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Kennedy, Obama and the Passion Gap

Senator Kennedy's passing, and the resultant outpouring of emotion -- including the venom from online commenters who accuse Kennedy of everything up to and including the faking of the moon landing -- is a reminder of the role of passion in American politics.

Something about the Kennedys always got people fired up. Teddy was a political rock star when Obama was still a little boy. Charisma alone wasn't enough to put Teddy in the White House, but it helped him become a master legislator.

You need passionate support to effect powerful change. Obama had passion on his side in overcoming the odds and winning the presidency. But there's no public passion -- or not nearly enough, as far as I can see -- behind Obama's push for sweeping health-care reform. That's why so many pundit types are sounding the death knell for the incorrectly named Obamacare (there's no such thing as Obamacare -- he just laid out some broad principles, got stakeholders to come to the table, and asked Congress to come up with a plan).

There is speculation today that, to honor Kennedy, the Democrats will find a way to gain the upper hand again in the debate. But the converse seems more likely. Kennedy was one of the last people on the Hill who could bring partisans together on a bill that could actually reach the president's desk.

If the elected leaders can't or won't make it happen on their own, it'll be up to the American people to insist on a health-care bill. But it's hard to see that happening. Obama faces a Passion Gap [journalists love to identify things as gaps, in case you didn't notice].

The people who don't want Obama's reform don't want it more than the people who want it want it.

If you know what I mean.

It doesn't help that progessives threw a fit when Obama, seeing his agenda imperiled, signaled that he would be willing to compromise on the public plan. He's caving! Won't stand up to corporate interests! This is how the Left rallies in the clutch.

Simple political math says that any bill has to enjoy the support of centrists -- including Democrats who represent districts and states won by McCain in '08. But centrists are always playing defense these days. The center is a killing zone in American politics.

Most moderates already have relatively decent health care, which takes some of the urgency out of the situation. Moderates don't march. Moderates just go on vacation.

Sure, I'd like to see reform, because I'm worried about the long-term costs of health care and my own possible vulnerabilities as I enter the phase of life when, as I've said repeatedly, I'm worth more dead than alive. To the company bean-counters, I must look like a walking health-claim time bomb.

But I also am a fiscal worrywart who is alarmed, like most people, by the size of present and future deficits. You can't fix health care unless you can pay for your reforms. That's part of an ideology we call pragmatism. Some of us can get pretty passionate about it.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 27, 2009; 8:26 AM ET
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Next: A Small Gesture


Any speculation on how the expected H1N1 flu (if it happens) this fall could affect the healthcare debates. In a worst case scenario many of the uninsured, underinsured would need medical attention - could it be a factor.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Good kit, Joel. And you indirectly point out one of the fundamental hypocrisies of our time. Sen. kennedy is being hailed for his ability to compromise. When Obama does the very same thing, he's "bailing," he's "caving in," and et cetera. OK, people, which is it? Why is a Teddy compromise good but an Obama compromise evil? It's bull----, is what it is.

You're right, JA -- this is how the Left "rallies in the clutch." Disgraceful.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Borrowing from the MasterCard commercials:

"One cancer surgery - $85,000"

"One quadruple cardiac artery bypass - $150,000"

"Being able to say, 'PPpfffttttpp' to the insurance company, who would rather see you dead - Priceless"

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 27, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't quite understand this part of your system, what is the difference between caving and bi-partisanship?

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Well, exactly, dmd. "Caving" is when you don't agree, but "bipartisanship, negotiation," etc., are when you do agree (or at least see the wisdom).

Just like it is "standing by your principles" when you agree, but "stubbornness" when you don't.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I think the term got a little warped during the Bush years, when bi-partisan came to mean - do what *I* want, particularly early in the post-9/11 years.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Joel, there are realized costs which the pragmatist-side of us are now doing the accounting and those which we can ignore because they are not being faced.

We will face those costs, anyway. In this debade, we are scooping them up and "realizing them" and it is staggering.

Of course my point in the past boodle was that we pay for many of these costs now, but that is coming out of our collective savings and cash flow. AND, it is only going to get worse.

Joel, you are right to be worried.

Today, you have to take out a 2nd to pay for college and there is nothing left to pay for your part of that knee replacement surgery.

To be clear, one of the fastest growing businesses around is bankruptcy.

Pretty soon, we will all have to bypass the bypass. We will literally see our life times shortened. We will compound our health risks and we will pay the price.

Joel, I'm with you. My strategy is to make it to 65. I have lost weight and my theory is that I now try to smile a lot and be nice to old folks and pets. I ride a bike as much as I can. ... I try not to get run into by trucks. I know from experience that it doesn't feel good and can cause certain "complications."

I have lost a decent amount of weight. Don, I would recommend it as a good way to get your cardio up without straining the joints. I just "latch onto" a gender appropriate healthy 20 or 30 something (at a discreet distance) and peddle the Crescent Trail from the boat house (somewhere near the Palisades) and go to Bethesda.

Having been involved with sports my entire life, the bike was new to me. The mind needs to adjust to the fact that you have to keep your peddle rate the same, but the speeds vary. You progress is based on which gear you use for certain stretches. Can you hold a larger gear on a hill or do you have to drop down. As badsneakers was suggesting on running, it is a good feeling. You have to stay within your own abilities, but you can push yourself.

I used to walk about 5 to 10 miles a day, but was really beating up my feet and joints. AND, it took too much time.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Yes, dmd, I think it tends to go in cycles. If you look at the WaPo front page at this moment, TK is being hailed as "the Negotiator," the man who might bring the two parties together, yadda yadda.

This is also the very same man, of course, whom Rightwingers are calling "evil," the epitome of Liberals, everything they despise, and so forth.

What both extremes, left and right, tend to have in common is their very extremism, their hard-nosed unwillingness to compromoise or negotiate. We saw this very clearly over the past couple of decades, with Conservatives in Congress and the White House, most notable Newt Gingrich and his people, who were notoriously hard-nosed and uncompromising. (And NeoCons were even worse.)

So somebody explain to me how both "uncompromising" and "compromising" can both be complimentary terms? But they are.

Rightwingers, especially, are contemptuous of "the middle," of Centrists and Centrism, etc., which is why they hated a flexible Centrist like Bill Clinton much worse than they ever hated some flaming Liberals. They hated Clinton and Centrism precisely because they feared it. They were never afraid of Liberals and the further Left. They merely used the Left as a whipping boy. You don't fear the person you are whipping, and you don't hate him (perhaps paradoxically). Contemptuous, yes; fearful, no.

This is why Conservs and Rightwingers so disliked someone like George H.W. Bush, who was said to be a "pragmatist." "Pragmatism" is every bit as much a Dirty Word to the far Right as "Liberal" or "Socialist."

The most salient flaw of the Rightwing is its complete inability to see discriminations and shades of gray among the other side: they are incaple of distinguishing between moderates, liberals, far left, and "socialists," which is why they sling the term "socialism" around so freely. It isn't because they fear socialism (whatever that may be); it's because they simply don't know WTF it is, and cannot distinguish between liberalism and socialism. It's all one and the same to them. It's like being color-blind or tone deaf, being unable to distinguish between gradients, even major gradients.

"Bipartisan" is also a Dirty Word to the extremes. If you necessarily view the Other Side as "the Enemy," then bipartisanship is merely consorting with the enemy.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I hope you don't mind me disagreeing with you on the socialist thing. I believe in socialist-style health care solutions. I think that everyone deserves basic services and I think that no business can provide it as efficiently as the people.

Just like I, for the most part, think governments should provide roads and education and armies and spies(when really needed).

Having governments provide roads doesn't mean that you are against competitive businesses. In fact, businesses depend on good transportation. We all agree on this. What gets me is that, if I say that single payer is good for business, everyone focuses on the businesses that do health care and how we "hurt them." What about every other business that would be helped if they didn't have to provide health care to their workers?

I will make this claim, if we had a single payer system, the American auto industry would immediately improve its business situation.

I will make another claim, if we had a single payer system, small business would improve their standing in the business world and this would improve the lot of the entire country.

In actuality, Joel's point about which he is concerned is the truth, that it is the cost, if you gathered it into one number that is staggering. But wee know that! It is 1/7th of our GDP. That's the problem that we can't get our country's collective mind around.

In simple terms, for every dollar I earn, I need to pay 15 cents to my health care costs.... or more.

TRUTH IS, I would do it in 15 seconds, if I could. The current system won't even let me. But no one has asked me. More people in America will do it than won't, so we should get our way. Majority rules.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm unsure of the identity of these postulated centrists.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Sign me up for the Radical Pragmatist Party. We will circle the mini-vans around Capitol Hill and demand more moderation. We want reasonableness and we want it now, dammit!

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Well, Weed -- with respect to ALL of your posts (this Kit and last at the very least) I definitely *HEART* you. I think you're absolutely right.

As for me, it's two years and two days to Medicare and I ain't doing a thing (surgery-wise) until then, besides my now regularly scheduled physical therapy and my exercises.


Hey Yoki -- I sent you an email with a present in it.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 27, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand what it is you are disagreeing with me about, Weed. All I said was the Right slings around the word "socialism" without knowing what it means or if it is applicable to whatever case is in point.

