September 13, 2011

The Problem of Health Insurance and Poverty

Every Monday, my hometown newspaper, Syracuse’s The Post-Standard, publishes a listing of judgments and bankruptcies.  Like many people, I read these with a combination of curiosity (anyone I know?) and discomfort (no joy in someone else’s misfortune).

This week, of the 97 judgments listed, 31 were filed by local hospitals or physicians, totaling over $371,000. Throw in a judgment satisfaction and a bankruptcy, and it’s closer to $380,000.

Anyone see a problem?

New Census Bureau numbers came out today, and show that almost 50 million Americans – 50 million – do not have health insurance. The number would likely be higher, except that PPACA (the Job Killing Health Care Law) provides coverage for kids under 26 who can now remain on their parents’ policies.  

The number of Americans living in poverty is now just over 15%, or 46 million of us, the highest number ever recorded.

Anyone see a problem?

Last night at the GOP debate, a smattering of the audience applauded the concept of letting a comatose man in his 30's die outside a hospital, untreated, because he doesn't have health insurance.  A larger number of them cheered the concept of churches and neighbors handling his care.  

Anyone see a problem?

September 11, 2011

Returning 9/11, Redux

Two years ago, on the eve of the eighth anniversary, I proposed that we ‘return’ 9/11 to America, and to Americans. I thought then that we should consider moving on – not that we should forget, because there’s no way that will happen – but that we allow the day to have all of the myriad emotions, circumstances and possibilities that all other days are afforded, including happy ones.

At the time I wrote the post, (read it here ) I was thinking about a friend whose birthday falls on 9/11, and how difficult it was for him to have a ‘normal’ birthday, without feeling guilty about having fun on what had become such a dark day for us. After all, it’s hard to imagine behaving normally on a day when so many lost their lives, when so many had their lives forever changed, when the path of our country was so dramatically changed.

Today, I watched the coverage of the anniversary ceremonies in New York, Washington, and Shanksville. I listened as the names of the innocent were read aloud, by their moms and dads, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends and strangers. My emotions (and tears) swelled listening to Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, and Paul Simon perform their particular magic. I was transfixed by Amazing Grace, so beautiful on the solo flute, and so different emotionally from the more traditional bagpipes.

But perhaps the most moving of all were the comments not of the politicians and talking heads but of the children of the victims, and how in an almost quintessentially American way, they have made their very difficult lives worthwhile since 9/11. Living up to the memories of those they lost; making sure to be worthy of the sacrifice; to make sure their lives will make a difference. Not only so that people don’t forget, but so that people can feel comfortable moving forward.

For me, they are the reason to move forward.

We can mourn the innocence lost on 9/11/01, but ten years later on 9/11/11, while celebrating the lives of those who perished, we should more importantly celebrate the lives of those who carry forward their memories and ideals, and celebrate the resilience of the American spirit.

September 9, 2011

This Bill, This Bill: Obama Goes Country

I don't want another standoff
Boehner doesn't need another cry, no
We’ve already learned the hard way
America says hello, oh no, goodbye
Got no money in their pocket
Jobs aren’t falling from the sky

It's the way I see things
How to fix this mess
It’s bipartisan motion
It’s the path, the best
It's that pivotal moment
It's, ah, possible
This bill, this bill (must pass it!)
This bill, this bill

Obama said to McConnell                        
"How did we get so off course, huh?
Was it damn Reid and Pelosi
with their bleeding hearts and ideals?
Ride me out of the big White House?
Mitch, you must be smoking crack!"   

It's the way I see things
How to fix this mess
It's the crap you asked for
Screw the liberal left
It's that pivotal moment
It's all possible
This bill, this bill (you’ll pass it now)
This bill, this bill

You can call me after midnight
Talk about our common goals, (or not)
You can stall and delay if you dare but
Americans can’t wait that long
Don’t kill this in cold slow motion  

Don’t let everything slide
You got me angry, you got me riled

It's the way I see things
How to fix this mess
It's my grand proposal
Save my presidency!
It's that pivotal moment
It's, ah possible
This bill, this bill (you criminal)
This bill, this bill

It’s the way I see things Boehner
It's the way I see things Cantor, yeah  

It's the way I see things
How to fix this mess
It’s bipartisan motion
It’s the path, the best!
It's that pivotal moment
It's, ah, possible

This bill, this bill, (You’ll pass it John)
This bill, this bill

It's the way to see things, Boehner
It's the way to get re-elected', yeah

It's the way I see things
How to fix this mess
It's bipartisan motion
It’s the path, the best!

September 6, 2011

Who do you prefer the least?

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is out, and the results are (not surprisingly) ugly.  

President Obama is not doing a good job as president (51% disapprove), or handling the economy (59% disapprove). On foreign policy (45% disapprove) and Libya (38% disapprove) he's doing a little better. 

On the 'Kumbaya' question - the one that asks how the respondent 'feels' about the person or group referenced by the pollster - no one does well. Obama generates the highest very negative sentiment, a mere one percentage point higher than the Tea Party, but he also has the highest very positive, slightly more than twice that of the Dems and Teas, but three times higher than the Reps.
  • President Obama: 24% very positive, 30% very negative
  • The Democratic Party: 11% very positive, 25% very negative
  • The Republican Party: 8% very positive, 23% very negative
  • The Tea Party: 11% very positive, 29% very negative
The big ugly number on the survey is that 73% of respondents feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. Hopefully, this will not be a surprise to any elected officials, or to any of the candidates out on the campaign trail. 

I've read that many of our representatives and senators took a beating at home over the August break; Obama took a beating for taking a vacation; and of course we had the childish nonsense surrounding the scheduling of the President's big jobs speech, which I think was handled poorly by everyone.  

Although politicians always say they don't pay any attention to polls, I'm hoping they take a look at this one, take the message to heart, and somehow come up with a way to move us forward.