Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I went to the Minnesota Zoo today with a friend and her 6-year-old son. Very nice. I think my favorite part was riding the monorail over the outside exhibits, all northern animals comfortable with snow and cold. It was crisp weather -- a high of 18 -- and the sky was absolutely clear. The monorail glided very slowly over grizzly bears, bison, wolves, musk oxen, Siberian tigers, takins, Przewalski's horses, caribou, Bactrian camels, moose...

Very nice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


The last post was not cheerful. I will end with a cheerful post. My apartment is clean, due to work done yesterday. Sunlight is coming in, shining on the yellow flowers in a handmade glass vase.

Health Care

Patrick was reading Tim Pawlenty's new budget this morning. If it passes, Pat will not be able to get Minnesota Care, because he makes too much. The income cut off will be $8,000 a year instead of $26,000 as it is now. Pawlenty also wants to get rid of General Assistance, which is (I think) $203 month. This will leave destitute people with $10 a month in food stamps. That will be their entire income. They currently get General Assistance medical care. If T-Paw prevails, they will not get any medical care, except for that provided by emergency rooms.

All of this is so T-Paw won't have to tax the rich. People are going to starve and die, because the rich don't want to pay taxes, which as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, is the price we pay for a civilized society.

I guess T-Paw wants us to go back to the Hobbsian state of nature, where life is nasty, brutish and short.

This is really wearing. We have taken a 50% cut in household income and are managing to scrape by. But whenever we find a program that will help us survive, we discover it's under attack.

Patrick's comment on T-Paw's budget is, "From my experience of poor people, they are not going to roll over and die. They are not going to watch their children roll over and die."

So, what they do? Whatever they do to, in order to survive.

Welcome to the war of all against all.

Sunday Morning

It's quarter to eleven in the morning local time. I am listening to the MPR classical station and getting ready to take a shower.

I was thinking last night about the Bruce Springsteen concert before the Inauguration of the current president, when Springsteen and Pete Seegar sang together -- Seegar being, of course, the guy who has held true to his left politics through a long life, and who was red-hunted in the 1950s.

Anyway, I started to wonder if Obama was like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. There's a point where Charlie is walking down the street and a warning flag falls off a truck with a long load. Charlie picks up the flag and runs after the truck, waving the flag to get the driver's attention. This huge political demonstration comes up behind him with banners and signs -- and Charlie is the guy in front waving the red flag. Of course he is arrested.

Obama said the right things when he was campaigning, and he certainly looked good. But he has shown no sign of understanding why people supported him. So I wonder if this huge progressive movement came up behind him out of nowhere, and he was the guy in front, but it wasn't really his movement. It's pretty clear that he's losing parts of it, maybe most of it. It's possible he thought that the movement was loyal to him, and he could hold it no matter what he did.

Huey Long knew why people supported him and what he had to say to remain a leader. Most of the time, FDR also knew. Patrick just said, Eleanor kept reminding FDR.

This leads to an image of FDR in a wheelchair in front of the giant demonstration, with Eleanor pushing him and running like hell to stay ahead.

Obama has turned right at a crossing and lost the demonstration.

Health Care

Patrick had pneumonia in December and still has an ugly, hacking cough. He hasn't gone to a doctor because he doesn't have health insurance at the moment. He will be starting on Minnesota Care, the state plan, in March and will go to a doctor then. I spent one evening writing his obituary in my mind. But we are only a week from March, and the cough isn't getting worse, so I think he is going to make it.