News from the U.S. Senate last night is that there will be no public option of any kind in the health care reform bill, not even the compromise Medicare-buy-in at age 55. It is, apparently, the only way to get the 60 votes necessary for passage, including that of Independent Connecticut Senator, Joe Lieberman. As I look into my clouded but still discernible crystal ball, I see the following wire service report on the final vote a couple of weeks from now:
Senate Passes Historic Health Reform Bill
By Scoop McNews
Associated Syndicate Writer
WASHINGTON (AS) – Taking an important step toward Congressional passage of a landmark health care reform bill, the U.S. Senate voted 60 to 40 late last night to approve a series of controversial amendments to give Democrats and the White House a victory in what has been a tortured path toward final passage, featuring numerous last-minute compromises.
The measure contains a provision that would declare December 25th, National Insurance Company Appreciation Day, garnishes wages to create a special fund to assist the beleaguered insurance industry, and allows insurance companies to raise premiums up to 35% during all months that end with an “R.” The bill also creates a national ambulance service under a new Department of Emergency Vehicles, with fleets of fuel-efficient hybrid cars specifically designated to transport poor Americans to hospital emergency rooms for all illnesses, ranging from common colds to heart attacks.
Senate Majority Leader, Harry Schreid, (D, Nevada) hailed the compromises as difficult but necessary steps to ensure a bill would be on the President’s desk by New Year’s Day. “It’s really not that important what the bill actually contains,” said Schreid at an early morning Capitol Hill news conference. “What matters is what the bill is called and it is clearly labeled in great big letters, ‘The Health Reform Act of 2009.”
Senator Joseph Schlieberman (I, Connecticut), the key and 60th vote for the historic legislation, proclaimed that he was “somewhat pleased,” at the final outcome. “I would like to have seen some additional measures to assist the downtrodden insurance companies of my state, but in the end, in the interests of both this historic legislation and my legacy as the single most important member of the world’s greatest deliberative body, I felt it important to give a little for the sake of compromise.”
Pressed by reporters on what elements of the bill he was unhappy with, Schlieberman would not be specific. “Look, what I think of when I go to bed at night, is the poor insurance company executive, holed up in his lonely estate in suburban Hartford, who himself cannot get a good night’s sleep, worried that he will not meet stockholder expectations of 200% annual profits. No American should go to bed worried at night,” said the Connecticut lawmaker.
Asked what possible chance there might be that the House would approve the Senate version of the bill, Schlieberman was optimistic. “This will be hammered out behind closed doors in the Conference Committee and I have been assured I will be able to remain in the spotlight by snagging a spot on that committee, giving me and my state unprecedented influence in whatever machinations and late night, last-second further compromises will be necessary to pass this important piece of legislation.”
The news conference was interrupted momentarily when Senator Russ Schfeingold, (D, Wisconsin) lunged at Senator Schlieberman with a scalpel, yelling, “Here’s a special medical device, just for you, Schlieberman!” U.S. Capitol Police stopped the scuffle before there were any injuries that would have caused any medical claims to be filed under the Congressional health insurance program that was amended last night to eliminate all co-pays and deductibles.
Robert Garcia tweets at garciamedialife
So I was riding the subway from Penn station to Columbus Circle Saturday night, when I noticed an inordinate number of Santa Clauses on the train. The ratio was truly outrageous. I mean one Santa for every two people in the car? And there were Mrs. Santa’s too. Rather attractive ones that would make the North Pole a more pleasant home address than you might ordinarily expect. What the?
Silly me. I had just run into Santacon 2009 in New York City; combination flash-mob, good-cheer, pub crawl that had started at 10am at five different points in the city. I ran into my Santas at about 9pm and they didn’t look that bad having been 11 hours into the celebration.
NYCSantaConn can explain it much better than I. If you’re at all prudish, don’t go there. This Santa stuff is profane and serious business.
Santa looks like Santa. HOLIDAY APPAREL IS MANDATORY. A Santa hat is not enough. Get a Santa suit. Buy a Santa suit. Make a Santa suit. Steal a Santa suit. Get creative: be a Secret Santa, a Santasaurus, Candy-cane, a Reindeer, a Chanukah Chicken, a goddamn latke, Stewardess Santa, Knight Rider Santa, Crusty Peace Punk Santa, the occasional Legless Reindeer, Chanukah Squirrel, Emo-Elf, or the Santichrist.
Just don’t wear your f——g jeans.
Santa acts like Santa. Be jolly. Belly-laugh. Let people sit on your lap. Give out gifts.
Santa loves reindeer games, stripper poles and creatively concealed guzzle-ables.
Santa doesn’t seek media attention. “Ho-ho-ho” is good. “Publicity ho” is lame.
Santa doesn’t get arrested.
Helpful guidelines include making sure to eat something, stay hydrated, exercise intelligent pacing, bring a metro card, pay the bar tab, tip the bartenders, stay with your group and don’t make children cry. And my personal favorite:
Don’t be “that” Santa.
Your friends want to have fun, not scrape the puke outta your beard or prevent your wasted ass from wandering into traffic.
The origins trace back to 1994 in San Francisco. The Santa bender that was most crazily out of control occurred four years ago in Aukland, New Zealand. Looting, bottle-throwing and several assaults ensued.
There were no such incidents in New York Saturday night. In fact, organizers were encouraging folks to bring a couple of cans of food to donate to homeless shelters. They got a thousand pounds worth of food last year and were shooting for an even ton this year.
Other than the ones hanging out at the Salvation Army kettles, I expect to see my next Santa around midnight, December 25th. Just in case the old Santa is gone and has been replaced by the new Santa, along with the milk and cookies, I’m also leaving several shots of Grey Goose.