Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Friendship, Love, Passion, Politics, Sarcasm and Shoes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friendship, Love, Passion, Politics, Sarcasm and Shoes

Recently, I enjoyed a virtual chat with a dear, long-time friend of mine. We began our friendship, interestingly enough, over a pair of shoes. I needed one, and he had one – pair of shoes, that is – so I bought them from him. He is a skilled tradesman and business owner/entrepreneur, and educated me on what makes a good pair of shoes and boots.

His demeanor impressed me, and we found that we had several common interests – perhaps chief among them music – and a love of governance and politics. It’s sometimes said that “politics and religion” are two topics not discussed among friends or casual company, yet if it’s not, with whom is it discussed? That statement, on its face, is highly illogical and almost self-evidently contradictory.

Delivery and positions can be passionate and passionately held, yet it is the tenor of discussion that makes all the difference. To become shrill and vitriolic serves little purpose, except to demonstrate utter loss of self control, and it certainly wins no points in genuine debate – which purpose is to convince an audience of a particular position. And to be convinced, one must at the very least, have an open mind – one open to new ideas – ones that perhaps may run counter to some thought we seem to hold dear. It is certainly involves a process of introspection and self-examination.

And at least once, on some occasion, at one time or another, we all have in some state of passionate delivery, lost some sense of self control when discussing a topic. More than likely, we’ve found ourselves in need of forgiveness, and hopefully have sought it – hopefully as well, forgiveness was granted. Kind and considered debate, however vigorous it may be, is always the high road, for no one likes the rudeness of hot-headed belligerence.

As any good friendship does, over the years, my friend and I have have grown closer. And though for the past several years we have been separated by miles, it is as if we have picked right up where we left off each time when we communicate. Those seeds of friendship sown were good seeds, and they were planted in fertile soil, tended, watered and weeded, and have produced a kind and loving relationship that has endured many seasons.

Concerning politics, to the casual observer, we could not be further apart in our ideologies. Yet to the intimate observer, we are very close. There has been many a day he and I have seemingly mercilessly and vigorously gone back and forth over any given political hot topic, and in the end, though we have at times left debate at a loggerheads, we have remained close.

Some of the tools used in conversation and debate include sarcasm, which is defined simply as “harsh or bitter derision or irony.” Irony, of course, is “the use of words to convey a meaning that is opposite of its literal meaning.” The word itself emerged circa 1570’s from the Late Latinsarcasmos” from the Greek “sarkasmos” which meant “sneer, jest, taunt, mockery” and was further derived from the Greek word “sarkazein” which meant “to speak bitterly, sneer,” and was literally meant “to strip off the flesh” and further originated from “sarx,” meaning “flesh,” and properly a “piece of meat.” Thus, we see how the phrase “that remark cut to the bone” was derived.

In that sense, I present the following.

Hell no!,” says John-Boy Boehner. Defend my right to be sick, make you sick, stay sick… and even to die. It’s the American way! Sick employees are better workers! Deformed babies are good! Stillborn children are even better! Forget granny’s “death panel”! We’ll kill her and grandpa too by denying them compassionate care! Oh, and we won’t forget the kiddies! And your insurance premium should go to HIGHER PAY for CEOs, not your healthcare! What in the hell do you think you’re paying for anyway, huh?

Republicans to chip away at health

House GOP lawmaker targets key healthcare reform provision

By Jason Millman
01-17-11; 06:29 AM ET

A powerful House Republican is setting in motion a congressional challenge to a key provision of the healthcare reform law.

Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (R-Texas) is trying to build momentum for a Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenge to a recent regulation that requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their premium dollars (85 percent in the large-group market) on healthcare services.

The House GOP majority is expected toapprove legislation Wednesday that would repeal the reform law, but the Democratic-controlled Senate will likely block it. With no way forward on the bill, the GOP will turn its attention to attacking Obama administration regulations in an attempt to weaken the healthcare law.

Carter used the annual Republican retreat this past weekend to try to generate support for a CRA challenge to the so-called medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements for insurers, spokesman John Stone told The Hill.

On Wednesday, Carter reintroduced a resolution disapproving of the MLR requirements, which were published in November. The requirements aligned closely with recommendations made by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

When Carter first introduced the resolution in December, he said the rule would “wreck” the individual insurance market.

“Our national goal should be to increase health coverage for all Americans,” Carter said in a statement. “This regulation is heading in the exact opposite direction, and must be stopped before it becomes effective.”

Since the CRA was enacted in 1996, the law has been wielded successfully just once, when Congress overturned a Clinton-era ergonomics rule in 2001.

The CRA operates under special rules. After receiving a regulation, Congress has 60 legislative days to orchestrate a disapproval of the rule. Once in the Senate, any senator could bring up the resolution for an expedited vote without opportunity to add amendments.

President Obama can veto any CRA challenge, but Carter’s spokesman said he is hopeful that Republicans can gain Obama’s support to overturn “bad regulations.”

“The whole healthcare bill was put together so piecemeal that there’s going to be some very bad regulations issued that even supporters of the initial bill will say, ‘That’s not what we wanted to do,’ ” Stone said.

Health and Human Services Department regulations postponed MLR requirements by one year so that so-called “mini-med” plans offering limited coverage could meet the new requirements. Insurers that fall short of the MLR requirements must provide rebates to enrollees.

Democrats, ramping up their defense of the reform law, have emphasized its consumer protections — such as the MLR requirements — to generate support.

“By pledging to repeal health reform, House Republicans would eliminate this important protection and allow insurance companies to continue unlimited spending on CEO bonuses, profits and lobbying — and less on patients’ health care,” said Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) in November after the MLR regulations were issued.

The Hill


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