A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Snort Notes – March 2012


Various media outlets — including the decidedly liberal Huffington Post — have observed that Obamacare is on the brink of destruction. Based on the withering questioning from the conservative side of the court towards attorneys defending the law, pundits are trying their best to predict how each justice will vote on the lawsuit brought by 26 states and a business lobbying group. Reports have focused on the tension between the attorneys and the bench, although rumors that Justice Scalia was seen frothing at the mouth have been unsubstantiated.

This subject will come up again before the justices render their verdict. For now, let’s contemplate one possible scenario if the mandate for every American to have health insurance is struck down. Currently, not everyone in the country has health insurance. Those who have it are able to have payments for their health care costs provided for them. Those who don’t have health insurance are not able to fully pay their bills when a health issue arises. The additional costs they incur are shifted by the providers to the other people who have insurance. Somehow conservatives think this unjust situation is fair, or at the very least, more fair than having everyone invest in the insurance pool so that all pay and share equally in the costs of health care.

So, what might happen if all Americans aren’t required to share this cost? Obviously, those without health insurance will be seen as getting a free pass and freeload off those who are investing in health care. Those with insurance may realize, “Hey, if they can get health care for nothing, then why the hell am I paying premiums, deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance? Eff it! I’ll drop my coverage now! And if I get sick tomorrow, so what? Isn’t that why God gave us Medicaid?”

This debate will be continued...


Santorum made news this week when he responded to a reporter’s question about his comments that fellow hopeful Mitt Romney was unsuited to square off against Obama when it came to the issue of health care reform. At first, Santorum denied the comment, and when the reporter pressed the issue with proof that Santorum did make the comment, the candidate lashed out. News of the incident delighted other conservative leaders, particularly Sarah Palin.

On the campaign trail, Santorum has repeatedly questioned Romney’s conservatism on the subject of health care reform. At this particular campaign stop in Wisconsin, Santorum called Romney “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama”. He could have added “...when it comes to health care reform”, but he didn’t. Apparently, he now believes that everyone knows when he is criticizing Romney as the “the worst Republican”, he is actually limiting his criticism in the context of health care reform. Anyone quoting him as he actually said it is taking his words out of context.

Actually, Rick, we don’t have this understanding of your campaign shenanigans. We only know what you say by the ACTUAL words that you say. I say this based on the video of the event. Granted, I watched the video with my “liberal” eyes and ears, but they’re the only eyes and ears I have. It does not appear that the New York Times reporter took your words out of context at all.

Regardless, the incident makes me wonder how a “President” Santorum might handle a similar line of questioning when he is behind the podium in the White House press room. Would he keep his cool? Or would he revert back to a persona more in keeping with his native son status of the Old Dominion? I could very easily see him saying — and, oh yes, since I’m a liberal I am freely misquoting him here: “Sir, I perceive that you’re a Northern liberal who is trying my patience! Karen! Fetch my horsewhip so I can teach this Yankee a thing or two about Southern manners!”

Actually the reporter is lucky he got away with only a tongue lashing.


Pundits have been poring through Specter’s memoirs and extracting the most sensationalistic items. It appears that the seemingly mild-mannered octogenarian who built a career of being a moderate consensus building politician has a ribald side. How ribald? How about describing Democratic Senate icon Ted Kennedy as a “walrus” when Kennedy shared a whirlpool in the Senate gym? (p. 40) Or quoting a conservative Republican congressman telling an off-color joke about an Arkansas traveling salesman and his reaction to a wasp sting? (pp 68-69) Or observing Sarah Palin’s charms as they sat “knee-to-knee” on a cramped bus? (p. 156)

On the subject of Palin in this incident, Specter wrote that she “radiated sensuality”. Then: “Her skirt rode up above her knee — not exactly short, but close”. Whoa, Senator! Down, Arlen, down! There must have been steam rising from his keyboard when he recorded this incident! Besides, I SAW HER FIRST!

Although rumors that the book contains a passage wherein a naked Specter, while waiting for a massage in the Senate gym, grabbed his crotch and proclaimed “I got your magic bullet here!” are unsubstantiated. Okay, I admit it: I just made that up. Still, would it surprise you if that story were true?

