Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Man on the take pays off his greedy insurance company masters

The public option is down and out.

Max Baucaus (that career political hack on the right) killed it, saying he didn't know how else to get 60 Senate votes for a healthcare "reform" bill that shovels truckloads of money to the health insurance companies at the expense of the American taxpayer while forcing most of us to use their greed-driven "coverage."

Yeah. If he stopped taking money from insurance companies, that would be one vote more for the public option. Ditto Senators Carper of Delaware, Conrard of North Dakota, Lincoln of Arkansas and Nelson of Florida. The reek of legalized corruption ought to stink in every American's nostrils.

Did I mention my own senator, Chuck Schumer, who voted against the public option this time, but says he'll introduce a public option amendment after "reform" without a public option is voted in? He knows perfectly well his amendment will be voted down. But it allows him to play both sides of the fence. The hypocrite!

Now, will President Obama have the guts to veto the bill, which makes a huge gift to the insurance companies at taxpayers' expense without solving the biggest part of the healthcare problem? Or will he crumple like an overused dollar bill?

You know perfectly well what the answer is.

Excuse me while I go vomit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dear Mr. President: Tell this scoundrel to give us the health care bill most of us voted for, or to get out of Washington

Okay, Mr. President, I’ve had it.

I voted for you when you were promoting a pretty specific plan that promised a “public option” to keep the health insurance companies honest. It wasn’t the healthcare plan I wanted. I was looking for a single payer plan. But I was willing to compromise.

Now I feel I’ve been screwed, Mr. President. By you, Mr. President. Not deliberately screwed. It's just that you're acting like a timid mouse, more interested in getting along with everyone who doesn't want to go along with you than in getting us what you promised. And that includes getting along with Max Baucus, the Montana Senator in the photograph.

Romancing failure

What Senator Max Baucus is trying to foist on us isn’t a plan. It’s a blueprint for failure. It’ll make healthcare more expensive for many of us, pay for itself by taxing other health plans instead of high incomes, and generally make a mess of things. It's the kind of healthcare reform plan that an insurance or drug company would promote to make us hate the idea of a healthcare reform. Which may be why Baucus wrote it the way it's written.

Max Baucus, we know, is on the take from health insurance companies and drug companies.
He and the other “Blue Dog Democrats” (“Blue Vermin Democrats” would be more like it) don’t have the public's interest at heart. It’s time for you to reign them in. Or swat them down.

Mr. President, here are several
things you can do

1. Right off the bat, stop calling it the “public option."

“Public option” is Washington wonk jargon. Americans like Medicare, as evidenced by the screaming hordes who rail against so-called “socialized medicine” and then end their tantrums by screaming, “And don’t you touch my Medicare, either.”

Well, the public option is Medicare. So start calling it what it really is, “Reliable Medicare for any citizen who wants it.” That’ll go a long way toward shushing up the foaming-at-the-mouth morons in the crowd.

2. Reach out with that powerful presidential iron claw you have at your disposal, grab Max Baucus by the throat, and throttle him within an inch of his political life.

Lyndon Johnson was a master of this. You can do it, too. Haul Max’s butt into the Oval Office. Sit him down in a nice comfy chair, smile sweetly and say, “Baucus, starting in 90 seconds, you’re a dead man walking in this town.”

Mention that any bill that benefits something or somebody in his state will be vetoed, as long as you’re President, unless the appropriation for his state is stricken form the bill. Mention that you’re going to mention this to other Senate Democrats — and that you will make him a pariah whose mere presence is blocking their own pork from reaching their own states. Mention it to Senate Republicans, too.

While you’re at it, mention that you’re mighty suspicious of all that money he’s taking from the drug and insurance companies, and you’re thinking of asking the U.S. Attorney General to look into the possibility of influence peddling and bribery. Oh, and of course mention an up-and-coming young Montana Democrat who you might support in the next primary.

3. Then go on to the next Blue Vermin senator.

Keep on doing that until the Blue Vermin Democrats are trembling in their shoes about what might happen if they don't revamp the bill to what you were promising during your election campaign.

4. Forget about bi-partisanship.

You tried it. The Republicans blew off your overtures.

It’s time now to deliver for the people who voted for you, before you blow it, Mr. President. Give us the health care bill you got elected on!

Respectfully (but very crankily) submitted,
The New York Crank

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are Internet con artists suddenly studying creative writing?

