Oct 16, 2007
"Those who are well have no need of a physician,” Jesus said. We now know, however, that they do have need of a wellness coach. We all know the simple facts: Many Americans, for reasons acknowledged to be something of a historical accident, have health insurance through their employer. Health-care costs continue to escalate, and employers are eager—perhaps even desperate—to find ways to limit these costs. Increasing premiums for employees, rising copays, HMOs, PPOs—none has really worked to control costs other than in the short run.
The streets of Damascus are empty. No horns blare, no cars crawl through the narrow streets or crowd the intersections. I’m not darting between cars for a change, and there’s hardly anyone on the street. What’s going on? Where is everybody in this bustling, chaotic city of nearly 6 million? Then I remember: it’s Friday, the Muslim holy day. Not until noon, after prayers, will the city start to bustle again.
Neil Jordan’s The Brave One has a lacerating opening section. Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) is a New York disc jockey who dedicates her radio show to the neglected or vanishing splendors of the city she adores. One evening she and her fiancé (Naveen Andrews, of TV’s Lost) are mugged while walking their dog in Central Park; he’s killed and she winds up in a coma. When she wakes up, she undergoes a period of agoraphobia and afterward keeps a protective psychological shield around herself whenever she ventures forth.
Disaster capitalism: Blackwater USA, which the Iraqi government now wants to throw out of Iraq for killing innocent civilians, was hired to protect FEMA operations at the cost of $950 a day per guard. Blackwater has used revenue from these government contracts to build up its own paramilitary infrastructure.