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Showing posts from August, 2017

A HEALTHCARE STRATEGY FOR THE AGES

Every once in a while, you do something that is so stupid that even your best friends wonder if your head is screwed on straight. And sometimes, rarely but sometimes, things turn out better than you could ever have imagined. You stepped in the poop and only through good luck and the grace of God you came out smelling like strawberries.

Many of us wondered why Obama didn't push for Medicare For All when he had the votes in Congress back in 2009. Single-payer healthcare had been proven throughout the industrialized world to provide better health outcomes, had been proven to be cost-effective - half the cost per capita of the American insurance-based system. How could Obama cede America's first stab at universal healthcare to an industry that had strangled the life out of the American economy for far too long? Insurance exchanges? Subsidies for insurance companies?

Madness.

Crazy.

Crazy like a fox...

If there are not enough votes for Medicare For All, get as many people covered a…

THINKING OUT LOUD...

MADAMICELLA IN A PYRENEES PRIORY: CONCERT AND VENUE REVIEW

I have been known to say that the most beautiful instrument in the world is a woman's voice. Combine the a capella voices of four women with the acoustics of a 1,000 year-old chapel tucked into a quiet corner of the Pyrenees and the result is magical.

The chapel is the Prieuré Santa Maria del Vilar, an 11th Century priory gone to complete ruin, photographed in 1913 and promptly forgotten again, only to be rediscovered in 1993 and lovingly restored with many original features remaining including the remnants of what must have been truly fantastical frescoes when original. The restorers, primarily an army of volunteers led by a committed local archaeologist, decided that the site was too sacred to turn over to the government. Today, monks of the Romanian Orthodox Church inhabit and care for the site.

The voices that we heard on a recent August evening belonged to Madamicella. Four Corsican women, each with strong voices, held a capacity audience of about 120 or so lucky listeners s…

CLARITY AGAINST TREASON

This is a message to the alt-right, or whatever you choose to call yourselves these days, and those who would defend them.

Let me be clear. Crystal clear.

There is no place in America for swastikas, Nazi salutes, or chants of "Blood and Soil". If you are marching next to a Nazi and you realize that you are and you do not run in the other direction, you are either a Nazi or an idiot. There are no value judgements to make. There are no nice Nazis. They are traitors to America, pure and simple.

If you are marching next to someone brandishing a Confederate battle flag, go right ahead. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to advocate secession. But if you want to break up our great Union because you are unable to deal with modern reality, you are a traitor to America, pure and simple.

I'm not saying: Love it or leave it. I'm saying: If you want to leave, you can't take pieces of my country away with you.

And don't hand me that crap about the Civil War being abou…

MAURY WINE TASTING: AUGUST, 2017

The French region of Maury is notable for its scenic, rugged countryside as you approach the Pyrenees; for the Cathar castles of Peyrepertuse (above) and Queribus; and for its unique, natural or fortified sweet wines. We've visited the castles in years past. (Yes, I took the picture above. Every view is a postcard.) We've visited perhaps the most well-known of the Maury wineries - Mas Amiel. And for this trip, we decided to go into the town of Maury itself and see what the cooperative and wineries other than Mas Amiel had to offer. 

We were not disappointed.

Every tasting was unique and enjoyable. Although we do not subscribe to theory that if you taste you must buy, we bought at each stop. Here's a quick summary of our purchases. Remember, I am by no means a connoisseur. I seldom drink red wine even with the reddest of red meat. In fact, I rarely stray from my favorite rosés regardless of the food on the plate. So when you read my opinions, you are reading the opinions of …