"Los Angeles seemed like a good idea at the time" - Eugene Robinson
"Washington does not think very well. The last quarter century has seen an explosion in the human capacity to create and manipulate new knowledge. Despite that fact, the instruments used to inform public policy choices are as creaky as ever. Washington makes policy largely by intuition." -- James Jay Carafano
Now that Congress is about to go back in session, the summer's debates and townhall theater is also winding down. Both Democrats and Republicans attempted to sway the masses. Democrats held townhall meetings to try and explain the legislation they wanted to enact, Republicans played on the fears and uncertainty of older, prescription addled folks. Do you know of anyone over 80 who is not on some kind of anti-depressant? I'll bet you don't... Anyway, the right wingers of the Republican party won the pr battle, and Obama is currently suffering popularity in the polls. Of course, during the last campaign when Obama was well ahead of John McCain, Republicans were saying how polls did not accurately portray public opinion...
There is a lot of unhappiness in America. A lot stems from so many people losing their jobs and small businesses failing, creating a cloud of fear, depression, and sense of hopelessness that can spread through the population like a virus. Traditionally, these types of feelings have been blamed on the government ever since the Civil War, where the North occupied a defeated and demoralized South. During the 1960's, a vast social movement was created with one of its tenets being the paranoid feeling that Big Brother is watching. Of course, time has proven that the sixties paranoia was based in fact...
If the frustrated people who are afraid of a black man as President, the frustrated people who believe there is too much government impinging on their freedoms, the older people scared that they could fall between the cracks in any health care system because they are generally ignored now in our society; if these folks were more liberal, left wing protesters, we could chalk it up to their having taken far too many psychedelics 30 - 40 years ago.
But they are not, so it must be the anger and confusion caused by the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. Ok, I'm joking, but not really. Many people have problems with their eyes not working as they should, and stop reading as source of gaining knowledge and pleasure. Also, once you are out of school, so many people with learning disabilities, or who never became inspired to read, never pick up a book gain. They spend many, many years watching television as their only source of news and entertainment, and then listening to the radio when their eyes begin to fail. Quite simply, a majority of folks become illiterate again as they get older. Life is passing you by, most other people ignore you when you go out, and any major changes in life can cause fear and anxiety that you will not be able to cope. It's one of my greater fears, not being able to comprehend what I read, and I'm developing some memory problems over the past few years. My sister and I have made a pact, just kill us if we ever get to that stage of senility.
"Rage, rage against the dying light. Do not go gentle into that good night" - Dylan Thomas
The GOP and drug companies and insurance companies who set up townhall protest websites to stir people up this summer, have tapped into that cloud of despair and manipulated it. Before, it had been given tangible form in the tea party rallies back in April. Wisely, they have pulled back just when the anger and despair was beginning to transform into violence. But the GOP fear mongering continues,with the hypocritical Michael Steele coming up with the embarrassing Seniors Bill of Rights.
As long as a Democrat is in the White House, we will see nothing but obstructionism towards every policy he wants to enact. It's like children acting out with temper tantrums, and exposes the two-faced nature of politicians like Chuck Grassley. Manipulating and escalating people's fears is the old-school style of GOP politics. This summer has shown it can work quite well, and they won't change their stripes no matter how much it smells. But the cloud of anger, fear and despair remains, and will only get worse now that it has been fed in public. What would have been helpful, and an example of real healing, is to have confronted that cloud this summer, address the underlying fears that those people have, and work with them to get over them. a task far beyond the limited means and understanding of mere politicians.
I haven't seen anyone address the fact that most doctors today will not accept Medicare patients and certain insurance plans. Many insurance companies, like Blue Cross/Blue Shield won't pay doctors until after 120 days. If a doctor charges $80 for a visit, and the insurance only pays him $18, plus your co-pay, where is the incentive to accept that insurance? Yes, the office visit is inflated by at least $50, but that is often because of the lower percentage of the price of the visit the insurance is willing to pay. I'd jack up my prices, too. It becomes a vicious game with the patients as the ultimate loser. I have been rejected by a couple of local doctors who would not see me because of my insurance plan, it wasn't worth the aggravation to play the paperwork game, where a claim can be rejected for not using certain exact words in a sentence, and its even worse for Medicare and Medicaid forms. Here is where the revolution should be directed, not at imaginary death panels and other made up crap. Stick to the basics, change what affects us first and let the others follow in good time.
late night jokes:
"Publishers are saying that every time President Obama is seen reading a book on his vacation, sales of that book skyrocket, go through the roof. It's incredible. Yeah. And historians are saying we experienced this before when President Bush was photographed reading 'Everybody Poops.'" --Conan O'Brien
"Health care debate, of course, still rages. John McCain in the middle of the debate now. Earlier this week, in a television interview, John McCain said he has never experienced anything like the current debate on health care. Then McCain turned to the camera and said, 'I've also never experienced anything like the rich, bold flavor of lemon zest Metamucil.'" --Conan O'Brien
"California is trying very hard to get out of debt. I can't believe this. The government of California is holding a garage sale to raise money for the state. A garage sale, ladies and gentlemen. Now, folks, even if you don't really need anything, this may be your only chance to haggle with Governor Schwarzenegger over a $2 spatula." --Conan O'Brien
"Ladies and gentlemen, I didn't even realize this until this morning, Sunday will be the 16th anniversary of Paul and myself doing the show here at CBS. Sixteen. And that is assuming I make it past tomorrow's death panel interview." --David Letterman
"The Obama family is taking a vacation up there in Martha's Vineyard, it is a good time for the president to take a vacation, I think. I mean, everything is fixed, right? Why not knock off? And they are talking about Obama may play a round of golf with Tiger Woods. That is a little different than President Clinton on vacation, he just liked to play around." --David Letterman
"Celebrity birthdays, happy birthday John McCain, 73 years old tomorrow. And if you are looking for a gift, you can't go wrong with something from the Very Old Navy." --David Letterman
"McCain has had a tremendous career, ran for president, Sarah Palin was his running mate for vice president, and now, and now I don't know, he is at Applebee's blowing on his soup." --David Letterman
"Today and tomorrow, the state of California is having a big garage sale up in Sacramento. Which is probably not a good sign for the economy, when the largest state in the union is holding a garage sale to pay its debts. Our governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, actually signed a lot of the items for sale, I guess to raise their value." --Jimmy Kimmel
"You know, a garage sale is fine, but we owe $30 billion. If we really want to make money, forget the garage sale, take some of that confiscated pot and have a bake sale." --Jimmy Kimmel
David Letterman's Top Ten Ways the Show Has Changed Since 1993
10. Now do the bulk of my drinking after the show.
9. People used to pretend to like me. Now they pretend to tolerate me.
8. Global warming has raised theater temperature to 38 degrees.
7. I lost 280 pounds with Deal-a-Meal.
6. Crazy lady we used to piss off: Madonna. Now crazy lady we piss off: Sarah Palin.
5. Audience is here to see if I drop dead on stage.
4. Dwindling amount of hate mail; burgeoning amount of hate e-mail.
3. Every ten minutes someone is dropping a flashlight.
2 .Used to talk with sexiest women in the world. Now I interview Artie Lange.
1. Emmy Awards replaced with Fire Dave rallies