Archive for July, 2009

Racing Backwards; Moving Forward? (July 27, 2009)

Posted in Race on July 27, 2009 by

Using the word “stupid” often seems stupid.  O’Bama’s use of the phrase “acted stupidly” to describe the actions of the Cambridge police was neither smart nor appropriate.  However, he rebounded well and is turning the experience into something positive.

However, there is nothing black and white about it.  Blacks (and Hispanics and kids and the underclass) get harassed and detained and arrested far, far more often proportionately than Whites.  Harassment, detention and arrest are rites of passage.  When the light bar ignites on the black and white (the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor), it does not usually light up one’s life if you happen that day to be Black, Hispanic, young or an underclassman.

What really went on in Cambridge is difficult to determine.  When you lose your house keys and decide to break into a home, one hopes that a concerned neighbor will call the police and report an individual trying to break into a home.  A neighbor apparently did call.  Seems that everyone overreacted.  Many words were exchanged, few of them poetic.  Early unconfirmed reports suggest an overdose of testosterone.

We as a country handcuff and lock up far too many people.

A summit conference at the White House with a few cold beers may allow everyone to chill out.  They should discuss ways to reduce the use of handcuffs and lock up.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Silence is silver

He’s Doin’ Okay (July 20, 2009)

Posted in Economics, Health Care, O'Bama on July 20, 2009 by

O’Bama ran as a moderate and is running the country as a moderate.  Six months into his first term, he’s doin’ okay.

O’Bama is trying to unwind World War III.  Those who want America constantly at war are furious.  America was once regarded as the “city upon a hill” by people and by peoples who had never heard of the notion of the “city upon a hill.”  Talk to citizens overseas.  In past years, they said that they liked individual Americans but not America.  Now they like America.  That sentiment may keep individual Americans from getting killed.

O’Bama is trying to right a wrong economy.  Neither he nor his advisors recognize how thoroughly eviscerated the economy is today.  Paul Krugman is getting a lot of air time contending that the country should spend, spend, spend, spend and spend.  The country should not and cannot continue to spend, spend, spend, spend and spend without any real or realistic goal or strategy.  The economy is far more intractable than they acknowledge.  The Depression II is inevitable.  The growing number of long-term unemployed will impact O’Bama’s employment.  The undoing of the economy could be O’Bama’s undoing.

O’Bama has a healthy attitude toward health care reform.  The cost of doing something is a concern, yet the cost of doing nothing is an even greater concern.  He has not yet brought his trademark “Change” to the challenge of global climate change.  In time, one assumes.  He does seem inclined to reform such laws as the Mining Law of 1872 which has done much to ravage the environment.  Little things are revealing.

Not a bad start, O’Bama.

(This is the 40th anniversary of mankind landing and walking on the moon.  The “space race” may have been a continuation of diplomacy using other means.  NASA followed the Biblical directive to turn military rockets into civilian space ships.  The populace watched with awe and wonder at an awesome and wonderful achievement.)

Bumper sticker of the week:

One small step . . .

McNamara (July 13, 2009)

Posted in Foreign Policy on July 13, 2009 by

His last name forever will be associated with one word:  the Southeast Asia War Games.  He knew the Truth in 1965 and only had to live it.  Confronting President Johnson required superhuman and monumental strength, courage and tenacity.  McNamara could have sat down and pounded and pounded and pounded and pounded on Johnson, politely.  And he would have been pounded and pounded and pounded and pounded on by Johnson, impolitely.  The personal and professional downside to McNamara viewed in the right light is even promising; Johnson could have McNamara fired but not shot.  If Johnson had threatened to fire him, McNamara could have tendered a resignation letter.  “Bob, what’s happened to you?”  “Mister President, after consulting many others inside and outside this administration and reflecting for a considerable period of time on this matter, I became and remain convinced that our current strategy in Vietnam is counterproductive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “

That’s just not the way it is done.  He waited a generation – 30 years – until 1995 to confess his error and along the way condemned a generation to death and despair.  Fathers and mothers lost sons and daughters; brothers and sisters lost sisters and brothers; etc. lost etc.

The Best and the Brightest in America were and are really the Clever and the Connected.  “Smart” in America is too often defined as someone who can successfully lie, cheat and steal and score an estate with a helipad and stables and then a political sinecure or worse a critical post.  Success is simply about succeeding at any costs usually to someone else and almost always to society.  The profitable universities are the farm system and the training grounds.  All the gilded books and pretty poems on Truth and Beauty and Beauty and Truth that McNamara had the good fortune to ingest were just so much pulp.  The Harvard M.B.A. was a harbinger of harmful things to come.

When his avatar, Donald Rumsfeld, appeared and spouted the same message of death and violence, the nation embraced it with little reflection or reservation.  One can say with a high degree of confidence, as McNamara once prefaced his pronouncements, that the next Donald McNamara/Robert Rumsfeld is being groomed and polished for success by America’s public and private institutions as we speak.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Wrong, terribly wrong

Health Care Again (July 6, 2009)

Posted in Health Care on July 6, 2009 by

America is engaged in a civil war between those who are already wounded and those who are inflicting additional pain and suffering on the injured and infirm.  Health insurance companies are the greatest contributors to the grief.  A company whose business plan is to deny all claims is not the proper entity to be reviewing and covering proper claims.  The companies are mustering their considerable resources to work from the inside to preclude and prevent a comprehensive national solution.

America is spending an increasing percentage of a decreasing gross domestic product (GDP) on health care and receiving less prevention and treatment of illness.  The constituency for national health care reform grows each day with every valid claim that is wrongfully denied.  Those who are not covered at all seek coverage.  The cost of comprehensive coverage admittedly appears capable of bankrupting the country; the cost of no and limited coverage is bankrupting the individual citizens of this country.

What happened to a single-payer system?  Although the consensus seems to be that this is not the right time for sweeping reform, it is the time.   A single-payer system is the most efficient system.

[See the “e-ssay” dated February 25, 2008 entitled “’American Medicine’ Not ‘Socialized Medicine’” and the one dated October 23, 2006 entitled “Efficient Health Care: Making American Business More Competitive.”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Above all, do harm

–America’s health insurance companies

Press “1” to hear your claim denied in English; press “2” to hear your claim denied in Spanish; press “3” to hear your claim . . .

Eat healthy; Exercise