Friday, August 19, 2011

"But in the event that the Congress shall fail..."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.

Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources.

Hand in hand with this we must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land. The task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities. It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, State, and local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical, and unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities which have a definitely public character. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.

Finally, in our progress toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people’s money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.

There are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress in special session detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the several States.

Through this program of action we address ourselves to putting our own national house in order and making income balance outgo. Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are in point of time and necessity secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy. I favor as a practical policy the putting of first things first. I shall spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment, but the emergency at home cannot wait on that accomplishment.

The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in all parts of the United States—a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that the recovery will endure.

In the field of world policy I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others—the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.

If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.

With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.

Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has produced. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations.

It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.

I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.

But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

For the trust reposed in me I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of the national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded and permanent national life.

We do not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Affordable Care Act: Info on PCIP (And Some Whoop Ass Thunder Rumble!)

The article below this garbled prologue was written by the good folks at PCIP.  I can attest to its accuracy, having purchased this coverage beginning with its very first month of availability in July 2010.

If I could add anything, it would be to plead with people who feel a responsibility to accuracy to understand that the PCIP program is in no way a charity or an entitlement, and that it is run in an admirable "tight-ship" sort of way under the auspices of GEHA.  My premium has been lowered TWICE since July 2010.  It started out at well over $400/month and is now $338/month.

I have even drooled with appreciation at my exposure to actual customer-oriented customer service representatives, each of whom quickly and efficiently answered my questions and cut through the inevitable red tape of a brand new insurance program.  It helps, I'd assert, that the precepts under which these customer service types work make efficiency easy, as a common sense of fairness seems to be the guiding principle.

Why *yes*, the ACA was created by mostly the same idiots we watched screw the pooch a few weeks ago in their criminal attack on The World Economy.

Screw the pooch is a particularly vile militaristic expression, popularized by Tom Wolfe in the novel, and subsequent film, The Right Stuff:

But now - surely! - it was so obvious! Grissom had just screwed the pooch! In flight tests, if you did something that stupid, if you destroyed a major prototype through some lame-brain mistake such as hitting the wrong button - you were through! You'd be lucky to end up in Flight Engineering. Oh, it was obvious to everybody at Edwards [Air Force Base] that Grissom had just f*cked it, screwed the pooch, that was all.

For those of you fascinated by my constant dabbling in dirt, I did some research and it turns out that the  original form of screw the pooch was fuck the dog.

Umm, also integral to your understanding of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is the distinction between screw the pooch and fucking the duck, though one might be considered the governmental correlative of the other. You'll see this explained in the commentary to the pertinent Jennifer's History and Stuff blog post:
Custer screwed the poochWasting time is another quite profane term. It's 'fucking the duck'. There is, or was, a difference. Nobody buys the farm from fuckin' the duck.
Well, not so.  Had President Obama fucked the duck and given up on any meaningful health care reform legislation, thereby effectively screwing the pooch,  I would likely have bought the farm, as a result.

I'm just sayin'.

And, of course, on to what *really* matters, which would be my actual reference underlying that trite and overwrought "The World Economy" nonsense: the completely undeserved assault-and-battery on Haddock family equities! The Haddocks, they ARE the world!  I mean, if no one takes care of the Haddocks, how will The Captain take care of me and Fred, as well as tend to the upkeep of the miniature Wimbledon All English Lawn Tennis Clubbery? Not to mention seeing to the hygiene of the garderobes of Marlinspike Hall, so necessary to the success of ManorFest?  Infrastructure, people, infrastructure!  Oh, God, just the thought of next year's percolating strains of moat algae...

{hum, hum, hum}

What? Oh.  Right!

To prove my assertion that Obamacare is not Welfare, here's a screen capture of the details of what *I* have paid out in deductible, co-pay, and out-of-pocket expenses (NOT including pharmacy costs).  So the next time someone yammers about "socialism" and "entitlement" in reference to the watered-down health care bill that the President spearheaded, refer them to my actual costs.

