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paranoid star lover

you talk rich and that's your cover

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No, it's not because lj isn't "hip" anymore. It's because it doesn't feel right. I will continue to read my friends' postings (here's looking at you, krazyhippie), but this isn't the person I am anymore. I'm starting over, and anyone who wants to is welcome to follow.

I'm also now on twitter. @kwpdb8

Peace out, livejournal. It's been fun.

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So. Barack Obama. Some speech last night.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, my time with AARP has opened my eyes to the ignorance of the American people, and the urgent need for reform. My daily work is a microcosm of this whole debate. Exhibit A: sixty year old woman calls. She has a list of medical conditions, from MS to arthritis to skin disorders. She doesn't have insurance, can't afford insurance, and is sobbing to me about how her brother is stealing her inheritance and she can't afford any of her medications to stop her from being in pain. Multiple times during the call, she says things like "I'd be better off dead" or "I should just kill myself." This is a real call, a real person, that I have actually talked to. She lived in Mesa, AZ and I talked to her for nearly an hour trying to find resources to help her and convincing her not to kill herself. Exhibit B: 75 year old man calls, screaming at me about how AARP is socialist and that the health care crisis is made up. He explains that if they subtracted the 20 million illegal aliens (who CLEARLY do not deserve even the most basic level of care) and the 20 million people who have chosen not to have insurance, there are really only 5 million people who can't get insurance so what's the big deal? He rails for 30 minutes against government involvement in healthcare, all the time claiming that his precious Medicare benefits will be cut.

I know plenty of people, and plenty of politicians, who take for granted that everyone agrees that the system needs to be changed. But there is a pervasive group of right wing loons who are literally living in a seperate reality. In the right-wing dystopia, Obama has a funny moustache and the invisible hand of the market wears silky-soft kid gloves. They say there are no sick people, only illegal aliens stealing healthcare from our country. The problem is Mexicans! Or, if we would only put caps on medical liability lawsuits, all healthcare would be affordable! Nevermind that they have put caps on awards, very strict caps, in Missouri and Texas - and costs did not decrease, as Senator McCaskill observed in her controversial town hall meeting. It's the lawyers, the liberals, the patients-rights advocates! The problem is government! Everyone with government healthcare is sick and dying in squalor, receiving sub-par care and and praying that they had a for-profit medical industry to treat them. Heaven knows that people from England, France, Spain, Japan, Switzerland... have markedly poor public health statistics and life expetancies. No doubt shortened further by their being taxed to death. Only the real Americans, the Tea Party Patriots, can see the truth. The rest of the world, the media, everyone has been brainwashed by Adolf Hussein Obama.

Come on! Give me a break! Even if you are a conservative Republican, there is no excuse to reinvent the world in your own head. There are good reasons to object to parts of Democrats' policy proposals. There are not good reasons to say that there's nothing wrong with the status quo. That 47 million uninsured number, from the US census? It's real. Are you blind? Do you not have friends or family? Have you not seen the economy? The economy is losing 200-700k jobs A MONTH and you don't think that there's an insurance crisis, when 200 million Americans get their coverage FROM THEIR EMPLOYER? You think that those without insurance, those familes choose to go without insurance because it's such great fun? Because instead of treating their illness, they would rather buy some nice Air Jordans and a flat screen TV. Wait, did that sound like a racist stereotype? IT SHOULD, BECAUSE IT IS. The idea that people LIKE to be poor, that they stay that way ON PURPOSE, that they could get better treatment but don't because they just don't TRY - is not only a tragic lie, but it is an unethical and unforgiveable generalization. No, I don't care that you knew someone once who went on welfare and watched TV all day. That's not everyone. It is offensive to suggest that it is. So yeah, there's 47 million people out there who are just bad at managing money so they can't get insurance. So what? Here's another statistic the "Tea Party Patriots" don't like to hear: 18,000 Americans die EVERY YEAR from conditions that would have been cured earlier had they had access to preventative care. They do that on purpose too?

