Monday, March 31, 2008

DNC fundraising idea

On July 1st, Howard Dean or Al Gore flip a coin in a tv studio in Washington DC. Or in front of the FDR memorial or whatever.

Heads, the Dem ticket is Clinton/Obama. Tails, it's Obama/Clinton.

$39.99 on pay-per-view. DNC fundraising problem solved.

A Rorscach Blog

The Globe had a hand-twisting post about the blog Stuff White People Like, a listing of things that "White people" like. By White people, the authors clearly mean progressive, self-serious middle-class, suburban Caucasians. Frankly, the type of people who write and read blogs. (And I'm working my way through the blog, and haven't yet see blogging on the list...if it isn't there, it will be).

There's a lot of good stuff on it, and I urge you to check it out. I will include this excerpt, though:

#64 Recycling

Recycling is a part of a larger theme of stuff white people like: saving the earth without having to do that much.

Recycling is fantastic! You can still buy all the stuff you like (bottled water, beer, wine, organic iced tea, and cans of all varieties) and then when you’re done you just put it in a DIFFERENT bin than where you would throw your other garbage. And boom! Environment saved! Everyone feels great, it’s so easy!

It's a funny website. Go read, and allow yourself to enjoy.

PS: Adding to the wickedness of the site is the post on "Arts Degrees", illustrated by a photo of the Arts Building of my alma mater wherein I took many classes toward my own Arts degree.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quick question

I didn't hear any objections from the Obama campaign when Pennsylvania first set its primary for April 22.

Now that its time to vote is slowly approaching, Obama wants to end the contest before they get their say. Why was a late primary fine until it came time to hold it? They could have said something along the lines of "April 22nd is too may want to set it earlier so the Democratic Party has time to 'heal'". Why didn't they?

Bonus question: Is the Obama campaign going out of its way to piss off the key states that the Democratic side needs in November, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida? There's no way to get to 270 electoral votes without 2 of those 3 states...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sexism by Hasbro

I'll admit to being stunned that in 2008, I'm seeing advertisements for children's toys that declare that "boys are built different. They play different." and that Tonka trucks are BUILT FOR BOYHOOD!. Not for adventure, not for fun, but for boys. Strong is the implication that the trucks are not built for girls, and girls are not welcome to play on them.

Hey children, there are specific things that you should be interested in, and others that you are not allowed to like. So girls, step away from the trucks. They are not for you. Why not just make an ad that declares "these toys will prepare your child for the appropriate interests of someone their gender."

Heck, Barbies are less stereotype-driven.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Growing up, my favorite comedian was Bill Cosby. I'm actually listening to him now. He doesn't tour anymore, except on a political platform.

In college, my favorite comedian was Mitch Hedberg. Awesome talent, and I got to see him in Montreal. Sadly, Hedberg passed away at a very early age, and I can only imagine what might have been. How is it that every two years we get another album of Tupac's cutting room floor scrapings, but no archived Mitch material??

These days, my favorite comedian is Eddie Izzard, and he's coming to Boston. I'm seeing him on the Wednesday. Psyched.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Deval: My Obsession is Worth 5 Teachers

Apparently, Deval Patrick has time to play at being Massachusetts governor between high-profile visits to Washington, DC and serving as loyal Obama flunkie, speaking in whichever state has the next primary. Of course, "play at being Massachusetts governor" for Deval means "hustle casino money". After Sal DiMasi slapped him around like a puppy that went on the carpet on this issue, most people understand this phantom hope is dead.

Not Deval. He's pouring almost $190,000 that the state doesn't have into an immediate "study" on the economics of casino gambling. This will entail ignoring all the studies out there over an issue that is dead for the year. At best, we'll be looking at a study one year out of date that will change nobody's mind...much more likely, it will be put on a shelf somewhere.

$190,000. That's five well-qualified teachers. Or a few cops. Upgrading a stretch of road or other architecture. Real money, that's being pissed away because Deval has no ideas.

Thank goodness we have someone running the state who knows what they're doing -- keep up the good work, Sal!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

If you like funnyness...

...and you accept that evolution is the best explanation for human development, you'll love this. Go read it...I promise it's funny. Real funny.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why does Obama loathe the idea of re-votes?