None of this is in keeping with Specter’s known character. This is a guy who would come to a Philadelphia Phillies game in a suit and tie, and I only know that because I actually saw him at a game in a suit and tie. Okay, granted I saw him with my pair of “liberal” eyes, but that’s beside the point.

Obviously Specter has a book to sell, and if the quotes raise a few eyebrows, then what the hell? He can shrug off criticism because he doesn’t have to run for public office anymore, and most people will chalk it up to the musings of a very old man who has lost his sense of what is proper and what isn’t.

Whatever! It works for me!

(Thank you for reading. Darkness falls/neighborhood watch warns/we are innocent/our hoodies keep our heads warm.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Playing With Toys on the Campaign Trail

This was a weird week on the campaign trail. Someone in the Romney campaign had the bright idea to liken him to an Etch-a-Sketch*, that toy which gave baby boomers of all ages the ability to create drawings using two knobs and to erase their creation just by shaking the entire toy from side-to-side. Apparently the aide wanted to give people the impression that his man is flexible on the issues, which is a nice sentiment to convey if politicians believed in the virtue of compromise, but Newt Gingrich did away with that idea years ago.

Anyway, Romney’s Republican rivals responded with ripping ripostes and retorted rhetorically roasting his reasoning. (Go ahead; say that last sentence out loud! I dare you!) Within a few days, the word “gaffe” had been used to label the incident, and when you’re a politician running for office, the word “gaffe” is never a good thing.

Both Santorum and Gingrich immediately picked up on the aide’s comment as evidence that not only is Romney a flip-flopper on conservative issues, but hinted that the flip-flopping is premeditated. Both of these candidates displayed the children’s toy at their respective rallies and Santorum proudly proclaimed that he was not the Etch-a-Sketch* candidate. I’m glad he said that and finally put to rest the kind of toy to which he’d like to be compared...not that anyone, anywhere was remotely debating this point.

So, what toy could we assign to each of the candidates? Okay, obviously Romney has dibs on Etch-a-Sketch*, and we could easily assign Time Bomb (Milton Bradley 1964) to Newt Gingrich, for obvious reasons. Baby boomer readers will remember that this toy was shaped like a bomb with a wick at the top; players twisted the top to set the timer and threw it back and forth to each other trying to keep from being the one holding the bomb when the ticking stopped. With his outlandish ideas and outrageous sense of timing for voicing these ideas, Gingrich has been a ticking time bomb for years.

What toy could we assign to Santorum? Monopoly, for all the earmarks he shepherded through Congress? The Game of Life, for his unwavering pro-life stand on abortion? Readers, I’m stumped.

In any event, the idea that the candidates are playing with toys on the campaign trail is a sure sign that they are bored, because the campaign has gone on for too long. Of course, the campaign wouldn’t be so tedious if candidates who do not place first in the primaries and do not have a commanding lead in the delegate count, just WENT HOME and STAYED HOME (hint hint).

Yet that was only one weird happening in the political week. While Republicans scratched their heads over the Romney camp's missteps, Democrats were equally perplexed about Robert DeNiro. The Oscar-winning actor appeared at a Democratic Party fundraiser early in the week and made an off-color (no pun intended) remark to Obama supporters. As he ticked off the names of the spouses of Obama’s leading Republican opponents, Calista Gingrich, Karen Santorum, and Ann Romney, he asked the crowd, “Now is the country ready for a white First Lady?”

The reviews for this DeNiro performance came swiftly from the right. Gingrich demanded the President apologize on behalf of the actor, and panned the remark as one that “divides the country”. This should be interpreted as a compliment, because when it comes to dividing the country, Gingrich should be considered a master. On the other hand, Ann Romney laughed at DeNiro’s comment and advised that everyone should “lighten up”. A spokesperson for Michelle Obama – who was at the fund raiser, but had not yet taken the stage — called DeNiro’s comment “inappropriate”, and DeNiro has since apologized.

Meanwhile, in the liberal left mainstream media, the criticism about DeNiro’s remarks went something like this: (insert chirping cricket sounds here). That’s right; the liberal left was largely silent on the DeNiro controversy because they are smart. They know DeNiro, and one thing they believe is you don’t want to piss off DeNiro!

