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expansion (called Kynect there) and will be among the 18-22 million people who will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.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! 



Saturday, June 10, 2017

On Distractions, Distractibility and Also Some Dumb Gifs

This is me every time I see one of the endless Russia-is-a-distraction hot takes:


Lookit:

1) Donald J. Trump is not some kind of badass brilliant strategist.  He is, to quote the delightful Jon Lovett, a dotty old racist

2) Russia interfered with our election and that is, empirically, a big fucking deal which we should all be watching like:


3) Paying attention to this story means you care about important stuff and does not mean you're all:


4) Finally, calling someone stupid in service of exaggerating your own political acumen is not a particularly persuasive editorial technique.


All that said, I think it's pretty evident that the Congressional GOoPers are taking advantage of this story (which, not to put too fine a point on it, is a BIG FUCKING DEAL) in order to do some real damage in their constant pursuit to fuck over the poor and vulnerable in order to give big tax breaks to really rich people.

To wit:

- Overturn Dodd-Frank - In 2008 our economy crashed and one of the prime movers of this crash was de-regulation. Republicans will tell you that Business People understand how to Business because they are all Business-y and not a bunch of dirty hippies like Elizabeth Warren.  But if you look at this chart:


Let's all remember that the rich boys who crashed our economy stayed rich before, during and after.  Because that's who all their Business brilliance does its Business for: keeping the rich rich and not caring fuck all about those of us who aren't.

We have a problem with gross wealth inequality in America.  Let's look at another chart!  Charts are fun!


The Reagan administration began enacting policies whereby American wealth was shifted more and more to the wealthy and away from the rest of us and this is now pretty much the official religion of the American rightwing political class. This chart BLOWS MY MIND!  It makes me want to TAKE MY COUNTRY BACK.  Only I want to take it back from guys like this:


And not like this:


Because these people are just living their lives and are taking the subway and are not the problem and not in your way and also only have the tiniest sliver or what we got here anyway!

Dodd-Frank won't fix all our (or even most) of our problems with income inequality.  But it will keep the door open for more regulation and may stop those rich bastards from crashing our economy again.

2. ACA Repeal - There is not a democrat in either house of our Congress who wouldn't eagerly work with their Republican colleagues to fix the ACA.  The GOP lies and lies and lies again about this. I wish all of you (both of you) would watch Claire McCaskill take Orrin Hatch to task on this:



ACA repeal is bad. ACA reform is good. But don't ever forget what the GOP is really after is a tax break for the rich.  And this makes me so mad!

(Finally gonna see WW today and I'm PSYCHED!)
You may be reading this and thinking:


Well, human men and woman, I think you should be picking up your phone every day and calling your senators and reps about this.  I don't care if you're in the reddest of the red or the bluest of the blue.  These calls matter.  Josh Marshall explains it all here, but here's a pull quote:
If your Rep is a diehard “yes” in a safe district, you should still call. Why? First, no one is ever that safe. But the more important point is that when people in safe seats hear more than they expected, they will rightly get the sense that other people in their caucus might go down to defeat. So they may no longer be in the majority. Especially today, parties operate as units. No representative is an island.
Every day. Pick up your phone.  It's two minutes out of your day and it matters.  Resistance is one phone call away. Just. Do. It!!!!





(Recommend that you say this in your head rather than out loud)


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A By-No-Means-Exhaustive List of Words/Phrases that Make My Eye Twitch


  • Electrolyte
  • Mancave
  • Bernie would have won
  • GMO-free
  • Blessed
  • Pre-Owned
  • Economic Insecurity
  • Utilize
  • You won't believe...
  • 'n
  • Real Women
  • Real People
  • Hillary should have...
  • Free gift
  • Fat-free
  • America first
  • The French are so much more...
  • Women are from Venus 
  • Men are from Mars
  • I'm just being honest
  • Politically correct
  • Passed away
  • Made love
  • Just sayin'
  • Dump

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Fuckery that Lies Beneath

I am not here to tell you that Trump is successfully distracting you. Trump is a dotty old racist who says whatever pops into his brain so long as he feels it will make people believe he has a fat wallet and a huge penis.  Trump nonetheless has a great deal of power and a tendency to say and do things which are worthy of our attention.

