Monday, December 28, 2009

Congress Confesses Its Partisan Divide

No One Should Be Surprised to Learn that the partisan divide holding up Congress for the past couple of decades has a deliberate component to it.

Members of Congress on Both Sides of the Aisle—Democrats as well as Republicans—have decided to choose party loyalty over the work required of their oaths of office.

As Reported in Yesterday’s Edition of The New York Times, Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, conceded “that he had irresponsibly opposed increases in federal borrowing authority during the Bush years in order to impugn Republicans while Democrats were fighting to regain the majority.”

“Once  You Get in These Battles Where You Break into Camps, every vote is about the next election,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who occasionally works with Democrats on difficult issues. “As soon as the last election is over, those who lost are thinking, ‘What can I do to get back in power?’ and those who won are thinking, ‘What can I do to stay in power?’”

Do Our Senators and Representatives Owe Allegiance to their individual political parties?  Or do they owe allegiance to the greater public service?

Everyone in a Schoolyard Feud knows the risks. Once sides are drawn and retaliation begins, the end recedes farther and farther over the horizon. Even as Republicans demanded  up-or-down confirmation votes of Democrats under President George W. Bush, now the Democrats are frustrated by their failure to get such votes out of Senate Republicans today. The Nation currently struggles in two wars and the greatest economic morass since the Great Depression. And what the Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress worry most about is....getting re-elected.

Whoever Steps Forward to Heal the Congressional Divide will display a quality of leadership which we Americans have not seen in a very long time. It is not easy to see how it may come about. It will not be an easy healing.

One Thing the American Voters Can Agree on, regardless of party affiliation or political orientation, is that the oaths taken to support and defend the Constitution are not honored, so long as party allegiance takes precedence over public service within the halls of Congress.

The Current State of the Union makes abundantly clear the need for both sides of the aisle to get busy mending fences. And to begin doing the work that they swore to do.


Here Is the Oath of Office for
Members of the House of Representatives:

“I, [Representative’s name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
(This oath and a listing of acting Representatives who have taken it may be found at:


Here Is the Oath of Office for
United States Senators:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
(This oath, as well as some historical information concerning the oath, may be found at:

Read the article from The New York Times:
by Carl Hulse
published: December 27, 2009 


Saturday, December 12, 2009

“Borrowing the Jobs of Tomorrow” Is America's Best Investment Today

Where Is the Obama New “New Deal”?

The New “New Deal” That Americans Voted for Has Failed to Materialize. Despite the mandate given to Barack Obama on November 4, 2008, we have so far seen nothing that looks like the New Deal—the multitude of projects that President Franklin Roosevelt initiated during the Great Depression, to put thousands of jobless Americans back to work.

What Has Gone Wrong? What part of this mandate did President Obama miss, when he was swept into office in part out of the driving fear that we were sinking into the economic abyss.

No Matter How Much Some Americans have challenged the value of FDR and the New Deal, deep down where we Americans share so many core values, we know that the New Deal saved countless American lives. When it's our jobs at stake, we know that only the government can move quickly enough and large-enough to put the brakes on.

But the Impending Disaster that Many Americans Fear Today
are reality for millions of American families right now. As we speak. As we debate. As we dither and discuss and hide behind conflicting ideologies.

America Needs the Jobs of Tomorrow. And America needs those jobs right now.

Seventy Years after FDR gave us the beautiful and durable WPA and CCC buildings,the buildings still stand. All across America today, these wonderful facilities are enjoyed by millions of Americans each year. They bring pleasure to all who use them–and their durable construction has spared the American taxpayer millions of dollars we would have paid over the years since the Great Depression, had FDR not acted so wisely and prudently on America’s behalf.

What FDR Did with those New Deal programs was to borrow work from the future. America borrowed the jobs of tomorrow to put Americans back to work. The money would surely arrive later–but the jobs were needed back in the day.

These Are the Kind of Jobs America Needs Right Now.

We Need to“Borrow” the Jobs of the Future, to put American construction-workers back to work right now.

Is it Possible That Some People Don’t Understand This? It’s the same thing we do when we borrow for college education, knowing that this kind of “deficit spending” will yield big dividends in the future.

On the Other Hand, America lives at some current risk that President Obama, yielding to relentless caterwauling about the deficit, may rein in this future investment. Doing so risks sinking the economy quickly back into recession or worse–at a time when the resources of the typical American family are already sorely stretched.

Deficit Spending Cannot Continue Indefinitely without giving rise to inflation. But borrowing work from the future–with such  public-funded projects as FDR’s projects that stand the test and ravages of time)–actually stimulates the economy in a real and constructive way.

By Building Tomorrow’s Projects Today, the government buys two things for the American people:

First, Cheaper Labor currently available means that these jobs cost less now than they would in a post-recovery future.

Second, Spending for These Future Projects Today means that our children and grandchildren won’t have to spend for them tomorrow.

What May Look Risky–spending now, when we don’t yet have the money–is actually  just good business sense. It's one of the best investments the nation can make right now, at a time of cheap labor and high unemployment such as today.

It's the Fiscally Prudent Decision: to invest in tomorrow’s work projects today. And further, the American people voted for this kind of job creation.

Back in the Great Depression, it took FDR, a scion of wealth, a person raised to understand the methods of investment, to come up with the CCC and WPA deals.

Those Beautiful Buildings That America Loves:

Proof That Borrowing Jobs from Tomorrow is a fiscally conservative investment that stands the test of time.


Friday, December 4, 2009

The Great “44¢ Public Option” Race

[A copy of a letter recently sent to one of America's newest Senators]

December 4, 2009

The Honorable Senator Al Franken
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

RE: The “44¢ Public Option”

Dear Senator Franken:

I Am Sending You this Letter to ask you to judge a race that the American people are currently running right now. The race has three contestants–represented by UPS, FedEX, and the USPS. The event tests which of the three can deliver the mail in the most-efficient manner, at the best price, to the consumer.

Each of the For-Profit Delivery Services represents a different, randomly selected for-profit, health-insurance company. You may choose representative names from your own personal list: Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, The Traveler’s, United Healthcare, etc.

Meanwhile, the Not-for-Profit Delivery Service of the USPS represents either the proposed “public option” in the health-insurance reform bills currently working their way through Congress, or else a single-payer system. Again, your choice.

Three Copies of this Letter have been mailed to you via the three competing entities without giving you a chance to read this letter or to know of this contest in advance, to prevent influence from preconceived opinions you may have in the health-insurance reform debate.

By the Time You Read the three editions of this letter, you will know first-hand who has won the challenge. Will it be FedEX or UPS, whose deliveries will cost $7.20 and $10.33, respectively? Or will it be the government-run “public option” of the USPS, the United States Postal Service, costing 44¢?

Judging Should Be Based on Two Characteristics:

(1) Timeliness of Delivery: Which copy of the letter arrived in the timeliest manner? That is, which letter or letters arrived in time for you to read them and use the information to make your informed decision in a timely manner?

□ (A) FedEX (Date Received: _____ ) No. of Days for Delivery: _____
□ (B) UPS     (Date Received: _____ ) No. of Days for Delivery: _____
□ C) USPS    (Date Received: _____) No. of Days for Delivery: _____

(2) Cost-Effectiveness of Delivery: In relation to the timeliness of the delivery, which copy or copies of the letter cost less to deliver in relation to the amount of time that it took to reach you? (Delivery Cost divided by Number of Days to Delivery equals the cost-effectiveness coefficient, with the lowest number representing the most cost-effective outcome):

□ (A) FedEX: Delivery Cost ÷ No. of Days Required for Delivery = _____
□ (B) UPS:     Delivery Cost ÷ No. of Days Required for Delivery = _____
□ C) USPS:    Delivery Cost ÷ No. of Days Required for Delivery = _____

This Challenge Will Demonstrate two different objective truths about the present state of capitalism in America:

(1) Regardless of delivery “option,” the letters should reach you within one or two days of each other. Delivery cost will have been paid in advance. The USPS sometimes receives Government support, which still brings the unit cost (the 44¢ stamps needed to mail insurance-premium payments and credit-card payments and greeting cards, etc.) substantially lower than what it would cost, per capita, to send these items by private delivery.

(2) Here in the United States of America, in the present day, both the high-priced “private option” and the low-priced “public option” compete head-to-head. The low-priced option provides low-cost service to those who need it. The different high-cost “private option” services survive competition–and on a profitable basis.
Despite the High Prices of the Private Services, FedEX and UPS, in contrast with the low USPS prices, all three services fill vital roles in delivering services that American citizens need.

American Citizens Deserve the Same
Quality of Choice in Healthcare Services.

We Don’t Know Why So Many People want to pay $10.33 or $7.20 to deliver a letter that the USPS delivers for 44¢. The important thing is: they do.

The “Private Option” of UPS and FedEX competes just fine with the low-cost “public option” of the postal service. For 233 years, the great American system of free-market capitalism has worked just fine.

It’s Time to Give the American People a “public option” for healthcare services, and give all Americans the free-market choices that we deserve.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Please, Sir! Show Some Mercy!

 [An open letter to my own Congressman, as well as to all other Democrat and Republican Senators and Congressman who would vote against a public option that would provide all Americans with medical care:]

The Honorable Michael T. McCaul
10th Federal District
United States of America

Dear Congressman McCaul:

By This Point, it has become clear that you have no intention of voting for your citizen-constituents on health-insurance reform, but instead you will vote for your insurance company CEO-constituents. But let me try a different tack:

(1) Last Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that, ““Pensions for top executives rose an average of 19% in 2008, with more than 200 executives seeing pensions increase more than 50%, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

“Executive pensions rose even as the share prices at the companies declined an average of 37% in 2008 and many firms froze employee pensions and suspended retirement-plan contributions.”*
Are We One Nation, Congressman, or are we two?

(2) You Probably Know That Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, back in 2002, cut 15,000 jobs from the Hewlett-Packard payrolls and effectively shipped them overseas. Fifteen-thousand good-paying American technology jobs sent off to China, Taiwan, and beyond. Ms. Fiorina was given a severance package of $21,000,000 to go away and leave HP alone.

This Past Wednesday, that same Carly Fiorina announced her decision to campaign for U.S. Senator from California, on this basis:

“Our most pressing problems today are too few jobs for Americans and too much spending in Washington....As California's senator, economic recovery and fiscal accountability will be my priorities.”†
Are We Working to Make America Better for All Americans, or only for the few at the top? And which of these groups do you work for, Congressman?

(3) If Ms. Fiorina’s Behavior and that of “more than 200 executives” exemplifies the American spirit in times of great need such as we are experiencing today, then there’s something pretty badly wrong with your supposedly Christian and Conservative and Republican ideology, Congressman.

Maybe It’s Time You Think about the Difference between your 640,477 constituents who struggle to keep the American dream alive as their own, and your 6,469 who only take their welfare and benefits—at taxpayer expense—in the millions and billions of dollars.

(4) Americans Down Near the Bottom of the economic pile can take care of each other pretty well without contributions from CEOs and the health-insurance industry.

We Can Take Each Other in when our neighbors lose their homes and can’t feed their children. We can buy our Christian neighbors clothes, we can drive them in our cars, we can take donations to the food banks and the Salvation Army.

We Can Take up All Sorts of Collections at church and make sure that everyone else’s kids get clothed and fed and taken to school and kept away from gangs and drugs.

The One Thing That We Can’t Do for Ourselves, or for our neighbors, is pay for medical care. It just costs too much. At the high end, fewer than 1% of Americans can afford to pay for it.

The one thing that we can’t do for ourselves,
let alone for our neighbors,
is pay for medical care.

What’s Not to Get About This—except for sheer, unmitigated greed at the top of the economic pile.

And So I Am Begging You:

If you would—
Please, Sir!

—just grant us this one dispensation—so that no matter how sick we get, we can get to the doctor and get treated without going bankrupt. I promise you—

Please, Sir!

—we will come back to work for your and your business associates and political contributors, at the low-paying jobs that remain as your industrial advisors convince you of the necessity of making it harder and harder for Americans to get ahead economically. But just—

Please, Sir!

—I’m only asking you for this one thing: just make it so that your constituents can get to the doctor, whether we’ve lost our jobs or our homes or our self-esteem, and—

Please, Sir!

—I swear that I will never trouble you for anything again.

God Bless You, Congressman, Sir!

