Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Maine Results

This week....the gay marriage question in Maine kinda got settled.....the public determined....as in all previous votes throughout the US....no, they weren't going to sign up to gay marriage.

After a number of votes like this....you would eventually think that the topic would taper off and become a secondary subject. I doubt that in this case. The gang will regroup....come up with a new strategy for election 2010....and find at least three or four states to enter the gay marriage law again. California will be on that list....and I would imagine at least one New England state.

As you stand back and survey these losses.....there's a pretty fair trend here.....folks aren't buying the intended design of the law. They aren't being influenced by the commercials. The public isn't buying pretender journalists and their "facts". Big name star chats and commentary by Oprah or Hollywood aren't having much effect.

If I were of the pro-gay crowd....I'd start to think of a more indirect method....less aggressive...less hostile....and more agreeable method of acceptance. Having civil unions recognized in all fifty states might be a easier goal and more agreeable to accomplish. Tossing the 'in-you-face' type tactics....might help in some ways as well. Going hardcore on religious groups....doesn't help your cause in any fashion....this should have been learned several years ago.

Will my advice have any effect? No. I'm betting on a very confrontational and hardcore effort in 2010. Everything doubles in terms of effect. Settle back and enjoy the show.

How Things Work

So there in the midst of the house bill passed....in all it's glory....was a simple paragraph:

Listed in Title I "Immediate Reforms," Sec. 101 "National High Risk Pool Program," paragraph (3)(g) "Covered Benefits Cost Sharing Premiums and Consumer Protection" is paragraph (7) (h)(2) with the heading "Insufficient Funds." This states, “If the Secretary estimates for any fiscal year that the aggregate amounts available for payment of expenses of the high-risk pool will be less than the amount of the expenses, the Secretary shall make such adjustments as are necessary to eliminate such deficit, including reducing benefits, increasing premiums, or establishing waiting lists."

So you read this. Then you begin to realize that this is a floating program....where year by year, month by month, week by week, day by day, and hour by hour....adjustments are necessary. The curious thing is that none of these are really handled via congress or the senate. Some Secretary is standing there....and having to make some changes....and punch the "complete" button.

Imagine yourself.....Karl of Red Bay....sitting there on the porch, and getting the call from Doc Monty over at Tuscumba....you've got some severe joint pain that is apparently bothering you badly. The doc says it's fixable, but he's got to forward some paperwork up to the regional office that holds your government option healthcare package. Then he asks you ten questions. Naturally, you try to be honest.

You ask the doc....so when can we have this operation.....causing this is an awful bad pain on your joints and you've got tired of the simple pain killers. Doc is quiet for a moment, and then says....oh, it might take a couple of weeks. He offers up a six-week prescription of some fine 5-star pain-killers that would knock out an elephant.

Weeks pass....and finally the request comes back.....disapproved for this financial year. Apparently, in this region of Bama.....this joint pain operation has been used a bit too often....plus you are over the age of fifty.....and you smoke. They suggest a new request in nine months.

You go back to the doc a week later and ask for more of the five-star pain-killers.....but the doc is now worried about your possible addiction....and he won't give you those.

So you call Larry, your cousin and part-time septic tank guy.....about some real good pain-killers. He brings his college friend Shelly along. Shelly is half-doped up but sells you some fine pain-killers. Every two weeks....Shelly comes by and sells you more.

Nine months pass....and you do another visit to the doctor. He does up another request. The only odd thing....since you started Shelly's pain-killer deal....you've gained fifty-five pounds. You mostly sit around and stare at the TV all day.

The request comes back and says you are too-overweight now for the joint operation. You need to lose forty pounds to make this possible.

You pick up the phone and call Larry your cousin and part-time septic tank guy. He knows this guy Raul. So Raul comes over and you explain the problem. Raul stares at the notes, and then says to wait three days for him to come back. Then he says $5,000. You figure....what the heck....you gotta have the operation.

On the fourth day, Raul comes in and says to jump in the car. You drive all day to Mobile and then jump in some big fishing rig with three other older dudes and Raul at the wheel of the boat. For hours and hours.....you are out in the Gulf. Then, you pull into some port and the first sign you see....is "Welcome to Cuba". You start to get a bit nervous because Raul didn't mention this part.

Raul takes you over to a nice hotel establishment....gives you an entire bottle of Rum and a dozen cigars. The next day....he takes you to the hospital and you get the joint operation. A week later, you start rehab, and two weeks later....Raul carries you back to Bama. All the time, there was that nice nurse named Lola who personally attended to all your needs.

You arrive back to Bama.....all fixed up and no more joint pain. The only problem was that funny itch down around your crotch. You'd really like to see Doc Monty about this strange crotch itch.....but he's quit medicine for some strange reason, and you gotta drive twenty miles now to find the next doctor. And there's some government guy coming around asking silly questions about your foreign travels.

