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CSotD: Random Kvetching

I’m not prepared to anoint David Fitzsimmons as the next Nostradamus or even Jeanne Dixon, but he did run this cartoon before last night’s debates.

I started to watch the debates, but the Jeopardy! format put me off.

Actually, a Jeopardy! format might have been kind of fun: Each candidate could select a question from a column labeled “Health Care” or “The Deficit” or suchlike, with the degree of difficulty indicated by the points assigned.

Then, if they managed to blurt out a semi-coherent answer in 15 seconds, they’d get the points and, if they tried something more nuanced and went over time, they’d lose points.

Anyway, what they were doing seemed stupid, so I went to bed and then, this morning, checked Google News to see how it came out, and the headlines were all about who “won” and who “lost,” which I guess is what debates are for.

Though anyone who has participating in competitive debating knows that it has nothing to do with your beliefs, but only in how well you defend the assigned position.

So I guess we’re good.

 

Matt Bors extolls the benefits of single-payer health care.

I suspect that — given that our entire health care system has been built upon the current paradigm — some sort of gradual disassembly will be required.

Bernie suggests kicking out the supports in four years, while Kamala advocates a decade-long incremental approach.

However, I’m delighted by the prediction that people will no longer be put on hold or required to argue over coverage, once they’re only dealing with Medicare/Medicaid and no longer have private coverage.

The various supplies I need by virtue of having misplaced my bladder a few years back are supplied by a company that regularly puts me on hold and then explains why I can’t have what I want.

And I need to call my sleep doctor back and see if the contract on my CPAP machine has finally run out so we can change who supplies the replacement masks and filters, which isn’t a case of being put on hold but simply a case of them neither fulfilling orders or explaining why they didn’t.

Both of which are fully, 100% covered by Medicare.

Which, once we’ve got single payer, will be as easy to deal with as, say, the IRS, where you’re never put on hold or given faulty advice.

That was sarcasm.

I’m all for single-payer, but I don’t think “an end to bureaucracy” is a valid reason to support the concept.

Also, I’ve spent too much time in the newsroom not to know that Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals (A) do not cover their costs and (B) get held up, redirected and stolen at the whim of state governments.

And that one big reason we have so many foreign doctors in this country is that they are respected back home but basically paid like civil engineers and other well-educated professionals, not the patrician level at which American MDs are compensated.

Untangle all that and then we’ll deal with whether you get put on hold when you call for assistance.

 

But I’m not a knee-jerk cynic. Mike Marland offers this celebration of a victory over the giants, as grass-roots pressure stepped up and achieved a win in the courts, ending a long effort to build a major power line through our state.

 

And I haven’t seen a cartoon about it, but here’s a photo of elephants crossing the Luangwa River, where Zambia was recently persuaded to cancel plans to build a power dam.

Victories are out there to be had, but they require you being as wise as serpents as well as being as harmless as doves.

Bearing in mind that Rosa Parks was not, as the stories would have you believe, simply “a tired seamstress.” That’s just the harmless dove part.

She was also secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, specifically trained in non-violent resistance and a veteran of demonstrations and other actions.

That’s the wise serpent part, and you need them both.

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

David Horsey comments on rural libertarians who tend to be a lot more clear about their anger than they are about their situation.

When you ask the locals about people who put up these signs, you generally get a bemused, neighborly head shake, though there are sometimes spite fences, small scale feuds and the occasional lawsuit, less over politics than over obnoxious behavior.

I covered a town budget meeting where about half a dozen of these rural Randians, complete with signature foot-long goatees, protested every expenditure.

It was clear the other locals were sick of going through the process of massively out-voting them every year, but the price of not showing up for a meeting or an election is having militant screwballs take over your local schoolboard or town council.

Which is maybe why some of us out here in the sticks are watching 2020 and saying, “You bastards better show up and vote this time,” because we’ve seen how easy it is to reclaim local government and begin repairing the damage done by selfish, dogmatic nutcases.

And how easily they can hold power when nobody bothers to oppose them.

 

 

Finally today, Carpe Diem got a laff because I was in McDonald’s yesterday and they have switched from having a line-up of high-schools kids taking orders at the counter to making you enter your order at a kiosk.

 

Business Insider suggests it’s not popular but it may be inevitable.

Meanwhile, I keep seeing posts on social media about how you should never use the self-check at grocery stores.

I suppose not.

Nor should you use an ATM or, god help us, a banking app on your phone.

You should also refuse to pump your own gas, or plug in your own car for recharging.

 

And remember, as you go down the aisle filling your cart at the store, you’re taking jobs away from the shop girls who once got those things for you from the shelves behind the counter.

Community Comments

#1 PAUL PINDERSKI
July/31/2019
@ 7:05 am

The first time I tried to use a McD’s kiosk was in Seoul. It did not work.

The second time I tried to use a McD’s kiosk was in Chicago. It did not work.

Both times I went to the counter to order. The Korean cashier did not speak English and the American cashier did not seem to care. Both orders came out correct.

#2 David Reaves
July/31/2019
@ 7:58 am

The other bottle-neck to the kiosks (kiosks are a minor point to the day’s post, I know) is that they do not accept cash. If you want to use cash, a second person still has to be involved in the transaction. Hopefully McDonalds and other retailers don’t force us to a cashless society. If so, they’ve eliminated most of the reasons for ATMs, too. :)

#3 Bill Harris
July/31/2019
@ 10:13 am

The Northern Pass kerfuffle seems like NIMBYism, or were there some real objections to the project. And how many of those objecting were also rural Randians?

#4 Mike Peterson
July/31/2019
@ 11:36 am

Only NIMBY to the extent that this is a small, largely rural and undeveloped state and people feel a kind of possessiveness about the whole place.

As for who it was, certainly not the libertarians — much more on the environmental side of things.

One issue is that it really was of no real value to any of us. It was a way of getting power from Canada to Some Place Else, with New Hampshire simply having the major construction and disruption.

Sort of “Let me borrow your car for a couple of months to drive across the country with my friends. We’ll refill the tank when we get back.”

Hey, sure. Why would I say no to that?

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