Healthcare, Birthday, and other Bullshit

It’s truly impressive that the Republicans managed to make the House health bill care worse. But they got rid of the individual mandate and rich and healthy people benefit and will get tax cuts, so WINNING! I have nothing going on the next few days so may actually try to find protests and go march in front of Capito’s local offices. I am not a protest person, but this shit requires drastic measures. Of course, the bill is not evil enough for the Zodiac killer and his cadre.

Speaking of healthcare, I turned 47 today. I’m not a person prone to celebration- I think this irritates ABC a touch because I’m not one to get really excited about things. I’m really not a hot or cold person (despite my irate ramblings), I just cruise along comfortably at the speed of grumpy. I mean, I am not miserable. I’m generally a happy person (ask people who know me IRL). I feel like I am defending myself too vigorously.

At any rate, mom and dad wanted to go out to dinner tonight, and I was not feeling it. I initially agreed, but then thought about it and cancelled. I decided I would rather stay and home and putz around the house, cook a nice dinner with a ribeye, and so I pushed back the plans until tomorrow night. I bought a steak and planned a nice dinner, and then had leftover fajitas that Christion and I made yesterday. Because who says I am not spontaneous?

Back to health and healthcare. Every summer as I head toward a new birthday I schedule a lot of health related events. I’ve had sleep apnea since 2005 (if you snore, get yourself checked- it will change and maybe save your life), and have not had a test since, so I scheduled a new sleep study. I had a friend die of pancreatic and colon cancer this past year, so I scheduled my first colonoscopy. I had another friend die of a heart attack, so I am headed to get a stress chest and a cardiac check up just because I don’t want to die before my parents so they don’t accidentally see the contents of my hard drives. I had my b-annual physical and labs. I went for my six month checkup at the dentist, had a crown replaced, a cleaning, and bought a night guard because I grind my teeth. I had my eyes checked and got new glasses two months ago. All in all, it cost about $2500 out of pocket (eyes and dental were the worst), which is a lot, but I’ll have it all paid off by the time I have to go in next year.

None of that would be possible without health insurance. None of it. And again, I am one of the upper tiers as far as lucky goes when it comes to health insurance. I’m having this shit done. A shit ton of Americans can’t, and that’s before the Republicans have their way and dismantle the ACA. What they want to do is cruel, inhuman, and flat out evil. The slashing of funds to deal with the opiod epidemic and things like that will stand out, but all of it is uniformly vile and awful. They are just horrible people beyond redemption. They sicken me emotionally, and they intend to sicken the nation physically, all just to throw a couple more bucks to the already rich. I don’t know how these reptilian motherfuckers sleep at night.

In house related news, my water filter needed to be replaced on my fridge. So I went and bought a new one. I installed it. The warning light was still on. I read the manual from cover to cover. I googled. Couldn’t find help anywhere. So I called GE and I spent an hour on the phone to have a person tell me to turn my unplug/plug my fridge back in to get rid of the warning light. He called it a “factory reset” to justify his existence and for me to not feel like a stupid asshole who is confused by household appliances.

I also found another board on the back deck (right next to the one I fell through) that needs to be replaced, so now I am wondering if I should have another expert come in and check the entire damned thing. I think it is too big to begin with, but I am not financially prepared to rip it out and replace it, so mending will have to be all I do.

The garden is weeded and up looking good. I did not put in raised beds yet because $$$, and I had a large portion of the yard where the ground was really uneven and nothing but shitty weeds were growing, a remnant of the yard being in disrepair so long. Remember, the weeds were chest high when I bought the place. So what I did this year was just plow up a big section of it and plant a garden right in the damned middle where I know I will have to level next year, and I am using that. It is unsightly, but it works. Next year I will get a dumptruck of topsoil and fill that in and seed it.

Also next summer I have decided I am going to ring the outside of the fence with native flowers and the like. The front yard has shrubbery and all that, and i will plant some bulbs and some other stuff there, but around the sides the length of the house I am going to plant day lilies, snap dragons, sage, milkweed, black eyed susan’s, milkweed, and use that and have a more free look than the paean to Prussian order that is my front yard. I figure I will have those around the whole yard and then I can plant a solid butterfly/bee garden in the back yard with a little butterfly pond. Under the pines I am going to put in blueberry and blackberry bushes.

The front yard is looking ok, but I apparently have swarms of ground bees (they are yellowjackets), so I bought some thing I have to pour into the nests to kill them. I don’t like pouring chemicals into the ground for obvious reasons, but I also don’t want swarms of bees attacking ABC’s kids when they come down.

Today while getting the water filter at Lowe’s, I picked up a flag mount for the front porch and a nice nylon flag. Is there a specific etiquette to where you hang it- if you are facing the house, to the right or to the left? I know neither adheres to official flag regulations, but I was wondering if there was an informal rule.

Finally, I got a fern. For some reason, I love ferns, but everyone says “don’t get a fern they are a pain in the ass.” They are probably right, but I have Thurston, so my definition of pain in the ass might be a little bit different than other people. At any rate, I am hanging it from the ceiling on the landing of the stair case in between the first and second floor by the window. I just think it will look good there, especially with pictures lining the staircase walls. Now I am looking for a neat pot hanger to go with it. I like this, but it seems kind of expensive:

Any thoughts? I thought it would go well with the colors of the house.

That’s about it for me. Guess I will sit down and start searching netflix and amazon prime for something to binge.

Call the Senate and comment at CMS

Call the Senate and tell them what you think about Medicaid expansion. Ask for their health policy aide:

Also, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants comments on their latest rule making changes. Let them know what you think about the Exchanges and Medicaid.

