Roger Allen

Main Street by Roger Allen publisher – September 10, 2009

September 10, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Good news Latest reports indicate the recession may be nearing an end. This is typical of business cycles; we’ve always had them and probably always will. That’s capitalism for you. The TARP funds, despite starting out with poor oversight in 2008, have helped avert a longer and deeper financial mess, and by any measure, the stimulus program of 2009 is working. Capitalism can use some government help from time to time. The current recession is not the worst we ever had and we will come out of it. Less than good news The President’s health insurance initiative seems to have foundered on vociferous protest from those who resist change. In retrospect, the plan probably should have been called Medicare for All—no ifs, ands, or buts. Medicare and Social Security have been well accepted and have done a good job. Simply expanding Medicare into universal health care might have gone over. Medicare has money problems because our population is aging and we have more money going out. Growth in the working population has not kept up, so we have less money going in. The result is a foregone conclusion, which has nothing to do with politics. It isn’t rocket science to know we will have to cut benefits, raise taxes, or cut costs of the program. The hundreds of private medical insurance companies, most of them “for profit,” each has its own bureaucracy to support. Seems to me, eliminating multiple insurance bureaucracies would help cut costs of medical care. The fantasies about government “death panels” would actually be funny if so many people didn’t take them seriously. Those of us who have private medical insurance are already at the mercy of our insurance companies. Their expensive lobbying to kill the President’s initiative tells us a lot. And one more thing: we taxpayers already are paying the medical costs of many of the poor, particularly uninsured sick children. Is that “socialized medicine”? Let’s get organized and not allow the shouters to sabotage our opportunity to bring America’s healthcare delivery system into the 21st century. “Doctor will see you now” Supposedly, these are actual hospital notes in patient records. A little reform might be in order. 1. The patient refused autopsy. 2. The patient has no previous […]

Main Street by Roger Allen Publisher – September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Saving money These may not be the most popular ideas I’ve proposed but I think they are worth discussion. Maybe, after we get through the health insurance problem, we can talk about them. The war in Iraq was a pretty bad idea, but it looks like we can get out of it now. We are heavily invested in Afghanistan and maybe that is not such a good idea. We seem to be in the middle of a religious war. We’ve lost more Americans in those wars than we did in the World Trade Centers. And then we have Pakistan, Somalia, and an unending stream of nasty governments. We could sure save a lot of money if we came home. The war on drugs is certainly not going well, either. We are spending millions to stop drugs coming into the country and it doesn’t work. We should legalize drugs, tax them, and spend our money helping educate and cure addicts. Wow, I’m going to be in trouble! The lighter side CREATIVE PUNS FOR “EDUCATED MINDS” 1. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi. 2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian. 3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still. 4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption. 5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work. 6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery. 7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering. Zachary, age 4, came screaming out of the bathroom to tell me he’d dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. So I fished it out and threw it in the garbage. Zachary stood there thinking for a moment, then ran to my bathroom and came out with my toothbrush. He held it up and said with a charming little smile, “We better throw this one out too then, ’cause it fell in the toilet a few days ago. A little boy got lost at the YMCA and […]

Main Street by Roger Allen publisher

August 20, 2009 // 0 Comments

  LUST Not as interesting as it sounds when it comes to the state budget. It stands for Leaking Underground Storage Tanks. In decades past, it seemed as though a small gas station stood on nearly every corner, sometimes just a pump or two in front of a neighborhood grocery store. The stations are mostly gone, but the big tanks buried beneath them remain. Over the years these tanks spring leaks and the gas or kerosene seeps into the ground. Michigan is third in the nation for LUST. Unused industrial sites add to our total. Time to dig up those leaky tanks. Contamination of ground water is the big concern. We can’t move to Mars, so we better take care of this planet. Federal stimulus money is helping fund the clean-up, but Michigan is responsible for a portion of the cost. And new LUST sites in the state are discovered every year. Disgust The $860 billion military spending bill contains 1,100 earmarks—laws that wouldn’t pass separately but can ride along on the main one. Congressmen trade their votes for the main bill for votes for their pet earmarks. Some earmarks attached to the military bill are for things the military doesn’t even want. Sometimes it seems like our elected lawmakers work for their own good, not ours. Congress gets to vote on its own salaries, benefits, health care, and ethics. But, at this writing, the U.S. is still the only developed western country without universal health insurance. It’s downright disgusting. Job Joke #1 The local sheriff was looking for a deputy. An applicant showed up. “Okay,” said the sheriff, “You’ll have to take our test. What’s one and one?” “Eleven,” replied the man. The sheriff figured that, in a way, the guy was right. “Next question,” said the sheriff. “What two days of the week start with the letter T?” “Today and tomorrow.” Again the sheriff was surprised that the applicant had supplied a creative answer that he himself hadn’t thought of. “Now, listen carefully. Last question: Who killed Abraham Lincoln?” The man thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, “I don’t know.” “Well, why don’t you go home and work on that one for a while?” said the sheriff. So the guy […]

