Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The US in Decline

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

So I'm tooling around the internet, minding my own business, when this pops up:

As numerous US states introduce bills that would require or encourage ‘Bible literacy’ classes in public schools, President Trump has given the proposals the thumbs-up, calling the idea “great!”

Lawmakers in six states have introduced ‘Bible literacy’ bills, aimed at encouraging high schoolers to brush up on the Old and New Testaments alongside their regular subjects.

Um, didn't we already go through all this, like, fifteen years ago or so? Of course Florida is one of the six states, natch, so I guess its time to dust off my copy of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and get serious about my Pastafarianism. I must admit I've been neglectful of worshiping His Noodly Goodness lately, but I just remedied that by polishing off an entire package of ramen.

Speaking of which, am I the only one who cannot eat ramen without thinking of this movie? Right? Guys? Hello? (sigh....)

Anybody remember when Google's motto was "Don't be evil"? I realize that we all now know that was never anything but a lie, but this is completely over the top:

Google and other online ad companies use intimate personal information like political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, and even diseases and disabilities to target users for advertising


In response to a TechCrunch article republishing the category lists, Google released a statement claiming they prohibit advertisers from targeting based on “sensitive categories such as race, sexual orientation, health conditions, pregnancy status, etc.” They do not explain why multiple categories under each of those headers can be found on their “Publisher Verticals” list.

This is all passed around to internet advertisers through something called "real-time bidding" where basically anyone with the cash can get a list of people who did Google searches for information on AIDS or local drug treatment centers. The US government could care less, of course. Whatever the multi-nationals want to do is perfectly legal, even when it isn't. However, more civilized places like Europe are at least starting to push back. We'll see how far they get before the Great Orange Gollum tries to do a Venezuela on them.

And then we have the whole shit-storm over some Catholic kids in DC wearing MAGA hats. The original "narrative" (a word that is now synonymous with "damned lies") was that a bunch of over-entitled white male punks surrounded a Native American medicine man/chief and proceeded to mock and threaten him. The response of the Tolerance Brigade was the typical intolerance we've all come to know and love, with so-called adults declaring that 16-year-old kids should be punched in the face and thrown into a wood chipper. The entire narrative was shown to truly be a damned lie by the simple act of watching, in their entirety, any of the dozens of videos of the sad-ass episode that were posted within minutes of the actual event. Every word out of Mr. Native American's mouth is a lie; he is no kind of medicine man, chief, leader or anything else. He's some homeless vagrant who also claims to be a Vietnam Vet while never having stepped foot in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the real instigators of the entire dust-up, a bunch of loons who call themselves the Black Hebrew Israelites (think Westboro Baptist Church in blackface), have been... er... white-washed out of the entire "incident" by the MSM. But no matter; the Tolerance Brigade is also psychic! They know exactly what those little MAGA-ty shits were thinking! Even though they did absolutely nothing other than act with a maturity far beyond their years by refusing to be provoked, they still deserve to be punched and thrown into a wood chipper.

So get comfy on the couch, kids and grab some popcorn because the US decline is entering the bat-shit crazy phase.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Medical (Mal)Practice in Pasco County

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

So one of the things I was supposed to do after getting out of the hospital was to "immediately" make follow-up appointments with all 27 doctors who allegedly were involved in my care while I was an inpatient. Obviously, the word "immediately" means something very different in the medical industry than it does in the rest of the universe, because I've been out of the hospital for two weeks and I'm still trying to get see some of the doctors.

But the real treat was when I tried to make a follow-up with my cardiologist, which was "VERY important!" according to the hospital staff. Well, it may have been VERY important, but it was also impossible. We called both of the cardio practices affiliated with Adventist Healthcare (owners of the the local hospital) and were told the same thing: "We don't take self-pay patients. Our fees and test are just too expensive for someone like you to pay." We tried to explain that no, we don't have insurance, but we have somehow managed to pay all of our bills in full for the last eight years. No joy. Cardiologists are different than every other specialty.

