Archive for November, 2009

Health care reform imperils gun ownership!

It wasn’t enough that I had to deal with the Snow Queen, Joe the Plumber, Rush Limbaugh and other assorted microminds.  Now the gun owners have stepped up to the plate.

The Gun Owners of America  published a letter to its 300,000 members warning them that they stand to lose the right to bear arms if Harry Reid has his way with health care reform.  The organization, a sort of Three Stooges version of the NRA, is located in Virginia and boasts as its president, former California state senator H.L. (Bill) Richardson.  Here’s Bill’s website photo demonstrating the proper technique for suffocating pets…

 

Bill, writing on the president’s page, voices his infatuation with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.  You remember Jim.  He’s the guy who said…If we’re able to stop Obama on [health care reform], it will be his Waterloo. It will break him…

The Gun Guys, as noted in a Washington Examiner article, warn their members that the legislation will…most likely dump your gun-related health data into a government database. … This includes any firearms-related information your doctor has gleaned or any determination of post traumatic stress disorder or something similar, that can preclude you from owning firearms.

Going on, the Examiner reports that the group warns…that new “wellness and prevention” programs that would permit employers to offer employees lower premiums for healthier lifestyles do  not include anything that would prohibit “rabidly anti-gun Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from decreeing that ‘no guns’ is somehow healthier.”

The Gunners’ website also provides a sample letter that it asks members to send to the thirty-nine Republicans who voted against the bill.   One paragraph offers the following…the Senate legislation would mandate that doctors provide ‘gun-related health data’ to a government database…

But hope is eternal.  The website offers it to their besieged members by announcing…Can you spell R-E-C-A-L-L?  GOA is looking into which states are the best targets for recalls — and you can be sure that we will be pursuing this option aggressively, exposing the Senators who sold their vote.

I realize that truth is an unnecessary, to be avoided at all costs, component of the Gunner’s website.  But a few things should be mentioned.

First, although it probably would be an excellent idea, there is no provision for a government-run, unified medical records database in the current legislation.

Second, there are no guidelines for what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.  But, if I were king, I’d give extra credit to those homes without guns.

Finally, you can’t recall a U.S. Senator.  It would violate the Constitution.  But then, unless we’re talking about gun ownership, who reads the Constitution?

Other than that the Gun Guys had it pretty straight, including President Bill’s demo of pet suffocation, proving once again that we can get along quite nicely without guns.

It’s time.

OK, surprise, I didn’t read the Snow Queen’s book.  But I did pass it on the sale table at Costco last week while I was grazing on the food kiosk freebies.  So I guess I can call myself an expert.  Everyone else does.  But enough about the Wasilla Killa.  More important things are competing for my attention.

Like watching Meet the Press Sunday when Joe Lieberman answered David Gregory’s question “Tell me Joe, why don’t you support the public option?”  Without hesitation, Joe responded “It will add to the deficit, increase taxes and lead to a government takeover of health care.”  The camera panned to Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison who smiled broadly,  just like I did years ago when my son Steven hit a home run in Little League.  Sitting next to Kay, Senator Dianne Feinstein looked like my mother did when I nearly burned down the house next door.  That Joe, what a kick.

I clicked to Face the Nation just in time to see Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader,  point to a stool supporting the two foot high, fifteen pound health care reform bill and announce with a straight face “this will increase the deficit and put an end to free choice in health care.”  Omitting any mention of dead grandmothers or the hernia he developed lifting the bill, he mercifully left the stage.

Ignoring the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s finding that the bill would actually reduce the deficit, Mitch chose to take the opposite point of view.  That’s why our kids tell fibs, grow up to tell even bigger fibs and think it’s just the American way.  When Uncle Mitch, sworn to uphold the Constitution, can do it why can’t they?

But, again, there are more important things in life.  The Music Festival ran its annual Holiday Home Look-in last weekend.  Lots of women paid good bucks to walk through houses, browse through the owners’ most intimate possessions, and ooh and ahh.  I say “women” because of my intimate knowledge of the visitors.  I drove one of the shuttle busses that ferried folks to the homes.  My scientific survey found that 90% of the riders were females.  The only males on the bus looked like they’d rather be somewhere else, like a dark, smelly bar.  I fully sympathized.  But it was for a good cause.  The income supports the festival, the local economy, and public school music programs.  Plus it gives me something to do.

Driving home was a joy.  Beautiful, sunny and warm.  A reminder of why people live in California, even if it’s a financial basket case.  With the radio tuned to NPR, I wound up the Dennison Grade, passed the bucolic Black Mountain Ranch and wondered why all the cows seemed to be facing south.  Then I heard a cut from a Larry King show.

