You know the drill, we’re nine hundred ninety two thou short of a mill

We raised over 8K in the last 15 hours, let’s keep it going.

Goal Thermometer








Saturday Morning Open Thread

Since some of you may have missed Michelle Obama’s speech yesterday, here’s something inspirational to start the day. Per CNN:

First Lady Michelle Obama denounced the caustic campaign style of Donald Trump on Friday, demonstrating a new willingness to wade into this year’s messy political battle while arguing for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

While she didn’t mention Trump by name, the first lady aimed squarely at the Republican candidate’s most pronounced positions and tactics, including his persistent challenges to her husband’s eligibility for office.

“There were those who questioned and continue to question for the past eight years, up through this very day, whether my husband was even born in this country,” Obama said in Fairfax, Virginia, during her first solo campaign appearance for Clinton. “Well, during his time in office, I think Barack has answered those questions with the example he set by going high when they go low.”…

In her half-hour-long remarks, she argued Trump’s brand of politics should be kept far from the Oval Office, predicting his bombastic style of campaigning wouldn’t mellow if he wins…

… “If a candidate is erratic and threatening; if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears and lies on the trail; if a candidate has no clear plans to implement their goals; if they disrespect their fellow citizens, including folks who made extraordinary sacrifices for our country; let me tell you, that is who they are. That is the kind of president they will be, trust me.”…

At her campaign rally, Obama worked to convince her and her husband’s supporters that Clinton is also worthy of their votes. The rally on the campus of George Mason University was timed ahead of the commonwealth’s October 17 voter registration deadline.

“When I hear folks saying they’re not inspired this this election, I disagree. I am inspired,” she said, urging the crowd to register to vote and actually cast ballots for Clinton…

And that reminded me, what with one thing and another, I never got around to sharing Variety‘s recent interview with the First Lady:

… Obama, 52, calls herself “a product of pop culture.” She is convinced of its influence on the public consciousness — in her case to build awareness of her signature policy initiatives, specifically ones tied to healthy eating and exercise, girls’ education, support for military families, and college advancement…

“What I have never been afraid of is to be a little silly, and you can engage people that way,” Obama says in an interview with Variety in her upstairs White House office, decorated in an eclectic mix of abstract art and framed mementos from her tenure. “My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen. So I’m always game for a good joke, and I’m not so formal in this role. There’s very little that we can’t do that people wouldn’t appreciate.”

Has it worked?

The first lady is convinced that it has.

A case in point: The Carpool Karaoke segment highlighted one of Obama’s key initiatives, Let Girls Learn, a worldwide plan of action to promote girls’ access to education. She and Corden also sang “This Is for My Girls,” which songwriter Diane Warren wrote several years ago but was recorded as an anthem for the initiative, with Elliott, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, and others participating, and AOL Makers producing….

Obama explains that as she launched the initiatives, she knew it would take “reaching people where they lived on a day-to-day basis, and the next step was, ‘How do you do that? Where are the people?’ Well, they’re not reading the op-ed pieces in the major newspapers. They’re not watching Sunday morning news talk shows. They’re doing what most people are doing: They are watching TV.”

She adds: “A lot of our audiences are kids and teens, and they want to be in on the joke. And they’ll listen again. We’re just a little looser with this stuff than most traditional first ladies.”…


What’s on the agenda for this fine fall day?



Weekend Movie Review — Vote Early Vote Often

Between the FYWP/Firefox issue and various political happenings, last weekend’s inaugural Weekend Movie Club kinda got short shrift. Tireless commentors Schroedinger’s Cat and Mnemosyne will be doing a movie review every weekend, posted to SC’s blog and cross-posted here. Here’s your chance to vote for the next review:

I grew up watching Hindi movies and more importantly listening to Hindi movie numbers. I must have heard and watched many more songs than the movies themselves. Growing up I used to turn up my nose at most of the offerings that came out of the movie industry which is now popularly known as Bollywood. There was a dichotomy between commercial cinema and art cinema and there very few popular Hindi movies that didn’t insult your intelligence or so it seemed to me. For twenty odd years, the new Hindi movies that I must have watched could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Now that I am at a distance from both my childhood and Bollywood, I think I may have judged those movies harshly. Hollywood can be pretty formulaic too. They have different formulas, that’s all. Since last year I have been rediscovering Indian cinema, particularly Hindi movies, mainly through their music. Through my YouTube meanderings, I have stumbled across many gems. The list of movies that I want to see keeps growing by the day. Either I have become more forgiving or the movies have gotten better. For example, there are many more movies with female protagonists which don’t have a love story as their focus, than the Hindi cinema of yore or even present day Hollywood. Here is a list of three movies with strong female leads…

Clink on the link to watch the trailers and vote for Queen, Neerja, or Jai Gangaajal. (Or, I assume, to suggest other movies for the Two Movie Kittehs to review.)