Well, the recently killed attempts at re-votes in Michigan and Florida worry me. They worry me because Barack Obama did his best to kill the idea that the voices of Floridians and Michiganders should be heard. Every plan, regardless of expense or method, received a "no, No, NOO!" response from Camp Obama. But why?

I can see that Obama doesn't like the idea of primaries in places with a large Hispanic presence, and many blue collar, loyal Democratic voters. The demographics don't suit him, and he got fairly well creamed the first time around. In Florida, where Obama snuck some ads on tv in contravention to his promises, he got killed by Hillary 49% to 37%. So Obama loses them both primaries...that's the end of his path to the nomination, right? Not even close.

CNN has Obama leading Clinton in delegates by a margin of 142 1,621-1,479. Florida would have 185 delegates up for grabs, and Michigan 128. A total of 303.

This is a close, tightly fought battle. In large, expensive states such as Michigan and Florida, neither Clinton nor Obama are likely to get more than 60%. But for shits and giggles, let's say everything falls Clinton's way and she gets 60% of the vote in each state. That means that she would gain 61 delegates on Obama's lead.

That's right...Hillary would cut off 1/5 of Obama's lead. One fifth. A whopping 20% in the final stages of the race.

Now, while I can understand that Obama fears Hillary gaining any momentum should a perfect Hillary storm arrive, it's not as if letting the two states vote would be his death knell. It would be a minor -- minor -- change to his path.

For safeguarding those 60 delegates, what is Obama willing to forsake? Michigan is now a general election toss-up because of this foolishness. Democrats need to win Michigan's 17 electoral votes in November. It would also be nice to win Florida's 27 electoral votes as well, but 24% of Floridians polled say that if the Obama boycott succeeds, they would be less likely to vote Democratic in the general election.

Most Democrats would be happy to lose 1/5 of their delegate lead in order to get a leg up on gathering those 44 electoral votes. Most Democrats would be happy to shave their primary lead a wee bit to widen a lead in November.

Yes, these states broke the rules. And yes, there are times when the forest is more important than the trees. This is such a time.

Let me be clear: any Democrat who opposes Michigan and Florida re-votes is uninterested in doing everything it takes to win in November. After all the speeches and slogans, there are many Democrats who still believe not in the aspirations of any one person, but in winning the White House.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

TV announcment

I am watching Dancing with the Stars this season...for a while at least. For one reason, this:

The divine Marlee Matlin. From The Commish through The West Wing (with Seinfeld and others in between), I've been entranced by a rare beauty in entertainment that is illuminated by sunlight, rather than shellacked with ice. She is the only celebrity whose autographed photo I've ever bothered to acquire. I also shall forever condemn the Canada Post slob who creased it into my mailbox.

I shall be watching this series as long as she is on it, and not a moment past. And the show isn't worth blogging or summarizing.

PS: I think I saw Tricia Helfer sitting behind the men. Helfer is an actress on Battlestar Galactica, the only television show of this century to have artistic and conceptual merit. I mean, Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway are all fun as far as it goes, like ice cream. BSG is a well cooked steak.

Obama's Big Speech(es)

Senator Obama gave a moving, excellent speech today. In a notable examination of the pathway of racism through the American dream, Obama addressed the long shadow and breathing reality of discrimination in our country. He tied well his personal history, American history, and its ideals so wonderfully captured at its birth. Obama spoke lucidly and well of a topic that has clearly followed him (and every African-American) since day one. It truly felt that a collection of wise thoughts that Obama has collected over his lifetime, and a speech that was meant to be delivered at a moment when it could truly move America. A noble discourse.

And mixed in with it, candidate Obama wanted to explain why Reverend Wright said what he did, that actually Obama knew more about Reverend Wright that he said before, and that he realizes he's in trouble on the campaign trail. In short, it was a staunch-the-bleeding campaign move.

The injection of this ripped-from-the-headlines pandering felt like a handprint on a Picasso, and it took away from the whole thing. I deeply wish that Obama had tried to put the Wright Affair behind him now, and saved those noble remarks for down the road.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Latest graphic

If you want to know what is pissing me off about the caucus process this time, read up about it here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

One argument for a "dream ticket"

I have argued elsewhere that a Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket is a bad idea. It puts two Senators on a ticket, that wouldn't include any executive experience, or foreign policy bona fides. Hillary has little true foreign affairs experience, and Obama has none. I've said in the past that I think that the national security/foreign affairs credibility that a Jim Webb or Wes Clark would bring to a ticket would be vital.