Conservatives, look at DeNiro’s career. He has excelled at portraying characters that are symbolic of the immigrant Italian-American experience. Okay, so many times he has been called upon to portray criminal Italian-American characters, like The Godfather films, but he has done them brilliantly without resorting to stereotyped mannerisms.

What were you guys thinking when you decided to criticize DeNiro? Didn’t any of you conservatives see Goodfellas? Didn’t you see how he treated his fellow mobsters? Never mind the mobsters; do you remember the scene where he single handedly destroyed a telephone booth? Have you ever wondered why a telephone booth hasn’t been seen in this country since 1990?

Don’t you realize that — for all we know — Robert DeNiro probably has the numbers of 10 wise guys on his speed dial, who are just waiting for a call from him to whack somebody? It wouldn’t surprise me if they are dying to do a job on some big mouth politicians who dare to call DeNiro’s performance divisive. I’m not threatening...but I’m just saying.

A word to the wise should be sufficient...oh, who am I kidding. Who among the conservatives can be considered wise?

*I use the asterisk not as a footnote, but in place of the encircled “R” superscript that is supposed to denote a registered trademark. Sorry, my keyboard does not have the capability to print that symbol. Besides, isn’t it time that this toy company changed its name from Ohio Art to something more in line with manufacturing reality, since the company’s operations decamped to the Far East years ago? Isn’t it about time that we started referring to the company as Chinese Worker Art?

(Thank you for reading. Okay, which one of you wise guys gave Gingrich the “Junior Mr. President Thermonuclear Strike Game: the game for all kids who desire global nuclear supremacy?”)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Irresponsible Governors, Part 2

Last time, as you may recall, (come on, it was only three days ago) we noted a recent event which highlighted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's arrogance. This time, we will concentrate on the antics of another governor who makes Christie look like a slacker in the area of gubernatorial pompousness.

The second governor being fairly maligned in the mainstream media is Pennsylvania’s own Tom Corbett. To be fair, he was very busy last week. Earlier in the week, he signed a voter identification bill into law, which will require state voters to display photo identifications when they present themselves at polling places to exercise their constitutional rights as citizens of this great democracy.

Proponents say it will eradicate voter fraud, even though these same proponents couldn’t think of one example of polling abuse as the bill made its way through the state legislature. Opponents saw it as a Republican attempt to discourage those who don’t have government issued photo identification — that coincidentally are too poor, too old, and too leaning towards voting for Democrats — to have the wherewithal to get the required credentials for the voting booth. Of course, the opponents are forgetting that perhaps a few Republican voters might also caught photo-less at the polls, but no one is betting the house on that possibility.

The most irksome part about this new law is its price tag: $11 million to implement! Pennsylvania doesn’t have the money to repair all of its bridges and roads. It’s cutting higher education budgets like there’s no tomorrow. Yet they found the money to throw at a problem that no one can prove actually exists. Go figure!

However, that’s not the reason that Governor Corbett is in our doghouse now.

Actually, he’s in Dutch with us because he weighed in on another topic that no male should ever weigh in on: female reproductive rights.

Another Republican sponsored law — and I remind you that this is the party that constantly harps on the evils of big government overreaching into everyone’s private life — wants to require women contemplating abortions undergo a diagnostic procedure that will allow their providers to show them the fetus they are about to abort. The law would require doctors to show photos produced from the ultrasound to the woman at least twice before she is finally allowed to have the operation that — by all rights - she should only have to justify to herself and no one else.

The governor commented on the bill’s proposal like it's no big deal. He believes that no one would force the woman to see the pictures from the ultrasound. All they have to do is “close their eyes” when the doctor shows them the fetal portrait. Close their eyes? Really? Close thEIR EYES? Can you read the rage riSING IN MY WRITING!!! And I’m a guy! Just imagine how the governor’s remarks are pissing off the womenfolk!

Okay, I’ll try the governor’s trick and I’ll close my eyes. I’ll also make a wish and count to three while my eyes are closed! One, thewo, thessree! Okay, obviously closing my eyes while I’m blog writing doesn’t work. Also, my wish didn’t come true: Corbett is still governor!

