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Right there, prehistorically young Sean "James Bond" Connery's about to be lasered in the most unkind of male places. "Do you expect me to talk?" he queries nemesis "Goldfinger." To which the golden one replies, "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!"
A couple of weeks ago, Sacramento lawmakers were trying to shoehorn through a $14 billion expansion of the state's troubled health care system. Now the talk of "covering more" uninsured has morphed into just the beginnings of a $14 billion to $16 billion evisceration of health care and other baseline services that likely will create more uninsured.
A slew of 10 percent cuts -- as in payments to doctors treating Medi-Cal patients -- take effect July 1. As the state's deficit worsens, as expected, it's possible the state may stop offering dental, optical and other optional services to Medi-Cal patients. LA Times columnist George Skelton notes that Sam Aanestad -- a Republican state senator and a Grass Valley dentist -- has already stopped serving Medi-Cal patients because the payments are ridiculously low. You could call that irony, except when the person serving you burgers 'n' fries tries to smile through rotted teeth.
In a Feb. 18 story, the LA Times explains that multi-billion-dollar initiatives approved by voters can't be touched to offset the deficit, saying a new "oceanarium" in Fresno (off Highway 99) may be built even as Gov. Schwarzenegger tries to save bucks by pushing closure of state recreation areas.
Says reporter Evan Halper: "The state is about to pump half a billion dollars into teaching children to roll sushi, juggle pins and master new dance forms, even as spending cuts threaten to erode instruction in reading, math and other fundamentals."
We're going to cut you, state lawmakers say to lobbyists in such times as these. Don't tell us not to cut, tell us where to cut.
Which brings us back to James Bond. How did he elude having a split personality? He bluffed having knowledge of a secret project.
Unfortunately we're past bluffing and Botox, fellow Californians, so get ready for the laser.