Cat Blogging: Rest in Peace, Dirk (August 2000 – Sept. 14, 2017)


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Spare a thought for commentor Tissue-Thin Pseudonym (JMN) tonight…

I’ll never see him again; all I have is memories.

I remember finding him huddled under the tire of our car on a February morning when it was 0 degrees. He wasn’t moving anywhere, so our only choices were to take him in or run him over. He had worms and a horrible case of ear mites, so we didn’t bother trying to find the owner who had let him get into such rough shape.

I remember the cat who loved to pester Monster until she completely lost it and would repeatedly smack him in the head. He absorbed his punishment without complaint: that’s the price you pay if you pester the top cat. Dirk had no problem being at the bottom, but he wasn’t going to let Monster shirk her responsibilities.

I remember that he picked up more nicknames than any other cat I’ve had. One of them was Bus Person, from his habit of wandering around the house muttering to himself, like that guy who gets on the bus and you hope doesn’t sit next to you. He was loud enough to be heard from three rooms away.

I remember the way that he and Eddie would wrestle. The goal was to pin the other so that you could groom him. It was very sweet.

I also remember how quickly he grasped that Eddie didn’t want to wrestle anymore during the last year of his life. He treated sick, three-legged Eddie with great gentleness.

I remember how annoyed he got when three month old Harry followed him everywhere around the house. Harry worshipped him, and Dirk learned first to tolerate it, and then to enjoy it. And Dirk’s gentleness with Eddie was repaid by Harry seeking him out and snuggling with him when Dirk was declining. Harry still worships him, and I’m not looking forward to tonight, when Harry starts to realize that Dirk isn’t coming back.

I remember Dirk losing weight and kidney function over the last two years. My plan was to let him decide when to check out, when he stopped eating, but he defeated that. He kept eating, even as his kidneys and heart and brain failed him. He kept trying to move around even when he struggled to keep his paws underneath him. The last few weeks, he adopted a sprawled out eating stance as his hind legs, especially the left one, slid to the sides.

And I remember his exquisitely soft fur, the last thing I got to experience of him, even after he had stopped breathing. I’ll be cleaning that fur off of everything I own for years still.

I miss him so much, and it’s only been an hour.








ABL for the Win!

This was all over my facebook page this a.m.:

Even on vacation in Italy, our Angry Black Lady is killing it. Miss her here, glad I can follow her on twitter.

Meanwhile I’m thinking about all our BJ jackals in Florida. Stay safe and keep checking in with us over the weekend.

Open thread..








Opportunity Space now and in the future

I could go all wonky and technical right now. Intellectualizing has always been one of my favored coping systems. But I just want to highlight two short threads on Twitter. The first is between me and my sister.

This is a vote to make our country a whole lot nastier and crueler and sicker. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, my mother is a zebra full of odd medical edge cases. Whenever she goes to Mass General Hospital, the interns are called into her exam room so that they can see some unusual scenario. My family has a history of a variety of genetically linked cancers, asthma, a potpouri of mental illness and other things.

I want to come back to a post that I wrote when Obergfall became the law of the land and my kids:

I don’t know much about how my kids will turn out when they get older. I know a few things though.

I know my daughter will be a massive dork (as she cried last night that she missed school as she was not learning enough new things at summer camp, and could we buy her some new math workbooks). I know she will be a goof ball with a massive amount of empathy and a strongly developed sense of fairness. I know that when she is adult, her possibility space will be massive….

Their possibility space just widened a little bit this morning. Being their dad, that makes my day.

Today is a contraction of the possibility space.

Now, the other vignette I want to highlight is an economic success story. Tim Williams covers the Pittsburgh Pirates. He runs a profitable small business website, Pittsburgh Prospects that tracks the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. I am a subscriber as the writing that he and his team of paid writers produce every day is great. Pittsburgh Prospects started as a labor of love and turned into a great and geeky resource.

Underwritten insurance in the individual market shuts down a lot of dreams that can turn into viable businesses such as Pittsburgh Prospects as well as keep people from taking a risk.

I’ll have more to say including something about the most recent round of Byrd droppings tomorrow morning. We’ll also start talking about what else can be done.



Small Site Updates, greennotGreen News

Folks,

I’ll be tweaking the sidebar a bit today and hope to add some nifty things to the comments either later today or tomorrow. Also, a rotating quote line is coming today!

