Women Would Run a Better Rodeo
World, national and state politics are dominated by men, including men such as Dominique “Room Service” Strauss-Kahn, Moammar “I need a Swedish Nurse” Qaddafi, Anthony “Weiner” Weiner, Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford, Arnold “The Sperminator”, et al. These men, even those whose bodies scream, “Please don’t show me naked!”–Henry Kissinger comes horribly to mind–bring their testosterone to the policy and decision-making process. Recent research confirms that women get into positions of authority primarily to get things done. Men are more interested in besting opponents and getting laid. Seems to me that we desperately need more of the former and a whole lot less of the latter. I’m pretty certain that even Michele Bachman, Loony Tune character that she is, hasn’t sent any bare-chested pictures of herself to teenage boys. (Note to Ms. Bachman: Should you decide to do this, please allow me to preview those shots to assess their appropriateness.)
Trickle Down Economic Theory is a Zombie
Primarily because our national lawmakers are rich dudes, the belief lives on that making the rich richer will result in a Renaissance of American innovation, generate corporate growth with new jobs in tow and create an expansion of the middle class as the financial crumbs and orts that fall from the overladen tables of the wealthy will be enough to propel the poor up the economic ladder as they scurry around collecting leftovers. This notion has failed miserably in the past, most notably when Ronald Reagan launched his “Voodoo” economic policy. To get onto the 1980 ticket, George Herbert Walker Bush had to do a mid-air 180 degree pirouette on this issue as he was the one who coined the Voodoo phrase during the Republican primaries. Ever the “truth-to-power” man, even Reagan’s economic advisor David Stockman admitted (way too late) that Milton and Rose Friedman were full of horse hockey on this issue. In spite of the facts, reconfirmed in several economies around the world, the theory continues to drag its stiff-legged carcass toward the Capitol Dome, arms outstretched, hollow eyes vacant and scaring the beejesus out of the less wealthy Democrats.
Medicare Spending is a Symptom Not the Disease
As you have probably heard, Medicare spending is unsustainable. As Herb Stein famously noted, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”. One way that Medicare spending and inflation could stop is the Paul Ryan way, vouchers. Conservatives have a Jones for vouchers. As Andy Borowitz noted in his blog, perhaps Ryan should consider the Groupon approach, which could also be used for natural disaster areas like Joplin and Tuscaloosa (“Get 43% off of an angioplasty when you buy five or more plastic tarps for where your roof used to be.”). Another way to off-load the Medicare baggage from the government train would be to turn the program over to the private insurance industry. Let’s see a show of hands for this idea. The truth about Medicare is relatively simple: it’s trapped inside a dysfunctional free-market American health care system. Provably, Medicare does a better job of holding down costs than does the mystical free-market of the private insurance industry. Even then, however, the technology and procedure-driven American health care system, with the profit motive nature of all the providers (doctors, big pharma, durable medical equipment manufacturers, hospitals, etc.) is akin to a big cargo ship with Medicare and the other insurers untethered down in the gigantic hold, pitching about in rough seas. To be sure, Medicare has many problems to be addressed but the larger fix is getting the American health care cargo ship under control. The passage in 2010 of the PPACA and subsequently the HCERA, known by critics and cynics as “Obamacare”, was a teeny-weeny but insufficient step in the right direction .
Babies Are Carriers
My newest grand-boy is a cutey. At not yet a year old, Gil has the charm of all infants who recognize and happily respond to familiar faces, even scraggly old visages like mine. Well, when they smile at you, one just has to pick ’em up, pinch a chubby cheek, make silly noises and grab a cloth diaper to blot the spit-up off of your new silk Tommy Bahama shirt. In years to come, when I’m not around to defend myself, no doubt this same grand-boy will look at one of these Kodak moment pictures and comment on my “hideous” shirt. In spite of his mother’s druthers, Gil spends some time at daycare. These facilities are apparently the equivalent of a giant Petri dish where every known bacteria and virus come to ply their sinister trade. They are like the CDC without the safety suits. Gil has developed a nearly complete immunity to these bugs, although the occasional runny nose or loose bowel indicate that his defense process is not quite complete. We infrequently visiting adults, however, are the pathogens’ dream hosts. You can almost hear their little screams of delight as a defenseless grandparent enters the room. They probably put on little party hats and salsa shoes in anticipation of a week-long celebration in a fresh set of upper respiratory tubes, stomach recesses or lower bowel incubators. Before I visit Gil next, I’m getting a safety suit from my neighbor who works at the CDC.
Observoid of the Day: There are plenty of idiots but a shortage of villages.