I've always felt the Iranian hostage crisis was a big waste of time. A long, senseless struggle to get back to where we were before it started. I've had the same feeling about Monicagate and impeachment: It's a detour from progress on issues of substance. But, lately, I've realized the hostage crisis and our current crisis do serve a necessary political function: emotional expression. People need to vent. The Iranians needed it. Right-wing Republicans need it. Everybody can't be Jackson Pollock. Most of us need to vent or be vented for politically. Lots more things get vented in Congress than ever become law. But Dan Rather just reported that large numbers of senior citizens are being suddenly dumped by their HMOs. He gave the example of one particular HMO whose fairly recent TV commercials, I recall, eagerly invited senior citizens to join up. Personally, I've never been able to comprehend how true, affordable health insurance could be a viable, non-Ponzi business. And current trends seem to verify my paranoia. I hope we max out on Monica soon, so we can do some more venting on health care.