In just six hours, my wife and I will be in a medical office with a machine over her belly, watching live pictures of our twelve-inch daughter or son in his or her twenty-second week of gestation. We last saw her or him two days before Christmas, when the ultrasound revealed miniature versions of all the major body parts and systems - except the not-yet detectable reproductive bits. I'm very nervous about what today's pictures could reveal about the health of our child, since we've had friends who have found out about serious problems at this stage. However, for the rest of the world, today's visit boils down to just one question: boy or girl?
Though I want to know, I'm deeply ambivalent. Here's why...
We have 51 votes to pass health care reform, but we do not necessarily have 60 votes to force cloture. Okay, fine. Let's let them filibuster.
Right through Christmas.
That's right, Senator Reid, you can keep the Senate in session for as long as it takes. Have your members plan a holiday with their families in DC, and have the other guys plan to spend Christmas ranting about socialism on the Senate floor.
(More below the fold)
With one devastating anti-PowerPoint slide, 96-year-old author and mathematician Irving Adler tears apart the entire Republicon/ Insurance Industry argument against the public option for health reform. Let's help this video go viral - show it to every senior and every technophile you know!
I loved Howard Dean on health care when he was my governor - so much, in fact, that I became a minor poo-bah in his presidential campaign in another state. So I was quite happy yesterday to see him saying something that appeared right here last week:
Reframing: "Medicare Private Purchase"
Now that Governor Dean has said it, can we all start singing along loudly? Here's why:
It's lovely to discover that the Republicons are so enamored with Medicare, after years of trying to scuttle it. It is a good, solid program that provides dependable care to millions of Americans (albeit with some need for tweaking). Nice job, Democrats, for getting it started and keeping it going!
Now, if everyone loves Medicare, here's a modest proposal: Let's scrap the public option idea, and replace it with a Medicare Buy-In for people of working age. That is, anyone can join Medicare, as long as they pay the premiums necessary to support their membership. Retired people will enjoy the same Medicare they've come to expect, and the rest of the population can choose the same.
Of course, anyone who loves their current insurance will be free to keep that. But anyone who prefers good old-fashioned free-market Medicare can get that, without being threatened by the socialist Obama-Marxist fascist public option.
While applauding Obama's support for high-speed inter-city rail, we should be thinking along much more local lines if we truly want to develop the green, efficient, fast, and friendly transportation system of the future. I suggest two infrastructure foci that together can take millions of cars off the road while getting people where they need to go more quickly, and with less hassle, than the current state of affairs.
Below the fold: Ring Rail to bring commuters around the cities, and Brainy Buses to get them to their doors...
My fantasy: This diary gets picked up on Green Diary Rescue, and from there the ideas seep into wider discussion until someone in the Obama administration comes across the plan and brings it to the boss, who recognizes its simplicity and sheer brilliance, and uses it to save the economy and the planet. What will probably happen: if anyone ever reads this, it will get torn apart as another impractical liberal tax scheme. What I ask of you: consider the ideas based on the economics, not the practical politics of getting such a program passed.
(This diary, which could revolutionize the way we approach energy in America starts ... with ... a ... click ...)
It's not about Iraq. Though Joe's support for the Iraq war has been egregious, a lot of other Democrats held similar positions, at least at the outset. (See Clinton, H. - Iraq kept me from voting for her in the primary, but I would have voted for her had she been the nominee.)
It's not about 2006. Though we beat him in the primaries, and he won reelection by inventing a party and pandering to the rudderless Republicans, hey, politics ain't beanbag. He saw an opportunity and the voters of my state gave it to him. Shame on us.
It's not even about 2008. Of course his behavior in the last election was beyond the beyond. But that's who Joe is - and that's because it's about...
Let me explain...
Though we've almost made it through a "change" election year, the candidates' schedules tell a familiar tale: Florida. Ohio. Virgina. Missouri. Colorado. Pennsylvania. Florida. Ohio. Virgina. Pennsylvania. Florida. Ohio.
Tradition is great, and the Founding Fathers had their reasons for devising the Electoral College instead of a direct national vote. (How else would slave owners been able to count 3/5 of a vote for each of the human beings they kept in bondage?) As a thought experiment, though, let's imagine a presidential election if the Electoral College were eliminated or made proportional within each state.
Jump with me to an alternative universe...
Single people know the routine: you meet someone new, and you light up like Christmas Eve. You tell your friends how great the person is. You spend a little time together, and you melt inside. You tell your family, "don't start looking for a reception hall, but I think this might be the one." You spend more time with your special person, and ... realize that there's just no there there.
Swing voters, meet Sarah Palin.
If John McCain were elected president, how many homes would we taxpayers need to pay to protect? How many full-time security details? How many no-fly zones? At what price to the neighbors? At what price to us?
A glance at the Wikipedia page for George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford contains this nugget:
The Federal Aviation Administration has three nautical miles (six km) no fly zone around the ranch full time (designated Prohibited Area 49). When President Bush is there, a Temporary Flight Restriction is issued, expanding the radius to 10 nautical miles (19 km), with lesser restrictions extending to 30 nautical miles (56 km), containing some exceptions for Waco Regional Airport nearby.
The questions just keep on coming...
My wife's native Romania recently joined the European Union, and we went last week for a family visit. This is a good time of year to fly to Europe, with tickets across the pond easily available for less than $500. But we flew for free, thanks to the 15 year Republican filibuster on healthcare and the associated health industry war on women and family planning.
How to fly to Europe free! after the break...