I agree with you entirely on socialized (socialist) medicine. I'm practically a flaming anarchists: I hope all the insurance companies go bankrupt tonight, and I'd love to see the gummint national two-thirds of the phramaceuticals. I think "for profit" medicine is borderline criminal. I think public medicine ought to be the same as public education and public utilities.

It'll never happen, of course.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Aaaahhhhh, so good to come back to a long Mudge post on politics. I think Mudge nails it 97% of the time!

Wasn't it Dick Armey who said, "The only good moderate is a dead moderate"?
Dang, it was pleasant to watch Rachel Maddow take him apart on MTP a few weeks ago.

Managed to get through the last 2 kits:

The kid leaving for college....brutal.

Having nursed many patients on propofol drips, all I can say is that MJ's doc surely should be fearing the long arm of the law right now. It is mind-boggling that a medical professional would administer it outside the hospital on a non-ventilated patient.

Posted by: Kim_1 | August 27, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

You're unsure of the identity of Bill Clinton? Big guy, white hair, smarmy smile? Used to be president?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

What would you say if suggested that, as a citizen, I no longer believe that the govt could afford to pay for health insurance for govt workers?

I am just being a pragmatist.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

weed is really on a roll today. In the classic frog boiling metaphor we are already well past parboiled. The combination of for-profit health institutions and the increasingly disproportionate reliance on pharmacology as our primary health maintenance practice is out of control. The fact that the two sub-sectors fight so much over formularies and the like only means the grass gets trampled as the elephants fight.

The real problem to opponents of health insurance reform is that to get to universal coverage, you have to give free insurance to some people somehow and there are segments of the US electorate so opposed to that on misguided principle that their objections cannot be overcome by compromise.

The latest talking points is that Obamacare will only encourage illegal immigration since fear of deportation is the only factor keeping undocumented workers from overwhelming the system. I say that having a segment of the population avoiding health care is a public health hazard in and of itself. The unemployed and undocumented could become a vector in a H1N1 or TB or other similar pandemic and then the demagoguery will really start.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse


Congrats on getting the offspring off to college. Is it too late to fax you some tissues?

On MJ's doc--it seems that his only excuse for his behavior is that his patient *demanded* the propofol. Lessee, does that mean if I go to my doctor and demand to be put on a pizza, bacon, and cheeseburger diet (with a periodic IV butter drip) that she should do it?

I've got health care reform fatigue. Said everything I can say and have said it to the folks voting on it as well.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

There is no such thing as Obamacare. Ergo any talking points about it are BS.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse


Just kidding. I am sure that the Doc reported his incident. Actually (I am sorry, that would be another problem with the drug).

I am sure that at home application of the drug does not allow for the attending physician should walk to the bathroom and/or not be in a hospital with the patient in the ICU.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, there you go, Kim -- The guy was MJ's rent-a-doc of the moment, as opposed to a true professional with enough Hippocratic gumption to properly deny a patient's demands for something.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

To pile onto Mudge's point, if you can't get across to someone the simple concept that these are *congressional proposals* how much success do you think you'll have of convincing them of something more complex?

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

mudge, but the "death panels" are FOR REAL!!!! I've seen them. There is a group of black buildings near the Baltimore beltway. ... just sayin.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

yello, you have me chuckling. I remembered the old silly elephant joke... how do you know when 2 elephants have been making love in your back yard?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the WaPo home page has already dropped the "special coverage" box... Just me, but that's a little quick.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

*sigh* Weed, there are days I sometimes really *do* wish Death Panels were real. I have a list of candidates...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, Scotty. Who was that Masked Man?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Sheetz vs. Wawa? Why not import 7-11 stores from Japan? They're little marvels, complete with atm machines that have an English-language mode.

I remain hopeful that at least health insurance for the self-employed can be reformed.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 27, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse


It is a long standing tenant of people in the private sector that government workers are leeches living off the productivity and tax dollars of 'real' workers doing valuable things like building cars and growing crops and denying insurance claims.

Once you accept that, it is a corollary that government workers only need the bare minimum required to keep them from quitting en masse. The only reason they are in government anyways is easy hours, light work loads, low accountability, long leave packages and excessively generous health coverage. That is why we begrudge them things people in the private sector take for granted like good salaries, decent office furniture and free coffee.

I most emphatically do not subscribe to this view, but others do. So I would keep quiet about starting a grassroots campaign to defund government employee insurance benefits. It would catch on amongst the Glen Beck crowd way too quickly. Dragging everybody down is not the way to solve the medical cost issues our country faces.

Besides, the federal health system is the best administered and lowest cost per individual system around. The answer is to make everybody a government employee (or at least give them the same insurance). But that would be socialist.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Rep. Moran is online right now defending the public option.

I can only imagine the spitting vitriol in some of the questions.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It's more like drooling vitriol at the moment, Raysmom...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Seeing the other side's POV sometimes nets you nothing but eye strain. Compromise is not always a good thing. Some things are not negotiable.

"Look Mr. Brown, how about if we give the slaves evenings and weekends off?"

"Let's make a deal, Moses. I'll let half your people go. Whaddya say?"

"Please O Lord, that ark's not gonna be big enough. Let's take just one of each animal."

Posted by: kguy1 | August 27, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Broadly speaking, it doesn't matter who's writing the checks for health care. In the past couple of years I've payed out of pocket for my relatively modest medical needs (even though most of it would have been covered by my employer-provided insurance, for which I pay no separate premiums) because I think it's both financially destabilizing and morally reprehensible to use pooled insurance funds to pay for affordable individual costs. We're all paying for all of it. The astonishingly high bills that result from some health care episodes are typically a function of not-entirely-rational accounting practices, not from anything resembling the actual cost of providing the care, and are largely a result of the fact that other costs are being shifted onto high-dollar, reimbursable services.

When we use "insurance" to pay for predictable and affordable services, you pay for it, I pay for it, and the Social Security recipients whose Medicare premiums go up while their income remains relatively flat pay for it. No free lunches, baby.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 27, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I'm picture the questions he *isn't* answering...

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh... *nodding*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

seriously, the one area that cannot be topped by private industry is the penchant for fabulous org charts and amazing department titles.

The subdivision of e codes for prouty wife services.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different:

On GPS, Bob Dylan Might Guide Lost Drivers Home

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bob Dylan: folk-rock legend, poet-spokesman of his generation . . . and GPS voice?

Maybe. The enigmatic troubadour said on his satellite radio program that he is negotiating with two car manufacturers to be the voice of their in-car navigation systems. Insert your own Dylan-lyric pun here about "no direction home" or "there must be some way out of here" or "how many roads . . . ."

The wonder of this might not be that Dylan is selling out -- he has already done that by appearing in ads for Victoria's Secret, Pepsi, Cadillac and others, and he'll be singing "Here Comes Santa Claus" on a forthcoming Christmas album -- but that his famously raspy and mumbly voice would be suited for directions-challenged drivers.

Dylan himself wasn't even so sure about that. On his BBC radio show he gave listeners a preview of his would-be GPS vocals: "Left at the next street. No, right. You know what? Just go straight."

He also noted: "I probably shouldn't do it because whichever way I go, I always end up at one place -- on Lonely Avenue. Luckily, I'm not totally alone. Ray Charles beat me there."

As with much about Dylan, it's not exactly clear what he means. But as Dylan himself put it in his voice-over for a Cadillac Escalade commercial in 2007: "What's life without the occasional detour?"

Could this not be Dylan..yanno...pulling the BBC's leg?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, raysmom...tissues still needed at odd moments. The faithful beagle never goes upstairs, but I found him laying on my son's bed yesterday...nearly killed me.

S'nuke - Good one! Drooling, not spitting. Made me laugh.

Posted by: Kim_1 | August 27, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The same co-worker who believes that Canadians are dying while they wait for open-heart surgery is now complaining that it's taking her two months to get an appointment with an IN-PLAN specialist.

She just doesn't see that if all doctors are in the plan there's LESS waiting.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 27, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Takes me two months to get in to see some of my specialists here under Blue Cross, depending on the problem. My GP is generally booked three months in advance, unless I want to do a walk-in and get a nurse or a PA (which is often quite all right with me, depending).

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

kguy, I've been meaning to ask someone about this... where there mules on the arc? Hinnies?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Yes there were mules on the ark, just not right away.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 27, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

No. (What are you asking kguy for? He wasn't there. I distinctly remember the passenger manifest clear as a bell. No kguy.)

(Not that he wouldn't have been welcome. I'd have had someone to talk to who wasn't a raving lunatic, or four-legged.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

There are no death panels and there is no Obamacare except that these are useful if dog-whistle-ish shorthand terms that mean "proposed end-of-life counseling benefits to be paid by Medicare that health insurance reform opponents have disingenuously characterized as promoting government encouraged euthanasia either now or in the future as a slippery slope camel nose policy" and "a variety of legislative proposals which to one degree or another follow the general campaign platform of Barack Obama established during his primary contest with Hillary Clinton's (whose own plans were more comprehensive and 'radical') and which aim to increase the number of Americans covered by private employer-provided health insurance with some yet undefined provisions for those not eligible for coverage under those guidelines" respectively.

