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Lon Cheney and Jon Kyle’s Brain

I grew up in that time period when television was still a luxury. I still remember the small, black and white sets where the “vertical hold” was a critical adjustment. A slight deviation on the setting and the picture would roll up or down and drive my father whacky as he’d scramble to adjust it as he missed Bobby Lane’s long pass to Jim Doran as his Lions beat the Cleveland Browns on the way to the NFL championship in 57. My dad used to tune the TV with his right hand; he’d slap the side of the box until the screen finally held still for another minute or two.

It was a magic period in the land of television as the studios experimented with equipment, techniques, scripts and even shows broadcast in color.  Not many people could afford the color sets, but the color wasn’t too hot anyway so it was no big deal. It was a time when many of the shows were broadcast live.

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A Dirty Word

What happened to the Art of Compromise? Has it fallen on hard times, sucked under by the quicksand of obsolescence much like magazines, newspapers and, to hear Amazon tell it, books? “Compromise” has become a dirty, ugly word. If we can’t have everything we want when we want it, we don’t want anything. And all of this time I thought half of a biscuit was better than no biscuit given that half would stave off hunger until you could scrounge up a meal.

Perhaps compromise should be the jumping off place, the first step on the path to agreement instead of the last. The car mired in the mud stays mired in the mud until people work together to free it and send it on its way to its destination. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t take the first step. Sitting on one’s fear-mongering butt spewing idiotic non-factual comments at the top of one’s lungs only irritates the throat and elevates the blood pressure.

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Plagiarism – The Highest Compliment

Rare as it may be, every once in a while someone lifts a line or two from something I’ve written and uses it without permission.  Some people suggest I should be offended my work has been stolen without consent.  On the contrary, I’m usually flattered and honored.  Just think of it.  Someone thinks enough of your work to actually go to the effort of pirating it.  If the thief makes a wheelbarrow full of money with it, I’ll reconsider.  But until then all I can say is “Thanks for the compliment.”

Hopefully, the author of this little piece feels the same way.  I would ask permission if I only knew the source.  It came to me via one of those circuitous email forwards that winds its way through email list after email list, some blind, some public.  Regardless of the source, it was just too cute to not steal.  I’m not the author.  I wish I was the author.  If enough time passes without the author stepping forward, maybe I’ll pretend to be the author.  But for now, I’m offering it to you like I’m peddling a set of hot hubcaps.  Take it and run.  (Incidentally, I stole the image too.  Once a thief – twice a thief.)

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Healthcare One: Self-less Sacrifice

I am jumping on the bandwagon. Leaping into the fray. Piling on the quarterback. Call it what you will, but I am poised to dive into the abyss that has become the healthcare hullabaloo. Frankly, President Obama should slow down the train. Not because we should be happy with our current healthcare or that the system couldn’t benefit from reform. With rising costs, aging Baby Boomers and uninsured citizens we have a crisis looming of unprecedented proportions and reforming the system is our only hope. However, reform is another word for change and this change is monumental, involves the entire country, and threatens the survival of a myriad of special interests and re-electable Congressmen that are not going to take a possible hit lying down.  They have nothing to loose but everything to gain by spreading rumors and pandering to the ignorance of the masses through fear mongering.

My father, the Admiral, once told me that if change was easy, everyone would be doing it. This was more than apparent during my debating days in high school, where one began with the status quo and argued for change. The team that drew the status quo position always had the advantage. Right or wrong, good or bad, the status quo had been tried, tested and was a known quantity. Change is – not. Change is a leap of faith, a foray into the shadowy corners of the unfamiliar, and, in this case, a cry for the “Haves” to help the “Have-nots”.

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Town Hall – Fight or Fiesta?

Knowing how the media tends to blow things out of proportion, I thought it was time for a firsthand look. I attended one of the much publicized town hall meetings on the subject of healthcare reform. California Congresswoman Susan B. Davis would answer questions at the Hillcrest “town council” meeting in San Diego. The event was much heralded by both pro and anti healthcare reform groups and a large and contentious crowd was expected. I wasn’t disappointed.

By the time I arrived, a thousand people were in line to get into the meeting. The meeting room had capacity for a couple hundred. That would leave most of the crowd in the street for the duration. A thousand people held signs aloft and chanted slogans. Pro healthcare reform people seemed to outnumber the opponents by a factor of five to one. The atmosphere was more like one outside a Big Ten football stadium on a Saturday afternoon in October. The partisans cheered, chanted and waved their placards.

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Health Care Short and Sweet

I couldn’t have said it better. Its simple eloquence was devine. I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR, but only half heartedly as other pursuits competed for my attention. There was an interview with some woman on the subject of nationalized health care. I heard bits and pieces.

I doubt anyone that hasn’t spent the past fifty years in a cave on a remote island isn’t aware there are major problems with our health care system as it currently exists. As the intensity of the debate increases, the health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical companies and others in the business that are raking in huge profits while plundering a defenseless America public are ratcheting up the rhetoric to defend their lucrative empires. They’re using the same old, stale arguments and scare tactics. They say the government can’t do it. They say it’s socialism. They say it doesn’t work anywhere else. They say it’s an infringement on your personal freedom. The list of lame claims is lengthy.

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Unknowns in the Upcoming Health Care War

It’s just beginning.  The insurance companies are digging trenches and preparing for the main offensive.  Few issues have the potential to change the face of our nation and our civilization like that of health care reform.  It’s a big issue and emotions run high on all sides with the possible exception of the FOX NEWS set that doesn’t know there are actually pages behind the cover of a book because they’ve never opened one.  They’ve got theirs and who gives a damn about the others?

As we march toward major health care reform, the battles will intensify.  The forces of the insurance and drug companies can be expected to return to the same scare tactics that have always worked for them.  The threat of creeping socialism is a sure-bet technique with the FOX bunch.  There’s the ever present argument that private enterprise will always triumph over an inefficient government bureaucracy.  And there’s the perennial favorite that we’ll have long lines, rationed health care, low quality and higher costs with any system in which the government is involved.  After all, it’s a hellish nightmare in Canada, Great Britain, France and those other evil socialist countries isn’t it?

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