On more than just local government

Friday, March 19, 2004

F**k this hypocrisy

Little did we know what a breast would reveal.

The Janet Jackson escapade on the Super Bowl has brought the Solons of Good Taste out in droves. From the usual wacko guardians of our mores to the complete hypocrites who have been making boatloads of money off of the public's seemingly unquenchable desire for grossness, society is now being forced to go through a "moral cleansing" process.

Leave me out of it. I don't really care if Howard Stern salivates over pulchritudinous babes in his studio, nor if Bill Maher uses the "f" word. It doesn't affect me, nor anybody who should be watching or listening.

It may affect those who should be monitored, such as children, but the lack of monitoring is the MONITOR's fault, not mine. "Stop my children from watching something I don't want them to watch," they are saying.

So, stop them yourselves, if it's so damned important to you.

These impotent parents are generally the same people who want government out of our lives., that is,except when they want government in their lives to do something they seem unable to be able to do. They are hypocrites. Their children see they are hypocrites. Their children lose respect for them. Parental controls are undermined.

It is a vicious cycle of which I am not part. Leave me alone. I decided not to listen to Howard Stern, but to watch Bill Maher on my own. Why can't you?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The bloodless battle for Iraq

Ayatollah Sistani must have watched a lot of Clint Eastwood movies. It isn't necessary to say very much for one to be control.

Last week, the Iraqi interim government was ready to sign an interim constitution, so they could get on with creating an interim infrastructure to run the country until elections were conducted to create a permanent authority. The wheeling and dealing was furious, particularly where it dealt with the balance of power among the major ethnic groups, the majority Shiites and the minority Sunnis and Kurds.

Everyone thought they had a deal. An elaborate ceremony was arranged, with gold pens lined up for each of the participants to take home as a souvenir. It didn't happen. The Shiites wanted some changes.(The most telling image of the day was the laid out table guarded by a soldier with a mean looking gun on his shoulder. Nice democracy.)

They hemmed and hawed over the weekend, and finally Sistani said it was ok to go. But he had made hispoint. Nothing was going to happen without his approval. He was now the de facto leader of Iraq. Paul Bremer works for him.

A lot of blood has been spilled in Iraq on all sides. We can argue all day about whether we were tricked, lied to, or had smoke blown up our butts about WMDs and the like. But, if we are to believe the Bush and Blair administrations, we went there to bring democracy to the people of Iraq.

What we seem to be creating is Iran II, with Sistani replacing the Ayatollah Khomeni. Soon enough, we'll likely see a repressive Islamic state, trampling on individual rights, especially those of women.

Was that what we asked our soldiers to lay down their lives for? I hope not.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

It’s about health insurance, stupid

Everywhere one looks, these days, the economic issue of the moment is health insurance. The recently settled five month strike of grocery workers in Southern California was over health insurance, not wages. The greatest family fear is not lack of savings or, even not getting a raise, but losing health insurance.

In the 1940’s, ‘50’s and early ‘60’s, the fight over the institution of Medicare was driven by the “progressives,” who saw a coming need to care for the medical needs of a population whose life expectancy was growing rapidly, versus the anti-socialists, medical groups and pharmaceutical industry, who saw this new entitlement as an anti-capitalist plot. Now, a compromise structure is the core of their businesses.

The same fight is taking place over health insurance. On one side are the “progressives,” who see universal health coverage as a right of citizenship. On the other are the anti-socialists, medical groups and the pharmaceutical industry, which see this “socialized medicine” as the end of their businesses as they know it.

As with most things political, the answer is somewhere in between. And it is an essential problem to solve, for the ramifications of a workable program will affect everything from how counties operate their health departments to how much businesses pay for worker’s compensation.

County health officials universally report that the primary problem causing funding and service difficulties in public hospitals is the use of emergency rooms as primary care facilities. This most expensive medical care is never covered by insurance, so the funding becomes an issue for the county and the state, for which there is no offsetting compensation.

Worker’s compensation is over 75% health care driven. (The remainder is coverage for “pain and suffering,” the penalty portion of the process, if you will.) The growth in worker’s comp costs have been due primarily to increases in the medical side of the equation, especially in prescription drugs, which often accompanies workplace injuries. Yes, some jury awards have gone through the roof, but they are actually few and far between. If there were universal health care, the supporters say, businesses would be helped dramatically.

With the baby boom population reaching retirement age, the issue of long term healthcare is no longer a question of if, but when. The system as it is today will break under the burden. It has to be solved.

Obstreperousness cannot be abided.