Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care - There is no Debate

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details:

8 common myths about health insurance reform
  1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.
Learn more and get details:

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now
  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Big Money Bank Sponges

An open letter to President Obama...

Dear Mr. President...

I'm very worried about what I read about the banking system and it's recovery. Please set in place modern, air tight as can be regulations, so we don't have to suffer this kind of problem again. I know that we had banking problems every few years until FDR put in tough regulations and then Phil Gramm and others ripped them up and we've ended up with banks that are too big to fail because they not just banks any more - they have to get back to normal business and spin off those high risk parts of the company, so they can fail if they make the wrong decisions and us taxpayers don't have to bail them out.

Don't let the big money sponges deter you from making the correct decisions.

Thanks and keep up the good work. I know it's going to pay off.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Happy 60th Anniversary to Mom & Dad!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tortured Logic

I sent this into Meet The Press today. They are having Michael Steele, head of the RNC and Tim Kaine, head of the DNC on this Sunday.

Why does anybody care and why is there so much "reporting" about what Nancy Pelosi knew or didn't know about the official policy of torture in 2002? If she had objected, would that have stopped anything? Aren't these CIA briefings top secret, so she couldn't say
anything public about it anyway? Why isn't anybody call the Bush Administration, Rush Limbaugh and the GOP "Pro Torture"? Do they really like being the Pro Torture party? If McCain had won, would we still be torturing people? Change the focus back to the main issue, which is Torture is illegal period and it doesn't matter if you get some toady lawyers to write you an opinion after the fact, to cover it up. Does Dick Cheney and the GOP admire the Spanish Inquisition? they got lots of confessions. Why not thumb screws and the rack? And this argument about the ticking time bomb is ridiculous. If they had to waterboard someone 83 times over a month, how slow is that ticking time bomb?

I want everything out in the open. Everyone is being too soft on the GOP. As soon as they say ticking time bomb, ask them how slow is it if we have to waterboard someone over a month to get them to talk, if that really happened.

I want to see a concrete example of this ticking time bomb situation. I think it's all just Jack Bauer fantasies.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Almost Killed by an Avalanche!

I was driving along peacefully, minding my own business and all of a sudden, I was almost killed by an Avalanche! An Avalanche in Castro Valley, you say? Hell Yes!!!

Oh, it was a massive amount of snow crashing down from a giant mountain, instead it was a GIANT MOUNTAIN OF A SUT!

Yes, a SUT. Sport Utility Truck. It was a Chevy Avalanche that wanted to make a left turn from 3 lanes over and my li
ttle Camry was in the way. Well, excuuuuuuse me!

No wonder General Motors needs a bailout!!

#1 Nobody really needs a SUT. If you need a truck, buy a truck. It is a wasted model and wasted development money.

#2 Calling a vehicle an Avalanche???? Who thought of that idea? An avalanche causes massive damage and even a small avalanche is extremely dangerous to life and limb.

#3 I've found some other "good ideas" for car names on various websites: Pontiac Plague (you have a choice between Bubonic, Septicemic or Pneumonic), the Cadillac Cancer, the Oldsmobile Ebola, Chrysler Tsunami, the Edsel Earthquake, Volvo Volcano, Ford Flood, Hyundai Hurricane, Toyota Tornado, Fiat Forest Fire, Renault Street Riot, Mazda Murder Spree, Honda Hate Crime, Voltzwagen Vampire Bite, Kia Serial Killer, Peugeot Pervert and the Nissan Nitroglycerin.

Be careful out there! Here is what to look for.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

For all these years, I've thought I suffered from Triskaidekaphobia, which is fear of the number 13, but now I learned a new word: Friggatriskaidekaphobia, which is fear of Friday the 13th. You are never too old to learn.

Here are five favorite Friday-the-13th facts:

1. Fear of Friday the 13th — one of the most popular myths in science — is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

2. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor and some airline terminals omit Gate 13.

3. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

4. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. "It was bad luck," Twain later told the friend. "They only had food for 12." Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

5. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number — 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

Monday, January 05, 2009

2008 Christmas Story Professorial Review

From Professor Lawrence Coates re:
TLC's 2008 Christmas Story

A Dickensian tale of a journey from rags to riches. In an Oliverish twist of fate, our young hero is cast forth into the cruel world by his stepmother R(osi)e. However, avoiding the Scylla of despair or the Charybdis of sloth, our hero sets forth on an odyssey of discovery, finding friends and family, a home for his unused junk and a toxic waste site for old photographic chemicals. In an irony worthy of Trollope, the once-feared Monster turns out to be his best mentor, guiding him as he crossed the river with a fair wind to save Dreamland from the clutches of the dread beast, economicus meltdownicus.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fireball Classic High Score

I decided to reset the all time high score on my Fireball Classic pinball machine to start 2009. Mike Wendell had the new record of 2,863,830 for about a day, but this afternoon, I took care of that and put up the new number to shoot at - 3.992,670.

