The Most Important Inanimate Object In The World

This is Teddy. He looks bloody good for his age, 33, which in teddy bear years is something like Yoda. This bear has been in 3 continents, lost in at least 2 MotherCares, driven across an entire nation to be retrieved, and received more surgery than Joan Rivers. That’s why his arms are all apostrophied.

If you’re on Facebook or remember from when I was Fan of the Month on www.recoil.co.uk way back in the day, this is the same fluffy orange bear I had in my christening photo. Yes, when I was 2. My Nan took me to get him. I remember the walk to the shop & everything. There was an alley & a magical hedge. For the record, all alley hedges in urban England are magic.

My mum used to give me messages from Teddy by having him whisper into her ear. This was accomplished by holding him up to the ear & wiggling him violently. She would then say "Teddy says he loves you & to be very, very good." I would sometimes convey messages from Teddy to other people in this same fashion. Teddy, unlike my other bears, did not prefer to speak out loud.

I also sucked my thumb until I was 6 (shut up) so that is why his arms are squooshed. I would hold his arm in my four fingers, then pop my thumb in my mouth, effectively dragging my bear around from my face. There are a number of photos of me for a period of years where there is no evidence that I have a neck. Teddy is always there.

And he always will be. Men come & go, but your bear is fo’ life. Word.

Thanksgiving Noms!

Look at this darling table! Didn’t my Mum do great? I made the sweet potatoes & my sister did the veggies. My brother joined us briefly, shoveled, then retired to his Man Cave (like they do). This was the best Thanksgiving EVER. Really. Will say more about that after the coma.

Can You Feel The Love?

Several of you have not quite understood what I mean when I say that the current health care bill up for debate before the Senate is not the change in which you want to believe. The reason for this is because you haven’t read it, & in fact have not even skimmed any summaries of it. Many of you have heard the words “health care reform” & assumed it was all faeries, sweetness, light, lollipops, gumdrops, bacon, sparkly vampires, cuddles, and wonderful scrummy health & vitality for all mankind.

You, sweet reader, are smoking crack. I’m sorry. You are. I’ve tried to take the crack pipe from your hands. After all, I feel partly responsible as I seem to have sold you some of the rocks way back when. But if you bothered to look at some of the bill, even just fractions of my blog, you would see that the plan intends to gut Medicare, spank & mangle the truly disabled in America with more difficult to obtain, longer to wait for, more expensive care…so that people like me can get our achy pain medicine? Really? I would rather someone who lost a leg had an untaxed prosthetic limb, thanks.

But since you’ve no interest in reading the bill (and really, at the length of the average Bible, who does?) or even my blog (and really, with all the exasperated snark aimed at you, who would?), here is an article about THIS VERY THING. From a doctor instead of the crazy, overstressed person who bills for them & tries to keep them out of jail whilst attempting to keep up with rapidly shifting, arbitrary government guidlines. Enjoy.

Is Medicare the Real Target of ‘Health Care Reform?’

by Dr. Jane Orient

Nobody outside the inner halls of Congress really knows what’s going on in the negotiations on health care “reform. Every now and then, someone emerges from the formerly smoke-filled rooms and throws another 2,000 or so page “bill” out into the public and then disappears to continue talks to carve up one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

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But we do know some of the critical unforgiving numbers. And we have strong reason to suspect that radical changes to Medicare Part E (as in Medicare for Everybody) is the real endgame, whatever the interim steps are called: public option, cooperatives, or mandated Insurance Exchanges.

We have the unmentionable truth that Medicare is insolvent. And the common dogma that Medicare is efficient, popular, and impregnable. Is it a Hegelian thesis and antithesis? With the synthesis being to throw the whole rest of the system, which is also allegedly bankrupting the country, into Medicare?

Are our leaders stark, raving mad? Or diabolically clever?

