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Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

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Obamacare’s conservative roots

It was about fifteen years ago, when working for a Republican member of Congress that I was asked to participate in a group that was looking at alternatives aimed at expanding healthcare coverage. This wasn’t a GOP issue, but in those days, many in the Republican Party in Congress (yes, really) were worried about the number of Americans that didn’t have healthcare. The single payer (government footing the bill) approach that had been proposed by President Clinton had been defeated, but many Republicans in Congress were still interested in private sector alternatives. This had a lot of promise and the approach that garnered the most interest was the concept of a government sponsored insurance marketplace. Each state would have its own marketplace and Americans who needed health care could sign up. Expanding Medicaid was also discussed. But key to every part of this proposal was the private sector.

Read more: Obamacare’s conservative roots

It’s been a busy year

My great aunt, whose life covered a century, used to tell me that as she got older the years, “just flew by.”  When I was ten or so and first heard this I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. A day sometimes seemed like forever and a year was an eternity. But, now, many years later I understand what she meant. When I was ten, a year was a staggering tenth of my life. At least to that point. Now, a year, is a much smaller fraction and I completely understand what my great aunt was talking about. The years do fly by. However, that doesn’t make the accomplishments, disappointments and promises of a year that’s past any less important. And they deserve a little recognition.

Read more: It’s been a busy year

Christmas 1914: When the shooting stopped

Ninety-nine years ago this Christmas soldiers of the British, French, and Belgian Armies were facing each other across no man’s land. It was first year of World War One and the beginning of a long period of trench warfare that would last four more years. Already, since the war began in August, as many as a million had already died.  Leadership was in question, and more than a few soldiers, on both sides of no man’s land, that minimal stretch of territory between the lines, wondered if it was all worth it. In the long term, for the cause of the Allies, it probably was, but right at that moment, in the midst of battle, it wasn’t fighting that broke out, but rather it was Christmas.

Read more: Christmas 1914: When the shooting stopped

A legacy of forgiveness and friendship

High school subjects are familiar to most of us. There is algebra, a foreign language, P.E., history, and government, to name a few. However, in 1974, my high school added one called “Modern World History.”  It was an examination of selected topics from World War I until the present. Our teacher was Colonel (Ret) Gordanier and he had been to just about all the places he taught about and that perhaps is why he gave special attention to South Africa. It had left a strong impression on him.

Read more: A legacy of forgiveness and friendship

The man who saved Christmas

The annual complaints about Christmas are almost always the same.  It’s too commercialized, it’s too much money, it’s too glitzy and it’s just too much.  I don’t agree with this, I am a big fan of Christmas, and I would remind these 21st century Scrooges that there was a time, not so long ago, when Christmas was hardly celebrated at all.  The warmth, cheer, and magic so many of us associate with the holiday, had faded away years before.

Read more: The man who saved Christmas

The unsung Thanksgiving hero

He gets the passing mention in the Thanksgiving Day story as he is often credited with helping the Pilgrims survive their early winters in the harsh New England climate.  But that doesn’t begin to do justice to the story of Squanto.  Historians, given some latitude for the lack of records, believe that Tisquantum, better known to our history as Squanto, was born between 1585 and 1592.  History offers the Squanto story as that of a good natured Indian who humbly helped the Pilgrims in their early days in America.  That’s true, as far as it goes, but there is a lot more to the tale of Squanto than most people realize.

Read more: The unsung Thanksgiving hero

 

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