As someone who believes that citizens ought to view their government not as a hostile force but as something they, as participants in a democracy, have the opportunity and obligation to both monitor and help shape, I find this ad from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (viaAndrew Sullivan) profoundly disturbing:
As you no doubt remember, much of the Affordable Care Act doesn't go into effect until 2014. In order to deal with the problem of people whose pre-existing conditions make insurance companies uninterested in giving them coverage, the act provides for the creation of high-risk pools for people who have been uninsured for over six months. States can establish the high-risk pools themselves (some states already have them), or they can let the federal government do it for them.
Over at her other home, Nancy Scolahips us to the results of the General Service Administration's video contest, which challenged Americans to create a video explaining the tsunami of awesomeness that is USA.gov. The site is GSA's portal into a range of government services. I know, I know -- you've been following this like a hawk. But in case you missed it, the winner was Peter Sullivan of Nashville, TN, who created this little ditty:
In the late 1920s, as Americans became more and more concerned about the effect "talking pictures" might have on impressionable youth, the Payne Fund commissioned a series of studies on the subject. Movies, the researchers reported, put children into an emotional state, affected their sleep patterns, and probably contributed to juvenile delinquency. Among the alarming findings was that movie scenes with erotic themes seemed to make teenagers highly aroused. If you can believe it.
There's a saying about the Republican Party: When they're out of power they argue that government is incompetent and corrupt, and then when they get power they set about to prove it. So failures of government like George W. Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina end up as lessons conservatives use to demonstrate not that we need more effective government but that government can't do anything right, and therefore ... we should elect more Republicans. It would be nice if this argument were met with howls of laughter, but it isn't, in large part because of what we tend to remember and what we tend to forget.