Feel free to come up with a catchy and succinct alternative description.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Papa was a running dog,
Lackey for the Bourgeoisie"

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Which version of the ark story are you taking, kguy? The one with a couple of each animal, or the one with 7 couples of clean animals and 1 of unclean?


Posted by: slyness | August 27, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I know that we will have a positive outcome from the health care debate. I think people always overcome their obstacles.

Here's to the final victory... pragmatic or not.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

They are not useful shorthand terms if they perpetuate wholely incorrect myths and ideas, distort honest discussion, and play into the hands of a totally nihilistic and conscienceless opposition.

Other than that, sure, go ahead.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I thought kguy was obviously referencing the upcoming "2012" movie...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Kudos for "hinnies." A word not used much anymore. Wiki has a good intro.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Not quite sure where my description of 'Obamacare' is inaccurate or deceptive. The fact that Barack for grand strategic reasons learned during the Clintons' foray into this quagmire has not explicitly proposed or endorsed specific provisions does not mean that the general direction is not in keeping with the platform with which he ran and was elected. This sausage is not quite fully baked yet (and perhaps not even half-baked), but the recipe is coming from White House cookbook. There are just 535 other chefs stirring the pot as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The health care debate alarms me a lot, because I know what my cohort (the current crop of teens and twenties) is experiencing right now. I visit another very large anonymous forum made up mostly of college-aged women. Very few of us have insurance. About once every couple of days, one of our members will ask the forum for medical advice because they can't afford a doctor. We've gotten pretty good at diagnosing low-level stuff on the fly. We sardonically refer to ourselves as Dr. [Forum].

Every now and then, we have to beg and plead for one of our members to go to a hospital--just in the past couple of months, one woman had all the symptoms of a heart attack, another was developing jaundice. I've never heard if either of them got help.

This situation worries me more than just about any issue facing the country, up to and including the economy. How sick is it that we have to diagnose each other? What diseases are developing unchecked among the uninsured? How much worse will my generation's health be as we age and things that should have been prevented start cropping up? It's an emergency.

Posted by: schala1 | August 27, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

So glad we could help, big sigh.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The whole process is akin to some corporate team building exercise where Obama is the guy that looks at the blueprints and can only give vague signals on whether the team is working in the right direction or not. The task is further complicated by the fact that a full 40% of the people he is directing are determine to dig a well rather than build a house.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

schala1, I think that's called "cloud diagnosing"... *SIGH* :-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

If there is no Obamacare, wouldn't that be unforgivable? Can he be truly planning on staying above the fray and not committing his political capital to specific set of reforms? I would hope for your sakes that he is waiting for a decisive moment.

Posted by: engelmann | August 27, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I just followed Weingarten's link to David Von Drehle's piece on Ted Kennedy, and I'm glad I did:,8599,1918968,00.html

(It seems like the kind of thing someone here would have already linked to; apologies if I missed it earlier.)

Posted by: -bia- | August 27, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of clouds (well Snuke was, wasn't he?), who here knows anything about "cloud computing"? I would welcome being on the receiving end of your educational prowess.

Hmmm. Prowess -- where would Mudge put that on a boat?

Posted by: -ftb- | August 27, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Crowdsourcing medical advice just seems inefficient and dangerous.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I can't do any better than what Wiki has, ftb...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Kristof at the NYT has a guest who's a former health insurance executive. He was getting increasingly uneasy about the denial of care and outright cancellation of the policies when people insured with them actually got sick (duh!). He had his epiphany when he saw people getting care from a charity which was using the stalls of a stable at a state fair. He quit the business altogether.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Here, includes a link to the full PDF, cost in U.S. human life due to under-care because of lack of health insurance. About 22,000/yr., one 9-11 scale consequence every six weeks.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Trying to imagine a GPS with the voice of Bobby Dylan (nee Zimmerman) and I can't help thinking that the answer to every query would be-

"I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61."

Posted by: kguy1 | August 27, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Cloud diagnosing indeed. Good one, Scottynuke!

Posted by: schala1 | August 27, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

In several discussions leading up to the fall 2008 election, I asserted that the trial would be getting the support for Obama's candidacy to stay by the goals that we were voting for. Now it's time for all believers in those hopes to stand up and be vocal. But it requires our efforts at understanding the plans, options, pros, and cons of different approaches. Analysis tells us certain things down the line; the question is not whether we can pay for them, but whether we have the will to pay for them. Is a better society worth its cost in taxes? Is a worse one?

Posted by: Jazzman7 | August 27, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Crowd-sourcing medical data is horrible. For one thing it's bent because of herbal hucksters, secondly because of the anecdotal nature of people's standards for proof ("I took mint tea and my cold went away").

By the way, crowd-sourcing for computer problems is also awful at present also. Every problem caused by an electronic chip or hard drive is way over-diagnosed on the web as "virus."

A trick I use is to only include educational (university) and government sites in computer searches. This is done by using the following form: "head lice"
for example. The first hit I see is from Harvard, who may not be perfect but it's the best free advice you probably are going to get. Except mine: vinegar is good for killing nits. A science-fiction author wrote this in a book I can't remember.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The Kristof article is very good. Right now insurance companies are where credit card issuers are: Lightly regulated and prone to abusing their customers. Like Potter, watching 'Sicko' and seeing the tactics used avoid paying out benefits was a game-changer in my thinking. Only by spreading the risk across the population can we level the inequity.

I have heard one theory that insurance companies have waiting in the wings a bevy of poor coverage - high margin products designed specifically to meet the letter of any legislation while still being able to avoid high risk payouts.

Without a comprehensive catalog of required coverage features (no payout caps, mental health coverage, coverage for 'experimental' procedures, broad formularies, no excessive administrative hoops) it will be just business as usual with a bigger flock to fleece.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

And that, yello, is the problem with "compromise" when it comes to this kind of reform. Change is not always reform.

My family currently pays out an unsubsidized $13,000 in health-insurance PREMIUMS a year. That will go down to about $10,000 in a few months, but still... I'd rather pay that $10k in taxes toward Universal Healthcare. Wouldn't you?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 27, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The reason that the left says Obama is caving is that he's giving up those things that made sense, in a futile attempt to get the Right on board. Perhaps he should have started with single payer, then compromised to the public option. But since single payer was off the table, what's left without the public option? I'd march on Washington but I can't afford the plane ticket. I believe there will be one in September, because there is an anti-healthcare march planned.

We elected Democrats to get this done. Unfortunately many don't have spines or negotiating skills or the will to get this done (I'm talking to you, Max Baucus).

The Democrats in 40 years haven't figured out how to come up with pithy phrases to combat Obamacare and death panels.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 27, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse
Favorite comment: "Turkeys who voted for Thanksgiving" re. town-hall shouters.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

And I quote:
"Mike Enzi, one of three Republicans ostensibly negotiating health care reform as part of the Senate’s “Gang of Six,” told a Wyoming town hall crowd that he had no plans to compromise with Democrats and was merely trying to extract concessions.

“It’s not where I get them to compromise, it’s what I get them to leave out,” Enzi said Monday…."

Posted by: seasea1 | August 27, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

On the end opposite the sterness, ftb.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

or poopness.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

or aftness...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Poopness is good. Kicking myself for not thinking of it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

scotty, I have always prided myself in my aftnesity.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Although not technically correct. All ships have a prow, but not all ships have a poop. In fact, most no longer do. A tragic omission, methinks.

However, all ships can be pooped, although it would take one helluva wave to poop an aircraft carrier.

This incredibly pedantic moment in nautical poop history has been brought to you by The Ancient Mariner, dispenser of all things naval, some of which bear some semblance to truth, and some do not.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -ftb- | August 27, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

That Von Drehle piece is a bit over the top!

Posted by: nellie4 | August 27, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe they put that Dylan thing on the front page. Talk about a thinly sourced story--a minimal quote from a man notorious -- nay, legendary -- for leg-pulling and other "creative" oral testimony.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I am curious where does the term "poop deck" come from for ships (the obvious?). I could Wiki it but I think your answer would be much more entertaining.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

When I was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins, a place which prides itself on its medical expertise, we were required to have health insurance. Since we were over 21, we were not eligible to be on our parents' policies any longer as dependents -- we could be included, but it would be very pricey. But, JHU came to the rescue with its own policy, specially crafted for the needs of a young, well-educated, relatively healthy population. The most splendid cost-saving provision of this policy was the note that they would pay 100% of the cost of medical tests that were positive, and not pay for negative test results. Since we were poor grad students (JHU also offered the lowest teaching-assistant stipend of any grad school that accepted me, by ~25%), we could not afford to pay for even a single negative test. Thus, nobody ever had any tests until we were so sick that testing was superfluous.

That, plus the craven lack of support showed for grad students when the IRS tried to reinterpret rules in order to tax tuition reimbursement as income (which would have created a tax burden comparable to the take-home from stipend income), is why I have never and will never send a single penny to JHU as charitable giving. They sold me a product at the highest price possible and treated us as unvalued customers. They have no claim on my loyalties. liked my department just fine, but above that administrative level, I feel no fondness.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Probably from the same root as the French "poupe" for stern (and "proue" is for bow).

