Thursday, June 28, 2012

Moore in my Box

Love him, hate him, get his email missives, or wish him mute…   I am with Michael on this.

Friends:  We are on our way to Single Payer Healthcare.


Because France is better. 

Yours, aging and sickening but worrying less about it,


(I’m not really getting sick.)

From Michael Moore:

More Than a Victory, the Decision Today Was a Mandate for Us to Act end zone dance from Michael Moore 

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 

Dear Friends, 

Even though it's been a few hours now, I'm guessing you're still pinching yourself to make sure you're not dreaming. But yes, it happened. At 10:07 this morning, the conservative Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, not only joined with the liberal justices to completely uphold almost every single part of the Obama health care law, he wrote the majority opinion himself! In fact, he went even further. When he realized that the government had poorly made its constitutional case to the court, he went searching for a clause in their argument and the constitution that would give him the justification he needed to back the administration and to insure that his decision would hold up legally. In other words, even though he is on the opposite side of the political fence, he wrote the Dems' paper for them. Stunning. 

The other four justices? They didn't just vote to overturn the individual mandate part of the law, they all voted to kill the entire Act. 

The media is already spending much time talking about the mandate being the "centerpiece of the law," but the real news is that if you ever have a pre-existing condition, you cannot now be denied insurance. If you are a young adult without health insurance, you can now stay on your parents' plan until age 26. The insurance company can no longer say there is a lifetime cap to your coverage. The insurance companies are now required to spend 85 cents out of every dollar they take in on actual reimbursement for your health care – not on profit or "administrative costs" (some companies have been taking over a 30% cut; Medicare's total percentage of their budget for administrative costs: 2%). 

I know that our side is not used to victories and so we're not quite sure how to respond when we get one out of the blue. For some of us, the first inclination is to point out just how weak the Obama law actually is, that it doesn't provide true universal health care (26 million will STILL be uninsured), and that it leaves control of the system in the hands of the vultures, otherwise known as the health insurance companies. The individual mandate was a huge gift to the private insurance companies, guaranteeing them billions more from millions of new customers. And many of the key provisions of this law don't even take effect until 2014 – and if the Republicans win in November, you can kiss all of that goodbye. 

So, yes, the bill is highly flawed and somewhat wrong-headed – but what it IS is a huge step in the right direction. And today's court decision cements that. The right wing knows this and they are probably unraveling in some not-so-pretty ways right now. And that's why today is a great day. The Right has been smacked down by one of their own! They know what we all know — that the path of history has been, and will continue to move toward the basic human right that all people are entitled to see a doctor and NOT have to worry about losing their home because they can't afford to pay the medical bills. Those days are over, or will be soon, and that is where civilization is headed. It's not headed back to the days of Oliver Twist. Today's victory is momentum, it's forward motion, and we WILL have true universal health care in this country in the not too distant future. 

So take some time tonight to celebrate; this is a victory for the people. Actually, more than a victory, it is a mandate that all of us must now make sure that a second-term Obama continues to move the ball down the field, toward a system like they have in every other First World country on the planet. He simply has to improve Medicare and then expand it to every citizen in the country. The countries that do this, their people live an average of two to four years longer than we do. Is there a reason anyone doesn't want an extra four years of their lives? Or that our babies would have a better chance of surviving their first year like they do in the 48 countries that have a better infant mortality rate than we do? Exactly who is opposed to this? You'd have to be a bit…crazy. 

And that, I've come to believe, is the true divide in this country. It's not blue state vs red state, liberal vs conservative, Democrat vs Republican. The split we have in America can be boiled down in its simplest form to this: On one side are the people who believe Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs 6,000 years ago – and then there's everyone else. On that first side are the people who've been fed a diet of fear and lies and hate. And who is feeding them? The 1%. The richest people in the country, the ones who aren't done with us yet because they still don't have enough wealth, have done their best to dumb down the population through destroying our educational system and using media to provide them with a vastly distorted sense of reality. The rich's only obstacle is that they only hold 1% of the votes in the country. So they have to try to get a slim majority of Americans to vote their way. And fear, plus keeping them stupid, usually works. 

So that's the battle ahead of us: Organizing and mobilizing the majority of Americans to push for true universal health care, Medicare for All. At one time, back in Illinois, that was the position held by Barack Obama. He will not make this happen on his own. He will only be able to do it when the mass of American people rise up and demand it. Demand it. Why not start tonight? 

Five years ago this week, my health care documentary, Sicko, opened in theaters across the country. I have spent the better part of the decade on this issue, and for me, personally, fully aware of the current law's limitations, I am very happy with today's news – not because of its specifics or nuances, but because it is a road sign, and that sign points in the correct, humane and sane direction. THAT makes this a great day. 