Uh huh. Right.

So we tried another tact; we explained we were in the process of getting me on Medicaid as part of the whole disability thing. "That doesn't matter. We don't take Medicaid either."


There are a few things about this that bug the hell out of me. The first is the sheer arrogance on display here. I've been to pretty much every other specialist in the medical industry and I've never paid more than $150 for an appointment. Who the fuck do cardio docs think they are? Just how much will a simple follow-up visit cost? And why would it cost an order of magnitude more than any other specialty? And even then, how in the hell does some receptionist in the office know what I can and cannot afford without even asking? I could understand giving us a heads-up about what office visits and follow-up test are likely to cost, and that we will be expected to pay for them up front. OK, that's just logical. But to assert on the basis of zero evidence whatsoever that I can't afford it? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, bitch!

The second disturbing thing is that calling two allegedly independent practices got us nearly identical responses. It was as if they were both reading from the same script. In any industry other than medicine, this would be called collusion and would land the companies involved in court. But not the medical industry. It's just business as usual, like all the hospitals in Michigan colluding to keep nurses wages rock bottom through the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Of course, there is also the class/race dimension. How better to keep all us smelly spics, white trash, niggers and other deplorables away from your bright shiny cardio practice than to refuse to even make an appointment? I mean, seriously. You let in just one Medicaid patient, and the next thing you know, you have some homeless guy in the waiting room cooking a rat over a campfire!

Other than that, everything is going about how we expected. More tests, more tests, and more tests and still no idea what caused my kidneys to shut down. Now the kidney doc is leaning towards some massive infection (rather than my CLL drug) as the cause, even though my blood cultures all came back 100% negative, and at no point did my temperature break over 100 (and was mostly at or below normal) through the whole ordeal. Must be some new kind of infection. Possibly extraterrestial. Maybe I should be talking to Scully and Mulder instead of all these doctors....

And still no movement whatsoever on the job and disability fronts, so we continue to live off what little is left of our savings. It seems everyone is more interesting in jerking us around than in doing there jobs. No surprise there. At least we're getting caught up on our reading and movie-watching.

Well, I need to get busy scanning in yet-another butt-load of paperwork to send off to some government office where it can be quickly ignored.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Good Riddance 2018

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

This is late getting posted because 2018 decided to suck right to the very end (and beyond). I have been physically going downhill fast since around the middle of October. I nearly died Christmas Eve trying to take a shower. I probably should have gone to the ER then, but there was no way I was going to force my parents to spend Christmas Day in the damn hospital. I had to do Medical Stuff (tm) the day after Christmas anyway, so while we were in the general area, we tried to get something resolved. The whole thing spiraled out of control until I ended up in the ER. Unlike previous times in the ER, there wasn't any messing around; I was admitted and in a room within an hour of walking in the door.

Long story short: Congestive Heart Failure and Kidney Failure. After nine days in the hospital with endless blood tests, CT's, X-rays, ultrasounds, etc., no definitive answer why everything crapped out. The leading suspect at this point is the chemo pill I've been on for the last 18 months or so for my Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, but we won't know for sure until the results of the needle biopsy they did on my kidney Wednesday come back in a week or so. I could hardly breath with all the fluid on my lungs, so when diuretics didn't really help, the lung doctor did a Thoracentesis on my right lung on Sunday, then my left lung on Monday. Between the two, they sucked 5.7 liters of fluid out of my chest. No wonder I got winded walking from the couch to the front door.

So bottom line is I'm home, I can breathe, I can lay down in bed to sleep instead of sitting up in a chair, I have no idea what caused any of this, no idea if it will just happen again, no idea if I will be able to restart my chemo drug, no idea if the kidney failure is permanent. We have no idea what any of this is going to cost us. (Well, that's not entirely true; I have no intention of paying anything to the fucking bastards ever, so in a sense I know exactly what it will cost me: nothing.) In other words, business as usual whenever we have to deal with the Medical Industrial Complex.

