Obama Summit, Renewable Quiet, Chile Quake,


President Obama Lost His VOICE !

The good news is that President Obama has found his voice again.

In what looked like the first bit of public governing the President has ever done, (okay, a few of his speeches have been effective bully pulpit governance, too) President Obama had a “Heath care Summit” at Blair House, across the street from the White House, in which he included key Democrats and Republicans from both houses of Congress. Though it may sound like a liberally biased report (because it, quite frankly, is a biased liberal report) the Republicans did have some key “Health Care Plan” points to offer, limiting physician liability (aka “tort reform”), purchasing health insurance across state lines (a “doozey” that I’ll talk a little more about in a minute), and essentially staying out of the way of private business in the matter of insurance generally. What the President showed, and it was fairly clear that the Republicans were willing participants in their own ambush, was that the Republican “party of ‘NO’” was firm in its commitment to block all progress on the basis that they had “fundamental differences” with the objectives of the Democratic bills that have passed the Senate and the House of Representatives, and that regardless of whatever good it might do, or whatever compromises the Democratic administration and Congress might offer, they would stand firm on those principles they held.

President Obama said in summing up at the end of the summit, that “times up” and that they would work to finalize the legislation in the next month to six weeks, and if they couldn’t get some cooperation and compromise from the Republicans, well, “that’s what elections are for.” President Obama also pointed out that when credit card companies were allowed to market their products across state lines, all that accomplished was a “rush to the bottom”, meaning that all the credit card companies migrated to the states with the least restrictive rules on credit card companies, and the least protection for their customers. The conclusion (or at least the conclusion that was implied) was that without a comprehensive form of Health Care Insurance Reform, in isolation permitting an inter-state trade among insurance companies would likely result in no improvements, and more than likely a repeat of the credit card company example, even though the concept itself has merit and will also be part of the President’s proposed revisions. Indeed the President seemed to fairly deftly handle most of the “talking points” that Republicans reiterated and reiterated and reiterated again. How my wife, Maggie managed to watch all 7 hours of it, I don’t understand. On the other hand, it was one of the highlights of the day when Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the clearly false claim by John Boehner that the existing Senate bill contained the beginnings of federal funding for abortion. As Ms. Pelosi said, the prohibition of federal funding of abortions is the law of the land, and nothing in either bill does anything to change that, “You are allowed your opinion, but you are not allowed your own version of the ‘facts’, Mr. Boehner.”

I “tweeted” a link to the video highlights (from the Democrats’ point of view at least) of the summit yesterday, and here it is again, in fact, here’s the whole tweet: “If you missed the 8 hours of video on Healthcare Summit yesterday, here as some highlights http://tinyurl.com/yfjyppn “ (If you have a really speedy connection to the internet, here’s a High Definition version of some of the same summit meeting

Several parts are available, this one is “part 4” on the deficit/budget issues.)

What was accomplished by this summit? The main outcome, as far as I can tell is that the Republicans’ position is: NO, no matter what; while the Democrats finally come around to my recommended strategy which is to whip their own members into line and pass the legislation because not governing is a far greater failure than failing to please all of the people all of the time. Indeed as former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Donna Shalala said on a Charlie Rose on PBS broadcast this week, there’s a political strategy that makes any complex legislation nearly impossible to pass, it is called a “negative coalition”, in which all of the parties with some particular objection to some particular provision of a bill will form an alliance with all other opponents, and for entirely dissimilar reasons, agree to block an otherwise beneficial law from being passed because it doesn’t suit their special interest. In fact, as Ms. Shalala pointed out, this has got to stop and the recent US Supreme Court decision that corporate money contributions to political campaigns are “protected” as “free speech” the situation is, instead, going to get worse not better any time soon.

