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!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

House May Add Long-Term Care. But don't count on it.

('scuse me, there's a hole in your safety net)

When is a safety net not a safety net? When it's not safe. Or a net. Or below you. Or anything. Because, just ask the insurance companies, it's a really bad idea.

What the heck am I ranting about? The idea of adding a new long-term care insurance program to the health reform legislation.

There was an article about it in yesterday's Dallas Morning News. Here are some excerpts:


"More than 10 million people currently need long-term care services, and the number is expected to grow as the baby boom generation ages. But most families whose elders can no longer care for themselves have to scrape to find a solution ...

"The new proposal is called the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act, or CLASS Act ... In return for modest monthly premiums while they are working, people would receive a cash benefit of at least $50 a day if they become disabled. The money could be used to pay a home care attendant, purchase equipment and supplies, make home improvements such as adding bathroom railings, or defray the costs of nursing home care.

"The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the program - financed by premiums - would be fiscally solvent over a 75-year period."


Sounds pretty good, right? But wait. The insurance companies are, of course, arguing against it. Here's another section of the same article:

"Many people already believe Medicare is going to cover their long-term care needs, and as a result they don't plan," said White Cornman, a spokesperson for the American Council of Life Insurers. The proposal would only add to the false sense of security, he said.

Ok. Let me get this straight. People currently are not able to pay for long-term care because they don't plan for it. Plus there is no safety net in place, other than Medicaid, which requires you to sell everything you own and become impoverished before you can qualify. Which is a pretty hole-y safety net if you ask me.

So, a program that would provide a REAL safety net is a bad idea because it would make people think they have a safety net. Which - hellooooo - they WOULD.

Hey, insurance companies! How about, for the sake of our troops, you quit making things up?? I'm still waiting for any sign of a Class Act from you guys. Any sign at all.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Texas Opts Out Of U.S. Postal Service

(you're my man, kinky ... unless somebody sends $12.6 million to kick off my own campaign)

Breaking News ...

Governor Rick "Yee Haw" Perry has just announced that the state of Texas is opting out of the U.S. Postal Service.

"The last thing we need is more government intervention," Perry exclaimed to a crowd of bewildered people standing in line at the Frisco post office. "Let's put the free market to work!"

"So where am I supposed to mail this letter?" asked a woman in the crowd.

"Ask yourself a simple question," Perry continued. "Do I really want some government bureaucrat standing between me and my phone bill?"

"Gee. I guess not," said the woman.

Perry ranted on: "Did you know that people in Canada wait in line for weeks, just to get a catalog from L.L. Bean? Did you know that in England, people DIE before they can receive their final notice that the warranty on the car they traded in a year ago is about to expire?? Socialized mail is NOT the answer!!"

"Wow. You're right," said the woman. "I guess instead of mailing it, I'll take this campaign contribution home and put it through my shredder."

"Wait!" yelled Perry. "We're ready to serve the next person in line. Step right up."


Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh good grief

(big hair is always in style - at least on channel 8)

I almost never watch the local network news. But last night after Brothers & Sisters I was too tired to get up and change the channel.

Our local big-haired anchorwoman spent 15 seconds talking about health care reform thusly:

"President Obama's plan for government-controlled health care is still being debated in Congress, with a final version expected by Thanksgiving."

Good grief. No wonder people are so mis-informed. First of all, clueless Big-Hair Woman, "government-controlled health care" is not on the table. Never has been.

And second, President Obama has had very little to do with the plan that IS on the table, other than cutting some deals with various factions behind closed doors and hinting that he might be for a public option, unless he's against it, and a trigger would be fine too, or whatever, just send him a bill, he wants to sign something.


Fortunately, after that extremely informative 15 seconds was up, Big-Hair devoted 10 minutes to a story about a guy whose back yard is sliding into a creek. Then the weather guy spent 5 minutes telling us it was raining outside.

I'd give you a sports update, but I fell asleep.

I think tonight I'll watch Dancing With The Stars. Maybe I'll learn something useful.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michelle Obama on Leno: Startling revelations!

(another guy who can make me swear)

Hey! Rush Limbaugh! Did you see Michelle Obama on Leno last night?

RL: Yeah. So?

She said Barack beats her! Quite often!

RL: Really? I missed that part.

She was talking about playing tennis with him, and she said the most annoying thing about him is that he beats her quite often! There's a headline for ya!!