That said, I'm pretty sure the FBI has him dead to rights and we should let Robert Mueller and the rest of federal law enforcement (all of whom fucking hate Trump) do their work.  They don't need us sharing the same story eleventy million times to encourage them to continue their investigation.  I am reasonably confident they're going to do everything they can to get the bastard.

As they do their work, I would encourage my fellow libtards to pay close attention to the fuckery that lies beneath.  Congressional GOoP-ers aren't ignoring Trump because they're afraid of him.  They're letting him suck up all the airspace while they enact some truly horrible shit that will take decades to undo.  So I'm gonna mention three here and hope that you share stories about these, tweet about these and, mostly, CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES ABOUT THESE.

Fuckery the First:
The GOP plan is to shoot the ACA in the gut and then complain about all the blood on the carpet. Paul Ryan and his cronies do not believe that the government should have anything to do with healthcare.  They believe the free market should handle it, free from constraint.  And they know that this won't win them any votes because dying of treatable illness because you're not a millionaire doesn't play well with anyone except BCBS shareholders.  So they're being slimy little snakes about it hoping that you won't notice.  Notice. Keep an eye on this shit and, if I haven't mentioned it enough, CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE.

Fuckery the Second:
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (that name is so stupid) doesn't believe that the racism inherent in our incarceration system is a bug.  For him, it's a feature.  Jefferson Beauregard Sessions would like to reinstate mandatory minimums because he is a racist and also because he believes that it's totally cool to make money off filling up prisons, so long as you're filling them up with black and brown people.  Mandatory minimums are cruel and ineffective and, as our president* might say, everyone knows it (in case you don't want to click on that link, that's an article about how the motherflipping KOCH BROTHERS are opposed to them).  CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and tell him or her that you're very concerned about this.

Fuckery the Third:
Much like how Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (seriously, that name) believes that it's totes cool to get rich off locking people up, Betsy Devos is all for making a mint off not educating kids by starving public education and offering for-profit "choice" (I hope those quote marks are coming off as sarcastically as they're intended).  Devos plans to slash the education budget by over 10 billion dollars, and then funnel that money into "school choice."  Why am I being so sarcastic about "choice"?  Firstly because I've had a kid in public schools for 11 years now and have seen (unlike Betsy Fucking Devos) firsthand how hard they work and how little governmental support they're offered.  And secondly, because it's such an obvious racket! If a kid in Englewood isn't "gifted" enough for whatever "choice" Devos imagines she's offering, that kid is stuck with an underfunded neighborhood school. In the meantime, wealthy white and middle-class kids will always be serviced, irrespective of how "gifted" they are or are not. This is as Devos, Sessions and big old chunk of white America believes as it should be.   Of course, it all makes a kind of sick sense: if you don't spend any money on educating these kids, they'll be more likely to commit a crime and enrich a prison owner. Look, it's wrong and sick and evil and guess what I think you should do?  CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and tell them you believe in quality public education for all children. (Also, you guys, Betsy Devos' brother is Eric Prince, who founded Blackwater because it's not just prisons and failing to educate all children you can profit off of.  There's also war!)

Donald Trump is, in fact, existentially dangerous.  He is also hard to look away from.  But do not forget the fuckery that lies beneath.  Pick up the phone.  Do it every day.  Call the people who represent you and let them know that you're paying attention and that you care because it really for true matters! Turn your back on Betsy Devos if she has the gall to speak at your school. Boo Jeff Sessions if you walk past him at the airport.  Beleaguer the fuckers. They have earned it.

And while I'm bugging you: support real news.  The Washington Post and The New York Times are doing the metaphorical lord's work.  If you can afford to subscribe, do it.

