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Name: Sharon
Gender: Female
Hometown: Chicago area, IL
Home country: USA
Member since: Tue Mar 26, 2013, 04:18 AM
Number of posts: 13,537

About Me


Journal Archives

Why does Medicare have to be so danged complicated?

Mr. B recently got laid off from his job (he should have retired a long time ago, but decided to keep on working as long as he felt able, because we needed the money... but that's a whole separate story). The health insurance from his now ex-employer will only cover us till the end of this month, and we have got to get our Medicare ducks in a row by then. We already both have parts A and B, but as we all know, that will only get us so far. We need to add a Medigap/Medicare Supplent plan plus Part D for prescription coverage.

(Before anyone mentions Medicare Advantage, we've already ruled that out. I've read too many posts here at DU about the pitfalls and decided to steer clear.)

So like I said, if I understand correctly, we need Medigap and Part D. But (again, if I understand correctly), we have to get those from a private insurance company (or maybe 2 different companies?) and that's when my brain shuts down. There are so darned many insurance companies and so many different types of plans, and I can't figure out where to start. If we really have to wade through all these websites to figure out what will work best for us, I'm afraid we may end up flipping a coin or something equally random by the time it's all said and done. It all sounds so complicated, and neither of us has the kind of brain that's good at processing this kind of information and keeping it all straight.

I'm extremely leery about talking to any insurance people on the phone while were in this frame of mind. I'm sure they'd all just tell us how great their plan is and try to sell us on it, and that's the last thing we need right now.

I'm curious to hear abut how others have navigated this process, and whether anyone has any pointers to share. Right now, I feel as lost as if I was trying to find a couple of needles in a haystack the size of Mt. Rainier.

I have major issues with MRIs.

First time I had one, it was for my knee. When I made the appointment, they asked if I was claustrophobic. I said no, because I didn't think I was. Turns out I'm not claustrophobic in small rooms, elevators, etc., but when you stuff me into a tube the size of a coffin where my arms are literally pinned to my sides, I have a panic reaction, because it literally feels like being buried alive to me. Who knew?

I managed to get through it only because I didn't have to have my head all the way in there for them to scan an area that low on my body. But it took all the self control I could muster to keep from fighting my way out of there. I tried to concentrate on staring at the ceiling and keep my mind off the feeling that the rest of my body was immobilized. The problem is you need to be very still while the machine is doing its thing, and it's really hard to be that still while stifling waves of panic. Ironically, that made the whole ordeal take even longer!

Years later, I needed to have an MRI on my neck. Remembering the earlier experience, I looked for a place that advertised open MRIs, figuring I'd be fine as long as I didn't have to be "buried alive" in that tube. WRONG. I was okay with the basket on my head, because that didn't give me the "buried alive" feeling that triggered the panic. I was able to closed my eyes and relax, UNTIL I gradually became aware that they had also put some kind of enclosure around the rest of me. That did it. Even though it wasn't nearly as constraining as being stuffed in the tube, that triggered the same "OMG GET ME TF OUT OF HERE NOW!!!" panic reaction that the tube did.

We were not able to complete the scan that day. *sigh* Since then, I feel like I understand phobias a lot better than I used to. It is very strange to be completely terrified of something that you rationally know is not going to harm you, but knowing it is an irrational reaction does nothing to dispel the terror and panic. It's completely involuntary and outside one's conscious control.

If I ever need an MRI again, I will plan ahead for sedation, because I know that's what it will take.

I think you may be right.

If he had conceded the loss of the election, even grudgingly, and not interfered with the peaceful transfer of power that has been the norm in this country from the beginning, AND if he had not stolen documents containing classified information and refused to give them back voluntarily, he might well have been allowed to slither out of the White House and back into private life without further ado.

But he just couldn't bring himself to do that, or rather his massive, yet highly brittle, ego and malignant narcissism would not allow him to do it. Instead, he refused to admit defeat, then launched a criminal conspiracy to try to overturn the election results, AND stole boxes full of national secrets that he needed to bolster said ego and help him maintain the fiction that he was still potus (and hence still a Very Important Dude). Even then, he might have been able to skate if he had even agreed to return the stolen property without a fuss But oh no, his malignant narcissism reared its hideous head once again, preventing him from admitting wrongdoing or even saying "oops" and conceding that he might possibly have made a mistake by taking something he might possibly not have been entitled to.

His narcissism trips him up every time. It leads him to make bad choices and then prevents him minimizing the damage by admitting to even the tiniest possibility that he could have ever done anything even slightly wrong. It demands that he ALWAYS be in the right and NEVER even a little bit wrong, even in cases where admitting error could produce a much more favorable outcome for him.

His narcissism has now painted him into a corner from which he cannot possibly escape, and the same narcissism prevents him from admitting he's trapped, even (especially?) to himself! He could have saved himself from most, if not all of this, if his narcissism hadn't been in the driver's seat every damned time, but it was and always will be in control of his decision making. For that reason, he is doomed to the failure he tries so desperately to deny.

No, I don't feel sorry for him at all. I'm just mind-boggled by the sheer irony of it all.

