Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions For Politicians

(bah humbug. another year, another chance to snarl)

All right guys and gals in Washington, gather round and repeat after me:

1. I resolve to act in the best interests of my constituents and my country in 2010.

2. I resolve not to be swayed by campaign contributions from giant corporations. I will put principles above payouts.

3. I resolve to argue with opponents only about issues and policy. I will leave out the name-calling, blatant lies and smarmy little catch-phrases designed to grab headlines and inflame the already-angry overweight white people in baseball caps.

And 4. Once I retire, I will go away. I will not issue irate statements or write rambly Facebook messages attacking the current political leaders. I will write my book, collect my millions, and snarl off into the sunset.

... sigh ... wouldn't that be nice?


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

You better not shout ...

You better not cry ...

Better not pout, I'm telling you why ...

Oops. Never mind.

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Letters to Santa

Dear Santa,
I could use some hair dye. I seem to be going gray for some reason. On second thought, a wig might be better. And a fake nose, and maybe a beard. Oh, and a suitcase. I'm outta here, man.
~ Love, Barack

Dear Santa,
Please leave me a bunch of coal in my stocking. I want to throw it at my so-called friends.
~ Love, Joe L.

Dear Santa,
I want Glenn's time slot, Hillary's ghostwriter and Barack's house. In that order, please. Also peace on earth for everyone in this great nation of ours except of course the radical left wing media with their sneaky gotcha questions and snobbish elite attitudes that are destroying this great nation as everyone knows which I've said before and therefore as you know must clearly be replaced by a stronger moral majority under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all who agree with me.
~ Love, Sarah P.

Dear Santa,
Don't bring us anything! We've already received our present. The Senate gave us everything we wanted.
~ Love, the CEO's of Aetna, UnitedHealth, Cigna and Blue Cross


Saturday, December 19, 2009


Some Republican Senators just put out this video.

I'm confused.

Could somebody please tell me

please tell me

please tell me

what these people people people

are talking about???

Why are these guys still pretending to be upset about a health reform bill that now has not a smidgen of government-run health care whatsoever??

They've got what they wanted.

No public option. No medicare buy-in. A watered down, ineffective version of reform that I guarantee you will increase costs for consumers and make everyone hopping mad at the Democrats, who had the bright idea of caving in to right-wing demands by stripping out the provisions one by one that could have had a positive impact on the whole sad, sorry state of affairs.

Listen, Mr. Senators. Why don't you guys just go on over to the offices of Aetna, UnitedHealth and Blue Cross, and join their holiday parties? I'm sure they are whooping it up. They just got a giant gift from the U.S Congress, tied up in a pretty red bow.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

(who IS this person, and how did he get in the white house?)

You've heard about the Salahi's, I'm sure. They're the couple who crashed the White House dinner party.

How did they get in? Who knows? Who cares? I have a bigger question ...

Who is this Barack Obama look-alike who is apparently now in charge???

I didn't vote for this guy.

I voted for a guy who cared deeply about the middle class. Who really wanted health reform. And most importantly to me - who knew what to say and how to say it.

The Republican party has no problem getting their message across. In fact, they are geniuses when it comes to message control. They can take the simple issue of providing health care to millions of Americans and turn it into a raging, ugly argument that invokes comparisons to Nazi death camps.

They can take Americans who rightfully feel angry and betrayed by the evaporation of their net worth during a financial meltdown that occurred during a Republican administration - and turn that anger against the current President as he tries to fix the mess left behind.

They can muster up little slogans left and right to get their message across. Death panels. Socialist. Flip Flop. Guantanamo North. Hear my voice or hear my gun. Don't mess with our constitution. Keep your Socialist hands off my government-provided health care.

Damn. They've got some good copywriters on their side.

And what is our eloquent President saying in response? Not much.

He hasn't fought back. He hasn't explained his decisions. He hasn't defended his judgment or fought for his priorities.

So here's my theory:

Either (a) the real Barack Obama has run far far away, which I could totally understand, and is now being played by some other guy, like in the movie Dave where Kevin Kline takes over as president and actually does a better job, which unfortunately is not the case here.

Or (b) Barack hasn't run away, but his speechwriters have, in which case he really needs to give me a call because I know for a fact that I could do a better job than whoever is telling him what to say right now. (call me, Prez! I'm here for ya.)

Or maybe (c) President Obama has good reasons for doing what he is doing, really he does, but he thought it would be special and festive to wait until Christmas morning to tell us what those reasons are, at which point the sun will come out, the birdies will begin to sing, and bells will chime out across the land.

Wouldn't that be nice?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Speechless. Well, almost.

(RIP, any chance for real health reform ...
it was nice knowing ya)

That was quick. The public option was here, then it was gone. Same for the Medicare buy-in.


I had high hopes for that Medicare idea.

In fact, even Joe Lieberman had high hopes for that Medicare idea. Yes, the person who killed the idea has actually supported it for years. How ironic and wry and completely bumble-headed. Lieberman says he is opposed now because it would be too expensive. But the CBO hasn't even estimated the expense yet.

