mm191: Veterans’ Day Observed

November 11, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

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Will not let the weekend go by without pausing to remember the veterans of our military.

We can start by remembering that this federal holiday, now spottily observed and placed on a Monday for retail purposes, was established shortly after World War I, honoring the official end of that war, the Armistice, symbolically timed for the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

Armistice Day eventually became Veterans Day, after the War to End All Wars failed to do so, accumulating many millions more veterans in the process.

Both MUDGE‘s father and father-in-law, now deceased, were proud veterans of the Army during World War II, who never wore their war service on their sleeves. Indeed, it was tantamount to pulling wisdom teeth to extricate even the smallest reminiscence of their experiences. After all, they each were just one of many millions of patriots who did what needed doing.

And we mention Norman Mailer, whose recent death was announced this week. His magnificent depiction of the war, The Naked and the Dead, written so soon afterward while his own experiences were so fresh, served eloquently stood in for so many stories in a way that continues to inspire us.

Our older son, and his new wife, are themselves both distinguished veterans of the U.S. Navy, having served with courage and intelligence protecting their country in more recent times. Indeed, our new daughter-in-law comes from an Air Force family (her Dad, sister and brother-in-law), and we’re grateful for their service.

To them, to the memory of our fathers, and to all of our veterans, living and dead, we extend our heartfelt, inadequate gratitude.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

The photograph above harvested from PictureSandbox by way of Flickr. The apparent owner is “bcmom” and the use of the photo is covered by a Creative Commons license.


mm190: U.S. Health Care – Excuses, not facts

November 11, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

Access to affordable health care. Five words. Easy to write. Rolls off the keyboard fluidly even. Simple phrase; political cesspool. Can universal access to affordable health care ever happen in the U.S.?

Paul Krugman, the economist whose columns appear in the Opinion section of the NYTimes, this week reminds us that the failings of our health care system are manifest: we spend more, but get less – fewer covered and lower life expectancy than in any other western economy.

Moreover, the usual suspects (our lifestyle) and the usual bugbears (socialized medicine!) are distortions and outright lies.

krugman

By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: November 9, 2007

The United States spends far more on health care per person than any other nation. Yet we have lower life expectancy than most other rich countries. Furthermore, every other advanced country provides all its citizens with health insurance; only in America is a large fraction of the population uninsured or underinsured.

For those fortunate enough to have health insurance, premiums keep rising, and employers are beginning to push employees to pay more of the freight, or even to start to pay additional for their lifestyle choices.

For example, several cases have hit the news recently where employers have fired, or failed to hire, otherwise qualified people who are smokers.

Aside from the disturbing privacy concerns, the entire concept of group insurance (where the large numbers of average members in good health balances those few with greater needs) is at risk here.

But, as Krugman tells us, what apologists and politicians like Rudy Giuliani have done is blanket us with excuses, not solutions, and inaccurate and downright wrong excuses at that.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Health Care Excuses – New York Times

As a reluctantly, increasingly active consumer of the U.S. healthcare system, one of the luckiest ones covered through a plan 80% subsidized by my employer, I take for granted that I see medical professionals regularly, for the cost of a nominal co-pay up to that 20%. For what is spent, my experience should be the rule and not exceptional.

Armed with Paul Krugman’s excuse-busters, let’s all work to shed light to undo all of the misinformation out there on this subject.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE