Earlier this evening, I was (finally) able to get in touch with a long time friend of mine with whom I've had no contact for years. He's a guy from my past, considerably older than myself, and was, at one time, the man who would have been my guardian had anything happened to my parents while I was still a minor.
He and I always got along well. I always knew he was "right leaning" mainly because of his background and his love of firearms. However, when we talked politics he always would listen to both arguments and was generally a very tolerant person. Eight or so year ago he took a long vacation to Asia and got to meet a fairly "high ranking" Buddhist monk. This was one of his highlights of his trip and he had a picture that he loved to show while he talked about the "eye opening" experience.
The open minded guy I knew, but hadn't talked to in four years, was not the guy I talked to today. I'm not going to censor any of the quotes he said because I don't believe in censorship but I will warn you they're pretty bad. Think Freeper bad, possibly worse.
What started as a "Hey, long time no talk call" turned bad rapidly when he asked me how I felt about the bailout. When I responded that I had mixed feelings but my Presidential candidate of choice supported it so I was deferring to his judgement, all hell broke loose.
For the next 65 minutes, I heard the following (I'm adding the emphasis as it was said to me):
2x "I'll never vote for anyone named HUSSEIN Obama."
3x "Hussein Obama is a fucking terrorist and his elitist friend Ayers hates this country."
12x "Fuckin' faggots" (used in various derogatory context).
2x "I'll never support gay marriage, we know what unnatural things they do behind closed doors."
1x "Muslims are pedophiles and rapists."
1x "Muslims should be wiped off the face of the earth and I proudly have an INFIDEL bumper sticker."
2x "Hussein Obama prays to Allah, not God."
1x "Christianity is the only true religion."
2x "Fox News is the only cable news with the balls to report the truth."
1x "You should watch Neil Cavuto and Bill'O, you'd like them."
2x "Sarah Palin isn't a politician, she's a real person."
1x "This economic bullshit is Carter and Clinton's fault."
1x "If Hussein Obama wins, this country is going to go to hell."
1x "It's OBAMA supporters who are stealing OBAMA signs and then blaming McCain supporters. Conservatives are the only rational voters. Liberals are full of shit and are all insane."
This was pure, unadulterated hate speech. I didn't even try to argue talking points with him because I knew his mind was absolutely closed off. So I just let him ramble.
I felt like I had been punched in the gut because this isn't the guy I remember.
I don't mind if someone has a different opinion than me, politically. Really, I don't. I don't agree with "trickle down" economics, but if someone else does, good for them. However, when someone goes into full on hate mongering, I find it saddening. When it's someone I respected, it's outright depressing.
The funniest comment came at the end of his diatribe:
"I'm not an extremist, I'm just a right leaning centrist who votes republican."
After we had gotten past that patch of free floating hate and the conversation went back on topic of just touching base, he invited me to visit. I think I'll pass. In fact, I think when Obama wins, I'm going to send him an e-mail simply stating "That's PRESIDENT-ELECT Barack Hussein Obama to you."
Affordable health care for everyone in need is a big deal to me.
I'm 31 years old, but for the last 7 years I've felt double that age. In 1999, I started realizing I had these very oddball moments that seemingly came at random. They were characterized by getting extremely hyper and excessively worried along with heart palpitations and "the shakes". I didn't know what it was, but it happened so infrequently that I never really gave them a second thought.
In early 2000, the frequency increased to a noticeable level. Since I was insured, I went to my general practitioner who referred me to a psychiatrist. After a couple of visits, I was diagnosed as having Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. I was started on some "maintenance medications" (the Doctor's words) and things looked up.
Then I got laid off in October of 2000.
Then unemployment insurance wore out.
Then COBRA became unaffordable.
Then I was a statistic - another uninsured American.
I could no longer afford to see my regular doctors. I could no longer afford the medications.
'No problem,' I thought. I'm well aware there are low income options in my area. By this time, I had been off my medications for a year and the anxiety disorder was becoming increasingly problematic. So off I went to the local so-called "low income" mental health clinic (the Newport News/Hampton Community Services Board).
Sure, they reduced the amount by 80%, but they would only treat me if I saw a psychiatrist ($40 per visit every 2 weeks) and a psychologist ($35 per visit every two weeks). On top of this, they couldn't guarantee any help with the medication costs, leaving me holding the bag on very expensive drugs. Not including drugs, that was going to be $75 every two weeks, or $150 every month. Essentially I had to choose between paying my electric bill or getting the medical help. Guess which option won that debate?
So I turned to the State. Perhaps Medicaid could help me. After three months of dealing with a case worker and bringing in documentation I was told we had "too much gross income and assets" (my wife, the only worker in our household that year, had a gross income of $17,452 on our income tax). They went on to tell me that if I wanted help, we had to reduce our assets by selling our car and our second hand mobile home. To those reading this, I submit the question: What kind of help is it to be told to get medical care you have to sell your only reliable form of transportation and the roof over your head?
