Saturday, April 29, 2017

Grandma Bonnie Peters Is Alive and Well, and Pushes Me Back Online

Quick post'cos y'all deserved to know...

I did not actually even start the Ultimate Hunger Strike because, so far, the conditions for starting it have not actually been met. I thought they had when I posted that I was starting it, last month; then went home and found solid food in the house that day, and, the next day, went out and earned some money. So it's gone--the same way it's been going so far this year. It's still hand to mouth, one (small) load of groceries at a time, but I have been earning just barely enough money from honest work to buy food. Though not electricity, or a new pair of shoes (one of the pair I'm wearing now has a hole in it).

So I've been eating; I've been doing some useful work in the real world, not enough of it well enough paid.

The conditions under which I said I'd resume blogging have not been met, either. No more free links. No more daily blog. I'll feel more motivated to spend days indoors as the summer heats up, and may even get through the 57 pages of accumulated e-mail (so far)...I'm still pondering what, if anything, I'll post, since although this web site is logging high U.S. readership it's not generating enough paying readership to return to what it used to be. You still need to be sending money.

Grandma Bonnie Peters is alive and well and very perky, considering that she's now 82 years old and she's had a very, very rough time with that more-cold-than-flu virus. She had it again this winter, had the vertigo, fell and broke an arm and was glad it was only one arm...sent me one pitiful little letter that was delayed in the mail because it was hard for the postal workers to read the address, but I read the letter and walked out to Kingsport and had lunch with her, and there was just a hint of that heavy "One More Time" feeling in the air, and Kingsport air is on the heavy side at best.

Anyway, as of that day, GBP had just taken her "daily walk" and still had enough energy left to walk out to the Wal-Mart in between our homes for lunch. She said she noticed herself forgetting more things this spring than last year, but she was completely "alert" and seemed like the same dear old person she's always been, and she remembered our old favorite blog themes.

She had tried a new product--peanut meal, not peanut butter--called PB2, and would have bought some for me to try. I thought it was too pricey for me to endorse...considering that she'd been unable to work and was buying her groceries at Wal-Mart with food stamps. No smart remarks from the er um peanut gallery. If ever anybody deserved to have my tax dollars spent on her food, GBP does. Unlike most of the food stamp recipients in this country. Anybody who is 82 years old and still looking for more odd jobs, volunteer "jobs," and opportunities to sing in Easter Cantatas, deserves just about any good thing.

But I agreed with her that, now that I've recovered from the glyphosate poisoning of my formerly-favorite Planters Peanuts, it was time to test Zatarain's Rice products--a former favorite food that I've mentioned here, and e-mailed the company about, becoming unfit for human consumption due to glyphosate and/or GMO poisoning. I let GBP buy me four packets of overpriced but (as I well remembered) delicious Zatarain's Yellow Rice, Dirty Rice, Dirty Brown Rice, and Jambalaya Rice mix, to see whether I could eat them. I then devoted one week to that experiment. On four successive days, all I ate were those four packets of premixed rice. I then waited long enough to confirm that although this low-fibre diet digested slowly, and any further consumption of Zatarain's Rice mixes will be part of a better balanced diet, it did not cause internal bleeding.

GBP spent almost six dollars to bring youall that information. Celiacs, rejoice...we can use at least those four flavors of Zatarain's rice mix again.

Zatarain's Yellow Rice Mix, 6.9 oz (Case of 12)

The haters reading this may enjoy knowing, or then again it may gravel what haters have in the way of souls to know...I still don't have an indoor stove. I cooked this rice in a metal pot set directly on a couple of sawed-off oak and apple branches in a barrel in the yard, fuelled by a rich mix of things including junkmail, twigs, weeds, privet prunings, one of last year's worn-out shoes to get the hardwood started (it was a damp day), and some scoopings straight out of the litter box, because Heather has temporarily become an indoor cat (no, she doesn't mind--I'm not sure whether she's expressing gratitude, or pity because she thinks I've become clingy, but she's been acting "sweeter" than her baseline, which is positively alarming). Starting with cold water, which works well only with Zatarain's rice, and keeping the pot sealed while cooking, it takes 40 to 50 rather than 20 to 25 minutes to cook the rice this way, but the rice comes out as delicious as ever.

