The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Is the Iron Man Connection?

Riot squad
Riot squad (Photo credit: daveblume)

        It's November now.  Days are darker and colder in my part of the world and perhaps yours.  Holidays are coming, jobless figures are probably not true, and no one knows for certain about tomorrow or even today.

        I'm not going to make any predictions because I don't know anything.  And I'll keep this post relatively short since I'm not going to say much of anything.

       In the past I might have been able to say, "All I know is what I read in the papers."  That's what humorist Will Rogers once famously said.  These days I don't know what the papers, television, or radio are really telling me.  Some of it might be true, but what they call news and commentary is so confuddled  with the additions of lies, half-truths, and diversions that I could probably read comic books and watch superhero movies and be just as informed.

       Social media experts often suggest that a way to increase blog traffic is to post a list.   So I'm just going to toss out some names.  I'll leave it up to you to do the research if you want to.  Odds are you won't want to.  Research takes time and who's got time to look at what someone like me says.  I'm just Blogman.  And besides, most of this list seems pretty random.  Or not.

Who are these people and why are they on this list?
George Washington

Jim Bowie

Francis Bellamy

Adolf Hitler

Gutzon Borglum

John Wayne

Vernon Jarrett --Read his 1979 foreign affairs piece in The St Petersburg Independent (page 14 of 30 or 19-A)

Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour (what was he up to in the 1970's?)

Valerie Bowman Jarrett

Toni Townes-Whitley (A search of the web will turn up several articles about her)

Miley Cyrus

Tony Stark/Iron Man

A well-known powerful married couple (I leave it to you to figure out who they are)

         The answers are blowing in the wind and the wind is starting to pick up a bit. I think it's time to rake up the leaves that are still in the yard.  Are you one of the leaves?

           Anybody been knocking at your door since the trick-or-treaters left?   Seen or heard about any strange activity lately?   Do you have any idea what this post is about?    Do you care?  Do you find that using a list on a blog post increases your traffic?

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  1. I don't post many lists. Maybe I should try one. Worked for Letterman, right?

  2. Alex-- Funny lists worked for Letterman and they became an expected part of his schtick. A blog list is usually ineffective for drawing traffic unless a strong tease is in the title. Then the effectiveness of the list is only increased if the information is valuable to the reader or particularly interesting in some way that encourages the reader to share with others. In the case of this post my title is ambiguous and does not have a big draw factor and my list has no explanations provided. This post is ineffective as a means to increase traffic because of poor title and list and too much effort is required for the visitor to figure out.

    Hopefully I'm gather data for a blog science experiment that can be used for a future post.


  3. I've heard of most of those people, but not all of them. You've piqued my curiosity!

  4. Matthew-- This post started with one name I never knew about and as often happens my Google search turned into a one thing leads to another sort of craziness. Add to that my demented mind and voila!--a crazy list. There are some things here that really started making me think more and brought old things that I already knew something about. Everything in the world is interconnected. Six degrees of separation.


  5. Seems like you're being lazy,asking people who come for your blog for content to create it themselves. I have no idea what this is about and your offhand attitude makes me not only not care, but resent being lured here from Facebook.

    Since you asked. :)

  6. Nighfala-- Great reaction and I appreciate you stopping by to offer your thoughts. Firstly I'm curious to know how you saw this on Facebook. Are you a friend? Or did my announcement show up on another page?
    My "offhand attitude" is part of my frequent blogging style--those who read regularly might be somewhat accustomed to it by now or are annoyed by it. As far as my "being lazy", I am illustrating what might be the possible laziness of readers or the disinterest in what I've presented. Keep in mind I am doing a blog science experiment as I explore what increases traffic, what stifles comments, etc. The material in this list is too much to contain in one blog post that would hold my readers' attention for the most part. I have offered an option to explore, a challenge to think, and an opportunity to discuss some things that puzzled me when I started exploring them. The latter option will come from those who are interested.

    One thing that I see in today's experiment is that I lured you from FB. How? Since you probably won't see my response here I will probably have to deduce the answer, but something worked. This is part of my experiment from the aspect of social media promotion.

    If you do see this I hope you will add to my knowledge. Sorry that you felt that I wasted your time or whatever negative feelings.


  7. Hello, I have not got one clue. That's honesty for you. I found you through a link which my fellow blogger Gary (klahanie) posted on FB. He likes to spread the word.

  8. All Con. -- Thanks for looking at least. I don't think it's too difficult to figure out what I'm construing from my list of names, but it takes more time than most would want to invest and it's a topic of limited interest. I found some of the info kind of creepy myself and then I threw in some other names just to expand the conspiracy. Yes, there is conspiracy theory in all of this. But in essence this post is a blog experiment that I'm playing with. I hope some readers will give me some harder data to work with.



  9. Hi lee, we're FB friends. I just hapoen to be logged into a different account on my phone at the moment. No truly negative feelings.

    I work in marketing and media and content is a huge thing. People don't have time to figure out ibscure clues. They are clicking through quickly, as I am now while at work, and need relevant, easy to digest, appealing content. Keep it short, interesting and to the point.

