Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Health and Peace: Sebelius Confirmed

Kathleen Sebelius
Health And Peace: Sebelius Confirmed

Former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius has been confirmed to be our new Secretary of Health and Human Services. According to Talking Points Memo, the vote was 65-31.

Raising Women's Voices states of her: "Ms. Sebelius has eight years experience as Kansas’ insurance commissioner as well as six years as governor running a state Medicaid program. She is also, notably, extremely adept at working bipartisan politics as a Democratic politician in a Republican state. For both of her terms, Ms. Sebelius ran with a Republican on her ticket. As the Kansas insurance commissioner, Ms. Sebelius helped draft a proposed national bill of rights for patients, and blocked the sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield to an out of state company because it would have raised premiums."

In honor of this very positive move, I'm making a not-quite-beside-the-point pun by posting below the video of Jean Sibelius's great symphony "Finlandia" as performed by Sinfoniaorkesteri (Finnish radio symphony orchestra), conducted by Sakari Oramo on October 22, 2005 at NHK Hall, Tokyo. After it are the opening lyrics as sung by us peace activists from the 1970s, still fresh today:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean
And sunlight shines on clover leaf and pine
But other lands have sunlight too and clover
And skies are ev'rywhere as blue as mine
O hear my prayer, O gods of all the nations
A song of peace for their lands and for mine

(Hat-tip for the conflation of Sibelius/Sebelius to the witty community of commenters at Dykes To Watch Out For.)