Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blog # 119: The Merry Go Round Breaks Down?

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Welcome to the Monkey House

Senate Health Care Bill Have You Confused?

The Borowitz Report Makes it Perfectly Clear

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - The United States Senate today unveiled details of its health care plan, tentatively called CompromiseCareTM:

* Under CompromiseCareTM, people with no coverage will be allowed to keep their current plan.

* Medicare will be extended to 55-year-olds as soon as they turn 65.

* You will have access to cheap Canadian drugs if you live in Canada.

* States whose names contain vowels will be allowed to opt out of the plan.

* You get to choose which doctor you cannot afford to see.

* You will not have to be pre-certified to qualify for cremation.

* A patient will be considered "pre-existing" if he or she already exists.

* You'll be free to choose between medications and heating fuel.

* Patients can access quality health care if they can prove their name is "Lieberman."

* You will have access to natural remedies, such as death.

(To sign up to have the Borowitz Report delivered to your very own email box, go here!)§

Bits and Pieces

Andrea Mitchell

One of the more compelling hours of cable news is Andrea Mitchell Reports, which comes on weekdays at noon, CST, on msnbc. Mitchell, the long time NBC news correspondent, has an excellent array of guests on her program. On Wednesday she had Republican Party head Michael Steele to represent the GOP point of view, and Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia to represent the Democratic side as they discussed the Senate’s Health Care legislation.

As you can well imagine, Steele, our modern day reincarnation of Uncle Tom, spouted the usual Repugnant line about the bill being too expensive. He once again reported that in spite of the bill’s having been neutered by the likes of Joe Lieberman, Republicans to a man will continue their fight to keep the legislation from coming to a vote. One Senator is requiring that the Senate Clerk read all 797 pages of the bill out loud before any amendments can be added to it. As you might expect, Steele had not one of word sympathy for people who have been paying into the system only to have their health care terminated upon their getting ill and needing assistance.

Even though his public option is no longer in the bill, in direct contrast with Steele, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia defended what is left of the bill against the likes of former presidential candidate and physician Howard Dean, who had urged the Senators to vote against it. He defended the bill for what it will do, among other things, it will force insurance to spend up to 90% of the money it takes in on the health care of its members thereby preventing the companies from dropping their members when they get sick and begin to require care which seems to be common practice these days.

Senator Rockefeller expressed his genuine concern for the people of his state currently without health care insurance, whose welfare will be improved by the bill. Mr. Steele’s concerns obviously are with the insurance companies fighting for the status quo, and their dividend loving stockholders.§

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Joltin’ Joe Disses Health Care

What a scene is Washington these days. Jolting Joe Lieberman, Independent senator from Connecticut, has been visibly auditioning for the role of the Grinch that stole Health Care. However, by the week’s end word has filtered out that after killing both the Public Option, which would have put some kind of competition into the insurance market, and also the option he espoused a few weeks ago which would have allowed people 55 and over to qualify for Medicare, the Joltin’ One has become number 59 on the roll call to pass the Senate’s version of the bill. Which at this point leaves only Senator Ben Nelson spraying his number one on Sen. Reid’s and Obama’s Health Care Parade.§

Senator Ben Nelson

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Harry Reid Reminds All What GOP Stands For

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid stoked Republicans to the boiling point with his observations the other day that Republicans had opposed everything from the Abolition of Slavery, to the establishment of Social Security, to the Civil Rights Act, to the establishment of Medicare. GOP sympathizers accused Reid of being outrageously combative, but there was one point they overlooked.

What they don’t point out is that Reid was 100 % correct on every point he made. Notice, that they didn’t bother to deny any of Reid’s allegations. Their lock step opposition to the dems Health Care was just one more in a long line of oppositions to legislation which Republicans have vehemently opposed, legislation which would actually be of benefit to the taxpaying public.§

Senator Harry Reid

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Google is On the Phone

Google’s announcement over the weekend that they will come out with a cellphone of their very own, the Nexus One, answered the question that the tech community had been asking ever since the gigantic Search Engine Company announced it was building an operating system for mobile phones.

At first they claimed they would only develop phones for interested manufacturers, and would have no part in the selling of their Android machines themselves. But in last weekend’s announcement that declared that many of their employees were testing the Nexus One device, and that it would go on sale to the public next year unattached to any particular carrier instantly catapulted the gigantic Search Engine company into the mobile phone business.

The Google Nexus One Phone

And unlike with Apple, whose iPhone users are wedded to ATT at least until 2010 when ATT’s exclusivity runs out, the Google phone will be compatible to all American carriers and buyers will get an unlocked phone which will enable them to make their own deals with the carrier of their choice.§

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Obama Makes Climate Change a National Security Issue

The Obama administration has injected a new argument into the need for climate change legislation in Congress. They are making it a national security issue. Both Hillary Clinton and certain retired generals are pointing out that the way global warming is continuing, it will surely threaten the nation’s security.