*“Pensions for Executives on Rise,” by Ellen E. Schultz and Tom McGinty, The Wall Street Journal, (11/03/2009)
Amid GOP optimism, Fiorina announces Senate run,” by Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle (11/05/09)

Friday, October 23, 2009

One in a Million

When the Late Sam Walton set out to provide quality goods at the lowest-possible prices to rural and small-town America, he may have set in motion a stunning demonstration of the law of unintended consequences. While Mr. Walton found ways of lowering the prices of tens of thousands of clothing and household items, he led the nation in exporting American manufacturing jobs overseas. The unintended consequence was that the American dream, as realized over two centuries of American generations, slowly sailed away from American shores as well.

Sam Walton Was Only one American citizen in a million. While Mr. Walton and other captains of American capitalism shipped the American dream off into the sunset, the 999,999 other Americans failed to notice the loss—just as much as Mr. Walton and peers presumably did. As the prices of goods fell, the other 99.99% of Americans began putting more of these cheap goods onto their credit cards and in other forms of cheap credit. America has gone through lean times before, and the reasonable expectation was that the good times would return again, with good-paying jobs, with job security, with pensions and home-ownership and a second car in every garage and—

But This Time, It’s Different. This time, though we have seen some huge spurts in job growth, such as in the high-tech industries, the overwhelming number of new jobs have been in service. These jobs have included the stereotypical tasks of flipping burgers at the fast-food place and manning the burgeoning army of twenty-four/seven convenience stores. And they’ve also included manning the customer-service phone banks of America’s leading companies.

These Are Low-Paying Jobs, not the kind that Americans are used to, as far as paying for the American dream is concerned. They provide an excellent avenue to the American dream for new-comers from lesser-developed nations, but they won’t pay the bills on sub-prime mortgages and home-equity loans.

The Fast-Food Jobs, at least down here in Texas, are gladly taken by members of minority populations. One enterprising fast-food purveyor in my neighborhood somehow got the idea of importing Mexican citizens, white-collar workers such as accountants south of the border, to come staff his restaurants in order to learn English. The fast-food pay here isn’t bad in relation to comparable pay in Mexico, and the opportunity to get paid for becoming bilingual has substantial value in the Mexican financial world, while the American franchiser gets a ready supply of top-quality workers at entry-level pay.

The Convenience Store Jobs (at least on The Simpsons, if not in  reality) provide opportunity for immigrants from India and Pakistan and surrounding areas. Taxi cabs are driven by the same international mix, as well as by slavic immigrants from former-Soviet bloc nations. Africa and the Carribean and all of Central America are represented in America's Service-Job World, as well.

And Those Call-center Jobs are shipped to India, to Indonesia, and to the Philippines.

All in All, the American Middle-Income Worker and below is.....screwed. He can’t afford to work for the low-paying jobs—and so he directs much of his anger at those who can.

No Wonder America Is Awash in angry “tea party” protests. Americans—especially all of the lower-income and middle-income Americans busy working two or more jobs, just to stay afloat—are too busy to think about what it might really be all about. They're just over-worked, under-paid, with nothing set aside for the future, and the cost of healthcare and higher education climbing higher and higher. As the new saying goes, “Outrage Is Easy.” It’s the hard thinking that takes time and energy—time and energy that most Americans don’t have available to themselves these days.

Something Is Happening Here, and we don’t know what it is. Do we, Mr. Walton?

The Irresponsibility and “Moral Hazard” of cheap credit and home-equity loans to middle-income American tax payers is well-known. This kind of irresponsibility is easily spotted, and easily criticized. (Over the past decade of this new century, Congress has put measures into law to target these irresponsible spendthrifts specifically: even as it has become easier and easier for banks and credit-card companies to tack on fees and to raise interest rates at will, it has become harder and harder for individuals to afford to pay for......bankruptcy.)

How Did it Happen? How did it come about that many of America’s most-conservative citizens got themselves into so much debt, with such lousy job prospects, no pensions, and the steep decline of their 401(k)’s?

The Answer Is Easy: While 99.99% of Americans were spending like there was no tomorrow, that other 1% of Americans earning tens of millions of dollars a year were making sure that the dream—the American dream that the other 99.99% were counting on—was shipped overseas.

One Nation, Indivisible. Even when the odds are 999,999 to one.


(with apologies to Bob Dylan and the Buffalo Springfield)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where the Democrats Went Wrong

If It Weren’t for the Mistake of trying to compromise with Republicans before the time was right, the Democrats would not be in the lamentable position that they find themselves in today.

If They Had Simply Started with a Universal Healthcare Plan—such as “Medicare for All”—then at worst case, the Republicans in Congress would have forced a compromise in the form that we’re arguing over today: the so-called “Public Option.”

Instead, the Republicans Were Met Halfway
before the deliberations even began. The Democrats, generously considerate fools as always, started out at the halfway line. And now we’re all stuck with a collection of congressional plans, none of which makes nearly so much sense as the ultimate—universal healthcare—eventually will achieve. Thus, in the short term, we’re most-likely going to end up with a mess.

Can Congress Fix the Mess That It’s About to Make? Of course, it can. This is the United States of America, and making things work is what we do best.

But Sometimes, It Just Takes Time. Slavery and racial integration and universal education and global defense during two world wars—to say nothing of the 44¢ stamped letter (where the private competitors FedEx and UPS charge more than $6.00 and $12.00, respectively, for the same service)—are some stunning examples of what we Americans do when we put our philosophical differences aside and reach for the brass ring.

The Insurance Companies Have Stepped Forward, confessing that they can’t provide healthcare for all Americans while keeping their hundreds of billions of dollars in profits, under the proposed “Baucus Plan.”

It Was Honorable of the  Insurance Industry to step forward and admit this. Now it is up to Congress to get the job done.

Like National Defense, Paid for out of American Taxes, national healthcare can only be managed on a universal basis. Not one of us knows in advance how much healthcare he or she will use in the course of a lifetime. That’s why we all need insurance. That’s also why none of us (except for the very wealthy, such as the CEOs of America’s insurance companies) can possibly set aside enough money to protect the defense or health of ourselves and our families. Only the national government can budget to do this.

The Proper Role of Government is to provide for its citizens what they cannot reasonably provide for themselves. Defense is one such provision. Postal delivery to every address in America is another. Disaster relief. Pensions when the insurance companies fail. Banks and auto industries when those fail. What’s left?

