Thursday, October 29, 2009

PelosiCare unveiled

PelosiCare was released today. The first thing you’ll notice about it is that it’s even bigger than HR 3200, weighing in at an eye-popping 1,990 pages. This should guarantee that no one in congress reads it.

I did run a few searches through the pdf file:

“Tort” – The word comes up twice, first on page 1,452 in relation to “Community-Based Collaborative Care Networks.” “Nothing in this section shall be construed to expand medical malpractice liability protection under the Federal Tort Claims Act for Section 330-funded Federally qualified health centers.” I think that means this bill doesn’t address tort reform, at least as it may apply to Community-Based Collaborative Care Networks.

The second reference to “Tort” shows up on page 1,949 in a section titled “Hospital Privileges for Practitioners.” Now we’re talking. Wait… Nope. Never mind. This section bestows the existing federal tort protections on practitioners who treat Indians (the bill’s word, not mine) while on the government payroll.

“Malpractice” – This word shows up six times in the 1,990 pages, but not in the context of proposing any changes to the current malpractice laws.

“Public Health Insurance Option” – Thirty-three instances, starting with page 4 where the bill “creates a new Health Insurance Exchange, with a public health insurance option alongside private plans.” This was promised, so no surprise. You’ll recall what Barney Frank said on July 27, 2009: “I’ve been a co-sponsor of single payer for a very long time. We don’t have the votes for it. I wish we did. I think if we get a good public option, it could lead to single payer and that’s the best way to reach single payer.”

“Tea Party/Bagger” – Doesn’t appear.

“Nazi” – Nope.

“Death Panel” – No again.

“Euthanasia” – Occurs twice in the context of not promoting “suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.” (See page 130, “Prohibition on the Promotion of Assisted Suicide.”) The escape clause, however, is on page 131, where it says “Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt or otherwise have any effect on State laws regarding advance care planning, palliative care, or end-of-life decision-making.” Oregon, you’re good to go with your assisted suicides.

“Citizen” – This comes up four times in the context of denying benefits to people who are not “lawfully present in a State in the United States (other than as a nonimmigrant described in a subparagraph, excluding subparagraphs (K), (T), (U), and (V) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act).” I don’t know what that means, but it does appear that the only application of a “legal status” test is in relationship to Individual Affordability Credits (page 225), which are available to low income individuals. There doesn’t seem to be anything preventing access to the Public Option for illegal immigrants as long as they pay the premium.

“Salad Bar” – This appears on page 1,513 and is one of the exceptions to the requirement that all menus in restaurants with 20 or more locations disclose calorie content and other nutritional information for each of their offerings. It’s hard to count calories when the customer is dishing out his own grub, but salad bars and buffets will still have to comply with the mandatory display of “suggested daily calorie intake,” as promulgated by your health conscious federal government.

I can’t wait to see the look of horror on the faces in the next booth when I order the 12-inch BLT, Super Stacked Grinder at Blimpie’s. Hey, the place is named Blimpie’s. Does anyone not get that?

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yankees into 9th year of an 86-year curse

The Red Sox came to New York City on October 20, 2004 with an 86-year curse and went home with a pennant. Where did the curse end up? In the Bronx Bombers’ clubhouse, of course.

The Yankees most recent World Series win was in 2000, culminating an incredible four World Series wins in five years. That goes to show what modern medicine can do for an overpaid team.

With the curse successfully passed over to the Evil Empire, their next World Series victory will be in October 2086. It will be a life-long wait for many fans, but the years of disappointments will be character builders for these stalwart supporters, making the victory in 2086 that much sweeter.

So here’s to you, my Pinstripe loving friends: May your wait be long and exasperating.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Did we just legalize marijuana?

Last week we had numerous federal laws that make possessing and distributing marijuana a crime. This week the laws are still there. Nothing's changed on that front.

What has changed is that our U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has directed federal prosecutors not to go after possessors and distributors of marijuana who are complying with state medical marijuana laws. He said, “It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana, but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.”

Seems fair enough, but I question whether the Justice Department's directive will go unchallenged by those who use and distribute marijuana for medicinal purposes in the 36 states where it is still illegal under state law.

