March 15, 44 B.C. marked the assassination of Roman emperor Julius Caesar. The emperor had been warned to beware of that day by a soothsayer and a fateful day it became. Thanks to Shakespeare, we are quite familiar with the term and have transformed it into an almost generic term fora sense of foreboding. And yet, for Romans of that era it was a way to refer to the 15th of March, May, July and October.
Perhaps, in a different way, we have another example of somethings that should make us wary. The pervasive one, aka Google, has made quite an interesting offer to virtually any community in these United States. On February 10, the company announced an unprecendented offer. Although the offer was scant with detail, it has generated enormous response.
It was described thusly in the News and Observer on March 13 in an article by Sarah Ovaska. Founded in 1998 (hard to believe) by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the Mountain View,Ca company issued this proposal. “…to rewire an entire community,free, with Internet service more than 100 times faster than what most people experience.Think gravel road meets Autobahn( great analogy, by the way).”
Her article was entitled, “Area Towns preen for Google, ” with an opening line of “The Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC) is getting all googly-eyed.”
No doubt that similar articles have appeared elsewhere. Certainly, cities all across the fruited plain and from sea to shining sea are making their pitch. The deadline for proposals is March 26, so time is short. Google says it has not tallied a number of responses. Don’t believe that for a second. Betcha they are analyzing the dickens out of this stuff already.
Now, why are they doing this? Google spokesman Dan Martin says, ” We want to see more people online, and we want to see the Internet become easier and faster.” I actually believe that statement, but, I also believe that it is by no means their real motivation. With details so sketchy, what will happen and when is as unknown as to whom it will happen. How much is Google willing to spend? Will it require financial participation from local government? How significant is the offer if computer ownership is not significant? Will there be a corporate partner? Say Dell or Hewlett-Packard?
There are so many intriguing questions. It brings to mind a line from my favorite tv show, NCIS. When queried about Gibbs past, “Ducky” has this telling response.”With Gibbs, there are always more questions than answers.”
Since our little town is probably not in the running, I will watch with interest to see the winner and what happens next. The whole thing is almost eerily similar to those instances when a federal agency solicits comment about a proposed ruling or decision. Could there be any connection( pun most definitely intended) to the FCC announcement of its 10 year plan to make high-speed Internet the country’s dominant communication network. Yep, that would mean the eclipsing of radio, cable tv and telephone comapnies by whom? Talk about ramifications. As Yoda might say, plentiful they would be.
Health issues can be quite complex and hard to decipher. I present 3 examples that illustrate how that is true. About 2 weeks ago the President nominated Dr Regina Benjamin to be the next Surgeon General, our nation’s top doc and #1 health care advocate. Dr Benjamin practices on the Gulf Coast of Alabama and has had very noteworthy medical career. She has focused her practice on those who number among the under served. Her clinic has had to overcome the wrath of Katrina as well as a devastating fire. She has received a number of honors, all seemingly well deserved.
In her personal life, she has lost a number of family members to disease, such as diabetes, lung cancer(due to smoking) and HIV related illness. She says that she would want to focus and wellness and prevention plans to keep people from dying of preventable diseases.
Ok, now for the mixture angle. Dr Thomas Frieden is head of the CDC. He apparently considers obesity as a preventable disease, but not by individuals themselves. He alluded to the 26% obesity rate in our country and has this quote”Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort,” it will be done successfully as a society( translation -government). CDC researchers also said that spending on obesity-related diaeases takes up 10% of health care spending.
Number 3 comes from the left coast, courtesy of the LATimes. The article is titles Tough Love for Fat people, Tax Their Food to pay for healthcare.Don’t laugh just yet. The Urban Institute has a report that suggests using strategies that were employed in the tobacco wars against fatty foods. Simplified, tax those chips, cookies , sodas, candies etc. What a government gold mine , all to be used for healthcare of course. They say that a 10% tax on theses evil foods along with new labeling identifying the healthier foods would work wonders. Now whose work do they site? The Surgeon General who reported on the dangers of smoking way back in 1964 (this report was key in getting my dad to quit smoking) and continued to raise the bar .
Ok, do we have any connections? Our Dr Benjamin is herself an overweight person. Some have already raised this issue, both as a factor in her favor-different perspective, knows the issues etc- and as a negative- how can she advocate against weight related issues if she is struggling with them. A conundrum, we have, as Yoda might say.
Personally, I have always had a bit of difficulty with physicians who seemed of the mindset- take my advice, but I don’t . Could our Dr Benjamin fall in that category, perhaps. Would she be wont to push aggressive measures that target what one eats and seeks actually to influence or control ones behaviour in that area? It will be interesting to watch. Too bad, one can only stock up so much Mello Yello ahead of time.
Two of the most powerful members of Congress are Democrat representatives Henry Waxman of California and Charles Rangel of New York.Mr Waxman represents the 30Th district in the land of Arnold and is the new chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Mr Rangel represents New York’s 15Th congressional district and is the chairman of The House Ways and Means Committee. If you are not familiar with these gentlemen yet, in the words of Yoda, “You will be . “
Mr Waxman is strongly committeed to doing something about the environment and has every intention of getting an environmental bill out of committee by Memorial Day with the able assistance of his California colleague, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. What will this bill look like, provisions, restrictions, changes in your lifestyle etc,. who knows at this point. Bet you wont like it though.
As for Mr Rangel, he is making some noise,again, about reintrducing the military draft, the third time he has done so. Will he succeed before his ethics problems trip him up or will he just continue merrily along the way running one of the Congress’ most influential committees ?
Remember these faces. They will be back and back and back.
( Rangel,picture #1 and Waxman, picture#2)
Democrats on parade !!
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