Saturday, October 05, 2013

RP's PR and JP's Line By Line Takedown

Just how bad is it for the GOP these days?  It's baaaaad.

Rand Paul placed an op-ed with CNN that starts out with this:

This week, we saw the outrageous spectacle of World War II veterans being told by our government that they couldn't visit their own memorial. These former service members, who stared down the Japanese and the Nazis, were told that they couldn't step through barricades arbitrarily placed in front of their memorial because the government has shut down. Some have speculated that it might have cost more to place the barricades there than to have done nothing at all.
 Regardless, these WWII heroes busted through the barricades and gathered at the memorial anyway. Good for them.

The "vets at monuments" stuff has become the go-to horror story among the right wing about the shutdown, which is understandable to a certain extent.  Let me be the first to say that barricading open-air monuments is ridiculous.

But there are larger issues at stake here.  The government is not functioning and we're talking about barricaded memorials?  That just seems petty in the face of almost a million people thrown out of work just because the Republicans are both weak and obstinate.

Adding to his weak case, Paul continues:
While all of this was happening, millions of Americans got their first taste of just how problematic Obamacare is. The website crashed. When the complaints came, President Barack Obama said that it was just like when Apple unveils a new product -- there are bound to be glitches. I don't recall ever being forced by the government to buy Apple products. I don't recall Apple ever being tone deaf to the complaints of their customers either.
Talk about "Apples" and Oranges!  Being a network engineer, I can tell you right now that technical glitches does not mean the product is "problematic."  The truth is that the website crashed because of high demand, demand that was increased by all the Republican-led states who refused to set-up their own exchanges, pawning it off on the Feds.

And that "forced by the government" stuff?  That went up to the Supreme Court already.  Get over it.

There's more:

Despite popular belief, all members of Congress will be forced to get Obamacare. All Congress and their staff will have to buy their insurance on the Obamacare health exchanges.
 In researching the Obamacare exchanges in Kentucky, I learned that I now had a choice between just two insurance companies, whereas previously I had more than 30 choices.
This is straight up bullshit, people.  No one "will be forced to get Obamacare." You know why?  Because Obamacare isn't a thing.  It's a set of laws.  Yes, there is now a mandate saying that you have to get health insurance.  That's true.  But the exchanges weren't set up to "force" people into Obamacare.  They were set-up to provide health insurance to people who don't have it.

If you can't afford to buy insurance on the open market or don't get it from your employer, then you join the exchange and get it that way.  What Paul is crying about here is that his employer --the House of Representatives-- gets their insurance from one of the exchanges.  There's a good reason for that.  People in Congress have a long and storied history of carving out convenient exemptions for themselves.  They would have no qualms at all about giving themselves gold-plated medical plans and the rest of us the rusty version.

This rule actually prevents that.  Sorry, Rand, that you have to get the same healthplan that everyone else gets, but hey....if you don't like it, resign your seat.  Buy your insurance on the open market and quit bitching.

But my Obamacare problems were small compared to what most Americans faced -- worries about keeping their current plans, the new law itself, what it entails, potential fines, personal privacy and in many cases, even keeping their jobs.
Did you catch that?  Senator Paul starts off his sentence talking about "Obamacare problems" but notice how by the end of it, he's not actually talking about "problems," he's talking about "worries."  These are not the same thing.

That's not to say there won't be problems with Obamacare.  It's just to say that Paul has not identified them.
Like the shutdown itself, Obamacare makes no sense.
Well, you're right about the shutdown, Senator.....

No one wanted a government shutdown. Republicans have continued to offer multiple compromises that would keep the government open. I offered an amendment to keep the government open an additional week while negotiations continued. My proposal was rejected. In fact, all of our proposals were rejected.
 No one wanted a government shutdown?  Dude, do you think we're stupidOf course someone wanted the shutdown, that someone being the Republican party, and it's absolutely amusing to hear all these Republicans politicians and right wing pundits suddenly be conflated with "no one."

As for the "compromises" the Republicans have proposed, they cannot fairly be called "compromises."  Ted Cruz, ringleader of this clown circus, is running around Washington saying, "I wanted a full repeal, so this defund stuff is a compromise."  That's like Al Qaeda saying "I wanted to destroy New York City completely, but I'll 'compromise' and just blow up the Twin Towers."

It defies logic, good faith, established norms, and he's shocked....shocked, I tell you...that these proposals are rejected.  As they should be.
Every attempt to bargain, negotiate or compromise has been rejected by the Democrats. Obama seems to have a "my way or the highway" attitude toward Obamacare. But as the new health care system frustrates nearly everyone, the president insists we must stay the course.
There should be no bargain, Senator.  Obamacare passed both houses of Congress, was signed into law by the president, was found to be Constitutional by the Supreme Court and more than that:  Mitt Romney lost the election last year.

Forget bargaining.  Skip right to the acceptance stage.  Paul and his Republican cohorts are not asking for a compromise.  They are asking to subvert the democratic process itself.  Next time, try this:

Win a fucking election.
Pundits like to talk about dysfunctional government in Washington. This week demonstrated how right they are. Our government is too big, inefficient and incompetent to possibly handle American health care effectively.
Says the Senator whose Daddy was in the House for three decades...Trust him on this.  As a lifelong insider, he knows all about Washington dysfunction.
Why can't this administration get its act together?
Or in other words, Squirrel!
No matter what happens with the budget battle, at some point Washington is going to have to respond to the people and address the monstrous failings of Obamacare.
Maybe so...but as has been ably demonstrated by your colleagues, Senator, Republicans are incapable of this.  I support reforming and fixing any of Obamacare's failings.  The Republicans do not.

