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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Not disclosed
Home country: USA
Current location: Not disclosed
Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 06:28 PM
Number of posts: 12,984

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

In this post, I want to discuss the merits of the 'Diversity Visas.'

By the way, happy Veterans Day!

I am an economist, and specialize in the tracking, aggregation and analysis of a variety of labor market and economic indicators.

One of the things I track are the top unique job postings in my region during rolling thirty-day periods. Now, for at least the past year, the 'big three' - the top three jobs by number of unique postings - in my metro area have been:

- Registered Nurse
- Software Developer
- Truck Driver

We are in a tight labor market across the board, and I'm waiting for the September JOLTS data to come out tomorrow (and at the state level the 19th) to find out whether we are going to see the high number of resignations many are talking about.

Bottom line, people are in the process of rethinking their relationship with corporate culture, and finding they want a bit more. Other issues, too, such as lack of childcare, etc.

But here's my story:

Anyway, today I went into my HMO for a regular blood pressure check and some bloodwork. The nurse who helped me told me she was Greek/Ethiopian, and was over here on a diversity visa. I was happy about this and wished her the very best.

Here's the thing - these nuts that 'doan wan' no immigrants here in Murika' are shortsighted at best. Because who would have helped me had it not been for this immigrant nurse? See, we talk about the anti-vaxx idiots that are now hogging hospital space needed by the rest of us when we have normal problems, but on the other side, the shortage of nurses over the US is acute. No one has enough.

So...chalk up one for sanity in immigration. But look at the numbers - in 2021, out of 11.8 million applicants, only 132,404 were allowed to come here. Also, due to the racist assholes, people from Mexico, Honduras and other Central and South American countries are ineligible. Think about THAT for a minute. Geez.

I'm happy we have visas to bring foreign workers over here, and hope that we can rid ourselves of trash like Steve Miller, Trumpy, and the rest of them. This nation was built on immigrants.

Dea Matrona - a young Irish band

These young women are very tight musically, very talented. Their names are Molly, Orlaith (pronounced Orla) and Mamie, who is on drums. I thought you might like their work. They got their start busking in Dublin. I found them when I was searching for good covers of Crossroads.

They write their own stuff though, and it is really good. Orlaith and Molly trade off on the base and guitar, which is somewhat novel. Hope you enjoy it.

I just had a wicked thought.

Don't get me wrong. I'm beside myself with anger over these morons who refuse masks and vaccinations because they put all the rest of us in danger, and are now hogging all the ICU beds that should be on reserve in case people have strokes, heart attacks, or need various surgeries. But instead, they have to wait because some idiot is laying on there with a ventilator tube coming out of his mouth because he was too stupid to get a shot. So yeah, I'm furious, as are all of you...but...

It seems to me that this ivermectin dewormer has to be somebody's idea of a joke. Seriously.

Whenever I get emails from the right wing-nut faction of my family, I just have to sit back and think, you know, you're going through all these contortions. Bleach, zinc, hydrochloraquin, ivermectin...why in the world wouldn't you just get the vaccine? I mean, I did. And then, you wouldn't have to worry as much.

I have never had polio, tuberculosis, rubella, smallpox or a plethora of other diseases that used to wipe out whole cities. Why? Vaccines, of course. I've been vaccinated. From a very young age.

And yet, these idiots from the Party of Death, Stupidity and Treason are refusing a free, easily obtainable vaccine for a horrible disease that can literally destroy your life over the long haul, if you survive. I know some long haulers and it is awful.

So, here's my wicked thought: I'm thinking of telling my rightwing relatives that I've heard that the mideval practice of bleeding people with leeches may have shown promise as a COVID treatment (somewhere).

Who knows? It might give Murika's leech farmers a whole new lease on life!

I mean, I'm not actually going to DO it...but it is an amusing thought.

Had a little fun. Well, not really, but it did feel good.

Just took my wife in to the health care 'provider.' According to our insurance plan, what we did today was not completely covered by my already crippling financial copay. So I had to take out a loan. Yay! 'Murika really grate, now, eh?

In the meantime, my HMO, which shall remain nameless - sort of like the Mouth of Sauron - has made my wife wait FIVE MONTHS to even see a surgeon about a torn rotator cuff. Five months. Every morning she wakes up weeping from the pain. Finally, next week, we'll get to see the surgeon, and then probably have to wait another five months for surgery.

So, feeling more than just a bit angry, I called my Congressman, Ken Buck, who is a proud member of the so-called 'freedom caucus.'

