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My Obamacare Adventure: Part III

Our story thus far: tried to create an account at last fall and got kicked off…tried again last week and it was smooth as buttah…now comes the signing up for a plan part. Let's go!

I logged into my account yesterday with no problem. Got a security question ("What was the worst punishment handed out to you as a kid?") and answered it ("Mom washed my mouth out with soap for cussing, but I bit the soap in half and threw up when I almost swallowed it"). Then it was time to go through the "providing information" part.

Screen grab of
I haven't encountered this
message once. My wait time
between screens: milliseconds.
Some of the things they want to know are standard stuff: birth date, Social Security number, address (I can never remember the "plus-4" part of my zip code---the system found it for me), phone…

[Click to continue]

It asked me to pick yet another security question (the system is big on security questions). "Most hypocritical gay congressman on gay rights?" "Aaron Schock."

[Click to continue]

Then came two disclaimers guaranteeing my privacy (Ha Ha Ha!) and informing me that they would use every federal agency at their disposal to check and double-check to make sure my information
was correct. I clicked the button marked "I agree...or else."

Then they wanted more info: people in household, dependants, ethnicity, expected income in 2014, current health coverage, do I want email, text or snail mail notifications, favorite beach, farthest distance I've hocked a loogie (80 feet and I have the trophy to prove it).

[Click click click.]

Two more disclaimers.

[Click click.]

Then, just as I thought I could see the finish line…Crunch!!! Like the Mars rover running into that jelly doughnut rock, I hit a snag---but not one having anything to do with the site performance. Since I'm eligible to go on my domestic partner Michael's insurance, the company he works for has to fill out an "Employer coverage tool" form to find out if I meet the "minimum value standard," whatever that is. I was briefly on Michael's plan in 2008 but paying over $500 a month was too much (Obamacare should run me around $350 or less) and I dumped it. So they gotta fill out this one form or else I'll risk ending up in Gitmo for six consecutive life terms on perjury charges if I blow it off.

On the upside, the revamped site is wicked fast, friendly and easy to navigate. On the downside: the suspense is killing me. On the upside to the downside: anti-suspense drugs are now covered, thanks to Obamacare.

To be continued……

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Note: C&J's designated NSA tracker Bart reminds you to speak in a loud, strong voice, clearly enunciating every syllable and employing an economy of words that communicates your thoughts without unnecessary filler, especially when you're talking about plots against the homeland.  Together we can create a brighter tomorrow one hidden microphone at a time.  ---Mgt.

National Toboggan Championships 2014 logo
9 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til spring: 50
Days 'til the U.S. National Toboggan Championships in Camden, Maine: 9
Percent of ATMs in America that still operate on the Windows XP system: 95%
Fine in Rexburg, Idaho if you're caught texting in a crosswalk: $50
(Source: Time)
Increase in new housing starts in 2013: 16.4%
(Source: Commerce Dept.)
Estimated amount fans bet last year on the Super Bowl: $99 million
(Source: AP)
Number of Grammy Awards mastering engineer Bob Ludwig of Portland, Maine took home Sunday night, including two for Daft Punk's Random Access Memories: 4


Mid-week Rapture Index: 185 (including 4 Marks of the Beast and 1 very silly Nigerian cat owner).  Soul Protection Factor 24 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Jackpot!


CHEERS to arriving fired up and ready to go.  That Barack Obama is a baaaad mother…. (Shut your mouth!)…Well, I'm talking about Obama… (And we can dig it!)  Last night's State of the Union address (transcript here), in my humble opinion, had confidence, optimism, and just the right amount of tough running through it. Here's my annual brain dump for future archaeologists to marvel over:

>> Congressmembers wore blue ribbons to show support for extending emergency unemployment insurance.  Congressmembers belonging to the "No Labels" caucus wore special orange badges that read: "Kiss me. My cause is futile."

>> West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin gave off an odd licorice smell.

>> Obama: "The state of our union is improving, despite the best efforts of you idiots sitting in front of me with the "Rs" after your names."

Vintage State of the Union address with woman circled
As she has for the last 143 State of the Unions,
a mystery woman sat in the balcony and tossed
a black rose to the next congressman to die.
>> Obama: "The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact."  Conservatives: "The debate is settled: as long as we can keep making money off fundraising appeals that include calling climate change a hoax, climate change is a hoax."