But nevermind about the uninsured, most people at least have enough sense to realize that uninsured people should have access to affordable insurance. No, no. The problem with the way this debate is going is that big, bad Obama just wants to demonize insurance companies. And insurance companies are so great? No one wants them to go out of business, you fools. No shit there's jobs there. And some insurance providers do provide a really quality product to consumers. But to act like there aren't repugnant industry practices which cause pain, suffering, and extra expense? That is ignorant. I won't talk about the crock of bullshit that was the "death panels" scare tactic, but if you want to see a death panel you walk into Humana corporate offices. Or Aetna. Or Wellspring. Or even Blue Cross. True, right now it isn't the awful, ill-intentioned, antiAmerican bureaucrats making the health care decisions for you. It is executives who crunch numbers and look at the bottom line. Patient is diagnosed with cancer. A common fate, seeing as the lifetime cancer risk for an American is about 46%. That insurance company doesn't want to pay for the treatments for an expensive cancer. Doubly so if it's a rare cancer with fewer treatment options. So they go back in the patient's history. They dig. They look for reasons, any reason, to deny coverage. If they can't find one they will shut up and pay out, until it comes time to renew your policy at year's end. Then they will find a thousand different ways that you are too high risk, and they will quadruple your premiums, and then you will have zero insurance and lots of cancer because you just can't afford it. There is a reason that the American Cancer Society is one of the loudest supporters of reform - it's because insurance companies, being profit-driven, stop people from receiving the treatments that save their lives. In fact, a quick look at the ACS website shows that they believe that US cancer deaths could be reduced by 60% if access to preventative care and early detection were universal. GET REAL. Yes, it sounds like everyone's picking on insurance companies. They deserve it. (PS, they will also recoup their losses thanks to the government MANDATING that everyone has to have health insurance - 47 million new customers. Think about it.)

You think the economy can't take the spending? What world do you live in, and where were your objections to the unpaid for tax breaks for the wealthy and poorly justified wars, both passed during a RECESSION, in total costing more than health care reform could ever aspire to cost. Did you even take a history class? Or are you Tea Party Patriots so ass-backwards that you don't believe in FDR either? The only way to pull a country out of a depression is to spend money on projects to create jobs. The only way to prevent an economic crisis from getting worse is to establish a safety net for those least fortunate, to stop things from spinning out of control. Just leave it alone and the problem will solve itself is not a political ideology. It is a recipe for disaster.

I was glad to see in the speech last night that Obama put tort reform on the table - it will stop the Republicans from pointing to their "alternative" bill and saying it's so much better, when all it is is half of what the democrats want + tort reform and some giveaways to corporations (IE vouchers). And of course, high malpractice costs make healthcare more expensive. I'm not sure to what degree, but they probably do. However, I will say that if the government tries to put a monetary value on pain and suffering, I for one will not be pleased. I would rather see a shift to arbitration over litigation than an outright cap, because you can't tell me that if a doctor amputates the wrong leg, that patient should only get 100K for the doctor's bullshit mistake.

In short, health reform has made me hate republicans with a violent passion and I am going to lose it on people at work starting iminently. Class is over.

(no subject)
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Ok, fine. I fail at livejournal. Guilty. I won't even try to catch up on all the minutae of my life since I last posted.

I feel like I have done a lot of growing up in the last year. Right now, I am actually in class, at school. I have been to every scheduled class so far this semester - a remarkable change for me! I think I finally just woke up and realized that my lack of responsibility couldn't last forever. Now, I wake up before 6am every day. I get ready for work and I work a long day. Do I love my job? Sometimes, though this health care reform thing is getting out of hand, and I could do without psycho Republican ASSHOLES yelling at me every day. But I go, even when I wake up and don't want to deal with old people and their crap. After work, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I go to the gym to get a workout in before class. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to class first, then gym. It gives me more energy, makes me feel better, allows me to get out some of my aggression. And it used to be that I wouldn't have even tried - too tired, hungry, just want to go home - but I can't do that anymore. There are tons of people, I realized, who are responsible for a lot more shit than I am, who have to work to pay their tuition and who don't have help with anything. I had everything paid for and acted like my life was torturous. I'm not going to blame the depression, but that probably had a lot to do with it. The long and short of it was that I just couldn't bring myself to be responsible for my own affairs.

