Saturday, December 30, 2006

Well, they hung him....

Yes, they hung Saddam Hussein. Even though impartial organizations pointed to the many failings of the trials. Should America be proud? The majority of the world condemned it, both for their being against capital punishment, and because of the poor job the court did. Our great and God fearing Christian President, W. Bush, supported it, even though the Pope did not. Who else in the entire world was glad to see it happen? Well, one very notable amongst the few...Iran. When you find you are on the same side as Iran...maybe you should reconsider. But of course, the new Iraqi government, borne from the democracy we brought to them, is welcomes and embraces Iran, while their people are showing their love for our liberating them by continuing to murder our soldiers in their streets. Is there an American soldier in Iraq, or a Jew in Israel, that can possibly sleep as soundly as George W. Bush has pointed out that he does? It would seem hard to imagine.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

President Bush signals he is ready to seek new strategies in Iraq....and other reasons to be weary at Year's end....

In a rare showing of initiative and true courage, the President announced "No longer should you do as I say and not as I do. From this point forward you should do as I do, and not as I say!" He then encouraged all the great young men and women of this country to avoid actually serving in military combat, just as he, and Cheney and Rumsfeld (not to mention Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and so, so many other neo-conservatives) cowardly did in Vietnam. "If only I had thought of this sooner, we would not have soldiers dying in Iraq. What a brilliant startegist, I would be hailed." Bush remarked. When asked if this might actually cause there to be more parallels made between Iraq and Vietnam, he said: "I don't think so. In Vietnam there was an actual communist threat, where in Iraq, it seems to have all been in the imaginations of Rumsfeld, Cheney and myself." Clearly, if these quotes should turn out to be accurate, we would be entering a new enlightened era as the W. Bush administration winds down, to its inevitable place in the history books of having been a disaster, culminating in such bon mots as enabling and encouraging the struggling little nation of Iran to self actualize and become a world wide threat to peace everywhere, as well as the very future of Israel. And let us not forget the cozy and balmy winters it helped bring about by avoiding such annoying contrivances as the Kyoto Protocols. W. clearly will be remembered fondly by the Pharmaceutical industry for that lovely present: Medicare Part D--while tying the hands of government cost-cutters by forbidding drug price negotiations. A nice economic incentive that will ensure healthy Christmas bonuses for some Drug executives, as well as your childrens, childrens, children paying interest on the deficit created during this glorious hey-day for Texas Yahoos everywhere. W. will also be remembered fondly by all die hard 70's conservatives as the President that wiretapped the people but this time got away with it. And those Iraqis that survived being imprisoned by American forces will fondly recall how they were the lucky ones to get to be tortured under the most immoral administration the U.S. has seen. Of course, we won't be hearing any opinions from all the prisoners we are holding around the world without due process, because they are in solitary and have no clue what we are talking about. Imagine if W's daughters were held indefinately in solitary for using fake i.d.'s, maybe his stance would change? Maybe not. Those girls seem like a lot of trouble, and if he has the gumption to get tough with unarmed civilians whose only crime was choosing to be Muslim and alive after 9/11, he might have the wherewithall to toss the little princesses to the wolves. Who knows? More importantly, who cares? The important thing is to get the impeachment started so the war crimes tribunals can be set up and everything wrapped up before the next Presidential election. That's democracy in action!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Conservatives, in this case the media, show their true colors, once again, this holiday season: the unpatriotic losers that they really are...

Four true patriots died this holiday weekend. You wouldn't know it if you read Fox news on the Internet. A top story at the moment it was first checked was how Donald Trump is fighting with his neighborhood over flying the flag. As I've always maintained here on this blog and in my writing, those who talk the talk invariably do not walk the walk when they are conservatives talking about war, (or practically anything else). How many members of the current administration or the current Conservative pundits out there, have we pointed out avoided military service when they were called by their country to fight in Vietnam? But this shameful display of hiding the bad news is so unfair to the men and women who laid down their lives, as well as to their families and friends. It's nothing less than disgusting. To say nothing of not fair and unbalanced. Should Fox point out that at some time it was on their news service, it was clearly only their for a few moments at most. I have followed this story of the death toll in Iraq on the Yahoo! News AP service, as well as having it pointed out to me by someone who reads the CBS news website. It's been there all weekend; (and even on Fox's AP section it is not there) such a big and important story as well as so tragic that it should occur at this special time of year. For Fox news not to make it a headline story and leave it up throughout the holiday weekend is a travesty and only serves to point out that for Conservatives to give their point of view in the news, they have to lie and distort. The truth rarely supports their assertions or points of view. You can see that in everything from the Iraq war to the way Medicare part D was handled. I just don't get why they haven't a clue. And for five years they were able to convince many people in this country, by lying to them, and painting a rosy picture, that it really was that way. The country finally couldn't take it anymore, stood up and took notice, and voted for change this past Election Day. Nevertheless, if you read the conservative statements leading right up to the election, they didn't believe they were going to have any trouble with the election, because they still refused to accept all the problems they had created, all the burdens they'd enhanced and all the solutions they failed to grasp.

Despite all this, clearly the country has embarked on a new path. So while I started on a sad note, let me end on a better one. Let me wish you all happy and healthy holidays and a happy healthy and prosperous new year 2007. May God bless you all and may God continue to bless this great nation of ours. And may God grant us the wisdom and foresight to bring our young men and women home from war as quickly as we possibly can.
Thank you.

Friday, December 08, 2006

You can't make this stuff up...but you wish it wasn't true....

It was reported that the President, may, after all, read the newspaper. This may not seem particularly newsworthy if not for the fact that the President mentioned in 2003 that he didn't read the newspaper but preferred to get his news from "objective sources"; that is, his staff and colleagues. He might want to consult a dictionary a bit more than he reads the newspaper so he would understand the term 'objective', but this does explain a lot about why he thinks the way he does. He thinks the looney right wing gossip he's been getting from Cheney, Condi, Rove, et al was actually news! (He didn't like "the news" Powell delivered--so he dumped him and Rumsfeld is suspect now with his last memo: maybe he was just misunderstood? Or maybe Cheney was telling him what to say?) But here is the problem that makes this just another Bush-lie. (If we look up lie in the 2007 Merriam-Webster, I have heard rumors that for accuracy sake, W. Bush's picture will be there.) His wife just announced that they have a morning ritual of waking up to coffee and the newspaper for many years. So which is it? Was George lying then, or Laura now? Laura's might seem a "white" lie to preserve respect for her husband, as many of them there highbrow intellectual Presidents of the past have been known to "read a paper or two". Now, of course, Cowboy W. doesn't pretend to be an intellectual (we don't need no steenking IQ--we the Presidente!) So is it possible that the 2003 comment was an unusual dose of truth and candor from the empty cave where George H.W. and Barbara's genetic code thought they'd left a couple pounds of grey matter? We'll never know for sure. But we know it doesn't matter. If W. did read the newspaper, it would no doubt be the Washington Times, Wall Street Journal or the New York Post. Oh wait, not the Post, it endorsed Hillary. Just when Satan thought the temperature was starting to rise again, too! So, at least we know the "news" the President would get, would match the nonsense he gets from his mush-for-brains sidekicks. So maybe he was on to something...why bother to read the newspapers anyway???