I'm glad I am not a skeptical person, because it would be awfully tempting to assume that Joe's position has something to do with all those insurance companies headquartered in his state.

And now, everybody is trying to make it sound like what's left will be GREAT! WONDERFUL! The BEST legislation EVER! Even Jay Rockefeller and Ron Wyden. What the heck? Do they think we're not paying attention?

Here's what Rockefeller said yesterday:

"Can you just simply fail to govern because you couldn't get everything you wanted so you just opt out of it? And then there's no bill. And that is not why we're here. We're here to make progress."

I'm not buying it. What's left is crap. What's left is a mandate to buy expensive private insurance that is guaranteed to become even more expensive. Quickly.

Where's the choice? Don't even tell me about the "Exchange." We have an exchange right now. It's called You can go there and "choose" from umpteen extremely expensive plans. Whoopie.

Where's the affordability? Where's the repeal of the anti-trust exemption? Where's the competition?

I'm going to write my right-wing Congresspeople today, which is the only type of Congressperson we have down here in Texas. I'm going to encourage them to vote no.

I'm sure they will be happy to hear from me. But don't get complacent, guys. I'll be voting "no" on every one of you, every chance I get.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, in the Senate and House
Not a creature was stirring, 'cept Lieberman the louse.
The health bill was hanging by its fingernails with care
In hopes that a miracle soon would be there.

The taxpayers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of a public option danced in their heads.
My hubby in blue jeans and I in my cap,
Had just opened our 2010 premium statement and uttered, "oh crap."

Just then on the news there arose such a clatter
We turned up the volume to see what was the matter.
Ried, Baucus and Lieberman appeared in a flash
Waving pieces of paper and bundles of cash.

We did it, they yelled. We came up with the answer!
We'll take care of health care and maybe cure cancer!
It's really quite simple, said Senator Max.
We just sold the country to Goldman Sachs.

They'll fix up our problems lickity-split
Don't worry my friends, it won't hurt a bit.
The smart guys at Sachs will come to the rescue
And if things fall apart, well, they'll profit from that, too.

They'll short sell your health, and they'll bundle the risk
So they'll be just fine, even if you get sick.
They'll make money on ups - even more when you're down
And when we're all broke that's when they'll go to town.

And with that, the three Senators ran for their lives
Stuffing dough in their pockets and giving high fives.
But I heard them exclaim as they ran out of sight,
Merry Christmas to Goldman, and to Sachs a good night!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not totally ranting

(RIP, public option)

Ok. So the public option is dead. Even if Harry Reid says it's kind of still alive, in a zombie-meets-alternate-universe kind of way.

My friends have been sending condolence emails. But really, I'm ok.

I'm not even ranting about it.

Because instead of the stupid, trigger-happy-opt-in-opt-out-wishy-washy public option that was never going to happen, we just might get 2 things:

1. The chance for those of us over 55 to buy into Medicare, and

2. An Exchange that mimics the health care options available to Congress.

Now, I'm not all that excited about # 2. Everybody thinks Congress gets this sweet deal, but it's really just private insurance plans saying "Buy me! Buy me!" Big deal.

On the other hand, # 1 has me not-ranting for a change.

~ I find it reassuring that I could possibly have another choice for health insurance, other than the pathetic and extremely expensive Texas High-Risk Health Insurance Pool.

~ I see the potential for further expansion of Medicare, a (gasp) single-payer system, down the road.

~ And I can't wait to hear the protests from the Republicans, who were against Medicare before they were for it, before they were against it again.

Nothing is set in stone yet. But the current compromise has tentative support from Anthony Weiner, Jay Rockefeller and Howard Dean. Olympia Snowe hates it.

That's good enough for me.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

WhatTheHeck Headlines

It's not easy to write a headline. I mean, you have to take a whole entire story and condense it into 5 or 6 words. It's a tough job!

Maybe that's why the headlines on Politico, one of my favorite websites, are sometimes a little confusing. Here are a few actual examples that I spotted, just this morning:

Critics Start Fast In Copenhagen
Does this mean that the climate change critics are not eating? Goodness. Or are they simply off to a "fast start"? I would clarify this for you, but the story was 4 pages long and extremely boring, so I really am not sure.

Gibbs: Gallup Like A 6-Year-Old
Yee Haw! Let's all gallup around the press room with Robert Gibbs! Sounds like fun. Oh wait. He was talking about the Gallup Poll, comparing it to a 6 year old with a crayon. I like my interpretation better.

W.H. Predicts A Stimulating Winter
Really? Are they inviting Tigers Woods for an extended stay?

Public Option No Longer Public. Or An Option. Or Anywhere In Sight.
Ok, I made this one up. But it's very close to the truth. And it's not funny at all. Although I am encouraged that they're talking about allowing people 55 and older to buy into Medicare. I have no idea why it took so long to get that idea on the table, but I'm hoping it will stay there.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Would you trust this guy with health care reform?