Healthcare Is What's Left. Most of us can’t possibly afford the fullest range of medical care—which often goes into the millions of dollars—on our own. Over the past century or so, the health-insurance industry has shown that it can’t afford to insure our health fully, either. And now this industry has stepped forward to throw in the towel.

That Leaves the Federal Government—of the people, by the people, and for the people. Once universal healthcare is on the budget along with military defense and Social Security and other programs deemed essential to the public welfare—Only then will America begin to behave responsibly in regard to all our national programs.

Only Then Will We Fiscal Conservatives get the kind of control on government spending that is necessary for keeping America great.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Shining City on Hill Has Bright, New Star

John Winthrop and Ronald Reagan Would Be Proud. A bright, new star has landed atop their shining “city on the hill”:
....[F]or we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our god in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of god and all professors for God’s sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into Curses upon us....*
The First Eight Years of the Current Century saw a huge stain darken the beacon of human rights, hope, and courage that the United States of America has come to represent for the world over the course of our great nation’s history. Fear, renamed “Terror,” took hold of the dominant leadership of the nation.

Much of the Rest of the World Lost its “shining star” of hope and courage for most of the 21st century.

Those in Power in the Federal Government During That Time,
whether for reasons of fear or of ideology, brayed forth their disdain on the rest of the world.

This Attitude—that Other Countries and other cultures might be dismissed out of hand, merely on the virtue of their disagreement with one or more of America’s policies or opinions—has been a shameful experience for the rest of us to endure.

Meanwhile, Those on That Fearful Side of the Political Fence remain oblivious to what they have done, with America’s reputation for courage and liberty and peace and leadership, as a “beacon of liberty” throughout the planet.

The Developed World Has Been Appalled. Those of us at home who believe unequivocally in the American ideals of “the land of the free and the home of the brave” have felt humiliated. And our real and legitimate enemies–North Korea and Iran–have raised their shields. Many Muslim people around the world have witnessed our disdain, and have experienced death first-hand, as a result of our misdirected cowardice.

No Reasonable, Fair-Minded Citizen Can Justify
what was done by America out of fear.

But Today, a Striking Acknowledgment of the passing of that dark eclipse came unbidden, as out of nowhere.

In Giving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama, the selection committee provided a less than adequate explanation for their selection. And almost without question, President Obama has accomplished little that is constructive, too little to earn such a major award on the merits.

Given the Prestige of this Noble Award, and the short list of Obama achievements to which it may have been attached, one can only assume that the award is given for the American accomplishment of the election of a biracial president and for the return, clearly evoked by the new president, of the bright and shining star—of that “shining city on the hill”—of the leading nation of the world, the one true “superpower,” wherein reside the hopes of people everywhere, that though this beacon was briefly dimmed, it was not extinguished. America once again takes its place as the repository of the world’s highest and noblest ambition, the leader of the free world.

We Americans Respect Those Who Differ from Us. We respect those whose opinions and faiths and beliefs differ from ours. But none of those others–whether Israeli or Palestinian, Iraqi or Afghan, Persian or Korean or Russian or Venezuelan or Cuban–can be inherently our enemies. For we, the people of the United States of America–and we alone among the world’s nations–are all people. Americans are Korean and Vietnamese and Muslim and Jew and Hindu and Christian and Buddhist and atheist. We are Georgian and Colombian and Brazilian and Ethiopian and Nigerian, and everything else.

America Does Not Attack, but Only Defends. We believe that we are all God’s children, we are all neighbors in God’s sight, no matter how we define or decline to accept God’s existence, God’s presence, God’s nature. It is not for us–as Americans–to judge how others behave or how others believe, but only to let the Lord judge.

In the Example of the Obama Presidency,
we Americans return once again to the path described by John Winthrop in that same famous 1630 New England lecture:
[T]o follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.....[We] must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities for the supply of others’ necessities, we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality, we must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body, so shall we keep the unity of spirit in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us, as his own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways.”*

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Announced Today
in President Obama’s honor does not necessarily represent the dwelling of the Lord among us and nor does it represent the Lord’s blessing on us. Still, it is a singular honor. We, the people of the United States, under the new leadership of our government of the people, by the people, and for the people, have returned to light the ways of peace and freedom and democracy and capitalist opportunity.

On Inauguration Day, 2009, a New Era
began for America. An era that returned us to our former leadership role in the world. We relit that darkened light. Under the articulate leadership of President Barack Obama, America has reclaimed its position as that great beacon, in President Reagan’s misquotation of John Winthrop’s early speech, as “the shining city on the hill.”

Congratulations, to Barack Obama and all the people of the United States of America. And to those who disdain America’s escape from that brief, yet too-long era of Terror, please accept our enthusiastic regrets.

* For our source of Governor Winthrop’s sermon, on which President Reagan’s descriptive statement was based, see the following link: John Winthrop's City upon a Hill, 1630.  (Spelling has been modernized above.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping Insurance Workers Employed in Tough Times

Universal Healthcare Is the Way of the Future, but the Democrats want to transition in a way that will save hundreds of thousands of insurance-worker jobs. Leave it to President Obama and the Democratic members of Congress to think of more than just the tremendous damage done to the country under our longstanding, for-profit system of excessive costs for mediocre access to the world's best healthcare.

Today, the Austin American-Statesman Reports that Iowa Republican Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley called the public option a “slow walk towards government-controlled, single-payer health care.”

Well, At Least Senator Grassley Finally Gets It:

Universal Healthcare Coverage Is the Way of the Future. But the Democrats want to transition in a way that will save hundreds of thousands of insurance-worker jobs.

One Thing America Doesn’t Need is another industry going belly up. We’ve already bailed out the investment banks and the debt insurers and the automakers. We can’t afford to put all of the insurance companies out of business, too.

Fortunately the “Public Option” of the Post Office has shown that the government-run plan and the private competitors such as FedEX and UPS can both survive. We have a road map before us, for putting a government-run unit in competition with the private sector, so that both sides win. The millions of Americans who want to get their insurance where they work, and pay $6.00 or $12.00 to send a letter, can do so. The millons of Americans who want to get their healthcare coverage through the government’s public option, and pay just 44¢ to mail a letter, can do it that way.

It’s Time to Apply the Post Office/FedEX Model to Keeping Americans Alive. And we can do it at a “slow walk” that doesn’t put more Americans on the unemployment lines. It’s a win/win/win situation where everybody gets what they want—at a cost that all of America can afford.

