cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
There are simply too many items to sort down to one, so...
Germantown has been invaded...by the Red Swamp Crayfish, and this little thing is quick, nasty and prolific. We began seeing this crayfish a month or so ago and thought it had probably been with us for years and simply had gone unnoticed. These are very aggressive creatures, that are prized for many recipes down New Orleans way, but that are feared by the DNR given their propensity to disrupt non-native habitats. They look like small lobsters with one claw larger than the other, a fan-shaped tail and legs along their bodies, small beady eyes and long antennae/feelers
Please keep your eyes peeled for this critter that could be walking across your lawn or be near a pond or any water source; if you see it, report that sighting immediately to the local DNR office.
Fond du Lac takes a deep breath and says a prayer of thanks for the third vote by the Mercury Marine union members that appears to have solved a potentially disastrous issue for the local and state economies. Having been a union member for all of six weeks during a very short "career" at the Estwing plant in Rockford, IL, I found it difficult to understand the various forces at work. It is too easy to simply lay blame at the feet of one side or the other.
Did the company take advantage of a situation? Absolutely, as their stockholders would demand they do. Did the union mis-read the staying power behind that position on the company's part? So it seems to me. Could there have been a higher level union plan here to establish a 'teaching point" for other locals? Maybe. Did the lack of substantive state action cause the near-fatal decision? I believe that to be the case. Were there internal factions between the members that pitted them against the other? Absolutely; the soon-to-retire group were of one persuasion and the long-time-till-retirement group were on the other side. Then, there is the other group already laid off who were refused a vote; that seems to stack the outcome in the favor of whichever side the regional union wanted to win.
The Germantown schools will not engage in a live broadcast of President Obama's message next Tuesday, but will, instead, record it and permit the individual teacher to determine if the content ought be brought into their teaching lesson plan. With this decision, Germantown joined Menomonee Falls, Wauwatosa, Elmbrook and others in what I believe is the best decision possible given the public angst that had been displayed.
Speaking of President Obama, the rumor mills now tell us that he is seriously considering mounting his own "health care reform" plan and that it could be presented next Wednesday in his umpteenth prime time special. If he does, it likely will contain the "weasel language" meant to confuse both sides. That language would be referred to as the "trigger provision" which would replace the "public plan" that has seriously divided the country and, finally, the Congress.
It apparently would give the insurance companies two or three years in which to meet certain goals, and, barring that, the public plan could be implemented. This, if properly constructed, could be a good move. Proper construction, however, is the key and that seems unlikely.
It seems unlikely since the insurance companies can do virtually nothing by themselves to control the spiraling costs. The elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions can be accomplished but everyone of us has to be "all in", in Texas hold 'em parlance, if that concept is to be workable. The Massachusetts people have come to understand that due to the people who wait until they know they need surgery or fear cancer or whatever. They jump in to a plan because of the "guaranteed issue" rules that prevail, and then they jump out as soon as the crisis has ended. This "gaming" of the insurance system is unworkable since we all have to be in the pool in order to provide the "spread of risk" necessary in all insurance plans. We can't buy auto insurance right after we've had an accident, and we can't buy fire insurance right after we've discovered our house is on fire.
The same principles apply in health insurance.
On to the cost of health care: we could go a long way toward lowering the cost of health care with two steps, Step one: end the payment of doctors for each procedure performed, and replace it with what is called "episodic" payment meaning that the physician or physician group is paid a set price for the entire episode of care.
BUT, we also need to couple that with: DA-DA-Dadat-TA-Dah - - TORT reform! Without tort reform, the trial attorneys will bleed the system as badly or more so than the people opting in and out of coverage.
These are the high level changes we need, and without those in place, no long-term solution can be possible. PERIOD!
With these in place, we can do it. Seems simple doesn't it? Of course, we'd also have to remove political considerations if we were really serious about this. And that probably comes soon after Hades has a cold snap.
There's more, but I'll cut you some slack since we're in a holiday week-end mindset, and I've probably already lost you.