The solution to our health care problem is simple: Let’s sell our babies.
The United States currently ranks 169th in the world in infant mortality. A baby born in the U.S. is less likely to see its first birthday than one born in Latvia or Cuba or New Caledonia. And according to a paper by economists at the University of Southern California, Brown University, and MIT, this underperformance is driven “entirely, or almost entirely” by mortality among the poor, who have less access to health care.
Our babies are dying at a terrifying rate, an indefensible embarrassment for a country that spends far more than any other on health care. But we are an inventive, energetic and practical people who are determined to continue with our market-driven approach to health care, so we need to find a way to turn these human liabilities into assets. Continue reading
“In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason – or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.”
Excerpted from John F. Kennedy’s undelivered speech to the Dallas Citizens Council, scheduled for November 22, 1963, the day he was assassinated.
My novel is available here: The Last Island
Toward the end of Harper Lee’s classic novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ when the rape trial of Tom Robinson has concluded and Atticus Finch is walking toward the exit, Reverend Sykes instructs Scout, Atticus’ daughter, to rise.
“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’,” he says.
Robinson, an innocent Black man, has just been convicted by an all-White jury, and Atticus, his White lawyer, has ostensibly failed. But they stand up, the Black citizens of Maycomb, Alabama, they stand up along with the Reverend and Scout, because moral courage of the sort Atticus exhibited, true moral courage, must be acknowledged. Continue reading
Border between Greece and Bulgaria
There were three men against the back wall with AK-47s. They were unshaven, unmoving, and looked as if the last time they smiled there was blood on the ground. They glared at me and there was an even chance that I was the first American they’d ever seen. Communism had just fallen and, since no system of law, order or enforcement had yet taken its place, these men had become all of those things.
They were guarding the ‘businessmen’ that I was meeting with in a rural village in Bulgaria, businessmen who were money changers, importers/exporters, and a rural ex-party mafia rolled into one. I was here to sell a tractor, the first modern western tractor in the country as far as any of us knew, and though I didn’t want to be negotiating with ‘businessmen’ like these, there was no choice. They could move large equipment; they had money; and they had protection. Continue reading
After the first few weeks, I didn’t know what day it was.
By that, I don’t mean that I didn’t know if it was a Monday or a Tuesday. I didn’t know if it was a Monday or a Saturday. The only day I ever knew that summer was Sunday, which was marked by church bells and the voices of the psaltes (singers) in the nearby churches.
Once the churches quieted, that day unraveled like every other day, until again, on some seemingly distant and arbitrary morning, the psaltes would be heard and I would know it was Sunday again. Continue reading
“If your age could understand, children,
Full many counsels I could give.”
Greek tragedies play out like no others, as if to remind us of the work of their ancient masters. As there once was a plague in Sophocles’ Thebes, there is now a plague upon the Greek economy. Continue reading
Humper in Hollywood
My agent had an idea. He was calling a number of his clients. I’m not sure where I fell between the first and last call. Not that it mattered.
The Phone Call
AGENT: I’m thinking you need to find a different name for your screenplays. Just a single name and something that pops like ‘Bopper’ or ‘The Drill.’
DAVID: They both sound mildly pornographic.
AGENT: Even better.
DAVID: I think my own name is fine.
AGENT: Little story for you, David. I was at the Wild Animal Safari Park in Escondido the other day. Continue reading