My congressman, Mr G K Butterfield, was in the Chowan County town of Edenton to listen to his constituents and also to talk with them, primarily about health care. To say the latest, it was a bit of a rambunctious session. Many members of the audience were not happy campers about the recent health care reform legislation and were eager to share that opinion with Rep Butterfield, who voted aye. I was quite intrigued with some of his comments in response to their opinions and questions.
Rep Butterfield defended the legislation in some interesting ways. He alleged that the country was on the verge of a depression and that the reform was needed to help alleviate that crisis. Not at all about either of those statements. In fact, I disagree with the first assertion and remain unsure how the legislation could be helpful. He trotted out the number of near 50 million Americans being uninsured, a figure I had not heard in a while. It seems to be a number that at any given time could range from 30 -60 million depending on how the Democrats were making use of the number. Needless to say, his audience was unconvinced.
The next interesting comment dealt with the greed of insurance companies which may actually have some truth to it. But he chose to make his point with the assertion that there were insurance company ceo’s that make $12 million annually as evidence of that greed. The article did not provide any verification of that figure. But assuming that it is true, one wonders if that means all health insurance ceo’s ( probably not true) and if it does, how many people would be included? I don’t know how many health insurance companies there are but let us say there are 30 or 40.At its worst that is $300-400 million. That figure pales in comparison to the amount lost in Medicare fraud and that earned by trial lawyers (aka John Edwards). And jus so happens there was no tort reform in the legislation.
But, for me, the most interesting comment made by the congressman was near the end of the session. Just guessing a bit but I think it reflected some frustration on Butterfield’s part. He said tha after all we live in a democracy implying I guess, that the law was passed by a majority and we need to move on. His comment was met by an audience member saying that no we don’t, we live in a republic. Butterfield reiterated his previous statement.
Now, who was correct ? Was it a sitting U S congressman who should know these things or by a regular citizen ? And does it matter?
My understanding of a democracy is all citizens voting directly on the issues of the day. A republic on the other hand provides for the election of people who decide those issues on our behalf. Perhaps it coud be said that we some elements of each, but I don’t think so in the way the Congressman intended.
Sounds like it was quite a vocal meeting and maybe a little example of democracy at work – lol.
One of my favorite topics on which to comment are the antics of those who claim to know what’s better for you than you do yourself. This is quite prevalent in the area of food choices. I wrote most recently about this on May 2oth regarding efforts by the city manger of San Antonio, Tx to have all sugary foods and beverages removed from city vending machines.
Thanks to World Magazine , I have read of an instance that may just leap to the top of my list. By the way, many of these types of things seem to occur in Europe, where nanny state is much more advanced than here in the United States, at least for now. Seems that there is a government-run day care near the city of Manchester and they have certain standards that purport to say what foods are healthy for their charges.
It appears that a cheese sandwich, one of my favorite foods, especially if cheddar is employed, does not meet those standards. Why? What a silly question that is. Because at the Westfield Children’s Centre, one must have lettuce or tomato on one’s sandwich for it to qualify as healthy. So, the 2-year-old in our story was given fruit and vegetables as a substitute. Parents were given a lecture about appropriate food choices. Now, little Jack’s mom has thankfully removed him from the daycare lest his ” food rights” be violated again or she commit yet another gastronomical faux pas.
Stories like this really do offend me and I try to make light of them to a degree lest I get too frustrated. Couldn’t happen on this side of the pond ? Don’t bet against it. Things like this are happening already and will continue to happen in the name of good health and get ready, saving money on insurance costs. People who eat healthy are less of a drain on the health care system. As health care in some way, shape or form gets more rationed, the pressure will grow on people to eat right, however eating right is defined. could it be said that “unhealthy” foods are the new cigarettes? Wonder where that secondhand smoke will come from though?
Years ago, before it became so ubiquitous, MTV had a commercial campaign that war either annoying to the nth degree or an inspired bit of genius, depending on your age group, I guess. In an effort to get their “product” on cable systems, we were treated to repeated commercials screaming from the telly, “I want my MTV.” Apparently, enough of the younger generation took it to heart because MTV became must see and must listen to for lots of people.
