Talking Back to Sarah Palin

I don’t watch Family Guy, because even though Seth MacFarlane is local, he seems to have been deeply affected by Garfield cartoons. I just can’t get past that. Sorry.

He’s also offensive. I watched part of one episode and it struck me as creepy-racist-misogynist and I only lasted a few minutes. Sorry– I can’t justify it in an argument, it was just an impression. Maybe I’m wrong. Just an opinion.

We don’t all think alike. Sarah Palin took a recent episode of Family Guy as a slam on people with Down Syndrome. Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who did the voice for the cartoon character, thinks otherwise. She herself has Down Syndrome, but she is an adult and too large to carry around as a prop and old enough to speak for herself. So read what she says here.

You may agree with her or not, but it’s good to remember that people with Down Syndrome are not God’s innocent angels sent here to teach us something about life, but actual people who have their own lives to live. Trig Palin will grow up, and I hope he will have a good life. Sarah Palin better hope she doesn’t pick up the NYT some day and see a best-seller called, ‘Drafted–My Life on the Campaign Trail When Mommy Went Rogue’, or ‘Going Rough–Missed Naps and Noisy Crowds in Days that Made History’. At least it’s not ‘Vice-President, Dearest’ –not yet.

Daily Kos has the startling news that Sarah Palin’s grandson receives health care coverage from socialized medicine.

TOUGH WEEK: Palin came in third runner-up in the Conservative Popularity Awards Convention (CPAC) Pageant. It seems unfair. She has way better hair than Ron Paul, who might want to consider having a little work done– nothing drastic, just a little lift. Mitt Romney is tough competition. I think he’s encased in some kind of impermeable wrinkle-proof plastic. He’d better wear Kevlar under the suit though, because Sarah Barracuda does not forgive or forget. Except for things Rush Limbaugh says or things she needs to not recall in testimony.

Simple Decency

John Mc Ginley on Huffington Post says what should have been the first word, but in the political mudfight we call our national debate, simple decency got lost.

Don’t open this at work, because he lists some of the names we should stop calling people. I’ll just quote this excerpt…

People with Special Needs — and their families — do not need any help to make their lives “a little more challenging.” They already have plenty on their plate, thank you very much. And the last thing that any Special Needs family wants is to be assaulted with the R-word. It is already an uphill battle!

Dignity is inherent to the human condition. An individual’s dignity is not only an entitlement. It is a fundamental quality that distinguishes each of us and lends an informed significance to everything that we do. And any time a person’s dignity is stomped on, it is wrong! The R-word robs people with Special Needs of their dignity. And it is time to stop.

I think he might be a Unitarian, or at least might have been hanging out at coffee hour.

And here I want to thank Trig Palin, who though still in his infancy has served his country well. During the presidential campaign, when his mother was taking him out to huge noisy gatherings, exposing him to people who might have had colds, keeping irregular hours and traveling constantly– I feared he might get sick. We usually try to keep newborns away from those conditions.

After the first few weeks, Sarah Palin was emerging as more of a liability than an asset to John McCain. It’s a commonplace for politicians to use ‘time with the family’ as a way of getting out of untenable situations. I really worried for Trig. I thought the October Surprise might be a switch from Sarah Palin to Condoleeza Rice. I think it might have worked.

Anyway, the most recent photo I saw shows the little guy looking very healthy and rosy-cheeked. I hope he has a good, long and happy life. And I’d extend that wish to all America’s children, because how we treat our children is a measure of our worth as a nation.

And John Mc Ginley’s post about the ‘worth and dignity of every human being’ is a discussion we should continue.

Knitting a Safety Net

Very good post from Jason in CounterColumn about the financial pressures that must have been a factor in Sarah Palin’s resignation. It’s very plausible that she resigned because she needed to maximize her income.

Sarah Palin and her husband have five children and one grandchild. All of them, with the possible exception of Track, who’s in the Army, are going to need a lot of help. Bristol’s a teenage mom who’s baby-daddy is useless. Levi’s parents aren’t going to be much help. The burden of bringing up that child is going to fall mostly on the Palin family, and Bristol herself has exremely limited means. Piper is six or seven. Just starting school. her expensive teenage years ahead of her, and she’ll need a college fund. Bristol may need some help finishing her education.

