Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I have a cousin who lives just outside of Boston. He's a very bright guy -- an architect -- who is less than pleased with the Massachusetts plan for healthcare. He hints that having to file an additional form with one's tax return (to assure that you're contributing your appropriate, fair share) is about as much fun as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as my Mama used to say, and just about as useful.
The following are excerpts from the weekend's email correspondence:
"Following up on earlier emails re: the health-care mess, I thought you might be interested in this excerpt from a fairly recent Boston Herald article:
Wading into the contentious national health-care debate...[Massachusetts State] Treasurer Timothy Cahill blasted the state's landmark plan and warned President Obama that a similar scheme could bankrupt the country.
"If universal health care is breaking us, what's it going to do to the federal government?" Cahill told the Herald yesterday.
The treasurer...said the state's universal health-care plan...focused on insuring all state residents first and controlling costs second. As a result, Cahill said, the plan has been a major drag on the state budget.
"Health-care spending has exploded, and unless the federal government continues to reimburse us, we cannot afford it," Cahill said. "But who's going to bail the federal government out? Probably us, the taxpayers."
A report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers
Foundation, a business-based organization that supported health-care reform,
found that Bay State spending on the health-care overhaul has increased by about
$88 million annually since the law was passed.
Out of the $10 billion spent on health care in the state's fiscal 2010 budget, $1.7 billion is spent on health-care reform.
It reminds me of a quote by Thomas Jefferson: "If I could not go to heaven but with a [political] party, I would not go there at all."
"Thanks for the update. I shudder to think what's to become of you in Massachusetts if this debacle passes at the national level. You might just as well open a vein with a direct line going into the tax coffers."
"People will continue leaving the state in droves -- but once the feds wade in, there'll be nowhere to run to."
Giving the IRS yet more responsibility and authority, plus ineffective actual healthcare delivery. How's that for an uplifting start to the week before Thanksgiving.
"Nowhere to run to." New Zealand, maybe? 1981?
UPDATE: I'm going to have to try to figure out what happened to the quote. I hate computers on Mondays.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The roll call goes unanswered.
Rest In Peace, valiant fallen of Fort Hood, and may God's peace comfort your loved ones.
May the wounded have a full and swift recovery.
And may we -- all of those left behind -- never take a single member of our uniformed services, nor a moment in time, for granted.
If I hear one more television commentator refer to First "Calvary" or an Army "Base" I may have to scream.
Monday, November 9, 2009
(The cartoon was stolen from a Facebook buddy -- we can't lose all sense of humor now can we. At least, not yet.)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
When I was first learning to play at golf (I still haven't learned to "play" it, just "play at" it), Pepper and I started playing "Twilight Couples" rounds in which we were paired with another couple and assigned some bizarre format designed to produce a divorce or two per round. On one of those blissful Friday evenings, I blew a putt. Actually, I had blown several putts on several different holes in one of those formats that, in addition to boosting the bottom line at the divorce lawyer's firm, had the added benefit of torturing the weaker player in a twosome.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Emailed this morning to my Congressman, Anh "Joseph" Cao, and Pelosi, plus to Vic Snyder and Mike Ross of Arkansas:
I called your office this morning concerning the pending health care reform bill. I'm following up that call with an email to reiterate my position that your publicly announced refusal to comment on the bill until after a vote is wholly unacceptable. It is your job to comment -- not to keep your constituents guessing what actions you may take. Please take note that my opinion about your duties doesn't exist in a vacuum -- I venture that the vast majority of your constituents share my thoughts.
I also emailed the following to Speaker Pelosi this morning; please take my comments to heart:
My husband and I are opposed to the healthcare reform bill you announced on October 29th.
(1) The Bill demands an unprecedented expansion of the federal government -- that expansion, both in the Executive branch and via the Legislative branch, is beyond unacceptable, it is intolerable; (2) The Bill is overreaching and overbroad -- vast improvements in the delivery of health care and reining in its costs could be achieved incrementally instead of attempting to eat the elephant in one gulp; (3) The Bill is too expensive and will result in irreparable damage to small business, and will soon require dramatic increases in the middle class tax burden (how you characterize what you snatch out of a taxpayer's pocket doesn't matter -- a "fee," a "penalty," a "tax" -- they're all exactions, and they'll all wind up in government coffers); (4) The Bill's efficacy is, without doubt, unsustainable. Period.
