Massive wealth transfer

That’s what the AHCA is. 24 million or so people lose health care coverage because it’s no longer funded. Why? Because you can’t fund it and give all this away to the wealthiest 0.01% of the US population.

One analysis of an earlier version of the bill estimated that it contains $600 billion in tax cuts that would save the wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans, on average, $200,000 each.

Two months short of five years

I had what the ENT doctors are referring to as my next-to-last checkup with them today. They cut out my uvula on July 11, 2012, and I’ve been back to them regularly since then. At first it was bi-monthly, then quarterly, and most recently bi-annually. First they do an exam with tongue depressors and a miner’s headlamp, pushing and prodding and looking for spots. Then they run a camera-on-a-cable up one of your nostrils and down the sinus cavity to see the palate and back of the throat. Here’s what the medical equipment looked like:

They found nothing. The lead doctor said in his ripe Mississippi accent that if all remains good at the next visit in November “we get that big ol’ rubber stamp that says ‘CURED’ and stamp it all over your files.”

That will be a nice confirmation.

$120 Million for Trump Family’s Security Costs

News item: The additional funding is to cover the costs associated with protecting the lifestyle of Mr. Trump and his family and to reimburse NYC and Palm Beach County in Florida where his Mar-a-Lago resort is situated.

Another $23 million would specifically go toward covering the costs of outfitting Trump Tower with the necessary equipment and personnel, as well as to rent space inside the building for agency personnel

Well, isn’t that just ducky. The American taxpayer not only has to pay for security for the man and his family as they circumnavigate the world chasing dollars for his business empire (you know, the one he’s refused to divest despite constitutional requirements that he do so), but we get to pay freakin’ rent to the bum for the space Secret Service agents need to keep him and his family from attack.

Swell.

Yet I recall that a couple of weeks ago his Budget Director said this about PBS:

“When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no,” Mulvaney said Thursday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

Let’s divert the funds to where the most people can benefit from their use. I value PBS a helluva lot more than I do Trump, his tower, or his family.

Wowsers

Even if you’re not a Dodgers fan, this is something to see. The Dodgers hit three consecutive home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game followed by a couple of singles and a Phillies error and poof! a 6-5 win. It’s been done five times in baseball history that the stats gurus are sure of, three times by the Dodgers.

Not a good night to be a Phillies fan.

Used bookstores are often a joy

Today, for example, when I wandered in since it was pouring rain and I didn’t feel like dashing to the car until the weather began to behave better. This particular store has two sections of books — one consists of older or more beat-up books priced at $1 and the other priced at $5 or above.

In the SF shelves of the $1 section I found a copy of Time Patrol, an anthology of all the short stories and novellas author Poul Anderson wrote about a squadron of cops whose job is to keep history going as it has been by taking action to prevent time travelers from doing something years in the past which might change it. These poor guys have a hard row to hoe: each one knows that “The fabric of history is stained with human blood and suffering which he cannot, must not do anything to alleviate, lest his tampering bring disastrous alterations in future time.” That’s called the grandfather paradox and it’s a classic trope in time travel fiction.

Anderson was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers Association to go with his 7 Hugo Awards, his 3 Nebula awards and numerous other commendations. I’ve read a few of his books, but never these. For a buck I couldn’t resist it.

Senator Sanders is mistaken

Bernie Sanders continues to cater to and hunt for the white working class, particularly the male part of it. He apparently concluded that Democrats should do that based on the statistics collected about Trump voters in the last election. Many of those voters were members of that class, no question. But should the Democrats sell out half the women in the United States to get those men’s votes?

Bernie’s message is incomplete. He seems to have forgotten that approximately 57% of all women in this country work. He also seems to have forgotten that while 79% of the American labor force is white, that means 21% is not.

Senator Sanders is so focused on his message of economic inequality and his righteous (and valid) indignation at Wall Street and the Davos crowd that he ignores (worse, dismisses) what are called “social issues,” which include abortion rights, immigration rights and civil rights for non-whites, non-able-bodied, non-churched and non-heterosexual. It’s a blind spot the party as a whole can’t set aside.

Being pro-choice is not an optional part of being a progressive. Full stop. There is no justice for women, there is no economic justice for women, without the right to control their reproductive lives. The right to have an abortion is not a “social issue.” It is an issue of fundamental rights; it is a matter of economic rights. One is not a progressive if not pro-choice.

Democrats have to support women’s choices, just as they support men’s choices. Unreservedly. Without question.

National Monuments at Risk!

The Vandal-in-Chief is about to authorize his lackey at the Department of the Interior to review “any national monument created since Jan. 1, 1996, that spans at least 100,000 acres ‘to make sure the people have a voice’ in which lands receive the highest level of federal protection.”

What that sounds like to me is “let the ranchers and the miners and the oilmen override the results of all the previous public comment periods which were held before these areas were designated National Monuments.”

From what I can tell many National Monuments have been created at the request of people on the ground who want to protect it from misuse by commercial or criminal interests. The Antiquities Act of 1906 was deemed necessary after two decades of looting, desecration, and destruction of Native American sites in the Southwest such as Chaco Canyon and Cliff Palace. Teddy Roosevelt wasted no time using it. In the law’s first 2 1/2 years he named the following places as monuments:

  • Devils Tower, Wyoming, September 24, 1906
  • El Morro, New Mexico, December 8, 1906
  • Montezuma Castle, Arizona, December 8, 1906
  • Petrified Forest, Arizona, December 8, 1906
  • Lassen Peak, California, May 6, 1907
  • Cinder Cone, California, May 6, 1907
  • Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, March 11, 1907
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico, November 16, 1907
  • Tonto Cliff Dwellings, Arizona, December 19, 1907
  • Muir Woods, California, January 9, 1908
  • Grand Canyon, Arizona, January 11, 1908 (made a national park by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917)
  • Pinnacles, California, January 16, 1908
  • Jewel Cave, South Dakota, February 7, 1908
  • Natural Bridges, Utah, April 16, 1908
  • Lewis & Clark Cavern, Montana, May 11, 1908
  • Tumacacori Mission, Arizona, September 15, 1908
  • Wheeler, Colorado, December 7, 1908
  • Mount Olympus, Washington, March 2, 1909

And he left a whole bunch of angry state legislators in his wake, I’m sure. The instigators of the current fight are all Utah legislators who are furious that President Obama listened to the Native American tribes who wanted Bear’s Ears so designated rather than let the state have that land for its use. Considering that all the land in Bear’s Ears was already federal land, their argument that the Federal Government was denying the state use of the land seems foolish.

No question Utah has a great many monuments and landmarks. A lot of people think that’s good for tourism. A few others think cattlemen and miners should get first crack at the land. What it really comes down to is who controls the state’s land, and with so much of Utah federally owned the amount of tax revenue land use generates is much smaller than it could be if the Feds would just give it to the state and let Utah decide who gets rich and pays state taxes on it.

Steeplechase!

60 Minutes had an entertaining story this evening about steeplechasing. Any fan of British novelist Dick Francis would recognize this kind of horse racing, although here we have different names for different styles. Apparently in the US we make a distinction: if the course is made up solely of wooden fences it’s called timber racing; if it has hedges and other forms of jumps it’s called hurdle racing.

If you like horses but missed it it’s worth a watch.

Success at timber racing requires a horse with both speed and stamina. CBS NEWS