    Christine Hardy

  10. Thanks so much for stopping by Lee, both the blog and the launch party! It was great to see you and we were so pleased that you could make it. :D


  11. I know who all these people are and before I finished reading the list, I knew what the intent of this exercise was.

    It's all about another Obama conspiracy theory. All that's missing here are names relating to his birth certificate and college credentials. Whoever put this list together, didn't put the following names in by mistake. In fact, they are the core of the list and here to "prove" that Obama and his "machine" have designs on altering the landscape of America. If you don't believe me, ignore most of the list and just concentrate on these names (they all relate to what I just said):

    Francis Bellamy, Gutzon Borglum, Vernon Jarrett, Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour, Valerie Bowman Jarrett and Toni Townes-Whitley.

    This whole thing is getting very boring. The American people have spoken about who they want as president (twice). It's time for people to get on with their lives. In case anybody is wondering. I'm an Independent and do not vote along the lines of either major party. I vote issue and candidate specific.

    In a nutshell, this post was an attempt to forward a very radical political position, without coming out and saying it directly. Everything else about this post is an smokescreen.

  12. Lee-

    I had no idea you were such a radical! And an Obama conspiracy theorist to boot!

    Shame on you for attempting to forward your radical views.

    And how dare you insinuate anything about Obama when the American people have voted him in (twice).

    Certainly, that is a mandate, and therefore no criticism of any kind is permitted!

    I would throw out one thing to Mr. Tillett, who seems to take great exception to your blog.

    Every president attempts to change the landscape of America! That's what they campaign on. One could argue that the amount of deficit spending alone under this administration has changed that landscape, and certainly, his legacy is going to be PPACA, for better or worse. And that will have changed the landscape.

    We are almost certainly headed towards a single payor health care system (even if Obama had not made statements indicating this was his direction, it makes sense that employers will gravitate towards the tax rather than maintaining costly benefit programs). Whether you like that idea or not, it certainly changes the landscape of America.

    It seems to me that only those with blind faith in Obama are the ones who find any kind of discussion about his (lack of) performance "boring."

    And as for "getting on with their lives," I think Americans would like to, but someone failed to deliver on that promise to rebuild the economy....


  13. Nighfala (Christine) -- Your reply provides some insight as who is reading and who is paying attention to responses. Thank you for returning.

    ...content is a huge thing. People don't have time to figure out obscure clues. They are clicking through quickly,... and need relevant, easy to digest, appealing content. Keep it short, interesting and to the point.

    This is part of what I've been touching upon over my last few weeks of posts and what my future post based on today's findings will be about. It's interesting to see who is commenting on today's post and how they are responding. Great feedback, Christine. Thank you!


  14. Alana -- Had a great time and will be posting about it soon.


  15. You're starting to remind me JJ Abrams but not in a good way. Not that I don't enjoy a good puzzle.

    I'm pretty sure I'm not a leaf. I'm more like wind chimes, I think.

  16. Pat -- Thank you for reading and recognizing some of what was going on in this post. I compiled this list on my own. I started with one item that I found very interesting and then as I began researching starting finding some connections (maybe). The list is the result of free association on my behalf to some extent and to links I found connected with certain people. It was a typical Google meandering.

    It's all about another Obama conspiracy theory.

    It's a conspiracy of which Obama plays a part but he's just another puppet in the grand circus of history. My search did not start with Obama but strangely that's somehow where I was led.

    This whole thing is getting very boring.

    I agree with that statement but probably in a different way than it was intended. Then again maybe boring is not a good description for the way I see it.

    Keep in mind that I was playing with my blog last Monday night when I put this post together. My inspiration came from a discussion I had engaged in with a group of people earlier that evening.

    My posting this as I stated earlier is a blogging experiment which I will discuss in an upcoming post. In a way it was a test for my readers. You get a good grade for your comment.


  17. I have no idea what your blog post is about but then again I'm horrible at riddles. If that was indeed a riddle. I've never used a list on my blog that I know of...I am unsure how that would increase blog traffic though.

  18. Larry -- You also deserve a good grade for your test response. Maybe you and Pat don't agree, but there is engagement and I don't find that boring in the least.

    Every president attempts to change the landscape of America!

    So true and I don't even know if I'm as concerned as what this administration does as I am the next. This country may be heading in a direction that our idealism did not anticipate.

    It seems to me that only those with blind faith in Obama are the ones who find any kind of discussion about his (lack of) performance "boring."

    This is not just a problem with the Obama fans, but a number of others as well. There are many for whom free speech is only for certain speakers. If there is a problem we should be willing to discuss it and come up with solutions amenable to all parties. Impossible? Maybe, but it doesn't hurt to try. This is still kind of a democracy I guess--maybe.


  19. Cruising through quickly today. If your experiment is to see whether an obscure topic and list will generate interest beyond your usual suspects, well then, I think you've got an answer.

  20. Andrew -- I don't recall why I got turned off by Abrams. I think it was because of some TV show that he was involved with that really began to annoy me. I'd probably have to search it out on the internet and that might result in another puzzle post.

    Be careful. Sometimes wind chimes can be pretty annoying.


  21. JoJo-- My post here is not so much a riddle as it is a research project and then a discussion.

    Lists increase blog traffic if done the proper way. I have no delusions that my list will increase traffic in any way. No one knows that there is a list here before coming here and when they get here they don't particularly like my list or want to think about it.

    This post is mostly a comment-killer as well as my own little plaything in the interest of blog science research.


  22. I have a few reasons that Abrams paired with TV annoy me, but one of them is his tendency to make it so that you can't just enjoy watching the TV show. If you want to know what's going on, you have to also be involved with the show online so you can gather clues and crap. He did the same thing with Cloverfield. On the one hand, it's a neat idea, but, really, I have kids, and that kind of time demand isn't really considerate.

