Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Trip to the Grocery Store

I worked last night until about 7:30 at which point I realized there wasn't a bit of food in the house. I was about to break in my Postmates app and have someone bring me some food but then I remembered that Laney doesn't like pizza (what a giant weirdo, right? who doesn't like pizza!?) and that also I was lazy af on Sunday and it was my own fault there was no food in the house and also I am a grown-up, responsible person who does not need to order in just cuz there's no food in the house and also even if I did get dinner that way,  I probably wouldn't be able to order in a Diet Dr. Pepper and English Muffin for breakfast the next morning.

Faced with such deluge of rationale, I put on my shoes and hauled ass to the grocery store. Not all heroes wear capes (I mean, I was. I always wear my cape on Mondays).

The store was pretty quiet, but there was this one 50ish white guy who was just everywhere I was. I turned down the bread aisle, there he was. I turned away from the pizza freezer (because I live with a freaky teen who doesn't like pizza), there he was. I decided to get packaged turkey for Don so I didn't have to stand next to him at the deli counter.

But it's not just that he was everywhere I was. If it'd just been a silly coincidence like that, I probably would have smiled and had a "there you are again" moment. But he was that guy. That guy who fixed me with that look and that remark every time I ended up anywhere in his atmosphere - that immediate, quasi-jocular demand that I stop what I'm doing and just pleasant at him. Smile back. Laugh at his jokes. Reassure him that he's just fucking delightful when really he's just fucking exhausting.

Ladies, you know who I'm talking about here. He shows up when you're alone in an elevator or waiting room, or in any way unaccompanied in some public space.  Maybe he's hitting on you or maybe he just knows he can demand that any woman he finds moderately attractive do the dance for him; smile and chuckle at his jokes and hoist his ego.

Because he knows, even if he claims he doesn't know, that you're probably going to accommodate him since failure to accommodate has about 30-40% return rate of BITCH.

So I just tried to avoid him.

Unfortch, the checkout line allowed no such cowardice as there was just the one cashier. He kept trying to strike up a conversation with me. I kept one-wording him back with the tense half-smile. He'd say something to me, I'd respond tersely, but politely. He'd turn to the cashier and try with her. She'd respond tersely, but politely. It was a tense checkout lane at the Howard Jewel last night. Finally, he paid for his groceries and left.

And there I was, and the cashier was a young woman, and both the people behind me were women. And when I said, "That guy was too friendly, right", the cashier stopped, looked at me and said "I know, right?!" And then everyone relaxed and we laughed and everything was cool at The Jewel.

But, lookit, I'm not writing this to talk about those kinds of tiresome men and their tiresome demands. I know if you're reading this, even if you have that pesky y chromosome, you're not that guy. My readers are all sensitive and intelligent and can read the damn room and wouldn't demand flirty engagement from a tired middle-aged woman in the middle of the night in the middle of the grocery store (8:00 pm is TOO the middle of the night!)

The reason I'm writing this is because it struck me in that moment that through most of my life, I've had it reinforced through thousands of cultural factors that it's women who are the bummers, who make everyone behave and act right, who gum up the good times. And it was so ingrained that it took me to this ripe old age to realize that, hey, that's not fair! Women are much more aggressively tone- and behavior-policed than men and can often only relax when the guys go away.

Where's our damn beer commercial? It can be for Zima. I had a Zima a couple of nights ago. It was refreshing. I think we may have been too hard on Zima in the 90s. But that's a topic for another blogging...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Let's Discuss Our Feelings

Remember 2010? Before the nightmarish reality we're living in now? In an interview with Matt Lauer, George W Bush said the worst moment of his presidency was when Kanye West said "George W Bush doesn't care about black people."  Let's revisit the whole exchange and remember that while he is certainly better than what we have now, he was still pretty terrible:

(Click to embiggen)

Had New Orleans 9th Ward been filled with white people, the response to Katrina would have been vastly different. 

