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Day 64 (I Think)

There is only so much “about my day” blogging I can do, because my days are generally really boring.  I’m also pretty much over this whole 100 day challenge thing. Like today, I am definitely just phoning it in. My mind is on the drive I have to make in two hours, and I’m too tired to even be anxious.

I convinced Joe to hang out for a little bit last night, which went a long way towards curing my crankiness over the fact that he’s leaving. Also, he knew I was cranky, because he was leaving, long before I did.

(Also, please someone stop me before I get into a political argument on Facebook. Someone posted some nonsense about “omg, they’re building a mosque at ground zero. That is spitting in the faces of all the people who died” I don’t have to tell any of you (I hope not, anyway) why this comment is ridiculous, but there is absolutely no point in arguing about it ON FACEBOOK. Now I’m angry.

 

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Musing on Midterms

I am groggy from too much Benadryll and also, really cold. Since I am always hot this means either my office is really freezing or I’m getting sick. I suspect it is the latter, because I am the Baroness of Bad Timing.

I was glancing through an article today about the DNC distributing major money for the mid-terms in Ohio and Florida. I think the mid-terms will be interesting, but I don’t have any strong predictions. Yes, I am the girl who has been saying for almost a year now that I don’t think Obama will win re-election, (this guy disagrees!) but the mid-terms are a different game.  Incumbancy matters more.

Plus, even though I think a lot of people are not happy with Obama (the whole “he let us down” phenomenon, which just makes me sad. Both because it was easy to buy into the idea that Obama wouldn’t let “us” down, and because I believe that when you’re elected president, your first full day in office, after all the inaugural balls are over, they pull you into a room, and say “Ok. You said a lot of nice things during the campaign. But here’s what you’re actually allowed to do. And if you try to do more, we’ll see have you assasinated.” C’mon guys, Let Obama be Obama!)

Anyway, I don’t think this is going to be anywhere near the 1994 midterms, especially since 1994 was unique circumstances.  Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America was (I think) overstated by the media (even now, that’s the reason you hear for the reversal), but still, there’s no Newt equivalent.

1994 saw a larger number of seats open than usual, because a lot of members of Congress retired due to the new pension rules. Plus, a lot of people were deserting the Democratic Party; an ideological realignment, if you will. Combine that with the failure of Clinton’s healthcare plan, and it’s not surprising that people were shifting towards GOP. I guess you could say that the 1992 election also had the Perot effect, and that the 1994 midterms just reflect people coming back to the party after voting indepedent, but I’m not sure that’s valid, because midterms are much more local.

Here is a list of voter shifts, which is kind of interesting.

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Day Seventeen

Noon always comes very quickly. I look at the clock and can’t believe how fast the morning has flown. This is usually canceled out by the drag of the afternoon though.

I think my hours of staring at the computer have given my eyestrain. Or maybe that’s my allergies.

Maybe things are picking up in the job market world. I don’t know if it’s a short lived burst of hiring but a lot of places in my area of interest seem to be hiring. Not for anything I’m qualified for, but it’s a good general sign, right? Or maybe I’m just desperate to find something to be optimistic about.

There is a minor disaster brewing at work, but I am surprisingly not getting worked up about it. My instinct is to swoop in and fix things, perform miracles, etc…but what’s the point? I’ve done that dozens of times now for no reward or personal benefit.  I certainly haven’t seen a raise or even a change in job title. And I know I’m not the only one experiencing this frustration. Not just at my company; it’s everywhere. I’ve seen some scattered articles (and I’m too lazy to find them) about how the “recession mindset” means companies expect more from their employees (because they need them to do the job of 3 people after layoffs) without reward (because they’re holding them hostage; there are no other jobs out there). In addition, they aren’t training their employees to promote because there’s nowhere to promote them to.

The recession can’t last forever, so I’m curious to see how this will affect overall workplace trends, etc.

I am talking to a boy on gchat. This is a sad state of affairs.

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Glenn Beck is NOT a Libertarian

I really don’t want to write about the healthcare bill, but I feel compelled.  Disclaimer: I don’t have anything really insightful to say about it, nor am I an expert on the intricasies of the bill.

So here’s the thing. I watched my facebook page explode with status updates in response to the bill. I have some reactionary Republicans who are not happy, but they hate everything Obama does, so whatever. What I found more interesting is the reaction of the libertarian leaning folks (and I know a lot of them). There are actually different shades of libertarians. The people you probably think of when you hear “libertarian” are the craziest, because they are the most vocal.

They’re the ones yelling about socialism, and write your reps to tell them you oppose, and Glenn Beck is one of the worst. I don’t know when he decided someone died and left him the modern day messiah of the libertarian movement, but I know my Libertarian Message Board has had more than one thread dedicated to how much we want him to go away.