"Huckabee rejected this and suggested Republicans simply have a messaging problem."

And then he proceeded to tell a bunch of big fat lies:

“I do not,” he replied. “I think the problem is Republicans have done a very pitiful job of explaining that the difference is we want to protect life, Democrats want to take it right up to the point of birth. They want to butcher a fully developed child. We’ve got to take it to the Democrats. Quit playing defense. Let’s be clear about what we stand for.”

I think we're the ones who need to take control of the narrative and stop playing defense! I'm sick of the way forced birthers can't even talk about abortion without accusing the pro choice side of things like wanting to "butcher a fully developed child." They love to harp on that because they know it grosses people out, which makes it an effective way to make our side look like horrible villains. The fact that nobody actually wants that is irrelevant to them.

Most women who want to terminate an unwanted pregnancy want to do it early as possible, because the sooner you do it, the easier it is, the quicker and easier recovery is, and the less it costs. But you can't get an abortion until you know you're pregnant! The state legislators who are writing all these 5 week bans and "heartbeat" bills know this and they're writing their bills this way on purpose, because they know good and well that most women won't find out they're pregnant in time to nake the deadline, the sneaky bastards!

Women don't have abortions later in pregnancy unless something has gone horrifically wrong, like the fetus is diagnosed with severe birth defects that are unlikely to be survivable and mom doesn't want to go through labor and delivery just to have to sit there and watch their baby suffer and die.

Sorry for the rant. This kind of stuff makes me so crazy I just have to vent! Anyway, this is the kind of stuff that people need to be educated about. I honestly don't see enough of that happening, and it really frustrates me.

Of course, in this instance, no one there was going to call out Huckabee on his lies, because they're all forced birthers who either believe that claptrap or don't want to tell him he was wrong (because omg, someone might think they're *gasp* pro choice). Hannity was actually talking some sense when he (correctly) pointed out that the GOP position on abortion is too extreme for lot of people, but correcting Huck on his anti choice lies, I mean talking points, would have been a bridge too far.

A sad day for America?

I wish I had a dollar for every time some talking head on TV said it was a "sad day for America" when Trump was indicted. I know what they mean, but I just can't feel sad about it.

It was a sad day for America when he was elected president. Every day he was in office was a sad day for America. All the days when he committed his crimes have been sad days for America, especially J6. Each time he's indicted is a happy day for America, imo, because it means karma is baying at his heels, and he's one day closer to being held accountable.

I love this cartoon (from today's Toons post by JHB) because it expresses what I feel.

Neal Katyal: Why the Trump trial should be televised.

I've seen some comments at DU expressing that the J6 trial in DC should not be televised. I could not disagree more, and this opinion piece by Neal Katyal in the WaPo explains why better than I ever could.

Neal Katyal, a law professor at Georgetown University, served as acting solicitor general of the United States from 2010 to 2011.

The upcoming trial of United States v. Donald J. Trump will rank with Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education and Dred Scott v. Sandford as a defining moment for our history and our values as a people. And yet, federal law will prevent all but a handful of Americans from actually seeing what is happening in the trial. We will be relegated to perusing cold transcripts and secondhand descriptions. The law must be changed.

While many states allow cameras in courtrooms, federal courts generally do not. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 states: “Except as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom.” Whatever the virtues of this rule might have been when it was adopted in 1946, it is beyond antiquated today. We live in a digital age, where people think visually and are accustomed to seeing things with their own eyes.

A criminal trial is all about witnesses and credibility, and the demeanor of participants plays a big role. A cold transcript cannot convey the emotion on a defendant’s face when a prosecution witness is on the stand, or how he walks into the courtroom each day.

Most important, live (or near-live) broadcasting lets Americans see for themselves what is happening in the courtroom and would go a long way toward reassuring them that justice is being done. They would be less vulnerable to the distortions and misrepresentations that will inevitably be part of the highly charged, politicized discussion flooding the country as the trial plays out. Justice Louis Brandeis’s observation that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” is absolutely apt here.

MORE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/08/03/trump-trial-tv-broadcast/

Non-paywall/gift link: https://wapo.st/3Qkr7Xr

I am 100% convinced that televising the trial is the right choice. We need to let the American people and the rest of the world see for themselves how America handles the prosecution of our most crooked criminal president ever.

Frederick Douglass: Belfast statue of black anti-slavery activist unveiled

A life-size bronze statue of the black American anti-slavery activist Frederick Douglass has been unveiled in Belfast city centre.

Mr Douglass, a former slave, was a leading member of the abolitionist movement to outlaw slavery in the US. He visited Belfast a number of times in the 1840s at the invitation of the Belfast Anti Slavery Society.

The lord mayor of Belfast described the unveiling of the statue as a "positive news story for the city". "His writings and his values are just as relevant today as they were in the 19th century when he was touring Ireland," Ryan Murphy said.


Historian and tour guide Tom Thorpe said the statue was appropriate, describing Belfast as an "anti-slavery city". He said that while "many people in Belfast did own slaves", an attempt to set up a slave ship company in the city in 1786 failed due to opposition in the city.

