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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

We had 15 or so people over for the State of the Union. (Sarah: "It's like our Superbowl!")

I don't think anyone in the room was particularly struck by anything Bush said. But I'm not sure what he could have said. And as Andrew Sullivan asked, Baby Friggin Einstein? That's the best they could find for a successful entrepreneur to be held up as a paragon of American ingenuity? Some lady who carefully played upon parental anxieties to sell baby-genius snake oil. Sheesh.

Anyway, I'm certainly not on board with the "surge." I don't really see how it changes the depressing facts on the ground. The current approach is obviously not working, and this is not a wholesale change of direction. Just 20,000 more troops on top of the 140,000 or so who are there now. That's approximately 14% more of the same thing that isn't working now, so don't count me optimistic. In fact, count me cynical in wondering if the administration isn't just running out the clock on the Bush presidency and hoping they don't have to be the ones to admit defeat. (I'm considering going to the anti-escalation rally in DC this weekend, though at these things you always seem to end up next to the guy yelling about how Hugo Chavez is being persecuted by the US.)

The health insurance proposal is interesting. This conservative blogger hated it. (Note, down in the comment section, multiple people agreeing that government single payer is inevitable (!).) I admit that it sounds bad to me at first blush, too -- introducing taxes on good health insurance policies. But I guess I see the point. I'll be interested to see what I think of it by the end of my Health Insurance and Managed Care course that I'm taking this quarter at Public Health. I asked my professor what he thought after class on Tuesday (the general outlines of the proposal were already available), and he thinks it's a good idea, though not a solution unto itself. It's probably dead on arrival anyway, but I'm going to keep it in mind nonetheless.

In more everyday stuff, I finished shopping classes today...looks like I'll just have class on Tuesday mornings and afternoons, and Thursday mornings. Nice and compact (until my 4th quarter class starts at Public Health). State Highway and TAing are in there, too, but I still have more open time than before. And after my thesis is done, it will actually be "free time!"

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