Thank God That’s Over

The Fortnightly Rant for March 26, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 13, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. In a vote that is truly deserving of the term “historic” — its antecedents go back 98 years* — last Sunday the House of Representatives passed legislation that substantially reforms America’s health care system, depending on what the meaning of the word “reform” is. The legislation will force millions of Americans to become customers of the very insurance corporations that have been screwing the nation for Lo, these many years. Thus the festering sore at the heart of our alleged health care …

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Life in the Sausage Factory

The Fortnightly Rant for March 12, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 12, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Quite frankly we have been ambivalent about the watered-down health care proposal being pushed by the White House. The status quo has got to go, that much is clear. Under our present “system,” the lack of health care insurance is killing almost as many people every year as automobile accidents. For that dubious service the nation pays at least half again as much as it would if everyone were covered. In a sane political system the Democratic Party would stand up and …

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Wellpoint (sic), Sick System

The Fortnightly Rant for February 26, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 11, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Just to pluck a factoid at random out of the open sewer which passes for current events these days, we see that Anthem Blue Cross California is raising its rates on 700,000 customers by as much as 39 percent. It does this even though its parent company, Wellpoint, posted a record profit of $2.7 billion last year. [1] Anthem’s rate hike had been scheduled to take effect on March 1st, but out of the kindness of its alleged heart, or perhaps to …

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Can You Spell “Dysfunction?”

The Fortnightly Rant for February 12, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 10, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. For a little over a year now, Democrats have had control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and, nominally, the Senate; Republicans, on the other hand, have had control of the government. Democrats, eager to look useful before the next election, have been trying to pass health care reform. Opinion polls have shown that a clear majority of the American public supports health care reform, as long as it includes either an expansion of Medicare eligibility or a public option. …

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Let the Bad Times Roll

The Fortnightly Rant for January 29, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 9, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Well, democracy has certainly seen better fortnights. On January 19th, Massachusetts voters turned up their noses at the Democratic candidate, the late Martha Coakley,[1] and elected Scott Brown, a Republican. With Brown’s election, the U.S. Senate’s Democratic caucus will have a mere 59 votes, facing a mighty 41 Republicans on the other side of the chasm. As a CNN headline put it, “Brown’s election tips Senate balance of power to GOP.” [2] A few days later, on January 21st, five members of …

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The Wheel of Doom

The Fortnightly Rant for January 15, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 8, retroactively posted on Thursday, January 6, 2011. Following a Congressional ban passed in July of 2008, American corporations stopped importing childrens’ toys from China containing lead. Lead is poisonous; children exposed to a sufficient quantity of it — an alarmingly small amount — suffer from abnormal brain development and lower IQs. Unfortunately, in response to that government intervention in free trade, those corporations began importing childrens’ toys containing cadmium. Cadium is not just poisonous, it is also carcinogenic. Children exposed to sufficient amounts of cadmium will not grow up …

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