Can the federal government choose not to enforce federal laws in selected states? Is there a requirement that the Justice Department apply the principles of justice evenly across all states? Could the lack of evenhandedness be grounds for a Supreme Court case? Did we just legalize marijuana?

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Saturday, October 17, 2009

To my best friend: Happy Anniversary!

I know plenty of people who have been married for many years and who, by all accepted criteria, have successful marriages. They enjoy longevity in their relationship, kids and grandkids, financial security, and the love of each other.

On the other hand, I don't know many people who can honestly say that their relationship is based on friendship. It's different from companionship. It's different from love. You can love someone and be their companion without being a true friend.

Being a true friend is the feeling that you can never be together too much; that you can share absolutely everything with confidence; that you can't wait to see each other to continue your conversation; that you're inspired simply by being in the presence of the other person.

I am very fortunate to be married to my best friend.

I love you, darling. Happy Anniversary.

Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

I’m not a U.S. Constitution historian, so forgive me if I don’t know why freedom of speech was apparently an “afterthought” and became the first of the amendments rather than to be integrated into the main document.

Nonetheless, freedom of speech is a fundamental thread in the fabric of our democracy. We innately understand it and don’t think twice about exercising it. We criticize our governments—local, regional, state and federal—without fear of retribution.

We began eight years of high decibel criticism the day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Florida Supreme Court’s decision on how to handle the 2000 presidential election recount. That opened the door for Katherine Harris, Florida’s secretary of state, to declare the winner, which started claims of a stolen election and an illegitimate president.

I have been publicly critical of certain of Bush's positions as well, such as his personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein which, I believe, drove his decision to invade Iraq, and his laissez faire approach to immigration control.

Remind me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall the George Bush White House enlisting the public to report the names of people who oppose the administration’s policies via the White House website. A few days after this attack on free speech, the Obama White House found itself in a pickle. It was likely that collecting these names was illegal, but the act of destroying these public records was also against the law. What to do?

I also don’t recall the Bush White House going after an insurance company, demanding that it stop distributing its assessment of a government program via a newsletter and, furthermore, to purge anything it had posted on its website relevant to the issue.

Nor do I recall any administration since Nixon that so publicly went to war against a news outlet. Nixon nixed the New York Times over their insistence to tell the truth about the deteriorating situation in Vietnam.

I’m starting think that freedom of speech is taking on an entirely new interpretation: It’s only free if you agree.

Here are some links to interesting commentaries on this topic:

Attack on Humana

Freedom of speech under attack

Anita Dunn goes after Fox News

White House battle against free speech grows

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Massachusetts needs to reduce spending

An article today from the AP describes Governor Patrick's plan to deal with overspending by state government. He is contemplating laying off up to 2,000 state workers.

Shocking, you say?

Here's what's really shocking: Since Deval Patrick became governor, he has hired more than 4,800 state employees. Read the report here.

Governor Patrick, how about leaving the cities and towns alone this time and focusing on the real problem?

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I've got chills, they're multiplying...

This was our band in 1977, the year Saturday Night Fever was released. From the left, Mike Duva (saxophone & Lyricon), Gary Hollis (guitar & vocals), Randy Hunt (bass guitar & vocals), Bill Montoya (guitar & vocals), and Mike Wyatt (drums & vocals).

Mike Wyatt had suggested we call the band The Randy Hunt Combo or The Randy Hunt Experience or something like that. I nixed that idea, but we used my initials in the name and quickly became the darlings of the pathology and obstetrics crowd.

I recount one of our more memorable gigs in Hey, you in the wheelchair. Stand up!
Yes, we sunk to the level of John Travolta with our polyester leisure suits and giant collars, but it was fun, fab and phat.
Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My new favorite radio ad (Coors Light Monday Night Football Song)

What a great idea. Draftfcb, the international advertising agency, put words to the Monday Night Football theme for Coors Light, sung by what sounds like an Ivy League men's glee club. It was recorded by Comma Music.

Click here to hear it.

