Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Anger and frustration are always at the core of my (all too frequent) bouts with depression. Nothing gets to me more than knowing in my head and in my heart that the public option is the only viable way to reform health care in this country and that we have the votes to win if Obama would just bully up and push for it.
Medicare for All would turn around my life and my family's. We are cursed with bad genes that have led to health problems for all of us - high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, bipolar disorder and more.
Lack of health insurance was the only reason I was forced to go on disability more than 20 years ago and fear of losing Medicare and Medicaid is what keeps me on disability now. Pre-existing conditions keep my brothers in dead end jobs they hate - they can't look for something better because they can't risk losing their insurance. Inability to keep up with insurance premiums and co-pays has made these last few years of my mother's life miserable and destroyed her once-perfect credit rating, and the financial stress has worsened her heart condition.
Even my rich uncle (in my family "rich" means solidly middle class) is suffering. He has a heart condition; his wife has asthma. Thanks to advances in medicine, their health conditions are easily manageable. What causes their grief is struggling to pay more than $1200 a month in health insurance premiums and watching their life savings fly out the window with co-pays.
Knowing there is an answer out there and that it's within our reach and knowing that the president we supported and the Democrats elected to work with him don't have the guts to go after it ... all I can do is pound my fists and scream.
And every day when I come to TPM, there it is staring me in the face. Right on the front page - where it should be - and there are my fellow TPMers who know the truth but none of us seem to be able to do anything that will change the outcome.
It's frustrating. It pisses me off. Depression is setting in.
But keep up the good work, TPM. Where there's light, there's a tiny sliver of hope.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Ted Kennedy became a great senator. He championed a lot of causes that have benefited me personally and the country as a whole. But I wonder what Mary Jo Kopechne's mother thinks about all the accolades he's getting.
Could a lifetime of service to the country atone for the death of a young woman?
If he had been a normal person instead of a Kennedy, chances are he would've been prosecuted for manslaughter. It was an accident but he was probably drunk.
A normal person might serve a few years in prison then spend the rest of his life redeeming himself through service to others. Or he might've become a pathetic alcoholic serving no one. But he wouldn't get re-elected to the Senate, and that would have been a loss to us all.
But how does Mary Jo's mom feel?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Fran Townsend, Bush's Homeland Security adviser, says that's not true - there was no discussion of politics whatsoever, well, okay, there was, but not like Ridge said, you see, we talked about how raising the threat might hurt Bush.
One TPM reader summarizes:
So let me get this straight.What I'm wondering is: If what Ridge says is true and he knew it was wrong, why did he wait until 5 years after the fact to tell us? Oh, that's right. He was saving it for his book. Ka-ching.
Before he was diagnosed, he improperly disposed of hundreds of patients' records, got kicked off the staff of hospitals, destroyed his marriage, went bankrupt, and got arrested for walking around a shopping mall wearing a wedding dress, veil, and blue crocs.
The worst part of the story is that everyone around him, including other doctors, hospital administrators, family, friends, employees, patients, the police, and even the judge in his divorce case knew that he was seriously mentally ill and making serious errors in judgment, but he was still allowed to practice medicine. Now that he's received treatment and is well and acknowledges his mistakes, they're taking away his license.
Be sure to check out the series of ads he ran in local papers when he was delusional.
I really identify with this guy. The only difference between him and me is that when I got sick, I didn't have as far to fall.
• We don't need no stinking health care reform. Heck, average life expectancy in the U.S. is clear up to 78. So what if we're only ranked 30th in the world.
• Glamour ran a photo of a chick with a normal belly and letters are pouring in from happy readers. The editor blogged about it:
The emails were filled with such joy—joy at seeing a woman's body with all the curves and quirks and rolls found in nature. (Raising a question: With all the six-packs out there, do you even know what a normal belly looks like anymore—other than the one you see in the mirror?)
But a blogger at Jezebel commented:
Any shot of body confidence readers got from seeing a woman with an average-sized body presented as sexy is quickly neutralized by the magazine's other 295 pages of diet tips, workout recommendations, and images of women with all their natural bumps and rolls airbrushed away.