And, to be honest, it feels pretty good. Instead of living a haphazard bohemian semi-existence, like in Long Beach, Kristina and I can pay the bills on time. We pay the rent on time, every time. We think about things before we spend money, we go to work, we take care of the house. I am, frankly, impressed. Maybe it makes me a stick in the mud, because I say no to costly (but fun) activities and I always want to crunch the numbers before making an awesome impulse buy - but I can't help it. I cannot and, more importantly, will not live hand-to-mouth ever again. I don't want to ever have to write a check I know will bounce or count pennies so I can eat. It is stressful and it is not worth it.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am proud of myself. I am going to graduate, but it won't be on time because (as usual) I fucked around. I am going to earn enough to keep myself afloat without much help, for the first time ever. I am going to take some ownership of my life and start living better. And every long day where I work and go to school and make it to the gym and still find energy somewhere to cook dinner or put on a load of laundry, I am going to give myself a pat on the back. Not because I've done something so drastically above and beyond the call of duty, but because I've done a lot more than I would've let myself slide by with before.

Anyway. I mentioned the gym. We got a gym membership, which I have lusted after since leaving Oregon with its free student gym and whatnot. Almost 2 weeks ago, we joined 24 hour fitness for a really good price (<30/mo, seriously), and I have been loving it. It has been so long since I really worked out, seriously, that I am bordering on obsession. I would go multiple times a day if I could make time for it. And I need to! I have let myself go in horrific fashion. I thought I'd be able to stop myself from being a yo-yo, but here I am, back up at 240, and realizing that I am only 16 pounds away from being my biggest, again. And that, my friends, is not happening. I have got to stop making excuses, and get it together. I am not buying new fat clothes. I would rather feel like I am being slowly cleaved in half by my waistband than go buy a pair of pants in a size 20 or above. It is not happening. Thankfully, I am finding getting back on the wagon to be much easier than I thought. I kept most of my cardiovascular fitness, I just have to build up my endurance again and get some muscle tone started. Oh, and lose the 75+ pounds I still need to lose.

On a closing note, since class will end soon, I feel the need to express my profound frustration and anger about health care reform. Nothing - not gay rights, not Bush executive power abuses, NOTHING - has made me so angry as the fear-mongering and idiocy being preached by Republicans about health care. I can no longer tolerate the transparently veiled racist attacks on the president, the total disregard for those who are suffering, the ignorance of basic facts. Let me tell you, there are people out there who listen to Fox News. Not just listen, who BELIEVE Fox News. There are people who hear Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly and they believe them, without question, without criticism. And it is those people who call me all day and tell me that if I support health reform, I support infanticide and death panels and free abortion parties and I would kill my own grandmother if I could. Those people are the ones who, while calling AARP to complain about health reform, instead of stating a reasonable point of dissent about the matters of policy (public plan/coop/trigger?), they just start in about Obama this and Obama that, and how can we go along with that OBAMA, and don't we know he's a socialist who hates America? And of course, it's those people who, the whole time, waste their breath trying to hedge their comments, saying "it's not that he's black, I wouldn't care if he had purple spots!", and then go on to tell me about how it's all the Mexican immigrants or the poor black people with their fatherless children who are to blame for the health care crisis. Now, I don't think all Republicans are like that, but they encourage and support the perversion of news media (which is meant to inform) and they use it to indoctrinate people into violent fringe right-wing movements. First it's Tiller the Baby Killer, then what? Then we have mini-O'Reillys buying their AK's before Obama takes all the guns away, picking a perch in DC and trying to make Michelle Obama play catch like Jackie O. Republicans are psycho, and they are going to get the president shot. And they all need to grow up. And you will see a much more articulate rant about the idiocy of the anti-health reform lobby in the near future.