For some reason...things used to be simpler.

Ten Cities: Tombstone, AZ

Most folks travel to Tombstone to see the cowboy show....have a steak....and then move on. It's a nice little town southeast of Tucson.

I've been to the town about four times in my life. So the show's attraction has come and gone. This is a quiet place....with one historical event, and not much else. Tourism carries the town today....but it's actually a place where you'd like to stand back and simply admire.

Most folks you talk to.....have no desires of ever leaving the place. That might say something important.

And then, there are the dozen or so lightning storms which pass through the valley each year....and you sit and just admire nature at work.

Ten Cities: Aberdeen, Washington

Another of my series. Straight west from Tacoma, Washington....as far as you can go....is Aberdeen. I probably traveled via town three or four times on the way to the beaches of Washington state....before I ever stopped and paid attention to the town itself.

It's a town of 16,000 people.....and not really known for much of anything. It became an incorporated town around the 1890s....and referred by the locals in 1900 as the "hellhole of the Pacific" (don't ask). Between the sawmills and the bars.....money flowed into the town and out. At one point, it was a noted place for murder and bodies that simply disappeared.

By the 1930s and the depression.....it's glory days ended. If you drive into Aberdeen today....you are left with two impressions....a town looking like the 1950s or a town that's basically dead.

The amusing thing is that the town readily brags of one amazing ability....to churn out rock and roll artists. Their greatest contribution? Kurt Cobain.

I spent an entire Saturday there in 1980....just driving around and admiring the town. There's not much that you'd want to brag about. It reminds you of something out of a Steinbeck novel....waiting for some Greyhound bus to arrive and someone to exit who would change the whole town. Meanwhile, another day will pass....another week....another month....while folks wait for this bus to arrive.

About a quarter of the folks in town live below the poverty line. They won't leave.....mostly because Aberdeen is their one hope and dream in life. Besides, where else would you find a place like this?

The Dog Rules

There's a story that appeared in the Stars and Stripes....US story....which begged for reading. I went back and read the article off the Baltimore Sun.

It's an inviting story..."roof over their heads, dreams in storage". The journalist laid into a woeful tale. A poor kid....living with his family in a storage unit in Chicago.

You felt sorry for the kid.

The journalist then laid in a number of statistics and the trend in America with all these homeless families.

The writer tossed in the woes of the mother and her boyfriend....and they worked to make ends meet in this terrible economy.

Then, eighty percent into this story....the writer happened to mention that the family had a Rottweiler dog....in fact, two large dogs.

I just sat there.....in disbelief of this entire writing effort. Mom then kinda admits that no landlord is interested in renting to them. So Mom says....fine....we'll just live in a storage unit and accept this lifestyle, with our Rottweiler as acceptable.

I've spent around ten hours over the past three weeks....looking at apartments in Alexandra, Virginia for my upcoming job. Every single one of these fifty places I've looked at.....made it clear that no large-scale dogs were acceptable. Between Pitbulls and Rottweilers....you can just about forget about renting in 95 percent of the housing units now in the US....unless it's a rural situation.

So this woman has condemned herself, and her kid to a life of misery.....accepting the use of a storage locker as a home.....because of her problem of dumping the Rottweiler. She won't prioritize her life in some manner, for the benefit of the kid. The dog rules this house, and no amount of reasoning is going to shift this event around. The kid's life and misery is a separate and secondary topic.

I sat there....half angry at the journalist for wasting eight minutes of my time with some dimwit. But in the end.....it probably shows a side of human thinking, and a lousy side of journalism.

Just a Moment of History

Up in Nantucket, Mass...the wind turbine business is coming. Basically, the concept is to place these off-shore and enjoy a year-round wind. There's only one problem....an Indian group is now fighting the placement of this wind farm. The Wampanoags are the tribe involved.

Naturally....their translated name to English ought to say something about this opposition to the turbines...."The People of the First Light". Basically, they run a scared ritual, which happens to require an unblocked view of the sunrise...and somewhere between the sunrise and them....at a pretty good distance out from the shore....is the wind turbine farm.

You can kinda see where this argument is going.

But there is a historical bit of knowledge that the news media and the tribe would really prefer not to discuss. The Wampanoags...were basically a loose group with no core organization...until the day that the Pilgrims arrived.

So imagine this scene...a bunch of dimwitted Brits arrive...all religious cult figures of some sort...no camping experience...no real life challenges. And in the first month....you've got several Indian tribes attacking you for being a bit "odd". You can almost imagine a Monty Python crew on the shores and arguing with almost every Indian they encounter.