Here's To Your Health, Iraq

You can't be wrong all of the time. That is the only conclusion I can come to as I find George W. and myself are of the same opinion on whether Iran and Syria should be involved in discussions about stabilizing Iraq. We both agree they should NOT be a part of the situation. Like a thousand monkeys toiling away day and night at a thousand wordprocessors are bound to write something meaningful eventually, so to, it would seem, that by spouting off on so many things he does not understand, eventually W. Bush was going to hit on a reasonable thought or opinion. It is the exception that proves the rule. You see, the bipartisan commission on Iraq, that so correctly got it right when they said the situation was "grave" have shown that despite their 20/20 hind and current sight, they are as myopic as the Bush administration has been for the future. Sadly, there is no good way to handle Iraq; a monumental mess and catastrophe, but that does not mean you attempt to destroy the stability of the middle east by requesting help from two of the most dangerous, destabilizing and terrorist assisting governments in the middle east. Maybe we should ask Osama bin Laden what his thoughts are, too. Afterall, he's been around during regime changes, and knows what is in the mind of suicide bombers, so he might have some valuable insight. I do agree with the commission that we must negotiate directly with the insurgents, but that is because, as I have pointed out all along, 'insurgents' is just another example of how the neocons like to take control of the argument rather than actually take part in it. The insurgents are not alien terrorist automatons from beyond the moon. They are actually Iraqis, that did not happen to lay roses at our soldiers feet when we 'liberated' them. They are not happy to have us there, but just like they are part of the indigenous population and we need to deal with them, we are part of the landscape and they will have to do the same with us. Iraq, the way that blobbish, incoherent, amorphous organism in washington that we will call CheneyBush envisioned it, is not possible. That does not mean we have to take a total loss on the proposition.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Here's To Your Health, America, as 2006 draws to a close....

As NY considers the recommendations of its committee for Hospitals and Healthcare in the 21st Century (the hospital closing commission to many) and we see West Virginia is trying a Medicaid incentive program that rewards patients that are diligent with their care, and try to prevent problems, with more services, I would like to discuss this. First, let me just pat myself on the back and point out that NY's idea of converting some of these hospitals into clinics and outpatient care centers are ideas you read here. Also, what is being tried in West Virginia was also posited by me in the comments to a healthcare editorial on the CBS News website. Why do I mention this, besdides to blow my own horn? Because this is only the beginning,and there is much more to do. Also, it is not just the ideas, but how they are handled. In NY, they are creating a lot of upheavel, lost jobs, mandatory changes of affiliation and services offered. It is landmark, but is it reasonable and ultimately legal? And more to the point, is it fair? Are they allocating enough resources to help with the changes? So far, 1.5 billion has been mentioned and that won't be enough. West Virginia has the right idea, in that people need to take responsibility for their own health, and if they won't. there is only so much the public should pay for it. You will see alot more of the ideas you read about here first, but obviously, the lead time was short, and these things were being worked on before they were written here. I am not trying to take credit for them, merely to point out that the cutting edge of healthcare reform sits right here. Somethings you will read here fist, and some will just be better said here. And just like the rest of the country, we will even make a few errors in judgement, but not too many. When I am finished analyzing the commissions proposals we will examine them in more depth here, and see what can be done better.

Here's To Your Future Health, GM

I don't claim to be a Car executive. But as someone who has owned, and liked, GM cars, and would like to see the American auto makers thrive. And also one who is considering one of GM's more appealing import fighters, in the guise of a partnered product they made with Subaru, I have this observation. The model I am considering was discontinued this year, because GM gave up its stake in Subaru by selling its stock to raise cash. Why do I think this was a mistake? Well, Toyota, at the moment, seems to be doing everything right. Even with their recent recalls, and the fact that I can personally attest to their awful customer service, and their less than stellar reliability in some models. They are enjoying a world wide lovefest on their way to becoming the largest auto maker. So who bought GM's stake in Subaru? Toyota. Word to GM executives.... If Toyota wants to buy your stake in another probably shouldn't be selling it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

How do you know a Right Wing Neo-Conservative is lying? Their lips are moving.

Under the heading: Is he a compulsive liar or just stupid?
While Bill o'Reilly actually took a reasonable stand in speaking out against this ridiculous O.J. Simpson "If I did it..." interview about his book, and at first blush it would also seem somewhat a courageous move because it attacked a Fox Television broadcast. O'Reilly is, after all, a Fox Cable Talk Show Host. Now, it has been suggested to me, and I was impressed to think it likely, that O'Reilly was just being used n=by FOX to drum up interest and controversy, for the broadcast. Hard to say for sure, since, he then, in what was perhaps a quick after thought of the impropriety of attacking one's bosses, hastened to point out that "For the record, Fox Broadcasting (showing OJ) has nothing to do with the Fox News Channel,". Now of course, both venues, as well as the publisher of the OJ book are all owned by the News Corporation. So that is like saying you have nothing to do with your---brother, or sister. Now, even if you don't speak to your siblings, you do have the same parents, and you may have to share some of the same interests and motivations whether you like it or not. But, of course, O'Reilly never cares what he says, because if quoted on it later, he will deny it and defy you to show a transcript where he ever said it. After you show him the transcript he has been known to ignore it and keep on claiming there is no proof. In truth, I haven't bothered to document his lies, as people like Al Franken, with research teams from Harvard, have bothered to do so, with footnotes and endnotes, as well. But for the last five or so years, the on again off again truthfulness of Conservatives, whether in Federal Government, or on Television/Radio has turned pretty much into a more consistent and more entertaining complete pack of lies. As long as you understand you are watching Fiction for entertainment purposes--no harm done. If you want accuracy from FOX Properties, you are better off watching their reality shows, like American idol. Simon Cowell speaks more truth in an hour, then O'Reilly and Hannity do in a Season. Other Candidates for poor truth telling skills (they are compulsive, but I am just picking out their award winning performances : President Bush"Mission Accomplished!" Joe Lieberman "I saw real signs of improvement in Iraq. Things are going well." and all that stuff about being in a new era of peace and security and democracy in Iraq. Dick Cheney: any of his innumerable lies about Halliburton, including that they weren't doing business with Iran when they were. Rumsfeld, when talking about WMD: "We know where they are. They're right in the area around Tikrit." I could go on, but so many of these lies have already been exposed so it is just nonessential redundancy. Clinton lied about getting blow jobs in circumstances where he should never have been questioned about them in the first place. But the Conservatives clearly have the moral high ground: they are much more interested in getting our nation's youth killed for distractions to the war on terrorism then in getting blow jobs. Especially since they can consider it 'urban renewal' since most of the enlisted soldiers are poor minorities from dysfunctional urban settings. In that sense, as I have always maintained, everyday George W. does more to end poverty than many otherPresidents, except of course for Presidents like Clinton, that actually improved the economy for everyone---in every tax bracket. Maybe, if all these Conservatives in our government were more interested in blow jobs, or in actually fighting for their country when they had the opportunity, they would get out more of their aggressive impulses and would have had the patience to actually think before they act. Now, the draft won't pass--Rangel has the right idea, but it would make the Democrats too unpopular--the country has a hard time following subtle logic, but it doesn't matter---George W. and his ilk would just get their children into the National Guard, and then get them into some deferrment situation if their division was called to battle, anyway. Like their fathers before them; it's a family tradition... of cowardice, but a tradition nevertheless. They are only courageous with other peoples lives.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Submitted For Your Perusal....

