"Things that interfere with writing well: Earning a living, especially by teaching."

-William H. Gass

Saturday, November 07, 2009

C-SPAN on a Saturday Night

Sometimes it's nice to settle into a Saturday night with a glass of wine, a home-cooked meal, and a House debate on C-SPAN.

Health Care Bill...debating a few amendments...

8:45 pm
Stupak Amendment (which is an assault on women's rights) gets voted on at 9:30. The debate just ended...I don't have the strength to discuss it.

Now we're on to the GOP Substitute Bill.

People in wheelchairs who are American heroes want you to be a Republican. If you aren't, you hate America and freedom. You can only honor the fallen by rejecting the Dem. health care bill.

Rep. Barton from Texas just said, "What we have here is a failure to communicate." He was totally serious. He is very concerned that there will be too much bureaucracy involved in health care if we pass this. (Has he ever filed his own claim?!!) It will cost you 1.2 trillion dollars to get married if the Democrats win. I don't know how that works exactly but it scares me.

He is very concerned about the 10 million young people who don't want insurance. They are losing their freedom.

"We believe in choice...less freedom or more freedom...I vote for more freedom." (He is against freedom if you are female, though.)

Charles Rangel gives 1 minute to Pete Stark of CA. He has a furniture ad voice. I go to microwave nachos.

Rep. Henry Brown wants to give Americans the freedom from being able to choose abortions. That's right: the freedom FROM choice. Huh?

Rep. Jim McDermott: 50 million Americans are in the ER because they can't pay for Dr. visits. His phone is ringing off the hook all day every day - his constituency wants health reform now. He says the GOP must have failed to read their own bill otherwise "they couldn't keep a straight face." In my experience, the GOP is always in a state of collective smirking.

The GOP is offering a bill as "skimpy as a hospital gown." -Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas. "They [GOP] want to protect 5% and leave 95% worse off than they are now." He gets applause.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer has a shiny pin in the shape of a bicycle. And a bow tie. I think he should have a show on cable. "This is a colossal failure of imagination...the GOP could have passed this anytime during the Bush administration but they didn't bother because it doesn't do anything."

"Members will take their seats or leave the chamber." I think the speaker just threatened to stop this chamber right now and turn it around if the representatives couldn't behave.

Rep. Roy Blunt says the GOP version saves EVERYONE money.

I mean, you DO save money if you die.

The GOP bill increases the number of uninsured within 10 years, the Dem bill will cover 47 million people who currently don't have insurance...says Rep. Ron Kind.

So...the GOP wants to cover fewer people and the Democrats want to cover more people.

Charles Rangel promises to be nicer to the Republicans than the other Democrats. He isn't. And it's awesome.

He's talking about morality and caring for the poor. An assault on freedom!

9:07 pm

Nachos are done.

"This isn't complicated," says Peter Welch from Burlington VT, the GOP tells Americans:"You are on your own" and the Democrats say: "We are in it together."

9:08 pm
Edward Markey says that the GOP is heartless. I think they take this as a compliment.
"GOP...grandstand...oppose...pretend." Not sure that's going to catch on, Markey, but I love all the yelling!

Charles Gonzalez from Texas explains why malpractice tort reform made things suck in Texas. I'm pretty sure they sucked before that, but I like his points. It didn't lower costs for the average family in Texas and it didn't draw doctors to impoverished areas - both promises proponents of the bill assured. He begs for a no vote and gets hearty applause.

9:13 pm
About 15 minutes away from the vote on the abortion amendment and the GOP substitute.

Rep. Weiner rocks my world. Congress gets tax-payer subsidized single-payer health care, which they support for themselves but not the American people. Fuckers.

Eric Cantor is talking. I'm going to the kitchen, refilling wine.

9:21 pm
Eleanor Holmes Norton is shouting. And bald.

9:25 pm
The speaker just told the house that they need to use the remaining 5 minutes because no one was talking. He said, "Use it or lose it." This is your government at work, America.

John Boehner thinks government is growing out of control. Government is "choking the goose that's laying the golden egg." "America is a great country because here you have the freedom to succeed...but the bigger the government gets...there's less money left in families' pockets and there is less opportunity for Americans."

I can't even listen to anything else he says. This is so disgusting! Let's see...he seems to believe that the American dream is only possible when the Government stays out of the way. Was the American dream made possible for WWII vets by the GI Bill? Guess not, that was the government. Every single one of those people who went to college and became the first person in their family to enter the middle class was NOT accessing the American dream but rather some rogue socialist dream ruining the real America. When Barack Obama went to public schools and got federal loans for college he was participating in some un-American dream. Disgusting, these enemies of freedom.