That's one way of looking at how to balance a ticket. Such a view tries to balance off issues and personalities in a global sense. Another approach to ticket building is purely electoral math, talking about what states a VP candidate can make competitive (indeed, the ability to bring in New Mexico is a big part of the 'Richardson for VP' argument). Nothing is guaranteed, however...if you remember, John Edwards delivered nothing to the ticket in 2004 -- not his home state, nothing in the South. I realize that he finished second in the race, but Edwards lent nothing to the Democratic ticket in 2004 from an electoral point of view.

In an ideal world, you expand the field of play by adding a VP candidate who can bring in states and issues. Jim Webb, Senator from Virginia, does bring with him serious foreign policy and national security heft. Also, it does up the Democratic argument in Virginia. However, given how close Webb's election was (.3%), I don't know how much extra he'd offer.

However, there is one Democrat running who single-handedly flips a state from sure-red to true-blue...Hillary Clinton. In a recent poll, there is a notable gap in the fortunes of Obama and Clinton in that state. Against McCain, Obama would lose Arkansas by 16 points, whereas Clinton would win by 15 points. That is a 31-point difference between Clinton and Obama in the state. Furthermore, Hillary is polling at above 50% in Arkansas against McCain, which means a victory even with undecideds breaking for McCain.

Now, this swing would be diluted if Hillary were the VP. Even if the impact of Hillary's presence were cut in half, we're still talking about a 15 point swing. We're still talking about the difference between losing Arkansas and winning Arkansas -- and a 12-point swing in the electoral vote count. Should Obama become the nominee, I can't imagine him finding a VP candidate who can single-handedly swing the EV count by 12 outside of Hillary. If he's in it to win it, then it would be up to him to swallow his pride and ask her to join forces, for the good of the party.

Ye Olde St. Patty's Day Breakfast

For any talk of the "New Boston", there's no stronger sign that things have stayed the same as the St Patrick's Day Breakfast. Every vaguely important congressperson, mayor, governor in the state comes to a roast filled with Irish music, step dancers, "special guests" from Ireland, and corned beef 'n cabbage. One of the guests today was the Irish Minister of Justice...who's singing a traditional Irish song. Also present were the Dropkick Murphys. Quite the spectrum...

And regardless of the election of Suffolk County sheriff Andrea Cabral and our governor, the head table is dominated by Americans of Italian and Irish descent. What's more, Deval is clearly out of his element. In the last two years, he has sung one song, and brought a little scorecard. Meanwhile, the Jack Harts and Sal DiMasis of the state run rings around him with sharp joke after sharp joke. Congressman Steve Lynch and Mayor Tom Menino are reliable for a good laugh.

This is nothing against Deval -- his little pro-casino song was cute. However, his clear discomfort for the ongoing "good ol' boy" vibe is such an impediment for him to get things done. What's more, this isn't necessarily a race thing: Cabral has always seemed at home during the event. So does Terry Murray.

It's an incredibly humorous spectacle, often unintentionally so. But it's rather sad that the governor of our state struggles so mightily to connect with its other leaders. As with John Kerry and Mitt Romney, the two show their elitist roots so clearly this day, and it's not a pleasant sight.

PS: An interesting view into the whole process. I saw Terry Murray tell the joke about McCain answering the question "boxers or briefs" with "Depends" the night before the St. Patrick's breakfast at a function. She didn't tell it the next morning...Rep. Stephen Lynch did instead.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I have to admit, the machinations in Florida and Michigan are starting to bore me. Who pays for it, whether it's by mail, voting booth, horse sleigh, or whichever...whether it's paid for by the state, party, private sources, or some combination just makes my eyes glaze over.

I think both states should revote, and I think that caucuses (from all we've seen) are beyond the pale. Other than that...I just can't get too excited.

Maybe I'm getting filled up on insidery goodness this primary season. Huh.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Homeschooling a crime?

(Substantively cross-posted on BMG.) Please note the update below the line...

Almost missed this decision in California that basically dictates that parents and family "home-schooling" their child must have qualification similar to professional teachers. Given the small number of family that home school their children who actually possess such qualifications, this raises the specter that this decision would essentially ban home-schooling. I wouldn't be surprised to see this overturned on appeal as it is such a shift in policy, but if this ruling stands, we could see some changed ahead.

