ObamaCare’s little secret (or: why Republicans hate Pelosi so much)

July 6th, 2012 by EJB

Well well. Seems that there’s a surprise in ObamaCare for our wonderful elected representatives, one that explains why Boehner, Cantor and Rubio and McConnell et al are frothing at the bit about it: It applies to them!

Yes! Our Fearless Leaders in D.C. are required by the Affordable Care Act, the one recently upheld against all odds by our non-partisan (sic) Supreme Court, required to get their insurance from the same pool that the rest of us do.

Here’s the relevant section. You’ll find Section 1312, aka "Consumer Choice" on page 81 of the law’s text .(that’s the text’s page number, not the PDF’s.)


(i) REQUIREMENT.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are—

(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or

(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

(ii) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:

(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS.—The term ‘‘Member of Congress’’ means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.

(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF.—The term ‘‘congressional staff’’ means all full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.

Alone among life on this earth…

July 4th, 2012 by EJB

…we are aware of the time we have lost and the time we have left. This is the source of our anger and our cruelty.

Repairs underway

April 10th, 2012 by Ed

I finally got back to writing for this blog after a hiatus both mental and physical, only to find the latest WordPress upgrades had tossed  finding and opening posts somewhere to the east of possible. I’m working on repairs now – all the old posts should now be accessible again – and will be adding more forthwith.

Thanks for your patience. More words coming soon.



Familiarity breeds… Boredom? Anxiety? Disdain? How about night terrors?

April 16th, 2011 by Ed

A shadowy figure broke into my house, into my room, into my dreams. In that way dreams have of telling us what’s going on I knew he was a burglar but he didn’t seem interested in burgling anything. All he did was cut me. Over and over he cut me: slices to my ears, stabs on my face, cuts to my arms and hands… painful small cuts, the kind that, added up to 10,000, cause death. Oh, those cuts. They hurt. I screamed.

The scream woke me up. I shuddered, shook my head at the horror of the nightmare and fell back into sleep – and  back into the dream.

The cutting man was still there. Not a gloater, he was nothing like Hollywood Evil. Just a man with a grim task to do. His knife looked like a scalpel, blood ran from my cuts. Why was he doing this? Why didn’t I fight back? If he was the thief the dream insisted he was, why didn’t he just take something and go? Read the rest of this entry »

I could never go through what you’re going through…”

January 10th, 2011 by Ed

I’ve heard this comment from friends and family and even strangers for five years now and it always makes me uncomfortable. Something’s off with it; somehow the sentiment just doesn’t ring true.

Thanks to Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain – I’m carrying out my vow to re-read this magnificent and complicated book – I’m learning why the remark causes such unease. I think I understand how the words do not say what they are meant to say.

It’s meant to be a kindness, even a salute. “I don’t know how you do it! I couldn’t,” someone will say to those of us fighting chronic illness or life-or-death health battles. Our treatments, our pain, the unending doctor visits and hospitalizations – they seem unendurable, impossible to someone looking at it all from the healthy “outside”. Read the rest of this entry »

Disasters that come from the mouth

January 9th, 2011 by Ed

The guy with the gun pulled the trigger in Tucson. But the constant vitriol of hate and demonization by political “leaders” and others helped set the stage.

In 1998, there was a flurry of anti-gay hate speech. Religious groups, sports figures and politicians fell over each other in their eagerness to get in front of a camera and denounce homosexuals, all because President Clinton had appointed James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel’s sin was being gay.

In June of that year, Trent Lott, then Senate Majority Leader, happily pandered to his base by upping the volume of venom considerably, very publicly comparing gays to alcoholics, sex addicts and kleptomaniacs, characterizing gays as sinners and a “problem to be solved.” Read the rest of this entry »

Chronic choices

December 8th, 2010 by Ed

I’m hanging steady these days. No hospital overnights, few “procedures”, no new diseases to compliment the half-dozen or so I’ve already collected. People tell me I look better. Yoga has strengthened my body and, it seems, the remaining bits of my mind. Life is good, then, as good as it has been for a while.

So I’m celebrating, right? Well… yes and no. Its not just downward-facing-dog poses, attentive doctors and luck that’s improved things. I made a choice – one of those choices where, to gain one thing you must sacrifice another. I’m doing it solo because no doctor would ever agree.