Once again, the conservatives in society believe they have dealt a blow to the number of abortions performed in this country. Of course, they could accomplish the same thing by allowing women wider access to contraceptives, but, oh wait, they’re against that too! What they’ve actually done — we liberals fear — is contribute to the rising number of illegal abortions.

There is a very good chance that women seeking this procedure will not just turn around and return home to have the baby, rather than submit themselves to the added inconvenience of an ultrasound. They may seek out someone who is willing to do the same procedure, who doesn’t have that pesky ultrasound equipment, and who doesn’t adhere to state or federal health standards at their facilities. This in and of itself may damage the woman’s health, if it doesn’t end her life altogether.

Obviously the state legislators have already forgotten about the case of Kermit Gosnell, the West Philadelphia gynecologist and abortion provider who cut corners at his clinic, which led to the inevitable loss of life for one woman. I guess they closed their eyes to that problem too!

So, ladies, follow the governor’s advice, and by all means, close your eyes. Close your eyes to events in the world that violate your sense of nurturing. Close your eyes to war, starvation, and ignorance! Close your eyes to all of the injustices that swirl around you. As you have probably already surmised, males have been shutting their eyes for years! As a result, we’re living on a craphole of a planet, but hey, nobody ever said life is perfect!

Take heart, women of Pennsylvania, that Governor Corbett has found a loophole in this bill. All you have to do is close your eyes. Of course, conservative lawmakers might rush to close this loophole by mandating that the doctors prop women’s eyes open with toothpicks while they show them the results of their ultrasound. But who would be stupid enough to consider that idea worthy of legislation?

Wait for it! One, theo m theee! D'oh!

(Thank you for reading! One thewo thewss! Damn! Corbett’s still governor!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irresponsible Governors, Part One

Oh dear! The left wing mainstream media is at it again! They are emphasizing recent actions of two east coast governors and making them look bad! What a shame! Whatever will we do?

I’ll tell what this slightly left of center blogger will do! (Surprise! Yes, I consider myself slightly left of center.) I’ll pile on and throw my two cents in! I happen to agree with the mainstream media that these recent actions are worthy of scrutiny. Besides, I’m almost certain that it’s just a coincidence that both governors are Republican.

The first governor who is being fairly maligned by the media is New Jersey’s Chris Christie. His cost cutting measures at the expense of public education and his “shoot-from-the-hip” style of public discourse since he took office has made him a darling to conservatives, but a huge hemorrhoid to nearly everyone else. And by huge, I am, of course, referring to Christie’s expansive physical girth; unbecoming on any official influencing public policy even in times of economic prosperity.

At a recent town hall meeting, Christie threw his weight around again. Confronted with a question from a former Navy SEAL and veteran advocate at the Roebling event, Christie lost his cool and proclaimed the man an idiot. Full disclosure: I have not seen the video of the confrontation, and my knowledge is solely based on published news reports admittedly from the mainstream media. So I am taking Christie’s explanation of the event at face value.

So I believe Christie when he says the war vet interrupted him while he answered the question. To be fair, shouting down officials as they explain themselves is a trick liberals learned from the conservative tea party constituency. Yet I will allow that Christie’s initial reaction was truly a human one; if someone is interrupting while you’re trying to make a point, then you too would shed the veneer of politeness and react accordingly, or angrily, take your pick.

So a few days pass and the mainstream media wallows in the coverage of the incident. Everyone has a chance to cool down and the governor weighs in again on what happened. However, instead of being conciliatory and chalking the incident up to an unfortunate exchange in the name of public debate, he adds on to his previous characterization of the war vet as an idiot, by calling him a jerk. Some critics used Christie’s remarks as an example of his unprofessionalism. On this point, I’ll agree with the critics.

The name-calling in which Christie engages is childish and sets a bad example. There, I said it! It’s unbecoming of any alleged grown-up like Christie. Such actions can have an adverse affect on those deeply impressionable members of our society, and no, when I use the term deeply impressionable, I’m not referring to Fox News watchers necessarily.

