John Murtha Dies

Alert from CNN: Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania has died at the age of 77, according to his office.

The Top Ten Things Written on Sarah Palin’s Hand

With everyone talking about Sarah Palin’s crib notes on her hand, I would like to present The Top Ten Things Written on Sarah Palin’s Hand (after passing them through a spell checker). I know this is a lot of stuff to fit on a hand, but Palin has practice at this. After all, this is how she passed her tests in college.

10. Will cut taxes & reduce deficit at same time after elected

9. 12345 (My secret password for all internet sites)

8. Foreign Policy Experience–Can See Russia from Alaska

7. Obama is a Socialist (Note to self: look up what “socialist” means)

6. Uphold the Constitution (Note to self: must read the Constitution some day)

5. Ask for divine intervention from God when have questions about what government should do

4. Stay away from explaining about dinosaurs and people–audience often laughs at me when I talk about this unless all Republicans

3. Explain how it is cold outside, proving global warming is a hoax

2. Make sure not to use any Purell on hand before speech

1. If not listed here, just say whatever a Maverick would say

Facebook Account Unavailable

In recent months the blog has increasingly become intertwined with my Facebook account with discussions of posts primarily taking place there as opposed to the blog. This morning when I tried to sign on to Facebook I got this message:

Account Unavailable

Your account is temporarily unavailable due to site maintenance. It should be available again within a few hours. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Doing a Google search for Facebook site maintenance and accounts being unavailable I found that this has been a common problem which many others have faced. Unfortunately some people report that it took several days before they were able to get to back onto their account so I can’t trust the claim of it being available within a few hours, especially as it has now already been a few hours.


Still unavailable. I see that some blogs and other sites are attributing this to the recent update in Facebook’s format which is being rolled out to different people at different times. As of when I used Facebook last night (technically early this morning) I still had the 0ld format. This might explain the problem today but from a Google search on the problem this has happened in the past. There appears to be larger clusters of complaints from back in October and again starting a few days ago, with some reports of the same problem from other people at other times.

For the most part people are reporting no success from attempts to contact Facebook. One person did post this response which they have received on line:

Thanks for your report. Some users have been experiencing difficulty logging into and using the site for several days. Specific symptoms of this issue include:

• Inability to log in due to a “Site Maintenance” error message
• Missing friends from the Friends page
• Errors when trying to access Inbox

Unfortunately, we do not have a specific date for when this issue will be resolved, but we are working to fix it as soon as possible. Please note that this is a temporary display issue and no content has been removed from your account. Although we are unable respond to every bug report individually, we are reading them. We appreciate your patience.


The Facebook Team

Update II: Back on Facebook with the new format present. Most likely this was caused by the conversion, so beware if you have not been switched over yet.

Obama Proposes Bipartisan Health Care Summit

While it is important that health care reform be passed, I have been hoping for an alternative to ramming through the Senate bill, at least before more is done to explain the actual legislation to the public. It would be unfortunate if the political result of health care reform was to lead to the election of more Republicans who are hostile to health care programs.

Many people seemed to see the slow down in action after the loss in Massachusetts as a sign that the Democrats had given up on health care reform. I thought it was more plausible that they were taking a little time to reassess their strategy. Now we are beginning to see the results of this as Barack Obama is planning a televised summit on health care for February 25.

It is important at this point that Barack Obama takes the lead. He is more popular than either the Democrats or Republicans in Congress, and we saw that after he spoke out on health care in August that support for reform increased. We also saw how he is able to debunk Republican talking points last week.

Obama is inviting the Republicans to the health care summit. That is an excellent idea. So far they have shown no sign of willingness to offer any serious solutions yet they constantly repeat the same empty statements as if they made some sense. If Republicans are going to continue to do nothing more than obstruct legislation, let the voters see this.

Let the Republicans suggest that we open sales of insurance across state lines on television. Obama can explain that this is included in the health care reform proposals–but this can only be done if there are nation-wide regulations to protect consumers. Obama could go on to explain that the main reason the Republicans are pushing this for the insurance companies which are calling the shots is that this would allow insurance companies to all operate out of the states with the weakest insurance regulations. This might result in less expensive insurance being sold, but such policies would provide very poor coverage to those who are sick.

The Republicans can also push for malpractice reform. Obama could explain that this would only result in a very small reduction in overall health care costs. However, Obama has previously expressed willingness to consider malpractice reform and, while the potential savings are greatly exaggerated by Republicans, they should not be ignored. Malpractice reform is not possible in a health care bill written by the Congressional Democrats, who represent the interests of the trial lawyers as faithfully as the Republicans represent the  interests of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Perhaps an open, televised health care summit could lead to agreements which get past these partisan differences. There is even a long shot that Republicans would be forced by such open coverage to agree to support a compromise bill which might correct some of the problems in the Senate bill. Even if nothing comes out out of the meeting, it is still of value to discuss these matters openly.

Some on the left have been attacking Obama for trying to appeal to Republicans, claiming it has been a failure because no Congressional Republicans are giving him any support. What they fail to recognize is that seeking bipartisan support does not only refer to members of Congress. It also refers to people who have voted Republican in the past but either voted for Obama in 2008 or are open to voting Democratic in the future. The way to secure these votes is to show a willingness to consider Republican ideas, along with showing their failings if Republicans do not come up with any better ideas than they have to date.