Sunday, December 27, 2009

No F-ing Way

Oh, come on, now.

In addition to double searches of carry-on luggage and other random searches, we hear that for the last hour of a flight, passengers will be forbidden to hold anything in their laps -- blankets, books, notepads, and of course, laptops -- or to leave their seats. Let's examine this bright idea.

How many businesspeople will decide that a day at the office plus a video conference is more productive than spending maybe three or four hours in security, and then sitting on a plane unable to work? (Gee, didn't the airlines just spend money on making wireless Internet available on planes? Too bad.) How many trips to see family or go on vacation will be switched to cars, trains and buses? (I'm due to go to Chicago in January, and if this policy is in place, you can bet I won't fly there.) But that isn't the best part.

Picture a plane with 15 or 20 young children on board. For the last hour of the flight, none of those children may play with toy cars or Barbies or handheld games; hold their blankets, lambies or teddy bears; look at a picture book; color with crayons; curl up with a pillow; or go to the bathroom.

How long will it take until a flight attendant commits seppuku? or assaults a TSA official?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Senator Bayh and the Washington Post

The Washington Post opines that Senator Evan Bayh's recent record of "crossing the aisle" and breaking away from the Democratic lockstep "virtually ensures he will not be a serious candidate for national office." I'm not so sure. Yes, many Democratic primary voters will want someone with a purer devotion, but others will be worried enough at the party's sinking popularity that they'll hold their noses and vote for a centrist.

Here's the message I sent Sen. Bayh earlier today:


Dear Senator Bayh:

A Washington Post article today suggested that your relative "conservatism" and tendency to "cross the aisle" must mean that you were abandoning any Presidential aspirations. Well, that's the Washington Post for you.... I am quite skeptical about the notion that political moderation, and refusal to go along with ill-conceived and damaging legislation like "cap and trade", would disqualify a senator from nationwide recognition and support.

Whatever your plans for the future, here's one Hoosier and American applauding the independence you have sometimes shown, and urging you to go further in the same direction. Please assess, soberly and apart from partisan considerations, whether the current health care bill is well-conceived, thoroughly thought out, inclusive of all sensible reforms, and devoid of serious unintended consequences. If you cannot answer a decisive "Yes!" to all these questions, please stand up and vote against ending debate on the health care bill. If you do, I for one will hope to see you prove the Washington Post wrong.

Karen A. Wyle

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

still trying on health care

Well, here's the latest missive into the whirling void:

Dear Senator Bayh:

Some of the latest tidbits from the healthcare debate should give any moderate senator or voter pause about the current enterprise. The proposed legislation would make disproportionate cuts in Medicare's home care coverage. This could be in a Proverb Dictionary under "penny-wise, pound-foolish". To somehow compensate, an amendment is passed to say that no "guaranteed" home care benefits will be cut -- a word with no reliable content. A new program, the "Class Act", is set up, with premiums due for years before benefits, but with expected payouts far exceeding benefits. So those who are losing home health care from the Medicare cuts can now pay out premiums for years before receiving anything, under a program that will founder in a few years from inadequate funding.
This muddled and destructive approach to one aspect of healthcare cannot reasonably be expected to be the exception to the bill's overall quality and impact. How can you support this ill-conceived political behemoth?
Do you really have more to fear politically from the Democratic leadership than from Hoosier voters, if this bill or anything like it becomes law? As a member of what is supposed to be the more sober and deliberative legislative body, don't you owe it to your consituents and the country to call, "Whoa!" and give a more considered, less politicized process a chance?