Archive for the ‘Politics’ category

Single Payer

September 23, 2018

So yesterday, I went to party for the Assistance League folks here in San Pedro. My job was tending bar. That’s a good place to get to know and talk to people.

I was talking to the husband (let’s call him Jim for the sake of the story) of one of Paula’s friends. He asked me to tell him about my cancer surgery and treatment. I told him about discovering a lump on my throat and having it seen by quickly by my Primary Care Doc. A week later I saw the surgeon. He did a needle biopsy on the growth. Surgeon says “inconclusive”. That’s a way of saying there are a lot of false negatives in the test.

So he schedules me for surgery a week later on Good Friday. I go through all of the pre-op testing and check in on Friday. Surgery went fine and I went home on Saturday. Then showed up at Easter Sunday services with a big white bandage on my neck. If you recall, Easter fell on April 1 this year.

Then I had appointment with the radiation oncologist. I had already planned a trip to Boston in May. Start treatment after I got back. Six weeks. X-Rays ended on July 6. That’s done and I am healing well.

Now back to the story. Jim told me that his daughter (26 years old) has a similar lump on her throat. Jim has been trying to get her to get it removed. The problem is that Jim’s daughter lost her health insurance because she had been laid off from her job. The $64,000 question is how does she/he pay for it? She might get it paid by COBRA insurance if she still had the coverage. I suggested that he look into “” as a possible funding source.

If she lived in Canada or the UK or Australia, this wouldn’t be a problem. You see those countries all have socialized medicine, which we in this country have been calling “Single Payer” or “Medicare for all”. That’s because the word “socialized” has a nasty stigma attached to it in this country.

I was lucky enough to have Medicare coverage as well as my private retirement coverage. I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for it. I just had to worry about the outcome. I just had to pay the co-pays.

So Jim is worrying that his daughter might die because they will not be able to afford to pay for her care. One should not have to go to gofundme get healthcare. That is just wrong.

Senator Bernie Sanders and other Democrats have been urging our government to provide “Medicare for all” to the people of this country.

With Donald Trump in the White House and GOP in control of the US Congress, providing this care will never happen. They will be happy to let people die who cannot afford for their health care.

There will be an election coming up on November 6. We can’t vote Trump out of office yet, but we can vote out the GOP. Please VOTE out the GOP on Nov 6.




July 30, 2016

Here I sit at our dining room table writing a blog post. We have no appointments, no things that need to get done, no errands, no grocery shopping. Nothing.

Paula is working on cleaning up our bedroom. Organizing and dusting. Me, I’m just writing a post.

So I’m done reading the NY Times and Boston Globe. The conventions are done. I’ve done two crossword puzzles. Saturday puzzles are the hardest.

img_4456Mary finally got up at about 11:45. Fed her breakfast and made sure she took her meds. Now she’s back in bed. She probably won’t be up until 6 pm to watch the evening news.

It’s afternoon and that means time for iced coffee. We started getting a product from Starbuck’s that is cold brew unsweetened coffee. Sold in the supermarket dairy section. Good stuff.

Once again, the conventions are done. Can anyone explain to me why in this day and age that we have to wait until November to vote in the general election. If you haven’t figured out by now who you’re going to vote for you, you’re not paying attention or something. BTW, I’m voting for Hillary. If you follow me on FB, you probably know that already. Though I expect that 100 days will be enough time for Trump to shoot himself in the foot a few times.

So tomorrow is the Chili Cook-off at LA Harbor Lodge in San Pedro. So I will be getting out the crock pot this evening and getting my entry ready. I will be doing a pork tenderloin and black bean chili. Here’s the recipe.

Later this evening I will be watching my Boston Red Sox play the Angels. Since the Angels are a local team, that means that the game will be blacked out on MLBtv. I will have to find it on the feed from our cable provider (Time Warner).

Well the iced coffee is done, that means it must be time for my martini.





February 15, 2016

So on Saturday night, Paula and I went to see the movie “Brooklyn”. See my blog post on the movie. So it got me to thinking about immigration. In the movie, a young lady makes a heartfelt decision to emigrate to America. Now this is 1950’s America. So Ellis makes the difficult decision to leave her sister and widowed mother behind and move to New York.

She knew full well that she might never see her mother or sister ever again. Remember, in 1950, the only way to get to or from America was by way of an ocean liner. Cheap air travel was decades away. Ellis received a lot of help from a Catholic priest in Brooklyn. That help allowed her to thrive in her new home.

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

So when one arrives by ship to New York, here is what one sees. In the early part of the 20th century, life was tough for Irish Catholics in America. It’s important to note that the name of the main character was Ellis which is the name of Ellis Island where every emigrant arrived in New York.