I’m referring in this instance to America’s children, who can be easily influence by events they see displayed in the media. Some children may see Christie’s action as similar to those displayed by the school yard bully they encounter every day. Worse, they may perceive that this kind of behavior is okay. The problem is kids have greater access to guns and other weapons today than they did 20 years ago. Some of these kids in that span of time have used their guns against those they perceived as bullies who used words like idiot and jerk for the purpose of intimidation.

Okay, so my final statement on this subject might be an example of overwrought, bleeding heart liberal extremist hyperbole, but...I dood it!

Seriously, Governor Christie, didn’t you learn any lessons from the massacre at Columbine?

(Thank you for reading! To be continued...)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Unfairness of Beating Up On Rush

Yes, you read that title correctly. Today, we take the concept of fair and balanced to its extreme. We’ll use it to explain the unfairness of liberals beating up on Rush, when it is claimed by his allies that liberals themselves say things that are just as nasty as what Rush said, but nobody crucifies them. Well, that thinking is not exactly true either, but we’ll get to that in due time. For now, let’s attend to poor Rush!

Poor misunderstood Rush! He called a young woman a very bad name a few weeks ago, and now the world is mad at him. The liberals have always hated him, so they could probably claim time-and-a-half for the time they spent on this recent hate fest. Even conservatives are mad at him, and his advertisers are leaving him in droves. It started with a trickle of a dozen or so companies, but now it’s up to 98 sponsors! Lord only knows how many sponsors will be gone by the time I’m finished writing this blog entry!

His supporters insist that liberals have gotten away with worse offenses while broadcasting over the nation’s airwaves. Actually, it may have nothing to do with being a liberal or a conservative. The severity of Rush’s punishment — whether it just be a loss of sponsors or a banishment to low watt AM station in suburban Miami — could just depend on the type of license he’s packing. No, I’m not talking about a broadcast license or even a gun license. I’m talking about the good old fashioned poetic license.

So, Rush, pull over to the side of the liberal media highway so we can take a look at your poetic license. Ah, just as I thought! You have the wrong type of license to be cracking personal attacks on individuals and claim that you’re just being witty or even satirical. Your license allows you the First Amendment right of free speech, but that’s no biggie! Everyone has that on their license! Beyond that, your license differs from many others who broadcast their opinions for the sake of entertainment.

Now don’t get so excited! I know that it’s not right that you’re losing your sponsors for something you said, but that’s just your sponsors — or should I say ex-sponsors - exercising their First Amendment right. By the way, in case you lost count it’s now up to 1302 sponsors leaving you! Wow! How did you ever fit them all into one little three hour slot every day?

Anyway, your poetic license allows you to be a commentator without being a journalist. If you were a journalist, then you’d actually have to do some research for your stories, and corroborate your facts with multiple sources, before you could even report your stories. Now, do you actually do research for your show, and by research I don’t mean opening the newspaper and just reading out loud the words that someone else already wrote. That’s not everyone’s idea of broadcast journalism.

Your license doesn’t allow for your comments to be interpreted as comical. Oh, you can be witty, and sardonically satirical. Unfortunately, most of your listeners may claim to be entertained by your remarks, but they actually take your opinions seriously. This wouldn’t be so bad if your opinions gave some breathing room for tolerance of other people’s viewpoints, but as far as I can tell your attitude has always been "my way or the highway".

Many of your listeners take what you say on the air as gospel truth. Again, this isn’t necessarily a totally bad thing because it is in keeping with the ideal of a true democracy. However, in your case, Rush, your listeners take what they hear on your show and spread it to everyone who is willing to listen. Then they organize in large groups and take your ideas into the voting booth, and if enough of your listeners vote, then those ideas win elections and everyone has to live with the consequences regardless if they agree with you or not. Yes, it’s democracy, but it’s not necessarily good for democracy in the future.

Despite what your supporters say about you, many people do not consider you an entertainer. You established yourself as a political and perhaps a cultural commentator. You didn’t establish yourself as a comedian, a clown, a jester. You didn’t pay your comic dues with a few hundred nights at the Improv on the LA Strip. Those who did can call someone a slut, or worse, and people let them take a pass because they are recognized as comics, who are not taken seriously by their audience. It’s okay, we believe, because we think (perhaps erroneously) that they’re just kidding.