Why was Max Baucus ever put in charge of the Senate health care bill? Somehow, his face just does not inspire confidence ...

Even when he smiles, he's kind of creepy looking ...

Oh god, please stop smiling Max ...

Most of the time, he looks perplexed ...

... or confused ...

Or like he has just been stricken with lock-jaw ...

Or some sort of digestive disorder ...

But on the other hand, maybe he's the perfect guy for the job ...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I *heart* insurance companies

(who says insurance companies don't have a heart?)

Sometimes big corporations get a bad rap. But hey, this is the season of love and peace. I think we should give them a break! Surely they have good reasons for doing what they do.

So, in the spirit of love and peace, I looked up the mission statements for the country's 3 largest health insurance companies.

Wow. Golly gee. I had no idea they were so compassionate and idealistic.

Brought a little tear to my eye.

Here are the 3 mission statements. Each one is followed by an actual news story that demonstrates just exactly how compassionate and idealistic these companies are.

Gigantic Insurance Company # 1: UnitedHealth
2008 profits: $2.997 billion (this was, amazingly, a 36% DROP from 2007)
(Link to profit information)

Heart-warming mission statement:
"Our mission is to help people live healthier lives. We seek to enhance the performance of the health system and improve the overall health and well-being of the people we serve and their communities."

News story:
January 16, 2009
UnitedHealth Settles Lawsuit Over Insurance Claims

Investigators found that UnitedHealth subsidiary Ingenix was providing faulty data which helped the giant insurer under-pay medical claims, thus shifting costs unfairly to the customers. UnitedHealth admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay $350 million.

($350 million? Heck, they have more than that stuffed between the couch cushions in the employee lunch room.)

Gigantic Insurance Company # 2: WellPoint
2008 profits: $2.490 billion

Heart-warming mission statement:
"To improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities."

News story:
April, 2009
Biggest Health Insurer Admits: We Put Profits Before People

WellPoint CEO Angela Brady told investors during a conference call: "We will not sacrifice profitability for membership."

(In other words, money counts. People don't. Plus, you guys appear to have stolen UnitedHealth's mission statement. Come on, you could at least make up your own crap.)

Gigantic Insurance Company # 3: Aetna
2008 profits: $1.384 billion

Mission statement:
"We help people achieve health and financial security by providing easy access to cost-effective, high-quality health care"

News story:
December 4, 2009
Aetna Forcing 600,000-Plus To Lose Coverage In Effort To Raise Profits

Just in time for the holidays, Aetna has announced that it will be raising rates in 2010. Because of the higher rates, the company expects to lose between 600,000 and 650,000 customers. Chairman and CEO Ron Williams explained that the price hikes instituted in 2009 simply were not high enough. "The pricing we put in place for 2009 turned out to not really be what we needed to achieve the results and margins that we had historically been delivering," he said.

(Excuse me Ron, but I'm a little confused. Where is the "financial security" for the 600,000 people who can no longer afford your "cost-effective health care"?)

You really have to hand it to these benevolent, kindly health insurance companies. They obviously have someone's best interests at heart.

Can you guess whose?


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Magical math

(i need a little cheering up. i think i'll go visit my other blog)

I was just over at the Health Care For America NOW Blog, where I learned that - yippee - the CBO has confirmed that the Senate Bill will, in fact, lower health insurance premiums!

Birds are singing. The flowers are in bloom. All is well with the -

Wait a second. What is that hidden in the middle of the blog post?

It's magical math!

The post quotes Ezra Klein from the Washington Post. Here is the quote. See if you can spot the magic. I'll highlight it for you to make it easier to spot.


The CBO estimates that 57 percent of people in the individual market will receive subsidies to help them purchase health-care insurance (folks on the individual market tend to be much lower-income, with much less stable employment). Those subsidies will reduce premium costs by between 56 to 59 percent for the average beneficiary. So in the final analysis, the effect of reform on your typical individual market purchasers is to give them insurance that's about 30 percent better but only 10 to 12 percent more expensive, and then assure them subsidies that will lower their payments by more than 50 percent. And if you're in the small group or large group markets, your premiums are expected to fall a bit.


Why oh why do people keep insisting that subsidies will decrease costs?? Subsidies will not lower health insurance premiums. They will simply shift the expense to the taxpayers.

Furthermore, are we seriously supposed to believe that if we're in the small group or large group markets, our premiums will "fall a bit"? I love the way Ezra threw that in at the end. Very funny. When was the last time the insurance companies lowered premiums for anyone??

There really is no hope for cost containment if the Senate plan does not include:

a) Repealing the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies

b) A public option that is open to everyone

and c) Brain transplants for all of the health insurance company executives who think their job is to generate profits regardless of the health of their customers. Oh wait. That IS their job. Never mind.

There really is no hope for cost containment. (I'm getting a little discouraged about the whole thing, can you tell?)

