Mr. Netanyahu goes to Washington

Image (above): Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther, oil painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660. Netanyahu drew on the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, in his speech to the U.S. Congress. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. This time, he […]

GE Money rips off the elderly

Since January I have spent hours helping a neighbor whose attempts to pay his creditor, GE Money (doing business as CareCredit), were all being headed off. Whether he used the website or the telephone, he was unable to complete the transaction, and was in danger of expensive penalties. Reaching a customer service rep required unusual persistence, and once he did so, the employees were consistently unhelpful, besides being alternately hostile and contemptuous.

After research, I formed the following hypothesis:

GE Money Bank formed CareCredit, and tricked it out to look like a nonprofit, in order to mislead elderly, inexperienced, or otherwise vulnerable customers into signing up for a credit card that is easy to acquire but difficult to make timely payments on. This results in crippling penalties and interest on what is touted as an “interest-free” credit option. Instead of helping customers pay their health-care bills, CareCredit is more likely to punish customers with extra expenses.

As the president and congressional leaders meet today on financial regulation, I offer this story as evidence of which direction we need to be going now. It is not in our national interest to allow banks to take customers for everything they can get, while “denying any wrongdoing.” We need an independent financial consumer protection agency with the power to intervene in the interest of consumers. Continue reading “GE Money rips off the elderly”

A song of insufficiency

In honor of the United States Congress, I’d like to present Bertolt Brecht’s acerbic little song with the grand title of “The Song about the Insufficiency of Human Striving.”

The video is followed by the German text, with my own loose translation after each stanza.1

Das Lied von der Unzulänglichkeit menschlichen Strebens Continue reading “A song of insufficiency”

A few dots on politics

NASCAR and Congress: I’ve seen yet another approving mention of the idea of dressing politicians in NASCAR-style uniforms bearing the logos of their corporate sponsors. So when is someone going to Photoshop these outfits for us, using data from, say, opensecrets.org? I’d do it myself if I had the time and skills. Health care: Liberals […]

Ask me about the Muslim Mafia

crescent Well, there’s no hiding from the facts. According to several members of Congress, I am a terrorist sympathizer. As an American Muslim and a member of my local Islamic society, I am ipso facto an agent of the “secret underworld that’s conspiring to Islamize America.”

You know, I had no idea. Continue reading “Ask me about the Muslim Mafia”

Comic relief during the health reform speech

The South Carolina delegation really did its part to bring a dash of nonsense to the president’s speech to Congress about health insurance reform. I’m not just talking about Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst, which he quickly apologized for. There was also Sen. Lindsey Graham’s moment of letting a little common sense seep around his solid partisan front.

Take a look: Continue reading “Comic relief during the health reform speech”