Mar 292017

I previously wrote David Price after learning of HR 676‘s reintroduction this year, and received no response (not even a paltry form letter sent by an intern). Since the issue is back on the table, I decided to give it another shot. Feel free to borrow some of my ideas.

Representative Price,

I am writing you a second time about HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act [0] which your colleague John Conyers is yet again introducing, and to request that you cosponsor the legislation.

As you are likely aware, Senator Sanders has announced plans to introduce either a Medicare for All or Public Option in the Senate in the coming weeks. With the collapse (and moreso with the grumblings of revival) of the AHCA efforts, it is my opinion that the time is ripe for Democrats to show that they are still capable of pushing for social progress, instead of merely defending the status quo as seems to be their way in recent years.

My hope is that strong support for HR676 in the House will result in a Senate version, instead of a watered-down Public Option that is, purely from a financial perspective, doomed to failure as it would be forced to take on the sickest citizens and would not have the needed clout to effectively manage costs.

Although I was unable to take off of work to attend any of your recent Town Halls, I was glad to read [1] that several of my fellow constituents asked about your stance on single-payer and called upon you to support Medicare for All. I was, however, disappointed hearing that your response was not one of support, but a declaration it was off limits for another 20 years.

A progressive party cannot progress society if they lack forward thinking ideals and goals. I fear that the democratic party has now become a conservative party, fiercely defending the status quo, attacking progressive politics, and having the mere appearance of progressiveness relative only to the republican party now that it has devolved into a regressive party of neofascists.

Although it is true we still need to defend and expand basic access to healthcare, and perhaps the bill would be dead on arrival this session, I still believe your party supporting it would go a long way toward repairing your tarnished image with the public, possibly ensuring strong wins in the House and the ability to push positive legislation come 2019.

There is also the human cost — at a time when the majority of your constituents support a single-payer system, when insurance company profits are bolstered by the private-industry bailout of the ACA, when real health care costs are unaffordable for far too many despite nominally having insurance — you ask us to suffer and die destitute upon the streets for twenty more years before even considering the idea that profit and human health are incompatible?

Economic reality supports single-payer sooner than later as well — all resources expended enhancing the intrinsically broken for-profit healthcare industry instead of building up a public not-for-profit one is wasted, and with each year the population grows and ages, and the problem of building a public system sufficient for all becomes that much more financially disruptive; perhaps insurmountable.

We simply do not have time as a society to delay more than another four years (and even that is too long, but your party decided against single-payer when there was a chance, and I suspect the current President wouldn’t be amenable to signing such a bill). If the discussion is not started now, the prospects for passage in time to save the country from a public health crisis not seen since the 19th century seem dim.

I end my plea with a warning — I suspect you are aware of the strong support for Sanders during the 2016 primary in your district, and the growing disaffection with status-quo democrats. A failure to take a stand for something so popular reinforces the perception that your party no longer cares to represent the common citizen.

I am already leaning toward lending material support to any more progressive primary challenger for your seat, and your refusal to make a stand with HR676 will certainly seal that decision. The North Carolina Green Party also may very well have ballot access in 2018 (emboldened by a recent 11th circuit ruling [2] they have now filed to overturn our ballot access laws as unconstitutional [3]), so you may no longer rest easy, assured that your gerrymandered constituency will re-elect you without challenge.

Best Regards,

Clinton Ebadi


Mar 162017

Good news for the Netherlands:

The big winner of Wednesday’s election – and now the largest party of the Dutch left for the first time – was GreenLeft, headed by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, hailed by his enthusiastic supporters as the “Jessiah”.

Sometimes compared to Canada’s youthful prime minister, Justin Trudeau, Klaver – who has a Moroccan father and a mother of Indonesian descent – said on polling day that the left’s answer to the far right’s rise in Europe was to stand up for its ideals.
“What I would say to all my leftwing friends in Europe: don’t try to fake the populace,” he said.
“Stand for your principles. Be straight. Be pro-refugee. Be pro-European. We’re gaining momentum in the polls. And I think that’s the message we have to send to Europe. You can stop populism.”
The Netherlands’ youngest ever party leader, Klaver built a strong following on social media through small Meetup events after taking over GreenLeft’s leadership in May 2015.

Feb 232017

Where were these people when the Democrats scuttled socialized healthcare and gave us the capitalist abomination that is the ACA?

I think they were busy calling me a communist for suggesting that for-profit enterprise was intrinsically incompatible with a universally required service like “preventing people from dying on the streets.” But economic eugenics is ok — those poor undesirables really should have had a better lineage if they wanted healthcare after all — until the petit-privileged classes find out they too get to die on the streets as inequality rises.

And yet they still fight for their privileged capitalist healthcare (we just want the leeches to die, not proper middle class wage slaves, get it?) instead of fighting for something that would be unassailable when the forces of regression rise to attack again.

Feb 032017

The CCFL backlight on my six year old monitor started having problems cold starting this week and I need my monitor to live so a new one was ordered. This was surprisingly cheap, QHD, and the included stand rotates which is neat for pdfs and viewing a ton of code at once (actual readable size here, could knock it down one point of I got around to getting new glasses). A few hours later I realized I could also play pinball on it… how did I live before?

Feb 032017

Thom Tillis is a total asshole and should probably go fuck himself. His current views represent a disdain for democracy and education and I hope that he loses re-election and is banished from the public sphere for all of time when his seat comes up.

