To all the middle-class Americans trying to get away from it all this weekend:
Guess what: you’ve just set your siesta up in what is essentially my yard. I live here. So when a sunburn’s the only memory you have of your drunken flame-broiled adventure, I’ll still be here, dealing with the aftereffects of your douchebaggery.
You may think your precious Pekinese only poops petunias, exempting you from carrying those annoying little plastic bags, but I’m here to tell you that even the tiniest dog turd stinks up the place when attached to my shoe. Plus, my own dogs think it’s a tasty treat from heaven, making the whole experience that much more gross.
And it’s great that your kids can take a few days to ride their bikes and run around like nature intended, but just because my home’s a camper doesn’t mean I don’t have standards too. Would you allow the same insanity at home?
Wait, don’t answer that: I’m fearful of what the truth might be. Because my brother and I never ran amok in other peoples’ campsites. And we never, ever ran up and tried to pet strange dogs. Just because they’re cute doesn’t mean they don’t have teeth. From now on I’m gonna’ start carrying waivers for you to sign as your tiny hands reach — in my dogs’ minds — menacingly toward the top of their heads.
And then I’ll sit tight, hiding until you finally pack your obscene amounts of foods and — really? — golf carts — so you don’t have to actually ambulate of your own accord — into your financed to the nines RV and go back to your own home.
At which point I’ll breathe a sigh of relief, sit outside in peace with my coffee, surrounded by nothing but nature, and prepare for next weekend’s assault.
4:16 Friday afternoon. I don’t dare move, because the slightest shift in even a limb seems to increase the temperature inside my tin can.
I felt incredibly lucky this winter, no snow tires on my car, watching as the white stuff caused all sorts of bullshit for friends and family up north whilst I sat out the artic drift between a bunch o’ mountains.
But alas, I am now on the receiving end of what I knew in my forcibly-Catholic-school-girl heart was coming sooner or later: punishment.
Okay, so I’ve been thinking. Actually, that’s pretty much all I do, but for the moment I’m going to attempt to put some cohesive thought into words.
There are wicked budgetary showdowns going on in D.C., with the Republicans – mostly – serving as the dudes in the black hats. One of their targets is Medicare, the health insurance program that people over 65 and those who are disabled are eligible for.
The bad guys – namely House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who wrote the new proposal – want to dismantle it, replacing it with a voucher system that, once enacted, will pretty much pay for a band aid and maybe some Tylenol before sputtering out of funds.
The idea is that once you turn 67 – the new age of eligibility – you’ll get a check from the government, which you can use to purchase private health insurance. Ha! Anyone tried to buy that lately? How many Rolls Royces could you finance on the monthly premiums alone? That is, if you can even find an affordable plan willing to cover you, because by the time you’re in your 60s you’re probably not the healthiest person on your block.
The plan’s bullshit, and everyone knows it…
So my question, and maybe someone knows a lawyer who can help figure this out for me:
Every single person working on the books in theU.S.has a FICA deduction taken out of his or her paycheck. There’s no getting around it – you work, you pay.
FICA – the Federal Insurance Contributions Act – is Social Security’s tax collection machine. However, it’s not just Social Security that’s taken out via FICA (at 6.2 percent), it’s also Medicare (at 1.45 percent).
Uncle Sam takes money toward the Social Security and Medicare coffers from every single worker with the understanding that, when you reach 65 or are disabled, you’ll receive benefits, with each generation contributing as they enter the workforce.
This is a social contract, enacted originally by Lyndon Johnson in 1965 as part of his Great Society programs. As a nation, we have – and continue to – agree to said contract.
Sooo….if the Republicans dismantle the current program, replacing guaranteed coverage with vouchers that, analysts have already proven, won’t cover jack shit, isn’t that a breach of contract?
And, if this voucher system is passed, thus voiding the contract, can we, as a nation, file a class action lawsuit?
Because you know what? If they’re not giving me what they promised when I started working, and I’ve been paying into a bullshit program that’s just going to leave me suffering in the street, I want every single FICA penny back, plus damages.
When I was a kid, my cousin Mark and I were playing in my grandparents’ yard. While we crashed our bikes into trees or played Land of the Lost, a woman walked onto the front porch and knocked on the door. She spoke to my gram for a little bit, then left.
So we both ran into the house.
“Who was that lady?” we asked, breathlessly.
“It was the woman from the adoption agency,” my mother replied, matter-of-factly. (Though I am sure she will deny this, it is true, trust me.)
“What’d she want?” we asked, a bit scared now.
“Well, if you two don’t behave, she’s coming back to pick you up.”
Checked out an article posted on FB by my friend Cheryl — In a nutshell, it’s about the fact that a healthy diet can reverse all sorts of ailments. No shit.
The HuffPo article talks about a severely diabetic woman who literally turned her health around through a plant-based diet.
According to author John Robbins, the great whole foods guru:
The physicians she was seeing for her diabetes took a look at her numbers, were amazed, and wanted to know how she did it. “I told them I had adopted a completely plant-based diet. They didn’t seem surprised at all, and told me that plant-based diets were helping to reverse diabetes. When I asked why they had not suggested it, they told me because it isn’t practical.”
Aghast, she asked her doctor, “Do you think it’s practical to be 30 years old and lose a leg?”
She walked out of that doctor’s office and never went back. “Everything changed from that moment,” she recalls. “I slowly decreased all the other diabetes medicines I was on. I lowered my blood cholesterol without drugs. I lowered my blood pressure without drugs. I corrected my hormonal problems without drugs. Many diabetics go blind, but I reversed the nerve damage in my eyes. And that infection in my leg? It completely healed. The arthritis in my feet? It went away.”
Ironically, this sort-of ties into an absolute rage-fest I had last week. (more…)
Okay, my bullshit detector’s buzzing right now, but I guess that’s no great surprise, considering the fact that I’ve been perusing the Wall Street Journal. Yeah, that’s the paper for people with money.
But the tagline promised something at least mildly entertaining: software that will age you to retirement age, which is allegedly still 65. Well, for those who read WSJ and have the capital to actually fund something called retirement.
The theory behind the software, according to the article, is that it “may be just what it takes to shock Americans into saving more. At Stanford and other universities, computer scientists, economists, neuroscientists and psychologists are teaming up to find innovative ways of turning impulsive spenders into patient savers.”
Uh, sure… (more…)
It apparently snowed last night. You wouldn’t know it – it’s just wet and rainy now. Sort of feels like summer in San Francisco! I think I spent six months soaking wet, riding through puddles halfway up the bike rims. It was El Ninõ, and being a messenger in that kind of stuff makes you feel invincible, but soggy.
Of course, that was before unionization, so you had to ride or you had no money, no matter what got in your way. I got hit by six cars, and each and every time I got back up and kept delivering somebody’s divorce papers, or contracts, or whatever was so important it had to be there a.s.a.p.
I remember riding in an elevator with a woman, probably a few years older than me, maybe the same age, who can tell? Most of the suits ignored us, moved as far away as possible so as not to get the city streets and sweat on their thousand-dollar suits.
“I used to be like you,” she said, turning to talk to me.
“Really?” I asked, curious.
“Yeah, I was a messenger for a while, but now…” she looked down. You could tell she’d rather be huffing fumes up and down Market than sitting in some cush office.
“It’s the best job in the world,” I said, and I meant it. Of course, the unsaid sentiment was that it was also the worst, like living a manic-depressive episode ten hours a day. (more…)