Burch: March madness, continued

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

In my previous article I pointed out that March madness can be a very good thing — for instance, when the NCAA tournament comes to town and great young athletes skillfully execute basketball plays.

But there is a darker form of March madness, in which the executions can be lethal.

Was it a Freudian slip when Paul Ryan recently announced before whirring TV cameras: “We’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system.” Ryan was discussing his plans to repeal Obamacare and replace Medicare with a voucher system. If he succeeds, how many ordinary Janes and Joes (i.e., “we the people”) may suffer and die premature deaths as a result?

Ryan is the House Budget Committee Chairman, and a probable Republican frontrunner in the next presidential election. And he really does seem to be intent on destroying our health care system, when many nations that are far less wealthy than the U.S. have universal health care.

When Ryan’s running mate, Bishop Willard Mitt Romney, visited three nations during his presidential campaign, he praised the values they share with Americans. But all three nations — the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland — have universal health care systems. And one might suspect that the U.S. is either underwriting or helping to fund Israel’s health care system, as the U.S. gives tiny Israel billions of dollars in “loans” every year, but none of the “loans” has ever been repaid. Why are Republicans like Romney and Ryan so adamant that the U.S. cannot afford Obamacare, when they insist that Israel be given blank checks that are dishonestly called “loans”?

Closer to home, Republicans are working feverishly to make it difficult or impossible for Tennessee employees who have been injured on the job to sue for justice if their workers compensation claims are denied. Can anyone doubt that Gov. Bill Haslam’s pro-business administration will favor businesses over injured workers? Haslam is fast-tracking the proposed new legislation, with public discussions being limited to a few minutes on a bill that is 68 pages long. Opponents of the new workers compensation regulations have employed such harsh terms as “barbaric” and “sacrificing workers.” Democrats have panned the proposed legislation. For instance, Mike Turner, a state representative from Old Hickory, recently said: “This bill is the worst bill I’ve seen since I’ve been here, as far as working people go. This bill really disturbs me.”

Meanwhile, Nashville mayor Karl Dean is trying to reduce what Metro pays injured workers, including even public safety workers.

According to the most recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Tennessee ranks 47th out of 50 states. The poll asks state residents to rate their sense of well-being based on factors such as physical health, job satisfaction, outlook on life, etc. One of the most important factors is obviously personal health. Granted, some health factors are the responsibility of the individual, such as obesity. But employees who are injured at work and people who contract contagious diseases should not be forced to suffer — and perhaps die — because politicians are lacking in heart, mind and soul. So the workers compensation and health care systems play crucial roles in the well-being of citizens.

Both nationally and here at home, Republicans seem to be madder than March hares, willing to let their fellow Americans suffer and die, if that will add a few pennies to some heartless business’s bottom line.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

105 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 3/15/13 at 12:05

I agree with Burch. The Republicans think that just because 98% of them work and pay 80% of the individual and family federal income taxes that they are special. The very idea of these elitist snobs. The very audacity of those people. Don't they think that those of us who just because we are genetically and motivationally impaired are not entitled to continue to procreate and have televisions,heat and air food and clothing free lunches for our children and schools where our children can have a place to go while we engage in crime, dope,alcohol and other forms of making ourselves a seething welfare mass.

We get free lawyers when we break the law. Now why can't we get free medical care and be looked upon with the same dignity as Republicans. It would not surprise me to hear a Tepublican say that all people are not equal. They better concentrate on getting this economy moving again. We do not intend to stand idly by looking. at them driving theorBMWs and other vehicles which we do not know how to spell to their children's private schools.

You tell em Burch. We want a little respect. By the way,Titans ticket are very expensive. Why. does the Metro not buy a 1000 or so tickets every year and hold a lottery for the disabled and the homeless and the unemployed so that we too could show our community spirit.

These are difficult times and we are sick and tired of being called out as though we are secpnd third and fourth rate scum. We want financial justice and those Republicans need to cough up more money and stop sending their kids to private schools. Having two homes and three cars and a country club membership strikes me as totally unfair. I was born into this country just like them.