Likewise, the Federal Government is of little help. The doctor and administrator I saw during my few visits to the local mental health board recommended I apply for SSI. However, SSI has excessively stringent rules governing disability for mental health patients. Declined twice, my only recourse at this point would be to hire a SSI attorney and to try to fight and show why I qualify under the SSI's rules. However, I've been told by a local leading SSI attorney that my chances are slim because my last date of treatment was so long ago which puts me in a catch-22 of sorts.
This has been my fight for the last 7 years. And with each passing year, the anxiety conditions grow worse, the panic attacks more frequent. They have progressed to a point where I'm nearly full blown agoraphobic. I can't even go to a store 5 minutes away without having to fight off a panic attack. I'm currently trying to build a sole-proprietor business that I've been working on for nearly a decade, but I feel doomed to fail because most of the time I simply cannot go a day without a severe panic attack. Yet there's still no assistance for people in a situation such as mine.
This is just one of two recurring medical situations. In 2006 I was rear ended by a driver who was not paying attention which caused me to break or crack several teeth when I hit the steering wheel. Thankfully that was the only personal injury. However, his insurance wouldn't cover the dentistry costs. They called it cosmetic and no lawyer would take my case because it was so minor. As a result, since I can't afford major dental work costs out of pocket, my teeth are now in a complete state of disarray, despite taking care of them, because of the broken two and the cracked ones.
I know quite a few people in similar situations: struggling to get by, living in chronic pain unable to get medical care without having to pay excessive amounts out-of-pocket. One of my best friends, for example, was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago. When he got laid off, he lost insurance but was temporarily covered by the state. When his benefits ran out, so did his medical assistance. Now he struggles from month to month to see doctors who will prescribe the glucose medications he needs.
Through all of this, I keep thinking back to the Declaration of Independence.
The unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
If chronically ill people have no access to health care, life deteriorates;
If life deteriorates, so does liberty and the ability to pursue any form of happiness.
In that context, it's my opinion that affordable health care which is available to everyone, not just people who meet a certain set of strict (and often very silly) "requirements", is a fundamental right.
Posted by Captiosus in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Sep 30th 2008, 11:43 AM
Last night, all three local network news outlets ran stories about the Presidential candidates.
All 3 of them referenced only the NBC/Mason-Dixon poll which shows McCain ahead +3.
The most nefarious of the three was the local CBS affiliate, WTKR. Their story was about veterans and their influence in presidential politics. They interviewed a Veterans for Obama spokesperson and a Veterans for McCain spokesperson. In the story that aired, post edit, they gave the Obama spokesperson about 15 seconds of air time and the McCain spokesperson about 2.5 minutes.
They concluded the story by teetering dangerously close to endorsing McCain by making the claim that the only person who can "win Virginia" will be the person who gets the military vote and, so far, McCain is in a "better position" to win with vets.
1. This is why I absolutely loathe polls. There are only two polls out of six that show McCain ahead in Virginia and they're both within their respective margins of error. Yet the local news affiliates openly showed their bias by only showing one of the two which are in McCain's favor. One of them actually said "McCain is holding a solid 3 percentage point lead in the State" - nevermind the fact that 3% is in the margin of error.
2. Is it too much to ask for some responsible damn journalism? I'm sick of this "McCain is for Vets" meme when it doesn't even take a cursory glance at the Congressional record to see that the meme is complete and utter bullshit. Especially in the state who has a Senator (Jim Webb) that was the patriarch of the new G.I. Bill... you know, the new G.I. Bill that McCain was against before finally being talked into voting for it?
3. The military vote isn't going to "make or break" the election in Virginia. What they fail to discuss is the number of military who are stationed here who have actually made Virginia their state of residence versus how many are living here who need to vote absentee. In all seriousness, I can spit and no matter which way the wind is blowing I will hit a military base. I see an awful lot of California, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, and various other, license plates on cars with Fort Eustis, Langley Air Force Base, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, Norfolk Naval Base and Oceana Naval Air Station base permits. These are NOT Virginia voters.
This type of stuff infuriates me because the three local news networks can spout their nonsense with impunity. Unlike print media, they have no "letters to the editor". They have no on-air viewer feedback. Sure, you can turn them off, but they still get their ratings and their money (hell, WTKR's ratings have been in the dump for over two years, yet they still rake in advertising money during their newscasts).
Sorry for ranting.
Edit: Fixed grammar.
Posted by Captiosus in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Sep 16th 2008, 07:48 PM
John McCain continues to say that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong".
How can he continue ignoring facts?
Six hundred thousand jobs lost this year, with more on the way with companies like Hewlett-Packard announcing 24,000 job cuts, half of which in the U.S. Workforce. More homes foreclosed daily than there are residents in Wasilla, Alaska. The Euro has become more desirable than the Dollar. Wall Street scrambling to save themselves as their economic luxury ships are sinking.
Even when McCain "revised" his statement to define American workers as the fundamentals of our economy, how can he ignore all the lost jobs, declining wages, reduced consumer confidence and reduced consumer purchasing power?
Yet his plan to fix this mess? Let a Commission investigate the problem and hope the house of cards doesn't fall while they're investigating.
John McCain: All fluff and no substance. We simply cannot afford another 4 years of the same poor economic policy.
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