But the Republicans Will Have None of It. After all those years of hidden health-insurance taxes to pay for prisoners, Senior Citizens, illegal immigrants, the military, and the poor, the Republicans would rather fight for the status quo.

You Might Think That Republicans Would Rather Not Put Any More Americans out of Work. Despite the economic damage of the past years, you would think that all of America—Republicans and Democrats alike—would want to keep more Americans working.

So What Does Senator Grassley Really Have against a job-saving, cost-saving healthcare reform plan—that stops the hemorrhaging of the insurance industry—with a “public option” that keeps the insurance industry in business for as long as possible? Is it the same thing as the way that Senator Grassley disdains the Post Office for charging just 44¢ to mail a $12.00 letter?

Go Figure....


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If the “Public Option” Post Office....

.... Was Good Enough for the Founding Fathers, how come “public option” healthcare coverage isn’t good enough for us?

Do Today’s Conservative Democrats and Republicans in Congress really think that they can do better for America than Benjamin Franklin did? (Franklin, you may remember, became America’s first Postmaster General back in 1775.)

Previously, I took Iowa’s U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley to task for preferring that Americans pay $6.87, or even $12.16, to mail a letter anywhere in the country, when USPS—the United States Postal Service—will deliver the same piece of mail for just 44¢.

The Original Public Option, the United States Postal System, did eventually give way to something else—something that clearly serves a valuable role. In the wake of government domination of the postal delivery system, changes were made that spawned UPS and FedEX. And if these companies did not exist and thrive now, then the vital purposes of free-market Capitalism might go unserved.

So Why Not Test This Process Again? How about if Congress once again gives America what it gave us with the establishment of the Post Office? How about another “public option,” to give those of us who want it, the healthcare coverage that we want this way, while the rest of America can continue to freely support the private-sector insurance?

Many Americans Currently Use FedEX and UPS in addition to, or instead of, the United States Post Office. And that is as it should be. Free-market enterprise is the backbone of the American economic system. But we still rely on that Post Office “public option,” too.

It’s Not Clear Why So Many in Congress believe that they know better for us, than we do ourselves. Why so many in Congress feel compelled to protect us from the kind of healthcare protection we believe we need, is a real mystery. Why so many in Congress might even fight old Ben Franklin, if he were pushing his government post-office option today.

Many Americans Believe That Government can’t do anything right—whether it’s to Medicare, the VA, the Post Office, or the Internet.

But the Rest of Us Have Faith that a government—of the people, by the people, and for the people—has the best chance on the planet of making things work for everybody.

Americans Want Congress to Put These Theories to the Test. If the public sector wastes too much money, and can’t get it right, the private sector will prevail and thrive.

All Americans Should Be Allowed to Test this Out. The private sector can continue using the free-market system to provide millions of Americans the valuable doctor/patient interface that they have given us for decades. While the “public option” demonstrates whether it can offer something better.

It’s a Fair Test. It’s a True Test. It’s FedEX and UPS versus the United States Government, all over again. In the original version, the private sector and the public sector both have survived. Let’s see what happens this time around.

It’s Time for Conservative America to Prove that the kite-flying inventor of bifocals was wrong. It’s time to let the rest of America access the healtcare coverage that we want.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Healthcare “Reform” Is Really About.....

Sometimes It’s Hard to Know Who’s Really Smarter: The leaders or the followers. Take the biggest current political issue, for example:

It’s Not About Healthcare Reform at all. It’s about reforming healthcare insurance.

The Whole Purpose of the Debate is to find a way to remove the rationing, the bureaucratic rationing that stands between us and our doctors. At the same time, we don’t want to put the tens of thousands of insurance company employees out of work.

The Last Thing America Needs Right Now is to kill off another industry—or to make taxpayers foot the bill for another bailout. And so Congress and the White House are working  to see if we can’t find a middle way.

The Thing Is, We No Longer Have a “Middle” Way in America. It’s right or left, blue or red, “my way or the highway,” with not much agreement on anything between.

Meanwhile, the “Tea-Bag” Party-Goers are out there, complaining that our government can’t seem to get much of anything right. On the one hand, it’s hard to argue with the evidence of congressional and presidential failure. On the other hand, this business of government is clearly a lot harder than it looks....

We’d All Like Somebody to Take Charge—like a CEO, a dictator, or a king. If only we could do it without giving up our “inalienable rights.” Such as the right to more services and entitlements, with lower and lower taxes.

But When Government Tries to Transition from the inefficient insurance mess that we have now, to something that puts capitalism’s “profit motive” back in the medical industry where it belongs, and people throw tantrums about it all—

What Can We Expect?

Do Any of Us Really Want Our Insurance Company deciding that our doctors’ care costs too much? Do we really believe that insurance companies should decide when to pull the plug on the medical care that’s keeping our loved ones alive?

But What’s the Alternative? How many of us have any real idea about the universal coverage programs that the rest of the developed world has? All I hear about is Canadians crossing the border to get cosmetic surgery without having to wait three months. And how good Japan's healthcare is, and how bad England's is. And how they all cost too much.

Thinking in terms that Adam Smith, the founder of capitalism through The Wealth of Nations might use:
  • Doctors provide the labor, in exchange for wages.
  • Investors provide the capital stock, for the development of new drugs and equipment, as well as for hospitals and clinics.
  • Patients provide the profit through their self-interest in purchasing the medical-care products.
  • Insurance companies provide.......What?
Call Me an Old-Fashioned Capitalist Without His Tea Bag. But I don’t see what insurance companies add to the mix. I do see the profit that they remove from our ability to pay for needed medical care. And I see the government insuring our costliest, least-profitable patients—through Medicare and the VA and the prison systems—and doing a fine job.

So Go Ahead and Have the Tea Parties. Go ahead and protest to defend the current rationing of medical care that is killing millions of Americans, with stress and with denied coverage, because you can’t tell the difference between the world’s finest “healthcare system,” and the worst “healthcare delivery-system” currently dysfunctioning in the developed world.

Pride in America Ought to Be Based on Something besides the belief that my ability to be angry makes me better and more-right than you.

It’s Time to Reform Health Insurance. After that, we can wave signs and complain about government in Washington all we want. Maybe we’ll shake up Congress a little bit after all. Lord knows they can use it.

But Come On, Citizens!

At Least Lets Try Not to Be Too-Stupid about It....