So the Pilgrims finally sit down and evaulate all the local tribes. They re-evaluate, and re-re-evaluate. Then they come to realize this loose group of Wampanoags are pretty much one of the few groups with no agenda against them. But the flip side of this coin....is that the Wampanoags are not exactly a real group.

I'm guessing they probably were mostly the losers of various other tribes and were kicked out for various issues....so they kinda found some small valley and tossed in their efforts to run their private tribe with nothing much except some fascination with the sun rising from the east. The boys all get up early...catch the sun coming up....catch some fish....frolic with a couple of loser-gal's who got kicked out of their tribes, and enjoy the good life.

These Pilgrims? I'm guessing the Wampanoags considered them just as big a loser as any member of the tribe....so getting a friendly relationship going...wasn't too hard.

A couple hundred years pass. And now? These Wampanoags are back in the news. The Pilgrims? Well...they are completely gone. Their cult kinda fizzled out and life advanced a fair bit.

So, the fight is on.....the Wampanoags haven't really said nothing much for three hundred years....and now wake up to get into the anti-wind turbine effort. Kind of comical in a way....where you come from and your significance in life today...only because a bunch of British religious nuts arrive on your beach and talk you into organizing into a real tribe for "friendship", but it's mostly to protect their butt.

A Different Ending?

It's been two months since the body of Bill Sparkman, the Census dude in Kentucky, was founding hanging, with the word "Fed" printed on his chest.

The immediate feeling of the community was shock. Folks that knew Bill commented that he was a decent guy and couldn't understand who would do such a thing in their community. The general feeling was that he wandered into some kind of drug deal and had to be executed. I even speculated that maybe some of the corrupt local cops might have done this as a "lesson" for people not to pry too much into local crime.

So....the state guys have taken all of the evidence into consideration....lack of a suicide, hands being barely bound at all, the rope used, etc......and they are now viewing a new scenario....Bill committed suicide.

I'm guessing they are looking at the word "Fed" written on his chest, and that it might have been written at a angle.....depending if he was left-handed or right-handed. I'm also speculating about the type of pen, which might have been found in the truck. Adding to this....was the type of rope used....which really wasn't even rope....it was clothing line that you'd use for hanging clothing on. Then the method that the line was attached.....swinging between two different trees.

I will even make this observation....typically, if you've wandered into some kind of crime or drug deal.....if they want to kill you....it's quick and with a pistol. For a guy intent on killing you....to spend time and hook up some kind of clothing line deal and hang the victim....it doesn't make alot of sense.

Absolute evidence in the end? No. I don't think they can get that. But I think by January.....folks will pretty much sign this off as suicide and forget about the entire case.

The Bill

Merely an observation or two after the universal health bill passes the house yesterday. It was the barest of wins....just 219 votes for it. Thirty-nine democrats opposed. As I kinda hinted on Friday....if it did pass...it'd by five votes or less.

So now, it moves onto the Senate. Reid will likely find that it barely has the votes to pass, and we are back to this barest of wins scenario. My guess...enough threats will be made....and votes will be found to support it.

So let's gaze beyond this. The events to unfold over the next three years....remember, nothing starts before 2013.

At least three hundred law suites will be put into play....and I would imagine at least forty of them eventually making it to the Supreme Court. Various parts of this bill probably will not ever move forward, just my humble guess. The effective nature of this? That will become interesting as each piece is carved off and tossed to the side.

The election in 2010? Well....if I were a democratic contender in a region that has limited democratic support and I depended on independent votes....I'd be demanding money from the state party and the national party by March of next year. I'd want a war-chest capable of standing off a major confrontation. If I lose over half of my independent voter count.....I'm probably finished for the November election.

My guess....well over twenty democratic representatives are probably in a lose-lose situation currently. They will not have a charged up election theme, and by July....they will be quiet sure of their demise in the election. You'll see them do more international travel with committee group and just enjoy the last days of their "party".

As for the next thirty-to-forty democrats with a significant win-lose scenario.....I'd be hustling up union votes like I've never done before. I'd be asking the local teacher union folks to emphasize to their student base who can vote....to pump up my name. I'd be asking religious groups to recognize my contributions.

Finally, if I were the White House....I'd have two guys sitting there and drawing up the scenario of a absolute control republican house, and a fairly strong republican base in the senate....maybe 46 republicans. What pains should I expect in 2011? Should I jam through every bill possible between now and November of 2010? Should I start worrying about a lesser known governor coming out of nowhere in 2012 and actually carrying out a 5-star election campaign....and this guy could have delivery speeches just good as my own?

It's kinda like WWE wrestling.....this match is done...but the script is already written for the next match and the build-up is absolutely spectacular.