Posts Tagged ‘ACA’

Letter From Claverack 07 07 2017 Musings on being home…

July 8, 2017

As I begin writing, it is twilight at the cottage.  The day began damp and grey, changing mid-day to blue and lovely.  Sitting on the deck, the torches burn to ward off mosquitoes and to give a sense of atmosphere.  It is lovely.

Of course, as soon as I typed those words, I felt the first of the raindrops and had to scutter back into the cottage.

Out there in the world, momentous things have been happening.  Trump and Putin met for the first time. Trump:  It’s an honor.  Putin: ?

It’s certain we will be hearing the parsing of the meeting for days to come.  They talked election tampering.  Putin: we didn’t.  Trump: okay. [At least according to some early reports.]  No agreement on Crimea.   Not expected.

We are to agree on a ceasefire in southwest Syria.  Good for everyone if it holds.

In Washington, Mitch McConnell faces the daunting task of passing the Republican version of healthcare legislation.  It seems to be the single most unpopular piece of legislation of the last thirty years.

Over the weekend, I listened to some interviews with people from around the country who were absolutely opposed to Obamacare and absolutely loved the ACA, not realizing they are one and the same.  It left me shaking my head in amazement and then, why should I be amazed?  We, on both sides of the fence, don’t always analyze and we just react, ideologically, and that seems to be on the increase.

In a bright moment in the world, Malala Yousafzai, a young woman targeted by terrorists, terribly wounded, and who miraculously clawed her way back, graduated from high school today.  She is also a Nobel Peace laureate. She celebrated graduation by tweeting her first tweet.

Amazing human being…

Closer to home, Etsy has cut its workforce by 15% and I wonder how that is going to affect the offices on Columbia Street in Hudson.  While that is happening, the stock has been upgraded to a buy by some brokers.

It’s interesting to me to walk down Warren Street and see all the businesses that are there that weren’t when I came and to see the ones that are still here, still pulling along.  One of my favorites is Carousel, next to the CVS on Warren.  One of my friends collects mid-century hammered aluminum pieces and I go in there and sometimes find things for her.

The Red Dot has been here since I arrived and I remember the transition of Brandow’s to Swoon Kitchen Bar.  Seems Ca’Mea has always been there since I arrived, though I am not sure about that.  That’s a little foggy.

It’s been interesting to watch all of this.  The cottage has been my home longer than any place I have lived, including the home I grew up in.  That’s sobering.  That’s rooting.  I like the sense of roots I have created here.

Yesterday, I had my car serviced at Kinderhook Toyota and ran into someone I knew.  At the Red Dot, I am always running into people I know.  Same for Ca’Mea.  It’s wonderful to go into places and be known or to know people there.

The places I’ve lived are many:  Minneapolis, Toronto, Carbondale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Eugene, OR, New York City and now Claverack.  The places I have visited seem innumerable. They’re not but…

Of all those places, including my hometown of Minneapolis, the only place that has felt like home is here.

And I am enormously grateful for that.  It is sweet and satisfying and that is how, I think, it should be as I enter this third act of my life.

Letter From Claverack 05/04/2017 The time is nigh…

May 4, 2017

Well, the time is nigh.  Today Republicans voted, successfully, on “Repeal and Replace,” hoping to end the Affordable Care Act with their own American Health Care Act.  “Obamacare,” long despised by Republicans, may be gone and they will have had their way and many of them will be holding their breath that it does not go badly wrong because if it does, the piper will need to be paid.

We will find out if, as President Trump says, pre-existing conditions will be covered or as Democrats are saying, they will not.  If they are covered, it does seem coverage will be much more expensive.

Not a fan of Jimmy Kimmel, I was profoundly moved by his discussion of his newborn son’s heart surgery.  If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it.  It is from the heart. [Yes, pun intended.]  Please look here.

As I ponder this, I am, not surprisingly, listening to jazz, being all hygge at the cottage, sitting in my favorite corner on the couch, starting preparations for a Friday night dinner party.  Have I mentioned I tend to look at the Food Section of the New York Times before I read the news?  First thing, comfort and coffee, and then I hit the hard stuff.

Yesterday marked the month anniversary of my once a week radio program.  My first guest was Jeff Cole, CEO of the Center for the Digital Future at the Annenberg School of Communications, part of USC.  We talked futures.  How we are changing and being changed by technology.

His great concern, and I share it, is how we will, as individuals and society, adapt to the coming advent of AI, artificial intelligence, which is already shaping our lives.  Last night, as I was heading to bed, I paused and asked Alexa to set two alarms for me and they went off flawlessly, a soft chirping sound in the dark which could be eliminated by a command:  Alexa!  Snooze! And she snoozes.