    And that's exactly what I meant about the wind chimes.

  23. Jagoda -- So far I'm not seeing as many of my normal commenters, but I am getting some comments from people I haven't seen here in a long time or have never seen here.

    You're undoubtedly quite familiar with research studies. Mine is very unscientific, but goes along with my traffic posts over the past few weeks. Not sure what to make of the data yet, but my expectations have been met as far as what readers are willing to invest in a post with many links and subject matter that requires research and deeper thought.

    Probably didn't have to test this, but bloggers are entitled to some play time now and then aren't they?


  24. Andrew -- Okay, I looked up Abrams. Revolution. I keep watching the show even though it drives me nuts. I thought Cloverfield was kind of cool in a way.

    But I know what you're saying about the amount of investment we are willing to make in something like a TV show. My investment in personal research is one thing, but to enjoy a TV show or movie I just want to have it all in one place and not drawn out.

    If Revolution had just been made into a movie it would have been much better. I do like the story concept.


  25. I assume all those people on the list tried to make huge changes?

    Disconnected's comment both made me chuckle and made me nod my head, especially the part about employers opting to pay the tax rather than provide insurance. And since Obamacare might end up affecting our household (insurance would go from $2200 a year to $8000 - my husband already checked options) it's a sore spot for me right now.

  26. Alas, I only have a glint as to the full meaning of your post so I shall keep my mouth shut. I would however, as a Canadian, like to wish the American people a health care system that leaves no one out or anyone bankrupt. I only bring this up because someone else mentioned health care.

    I have seen republican politicians on television call our health care system comunist. I have to laugh when I hear this. Canadians and our political system are so far from comunistic it's laughable. You won't find a single Canadian who would trade their health care for the American way. (Not an attempt at being rude)

    I can walk into any hospital for any ailment and not be refused help AND after I recieve that help, I don't have to pay anyone anything. I had an operation in February of this year. I showed up. They did the operation. I went home, and I didn't have to take out a second mortgage to do it.

    Doctors take an oath to "do no harm" and that means not having the right to choose wealthy patients over poor ones. I wish all Americans the kind of health care we have here in Canada. Everyone being treated equal no matter what your ailment.

    I'm not saying our system is perfect, because it isn't, but as far as being a system that treats every single Canadian the same, I wouldn't trade it. There's a reason we pay taxes and I'm quite happy to pay my share if it means no one is left behind - we pay taxes for a lot less noble reasons!

    Sorry Lee, bet you didn't think your experiment would end up here!

  27. LOL. I have no idea what your post was about. I am so distrustful of all media I'm starting to think I might be paranoid.

  28. L.Diane -- Sorry for your family's insurance issues. Hopefully my wife's will stay in place and I hope they don't kick me off of it.

    Wendy-- Yes, health care was not on my mind so much when I started my post though I guess I did tap into that controversy with the reference to Canadian company CGI.

    Susan GK-- Maybe we all need some healthy distrust of media and government if not downright paranoia.


  29. I'm really curious as to what connects everybody on here Lee, it's getting colder over here as well, today I noticed it was 4 degrees which a quick Fahrenheit conversion tells me would be about 40 so as you can see it's getting unpleasant here as well, I guess we just have to soldier it though!

  30. I don't know if I've ever done a list...not intentionally, if I have!

  31. I have a co-worker who could probably get to the bottom of the list in about two minutes- or would like to think she could. I hear about Valerie Jarrett more than I care to. However, to my mind, Obama's a big enough idiot that thank God SOMEONE's running the country for him!

    Frankly, I've been more fascinated by the negative comments and their reasoning. In that sense, I'd say at least part of your experiment is a success. I do love to research some things, but this one isn't a bunny trail that I smell a carrot for Chris at the end of.

    I do have to say one thing- I didn't get "offhand attitude" or how you doing the research to pull together a list and then having people look the elements up for themselves is you being lazy. Maybe you should have used more pictures of Homer Simpson to illustrate your point.

  32. Lee-

    I wanted to respond to Wendy Ryan with a question-did you hear people call your health care plan "communist" or "socialist?"

    All insurance is, by nature, a socialist industry. Even though premiums are underwritten differently for people with different levels of risk, the losses on any one insured life are usually far in excess of the premiums collected. So the insurance company looks to make a profit on all policies in aggregate.

    I am by no means an expert in Canadian lifestyle, but I used to spend a fair amount of time in Toronto in the 80's and 90's while working for a large insurer, and I remember two things.

    (1) Our company sold an enhancement to the national plan (presumably that only the wealthier Canadians could afford)

    (2) There were stories in the news every time I visited about people leaving the province to seek care in the US because it could be had quicker. Again, presumably wealthier people who would afford to pay cash.

    Many Canadian celebrities in the US also rave about the Canadian plan-although I notice they do not avail themselves of it.

    The US plan is far from perfect, but it does allow for a lot of innovation and quick access (albiet if you have money or insurance), although at a higher cost than most of the rest of the world.

    I am against the idea of a US national plan because authority for it is not granted by our Constitution.

    If I set that aside, I see two barriers.

    (1) How do you pay for it?

    Although the Obama plan was sold as a "pay for yourself" idea, premium costs have increased annually as different provisions are implemented.