Interestingly enough, on the same Health Care For America NOW blog, there is a link to this story:

Aetna Prepares For Loss Of 600,000 Members As It Raises 2010 Prices

Chair and CEO Ron Williams told analysts, "The pricing we put in place for 2009 turned out to not really be what we needed to achieve the results and margins that we had historically been delivering."


Let me get this straight. A big insurance company raises its prices, deliberately driving hundreds of thousands of customers away, in order to achieve a bigger profit margin.

Now THERE is some math I can believe in.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Forget H1N1 ... there's a new pandemic in town

(where am i? who am i? what happened during those 8 years? nobody seems to know)

The CDC has issued a warning about a new pandemic spreading across the country. No, it's not the Swine Flu ... it's amnesia.

Yes, you heard me right! What was I saying? I forgot.

Oh yeah. Amnesia! It's everywhere.

Here are just a few examples:

1. As David Michael Green points out in this excellent Smirking Chimp post, the budget deficits that the right-wingers love to scream about actually began during the W administration. Helloooo ... remember that budget surplus he inherited? Remember the tax cuts, the unfunded wars, the disastrous Medicare Let'sSeeHowConfusingWeCanMakeThisHorriblyExpensive Drug Bill?

Me neither.

2. Last week, Dana Perino, former Press Secretary for George W. Bush, insisted that the shooting at Fort Hood needed to be called "terrorism." Absolutely. Call it what it is. Implying that President Obama was playing politics with the situation, she went on to say: "We did not have a terrorist attack on the country during President Bush's term."

Sure. Not that I can remember.

And 3. Just today, Senator John McCain offered up the very first amendment to the health reform bill currently being debated to death. Literally. His amendment would remove cuts to Medicare Advantage, which are intended to help pay for reform. But just a year ago, during the campaign (what campaign? I don't remember any campaign) McCain said he thought Medicare cuts would be a fine and dandy idea.

It's so confusing.

Where are we? How did we get here? This black dude shows up in the White House, and all of a sudden there are big deficits and terrorist attacks and complicated issues to solve!!!

Please, let's all go back to the simpler days, when the sun was shining and the birdies were singing and Americans were strong and united and willing to tell the truth.

When were those days?

I forget.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Odd News

(southern living's super-de-duper holiday issue, complete with instructions on how to deliver a baby. i sure hope patricia had this on hand.)

It's Monday! Time for some odd news.

Today I'm only going to feature one story:
"Boston Woman Delivers Grandchild On Thanksgiving."

This was reported by WHDH News in Boston, but in my opinion they left out all of the most interesting information. Here is the story word for word, with my questions in red.

BOSTON – A Boston woman says she was forced to split her time between helping her daughter deliver a baby at home and cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

(Was there nobody else at home who could have helped with either task? A husband? A neighbor? A very intelligent dog? And why do you say she was "forced"? Was she considering NOT helping her daughter? Was there a weapon involved? Or just a lot of screaming?)

Patricia McCalop was in the middle of preparing the meal when Africa McCalop suddenly went into labor two weeks early.

(Ok, so WHY would someone from Boston name their daughter "Africa"? Did Patricia mean to write "Arica" on the birth certificate, but she was maybe like totally drunk and added an extra letter and went several years before realizing that her daughter was, in fact, named Africa? I am fascinated by this.)

The grandmother called 911, and a dispatcher talked her through the delivery and helped her confirm that the baby girl was healthy and breathing. Paramedics arrived shortly afterward and took the mother and newborn to the hospital. They are both in good health.

(Ok, that's good! No questions here.)

McCalop said she kept running between the kitchen and her daughter in labor because she didn't want the turkey to burn while helping her child deliver the baby.

(Who on earth were they having for dinner? Would they not have understood if dinner was overcooked? Seems to me a brand new baby who was JUST BORN IN THE GUEST BEDROOM is a pretty good excuse.)

The infant weighed six pounds.

(THIS is how you end the story? "The infant weighed six pounds"?? I have lots more questions. Did Patricia send poor Africa to the hospital all by herself? Were the dinner guests totally grossed out by the thought of what Patricia was doing in between stuffing the turkey and baking the pies? Did Africa name her baby after some random continent? Australia, maybe? Or North America?)

Come on, WHDH News. Inquiring minds want to know ...


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I am thankful for ...

Faithful friends ...

Words of wisdom ...

Never-ending blog material ...

And, of course, all of the other hard-working politicians who do so much for the country we all love ...

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More odd news!

(so many odd things to talk about - so little time)

Gee, the news just keeps getting odder and odder!

Let's see, first there are the endless Sarah Palin interviews. Barbara Walters actually asked her with a straight face who she might consider for her Vice President, and managed to keep that straight face when Sarah went on to praise Glenn Beck. Good lord.

Very odd.

Then, there's the endless process of health reform. I heard yesterday that there are 4 members of the Democratic Caucus who are threatening to filibuster THEIR OWN PARTY'S BILL. Has this happened before? Aren't they supposed to filibuster bills from THE OPPOSITION??

