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I just received this delicious, though somewhat stale, double-dip of misattribution and pants-on-fire lies, with a topping of xenophobia and ignorance, from a thoughtful friend who asked me to "ponder this":

Paradoxical Quote of The Day From Ben Stein: "Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured... but not everyone must prove they are a citizen." Now add this, "Many of those who refuse, or are unable, to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens." Think about it when you vote in November !"
To which I replied: SNOPES, FACTCHECK.

Or, ponder this one.  I know it's true and I know who wrote it because it's me. Without the Affordable Care Act I can not get private insurance for major medical, of any kind, at any cost, because of pre-existing conditions that do not affect my physical health -- which is very good -- and require medications costing only about $40/month.  I am uninsured for major illness or accidents because although I work over 60 hours per week, it is at 3 different part-time, no-benefits jobs (teaching and research).   It is not "non-citizens" who are keeping me from having health insurance.  It is the insurance companies who won't sell it to me.  

Romney's claim that pre-existing conditions are covered under his (very non-existing)  health care plan was corrected by his campaign manager just minutes after the debate ended: no it doesn't -- he just won't change the existing law that guarantees continuous coverage for people who already have it.  In other words, he won't end HIPAA or COBRA, which people who have lost their job can't afford anyway, and people who don't even know they have a pre-existing condition don't realize they need if they're ever to get re-insured (me again).  

Or I suppose, as Willard said a few weeks ago, hey, I do have health coverage: I can go to the emergency room and they have to treat me! (Even though I'm a moocher who won't take responsibility and care for my life.)   I'll remember that if I have a mammogram turn up positive.  ("Excuse me, where is the line for cancer?")

My non-US citizen friends and colleagues from Norway, Denmark, Canada, Australia, England, and Germany are the ones who can't fathom our system. The only ones who can relate are from another country where health insurance is private not public, availability depends on what province you live in, there are caps on coverage, some conditions don't qualify, and out-of-pocket expenses are extremely high. The country is China.  Great company we keep on this one.

DUN EVEN get me started....

That was the end of my rant. just posted a nice analysis of Romney's "new and improved" (as of 2pm PDT anyway; check back in an hour) position on covering pre-existing conditions.


In San Diego we have had three murder-suicides in the past month in which children have been killed by their parents. The latest was a day after Father's Day, when a dad shot his 13- and 15-year old sons, lit the house on fire, and then shot himself. The boys and father were seen the day before playing basketball in the driveway.  Neighbors had no idea anything was wrong, and they were well connected to the local community. The father was an attorney and clinical psychologist who worked as a coach for financial and legal professionals. His business was called Solutions Directed Coaching, and featured a system he called "Flexible Optimism." Records showed that the house had recently been slated for foreclosure, after rising dramatically in value during the housing bubble (it was purchased well before that) and then decreasing back to a level still above the purchase price. Presumably home equity loans had been taken out, possibly to finance the father's return for his PhD in psychology.

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Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 04:55 PM PDT

their/there/they're, your/you're

by carlylu

Please bloggers, it's not that hard, and it really helps your writing look like it deserves a place in the national discourse.

p.s. should have


The U.S. Coast Guard published a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) on June 4 soliciting white papers offering technical solutions to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The research opportunity announcement, titled Deepwater Horizon Response, gives the following background (emphasis mine):

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) and applicable Federal legislation and regulations provide the USCG with broad responsibilities and authorities regarding oil spill response oversight on the navigable waters of the United States. Included are responsibilities and authorities to conduct, in coordination with other Federal agencies, research on innovative oil spill technology.

Ideally (and logically) research such as this would be funded and conducted prior to actual need for the technology.  

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Fri May 21, 2010 at 03:55 AM PDT

How to "quote"

by carlylu

OK, I'm a scientist who used to teach English composition.  So bear with me.  With all the recent diaries on the Gulf oil spill there has been much inclusion of information from outside sources, use of data and figures from scientists, and use of the block quote for a variety of purposes.  This is a peeve that has bothered me on blogs for awhile, but it seems to be even more problematic when we are dealing with scientific information that needs to be very precise. So instead of continuing to pester diarists with comments, I'm offering a pestering little primer on...

How to use blockquotes and scientific data without annoying people.

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