Tuesday, April 22, 2003

You have the right to anything

A story in the Monday NY Times says that the Bush admin is making decisions about what procedures and drugs Medicare will cover based on costs. No kidding. We’d have a much more rational discussion about health care in this country if there wasn’t this fantasy that there is some system possible in which health care isn’t rationed in some way. Some of the Times’s examples, though, are new drugs that Medicare refuses to pay for because it insists they are “functionally identical” to cheaper older drugs, and this raises some questions. Either Medicare is practicing medicine without a license, or the FDA is so much the instrument of the pharmaceutical industry that it is licensing drugs it is legally required to reject (new drugs not only have to pass tests, but they are supposed to be rejected if they are not in some way an improvement on existing drugs). Either Medicare or the FDA is lying.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Homophobia) clarifies his earlier remarks, saying that he has nothing against homosexuals, just homosexual acts. So that’s ok then. In case you missed the earlier remarks, they were: “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.” Rick, you have the right to remain silent--use it.

The official state sport of Maryland is jousting. Oklahoma’s official state meal is okra and chicken-fried steak, which sounds suspiciously like a prisoner’s last meal. However, Pennsylvania is deadlocked on the issue of a state cookie, with the state senate supporting the chocolate chip, the house of reps the Nazareth sugar cookie. (Oddly enough, these facts derive from 2 different articles I happened to come across today, just a couple of days after Chris, using his period of unemployment to maximum effect, called to regale me with the lyrics of state songs he’d found on the web (“Here We Have Idaho,” indeed). One article went on about the politics behind making the official dance of half the states the same one, Western Square Dancing, which evidently has a particularly vicious lobbying group.

A McNeil-Lehrer piece on non-citizens in the US military didn’t quite suggest the extent to which citizenship is being held out as bait to get foreigners to fight our wars for us. Of the 1st 10 Californians who got killed in Iraq, 5 were not citizens, which is exactly in line with recruitment in southern Cal.

PETA (motto: Providing Straight Lines for Late Night Comedians Since 1987, Despite Having No Sense of Humor Ourselves) wants Hamburg, NY to change its name to Veggieburg.

Russian train conductors were hospitalized following a contest that involved smashing their heads repeatedly against a train window to determine who had the strongest forehead.

Viceroy Jay Garner (whose last nation-building effort was the highly unsuccessful Strategic Hamlets program in South Vietnam) arrives in Baghdad, finally, takes over a palace, and said "The new government of Iraq will have one leader, one army, one government." Probably sounded better in the original German. For details on the selection process, click here.

Garner also said that the new government would be a “mosaic.” My computer dictionary defines a mosaic as a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of stone, tile or glass. Which is I guess pretty much all the bombing left.

Note also that while Bush said that after World War II “we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments,” we actually occupied Japan until 1952 and Germany until 1955 (Berlin a lot longer). Oh, and we currently have 69,000 troops in Germany and 40,000 in Japan.

A Times op-ed headline: “The King is Dead, Long Live the Ayatollahs.” (And a good line from that piece: “A Bechtel contract is not a constitution.”) Fascinating how much moral influence the mullahs seem to have in Iraq. Makes you wonder where they’ve been all these years. Anyway, some of the looters are returning goods because a cleric issued an edict forbidding their wives having sex with them until they did.

The ayatollahs are spreading rumors that female British troops wear very short skirts (must be an Austin Powers thing) and the male troops are distributing sex pictures to women and children.

Speaking of freedom, Pizza Hut and Burger King have already moved into Iraq (in the British bases in Basra, anyway).

No comments:

Post a Comment