I wrote this editorial last year.... As you can see, Americans stood up to the plate and hit it out of the park for change, and for a better way to the future....
Only 376 Shopping Days Until A New House and Senate
For the politicians who wage it, war has proven to be all too easy. You don’t have to figure out how to pay for a war. The public seems willing to accept deficits for such fights for freedom, even if a large portion of the deficit was caused by other administration policies unrelated to the war. For those same politicians; healthcare reform seems too daunting a task for them to seriously consider. Ironically, work on healthcare reform and so many other things suffers because the Iraq war is not costly to these politicians, even when they avoided their own generation’s call to battle. As many of them did their best to avoid active duty in Vietnam, so to will you rarely find their children going off to fight these wars today. Our officials wage war with faulty intelligence, poor planning and false claims of last resort, and before finishing the job in Afghanistan, but come election time have so far found they are not held accountable. They have also not been held accountable for anything else they have failed to do. Ineffectual, divisive, misleading government isn’t new. It just seems so much worse in the last five years that I’ve come to think of this as the “DoNothing”* Congress, Senate and Administration. It’s not that they don’t do anything, it’s just that so little of it is meaningful. They didn’t even attempt to tackle terrorism until it was thrust upon them on9/11. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had the means to create a government that remembers it is made up of civil servants---elected officials that actually know they work for We—The People? Actually, the architects of our great nation gave us the tools 229 years ago but someone has to remind our politicians today. Maybe it’s time we show them they will be held accountable daily for doing a good job just like the rest of us are in our own careers. Imagine what would happen if we could tell them that they would be fired in a week if they didn’t create a solution for affordable healthcare. But we can’t. We can only fire them come election day. Then we can vote in responsible people who not only say we can accomplish anything, but are also ready to try and prove it. Reform healthcare? Instead of talking aboutMedical Savings Accounts and other methods of simply shifting more of the burden upon the backs of the beleaguered middle class we should seriously start working on fair and meaningful reform. That requires figuring out both how to do it and how to pay for it. Expand coverage by giving tax credits to businesses that put in health plans and add a couple of points of taxes to those that are profitable but don’t put in plans. Help taxpayers afford what they are already doing by reducing the 7.5% threshold for taking medical itemized deductions on your tax return to the2% applicable to other kinds of deductions. Pay for it by reinstating the estate tax that is not really adouble taxation, but rather a first tax on years and years of untaxed capital growth. Help provide coverage and increase competition by giving incentives and assistance for affordable health plans to be tested and offered by municipal hospitals and non-profit medical centers, for the uninsured, that can do the job that the insurance companies have abdicated. Pay for it with a small increase in the long term capital gains rate or rolling back the most generous tax cuts for the top 10%. There will also need to be changes to Pharmaceutical Marketing, Physician Management and a host of others too numerous to go into here. I am not saying every change will be offset dollar for dollar, but it’s a start. We have seen hundreds of billions in deficit spending over the years for arms build ups, wars and tax cuts. We certainly can spend some money to achieve affordable healthcare for everyone. Shouldn’t government work like our own lives do; responsibly, sharing the burdens and the rewards for the good of the entire nation? Instead we have this insular culture that bred an administration that’s forgotten who it works for, and that We, The People, are watching. With a big election day approaching only 376 days away...don't just send a message with your vote…send in the right people to do what needs to be done.
Now of course, it remains to be seen if America has voted in the right people. But they have attempted a start for change...and that is a good direction to be travelling in.... *I would like to point out that i termed this a "do nothing" congress before all those other pundits jumped on the bandwagon!

Friday, November 10, 2006

My Election Night with Satan (part 2)

Two days. Two days! Two days we sat in that bar watching election news. Washing up in the bathroom sink. Satan wouldn't let me leave until things were settled. Somehow he got FOX News Network to cover it around the clock. "How did you manage that?" I asked.
"I told Murdoch I would change his circle, when the time comes. He was rating the bottom circle and he was anxious to get off there, because he said having to listen to Ken Starr for all eternity would have been too cruel, even for Hell."
"He has a point." I responded.
"Yeah?' The Devil grinned. "Wait until he finds out he'll spend all eternity push-polling with Karl Rove in Hell’s basement; trying to convince souls in heaven that Mother Theresa was actually a Gay Nazi named Hans." We both laughed and then a thought struck me.
“Did you ever go down to Georgia and get into a fiddlin’ contest because you were short on souls, or what?”
"Nah, that was just a song. I go down South all the time, but in this world I am never short for souls. I’m short on peaches and citrus fruit, sometimes, but never souls. And I don't play the violin. I play a mean guitar though; I have a Les Paul. I used to jam with Led Zeppelin, until they realized I wasn't just an acid hallucination, then they didn’t want to ‘hang with the devil anymore’ . I was so angry I created Disco!"
"Oh man, I like some Disco, but it's hard once I know it comes from Hell. I mean, now that I'm sure that's where it came from." I said.
"Ah, just kidding." Satan said.
"You mean you didn't create it?" I asked relieved.
"Oh, I created it, I just wasn't mad at Led Zeppelin when I did it." He laughed.
"Hey, look at the screen.” I pointed. “The Senate is finally a done deal! A Democratic sweep!" I smiled. Satan looked at me, and when he opened his mouth, his breath came out in a thick white cloud.
"Getting colder, huh?" I said.
"Just thinking about going back down 'home'. I'll be scraping ice off the furniture, for sure. But it doesn't happen too often, and all the women’s shirts look better when it’s cold down there anyway, so it isn't a total loss." He grinned.
"You're a pervert! Why doesn't that surprise me?" I asked.
"Just kidding. I actually heard Bill O'Reilly saying that in a men's room just before he got the news he was being sued for sexual harassment!" He laughed.
"Hey, look at the screen. McCain is going to be examining a run for the Presidency." I said.
"What do you think of him?" The Devil inquired.
"Not thrilled anymore. He used to have ideals and values, but he got pushed around by Bush and Rove and instead of attacking that brand of politics, he ended up siding with Bush to curry favor with far right conservatives. When Bush first plummeted in the polls, McCain said he was sticking by the President; that anyone could be loyal when the President was popular, but he would do it through thick and thin. The only thing is, from Bush's stance on torture, imprisoning without due process, and all, they clearly don't agree. McCain used to be a man of principle. But he has decided, it seems, that he would rather be a shoe-in for the Republican nod, then a fighter for the good fight that might not get the bid."
"What you call giving in might just be what he considers compromise." Satan posited.
"Don't play Devil's advocate with me!" I demanded, then, thinking about his defending McCain, I sputtered "Hey, don't tell me...."
"Yes." Satan responded, "He's hired me to help with his 2008 campaign. He figured he couldn't abide having to hire Rove, but he had to admit his practices were effective, so he decided to go to his mentor...."
"The Devil, you say." I said. "He might want to rethink those tactice in light of this election. And you know, it seems to me the only place we are going to see a Republican dominated Congress and Senate again anytime in the future is going to be down ‘south’ in your neck of the woods." I observed.
"Well, in all fairness, there are plenty of Dems knock-knock-knocking on Hell's door as well. But in general they don’t get into such big trouble with the ‘king of heaven’ because they don’t act like they know for a fact that God is on their side, much less then wage war falsely, torture, unlawfully imprison, that sort of thing. Besides politics, you should know, by the way, the lord also hates it when you claim he’s on your side for professional sports events or business deals. He really doesn’t care, and what do you think, the losers aren’t his children also?
Satan shook his head in disgust as he handed me another cigar.
"These are really good." I said.
"Cuban." He said.
"Of course." I said.
"Fidel thinks by supplying me I give him a few more years. He doesn't realize that I'm not allowed to rush these things. See, stupidity, like evil, knows no geopolitical boundaries." He smiled as we lit up. "In fact, I was talking to God about that just the other night."
"You talk to God?" I asked.
"Sure. We used to play poker every Thursday night."
"Used to?" I asked.
"It got boring. He's omniscient...he always folded before he lost, and if he stayed in...he won. He's not a good bluffer. He's too honest. And I can't bluff him because---"
"He's omniscient. Yeah, I see." I finished for him.
"All that, and oh, he cheats...." He said with a very straight face and sober expression, so I was sure he was kidding. Then he said, "I gotta get going in a few more minutes, " He said, "I have to make a little girl in San Diego puke up pea soup."
"Oh!" I gagged.
"Just kidding. You know, we don't really do that stuff." Satan laughed.
"What do you do these days?" I asked.
"Besides program director at FOX News? Well, you know how writers say people always ask them where they get their ideas?" He asked.
"Yes." I said.
"Sometime, when she is drunk, which is actually quite often, ask Ann Coulter where she gets her ideas!" He laughed and as I was about to inquire about whether that was a joke he continued, "But she was pissing me off lately, with her hubris, I hate hubris, so I gave her the idea to attack the 9/11 widows in her latest book. I did that and now I am going to have her investigated for lying on her drivers license about her age. Don't piss off the Devil!" He laughed.
"I try not to." I said.
"Yeah," he continued, "I really enjoy our conversations. You should know your blog is very popular in Hell. Being in the alternate reality of the hereafter, it won’t register on any ‘hit counters’. But you should know.”
"You have the internet?" I asked.
"Sure. Well, just dial-up. It is Hell, after all."
"I don't know if I should be flattered or horrified." I said.
"Both, I imagine." Satan said.
"If you have the internet, I bet porn is popular in Hell. A real distraction, you know."
"No access. We only allow them an AOL browser with full parental controls. It’s Hell, after all. We only get your blog because I assigned special access."
"Parental controls block my blog?" I asked.
"Sure. You curse. And the worst---what they really hate down there is when people say 'DAMN'."
"I see." I said.
"But they really love the pieces you do on me, and our conversations. They love them…or else!" He started laughing very heartily now. "If your book gets published I can promise you it will be a best seller in long as you mention me."
"Thank you. I am sure you might come up once or twice. I begin the book with the first time I met you in this bar, and overheard your cellphone conversation." I said.
"You should also know that being a bestseller in Hell won't help you much. We pirate copies down there...with real pirates!" He said.
"So my blog is popular and my book will be a bestseller, but no one on Earth will know and it won't help me in any way at all? That sucks." I observed.
"Sure, it's Hell." He grinned.
I thought about that, and about not having changed my clothes or showering in two days and said: "I want to go home, it has been two days for crying out loud."
"That was your election process, not mine. " Satan responded. "There are still a few unsettled races in Florida though, due to voting irregularities” He observed.
"If we have to wait until there are no voting irregularities in Florida, we’ll be here for all eternity. I think we should get up an initiative to get Florida dropped from the electoral college. That way they can only screw up local elections. Although, maybe if they impeach Bush and his brother before he gets out of office, we can bring back credibility to the country and the vote. And maybe, somehow, find a way to get Bill Clinton back into the Whitehouse. We could really work on heathcare reform then. And finally, let me just say this…I want to go home! Do you have any idea how long it has been since I had sex?" I asked.
"It has only been two days since we’ve been here, what does that have to do with the last time you had sex?" Satan asked.
"Nothing. It's just been a while, it's hard enough just to find some time, and I just figured maybe you could do something about it.”
"Maybe I could...but of course, I won't. I'm the Devil, after all."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. I'm going home and taking a shower."
"Be careful. Don't slip in the tub. With all the time you spend with the devil, you might be guilty by association." He laughed.
"Oh, I don't believe it works like that." I said.
"You're right." Satan smiled, "that's not what will send you to Hell."
"Hey, what do you mean by that?" I asked.
"Gotta go." He said, "until next time."
"When will be the next time?" I asked, but he was already gone....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Election Night wIth Satan...