The on-the-books public debt is around $12 trillion, and Congress needs to pass still another law to increase the debt limit. The annual deficit is close to, or even exceeds,  40% of expenditures, the point that some call the tipping point for hyperinflation.We’re not going to grow our way out of this, not with GDP already down 25%, compared to 2000, if calculated in euros.

Then there are the unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Social Security, about which former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has been sounding the alarm for years. Estimates are as high as $100 trillion or more—orders of magnitude greater than any conceivable ability to pay.

So here we have a legal obligation to pay back the $12 trillion we have loaned out, much of it to Chinese, Saudis, and other overseas investors. And the moral obligation, backed by politicians’ full faith and credit, to soon-to-be-retiring Baby Boomers.

The Chinese and the Saudis have the industry and the oil we absolutely need to live. Not to mention the Chinese army, nuclear weapons, and missiles. American seniors have—the vote.

It is incontrovertibly true that seniors, especially of the Baby Boomer generation, have been taxed all their working lives to pay for their medical needs in retirement. Their money has gone—into the “lock box”? Wherever it is, it is in the form of IOUs. Whose IOUs will get paid first?

Americans have been robbed by the Medicare system, just like Bernie Madoff’s investors were, only in vastly greater amounts. And they are just as likely to get their full benefits from Medicare as investors are to get their money back from Madoff’s prison cell.

No politician, however, wants to default openly, not on his own watch. There’s the danger to his career, from a voter revolt. And when voting doesn’t work, and peaceful demonstrations don’t work, people could become very surly indeed—and worse possibilities loom.

So here’s the con: We put everybody into the comprehensively reformed system. We suck in huge amounts of new revenues, not called “taxes” but rather “premiums,” “penalties,” “fees,” “surcharges,” or “shared responsibility payments.” Since the thresholds aren’t indexed for inflation, the “responsibility” to “share” the load for other people’s needs migrates down the social scale as the dollar deteriorates. Remember, also, that current health care proposals envision the government collecting new revenue for several years before full benefits–i.e. costs–kick in. Its health care on a layaway plan. A neat trick to plug some budget holes without admitting it.

Now comes the allocation part. We make everybody dependent on the system: patients for their care, doctors for their livelihood, so everybody is in a cooperative mood. An inspiration from a consummate politician named Bismarck, also implemented by Lenin and Stalin. Is there any other way than promising “universal care” that politicians could get away with cutting hundreds of billions from expected Medicare expenditures?

We let politicians off the hook by delegating the key decisions to an appointed Federal Reserve-like agency.

We set up a “fair,” “evidence-based” system, with the apparently laudable goal of improving the overall health of society. No discrimination of course—“disparities” are to be eliminated.

Remember, however, that age discrimination is not “invidious.” Every 60-year-old was once 20. The “complete lives system” (a.k.a. “Reaper Curve”) favored by Ezekiel Emanuel is by this logic completely fair.

Here is what it means: people over age 65 would get 3.4 times less care than a 50-year-old. At present, however, spending on people over age 65 is about 3.1 times higher than for 50-year-olds (Uwe Reinhardt, Health Affairs November/December 2003). Under the Emanuel system, older people would get only about one-tenth as much care as they do now [1/(3.4 x 3.1)].

The elderly would not all be cut off at once. They would simply be placed in an overloaded boat with everybody else, with lower-priority people pitched overboard—one at a time.

No death panel is needed. The system simply ratchets down doctors’ pay to the minimum they will tolerate, then punishes those on the top end of the spending curve. It will know who they are because of intense electronic monitoring of everything. Rational rationing—“equitable redistribution”—will occur.

Key words include “universal” and “consensus.” With “everybody in, nobody out,” social hydraulics will occur. Pull one lever at the top, and everybody beneath it is complicit in the “hard” decisions.

Default? No, no. Just a change.

