Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Is This Anything?

As a regular viewer of The Late Show With David Letterman, I'd say a regular feature of the show is no longer on. "Is This Anything?" would feature a plate spinner, a doughnut-eating ventriloquist, a power tool symphonist, or some other niche performer. Paul Shaffer and Dave would discuss the act and arrive at a decision about whether what they had seen was, in fact, anything. Just like the ever popular "Will it Float?" segment, the entire shtick was to give Dave a chance to, as one named Squiggy might say, crack wise.

Riding through downtown New Albany today, neither Dave nor Paul was in the car with me. I saw something new at the Farmer's Market. I had to ask myself "Is This Anything?"

That's A Wrap has parked in a space at the Farmer's Market. Today was the first day for Andy Duitz and Joy Vest to try their hands at a semi-permanent location. Yesterday in Downtown Louisville, outside the Courier-Journal Building, I saw a hot dog vendor selling franks and drinks from a stainless steel cart.

Both of these entrepreneurial attempts say something about their respective locations. It is a hopeful sign for both downtowns that some discernible level of commerce has registered on the radar screens of these venturesome business people. (Vest and Duitz took their plan to the Board of Works and were given permission to set up, they also have a Farmer's Market Permit, as well as a Health Department Permit)

Vest and Duitz had a decent first day. They had sold about twenty orders when I stopped by to see what was going on. They have been to Harvest Homecoming in the past and did well enough there to try a more permanent set up.

While I don't see myself trying "the other red meat", I believe as downtown gets more re-established as a dining, drinking and entertainment center for the city, it is likely that the revival will spread to enhanced stores for wider ranges of goods. Guerrilla vendors,such as Duitz and Vest, and the hot dog vendor in Louisville, are signs of maturation of the respective downtowns.

So, Is This Anything?

I think so.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

H.R. 676 Under Consideration at City Council Tonight

Here is the resolution on health care the City Council will consider at tonight's meeting.

The presentation by Rob Stone during the 6:00 o'clock session will be highly informative. He is a tireless advocate for a universal health system for the United States.

Just days away now from the beginning of the Obama administration, it is still possible to hope that the United States will get its act together and become the great country it can be. Proof that we take seriously the promise of equality and freedom would be that we finally recognize health care as a right of citizenship; not a commercial commodity to be traded like copper or soybeans.

The words on the Statue of Liberty say "give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...". If those words were written in modern times, they might include something about sharing in the fruits of the effort spent building this country by the ordinary man, whose life is just as valuable to him as the life of a wealthy man is to him. At least share the bounty by making our time here as healthy and vital as possible.

Don't measure our prosperity in how many iPods we own, or the square feet of our houses. A better measure would be how we treat, as Jesus said, "the least among us". A truly prosperous nation takes good care of its own.

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.


WHEREAS: The United States is the only developed nation which does not offer universal health coverage to its citizens, and

WHEREAS: The lack of such coverage places the businesses and workers of the United States at a competitive disadvantage with businesses and workers from those nations with universal health coverage, and

WHEREAS: Employer-based health insurance burdens cities such as New Albany with tremendous costs, and

WHEREAS: This burden, for New Albany, constituted a claim on the 2008 municipal budget of $3,077,340.00 or 14.9%, and

WHEREAS: A universal, single-payer health plan would save the city of New Albany hundreds of thousands of dollars in administrative costs, and

WHEREAS: House Resolution 676, The National Health Insurance Act, now under consideration by the One Hundred and Eleventh Congress of the United States provides for the establishment of a single-payer, universal health plan for all citizens of the United States, and

WHEREAS:The United States Conference of Mayors, and countless local governmental bodies across America have endorsed H.R. 676, and

WHEREAS: Our member of the United States House of Representatives, Baron Hill, has indicated his openness to consideration of H.R. 676,

NOW THEREFORE: The Common Council of the City of New Albany expresses its support, through this resolution, for H. R. 676, and

THE COMMON COUNCIL wishes to express its support of H.R. 676 to The Honorable Baron Hill of the United States House of Representatives, and

THE COMMON COUNCIL further expresses its desire that Representative Baron Hill sponsor H.R. 676, in the One Hundred and Eleventh Congress of the United States, on its path toward the delivery of single-payer, universal health coverage for all his constituents, and for all citizens of the United States.