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Thou dasn't poop on le poupe, or you'll be [insert most dire, unsanitary, and utterly revolting consequence you can imagine, here]

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 27, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Senator Jacques Demers, how does that sound? In a role reversal he'll be coached by Senator Frank Mahovlich on his new duties.
Demers admitted in a book a few years back that he was functionnaly illiterate for most of his coach career. Stephen Harper really has the golden touch for picking his senators...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I should have added a link.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, that's it... we need a "no doc" health ins. policy ... everyone is 20 years old and is fantastic athlete. No one smokes and we go to bed at 8:30 every evening.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Well he will certainly be an improvement on Senator Duffy. Might spice up the language at committee meetings though :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

One major point about the issue of who compromises is worth making here. As a Senator who chose to separate the politics of running for office from the politics of effective governance at least in the legislative arena, Ted Kennedy could make difficult decisions in private and get others to do so as well. President Obama still equates running for office with governing and cannot conduct the critical business of the latter as it needs to be conducted-behind closed doors where conflicting interests can be balanced and reconciled. Instead of conducting town hall meetings as though the election had not yet been decided he should be meeting in closed sessions with members of Congress from both parties.

Posted by: jweley | August 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Are the comments on Joel's blog moderated somehow? Or are Achenreaders just a different breed (but how to you keep the loonies out)? I always marvel at how civil and literate the comments here are, compared to those on most other bits of the Post.

Posted by: stantheman1 | August 27, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

obama has ZERO experience in passing legislation

peopple hired a good talker who is good at getting elected.

Beyond that , what has he done?

Nothing, nothing in the state senate, nothing in the federal senate, nothing as a lawyer, nothing as a part time teacher.

He's NEVER passed a peice of legislation that he introduced. NOT ONCE.

You all wanted him to replace the idiot Bush, and now you have him.

THinkking people knew he'd be an inept president.

As President, he's a dreamboat for the republicans

Posted by: newagent99 | August 27, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Joel, I'm not buying it. There is plenty of passion on the pro-reform side. Just because the reformers don't scream and yell and make wild eyed accusations it doesn't mean that it's not there. The media thinks there's no passion because the passion of those who favor reform doesn't make for good television.

At the end of the day there will be reform because there HAS to be. Even the medical lobby groups recognize that fact.

Posted by: MitchellPolman | August 27, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Welcome stantheman1, we are fortunate here with very civil boodlers, however there are exceptions on certain days.

Stick around if you enjoy civility, humour, intelligence, science, literature, gardening you will enjoy.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

stantheman followed immediately by newsagent and my Irony-O-Meter slams the needle over to MAX.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 27, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

stantheman1 (a Marvel comics fan, are we?), we are a different breed. The people who are used to the nastiness of the web but who appear to be redeemable get an invitation from the regulars to stick around (Hey, stantheman! Stick around, dude, you seem to have what it takes) with, at worst, a gentle and friendly rebuke for impoliteness (say, jweley, you offer a trivializing opinion of Obama's conception of governance, when both of the last two Presidents offer a much clearer example of what it means to equate campaigning with governance -- and Obama definitely isn't a simulacrum of either of them). For the genuinely crazy and vicious, there is the zapper -- if you go back through the archives, you will occasionally find comments that make reference to other comments that do not seem to exist. That is the sign that Joel has wielded the zapper, and zapped them, usually within an hour of their appearance. I spotted just one such incident in yesterday's Boodle, but I didn't check last night. It's a sign of how well the system works that the zapping of nasty posts is not a full-time job.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Rachel Maddow made the point a week or two ago that folks working for minimum wage cannot afford health insurance. They would spend every cent on the insurance. No room for co-pays, or food and shelter for that matter.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

What kguy said.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to newsagent, I now know the argument to get rid of the final few Republicans. Didn't we run the government solely from the White House for eight years? Who needs stinking legislation when you have executive orders and staff memoranda to guide the way.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I would like to mention the following: my current employer pays 100% of family health insurance. If anyone would like a job doing space science education and public outreach, and has the ability to pull grant money from NASA or other organizations, we might be interested in you. Unfortunately, we are 100% grant-funded, so what I really mean is: my employer would be happy to process your paperwork for you on the grants that you will have to win before you can be employed.

Any takers?

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Tim, help me with my mixed metaphor, but most of the herding of cats is below the water line. We really don't know much about the administration's efforts behind the scenes.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

dmd, shriek had it essentially correct: middle English poupe, from Old French, from Latin puppis. In the middle English the verb poupen means to blow a horn, and was quickly vulgarized to "break wind" (as opposed to its current meaning.

The poop deck is the highest, furthest-aft deck there is on a multi-deck ship. In the British Navy, it is more properly called the "quarter deck," in part because it tended to occupy about the last quarter of the ship. You never find Jack Aubrey pacing up and down his poop deck; rather, he likes to pace his quarter deck.

But "blow" does in fact come into the term poop deck in a logical way, since that last upper deck receives the most wind.

Now, to disavow your other contention, no, no person aboard a ship poops off the poop deck, for several very good (if slightly counterintuitive) reasons. First, it is a very exposed location. Second, it is where the officers and hemlmen hang out, and hence not exactly a good place for the average deckhand to conduct his business, if you know what I mean. Third is the disposal quesion. In point of fact, aboard those old sailing ships, most of the crew attended to up in the bow of the ship. You know that part of the ship where the big bowsprit joins the ship, and there's all that fancy-schmancy fret work and whatnot? Yup, that's the bathroom. That part of the ship is called "the head," and to this day that's why we speak of "going to the head." Why were the facilities located here? For the very excellent reason that that area of the ship was constantly doused with seawater from breaking waves. Hence it was constantly and automatically being "cleaned" in all but light airs. And yes, many a sailor found himself washed overboard on a dark and stormy night when he went forward into the head to answer Nature's call. And it was not a place to linger reading one's newspaper.

(To answer your other unasked question, officers tended to use chamberpots in their quarters, and only the captain might have had an actual "bathroom," a "seat of ease" sticking out over the stern of the ship.)

In one of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, Dr. Maturin gives Jack a pill to deal with his gastrointestinal troubles, and Jack spends the better part of two days on his seat of ease, moaning and groaning and generally being miserable.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

A brief bit of googling has uncovered newagent99's storied history of baseless drivel on Next.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

During the Bush administration, when the POTUS went on the road to make a speech, opponents were arrested and/or ejected for wearing the wrong T-shirts.

Obama holds a town meeting and guys show up with loaded firearms and get to stay.

Feels like change to me. Matter of fact, it feels like freedom.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 27, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I know of a number of local universities that will do the same. You are right to suggest that the challenge is a big one. I am sure you know a number of folks from various disciplines who were scrambling for grant money. I have a friend who just got re-funded after two years waiting--in a medical area which had negative funding allotments.

Tim, I would be more likely to sing Fly me to the Moon on pitch than win a dollar of grant money. AND, the odds are better for me to win the lottery than to sing anything that wouldn't peel paint.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Really excellent, kguy. *standing to appluad*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

am i applying the transitive law?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I thought stantheman was Stan Musial. Showing my age again.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 27, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama is campaigning, but he is not campaigning for election. He is campaigning for public support to accomplish reform that will be technically difficult, politically intricate, and have lasting consequences. Without that support, congress will not stick out its collective neck on anything, and one can expect repeal the next time that party politics shifts. A change in the fundamental mode of business requires widespread support. So, my impression is that jweley may have correctly identified what Obama is doing, but has totally failed to correctly interpret the meaning and importance of why he is doing it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I saw one university boldly advertising research positions that would be 100% grant-supported. I was amused by how they described it as a job offer, when really it was a plea for work to keep from down-sizing their office staff.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I really can't figure out why some in the media seem so anxious to try to count this bill out.

Posted by: mypitts2 | August 27, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, you lift the hood and that's what is going on. I think I have an invitation to work for free at a local business school.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

kguy, my Irony-O-Meter also pegged when Stantheman wandered into the conversation regarding the finer points of Naval Architecture.

Stan, dmd3's short list of topics was by no means all inclusive. Our shop steward, Mudge, sailed as second mate with Noah on his ark. So, things: nautical, military, and other big-boys-toys stuff will surface with, ahem, regularity.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 27, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Don, you are correct, perhaps we should devise a list of topics that are not discussed here might be shorter.

Thanks Mudge, I could make so many comments about two days on the "seat of ease", in big waves and at a good clip you would have thought the sea water would have sped up the process. Trying to put that delicately!

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

One of my favorite topics is "the designated hitter rule began the end of civilization as we know it."

Also dogs, cooking (hey! where was today's virtual lunch?), dew points, red carpet fashions, and the sorry state of copy editing in today's newspapers.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse



Jwelery...seems to me that a lot of this *is* being hammered out on the Hill, and the town hall meetings were an attempt to (gasp) inform the electorate. So voters could, you know, learn some of the finer details and express their opinions. The shout-downs weren't the goal, and aren't the Administration's fault. I don't know if you're a local, but here in the US, we rely on our elected representatives to operate (by and large) under a clear sky with plenty of sunshine. Our system *requires* we be kept in the loop, otherwise next thing you know some whackjob is going to invent a story and take the nation into a war or two. Sound familiar?

