Friday, January 21, 2011

"I never really thought about it..."

There are answers to these questions, but it is amazing that anyone could be so active in such a movement and never have even thought about it. WTF. Or perhaps they have thought about, and have an opinion as to what the punishment should be, but simply don't want to discuss it on camera. That argument does not compute; you would think that they would take the opportunity to expound on how they are going to solve this dilemma once and for all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Krugman: The War on Logic

Paul Krugman explains the Republicans attempt to repeal the health care reform bill. This isn't a question of money, or deficits, or fear of big government. If that were true then the GOP would not have supported the Medicare Part D drug benefit in 2003, or the pointless wars and tax cuts. Krugman points out that the real issue is simply that taking care of poor people is anathema to the GOP.

The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do.

And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.

I would add that I've yet to hear anyone voice a desire to repeal EMTALA laws that require physicians and hospitals to care for the uninsured without reimbursement. If the Republicans are pure marketers, then why not repeal that too?

Book Review: Just Kids, by Patti Smith

Writing: A
Passion: A+
Subject matter: B

The Poet, the godmother of punk, has written a memoir of her early years shared with the Artist, Robert Mapplethorpe. Admittedly, these folks were not part of my youth or culture, and I read this book solely because it won the National Book Award amidst rave reviews. The only thing I knew about Patti Smith was that she wrote "Because the Night", and my only knowledge of Robert Mapplethorpe was that he was a counter-culture homosexual who took salacious pictures and died of AIDS.

First of all, this book is beautifully written, and that alone should entice any reader to consider it. She re-counts her working class childhood, which turns into years of struggle in New York City during the 1960's, living with Mapplethorpe as both pursue their art. Mapplethorpe grew up in a strict Catholic household, served as an altar boy, and met Smith when she was literally living in the street. They came of age together in the bawdy art world of the Chelsea Hotel, meeting poets, painters and novelists of renown.

The passion for their art is a major theme throughout the story, along with the hard work and devotion to each other. It's a story of love and friendship; sensitivity that Smith describes as aesthetically as anyone I've read. She evokes compassion for her lover when she realizes that he is homosexual and is going to leave her. But they never really separate and continue their special caring relationship, both looking out for the other, sharing their happiness and eventual tragedy.

Smith captures the devastation of the gay community with poignant prose, but it's not a story only of heartbreak. Both Smith and Mapplethorpe achieve their dreams together, becoming celebrities and fulfilled artists. Their ambition, hard work and mutual love for each other carry the day. The characters are perfectly developed with all the necessary complexity. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 16, 2011