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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Yaaaay!!! (And Boooo!!!)

Good news on Affordable Care Act signups here in Maine:

Maine Gov. LePage is smiling
because he knows he's doing
all he can to make the ACA fail.
(So naturally it's succeeding.)
New statistics show that Maine is approaching its goal for health insurance sign-ups under the Affordable Care Act faster than almost every other state. Through Jan. 31, Maine surpassed the federal target for enrollments by a greater percentage than any other state that is using the federal health insurance marketplace, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

And the numbers show that Maine is approaching its goal for the six-month open enrollment period, which ends March 31, faster than any other state that’s using the federal system. A handful of states that have their own marketplaces are outpacing Maine.

The plan I'm trying to join is through the roof:
Maine Community Health Options logo
It's non-profit. I like that.
Maine Community Health Options, one of two insurers that are providing coverage in Maine, is well ahead of its conservative target for enrollments. “We set a goal of 15,500 by the end of 2014 and have already surpassed that,” said CEO Kevin Lewis. “Things are going very well.”
Unfortunately, I'm not among the signer-uppers yet. Lord knows I'm close. I created an account and filled in all the blanks on the healthcare.gov site, filled out the special form they needed to see if I meet the "minimum value standard," perused the plans, picked a plan (saving over $500 versus the cost of latching onto my partner Michael's plan through his work), clicked the box agreeing to a one-way trip to Hell if I wasn't being truthful, clicked the other box agreeing that it's the circle of life it's the wheel of fortune, signed on the dotted line, pressed the ENROLL button, and…
We're having trouble getting plan information. Try again. If you keep getting this message, log out and log back in after 30 minutes. If that doesn't work, call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

Error ID:500.300588

From what I read on the tangled-up tubes, encountering Error ID:500.300588 appears to be a fairly common occurrence, and I would gently suggest that the web Weebles at HHS put the code-fixing equivalent of a team of Navy SEALs on it. I have (and so do you) until March 31 to enroll for 2014 coverage, so I'm not ready to lose my sanity by reaching for the phone just yet. Besides, the suspense of getting coverage only adds to the value of my future Oscar-winning autobiographical screenplay, Ben Hur II: Ben Hur Harder. The chariot race through my doctor's office is gonna be awesome in 3D.

To be continued…

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Note: Would the bobsledder who lost a sock on the second turn please retrieve it at the Sochi Lost and Found?  Go down the uncompleted sidewalk, take a left at the goons beating up a gay guy, and hang a right at the face-melting water additive plant.  Thank you.  ---Mgt.
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San Diego Bird Festival logo 2014
8 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Daylight Saving Time: 18
Days 'til the 2014 San Diego Bird Festival: 8
Number of transportation projects initiated via the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: 15,000
Miles of road improved through the ARRA: 42,000
(Source: Joe Biden's office)
Number of smuggled cellphones confiscated from inmates by U.S. prison officials every day: 11
(Source: AP)
Percent snow cover currently in New England: 99.6%
(Source: NBC News)
Total fine in Connecticut if you're caught driving without clearing your vehicle of snow and ice: $120

Current U.S. Olympic Medal Count
Gold: 6  Silver: 4  Bronze: 10

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 186 (including 4 Beast Governments and 1 clumsy snake-handling preacherman).  Soul Protection Factor 24 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  Far-from-gloomy Gus

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President Barack Obama greets President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the Palacio Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico, May 2, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
"You brought me Twinkies?
"Six pallets on the tarmac."
CHEERS to the travelin' man.  President Obama straps on Jetpack One and self-deports himself to Mexico today, where he'll take part in the "Three Amigos Summit" with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico.  Canada's Stephen Harper will chide him for footdragging on the Keystone FU pipeline.  Mexico's Enrique Peña Nieto will chide him on border security.  And Congressman Steve King will be watching with binoculars to make sure the president doesn't copme back with calves the size of cantaloupes.

