17 September 2009

Max Baucus can kiss my pansy ass

This grand non-compromise plan isn't worth the paper it's written on. To paraphrase from The American President, what good is health care reform legislation that does virtually nothing to reform healthcare?

Also, I want more than just some good old fashioned market choice, especially if these ridiculous "you're not insured" taxes are going to be foisted onto people.

Now let me make myself clear: I support healthcare reform. Hell, I support turning the whole healthcare system on it's head, shaking it down, and rebuilding it in Sweden's image. This proposal, however, simply doesn't cut it.

Is there some drive up window wherein I can order 535 legislators with integrity and fortitude?

16 September 2009

Amoral healthcare reform bordering on immorality

This article from today's Post pisses me off in about 14,000 different ways. And, as many of you know, I'm not a morning person. The issue here is mandated coverage, particularly for young adults (like me).

As has been known for some time, the plans progressing through the idiot Congress mandate that everyone has healthcare. Excellent. Good idea. It's both true and necessary.

However, since the public option has been scrapped in the name of political expediency and Rush the Addict Limbaugh, this comes down to an unfunded mandate to the taxpayer.

Anybody other than me notice that unemployment is up and incomes are down lately? No? Have you read a newspaper/blog or heard a radio or seen a TV? No? Then you have no business writing or voting on legislation. Now isn't the time for an unfunded mandate to anybody.

Since I try to avoid national domestic issues like the plague on our houses that they are, I don't have any data available that I can readily cite. What I do know is this: more of my friends are unemployed than there used to be. Many of those that are employed scrape buy. If my job didn't provide insurance, I, like many, simply wouldn't have it. A mandate from Congress will not change that reality. And yes, it's great that the Medicaid cap on income would go up to about $14,000 a year. But what about the multitudes that make more than that (even by a few dollars), but don't have access to employer supplemented insurance?

Say you live in DC and make $20,000 per year, and you don't have a car, so living outside the city isn't much of an option. Rent and utilities will likely eat up at least half, if not more, of that income. If you ate cheaply, you could maybe get by on $100 per month, if you have no dependents. Factor in another few hundred in bus fare, etc. Everyone needs to buy clothes periodically, but assume you rely on thrift stores. That all would come to roughly $15,000 of the 20. Now, where exactly will the $200/month for a baseline government mandated insurance plan come from? Yeah, you could do it, but you could save virtually nothing and your budget would have to be planned to the penny, and you couldn't survive any contingencies (say, a month being unemployed). Even a college graduate making roughly $32,000 per year, but say carrying $20,000 in debt, is going to find it phenomenally challenging to buy insurance, regardless of the cost. A tax break is a nice idea, but those usually come once a year, and after a purchase has been made. Where does the cash come from in the meantime?

My social security deduction already goes straight from my payroll to my grandparents, after a quick stopover at the Treasury. That's fine with me, as I like my grandparents. But to force young people to buy insurance to keep insurance companies' costs down as they pay for my parents' coverage isn't really ethical. If I had wanted to pitch in on the repair costs for my stepfather's recent broken ankle, I could've done that on my own.

Without a public option, any healthcare reform bill is immoral, particularly if it shoulders more of the costs onto people with the least means. How about we cut the disgustingly high salaries of healthcare execs, or something more socially equitable? The people that claim a public option would fund abortions or provide free healthcare to illegal immigrants (heaven forfend!) or haul my grandmother out and shoot her (I defy anyone to even try that -- you'll lose) need to shut the hell up. And I've yet to buy the argument that reform is somehow unconstitutional. But the plans as they're taking shape are immoral, and for a looney lefty like me, that's entirely unacceptable.

EDIT: Had I read to the bottom of the Post's daily email before sending my blood pressure through the roof, I would have discovered that at least one senator's views comport well with my own. All we need are 99 more.

14 September 2009

DC electoral idiot match 2010, round 1 of 7 million

So the WaPo has finally picked up on the fact that Phil Mendelson has a challenger for the 2010 race, one Clark Ray. Personally, I rather like Mendelson, and Ray is gonna have to give me something other than his being somebody else before I'll think about voting for him. Nonetheless, the Post's article featured this ringing endorsement:
Judy Leon, who lives in the 1500 block of 16th Street, attended Ray's announcement with her dog Beta.

"This is a dog whose life was changed by Mr. Ray," Leon said, explaining how the 4-year-old yellow Labrador was rescued from a puppy mill. "She's now able to come out of her shell [at the dog park] and play with other dogs."

That's right, kids. Vote for Clark Ray: He gave an affluent lady's dog a nice place to shit.

'Scuse me while I just go pick up a Mendelson button.

09 September 2009

How to be a nerd in two short days

Last weekend I decided to nerd out and do some ridiculous history sightseeing. The agenda: 1) chase John Wilkes Booth into Virginia, 2) Fredericksburg, battle of, 3) Lincoln Cottage (conveniently located near my home).

I got a late start Saturday, thanks mostly to my own laziness. I decided to skip ye olde crime scene (Ford's Theater) and head directly onto the chase. First stop: Mary Surratt's Tavern, out in Clinton. I toured the home, which is well preserved, and endured the inane questioning of a touron couple and their decidedly special obnoxious child. However, I neglected to take a photo, so you'll just have to trust me. After that it was just stops along the road, as most everything else on the route is either closed, privately held, or just plain gone and marked by one of those little roadside plaques. A few photos:

Dr. Mudd's House

St. Mary's Church

A pine thicket, obviously

After that, I went back in time two years to ye olde Fredericksburg, Virginia, where I walked along the line of battle that was (then) just outside of town (it got too dark for me to attend to the other flank). Again, more boredom:

Sunken Road, Stone Wall, and Ennis House

Inside the Ennis House (don't live in a war zone)

From Marye's Heights toward town and the Union assault

When cannonball meets marble post (Willis Cemetery)

The official tally at Fredericksburg National Cemetary (Union soldiers only)

And then finally the Lincoln Cottage located at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. The museum is small, but quite nice. You can only tour the cottage on an official tour though, which is a little too much Disney history for my tastes (as in, you really don't need a giant plasma screen in each room to have some Lincoln impersonator talk at me). Anyway, I learned something, so that's all that matters.

The front of the cottage

And the rear view.

We now return to our regularly scheduled non-historical nerdiness, already in progress.

03 September 2009

Explaining evangelical higher ed

A friend submitted a query to me just now, and my response was so brilliant, I decided to repost the conversation.
A: ignorance is bliss
A: I just learned there is more than one christian law school
J: yes, there is more than one
A: whyyyyy
A: I thought the jerry falwell one was the only one
J: well, on the 8th day, god said "let's kill all the faggots and beat the womenfolk into submission"
A: hahaha
J: and then the mormons said "we've got just the thing"
J: and then the evangelicals said "we'll see your BYU and raise you a whole system of wackjob 'educational' institutions, and jesus shall be pleased once karl rove gives us the new promised land to run, and we fill israel with red cows"
A: lol....
J: and the lord said, "it is good. a little short on logic, but good"
A: ok that's fun to learn
J: and then the hebrews ran around egypt and there were some wars and some dude was nailed to a tree and then at the end a greek dude in a cave had a wicked acid trip
So there, now you know. Avoid them scary schools of evangelical indoctrination, and stick to the good old fashioned loony left variety. :)