It was 9:00PM on election night and I was waiting for Satan at the same New York City bar I met him at the first time when we made our agreement to show up again tonight.
When Satan showed up at the bar, he was wearing a parka.
“Things getting a little chilly down there?” I asked
“It does happen, occasionally. If your blog ever becomes popular, I expect to be climbing glaciers and fighting polar bears for the last scraps of seal meat.”
“Very funny. Clearly you get a little testy when you don't think things are going to go your way.”
“I'm not omniscient, but I did a little of my own exit polling. It's not a random sampling, but I look at everyone who dies on Election Day from stress related disorders and see what party affiliation they have. I have to send my minions out to various emergency rooms for this information, because if I just relied on who gets sent down to hell, then every election would look like it's skewed against the Conservatives.” Satan started to laugh a little.
“I'm glad you always get a kick out of our little get-togethers.” I said
“I always laugh when the topic is politics. It was one of the few creations of mine that got to stick around.”
“Why doesn't that surprise me?” I asked rhetorically. Then, as I looked up at the flat screen I said, “Shhh, here come the first results.”
We sat there for hours, in a haze of cigar smoke, and the smell of various single malt scotches intermingling. It was one of the few bars in all the city where you can still smoke a cigar with your drinks. Although I'd given cigars up, I decided to have one with Satan. I figured, when Satan offers you a “light” I just as soon take him up on it and make sure it's just my cigar.
The Congress went to the Democrats. The Senate was still too close to call. “Hey!” I said. “Did you have anything to do with that?”
“Just trying to keep things interesting.” He smiled. Besides, I'm enjoying the Scotch. What's our rush?”
“All well and good.” I said. “But don't start playing around with hanging chads and the Supreme Court again!”
“No, I won't be doing that this time. I got away with it in 2000, but then after what I did in Ohio in 2004, I have been restricted from the United States national election process...for a little while....” Satan responded. Then he started to laugh, “I guess the thinking was... better late than never!” He said through the laughter.
Then they announced that Lieberman had won reelection. "Hey, what about that?" I asked.
"Every single thing wrong in the world is not always my doing." Satan responded.
"Okay. But what about that one?" I asked.
He didn't answer. He had a smirk on his face, and I wondered, but there were those restrictions he said he was under--temporarily. Then again, he was the one who told me about those restrictions. Could he be lying? He taught Karl Rove how to Push-Poll, he taught George W. that war as a last resort meant anytime you want to, he taught Ann Coulter that shamelessness, stupidity and lying are virtues, so why not be lying now?
To be continued as the results come in....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Back to Your Health, continued....

