Unlike every other developed country on earth (those with very high human development on the Human Development index) the United States of America does not have Universal HealthCare.
(The U.S. is the Only Very Highly Developed Country Without Universal HealthCare, fact.myth.com
So, what the fuck is wrong with this country, you ask,  that we, unlike the other “first world” nations, cannot come up with/agree on a way to provide health care for all of our citizens? I frequently come across this question, and sympathize with the viewpoint behind the rhetorical query/statement, even as it makes me just…tired…to consider the issue. I also understand the criticisms and concerns regarding “nationalized” or one payer system, even as I’ve come to consider them rather immature and uninformed. Yes, Virginia, we all realize that any form of health care will not be perfect – it involves human beings, and health and behavior and organizations – nor without bureaucratic entanglements and fraud (like that *never* happens now ).
Still, I still have to wonder at…well…at those who continue to wonder anew and again and again re why we don’t do this.
Look at our federal budget, vs. those of those other countries whose universal health care systems you cite.  One of The Mandarin Mussolini’s #45’s favorite non-shithole countries, Norway, whose health system is ranked one of the top in the world, typically spends from 1.4 to 2.1 % of its GDP on its military, while we….
We police the effin’ world – that’s one of the biggest reasons why we (think we) can’t afford to pay for health care for all of our citizens. And some of the same, well-meaning people who ask why we don’t spend $$ on providing health care for all are the same, well-meaning people who, when there is suspected or evident ethnic cleansing/genocide and other human rights abuses in the latest formerYuglocentralslavianmiddleEastdumbfuckistanAmerianSubSaharan dictatorship, insist that we must go in and stop it – that we have a moral obligation as leaders of the free world to get involved in yet another country’s religious/civil war quagmire helping those who are being oppressed….
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Department Of A Rose By Any Other Name
Last weekend MH and I stopped at our favorite grocery store, where a Perky Young Wine Rep ® was offering tastes of several varietals from a local winery. Funny, how my grocery cart always seems to make its way to the wine sampling table.
Due to its label, a certain Pinot Noir caught my eye (and later, my taste buds). Although the name on the label turned out to be a tribute as to how this particular vintage was produced, I took the opportunity to tease PYWR that, although I assumed she had nothing to do with the wine’s name, she might want to tell her bosses that the more politically correct term should be Tenant Farmer, and not Sharecropper, as the latter is considered pejorative by those coming from a sharecropper background. 
So I am hearing, replied the PYWR. She both grinned and grimaced as she went on to say that I wasn’t the first person that day to tell her that.
The wine is delightful and fruity (and I actually like the label). I wish I could raise a glass with, and speak the favorite toast of, my son of a sharecropper tenant farmer father:
These are the good times.
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Department Of Different Points Of View
Last Sunday afternoon MH and I saw The Book of Mormon in Portland, which meant that last Sunday eve we were discussing the musical over dinner with son K and friend LAH. It soon became obvious that I liked TBOM much more than did MH.
When LAH asked for our differing views, I said that I simply found TBOM (which has been described as “pushing Broadway to new levels of obscenity, blasphemy and outrageousness”) highly entertaining. Despite understanding and appreciating satire and dark humor (as I must point out in his defense), MH thought the play “glorified violence” (Uh, remember, the people who wrote this are the people who created South Park, said moiself), among other annoyances (Yo, uh, the South Park. people…again).
But what really offended (Hello, remember, South Park?) MH was (SPOILER ALERT ) what he saw as the play’s “happy ending,” which he took as the promotion of the idea that facts and reality aren’t really important. In his opinion, the play’s point of view was that it doesn’t matter what made-up crazy stuff you believe. Just pick one – whether it’s the Book of Mormon or The Book of Arnold, and you’ll be happy.
Moiself disagreed with MH’s interpretation, which prompted MH to ask what point of view *I* thought the musical was presenting…which got me to thinking about my initial, brief assessment. I wasn’t sure the play had a POV, other than that which the South Fork creators have been presenting for years: that all POVs should be open to analysis – and subject to ridicule – based on content.