Now, some 27 years after the fabled ad campaign, people see to be asking for something entirely different. They are wondering where is their Obamacare? Not 2014, but now! There was such an intense campaign to get the bill passed and the Democrats euphoria and celebration over the passage ( cue Joe Biden here) that one can hardly blame folks for wondering where all these great benefits are and when will they see them? Supposedly, on the HHS website, information is forthcoming. You would think it would have long ago been there. Perhaps the reality of being the “health czar” has not quite sunk in for Secretary Sebelius or maybe it has and she is just enjoying the afterglow.
The President doesn’t seem to helping matters with some of his thinly veiled barbs at those lawmakers who opposed the plan or the one comparing the criticism to people expecting seeds to sprout overnight. I just keep remembering a comment he made to John McCain. I won, you lost, so get over it.
But with insurers being flooded with calls about the plan’s provisions and being surprised with the answers, perhaps Pelosi and company over sold the deal. Wait, it had to pass so we all would know what was in it. Maybe that even applied to those who rammed the bill through?
The President was in Charlotte last week to tout the benefits of his economic recovery program at a high-tech battery component plant named Celgard. Supposedly, the company plans to add 300 jobs thanks in part to a $49 federal stimulus grant. As to when they plan to do this, the jury is still out.
But enough digression. While there took a question from a Celgard employee. This was her question. ” Is it a wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care? Because…we are overtaxed as it is.” Fairly straightforward question, is it not? Ah, but the answer was a different story entirely. The President started out well. ” Let’s talk about that.” And then he went on and on and on, almost as nauseum. Drudge said that the answer and I use that term advisedly, went on for 17 minutes and twelve seconds and encompassed 2,500 words. A bit much, perhaps. But the kicker is he really did not answer her question. He said, rather vaguely, that the new law would be paid for with a combination of new taxes on wealthy( an undefined group) Americans as well as cuts in Medicare subsidies.
I feel certain that the questioner was probably even more confused after the answer than before. As far as that wealthy American thing, what do you bet that many of us who by no means consider ourselves wealthy, will get the opportunity to help pay the freight. Yep, it’s a big deal, Mr Biden, a really big deal. How big is unfortunately, yet to be determined.
If you’re President Barack Obama, things are looking rather good these days. That is, other than the really low approval ratings ( which would have been great media fodder if it were George Bush, wait a minute, it was media fodder), high unemployment numbers, a growing budget deficit, etc.
Your health care bill is now the law of the land. Although I would not express it the way blue-collar Joe said, it is a big f…ing deal in ways that we as yet do not know.You have just negotiated an arms reduction deal with the Russians and you are showing Netanyahu and Israel who’s the boss.
As a result we seem to be seeing the return of Obama the perpetual campaigner. And, the Democrat base has got to loving it. He ‘s in the face of the Republicans verbally and otherwise. Try the recess appointments of 15 individuals featuring Craig Becker as an example. And today, Obama will sign the health care fixes bill. One tiny little jewel in that bill will decimate the private student lending business by in essence, federalizing the student lending program.
Oh and the Democrats, via Henry Waxman, are sending a message to those companies warning of higher health care costs. Hearings begin April 21. The elections, in case you have forgotten, are in November.
Had to step away from the health care fiasco for a bit although I guess this may end up being related somehow or the other. One of my fellow bloggers did a great job raising issues and points of concern of which you may be unaware. So check out warrantonegirl for some good info.
Back to our regularly scheduled blog. For the uninitiated, the title refers to cemeteries. I had not heard the term until a co-worker identified where he lived as being across the street from the boneyard. Rather apt term, come to think of it. I actually grew up just a block or two from our local boneyard in Eden, nee Leaksville, NC. The name is Lawson Cemetery, the name of the street on which I lived.
I know very little about the place other than it has always been there( since 1843 I learned) and it was the final earthly resting place for both of my parents. I was always intrigued by the place as a child with all the different tombstones and grave markers and how old I thought they were, little did I know how true that was.
So why boneyards? I suppose with the onset of spring and the approach of Easter I have ben thinking about such issues. I typically read and re-read the Gospel narratives (Matthew,Mark,Luke and John) about Passion Week that of course culminates in Jesus resurrection. There will be a time a bit later for more about that subject.