By: govskeptic on 3/15/13 at 5:47

Our own "Ed Schultz" of Tenn Political writing has struck again. Based on our weekly
Editorial, if you are working anywhere other than a government office, this warning
is that you should probably just quit working and hide at home and apply for some of
that Democratic Obama money and benefits that are being generously dolled out.

Those Republicans are just ole meanie's that kill and mane people in our state.

By: Loner on 3/15/13 at 6:13

Good morning, Nashville.

Another fine missive from Nashville's Mike Burch, the lonely voice of reason in a menagerie of howling lunatics.

I'm not so sure that these Republicans are crazy; if so, they are crazy like a fox...or a dirty old egg-sucking hound....not the proverbial shit-house rat.

In my view, the Republicans would take this nation back to the time of Charles Dickens; back to the "good old days' of non-union sweat shops, dangerous working conditions and slave wages...back to the days when robber barons raped Mother Nature, while the politicians looked on.

The war super-lobby calls the shots in Washington, DC; not we, the people. The super-lobby consists of the Defense, Israel & Energy lobbies....acronym:DIE.

Providing universal health care to all Americans is not part of the war super-lobby's agenda.

The war super-lobby has produced eternal holy war...more massive debt...more counterproductive violence and death. They have accomplished this by way of campaign finance donations to the major parties and to candidates directly.

And the Supreme Court has given its blessing to the Super-PACs....the new big guns in town.

He who pays the piper calls the tune...we, the people, have to dance to the damn thing.

By: Loner on 3/15/13 at 6:16

Rasp comes clean....that wasn't sarcasm, folks....he really is one of the "non-productive" citizens that he normally loathes in his commentary....Rasp thinks he's Thurston Howell III...bless his heart.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 6:20

By: Rasputin72 on 3/15/13 at 1:05
I agree with Burch. The Republicans think that just because 98% of them work and pay 80% of the individual and family federal income taxes that they are special.

Now where did you get these figures Raspy old boy, yogi’s puter?

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 6:22

Loner - The Thurston Howell wannabe (Raspy) sure doesn't know any thing about alligators in & around Palm Beach, FL, they are all over the place. But that is no surprise.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 6:34

He has no idea who Thurston Howell III is, Loner. The only way he had to watch TV as a boy, was at someone else house. Since he had no friends he did not see much TV.

BTW Thurston Howell III had charm and was likeable and nothing like Raspy.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 6:37

That is because he doesn’t get out of Nashville, bfra.

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 7:05

He sure doesn't know much about Palm Beach!

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 7:19

Nemo - Maybe he will go swimming in one of those "no alligator" canals & we won't have to endure his fantasies anymore.

By: gdiafante on 3/15/13 at 7:20

Based on our weekly Editorial, if you are working anywhere other than a government office, this warning is that you should probably just quit working and hide at home and apply for some of that Democratic Obama money and benefits that are being generously dolled out.

That's what you got out of it? LOL

And they say reading comprehension is alive and well...

By: Rasputin72 on 3/15/13 at 7:20

How can a group of people one of whom does not know the difference between Palm Beach township and Palm Beach county not have any respect for someone like me who is only trying to champion their cause.

You ungrateful wretches. I had a moment when I remembered the hardships of living on 46,000 dollars a year in 1978. I wanted to show my concern. My supportive words have been rebuffed by the very scum I was trying to help.

Appalling indeed!

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 7:26

Raspy - Probably because people of means are tired of reading your blowhard BS. Get a life & try out the real World for a change. By the way, did you catch any of those sharks migrating off the coast? Of course NOT, you would have to have been there!

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 7:28

Loner, Raspy was lying to you the other day when he said that there were no gators in West Palm Beach.

The gator was walking along Australian Avenue just before Congress Avenue near the airport.


By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 7:31

Nemo I have fished all over FL & I can guarantee you, if there is much water, there are gators. Raspy is as full of IT as yogi's diaper!