The play uses Mormonism as a template for critiquing religious doctrine and proselytizing – and does so quite brilliantly (although as some have argued that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, as the LDS religion’s cup overfloweth onto their temple garments when it comes to providing material for a satire). You gotta love a musical with a song which references how church leaders attempted to solve the LDS god’s…problematic, to say the least… history of race relations (what one twentieth century [!!!!] Mormon apostle called “the Negro matter” ) when it became obvious that the LDS crazyass racist shit doctrine about the Lamanites (aka African Americans and indigenous Americans peoples) would not fly in the modern era.
I believe!!! …that Satan has a hold of you
I believe!!! …that the Lord God has sent me here!
And I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people! (Black people!)
You can be a Mormon! A Mormon who just believes…
[GENERAL BUTT-FUCKING NAKED]
(The fuck is this?)
(lyrics from “I Believe,” from The Book of Mormon (musical),
by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone.
You also gotta love a play with a character named General Butt-Fucking Naked.
And the dancing Starbucks cups in the Spooky Mormon Hell Dream musical number? Totally worth the price of admission.
Making fun of politics and American culture and religion is the South Park creators’ forte. Although they chose Mormonism for their musical they could have just as easily chosen to riff on Scientology or Southern Baptists. I’d love to see how they’d deal with Catholicism…although, upon second thought, the resulting chorus line numbers featuring high-kicking pedophile priests might get a bit icky…
Once again, I digress.
Although TBOM pokes fun at a conservative religion in particular I was glad to see it get in several shots at how contemporary, liberal religious believers – otherwise modern and intelligent people – justify still giving credence to their Iron Age Scriptures. How do believers work around the astounding misogyny, ignorance, brutality, violence, racism and just plain what-the-fuck-isms found in their holy books? They say (in their best, sweet but patronizing tone of voice), “Oh, that’s silly – of course it isn’t meant to be applied literally – it’s all _____ (symbolic; imagery; an allegory; metaphorical – insert your weasel word of choice)…
“Salt Lake City isn’t an actual place. It’s an idea, a metaphor.”
…despite the fact that nowhere in their religions’ scriptures is it written that the prescriptions and proscriptions contained within them are only to be taken metaphorically, and despite the fact that their religions’ forbears took those scriptures/practiced those religions literally, as their knew scriptures commanded, for hundreds and even thousands of years.
I can understand MH’s take-away (and I’m sure he’s not the only one who found the play’s ending unsatisfying), but I did not think for a moment that the play advocated for believing mythology over embracing reality, nor did it promote the idea that faith, no matter what you place it in, overcomes all obstacles. After all, remember the play’s last line (another spoiler alert)? 
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Department Of One More Shot Before I Move On
I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today…. The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter we represent, the little member girl—sixteen—sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents—on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather…. These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated.
(Mormon Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, speaking at a 1960 LDS Church General Conference, suggesting that the “Lamanites” [Native Americans] would go back to a lighter skin tone upon being placed in Mormon homes and accepting the Mormon gospel. As reported in Conference Report, October 1960; Improvement Era [an official magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between 1897 and 1970], December 1960, pp. 922–23.)
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Department Of Random Things I’ve Always Wanted To Say To A Canadian
“So, what’s with Manitoba?”
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Department Of One More Thing About Literalism Vs Metaphor
Reason #459 why I’m on a sabbatical from writing fiction: I’ve known for years that whatever I make up simply cannot compete with the images available from reality, as per one of my favorite newspaper headlines from a few years back:
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May you take Broadway musicals literally and all else with 5 billion grains of salt;
May you be able to enjoy a toast with your father, whether in person or in memory;
May you say random (but nice) things to a Canadian;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 And really, could you ask without the profanity?
 Actually, you could compare our budget with that of any country in the world, to see the skew.
 My father, gently but consistently, corrected me whenever he heard me referring to his family as sharecroppers.
 “I STILL have maggots in my scrotum!”