Main Street by Roger Allen publisher

August 13, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Dog Days This poem comes from seventh-grader Lauren Pratt in Rockford. “The dog days of summer” seem like the right time for it. Jagger We got him in a little town called Bath. He would walk down a little path. I taught him how to shake. We made him birthday cakes. If he could talk then he’d bug us, Till we took him for a walk. I know I’m being a bragger, But he’s just a tail wagger. I love my dog Jagger. According to The Book of Common Prayer (1552), the dog days are from July 6 to August 17. They’re named after the Dog Star, Sirius, which used to rise at sunrise. The story was that these days were evil and caused the seas to boil. That’s hot, alright. Another dog “I pulled into the crowded parking lot at the shopping center and rolled down the car window to make sure my Labrador retriever pup had fresh air. “She was stretched full-out on the back seat and I wanted to impress on her that she must remain there. “I walked to the curb backwards, pointing my finger at the car and saying emphatically, ‘Now you stay. Do you hear me? Stay! Stay!’ The driver of a nearby car gave me a strange look and said, ‘Why don’t you just put it in Park?’” (Thanks to Carol Dionne.) Why women prefer dogs 1. Dogs go to the beach to swim, not for the chance to ogle girls in bikinis. 2. A dog is a pack animal. A man is a six-pack animal. 3. You can train a dog in obedience. 4. A man will roll over and play dead only if you ask him to get up and make coffee. Last dog Who’s your best friend? Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour. When you open the trunk, see which one is really happy to see you. Late Bullet-in A recent news story reported on a church pastor who was urging the congregation to bring guns to church. If you’re in that church and the pastor says, “Let us pray,” you better start! In Colorado, a legislator was promoting a law making it legal to […]

Main Street by Roger Allen publisher – August 6 2009

August 6, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Health Care Insurance The debate over health care and who pays for it boggles the mind. It’s pretty well agreed that our system needs an overhaul and the future could be worse. The U.S. is the only developed country that has no comprehensive health insurance for its people. Not only that, we have the most expensive medical care prices in the world. Also the highest drug prices. That’s a sick combination. Health insurance companies as a group are firmly entrenched and don’t want any tampering with their cash cow. Same is true for drug companies, hospitals, and professional medical organizations. When Medicare was in the process of being adopted (1965), private medical insurance companies were against it, which tells you something. I’m not a fan of Big Government, but I notice that the Postal Service does a good job. I have Medicare and, under it, have had doctor visits, drugs and surgery. The difference between my hospital bill and what I paid was huge. Without Medicare, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing this column today. The medical establishment is spending $millions for lobbying against change. Part of their money goes as campaign donations to both Republican and Democratic politicians. Some of the politicians are “bought,” some not. Those who aren’t know perfectly well the donations might dry up for them. I admire them for choosing high principles over high profits for insurance companies and the drug industry. Mistaken identity Walking through San Francisco’s Chinatown, a tourist from the Midwest was enjoying the artistry of all the Chinese restaurants, shops, signs and banners. Then he turned a corner and saw a building with the sign, “Moishe Plotnik’s Chinese Laundry.” The man was startled. “Moishe Plotnik?” he wondered. “How does that belong in Chinatown?” He walked into the shop and saw a fairly standard-looking place. He could see, though, that the proprietors were clearly aware of the uniqueness of its name. Displayed for sale were baseball hats, T-shirts and coffee mugs, all emblazoned with the logo, “Moishe Plotnik’s Chinese Laundry.” The tourist selected a coffee cup as a conversation piece. Behind the counter stood a smiling old Chinese gentleman who thanked him for his purchase. The tourist asked, “Can you explain how this place got […]

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