Saturday, September 19, 2009


Apparently being exposed to things that don't make sense enhances our "cognitive mechanisms."

This recent research comes from psychologists at the University of California in Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia. Test subjects who were asked to read A Country Doctor, a surreal short story by Franz Kafka, performed better on grammar learning tasks than test subjects who read a bowdlerized version of the story.

The story, by the way, is about a doctor who desperately needs to get to a dying boy, and is carried away by magic horses to a house where he is stripped naked and put in bed with the patient, but then the doctor escapes through a window in order to save his servant girl who is being molested by a man they found in the pig pen.
And only now did I remember Rose again; what was I to do, how could I rescue her, how could I pull her away from under that groom at ten miles' distance, with a team of horses I couldn't control. These horses, now, they had somehow slipped the reins loose, pushed the windows open from outside, I did not know how; each of them had stuck a head in at a window and, quite unmoved by the startled cries of the family, stood eyeing the patient.
Damn, if that's not a metaphor for the Baucus Bill and its 500 amendments!

That's what the Baucus Bill has become -- a punchline. Max Baucus is, of course, the Democratic Senator from Montana and current chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Finance. That's where our so-called health care reform is coming from.

A few months ago I didn't know who Baucus was, but now I've come to see him as a corporate-entrenched legislator with some seriously glaring conflicts of interest. He received $3 million from insurance and healthcare lobbyists between 2003 and 2008. I guess it's only appropriate he gives something back to his true supporters.

This "gift" straight to the insurance companies is in the form of the "individual insurance mandate" which will cost some families as much as 13% of their income. Ironically, one major reason for reform is to save families from medical bankruptcy...

And now that Baucus has lost the support of many Democrats, and Republicans weren't going to support a reform bill anyway, I guess you can say the legislation really is bipartisan. Everybody hates it.

Look, the cost of health insurance is out of control, and the only way we can have meaningful reform is with an affordable public option. I think people are finally coming to support this basic idea. Healthcare doesn't have to be bizarre and illogical. It doesn't have to be Kafkaesque.

Shockingly, even Bill O'Reilly supports the public option now.

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