Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dear Republicans

To the Republicans, I've been listening to your rhetoric about healthcare reform and all I've heard is just more political bullshit from ya'll. You talk about the very aspects of the issue and the various plans without realizing how hypocritical it sounds. Or maybe you do and know but decided not to acknowledge and pretend we forgot. Really?

For one you criticize President Obama and the Democrats for fixing a problem with a "government" plan which isn't a government plan. You're simply lying to the American people. The government isn't taking over healthcare, it's simply making private healthcare plans manageable, affordable and effective. Something you have encouraged let alone address.

If healthcare was so good, which is the most expensive per capita cost in the world while delivering less than the best healthcare (in the lower half of the top ten), by corporation, for profit, why then are there so many problems and it cost so much? You haven't answered that question. It's broken, and you not only help break it, you profited by it being broken, with our own money through premiums and taxes.

That's because your private plan doesn't work, hasn't work and won't work, because it's focused on corporate profit and maximizing shareholder value and excutive pay. It's not focused on the patient, not on optimizing costs, and not being held accountable for being fiscally responsible and make it affordable. You and your corporate friends (and lobbyists) have driven the healthcare to where it is today.

You have no room for criticism of change or reform. You created this mess and anything is better than what's there now.

For another, you whine about the cost of the plan and the addition to the deficit. What the fuck are you saying? You have created more deficit spending under Reagan, Bush I and especially Bush II than the Democrats have ever created. The deficit has your name on it. It has your political blood and all the whitewash won't cover that up.

Remember under Bush you blew a budget surplus into record deficits, and that was before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And then those wars came along and you never questioned the huge deficits for what? Record annual deficits. And the money is gone. The wars aren't going as you sold it to the American people. But the deficit is still there, the very thing you whine about now.

You're being political assholes, and what's coming out isn't any better than what you said when you were in power, both in Congress and the White House. You told us deficits are ok. What? Ok? But now it's not? And that's not being hypocritical? You're complaining about deficits for healthcare when you didn't complain about the Bush bailout? One Trillion dollars gone, half unaccounted for and the other half going to what the law prohibited.

You didn't even flinch when you passed it. You didn't complain when the money was unaccounted and lost. You didn't complain with the financial bailout for the financial industry, whom are now recording profits at our expense (we bought they bad debt). You didn't complain about rest of the bailout. Well, most didn't. Some did but then changed their mind when the majority of you passed the bill.

But now you complain about healthcare reform, both the plan and the costs. This is for the American people. That's you reason? You don't want and don't think money should be spent on Americans and our healthcare? Oh, I forgot you have free healthcare at the best hospitals, so you don't know.

You haven't experienced what Americans face with their healthcare. Maybe you should live like the rest of us. Or maybe you don't want to because you know you'll be mad at Congres as we are. You already know the truth, you're lying to us and you're afraid we know it. So you keep talking, spouting more rhetoric which we both know is pure bullshit. Not just lies, but stuff we know is trash and best handled with shovels and put in dumpsters.

So, now you can either help reform what you broke or you can continue being stupid. Your choice. Be what you've been or be human and a real elected representative. Rememer who elected you? Not the corporations. Not your friends. But the American people. Oh, I forgot, that would make you a democat.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

On-line newspapers

I've written how many newspapers I read per week, ok, and again, 3-5 papers, 4-5 days per week. And those are the print ones. I also read several on-line ones from across the nation. While I read editorials of most of them, I don't routinely read columns or blogs. There aren't any blogs or columns I find captivating enough to read every publication of it.

And the rant here? Simple. What I hate about on-line newspapers are several things you don't find in print newspapers, or at least in the same manner or format. And these are?

First, the format. Ever been to an on-line newspaper? Notice how busy they are trying to present tidbits to everyone's interest. The first thing you have to do is find the navigation bar - and remember all of design of Web pages has been studied for years as an adaption to the design of print media, which is really not about the medium but instinctive human reading habit - and then remember it for that Website.

Then you have to figure out the organization of the Website. They obviously know the main items for the moment have to go on the top third to half of the Web (depending on your screen and browser window size). They know few on-line readers scroll, and most don't even remember to scroll thinking there's more below the bottom of the browser window. So, it's the biggest bang for the buck, as they say.

Then you have to sort out the organization, the what's where of what you want or interested in at the moment. In short, the first time visitor takes 20-30 seconds to get the lay of the layout, what's where. Repeat visitors however, still have to check to see if nothing has changed, however, small, like moving catagories in the organization and on the navigation bar. Then you can focus on the content.

But this is when and where print and on-line papers change. First are the ads. In print, they're there and you can choose to read them or read around them. On-line has two types of ads, those pesky teasers which display all sorts of treats or temptations to click on them, including using animation and video. Except almost all are bad, really bad. Then the on-line ones go one step father.

