Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary: June 2012 June 2012 | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

June 30, 2012

Healthcare Lies Republicans Tell You

Willard Mitt Romney Is Romneycare

By Roy Steele

It started immediately after the Supreme Court handed their decision down. The lynch mob was ready, as they had gathered outside of the Supreme Court as instructed.

The teabaggers had sent out a clarion call for their devotees to gather just after dawn. Their instructions were clear --- celebrate and gloat and dance if the Affordable Healthcare Act was overturned. Scream, yell, bully and taunt if the law was upheld.

The chairwoman of the Congressional teabagger caucus was in the audience when the decision was announced. Within minutes of exiting the Supreme Court building, microphones were shoved in her face, and on cue she started lying and using scare tactics to sway the public to her side.

The presumptive Republican nominee for President had a hastily called press conference. Remember that this is the same man who crafted a bill call Romneycare, that Obamacare is based on. He opened his mouth and the lying began in earnest. I guess he thinks he can lie his way into the hearts of honest Americans.

Two of the biggest Republican liars and their lies

LIE # 1 - Willard Mitt Romney said he will repeal the “bad law” that is “killing jobs and ”hurting our economy.” By the way - the man’s name is Willard.

Romney is a liar. Why no one asks the man -- "what’s so bad about your signature law Governor," is beyond me. The press allows him to squirm out of talking about “Romneycare.”

The Daily Beast writes:

The presumptive Republican nominee was quick to promise a repeal of the health care act if elected president, but he proposed no alternative—throwing out only the usual Medi-scare, deficit-bomb, and ‘government takeover’ bromides.
Mitt Romney strode out to respond to the Supreme Court ruling behind a podium that read “Repeal and Replace.”  His response focused on the first verb and ignored the second.
Right off the top, Romney delivered one of the tightest lines of his campaign: “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”
It went downhill from there. Careful to repeat the word “Obamacare” some 18 times throughout his brief remarks, Romney was careless with the facts in his rebuttal.
Maybe it is the inherent awkwardness of the fact that Romney’s major governmental accomplishment is an individual mandate-driven health care plan, but his response was fear- rather than fact-based. This is consistent with the “attack and distract” strategy he has deployed when it comes to policy during his general election campaign.
Remember that the law goes into effect gradually over the next 7 years, and only minor provisions are in effect now, so how can the law that isn’t in effect yet kill jobs? Romney never mentions that Obamacare is based on Romneycare, his only significant accomplishment in his one term as governor of Massachusetts.

Obamacare = Romneycare. Why don’t you talk about that Willard?

Congressmanwoman Michele Bachmann Is Obamacare

LIE # 2. Congresswoman Michele ‘Bozo’ Bachmann told Wolf Blitzer that the Supreme Court decision was clearly wrong, and that Congress overstepped its bounds by passing the “Obamacare” law, and that it’s unconstitutional.

Adele Hampton at The Hill.com wrote:

The Tea Party leader predicted that not only will the nation be swept into an economic "black hole" because of the law, but also argued the Affordable Care Act was still unconstitutional in her eyes.

"This is clearly unconstitutional," she said. "There is no basis in the Constitution for the government to have this level of history-making expansion of power. Because what this means, for the first time in the history of the country, Congress can force Americans to purchase any product, any service that Congress wants them to, which determines the price and we are forced to, which is a denial of liberty.

"We will never be the same."
Bachmann is a liar. We have a system of checks and balances in government for a reason. One of the Supreme Court’s jobs is to review laws passed in Congress, to see if it complies with the powers delegated to Congress in our Constitution.

The Supreme Court did their job and ruled that the law is Constitutional. She went to law school, and she knows better. There is no expansion of power. The majority of Americans have health insurance, and they will be largely unaffected by any of this. Congress cannot force Americans to buy any product, and Bachmann is trying to scare people.

