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      Profits on Medicare Advantage plans are at least double what insurers earn from other kinds of policies. Gee, I wonder why? There is tons of evidence that insurers in the program have been manipulating a program that pays them extra fees for enrolling customers with more illnesses. The change took away payments for some of … Continue reading Cheaters
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Er, Happy Birthday, Hawaii?

No. 1 child sits in the Oheo Pools waterfall at Haleakala National Park

No. 1 child sits in the Oheo Pools waterfall at Haleakala National Park

Today is the 50th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood.


Oddly, no one here is celebrating.  Well, OK, we outmaneuvered Queen Lilioukalani to force her to give up the monarchy.  That wasn’t nice.  But Hawaii has a thriving Hawaiian culture, most of it vigorously rescued in the 60’s when I lived here as a kid.  It could have turned into just another reservation.  And yes, there is poverty.  Corrugated roof shacks have replaced the little grass ones.   I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to afford food at these prices.  Nearly everything has to be shipped in and the oil speculators really hurt the locals last year.  The roads aren’t in the best shape either, as we learned last night on our way back from Hana travelling clockwise around the island by Haleakala.  There was a stretch of about 20 miles where the blacktop yielded to dirt road, cow guards and virtually nothing to stop the intrepid voyager from plunging into the sea.

Hmmm, maybe that’s the plan.  Keep it rough and it will be that much harder to develop.  The wild unspoiled beauty of Maui, Molokai, Hawaii and Lanai should stay that way.  Forever.

Hawaii ponoi Nana i kou, moi
Kalani Alii, ke Alii.
Makua lani e Kamehameha e
Na kaua e pale Me ka i he.


Hawaii’s own true sons, be loyal to your chief
Your country’s liege and lord, the Alii.1
Father above us all, Kamehameha,2
Who guarded in the war with his ihe,3

Friday Morning News from a Hoosier Perspective

Photo taken near Muncie, IN

Photo taken near Muncie, IN

Good Friday Morning!! Riverdaughter goes to Hawaii for her vacay, but here I am, “back home again in Indiana.” Except for occasional trees dotting the landscape, you can see the whole horizon. It’s not quite as flat and treeless as my birthplace, North Dakota; but it’s close. It’s where I grew up. There’s not a lot happening here, and I like it that way. Unfortunately, I have to devote some of my vacation time to getting organized for the fall semester. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying looking at head-high corn, eating big juicy Indiana tomatoes and marvelous Indiana cantaloupes (muskmelons), and spending some quality time with my family.

So what’s happening out there in the citified world?

The health care reform battle is still dominating the news.

Really though, this debate has become pretty ridiculous. It’s a serious, life and death issue to us real people, but to the elites in Washington, DC, it’s just another opportunity to line their own pockets while ensuring that health insurance execs and lobbyists continue to lived their lives in the lap of luxury. These people don’t give a damn about the millions of Americans suffering and dying because they have either no health insurance or incredibly expensive health insurance that doesn’t cover their urgent needs, or people who can’t pay for the incredibly expensive meds their doctors have prescribed.

Here’s a great article on the health care debate from The Onion:

WASHINGTON—After months of committee meetings and hundreds of hours of heated debate, the United States Congress remained deadlocked this week over the best possible way to deny Americans health care.

“Both parties understand that the current system is broken,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Monday. “But what we can’t seem to agree upon is how to best keep it broken, while still ensuring that no elected official takes any political risk whatsoever. It’s a very complicated issue.”

“Ultimately, though, it’s our responsibility as lawmakers to put these differences aside and focus on refusing Americans the health care they deserve,” Pelosi added.

The legislative stalemate largely stems from competing ideologies deeply rooted along party lines. Democrats want to create a government-run system for not providing health care, while Republicans say coverage is best denied by allowing private insurers to make it unaffordable for as many citizens as possible.

“We have over 40 million people without insurance in this country today, and that is unacceptable,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said. “If we would just quit squabbling so much, we could get that number up to 50 or even 100 million. Why, there’s no reason we can’t work together to deny health care to everyone but the richest 1 percent of the population.”

“That’s what America is all about,” he added.

And so on… Sadly, that story is a little too close to reality to elicit any more than nervous laughter from me. Continue reading