An Obamacare Tweak Does Not A Crumble Make

marylandrieuyes

The headlines today shouted out warning of the collapse of Democrat Party unity on Obamacare because a few Senators have floated legislation that would require insurance companies to continue offering their existing healthcare plans to those already enrolled in those plans.

The bill, “Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise,” put forth by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) (for herself and Mr. Manchin) and joined by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) would require insurance companies providing policies on the individual market to continue offering those existing health insurance plans through the end of 2013 to those currently enrolled in those plans.

The bill promotes the idea that consumers should be adequately informed as to how their insurance plan does not meet the requirements for a qualified health plan under the Affordable Care Act, while giving the enrollee the right to continue the plan. The bill attempts to create transparency in the system by requiring insurance companies to inform the holders of non-qualified health plans of their right to enroll in a qualified plan through an Exchange, along with instructions how to access the Exchanges. It also requires the insurance company to inform the consumer why their policy does not meet the requirements for a qualified health plan.

As headlines scream failure, and promote the idea the Affordable Care Act is crumbling, short, easy to read legislation such as this serve to strengthen and repair deficiencies. The bill submitted by Landrieu goes further than the bill promoted by those of the Republican party, “Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013″ which is the equivalent of a simple demand, rather than a way to keep an ‘off-the-cuff” promise made by President Obama AND inform the consumer of their rights under the law.

Editor’s note: This is also has the delightful side effect of showing consumers just how badly they were getting ripped off the insurance companies. I’ll bet money the GOP will resist this with all their might. An educated population is dangerous to them after all…

Hawaii Becomes 16th State to Legalize Marriage Equality

On Tuesday, the Hawaii legislature voted 19-4 to bring Marriage Equality to the Aloha state. The governor, A Democrat, is expected to sign it into law on Wednesday.

This begs the question: How many more states have to legalize marriage before we get a Supreme Court ruling that will completely do away the state constitutional amendments that deny equality to millions? At this point, we have 16 states with marriage equality, and Illinois makes 17 with a start date of June, 2014. Additionally, we have civil unions in Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, and Wisconsin. This means we have some form of legal recognition in 21 states plus the District of Columbia. This is almost half the country. How much longer do we have to wait?

The Supreme Court Will NEVER Overturn Roe v Wade But Not For The Reason You Think

Glenn Dewar, The Fat Smug Bastard, has a theory that Supreme Court Justice Roberts will never, in a million years, vote to overturn Roe v Wade. In fact, Glenn is convinced that he was put on the court to make sure it never happens. Looks like we’ll be able to put his theory to the test and soon:

WASHINGTON — A steady stream of abortion cases are heading toward the Supreme Court, making it only a matter of time before the justices are likely to consider a new wave of state restrictions.

Although the justices have refused to consider two major cases from Oklahoma in the past two weeks, more states are seeking the high court’s blessing for restrictions that have been struck down by state and federal appeals courts.

Let’s be honest, the conservative wing of the SCOTUS is so used to reinterpreting a case to reach any conclusion they want, they could take any one of these and simply overturn Roe v Wade.  But, according to Glenn, they won’t.

Why?

Simple.

The Republican electoral strategy relies on one thing and one thing only: wedge issues. The establishment doesn’t give a rat’s ass about “protecting the unborn,” they care about enraging religious voters so they’ll vote Republican. Take away the social wedge issues and suddenly people might notice that the GOP’s entire economic plan is designed to crush the middle class and working poor.

This has been true for decades.

Knowing this, Roberts will, according to the FSB, never vote to overturn Roe. Place your bets, people.

Correction: the original article listed Justice Kennedy as the vote to watch. The article has been updated to reflect the target of the FSB’s theory: Justice Roberts

China Takes The First Steps Towards Becoming Morlocks

In one of my favorite films, The Time Machine (either version, they both have their strengths), humanity is shown to have moved underground to escape the harsh conditions on the surface. Well, the Chinese have kicked off the race to conquer the Underdark (2000 nerd points if you get that reference without using Google). They’re building the world’s “lowest hotel.” Well, they certainly have a unique claim…

Once this new fad of living underground catches on, especially as Climate Change makes the weather more unpredictable and deadly, it’s just a matter of time until conservatives turn into mindless brutes that prey on the weak, run in grunting packs and….