    This should come as no surprise, as you do not get something for nothing-cover more people, incur more costs. Seems simple.

    Sadly, most Americans are not as willing to incur the extra out-of-pocket charge as Ms. Ryan. They really thought they were getting something for nothing.

    (2) What will it do to impede access to care?

    In a country where you can get anything you want at three in thye morning, I do not think that Americans are ready for the wait times that will accompany this increase in covered oatients. As we saw when HMO's were implemented, if you let people go to the doctor for free, they will (oddly enough) go to the doctor more often. So while the Canadian system (and most European systems) treat everyone the same, they treat them the same at a much slower pace than in the US.

    All that said, I would agree with Ms. Ryan that if forced t make a choice, I would rather be taxed for health care for all than many of the other less humane reasons we are currently taxed for.


  33. Yeamie -- It's very rare for us to make it down to 40 here in Southern California. Here it's cold if it's in the 50's.

    Stephanie -- If you ever decide to do a list on your blog, I have given you an example of how not to do it.

    CW-- Thank you! You said what I was thinking there at the end. And I really wasn't trying to be offhand--just true to my style. I'd never heard of Valerie Jarrett until I started hopping down this bunny trail. I wasn't even looking for anything about Obama. My search just took me to Obama's doorstep.


  34. Larry -- I'm glad you said this because you know more about it than I do and said it better. I have heard many of the things you mention here. Thanks for jumping in with excellent information.


  35. I am late to the party. I made it halfway through the list before I decided that cover-ups had to figure in there somewhere.

    I agree with LC's comments regarding any President "desiring to change the American landscape" and the ACA being a disaster.

    I just finished watching a new show on NBC called The Blacklist. I was still uncertain about whether or not I liked it when this scene happened at the beginning of Reddington (James Spader) and Liz (Megan Boone) sitting in front of The White House. Reddington says something like, "People still believe that they vote the person who runs the country into office. Little do they know that multi-national corporations and criminals have been doing that job for years. It doesn't make ANY DIFFERENCE who is elected."

    Hellooooo. Is anyone listening????

  36. Robin -- You're never too late to my parties. Um, I'm not sure that cover-ups are the right word. Actually, like the quotes from the TV show suggest, what's happening is right in front of us but many choose not to listen and make up their own story or are just too preoccupied with other things to notice what will eventually affect their lives in a big negative way. I often hear things like "what can I do?" or "Well, I don't want to worry (think) about it?" I'll have to check out that show. Sounds interesting.


  37. List posts are the bread and butter of Geek Twins. They're our most popular posts, by a wide margin. I've even taken some straightforward posts originally written as essays and turned them into list posts, and seen their numbers go up. I think it's the psychological effect of seeing something organized and also saying, "You only have to look at X number of points" even if each one if two or three paragraphs long.

    I took one look at that list and I give up. I don't see the connection.

  38. Nigel -- My guess is that you have something in your blog post title that indicates there is a list of some sort in the post and the list has a wide range of interest or high curiosity factor. What I've done says nothing about a list that would attract those who like lists. To get the connections you would have to study each entry a bit and there are some you might not even see the connection between them unless you were thinking in terms of conspiracy. The links at the bottom of the post offer some clues.


  39. Wow, Lee I would never have guessed or gone to the time and trouble to follow the links so I'm glad to have the riddle sorted, and well done on those who did.

    I am amazed that some hosts use lists. And bloggers too. I guess I would follow the links if I saw a thread that was interesting to me...

    Thank you ..this was interesting.

  40. Susan -- I don't think the lists bloggers present usually have links since following links is a hassle for most visitors as we have seen in these comments. Maybe some links if there is some benefit to have them, but a complete list of links bugs a lot of visitors.

    Actually the real riddle--if you want to call it that--was not absolutely solved.


  41. I haven't read through all of the comments, but does this have something to do with Bob Dylan? Well whatever it is, you've certainly gotten everyone's attention. I will just have to tune back in...


  42. Discconnected - I didn't take any exception at all to Lee's blog. Nor do I think he was trying to insinuate anything at all. I was just trying to figure out the puzzle he presented.

    I do however, take exception to what you are saying. You have no idea what my opinions are on anything at all. When I said it was boring, I was referring to all the conspiracies. I would love to argue with you, but based on what you've said in comments here, I'm pretty sure I'd be eating your lunch on every subject you would care to discuss.

    One statement you makes that fact perfectly clear.

    You said that "All insurance is, by nature, a socialist industry."

    That might be the most absurd statement I've ever heard. If there is ANYTHING that insurance isn't, it's a "socialist industry." Did you forget that both before and during Obamacare, that the insurance is provided by PRIVATE for-profit health insurance companies? And these insurance companies will continue to compete against each other in the insurance market place.

    Based on that fact alone, Obamacare is CLEARLY a capitalistic free-market program.

    Quit listening and start thinking for yourself.
    I apologize for this Lee, but I'm not going to take that kind of guff from the likes of this guy...

  43. Um ... honestly, I have no idea what connects all these names! But I see in the comments that some people are mentioning an Obama conspiracy ... Can I blame my not knowing what you're talking about on the fact that I'm not American and not living in America?!

  44. I agree with Rachel, I'm in Canada after all. Some of those names I know and I don't have the time, or maybe the inclination, to research every name I don't know. But you certainly got lots of responses Lee so this worked on some level.