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 7:34

Raspy old boy, in 1978 you were struck with a woman that only made $15,000, but that did not stop you from living at $46,000.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 7:37

The dumb-ass did not know there are Ice Cream shops in West Palm Beach either. He never did much research into his lies, back then. Apparently he still doesn’t. LOL

By: Rasputin72 on 3/15/13 at 7:39

NEMO.........I know you are a mental throwback but you must somehow get it through your head and that of your shut in friend BFRA that West Palm Beach is not Palm Beach. The absurd assumptions by the uneducable never cease to aze me.

From now on you people are on your own. I am not goong to help you any longer. No wonder you cannot be considered as anything but an ungrateful 47%.

Being a humanitarian like myself is just not enough for you people.

I have no further interest and will concern myself with why can't we get more fresh Halibut.

You will have to get Jughead to help you out.

By: slacker on 3/15/13 at 7:40

For you Rasp...


By: yogiman on 3/15/13 at 7:44

Just consider the source and ignore them, Rasputin72. They're too ignorant to know what they're saying or doing.

After all, they're supporting a man as their president when they don't even know his official name or birthday.

I understand that, though, because Barry doesn't even know his own age or birthday.


By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 7:47

LOL slacker

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 7:49

Now yogi rushes in to save his grandson Raspy, how fun.

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 7:53

Raspy - Who do you think you are fooling? So far, no one but bud & yogi. Big Woo! You don't seem to know anything about Palm Beach or West Palm Beach. Maybe you can get your sugar mama to back you on a trip down there to learn about the area. Don't walk too close to any canals, especially around dusk! And check to see if the sharks have moved on up the coast before going in the ocean.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 7:57

hu·man·i·tar·i·an (hy-mn-târ-n)
One who is devoted to the promotion of human welfare and the advancement of social reforms; a philanthropist.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of a humanitarian or humanitarianism.

Now how many times has this ass-ho said to us that he was not a charitable man.

By: Mike Burch on 3/15/13 at 8:05


Your percentages look made-up to me, like your claim to genetic superiority. Just think about what happened to the finances of the "genetically superior" Nazis when they kept pouring money into their war machine. When you vote for warmongering Republicans who want to rule the earth with military superiority, because they believe in their genetic superiority, the end result is bankruptcy and destruction. People who are more liberal -- JFK, Carter, Clinton, Obama -- see war as a last resort. This is why Obama wisely voted against the invasion of Iraq and tried to stand up to Israel (unsuccessfully). But other than Ron Paul, the Republicans don't have the sense to get out of the rain.

By: Loner on 3/15/13 at 8:07

Sounds like the Rasp is leaving the room...for good.....tired of trying to educate the peasants...he's outta here!

Too bad, the Rasp did blow some smoke up my pant-leg from time to time....but his schtick got old.....and it was never funny to begin with....if he intended to flame the board, he failed.....he flamed out.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 8:13

Should we are so lucky, Loner, He’ll be back after he stops pouting.

By: Loner on 3/15/13 at 8:15

Mike: Ron Paul excited his loyal base in 2012, then he backed out of the race, so that his son, Rand Paul, a fellow Republican, would not get black-balled down the road....as revenge for his dad's rebellious ways....Ron Paul is a Dynastic Libertarian....he fell on his sword, so that Son-of-Paul might live....Ron Paul let his people down, in my view....and his son is not a chip off the old block.....Rand is more of a flake than a chip.

By: Mike Burch on 3/15/13 at 8:29


I think Ras-Putin may be time-sharing Yogi's brain!

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 8:33

Raspy - Try Cod & Capers for that fresh halibut. That is if or when you get to Palm Beach.

By: Mike Burch on 3/15/13 at 8:33


I think Rand Paul is a flake, and his dad can be flaky too. But at least they have advanced the idea that wars and global empires are incompatible with "smaller" government, the pipe dream of warmongering Republicans.

And Ron Paul has been willing to tell the truth about the US being Israel's sugar daddy, and how dangerous that is in the volatile Middle East.

