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Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow

Alas, poor Cover Oregon! We knew it, HTTP 503.

Stumbling deep in the woods like Pelinore, our once and not-so-future health care exchange's fate has been determined by the death panel. Cover Oregon eventually will be stuffed into a plastic bag and banished to the foggy ruins of time, not a goshawk or gubernatorial reprieve in sight.

Now comes the fun part, as smack in the middle of the midterms everyone will be ready, willing and able to offer their 27,800,000,000 cents worth about what went wrong, who's at fault, and why those people shouldn't be allowed to make any more decisions.

At least they'll be talking, as opposed to those whose immediate reaction in the face of the embarrassment was to spin, turn tail, lick their wounds and become harder to find than a cat that doesn't want its claw nails clipped.

Cover Oregon hangs there like a big ol' piñata during this election year, as politicians who want to rise to power attempt to persuade you — even those who don't have insurance — that politicians have no business control over anything as intricate as a website.

So, what are politicians qualified to do?

No, really, I'm asking.

Big help you are this morning. Let's see, well, politicians might be second only to deodorant companies in convincing us that we must have things that we don't really need.

There's a Democrat from Maryland who has introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act. This particular piece of legislation would not just recognize this year's 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on a New Mexico soundstage "¦ it also calls for the establishment of a national park.

On the moon.

The reasoning (yeah, that's a stretch) goes that if Merrca has a national park on the moon, then other nations or even Nevada ranchers can't go up there and stampede our property — because, you know, we "own" the moon in the same way we claimed the New World when we became the first humans to take one small step here.

The Apollo Lunacy "¦ Lunar Legacy Act has made as much progress in Congress as the Read the Bill Act, an endeavor by a Republican from Kentucky that would force our duly elected public servants to "¦ well, you're smart people.

There are several provisions written into the Read the Bull "¦ Bill Act. That is, apparently there are, according to those who claim to have read it "¦ which might be why it has yet to make its way out of committee.

Note to self: See, committees actually work when they don't take action.

Closer to home, Ashland has decided to ban the commercial use of plastic bags "¦ except, of course, those that fall into one of the several exempted categories. And, well, those we buy ourselves in stores. Stores can sell you a box of plastic bags, but they can't give you one to put the box in to take home.

The thinking (lather, rinse, repeat) goes that if plastic bags become a crime, only criminals will have plastic bags.

Outside of the exempted categories, I myself use plastic bags for only two things — bringing my lunch to work and carrying cat litter to the Dumpster. These are pretty harmless tasks, except for the one time I got them backwards. (Hope the Dumpster divers enjoyed the creamed chicken with broccoli and spinach noodles.)

Plastic bags are a nuisance environmentally; well, at least according to scientists, and, honestly, who trusts them? Apparently not us goshawk-fearing Merrcans,

The Associated Press reported last week that while a vast majority of we the people now believe smoking causes cancers, other widely viewed scientific theories don't pass the sniff test.

"Americans have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution," the AP reported, "and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago."


Scientists, of course, were mortified by the lack of faith in what they perceive to be scientific facts. And while those interviewed say they realize their third-place standing in what one called the "iron triangle of faith, politics and science," there's seemingly little that can be done to persuade attitudes like those of the 39-year-old architect from New Jersey who had a succinct answer as to why he can't fully believe the notion that the Earth began forming some 4.5 billion years ago.

Why is he skeptical? "I wasn't there," he said.

The human mind can only stand so much, especially if all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie. Things have changed.

"Science can purify religion from error and superstition," said Pope John Paul II, who is to be canonized today. "Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes."

And not all scientists are glum these days. Just this past week they announced the discovery that if you throw a gecko at a Teflon pan, the lizard (who hopefully had insurance) will stick to the non-stick surface. And that the brains of ravens can tell the difference between rocks and food. And that, if you purposely inflict pain upon a female laboratory rat, she doesn't give a patootie that her male partner wants her booty.

There also was a study about how some people have a genetic predisposition toward procrastination, but I haven't gotten around "¦ well, you're smart people.

To top it off, it was revealed that cats understand more of what we're saying to them than they let on, they just don't care to acknowledge us "¦ unless, of course, there are spinach noodles in their litter box.

It's times such as these when we all feel a bit like the Marshall Islands, constantly bombarded from all sides until finally having had enough. The island nation, site of 67 nuclear-weapons tests over a 12-year period, this week filed suit against the U.S. and eight other nuclear powers for "flagrant violations of international law."

Merrca had no comment; too busy gearing up to welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses of Cover Oregon refugees.

"Stupidity is also a gift of God," John Paul II reminded us, " but one mustn't misuse it."

No wonder the guy's a saint.

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at rgalvin@mailtribune.com