Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mitch McConnell is Clever as Hell

So the Senate Health Care Bill (TrumpCare) is - as one commentator put it - same shitburger, different bun as the House Bill.

And it has faced some real opposition in the Senate. Two Senators that think it is too mean, four Senators that think it is too nice.  President Trump is ready to throw up his hands and let ObamaCare fail.

Now ObamaCare will fail ONLY if the government does not agree to pay an overage fallback that the Obama Administration did pay, which it has promised. These are currently being dealt with in courts, but if Trump doesn't agree to pay them, then ObamaCare has a real problem.

However, as McConnell now says, it will be a Republican problem. Trump believes he can pin it on the Democrats. McConnell says that since Republicans control all of government, they will get the blame.

So, in order to avoid this AND to force Republicans to vote for this bill, he has said that if the current Senate Health Bill fails, then Republicans have to work with the Democrats to save ObamaCare. And the resulting bill will be a hell of a lot worse that this one - i.e. it will cost more and mean less tax cuts. AND the Republicans will then own ObamaCare.

It's a clever tactic, let's see if it works.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Yes, I Know I Do Romanticize California Too Much, But Really, TICKS!!!!

Sure, people are tired of me telling them how Southern California is great, but in this case it really is. Really.

Southern California doesn't have ticks. Now, you may think I am making this up, but I am not. It's too damn dry.

When I had the first two dogs (Ashford and Hastings), they were acquired in Northern California, and vaccinated in San Mateo. The Vet talked about tick diseases that I had to understand because they didn't have them in LA.

I loathe ticks. I actually loathe anything that gets stuck under my skin: ticks, splinters, mosquitoes - they freak me out.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Very Proud of the work...

Adnan Bajramovic (with Project 1948 CEO Dr. Jen White)
The key thing that Project 1948 (the non-profit I volunteer with) does is work to end inter-generational trauma in Bosnia.  We work with students in order to do that.

One of our participants has recently been featured in work he is doing in Travnik (part of Bosnia).

He is working with high school students trying to end ethnic segregation. after the civil war, the Bosnian school system was divided into ethnic school classes only: Serbian, Croat, Bosniak.

The students, with help from some previous students like Adnan, are working to reintegrate the schools.

Amazing work!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

What is the right thing to do with regards to Health Care?

I am torn over the Health Care debate, I admit it.

I think that in many ways it is almost evil to take away Medicare and other programs that save lives. On the other hand...

The Democrats HAD a a majority in the House and Senate and passed the affordable Health Care Act.

Since then around 22 million people now have insurance that did not have it before (link). Of these, maybe up to 43% didn't WANT insurance before (young and healthy and free-riding on a system that demands emergency room care) - link.

For millions more, health care has become much more affordable (and for a much smaller subset of upper middle class families - more expensive).

Also, since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010..

Republicans HAVE taken control of both the House of Representatives AND the Senate largely based on the promise to repeal, (only later changed to Repeal and Replace) the Affordable Care Act.

If enough people care to vote to change our entire government based based on repealing the Affordable Care Act, should we let them? People will die - no doubt. But Americans have voted that they don't care if people die. A MAJORITY of people voted for that!

And, to me, this isn't like discrimination against a minority group. People aren't voting to take away Health Care from Black people or Hispanic People or Gays or Singles or Christians or Muslims. People are voting to take away Health Care from everyone - discrimination free. And voting to get rid of Women's Health Services and Family Health Services (no guaranteed coverage for birth control, pregnancy or child birth). And a majority of women voted for that!

I still think removing the ACA is wrong. I will still vote and march to keep it. I am still committeed to keep a system where we pay more taxes to help people in this country that cannot afford it. But the people served by it are voting against it. And so, I am doubting myself for believing in a commitment to something the recipients don't want - or if they do want it, not enough to bother voting.

Ed's Hotel in Chicago

This is Ed's hotel (or shot from - I am not sure yet) in Chicago this week for work. The detail is amazing!

Afterglow Review is Up

My review of Afterglow is up today. It is a good play with a lot of penis on display. (Actually I think there is a ton of nudity early so that it stops being what you focus on later. As the show gets more emotional,  you have to just ignore the penis(es.)


