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President Barack Obama told the American Medical Association yesterday that he believes single-payer health care systems have worked “pretty well” in some countries, but no major U.S. newspaper available in the Nexis database reported the president’s comment in their news stories about the speech. However, three of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers—the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times— did publish quotes from the president’s speech that artfully took language from both immediately before and after the president’s statement that single-payer systems work. “I’ll be honest,” Obama said in his speech to the AMA, “there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well.” A search of the terms “Obama,” “single-payer,” and “pretty well” in the “Major Newspapers” file of Nexis turned up no hits as of 3:00 PM on Tuesday, June 16. –“Major Papers Expunge Obama’s Comment: ‘I’ll be honest, there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well’”, Terence P. Jeffrey, CNSNews.com
Of its nature, this is a discourse of division: some enjoy advantages that others do not, and there is no defensible reason for their fortune and our want. Elementary thoughts, but novelties in the establishment politics of the Federal Republic. There, the leitmotif has always been, and remains, consensus— the unity of all sensible citizens around a prosperous economy and a pacified state, without social conflicts or structural contradictions. No other political system in post-war Europe is so ideologically gun-shy, averse to any expression of sharp words or irreconcilable opinions; so devoted to banality and blandness. The quest for respectability after 1945, federal checks and balances, the etiquette of coalitions, all have contributed to making a distinctively German style of politics, an unmistakable code of high-minded, sententious conformism. This was not, of course, a mere ideological mannerism. It reflected the reality of a bipartisan— Christian and Social Democratic— convergence on a corporatist model of development, designed to square all interests: naturally, each according to their station, or Mitbestimmung writ large, as a charter for social harmony. –“A New Germany?” by Perry Anderson, New Left Review
SHOULD THE ELEVATOR DOORS FAIL TO OPEN
DO NOT BECOME ALARMED.
THIS ELEVATOR CONTAINS ENOUGH AIR FOR ONE
PERSON TO SURVIVE FOR UP TO NINETY MINUTES.
DIVIDE NINETY BY THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THIS
ELEVATOR TO DETERMINE GROUP SURVIVAL TIME.
ELEVATOR COMPANIES ARE ON CALL SO THERE IS
LITTLE DANGER YOU WILL HAVE TO DRAW STRAWS.
–“Foundation Announces 12th Annual Dumb-Warning List,” Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”