On top of that, as much as our image has been tarnished in the rest of the world by the actions of the last Administration, among our own citizens the image of open government has taken a hit as well. Isn't it possible that as troop reduction levels and Gitmo inquiries are being undertaken in part as an effort to repair that image, maybe the town halls are serving the same agenda, just on a domestic front? Just a thought...

Back to the salt mines. Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 27, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

But, Mudgekins -- what about pupik? Where's *that* on a boat if a boat doesn't have a *ahem* "navel" (only a naval instead)? Answer me that!

270 Don -- you are a funny, funny guy!

Hey, stantheman -- can you knit?

And for my Canuckistani friends -- about Monsieur Demers -- does that mean it's hockey season already????

*getting out my slightly tarnished from last year's Stanley Cup finals Detroit Red Wings Jersey and feeling astonished that Nick Lidström will be 40 in 2010*

Posted by: -ftb- | August 27, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

NUMMI, the GM-Toyota joint venture plant in California is closing. It was Toyota's first plant in the US, with the products sold as Chevy Novas until Toyota was confident enough to put its own label on some of the vehicles (Corollas and little pickups).

GM pulled out of the joint venture a few months ago, and the SF Chronicle and others are reporting that Toyota has decided not to continue on their own.

My 1989 Geo Prizm served me faithfully for 12 years and is still in use (3rd owner). I recently bought a Pontiac Vibe from NUMMI.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 27, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Let us not discard newsagent's point too quickly. He is of course wrong that Obama has zero legislative experience; he does have an admittedly meager two years at the federal level. So let's see how many other presidents have similarly small federal or gubernatorial experience:

Washington (spent a lot of time marching and stuff), John Adams, Jefferson (running around Paris a lot), Monroe, W.H. Harrison (lots of marching), Zachary Taylor (another big marching guy), Grant (more marching), Hayes (two years, same as Obama), Arthur, T. Roosevelt (only two years as a governor, zero federal experience, fair amount of marching, though he tended more toward horseback), Taft (zero years), Wilson (two years as a governor, zero federal experience), Hoover (zero experience), Eisenhower (zero experience, another marching guy who rode a lot), Obama (two years federal).

That’s 34.8 percent (call it 35 percent) of our presidents, though I suppose the first couple of guys might not exactly count.

One might note that's a list Sarah Palin would be quick to join.

I agree with you entirely, mypitts2.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

ftb, ships don't have pupiks -- only the sailors do. One per man, standard issue, located topside and amidships. They came in two basic varieties: below decks (innies) or on deck (outies). Useful as a holder of salt when eating celery, otherwise not especially in demand for anything.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than marching up and down the square?

Posted by: engelmann | August 27, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

From the NYT 03/22/09

"Responding to the financial crisis, American companies sharply reduced their spending on direct-mail marketing last year, according to the Winterberry Group, a marketing consultancy. Winterberry said this was the first such decline in more than 60 years of record-keeping. The company arrived at the figures by surveying 305 companies in the direct-mail industry.

The cuts represented at least nine billion pieces of mail, according to Winterberry’s analysis of Postal Service reports. Not surprisingly, credit card and mortgage service solicitations dropped the most sharply, falling 21.8 percent and 38.8 percent in volume respectively, according to Mintel Comperemedia, a direct-mail tracking firm."

See, this economic cloud has nine billion silver linings!

Posted by: kguy1 | August 27, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

We completely forgot to have virtual lunch at Yoki's today. *chagrined*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, well, the mailings from real estate agents wanting to sell my house keep turning up. I let everyone know that I am willing to sell just as long as I am paid in small unmarked currency.

I rent.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Until this year, when two standing senators faced each other, having actual federal legislative experience was seen as a negative correlation to electability. Reagan, Bush I and Bush II all had zero to little legislative experience at any level. Once again we have a retroactive requirement that seems tailored to fit the prejudices of the speaker.

Much like the wingnut observation that Obama and Imadinnerjacket (Prez of Iran) both disdain neckties when the previous office holder had the same predilection.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Gardening, don't forget gardening. It's one of MY favorite topics.

I'm so impressed: SciTim said simulacrum. That's such a cool word.

Posted by: slyness | August 27, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

And, completely off topic, here's a commercial that's been airing for a while, but I never get tired of it. Mercy, that's a cute dog!

Posted by: Raysmom | August 27, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

We pay twice as much for health care per person here than any industrialized country.

Health insurance companyexecutives make millons and millions while they deny legitimate claims until the patient dies, cherry pick to 'award' insurance only to the most healthy.

Hospitals bill every insurance claim at 135% to cover ER costs for health care for the indigent and illegals...the costs are then passed on to all private insurance holders as increases in their premiums.

Insurance premiums have quadrupled in the past 10 years, and will double again in the next three.

Today, one in every six dollars of household income goes for health care. In 10 years, it will be one in every three dolalrs of household income going for health care.

American manufacturing has been lost because the cost of health insurance is tacked onto the cost of products that other countries don't pay.

More than half the bankruptcies in this country are due to health care costs that families cannot pay.

The entire is unsustainable.

One might wonder why republicans did not come up with a solution when they owned the white house and Congress, and insurance costs were doubling.

Now you might wonder why none of them support health care reform to at least do as much as other countries do.

The answer is the millions and millions the health care industry has paid congress to ignore you.

Passion has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: dutchess2 | August 27, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to go see the Pats - 'Skins preseason game, englemann...

Oh, and don't forget everyone's favorite topic -- BACON! *wiping up drool* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Just for fun, imagine a very bad person swimming in shark-invested waters.

Ah, yes, the punch detail: wearing a full-body swim suit made of bacon. Let's make it double layers.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 27, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

is it thick or thin sliced bacon?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey, CqP. Been missing ya.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Two layers of thick with one thin between.

Miss you too, Mudge. Off to pick up the WonderBoy to ferry him to his lifeguard station. The college kids are fast way, so the high school guards become top dogs.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 27, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

CquaP, I believe you just discovered the next major advance in competitive swimwear.

As long as the governing body will allow sharks in the pool...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, maybe all we need is the illusion of sharks in the pool.

Posted by: slyness | August 27, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Holographic sharks? With frikkin' holographic lasers on their frikkin' heads?

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think those sharks would be holo for long. I think they'd spoil their dinners on bacon-wrapped swimmers pretty quick.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. Jumper
has a running dog papa?
Top dogs at poolsides?
I get sick one day, all changes--
Except the pain in my butt.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

As I moved my oldest into her dorm today, I did consider the fact that her generation will be facing debts and problems inerited from My g-g-g-g-generation, just as we've inherited debts and problems from my parents'.

To Joel's Kit, at some point, bills come due. Even if you don't pay it, at some point it gets taken out of someone's hide.

I guess we're down to that classic dilemma of the underfunded - deciding which bills to pay and which you're going to allow to reduce your Cosmic Credit Score.

Still, health is not something I care to trifle with. We have a Very Special Flu season coming and 45 million people without health care provisions, is this the right time to be arguing about who's credit card this is going to be charged to?

We may end up paying for it one way or another.


Posted by: -bc- | August 27, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

We as Americans tend to be complacent until there is a crisis and then we over-react grossly. I would expect nothing different in this case.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

bc, exactly. With that, I take my leave.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 27, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Whoopieee. A CqP sighting. I've wondered where she was hiding. Do you remember when you were a kid, going to the screen door of a playmate's house (long before A/C, so the main door was always open), and yelling inside, "Ooohh for [name]..."

I wanted to do that, but, it seemed ... unseemly, somehow. And, wouldn't you know it, it's time to shove off.

Speaking of snacks for sharks. Has anybody else seen this viral email about an Aussie fisherman who freed a great white shark from certain death, being entangled in a very strong fish net. Like Androcles, this fisherman now gets greated by this shark every time he goes out to fish. The shark rolls over to have it's belly patted, and smacks its fins like playful seal. The story is complete with pictures of the fisherman playfully patting the shark, mouth open wide, on the head.

This is either a well conceived UL, or sharks are a whole lot more inteligent that *I* gave them credit for.

Yoki would be so verklempt.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 27, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yoki -- did you get my email from earlier this morning? I sent you a picture.

*hope it didn't end up in the bacon-wrapped spam folder*

Posted by: -ftb- | August 27, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the interruption, folks, but this teaser from the front page is just screaming for an editor...

"Barred by immigration from entering U.S., Va. family finally welcomes adopted girl from China."

So the family was barred from entering the U.S., eh? Was the girl here already?

Uh... no. Sigh.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 27, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I don't think that fairy tale is going to have a happy ending, Don.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

And now I want to share a great email I just found in my SPAM w/BACON folder. I couldn't resist opening it after I read the subject line: HARRY MORGAN LOANS INC.


Dear Valued Customer.

HARRY MORGAN LOANS INC. offers financial services to determined clients all over the world. We offer loan to individuals all over the whole states in America continent, Asia, Europe, Canada e.t.c. It will be right for you to decide to transact loan business with this great company as we committed to meeting our genuine client's business need's wherever and whenever.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 27, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

You've ID'd one of the problems: there is no "Obamacare" because there is no Obama plan.