There will no doubt be concerns about a clinic environment as has been brought up in our comments by our most loyal viewer and blogger himself, Bruce. I believe this is stirred up by visions of free clinics from the inner cities in the seventies and eighties. I believe actual experiences people have had at an efficient and well run clinic would alter some opinions. Also, doctors offices have become a clinic of sort, in the sense that they may have various practitioners and services available, and in the worst way in that and who has not had a long wait at their doctor in the last decade, as they overbook their schedules to make up for cancellations and the lower reimbursements they get from insurers? I am not making this proposal to make either patients or physicians unhappy, as both are groups I am trying to help with my work. Rather, I am trying to recommend that in many instances we take the business out of medicine, that has reached a point where to maintain a thriving business, a physician may have to get too aggressive, and areas that a physician, in general, may not want to have to deal with anyway. Give the business end to the businesspeople who spend their entire day just worrying about that stuff. Also, it can be set up to give physicians clear direction, incentives, and a communal atmosphere of working on the patients behalf, instead of the Utilization Review Committee of a far distant insurer sitting around making those decisions. For the patient, the biggest change could be one of location, and possibly less convenience in this area, but, for follow-up and specialists, possibly more convenience, to offset this for those who will need the most care and visits. There will be no perfect solution for every constituent, but there is no perfect healthcare environment now, for just about anybody. The key will be to maintain what is great and innovative about our system, and combine that with the comprehensive reforms necessary to secure the system for the future, and at the same time to move progress forward in, among important areas; infant mortality, healthful longevity, infection control and the minimization of mistakes at every juncture of care. This will need to come about through better treatment for drug and alcohol use and nutritional understanding, better preventative medicine and better community awareness of what healthy eating and general health habits are, more open yet secure collaborative information systems and more stringent guidelines over antibiotic use along with better use of the information systems coupled with a team approach to practice which could yield better and more consistent medicine. All the tools we need exist or are being developed. We need open mindedness and willingness from the top echelons of our goverment down to each and every medical provider and consumer. We need to understand that there is a crisis. We need a crisis mentality. We have not seen one from our government officials since the early nineties. It is time to focus on these national issues now, before they will cost ten times as much, and with much more painful solutions, for our children and children's children in the future.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Back To Your Health, America.

I do not believe a government run single payer system is right for American healthcare. It would, however. solve the crisis of the uninsured and therefore, if all else is ignored for too long, it will probably come to that. I believe there is an alternative to that vast change of the system, and to the pointless and toothless minor plan changes the conservatives try to foist upon us whenever there is an outcry that the government is ignoring healthcare reform. Meaningful reform can keep what is best about our system: free markets, competition, innovation and vitality while wringing out huge swaths of cost and unfairness. We are going to examine some broad concepts here. I hope you will be able to journey with me soon into the intricacies of the situation by holding a book written by me and read by you. That still remains to be seen. So.... Since I believe that government run plan would be lethal to some because when the payer is so vast and stands above regulation by enforcing it, you will see rationing and no culpability when there are nasty results. Look what the government wrought just by implementing rules in ERISA to allow HMO's to deny care without being sued. They did this to basically allow HMO's to flourish, since this was the basic tenet of HMO's--controlling costs. The problem of the HMO's, much like for a government payer, is when you are very sick, and they can either keep paying for care or deny it and hasten your death...from a profit, or cost reduction perspective, what would you do? I think every health plan should be required to supply their policy holders with life insurance too, thereby creating an incentive to keep you alive! (I'm being facetious, by the way, because they would merely create a securitized pool for that risk and spin it off of their books and thereby circumvent the spirit of the act). Anyway, you can see that I do not believe that the core of saving money and cutting costs in the healthcare system is by denying care. And yet, together, we will journey into a basically free market plan that will cut far more costs then many in governemnt ever thought possible. Ihave worked in healthcare and created a plan for the uninsured. I have worked with a lot of providers. There is waste and unintended opportunity for profits out there for independent practitioners. There are incentives to deny good medical care built into managed care. So where do you go for good affordable medicine? Hospital clinics. Practitioners that feel they are using the resources of their own organization and being watched by experienced administration with healthcare backgrounds can walk the fine line between wasteful and miserly care. Utilizing work flow and six sigma process improvement techniques; adopting technology, utilizing professionals such as RN's and Physician Assistants, we can design clinics that run efficiently and in a timely manner without sacrificing all the good elements they bring to the table. Government oversight and auditing is also streamlined in this realm. I am not advocating we abolish independent practitioners or we restrict their access in the plans. I call for the design of copayments to be structured to make it less costly to go to the clinics, and you would pay more for the option to go to the independent practitioner of your choice. In this way, you would pay some of the difference in savings your plan would lose by your choice of practitioner. We will continue to look at straight medical care for a while before returning to Mental Health which requires a somewhat different reorganization. And Dental, which will see some changes as well.

Friday, October 06, 2006

To all the "outraged over Rep. Foley" Americans...

While I commend your righteous indignation, and I enjoy the implosion of the GOP as it scrambles to figure out who to support and who knew what, when, I can only ask the question: "What is wrong with you?" This is what got your ire up? We have barely fought the war on terror---a little work in Afghanistan, some intelligence work here, otherwise we have just played war games---with our childrens lives, I might add. But that didn't upset you. An ill conceived and pointless war in Iraq got no reaction. Our soldiers dying--not much more of a reaction. Tax cuts for the wealthiest and back to huge budget deficits for the country barely got a blink. Record gasoline prices and record oil company profits---you stopped buying SUV's but didn't complain much to the government. We don't protect our ports any better than we did at the time of 9/11. We phone tap our own citizens, watch them on the internet, hold prisoners around ther world without due process and torture many innocent, and some guilty, people throwing away the rule of law and the Geneva conventions---that help protect our own soldiers, among many other positive things it accomplished, but that barely gets your notice. We haven't worked on healthcare or tax reform in the last six years (unless you count that deficit inflating tax cut). We haven't moved the country ahead, haven't fought the war on terrorism very well, and none of this really mattered to you. But, Foley---oh yuck,---- well there you go! Understand, I try to not be inherently partisan and I only enjoy the GOP implosion because I feel they have been holding this country back from many important advancements and improvements like meaningful healthcare reform since they took the Houses in 1994. And they have been destroying what makes this country great since 2000. There have been Republicans that enhanced our standing in the world, seemed to care about all Americans, and had some bold ideas, but that was a while ago; the last one that really made a difference was Nixon, and he screwed up his own legacy. Reagan tried, but for each strength he showed, he hurt too many of the poor and downtrodden to be a true American hero. George H.W. Bush seemed to actually want to be a good President, but like Jimmy Carter, intentions were not enough, and those two were just lacking something that makes the difference between being just a good person and making it as a good President. I just find it funny that in the last six years Geroge W. and company could wreck so much of this great nation, get your kids killed while mostly not actually fighting the good fight, and spent much of the last five years using the excuse of 9/11 to turn America into some strangeChristian-KGB-Jihadist nation of preemptive warring, torturing, imprisoning without recourse, illegal bugging, illegal spying, paranoid intolerants that barely fight the real terrorists, did not catch Bin Laden, and still don't feel the need to secure our ports---Oh Yeah, in fact they wanted to sell the management of our ports (some of them) to citizens of the same part of the world they say are full of the terrorists. HELLO. Foley is a hypocritical low life supposedly fighting to protect our children while fighting to get in line to prey upon them as well. He was coddled by the GOP powers that be who knew what he was "up to" so to speak, for some time. Nevertheless, that is when you decided to wake up and smell the coffee? Maybe you just can't get your head around all that other stuff. Maybe you needed Foley to give you a local focal point. Maybe when you think about the billions a month we spend on the Iraq war, and our dead soldiers, all to make the world safe from--Saddam Hussein---wait, you say, we were safe from him when we had sanctioned his nation's ass back to the dark ages with a decade of embargo. That's what we all thought until George W. fresh from his semi-successful fight in Afghanistan (semi because he kicked the Taliban's butt, and that's something, but didn't finish off Al-Qaeda or Osama) thought he could really beat Saddam and his starved for 10 years band of hooligans--so he manufactured a crisis. And as is often the case when fools rush in where wiser men fear to tread---it didn't go the way he thought it would. In fairness to our President, it wasn't only him who believed all that nonsense. You can add Cheney and Karl Rove to that list. If I were Canada, Sri Lanka or Togo, I would be quaking in my boots right now, because I have heard through the grapevine that those three wise men, W. Bush-Cheney-and Rove--think they need a clear and decisive victory and they have created a database of nations they think they have the battle tested wits to defeat, and also those nations that they think our country either hates enough or doesn't know enough about, to wage a war against them. France made one of those lists, but we are pretty damn sure they do have weapons of mass destruction so our 3 sages pushed it off the list. Canada, actually is thought of kindly by many Americans, but it seems they polled an unusual number of surly hockey fans while preparing their study. And except for Sri Lankans and Togo, uh, Togo-onians?, well, people from Togo, they found that no one else really knew where these places were, or cared. The fortunate thing for these nations is that the 3 sages have only tested their wits in battles over the TV remote, because as we know, none of them felt the need to answer their own country's call for assistance back in their younger days. The bad thing would be, of course, that our soldiers, the finest the world has ever known, would actually be doing the fighting. So what is it gonna be America? Is Foley going to be the catalyst that gets you off your butts and using your America granted (they still haven't taken that away) right to vote, and start making a real difference starting this November? Or will countless Canadians and Togo-onians have to pay for your apathy???