My internet-stranger-friend actually sums it up much better than me:

This reform bill really doesn’t do much. Mostly it’s a mish-mash of stuff that’s of the “mildly bad idea” variety. Tax on medical devices? That’s stupid, but not going to end the world. Making it harder to deduct medical expenses from your taxes? Again, completely counter-intuitive if the ostensible agenda is lowering health care costs. Same goes for extensions of medicare – but that’s already expensive and nonsensical, I mean, why give rich old people free health care? Forcing more money from the “evil pharma” companies who have the audacity to make life-saving and life-improving drugs and only ask that you, you know, pay for them? Stupid, but not the end of the world. Most of the rest of it will make your premiums go up, but since costing you money is all Washington is good at, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The mandate won’t do what they say it will, and I certainly can’t find it in the ennumerated powers of the Federal Government, but it also doesn’t go into effect for several years and that’s eternity in DC. The time inconsistency problem of government might strangle it in the crib. So calm the fuck down, it isn’t the end of the world. It certainly isn’t socialism, really. And if you think this is the last straw or should be cause for violent revolution, get out of the libertarian camp and go cheer for Team Red with the rest of Glenn Beck’s mouthbreathing fans.

The underlying problem (to me) is this sets yet another precedent for the government stepping in to “fix” things. This is nothing new, of course, but it’s basically been all downhill since the New Deal. 

Whenever I say the government shouldn’t be in the business of providing healthcare, I am asked for a solution. My proposal is that we start with SEVERELY curbing the  FDA (the drug approval process is expensive and lack of access to different types of drugs is (in part) what drives up the costs of drugs). Then we eliminate the malpractice insurance industry. And we’ll go from there.

I’m not super worried about this bill in terms of “stupid things the government has done” and the pre-existing conditions bit is a good change. But I guess my issue with the healthcare as a right argument/agenda is that training someone to become a doctor is still incredibly expensive, the research and design that goes into making a new drug is incredibly expensive (and also requires a huge amount of knowledge/education), and cutting edge equipment is incredibly expensive. And in the U.S., we do tend to have (and demand) the best of all three.

In the U.S., we have the option to  demand the best. If we don’t like what one doctor says, we get a second opinion. We sue when things go wrong. We expect doctors on call when we need them and our drugs to work. We compare our system to Canada or the UK, and spout stats about being the only modern industrialized nation that doesn’t take care of it’s citizens healthcare.

But we treat medicine as a free market industry. Basic access to basic care is what it comes down to in the so-called enlightened nations, and we should have as much. But we shouldn’t pretend that it is a “right” to have unfetttered access to only the best, to demand such a high level of protection (in the form of drug regulation),  and expect not to have to compensate the source or the provider.

Edited to add: I don’t remember if I made this clear elsewhere, but I don’t think the “reform” is going to save the average person (i.e., me and you, dear readers) any money.  You’re always paying the government somehow.

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Ineffectual Messes

I have this long, sappy post that I wrote Friday morning while on the train down to DC, that I’ll probably post (and backdate) later. I spent Thursday night with (most of) my favorite people on the planet, playing trivia. None of this would mean anything without them, so I was very happy we were all able to get together.

Friday, I took the train into the city and as usual, had time to kill before my train to DC. I was walking around Penn Station, having my usual internal freak out about how the city still feels like home, and I have this deep, visceral love for it that can’t be put into words, and why am I trying so hard for DC when NYC is home? I can’t describe it, but even in the blocks around Penn Station, where no respectable native would find themselves for any longer than necessary, there is just something that feels right.

(For the record, even if NYC is home, it’s home in an entirely different way than Jersey is. )

And then I got to DC, and the weather was beautiful, and I spent Saturday evening walking around the Capitol Hill north district with Michael, and I thought “Well…I guess I could do this too.”

I like to project, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Anyway, the weekend was quite nice and it was very good to get out of Jersey for the weekend, even though getting back on Sunday was a hassle. Now I’m back at work and it’s rainy, and I hate the federal government. Basically, they’ve taken all the worst aspects of the U.S. Healthcare system and found a way to make them worse in one ridiculous, ineffectual bill. My prediction is that anyone who currently has issues affording healthcare will still have issues affording healthcare 5 years from now. Also, if the rhetoric-realism chasm is too deep and allows for Sarah Palin to step in and win in 2012 I…well, I’ don’t know what I’ll do. Probably write an outraged blog entry about it.

Grawrl. I’m conflicted on who to side with. Just reading facebook statuses from both sides of the argument last night was frustrating.  I don’t believe health care/insurance is a fundamental right, but I also don’t believe that the Obamacare is shades of socialism. But I don’t think it’s anything to celebrate, regardless of which side of the issue you fall on.

