moldybluecheesecurds 2

Monday, August 31, 2009

Health reform could save marriages

A woman's husband was diagnosed with progressive dementia, and as his mind deteriorated the medical bills were likely to mount significantly. "The hospital arranged a conference call with a social worker, who outlined how the dementia and its financial toll on the family would progress, and then added, out of the blue: “Maybe you should divorce.”"

Friday, August 28, 2009

If a Starbucks doesn't say "Starbucks," is it local?

Hometown Peninsula: "In one of the more brazen attempts by a corporation to disguise itself as a locally owned business, Starbucks is un-branding at least three of it Seattle outlets. The first of these conversions, reopening this week after extensive remodeling, will be called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. All of the signage and product labels will bear this new name. The Starbucks corporate logo will be no where to be seen."
Clearly, the intent is to appear like a local coffee shop while being part of a national chain, taking advantage of people's preference to support a local business. Wow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't Want a Public Plan? Well, What Do You Think of Medicare? -

Plan designed by the government? Check. Government bureaucracy? Check. Subsidized? Check. (Medicare does not have to fund itself solely by charging premiums to its members; instead, it is largely funded by a payroll tax levied on all workers.) Able to drive private insurers out of business? Check. Medicare dominates the over-65 market.

If you are against the public option, you should be deeply, fundamentally, bitterly against Medicare.

Two on health care

From FiveThirtyEight, how to poll properly on the public option:
This is the Quinnipiac poll, which asks:
Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?
This is a perfect question.
From Minnpost, health insurers reaping a bonanza:
The half-dozen leading overhaul proposals circulating in Congress would require all citizens to have health insurance, which would guarantee insurers tens of millions of new customers -- many of whom would get government subsidies to help pay the companies' premiums. "It's a bonanza," said Robert Laszewski, a health insurance executive for 20 years who now tracks reform legislation as president of the consulting firm Health Policy and Strategy Associates Inc.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Open letter to friends and family

xkcd - Tech Support Cheat Sheet:

To everyone I've ever helped, please print this (courtesy of xkcd)...

...and bookmark this link.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ideological supremacy or the supremacy of idiocy

I used to think we had a system of two parties that struggled for ideological supremacy based on competing worldviews.  Now I feel like one party is simply striving for the supremacy of idiocy.  Here's what's actually in the health care reform bill in the House:
  • A health insurance exchange so that Americans can select from comparable health care plans from private providers
  • A public option, based on Medicare, so that private providers have to compete against a plan that does not have an incentive to reduce its "medical loss ratio"
  • Subsidies for people to buy insurance, for those with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level
  • Regulation that ensures people can get coverage even if they have "preexisting conditions" like pregnancy.
And here's what the opposition (Republican leaders and pundits) have said in response:
  • "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" (note: government runs Medicare)
  • It will "pull the plug on Grandma" (referencing made-up death panels that are in fact end-of-life counseling provisions introduced by a Republican)
  • "Socialized medicine" (note: not only inaccurate, but deliberately glosses over that the *American* VA medical system is...socialized medicine and that Medicare is socialized insurance.  Oh, and where do you think Social Security comes from?)
  • "You'll lose your private insurance, even if you don't want to."  (note: a lie)
There are legitimate, ideological reasons for Republicans to oppose this plan.  I'm a Democrat and I can think of some, e.g. government shouldn't compete with private providers, government shouldn't subsidize health care because it's not a right. 

But maybe I expect too much from a party represented by hysterical talk radio men and the Alaskan coming of McCarthy...

Monday, August 17, 2009

The secret weapon

He cries in the car, every time.  But we are now armed with the silver bullet.  Twinkle Twinkle...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Things Republicans have taught me in discussing health care

  1. Consistency is unimportant, but stridency is.
  2. Knowing the definition of words you use does not matter.
  3. Lying about who provides your health care does not matter, particularly when people like their government provider more than their private one. (yes, in America).
  4. It's great fun to tell outright lies about health care legislation...
  5. ...especially when the "death panels" were actually proposed by a Republican to help families make tough end-of-life decisions...
  6. ...And (referring back to #1) let's not forget that Republicans have no problem with government interfering with end-of-life decisions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We've had little BAF for 3 months and I've decided that friends after kids (FAC) tend to fall into five categories:
  1. Radio Silence - these folks seem happy to see you at parties (before you have to leave early to hit bedtime) but the last time they called, you didn't have a dependent.  
  2. Nice Haircut - you give my child about as much attention as you would a new hairstyle.  Excited to see the change and eager to move on.  We still like YOU, but that little creature interrupts my punch line.
  3. So you're Gay - this lifestyle change may not be exactly what you'd choose for yourself, and you try to be supportive.  However, the questions are somewhat strained.  "Does he sleep through the night?"; he might, but we like him when he's awake, too. 
  4. We're so Happy for You! - we hang out, you're patient when the baby fusses, and flexible with our topsy turvy schedule.  You're supportive and helpful.  But it sometimes seems like you feel our life is more circumscribed than we do.
  5. This Kid is Great (and how are you?) - you love the new guy and so do we, but it's not all about him.  Getting together is an effortless flow between interacting with BAF and adult conversation.  Hanging out with you helps us feel like parents and people.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  
I'm glad for all the friends we have, regardless of category, but a special thanks to our friends tonight for being Category 5. 

Socialized Medicine for Dummies

FiveThirtyEight: This is one of the best descriptions of the health care conversation I've seen. Lots of graphics, for the previously fact-impaired.
"The really weird thing about Canada is, even though the government is paying the bill, they aren't actually providing the health care itself. Instead, they have private doctors for that, just like we do here."...We'd never do something like that in this country, except for old people who don't know any better.

...This is what they call "socialized medicine". If you're in Britain, your doctor is probably a socialist. Just kidding! But he does work for the government. The government pays his salary and buys all his tongue depressors and urine cups. Even old people wouldn't fall for that one over on this side of the "pond", so we only do it to our veterans.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wall Street: Stealing Pennies to Make Billions

[Note: video was fixed and post updated]


Powerful computers, some housed right next to the machines that drive marketplaces like the New York Stock Exchange, enable high-frequency traders to transmit millions of orders at lightning speed and, their detractors contend, reap billions at everyone else’s expense.

...sounds an awful lot like this:

And I think Jennifer Aniston's character had it right:

If you like these clips, please go buy this movie.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Frost Nixon

I saw the movie Frost Nixon this weekend, a dramatization of the landmark interviews between David Frost and former President Nixon in 1977, in which Nixon uttered the timeless line "when the president does it that means that it is not illegal."

The movie is fantastically worthwhile, and is a worthy Hollywood adaptation of the real thing, which you can preview here: Frost Nixon

Small States Mean Corporate Senators


A fascinating analysis showing that senators from small states are much more reliant on corporate money for fundraising.

Being a partisan, I'd also like to point out in terms of PAC money as a portion of fundraising, 8 of the top 10 senators are Republican, while 32 of the 35 senators with the least PAC money are Democrats. Democrats get money from and represent people, not big business.