Friday, September 29, 2006

Reforming Healthcare One Body Part at a Time

Ever wonder why, when it comes to health insurance, they decided that you teeth and your mind were second class? After all, your dental benefits and mental health benefits are inferior to your other medical benefits. Creating benefits that are all equal is called 'parity' so a mental health act that created mental health insurance with no differences would be a mental health parity act. Clinton tried to help, but only got so far as creating mental health parity for government employees and their health plan. Now, the idea is back, through the states, like New Yorks own Timothy's Law. It isn't full parity, does not go far enough, and removes the onus from the smallest businesses, but it is a start...for New York. Other states have their versions also. One thing the Federal Government found is mental health parity does not really cost more because mental health care costs may go up a bit, but other aspects of healthcare drop, as does lateness and absenteeism when mental health care is easily accessible and affordable. One thing that will need to come about for true parity will be when the stigma of mental illness is abolished from people's prejudiced minds. People need to view mental illness like other chronic illnesses; such as asthma and diabetes. It is true that there is an aspect of mental illness,, when not properly treated, that lends an air of unpredictability to the situation. With proper treatment, understanding and supervision, this can be minimized until the risks are statistically no more than for the rest of the population. Removing the stigma and exploring the real costs and benefits of mental healthcare will be where we will go from here. As we begin to discuss the reforming of the rest of healthcare we will see how mental healthcare will integrate into the entire program.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My phonecall with Satan...

Sure, I already knew I would be talking to Satan when I saw him on election night (see below, the second posting to this blog), but I was surprised when my cell phone rang and above the phone number it just said HELL.
"Mr Rove?" I said.
"No, this is Satan." the Devil responded.
"Don't tell me you are cancelling for election night?" I asked.
"No, not at all. I am calling because I wanted you to know I was very upset by what went on at the UN last week." He said.
"Many people were, but I would think that circus would have been amusing to you." I observed.
"Oh it was, until that boob Chavez from Venezuela went on, and had the nerve, the audacity, the poor taste to call George W. Bush---the Devil."
"I see." I responded.
"The nerve, to equate George W. with me, ME! George W. is third circle at best down here. It's not just about being Evil to make you rate down here, baby. You need skills, 'tude, finesse. No, George W. is not like me. Pay the Devil his due. He's worse, cause he's got the bluff without the bravado. I play by the rules. No one suffers in Hell until they have been proven guilty. Yes, we have due process down here. You remember due process, right? You used to have it in the US too." Satan started laughing now. Then he said, "In fact, if you look at how he operates, spitting in the face of the UN and the world when they called for restraint in handling Iraq, he ignores international treaties on everything from global warming to weapons limitations, his administration not only tortures innocents in the expectation that some may be guilty, but his administration fights for the legal right to do so,---no, that's not the usual evil, that's really low. Lower down than where I come from, and that's pretty low. Around here, contracts are binding, know what I mean? In fact, he is more like the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad. They both argue that they do what is best for their nations, whether that is the concensus or not, and the rest of the world, if you will pardon the expression, "be damned!". And Chavez, forget about him, I had plans for him, but now he'll be cleaning HELL'S Kitchen--- and bathrooms, for all eternity!"
"Okay. You don't mind if I write about some of this, right?" I asked.
"If I didn't want that, I wouldn't have let you blog our discussion about election night." He said.
"I see. I thought the way you were showing your disapproval for my telling about our meeting, was by stopping people from actually reading my blog." I thought a moment and then said, "You mean I don't get any 'hits' on this blog for real?!!!" I asked, sobbing.
"Sorry. Not my fault." He responded.
"You know, by the way Satan," I began, "something about your voice reminds me of a girl I used to know...."
"That was my niece." He laughed.
"You know," I said, "her mother used to tell me she was the devil,..."
"Nope, just my niece." He said. "See you on election night," he reminded.
"Yes," I said, "see you then...."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Here's To Your Sanity, America

I would like to move onto Healthcare more than politics in the very near future, so I thought I should write a little about why politics has taken so much time here. The political process is where everything that needs to be done for healthcare and tax reform, as well as political reform, will occur. We need to understand what has gone on, and goes on, if we will, as a nation, do what needs to be done to effect change in the near future. Let's look at an example. Let us say that you are a young, single, heterosexual male, and you are also a bit of an idiot. When you meet women you are attracted to, you say things like "Hey Baby, come here often?" And "what's your sign?" Or, maybe even stuff like, "darling, let's get something straight between us" or "If you were the Lincoln Tunnel, and I was an 18 Wheeler, how often would you let me go to Jersey?" (By the way, when you say things like this she thinks you are probably more like a Mini Cooper than an 18 Wheeler.) Now, you find that women don't respond to this? You are not getting any where at all. No dates, no conversations and no action. Would you attempt, ATTEMPT, to figure out what was wrong and make a change? Of course, you would. You want some companionship! Just like if your boss said you were doing something wrong, you would try to do it right, if you wanted to keep your job. But, as I have often tried to point out, Politics does not work like anything else. Politicians are the only people who get penalized for learning from their mistakes. When a politician changes their mind, they are usually branded as "flip-floppers" by their opponenets, and in fact the press does not help either. It is the only profession where it is considered a virtue to never further educate oneself. President G.W. Bush actually, helped by conservative commentators (most recently David Brooks in the NY Times), considers it a good thing that he has not wavered in his stance on Iraq and terrorism, in the face of overwhelming evidence and poor results contrary to many of his opinions. That is not stick-to-it-tiveness to be admired. That is more like stubborn, fool-headedness that should be booed off the national platform. But, as he sits there lost and confused as our young people die on the battlefield, the President could soothe an aching conscience, if he had one, by remembering "Hey, I'm not a flip-flopper on the issues!" There you go. Some of the most basic things you learn from your parents, and at school: Don't run from your mistakes, learn from them (apologize if it is warranted) and move on, is anathema to politicians. This is why it is so hard to make major progress quickly, even on the most important, or fundamental issues. We need to start voting in a new breed of politician, that worries about doing the right thing, not being good at being a politician. Then we will be able to reform a few things. Now, in my next posting I would love to move on. Our national news rarely gives me a chance to ignore politics in favor of these other issues, but we are going to try....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Here's To Your Safety, America

