Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Republican Road to Recovery

Like any large institution, the National University of Singapore has its share of confusing bureaucracy. Yesterday I was looking at a flowchart that was supposed to explain how you get reimbursed for travel expenses, and one of the diamonds in the flowchart was totally empty. Three arrows were coming out of it and pointing to other diamonds. At least I'm not traveling with whoever designed that flowchart.

This brings me to the graphic laying out the health care plan in the Republican budget, posted by Ezra:
It's quite difficult to figure out what this is supposed to mean. But as a Nietzsche scholar, I specialize in interpreting cryptic texts, and after some effort I think I've got this one figured out. As one proceeds along the Republican Road To Recovery, one will bypass on one's left the goals of providing universal access to health care coverage and reforming Medicare and Medicaid (most likely through broad reforms covering the entire health care system). One will also bypass a goal on the right -- limiting federal spending. To reach these goals, one must go off the Republican Road To Recovery, following either of the thin lines branching off from it, as the road itself makes the goals unachievable.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised I haven't seen the phrase "underpants gnomes" applied to this. It seems a perfect setup .

Neil Sinhababu said...

At least the underpants gnomes had a definite order in their plan, despite the missing step. It's not clear where this is even supposed to begin.

J. E Jansen said...

That's very zen.

I think perhaps we're missing the point - if we read the proposal BACKWARDS, it's all one huge Buddhist koan!

Or, maybe the bubbles are cities, the lines are state roads, and the republican road lies among them all, going from and to nowhere, with no on or off ramps.

An 8 lane highway of use to no one, connecting nothing, that probably cost too much to produce in the first place. A true republican road.

Unknown said...

I am so reminded of the famous S.Harris cartoon that originally appeared in American Scientist in 1986.

Mathematician at blackboard, scrawling a proof. Steps 1 and 3 are symbolic math gibberish; between them comes the punchline:

Then a miracle occurs

The cartoon's tagline, spoken by the mathematician's professor, is:

"I think you should be more explicit here in step two."

Unknown said...

Genius, Neil.