If I were King

— Bumper sticker of the week: Social security works for working families.

— Quote of the week: "You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Anne Lamott

— Florida: We visited Florida recently. There are a lot of pluses this time of year in Florida, the weather being the biggest. However, the minuses are beginning to outweigh the pluses. First off, a Bush is in charge, which makes me real leery. Second, most of the people around seem to be rich Republicans. Third, there are way too many people driving who appear to be over 100 years old. It’s like bumper cars. One development after another, with most starting at $200,000, running up to millions. Many have "sold out" signs before the first building is up. A lot of rich people. None of them must have went into counseling to make a living. Without any checks and balances on growth and development, Florida is going to self-destruct in the next ten years. You can’t find anyone who is a native. I was talking to a guy at the airport while we were standing in line to be frisked. I could tell he had money. He was from Chicago. He stated he was pulling out. Too crowded. He had a place in Naples, 3–bedroom, 3–bath condo, which he would give me for 1 million. He said that would be a steal. I said I was looking for something a little better than that. In that brief instance, it felt pretty good pretending to be a rich Republican. Although it did kind of scare me.

— Health insurance costs: I did a quick survey of some local costs of health insurance for employees.

– Individual polices average $80–$150 per month.

– Employee plus 1 (single parent with child) cost $350–$500 per month.

– Employee plus 2 or more (employee, husband/wife, and children) $500–$750.

Now, the way most employers are paying nowadays, that means people are working for their health insurance and little else, or else they don’t take the health insurance, because they can’t afford it. Even though they are working full-time. And this is the best America can do? Hospitals, insurance companies, the government, HMO’s, pharmaceutical companies, employers, should all be ashamed of themselves. The agony created by our shameful health-care system makes the Iraqi war look like a playground skirmish. It is the biggest disgrace in America, short of Congress.

— What I would do if I were in charge of leading Galesburg out of the mess it’s in:

1. I’d hire a lot of new people.

2. The mayor would be a full-time position, and in charge.

3. I would quit giving our tax dollars to businessmen and women who are incompetent enough to take it. Most, although not all, are in it for a free ride and a quick dollar.

4. I would do something — maybe a stupidity tax — with the right-wing propagandizing media. We got some of the worst radio and newspaper coverage this side of the Mississippi.

5. I would close one out of two churches in town for completely missing the point of Jesus’ teaching.

6. I would mobilize the Galesburg National Guard to run all the drug dealers out of town. This may include some pharmacists and a doctor or two.

7. We would have an affordable universal health-care plan for all residents that both hospitals would participate in, paid for by putting a toll booth on 1-74.

8. I would close Henry Hill and send all those people back to Chicago.

9. I would remodel the downtown to look like it did in 1920. This might require tearing down some new buildings and building some old ones.

10. If all else failed, I would advertise that Ronald Reagan lived here and that Lincoln-Douglas had one hell of an argument down at Knox, both being pertinent to just about nothing nowadays.