meeting last February, the primates who lead our 38 member provinces issued a unanimous statement that said in part: “The victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.”
We now have reason to doubt those words.
Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, primate of the Church of Nigeria and leader of the conservative wing of the communion, recently threw his prestige and resources behind a new law that criminalizes same-sex marriage in his country and denies gay citizens the freedoms to assemble and petition their government. The law also infringes upon press and religious freedom by authorizing Nigeria’s government to prosecute newspapers that publicize same-sex associations and religious organizations that permit same-sex unions. [...]
Surprisingly, few voices—Anglican or otherwise—have been raised in opposition to the archbishop. When I compare this silence with the cacophony that followed the Episcopal Church’s decision to consecrate the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, a gay man who lives openly with his partner, as the bishop of New Hampshire, I am compelled to ask whether the global Christian community has lost not only its backbone but its moral bearings. Have we become so cowed by the periodic eruptions about the decadent West that Archbishop Akinola and his allies issue that we are no longer willing to name an injustice when we see one?
I also feel compelled to ask the archbishop’s many high-profile supporters in this country why they have not publicly dissociated themselves from his attack on the human rights of a vulnerable population. Is it because they support this sort of legislation, or because the rights of gay men and women are not worth the risk of tangling with an important alliance?
In his June NYTimes Magazine article, Russell Shorto suggests the answer, What’s Their Real Problem with Gay Marriage (It’s the Gay Part).
Bankruptcy filers really are broke
In what will undoubtedly be the first of many ‘’I told you so” reports, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys has found that, overwhelmingly, people who file for bankruptcy protection aren’t deadbeats who went on shopping sprees with the intention of shirking their debts.
That’s quite contrary to what was being charged by supporters of a federal bankruptcy law that went into effect last October.
For years, those proponents argued that billions of dollars were being lost because people were simply being allowed to walk away from their debts. [...]
Now, in the first analysis of the tens of thousands of people who have undergone credit counseling since the law passed, the bankruptcy attorneys association found that nearly all (97 percent) of the debtors truly couldn’t pay their debts. [...]
Four out of five filers felt forced to seek bankruptcy protection because of a job loss, catastrophic medical expenses, or the death of a spouse, according to the report, ‘’Bankruptcy Reform’s Impact: Where Are All the Deadbeats?”
RELATED: Christopher Hayes wrtingin In These Times on How to Turn Your Red State Blue last March suggests building a movement around credit reform:
Americans Coming Together (ACT), a massive voter organization group, could, in a future incarnation, select 100 red counties in red states with high bankruptcy rates and pay for two organizers and an office in each. The organizers would use the extensive e-mail lists of groups like MoveOn and Democracy for America to recruit volunteers from among local progressives, and reach out to people in the area who are in serious debt through canvassing, fliers and other means...At the same time as organizing and outreach is happening on the ground locally, ACT could begin a national media campaign around a “credit reform” platform that would reregulate the credit industry, empower those filing for bankruptcy, cap annual interest rates and outlaw predatory lending practices...Success would build on success.
The people in my circle here in Georgia believe it’s a message that would resonate. Let’s do it!
PersonalDNA is a web service that does a sophisticated and rigorous personality profile in about 15-20 minutes (I know because I just took one). It makes use of lots of cool ajaxy things like sliders and buckets.
At the end you get a result which you can publish.
The test is quick and fun, and pulls you in (and seems accurate enough in its conclusion) but the niftiest Web 2.0 part promised is the ”psyche you/psych me” feature:
Invite people to assess you! They’ll be given reports that will represent their versions of your personality. If they share those reports with you, you can collect everyone else’s version of your personality and compare personalDNA strips and personality maps side-by-side with yours. You’ll also get a match percentage to see how well they know you (see a sample report here).
That said, and after sending off a link to friends, it’s not looking entirely intuitive as to how it works. This is my link; try it!