Month: May 2009

Single Payer health care on Bill Moyers Journal

Check out Bill Moyers Journal on health care in the U.S.

Watch the video following the one linked with Public Citizen’s Dr. Sidney Wolfe and Physicians for a National Health Program’s Dr. David Himmelstein. They make a good point, while the insurance industry would have you believe that a nationalized single payer system would limit choice, the reverse is actually true. In Canada for example there are more single doctor practices than anywhere in the U.S.

There are other lies and fibs told by the insurance industry too. For example, that care would be rationed, or that there would be long waiting lines. Been to a hospital ER lately, or tried to book an appointment with a new doctor? That’s right, you wait and wait, and wait some more.

It isn’t just the greed of the insurance industry either, but a whole new class of company that sprung up to handle the complicated billing for doctors and practitioners. I found out just how greedy and complicit the billing companies were when I helped out a bit in the case of the State of Rhode Island v. Dr. Judge. I recall a meeting with the billing company representatives about obtaining data about the doctors billing practices. The company swore up and down that they didn’t have the data, that they only kept a small window of data (3 months) on billing. You could smell the rat from a mile away.

They’re brought along their I.T. guy. One of the thing I learned years ago is that I can tell when someone is lying to me, I get a good read on people right away. And I could tell this guy was telling a lie but wasn’t comfortable with it.

Couple years later I’m in a new state agency and we’re hiring a system support guy. Whose resume comes in but the guy who was the I.T. director for the billing company. He had all the qualifications so we brought him in for an interview. At one point he and I got to talking about the Judge case. He of course was being told to lie by the management of the billing company. The billing company knew full well what the doctor was doing yet never said a word because they were making a profit!

One thing that is a constant in the video though. Any industry be it banking, health care, etc. cannot be allowed to self-regulate. That’s sort of akin to the fox guarding the chicken coop. There are some things governments are very good at, regulation being one of them.

The question remains though. What do we do with all the people that would lose their jobs if we dismantled the insurance and billing systems we have now? Not really my concern but that’s got to be a significant number of people.

But don’t get me wrong, I support single payer health care. It’ll be a hard and disruptive change but it is something we nee to do in order to avoid the ultimate end of total and complete economic bankruptcy. We’re barely surviving the bank debacle, we won’t survive the health care debacle.

Sustainability In Business

Very interesting. Anderson demolishes the arguments that going green would be too expensive. I say move these principles into the auto manufacturing segment. That is a very petrochemical and energy intensive business.

Then move into other industries like clothing, etc. A lot of is the recycling component. So make cars that are easy to recycle. Same with clothing.

Maybe then we can put a dent in our energy usage and improve the environment for all of us.

Overheard at the Marriage Equality Hearing in RI

BTB, I completely spaced on this. I heard Chris Plante, Director of NOM Rhode Island say to Cassandra Ormiston. To paraphrase “Pay me enough money and I’ll stop working for the opposition.”

This exposes an unseemly side of NOM, that it’s about the money. So while I’m on the topic let me ask, who is funding all this NOM activity?

And in other news, the local rag, the Providence Journal had an article that the perennial crank Chris Young is thinking of running for mayor of Providence. He’d be running against the incumbent mayor David Cicilline.

So I posted a comment saying that he was crazy, that I called him a bigot at the hearing. ProJo in its infinite wisdom deleted the post. I reposted that if ProJo wants to play the game, I know about a few stories they’ve spun that I’d love to expose.

No marriage equality in RI this year

With Governor Lynch of New Hampshire now saying he’ll sign the bill if the religious protections are enhanced I am thoroughly frustrated and bordering on angry with the legislature in Rhode Island.

Condition: {Sponsor: Handy} {List Bills: 5744}

House Bill No.5744
BY Handy, Fox, Ajello, Ferri, Rice M
(would broaden the definition of persons eligible to marry to include persons of the same gender. Also provide that members of the clergy would not be required to officiate at any particular marriage )
02/26/2009 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
05/13/2009 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
05/13/2009 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

Total Bills:1

Legislative Data System Room 1 05/15/2009
State House, Providence, Rhode Island 12:40 PM

What do they have to lose? I want to start a PAC, call it the Marriage Equality PAC and make sure everyone who has obstructed us in our quest for equal rights loses in the next election cycle. Make the sons of bitches pay for denying our rights.

And what precisely do they mean by “Held for further study” other than the obvious meaning that we don’t matter? Perhaps they’re taking up Angela Marzalis invitation:

“Please join us for our family meals. Come with us on our walks, and join us at our playgroup. Sit with us while we read Goodnight Moon and rock our daughter to sleep at night. And then, after that, look me in the eye and tell me that my family is not worthy of equal protection under the law.”

Nah, they’re just kowtowing to lame duck speaker William Murphy. Mr. Murphy I have a message for you:

My Foot in Your Ass
My Foot in Your Ass

That’s right Mr. Murphy, I’m tired of your games.