RL: Wow! You're right! That's a great story. There's only one problem: it's true. I can't report on stories that are true.

Oh, that's right. You prefer stories like the made-up, totally obviously false one you blubbered about yesterday. The one about Obama's college thesis supposedly criticizing the U.S. Constitution for not promoting the "distribution of wealth."

RL: Yeah. Now THERE's a good story!

Did you even visit the blog that first "reported" the story? I mean, the blogger tagged it "SATIRE" which generally means "NOT THE GOD'S HONEST TRUTH." Plus he included cheesy lines like this:

"In Los Angeles and New York, the poor reach to me with bleary eyes and all I can do is sigh."

Does that really sound like something Barack would say?

RL: Who the hell cares? Hey, have you heard that he beats his wife?!



Friday, October 23, 2009

Dithering? Seriously?

(there are not very many people who can make me swear. but this guy ...)

Cheney's face alone is bad enough. But when he opens his mouth, it gets even worse.

Yesterday he accused President Obama of "dithering" on the Afghanistan situation. Here is the quote:

"Having announced his Afghanistan strategy in March, President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete the mission.

"It's time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger. Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries."

Yes. Indeed. What on earth are you thinking, President Obama? Stop thinking, and just act!! Hurl those bombs. Deploy those troops. Tap phones. Waterboard. DO SOMETHING!!

Oh, wait. Didn't we get into this situation because somebody acted without thinking the whole thing through?

Didn't we march off in the wrong direction, believing we would be "greeted as liberators" in one place while we "dithered" in the country where the real enemy was lurking?

Didn't we "dither" for 8 years on silly little domestic issues like health care and financial regulation, weakening our own situation to the point of near-collapse?

Perhaps it's time to think for a change. To plan. To take measured, thoughtfully-considered steps, one at a time, to get us out of this quagmire the Bush administration created.

Dither that, Mr. Cheney. You ... you ... ditherer, you.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Republican Has Flu Shot ... Now He Can Only Say "Yes"

(don't do it! i'm warning you!)

News Flash:
Swine Flu Vaccine Has Surprising Side Effects

In a very disturbing development, a prominent Republican recently developed a serious side effect from the H1N1 flu shot, which as we all know is a dastardly Fascist-Socialist-Government plot to infect the entire population with cancer. (read the startling details here)

Or to plan an identity chip into our bodies. (honest to God)

Or to take over our minds, which many of us seem to have lost lately.

Or something.

Anyway. The side effect for this poor unfortunate Republican? Tragically, the only word he can say is "Yes."

Here is an interview which I recently conducted with him. We'll call him R.


Me: Well. This seems to be a very serious and tragic situation. Dastardly, even.

R: Yes.

Me: You say you had the Swine Flu vaccine, and 10 days later you woke up and all you could say was ...

R: Yes.

Me: And you blame this on the Obama administration?

R: Yes!

Me: Because they are encouraging people to get vaccinated, pretending that it's "only" a vaccine that will "only" protect people, particularly children?

R: Yes!!!

Me: So, let me ask you: Are the Republicans using this as another fear tactic, implying that a simple vaccine might be a government plot?

R: rrr-aghhhh -nnnyy - yes.

Me: I thought so. And did the vaccine, in fact, protect you from the Swine Flu?

R: nnn-yy-yes.

Me: Did your Fascist-Socialist-Government-provided health insurance pay for this flu shot?

R: y-y-yes.

Me: Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had Fascist-Socialist-Government-provided health insurance?

R: (rips off his microphone and walks away)

Me: Wait! I had lots more questions! Are you still taking money from the health insurance industry? Do you like my hair? Is my blog the best in the world?

... stay tuned. I'll try to get him back for a follow-up interview. I'd love to hear what he thinks about global warming!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Your money or your life

(money ... life ... or none of the above.
take your choice.)

Believe it or not, in spite of my leftward leaning, my husband and I are Christians. We participate in an Adult Fellowship Class on Sundays - a combination of friendly social gathering/Bible study/breakfast before church.

One woman in our class recently found out that she has cancer. Coincidentally, she had purchased a Cancer Insurance Policy through her work, so all of her expenses are covered. All of them. She has, of course, been told over and over by class members how fortuitous it is that she purchased this policy. Which of course she already knew.

Let's think about that. What were we really telling her?

"Wow! Congratulations Betty Sue! You get to have cancer, and NOT go bankrupt at the same time! Lucky you!"


