To: Health Insurance Reform Opponents

August 12, 2009

By Yul

Obama has stumbled into a vortex of insanity while battling the forces of greed in healthcare. To anyone who has, or plans to, act up at town hall meetings, let’s talk about you for a minute…

Since you don’t think anybody needs affordable health insurance, I’m guessing you already have it yourself. And you got it at work. And your employer negotiated with a few insurance companies, without any help from you, to get the best deal. Then it was handed to you.

You had no say in picking your insurer. Oh, sure, you may have been given a couple of choices, but your employer made the choices.

Lots of companies choose HMOs because they’re cheaper, but only if you see doctors in the network. So you don’t really get to choose any doctor without paying through the nose out-of-network.

Since your employer probably subsidizes your premium to keep you from going into sticker shock, you mooch off someone else to avoid paying full price.

If you’re young and healthy, you may not realize this yet, but your insurance doesn’t cover everything. Just wait until you get real sick and your doctor recommends some promising, yet still experimental, treatment that could probably save your life. Your insurer will probably deny the claim — ration your care.

So what’s your beef with Obama trying to help others get decent healthcare through the government without all the games? Unlike you, they’d pay for it entirely themselves, and insurance companies wouldn’t have power over life or death.

You must be a special kind of stupid if you think anybody in Washington is cooking up “Death Panels” or planning to euthanize old people. Those ideas might have floated in the PREVIOUS administration, when life was cheap. Remember? It’s no coincidence that the people spreading these incredible lies worshipped the last administration.

Unless you have dealt directly with an insurance company to buy your own policy, and you pay for it entirely on your own, you have no clue what this debate is all about. You’re a sheep taking marching orders from liars and revealing yourself to be ignorant, selfish, and cruel.

In the end, you won’t win. Evil never does. This fix needs to happen.


Verizon Strikes Again, Comcast Strikes Out

August 11, 2009

By Karen

After more “rate creep” by Comcast to almost $90/month for plain vanilla cable, Verizon bundled FIOS phone and TV for a few bucks more than I now pay for phone alone.

Verizon needs to work on their “Wait from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for us to show up” policy, but the FIOS TV installation August 10 was seamless, thanks to Mike, a friendly technician from Indiana.

But on my phones, Verizon screwed up in classic mode. I just wanted my dedicated fax line merged into my main line with distinctive ring, retaining the fax number.

No problem, Verizon said. We’ll disconnect the fax line August 10, and reconnect it as distinctive ring August 11. They said it involved another service call, so I’d have to spend a second day waiting between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

No so, said Mike. That’s a remote switch. He even rearranged my phone jacks and reprogrammed my fax so I’d be ready. Then he called Verizon to confirm the phone work, and they told him my fax line had been disconnected since August 4.

WTF?

He gave me a number to call and verify the phone work, and that’s when things got interesting.

The first Verizon rep kept me on hold for half an hour before telling me I couldn’t keep my fax number, even though it was still available.

So I asked to be bumped up and got a nice woman who said I could keep my fax number. She even offered to switch it to distinctive ring on the spot, but the work order for August 11 was apparently set in concrete.

I just checked it, and my fax line works, so the switch was made. There’s just this little nagging mystery of why that line was disconnected a week early.

Verizon FIOS TV leaves Comcast in the dust. I never knew my TV could have such a clear, crisp picture. FIOS lets you access Internet information with widgets, even though I have Clearwire Internet. Accessing On Demand takes mere seconds. And Verizon threw in some free HBO so I can catch up on Season 2 of True Blood.

Superior TV for $80 less, but there are tradeoffs. We’ve lost our beloved horse racing channel, and I can no longer fax and talk on the phone simultaneously. But to dump Comcast, it’s worth it.


Overdue For My Next Bourdain Fix

August 10, 2009

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain does San Francisco on No Reservations tonight, and I better not miss it like last week’s Street Food special. My DVD recorder had a malfunction.

Even worse, Verizon comes today to switch my TV to FIOS (Your latest rate increase was your last, Comcast!), and Verizon better not screw it up. Both episodes are airing tonight back-to-back and if I don’t capture them, life won’t be worth living.

Just kidding!

Lots of advance buzz on San Fran. Ingrid at Room214 says Tony stuffs his face with interesting things non-stop, and Sand Dollar Adventures has a few words about Ingrid.

SFoodie ran a “Why I Love Bourdain” essay contest last week. I liked this winning entry, which claims that Tony doesn’t “exotify” food. A vegetarian reveals how Bourdain converted him with an oyster. Another fan calls Tony the “anti-celebrity chef.” Excellent description. And here’s a poem.

An SF bartender relates his conversation with Bourdain in — where else? — a bar.

Remember when Cats Working reader Petunia told us she thought Tony is doing voiceovers for Glad storage containers? I haven’t seen the ad yet, and no one has confirmed it, but now another one has surfaced — in Singapore. The Certified Pinoy Blogger wonders if Bourdain is really endorsing chicken rice or if someone’s using his likeness without permission.

And remember all the flak over the Rust Belt episode dissing Baltimore and Buffalo? Well, ModelD offers some tweets on Bourdain’s visit to Detroit and there’s not one kvetch about how he done ‘em wrong.

Scott D Parker in Houston reveals sort of a man-crush on Bourdain by concocting his own version of, “I travel. I write. I eat. And I’m hungry for more.”

Here’s an off-the-wall item: Variety compares Bourdain to fellow reality series Emmy nominees, comedian Kathy Griffin and Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, and they each give their theories on their success.

And even weirder, Sandra Lee would like to have Tony over for meat and potatoes and cocktails.


Jon and Kate: Who the &$*%! Cares?

August 5, 2009

By Cole

OK, maybe I was out of touch in the joint (my former home, a no-kill shelter), but now that I have more access to TV, I keep seeing these stories about Jon and Kate and wonder why.

In case you’ve been living on Jupiter, Jon and Kate are probably getting a divorce.

At first, I thought they were just some D-list actors I’d never heard of, but they refused to go away. It didn’t take much digging (I Googled “Jon Kate” and got 34.1 million hits) to learn they’re a mixed-race pair of irresponsible breeders, famous only for having a litter of 8.

Eight kids who enabled Jon and Kate to cash in by having TLC put cameras up everybody’s butt. And now these wonderful, doting parents are splitting up so their kids will grow up ping-ponging between them — and the cameras are still rolling.

Touching, isn’t it?

I haven’t watched one minute of what’s got to be the most pathetic excuse for “entertainment” ever, but millions of people have. Why? Aren’t your own families interesting enough? And why didn’t TLC immediately pull the plug when this mob ceased being a real family? Now all they’ve got is a pack of sad, confused kids led by a pair of attention-hungry humans who need to be neutered and spayed before they find new breeding partners and mate again.

In my book, these two are Non and VaKate, they’re lowering the IQ of television into minus numbers, and they deserve to be cast back into obscurity.


Fabulous Filly Beats the Boys Again

August 4, 2009

By Adele

If there’s one thing a cat respects, it’s speed. On August 2, Rachel Alexandra outran the Belmont Stakes winner, Summer Bird, in the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Calvin Borel's along for the ride. (Photo - Denver for News)

Calvin Borel's along for the ride. (Photo - Denver for News)

Let’s see… Mine that Bird won the Kentucky Derby, which Rachel didn’t enter. Then Rachel beat Mine in the Preakness.

Summer Bird won the Belmont, which Rachel didn’t enter. Then Rachel beat Summer in the Haskell — by 6 lengths.

So she’s outclassed the other two Triple Crown race winners and won the Preakness herself. I think by default that makes Rachel Alexandra the unofficial Triple Crown queen.

The Haskell was Rachel’s 8th win in a row, and her second victory over boys. The track was mud soup, but Rachel ran it in 1:47:21, just a hair below the Haskell record.

Racing against other fillies, Rachel has won by as much as 20 ¼ lengths. And when she won the Mother Goose Stakes by 19 ¼ lengths, she broke the record set by Ruffian.

So what’s next for the phenomenal filly? Rachel won’t be racing against the only other female in her league, 5-year-old Zenyatta, in the Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita in November because Rachel’s never done artificial turf. But she may turn up to ruin the boys’ day again at the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on September 5.

I can hardly wait.


Sandra Lee Meets Bourdain, Lets Him Live

August 3, 2009

By Karen

No Reservations tonight is a special on street food that sounds like a compilation of sweepings from the cutting room floor. Sort of a cinematic version of Bourdain’s book, The Nasty Bits. Not that I’m complaining. Tony seems most at home eating mystery meat prepared by some wizened, toothless crone who’s been cooking outdoors for decades on a grill that’s never been sullied by soap and water.

In her advance buzz e-mail, Ingrid from Room214 mentioned Ireland, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Mexico, and New York, so we’re in for a world tour. Maybe some of the old footage will provide a glimpse of Tony’s former snark. He’s been too mellow lately.

No so Bourdain’s critics. Dave Zurawik, TV critic for The Baltimore Sun, hated the Rust Belt episode, and the Bourdain bashers came out in force to comment on his post.

Zurawik lambasted Bourdain further on radio at Midday with Dan Rodricks. Scroll down to July 27-30, 1:00-2:00 p.m. to listen.

Buffalo Chow wasn’t thrilled with Bourdain’s visit there, either.

Hot Buffalo provides several clips from the Rust Belt episode without editorializing.

Bourdain blogged his own impressions of the episode.

Too much negative buzz in the blogosphere about Bourdain’s alleged superficial handling of Baltimore and Buffalo to link to here, much of it redundant. Seems nobody liked him saying their city is “bleeped up.”

Perhaps not so oddly, I don’t think I saw a bad word about his treatment of Detroit. After the meltdown of the auto industry, maybe they were grateful for any empathetic visitor.

On July 30, Tony was in New York City attending the premiere of Julie & Julia. Epicurious mentions his “female companion” had a foreign accent. Found a photo in this gallery (#9), and it was Ottavia.

SFoodie wrote a first-hand account of helping Tony find a good taco truck in the upcoming San Francisco episode. SFoodie is also running a contest to attend a view party when the San Francisco episode airs on August 10. All you have to do is write in 60 words or less why you love Anthony Bourdain. The contest ends at midnight tonight (which I assume is 3 a.m. August 4 on the East Coast.)

UPDATE: Bourdain confirmed on his blog my comments about the Street Food episode, that he attended the Julie & Julia premiere with his wife — and they met Sandra Lee.

What I found most shocking was that Sandra Lee dates Andrew Cuomo, New York state’s attorney general.


Media Glorifies, Personifies Stupidity in Gates Arrest

August 1, 2009

By Yul

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and police sergeant James Crowley have gotten their free White House tour and a beer with President Obama and VP Biden — thanks to the media making them big celebrities because Obama stated off the cuff in front of reporters that the police “acted stupidly” in arresting Gates without cause.

As someone who’s been profiled all my life (“Oooh, stay away from that black cat. He’s bad luck!”), I agree with Obama. But contrary to what the media wants us to believe, color has nothing to do with this.

Gates came home from a trip and found his front door swollen and jammed shut, so he got another guy to help him unstick it. The neighborhood had had some burglaries, so someone who didn’t know Gates saw apparent burglaring and called police.

Police quickly responded. It doesn’t matter how Gates greeted them. As soon as officer Crowley realized the “burglar” owned the house, he should have backed down the steps saying, “Just doing my job. Glad your home is safe. Have a nice day,” and gone off in search of a real criminal.

Instead, Crowley went all macho-cop, handcuffed Gates, and took him in. Crowley has not apologized for his outrageous behavior. I guess Crowley forgets that Gates’ taxes pay Crowley’s salary, and that police are supposed to be public servants, not public bullies, to law-abiding citizens.

If Obama hadn’t said anything, this story would have blown over in a day or so, but the man’s entitled to his opinions and learns every day the hard way that the press can’t be trusted with them.

There’s plenty of stupid to go around here, but it’s epitomized by morons like Glenn Beck, calling Obama a racist.

Like Michael Jackson’s death last month, the media pounces on whatever it takes to divert public attention from matters requiring real thought, like war, the economy, and healthcare.

No, let’s keep ‘em all fixated on skin color — or, in Jackson’s case, lack of it — instead. It’s easier. No messy facts to juggle.

And the public takes the bait every time. How stupid can humans get?


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