I'm also surprised I haven't heard more about this because home-schooling is climbing up the list of issues for the Christian Right. You see, the Christian Right has figured out that they do not have the legal or social means to insulate their child from fact if s/he goes to public school. The creationist/intelligent design effort fails every time it goes to court, and little Josiah or Eve always seems to learn things about this carnal world, make friends, and *gasp* want to be part of it. So, you see more and more self-declared Christians taking out their children to keep them thoroughly insulated from the outside world. I heard a complete radio show (I think it might have been the 700 Club?) on this last month driving around Vermont.

And where the Christian Right goes, Republicans hurry to follow. Ron Paul wants tax credits for home schoolers. Sam Brownback catered to them in his aborted campaign. John McCain, in typical wishy-washy dog-whistle style, sneaks it in, too under "Education":

John McCain will fight for the ability of all students to have access to all schools of demonstrated excellence, including their own homes.

I'd be curious what McCain's idea of "demonstrated excellence" is as applied to home schools.

Mind you, there are plenty of reasons people home school their children outside of religious sterilization. In 2003, we're talking over a million home-schooled children. If a student has an attested medical issue, then the district does pay for tutors to come to the home. However, I do know of students whose families claim issues that are not documented, and thus home school the child. Similarly, undocumented psychological issues may be claimed as well -- a child who is an ongoing disruption to the process has sometimes been pulled by parents "tired of dealing with it". I am aware of two children who are supposedly home schooled who aren't learning a darn thing -- the family just couldn't be bothered to discipline their child to act in a way necessary in public, so they took their child out of the system. There are other families who feel that their child will receive a better education at home than they would in a public school.

Not impossible. And that better education doesn't even require the qualifications the California court is requiring. Much of my training is set to deal with issues that a home schooling family will not face:

  • Managing curriculum (home-schoolers don't really have a set curriculum...more on that later)
  • Managing discipline (not enough of my training, but would hope a family can discipline their own child, see caveat above)
  • Differentiated instruction and multiple intelligences (trying to simultaneously service diverse learning styles and skill levels...not an issue in a class of 2 or 3 students).

So, much of my training isn't on how to teach, but rather how to teach in a public school. Much of that would be wasted on home-schoolers. However, not all of it. How to "frame" learning -- putting lessons within a wider context -- is a difficult skill for professionals; I can't imagine how amateurs do it. Nor can I imagine decently teaching all subjects: it would be a mistake for me to teach math at a 7th grade level or beyond. Of course, I can do that math, but I can't explain it in a fashion that is accessible to a 12 year old.

Although I think this ruling goes too far, I would welcome a closer look at home schoolers. I don't know what happens in a typical home schooling environment. I know the old saw that "we're going food shopping so she can learn about math" is often implemented fatuously: you don't "learn math" by doing two minutes of addition during 90 minutes of errands. We all hear the apocrypha that a certain ten examples prove that home schooling works. I'm frankly tired of hearing how many home-schooled children win spelling bees. This isn't due to superior education: those home schooled children get drilled on word lists for hours, while in public schools we're teaching them what the words mean and how to use them.

At the end of the day, my concerns about home-schooled children are rooted in my own experiences with them. When I learn that a student is about to come into my class who has been home schooled, I can expect at least three of these will be true:

  • The student will be polite and friendly to adults;
  • The student will struggle with peer relations (which about half the time results in active or pre-emptive bullying);
  • The student's fundamental skills in reading/writing will be 12-24 months behind grade level;
  • The student will be unaware and unprepared for the curriculum. I don't necessarily expect home schoolers to follow the district curriculum, but if a student makes it to eighth grade without knowing anything about ancient Greece, her family has failed her.

So while this ruling probably does go too far, the idea of a license to home school does appeal to me. Passing the teacher's test, then a bout 1 semester's worth of courses on introductory education would be well spent. We wouldn't have to worry about the courses designed for public school teachers, but courses on methods of learning, putting lessons in context, would be good. Where the money would come from for such a regulatory process is a question for another time.


