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      Profits on Medicare Advantage plans are at least double what insurers earn from other kinds of policies. Gee, I wonder why? There is tons of evidence that insurers in the program have been manipulating a program that pays them extra fees for enrolling customers with more illnesses. The change took away payments for some of … Continue reading Cheaters
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Pre and post 2008

Violet Socks has been on a roll the last couple of days.  She lives in Virginia where the state legislature has passed the vaginal ultrasound before abortion bill.  There’s no reason why it has to be vaginal.  It could have been done the normal way with that jelly stuff on the abdomen.  In fact, it didn’t have to be done at all.  No one who wants an abortion is going to be the least deterred by this.  But the humiliation is revolting.  On top of everything else, you’ve got to put up with a probe for no reason except sheer meanness.

And then there is the Santorum donor’s comments today:

FRIESS: On this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.

Cheap? Yes.  Effective?  Well, there’s plenty of walking, talking data on the efficacy of this method.

What puzzles me is WHY you would want to go back to that or have anyone else go back to that if you lived through it the first time.  It makes no damn sense.  It especially makes no sense if you know it didn’t work the first time around and that even the threat of infection, infertility and death didn’t deter anyone.  Think about that.  The death penalty is supposed to be a deterrent but it doesn’t have much effect on people who are determined to have an abortion and it doesn’t stop them from having sex.  There’s nothing a religious person can do to change that.  Nothing.  A religious person can only make it more dangerous.  These are well known facts that history has proven for thousands of years.  Birth control and safe abortions were improvements on this history.

The religious can get all pissy and prudish and insufferable to be around about it but this is something they are going to have to face at some point.  Their crusade against sex is going to fail.  It’s going to fail as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  They’re only going to feel rage and frustration from failing to get all of the women in the world to exercise self-control because it is never, ever going to work.  Just like the Rapture is never going to come.  Wishing does not make it so.  Your blood pressure will go down once you stop obsessing about premarital sex because there’s not a thing you can do about it without going all Taliban and Old Testament.  And the Taliban *still* catches people having sex when they aren’t supposed to.  Even the strictest religion in the world and the harshest abortion laws on the books will not stop this.  It doesn’t even matter if you don’t believe in evidence or data or reality.  People are going to continue to have sex and get pregnant unintentionally and there’s not a damn thing the country’s Christians can do to stop it.  Not a thing.

There’s no point to the intrusiveness of the religious unless they like to be mean and judgmental and if their religious convictions give them a sense of power and superiority that they can’t get any other way.  They’re not doing it for OUR benefit.

Anyway, I keep saying that the election of 2008 let all of the worms that lurk in the mud hatch out without any kind of restraint.  Misogyny was given free reign and those of us who were paying attention (that would not include Amanda Marcotte or Naomi Wolf or the leadership of NOW, Emily’s List and NARAL) were alarmed that no one was held accountable.  It was bound to turn out badly.  The past four years has been one relentless campaign against women in the doctor’s office, in the White House conference rooms and in the workplace.  Did anyone notice that two of the biggest stories about women in 2011 were about women who were tried for murders but were really convicted of being pretty, and sexually unrepressed?  It was a shock to my system that a murder could be pinned on Amanda Knox in the most lurid, outlandish way because she was having fun in Italy.  And Casey Anthony, whatever you think about her role in the crime, was viciously smeared by cable news people for being an unrepentant barroom floozy. In Anthony’s case, the sexy dancing and drinking was the bigger crime and should have been enough to get her the death penalty despite the lack of evidence.

How did we get to the place where we are so totally divorced from reality?  I’m disappointed and angry that my daughters will grow up in a country where they will have fewer options and get even less respect from their workplace peers than my generation did.

Women were their own worst enemy in 2008.

Here’s how Obama *should* be handling women’s reproductive health:

See?  What was so damned hard about that?  This is not a trick question requiring political polling firms.

Oh, well, Amanda et al, can always invest in aspirin.

Peeing in a cup for UI benefits

I’m not sure politicians are getting it.  Some of us have been laid off multiple times and others just can’t find a job.  It’s not like we’re passing the dutchy around because we have nothing better to do.  Nevertheless, Congress is determined to cut our benefits and test our pee for illegal substances:

The duration of federal jobless benefits — which generally kick in after 26 weeks of state-provided benefits run out — was reduced to a maximum of 73 weeks in high-unemployment states and 63 weeks in average states, compared with as much as 99 weeks currently. That’s better than the 59 weeks that Republicans had called for, but it is still stingy at a time when there are 5.5 million people who have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.

Democrats successfully blocked Republican demands to impose uncalled-for conditions on applicants for jobless benefits, including drug testing and requiring them to be high school graduates or working toward an equivalency degree. (A fig leaf requires applicants to be drug-tested if they lost their job because of a failed drug test or if they are seeking a job that generally requires a drug test.)

I believe the NYTimes is calling this a good compromise.  I guess it’s because none of them have to be drug tested like some low life junky who can’t hold down a job because they’re high all of the time.  We’re supposed to be grateful that they are only requiring this of people who lost their jobs because of previous drug use.  But we know what they’re really thinking.  They’re thinking that they just want to be mean and make our lives even more miserable, lowering our morale and assaulting our dignity.

Yes, I can hardly wait until we chemists and biologists, pharmacologists and engineers have to go down to the unemployment office to take a pee in front of some officer of the law.  Just a couple of years ago, we looked like nice, polite middle class men and women, driving our Dodge Caravans and Toyota Priuses to work and back.  But once we got that pink slip, we shed our labcoats and became wild and crazy fiends.  Sex fiends too.  We just can’t get enough.  And we listen to Def Leopard and Pink Floyd all day long.  (I’m dating myself, aren’t I?  Must consult number 1 child to see what the debauched are doing these days)

Come on, Congress, drug testing?  Really?  We’re drug designers and chemists.  We could whip up a batch of something that you haven’t made illegal yet that will make meth look like baby aspirin. Can we please be serious?  What a phenomenal waste of money.  Money, I might add, that would be better used to extend the UI benefits.  I’m not worried- yet.  But reducing the bennies at a time when COBRA is already eating up half of a month’s benefit is not especially compassionate.  How about NOT making us pee in a cup and give us the same consideration as the previous 99-ers?  Or would that interfere with the maximum pain that you intend to inflict just before the election?

Is that the plan?  Everyone pointing fingers?  The Democrats will be whining, “Don’t look at us, we didn’t cut your bennies and make you pee in a cup”, while the Republicans will have another temper tantrum, shrieking, “If Barack Obama and the Democrats had only cut the deficit, we wouldn’t have to apply these thumb screws, gouge out your eyes and put you on the rack.  By the way, we’re going to bill you for the screws, racks and icepicks”.

Hey!  I have an idea!  Let’s vote all of them out and once they’re all unemployed, let’s make them pee in a cup, have them tested for AIDS (*I* passed, will you?), make them wear ankle bracelets and phone their mothers before they go anywhere, do a background check on all of their friends and make them attend mandatory counseling where they will have to acknowledge their addiction to doing stupid things followed by making amends to all of the scientists and other innocent working people they have insulted and whose lives and careers have been ruined while their elected officials played mean-spirited political games.

I can hardly wait.

Thursday: Großartig!

Brooke is competing for a summer exchange trip to Germany and I am running around today signing papers and delivering applications and transcripts so we don’t miss the deadline. Wish her luck! I’m just taking a break for lunch. The kid is running me ragged.

In the meantime, check out the post by Brad DeLong about Noam Scheiber’s upcoming book (H/T atrios). If you are at the tail end of the babyboom generation, you’ll be outraged no matter what your political compass is.