“We live in a society, not just in an economy.”
Rashi Fein, Professor of Medical Economics, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
Have just screamed at my television; disingenuous Orrin Hatch, again arguing that, had Ted Kennedy been well during the whole health care debate, the Republigoats would have joined hands with the Dems and sang kumbaya and all. What a disingenuous bastard. If Republigoats were capable of meeting at the center, they would have done so.
By the way: Who is Liz Cheney? She has never been elected to public office, and she is not a journalist. She is a Republigoat shill who has worked for State. Who is she, and why is she invited to provide commentary on This Week with Jerry Snuffalufagus? It is absurd.
Meanwhile, on “Meet the Press,” apparently, Ted Kennedy appeared on “Meet the Press” a lot. Did you know that? That’s so fucking interesting!
Media Matters is worked up today because Lush Rimjob and the boys are treating Ted Kennedy badly. I think this comes under the What the Hell Did You Expect Department. Kennedy was a leading liberal and their sworn enemy. We should be surprised if they did not attack him.
The more important question to ask is why did not the “liberal media” do an equal attack job on The Traitor to his Country Ronnie Raygun when he corked off a few years back. Days on end there was not a media outlet that did not sing the praises of that traitorous moron and his revolution… which is rightly said to be the cause of our current troubles.
Of course, those of us who remember our history might also point out that Ted Kennedy contributed significantly to the rise of the Raygunner. In 1980, Kennedy opposed a seated Democratic president in the party primaries and substantially weakened the party. Kennedy would not shake the president’s hand at the end of the convention, in full view of the nation, and the Kennedy family, with its considerable political machine, sat out the election.
Carter was not largely popular generally because of his efforts to move the country away from oil dependence, and specifically because the Iranian Mob had taken over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. (The Embassy take-over was prolonged and sustained by the Raygunner’s henchmen, who had promised to support the Ayatollah if only they would hold the Embassy hostages until Raygun took office.) (Jimmy Carter was also unpopular with the Massachusetts Democrats because his investigations threatened to expose Tip O’Neill’s corrupt manipulations of government contracts.) Still the election was not a landslide, and may have been won with hearty support from the Democratic base, which Kennedy controlled.
I try not to hold this against Ted Kennedy too much. Everybody makes mistakes, and ultimately we hope that Kennedy’s successes outweighed his failures. However, his eulogy deserves a footnote.
New York Governor David Paterson just signed into law a bill that bans texting while driving. Really. What’s next, a law that mandates common sense?
This is not untypical of the way they make law in New York. Something bad happens and it gets a lot of publicity… in this case a car load of teenagers were killed just down the road from my house because the driver was texting at 80 miles per hour. So we get a new law on it. New York also bans cell phone use while driving. (And you can bet that New Yorkers never never never talk on the phone while driving. See I said never three times in an attempt to be ironic.) The cell phone law responded to a fatal accident where the driver held by the public to be at fault was found dead with a cell phone in his hand. (The victims, appropriately sympathetic, were a mother and child.)
An accident that killed a family on the Taconic Parkway caused by a woman who was on pills and booze will no doubt lead to more legislation against driving while on pills and booze.
The fact is that we have plenty of laws that deal with this kind of stuff is overlooked by legislators willling to ride the wave of publicity that comes from sponsoring a law that will solve the latest headline crisis. Reckless driving could certainly include cell phone talking when it is clear that the accident was caused by inattention. Texting at 80 MPH is a strong hint that the driver was being irresponsibly reckless. Its much more important to get headlines for solving this complex problem…texting while driving… than it is to worry about whether we are gumming up the statute books with unnecessary crap. Not to mention the time and material wasted passing the bill, getting it put on the books, disseminating the new stuff…on and on and on.
How much time does the most dysfunctional legislature in the universe waste passing laws that we don’t need? Most of the time that they have, would be my guess. In the meantime, the budget is a mess, taxes are the highest in the nation and the state deficit is in the stratosphere.
My Congressman, Eric Massa, has had some of the tougher health care forums this August, with as many as 1,000 people showing up to “discuss” the issue. Of course, many of them just showed up to yell and scream bullshit. But fortunately some people came to talk issues… that is thanks largely to a pretty well-organized local Democratic Party. And Eric… a guy who does not usually like tough questions… has done a pretty good job of handling the bullshit.
