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Don’t Talk About Politics

Great Advice Thursday: Don’t be a Dummy. Get Health Insurance Now.

categories: Bad Advice / Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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March 31 Deadline to sign up for this year.  If your application is in progress by that date, you will be included!

Self-employed folks, adjunct profs, artists, musicians, under-insured, catastrophic coverage drones, uninsured friends: take notice: I just jettisoned my catastrophic coverage ($15,000 deductible PER PERSON per year at $684 a month, 3 people, criminal), in favor of a far more generous policy ($4000 deductible for all 3!), with out-of-pockets caps, etc.). I was under the impression from quick looks at the site earlier and invidious rumors that I’d be paying more, but with the under-heralded automatic tax credit for families making under, like, 94K, the new amount here is $419 a month. I could have gone $10,000 deductible for $129 a month!). Thank you Obamacare. And fuck you Fox News and half our governors and every Republican in Congress for all the disinformation. It’s still not single-payer, but it’s something! The health insurance marketplace works, it’s far cheaper for all of us (lies aside), and it’s going to save my ass. No doubt surprises loom, but after five years of paying a great deal for NOTHING (but denials of service), I’m pretty happy, and can’t believe I waited even this long. Deadline for this year is March 31, get on it.

Here’s the link for the Health Insurance Marketplace.  I’d suggest using the site, which any 12 year old should be able to understand, as brokers just add expense.  You’ll find bronze policies, which are cheap and basic, silver, gold, and maybe platinum.  Remember that health insurance is not the same as healthcare, and you get nowhere comparing your healthcare expenses for a year with projected premiums.  What you are getting is production against financial disaster if you fall sick, get in an accident, etc.  But most of all, don’t fall for the bullshit.

I put this call to action in a public post on Facebook last week, and what follows is the passionate and sometimes hilarious public dicussion that ensued.  Feel free to join in here or there.  Continue reading →

India: You’re Criminal if Gay (by Leila Seth)

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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Leila Seth

The following article, by Leila Seth appeared in The Times of Indiaon January 26. It had the title “A Mother and a Judge Speaks Out on Section 377.” And then in the New York Review of Books, 3/20/2014.

My name is Leila Seth. I am eighty-three years old. I have been in a long and happy marriage of more than sixty years with my husband Premo, and am the mother of three children. The eldest, Vikram, is a writer. The second, Shantum, is a Buddhist teacher. The third, Aradhana, is an artist and filmmaker. I love them all. My husband and I have brought them up with the values we were brought up with—honesty, courage, and sympathy for others. We know that they are hardworking and affectionate people who are trying to do some good in the world. Continue reading →

Seven Things You and Facebook Don’t Know About Me

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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I was given the number 7, so here we go, seven things you don’t know about me:

  1. I smoke crack with a blow torch.
  2. I dated Maine governor Paul LePage when he was still mayor of Waterville.  He is actually very funny and cried a lot in the night because of his plans to ruin our state, but he couldn’t help it, it’s a condition.  62% of our friends hated him.  38% were hiding in bomb shelters of their own design, pretty cool, all kinds of surplus stuff they got at Marden’s, like canned figs. Continue reading →

Writing from Inside: “Urk,” by Kim S.

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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If you think the human comedy disappears on the other side of the barbed wire, think again. Kim wrote this pieced in our “Meet the Authors” class and read it as part of a presentation the ladies put on for their fellow inmates. This one–rated PG-13–brought the house down.  There are few things more heartening than a roomful of people laughing their heads off, especially when the laughers include inmates and guards alike.  Note: “CO” stands for corrections officer, or prison guard. [MW]


URK! by Kim S.

I’d been living in Segregation for six months, and because I was suicidal, they wouldn’t give me a razor. Six months is a long time: I was so hairy I could have braided the hair. Continue reading →

A Couple of Writers who Teach Talk About the Common Core and the Fate of the Essay

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics / Reading Under the Influence

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Sonya Huber














Ioanna Opidee



Sonya Huber and Ioanna Opidee have been meeting for over a year to plot and draft b\ook chapters and essays about teaching the essay—to little kids! to teenagers! to everyone!–and we sat down to try to sum up what we’re doing and how you can help. Our conversations themselves often feel like meandering, experimental essays, so we decided to record ourselves talking, to try to capture the chaos and share it with you today . . . Continue reading →

Southern Fried Scribes is Almost There! Help a Couple of Idealists Help a Bunch of Kids!

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Jennifer and Matt by Jennifer and Matt


The Final Countdown


It all ends begins in just under 72 hours.  It is almost all we have known for the past 6 weeks—our Kickstarter campaign for Southern Fried Scribes—and we are both sad and relieved to see it come to an end.  After chains of shameless mass emails, cold calls, door-to-door solicitations, and early morning meetings where Jess’s eyes were still far too big and much too sleepy to answer questions about budget and funding allocation, our campaign is closing. Yes, there are just under 72 hours left and we are so close to reaching our goal. We have raised $4,485 of our $5,000 goal as of April 29th. That’s 89%! We have until May 2nd to reach $5,000. That’s three days! Continue reading →

Push Polling in Maine, and no doubt Elsewhere. Beware.

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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Oh, I’ve just been subject to a political scam on the phone—the legendary push poll, this one a pleasant lady telling me that she works for a national firm called Davis Industries.  I asked her directly who they were working for and she said directly: no one, neither democrat nor republican.  I knew it wasn’t true but said okay.  The first ten minutes are fun and innocuous and make you feel you’re taking part in a real poll: which candidate is more favorable, who will you vote for, etc.  But then the bullshit starts:  “I’m going to read you some facts about each candidate and ask if these facts make you more or less likely to vote for the candidate.”  And it’s like, “Did you know [both candidates you’ve expressed interest in] are for health care in Maine that will cut x billions out of Medicare coverage?”  No, I didn’t know it because it’s not true.  And then more nonsense, none of it true.  I said I couldn’t answer because the statement wasn’t true.  So she plugged on, and finally I said, Okay, I know this is a push poll now, and I know you’ve lied to me to get me to answer this many questions, and so I’m hanging up.”  Bang.  I don’t know why it makes me so mad.  Something about the psychological space their script gives them access to, and knowing that they succeed, often enough.  The method is to put disinformation into the pollee’s head as if the disinformation were the pollee’s own thought.  “If you knew [your candidate] has cooked and eaten babies his whole life, would that change your opinion of him?” Continue reading →