From Balloon Juice to the NY Times

Me last week:

There are a couple of categories of people who are undeniably worse off under Obamacare than they would have been under a no change policy. They can be clustered into a few broad groups.

  • People earning over $250,000 per year in Modified Adjusted Gross Income who have employer sponsored health care or Medicare and are paying more in taxes
  • Young single males with absolutely no health problems, no relatives with health problems and incomes over 250% Federal Poverty Line that previously had a $42 a month, $25,000 deductible plans that did not cover maternity or mental health needs. Those policies got cancelled and they actually have to buy good insurance. Young guys making under $25,000 a year usually will get decent subsidies, past that, it is hard to be sympathetic to someone bitching that they (a member of a high accident group) have to buy decent insurance. Avik Roy has been trying to make this class sympathetic and failing miserably)

Those are the two big classes of losers under the law. Neither are particularly sympathetic.

Paul Krugman on the Op-ed page yesterday in the NY Times:

Why can’t the right find these people and exploit them?

The most likely answer is that the true losers from Obamacare generally aren’t very sympathetic. For the most part, they’re either very affluent people affected by the special taxes that help finance reform, or at least moderately well-off young men in very good health who can no longer buy cheap, minimalist plans. Neither group would play well in tear-jerker ads.

 I’ll take this as a win.



Grammy’s Open Thread

I realized my inane babbling stomped all over Anne’s Grammy open thread, so here is a new one.

BTW- Taylor Swift has the most perfect skin and is breathtakingly beautiful even if I couldn’t name one of her songs. Because I am human, I always check out the tabloids when I am waiting in line at the grocery, and I read a couple of trash gossip sites (The Superficial is my favorite), and it just seems like there are a lot of people out there who hate her, Cameron Diaz, and Gwyneth Paltrow, and I have never really figured out why, mainly because I don’t really care to spend too much time figuring out why they hate them.

But they just seem like such a weird group of essentially decent and harmless people who do their own thing and are popular, but there is some sort of simmering resentment towards them that I have casually noticed.








Why Do People Do This

This is another vacation option I will never understand:

U.S. health officials on Sunday boarded a cruise ship docked in the U.S. Virgin Islands to investigate an illness outbreak that has stricken at least 300 people with gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 281, or nearly 10 percent, of the 3,050 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas have reported getting sick during a Caribbean cruise that left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Twenty-two crew members also reported feeling ill.

I really don’t understand cruise ships in general. The point of a vacation is to go some place and relax, not to go on a vacation that consists of basically doing nothing but roaming around aimlessly on a floating 150k ton listeria petri dish. All you do on these god damned cruises is eat (cruise ships and their endless buffets are kind of a mobile, international, and successful diabetes starter kit), try not to get diarrhea, and then try not to get robbed by the natives in whatever shithole you are ported in for twelve hours.

It really makes no sense to me. Boats are a form of transportation to get you from A to B. No one in their right mind would would sign up for a ten day plane flight where all you did was eat and disembark the plane for a few hours to get robbed by locals.

And seriously, if I am going to get a life-threatening infectious bacterial disease, it better be from snorting cocaine off an exotic escort’s tanned breasts on a tropical island, and not from bad shrimp at an all you can eat buffet surrounded by blue hairs, fat mid-western newlyweds, and a bunch of underpaid and likely abused Bandgladeshi shipmates on a fucking Royal Carribean cruise ship in some shithole port in the ass of the Caribbean.

And that is all I have to say about that.








Walk in Beauty, Carter Camp

Via commentor Aji, a beautiful tribute by Kossack ‘Navajo’ honoring a beautiful warrior:

Much has been written about Carter, but many have not heard of him. He was one of the original organizers of the American Indian Movement, a pan-Indian movement sparked in part by the civil rights movement of African Americans. He led our people on the Trail of Broken Treaties caravan in 1972 from the West Coast to Washington, D.C., to protest the hundreds of broken treaties and other agreements the U.S. Government forced the tribes or their chiefs to sign. Nixon officials refused to meet with them. That led to AIM’s seven-day takeover of the BIA headquarters in Washington, D.C., which ended with some government concessions. It also led, as Meteor Blades recalls, to the liberation of BIA documents that were passed along to journalists and lawyers. “We carried out box after box of documents,” inspired by the people who “stole documents from the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania,” in March 1971.