What is it, then, if it isn't some welfare "ripoff" perpetrated by a bunch of whiners?  It's FAIR.  My costs are exorbitant -- not so much this year as in the past three when we were actively attempting to stop the infection in my joints and long bones, but still, they are higher than most people's average medical expenditures.  The difference is not some sense that I am deserving or "entitled," no!  The difference is that I am actively *sick* and also deal with severe disabilities and pain brought on by a progressive neurological disorder -- to such an extent that when I was priced out of my private BCBS coverage, no one would offer me a policy.  That's the foundational requirement for eligibility in PCIP -- to have been so rejected!

Medical plan detail

Close window

In network
Out of network
In network
out of pocket
Out of network
out of pocket
Current medical plan limits$2000.00$3000.00$5950.00$7000.00
Accumulated to date$2000.00$2098.88$5950.00$2199.22

BCBS of Tête de Hergé ended up raising my premium three times in 2009, and finally demanded $1513/month, with a $5000 deductible.  They had also begun to refuse to pay for services that were clearly covered, dragging their feet and making my tending hospitals and physicians request payment many times before moving on to some other delay tactic.

One of my favorites, as well as least-mentioned around here, because it renders me unusually apoplectic, was their assertion that I received not one, but two (and a year apart) policy booklets that had an unfortunate misprint.  That misprint concerned the lifetime cap to my coverage.  My two, year-apart copies both said $5,000,000.  BCBS said, "Au contraire, ma chère!  That was supposed to be $2,000,000." They also scoffed -- in writing, if you can believe their hubris -- at my concern about it, saying that most people wouldn't even have an issue about it, as most people don't max out of 2 million in coverage (negotiated coverage, at that!).  Well, of course, I did.  Max out, that is.  They really do count on us being total hebephrenics.  They do not anticipate things like me turning it all over to the Tête de Hergé Insurance Commissioner... who promptly collected a whole bunch o' "misprinted" policy manuals, including many in their own holdings.


But though they'd lose an occasional battle ("Corporations are people!"), BCBS won the war.  It was highly stressful for all concerned.  It did not exactly improve my health to go a year without coverage, during which time I lost a lot of ground trying to stomp out osteomyelitis. Self pay the $2000+ monthly pharmacy costs for daily meds?  Not likely! Self pay for six weeks of intravenous vanco?  Ya think?  Self pay for removal of a prosthesis and implantation of an antibiotic-laced spacer?  Really?

So... FAIR, to me, is right.  FAIR, to me, is good.  If you must beg to differ, let me know.  We'll talk about it.  Personally, I was profoundly disappointed in the ACA, as the only truly just legislation would have included a "public option."  [Now you may throw words at me!]  To thoroughly confuse you, so long as this country follows the confusion of corporate models with a belief in personal liberty? I am pissed at the people who refuse to pay for coverage but want me to make their health a priority. Who whine and whine about it but don't consider turning off their internet, television, or phone -- who don't move to a more affordable living space -- who consider abusing emergency room services their righteously righteous right, who will pay through the nose for vet services but not "people" assistance. Who eat out on a regular basis, who pay for cigarettes, who put drugs up their nose and in their veins, alcohol in their stomachs and livers, but don't think twice about channeling all that money into health care.  I don't understand people who will not live within their means and are willing to drag others down with them -- children, grandchildren, spouses, live-in lovers -- and us, their neighbors, who end up footing their bills and seeing our own go up as a result.

What truly devastates me?  Watching the mindset passed on to successive generations, watching the belief in the possibility of a better life get actively squashed as a result of a hundred daily decisions to do what is easiest but not best.


Before you have a cow thinking I've betrayed my socialist beliefs -- I've not.  See my original assumption which begins "[t]o thoroughly confuse you, so long as..."  I want that assumption/assertion to change.  But so long as I am stuffed into this ridiculous box of USAmerican denial, yeah, I'm going to go all right wing on your uninsured asses.  Snort!

What's that?  You would if you had a job?  You would if there actually were affordable housing?
My point, exactly.

So "gentle butterfly hugs" all around!  Shazam! [Which is, according to the democratic Wikipedia,  "onomatopoeia for thunder rumble."]