From: http://biggovernment.com/2009/11/22/is-medicare-the-real-target-of-health-care-reform/

Don’t forget, the elderly aren’t the only people who get Medicare. It’s also people with Down syndrome, post traumatic stress, MS, ESRD, ALS, and a host of other chronic, debilitating illnesses. So please, for the love of humanity, stop thinking that supporting THIS health care reform bill makes you a caring, loving liberal. It doesn’t. It makes you unwilling to read. Call your senator. Tell them this is bullshit. Tell them you DO NOT WANT. Tell them to chuck it & do something better.

“When do we want it? NOW!” doesn’t work if we what we get causes suffering.

If you want to do something really wild & crazy, call your Senator & tell them to not only chuck the bill, but do nothing at all regarding “health care reform”. Government has just made it worse. If you are feeling particularly impish, throw in a shout out for tort reform. That would make my wee little icy heart sing.

Where I Assume The Role of a Non-Intimidating Girly-Girl

Tomorrow I am going to buy things, doing my part to stimulate the economy. As the things I will buy are intended to help me stay sexiful and, in fact, improve upon it, I’ll be stimulating all parts, after a fashion.

Here is one thing I intend to buy, as Ulta is having a sale:

http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?skuId=2211288&productId=xlsImpprod1610087&navAction=push&navCount=1&categoryId=cat80045%20cat1090001 Perfect as I am traveling next week & need something I can dump into a TSA-approved sandwich baggy AND my little purse.

Here is another:

http://www.famousfootwear.com/Shopping/ProductDetails.aspx?p=75486&pg=1018602 All my jeans are far too long for flats, especially since I am slimmer & have less of a shelf arse. Also? This place is next to Ulta. Also? Shiny buttons. Also? Y’know the tendon or ligament or whatever that I hurt that’s made it hard for me to walk & do things since July 5, 2006? I discovered yesterday that if I wear heels, that disappears. So…I have become that woman. Yep, the woman who shortened her Achilles’ tendon to the point where sensible shoes do actually hurt me. We girls can do anything, right, Barbie?

Here is another:

http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=51742&vid=1&pid=696855&scid=696855222 in the Serrano green, and this is totally cute: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=7525&vid=1&pid=662744&scid=662744052 and I would LOVE this if only it were a slightly more baby pink: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=14295&vid=1&pid=685146&scid=685146092

No, I don’t have the money to get all this stuff. I will have to hope there are sales in the store. Or make hard choices. Or cry. Or find a sugar daddy within the next 24 hours. Right? RIGHT?!

So anyhow that was my token “style on a wicked tight holiday clearance budget” post for the season. Sorry, ladies & gay dudes, as I have been slacking mightily in that department for some time. Apologies also to everybody else, as you’re all mad I’m not posting something geeky or political or wiggy. I can’t please everybody all the time, or at least, not legally (even according to the laws of the state of Nevada, though it would be inevitable if this happened: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nevada_to_phase_out_laws and it’s NOT safe for work).

Teh Internets Made Baby Neil Cry

Neil, a petite emotionally disturbed tuxedo cat, just spent 15 minutes ramming his face into my lap top over & over again. “Aww, he’s just marking it as his,” you say naively, because you don’t understand that I’ve stopped existing anywhere outside of Teh Internets. Baby Neil is trying to break me OUT of the computer.

I’ve become, kinda, Skynet.

*just realized my wireless net is called skynet. huh*

Eh hem.

So what happened? Well, Twitter. And that’s good, because oddly Twitter has led to some pretty amazing stuff, and by stuff I mean people. How can Teh Internets be bad, I tell Baby Neil, when I’ve met people like @ktabin (thanks, @danregal!) and other wonderful folks who have impacted my life in such meaningful, positive ways? When I’ve reconnected with darling friends I have not seen in ages? When I am finally starting to live my physical life on my terms, getting healthy, pain-free, writing more, weighing less, getting my critical thinking back? Blogging again? Reading (instead of absorbing) news again? Seeing my family next week?! Less afraid to fly! Able to shop alone without collapsing! ADAM BALDWIN IS ON TWITTER NOW!

