As listeners might be aware, I am currently a healthy American who is struggling to ensure continuity of coverage as I transition voluntarily from full-time employment with benefits to self-employment with an individual plan. The absurdity of the complications involved in staying with the same provider, albeit transitioning from a group plan to an individual plan, could not be greater.

A number of related items finally created the perfect storm for me this weekend, and I took action.

Congressman Cooper,

I have watched with admiration as you have persisted in encouraging your colleagues and your fellow Americans to give serious consideration to the Healthy Americans Act during this debate about healthcare reform. I gave it serious consideration, and I believe it is a strong bill.

Recently, though, three things have happened in my life that have caused me to write to you to ask you to support America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, HR 3200.

1. I recently elected to resign a full-time job that provided me with health insurance. I have a pre-existing medical condition, and I am now having difficulty insuring continuity of coverage. I must either wait to discover the whims of underwriters, likely past the point of expiration of my current coverage, or I must exercise my HIPAA rights, causing a dramatic increase in my premiums.

2. I saw Pres. Clinton and Vice Pres. Gore speak at the Jackson Day dinner here in Tennessee. Their remarks spoke powerfully to the need for healthcare reform now.

3. I read Sen. Kennedy’s statement about the HELP Committee’s passage of the Affordable Health Choices Act after his recent death, and I am convinced that he found it to be an acceptable final compromise for “the cause of his life”: universal healthcare for Americans.

I trust you to do all you can to strengthen this bill for American patients and would-be patients who are in dire need of health security. I know because I’m one of them.

Best regards and thank you for your service,
Freddie O’Connell

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They both have superpowers:

Congressman Barney Frank and his beams at full power.

The Congressman and his beams at full power.


The Congressman’s namesake and his wee little beams.
The puppeh and his wee little beams.[/caption]

Shout out to Eclexia and Aunt B.

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What Michael Delgiorno says on a daily basis on the Nashville powerhouse talk radio station 99.7 WTN is so offensive that it can make your insides ache. If you’re a patriot, you know it is offensive. If you’re rational, you know it’s offensive. If you’re a real Christian, you know it is offensive.

Yet, day after day, week after week, he gets away with calling the President of the United States the ‘antichrist.’

These are just two instances of many. First, on August 19, 2009 he said:

MICHAEL DELGIORNO: Like I said, he’s the most failed one-term president or he’s the antichrist. But I can tell you this right now, he’s pro-Palestinian, he’s anti-Israel, he’s anti-Christian. That much I know for sure.

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Then, on August 20, he said:

MICHAEL DELGIORNO: Ken, on dating.
CALLER: I was just going to say that even if Tommy is a complete moron all he’s gotta do is the exact same thing Barack Obama did and he’s in the saddle.
MICHAEL DELGIORNO: Ice cream? Oh, I’m thinking literally on his first date with Michelle.
CALLER: Heh heh heh heh.
MICHAEL DELGIORNO: Take her for ice cream and reveal that he’s the antichrist.

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I’ve been trying to analyze why this is especially offensive and also work on a message to counter it, but I had nuthin’.

So I asked several friends of mine who self-identify as Christians.

One friend suggested I read “Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession (Paperback)” (it’s on my wish list) of which publishers weekly wrote:

While the word “antichrist” – the figure who ushers in the apocalypse of Christian end-time – appears but briefly in the Bible (1 and 2 John), the term has been all too frequently used throughout history by one group as a means of vilifying another group that appears to threaten the accusing group’s worldview. Fuller, professor of religious studies at Bradley University, argues that naming the antichrist became a prevalent custom in the U.S. first because of the Puritans’ apocalyptic tradition and subsequently because of feelings of vulnerability fanned by Native Americans and later by waves of immigrants who seemed to threaten the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. Fuller robustly explores the writings of those who at various and sundry times have railed against Catholics, Freemasons, and Jews (and even rock music and bar codes, for that matter) and seen them all as signs of the beast from the sea. He offers cogent psychological and sociological explanations for the hold of the idea of the antichrist upon the American imagination. If those explanations do not seem quite conclusive, however, it is because the extraordinarily arcane reasoning in naming the antichrist, so ably discussed here, ultimately itself escapes explanation.

So that made me feel a bit better. I mean, if a professor of religious studies can’t explain it then how can I?

Then my friend said:

DelGiorno’s attitude is responsible for 2,000 years of religious warfare. During the Reformation, Martin Luther called the Pope the Antichrist, sparking a feud between Catholics and Protestants that lasted for centuries. The Pope, in response, excommunicated Luther.

A certain subgroup of Evangelicals are rabidly Zionist, believing that the restoration of Israel (with the Old Testament borders!) is essential, and that all non-Jews need to be cast out of the region.

To get honest about this… Fundamentalist Christians are interested in starting a war on Islam, and they are afraid and angry that Barack Hussein Obama is trying to stop them.

This kind of religious elitism divides Christians, and creates the kinds of schisms, divisiveness, and hatred that is condemned repeatedly in Scripture.

So DelGiorno is part of a elitist fringe group of extremist faux-Christians who will stop at nothing to further their own agenda, which is to more quickly usher in the second coming (the rest of us be damned.) Or, as as Josh Marshall puts it, “because its existence will hasten the apocalypse when God will vanquish the Jews en masse in hellfire and turn Israel into a vast evangelical theme park is to usher in the end of the world and ensure that they go to heaven at the expense of the rest of us.”