Oh crap.

 

 

 

Why I’m Against The New Minimum Wage Increase

There is still a long way to go

Hear me out.

I should start by telling you a little bit about myself. I’m a socialist democrat, and I’ve spent the better part of the last decade moving from one shitty menial job to another; highlights include holding umbrellas over shoppers in carts while we traversed a parking lot so flooded with cold water that trench foot was an actual possibility, and trying to push a 3 ton antique display case through the busted cobblestone sidewalks of the french quarter, compressing my spine for 3 days.

The missus and I were talking about the news the other day on our way out the door to pick up presents, and she casually mentioned that she had signed a petition to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. Given my history in the lower middle (and now just lower) class, she was understandably stunned and confused when I said I had signed a petition to oppose it. considering that I’m so vocal in my support for the proletariat, how can I be against it? What follows is the gist of our conversation, but the long and short of it is that it isn’t enough, but people have been tricked into thinking it will be.

Right now, the minimum wage will bring in $15k a year for someone lucky enough to work full time, and the proposed raise will cause their annual income to jump all the way to $21k practically overnight, and who can complain about an extra 6 grand a year? Turns out, next to everyone actually impacted by it, actually. Let’s look at the math for a second:

According to the ASPE‘s current figures, the poverty level of a single parent of two is about $19.5K, anything more than that and s/he is ineligible for most forms of federal aid, and those that they are eligible for get severely reduced. The increase would put her about a grand and a half out of reach, and I can guarantee the benefits she’s losing are helping him/her out more than the increase will. While this would be an admirable benchmark for a plan that included further incremental increases, but on it’s own it is nothing but a polished turd. (For those readers who disagree, or would rather see for themselves, MIT has helpfully developed a living wage calculator for your state).

For a more crude, but entertaining metaphor, let’s look at it this way:

You, dear reader, likely get your news from sites like this because, to be perfectly honest, the mainstream media has you burnt out. Between the depressing, soul killing items that make the news, the pieces that redeem humanity that don’t make it, and the fact that it seems every other word is bought and formulated by someone behind the scenes to elicit a specific response, I can’t blame you. We live in a time where, for the first time since at least the Cold War, children are growing up not knowing what peacetime is. You’ll look for anything that can alleviate the grinding, crushing atmosphere of the country that makes you question if it’s worth it to keep up the Sisyphean effort of eking out an existence today. If someone comes by with a shit sandwich laced with the financial equivalent of Walter White’s Blue Sky and tells you it will lessen your suffering, you’ll eat it with a smile on your face. Unfortunately, once the creamy meth center wears off, you’ll be even worse off; the salesman forgot to mention that bit.

We need a higher minimum wage, something that doesn’t leave us out of reach of both federal assistance and an actual living wage. Tell your congressman and representative that $10.10 isn’t enough, and you know it.

The person that brought this issue to my attention was a facebook page making fun of paid right wing shill Michelle Malkin named Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy Parts , and she brought up the very astute points that:

A.) This proposal only makes sense until you start thinking about it.

and

B.) If you want to figure out why it seems to be crafted specifically to hurt the middle class, you just need to follow the web of influence to its source.

This has been my opinion; feel free to agree or dispute my claims. I welcome any discourse so long as it’s polite, and hopefully this will be the first of many posts for the Filthy Liberal Scum family.

Farewell, Blockbuster! You Were The Worst Job I Ever Had

As of next year, Blockbuster will cease to exist as a brick and mortar company. Farewell and fuck off!

Blockbuster will close the last 300 of its own US video rental stores by January, its parent firm said Wednesday, after consumers shifted en masse to streaming services like Netflix.

The company said it will continue to support Blockbuster’s domestic and international franchise operations and retain the rights to the brand and its video library.

I beg to differ. Netflix was not solely responsible for the fall of Blockbuster. In 2007, I, and a number of my fellow managers from Gamestop, left that company and went to work for Blockbuster. None of us stayed. We left Gamestop at the time because the corporate culture had shifted from treating the field managers as vital assets to replaceable cogs. However, we had been trained to be professional retailers and the upper management at Blockbuster was very eager to bring us in. We were wondering why that was and we found out really fast.

