Unused (random) thoughts from 2016

As I sit in our conference room, my eyes are glazed over by the glow of a computer screen, and I am caught somewhere between a Christmas party coma, UofL-UK basketball coma and food-and-beverage coma, while pondering what I could possibly write for the 52nd issue of LEO, the last of the year… and it occurs to me that there are too many unused thoughts from this last year to not attempt a rapid roundup.

Most of all, it’s a therapeutic opportunity — a panic room for an only child with attention-deficit issues, to vent all the thoughts left unsaid. Plus, I did this last year, and it seemed like the best possible outcome for a brain clouded by holiday haze.

And hey, at least it’s not a best-of list… or a 2017, New Years resolution column. So without further delay: Unused (random) 2016 thoughts.

— I know this isn’t the most important takeaway from the video capturing the racist tirade at the JC Penny in the Jefferson City Mall… but it’s pretty hypocritical to tell someone to learn how to speak English, when their own command of the language is… pretty poor.

— In case I don’t get to say it again: Thanks Obama for helping Kentuckians who were uninsured get in to see a doctor, some for the first time in years, or ever. Kentucky’s rate of the uninsured dropped to 13 percent in 2015 from 38 percent in 2013, following full implementation of Obamacare in 2014.

Bevin called Obamacare “a disaster.” Sure, Obamacare has flaws — flaws worth criticizing and fixing — but when it has brought the uninsured rate to its lowest point in history, you cannot call it “a disaster.” Republicans for years have promised to repeal and replace. Democrats have either welcomed or challenged them to produce any replacement proposal.

So Republicans, we are waiting!

The Republicans have no replacement plan, and I know why. Elected Republicans have never had to come up with an original piece of legislation. Whether it’s tax reform, entitlement reform or, for years, healthcare reform, Republicans have been fed all of their policy ideas from think-tanks and lobbyists. These think-tanks, which are nothing more than special interest-groups cloaked in official, pro-American-sounding names — The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, etc. — have created a generation of Republicans who have no original thoughts or proposals of their own.

So they can go out there and scream “Repeal and replace!” because they’re certain the tanks who do their thinking for them will have an answer. They’ve always had a  policy for them in the past… they’ll come up with something now… right?

The problem is… there is no replacement. At least, there is no replacement that would stop insurance companies from raising premiums, creating junk insurance plans, kicking people with preconditions off their plans and burning over a trillion dollars in Medicare savings (thanks to Obamacare). Oh, except for a single-payer system.

So this isn’t a random, or unused thought, but thanks Obama. Bevin says Obamacare is a disaster. He is the disaster.

— Now, for something lighter, to return us to the holiday mood. One thing that should be brought back immediately: Slimer Hi-C Ecto Cooler. Yes, Slimer from “Ghostbusters.” Remember when Hi-C convinced parents and kids everywhere that the sugar-saturated orange drink belonged in the juice aisle? That stuff was amazing. The website www.ecto.cool says “It’s back,” but it doesn’t have Slimer on the front, and it comes in a can. If it’s not in a paper box with a tiny straw, it’s not Hi-C Slimer.

— Remember Ken Bone? Yes, he was the delightful highlight of an otherwise miserable, ugly presidential election. But seriously, can’t we — as a society — please have one major national event without getting distracted by a (delightful) Ken Bone? I’m not saying that Ken Bone is to blame for society’s ills, but he sure is a symptom of how childish and distracted we are.

— For all of the traffic delays and construction headaches, the expanded Spaghetti Junction has been surprisingly effective at improving traffic.

And not to start a debate, but does this mean we will never hear about 8664 again, or is it like an NBA team… it will keep coming up in Louisville community debates in perpetuity?