Sanders’ single-payer plan: No he can’t

Bernie Sanders

Which doesn’t make it a bad idea. Single payer is far simpler that what we have and saves more money.

Problem is, the people won’t go for it. Or they won’t fight for it. Or they don’t even know there’s a fight going on.

As Clinton noted in Sunday’s debate, the Democrats couldn’t even get the public option through Congress when they were in control.

One can share Sanders’ exasperation at the corrupting influences of big money on American politics. To use the cliche, entrenched economic interests did produce distortions in the Affordable Care Act.

But one can’t share Sanders’ confidence that he can storm the barricades and make things right.  It takes a complicated skill set to bring radical change to Washington. Sanders’ is fairly limited. Passionate speech making goes only so far.

As senator from Vermont, Sanders introduced several single-payer bills that went nowhere. The most recent one, the 2013 American Health Security Act, attracted not a single co-sponsor.

In the meantime, Obamacare for all its imperfections is spreading health coverage to the most vulnerable populations. It’s making people of all incomes feeling secure that a family illness won’t cause the cancellation of their insurance policies.

And Obamacare …

U.S. Ambassador is a Dangerous Job

Hillary Clinton’s Republican inquisitors have acted as though U.S. Ambassador to Libya is a desk job in Cincinnati and that, therefore, any attack on the office reflects the boss’s failure to provide adequate security.

It happens that since World War II, far more U.S. ambassadors have been killed in hostile action than generals and admirals.  Foreign service officers accept the risks.  That’s the job.

Retired Ambassador Ted McNamara has been under attack serving in Bogota, Beirut and Mogadishu.  And he’s incensed at the politicization of the tragic death of Amb. J. Christopher Stevens in Benghazi four years ago.


The late Amb. J. Christopher Stevens
The late Amb. J. Christopher Stevens


Emphasizing that he’s never worked for Clinton, McNamara termed as ludicrous the notion that the secretary of state is personally involved in security at diplomatic outposts in Benghazi or elsewhere.  “I know that’s not so, having been in situations roughly equivalent,” he told me.

Making the Benghazi tragedy about security at the Benghazi compound demeans Stevens and the other fallen Americans. The job was inherently dangerous, and Stevens courageously accepted the risks.





Democrats Need to Address Illegal Immigration


Obama has valiantly tried to stem a surge of undocumented migrants from Central America.  But look what happened when his Department of Homeland Security tried to deport a mere 121 illegal entrants denied refugee status by U.S. courts.


Advocates for open borders and transparently dishonest editorials accused his administration of heartless crimes against families. This progressive depends on The New York Times for news, but it’s editorials are an embarrassment.

It’s like the interests of working-class Americans are invisible.  Democrats, meanwhile, shouldn’t assume that black Americans, the group most hurt by mass immigration, would not revolt on this issue.

Bruce Bartlett recently posted an excellent discussion of how Trump could attract black voters receptive to his hard line against illegal immigration.

My latest column, Democrats must also address illegal immigration, covers some of that ground.

Let me quote a response from a reader identifying himself as African-American:

Like most black Americans, I see this great deal of unemployment among black youth in our major metropolitan areas, rampant crime, plus a feeling by a segment of the black electorate, that the Democratic party would rather focus their energy on illegal immigration, than the problems facing black America, which are

Half-in, Half-out relationships may be unhealthy

Researchers at Brigham Young University found that the so-called marriage health benefit is weaker in ambivalent relationships.

Makes sense.  The support, advice and commiseration found in the best marriages (and other relationships) promote well-being. In half-in, half-out marriages that kind of caring turns inconsistent.

2003-02-24 09.29.38


The most interesting observation, out of Stony Brook University, is that mostly negative partners may not be as damaging as unpredictable ones.  In the latter situations, the spouse adjusts to the negativity.



Here’s the column:


The Health Hazards of Half-in, Half-out Relationships



Note of contrition: Brigham Young University lives in Provo, Utah.  I mistakenly placed it in Salt Lake City.  Correction has gone out.


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About the Bernie apology

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders



I’m getting an earful from Bernies’ followers about my column entitled Apology to Bernie Sanders.

Let me say this:  It was heartfelt and, yes, I tried to lighten it up.

An apology is not an endorsement. Mine was a recalibration.

I know many who revere the man. I merely respect him.

With few exceptions, those who’ve complained have done so in a civilized fashion. The blowback from the Donald Trump people is way uglier.

In the interests of having a conversation, I’ve decided to open this site to comments. I will try to respond in a timely manner.

I have a high tolerance for pointed criticism, but do know that comments will be moderated.


Follow me on Twitter: @FromaHarrop



Read only as far as you can handle






Every time I write about global warming, I get an earful from the deniers. My recent column praising the Paris climate change accord inspired one reader to send the following (read only as far you can handle):


Prior to MLO the atmospheric CO2 concentrations, both paleo ice cores and inconsistent contemporary grab samples, were massive wags. Data at some of NOAA’s tall towers passed through 400 ppm years before MLO reached that level. IPCC AR5 TS.6 cites uncertainty in CO2 concentrations over land. Preliminary data from OCO-2 suggests that CO2 is not as well mixed as assumed. Per IPCC AR5 WG1 chapter 6 mankind’s share of the atmosphere’s CO2 is basically unknown, could be anywhere from 4% to 96%. (IPCC AR5 Ch 6, Figure 6.1, Table 6.1)

The major global C/CO2 reservoirs (not CO2 per se, C is a precursor proxy for CO2), i.e.  oceans, atmosphere, vegetation & soil, contain over 45,000 Pg (Gt) of C/CO2. Over 90% of this C/CO2 reserve is in the oceans. Between these reservoirs ebb and flow hundreds of Pg C/CO2 per year, the great fluxes. For instance, vegetation absorbs C/CO2 for photosynthesis producing plants and O2. When the plants

Christmas in NY: Part 1


Froma Harrop
Even my hands are glowing

Your reporter loses all cool marveling at  New York City during the “holiday season.”

In this first report, she turns the lens toward the jewelry vendors on Fifth Avenue.


iPhone doesn't do Bulgari light display justice, but you get the idea
iPhone doesn’t do Bulgari light display justice, but you get the idea




Harry Winston
Harry Winston. The Brinks truck is a nice touch.


Harry Winston without the truck.


For more New York, check out

Follow me on Twitter:  @Froma Harrop