RI Marriage Equality Hearing (05/13/2009)

Well, another hearing. This time it was on House Bill 5744, and Act Relating to Marriage, which would have granted RI’ers true equality. As is usually the case, we supporters of the bill left the chamber empty handed.

Instead we got the usual treatment. I want to publicly thank our supporters on the committee. We know you dislike doing this year after year like we do.

That’s why I emailed all of them tell them I’d like to see a full vote on the bill by weeks end.

It really isn’t worth talking about the bigots anymore. After four different hearings I have now heard it all. Did get a handshake from the Rev. John Codega. I guess we’re at the point where we can agree to disagree on the issue.

The notable of the evening, but entirely predictable was the ejection of Chris Young. I fear I may have provoked part of it. Young was again talking out of turn and I don’t remember what he said, I just remember it evoked visceral reaction from me and I shouted across the room “That’s because you’re bigot!”. Shortly thereafter he was still mouthing off and they ejected him just before 9PM.

My testimony was:

“You can always tell when the opposition is losing a battle, the volume goes up and the logic level goes down.” I then talked about the religious issues and how the bill doesn’t change the definition of marriage, it only changes the prerequisites for marriage, otherwise the rights and benefits conferred by marriage remain the same. I then went on to briefly analyze the bill, noting that only a few sentences made changes to the prerequisite while several paragraphs were there to protect religious freedom. I then went on to quote that famous Einstein line, “Repeating the same action over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”

Cassandra Ormiston did preview a new group called Equality Rising and if I’m right, this will be the litigious side in favor of marriage equality. She did mention in her testimony that she may just file a discrimination suit against the state. That would be spectacular.

But even the testimony from the Marriage Equality RI people (Wendy, Kelly, Carol, and Kathy) was fairly strident and rightfully so since we’ve waited so very long for true equality in Rhode Island.

It’s going to happen sooner or later in Rhode Island and I have to ask the question, does the legislature really want to be known as the ones that were the biggest impediment to true equality. I’m looking right at you Speaker Murphy.

Some of the other bat shit crazy stuff was when the religious nuts started loudly preaching to Mr. Gay Rhode Island. I couldn’t make out much of it since it seemed to be a mixture of English/Latin and something else.

Week 2 What is Marriage For Discussion group

This evening was the 2nd and final discussion on the E.J. Graff book “What is Marriage For”.

Attendance this evening was myself, Richard, Don, Brian, Kathy, Angela and Jack. The latter is the couple that testified at the Senate hearing and had some great things to say. They consider themselves a trans couple. Unfortunately Carol couldn’t make it this evening.

Tonight was a more open discussion. We touched on many topics in the book from the real argument to our own families, marriage withing group, etc.

But I thought one passage from the book was very relevant as it touched on points that one or another of us have made in the last two weeks.

It’s on page 223:

In other words, much of the fight over same-sex marriage is a fight-by-proxy over one of the last strongholds of gender supremacy: the idea that a man rules a woman, that a woman without a man is missing something essential, that a man who seeks another man is degrading himself by turning into a woman.

This touched off a tangential discussion about gender. Basically, gender is a cluster fuck.

It’s sad that this is the last week though. I will see Richard and Don at the meetings over the next few nights.

And my suggestion that we march on the Diocese met with agreement. Oh boy!

Troppe Informazioni Martedì Numero Uno e Cento Ottanta Sei (TMI #186)

Haven’t done a TMI in a while because quite honestly the questions have to speak to me. This one speaks to me.

1. Which traits from your parents do you see in yourself?

The stubborn, confrontational part is definitely from my father. The passion for civil rights was my mother. I think the intelligence comes more from my mother than my father. He’s come out with some things that gave me true WTF moments.

2. Which traits from you/your partner do you see in your children (if you don’t have kids, which would you like to see)?

I’d like to see a child of mine know that their elected representatives are there to serve them, not corporations and monied parties. I’d like that child to be curious about the world. Hopefully my brains and the SO’s artistic talent. That would be nice.

3. How did you get the birds-and-bees talk?

Not in so many words. Thankfully the Catholic schools I attended weren’t yet polluted by the likes of JP II and now Benny the Rat. So we had human sexuality classes. When my father decided to approach it I told him that chances were I now knew more than he did and rest assured, I knew about contraceptives, et al.

I think he was actually relieved that he didn’t have to talk about it.

4. What was your favorite childhood book?

I didn’t have a favorite, I loved them all. Somehow I came into possession of a series of Hardy Boys books. Those were interesting except my dirty little mind, well, lets just say I always wanted to be in a sandwich arrangement with the brothers. Sorry if I ruined it for anybody.

5. What is your favorite piece of erotic literature?

Believe it or not, I don’t do erotic literature. I’m much more visual than that. Give me the pictures and videos.

Bonus: What is the one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself as a child?

Relax, being gay isn’t such a bad thing. Oh yes, and don’t be so fucking clueless when a boy shows interest.

