Things that have crossed my mind lately:
1.) We had a right wing troll this weekend who doesn’t know this blog. I’d just like to point out that many of us didn’t vote for Obama precisely because we could smell the corporate schmoozer on him from a light year away. He is not, nor ever has been a liberal.
2.) It occurred to me, and probably to many others lately, that one of the reasons Obamacare is such a fiasco (and I think we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg) is because it is a private solution to a public problem. One of the first clues that this is the case is the IT catastrophe. It sounds like HHS is completely at fault and, sure, they can take a fair portion of the blame. But those of us who work in proprietary industries know how difficult it is to get access and permissions to different parts of a database or servers, or even know who to talk to to get a job done. That’s because there are legal and control frameworks all over the place to keep people from the outside from seeing what’s on the inside. It makes it very difficult to get work done when that work is circumscribed by a bunch of NDAs to keep private contractors out. If I had been writing this law, I would have made sure that the whole IT infrastructure was kept in-house and that only American programmers were hired to do the work. Why? Because it is damn hard to manage an effort like this when the team members are spread out all over the world and each person operates on a “need to know” basis. But, like I said, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems with Obamacare. The outrage over the plans themselves are only beginning.
3.) I don’t buy for a minute that the White House was so intimidated by the Republicans that implementation of the program was hindered by trying not to upset the wingers. That’s utter bullshit. This White House has no problem playing hardball when it wants something. It cut its own party in half to get the nomination in 2008 and the Obama campaign did not play delicate flowers that wilted under criticism back then. Besides, any corporate sales person who has taken the power dynamics seminars their company offers, and there are many of these types in the Obama White House, knows how to apply push pull marketing techniques and how to use the passive-aggressive scale to get what he (and in this WH, it’s almost *always* a he) wants. The administration knew way in advance that the wingers were going to be apoplectic about Obamacare and they still dropped the ball. Well, it was a private solution and in the hands of the contractors. Their job was done. And it’s only 5% of the population, or so they think. So, you know, no biggie. Sucks to be laid off in the Little Depression but what can they do about it?
5.) Donna Tartt’s, The Goldfinch, is a pretty good listen. It was a bit long and the last half hour had a bit of an Ayn Randian hero-goes-on-too-long-about-stuff feel to it, not that the subject matter has anything to do with Objectivism. But the characters are memorable, unique and entirely human. It’s like Dickens meets Age of Innocence meets The Cat in the Hat. One reviewer says the main theme is loneliness. But I’m not so sure. I think it’s a pretty good exploration of crippling anxiety brought on by PTSD and social-familial insecurity. I loved the fact that so much of it has to do with art because Brook and I like to go to museums just like the main character and his mother did. I could almost smell the Met in this book. Tartt makes good art accessible. I can’t say that I’ve had the same kind of obsessive love for a painting that the main character does, although I’d take anything in Kykuit that wasn’t nailed down. My favorite piece of art is by an unknown artist who painted an acrylic of a flower in 8th grade. It’s not for sale.