You only live twice

Why so surprised?

As any realpolitikian will tell you, the public option never stood a chance.

This is America.

Money is free speech.

And the Health care system affects one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

Now, boys and girls, what is a Senator to do?

What is the Democratic party to do?

Cicero said it well, "the sinews of war are infinite money." Can any political party, in America, interested in preserving and expanding political power do so without the huge financial contribution of the pharmaceutical and health insurance industry?

What was Obama to do? Stand up to special interests and risk to see the GOP---rather than the Democratic Party---be the prime recipient of the industry largess?

Madmike said it well, "Obama is no Harry Potter."

It can't happen here.

Meanwhile in Hoggart:

“Settle down, people,” called Remus Lupin, the current DADA teacher for Hogwarts, who had not—yet—succumbed to the supposed jinx on the position. Then again, Voldemort was dead, so maybe that was it. This class was combined Gryffindors and Slytherins seventh years. The war had had a peculiar effect on inter-House rivalry. On the one hand, it was difficult to hate someone you had worked with, stayed alive with, and risked your life with for the past year. On the other, some Houses, especially Slytherins, had lost many family members at the hands of the Order, many of whom were from Gryffindor. So you had Slytherins who secretly mingled with Gryffindors and Slytherins who hated Gryffindors with all their guts. It was like sneaking out after curfew—you weren’t proud of it, you never talked about it, you despised people who did it, but you did it yourself when no one was looking.

The line between the two Houses, now, were much blurrier, much less defined, but it was still there, as present as any of the students—invincible. Remus sighed and hoped that one day it would disappear.

“Now, I’m going to assume you all know what a boggart is and how to get rid of it.”

The class was silent—

“Sir?” Predictably, it was Neville Longbottom who raised his hand to ask the question that many of them longed to ask but did not dare. He had done this all his life, after all. “I forgot the spell.”

A collective breath of relief passed through the crowd like a gust of wind as they all let out the breaths no one admitted to have been holding. “A good question, Mr. Longbottom. Anyone?”

Remus scanned the crowd for the one hand he knew would pop up.

Sure enough, Hermione Granger’s now scarred hand hit the air and she called out, “Ridikulus!”

“Very good, Miss Granger. Five points to Gryffindor. Now, I am going to call on certain of you to step up and defeat the boggart. Please do not be shy, and refrain from laughing at other students’ fears, unless you would like to be laughed at in turn. Patil, Parvati!”


  1. While Obama may not be Harry Potter, surely there must be some prescription out there which can help our president out with his magic wand.

    Would a shipment of Viagra to the White House do it?

    This is the address:

    1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
    NW Washington, DC 20500.

  2. A magnificent commentary Ben and Jeremiah you made me laugh my ass off! Merry Christmas to all!

  3. This is a fine Republican bill.

    If Jack Javits, Chuck Percy, Margaret Chose Smith, or John Chafee were around they would be proud of this bill.

    Now the bill will go to conference where the Democrats may try to make it a Democratic bill once again. Problem is, Joe Lieberman is waiting for them over in the Senate.

    Lieberman doesn't care. (At least I don't think so.) Lieberman is important to the Democrats for his vote still comes in handy. If he changes parties and joins the Republicans, where he belongs, his vote will be very handy in maintaining filibusters. Because he is a SOB he is one of the most powerful men in America.

    Why did this attempt fail? Or not come close to its full promise? The filibuster. Not the White House or Baucus or even Lieberman. The filibuster. That was the political reality the Democrats faced at the start of the process. Without the filibuster they could have passed expanded Medicare or a strong public option. They would have had the votes for that.

    Anyway, if this country ever becomes prepared for single payer Medicare can be expanded. Progressives (er, liberals) can always return with that. Next year even. Good luck. There will probably be even fewer liberal Democrats in the Senate after 2010.

    At least that's the way I see it. And my vision hasn't even been sharpened by drinking yet. And when it is I will become quite sure and dogmatic. May even get into a fight. I know, I know. Take it out onto the street. Okay. I don' wanna cause trouble here. Belch.

    Have a good day.