Baby Neil shakes his tiny little triangular head. “But Mommy. You used to read books & watch TV &, more importantly, spent an inordinate amount of time fussing over me & less time laughing at YouTube videos, laughing in a high pitched, psychotic breathy way that frightens me like your expletive-laden invectives during football. Mommy, I wubzes you. Pweeze come back to me.”

I take Baby Neil Cat in my hands and, after he stops squirming & trying to claw my eyes out, say to him, “Patience, little disturbed one. Soon, this place where everybody cries all the time &, occasionally laughs like a screeching howler monkey, will be a distant memory of cold & clutter. Soon, you & your weird sibling Persephone Fluff Beast will know unending happiness, working heat, & the constant melodic silence of contentment.” Neil says, “But…my bowl is out of water. That’s why I keep drinking your tea.”

Oh. Excuse me a moment….

Eh hem. Right. So, speaking of our friend, Mr. Baldwin, he has posted another blog for you to get all bent out of shape over, you fricken’ hippy: http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/abaldwin/2009/11/20/pledge-of-allegiance-to-dissent-an-intolerant-excess-of-liberty/

Here’s my response:

“Times have changed! When we emigrated to Boston when I was a little girl, my teacher was flabbergasted that I didn’t know the Pledge despite my extremely thick English accent (go fig). I learned it very quickly, though, & it soon became a fond ritual. Later, like a lot of teenage immigrants, I went through a phase where I didn’t think it applied to me, & I stood respectfully, but didn’t recite it. I was not eligible to be a citizen at the time, so it didn’t make sense to me to say it. I grew out of that phase, too. 

I hope that kid’s comprehension of the Pledge grows, too, or he’s going to have a hard time in law school. “For which it STANDS” does not mean “for which it IS”. America is a country that continuously evolves. At the time the Pledge was written, not everybody could vote. Was it any less valid then? America STANDS for liberty & justice for all, more than many other countries can claim, and it moves ever forward (we hope) toward actual liberty & actual justice for all (who were not convicted of a felony). 

Also, “racism & sexism in the world” are hardly America’s fault. Stating that this is somehow applicable to the Pledge of Allegiance to the US flag is part of what other countries see as wrong with America…World Police. So let that one go, son. Narrow your scope, or you will face more emphatic objections in court than you did here. 

As to your final question, when I was in school, there was a citizenship grade that contributed to ones overall GPA. Therefore, if you were a snot nosed little brat who mouthed off to teachers & disrespected other students, your citizenship grade, indeed your whole grade, went down. Inculcating kids with patriotic rituals certainly can’t hurt, and giving the option for non-citizens to respectfully observe seems fair. But creating a free for all where every yahoo gets to come up with a version of patriotism can only lead to dodgy, irritating things like folk songs & hippie hootenannies & kids starting discussions with “but no, ‘cos what if I’m all like…” ACK.”

Is it sad now that I seem to only find time to write responses to Adam Baldwin’s blog? Yes, yes it would be if you only thought I’ve been writing on my blog, but I write other places, too. I’m also editing something I’ve already written that is just a couple of months, maybe, from publication, depending on how distracted I get.

If you want to follow Adam on Twitter, & you know you do, he’s @AdamSBaldwin. I’ve decided the S stands for “Smack A Bitch”. He’s intelligent, a little angry, & also just a little weird. So if you like me, you will lurve him!

Please Understand

Here is another clever article about why private, individual health care is a more palatable answer than the alternative. It rants less than me, isn’t funny, & has no swearing. So, if you’re into that, I’m sorry. If you just want a concise additional explanation of how government has already screwed up health care spending & costs in America, check this out:

“Obama’s Flawed Prescription for Health Care

By Jeff Scialabba

The House of Representatives has already passed its health-care bill and now the Senate is preparing to vote on its own. Should it pass, the largest new entitlement program since the New Deal will be a reconciliation process and a President’s signature away from being enacted. This is Congress and President Obama’s proposed cure for the ills of our health-care system. But are we sure they have properly diagnosed the disease?