Michael Moore


I believe living in a house in a quiet place gives you more time to simply be, which could even lead to reflection. Whereas city people often make fun of suburbanites, I do think standing in front of your little ranch house, staring at a tree, is not a bad way to spend time.

Good thoughts arise when you are in nature, even nature that has lots of little (and sometimes big) houses in it.

People in cities process a lot of information…but this is not necessarily a state of greater intelligence, but perhaps more an act of greater filtering. You have to work hard to ignore the distractions.

Plus, a void is a great thing to fill. So living in a void can often be a thrill.

Years ago, when I moved to LA, a friend from NYC had gotten there ten months before I had and she said, “You can be a star in LA. In NY, NY is the star.”  

She meant that there is space to be who you are there.  Which is quite something…Or maybe she meant something else. We were very young. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut Says

“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding.
The arts are not a way to make a living.
They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly,
Is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.
Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio.  Tell Stories.
Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.
Do it as well as you possibly can.
You will get an enormous reward.
You will have created something.”

Thank you B.D.

Will I?

Will I ever own a goat?
And if I do, will it make me happy or has this all been a romantic notion that will end in filthy disappointment?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Night in June

Gay Men and Women are filthy pigs. As are their allies. Sixth Avenue, West Fourth Street Station, garbage everywhere.  For many blocks in every direction. Are you proud?

Summer is over on July 5. One thinks of Christmas that is coming.

I declare all clichés null and void.

I don’t want to live in Brooklyn.

I find small children and dogs to be very sweet. Pretty much all of them. Except for the ones who scream, nonstop, while riding a scooter, for blocks, keeping pace with me, for over twenty minutes. Even if he clearly has a developmental disability, as do so many of them these days, because of the ubiquity of plastic, perhaps.

I was practically a vegan this week. This included eating a lot of peanuts. I did not lose one pound.

I farm on my windowsill. Currently edible: Lavender and parsley.  Just parsley, really, in any meaningful way.

My to-do list can inspire sadness. And I make this list. Do I wish myself to be sad?

I want to know what 3013 will be like.

I will work while failure seeks rest. And if I fail, I will have worked.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We're Having a Heat Wave

And there’s nothing tropical about's normal.

Living in New York City is an eight month wonder of change and interest.

Four months, however, are spent mostly indoors, waiting for it to be over.

I grew up here. But after living for so many years in Southern California, I find it hard to believe that this sort of thing continues to happen, year after year---that no matter what, you can count on severity over and over again.  Beaver Swamp, Arctic Blast.

It makes people pretty tough. But it also makes them seasonal.  The city empties out most of the summer.

During the winter months, people just hunker down and get depressed in the dark.

Being arboreal and equatorial, one longs for leafy breezes in the high-up shade. Warm. Naked. Noisy.

Instead, we roast on hot concrete or trudge through sludge.  Good thing we’re adaptable.

In our Aeron chairs…

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Give me Algae

When the plant they genetically engineer (in water, on land, or otherwise) that is used for photosynthesis to create the hydrogen gas to fuel our vehicles goes global, there will be such a shift in the world economy, such a collapse of the oil oligarchy (North American corporations, Russian, Arab and otherwise), that one would think a great peace could arise.


It is amazing that we are still, as a species, controlled by the thugs who control the greatest commodities. It’s all, “Who owns the corn in the silo?”---and it doesn’t change.

The current grand expression is the most expensive apartment on earth, at the top of the tower they are building in midtown Manhattan that you can see from Ohio, is going to an oil daughter.  Well, a conglomerate daughter. This is both bullying and frivolous.

But mostly?  It’s sad. 

Next Life: Sea Grass

Low stress.

Outdoor living.

Make your own food with sunlight.

Easy growth potential.

Monday, June 18, 2012

And We Left Ptown...

The Blurry one was the nice one...what can I say?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Borderline Politics

Instead of continuing a war in Afghanistan, why not just knit afghans?

If money is the root of all evil, then we all must be completely evil.

If guns are all turned into plowshares, what would we do with the leftover bullets?

Cows didn't ask for this kind of treatment.

Hillary in 2016. She can do it.

89% of Republicans are white. The other 11% are simply self loathing.

I am foremost friends with people I like. Perhaps I need a more winning strategy--

Africa, my Africa. Whatever will happen to you? Or has it already happened?

If a group forbids its children to marry outside of that group, are they not approaching Eugenics?

The war on soft drinks is amusing. The obese teenagers are but a horror.

Obama is imperfect. Romney is empty.

