Tuesday, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands reopens one of Amsterdam's most popular tourist attractions after extensive renovations. What attraction?
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Monday's Question (No. 310)--"Insight Out":
"I'm saying we really do have to recognize that it's going to be difficult and take a while for people to get this stuff," says Professor Shoshanna Sofaer of Baruch College, an adviser to the federal government. "And for a significant percentage, they're never going to get it because they're cognitively impaired, they're too frail, or they just don't have the energy to invest in understanding these things." Who's never going to understand what?
"Convicted drug dealers in Texas will never understand how their former best customer gets to run for president while they rot in a Fort Worth prison."--Brooke Saucier
"The average American; how he, too, can qualify for a $1.3 million mortgage."--Barbara Lippert
"Dogs are never going to understand quantum mechanics. It's sad, in a way. If they could, they'd know whether to bother with Schrodinger's cat or not."--Steven Davis
"Jedediah Purdy; why people giggle when they hear the name Jedediah. Especially in combination with Purdy."--Daniel Radosh (Steve Roche had a similar answer.)
"Frankly, I think that even if you missed the pilot of The West Wing, it should be pretty easy to catch on."--Tim Carvell
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Randy's Anecdotal Wrap-Up
I'll tell you what I don't understand--why Professor Shoshanna Sofaer of Baruch College sounds so cranky. (Needs a little sabbatical?) Or why Congress (Needs term limits? Of about 30 seconds?) makes it harder for ordinary people to join in a class action suit but easier for giant oil companies to pump free oil from public land and sell it at a profit, probably to NBC (Needs--oh where to begin? With Tom Brokaw's sentimental nonsense about World War II? OK. There!) to fuel those big turbines to illuminate the studios for the telecasting of semi-popular tripe on the public airwaves at vast profits, for the entertainment of bored oil rig workers out in some once-magnificent national park. (Need a good book store with a series of author appearances, maybe starting with Susan Faludi? She's full of understanding. And slogans.)
You know who would understand? Karl Marx. Pretty obvious to him. But even a great genius like Marx whose head weighed more than 350 pounds and had to be braced up with a special cast iron frame, even he can't understand why love is a crime, the sort of crime spelled out in a restraining order from some judge (NEEDS HIS GODDAMNED HEAD EXAMINED!!!!) who is oh so ready to ignore everything one person says and just believe everything some other person says even when she is a liar! Hypothetically speaking. Answer me that, Professor Shoshanna Sofaer of Baruch College! Where's all your governmental advice now?
LearnFast or Die Answer
Older folks don't understand Medicare and its alternatives.
Patricia Neuman of the Kaiser Family Foundation says many people "[d]on't understand the rules that govern their care."
Pollster Michael Perry says people are "very angry over how confusing the program is."
But Diane Archer, executive director of the Medicare Rights Center, disagrees, "It's all incredibly complicated, not only for seniors but for everyone, including me." Or perhaps she agrees. It's very confusing.
And so Medicare is launching "the biggest peacetime education program the federal government has ever undertaken." Features include:
- a handbook being mailed to 39 million Medicare beneficiaries
- a toll-free info line: (800) 633-4227
- a Web site [www.medicare.gov]
- outreach efforts with 200 local and national groups
- the advice and snippy comments of Shoshanna Sofaer
- Geezer, the Old and Stupid Healthcare Baboon, a lovable mascot who'll travel to nursing homes and explain that what seems like a cold and heartless system is really great, once you grasp it. Or maybe I've misunderstood this last one, and it doesn't actually exist. Shoshanna?
I give the expression of disdain; you tell me who said it about what, and then tell me your bankcard PIN code.
1. "Sick stuff"
2. "Anti-Islamic and offensive"
3. "I'm embarrassed about it"
4. "Is wrong, is embarrassing, is outrageous"
5. "He has corrupted all of those around him"
6. "= Hitler"
7. "An insulting mess"
A. New York Mayor Giuliani doesn't like some art he hasn't seen. His response: cut off the museum's finances.
B. Mayor Giuliani also detests an article in a student magazine: He had two young writers jailed. Wait, sorry, it was Iranian Shiite Muslim clergy who jailed the kids; I keep confusing Tehran and New York.
C. Morgan Entrekin is sorry he nearly published another of James Mackay's possibly plagiarized biographies. Entrekin has destroyed all 7,500 copies of the suspiciously prolific Scot's John Paul Jones bio, by my count his 925th book.
D. New York Rep. Nita Lowey says, "To be the biggest deadbeat at the United Nations ..."
E. Professionally disapproving William Bennett doesn't want President Clinton to give the annual Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment of the Humanities. And so he won't.
F. Demonstrators in wheelchairs don't think Princeton should hire Peter Singer, but they will.
G. New York Times TV critic Caryn James doesn't enjoy Aaron Sorkin's West Wing.
The pleasantly varied News Quiz responses defy easy categorizing. So you're all dismissed 15 minutes early.