I don't know about you, but I was getting sick and tired of those ripoff con job letters that show up in my e-mail. (God knows where they get my private e-mail addresses).

You know the kind of letters I'm talking about. The writer purports to be a widow or a dying cancer victim, impoverished except for a gazillion dollars that she'll gladly share with you. Just send your bank account numbers. Or the writer, a total stranger in another land, craves your love and friendship.

Yeah, sure. And probably your savings and credit cards.

But recently, I've been receiving a bunch of con letters so creative that they could win awards were it not for the horrid syntax and spelling. When it comes to fanciful thinking, this stuff is better than Republican lies about healthcare, Barack Obama's birth, and what's in the United States Constitution. And when it comes to grammar, it's almost as ignorant as those idiots who worry about death panels and who think Medicare isn't socialized medicine.

Anyway, for your delectation, here are two of the most creative letters that recently landed in my e-mail in-box.

The Gothic Tale From Hell
Award goes to this writer:

Please let this letter not bring confusion to you. I know that we have
not met either before but hear me from the dept of my mind. It is circumstances
that made me to send this mail to you.

I will introduce myself first to you, My name is Cindy Coulibally, I lost my mother, my hero and my lord Ms Monica Coulibally a year ago. She was
poisioned to death by her associate in business.

She formed a company by one Mr. Philip Brown who poisioned her only to take benefit of the multimillion venture. He was arrested immedaitely my mother died and he entered an agreement with my mother's brothers that I and the immedaite youngerbrother of my mother will represent my mother's interest in the company.

After six months I was kicked out of the company because I said that we have to change the company's lawyer who I termed was part of the elimination of my mother. I did not know that they have changed all the company's document without my name appearing any where. I will have to let you know more detail on that but let me move to the point why I am contacting you.

I have been nick named bastard by my mother's relations, They have named
me all source of names even calling me outcast because my mother is late,while my mother was the bread winner of the family. They have pushed me
out of my mother's mansion and still want to eliminate my life.

I got through the records of my mother account books three weeks ago while
crying and meditating, which I beleive was inspired by the spirit of God,I discovered that there is a huge sum of money she deposited in a bank,
which is $1,850,000. (One Million Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand USDollars)The note attached to the deposit agreement she made
with the bank indicated that, the money was to be used to purchase machinery
for the establishment of a new company of her own.

Please all I need from you is to do all you can to help me to get this money
out of the bank. I have been to the bank where this money was deposited
and confirmed the account most deligently. The bank told me that my mother
informed them that the money was to be remitted to her company's customeraccount abroad, which her customer will provide to them but since then they have never heard from her nor the customer, now my mother is late. I don't
want the bank to know that my mother is late. I told them that she is illand appointed me to represent her in her affair
(1) I want you to provide an account where the money will be remitted into
as my mother's customer. (2) Make arrangement for me to leave here as soon
as possible (3) How much commission you will take for rendering me this

My mother did not marry to any man, She had me as the only child while she
was having an affair with the person that surpposed to be my father when
she was 18 years and the man abandoned her and disappeared which forced
her to remain single. Now I am 20 years and never saw my father for a day.
I have no home now and my life is in danger. I don't have any one to run
into. All the members of my mother family have turned their back on me because
l demanded for my right. They told me that I don't belong to the family.
That I should go and look for my father, Whom I don't know. I have made
traces to know my father without success. I want you to hear me from the
inner most of my heart and accord me this help.

God will bless you for saving my life and future.
Best wishes,
Cindy Coulibally.
And the Crank's Iffy Poetry Award
(Free Verse Division)
goes to this iffy con person (who never
met you but craves your friendship):
Friendship is sharing a laugh or two;
Friendship is leaning on each other when
we come to a bend in life's road;
Friendship is taking the time to encourage
There's a miracle called "Friendship." Oh what a miracle it is
in just keeping' it real. The "Friendship" dwells way, way down deep in the heart and soul of a person or individuals.
You don't know how this "Friendship" happens, it just happens so soulfully. It is a light from the "Friendship" that provides sunlight to the soul
whenever it happens. But you know and recognize the gift from above.
My name is Linda from United States of America hope to tell you more about myself as soon as I hear from you.
Got your own favorite examples? If they're clever, colorful, or simply outrageously ridiculous, send 'em along.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How I got temporarily un-cranked by a Segway tour of Paris

Personally, until last week I’ve regarded the Segway — that two-parallel-wheeled, battery-powered gizmo that looks like a lawn mower or a scooter with a genetic defect — as something of a gimmick.

