Monday, November 22, 2010

Destroyer of The World?

Newsweek in all its wisdom has put out an image of President Barack Obama, a man they helped elect that depicts him as the Hindu God Lord Shiva. Shiva is known in the Hindu faith as the Destroyer of the World.

What was Newsweek thinking? It may have been as we say in flyover country too clever by half. In other words Shiva, destroyer of the world, performs his task in order to fulfill an inevitability. You see the world must be destroyed in order to be reborn into a universal order. You know, one world in peace and harmony. How many of us dullards would ever get past "destroyer of the world"? Not too many, obviously.

How could the geniuses at Newsweek being such deep thinkers who clearly see below the the surface tension of our polarized society and into the metaphysical realm not see that this might be offensive to Hindus? Really? The same magazine that regards the average American as hopelessly Islamophobic thinks nothing of insulting the nation with the world's largest democracy. What's next pictures of Obama with a halo around his head?

Obviously I understand what Newsweek was getting at on multiple levels, but was this really the best way or the best time for this? I know the President didn't ask for this, but it makes him and us look bad. With friends like Newsweek, does the President even need enemies...


Monday, November 15, 2010

Get Out of Jail Free Cards

So far 113 "ObamaCare" waivers have been granted to companies and unions. These are 1 year exemptions, but I just wonder how easy it will be to extend them? Should we be surprised? Not really. What needs to be asked is if these institutions are Democratic Party donors. Hmmm.

This health care law is going to be a disaster in so many ways. Liberals can cite many good and righteous things about it, but in the end everyone knows 2 things: the uninsured could have been covered far more cheaply and efficiently than what this will cost, secondly, this is merely the grease for the skids to usher in government-owned health care.

The ill-effects of this law are already affecting hospitals and doctors - and patients. Locally a large health care system of hospitals and clinics have made the move to completely homogenize the delivery of medicine. Innovative surgeons are already moving out because they will be bound by hospitals rules directly or indirectly compelled by the new Federal laws that prescribe but one approved procedure for all hospitals in the chain. Cutting edge medicine will suffer. Eventually when the government controls the insurance apparatus it will be government panels that will decide if your mother gets the lifesaving surgery she needs or sent home to die. Death panels anyone?

Private hospitals will take no chances on expensive new or experimental equipment that may or may not pay off. Since reimbursement will be dictated by the government expensive equipment that may take ten or more years to payoff will never be purchased. How do I know this? We have a perfect example on our northern border. My home state with 5 million people has more MRI machines, more CT scanners than the entire nation of Canada with well over 30 million people. The Canadian government owns health care, owns it...

Standard operating procedure in Washington DC, sad as it may be, is for legislators to propose bills, lobbyists, corporations and business groups to actually craft the legislation, politicians (not same as legislators) to wrangle over them for their own purposes and then finally put them up for a vote. It seems wrong, even criminal considering we didn't elect industry insiders to write the laws, but at least these people know something about the way things actually work. This health care bill was written by socialist utopians that did not care how things actually work. They crafted it precisely to wreck the current health care system so that we clamor for the government to step in and rescue us. The legislators who voted for it never even read it, no one did.

So, as the fine print is disseminated institutions either change their business model to protect themselves, petition for a waver or get out of health care altogether. Health care experts, not the ones on TV, but the ones in the hospitals and clinics know this is a disaster in the making. A complete above board takeover of the health care system would've been better than this. At least then we would move directly to rationing and sub par health care, instead this law will collapse the system causing unprecedented suffering.

You ought to be mad about it.


Monday, November 08, 2010

T.M.I. The Confessional Generation

It used to be that there were things we just didn't talk about outside the family. People had their secrets. 'Need to know' was the measuring stick for what was OK to reveal outside these four walls. Some things were never meant to be shared with anyone but a doctor or a priest. There was a condition known as shame that helped keep things bottled up inside - for better or for worse. As the pendulum swings it reaches an apex on either end which leads me to ask how far can this confessional culture go?

