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Hey Barry! Let's get this clear, as between us.

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Ed Tubbs
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Let's say you received notice from the city that your tree's branches have grown to a point that public safety is imperiled. The branches are surrounding the overhead electric and telephone lines. You have been given two options. You can have the city trim back the branches, and the charge that will be a lien on your property taxes will be $500. Or you can have a private contractor do the same work, which your shopping research has revealed will run a net 25% more; $625.


Let's also stipulate that you're a very conservative business-person.


I do not care . . . Mr. (or Ms.) Business-person, ideology considered, you just will not pay that additional $125 for the sake of philosophical purity. You would not do that because to do that would be COMPLETELY STUPID!  No, your response would be, "Socialism be damned, have the city do the work."


But paying an additional 25% (For-profit private insurance's year-in/year-out 30% administrative costs, less Medicare's year-in/year-out 5% administrative costs) is EXACTLY what the Republicans and the conservative Democrats in the senate are proposing we should do, relative to healthcare reform legislation.


The local Palm Springs newspaper is Gannett's Desert Sun. As with most, if not all, newspapers, the Desert Sun runs a fleet of delivery trucks. "Desert Sun" is scrawled across both sides and the back; absolutely impossible to miss . . . or mistake for anything other than what the vehicle is. Yesterday the paper ran the story about this 17-year old kid who hijacked one of the trucks. Kicked the driver out of the seat. Everything. Then took off.


I know nothing of the perp's parent(s), or his homies. But it left me recalling Jay Leno's interview with actor Hugh Grant. Grant was the actor who, while married to Elizabeth Hurley, one of the planet's more attractive women, had himself orally serviced by a prostitute . . . in his car. In what is now part of the lexicon referring to anything beyond incomprehensibly stupid, Leno asked Grant, "What the hell were you thinking?" Unspoken, but implicit in the question is the tag: Just how stupid are you . . . really?


Steal a newspaper truck. Ya know . . . "What the hell were you thinking?" And, of course, "Just how stupid are you . . . really?"


Ask anyone to pay 25% more for a service than they need to. Ya know . . . "What the hell were you thinking?" And, "Just how stupid do you think we are . . . really?"


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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."
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