Charles Pierce
Newton, MA.

Hey Doc:

“There’s a man in old Pawtucket/Sells steamed clams by the bucket/Sowhen I want clams in a bucket, I go to old Pawtucket/ ‘Cause I’m ahungry man.”

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Alright, Alright” (The New OrleansNightcrawlers): How many times do I have to tell Chuck Grassley to gethis thumb out of his ass and twitter to the world how much I love NewOrleans?

Short Takes:

Part The First: I wish the gang at Washington Monthly well withthis rosy impossible dream. You’d have better luck teaching your dog toorder dinner.

Part The Second: Just shut up, please. For my own edification, is there any provision of the 2008 Republican platform that Tom Daschle thinks should be left out of the Democratic health-reform package, now rapidly morphing into the Preservation Of The Greedy Insurance Bastards Act of 2009? School vouchers? Missile defense?

Part The Third: I am going to lose my pundit card behind this, but Ido not know f**k-all about what we should do about the situation inIran. Not a clue. And, not being one of these many sunbathers along the shorelines of the Great Lake Of Fail, I shall not hazard a guess. What I do know is that Not Doing What Rodeo Clowns Suggest is a sound strategy on almost every conceivable question. I wouldn’t go for water if Paul Wolfowitz told me to do it while my head was on fire.

Part The Fourth: Thirty-seven years ago this week, someone forgot totake the tape off the door to the stairwell. For a long while, nobody cared except for a couple of Metro grunts at the local daily. Cool stuff ensued. Of course, that was a long time ago, and said local daily has sort of lost its gift for that whole truth-to-power thing, Sad, really.

Part The Last: Ooooooooohhhhh, cooties! Watersheds just ain’t what they used to be, I guess. There wasa time, and not so long ago, when a story like this would have been a game-changer in the debate over reforming the nation’s healthcare system, if anything as capricious, and vicious, and utterly random as what we have can rightly be called a “system.” Executives ofthe insurance companies got up in front of the Congress and said, quitecalmly, that, yes, they would continue to deny coverage to sick people in order to make themselves even wealthier. That should have resulted in sufficientpolitical pressure to infuse a spine even into the members of this Congress. But we no longer are a viable self-governing political commonwealth, and our representatives know that, and truly don’t give a damn, and the people in the elite political media could care less. (Hey, Mark Halperin, go clean a bedpan, OK?) It is on health issues where the gulf separating the inside and out Beltway realities swallows up common sense and, in doing so, causes the most material damage. The Schiavo case was a garish and noisy example, but the idea that a Democratic president and a Democratic congress can’t craft a health-reform package that contains a substantial public option that 75 percent of the people out there want because the Democrats are overly sensitive to intramural political imperatives is the Schiavo case writ unacceptably large. This is a political class responding only to itself, speaking its own language, operating by its own rules while real people get ground up in a system that everyone knows is a rigged game. Hell, at 75 percent, the president has enough “political cover” to put a single-payer option back “on the table.” But he won’t. Some corrupt old white man might yell at him.