Thursday, March 13, 2014

There Is No Alternative

It takes the wit and wisdom of the incomparable Santa Cruz cartoonist Tim Eagan to point out what no one else will: as much as the Affordable Health Care Act sucks, it's not like opponents have developed a better idea. Me? I'm for Medicare for all,  funded by deductions like Social Security. If you want your own gold plated policy buy it for yourself. But as I am fond of saying, I've never met anyone who dumped Medicare or the VA in favor of buying a private policy from the vampire squids of the private health insurance scam market.
From Huffington Post:
Dr. Danielle Martin, vice president at the Women's College Hospital in Toronto, totally schooled Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on health care Tuesday.
Martin was in Washington D.C. to answer questions from a U.S. Senate subcommittee led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on different health care systems around the world. When Burr asked Martin "on average how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year," she answered with a fact about the American healthcare system.
"Do you know?" Burr asked.
“I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all," Martin said.
But that wasn't the only question Martin schooled Burr on. There was also this exchange:
Burr: What do you say to an elected official who goes to Florida and not the Canadian system to have a heart valve replacement?Martin: It’s actually interesting, because in fact the people who are the pioneers of that particular surgery, which Premier Williams had, and have the best health outcomes in the world for that surgery, are in Toronto, at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center, just down the street from where I work.
So what I say is that sometimes people have a perception, and I believe that actually this is fueled in part by media discourse, that going to where you pay more for something, that that necessarily makes it better, but it’s not actually borne out by the evidence on outcomes from that cardiac surgery or any other.

Wandering Key West

A cat napping next to a dog's water bowl outside a Key West business is putting itself directly in the line of fire. Check out how composed the cat is. Not a car in the world, especially considering 107 pounds of furry Labrador love was bearing down on her.

We were in the meadows and a pick up truck pulled up. Two strapping men, one younger one not so much, started working a big cardboard box off the truck and into the garden gate. It looked like an appliance delivery and it made me think back to when I used to work at Fast Buck Freddie's shipping and receiving. The younger kids loved to get out of the warehouse for a delivery. For me it was always a pain as Key West homes more closely resemble jigsaw puzzles than houses and maneuvering furniture through Hobbitland was a pain in the ass even when I was 20 years younger. I did not envy these two even though it looked reasonably simple as these things go. My colleague told of getting a new full sized refrigerator in her apartment last week. The movers had to take the door off the hinges to work it into her tiny nest. They earned their tips.
Speaking of Fast Buck Freddie's I met a former coworker on the street as Cheyenne and I strolled. Ann Lorraine is a local artist who used to dress the windows of the famous department store on Duval, now sadly closed. An artistic soul behind the windows | I used to hang out and chat with her and she had stories to tell about her youthful travels. She was married for a while to a diplomat and lived in faraway places. She told me of wandering the streets of Vientiane, the capital of Laos with her sketchbook drawing what she saw. She made quite the impression on me. "I don't understand people who get bored in retirement," she said, expressing the wish she could get a good old medieval patron to fund her and let her paint in peace. Nowadays they all worry about ROI and their image so it's the splashy charities that give tax credits that get the attention. Medieval Florence and Rome seem a long way away.
This next picture is the former waste-to-energy plant that the city declined to refurbish with modern scrubbers owing yo the complaints of wealthy condo owners in the Stock Island neighborhood. Now the trash gets trucked 200 miles to Pompano Beach and planted in the ground. And this space, with Mount Trashmore in the background will become something else along College Road.

Citgo here at Truman and White is a popular gas stop. The Chevron across the street has a small convenience store as well and they also have a mechanic during the day. A friend of mine has worked there since I can remember, but Citgo has one thing that trounces all other advantages: Dion's Fried Chicken, as I mentioned previously


One thing that I find amusing about Citgo is how they always stress their local roots. I don't know if anyone remembers anymore, short attention spans being what they are, but there was a scandal in 2006 when a convenience chain decided to drop Citgo owing to then president Chavez's anti-US government comments. So we see these signs of local fervor seven years later...

This I labeled "DIY" on my Facebook page. $99 for three months inside the gym or buy the bicycle for $200 and take it home. I like to sweat in private so its no contest where I would spend my money if I were in the market.

Cheyenne laboring on a hot February day. Winter has been too short for her.

But relief is always at hand after a cold front, be it ever so mild.

I have been enjoying the eighty degree days with cool breezes. They make me think of pleasant summer days in more temperate climes.