JEERS to a blockquote full of woe.  You can click on the links if you want (I wouldn't), or you can just read my Cliff's Notes summaries of some of the uglier splotches on our planet:

World map
Contains graphic violence.
Viewer discretion advised.
Ukraine: Worse
Uganda: Worse
Syria: Worse
Gambia: Worse
Russia: Worse
North Korea: The Worst
And in Iceland, where in '08 they let the banks fail, gay rights are human rights, the gender gap is the smallest in the world, religious extremism is non-existent, welfare isn't a four-letter word and universal health care is the law of the land, things are Better!  Probably just a fluke.

JEERS to really bad ideas from really good presidents.  On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed the order that would lead to the "relocation" (read: forced detention) of Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals living here.  How do we know it was a really, really bad decision?  Because nutcase Michelle Malkin thinks it was a really, really good decision.  Case closed.

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Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!

This is another edition of The One Word Answer Man.  CBS News asks: Does the U.S. have enough protection against credit card theft?

Ha!

Now back to Cheers and Jeers.

Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!
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Ted Cruz speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 16, 2011
Golly. For some reason no one in the
GOP leadership wants to high-five Ol' Ted
CHEERS to the NEW, IMPROVED Republican party.  Ever since RNC head Reince Priebus (goodness, such a foreign and exotic name) announced he was putting a fresh coat of whitewash on the GOP, the party has had a dickens of a time figuring out how to craft a message that would ring true with the masses.  Even exalted wordsmith Frank Luntz has come up empty.  So leave it to Texas Senator Ted Cruz to come riding to the rescue with a slogan that has Madison Avenue eating his dust:
“The single thing that Republican politicians hate and fear the most is when they’re forced to tell the truth.  It makes their heads explode. … It’s like they think the American people are just a bunch of rubes."
Hello, Acme Bumper Stickers?  I'd like to place an order.  A really big one.

JEERS to slowpokery.  On February 19, 1986, the Senate approved a treaty that said genocide---y'know like the Syria kind happening---was unacceptable.  What's really amazing is that the treaty was first introduced in 1949...and was signed 37 years after the pact had first been offered up for ratification.  Or, as the Senate call it: the speed of light.

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Five years ago in C&J: February 19, 2009

CHEERS to Hillaryhopping.  Our new Secretary of State---who doesn’t wear jackboots or have an oil tanker named after her, like the last one did---is in Asia this week, striking fear in the hearts of our enemies while being greeted with sweets and flowers by our friends:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton being interviewed by hosts Luna Maya (left) and Isyana Bagoes Oka (center) on the top-rated Indonesian youth variety show
Hillary traveled 956,733 miles
when she was Secretary of State.
Clinton is the first secretary of state in nearly 50 years to start his or her tenure with a trip to Asia, a contrast to the European and Middle Eastern tours that usually take precedence.  ... The visit also helps soothe a national neurosis called "Japan passing."  The term came to haunt Japan after President Bill Clinton made a nine-day visit to China in 1998, and never dropped by Japan to say hello.

This morning Clinton watched a ceremonial Shinto purification ritual, in which participants dump buckets of freezing water on themselves.  When asked why she seemed so familiar with the ceremony, Madam Secretary responded, "Oh, I've purified my husband many times."

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And just one more…

CHEERS to deep Billy thoughts.  I wish I was a goat.  I'm already a Billy, so I should be able to become an honorary goat if I want to.  If I was a goat I could butt teabaggers when they weren't looking.  I could eat laws written by ALEC.  But mostly if I was a goat I could do this:

I may go out in the yard and do it anyway.  Once the snow melts.  I'll circle June on the calendar.

Y'all have a nice old Wednesday now.  Go on, now!  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

It’s almost as if Bill in Portland Maine knows exactly what he’s doing, even as you’re sure he’s clueless.
---Doctor Zoom

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Poll

Whose position do you favor re: the Affordable Care Act's effect on the phenomenon of "Job Lock," i.e. feeling trapped at a crappy job because they provide health insurance?

1%54 votes
0%23 votes
97%2857 votes

| 2937 votes | Vote | Results

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