(I had to do ONE gif!)
But George Bush had no problem claiming that his hurt feelings were more important than a devastating flood that killed almost 2000 people and dispossessed thousands more. Shoot, George Bush thought being called racist by Kanye West was worse than 9 Freaking 11.

We have to stop doing that, my Nillas. We really do.  Being called racist is not worse than racism. In particular:
  • If you're investing energy railing against the casting of Black actors in roles that you thought belonged to white people, you're part of the problem
  • If you're arguing on-line or on barstools that it's not racism keeping Colin Kaepernick out of the NFL, you're part of the problem.
  • If you're putting out dumb tweets talking about how a democratic senator having been in the Klan somehow mitigates Trump's racism, you're part of the problem.
  • If you're talking about how only All Lives Matter isn't racist, you're a particularly dumb part of the problem.
  • And, for the love of God, If you're investing energy about how confederate memorials aren't actually celebrating white supremacy, you're part of the problem.
I follow some Black twitterers who go hard on White women from time to time. And sometimes, I get them bad feelings and want real bad to say "But I don't do that!" But then, I stop myself and go:

(OK, 2 gifs...)
There is no worse response to accusations of racist collusion by White women than going all #NotAllWhiteWomen. Don't go all #NotAllWhiteWomen. Rather than rush to defend ourselves, my fellow Brunchers, we need to rush to defend anti-racism.

White Supremacists are emboldened and loud and have all of the guns and a real powerful ally in the Racist-in-Chief. Our hurt feelings are a pretty minor consideration, all things considered.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lifetime Limits

As you think about what to say to your senators today when you...

CALL YOUR SENATORS


...here's something to think about.  The GOP activists trying to kill the ACA have convinced the 36% of America that lives in anger, resentment and gullibility that anyone who works can have healthcare and that all the ACA does is give healthcare to shiftless, lazy Americans.  Here's a story about an American whose life has been made immeasurably better by the ACA.

Cindy is a teacher. She teaches little kids and she is an awesome teacher. And I think we can agree that anyone who earns their living by shaping the minds of young people is doing good hard work and has earned the salary that is almost certainly insufficient for what she does.  She also has a condition called Fabry. Untreated, someone with Fabry can expect their first stroke by their early 40s. Cindy tells me that prior to treatment she had a chronic kidney infection which was completely reversed by these injections.

Fabry also hurts. A lot.

Fortunately, Fabry is treatable with injections of a drug called Fabrazyme.

Which costs $90,000 a month.

When the ACA was voted into law (after an extensive bipartisan process), it prohibited any health plan from putting dollar or lifetime dollar limits on the benefits you receive. Prior to this, many plans set a lifetime limit.

Did I mention that Fabry was genetic? And that Cindy has a young daughter named Delaney?

Insurance companies would love to reinstate that lifetime limit, meaning if Delaney does have Fabry, she could reach her lifetime limit on healthcare before she reaches adulthood.

It probably goes without saying that Cindy is really scared right now.

These are the real world effects of the ACA. I'm begging you not to sit on your hands. Commit to making at least five calls today (senators and governors!), fire up Twitter (#saveACA) and make noise. If you can make it to a protest, go to one. Get loud.  Do it for Cindy and Delaney.

The last thing Cindy said to me when I was asking for her permission to write this was:


She's the best.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Time for La Marseillaise

On June 14, 1940, the Nazis marched past the Arc De Triomphe after the surrender of Paris.  If there'd been a Twitter, I wonder if it would have been full of "Well, that's it. We're all gonna die." I don't think so. I think those Fabulous Frogs would have pulled up their sleeves and kept on fighting.

Look, come on, it's bad, but it's not over, not nearly by a long shot. To paraphrase the guy who was president 7 months ago (really! It's only been 7 months): Yes. We. Fucking. Can.

