Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PBS Nova re-airs entire "Becoming Human"; science brings up some social and political dingers here

On August 31, PBS Nova re-aired its three part “Becoming Human”.  (Part 3 had been reviewed here Nov. 17, 2009).  Part 1 is “First Steps” and Part 2 is “Birth of Humanity”.  Graham Townsley and Barbara Burst wrote and directed.

Several important features were important to make humans what we are today.  The first feature may have been the ability to run a long time on two legs, full bi-pedism.  This seems to have been a way to conserve energy for the growing brain, which was a necessary adaptation to survive during times of rapid climate change.  (Both hours of the film show a provocative shot of a young male "Harvard" jogger with electrodes strapped to his leg to measure energy use.)   The filmmakers believe that warming and cooling climates (and recurrent droughts and wet periods) in small areas have happened frequently and forced predecessors of humans to make genetic adaptations that allow for better problem solving.  This may not agree with the current political debate on climate change.

The human brain demanded enormous amounts of energy, which could not be satisfied with plant food (in contrast to today, where heart-healthy diets emphasize our vegetarian origins).  Humans had to hunt and compete with other carnivores. One development was the loss of most body hair, at least in hot climates, so that humans could run and hunt for a long time during the midday when hairier carnivores overheated and slept.   (Humans have more than one type of lice, since head hair (and beard) and pubic hair are largely disconnected.)  Perhaps there is a cultural stereotype that hairless humans are smarter and more “evolved”.  On the other hand (a point not covered by the show), Caucasians, who generally developed in colder climates, often maintained some of the original body hair, especially males, where (besides the beard) could amplify distinguishing secondary sexual characteristics for mating, just as in birds where in many species males have brightly colored plumage.  

The second hour also covered the complex socialization of humans, which it says may have started with cooking around a fire.  It said that human mothers are more likely to abandon infants than other primates, unless they have complex systems of social support, which go beyond just (“right wing”) demands for stable marriage.

The link is here

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

News on Oprah's OWN network and plans; re-airing of her tribute to Nate

Today (Aug. 30), ABC re-aired an Oprah Winfrey show which was billed as her farewell to Nate Berkus, before Nate started his own show (in September 2010).

The most touching part of the show was a sequence where Nate helped out Hurricane Katrina victims by collecting their pets and taking them to safety, and then contacting them later when they were in shelters away from New Orleans in order to reunite them with their pooches (and cats?).   I don’t recall seeing this episode before.

Nate had often appeared on Oprah before he had his own show, and also helped with her reality contest “The Big Give”.

The live Oprah show on ABC concluded in May 2011 with a big bash in Chicago. 

There is an "Instinct Magazine" blog entry about Oprah’s plans for her “Own Your Life” show on her new “OWN” network, here.

Here’s a blurb about how to get your OWN show on the new Oprah network, here.    I’ll have to look into this!

Daily Finance reports that Oprah’s new show will soon run in primetime and threaten the ratings on conventional networks, link here

Monday, August 29, 2011

NBC Dateline interviews Dick Cheney, then a boy who describes a trip to Heaven

On NBC’s Dateline Aug. 27, Jamie Gangel interviewed former Vice President Dick Cheney, in the living room at his ranch in Wyoming, about his new book “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir” (Threshold),  written with his wife Liz, the book that would make heads explode in Washington, as he left it behind.

Cheney talked about his heart failure and five heart attacks (refer to last night’s CNN program for the zipper club – and Cheney has had both bypass and multiple stents), and that he is in line for a heart transplant, only at age 70. Cheney has always sought emergency medical attention for the slightest chest discomforts. Cheney looked paler and thinner today than in the Bush administration shots. 

Cheney gave his account of the morning of 9/11, and takes “credit” from authorization of a possible shoot-down on that morning. He describes how he was tugged physically by Secret Service that morning and dragged down to a bunker in the bowels of the White House.