I'd lay down my life on the tracks for high speed trains.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Foolishness of Righteousness, The Problem with Men

All this self righteous talk about grown men having sex with boys.

I am not being glib. It is a crime. It needs to be dealt with, of course. What it does to the victims is horrendous. It’s good that stuff comes to light and it is taken care of.

All true.

But what a waste of time to point at an obvious disaster and say, “You’re so wrong! You’re so wrong! How could you have done that?”
This might make the self righteous feel better, but my question is always, “What on earth does self righteousness actually DO?”

Listen up ladies and parents of twelve year olds:

Men are insane. They are led by their sexual desires. If they were not, there would be no prom dates and no babies. Now, for some awful reason, men tend to LOCK IN on an object of desire at a certain time in their life.  Sometimes it’s girls. Sometimes it’s boys. Sometimes it’s rubber spatulas. Sometimes it’s shoes.  Sometimes, as they grow up, they get stuck on something from an earlier time. I have no idea why. I am simply grateful that I am garden variety grown up gay.

But this is the situation. Why aren’t we figuring out why men get hooked in like this? And why are we not taking down the stories of pedophiles, no matter how repellant, and then use them to figure out how to stop future men from becoming pedophiles, if this is possible?

And ethically, if you can somehow figure out how to figure out how a man goes down this path, maybe you can stop it?

I don’t know.

And then, if you could… would you then try to control other forms of sexuality?

It’s so tricky. 

But let’s get back to the real problem here.  This must be stopped and men are wired the way they are wired and somehow this all gets horribly screwed up and someone has to get on top of this problem. Yelling that it’s wrong is like saying fire is hot.

What about figuring out how this happens?  And then trying to ameliorate?

Or is it just too much fucking fun to have your crimes and your self righteous horror reactions to it?

People. Come on. You’re smarter than this.

Assuming that people are all normal and everything is going to be okay is naïve.  This world is not safe for your children. Scream all you want, I guess. But get scientific and solve your troubles. Please.

Call me a totalitarian (but the Socialist kind), but there is a way to manage society. Pay attention. Take notes. Find trends. Change the path.

In the meantime, Good luck.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thank You, New York Times (Again and Again)


The Defense of Marriage Act, Exposed

Published: June 10, 2012

A federal district judge in New York ruled last week that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the Constitution by requiring the plaintiff to pay federal estate tax on her same-sex spouse’s estate, even though opposite-sex spouses are exempt. It follows a string of other rulings striking down the law in a federal appeals court, two federal district courts and a bankruptcy court.

With the Obama administration’s decision in 2011 not to defend the law, that task has been taken up with relish by the Republicans in Congress. Last week in California, their lawyers filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit challenging a district court ruling that the law violates the Constitution by denying health benefits to the same-sex spouse of a federal lawyer.
The brief makes the claim that the law’s goals are to maintain consistency in allocating federal benefits and encourage relationships “that most frequently result in the begetting and raising of children.” But in fact, the law thwarts consistency by accepting some state definitions of marriage and rejecting others. And the Republicans offer no real evidence that expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex spouses affects the ability of opposite-sex couples to marry or have children.
The federal courts that have reviewed this law since 2010 have found that it fails to meet the most elementary test of constitutionality. Under this “rational basis” test, a statute will be upheld — even when groups are treated differently — if the law has some reasonable relationship to a legitimate government purpose.
The Republican brief says the statute “merely reaffirmed what Congress has always meant” when it refers to marriage: “a traditional male-female couple.” The federal trial court in California explained, however, that “tradition, standing alone, does not provide a rational basis for the law.”
The court also cogently argued that the act should be subject to a higher standard of scrutiny because it discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. But even under the most forgiving standard, the Defense of Marriage Act clearly violates equal protection.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Financial Planning

Today, while sitting across from a financial planner who was trying to sell us some sort of instrument, projecting 18 years into our future, I got this funny feeling that went something like this: “I hate you.”

Something about turning the rest of my life into an action that is going to fill the columns of an excel sheet is not exactly what I had in mind.

Why can’t old people just live in one little room with young people under the same roof? Wouldn’t that be the easiest way to go? Then everyone wouldn’t have to have millions in order to be so independent in the gray years.

If everyone needs fewer millions, we could shrink the efforts of the working years, burn less fuel, and attend fewer wars in order to grab every damn thing we can so that we can each live alone in our own castles as we hurtle toward death.

I do not mind so much the idea of having less money when I am older. I do not like the idea of being alone when I am ancient.  So why not marry the two?

My financial plan?  Increase income, decrease expenses. Save as much as you can. Eat your vegetables. Good fucking luck.

Box at Cinegear