(no subject)
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I guess, in a lot of ways, California has always been the place I escape to. In high school, when avoiding my mother's drunken wrath, avoiding schoolwork, avoiding the misogynistic dumbfucks who populated my public high school--when I needed to get away, I'd get in my car, and drive across the state line. I'd drive halfway to Sierraville, to Tahoe City, to Sacramento. Sometimes I drove north on 395 until I hit Hallelujah junction, a couple times going as far as Susanville. I'd sneak away for weekends, camping at unpopulated campsites that were within earshot of the highway, making myself forget in the insulated paradise of the Toyaibe, Sierra, Tahoe, or Plumas national forests. I always had a pup tent and a two gallon jug of water in my trunk, and I never really told anyone why, chalking it up to my paranoia about being stranded without sustenance.

I thought it was the driving that made me calm down, breathe deep, get over it. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was California.

I guess I owe the world an explanation. I've been told, anyway, by the innumerable people who have asked me questions along the line of "where the fuck are you?" And when I tell them I ran away to California three weeks ago, they ask me why.

I don't know why I've stayed so long, or why I dread going back. My best guess? I'm unhappy in Eugene. I was unhappy in Reno too, so I chalked it up to my mood, my incurable depression, the wrong meds...I never thought that maybe a change of scenery was all the cure I needed. All the apprehension I had about my life in Nevada or Oregon or wherever I was would manifest itself as panic... whenever I met new people, whenever I realized how alone I was and how much I hated and feared my surroundings. Not so much anymore. Now Ativan is my recourse for insomnia, and not much else. I feel better here, because I know that I have a network of people who care about me and even love me, and I don't have to worry that I'm being too much of an angry feminist or that I sound too cerebral and stuck-up or anything.

I am a completely different person than I was a year ago, different than I was 60 pounds ago. The person I am now is more confident, more laid-back, happily in love, and ready for a future that no longer looks hopeless or distant. My friends from high school wouldn't recognize me (except perhaps my trademark assertiveness), and the people I'm closest to have gotten to know me better in four months than some friends have in ten years. This new person lives in California, and every time I leave here, I leave her behind.

So that's why.

On a separate note, since I've been here, I've spent time in: Palo Alto, Bakersfield, Taft, Berkeley, Oakland, Long Beach, and Van Nuys (and this weekend, Fullerton). And that doesn't count driving stops. There are a lot of bad things about California (the sprawl, the drivers, the distance), but the good, I'm convinced, far outweighs the bad.

(no subject)
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I do not want to go back to Oregon. Ever.

I have been in a perpetual state of wonder at how I can even feel this way, how I can just look at a person and feel my heart expand, like with every beat I get closer to a future that promises unbelievable happiness. I don't want this trip to end, and I don't want to have to say goodbye and go back to a city and a state that has come to represent the lonely life I used to lead.

I guess she calls Bakersfield paradise as a joke. For me, it kind of is.

omg iphone!
technology makes me crazy
I can post on lj from my phone! Exciting! If you want to be text buddies, comment and let me know,


Sent from my iPhone

On friends and the interweb (A rare public entry)
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I have a hierarchy of online friendships. It goes roughly like this:


I don't go on Myspace often, if at all. But I will typically approve a friends request if the person seems vaguely familiar to me.
Facebook is generally where I friend all the people I'm acquainted with on a fairly extensive level--meaning we've spent time together at some point in time.
And livejournal. My livejournal friends list is reserved for any of several categories of people: a) people whom I do not know, but share multiple common interests with, and who're interested in reading about my life (and vise versa). These people have no connection to me other than livejournal, typically. b) people I know pretty well, and trust implicitly after years of friendship, and c) people whom I've met, immediately clicked with, and want to become closer to.

I value all of the above groups pretty highly, and the common theme among all of them is trust. With the first group, I can trust them not to judge me or use what I write against me because they have no idea who I am other than what I type. With the second, I've known them so long that I understand their character pretty well, and with the third, I take a risk and let them in in the hopes of fostering a better friendship.

If I choose not to friend you on livejournal, or if I de-friend you at some point in time, the issue at hand was probably related to trust. If you're one of the people I thought I knew well after an extensive friendship, but then you make sniping comments about me under your breath, or frequently filter me out of your journal entries, you'll probably get defriended. It doesn't mean I don't like you, or don't want to spend time with means I don't trust you to be inside my head, reading about my thoughts and dreams and desires and whatever else I choose to put on livejournal. If you are someone I'm acquainted with, and I don't friend you, it isn't because I harbor a secret hatred for you, just that I don't feel like I know you well enough to let you know me in this way. Yes, even if we have the same circle of friends and frequently see each other--that doesn't equate to closeness.