Here is a letter I wrote to him on the topic of the DeVos nomination after hearing he was on the fence and wanted the input of his constituents. Not that I thought it would do anything — I’ve far too good an education to think something like lobbying your representatives will result in representation, unless that lobbying comes with cash money or a promise of a lavish consulting gig later.


I recently read in the Charlotte Observer that you were seeking the input of North Carolina citizens in order to make your decision on the confirmation of DeVos for Secretary of Education. Since you asked — here’s my two cents:

Our public education system has been under attack by regressive anti-intellectual forces for decades, and her appointment represents their ultimate victory in their quest to build a compliant, uneducated populace. It would be a great tragedy to see our public education system completely dismantled for a system of second-rate charter schools (as can be seen from the many scandals with poor performance, grade inflation, and outright noncompliance with state education standards here in North Carolina), wherein only the privileged few may receive a good education while the rest languish in ignorance and the resulting lack of economic and social opportunity. It could very well result in the dissolution of the already tenuous social fabric itself in ten or twenty years time when the children of today take the helm of society. Now is the time to rebuild our failing system, not to encourage it to completely fail.

As representative democracy is based upon an informed and educated electorate, this would represent a great tragedy and an acceleration of our descent into status as a failed democracy. I exhort you to vote against her confirmation.

Feb 022017

One thing that bothers me about Democrats and their self-praise in regards to voting rights is that they have done more than the Republicans to suppress ballot access by third parties. Not that the Republicans haven’t done their fair share (it benefits both ol’ boys after all). There’s some good news on that front today: The 11th Circuit of Appeals upheld that Georgia’s Egregious and Unconstitutional Ballot Access Laws Are Indeed Unconstitutional:

The one-sentence ruling, by a unanimous three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, adopted the “well-reasoned opinion” issued last March by U.S. District Judge Richard Story in Atlanta. Story had significantly lowered the number of signatures required for third-party candidates to petition to get on Georgia’s presidential ballot — from tens of thousands [approximately 51k] to 7,500.

The ruling has a nice side-effect in that it lifts restrictions in Florida as well that curiously enough went unenforced from 2011 until August of 2016, just in time to keep “…Gloria La Riva, Evan McMullin, and Thomas Hoefling off the Florida ballot, with no warning.”

Georgia appears to be planning an appeal; my hope is that the Supreme Court will take up the case and strike down absurd ballot access restrictions across the country so that we can have freer elections in 2018. I mean, who cares if you can vote, if you have no options at the ballot box?

Jan 302017

I have a seemingly trivial task at hand: automagically repost things on the ol’ weblog from my public tt-rss atom feed. Just an excerpt and maybe a relevant picture, nothing too difficult.

I’ve been fighting it on and off again for years, recently finding cybersyn which worked but has its own bugs (like not aggregating anything without a valid thumbnail and filling my media library with gigantic stls from planet reprap. Still, it was the only one that actually fetched feeds with any reliability.

But to get excerpts and some other things I’ve had to hack it up… and have come to realization that I too must write another half-assed aggregation plugin. Or convince the cybersyn folks to add some filters to make it easier to munge things. Unfortunately that doesn’t fix things like it using php’s built in horror show of an xml parser (so I end up with feeds entitled “Article Title – Source Name” and there’s nothing I can do about — it’s just blindly catenating the title in <entry> and <source>, and the source comes last so that’s that without major surgery…

Running tests with my hacked up plugin set to post privately also reveals a social issue: I can easily share more than a full page of links in between real posts (if I actually journalled into the abyss… which I might be now). Thinking there should be some kind of squashing (e.g. everything posted in a 3h window gets thrown into one post). Or maybe not, tracking posts would be more annoying then. Trying not to think too hard about it and just get something minimal running soon.

Jan 302017

polticians / shitheads

Last week, the Montgomery County Council approved a bill that would have made it the first jurisdiction in Maryland — and the second in the region after Washington, D.C., to mandate a $15-per-hour base pay by 2020.

Del. Derek E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), the chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, has introduced a bill that would put the General Assembly in charge of setting minimum wage even for cities and counties.
Davis said the bill would help improve the business climate in Maryland by making wage and benefit rules more predictable and consistent, noting that Montgomery and Prince George’s counties current have their own minimum-wage laws in place, and Baltimore considered a $15 base wage last summer.
“We’re not a collection of 24 individual fiefdoms,” Davis said “We have to work together as a state so we can attract and retain businesses, keep a healthy, strong economy, and not put our jobs at risk.”

Who needs Republicans when you have Democrats like these. It’s not like a higher minimum wage is a majoritarian viewpoint or anything like that…

Jan 282017

This post brought to you by me finally overcoming extreme procrastination and general laziness and implementing fastcgi php support in domtool. Yep, we were spawning an independent php-cgi for each request…

Jan 272017

January 25th

A national physicians group today hailed the reintroduction of a federal bill that would upgrade the Medicare program and swiftly expand it to cover the entire population, saying it’s the only workable and equitable way to move forward in U.S. health care.

The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, introduced last night by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, with 51 other House members, would replace today’s welter of private health insurance companies with a single, streamlined public agency that would pay all medical claims, much like traditional Medicare works for seniors today.

And yet, not a peep from the so-called “Real Media”. Shocking. This broke January 20th, and aside from an open letter published by Ralph Nader, some press releases from physicians groups, and a few recent endorsements from labor unions the supposedly Liberal Media™ hasn’t made a peep. How can anyone fight for something they don’t know exists?