Having finally ridden one, I still regard it as a gimmick. But it’s a marvelous gimmick if you simply want to have fun.

I’m talking about this now — and about Paris — because I just got back from vacation and I’m so PO’d at Obama’s waffling on healthcare and the “public option” while I was gone that I want to puke. (Maybe the “public option” would fly if he’d only call it what it really is — Medicare For All. Or at least for all those who want it.) So instead let me talk about something more agreeable.

I want you to know that if you ever go to Paris again, despite the dollar looking increasingly like cheaply-printed play money in comparison to the Euro, you gotta be sure to take a Paris Segway Tour.

I woke up in Paris one morning last week feeling as cranky as usual. I hurried my beautiful girlfriend over to the south leg of the Eiffel Tower, where we met up with a representative of City Segway Tours. From there we were guided on foot through the back streets of the 15th Arrondissement to a combination bicycle and Segway garage in a housing project that you’d otherwise have a hell of a time finding on your own. Next we were equipped with Segways and taught to ride them (it only takes a few minutes to learn) by our guide, a willowy blond Texan from Fort Worth named Crystal. That’s Crystal in the photograph, teaching the Crank’s beautiful girlfriend how to Segway like a pro.

History, guides, gore, yarns,
Segways — and some amazed Parisians

There are guides who throw names, dates and statistics about steel tonnage and elevations at you until you’re ready either to scream, nod off, or drown yourself. And then there are guides like Crystal who know that the word “story” is what history is all about. It turned out that Crystal knows not only her Segways, but also her French revolution, and can tell you a gripping tale about it with the best of ‘em.

Her recounting of the execution of Robespierre, the leading figure in the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror until he got it in his own neck, was alone worth the price of the tour. It's no secret that he got what he gave, and that what he got was decapitated. But Crystal was armed with details, narrative skills and a bit of mimicry that made it not just a story but one hell of a story. I won’t repeat it for you here, because I’m not a spoiler for American tour guides in Paris. Suffice it to say that Crystal's narration covered dingbat royalty, outrageous tax rate quotations (those were taxes on the poor, not the rich), street riots, a failed suicide, a horribly busted jaw, and a small taste of gore. It was a hoot.

But so was the Segway ride.

It’s simply a great kick zipping around town on those things. They go fast if you want them to go fast. They slow down easily when you want them to. They take turns like a Porsche on steroids. And counterintuitively, there are no balance issues. Your Segway is full of gyroscopes that simply don’t want you to fall down. Or off.

We learned that Segways have become a sort of reverse tourist attraction in Paris. While you ride around looking at Paris, the amazed Parisians are staring at you. It’s an interactive travel experience that you’ll just never get sitting in a tour bus.

If you want to go Segway-ing with Crystal, go soon. Her contract is up in December and she mentioned that she’s not sure whether she’ll renew and stay in Paris, or go back to Fort Worth where there’s evidently a bustling theater scene (Who knew?) and resume her career as an actress.

Lunch included with the tour.
Lunch at l'Ami Louis definitely not included.

The tour met at 9:30 in the morning and lasted until after lunch. Lunch, incidentally, was included in the price. The Crank's beautiful girlfriend had a croque monsieur (essentially a grilled cheese and ham sandwich that doesn't taste at all like the one you had the other day in some American diner), and said it was the best she ever tasted in Paris.

By the time I stepped off my rented Segway for the last time, I was having a lot of trouble feeling cranky, damnit. In fact, I stayed in a good mood until the next day, when my beautiful girlfriend steered me to a $300 chicken lunch at a place on the other side of town called l’Ami Louis. Now that was a lunch to get enraged about.

Admittedly, the chicken was the size of a small pony, it came with a mountain of frites (that’s “Freedom Fries” to you idiot Republicans who can remember back a few years) and enough duck liver pate to stop your arteries, the arteries of everyone in your family, and all the traffic arteries in your own city, from Interstates to back alleys. Oh, plus we had a half bottle of wine and some fizzy water.

I’ve been thoroughly and appropriately cranky ever the check arrived. Even so, I recommend that you sell the farm and go to Paris — whether you're into $300 chicken lunches or not.

While you're there, spring for a Segway tour. Preferably while Crystal is still in town.