On a more personal note, Terry, greennotGreen’s sister read the memorial thread and let me know how helpful it was:

Alain, I noticed the celebration thread up on BJ. Thanks so much. I’m actually going to use some of the quotations from Carol Ann for the memorial service. She would love the idea of writing part of it herself!

So there you go folks, well done!

 

Open thread!

 

ETA: OK, folks, exciting things just went live. Look below the comment form – there is now a comment help/tips section with lots of useful things (more to come, as things change).  And perhaps more importantly, a built-in pie filter. Use it to block annoying commenters and their comments. It’s harmless – enter a name or a comment number and all comments from that person will be turned into statements about pie. It works on a per-browser basis, storing your list in the browser’s site data.

All hail Major Major Major Major and cleek. Their help to convert the filter from something that you had to tack-on in a specific framework into a built-in function of the site was immense. Thanks guys, your help made this a better place for all.



Medicaid is getting sliced even more in the Senate

What is going on here?

Medicaid which was scheduled to take a 27% federal cut in spending under the House version of the AHCA, is getting cut even more in the Senate.

Why is this?

It is a function of reconciliation rules. The Senate bill has to reduce the deficit by at least as much as the House passed bill. Any dollar that is spent on beefing up opioid addiction spending or creating a multi-billion fund for NICU babies so that Senators can claim it passes the Kimmel test or slowing down the Medicaid expansion phase out from three years to seven years or anything else has to be paid for elsewhere in the bill.

There are three major sets of pay-fors in the AHCA. The first is reducing or slowing down tax cuts that accrue overwhelmingly to upper income individuals. The second is to cut funding for the individual market/Exchanges. The third is Medicaid.

The Republican Party has a strong revealed preference for tax cuts for upper income individuals above almost all else. That is the one policy plank that holds that party together. So pushing back the Medicare tax increment on investment income is unpossible within the political realities of the Republican caucus.

The Senate bill has been focused on taking off some of the most pointy edges of the individual market problems in the House bill, or at least sanding them down to avoid some attack ads in October 2018. So taking money out of there does not make sense within the internal logic of the Senate bill.

That leaves Medicaid as the sole pay for that does not have either strong and broad consensus support or immediate political logic. And here the power of compound interest comes into play. Switching to CPI-U instead of CPI-M or CPI-M+1 is a massive cut. Below is the difference in the CPI-U and CPI-M since 1/1/2000 with spending index at 100 for 1984.

What does this mean? May 2017 CPI-M had 2.7% growth from May 2016. CPI-U only had 1.9% Applying that to the $344 billion the Federal Government spent on Mediciad in 2015 (from the NHE fact sheets Table 03 Line 11), that is a difference of $2.75 billion dollars in the first year. And then it compounds. Over a ten year budget window, it is a $150 billion dollar or more in cuts adding to the current $800 billion dollars already scheduled to be cut. The Senate rumor has the change in formula not start until the end of the budget window so the total in-window cut may only be $20 or $30 billion dollars incrementally but the long run growth curve is incredibly compressed. It further shrinks the federal role for Medicaid finance over time. It is a slower shrinkage than the FY-18 budget proposal where by the end of the budget window, federal funding for Medicaid would be cut in half compared to present baseline but it will get to that point fairly quickly outside of the budget window.

Grabbing money out of Medicaid by lowering the index growth rate is a massive cut of future growth. It is also fairly subtle as I know the number of people whose eyes have not glazed over by now in this brief explanation can fit into a large booth at the local Cracker Barrel. It kicks Medicaid harder while allowing for attack ad insulation and large tax cuts.



greennotGreen: The Celebration

Folks,

As you know, a few weeks back we lost valued commenter and member of the community greennotGreen, whose real name was Carol Ann Bonner. I’ve been in touch with her sister as they try to cope with her loss while caring for their ailing mother. She was kind enough to respond to me a few weeks back as I passed on our love and well-wishes for the family.

This is a thread for the community to share memories of gnG and to suggest past threads that should be included in the extract of the site I’m going to send Terry. This will be the final chapter in the pdf I’ll build next week. Terry, Carol’s sister, assured me that they would love to read about what her online friends thought of her, when they are ready.

As you may know, her mother is also quite ill, and so the family is dealing with unbelievable pain and sadness. I don’t expect that they will read this post nor the book for months or more, but I felt it was important to share with her family how much she meant to the community, and what better way than letting them know how she touched us, and what you’ll remember about her.

