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Single Square Now, Single Payer Later

If you live in Brooklyn and it’s a hot summer day, do yourself a favor and don’t bother going to Coney Island for a dip in the ocean or a stroll on the boardwalk, because if you’re a well-hydrated woman you could run into a pesky problem inside the ladies’ restroom.

The state of New York has such a budget shortfall that park administrators at Coney Island have decided to cut corners by leaving toilet paper dispensers empty.  Park attendants are herding people with full bladders onto “ration lines” where one sheet of single-ply, Sheryl Crow-friendly toilet paper is meted out to women dying to get into a stall.  Men don’t even get a solitary square.

Word to the wise – toting along adult-sized baby wipes is especially important if Coney Island patrons plan to drink large quantities of cold soft drinks on warm summer nights while riding the Cyclone.  Park-goers are left with two choices: bring an extra fanny-pack full of Charmin® for a stroll on the boardwalk, or wear a bathing suit and plan to intermittently break for a quick dip in the salty foam, saying “I’ll be right back, I need to cool off.”

One woman, shocked that toilet paper was being rationed, said “Never in my life have I experienced anything like this. I walked toward a stall, and a bathroom attendant stopped me by shouting, ‘Hey, mami! There’s no toilet paper here,’ and she whipped out a big roll for me to grab some.”

A New York City Parks and Recreation spokesperson insists that toilet paper is stocked daily: “There’s no need to ration, and we’ll make certain our staff does not do so” – another tepid denial coming from another bureaucratic apologist.

Despite the budgetary crisis, the bathroom attendants still on the payroll maintain that the taxpayer-funded Parks Department isn’t adequately stocking the Coney Island public boardwalk with enough toilet paper, thus the bathroom attendant-controlled single-ply quotas.

New Yorkers pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. Their reward for doing so is having government spend more while they’re hung out to dry, having to BYOTP to the beach, boardwalk, and amusement park. Not only are New Yorkers being deprived of basic hygienic provisions, but now when patrons really have to use extra care washing up after using the facilities, the hot water is also turned off.

Even so, there is a larger issue which all Americans had best take heed of that has nothing to do with toilet paper and everything to do with the government’s inability to manage even a single stall in a public bathroom.  Although still a few years off, a similar scenario is likely with government managing America’s health care.

Both state and federal governments cost too much and provide little. Vulnerable Americans needing to use the bathroom at the mercy of an attendant dictating to them what they can and cannot have for the most basic of human needs is a foreshadowing of what lies ahead if a single-payer system is implemented. Americans are destined, in a time of crisis, to find themselves paying a very high price for single-ply/single-sheet health care, doled out by a government employee who’ll be told to leave the dispenser empty and watch over how much everybody gets.

Like the shocked woman in the Coney Island lavatory who marveled, “Never in my life have I experienced anything like this,” just wait until nervous mothers across America whose children have ear infections are told by their neighborhood drugstore that the weekly allotment of penicillin is gone and the next shipment doesn’t arrive for 48 hours.

Similar to walking into a restroom for the first time to find toilet paper being rationed, there will also be a first time when Americans, accustomed to easy access and high quality, will “walk toward a doctor’s office or emergency room” like a beachgoer rushing toward a restroom, only to have a bureaucrat inform them: “‘Hey, mami!’ There’s no room at this hospital.” And then traumatized Americans will be placed on ration lines where government workers will dole out certain healthcare procedures like sheets of cheap bathroom tissue.

In the words of a Coney Island tourist from Denmark named Benedikte Friis, after being handed a whisper-thin sheet of toilet tissue the consistency of crepe paper: “It’s very weird that someone decides how much paper you get because they don’t know what situation you’re in. You might need more!”

Precisely! And who better than Benedikte would know that you get what they give you, and ‘they’ could care less ‘what situation you’re in’ or if ‘you might need more,’ a situation similar to how it is in highly-taxed, government-munificent Denmark. Only here it will be worse, because Americans live in a country with 295 million more people than Denmark, run by a government far too similar to the one that runs the toilet paper-deprived park in Coney Island.

With bureaucrats on a par with bathroom attendants set to manage the nation’s health system, Americans are destined to endure a future full of such poor-quality medical care that even tourists from socialist Scandinavia will be shaking their heads and thinking that what’s going on here is more than a little “weird.”

The Obama Head Messers

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Mixed message mavens Michelle and Barack are proving they would be as unsuccessful at early childhood education as they are at politics. Although the state of American public education is abysmal, these two are compounding the issue by sending children messages that cannot reconcile from one paragraph to another within their own speeches, or more glaringly between the contradictory messages each one sends separately.  In an attempt to give confidence to the youth of America, this dynamic duo is doing nothing more than perplexing young impressionable minds.

According communication specialist, Dr. Rich Kirschner, “Mixed messages are confusing and when people are confused and things don’t get better, they become cynical polarized and angry, or they collapse into a state of silence and helplessness.”  So that explains it!