I am a registered Independent, but I intend to dedicate my time, talents, and resources to the defeat of all Members of Congress -- regardless of party affiliation -- who vote in favor of your merged mark-up of HB 3200. This Bill represents the very worst of Government, the antithesis of our Representative Republic.
Please withdraw this ignominious and unabashed power-grab disguised as legislation, and return the healthcare debate to where it belongs -- in the open Democratic process under the watchful eye of reason.
My husband and I think we heard something about healthcare for pets yesterday. Although that would make Bouie happy, I hope we were just having a "senior moment" and made that up.
I'm gearing up for either the Gulag or Gitmo! Send cookies.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Yesterday was the 60th birthday of the Navy League, a major observance of "Fleet Week." The New Orleans celebration was meticulously planned down to the last detail, even bringing in five crew members from the USS New Orleans as special guests. Impressive young men they were. Impressive, indeed.
But, as strong and handsome as those young sailors were in their spotless white uniforms, and as tasty as the food was, and as nice as the open bar was (don't you just love an open bar!), nothing about the evening could hold a candle to the venue.
The Navy League celebration was held in the lovingly restored and newly re-opened "Blue Room" of the Roosevelt Hotel, now a Waldorf Astoria property.
Having regained her former name -- the name of her glory days -- she was, yesterday evening, elegant, dripping in history, and a magnet for memories: a grand lady, properly courted and attended to by an adoring throng. I thrilled as a sharply uniformed doorman greeted us and welcomed us to enter the door he held open with pride and a genuine smile.
Four years ago, in August of 2005, this hotel was the Fairmont New Orleans. Her guests were permitted to hunker down and engage in "vertical evacuation" for Hurricane Katrina -- a formerly common practice of checking into a high-rise downtown hotel to ride out approaching storms. (You'll notice I said "formerly" -- not any more. If the order to get out of Dodge is issued today, then everyone must get the hell out of Dodge, hotel employees and all.) After the storm passed, the hotel's management brought in chartered buses to transport the guests to safety in their Dallas property, then it set about assessing the damage sustained by the luxury hotel.
And the Fairmont sat vacant.
It sat abandoned and vacant for years, its intricate mosaic tile floors filthy, its traditionally gleaming brass handrails dull and lackluster, its artfully detailed frescoes fading in the humidity, plywood boards blocking out people and sunlight. No floor shows in the Blue Room, no "Angel Hair" Christmas decorations in the lobby that stretches an entire city block.
No celebrities to take up an entire floor and order specially-made peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches from room service, as Elvis did while filming "King Creole." No elected "royalty" to enjoy a cocktail and tryst with his Bourbon Street scarlet lady, as Governor Huey Long did during his reign, later cut short by an assassin's bullet. No Sazerac Bar to break the gender barrier, allowing women to belly up to the bar alongside their male counterparts (to which the ladies took as a duck to water!).
But, two weeks ago, the Roosevelt re-emerged to fanfare and jazz and revelry.
Last night as we prepared to leave, we decided to make "the promenade" down the long lobby and back to the entrance. Holding hands, we silently took it all in --the artistry, the amazing clock that keeps time according to the movements of the Earth, the towering displays of fresh flowers. We listened to echoed memories of our first New Orleans Mardi Gras ball held in the ballroom on the mezzanine, and imagined my parents as a young couple enjoying cocktails and a show featuring comic Brother Dave Gardner in the Blue Room. And we smiled.
Strolling to the parking deck, we passed the still-shuttered Orpheum Theater, deserted former home of the Louisiana Philharmonic, and our reverie was tarnished just a whit. But then, as we approached Canal Street in the car, we saw the lights on the art deco Saenger Theater marquee, illuminated last Thursday for the first time since the Storm. Another thrill, another restored pleasure promised for 2011.
We've learned not to open our hearts to too much relief about our adopted City's recovery -- there's always something around the block to shatter that satisfaction. But today, the return of New Orleans takes mostly giant steps, not just itty-bitty baby steps. And new lights brighten the night sky in the City That Care Forgot more and more often, brighter than before.
I can't wait to see what's next. Or to see the Roosevelt decked out in her Christmas finery!