Head case.

I’ve been busy the last couple of days, and I’m sure one of you already posted this, but sometimes I have to skim the comments a little, and maybe I missed it – “Coping with Chaos in the White House,” a psychologist’s guide to understanding a certain narcissist we can all name. It included this passage:

You can influence him by making him feel good. There are already people like Bannon who appear ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him.

Which is why I’m not taking this bait, no sir:


Everyone knows what trolling is, but this is really ham-handed. Speaking of hands, this is not the one to watch. While he’s jumping up and down about flags, something is going on just outside your field of vision. That’s what you need to keep your eye on.

And I was feeling so good after the long weekend. At the end of four years I’m going to look 70 years old.

Of course, at the end of four years I’ll be 63. So not that far off.

Have some bloggage, while I wait to be inspired to think about something, anything, other than Himself.

An interesting Flint piece, from a new science website. The writer drank Flint water, unfiltered, and gave himself lead poisoning. Still a great deal of work to be done there.

Just 200 lousy words tonight, but I don’t have much more in me. Let’s try tomorrow.

Posted at 9:54 pm in Current events |

46 responses to “Head case.”

  1. Basset said on November 29, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    at the end of four years I’ll be 65. And my liver will be a hundred and twelve.

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  2. Dave said on November 30, 2016 at 1:43 am

    At the end of four years, I will be 70. Thanks for reminding me but maybe, with this miserable administration, time won’t go so fast.

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  3. Deborah said on November 30, 2016 at 6:20 am

    I’ll be 70 too. Holy cow, I hope I survive. I worry a lot about the people Twimp is surrounding himself with.

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  4. Suzanne said on November 30, 2016 at 6:26 am

    I will only be 62 in 4 years. Young enough to watch all my retirement promises taken away. Other than a few years when the kids were small and a few month stint of unemployment after the 2008 meltdown, I have worked since I was 16. For what? To watch these tea partiers decide I think I’m too entitled and that the system needs to be torn down. I get it. My job is to go off somewhere and pass away quietly & cheaply as early as possible.

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  5. basset said on November 30, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Obviously, we are all losers who shoukd have worked harder.

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  6. Suzanne said on November 30, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Yes, Basset. I should have started working when I was 5.

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  7. BethB from Indiana said on November 30, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I have MS and take bunch of medication. If Medicare goes, I’m screwed. There is no way I will get insurance.

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  8. brian stouder said on November 30, 2016 at 9:28 am

    And the Donald says he’ll ‘keep’ the popular stuff, like insurance for people w/pre-existing conditions, and so on….but once you say THAT – then you’ve necessitated ‘mandated’ enrollment of everyone (or in other words, the heart of ‘Obama-care’) – which is the #1 thing the Trump crowd bitches about – and which is the only way the system could ever work!

    Train-wreck ahead…

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  9. Suzanne said on November 30, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Yep, Brian, yep. Without a big risk pool, the costs go up and up and up. That’s part of the reason Medicare works. All those retirees thrown in together so the healthy ones like my mother offset the costs of the sick ones like my father. Once you “drain the swamp” and let loose all the swamp people, costs will rise for anyone who has any sort of medical issue. Unless there is a mandate that an insurance company has to take sick people, they just won’t.

    Honest to God, I think Paul Ryan has no idea of any of this. Or he does and figures if the sick people die off quickly, it’s a win for everybody.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on November 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I’ve rarely seen so many examples of “bad winners” as the election of the Orange Ape has produced. I’m getting messages from rightwing acquaintances that can only be described as taunting and gloating over the prospect the GOP will destroy Obamacare, loosen already lax environmental regulations and ship millions of immigrants out of the country. I don’t recall engaging in this kind of behavior after the election of President Obama.

    And now we see the result of their misguided faith in this cheesy conman. Drain the swamp? Freeze out Washington insiders? What a cruel joke.

    Now I’m wondering what these pricks will do to Medicare, which I joined in April when I turned 65. And as a cancer survivor, I might be considered to have a preexisting condition. Methinks whatever I thought my retirement years would be like is now going to be radically changed. And not for the better.

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  11. Jolene said on November 30, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Medicare is never going to disappear entirely, Beth. What is being discussed, I believe, is a program that would provide vouchers for Medicare beneficiaries to purchase insurance rather than having the government purchase healthcare, as it does now. There would have to be a stipulation re pre-existing conditions as, obviously, most of the Medicare-eligible population would have such conditions.

    I don’t think it’s at all clear what specific proposals will eventually be put forward. Trump has actually said he wants universal healthcare–that he doesn’t want to change Medicare or Social Security. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t yet really know what these programs are, what they cost, or what the alternatives are.

