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For years now we have offered our political advice from this platform, but now is the time to put ourselves on the line.  We are driving to Lexington Kentucky where Allan Rivlin is taking the position of Campaign Manager for Elisabeth Jensen for Congress.  Why?  Because Elisabeth is a great candidate and this is a top potential Democratic House pick-up that also supports Alison Lundergan Grimes’ in her senate campaign to knock off Mitch McConnell.

Elisabeth Jensen is a Kentucky mom and we all know Kentucky moms get more done before noon than the GOP Congress gets done in a year.  Elisabeth was the first to jump on Mitch McConnell’s dis-Kynect (no Mitch, Kentucky cannot keep the popular Kynect healthcare marketplace if you repeal Obamacare) landing her national attention on MSNBC and linking her more closely to McConnell’s opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes.  Elisabeth has been an executive at Disney and … Read the rest

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The Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated on the meaning of life for 49 days, and after awakening, he reunited with his companions who would become his disciples and gave his first teaching on the Four Noble Truths.  The First Noble Truth is the existence of suffering or discomfort (dukkha).  Everyone gets sick; everyone grows old; and eventually everyone dies — and we often experience discomfort whether our lives are deprived or priveleged.  The Buddha also taught that much of our suffering comes from our attempts to turn our attention away from these facts by chasing false comfort in an uncomfortable world – through pursuit of wealth, fame, sex, fantasy, alcohol, drugs and other empty distractions.  

The First Noble Truth of Politics is Frustration. Anyone who makes the choice to care about politics knows the frustrations that take the form of an opposition that never sees the … Read the rest

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The Box

Life, Health, Etc. American and International Politics American and Global Economy
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Practical Chakra Balancing Progress, Spiritual Weightlifting and You

Real Magic on the Street:  There are many web pages for working with your Chakras, unfortunately many sites seem to skip many of the details or give a very academic answer.  I hope in this blog to give you many more of the practical details, and more so, what to expect.

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Oprah Talks To Thich Nhat Hanh

Oprah Magazine: The moment I meet Thich Nhat Hanh at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, I feel his sense of calm. A deeply tranquil presence seems to surround the Zen Buddhist master.  But beneath Nhat Hanh’s serene demeanor is a courageous warrior.
 


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Bill Clinton Explains Why He Became A Vegan

AARP: Prodded into action, Clinton started by rereading Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, which urges a strict, low-fat, plant-based regimen, along with two books that were, if possible, even more militantly vegan: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., and The China Study, by Cornell biochemist T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. (When I suffered a heart attack in late November 2010, Clinton sent me all three books.)

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10 Simple Ways To Eat Clean And Save Green

Kris Carr: Ever since I started sharing my journey from Hot Pockets to whole foods, I’ve often heard that it’s difficult to afford a healthier lifestyle. I won’t argue with you there. Real food is pricier than processed food made in a lab or a factory. And you will certainly see a jump in the grand total on your grocery receipts. But over time you’ll get the hang of it, and I promise it will become more manageable. There’s always a silver lining, my friends — and the price “jump” can be more of a baby bunny hop.

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And Excerpt From Mika Brzezinski’s “Obsessed”

Mika Brzezinski: To the extent that I may currently have that look, I am grateful. So the question is how do I make my point—that absent a fundamental change in the way we consume, prepare, and market food to our children and all citizens, we will never be able to attack the myriad eating disorders that affect millions of Americans today—without coming out and addressing my own internal food issues, despite an external appearance to the contrary?

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Our Feel Good War On Breast Cancer 

Peggy Orenstein: I used to believe that a mammogram saved my life. I even wrote that in the pages of this magazine. It was 1996, and I had just turned 35 when my doctor sent me for an initial screening — a relatively common practice at the time — that would serve as a base line when I began annual mammograms at 40. I had no family history of breast cancer, no particular risk factors for the disease.

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Mindfulness, Meditation, Wellness and Their Connection To Corporate America’s Bottom Line 

Arianna Huffington: There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that these two worlds are, in fact, very much aligned — or at least that they can, and should, be. And that when we treat them as separate, there is a heavy price to pay — both for individuals and companies. The former in terms of health and happiness, and the latter in terms of dollars and cents.

