Before he became the Obama administration’s least favorite overpaid expert, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber was its darling. He appeared in an Obama campaign ad saying, “I helped (Massachusetts) Gov. (Mitt) Romney develop his health care reform, or Romneycare, before going down to Washington to help President Obama develop his national version of that law.” The false portrayal of Romneycare and Obamacare as practically identical fueled the Democratic delusion that Congress had drafted the Affordable Care Act to appeal to rascally Republicans.
Now Gruber is in the doghouse because he was captured on video being brutally honest. In 2010, Gruber told a panel, “Barack Obama’s not a stupid man, OK?” Obama knew the public doesn’t care about the uninsured, Gruber said. “What the American public cares about is costs. And that’s why even though the bill that they made is 90 percent health insurance coverage and 10 percent about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control.”
Ergo, candidate Obama’s 2008 promise that his universal health plan would “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.”
Should the Washington, D.C., professional football team be allowed to call themselves the Redskins? Many people think the name is demeaning to Native Americans (who used to be called American Indians, you may recall.) A majority of U.S. citizens disagree. They believe the Redskins should remain Redskins, instead of being called the Ducks, the Gophers, or the Yellow-Bellied Wusses, a term that describes many of the people who work in Washington’s Capitol Hill district.
I have no strong feelings on this matter, but I believe that if the Washington team is forced to give up the Redskins nickname, other changes should be made to correct the possibility that Native Americans are disparaged in any way.
The first alteration I’d support would be to ban all Hollywood movies in which Indians were characterized as bloodthirsty, treacherous savages. One of my earliest memories was a movie in which a cowboy said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Even at age 7 I protested that idea. This caused one of my buddies, Dum Dum, to call me a no-good Injun-lover. I responded by trying to scalp Dum Dum. We later smoked a peace pipe filled with cigarette butt remainders, and got so sick we wanted to die.
I recently telephoned a local cable television company to have my home service reconnected after a trip out west.
The Interactive Voice Response System or IVRS answered. Modern corporations seem to think they are the wave of the future. But the systems are major annoyances right up there with hidden credit card fees, unreliable cell phone service and passwords and PIN numbers. These systems essentially automate telephone contact between humans and machines. They typically are intended to service high call volumes, reduce corporate costs and improve customer service.
As the political pundits and other members of the chattering classes continue to analyze the Nov. 4 mid-term election results, the following thoughts cross my mind.
THE JUDAS OR (DROWNING RAT) PRIZE. I wish a group of independent, non-aligned experts would create a prize to go to the Democratic candidate for re-election who most effectively distanced himself/herself from President Obama during the weeks preceding the Nov. 4 balloting.
Like Judas in the New Testament, or like rats from a sinking ship, dozens of Democrats tried to out-do each other in disclaiming any affiliation or loyalty to the president. Their favorite expressions on the campaign trail were “I never knew him!” and “Obama? Who’s he?”
“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
Who first said that? Robert Louis Stevenson, of course. What he neglected to say was that in anyone’s lifetime it’s unlikely any of us will experience more than a small percentage of the delightful (or, at least, interesting) things that life makes available to us. While most persons - during our dwelling on our lonely planet - will watch a sunset or eat pancakes, thousands of other activities and adventures will remain untouched by the average human.
Cricket, for example. How many of us have ever played cricket? Or even watched a match? If you’re a Brit or live in India, odds are higher that you’re familiar with cricket, whose origin, history and rules are complex. Some cricket matches can last a couple of days. A related custom for cricket-watchers is to enjoy cucumber sandwiches. Don’t hold your breath until cricket catches on in the USA.
Gone are the days when a backyard mechanic could maintain the family buggy.
My first car was a decade-old 1950 Ford coupe. It had a stick shift, an AM radio and absolutely zilch in the way of technology. I changed the oil, did my own tune ups on the very basic V8 engine, and performed a litany of other repairs that kept it running for the three years I owned it.
That same used car that I paid $150 for back in 1960 is now considered to be an antique with price tags up to $75,000 and more.
City Power Toastmasters Club meeting ST. PETERSBURG – The City Power Toastmasters Club, a nonprofit communication and leadership club, meets Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Municipal Services Building, One Fourth St. N., Sixth Floor, Room 600.
The club teaches self-confidence and skills to help listen, think, speak and gain leadership qualities. Participants gain poise, positive body language and speak more easily.
Guests are welcome to visit for free with no pressure to join.
Clearwater MOAA meeting CLEARWATER – The Clearwater chapter of the Military Officers Association of America will meet for a luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 525 Betty Lane. Check-in time will be from 11:15 a.m. to noon. Cost is $18.
Call Jan at 515-1317 for details and reservations.
Clearwater MOAA members meet with other members to socialize and discuss world events. All MOAA members, spouses and survivors may attend. Jackets are required.
Wednesday afternoon book club
TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Library offers a Wednesday afternoon book club called “Expand Your Horizons.” Fiction and non-fiction books from a variety of genres are discussed each month. For the date of the next meeting, call 943-4922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indian Rocks Beach Library story time INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Story time resumes again at the Indian Rocks Beach Library.
The program will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays.
Children of all ages are invited.
Kiwanis Club of Seminole meeting SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Club of Seminole meets Thursdays, 6:15 p.m., at Freedom Square’s Town Hall.
The group’s next speaker will be Breanne Zsiga, from Career Academies of Seminole, discussing on her steer project.
For more information, call Terry Carr at 394-2582.
Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings, are held every Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Scottish American Society of Dunedin, 917 Louden Ave.
The cost is $3 and $5 for nonmembers. The social club is dedicated to the preservation of Scottish culture, offering Scottish country dancing, line dancing, holiday dinners and parties.
Connections @ Park Station
PINELLAS PARK – The Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce hosts Connections @ Park Station, 5851 Park Blvd., Room 101, a free networking event, on the second and fourth Fridays of the month at 8:30 a.m.
Contact Carl Lucchi at 458-7863 for more information.