Archive for July, 2014


One of the problems of the news media is that most stories are one timers. Today’s murder yields to tomorrow’s, unless there is some gripping aspect to it; parent drowning child, multiple murders, etc. Political stories sometimes don’t make it from the noon news to evening news. When a story is considered to have run its course in attention getting for the news media, it is quickly replaced.

One example of a national interest news story disappearing rapidly is the Affordable Care Act. For months television and newspapers were full of stories about poor design and low application rate. Then coverage dropped to the occasional story, mostly of the “human interest” variety, and reports about happenings in states that refused to participate. There has been very little about enrollment rate or success in more people getting health care.

Paul Krugman has an article, “Obamacare Fails to Fail”, in the New York Times of July 14 that presents information he has dug up about the success of factors like enrollment and cost. It’s worth clicking the article title and reading the story. We still don’t know how the program will work out, but Krugman tells us that it is not an immediate failure.

Next to the Krugman article is one by Charles Blow, “The Buck Stops With Me”. Blow takes on the constant accusation by House Republicans that President Obama has taken no responsibility for anything. (Neither have they!) Blow lists and describes seven situations in which the President has ultimate responsibility. In each case he has said publicly that the buck stops here.

     In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd after the health care rollout, the president took responsibility for the problems rather than simply pin  them on Kathleen Sebelius, then the health and human services secretary, saying; “My priority right now is to get it fixed. . . . Ultimately, the buck stops with me. I’m the president. This is my team. If it is not working, it is my job to get it fixed.”

Between the Blow and Krugman articles is a list of six items of the percentage of approval by the public of the two political parties from a Pew survey in January 2014. The responses were disapproval of the Republicans about all six positions. One example is which party is more concerned with needs of people like me. Democrats registered 52% positive with 32% for the Republicans.

Without taking a position on any of the issues, I can raise one question about how the Republicans can continue to take positions so removed from reality and expect to be a competitive political party? I can raise a second question about how the news media can ignore reporting on situations like the three raised above?




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The Good Ole Summertime

Summer has finally arrived; both social and meteorological summer have finally arrived. Summer as a climate season arrives at the same time every year, but social summer begins when schools are out. In some areas this year snow and other cold bad weather postponed school closings considerably beyond the opening of swimming pools in the Washington area. And swimming pools are where major activity involves kids from age 5 or 6 to 17: summer swimming teams!

When we joined a summer pool, our oldest daughter was about 8 years old. She was scooped up by Mr. Adams who was on his way to becoming a legend in Northern Virginia swimming. He taught what we might call the pre swimmers, youngsters from about 5 to 7. Almost none could resist Mr. Adams’ blandishments and after a few weeks there were few of his “subjects” who did not find him wonderful.  The hard work they put in for him showed up in good swimmers and winning teams

One of the great things about team swimming is that six year olds earn the same points for winning as do sixteen year olds.  There is great camaraderie with younger swimmers being cheered on and commiserated with by the older kids as well as the other way around.

In those long ago days the whole process was very informal with parents generally filling in the many jobs; timing, judging, starting, keeping the records updated, etc. We wore whatever clothes were comfortable and tried to stay in the background of the meet. When our last child swam her last meet, my wife and I did what most others did, passed our jobs on to people with younger children.

This burst of nostalgia is brought on by the fact that our youngest grandson is swimming his last summer. Next year the deck will be hot, the water cooler, the swimmers jumping up and down cheering and the officials sweating. For us, the difference will be that we will have no personal investment and no reason to go. Life moves on.