Inhuman Swill : Politics : Page 4
            

Every time I hear someone on the radio going on about how there's nothing wrong with the American health care system, I get so mad I can't see straight. I always wonder out loud what that person would say if he lost his job and his health insurance, or if she suddenly couldn't get coverage for a life-threatening disease because of some innocuous "pre-existing condition."

I have pretty good health coverage, but that's only because my wife has a good job. I don't want to think about what would happen if she lost her job. COBRA coverage would be available for 18 months, of course, but it's as expensive as half a month's rent. And even with our coverage, it's a tremendous pain in the ass to negotiate the thicket of requirements you have to go through in order to consult a specialist, which both Laura and I are currently doing.

In fact, yesterday I had to cancel a long-standing appointment I was supposed to have this afternoon with the urologist I've been seeing (in a professional sense, not the sense of having an affair with, although he's cute in a reassuring-older-guy kinda way) this year. Why? Because Laura's insurance just changed to a new company, and my procedure would not be covered unless I could get a referral form from my primary-care physician, but that office wouldn't cough up the form because we haven't received our new insurance cards yet....

Fortunately it's not an urgent procedure, but if it had been I would be, to put it crudely, fucked. I can reschedule for a couple of months from now, but how much easier and more sensible would this all have been under a single-payer system? I don't know how anyone with serious health problems manages.

Full entry

Barney, frank

| No Comments
            

Barney Frank is one of my favorite American politicians. He sounds like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character but says things in that goofy voice that are more forthright than any other congressman I can think of. Who else would tell off a constituent like this with such obvious disgust?

Full entry
            

My first professional story, "From Our Point of View We Had Moved to the Left" (F&SF, February 1993), was set on Inauguration Day, 2009. Thank God the real 1/20/09 is an infinitely more hopeful occasion than the one in my story.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?sf=4

Full entry
            

I found myself applauding Timothy Egan's guest column "Typing Without a Clue" from Saturday's New York Times. Not that I, as the author of a "riveting memoir" unsold "after 10 years of toil," feel any bitterness on the topic:

The unlicensed pipe fitter known as Joe the Plumber is out with a book this month, just as the last seconds on his 15 minutes are slipping away. I have a question for Joe: Do you want me to fix your leaky toilet?

I didn’t think so. And I don’t want you writing books. Not when too many good novelists remain unpublished. Not when too many extraordinary histories remain unread. Not when too many riveting memoirs are kicked back at authors after 10 years of toil. Not when voices in Iran, North Korea or China struggle to get past a censor’s gate....

With a résumé full of failure, he now thinks he can join the profession of Mark Twain, George Orwell and Joan Didion....

Full entry
            

I busted a gut watching Marc Shaiman's short revue "Prop 8: The Musical." Among the many celebrity cameos herein, my favorite is Jack Black's, who may be my favorite Jesus since Graham Chapman didn't play him.

Full entry

Attacks on gays = a tax on Mormons

| 2 Comments
            

I don't know about you, but I am incensed about the LDS Church's over-the-pulpit exhortation of its members to mobilize and help pass California's Proposition 8, banning gay marriage. When I first heard about it, in fact, my first reaction was, "Damn, they need to have their tax-exempt status revoked."

Now you can help urge the IRS to make that happen. Here are all the instructions and supporting documents you need in order to:

File a Complaint Asking the IRS to Revoke the LDS Church's Tax-Exempt Status

If the Church is going to jump into the political arena (yes, okay, they've never not been a player in the political arena) and try to legislate a segment of our population out of their legal rights, then it's only fair that they as a corporation should share this country's tax burden. They pulled this same kind of nonsense 30 years ago to help defeat the Equal Rights Amendment,* and who knows what they'll try next if their actions are left legally unchallenged?

Full entry

Huffing and puffing

| No Comments
            

The red states voted and voted until they were blue in the face.

Full entry

The choice

| No Comments
            

If you're an American voter and you're still undecided today, please read this New Yorker editorial and think hard about it before you go to the polls:

The Choice

And to those of you for whom opposing abortion is the most important issue in this campaign, please ask yourselves honestly why protecting a horde of merely potential human beings who are more likely than ever to be born into crushing poverty is more important to you than ensuring that there is a clean, prosperous, and stable world for them to live on.

If you don't like abortion, don't have one, but please, for the sake of us all, don't let that get in the way of dealing with the real problems we face here in the real world. Real, feeling people are suffering in real, horrendous ways now. You are part of the world economy, and you are without doubt feeling the pain yourself.

Full entry

Ghost of Bradley present

| No Comments
            

If you're looking for some alternative political listening for this long, long Election Day, check out this segment from the October 24 episode of WNYC's "On the Media," which handily debunks the myth of the Bradley effect:

Ghost of Bradley Present

Full entry

An atheist's communion

| No Comments
            

I just got home from early voting and dropping Laura off at her el station. We had touchscreen voting machines with paper ballot receipts that scrolled under glass. I have to say, it was a pretty slick and reassuring way to vote, though it lacked the visceral satisfaction of those New York machines where you set all the small levers and then ram one giant lever home to lock in your votes.

Still, the experience was not without its reward. I'm a sentimentalist, I know, but I felt a frisson of pride—dare I say rightness chills?—as I touched my stylus to the OBAMA/BIDEN box and took part in what I hope will be history. I told Laura this in the car afterward. "Interesting, I didn't feel anything," she said.

As with spiritual matters, we all have our own responses to the experience of participating in the civic dialogue of voting. But it's not the response or even the motive that matters, just the vote. Some might say our two votes don't mean anything because Illinois is all locked up for Obama anyway, but every brick has its place in holding the house together. Your vote is important, for whatever candidates, whether in Massachusetts, Utah, Indiana, or any other state. It's your affirmation that you're engaged with the future of the country, whatever you envision it to be.

I really only intended to say here that I had voted, and suddenly I feel like I'm giving a talk in church. I guess voting is one of the ways this atheist feels like part of something larger than himself.

Full entry

Featured Book

William Shunn

Archives