Jun 252009

michaeljacksonNo one else in my lifetime has ever been as famous as Michael Jackson was in 1983.

His star power was nearly unfathomable, its magnitude impossible to overstate.  Affection for him was universal.  Everybody liked Michael Jackson, and people who called themselves Michael Jackson fans absolutely adored him.  He was a true song and dance man for the 1980s, with what seemed to be limitless talent.

He was a big star before then, and he was a big star after then.  But the Thriller heyday stood alone—right in a glorious intersection.  Music video had exploded, but the exponential decay of our attention spans hadn’t really accelerated yet.  It may well be that the fame he had is impossible now.

Of course, he’ll be remembered for his substantial eccentricities at least as much.  You can throw out the false charges—Joseph Merrick’s bones, the hyperbaric sleep chamber, and whatever else—and still be left with plenty in evidence to reasonably conclude that he became an awfully weird guy.  I have always had my doubts that he was ever truly dangerous to children, but at the very least he certainly had some strange circuits.

I just kept having the feeling he was going to come back with a great record and tour.  Both my shock and my sadness are greater than I would have thought.

Once in a while my mother would speak of celebrities as if she had direct knowledge of their emotions.  Often it was ridiculous.  I remember her going on and on once about the love for Bill she saw in Hillary’s eyes in some interview or another, for example.

But about 1992, I remember her saying of Michael Jackson:  “He’s never had a chance to just be.  He’s been merchandised his entire life.  It’s probably amazing that he’s as normal as he is.”


 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Jun 232009

I’m going to hit Obamacare again tonight.  Apologies to those looking for something lighter, but I’m spun up, and something important happened today.

So tomorrow we’ll see what Tonya Harding’s up to or something.  For now, check out these two quotes, eight days apart:

“No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people:  If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” – Barack Obama, June 15, 2009

“When I say if you have your plan and you like it,…or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.” – Barack Obama, June 23, 2009

Relevant ABC News blog post here.

Notice the shift?  It appears Obama would like us to believe that there is a meaningful distinction between the government directly forcing you out of your current health care coverage, and the government financially incentivizing your employer to force you out of your current health care coverage.

I’d say it’s about as meaningful as whether the guy who wants you dead or a hit man he hires pulls the trigger.

As James C. Capretta pointed out today, Obama couldn’t say this out loud during the campaign, of course.  The comforting sound bite, which went a lot like the June 15 quote above, was far too valuable.  Might have made him unelectable to tell you his plans directly.  Best you concentrate on “change you can believe in,” ladies and gentlemen.

Check out this Lewin Group report of its testimony before the Ways and Means Committee in April, too.  It estimates that as many as 119 million people who currently have job-based health insurance would be forced into the government program (or go uninsured) with any “pay or play” system of the sort our esteemed president and his allied thugs want.

But, shucks, it wouldn’t be the government’s doing.  No way.  The government has no idea how your horse’s head got in your bed.

Folks, it’s not just that Obama’s a sleaze.  It’s that he’s a radical hard-left sleaze who always intended to increase and concentrate federal power, as rapidly and as thoroughly as he could.  (Hey, let me tell you a knee-slapper about “going through the federal budget line by line”!  About your taxes not going up “one dime”!)  Obama utterly rejects the success of the individual as the primary force for progress.  It is only through nanny-state socialism that the individual can be properly controlled happy.

He’s running hard with this ball right now, and if he succeeds, I fear it will be essentially impossible to undo.

Back to Capretta, from the above link:

Then there’s the issue of the president’s credibility. The straightforward commitment that “you can keep what you have” was stated over and over again. In fact, it helped the president get elected in the first place. If his clarification today was what he meant all along, why didn’t he just so say sooner? That question seems likely to cross a few people’s minds.

Let it cross yours.

 Posted by at 7:17 pm
Jun 222009

Larry Kudlow had a great post on his blog this morning about Obamacare.  After convincingly arguing that the size of the uninsured problem is much closer to 10 million than 50 million (including citation of a recent USA Today poll that found 89% of Americans are satisfied with their current health care), he lays down this gem:

But the Democratic agenda has never really been about just the uninsured. And it certainly hasn’t been about real cost-cutting or true market choice and competition. Nor has it been about tort/trial-lawyer reform. Instead, the Democratic agenda has always been a class-warfare, anti-business attack on private-sector doctors, hospitals, insurance firms, and drug companies. It’s all about control, knocking down their profits, and telling them what to do.

Because government planners know best, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong.

Gee, that’s almost all of my problem with federal environmental policy, too.  Coincidence?

At the heart of every argument supporting government health care (or, for that matter, just about any other unconstitutional behemoth program or proposal you care to name), there are two beliefs that consistently baffle me:

  • The government is capable of doing everything it proposes.  The problem of the uninsured is one that can be effectively solved with massive federal programs.
  • The government is motivated to do everything it proposes.  It is acting magnanimously, for the better interests of its citizens.

To anyone thinking Obamacare (or any other federally-run health care program proposal) is a good idea:  why in the world do you think They can do it?  Why in the world do you think They will do it?  What is in evidence to support either belief?

(Please also see my first comment below.)

 Posted by at 12:33 pm
Jun 212009

On this Father’s Day:

  • I thank God the Father for my many blessings.  The glory is His.
  • I cherish two of the best little boys a father could ever dream of.
  • I thank my father—still my hero after 38 years—for his love, support, and candor.
  • I remember my father-in-law’s example and inspiration.

To all fathers everywhere:  thank you for all you do.  May your day be filled with love and peace.

 Posted by at 2:59 pm