After all this time you would not think we still had to to examine this, but we obviously do. As I watch the completely inept and insipid "Right" begin the campaign season by again trying to paint Democrats as soft on terrorism, I think it's time to really discuss what's going on here. As was reported by the bipartisan 9/11 commission, Al Qaeda was responsible for the World Trade Center disaster. We knew Al Qaeda was holed up with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Going into Afghanistan was the right thing to do to fight terrorism, the right thing to do to protect our nation, and was just the thing to do under the circumstances. Nevertheless, we blew it by taking our eye off the ball. We did not get Osama bin Laden. We did not eradicate Al Qaeda. We didn't even finish the job in Afghanistan. So our soldiers continue to die while Al Qaeda continues to plot. Why did we take our eye off the ball? I don't know. There are a lot of theories as to why the administration was so interested in Iraq, and all evidence points that the administration was clearly focused on Iraq prior to 9/11. We are not going to look at that now. We can save that for another day. What's relevant here is, did invading Iraq aid our fight against terrorism? The 9/11 commission didn't find a link between Al Qaeda, terrorism, and Iraq. It's inconsequential whether we believed there were weapons of mass destruction or whether there actually were any. Why? I'm going to tell you and then you'll see why this entire Iraq campaign was a smokescreen to cover ineptitude, poor intelligence and deceit. Terrorists commit terrorist acts. That's because they can and they want to. Countries don't because they cannot. What do you mean? Of course they can! Well, they can try, but the risks outweigh the benefits. They can back terrorists and supply them, which is why we need to be concerned about these things, but we get ahead of ourselves. Let us first examine why we were not at risk from Iraq. We know Saddam Hussein used to have weapons of mass destruction because he used them on his own Kurdish people. But he didn't use them on us back in 90 during operation Desert Storm. You know why? Because once a country, a place, a known quantity, uses an unacceptable means to achieve their goals they know they have unleashed a tiger. We'll nuke them back to stone knives and bear skins. That's why Saddam Hussein didn't use the weapons when he most likely had them, and most certainly why he didn't bother to keep them up like we thought he did. Now, this is just my opinion, who can really say what was in someone else's mind, but we invaded Iraq because our President's daddy was never more popular than when he was whupping Saddam Hussein. George junior wasn't having such a good run to begin his presidency since he wasn't actually elected to office but was placed there by the conservative Supreme Court. 9/11 was just devastating to the country and, naturally, to his presidency. After all, if you watched the debate between Bush and Gore leading up to the 2000 election you will see that Bush promised to be the anti-terrorism president, and dropped the ball as soon as he came to office. He knew the nature of terrorism, or at least his advisers did. It wasn't going to be so easy to wipe out Al Qaeda. But a repeat in Iraq, after they'd been emasculated by 10 years of embargo and sanctions, seemed likely, and nobody really liked Saddam Hussein anyway. Nobody trusted him, not even the Arabs since he'd already invaded Kuwait and it took the Americans to come in and throw him out. It probably looked more like a war that the president could win, and a way to regain the popularity his father had once known and to keep it going until election time. At least it would look that way to a simpleton. Now we have the mess we are in, and we have to deal with it, clean it up, and lose more of our young soldiers in the process. No, unfortunately, we can't just pull out. If we could, I'd let you know I thought we could. But don't confuse this war with the battle against terrorism. All we did was take an Iraqi people that was fractured and bitter and oppressed by a ruthless dictator and free them up to consistently commit heinous terrorist acts against our soldiers and their own people daily. Our soldiers are heroes. They risk their lives every day in order to protect us and keep us safe. We owe it to them to only have used them as a last resort, and only for a clear and present danger. We failed in that charge. All we can do to make it up to them is to figure out how to get them home safely and as quickly as possible. Any politicians irresponsible enough to do what has been done are not protecting us, but merely fueling anti-American feelings around the world . They are also misleading us as the world degrades into an even more unsafe place. Remember it was eight years between terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Don't be lulled into some false sense of security because since 9/11 we don't get attacked regularly. Terrorists don't necessarily work that way. As we have seen from the few plots we have managed to foil since that time. Don't allow politicians to convince you who is strong on terrorism. We don't really know at this point, what current politicians would be strong on terrorism. So far, all we know are those that are particularly inept, misleading, and foolhardy. The politicians that led this campaign and those that were most supportive of it, are not strong on terrorism. It's true they talk a tough game when sending your children out to die. But they don't seem to manage to send out their own children, and so many of them never managed to serve their country even though they grew up during war time. It's amazing what some politicians were able to convince a large portion of the American public. But drunk driving and avoiding the draft and combat in war time are really not virtues. When you can see the validity of the things that we have discussed here, you can begin to vote into office those politicians that will really keep the country safe. No party has cornered the market on patriotism. Regardless of what some politicians and conservative commentators would have you believe. Vote with your head and we will win this battle. But it won't be easy. The president was just reported to be gearing up for election season by attacking the Democrats and saying that anyone who advocates pulling out of Iraq doesn't understand national security issues. Admittedly, for the one or two politicians out there who are advocating pulling out immediately, that may be true. But this is not what many Democrats and others are talking about. They would like a timetable to show the American people that we don't plan on leaving their sons and daughters in the midst of this disaster for many more years to come. The administration is having trouble with this because they have no clue how to get out of Iraq, when we'll be able to get out of Iraq reasonably, or what Iraq will look like when we do. So they do what they've been doing for the last six years. They mislead, they obfuscate, they draw your attention away from the real issues. If I were them maybe I would do it to. I certainly wouldn't want to focus on the issues that I've created when I've made such a mess and clearly don't understand international policy. To quote Santayana and he has been time and time again: Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it. Maybe if the members of this administration had spent more time in Vietnam combat instead of so much time finding ways to avoid it; and thus avoid serving their country in a time of need, perhaps they would've learned enough to avoid the terrible mistakes they've made today. We'll never know, because enough people in this country felt it was okay to allow those who were too afraid, too cowardly to fight in our wars, to wage them now using our children. It's a sad state of affairs, but let the blood of those children rest squarely and equally on the shoulders of this administration who put them there and on the people who kept this administration in power. It's not a pretty thing to say, but unfortunately the truth is like that sometimes. If you can honestly say you sleep better at night because Saddam Hussein is deposed... then you obviously limit your news sources to the Fox network. Because I'll wager there are very few Iraqis who would even say that. I'd sleep better at night if Osama bin Laden were caught or killed. But we didn't finish that job. Now, if you would like to moved towards straightening out this situation, and get back to doing what is best for our country, instead of what is best for just the oil industry, then we should all vote much more conscientiously and carefully in the future. And then what? Maybe we will actually get some politicians concerned with real national security issues, like the fact that over 90% of all shipments coming into our ports go unchecked. And put more money into intelligence services, but use business quality control methods to improve intelligence gathering, and also realize that there are sources or "snitches" out there that still may get it wrong even if they don't seem to be lying to us. At the same time, hopefully these new politicians will not abuse the American people by taking away those things that make this country great, by illegally wire tapping and watching where we go on the internet. By the way, those things haven't led to anything significant, except to prove why this administration needs to be impeached. The best days for the greatest country ever to grace the face of this earth lie ahead. We have proven, as a people, that we can do anything--ANYTHING. The sooner we start cleaning up our government and making our politicians accountable, the sooner we can get back to those most pressing of national issues, such as Healthcare Reform.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Here's To Your Health, Connecticut

