You can stop chewing on my last posting. While I was away, the regular Reg-ulators (and a couple of newcomers) did a great job of chewing on the discussion topic I left for you and I thank you for it. The debate elicited an unparalleled number of comments and a lively and interesting give-and-take. I should probably go away permanently and let you guys just get on with it.
But I am back, because it is my vocational duty to irritate those who deserve to be irritated. Still, it was nice to take a complete break. The most interesting excursion I made was to Maine.
As you know, I am from the tropics and winter to me is a meteorological root canal. The last thing I would normally do is fly up to Maine in the dead of winter.
But I needed to go to see an ailing friend, Jay Lewis, formerly of Sewickley, who almost killed himself in October by falling off a ladder while trying to clear brush from his satellite dish. He broke numerous bones and subsequently developed life-threatening blood clots. He is now on the mend but it has been a painful struggle.
I flew in to Portland, where there was already a foot of snow on the ground and with snow still falling steadily. People from Maine being a hardy bunch, nobody (except me) paid much heed to it. Jay and his wife, Beth, who have retired to Maine, picked me up at the airport and drove me 60 miles or so to their home beside a back branch of the Sheepscot River in Boothbay, where we were basically snowed in for the next 20 hours.
To be snowed in with great friends with ample supplies of food, wine and beer, in a book and art-filled home that could win the most cozy award in any region, while contemplating a winter wonderland of great solitude as the frigid tidal river rose and fell outside, well, it wasn't exactly durance vile.
Much against my own instincts, I had a grand time. But it was a bit like living in an igloo away from the nearest town with its news and gossip. Where my friends live is not a TV watching sort of place. It is a reading and sitting in front of the wood burning stove sort of place.
And as we were recalling old times, the people of Massachusetts who recently thronged the streets for Ted Kennedy's funeral were busy repudiating his life's work by electing a Republican senator and making health-care reform well nigh impossible. Go figure! I suppose this is what Obama gets for being the president whom the right hates because he's a socialist while the left hates because he is not.
When I came back from civilization, the naysayers were in full crow and the "I-told-you-sos" were flying thicker than flakes in a Maine snowstorm. Good work, conservative boys and girls. Some 30 million people will never have heath insurance and pre-existing conditions are here to stay. Now that is something to celebrate.
In some ways, I think the Democrats and Obama deserve it. They are truly the gang that can't shoot straight. Still, I returned to find a story in the Post-Gazette that said that Republicans think this is just the beginning of health-care reform and that their proposals will soon take flight.
Pull my other leg, it's got a bell on it. If the Republican Party cared one whit for health-care reform, it would have done something about the growing crisis in the years when Bush had complete control of Congress. This "health care reform is just beginning" talk is merely a fig leaf of political cover. Clever as always, the Party of Family Values is vaguely aware that its vindication has come about by screwing countless families.
Ah, but what do I care? I have health care, so I'm alright, Jack. I am still not climbing any ladders, though