Another interview depicted a boy Colton Burpo, who almost died of a ruptured appendix, and later told his parents that he had been to Heaven.  The story became his pastor father Todd Burpo’s book “Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of his Trip to Heaven and Back” (Thomas Nelson).  The boy described Heaven as like a growing city with colors not visible to humans (higher and lower wave lengths, implying that normal humans are partially color-blind – the description reminds me of the First Dominion in Clive Barker’s “Imajica”.).  People are at their optimal ages. Colton said he met an unborn sister whom he had never known about (she had died of miscarriage).  He did describe Jesus.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

CNN: "The Last Heart Attack"

CNN, after weekend delays because of Libya and the Hurricane Irene, finally aired “The Last Heart Attack” (not announced) on Sunday Aug 28 at 9 PM.  Sanjay Gupta hosted.
The link is here.

Much of the program featured Bill Clinton, who discussed his own subtle symptoms (shortness of breath with exercise) leading to coronary bypass surgery, and then his lifestyle change by adapting the Vegan diet, which is a bit like Gabe Mirkin’s “severe low fat diet” of the 1990s.  You don’t eat anything that has a mother or has a face.  You don’t eat any oils or dairy products, not even any chicken. Just plant food – fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.

One woman reversed her coronary artery blockage over five years with the diet alone, and avoided bypass surgery.  She described how she eats out in New York City on the diet.

Another man described a failed coronary bypass, resulting in a second operation. Remember David Letterman's "emergency" coronary bypass in 2000, and Esquire's article depicting him as a disfigured member of the "zipper club"?  If you go to the doctor, you might not come home.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, of the Cleveland Clinic, is an advocate of the Vegan-like diet, as are Dean Ornish and Terry Mason, with small modifications.

Dr. Arhtur Agalstan described a new way of looking at good and bad cholesterol.  Larger cholesterol particles are better because they tend not to stick to arterial walls.  He also showed the plasma from health blood, which is a transparent yellow liquid, compared to an average person whose plasma is cloudy.

Media hypes Irene all weekend, highlights tree danage

CNN apparently again postponed its medical special on diet and heart attacks to spend all its weekend time reporting on Hurricane Irene. Today Candy Crowley’s “State of the Union” was still dedicated to Irene. (Note: I later found the heart disease documentary being aired at 9 PM Sunday night. This will become my next review here.)

The coverage Sunday morning concentrated on the extreme flash flood danger in upstate New York and northern New England. The “event” in New York City was much less trying than had been expected.

The media also reported on the incredible volume of downed trees from this Hurricane, due to sustained tropical force winds and saturated soil.

The New York MTA will resume some limited bus service today at 4:30 PM. It has an info page on the service restoration process here  with links to pictures of NYC transit flooding.

In Washington DC, local stations (at least WRC4 and WJLA-7) covered the storms non-stop all weekend. Adam Caskey worked the Sunday morning shift -- starting at midnight. Everyone wore coat and tie. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

NatGeo presents former President Bush speaking about 9/11

Terry Moran aired, on Nightline Aug. 25, a preview of former president George W. Bush’s interview with National Geographic Channel on September 11. 

Moran says that Bush emerged from the Florida classroom “transformed”.  It spoke of Andy Card’s “Massachusetts accent”.

He says that reading to children clarified his job, which was “to protect people”.

He was determined to address the nation from the White House, not from a bunker in Nebraska.  He had to overrule the Secret Service to come back home.

Later Bush talked about the phone call from President Obama when Osama bin Laden was taken out on May 1.

The interview full will be broadcast Sunday night on the National Geographic Channel, link here

There are preview clips, one of which recreates the morning of 9/11 in more detail.   For people who live in hurricane-exposed areas with power and cable outages likely Sunday, It might be a good idea to watch these today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ABC GMA reports on the "family bed" (again?): Primetime Nightline will report on a BIG family

ABC Good Morning America ran a funny report on “the family bed” with Cameron Mathison examining his own family and one other, Wednesday, in a report called “Co-Sleeping: Parenting Tips to Help Get your Children out of your Bed and into their Own”.

When I was a kid, I did not experience the “family bed”.  My parents’ master bedroom was a mystery. I recall, when being in an apartment back in 1949, at the age of 5, that a neighborhood cat would climb through the window and jump in my bed.

I’m struck by how “family values” has gotten tied to the idea of passing on the intimate aspects of life (“Sinfonia Domestica”) to kids, which I did not experience.  When I was working as a substitute teacher, this caught me by surprise more than once.

As for one particular shot of reporter Cameron, those are great gams. 

