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The Senate health care bill and the disease of the disconnect

Sen. Mitch McConnell hopes to tweak the Senate health care bill so that he can submit it Friday to the Congressional Budget Office, the same Congressional Budget Office that torpedoed the bill in its current form when it announced that the bill would result in 22 million more people being uninsured by 2026.

That sent the Repubs into overdrive to get the bill revised in time for their Yankee Doodle break, because if anyone deserves a Fourth of July break, it’s hard-working Congress. ...

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Escaping for a day to Greenwich Polo

Two of the best Sunday afternoons I’ve spent recently found me taking a break from blogging and novel-writing to relish show jumping at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, N.Y. and polo at Connecticut’s Greenwich Polo Club. Both sports figure in the third planned novel in my series “The Games Men Play,” a tale of blood and bloodlines about rival horse families told in part from the viewpoint of a racehorse trying to become the first since Whirlaway to win the Triple Crown and the Travers at Saratoga. ...

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Mitch McConnell is no Federer

In tennis, one way to serve an ace is to serve right down the middle. But what works in sports doesn’t always work in politics. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – how I love it when WaPo posters (that’s Washington Post posters to the uninitiated) call him “Kentucky Fried Voldemort” – tried to serve one right down the middle with the Senate’s health-care bill. But all he’s gotten so far for his troubles is a double fault as Conservatives, that world of No Theater, balk at “Obamacare Light” and liberals decry the bill’s meanness toward, well, everyone but rich people.

Will Mitchie prevail? As he serves for the match, he’ll need every Republican vote – and he’s no Federer. ...

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Otto Warmbier and the limits of male power

Some years ago, I saw an exhibit at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mass. in which a male artist included an image of the Y chromosome. It’s much smaller than the X chromosome. And it’s been shrinking.

I couldn’t help but think of this on the death of Otto Warmbier, the young American imprisoned and apparently tortured for allegedly taking a propaganda poster off the wall of a North Korean hotel. Returned to his homeland in a coma, he died six days later on June 19.

Lost, however, in the geopolitical story – the barbarism of North Korea, the failure of the Chinese to contain it and the challenge this poses for America – is both the larger and deeper cultural and psychological story. It is a narrative that says simply no one does stupid like a stupid man. ...

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