Let's just be clear about that, okay?  The Republicans do not support fixing Obamacare.  Rather, they support shutting down the government, ruining the economy, all in service of a symbolic hissy fit.
What Americans were reminded of this week was that Washington is indeed dysfunctional because it tries to take on too many functions. We were reminded that at the highest levels, such as national health care, or smallest, such as overseeing a war memorial, government gets just about everything wrong as a matter of habit.
Oh, here we go...the standard Libertarian liturgy.   (It just hasn't been the same since they stopped doing it in Latin.)
And what do we have to show for this largely dysfunctional government? Annual trillion dollar deficits and a $17 trillion debt than keeps climbing.
So bleak, Senator!  We have a pretty cool country, if you ask me...indeed, one I'd say is worth every penny.
There's no excuse for government shutting down.
You're the one who has refused to vote for a clean budget bill.  What's your excuse?
There's no excuse for this president to reject any and every attempt at compromise.
There's that word again....compromise.  As Inigo Montoya once said, "I do not think it means what you think it means."
Still, perhaps the only thing worse than a temporary government shutdown is a more lasting meltdown and bankruptcy because of politicians who refuse to live within practical means.
Now we're talking about living within our means?  Just got whiplash there...I thought we were talking about website glitches and WWII memorials, but nope, it's back to the old Libertarian liturgy.
What Americans were reminded of this week -- more than anything else -- is that big government doesn't work.
Oh, get off it.  It works just fine.  Well, as long as we elect people who are committed to making it work.  The people of Kentucky did not do that when they elected Rand Paul to the Senate.

Thanks, Kentucky.

On the Shutdown

Some politics to go with all my whining....

“Dealing with terrorists has taught us some things,” said Washington Rep. Jim McDermott after voting no on one of Thursday’s GOP bills. “You can’t deal with ’em. This mess was created by the Republicans for one purpose, and they lost. People in my district are calling in for Obamacare—affordable health care—in large numbers. These guys have lost, and they can’t figure out how to admit it.” Why would House Democrats give away what the Supreme Court and the 2012 electorate didn’t? “You can’t say, OK, you get half of Obamacare—this isn’t a Solomonic decision,” McDermott said. “So we sit here until they figure out they fuckin’ lost.
 That's right, Tea Baggers.  You lost.

You lost when Obamacare passed both houses of Congress.  You lost when Obama signed it into law.  You lost when it was challenged in court and found constitutional by John Roberts himself.  You lost the last election.  And you're going to lose this fight as well.

Friday, October 04, 2013

More Rain

I cannot catch a break*, I swear.

Right now, I have a prehung door propped up against the rough opening that used to be my backdoor.  It has been like that for two days as I have been too exhausted --having stayed up all night working 10 hour shifts-- to actually install the fucking thing.

And now it's raining, with possible snow to follow.

*  Did I mention my identity was stolen last week?  Did I mention I had to cancel a long delayed trip that should have occurred MONTHS ago but was finally set to occur this weekend?   (The less that's said about that debacle, the better;  it was a mild annoyance for the first six months of the year, and has been a source of seething rage ever since.)  I know I mentioned that my house was almost destroyed....

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Dr. Sleep

When I heard Stephen King was writing a sequel to The Shining, I was skeptical.  It seemed unnecessary and almost sacrilegious.  The original stands on its own as one of the great horror novels. 

But I read an excerpt online and to my shock, it was quite good.  So I did something I haven't done in probably ten years:  I bought a brand-new hardcover at retail prices. And then I saw that Audible had the audiobook version and it was read by...wait for it....Will Patton.  I used my monthly credit immediately.

An eagerly anticipated book written by one of my favorite authors read by one of my favorite readers?  SCORE!

It almost makes up for all the shit I've had to deal with this last month.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Not Dead, But Might As Well Be

So I'm back on the night shift and unfortunately I will be stuck with it through the winter.  Consequently, I've been worrying about my mental health.  I've been depressed for what seems like years now, but my last stint on nights had me contemplating suicide.

At first, it was kind of funny.  "Kill yourself?  Don't be ridiculous.  Just get a new job.  Rebuild your life.  It'll be alright."  And for a while, I actually believed it.

Now I realize my problems are deeper than just my employment situation.  Truth is, the job is the most reliable thing in my life.  Friends, family....they are not involved in my life, and from what I can tell, don't even want to be.  The job, on the other hand, is there for me at least four days a week.  So if I think about it, really put it into perspective, the job's not a source of misery or instability.  Indeed, it's the only thing keeping me upright.

Which is so depressing, I'm actually considering therapy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Roof

Today I put the final nail in the roof project.  Last weekend I put up the first layer, 3/4 inch plywood, then a layer of roofing felt, then another layer of 1/2 inch plywood.  I'm sure my method was non-standard, but it's solid.

Yesterday I put down the roofing felt, drip edges, and shingles.  Today I finished up with the flashing.

I have to say, it looks like shit.
But it's rot-free and should not leak until I sell the place.

Of course, now I have a huge mess to clean up...
But I can do the inside of the closet --the drywall, the floor, etc. -- at my leisure.

Next up...the backdoor.