Bachmann released a press release that says ““Every American should have the opportunity to provide health care for themselves and their family and the freedom to choose the plan that’s best for them.”

On March 28th Bachmann said “we need to improve health care through free market solutions and by letting people spend their own tax-free dollars on health care."

“Provide healthcare for themselves” and “free market solutions” are code words that means no health insurance for many Americans, and reiterates that the GOP has no plan to help the uninsured if they repeal “Obamacare.”

This same member of Congress who talks about choice in insurance matters thinks that the government should regulate women’s bodies, and their reproductive organs, and that women shouldn’t have a choice in the matter. 

Ironic? No. Stupid heartless and pathetic? Yes. 

straight talk in a queer world.       jiveinthe415.com            
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In Pictures: Friendly Notes To Neighbors

In my entire life, I've never left a note for a neighbor. I guess I'm lucky that I never had anything to complain about.

In New York, where I had my first apartment, there's an unwritten rule that you’re supposed to ignore your neighbors.

In California, it's just the opposite, and I've known all of my neighbors.

These notes are pretty hysterical, and many of them made me laugh out loud. I saw them on tumblr, and had to share them with you.

I hope you get a kick out of them. Click the read more link below to see the photos.

June 29, 2012

You Get Sick And You Don’t Want To Die: The Affordable Health Care Act Will Save Lives

The Law Is Good For Our Economy And The Uninsured
By Roy Steele

While I was surfing the net Thursday morning I saw a news feed for CBS news, and I was groggy and not wearing my glasses. I thought it’s too early for a decision - but the news feed said something like “health care law overturned.” I had an awful feeling suddenly in the pit of my stomach, and I closed the page.

As it turns out, Fox News and CNN, both reported in error that the healthcare law was unconstitutional. I’m glad that CBS, Fox News and CNN were all wrong. That’s pretty irresponsible.

I know I’ve discussed what’s become known as Obamacare a little, and I’m going to try to continue in that same spirit. I’ll talk about it a little. I don’t want to harp on it, or rub it in any Republican noses too much. Maybe a little bit ---- but restraint is probably good for today.

I’ve followed the travails of the Affordable Healthcare Act very closely, and became interested in the law when it was introduced in Congress, shortly after President Obama was elected.

I will admit that when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to work with the public and private sector in crafting a new health care law 20 years ago, I snickered and criticized the effort.

Two things happened in the subsequent years that made me change my mind.

The first significant event was living and studying in England for a few years. I was sick a few times, and had to see a doctor. I also hurt myself in some physically demanding classes. I had to go to hospital after a dance class more than once, and let’s just say I was neither graceful nor destined to be a ballerina. I’m laughing so hard right now. C’est la vie!

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is really quite remarkable. While you hear American politicians mischaracterize how the system works, and you hear some call it socialized medicine, in an attempt to cast it in an unfavorable light, the system works.

There was a time when the NHS had staff shortages, and waiting lists for surgery, particularly when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. Tony Blair’s Labor government really transformed the National Health Service into what it is today.

I never had to wait more than a few minutes to see my Doctor. You were given an ample amount of time to speak with the GP, and they didn’t have their nose buried in a file the entire time you were speaking with them. They weren’t looking at their watch or trying to get you out and another patient in. It was remarkably refreshing and unsettling for a Yank, because it was so different from what I was accustomed to.

You had a thorough examination, and when you were finished with the doctor you left the office and went home. No one asked you for money, a check, a credit card, or for your billing address. It was fucking fantastic.

Granted, Brits have a Value Added Tax and other revenue schemes to pay for the NHS.

Considering the money and the technology and innovation we have here in the United States, it’s a travesty that our system of delivering medical care has come down to the haves and have nots, and that's exactly what the Affordable Healthcare Act addresses.

When you think of the inefficiencies in our system, and the lack of standardized procedures to make an appointment, billing, records management, insurance, and every other little thing, it’s really preposterous. It’s a miracle we ever get to see a Doctor at all.

