Thursday, December 8, 2016

Suffering from…

It has been interesting to watch the GOP grapple with not having Obama to veto their foolishness. Those gazillion votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act were highly symbolic when they knew Obama would veto whatever they did. But a repeal effort now means real consequences for real people. And real people tend to protest. Even so, discussions of repeal continue. House Speaker Paul Ryan recently said (in a rare bout of honesty):
[C]learly there will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off. The purpose here is to bring relief to people who are suffering from Obamacare so that they can get something better.
He later clarified that part of “no one is worse off” applies only during the transition. Worse off once the GOP replacement is in place? We can guess.

Melissa McEwen of Shareblue takes a look at another phrase: “bring relief to people who are suffering from Obamacare.” Who, exactly, is “suffering from” Obamacare?

The 20 million people who now have access to healthcare? Nope.

Those whose premiums have gone up? Even if they did, their premiums are still lower than before the ACA went into effect and will be lower than whatever the GOP cooks up.

The insurance companies, the ones that threaten to pull out of the exchange? These companies have made great profits and their stock prices have zoomed up four and five times the increase in the Dow since 2009. Perhaps under the ACA their profits aren’t as astronomical as they’d like.

Maybe it is the GOP “suffering from” Obamacare.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dial tone

Yes, I still have a landline phone. And it is my only phone. I think I’ve had this one for 25 years, the whole time I’ve been in this house.

There have been times, like last week, when I get irritated with people calling wanting to sell me stuff. What happened to that national do-not-call registry? Callers seem to ignore it, and when the voice is a recording it is hard to tell them or to identify them sufficiently to file a complaint. I just checked – I registered my number in 2003.

The guy who called last week asked if I was on Medicare. I decided that was none of his business. Instead of answering his question I said the usual, “Could you put me on your do-not-call list?” To my surprise and annoyance he said, “No.” So I slammed the phone down in hopes of discouraging him from calling back.

And I think I broke the phone.

Apparently one annoyed slam too many. When I next used it I heard a rattle. And today when it rang I picked it up and heard nothing, perhaps it didn’t actually connect. And twiddling the disconnect button disconnected. Since whoever called didn’t try again I assume it wasn’t important.

But it was enough for me to decide time for a new phone. Online checks indicated good prices in nearby stores and I picked one up for $9.00.

I unpacked it and found the first problem. The chord that plugs it into the phone outlet in the wall isn’t long enough to go around my desk. I have a cord that is long enough, but to use it I need to buy a connector, something that allows me to stick one cord in this end and another cord in that end. It took some doing and lots of strange results on Google to figure out what the thing is called. Once found Google said the price for the little part is about 75 cents – plus $4 in shipping. I could also buy it locally for between $4.50 and $8. The cheapest I could get the little gizmo was about half the price of the phone.

My desk is a rolltop model built to house a computer – a 1990s computer. Modern computer towers don’t fit in the area designed for the “pizza box” models. My nice big monitors don’t fit in the bay designed for CRT screens and, with them in place, I can’t open most of the drawers. Some of the drawers are sized for the old 3½ and 5¼ floppy diskettes. The pad designed for a mouse with a ball doesn’t work so well with a mouse with a laser.

A lot of stuff is sitting on the desktop, including a lot of paper in front of the monitors, and there isn’t room for a phone. So I put the phone on the floor.

And that leads to the second problem. The cord from the handpiece to the base is too short for the base to stay on the floor. I pick up the handpiece and the base is left dangling. I need to take it back and take a closer look at the $18 model.

At bell rehearsal tonight I mentioned all this to a fellow ringer. She was definitely not sympathetic. Why not a wireless? I said I wanted to avoid the electromagnetic radiation. She didn’t buy it.

Monday, December 5, 2016

While the boss attracts the spotlight

Melissa McEwen of Shareblue recommends keeping an eye on Mike Pence, the Veep-elect. Some have commented that the nasty guy could be impeached for his conflicts of interest. There have been moments in the campaign when the nasty guy hinted he wanted to be prez. but didn’t want to do the work. Either scenario leaves us with Pence and he is not an improvement.

It looks like Pence could be the most powerful Veep. With Dick Cheney in our past that’s saying a lot. McEwen offers evidence so far: Every cabinet nominee is hostile to LGBT rights, women’s choice, and voting rights. All are pro-privatization. Pence. Betsy DeVos for Education – Pence. That Carrier deal in which the company is sending only half its jobs to Mexico – Pence. It is Pence who is attending national security briefings. It is Pence who is schmoozing Congress.

Pence doesn’t care about the spotlight. He wants his agenda implemented. He is quite happy that his buffoonish and theatrical boss attracts that spotlight. And while we’re not paying attention to Pence he will be stealthily implementing his extremism.

The recount in Durham for the job of Governor o f North Carolina is almost complete. When partial results were reported yesterday the Democratic challenger had gained three points. So today GOP incumbent Pat McCrory, champion of the nasty “bathroom bill,” finally conceded the race. Bye!

All the best to victor Roy Cooper. He faces a heavily GOP gerrymandered state legislature.

The abortion rate under Obama has dropped to a 45 year low. Is it due to contraception being available under the Affordable Care Act or because GOP controlled states rushing to close abortion centers? The rate has fallen by about the same amount in both red and blue states. Only the ACA is common to all of them.

The abortion rate dropped significantly under the presidencies of both Bill Clinton and Obama. It dropped a tiny bit under Bush I and not at all under Bush II. So perhaps the abstinence only sex-education the GOP pushed doesn’t work?