And Primetime Nightline will feature a story about a big family with 18 children Wednesday, Aug. 24.  It's called "(Extra)Ordinary Family", the Bates family in Tennessee   (I can remember a notorious movie with that name that does not get mentioned).  Their entire life is very family and people centered, and the older kids are assigned younger "partners" by their parents to learn to take care of personal needs.  The basic link is this

The father negotiates for motel prices, as 18 people fit into 3 rooms.  The mother wants the kids to learn to "be content in life."  Sounds a little like my own mother.  There is no sense of personal autonomy the way a lot of us expect to experience it, and no setting of personal agendas. The purpose in life is decided for you by God and "family".  On a journey to Texas for a Christian home schooling conference, the family faces two tornado threats -- all "together". 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PBS Frontline: "Football High", examines head injuries (even without concussions) and heat stroke for pressured high school players

PBS Frontline is airing a new one-hour documentary this evening, “Football High” Directed by Rachel Dretzin.

The film examines the culture of high school football, particularly in Arkansas and other southern states, including private “Christian” schools that run football “academies”.  High school football is less regulated than college football (under the NCAA) and coaches are under intense pressure to win games. Players are drawn into football by social pressure and possible money, but there is something unhealthful about a heterosexist culture predicated on teenagers bulking to 300 pounds and entering a warrior  mindset.  After all, the medical world looks at lean, active, agile, and having low body mass index as healthful, but not in the football world.
Boys are showing signs of brain injury even without a history of concussion.  The documentary also examines deaths from heat stroke (and brain injury from it – patients are put into medically induced comas).  One of the schools examined is Shiloh.

This sort of culture was oppressive to me when I grew up. I avoided it and was sometimes regarded as chicken or cowardly.  That still had a big influence on the rest of my life.

Here is the WETA link.

Here is the PBS Frontline link

Monday, August 22, 2011

ABC News reports on whether marriage really leads to weight gain and more obesity

Love, Marriage, and Your Waistline”, a report by Sharon Alfonsi. Aired tonight on ABC’s “World News Tonight” with Diane Sawyer.

“Just wait until he gets married,” my Army buddies at Ft. Eustis (“Useless”) would say back in 1969. Even then, it was often noted that the love handles and pot bellies (something my father equated with “no ambition”) came after marriage, not something that sounds very pro family.

The report said that women may actually gain a little more weight than men after marriage (even before pregnancy), but men really pile on the pounds after divorce. Losing a relationship often leads to obesity.
“Dating” but single and living alone seems to be the thinnest. Go to any gay disco and notice the multiplicity of slender men (who may just be more attractive on a dance floor).  It’s probably true of a straight disco, too (like Greenville Ave. in Dallas).  For some reason, it seems that gay bars these days have a lot of men much taller than average (say over 6’ 4” or so), and that’s not just in Minneapolis.  I wonder if there are some accidental biological or genetic links carried on common chromosomes.

A book that I reviewed on Aug. 7 by Mara Hvistendahl, “Unnatural Selection” (about male birth rates in certain countries) noted that when get married and become fathers (and/or), their testosterone levels actually go down and in a sense they become biologically less “masculine”.  That may comport with George Gilder’s (and George Will’s, for that matter) theory that “women tame men”.

Picture above: weight gain starts at the Wedding Reception (my parents, May 1940, although this really didn't affect them that much). 

The CNN special on preventing heart attacks with diet (the Vegan Diet, perhaps) will air Saturday night; it was originally scheduled to air Sunday night but was pre-empted by coverage of the revolution in Libya. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Christine O'Donnell makes potentially damaging charge against Piers Morgan after interview walkout

Christine O’Donnell may have created a furor by walking off the Piers Morgan interview show on CNN Wednesday night, supposedly when Morgan asked her opinions on gay marriage and the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”.   Morgan claims that O’Donnell took the attitude that a guest could control what she is asked on a show.  But the Los Angeles Times reports that O’Donnell claims that Morgan was sexually harassing her with questions hinging on matters like masturbation.  The link is here

Corbett B. Daly has a similar story on CBS news, where the harassment was considered “borderline”, link here

O’Donnell has said she takes a libertarian position on gay rights, to leave it up to private and local interests. 

For Morgan, the problem is going to be that the concept is defined in the eye of the “victim”.

