It’s time for real health care, dammit

Let’s kick things off with a zippy little spot quiz. What do countries such as Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Malta and Latvia have that the U.S.A. doesn’t? No, not a complete disdain for stock car racing. Good try, though.

The correct answer is “national health care programs.” So I don’t know about you, but I find it slightly humbling, and perhaps even a skosh embarassing, that the average Maltese could look at his American counterpart and feel a twinge of sympathy. I mean, is it too unrealistic and too weird to say to my government, “Hey, uh, could I just have what the average Uruguayan has?” Am I being ridiculous here? Dangerously socialist? Naively utopian?

To those naysayers who keep harping about the downsides and the catastrophes and the casualties that will litter the economic landscape should we dare to create some kind of national health care system, I’d just like to say: Shut up. Shut up and figure out a way to get it done. Goddammit. Get it done! There are loads of models available from around the globe in terms of figuring out the right blend of methods by which we can pay for a national system. There are single-payer systems, there are public systems leaning on taxation, and combinations of the two. We can study the German way or the Australian system or even the plan from the doggone Seychelle Islands, for God’s sake!

Just stop telling me that it can’t be done. Because I refuse to believe it. Because I know you’re wrong. Because this current reality that I’m living under, that of the United States being THE ONLY INDUSTRIALIZED NATION ON THE PLANET THAT DOESN’T HAVE A NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN, sucks. It sucks head cheese through a flexi-straw, and it’s time to fix it.


Anybody who was at Burning Man last year remembers that the event was seriously hampered by that horrid powdery playa, which made bike riding a torturous, lumpy experience that was none too comfy on the crotches of either gender.

Conventional wisdom says that the wetter the lake bed gets during the winter and spring, the better it is for the summer surface. Meaning that a well-soaked playa in May begets a much more enjoyable bicycling surface in August. Well, if that’s the case, I will dare to go ahead and report that things seem to be setting up nicely for this year’s event. That delightful little “mini-monsoon” we had in June was certainly in play up in the Gerlach area, and the playa got splattered more than once with downpours from raging thundercells. It got soaked hard enough to where it now seems safe to say, or at least it doesn’t seem crazy to say, that the biking in Black Rock City this year will be much improved.