Friday, January 26, 2007


I actually had two subtitles competing in my mind today. The runner-up was:

  • All the years that have come to pass
  • And all the years that shall be
  • I see here right before me
  • I see here before me

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Things you shouldn't have to explain to a seven-year-old

You have probably heard that immigration officers are conducting raids around the country, looking for people who have been ordered deported, and that they are also sweeping up a lot of others not on their lists. Well, we had a major wave of such raids in my neighborhood late last week (here's a local newspaper report on it, quoting the principal of my son's school).

Officials were arresting people who had not previously gotten their notice—folks who did not have deportation orders or overstayed visas. The immigration agents were, by reputable testimony, talking their way into homes unrelated to their warrant lists and arresting those who couldn't prove their citizenship, as well as accosting passersby to do the same.

Bad enough, all that, and that it made so many frightened families keep their kids cloistered at home. My son was afraid for many of his friends, including one in particular who, although his family is of Pacific Islander descent, I'm sure are citizens. But one evening I discovered that he had even been asking my wife whether she would be arrested soon... because she was born in Florida.

How can I tell him that he need not fear—that this isn't a police state, that nobody will ever stop him at random and demand to see his papers?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Could we be un-Bushed for a change?

George Bush, in his radio address this week, proposed that we give people a tax break on their health insurance. This should not come as a surprise—after all, this was the guy who wanted to make it harder, not easier, to exercise our Constitutional right to bankruptcy, even when it's the result of catastrophic medical misfortune—but it's still amazing to me that he finds new ways to demonstrate his contempt for most Americans.

First there's the cognitive dissonance and detachment from reality. He thinks we need incentives to buy health insurance... as if a tax break would prompt more uninsured people to get insurance. As if uninsured people are, by and large, choosing to be uninsured. And as if our tax forms need to be even more complicated. He clearly doesn't hang out with many people who sit on hold with insurance companies, fill out insurance applications, or do their own taxes.

But even more offensively, there's the condescension. He doesn't like that so many of us are buying "gold-plated" plans, so he proposes to tax insurance premiums for plans that have relatively good coverage. He wants everyone to buy their own insurance, but not good insurance. Make everyone pay for a plan, but punish them if they manage to get a plan that will really help.

He's a rich jerk, helping rich people at the expense of everyone else. But you already knew that.

The Madison, Wisconsin, Isthmus television listings give an accurate and slightly entertaining picture of Mr. Bush's approach (scroll down to Tuesday at 8 p.m.). For complete details on the speech, see Paul Krugman's op-ed in today's New York Times (requires a subscription online).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Yet another minor embarrassment

Having your decongestant expire just as your commuter train reaches its most crowded stop.

Friday, January 05, 2007

"Scary beyond belief?" "Yeah, you could say that."

My Little Pony Live is "the world's biggest tea party". And a truly frightening concept in theatrical entertainment. I don't know who put us on their mailing list, but it's definitely not someone who likes us.