Imagine, the Nazis are singing Horst-Wessel-Lied in the bar. I'm going all Rick:

BTW: this scene ALWAYS makes me cry. You?
Here's what you're gonna do: you're gonna pull up your sleeves and keep fighting. We're going to sing La Marseillaise into the earholes of every DC senate staffer (not literally... you guys get that I'm not being literal, right?) every day, a couple of times a day.

I believe it was Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol who said "Ignorance is a motherfucker!" Wise man.   He's correct. I had a woman on Twitter tell me that Medicaid was only for the disabled and children and that anyone who worked is able to afford healthcare. I asked her if she really thought that Wal-Mart employees would be able to afford dialysis or chemotherapy or blood pressure meds. She told me that Wal-Mart would pay for their coverage.


So, some quick facts:

- They'll first try to pass something that turns the house bill into repeal only. Unlikely to pass.
- They're not gonna get BCRA (the senate bill) through. Even on its own, they don't have the votes, but the Parliamentarian has determined, and they've conceded, that it can't pass through reconciliation, so it needs 60 votes.
- So they're going to try this thing called "Skinny Repeal" which would eliminate the individual mandate and perhaps cut a few taxes.

So Skinny Repeal is what we're fighting against. And, y'all, it's ugly! Here's the thing: insurance doesn't work when only sick people buy it. Without the mandate, healthy young people don't buy it. And then the insurance markets spiral out of control and that, friends, is pretty bad. The CBO predicts 32 million people will lose coverage. And those of us with keen employer-based healthcare? We're not sitting that pretty either as the insurance markets will likely crater.

What can you do? Gosh... dunno... is there anything...

OH MY GOD!!!! CALL YOUR SENATORS

It's especially important to stay on GOP senators. If you're in Alaska or Maine, call up Murkowski or Collins and give them a HUGE thank you! If you live in West Virginia or Ohio or Nevada or Arizona, you should be calling 5 or 6 times a day, tweeting at your senators, commenting on their FB posts! But even if you live in deep red Texas or Tennessee, your calls matter. Corbyn's the Whip and he's Texas. Let him know how mad you are, let him know that there will be a lot fewer GOP votes to whip if they keep this up. If you're in Tennessee, let Bob Corker know that you know this is NOTHING like how O'Care was passed:



And if you have Democrat senators, call them up and say "Thanks and give 'em hell!" They count these calls.  

And, fellow dwellers in Blue States, I know I've been saying that there's 36% that can't be convinced. This is true - but it doesn't mean you can't gently correct them in public places. Just for the rest of this week, try to mitigate the damage done by Fox News and Breitbart. Speak up - everywhere you can. Engage in awkward conversations with family members. Comment, politely (don't yell, don't go all caps, don't call anyone an idiot), on your Uncle's FB rant about ObozoCare. You likely won't convince him - but there may be someone lurking there that you can.  If you have a story, share it. Share it loud and proud and all over the damn place.

It's one week, folks. They are desperate to get this through now because they know they're gonna lose the House in 2018. So STAY LOUD! 

Finally, remember this: America isn't some abstract concept forced on us. It IS us. And that part of America that understands that policy has to mean something beyond politics; that it's not just wins and losses, that pissing off the "other side" doesn't get you anything in the end has to fight that motherfucker Ignorance with everything we've got.

So speak up! We're all in this together.






Friday, July 21, 2017

Healthcare (plus Princess Bride Gifs! That's fun!)

So I've been haranguing and harassing my dearest friends all up and over the social media about calling their senators. And, look, I know I'm being exhausting.  I know you're all:


OK.


Well... as literally everyone knows: healthcare is complicated!