Thunder Rumble!

Please pass this info on to anyone you know who might benefit from it. Thanks!

[If you don't think such people exist in your sphere, well, Towandasnort, shazam, and thunder rumble.]

***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ ***^^^ 

PCIP offers health coverage, even if you have a pre-existing condition
Many people who have been unable to get health insurance can now get coverage through
the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), created under the Affordable Care Act.
PCIP is provided through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and
administered by the Office of Personnel Management through GEHA in more than 20

Choose the plan that fits your needs
PCIP has been improved for 2011, with better premiums, better benefits and a greater
choice of plan options. PCIP enrollees can now choose from three plan options, with
different levels of premiums, calendar year deductibles and prescription copayments. The
HSA Option provides an opportunity to open a Health Savings Account, a tax-exempt
account where you can deposit funds for eligible medical expenses.

Each of the three PCIP plan options provides preventive care (paid at 100%, with no
deductible) when you see an in-network doctor and the doctor indicates a preventive
diagnosis. Included are annual physicals, flu shots, routine mammograms and cancer
screenings. For other care, you will pay a deductible before PCIP pays for your health care
and prescriptions. After you pay the deductible, you will pay 20% of medical costs innetwork.
The maximum you will pay out-of-pocket for covered services in a calendar year is
$5,950 in-network/$7,000 out-of-network. There is no lifetime maximum or cap on the
amount the plan pays for your care.

Each of the three PCIP plan options:

Includes all covered benefits, even to treat a pre-existing condition, immediately from
the date coverage begins.

Covers a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care,
hospital care and prescription drugs.

Does not charge a higher premium to individuals with medical conditions.

Does not base eligibility on income.

Are you eligible?
To be eligible for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, you must be a citizen or
national of the United States or residing in the U.S. legally, have been uninsured for at least
the last six months, and have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage
because of your health condition.

Want more information?
Health care options in all states:
PCIP administered by GEHA:, (800) 220-7898
To apply for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan: (866) 717-5826

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

By Way of Explanation...

This post purports to be about why I have not been posting and how I swear (I swear!) that this lax state of affairs will soon be changing.  But first, this unnecessary remark! --->

It's scary when Karl Rove sounds like the voice of reason.  Apparently, nothing makes right wing assholes drop their feigned rube twang like a bunch of cartoonish evangelical Tea-Partiers making inroads into what had been considered proprietary holdings in bigotry and Social Darwinism.

HALT!  I can't just go around calling people assholes, no matter how much it relieves the crick in my neck, no matter how high, how unerring the degree of my accuracy.  Ever since pronouncing my first ever "fucktard" over the weekend, awareness of my penchant for words best detailed by online Urban Dictionaries in lieu of staid Oxford English ones, has grown.

It's grown uncomfortable.  My speech, my pronouncements, my general demeanor -- all unseemly. In fact, I unleashed what apparently can only be called a Can of Whoop Ass on a tweeting con artist yesterday.  @GR8Vibrations may never be the same.  He'll certainly never claim that Vibration Exercise is a match made 
in heaven for CRPS-sufferers again.  I mean, really, what a stupid claim, given the degree of allodynia and hyperalgesia with which we deal. Nonstop.  All the time.  Every God-damned minute of every freaking day. 
I know that on a good day there is nothing I'd rather do than purposely inflict vibration on the ice cold, edematous, 9-out-of-10-on-the-pain-scale pieces of raw meat that extend from the nubs of my former fine, fine legs.

@GR*Vibrations:  We see this condition a lot have been successful treating it with Physical Therapy and Vibration Exercise.

What a goober. "We see this condition a lot," my sweet ass.  It's a phrase he tweets throughout the day to a selected group of sufferers. Before turning it on the wife of a man with CRPS who was "out of treatment options," this Pimple on the Butt of Humanity was working the Parkinson's Disease Twitter lunch crowd.

"Now Serving 2 Locations! Whole Body Vibration As Seen on 'The Doctors' with Fran Drescher!!!"

