Archive for the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ Tag

Gearing up for Obamacare

Some pundits fling the phrase around like it’s supposed to be an insult; sure, go ahead. Time will show them they’re wrong.

All I know is that in January, for the first time in nearly 13 years, I will have health insurance. If I plump for the base-level coverage, my premium is estimated at less than $400. A year. If I want the mid-level coverage, my premium will be around $100 a month. As opposed to the $100 a paycheck — nearly a full third of my pay — for coverage that wouldn’t kick in until I was already $5000 out of pocket and even then only covers part of the expenses.

Oh yeah, that’s a really bad thing. I’m being terribly abused by the government. Whatever will I do?

Oh, that’s right. Feel secure for the first time in a decade. I really have no idea what to expect when I have my first full physical — everyone says that regular medical checkups in your 40s are critical, and I have had zero because this country considers health care to be a privilege, rather than a human right. In some ways, I’m genuinely lucky to be getting ready to turn 50 in more or less good health, since it hasn’t been due to regular checkups and professional preventative care.

This goes quite a ways towards that goal of the right to basic health care. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

And considering John Boehner’s alternative is that I should rely on wishful thinking (since I can’t afford insurance without Obamacare–what do you reckon I do without, John: housing or food?), well, that’s not really an alternative, is it?

Ohio is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century

Relative to the recent equal marriage decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States, I would have liked something more sweeping, but I certainly didn’t expect something more sweeping and I would have been (pleasantly) stunned with something more sweeping, but we essentially got the rulings I’d expected.

The thing I want explained most is why no one else seems to have noticed that the Biblical definition of marriage is emphatically not monogamous. Traditional Mormonism and Islam have Biblical marriage: polygamy. One man and one woman is NOT marriage as envisioned in the Bible and to suggest otherwise is simply and factually wrong.

Anyway, Ohio’s positively medieval anti-gay amendment just had its first shot across the bow — although this one was aimed more at its waterline. Judge Timothy Black of the US District Court for Southern Ohio has ruled that Ohio can not refuse to recognize legally performed same-sex marriages from other states. Since Ohio law already admits that it will recognize marriages between first cousins, or between minors, that are legally performed in other states even if the couple went to the other state to get married just to get around the Ohio restriction, there is no legal justification to not recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. While it leaves the anti-gay amendment in place, it both shoots a huge hole in it and points the way to its overturning (if it isn’t repealed outright first).

The lessons the GOP should learn from this election… but won’t

1. Losing ground in an election that was theirs to win is not a mandate.

John Boehner claimed a Republican mandate; considering his party failed to capture the White House, lost ground in the Senate, and at best will only manage to hold the line in the House, that’s among the more ludicrous things said by any politician and indicates self delusion matched only by Baghdad Bob.  If the American public issued a mandate, it was that it’s time to grow up and go to work, and that a Republican policy position of “NO!” is no longer tenable.  Since most of the victims have been freshman teabaggers, you’d think that would be an easy lesson to learn, but Republican knee-jerk obstructionism goes deep, and American patience has its limits.  The only Republican who came out well from all this is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

 

2. Demographics change

Even if they get away with their policy of “NO!”, time is going to cut their base out from under them.  They’ve been living on borrowed time on Nixon’s Southern Strategy, which relied on white anger against the Civil Rights movement to turn the Solid South for the Democrats into the Solid South for the Republicans.  The old South is changing, though, and the last generations that were born and raised in the segregated South are not going to be around that much longer.  Look at the broad swathe of blue through the South in the county results; Dixie is fractured right up the middle, and with the growth of a minority-majority America, that crack is only going to become a fissure, and then a canyon, into which all GOP electoral hopes will fall.  Virginia’s a full-blown swing state now, and North Carolina’s on the edge.  Considering the GOP’s substantial voter gap with Hispanic Americans, it won’t be long before Florida is reliably blue and Texas is a swing state.  If the GOP doesn’t reach out past tokenism, and doesn’t change track from its elitism, it’s going to be reduced to a minority party of the mountain states and high plains.

 

3. We are electing politicians, not priests.

The Republicans’ reliance on the laissez-faire economic Libertarians taking advantage of Talebangelical right-wing “christians” is on shaky ground.  The free marketeers have been dealt a major setback with Romney’s defeat, which is going to open the way for one of the religious extremists grab for nomination in 2016.  And that candidate is going to go down to an epic defeat, because he or she will be so monumentally out of sync with where the country actually is.  Keep in mind that the fastest-growing belief segment is ‘none of the above’ — not just atheists and agnostics, but various non-Christians, and the spiritual but not church-bound, who number about 20% in all as of last counting, and most of whom feel alienated by the GOP’s narrow-minded religious extremism.  So if the Republicans run someone in the mold of a Santorum or Bachman, all the Democrat will have to do is have a pulse, and not drool on camera.  Personally, I’d welcome that — it would send the party to the wilderness for a decade or so, and they might come back having learned some humility.

