Sunday, March 09, 2014

Good Authors Too, Who Once Knew Better Words, Now Only Use Four Letter Words. Writing Prose, Anything Goes.

So Cole Porter said, and so I meant to say as the title of my last post where it would have made some sense. So imagine it's there, and here the title is, Changing The Channel.
The Koch brothers are funding a TV and telephone ad campaign up here. It's surprising because we think of ourselves as an out of the way place where you really can see Russia, although not from Sarah Palin's house (which to be fairer to her than she is to anybody else, she never said). You would think that billionaires wishing to return the country to sound moral and economic principles would be able to marshall the facts and then hire creative talent to cogently explain their ideas and convince the polity of their correctness. Instead, they repeat half-truths, lies and distortions, and, being billionaires, they repeat them a lot. It's almost as if they think a new truth can be created if they just repeat it often enough.
I'm still plowing through The Bully Pulpit (or, if I haven't mentioned it, I'm plowing through The Bully Pulpit). It's interesting, and not hard to read, or at least not hard to comprehend, but sort of depressing that a century ago, the Republican party took on rapacious companies that were exploiting monopolies to the detriment of farmers, small businesses, workers, and even the government. Laws were passed, attitudes changed, the citizenry were aroused, then grateful, and then maybe complacent. After a century, it's probably time to revisit the idea of corporate responsibility to the society that underpins them.  Instead of trying to channel Ronald Reagan, maybe the Republicans should reach even farther back and try and to assume the mantle of Teddy Roosevelt.
Now, here's a story that takes place in La Crosse, WI. La Crosse is notable for at least two things; I've been there, and, probably completely coincidentally,  ninety six percent of the residents have an advance directive explaining how they'd like to be cared for at the end of their lives. That's more than three times the rate in the rest of the nation. This came about because an ethicist at a local hospital hated the excruciating conversations families had to have at what was already a difficult time. He trained nurses and others to ask people what they wanted, and eventually the idea spread through the community. The story is available here, and is worth listening to if you'd like to hear it explained more fully. Most of the people don't want to live on and on and on kept not quite dead by machines. This turned out to be a money saver for Medicare which pays for most of those machines. It's a money loser for the hospitals since the almost dead are a huge profit center for them, but the hospitals think it's worth it to fund the program since it makes their patients lives so much better. Since it is so much better for families to make these decisions in advance, and to have the patients affected by the decisions make the decisions, the people writing the Affordable Care Act tried to include funding for similar programs nationally. These are what Sarah Palin called Death Panels. I was excited to tell Karen about this because she grew up near La Crosse and even recognized the name of the medical facility there. When we got to the part about the Death Panels, she agreed it was unfortunate that that's how they were portrayed, but she said, that's what the media told us. But really, it wasn't the media, it was Fox News; the same organization that had Karen crying last fall because Leah was going to have to pay $500 or even $1000 a month for health insurance. You won't even have to go to to find out that Leah has health insurance now and pays far, far less than Fox would have had her believe.

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