Fix my Arena and other thoughts

Like many other Boomers, I have been accused of Me-ism. You know, a focus on my own problems and little petty goals at the expense of the greater good.

There is a school of belief in some of the under-40s that all Boomers are little Baby Neros, fiddling away on their "personal goals" while Rome burns.

I am no Mother Teresa, admittedly. But I pretty firmly believe that some-where in the past decade there has been a sea change in this country that has much more to do with the cell-phone folks, under 50, than the Boomers.

Granted, I didn't really get much better, more selfless, more concerned with the less fortunate. But many of you got worse.

Our papers are full of stories about the Sonics and their rich, youngish yuppie owners demanding that we, the poor schmuck taxpayers - most of us shorter than 6-6, just about minimum size for a decent nonpower forward these days - pay for their gotta-have-it-refurbished-or-we-will-leave KeyArena.

This in a city where 12 schools are being closed and an estimated half-million-plus folks (in King County) don't have health insurance.

Let me be perfectly clear (oh, those nostalgically crooked dead Republicans had a way with words, eh?).

I care more about the schools - even though my kids graduated a decade ago from Nathan Hale - than I do about that little crying billionaire (a touching "60 Minutes" segment I hope you caught) Howie Schultz, and his greedy board members.

Read my lips (to quote another crooked old Republican, not dead yet, actually playing a lot of golf with a crooked, almost-old Democrat ex-president): Ultimately, Seattle's future depends on the kids who grow up here, not the corporate pirates who move here from elsewhere and rape the taxpayers.

And I care even more about all the sick and halt and lame and just plain crazy (ridden a Metro bus lately after dark?) - who can't afford to see a doctor, much less pay for a prescription - than every dotcom billionaire who ever passed through this wet vale of tears, or ever will.

Seattle, when I arrived here almost 25 years ago, offered the best of both worlds. There was opportunity for the ambitious, and there was a strong social support system for the unlucky.

But that was before the Hummer people took over, back when this place really was the home for some walk-the-talk activists. Not the current crop of antiwar folks who show up at hate-Bush rallies in brand-new, gas-hog SUVs.

Paul Allen, our local billionaire, and an all-around great guy according to the local dailies, can help Howie if Howie is so desperate. After all, by declaring bankruptcy in Portland to stiff that city, Allen, the second- or fourth-richest man in the world (who can still declare bankruptcy on a legal technicality), doesn't have to worry about closing schools or no health insurance. He can buy a school, so Paulie can help out his Bro Howie too.

Or let 'em move to Renton.

Good riddance.

SPEAKING OF health care, a study just published in the American Journal of Public Health reports the obvious: Canadians are in better health than Americans.

It seems that Canadians who are insured and Americans who are still insured have about equal rates of health. But America scores lower because of all the uninsured folks in this allegedly greatest country in the world, folks who can't afford to go to a doctor until they have to go to the emergency room.

Ten percent of Americans polled said there were medicines they needed but could not afford - double the rate of Canadians in the same leaky medical boat.

Twenty-one percent of Americans polled said they were obese compared to 15 percent of Canucks polled.

Americans are 42 percent more likely to have diabetes, 32 percent more likely to have high blood pressure and 12 percent more likely to have arthritis.

"We are really falling behind other nations," said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a co-author of the study.

AND HOW ABOUT that news from Iraq!

If we aren't torturing imprisoned noncombatants who have never had a trial, we are killing civilians in the name of freedom right on the ground in Iraq.

It makes a patriot eager to get that thing in Iran started.

Pinhead and Rummy and Bad-Heart, Bad Faith Dick ain't afraid, so neither am I. We can't afford to provide health care to our sick and indigent, but we can go to war any damn where we please.

I'd like to see a poll first, though, of the other countries in the world, including our allies in Europe, just to see how many crazy folks actually fear America nowadays more than Iran or Iraq.

People living in the maw of a propagandistic state often don't see things quite like the rest of the world does. Might be interesting.

E-mail Dennis Wilken c/o

[[In-content Ad]]