Monday Morning Open Thread: Happy Nice Thoughts

Soldiering on…

At an event in northern Virginia on Friday, Mrs. Obama will urge voters to register ahead of the state’s Oct. 17 deadline, the first of what aides say will be a series of appearances in the coming weeks in support of Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Obama’s steps into the campaign spotlight underscore her transformation from a once-reluctant political spouse into a confident public figure, a role she says she has embraced more fully during President Obama’s second term.

Mrs. Obama’s communications director, Caroline Adler Morales, said the first lady’s focus would be on encouraging voters in swing states, particularly young people and African-Americans, to register and vote.

Her message, Ms. Morales said, will emphasize “the qualifications and demeanor a president needs, the values we hold dear as Americans and our shared hopes for the future.”…

Apart from holding strong to those values and hopes, what’s on the agenda as we start the week?



Guest Post: End of Life Doulas

By: Prescott Cactus

dou·la
ˈdo͞olə
noun
plural noun: doulas

a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.

Elena Gooray over at Pacific Standard Magazine writes about End-of-Life Doulas. She spoke with Deanna Cochran, 55, Austin, Texas, an end-of-life doula, hospice nurse, and founder of the End of Life Practitioners Collective. It’s an international organization that provides support for family and a community for practitioners.

What Deanna is trying to do is open up to the world to the conversations about death in an all encompassing way. Giving birth is a 9 month ritual culminating with bringing a life into the world. Death can be a sharp pain, a cold body and a financial transaction with a funeral parlor. . . If we let it be.

The birth experience includes OB-GYN’s, maternity wards, pre-natal care, sonograms and baby showers. Deanna’s organization tries to expand our lives to include the same richness / fullness to death that birth currently receives. Her organizations site even has a Podcast devoted to Palliative Care and every modality or idea that could possibly relieve suffering at the end of life.

Time marches on and we as a society embrace new life with vigor, but death with fear and apprehension. This won’t change unless we expand ourselves. Take a look around Deanna’s site. With years of hospice experience, I’m learning some new things.

Special thanks to valued front pager Richard Mayhew for the heads up on the article and valued commenter raven who recently lost a good friend JA.

Prescott Cactus



You Rang?

I thought I heard Tamara call my name.








A thousand and one posts

Wow, that last post was my 1,000th post here at Balloon Juice. I was not expecting that when I first got started here.

I’ve been a Balloon Juice reader and primarily a lurker since before the Cole Conversion time. Over the summer of 2013, I saw a lot of good questions about the ACA and how it would effect our community. I got in touch with a front-pager I know in real life and asked if I could write a couple of posts to answer a couple of questions. He e-mailed John and John gave me the keys to this place. I figured that I would twenty to thirty thousand words in forty or fifty posts and then I would be done.

Over the past three years, I have eight hundred or more health insurance posts with about half a million words written.

That was a slight miscalculation.

I’ve rediscovered how much I like to write about a subject that I like. Every day I get to answer a question, explore something that I heard something about but now need to explain, or advocate for a slightly better world with tweaks to the current policy universe. I’ve been able to point people in the right direction when they are getting screwed over. We’ve been able to go through complicated choice structures to get community members taken care of when they know they need to do something but do not know what they have to do.

At the same time, my education has deepened as the community here and a second community of wonks, advocates and researchers. If I need to know about anti-trust law, I have a couple of world class experts who share their time with me. If I need to know more about Medicare, I can talk to people who are on it, I can talk with CMS techno-wonks, and national level advocates. If I need to learn more accounting, there are plenty of people who will share their knowledge and expertise with me.

I never thought I would have written here for more than a couple of months. But between all of you, the community and John’s amazing ability to let things flow, I am more energized than I ever thought I would be a thousand posts ago.