October 04, 2013

Three for the road

It's the end of a long week for me and possibly for you too, Gentle Reader. I'm still jazzed from news earlier in the week that over 45,000 low income working West Virginians signed up for the expanded Medicaid program as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I've heard that it's over 50K now but haven't been able to verify that.When I know more you will (and if you know first let me know).

SPEAKING OF WHICH, here's Krugman on reform becoming real.




October 03, 2013


Watching the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act makes me proud of West Virginia and its governor, Earl Ray Tomblin. Tomblin decided in May to expand Medicaid under the act, after many West Virginians urged him to do so.I hear that around 50,000 low income West Virginians have signed up in the first few days.

Sadly, many states--and especially the former slave states of the south--have chosen not to do this. The New York Times sums it up pretty well:

A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.
Can you say "racism?"

I'm quite a Dante fan and can only imagine how much fun the Poet had in assigning real estate in hell to people he thought deserving. Given the opportunity, I'd save some of the choicest spots for those who could have helped people and chose not too. Shame on them. Let me say that again in Shakespearean:
"Shame and eternal shame, nothing but shame."


THE REAL DEAL. Here's economist Dean Baker on the real reason some folks would rather shut the government down than let some people get health insurance.


October 02, 2013

Courage vs. heroism

I hit the road for several days today, including what the composer(s) of Beowulf might call "the bird road," which consisted of a lengthy stint in and around airports and airplanes.

At such times, it's important to have good reading matter. While dropping by a public library yesterday, I saw an intriguing book titled Smile at Strangers and Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly by Susan Schorn. The author and I have something in common in that both of us found our life path in a karate dojo and applied what we learned there in other parts of our lives.

Midway through the book, she makes an interesting distinction between courage and heroism. In the context of discussing the art of intervening to prevent violence, she said the following:

...we tend to want to act heroically against violence, when more often, what's needed is simple courage. The difference is plain. Heroics make you look cool. Courage more often makes you look silly, at least puts you at risk of looking that way.
I think she might be on to something.


October 01, 2013

Off to a good start

One of these days, somebody, or maybe several somebodies, is/are going to write an interesting book or two on the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare." Despite all the ugliness in Washington and all the lies swirling around, there are some amazing numbers from West Virginia.

Last month, the WV Department of Health and Human Resources sent out 118,000 letters to people eligible for the program. All they had to do was check a box, fill out a form and they'd be signed up for Medicaid.

Today, Oct. 1, is the first day people can sign up for health care under Medicaid or the exchanges and already 45,000 previously uninsured West Virginians have signed up! The coverage itself won't begin until Jan. 1, but this is a great start.

Pardon me if I write that again: 45,000 on day 1! Holy ****!

Congratulations to all those who fought hard to make sure WV would be among the civilized states to expand Medicaid to cover hard working adults. And thanks again to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for making that truly life saving and life changing decision.

Victory lap!

September 30, 2013

First steps

I'm feeling pretty grateful at the moment. For the first time in something like three months, I actually jogged first one mile, then two, over the last couple of days.

I'd been having a great running year (for me), including some longish trail runs and a half marathon. I started working on speed, a relative thing, and ran my best miles in 10 years. Then it happened. I came down suddenly with plantar fasciitis, which is the next best thing to having a nail in your heel.

Running was out of the question. Some days, especially in the morning, I could hardly walk. Other forms of exercise, like skipping rope or kicking a heavy bag, were also no-nos reinforced by serious pain.

Some things you just have to wait out. I think yoga helped, especially sun salutations where you hold the downward facing dog for several breaths.

I'm not better yet, but the nail in my heel is now something like a thumbtack. And, while my running may look like walking or even a zombie shuffle to others, I'm glad to have it back.

For those who aren't runners, it's hard to explain, but there really is no substitute. Anything else is just making do until you can do it again.

WHACKADOODLES who want to shut down the government aren't polling too well these days.

IT'S NOT ALL BAD. In some countries, extreme poverty is declining.

THINK ABOUT THIS. "Poverty is more harmful to children than gestational exposure to cocaine," according to a recent study.