In the winter of 1973, Carter and other AIM leaders took over the small town of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation. Gun battles during the 71-day stand-off with federal officers left three dead. Wounded Knee was chosen for the takeover because it is the location of a massacre of at least 150 Miniconjou and Hunkpapa Lakota Indians in 1890. After their bodies had lain on the frozen ground for days, they were dumped into a mass grave by the 7th Cavalry. It was a historically appropriate site for the American Indian Movement to bring national attention to the struggles of the Lakota and all Native peoples…

Carter’s sister, Casey Camp-Horinek said that unlike other AIM leaders, Carter remained at Wounded Knee throughout the entire siege with his warriors. He was also the only leader to spend two years at Leavenworth federal prison for disputed actions during the siege. For him there would be no book deals, no film roles, no adoring groupies just service to the Indian people and the respect of those who knew of his sacrifice…

Carter Camp’s own words:

In 1973 the fires of our traditional peoples were burning low and everyone thought they would soon die out. But a “Movement” happened across the USA led by young people who were determined not to allow that to happen. It took many years and plenty of fighting and struggle with a determined enemy who wanted our disappearance to solve his own “Indian Problem.” But quitting or stopping was not an option when so much was at stake.

We won, and our ways are no longer endangered with extinction. Our people have many battles yet to fight as you [Meteor Blades] and Navajo outline each week in this powerful series. But the flames of our fires now burn from shore to shore on this, our turtle island, and they will never go out.

At Wounded Knee in 1890 the Americans thought they had won a final solution. But, at Wounded Knee in 1973 we showed the world how wrong they were as we relit the ancient fires of the Nations. I’m proud of that.

Much more at the link.



Gabby Giffords Is A Genuine Bad-Arse


Via the Washington Post. Apparently skydiving was one of the pleasures it was assumed Ms. Giffords would never again enjoy. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane may not be my idea of a good time, but kudos to her for not letting a sadsack with a gun stop her. Yesterday, in the NYTimes:

…[T]hree years ago, dispatched to an almost certain death by an assassin’s bullet, I was allowed the opportunity for a new life. I had planned to spend my 40s continuing my public service and starting a family. I thought that by fighting for the people I cared about and loving those close to me, I could leave the world a better place. And that would be enough.

Instead, I’ve spent the past three years learning how to talk again, how to walk again. I had to learn to sign my name with my left hand. It’s gritty, painful, frustrating work, every day. Rehab is endlessly repetitive. And it’s never easy, because once you’ve mastered some movement or action or word, no matter how small, you move on to the next. You never rest.

I asked myself, if simply completing a normal day requires so much work, how would I ever be able to fulfill a larger purpose? The killing of children at the school in Sandy Hook a little over a year ago gave me my answer. It shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path. After that day, my husband and I pledged to make it our mission to change laws and reduce gun violence in a way that was consistent with our moderate beliefs and our identities as proud gun owners. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, that special interests were arrayed against us, that congressional dysfunction was an enemy…

We will seize on consensus where it exists, on solutions big or small. We will fight for every inch, because that means saving lives. I’ve seen grit overcome paralysis. My resolution today is that Congress achieve the same. How? Step by step: Enhance enforcement by passing a law making gun trafficking a serious crime with stiff penalties. Make it illegal for all stalkers and all domestic abusers to buy guns. Extend mental health resources into schools and communities, so the dangerously mentally ill find it easier to receive treatment than to buy firearms. And even as we lay the groundwork for expanding background checks, pass strong incentives for states to ensure the background-check system contains the records of the most dangerous and violent among us…

Sure, it’ll never give Mark Halperin a glow in his tire-swing neurons (unlike watching a Repub yell at teachers or throw his subordinates under the bus), but who would you rather have on your side?