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What You Don’t Know About Processed Foods 

Huffington Post: If a food ingredient company wants to introduce a new additive, they — not the FDA — hire some experts or a consulting firm to make the determination about whether this new ingredient is safe. Sometimes you’ll hear that company X has been awarded “GRAS status” for its new ingredient, but the FDA doesn’t award anything. The agency merely has the option to review what companies tell them.

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Swan Greens Juice

Pure Food and Wine: Founder Sarma Melngailis swears the blend soothes a full tummy. Can’t make it to the NYC outpost? Whip up your own Swan Juice with this recipe.

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Raw Food Cleanse

Pure Food and Wine:  If you’re used to a more conventional diet, then going all raw is a big step and very cleansing. Then, you can take it a step further and go all liquid by having just juices and shakes. Then, just juice. Whatever feels right. But, no matter what, starting every day with a big glass of quality filtered water with juice from a fresh organic lemon squeezed into it is the best. It sets you up right and feels good and helps flush away toxins built up overnight.

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The Age Of Reason: Dr. Alice Rivlin

BBC: As the World Service marks its 80th anniversary, we ask six octogenarians how the world has changed for women in the last eight decades. In no single arena has the world altered so much and in such myriad ways.

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Our Second Adolescence

David Brooks: “…President Obama thinks the Democratic base would reject this shift. I’m not so sure. Democratic interest groups generally care more about discretionary spending than entitlement spending for the affluent. Moreover, I think Republicans could be persuaded that it’s crazy to harp on discretionary spending, which is a deficit sideshow. They should focus their energies on entitlements.”

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Barack Obama Is Not Pleased….

The New Republic (interview with the President): So the question is not, Do we have policies that might work? It is, Can we mobilize the political will to act? And so, I’ve been spending a lot of time just thinking about how do I communicate more effectively with the American people? How do I try to bridge some of the divides that are longstanding in our culture? How do I project a sense of confidence in our future at a time when people are feeling anxious? They are more questions of values and emotions and tapping into people’s spirit.

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Deficit Reduction Rises on Public’s Agenda for Obama’s Second Term

PEW: …as Obama begins his second term, only the economy and jobs are viewed as more important priorities for the coming year. Currently, 72% say that reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority, up 19 points from four years ago.

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Arizona Could Make Medicaid Expansion an Immigration Fight

Wonkblog: Opting out of the Medicaid expansion had the potential to give immigrants better access to health care than American citizens.

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For Party Of Business, Allegiances Are Shifting

New York Times: Not for the first time, the White House made known on Monday that top administration officials had reached out to corporate executives for their help in getting Republicans in Congress to compromise on pending budget issues.

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A Closer Look: Beyond The Buzzwords 

NPR: Simpson-Bowles, for example, the bipartisan proposal for balancing the U.S. budget, was mentioned at least eight times in last Wednesday’s debate — without any explanation of the plan itself or what it did.

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Transcript of Bill Clinton’s Speech To The Democratic National Convention 

I want — I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and — yes — by cooperation. 

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Bill Clinton, Wonk In Chief 

Ezra Klein: As Clinton notes, much of Medicaid’s spending goes to nursing home care for seniors, and there’s no way Romney and Ryan can cut the program by a third without hurting the seniors who account for the plurality of Medicaid’s spending.

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Bill Clinton Manages To Trust America To Listen To 45 Minutes Of Policy 

Firedog Lake: Bill Clinton is one of the few politicians that bothers to try and tell the public what is happening in their lives and how that connects to what happens in Washington. It’s shaded to his advantage, like approximately every politician ever. 

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Seven Myths About Keynsian Economics 

Fiscal Times: Harvard Historian Niall Ferguson has apologized  for suggesting that John Maynard Keynes’ sexual orientation and lack of children made him indifferent to long-run economic issues. However, leaving the references to sexual orientation aside, it is commonly asserted, “Keynesian economists often dismiss … long-run concerns when the economy has short-run problems.” The claim that Keynesians are indifferent to the long-run is one of many myths about Keynesian economics:

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The Urgency Of Growth

E.J. Dionne: Let’s call a halt to this madness. If we don’t move the economy to a better place, none of the fiscal projections will matter. The economic downturn ballooned the deficit. Growth will move the numbers in the right direction.