He gets little or no mileage from his ubiquitous appearances and speeches because he has nothing specific to defend or promote.

What he argues for are essentially "desired outcomes," not detailed plans. Many Americans lost faith in their government with this approach, beginning with TARP and the Porkulous bill, followed by the auto bailouts.

You reap what you sew.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | August 27, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Ah, carp. Shoulda gone to Snopes first.'s UL didn't have anything.

*Banging head on desk*

Well, it sounded pretty good, at first.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 27, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The reason there is not one plan is because the Congressional Dems did not get their act together and pass a bill before the recess. That's why Obama set a deadline, which Congress missed. Thank you, Max Baucus and the wily Republicans.

And you reap what you sow, too, also, so...

Posted by: seasea1 | August 27, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Uh, just how many curmudgeons do we have? This is reminding me of Michael Keaton in Multiplicity.

For future reference: Our mudge - which are your model numbers.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I might point out that Curmudgeon10 isn't me. I'm 6 when I'm at work and none at home. Don't know who that is.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

That's not "our" Mudge, is it? #10?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 27, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Pretty clear that #10 wasn't our mudge.

So who are curmudgeon 1-5 and 7-9?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, right then, off you go.

Posted by: engelmann | August 27, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Porkulus wrapped in bacon. Mmmmmm.....

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -TBG- | August 27, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

There are 10 models. Only three are known.

Posted by: engelmann | August 27, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I went over to the Boston Globe for the Teddy Kennedy coverage, and I notice that they apparently disabled their comments. The other articles have them.

I can only imagine what sort of drivel they've received.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 27, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I believe the correct term is "you rip what you sew."

Posted by: nellie4 | August 27, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Er, maybe that is "you sew what you rip."

Posted by: nellie4 | August 27, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Do any look like Lucy Lawless?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious as to the legal theory behind the lawsuit against a Michigan judge who told a Muslim woman to remove her headscarf in court. Where's the tort?

-- -- -- --

"A courtroom video of the hearing shows Albaghdady appearing before Callahan wearing a loose headscarf.

"No hats allowed in the courtroom," Callahan told her.

"This one?" she asked, touching her scarf. "Ah, OK. It doesn't matter."

Albaghdady pushed back her headscarf for the rest of the hearing on her request to change her name. Callahan denied the request on technical grounds.
Albaghdady, a native of Iraq, said Wednesday she was intimidated by Callahan and feared she would be arrested if she refused to remove her hijab.

"I come from a country where you can't say no to a judge in a courtroom," she said.

-- -- -- --

I'm not sure I see much legal ground to proceed here. I'm certainly not against the idea of allowing women to wear scarves, but I don't see how that's going to be accomplished in civil court. Maybe a restraining order against the judge?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

LiT, you nailed something I'd missed -- the idea that the Town Halls this summer (the President's and otherwise) serve multiple purposes, including image rebuilding from the previous Administration.

Could you imagine GWB or Cheney conducting a series of Town Halls to discuss the invasion of Iraq, or the treatment of prisoners afterward?


Posted by: -bc- | August 27, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Ha, nellie, good - I was trying to think of that, couldn't come up with it.

Off to Stitch 'n' Pitch.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 27, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon everyone
Back from the river where i caught more fish then my age.Canada came through for me again.

Yesterday I was able to go on the river with friends and had a Great paddle,despite my aching back.When I floated into the Potomac and the waters of the two rivers mingled,it was if my whole mood had changed.I was at peace with the world,one with both rivers and content.The back pain went away and I enjoyed a nice sunset on the river.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh is how I felt.

Back to the back,I am one of the 48 million Americans without health insurance.I am lucky I got injured at work,someone else will pay my bills for me.I can see a doctor and not worry about still being able to pay my mortgage.Living without health insurance is like "skating away on the thin ice of a new day"(miss you Error) in other words it just plain sucks!!!

In 4 days I get health insurance,let's hope I can survive till then.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 27, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I would take that sort with a bucket of salt water, but am verklempt anyway.

And now I am going to take my small hurt feelings at being stood up for lunch and do something productive with them.

Posted by: Yoki | August 27, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I happened to be driving to the cape around noon. There were quite a few people on the Sagamore Bridge and many more in a parking lot on the cape side of the bridge. In the lot there was also a ladder truck from the Bourne FD with a very large flag flying from the top of the ladder. My friend, who came from further down cape said that the rest areas were full of cars, all were waiting for the motorcade from Hyannisport. According to "S" who was coming south, the road up to Boston was loaded with cars that had pulled over to the shoulder to await the motorcade. It was like that all the way to Boston. I almost feel weepy, it's amazing how much we here in MA cared for Teddy.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 27, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon10 couldn't have been Mudge; our Mudge would never make a mistake like reap/sew. Jeez.

GWE, hang in there and be careful! I hope the back pain will abate quickly.

kguy, loved the thought about freedom at town hall meetings. My Congressional rep had a couple last night. I understand they were raucous.

Posted by: slyness | August 27, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

SCC: story.

Thanks for the report badsneakers.

Posted by: Yoki | August 27, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

badsneakes, thank you for sharing that.

Yoki, by being productive does that mean - virtual dinner :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC badsneakers, so very sorry.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

We might want to alert Hal and JA to the faux 'Mudge...

Just a thought.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that the Mudge that posts on Liz Kelly's blog?

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that the Mudge that posts on Liz Kelly's blog?

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I think the correct aphorism is "You sew what you rip."

Posted by: shilohgun | August 27, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

"U.S. doctors protest Canadian medical schools killing live pigs"

What do you do in the US, medical schools kill dead pigs, stuffed pigs and pickled pigs only?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Unless you sew wrong and have to do it all over again. Then it's "As ye sew, sew shall ye rip."

Posted by: shilohgun | August 27, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

And for comic relief Denis Leary and Lenny Clark are in the broadcast booth at the Sox game making fun of the oldtime Sox players who look way too young. The regular on air guys are just letting the two comics take over - very funny!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 27, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

This is so sad,

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

On a more serious note,health care cost pragmatism, especially radical pragmatism, may be nothing more than obdurate Objectivism of the Ayn Rand variety that celebrates the virture of selfishness. Those already covered by their employers or one of the many forms of government health care plans (Medicare, Medicaid, VA, etc.) really don't want to think about the 22,000 adults who die each year without health insurance. They've got theirs and that's the end of the story. Altruism, to Rand, is a fault, and the present state of the debate suggests that's how those noisy contraries think, if they think at all. FYI: In the provided link (thank you) the highest cohort of uninsured deaths was the 45-64 age groups. The living among that age cohort should be solidly behind universal health care.

Posted by: shilohgun | August 27, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: shilohgun | August 27, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh dmd, that is terribly sad, poor woman, poor dog! And don't worry about mispelling my name, you have no idea how many times I've had to correct my own typos!

Shilohgun, empathy is something Teddy had in abundance. It is a noble virtue and I don't understand those who can't manage to employ it. Are we a united country or just a bunch of selfish people out for ourselves? Don't answer that!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 27, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Sir Mudge mutated
and dogs no longer save lives?
World's topsy-turvy...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps they follow a different path, shiloh,

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 27, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm a moderate. There are things that I would like to see in the healthcare package that I don't see, like the following:

1) There should be somewhat better health care coverage for the working poor than for the non-working poor, as an incentive to work. Right now, the non-working poor receiving Medicaid have better health care coverage than the working poor, which is an incentive not to work.

2) There should be some government-sponsored programs to try to reshape certain cultures involving obesity, drinking to excess, smoking, drug abuse, pre-marital sex, and other societal ills which add hundreds of billions per year to our health care costs.

3) Abortions should be paid for, but only after pre-abortion counseling is done, concerning the availability of adoption and the willingness of people to take care of a woman while she is pregnant until a baby is delivered. One of the things that should be pushed in the pre-abortion counseling would be various types of sterilization, particularly in the case of women on public assistance who have more than two children or children by multiple different fathers.

These are things which could gain middle-class and moderate support for providing insurance for poor people, a sort of health insurance reform version of welfare reform, which was very popular and very effective.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | August 27, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Like the Presidency, merely having a Fed chairman "less crazy than the last one" is setting the bar pretty low.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Interesting definition of "moderate".

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

"pushed in pre-abortion counselling."

You really have no idea of medical ethics, do you? All options should be offered, but NONE pushed by law.

And "sterilization"-- such a nice word, which has eugenic and racist overtones, even if you don't realize it.

Why not birth control?

As it is, I've known young women who have been turned down for tubal ligation they specifically requested by doctors who didn't believe they were old enough to know what they wanted.

It's not that women need government programs to tell them what to do with their bodies, it's that they need education (as in sex education-- which is another political football), and they need insurance to pursue preventive care.

I agree with you about 1).

And there are already programs such as you describe. They're called education programs, scientific research grants, and so forth.

What, are you expecting government workers to come in and force people to change?

From where I stand, your moderation sounds dangerous to me, as you clearly prefer more government control and less liberty.

And I say this as a moderate Democrat.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

No-- not "somewhat better coverage"-- let's shoot for equal coverage at least.

You can earn a lot more if you work if you're not rejected by private health insurance providers and/or sunk by health care costs in the process.