Yes, you can claim that you were just kidding. Not that that matters now. Everyone’s calling for your head and, oh look, you’ve now lost 3,589,216 sponsors since I started writing this entry. Wow! That low watt gig in suburban Miami is looking better all the time.

Anyway, Rush, it’s not you, or even us. It’s your license that is really to blame for the unfairness of why you can’t get away with comments that someone like Don Imus or even Howard Stern can. Now that I think about it, Stern got chased off the FCC-protected broadcast world of commercial radio and took refuge in subscription only satellite radio. So you see, Rush, not even the iconic shock jocks own the correct license either.

Liberals are not immune; it just seems that way. I wouldn’t accuse Bill Maher of being totally 100% conservative, yet his show Politically Incorrect was yanked from the airwaves after he commented on the “heroism” of the 9/11 terrorists. Even a decidedly non-controversial comic like Gilbert Gottfried saw his AFLAC gig plucked away from him when he made a questionable comment about the survivors of the earthquake in Japan one year ago. In these cases, the poetic licenses were so profoundly violated that society had to take action.

Which reminds me, Rush, about the unfairness of this entire slut episode, is when is society going to take action against you. Oh sure, you’re losing sponsors — by the way, it’s still only 98 sponsors lost; I was just using my poetic license when I used numbers in excess of millions — but I can’t ignore the fact that YOU’RE STILL ON THE AIR! Now that, in my liberal sensibilities, is the most unfair thing of all.

(Thank you for reading! Congratulations, Janey, on your multiple ribbons from the Philadelphia International Flower Show!)

Friday, March 09, 2012

Fun With Stereotypes, or bin Laden Knows Best

Now time for another exercise in historical theory, as we learned this week that Osama bin Laden spent his final days in domestic turmoil. Indeed, some news reports have detailed that his wives were angry with him — all three of them. Bearing this in mind, we have to wonder if ole Osama didn’t fight as hard as his bluster all these years and give up the ghost at the crucial moment when US Navy Seals invaded his compound. We can only speculate with the following, which we will entitle (the first, last, and only episode of the late reality series) bin Laden Knows Best.

(Aging terrorist Osama bin Laden is alone in his room, reading out loud from a paper in his hand.)

Osama: ...and my youngest wife, Yasmine, always hangs her burqa over the shower rod! What's that all about?

First Wife (running in) – Osama! You must talk to...

Osama: Silence! Can’t you see I’m polishing my monologue for the Khaddafi Lounge at the Holiday Inn in Islamabad later this month?

First Wife: But, Osama, your second spouse is driving the rest of us crazy!

Osama: Please, I need to rehearse! Now, where was I? Oh yes! Take my wives, please!

First Wife: I swear I cannot stand it here any longer! I am cooped up with those other two harridans all day, every day! Look, tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day. Can’t we at least walk around the compound for a while? We can stay within the walls...

Osama: Please, woman! I need to do well with this gig. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but our funding has dried up! Al Qaeda has stopped sending payments, and the last few checks from the Taliban have bounced...

(Two more women enter, yelling at each other.)

Osama: Oh! Now what!

Second Wife: Osama! Please talk to Yasmine! She is being so stubborn!

Third Wife: I am not stubborn! What is wrong with wanting to have a change of scenery?

First Wife: See, even she wants to get outside of these walls! We are tired of it, I tell you!

Third Wife: Yes, it’s true! I long to shop at the market!

First Wife: Just a walk around the perimeter of the compound, please?

Second Wife: I want to go to Miami!

(Silence as Osama stares hard at his Second Wife.)

Osama: Miami? That is a bit radical, Second Wife! By the way, what is your name?

Second Wife: Barbara!

Osama: Barbara? I’m beginning to have my doubts about you! Are you a true believer of Islam? Do you bow in the direction of Mecca every day?

Second Wife (stammering): Yes, of course I do!

Third Wife: Liar!

First Wife: It is true! I heard her use a foreign word, ko- kosher, that was it! I heard her say that when we were cooking in the kitchen the other day!

Second Wife: No, it’s not true! They’re both lying!

First Wife: I swear I am telling the truth by...

Osama: Stop it! All of you! Your constant nagging and whining is driving me insane. We can’t be seen outside at all! I have explained this to you! The Great Satan has eyes in the sky which will seek us out and destroy us all!