  45. Julie -- You're incorrect, but I love your introduction of Bob Dylan into the interpretation. I should have saved that line as a clue for a BOTB Bob Dylan song. And in some ways I suppose this could relate to Bob Dylan--or I could have added his name to the list.

    Pat-- Actually, I've met Larry in person and have corresponded with him on blogs for years and he's a very nice guy. You'd probably like him if we were in a face to face. The interchange between the two of you shows the difficulty in having a debate discussion format where nuances and Q & A exchanges can't come with immediacy. I see what Larry is saying about the insurance and he oughta know something since he works in insurance in a pretty big way. As is often the case I think the two of you may be talking about different things and clarification comes slow in an online exchange.
    Larry is a very analytical guy and is reliable, as you are very perceptive and intelligent and can draw good conclusions based on the facts at your disposal. Thanks for listening in to the ongoing discussion and returning to express your reactions.

    Rachel -- It doesn't matter where you live the list in my eye has worldwide implications. The comment section basically took on a life of its own based on the preponderance of leanings hinted at by the names I included here.


  46. DiscConnected: I’ll start at the beginning and go paragraph by paragraph.

    Yes, the word “communist” was used.

    Canada does not operate on an “insurance company” model. Every Canadian is insured through a combination effort of the Federal Government and Provincial or Territorial Governments.

    No, you aren’t. Most mid size to larger companies in Canada provide their employees with some ancillary medical services to cover those that their individual Province does not. Most of these ancillary services cover things like, dental and eye care.

    You would have to show me written/video proof of Canadians leaving Canada to seek U.S. medical treatment. That would be ludicrous and no one could afford it. In Canada we have the right to go “out of Province” as it is called, to seek treatment faster elsewhere in our country – while most of this won’t cost us anything extra, some provinces are set up with private clinics where you can pay to get some things done quicker; ie: MRI etc. People travel to other Provinces all the time for specialized treatment and we still don’t pay extra.

    I don’t know any Canadian celebrities personally, nor do I believe what rag mags say, so I cannot comment on, nor do I care where those who now live in the States, chose to get their medical care – either way, they can afford it.

    Your Constitution was written so long ago that you might want to consider it needs an update. (no disrespect implied). Dentists no longer pull out your teeth with pliers if you know what I mean.

    How do you pay for anything in your Country?? If the United States gave just a fraction of the money it spends on starting wars and participating in them for years, to health care – you would be amazed at what could be accomplished. We are all going to pay taxes anyway, why not pay them to serve life instead of death?

    “Sadly, most Americans are not as willing to incur the extra out-of-pocket charge as Ms. Ryan.” I have not incurred any out of pocket expenses – I don’t know what this means and I don’t think you do either. I will reiterate. Everyone, including you, pay taxes. It’s a choice what our individual governments spend them on and no one in Canada is stupid enough to believe that they are getting something for nothing. Both our countries are run on the backs of the taxpayers.

    I’m quite sure you haven’t been in a Canadian hospital at three in the morning and I am offended that you are likening the experience of a Canadian citizen who is suffering to that of an American stopping at their all night McDonald’s drive-thru. The only time I have gone to a hospital at three in the morning is when my two year old child had the flu and fever of 103 that I could not get to come down no matter what I did. When I got to emergency, the doctor said: why did you wait so long? And gave my son the care he needed. I waited because I did not want to take service away from those who may not need it more. I waited until I was certain there was nothing else I could do on my own. Our hospital emergency rooms practice triage, so a hang-nail is not going to get looked at over a child with a fever of 103.

    Just for the record – I feel quite confident that most Canadians aren’t going to bother going to emergency for a hangnail. It’s insulting that you think we have nothing better to do than flock to hospitals because they’re not asking us for money. It is clear you really don’t know much about my Country.

    Just as a side note, because I have seen this misconception before: universal health care does not mean the government tells us where to seek medical attention. We are all able to choose any doctor we please.

    TO LEE: So, so, sorry to have used your forum in this manner. My apologies but I felt I had to set the record straight. Now if you’ll excuse me, they’re serving pumpkin pie and coffee down at emerg! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  47. Wendy -- I have no problem with any commenters using my blog as a forum for discussion and so far, so good.

    I won't respond to too much except for the following:

    Yes, the word “communist” was used.
    I have not heard this used by any of our politicians. Maybe a few wacky callers to talk shows. I'd need specific evidence to know that this wasn't misheard or misunderstood.

    You would have to show me written/video proof of Canadians leaving Canada to seek U.S. medical treatment.
    I have heard numerous accounts of this for many years--even before Obamacare came into the public eye. I can't cite the sources since I wasn't paying that much attention, but I was listening closely enough to know that the gist of the argument against socialized medicine was long waiting periods for certain procedures. Just Sunday I caught a snippet of a report on a John Stossel show (yeah Fox News I know but probably just as reliable as anything else)about this same subject. It's something that's been reported for years not just about Canada but many other countries. But by the same token I've heard plenty of reports of U.S. citizens who go to Mexico, Thailand, India, and other places for medical work that is too expensive in our country. I guess there are stories to support every side to some extent.

    If the United States gave just a fraction of the money it spends on starting wars and participating in them for years, to health care – you would be amazed at what could be accomplished.
    Agreed to a certain extent on that and not just warfare. Our government wastes money on a lot of things and probably mostly on government itself. Governments--not just the U.S.--mismanage money to an extreme because they can do it I guess.