We are the only technologically advanced country in the world that has such an inefficient, insanely expensive, healthcare delivery system. Insurance companies dictate what care we receive, instead of the educated Doctors responsible for our care. Does that make any sense whatsoever?

I could go on and on about the NHS in the UK, but I will spare you. Their system works, they get good care, and don’t believe what politicians have to tell you about European healthcare.

The second event that affected my view of our healthcare system, was getting sick and having to actually use it. No one is ever prepared for a catastrophic illness. In retrospect, there were little signs that I should have noticed. There was a tumor in my lymph nodes the size of a walnut,  just under my jaw line. I looked at it every day when I shaved, and yet I didn’t see it. By the time I realized something was wrong, there were multiple tumors in my lymph nodes.

I know that the lesson learned is to know your body, look at yourself in the mirror, and give yourself a self examination, and see your doctor regularly, though I didn't do that then - but I do now.

I’ve seen so many doctors that I couldn’t even begin to count them, let alone know who they were. One thing I do know - is how much money I owe to nearly a dozen doctors. I have great medical coverage, but it doesn’t pay for everything no matter how good the coverage is. My illness started before the new law went into effect, so many of the provisions didn’t benefit me. I had already racked up thousands of dollars in bills I couldn’t pay.

We are the only industrialized nation in the world where you can lose your home, go bankrupt, and end up on the street, due to exorbitant medical costs. If you think it doesn’t happen, I can promise you that it does. That’s ridiculous and unfair. Medical care is a right not a privilege.

Because we have so many uninsured people, when they get sick or injured, the emergency room becomes their doctor’s office. It’s unfortunate, but it’s their only recourse. They need treatment and they are aware that they can’t be refused treatment. In spite of that it is estimated that 45,000 people die a year in the United States, due to not having health insurance.

That wastes time and money for the hospital and the medical staff. When the bill isn’t paid, the people who have insurance and the money to pay, end up paying for the uninsured. The hospitals are forced to raise their prices to pay for salaries, supplies, and overhead. As more people become uninsured, the problem gets bigger, and the prices for care goes up and up and up.

The Affordable Health Care Act is going to take some time to implement, and it will take time to see what needs to be improved, and what’s working out. This doesn’t happen overnight. We have to be patient. Plus there will be millions of people seeing a Doctor for the first time.

I think it’s important to remember these things, when you hear these shrill dumb members of Congress lie about the law. Republicans lie continually about the law, and remember they are lying to you everytime they open their mouth, especially when they speak about repealing the  healthcare law.

If the law is implemented properly, and Republicans cooperate with the President, this could boost our economy. It’s not going to fix it, but it will help. With more people insured, the healthcare industry is going to need qualified workers to support all these new patients. There will be cleaning jobs, nursing jobs, receptionist jobs, administrative jobs, insurance company jobs, and many other needs that the understaffed healthcare industry will require.

You are going to constantly be hearing GOP politicians say that they will repeal the law, it’s a bad law, the Supreme Court is wrong, and all of that bullshit. When you listen to them tell the reporter or news anchor why the law is bad, wait for them to say what they will do to replace the law. What is their alternative measure?

You’ll be waiting a long time, because they don’t have an alternative. If 50 million Americans will have some sort of health insurance coverage through Obamacare, when you hear the politicians say “repeal the law,” they are saying tough luck to the 50 million people who will get coverage for the first time. That creates a vicious cycle and makes the problem far worse. If it gets worse, that will escalate the cost of insurance and health care even more. It will be disastrous for our economy and public health.

Call these politicians on their bluff, because they are full of shit. Ask what their plan is, and how they would cover 50 million people immediately.

It’s about time we had comprehensive health care for everyone. Bravo and hallelujah.

straight talk in a queer world.     jiveinthe415.com            
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June 27, 2012

The Gay Agenda: Equal Rights or More Rights?

 There are people who intentionally lie, when they know better.