Very odd.

As a little side note, I heard that Mary Landrieu sold her "yes" vote for $300 million. I definitely need to get into politics. I would sell my votes for way less than that.

And last but not least, there is the question of where on earth our President has gone?

I mean, sure, we all saw him bowing in Tokyo the other day. And we hear that he's working on Afghanistan and global warming. But look. When was the last time you saw the guy? Where did all those inspiring speeches go? And why does he look all fuzzy and far away in photographs these days?

Surely the real Barack Obama wouldn't let the health reform debate flounder like this. Surely he wouldn't allow Wall Street to continue its reckless ways while Main Street suffers. Surely the guy that I voted for wouldn't sit back in silence while the critics have a field day with the decisions being made about the Guantanamo prisoners.

Barack? Is that you?

Very odd.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Odd News

(it's time for some good news!! but I couldn't find any.
so let's do Odd News instead.)

Here are a few odd stories I found today, with my comments at the end of each one in red.


Story # 1: Man Tied 15 Lizards To Chest At Airport

LOS ANGELES – Federal officials say they arrested a man who strapped 15 live lizards to his chest to get through customs at Los Angeles International Airport.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that 40-year-old Michael Plank of Lomita, Calif., was returning from Australia when U.S. Customs agents found 11 skinks, two geckos and two monitor lizards fastened to his body Tuesday.

"Excuse me sir, could you explain those tails poking out between your buttons? And why is your carry-on bag full of crickets and spiders?"

Story # 2: Johnny Depp Named Sexiest Man Alive

Seriously? Who were the other candidates? Michael Moore and Homer Simpson?

Story # 3: Santa Gets A Face-Lift

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – A Santa in New Zealand with a droopy eye has received a NZ$100,000 ($74,000) face-lift in the run-up to Christmas so that his aging face does not scare children.

Hello ... you don't think the sight of THIS will scare the children??


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Palin Resigns From Book Tour

(somebody move that street sign. it's blocking my face)

A week into her much-anticipated book tour, Sarah Palin gave a surprise resignation speech this morning at a local Christmas tree farm.

As a buzz-saw decapitated a live tree behind her, Palin breathlessly explained that the tour was not quite what she expected.

"People who know me know that nothing is more important to me than faith, family and daily headlines on Fox News," she said. "But let's be real here, people. A BUS?? You expect me to travel on a BUS day after day?

"Oh sure, it's a pretty nice bus - and it does have the biggest picture of me, like, ever, other than the one in my living room back home. But please. It's a bus.

"There is absolutely nothing mavericky about a bus.

"Rest assured, my loyal and devoted followers with the adorable Psalm 109:8 secret code t-shirts and the balloon animals on your heads and the concealed weapons in your purses, I am not retreating. I am advancing in another direction.

"I'm coming, Oprah! Save that 4:00 time slot for me."


Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm so confused

(forgive me lord, but i hate his guts)

I got another email today from Senator John Cornyn, here in Texas. He is very confusing.

His emails consistently contradict everything else I read. Perhaps, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he has different, official, Senatorial sources. Or perhaps, as I suspect, he is a dunderhead.

Here are some of the points in his email, followed by some points from an article on on the exact same subject. Draw your own conclusions.

Senator Cornyn:
Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released his 2,074-page health care bill, which Senate Budget Committee analysis shows will cost American taxpayers $2.5 trillion when fully implemented over ten years.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled a sweeping health care bill Wednesday that would expand health insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans at an estimated cost of $849 billion over 10 years.

Senator Cornyn:
The bill will increase taxes on all Americans by nearly half a trillion dollars and breaks the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on working families earning less than $250,000.

The Medicare payroll tax on individuals earning $200,000 a year and couples earning $250,000 a year would increase by half a percentage point, from the current 1.45 percent to 1.95 percent.

Senator Cornyn:
The Reid bill increases taxpayer spending and liability for health care over the next ten years—instead of reforming our already insolvent entitlement programs.

The budget office estimated that the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years and by more than $600 billion in the following decade.

Senator Cornyn:
I am a complete dunderhead who loves to make up stuff and email it to people.

That is the first accurate thing I have ever heard from you.

Senator Cornyn:

But hey, who cares? I have great health insurance and nice white hair and I get to be on TV saying whatever the heck I want. I'm a Senator, you know.

Not for long, buddy. Not if I have anything to say about it.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Orrin Hatch promises "Holy War" over health reform.

(denying health care to your fellow Americans ... there's a cause we can all get behind)

Now that the Senate has unveiled its health reform plan, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has promised a "Holy War" during the final long, agonizing, and at this point extremely pointless process of coming up with a final bill.

From the L.A. Times:

Republicans, who have criticized the Democrats' initiative as a step toward government control of the healthcare system, are already planning a series of delaying tactics, including forcing the entire bill to be read aloud on the Senate floor.

"It's going to be a holy war," Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said Wednesday evening.