I’ve been around a lot of sick people and one of the most stubborn rules of thumb I’ve observed is this: Read the rest of this entry »

A Fake Society for a Fake World

November 4th, 2010 by Ed

From Hollywood to Oprah, seems like is taking a swipe at Mark Zuckerberg and his thrown-together monster, Facebook. I got burned by the two-faced beast too…

Every geek, techie and IT pro I know has exactly the same opinion of Facebook: Don’t. Go. There. Ever. Facebook is a giant con, they all say, a tentacled medusa crafted to steal personal information, parse it into marketable chunks for sale to the highest bidder. Privacy, as we have been informed by Zuckie, is dead.

I adhere – or did – to the no-Facebook ethic. It wasn’t hard: 25 years ago with a single PC and a database program now known only to aging geeks I extracted personal info from tiny, innocuous client lists that made my conscience burn. I know well what can be – is being – done with the terabytes of personal info that everyone is shoveling onto the ‘net.

That’s not the only thing about Facebook that makes me queasy. A virtual social network? Posting life’s little conceits and embarrassments on some public wall? Friending as a verb? Unfriending? How very high school. Ugh. My dislike is not unique: “I hate the very idea of it,” is a critique I’ve heard and read many times.

Read the rest of this entry »

A scathing exit

October 15th, 2010 by Ed

I heard an interview on Fresh Air with Tony Judt, a British and American historian, or, as he preferred to call himself, a teacher of history. Judt’s interview with Terry Gross starts with his battle with ALS, which consumed the last two years of his life. As compelling as that story is, it was his description of his last book, dictated during his medical travails, that riveted me.

Ill Fares the Land is a summing up of the lessons Judt learned from his lifetime of studying and analyzing the 20th century.

Short and to the point, the book is a brutally honest description of our world today: what we’ve we’ve surrendered as a society and who we’ve surrendered to.

Given the hellacious election season now underway in sad and mad America, what Judt says about politics and politicians pierced like a honed dagger.

Below is an excerpt describing our current crop of “leaders” that really caught me.

Ill Fares The Land

By Tony Judt
pg 133-135

The men and women who dominate western politics today are overwhelmingly products or, in the case of Nicolas Sarkozy, byproducts of the ’60s. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are all ‘baby boomers’. So are Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the ‘liberal’ prime minister of Denmark; Segolene Royal and Martine Aubry, the bickering challengers for leadership of France’s anemic Socialist Party and Herman Van Rompuy, the worthy but underwhelming new President of the European Union.

Read the rest of this entry »

Off topic: Descent, a poem

September 30th, 2010 by EJB

If you are, have been, or may become a Rod Serling fan, you’ll understand how I came to write this poem a few years ago while staring out the window on a long flight.


by Ed Brownson

Through acrylic
I expect to see Rod Serling sitting on wing
Legs crossed, flashing that famous half smile
A tray table in front of him fastened to nothing
Holds his ancient Underwood, the sort with
Circular keys in bleacher rows and the “W”
Improbably missing. Lack of a “W” is no
Impediment for Rod: his forefingers push
Letters onto a sheet of paper carefully
Avoiding the bare metal lurking between
The “Q” and the “E”.

Once in a while
He leans back for a frown or forward
Into a thought and I worry he’s conjuring the deep
Or bringing us down on some crepuscular
Island where deception holds court and Rod has
A lock on the rules because – no question here –
He wrote them. Then turbulence, and all of us
Who chose window over aisle press eyeballs
To plastic thinking angels or speed bumps or
Aliens at least but Rod just flashes the rest of his
Smile and shrugs.

Now the Underwood
Transforms into a flight recorder box – how in hell
Do I know what that thing is? – and unflappable
Rod starts tearing it apart. I bang on the window
Loudly objecting: dismantling a recorder while sky
Diving doesn’t seem very wise. Next, no warning
We’re inside a cloud and Rod and the tray table
And the box disappear along with the wing
As if we’d snapped tight those cheap shutters
That cover the windows. Long seconds pass by
Before we break back into blue.

Rod’s gone!
No sign of his seat on the wing, no tray, no
Recorder even the Underwood’s not to be found.
Panicked I crawl over the guy snoring next to me
Sprawl across a couple in the seats beyond the aisle
Hoping he’s only switched wings, but Rod’s not there
And I have to think hard about where else I can
Look ‘cause I really need to ask him how to write
A story with no “W’s” and while I’m at it find out
Why his skinny black necktie never once
Blew out in the wind.



I’ve published Descent with a Creative Commons license.
You can print the poem but you can’t rewrite it and  you can’t publish it without contacting me.

Creative Commons License