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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Teddy/Ellie


I have had on my bookshelf for the longest time a book called "In Critical Condition: the Crisis in America's Health Care" by Edward M. Kennedy.
Chapter I: Sickness and Bankruptcy - A Double Disaster
Chapter II: What Price Good Health?
Chapter III: No Money, No Medical Care
Chapter IV: Where Have All the Doctors Gone?
Chapter V: The Medical Maze
Chapter VI: Good Care, Poor Care.
Chapter VII: Businessmen or Healers?
Chapter VIII: The Health Insurance Trap
Chapter IX- Better Health Care at Lower Cost in Other Countries
Chapter X: Good Health Care: A Right for All Americans
The book was published in 1972. Does any of the discussion sound at all familiar?

There is little doubt in my mind that Ted Kennedy was one of the greatest United States Senators ever. Just this past weekend on ABC News, John McCain (R-AZ) reiterated that the current health care debate has been stymied in part because his friend, the "Lion of the Senate", wasn't able to participate in the debate fully. Kennedy was an "old-time" senator who really DID work "across the aisle".

I believe his greatness in the Senate was fueled in no small part by the fact that he never became President. like his brother Jack did and his brother Bobby likely would have, had he not been assassinated in 1968. And I think it's because of a tragedy of his own making, Chappaquiddick, in 1969.

I supported Ted Kennedy when he challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Yet, at the same time, I was scared to death for him. Every President who was elected, or re-elected in a year ending in zero, going back to 1840, had died in office. Moreover, all of Ted's brothers had died violent deaths, including his brother Joe in World War II.

(I always thought the 1980 primary season felt like a conversation among Carter, Kennedy and Jerry Brown to a Lovin' Spoonful song, It's Not Time Now.)

So Ted Kennedy's sad but unsurprising death would, in the movies, stir both sides to open their hearts, work together for comprehensive health care reform, and we'd have a nice warm, fuzzy feeling in our bellies as the end credits rolled.

I'm not counting on that.

I do think it would be a fine legacy if the Congress could get together and pass some meaningful reform, and if EMK'd death becomes the prompt, then so be it.
***
The Brill Building composers and producers held sway over popular music in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Among them were Goffin and King, Mann and Weil, Greenfield and Sedaka, Pomus and Shuman, Leiber and Stoller, Barry and Greenwich. The latter were Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, partners both musically and otherwise (they were married for a time).
Here are some songs written or co-written by Ellie Greenwich, who died this week:
AND THEN HE KISSED ME
BE MY BABY
CHAPEL OF LOVE
CHRISTMAS BABY (PLEASE COME HOME)
DA DOO RON RON
DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY
HANKY PANKY
LEADER OF THE PACK
RIVER DEEP. MOUNTAIN HIGH
and a whole bunch more.

She also produced a number of artists, notably early Neil Diamond. Somewhere in my vinyl I have the soundtrack for the Broadway musical Leader of the Pack, in which she starred in the 1980s.

ROG

3 comments:

magiceye said...

may their souls rest in peace

Life with Kaishon said...

It is a sad loss for our country Roger. A sad loss.

thomwade said...

Sadly...I fear you are right. I suspect that instead of coming together and hammering out a healthcare reform that Ted Kennedy would be proud of, we will witness more fighting and both sides trying to hold Kennedy up "he would have been on our side" and worse.