Category Archives: politics

The health care debate

As an Americanadian whose family continues to live in the US, but who has lived most of her adult life in Canada and raised three children from scratch here, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to weigh in on the debate over health care, particularly as regards government delivered health care.

Don’t get me wrong. The Canadian system is far from perfect. There are not enough General Practitioners to go around and, yes, there are waiting lines and, yes, sometimes people DIE in those lines. Well, actually, not in those lines, but you know what I mean. But these are logistical problems which admit of fairly easy solutions: offer to pay medical students their student loans in exchange for them working as a GP in a particular location in need of GPs for a stated period of time — five or ten years — and you’d get enough GPs in short order; and invest in more diagnostic technology and the technologists to run them and there go the waiting lines. Canada needs to invest more in its health care, but it doesn’t need to change the delivery mechanism. The delivery mechanism works fine. I have had excellent health care, delivered in a timely way by caring and competent professionals and I have never once had to ask myself if I could afford to have a mammogram this year or that colonoscopy or that chest x-ray. And, guess what, I’m in good health and one of the reasons for that is that I have never had to skimp on preventative medicine.

I fail to understand why Republicans and conservative Dems (who might as well be Republicans as far as I’m concerned; we’re coming for you) are so afraid of a public option. In the first place, it’s not single payer, it’s an option. And, in the second place, it’s nothing to be scared about. Come on, America! You’re supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Grow a pair! You only stand to benefit — that is, provided you aren’t an insurance company, in which case, yes, be afraid. Be very afraid. Because your free ride on the broken back of America is under direct siege and, with any luck and half a cojone, you’re going down.

The bottom line is this: all too many of our elected representatives, Democrat and Republican alike, are paid lackeys of the insurance companies, Big Pharma and Wall Street and they, along with the Three Weird Sisters of the Right (Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck), don’t seem to have any compunction about selling their country and their countrymen down Shit Creek for a few pieces of silver and a golf club membership.


I’m not keen on guns, but I don’t object to people having a reasonable number of them if that’s what they absolutely have to have and I don’t object to hunting as long as the animals killed are eaten, as long as they have not died in vain.

However, I do strongly object to people showing up at political events bearing arms. What’s with that, anyway? In the first place, why? What are they expecting to happen that they will need their trusty assault weapon to deal with it? Or is it just decoration? An accessory? In that case, why don’t they carry them around with them on other occasions, such as dropping their children off at nursery school or visiting a sick friend in the hospital or shopping in a big box store? But they don’t and why? Because, if they did , people would run screaming, “Omigod, he’s got a gun!” and panic would ensue.

So why is it OK to flash your sidearms at political events? Well, actually, it’s not. It’s just plain not and you should be locked up because you represent a real and present danger. The very fact that you decided to take that gun with you to that event in the first place provides ample evidence of that. That is something a crazy person does. A crazy person with a very small penis.

Ken Burns’ new miniseries on the National Parks — watch it and learn!

Starting tonight on PBS (Sunday, September 28) and throughout the upcoming week is Ken Burns’ new miniseries on the National Parks. I am a huge Ken Burns fan. I know I didn’t properly understand the Civil War until his series on it (despite reading Gone With the Wind five times; wait, maybe that was the reason I didn’t understand it so well); nor did I have much of a clue about WWII before his The War. This despite a keen interest in history and reasonably decent grades in school. And my Dad was a navy lieutenant stationed on a submarine in the South Pacific during the latter years of WWII!

Now it’s the National Parks turn . . . and the timing is perfect in that it demonstrates that government can and does do some things well, like create and maintain these amazing nature preserves for which I, at least, am intensely grateful. So put that in your pipes and smoke it, Right Wing nut jobs. If it was up to you, all of these places would be strip malls or trailer parks or theme parks. . . . You get my drift.

I have only been to three National Parks in my life: the Grand Canyon, Acadia and, of course, the Smokies, which I know very well, having spent seven summers on the Qualla Boundary, adjacent to the park. I would love to go to all of them, but first we must wait for Buddy, our aged Golden Retriever, to shuffle off this mortal coil.

A piece of advice for prospective dog owners: get your dog used to being boarded so you can leave them occasionally. For most of his life, Buddy was left with relatives, but then my sister in law got divorced and my daughter moved to Montreal and my son broke his femur (really, he didn’t need to go to such extremes just to get out of dog-sitting) and Buddy is way too old and coddled (not to mention addled) to be boarded at this stage, so, bottom line: he goes, we go. Which means the National Parks, never mind Greece, are on hold at present.

Hello world!

I would like to dedicate my first post to podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts: Democracy Now, MSNBC’s Countdown and Rachel Maddow (I stopped listening to Chris Matthews because he always interrupts his guests, which irritates me), Jack Clark’s Blast the Right, Meet the Press, Bill Moyer’s Journal, KCRW’s Left, Right and Center, NPR’s It’s All Politics, The New Yorker’s Out Loud and its The Political Scene, Slate Magazine’s various gabfests and The Young Turks.

Oh, and I listen to the Times Online podcast, Bill Maher’s Real Time and the extremely funny Canadian podcast Double Exposure — these, of course, are comedic send-ups of the news. I listen to them whenever I’m doing something repetitive and boring — like making the bed or walking my geriatric dog or exacerbating my arthritis on the treadmill. It’s a great way to multi-task, but it does keep me kind of stirred up all the time, full of righteous anger and suffused with an admittedly inchoate sense of mission.

One of my favorite podcasts is The Young Turks, because they represent a younger demographic, one that’s closer to my daughters Shanah, Raina and Sabrina’s age. That generation has a lot of smarts (the smart ones, at least) and they seem to keep it more real and a little less stuffy/dogmatic than other pundits and refried leftist hippies (one of whose number I freely confess to being.) Check out their stuff on iTunes or on I like them so much I even contributed a picture of my dog with a sign that read “TYT + MSNBC” — they are angling for the 10 pm slot on MSNBC and are assembling a photo wall of supporters to argue their case. I wouldn’t lend my dog’s support to just any cause, despite the fact that he has pooped on our bedroom carpet three times in the last week. I think he may have Doggy Alzheimer’s — “What, me? Poop? Nawh! Me? Where?” What are you going to do? Put him down because he’s a little incontinent? I hope people don’t put me down when I’m a little incontinent, and, trust me, I can see that day coming and it’s not far off. And look at that face! He may be old, but he’s still a handsome fellow.

Buddy supports the Young Turks' cause

Buddy supports the Young Turks' cause