Anyway. New Years. I'd rather forget 2018 ever happened, so I'm not going to waste my time even trying to hit the high points 'cause there weren't any.

And 2019 is starting off with a bang: Neither of us have jobs thanks to the Florida Assholes as Cruises-n-More and the Zephyrhills Moose Lodge. Debbie has a few leads she's working on. I'm working on total disability. I'm done. The pricks can shove it deep and on a slant.

The one big change since the last New Year is that our blog is no longer on Blogger for the first time since I started it back in March of 2004. Google has become nothing but a bunch of annoying busybodies. Look; anyone doesn't like the things I say or how I say them, they are free to go be somewhere else. I have no problem with that. But when Google takes it upon themselves to make it difficult for me to post or for people to read what I write because I used the term "nigger" then it's time to pack it in and go elsewhere. I already get all my news from Uncle Vlad, so I figured why not use him as my blogging platform as well? And the timing was good in that my domain renewal is coming up here in a little bit, so I'll be switching where rdfrost.com points from Blogger to here. I'm not going to bother to try to move over all the old posts; I'll just stick a link down at the bottom of my link list if I ever want to go back and look something up. I'm still tweaking the layout and how things work, but I think it's pretty much in its final form. I wasn't sure about the theme at first, but the Edgar Alan Poe vibe fits my current mood, so I think I'll be keeping it for a while.

As far as what else I expect from 2019, I guess the answer is, "Not much." We still have all the same home improvement projects staring us in the face as we did a year ago. I don't see that changing this year. Not working may free up enough time to get something done, but then we don't have any money to pay for stuff. I'm figuring Debbie will find some sort of job either here locally or one she can do from home. I'm going to push hard on the disability thing if for no other reason than getting on Medicaid will help us more than any job I'm likely to find.

As a country, 2019 could be more stumbling around with no direction or purpose (and managing to kill thousands of innocent people in the process), or it could be the year the house of cards finally comes apart. The markets look like they've lost all connection with reality, our political systems are being systematically destroyed for fun and profit, and even Mama Gaia seems royally pissed off. I try to avoid getting all end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, but looking around at what is going on out there makes it hard not to slide into the same mindset as Jim Kunstler:

It’s not exactly the end of the world in Washington D.C., but as the old saying goes: you can see it from there! It’s out on the edge of town like one of those sinister, broken-down circuses from the Ray Bradbury story-bag, with its ragtag cast of motheaten lions, crippled acrobats, a crooked wagon full of heartbroken freaks, and a shadowy ringmaster on a mission from the heart of darkness.
The new Democratic majority congress has convened in the spirit of a religious movement devoted to a single apocalyptic objective: toppling the Golden Golem of Greatness who rules in the House of White Privilege. They’re all revved up for inquisition, looking to apply as many thumbscrews, cattle prods, electrodes, waterboards, and bamboo splinters as necessary in pursuit of rectifying the heresy of the 2016 election.

The simpleton California congressman Brad Sherman (D-30th dist.) couldn’t contain his glee, like a seven-year-old boy about to pull the wings off a fly. As soon as the Democratic majority was sworn in, he filed his articles of impeachment to impress his Wokester San Fernando Valley constituents out for deplorable blood. That was even a bit too much for Madam Speaker who reminded Sherman that some scintilla of a predicate crime was required — but surely would be available when Special Counsel Robert Mueller hurls down his tablets of accusation from on high.

Nothing good will come of this. Our country is being run by demented children playing with explosives.

Random bit picked up while hitting my daily web sites:

Saudi Arabia just instituted a new policy: women will now be notified by text message when their husband divorces them. This is considered an improvement over the old policy of not informing them in any way. Remind me again why these barbarians are considered allies, while the Syrians are our mortal enemies? Oh yeah. Oil. And money.

And I think that is enough for now.