How do you solve a shutdown? Burn down the House?

A random computer-generated phone call came to our land line tonight.  It was from Utah’s Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, inviting me and a bunch more people from around the state — all registered voters, I’m sure — to a live telephone town hall.

, Congressman from Utah (D-Utah, 2001-present)
Jim Matheson, Democratic Congressman from Utah (2001-present) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I actually stayed on the line and listened to what that rare Democratic lawmaker from Utah had to say, especially in light of a government shutdown getting tons of attention from all corners of the United States and around the globe.

I also wanted to see what Matheson had to say in light of the fact that he’s opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and has actually been among those in the House of Representatives who’ve voted to repeal the ACA, stripping landmark legislation of funding before it’s even gone into effect.

Yes, Utah’s rare Democratic lawmaker has been among the lawmakers choosing to waste time and money by voting 40-some times to do away with that nasty thing called “Obamacare” before shutting down the government because, darn it all, those “kids” in Congress who don’t believe in progress and compromise just won’t be satisfied until they get their way, and they don’t give a damn who gets hurt in the process.

Matheson may be a Utah Democrat, but that doesn’t make him any less of a contributor to Congress’ anti-ACA hamsters taking another spin on that wheel going nowhere.

I got my question in to a screener, waited in the queue, and the call ended before I got to put in my line of questioning.  But I did leave a message, not that I expect it to do any good.

It went kind of like this, with a couple of statements of my disappointment thrown in as well …

Hey, Rep. Matheson, I understand you don’t like “Obamacare” but what specifics do you have to make a better law? And instead of wasting time and money voting 40-some times to defund a law that hasn’t even taken effect yet, why not let it take effect and then work to improve on it — fixing the things that don’t work, moving forward with the things that do?

Along the way, though, I got to get a feel for what’s on the mind of Utah voters over what’s happening in Washington, D.C., these days — or, rather, what’s not happening.  And the bottom line is this:  Liberal or conservative, people are pissed, and they’re pissed that lawmakers in Congress so bent on taking away the ACA would hold a nation hostage in order to do that.

I shared that line of questioning on my Facebook status.  One fellow music-loving friend said I make too much sense.

I need to stop making sense.  Most politicians don’t like it when people make sense, not when there are political points to be made.

How do you solve a government shutdown?  In a figurative (not literal) sense, maybe it takes threatening to “burn down the House.”

Burn the damn thing down.  Start all over again.


A case of “PR deja vu” for Whole Foods’ John Mackey

Until now, we’ve been weekly customers at Whole Foods.  We don’t usually buy much there — just a few items from the bulk bins like spelt flour or nutritional yeast or a bit of candy for a treat, a bottle of lemon juice, occasionally picking up some vitamin supplements, maybe a healthier brand of hot dogs once in a while, a loaf or two of spelt bread in the past.

Before it became Whole Foods, we shopped at Wild Oats too.  Having Whole Foods buy out Wild Oats wasn’t something to keep us from patronizing the business.  What’s kept us from getting more groceries there has been the simple reason that Whole Foods’ prices on many items are so high.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It appears that may be a thing of the past for us now, and all because of two key words spoken by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in an interview on National Public Radio this week as he gave his views on the Affordable Care Act, saying it’s “like fascism.”

So, here’s a law that was passed by both branches of Congress, signed by the President, upheld as being constitutional by the Supreme Court, considered by the most ardent liberals as not going far enough to solve the issue of high health care costs for the average American citizen (wanting a single payer system instead), and Whole Foods’ CEO deemed the ACA as being “like fascism.”

Mackey has joined the list of American business leaders who’ve gone out of their way in expressing their displeasure about “Obamacare,” and in many cases ended up backtracking just a tad when customers complained loudly.

When will these folks ever learn?  And how is it that folks like these end up running companies like these anyway?  You’d think once they’ve seen one fool mixing their business side with misstated, inflammatory political views and getting heat from a majority of customers because of it that they might learn a lesson.

If you want to see the kind of response Whole Foods has been getting after Mackey’s “fascism” comment, all you need to do is look at the company’s Facebook page and see the kinds of comments they’ve been getting even on items that have nothing to do with Mackey’s remark.

People are pissed off.

But John Mackey just doesn’t seem to get it.  Even his retraction today didn’t go all that far toward calming people down.

What’s funny is that this isn’t the first time Mackey has found himself in a bad view in the public relations spotlight.  The rest of that story goes back to the days when Whole Foods was looking at buying out Wild Oats — what used to be our favorite health food store before Mackey’s company made the move — and Mackey played a foolish online trolling game to make Wild Oats look bad.  A bit of stock price manipulation, perhaps?

NEW YORK TIMES:  How Whole Foods CEO Led 2 Lives

Aaaahhh, but that was just another case of “Conscious Capitalism,” wasn’t it?