I am experimenting with Siri, changing her responses from American English to British English.  All fun and games until we get to the moment when the machines decide we are superfluous.  Think the Terminator movies or the Hyperion novels which, to me, are more likely than the Terminator scenario. [In some respects, particularly Book One.]

Since I was very young, I’ve been a space enthusiast. Stephen Hawking, the phenomenon of a physicist, has warned us we have about a hundred years to get off the planet.

We could do it if we put all our energies to it but I don’t think jihadists are going to put down their guns to get us into space.

Outside, there are soft sounds and the trees are blooming.  In the morning when I wake, I thank God that I get to look out at the creek and am here, in Claverack, a place that centers my soul as no other place ever has.  When I look out, I am sometimes nostalgic for the time fifteen years ago when the geese formed a flotilla on my waters.  They are mostly gone now.

It sometimes reminds me of an episode of “Star Trek: Next Generation” in which Jean Luc’s brain is infused with the memories of a dead civilization and one of the signs of their passing was the drying up of a creek.  Occasionally, I stand on the deck and think: if the creek is gone, so are we.

However, today the creek still flows.

Generally, I am not fond of George Will, the conservative writer.  Today, I read an article of his that encapsulates my ongoing sense of unreality.  Read it here.

Encased in the safety of the cottage, I am doing my best to live in hope because we must live in hope. Hope is what has driven the race forward; it is what has brought millions of immigrants to our shore, who have shaped the country in which we live.  My great-grandparents, on my father’s side, were among them as were my grandparents on my mother’s side.  They came to the United States, buoyed by a sense of chance, of opportunity.

It’s hard for me to think that could change.

 

 

 

Letter from Claverack 01 10 2017 One age ends, another begins… God help us everyone!

January 11, 2017

It is latish, for me.  The clock is moving toward 11 PM and, generally, by this time, I am in bed, reading, watching a video, falling asleep.  But not tonight.  I am just home from an evening with some friends.  We watched a movie on DVD, while having dinner and then watched President Obama’s farewell speech.

There were six of us, I think.  Some cried.  As I watched, I hoped I was not watching the curtain fall on a period of our democracy.  It’s my fear that I will not live long enough to see the other side of the journey we have chosen to take by electing Donald Trump our next President.

Obama extolled us to be activists and I am choosing to be.  I am one of the organizers of a local group we are calling Blue DOT, Democracy Opposing Trump.  How active we are will depend on his actions and the actions of the Republican Congress after they take office.

Obamacare is a flawed system and it is providing help to many who would not have it otherwise.  I know a few, friends who in the years following the economic slump of 2008 and beyond who were hobbled by career misfortune and personal situations and they had no health insurance until Obamacare offered a window.

It’s flawed but it is something.  We spend more on healthcare than anyone in the world and we rank something like 27 in the world for the success of our health care.  In all the time the Republicans were attempting to repeal Obamacare there never was an alternative offered.

Driving home, the exegesis of Obama’s remarks was in full swing on NPR and I heard former Republican leader Eric Cantor say there was no point in offering an alternative to Obamacare though Mr. Cantor did attempt a modification of the ACA when he was in office and the Republicans shut him down for a minor change he wanted.  They wanted nothing to do with ACA.

In the quiet of my home, the creek lit by my lights, thin sheets of ice on each its banks, I am afraid, fearing for the country I do love, for all its flaws.

If you get a chance, read Doug Blackmon’s “Slavery by Another Name.”  It is painful reading and helps me understand what awful, evil things we have done to people of color in this country and while things are much better, they are not yet good and equal.

A quarter of the way through the book, I have paused because each page makes me feel pain and shame about things I never knew but should have known.

Doug won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for it.  There was also an acclaimed PBS series based on the book.

We are moving into territory none of us could have imagined.  There is an unverified report which was part of a briefing to both President Elect Trump and to President Obama, that the Russians have compromising information on Trump’s personal life and financial situation.

Tomorrow, Trump will hold a news conference.  Unless he cancels it again.  There will be a lot of questions, understandably.  It is supposed to be about how he will separate himself from his business interests and it will be about his Russian connections.

Part of the unverified report states that there were ongoing conversations between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It is unverified and we need to know if it is true.

There is so much we need to know about Mr. Trump and his nominees for Cabinet positions.  I don’t like Jeff Sessions and don’t want him as Attorney General but at least he is one of the few, if not the only Cabinet nominee, who filled out the required paperwork.

It’s my fear we are about to enter an age in which everyone in government feels they are above the law.

In his speech, Obama challenged us not to allow that to happen.

God help us everyone!