National security is an almost sure-fire way of getting controversial legislation passed. Dwight Eisenhower used national security as a major reason to build our nation’s Interstate Highway system, by making provisions that truck delivered missiles would get clearance in all Interstate overpasses. And in a postwar noted for its anti-Russian, anti-communist paranoia, the idea of quick mobile deployment of the nation’s missiles allowed the Government sponsored program to roll on through the Congress.§

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Both Players in N.Y. Governor’s Scandal Reemerge

Elliott Spitzer

Elliott Spitzer, the former N.Y. Governor forced to resign after word leaked that he had high priced sex with a Call Girl, began his rejuvenation with an Op. Ed. piece in the Washington Post and is now writing a regular column dedicated to the economy for Slate Magazine.§.

Ashley Dupre

Meantime, Ashley Dupre, the young lady for whom Spitzer was Client #9, has also resurfaced as a writer, writing a weekly advice column counseling on sex and relationships for the N.Y. Post. Here is her opinion on the Woods’ mistresses selling their stories and text messages to tabloids:

"Here you have all these girls accepting gifts, money, trips from Tiger in exchange for sex — all the while knowing he is married," she recently told the New York Post. "And now they all can’t wait to tell their stories in exchange for even more money from the tabloids? And I was the hooker? At least I kept my mouth shut."

We wish each of them much success in their new ventures.§

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Blu-Ray Sightings

Blu-Ray, whose player is finally dipping below the $100 level therefore making it what is known in the trade as an “impulse buy,” is becoming to come into its own, after an initial lack of interest on the part of the technology crowd. The new data disc holds much more data than the DVD disc is still being resisted by the public in general. One reason, its discs won’t play on car DVD and personal DVD players, so that despite their inherent higher quality, even Blu-Ray owners have been tending to buy their movies on DVD.

However, the content providers are sweetening the Blu-Ray pie. Hollywood — which is banking on the pricier Blu-ray discs to help lift sagging home video sales — is stepping up its efforts to win customers. Studios are packaging Blu-ray discs with regular versions on DVDs, and throwing in so-called "digital copies," which can play on computers and iPods. And late figures indicate that five out of ten movies bought these days, are on Blue-Ray discs.§

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More Camp Memories

As those of you who read this blog regularly already know, I spend 22 years of my life (and the best 22 years at that) working for three of the finest children’s summer camps in New England. The University Settlement Camp in Beacon, N.Y. was the first camp I worked for, and I was there for three summers before I left in a dispute over the way campers were disciplined. Next I spent six satisfying years at Camp Killooleet (named by original founder Margaret Bartlett for a bird call) in Hancock, Vermont, after which I spent the remainder of my counseling years at Blueberry Cove Camp, Tenants Harbor, Maine.

One of the most profound differences between Killooleet, the camp currently being run by Kate Seeger and her husband, and Blueberry Cove, which as a seven week camp is no more, but which is presently being brought back to life as a summer day camp, was its attitude towards their counselors. At Killooleet counselors night duty was restricted to their own cabin, although with each cabin having two counselors, it was possible for them to trade night duties so that counselors could have every other night off.

At Blueberry Cove, although each camper group of four had their own counselor, after the first few weeks counselors were allowed to shift night duty, choosing a different group from the one they originally been assigned to for putting to bed duties. This allowed counselors to get to know a wider range of children. And counselors were not restricted by gender. Male counselors frequently found it challenging to put female campers to bed, and vicc versa.

The policy was put into effect early in BBC’s history, under Henry and Bess Haskell’s direction, and it was a tradition we saw fit to continue when Ann Goldsmith, Bob Hellerson, and I took over the direction of the camp after Henry and Bess retired. We found that it was logical assumption that mixing genders would produce variety and interest on the part of both campers and counselors. We also felt that restricting bed duty to one’s own gender would be gender discrimination.

Personally, I found that system extremely broadening. I have two sons, but never had a chance to interact with girls in such an intimate manner until arriving at Blueberry Cove. That didn’t mean I chose girls over boys every time, not in the least. But I found it fun to be able to vary putting to bed responsibilities, and challenging to be able to learn to deal with little girl’s problems as well as those of little boys. And it seemed to me that the campers were as enthusiastic over the ever changing nighttime duties as were we counselors.§

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Henry Haskell, a Dedicated Camp Leader

Henry Haskell was a most interesting and talented camp leader. Whereas the Seeger team at Killooleet were teachers in a leading progressive school in N.Y.C. (Dalton School), Henry and Bess had ties to another progressive N.Y.C. school (Town and Country). It seemed to me that Henry’s leadership qualities were mostly self taught. To Henry running a children’s camp was much more than simply a job, in his book it was truly a calling. Though touting no religion, he acted as a minister without portfolio to both the children, and most especially to the counselors who came under his wing.

