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      The House impeachment inquiry continues this morning with additional witnesses to the Fall of the House of Trump. “Fall” here may not mean Trump’s removal from office, nor “House of Trump” his family, but the party he has put under his boot heel. History will be kind to neither. NBCNews foreign correspondent Richard Engel suggests … Continue reading No exit […]
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      The reason fake news exists is not complicated. The majority of journalists don’t follow a professional ethical code. It’s not that they don’t have an ethical code. It’s that they – or more likely their paymasters — don’t want to be held accountable for breaking it. Four basic elements comprise the Society of Professional Journalism’s […]
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Followup and stuff

A few random followups based on comments and such:

1.) I am well aware that there is a law (HIPAA) or guideline or suggestion that your insurance carrier has to provide you with a certificate of coverage and that you can not be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition and that new carriers have to pick you up within 63 days of the last day you had coverage from your previous carrier.  And I qualified for all of that.  I have never been without insurance for even one day since August 1986.  That has nothing to do with the cost of the premium.  You and the carrier can comply with the laws and you could still get stuck with a ginormous, whopping premium through no fault of your own because one of your family members has a pre-existing condition.  They can’t deny you coverage but they can make you wish you didn’t have to pay the premium.  That’s the insurance industry’s way of encouraging you to not bother them for a policy.  See how Congress has looked after us?  Heartwarming, isn’t it?

2.) I have no problem covering the costs of other people’s health care but I do have a problem with people who insist on consulting unproven alternative medicine and I’d like that to no longer be possible.  If you want to visit chiropractors and acupuncturists, do it on your own dime.  My point about insurance is that at this point in time, it’s easier for the ditzy to get their weekly back cracking covered than for those of us with ailing family members to get the care they need at affordable prices.  That’s wrong.

3.) Unrelated: Atrios posted a link to an older post he had on ACORN and the foreclosure crisis and how the Vampire Squids were shoving their blood funnels into every aspect oo mortgage and real estate interactions back in 2007.  That reminded me of the letter I got from Wells-Fargo yesterday.  It was a sort of frantic letter on their part saying, “We see that you are escaping our event horizon by paying off your mortgage and home equity loan.  We are trying frantically to reach you (by an old phone number) and haven’t been able to.  Please contact us so we can persuade you to renew your relationship with us.  We’d like to talk to you about new ways we can hook you back up to our perpetual money making apparatus.  Sincerely, your BFFs at Wells-Fargo”

Too funny.  By the way, I’m still waiting for the escrow account money Wells-Fargo generously decided to withhold for the payment of the ridiculous property taxes I paid in NJ and if the check is not here by the end of the week, I’m contacting my lawyer.  Sincerely, the newly emancipated RD.

Note: A curious thing happened when I called W-F about the payoff amount for the home equity loan (all of which went back into the house for really useful stuff, not vacations to majorca or a new car).  When I called them, they wouldn’t give me the payoff amount and they refused to release the lien on my house.  They told me that only a third party could do that.  In other words, my exasperated lawyer had to prepare a document and send it to them on his letterhead in order to get a payoff amount at closing and have the lien on the house released.  Both myself and the lawyer were pretty steamed about this.  It cost me extra legal fees and it seemed completely unnecessary.  The lawyer said that Wells-Fargo is full of serendipitous surprises like this that hold up closings.  So, what was the alternative?  Wells-Fargo said they would give me the payoff amount and release the lien directly IFF I contacted them by snail mail and waited- are you ready for this?- FORTY DAYS from the receipt of the snail mail.  By then, the closing would have had to be put off and all kinds of chaos and expensive and unnecessary mayhem would have ensued.  I have yet to hear a logical, rational, consumer friendly explanation as to why the loan account holder was not able to process this request within the 3-5 days and that it required the magic mojo of a lawyer’s third party stationary to get it done.  But I smell a scam.

4.) Chris Christie has set an October date for the election of a new senator to replace Frank Lautenberg who died recently.  The Democrats are howling at how unfair it is because it means there will be an expensive election separate from the one for governor to be held a month later and the earlier one will dissuade voters from showing up to kick Christie’s ass out of Drumthhhhhhhwackit.  As if NJ residents didn’t already have a zillion reasons to displace Christie.  I don’t know anyone who really likes him and quite a few teachers and school employees who actively hate his sizeable guts.

But all of the candidates that the Democrats are proposing to replace Lautenberg are male.  Corey Booker, another bonus class ass kisser in the mold of Barack Obama, is on the top of their lists, as is Frank Pallone, a Democratic Congressman.  NJ is not my problem anymore but I would like to point out- again- that there isn’t one single woman in the US Congressional delegation from NJ.  Not one single Congressperson or Senator from NJ is a woman.  NJ is the densest state in the union, in more ways than one (don’t even get me started).  You would think Democrats would make more of an effort to promote women into that delegation but I lived there for 20+ years and saw very little evidence of it, Linda Stender being a notable exception in 2006.  The state Democratic machine abandoned Stender in 2008 when Obama and Rahm Emannuel decided to knife liberal Democrats.