Third Wife: I want to go to the bazaar!

First Wife: I want to stroll in the sun!

Second Wife (whining): I want to go to the Fontainebleau!

(Again silence; another hard stare from Osama.)

Osama: Okay, Barbara! Now I’m are Jewish, and a stereotypical one at that!

Second Wife: No, I swear!

Osama: Quiet! May I remind you, all of you, that your papers are not in order! All three of you are in this country illegally! Did you forget about that? The Great Satan would love to catch you. The INS would love that!

First Wife: The INS is an American agency! They have no jurisdiction here!

Osama: I don’t care! I swear, you’re forcing me to call the authorities and hand all three of you over to them. The reason I can’t is because I would have to tell them who I am. “Who am I? Oh, this is Osama bin Laden, the international terrorist wanted by everyone in the free world for crimes against humanity.” It would be very awkward! Me, a wanted man, seeing my beloveds hauled away for immigration violations.

First Wife: No, it certainly wouldn’t do to be in jail for the holidays...oops!

(Long silence.)

Osama: What holidays?

First Wife: Oh...nothing.

Osama: What holidays were you talking about? There are no Muslim holidays coming up for months!

Second Wife: No, but there are Christian holidays coming up soon! Like Easter!

First Wife: All right, fine! I’ll confess! My name isn’t Fatima, it’s Mary Katherine, and I would kill for a ham dinner right about now!

Osama (shouting indignantly): NON-BELIEVER! How could this happen! Two non-believers, a Papist and a Jew living in my house! Yasmine, please tell me you are faithful to the teachings of Islam!

Third Wife: Actually, I’m agnostic!

Osama: UGH! That's it! That's the straw that broke the camel's back! You make me long for Paradise and my heavenly reward in the arms of 72 virgins! Go ahead, keep arguing! I swear, if the Great Satan came in now, I would just throw my hands up and say, “Shoot me now!”

(A loud crash from outside; the wives scream; American commandos enter with guns drawn.)

Navy Seal: Freeze, bin Laden!

Osama: Wow! Talk about irony!

(Thank you for reading. DISCLAIMER: No deities or holy scripture were harmed, destroyed, or blasphemed in the writing of this drama!)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Rusharrhea, or See Suzie Jump

As a white male, I realize that as a group “white males” have had it very good. We’ve been on top of the heap in many societies as leaders in politics and religion. This has been the case for centuries. Unfortunately, our good fortune has oftentimes come at the expense of people who hail from other cultures.

In the last 50 years or so, many white males have recognized this inequality and have made efforts to rectify the societal injustices for everyone. We’ve made some progress in spreading the gospel of tolerance, it’s true, but it’s also true that we have a long way to go. Yet, just when we believe we have made significant strides in making everyone’s life better, something happens that forces us to realize that there are still some white males among us who, through no fault of their own, possess the same values and attitudes as our Neanderthal ancestors.

It happened again this past week: Rush Limbaugh opened his piehole and embarrassed the hell out of white males everywhere.

On his radio show recently, Limbaugh ranted for three days about a female Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, who testified in front of a group of Congressional Democrats about the importance of contraceptives covered in employer health insurance policies. She would have talked to Republicans too, but they didn’t show any interest in talking to a girl about birth control; only men were allowed to testify at their hearing on the subject. Yes, apparently men know more about birth control than that side of the human species that has more of a burden to use the actual product. How quaint, how old-fashioned, how 1950’s!

Rush criticized the absurdity of politicians spending time debating if religious organizations should cover contraceptives as per the Obama mandate when such an action would violate their spiritual beliefs. Shockingly, I find myself agreeing with Rush on this point; with the economy improving, but still in need of some good government guidance, it’s absurd that they are wasting time on this subject. The trouble is, Rush didn’t go after the politicians; he attacked the messenger.

Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut”, a “prostitute” (or hooker; the left wing media can’t make up its mind on the exact wording) and demanded that she post her sexual adventures on the web so he can watch since he, as a taxpayer, is paying for her birth control so she can have these encounters. Long story short, there was condemnation from both sides of the aisle in Congress, outrage in the media and the blogosphere, a Presidential call to Fluke encouraging her that speaking out was the right thing to do, and loss (at last count) of eight sponsors to Limbaugh’s radio show. Rush even apologized for the personal attacks; this was an earth-shattering event in and of itself.