It is not easy to compile a list of politicians with less understanding of the forces that move our great nation and the world at large, then our own president Georgw W. But you can add to the list the self serving, obnoxious and completely misguided (Soon-to-be-Ex) Senator Joe Lieberman. What's the matter Joe? Too busy kissing the president, and extolling his virtues as he misfired on the war on terrorism by pushing the nation's youth into Iraq, to notice that your constituency stilll had morals and values that you had somehow left in Connecticut while leaving your heart in Iraq? You want to blame your loss on the old politics of partisan polarization and you think you need to save your state, country and party? Yeah, you do, from yourself and guys like you. You should do your party a favor and do what you have all but done, become a Republican. You already cannot accept your mistakes. You cannot take responsibility. You know very well how to mislead. You could be President! Or perhaps your friend W. could make you Iraq's ambassador to Afghanistan. Or Afghanistan's ambassador to Iraq. It doesn't really matter which. You'll be safe in either place because, after all, Mission Accomplished! Maybe you should be Iraq's ambassador to Lebanon, as your keen insight and thoughts about how well things were going in Iraq after your visit there, should help you sort out the mess in the rest of the middle east. Between you and George W. you could really make a difference in the middle east and improve the economy (that's the middle east oil producing nations economies) by ushering in $5.00 a gallon gasoline prices with your $100. a barrel oil. They have term limits in Connecticut Joe, they call them elections, and they limit you to the number of terms your electorate thinks you deserve. I am sure you will get a couple of votes as an independent Joe, (yours and Haddasah's) but if you are counting on the Republicans to sweep you in, take note of this: One thing the conservatives are good at is unity. They stick together in the face of lies, stupidity and outrageous deficits. It isn't good for the nation, but it sure does wonders for FOX's ratings. And except for the few conservative alcoholics who haven't been born again, you might not see much in the way of right wing votes. But that's okay. Your acceptance speech, oh I'm sorry, that was supposed to be a concession speech, was a brilliant kick off to helping everyone forget the implosion you began with your support of the war, by creating the mother of all wars on sanity and decorum. You will have lost all respect and voters, and you will not prove a spoiler, or much of anything in this election. You were not the worst politician, but you made your mistakes, and even though you seem unwilling, you are already paying for them. You are, however, a terrible loser. You chose to ignore the voice and conscience of your constituency, so now you are in search of a new constituency. Independents rarely achieve that goal in numbers large enough to win elections. If you do win, it will say more about the people of Connecticut, and the poor candidates fielded by the Republicans. You may be able to paint Lamont as too liberal, and scare an electorate that benefits disproportionately well from this administration's tax cuts. But you will be a senator in limbo, supported by no one, except maybe by a few diehards from Ross Perot's old runs. But your desperation is understandable as you painted yourself into a corner you should never have walked into, and found no doorway to get out. You are a candidate bereft of a moral core, certainly of one shared even vaguely by the voters that gave you your job in the first place. Let us see if the Connecticut voters have what it takes to make a statement about where this country is, and where they would like to see it going.
Uh-oh HA (Hypocrite Alert!). It has just been reported that Lieberman has called for Donald Rumsfeld to resign. He claims he actually said this would be a good thing back in 2003. I guess he is trying to remind us of this so he won't seem like a hypocrite. But perhaps Rumsfeld and the rest of us were lulled into believing he rescinded that opinion when he returned from Iraq in the fall of 2005 and said he "saw real progress there". Give 'em Hell Joe, or Heaven, or whatever you think will work today! But here's the part that shows you that it isn't easy being Joe Lieberman these days. He is no doubt doing this to distance himself from his lovefest with the Bush administration, but it is just after it has been reported that Republicans are getting behind him instead of their perceived unelectable Republican candidate. Wouldn't it be funny if this pissed off the Republicans and they threw their support behind their own, or, more hysterically, Lamont? The Right Wing is too busy these days with misleading and damage control to be ironic, but it would be an interesting twist, no?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Coming soon.

--A discussion why every community should worry about tolerance and parity for the mentally ill.

---The Whore of Babylon Awards. Politicians who have sold their morals, ethics, or possibly even their souls, for a shot at a bigger stage.

---Look into why healthcare reform is going nowhere.

---A few thoughts about Medicare Part D.

---Even a foray into the near future of NASA.

All this and some ideas for the Governor of New Jersey, coming throughout the next couple of weeks.

Friday, June 30, 2006

So I was... a bar in NYC and found myself listening in to someone’s conversation. As it so happened, I was sitting next to Satan and he was on his cellphone. He seemed upset and was repeating what he heard. Apparently, there was a train full of managed care and health insurance executives, politicians, lawyers and doctors all on their way to Washington D.C. for a congressional hearing on healthcare reform when there was a terrible accident. All were killed, and their souls were on their way “down” for processing. Satan dropped the phone on the bar, threw his hands up in disgust, and cried out: “What did I do to deserve this?!”

Interested, I said: “Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you, and don’t take my intrusion to mean I want to spend my afterlife down south, but…”
“Don't worry,” he responded ominously “it won't change a thing.”
“Okay, so you’re unhappy with the crowd coming down. Then what was the deal with healthcare reform? Tens of millions of uninsured Americans, outrageous costs growing exorbitantly, and yet you derailed it in 1994.”
“No, that was the Republicans. I can't be everywhere at once. I’m not God, you know!” He started to laugh. “Contract with America, contract, get it? That had me written all over it, didn't it? Besides, what are you complaining about?” Satan demanded. I gave you Medicare part D drug coverage”
”Like I needed you to tell me where that came from!” I said. “Surely you couldn’t have made it any worse!”
“No, that was the Bush administration. I was just going to have it drive up the deficit and inflation, not that anyone would have noticed these days! Oh, and I was going to leave Viagra out of the formulary. Heh heh. It was the Bush administration that came up with including the healthcare industry in a meaningless role that only serves to drive up costs, complexity and headaches. I tip my horns to them, it was a master stroke of chaos and disorder. They could have a real future with my organization, if you know what I mean.”
“That's not very nice, considering they claim to be one of the most religious and moral administrations," I retorted in a hollow patriotic timbre.

“And I claim to just be misunderstood.” The devil laughed. “But maybe when one of your cities is being wiped out in a hurricane and flood, you should move your butt! ‘Heckuva job Brownie.’” Satan was really laughing now. “I swear, I have political advisers and speechwriters dating back to Grant and Garfield and Nixon, as well as any number of Hollywood screenwriters, and a future option on Karl Rove, and I still can't make this stuff up.” We were both laughing now.
“An administration that wouldn’t release information about its secret policy discussions with energy producers, placed stumbling blocks in the way of the 9/11 commission, and refuses to release documents about its response to hurricane Katrina, yet insists it’s okay to spy on Americans with wiretaps without getting warrants and following the law. I usually don’t have it this good in the U.S. of A. I usually have to go to Central America or the Middle East for everything to come together like this!” Satan howled.

“Let me remind you,” I began, “one of the things that makes this country great is the democratic process. When national election time rolls around we get to throw out the misfits and try again with a new crew. The next Congress might be the beginning of straightening these things out!”
Satan put his arm over my shoulder, leaned in close until I could smell a mix of sulfur, brimstone and single malt Scotch, and said: “Really? Great! Let's meet right here on election night November 2006 at 9 p.m. and see how much things change.”
“Okay.” I said.
“In fact,” he smiled: “How about a little wager?”
While thinking over his offer, we agreed to meet on Election Day 2006.

Starting off.

I'm going to be putting what I think here. Hopefully you will too. I'll be including editorials, letters and passages from my writing projects that I think are relevant.