Charlottesville Rampling

Measure: Charlotte Rampling

All news is entertainment and a portmanteua is a word made from two words, in this case a name, Charlottesville Rampling. portmanteauwords

Sometimes a picture can say more than mere words. An expression. That’s how the two words arrive. Charlotte Rampling is my favorite actress to not be nominated for an Oscar in her role as Dorrie, in Stardust Memories, 1980. That film was a darkly funny play on the notable excesses of some European filmmakers, and their angst over the mystery of existence. To make light of these things is to somehow overcome their appeal. Charlottesville is the recent site of social unrest, tragedy, and violence. In the grand scheme of things what happens there isn’t important, but it is has been an event we will all remember. What we take from this, is the emotion, or the emotion of the players.

We might choose to internalize these emotions, put them in neat boxes where they remain contained, or perhaps we raise a fist, in a cathartic show of support, for one group or the other.  Not to demean the somberness of this tragedy, I do wonder what would have happened if a group of Southern history professors had shown up to defend the statues of their Confederate hero’s.

The nominee for Supporting Actor (or actress as they used be called) must have a substantial amount of time in the film, and must have a role in the plot. A lot of good performances have been left along the road over the years. Some have managed almost magically to climb to the top, John Cassavetes in the Dirty Dozen, 1967. He had to separate himself from 11 other aspiring Supporting Actors. Break it down scene by scene and you notice that in almost every scene the action begins with Victor Franco, and travels through his character. He manages to almost make it to the end of the film, he was more than good enough. He won the Oscar, perhaps a tribute to his other work, like Edge of the City, 1957, where he plays an Army deserter who befriends a black longshoreman, and is killed in a fight to defend him from the racist gang foreman.

There was Murray Hamilton, who played Mr. Robinson in The Graduate, 1967, who made an impassioned rant to Benjamin, in the boarding house.  A small but precise and memorable emotional outpouring.  He was not nominated either. These events and others we remember, which have no place other than our collective memory, which passes along with us, in time, although the wounds in the South seem as though they were never meant to heal, until one day when the Union is dissolved, from apathy no doubt, will they be sealed over.

How to Fix Healthcare

This is admittedly short and missing key details. Why not lower the Medicare age to 55? This solves the problem for insurance companies who have trouble finding young healthy people to pay their premiums which the insurance company spends on older and sicker folks. Since Healthcare legislation is not what it says it is, it has nothing to do with your health, it has to do with your money.  It’s an insurance problem, and missing from all this is the sad fact that by the time most folks get to their first medicare physical they already have chronic problems and conditions which should have been addressed ten years earlier.

By lowering the minimum age they could allow new healthcare recipients a chance to pay forward from their SSN account. At the same time they could raise the SSN retirement age, which is something the actuarial tables suggest is justified. People live longer and with Medicare at 55 they will live even longer.  If you are disabled, on SSI, which is a pre-existing condition, you transfer automatically.

There is a myth out there that Medicaid is free. Medicaid is again, not a healthcare program, it is an asset confiscation program. They pay your grossly inflated hospital bills, and then collect your assets. Yes doctors love the indigent, they can order every test and the insurance company will never reprimand them for not making an attempt at honest price discovery, (getting three independent estimates).

Medicare is not perfect, because an elderly person who needs medical equipment can get a voucher, the market in used wheelchairs and walkers and hospital beds is non-existent. I know I have a garage full of these things. Medicare provides some nursing care but after that runs out you are thrown into the Medicaid charade, the fact that the GOP wants to repeal Medicaid to me only says one thing, they are dangling the repeal out there like bait in order to gather campaign contributions for the midterm elections. I expect those cuts to mysteriously be rescinded, Medicaid is not a free ride.  It is a subsidy for insurance companies who take premiums from healthy people and then hand them off when they get really sick and cannot afford the payments.

The real irony is that most of us spend more healthcare funds on dental work after age 55, and the state of dental insurance is a real mockery of the insurance business model. Most policies limit you to around twice what you have paid in the way of premiums annually with limits on what you can use this year, and what might have to wait.

If you have ignored your teeth until age 55 you should probably have them all pulled. It’s far more important, but Medicare at 55, would be a good thing.


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Deep State

Before the last election, and for a lot longer really, I became aware of the Deep State, an institution, in the aggregate, personified as a living person, someone to watch over me, as the song says. George Orwell was a twentieth century writer with a nineteenth century outlook, when issues of privacy and public opinion were interlinked. I am glad, however, in this instance that the Deep State has Donald Trump’s back. Any efforts on his part to erode the social infrastructure which we depend upon would put us in a terrible fix.

Admittedly I don’t like our turn-key foreign policy in places like Syria, or doctors who prescribe Opioids, or central bankers of any stripe. I would hope the president would know the difference between good Deep State operatives; firemen, policemen, teachers and the myriad of volunteers who make our life’s a bit better, and those who careen across the flower field like rogue killer bees, with multiple stingers, ignoring the flowers of a flourishing economy, and aiming at non-productive investments.

Distrust of the Deep State is now firmly entrenched and permeates everyday life. Those who hate the Deep State are often those who would refuse a basket of fresh picked Zucchini from a neighbors garden, (go ahead and knock on the door at Trump Tower and see what happens when you present them with squash.) The president in his role as avenging angel is the modern version of General Ripper, in the Strangelove movie, and this time he has turned the bombers on Washington D.C. The outcome oddly enough, is that Congress has never been more popular than it is now, defending itself. We have temporarily forgotten that the Russians are modern day enemies of Western culture; freedom and capitalism. If their aim was to disrupt the system, and gain influence, they might be celebrating the conflict within the U.S. Congress, where the children have taken over the classroom.

Even while things appear to be regressing, the system corrects itself. When the president proposes to repeal Healthcare, the Senate passes their version, and it falls to the House to sign off on the measure. It’s not High School civics any longer, but the Deep State will see to it that the light is on in the people’s house. There will be no recess appointments. A party at war with itself is a party united. if only the Democrats could get one headline while demonstrating absolute unity.

In taking issue against the Deep State the president has reduced his own power significantly with grass roots members, who conflate his tirades against a lack of government accountability with personal attacks against them. He has scarcely been able to help main stream America make that distinction, what should be done through policy, and what should be handled on twitter.

I wonder, to return to the Doomsday device, how his possession of the nuclear football works? Does he hold it close to him at all times? Is there a second who carries it for him? Does the second have any purpose other than to hand the football to the president when he asks? Is the transfer as seamless as accessing a secure website? The conversation to follow might go like this, “I’ve decided to bomb North Korea. Hand me the device.” The second to the president, then responds, “That would be fine sir, but first. What was the name of your first pet?”