I think I've gotten higher than that score 3 times, so it may stay for awhile.

The all time record at the Dreamland Game Room still stands as 7,403,970.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 is my rear view mirror!

I'm happy that 2008 is over. It was an exciting and crazy and scary year, so I'm looking for 2009 to be a bit smoother for me. Below is my 2008 Christmas letter. I realized that I hadn't written a Christmas letter since 2004 and I know that's because I wasn't that happy in the intervening years. I am happy now and as a red-blooded True American, I demand my right to pursuit Happiness.

What I didn't include in my Christmas letter was:
  1. the plague and infestation of rats
  2. the plague and infestation of flies (summer was big fun at Dreamland - no money, but plenty of "friends")
  3. thinking I was going to lose my house, my Dreamland and the stress that caused
  4. visiting and calling lawyers and finding out that employees ain't got no rights if some "qfuuz xzsbou" doesn't like you
  5. but as is my credo, I used my genius for good and not evil and the people who shall not be named (and you know who you are) will eventually get what they deserve because as we all know, at least those who are watching the "Seven Deadly Sins" series on the History Channel, that the list of sins are: lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, anger and pride. Three of the sins: greed, anger and pride were directed towards me and that sounds bad to me. A triple Whammy, if you will. Better buy some asbestos sandals.
  6. I will admit to some passing angry thoughts, but then I just think about the future and I'm using this blog entry partly for expunging the past year's badness.
  7. I have one more thing to do before the end of 2008 and nobody will probably see it, but I will know that I did it and it's out there in the ether, which is good enough for me.

Some really good things happened in 2008:
  1. I organized the JAB (Just another Birthday) party for my Dad and it was perfect and I got donations for a plaque and a dedicated redwood tree in Big Basin State Park in the Semerviren Fund's Legacy Grove.
  2. I found the top expert to rid me of my pestilence.
  3. I discovered massive amounts of information about the Coates' Family Tree
  4. On Sept. 25th, I had a vision and I went to cash in all my retirement accounts. On Sept. 29th, the Dow Jones dropped 777 points and I felt strangely at peace. Someone was looking out for me.
  5. On July 14, 2008, I started working at Wind River. It is so nice to be appreciated for my hard work and dedication. It had been a long time.
I wish everyone and I mean everyone, a very Happy 2009!

Christmas 2008 Change, roller coasters, family and how the Monster saved the day.

On the calendar that I have in my office (I always get a movie poster calendar) the month of December is the poster for Godzilla. How perfect is that for symbolism? Godzilla was changed by
a catastrophic event and this year has had plenty of big events for everyone that changed things in a big way. But in my story, the Monster also saves the day, but more about that later…

I guess 2008 was always going to be a memorable year. For me it started out by working on my Dad’s JAB (Just Another Birthday) party. I dusted off the old family photographs and found out that online Genealogy had improved massively, so I was able to find a lot more family members and info about them. I discovered Great Uncle James Coates and his family who stayed in England. I cranked up my scanner and got the family photos online, some of them over 100 years old. It was fun to figure out who was who.

To my surprise, I got an email saying: “You’ve got my Grandfather’s photo on your site. It was Barbara Astle, granddaughter of William Coates. She had lots of Coates’ family documents, photos & the family bible. I took a road trip to visit her and her husband David and we were able to figure out who was who in some really old photos. I learned that the ears & chin don’t change much from age 3 to 83. The photo of Crater Lake was taken on that trip.

Then I also found the Silliman family, another cousin, Cliff, who’s the grandson of Jessie Coates. So this was a year to find old and new family and celebrate the family.

The political scene this year was change and life changed for me major league big time. Losing my job after 16 years was a shocking surprise. When you’ve worked with people that long, they are like a 2nd family and now I understand more about dysfunctional families and as I was driving home, I felt strangely happy. I took my unexpected time off to donate about 600 gallons of clothes to the Goodwill, which made me feel good and I know helped lots of people. I also discovered, which let me cull without mercy a bunch of items that I didn’t need, but others did. It was a house cleansing and Dreamland is almost back to its heyday. I got the Fireball pinball machine tuned up, so it’s playing better than ever and I installed the Dreamland Weather Station that’s serving up weather data to the Internet.

The stock market has been like a rollercoaster this year, mostly a long downhill scream ride and I’m feeling blessed and fortunate that the Monster ( came along, picked out my resume and saved my bacon and my house from a crash and burn. Now things are great with me working at Wind River in Alameda with a great bunch of people and doing enjoyable work again after such a long time.