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fiscal Conservative Challenges Obama to a “Big Government” Bet

As an Unwavering Fiscal Conservative, I want America’s fiscal house put back in order. The question seems to be how we do it. For some good reasons, free-market competition in the health-insurance industry actually interferes with competition in the medical field. Our access to medical treatment continues to get worse, as the price continues to skyrocket, and our private insurance companies, despite their best efforts to squeeze down the cost of our dollars going to doctors and hospitals, instead just get in the middle and keep the profits for themselves.

The "Bet" in the Old Life Insurance Joke goes something like this:
Life insurance is where the insurance company bets you that you’ll live forever.
You bet them that you’ll die first.
You put up the money in advance.
Somebody else collects when you die.
Either way—you lose!

Competition Makes Our Free-Market System Work. But for too long in the world of catastrophic-health insurance, competition has gone missing. Texas, where I live, has a population of about 24-million swaggering cowboys and cowgirls, but that's clearly not a big-enough market for insurance competition to flourish. And tort reform—which was passed here quite a few years ago—hasn't done the trick of stopping unnecessary tests or high medical costs.

Insurance Companies Earn the Profits that they need to stay in business, while everyday Americans suffer from exorbitant premiums that keep salaries low, from policies that are withdrawn or used up just when they are needed most, and from policies that ration the care that the medical profession delivers—by demanding too little care in many cases, and encouraging too much waste in others. The medical profession gets shorted, the American people get shorted, and the insurance companies manage to eke out an immodest, but necessary profit.

Since Competition Is What We Want, let’s put health-care insurance to the free-market test of capitalism. President Barack Obama has proposed a tiny bubble of an insurance product, expected to cover less than 5% of the population. This “public option” will receive no tax dollars and will add not a dime to the national budget, but give those Americans who believe that government does some things best a chance to have their ideology tested.

Can Government Deliver Healthcare? Affordable healthcare? Without going broke? Or is this another foolish Liberal fantasy? 

Let’s Let the Free Markets Decide:

President Obama, America Issues You a Challenge. Either your “public option” can do the job of insuring Americans directly or of stimulating better competition throughout the country, or else you shut it down.

America Can Give You Five Years. We can afford this test, when the lives of so many Americans are at stake, but we can only afford so much. Whether the question is an ideology of entitlement or an ideology of greed, you’ve got five years from Day One of the passage of the healthcare reform bill.

But Then When This “Public Option” Fails, or blows through its budget, you owe it to the American people to shut it down.

The Clock on the “Public Option” Starts Ticking Soon.

You Have Five Years.....


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Did the Post Office Ever Do to Senator Grassley?

In a Phone-in Town Hall Meeting about healthcare reform yesterday on C-SPAN, Iowa Republican Senator  Charles “Chuck” Grassley made an odd comment about Democratic efforts at instituting some form of “Public Option” as part of the reform bills pending before Congress. Said Senator Grassley:
 [T]heir goal is to have the government run everything. And I don’t think the government does a very good job of running the post office, for instance. So should they be running healthcare?”

Some Quick Research on the United Parcel Service (UPS) Web Site shows that you can mail a letter by UPS, from one American residence to another, for $12.16. And UPS's biggest competitor, FedEX, will pick up and deliver the same letter for about half that: just $6.87.

I’m Embarrassed to Tell You what Senator Grassley's whipping boy, the United States Postal Service—the government-run program that has delivered mail to every address in the United States since 1775—charges:


Given the Incomparable Differences between the government rates and those of the private sector, Senator Grassley’s comment is highly suspect. To say nothing of the denigration it delivered to your neighborhood USPS delivery person. 
The Government-run USPS will deliver your letter for about 
6.5% of the FedEX® cost. and about 3.62% of the UPS® cost.

If Opponents of Government-Insured Health Care want higher standards than those of the United States Postal Service, it’s fair to say that their demands are unreasonable. One might say that their perspective is ideologically blinded.

Senator Grassley Is the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee. But his understanding of the role that the Federal Government plays in the daily lives of the American people raises some concerns. One wonders if the senator has any idea what it costs these days to mail a letter.

It’s a Mystery Why So Many Americans are convinced that we need private industry such as FedEX® and UPS® to make profits, while the Postal Service delivers everybody’s mail, with outstanding service, at a cheap price—and America gets to keep the profits....

Medicare and the Veterans Administration both deliver low-cost, affordable insurance to many of America's most-expensive citizens. And we don't hear the kind of complaints about Medicare that Senator Grassley just leveled at the Post Office.

I Bet You That Neither UPS® nor FedEX® Could Deliver all your letters for 44¢ a piece and come anywhere close to doing it as cheaply as the USPS does.

It’s All in How You Look at It. And ideology clearly plays a tremendous role in clouding many people's judgment.

But When It Comes to My Own Health Insurance, I’d rather go the 44¢ route—for United States Postal Service quality, at a United States Postal Service cost.

Ideology Aside, of course.....

[For a video recording of Senator Grassley's call-in Town Hall meeting on C-Span, go to this link:


Friday, September 4, 2009

Democrats Want Health Care That’s Affordable:

Republicans Want Medicare to Die

The most expensive citizens to insure are America’s Senior Citizens. Whatever conditions they acquire—such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer—have had a lifetime to develop. And these conditions, once acquired, will usually be present until the time that they die.

And yet America has covered each and every one of our Senior Citizens from the time that they turn 65 until the very end. With Americans living longer and longer lives, many Seniors now live well into their 80s and beyond. Even to 100 and beyond. And we are glad to have them, our grandparents and our great-grandparents, and even our great-great-grandparents with us.

It is an expense that most Americans gladly pay, in order to keep our loved ones alive. But of course it is a large expense.

And yet we pay the expense as a nation, because we would not see our loved ones suffer and die.

America Insures Only the Most Expensive Americans

Insuring the most-expensive segment of the population has been a costly endeavor. The Democrats put this in place, back in 1965. It took them twenty years, from the time that President Harry Truman proposed it until the time that the Democrats managed to put it in place. This was in the first half of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s tenure. Medicare was put through for our Senior Citizens during that time, and the Civil Rights Act was put through for all Americans in the same era, and the Conservatives turned away from the Democratic Party, as LBJ had foreseen, for the next 40 years.