• Speaking of diet tips, a woman in Iowa has pledged to eat every food that comes on a stick at the state fair. That's 55 items in all. Mmm. Fried twinkies and chocolate-covered bacon.
• Fark headline of the day: Gardening makes for better sex. Yeah that's right, talk dirt to me you hoe.
• The new season of Project Runway started tonight. I've missed the last few because I don't have Bravo. So glad it moved to Lifetime. As one blogger commented about the show: Tim Gunn's hugs are made of Unicorn sighs.
• The BBC has compiled a list of 141 euphemisms for being drunk. One of my favorites, in addition to the ones I listed in the title of this post: nicely irrigated with horizontal lubricant.
• Speaking of being drunk, a guy walks down the street holding a possum by the tail. That's a tasering.
I was so spaced out, I had no idea I was even in a school zone or that I was going over 30. I was returning home after a disappointing shopping trip and trying to decide whether or not to pick up supper at McDonald's.
My tips for getting out of a ticket: 1) Admit you made a mistake and apologize but don't overdo it. 2) Have your driver's license and proof of insurance ready. 3) Wear your seat belt. 4) Gray hair and a clean driving record helps.
About the shopping trip: I've been saving up for my move to the new apartment, and since it turned out I didn't have to come up with deposits or an extra month's rent, I decided to buy new curtains and some other things to decorate. It's the first time in a long time that I've had extra money to spend and something fun to spend it on.
There's a new shopping center that opened several years ago that has a Kohl's but I'd never gone there. I thought it was just a few stores but there were probably 20-30. I couldn't believe it. There were stores I didn't even know we had - Gordman's, Best Buy, a Gap outlet, Lane Bryant and more.
I've been so out of the loop. When you're a hermit with no money to spend, you just don't pay attention to that stuff.
So there I was with money in my pocket and a list of things to buy, and I couldn't find a single thing I wanted. Kohl's had all their kitchen and bathroom decor on sale - 40-65% off - and I didn't see anything I liked. The only shower curtain that appealed to me was out of stock.
Oh well. I did pick up a few things at Walmart. And I met a nice cop.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
• From TPM:
Of the 24% of the population in the 'birther' category, one interesting thing to note is that more Americans seem to think Obama was born in Indonesia (10%) than Kenya (7%), which suggests not only that a frighteningly large number of Americans are birthers but that they have a shockingly low level of basic 'birther' literacy. As you know, according to orthodox 'birther' theory, Obama was born in Kenya.
Even better, 6% fully concede that Obama was born in Hawaii. They just don't believe Hawaii is part of the United States.
• And an Australian TPM reader is baffled:
I'm turning off all access to US media, it simply depresses me. I cannot understand why a bunch of people feel so outraged about having universal health care policy ... My country along with a bunch of Europeans have had similar systems for years and although they're not perfect, they allow for the poor, middle and upper classes to seek treatment at no cost ...
What disturbs me is that you have a black president who seems to be the most intelligent, politically savvy and morally guided president that you've had in years. And with the history of assassinations in your country, people are allowed to bring guns to town halls and the like ...
Further to that, i can't understand how people who have no logically based positions can have and yield some much power in your country. Why does the media give any credibility to these people by even discussing the birther issue. They're morons, and these idiots don't need any attention.
• A comment from another TPM reader, on the role of the media:
these lies the republicans use and the way they just make things up never are challenged and we have fox actually perpetuating them along with talk radio 24 hours a day.
so while the level of stupidity on the other side is shocking, the main issue with any debate will always be the failure of the media to do their one job; bringing the truth to the american people.• New York Congressman Eric Massa said Grassley's remarks about pulling the plug on Grandma are an act of treason. TPM editor Josh Marshall says Massa is "pretty whacked."
Really, Josh? Grassley is promoting hatred and ignorance and he knowingly spread lies about a program that is intended to insure adequate health care for all Americans. He has been negotiating with Democrats in bad faith to water down a bill that he has no intention of supporting anyway. He's more interested in gaining political power for himself and his party than in doing what's right for his country. That sounds like treason to me.
Charles Grassley has gone from being a pig farmer to being a pig. Why defend him?
