Monday, January 09, 2012

A Little More on the Iowa Caucuses | I'm Sorry You Lost Your Health Coverage

Someone I don't know took exception to my brief post about Mr. Obama's final message to Iowans the night before the caucuses in 2008. My correspondent is understandably distressed and frustrated by the series of personal catastrophes he's endured in the last couple of years. I wish him well and, more, I want to do all I can to ensure that we as a people do right by him and his family — that we do right by each other.
Dear Anonymous,
I'm sorry you lost your job and home and health coverage. I can't think of a single way in which that doesn't suck. I'm sure you're aware that Republicans in Congress, and a few Democrats, have fought tooth and nail to block the President from extending and expanding loan modification programs. Or maybe you're not aware of that, but it's in the public record. And your family is paying the price very directly. Again: Sorry. 
I don't have a job. I quit my last day job a dozen years ago to operate a one-person company. I've been on my own for health coverage since June 2000. If you think things are bad now -- and they still are -- you would have soiled your trousers over the last decade. When my COBRA coverage timed-out, the insurer I'd been with for most of a decade said they would be happy to extend the same plan to me for $6,000 a month. In case you think that's a typo, let me say it differently: My insurance company said they would cover me going forward for a premium of $72,000 a year. I was so shocked by that number that I just laughed at the young woman on the phone -- so loud that I felt like I needed to apologize. She didn't make up that number.

Friday, January 06, 2012

And Speaking of the Iowa Caucuses

This is then Senator Obama's final message to Iowans just before the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.

I think it holds up pretty well: Health care reform and tax relief for working families delivered as promised with more on the way; completing the drawdown of troops in Iraq completed as promised; college loan reforms accomplished as promised. The promise to move toward energy independence is still pending, as is repairing the divide with Republicans in Congress — who, in fairness to the President, appear to have fled into their bedroom and slammed the door. 

Seems to me, citizens can be delighted or dismayed, but it we can hardly deny Mr. Obama pursued and substantively delivered what he promised Iowans four years ago this week.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Speaking of Blue Like Jazz...

Speaking of Blue Like Jazzwhich we were not too long ago — I just finished Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

One of many dirty little secrets I protect (well, not anymore) is that I read a draft of the Blue Like Jazz screenplay and viewed a rough cut of the movie without ever finishing the book. I don't know what to say; I got bogged down; I didn't finish; it's just one of those things, OK?

This newish book — A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story — follows the turn in Donald's life after Steve Taylor and Ben Pearson disrupted his routine with an invitation to make Blue Like Jazz The Movie.

"My career, and for that matter my life was stalled before I met Steve Taylor and Ben Pearson," Miller writes. "I am not sure where I would be if it weren’t for their friendship. I certainly wouldn’t have written this book. Thank you for helping me write my story, in more ways than one."*