Archive for November, 2008

Government Health Care

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I will turn 65 in January, so I decided today to apply for medicare, which one is supposed to do during the three months prior to turning 65. I began by going online and typing “medicare” into Google, which took me to the Social Security website, where, after navigating through multiple pages and FAQs, I was informed that it was not possible to apply for Medicare online.

Instead there was an 800 number to call. I called the number and sat through five or ten minutes of recorded messages about all sorts of government programs, none of which were of any interest to me. The robot then began asking me questions, which I answered in my clear, accent-free, radio-quality voice. Everything I said was misunderstood. Eventually I was put on hold. After a considerable wait, I was informed by the robot, that if I didn’t want to wait, I could have the Social Security office call me back. That sounded good, so I answered “Yes”, entered my phone number, and hung up.

Awhile later, a real person called me back, asked me a few questions, and then put me on hold. I listened to static and muzak for awhile, and the real person finally came back on the line and told me that she would have to transfer me to someone else, which would take some time. I said, “I thought that the call back was supposed to make it so I didn’t have to wait.” She said that was right, that that’s why I got to talk to her, but now I would need to talk to somebody else and there would be a wait. However, she said that if I wanted to go to the local office, I could make an appointment to do that. Did I want to do that? “Yes,” I replied. “OK,” she said, and put me on hold. I waited for awhile listening to muzak and finally hung up.

I went back to the Social Security website and looked up the address of my local office, got in the car and drove there, took a number and sat down. After 15 or 20 minutes, my number was called, and I told the nice gentleman that I wanted to apply for Medicare. He informed me that they were very backed up and it would be a two or three hour wait, or I could make an appointment. I chose the appointment. There was an opening at 10 am next Tuesday. If I couldn’t make it then, I would have to wait until sometime in December. I said that next Tuesday would be fine, and he printed out a letter for me confirming the appointment and telling me to be sure and bring my birth certificate.

As I understand it, Obama’s plan for government health care will pay for itself by eliminating all the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the private insurance companies that currently burden our health care system. That is certainly something I, for one, am looking forward to.

Autumn Leaves

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Saturday we drove over to Manchester and walked around The Old Stone Fort State Park. It was a beautiful Fall day. Here is a slide show of some pictures I took. The sound track is Candace, accompanied by Doc West on guitar, singing Autumn Leaves.

The Facts of Life

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

It is historic and an affirmation of the exceptional history and spirit of the United States of America that we have elected our first half-Kenyan President. I can’t help but share to some extent in the jubilation of Obama’s disciples. I preferred McCain, but the people have spoken, and they have spoken decisively.

Barack Hussein Obama is my President, and I wish him well. Let us hope that it is Obama’s rhetoric and not his record that will define his Presidency. Although, come to think of it, I don’t like his rhetoric much either. So let us hope that neither his rhetoric nor his record will be determinative. Audacious as that hope may be, I think it has a fair chance of being realized. After all, as Margaret Thatcher pointed out, “The facts of life are conservative.”

How bad could it be?

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Although I don’t believe it to be the case, just suppose that Barack Obama is in fact the Manchurian candidate acting out a plot concocted in Bill Ayer’s rec room to overthrow the Great Satan and bring about the glorious revolution, following which, as Bill Ayers himself has estimated, some 25 million people would necessarily have to be eliminated.

Supposing that is who Obama really is, what could he realistically accomplish as President of the United States to further his nefarious aims? Not much, is my guess. If he did anything that revealed his secret intentions, he would be impeached. He would not be able to maintain communications with Ayers or Rashid Khalidi or Jeremiah Wright, lest it come to light. In fact if he did anything to undermine the U.S. at home or abroad more effectively than Jimmy Carter did, he would be impeached. And we survived Carter.

And that’s by far the worst case scenario. The more likely scenario is that Obama is an ambitious politician who wants to be re-elected, and remembered as a great leader, and that he will do his best to make that happen. He’s obviously intelligent, and probably not crazy, and, fortunately, the government has no money. He’s not going to raise anybody’s taxes as long as there are fewer than 60 Democrats in the Senate. He’s not going to do anything meaningful towards universal health care. There simply isn’t any money. He’s not going to pull out of Iraq precipitously. He will send more troops to Afghanistan, which I’m not even sure is a good idea. He will appoint some new, liberal Supreme Court justices to replace old, liberal Supreme Court justices. Things will go from bad to worse in Afghanistan. The economy will not be good. And four years from now everyone will be fed up with Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. and Sarah Palin will be elected in a landslide.