When I think of Christine O'Donnell, I think of actor Chris, who has turned forty and looks it in "A Little Help" (movies blog, Aug. 6). 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ABC Nightline Primetime: "Psychic Powers" in "Beyond Belief" series

ABC Nightline Primetime presented a one hour “Psychic Powers” in its weeknight “Beyond Belief” series.

Included were a couple of tests with $1 million jackpots where self-proclaimed psychics had to identify 9 out of 12 people correctly (75%).

I had an experience recently where I was writing some lines in a screenplay, not ever posted online, and a friend (not blood-related) tweeted a line I had written a half hour later. There was no way he could have "known”. Psychic?  Or is it “convergent” cognitive similarity? (Because of similar genes that control cognition, we both react to the same facts with the same conclusions, expressed the same way.)

I’ve also paid for palm readings a couple of times at summer block parties (I remember one in particular in Minneapolis in 1998 that claimed a male best friend had lived a previous life as a female.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Aussies find TV watching greatly shortens life (Oh, really?)

Back in seventh grade, in 1955, I remember another boy in the cafeteria who taunted me, saying I watched “too much television” and probably played with toy soldiers (or “Small Soldiers”).  And “general education” teachers, in the days when black-and-white TV with its daily westerns (and stagecoach wrecks), was a “technological novelty,” implored us kids, “read, don’t look at television”.

Well, there is a study from down under, Australia, claiming that after age 25, watching an hour of television shortens your life by 22 minutes, the same as two conventional cigarettes.  Is that because of lack of exercise? (Cigarette smoking is gross; it makes you go bald in the legs.) 

Well, my mother lived to 97, and during the last ten years of her life she did relatively little else. It seems as though our life spans are increasing a lot more than our ability to replace our population.

Here’s the link for the story on MSNBC.

As for the video, it's recent; an a "hike in the mountains is worth any grade."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NBC Today show: How to poach an egg (no, it didn't lay the egg; Wall Street did)

Today, NBC’s Today Show taught us how to poach an egg.  Honest to God!  A cook dropped the raw egg (out of the shell) into a swirling vortex of boiling water, so that the yolk stays soft while the white hardens slightly.

Then he served the Eggs Benedict without Canadian bacon, but various fruits and spices. But you can't say that this meal comports with Gabe Mirkin's extreme low-fat diet. 

I can remember back in the 1950s there was a black and white cooking show called “Homemaker’s Exchange.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mountaintop removal on CNN: "Battle for Blair Mountain"

On Sunday, Aug. 14, CNN aired the 45 minute documentary “Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America”, about mountaintop removal strip mining for coal, particularly in southern West Virginia (Logan County), with Soledad O’Brien the host.  I have already reviewed several films about mountaintop removal on my movies blog (look for the label “coal mine issues”).

The specific incident covered in the film is the denial of a permit for “Spruce 1” (by the EPA, with Lisa Jackson as spokesperson), the largest mountaintop mine in the US, on Blair Mountain, near Kayford Mountain.

The EPA says its primary job is to protect the environment. Conservatives will argue that this destroys jobs.  Families whose breadwinners have lucrative jobs ($65 K a year) in the mountaintop mines resent the EPA and the “tree hugger” demonstrators. However, others argue that the coal can be extracted by underground mines, or by less aggressive forms of strip mining that would actually employ more miners.  (These include augering, and “box-cut” methods, well documented back in the 1970s.)

The film showed “reclamation”, where coal companies are supposed to approximate original contours. That sounds unlikely, as many streams are covered up (and at best, the land is restored with rock.)  Several hundred feet of overburden may be removed to get at a 5-10 foot coal seam (in the west, coal seams are thicker).  Gradually, parts of the western Appalachia become flattened as if part of the “Midwest”.  It’s a bit like male body shaving.  In twenty years, most of the “mountains” in Logan County would be gone.  (Of course, they used to say this about eastern Kentucky in 1970.)

Some coal miners oppose mountaintop removal, and are accused of “biting the hand that feeds them” or is this the hand that kills them.

