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Armageddon blues (or reds)

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MARCH 30, 2010 7:30 AM

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So, how does Armageddon feel?

Pretty much like Tuesday, I suspect. Who knew?

I don’t know about you, but I had always thought that Armageddon would feel more like a Monday. A really bad Monday.

I bring this up not because I am consumed with thinking about Armageddon all the time (or even once in a while) but because Republican House leader John Boehner promised us that if Congress passed the health-reform bill, Armageddon would ensue.

Well, as we all know, the health-reform bill is now the health-reform law. And Tuesday seems quite a bit like a sunny, warm day (perhaps a bit too warm for this time of year — hmmm). Could a Republican be wrong?

Perish the thought. I will note, however, that Boehner’s name is pronounced “Bane-er,” and “bane,” the American Heritage Dictionary cheerily informs us, means “1. Fatal injury or ruin. 2. A cause of death, destruction, or ruin. 3. A deadly poison.”

Perhaps growing up with such a name has clouded Mr. Boehner’s judgment.

Which doesn’t explain why other people’s judgment seems to be so, well, foggy, to use the polite term, when it comes to the health law.

Take, just for instance, the anti-President Obama, anti-health bill, anti-sunny day protesters last week in Iowa City: “Save Capitalism” was one of the signs protesters held up. That’s quite humorous, really, if you think about it; when Obama did save capitalism last year, these very same people were insanely furious at him for doing so.

What gives? Potassium-sodium ion exchange interruptus?

And the notion that a law that will benefit — nay, will well benefit — private, capitalist insurance companies and private, capitalist pharmaceutical companies will somehow destroy capitalism is, well, hilarious. I mean, people, come on — your life is slapstick.

Oh, I know, Republicans promise us that political Armageddon will befall the Democrats in the elections this November because of the health law. Well, maybe. But a curious thing occurred in the polls last week.

We all know that health reform has not polled well in the last several months and that Republicans have been trumpeting this in their relentless opposition to the measure. However, a USA Today/Gallup Poll taken March 22, the day after the House passed the health bill, found that Americans favored the bill 49 percent to 40 percent.

Yes, Virginia, there other polls that have different results. A CBS poll, for instance, found that people oppose the health-reform law 46 percent to 42 percent. However, a curious thing happened with this poll, too. On March 21, CBS polled 649 people and found they opposed the bill 48 percent to 37 percent.

Then, on March 22, after the House passed the bill, CBS re-polled the same 649 people and discovered a big shift: the 46 to 42 percent data. So, overnight, health reform gained 5 percent. That same re-polling found that Obama’s approval rating on health reform also jumped between March 21 and March 22, from 41 percent approval, 51 percent disapproval to 47 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval.

So I’m not so sure we’re going to see a G-No-P deluge in November.

And, in any case, I’m sick of health. I’m much more worried about magnets.

Yes, magnets.

MIT scientists have discovered they can manipulate humans’ notion of morality with magnets. It’s too complicated to explain here (or by me successfully); go to the NPR website (“All Things Considered”) and read the story. Don’t worry, it’s safe; Pledge Week is over.

This spring, Pledge Week somehow morphed into Pledge Week-and-a-Half. No doubt it’ll soon be Pledge Two Weeks, then Pledge Month, then Pledge Year, and we’ll sit on our smoke-free but still auto-pollution-inundated Ped Mall and wonder just exactly how different public radio is from commercial radio.

Talk about Armageddon.


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