"Slavery never established itself here in the way that it did in Liverpool, London, and Bristol," Dr Thorpe added.

More, including additional photos: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-66358247

I thought my fellow DUers might enjoy a piece of uplifting news for a change. This was an eye opener for me, as I had no idea Douglass had such a connection with Belfast or with Ireland as a whole. Good job, Belfast!

(Note: Belfast is in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, but when Douglass was visiting in the 19th century, all of Ireland was still part of the British Empire.)

What I miss most of all is feeling safe in the assumption that someone who loses an election

will graciously accept the decision of the voters, concede their loss, and fade into the background.

I was a nervous wreck in 2020, scared to death that TFG might be reelected. Silly me, that was actually the only thing I was worried about. I was actually naive enough to believe that if Biden won the election, we would be rid of Trump! It never entered my mind that a concept like "the will of the people" would mean nothing to someone with a mob boss mentality like his.

Never in my worst nightmares could I have conceived of something like the Big Lie, much less an actual plot to interfere with the certification of the election results and overthrow the US government! Even now, looking back, so many of the events that occurred after the election seem surreal to me.

I am absolutely delighted that skilled and detemined prosecutors like Jack Smith and Fani Willis are going after him with such alacrity. The only thing worse than having TFG hovering over the 2024 primaries like a cloud of poison gas would be having him hover over the 2024 primaries like a cloud of poison gas without the constant and imminent thread of prosecution. I don't mind hearing about him nearly as much when most of what I'm hearing is about indictments for the various crimes he's committed.

I've been wrong before, but I really don't see how he can survive all this. He's already staggering under the documents indictments (which Jack Smith has, pardon the pun, jacked up to an even higher level with the additional charges that were just added). Indictments from Georgia will be coming down probably next week, no doubt closely followed by more indictments for the J6 coup and God know what else. TFG is going to be reeling from the impact of all of that.

I know that he's gotten away with a hell of a lot in his misbegotten lifetime, but none of that can begin to compare with the weight of what's coming. He's NOT indestructible, much as he would love to believe he is. I have to believe that, because if I didn't, I'd lose my freaking mind.

I think the term "neo Nazi" makes sense in a historical context.

I'm pretty sure it was coined to differentiate the original Nazis of Nazi Germany from copycat white nationalist groups that have sprung up since WWII, groups based on similar ideology that have no direct connection with Nazi Germany or the original Nazi Party.

Now that the "original" Nazis are all dead or very close to it, it may no longer seem necessary to ďifferentiate, but it still makes sense to me. Why? Because from a historical standpoint, these neo (meaning new) Nazi groups are just that: new groups inspired by the earlier, original one.

Neo Nazis are not members of the National Socialist German Workers Party that existed in German in the 1930s and 1940s. Even though they espouse much of the same ideology, they are completely separate organizations formed by people who were mostly not even born when the "real" Nazi Party was in existence.

Calling them "Nazis" for short is fine, imo, but I think it's still a good idea to differentiate, so that we don't lose sight of what they really are: copycats and pretenders. These are guys (almost exclusively males, afaik) who get off on emulating a bunch of (very) bad guys from the past, strutting around in their fake Nazi outfits and sig heiling each other because it makes them feel important.

Are they dangerous? Absolutely, not just because they use the name and symbols of the Nazi Party, but because ALL white supremacist/white nationalist groups are dangerous and a threat to this country. Calling them "neo Nazis" doesn't make them any less dangerous, and it exposes them for the cosplaying fakes that they are.

As Republicans elevate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., his polls sour

The right’s thinly veiled campaign to elevate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for its own political purposes culminated Thursday with his invitation to testify at a congressional hearing. It was a remarkable scene: a Democratic presidential candidate, who just last week suggested that the coronavirus could have been a “deliberately targeted” bioweapon to spare Chinese and Ashkenazi Jewish people while attacking White and Black people disproportionately, and who has regularly espoused debunked vaccine claims, welcomed by Republicans to the House “weaponization” subcommittee to drive a pet message in front of a national audience.

The move was, of course, impossible to separate from conservative media’s own effort to play up Kennedy’s campaign. Fox News has devoted extensive attention to Kennedy on the air and its website, publishing more than 80 articles and videos about him since his campaign launch in April. This despite President Biden’s leading Kennedy by upward of 50 points in polling.

This attention has been predicated on Kennedy’s supposedly surprising strength in the primary. But as we argued back in April, Kennedy’s support appeared largely inflated by his famous last name. And even as he was about to testify, there came evidence that the effort was fizzling.

Kennedy’s support in the Democratic primary is down slightly from those unexpected early polls, which pegged him around 20 percent. But more significant than that, Democratic voters have perhaps predictably turned on him as they actually learn about him.


No paywall: https://archive.ph/2023.07.20-211232/https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/07/20/robert-kennedy-jr-polls/

That's right, he's dipping in the polls with everybody except Republicans. Democrats who were initially dazzled by the Kennedy name are noping out as they learn what he's really about. Which is pretty much what a lot of us thought would happen, iirc.
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