>> The teabaggers lasted a whole three minutes and 45 seconds before shouting "Tyranny!" This was slightly longer than last year's three minutes flat.

>> Loved the way he kicked Republicans in the teeth over the Affordable Care Act: "If you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently.  Let’s see if the numbers add up.  But let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda.  The first forty were plenty.  We got it.  We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against."

>> We must pass immigration reform so we can make it safe for Canadians to come out of the shadows.

>> The money quote (for my money, anyway): "America must move off a permanent war footing."

>> "And I make this solemn promise to America tonight: Ted Cruz will never deliver a State of the Union Address. And you can probably strike out Christie, too." [Sustained applause for 13 minutes]

Overall, a speech worthy of an A-, I thought.  Equal parts vision, nuts-and-bolts policy, impatience, and a firm dissection of why modern conservatism sucks.  Meanwhile, 14 of the Republican rebuttals have been delivered.  The remaining 109 should be finished by tomorrow evening.

JEERS to lying liars.  On January 29, 2001, President George W(orst) Bush promised to "act boldly and swiftly" to deal with our challenges concerning energy. His brilliant idea: put Dick Cheney in charge of a secret task force that would make sure nothing happened boldly or swiftly.  As a result, the big oil companies were forced to deal with the challenge of where to sock away all their record profits.  (We hear the Exxon-Mobil CEO's mattress was twelve stories high.)

JEERS to a gathering of jerks.  The Aqua Velva and cigar smoke will hang heavy in the air as Republican House members and their allies meet at at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, Maryland for their annual lobbyist-funded retreat:

There will also be a
lot of this going on.
"This retreat will be unlike any other as we hear from innovative speakers who will challenge our Conference to think differently about how to help empower people not the government," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the chair of the House Republican Conference.  "Plus, we have more time than ever scheduled for member-driving conversations about the bold solutions we want to advance this year to grow the economy, create jobs, and help people get ahead."
This year's team-building exercise: drinking scotch with their non-dominant hand.

CHEERS to #25.  Happy birthday to William McKinley, born on January 29, 1843 in Niles, Ohio. Talk about cruising to victory---in 1896, while William Jennings Bryan was dashing around the country stumping on a measly $50k, McKinley campaigned from his back porch, sipping iced tea as his fat-cat supporters raised $3 million for him. Unfortunately his belly got in the way of a couple bullets fired by an anarchist five years later, and that was that.  Pay your respects at his humble resting place:

President William McKinley's tomb in Ohio
If you ever plan to visit in person, be sure to take along a Sherpa.  And don't look down!

JEERS to bigoted boys and their bigoted toys.  A member of the Ku Klux Klan was indicted for trying to cut down on the Muslim population in a bizarre way:

Ray gun
The prototype.
“[Glendon Scott] Crawford planned to create a mobile, remotely operated, radiation-emitting device capable of killing people silently from a distance with lethal doses of ionizing radiation,” according to the indictment.
Not only was Crawford targeting Muslims, he also wanted to do away with people who "were contributing to the demise of the United States."  So it was also his suicide machine.


Five years ago in C&J: January 29, 2009

CHEERS to victory.  Go 'Bama!  Go 'Bama!  The House passed the economic stimulus package 244-188.  One sure indication that it has a decent chance of helping revive the economy: all the Republicans don’t think it has a decent chance of helping revive the economy.  If they had voted for it you would've had to talk me down off a ledge.


And just one more…

MEGA-WORSHIPFUL CHEERS to the Great and Powerful "O".

Oprah Winfrey
Happy birthday to you...
Ow Ow Ow Ow!!!
Happy birthday to you...
Ow Ow Ow!!!...
Happy 60th birthday, dear Oprah,
Ow, stop it!!!
Happy birthday to you!
There, I sang it.  Now please, ma'am...remove your stiletto from my neck.

Have a nice Wednesday.  Oh, and happy 50th anniversary, Dr. Strangelove.  Today in the C&J cafeteria: 50 percent off all precious bodily fluids.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

“If anything, Cheers and Jeers fires me up.”
---Sen. John McCain


All things considered, I'd give President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address a(n)…

46%2081 votes
34%1555 votes
8%377 votes
2%97 votes
2%114 votes
5%229 votes

| 4460 votes | Vote | Results

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