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Take The Debt Discussion To The Public 

David Walker: Public opinion polls offer a mixed picture: While there is broad support for addressing our debt burdens, that consensus breaks down when people are presented with specific reforms.

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Tax Reform? Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Henry J. Aaron: Now that most of the Bush tax cuts have been made as permanent as anything in the tax code can be, interest in tax reform has abated somewhat. But, the income tax remains a mess and still needs reform. So, it would be worth understanding why reform succeeded in 1986 — if only barely — and what it will take for it to succeed in the future. Unfortunately, the job will be even harder this time.

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The Price Of Inequality 

Joseph Stiglitz: At their best, markets have played a central role in the stunning increases in productivity and standards of living in the past two hundred years—increases that far exceeded those of the previous two millennia. But government has also played a major role in these advances, a fact that free-market advocates typically fail to acknowledge. On the other hand, markets can also concentrate wealth, pass environmental costs on to society, and abuse workers and consumers. 

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What Obama Should Have Done In 2009 

Real Clear Politics: I’m more certain that a second, sizeable stimulus could have been passed once Democrats had their filibuster-proof majority. Why? Because they were able to pass health care reform. From July of 2009 through the end of that year, only a handfull of polls ever found the bill with even a plurality support. By November it had become widely unpopular, with people routinely disapproving by double-digit margins. And yet it passed. 

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The Fiscal Legacy of George W. Bush 

Bruce Bartlett: According to the C.B.O., by the end of the Bush administration, legislated tax cuts reduced revenues and increased the national debt by $1.6 trillion. Slower-than-expected growth further reduced revenues by $1.4 trillion…Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 – enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000.

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Debunking The Entitlement Society Myth

Center On Budget: Contrary to claims that government benefit programs are creating a dependent class of Americans who are losing the desire to work and would rather collect government benefits than find a job, a major report we issued today finds that these programs’ benefits go overwhelmingly to people who are elderly, disabled, or members of working households.

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Obama Spending Binge Never Happened 

Market Watch: Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

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As Debt Battle Looms, Some See No Option But To Raise Taxes 

New York Times: While the Republicans largely prevailed last year, this time the Obama administration believes it has the greater leverage. The pain of the reductions is being felt as House Republicans advance the annual spending bills; already they have proposed to raise the spending caps for the military, and they are squabbling over domestic programs.

  • "We need to come together, just as we've done in other great struggles--in World War II and the Cold War, in passing the great civil-rights laws of the 1960s, and in daring to send a man to the moon."
    --
    Senator Edward M. Kennedy Newsweek July 2009

  • Some sites we sometimes like:

The First Noble Truth of Politics

by Sheri Rivlin and Allan Rivlin on April 14, 2014

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The First Noble Truth of politics is frustration. 

Politics is inherently, profoundly, maddeningly frustrating for all of us.  Anyone who makes the choice to care at all about politics knows the frustration of losing a major election and seeing the other side take control of the agenda.  If you have been around for any length of time you have also learned that winning a major election leads to frustration as well, as the elected leaders disappoint and the opposition continues to block major progress.  (Obama supporters, does this sound familiar?)

There are all kinds of structural reasons for this including:

1)      The checks and balances built into our political system,

2)      The organic pendulum swing in voter enthusiasm,

3)      The differences between campaigning (relatively easy) and governing (relatively hard),

4)      The impossibility of reaching policy consensus in a large pluralistic population.

5)      The inherent tension in a capitalist democracy (between … Read the rest

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Obamacare’s Long Hard Slog — And the Alternatives

by Sheri Rivlin and Allan Rivlin on December 6, 2013

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The problems with the launch of the Affordable Care Act have always been far less severe than Republicans have been saying but quite a lot worse than many Democrats fully realize.  This has never been just about a bad website, and it is not going to be all better as soon as the glitches are fixed.  The truth is, had there been a perfect website and first month roll-out, the uphill campaign to make this law popular would nonetheless still be going on for years – and there are structural reasons for this that could be understood from the polling before the law was passed.   As the nation reached near consensus that there was a problem, there was never any such agreement on the specific solution. 

In speaking about Iraq before the US invasion in 2002 General Colin Powell was famous for quoting the pottery store rule, “you break … Read the rest

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