    Choosing Price as head of HHS reflects the influence of Mike Pence, and that is hardly positive. No real Republican has ever expressed support for universal healthcare. So I think it will be a long time until we know exactly what there is to worry about. And, from a purely selfish perspective, if you are over 50 or 55, it seems unlikely that whatever changes are made to Medicare will apply to you. Not even Paul Ryan is proposing changes for current beneficiaries or those nearing Medicare eligibility.

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  12. Suzanne said on November 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

    I read somewhere that anyone born before 1954 would continue under the old plan. After that, you get a voucher to go buy your own. Watching my elderly parents, I envision myself at 80+ trying to navigate buying insurance and understanding the vouchers, etc. Those with cognitive declines would be completely screwed.

    Here is a rundown (if this is the right link):


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  13. susan said on November 30, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Is there no oppositions party? To block this shit from happening? Oh? Democrats, you say. OK, then. We really are screwed.

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  14. Jolene said on November 30, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Suzanne, you make a very good point re cognitive decline and the ability to participate in the marketplace for anything, let alone for something as complicated as healthcare. My parents are gone now, but I shudder to think what their last years would have been like if they hadn’t had adult children to help them deal with their healthcare providers. Not having any such children, I worry about doing this myself, regardless of what happens to Medicare.

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  15. Sherri said on November 30, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Josh Marshall shows how Medicare phaseout can be stopped: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/critical-for-understanding-medicare-s-fate

    Make sure your Dem reps hear not to waver. Tell your Repubs they’ll regret it. We’re going to have to work the phones the next two years at least, and make the Repubs pay in the midterms.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on November 30, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Amen! Mom is 84 and still pretty healthy but gets overwhelmed easily. She was a librarian but in a small town everyone got the same benefits, fought for by the police and firefighters’ unions. This has been a true blessing because they fought for a great Medicare supplement policy, and her health care costs are minimal. She has never had to pay for a doctor or lab, just tiny co-pays on meds. I also shudder to think if I had to negotiate this on top of everything else I do.

    Contrast this with my sister, who worked for the state of Florida for 30 years and spends most of her retirement pay on health care costs. She has massive problems, but under what Mom has would still pay little. She’s not quite 63, using COBRA, and it turns out you only have that option for two years. Next year, she may not have any good options.

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  17. Peter said on November 30, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Jeff B at #10, you’re not kidding. It’s one thing to gloat, but buy these people are taking it to the nth level. But, what could I expect? They’re like their Leader – no slight is too small to be remembered for all time.

    It reminds me of Mike Royko’s takedown of the Tribune’s Col. McCormick: “He constantly wrote about the national debt like someone who was worried that he would get stuck with the whole tab – plus tip”.

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  18. Kirk said on November 30, 2016 at 11:32 am

    If the Republicans screw with Medicare, their “mandate” will go up in smoke. Even most of them know that.

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  19. Kirk said on November 30, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I’m going on Medicare tomorrow, by the way, looking forward to saving major bucks on health insurance.

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  20. Danny said on November 30, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I’ve only peripherally kept up with the saga of outrage over Colin Kaepernick. For one, I think it’s been pretty much a non-story in that people are always looking for something to be outraged about and secondly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that this young guy wants to bring some attention to the division and racial issues plaguing this country. But recently, the volume is getting ratcheted up in light of his recent comments about Fidel Castro a couple of days before Castro’s death and a just a bit before the 49ers played the Dolphins in Miami (where there were a lot of boo’s and fights).

    Here’s a link to a good commentary by Cuban-American journalist, Armando Salguero, who interviewed Kaepernick:


    And an excerpt that:

    And that’s exactly the moment Kaepernick shows how lost he truly is. Because in the next breath, Kaepernick, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, explains to me, the guy born in Havana, how great Castro really is.

    “One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here even though we’re fully capable of doing that,” Kaepernick said.

    Is this real life?

    First, Cuba does not have the highest literacy rate. Second, don’t be surprised if the same people who report Cuba’s admittedly high literacy rate are related to those who report its election results — the ones in which the Castro get 100 percent of the votes.

    I still like Kaepernick and think that people are making too much ado with the outrage, but he has stepped in it a bit here.

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  21. alex said on November 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I occasionally run into people who speak gushingly about Castro and his many great accomplishments and the wonderful utopia that Cuba is, and I suspect they picked it up in Sociology 101. Kaepernick was a college football player, so no doubt he took all the easy courses that you could pass with a concussion if need be.

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  22. MichaelG said on November 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I started working as a stockboy in a sports and hobby store when I was 15. I retired in 2014 when I was 70.

    In four years I’ll be . . .

