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home : opinion : editorials May 29, 2016

8/25/2013 6:00:00 AM
Column: Roping up some rhymes

Rich Thurlow

Poet laureate is one of those things that you might know what it is and how it's pronounced. To my own way of thinking, poet laureate is pronounced almost like lariat, and it means you're good at throwing around words instead of ropes.

Albert Rios is Arizona's poet laureate. Here's the verbiage from the email with the announcement:

In honor of Arizona's Centennial year of statehood, Governor Brewer last year signed into law SB 1348, making Arizona the 43rd state to establish a Poet Laureate. The purpose of this position is to commemorate Arizona literary artists whose work and service best represent Arizona's values, independence and unique Western history and culture.

There's no doubt Mr. Rios is well qualified for the position, but what happens when the bright lights fade and Arizona moves on to the more mundane task of being 101 years old (and I hate to be a nag, but we're more than a year late on this centennial/poet lariat thing, and Arizona is already 101)?

At this point, I think, being poet laureate just might be beneath a man of Mr. Rios' stature.

So I'm volunteering, at least if it's a paying gig.

As far as credentials go, I remember claiming to like Emily Dickinson's work in high school, earning an A in the process. I also remember that she didn't title her work, instead identifying it with numbers. As an editor who has struggled with headline writing, I can tell you right now the number thing has a lot of appeal. But how do we train readers to know that "1,457" means "Exploding Cigar Kills Nine"?

You can see the dilemma.

Anyway, years back I was sorting through the mail and came across consecutive news releases, the first about the number of amazing poets in the community where I lived, the second about the dreadfully high number of functionally illiterate people in the community where I lived.

I should also mention the news release about poets was more interested in getting money from aspiring poets. In other words, if you submitted a poem, you won. This particular pitch called for poems about Jacqueline Kennedy.

Poetry and illiteracy struck me as a natural pairing, at least at the time. So I came up with this:

I got a dawg, his name is Fred,

And yesteeday I runned over his hed,

If he'd a wored a pillbox hat like Jackie,

Mebbe his ear wouldn't look so tacky.

As our former first lady, you had some back luck,

But at least you never got runned over by a truck,

Now I've got a dawg and his name is Fred,

And he's got Goodyear rittin all over his hed.

Jan, get back to me when it's convenient, especially if this laureate gig includes health insurance.


One reason given for the need to have ObamaCare is that health care as it existed was not sustainable. I'm not sure what that means, given that the statement on these pages a few days ago wasn't backed by any data. But I know what I can see with my own two eyes.

Kingman Regional Medical Center's sprawling campus sure looks like something more appropriate to a community much larger than ours. And it looks sustainable to me.

There are doctor's offices, from general practitioners to surgeons to dermatologists, all over town.

All of them give every appearance of being sustainable, at least until their federal ObamaCare reimbursements drop to too few pennies on the dollar. According to the CDC, one in three doctors refused new Medicare patients in 2011. Going by that data, it would appear that the problem with sustainability had to do with government shortcomings, not an issue with our doctors and other health care professionals and the services they provide.

And for doctors who still see Medicare patients, underpayments to them are ultimately shifted to patients in the form of shorter visits, less doctor face time, quick hospital discharges, and compromised care, according to Jason Fodeman, M.D., of the Galen Institute.

Look, if ObamaCare is such a good deal the president wouldn't be traveling all over the place trying to sell it to the public years after it was passed into law. If ObamaCare is such a good deal, the timetable for it being put in place wouldn't be arbitrarily changed by the president to after the 2014 elections. And if it's such a good deal, what's with all these waivers from businesses that want nothing to do with it?

No, if ObamaCare was a good deal, Americans would know it. But it's not, so one of the popular liberal talking points now is that health care is unsustainable, so that when ObamaCare crashes and burns that will be the proof that even more government intervention - not less - will solve health care problems.

Government "fixing" health care has broken it, just like government making college "affordable" has created a mountain of debt for millions of Americans who can't find work in the Obamaconomy.

It's almost enough to make a guy give up writing poetry.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Moore

“…(it was actually written years earlier by liberal groups), Republicans came forward with several, non governmental control, measures to help improve health care and health insurance.”

More of the usual misinformation. The entire “individual mandate” concept was originally proposed by the ultra-right wing Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s and was immediately embraced by every Republican member of Congress and was proposed by them in answer to Clinton’s health plan –whoch would have been universal health car.

The Republicans never proposed anything as they put out booklets full of no specifics. And as the process moved ahead they demanded the individual mandate that – unfortunately – Obama agreed to. Once Obama went along the Republicans immediately began figting it.

“Romney care wasnt very successful either, you'd think the Feds would learn from that.”

Wrong again. “Romneycare” has been very successful and despite your incorrect use of the past tense it is working well.

I am constantly amazed at how righties post pure hogwash in an attempt to mislead the intellectually challenged.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ Al

The statement that Obama care is based on Republican ideas is another pat liberal talking point and nothing more.

During the time that Obama Care was supposedly being written, (it was actually written years earlier by liberal groups), Republicans came forward with several, non governmental control, measures to help improve health care and health insurance. These ideas were shot down by Obama and the left. Remember, "elections have consequences", and "the campaign is over John".

If you're referring to "Romney care". That was a law put forward by a democratic STATE legislature in a STATE. States are sovereign. Romney care wasnt very successful either, you'd think the Feds would learn from that.
The federal government is over stepping its bounds with Obama care.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Al Koffman

“One reason given for the need to have ObamaCare is that health care as it existed was not sustainable. I'm not sure what that means, given that the statement on these pages a few days ago wasn't backed by any data”.

Please read my letter again and explain to me how I said or implied “One reason given for the need to have ObamaCare is that health care as it existed was not sustainable”.

Years back, before Obama, when health care costs were increasing at double digits every year, many articles on the subject used the term unsustainable. I think most would interpret “double digits” as sufficient data.

So Rich, why don’t you write a column explaining what you would propose replacing “Obamacare” with? Just think, you would be the first Republican in the country to do so.

And don’t forget that Obamacare is based on Republican ideas, think Romneycare. The simple answer to this whole mess is a Single Payer System.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Actually, "runned over" gave me a thought. Any Arizonan considering writing poetry should first be immersed in country music lyrics. In fact, Hank Sr's lyrics were referred to as Hillbilly Shakespeare.

But my favorite was a song written by Steve Goodman and recorded by David Allan Coe.

In part it said, ".....you don't have to call me darlin, darlin - you never even call me by my name"

Steve wrote David he had written the perfect country song but David responded that it wasn't because he never mentioned Mama, trains, trucks, getting drunk or prison. So Steve added one more verse. Here it is. Sorry but I think it's better than yours.

"Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got out of prison.
And I went to pick her up in the rain.

But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck. She got runned over by a danged old train"

A close second, Hank Jr's "If Heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, I don't want to go...if they don't have the Grand Ole Opry like they do in Tennessee, just send me on to Hell or NYC, it'd be bout the same to me",

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

Another disgusting column. I'm no longer disappointed when it happens. I've come to expect it.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: I once knew a girl from Derry .....

.....she preferred men who were hairy she's with Oglaigh na hEireann and guess what she's wearin'- semtex, some wires and a beret. (They may not elect me Poet Laureate, but I'll just betcha that I make it onto some secret and unaccountable government databases). I dedicate this little limerick to psychopaths of every ethnic group and culture.

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