So here’s what it says on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We need to remember this when we hear people like Donald Trump talking about building a wall to keep out the Mexicans or keeping out Syrian refugees. Go back and read it again and again until it burns into your soul. This is what America is about, not building a wall.

Once upon a time it was the Irish Catholics. Now it is the Muslims and refugees. Who is next?




San Bernardino

December 4, 2015

I have two stories to tell about San Bernardino. The first one is a lesson about geography. I got a couple of emails asking me if I was anywhere near to the terror in SB. Short answer is no, not even close.

Long answer: Los Angeles is a huge piece of real estate. Go ahead bring up mapquest or google maps. I live in San Pedro. That’s about a two hour drive on a day when there is no traffic, which is hardly ever.

San Bernardino is a working class community in an area out here called the Inland Empire. SB has been called the “South Central” of the Inland Empire. Even the above picture doesn’t really do justice on how large LA is. You see it when you are arriving on an airliner to LAX when you descend into the LA Basin. Lights as far as the eye can see.

Okay second part that frosts my private parts is the tweets from the Republican presidential candidates and other Republican Senators.  Here is an example of tweets from the candidates.

Are you kidding me? Prayers are indeed a good thing, but I want you to do your job and do something about gun violence in America. Every time the idea of sensible gun legislation like limiting access to assault weapons or high capacity magazines or universal background checks you do nothing. I want you to do your job. Solve this heinous problem. That’s why we pay you the big bucks. Even the New York Daily News called you on it. 



July 18, 2015

Mary receives a ton of political advertising mail. Even Harold still receives political mail, even though Harold died in 2009. 99% of the mail goes right into the trash can in the mail room. She made the mistake of sending them some money a few times. Now they think they a have a live one.

BTW,  just to be fair, I throw the Democratic Party stuff in the trash too. It’s just that we don’t get nearly as much stuff from the Democrats than the Republicans.

So yesterday, I had to go down to the main Post Office in San Pedro to pick up a registered mail item from the National Republican Committee. What a PITA. Why would they spend $3.84 to send a piece of mail to Mary? Of course, I think I know the answer. They want to get  her to open the mail and read it. And of course, to send them money. 

Well they succeeded (at least the first part). She did look at it. She asked Paula what youtube was. The contents was just your usual fundraising BS. So just to pay them back for the inconvenience of having to go to the Post Office. I think I will stuff some Hillary fliers in the post-paid envelope and send it back. Seems fair to me.

West, Texas

April 23, 2013

The explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas didn’t get the headlines that it deserved due to the Boston Marathon bombings. Now that the Boston situation has calmed down a bit, time to look at West, Texas.

It certainly was a nasty situation, but should it have ever happened? Texas has billed itself as a place that is business friendly where the government will stay out of the way. Perhaps, the government stayed too far out of the way.

Two things that government is useful is insuring a safe working environment. The questions that keep coming to my mind are:

1. Why wasn’t the plant inspected for safety violations? According to the news, the last time the place was inspected was 1985.

2. Zoning. I don’t know whether the schools or the plant came first, but why were they allowed to be so close?

Here is the satellite image before and after the explosion. Note how close the homes and schools are to the plant site. This is the sort of thing that good zoning practices should prevent. Luckily, the schools weren’t in session. Otherwise, fatality counts might have been a lot higher.

And one more thing, Gov. Rick Perry is asking the federal government for disaster aid. Whatever happened to his plans to secede from the union? Idiot.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro, CA

Random Political comments

November 8, 2012

I should have written this yesterday, but I didn’t so sue me.

Tuesday was a busy day for us. Luckily there was no line at our polling place in San Pedro. In and out in about 10 minutes.

Watching poll results in California is lots easier than back east. I didn’t have to stay up until the wee hours to know the results. We started watching the results at about 5pm west coast time. Polls had pretty much closed back east. We surfed the TV from ABC, NBC and CBS. I had my iPad for following my twitter feed, Facebook and a few blogs that I usually follow. Didn’t need my iPhone. I tried to listen to DailyKOS radio on the iPhone but the stream wasn’t that reliable.

Don’t know how i managed to follow all the news before having an iPad four years ago.

Needless to say Paula and I were very pleased with the results. Mary K not so much. Mary K went to bed early. We were very much interested in results in MA. We regretted not being able to vote for Elizabeth Warren.

So why did President Obama win? Turnout, turnout, turnout. I read that Latino voted 75/25% for Obama. In a state like California, Latino vote is huge. Obama won CA by 55%. In MA, Mayor Tom Menino got his political machine working for Elizabeth Warren. Voter turnouts in Boston were huge. Interesting article in today’s Boston Globe about the Menino machine. Women voters weren’t too happy with Republicans. Saw quote from Alec Baldwin. “When you ask how the rape candidate did? And you answer, which one? Things not going so good.