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A Shot of Shut the Hell Up

I have had Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” in my head since yesterday. I blame Kim’s post.

This isn’t news, but the debate on the H1N1 vaccine is bringing the vaccine debate up again (as in, the typical baby through childhood vaccines, not the flu vaccines). I will be blunt: if you do not vaccinate your child, you are not only an idiot, you are a selfish idiot.  A lot of people say that vaccines aren’t neccesary because the diseases they protect against aren’t around anymore. These people have no understanding of how herd immunity works, or worse, they don’t care. Also, because diseases like polio have been latent (and yes, they are just latent. You get enough crazies to stop vaccinating and these disease WILL come back) people have forgotten just how horrible they are.  This is a good article on the subject.

The vaccines-cause-autism soapbox is ridiculous. I also think that autism is incredibly overdiagnosed, but that is another post, and I can probably get enough hate from the vaccine comments alone.

Little, unvaccinated, germ carrying children are a threat to the small population of people that cannot be vaccinated due to compromised immune systems. With a vaccinated population, this small percent is generally safe. But if the crazy anti-vaccine-ists get there way, we will probably see an influx of previously “eliminated” diseases. If the only threat was to the individuals who chose not to get vaccinated, I would say go ahead, Darwin will take care of most of you, but unfortunately, the crazies do not exist in a bubble.

It’s probably somewhat un-libertarian to hold this position (the idea that the government should be able to require vaccination and therefore, the government prevents you from being stupid). I don’t, for example, feel the same about seatbelt laws. Sure, seatbelts save lives, but I don’t think there’s any point in the government requiring you to wear one,(Though I’d be hard pressed to find the HARM in the government requiring your to wear one too) because an idiot choosing to get thrown against their windshield does not hurt me. Your disgusting little disease vector children can though.

(Well, not me personally. I’m vaccinated, because my parents aren’t idiots. And no, I don’t have a problem with calling people who don’t vaccinate idiots. I don’t have respect for the position because it is tantamount to child abuse)

 

 

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I’d Claim Indifference, But Instead I’ve Got Irritation

I really hate 9/11.  Keith reminded me this morning to stay away from Facebook and avoid the barrage of “tributes” in people’s statuses.

I won’t go as extreme to say that unless a person lost someone close to them that I don’t get the weeping. I’m an emotional person and as a result the correctly manufactured form of mass produced rememberence CAN get to me – but that’s because the correctly manufactured form of almost anything can get me to choke up. It’s just the way I am. I cry at the movie “Armanggedon” for Christ’s sake.

Really, most of the “grieving” and “remembering” that goes on is just that – manufactured. I won’t say I don’t understand it – it feeds into the human need to feel part of something and collective mourning is a way to do that.  Most of it though, seems to be just terribly false sincerity. David posed the rhetorical question “”Do the emotional pronouncements of a relative few make most other people nod along, so as not to seem monsters?” If I were to put “I don’t really care that it’s 9/11″ as my facebook status, I’m sure I’d be deemed insensitive.

The demand to “Never Forget” just strikes me as silly. In the most clinical sense of the word I doubt there is anyone who was alive for the event that will forget the day. It’s the “Where Were You When You Found Out JFK Got Shot” for my generation. And how on Earth could we forget when it won’t go away? Why is dying in a terrorist attack anymore significant than the hundreds of other horrible ways to go? Why is the “heroism” of individuals doing their jobs anymore laudable than the work performed on any other day?

I’m not talking about the people who actually lost someone (although people die everyday and their loved ones move on with their lives. You have to.) But among the remaining 99.99999999999% of the population it’s like a continual contest for who can show the most emotional effects from the events without actually having experienced loss themselves.

(also, it’s always struck me as …something…that most of this collective wringing of hands and metaphorical rending of clothing takes place nowhere near NYC or DC. When I lived in Jersey City, I passed through the WTC site on most days, as do millions of commuters.)

Really, it’s been eight years. How much longer must this show go on? How much longer will this self righteous mourning continue? How many more years will the demand to prove just how dedicated we are to remembering be shoved in our faces?

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Democrats: Still Meek

Do you know what’s weird? At this time last year (ATTLY) we didn’t know who the next president would be and Sarah Palin still had the potential to be legit.

I haven’t talked much about the Obama presidency, because I’m really not sure what to think of it. My opinion on healthcare is so far off from most people’s that I just keep my mouth shut. (According to my parents, I think that only rich people should get to see doctors). The CliffNotes version of my opinion is that I find the whole notion of “Health Insurance” preposterous in the first place and that it should be completely eliminated. The creation of the health insurance industry and subsequently, the malpractice insurance industry is what has driven up the cost of medical care so that a 10 minute visit to conclude you have strep throat is some $110.