Here are the facts:
  • Modern Republican ideology does not believe the government should have any part in healthcare. They believe it should be left to the private markets. 
  • The also know this is an enormously unpopular opinion. People rely on Medicaid. People rely on the ACA, even though they know it falls short.
  • The ACA is the MOST conservative route to making sure healthcare is provided to all Americans. It cannot get any more conservative without people losing coverage and premiums rising. If there were a way to make it more conservative, that plan would have been floated long ago.
  • The flaws with the ACA are easily fixed.  Here's are some internet articles which you can read, or you can take my word for it because I'm right.
  • The president does not understand how health insurance works and is only interested in a win
  • I don't know if Mitch McConnell is so eager to repeal the ACA because of Republican ideology or because he's a political hack who's lost the ability to see government beyond winners and losers. Doesn't really matter. What matters is that his own constituents went from 20.8% uninsured to 7.8% uninsured between 2013-2016 because of Medicaid expansion (called Kynect there) and will be among the 18-22 million people who will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed. Actually, I'm sort of leaning towards partisan hack.
  • He is currently pushing for a vote on Tuesday to repeal the ACA and then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. 
  • The plan is to pass something without a CBO score, under the cover of darkness, while folks are confused and think it's dead.  It's not dead.
  • There were months and months of public hearings on the ACA. It took over a year to pass and Republicans always had a seat at the table. This current mishegas is entirely covert.
  • This doesn't just affect the poor saps on Medicaid. Insurance markets will collapse under this plan


  • And, no, you shouldn't hope that they repeal it, everything goes tits up and then the Republicans lose. Because people will die. Because right now there's some guy with cancer in Kentucky who voted for Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump and we are not monsters who hope he'll die for those sins. Because right now there's a woman in Chicago (which is in Illinois, where our Republican governor has had NOTHING to say about this because he is a huge coward) who relies on Medicaid to keep her blood pressure meds. We're goddamn motherfucking better than the political hacks who play with people's lives for petty politics.  

Here's the last thing that matters and I'm gonna go ALL CAPS AND BOLD when I say this:

YOUR CALLS MATTER

If you have a Republican senator, they need to know that this is a career-defining vote (to quote my boyz at Crooked Media).  Pick up your phone and give 'em a big old:


Don't go all:


Because you're just talking to some poor staffer. But if you happen to run into a Republican senator and he tells you that no one will lose coverage, I  highly encourage you to go all:


But no matter what, come Monday, pick up your phones, hit up ResistBot, send a fax, do something. 


(Although, if I'm channeling Robin Wright, I'd really rather we were all:

)
So, let's do it, my #HappyWarriors! Don't let those bastards grind us down. It's only a phone call so just do it! And once we finally kill this thing dead, we can get cracking on Single Payer!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pink Hair, Don't Care

I don't know about you, but I've been depressed since November. I've been bummed out, freaked out, sad and scared for over seven months. And it's been constant. No matter what I've been doing, there's been a low-key hum behind it all of real peril and despair. Conservatives may mock, but it's for real scary. The bigots and bullies are on the rise, operating in the open, taking over our government. The travel bans and voter suppression. The passionate drive to funnel taxpayer money away from the poor and needy to the wealthy. And the police keep on killing people.

I'm fortunate in that I don't suffer from  clinical depression. I've just been living with the same malaise and angst as the rest of my fellow country-people (*sidenote: it's bullshit that "countrymen" is a word and "countrypeople" isn't) who are watching the worst instincts of our fellow citizens rise up, codified and celebrated. Like a lot of white people I recognized too late the hold that white supremacy and white racial resentment has on this country (Black people have been telling us for years!  There's no one more deaf than the ones who will not hear, right?).

It's just been a generally sucky seven months, right?

I was listening to a "Lovett or Leave It" this morning when Jon Lovett (whom I love) said that when they founded Crooked Media one of the things they thought about was how they needed "happy warriors."  Cynicism and defeatism don't make for change. They're great tools for self-protection. But self-protection is isolating and not terribly productive.

