I try not to descend into politics outside transportation issues here at WoaB, but things have come to a head here in the Big PX over how we should deliver medical care to our citizens. On one side you have people who believe everyone deserves access to health care as a matter of right regardless of ability to pay, and the other side who believe that if you ain’t rich you don’t deserve anything. The rich side has medical insurance that costs more per year than half of American households make in income before taxes, so let’s just say their perspective is somewhat skewed by their circumstance.
The person I was referring to in the previous paragraph was my US Senator, Ted (I’m not a Canadian) Cruz. He’s covered by his wife’s insurance from Goldman Sachs (which is a whole ‘nother rant) which costs in the neighborhood of $40k-45k per year, which is a neighborhood that is about 3 times the annual income here at WoaB. So while he was reading Dr. Seuss and getting it wrong, he was covered by two Cadillac health plans, his Congressional plan and the gold-plated coverage from his wife’s plan.
And now that they have found they can’t stop the Affordable Care Act, so they want to shut the government down unless they can delay it for a year. Oh yeah and they want to strip abortion and contraceptives out of the act as well. So that’s a big extended middle finger to everyone who lacks a Y chromosome. Last time I checked testicle-owning Americans did not need either of those two services.
What really gets me about this is the Affordable Care Act is a Republican plan from the end of the 20th Century that was passed in MA as Romneycare (you remember, that goofus that lost the last presidential election?). So what was good 15 years ago is terrible now? I guess because poor people are more evil now than they were 15 years ago, or most probably because the people leading the GOP now have little contact with and no empathy for the vast majority of Americans who don’t pump hundreds of millions of dollars into their campaign war chests. They have made the conscious choice to place all their resources at the behest of the rich and to the detriment of the vast majority. I’m purposely trying to avoid that 1%-99% rhetoric here.
OK, enough of that, things have gotten strange again here at Casa de El Poeta. Yesterday afternoon our neighbor’s fence became part of our yard after the soil was saturated by an extended thunderstorm. Unlike when that section of the fence was ours there was no high winds or mini-tornado this time to bring the fence down just lots of rain. So now we have about 12-14 feet of fence sitting on the ground in the back yard.
Then last night while I was on the road to the Sumer celebration one of the cabinets holding our dishes fell off the wall. I was looking at the remains this morning and it was amazing it held together this long as it was constructed from particle board and glorified cardboard. That has been hanging on the wall since 1985. The sides and bottom separated from the back which remained attached to the wall and had to be removed by taking out the 3 screws that held it to the wall. This is on top of replacing the water heater and AC and having to remove the fence. So we will have to replace the cabinets as well. Whoopie! So far my 56th year is not getting off to a good start.
Yes it’s my birthday today, so I’m typing another blog post. I’m so blase about it that I didn’t even post a suggested gift list this year. I mean I have most of what I need and pretty much all of what I want (except that harem). Well there are a few things I still want and/or need, but those are not the kind of things that can be gift-wrapped and placed on a table with a nice card.
I still want/need safe places to ride my bike so that I can get places on my bike. Right now in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell we have almost 10 miles of bicycle infrastructure. Contrast that to the more than 1000 miles of automobile infrastructure and you see the problem. Comparing lane miles is even worse because so many roads here have more than one lane in each direction. We have just under 2 miles of bike lanes, the rest is shared lanes with cars. We have no cycle tracks, and a few bike paths that don’t go anyplace in parks. I don’t include them because they are intended for recreational use, not transportation. That would be like using the number of public swimming pools in an inventory of navigable waterways. And I don’t include residential streets because most of the residential streets are not built to get anything through in a smooth and direct fashion, they are impermeable for every mode. To wit at the end of the next block is a park with a cycle path, that is blocked by a chain link fence and a gate for maintenance vehicles. Entry to the park and cycle path is a quarter of a mile away from the end of my street. This is the opposite of “permeable”. And it makes the cycle path completely unusable for transportation.
I still want/need affordable health care that covers what the gig as a lab rat doesn’t. And that covers Mrs. the Poet. Right now if I have more than $100 in my bank account(s), I don’t qualify for Medicaid in TX. I don’t make enough to even qualify to use the insurance exchange. I’m caught in the middle, and I shouldn’t be because there shouldn’t be a “middle” to get caught in. For that I blame Gov. Goodhair and the Tea Party rejecting any expansion of Medicare/aid eligibility, while simultaneously rejecting establishing state insurance exchanges. I propose a lawsuit that makes Perry and the Tea Party responsible for every death, every person with diminished quality of life, and every child that suffers because of a lack of access to medical care caused by the actions of Perry and the Tea Party-controlled legislature. If they created the situation they can bloody well pay for the damages they caused.
Something else Perry should have to pay for is the 2009 veto of the vulnerable road users law that actually would have punished drivers for killing people with their motor vehicles. As it is now in TX unless you are drunk or have made public statements about killing people not in cars (and the prosecutor bothers trying to look those statements up) you pretty much get a free pass for killing in a motor vehicle. Claim blindness (“I didn’t see him!>sob, sob<"), claim the victim "forced you" ("He was right in the middle of the road, I either hit him or the oncoming traffic"), claim the victim shouldn't have been there, and you walk. Just be sober and don't leave the scene of the wreck and you'll be fine. And if you do leave the scene just claim you didn't know you hit anything, and you'll be fine. People with busted windshields and missing body parts (the vehicle's body, not theirs) have made that claim and it has been accepted as true. You don't even need to be legally driving the vehicle as long as you stay at the scene of the wreck, or stop and return. I want/need laws that correct this gap in prosecution, particularly a law that requires all road deaths be brought to trial so that every death will be investigated and also some kind of sanction against LEO that fail to investigate a fatal wreck. Can somebody get me a law like this in TX?
Another thing I want/need is a local vendor for metals in job-lot quantities and bicycle sizes/alloys. For instance there is a metal vendor 15 minutes away by bus with 2 stops nearby, that doesn't carry the sizes and alloys I need and does not sell in job-lot quantities. Get that fixed and I'll be a happy bicycle builder. I really don't like having to change the design of my bikes to accommodate the metal I can get locally. Having access to sizes and alloys to build that T-Bucket project would be nice, too. And having a roomy workshop without a bunch of other people's junk in it would be a plus, too.
And that's what I Really Want for My Birthday.