Given that my preference will never happen in a million years, I’m not sure which is a better outcome to hope for. I don’t want Obama-care to fail, because if nothing else, he needs a victory of sorts to solidify his presidency. But I’m not sure which version would be the least…disturbing to my Libertarian sensibilities. Ironically (?) I think that the administration is making a huge mistake by backing down on the Public Option aspect of the plan, due to charges of socialism, etc. The Dems have the majority in the House and Senate. This is no time to be pussyfooting around. If GOPs had the majority, you better believe they’d be pushing through their agenda. (I am also leaving aside for now the fallacies in many of the arguments against the public option. At this point, I don’t believe that the public option will limit “competition” and “choice” in healthcare — at least not anymore than it already is restricted).

I fear that if something doesn’t get passed, if Something (emphasis added) doesn’t happen than the Obama Presidency will forever be marred by the fact that he failed to pass a healthcare plan.

Much as I favor complete inaction by the federal government (the better to leave me alone) on my less cynical days I’d really like to be able to buy into the idea of the potential for hope and change. 

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The Truth About Bill C. & Kim J.

Originally posted at The Kyle Conspiracy

Disclaimer: I do not care about the hows and whys of the two journalists who were captured and imprisoned in North Korea. I vaguely followed the news (by which I mean, I heard a few snippets of news on the radio on the way home, and no, I was not listening to NPR) and I knew that it happened, but I didn’t know the details. I am a cynic, and I figured the only reason it was getting any press is because one of the women captured is the sister of Lisa Ling a G – list celebrity of the geriatric version of Sex and the City, known as “The View.”

So I’ve just decided to conclude they were captured because we don’t have universal healthcare. I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it? If we don’t get universal healthcare, the terrorists win.

I don’t know if there was any formal run-up to Bill Clinton’s (“Bill C,” as I like to call him) jaunt to Asia. Apparently, Kim Jong Il wanted to meet with a high level American, Al Gore was originally considered for the trip, but that was considered a conflict of interests, given that Gore owns (?) the news outlet the two captured women were working for.

Like I said, I’m vague on the details.

So Bill C flies to North Korea and schmoozes with Kim J. Two hours later, the women are freed. Probably the best commentary I have seen on the subject is this picture of Hillary:

I mean, it’s Bill C. With Obama taking the spotlight as the anointed one (coupled with Bill C’s bout of crazy when Hillary was still in the primaries) I think a lot of people forget that Bill C is one smooth talker. He has a way of biting his lower lip, lowering his eyes, and making his audience believe that he feels your pain. I am not surprised.

I’m sure its nice for the families of the freed women – no one would deny that the capture of a loved one would be hellish. And I don’t care to comment on the discussion of whether this was a good use of diplomatic resources, whether this qualifies as negotiationg with terrorists and makes us vulnerable to North Korea, or what Bill Clinton was getting out of the deal. (Jokes about Bill Clinton and two girls on a plane, the mile high club, etc are already making the round).

No, I think its important to point out the real consequences of this maneuver.

Now that Kim Jong Il has made a concession to the US and freed these women, he probably feels a little arrogant. This gives him a little jolt of arrogance – he held the fate of two women in his hands and suddenly America was willing to do anything. (Let’s leave aside the debate about the value of two American lives mmkay?) He got Bill C to come all the way to North Korea, just to talk to him. He wants to take this power out for a spin and see what he can do with it.

The next step is clear. Kim Jong Il is going to fire missiles at Hawaii. In fact, that has been his plan all along, and there is nothing anyone could have done about it. He would have done this with or without the captured/freeing of these two women, but now he has a convenient excuse.

And just think about it. Once he destroys Hawaii, he will destroy all evidence of the Obama’s original birth records.

I’ll let that sink it.

This is the REAL consequence of the negotiations with Kim Jong Il and the possibilities of the REAL motiviations for this negotiations are endless.

Did Bill C, still reeling from the defeat of his beloved (stop laughing!) wife in the primaries, wish to provoke an action which would destroy Obama’s chances of proving, once and for all that he IS an American citizen, thus jeopardizing his presidency?

Is Bill C secretly working for Sarah Palin? (Or sleeping with her?)

Did Bill C, sick of the ridiculous arguments put forth by “birthers” wish to destroy all evidence, so Obama can now honestly shrug his shoulders and say “Guys, my homeland was bombed. What do you want me to do?”

Or, is Bill C, up to his old tricks, just looking to create a distraction, so when the news gets out about his escapades with the two women on the way back to the US will be buried in the sea of controversy over Obama’s now destroyed birth records?

I’ll have to carefully consider all the evidence before I can even begin to come to a conclusion on this one. I suggest you do the same.

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“Well, I guess Iran is finally over, thanks to MJ”

-Kevin

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