July 2, 2007

Ernest Cassara

Health Care

Been having a few health problems lately, with the inevitable visits to doctors’ offices.  In thinking about this, I recall the day a number of years ago when I had a cat scan - as slang for the procedure has it.  First they pumped some fluid into my spine, presumably so that the color would show up in the x-rays.  Just my luck that the computer would go down just as they had inserted the needle.  Ah well, any excuse for a nap is better than none.  Twenty or so minutes later, they said the computer was working again and we could proceed. 

As they had me climb up onto the cat scan pallet, the doc asked me what I had taught.  I always begin with the general, so I answered “history.”

But, he asked, what branch of history.  I responded, “American intellectual history.”

Well, he said, “that must be worth half a credit.”  To which I guffawed!

“Hmm,” he said, “that’s good.  Laughing helps circulate the fluid.”

Then, he said to the nurse, “We should come up with a booklet of one liners!”

The Bald Look

I’m sure you have noticed lately that there is a tendency of balding men to have their hair completely shaved off.  I still have too much hair to go in that direction.  But, instinctively, my hand goes to my scalp when I observe this on television.  Well, the first qualification for a shaved head is a lack of bumps.  So, I guess I had better hold onto my hair as long as possible.

Wolf Blitzer Standing

I remarked recently that the stylists at CNN now have Wolf Blitzer standing at a glass table throughout the three hours of the “Situation Room.” 

A reader got in touch to ask if I had thought of the alternative?  That it is not a question of “style,” but a case of hemorrhoids!

A Message from the Director of the Cambridge Forum

Wondering what's happening to the Constitution? or the weather?

If you missed these recent Cambridge Forum discussions, you can catch up now. They are available on the WGBH Forum Network at the links referenced below. We encourage you to send this information to anyone who might be interested in this content.

Habeas Corpus and the Military Commissions Act
Jerry Cohen, partner, Burns & Levinson:


Tipping Points and Climate Change
Fred Pearce, science journalist and author:


Making a Case for Impeachment
Elizabeth de la Vega, former federal prosecutor:


Best Regards,
Pat Suhrcke, Director

A Message from MoveOn

Dear MoveOn member,

Coming to a theater near you this weekend! A summer blockbuster about...health care?

Michael Moore's new movie, Sicko, could put health care at the top of the nation's political agenda - and we can help. If opening weekend is a success, lots more people will go see Sicko. It's a great movie - poignant at times, very funny at others.

Can you pledge to see Sicko this weekend and bring your friends and family along?  Click here to watch the movie trailer and sign up:


We'll report to the media the number of people who pledge to attend.

When you go see Sicko, you'll hear true stories like these:

  • A middle-class couple with insurance move into their daughter's basement after cancer forces them into bankruptcy.

  • An American woman goes undercover in Canada in search of prescription drugs for her illness.

  • Richard Nixon's secret White House tapes reveal he decided to authorize the first HMOs because "the less care they give them, the more money they make."

  • A doctor employed by an insurance company testifies before Congress about letting a man die to save her company money - then getting a promotion.

Like most of Michael Moore's movies, this one has a point of view. It's an argument to change our failing health care system. And it comes just in time.

The next president will have to take on health care. Several 2008 candidates -John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Barack Obama - have plans to guarantee affordable health care for everyone with a public insurance option. These are the most forward-thinking proposals ever seen in a presidential race.

But the HMOs, big health insurers, and drug companies are busy trying to buy off White House hopefuls with lots of campaign cash. They want to keep making billions by denying Americans affordable health care.

So after the movie, we'll ask presidential candidates to promise not to take campaign money from any of the industry's PACs, lobbyists, or executives. And to turn up the heat, we'll pass out fliers to movie-goers encouraging them to call up their favorite candidate.

Not one more person should suffer or die because our leaders won't stand up to the companies at the root of our health care problems.


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