 And one cutie shot from the shower....

Friday, June 23, 2017

Three New Show Reviews Yesterday!

If you mosey on over to my Review Site: ReviewsOffBroadway.com, you'll see that yesterday was a big day for Theater openings. I reviewed two great new shows that are off Broadway and one terrible show that is on Broadway...




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Civil Dialog: Updated

(post brought about by a comment from Shelly that made me think).

Civil Dialog has gone by the wayside.

That is too bad. Because we can't carry on a civil dialog anymore, and so we can barely talk to each other. We can barely even tolerate each other. In this atmosphere we cannot work to a common outcome.

For a rabid few Americans, the idea of civil dialog has been dead for a long time. Personally I saw it happen on the right side of the political spectrum on shows like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and some others. On those broadcasts, people that disagreed with them were trashed with de-humanizing monikers and were considered stupid. Michael Savage called them sub-humans.

There were, on the other hand, many many right political actors that did not demonize the other side. Dennis Prager, Bill O'Reilly and others. They disagreed with liberals, but didn't attack their right to exist.

I am sure that people on the right could point to Liberals that did the same thing in the olden days (Stephanie Miller?) - I just don't know of them (and didn't listen to them).

However, in order to get ratings, more mainstream groups began using less civil terms. Ann Coulter made a fortune by being uncivil. Slowly Presidents were not respected. Clinton was a murderer. Bush was an idiot. Obama was a Kenyan Muslim.

This has culminated, I think, with Donald Trump's candidacy. Candidate Trump was not just dismissive of Democrats and Republican opponents of his, but was crude and derogatory. And people enjoyed it, the media ran it and the process fed on itself. Other candidates began hurling insults (Hillary and her Deplorables comment).

Now normal Americans feel free to hurl these insults at each other. And doing so, it immediately blocks other from listening to your point. So.. getting people to listen to your points is no longer possible. Let's say that I make a reasonable point - and someone listens to me. If some other person agrees with me, but uses offensive language, then that point, and all others go away.

We need to be able to talk.

This isn't about being "politically correct", it is about being polite.

Update: I am guilty of this as well, and shall endeavor to stop it going forward. Feel free to call me out when I blow it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Congratulations to Karen Handel

Well, there went $60,000,000 dollars :-).

I think if you live outside of the United States would be amazed what happened here recently. We spent about $60,000,000 for a race for a single legislative district in a special by-election. The seat was held by a Republican for many years, and he was appointed to President Trump's administration.

A very good showing by a Democrat in the primary, lead to a run off between a new Democrat and an older Republican for a seat that has been Republican for years. In trying to hand Donald Trump a defeat (a vain attempt as it turned out), Democrats across the United States donated upwards of $23,000,000 dollars to Jon Ossoff.  Republicans individuals donated about $4,000,000 to Karen Handel. In "dark money" - that is outside interested that don't have to say who they are - $18,000,000 was spent on Handel and $4,000,000 spent on Ossoff.

Throwing in other funds, the total spending was near $60 Million dollars. There is something wrong with the US System.

  • For comparison, during the entire 2010 UK election, ALL PARTIES COMBINED spent approximately $38,000,000 (30.4 UK Pounds). (That is the entire election in England cost lest than 2/3s of what this one Congressional race did.)
  • For comparison, that is twice the Gross National Product of the nation of Tuvalu.
  • For comparison, that is more than the Foreign Aid budgets of Slovenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Malta.
  • It is also twice as much as what the Susan B Koman Breast Cancer Foundation was able to grant for testing, treatment and research of breast cancer. This is important because:

There is a special place in hell of Karen Handel, it's being kept being kept warm and toasty. Karen Handel's unilateral decision to cut Planned Parenthood - the largest breast cancer screening organizations in the country and one of the only ones available to women with little or no health insurance - nearly destroyed the Susan B. Koman Foundation (link).

Having lost one of my best friends to breast cancer , I was one of those people raising money for research, treatment and discovery via Susan B Koman Foundation. Karen Handel has cost some number of poor women their lives. One is too many, and she is responsible for the deaths of many more than one.

She is now gets to be a vote for TrumpCare. Hazzah.