Friday, October 16, 2009

The Prize & other vital matters

Is it OK to still weigh in on Barack's Nobel? I've been asked twice about it this past week in Berlin.

My perspective is shaped by one of my fave lines from my fave romantic comedy, As Good As It Gets. In the film, Jack Nicholson, who plays a wealthy, reclusive, OCD-plagued author, offers financial assistance for the medical care for the asthmatic son of Carol the waitress (played by Holly Hunt). After Carol resists, her mother offers the following kitchen-table advice: "Carol, this isn't like a string of pearls. You don't send this one back !"

Mother knows best.

A tale of two cities and ethnic mix: Berlin is as white as white can be. In four days, I saw perhaps three Black people and less than a dozen Asians. Turks are the primary ethnic minority there, but less visible. In Paris, a more robust mix of north African, sub-Saharan African, Chinese, Vietnamese, and yes, whites like me. What explains this?

Discussed this over dinner with Jase one night, and he cut through all my b.s. about immigration policies, historical aversions etc etc with a much simpler explanation: language.

The public option is still on the table of health care reform back home. Hooray. We progressives, who actually won the last election decisively, may now be able to exercise some political muscle in favor of this essential ingredient in the mix. We have not been focused enough on cost control in recent weeks. Aside from price controls or a Medicare For All single payer system, how else to achieve the savings we must have? Conservatives hate the idea of bigger government, but we don't need their votes. Let's get it on, fellow Democrats !

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