So 2008 has been a year of discovering new family and friends and getting rid of old baggage and I’m sure that 2009 is going to be a fantastic year. I always feel blessed to have a close and supportive family and I couldn’t do it without them.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Who is goooooood girl?

I've gotten a couple of comments on my blog from "goooooood girl", just saying: "I like your blog." is "goooooood girl" a real person? If you are a real person, let me know.

Just curious.


I think I've figured out who "gooooooood girl" is: Is that you, Annette Obrestad? I use sitemeter to track how many people view my blog and it also shows the location, so on Jan 1st, someone from Elverum, Norway checked out my blog for 49 seconds and exited on the page where I talked about my WSOP Academy of Poker class in Las Vegas where I met and played against Annette Obrestad. Just a guess.

If it is you, I think it's way cool that you are reading my blog. If I knew I had a fan, I would write more. I haven't had much time to play any poker lately, but so far in 2009, I'm way ahead in wagering on the college bowl games.

My email is: if you want to say Hi. Good luck!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tire inflation really does make a difference

I have proof that inflating your tires helps gas mileage. check out the graph. the two big spikes upwards are when I got my tires inflated - first was my last oil change and the 2nd was last week when I did it myself, although I guess I didn't get it up to the best pressure, it sure helped a lot on my MPG. I had noticed it was going down, so I figured I should try it and it worked.

On August 4, 2008, tire inflation became the latest goofball political issue in the Obama/McCain campaign - Boston Globe article (including 2 YouTube videos).

Eventually, McCain agreed that proper tire inflation was helpful in improving gas mileage, but not before the McCain's campaign offered "Obama Energy Plan" tire gauges to supporters for a donation of $25 or more, and the Republican National Committee also gave tire gauges to newsrooms in Washington "in celebration" of Obama's birthday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Open Letter to President Obama

The #1 priority is Energy Independence and Green Economy Because this solves several problems - we have to start now to lower our consumption of oil for our cars - just starting down this road will keep gas prices lower. It will also create new jobs for Americans and finally it will help the environment, which everyone needs.

I heard this morning that a large percentage of the Energy Dept budget just takes care of the nuclear arsenal. That seems like old Cold War thinking. That needs to be changed.

P.S. When Clinton got elected, I sent him a message asking to get rid of the Helium Fund
(started about 100 years ago to supply our barrage balloon fleet for WWI) and the Mohair subsidy (which is also a WWI leftover for making sure our pilots had nice warm Mohair flight jackets and that back then people like Sam Donaldson and Charlie Stenholm were taking big tax right offs against). The day after I sent this message back then, I heard someone mention both issues on CNN the very next day and I think for awhile they were cut back, but I think Bush brought them back.

I am hoping that your budget director will find things like the Helium Fund and Mohair subsidy that are relics of a previous era and finally kill them once and for all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Story

A young man named John received a parrot as A gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's' mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet . Not A Peep, was heard.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said: "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the
bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Carbubble Predicts 2008 Election exactly (almost)

McCain wins Missouri; State's streak over!

(CNN) – It's taken more than two weeks, but we finally have a winner in Missouri.

Fifteen days after Election Day, Republican Sen. John McCain has narrowly edged out President-elect Barack Obama in the state, according to CNN's review of the latest unofficial vote totals from the Missouri Secretary of State. This resolves the final outstanding contest of the 2008 presidential race.

According to the unofficial results, McCain won the state by 3,632 votes . The unofficial count shows McCain with 1,445,812 votes, or 49.4 percent, and Obama with 1,442,180 votes, or 49.3 percent.

With Missouri's 11 electoral votes in Senator McCain's column, the final count is 365 for Obama and 173 for McCain.


I predicted every single state correctly and I only missed that Obama would carry Omaha's 1 electoral vote. Not bad!

More Presidential Predictions 2008

Cha-Ching! Gimme dat dollar!

No congrats on predicting every single state correctly? Not even a "Not bad"? Oh well...

Here are my new predictions:

Sec. of State - Hillary Clinton
Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel (ex GOP senator)
Sec. of Treasury - John Corzine (Gov of NJ and ex Goldman Sachs)
Sec. of Homeland Security - Tim Roemer - Wrong
Sec. of Energy - Steve Westly (eBay founder)
Attorney General - Janet Napolitano (AZ Gov) - Wrong, going to be Homeland Security
Sec. of Education - Caroline Kennedy

Bizzaro Predictions:

Sec. of State - Andrew "Dice" Clay (least diplomatic)
Sec. of Defense (after Gates leaves) - Sarah Silverman (most offensive)
Sec. of Treasury - Paris Hilton (knows all about spending $$$)
Sec. of Homeland Security - Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone kid)
Sec. of Energy - Sarah Palin (Drill, Baby, Drill)
Attorney General - Adam "Pacman" Jones (Make it Rain)