Did Sarah Palin Flip-Flop on ‘Death Panels’?

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Who knew that Sarah Palin was such a uniter? How else can you explain how the right and left want to wrap their wings around her. Conservatives embrace her as a voice of the future, liberals hail her as a present-day object of ridicule. Enter the Center for American Progress, definitely in the latter group.

 

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CEO’s Anti-Obamacare Comments Incite Whole Foods Customers

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John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods Market, has stepped into controversy before (buying out Wild Oats, using an alias online, allegedly not supporting local farmers, etc.), and now he’s back in the place of contention again. His anti-Obamacare op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, listing eight reforms he says will lower health care costs for everyone, has triggered a boycott and heated words on Facebook. Some Whole Foods customers applaud his position; other shoppers are vowing they will never browse the shelves of Whole Foods again.

An excerpt:

Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care — to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America.

Mackey also writes this:

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending — heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity — are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

I once was a frequent Whole Foods shopper for specialty items I enjoyed, but the recession curtailed that habit. Mackey’s op-ed piece gives me more reasons to be disappointed in America’s food-delivery system. If obesity is an issue, why can’t good food be made available to everyone? Whole Foods — and all grocery retailers — have an opportunity to make a constructive difference in the debate over health care reform and in the lives of people Mackey describes. Will he aggressively seek to increase Whole Foods’ market share and enter neighborhoods dominated by fast-food franchises that offer fattening servings of 99-cent chicken leg and thigh dinners, cheap tacos, fried rice and $1 sweet tea? Will Whole Foods aggressively provide organic and affordable alternatives to Americans who shop at grocery store that offer few healthy offerings and are stuffed with potato chips, cheese curls, canned vegetables, stale coffee and the fattest selections of meat?

A strategic move by an innovative Fortune 500 company such as Whole Foods could raise the level of discussion about health care reform. That’s far better than merely fueling the vitriol throughout the country.

Follow Judy Howard Ellis on Twitter.




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First Family Lets Off Steam At Old Faithful In Yellowstone National Park

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The First Family on Sunday tours the Grand Canyon on a weekend western swing where President Obama held two town-halls on health care reform in Colorado and Montana.

Before Obama’s Grand Junction, Col., town hall on Saturday, First Lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha and the president toured Yellowstone National Park and the famous Old Faithful geyser.

 

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When ‘Mad Men’ Are Gay

Part of the joy of watching “Mad Men,” the acclaimed AMC series, is realizing how far we’ve come since the ’60s. That’s especially true for the sexually repressed Salvatore Romano, a gay character played by Bryan Batt, who is also gay.


When I wrote about the state of affairs for gay actors in Hollywood for the New York Times last year, Batt — who came out publicly in the mid-’90s — told me he couldn’t be more proud playing Salvatore. The conflicted character provides one of the juiciest parts anywhere on television, gay or straight.


GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, counted more than 80 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters on television in the 2008-09 season, the highest ever (not even including reality shows or daytime dramas). When you think of the success of actors like Neil Patrick Harris and entertainers like Ellen DeGeneres, it is easy to believe we’ve come a long way.


But while more and more gay actors choose not to hide their orientation, many still find that honesty leads to doors slamming shut for certain roles, particularly those of leading men or women in a television drama series. Be yourself or land that meaty part? Come out or have a real shot at superstardom? For many gay actors, these are the choices they are forced to make. Often, they decide not to talk about their sexuality at all — neither confirming nor denying anything in public, even if they are true to themselves in their personal lives.


In the Emmy-winning “Mad Men,” Sal marries a woman but pines for male co-workers and hotel bellhops. (The erotic hotel room scene in last night’s episode — wow!) The self-loathing Sal is a victory for gay actors, indeed, since this kind of role could easily have gone to a straight actor (think: “Will & Grace,” “Milk”).


Batt, who told me he had found work mostly in theater before “Mad Men” came along, is in a happy relationship with a longtime partner. Progress, yes, although they and other gay couples still can’t get married in most of the country.

 

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Hot Seat – Republicans and Health Care

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Obama Community College Plan Bets On Online Course Potential

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Last February, President Obama urged all Americans to pursue at least one year of post-high-school job training. In his July speech at Macomb Community College in Michigan, Obama set a more specific goal: by 2020, he wants 5 million more Americans to graduate from community colleges.

To make this happen, Obama said he plans to spend a total of $12 billion over the span of 10 years. The “American Graduation Initiative” sets aside $9 billion to create competitive grants offered to schools to develop new programs and expand job training and counseling. Obama’s hope is that the programs will improve learning for students, completion rates for schools, and the ability to track academic progress. Additonally, the plan designated $2.5 billion for renovating community college facilities.

 

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The U.S. Postal Service: Our Next Bankruptcy?

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And you thought public health care was getting a bad name? Move over, socialized medicine. We have another problem on our hands. The General Accounting Office (GAO) has announced that the U.S. Postal Service is in danger of financial insolvency.

 

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