Fringe? Check. Extremist? Check. Selfish? Check. Un-Christian? Check. Elitist? Check, check and double-check. Mr. DelGiorno is all of these.

But how does he get away with it? And any theories on why his advertisers are irresponsible enough to still support him?

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Summary: A Liberadio(!) Healthcare Reform Virtual Town Hall and guest Elbert Ventura and the Media Matters for America Smackdown.

Healthcare Reform Virtual Town Hall – Part 1 The “to do” list (Tennessee town halls with Davis, Gordon, Tanner), an O’Connell Factor on why our system of healthcare is a nearly guaranteed system of oppression for unhealthy Americans, where are the Christians on healthcare reform, your calls (including a shout-out to Governor Bredesen’s Cover TN), and tales (tails?) of Barney Frank. [25MB download mp3]

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Healthcare Reform Virtual Town Hall – Part 2 More of your calls, emails and stories about healthcare and healthcare reform, including the expertise of registered nurse and healthcare reform activist Michael Chapman. Plus, the insurance companies are spending a lot of dollars on opposition to reform and Media Matters research fellow Elbert Ventura tells us that it really, really, really, really, really matters that our mainstream media chooses to report on controversy instead of what really matters – public policy. [23MB download mp3]

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And the computer scientists who did it by bypassed the security measures that are supposed to prevent these kinds of things:

The computer scientists were able to evade this safety mechanism using return-oriented programming. Rather than designing the malicious code from scratch, the technique reassembles programming expressions already found in the targeted software in a way that gives the researchers the ability to take complete control over the machine. It’s tantamount to kidnappers who write a ransom note using letters cut from the headline of a newspaper.

The research team – from Princeton University, the University of California at San Diego and the University of Michigan – pulled off the attack by obtaining a Sequoia AVC Advantage legally off the internet. Without access to any of the source code, they reverse engineered the hardware. They were then able to reverse engineer the software it ran by analyzing the machine’s ROM.

Sequoia and manufacturers of other brands of e-voting machines frequently discount vulnerability research into their products by pointing out that the underlying source code is closely guarded. Researchers in many studies, they argue, have unrealistic access to the devices’ inner workings.

(And this kind of maliciousness is even easier when you’re hired and paid to do it.)

So, did you understand most of that? Me neither. Because we’re not computer scientists or programmers. You know who else isn’t a computer scientist or programmer? The Tennessee State Election Coordinator, Mark Goins, who believes that we should trust these types of machines to run our elections.

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How does Jon Stewart know that Fox News is full of liberals now? Because the liberals of Fox News – Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, et. al. – told him! According to the relentless Fox, Liberals do all of the following:

1) They attack and undermine a sitting President – even in war time!
2) They impose their values on everyone else
3) They are against free speech and try to silent the opposition
4) They make themselves out to be victims (call the Wahhhhmbulance!)
5) They are the mainstream media

Hello pot? Meet kettle.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News: The New Liberals
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests
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My Barney Frank is Cuter

But I’m not sure which one is more sassy.

Is it this one:

Or this one:

I live with the fuzzy Barney Frank and he is plenty sassy. And I’m sure if he could speak he’d be calling some mouthy neighborhood pooch a “dining room table.” But with his performance, the elder, human Frank may have won today’s battle of “the sassy Franks.”

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From Tony Garr and the Tennessee Health Care Campaign:

President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to join clergy on a conference call on Wednesday, August 19, at 4:00 pm central, 5:00 pm eastern. You will have the opportunity to listen live to this call on Radio Free Nashville (RFN). It will be a wonderful moment to share with thousands of others who want to be part of the solution and are working to raise a moral vision for our health care future.

List of conference call sponsors (as of 8.12.09):

African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)
Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good
Catholics United
Christian Community Development Association
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faithful America
Faithful Reform in Health Care
Faith in Public Life
Gamaliel Foundation
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
National Council of Churches in Christ
Network, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
PICO National Network
Progressive National Baptist Convention
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference
Sisters of Mercy of The Americas
Sojourners
The Episcopal Church
The Latino Leadership Circle
The New Evangelicals
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church General Board of Church And Society
United Methodist Church, Washington Office of Women’s Division, General Board of Global Ministries

Listen to the call live today at 4PM at RadioFreeNashville.org.

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Well, the FCC won't let me be...

Well, the FCC won't let me be...

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is so afraid of losing the stranglehold he and his fellow right-wing ideologues have on talk radio that he’s willing to not only completely fabricate a controversy but also paint “scholarly writings,” “efforts to bring greater diversity to talk radio,” and the move to “ensure greater accountability in licensing,” as negatives.

You have to read the letter he sent to new FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to believe it.

And before you comment, keep in mind that the airwaves are owned by us, the American people. That means they are also owned by people who don’t agree with you and that radio station owners who are entrusted with licenses have an obligation to present diverse ideas.

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From Wired:

Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold, has patched a serious security weakness in its election tabulation software used in the majority of states, according to a lab that tested the new version and a federal commission that certified it.

The flaw in the tabulation software was discovered by Wired.com earlier this year, and involved the program’s auditing logs. The logs failed to record significant events occurring on a computer running the software, including the act of someone deleting votes during or after an election. The logs also failed to record who performed an action on the system, and listed some events with the wrong date and timestamps.

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