And, come time to vote for Congress in 2018? DO IT YOU BASTARDS OR I WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND PUNCH YOU IN THE JIMMY!  VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!

Much of what I write about here is stuff I've gleaned from the Crooked Media podcasts.  Cannot recommend them enough for smart people talking about important things. Also Jon Lovett is a goddamn delight.

There's so plenty of fuckery out there.  Keep your eyes on it as much of it as you can but don't, FTLOG, panic.  That does no one any good.




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

This American Evening

It was my last night tutoring Shin Hyang for her citizenship exam so I stopped at Hoosier Mama and picked her up an apple pie because after her interview on Thursday she'll be as "American as Apple Pie."  Cute right? I got the idea from a jokey FB post from my groovy friend, Justin, which was cosigned by another groovy friend, Ed.  The pie cost $25 (!) but it looked really good.

I drove to the lesson listening to a Tom and Lorenzo podcast about the latest episode of Rupaul's Drag Racemuttering to myself about how they were not giving Shea Coulee her due. Goddamn elite Northeasterners, never giving the Chicago girl credit.

(She's so fabulous)
I stopped at McDonald's on the way to get myself some fries and a Coke Zero.  When I got to the second window, they told me they were out of Coke Zero.  I sighed and said, "Fine.  Just give me a Diet."  And then I muttered to myself a little more about how that McDonald's is allatime running out of Coke Zero.  Everybody likes it, Howard Street McDonalds, just buy more!

Shin Hyang was visibly touched by my gift of apple pie which, obvy, touched me in turn.  She is just the sweetest lady.  We ran through her citizenship form twice, running through all the ways we figured they'd test her English:

Me: And what is "Communism?"
Shin Hyang: Government with no freedom like North Korea
Me: And what is "genocide"?
Shin Hyang: Killing whole nation of people
Me: And what is "torture"

Our lessons are super cheery.

When we finished, I said "Girl, you got this!"; an exhortation which I think was born from its proximity to my deep RuPaul dive (note: everyone's life is about 20% better for an hour a week with RuPaul. I've done the math).  I made Shin Hyang promise to text me after the test and then she immediately burst into tears.

So, obvy, I did too.  I mean, I've been asking her "and what is a totalitarian government" for four months now! I am invested and also I love her and I want her to get this so bad!

After I left, I stopped at Target for a few things, but mostly for a bag of ice because Target has the best bagged ice (it is known).  When I walked into the store, I observed that they'd moved the ice freezer to right by the door. "Oh," I thought.  "It's like Jewel. I can just grab it on the way out."  So I picked up my few other things and as I began being checking out asked "Can you ring me up for a bag of ice?" This cute young girl with perfect skin and a 22 year old metabolism put on an irritated face and said, "No. I mean, I have to have something to scan." And looked at me all:


Well, obviously, this will not stand! I'm not going to get BACK IN LINE after I check out to get ice that she should just be able to ring up now. So I grumped, "Fine, I'll just go grab one" and ignored the eyerolls from the lady in line behind me.  I walked ALL THE WAY to the door, grabbed the ice, came back and said "Kind of begs the question, 'why is the freezer by the door then'?"

And this checker had the temerity not to agree with me and instead to look at the checker next to her like "Can you believe this bitch?" But I do not care because I am righteous in my rightness.  And I am goddamn right!  There's no damn point in putting the ice freezer by the damn door if you have to scan it to purchase.  I walked out of the store in a fury:


I was thisclose to "I want to see the manager."  I was that middle-aged, white lady.  But I don't care because I am rightly right right.

I took a real foray into the best and worst of America tonight.  It was a Tuesday evening full of drag queens and fast food and consumerism and civic duty and entitlement.  It's America - there's a whole lot bullshit, but some stuff is kind of fabulous.


Y'all, I really hope Shin Hyang's interviewer isn't an asshole.  Keep your fingers crossed!