I was curious about Senator Hatch's choice of words, so I called his office last night. Here is an official transcript of our fictional conversation:

Me: Holy Health Reform, Senator Hatch! You seem to feel very strongly about this issue.

SH: I certainly do, young lady! It is preposterous to allow the government to take over health care. The insurance companies are doing a fine job.

Me: So, those checks from PhRMA are still coming through for you?

SH: Yes indeedy. Flowing like a river.

Me: Holy Handouts! That's great for you. But I'm curious about this "Holy War" you have promised. Don't you think that's a little inflammatory and right-wingy?

SH: I'm just telling it like it is. Health reform is wrong. Abortions are wrong except under certain conditions like for instance when nobody realizes they are in your health coverage for, like, 2o years, at which point they become extra emphatically wrong. And anything the Democrats propose is, of course, wrong.

Me: Holy HowBullheadedCanYouBe! This whole health reform thing has been so totally watered down and compromised, at this point even Republicans should be able to find things in there that they like! Come on. How about promoting unity and charity and health care for everyone? Wouldn't those be Holy ideas we could all get behind?

SH: No. No. No no. Nononononono. That is the official Republican Holier Than Thou position. And we're sticking together. Come Holy Hell or high water.

Me: .... sigh ...


Monday, November 16, 2009

Sarah Palin on Oprah: Wowie, what a show!!

(aren't my kids cute? stop talking about them!!)

What a blockbuster moment!! The media event of the year!! The two most self-absorbed women in the world, on stage together. Brought a little tear to my eye.

Here is an actual, unauthorized, and completely imaginary but not that far from the truth transcript of the much-anticipated Oprah-Palin interview:

Oprah: I am delighted to welcome you to my show, Sarah! Is this spotlight bright enough for you?

Sarah: Yes, it's lovely! I've been in lots of spotlights, and this is one of the best so far.

O: I need to apologize for not having you on sooner. I had some hard-hitting subjects to tackle, like Get To Know Your Colon With Dr. Oz and Why You Schmucks Are All Hopelessly Bankrupt with Suze Orman.

S: Oh, I totally understand! I've only recently become articulate, so really it works out better this way.

O: So tell me. What was it like to get that phone call, telling you that John McCain wanted to speak with you about the vice presidency?

S: It was no big deal. It was just a natural progression from the rest of my stellar career. I mean, I worked super hard just to get my bachelor's degree. Took me twelve years and nineteen different colleges. How much harder could it be to be the VP? No biggie.

O: And what about all those nasty rumors about your family? Did that bother you?

S: Oh yes. That was terrible. Every time I dragged my entire family out in front of huge crowds on national television, I pleaded with people NOT to say anything about them. Just because I carried my baby around like a canned ham and kept my other children out of school all year, that does NOT make them fodder for the radical left-wing media. It's so unfair. Right, kids?

S's Kids: Yes Mommy!

O: I have SO many other questions but your publicists told me I couldn't ask them and besides we are out of time. Thank you Sarah! Hope to see you soon!

S: Oh, I'll be around. You betcha.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

More stuff you just can't make up

What a fun week in politics!

First, a story broke in Politico, revealing that the RNC has provided employees with a health insurance plan that covers elective abortions since 1991.


Michael Steele immediately promised to end this coverage, insisting that it was only in place for emergency situations such as mistresses who live in New Jersey instead of Argentina.

"No self-respecting Republican would condone this despicable practice," said Larry Craig at a press conference held in the men's room of the San Francisco airport. "What were they thinking? This is morally indefensible. Now excuse me, someone is waiting for me in stall # 3. Coming, pookie-ooks!"

Next, the AARP endorsed the House health care bill, prompting John McCain to urge supporters to tear up their membership cards. The white-haired tea partiers in the crowd looked at each other in confusion.

"What about my Applebee's discount?" yelled Bertha Twittlebottom from Des Moines. "You expect me to pay full price for my Maple Butter Blondie? What is this country coming to?"

Somebody also started leaking portions of their new book this week, but I'm not going to pick on that.

It's just too easy.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Breaking News: 85% of Americans exempt from health reform

(i've got email - again.)

Hey! Good news for Tea Partiers! 85% of Americans will be exempt from President Obama's health reform plan.

How do I know? I read it in an email.

Well, kind of.

My husband got an email from a right-wing friend, with this picture in it:

Since I am a concerned blogger, I am dedicated to the truth, and I was extremely bored at the time, I looked up the page and line in question, from the Senate finance committee bill.

Sure enough! Page 114 Line 22 says that the Public Health Insurance Option will not be available to anyone who is covered under the Federal employees health benefits program.

So, Barack, Michelle, Sasha, Malia, Puppy Bo, Congress, and Senators will be unable to choose that option. Or, if you want to put it that way, they will be "exempt."

And guess what?? The VERY NEXT paragraph (Page 115, Line 1) says that anyone with "employer-sponsored coverage" is ALSO unable to choose the public option - I mean, "exempt from health care reform."

