Friday, December 4, 2009

Social Media and Representatives, AARP vs John Cornyn, Eric Burns on Pundits, Reid's Compromise, WSJ Plagiarism, Alcohol Pills, & Public Option Polls

Quick Hits for December 4, 2009

* I have found new enjoyment that I invite you to join in. Whether you support or oppose your representatives, you MUST find their Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as other social media you are linked to. Then follow or friend them and start to engage them in conversation. I realize it may well be their representative or PR person instead of them, but it may not. It may also impact their image, sway some voters, and just help you get heard. Engaging in good discussion and debate with their supporters on their Facebook or on Twitter where everyone following them can see it is a good way to have input and influence with them. Try it. If nothing else, it is a cheap stress reliever.

* I found it interesting that on Twitter, @JohnCornyn (my Senator) actually told me that the AARP was NOT a good source on the effect of Health Care Reform on Medicare because they had a conflict of interest. Maybe it is me, but if anyone was going to focus on preventing harm from coming to Medicare, one of the most significant issues for people over sixty, it would be the AARP. It may have been one of the worst responses ever because their conflict would have been on his side if health care reform was going to be worse for the elderly considering they have spent decades building a reputation as the MOST TRUSTED group for the elderly. Someone needs to get a better PR person or think through their answers better.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to be careful about what compromises he makes to get Senators Lincoln, Snow, and Landreau on board. One concession they want is to allow national insurance plans to be sold from other states, which makes sense. But to do so, they want language where the insurance company does not have to adjust to state regulations but rather to maintain the regulations of the state where they are based. So if an insurance company based in Utah, which has very lax regulations, sells insurance in California, New York, or other state with tougher regulations, then the company sells based on Utah regulations. It works to undermine states' rights that the GOP so strongly protests about to do the business for insurance companies.

Allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines is a common sense idea that the GOP should have championed over the 6 years they controlled everything but didn't. But doing it in a way that undermines regulations that states have established for their own insurance companies both undermines the states' economy by begging companies to all move to Utah, and creates competitive disadvantages for locally grown small business in favor of large corporations, as well as lowering the standards of care for a states' citizens.

* The Wall Street Journal has started its move from respectable publication to Fox News or the Washington Times under Rupert Murdoch's tenure as its owner. In a piece that blamed President Obama and policies for undermining higher quality jobs, the paper did not check the validity of the sources, nor did it realize the article was plagiarized by the author from a few other sources, while changing the name of the interviewees to fictional names. It does raise the question of whether or not a high quality publication like the WSJ has removed its fact checkers like the Washington Times did. Will conservatives get up in arms like they did over the New York Times? Doubt it.

* A new poll shows sustained support for a public option with 60% supporting the public option. That isn't surprising, but the 40% yells pretty loud.

* A Russian professor invented an alcohol pill so that people can get intoxicated without drinking. Given the need for so many things in the world, it seems like an utter waste of time, energy, and funding. Part of the point of getting drunk is the socialization of drinking, making it essentially useless. But more to the point: the time, energy, and funding to make this took away from some other worthy cause that could have saved a life or two instead of focusing on another way to hide date rape.

* Fox's former host of Fox News Watch, Eric Burns, shared one of the most telling statements about the state of today's media pundits, including the likes of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly, to go along with Campbell Brown and Keith Olbermann. Normally, I would give you the link and my take on it, but I thought it was particularly well written. Please take a look at the original source and article. It is worth the read and gained my respect.

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