Someone like Rand Paul has no business being president, but he might help persuade some Republicans of the incompatibility of big wars and smaller government.

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 8:34

Mike - Or jugheads!

By: Mike Burch on 3/15/13 at 8:43


Ras-Putin seems more like a :"Who-man-I-tar-ian" ... someone who questions the value of other people and tars and feathers them collectively based on their incomes.

By: Loner on 3/15/13 at 8:57

Mike Burch: I'm dragging this post over from the up for debate board...thought it might interest you:

Speaking of hypocrisy, epiphanies and situational ethics, Sen. Rob Portman, a sponsor of the infamous Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is now doing a one-eighty on gay marriage...now, he's for it! Yeah, his son came out as being a gay man...all of the sudden, Portman sees the light....typical GOP scumbag....git a rope!

Here's the story:

I submitted this comment, but the NYT is very picky..it has not appeared on the NYT board:

How sweet. Another hypocrite Republican has had an epiphany. When things hit home, all of a sudden, personal ethics magically conform to the new situation...it's situational ethics, GOP style.

If his unwed daughter became pregnant, Portman would suddenly become pro-choice?

If Portman's son got busted for Cannabis, would Portman suddenly be in favor of terminating the failed "war on drugs"?

Portman is a typical special interest lackey....we have the best government that money can buy.

By: pswindle on 3/15/13 at 9:03

The TN GOP has been laying low until they could get complete control of the state to start cramming all of their outdated ideas down our throats. But the big surprise is how they are going after our rights. They also live in this state and they may need help, but they have stayed true to the GOP way and stripped the average TN of their safety nets. I just don't get it. They have not understood yet, that Haslam is protecting his businesses. Take a look at all of the bills that Haslam has signed, and decide who is being protected and who is stripped of their of their rights and money.

By: yogiman on 3/15/13 at 9:12

I hate to 'say' this, Mike, but I believe Rasputin72 has more brain than all of you dumbolcraps combined.

To accept a known communist, who is saying he's a democrat, who refuses to identify himself, as your president without bothering to check the man out proves (to me) your ignorance.

The last citizenship he is known to have is Indonesian. When did he become an American citizen (actually, was he ever an American citizen?)? When did he officially change his name from Barry Soetoro to Barack Obama?

Yet you all say; He's my President! He's my leader!

I'm sure He enjoys that. It will make it easier to become your dictator.

By: brrrrk on 3/15/13 at 9:23

Captain Nemo said

"Now yogi rushes in to save his grandson Raspy, how fun."

And the irony is that if Raspy had his way he would cut or do away with every program that alter kocker Yogi relies on.......

By: gdiafante on 3/15/13 at 9:29

Yogi is obsessed with brains. Maybe he's a zombie...it would explain why he's mindless...and his smell. I know, I thought that was his diaper too.

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 9:32

yogi - He's my President! He's my leader!

yogi - Did you find some brains? LOL

By: brrrrk on 3/15/13 at 9:45

bfra said

"yogi - Did you find some brains? LOL"

He went to see the Wizard.....

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 10:05

LOL Mike to both post.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 10:07

How would you about brains yogi. You have none.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 10:09

The old fool never had any brains and he did at one time he lost them in the closet along time ago.

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 1:10

Loner - If Raspy leaves, who is going to tell us how many comments have been put on the board? Boo Hoo LOL

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 1:35


We will always have yogi. :-(

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 1:44

Nemo - That's like not having anybody!:-)
btw - Raspy really cracked me up with the no alligators in Palm Beach.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 1:58

He never did think things out. Never learned either.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/13 at 2:04

Jughead is on the other link.

By: yogiman on 3/15/13 at 3:38

It doesn't take any more than a thimble full to have more brains than you, dumba$$. May you should go back to kindergarten. Two years in it won't be too bad for you. You might even learn how to put two words together properly.

By: bfra on 3/15/13 at 4:46

BUT yogi, you don't have a thimble full!