And before they start whining…

May I remind Republicans that Dubya lost the popular vote in 2000, before you start whining about Obama not winning the popular vote this year (should the current numbers remain that way) — so let’s not have any complaining on *that* account, please.

Ding Dong the DADT is Dead

And good riddance to it. It’s a policy that has cost us nearly 70 Arabic and Farsi speakers in a time when all branches of the military are suffering acute shortages of specialists in those languages. Apparently shaming gays for being gay is more important than actually collecting live intelligence so we can better protect our troops.

DADT was a bad idea to begin with; before, gays were banned because they were considered a ‘security risk’ because it was assumed that they were blackmail targets just for being gay. Rather than lift the stigma, DADT codified it, ensuring that gays and lesbians in the military were blackmail targets for anyone who knew they were gay.

Of course, the Repubs (with a few exceptions), who claim to be the party of the strong military, found themselves at odds with the JCS, the Department of Defense, and the bulk of the services themselves, all of whom agree that there’s no reason gays and lesbians can’t serve openly in the military. Again, I guess it’s more important to hate gays than actually support the troops.

And who ate John McCain’s brain, anyway?

While we’re at it, let’s take a quick look at the military that arguably has to be the most prepared on the planet: Israel. They ended gay exclusion completely in 1993. Subsequent effect on preparedness, effectiveness and morale? Nil.

Anyway, a welcome end to a bad policy.

Cognitive Dissonance

So, after an extremely contentious process (including protestors shouting “N****r!” at black Congressmen and “Faggot!” at Barney Frank as they entered the Capitol on Sunday and vandalism of Democrats’ offices including right here in Ohio), it is passed.

Continue reading

Let’s go to the tote board, Bob.

o/` ‘Tis the season to be wonky… o/`

I can’t say I’ve done the work of the five hardcore political junkies represented herein, but I have taken a moment to combine all their assorted prognostications into one, and I think I’ll try to keep it up until the election.

There are a handful of sites that run weekly (and even daily) electoral map predictions. I don’t rely on any one of them. Rather, I like the ‘average of averages’, which moderates wild claims and clearly highlights trends.

I’ve averaged out five prognosticators I like: the self-described ‘libertarian leaning Democrat’ at Electoral Vote to the ‘non-partisan who usuallty votes Democrat’ at Five Thirty Eight, and the right-wingers at Blogging Caesar, Election Junkie, and Federal Review (sorry, showing links to both sides doesn’t make you balanced when all the commentary is pro-McCain/pro-GOP/anti-Obama/anti-Democrat).

And what do we find when we average the predictors?

There’s bad news, and there’s worse news… if you’re John McCain.

All over but the shouting… FINALLY.

Looks like Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination today, finally. Hillary, who continues test my patience, still hasn’t conceded even though it’s mathematically out of reach. The magic number is 2,118, Hillary. He got it. You don’t. Time to step aside gracefully, like you should’ve done two months ago instead of wasting the party’s time and money on a pointless two month ego-gratification tour.

I’ve been celebrating by listening to the Deadheads for Obama concert. Obama re-united Lesh and Weir for the first time in four years – as if I needed any more reasons to vote for him!

Iowa. IOWA. Dayamn.

Here’s to Sean Fritz and Tim McQuillan, who have become Iowa’s first legally married gay couple.

I-O-fuckin’-wa. Who’d’a thunk it?

What a difference a year (and an election) makes

Some of you may recall this enraged rant last year on the occasion of Katherine Harr… er, Ken Blackwell’s last gasp of treason, when for the first time in my life I had my voting qualifications questioned.

Today I get a postage paid card in the mail asking me to please confirm my current address and reminding me that “If this card is not returned and you do not vote by the 2011 general election, your name may be removed from the voter registration list.”

Let me repeat that, with appropriate emphasis: “If this card is not returned and you do not vote by the 2011 general election, your name MAY be removed from the voter registration list.”

What a breath of fresh air from the Katherine Harr… er, Ken Blackwell years, when the policy was “If you live in a majority Democratic district, good fucking luck. We don’t need a reason and we don’t need to give you warning, and you’ll be lucky to have your ballot counted if you even get to cast one.”

Thank you, Jennifer Brunner.

Fuck you one last time, sideways and without lube, Ken Blackwell.