Archive for the 'General' Category

Underemployed, poor and now colon cancer – North Carolina is an evil state.

NC is a mean state.  Evil really.  It’s no secret I despise the Affordable Care Act, primarily because of the legal mandate to participate in a very broken system.  However despite it being the worst precedence setting law in the history of the US I do like the fact that it allowed people with preexisting conditions to get insurance if they can afford it on the “exchange”.  Can’t afford those prices?  Many states now allow poor individuals to enroll in federally supplemented Medicaid, this was the “medicare expansion” heard about in the media.

Then there is NC and everything disdainful and vile about it.  NC’s beloved GOP refused to participate in the exchange and refused federal Medicaid expansion, essentially refusing any benefits of the ACA.  Why?  Because the state didn’t want to owe the federal government.  Never mind the first 5 years of fed funding were absolutely free, no payback required.  So where does this leave poor individuals without families in NC?  Out in the dirt to die, that’s where.  NC only offers Medicaid to low income families, the long term disabled, the elderly and the blind.

Any individual who cannot afford to buy private health insurance must go without.  To stick a hot knife in their misery the IRS will come to collect their tax penalty.  That’s right, impose a tax penalty on those who have the least income in the country.  Fucking brilliant.  Oh I know, the idea was to get college kids to get insurance to balance the risk for insurance companies.  It’s really just a hot poker in the eye of NC’s least fortunate.  Yep, I have a personal example:

A very close friend earned a whopping total of $14,000 last year, including money under the table.  She works approximately 35 hours a week. Her reported income was just over $7500 on her tax returns.  She pays her own rent and lives humble by anyone’s standards, still using an old prepaid flip phone that believe it or not, Obama did not give to her.  She looked into insurance during open enrollment for the ACA.  Every Blue Cross and Cigna plan was WAY too expensive.  With no family she did not qualify for Medicaid.   Monday she went to a gastroenterologist she was referred to by Raleigh’s Open Door Clinic.  They found a tumor in her sigmoid colon.

The GI referred her to a surgeon immediately.  She’s meeting with them today.  She told them on the phone she was uninsured and poor.  They said “come talk to our finance people”.  It will be interesting to hear how that turns out.  Basically medical offices want to be paid up front any deductibles and  co-pays.  Recently Amy and I were required to pay for a whole procedure up front even though we have insurance.  Then our insurance company cut us a check back but the surgeon would not perform the procedure without being paid first.

If this is any kind of payment policy the surgeons office follows where my friend is taking her colon cancer she’s screwed.  Worst case they won’t operate.  Best case they charge her full price, no pre-negotiated rates, and she pays them very little every month until they take her to court, obtain a judgement, garnish her future wages and taxes.  A lot for a survivor to look forward to.

This problem is not contained to NC.  I grew up believing America is the best country in the world.  That American’s looked out for each other.  That we are all born equal.  I will not make the same mistake of letting my kids grow up believing any such idealistic bullshit about America.  Many, many Americans now firmly hold the position that it’s every man/woman for themselves, owing nothing to anyone but their banks.  That everything boils down to personal choices and responsibility and that everyone starts on a level playing field.  In other words they believe in a farce wrapped in a fantasy sold as a lie.  The only thing they’ve gotten correct is how self centered and self serving many have become in a nation putting up a lame front of being selfless.

The America I believed in is gone.  It now belongs to greed and self serving religious hard asses who think more of themselves than they do others.   All the while riding their pretentious high horse of self grandeur, constantly judging others.   What would Jesus do?  Not one damn thing the way those who use his name as a defense are doing now.   He would help people.  Not hurt them to protect his precious personal gains.

 

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New Ride: Soma Smoothie 54

This weekend I am building the first full road bike I’ve ever owned.  After weighing the cost/benefit options of steel verses carbon, I elected to go with a steel frame on purpose:

  1. I am not going to race it.
  2. I’m not being a “weight weenie” about this bike.
  3. Steel does provide a more comfortable ride.
  4. I can’t break it easily if at all.
  5. It’s cheaper (but not much).
  6. The component geometry already matches several components I already own.
  7. I got hooked on the classic style of steel and the nostalgia factor kicked in after riding a friends All City Mr. Pink.
  8. Damn near everything else on the bike will be carbon.

Although I have 53/39 rings I will be setting this up compact 50/34 and breaking into experiences with huge gear ratios compared to my life on mountain bikes.  I’ve made it into the top 10 on several road segments riding my 1×10 cross bike with 38 and 40×11-38 gearing.  This Soma will be 50/34-11/25 and slightly heavier because of the frame weight and being a 2×10.  I can’t wait to get this thing built and on the road.  I also went ahead and ordered a new Pearl Izumi fleece bib and gloves because it’s getting cold out there now.

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Ballot Test

On today’s ballot there was a seat for one NC Court of Appeals judge.  I didn’t know anything about the 19 candidates.   I voted for Valerie Johnson Zachary since her name was last on the ballot alphabetically.

How many others will do the same?  If she wins, is it as a result of her name placement on the ballot?

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I am unaffiliated. I voted.

Unaffiliated, independent voters are the most important. Impartial and prepared to look at issues from multiple perspectives we search for those willing to negotiate and if necessary compromise. We embrace candidates who are willing to work towards solutions that benefit society, not just themselves.

Campaign attacks on the opposition candidate or their political affiliations mean little to us compared to where each candidate stands on issues. Facts matter. Those candidates willing to ignore or down play a matters of fact in the name of partisanship have no place trying to appeal to the independent voter. Worse, don’t tell lies. It doesn’t matter if you can somehow stretch it to the truth through causality or indirect relation, it’s still a lie on it’s face.

Unaffiliated voters decide elections. Partisanship produces bad, unworthy leaders who do not represent people but special interests. That is what Americans are sick of, being second to corporations and donors buying laws and policy. The unaffiliated voter is the greatest threat to the status quot in politics because politicians do not know which way to dial their propaganda machines to influence us.

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Oh my

Oh my

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800 Boylan Street

On Boylan Street

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Jack-o-lanterns

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Boylan Pumpkins

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Boylan Pumpkins

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80+ miles on the Greenway

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