Feb 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and still trying to establish a new sleeping pattern.  Basically, I’m just making sleep a priority and allowing myself to sleep whenever I feel the need.  That will work this week, but next week I have two medical appointments, so that should prove interesting.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:59 (average 5:08).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From TPM: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was in no mood to celebrate the five-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package on Monday.

“Five years later, the stimulus is no success to celebrate,” McConnell said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “It is a tragedy to lament.”

White House economic adviser Jason Furman wrote in a White House blog post that the stimulus, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, had by itself saved or created an average of 1.6 million jobs a year through the end of 2012.

I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. For Bought Bitch Mitch, saving 1.6 million jobs, when the President is a Democrat, is a tragedy.

From Think Progress: For the fourth time in two years, a rural hospital in Georgia is shuttering its doors over a dearth of patients who can pay for their medical services, the Albany Herald reports. An increasing number of hospitals that serve large numbers of poor and uninsured Americans are being forced to close in states that are refusing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

The Lower Oconee Community Hospital, a so-called “critical access” hospital in southeastern Georgia with 25 beds, will close down and possibly re-open as an urgent care center that provides services that aren’t quite serious enough to necessitate an emergency room visit. Patients in the Wheeler County region who need more extensive medical care after the hospital closes will need to travel upwards of thirty miles in order to receive it.

“We just did not have sufficient volume to support the expenses,” said CEO Karen O’Neal in an interview with local CBS affiliate WMAZ. “It’s a terrible situation, and it’s tragic, the loss of jobs and the economic impact.”

Like other Red states, Georgia is experiencing the benefits of electing Republicans. I hope the fools that voted them in are leaning their lesson.

From Blue Oregon: Last week, the the Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Brought by conservatives cowering against the fear of impending marriage equality in their state, this deep red state considered codifying anti-gay segregation into law. The state senate reined the whole thing in on Friday, however. Apparently allowing public safety officials to pick and choose which people they serve and protect based on sexual orientation was just too much, even for Kansas.

Lest you think this type of public policy is the providence of states where conservatives rule: think again. Oregon has it’s own version of this circulating now as a petition, and they’re gathering signatures. This proposal, along with the one in Kansas, is being sold as honoring "religious liberty".

No. This is not about religious liberty. This is about segregation. "Separate but equal" should never be public policy in Oregon.

Even here in Oregon, which usually leads the way on progressive issues, we need to continually guard against Republican TEAbuggery!

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Jun 022013
 

Yesterday I got some sleep, so I have another article for you today.  I had to set back my quit date to the 14th, because the plan has me taking Chantix for a full week before quitting, and I still have not received my prescription.  Tomorrow will definitely be a short writing day, if any at all, because I will be making my first major excursion, since leaving the hospital: my quarterly foot surgery at my podiatrist’s office to remove the recurrent growth.  For the next day, we’ll have to wait and see how well I handle this trip.  I plan no Monthly Report for May, but our top commentators were:

  • Lynn Squance (76)
  • Patty (53)
  • Pat A (35)
  • Edith Belcher (26)
  • SoINeedAName (23)
  • Lisa G. (20)
  • Rixar13 (16)
  • Lee Evans (12)
  • Angelica (11)
  • William Lemeshevsky (6)
  • jl a (3)
  • John Dasef (3)

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:29 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Politicus USA: During the George W. Bush presidency, there was a lot of talk about patriotism any time a question arose about the legitimacy of the Iraq war, and the implication was that questioning the Bush administration was unpatriotic because a real patriot is someone who feels strong support for his or her country regardless the leader’s deceit in taking a nation to war based on lies. Early in President Obama’s first term, the Koch brothers, neo-conservatives, and Republican Party took advantage of racial animus for the African American President and funded a so-called “grassroots” movement of alleged patriots who, within months of the President’s swearing in, complained they were overtaxed and suffering tyranny. The teabaggers, as they called themselves, immediately claimed they were patriots and any opposition to their agenda was tantamount to Marxism or Nazism and they demanded to take “their country” back to when a white man inhabited the Oval Office. However, there is nothing remotely resembling patriotism in teabagger ranks, and as time went on a pattern developed that linked teabaggers to the Taliban and it did not take long for them to threaten violence to impose their will.

The concept of threatening, calling for, and inciting violence against the government has never been part of being a patriotic American, but there has been no dearth of violent threats from conservative malcontents that make up the majority of teabaggers. Recently, another instance of a teabagger calling for gun violence was reported over a Republican senator’s vote for immigration reform, and it is becoming an all too common occurrence unique to the so-called patriot group that throughout its existence threatened violence and armed insurrection to control the direction of the government. Threatening to use force to impose their will is not limited to disaffected racists, and has been embraced by teabag leaders since the anti-American group came into existence…

How many times do I have to say it? Thou shalt not commit TEAbuggery!!!

From NY Times: …Whether directly from their wallets or through insurance policies, Americans pay more for almost every interaction with the medical system. They are typically prescribed more expensive procedures and tests than people in other countries, no matter if those nations operate a private or national health system. A list of drug, scan and procedure prices compiled by the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurers, found that the United States came out the most costly in all 21 categories — and often by a huge margin.