Well, this post got an even deeper response to my reminiscing about the wily James Traficant here and at BMG. Well, going off some of the responses, I'd like to add the following:

This was a personal reflection on a trend occasioned by this court case. Frankly, I didn't necessarily object to home schooling. Of course there are many successful cases of home schooling...those are the ones that I likely never see. However, I do see the results of families who think home schooling is an easy way out, discover otherwise, and thus send their student back into my classroom. I mentioned my experience with home schooled students entering/re-entering the public system. I also noted that I thought the ruling went too far, but it isn't too far to ask that people teaching children to be somehow qualified.

If those qualifications are so easy to get, then I can't imagine the objection.

What I didn't imagine were some the numbers in a 2006 federal DOE report.

Turns out that 30% of home schooling happens due to the family's desire to install "religious or moral instruction" while another 31% was due to "the environment of public schools" which includes "negative peer pressure". These are the top two answers, and far higher than I expected. Though these answers are not identical, I think there is significant enough overlap to state that 1 of 3 students are home schooled for reasons clearly outside of reason for education. The fact that about 350,000 Americans are getting the education they are from people who do not place the quality of that education atop the list is surprising to me. I knew that home-schooling was often a response of "Christian" families who fear exposing their child to the real world, but I didn't realize that was true to such an extent!

So far, the data sources I can find on eventual success outcomes for homeschooled students come from advocacy groups, which I tend to view with a jaundiced eye (for example, there's this argument that plumps for home-schooling, but a quick look at the site tells you what flavor of home-schooling they want.) This unsourced report marks a slight uptick in SAT and ACT scores for home-schooled students, but nothing that indicates if this study controlled for parents' education, income, and other relevant factors. This Globe story is typical...vague generalities punctured by specific examples. I'm hoping for better than that.

What's coming out is that often home schooling is simply good schooling. The difference is that home schoolers don't have ignorant "reformers" breathing down their necks, so they have the freedom to do what they -- and most public school teachers -- know is the right way to do it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Blogging Project Runway #13: Finale

Finale time.

What I don't understand on each season finale is how these great designers who pumped out so many good outfits have so much more time, and can return with such crap. That is a taste issue, not a time issue.

Christian is suddenly questioning himself. Weird. Maybe he got dumped in the interim...something shook his confidence.

Was it me, or did one of them have to sleep on the couch? A show this budget and they can't spring for two apartments?

I just don't care about the makeup "consultations" aka product placement.

In the show warm-up, Rami is the only one who is a professional. He's the only one who will know what to do the day after the series finale with the money and with his ideas.

Do models ever arrive early? Ever?

I look at Christian, and Christian's parents, and wonder how we got from one generation to the next.

Michael Kors really looks the part during the show in his black scarf and aviator sunglasses.

Pah. Once again personal dramatics (Christian) tops real talent and vision. Three years from now, who do you think will be a success? Exactly. Rami.

Once in a while they get things right...

Kudos to Republican Frank Wolf of North Carolina, for urging our President to skip the Olympics in Beijing due to the Chinese government's continuing abetting of the Sudanese genocide in Darfur.

Unfortunately, I can't find the letter itself even on the Congressman's website, and am reduced to pointing you to an AP article that rephrases the important points. At base though, Wolf is saying that the fact that China is the Sudan's most important business partner makes them morally complicit in the massacre in Darfur. Experienced moron John Negroponte responded that "there is no greater spokesman for human rights in the world than our president."

As much as I love the pageantry and idealism of the Olympics (and detest the commercialism), no track meet is sparkling enough to excuse any endorsement of a government that is accessory to mass murder.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What's the hurry?

With Hillary triumphant in Ohio and Texas (and Rhode Island, aka Massachusetts, Jr.), we're back to a real race for the nomination. And we're back to the whiners saying how baaad it would be for the campaign to continue. While this is often just code for "Hillary is so mean to keep Obama from being the nominee!!", this argument is offered as an attempt to defend and help the Democratic Party and nominee.

To which I ask, what's the hurry?

We are right now 8 months out from the general election. Even if we go all the way to the last event, Puerto Rico's primary, we're still 5 months away from the general. (By the way, CNN doesn't have Puerto Rico in its menu of primary/caucus previews and results. Nice work, boneheads.) That is about 130 days.

