31 May 2009

watch the presentation
cant wait. now it might be the perfect phone.
june 17th

15 May 2009

if you haven't read this book yet, you should
howling bells- radio wards

wilco- the album

passion pit- manners

13 May 2009

Soda Tax Weighed to Pay for Health Care


Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of the nation's health-care system.

The taxes would pay for only a fraction of the cost to expand health-insurance coverage to all Americans and would face strong opposition from the beverage industry. They also could spark a backlash from consumers who would have to pay several cents more for a soft drink.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee is set to hear proposals from about a dozen experts about how to pay for the comprehensive health-care overhaul that President Barack Obama wants to enact this year. Early estimates put the cost of the plan at around $1.2 trillion. The administration has so far only earmarked funds for about half of that amount.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based watchdog group that pressures food companies to make healthier products, plans to propose a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages. Excise taxes are levied on goods and manufacturers typically pass them on to consumers.

Senior staff members for some Democratic senators at the center of the effort to craft health-care legislation are weighing the idea behind closed doors, Senate aides said.

The Congressional Budget Office, which is providing lawmakers with cost estimates for each potential change in the health overhaul, included the option in a broad report on health-system financing in December. The office estimated that adding a tax of three cents per 12-ounce serving to these types of sweetened drinks would generate $24 billion over the next four years. So far, lawmakers have not indicated how big a tax they are considering.

Proponents of the tax cite research showing that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes and other ailments. They say the tax would lower consumption, reduce health problems and save medical costs. At least a dozen states already have some type of taxes on sugary beverages, said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"Soda is clearly one of the most harmful products in the food supply, and it's something government should discourage the consumption of," Mr. Jacobson said.

The main beverage lobby that represents Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., Kraft Foods Inc. and other companies said such a tax would unfairly hit lower-income Americans and wouldn't deter consumption.

"Taxes are not going to teach our children how to have a healthy lifestyle," said Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Association. Instead, the association says it's backing programs that limit sugary beverage consumption in schools.

Some recent state proposals along the same lines have met stiff opposition. New York Gov. David Paterson recently agreed to drop a proposal for an 18% tax on sugary drinks after facing an outcry from the beverage industry and New Yorkers.

The beverage-tax proposal would apply to drinks that many Americans don't consider unhealthy -- such as PepsiCo's Gatorade and Kraft's Capri Sun -- based on their calorie content.

Health advocates are floating other so-called sin tax proposals and food regulations as part of the government's health-care overhaul. Mr. Jacobson also plans to propose Tuesday that the government sharply raise taxes on alcohol, move to largely eliminate artificial trans fat from food and move to reduce the sodium content in packaged and restaurant food.

The beverage tax is just one of hundreds of ideas that lawmakers are weighing to finance the health-care plans. They're expected to narrow the list in coming weeks.

The White House, meanwhile, is pulling together private health groups to identify cost savings that will help fund the health overhaul. Mr. Obama on Monday held a White House meeting with groups that represent doctors, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical-device makers. They pledged to help restrain cost increases in the health-care system in an effort to save $2 trillion over the next decade.

"When it comes to health-care spending, we are on an unsustainable course that threatens the financial stability of families, businesses and government itself," Mr. Obama told reporters.

01 May 2009

"Grey Gardens is the unbelievable but true story of
Mrs. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie, the
aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Mother and daughter live in a world of their own
behind the towering privets that surround their
decaying 28-room East Hampton mansion known as
"Grey Gardens," a place so far gone that the local
authorities once threatened to evict them for violating
building and sanitation codes. The incident made national
headlines -- American royalty, living in squalor! For the
Beales were nothing short of the upper crust. Mrs. Beale,
a.k.a. "Big Edie," was a born aristocrat, sister of "Black Jack"
Bouvier, Jackie O's father. "Little Edie" was an aspiring
actress of striking beauty who put her New York life on
hold to care for her mother - and never left her side again.
Together they descended into a strange life of dependence
and eccentricity that no one had ever shared until the
Maysles arrived with their camera and tape recorder.

The Beales were ready for their close-ups. Little Edie --
a still-attractive woman at 56 -- parades about
coquettishly in her trademark improvised turbans
(her wildly original ensembles inspired a 9-page fashion
spread in a 1998 issue of Harper's Bazaar and a 1999
issue of Italian Vogue), reminisces about her brilliant past,
still hoping that her Big Chance and Big Romance are
just around the corner. Big Edie, trained soprano in her
bohemian days, trills romantic songs of yesteryear in a
slightly wobbly, but still rich voice. The women bicker,
prattle, and flirt like characters out of Tennessee Williams
or Eugene O'Neill. The film is a bittersweet love story,
a record of the powerful and complex relationship
between mother and daughter."


Based on the lives that inspired the Maysles Brothers' classic documentary, this HBO Films drama tells the story of "Big Edie" Beale (Jessica Lange) and her daughter "Little Edie" (Drew Barrymore), who forged a unique bond while living in a ramshackle East Hampton mansion.