The GOOP has seen Massa as easy pickins in 2010, because he is a first term Democrat and he is in a largely GOOP district. I don’t think this health care thing will help the GOOP much. Massa campaigned on a single payer platform, and has been sticking to it. Sometimes I think it gives him the best of all possible worlds … he can vote against anything that is not single payer and then go tell the conservatives that he voted against health care reform.
None the less he made some good sense the other day when he pointed out that a real problem is that no one understands the reform proposals. True, not a lot of effort has gone into selling the important part of the package. The opposition has managed to avoid focusing on the real issues by yelling bullshit real loud at every meeting. Massa says he will not support any proposal that is not clearly understandable to the general public. I don’t know that I would go that far…. I mean can you really write up the health care proposal in one-syllable, four-letter words?
Today marks 100 days until the Festival of Zappadan.
Darrell Hammond and a million other jesters had a lot of fun with Bill Clinton and his famous lip-bite with clenched thumb-point and his “I feel your pain.” With this YouTube video we now have scientific proof of what the exact opposite of “I feel your pain” actually looks like.
The woman at the town hall meeting is bawling at the mic. She says her husband has traumatic brain injury, and that his health insurance will not cover him to eat and drink. She is a crying, quivering person, laying out in a public forum a level of desperation, grief and terror normally reserved for funerals, or the golf course. Coburn emits not even an attempt at sympathy. Sure, we’ll help, he says, suggesting that she contact his office, then he pivots to the talking points, that government ain’t the solution, hoss. He suggests that neighbors should help each other (so get out your tin cup and start knocking on doors, lady!). What he’s seeing right there in front of him, in desperate, quivering flesh and blood, is the visceral rebuttal to the misinformed claim that the United States has the best health care system in the world. If it’s so god-damned good, then how is anyone, and I mean anyone, allowed to be in such dire straits?*
But much of what comes out of these town hall meetings isn’t nearly as genuine as all of that. Much of what comes is out-and-out libel of health care systems in other countries. We don’t wanna be no socialists, they says. We don’t wanna be like them Canadians. Wussies with their universal health care. But I have today on the Inter-nets come across an op-ed piece that crystalizes one aspect of their system that ours cannot touch. As Jeff Nishimura of Brandon, Manitoba, writes today:
Our health care system is treasured by the majority of Canadians. Yes, there is waste and we do have waiting times for procedures and surgery. These wait times vary from province to province, but I can tell you any Canadian politician at every level—municipal, provincial or federal—who wants to be around after the next election knows they must tackle these issues.
Outstanding. In Canada, the health care system is managed by elected officials. Instead of achieving some nebulous offer of help from a Congressman who, at the most can only actually wiggle his eyebrows at the powers-that-be, the Canadian citizen in such a situation as our poor wailing wife could apply thubscrews directly to the asshole-in-charge. Try dropping in on Stephen Hemsley sometime. Try even securing an appointment or inviting him to a town hall meeting. Do you think he’d show up to listen?
Nah. That’s what he bought Tom Coburn for.
Dick Chainey today is accusing the Obama administration of politicizing the Justice Department. That’s what they do. They take their own crimes and foibles and twisted positions and they project them unto you. So, when they talk about fearing “some bureaucrat in Washington getting between you and your doctor,” what their really afraid of is a health care system that is accountable to those it serves.
*Coburn’s apparent ennui with this woman’s situation is particularly weird and hypocritical considering Coburn’s active role in the Terri Schiavo debacle of 2005.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai. I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.
Were Rep. Barney Frank allowed to use such language in public, he might have used my personal favorite curse in the world, “May your shit come to life and kiss you.” Because it is so special, it is a curse I reserve for very special occassions only. I think he would have been justified in this case. This woman was ignorant and terrible. He did pretty well, though, with “On what planet do you spend most of your time?”
This is, by the way, the correct way to handle these twisted racist troglodytes. Don’t give them an inch. Were I one of these legislators, I’d come armed with an air horn. I’d set off the sprinklers. I’d certainly hire a few bouncers to work the crowd. And I would not tolerate this ugly, misinformed drivel in my meeting.
There will be many nice things said about Scowling Poo Robert Novak, who died today.
Here is how I like to remember him:
Now they’ll tell you that Novak was a tenacious, dogged reporter and a wonderful American who loved his country and was healthfully skeptical of government. There is, though, only one thing actually worth remembering about Scowling Poop Robert Novak: He blew the cover of a covert CIA operative in the newspaper. Even the fawning obituary at the conservagoat Web site Human Events had to call the Plame affair “truly strange.”
I can think of a lot more colorful language for it than that.