Well, this heightened, tightened insensitivity just isn't going to work, is it?  Not on Strategists, Ad Men and Women, ConPersons, Theoreticians, Kingmakers, Queenmakers, Lying Liars, Birthers, Gomers, Policy Wonks, Assholes... whatever the taxonomic home in which you wish to lodge them, these folks are spinning their realities as fast as they can, and who am I to interfere?

I mean, what pleasure do I get from seeing a Bush-era POS like Karl Rove squirm midst the threat of tea-partier spoilers?  Am I so sadistic as to enjoy the reflexive twitches of a fat and dying political breed animal, peering out at the world from behind Waldo geek chic eyeglasses?

I guess I am even more of sicko than anyone knew.  Except Fred.  And Bianca.  Plus a certain wise-acre faction within the Domestic Staff.  

Anyway (my favorite segue!) -- I am sorry not to have posted much of late.  I'm in horrible pain and spend lots of time dealing with spasms -- by screaming, mostly.  And attacking indiscriminately, via handy social media, the type of people who usually target me.  It looks like the infection in my left shoulder prosthesis is back with vengeance, and that, coupled with the failure of my recent flirtation with subanesthetic ketamine infusions to cure or even lower my pain levels from CRPS, has me in something of a personal crisis.

You know, I ask myself questions like:  "Why do you keep trying, when everything is screaming at you to give up, to lay down and die?  Hmmm? Why?"

I have started asking myself, as well, "Whycome?  Whycome?" I think that "whycome" sounds cute.  It's kind of tsunami code for "cute disaster," or  美しい災害-

My legs are so swollen that lymphatic fluid is being squeezed out of my famous third spaces.  My vision is changing so rapidly from uncontrolled glaucoma that I frequently scream when my eyes pop open in the dark and the ceiling fan appears to be 6 inches from my face... and Karl Rove.  That's right, my ceiling fan, fat and round and spinning, appears to me at night as a menacing Karl Rove.'

I suspect that I'm also flirting with kidney failure -- No, that's way too dramatic! It is technically renal insufficiency.  My doctor worries about it, I know, especially since I have become addicted to ibuprofen.  It's the only thing that will break my daily fevers.  I alternate between low-dose methadone (only 10 mg a day now, ever since the great Jump Off experiment in May/June), Percocet (with acetaminophen), and ibuprofen. At least now I stay under 1600 mg a day.

I have the beginnings of 12 good posts in my Draft file.  Some are actually within shouting distance of a refined finish.  In each and every instance, a fierce attack of spasticity murdered the writing impulse and the resultant high doses of Baclofen and tizanidine left me without any discernible muscle tone.

That's what I said -- no discernible muscle town.  Wanna make something of it?  Wanna poke fun at my essential amoeba-ness?

I did not think so.

I also have in mind, Dear Reader, essays about things that speak to our common human condition.

Like the silliness of crossword puzzles.  I mean, is "a college in North Carolina" ever anything but Elon?  Is a literary monogram, or literary initials, ever anything but either TSE or EAP?  It's silly.  I do about three short puzzles a day and these two examples are but the tip of my iceberg.

Like more observations on what it is like to be the spouse of someone with a severe case of ADHD, with a side serving of PTSD.  Even just a list of the things that he claims he will do "tomorrow" would relieve some of the pressure and hammering in mine brain.

Like detailing the contents of the last Gift Box I received from Brother-Unit Tumbleweed. Full of music and some guides to the Canyon.  (He finally wrote me a few days back, which was a relief.  If you are following that saga...)

And more cats.  Always more cats.  Buddy the Kitten has learned how to turn door knobs, Marmy is pooping outside the litter boxes, and Dobby now delivers well-timed bites to Buddy's ears, in a valiant effort to appear stronger, smarter, faster.

"Go, Dobby, Go," we cry!

There are also some vaguely political posts in the works, and I am really sorry about that.

Well, there goes my right foot, and since the scream is about to climb backwards out of my mouth, leading with a wide open vowel, I'll leave you now, hungry and aching for more.  You, I mean.  You're hungry and aching for more.