Think about this.

The right-wingers should be delighted! The 85% of Americans who are supposedly happy with their insurance coverage are EXEMPT from health care reform! Happy day!

There is no need to send any more emails. No reason to wear your baseball caps and accost your congress-people at Tea Parties. If you have insurance through your employer, the public option will not affect you. You are exempt.

Now please shut up and let the rest of us have a choice.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We salute you

Here is what you must know: your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched. Their life's work is our security, and the freedom that we too often take for granted.

Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - that is their legacy.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.

This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in a time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different and difficult places. They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war. They are man and woman; white, black, and brown; of all faiths and stations - all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life.

In today's wars, there is not always a simple ceremony that signals our troops' success - no surrender papers to be signed, or capital to be claimed. But the measure of their impact is no less great - in a world of threats that know no borders, it will be marked in the safety of our cities and towns, and the security and opportunity that is extended abroad. And it will serve as testimony to the character of those who serve, and the example that you set for America and for the world.

Long after they are laid to rest - when the fighting has finished, and our nation has endured; when today's servicemen and women are veterans, and their children have grown - it will be said of this generation that they believed under the most trying of tests; that they persevered not just when it was easy, but when it was hard; and that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples.


From President Obama's speech honoring the victims of the tragedy at Fort Hood. Click here for the entire transcript.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear Congressman Burgess:

(a tort reform a day keeps the doctor away)

The Republicans have ideas for health care reform. Just ask them. They'll tell ya. Tort reform, tort reform, tort reform. They have been tort reform telling us about their tort reform ideas for tort reform months. Tort reform.

I got an email from my Congressman, Dr. Michael Burgess, yesterday. Dr. Burgess reminded me that tort reform was sadly lacking from the House health reform bill. On his Congressional Health Care Caucus blog, he made this very interesting statement about the House bill:

"Medical liability reform, which has greatly improved access to health care and lowered costs in Texas, is completely missing."

Dr. Burgess also complained about the length of the House bill, which is a hefty 2000 pages.

I left a comment, but for some reason my comments never seem to appear on his blog. hmm. So just in case you stop by, Dr. Burgess, here are my thoughts:

Surely you know that Texas has the highest level of uninsured residents in the country. More than 25% of the people here have no insurance.

The Dallas Morning News recently did a comprehensive story on health care in the area. They summed it up like this:

"Medical care in Dallas is delivered in a broken market where doctors, hospitals and other providers shower patients with services of diminishing value but staggering cost."

In Texas, those of us who are self-employed are completely on our own to buy individual policies. If we have pre-existing conditions, the only fall-back option is a statewide high risk pool that costs twice as much as an already-expensive individual policy.

Tort reform may be a dandy idea for you and your doctor friends. But it has done diddly-squat for people like me here in Texas. Shame on you for implying otherwise.

As far as the length of the House bill, I do apologize. I realize it is many many pages long. But Dr. Burgess, there is a simple explanation. It includes more than one idea.


Monday, November 9, 2009

What's in the House bill?

The health reform bill that passed the House is not perfect. But in my opinion, it includes lots of good stuff! If this version becomes law (big "if" - there is still a long way to go) - the following things would happen:

Insurance companies would not be allowed to turn you down or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition.

There would be caps on annual out-of-pocket expenses - $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a family. Just think - an accident or illness would not necessarily result in bankruptcy. What a concept.

Insurance companies could not say "Sorry, we have spent too much on you. We're not paying any more." There would be no lifetime caps on the amount they would have to cover.

A temporary national high-risk pool would help cover the uninsured right away.

In 2013, an Insurance Exchange would help individuals and very small businesses obtain coverage.

In 2013, a public option would be available as one choice in the Exchange.

There would also be new insurance co-ops to help provide choice and competition.

There would be a new tax credit for small businesses that provide insurance for employees.

The anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies would be repealed.

There would be federal subsidies for lower-income people to help them buy insurance.

About 96% of Americans would be covered.

There's more. A lot more. Some good, some not so great. But overall, there's a lot to like here. Let's see what happens in the Senate.

Click here for the official summary of the House bill, or here for the entire bill. Here is another good summary.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

YAY!!! Health reform passes the House

The House of Representatives did it!!! They passed their version of health care reform last night, 220 - 215. They even got one Republican vote, from Joseph Cao (R-New Orleans) so they can call it a bipartisan bill, which I really don't care about except that it pissed off Eric Cantor, which only adds to my glee.

The House bill has some really, really good things in it. I will detail them later.

For now, if you have been listening to the scary voices telling you the Big Bad Government is going to take over your health care, I just have one thing to say:

Don't be afraid.

The bill that just passed the House will make things better. Even for you.

For the Democrats who decided to vote "no" on this bill, I have another thing to say:

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Here are their names:

Artur Davis
Lincoln Davis
Chet Edwards

Betsy Markey
Scott Murphy


Friday, November 6, 2009

Unemployment hits 10%

(smile. it might keep you from screaming.)