But, strictly from a boneyard aspect, I remember teaching a high school age Sunday School class many years ago on the above topic and discovering that in New Orleans and in Israel ( not sure where else) that people had to be buried above ground due to those areas being largely below sea level. Not sure if the class was as fascinated with that trivia as was I .
I have noticed since my arrival in the northeastern corridor of our state that not all boneyards are like that of my childhood. There is a plethora of small, family plots in some of the most unlikely places. Usually there are just a handful of graves, often barely marked and separated from a busy highway by virtually no barrier at all. But, ahh the history that lies in these small plots, gradually but inexorably fading away.
Obamacare is now the law of the land. Democrats are seen on the House floor cheering and shouting “yes, we can.” Speaker Pelosi and others have expressions of joy heretofore reserved for World Series winners, Super Bowl champs and children who get their perfect Christmas present. Some probably think that is exactly what has happened. A gentleman in Durham,NC is online saying that very thing. “It’s like Christmas.”
As a child I never wondered how my textile worker parents paid for the presents. I was just thrilled to get them. Fast forward 15 years or so and I was the one paying for the presents. Bottom line, someone has to pay for the goodies. The numbers are bandied about that 30+ million uninsured Americans will finally have health care. Well, maybe they will, but not just yet-maybe by 2014. And, as for those who don’t want health care? Guess what, you lose. Get it or pay a fine, courtesy of our newest health care cops- the IRS. As far as the revenue boys are concerned this bill is a bonanza. Estimates of 5 billion dollars or more in new agents and enforcement tools are being mentioned.
I thought a lot today about all those uninsured who are somehow seen as a monolithic group. I thought about all the reasons they might be without insurance. Have no clue about percentages but I daresay that many cannot afford coverage. How will they all of a sudden be able to afford it? They won’t of course. There is this thing of a tax credit to enable them to purchase coverage. Wonder how many in their euphoria realize this ain’t happening overnight? Just wondering.
I feel a bit qualified to speak about the uninsured since for several years, my wife and I were in that group. During that time, I had surgery, she had an accident, along with the normal prescriptions and doctor visits. Were we concerned at times? Sure. And we were quite blessed to have no life threatening situations. Neither of us recall thinking that someone owed us health coverage, much less, Uncle Sam.
You see, contrary to what the President said a day or so ago and what many signs and doubtless many politicians have said, I firmly believe that health insurance is not a right. Perhaps one can make a much better case that it is right. I fear that we as a nation have manufactured yet another right and still another reason to look to and depend on Washington for anything we need.
It is appearing increasingly likely that a health care bill will be passed by the Democrat controlled Congress. The wrangling over abortion restrictions that is only the latest issue will alas probably be overcome. ( Kudos on the efforts of Bart Stupak.) I say this with no enthusiasm since I fear that we will rue the day this bill was passed and rue even more when its provisions take effect. As Speaker Pelosi said, it must be passed so everyone will know what is in it. That one statement should cause every American of whatever political persuasion to wonder just what is happening.
Plus, two new terms have entered the political lexicon that I venture to say will also return to haunt us. One is the “deem it passed” concept and the other the “Slaughter Rule.” The deem it passed idea is one of the more convoluted things that one can imagine. The more I read about it, the more confusing it gets. In this process, that seems to be the norm. Can you imagine James Madison, who developed the copncept of “checks and balances” being faced with such a concept. And, don’t look just yet, but tis approach may be already under consideration for dealing with the thorny problem of immigration reform. If I were a Democrat, I would tread very lightly here since their majority status is not a perpetual things(as it is in the North Carolina legislature) and the old goes around comes around – process is always lurking behind the next election.
Then there is the Slaughter Solution. Named for powerful Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Chair of the House Rules Committee, and one of Congress’ most powerful women. In fact, the deem it passed approach came from her. The irony of this concept is the fact that the Republicans( shame on you) used a similar approach in 2006 when they ruled the roost, albeit on a bill of far, far less import than one that will takeover 1/6 of the U S economy. Anyway, there was a suit filed against the Republican action. It was led by Waxman, Slaughter and Pelosi. How ’bout that? The name Slaughter Solution itself carries all sorts of inferences and connotations which are far more intriguing than had it been the Smith or Jones Solution.