• Calling the birther/deather clan the lunatic fringe would be an insult to lunatics. Although I think it's fair to say they ARE a danger to themselves and others.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
But as anyone who's spent any time on internet message boards knows, Nazi-slinging is the last refuge of attention whores who want to end a debate. They have no evidence to support their arguments but they'll do anything they can to disrupt everyone else's train of thought.
In internet lingo, these people are known as trolls. In fairy tales, trolls are ugly, soulless creatures who live under bridges and harass billy goats. In real life, they're known as rightwing Republicans, birthers, teabaggers.
There's Bill O'Reilly who tells his producer to cut the mike of any guest he doesn't agree with, Rush Limbaugh who hangs up on callers, Glenn Beck who drives people into stunned silence with his maniacal ravings and tears.
And there are the bigots at Sarah Palin rallies calling Obama a terrorist, the idiots who show up at town halls with ears and minds closed and mouths fully engaged, the ignoramuses who paint swastikas and Hitler mustaches over the pictures of people they disagree with, and the control freaks who wear their guns to political rallies.
One TPM reader is taking them and other media outlets to task for giving the crazies at the town halls too much attention:
I've seen a dozen or so diaries on Kos since the weekend that say we've taken back these meetings, that the loudmouths are being shushed and shamed when they act up. Yet you guys and the cablenets cherry pick a steady diet of the worst of the worst. I'm trying to get Dems out to these events and you're making job harder.
As if to prove his point, TPM has a story about leaked emails that say CNBC contacted the Tea Party requesting "an event this week that will have lots of energy and lots of anger."
A few political quickies:
• That frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that sometimes results from anal sex is headed to Iowa. Former Senator Rick Santorum, advocate for the sanctity of the union between a human penis and a human vagina, is planning a run for president and will be campaigning here.
• Speaking of cuh-razy Republicans, Michele Bachmann ranted that Americorps is nothing but a re-education camp. Now, her son has signed on to be re-educated.
• Stephen Hawking is British likes his health care very much, thank you.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
I'm getting ready to move. My van is already full of stuff to take to the flea market or Goodwill and I've got more ready to go. Some things have gone in the dumpster but not much. I wasn't hoarding trash - almost everything I had here is good, usable stuff.
The landlord told me my new apartment would be ready by Friday. It wasn't. The carpet and tile haven't been put down yet. The guy who's working on it said "tile" but I'm pretty sure he meant vinyl flooring. I prefer vinyl in an apartment because it muffles sound better than tile.
I was feeling very positive about the move, then I came home Thursday night and found a note on my door. Everybody had one. Landlord was complaining about clogged plumbing and had a list of things not to put down the toilet. Most of it was something any dummy should know but, of course, there are always a few idiots who don't know or don't care so we all get lectured.
He also gave us orders not to use Charmin products. He says they don't break up in the sewage system.
If you use too much Charmin, it doesn't break up. I learned that when my niece stuffed the toilet full of it. But just a few sheets, which is all you need, break up just fine. The whole plumbing system really needs to be snaked. Snake the toilets, snake the drains. I think that would solve most of the problems. Of course, the plumbers aren't going to tell him that - or that he could do it himself. They're raking in the bucks every time he calls them.
Also in the note was a lecture about the proper installation of air conditioners. It bends the aluminum storm window frames. He said he's going to charge $150 for bent frames.
I have 2 window frames I might get charged for. One AC was professionally installed. They took out the bottom of the frame but the maintenance guy should be able to put it back together. I saved all the parts.
The other AC I did myself and I got frustrated and bent the frame - not by accident. I'm curious to see whether or not he charges me for one or both. And curious to see if I'll be able to get out of my new lease if he does.
I have a feeling he won't but it wouldn't surprise me if he did.
I'm looking forward to a newish start with a clean, streamlined, new-ish apartment.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
To qualify as a clunker, its estimated mpg when NEW had to be below 18. Twenty years ago when my car was new, it probably got close to 30 mpg. It was 10 years old when I bought it and I was getting 26 mpg then.