Shouldn't ANYONE who gets cancer have the right to focus on getting well, rather than worrying about going bankrupt? Isn't a health crisis enough of a crisis in itself, without piling a financial crisis on top of it? Can't we find SOME way to end this insane system of ours?



Monday, October 19, 2009

Go Directly To Jail

(anyone? anyone?)

It's been more than a year since the financial meltdown starting really melting, oozing down the sides of the Dow Jones Index and taking my hard-earned little IRA with it.

So how come nobody is going to jail?

I've been waiting for footage of well-fed fat cats in $5000 suits, hiding their faces in shame as they are led off in handcuffs.

After all, didn't they bundle crapola subprime loans and pass them off as gold?

Didn't the ratings agencies lie about the AAAA++++ status of these bundled crapola subprime loans, raking in millions of dollars in fees along the way?

Didn't companies like Goldman Sachs make bets AGAINST the same crapola bundles they were selling to unwary customers - "the very essence of securities fraud" according to a hedgefund manager quoted in Matt Taibbi's "Great American Bubble Machine"?

Surely there must be prosecutable crimes behind the shenanigans that made trillions of dollars vanish into thin air? (or into houses in the Hamptons for the aforementioned fat cats)

Who's going to jail?

C'mon, who??

There's gotta be someone.

SEC Hires 29-Year-Old Ex-Goldman Sachs Exec For Key Role



Sunday, October 18, 2009

$200 Health Insurance

(your estimated monthly premium is ... a total joke)

Hey! Whaddya know? I CAN buy health insurance for $200 a month!

I decided to stop being so lazy and pessimistic. No, I didn't get a job. I went online to eHealthInsurance and searched for insurance plans.

Lo and behold, there is a plan for a 50-something year old self-employed person like moi, for only $207 a month!

Here's what $207 a month will get me:

~ A $15,000 annual family deductible

~ A lifetime cap of $2 million

~ NO coverage for:
Outpatient surgery
Emergency treatment that does not result in admission
Outpatient x-rays, radiation or lab tests
Routine physical exams
Diagnostic screenings
Room and board during a hospital admissions for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
Services or supplies during a non-emergency hospital admission
And three and a half pages of other restrictions, which cover just about any possible medical expenses that might come up.

Now, you may be thinking: "So, what is she complaining about now? We TOLD her she could get insurance for $200 a month. And she can." But I haven't told you about the insurance companies' little trick called "co-insurance."

Co-insurance. Sounds nice and co-operative, doesn't it? Kind of a friendly term. This particular policy has a 20% co-insurance. Once I use up my $15,000 deductible and pay for all the excluded services I might foolishly want, such as prescriptions and health care, I am responsible for 20% of other expenses such as surgery, hospitalizations, etc etc etc.

I have a feeling 20% would add up pretty quickly, if I was foolish enough to get sick.

Oh, and did I mention the fine print?
"Final rates and benefits are based on actual plan selection and the assignment of any rate adjustment factors due to the health plan's underwriting guidelines."

"Rate adjustment factors" ... hm ... I wonder if those would make my $207 rate go up or down?

Also - forgot to mention - no coverage "because of suicide or attempted suicide." So don't even think about it.

Just don't get sick.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dear Friends:

(take two and call me in the morning. or not.)

I continue to receive emails from friends and assorted other people including my Congressman, trying to enlighten me on health care. Argh.

Here's what they keep trying to tell me:

Anyone can buy health insurance. Just go online.
This little gem invariably comes from people who have NEVER IN THEIR LIVES tried to buy health insurance. Try it. I dare you.

Policies are available for $200 a month. You are just selfish, choosing cable TV instead of health insurance.
If somebody offered me a policy for $200 a month, I would not only buy it - I would grovel at their feet, wash their car once a week, and pressure my kids to name my grandchildren UnitedHealth, Cigna or Aetna. Or even Blue Cross. Never gonna happen.

Why should I pay for your health insurance? That's not fair.
Nobody is asking you to pay for my health insurance. I think this question comes from the assumption that the "public option" would evolve into single-payer universal coverage. But the public option would only be an option for individuals and very small businesses (like ME) who cannot get coverage elsewhere. I would pay for it. Not you.

It's your own fault that you cannot buy affordable insurance. After all, you chose to be self-employed.
This is my favorite. Yes, it's true! I turn down generous job offers with full benefits day after day! I wish people would stop offering me these jobs. I would rather be self-employed and pay double Social Security taxes and handle all of my own expenses including health insurance!! Stop with the job offers already!! Sheesh.