So, as we stand on the brink or precipice, one has to wonder what the verdict of history will be. One final thought. I daresay that few bills have had more claimed for them than this one. One has to know that like exaggerated claims for anything, it will never accomplish all that its supporters claim for it. Let us hope that the fears of damage are also overstated.
The President made quite an interesting choice of venues yesterday. In the midst of heavy-duty intrigue and maneuvering on Capitol Hill regarding health care, he appeared on Fox News. A gutsy move, I would have to say, being interviewed by probably his least favorite media outlet, other than probably Rush or Glenn Beck. The host was Bret Baier and the interview was quite interesting,
There was some give and take that seemed a bit testy, almost reminiscent of Dan Rather’s questioning of Nixon many years ago. A number of media outlets used the term contentious, some called it challenging or combative. I wonder about the timing unless the idea was to reach a large audience and gamble that the President would get his message out on his terms. Not sure that he accomplished that.
For one, he made another, shall we say, misstatement, akin to the 3,000% decrease in health insurance premiums statement , made in Ohio a day or so ago.(Press Secretary Gibbs called it a misstatement, saying the President meant $3,000, which HHS Secretary Sebelius also used,I doubt that figure also) Baier asked about some of the “deals” that were made to entice wavering Senators to vote yes. One was to Senator Landrieu and had become known as the Louisiana Purchase. In responding, Obama referenced Katrina and all the difficulties that ensued for Louisiana. Then inexplicably, he compared it to the earthquake that affected Hawaii. Unbelievable, partly because he lived there . Fortunately, Hawaii has not been impacted by an earthquake in many years. A minor pont, sure, but it replicated his earlier error in Ohio and did not help his case.
One other thing from the interview that bugged me a bit. Baier referenced some 18,000 e-mails that he had received and began to read from one of them. The President quickly responded that he receives some 40,000 emails and letters daily. Sounded like he was playing a numbers game. ” I get more mail than you,” ha! Not a presidential statement. How about one more. “Whatever they end up voting on…it is going to be a vote for or against my health care proposal.” That sums it up rather well, don’t you think?
Sometimes I think that I should feel quite indebted to those people who provide leadership for the Democrats in this country. For your reading pleasure today, we have examples of some of our favs in action. We have Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and an intersting combination of Rahm ( next senator from Illinois) Emanuel and departing congressman Eric Massa.
As you may know, Senator Reid is facing a strong challenge in his bid for re-election. He officially filed the necessary papers to just a day or two ago. In his statement, he mentioned working to get jobs for the good people of Nevada. Good, sure. But juxtapose that with the statement he made in the Senate a few days ago. It’s a good day today, only 36,000 people lost their jobs. Bet none of those folks saw it that way.
Example #2 comes from Madame Speaker, who incidentally claimed today that she has the votes to pass health care reform or Obamacare or the great takeover of 1/6 of the economy. Take your pick. Anyway, she was quoted as saying the bill needs to pass because- long pause for effect- people could then see what was actually in it. Sounds like buying the old pig in a poke to me; but in a very big way.
Last but by no means least is the Massa vs Emanuel confrontation. First, I need to introduce Rep Massa, D, NY. He is serving his first and last term from the 29th district of New York. He won a very close election over then incumbent Randy Kuhl, Jr. Seems that the Congressman is under fire for some alledged bad personal behavior, which I will not repeat. In sort of his swan song, he shared some interesting comments on Mr Emanuel, who needs no intro. Seems that the two had a confrontation not long ago in the Congressional gym. What was Rahm doing there? Why, he is the Chief of Staff, he goes where he wants. So the story goes, Emanuel berated Massa in extraordinarily colorful language ( probably words with 4 letters I’m guessing) for not toeing the line on a health care vote. I won’t paint the entire picture, but remember they were in a men’s locker room and the guess is they were not wearing coats and ties. Betcha Emanuel did not think a mere freshman congressman would ever have the audacity to breathe a word of what happened. The mental pictures near boggle the mind. Guess the Dems need a new candidate for the 29th district. Reckon Randy Kuhl,Jr wants his ld job back? Just found out that he doesn;t want the job and is urging support for Republican Tom Reed. New York Governor Paterson will announce a special election shortly. Lot of those in New York, huh?
So, just another day in As the Democrats Turn.
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