I found a funny Odd News story for you! This will make you smile. Unless you just lost your job. Which is highly possible, since the unemployment rate is now officially over 10%.

In fact, if you include the long-term unemployed who for some reason have dropped off the radar, the rate is closer to 18%.

Think about this for a minute. These cold statistics represent people. American families. Your friends and neighbors, who have suddenly realized that, number one, their job is gone and number two, their health insurance is teetering on the brink.

Maybe they can afford COBRA for a while. Maybe they have a spouse who is still working.

But maybe, God forbid, they will come down with the sniffles or a pesky rash.

Maybe they will try to buy insurance on their own, with a "pre-existing condition" now on their record. Good luck with that.

Maybe they will find a job that doesn't include benefits and doesn't pay all that well. If they are "lucky" enough to find an insurance company that will cover them, they may very well have to choose between making a mortgage payment and making an insurance payment. Good luck with that, too.

Oh, you're waiting for the funny story, aren't you? Sorry about that! Here it is:

Dick Armey, Mr. Teabagger himself, is featured in an interview with the New York Times magazine in which he says, I kid you not:

"The largest empirical problem we have in health care today is too many people are too overinsured."

Oh my gosh Dick, you are so funny! Stop! My sides are hurting!

Why are all the funny people from Texas? Kinda makes me want to move.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Teabaggers rally against health reform. Oh good grief.

(another Mad Hatter Tea Party ... sigh)

Michele Bachmann organized a rally in Washington today. Woo hoo. She urged opponents of health reform to come to the halls of Congress, look their Congress-people in the eye, and tell them "Don't take away my health care."

"Nothing scares Congress more than freedom-loving Americans," Bachmann told Blondie Anchorwoman on Fox & Friends.

Ironically, at the very same time a side banner proclaimed: "House version would provide coverage to 96% of Americans."

Here's the video:

Meanwhile, John Boehner, who is one of the reasons I will need to ask God's forgiveness when I reach the pearly gates, showed up at the rally and told the Tea People, "This bill is one of the greatest threats to freedom I have ever seen."

I have a few questions.

Firstly, Michele, who the heck is talking about taking away your health care?? We can all tell that you need health care. Preferably long-term residential health care. The only way you will lose your health care is if you don't get re-elected. (come on, Minnesota! you can do it!)

Secondly, John, what types of freedom will this dastardly bill take away?? The freedom to be rejected by heartless insurance companies when you get sick? Providing health care to your fellow Americans is one of the greatest threats to freedom you have ever seen? Give me a break.

I'm getting tired of this whole debate. The reform bill will probably end up so watered down, it won't make any difference anyway.

Tomorrow I'm gonna find something fun to write about.

Yahoo Odd News, here I come!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The best things in life are very expensive

(the best things in life are free? hah! think again.)

Here are some things you can get without spending a penny:

~ used chewing gum from the sidewalk

~ bricks, gravel, dirt, broken appliances and a lovely floral sofa with a missing cushion from the "Free" section of craigslist

~ the swine flu

Oh. Wait. If you got the swine flu, you might need Mucinex, Tylenol, or that excellent NyQuil stuff, which was originally called Cheese-Heroin Extra-Addictive Night-Time Formula. That stuff is expensive.

Plus, if you get the swine flu you might have to visit the doctor. He might write a prescription for Tamiflu. Or send you for x-rays. Or check you into the hospital.

All of this will cost you LOTS of pennies.

Let's face it. Health care is expensive. So why should health care reform be free?

Why is it such a big deal that the current reform proposals will cost around a trillion dollars?

-Haven't we spent that much on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
-Didn't we lose much more than that through the Bush tax cuts?
-Isn't the net effect of reform a reduction in the federal deficit?
-What the heck?

Where were all these "fiscal conservatives" when the Bush administration was running up record deficits?

Maybe they were working on the fiscally conservative version of health care reform, which to date includes 4 ideas, none of which will help me get affordable health insurance.

Seriously. Four ideas.

I think John Boehner should try selling these ideas on craigslist. Put them in the "free" section, John. Maybe somebody will take them off your hands.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Political Halloween Costumes (boo!)

(party at my place, dudes!)

Do you have your costume ready? I hear the folks in Washington are super excited about a costume party at the White House tonight. Let's take a look at the guest list:

~ Dick Cheney plans to dress up as a crotchety old guy with a very convenient case of amnesia. Of course, he's been wearing this costume for years.

~ Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck will be disguised as actual journalists.

~ The Swine Flu says it will attend, but nobody believes it.

~ Joe Lieberman will wear a Democrat costume but halfway through the party he will change into a Republican costume and jump out of a pumpkin yelling "Surprise!" ... Nobody will be surprised.

~ Liz Cheney will take OFF her costume and reveal her true identity as a crotchety old guy with a very convenient case of amnesia.

~ Sarah Palin won't be there. They couldn't afford to invite her.

Happy Halloween!