The big, evil government will only mess up health care, like they mess up everything else. And plus, Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.
Ok. Enough already. The original Greek word for anti-Christ has been translated thusly: UnitedHealth, Cigna, or Aetna. Plus Blue Cross.

Maybe I need to hit "delete" more often.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A heart-warming day for the Senate Finance Committee

(thanks for your vote Olympia. now please go away.)

As you probably know, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted with the democrats on the Senate Finance Committee to pass the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Health Care Reform Bill. As she announced her decision to do so, Max Baucus grinned from ear to ear and practically bounced up and down in his seat.

In fact, Baucus then led the committee in singing Happy Birthday to Sen Maria Cantwell (D-Wash). I kid you not. The video is below.

After the little sing-along, Max proposed a rousing session of Hokey-Pokey. This was voted down 22 to 1.

"Come on, Olympia!" he exclaimed. "You're my friend! Let's play!"

Snowe shot him a chilly glare. "Bug off, dwarf-breath," she snarled. "In fact, move over. I'm in charge of this committee now."

Baucus shrugged his shoulders affably, and skipped off to play with his insurance industry buddies.

Olympia is now hard at work designing a public option that is not really a public option but that might be triggered into becoming a public option if it's really needed in some vague futuristic world where the insurance companies fail to do what's best for the lowly consumers. Hard to imagine how THAT could come to pass.

But forget all that. Enjoy this video of your elected officials, hard at work:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Insurers attack health reform. Or not.

(money: the root of all health care)

Stop the presses! Hold your horses! Better sit down for this one.

The health insurance industry has mounted "an attack against health reform." A Huffington Post headline this morning screamed: Insurance Companies Declare War.

But did they?

Here's what happened: the insurance industry released some figures from a study showing that the Baucus plan would add $1,700 a year to a family's health insurance premiums in 2013, or $600 a year for an individual.

Pardon my French, but no shit. Does this actually surprise anyone?

As it stands right now, with no attempt at competition or price regulation, the Baucus bill is not even TRYING to reduce premium costs. In fact, the response from Scott Mulhauser, a spokesman for Baucus, underscores this fact.

According to Huffington Post:
"Baucus spokesman Mulhauser said the study is 'seriously flawed' because it doesn't take into account provisions in the legislation that would lower the cost of coverage, such as tax credits to help people buy private insurance, protections for current policies and administrative savings from a revamped marketplace."

Did you catch that? Tax credits to help people buy private insurance are supposed to lower the cost of coverage? How does that make sense?? The insurers can charge whatever they want, making profits for shareholders and enriching the fat cats at the top, and the taxpayers will cover the bill. It's simple. It's brilliant. And it has nothing to do with lowering the cost of coverage. (shifting it to the middle class, yes. lowering it - no.)

So let's just all calm down. The insurance companies have not declared war.

~ They're just letting us know that they plan to raise premiums.

~ They're just saying that the Baucus bill gives them plenty of excuses to raise them even higher.

~ They're just telling the truth.

Now take a deep breath, relax, and go take your vitamins. You certainly don't want to get sick.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama Finds Cancer Cure; Republicans Outraged

(so right. and yet so wrong.)

The AP reported early this morning that President Barack Obama has accidentally stumbled upon the cure for cancer. Republicans immediately responded with anger.

"Who does he think he is?" yelled Rush Limbaugh. "What about all the researchers who DESERVE to find the cure? They've been working for years and years, and Barack HUSSEIN Obama has the audacity to tell us HE has all the answers?"

"This is truly a meaningless accomplishment," said Michael Steele. "Send us a check for $50, $100, or $200 and we will work to support your freedom to die from cancer without the interference of Democrats and their leftist international allies."

John Boehner was in a tanning booth and unavailable for comment.

Sarah Palin posted a note on Facebook:

"This is a very confusing development upon which my ghost writer will have ample commentary in the days to come. Meanwhile, advance copies of my book are available on Amazon for only $19.95 which includes a free poster of me and Levi fly-fishing if ya know what I mean, wink wink. Watch for my second volume, upon which I am currently working upon, entitled 'Words of Widsom From The Republican Party.' It should be available by Christmas. In fact, it will fit nicely into a stocking. A very small stocking. Or a Christmas card, even. Also thus."