    I'll leave the rest of the rebuttal or agreement to your points to others since I don't want to get my influence overly involved here. I'm fascinated by the direction the discussion has taken.


  48. A reply to Pat Tillman-

    I would love to argue with you, but based on what you've said in comments here, I'm pretty sure I'd be eating your lunch on every subject you would care to discuss.

    Interesting, as your conclusion on insurance is incorrect.

    I've been in the insurance industry, as a financial executive and a consultant, for more than 29 years, so I think that gives me some degree of qualification to opine. Let me explain.

    Think of your car insurance. If any one person has a serious accident, there is no way for an insurance company to charge enough premium to recover that. If they paid our your policy maximum of (presumably) $150-$300K for an event, they may raise your rates but not enough to cover that.

    Instead, they count on the fact that they will have enough insureds without accidents to cover that loss. This is known as socializing the losses.

    That does not mean that insurance companies do not seek profits. Stock insurance companies certainly do, and I would even argue that a mutual insurer that runs at a loss will not remain in existence for very long.

    But the nature of the business is to socialize the risk that is being insured.

    Quit listening and start thinking for yourself.

    I do not see where it is fair that we run a name-calling contest on Lee's comment section.

    While I wanted to set the record straight on my comments about insurance being a socialized industry, it is obvious that our ideologies stem from very different places.

    If you want to continue a debate further on one of my blogs, I'd be happy to do so.


  49. Lee:

    My husband watches the following US shows with regularity: The Rachael Maddow Show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Harball, The Ed Show and more, because what happens in the US has a bearing on our country as well. I don’t remember which show it was but I do know that it was a clip they showed of a republican politician doing a good job of fear-mongering. Believe me, I know this isn’t the position of most Americans and it certainly wasn’t the opinion of the people associated with the show that showed the clip.

    Yes, you are right. I know that Canadians have sought treatment in other countries, including the United States, and I do know that a lot (not all) of those treatments are sometimes for special treatments not offered in Canada, including, but not limited to, controversial ones that have not been passed as safe treatments in our country but are sought as a last resort. Any Canadian seeking treatment in the US would have to have a lot more money than I do! I do have to say that while wait times may be longer (probably in some Provinces more so than others), I would gladly take this over a large part of our population being left to find their own health care. And yes, there will always be those with money who want it now but a privatized system doesn’t help the poor, I think we know that.

    I beg all Americans though, to check any fact about Canada that seems a little iffy (like the communist thing). As I said, we watch American T.V. a lot here in Canada and I can no longer count how many times the facts about us have been just plain wrong or misrepresented. There have been times my husband and I have turned to one another and said: “Are you kidding me?”

    Some things may be worth investigating further and sometimes maybe just go ahead a ask a Canadian. I know that politicians, regardless of where they come from, sometimes will say anything to get the voters to see things their way. They all do it.

    Love your comment on government spending. Yes, I think this can be said for a lot of governments. Let’s take away the private jets and so forth and put the money where it really matters. I think it is safe to say that no country’s government or health care system is perfect, I’m just saying that I wouldn’t trade mine for any other country’s right now.

    You are a scholar and a gentleman, Lee, and I thank you for providing a place where people can say what they want. I do, however, strongly regret breaking my one golden rule – Never talk about religion or politics! I don’t begrudge anyone an opinion, but I hate when someone hasn’t done their homework. I just have to learn to bite my tongue!!

    Best, Wendy

  50. I'm about to hit the sack after my latest 8 PM to 6 AM "Graveyard" shift, and that work schedule is why I'm so late in putting my 8.5 cents in here (read: "inflation").

    To begin with, I'm not going to attempt to defend DiscConnected's comments here because I don't need to. He can easily defend his own opinions without my help. But I WILL add a few relevant remarks before going to bed:

    "I served with DiscConnected. I know DiscConnected. DiscConnected is a friend of mine. Commenters, you are NO DiscConnected."

    I'll just quickly relate a 100% honest true story that I am personally "in the know" about before I hit that sack...

    In 1986, I began working at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where we made big bucks, had incredible health care insurance, and basically our life was a breeze because our job was partially state-funded.

    I worked in the Parking Department with an older gentleman who was born and raised in Canada. His name was Bill "Havin' Muh Lunch!" McD. (The nickname came from the fact that nearly every day he would answer a call for assistance in his Canadian accent with the words "Havin' Muh Lunch!" - which meant, "Yer on yer own!")

    But what Bill "Havin' Muh Lunch!" McD. was even more famous for was the fact that he was CONSTANTLY telling anyone who would listen to him that the day he finally retired from UCLA, he was moving back to Canada where the fish were jumpin' and the livin' was easy.

    So after some years, that time finally came and Bill "Havin' Muh Lunch!" McD. retired from his great job at UCLA and quickly moved to Canada.

    We all figured we'd seen Bill "Havin' Muh Lunch!" McD. for the last time. But about 6 to 12 months later, Bill "Havin' Muh Lunch!" McD. was back working at UCLA.

    Naturally, the first question on everyone's lips was: "Bill, why the hell did you come back HERE?!"

    And every time, Bill "Havin' Muh Lunch!" McD. replied honestly with some variation of THIS:

    "F**k Canada! I couldn't possibly live there in the style I was accustomed to! The taxes there are so f**kin' high that I would need TWO UCLA jobs to live like I was living here with just one UCLA job!"

