Purveyors of rancor are out of touch


Watching the politicos battle over health care, one thing is clear. They are playing games with a valuable resource that is becoming more and more scarce. Armed with rhetoric, they have one thing in mind: to win this fall's elections.

Unless we let our "representatives" know that we are paying attention, they'll continue playing games. Meanwhile, we liberals and conservatives agree on more than we disagree on.

First of all, we agree that health care is too expensive and too exclusive and that this must change or we aging boomers won't have enough to go around. No one disagrees with paying more attention to preventive care. In fact, if you are retired, your No. 1 job should be to take care of yourself through good diet and regular exercise, so you don't cost the rest of us more than is necessary.

Second, we can't keep paying for people who don't have health insurance. As a small-business owner, for too many years I've paid $500 per month and a $5,000 annual deductible to cover my healthy self and my healthy 24-year-old son. Every doctor visit cost us more than $200, while low- or no-income folks get "free" insurance with no copays. Where is the incentive to pay for coverage?

Third, thanks to a variety of employment trends, we can't rely on employers to pay for our health insurance, especially when so many of us are unemployed.

Last, we mandate drivers to pay for car insurance. That doesn't make us socialists, does it? We must mandate those who use our health care system (and that includes all of us at one time or another) to pay what they can for it.

Since there is much that we can agree on, don't let the politicos convince you we are on opposite sides. We can come together for a system to serve aging boomers that won't place undue burdens on any one particular group.


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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's refusal to follow the U.S. Supreme Court's decision as he bets on repeal is ridiculous ("GOP launches new tactic over health care," July 1). I wonder what would have happened over the last 60 years if governors refused to follow other Supreme Court rulings, like Heart of Atlanta Motel Inc. vs. United States (1964), which struck down laws preventing nonwhites from using places of public accommodation; or Loving vs. Virginia (1967), allowing nonwhites to marry whites, or Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), desegregating schools.

I guess that Jindal would never have been governor, that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would never have been allowed to marry his wife (she's white), and that Barack Obama would never have been allowed to attend a white school or even think about becoming president one day.

Jindal should take off his Tea Party hat and replace it with a thinking cap.


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Do your homework; don't be manipulated


As the election season gets into full swing, I am reminded of something my father (God rest his soul) said to me 42 years ago as I was preparing to vote for the first time. He asked me how I was going to vote. I told him I was going to vote a straight Democratic ticket. He told me I was wrong on two counts. First, never tell anyone (especially relatives) how you are going to vote! Second, and most important, was never vote blindly.

He told me to find out which candidates supported my positions. To do my own research. To never rely on just the TV news or written newspapers -- each of these organizations have their own agendas.

I still try to do that, as should each and every voter. Don't be tied to any single issue!

Blindly following anyone is the same as throwing your vote away.


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I don't know about you, but I would prefer a knowledgeable voter without ID before a mindless sycophant with an ID. For example, has your candidate of choice taken any money, advice or other consolation from ALEC? Has your candidate of choice taken any money or advice from Grover Norquist or the Taxpayers League? If you answered "I don't know" to either of these questions, do you feel that you should be allowed to vote? I don't. And I don't think that having an ID would raise your awareness and intelligence.


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On Saturday, I received a prerecorded political message on my private home telephone. The lady giving the message (I believe she is a former mayor of some northern suburb) ranted and raved about what a crummy person U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum is. Then the line went dead, so there was no chance for me to object -- first, to this intrusion into my home, and second, to the bad-mouthing of someone the speaker doesn't even know if I care about. The name of the display wasn't that of the lady giving the rant; it was a man's name. So I called the phone number listed, and got a recording stating that no one will answer, so please leave a message, quickly followed by another message stating that no messages will be recorded.

Mad? It's only still June -- ask me if I'm looking forward to the coming campaign season!


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Hear ye: We might as well tap this market


Even with the house closed up and the air conditioner running, it's easy these days to hear the popping and banging of ground and aerial fireworks long into the night. It strikes me that passing a law to make them legal would only expand the tax base of our state. It certainly wouldn't expand the already maxed-out level of participation.