Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 153

On Politics
Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wis) did not surprise me. What has surprised me is the comparison by some partisan pundits of Rep. Ryan to Sarah Palin. He may be an ideologue, but he is not a nincompoop.

Selecting Gov. Chris Christie to deliver the keynote address at the Republican convention is a good choice.

As the Medicare rhetoric wars heat up, here are two interesting articles: one and two.

In his campaign for Congress, Joe the Plumber’s “Put a damn fence on the border going to Mexico and start shooting” is more than a goofy comment by someone who has no business being in Congress. It is a sign of the tone, tenor, and lack of sincerity in today’s political arena. Let’s hope that the majority of citizens in Ohio’s First District have enough sense. Sadly, even if he loses, he will receive too many votes.

Because VP Biden’s “chains” gaffe and the political aftermath received much media play, I sought and listened to the entire speech. (I wonder how many people did that.) Although it was a not the best metaphor, it still goes back to context – thus didn’t deserve the attention it got. Interestingly, Sen. McCain said the President Obama should replace Biden on the ticket. Senator, are you speaking as a partisan or from your experience?

Does anyone have friends who still believe President Obama was not born in the U.S.?

The Mute button on my TV remote is still working on the campaign ads and interviews with surrogates!

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Michael Phelps Returns to His Tank at Sea World
New Dating Site Matches Users with Partners They Deserve
Subway Introduces Pool-Water-Soaked Sandwich to Honor Michael Phelps
Long Jumper Imagines Transatlantic Flight as One Big, Long Jump
Herman Cain Lifts Suspension of Presidential Campaign

Interesting Reads
Disavowing Super PACS
Brush up on Your Fake Science
Washington Post graph of global temperatures since the late 1800s
Soul of the Olympics
The craft of ancient Belgian beer
An initial Christian response to Darwin

On Potpourri
As I wrote yesterday, the college football season is around the corner, which also means the bowl season is not far away. Given the number of teams required to fill the bowls, the NCAA standards for selections by the bowls, and the number of high-profile schools ineligible for bowls, the NCAA pathetically put their best foot forward by changing the standards.

These are for any enjoying Italy. Debra, an Australian who spends time in Italy, had this wonderful post from the area of both sides of my family. Earlier in this week, I posted about cruising into Portofino. On the same day, Margie also posted about this picturesque village.

William Shatner returns to Priceline ads, which means he survived the crash.

Sadly, I will not have a Saturday Morning Cartoon post this week. After all, it’s time for me to take a break. Although you may see me stopping by, I will return here in about 3 weeks. Meanwhile, I encourage everyone to visit the delightful bloggers I provide in the sidebar. Until my return, be safe, enjoy life, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch … and enjoy this fun video.

On a Thought about Entitlements

As we hear all the political rhetoric about the budget, entitlements are one item that Capitol Hill seemingly continues to ignore (or scared to touch). Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote this about a possible solution.

Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – Social Security is the most solvable.

Back-of-an-envelope solvable: Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula (from wage inflation to price inflation) and means-test so that Warren Buffett’s check gets redirected to a senior in need

Redirecting checks seems to be a form of redistribution of wealth. Hmmm … that’s an interesting concept coming from a conservative Republican.

Now Rep Paul Ryan [R-WI] is also getting into the act by suggesting Medicare should be distributed through a system that includes receiving a government voucher. Hmmm … given Ryan and Krauthammer’s words, I guess perspective defines socialism.

On the Health Care Debate

The Congressional recess couldn’t have come at a better time as it is time for Congress and the public to step back, take a deep breath, and relax. The town hall meetings provide interest insight into the issue, people, and the nature of politics.

The goals of any form of health care reform focuses on these points

  • Covering the uninsured
  • Controlling costs
  • Protecting patients with pre-conditions

On the Republicans
There shouldn’t be any question that the GOP has limited interest in this topic. Put another way, their only reason to show interest is because the opposing party is interested. To support this statement I offer the following:

  • The Republican party of today is a mirror opposite on the party of the ‘60s during the Medicare/Medicaid legislation – the opposing it were a party minority then, but are the party majority today, thus those truly working on a real solution are in the GOP minority
  • Did the GOP-controlled Congress offer common ground with the Clinton Administration after killing Hillary Care that President Clinton vetoed? No.
  • Did the GOP-controlled Congress offer health care reform legislation to the Bush Administration? No.

As a matter of fact, while they and many of their partisan-supporting public are against any government-sponsored health care, I challenge GOP candidates for the 2010 Congress (now the majority of the party) to listen to their constituents and take a stand on immediately repealing/eliminating Medicare, Medicaid, and support for public hospital care of the uninsured.

Come on people, step up and practice what you preach and stand on a platform for what the people say they want! – Meanwhile, I anxiously await the public’s reaction; especially the same people currently squawking.

On the Democrats

  • You don’t get it – The public is currently feeling steamrolled by legislation that is more about party interests than public interests
  • You don’t get it – The public sees a Congress more concerned about passing anything rather than passing something useful and effective
  • You don’t get it – The public does not trust nor approve of your House leadership or Congress you control
  • You don’t get it – The public sees a quickly-growing deficit
  • You don’t get it – Focus on the 3 issues – not the special interest extras – the 3 issues of insuring the uninsured, controlling costs, and protecting those with pre-conditions

On Reality

  • People are reacting to a bill that is has not been finalized for vote AND one that has intentionally and unintentionally poorly informed to the public
  • We’re already, and have been for some time, in a cycle of declining company-offered programs; including decreased coverage and increasing the employee’s financial stake in the plan
  • Health care is serious issue that deserves thoughtful study, dialogue, debate, and solutions
  • If both the left and the right aren’t squawking, mainstream America won’t like it
  • Congress will pass something, and odds are it won’t solve anything because during these times, good policy and good politics are oil and water.

On the Bottom Line
There is no doubt in my mind that both Congress and the public have lost focus on the 3 desired goals, thus both sides are perpetuating countless numbers of myths and misinformation through a variety of tactics. The public needs to receive honest information, listen, ponder, provide feedback, and have meaningful, respectful debate to seek meaningful solutions in accordance to the goal – and the same is true for our Congress … and what’s the chance of these two things happening?