Comedians, Porn, and Government

There’s good reason why, with the exception of Al Franken, we have comedians work in comedy and not government. Two comedians have suggested very bad ideas recently. Woody Allen has suggested giving Barack Obama dictatorial powers (assuming Fox got the quote right):

Woody Allen has a strange take on the democracy that allowed him to become rich and famous.

The “Scoop” director said it would be a cool idea for President Barack Obama to be dictator for for a few years.


So he could get things done without all the hassle of opposing views getting in the way.

In an interview published by Spanish language newspaper La Vanguardia (that we translated), Allen says “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.”

But wait – there’s more!

The director said “it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.”

As much as I wouldn’t want Barack Obama to have dictatorial powers, I’d want Steve Jobs running things even less. Bill Maher suggested this during the New Rules segment of his show last week (video above):

America needs to focus on getting Jobs — Steve Jobs. Because something tells me that Apple would have come up with a better idea for stopping an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico than putting a giant box on top of it.

In 2001, Apple reinvented the record player. In 2007, the phone. This year, the computer. I say, for 2011, we let them take a crack at America. Our infrastructure, our business model, our institutions. Get rid of the stuff that’s not working, replace it with something that does. For example, goodbye US Senate — Hello Genius Bar! So good luck, Steve — you’ll need it!

No thanks. Ironically Apple, which became big after running the classic ad attacking IBM as Big Brother, has become far more like Big Brother than IBM ever was. I’ve never liked the closed nature of Apple products, and in recent weeks Steve Jobs has received frequent criticism for the restrictions placed on the iPhone and iPad. Jobs defended his policies by offering “freedom from porn.” While I’m more concerned about the non-porn programs which Jobs does not allow on his products, I also do not want someone in charge who thinks their role is to give us freedom from porn.

I realize that many people love Apple products and do not share my dislike of their closed systems. In the marketplace this is fine. We can all purchase the type of products we want. I would not want this attitude in government and therefore will reject Bill Maher’s suggestion.

Republicans, Not ObamaCare, Are Chasing Doctors Out Of Medicare

The Houston Chronicle has an article about an increasing number of Texas primary care doctors not accepting Medicare, largely because of  uncertainty caused by the flawed physician payment formula which I’ve discussed here many times in the past.  I’ve seen several conservative blogs which are twisting this to claim that the doctors are leaving because of cuts in Medicare brought about because of Obama’s health care plan. This is totally false. Here are the facts:

  • The health care reform bill increases payment for primary care doctors, and does not cut Medicare payments as some conservatives are claiming
  • The problem with the flawed payment formula goes back to 1997, well before the current health care reform
  • The Democrats have been trying for several months, both as part of the health care reform legislation and in separate legislation, to fix this problem. They have proposed legislation that would both protect doctors from pay cuts and provide an increase in reimbursement.
  • The Republicans have repeatedly blocked these attempts, including filibusters in recent months which have greatly increased the uncertainty discussed in the article.

Despite the right wing spin, if doctors do not accept Medicare it has nothing to do with “ObamaCare” and everything to do with Republicans screwing doctors and our patients.

Related Stories:

Republicans filibuster fix in April

Republicans filibuster fix in March over Democratic objections

House passed temporary fix after Republicans blocked permanent fix

Harry Reid attacked by Republicans when he tried to fix the problem last fall

Obama criticized for trying to fix problem as part of health care reform

Republicans play politics, screwing doctors

Benefits of health care reform for primary care doctors. (Does anyone really believe that the AMA would have endorsed the plan if it cut physician pay rather than providing benefits for their members?)