Uncle Max's Musings on Politics and Culture

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Pass the Healthcare Bill – NOW! March 14, 2010

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 2:27 am

OK – here is my post about why I think healthcare reform should pass.

1.) This bill contains many good measures.  From a pure moral perspective, we cannot continue to have 40+ million people to be without health insurance.  While I very much want to see health care cost reform in the future (and this bill does some things on this front), I don’t see how we can know what costs to control until more people are accessing the system.

2.) This bill ends many of the insurance company practices that are deplorable, namely pre-existing conditions and lifetime maximums.  Individually, these reforms are very popular.  If the Democrats sell these benefits appropriately, they have a winning package.

3.) As the current bill stands, it is deficit reducing.  Also, it is not the government taking over healthcare.  This takeover already happened with Medicare and Medicaid.     

Finally, here are some political realities:

1.) This bill is not about abortion – no matter how hard some people are trying.  In fact, the Catholic Health Group accepts the language in the healthcare reform bill

2.) Obama is not using “funny” legislative procedures to pass this bill.  He is attempting to have a simple majority to pass the bill (not 60+).  We have passed several bills in this country (Bush’s tax cuts, welfare reform – BOTH REPUBLICAN INITIATIVES) through reconciliation.  So, don’t believe this hyperbole.  If every law in this country required 60+ votes, we would have not had welfare reform or tax reform in the last few years.

 

Recent NY Theatre Trip

Filed under: NYC Theatre — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 2:00 am

I recently went to New York and I saw several plays as well as Betty Buckley in a terrific cabaret act.  Here are some highlights from the trip:

1.) Time Stands Still: This play starred Laura Linney.  She is one of my favorite screen actresses and she did not disappoint in this production.  Overall, I would give this production an A+.  In addition to Linney, it also starred Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame as well as Brian D’arcy James and Eric Bogosian.  Silverstone was quite a capable stage actress and she is an excellent foil to Linney.  The plot concerns how Linney (a war photographer) and D’arcy James (her boyfriend of eight years) reassemble their lives as Linney recovers from a tragic accident.  Bogosian’s is Linney’s editor and Silverstone is Bogosian’s girlfriend.  The play essentially deals with how couples work to make one another happy in trying circumstances.  IT IS AMAZING! 

2.) A View from the Bridge: This play starred Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber.  Overall, I would give this play a solid B+.  Scarleett Johansson proved herself to be a very effective stage actress.  She blended into the ensemble of the show adeptly.  The play closes April 4th due to Scarlett’s schedule so if you want to see it, obtain tickets soon!  See the NY Times review for a good overview

3.) A Behanding in Spokane: This play is a dark comedy starring Christopher Walken.  Essentially, this play is a politically incorrect, black comedy that depicts the desperateness of humanity.  The play received mixed reviews, but I give it a solid A-.  This review in the Wall Street Journal gets it right.

Oh – and you might be saying – who is Betty Buckley (the woman I mentioned in my first sentence I above)?  Well, her cabaret is closed, but you can enjoy this clip below that illustrates her majesty:

 

Is Obama Keeping His Promises With Healthcare Reform? YES!

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 1:29 am

Some people are saying that Obama is not keeping his promises with healthcare reform.  Well, I think some of these people may need to refamiliarize themselves with his campaign white paper regarding healthcare reform.  As Esra Klein argues, Obama’s current plan is aligned with his initial campaign promises.  Here is the punchline:

The basic structure of the proposal is remarkably similar. Here’s how it was described in the campaign’s white paper.  The Obama-Biden plan provides new affordable health insurance options by: (1) guaranteeing eligibility for all health insurance plans; (2) creating a National Health Insurance Exchange to help Americans and businesses purchase private health insurance; (3) providing new tax credits to families who can’t afford health insurance and to small businesses with a new Small Business Health Tax Credit; (4) requiring all large employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees or towards the cost of the public plan; (5) requiring all children have health care coverage; (5) expanding eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs; and (6) allowing flexibility for state health reform plans.

 

 

Republicans and Health Care Reform

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 1:22 am

Given that the Republicans are making a lot noise about the proposed health care reform, I felt it was important to document a few key items related to the Republicans participation in this debate.

1.) The current health care reform legislation has many Republican ideas.  First, it does not contain a public option and it is a private market plan.  Second, it also allows states the tools to create their own innovative reforms to lower costs.  See the rest of the linked article for more. 

2.) The Republican party believes that its future viability as a party rests on the healthcare legislation failing.  Therefore, it has been the party of NO when it comes this legislation.  Here is a money quote from Andrew Pavelyev:

“The only thing I can think of that does not violate any conservative principles articulated by various conservative spokesmen over the past couple of years is to do nothing (as far as the government is concerned) and hope that some private charity will pick up the tab. This approach might actually work (and in an ideal world I would in fact prefer it). But the inconvenient (for the purists) fact is that in the here and now we have to sell this (or any other) approach to the majority of voters. I’m afraid that as the number of people struggling with expensive chronic conditions grows, the “let them beg” answer is not only going to be unacceptable to a significant number of independents, but also even to significant segments of the Republican base, such as many evangelicals who are primarily motivated by social conservatism but are not very keen on free markets and are in fact quite sympathetic to “compassionate conservatism” (Exhibit A: Mike Huckabee). And, of course, if Republicans don’t offer convincing answers, the voters will turn to the Democrats.”

 

The BEST Website Ever – Old Jews Telling Jokes

Filed under: Jokes — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 1:07 am

I had a friend share this website with me and it gives me so many good memories of being with his Jewish family.  Anyway, here is one of my favorite videos from the website.

 

Why Does It Seem Like We Have So Many Problems to Solve?

Filed under: Fixing Democracy — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 12:47 am

Doesn’t it seem that ever news story about Obama’s agenda says something to the effect of “doesn’t he have too much on his plate?”  Well, he does have a lot to do, but I think it’s important to remember that we didn’t solve a lot of problems in 2000’s that we should have solved.  Here is an article by David Frum, a conservative writer, that simply states we have a lot of unpaid bills from the 2000’s.  Essentially, we ignored terrorism, health care, and immigration.  Now, we are paying the price for not dealing with them.

 

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell May Be Coming to An End February 23, 2010

Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 4:04 am

Earlier this month, Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense) and Michael Mullen (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) announced their intent to prepare the military for the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell.  Obviously, I find this move very positive.  Here are few other interesting items surrounding this story:

 – General Colin Powell (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the don’t ask don’t tell bill was passed) supports lifting the ban

 – A newly released study of gays in the military in other countries shows that inclusion of gays soldiers is not disruptive

One other interesting note . . .  John McCain always said that he would support the lifting of the ban if the top military official, (i.e., the Joint Chiefs of Staff) supported the repeal.  So, what did John McCain say when this event actually happened earlier this month?  He changed his mind.  This man’s integrity is mind-boggling. 

And while we are discussing integrity, let’s reflect upon one of the core values of the army – integrity.  The Army website states that integrity “requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others.”  Well, isn’t don’t ask don’t tell asking military personnel to deceive one another?

Last point here – read my election blog to see why repealing this ban is so important.