I explained my slow and grinding trauma to his staffer, because it is pretty hard to be a caregiver, and my wife's situation and how she has driddle squat for a quality of life, and then asked him what the Republican party has done to materially benefit me or my family since the 1970s when Dick Nixon created the EPA. Yeah, we had a couple of stimulus checks, but that money already is gone to the HMO.

Then, we talked about how my Republican county commissioners have politicized COVID and in spite of the CDC's recommendation that students mask in school, they have actually issued a written communique asking the school district NOT to have kids mask. Why? For our freedom, of course!

The conversation moved to healthcare - I did mention having to take out the loan and asked him why I am even faced with that situation. Following this, I spoke about how the US is the only country in the world that has healthcare debt and healthcare bankruptcies. Why is that, I asked? And why has the age of Medicare eligibility not been reduced to age 55? Those things, I said, would have materially benefitted me and my family FAR MORE than the 2017 tax cut, which was the height of fiscal irresponsibility.

We then went on to discuss how individual taxpayers such as him (the staffer) and I pay in 86% of the government's tax revenue, and corporations only 6.8% at this time, because of that tax cut. Why, I asked, wouldn't it be better policy to raise the corporate tax rate back to 1970 levels?

After that, we had a nice talk about student debt and I asked why my kids had to pack in so much debt, and why Congress didn't act to make college more affordable to all kids.

Finally I asked what is wrong with the Republican party right now. Why have they politicized the pandemic and the vaccine, and why are they letting people die just to make Biden look bad so they can win the next election? And why are people who are arguably traitors, like Boebert, Greene, Hawley, Cruz, Kosar, McCarthy and others still in Congress after the failed coup attempt January 6.

I think it was good for him to hear that. He told me that Buck represents the values of the people who live out on the eastern plains and votes his values. I replied that he doesn't represent me and his values are not in tune with urban people, who tend to be a bit left of center, and I said that there are many of us who feel this way, in fact a majority of Americans.

So there you have it. I think it was good for him to hear about what our experience is actually like on the ground. Because if Buck got 2 or 3 thousand calls like this, it might wake him up. And venting to a person who is on the staff of one of these right wing nut jobs felt damned good. I try to call Buck's office monthly like this.

Rant over...

Hello. I will reveal first I am not a member of this group, BUT

I very much appreciate good music. I posted about this band in the thread about Eric Clapton, who apparently has become an anti-vaxxer.

Anyway, here is a link to a new busker band from Ireland. They got their start busking in Belfast, and this is a show they did this last Christmas that was streamed from a place called Whelen's. I like them a lot because they play some covers of old rock songs - they do a mean Crossroads - but they have also written a number of really good original songs. Listen and you can hear some of the bands that have influenced them.

Here's the link: ?list=LL

What I really like about Dea Matrona is that they are really musically sound, and both Orlaith and Molly play multiple instruments. Watch them trade guitar and bass during the performance. Just pretty good music.

Given what just happened in Georgia, I am respectfully asking all DU readers:

Please call your US Senators daily on the urgent need for a new voting rights act.

If we all call them daily, write them, email them, and otherwise be very noisy, they might just take some action. Because this really is urgent. We can kiss this republic goodbye if this GA law, and the dozens of others Republican controlled state legislatures are cooking up, are allowed to stand.

We need to force them to make this happen.

I commit to all of you that I will be calling my two Senators every day on this matter. At each of their offices, locally and in DC.

Please, let us overload their switchboards with huge call volume.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of

their appointed rounds."

We've all heard that, I know. Heck, when I was a kid it was even in cartoons.

I have posted before about the horrible 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, and how it is my belief that the Republicans did this to the USPS to break the union and starve the USPS for funding so they could crow about how government is inefficient and take steps to privatize the postal service.

But I found out something just the other day that hit me like a ton of bricks. Here is a three-paragraph excerpt from a book I'm reading:

President George W. Bush went after the US Postal Service in a similar manner with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The Postal Service had been accumulating surpluses and proposed to use some of that money to convert its fleet of postal carrier vehicles—the largest vehicle fleet in the United States—from gas to electric and hydrogen-powered. This was intolerable to the fossil fuel billionaires who largely owned the GOP. So oil company CEO Bush’s 2006 law required the Postal Service—and the Postal Service alone—to set aside $5 billion every year to keep in a trust fund to pay for the health care expenses of people who would retire in 75 years.

