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Showing posts from September, 2023

Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII

Way To Go, Joe !

 You know those drug ads with the snazzy slogans and ear-catching jingles that interrupt your favorite TV shows?  I’ll bet  you’ve found yourself singing one or two while you head to the kitchen for a snack or take a much-needed bathroom break.  Well, those advertisements are the brainstorms of the pharmaceutical companies, developed to make you head straight to your family doctor and demand the latest boutique drug designed just for you and your specific illness.  Trouble is, the industry spent over 8 billion dollars on these adds last year, and of course they passed the costs on to those looking for an easy cure and a catchy tune to whatever ails them.   Which means, unlike other developed countries around the world, we Americans pay a bundle for our drugs- sometimes a bundle so high that people simply can’t afford the medicine they need.  And that’s why President Biden’s announcement that ten drugs would be the first to have to negotiate prices with Medicare is such a big deal:  it