So why did Romney lose. My guess is the people didn’t believe him. There were never any details on his programs or the math just didn’t add up. I think that his refusal to release his tax returns for the last ten years hurt him. People thought he had something to hide. Especially with accounts in tax havens like the Caymans and Switzerland. Bottom line people didn’t believe that the middle class would get a fair shot under Romney. Romney’s lies were worse than Obama lies.

When Romney made the claim that Jeep jobs were going to China, and the head of Chrysler rebuts it with giving employees the day off to vote.

Hurricane Sandy didn’t help Romney either. Obama was busy looking presidential. Romney campaign wasn’t too happy with Governor Christie of NJ. Christie was doing his job seeing that his people got what they needed from the government.

I should have switched to Fox News to see the Carl Rove meltdown. I’ve heard it was something to watch.

So Romney couldn’t win any of his home states (MA, CA and Mich). Paul Ryan didn’t win his home state either (WS). A lot of sad faces in Boston at Romney HQ. Nice concession speech.

A couple more points then I’ll shut up. Didn’t hear anyone talk about the US Supreme Court. There will certainly be some retirements over the next four years that will be filled by President Obama. Big deal.

So I went to bed at about midnight Pacific time. I was a happy camper.

I think that Obama will have a lot more clout with Congress. I expect to see a lot more getting done.

Presidential Politics

September 1, 2012

Mark Twain once said, “It is easier to fool someone, than to convince someone that they have been fooled.”

In the current presidential election season, this seems quite true. I have yet to find someone that is undecided on who they are going to vote for. Perhaps, this is due to the online context in which we live. The “undecides” aren’t poking around either the political blogs, facebook or twitter.

So, it continues. Two more months until election day. ARGGGH. Why does the election season need to be so long. I am really getting tired of it all. Move the question and get on with other important stuff (like football).

On a related issue, I read that Al Gore is suggesting getting rid of the Electoral College. i think he’s right. It might be better if someone else floated the idea. The Electoral College is an anachronism. The net effect is many states get ignored by the candidates and other states have too much influence on the result. Just saying. It probably won’t happen for a long time.

One more thing that crossed my mind. And that is of the press. Disclosure: I read the NY Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, and occasionally USA Today and lastly the “Daily Breeze” (local San Pedro rag). Back in 2008, then VP candidate Sarah Palin, famously answered Katey Couric’s softball question on Today, “What newspapers do you read?” To which she answered (with a deer in the headlights look), “All of them.”

So when I quote an article in one of these publications about a Republican candidate, my Republican friends discount it with the “just a liberal paper”. They lie. So when Fox News reported on Paul Ryan’s speech the other night. Saying it wasn’t quite the truth. Same friends say it was the house liberal on Fox News. Everyone has an excuse for what they believe. I don’t watch Fox News or MSNBC. As i said in the opening paragraph, changing opinions is really hard.

So fact-checkers are ignored when the report doesn’t fit with one’s view of the truth, thus political campaigns seem to be able to lie with impunity. Very sad.

It’s been over a month, since I last watched any TV news. We haven’t got around to get TV service hooked up. Not sure I miss it. Of course, I do miss sports coverage. But the local news here doesn’t tell me how much the Red Sox suck. Football season starts soon so we need to get going on getting an HDTV and DirecTV set up. The only way I am going to watch the New England Patriots is on DirecTV.

One more thought. I read a piece on Condi Rice. It surprised me that Mitt Romney didn’t pick her for the VP slot. Ms Rice would have won over many centrist undecided voters and many women voters. She has the foreign policy chops that neither Romney or Ryan have. I suspect that her views on abortion (Pro Choice) and other women’s issues were the deciding factor. So Mitt picked Paul Ryan to satisfy the right wing base.
I have a question for my online audience. Who is going to play Paul Ryan on SNL?

Ross Douthat

May 31, 2012

Okay most of you don’t know who Ross Douthat is. Douthat is the resident right wing op-ed writer for the NY Times. In yesterday’s Times, Douthat wrote a piece titled “Trumped” Link here.

Just because a sentiment is honest, though, doesn’t mean that it’s correct. “I’m running for office, For Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals” was both a cynical read on Romney’s undocumented landscaper problem and an entirely accurate one. But “I’m running for president, and I need Donald Trump in my corner” manages to be at once cynical and stupid…

I need to get 50.1 percent or more. Most politicians no doubt sigh inside and think pretty much exactly this when they’re embarrassed by a crank whose unqualified support (and with it, the support of other cranks, perhaps in crucial swing states) they feel they need. But Romney can’t help himself: He comes right out and says it.

So it sure sounds like Romney has lost Douthat. How about some of other Republicans who seem to be tepid (I’m being kind here) on Romney. Henry Kissinger (Sec’y of State under Nixon, Colin Powell (GWB Sec’y of State) among others.