Saturday, August 29, 2009


My Congressman, Peter Roskam (IL 6th), has finally been forced by the relentless and inexorable march toward national health care for the 46 million and growing number of Americans who struggle without it, to admit the obvious at his August 17 town hall meeting attended by 12,000 constituents via telephone. In it Roskam agreed that the current health care system is “irrationally costly and doesn’t help those who need it.” Then Roskam spent the rest of the discussion speaking against the Obama administration reform efforts, including a public option designed to keep medical insurance companies competitive by saying “My hope is that we can come back (from summer recess) and the government-run insurance plans are off the table.”

For some strange reason the Congressman wants America to continue to be the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t guarantee health care to all its citizens while he enjoys some of the best health care America has to offer, much of it financed by the tax dollars of ordinary Americans, including the medically uninsured. His plan is the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and how many of Roskam’s 700,000 constituents know how wonderful it is? For starters, there is no waiting period, and believe it or not, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Our tax dollars pay up to 75% of the premium and for that Roskam gets access to his own pharmacy right in the Capitol. A team of doctors, technicians and nurses are also on site in case of medical emergency caused by pushing those dangerous legislative voting buttons.

If I didn’t know better, I might surmise the Congressman is partaking in some of the tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions being flung at Congress by the insurance industry to prevent reform which just might reduce the billions in profits they realize from a system that allows them to charge what they want, exclude the sick and needy, and set up technical rules and procedures which are daunting and discouraging to all.

No, it must be that Congressman Roskam, having sampled the evils of government sponsored medical insurance, feels compelled to prevent such misfortune from being foisted upon the truly needy.

Also published in the Glen Ellyn Sun, September 4, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009


To celebrate superstar Patrick Kane escaping from having to sit in the Buffalo city penalty box for his dust up with a curmudgeonly cab driver after a 4:00 AM Buffalo bar closing time recently, the Hawks will offer the first ever Patrick Kane Bobble Fist Doll at this October's opening game.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


As an irrepressible supporter of President Obama, I hang on his every word trying to glean the secret of his usually unflappable zen-like demeanor. There appears but one chink in that demeanor, and it is when he speaks about our fairytail and failed wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the upcoming attack on Iran. His eyes glaze over and he looks and sounds like a PR man reading the cue cards put in front of him by his puppet masters in the Military-Industrial Complex.

Someone should give him a history lesson about the Incident at Big Muddy, the 1942 training march of GI's in a Louisiana swamp where an arrogant an clueless Captain led his men through the Big Muddy, a river which was the shortest way back to base. The men following the captain ascertained the foolishness of fording a river that was clearly going to drown them with their heavy gear as the water rose from their knees to their waist to their necks. Then the captain disappeared and all that remained was a helmet floating past as they turned back to safety.

Pete Seeger wrote "Waist Deep In the Big Muddy" in 1967, ostensibly just about that incident but clearly an allegory to the impending doom of President Johnson's disastrous expansion of the Vietnam War. Seeger taped the song for a September, 1967 Smother Brothers Comedy Hour show but the CBS censors cut it fearing retribution from the public and LBJ. Seeger finally performed it for the Brothers and for us on February 25, 1968, just thirty-five days before LBJ threw in the towel in the upcoming Presidential election in recognition America's and his personal defeat in Vietnam.

The President should view a tape of Seeger's performance, arguably one of the most powerful anti-unnecessary war songs ever penned. Better yet, bring on the 90 year old troubadour for a command performance in the Oval Office to get the real power of Seeger's wisdom. Pete would only have to change one word. The chorus "We're waist deep in the Big Muddy and the Big Fool says to push on" just needs Pete to substitute "Skinny" for "Big".

The President will understand.

Also published in the Glen Ellyn Sun, August 28, 2009 and
the Daily Herald, September 5, 2009