There are others who spread misinformation due to ignorance, gossip, or fear.

When I hear someone who is educated make false claims about gay people, that reflects an innate bias or prejudice, it pisses me off because they should know better.

It can be hard to discern when a bias is due to ignorance or stupidity, or is simply a reflection of a person’s extreme political agenda.

Yesterday I posted a letter to the editor that Mike Walker of Brandon, Mississippi, had written to the Editor of the Clarion-Ledger alleging that “LGBT rights” would infringe on his rights as a straight white male.

My gut reaction when I first read the letter was to attack the messenger, despite knowing that a biting and bitchy response is counter productive. So I tamed my anger, and not knowing Mike Walker, I decided that his false statements were made due to ignorance.

I wrote a letter to the editor, in response to Walker’s letter. The Mississippi newspaper did not publish it, so I’m going to post it here.

Dear Editor:

I read Mike Walker’s letter about LGBT civil rights in the Clarion Ledger online, and felt compelled to respond.

LGBT civil rights will remain a hot topic of conversation for as long as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are denied the basic rights that the majority of Americans enjoy.

Gay people want the right to get a job and work, just like everyone else. In the United States, it is perfectly legal to fire someone in 29 states, because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. It's legal to fire a transgender employee in 34 states.

The LGBT community wants to be able to stay in a hotel, rent an apartment, and enjoy a meal at Bob's Big Boy without fear of reprisal. In the majority of states in the US, public accommodation laws are not extended to LGBT people. We can be evicted, or told to get out, just because of our sexual orientation, and it happens all the time.

The LGBT community wants to be able to love who we choose, unencumbered by judgement or discrimination from our families, our friends, our neighbors, our churches, and government institutions. We want to affirm our relationships, just like the majority of Americans do, by being able to marry our partner.

We have all been taught that we are all “created equal.” Because of the way we are demonized by politicians and religious leaders, and by people like you, we may be created equally - but we aren't treated equally.

We aren't asking anyone for more rights than the average American, we just want the same rights that the majority enjoys.

I'm afraid that your specious assertions have served no purpose except to reveal your bigotry, and the fact that you are a white male who wants to preserve his primacy at the top of the heap.

Our federal Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law to each citizen, which is great in theory, but a pipe dream for the LGBT community, for undocumented aliens, and for many people of color. Your letter illustrates that perfectly.

Get over it Mike. It's 2012 and the times are changing.

Roy Steele

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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It's National HIV Testing Day. Do you know your status?


June 26, 2012

Sad News: Writer, Director, Humorist And Food Lover Nora Ephron Has Died

Nora Ephron (1941-2012)
Nora Ephron on the Charlie Rose show.
I was saddened to hear that Nora Ephron, the accomplished writer, film director, humorist, and food lover, died today in New York. She was 71, and reportedly died from pneumonia, a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia.

Aside from loving many of her films, I also enjoyed hearing her speak about her life, and her work. Whether being interviewed on television, or speaking at a lecture series, she always impressed me with her sharp wit and keen observations. [See below for a link to a Nora Ephron interview with Charlie Rose]

Most people would be familiar with her work as an Academy Award nominated screenwriter and film director. She wrote 15 screenplays, including Silkwood (1984), When Harry Met Sally (1990), Sleepless in Seattle (1994), You’ve Got Mail (1999), Bewitched (2005), and Julie & Julia (2009). She directed 8 films, her most recent being Julie & Julia..

Ephron was a strong proponent of equal rights for women. In several interviews, she also expressed her strong support for LGBT rights and marriage equality.

Reuters Reporter Bob Tourtellotte writes:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement calling the loss "a devastating one" for the city's arts and cultural community.

"From her earliest days at New York City's newspapers to her biggest Hollywood successes, Nora always loved a good New York story, and she could tell them like no one else," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Ephron, who often parlayed her own love life into movies like "Heartburn" and gave her acerbic take on aging in the 2010 essay collection, "I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections," had kept her illness largely private except for close friends and family.