Now Sarah Palin has an opportunity that may not come again. An opportunity to ensure that Trig will have a trust fund to support him when he is grown and his parents are old.

I’m in a business where I see the cost of services vs the paychecks of those who provide them, and even hardworking rich people with inheritances can’t cover such costs out of pocket.

It would be amazing if Sarah Palin said she was resigning to make money because there’s not much safety net left except what she knits herself. Since Reagan, Republicans have been cutting and privatizing the services that provide housing and income for poor people with disabilities, calling them ‘entitlements’.

Has Palin’s life-experience and pit-bull grit made her a mavericky advocate for children damn the political consequences? Nope.

From the Anchorage Daily News…
One out of 10 children in Alaska has no health insurance, according to a new report by a national organization for health care consumers.

The analysis by Families USA concluded that the ranks of uninsured Alaskans include about 19,000 children — 9.9 percent of all residents in Alaska under 18 years of age.

Nationwide there are 8.6 million children without health insurance. Families USA officials predict that number will grow as the economic downturn continues and more Americans struggle to find private health insurance.

“As state budgets become increasingly precarious due to the looming recession, this is exactly the time that states need an increase in funding” for child health care programs, said Ron Pollock, director of Families USA.

Only 19 states have a higher rate of uninsured children than Alaska, the report noted. Alaska ranked No. 20th nationwide.
The state with the highest rate of uninsured children was Texas, where one in five children (20.5 percent) live outside the safety net. The state with the lowest rate was Iowa, at 5.2 percent.

So maybe Sarah Palin is bailing out in order to knit a safety net for her family rather than staying on as Governor and working for all the children in her state. I never thought she was stupid. She’ll do okay. Alaskans, on the other hand, need a Governor who will care more about their state than about being a celebrity.

Cadillac Ambulance

This writer has been accused of feeding into class envy, but Ninjanurse has nothing on Senator John McCain. He’s invented a new elite group to resent.

Fielding follow-up questions from Friday night’s presidential debate, the Republican nominee also conceded that his health care plan might raise taxes, saying “it depends on, on, on what plan they have. But that’s usually the wealthiest people.”

When pressed by Stephanopoulos on whether his health care tax credits will be large enough to compensate for his proposal to eliminate tax breaks, McCain explained, “Actually, my position is that it will be, it will give people actually more money to go out and purchase tax — health insurance on their own and only those with the Cadillac gold-plated health insurance policies today are the ones who might suffer from it.”

The funny thing about health care is that it’s a Cadillac no one wants to ride in. You’re not soaking up a lot of insurance money when you’re well. It’s when surgeons start cutting things off and talking about survival odds that you collect big from your insurance plan. And your survival odds are way worse if you don’t have insurance.

The McCain plan would give people a refundable tax credit ($2,500 for an individual; $5,000 for a family) to buy insurance through work or on their own. In exchange, the value of health benefits would be subject to income taxes. Wall St. Journal

If you have the bad luck to be sick $2,500 won’t buy you a policy. They don’t have to sell you one. You have a ‘pre-existing condition’ and it might be catching.

And the $5,000 family benefit won’t help if you have a sick kid. You’ll need enough money to buy a fleet of Cadillacs before that kid turns 18.

Our Republican candidates should know that. A 72 year old cancer survivor, Senator McCain, would have collected a good hunk of money from his insurers. If he is on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program as a member of Congress he’d have such good coverage he’d have time to get well. But I heard a clip from a speech where he speaks very scornfully of government health care, so maybe he and Mrs. McCain paid his medical bills in cash. He’s a man of principle, and I know he wouldn’t ask poorer Americans to search for affordable healthcare if he had not been through it himself. I’ll bet he doesn’t use the Vet’s Hospital either. That’s government.

Another Cadillac Ambulance rider would be Governor Palin and her family. The Palins are reported to have assets of $1.2 million, but that’s not enough to cover all the care that their son Trig will need in order to reach his full potential. They’ll need to make claims on their insurance, and their school district for special education, and social services. His needs are likely to increase as he gets older.

We have a health care crisis that is such a mess it’s not fair to call it a system. Systems are organized and make sense.

But we have to face it honestly. Pretending that picking a neurosurgeon is like picking a hairdresser is dishonest. And inventing a class of people who are basking in Cadillac health insurance is not going to fool anyone who has ever had to deal with real illness.