Double Bonus: If your life were a book or movie, what would the title be?

The Extraordinary Enigma.

Seth MacFarlane on Real Time

The Muslim guy makes an interesting point though. To paraphrase he says “Religion doesn’t make you a bigot, you’re just a fucking bigot to begin with.”

So true and it’s the mindset of Muslims, Mormons and Catholics when it comes to sex for pleasure, or any sex that doesn’t lead to procreation.

Twofer 1 Meme

1. What is on the walls of your room?

Paint, and a mirror. A few windows too.

2. What type of music do you listen to?

This is easy. Funk, R&B, Soul, Jazz but a little bit of everything (I mean come on, Kansas’ Dust in the Wind is in my library)

3. What do you want more than anything right now?

A very rich client willing to put me on retainer for about $6,500 a month. Don’t laugh, a buddy of mine has this deal with a firm he works with. For that $6,500 my buddy says he ostensibly puts in 12 hours a week but I think it’s less. It boils down to a rate of about $127 an hour.

4. Do you get scared in the dark?

Nah. And the reality, I hadn’t experienced true darkness (If one could call it that) until I went to North Carolina for Saturnalia in 2007. I was driving between Elizabeth City and Edenton and I noticed my side and rear view mirrors were completely pitch black. I had to pull over and when I looked up, wow. I had never seen a sky with so many stars in it. Literally here in my urban burgh I can only see a few stars naked eye, a number more with 10×50 binoculars or a small telescope. But down there, just look up.

Drove home two points. There really are a lot of stars out there. The second point was it would be ridiculous to suppose that planets weren’t orbiting said stars and that on some of those planets there probably is life.

5. What’s you worst fear?

A complete economic collapse. Think a depression except money isn’t tied to a gold standard. That bad.

6. If you could be anything right now, what would it be?

Rich beyond belief. I’ve seen people say “thin and gorgeous” but let me tell you, if you’ve got the money there isn’t much of anything you can’t be or do.

7. What’s the meaningful gift that you’ve received?

People don’t generally give me gifts. I’m an enigma to buy for and the toys I want are just a tad expensive.

8. Do you have a crush?

Nah. Been happily coupled up for almost 17 years now. If only the god damned mother fucking cock sucking Catholic fucking Diocese of Providence would keep it’s grubby sinful hands off my rights we could be married.

9. Who is your favorite celebrity?

Who gives a shit. Seriously, celebrity is highly overrated.

10. Could you fall in love with someone that you know must leave?

Yes I could and did. It was a three month affair but I knew he was packing up to move down to the southwest and I was adult enough to handle it.

11. Share a favorite quote of yours.

“In other words, much of the fight over same-sex marriage is a fight-by-proxy over one of the last strongholds of gender supremacy: the idea that a man rules a woman, that a woman without a man is missing something essential, that a man who seeks another man is degrading himself by turning into a woman.”

12. What’s your weakness?

I’m way too permissive.

13. Do you believe that we all have a soul mate?

I’m not so sure about this one. Yes I found mine but not everyone manages to do so.

14. What were you doing before Sunday Stealing?

Listening to some old Midnight Star tracks.

15. What do you get complicated about the most?

Politics. I’m what you might refer to as an ultra-left liberal.

16. What turns you off the most from a potential partner?

No sense of humor. Seriously, you have to be able to roll with me otherwise it just isn’t going to happen.

17. What is you worst habit?

Self introspection has never been a strong point with me. I think my worst habit is not giving a general shit about things. That’s a trait I got from the Italian side of my family.

18. When was the last time that you were jealous?

Can’t remember. Seriously, if I want something I work toward it and eventually get it.

19. Have you ever had a “friend with benefits”?

No I haven’t.

20. Do you use sarcasm?

Of course. It’s the thinking mans prerogative.

21. At the moment, what’s you favorite song?

Recent music or old school? If I look at my profile it turns out George Duke’s “Brazilian Love Affair” pops up to the top.

22. What is you favorite day of the year?

Friday. All of them.

23. Describe your love life.

We’re in that stable phase right now, been together for a fairly long stretch so long that we can complete sentences and read thoughts. Nothing to do with paranormal just knowing each other very well.

24. When was your last one night stand?

Eons ago.

25. How many past lovers are too many?

I don’t know the answer to this one. I’m kind of a long term guy when it comes to relationships.

Addiction: Me and Facebook – The Extraordinary Enigma

Ok so I’ve been talking to my friend Nick. He’s seriously addicted to the Pirates game on Facebook.

I on the other hand love the little quizes and name generators. Here are some names for me that I ran though the following generators:

The Italian Name Generator
Well this one is a just a teensy bit redundant for me. But Dante Bianchi (Dante White if you will) is perfect.

The Superhero Name Generator
I got The Extraordinary Enigma. I quite like this one, it has, I don’t know, the right sound to it.

The Star Trek Name Generator
I’m a Klingon named Hon-Tihl.