So now, the controversy can die down and everyone can go back to living their lives, right? Wrong! Sadly, the white male ignorance is still with us and needs to be addressed.

Okay, people, class is in session! Rush, please take a seat down front. Ricky, yes, I mean you, Mr. Santorum, please come up front too. You need to hear this.

Now, it’s understood that you’ve come to this special lecture of Health Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives 101, after attending Rachel Maddow’s sex education lecture as a pre-requisite. For our purposes today, you should remember from her class that birth control is taken once a day, and the number of doses needed is not dependent on the number of sex partners a woman has within a certain time period.

So, Rush, please write this down, college co-eds are not going broke because they have to buy a pill for every encounter. They are going broke because the medication costs so damn much.

Also remember...I hope you’re taking good notes here, Ricky...that some contraceptives are medically necessary in the treatment of certain conditions. Write these words down, Ricky: endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and polycystic ovarian disease. These are actual conditions which have been treated successfully with contraceptive steroids. In these cases, the sufferer does not take them for a “license to do things in the sexual realm”, as you worded it so indelicately on the campaign trail, Ricky.

Oh, but don’t take my word for it, or the word of scientific studies gleaned from the work by a bunch of “snobs” with college degrees. (Sorry, Ricky, if it seems like I’m throwing everything you’ve said in your face. Cope and deal!) Instead, take my personal observation from 20 years in the health insurance industry.

Let’s compare a typical prescription transaction of a woman getting coverage for birth control, versus a man’s experience in getting coverage for a product which is not strictly for birth control, but could be argued does meet Mr. Santorum’s criteria for a license to have sex with abandon.

Contraceptives have long been excluded from coverage in the white male-dominated, good-ole-boy network world of health insurance. Many policies do not cover them, PERIOD! Any woman suffering from the diseases mentioned above would go to their physician, who prescribes the medication recognized as a birth control product. The woman would purchase the medication, submit the claim for reimbursement, and get denied payment. The woman always has the right to appeal and is instructed that the denial could be overturned with a letter of medical necessity. Here is where the woman ceases to be a human being and becomes more like a circus animal that has to jump through a variety of legal hoops to get the medication which will relieve her suffering and make her overall quality of life better.

Are you still with me, Rush? Okay, so the woman gets a letter of medical necessity, submits it to the health insurance carrier for review, now jump through the hoop, Suzie, attagirl, and after a lengthy review process the carrier decides to cover the medication. Then, a few months down the road, the woman gets a renewal prescription, gets denied again, jump Suzie jump, submits an updated letter of medical necessity, which is possibly denied again, jump Suzie jump, because this time the health insurance carrier may want to see the physician’s progress notes for Suzie’s condition. Then after those are submitted and reviewed, one more jump Suzie (good girl!), and her medication will be paid for again.

Now let’s compare Suzie’s experience with Clem who wants to fill his script for Viagra. All right, settle down, Rush and Ricky! I know it’s not strictly a contraceptive, and it is a medication which was originally developed to treat vascular ailments. However, it has been marketed to treat another ailment - erectile dysfunction — which I don’t perceive as life threatening or painful like Suzie’s condition. My point is Clem’s Viagra is not subject to carrier scrutiny and if memory serves me correctly, the various carriers fell over each other to make sure that they were the first to cover this product when it was first introduced on the market.

Anyway, Clem goes to the pharmacy with his Viagra script, has it filled, submits the claim for payment, the carrier pays for it, and Clem goes home to get jiggy with his wife/mistress/girlfriend/slut/prostitute. The end! Meanwhile, poor Suzie is still jumping through the hoops for a letter of medical necessity.

Anyone see a problem with these two scenarios?

Any questions, Rush? Ricky? What? You want to see Suzie jump through the hoops again? You two are incorrigible! Suzie, can you come up here and perform for the white male chauvinists again?

(Thank you for reading. Lord, please forgive us white males for the illogical things we do to humanity.)