For instance as I’ve told before, once the Surgeon General had decreed that cigarette smoking caused cancer and was a hazard to health, Henry began a relentless campaign to urge his counselors to quit smoking. And indeed, in my case it did finally work, although it took several years after their retirement before I finally quit smoking during the summer I took off from directing the Teen Camp I had been running. And I credit my being able to quit with the fact that I am presently still alive at age 83. And I directly credit this to Henry’s counsel. For every one of my contemporaries who had continued smoking has since died, most of them from lung cancer.

The Story of the Haskells’ Retirement

It is an interesting story as to what finally motivated the Haskells to retire from running Blueberry Cove. Age was a factor, of course, but mainly on Bess’s part, for Henry was 15 years younger than Bess, and he took the lion’s share of the responsibility for running camp. I had missed working there the summer of 1964 as my then wife Anne was giving birth to our older son, Daniel. When I returned in 1965 I was amazed at Henry Haskell’s complete change in attitude towards the extremely cold ocean water that BBC campers swam in.

I, and at least one other counselor had trouble over the years adjusting to the frigid temperature of Tenants Harbor’s ocean water. In former years we were encouraged to do the best we could in regards to swim period. And I did try my best, usually just managing to get to the required chest deep by the time the swimming period was over. Needless to say, I was no help at all to the swimming program, and since my discomfort was highly transparent to both campers and counselors alike, I was obviously a detriment to the entire swimming program. Fortunately for me it was a failing that Henry chose to overlook.

However, upon returning to BBC in 1965 after taking ’64 off, I was very surprised to find a complete change of attitude towards the water by Henry. At the beginning of the first swim period that summer Henry explained to the campers that certain counselors (like myself) who had grown up swimming in southern waters, had a terribly hard time swimming in Tenants Harbor’s cold ocean waters, and consequently he was going to excuse us from the mandatory requirement of going in at least to shoulder length each swim period. Human nature being what it is, I kind of missed not having to go in at the daily swim period, though my body screamed its cheers at being excused from the responsibility.

This was to be a season of further surprises. It seems that Henry and Bess had decided to retire from running the camp, and they proceeded to make arrangements for Ann Goldsmith to be the primary director of Blueberry Cove, and with long time camper and businessman Bob Hellerson and I to be partners in the endeavor. Bob would work primarily with the practical side of running the camp, and I would help with winter recruiting as well as to work in camp as associate director and trip counselor. It was near the end of that summer of 1965 that Henry finally explained to me the real reason behind both his change of attitude about the water and his and Bess’ decision to retire.

In order for you to understand it fully I need to explain that Henry was an avid sailing aficionado with his own 22' sailing vessel that he had named Blythe Spirit (probably named after the British film of the same name, starring Rex Harrison). One day towards the end of the summer of ‘65 Henry took me aside and explained that after the camp had ended the summer of ‘64 he had gone out sailing by himself, and somehow had found himself in the water.

He told me of being in the water for 28 minutes before he finally managed to extricate himself. He explained that he had come as near to death as he had ever wanted to be, and that afterwards for the first time in his long career he could not face going into the water himself at swim periods. Therefore the announcement before swim period excusing the two of us from having to go into the water. And he further explained that as his personal code of ethics would not permit him to urge campers into the water if he, himself, was no longer willing to go in, he and Bessie had come up with their plan to recruit the three of us to take over the running of camp so that they could retire and leave the future of the camp in our hands.

It was a shocking situation. I for one could not imagine the camp without Henry’s leadership. However, Ann, Bob and I had several meetings to discuss the Haskell’s offer, and in the end, not surprisingly, we decided to take on the responsibility. Thus in the summer of 1966 began the Goldsmith, Hellerson, Badeaux era of Blueberry Cove Camp.

And so began the GHB era of Blueberry Cove, which was quite an adventure for us and which I will go into in greater detail as we go on further down the road.§

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An so another edition of the good ship LEB sails off into another sunset, or dawn, or somewhere in between, depending on what time you are reading this. We try to be creative with this, and as we get closer to making it interesting we seem to attract more hits to our page counter which comes up if you hit your page down key.

We will get back to work the minute Monday rolls around once again. We do look forward to your visit and hope you find your way back next week. We upload our blog on Saturday mornings, usually around 8 am Central time, and keep it up until the following Saturday. Sometimes when something really timely comes in, we might update it during the week. Meantime, have the best kind of week. We hope to. Bye, bye.

The Real Little Eddy Ω


cd said...

Very Nice Blog, I am very happy to visit yours blog. Keep up the good work. I wait to read more posts.

Jeff said...

I stumbled upon your blog just now. What a treat! I was a camper at Blueberry Cove in 1964 and 1965 and remember it so well. I remember the different counselors at bedtime (and in the morning, too). I remember the icy water. I also remember your guitar, Ed! My daughter is about to go away to sleepaway camp for the first time. I tell her and her little brothers about Blueberry Cove, and I hope that they have a similar favorable and memorable camping experience.

I look forward to reading your blog entries. Best wishes.

Jeff Levin
Periwinkle 1, 1964;
Periwinkle 2, 1965.