The elegant Ephron, known for habitually dressing in black, urged aging friends and readers to make the most of their lives.

"You should eat delicious things while you can still eat them, go to wonderful places while you still can ... and not have evenings where you say to yourself, 'What am I doing here? Why am I here? I am bored witless!'" she told Reuters in a 2010 interview while promoting the book.
Ephron's six word biography in Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Larry Smith is: "Secret to Life, Marry an Italian."

She will be missed by her readers, movie lovers and New Yorkers alike.

RIP Nora.

Video: Charlie Rose Interview with Nora Ephron

VIA: Reuters & Christian Science Monitor

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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Queer Reflections On Pride

San Francisco Muni Buses Promote Equality!
San Francisco Muni Buses Promote Equality!

By Roy Steele

This year’s gay pride parade in San Francisco, by most accounts, was a smashing success. I don’t know what people experienced in other parts of the country, but exuberant optimism was in the rarefied air. The feeling was palpable and exciting, and it made navigating the crowds at the parade and celebration, more tolerable than in years past.

I’ve been to countless pride parades in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  I haven’t attended a New York pride parade in a long time, but after looking at a lot of Flickr photos of both events, it looked like the exuberance wasn’t limited to the left coast.

When I was living in New York in the nineties, pride had become very grim. The gay community was decimated by the AIDS epidemic, and the pride parade was an enormous political protest march. I appreciated that the political nature of the parade was necessary. It was important to stand in solidarity with our community, just as it is today, but there were times when it was difficult and immensely sad. I never made it through those parades, without shedding more than a few tears for the absent friends lost to the virus, largely caused by the havoc that was wrought on our community by bigotry and homophobia.

Act-Up  New York City Pride Parade 1990's

There is still a political purpose to our pride parades, and I hope that during my lifetime, after we achieve full equality in the eyes of our governmental institutions, and the law, that we can spend the day that marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, as a day full of nothing but celebration.

Act-Up  New York City Pride Parade 1990's
I visited Australia with my friends Bob and Kevin a number of years ago, for their Mardi Gras celebration, and Australians know how to put on a party and a parade. Mardi Gras in Sydney is the Aussie equivalent of what we call gay pride in Western Europe and the United States. The parade was held on a Saturday night, and televised across the country. It was so much fun, and filled with so much humor, that you couldn’t help but be caught up in the festivities and enjoy yourself.

When we watched the Sydney parade, we were seated in a grandstand. I was shocked at the number of straight families surrounding us, with their picnic baskets, strollers, and toddlers. I remember asking a woman sitting nearby with her family, why they came to the parade. She looked at me incredulously, and said she’d been going to the parade for years. She said urban Aussie’s considered Mardi Gras to be a big holiday jubilee, that straight and gay people celebrated alike.

On Sunday, I saw quite a few LGBT and straight families lined up along Market Street, to watch the parade. A few dads had toddlers perched on their shoulders, and some moms were holding rainbow flags. They cheered when the dykes on bikes rode past, and after former mayor Willie Brown passed us, a visiting mom asked me if Willie was a drag king or queen. I laughed pretty hard at that one,  and said “no, Willie is our colorful former mayor. I’m sure Willie would have no problem being a drag queen, if he was looking for your vote.”

Pride 2012
Standing in the bright sun we smiled at each other, caught up in the unabashed exuberance of the crowds, and the spirit of the day. After the parade was over, my feet were aching, my nose was sunburned, and I was feeling tired. I had gotten separated from my friends, and the lovely mom who’d asked about the old hizzoner Willie Brown, so I decided to head home.

Smiling exuberantly and breathing the rarefied air of optimism made my day. I hope that reading about it here, made your day too.

Happy Pride for yesterday, today and in the future!

straight talk in a queer world.     jiveinthe415.com            
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