As always, they can use your good thoughts, prayers, etc. They’ve got a lot of darkness to get through before the Light.

I am including greennotGreen’s obituary again, for those that may have missed it Tuesday.

Should you have something to spare, please consider supporting one of her preferred charities listed below.

Carol Ann Bonner, age 66 of Nashville, Tennessee passed away May 18, 2017 after a hard-fought battle against ovarian cancer, meeting her death with the grace and selflessness that defined her entire life.

Carol Ann was born in Little Rock, Arkansas but lived in Tennessee most of her life.  A brief time in Connecticut, where she graduated from high school, convinced her that Tennessee was her true home. She moved to Nashville to attend college and remained there. Vacations were often spent on the family farm in middle Tennessee. Carol Ann received her first Bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and worked in a variety of jobs before a second degree led her to a career at the Vanderbilt Cell Imaging Shared Resource, a perfect blend of her scientific expertise and artistic ability. Carol Ann was passionate in all of her pursuits, including art, animal rescue, political activism, and gesneriad conservation. Her many interests and generous nature led her to have close friends all over the world.

Carol Ann was especially passionate about her family.  She was preceded in death by her father, but will be deeply missed by those who survive her, especially her mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew.

A memorial service honoring Carol Ann’s life will be held at 2:00 P.M., June 24, 2017 at St. Augustine’s Chapel on the campus of Vanderbilt University.

In lieu of flowers, Carol Ann asked that donations be made to the Nashville chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by visiting www.cff.org, the Avielle Foundation by visiting aviellefoundation.org or the American Cancer Society by visiting www.cancer.org.

You can leave a condolence via the website at http://www.nashvillecremationcenter.com/carol-ann-bonner/

 

So..let’s discuss greennotGreen and please do include links to threads and/or comments that you think should be part of the “memorial pdf”.








greennotGreen: The Obituary

Folks,

As you know, a few weeks back we lost valued commenter and member of the community greennotGreen, whose real name was Carol Ann Bonner. I’ve been in touch with her sister as they try to cope with her loss while caring for their ailing mother. She was kind enough to respond to me a few weeks back as I passed on our love and well-wishes for the family.

As you can imagine, it’s easy to procrastinate many tasks when in grief. But Terry was kind enough to send me the obituary yesterday, and so I wanted to share it with the community.

I have promised Terry that I will extract a collection of threads for her family to have. She assured me that the pain is too great now, but that she’d love to peruse it later, when the wound isn’t so fresh.

As a final tribute to greennotGreen, I am planning a final celebratory thread for this Friday at noon Eastern. This will be a meeting spot to reminisce, bring up old comments or stories, and to mention the ways that she helped make this a better community.  That thread will be the final chapter of the pdf that I create for the family, so please do come and share. It will also be the perfect venue for you to submit links to threads you think should be included in the extract.

Should you have something to spare, please consider supporting one of her preferred charities listed on the upper-right of the desktop site.

Carol Ann Bonner, age 66 of Nashville, Tennessee passed away May 18, 2017 after a hard-fought battle against ovarian cancer, meeting her death with the grace and selflessness that defined her entire life.

Carol Ann was born in Little Rock, Arkansas but lived in Tennessee most of her life.  A brief time in Connecticut, where she graduated from high school, convinced her that Tennessee was her true home. She moved to Nashville to attend college and remained there. Vacations were often spent on the family farm in middle Tennessee. Carol Ann received her first Bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and worked in a variety of jobs before a second degree led her to a career at the Vanderbilt Cell Imaging Shared Resource, a perfect blend of her scientific expertise and artistic ability. Carol Ann was passionate in all of her pursuits, including art, animal rescue, political activism, and gesneriad conservation. Her many interests and generous nature led her to have close friends all over the world.

Carol Ann was especially passionate about her family.  She was preceded in death by her father, but will be deeply missed by those who survive her, especially her mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew.

A memorial service honoring Carol Ann’s life will be held at 2:00 P.M., June 24, 2017 at St. Augustine’s Chapel on the campus of Vanderbilt University.

In lieu of flowers, Carol Ann asked that donations be made to the Nashville chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by visiting www.cff.org, the Avielle Foundation by visiting aviellefoundation.org or the American Cancer Society by visiting www.cancer.org.

You can leave a condolence via the website at http://www.nashvillecremationcenter.com/carol-ann-bonner/