Favorite Artists

  • Cake
  • Calexico
  • Chet Baker
  • Craig Finn
  • Dave Alvin
  • Eels
  • Elvis Perkins
  • EmmyLou Harris
  • Gerry Mulligan
  • Jackson Browne
  • JJ Cale
  • Joe Henry
  • John Hiatt
  • Maria Callas
  • Mary Gauthier
  • Morphine
  • Neil Young
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Roddy Woomble
  • Roger Waters
  • Sam Baker
  • Van Morrison
  • Wilco
  • Wynton Marsailles
  • Yo Yo Ma

Friday, June 29, 2012


For A Dancer

"Keep a fire for the human race
  Let your prayers go drifting into space
  You never know what will be coming down
  Perhaps a better world is drawing near
  And just as easily it could all disappear
  Along with whatever meaning you might have found
  Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
  (the world keeps turning around and around)
  Go on and make a joyful sound."            

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you'll never know.                                     For A Dancer- Jackson Browne




As I'm 72 and I am covered by Medicare and some supplemental insurance, I am not directly affected by yesterday's decision. I've read several takes on it and as I'm not a lawyer and not a politician, I'll give my plebeian view...my long range view if you will.

The current US healthcare system is an unsustainable disgrace. I won't bother with the disgrace part, the libertarian philosophy that would leave those without coverage to "get sick and die", but rather I will consider the business model. This is capitalist America so it is always about the business model, right?

There is not going to be enough healthy and wealthy people to sustain a for-profit healthcare system...one where 20% of every dollar goes to the administrators (contrasted to government Medicare's 2%).  Especially when you factor in the loss of the middle class. After all, it is the middle class that has been bearing the brunt of paying for most things in the US. When you have a job-based healthcare system it depends on: a) people having jobs, and b) employers who offer (and subsidize) healthcare plans. The IRS has virtually given employers the right to treat employees as contractors regardless of how tax laws interpret "independent contractors". And even when the IRS does  come down on a large corporation, they simply pay the fine and continue on with some type of variation to get around the problem-other than making contractors employees.

So like so much of the challenges facing this Country and the world, the can is being kicked down the road. This Supreme Court's majority could well be called the Commerce Court. The current system had to be adjusted in order for the healthcare companies to survive...that is they need the expansion of healthy paying customers.That is why I expected the ACA to go forward in some form. In essence, I think Roberts' vote was to avoid the chaos that would ensue from throwing the ACA out.

The shit will hit the fan with the recognition that what may be good for the healthcare companies, in this case, is not good for other large corporations. It will be a corporate Jurassic Park, where the corporate dinosaurs battle each other for the kill (that would be us). And frankly, I've wondered why this hasn't already happened. Universal healthcare is a good thing for employers as well as individuals.

Some type of universal healthcare will eventually happen. You have to wonder what the business models look like when the millions of Boomers change from private to public healthcare insurance. The change to some type of universal care, when and if it happens, will be because it makes too much financial sense to have it. 

In a representative democracy, the US would have passed a single-payer healthcare bill. We do not have one of those. Not that the people do not have the ability to force a political issue like this, but between the State propaganda that passes for main stream media, and bought and paid for politicians, it will take a lot to get people actively seeking to change things. 

Change will happen sooner rather than later. The increases in healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP will force it. 



Who knows, mass legal marijuana use could lead to "Make Love Not War" for real.


Race is so ingrained in Americans that most of us see the world through a prism that is blurred because of it. That is not to say that we are all racists, but that how we perceive things is colored (pun intended) by our ideas developed constant propaganda rather than through personal experience with race. If you have a pre-conceived idea of something, you 

If you have not visited small town USA recently, especially in the Rust Belt, you will not understand how pervasive the trend that sees the former middle class (which is subject to how one sees oneself in America) reduced to poverty. It is the living and breathing example of how the deliberate decision by the political elites to send manufacturing jobs to places where wages were at the absolute minimum. 

NAFTA along with very favorable tax treatment has almost forced corporations to export the manufacture of goods and products. No need to worry about unions in China or India. And when wages in those countries are under pressure to be increased, export manufacturing to Indonesia and Vietnam.

The result can be seen in small town America. Small manufacturing, which provided core jobs for people living within a 30 mile radius is removed. Add local schools being folded into regional schools, and large box-store retailers like WalMart , and you have virtually strangled small towns. 

So how does this slow crawl to the poorhouse relate to race?

I would suggest that when most people in this Country (and most likely any Country), regardless of their race, think of poverty-of the poor, they immediately think of people of color., even when they themselves are living below the poverty level. Part of this is due to the inculcated feelings about people of color, and part is due to lottery factor. (The lottery factor is that no matter how little I have, I can pull out of my situation with luck. Everyone has the opportunity to get rich in the US, right?)

What brought me to thinking of this was this Guardian article:


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