    To put it in a nutshell, he was not only disillusioned, but pissed about what had happened to his dear Canada while he was gone.

    I can't say how much different Canada is now from how it was when Bill "Havin' Muh Lunch!" McD. returned from there circa 1990, but my guess is that (like here in the "good ol' USA") things haven't gotten better.

    And lastly...

    Pat said to DiscConnected...

    "I'm pretty sure I'd be eating your lunch on every subject you would care to discuss."

    That's pretty confident language, Bro. And since DiscConnected and I are more often than not of like minds on most issues, I'll invite you to bring that boast to MY blog any good ol' time you feel like it, and let's see if you can eat MY LUNCH TOO! (I don't have a lot of free time anymore, thanks to these "graveyard" shifts, but I would make my responses to YOU Priority #1, Hungry Man!)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  51. I've done a couple of themed book lists. I don't think list posts bring anymore traffic to my blog. It does seem to work for some, but I think it depends on what kind of list posts they do and how well established their blog traffic already is.

    I recognize some of the names on your list, but not all of them.

  52. Larry (& Pat)-- I don't know if you recall the movie Firestarter but sometimes the little girl had to pull back her power to keep the fires under control. I see can see that in a debate. I think you all have been doing a decent job of keeping things mostly civil in your interchange so you are perfectly welcome to continue on my site as long as we don't start a wild fire. I do understand what you are saying about the insurance. It's the way I've always seen it and it makes logical sense to me.


  53. Wendy -- Source means a lot when coming to conclusions. Those TV sources you cite are polar opposites from the shows on Fox and considered rather far left wing radical by many. I wouldn't draw any conclusions from those sources or trust what they say. They can edit quotes to make people sound like they said something completely different from what they really said. Fox I think is a little better but they too complete with some nutty ideas and I've caught them in manipulation via editing as well. Best thing is DON'T TRUST THE MEDIA completely as they are in pocket with the government. We need to read between the lines and draw conclusions from a combination of sources.

    Governments and corporations manipulate the people so as to make us dependent upon them. What we are seeing is not often what we are getting. No wonder there are so many conspiracy theories out here.

    The you said: I hate when someone hasn’t done their homework

    I don't think it's always an issue of people having done their homework as much as what class they are taking, who's teaching, and what textbook they are using. Source is so important.

    I think it's good to discuss (civilly) religion, politics, and other controversial issues. The reason why things become controversy is that sides don't agree and that's often because there is a lack of understanding. I too kind of avoid those topics and yet I invite the discussion because the issues have a greater bearing upon the lives of us and generations to come if we don't set errors right.


  54. StMc-- I liked that story you told and I think it's the first hand stories from people we know or talk to directly that mean more than what we hear on TV. I agree that Larry has some knowledge to back up what he says.

    Susanne -- I think the key point with lists is how relevant they are to bettering or entertaining the reader and if the notification of the list reaches the target audience. A list is initially only effective if the title states that there is a list in the post and the list sounds worth investigating. In other words "Ten ways to become wealthy" will probably draw more interest than "My ten favorite books" because the first is about the reader and the second is about the blogger. Who cares about the blogger if they don't know that person? But if they can find out how to become rich then number one comes first. Right?


  55. Hi, Wendy-

    A couple thoughts on your comments.

    First off, I’m not sure using the word “Communist” in reference to insurance could be accurate (would need to ponder it), and if you see my reply to Mr. Tillet, I was not making a judgement call when referring to insurance as “socialist.”

    You would have to show me written/video proof of Canadians leaving Canada to seek U.S. medical treatment.

    We’re talking twenty years ago, and I saw it on Toronto televised news, but I did a Google search with the text “canadian citizens seeking care in us” and found quite a few links that refer to it happening. I really have no idea how widespread it is, and I think I mentioned it was probably wealthier patients, not the average Canadian citizen.

    Your Constitution was written so long ago that you might want to consider it needs an update. (no disrespect implied).

    No offense taken! The US Constitution was written the way it was so that it would last a long time without needing to be rewritten-there are acceptable ways to amend it, which has been done 27 times.

    From what I know of Canada (by no means do I claim to be an expert), your government was modeled after the UK.

    The US was started by people who did not want a strong federal government, so they wrote a Constitution that clearly defined the powers of the federal government and reserved any other power to the states or to the people.

    There is a way to amend the Constitution, but it is a lot of work, and our leadership tends to cheat.

    PPACA (our health care law) was, in my opinion, pushed through by cheating.

    The administration claimed it was interstate commerce, however, insurance companies are licensed state by state.

    I feel the states are better poised to decide for themselves what health care laws they need, and so did our founding fathers.

    But you are certainly welcome to your own opinion on the matter.

    How do you pay for anything in your Country?? If the United States gave just a fraction of the money it spends on starting wars and participating in them for years…

    You’re preaching to the choir, my friend!

    “Sadly, most Americans are not as willing to incur the extra out-of-pocket charge as Ms. Ryan.”

    That was not meant as an insult-hope you did not take offense. I meant most Americans would object to the additional tax burden you referred to being agreeable to paying.

    Most Americans wanted to get free healthcare by taxing wealthier people and (using our presidents own words), “redistributing the wealth.”

    That quote actually is a communist concept, and quite frankly I’d challenge anyone to show me when it history it has ever worked.

    The wealthy have a way of holding onto their wealth (could it be because, at least in America, the wealthy put the politicians in office?).



    In my reply to his comment, I referred to Pat Tillett as Pat Tillman...working in Tempe AZ, the former ASU football player is a pop culture icon, hence the typo.


  57. DiscConnected: I appreciate your reply.

    I agree with your assessment of the word “communist” in this instance, but it wasn’t me who said it. And yes, like I mentioned to Lee already, I heard it with my own ears. Now, don’t worry, I wasn’t offended by it, even though it does tend to get one’s hackles up. I realized that it was the ramblings of an extreme conservative afraid to let his own constituents think for themselves.

    Yes, the wealthy will always find a way to get what they need (going to other countries) and wealthy Canadians are no exception. That’s why I have to extol my country’s system. The poor would be far worse off. I can’t imagine what it is like to not have enough money to pay for medical care or insurance for your family.

    Yes, you are correct, our government was modeled after the UK’s – we are still part of the monarchy so to speak. And yes, there is a balance between strong-arm government and a people-driven government. I do understand what your Constitution has tried to do throughout the years. And yes, I know it has been amended more than once and I hope it will continue to be amended to meet the changing needs of the American people. While I said before that my government is not perfect, I do feel we try to walk that balance beam pretty well. I feel our government is pretty darn good compared to a lot of others around the globe. Americans and Canadians have freedoms that other countries could only dream of. In that way we are much alike, my friend.

    I don’t see our paying for our healthcare through our taxes as an “additional cost”. It’s no different than infrastructure for roadways, or sewer and water. It just is.

    I know that Obamacare has been called Canadian-style, but it is nothing like it. And while I am not an expert on Obamacare, here is the difference as I see it. Please correct me if I am wrong:

    From what I understand, Obamacare is looking for a way to make it easier for Americans to buy insurance with the possibility of some sort of government programs for the extreme poor who cannot afford insurance at all. In Canada, any legal resident is automatically enrolled in a Provincial or Territorial health plan – we do not have to seek out medical insurers. The only additional health type insurance coverage we need, is in instance of eye exams and dental work.

    It is my understanding that under Obamacare there will not be a single entity that pays all costs. The care you receive will still depend on the type of insurance coverage you can afford to buy and this insurance coverage will vary by State.

    Your wait times will be based on the kind of coverage (comprehensive or not) you buy. You still have wait times, just like us, except our wait times are based on who needs the care most, regardless of how much money you earn.

    It’s really kind of funny, because when I made my first initial comment, I was very, very genuine in my wish that the American government find a fair way to bring health care to its citizens. Your government is right to look at Canada and some of the European countries as a guide – look at what works and what doesn’t and then do what is right for your own. I don’t think you are there yet. I don’t think Obamacare is the complete answer. Politicians on both sides of the fence need to stop posturing. It’s not about any one political party, it’s about the American people. My initial wish was for every American to be able to get the health care they need regardless of how much they earn and I still wish that. I would not have wanted to raise two children under any other system than the one here in Canada. It is a blessing.

    Thank you for the debate and I hold nothing you said against you. Let’s just be grateful that you and I live in countries that let us have these kinds of debates.

    Best wishes,

  58. See what did I tell you? The comments were far more fascinating than the list.

    And I'm not going to jump into it other than to say that those who wish to joust with DC and STMcC had better be better prepared than an MSNBC education will permit.

  59. Wendy and Larry-- Very good exchange. I'll just stay out of this and see where it goes.

    CW -- I had to laugh at your comment. The turn in comments was not at all what I expected and was indeed fascinating. Actually I'm not sure what I was expecting from my post other than most people would not be interested and avoid it. I think that happened for the most part, but the ones who did come to comment left some good ones.


  60. Thanks Wendy-

    I always enjoy a discussion-sharing ideas is how we learn, whether it be new information or new insight.

    Interestingly-one of the links when I did my search on Canadians receiving care in the US was to a Denver post article written by a Canadian (immigrant? expatriate?) debunking many of the myths Americans hold about the Canadian system.

    I have not read it yet, but two of her points address Canadians receiving care in the US and the relative tax burdens in each country (when you add up all of the "hidden" taxes Americans pay, we may not have a lighter burden at all, but you certainly get more for your money).

    Anyway, no offense at all, and it was great to "meet" you!


    PS-Lee, you can have your blog back now ;-)

  61. Larry -- I'm always glad to relinquish my blog to intelligent discussion. I learn things that I forget later.

    Cursed bad memory!


  62. I'm sorry, Lee, but I could not resist one last thought, a nod to Mr. McCarthy (who I thank for the support, and who worked with me at one insurer).

    Stephen-there seems to be a common thread between the debate on health care and the middle meal of the day.

    "Having muh lunch"
    "Eating your lunch"

    You yourself mention going to sleep when you might normally be having lunch!

    Maybe the problem is not in Washington after all-maybe all America needs is some lunch!



    >>... Maybe the problem is not in Washington after all - maybe all America needs is some lunch!

    Yes, but let us not forget that there is no such thing as a "free" one.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  64. Lee & Larry - You boys only came by to goad me into fighting with my 'stupid phone', didn't ya?

    Most folks have no idea as to what they're in for with Obamacare. Most likely the BEST part of it will be the rumored 'death panels'.

    Ha,ha,ha! See I'm laughing so all you Canuks and torch and pitchfork carting folks can just settle down, cause even this totally inappropriate and un-pc comment was a monumental effort.


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