If children don’t know whether to line up, sit cross legged on the floor or have snack maybe the First Couple are partly responsible.  Michelle’s words to kids baffle when compared to the messages her husband has already conveyed.  Incongruousness reigns as Michelle blows the whistle signaling the start of playtime, while Barack announces its time to board the bus and head for home.

Case in point, Barack Obama decided it was his duty to encourage and urge American children to take education seriously on the first day of school.  Along with sharing horror stories from his youth that chronicled paternal abandonment, Obama goaded the children toward academic excellence with stories of brain tumors, poverty, AIDS, foster care, bullying and other uplifting exhortations toward success in school. In addition to his list of inspirational motivators, Obama decided to inject a giant sized dose of reality by telling children wearing Derek Jeter T-shirts and carrying Carrie Underwood lunch boxes that he,

Knows that sometimes, they get the sense from TV that they can be rich and successful without any hard work – that their ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, they’re never going to be any of those things.

After the children, still reeling from the left jab of disappointment, refocused on his speech, Obama went on to mention JK Rowling and Michael Jordan, explaining that Jordan,”…failed over and over and over again in his life. And that is why he succeeded.”  Huh?  Obama illuminated impressionable minds to the fact that failure leads to successfully accomplishing something you’ll never accomplish.

Dr. Kirschner believes sexual predators and perpetrators of domestic violence use mixed messages neither of which are applicable to the President.  However, control freaks also use mixed messages, “either consciously or unconsciously…as a way of controlling others,” which seems to be Obama’s signature style. Kirschner says, “…there are several hypnotic techniques that use mixed message to break down a person’s ability to think and take them into a hypnotic state,” an approach that apparently provided Obama  glowing returns in  the last election.

To add insult to injury, Michelle Obama sacrificially traveled to Copenhagen on the behalf of Chicago and the children and it wasn’t just to ask them to share their Danske Smakager.  She went there to pitch for the Summer Olympics coming to Chicago in 2016 and even more specifically to “bridge the gap” for Chicago’s children, whatever that means? Sports don’t seem to be a problem in the Windy City; Chicago’s children seem to be getting ample batting practice based on the news over the last few days.

Michelle’s message to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was quite different from Barack’s school day lesson in realism.  The First Lady contradicted her husband’s message by saying it was imperative that the Olympics come to Chicago because, unlike children in Arlington, Virginia who were told, “…chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things,” the Olympics hold an important message for children and to,

Let people know that we understand that sports saves lives, that it makes dreams come true, that it creates visions in kids’ heads to make them think they can be the next David Robinson, the next Barack Obama, the next Nadia Comanici, the next Oprah Winfrey.

This in itself was not only confusing but an extremely prejudiced statement on the part of Michelle.  She discriminatorily cited  two famous basket ball stars, three African-Americans, just one white gymnast and a person who could use a couple of jogs around the track.  Besides confusing children by using Oprah as an example as to why the Olympics should come to Chicago, didn’t Barack Obama, just a few weeks ago tell the kiddies that they’d likely never be Michael Jordan, let alone David Robinson?  Now, before assembly or a fire drill we’d  like Shelley to tell us, which is it?

Kirschner says, “…mixed messages give rise to an ever increasing number of negative and difficult behaviors as people try to navigate the confused situation.”  No wonder the kids in Chicago mistook sixteen year old, honor student Derrion Albert for a gang member before beating him to death – these two Chicago representatives don’t make any sense.  And to make matters worse, they are now sending out their befuddled method of communication to the whole country and the larger world, giving the term “he said, she said” a whole new meaning.

Theoretically mixed messages have been responsible for everything from schizophrenia to substance abuse in children when parents say one thing and do another thereby sending confusing messages to offspring.  According to Australian social worker Paul Gibney,

The essential hypothesis of the double bind theory is that the victim – the person who becomes psychotically unwell – finds him or herself in a communicational matrix, in which messages contradict each other, the contradiction is not able to be communicated on and the unwell person is not able to leave the field of interaction.

And who more than young children are incapable of finding their way out of a communication matrices or able to unravel contradicting messages from individuals in authority?  Or, worse yet, who more than children are “…unable to leave the field of interaction,” especially when teachers insist they submit to an hour long speech by the President of the United States or endure an afternoon of the First Lady speaking on their behalf in Copenhagen?  Both conveying self-gratifying messages any person who desires to be psychologically healthy should avoid.

Kirshner has  advice for children and grownups alike, cautioning…

Because mixed messages give rise to an ever increasing number of negative and difficult behaviors as people try to navigate the confused situation…you can notice the confused state they trigger as an early warning sign that someone may be messing with your head.

Thus, what greater gift could America give Chicago’s children then to send head messers, Michelle and Barack back to 5046 Greenwood Avenue four years prior to the Summer Olympics?  Michelle and Barack can continue doing the excellent job they were doing before leaving Chicago “making the concerns of kids …their own.” This could be a national effort to “open the doors of the White House” and send those two crazy, mixed up Chicago kids back to the community they love before their incongruousness and confusion makes Derrion Albert’s out of all of us.

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