Psychologists may agree that keeping things too tightly bound up is ultimately unhealthy for the individual. When, however, is too much information too much? In the world of the Internet, cell phones, texting, Facebook and Twitter the younger generation reveals all, willingly and with glee. All of us have encountered the cell phone user in a public place carrying on a much too personal conversation. It's quite uncomfortable and actually it's really annoying.

The children of my generation coming at the tail end of the baby boom had our gossip chains and whisper campaigns (or louder when alcohol was involved), but there were lines that were not crossed. We had our confidants, our circle of friends that were close and most certainly personal. The Facebook/Twitter generation seemingly has no shame, no filters and no sense of what is appropriate. Nothing is too personal anymore. Because of the distance both physically and emotionally many of these so-called friends are altogether impersonal. Frankly, it's unsettling.

One thing that clearly separates the baby boomers from generation-next is what we revealed to our parents. Simply put - as little as possible. Not so today. Honestly there are things I will never tell my mother - not her business for one and not good for her psyche for another. There are things parents don't need to know. Today the kids involve us in everything. These days it seems it's the parents running around with their hands over their ears yelling "I can't hear you, I can't hear you."

Obviously the modern media has played a major part in this. Raunchy reality TV shows remove any semblance of decorum or personal shame in a calculated attempt at shock and awe. What it succeeds in doing is completely desensitizing a whole generation of kids to what is really OK to air in public. Movies have pushed the envelope for generations blurring the lines between appealing and appalling. What was called blasphemy centuries ago was called indecent generations ago is now called edgy. Everyone wants to be edgy.

The confessional culture extends beyond the attention driven, self centered celebrity class (ie: Paris Hilton or Charlie Sheen) to the political class and all the way to the top. I learned way too much about President Clinton in the late 1990's. A simple rule of thumb should be that what we would not want to know about our grandparents we would not want to know about the President and our leaders. Some illusion of their superiority needs to exist if we are to have any respect for them at all. Yet, tell all books even dig back into history exposing failures and the indigressions of our most esteemed heroes. To what end I ask?

In the interest of full disclosure I joined Facebook too. I do not Twitter. I rarely text and I hate reality shows (except for American Chopper). Facebook has some redeeming value if you don't take it too far. I joined in advance of a class reunion and it was excellent for reconnecting with old friends and coordinating reunion related events. Since the reunion in mid-July I have been on Facebook a half a dozen times max. I must say it makes a really great bulletin board.

I struggle to imagine that the confessional generation will extend into the indefinite future. Revealing too much will have it's consequences. Facebook, MySpace, personal blogs and YouTube are already being used by HR departments to pre-screen potential employees. What you confess by way of what you say, respond to and the pictures you post could be costly in ways you'll never know. People are already losing their jobs because of things they've posted on social websites.

Plus, in all honestly, at the risk of sounding crude, let me just say - does anybody really need to that shit? Please keep it to yourself.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


The repudiation of Obama/Pelosi is undeniable.

This was a course change of historical proportions. The Republicans have been given the proverbial second chance.

In 1994 a similarly historical electoral tsunami rolled into Washington. By 1996 the Democrats had the upper hand again - legislatively. President Clinton played both ends against the middle like no one had before or since. I don't think Obama has one tenth the talent of Bill Clinton. This is true because he is no political chameleon like President Clinton, but mostly because he is in over his head and always has been.

The Republicans must act in the interest of the nation (meaning fostering an environment for private sector job creation) and not in the interest of the party, making points against Obama with a goal of capturing the White House as they did in 95 and 96. The people are watching even more closely this time.

If Obama vetoes legislative action that is directly relevant to aiding the expansion of the private sector jobs machine let the chips fall where they may. However, if the Republicans pursue a witch hunt against the Obama Administration, jump on sticky social issues or push political paybacks (like Obama did) they will be thrown out in 2012. There's just too much at stake for political games this time.

We shall see...