Medicare Covers All Seniors....But Republicans Wanted to Kill It

During all this time that Medicare has made health care affordable for our Senior Citizens, Republicans have argued against it. Republicans argue against Medicare primarily on ideological grounds:

“It’s too expensive!” they cry.

“We can’t afford Medicare!” they shout.

“We don’t want big government running our health care!” they say.

Well, of course it’s expensive:

What do you think you get when you only buy the most-expensive things, without budgeting for all the rest?

We Insure More Than Just Seniors

On top of insuring Senior Citizens, already the costliest segment of society for health care, we also pay insurance costs for other expensive groups.

We Insure the Military

Our military—the soldiers, sailors, marines, and fliers who keep America safe—come back from war with myriad serious and costly medical conditions, both physical and emotional. And we pay for them all. Because our military—perhaps even more than our Seniors—deserve it. Our military suffers on our behalf, and the very least we can do is provide for their health care.

But it is expensive.

We Insure Prisoners

Our prisoners are another expensive group. And we pay their health care, too.

This segment of the population often leads lives riddled with drug addiction and other abuses. From tattoos (including those acquired with dirty pen points in prison) that lead to Hepatitis C and other practices that lead to AIDS, America pays for them all.

We Insure the Impoverished

The poor, too, we pay healthcare for.

We provide neighborhood health clinics in the poorer parts of our cities, and those not served in this fashion go to our hospital emergency rooms. And there in the ER, whether it’s a sore throat or a diabetic coma or a gunshot wound, America pays for it all.

We Pay for the Most Expensive: Why Not for the Least?

If we are already sharing the cost of health care for America’s costliest populations, it only makes sense to level out the field a bit more, and put everybody under the same reimbursement umbrella.

If cost is the issue—as the Republicans currently proclaim—then what better way to get those costs under control than to put the cheapest in the same tent with the most-exorbitant, and level out the costs for us all?

Republicans Work to Keep Medicare Too Expensive

But since 1965, for almost 45 years, the Republicans have worked to keep it so that the most-expensive health care to be paid for—is paid for out of the taxpayer’s your pocket.

The Republicans have made sure that Medicare is almost impossible for America to afford, so they can keep hollering out, “It doesn’t work! Socialized medicine doesn’t work! It’s too expensive! We can’t afford it! Medicare is going broke!”

Of course it’s going broke:

You Can’t Afford Steak and Lobster on a Hamburger Budget

The Republicans insist on serving up steak and lobster for dinner every night—while the rest of America eats low-cost, high-fat hamburger meat to pay for that steak and lobster (which, by the way, the members of Congress also get to eat, through their government-paid healthcare).

And then they keep fussing at Democrats for blowing the food budget.

If America is already paying for the most-costly patients—the poor, the prisoners, the military, the Seniors—and also paying its own insurance through employer-paid policies—and on top of that, we are paying the insurance companies bigger and bigger and bigger profits every year, then cutting out the insurance company profits, and using that money to pay for Medicare and the VA and the rest of us, can only cost less.

Why Not Keep Healthcare Profits Where They Belong?

A single-payer insurance system that covers all Americans, while paying the bills of the private sector, is the best way to encourage the private sector—doctors, hospitals, drug companies, medical-equipment companies—to continue providing the best possible health care, at the affordable costs that the free-enterprise system and free-market capitalism provides.

Let’s keep medical profits where they belong: in the medical industry. Not in the pockets of private insurance companies.

Republicans Argue Ideology.....
While Americans Without Insurance Die

Now, Republicans can argue with this all that they want. They can talk about the threat of Big Government—but you can ask any Senior how he or she feels about Medicare, and you’ll know that Big Government isn’t really the issue.

The real issue is insurance companies. It's not that they're evil. But businesses need profits in order to survive. And it's just the profits that they have to take out of society that make insurance too-expensive. It's just the profits that require denials of coverage, whether for preexisting conditions or from loss of your job.

Republicans Cry “Choice!” But There Is No Choice.....

Republicans can argue about “choice” all they want. But under our current system of private insurance, there is no real choice.

When all the products available are supported by a broken system—
—that squeezes profits out of the misfortunes of patients and the dedicated service of doctors—
—and no available insurance policy will afford you complete coverage—
—without any rationing of preexisting conditions and illness-caused loss of employment—
—adding zero value to our health care—
—that leaves every single American taxpayer at risk of financial ruin—
—then you know that it’s time to give Medicare to everyone.

Republicans Are Determined to Bankrupt Medicare

The Republicans have worked for almost 45 years to kill Medicare. It’s time to put this destructive Republican ideology aside.

Now Let’s Work to Keep All Americans Alive...


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

“What About Disallows?”

....The Number-One Question to Ask Your Insurance Company....

You Probably Know the Insurance Term,preexisting condition.” That’s the term insurance companies use to keep from paying for health conditions that you already have.

Another Term for How Your Health-insurance Company rations your medical care is “disallows.”

What Are Disallows?

“Disallows” Are What Your Insurance Company Refuses to Pay For—even if your doctor says it’s part of the medical care you need.

If You Think the “Disallows” that Insurance Company A has are better for you if you need a liver transplant, while the “disallows” that Insurance Company B has are better for you if you have pancreatic cancer, then you are free to choose which policy is better for you and your family.

Which Diseases Are You More-Likely to Get?

If You’ll Get a Heart Condition, then Company C’s policy may be the one for you.

But If Your Child Might Get Muscular Dystrophy, then Company D’s policy may be right.

What's the Best Insurance Policy for Your Particular Family?

Insurance Policies Are Not the Same. You probably like the insurance policy you get from work right now. But what if your policy is not the right one for you? Can you change to a policy that better reflects your family's health-risk factors?

Which Policy Is the Best Insurance Policy to protect you against whatever medical conditions time and circumstances may throw your way?

Is Your Family History the Same as Your Spouse’s? In that case, the same policy–from Company E–may be just right for you.

If Your Family History Includes Cancer, but your spouse’s family has a history of heart disease, you might have to go with a policy from Company F—and hope that neither one of you ever has to use it.

Which Policy Is Best for You and Your Spouse?

And Is the Same One Best for Your Kids?

And the Most-Important Question to Ask Your Insurance Company:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why Americans Don't Hate Their Insurance Companies—Yet.