No other company or government agency had ever been required to set aside monies to pay for people who, in most cases, were not even born yet; it was a naked attempt to drain cash from the Postal Service to stop the modernization of its fleet and to starve the postal beast to set it up for privatization.

Had the Postal Service not publicly announced its goals in 2006, it would have revolutionized transportation in the United States, setting a standard for moving the entire country’s fleet of cars away from gas and diesel.

Now, I know some of you do not like this author because he has been known to also criticize Democrats, but this excerpt, and indeed the whole content of the book is right on.

This book is well worth reading. I don't want to sound gushy here, but Hartmann is right up there with Howard Zinn, and for me that is high praise.

Here is the citation:

Hartmann, Thom. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy (p. 106). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.


We do love our cats - we've got four. Two tuxedos, a Siamese, and a tortie.

I'm not really that much of a morning person, and my wife, who usually feeds the little fellows in the morning, is having a sleep-in. But this morning I was wide awake just before six.

So, I showered, dressed, and then went up and fed the cats.

Now, I get back down here and am online catching some news.

The cats had taken several of the keys off my keyboard!

I found the '5' key off to the side, and they had loosened the T and the Y. Plus it looked like one of them had browsed on the internet and was attempting to erase the browsing history.


I suspect the tortie.

I still want better healthcare.

Like most Americans who are still lucky enough to be working, I have crummy, rationed healthcare with financially crippling copays. My employer and I together pay my HMO, which shall remain nameless, 19.1% of my gross.

But that is just the premiums! Oh, no, it gets better...

Here are my copays:
Primary care - $30
Specialty care - $50
Urgent care - $60
Emergency - $350
Hospital - 20% co-insurance up to the 'out-of-pocket maximum' of $4,000. Each.

So, worst case scenario, I am out $28,000 with premiums and the financially crippling 'co-insurance.'


That is not the worst case. It could get far worse. The new agreement between the HMO and my employer leaves them wiggle room on the out-of-pocket maximum - if I require something like a hip replacement, which their bean counters now say is 'elective surgery,' my 'coinsurance' can go up dramatically, leaving me in danger of bankruptcy.

WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY is there SO much resistance to Medicare for all Americans? A single payer plan paid for with tax dollars? Like what they have in Britain? Or Canada? Or Australia? Or pretty much any other advanced industrial democracy in the entire world?

Oh, because we would not be able to choose our doctor!
Well, I have to choose between a bunch of HMO in-system docs. I cannot go to anyone out of system without paying an arm and a leg. So that excuse does not cut it.

Oh, because we have to wait too long for basic surgeries!
My wife's left hand is useless because of arthritis, and after the rigamarole we had to go through to finally get her an appointment for surgery, we are looking at several months - more like a year. And in terms of a scar-tissue removal surgery to relieve chronic pain from her failed knee replacement, we are looking at never, because the doctor simply does not want to do such a surgery. So that is a myth.

Oh, we do not want the Federal Government running our healthcare!
Oh, ok. So we would rather have a public sector CEO who makes $17.2 million with around $11 million of that tied to shareholder profits running our healthcare? Our care dictated by a for-profit insurance company whose interest in maximizing shareholder profits is in direct conflict with our best interests as patients? Maybe with some nice MBA bean counters working with nurses to deny care? That is what we have now.

I want better healthcare. We should not even have to worry about going to the doctor. We should just be able to go in, get the treatment we need, and be done. The profit motive needs to be removed from healthcare because it is a public good.

A colleague of mine was in Australia at one time in his student days. He broke his ankle. His friends took him in to the hospital and asked how much it was going to cost. Nothing.

After treatment, as they were leaving, they were asked to visit the cashier. Oh, no, my colleague thought. Here's the fine print...

So he gets up to the window and they GIVE him $40 to pay for a cab. Seriously.

Please tell me why we Americans do not deserve this kind of healthcare here at home.

Well, yesterday I got my first shot of COVID vaccine.

It is the Pfizer vaccine, and the shot itself didn't hurt at all. My arm is sore today just a bit, and I had some minor cramping last night.

To be honest, I was kind of scared of the shot because of the potential side effects, but even if it makes me sick, I figure it is better than dying of COVID.

I just wish the provider could have got my wife in at the same time. She's further down the list because she's just a baby at age 60.

Oh, and (on edit) I know this is the lounge, but under Trump, I did not think this day would ever come. Isn't Biden doing a bang-up job? He's great.
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