Take that in.  In the state with the densest population not one of their congressional delegates to either house is a woman and this has been the status quo for almost 2 decades.

I have remarkable little patience for either party in NJ but the crocodile tears the Democrats are spilling over this golden opportunity to elect a woman to the Senate and start cleaning up their shameful record of neglect for more than half of their population has me playing a very tiny violin.

What tax cuts in NJ??

I followed a link from Eschaton to this Media Matters post on Governor Christie boo-hooing about how taxes in NJ aren’t covering state pension plans:

So, in the mid-1990s, Christine Whitman raided New Jersey’s pension fund to pay for tax cuts. Critics warned that doing so would cause massive problems for the state’s budget — and nailed the timing of those problems with remarkable accuracy. And now, the media is full of stories suggesting New Jersey’s pension system is the cause of the state’s budget shortfall — without mentioning Whitman’s role in causing it to happen. (The Washington Post, which reported on Whitman’s role at the time and which frequently reports on current pension/budget issues, last mentioned Whitman’s diversion of funds from the pension system on December 20, 2005.)

Take another look at that comment from Bill O’Reilly:

Many states cannot pay health and pension benefits because the tax revenue is not nearly enough to cover expenses.

You’ve probably seen dozens of statements like that lately. It should be clear by now — though it isn’t from most news reports — just how disingenuous this is, at least as far as New Jersey is concerned. Let’s review: A Republican governor of New Jersey reduced payments to the state pension system so she could cut taxes. Critics warned doing so would cause significant budget shortfalls in 2010. 2010 rolled around, and — surprise! — so did budget shortfalls. And now those shortfalls are used by New Jersey’s current Republican governor (along with many in the media) to justify cutting pensions (while again cutting taxes.)

Basically, conservatives have staged an end-run around having a public debate over cutting pensions in order to pay for tax cuts. Rather than making the argument that tax cuts are more important than pensions, they just went ahead and cut taxes, raiding the pension system in the process, then waited 15 years for predictable — and predicted — deficits, which they now point to as evidence that the pension system is unsustainably generous. And they’ve done it with the help of countless news organizations that fall for this shell game.

Wait a minute, wait a minute.  There were tax cuts in NJ??  How come I never heard about it?  Since around 2003, my property tax bill went up by about 40% and has stayed stubbornly stuck between ridiculous and outrageous.  The mortgage on this modest little townhouse would be pretty reasonable if it weren’t for the damn property tax that weighs it down.  Then there’s the association fee that is supposed to cover everything that the township doesn’t cover because my development is considered to have “private roads”.  How conveeeeenient.  So, I pay sky-high property taxes (my mother gets dizzy when I tell her how much) AND I still have to pay for snow removal and trash hauling and, and, and.

So, where has the money been going?  After all, this is the densest state in the union (in more ways than one) and there are a lot of people here paying through the nose to live with the abysmal traffic, shortage of public transportation, high ticket prices on NJTransit, long lines for everything and irritable neighbors.

Oh, yes, I forgot.  Governor Christie is going to bail out the developers of a white elephant mall in the Meadowlands called Xanadu.  Like NJ needs another mall.

Teachers or developers?  Pensions or public assistance for the rich?

We know the answer to this.

Here i am, ready to vote

It’s busy here this morning. Busier than it was in 2004.

I did it.
McCain/Palin

I’m going to cry now.

NJ’s Corzine makes Obama an offer he can’t refuse

My governor, Jon Corzine, is going to make sure that my vote counts. The delegates of the state of NJ will count for nothing without the critical mass of the Florida delegation and if we add Michigan as well, the more the merrier. I think that is what makes me incensed about this whole disenfranchisement debacle. By enforcing the RULZ, Dean, Brazile and Obama are screwing CA, NJ, NY, MA, AZ, TX,OH , FL and MI and a bunch of other states. Our votes are being held hostage to Idaho and Utah. It’s outrageous. The total delegate count won’t change much but, by golly, without FL and MI, Obama looks like he’s got more delegates when he doesn’t.

So, what about it, Barry? Do you want to waive the rules or have a do-over and lose again? This time you can campaign and we’ll see just how much Florida loves you for throwing out their original votes. And let’s face it, no matter who funds this do-over, you will have just wasted their hard-earned money from January when they bought the *first* primary.

Thanks to Governors Corzine and Rendell, who are looking out for their constituents’ interests.  We stand in Solidarity with Florida and Michigan.