Monday, March 22, 2010


Historic American Moment

You can read the coverage of yesterday's health care decision in Washington in the New York Times or the Washington Post.

But no one wrote it up any clearer or better than the Globe's Konrad Yakabsuki:

The passage by the House of Representatives of Mr. Obama's $940-billion (U.S.) overhaul of the health-care system ranks with the 1935 creation of Social Security and the 1965 advent of Medicare as a milestone that will change the face and character of this country.

Presidents since Harry Truman have aspired to put the United States on the path to universal health insurance for all of its citizens, only to be out-manoeuvred by lobbyists and politicians who exploited Americans' innate suspicion of government to win the day.

That Mr. Obama got farther than all of them – farther than Kennedy, Nixon, Ford or Clinton – assures him of a legacy that only weeks ago seemed in doubt. It also infuses his presidency with a burst of renewed potential to build on.

It is discouraging that this struggle became so ugly, so partisan, so personal.

In the end, the vote hinged on Obama's promise to sign an executive order that would ban federal funding for abortion.

In spite of that, one rabid enthusiast managed to holler out "baby killer" during the debate.

The Republicans - unwilling to consider their nearly 50 million uninsured neighbours - referred to this bill as Obama Care and the vitriol spilled forth both in public and private places.

The cost of health care is double that of other Western nations with considerably less positive results and deliveries of service - unless, of course, you have the loot to pay for the best attention.

The President had moments ago to also abandon any hope of what was being called "the public option."

Americans, with their long-bred - and often admirable and healthy - streaks of individualism and dislike of big government simply cannot see their way to anything that would resemble that health care porgrams that define Canada, France and Great Britain, among others.

This enormous - admittedly flawed - step is a great triumph for citizens.

It is also a huge triumph for the President.

On both scores, I say, "Good on you!"


It is not often that we see a new thing.

This morning I saw a new thing.

A little bird - I think it's a junco - kept repeatedly flying off the pine tree in my front yard and onto a tiny sill on my bedroom window.

It would tap on the window several times and then flit off.

Only to return moments later and repeat this hopeless gesture.






You the know the cute little ferry boats that ply the False Creek waters between Granville Island and the rest of the known world?

There are two separate companies operating these. One has blue hulled boats and the other rainbow stripes.

Both were born just prior to Expo 86 and they have been thriving ever since, including expanding dock locations the outer reaches of Yaletown and the Science World.

What is important to remember at this juncture is that when these small businesses were first proposed, the sitting City Council scoffed.

"What do we need that for?"

Deja vu, baby.

Vancouver says goodbye to Olympic streetcar

Here's the central problem and what makes it all wrong for us:

It is apparently "very efficient, very clean, very fast."

Well, why the heck would we want that?

City staff have suggested it would cost $90-million in capital costs to buy cars, build a works yard and take other measures to make the streetcar permanent.

I don't believe that.

Do you?

The thing runs every six minutes less than 2 k and we already have one or two cars.

What do they need? An occasional lube 'n oil job?

There has got to be another story lurking in the salal here.

Vat is it, mein schatz?