Life is Fleeting and So Is Live Entertainment

In this case, it might be more accurate to say life is Quixotic, although the particular instance was NOT the performance of the signature tune from Man of La Mancha the inspirational, “To Dream the Impossible Dream”, which for such a “showy” tune was lackluster at best. The particulars of this instance were last week at the “Pops” concert given by the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra (or strictly speaking I suppose what would more properly be called the “Phoenix Pops Orchestra”) at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix, of course. The conductor was Lawrence Golan, and the singer was Sean Carter Campbell. I was amazed, held in disbelief at how well he sang, “If I Were a Rich Man” from the Fiddler on the Roof . I have heard it performed a hundred times before, by actors and singers from Edmonton to New York in origin, and as ethnically diverse as Italian and Jewish, but never before with such flare, such passion and such understanding and subtlety. Even the nonsense syllables could not have been better rendered even if he had affected a Brooklyn Jewish accent. Mr. Campbell is a relatively recent graduate of the Arizona State University in Phoenix with a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance in 2006, but despite his relative youth, he has also performed at Carnegie Hall. The singing was excellent but what made it such an exceptional occasion was that he “acted” the song with consummate skill as well. Mesmerizing, entrancing, incredibly subtle in detail and definition, or at least that’s the way I saw it. Congratulations to Mr. Campbell.

Wouldn’t YOU like to Attract Attractive Women?

I have entered the “dating business” which does NOT mean I am in competition with Heidi Fleiss, I am an affiliate for several sellers of dating advice, and I am also doing “life counseling” on a private client video conferencing basis. Marketing affiliates are paid a small commission, but in at least some instances they are paid on every purchase for the life of the account, so the earnings can add up over time. (People who sold traditional insurance are familiar with this kind of earning strategy. It is not a lot for any one policy, but they accumulate over the months and years, so that they can be quite a substantial income.) I’ll let you know if it turns out to be a landslide of cash, but if it just helps a few people live happier more productive lives, that will be sufficient reward for me.

That is not to say I’m going to be a dilettante merely dabbling in matters of the heart. I hope that one or both of the new web sites will really lead to some improvements in at least a few lives. I sincerely hope that it could be a great number of people who benefit from visits to the Dream Driver website which attempts to put people in the “driver’s seat” by NOT reacting emotionally to confusing “signals” from their emotional life, whether those are conscious fears or show up in dreams. The website offers access to a free video on how to adopt that kind of attitude and approach, though personal counseling (via video conferencing) is expensive. But I expect that a great number more will be inclined to at least explore better dating experiences through the Attract Attractive Women site (attractattracivewomen.psyrk.us) since much of the advice available is also in the form of free or low cost videos like this one from Heather on one of the quickest way to get a girl’s attention.

The commonest complaint I used to hear from women was that, “all the good men are either married or gay!” It might have seemed that way to them, but the truth is that most “nice guys” don’t know how to create attraction in a relationship with a woman (or “girl”, and there’s nothing wrong with being a “girl” at any age since my wife’s senior citizen girlfriends refer to themselves as “the girls” as did my mother’s friends when she was alive). There are a lot of dating guru’s out there and most of them tell us that society has trained out of men the basics of “alpha male” attractiveness, with the very inconvenient exception of dumb, insensitive men who have little or no respect for women in the first place. On the other hand, there is also the problem that many women don’t know a “good thing” when they see it. Many men just turn all “puppy dog” they are so eager to please a women who appeals to them that they become non-mating material the moment they open their mouths. They have to re-learn how to be themselves in a way that women find more appealing, thus the nearly unlimited demand for good dating advice.

If by any chance you are one of those guys who is not happily in a relationship with a woman, by all means, check out those websites.

Party Anyone?

For some reason (or possibly no reason at all) my wife received a “survey” form from the Republican National Committee a few days ago. Since she’s a registered Democrat, she was in the process of throwing it away when I caught sight of it, and postponed its trip to the re-cycling bin. The “survey” is, in fact, fairly obviously only a minor part of the document’s function. You see, it is really a solicitation of funds form, that asks the kind of leading questions that attempt to persuade you that you support the objectives of the Republican Party, should probably “fear” the Democratic Party, and therefore you NEED to support the financial health of the Republican National Committee, preferably with the urgency and instantaneous delivery of an online registration and donation opportunity, too.