Nobody needs incentive to work; they just need NOT to choose between earning a buck and staying alive.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Moderate eugenist he meant our rippie.
Pre-marital sex costing hundreds of billions? I've been getting it for free for nearly 25 years.
Yes, next week it will be our 25th anniversary of living in sin. Better start planning something.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

25th wedding anniversary is silver.

25th living-in-sin anniversary would be...
silver-banded cuban cigars?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

(sorry bc... shouldn't have mentioned silver. I wasn't thinking.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Government programs to prevent pre-marital sex, now there would be money well spent. The term p*ssing in the wind comes to mind.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

With respect to how the left rallies, might it not possibly have something to do with the administration once again walking away from doing what's right in order to appease the right?

During 8 long years, progressive Americans waited for the day when a law abiding administration would once again take power. Sure that when that happened, the lawbreaking would be punished. Imagine our surprise.

Not even torture seems to be enough to rouse this administration to doing its duty and upholding the law.

As far as the looking forward part, baloney. These crimes weren't dealt with by the authorities of that era because the authorities of that era committed these crimes. For this administration to investigate and if called for prosecute those actions isn't partisan after the fact sniping. It's the first law abiding American government to be presented with the opportunity and obligation to do something about those crimes.

Like the Clinton administration before it, the Obama administration seems to be more concerned with getting the approval of some mythical group of moderate republicans than that of its base.

The fact that the Democrats can't get elected without progressive voters seems lost on them. As does the fact that there aren't any republicans, not any at all, who'll ever support Obama.

So, of course, bargain everything away to a bunch of screaming gun toters and water down health care reform. Just to keep up the spirits of the base, its perfect timing to announce the retention of rendition.

Again. The left rallying? For what, surrender to the right?

Posted by: fredfawcett | August 27, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

The moon is a perfect half-disc. bc should be resting confortably.

I don't smoke anymore. And Cuban cigars are perfectly legal. They'll be a dinner somewhere, that's for sure.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

SCC comf...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 27, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, I was trying to stay decent, SD.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

hey, shiloh. LTNS. Hope all is well with you.

Feeling kind of twangy tonight...

Posted by: -jack- | August 27, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

hello boodle. Thoroughly back boodled, but now I'm too tired to say much of a substantive nature. Big waves to CqP!
After living in denial for a few days it's time to mention how lovely our turning leaves look. This time of year the first golds and reds glow against the still predominant green. Wildflowers are at their absolute peak.

A brighter than bright spot in my day, heard these words come out of the mouth of a teen I've been working with- "You were right."

Bacon on a stick report-36 hours to go (moved up the state fair trip by a day).

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 27, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, that was a great link to the Lemmings show. Chevy Chase's biker rant is a classic. Brief as it is, the Canned Heat parody is always good for a chuckle.

Posted by: -jack- | August 27, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I feel fredfawcett's frustration.

But I feel a silly story coming on, too:

Bob Forward, sallied forth and, sword swinging, pushed Rear Admiral Ward Bass back across the poop deck of the Golden Hind. Steel rang as the stern but tiring Admiral backstepped cautiously towards the aft railing.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, as I was driving around today I noticed the colours of the late summer flowers/wildflowers, yellows, purples set off against the green of the surroundings, tiniest hints of colour on the trees that will turn early than most.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 27, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

With musical accompaniment!

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 27, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

How can a Journalist write a column and have no idea what he is writing about? To set your mind at ease, "The Ted Kennedy Health Care Bill will be signed into Law this year, with a Strong Public Option."

Now with that said, the President has more supporters than you can image. They don't have to be jumping up and down like Children, to be seen, or walking around with "fire arms", which means nothing in itself.

In due time you, the Opposition Party, the Nation and the Gun Nuts will see his supporters, and you won't have to look for them.

There seems to be a disconnect when it comes to "Common Sense", in the Country. Shouting matches accomplish nothing, somebody has to use their Brains. It's obvious, those on the Republican Party side aren't using any Common Sense. The Insurance Companies are spreading "LIES"...all over the airways, like all American citizens are Gullible.

Passion is most affective if it comes from within, not sound bites, and screaming crowds.

Posted by: austininc4 | August 27, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I personally have a passion for not dying due to lack of health insurance.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 27, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

austininc4 is feeling a twinge of messianism.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 28, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Hello shiloh. Insurance companies that does rescission has no 道教.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 28, 2009 4:04 AM | Report abuse

...probably should be 道 德....

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 28, 2009 4:10 AM | Report abuse

I’m telling you, we ESL people have mercy with your English language. We just butcher it any old how. There’s Singlish, Manglish, Chinglish and a couple of other “-ishes.”

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 28, 2009 4:29 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, rainforest1. The American health care dilemma is indeed an ethical question first, but is sadly subsumed to objectivist arguments.

Hello too,to Jack and DNA_girl. I'm just passing through, picking up a few nuggets of useful information and planting them on other sites. The link provided by Jumper1 to: "Uninsured and Dying Because of It" has been seeded onto the current Krauthammer screed. Twenty-two thousand dead uninsured is a nice non sequitor to those who fear the spectre of health care rationing. Death because of uninsurance is the ultimate in rationing.

Posted by: shilohgun | August 28, 2009 5:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Chinglish link, rainforest. It was a good humor, so to speak. Some of the people, especially neocon wingnuts, who check into this site do indeed seem to have left their values at the front desk - but it may only be that they are poverty stricken of values and therefore deserving of our sympathy.

Posted by: shilohgun | August 28, 2009 5:38 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. The weekend is within grab. Good coffee to start the day.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 28, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. For those interested there is chilled orange juice, pear preserve, hot rolls, "bacon", and soft scramble eggs. Of course, tea or coffee. I know, I know, it blows all the test, but hey we only live once. Help yourself.

Concerning the kit: The only way one derives passion is that the subject must hit on life or death. The Repubs have channeled "death panels" and "Obamacare", hitting on both hot button issues. Life and death, and a good mix of racism. And they did that using words. They know what will get a crowd stirred up against their own best interests. JA, is correct, we need passion, yet we also need a whole lot of common sense here. We know the present system isn't going to help us, and we also know that all that is needed is one bad health event, and we all suffer and die. Lets help the President. Whatever is lacking, lets fix this. If Bush could raise the people for killing, we should be able to sound the alarm for life.

Scotty, Mudge, Slyness, Yoki, Martooni, and everyone, have a great day.

The housing folks have taken everything out of my kitchen closet, including the washing machine, and have it sitting in the middle of the floor in the living room. Needless, to say, it is a mess. They should return this morning to make more of a mess. Time to jump in the tub.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 28, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot...

I'm highly offended that "they" allowed people to walk around with guns while the President attended those town hall meetings. It sounds like a Klan tactic to me, and being the person I am, and looking the way I look, I have no patience for such mess. If it had been another President, those persons would have been in jail and their mug shots on the nightly news. And then a slot here in NC in one of our prisons for the criminally insane. Broughton, I believe it is.

And everyone here knows that.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 28, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Al. I make the Dawn Patrol for the first time in months! Cassandra, the breakfast is lavish and delicious. Thank you.

A busy day chez Yoki, between work and life. It is what keep things interesting, isn't it?

Hope you have a great day.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra! Thanks so much for doing breakfast. I was a sloth this morning, didn't get up till 6:20, shame on me.

All of this discussion on health care brings up memories of Mr. T's cousin K, who died in May 2005 of a kidney infection. Uninsured because she couldn't afford coverage, she delayed going to the doctor. After being sick all week, she finally saw a doctor on a Friday. He gave her massive doses of antibiotics and told her to return if she didn't feel better on Saturday. At lunchtime Saturday, she had her daughter take her to the ER. Late that afternoon, they took her to do a spinal tap, and she never awoke from the anesthesia. When her two sisters arrived to be with her daughter, one from a trip out of state, they decided, at 12:30 a.m., to disconnect life support and let her die. She was 51.

A resident of Orange County, NC, she died at University Memorial in Chapel Hill, one of the best hospitals in the state. Her care was not the problem. Yes, she was one of the 22,000 who died unnecessarily that year.

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

If ripvanwhatsis is moderate (NOT!), I'd hate to see a radical...

A sad tale indeed, slyness.

No, Cassandra, I don't know anything of the kind. I really do think the Secret Service had things well in hand (dare I say well in crosshairs?) at the town halls. The gun nuts were doing entirely lawful things for those locations, so no, I don't think even the prior administration would have been able to do anything to them. *putting on my "I'm with Naive" t-shirt with the upward arrow* Then again, as has been pointed out, I don't think the prior administration would ever have had such town halls, so there you go.

Hope LAlurker & co. are safe and non-smoky!!

And this is depressing, if predictable...

*hoping-the-weather-doesn't-totally-crap-out-for-tonight-and-oh-by-the-way-it's-TGIF!!!!!!! Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle! I'll pass on the delish breakfast, but appreciate the effort Cassandra.

Lots to do Chez Frostbitten before I can depart for the Hip Urban Loft and dare I say it, bacon on a stick! I will try to contain my excitement through a transportation policy meeting (Our Fair City is hosting or I'd blow it off).