What Makes Most Americans Happy with their health insurance is that they haven’t had cancer or any other major life-changing disease. They haven’t experienced their insurance company “rationing” health care by refusing to pay portions of hospital bills. Such as those items that the insurance company “disallows.”

Your Insurance Company Currently rations your medical care. It gets between you and your hospitals and doctors. The insurance company negotiates what it will pay for and how much they will pay for it.

Your Insurance Company Has a Profit Motive to keep from paying for all the health care that you need.

Those Opposing Health Care Reform Call It “Rationing.” That's how they describe what your insurance company does right now.

What Your Insurance Company Won't Pay, the hospitals and doctors come after you. In the case of life-changing diseases, these unpaid charges can total tens of thousands of dollars, or even more.

But That Hasn't Happened to You Yet. You're still happy with the insurance you have now.

What Will Your Insurance Pay for If You Get Cancer or some other major disease? What will they refuse to pay?

What Will Your Doctor Prescribe for You, that your insurance company won't pay for?

Ask Your Insurance Company about “Disallowed” Items.

Have You Compared These Items with those of other insurance companies, to see which one is better for you? Are you protected for cancer, but not for muscular dystrophy or diabetes? Are you protected for muscular dystrophy, but not for multiple sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease? And how about macular degeneration? Are you covered for that?

You Can’t Know What to Insure Against, until it’s too late.

But Your Insurance Company Has to Insure You in a way that keeps it from going bankrupt–and in fact, your insurance company needs to show a profit of some kind.

And the Doctors and the Hospitals Have to Stay in Business. They can’t just write off all of the charges that insurance companies and patients don’t pay. So they find other, creative ways to spread the cost around.

In America, If You Pay Your Own Medical Bills, you usually pay a lot more than your insurance company pays for the same treatment. Up to 70% more for the same treatment.

Meanwhile, Our Government Pays out the Billions of Dollars in treatment provided for those without insurance.

The System Is Broken. You just don’t know it yet.

Lucky for You, your family is healthy. You don't have any kind of catastrophic medical situation—

Friday, July 17, 2009

Calling Congressman John Boehner to Explain

Ohio District 8's Distinguished U.S. Congressman John Boehner said something odd in the White House Press Pool this past Thursday.

Speaking on the Subject of Healthcare Reform, Congressman Boehner interrupted a reporter's question to give an example of how the Obama plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest 3% might effect others. In the example, Rep. Boehner posited a hypothetical Subchapter-S corporation with income of $500,000.

In a Subchapter-S Corporation, all income passes through to the taxpayer, In Rep. Boehner's example, the taxpayer's income is only $150,000. But according to Rep. Boehner's implication, this hypothetical $150,000 taxpayer would pay increased taxes—on the total $500K,000 of the pass-through income.

This Is Not the Case. This is not the way the tax code works at all.

In Such a Situation, the Exact Opposite Is the Case: the taxpayer might earn $500,000 in his Subchapter-S corporation, but after deductions and exemptions, and credits, if his income came out on the 1040 tax form as $150K, he would not be affected by the Obama proposals. In fact, this taxpayer would pay less tax under the Obama healthcare plan.

As Promised During the Presidential Campaign.

Maybe Rep. Boehner Doesn't Know How the Tax Code Works. Or did he perhaps misspeak? Or did he intend to deceive or to scare us? Or is some other reasonable and logical explanation missed?

It Would Be Good to Know the Answer, and I trust the media in Ohio to investigate. What is the story in this seemingly odd hypothetical situation, that may fly under the radar of most Americans' understanding of the tax code.

This Situation Makes a Perfect Opportunity for media to demonstrate its value, by chasing down the answers. As I write, it is more than twenty-four hours since the incident. occurred. Are the newspapers and TV stations and bloggers of Ohio not paying attention?

Which Ohio Paper or Radio Station will be first to call Rep. Boehner to account?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Defense of Dave

It Sucks When People with Thick Skin and little concern for others try to take advantage of good people such as late-night TV show host David Letterman. Mr. Letterman’s good heart, earnest intellect, and genuine curiosity have been on regular display for the last 25 years or so, for those of us eager to enjoy the antics that those traits engender after the kids have gone to bed.

On the Other Hand, the latest Republican vice-presidential candidate and current governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, appeared on the scene recently and has made clear her ambitions to continue parlaying her looks and pretense of self-confidence into higher political office—or whatever else she can manage to get by exploiting these superficial traits.

It Is All a Bunch of Hooie,
as they say. No one in American politics has made so brazen an exploitation of her own children for political gain as Ms. Palin has. Where everyone else strives to keep their kids out of the limelight as much as possible, Ms. Palin thrust hers out in front, almost as a kind of a shield.

And Now, with the Unfortunate Opportunity
of an unfunny joke, in dubious taste, of a pitched ball served up by Dave, Ms. Palin has done her best to hit the ball out of the park.

As in All Things Political,
most of us saw the curve ball fall far short, well into foul-ball territory, while a few of those sitting resentful in far-Right field swear that the ball sailed fair over the outfield fence.


David Letterman's Choice of a Joke taking aim at the lame political candidate was unfortunate. And likely it stuck in his craw to have to apologize to someone who so clearly has sought to exploit Dave's gaffe for some political purpose—as if Ms. Palin truly can't differentiate between Mr. Letterman and actual political competitors, or between herself and professional entertainers.

Meanwhile, Mr. Letterman Seems to Have Made the Best of the unfortunate situation, publicly offering credence to Ms. Palin's pretence that she misunderstood the target of the joke (Palin herself, and not really either of her daughters); that this one, particular, bad Letterman joke, a degenerate makes (degeneracy is in the eye of the beholder); and that Ms. Palin gives a flip about our men and women in military service fighting for the right to have the failure of “abstinence” as a birth-control method not be held against those of us who have been given the God-given right to freedom of speech, or the right to bear children. Or....whatever.

I Hope That Mr. Letterman Knows Better than to take this experience too much to heart. For that would be a real shame.

On the One Hand, This Incident has probably ruined any chance Mr. Letterman has for a successful vice-presidential run in the foreseeable future.

On the Other Hand, That Job May Have Been Irrevocably Tainted by one recent competitor for that office. Not to mention a few who have gone before.

God Bless America for the willingness of Joe Biden to step into the oft-sullied U.S. Veep job and try to make something respectable of the position.)

Oh: and God Bless and Keep Sarah Palin and her family......far away from us.