In his speech before Congress in early September, Obama noted that “more and more Americans worry that if you move, lose your job, or change your job, you’ll lose your health insurance too,” and that “buying insurance on your own costs you three times as much as the coverage you get from your employer.” The obvious implication is that government must do something.

But missing from the speech were answers to the following questions: Why is individual insurance so pricey? And why are so many Americans–over half the population, including more than 90 percent of the privately insured–chained to their employer for health insurance?

The answers implicate government. Government policy has favored employer-based insurance through tax breaks dating back to WWII. Together with coercive labor laws arm-twisting companies into providing health benefits, these substantial tax breaks, which have never been extended to individuals purchasing insurance on their own, have distorted the health-insurance market. Employer-based plans now outnumber more limited and more expensive individual plans 10 to 1.

Obama also decries “the problem of rising costs,” which is crippling businesses and pushing the federal deficit to stratospheric highs. But again, he fails to identify the real factors at work.

Health insurance in America is typically comprehensive, intended to cover almost any medical expense, including routine care. This would be like using car insurance to pay for tune-ups and oil changes, and history has shown that this model increases (marginal) demand for medical services. But government interventions have favored the comprehensive model for decades, beginning in the 1930s with the granting of nonprofit status to Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which pioneered the model. Comprehensive coverage was further entrenched by Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s, as well as by the imposition of more than 2,100 federal and state mandates dictating who insurers must cover and what services they must pay for.

As a result of these distortions, 95 percent of insured Americans–some 240 million of us–have comprehensive insurance paid for by a third party, either our employer or the government. As consumers of medical services we are cut off from their costs. When we go to the doctor, we don’t even see the price until it shows up on the invoice–with all but a small co-pay or deductible (relative to the total bill) paid by our insurance. When the cost to patients is low, we view any test or treatment as “necessary” no matter how minor the benefits. This apparent free lunch has led to the exploding spending we see today.

Because Obama fails to grasp the cause of our problems, his proposed solutions will fare as badly as every previous “reform.”

Past attempts to limit the expenditures of Medicare and Medicaid by lowering reimbursements to physicians and hospitals, for instance, have left medical providers loath to take on new Medicare and Medicaid patients and forced them to make up the losses by raising prices on private consumers. These “cost-cutting” measures have also done little to stop the hemorrhagic spending–Medicare alone is expected to consume nearly 50 percent of all federal income tax revenue by 2040.

Similarly, the use of mandates to increase coverage has had disastrous results. While state mandates have benefited special interest groups, they’ve raised the cost of basic coverage an estimated 20 to 50 percent. Moreover, in order to prevent the skirting of state mandates, federal law prohibits insurance companies from offering plans across state lines–effectively banning competition and prohibiting market forces from driving prices downward.

No honest observer of our health-care system could deny it is in need of reform. But the basic question is: Have existing government interventions proved positive? Obama and his supporters on both the left and the right answer “yes”–but the facts say otherwise. Rather than trying to expand government control over health care–as Obama would do–we should be working to eliminate it.”

From http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewarticle/articleid/3651940

Keep thinking about it, kids! Keeping thinking about your position. I did. It lead to a reversal. It may not for you, but critical thinking will make YOUR argument sharper. Take emotion out of it & make a real case. We can do better than any of these yahoos in Congress, fo sho.

In The Dressing Room

Get yer head out. This is after I got my clean bill of health, apres mammogram & ultrasound. I am wearing my new peacoat! This is the best light I could find and YES, Morgan, I had to hold the phone up high so you can see some of the coat.

Old Navy, $62. Awesome Actually warm, satin lined, dry clean only. Yes, that is the final hair colour. It’s way in your face with bright reditude. Monster. Grr.