I have much to do, but also many items of pique, so I'll blurb lightly and you may skim away.
1) First and lightest, about pets- I mean companion animals. For myself, I like my dogs not for how they resemble humanity, but how they live harmoniously with us while remaining different. As examples, my pooches always look charming while never worrying about fashion or etiquette. Their moods are reliably sanguine, perhaps because they usually match their concrete circumstances which are short on need and long on comfort. However, as much as I enjoy the canines (and felines, too) and believe they may feel something akin to affection for me, should I shuffle off this mortal coil and no one discover it soon, I feel certain their perception of me would adapt from Empress to buffet. In this article, Let the Fur Fly, Daphne Merkin of the NYT admits to being almost indifferent to pets. It's as contrarian as you'll see in the Times, so enjoy it.
2) The AP reports that leaders of Pikesville, Kentucky are irate over how the A&E progam, City Confidential, portrayed their city. To be fair, the CC series always covers some heinous crime which it attempts (not always successfully) to tie in with unique regional characteristics. Pikesville does boast (?) a heinous incident of note, but the coverage of that crime is not what bothers the local residents who cooperated with the production. What disturbed them is what is very widely accepted practice among television and features. Any southern locale outside CNN headquarters in Atlanta is routinely portrayed as nothing but a dumping ground for unreconstructed ignoramuses.
I've never been to Pikesville and have no idea how "progressive" it is or what that term implies anymore. By today's criteria, sometimes I'm "liberal" since I believe in free market principles, but I'm against the centralized nanny-state. Using measures related to spending, immigration, and criminal prosecution, I'd be considered "conservative", but beyond restricting the broadest harms, I don't have a legislative agenda for decency issues, even when I think they're beneficial to society. What I can say with more conviction is that the Democrats in my South used to resemble Georgia's hawkish maverick Zell Miller a lot more closely than Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid who would have been, I think, considered mush-mouthed meddlers.
3) Onto the travesty of socialized medicine. In the blog of the essential Melanie Phillips, who monitors the state of British dhimmitude, she identifies yet another snarl in the execution of the much-vaunted (among those who don't have to use it) National Health.
...GPs were refusing to book appointments more than 48 hours in advance in order to meet the government target that patients had to be seen in that time...it drives you absolutely crazy to have to try to phone the sugery at a given time to make the appointment for the following day, only to find all the phone lines are busy and by the time you get throgh the slots have all been filled.
Despite gov't explanations about the limited scope of the problem, many audience members where Tony Blair appeared protested that this delay in scheduling medical care due to central policy is rather common. Blair was reportedly (as Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca) shocked... Shocked.