Look also at this link on CNN, about jobs OR the environment, here

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"CNN Presents" examines Erie bank robbery case, said to have inspired "30 Minutes or Less" film

This evening  “CNN Presents” aired the case ("A Twisted Tale") of a bank robbery in Erie PA in August 2003, in which Brian Wells, a pizza delivery man (Brian Wells) who died of an explosion of a collar device attached to him around the neck, was apparently drawn into the complicated plot involving getting part of a questionable inheritance. His sister, however, denies this, and claims that the perpetrators had pathological or sociopathic motives which the public (and police) would never understand. The report has the character of an NBC Dateline episode, but is shorter. 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an old account of the case here

There is some talk that the new dark comedy  30 Minutes or Less” , directed by Ruben Fleischer (Columbia) has normally appealing actor Jesse Eisenberg (who played Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network”) as the fall guy in a story that resembles this case, although the filmmakers deny it. I may not see this one for a while.

CNN also showed a report on the rescue swimmers school for the Coast Guard.  The swimmers actually do their own sewing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ABC Nightline: "Boy Band Academy"

ABC Nightline, in its series “Celebrity Secrets”, did a spot on the “Boy Band Academy” run by Johnny Wright, in Florida.   He said that at 12 years old, Justin Timberlake was a “little man”.  His academy, he says, will train the next JT, or the next Jonas Brothers.  (I wonder if, in classical music, that’s going to be Andres Brothers; see my “drama” blog, or even this. )

The boot camp offers not only music and dance rehearsals but lots of military-style PT.  The performing arts are physically demanding, with some artists probably capable of passing Marine Corps physicals.  I seem to remember that ‘Nsync  did a high-wire act in the 2001 performance in the Minneapolis Metrodome.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

CNN reports recent anti-black hate crime in Mississippi; filmmaker of "American Lynching" project passes away

CNN news broadcasts on Tuesday reported galling hate crime in Jackson, MS, where at least white teenage boys targeted and killed a black man near a motel because he is black. The crime was caught on convenience store and motel security cameras, and at least one teen faces life without parole. The crime reminds one of that against Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998.

I checked the “American Lynchingwebsite and found that filmmaker Gode Davis, who had launched the project and had accumulated a lot of interview clips, had passed away.  He had lived near Providence, RI and I had visited him there in 2003. I will look further into what can be done with his materials, but I have just found out about this in following up on the CNN story.

Monday, August 08, 2011

"CNN Presents" repeatedly airs short documentary on Warren Jeffs and FLDS; I had looked into this in the 1980s myself

CNN Presents has been airing a short report on the history and trial of Warren Jeffs, with his “self-defense”, his conviction, and probably effective life sentence in Texas.

I actually visited Colorado City AZ in October 1987 and saw the communal houses and women in pastel dress (looking superficially like Mennonite dress). The situation there is apparently much less stable now, with the FLDS running the town. The town is on AZ highway 389, just south of the Utah border, in an isolated part of the state.

I visited San Angelo once or twice when living in Texas in the 1980s. I may drive past the compound when I visit Texas again later this fall.

Authorities call Warren Jeff’s sect as like a “Taliban”.

In 1982, I visited a couple of other Mormon offshoots of the “Reformed Church” in Independence, MO (including the “Temple Mount”), and also visited the Briggs Energy Company, which at one time tried to manufacture and sell personal computers in the days of the TRS-80.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Mojave Community College, ironically abbreviated MCC.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

CNN: "The Debt Mess"

Sunday evening CNN is airing “The Debt Mess: What Happens Next?”  

Asian markets had opened, with modest losses, and the same of Dow Futures (about -200 during the show). But Drew Cayley sounded as if the immediate impact on markets will not be an event, because the US is still a safer place to put huge amounts of cash than anywhere else.  Richard Quest also spoke.

The US  debt downgrade issue is to be seen as a different issue from the economy as a whole, and is still tactically much easier to manage than Europe’s.

There is actually a possibility that US interest rates could drop, with the government charging to park T-bills, encouraging investors to go back into the stock market, even retirees.

Thomas L. Friedman has an op-ed today (New York Times) "Win Together or Lose Together", link here. He speaks of this "Great Recession" as a "Great Credit Contraction" and the need to transfer wealth back from creditors to debtors. But the essay stops short of the left-wing calls for repudiation that I used to hear in the 1970s. There are some reasonable suggestions here. 

What should "you do" tonight and tomorrow?  Probably nothing. It's too late. But there is a feeling that Monday Aug 8 is not going to become the date for "The Event".