I don’t know what intelligence or education level they expect to be addressing with this “survey”. Presumably the majority of readers, like the majority of the population, are non-high-school-grads, so perhaps they assume they can pull the wool over your eyes and you won’t notice the distortion in perspective away from any facts that might surround the real issue. But let’s examine some of the questions and just how they distort.

  1. Do you agree with Barack Obama and the Democrats that taxes should be raised for the sake of “fairness” regardless of the negative impact it is likely to have on the economy?1. Commentary: Raise whose taxes? They don’t mention that the raises proposed (for the sake of “fairness”) are taxes on those earning more than US$250,000 per year adjusted gross income. Other people’s taxes have been lowered (slightly) and this increase only kicks in later to remove the tax cuts George W. Bush and his administration gave to some of the wealthiest 1% of the country in the first place.
  2. Are you in favor of the expanded welfare benefits and unlimited eligibility (no time, education or work requirements) that Democrats in Congress are pushing to pass?6. Commentary: What expansion of welfare? What bill?
  3. Do you believe that Barack Obama’s nominees for federal courts should be immediately and unquestionably approved for their lifetime appointments by the U.S. Senate?7. Commentary: Notice that it says, “immediate and unquestionably approved”. No one is suggesting that the U.S. Senate be a rubber stamp approval of federal appointees, but neither is there ANY excuse for the outrageous behavior of Republicans of blocking nearly 80 of President Obama’s appointees, just to “call attention” to some minor issue.
  4. Do you believe that the best way to increase the quality and effectiveness of public education in the U.S. is to rapidly expand federal funding while eliminating performance standards and accountability?8. Commentary: Let’s see that would refer to the “no child left behind” program which was an UNFUNDED federal mandate for all states to establish standards and to show progress towards achieving those standards, without one-red-federal-cent to pay for these programs, not to mention that insisting that their only be one type of education, aimed at putting every high school student on the path to higher education (regardless of intelligence or ability, or, for that matter, disability, mental or physical) was a really BAD idea in the first place, and that “streamed” education worked rather well for 70 years of more before this “modernization” dragged the top students down while failing to bring the low and unmotivated students up.
  5. Do you support the creation of a national health insurance plan that would be administered by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.?9. Commentary: Let’s see, Medicare is administered by “bureaucrats” of the federal government, and it operates on an “overhead” cost of about 3% versus private insurance companies which are taking home billions in profits each year, yet apply approximately 30% to “overhead” expenses from their income. Medicare is in financial trouble, I am told, largely because it was designed to accommodate a population that was predominately young, healthy working people paying their premiums in advance of their needs for care, goods, and services and that those who did survive to an age where they were eligible to collect (as with Social Security itself) would be relatively few (a small percentage of the total population) and not live very long anyway (average age expectancy was approximately 70 years when I was a child. That has risen in the U.S. to 75.6 for males and 80.8 for females (and 78 years overall). Which isn’t a huge percent of total length of life, but when Medicare (and Social Security) begin at 65, the increase in average age has doubled the length of eligibility period for men, and tripled for women. Quickly phasing in older retirement/Medicare eligibility ages would correct a good deal of the imbalance, whether that is completely “fair” or not.

Happy Thoughts

There may not be any earth shattering breakthroughs in the world of renewable energy recently, but that is to be expected from time to time. The good news is that although Chile experienced a truly earth shattering event of an 8.8 Richter scale earthquake, comparatively few people died (something like 200 times as strong a quake as the Sylmar quake in California some 40 years ago). So the other good news is that there were no earth shattering disasters in the renewable energy field in recent days (not that I am aware of, at least) either.

Love and warm wishes,


Stafford “Doc” Williamson


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