Americans pay, on average, about four times as much for a hip replacement as patients in Switzerland or France and more than three times as much for a Caesarean section as those in New Zealand or Britain. The average price for Nasonex, a common nasal spray for allergies, is $108 in the United States compared with $21 in Spain. The costs of hospital stays here are about triple those in other developed countries, even though they last no longer, according to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that studies health policy.

While the United States medical system is famous for drugs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and heroic care at the end of life, it turns out that a more significant factor in the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care bill may not be the use of extraordinary services, but the high price tag of ordinary ones. “The U.S. just pays providers of health care much more for everything,” said Tom Sackville, chief executive of the health plans federation and a former British health minister…

As always, the problem rests not, as Republicans deceitfully claim, with the need of those whom they call "takers", but with the greed of the 1%.

From Salon.com: When Anthony Weiner resigned from his post as congressman due to an embarrassing Twitpic scandal in 2011, the media expected that any serious political career was over. But Weiner has recently returned to politics, entering the Democratic primary as a mayoral candidate; not only is the media taking his bid seriously — but it’s possible that thanks to deep pockets and a vibrant persona he could win it.

 

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The only difference between Weiner and Republicans, who still live after scandal, such as ‘Trailwalker’ Sanford (R-NC) and "Diaper Dave" Vitter (R-LA) is that Weiner never claimed to be a paragon of "family values" virtue, ordained by Supply-side Jesus (not the real one) to practice pseudo-Christian judgment and condemnation of others. In any case, with Batshit Bachmann leaving, a Weiner in the mayor’s office would give the comedy profession a much needed boost.

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Feb 122013
 

I had hoped to give you more than an Open Thread today, but  slept poorly last night and need to sleep a few hours before leaving for prison to do volunteer work.  I’m current with replies.  I will return late tonight, having missed my evening sleep cycle, so I’m sure I will be too tired to do more than an Open Thread tomorrow, but I should be all the way back on Thursday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Todays took me 4:56 (average 5:35).  To do it. click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: SHOCKING: The Truth About Who’s Running The NRA

 

This is one of the most effective exposés of NRA bullshitology I have seen. There can be no doubt that the NRA does not represent gun owners. It represents the gun industry, and they do not care how many die or how many mourn, as long as profits remain high. This is the epitome of Vulture Capitalism. They own virtually all Republican legislators and a few Democrats as well.

From NY Times: A sharp and surprisingly persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs is helping to narrow the federal deficit, leaving budget experts trying to figure out whether the trend will last and how much the slower growth could help alleviate the country’s long-term fiscal problems.

In figures released last week, the Congressional Budget Office said it had erased hundreds of billions of dollars in projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. The budget office now projects that spending on those two programs in 2020 will be about $200 billion, or 15 percent, less than it projected three years ago. New data also show overall health care spending growth continuing at the lowest rate in decades for a fourth consecutive year.

You can be sure Republicans are still using the old projections to justify their intent to gut Medicare and Medicaid to give more money to billionaires. Considering that Obamacare has not even been fully implemented yet, I think we can expect further reductions in health care costs, further negating the Republican War on Seniors.

From MSNBC: The Latest from the ChickenHawk

 

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During the Bush regime there was nobody at any post as qualified as either Kerry or Hegel. And for national security, Democratic competence brought us the death of Osama bin Laden. Republican incompetence brought us 9/11.  That says it all.

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Feb 062013
 

Many US employers do offer their employees excellent health care benefits, and they should be commended for doing so.  It is not uncommon for people to hang onto a job, just to hang on to their healthcare benefits.  Some are even putting off retirement.

6health-benefits-retirementTying health insurance benefits directly to employment is forcing most Americans to work longer than they would have otherwise, a new study from the Employee Benefits Research Institute finds.

According to the study’s results, more than three fourths of retired Americans ended up working longer than they initially planned because they didn’t want to lose access to their employer-based health benefits. And a majority of the Americans who are currently in the workforce are also planning to delay their retirement in order to keep the insurance plans they have through their employer:

This builds upon previous research that shows the Great Recession has seriously impacted older Americans’ ability to retire. An estimated 62 percent of working Americans now report they’re planning to put off their retirement — up from 42 percent in 2010 — largely due to job losses and financial insecurity. These issues go hand-in-hand particularly because, as health care costs continue to rise, Americans are increasingly worried about being able to afford their insurance coverage…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

My concern with this is different from that of the author, because I’m not bothered that people who would like to retire before they are eligible for Medicare are inconvenienced.  However, it is better, if people who wish to retire early can do so, as it frees jobs for people who want to work.

However, I am concerned for employers who provide excellent health care for their employees.  If a greedier competitor provides no health care benefits, that puts the good employer at a competitive disadvantage.  With universal, single-payer coverage, such as Medicare for all, there will be no such inequities.  In addition, it would make US companies more competitive in the world economy.