Here are the lyrics in case you want to sing along:

This Monday night
Football, weeknights
You’ll need some cold beer
Cold beer, that’s right
How ‘bout a frost-brewed Coors Light?
Frost brewed cold Coors Light
World’s most refreshing beer

Monday night, best weeknight
Tuesday night, not so much
(Repeat previous two lines under the following half-tone ascending scale)
Beer tastes as cold as the Rockies
Coors Light
Monday watching, screaming
Coors Light

It’s the beer on Monday night
Cold Coors Light

This Monday night
How ‘bout a frost-brewed Coors Light?
Official beer sponsor of the NFL

Monday, October 5, 2009

Handicap spaces being abused (by the handicapped)

This is the first time I've ever noticed a "handicapped person" (replace with your favorite politically correct phrase of the week) abusing a handicap parking space.

I was walking into the post office when a minivan pulled into one of the handicap parking spaces. The van was placarded appropriately so I didn't think much of it.

Then a person, half the age of the driver, jumps out of the passenger side door and skips into the post office, dropping off mail and checking a PO box. Out goes this obviously not handicapped person, jumping back into the van and off they go.

Can we not ALL simply respect the spirit of the law instead of trying to grab some personal gain by searching for loopholes?

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shoot your parents today

If you don’t own a camcorder, you should buy or borrow one for a project that you’ll treasure forever.

The project?

Record your parents reminiscing and recounting the major milestones and crossroads in their lives.

I did this 21 years ago, in November 1988. My parents, Frank and Alice Hunt, didn’t really want to do it. I had to persuade them over a period of weeks to sit down in front of my Sony Betacam and I’m grateful they finally capitulated.

My dad died eight years after that video was made and my mom is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

At $1,300, that Sony camcorder was quite the investment back then. Today, you can buy a camcorder with a better picture, complete with software to upload your videos to YouTube, for around $200.

I copied the original beta tape to VHS about ten years ago. That transfer, along with storing the tape in less than optimum places, has degraded the video quality significantly, but it’s still pretty good and is, by far, my favorite video.

My suggestion to you? Don’t put it off. Shoot that video now. You’ll be glad you did.

Part 1: Siblings and Parents

Part 2: Alice's Siblings and Growing Up

Part 3: Alice's Parents and First Cars

Part 4: Frank Enlists and How They Met

Part 5: Marriage and Pre-Deployment Training

Part 6: Deployment to North Africa

Part 7: Italy, End of War, and Reuniting

Part 8: Kenedy, Alaska, Ft. Bragg and Japan

Part 9: Camp Drake, Japan, and Ft. Bliss

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Saturday, October 3, 2009

101st Post! (New look.)

Now that I've gotten past the 100th post thing, which I have been furiously planning for a couple of weeks, it's back to my regular routine: Alienating my remaining friends.

You'll notice a new look for the blog. It's readable. That's my primary concern. I hate these red-print-on-black-background blogs that sacrifice legibility for effect.

You might also notice a couple of new gadgets in the right-hand column:

1) Search Randy's Blog - You can search the blog for anything you like. For example, if you're worried that I might have mentioned you (or are preparing your lawsuit), just search on your name.

2) Recent Comments - The most recent seven comments are listed here. This is helpful for people following some of the older posts that continue to accumulate comments.

3) Share It - This gadget allows you to share your enthusiasm for this blog by clicking a button. (I wouldn't want you to go to any more trouble than pressing your mouse button once. I mean, you must already be exhausted just having surfed your way to this blog in the first place.)

4) Index of All Posts - This isn't new, but it's the quickest way to peruse the blog. Try it by clicking here.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Friday, October 2, 2009

100th Post! (Wheeee!!)

I couldn't decide what to write for this milestone 100th post.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

IOC gives Obamas and Oprah the Olympic finger

The bad news: The Obamas wasted over a million taxpayer dollars on this boondoggle.

The good news: Losing out on the 2016 Olympics saved us billions of taxpayer bailout money that Chicago would have received for the cost overruns.


Not so happy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Windows 7 house party

If you haven't seen the latest effort by Microsoft to join the hip crowd, you must watch the following two videos. The more of the first video you watch, the better the next one will be. It's sort of like staring at a red sheet of paper for five minutes, then looking around the room. If you give up after only one minute, the effect isn't nearly as good.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt