Saturday, June 05, 2004

I come not to praise Reagan, but to bury him 

An old man, broken with the storms of state
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;
Give him a little earth for charity.
--Shakespeare, Henry VIII, Act IV, Scene 2, l. 22

Garrison Keillor eulogized Richard Nixon in the foregoing words a decade ago, and I think they are equally applicable now to Ronald Reagan, who died today.

Read the rest at Musing's musings.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Was Bill Cosby Right, Wrong or Both? 

SoonerThought thinks it over. Excerpt:

In retrospect, I know that Cosby's observations about parents who choose not to play a role in their own childrens' lives is a real problem--one that is not always a direct consequence of institutionalized racism and ignorance. Often, it is parents with a chip on their shoulder or a monkey on their back, aggravated by a lack of education, initiative and/or crippling substance abuse problems.

Instead of trying to understand Cosby's meaning about 50% of the poor, the focus was that a black millionaire was attacking his own people for being poor.

It’s good to be the king 

George Bush’s life has been one of privilege and special favors. Rules are for other people. The coming election is no change.

When the Republican Party announced that it would be holding the latest nominating convention in history so that Bush could capitalize on the deaths of 3000 people, they inadvertently put themselves beyond the filing deadline for eight states. None of those states could legally grant Bush (or the Republican Party) a place on the ballot if they haven’t nominated a candidate by that date. No problem, all eight states rushed to change their laws for George Bush’s convenience.

Except Illinois. They too tried to change their laws for George Bush’s convenience, but they didn’t rush. Now the legislature has convened without passing the necessary change to their election law. Still no problem. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, says, "President Bush has to be on the ballot." Blagojevich will call the Democratic majority legislature into special session—at a cost of how many million dollars—just so they can pass a special law for Bush.

Okay maybe I’m out of line saying they are making an improper special case for George Bush. I’m sure they’d make the same effort if it were the Libertarian candidate needing an extension of the filing deadline in order to stage a tasteless campaign stunt. Or the Green candidate. Or the Socialist Workers’ Party candidate.

Crossposted at archy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Louder: I can't hear you! 

Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe the fat lady has started singing: and it's a Requiem for the Shrub. This mo-fo is going down!

Item 1. CBS News, in an exclusive report tonight, announced that Commander Codpiece had put a high-powered Washington lawyer on "hot standby," in case he's called to testify before the grand jury investigating the outing of Valerie Plame. Although CBS was careful to get in the disclaimer that it's highly unlikely Emperor Chimpy knew who leaked Plame's identity to Robert Novak, or even that it had occurred, until it was announced in public. But they also made the obvious point that Bush's retaining counsel, even pre-emptively, had put this scandal back at center stage. Yesterday, the Plame matter was about as dead as last week's fish. Today, it's not only got legs, it's got powered 10-kilometer boots. This one isn't going away anytime soon--and the media have noticed. Nothing gets a reporter going like being scooped by another network.

(I'm still trying to find a transcript or a link to this story on CBS News' site. So far, no luck. And nobody else seems to have it, either.)

Read the rest at Musing's Musings.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Prescription Drug Scam 

I'm not allowed to tell you why, but I am an expert on the new prescription drug discount cards. There is a lot of incorrect information floating around out there. I found this Questions and Answers story today that is full of errors.
Who is eligible?

Anyone enrolled in Medicare is eligible for one of the new Medicare-approved discount prescription-drug cards.
Not true. To be eligible you must be enrolled in Medicare part A and/or B AND you cannot be receiving any prescription drug coverage from your state Medicaid program.
What do the cards do?

Medicare officials say the cards will offer savings ranging from 16 percent to 30 percent, on average, off the retail price of brand-name drugs. Larger discounts are available by ordering drugs through a card sponsor's mail-order pharmacy or by buying generic drugs.
Mail-order isn't always cheaper. It depends on the specific drugs and the card you select.
Are there special benefits for low-income Americans?

Yes. If your monthly income for 2004 does not exceed $1,047 if you are single or $1,404 if you are married, you might qualify for a $600 credit on your discount card to subsidize the purchase of prescription drugs.
It's actually $1,406 if you are married. You also cannot qualify for the credit if you are receiving any prescription drug coverage from other non-medigap insurance policies.
Are there fees involved?

Yes. Card sponsors can charge up to $30 for an enrollment fee. Low-income Medicare beneficiaries who get the $600 credit must pay a co-payment -- 5 percent or 10 percent, depending on income -- each time they make a drug purchase using the subsidy.
That's 5% or 10% until the $600 credit is gone. The $600 credit is tricky. Imagine for a moment that you qualify for the $600 credit. You are taking Lipitor for your high cholesterol. The discounted price of the drug is $100 for a 30 day supply. The pharmacy will charge you $5 for the drugs and charge the remaining $95 to the $600 credit. Once that credit is used up, you will go back to paying $100. A person taking only a few drugs can use their $600 credit in one trip to the pharmacy.
Can I switch cards whenever I want?

No. Medicare regulations stipulate that seniors who choose a card must use that card the rest of the year. Seniors may choose a different card during an open enrollment period from mid-November through mid-December, but they can't begin using the new card until 2005.
What it fails to mention is that the card companies can change their drug prices every seven days with no warning to or recourse for the beneficiary.

The program is flawed. The majority of people will receive little or no benefit from the program.

I'm happy to help anyone who needs help sorting through the mess of the program. Contact me if you or someone you know is lost or confused.

(Cross posted from It's Craptastic!)

Monday, May 31, 2004

Liberals are patriots, too! 

In short, patriotism is a hell of a lot more than getting a lump in one's throat at the Vietnam War Memorial, or when looking at the pictures of marble tombstones in neat white rows stretching to the horizon behind an ever-shrinking group of aging veterans at successive celebrations of the D-Day landings. Being a patriot is not easy, and it's not a part-time job, either. It means making a loud, obnoxious nuisance of myself in an effort to run those miserable miscreants of ShrubCo out of the offices to which they were never entitled and which they hold by chicanery and crookery (if I may coin a new word). It means stading four-square for the noble principles on which our government and our nation were founded, and on bringing confusion (if not ruin) to the enemies of those principles, even if those enemies happen to be sitting temporarily in the seat of power. It means getting my arse out to vote in every election for which I'm eligible. It means paying my taxes. It means serving on jury duty if I'm called. It means writing or calling my elected officials and giving them a piece of my mind when I think they're screwing up. It means standing at the parade and screaming that Emperor Chimpy has no clothes. It means being forever vigilant to see that neither ShrubCo nor anyone else is able to sneak an initiative in by the back way to chip away at the Constitution I revere, even if they drape themselves in the flag to do it.

I am a liberal. And I'm goddamn proud to be an American patriot. The two are not incompatible, I promise: no matter how often or how loudly the Goopers tell you differently.

(Read the rest at Musing's Musings.)

Who Supports Kerry? Everyone! 

Not long ago, I received an email from Doug asking me to publicize a 'Conservatives for Kerry' site. Doug believes we need to get out the word that these folks exist, and he's right. 'Reagan Democrats' were a powerful force for Reagan in the 80's: if we can push the 'Kerry Republicans' meme into public consciousness, then it's pretty much all over for Bush.

So, including the site Doug mentioned, we have:

All of these sites appear to be run by sincere folks, most of whom have historically been Republican or independent, who now oppose Bush's 're'-election. Except for the last one. How did that get up there?

By the way, it's also worth mentioning a few notable individuals who have crossed party lines either to support Kerry or oppose Bush:

  • Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, whose first husband was a Republican senator from Pennsylvania (John Heinz), and who retained her Republican party affiliation through the first 8 years of marriage to Kerry, switching just last year.
  • Mike Mahler and Jim Rassmann, both Vietnam vets and lifelong Republicans, who are working on Kerry's campaign. Kerry saved Rassmann's life in Vietnam.
  • Rand Beers, one of many chiefs of counter-terrorism during Bush's first term, who signed on to Kerry's campaign immediately upon resigning.

There's every reason to believe this handful of crossover groups/individuals is just the beginning.

Veterans Aren't Just Pawns, Mr. President, They Are People 

This Memorial Day, I like to remind others (I wish I could say it to our "president") that veterans are more than just faceless names on gravestones. They are people--and the reckless use of our soldiers for baseless, political aims cheapens their sacrifice. From Simon Templar, my personal blog.

--Alex, Editor of SoonerThought:

From pretending we had our own radio show as we clung on for dear life in the back of the RV as Grandma hurtled through the Ozarks, to spending hours at Thanksgiving and Christmastime talking of cowboys, palindromes, corny jokes, magic tricks, coats of arms, unicorns, and battleships; Grandpa Rob ignited my interest in the wonders of history, scholarship and imagination.

A meticulous researcher, Grandpa Rob wove his works of fiction into the fabric of our history, and he delighted in talking about the plots of his latest work in progress. My mother fondly recalls when Grandpa Rob was working on the book Red River Angel how he excitedly stood up and acted out scenes from the book for them, even down to how the fight scenes were choreographed.

Perhaps his greatest quality was that he listened. The petty problems of a kid—which to most adults are trivial when compared with the day-to-day struggle of work and bills—were not trivial to him.