More posts will probably follow, irregularly, as I (1) work through the e-mail and (2) work out what if anything I want to do online based on what you're paying pay up now.

Become a Patron!

Morgan Griffith on Medical Insurance Reform (March 25)

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):


Health Insurance Reform

On the evening of Friday, March 24, the House of Representatives leadership determined they could not get enough votes for the American Health Care Act. The AHCA was withdrawn and that bill is dead.

Accordingly for the time being, Obamacare will remain as the law of the land. However, after the dust settles, and we all have a chance to take a deep breath and reflect on our country's needs, I believe we need to return to working for health insurance reform.

Republicans are in agreement that Obamacare must be repealed. However, there are disagreements as to which is the best way to replace it. The discussion can get messy, but this is the result of giving everyone opportunity to read and understand what’s in the bill.

This is a stark contrast to the way the Democrats did it when they shoved Obamacare through. With little known about the content, Majority Leader Pelosi directed them to “pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Instead, America is witnessing the spirited debate and clash of ideas anticipated by the Founding Fathers when they established the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill's failure is undoubtedly a setback in our efforts to fix America’s health insurance system by repealing and replacing Obamacare, but it is not complete defeat.

Obamacare has failed. Copays are higher, deductibles are higher, insurance rates are higher. Just because you have a piece of paper that says you have health insurance doesn't mean you have adequate health care. Because of this, I believe we have to repeal Obamacare and this bill would have been a step in the right direction to replace it.

It was not a perfect bill, or even a great bill, but it was a good first step and there can be no real change without a first step.

Ronald Reagan’s Chief of Staff, James Baker, said President Reagan used to tell him, “Jim, I'd rather get 80 percent of what I want than go over the cliff with my flag flying.”

I agree.

While I had decided to get the 80% included in the AHCA, many Republicans felt the bill either went too far or not far enough. Unfortunately, because of this, some of my colleagues decided to go over the cliff with their flag flying. Interestingly, these colleagues came from both the moderate wing and the very Conservative wing of the Republican party.

That being said, the biggest culprit in preventing the compromises needed to resolve the differences within the House Republican Conference is the arcane Senate rules.

Both the special rules related to budget reconciliation and the Senate's modern filibuster/cloture/hold rules, make it impossible to have a smooth transition and also fix all the problems at once.

The Senate’s reconciliation rules allow a parliamentary challenge which can discard a House bill that is noncompliant with the strict requirements. The 60 vote requirement put in place by the modern filibuster/cloture/hold rule will be nearly impossible to meet with any replacement bill not done under reconciliation because Democrats refuse to consider replacement options. They currently hold 46 seats.

Despite the clear message from American voters to repeal Obamacare and the increasing evidence highlighting Obamacare’s failures, not one single Democrat was willing to join Republicans in voting for the AHCA. They are united in defense of President Obama, even when they know his plan doesn’t work.

The Democrats fought the AHCA tooth and nail. During the committee markup, Congressman Sarbanes (D-MD) said, “Make no mistake this proposal will effectively destroy the health insurance exchanges.” His comment is confirmation that the AHCA did in fact essentially repeal Obamacare. The Democrats believed if we couldn’t pass the AHCA, Obamacare, even though flawed, will be here to stay. And while I hope that isn’t so, they may be right.

I believed this replacement plan was better than sticking with Obamacare, but since we couldn’t get the support, we must move on to other replacement plans.

I will continue to work for the people of the Ninth to bring true improvements to the health insurance and health care systems.

After a short weekend to catch my breath, I will be back in Washington to continue working for solutions.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at