  • One hundred thirty days seem to me enough time to raise money from energized Democrats;
  • One hundred thirty days seem to me enough time to make amazing primary/caucus organizations into superlative general election organizations;
  • One hundred thirty days seem to me enough time to film new tv ads;
  • One hundred thirty days seem to me enough time to badger undecided voters in swing states, morons who sometimes don't make a decision until the day before, no matter what you do or say;
  • One hundred thirty days seem to me enough time to customize the DNC's research and arguments about the McCain's lack of readiness to lead America;
  • Two hundred days seem to me enough time to for anyone useful in a general election to get over their problems from the primary and prove they care about America and not just their candidate.

Meanwhile, McCain is hanging there. He can't campaign against two very different people. What if goes all Johnny Hopeful to pace Obama, and Hillary wins on realism? Or McCain and the Republicans run against business as usual, and Obama carries the day?

A lot can happen in the two months between the conventions and the general election. For instance, the polls can swing 22 points in either direction.

Have patience. After all the hand-wringing over the compacted primary schedule, we're having one heck of a (largely civilized) fight for the nomination. Many people have yet to speak their piece.

We'll have our one hundred thirty days. For now, we need to allow the people of Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, Mississippi, Wyoming...and all the have their say.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just a matter of time...

If this Democratic race continues much longer, commentators are going to accidentally start saying what they're clearly thinking out loud. On CNN, we'd have a chance at gems such as?

  • "Lotsa chicks voted, so yeah that's good for Hillary."
  • "Why is it always the black voters who take a long time to report? What's the deal with that?"
  • "No matter what happens, this is good for Obama."
  • "I'm a real journalist, and I'm stuck here asking Bill Schneider scripted questions about exit polls. What the hell?" (For Suzanne Malveaux)
  • "Do you have my Metamucil?" (For Carl Bernstein)
  • "Shut up, Wolf."
  • "Let's look at these numbers on this enormous tv we purchased from a defunct minor league baseball stadium."
  • "This is really exci-...ah, screw it. This is boring as hell. We're going to run old episodes of the Three Stooges until we can actually call the thing."
  • "So you're basically saying that Hillary Clinton is the Simon Cowell of this race, and Obama is the Randy Jackson?"
  • "So how much cooler is John McCain than Obama and Clinton?"
  • "Can we talk about Bill Clinton some more? I like talking about Bill Clinton."
  • "I don't know who let that ditzy young girl in the back row, but would someone please turn off her microphone?"
  • "Mississippi? They vote now, using ballots they have to read? They even let the blacks vote now? Wow! This is exciting!"

And so on...

Monday, March 3, 2008

A true story about CanadaCare...why we don't want it here

Perhaps due to its proximity, the health care system of Canada is held up as an example by many folks left of center, from Ralph Nader to Michael Moore, and many (saner) people as well. I hope that this is due to the fact that Canada seems like a friendly efficient country, and their reputation adds a layer of integrity to the idea of a health care plan. Because heaven knows their plan actually sucks.

Fact is, Canadians aren't happy with their wonderful health care system. I lived in Canada for six years, and I can tell you from up close and personal that it isn't what it's cracked up to be. I write this post because of a recent experience of a friend of mine who lives in in Montreal.

She is a professional in the city, earning a notable salary that would command respect in the United States, and would come with a strong health care plan. She was out socializing one night, and had a bad fall, landing with her arm underneath her. Her arm in turn had landed on and broken a glass.

She was taken to the hospital. Where she sat in the emergency room for 7 hours. Seven hours before a doctor saw her. In a metropolitan emergency room. Badgering from her companion did no good.

Eventually, the doctor arrived, shuddered at the damage to her artery, and did the best he could. In a follow-up appointment, the professional said that she would need "emergency surgery" as there was concern that sensation and prehension in this arm could be gone for good.

In that wonderful Canadian health care system, in the second largest city in the country, what's the wait time for this "emergency surgery"?

Twelve days.

That's hours to be seen in an emergency room, twelve days for emergency surgery. And before you ask, Canadians understand the word "emergency" to have the same meaning as Americans do.
(Now, people who know a lot more than me about government health care plans usually prefer, say, Germany to Canada's model. Fair enough. But any liberal who idolizes Canada for its health care system is ignorant. To take another example, I saw a study in wait times in Canada that amazed me. The statistic that stays with me is this: the average wait time from seeking an appointment over cancer concerns to the first treatment of chemotherapy in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is 11-13 months.)