Tag Archives: current-events

Time for a new Papa

Tonight the Catholic cardinals chose a new pope, or “Il Papa” as they call him here in Italy.

whitesmokepope
Source.

We are watching live television coverage, awaiting to know the nationality of the new Papa as well as the name he chooses. It will be interesting to watch the changes the new papal leadership has on Italy. Meanwhile, the Italian newscasters are passing time much the same as they likely are around the world, discussing the presumed front runners, making vague statements about the consequences of each front runner being elected, and discussing mundane details such as “Where will the new Papa sleep toight?” Surely not in the pontiff’s apartment already?!!

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National Federation of…Affordable Care Cat?

While I was anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision on the Affordable Care Act, I knew that no matter the outcome, this would be an opinion to geek out on just like law school days.

Back then it was more about whether water-boarding is torture (yes) and if John Yoo should be disbarred for ethical absence (what do you think my opinion is?).

Now, I have fewer friends nearby to join the discussion, but I still chat with them via email, skype and facebook, plus my curiosity grew when Chief Justice John Roberts not only penned the opinion (as I expected) but also led the affirming opinion (/”;9’dbapaps – I didn’t see that one coming).

Thus, here I am on Friday afternoon soaking up Sicilian sunshine and digging into the opinion.

20120629-175136.jpg It’s my terrace, and I’ll sunbathe nude if I want to!

Unfortunately, the case title is long, cumbersome, and completely boring. National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al.

Uh, yeaaaaaa, I don’t want to say that a whole bunch of times. I also dislike the commonly used “Obamacare” because it is a misnomer, it is political, and it gives too much credit to one person.

Misnomer because Obama is not actually providing any care and pretty much thousands of people worked for decades to come to a place where this legislation was even plausible.

Political is obvious, I dislike that because despite the acerbic reality of society, this type of move shouldn’t be political at all, it is not only good public policy healthwise, it will also push for innovation and fresh ideas in healthcare industries erected and sustained by crusty wealthy people. The world changes and so should business models and profits. A stagnant nation is a declining nation. Plus, a lot of people say “Obamacare” with a distinct sneer on their face and that just ain’t pretty.

Too much credit to one person – I touched on this in the misnomer section, but it runs deeper than that. Even with all the background legwork by others, some would say, some are already saying and some will say that it was only because of Barack Obama’s unique leadership that the bill was passed. I do not deny the extraordinary role he played, but he is still just one man and we are a nation of the people. I applaud him, I credit his incredible contribution, but I stop short of deifying his name into legislation his way.

After this reflection, I was still without a good shorthand name for the opinion.

Then, I got an email from my law school buddy Mel. She shared this with me:

Catty puns about the affirmation of the Affordable Care Act? That is a trifecta of pleasure!!!

I will think of it as the ACA opinion, or Affordable Care Act opinion out of reverence for its importance; but in my mind, I will be thinking of that “cat a tax” every time.

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Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness, Kitties

Vagina Vagina

While back in Wisconsin, I spent some time hearing delightful stories about little kids discovering their sex organs: one version went like this…”What’s this daddy?” “Uh…ummm…ask Mommy about that…” another version ended with “That’s your vagina.” “Bagina?” (asked incredulously, followed by peals of laughter and multiple mutterings of “bagina”).

Then, there was the awkward laughter that comes from those who are uncomfortable with these stories about discovering sex organs. Proof positive that while we all have sex organs, and we all have to talk about them at some point in our lives, we’re not all exactly comfortable with the specific language.

Despite this reality, I was still shocked to discover the “Vaginagate” scandal.

From the little bits I read about Vaginagate, I discerned that somewhere in Michigan lawmakers wanted to talk about reproductive rights that are at stake in the Michigan legislature. In doing so, the word vagina came up a few times. Then a couple of lawmakers added a touch of humor and the word “vagina” – and some other lawmakers got upset and declared “vagina” a dirty word.

Huh?

The scientific word to describe a sex organ is now vulgar and offensive?

This is the word that we teach children in school and in homes. This word is now the enemy of some lawmakers? And those lawmakers not only had enough gall to choose this attack against the word and the opposing lawmakers, but they had enough power and persuasion to get agreement to punish the “vagina”-speakers (brings up a whole different image, doesn’t it?).

It boggles my mind. It sounds much more like middle school student council than a state legislature (clearly I’ve never worked in state legislature, you are correct). Regardless of the adolescent antics we associate with politics on most levels, I am completely flabbergasted that people actually voted to punish their colleagues for using the word “vagina.”

I began to wonder whether this would ever happen in Italy. I have no clues as to what cultural response Italians would have to the word vagina, it hasn’t come up with my Sicilian colleagues (after all, I work in Supply Management, and we do not supply vaginas or vagina accessories). Yet, a local ceramic producer valued The Gyne Cologist enough to include an image of one among decorative plaques like this:

This plaque was among a dozen or so profession caricatures available from this ceramic artist; doctor (general practice presumably), lawyer, veterinarian, and mechanic were also among the mix (notably, all were male representations).

In case you were curious, the Italian word for vagina is vagina. Yep, same exact spelling. Spoken a little differently, “vah” “gee” “nah” would be in the ball park of the Italian pronunciation (instead of “vah” “jie” “nah”).

Which brings me to my point. The Michigan lawmakers should have just sung “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” instead of punishing their respected colleagues.

Of course, the lyrics would need a slight modification…

I say “vagina”
and you say “vagina”
“Vagina!”
“Vagina!”
“Vagina!”
“Vagina!”

Let’s call the whole thing off!

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Cinquecento-of for Nick Kristof

My longtime admiration for Nick Kristof is often equal to the concern and doubt I have about the ways he deftly infiltrates mainstream media with a tantalizing array of social media tweaks. He is as savvy as they come, and he can post a headline that draws crowds. Overall, I developed a trust of his journalism, even during the times when I am skeptical about his methods – something along the lines of stepping too close to the bait-and-switch tactics used by all the infotainment channels (Fox, MSNBC, CNN). Yet, even when a headline sensationalizes an issue, Kristof always has oodles of worthwhile content and research to back up his humanitarian arguments. He is not fighting to promote profit-seekers, he is fighting to enrich our world.

Join me in wishing him a Happy Birthday – along with Sree Sreenivasan. If you click on Sree’s name, you will gain access to an article that gives directions for celebrating Kristof on Twitter and Facebook. Or, you could buy the book Kristof wrote with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn about the plight of women around the world to eke out a dignified existence, “Half the Sky.”

If none of this information excited you, maybe you’ll like Kristof because he hails from rural Oregon, or that he loves his family to a goofy extent and includes anecdotes about his kids, or finally, that he is exposing the sex trade within U.S. borders. Drat, I’m dragging you back to his op-ed content. Here’s his info page, check him out…

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