Book Review – Land Of Open Graves by Jason De Leόn

Hey All,

Just wanted to share a review of a book I recently finished. If you like my writing, please come visit my blog.  Its become a lot of (road and trail) running (you can see what I have been doing in the state of Kentucky) and migration.  I thought this was BJ worthy given what is going on. I really tried to write to you guys sooner but I was battling post election blues and threw myself into running, mom stuff and my new job. I don’t take it lightly that I have access to this audience so I am selective about what I share on here.

I am ok and my kitty is doing okay.


Photo from Undocumented Migration Project website

I finished The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail.  It was a gift from my friend Carolina, creator of My (un)Documented Life blog.  It was written by Jason De Leόn, an anthropologist of Mexican descent, who spent 5 years in the field, in his journey to complete this project.  At its heart, his work depicts the violence faced by border crossers “as they attempt to enter the US without authorization by walking across the vast Sonoran desert of Arizona”. Its focus is on the Prevention through Deterrence (PTD) policy enacted in 1993.

The author explained that when the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed in 1994, the U.S. promised economic prosperity for Mexico if it would open up its ports of entry for inexpensive goods. Shortly thereafter, Mexico was abundant with U.S. subsidized corn that put millions of Mexican farmers out of work

Google gave me some background on NAFTA. Its purpose was to expand the flow of goods between Canada, US and Mexico. It eliminated import tariffs and eliminated or reduced non-tariff trade barriers like import quotas, licensing schemes and technical barriers to change. Lastly, it created protections for intellectual property.

Read more

Open Thread

Looks like time for a new thread.

Have at it!


ETA: I wish I was still living in Colorado. I’d have taken off today and gone to setup a campsite for a few days and then head back home for the night with fresh trout for dinner.  We would drive the hour after work, and this would have been our Friday evening view (minus the pop-up, I use tent and cots for back reasons). And crawdads so tasty, those mountain lakes deliver!


New Orleans Mayor Landrieu Speaks Out On Confederate Monuments

Amplifying Jim, Foolish Literalist’s, posts. This is an important speech. Read the whole thing, but here is a sample.

You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.

There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one.

But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.

America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.

So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.

And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.

There are good people in this country, politicians who understand they represent all the people. Remember that.


Explosions in the UK

Apparently something horrible has happened at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Excellent Read: “Presidential Libraries Are a Scam. Could Obama Change That?”

Anthony Clark (yes, you’ve heard of him), in Politico:

Last week, Barack Obama unveiled the plans for his presidential center, to be built in the historic Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Architects, city planners, educators, community organizers, activists, pundits, boosters and critics all have weighed in on the look and on the plans. But if you blinked, you might have missed something important: Obama will not follow the example of his 13 immediate predecessors. He will forgo the creation of a traditional presidential library and museum.

The National Archives and Records Administration—which operates presidential library-museums for every president from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush—won’t be operating either for Obama. His private Obama Foundation, not the government, will own and operate the museum. And there really won’t be a presidential library. The Obama Foundation will pay for NARA to digitize unclassified records and release them to the public as they become available, but the center’s “Library,” which may or may not house a local branch of the Chicago Public Library, will not contain or control presidential papers and artifacts, digital or otherwise. Instead, according to a NARA press release that called the museum “a new model for the preservation and accessibility of presidential records,” those records will be stored in “existing NARA facilities”—meaning one or more of the agency’s research or records centers across the country.

The notion that a federal presidential library would contain no papers, and not actually be federally operated, is astonishing. But to those like myself who have advocated for years—without much success—that it’s time to reform the broken presidential library system, it’s also an important positive development, and one that could be revolutionary.

Presidential libraries are perfect examples of just how far presidents will go to control their own legacies. Since the first one was created in 1941, what were intended to be serious research centers have grown into flashy, partisan temples touting huckster history. Built with undisclosed, unlimited donations, often to sitting presidents, libraries have traditionally been donated to the government after their construction. But even though they are taxpayer-funded and controlled by a federal agency, the private foundations established by former presidents to build the libraries retain outsize influence. The libraries’ whitewashed exhibits are created by presidential boosters; they host political events; their boards are stacked with loyalists; and many of their important historical records may never see the light of day…

The Obama Presidential Center could break this pattern, and solve at least some of the major flaws of the system, by creating a new model for a privately run presidential museum that can be laudatory in its exhibits and partisan in its programming, but not while under the troubling imprimatur of the federal government—and without the taxpayers footing the bill. At the same time, the new arrangement will leave presidential records and the terms of their release to the public in the hands of the government, where they belong. Freeing NARA to process and produce those records without the interference of the Obama Foundation will be our best hope for learning what really happened during the Obama presidency—and, if others follow his example, future presidencies as well…

Presidential records matter because they inform us about what presidents do and how they do it. American citizens give our chief executives a great deal of power to keep much of this information secret, at least temporarily. In exchange, at some reasonable time after they leave office, we get to pierce that secrecy and find out what really happened. Except, the development of the powerful presidential library altered that deal, allowing “history” to be written (rewritten, actually) by presidents themselves. Critics have long charged presidential libraries with politicization, from questionable decisions to withhold certain papers (or sometimes, temporarily “lose” them, as happened with Chief Justice John Roberts’ files at the Reagan Library during his confirmation process) to highly skewed “history” exhibits (such as the Nixon Library’s Watergate display; when the government took control of the facility in 2006, the first thing it did was to dismantle the “fundamentally inaccurate” mess) to years-long Freedom of Information Act request backlogs…