Joe the Plumber (who really isn’t a plumber) offered his insightful analysis of the Snow Queen’s masterpiece.  “So Joe, you liked the book?”  Joe, who didn’t read the book either, thought it was another good reason why the queen would make an excellent president.   “We’ve had enough smart experts in Washington trying to solve our problems.  It’s time we tried something different.”  Having failed the short-term memory test, I figured he also wouldn’t know why all the cows were facing south.

Yes, sure.  The reform bill is a mess.  We ought to fix the way we deliver care before we add 40 million more people to it.  We shouldn’t add a dime to the federal deficit.  We shouldn’t raise taxes when folks are out of work and the economy is on life support.  We shouldn’t restrict a person’s right to receive the care they want when they want it.  We shouldn’t take away any Medicare benefits from those who are used to getting them.  We shouldn’t…

But we should.  To wait is unacceptable.  To do nothing is unconscionable.

David goes to Ahjumawi

Son David is wealthy enough to shlep to a world class fishing experience, but not rich enough to have his own weblog.  So, here’s the story about his trip to Ahjumawi.

Ahjumawi

With love,

Dad

Health care reform…where are you?

I haven’t felt much like writing lately.  Some loved ones have been suffering and my attention has been focused on them.  I stare at my Samsung monitor, try to get up the energy to post a new blog, and then retreat to e-mail, a few worn out websites and solitaire.  Oh, and a glass or two of wine helps to pass the time.

My exercise routine has suffered too.  Half-heartedly I row and sometimes hop onto the treadmill.  Rowing requires two hands.  Treadmilling two feet.  The choices on early morning TV are limited and repetitive.  I often wonder how many times Direct TV can repeat a boring Sandra Bullock movie without a general public uprising.  But treadmilling leaves my hands free to click in the hope of finding something new and interesting.  Alas, my fingers tire before I can locate the holy grail.

CNN is no better.  Every positive event is qualified with a “but”.  Every negative event is highlighted, dissected and accompanied by predictions of more gloomy days to come.  Now I know how Dubya felt.  Hey, but that’s show biz.  This morning was no exception.

The perfectly coiffed Heidi Collins was doing her best to put a negative spin on the better-than-expected first-time jobless claims report.  Repeating the usual “yes, but can it continue?” caveat, she scanned the horizon for some depressing health care reform news.  Brianna Keilar appeared on the screen, standing outside the Capitol where left-over Tea Partyers were protesting the looming destruction of our perfect health care system.  “There are folks here who want to be heard.  They’re not happy.”   No kidding.   Brianna looked like a windblown high school cheerleader as she tried her best to top Heidi’s negativism.  But her heart wasn’t in it.  The Partyers were also uncharacteristically muted as evidenced by their tepid rants of “your granny is dead meat” and other debunked urban myths.

Moving to the current meat of the matter, Heidi asked Brianna “but do the Democrats have enough votes?” Obviously without a clue, Brianna focused on whether taxpayer dollars would pay for abortions.  This, the latest straw man standing between us and a revamped health care system.  I turned to Sandra Bullock for revitalization.

Apparently there are not yet enough good reasons to push this thing through Congress.  Alabama’s Senator Shelby, who looks suspiciously like Shelley Berman, had this warning for those who dare to tinker with the status quo.  President Obama’s plans amount to “the first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known.”  Really?

Putting aside the fact that 40 or 50 million of us can’t even participate in our current perfect system, the good Senator chooses to forget the essentials.  Forgets that we spend lots more for care that produces lots less.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Wade through an August Robert Wood Johnson report  entitled How Does the Quality of U.S. Health Care Compare Internationally.  Knowing full well that you won’t, here are the parts I liked.

—Among 19 countries included in a recent study of amenable mortality, the United States had the highest rate of deaths from conditions that could have been prevented or treated successfully. 

 —In the light of the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person on health care as its peers, those who question the value for money obtained in U.S. health expenditures are on a firm footing. 

 —In short, health reform can be seen as an opportunity to systematically improve quality of care, rather than as a threat to existing levels of quality.

So what’s the hold-up?  There are more Democrats in Congress than fleas on Paul’s dog, Chumba.  We threw the other guys out because they lacked any constructive ideas other than stopping Bill and Jim from getting married, and executing first-time flag burners.  We took the country back.   We said “We can do it.”

Where’s Sandra Bullock when you need her?

sandra-bullock


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