Does CNN know that there is an unrelated film "The Debt" starting Aug. 31?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

ABC 20-20: Is entering sweepstakes a "career"; also, help for hoarders

ABC 20-20 Friday covered the subject of compulsive hoarding, some of the material based on an earlier series on TLC, The Learning Channel.

The segments tonight focused of the effects on the children, who themselves may not hoard. There was some question as to generic basis of the psychiatric disorder. Two-day cleanups  organized by professionals and friends were shown.

In a few cases, homes have been condemned because of hoarding.

There followed a segment on people who make a living by entering sweepstakes constantly.  One woman had one three appliances.  There was a question as to whether this is a “real job” or just represents compulsive behavior. One woman said her favorite moment of the day is going to the mailbox.

When I went to the abcnews site this morning, I was greeted with an audio ad for a prize from a popup, which I should have suppressed in Chrome. ABC should be ashamed of such an ad on its site. Or was it the result of a hacker?  I am sure Webroot will find a tracking cookie. 

Thursday, August 04, 2011

ABC Primetime Live examines near-death experiences

ABC Nightline Prime presented “Beyond Belief: Near-Death Experiences” on Wednesday night.

Bob Woodruf, who had such an experience after horrific head injuries in Iraq, hosted. Woodruf looks fully recovered and doctors say his brain never completely shut down. Other NDE’s happen as blood circulation to the brain stops completely.

Pastor Don Piper presented his own experience has he relates in his book “90 Minutes in Heaven” (published by Revell), long enough for an average “movie”.

What I wonder about is whether the “afterlife” people report has a “geography”.  It would have dimensions we cannot access.  People seem to go back and forth in age, violating the time arrow in physics. Some people-like beings are actually angels, who apparently live forever and don’t have children. It’s a fascinating universe and view of the place of the soul.
One atheist related her own experience. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

PBS POV: "Big Enough", documentary about dwarfism

The PBS POV film “Big Enough”, by Jan Kravitz and Chris White (2005, one hour), explores the world of “little people”, specifically, dwarfs (who are medically to be distinguished from midgets). The PBS link is here.

There are several genetically passed forms of dwarfism, and most but not all are identifiable at birth and tend to be recessive.  The film presents the issue of dwarfs having their own children, some of whom turn out to have “normal” height and grow up in scaled-down homes. It examines the question as to whether it is “selfish” to have children, or to avoid having children in these circumstances.  The film also presented a family with an older dwarf child and two “normal” younger siblings.

One person mentioned being viewed as “spoiled” as a child and not doing enough for himself.

The film presents Mark and Anu Tambino, Karla and John Lizzo, Len and Lenette Sawisch, and Sharon and Ron Roskamp.

I grew up in the 1950s as physically “weaker” than I should have been for my gender, so I had experience with “disability” that is less obvious and more subtle and therefore presents its own issues. There was a tendency when I grew up to view inability to “perform” as a “moral” issue.  There was a certain attitude that people were supposed to be "perfect."  Yes, that did contribute to the view that I should not have children, which was devastating to my parents eventually because I was an only child.

Here is a clip from a similar film on the Discovery Channel, “Little People: Big Heart”, YouTube.

Monday, August 01, 2011

CNN: "Get It Done"

Sunday July 31 CNN was to hour a two-hour special “Get It Done” on the debt ceiling crisis.  Instead, Obama announced an imperfect deal around 8:10, so the two hours were spent in their more typical news analysis of the debt crisis. There was a sense of relief.

Velshi and Zakaria especially have been repeating the concept that , once Congress has appropriated funds, it should not have the ability to threaten not paying bills already incurred for some party’s political “gain”.  There is no way to do this without effectively taking and “killing” hostages. Obama might well have had the right to invoke the 14th Amendment.  This was a form of extortion.

Indeed,  there is a feeling that the president has been bullied into a rightward direction. Nancy Pelosi was reported to be unsatisfied with the deal.

To pass this evening, the deal will need votes from both parties.

Princeton history professor Julian E. Zeliler has an interesting perspective, “This is no way to run a government”, where he speaks of “taking prisoners”, here

I sure hope this doesn't fall apart in the House (or even Senate) today. Remember, Bachmannn would not raise the debt ceiling (and pay all the nation's bills due now) under any circumstances. The video shows where she is coming from.

There is hope for a live vote on CNN  (and C-Span) Monday evening on the House vote.