    I must admit that through a series of fortunate circumstances I am very financially comfortable and have a wonderful, comprehensive and extremely low cost health plan. In fact, I can’t imagine a way to improve it. I have been so fucking lucky the last few years. And yes, I am very thankful. Except for having cancer that is. Even so.

    I agree, Danny. I still like Kaepernick as well. I think his heart is in the right place.

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  23. Scout said on November 30, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Medicare is the fight we need to focus on. We need to petition, call, write and raise a frickin ruckus. We can multi task by posting the double chin pics to bait the thin skinned psycho PEOTUS and raise hue and cry over all the shitty cabinet appointments, but we need to keep laser focused on the entitlements fight and never ever ever let our electeds off the hook on this. The more they hear from us, the more we’re in their heads when it’s time for them to take a position.

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  24. Danny said on November 30, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    …so no doubt he took all the easy courses that you could pass with a concussion if need be.

    Alex, I laughed my ass off when I read that. Too funny.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on November 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Speaking of concussions, an Indiana University quarterback announced yesterday that he will neither play his senior year nor try out for the NFL, stating that he needs his brain.

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  26. Danny said on November 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Alex, your post also reminded me of something I saw at Wonkette:


    Apparently Rebecca Schoenkopf (Wonkette herself), a seemingly intelligent and “writerly” lefty, has/had a pretty high opinion of Ole’ Fidel.

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  27. Sherri said on November 30, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I don’t think Kaepernick is either stupid or necessarily ill-informed. Salguero write a hit piece on him. I’ve read Salguero’s work, and generally like it, but he unquestionably had an ax to grind here. So, maybe Kaepernick wasn’t prepared for a sportswriter looking to make a point about Castro at his expense at his league-mandated presser.

    A football press conference with a Cuban exile reporter from Miami is probably not the way to get the most nuanced discussion on Castro.

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  28. Deborah said on November 30, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I grew up in Miami and Castro gets no positive comments from me. The guy was a totalitarian dictator. I have really good Cuban friends whose families suffered, because of him.

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  29. Deborah said on November 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Weird, my Delore

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  30. Deborah said on November 30, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Oops. My Delorean avatar showed up because I used my old email address when I commented. I set my browser on private which means it doesn’t remember anything and I always have to type my name and email in on nn.c. Sometimes I misstype it and I go into moderation. I use my old email on some things because it’s too much of a pain to change it.

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  31. Sherri said on November 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Not trying to defend Castro or Kaepermick, for that matter, just noting there was a little more to the story than Kaepernick is a dumb jock. He’s not, and assuming he is or that he took easy courses is unfair.

    I’m not even a fan of the guy. I respect him for being willing to take a risk for what he feels strongly about, but I don’t necessarily agree with him or many of the things that have been said or written about him.

    He’s learning how to find and use his voice in an environment that really wishes he had no voice, where even friendly reporters want to police what he should be doing or saying and how he how say it. And taking any kind of stance about anything controversial might well limit his football opportunities free this season, because some owners and coaches won’t think he’s worth it. If he’d kept his mouth shut, he’d certainly have a job somewhere next season, probably with an opportunity to start. That’s less certain now.

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  32. Icarus said on November 30, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    “Speaking of hands, this is not the one to watch. While he’s jumping up and down about flags, something is going on just outside your field of vision. That’s what you need to keep your eye on. ”

    as Scalzi said my brain has the ability to follow more than one thing at a fucking time. That said, I don’t think the Trump voters can.

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  33. Judybusy said on November 30, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Scalzi articulates, in a much funnier fashion, what’s been going on inside my head. “I can’t even” isn’t in my vocab, but all of his other takes: yes. Thanks, Icarus.

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  34. Deggjr said on November 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Those who think there will be a long phase-in of Medicare cut-backs are at best optimistic and at worst naive.

    There is a past example. Congress reduced Social Security benefits in 1977. The reduction first affected those who turned 62 in 1979 (the year they were first eligible to retire). There were two years from the legislation to implementation.

    The ‘notch babies’ complained about the reductions but the reductions were never even slightly changed. There were millions of notch babies who ultimately had no influence on the outcome. Those that were already receiving benefits weren’t affected and younger people years from retirement didn’t care.

    This is the explanation from the Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/history/notchfile1.html. Note the tone of reasonableness and regret. Change ‘Social Security’ to ‘Medicare’ and change some numbers/dates and this article will work in 2019.

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  35. Deborah said on November 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I wish I could be more optimistic about this but if you were born before 1954 like I was you’re not going to be safe from losing Medicare as we know it now. It will just be a matter of time, as long as the Rs are in power before that’s gone too. That’s what I’ve been reading. I keep hoping that in 4 years people will come to their senses and realize what a huge mistake it was to vote for Twimp.