Turned out that Blockbuster has the single worst work ethic any of us had ever seen. I, personally, hadn’t been in a Blockbuster in years and I was appalled at the work environment. The workers were lazy. They ate at the counter in front of customers. They were rude. The walked around on the sales floor talking on their cell phone. This was in every store we Gamestop managers went into. When I stared at them like they were insane they always said, “Well, we’ve always done it this way!”

Worse, the District Managers were buddies with the managers we were there to replace. Mind you, these managers were TERRIBLE and their stores were a disaster. Their staffs were the dregs of the retail world. But the DMs actively got in our way so we couldn’t do what we were hired to do: run a store like a freaking professional.

This idiocy even extended to the Human Resources department. After being told I couldn’t discipline  my workers for doing shitty work (“They might sue!”), I was “encouraged” to hang out with my staff after hours. I almost ran screaming from the room. I don’t know about your retail experience, but the LAST thing a manager should do is be everyone’s “buddy.” It makes it impossible to enforce any kind of work ethic if you go out drinking with your part time workers.

Shortly after, I handed my keys to my assistant manager, said “Fuck this place” and walked out on a job without notice for the first time in my life. Every single Gamestop manager followed suit over the next several months. And all for the same reason: Blockbuster was allowing its field division to strangle it to death.

From my perspective, Blockbuster never shifted from a passive grocery store mentality where the customer found what they wanted and brought it to the counter to a sales oriented culture where the workers actively engaged the customer and made their experience something worth repeating. Instead, customers came in to stores and found sloppy, lazy and rude workers that ate dinner at the counter or were too busy chatting on their phones.

No wonder people preferred to stay at home.

Catholic Karma Crushing American Conservatives

I present to you the textbook definition of karma:

“It seems he’s focusing on bringing back the left that’s fallen away, but what about the conservatives?” said Ms. Kurt, a hospice community educator. “Even when it was discouraging working in pro-life, you always felt like Mother Teresa was on your side and the popes were encouraging you. Now I feel kind of thrown under the bus.”

In the eight months since he became pope, Francis has won affection worldwide for his humble mien and common touch. His approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding.

But not everyone is so enchanted. Some Catholics in the church’s conservative wing in the United States say Francis has left them feeling abandoned and deeply unsettled.

So, after decades of wallowing in bigotry and greed, conservative Catholics are getting a direct taste of what they inflicted on the rest of the world? There may just be a god after all…

The only way this could be funnier is if the Pope declared bigotry to be an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Texas On The Brink Of Mass Hysteria?

Want to see the right go into a state of absolute panic?

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll in Texas finds Greg Abbott (R) leading Wendy Davis (D) in the race for governor, 40% to 34%.

In a three-way race against Davis and Libertarian Kathie Glass, Abbott’s lead shrinks to 5 points, 40% to 35%.

Texas has had numerous Democratic governors. The last one, Ann Richards, was even (obviously) a woman. But that was before the right became the crazed freak show it is now. This was before they realized that they were dying as a national movement. This was before they launched their ill advised war on women and their naughty vaginas.

If Davis wins, even with the massive voter suppression efforts in Texas, it will send shockwaves throughout the right wing. The fear that Texas might be in play as a swing state will be palpable. What? Did you think the sudden move to disenfranchise women voters in Texas was a coincidence? And with a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion, voter suppression efforts become harder to enact.

The run up to that election will be one of the ugliest, most misogynistic races ever run. I’ll bet money on it.

The Filthy Liberal Scum Podcast! Obamacare Website Madness!

angry-man-screaming

The Fat Smug Bastard is down from filthy liberal New York an we dissect the GOP’s total failure in Virginia. We also expose the utter crap that is the right’s nonstop poutrage over the Obamacare website, tally up the two sides of the GOP’s civil war and how the Tea Party is probably going to win the battle but lose the war.

54:46 of juicy liberal awesomeness

Sleepy Time Thought: Virginia Swings Blue And The GOP Is Screwed

sleepy time thought

 

Just for you: 2 minutes and 50 seconds of my sleepy brainwaves