Hey TBG-have time to design a "We're #37" T-shirt? I'd like to make one in time to see Congressman Oberstar on Sep. 3rd at one of his transportation enhancement project photo op tour stops. His seat is so safe he could vote for a bill with Socialized Medicine in the title-it's what we radical Finns have wanted for a century-but a snazzy T could get some buzz in MN papers.

Off to find first hand accounts of Princess Sparkle Pony's town hall yesterday. She has a habit of not showing up, or just ducking in and out, of her own meetings so many were amazed that it went off as advertised.

Later gators, see you from St. Paul

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 28, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Maira Kalman thinks about Evolution:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 28, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Well, I think it's probably better to refer to history and see where that takes us concerning the gun issue around presidents? In my short or long lifetime, I can't recall anyone carrying a gun around a president that was not arrested and charged with something. Now I know I'm not knowledgeable about this kind of stuff, and I could be dead wrong on this, but correct me please if I am?

And I'm still not changing my opinion concerning that issue. Why would anyone bring a gun to a town hall meeting where the President of the United States is? Would any of you do that? If not, why tolerate in other folks? Why does your freedom of expression consist of carrying a firearm around a head of state, even the President of the United States? The town hall meetings are a forum for discussions, not shooting events. Bad behavior should never be justified, especially where safety and human life is an issue.

It was not tolerated for the other Presidents, and should not be tolerated for President Obama.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 28, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Today's blogpost is just for one person. See if you can see the subtle change I've made to this cartoon:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse


I fall on the gun-control side of the debate, but let me be clear.

The gun nuts were OBEYING THE LAW.
The gun nuts were NOT at the meetings, only nearby.
The Secret Service knew full well where the gun nuts were, and the nuts NEVER attempted to ENTER the meetings.
The gun nuts' actions MUST be tolerated as long as they are legal, or we're back to the kinds of governmental behavior the Boodle railed against prior to Jan. 20.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

That is so kewl, DNA_Girl. Thanks for sharing.

I'm a eighth generation American, descended from folks who escaped economic depression and political oppression in Northern Ireland in the middle of the eighteenth century. It's good to keep before us that those who came two and a half centuries ago came for the same reasons people come today.

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Not that I need to warn you, but stay far away from Krauthammer today. He used the O-C word right in the headline and it goes downhill from there. This is the only nugget worth saving:

"Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one -- Obamacare 2.0 -- promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for preexisting conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement."

Chuckie sees this as a goal. I say it's a starting point.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

So those bishops would rather have people die in the streets than let fetuses get killed in hospitals. An interesting place to make your sanctity of life stand.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I can't take my pistol in the grocery store, can't take it in the court house, can't even take it in the library, and there's a big sign stating that I can't bring it to the lake, yet I can bring my pistol to a town hall meeting where the President of the United States is speaking?

It seems there needs to be some rethinking on this issue.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 28, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

My wife has spent the past two days helping out at the quilting exhibit at the MD. state fair. For her efforts, she received a hardy handshake and some free tickets to the fair. It's about an hour away, through some nasty traffic.

I was less than enthused about going. However, at the time I voiced my opinions, I had totaly forgotten about bacon-on-a- stick. Wonder if can be found there? That might make it worth the effort to go.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 28, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

There are several states where you can take your gun to grocery store and people do so because they can.

And like Scotty said, they are taking their guns to the general area of the town hall, not the meeting itself. Besides, it's not the guns you can see that you have to worry about.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Scotty, the gun nuts had a legal soapbox to stand on. They were near the townhall meetings, but not at the townhall meetings. Yet they came in the area with their guns to make a point. I just don't like the idea of guns around a gathering of people, and especially in the hands of nutjobs. I have a legal right to do a lot of things that I choose not to do.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 28, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

And that's what makes them nutjobs and you and I sane people, Cassandra.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

270-Don, if you can't find the bacon-on-a-stick booth at the fair, just follow the signs to the french-fried-twinkies booth. They're generally in the same area.

One of my first encounters with the Howard County Sheep & Wool festival in Maryland way long ago, included gaping awestruck at the french-fried-twinkies booth -- first, that it actually existed and second that there was a wraparound line in front of it. And those who were in line were of the, um, obese variety. Still gives me chilblains just thinking about it.

Cassandra, I agree with you emotionally about the guns out in the open attached to nutjobs. But, again, legally they could do what they did. They showed rotten judgment and it's lucky that none were used -- at least in the surroundings.

I've always been of the belief that the most openly salivating members of the NRA and those against gun control in general appear to have a problem with - *how shall I put it?* - "inadequacy". Hey, they's nuttin' like killing someone or something to prove one's manhood, eh?

Yoki -- glad you liked it. (yeah, this is an entirely different subject, for those who missed the segue off-ramp)

Posted by: -ftb- | August 28, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The cartoon from this morning's Charlotte Observer is apropos:

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I live in an area where hunting isn't a sport, it's a way to feed your kids. Not all gun owners are against gun control (you register everything from your car to your dog for crying out loud, why wouldn't you register a gun?), they're afraid of guns being taken away. Much was made in the last election cycle about that being Obama's goal. Many here are still afraid that day is coming.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 28, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I just check this site pretty regularly:

So far, so good.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

A socialist goes to Washington: former Manitoba Premier (he resigned yesterday)and NDP card carrying member Gary Doer to be the next Canadian Ambassador to the US.

By the way Obama named his new Ambassador to Canada about 6 months ago; could you tell those clowns in the Senate to get in gear and confirm him so that he could come over? Thank you kindly for your attention.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 28, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Nice site, yello, but why does its creator feel the need to address it to Congressman Jim and family?

Posted by: -bia- | August 28, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see College Parkian again! Our experience with lifeguarding after the college kids leave has not been so pleasant. My oldest started lifeguarding about 6 weeks ago, assigned a leisurely 15 or 16 hours a week. Then when the college students left (and her school started) she was assigned 31 hours last week! She lasted 1-1/2 weeks of this, staying up past midnight trying to finish homework, before I put my foot down. She can only work Friday evenings and *one* day on the weekend. Period. Her boss is agreeing, since he is desperate.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 28, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the snark -- not my normal tone -- but I find it amusing when people impugn others' intelligence in typo-filled insults.

Posted by: -bia- | August 28, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, folks!

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Here's the thing. It seems that political passion is stimulated far more by fear of having something taken away than indignation over something that isn't there. Certainly this is what motivates passions on the Right. They are terrified of having things that are important to them (like guns and money) taken away by the government.

To really arouse similar passions in the Left, Obama has to clearly articulate what might be taken away from them if something like health reform is not enacted. And because this requires an additional level of abstract thinking not required by his opponents, the challenge is proportionally greater.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

'Morning Boodle. DNA_girl, I liked that Kalman piece. Nice find.

Thanks for the warning, yello. Yes, I saw the headline on the K-hammer, and knew it was toxic.

The other night I heard an interesting clip of NPR, during commentary about Ted K's death. It was a sound clip from an LBJ phone conversation to TK in the mid 60s, with LBJ advising the young TK how he got a Medicare bill through Congress. LBJ's advice was to NEVER let anybody do a cost projection several years out. LBJ's bill cost $300 million the first year, and that's all anybody was allowed to see (there was no OMB doing projections back then). LBJ told TK that it jumped to $900 million the second year, etc. He said nobody would have ever voted for it had they seen the cost projections.

Also, anyone who has either lived through those years or studied them sufficiently knows how LBJ operated. He was a master wheeler-dealer, and could "persuade" (none too gently) people to vote for his programs ruthlessly.

What is going to be needed to get a Health Reform bill through Congress is going to have to be some variation of that kind of behind-the-scenes ruthlessness of an LBJ-style White House boiler room. There is going to have to be a lot of unseen/behind-the-scenes arm-twisting. My fear is that Obama and his people are not up to this kind of ruthlessness. In theory, it isn't supposed to work this way, but he is going to have to hold a metaphorical gun to the heads of a handful of Blue Dog Democrats and say, "Look, you SOB, I am your president and you are going to vote my way on this or I'm going to blow your brains out, politically speaking."

Or as Voltaire once said (about the British Navy), sometimes it is necessary to shoot an admiral to encourage the others.

This issue has ballooned to have become too important to continue to "play nice."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I have emailed the owner of that page, yello, to suggest that he might want to check his spelling before he calls someone a moron in print.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 28, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, isn't that going down a ridiculously steep slippery slope? Isn't it possible that's how we ended up in Iraq/Afghanistan? Blue skies, plenty of sunshine...not a bad way to fly.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 28, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm not too worried about backroom dealings. I'm more concerned about keeping public pressure focused on reforming health insurance and providing a sound option to the working poor.

This option will have to be government. No way around it; I don't trust industry to subsidize such an option as originally intended in any bill.

Neither should any thinking American, especially anybody who's ever bought health insurance in between jobs or found out their COBRA sucked-- i.e. had to deal with health insurance as an individual.

Why put money-hungry foxes in charge of taking care of the chickens?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 28, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Admiral Byng (the executed one around Voltaire's time) seems to have been scapegoated. The supposedly typical outcome of a 'government project'.

Krugman's commented this morning that the domination of Washington by lobbyists began in the late 1970s. Before then, Congress actually did some useful things.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 31, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

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