It was a great car - it's still the best, most reliable car I've ever owned. But anyone who took a close look at it would say it's a clunker. The finish is peeling off the roof, the plastic medallions have fallen off the sides, the undercarriage is rusty, the intake manifold is leaking oil, the radiator's leaking antifreeze, the handle broke off the tail gate so it won't open, the heater and AC and radio haven't worked for years, and the electric windows and windshield wipers only work part-time.
But according to the Uncle Sam, it's not a clunker.
Not that I could afford to buy a new car even if I got the $4500 credit. But the cars I might be able to afford, which are in significantly better condition and probably get better mileage than mine, are being hauled to the junk yard and crushed.
Monday, August 03, 2009
One of the things that goes along with my particular form of bipolar disorder is severe mood swings, and stress is one of my primary triggers. There are few things in life that stress me out more than dealing with the voice prompt loop you get tied up in when you try to call customer service.
You know what I mean. "If you want this, say this or press 1. If you want this, say this or press 2 .... Okay, if you want that, say that or press 1. If you want that, say that or press 2 ...." Etc.
What they're really saying is their time is more valuable than yours. They don't have time to talk to you, but you can sit there listening to prompts and pushing buttons until they eventually put you on hold and then, maybe, if you're really patient, you'll get to talk to an actual live person who may or may not be qualified to help you.
Qwest has the worst system of all. Not only do you have to go through a seemingly endless list of options to get where you want, the mechanized voice is also very chatty. At every single prompt, it's "Okay, in order for me to help you, I need some more information ...."
It takes forever to get to a real person.
Whenever I have to call one of those numbers, I wait until I'm in a good mood and calm and collected. But by the time I get through all the voice prompts and a live person answers - then asks me to repeat all the info that I've already keyed into their phone system - I'm starting to lose it.
If they're friendly and handle my problem right away, I'm fine. Thanks so much, no, I'm not interested in buying something else from you, thanks, goodbye.
But if I get someone who's snippy or tells me something I know isn't true or accuses me of lying, I start to lose it. I try not to. Usually, I ask for a supervisor as soon as I feel like I'm about to lose it. Most supervisors handle problems efficiently or they're at least good at schmoozing me and I'm fine.
But every so often, you get someone on the other end who's a complete jerk or who's just not well-trained and refuses to turn you over to a supervisor. That pushes me over the edge.
Every time I go off on one of these people, I end up feeling ashamed. I know they've got a tough job and they probably get paid squat. But goddammit.
What companies fail to understand is that customer service can make or break them. I am no longer a Qwest customer because I was so upset by all the hoops I had to jump through the last time I called them. After I cancelled my service, they sent me a refund. Then they sent me a bill. I paid the bill even though they told me when I cancelled that I wouldn't have to pay for anything. Then they sent me a "revised" bill after I paid the first one and said I still owed $3.56.
So I called. The response I got convinced me I made the right decision to drop them. Total asshole on the first call. When I asked for a supervisor, he told me I couldn't speak to one. I asked to speak someone else. He said, "Call back" and hung up on me. I hadn't even yelled or dropped the F-bomb or called him an asshole.
They might have been able to get away with this shit when they were The Phone Company, but I have other options now.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Today, I went to the laundromat and washed 4 loads. I even folded everything. Afterwards, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my meds, then to the flea market to put stuff in my booth.
And I still have energy left. I'm taking a break now because my legs are tired.
The other thing, which may or may not be related to my sudden burst of energy, is that I'm weaning myself off Lamictal which is supposed to control my moods, especially the manic side of the equation. I could use a little hypomania right now.
I decided to take one of the apartments my landlord offfered me. Boo hiss from some of my readers, right? I guess this means I'm not allowed to complain about him anymore.
But I had a list of things I wanted in a new apartment - good location, good view, off street parking, allows pets, landlord pays heat and water, low rent. This place has all that. Plus I'll have new carpet and fresh paint and a freezer I never have to defrost. It'll motivate me to clean more often because it will actually look clean when I'm done.
The things I hate about this place - the management, some of the neighbors - are things that could be just as bad (or worse) wherever I go. You don't have any way of knowing what those conditions are really like until after you move in.
Besides, I've already outlasted 2 previous owners and more than a dozen managers. Chances are this one won't be around forever.