The stick the ads in your face two ways. The ever-present popups which have been around for a number of years to which all browsers have popup blockers now. But the worst are the new types, ones which display before you can read the article. You have to click "continue" to continue. No print paper keeps pushing an ad in front of you before you can turn the page.

And then the recent one I've found, and on one of my favorite newspaper Websites too, The New York Times, is the history control. When you click the back button, you stay there. Holding down the back button shows the NYT article is listed several times in the history file. That's simply a cheap trick. A print paper doesn't keep you from turning pages or force you back to the same page when you try to turn the page.

Anyway, it's just a rant on the differences. I'll still continue to read both. I have one against print papers, like the price.

Yeah, the price. Last year 5 daily papers cost me about $5. Now they cost $7. Sunday was $8 and now they're $10. They're slowly pricing themselves out of a market, but not me for awhile. I love reading them with breakfast or lunch. There's still something about the print version. So far anyway.

Healthcare Reform

How many of us are getting tired of the continued tirade on healthcare reform, and that's by those in Congress not the media, who themselves are bad enough? Ok, I'm one too, especially reading the latest from the GAO and CBO that it won't reduced costs and will add to the federal budget deficit. But then I listen to the Republicans and their ideas and criticism of the Democratic plan.

Well, my view is simple. If a Republican talks about making it "right", it's about making it profitable for corporations, the health insurance, for-profit hosipitals, drug companies, and down list of them. Republicans only really want your money and the government's money to go to them, and make a profit from it, both the patient and the taxpayer.

That's why when I hear a Republican talk about their healthcare plan for "us" I know it's not about us but about our money. Their plan may sound good, but it's just their words to gloss over the details which hide the reality. Remember the drug plan? And how they sold it as "the right answer", only to find it didn't work. It had the doughnut hole.

It also gave the drug companies far more rights to change the plan during the year when you could only change plans once a year. They would offer you low prices on your drugs, and remember they know what you're taking, and then raise the price after you're in their plan for the year. That's the Republicans for you. Trust them and you'll be screwed.

I can't say much better than the Democrats' plan but what needs to be remembered is that the goal is to improve healthcare for every American. And the reality is that no plan will reduce costs or prices because no one wants to do that, regulate costs and prices. Congress can only regulate the government payout, they can't regulate your share determined by the healthcare providers and insurance companies.

That's because the healthcare industry corporations have both the Republicans and Democrats in their pocket. They've already sealed the deal and you're the victim for your healthcare and your wallet. That's the reality. We have a healthcare industry, not a healthcare system. The healthcare ndustry works for profit with the patients' money. A healthcare system works for everyone, but it's focused on the patient.

To really go after reducing costs, the government will have to do the unthinkable, cut profits and then regulate prices. And we all know they won't do that. It's not that they could or should, which we all know is the only real answer, it's about their political career that's more important to them, disguised in the political rhetoric they espouse for or against any plan. It's about political self-preservation.

It's not about you or the folks they're supposed ot represent, but themselves and the contributors who support their campaigns. It's why nothing significant, let alone real, will be done. Too many politicians and corporations have too much at stake for Congress to really do the right thing for Americans. You and me, and your money and mine, both our personal money and our taxes.

So, when a politician, and this doesn't necessarily exclude the President, says they want to talk about the right healthcare plan, hold onto your wallet and your health. They're certainly not interested in saving your money, securing your medical privacy and providing the best healthcare for you. They're interested in the opposite in the name of being right for you. It's all a lie.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The simple solution

I've written about the problems with my TV cable signal, especially some channels that either pixelate (some call tiling) or go blank, getting either a blank screen or the little box about coming up soon. And I've written about the troubles talking with Comcast or having technicians out to help fix the problem. Well, there was a very simple solution.

When the MLB All-Star game started the screen pixelated for a few minutes and then went blank, not even the please wait sign, nothing. And sure enoough, all of the channels which do the same did the same too. So after about 30 minutes, I recycled the power to the box (which erases the memory, meaning the settings and schedule) several times and got nothing. So after another 30 minutes of that, I gave up and called their 1-888 number and got through to a service representatives.

And lo and behold I got a smart one. After of few minutes of confusion in the conversation and trying things, which I admit is partly my fault - I apologize to her (did then and am now), she had a suggestion. She said, "Can you do me a favor? Turn off the box, disconnect the cable from the wall, reconnect the cable and turn the box back on."

And sure enough it worked. The problem is dust and other things interferring with the signal. She said it seems to be selective with which channels it effects (tiling and blank screens). So, after cleaning the box on the wall (compressed air) again and connecting things up, it's normal again.