He just said, "We all know we had a terrible economic shock over the last year." The last year?! Year?!! As if everything was fine before Obama came to office? This man is a moron.

He says the government is too big and it can't get involved in health care, but now he's complaining that the Dems are going to cut Medicare. Which is it you fuck? I hate this man.

9:34 pm
I have an aneurysm.

9:42 pm
He is still listing all the jobs this bill creates, as he has been doing for several minutes. He is listing these as an assault on the bill. He is against creating jobs. I don't get it. I really don't get it!

9:43 pm
My insurance company drops me because of the aneurysm.

9:44 pm
Another Boehner complaint about the Dem bill: "Requires all vending machines nationwide to post the calorie count next to the item." Letting people have access to information before they make decisions. That doesn't sound like the American freedom I love.

9:47 pm
"I came here to fight for freedom."

Yes. I want freedom from health care! Stop trying to make sure I don't die, Democrats!

9:48 pm
Dems yield the balance of the time to John Dingell. Much applause.

9:49 pm
Applause stops.

He praises the house for the debate.

"The republican bill does almost nothing for the...uninsured Americans...families would pay 8,188 dollars more under the Republican plan when compared to the Dem bill...in 2080 health care costs would EQUAL the GDP (if we do nothing)...the Dem bill is the only one that makes sure your insurance company doesn't drop you for preexisting conditions...today's vote may be tough, but it was in 1935 when we passed Social Security Act...

The gentleman's time is expired. Much applause.

9:55 pm
Further proceedings postponed. Stupak vote imminent. A 15 minute vote.

"The biggest assault on a woman's right to choose [the pro-choice caucus] has seen in their career."

10:20 pm
The house approves the Stupak vote. A bunch of people who think that government should stay out of health care just put the government in my uterus. Fuck you, house of representatives.

I am signing off so that I may swear more profusely off the internet. Will they approve the health care bill? I don't know. But if they do, I sure hope you don't have an unplanned pregnancy because even if you pay for your health care with YOUR OWN MONEY you won't be able to pay for a plan that covers abortion.

Thank god my tubes are tied.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

i keep telling myself it's only a game

When I was a kid we played Monopoly a lot. I can remember many hours spent on our stomachs, propped up on elbows. We stretched out on the floor, flanked by snacks and little piles of fake money. In particular, I remember playing with my dad and my sister at my dad's post-divorce residence. There is something intensely ironic about playing a game in which you become the owner of many properties when your family lives in a trailer. Embracing that irony, my father once took his fistful of pastel bills, after beating us into bankruptcy (as he did every single time) and ran into the yard, amid the double-wides, and proclaimed "I own this town!"

While I know it is ridiculous, I always regarded my inability to win at Monopoly as an indication of my future financial prospects. As I got older, I began to feel greater anxiety during games of Monopoly with friends and became inordinately frustrated when I lost. I literally never won. Ever.

For several years, I stopped playing. It wasn't like I "quit" Monopoly. After one graduates college, the opportunities to play any board game diminish considerably, and Apples to Apples pretty much cornered the post-grad market. In fact, I think it had been at least four years since my last attempt at simulated capitalistic success when, this Friday night, I chose to be the dog competing against a battleship and a shoe.

The board wasn't open thirty seconds before I called my dad to ask how much money everyone got before play begins. He didn't even inhale; he rattled out: "2 five hundreds, 2 hundreds, 2 fifties, 6 twenties and five of everything else." He might as well have been reciting his name and birthdate. As I said, we played a lot of Monopoly.

I brought out the board without thinking of my former Monopoly complex, but it was only a few turns before I began feeling anxious. Fortunately, we were drinking heavily.

Within minutes, my personality changed. When my cousin landed in jail, I said things like, "Say hi to your mom in there." When she won the free parking money, I told her my tax dollars were feeding her children. I scoffed when our friend gave her a break on rent because she was about to go bankrupt.

I became....a republican.

But the thing was, I wasn't enjoying it. I honestly don't know how conservative people feel happy! I wanted to win the game, but I didn't want anyone else to have to be poor. I had this terrible inner conflict between my competitive self and my socialist self. I kept cursing my choice to have only two guests, rendering games like Taboo impossible.

Thus, two hours into the only Monopoly game I ever could have won (victory wasn't a definite at this point) I had that one last drink I shouldn't have had, and fell asleep. I'm not sure I could have handled the end of the game, regardless of the outcome. Thank goodness in the real world I don't have so much or so little that I have to worry about it. Seems like we could fix it so everybody felt that way...