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Jan 122013
 

I’m still down.  Today is a high holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, and my Broncos’ conference semifinal meditation with the Ravens will be televised here.  I’m current with replies.  Sooner or later…

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:54 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: This Is Why You Listen Up When Robert Redford Has Something To Say

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Now that’s a good idea, and a sure way to get Republicans to oppose defense spending.

From NY Times: In a bold experiment in performance pay, complaints from patients at New York City’s public hospitals and other measures of their care — like how long before they are discharged and how they fare afterward — will be reflected in doctors’ paychecks under a plan being negotiated by the physicians and their hospitals.

The proposal represents a broad national push away from the traditional model of rewarding doctors for the volume of services they order, a system that has been criticized for promoting unnecessary treatment. In the wake of changes laid out in the Affordable Care Act, public and private hospitals are already preparing to have their income tied partly to patient outcomes and cost containment, but the city’s plan extends that financial incentive to the front line, the doctors directly responsible for treatment. It also shows how the new law could change longstanding relationships, giving more power to some of the poorest and most vulnerable patients over doctors who run their care.

This an example of a fee-for-outcome delivery system, and is exactly the kind of reform I have advocated over fee-for-service.

From MSNBC: Who has reduced the deficit and who hasn’t?

 

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"No peacocks, no jerks, no whiners" excludes the entire Republican Party. It is the Democratic Party that has a record of responsible fiscal policy. It is the Republican Party that has a record of runaway spending, deficit and debt. So when Republicans talk about those "tax and spend" liberals they are, as usual, projecting, blaming us for their own faults.

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In today’s House, it would probably not be allowed to come to the floor for a vote, and it would be filibustered in today’s Senate.

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Jan 112013
 

There’s still no change in my status.  I’m current with replies.  This has to end sometime.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:39 (average 4:52)  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: Jon Stewart Asks ‘What Would Anyone Who Isn’t An A**hole Do?’

What would anyone who isn’t an asshole do? They would oppose the Republican Party.

From NY Times: An authoritative report issued by the Institute of Medicine this week found that, on average, Americans experience higher rates of disease and injury and die sooner than people in other high-income countries. That is true at all ages between birth and 75 and for even well-off Americans who mistakenly think that top-tier medical care ensures that they will remain in good health. The study found that even upper-income Americans with health insurance and college educations appear to be sicker than their peers in other rich nations.

The study was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health, the federal government’s top medical research agency, and was carried out by experts appointed by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, two units of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. It is the first analysis to compare the burden of multiple diseases and injuries in the United States and 16 other affluent democracies, including Western European countries, Australia, Canada and Japan.

American men ranked last in life expectancy among the 17 countries and American women ranked next to last. The United States also ranked at or near the bottom in nine areas, including heart disease, chronic lung disease, obesity and diabetes, injuries and homicides, and sexually transmitted diseases.

This is a byproduct of emphasizing profit over health in US health care delivery. Multi-payer for-profit coverage and fee-for-service delivery are both obsolete. The best way to overcome this shameful state of affairs is to switch to single-payer coverage and fee-for-patient or fee-for-outcome delivery.

From MSNBC: Ed Schultz interviewed Bernie Sanders on financial inequity.

 

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The statistics show how absurd it is to balance the budget on the backs of the 80% of Americans who own just 5% of the wealth. Bernie made it clear that is exactly what Republicans are trying to do. To do this they are telling the lie that spending is the problem, when the bulk of the problem stems from keeping the share of revenue paid by the very rich at an all-time low and failing to make sufficient investment in economic recovery,   Bernie is right that filibuster reform is an absolute necessity.

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Aug 152012
 

Yesterday I was working with about a dozen of my guys in prison.  We discussed how lack of self-esteem interferes with opting for the healthiest choices.  We also discussed how we need to realize that we cannot change others, only ourselves.  Trying to change others usually leads to manipulation, which tends to destroy relationships.  These concepts sound easy, but putting them into practice is tough, and I’m thoroughly pleased with my guys for their dedicated attempts to do so and their successes.  On the down side my bad hip took a sudden turn for the worst, and I can barely walk.  Also there is no A/C in prisoner areas, and we sweltered.  I cooled the apartment down to 82° overnight, but two of the next three days are forecast as record highs.  I have two other stories.  I’m pretty sure that I am too worn out and in too much pain to distribute links.  I don’t know if I can catch up on comments.  We’ll see want tomorrow brings.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:13 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: This Girl Has A Question That’ll Stump Your Conservative Friends

15ProLife

For Republicans, life begins at conception and ends at birth. Otherwise, all their policies are pro death.

From CNN: Hundreds of thousands of people who entered the United States as children but without documentation can apply — beginning Wednesday — to remain in and work in the country without fear of deportation for at least two years.

This is what Obama did on the face of Republican bigotry.

From ABC: "We got a real clear picture of what they all value," Vice President Joe Biden said at a campaign event in Virginia yesterday, referring to the Republican budget conceived, in part by newly-minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. "Every Republican’s voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing. Romney wants to let the — he said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, ‘unchain Wall Street.’ They’re going to put y’all back in chains."

-Joe Biden

Republican’s have their panties in a bunch over this, probably because it’s true.

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