So, tonight I dyed my hair. I am 48 years old and I dyed my hair "rose gold" and I look at myself in the mirror and I just fucking love it.  This is what people are talking about when they talk about self care. Do that thing that makes you feel better. Dye your hair, take a walk, engage in some friendly chit chat with someone in line at the grocery. Eat chocolate. Watch Game of Thrones or endless repeats of Parks and Rec. Argue with someone over who the best Chris is (it's Pine. Chris Pine is the best Chris). Don't deny yourself the joy in life just because we're in dark times. Indulge more. Refuse to be scared. Deny terror its power. Laugh at the ridiculous. Hug the folks you love. Look the way you want to look. Happy Warriors make for change. Weirdos and misfits will lead the resistance.

A few years ago, I'd have told you I was too old to have pink hair. But, fuck that noise. It makes me happy. It puts a smile on my face and some energy in my step. And so I am a pink-haired, middle-aged happy warrior.

And I just love it.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Quick Lunchtime Bloggity

Just called my senators over my lunch of two-week-old pretzels eaten directly from the bag (someone is going to have to get to the store real soon).  The good news is that it took me a few calls to get through because they are experiencing heavy call volume about the AHCA.  So, to those of you who are calling:


And if you're not calling, here are some quick bullet points:

  • There are 13 male GOP senators locked away in a room drafting this bill in total secrecy. No one has any idea what's in it
  • Mitch McConnell wants to pass this thing before the July 4th recess when he knows that senators are going to be beat up during town halls, etc
  • There is not a Democrat in the House or the Senate who would disagree that the ACA needs some work and not one who wouldn't work willingly across the aisle to fix it. The GOP Congress Critters pointing at the Democrats and the ACA all know this, don't care, and will happily dissemble away in pursuit of passing this terrible bill.
The question that remains, of course, is WHY does Mitch McConnell want to pass this terrible bill that people are going to hate.  If they pass it, the terrible bill becomes a terrible law.  It's bad politics and bad policy. So, WTF?


And then it occurred to me that the GOP will do what they always do and blame Democrats for the crap-pile they built.  They'll get buy-in on this wholesale lie from Fox News and a chunk of America will believe it despite how obviously untrue it is:


So we gotta stop this bill in its tracks and the best way to do that is by calling your damn senators. These calls matter.  They are how we stopped it in the House the first time and why, when we stopped calling, they got it through the second time.

I'm going to make it super easy and tell you exactly what to say:

Democratic Senator
Democrats have a couple of ways to stop this thing.  Indivisible has a pretty good run down on what these methods are, but I like my script more.  So here's what you say:

You: Hello, could I leave a quick message for the senator?
Them: Of course
You: I'd like to encourage the senator to do whatever s/he can to stop the AHCA bill from coming to a vote before July 4th. I'd support filibuster-by-amendment for a reconciliation vote or withholding consent.  This is a very serious, very scary bill and we need to stop it by whatever means we have. Thank you.
Them: Thank you. What is your zip code
You: [I don't know what your damn zip code is.  Just tell them whatever it is]

Republican Senator
This Indivisible script I like a little more. But if you want to keep it short and sweet, like I do, then try this:

You: Hello, could I leave a quick message for the senator?
Them: Of course
You: I would like to express my anger at the secrecy under which the AHCA bill is being drafted and demand that the senator not vote for any bill until it's had a full public hearing, a CBO score and is confident that no American will lose healthcare through its implementation. Thank you.
Them: Thank you. What is your zip code
You: [I don't know what your damn zip code is.  Just tell them whatever it is]

Remember, be nice and polite to these staffers. No swearing, no yelling, no sneering. Be friendly, polite and calm.

Look, guys, I'm going to England next week.  I can't make my calls.  Do it for me.  These calls super duper matter. They matter so much I've removed all the f-bombs from this blogpost because I want you to be able to share it with all your friends. These calls matter bigly.  They are urgent.  Call every day.  Tell your friends on your own social media feeds to make the calls.  We need to flood the senate and tell them re: AHCA - 


Did my Obama gifs make you sad?  Make you miss back when we had competent, rational, drama-free leadership and all the POTUS tweets were boring and written by staffers? Good. Liberal complacency is what got us the Incompetent Orange Menace. Pick up your phones and Make Them Calls!