I don't think that any of the above is confusing or unfair. This is a forum for me to share things about myself that I don't normally feel comfortable sharing in other places.

In other words, this is my way of announcing that I'm doing a friends cut.
If you've been defriended, and feel like I was mistaken about you, I'm all about second chances.

Harry Potter
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Made the terrible mistake of not going to Border's until 11:45. Didnt get my book until 2. Came home and read until 5, at which point I could not stay awake any longer, and slept until 11:30. Woke up, resumed reading, Finished at 5pm or so.

my thoughts, cut for those not in the know * * * MAJOR SPOILERS UNDER CUT, DO NOT READ UNLESS FINISHEDCollapse )

(no subject)
gop morality?
I think everyone on this side of the pond should see this. Because Keith Olbermann is right. Watching this made me so angry that I cried, so angry that it was physically painful. There's just no excuse. None. This, in conjunction with the blanket assertion of executive privilege to circumvent damning information of wrongdoing, with flagrant manipulation and misuse of intelligence ... at which point does it become too much? Have the American people really been so disenfranchised, so jaded, that they'll sit by and let this shit continue to happen for the next year and a half? We are being profoundly disrespected, and it enrages me. It should enrage you too.

On Tuesday...
aaron burr droppin&#39; hamiltons
I don't make public entries often (ever), but I'm making this one public, in the hopes of having more people read it and realize how truly disturbing it is. If you are able to, I would encourage you to read my good friend Kern's facebook note about the Military Commissions Act, signed into law by the president on Tuesday.

I have a few thoughts.

Even the debate team's token conservative, Nick Gower, agrees that the government ought to be constrained by a system of checks and balances. The key difference in our opinions, then, is that he believes that the government is already being adequately constrained, and I do not. I think the Military Commissions Act, more commonly known as "the detainees bill", is a key example of this lack of constraints.

Article six of the constitution states that the "supreme law of the land" consists of both the constitution and any international treaties to which the US agrees. The Geneva Convention's rules, according to our constitution, are as binding, as forceful, and every bit as much an element of American jurisprudence as the constitution itself.
And neither the president nor the legislature have the right to change that, or selectively reinterpret it, or call it "quaint", or flat-out ignore it. The Geneva Convention explicitly outlaws "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment" and, more importantly, "the passing of sentences without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

Under the Geneva Convention, and our constitution, detainees have a constitutional right to 8th amendment treatment (no cruel and unusual punishment), and they have a constitutional right to due process--not top-secret military tribunals. The Supreme Court, recently packed with conservatives as it may be, agreed on this simple fact when it ruled on Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

The Military Commissions Act changes all this. It attempts to rescind the Supreme Court's jurisdiction on the issue of detainees, and gives the President the power to pick and choose which elements of international law apply to our proceedings. This is an act which fundamentally removes checks and balances on presidential powers--because what he does can't be challenged in the Supreme Court, and he's no longer constrained by the supreme law of the land.

We're put in a delicate situation under this law, one which Kern explains quite well. This bill asks the American people to trust that the president will not use this newfound power to torture and maim or to hold US and foreign citizens in detention facilities indefinitely. We're asked to trust that one person can make these decisions about who has rights and who doesn't, and that he can make those decisions fairly, without any external interference. We're asked to suspend disbelief, to hush our dissent, and to let the president act without any checks, or any balances.

And, honestly, I do not trust our president to act in the interests of human dignity, or to act in the interests of justice. I think he's already proven that when it comes to the issues of torture and due process, he believes strongly in a disturbing brand of American exceptionalism.

If you would not tolerate this kind of power-grab, this type of flagrant disregard for justice and international human rights, from any other world leader--Hu Jintau, Kim Jong Il, Mohammed Ahmadinejad--I'd like to ask you to contemplate this profound shift in our system of government, and hold the American government to the same, if not a higher standard, of what is acceptable conduct with regards to human rights.


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