    Jeff (tmmo) I’m interested in what you think about all of this healthcare stuff that’s coming down the pike? Danny? Joe? I don’t know how old you guys are but what do you think about this? This is my big issue because of my daughter, obviously.

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  36. Icarus said on November 30, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    “Those that were already receiving benefits weren’t affected and younger people years from retirement didn’t care.”

    This is one more reason why Chicago Public Schools (and I’m sure other cities) have trouble improving: Those whose kids are already done with school aren’t affected and those who are child-free don’t care.

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  37. Danny said on November 30, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Deborah, I am not sure what will happen, but when I here talk about “unleashing the power of the free market” and “expanding health care savings accounts,” I am not encouraged. Nancy has pointed out for many years that the “invisible hand” of free market capitalism is often touted by conservatives as some awesome benign/beneficial force that we should worship, but that it doesn’t really work AT ALL for things that we consider to be basic human rights like a decent education and decent health care. And Brian has pointed out many times that those of us who do have jobs in the private sector have seen nothing but increased costs and diminished coverage year over year over year… and this was before the ACA even came into effect and led to more burden and diminished coverage for these traditional employer plans.

    And as far as “health care savings accounts” go, they may be fine for braces for your kids or broken bones, but they will never be enough for major health issues. And even to cover the small stuff, you must have a job and enough money to put into said account.

    My only hope is that the incoming President will understand that there are a shit load of people who do not have jobs and even if there was a job for them, some of them can’t work due to health issues and that no one should have to die or live on the street for lack of health care in the richest nation in the world.

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  38. Danny said on November 30, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    hear talk.. not here talk

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  39. Heather said on November 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Health care savings accounts are a joke, especially when ER visit can cost more than $10K.

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  40. Heather said on November 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Meant to type ONE ER visit.

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  41. Scout said on November 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Danny said, “My only hope is that the incoming President will understand that there are a shit load of people who do not have jobs and even if there was a job for them, some of them can’t work due to health issues and that no one should have to die or live on the street for lack of health care in the richest nation in the world.”

    HIM??? Understand anything that doesn’t have to do with enriching himself or settling a score? TRUMP? Nah, not gonna happen. I’m not even going to get my hopes up that vulgar pos will do anything for anyone but himself and other people with more money than they’ll ever need. He tweets up a storm about flag burning, Broadway actors, CNN and the NYT but has nothing to say to the people painting swastikas and sending threatening letters to mosques. Don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed.

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  42. Colleen said on November 30, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Suzanne @ 4: exactly.

    I will be 53 at the end of The Orange Menace’s first term. My husband is almost eligible for Medicare….just in time for the Rs to declare war on it.

    While good things are happening in my life, and I am excited by them, I am worried about the future. What’s going to happen to my retirement funds? To Social Security? Will there even BE Medicare when it’s my turn?

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  43. Sue said on November 30, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Scout@23, calling my electeds was the first thing I did, the day after the election, because I knew right away that Medicare is going to be in the crosshairs. Not that it will do any good. One of my senators is Ron Johnson, and my rep is Jim Sensenbrenner. But this is too important not to call on. If they are keeping track of for/against calls, I can’t assume I have no voice just because I live in WI.

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  44. Sue said on November 30, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Does anyone know, do you have to take Medicare (or whatever is going to replace it) once you reach eligibility, if you are still working? I can see one unintended consequence of this – elderly people hanging onto jobs long past retirement age, to keep decent insurance. I can see myself working well into my 70’s to make sure my husband can get care for age-related health problems that are beginning to pop up now. I can see people who should not be working going until they drop because they can’t afford their illnesses or those of their spouses.
    Businesses are not going to be happy at insurance hikes directly related to an aging workforce refusing to retire. Time to make age discrimination legal, I guess.

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  45. Deborah said on November 30, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Sue, you are so right. Even though I live in 2 blue states it”s still important to call your reps to let them know how you feel. I remember the first time I called my rep, Danny Davis, the woman who answered the call insisted that he was not my congressperson because he represents mostly south Chicago. But I told her to look at the map again, that there’s a long skinny finger that reaches up Lake Shore Dr to capture Lake Shore liberals. She was shocked to realize that. Anyway, sometimes they need to hear from the people.

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  46. Sue said on November 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    On the lighter side, my husband can’t understand why Sarah Palin is being considered for the VA – she should be appointed ambassador to Russia. I’ll just betcha she’s gonna have Putin eatin’ outta her hand in no time. (“C’n I call ya Vlad?”)

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