So, why didn't I think of that? I don't know. Ok, dumb me. But still, why didn't Comcast before think of it and suggest it? I may be dumb here too, but a collective dumb? Ok, a bit much because I should have know with my experience in real-time satellite system to check cables, but the Comcast people who work with stuff should also have known too.

Anyway, I'll park the rant against Comcast until something else happens. And still apologize to and thank the smart woman who helped me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Goodbye Ms Palin

Sorry, you won't be missed. I didn't vote for the McCain-Palin ticket because I didn't like the politics of either of the candidates for President and Vice-President. I wasn't entirely sold on Obama, but sometimes the old adage about the lesser of evils never seems to go away these day with all the bad choices we have in almost everything in life. But I was less sold on Sarah Palin as VP because she simply didn't have the experience a vice-president should have.

She wasn't a political naivete, she was politically inept. She pulled a Reagan out of her political hat. Almost everything she about her term as Governor of Alaska wasn't true, and in fact was almost always the opposite. She learned to do what old Ronny did, spin the truth 180 degrees and make your mistakes, misstatements, and even lies look like the truth, and when the media contests or questions it, call them names for their muckraking methods.

And now she's resigning as Governor. As they say in almost everything, timing is everything, so me thinks a few things are on the horizon. One, the state finances aren't good and, as Governor Palin learned this year, the tough choices are harder than you imagine. She's choosing to run from the hard work than do the time working hard to prove she really is a governor when things are good and when they're bad.

Two, she wants to run for the Senate in 2010, or maybe worse, the Presidency in 2012. In the first case, she'll need the help of the very people she pissed off, the Republican establishment in Alaska. She'll need them in the primary to support her campaign to replace the sitting senator. Anyone taking bets? And being out of the Governor role, she's just another citizen with political aspirations, richer than most for Alaska standards, but still just another wannabe.

As for the presidency, her personality will carry her part of the way but without any recent political experience to cite she's not much beyond just another hopeful, and one without name recogniztion beyond the 2008 election as eye-candy for the party who lost. In a republican presidential primary, how well do you think she'll survive against the likes of Romney, Huckabee, and the rest of them?

All that said, what angered me the most are her resignation and other statements is, as noted by several pundits, she picked and chose which of and who in the press were the enemy to call the "mainstream media" and which which and who were her friends. You can't pick and choose which of the media to put broad stroke labels on and exempt others without qualifying it. She didn't and didn't seem to recognize that.

And that's her obvious failure. She's totall oblivious to her own faults and failures. We all know someone like that, they just don't see themselves making mistakes and blame anything bad on everyone or everything else. They just roll on in life like they're perfect. She's one of them, except in the spotlight, it's obvious to the world, except those who she enamors with her prophetic sweetness.

Unfortunately sweetness isn't poltical experience. It's just eye-candy. She doesn't seem to even see that. She seems to think that just thinking you're a patriot, you're immune to doing anything bad or stupid or you're the victim of others who are out to make you look bad or stupid. But it's not you. Except it is and she is. Take her view of being "ordinary."

How many of us are governors? How many of us are worth in the neighborhood of a million dollars with a joint income of over $200,000? I won't argue she has some of the experience ordinary people face, a daughter who gave birth out of wedllock, a downs syndrome child, and others. But that doesn't make the rest ordinary. How many of us have caretakers for her downs child while she travels around the country during an election?

How many of us get all our expenses paid by the Republic National Committee? From clothes and stylists, to travel, lodging and food for the whole family. Remember while she complained the media attacked her and her downs child, she often used the child to show how "ordinary" she is. Like the kettle calling the pot black? Just a little?

Ok, I've ranted enough about Ms Palin. She deserves to go back to her life in Wasilla and fade into political history, not unlike Dan Quayle. And hopefully she'll see what happens to eye-candy when it sits in the dish too long, no one likes it anymore and it goes out with the rest of the trash. It's a long time to the elections in 2010, and she'll be sitting in the dish getting stale.

Update July 13th.--I've read some more about her resignation, both stories from politicial reporters, some from Alaska, and editorials and columns of the pundits, and it's clear she was overwhelmed and didn't the interest to continue. But it's nothing any haven't done similarly and anyone couldn't handle. She had all the best advice, support and staff, and she simply ignored them.

That's not what you want in a leader. Also, she brough much of it on herself with your fabrications about her view, exprience and knowledge of issues and her personal life. Standing in the spotlight you can't hide anything, and all of her lies came out of the shadows. And if you can't dance, don't try, you only look worse. So she quit. She's exactly what she said she is, a quitter who can't take the heat or work in the public light.

Alaska deserves a real governor, not a someone who just wants to pretend, take credit when it's easy and then quit when it's hard. And some folks wanted her to be our Vice President? Would you still want her to be that, all show and no substance?