Friday, November 13, 2009

Is Obama American?

No, no, this isn't about the infamous phantom birth certificate. Nor am I implying that the President is un-American in the stereotypical perjorative sense. No, this is deeper.

In a conversation a while back someone told me, "I don't consider him an American. Look where he grew up. Look at the people who surrounded him. He doesn't know what it is to go to little league games...." Now I don't know if he ever played little league, although he does make rather a show of playing basketball, but I do know that the President, the reputedly great orator, demonstrates a certain tone deafness when it comes to Mom, flag, and apple pie. Ms. Calabaza points out a faux pas here, not the first one, I might add.

Another case in point is the apparently lukewarm nature of his comments on the Fort Hood Massacre. My own observations of the response were similar: Clinton would have felt their pain; Bush would have been hugging the families of the fallen, while vowing to see justice done; Obama, however, strangely removed, almost wooden, treats it as a parenthetical element in a shoutout to Native Americans. It can be argued that his reaction was a function of geography and personality. Northerner Mr. Obama would seem to live more in his head than the other two more emotive leaders with their Southern ties.

Whatever the case, El Presidente demonstrated an inability to gin up the emotion his churchgoing, gun-toting fellow Americans expect of their leader, and a tin ear when it came to just what those expectations were. Shouldn't need a weatherman.... (no pun intended.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Medicare for All And for All Not Quite Enough

It boggles the mind that this two thousand page abomination of a health care bill is still being rammed down our throats. Is it not somehow unethical for politicians to push a sweeping overhaul of a system which affects all when a majority of the populace rejects the same? Do they think the public will forget, or are they that wedded to their ideology? Is it rank paternalism? They know better than the people who pay the premiums and receive the services?

Anyway in order to make the force feeding a bit more palatable, the Dems have hit on the happy expedient of calling the public option, "Medicare for all," seeking to comfort with the security of of the government. My own observation of Medicare in action, that is covering real people in real situations, is that the coverage like that of a not quite big enough blanket leads to considerable exposure. Deductibles, co-pays, and the twenty percent patient responsibility, as well as reimbursement rates that lead to additional physician bills, all add up when you get sick.

Since our elected officials have their own marvy insurance plan, when they extol Medicare, they know not of what they speak. I propose that congressional members be stripped of their insurance and required to participate in Medicare for one year before they are allowed pronounce on the subject. Just a thought.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Holy Minimizing, Batman!

By now I should be inured to the apologias for the Cuban ruling military junta purporting to be news reports, but this AP effort is a pip. Its treatment of the violent apprehension, detention, and intimidation of Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez on Friday is a study in understatement. Ms. Sanchez, it reports, was "briefly detained" and "warned," about her activities as she was "stopped" by agents of state security.

Brevity is a relative thing, particularly when one is dragged off the street, thrown into a car headfirst, beaten, and informed that this is as far as you go. The warning consisted of threats carrying all of the weight of a capricious totalitarian state with a population of dissenters languishing in fetid jails, wasting away from malign neglect. The report, however, makes it all seem so civilized that by the time they quote Ms. Sanchez we can picture her in a wing chair, plopping a sugar cube in her tea, and uttering in upper class British accents- "It was very violent."

Of course, we are informed, none of this can be corroborated. Is the implication here that Yoani is pulling a Tawana Brawley? Well since they seem to have developed a belated sense of journalistic ethics, in the future maybe the AP can attempt to corroborate the claims of the regime before bruiting them as truth.

For a slightly different take on the incident, here's a poem inspired by the event and penned by the other victim of the security apparatus.

H/T Ziva